(2016-09-21) Not Catman I Hope?
Not Catman I Hope?
Summary: Iron Spider-Woman meets Natt
Date: 2016-09-21
Related: None
NPCs: unnamed child and his parents
Scene Runner: NA
Social/Plot: Social

Location: Somewhere in the Garment District of New York City

It really was a heroic thing to happen.

No cape or tights involved, but it was heroic. A couple crossing the street with their three kids. And the youngest of the three, a boy maybe a year and a half old, was lost in the press of bodies across the street. His parents noticed, but there wasn't anything they could do; they too were crowded into the press of bodies. Too young to know not to cross if he had the red light, the little boy tried to cross right when the light turned green for cross-traffic.

It was about to be both messy and tragic.

But then something happened. A black streak zoomed down the path. It scooped up the child and zipped across the street, JUST BARELY missing being hit by several cars and a bus. Really brave, that streak. Or stupid.

But it's also going to look bad if someone doesn't see the whole thing. Because the streak stops as it reaches the other side of the street. It's a man in a black shirt, black jeans, and black boots, with curly hair… and a predatory look to his features. He holds a screaming child. And not far away, the family of the child, also shouting and screaming, desperately shoving people aside in the press of bodies to get to their boy. They're going against the flow of foot traffic, so it's going to take a while to get there.

But the little boy is screaming, the man in black is still holding onto him. He's trying to calm the boy, actually, and waiting for his parents. But, well… it's easy to take all this out of context. Particularly if some of what just happened was missed…

MJ had decided to go patrolling this morning and is swinging from building to building though New York when she reaches the Garment District. After a brief pause on the side of Macy's while contemplating going shopping instead, she hears a ruckus a block away. Swinging in she completely missed the rescue. Instead she sees the dubious looking man holding a screaming child and a mother and father frantically trying to get back to the boy. It may be wrong… but the conclusion is quite logical.

MJ releases her webbing mid-swing and lands on the wall of the building near the man and the child. Using her suit's amplifier Iron Spider-Woman's modulated voice rises over the growing din along the streets as she says, "Unhand that child!" with all the authority invested in her by the world governments… of another dimension.

On the bright side, that's going to stop the flow of people. So there's definitely going to be some assist for the family. For the man with the child though? He is clearly surprised, jumping about six inches at the command. He looks up at the woman in the metallic suit, an odd greenish-gold flash from his eyes as his pupils go wide. Eyeshine? Sloooowly, he crouches down, placing the boy on the ground gently and releasing him. All the while he keeps his eyes on the woman in the suit on the building.

About then, the family gets to where he is and the boy runs to them. And no sooner is the kid in his parents' arms again… than the dubious-looking man runs down an alley! He's going to head for the roofs, from the looks of how he's scrabbling up a fire escape.

After observing the family reunion for just long enough to be sure that the child is safe, MJ moves into action. She crawls around the corner into the alley the man had run into and then begins leaping from one wall to the other as she 'climbs' the walls to try and get ahead of the man so that, if she has timed it right, she is staring down at him as he reaches the top of the fire escape ladder.

She has indeed timed it right! And because she's timed it right, she's liable to notice something interesting. As his hands reach the top of the fire escape, the nails are extended, and much longer than they were just a moment ago. Those are not human fingernails. They're closer akin to feline claws, from their appearance. He sees her feet first, then tilts his head up to look at her, surprised. He freezes, looking much like a confused, startled housecat caught doing something it shouldn't!

Having noticed the claw-like fingernails, MJ prepares for action but decides against extending her waldos at /this/ moment. Instead she says, "Why did you grab the child?" in the modulated but now unamplified voice of Iron Spider-Woman, with an air of expecting him to stay and answer the question while she is crouched next to the top of the ladder, just above and to the left of the man.

Nathaniel is battling with his instincts now. Those foreign instincts… they urge him to run, to find another way around. His mind has plotted another path around the costumed hero, and continues to keep plotting them — 'jump to right and run', 'drop down and go down the alley', 'bowl her over and run'. So many ways to escape. And she can probably see that too. His gaze darts around as his eyes mark alternate paths to escape.

Ultimately though? Being chased by the costumed set is never fun. Besides, police are likely to get involved, and then it'll be a problem. So he stays where he is. "He got separated from his parents while they were crossing the street," he says, quietly. His face says British, but his accent says New York. "He tried to cross when he had the red light. I was trying to get him out of the street…"

Mary Jane Watson's chest moves as she chuckles silently. (And I thought we could just come out and say we're back… here's proof of the folly of that,) she thinks to herself before speaking, again in the modulated voice of Iron Spider-Woman thanks to her suit. "And of course everyone reacted badly, not aware of your intentions." She pauses and says, "Used to be if you wore a costume that would make many people not jump to those conclusions but that's not even true anymore." She looks upwards for a moment as she has her suit scan the police band and then says, "You should get up here fully, seems like the parents are reporting this to the police. Someone may start looking around here," as she returns her gaze to the man.

Nathaniel nods, and finishes his climb up the fire escape. Instead of sitting on the edge of the roof and hanging his feet over, he actually pulls himself up in a gargoyle-like crouch on said edge of the roof. He sighs quietly. "Sorry about that. I didn't want him to run back into the street when I put him down, so I didn't let him go immediately. Not 'till his parents got there. I figured they'd probably keep him from running off."

She nods sagely. "The child is fine… if a little shaken by the experience," she says and then adds, "I'm Iron Spider-Woman. What would you like me to call you? Not Catman I hope?"

Nathaniel gives a bit of a snort at 'Catman'. "No. I'm not a costumed type. Nathaniel Valentine. 'Natt' is fine," he offers. "Pleased to meet you. Though I wish it'd have been under better circumstances." He pauses, tilts his head. "But I guess meeting heroes is rarely done under 'good' circumstances," he realizes. If bad things didn't happen, heroics wouldn't be necessary, right?

"Well, definitely not in the middle of a patrol of the streets I'd say," Iron Spider-Woman says in agreement. She has the suit store an audio-visual record of him saying his name so that she can relay it to the other Avengers later. "So, you're not a costumed type… what are you then, Natt?"

And here Nathaniel sighs once more. He shifts, to a less animal-like stance, placing one foot on the edge of the roof and letting the other dangle off. His arms go around the upraised foot with disturbing ease. "…I haven't figured that out yet." She's a costumed sort, so she'll understand, right? One doesn't just put on a costume one day and get powers. The powers had to be there first. That's what all the comics say, anyway. He looks at one of his hands. Specifically at the nails. Now that the claws are retracted, they look passably normal, if still uncomfortably sharp. "I have no idea what happened."

MJ frowns to herself behind the mask, but this is hidden by that feature of the armor. The artificial voice masking even obscures the hint of the frown in her voice as she says, "So… you just woke up different one morning?" The one thing that isn't masked is the sense of doubt Iron Spider-Woman is expressing over the concept of that. But heck, he could be a mutant.

"Well, no," Nathaniel admits. "I disappeared for like three weeks. I don't remember the time that well. And then not long ago there was an explosion in an alley, and… I'm back. I'm still putting things together. But when I came back, I was… like this." It depends on how closely she looks at him, but if she makes a quick look-over? She might see the feline traits. He's got a third eyelid, visible when he blinks. She might have already seen the eyeshine. She must have seen the claws.

MJ nods having seen many of the signs already and she makes a mental note to look for information about what he is referring to regarding the explosion and missing time. "What do you do when you aren't saving children from on rushing traffic, Natt?" she asks as she considers who to discuss this with… the Avengers obviously. SHIELD? Maybe not.

"I'm a real estate agent," Nathaniel replies. Even he realizes how ridiculous that sounds, because he can't help the sudden chuckle. He pauses. "I've been told that it was something magical. Someone calling herself Witchfire was there when I came back. I've been keeping in touch with her, letting her know if anything else changes. I don't remember where I was that three weeks. I just remember it was… pretty horrible. So probably wasn't anywhere I wanted to be."

Iron Spider-Woman nods. "I've heard of places that qualify as horrible," she says. "So… real estate. That's… amazingly mundane," she observes and then remains quiet for a moment while she listens to the summary of a police report. "Good news. You're described as a six and a half to seven foot tall man with black hair and glowing orange eyes… from an eye witness composite. The police seem to be doubting the description but it seems to be the best they have. I think its safe to return to the streets… or a different street at least, and resume your daily activities," she explains.

Nathaniel nods. "'Amazingly mundane' describes it pretty well," he replies. "Before I got back, of course." He pauses though, as the description of him is relayed. Then he emits a quiet snort of laughter. "The eyeshine gets 'em every time." He nods, and stands properly on the roof. "Thanks. Sorry about the misunderstanding. I should probably watch doing that. It just… I didn't even realize it until I was already moving."

Guardedly and quite obviously avoiding names, Iron Spider-Woman says, "I have friends who might want to speak with you. That might be able to help you in this regard. Its not without risk, but what is in this world? Do you mind if I suggest that they meet you? If so… how would I get in contact with you, I assume you don't want me calling your office after all."

Nathaniel nods, and reaches in his front jeans pocket. It's a business card he gets out, with the name of the company and everything. But to reassure Iron spider-Woman, Nathaniel explains, "The non-800 number is one of my personal numbers. Doesn't go through the company at all." He offers this card to her with a smile. "Will that work?"

Iron Spider-Woman nods and reaches her hand into her suit though an opening that formed as she reached for it and pulls out a card of her own. She hands it to him as she takes his with the flair of someone practiced at exchanging business cards all the time. "It will in deed," she says. The card she produced is pristine white with nothing but a telephone number printed on it in red font with a golden outline. "That is my private number as well. If you get into a sticky spot you can call me. Just be aware that I may not be the one to come to your assistance, one of my friends might instead," she explains.

Nathaniel accepts the offered card as he offers his own. He's done that a fair few times himself. He puts the card in his wallet, though. And he nods to the warning. "I understand. I'll try not to get in such a sticky spot, though. Should be too hard, I just need to stay away from that house." He smiles a bit, thinly.

Iron Spider-Woman tilts her head to one side as she asks, "That house?" unsure what Natt is referring to and curious if this is something she should include in her possible future investigation.

Nathaniel nods. "I was inspecting a house that I was supposed to try and sell," he admits. "The place is pretty creepy, admittedly. I went in there, and there was a cat. It saw me and then ran to the attic. I followed it…" He pauses, shakes his head. "And then suddenly there's an explosion, and I'm walking out of an alley three weeks later. That's all I remember of the time."

"I see," Iron Spider-Woman says before asking, "Is the house still on the market? Have you had anyone investigate the location? Perhaps that Witchfire person you mentioned?" And something in her voice, despite the modulation, says that she is going to investigate that name as well. "Or have you just been struggling to come to terms with whatever happened to you?"

"It's still on the market," Nathaniel confirms. "No one's bought it, because of that creepiness. Nobody's gone to investigate it yet, no. And I haven't been back." The mention of coming to terms with what happened? That has him lowering his gaze to the roof they're on. "Well… that too. I don't know what happened. But I know it was bad. And I'm learning things about myself now… things I don't like. I don't know if it's going to get worse. I hope not."

Again there's another hidden frown behind the mask. The concern behind that frown though comes through in the masked voice as Iron Spider-Woman asks, "Do you have anyone you can discuss these things with?" Ever the care giver MJ, she remains true to her nature.

Nathaniel tilts his head. "Witchfire," he replies. He suddenly gives a sheepish look, though. "But I… haven't really wanted to bother anyone with it much. I'm going to need to figure it out myself sooner or later. The faster I can learn to deal with it on my own, the faster I can get back to normal."

Thinking of her situation and the loss of her husband due to dimensional displacement, MJ says, "Sometimes things never get back to normal, Natt. You have to be prepared for that," and amazingly enough the vocal modulation into Iron Spider-Woman's voice doesn't ruin the sense of compassion she tried to put into her vocal tone as she spoke the words.

There's a wince from Nathaniel at those words, and for an instant, he looks utterly lost. From the looks of things, he hasn't even considered that eventuality. He'd just been working towards 'back to normal', without really considering that 'normal' might not be possible anymore. But nonetheless, he gives a thin smile, the lost look not really disappearing, but covering it somewhat. "Well… as close to normal as I can manage," he corrects.

MJ noticed the wince and mirrored it with her own and enough movement translated though the suit that even without facial expressions it is clear that she sympathizes over the grief her words caused. "Yes," Iron Spider-Woman says as she considers her own efforts in that direction, "Finding your new normal is often the best first step. Transformations… can be hard on you." This last is clearly a statement of personal experience.

Nathaniel nods. "Yeah. That's what I've been trying to do," he assures. "It's been going… decently." His voice gentles as he says, "Probably a lot easier than it has for others in similar situations." He offers a sympathetic smile.

"Probably," Iron Spider-Woman says. "Also… I had…" she cuts herself off and corrects herself, "I have a support structure in place. It sounds like you were all alone and are having to take help from wherever you find it."

"More or less," Nathaniel agrees. "I was lucky, though. I could have been arrested for damage of public property and be spending the new few months in jail. Which doesn't sound all that pleasant of an experience." He chuckles. "Though to be perfectly honest, everything's been… pretty mild so far. The nightmares are pretty bad, but the changes so far have been small ones overall. So it hasn't been too terribly bad."

"Well that's no small favor," Iron Spider-Woman says before stopping and again cocking her head as if listening to something. Inside the suit, MJ is taking a call from her agent and nods. After the call, which was not heard outside the suit, is over she stands and says, "I have to jet, Natt. Good luck and try to keep in touch."

With a soft *thwip* she fires off a webline and then, after waving with her other hand, Iron Spider-Woman swings off into the city because /MJ/ has a last minute photo shoot to get to!

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