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Avenger Assembled

T'aint Funny, McGee (IC)

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Taylor was sleeping, and so was the baby, when Avenger's silent phone buzzed in his pocket. He stopped watching the game, putting down his bottle, to take the call. "Rouge? Yes. You met a werewolf last night?" He leaned back, listening intently to her words. He'd been there for the meeting, but listening to her description of what had happened was just as important. "Describe him for me. All right...all right, I've dealt with that one before. Come to my apartment and we'll talk. Use the codewords I gave you so you'll be able to see the door. Yes, see you soon." It wasn't until he'd hung up that Avenger realized he'd invited Rouge back to his apartment for the first time!

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Avenger's apartment? If she had a heart that beat, it would be going a mile a minute right now. This was going to be the first time she saw her saviour's domain. She prepped herself. Hair alright, clothes not wrinkled, breath not kickin, no blood on teeth. Check, check, check and check. Afterwords she turned into a vapory cloud and ZOOMED to Avenger's location.

She got there a few minutes later. Knocking on the door, she then heard the question. "Are you classified as human?" She responded in turn, "Negative, I am a meat popsicle."

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Motherhood had left Taylor sleeping lightly. She stirred at the faint sounds of the knock on the door, her eyes slitting open in the gloom of the bedroom. Taylor wasn't suprised to wake up alone, after all, her husband never slept. Sometimes he held her while she drifted off, or snuck in to wake her up gently in the mornings but most of the time, she slept alone. It was nice in a way. Never had to share the covers and she got to sprawl out on her stomach when it got too warm without poking anyone with an elbow or a foot. She glanced up and over to where the baby was still snoring softly in his bassinet and shook the sleep off as she tried to figure what had woken her up.

Rising, she quietly pulled a robe on and belted it at her waist. She didn't bother with tracking down her slippers as she slipped down the hallway to find out what was going on but paused when she heard voices.

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"Come in, come in," said Avenger, ushering Rouge into his spacious, luxurious apartment that practically screamed Wealth! if not necessarily taste. He walked her inside, closing the door, and led her to a brand-new black leather couch before a flat-screen TV, his soft-shoed feet not even squeaking on the shiny, well-polished marble floor beneath their feet. "Can I offer you something?"

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Anya looked at Jack with a smile. IT was always nice to see him. Nice white dress shirt. Tight black pants. Like something off the cover of a bodice ripper. She looked totally out of place with him in her bright raver clothing. A tank top. Loose fit low riding pants. Something she wore all the time before she 'died' It was either that or the drab black goth clothing. Black clothing is for funerals, and she wasn't dead yet. She timidly bit her bottom lip and held her arms behind her back as he greeted her. She smiled when he asked if she wanted something. Of course I do, she thought. Though she never told him that he was a beautiful work of art that she wanted for herself. "No, I'm good. Had something before you called me," she said straightening up and looking at him straight, "So, I've got what you want."

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Taylor stopped at the door at the soft voices and frowned. Not that night time guests were unusual but generally they fell into one of two categories. Superhero friend with a nasty problem or sudden threat. But this wasn't a super hero that Taylor'd been made aware of and Jack was just... letting her into the house? She blinked once as Jack had pitched silent but rather epic fits over every friend of hers that they'd given the information of the super secret lair to but apparently little miss droopy pants was a welcome guest? And she didn't like the way she was eying Jack in the slightest.

Taylor summoned the only clothing she could ever manage on the fly - her costume as Phantom. The door to the hallway smacked open, nearly knocked off its hinges with the eldritch force that she'd used to open it. She'd had to settle for that as she'd gone insubstantial with her rising temper. Her hands still glowed with crackly power and the cloak billowed out around her and through the walls. It mostly concealed the ghostly woman who was dressed under its thick folds in a simple bodysuit and thigh length black boots. Phantom hauled one hand back, gathering the crackly power into one fist, "Who the hell are you?"

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Who is this? Anya thought as the angry woman stormed into the room. She crossed her arms and looked at Phantom with a smirk. The costume she had to admire. Not anyone could pull off a one piece bathing suit. Especially one as stacked as this woman. Man, the costumes he gives out are doozies, aren't they? She smiled and looked to Avenger with a raised eyebrow, seemingly ignoring the mystic-in-the-living-room scenario, "So, is this another associate or are you... entertaining?"

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Jack winced. This was not going well! "Anya, this is my _wife_, Taylor. Taylor, this is Anya, though she goes by Rouge. She's one of the new vampires in the city, and she's been working as a superhero, as well as one of my assistants, for the last few weeks. You remember, I..." He hesitated. "Okay, I guess I never actually explained that, but we've been real busy."

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"Entertaining." Phantom was a bit stuck on that word as she paused, her face screwing up behind her mask. Her cocked hand fell back to her side, concealed under her robes. That would have been less threatening if the crackling energy hadn't started to pour down from inside her cape and across the floor before wrapping around the new couch, "...Enter-tain-ing?"

She turned her glowing white gaze to Jack, tracking what he said at least vaguely while the black leather sofa levitated off the ground a good foot. All she really got from that was that the girl was probably sturdy. "Oh. An assistant? You. Could. Have. Mentioned."

And the couch went zipping from its position in front of the TV right at Rogue!

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Jack leaped and caught the couch in mid-air, briefly bracing himself before carefully setting it back down again. "Taylor! Jesus, I'm sorry! I didn't think the fact that I worked with one particular vampire was going to be an issue. It's not like this is the first vampire we've ever had over to our place, remember?" He turned to Anya. "And as for you, Taylor is my wife, when she's not Phantom, the guardian of all dimensions. She's got more mystic power in one hand than the likes of you and I have in our entire bodies."

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Wife? He married? Vampires can do that? Is he still living a mortal life? Wait no, he said that I was a vampire. Is she a vampire too? Anya smirked as the whole situation played out with Avenger. A married man not telling his wife that he was 'helping' another girl. She had been in that situation before, unfortunately. And then the couch came flying. Like poetry in motion, Jack jumped to interpose the large object. So heroic, he is. Anya listened to his explanation. Guardian of all dimensions? Though she did mentally laugh out loud as the the one who protected us from Cthulhu was chucking furniture. Her smirk turned into a smile. "I am sorry for the misunderstanding, Phantom," she apologized in a happy but genuinely sorry tone. She leaned into Avenger's ear, "So is she one of us?"

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Phantom scowled at the girl and shook her head slightly, arms folding up under her cloak looking both peeved and mistrustful. Although it was probably a good thing that Jack had kept the couch from careening into the wall as that would certainly have woken the baby up. She wrinkled her nose at him under the mask at his apology and muttered under her breath in Cantonese before she said louder, "...Fine."

The shadowy cloak melted away leaving a small Asian woman barefoot and in a large plushy looking robe. Her dark hair was tied back loosely from her face, trailing down her back in a thick tail and she looked young. Maybe her late teens or very early twenties. She was, however, still semi transparent as the hall beyond her was vaguely visible through her torso. Her dimples flashed as she bared her teeth in what was more gritted teeth than polite smile, "Call me Taylor. I didn't know Jack had an assistant. And, no, I'm not. I'm still arguably human. The case is at least been made for it."

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Jack fought the urge to facepalm, taking a step back from the situation. "Anyway, Anya here was just reporting to me about some werewolf activity she'd spotted. You remember, the one I...wait, you were in that pirate dimension that weekend. Anyway, I fought a werewolf a while back, and Anya talked to him. She's helping keep us safe," he said gently, "though that doesn't entitle her to put on airs," he added, shooting his erstwhile protege a look.

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"Oh, yeah, I do all sorts of things for him," Anya chuckled, "And in return he feeds me so I don't go rabid." She thought about what 'putting on airs' meant as she looked like a scolded puppy for the reprimand. She had no idea what it meant, but it couldn't be good with Avenger's disdain. She adjusted her pants back on her hips and put her hands in her pockets.

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Taylor gave Jack a flat look, both eyebrows arching into her hairline. She folded her arms tighter up under her breasts and you could almost picture the bunched cloak instead of the thick robe. If she'd been in costume, it would have been writhing with agitation. This was why she preferred to argue in costume as it looked ever so much more imposing. She shot Anya a look that could have peeled paint before she stalked into the room. Up close, she wasn't more than five feet tall. She barely came to Jack's shoulder.

"Oh, see, I didn't know we were taking in strays." Taylor said waspishly, ignoring the looks that Jack was giving her as she glanced at the couch. She waved her hand a little, uncoiling enough to do so, and it shot back into the place it belonged. "Would you like me to get drinks?"

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Anya sighed and then smiled, cocking her head to the side. Well isn't she quite the snarky little... She stopped her self mid-thought and the realization set in. Avenger was married. It made him even more off limits. She kept a smile even though miss guardian of the galaxy with her sly insults. "I prefer 'diamond in the rough'," she said straightening up and crossing her arms, "but hey names are just names, right?" Be the apologetic little intern. It'll get you far. Words her mother taught her years ago when she would have amounted to something played though her head.

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Avenger debated the relative merits of letting his wife get drinks (and making her look like a servant) versus leaving Taylor and Anya alone together while he stepped into the other room. Deciding to remind Anya of her role, he said "Actually, Anya, why don't you do that for us? There's a thermos on the left side of the refrigerator. Fill up the black cups by the microwave halfway, then nuke them at the same time for three minutes." When Anya went to do that, he focused on Taylor and murmured, "Look, what else was I supposed to do? She's even got a costume."

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"I just think you should mention these things so that I know the list of people who may or may not be visiting in the middle of the night!" Taylor muttered back, scowling at him as she 'air-walked' over a few inches above the carpet. She was still too agitated to be solid enough to not put her foot through the floor if she tried to actually walk. She ghosted through the couch to peer up at him, "I mean, I know we have vampires over but it's a pretty small list with the baby in the house!"

She wrinkled her nose at him after a moment, "... A costume?"

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Anya did as she was to with a smile and a nod to her boss. When she got into the kitchen she marveled at the construction of it. Everything looked pristine and practically new. Like one of thoseAnya did as she was to with a smile and a nod to her boss. When she got into the kitchen she marveled at the construction of it. Everything looked pristine and practically new. Like one of those shots you see in the catalogues. She half expected the black marble to have little color options next to it. Very expensive and swanky looking indeed. There were two fridges. The first fridge was apparently Jack's fridge. Lots and lots of blood in that one. Anya quickly closed that one. On the second fridge there were pictures of the woman she had just met and a baby. "Huh, interesting," she mumbled to herself. then she noticed the bottles in the sink. "Weird." Either she had a kid beforehand or this is Jack's normal life. She paid no attention to it and opened the fridge, getting the drinks. When she walked out she caught a glimpse of a painted portrait of the baby and Jack. Curiouser and curiouser. Walking back out to the living room she smiled at the couple, there was a few questions on her mind.

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Jack thanked Anya for the drinks politely, as one would a subordinate, then sipped himself, inviting Anya to do the same. "It's from the same stock I get your supply from," he told Anya. To Taylor, he added, "I've shared my career path with Anya, and she's chosen something similar. To protect her humanity by protecting humans; to be a superhero. I had some people make a costume for her, and now she goes by Rouge."

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Like a dutiful employee she drank the concoction. She never had it hot before. Tepid or warm at the most, but nuked in a microwave? This wasn't bad at all either. She nodded lightly, "Yep, I'm a good girl. No hunting the living for their precious life fluids for me." She shook her head in a mock-matter-of-factly way. "Avenger even gave me a costume to wear. We decided on Rouge together though."

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"Rouge?" Taylor asked but contained herself from making anymore snarky comments. She reached up to fiddle with the dark amulet at her throat idly, a long standing nervous gesture. Running her fingertips over the heavy chain links encircling her throat, she joined in on the trying to keep the conversation polite, "That's a big step to make, especially with your particular background. It makes the secret identity thing in many ways much more tricky but I imagine it'll help having the experience of someone who's done that delicate balancing act before."

Which was as close as Taylor was getting tonight to her tacit approval of the situation such as it was. She did turn entirely solid at the end of the conversation, her toes touching down silently on the marble floor.

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Anya mused silently to herself that her vision wasn't as bad as she thought it was, Phantom was part ghost or something. She wouldn't doubt it if she was. Too many weird things she had seen and happened for her to start being skeptical. Anya kinked her head to the side watching Alex move so gracefully. Was this her blood she was drinking? Was Avenger 'milking' her? Speaking of she had questions. Namely of the baby. Though how she would tactfully say such a thing was something that rolled around in her head. "So," she hung on the word for dear life, trying to phrase this question without making her look like the most horrible person ever, "I see you guys have a child. That's awesome. How's that going for you?" The question hung there for a second. "Adopted or is there something I'm missing here?"

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"He's not adopted!" Taylor said swiftly, her tone emphatic. She'd heard that question asked enough times over her mother that she reacted without thinking that perhaps telling a vampire that one of their kind had a baby. Of course, in Taylor's mother's case, it was the fact that her children resembled their Chinese father rather than their blue eyed and brown haired mother. "He was born just last month. He's even got Jack's eyes for goodness sake."

Taylor turned to the picture automatically and then frowned, "Oh, its probably a good thing you caught the couch, honey. That would have woke him up for sure."

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"He's our son," Jack clarified for Rouge, putting those particular cards flat on the table. "No, it's not supposed to be possible. But it did happen." He gave her a level look and added, "That information does not leave this room, of course. The danger to our son from the wider world, much less other vampires, is incalculable. I told you how much humans hate vampires, even superheroes? Imagine how they feel about children with vampire blood."

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