2019-09-22 - Separation Anxiety


Betty Brant seeks aid for a friend from Hank McCoy, they meet up at O'Riley's to discuss it and encounter an off-duty Steve Rogers.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Sep 22 02:31:40 2019
Location: O'Riley's Teahouse

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Theme Song



At least she got a reply. A reply, a connection, a location to meet. The woman sits by a vantage point of one of the windows, her table fit for two. Her expression is tired, a bit of dark cast under her normally brilliant and warm eyes. She's nervous, toe-tapping, her fingers digging for her phone, checking the time, and letting it back down. There's a touch of sickly yellow around her wrist, her throat - her attire is simple and perhaps a bit too rushed to be here. The woman wears shorts, a loose blouse, and her hair is up in a slack tail, a few beads of Norse runes decorate small braids here and there.

He said he's be here - she can only hope that he shows.

Hank is pretty hard to miss when he enters the tea house, he's dressed in a necessarily tailored suit. The jacket is fine worsted wool, the material its natural grey. The shirt he wears is sheer white linen, a black tie worn, narrow with a few thin blue lines angling downwards at an angle. Dark pants and ridiculously huge leather shoes are worn, and to top it all off - a grey fedora with a black band. The suit isn't really what catches the eye, nope, is his sheer physical presence, his height is just under six feet, but his /bulk/ is considerable. And of course the fur, well, that's pretty eye catching too.

Bright blue eyes scan the room, and when he sees Betty he approaches. "Miss Brant? Hank McCoy." He offers a hand. And yes, he notes the fading bruises, his expression growing mildly…stern. Apparently the man does not approve of people hurting other people.

Betty Brant turns her head upward, she offers a tired, thin smile of her pale pink lips. "Doctor McCoy. A pleasure. Thank you for meeting with me." She slips her hand into his own without hesitation, standing with the greeting and ushering him to sit across from her with the second. "Please, have a seat. Order anything you'd like, my treat." Reclaiming her seat, she pulls herself up closer to the table. "I," she chuckles. "Should we share pleasantries or get straight to business? I know you must be busy."

Hank's hand quite engulfs Betty's, though his grip is extremely gentle and the skin has a faintly odd texture, almost like velvet or supple leather. He does hold the hand a bit after the shake, eyes clearly studying the bruising, before he releases it, and then settles into his seat. "Thank you, Miss Brant, and please, Hank is fine." The poor chair protests his considerable mass a tad, then grudgingly accepts its wooden lot in life. "I am busy, but never too busy to be good company, Miss Brant. We'll proceed according to whatever pace you wish to."

He does order tea, yes of course it is Earl Grey.

It's not a difficult study, the pattern if one's keen enough to it, would be that of a hand, wrist and throat alike. Still, her smile lingers for him and she only sits after he does. "Betty. If we're on a first name basis, then Betty is fine." She waits for him complete his order, placing one for herself, Darjeeling, and also a tier of High Tea cakes and cookies to snack on.

She breathes, centering herself as her gaze goes distant. The gears in her head are working, rolling, counting out her words and selecting which ones to actually use. At length, she returns her attention to Hank's directly, finding his face. "I'll be honest with you, I'm not sure where to begin. I know that I need to attempt to help someone dear to me. He's not stable, and hasn't been for a long time, and while I know he can get help for this something has happened to him recently that's just…compounded the issue."

"Very well, Betty." He smiles warmly, and to the server as well, for such a big man he's very congenial, and Hank's voice is very cultured, every syllable in the deep bass exacting in its enunciation.

He listens attentively as she flails a bit, patience itself. "So…is it your friend who's responsible for the bruising?" If there's a hint of growl undertone, well, it isn't aimed at her. A moment to calm a bit, and then he smiles once again. "Forgive me, I'm somewhat old fashioned despite my tender years, I don't approve of people abusing women. Or men for that matter. Or animals…children…right of way on the highway…" A wink. "…I suppose I'm just anti-abuse. So…if you're not sure where to begin, perhaps at the beginning?"

Hearing the rumble in his voice, the woman can't help but to smile tenderly. Then comes the joke to lighten things, "Oh, yes, and using turn signals? Crosswalks?" Smirking slightly, she glances down at her hands, her wrist, and slides her limb back , hiding it under the table and against her lap. "I'm a woman that prides herself on truth, Hank, so…yes. He's the reason. Somewhat." A pause, "I promise he's never done anything like that before and it's because of that thing in his body now. The people he's mixed up with. I-I have to find these people and shut them down, but first I have to help him."

Head back up, she considers the massive blue-fluff across from her, her teeth nibbling at her bottom lip. "The beginning. Ok…um. I grew up in Philly and met a young man in High School. He always seemed to have a temper, but it was never directed to anyone that didn't deserve it. I had to move after my mom got hurt and we came here. I met him again when he was going to college and we dated. Again, never did wrong by me, but I could tell he was struggling with something mentally. He left one day and I didn't see him for years. The next time I saw him something had joined with him. Some…creature with its own voice. He said it was symbiotic, but I call it a parasite. It's using him, feeding off him. It's not something he can control." Her lips part and then fall shut. She stays that way and only gives thanks once their tea and treats have arrived.

Sugar, a small nip of cream, she stirs at her cup, turning the shade to a pale tan. "He works for these people now. Some..organization that cages him and that thing up. Starves them out, maybe. Offers them 'food' for its service. He…broke out and that thing was in a rage. I was in the way."

"Well…crosswalks are sort of optional." Hank can leap from one side of the street to the other after all, and if Betty is conversant with the X-Men she might know what Beast is capable of in broad - the 'Bouncing' Beast is one of the more commonly applied terms after all. His grin is half-imp, half-brat, and half-scamp. Yes, that's three halves, he's pretty good at the grin.

He does wax more serious as Betty speaks of what happened, and the circumstances that lead to her injuries.

His own tea is taken straight, he likes his coffee that way too, though he loves his iced tea very sweet. Hot? Nope, that's taken as is.

Frowning, he nods. "So…your friend is the host for a parasitic life form he thinks of, most likely due to IT, as a symbiote. And they are caged and set loose on operations, most likely nefarious operations, and tortured to compel obedience? I take it the Symbiote is what you'd like to have separated then?"

Betty Brant nods. Cup up, she blows across its top carefully before taking a cautious sip. The cup goes down, making a melodic 'clink' as it touches the saucer. "I know how to hurt it, somewhat. Sound hurts it. Fire, maybe? I saw him twitch a bit from a candle before, but I know for sure that it hates sound." Another sip, she licks her lips of any residue.

"I don't understand it enough to take it from him. To free him of it. I don't know how to get him away from the people he works for. I did a small blurb about it. A 'I know you're out there'. I'm good at digging for information, but as far as science goes? I'm…lacking there." A pause. "He's strong, that thing. It's super in its powers, what it can do. Hell, I don't even know what all it can do. But it manipulates his physical makeup."

"Fascinating. Susceptibility to sound? Very intriguing, suggestive that the molecular structure might be somewhat crystalline." Hank looks to Betty. "I don't suppose you have any samples of the creature?" He laughs softly then, and shakes his head. "Forgive me. Of course you do not, that's absurd." He pauses. "But do you think you could get a sample of your friend's DNA? Hair from a brush, water bottle he's drunk from? HIS DNA could give valuable insights."

Hank nods. "So you reached out to a scientist for help, as it happens one who's an expert in the biological sciences, you did your research, Betty. Though my education is a matter of public record, still, you did your research as you'd stated - you're good." He nods firmly. "I'll help if I can, but I need something to work from, I can't operate in a vacuum." A hint of that grin. "Explosive decompression is INCREDIBLY messy, after all."

"I know who I asked and why. I have connections here and there, but…sometimes, things are easier to come by than others." Another soft smile greets the blue-buff across the table from her. Reaching up, she rubs at the nape of her neck and shakes her head. "That gunk? No, I don't. I'm not sure how to even do that without it letting me. It's inside him, part of him. I don't think it'd be so easily left behind. No residue." Then the request for DNA. Nodding, she digs into her messenger bag, pulling out a plastic back with a few other bags inside of it. It'd be…odd…anywhere else, but Hank's asking specifically. Inside is some flicks of hair, a toothbrush, what looks to be a small bundle of gum. "Does any of this help?"

An especial errand has brought the spangled soldier to Greenwich Village and this very particular tea house amidst all of the eclectic little shops. Wearing a light windbreaker and a scarf despite the only mild chill in the air, he enters the shop with a ring of the bells. The proprietor looks up from reading behind the counter and immediately smiles from ear to ear.

"Good to see ya, Steven. Scones again, is it?" Her Gaelic accent immediately brings back memories to the Captain, who dimples something fierce.

"It's like you know me too well, m'am," he replies, his cradle-tongue just a slip away in turn. "Two dozen, please." He pays even before she's left her stool and overmuch, as always, sure to snuck into the tip jar even after old Mrs. O'Riley shoves it back at him with a cluck of her tongue.

Steve glances over his shoulder at the other patrons and espies a familiar face in Betty. Hank is someone new…and someone blue. Steve's eyebrows lift even as he raises a hand in greeting towards Betty, not wishing to intrude unless invited.

"Well, glad to have made the search easier, Betty." Hank says, tipping his hat, then frowning when he realizes he's still -wearing- it. The hat is doffed, then set off to the side. To amuse himself it is rolled down the length of a very long arm, and ends up hanging off the back of his chair. "Forgive me, that was unspeakably rude." The hat wearing during a conversation.

When Betty produces so many potential DNA samples, Hank's grin flowers once more. "Oh yes. Actually, all would be splendid, in case any one sample is too contaminated, having multiples is excellent."

Steve's greeting gesture does draw bright blue eyes towards the civies clad Captain America to Hank's attention. Even as he takes the sample bags from Betty and tucks them into a side pocket he offers the man a friendly enough smile. Okay, well, the fangs might not be too friendly - but the -smile- is.

"Rude? Oh, no…" She assures Hank, not seeming to care much that the hat was still in place. The display is pleasant, and the ringing of the bells causes her head to move up and in the direction of the towering patriotic blonde. Eyes wide, she offers up a wave, the star-struck shimmer returning to her tired eyes. He remembered her! Captain America remembered her! Then, the cogs start turning once more. "Mr. Rogers," she greets and looks to Hank. "May I invite him to the table? I just had an idea…" Standing from her seat, the dirty-blonde reporter with faint bruises on her wrist and throat waves Steve closer. "Mr. Rogers, please, join us for a moment? I'd like to speak with you."

Should he join them, Betty's smile will linger. "This is Doctor McCoy. Hank, this is, well…you know who this is. Steve Rogers." Who didn't?

Those are some teeth, but Steve does recognize a smile. He glances back at the counter to make sure Mrs. O'Riley doesn't see him slip the tips into the jar before he walks over to stand beside the table. Hank is given a professional smile and an offered handshake. The soldier doesn't seem perturbed by Hank's appearance in the least.

"Nice to meet you, Doctor. Captain Rogers. I've spoken with Miss Brant before," he adds as to their personal connection. "'m here for scones m'self. Best in the city. Managed to find a nice jam of blackberry jam at the local farmer's market 'nd figured some jam 'nd clotted cream would go great with 'em."

Hank rises of course, and shakes the man's hand with a ridiculously overlarge hand. "Oh, yes, well acquainted with your visage, Captain, I didn't recognize you at first sans shield." His grip is firm enough to be manly, not so firm as to be a challenge. "Please, won't you join us?" He will even snag a seat for the First Avenger.

There's a full high tea setup on the table Hank and Betty - and hopefully soon, Steve - are sharing.

"Oh my stars and garters, that sounds absolutely lovely, Captain Rogers, and please…Hank is fine." He motions to the seat, and once Cap sits (or declines), he sits back down at his own.

Betty Brant is silent as the pair greet one another. The talk of scones, jam and cream, however, causes a small noise to rumbles in the reporter's belly. That's good promotion work right there. In that moment, she turns and looks at their treat tier - Gods be good, there are scones there. "Thank the Allfather." Reaching out, Betty starts dishing up one of those amazing bread puffs with cream and jam. Strawberry for her.

There's a growing comfort now for Betty, even if the topic at hand was somewhat dire. "Captain Rogers, if I could ask you something - I understand if it's too personal or business oriented. I don't want to bother you on your day off." She promises, looking Steve's way. "I-do you know much about any organizations that use Supers in an abusive manner to do their work for them? Like a…black ops or a more sinister group?"

The Captain does decide to sit, given he knows the second batch of scones must bake before he can take them home. "I'll join for for some time, sure," he says, scanning the options available before him. "Not exactly a tea man, but I'll try something new if it's offered." Hank's little saying has Steve giving him a momentarily bemused look before the barest hint of a dimple shows. It's Betty, however, that regains the soldier's attention and it narrows upon her with a well-meaning intensity at her question.

"Hate to say it, but you'd have to be a bit more specific, Miss Brant. Is this a question for an article or for the authorities?" His question in return is mild, his eyebrows lifted.

Once the Captain is seated Hank is about to speak further when his phone rings. "Oh, excuse me, gentles both, I have to take this." He rises and steps aside a moment, talking somewhat animatedly whilst Betty and Steve converse, he returns shortly after Steve's question to Betty. "I am truly sorry, Betty, Captain Rogers, but I have had something come up at my lab that needs my immediate attention." He offers a hand to Steve. "I understand you work with SHIELD, yes?" Ironic for the iconic shield-bearer to work with SHIELD. "So…if you ever have need I would be greatly honored to assist." A smile and then a business card is offered him and another for Betty.

The hat is taken off the back of his chair, the thing rather deftly maneuvered in a series of flips that seem to be one long roll that ends with it marching up his arm to settle on his head. "Betty, I'll work on that project, and get back to you." If she permits, he bows over her hand but does not /quite/ kiss it, ere he makes his way out.

"I'm afraid I can't be yet. I don't know what I'm dealing with, but I know I have to do something about it." She pauses as the phone calls out, watching after him and nodding in understanding. She eats her scone politely, lips shut as she chews. Reaching for her tea, she sips, and sets the stylish, beautiful cup back down upon its dish. Then Hank returns. "Of course. Thank you for visiting with me, Doctor McCoy. If I can get you more to work with, I will. Have a wonderful day." Accepting the card, she sets it down and then blinks as her hand lifts closer to his face. Pink in cheek, she smiles sheepishly and pulls her hand away.

Then, back to Steve. "I have a friend that needs help. He's…working with these people and they do jobs for them. Caged up, on call, leashed and used. Causing them to…lash out." Taking another bite, she goes quiet. "I have to help him, but I have to find a starting point."

Steve, having served himself a scone, watches the interaction between reporter and the blue-furred gentlemen with a hint of a smile on his face. He remains silent, appreciating the blackberry jam on his, and takes the card offered to him.

"Thank you, Doctor, I appreciate that. I'll keep it in mind," says he, lifting the card towards the man before slipping it away into his windbreaker. After Hank departs, Steve gives Betty a gentle frown.

"What have you come up with so far? Anyone I'm aware of with enough gumption to try a stunt like that has connections to the Disaster Zone." This much, he's able to share.

"A friend of mine is bound to some…creature. I know that much. I was speaking with Hank about it a bit before you came into the shop. I know that they do some type of business that requires skilled people? Supers? I'm not sure if it's willing, or was done by a deal that turns sour for the one that accepts it. They promised my friend's other half something important to them, but they're driving him insane. He's starved, trapped, on the run and by the way he's asking, in danger. That's all I know, really." Finishing off her scone, she cleans off the crumbs with a pass of a small napkin.

Cradling her teacup, she considers it and then looks back to Steve. Scoffing, she lowers her head. "I…still can't believe I'm just talking to you, of all people. Sorry, I know now's not the time to gush." Sipping, she clears her throat. "Anyway, I just thought if they're doing this to him, how many others are suffering? For what reason?"

Wiping his fingers on his napkin, Steve returns it to his lap and then appears to grow extremely solemn. "'m not gonna be the best source for help on this one, I think, Miss Brant. You might be bettter off talking to somebody with access to the arcane, 'specially if you're using words like 'bound'. Sounds like magic to me, but 'm not the magical sort."

He does seem apologetic by the knitting of his brows. "Now, about the others? This's something I tell you to report to SHIELD." It's business cards abounding, for now comes one from Steve's interior pocket to hand to Betty. It's official, not a cell phone number in the least. "That's the main desk number. Call it 'nd tell 'em Agent Rogers gave you the number. They'll take your information 'nd if it pans out, more'll happen."

"No, I-I don't think it's magic. When I say bound, I mean in a cage. Some rule or something, maybe? Some force used to make these people do what they're doing?" Then she realizes what she was saying earlier. "Oh! No, the creature bound to him isn't magical. It's…alien, I think? Something otherworldly. It's something of its own. This black…substance that's part of him now. This group using him, though…" Shaking her head, she chuckles with a touch of defeat in her voice. "I'm sorry, really. It's nothing you need to concern yourself about." The comes the card. Accepting it, she looks it over and takes a breath. "Sure, I'll-I'll give them a call. Thank you."

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