Written by castor :: [Friday, 03 June 2016 15:20] Last updated by :: [Friday, 03 June 2016 21:08]
3 Days since Last Incident
Jenn walked into her apartment. It was pretty much as she left it. The broken window had been fixed by the landlord, but otherwise the same. The same ever since she had decorated it all half in a hurry and half with utmost most care imaginable; except now she had to duck a bit to avoid the ceiling, the broken furniture and a Pinky and the Brain glass that she will never get back.
It had been nearly two weeks since her change and there was no change back. Bruce and the other scientists were hopeful that they could reverse it, but she was now a 9 foot tall green She-Hulk and … well …
She sat down on her broken coach. Did she want to change back?
She put her hand in her hair. She had gone back and forth. Sometimes she loved it: she was strong powerful, able to do good in the world. People, for the most part, seemed to love her, to see her as the next great thing.
Then there were the quiet moments. The moments when she was with Roy – the man who she … felt something towards or had, at least, being developing something towards. He wanted her back and, when he reminded her of her life before, of the joys of being a simple, mild mannered, high powered Manhattan attorney/humor song chauntress. It felt …
She sighed, shaking her head.
“Hello.” a voice said.
Jenn got up.
A figure walked out of her bedroom. “I figured you would come here soon enough.” the ugly man said.
“Who are you?”
“I'm an absorbing man.”
The man moved a hand and touched a metal picture frame. For a second, she watched as he turned into what looked like metal himself. Then he punched her.
She felt it.
She felt the window a second later.
Then she felt falling ten stories to the ground. It was an odd sensation free-falling like that. That was until she hit the concrete head first.
She felt loopy, weird. She looked to the ground and there was a bit of a crater, but not much of, just a small hole. It looked as if her head got most of the damage. It had to, because she saw a floating figure, who looked like a small elastic bag, falling to the ground.
It landed next to her and instantly turned grey, like concrete, but still an ugly, ugly man.
“Walters.” he said before kicking her in the leg as she was still lying down. It hurt. Surprisingly a lot for what she has had before.
He kicked her again. It didn't feel incredibly powerful in terms of pounds per square inch. It didn't really even fling or moved her around, but it hurt.
She rolled away and he followed. He wasn't very fast, being a giant piece of concrete.
She slowly got to her feet, still feeling weird: “What do you want?”
He walked up to her and punched her again. Which hurt, but she braced herself.
She got up to punch him and missed.
He slapped her from the side to the ground.
“A trick I learned.” he added “It throws off your center of balance.”
She hit the ground again and saw a metal piece of re-bar from something. She threw it at him.
He grabbed it and turned in a man of iron, just like Doc Savage.
“I don't normally fight hand to hand – if I can avoid it – but I did want to see what this was like.”
“Pretty sweet, huh?” Jenn smiled, getting up and rushing him.
He dodged out of the way: “Do you practice martial arts at all?”
“No.” She swung and hit nothing.
“Kung fu? Karate?”
“No.” She kicked at him and managed to lose her balance as he kicked out her pivot leg.
“That taebo stuff?” the absorbing man asked.
“Is that even really a martial art?” Jenn said.
“Not really, but it can be more effective than you think.” the absorbing man answered.
Jennifer paused: “I learned something in college. It's not really martial arts. No little Asian master …”
She leaned in and, finally, connected with a punch to his mid section. He flew 200 feet down the street. “It's who can punch the hardest.”
She walked down street after him.
He got up, looking almost exactly the same as her: very green. “Let's find that out shall we?”
He bull-rushied her into a building. “I can absorb anything: such as your powers. So how do you stop a rampaging Hulk?”
Jennifer paused. She should have a good answer for this but, instead, she punched him in in the head. This knocked him out and the shock switched him back to human.
“That is so easy for you” Jenn said.
“Ha!” he laughed.
Jennifer considered her situation, leaned down and jumped. She had jumped far before, but that was for a target. This was different. She knew that the Hulk could jump miles and now she was 5000 feet in the air. Pretty damn high. She flew through the air and looked around. She felt her powerful legs growing, her arms free. She felt the wind free around her. The breeze and the joy …
God she loved this. Putting this back in the can would be …
Then the world sped up as she hit the ground. She was in what looked like a forest somewhere. Where? Well, that was the problem: it was hard to say. She wasn't even sure if she could get back to Brooklyn if she wanted to. Her knowledge of tri-state geography was a little weak. There seemed to be trees and rocks.
Meanwhile, Crusher felt very perplexed. She just left. What was she …
A couple of cop cars came forward now. “Hands up and stay calm!”
Crusher considered. He was human. He was in the middle of a street and … clever.
He turned his body to concrete. This, apparently, was considered lethal problem and they started to shoot him, which turned out to be a problem, as concrete was only mostly bulletproof. His side started to chink. It hurt. He didn't feel the pain as concrete don't feel.
Bitch. He had been focused on her and her powers, but here he was in the middle of New York. No way to get to her and they kept shooting. This was going to hurt. He ran, ran fast as fast concrete could – which wasn't much.
One of the cops got in his car and rammed him. Clever. It broke the engine of the car as it got around him, but it didn't hurt him much more as he fell down and had a hard time getting up.
He limped forward now. His leg could barely move. He felt …
He walked in a puddle of water on the street.
His body instantly liquidized into pure water. He moved, seeking balance as fast as he could now and slithered down the street into a sewer drain. Where his pure water form met something considerably less so.
“Put that down!” Ms. Ellis said to her four years old daughter Missy who, in typically messy manner, had picked up something that looked like a snake, but was probably some kind of plant.
Ms. Ellis shook her head. Her wife had gotten relocation money last year for a job and, between their growing daughter and her being a work-at-home, leaving New York unfortunately turned out to be a very nice suburban style house built – literally – into the woods. A forest, full of endless wonders.
This may have been okay if she had married some human lumberjack type but – in spite of her wife's general frame, haircut, and occasional watching of Giants games – she turned out not to be that much of a butch. Well such was life.
So she was outside with a little girl, who would make it a habit to go out and pick up everything.
“Mommy, look!” Missy said.
Ms. Ellis went up to see
“Hi.” the 9 foot tall green woman said as she walked into their backyard from the forest. She was covered in muscle and looked to be the color of moss.
Ms. Ellis fainted.
“Uhm. Little girl,” the green monster said “Can I use your phone?”
4 Hours since the last incident
“So you just jumped and ran away.” agent Romanov said.
Jennifer shrugged. She was back in an helicopter and the agents looked very disappointed of her, but they had given her a soda so things couldn't have been that bad. “He could absorb the powers from things he touched – including me – and … well, frankly … I say with all due modesty, I was the most powerful thing present at the time. And my particular power set as it where didn't really leave me much I could do to him. If I touched him he would reabsorb …”
“The police couldn't catch him.” Romanov said.
“But they caused him to flee, so bully for them I say.”
“I keep telling you.” Jennifer said “I keep telling you I am not a super hero. Its like 'I am not a hero, I am nothing like them' type deal. I am not a bad person. It's just … I may look this. I may, probably, be the most powerful person on earth, or close to it … but …”
Romanov paused and shook her head “I guess you're right.” she turned and walked out.
The helicopter approached New York. Jennifer looked out the window and started to cry.
Creel looked at himself in the water of the sewers. It was so damn filthy. He had to plug his nose and it still smelled He looked human, but something felt wrong. Maybe it had been the bullets and the foul water, but something in him was wrong. Maybe he had picked up some impurities or something in the transit. Maybe it was just the nature of his power. He sighed as he sat down. He felt tired anyway, tired and a little sick. Tired and …
He had to get out of there. He had no doubt that the police had taken a picture of him – which meant he was probably a very wanted man. Dancy could fix that – probably – but he had little doubt that his erstwhile employer had limits to his desire to keep him out of trouble.
He had expected anger. He realized his plan depended on anger. For all his new powers, he wasn't the most powerful. Everyone had dreams to be Superman and he was – maybe – the Flash. He had spent most of his life being the minion of men like Dancy and that was still the case.
Still, he wasn't angry as such. He could respect the She-Hulk, for not being angry. She had incredible power, sure, but she had a little bit of brains and he could respect that. Hell! A small part of him would have liked to date her or something.
No time for love now. He had to figure out how to get out of there. He heard noises in the distance. It could be the cops or maintenance workers or, even, the ninja turtles. It didn't matter. In addition to being an absorbing man he was a crafty one as well. Now he needed to use that.
“Its good that you didn't fight him.” Roy said to Jenn as they walked through Prospect Park.
“People are staring.” Jennifer said shaking her head.
“Well … what do you expect?”
She watched them. She no longer was the skinny little kid in the corner and people were looking at her. Sure, some of them were pervs, but smiled as they looked at her. People even whistled, occasionally, which she liked. She was wearing a very large dress that had been made for her, and she looked good. She looked like an heroic angel ready to save the city.
“Hey, can I get your autograph?” a kid with a man asked.
“Sure” Jenn said “Wait, did you pay the kid 5 bucks just to get an autograph you will sell on eBay?”
“No” the man replied “I am his step father, we're going to the playground.”
“Sorry.” Jenn said “No telepathy or general respecting of boundaries. Who should I make it out to?”
“Steve.” the kid said.
“Though that's not a bad idea.” a guy said “Can we get a second?”
Jenn feeling shamed did so.
This produced a small line of children, which Jenn went through smiling and happy.
Roy watched her. This was feeling natural to her, this looked as if it was starting to kick in. It was still her and people change – although not normally into 9 foot tall rage monsters – but the point stood. Maybe she was changing from the ironic chauntress that he felt for, into this 9 foot tall superhero. Stranger things had happened. Though, at the moment, he couldn't name of it.
Jenn smiled as the line came forward, looked at him and took his hand, which seemed so small in hers as they walked off. He remembered vaguely hearing in some class that the giant myth tended to come from the ideas people have of being children and remembering adults looking so big and scary. Here he was with a giant … and what did that make him?
He was a man who depended on the fact that his grandfather was an executive at a company that no longer existed. He had never held a real job, made very little money and, when things like their band had threatened to actually succeed or require real responsibly, he tended to shrike off to Africa.
It wasn't that she was strong. He could handle that. He had actually dated for about a month a female pro bodybuilder, until the novelty wore off and, he realized, that she spent a lot of time worrying about crabs and portion sizes. It wasn't that she was green … or now famous. Not specifically, but he could deal with things things like that. He had touched that before and realized that he was far better off then it.
It was that as they walked like mother and son. He felt … small.
Mary watched as Dancy sat down.. After a certain point she rarely saw him do that – even when they had dinner or anything. She remembered him as a big standing man.
They had carted in a large splendid chair on a dais next to the window overlooking the city. It looked like … a throne. With a man wearing a crown in it.
“This feels good.” Dancy said. “Chairs are uncomfortable most of the time. But this … this is the real deal.”
“I'm worried father.” she said “Would you like to – maybe – talk with people about whats going on?”
“No more secrets” Dancy said “No more hiding … well, soon enough at least. Soon enough. Don't worry my princess our time is near.”
“Please daddy.” Mary said.
“What do you want daughter?” Dancy said “It's not money or anything material. That's easy …”
Mary looked down at her fat chubby little nothing.
“You want to be beautiful. You want to be tall. You want to be powerful … physically powerful. You want stature, like me, like your mother. You want to be a living goddess, a great … wonder.”
Mary looked down: “Please daddy, let's just go back to normal.”
“Who would want to be normal?” Dancy said “Have you seen normal people? I know your mother tried but, really, who are we fooling. We are gods. We were always gods. And now I have the power to make the world see it. You think I am mad, don't you? Don't deny it.”
Mary kept looking down.
“A delusion is something you can't make. A fantasy. Oh, when I talk about changing you, it sound just crazy, right? Well, let me show you.”
He got up and walked to the door, Mary stood. “Come.”
Mary didn't move: “Daddy, let's …”
“You want strength, you want power. You have to some of it in yourself. I can't do all of it … or do I have a weakling for a daughter?”
Mary shook her head and walked out the door with her father.
Meanwhile Crusher limped into the lobby of the building. He realized that being seen by anyone would be a bad idea. What could he do? What could … turn into glass? That was kind of visible if you think about it and with how he was feeling. So he hid, as he often did when he entered the executive elevator.
“Crusher.” Dancy said as he saw him “I heard you lost.”
“I suppose you could say I got her to flee, but yeah.”
Dancy looked him over “You don't look so good. Go home, take some time to recover.”
“Will I?” Crusher said, realizing he didn't have a better idea.
Dancy shrugged: “Maybe. Probably. Figure it. I will put you on paid leave.” the door opened. “Can you leave us now?”
Crusher walked out. Well, it was as a good ideas as any.
Mary watched the ugly, sweating and slightly green man get off. He was shaking.
Dancy sighed: “One must take of the foot soldiers.”
“Is that what you're going to do to me?” Mary said as they walked.
“Do you think that is beautiful?” Dancy smirked.
Mary shook her head.
“We gave him the power to become anything and he became nothing. No. For you, we are going to make you solid and powerful.” he paused and considered “We are going to make you like titanium.”
Romanov looked at the pictures of the absorbing man: “Enhance.”
“We can't actually do that.” the agent said “We can run it through the databases and—”
“Do it.” Romanov ordered.
“We already started that actually.” the agent said “It's largely automated, actually. Do you want to get a coke?”
And so they went and got a coke, talked and developed a relationship that in a different world may have turned sexual, but here they just became good friends.
Jenn sighed as she changed into what passed for her pajamas. She was staying in the S.H.I.E.L.D. safehouse in New York, which was windowless and had that vague attempt to charm that people think is actual charm but isn't. She sat on the steel rinforced bed in the concrete room. Since the first time there had been no bad dreams, no loss of control just …
She saw something in the corner: it was her ukulele.
How did it …?
A note. A note from Roy on a small post it: “Don't forget what's really important”
She smiled and started to play. She hadn't really tried anything delicate and, with her fingers, at first it was hard to get the right notes. She had to tune it over. That was one of the things people didn't realize about ukuleles: they had to be tuned and tuned again, sometimes between songs. They are so delicate. So graceful. Unlike her. But she played anyway.
“Oh puddle ducks,
Puddle ducks why do you can't you stop making a mess of things,
Always getting in the way of me filling my federal taxes
Oh puddle ducks,
You're so pretty, so sweet and so fine
But you tend to knife Puetro Ricans,
That's that not really kind
Oh puddle ducks, oh puddle puddle ducks … oh puddle ducks … ohoohohohohoh oh ohohohoh …”
She strummed, strummed, closed her eyes and …
… looked down to see her pinks hands, her pink fingers. She was human again.
The doctors surrounded her, examined her. They treated it as some kind of emergency, going to and fro it in a dazzle of movement and fury. All the stranger, because she felt perfectly fine, perfectly okay. Maybe a little sweaty and panicked.
“Her EKG is normal.”
“Serotonin, adrenaline all of it.”
“Blood pressure is a little high, but in expected norms.”
“No scaring or visible signs of mutation.”
She closed her eyes to get a break when she heard a voice.
“Quiet everyone.” Bruce said rushing in, “Okay, what's your favorite color?”
“For the last time, the answer you're looking for is Blue.” Jennifer said.
“She's human again.” Bruce chuckled “Fancy that. What were you doing?”
“I was playing the ukulele”
Bruce kept smiling and hit her in the arm. It hurt a little, something she didn't remember.
“Wow, that's probably it. Something with the sound of the music the feel of the strings.” Bruce said.
“No. Probably it's completely unrelated. I mean there is no logical way for the radiation needed to stay in that state forever … well, it's unlikely. I mean if you changed again … maybe … I dunno who knows. The important thing is: hey you're back.”
Jenn sighed feeling her arm. She smiled though. She was human. This was great: “So is this permanent?”
“Well,” Bruce answered “Who can really say? I mean, I am not going to predict again. When I transformed first, I thought it was a freak accident … but … likely …”
“Does this help you?”
“Yes, I think it does. Not sure yet. I am getting data and – if you stay to perform a full set of tests now – that will help to do a full prediction of why and when. Yes I think it does … She-Hulk.”
“I guess I am no longer She-Hulk.” she smiled.
Crusher had come to the small apartment in New York and was asleep and waking up to unpleasant dreams when he saw it. He was in a cell. A plastic cell
“You're in a plastic cell.” the functionary said walking around him “If you succeed in breaking out of it, the area around will be filled with nerve gas. That may not stop you, but it will slow you down and then you will be dropped 5000 feet to the earth.”
“You are under arrest for assault with a deadly weapon. Namely yourself. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law …”
“How did you?”
“The police took a lot of pictures. They traced you through your Private Investigators permit, Mr. Creel. Investigation suggest you have a longer wrap sheet besides. You have the right to an attorney.”
Crusher paused. He touched the side of the case and turned to plastic.
“We found your apartment. Injected you with a tranquilizing agent …”
… which was thoroughly useless he considered as the functionary read off his rights.
“Okay” he said at last, “You want me to talk.”
“Too bad. You think you have me in here, think I am nice and tight and … but here's the thing. No way you can keep me in here forever. You're going to make a mistake.”
The functionary turned and walked out. “Let's see what time does.”
Jennifer, at last, was brought into a small room in the shield hospital base. She was still shocked, sweaty and hot. She wanted a bath, but inside the room was Roy. They wheeled her bed in place and left without comment.
“Do I have to ask how you got into a secure government lab?” Jenn said.
“They let me in” Roy replied.
“Your trip to Africa is starting in a couple of days. Thanks for your time with me. I appreciate it.”
“I'm not going to Africa, which makes those shots very painful for nothing.”
Jenn paused, smiled and took his hand. “You're such a strong stoic man.”
“Marry me.” Roy asked.
“Marry Me. I love you Jenn. I loved you since forever … this … She-Hulk-whatever-stuff. It made me realize how precious you are … marry me.”
She paused: “This isn't ironic, is it?”
He took out a small box: “I would do this on one knee, but that would be tricky with the bed and all.”
He opened it to revel a 2 carats diamond ring.
“This definitely isn't ironic.” Jenn closed her eyes for a second.
“Let's put this all behind us. Let's setup a life. You can get back to law and music – if that's what you want to do. Maybe I'll get a job … doing something.”
“Don't rush into too much at once.”
“Marry me.” he asked again.
Jenn Smiled – or something like it. She looked up into the face of the man who annoyed her, who she envied, who didn't accept what had happened, but stood by her through it anyway. She looked up into the face of the man she realized now she did love. Deeply.