vesper_verde: (Winged Vesper)
Vesper ([personal profile] vesper_verde) wrote in [community profile] nextgenerationmarvel2016-05-01 07:18 pm

It's the Price Paid

Vesper was out on one of his nightly patrols. He was hoping for plain, normal criminals. After a few supernatural run-ins with the Defenders, he was hoping for normalcy. Though demonic infestations of mystical doodads was apparently good at making the lesser evils hide out. The city air felt vibrant but wrong as Vesper banked alongside a building. He was scanning the neighborhoods for some sort of heroics to do.

He was just about ready to turn toward home when he caught a faint voice on the edge of his hearing.

"-do you got it? I got the money."

Vesper slowly wheeled toward the sound. It was late enough at night for whatever was being purchased to be of an illicit nature. Something he could stop on his own. Something he could control. After the last six months, he desperatly needed that.

It took a little night-sky circling, but he found the alleyway where the dealing was happening. He silently landed on a rooftop and peered over the edge. Looked like a dealer and two addicts. When he briefly dropped his silence field, sounded like it, too. Vesper put his silence field back up before he carefully scaled down a fire escape. A few quick checks as he went and it looked like the drugs were getting paid for.

Vesper launched himself off the last platform to the pavement below. He hit the ground on the other side of a dumpster and rolled. He came up smoothly and flexed his fingers. Time to go to work. He stepped out into the alley more as he dropped the silence field. Vesper opened his mouth to call out and paused.

In unison, all three people looked at him. It wasn't being noticed that made a cold chill run down his spine. It was because all three sets of eyes reflected light back at him. He was positive he didn't just walk into dogs and cats dealing drugs.

The human shapes of the three bodies down the alley grew blurry. The druggie on the left moved forward a step, the human guise disappearing. A wave of uncertainty washed over him as the demon clacked his teeth together. Vesper was about to take a step back when the druggie on the right, moved closer. The human guise dropped to reveal another demon. Its appearance hit him in the gut with how much he reviled it. He grit his teeth and clenched his fists. Vesper raised his arm to fire from one of his bracers as the dealer moved toward him as well. Its appearance changed as six appendages grew out of the demon's back. With every twitch of the legs on the back of his torso, Vesper grew more confident he could take these demons. He was one of the Defenders; they did this all the time lately.

He wasn't immediately overwhelmed when all three demons attacked him at once. He fired with both bracers. The sonic attack reverberated between the close buildings. Though three attackers at once started to slip through his defenses. One of the spindly, spidery legs darted across one of the pouches on his thigh. It ripped right through the pouch and sent the contents spilling out across the concrete. Thankfully, the armor under the pouch was stronger, but the disposable cell in the pouch clattered against the ground.

Two of the demons redoubled their attacks on Vesper while the Pride Demon bent over to pick the phone off the pavement. It tilted its head left and right. It hit the one number programmed into the phone.
pyroprincess: (Sultry)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-02 12:26 am (UTC)(link)
That particular ringtone could only belong to one person. Stephanie picked up the phone, hoping that maybe he was done patrolling a little early. Maybe he'd have a little energy coming home. If he did, she'd certainly take it from him. She suspected he wouldn't mind that.

"Mi amor. Are you coming home?" He could also be calling to say he'd be later than usual. Which would be mildly annoying, but she knew that his work wasn't always predictable. It wasn't as if hers was either.
ngm_foes: (Demon)

[personal profile] ngm_foes 2016-05-02 12:36 am (UTC)(link)
The voice on the other end was not her husband's. It managed to be raspy and cold as well as smooth as an oil slick.

"Is this Mrs. Man-Bat? Or the mistress?"
pyroprincess: (Angry)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-02 12:46 am (UTC)(link)
That wasn't a natural voice of any sort and was certainly not Marcelo's. She responded with a cool tone of voice, though the demon on the other end would be able to hear regular thuds as she built up energy.

"I hope you think that was suitably clever. Where is Vesper? You're going to tell me and he's going to be there when I come. And unharmed. If those three conditions are met, then I don't send you screaming off to Hell.

Do you understand? I hope you do.

It's your funeral."

Stephanie tried to keep fear for Marcelo at bay. If this creature or person, whichever it was, harmed Marcelo in any way, she was going to kill it or destroy it. Either way, it was going straight to Hell.
Edited 2016-05-02 00:46 (UTC)
ngm_foes: (Demon)

[personal profile] ngm_foes 2016-05-02 12:51 am (UTC)(link)
Whatever was on the other end laughed at the threats. Not forced, but genuinely amused.

"Definitely the wife. We don't do funerals where I come from, but since he is such a tasty mortal. We found him just by chance once. Then we followed and fed. Now, we want it all and I cordially invite you to watch."

He gave her the nearest cross streets and how to get to the back alley.

"It'll be so nice to see you again, my dear." Then he broke the phone in his hand rather than hit the end call button.
pyroprincess: (Angry)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-02 12:57 am (UTC)(link)
Stephanie wasted no time in running down the stairs as quickly as she could, into the garage and taking the swiftest of the cars available to her, ready to take her chances with by-law enforcement. It took only a matter of a few minutes before she was at the location, rushing out of the car and into the back alley.

As Stephanie dashed into it, she struck the wall, hard enough to send a sizable rain of stone debris and dust coming from it. Stephanie glanced around her, searching for where the taunting voices had come from, where her husband was.
ngm_foes: (Demon)

[personal profile] ngm_foes 2016-05-02 01:02 am (UTC)(link)
While the Pride Demon had done what he needed, he joined in the fight once more while a one of the others pulled out.

When Stephanie finally made it to the alleyway, her costumed husband was obviously flagging from having to fight off two adversaries.

The third entity in the alley was in a human form, leaning against a building wall. She watched the fighting until she heard Stephanie's solid footsteps coming toward them.

The demon shaped as a woman would look familiar to Stephanie as there were at least three photos of her around the penthouse. She looked as she did in the most recent one beside her ten-year old son.

Marcelo's mother looked at the arriving angry mutant. "Welcome, child."
pyroprincess: (Angry)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-02 01:13 am (UTC)(link)
Stephanie had the presence of mind to dial into her fellow New Mutants. They just had to hold on for long enough, and the cavalry would be coming in. If they needed it. Stephanie thoroughly planned to demolish the fuckers herself if at all possible. She had to fight back a feeling of dread when she saw Marcelo fighting- clearly barely holding on. She was ready to join him, and then there was another figure.

She was already angry when she arrived, but fury boiled up inside her when she saw the demon's form.

"Get out of that form." Her hands flicked out and crackling pyroplasm whips formed from her hands, spinning ominously against the walls and the ground around her, cutting through the concrete like a hot knife going through butter. She started moving closer, the pyroplasmic whips lashing out, obeying her every whim, coiling, burning, cutting.

She attacked, as quickly and fiercely as she could.
ngm_foes: (Demon)

[personal profile] ngm_foes 2016-05-02 01:28 am (UTC)(link)
"Oh, no. That's not happening. Nothing is sweeter than having a man see his wife kill his beloved mother." She eyed the pyroplasm whips and took a few backwards steps. Better positioning to ... dive out of the way of the incoming attack. Her scream sounded like it belonged to the woman whose shape she wore.

"Help me, Marcelinho! Help me!"
pyroprincess: (Angry)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-02 01:35 am (UTC)(link)
"His mother has been dead for years." Stephanie knew a defensive pose when she saw it. The demon creature would have to be agile indeed, though, because Stephanie was extraordinarily agile. "All you're doing is spitting on her grave and dishonoring her memory."

Stephanie struck out, one whip lashing out in the current direction of the demon, the other where the demon looked like it was leaning towards slightly, just a fraction of a second later. With luck one or both of them would catch the fiend.
ngm_foes: (Demon)

[personal profile] ngm_foes 2016-05-02 01:53 am (UTC)(link)
The second whip caught her as she tried to get out of the way of the first. She screeched and giggled at the whip contact.

Vesper saw it and lunged for his mother, only to have a demon smack him into a wall.

"Oh, help! A demon from hell can't handle fire. Though the rest stings a little." Though the creature was undeniably caught. And the form shifted growing taller and wider. Skin lightening. Voice dropping down.

Sebastian Shaw looked rather pleased at what his daughter was doing.

"Very good. You are a worthy heir. Ruthless. Brutal. We both call your husband 'boy' because he's so beneath our station. He can't mean that much to you. That's why you abandoned him for worthwhile pursuits."
pyroprincess: (Angry)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-02 02:01 am (UTC)(link)
It was a trick. It was a horrible trick. Stephanie's face blanched for a moment, but she maintained the whip's grasp.

"I'm no heir of yours. I'm not!!!" She pulled the demon closer to her and kicked at it as hard as she could. She was no equal to her father in strength, but she could kick far harder than any normal human could. The pyroplasmic whip melded around the demon into a solid shape that couldn't be wriggled out of or easily broken.

"You're not Shaw." She had to remember that. Not to get involved emotionally, except with righteous anger that it would get inside her head. Not to address it as if it were actually her father. Not to forget the lessons she took.
ngm_foes: (Demon)

[personal profile] ngm_foes 2016-05-02 02:11 am (UTC)(link)
There was a crack and deep grunt from her kick. He staggered back in the solid construct holding it, but he managed to stay on his feet on shaky legs. Shaw coughed up a little black blood, but he smiled at his daughter.

"No, but you certainly are a Shaw. Ruthless, willing to kill. You threw away your moral compass for months, and look how much you achieved. How long until that weakling behind us gets bothered because you have blood on your hands, that you weren't raised to love, that the only reason you reconciled was because you were tired not that you missed him?"
pyroprincess: (Angry)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-02 02:16 am (UTC)(link)
The reaction to the kick was satisfying. The demon, and she was sure now that this was one of the demons that Marcelo had fought earlier, could not adequately pretend to be Sebastian Shaw, who might have been hurt by the heat of the pyroplasm, but would only have been empowered by the blow itself.

"Keep talking. You almost sound convincing." There was a chord being struck, somewhere deep inside, but she didn't let it get in the way of her actions, of her resolve to destroy this foul thing. She kicked it again, this time aiming for the knee, sure that if she could break bones, that she could completely ruin its knees.

She hadn't thrown away her moral compass- she'd simply neglected her husband. It was awful, but it wasn't the same. And she had missed him, she missed him desperately. But she had been tired too.

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pyroprincess: (pic#5105357)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-08 05:31 pm (UTC)(link)
Stephanie took her bottle of wine and sat down on one of their couches, picking up the bottle and guzzling it like a sorority girl, only setting it down when about a third of the bottle had disappeared. She turned towards Marcelo, watching him, but not really knowing what, if anything to say to him.

As if summoned, Sancho hopped onto her lap, the oversized cat sprawling upon her, demanding to be petted. With the hand that wasn't holding a bottle of wine, she softly stroked Sancho's fur.

That at least, was a simple act that could be enjoyed, that made her feel a little better. She took another drink right out of the bottle and continued petting her cat.
pyroprincess: (pic#5105357)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-08 11:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Sancho for his part had decided to purr as loudly as he could, whether it was because he was peaceful and happy himself or because he thought it might help Stephanie- he wasn't about to say. The cat's eyes were closed as Stephanie continued to stroke him softly.

She looked up at Marcelo again.

"Don't apologize. You didn't do this." Stephanie replied, barely above a whisper herself, before sucking back another solid third of the bottle of wine.

She took a deep breath.

"We need to get out of here. New York. We need to step outside this madness. If it's not you, it's me. We need to get out of here and regroup."
pyroprincess: (pic#5105357)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-09 12:23 am (UTC)(link)
"I have to." Stephanie replied. "So do you. We have to find a way to make it work, or we're going to be crushed by all this." She took a deep, slightly shuddering breath. "We're also probably going to both become raging alcoholics." She laughed, but there was no real mirth in it. "Fuck, I've downed nearly three-quarters of this bottle already." She punctuated the sentiment by downing the rest and then looking at him again, setting down the bottle.

"We have to. Or one of us is going to get killed or ..." Stephanie stopped and looked down for a moment. "We're going to go crazy. We're not going to be good to anyone like this. We need to step outside of this."
pyroprincess: (pic#5105357)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-09 01:07 am (UTC)(link)
"Failed at what? We defeated those demons." Stephanie reminded him, feeling the warmth of the alcohol soak into her muscles and bones. It felt good for now, though she wondered how she might feel in the morning after having another bottle as she was inclined to do right now. "At protecting me? I don't need a bodyguard. I need a husband. And you need, and deserve, a wife." She polished off the bottle.

"If you're talking about your mission, you can't win at that. There's no endgame to it. It's the struggle that matters. It's every life you save, every person who doesn't fall into the abyss- whether it's fucking demons or drugs. You save people almost every night. You can't save everyone. No one can.

But you can't save anyone if you're dead. And I can't make the world a better place if I'm completely burnt out.

So I say we take a vacation. So we can recover a little and actually face the things we have to face with some energy."
Edited 2016-05-09 01:08 (UTC)
pyroprincess: (pic#5105357)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-09 01:59 am (UTC)(link)
"That's not how I remember it going down." Stephanie replied evenly.

Then he looked her right in the eye and started berating her. She was tempted to yell back at him, but she knew it wouldn't help. However mad he may have been at her, she knew he was giving voice to his own self-hatred as much as anything else.

"I didn't say that." Stephanie replied, forcing herself to stay calm. "But you know what? If yelling at me makes you admit these things you keep bottled up? Go for it. Get it out.

Let's get it all out into the fucking open like we should've done from day one."
pyroprincess: (pic#5105357)

[personal profile] pyroprincess 2016-05-09 02:39 am (UTC)(link)
Stephanie wanted to break down and cry. She wanted to scream and yell at him and fight with him, to defend herself. She forced herself to breathe, in and out. Stephanie had to remind herself that this was good, that even though it hurt, it was good for them in the long run.

"You don't fail every night." Stephanie said softly. "I don't know what she would have wanted, I never got to meet her. She probably wouldn't want me for a daughter, for that matter." Tears began to fall, but she forced herself to keep it together. "It's not about trust. I promise it's not about trust. It's about fear. And maybe I shouldn't try to protect you so much. And I promise I won't call you 'boy' again. But you should know that I've never thought of you as anything other than a man. A strong man who saved my life.

That demon showed me a face of someone I could have become. Evil and ruthless. I have that demon inside me, in my blood. It's ... I'm sorry you lost your mother, but at least you can have some happy memories of her. What do I have?" She sniffed deeply but forced herself to keep it together. "I have a mother who abused me. There. I said it. I'm a survivor of abuse. I was terrorized my whole childhood and then my father tried to turn me into a monster, to turn that anger of mine and make it into a weapon to hurt his enemies.

You are the first person who ever loved me and if you can't grasp how important that is, how much more important that is than anything else to me ..." She took a deep breath. "I don't know."

Her voice sounded oddly tiny. "I don't know."

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