2019-02-18: Better than ...P?

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Featuring Captain Marvel, Spider-Man
Rating PG-13
Synopsis A random encounter that has more meaning for one party than the other.

The building is tall, like many in New York. It's noisy, the constant drum of keyboards, machines, and even television monitors situated throughout the press room make that readily apparent. It's also a tourist attraction, at least from the outside. Tourists line up to take a photograph of them and some of the famous (or infamous) newspapers that have been printed throughout the years. The New York Record was the first to break the news about the New Protectors debacle. The writer was given a Pulitzer for his brilliant article that was published just a few hours after it happened.

It's a place that many know about. At least. Many that know about this world, that is. For one Carol Danvers? The tall, leggy blonde in the professional suit jacket (that is a little bit too tight for her), white blouse, and pencil skirt, carrying a really beat-up briefcase, and the look of one that is completely lost? She's pretty much the LAST person that would know what the hell happened back in the 80s here.

In the news room is where she's currently at, standing to one side of the elevator, trying to figure out of the person who directed her up here was nuts, or evil, as turning to the left of the elevators is going to lead her right to the lavatories, while turning to the right of the elevators puts her in the direct path of every cubicle there is known to man, and she has absolutely NO idea which one is hers.

Thus, as the elevator doors *ding* open and *ding* closed, Carol stands there for a moment, idly wondering if she should actually ask for directions, or continue to look lost.

Amidst this din of man, machine and mayhem, some number of cubicles away from the elevator, one young man is just now exiting one of the few actual offices on the floor, the walled-off space standing out pretty noticeably amongst the sea of half-walls and the buzz of heads and computer monitors that are visible above them. That young man has a shock of mahogany brown hair sprouting from his head and a pretty easy-going expression on his features - if just a little nervous. In fact, he lets out a long and slow breath of air once the door behind him closes and he gives himself just a moment before he starts to navigate the maze-like grid of desks and cubicles.

As he moves, one may see the no-frills camera that hangs from his neck, as well as the somewhat rumpled slacks and green checkered button-shirt that he wears. Neither are terribly fancy, but somehow just barely make the code for 'office casual'. He's got a thin manilla folder in one hand, and the other combs through his hair as he seems to be talking to himself quietly. None of the words are remotely intelligible against the dull roar of the rest of the building floor, but from the man's expression they seem to be words of self-encouragement or something similar. That conjecture may be supported by the way he sort of nods to himself and sets his mouth in a decisive line, finally seeming to key in on the way ahead of him rather than focusing on his own thoughts or whatever may have just transpired in that office.

It's at that time that he's just about to the elevators, and he narrows in to the environment around him just in time to not run into the statuesque woman who's rather conspicuously standing there next to the elevators. As they've apparently just closed not too long ago, Peter Parker reaches out to idly push the 'down' button, glancing over to the blonde woman right after. "Um, going down...?" he asks hesitantly, as if not certain the woman is really waiting for the elevators, or what exactly she *is* doing, but it seems like only the polite thing to do. He links his hands in front of himself as the small button lights up and the elevators whurr and thrumm, rocking back on his heels just so slightly as he splits his attention between Carol and the elevator doors, awaiting an answer from the woman.

Look for someone that seems familiar. They're who you're supposed to talk to. Seek the right person out. Jessica is going to give you hell if you fail this, Carol can just hear it now. You got lost -- in a cubicle farm!? Carol will. NEVER. live this down. Ever.

The blonde's gaze flickers from one person, to another, to another. SURELY someone will notice her and offer some manner of assistance. Right? Carol barely notices the slightly shorter man who's speaking to her. Blue gems barely glance over, offering a snide. "Not yet, though even hell would be better than.." And then, Carol's gaze actually LOOKS at the man. Blue eyes look right at him and recognition hits Carol in an instant. "Pea.." She begins to say, then pauses.

No, the person standing there is slightly younger than the Parker that Carol knows. He's slightly thinner, and - perhaps - just minutely different enough that this ISN'T Peter Parker. "Sorry. It's my first day and I'm terribly lost." Her eyes are searching Peter's, seeking some form of recognition that he knows HER.

Carol's free hand extends outwards. "Carol Danvers." And she says it like, just perhaps. PERHAPS. He should know it.

Still waiting there for the elevators, Pete seems to be pretty patient at the moment. He's only got one eye on the double-doors though, most of his attention still waiting for an answer from the woman next to him. The woman who seems increasingly and increasingly lost. In fact, she's so desperately scanning the cubes past him that Peter thinks for a moment she may not have even heard him. And while he's fairly certain at this point that she is, in fact, not heading down to the lobby, he's about to repeat his question when she finally seems to cue in to the fact that he had spoken to her and issues a response.

"Better than P?" he repeats, clearly mystified as to what Carol is trying to get across or was going to say. "I'm afraid you lost me... Unless you're looking for the restrooms? Cause they're, sort of, right behind you.." He makes a minute nod with his head, eyebrows lifting as he indicates the male/female silhouettes on the signs that poke out from the wall there.

Then, he starts getting the really weird scrutiny from the woman. The intense observation causes him to take a single step backwards out of reflex, though his posture remains pretty calm and relaxed, as if even though the woman is looking at him really oddly, he knows he isn't in any sort of real danger. Still, one can see his tongue moving under his lips, as if surreptitiously trying to clean off any errant pieces of lettuce or stray bleu cheese crumbles that my be stuck in his teeth from lunch earlier in the day. And then the greeting - one to which there is absolutely no glint of recognition at all from Peter. His features are completely devoid of any indication that the name or appearance of the woman extending her hand should have any meaning to him. "Peter," he answers almost hesitantly at first, extending his own hand to give a firm (but not *too* firm) shake. "Peter Parker. Just got hired on as a freelance photographer." Just after he says this, the elevators chime with a tinny *ding!*, followed by the low swhooosh of the double doors opening.

God! The desire to say, I KNEW IT! Or, 'yeah I know'. Or even. I can't wait to tell Jess! Is there, at the tip of Carol's tongue. Just about ready to just blurt it out, when she catches herself. There is nothing in the man's eyes that shows recognition. It's as though he's meeting a complete stranger, and Peter Parker is not that good of an actor.

"Nice. To. Meet. You." The words are difficult for Carol to get out. Like. Insanely. Difficult. Like, what the hell, how can Spider-Man not know her, more than that. Is he a native to this world? If so, he'd be the first one that Carol has ran into, or more than that, the first one that she knows even exists! Or - is he a strange transplant like Jessica and herself. Oh the questions! So many questions.

The tall blonde offers a wry grin then, an impish smile to her features, like the cat who ate the canary. So very pleased with suddenly the idea, hey! I know something he doesn't know!

Just before Carol says something that she might end up regretting, a chipper voice echoes next to Parker. "Oh Carol! I'm so sorry, I didn't see you standing there!" The woman that spoke has dark hair and stands a good foot shorter than Peter or Carol. Her eyes are bright and friendly, though, as she inclines her head to Parker. "Hello!" The woman offers, before turning towards Carol. "I've got your cubicle set up right here! I'm so excited to work with you. I can't believe they finally got me an assistant!"

Carol's face grimaces a bit, not that the woman can see, but Parker certainly can. A bright, plastered smile is put on Carol's face then as she offers, "Great, Grace, I was fairly lost. Ah, hey, Mr. Parker." And why does Carol giggle like that? Poor Peter. "Maybe we'll swing into each other another time, huh?" After that, Carol's turning about on her heels and being lead away by her new boss, Grace.

Oooookay. Even if Peter doesn't say the word, it's written all over his face. He is clearly missing something or otherwise is just not in on whatever joke Carol is in on, his right eyebrow creeping upwards just so as the handshake ends. "Right," he finally gets out. "Nice to meet you too." Now, it's his turn to give the blonde a careful scrutiny, perhaps trying to figure out why she's acting so weird or if there's something that he hasn't picked up on that he should have. But there's nothing. And before he gets a chance to say much else, the woman's new boss comes bustling over and the brief encounter between Carol and Peter is at an end.

If the words that Carol uses to mention any future meetings hold any significance to Peter, he doesn't show it on his features, though he does give the woman a half-wave as she's led away, answering her. "Um, sure, yeah, maybe so..." He watches her disappear down the maze of cubes, standing there for a moment to wonder what in the world just happened, before he's brought back to the here and now by the elevator doors closing tight behind him. "Aw, man..." he mutters, whirling around to just catch the hapless shrug of some other individual inside the elevator car as that last sliver of light disappears. "Great," he continues to himself, jabbing his finger out to hit the 'down' button again. "Well. At least I can cross 'income' off of my to-do list. A list that for some reason I think just had a few new items added to it..."