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Chapter Two: Black as Night
Peter's eyes remained unwavering on the vampire before them, his arms were still poised, ready to fire the silver silk-like strands in an instant. His spider sense hadn't let up in the slightest, so the danger was clearly still immenent.
Not wanting his lower his shields in the slightest, Peter didn't bother to answer or acknowledge Victoria's question. But that didn't mean it hadn't triggered some thought. Their was a sense of familiarity to the creature, like a distant memory or aquaintance that was nearly forgotten. But for the time being, he was more concerned on preparing to counter a possible attack from the vampire than figure out who he or it was.
As soon as they had reached the roof, Hank's nose had been assaulted by the dank odour emanating through the shattered glass of the formerly ornate window. The situation didn't improve in the slightest once they had entered, carefully avoiding the broken edges. "Last thing we need is blood poisoning." Hank had muttered as the pair had descended, before taking in the disordered remnants of the Sanctum. To him the surroundings were still familiar, he could still picture himself sitting crosslegged listening to Stephen talk. "This is NOT the time for reminisances!" he thought to himself as he shook his head, trying to clear away the memories and concentrate on the mental chatter he was picking up from below. Hank padded on almost silently after Spider, watching his heat signature bobbing over his field of view. Even without Spider's preternatural sixth sense, Hank could tell that something was amiss. He could feel the hair on the back of his neck begin to prickle. As each part of the team neared the center of the building, Hank picked up the overspill from Barry's rushed thoughts over his link with 'Toria. "What's the kid got himself into this time?" he thought as he raced with Spider to the boy's location.

Hank moved swiftly in ahead of Spider, circling the room a little so as not to block the other man's line of sight. The man who had woken before them seemed to be expecting them. Hank looked at him closely, something about the costume setting of alarms in his mind, something he had seen a long time ago in another life. "Look Red. I don't know who this Frank is, and to be perfectly honest at this point I really couldn't care less. We were looking for a previous incumbent of this domicile." he said with a snarl of his own. He flicked a worried glance at 'Toria as he picked up on her own flash of recognition, before returning his gaze to the being confronting them. "He looks like a guy that P.. that partnered the Spiderman of my reality on occasion." he thought in answer to her query, although he didn't move from the spot in which he stood. "What's your story anyway?" he asked, his nose twitching a little at the stench of old dried blood in the enclosed room.
"People, people. Take it easy." he said as he looked at the team, but still ready to zip away at a moment's notice. "We're looking for this Sorcerer guy, this is his house, and who says this isn't the guy?" Barry made his way over to the crimson-clad man "I mean, Frank, sounds kinda authority like, he may be the person who has people heading for home like they all got superspeed." he said, extending his hand to the man, which like the rest of his body was slightly vibrating, since even though Barry was impulsive, he wasn't dumb, and ready to run away when he needed too. "I'm Barry West, and you are?"
“Barry, move back a couple steps.” Tessa warned, her mind had already run through quite a few different scenarios, some were in favor of Barry’s strength and some were not so in favor of them. Even with super-speed he was putting himself out on a limb, if the red devil caught the teenager off guard he would be overwhelmed, at least she was 90% certain. So far Barry hadn’t shown any immense amounts of training, other than racing off without a second thought, and Tessa had to question his intelligence…she had wanted to stay in the room, but she planned on staying a safe distance away, not outstretching her hand and offering this creature her name.
“Just to make me feel more at ease.” Her tone had a hard edge to it as she spoke; she was still trying to judge how much of a liability this youth was going to be to their operations, offering his hand to a vampire, he might as well have offered his neck.

“And you were worried I’d get myself in trouble.” She commented to Victoria dryly, “I have the good sense not to get that close.” Tessa made a motion with her hand, indicating Barry, even with her intelligence she had never been able to fathom the mind of a teenage boy and how it worked, Barry no doubt thought he was being cautious, while all Tessa could see was him putting his young life in danger.
“Excuse Barry, he’ll be moving away, won't you Barry.” Tessa addressed the red devil and the speedster, “Move. Two steps back. Give the vampire room. You won’t help matters by introducing yourself.” She told Barry telepathically, her mental voice nearly as hard edged as her spoken voice was at this point. Tessa knew she was reiterating her earlier words; she was doing so in hopes that the young speedster would listen to her.
“ I’m asking you to move for your own good. Do you know who this man is? In my reality he is known as Daredevil, the blind hero, you don’t get that much renown without being good at what you do. I’m sure this man is just as talented, even if he is a vampire, now do you think your talents and strengths can match up to his if he catches you off guard?” It was an honest question, Tessa was certain his strengths wouldn’t match the devils, but she wanted to hear Barry’s answer.
I love it when you talk dirty. he replied telepatically with a smirk "I'll get away from him, just because you asked, although no vampire ever got a chance to catch me." He finished the sentence normally but continued in his thoughts. Taking two steps back, it seemed like he had just blinked and suddenly appeared again a bit away from the stranger "Offer still stands though." He had taken his hand a little aback, for his own safety, and to appease the older, albeit hot woman... don't tell me she 'heard' that.
Once known as Matt Murdock, the Daredevil of Hell's Kitchen, the damned creature that stood before the Watch had recently come to be known as the Red Death. It was a moniker that fit him well, considering the body count that he had tallied since being turned into a creature of the night. But as powerful as he was, vampires still had their weaknesses: weaknesses that this group did not seem to be ignorant of. And because his powers were not entirely limited to the supernatural, he knew when he was outnumbered. For he could clearly hear eight distinct heartbeats sounding as drums all around him. If it had been eight humans coming for him, he wouldn’t have thought twice. But this group had power. His senses told him that much. It was apparent that they were not the normal hunting parties that Frank sent out into the night. They were heroes. Which would make it all the more sweet to tear the flesh from their bones. Realizing that lunging headlong into their midst would get him nothing but a wooden shaft through his heart, the Red Death put his other senses to work.

The group was conflicted in their demeanor. Some were the epitome of cautious: wary and ready to strike at a moments notice. Others were curious: their inquisitive nature obviously getting the better of them. But there was another emotion present in the room as well. It was an emotion that the Red Death had become intimately familiar with throughout his life. Even before being turned he had been able to easily recognize fear. It was like a drug to him. The way fear swept over a person was intoxicating. It was a subtle mix of panic and insecurity in his prey that made their hearts race and perspiration drip from their skin. The smell of fear hung heavy around him, and he could hardly contain himself. But there was one among them that did not seem fearful. His heart raced faster than any other, but it was not due to fear. His whole body seemed to move at an accelerated rate, and he was cocky to boot. It was a personality trait that Murdock had always despised. Fortunately for him, with his vampiric abilities assisting him, the boy’s speed would pose little problem. Timing his movement between the blink of an eye, the Red Death vanished and then reappeared beside Barry and clutched the boy’s outstretched arm in his vice like grip. Holding him a full foot off the floor, he gazed at the whelp and answered the questions that had been posed, “I used to be known as the Devil. But now I am Death itself. And this house no longer belongs to the one you seek. He was the first to fall before the Master. Although you have come at a very opportune time. For I am always famished when the sun first sets.” And then, as the Watch looked on, the one time Devil bore his teeth which glinted brightly in the moonlight. They had mere moments to save Barry from his own youthful foolishness.
Barry couldn't help it, he was a pathological smiler, and he practically laughed in the face of death. Of course, it would be a ruse, because now even Barry's heart had started to pound furiously in fear. But he always had one trick up his sleeve, the ability to vibrate through objects, although never tested on an organic being, this was one of the undead, so it probably couldn't harm the vamp that much.

With that thought pattern in mind, Barry put his plan to the test and tried to vibrate through Matt Murdock, the Crimson-clad messenger of death.
She stood tranfixed at the sight before them. Even as he began to speak, Victoria knew the voice entirely too well and icy fear began to wash through her veins.
But her eyes did not leave him, she stood stoic as he grabbed Barry and bared his teeth to them.
"Oh, so we're going to have to play this game? Trust me, go ahead, take all you want, but you may not like the taste of it. Let the kid go, he's young and impetuous. From my studies in genetics I've learned that blood is like a fine wine, it grows better with age. And seeing as how I'm the oldest person in this room. Come and get it." her voice was carried a tone of submission, yet the chill in her words was apparent.
Victoria had an ace up her sleeve though. An accelerated healing factor may not fight off a vampiric bite, but the Phoenix most certainly would, and if it failed, who knew exactly what lie in Victoria's bloodstream? Atlantis had proven to them all that Sinister had installed plenty of booby traps should anyone try to tamper with his perfection.
"I'm going to say this one more time...Back out of the *&^damned room already."
Her eyes stayed locked on the Red Death, gauging each of his movements very carefully. She could sense the emotions and thoughts around her, but blocked them all out. Concentration was the key to beating him at his own game...and she intended to win.
Paige wasn’t budging from the spot were she stood just a few feet away from the doorway, now fully husked into what appeared to be a oak wood, her features set in a very determined glare and over all Paige vaguely resembled the talking willow tree from Disney’s Pocahontas. Not t’ undermine yuh ‘Toria, but ah’m not runnin’ away from this fight. Paige mentally informed the pale skinned telepath, feeling like for once she might actually be able to be of use to the team instead of just being the ‘bodyguard’ of sorts Paige wasn’t about to turn tail and run from this fight. Plus eight against one had far better odds then one against one.

“So yuh’ve got hunger pains huh? Can’t say ah blame yuh wantin’ t’ take a bite out of the kid.” Paige hadn’t been on good terms with Barry this entire time, he’s rash behaviour just wasn’t something that sat well with the blond. “But mah morals won’t let me watch as yuh kill him, yuh know teammate loyalty and all.” Feeling as if maybe talking to him might keep this guy from taking a bit out of Barry’s neck.
Victoria turned her head slowly and glared at Paige as a fire started burning in her brown eyes.
"You, of all people, right this moment, should be running." If Victoria had to unleash any portion of the Phoenix to keep the Red Death from munching on Barry...she didn't want anyone else to end up like the legion of robots had when they had fought Kang.
Ever so slowly, she turned her head back towards the Red Death and continued to stare him down. She didn't bother walking forward, she allowed her telekinetic powers to lift her just enough off the floor that she slowly glided forward towards where Barry was being held.
Tessa’s mind froze when her brain finally connected the voice to a face, “Matt.” She thought mentally, as similarities began to fall into place, “Matt Murdock.” As if she had to clarify it to her own brain, momentarily overcome with information she felt she should have known years before. Not many things could surprise the genius, but this was one of the few things on that list, she wasn’t a stranger to having friends that were super-heroes, she was an x-men after all…but she hadn’t expected to find out that her lawyer friend was the masked vigilante Daredevil.

She had only heard faint snippets of the goings on around her, too caught up in her own shock to register the words completely, but she knew that ‘Toria was attempting to usher them out of the room again, no doubt to end the Red Death’s unlife. Tessa couldn’t get herself to move though, too transfixed on the fate of this Daredevil, to caught up in the ‘what-if’ of things. Staying close to the wall and the door, Tessa attempted to get herself back into a normal state of functioning, “Pull yourself back together, this is not Matt. This is another realities Matt.” She told herself harshly, finally regaining enough sense to catch what was going on.

Victoria and Paige were arguing, Paige wanted to stay Victoria wanted them all to leave. Tessa could understand why, ‘Toria looked like she was two seconds away from going Phoenix on them, and she wasn’t in the best of moods either.
“Let Victoria handle this, you’ll have your chance Husk.” Tessa said softly her voice firm, “You’re a walking piece of tinder, and ‘Toria is very close to unleashing the Phoenix, that means flame. I’m certain you want to see Jono again.” She let the last comment hang in the air as she moved to grasp Paige’s arm, she knew that the younger woman was most likely feeling pushed aside, and under-used. Victoria’s command was not helping, but she didn’t want to see Paige injured because of her need to be defiant to the request.
Paige allowed Tessa to take hold of her arm, taking the hint that she wasn’t needed or wanted for help at that moment. This wasn’t the first time Paige had ever gotten the kid treatment, of the first time Paige had ever dealt with some with a ‘hero’ mentality after all she grew up with a big brother who thought he’d created the word. “Fine.” The petite blond muttered moving out of the room and into the hallway, her eyes blazing with unspoken anger at having yet again been unable to do something heroic or helpful for the team. Yuh know some members of this team could put Sammy t’ shame. Paige thought bitterly to herself, making sure to block her thoughts from being able to be read by either of the telepaths.

“Brilliant, so we all sit back and watch as yet again Victoria does all the work…” Paige quipped to whomever might have been in the hallway with her.
Rogue wasn't going anywhere. She wanted a front row seat to this showdown. Letting her cloak slip to the floor she pushed all of her concentration into a little ball and whispered just under her breath, "Flame on."

Her entire body was soon engulfed in flames, and she stood ready to do whatever she had to.
The tension was palpable. Each one of the Watch felt as if it was up to them to finish this confrontation. But for all of the debate that was going on, none of them seemed able to pull the trigger. With his fangs in full view, the Red Death snarled his reply to something Victoria had said, "Actually, I find the blood of the young to be the sweetest of all: untainted by the world in which you mortals live. Untouched by evil, until now!"

Unable to vibrate through the Vampire's grip, Barry could do nothing but watch as his enemies fangs descended toward his jugular. Fortunately for the youngest member of the team, one man had not lost focus throughout the standoff. Spider-man was crouched and waiting for just the right moment, and this was it. Without hesitation, he shot an ample amount of web fluid toward the vampire. Murdock did not even see it coming, for he was entirely too entranced by the rapid pulse that he felt booming from the young man’s wrist. The next thing any of them knew, the blast had hit its mark and ensnared the vampire, covering his gaping maw in webbing. Seeing an opportunity, Victoria rounded on Paige, who, along with Tessa and Norrin, was standing just outside the door watching in frustration. Filled with rage, the pale woman spat, “You want to help? Fine, get to it!” The next thing Husk knew she was being telekinetically picked up and hurled at the hell-spawn. Knowing what had to be done, Paige extended her now wooden fingers into as much of a claw-like configuration as she could manage, and readied herself for the impact. In a split second it was over. The young hero’s wooden fingers pierced the soft flesh of the monster, and as soon as they came in contact with the devil’s heart, he exploded and then disintegrated into a fine ash. Her momentum carried her through the beast and across the room, and Barry fell to the floor, now safe from the villain.
Victoria dropped to the ground and stood there for a moment before looking at Barry.
"I should kill you myself." she said softly as she stormed out the door. She turned at the top of the staircase and glared at them all.
Her mind began to shut down everything around her, the thoughts quit bombarding her and she rather liked it that way for the time being. Her intense anger at the entire situation, at everything that had happened recently, began to bubble forward.
"It shouldn't have taken a genetic scientist to figure out that we had him OUTNUMBERED! Ever seen a dog when it gets cornered? Well, you have now. And because of that, we still have ZERO information." She shouted, and it was easy to see the anger in her face.
Though the Phoenix was silent in Victoria's mind, it was enjoying her rage and watching it play out.
"Some of you need to learn what a team is and how to work with it. I don't want to rush in and play "Hero" all the time and I try not to. I was hoping to dig into his mind and get some answers. ANSWERS which may I remind you, WE STILL DON'T HAVE!"
Her anger was so visable that only Tessa, Hank and Spider-Man saw the eerie pink glow that began to eminate from her hands before she turned with a fury rarely ever seen by any and made her way down the stairs.
Barry sat on the ground, shaking, his super senses still having trouble progressing the information that he got saved, that his powers didn't help him out, and that he had pissed someone off, that he genuinely didn't want to see this angry. He just couldn't help being who he was.

Slowly, he stood up, looking at the pile of dust. Someone else, maybe one of her friends, would tend to Victoria, she really didn't need to hear his apology right now. Scratching the back of his head, Barry looked over to the others still in the room, and stood up. Looking away ashamed, the words were slowly spoken "I uhhhh... I'm sorry. This is all my fault. I... should've... should've been there for you guys. I just... God, I'm going to get some air. I'll be downstairs." he said as he walked off, not wanting to use his speed right now, going for the stairs.
Paige laid in a heap on the floor her wooden skin had a fine layer of ash covering it, and over all she looked as if maybe she’d been knocked unconscious. Although Paige had the appearance of being knocked out, she was in fact fully awake and just fuming over what had just happened, she was furious at Victoria for flinging her across the room in the manner that she had, never in her entire career of being a superhero had anyone done something like that to her, well except for Sam. “Damn.” Was all Paige muttered as she uncurled herself from her position on the floor, moaning as all the aches and pains she’d gotten from that little stunt made themselves known. Her pride was bruised most of all, Paige didn’t fancy being told what to do and the way and now she was paying the price for her prideful behavior by having upset ‘Toria and being flung through a vampire and into a wall.

“Brilliant Paige.” She growled at herself as she slowly and painful pulled herself up onto her feet, her skin still wooden although Paige would be changing that soon because if Rogue when all Johnny Storm again she was in big danger. So without making eye contact or speaking with anyone in the group the blond metamorph began pulling off the wooden layer of skin to reveal her own flesh underneath, and in doing so her cuts and bruises were made apparent to everyone else in the room though Paige hoped to god that nobody would fuss over her. She needed to be alone, and after hearing Victoria’s little rant at them just minutes earlier the young mutant wasn’t feeling much better about her behavior, but hell everyone makes mistakes right?
Tessa mentally sighed, so once again the team was breaking apart to have pity parties in solitude; were they doomed to repeat every rookie mistake? Would they ever work in relatively efficient ways with each other? Even she couldn’t find a definite answer to her own questions.

She watched Barry as he walked away, figuring his pride was bruised, teenage boys had more ego than anybody else she’d ever met…save for the occasional businessman. Tessa didn’t know what the reaction would be if she ordered him to stay with the team, especially since she wasn’t the leader. Near as she could tell Dr. Strange hadn’t appointed one, they were working in anarchy. Then there was Paige, her pride was definitely wounded; if it was one thing Tessa had learned from her observance of the metamorph, it was that she didn’t like to be strong-armed…and ‘Toria, she wasn’t even going to try and decipher what was wrong with her, she had explained a little. But it still hadn’t given a full scope for why she was in such a mood.

“We have bigger issues right now than wounded pride.” She projected mentally to the team making her thoughts as forceful and broad as possible, her voice was void of any emotion, it was hard-edged and firm, “That was a pathetic showcase of teamwork just now, I don’t want to have to witness something like that again, but we can’t change anything now. We lost our informant, the only advantage we have is we know what we’re dealing with.” Tessa paused, a thought racing through her mind, Barry had said he needed some air, he was going out on the street alone, he had made himself a potential target, again.
“Where one is, more will be. We’re relatively safe in the house, if there was more vampires they would have attacked, but we shouldn’t make it easier for them to find us by splitting off. Until we know exactly what we’re dealing with, you’re all making yourselves targets.” Tessa mentally shuttered at the possibility of more vampires, but she knew it was inevitable, especially with the way the city seemed to be.
“You don’t have to speak to each other, but until we get better intel I would suggest we stay in groups.” She was completely emotionless, her face void, her voice void. Right now she couldn’t afford to fall into any sort of emotional stupor, not with the team already in the state they were in.
“This is our base for the time being, it’s not much, but as long as word doesn’t spread about Red Death, we should be able to treat it as a safe house. I don’t know if we can afford to sit until sunrise, but I don’t know how safe the city at night is if we’re relatively clueless. Input would be appreciated, I’m not going to work out a strategy on my own, I can, but I don’t want to. I’m not your leader, it’s not my job, this is a group effort and what we need to be doing is talking out a plan, not moping like a bunch of rookie heroes.” She knew that her last words were harsh, but if she let half the team mope like their dog had just died they would get nowhere very quickly.

At this point she didn’t care about hurt feelings, emotions were a foreign thing to her right now. What she wanted was to get a plan in motion, get the job they were sent to do done, and move on. But they couldn’t do that if they were all running off half-cocked in an emotional state of misery.
“Are we clear?” Tessa asked, “It would be appreciated if you came back voluntarily, but I’m not above dragging you back up here and having Spiderman web you to the wall.” Tessa looked at the remaining occupants of the hall, her blue eyes cold as they rested on the masked arachnid-esque hero, “Are you willing to do that, if need be?”
Peter rose from his defense position, his gaze falling upon his teammates and then down to the remaints of their former antogonist. He couldn't say that he was truely surprised when he linked the voice of the Vampire to Matt Murdock a.k.a. the Daredevil. The sadistic tone in its voice, its lust for blood, the vampire's traits were very similiar to that of the mutant killing Daredevil he had faced back home, as was its fate.
"Ashes to ashes Matt."
Peter's attention was torn from the pile of ash as Victoria vented her rage and frustration with the situation, clearly not bothering to keep any of it in check. She was quick to storm out of the room as soon as her as her rant ended. Barry soon followed, clearly shaken from what had just occured. On the upside it had helped shown him how serious the situation was, but the cost nearly became unacceptable. He would have to talk with the boy. Paige looked as though she just wanted her space, which the spider was willing to let her have. Right now he was more concerned with Victoria. Something was bugging her, other than their pathetic team work. The aura that he had seen surrpunding her hands only furthered his worry. He began to follow after her, making it a few feet from the door when Tessa's telepathic message stopped him in his tracks, not that it was hard to miss.
He understood Tessa's frustration. They were working on little to none intel at the moment. All he had configured from their recent events was that their were vampires in the city, obviously lots of them, judging from the way the people scurried for shelter, and that they were working for 'The Master.' Tessa, of course, was thinking logically, bringing it to everyone's attention that a game plan was needed and that they needed to get working on the game plan. He agreed with that. But one of the things that had grown to bother him when it came to Tessa was that she seemed to let her logic and her intellectual thinking keep her from feeling. It was as if her emotions ceased to exist, as if she stopped being human.
"I don't think it'll have to come to that, Ms. Tessa."
With that he continued after Victoria, reaching the pale skinned heroine in mere moments.
"Wanna talk?"
The masked spider waited for her reply as he clung to the wall next to her.
Centering her energy, Rogue quickly doused her flames and appeared normal again without any signs that anything had happened. Listening to everyone talk had only made her anger at Victoria's out burst all the more stronger. Without too much thought Rogue began to voice her opinion. She walked out of the room and into the hallway.

"First of all I just want to say that you did not have to take this on yourself, you chose to," Rogue said looking at Victoria before she went downstairs. Looking at the rest of the group, she continued. "Secondly, place blame where it needs to be placed. Barry may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but he is the one who screwed up. Lastly, yes some of us are rookies and don't know what we're doing, but it would help to have a game plan going into situations like this. It wiould also help to have some advice from you veterans. I agree that we need to start acting like a team, but we all need to get our sh*t together. Wee need to trust each other and utilize each others skills. We came into this like a bunch of stragers being thrown to the wolves."

Getting that out of her system, she turned to Tessa. "I agree with the idea that we all need to go off in groups. I would suggest a round number of 3 with at least one veteran and at least one rookie. This way we aren't being disected by the group, but we can feel free to ask questions and get to know a bit more about our teammates. I know it doesn't seem like I'm one to speak. but for the first time I fell like I am being accepted, and I don't want to see this team fall apart."

Taking a deep breath, Rogue waited for the wrath she felt she was about to take.
Victoria stood at one of the windows playing sentry. Her eyes watching the empty streets for any sign of movement.
Rogue's little speech had done nothing to calm Victoria's anger and the girl had been lucky Victoria had other things on her mind at the moment than petty speeches from rookies.
Her mind was a million miles and another reality away. Slowly as her anger began to ebb, she looked down briefly to see the pinkish aura around her hands and shook her head.
Tessa's mental shout had went straight past her. But she did hear them all talking upstairs and dismissed it for the time being.
It was a somewhat familiar voice that brought her out of her thought as she looked up to where it's owner was perched on the wall.
"Good job up there Spider...I...I'm just frustrated, that's all. I mean, Rogue could have killed Paige. Did she not see her walking right past her and out the door when she decided to become all firey glow? All I'm trying to do is keep people alive. I can't lose anyone else." she paused for a moment and looked back out the window, her expression a somber one.
"It hurts too badly." Victoria blinked hard a few times, determined not to let this situation get the best of her.
Turning her head back towards Spider-Man, she looked at him curiously for a moment. As if trying to decide whether or not to say anything else.
"I think I'm just ready for a nice long vacation from this hero business. I can't wait to go home and see my parents..." she paused again and smiled, turning to gaze out the window again."My real parents, not Sinister....and Peter. More than anything...I just miss him. He was the only person who ever understood me and accepted me for what I really was."
"I went through a whole stage of grief and loss after I thought my reality was destroyed, only to find out it was all a big lie. There is something to go back for...and maybe, deep down, I'm just a little angry that these new people haven't had to face that sort of pain." Again, her gaze turned to his mask.
"Not that I would want them to, but seriously, why us? Why did we have to go through all that? I'm not bemoaning my fate, and please don't think I am, Spider..." she stopped, closed her eyes and gathered her thoughts. Opening those deep brown eyes again, she tilted her head and smiled.
"Do you ever take that thing off?"
Yeah, yeah, toots, just give me a minute. Barry replied mentally. He ignored most of Rogue's speech, and just sat down on the stairs after going down it for a while. "All we need right now is a bunch of people who think they know better." he muttered to himself as he made himself comfortable against the wall. Victoria's voice was faint to him, but he had enough manners to leave and walk up the stairs a bit, to let them have their private conversation.
Hank stood in the shadowed corner of the room watching the events almost as if second hand. He had held back from attacking the creature. In such confined quarters with so many potential combatants throwing his ample bulk into the line of fire of any of them could have proved fatal, not just for Barry but for himself too. Now he was doing his best to tune out the sounds of raised voices and recriminations and concentrate instead on what his senses were telling him, although he couldn't help but think of 'Toria, and he was sure she would sense his worry despite his best efforts to conceal it.

Looking for something to do, Hank crouched down over the ashes that once were Matt Murdoch. He sifted his fingers through them almost absent mindedly, not really sure what he was looking for or even if he was looking for anything at all. Murdoch had said that the previous owner of this house had been the first to fall to "The Master" whomever that was. He hadn't however said how long ago that was, but judging by the state of the building and it's interior it could be quite some time ago. Flicking his gaze over his glasses controls, Hank tried to pick up any local radio signals which may give them more information as unless someone had a shedload of crazy glue and a spare couple of lifetimes to put Murdoch back together again, he wasn't going to tell them anything else.
Paige hadn’t said a single word since her earlier berating of herself and her actions, the southerner was still very much pissed off about the situation and about having been lied to by The Timebroker so in all aspects the group might not be hearing much out of her until she cooled down. Still standing in the same spot she’d just minutes before been laying in a heap in Paige watched and listened as first Barry and then Rogue left the room, overhearing Rogue’s little speech the metamorph felt a strong desire to knock miss ‘rookie’ upside her head although most of those feelings came from the mere fact that here she was boasting about how they needed to act like a team when in fact it was Rogue herself who almost turned Paige into a pile of burnt wood by flaming right as she and Tessa had made to leave the room.

Slowly moving across the room and towards the doorway Paige enjoyed the soft ‘thumping’ noise her boots made as the connected with the floor, her slow even pace creating a comforting rhythm of noise. As she reached the doorway leading into the hall Paige peaked her head around to see Rogue’s form standing near to Tessa as she gave her pretty little speech about teamwork. Without one single word spoken Paige strides out through the doorway and into the hall, reaching Rogue in record time and as she did so Paige formed her right hand into a fist which was soon raised and poised to connect with Rogue’s face, not event thinking about the consequences of her actions Paige let her right hand connect squarely with Rogue’s face. “Teamwork huh? Didn’t look much like teamwork when yuh went and endangered my life by flaming back there….” Paige snarled finally finding her voice; her blue eyes were blazing with anger as she locked gazes with Rogue’s green eyes.
With Victoria and Spider-man downstairs talking, and Barry on the stairs between flights, Paige made her way purposefully toward Rogue. But as she connected, she realized quickly that she should have thought the plan out a little better before she let her anger get the better of her. As the punch connected, it did indeed send Rogue toppling backwards onto her butt, but it also sent Paige reeling as well. For while the skin to skin contact was not enough to do any permanent damage, it did send a jolt through Paige that knocked her backwards in the opposite direction. In fact the contact was so brief that Rogue did not experience any of Husk’s powers and only the faintest wisps of her thoughts, but it definitely left the young blonde Southerner with reason to never do that again.

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