From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Bruce, Hulk, Ion, Monsterling


"People only give the toys and shit on the last day of Halloween so some people wait the costume till then."


<NYC> Harbor Commons - Courtyard - Lower East Side

This courtyard is the lush central hub of the surrounding Harbor Commons, bound in on three sides by rows of duplexes and triplexes, cutting upward at the sky with the sharp thrift of a minimalist's style, neat lines and bountiful windows, boldened with accents in wood towards the upper stories, stone towards the base, the whole of the compound sealed in by a low stoneworked wall that opens entrance gates to the streets beyond at its two far corners, smaller gates at building back doors.

The fourth side of the courtyard is open to the East River, the ground forming a slight decline, controlled on one side by micro-retaining walls to form wide steps where picnic tables sit beneath the nominative shelter of a trio of dogwood trees, accessible by ramp. The other side is allowed to slope at its natural angle, a wide open yard space, until its cut off at the river's edge, where a massive pair of oak trees stand, a staircase leading away up one of their thick trunks.

The yard itself is carpeted in an organic flow of emerald grass swirled through with wending channels of smooth-paved cement walkways, flowing naturally away from the building's front entrances, where some are arced by trellis, some flanked by hosta plants, fern and lilies, a few laid in gentle switch-backing ramps for wheelchair access, before forking off at matching angles to sites of small garden installments. Bird feeders and baths suspended from the necks of small lamp posts, a rock-lined koi pond, a sleek gazebo tucked to one side in simplistic varnished wood, its southern side overgrown with a mass of thriving grapevine and a caged-in barbecue pit under its sheltering roof. A play area and proper garden are within sight off another branch, until finally all paths spiral in like wheel spokes to a shared common house at the center of all traffic flow.

Autumn has come to the city, chilly and gray and drizzly. The weather does not seem to dampen New Yorkers' enjoyment of their Sunday afternoon, however. The streets still bustle with pedestrians out shopping, hanging out, walking dogs, and working. On the grounds of the Commons, Halloween decorations have appeared, though it's rather spotty as of yet (Funhaus, as usual, has gone all in). Bruce has only arrived recently, and is sitting in the gazebo, whose eaves are hung with cartoonish dancing skeletons. He's dressed in a khaki trench coat, purple dress shirt, dark brown slacks, and brown brogues. His hair is a wind-tossed mess, and he is cleaning his thick-framed glasses with a handkerchief, squinting up at the decorations.

A motorcycle rumbles its way up -- straight through the wide front gates and down the central path to come to a halt not far from the central house. Ion is quick to dismount, but slower to leave his bike; there seems to be some brief but animated signed conversation there before he turns aside from the commonhaus's entrance to wander the grounds instead. His jeans are damp, his leather jacket as well. He brushes his hand along his hair in a jittery irritable motion, wiping away the water that has just-barely started to bead there; his flattened helmet-hair explains why it has stayed mostly dry thus far. The spindly clawed passenger on his back seems /much/ less bothered by the wet weather. "{/Why/ we can't go inside,}" Ion is grumbling. "{Nothing out here you ain't seen a hundred times before, tiny dragon.}"

Egg scrabbles up onto Ion's shoulder so they can sign in his field of vision. 'Halloween Halloween Halloween!' They stretch out their wings, both for balance and dramatic flair. 'Trick or treat look let's go there they have the /blue/ pumpkins!' One long-limbed hand grabs in the direction of Funhaus, but as they move along the path the toddler is quickly distracted by the visitor in the gazebo. 'Hi hi hi what is your costume?!' they sign enthusiastically in Bruce's general direction, but then launches themselves from Ion's shoulder toward the other man.

Bruce turns toward Ion and Egg as they approach, squinting slightly. He slips his glasses back on only just in time to see the winged child flying--literally--toward him. "Oh my God!" he blurts, staggering backward into a chair and hyperventilating. His voice has gone up half an octave, edged with hysteria. "Oh no, calm down--aaaaah!" The last sound comes out in a rising yelp as Egg lands on him, black talons hooking into his coat.

"{It's /Halloween/ but it's not trick-or-treat yet people they might not even be home you can't just --} /shit/, yo, lo siento, man, crap, they ain't --" Ion is jogging after Egg, stopping at the entrance ramp to the gazebo with his fingers caught in his hair. "Monster, you gotta ask people before you climb on them, we done talked about this. You can sit on the wood part and ask, huh?”

'You need a /costume/,' Egg explains to Bruce, freeing their spindly fingers from his coat to sign these words only a few alarming inches away from his face. 'If you don't put the costume they won't give you toys. /I'm/ always in costume but /you/ have to get one.' They're signing nice and slow for the man's benefit. Then, belatedly, at their father's suggestion, 'Can I climb on you? You have a lot of clothes so it's easy!'

Bruce is trying to hold still, but his breaths come in quick, terrified gasps. "Oh God oh God get it off me p-p-por favor!" His hands grip the arms of the chair he has fallen into. Tighter, knuckles white. His trembling grows more violent even as he tries to slow his breathing. "Help!" he gasps.

"{You gotta ask /first/,}" Ion re-emphasizes, more firmly. "{That means you get off now.}" He's moving over, kind of casual about scooping a leather-clad arm under Egg's spiky claws to ease them out of Bruce's shirt. "Lo siento, they're tal excited about. New people. And Halloween. Asking where's your costume at and if you ain't in costume you can't get toys. And," with only the faintest wince, "can they climb on you. We still working on the -- ask thing. Anyway not everyone don't wear costume /all/ Halloween month. People only give the toys and shit on the last day of Halloween so some people wait the costume till then." He glances down at Bruce with a furrow of his brows. "You ain't gonna have a fit are you?”

Egg's long, pointed ears press back and their face scrunches up in caricaturish displeasure. 'No!' they sign sharply with both hands, squirming out of Ion's grasp. 'No fit! Nononononono!' They stretch out their wings and use the tiny hooked talons on their digits to drag themselves up toward Bruce's shoulder. Their mouth opens wide and emits a steady stream of rapid clicks, the nearest analogue their throat can manage to screaming.

Bruce's panic ebbs slightly when Ion arrives to remove the flailing goblin from his chest. "Costume...?" He sounds a bit dazed, starting to sit back up. "Wait, is this actually a--" Whatever was going to ask is cut off by a fresh wave of terror as Egg climbs further up and then opens their wide, sharp-toothed maw...right in his face. /His/ scream is loud and full-throated and he throws up a hand, reflexively fending off Fangs.

And Egg, perhaps equally reflexively, bites down.

Bruce's scream fades out as chemically enforced relaxation subsumes his panic. "How strange," he mumbles. "That...doesn't even hurt." His eyes start fluttering shut, his breathing slows, and his body goes slack.

Then, abruptly, his limbs convulse and when his eyes snap open, the irises have turned a too-bright shade of green. His skin turns a sickly, ashy gray, and then green, as well. The convulsions consume his entire body, which begins to grow. The buttons of his shirt pop off in rapid succession, the short itself, followed by the coat and his trousers, all tearing open as his body doubles, then triples and quadruples in size.

The chair groans and then collapses beneath his weight, and his bulk pushes aside the rest of the furniture. When the drastic transformation finally stabilizes, the person lying there takes up almost the entire floor of the gazebo and wears only a pair of purple shorts made of some extremely elastic material. He blinks up, looking profoundly confused. "Hulk...sleepy," he says, in a low, rumbling voice.

"Egg, /no/ --" There's a sharper edge to Ion's voice -- he's grabbing the toddler, yanking them away, though not nearly fast enough. "Egg -- /fuck/, you can't -- {oh, no, no, Mother Mary please help us, please --}" His eyes, wide and bright, cast wildly in the direction of Funhaus.

It's not the sudden convulsing that draws his attention back to Bruce -- that doesn't seem to startle him -- but the smaller pop-rattle of the buttons breaking off and pinging to the floor. Still gripping Egg too-tight, he takes a step back, brows furrowing in a bewilderment that lingers through Bruce's transformation. One hand lifts once the Hulk speaks. His finger traces almost absently against a gold chain around his neck, then lets it drop. "{... thank you, Mama,}" is murmured, quieter although none of the tension has left his frame.

Egg flails mightily at being snatched up by their father, licking the blood from their fangs and lips, pupils dilating with hungry interest, though they're still clicking loudly in complaint. Bruce's violent convulsing brings their tantrum to an abrupt stop, though. 'Dad why is he doing that is he sick?' Their already enormous eyes have gone wider and they cling tightly to Ion with both wings. When Bruce actually starts transforming, Egg seems torn between fear and curiosity--tilting their head this way and that as they vary the tone and speed of their clicks, ears swiveling to catch the echoes, all the while huddling close to their father. Once Hulk speaks, they perk up again. 'Oh you're alright! Yes, I make the sleepy yes sorry.' They don't seem all that contrite as they start trying to climb out of Ion's arms again. 'See Dad, see? He put the costume! /Now/ we go get toys!'

Hulk sits up slowly, his thick brows furrowed in obvious perplexity. "Hulk not understand what you saying." It's unclear whether this is directed at Ion or Egg. The effects of Egg's venom fades rapidly, the huge green person's eyes growing more alert by the second. When he speaks again his voice is strong and full. "APOLOGIES TO BREAKING CHAIRS AGAIN." He pokes mournfully at a splintered chunk of wood. Then, looking up, adds in a deliberately hushed tone, "Not to being frightened. Hulk no hurt you."

"{/Yes/ he's sick you /bit/ him.}" There's a sharp crackle-snap of charge around Ion in time with the sharp snap of his voice. His breath catches after this, his hold on Egg easing slightly. He lifts a hand, scrubs its heel against wet eyes. He tugs Egg closer -- firm, though not /tight/ as before -- when they start trying to climb out of his arms. For a few moments he breathes, slow, deep, fixing his gaze outward toward the river.

Eventually Ion looks down at Egg, shaking his head. "{You can't get toys, and we aren't playing. We've had this talk, little monster. You can't bite people, it can kill them. You hurt him.}" He looks over to Hulk, and the broken chair. "Hey, yo, it's okay. People here they break shit all the damn time. You feel okay, big guy?"

Egg's ears flatten down and they huddle closer to Ion, clicking low and miserable. 'I didn't /want/ to bite him.' The signs come out small, a mumble. Their huge eyes swivel back to Hulk. 'Sorry I bit you. You're green like Tola I like you.'

Hulk gathers the broken pieces of the chair into a pile. "Flicker makes nice chairs," he offers, tentatively. "Hulk was feeling sleepy. Now, feeling fine." He thumps himself lightly on the chest, the impact reverberating deep. His eyes fix on Egg. "Hulk not scaring little furry friend?"

Ion swallows, and doesn't answer Egg. "Lo siento, we ain't mean to scare you. You good, man, but we can't stay." After another moment, a slow exhale through his teeth, he adds: "The little monster they apologize for biting. They like you green. Maybe some other time, we meet more proper, huh? I'm see if someone in the house maybe can come. Make sure you good. You know anyone here?"

"Bite?" Hulk's brows wrinkle and he looks down at his arms as though searching for evidence of the injury. "Hulk fine now. Being VERY green." He breaks into a wide, guileless smile. "OH YES, Hulk have friends who living here. Hive, Flicker, Shane, B, Tag..." He ticks off each name on a finger, and looks a bit lost when he runs out. "Having many friends here," he concludes, nodding earnestly. "Hulk wait here. No smash any more chairs."

"Yeah, you hella fucking green, friend. I'm go find. Your friends. You stay --" Ion bites down on his lip, rocks back on a heel. "Stay safe, huh?" He's still holding Egg tight as he turns and hastens away, switching back to Quechua as they head off. "{We're going home, little monster. We need to talk.}"