The Demon in Harlem

Summary:
August 22 2014: Fenris interrupts yet another summoning, this time with help, and a complication.

Harlem City Street

An abandoned shop front dominates one corner of this city street. The perfect place to lay low and practice forbidden magic.


Characters

NPCs

  • Rich Dilettantes
  • Elder Demon

Mood Music:
[* None]


Harlem is… well it's not the pit it used to be. It's getting nice-ish, as are many places on Manhattan. The prosparity of the Financial District and Midtown seems to radiate out. That's got good points and bad points. Sometimes, people resent rising property prices and gentrification. And sometimes you get people with more money than sense. This is the case today. Normally this manifests itself with loud cars and irresponsible parties.

Today it's black magic. Some rich dilettantes decided to relieve their ennui by summoning a demon. Trouble is, one of them has actual talent. The other trouble is that they've gotten their hands on a very dangerous ritual. The other other trouble is that Fenris has arrived just in time for them to actually open the portal across the veil.

The first sign that anything is wrong is in a windstorm from inside an abandoned shop front shatters every window in the erstwhile shop and flings four people, a demon and several scented candles onto the street.

*

After an ill-fated landing the night before and time to recuperate for his alter-ego, Jim is now taking the far safer way back to his apartment over in Queens. Well, at least he feels it's a safer way. The good ol' Shoe Leather Express rarely lets him down, especially not with newer shoes designed for walking and high-intensity work environments. He's making a mental note to try and get something nice for Darlene… Miss Wilson to show the 'partner's' appreciation for her hospitality as he strolls. Thankfully, barring emergencies he has today off.

There's an insistent nagging at him, though.. some gut feeling that yes, he should be afraid for some reason. It takes a few steps for him to recognize that particular fear. He wouldn't normally attribute a 'sense' to a fear, but this one is familiar. It's the primal fear of being hunted by an apex predator. Even though he's not the target of the hunt — he hopes — it isn't the kind of thing that a person forgets.

Then the glass explodes outwards with tornadic force. There is some understandable ducking and face-covering before he looks back up. Oh, hey, what a coincidence! And people… and… a demon.

Wut.

"Hey, you! Get outta here before I call the INS on your ass!" Stupid demons, ruining a person's day… or persons. And then another fear. The 'Oh crud, why the heck did I just try to get that thing's attention?' fear.

*

When sharing a few words with Fenris it's important to realize that at any moment his mental trouble alert can go off and suddenly one finds themselves left with being alone or having to go with the man when he flits around reality. Normally this isn't such a big deal if the conversation can bear such interruption, but if one wishes to maintain some steady give and take then one simply must go with him.

So it is thus why from inside that broken storefront with the shattered glass that Alexander emerges, taking up a place to the side and against the wall. He folds his arms and looks towards the demon, then glances in Fenris' direction. When the fellow emerges, Alex lifts his voice and asks casually, "You got this?"

*

Johnny Storm has a secret life. It's the one where he actually does things that people who are smart and educated do. Today he was at a mid-day concert at the Apollo Theatre - something special that they don't do often, but the Four Freedoms Foundation likes to give them money sometimes and they send tickets over … today he was the one who got there first. So he's walking casually back towards the bus stop and thinking about dinner, garbed in completely civilian attire (as if, he's got his uniform underneath) and something … explodes.

Demon. Rich bitch, rich bitch I dated once, rich doofus, rich doofus… wait, why are they wearing Slytherin robes anyway?

"Oh, Courtney, I know you were ruined for other men, but summoning things from hell?" Johnny should probably not be so flip, but she really WAS that bad.
*

'Jeremiah Wolfson' emerges from the store front twirling the gale rod. "Perhaps. The portal is closed but these idiots…" He points now at the rich dilettante summoners. "Summoned K'rrrrshnll. He's not… the usual elder demon. Some help would be handy." The tall, threatening man pulls a necklace off his neck. An instant later, it's a sword. A very large sword. That he appears to have no trouble wielding one handed.

"If you are smart, idiots, you'll clear out before I finish cleaning up your mess…" He growls as he advances upon the tentacled and clawed horror.

*

Do not summon up that which you cannot put down. Isn't that like, the first rule of summoning? The portly Jim fellow isn't completely ignorant of this sort of thing, but one thing that does ring in his mind as potentially hazardous is the fact that if these people were inside and summoning and they put any sort of 'mojo' into the summons, they could be somehow linked to the thing they brought in. So them running probably isn't a good idea, as keen as Mr. Wolfson is on showing them 'mercy'. So in a truly counter-intuitive fashion, he attempts to restrain one of the 'rich doofus' sort. Belt, lamp-post, devil take the hind-most. Hopefully the demon has been distracted by the sudden presence of sheer butt-kicking awesome and doesn't see him as a threat.

*

Pushing off the wall, Alexander reaches one hand over his shoulder, fingers closing around the golden hilt of his ornate katana. With a smooth motion he draws the red blade and swirls it around through a single elegant arc. "Alright," He tells Fenris casually as he steps forward with Grasscutter in his hand. He moves to take up a position before and partially to the side of the demon. As he looks upon the demon, Alexander's eyes take on a luminous red glow even as slithering wisps of shadow whorl about his person.

He may not be a sorcerer, but he usually banishes Demons with a lot of pain and stabbing, so he makes no effort to stop the flight of the sorcerers or their ilk. Instead he waits for the demonic monologue, they almost always monologue.

*

Johnny Storm is far more concerned about the demon than any ilk or other wildlife. He's already relegated Courtney and her too-rich friends to the category of 'ignorant civilians to get safely out of the danger zone'.

"FLAME ON!" he shouts, verbal fireworks and all, and says goodbye to a perfectly good tailored suit, that was starting to fit wrong anyway, because he's been working out, yo. (No, it wasn't fitting tight in the waist.)

"Hey! Is this thing going to eat fire?" he yells to the two scary dudes who seem to be here to beat up on it. He's not sure why the chubby civilian has suddenly started trying to tie Chadley Rooseveldt to a lamp post.

*

Fenris looks up at the… very warm gentleman who has suddenly arrived. "Not as such… I promise you it will be tough though."

The repartee Alexander is expecting comes. The thing roars and glares. There's a pressing, skittering sensation against the mind that is, if it wasn't so horrifying, probably recognizable as an incredibly alien attempt at communication. Exactly what it might be communicating is anyone's guess but given the way it's starting to sprout bone spikes it's probably not friendly.

"Moving on the left…" The god-wolf moves fast, faster than anyone really has a right to. Into the air, twenty feet and back down with the blade describing a glittering arc down. It slices into the hide but… not nearly as deeply as might be desired.

*

Okay. When the embodiment of the Eater-of-The-Sun says '…it will be tough though…' that's a sign to the pudgy guy to clear outta Dodge. Binding effort on the one fellow is abandoned as he throws himself into a dark alleyway moving pretty spry for a heavy-set sort of fellow.

Nice dark alleyway… away from the fight. Check.

Away from prying eyes. Check.

Waking up the 'partner'. In Progress.

The 'partner' is moving a bit slowly today, perhaps still a bit sore from the previous evening. Yes. That must be it.

Hopefully the demon didn't follow the potential meal in the offing…

*

Moving in strong counterpoint to Fenris' approach, Alexander darts to the other side so the two bladesmen can bracket the creature and each split its attention. For his part his movements are controlled, precise. When a demonic limb lashes out in his direction he moves just enough to avoid contact as best he can, and then when he has an opening… he'll strike.

And when he does strike it's a blur of movement, a flicker of activity that barely registers and could be missed unless the observer were an expert. Grasscutter's blade is an almost irresistible thing when it strikes armor and plate, so when the blade lashes to life the results can be terrible.

While it's a giant by human measures, it's not a giant, giant, that is to say, the demon is only two heroes tall, so with flying blades and flailing … wriggling … demon-limbs, the Torch can't really get in close to do anything, but that's fine, he works better at range anyway. His first action is to fling fireballs at its eyes, which takes more fireballs than seems to be right or proper. Then he starts focusing heat, hotter than his normal flame. This will take a moment.

*

Fireballs at the eyes may not, indeed, blind it permanently, but given the way it suddenly lashes out in every direction it certainly did something. Grasscutter doesn't just lop the limb it hits off, it disintegrates it. There's something about the divinity behind the blade that this thing really doesn't like. Sadly, the Moonsilver Shard isn't nearly so divine. It's magical yes but that's it. Fortunately, the god-wolf behind it is pretty damn strong. He drives the blade into the beast's shoulder and muscles him against the wall.

"Fire-man, Phobos, get him!"

*

Joints pop, bones creak, mass shifts somewhere down in the alleyway, largely drowned out by the sound of crackling flame, civilians heading for the hills, and in general, the madness of the situation.

After a few moments a bird 'thing' stumbles out of the alleyway, stepping gingerly as it clears its throat. "Attention alien interloper. One is in violation of the laws of this realm and must leave it forthwith. Only warning."

Okay, it's a bit of a bluff, as it is still a bit sore from the previous evening. The talons are out, but they do appear a bit more worn than usual as it takes another tender step.

When there is an opening it is important to strike and strike quickly. Alexander is given one by the way Fenris manhandles the monster with the heavy impact of the large sword and shoulders it against the wall. A quick glance is spared for the aforementioned Fire-Man as the young deity gauges the likely angle of his attack, then he breaks into a run.

A few quick steps are taken as Phobos leaps onto a nearby bench seat on the street, bounces off of its back and then plants a foot along the side of the wall almost shoulder height of the creature. He runs /along/ the wall, then drops abruptly downwards at an angle with the edge of Grasscutter trailing sparks along the brick surface… then slashing out for the creatures throat all in one smooth motion.

*

"It's 'Torch', FYI!" Johnny says, still concentrating, "or Human Torch if you're nasty."

The Human Torch does this trick called a "nova blast" that can really mess up someone's day. He can do it in smaller bits, which he prefers when Sue isn't around to keep him from causing spontaneous fission and destruction of a lot of property. For a demon, especially one whose speech felt like a tongue-bath to the brain from an anteater with leeches for a tongue, he's willing to risk it.

His right hand is no longer just nicely red colored flames. It's white hot, past painful to look at, and even with the strongest control Johnny can exert to keep it from reaching past his protective shell, the heat is palpable to the others. It's now at a temperature you don't find in places that demons go.

Well. Maybe Surtur.

The Torch strikes at the small of the creature's back, lunging in below Phobos' head-strike.

*

The physical form of the demon takes a battering. The throat slits open at just about the same time that Johnny decides to create a small star in the small of the thing's back. Fenris twists the blade as the thing writhes and screams. It's starting to disintegrate into little bits of corruption and foul magic as the spell that binds this thing in place comes apart at the seams. Its eyes fix on the Buddah Bird and there's a sudden psychic lash as, in desperation, it tries to corrupt a new host.

*

Landing with a light thip-thap of footsteps, Alexander rounds quickly to espy the creature and its ensuing disintegration. Then when its eyes come alive and focuses fully upon Corvinus, Alex looks towards the appearance of this new arrival. The red blade whirls through a smooth arc as he brings it up and around, readying himself in case the creature is able to transfer its essence into this new figure.

*

Under normal operating parameters, this would probably not be an issue for the ancient bird-being. Unfortunately, these are anything BUT normal operating parameters. Still in a recovery phase from the previous night's misadventure, it has — for lack of a better term — gaps in its defense that are easily exploitable by outside forces. Fortunately for it, however, it also doesn't seem to be *showing* any signs of potential corruption… yet.

The bird-thing howls in anguish as strange arcane circuitry flares on its body, arcing and popping briefly as it tries to retain control… keep the fire inside… keep it from taking over.

"OW! SONUVA — "

It glances to the individuals arrayed around it. "This one needs assistance. BAD TOUCH! BAD! OW."

Yeah… highly unlikely it's going to be able to show folks 'where on the birdy doll the bad thing touched it', though!

*

Some months back, someone tried to merge another reality into this one, and Johnny briefly became his counterpart, an elemental magician empowered by the Aethyrs as the Embodiment of Fire. He doesn't really remember the gory details, but one thing that Jonathon Storm Esquire had shown him seems like it could matter.

The Torch leaves the nova-fire burning in the gut of the beast, and lashes with his right hand to point to the ground, burning a circle, using that same ten-thousand degree fire, surrounding the demon in a circle of fire that … if there is any carry-over, that circle might disrupt the demon's attempt to jump to a new host.

*

The psychic assault suddenly cuts off, the connection literally burned out. In another fifteen seconds or so there's nothing left of the beast but a pile of corrupted ash and two panting swordsmen. The taller of the two wipes his blade off and shrinks it back down to a necklace. "Well… that was… exciting." He casts his gaze around, nodding his thanks to the Torch before his eyes land on Corvinus. "Ah… Are you alright?"

Oh… there's a guy… tied up. Well then.

*

The ugliest of hacking gurgling coughs emanates from the bird-thing as it flops on the ground, holding itself up by its arms as it does, yes, appear to be getting ill. This lasts for a few seconds, and then a burning pile of foul-smelling ash and liquid comes streaming out of its beak to make a pile on the ground. The avianoid nearly steams for a few more moments before another wave strikes and this one had less ash and more liquid.

After the revolting display its feathers ruffle a bit and it rocks back, looking up at the others. It moves its beak but makes no noise, then points to an errant water bottle, mimicking a drinking motion.

A little bit of red dances in its otherwise obsidian eyes…

*

Demon gone? Demon gone. Good. That's a good thing. Johnny drifts to the ground like a burning leaf, collapsing, as his flame goes out. The burning ground continues to burn a little while longer, but there's no longer any will behind the containment, for whatever that means.

Nova Heat really takes it out of you. Then again, it's pretty close to a violation of conservation of energy for it to actually do what it does. (Pfeh. Conservation of energy. Reed probably disproved that one in high school.)

*

Fenris walks over calmly, seeming to sprout claws as he does. He looks Corvinus over carefully… "This is your eviction notice." He growls and stabs his claws deep into the bird-thing's shoulder. Then he twists a little before yanking them out. Demonic corruption, especially when dealing with Elder beings, is very insidious and absolutely to be taken seriously. Hopefully he won't have to ask the Torch to purge Jim by fire.

He might not like that.

*

There is a thin whistling shriek like a tea-kettle that's started boiling over as a gout of steam and vapor shoots out from the bird-thing where the claws land. Yep, that seems to have done the trick, as the ancient thing slumps a bit. It attempts to move its beak once more, makes no noise, then gives the clawer and the no-longer flaming person a 'thumb's up'.

Yeah. Burning Bird Bad.

Johnny is still lying on the ground. Generally when he does this thing, it takes him a while to recover. Hopefully, cars will avoid him.

*

Fenris silently offers a hand to the bird-thing, glancing back to Torch. "Do you think we broke him?" He murmurs quietly. With a frown he waves his rod over at Johnny. Air flits under him and lifts him up, floating him over to the other two. "Are you alive, Torch-bearer?"

Right, so the god-wolf didn't quiiiiiite catch Johnny's moniker. The fact that he's still clothed seems to impress him. "Fire retardant… or are your flames magical?"

*

"mrelr smor, ha no skoo t'day," Johnny says, face down and slightly drooling. He seems to be talking in his sleep.

*

The bird-thing attempts to move its beak once more before stopping. It then begins to make odd hand gestures and pointing to the somewhat prone Human Torch. It doesn't have any power behind them, whatever the gestures are.

Those familiar with American Sign Language, though, would be able to pick up a very detailed and complex explanation on the various methods one could technologically produce a garment to prevent it disintegrating under intense flame while still dissipating heat.

*

Fenris… actually knows American Sign Language. Though his technical expertise is somewhat less able to keep up with what Mute-a Bird is attempting to communicate. "Right, right. It catches fire but doesn't burn. Mostly what I'm interested in…" Here the god-wolf toes Johnny. "Is if our gallant Torch needs help." Nudge, nudge. "Hmmmmm… well… Hopefully he wakes up. Otherwise I may have to get more extreme. What were you doing here today, Corvinus?"

*

The Torch drifts there, very comfortable, as he begins to get his brains back… Hungry. REALLY hungry. Damn. Could go for some fried chicken and a hamburger and maybe a large fries and a milkshake … no, make that two milkshakes. To start with.

His eyes open. Ow. Close again. Man, this is comfortable.

"Huh?"

*

More hand gestures ensue from the bird-being. It makes a flowing analogy — somehow — of a wolf being tired after hunting. It then goes a bit further on the question asked of itself, including a brief moment of embarrassing explanation involving a high speed collision with the side of a building and working on recovery. It also mentions that its partner thankfully doesn't have to work today.

It then points to its mouth, then its belly, then to the Torch with a bit of a shrug. It's hungry, maybe the Torch is too?

*

"Oy. Okay." Fenris leans down. "Hungry it is. We're going to Nassau then. Folks may… give you some odd looks Corvinus so It'd be best if you can change yourself back? If not though…" The god-wolf growls. "I'll deal with them personally. Hold on to your lunches."

There's a moment when Fenris opens a portal beneath them and then a sensation of falling as they're dropped into Dennys. "Ah, welcoem to the home of the quick calorie."

*

Corvinus peers at Fenris as they arrive at the Denny's. There is a very rapid shaking in negation by it. Apparently for some reason it doesn't think that would be a good idea, even with a desire to remain under the radar, as it were. It then looks at the menu then the Human Torch. There's a bit of flinching when the server comes up, but that might just be after-action nerves… not that the avianoid has ever had those before. It motions to Johnny to order while it peruses the menu, looking for a lot of everything on a budget.

Mass Quantities, ahoy. Hopefully Jeremiah brought his wallet.

*

Johnny is barely able to stand, but he can gasp an order. "Milkshake. Chocolate. Three of 'em. Fries, lots of fries. And a hamburger. And a Coke. Not diet."

The Cola drink arrives quickly, the other food takes longer, and he'll order again as soon as he can think straight, but the sugar-laden soda definitely helps him return to something like human intelligence.

*

Fenris, oddly enough, doesn't seem to be worried about however much they might spend. "Just order what you want, Corvinus." Mutants are not unheard of here. Not super common, no, and clearly their sudden appearance is a bit jaring to the service, but they manage admirably. For his part, the Old Wolf orders a chicken fried steak. He's not super hungry. Actually he's not properly hungry at all, since he doesn't need to drink.

Once his companions have some cola and sugar in them he chuckles. "There. Feeling a bit more 'human' again?"

*

After demolishing a few side orders of hashbrowns, a fruit plate, three pitchers of water, one pitcher of coffee, and two dinners the bird-thing attempts to speak once more. It is very hoarse and gravelly, almost like it was a chain-smoker its entire existence.

"This… one… thank. Throat… burn… bad…. healing… more food… please."

*

Johnny may have recovered his ability to speak, and to move, slowly, but that just means he orders pancakes. Lots and lots of pancakes. With syrup. And bacon. There's a bird at the table, so he doesn't order eggs, because that might be weird and he doesn't have time to think about that.

"We killed it? Should've put that circle down first," the Torch mutters.

*

"You banished it." Fenris corrects as he signals for the waitress to bring a second round of the things that Corvinus just consumed. "And it was well done for not having a proper sorcerer to do it. Don't feel badly Torch. Many have failed where you improvised." More pancakes come. Fenris is still rather calmly working on the one order. It makes him look odd next to the two food destruction machines but there you go.

*

Another three pitchers of water vanish in quick succession, followed by additional requests for an entire French silk pie, and a carafe of orange juice.

"One and one and one killed it. This one… got in way. Apologies. Good call with circle. Thank you."

The voice is gradually softening to something a bit more intelligible, a little less raspy. It is completely oblivious to the oddity as it orders Eggs Benedict in addition to the other selections. Oddly enough, it doesn't appear to be going onto its frame. Well, oddly enough present company excluded.

*

"Sorry about blacking out on you guys," Johnny says between bites of a Baconator. "That Nova Flame is really exhausting. I usually have an emergency food bar that Reed whipped up if I'm planning to get in a fight where I might need it, but I wasn't thinking I'd need it to listen to the Wakandan National Choral Envoy at the Apollo."

*

Fenris chuckles. "Understandable. Nova Flame, mmmm?" He peers over Johnny now. "You do not appear to be magical. Are you one of these 'mutants' or one of those champions whom the fates have gifted with unique circumstances? In either case you earned a hero's meal today."

"And do not worry, Corvinus. It is, after all, possible to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am pleased that I was not forced to end you. Had you succumbed to the creature…" Well, that might have gone badly. A malevolent entity with Corvinus' knowledge? Odds are it wouldn't have tried to debate him to death that's for sure.

*

Now that there is plenty of the bio-mass thing going the bird-thing nods to Johnny.

"Apology hardly necessary. This one understands the 'price of doing business', as it were."

"The partner was attempting to get in over his 'pay grade' again. Fortunately, more learned sorts than he spoke up and a potential disaster was mitigated. If this one had been at the top of this one's 'game', it would not have been an issue. However, given recent events this one's defenses were at an ebb, and weak points were available for access. This one will be reviewing internal countermeasures for optimization in the next two light-cycles."

"Odd though it may seem, this one's concern was not with one's self, but with this one's partner. This one is thankful for his sake that one was not required to perform more drastic measures. The trauma could have been quite debilitating and intense."

And no, it would not have been a debate. It could have potentially been a little Hel On Earth.

*

"Mutant, mutate, too long didn't read. Got powers from exposure to some sort of weird green cosmic energy in space. My sister Sue, her boyfriend Reed, and Ben the pilot guy all got 'em too. We're in the tour guides for Manhattan, Fantastic Four. Though, we don't really, y'know, allow tours and stuff."

He looks over at Corvinus. "Dude, I gotta introduce you to Ben, just to watch him try to follow your conversation."

*

Fenris, indeed, sometimes have trouble following Corvinus himself. "Yes, I imagine Jim would have objected to being stuck in a magical circle and transfixed with a spear made of holly." Don't ask. You don't want to know. Well, maybe you do, but don't ask here. He can explain elsewhere. Or demonstrate, if you really want him to.

"So Torch, tell me, did the Norns just smile upon us with your presence? Or were you seeking out that trouble. Mmm, yes, where are my manners? I'm Jeremiah Wolfson."

*

The bird thing glances over at Johnny once more, then perks up a bit as it demolishes another pitcher of juice.

"The partner knows of the Four Who Are Fantastic. He is exceptionally moved by the 'sheer ballsiness' — his term — on you 'going public'. This one is certain that he would appreciate that at some point but given recent events it is perfectly understandable for one to have other greater priorities."

Corvinus is not going to pry into that particular knowledge right now. Especially not in a restaurant. Folks are eating! And aside from which, IT is eating. And it has no desire to act as a sentient pincushion for demonstration purposes.

"The Corvinus."

*

"Right. Good to meet you both. I guess my fame isn't as big as my ego. I'm Johnny Storm, also called the Human Torch, and I think it was, what did you call it, the Norns? Fate, coincidence, dumb luck? Anyway, I didn't know that there would be some rich idiots calling things up from hell, no. I'd have brought an old priest and a young priest, y'know?"

By now, Johnny's down to drinking milkshakes. Note that while he seems to fill up briefly, it doesn't last, it's like throwing the food into a furnace, but he seems finally to be slowing the intake.

*

"Do you have to eat like this all the time?" Fenris grins at Corvinus' relaying Jim's messages. It sound so odd coming out of the bird thing's… beak. "Or just when you use your power?"

"Yes, acting in the open takes some courage. I do not, myself, use my… mmmm… proper name. Corvinus knows this much. And if he knows as much as I think he does, he knows why. Well, I'd hate for you to miss your event. If you're fueled up can I arrage for you to make your… choir?"

*

"This one is pleased to have met one. This one would humbly submit that fame and ego are simply expressions of the self, and in that acknowledging such one gains power over vanity and prevents the destruction of the self when such things are no longer operational terms."

Wow, way to lay that heavy Zen out there, Buddha Bird!

"Honestly, if this one had known this was to transpire, this one would have probably attempted to steer the partner away from this part of the metroplex."

t pauses, assessing the comment about priests.

"Colloquial, movie reference. Exorcism. Analogy understood and filed."

It has shifted to simply drinking pitchers of water now, to help on some chemical level, apparently.

"Only when this one is in critical need of bio-mass to recover from debilitating injuries. Partner notes 'There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch'. Under normal operating parameters including combat such fuel consumption is unnecessary. This one strongly recommends utilizing the transport service offered, as it definitely beats the Midtown jams especially at this time of the day."

*

"I eat more than most guys my size," Johnny says, "I mean, I'm active, but I still eat maybe half again what I did before I got the flame-on power. But using that super-hot flame is what takes it out of me. Anyway, I already heard the choir. I was coming out of the theatre when tall, tentacled and terrible came flying out the window."

Johnny grins, at the Bird's take on things vs. the other guy in his head's take on things.

"I don't have trouble with the traffic. I fly. It's only…" the Torch looks out the window, "huh, we're on Nassau. Only ten blocks that way."

*

Fenris smiles and leaves some bills on the table to pay for the dinner plus a rather generous tip. Yes, he did just pay for that in cash.

"Well, in that case, Corvinus, can I offer you a lift to… somewhere that is not Nassau? I don't imagine your partner would appreciate much being stranded."

*

"That is quite fortunate for one. One now has had an exhilarating workout in addition to an uplifting and enlightening performance to stir the spirit and encourage thoughts of self - consideration."

Hmmmm. Perhaps a careful overview of its thought processes is in order?

"This one's partner is over in Queens. This one will give one's partner a 'pass' on this. Normally this one would encourage physical activity so that the partner would gain some fitness, but given recent events this one is concerned that even walking a block will cause untoward paradox and collapsing of the world-state as we know it. Partner says… 'Cats and Dogs, living together…', and 'Standing by for transport, Mister Scott.'. References unclear."

*

Johnny gives the waitress a kiss on the hand, because flirting is not only expected, but fun, and Fenris already tipped. He laughs at the Bird's references, but doesn't explain. And yeah, workout … definitely.

"Thanks for the emergency dinner, Mr. Wolfson. Give me a call if you have another demon to be burned, and you need a little fire."

Stepping out away from the door, he yells "FLAME ON!" and is transformed into a flaming column rocketing off toward the Baxter Building.

*

"Colorful character, that." Fenris chuckles as he opens a Way. "I'll have to keep an eye on him. Come on, Corvinus. One to beam up." So saying he guides the bird thing through the portal… and is gone.

*

"Enlightenment to be had for all. Today is a good day, despite the circumstances. 'Everybody wins'. " It follows Fenris to the portal and on home, to rest and… reformat.


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