2019-12-02 - The Choices You Make


Spider-Woman and Blackbird have a talk about the hero life.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Dec 2 03:51:34 2019
Location: RP Room 3

Related Logs


Theme Song



It's a slow night. Well, slow-ish, at least. Gwen Stacy, presenting herself to the world as Spider-Woman, has dealt with two muggers tonight (webbing them up for the cops to find), and given two other men a serious life-lesson about cat-calling at women. Right now, she's standing on the roof of 33 Thomas Street; a building known just by its address, which is one of the spookiest buildings in Lower Manhattan, by her estimation; a big, gray, windowless monolith, that nobody really knows what it has inside of it.

Or at least, nobody Gwen has ever talked to. Which includes her Dad.

Presently, Gwen is standing on a corner of the roof, right at the edge. Her knapsack is slung across her back, and she's holding the peel from a banana she's just eaten. With a lazy toss, she sends said peel flying through the air.

There's a dumpster in the alley bellow, coincidentally; and the peel lands in it. Two points.

When life gets weird or awkward, Helena retreats into work. In this case, that means some patrolling. But it's a slow night all over the city, it looks like. She managed to interrupt one drug deal, but short of that…Well, it's actually been a lot of studying SHIELD's names for the various quadrants of the city and familiarizing herself with routes in and out of different neighborhoods.

It's the latter that brought her here, landing lightly on another corner of the building as her grappling gun pulls her up. "Oh," she says, catching sight of Spider-Woman. "Well hey, fancy meeting you here."

Gwen is surprised to hear someone else up on the rooftop; but hey, her danger-sense didn't warn her she was about to be socked upside the head, so there mustn't be any need to worry. She just looks calmly over her shoulder, and lifts her chin to nod.

"Evening," she responds, before she backs away from her corner and ambles across the rooftop. "I like rooftops, they're great places to watch the city, and… I dunno, think."

The Spider-Woman comes to a halt near where Batgirl is standing, and rests hands on hips — the onesie doesn't have pockets, afterall. "Slow night for you too, I'm guessing?"

"Yeah, seems like," Helena nods, half turning to look out over the city. "Good thing, I guess. Just…weird." Turning back, she lets out a huff of breath against the mask that hides the lower half of her features, the golden glow of her eyes a bright spot in the shadow of her hood.

"You look like you've recovered all right from the whole Morlun thing?" she guesses. "Physically, at least. I know it was kind of a blow in other ways too."

Gwen shrugs her shoulders. "Physically? Yeah, I'm fine. Angel saw to my wounds before we got to the big, uhm, 'ending'." She pauses, and her shoulders slump. "Honetly, though… I just… I never…" she trails off, and sighs audibly, lifting one hand to scratch the back of her head.

"I spent the entire time being just… terrified, honestly. Not… really for myself, if that make sense? When he took me after the first encounter I thought I was just gonna die, so I stopped worrying about myself and just worried about everyone else. And I feel like I just completely failed every. Single. Person. That I care about."

"That's pretty normal." Helena's voice is soft, despite the odd sort of purr brought on by the voice modulator she wears. She comes closer as Gwen speaks, reaching a place where she can take a perch on the edge of the roof, her legs dangling. "Feeling like that. Worrying. It's…kind of part of this whole thing. But you didn't," she points out. "At least from what I hear, the end of things was more or less a success."

Gwen stands there… awkwardly, for a moment, before she follows and plops down on the edge of the roof beside Helena. She rests her elbows on her knees, in a position that might look like she's in extreme danger if she didn't have spider powers (and indeed would have scared her silly a few months previous). "It's weird," she admits. "I mean… I'm not clueless, I've always known that heroes face a difficult life. It's not all being an Avenger and signing autographs and making videos for high school students to watch when they get detention. And I never asked to be one, either, just, all of a sudden, the universe was like… hey, you. Yeah, you. Time to step up. And I couldn't say no."

She pauses, and glances sideways. "How'd you get into this? If that's not a… not too personal a question."

"If it was, and I told you it was, then it would be too personal a question," Helena answers, a wry smile in her voice and behind the mask. "And if I tell you it's not a personal question, then you pretty much know it's because there's something I don't want to share about it."

Which, in its own way, answers the question.

"You could say I was born into it," she clarifies after a moment. "It's always been a part of my life. But it was a choice, too. I just think it's important, I guess," she shrugs. "The world's full of people who can't help themselves. Those of us who can afford to help, should."

Gwen hmmms, and nods her head. "Yeah, that seems fair enough," she replies. "I guess it wasn't really a fair question for me to ask, so I'm sorry for making it awkward." The Spider-Woman taps her thumbs against each other. "Being able to help other people feels like it's just… not as cut and dried as all that. I mean, I can lift trucks, stick to walls, dodge bullets, and chuck webs at things pretty darn accurately, but when Morlun had me I was just utterly helpless against him. It was… weird." Well, that's one way to put it, Gwen.

"You've got me at a disadvantage, by the way," She adds, looking sideways once more. "You know my real name, though I'm not sure how. …I'm not expecting you to tell me, either. Spider-Man obvoiusly trusts you, so that's enough for me."

"Hey, I could always choose to answer with stony silence or disappearing into a cloud of smoke," Helena points out, that note of amusement still in her voice. "Probably how Batman would choose to do things." At the mention of identities, she stays silent for a long moment, mulling it over. "It's your secret, all the same," she finally says. "I wouldn't tell anyone. Secrets are…"

There another pause as she chooses her words, staring out over the city. "Things like identities are sacred. We - the bats - tend to collect them. But we're kind of like hoarders. We save them up, in case the worst happens. But they're not for using short of that. And yeah," she adds with a low laugh. "You could do worse than following Spider-Man's example. He's a little on the trusting side, but his choices come from the right place."

Gwen chuckles, and shakes her head. "Yeah, well, I'm going to bet you probably know that I've known him for quite a long time," she replies. "I'm sure I'm not giving away any large details with that one. He's been a close friend of mine for basically as long as I can remember, and he's always been one of the most upstanding, brave people I've ever known. I know he's made me a better person."

She taps her fingertips against each other once again, "Yeah, well… I mean it's not even about me. Wearing the mask, I mean. I just don't want to go getting on some super-villain's wrong side… well, I mean I do, I just don't want him to take it out on the people I care about, afterwards. My friends. My Dad." She snorts, "But I dunno why I'm explaining this to you, you've been wearing a mask longer than me, you know about it."

"It's why we wear the masks," Helena nods. "Among other reasons, but…no one wants to think about their family getting targetted because of what they've done. Hell, if you do it for long enough, you'll be worried about more than just your family. Batman's got to worry about Nightwing, and Robin, and Spoiler, and Batgirl. Just to name a few. And they're all skilled, and they're all highly trained, and they all chose this life. Like your dad," she adds, tipping her head toward Gwen.

"But you're always going to worry about it. You do what you can. You prepare for everything you can think of. You react when you have to. But you have to trust the people in your life, too. You have to believe…" She tucks one knee up against her chest, wrapping her arms around it. So far as anyone knows, she doesn't have any powers. But she doesn't seem worried about being on the edge of a building, either.

"You have to believe that the people you care about are the ones who taught you what's important. That they share your values. That if they knew, they'd make those choices too."

"Well, I get that." Gwen looks sideways, "Heck, if you ever call up and you're in trouble, I'll drop everything and come running as fast as I can make it to you, no questions asked." She watches Helena sitting on the side of the building, but passes no comment on it; hey, if she's comfortable, she clearly knows what she's doing.

"It's pretty weird, actually," she admits. "I mean, my Dad's a cop. And he's a really good one. I mean, a really good one, and that's not just me being his adoring daughter." She smiles under her mask. "And he's a cop, right? Rule of law, the process, all that… all of which I'm pretty much violating on a nightly basis." She shrugs lightly, "But I'm sure he'd also say there's something about motives too."

A moment passes, and Gwen chuckles, "Actually, maybe I'm just learning what he must've felt like every time I got further and further from his direct oversight and protection."

Helena makes a clicking sound, snapping and pointing a fingergun in Gwen's direction. The corners of her eyes crinkle with amusement, visible even despite the mask and the hood. "Good cops are harder to find than they should be. And they've got important points, too. Sometimes the things that we do are…Well, sometimes it's more about the hints we can give them than about the people we can punch. Anonymous tips are a thing, after all."

"Honestly, you're coming into this with a lot of points in your favor," she points out. "Superpowers, very helpful. You've got a great mentor in Spider-Man. You've got great resources and an understanding of how things work from your Dad, who also undoubtedly has various protections already in place, because it's not like criminals don't want to go after him and his family anyhow."

Gwen hehs softly, "Well, I've noticed people following me in the past, on the odd occasion, and I've been pretty convinced they were undercover cops. Usually seemed to coincide with my Dad being involved in something big. …I'm kinda wondering how that's going to play out next time, though. 'Uhm, yeah, so we lost your daughter when she went into a back alley and vanished like a vanilla pudding in an elementary school cafeteria, sir.' I bet that'll go over well."

Gwen sits up straight, and turns to sit with one leg up, so she can face the Batgirl more directly. "Super-powers are kind of a double-edged sword, honestly, I mean…" she trails off, searching for words, "I mean it's pretty helpful being able to lift a car or just know when someone's going to shoot at me so I can move, but it's awkward to get out of an exam at school and hear there was a shooting and know that if I wasn't busy working on myself, I could've saved someone else. It feels like… wasting a gift, y'know?" She shrugs lightly, "I mean, I know I can't be everywhere. Spider-Man can't either. Heck, Captain America can't do that."

"So how do you cope? With all the worry and everything, I mean. You mentioned Batman, Nightwing, Spoiler, Robin… you must worry about them, too, like I do about Spider-Man."

Helena pauses for a moment at that, thinking it over. "I…don't," she says slowly. "Not exactly. Not the same way I worry about civilians, at least. Like I said, they're trained and skilled. They know what they're doing. They take precautions. I can't worry about the things that might happen that I can't control."

"Look at it this way," she says, shifting to face the other girl a little more fully. "There are a lot of heroes in the city. Not just heroes, either. Police and fire departments. Everyday people who just might make a heroic decision today. It's not all on you. It can't be. Just like it's not all on any of them either. The world is going to keep happening. You just have to work with what you actually can do and trust that other people are going to do the same."

"…Yeah, Spider-Man said the same thing," Gwen replies, smiling under her mask. "I dunno. I sorta predict that eventually I'm going to be bad at juggling it, somehow. …If you ever hear about this weird Spider-Woman who's actually homeless because I've screwed up and forgot to, like, go to work and stuff, please come talk sense into me." She pauses. "Or just… bring a sandwich or… something."

"Don't let me make it sound like it's all doom and gloom, by the way. Having super-powers is pretty darn cool, all things considered, and getting to do stuff like helping a little girl get her cat down from a tree or stopping a dropped load of construction matierals from squashing someone are all pretty rewarding. Can't argue with that stuff, those are great ways to go home feeling like a million bucks."

"Oh, you'll for sure screw something up," Helena says, rueful. "Everyone does. You'll probably screw up several things, and it's going to hurt. You'll lose people. Not necessarily because of a villain. That's…you could live with that, you know? Eventually. But you'll lose people because it's better for them, or better for the people around you. Because you had to keep your secret, or someone else's. And it was the right thing for you, and for them, and for the person you're losing but…that's not going to keep you warm."

All right, well that lat bit sounds a little more personal than just professional advice, voice modulation or no. "But if it's worth it, then it's worth it. You're not obligated to become a hero just because of a spider-bite. You can go on with your life if you want. But if you do, then…Well. you want to make sure you mean it."

Good advice that might be, but it's not exactly comforting advice. But hey, if you wanted to be coddled, Gwen, you shouldn't have become a hero.

"Yeah, I could," she replies. "Right up until the next time I see a shooting or a car accident or a kitten up a tree, and then I can't… I can't look away. Spider-Man told me the same thing, that it was a choice to become a hero, but I…" She trails off, and holds her hands up before letting them fall back to the roof on either side of her. "Okay, I don't want to cheapen it. I'm not bound by my powers any more than you're bound by having two arms and two legs. It *is* a choice to be a hero, and it's a choice I made, and it's a choice I make again every time I put on my mask and my webshooters. And… it's a choice I'm proud of making, and I think I like who it's made me become, and… I understand it'll be rough, but I'll keep making it until I can't anymore."

Bats don't generally deal in comfort. They're more of the 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' school of thought. "And that's all any of us can do," Helena nods approvingly at Gwen's finaly words, the corners of her eyes crinkling once more with a smile. "But speaking of that, I should probably either get back to patrolling, or call it a night and get some rest. Turns out you're better at this job if you're not exhausted from doing it too long, too," she says, standing up on the edge of the roof. "You sound like you're gonna be all right, Spider-Woman."

Gwen rises from her seat as well, and stretches, arms up over her head and then behind her back; and up on her tip-toes, to boot. Well, the benefit of super-powers, apparently. She cracks the bones in her neck one way and the other, and sighs. "Yeah, I feel like I need to go find at least one more mugger to web-up. Or at least go looking for one. I taught some teenagers a life lesson about cat-calling earlier, though, that felt pretty positive."

The Spider-Woman smiles under her mask. "Thank you for that. I am trying to live up to everyone's expectations of me… most of all my own. Which might just be the most stringent." She pops a thumbs-up, in place of actually showing off her smile. "You're pretty rockin' yourself. Catch you next time."

She shifts her hand upwards for a salute, before she turns to run along the edge of the building; once she gets to the corner she plants one foot on the edge and launches herself, turning the motion into a graceful swan dive.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License