Wonderful Surprises

Summary:
<January 1, 2015>: Keith meets Jim for ice cream, gets two very unique surprises.

Coldstone Creamery

Hmmmm, all those carbs!


Characters

NPCs

  • Exobia (NPC villain)
  • Civilians

Mood Music:
Wonder Woman Remix


Cold Stone Creamery locations are noteworthy for a few things, the least of which is the fact that those who desire the ability to craft their own frozen delicacies may do so. It is an interactive influx of flavors, limited only by available ingredients and the imagination of those would wish to partake.

Jim Reha has not been in this particular location, located near the intersection of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, but he used to frequent several back home, and they can't be all that different, right?

But the ice cream is not the only reason that he's here today.

No. A few months past a certain fellow of a feline persuasion had asked him a huge favor, and with the strangeness that is this universe, the stars aligned and the favor has come to pass, but even more so, as the other person involved had requested to be along to present the favor-item in person. Jim couldn't really argue the logic. It's not every day you have an Ambassador of a foreign power making those sorts of requests…

Vorpal rolls 13 on 1d20.

Vorpal is more than happy to run into Jim, after all he hadn't had a chance to stop by the Stark Tower to wish everybody happy holidays due to the Orlando trip. Last night would have been great, but an invasion of ghouls got in the way. Like Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say- if itt ain't one thing, it's anuddah.

Today seemed like a perfect day for things to go right- the sun was shining, even for winter, nothing had come up throughout the day, and Vorpal was getting done with his patrol when Jim's message came in. Perfect timing!

That should have been the red flag.

Vorpal is, indeed, approaching the intersection of 42nd and 8th. However, he is not doing so by his own volition- or propulsion. Still in his cheshire form, Vorpal is currently being propelled through the air by something which leaves golden streaks of light in its wake, and it is very fortunate that the feline is currently encased in a small purple sphere of his own devising, because the impact against one of the nearby parked cars would have probably killed him. As it is, the sphere and the cushioning constructs manage to absorb most of the impact- as does the car, which is fortunately unoccupied.

Not that anyone is going to drive this thing after this. The cheshire's construct vanishes after the impact, leaving him leaning with his back against the car and a very dizzy disposition.

Needless to say, the impact alerted people on the street. The vision of the woman walking down the street towards Vorpal sends them running. She is clad from neck to toe in a suit that is mostly black, but with gleaming golden vambraces. The crackling golden light around her indicates that she was probably the source of what sent Vorpal flying in the first place.

"This is too easy," the woman says with a slight smirk hands on her hips.

"… you should've seen the other guy…" Vorpal manages to answer as he starts getting to his feet.

Wonder Woman hardly 'mingles' in public, he appearances are typically diplomatic or for that of hoping to turn a bad situation good.

The looks from a few of the people at the Cold Stone say it all, its a silent stare with eyes that follow, all the while trying not to be blatant and respectful about the staring. When she stands in line is when the people working behind the freezer bins pause, looking at Jim, looking at Wonder Woman and then eachother, as if confused.

Here?!?!

A little girl standing in front though clings to her mother as she spins and faces her, peering from behind the clutched hand and smiles upward at the large Amazon. A moment, a downward glance and Wonder Woman smiles down at her in return, seemingly brightening the girls courage to release the hand and reach…

The crash stops it all, the girl is back in front of her mom and clutching her legs, Wonder Woman is looking up, making no move other then to stand beside Jim and narrow her gaze towards the 'accident'.

"Can… I.. umm… you want… flavors?"

One of the clerks is asking the Amazon, but she is distracted..

Jim is no stranger to New York City. Random street violence isn't even a rarity or an oddity to him, even in the popular part of town. No, this is sadly part and parcel of being a resident of the Big Apple.

"We're gonna have to hop out of line, we'll be back. Get folks down and away from the windows."

Jim grumbles a bit as he trundles his burly butt outside to see what the heck is busting up what is supposed to be a nice, quiet meet - and - greet. He's DEFINITELY in the spirit of *giving* right now…

And then he sees the flattened cat-boy, and the woman advancing on him.

"Look. You REALLY want to just stop this noise and leave now, 'cause things are about t' get real. Go on now, go."

Yeah, right, what's a pudgy middle - aged fellow going to do to someone with power?

Of course, there's the backup behind him, but he hasn't mentioned it.

"Really, it's simple." The woman says to Vorpal, tinkering with one of her vambraces where fix stones of different colors are set. "Just stand still and this'll be over soon, then I get to advance to the next level."

"… what the hell?" Vorpal asks. And that's when he hears Jim's voice from behind him.

~Oh crap, Jim's here~
~~Quick, distract her~~

"What are you talking about, next level?"

The woman raises an eyebrow as she snaps a lid shut on a small mount in the vambrace. "You already forgot what happened at that little mixer of yours?"

The cheshire frowns. Mixer… mixer… wait. The X-Men mixer? "… get out of here, you're one of the Upstarts?"

Good, keep her talking while you recover. See what you can do.

That seems to have been the wrong question to ask, as her expression sours. "No!" she snaps. "I didn't make the cut. But now I will."

She thrusts her hands forth and a barrage of golden concussion beams flies at Vorpal. The cat barely has time to erect a glowing wall to intercept them before they hit him and the civilians who haven't evacuated yet. Normally he would open a Rabbit Hole and return the volley of beams to her- but he tried that. There is something unique about those beams- they collapse his portals!

"Jim, duck!" Vorpal calls back behind him. The beams also are taking out chunks of his wall-which shouldn't be possible at that magnitude of power, his walls are very resistent.

Whomever she is, she seems to have found a way to weaken his powers. He needed backup- so he grabs his phone and double-taps it.

"Siri! Call the Titans!"
"Calling Tiny's Hair Salon."
"NO GODDAMNIT! Siri! Call the Titans!"
"Calling Pythons Incororated, Pet shop located at-"
"GODDAMNIT YOU VAPID -"

The phone, alas, is no more as it explodes into debris when one of the beams penetrates Vorpal's barriers and impacts the device. Fortunately it wasn't his hand!
"Crap!" he ducks low, trying to build up another wall quickly.

Wonder Woman is holding the mom by the shoulder as Jim speaks his warning. A car crash turning into something completely unexpected? That's normal, so is the small ushering of woman and child back, her arm spanning outward to also gesture the rest back.

By the time she turns Jim is already being brazen and going forward into the melee which causes lips to rise as teeth clench and she is setting out after him with a burst of speed, one that once she is beside Jim her pace is already accelerated, one foot almosrt slamming into the cement sidewalk beside where he stood, aiding in rocketing her leap forward in attempt to slam a shoulder into the woman assaulting Vorpal, her crossed vembraces held up to deflect any assaultss that may be sent her way before impact can be made.

Jim wasn't expecting quite THAT fast of a backup, but he's not complaining as beams are going everywhere. The portly fellow dives over by Vorpal and attempts to grab him to pull him away from line of sight, and out of direct fire.

"Fancy meeting you here like this!"

His calf gets clipped by a bit of shrapnel and he sort of hobbles towards the nearness of a slight divot in the storefronts, raising a yelp of pain.

"-you called me here-" Vorpal points out. Granted, he didn't say 'bring a supervillain with you

"-you called me here-" Vorpal points out. Granted, he didn't say 'bring a supervillain with you,' but that's usually considered unspoken ettiquete in superhero circles. The red and blue blur makes the cat shut up, though. He points as if to say, 'is that-'

Yes, yes she is, which is a fact that Vorpal's aggressor quickly confirms. "Crapcrapcrap I've got nothing for Wond-"

She was fiddling with the stones set into the vambrace, quickly cycling through them when Diana's shoulder check sends the woman rolling. Something falls from the chamber of the vambrace- a beautiful egg of what appears to be amber with writing spiraling around its surfice in an intricate golden script. It rolls all the way to Wonder Woman's boot and stops there, glistening in the sun.

"… !" the woman does not seem to be in the mood to quip anymore, she turns a full one-eighty and runs as if the devil itself were on her heels, all the while speaking rather frenetically into an earpiece.

"Mok! Mok! It's Exobia, get me the hell out of here, NOW!"

Meanwhile, Vorpal is still staring, only vaguely aware of being pulled by Jim.

Wonder Woman stand sthere. One warning strike given to the woman and she does not seek to step beyond the fallen stone, instead keeping cerulean gaze upon her retreating backside with waning interest. Words had no need to be exchanged as the warning is taken, and the villains response is accepted.

The cold winter air captures every calm and measured breath, making it into a fog before her lips, even as she lowers and reaches for the stone, plucking it up between fingertips for inspection, remaining in a crouch there with that lasso dangling at her hip casting a yellow glow across the pavement at her feet.

When she finally palms the stone and looks over her shoulder to Jim and Vorpal her crouching shadow stretches with her rise, emphasizing height while she strides towards the two.

"I think she is gone not to return to this arena tonight. This must be your friend." She says looking from Jim to Vorpal, recollection there, though forms were a bit different, right?

"Ambassador, this is the gentleman I was talking about. Vorpal, this is the Ambassador of Themyscira. You've met in passing, it's… related to the present. Anyways, the poor folks in there are probably gawking and getting the wrong impression, and I'm not into you like that, so — ice cream?"

The older fellow will have stopped trying to drag the catboi at this point, and will give a head-nod in the direction of the Coldstone.

"Think we've caused enough of a stir?"

He'll start heading on in, hoping the other two follow.

And in the back part of his brain he's beginning to wonder if he's somehow channeling John Constantine, because that's what he's feeling like right now, except for the cigarette and cup of booze in hand…

Vorpal blinks for a couple of seconds and he attempts to form words, but none come for a few seconds.

"…. ice cream?"

There's somethingg that's making him feel woozy, and he's pretty sure it's not Wonder Woman, though, because excitement and embarrassment don't quite feel like a fever. "… Inside… right. Stir." He reaches into his uniform- a secret pocket. Most heroes forget about the pocket thing, or use utility belts like Robin. Thing is, when you're an acrobat like Vorpal, a utility belt can be very annoying. No idea how Robin does it. He flips a card onto the windshield of the totaled car which contains the contact information of the Titans, who will gladly provide any and all witness information needed to the insurance company.

"Th-thank you for that," Vorpal says as he meekly follows Jim and the Ambassador towards the Coldstone. "I have no idea how she managed to just shrug my powers aside like that…" it was as if the woman's blasts were pure fire and Vorpal's walls were nothing but beeswax. Unsettling.

And embarrassing, Wonder Woman just saw him get his ass severely kicked and tossed around. What's more, he was sure he saw a few camera phones being held up, too.

The way Jim is acting is something new. Shayera practically cows him and his partner, where this scene was a complete 180 in comparison.

Wonder Woman is walking behind Jim and more along side Vorpal, her head tilting as she speaks to him and lifts the stone that was left behind. "If I heard right, she knew of you? Had time to study you?" The light reflecting off the stone made it almost swirl in that burnt hue, cats-eye viewed.

Moving back into the Coldstone Wonder Woman puts a hand on Jim's shoulder and leans down. "What flavor? He asked before and I don't think I know anything aside from chocolate and vanilla. There's more?"

Fear does strange things to people and ancient bird - god - things. Jim is at least intelligent to pick up on it, and he lives in New York. Even only moved to the city, there's a certain amount of… swagger or blase one develops. Or at least, so one might think.

"Therefore, when you induce others to construct a formation while you yourself are formless, then you are concentrated while the opponent is divided." Sun Tzu? Was that Jim, or his partner offering insight?

"For me? Start with chocolate, chop up some banana, some cashew, some pistachio, some walnut, and then drizzle in a bit of caramel to top it off."

He smirks a bit at Diana. "That's the beauty of it, pick a base flavor, then whatever they have here, just tell them to mix it in, and they'll make it right here on the spot. It's awesome!"

"I don't know, maybe she knew something-" Vorpal stops and looks at the stone that Wonder Woman holds up. It's hard to explain, but looking at that stone is like looking at a headache. Or the personification of one. "Wait… what is this?" he asks a little curious, reaching out to touch it with a claw. "She dropped this, didn't she? It's beautifu-"

Ever seen those cartoons where the cartoon cat is electrified by a lightning bolt? He gets hit and you can see his skeleton flashing inside him. Well, when Vorpal touches the stone, something like that happens, except that instead of a skeleton, it is a young red-headed man who flashes on and off, and then finally on as Vorpal disappears completely and Keith O'Neil is left behind, one index finger barely touching the stone. Fortunately, he's not dressed in the hero suit, beause it'd look rather ridiculous with his coloration. No, he's in his regular green long-sleeved shirt and jeans.

"Oh." He says, looking at his furless hand, and at the stone, and then back at Wonder Woman, and then at Jim.

"… so that's how…"

The poor people at the Coldstone have seen so much in one day. He shoots one of the flabbergasted ice cream people a sympathetic look. "… just give me something with the darkest, gooiest chocolate you have."

On the upside, he no longer felt ill after touching the stone. The downside? The Cait Sidhe was clearly dormant inside him, as if he had just gotten the living crap beat out of him. He'd recover soon enough. "That's… some stone."

The puzzle of the stone should become easy to discover for the Ambassador now- as the scrolling letters become more defined after Vorpal touched it. The golden letters spell out "EUNOMIA."

"Ambassador… thank you so much for pulling my fat out of the fire…" the young man says, cheeks almost as red as his hair. He shoots Jim a look out of the corner of his eye "… if I had known I would have dressed better than this," he says quietly.

Wonder Woman watches as the word scrolls across the stone and Vorpal's appearance shifts, flickering and settling. "So they studied you, and tactically managed to figure out how to counter you with a vesseled power of 'law'?"

It does not take long, in fact t is a manner of moments before she has it all added up and figured out. "So she countered you with old magic. You're of Discord then? Eris would enjoy your company beyond measure."

Now her focus rests on them both, even Jim as he speaks that old quote and looks upon the veritable buffet of sweets and toppings. "Self control in the face of any event." Even Wonder Woman needs Bushido in the face of Cold Stone, right??

Overwhelmed she looks at the clerk and blinks, smiling. "The chocolate and vanilla swirl, add the lumps of dough, that stuff that looks like a party, some of those pistachios, top it with caramel, but warm…" It's cold outside?

ow stepping back apparently pleased with her selection Diana regards both of them and then respons to Keith with a smile. "It's not the dress, or the instance of meeting that makes the person. At least you are not before me cooked. That should be your concern."

Wonder Woman does not care about how you look, what sex you are, or what creed you follow. Just be you… And don't be served extra crispy if your intentions are good!

"The more disturbing thing should be how they got the essence of order without it falling back into disorder… y'know, as they say, 'the devil is in the details'?" Jim makes a worried face, though whether it is at his debit card or at the concept of pure order being weaponized is uncertain.

At any rate, he'll gladly cover for everyone, but won't argue if someone else steps up.

"What is that saying, 'curiosity killed the cat'?" is offered Keithwards. "Hopefully it didn't ruin your appetite and hopefully you'll be willing to stick around for at least a little bit longer. No, your present wasn't getting your fat pulled out of the fire."

And then that dinged calf reminds him that yes, he's only mortal and getting hit does hurt, even if it is stray bits and chunks.

" 'm okay. 'm okay!"

"You sure you're okay?" Keith eyes Jim, his hands reaching for his wallet. He's still got his pride to battle- it's hard for him to accept a treat. Gar has had to basically blackmail him before he'd let the green guy take him out to a nice dinner.

"It's… some sort of amulet, I guess. Magical, but not the essence. I guess she must've been using it with that weapon of hers." He sighs as he puts in his order- dark chocolate, with sprinkles. Because he needs them. "Someone must have been paying attention somewhere. I'm not… discord, exactly. But I'm made up of chaos magic. Order sort of…" were he to know Superman, he would have ended that phrase with 'is my Kryptonite', but since that aspect of the Man of Steel is a secret, Keith simply says "… screws me up. I wonder how she found out…"

Not that it was that hard if you stopped to think for a minute. Cheshire cats. Wonderland. Even if Vorpal wasn't actually the Cheshire Cat, the Fae that merged with him and created the amalgam identity of Vorpal was, by all means, a creature of chaos. It's why it was drawn to Keith's memories of the cat from the storybooks. From there, it was as simple as asking 'What weakens chaos?' and then procuring a talisman of Order.

Okay. Maybe that last part wasn't as simple. Exobia must have really wanted to get into the Upstarts.

"Cooked… is that something that happens?" Keith asks carefully. Just in case, you know, he might end up fricaseeing himself. He's never really considered the implications of what it means to be soul-bound to a creature of chaos. Suddenly it dawns on him that if the Titans ever get a magician who specializes in the magic of order, things are going to suck very hard for him.

Wonder Woman had been ignoring his wound, only casting glances to Jim when he walked, turned, or left weight on the limb to make sure nothing was overly damaged. That and blood. Though speaking aloud about it and his affirmation onl makes suspicions grow.

"I will have Philae look at you when you return, if you choose to. She is a great body healer." Leaning forward she takes the ice cream from the clerk who is still flustered and really cannot speak a strink of sensical words.

"I..here…creamed.. sprinkles, I used the star ones." Wonder Woman just smiles at him and draws her ice cream close, turning and walking off with Jim and Keith, having left a 20 on the counter already. "Thak you, Carl." She says, having read the young mans name tag as well in their brief moment, which made him flush. Sometimes it's the little things.

Now answering Keith's question. "It's a very high risk when you do what we do. Can be a mood killer…. This is good!" She remarks on the ice cream before stirring it some more.

Jim reaches inside his jacket and pulls out a gift-wrapped package, done up with Christmas packaging and a red bow with less fanfare than any of the evening thus far, despite the fact that it was the reason for the meeting. From somewhere he had managed to get Wonder Woman wrapping paper (Diana may want to check in on that at some point!) and he hands it over to Keith, even as he slowly savors the ice cream concotion he offered.

The offer of getting the injury checked out gets a nod, because he's trying not to bust up the mood.

"Oh… right, getting fried. Gar's very much agains that." Keith nods, taking a moment to savor the sweet chocolate nirvana, only to get distracted when Jim takes out the gift.

"Oh, you sly dog-" Keith smirks, putting down his ice cream. "I knew it had to be something like this. I got you a gift too-"

His hand goes into his jeans pocket to grab something that is also gift-wrapped.

And freezes.

*tinkle tinkle*

*Tinkle?*
*tinkle TINKLE tinkle*

The tugging of the gift produces a quiet, sad, sing-songy tinkling that accompanies shattered crystal. Rather expensive shattered crystal. Like, say, a Swarosky crystal-encrusted pen in the shape of an elegant bird.

Right. Exobia pummeled him with those concussive blasts.
5r"-which is at the castle! So you're going to have to come by the castle and pick it up!"

His sile wilts just a little but he hides it well, and then he gladly takes Jim's present and opens it slowly, trying to remember how far the nearest Swarosky store was and whether he could get there before Jim got to the Castle.

And then he sees piece of paper and he reads it. He reads it twice, and then he looks at the package. And then at Diana, and then at Jim, and then back at the paper. The young man's green eyes grow wide, and his cheeks flush once more an intense red, a sharp contrast from his usually fair skin (he's usually so pale, it's a miracle he doesn't burst into flames when stepping outside)

"…. I… me… y… wow…."

Congratulations. You've broken the Cheshire.


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