2019-09-08 - Late For Dinner


Mari gets home late for dinner with T'Challa

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Sep 8 05:01:43 2019
Location: Sky Apartments - Apt 6803

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It's getting late in the afternoon, nearly early evening, when Mari finally gets home from SHIELD. She's still a mess, hair mussed and dried blood in splotches over her - the t-shirt ruined and the jeans … are probably too. She's not the well coifed and dressed woman that T'Challa has come to expect.

It might be a good thing that she'd given the Wakandan Prince a key to her place, because she's running more than a few minutes late for the dinner she'd promised him.

Pushing the door open with her hip, Mari juggles the bags she's carrying. Some contain paraphernalia from WAND, the others wine and desserts. The smell of dinner wafts from her kitchen. Ahhh, the benefit of an instapot.

"Mari?" T'Challa is indeed already here and while she'd left him a message so he wasn't worried she hadn't told him how beat up she was. "Oh goodness. Let me help you." He grabs a few things and moves them to the table to set down. They can figure out where they all go in a minute.

"You look like you have been through hell. What happened?" Well, maybe not hell. Maybe a minor hell realm.

"T'Challa. I'm sorry I'm late. Dinners on and …" Mari stops as he takes the bags from her and puts them on the table. "I … tell you what… why don't you pour us some wine and I'll explain but I would really like to grab a shower. I …"

The ex-model stops and looks up, sighing. "I should have postponed when I realised I was going to be so late. You don't need to see this."

"Nonsense, Mari." T'Challa clucks. "Now, you go shower. I think I can manage to plate your dinner. I am not entirely dependent on palace attendants after all."

Not willing to take no for an answer, T'Challa bustles Mari off to her bathroom. When she's out dinner will be laid out and the table settings set. Whatever else happened to her can in his mind clearly wait until she's had a chance to scrub herself off and change. Things always go better when you're not wearing the effects of your long day.

"Wine. That's all I need at the moment … after my shower. You don't need to be smelling the results of the day." There's a hesitant look towards the Wakandan before she disappears towards her room and ensuite.

T'Challa will find the glasses easily enough and a chilled bottle of white wine in one of the bags. There'll be another in the fridge as well, because Mari. In the instapot is a mustard chicken and in the fridge, there's fresh vegetables prepared and ready to blanch.

It doesn't take her long before she's back, dressed in a light dress and her hair falling down her back, slightly damp.

"Thank you, T'Challa for being so understanding. Now … let me start with, I fought a clockwork monstrosity."

T'Challa gives Mari a quick hug and then sits down opposite her at the table. The dinner looks quite good and it smells delicious. He looks right at her though. Concerned and possibly rightly so.

"Well, that is one way to start the conversation. Clockwork monstrosity then, is it? How did that come to be?"

"A culinary marvel, T'Challa." Mari teases. Now she's clean and closer he can see the bruises and abrasions, there's a lot and he might swear she was hit by a bomb.

"I really don't know how it came to be but what I can tell you is the SHIELD agent who was sent to see me to look at those contracts the Panther and Steve helped me retrieve had been replaced by a clockwork person."

The ex-model meets the Princes eyes to see how's that taken.

"I called SHIELD to send a team as soon as I worked that out but I had to fight it to stop it running. Which … might have been a little reckless."

They've observed that about her previously.

"I see. SHIELD agents being replaced is quite serious. I presume that SHIELD is dealing with it?" T'Challa takes a bite and then a sip of wine. It's good wine in addition to good food.

"Because they should be. It looks like the fight was possibly a bit more fierce than you were expecting. Are the bruises the worst of it or is there more that you've hidden?"

Broken ribs, for example?

"Honestly, T'Challa, I called SHIELD in, they arrived and took the … chassis into custody. Took me to the Triskelion for questioning and then a trip through medbay to be checked up. They should be looking at it, but I really didn't ask much more than that. I did however, take advantage of my visit to get a consult with another WAND agent - a real one, this time."

She smiles and shakes her head, looking just a little guilty. "Lacerations where the shrapnel hit me. A few bruised bones. I was lucky that my instincts are so good - I was a little feral." Should T'Challa want, the surveillance footage from Harry's Hideout will be available in SHIELD, or the Avengers might get it, and Mari - along with Pris - put on quite a show.

"But I found out about those contracts, that's the important thing. So in the long run, I think it was worth it. Oh! Remind me to tell you about the trip into the Zone last night with your friend."

T'Challa might wonder if Mari ever sits still.

"Another sleepless night for you, mmmm? I almost wonder how you get so much done and still have energy at the end of the day." T'Challa chuckles. Maybe he should bolt her windows shut or something. Make her sleep. Though somehow he doesn't think that'd work. She'd find a way out. Or break the window.

"Tell me about the contracts first and then you can tell me of your torrid romance with the Panther." What? He can tease. The two seems to be working together quite often. Though something in the way she says that tells him that might be a bit serious.

"It's all so very strange. Rivera has set up a pyramid scheme for favours." Mari sighs, taking a moment to eat some of the meal they've prepared. It's heavenly, even if she does say so herself. Then she explains. It takes a few minutes, after which she finishes with "We have to take Rivera out, make her invalidate the contracts or find the originals and destroy them."

It's not too far off what the Panther and Steve has posited. Nor what T'Challa had suggested in using his party to bait Rivera out.

"And yes, I'll you about my torrid affair with the Panther. Are you sure your heart with stand it?" She doesn't comment on the sleepless night, she got *some* sleep after all.

"I shall do my best." T'Challa says, hand on his heard and fingers spread. He smiles for a moment before taking another bite and sip of wine.

"Hrm. No clue where she has the originals I suppose. That will be a key thing to find out. Perhaps she can tell us. But tracking them in some other way would be more useful. If we can identify her associates perhaps…" He trails off. Their trap idea is probably still the best bet.

"Well, so what about this trip of yours to meet your feline paramour?"

"And I shall do my best to make your hair curl." Mari manages to say that without giggling … too much. "But no, no idea. I can hunt her, I have her scent but New York is a big city after all. I was wondering if your dead might tell us, but I think that's something we leave unless we have no alternatives left."

She lets out a sigh "I think our best option is to bait her out, capture her and then force then information from her. To that end, I've procured some … items … that might protect those of us who confront her. They're in that bag over there. We can look after dinner, if you like."

"Oh, I didn't go to meet the Panther. I'm sure he's just smitten with me and follows me though." Mari just grins. It was a chance meeting, she's sure of that but it doesn't hurt to tease some more. "I was following the spirit crow through the Disaster Zone and he was there. The … air was really unsettled and … well, he thinks we were haunted."

"My dead? Likely not. We would have to question the dead here and they do not always listen to me. I am not, after all, their king." T'Challa is a very LOCAL king of the dead even if his royalty is recognized here.

"Haunted? Now that I may be able to help you with. Was there anything beyond a creepy feeling that led you to believe you were being haunted?" Because, well, sometimes ghosts do things as T'Challa well knows.

"It was a thought and maybe we could ask the local dead anyway. If they don't answer, is there anything worse that could happen than that?"

Mari asks, looking up again and refilling T'Challa's glass with wine.

"It was strange. There was a feel in the air and we followed that spirit crow into the zone, into what was left of a crumbling building. When we got there, there was a … woman but she disappeared and then she spoke to us. What she said, T'Challa wasn't pleasent."

Mari explains more, clearly unnerved by the remembering, even down to the Panther recovering the totem.

"The Panther said to mention it to you. It could be a haunting but I can't help thinking it's something else."

"Well more than just asking the local dead you have to find someone who is likely to know. Which means that someone who is likely to know has to have died." T'Challa smiles. "Much like questioning people, only with death involved."

He takes another bite, so calm for such a sort of macabre subject. "I will see what can be done but questioning random ghosts will not be helpful. Now your haunting. That I might be able to help you with if you can take me back to the place. At the very least I can confirm for you whether or not it WAS a haunting. But, tell me, what do you think it was if not a ghost? And why do you think that?"

Beat. "Also, what did she say?"

"hmmm. So you're telling me it's not like an afterlife super highway that everyone taps into?" Mari asks, a faint smile for the teasing but still, it's a serious subject.

"If we find something, then maybe we can use it. I know now and won't ask again. I'm sure you've tried to tell me that before and I'm just … thick."

"I thought you would want to see the place, T'Challa but I don't feel right taking you in there. It's one thing me being reckless but to allow you, nobility to put yourself in known danger …" Mari shakes her head.

"It was *what* she said that makes me wonder and doubt. The kitty and the fox don't want to play. That's funny. You seemed so friendly just a little while ago! This will teach you to take in strays!"

Mari puts her cutlery down and looks up at the prince, a worried look on her face. "I didn't want to let Gabrielle go in there tonight. There's only one stray that I've taken in and only one stray that The Panther and I have helped together. Gabrielle. And we fought her friend, Jake, who wasn't her friend, I'm sure. Something … left him when defeated him."

"As if she'd met you before?" T'Challa taps his fingers together. "And met the Panther as well. No, I think this is something I should look into directly. I appreciate you being careful with me but this sounds like something that may require some manner of expert intervention."

The comment about strays is even more dire. "And you think this may possibly be the same something. Yes I can see it. The only way to tell for sure would be to go and see the site. And I am afraid that I will have to do that in person to be of any help at all to you."

He smiles. "Though I will let you guard me quite closely if it will make you feel better."

"As if she'd met us before, yes." Mari answers, watching the Wakandan and ignoring her meal for the moment. "I thought of you as soon as we realised what was happening. It made me feel … like there might be a way to resolve it." And yet, she was hesitant to put him danger.

"I can show you though, not tonight though and I would feel safer going during the daylight hours. I … haven't told Gabrielle about this yet. I … will but I would like a little information first, if you see her, please be discrete?"

She's sure he will but better to be safe.

"Of course I will guard you closely. I'll be sure to be suited up and I'll stick to you like glue." There's a hint of the cheeky grin she's usually more readily to give. "When would you like to go? Tomorrow?"

"Possibly. Sometimes departed spirits are irrational. But sometimes they can be reasoned with and sent to their rest. I won't know really until we get to talking to whatever it is. That is of course assuming it is still there."

T'Challa looks thoughtful for a moment and then lets it go. "We can go tomorrow evening yes. I would suggest tonight but I think that you may have had one too many long days and late nights."

Another bite. "And of course I will be discrete with Gabrielle. At least until we know more. She deserves to know if it really concerns her. But I am good with discretion. I was a king, after all. Well. Am a king."

"Thank you, T'Challa." Mari murmurs. They'll go tomorrow, for certain. Seeing the thoughtful look, the ex-model cants her head at the monarch "What is it? And I really would prefer not to go out tonight." Her sofa is calling to her, along with a good movie and the company of a particular man.

Having finished her meal, Mari looks up. "Let me clear and tidy and we can … settle in with dessert, if you like. I will tell, Gabrielle, of course when we know a little more."

After all this might have nothing to do with that. There's the totems that Mari found with the Panther after all.

It's possible it only has to do with the totems. But for now they're not going to think about it. They're not going to talk about it. They're just going to sit down and watch a movie. After all no one can do the hero thing 24/7 though Mari appears to be trying. He swears she never sleeps between work and Vixen.

"I'm just wondering why it would be so interested in your 'strays'. But we shall find out. Tomorrow."

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