2009-07-14 Language Lessons


Keld_icon.jpg Nightshade_icon.jpg Jennifer_icon.jpg

Summary: A brief interlude in front of Avengers Mansion wherein Keld learns English from Jennifer and Nightshade goes for hotdogs.

Date: July 14, 2009

Log Title

Rating: PG-13

NYC - The Avenger Mansion (Front Gate)

Stately Avenger Mansion. There's a certain old world feel to the architecture and landscaping of the building, as well as an Americana statement, with the Statue of Liberty set as the backdrop. Security is high in the area, even if it isn't out in the open, suffice to say, anyone visiting the mansion will be recorded and likely checked out, background-wise.

It's been a typical midsummer New York day and Keld Jonalh has been enjoying the balmy, pleasant day. Almost too pleasant - it barely hit 85, and the humidity is not high, and now it's cooling down enough for the humans to put their shirts back on. The Avengers' current Resident Alien is sitting on a bench out in front of the mansion, watching the city moving back and forth while the scrape-sky buildings stand still. It's a decent day and he's showing signs of extreme boredom - he's been politely driven off from helping clean kitchen, from doing anything in the garden (some of the clippings were tasty though) and he's already slept twice today. So. Human-Watching. If there was only a guidebook for human-watchers.

Sniffing out his friend, the purple oddity know as Nightshade is on it's way to the Avengers mansion today. He's been busy lately but today's focus is 'find friends' so he's on the hunt. Web-swinning around, he lets go of a line and goes sailing through the air. He does a few flips before coming down in a graceful crouch-landing on the path not too far from Keld. A few people scatter rather quickly but Nightshade pays them no mind.

Jennifer pulls up into the Mansion's driveway in a familiar looking sports car, pulling into the small parking lot that's in front of the rather sizable garage the Mansion has. Since she's just gotten off work, she's in her human guise, dressed nicely in a business suit, looking like your average human lawyer. She notices that her alien ward is out enjoying the day so she approaches him, raising a hand in greeting. "Hello, Keld," She steps back in surprise when Izzy lands and says, "Hello… uh… I don't think I ever got your name."

Keld notices the familiar-looking sports car, and the woman driving it who looks like she might be his friend She-Hulk's younger, baseline-human sister (having never actually SEEN a non-green Jennifer); he directs an open, curious gaze in her direction, when a predator moves through the trees above, and a few humans flee in terror, but as he's moving very quickly over to protect her, she greets him by name, and then greets the predator. This gives him a moment to consider the nature of the creature: humaniform, scent is vaguely insectile, and the body appears slightly malleamorphic, so. Hm. Someone seems to have caught Symbiosis. Not necessarily fatal, but certainly inconvenient socially if he or she were a Dakkamite.
"Hello," Keld says to the woman, curious as to who she is, and then says something garbled and clicking to the predator-symbiote which means (in a common space-goer patois) "I am not hostile, but I can fight back."

"Nightshade smells hot dogs!" an alien voice comes from the strangeness that is Nightshade. "Yeah, me too. We should get some later," a human voice responds from the same body. When Jennifer speaks up Nightshade quickly pops up into a handstand to look behind himself. "Hi!" the human voice replies. Keld gets a long look before Nightshade hops back to his feet and then backflips closer. "Why do you sound so clicky, Gold Man? Are you broken?" the alien voice asks Keld. "I'm Nightshade," a third voice, a fusion of the previous two, adds to Jennifer.

Jennifer literally slaps her forehead when she realizes that Keld has never seen her as Jennifer and not She-Hulk. "I'm She-Hulk," she explains to the alien. "This is how I was born. She-Hulk is… an alter ego, I guess. But still me. It's complicated." She nods at Nightshade, "Right. Good to meet you. I saw him fight some androids a while ago, so he's good folk." She flashes Keld a very familiar (albiet less green) grin, "I'm glad to see that your English has improved."

A nearly-goofy smile from Keld and a formal salute, right fist to left side of chest, as the mystery is resolved. A changer, one of the more difficult to recreate traits that Keld has seen among aliens, but not a skrull, still. He raises his eyebrows apologetically and extends a hand, "Better. Not good, may touch?"
For instance, he has no clue what the symbiont-voice was asking about, but he does recognize the name, and nods, "Hello, Nightshade. I Keld am."

"Keld-Man?" Nightshade's alien voice asks. "That's a funny name," it goes on in a very innocent manner. A pleased little voice comes from the oddity. "Yeah! We're good boys!" the human voice chimes, moving to try and pick Jennifer up for a surprise hug. "Why touch?" the alien voice ask as well.

Jennifer squeaks in surprise as she's picked up by Nightshade. "Uh," she says, holding back a laugh, "Hi there. Good to see you too." She gently disengages herself from the hug and moves over to Keld and touches him on the arm to help facilitate communication. "He understands us when we touch. And us him."

Just a moment of unheard music is all it takes to re-open the bridge, and Keld suddenly understands again, blessed clarity. Sometime soon, he thinks (and the thought is unguarded, he didn't intend it to be seen, but there it is: I have GOT to find someone to share language with..
"Thank you, She-Hulk. And, yes, I cannot speak Terran yet, so only when I touch them. You seem very young, Nightshade. When I was click-talking earlier, I was saying hello in another language that I thought you might know."

Nightshade quickly hops up to perch on Jennifer's car once she removes herself from the hug, peering curiously at the lawyer and the alien. "Touchy talky?" the fused voice wonders. "We're not young. We're…this many years old!" the human voice declares as Nightshade holds up a hand that suddenly has sixteen fingers on it. "Nightshade only knows one language," the alien voice adds, hint of confusion to his voice. "Did you want to touch us?" the being's human voice wonders aloud.

Jennifer gives Keld a curious look when she catches his errant thought. "Share language with…." she muses. "Isn't that what we're doing now?"
Caution in the mind of the Dakkamite Warrior: do not offend the symbiont and its human since you do not have your power-armor. He thinks across the bridge: <To actually keep the language requires a longer and more intimate contact. I asked the one called Miguel but he was too shy even though I offered exchange of skills.>
To the purple spider-like being, he answers at the same time, "It isn't needed, but thank you for the offer. I share my thoughts, and it might be confusing to do this with someone who does so at a deeper level."

Nightshade just tilts its head to the side. The two voices go into a quick telepathic conversation before a reply is given. "What?" the fused voice asks. "Nightahade is confused…" the alien trails off.

Jennifer blinks in surprise at Keld's thought, her mind immediately jumping to a most unseemly act, which is transmitted across their junction before she can catch herself thinking it. Blushing slightly she says, out loud, "It's very low level telepathy," she explains to Nightshade. "Your, uh, unique mind might have problems with it. He's just being cautious."

Again, if Keld could blush and were shy, the frank thought would cause him to do so; if it were seen by the sixteen-years-(?cumulative?)-age symbiont-fusion, then it might indeed be "unseemly", but he catches that after-afterthought and barely stifles a chuckle. <Miguel thought the same thing, but I don't want to become aroused whenever I speak your languages, it would be inconvenient.>
He nods, "Yes, it could be confusing for both of us," and changes the subject quite abruptly, "What is this 'hot dog' you were talking of before?"

Jennifer answers for Nightshade, "It's ground and processed meat stuffed into an edible skin, boiled and placed in a bread bun. Usually topped with condiments, which I won't even attempt to explain." After all, how does one explain saurkraut to an alien? <So if it's not that, how intimate are you talking about?> she sends across the link, curious now.

That makes sense. More of that incredible, primitive but glorious Terran food. Keld laments for an instant the immeasurable damage was done to the Dakkamite culture when they adapted the ability of certain insects to digest just about anything.
In the silence of the shared-thoughtspace, he answers, <I explained to Miguel about wrestling but not fighting but he thought about sex again. (That man needs to find a partner and work off some of that built-up orgone.) It can be done with a prolonged kiss and closer touch, several minutes worth would do it. My honor-debt to you is sufficient that it would not be greatly increased if you were to grant me this; a year's service as your bodyservant/bodyguard would (still) meet the standards required. For someone else, I would be required to share an equivalent skill with them, and I know several languages not common on Earth.>
He keeps a perfect impassive, bland expression which completely belies the mix of emotions that switch rapidly on the edge of the contact.

"A Kiss?" asks Jennifer out loud, her expression thoughtful while her mind turns mischievous. Before anything can be said or done, she turns to face the alien, rises up on her toes and proceeds to kiss him. On the lips.

That may or may not shock the boy-and-squidspideralien but Keld will only be shocked if the Nightshades decided to get in on the act as well. Because that would be, well, unexpected. (But the Nightshade appears to find the kiss boring after a while as they seem to have disappeared, perhaps over to the hot-dog stand.) ((*Nightshade player connection died at this point, so graceful pose-out interpolated here.*))

Immediately on making lip-contact, the sense of mental contact becomes a LOT stronger, but with a very careful control - Jennifer could, if she wanted, find out a great deal about what Keld's life has been in the past, but his focus is simply on being aware of language, of speech and communication and the context and culture that goes with it, while avoiding anything that goes too far. He's not going to try to probe, after all, just thread a new way of expression into his existing neural nets. Regardless, it is a profound sharing sense, not as physically exciting or rewarding as sex would be, perhaps, but the sense of closeness is perhaps as strong as the aftermath of that act should be.

Jennifer is surprised, at first, at how deep and rich the contact is, but quickly relaxes into it. She doesn't probe on her end, though the contact and closeness and energy they share does cause her to shift into SHe-Hulk, ripping yet another good business suit. Yet she hardly even notices.

It is to be hoped, sincerely hoped, that this does not end up on the third page of the Daily Bugle, or worse, and next time he does this sort of thing, Keld is going to take more care to be in actual privacy, or to take longer and go shallower so part of his focus can be directed to the defensive stance. As it is, he would be in deep disgrace for becoming so vulnerable in public and with a predator nearby. Apparently at some point the symbiont slipped away, whether to hot-dog-land or to lurk secretively in a tree, it's unclear. When Keld finally thinks, <thank you> with a sudden awareness that he's now holding and/or being held by the powerful green warrior-woman from his earlier encounter, and that he's no longer focussed on the transference of skills, he leans back a bit, allowing the contact to break unless she continues it.

She-Hulk does, eventually, break the kiss. Stepping back with wide eyes she lets her breath out with an audible *whew*. "That was intense," she says in awe, still unaware that her clothing is in tatters, leaving her in a tight fitting bra and the shreds of her pants. Eventually when the feeling wears off she comes to realize that she's shifted, leaving her in a semi-naked state. "Oh dear," she says, looking at herself. "We better get inside before I attract too much attention." With that she takes Keld's hand and quickly leads them back inside.

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