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alderwitch

Troubleshooter [IC]

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Natalya Browning, better known as the incomparable Bombshell, was still wondering how her erstwhile lover managed to talk her into things as she swung out across the city to the late-night meeting. She was still bemused by being on the side of the angels again as the Scarab put it, let alone going and talking to some newer heroes about 'mutual problems'. However, she'd agreed and so, here she was, swinging through the West End and looking for some address. It wasn't, of course, the actual head quarters, just a neutral meeting ground spot.

 

Fortunately, she had a rather large amount of practice for finding buildings while no where near the street, so after a short search, Bombshell released the swing-line to flip through the air and perch on the edge of the roof. She stood up out of her crouch and stretched, stepping down onto the roof top proper.

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Leaning against the doorway that led down the the building below, Jack of all Blades idly rolled his lighter across the knuckles of one hand while the other hand rested in the pocket of his royal blue greatcoat. He didn't glance over until Bombshell had stepped further on the rooftop, watching the curvy woman from the corner of his masked eye. Well, if I've gotta sit through somebody explaining why we're a bunch of arrogant punks, that's definitely the outfit I want them to be in. Straightening, he returned the lighter to his coat and walked over to meet her. "Glad you could make it," he greeted easily.

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Bombshell shook back the long blond curls that fell over one blue eye and gave him a wicked smile under the slim black mask she wore that really did very little to hide her features. She moved forward to offer one hand, her walk towards him a sure footed prowl, "Pleasure's mine I'm sure. They call me Bombshell. What's your name, handsome?"

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Accepting it, Jack bowed low, sweeping his greatcoat out with one arm as he touched his lips lightly to the back of the blonde's hand. "Jack of all Blades, very much at your service, señorita," he replied, looking up with a lopsided, boyish grin tinged with a touch of Bombshell's own devilish expression and set in light stubble for a successfully rakish effect. "Now, what can I do for you?"

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"A hero with manners? Be still my girlish heart. I rather thought they'd stopped making those. Clearly, I chose the wrong time to retire from a life of petty crime after all." Bombshell took the kiss on the back of the hand with amusement and an ease that spoke of being used to those sorts of manners. She bantered back at him with casual ease and settled her hand on those curvy hips when he released it. "An... associate of mine thought we might have a chat as we're both dealing with, hmm, problems of a public relation nature."

Her gaze twinkled and she tipped her head to the side teasingly, "Or I could simply start with, Hello, my name is Bombshell and I'm a recovering 'supervillian' if you believe everything you read in newspapers. Really, its all gotten very sensational if you ask me. Thirty years ago, you had to at least kidnap a girl friend or two to really be able to lay claim to that sort of title."

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If Jack was surprised by the revelation of Bombshell's criminal past, he hid it well as he spread his hands in a shrug. "Well, no worries on that score: I'm single." The swordsman's mood had improved considerably from when Archeville had asked him to meet someone on the rooftop. Gorgeous and she didn't immediately try to do me grievous bodily harm? Everything's coming up Jack! He rubbed the back of his head ruefully. "But I mean, yeah, I guess I can relate. If you consider being seen as quote a bunch of arrogant, irresponsible incompetents living in a frat house end quote a public relations problem, that is."

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"Well, do you?" Bombshell asked curiously. She dropped her hands from her hips and shifted slightly on the balls of her feet with a little restless energy, "I mean, I don't really mind the entire ex-thief thing but then, that too was a reputation of my own choosing. Other people, of course, don't always agree."

She said that last with a dry tone of voice. Her accent was faint but thickened with the sarcasm, an upper class Londoner accent for those with the ear to catch it. To most people, she just sounded 'British'. She shifted again to glance at Jack of all Blades from behind her delicate mask, "I assumed that it does bother you but, really, better to ask than make assumptions, I suppose."

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Jack chuckled wryly, lacing his fingers behind his head and pacing a few steps across the rooftop. "Well, it doesn't exactly keep me up at night, but that's mostly because I've got other things to worry about." Turning back around, he shrugged. "It is kind of an issue, though. I mean, I had this totally mental conversation the other day where I had to convince somebody my friends and I weren't going to try to hurt his infant son. It's like, hello! Good guys here! It's on the business card!"

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"That sounds like quite the interesting conversation..." Bombshell paused and glanced the young man over as he paced, "You think best on your feet like I do, I think. Want to go for a work out and talk about your problems?"

Her smile flashed, her teeth white and even behind dark red lips. "Wrestling optional, of course. I just can't quite wrap my head around a rooftop conversation if there isn't something physical going on."

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Jack stood perfectly still for a moment, blinking at the blonde woman. "Miss Shell," he said, carefully articulating each syllable, "you just made my whole week. Seriously, I may have to propose." The tanned young man quirked an eyebrow over a dazzling grin of his own. "What did you have in mind?"

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She tapped one gloved fingertip to those smirking crimson lips as if considering. "Well, either we can play the eternally classic racing across rooftops - which does make it difficult to talk unless one of you happens to be prone to telepathic speeches about giving things back to rightful owners. Or, we can go with the old stand by; trying knock each other down. With style, of course, otherwise what's the point?"

Bombshell glanced around the rooftop, "Also, my ring size is a six and a half. I've always been partial to diamonds. Shall we?"

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"Diamonds, huh? I was hoping we could just elope," Jack rejoined, matching her suggestively wry tone. "Never really been a material kind of guy." The athletic young man rolled his shoulders, smoothly working out the knots under his greatcoat. "Still, never let it be said that Mama Of-All-Blades' favourite son ever declined an opportunity get physical with a beautiful woman. Unarmed? Counting pins or touches?" For all his impish innuendo, the acrobat's eyes held the appraising look of a trained combatant.

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"Well, no one's perfect, love," Bombshell replied to his comment about not being a material sort of guy. She slipped down from her latest perch to the surface of the roof, her posture lazy and indolent. "It's only our first date so we really ought save weapons until at least the second or third. I'm not easy, after all. I'd say count either a pin or a touch as a hit and then who ever's ahead when we call it quits wins. Simple enough."

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"True," Jack agreed, nodding sagely. "Personally, I've always struggled with being too good looking. My cross to bear," the swordsman sighed with exaggerated regret, before dropping into a loose fighting stance, leading with his right foot and presenting Bombshell with a thinnest profile possible. Extending one hand, he beckoned her forward. "Ladies first, of course."

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"So, tell me about your team," Bombshell suggested with that sparkling smile, her opening distraction rather mild as she feinted and swept her hand out towards his cheek. Jack could see that she really was just trying to touch him, her movements quick and controlled and no real power behind them. "Are they all terribly fearsome and you just happen to be the only pretty face or none of them scream 'baby killer' either?"

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Sweeping to one side, Jack stepped Bombshell's reach before ducking forward again. "Ha, no, we're a pretty clean cut bunch, comparatively." At the last moment, he altered his momentum to roll to the right, coming up behind the blonde woman and tapping her lightly on the shoulder. "Some of us just have a way of rubbing people the wrong way. By which I mean inspiring an instantaneous and troubling rage." He shrugged as he continued to provide an elusive target. "I assume it's a side effect of seething jealousy."

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"No doubt," Bombshell said dryly as she feinted and missed a second time. She was fast but not committing her all to the bout yet. Rocking back on her booted feet lightly and her touches casual. It wasn't that she was trying to lull him into a false sense of security, more that she was focusing on his words rather than out and out winning. "Now, I'm assuming you've already looked into the usual 'curses', 'hexes', and 'mystical artifacts that turn people against you' angle. I mean, in our line of work, those sorts of things just happen. Hmm... Is it everyone or just the older set or the younger set?"

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"Heh, let's just say I play shockingly poorly to the teen girl demographics," Jack quipped in reply. Moving lightly around the curvy blonde, he maneuvered the fight back toward the brick stairwell he'd been leaning against earlier. A quick feint to put his rooftop companion off balance, and he swept forward, blocking a pair of jabs with open hands and pinning Bombshell's wrists against the wall. "I do much better with grown women," he explained with a roguish wink.

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One golden brow arched high above her black mask and for a moment she kept Jack of all Blades busy with keeping a hold on her wrists as she tried to wriggle free. She was very fast but had little purchase to twist free. "Oh... really?"

She twisted against his grip and leaned forward to steal a kiss, pressing soft lips against his in an entirely unhanded (Ex-rogue!) maneuver that was as pleasant as it was no doubt sneaky. Bombshell pulled back, her lips twisting up in a small smirk after a moment, "So, three-one then?"

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Pulling back slightly, Jack blinked at the blonde woman, his brain trying to process what was happening and coming up with nothing but static. Things were actually going his way for a change and the fencer was suddenly struck by how long it had been since he'd done anything besides fight, train or sleep. "Shelly," he finally managed, mouth slipping into a lopsided grin, "I think you just scored the kockout." There was a pause as their masked eyes met before he continued more softly, "Guess I should let go of your wrist, then." The swashbuckler made no immediate move to do so.

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"Why would you do a silly thing like that, love? When you have the advantage, by all means keep it. I would." Bombshell said with a wicked little grin, her blonde curls falling over to obscure one eye. She wiggled her wrists experimentally and from the look in her blue eyes, was still weighing her options. At least now, Jack had her full attention on the game. She hadn't really thought he'd actually go for the pin and she'd certainly thought he'd do the stammer and let go with the kiss. Before, she'd been playing. Now she was intrigued, "Otherwise, I'll just vanish on you and catch you by surprise and you'll have to grab me all over again... which could be fun too."

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Jack found it increasingly hard to concentrate as Bombshell moved about under his pin. On one hand, experience suggested that, as beautiful woman displaying interest in him, she was probably going to try to stab him or blow him up as soon as his guard down. On the other hand... Va va va voom. The swashbuckler quirked an eyebrow upward. "Miss Shell," he deadpanned, "you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?"

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"Jack, first, let me assure you that when I do seduce anyone, there's no sort of 'try' about it. Trust me, you'll know." She lowered her chin and grinned at him, going still under the pin. Bombshell brought one leg up - slowly, because men always expect the nut-shot - and propped it against the wall. "I'm just a little old fashioned. I don't seduce on the first rooftop romp. Let's say, instead, I'm taking the idea for a test drive. Tell me. Are you as quick on your feet as you are with your hands?"

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"Well, do my best work lying down, naturally, but Jack do be nimble," the swashbuckler replied, his grin taking on a more jocular set, even as he reflexively moved his lower body away from the ex-thief's rising knee. "What'd you have in mind?"

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"Wise move. Quick too," Bombshell commented as he adjusted for her knee. She laughed then - a low and husky sound - and with some sort of strange twist and flip, used her foot against the wall to shoot up and out of his hands before vanishing abruptly. She reappeared at the top of the wall, balanced on her toes on the ledge and swaying like a dancer, "On the matter of the hero work, I rather think you have the usual up and comer problem. I've seen it before. You're not the old respected set and you're not the young and idealistic bunch fresh from school. You're the, oh, young adult set. The older group thinks you should get a hair cut and fly right. The younger set thinks your putting on airs. Once you all figure out who you are, proving it to everyone else will be much easier. Now... think you can keep up with me, hero?"

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