Moving And Shaking


Dan_icon.gif Nicolae_icon.gif Fred_icon.gif Gunn_icon.gif Cordelia_icon.gif Ava_icon.gif


While out in Hollywood, a diverse group of people meet a huge, hungry worm on the street. There is fighting, fire and teeth!

Date It Happened: November 29th, 2001

Moving and Shaking


Hollywood: home of dreams and stars. The afternoon is starting to make it's way toward dusk but the sun has not yet set. An open air cafe has attracted a large number of patrons, tables filled with pairs and groups sipping coffee and tea and munching on pastries. The streets themselves are not crowded, but the occasional tour bus comes by filled with tourists intent on seeing the sights of LA. Others have set up tables trying to sell knick-knacks and souvenirs to those very same tourists. All is peaceful and laid back, the way that Californians have prided itself on. Most of the noise is chatter and the sound of cars driving by.

Hollywood is not really the sort of place one would typically find Dan, but his parents requested to meet him here, and so here he is. Of course, the meeting with his parents has been over for some time, but he's in no hurry to get back just yet. Looking very out-of-place in pants that are frayed about the hems and have patched holes in the knees and butt, and an old black Nirvana T-shirt, the man ambles aimlessly along, glancing at a few knick-knacks now and then, though he has no interest in buying anything.

Commuting is no one's favorite thing to do, but when you're having to carpool too and from work and the 'car' in question is a relic from the '80s that runs on prayer and delusions of adequacy, every afternoon is a trial. If it's not the same Bob Seger tape stuck in the deck, it's the lack of air conditioning. Or, as is the case today, the busted fuel gauge. Nicolae's co-worker and thoughtful provider of vehicular assistance maintains that the 'E' stands for 'enough'. What brings him to this part of town is the unfortunate fact that the 'E' does in fact not stand for anything, and that way it has faded at the bottom to resemble an 'F' is no coincidence at all. For 'Fail'.
While his co-worker Gene stays with the car, a ways up the street over thataway, Nicolae is lugging a gas can and making his way to the nearest station to pick up some fuel to limp Gene's 'Love Wagon' at least as far as Nicolae's apartment. Beyond that, the sullen young man is privately hoping the damned thing explodes in a fireball of holy wrath. The car must be undead-that's the only way he can imagine it's still running. So here he is, walking past the cafe and giving off waves of 'surly' that clear him a path.

It's been a long and somewhat exhausting day for Fred. What with actually venturing out through the doors of Hyperion and then shopping until she really does feel like dropping. However, the trio of Angel Investigation folks have come back successful - at least as successful as underwear shopping can be. Gripping on tight to her pink Victoria's Secret bag, her eyes dart from shop to cafe to stand, taking it all in and assessing it for danger. Trying to stay as close to her friends as possible, it's hard to say if she's enjoying herself or is just trying to enjoy herself for Cordelia's sake.

Big Pimpin'… Spendin' Cheese. That's very likely the song that's in the head of Charles Gunn as he walks down the street in close proximity of both Cordelia and Fred. Normally, he might look out of place in such a world, considering his 'street' visage. However, with this being Hollywood and with the girls carrying Victoria's Secret bags, he may or may not resemble a Pimp without the hat and cane combination. He sure as hell sees to be wearing a big enough smile to be one. He doesn't have anything to say at the moment, choosing more to remain in the role of strong and silent protector and escort.

It has nothing, at all, to do with the fact that he was just in Victoria's Secret with a Underwear Try Out Montage of Epic and Screenshot Proportions. Honest.

Cordelia, of course, is always a fan when there's shopping involved. She's got several bags where Fred has one, and she's got a bright smile. Her own mood is somewhat infectious. New clothes!!

As Dan passes by one of the open tables, the vendor there tries to chat him up and get him to stay and browse his wares. "Incense, candles, you look like you could use some good incense for your apartment. Impress your lady friends. Or your guy friends, this is LA, we don't care." Everyone else in the area is just as friendly, though most people pick up on Nicolae's 'don't come near me' vibe as he moves his way down the street and give him a wide berth of space. As the parties start walking toward each other, the ground that they all stand on shifts and shakes, gently at first, but then more persistent. It continues like that, shaking just enough to make people lose their balance if they're not careful, for a few moments and then all is steady again. Just an earthquake, right?

Right. That's what Dan assumes, anyway. Despite the vendor's pitch, he only spares the table a few moments' glance. He doesn't live in his apartment, so he doesn't care about incense, and he definitely doesn't have any lady or guy friends. When the ground trembles, he steadies himself, hands coming out of his pockets to help maintain his balance. Once the tremor passes, he remains still a moment just to be sure it's gone. Ah, LA. You shaky, shaky city, you.

This recent bit of tectonic tomfoolery does little to disabuse Nicolae of his impression that the world itself has some issue with him getting home today. He's startled, drawing in a hiss of breath in his alarm and casting about wide-eyed in a moment of blind panic from which he recovers a heartbeat later in an even more surly mood. He stands perfectly still, apart from the bit where the ground under his feet is making him move, until everything calms down. He draws in a slow breath and mutters a litany of unpleasant things as he prepares to move along. That's when he spots both Gunn, flanked by honeys and Dan, accosted by street vendors, and the coincidence jolts his mood up a few notches from 'I'mma kill a fool' to 'someone might get maimed a little'.

As Fred is thoroughly investigating everything that is happening, she spots Dan at one of the vendors and quickly moves to duck behind the taler Gunn. She's still embarrassed by the way she reacted in front of him the other day and doesn't really want to have to remember that while she's trying to make progress on the outside world. Eyes turned downward, when the ground starts to shake, she gives a startled and surprised yelp, reaching out to grab a hold of whoever is close enough in order to keep herself on her feet. And then, even when the moving and shaking has stopped, she doesn't let go.

That would be Gunn. He doesn't have any bags from Victoria's Secret (in exchange, he does have the phone number of the cutie that worked the cash register), so he's much easier to deal with in terms of the ground shaking and things of that nature. Strange amusement is on his face as he tries to keep up with Fred's hiding nature, but then the ground starts moving and he's reaching with his strong arms to make sure she stays on her feet. "You okay?" is asked of Fred, as he notices she has not chosen to let go yet. Eyes immediately go up and around to the immediate area, where he catches sight of Nicolae and, after a moment of hesitation, he offers a familiar nod of greeting. Sup.

Cordelia is heading on with the others. She feels the tremor, and grabs on to the nearest stable object, which much as in Fred's case, happens to be Gunn. Gunn, who now has both Fred and Cordy clinging to him. Sometimes, life can be good. Earthquakes don't shake her beyond the physical, though; she's a California girl. So she grabs on for stability and then calmly waits it out.

It would seem that all has passed for now. After people collectively check on others to make sure they're okay and then laugh about the strange…weather? What does one comment on with an earthquake? Stands are righted, merchandise put back in place and refills gotten of mugs and glasses that toppled over. Just when everything seems to be getting back to normal, a large hole opens up underneath the vendor that was trying to get Dan's attention. Up slithers a very large worm-like demon with an open mouth who snaps up the vendor to the tune of agonized screaming. His table is pushed over, incense and candles scattering all over the pavement. The creature crashes back down onto the pavement, shaking everything and everyone up again. Now there is screaming and running.

Whilst helping the vendor to right his table and the like, Dan happens to spot Fred and her escort, and down comes that awkward feeling. He didn't exactly part on the best of terms the other night, and really, he could probably get away with just disappearing into the recovering crowd and not have to worry about it. But with guilt and shame comes the need to apologize, which is more overwhelming than the need to run. Besides, she's outside — that's a good sign, right? He didn't permanently damage her. So Dan starts to make his way over toward Gunn, Cordelia, and Fred — a move which ultimately saves his life, because he's just out of range when the big worm-thing makes its violent appearance. This time he's too close and caught too off-guard to stay on his feet. When the creature comes crashing down onto the pavement like some wriggly wormy shark after a five-star leap out of the ocean, Dan hits the ground, too, hard on his side and elbow. There'll be bruising, possibly a strain or a hairline fracture, but who gives a damn about that? There's a huge ugly thing right there.

Nicolae returns Gunn's chin-salute, supplying wordless commentary on the man's 'accessories' with the slight upward jump of his eyebrows and the barest trace of a grin. Within his limited range of expressions that one translates to 'Dayum, son'. Only in Hungarian. Anyway-
He's already diverted from his quest for overpriced gasoline to feed a lost cause anyway, so he starts to make his way closer to the others. That's around the time the bigass worm-thing pops up and starts with the eating of the people. This, perversely, ramps up Nicolae's mood meter straight to 'Oh happy day!" and he picks up the pace a bit, depositing the gas can underneath one of the cafe's tables as he reaches into his coat for one of the hurtful implements that weighs down its inner lining. In a rehash of the last time they met, Nic hastens over to offer Dan a hand up, while looking over at Gunn because now that it's Go Time there should be some coordinating.

Everything is starting to go back to normal and Fred is just at the stage where she thinks she can let go of Gunn. She takes a deep breath and glances around at everyone putting themselves right again. "Yeah. I'm—-" And then the large worm jumps out of the ground and devours a poor vendor and whatever it is that she was going to say completely turns out to be false. She's no longer fine. Not at all. She screams and clings tighter to Gunn, quickly turning her face toward him and away from the scary monster that looks like it's about to eat them all up.

This is not good. Not just the running and screaming of people. But there's the whole angle of a giant worm like demon that's decided it wants to ruin a perfectly good outing… and the fact that Gunn was actually looking like a pimp there for a few moments. The Token Black Gunn immediately switches from relaxed to Angel Replacement in less time than it takes the vendor to get swallowed.
Now Gunn has to do something he -really- doesn't want to do at this point. He has to forcibly remove Fred from clinging to him by going all Big Black Man and pushing her off towards the other AI Hottie known as Cordelia Chase. "Get movin'!" are the words that come out as if he's some sort of leader of the pack. He has no idea /where/ they're going to get moving to, but so long as both girls get to safety, that's all he's worried about. But Cordy is more than capable of making sure Fred moves instead of freaks out like the dickens, right? Gunn's hoping so, anyway!
"Nic! Please tell me you brought goodies!" is called out towards the surly Team Gunn member, as Gunn is already breaking away from the girls and hopping over a piece of stand debris, one hand already going into the air for anything that Nic may toss in his direction.
Wait. Where'd the worm go?

Oh. Heck. Cordelia looks over at the demon, eyes wide, and then looks in a vaguely skyward direction. "Oh, sure! NOW you don't make with the warnings?!" But she moves over to Fred. "Come on!" She'll reach out to grab the slender girl's arm…getting behind cover sounds like a really good idea right now.

Where has the worm gone is a very good question. One that all parties should be asking. After all the commotion that it caused, it slithered off with more stealth than one would assume that it should have. Maybe it's finished it's meal? One vendor is enough? Unfortunately, that's not the case. The Powers That Be remain completely silent for Cordelia at the moment, which is probably a good thing because that would leave both women incapacitated. However, whether it be the sound of their feet on the pavement or the fact that they're running toward a more crowded place with lots more food, the worm bursts out of the ground with another ground shaking appearance. Slithering a lot faster than something that size should, it's mouth opens as wide as it's body as it makes it's way toward tourists and Fred and Cordelia.

Dan thoughtlessly takes the offered hand and is hauled onto his feet, but once he sees the man who has helped him up, Dan stares. "You." Again! During yet another really bizarre crisis! Coincidence? Dan doesn't know, and he doesn't get much time to think about it. The ground quakes again and the worm-beast starts snaking its way toward Cordelia and Fred and the rest of the crowd. It's the first two he's focused on, though. He actually knows them. Sorta. So Dan doesn't hesitate to charge toward them and, if he can, leap, tackle, shove, push, and otherwise get them out of the thing's path.

Nicolae gives Dan a quick nod and grunts distractedly in reply. Once the man's on his feet again, Nic shrugs out of his coat in order to address Gunn's request. "I just got off work!" he protests as he rummages through the strategically torn inner lining of thie ratty overcoat. "Nothing so big as—" he gestures in the vague direction the worm was, last time he saw it, and then continues to unload all the hurting he's packed (quite uncomfortably) into the garment. An ice pick, a pipe wrench, two stakes, a machete and a set of brass knuckles that seem laughable in light of what they're up against. He tosses Gunn the wrench for a start, hefting the machete and sliding the ice pick through his belt as he casts about during the worm demon's brief absence. Against his usual roster of baddies it's usually enough. "Next time," he mutters, eyeing the rumpled overcoat, "I find a way to fit a tank in there."
This coincides with the demon's reappearance, Dan's mad dash to the rescue,
This coincides with the demon's reappearance and Dan's mad dash to the rescue, which is a sentiment Nicolae has no problem getting behind. Blame his upbringing. He was raised to believe that one not only -can- take on something this enormous with the meager implements he's packing, but -should-, and that in the olden days they slew things twice this big with half as much weaponry.

She knew this would happen. She knew it! Leave the safety of the hotel and something along the lines of big worm, person eating demon would appear and kill them all. Getting out of the way is a great idea and Fred is whimpering as she's led quickly away from the devastation by Cordelia only to find that they way that they're heading is not at all away. Instead it is toward. There's not another scream from the woman. Instead, she just grips on tighter and tighter to the other woman's arm. Hopefully she didn't need circulation there. Frozen in place as the creature's jaws open wide to try and devour them, she can't even move. She survived five years as a slave in Pylea only to be killed by some over-sized maggot in LA. Irony, huh?

A little overthrown, but Gunn's tall so he snatches the wrench out of the air. Not a good weapon, but it'll have to do. "Great. Thanks /Luigi/." is the little sarcastic commentary that comes from Gunn as he finds himself backing up and sliding on his heels to spin around and head back in the direction he just came from: Fred and Cordelia. Definitely, this is going to take some ingenuity… or a crapload of luck. Something that Angel Investigations never really seems to have.
Rushing towards the giant worm thing, while looking around at the chaos (and stands, to see if anything more practical and WEAPONY was being sold) and checking to see Dan (The Mother F'n Man!) flinging towards Fred and Cordy, he can kind of take a breath. They should be okay, right? So cue the loud whistle to see if he can't get the worm's attention. "Are they /really/ filming a Beetlejuice sequel? /Seriously/?"

One thing about Cordelia…growing up in Sunnydale sort of inures you to the whole "stand and scream" reaction; you end up dead if you do that. So her reaction is "move and scream". Specifically, she pulls out her mace spray from her purse, and lobs the thing right at the worm's gullet. Chew on that. Oh, she still screams, make no mistake. Just that she throws WHILE screaming. And then moves to tug herself and Fred aside.

This is a big worm and while Dan, Nicolae and Gunn's actions are all heroic and noble, there's not much fists, wrenches or even a simple machete is going to do to make it stop going after its food. It pauses though, when the onslaught comes near and opens it's jaws again to show rows of sharp and pointy teeth. No, this is not a movie and it's going to take a lot more than just small weaponry to do them any good. Unfortunately for Gunn, there's not much in the way of good weaponry in order to beat a massive maggot. There are a lot of matches and lighters, keychains and that sort of thing should he want to light himself a cigarette before he's eaten. With it's jaws still wide open, it swallows the can of mace whole, pauses to make a little bit of a choking sound, but then continues on his attack attempting to chomp off Dan's head while making to simply run over Nicolae. Gunn will be next to the feast.

As has been proven before, Dan is not a fighter. Without a wok at hand, he's not even a 'sorta-fighter-by-necessity'. And thanks to some quick footing, he's not headless either, though that thing's teeth came way too close for comfort. Being not-a-fighter, Dan does the next-best thing: he leaps over to Fred and Cordelia's side and starts trying to usher them to a safer distance. "Go, go, go!" Oh, and, uh, he'll be moving to a safer distance too. Yeah.

Ava had a vision.

It came with a suddeness, but less spectacularity as Cordelia's onsets. In fact, she was in the middle of a tarot reading for old Mr. Meriwether, a dear if somewhat flutter elder gay man who used to choreagraph for old Hollywood musicals. One minute she was telling him about his latest far-too-young lover's intention to run away with the poolboy, and the next she was rambling about violent, underfed phallic symbols. Fortunately for her, Meriwether thought that was about him too and paid her fee anyway. That said, once the dear old chickenhawk was escorted out the door, she grabbed Nicolae's favorite sword and took off.

It bears mentioning that this would be the first time Nicolae's actually encountered anything this big. He quickly arrives at the conclusion that his uncles probably exaggerated their luck against things like this. It turns out that his estimate of his weaponry was regrettably spot on and there isn't a tank in sight. He throws himself to the street to avoid getting flattened by the maggot, snatching up a Zippo lighter from the scattering of knicknacks now adorning the pavement as he rolls back to his feet and starts casting about for a solution that doesn't involve failing to impress the monster with the hacky-hacky.

In the state that Fred is in now, she's quite easy to lead around just about anywhere. Clinging on to Cordelia, she doesn't yell or get pushy when Dan yells at them to move, instead, she follows and tries to keep as close to her friend as possible. Outside is a bad place. Bad things happen outside.

There's a reason why he's from the hood. Gunn is not about to let this worm eat them. Or, well, he's not about to let this worm eat Fred and Cordy. He's pretty sure Nic can take care of himself and he only knows Dan's trying to help… but anyway, there are bigger things to worry about at the moment than whether or not he's going to be going to any funerals. Like whether or not he's going to cause indigestion.
With Gunn's eyes opening up to see the worm headed in his direction, he's turning and breaking off in a run. His mind is doing that racing thing and when he spots a cheap stand that's been leaned on its back legs, he snatches up a couple of lighters. "Cordelia!" is called out as he races with the power of Black Man Speed to put some distance between himself and the worm. "If you love me, you'll have brought hairspray with you! I need it!" God, he hopes she can throw. "/Now/."

There's a sudden blink of surprise. But then, Cordelia always has hairspray. Her hand goes into her purse, and then whips it in Gunn's direction. Let the flourocarbon-based destruction begin. Oddly enough, she -can- throw. A few years as a semi-Scooby help.

Whether anyone is about to get eaten us up for debate. As the worm notices that Dan and his other three prey are getting out of his wobbly grasp (or sharp teeth) it turns his attention to the more troublesome group of people coming to try and hurt it. Opening and closing it's wide mouth a few times it rears up onto it's back tail and almost hisses at Nicolae and his Zippo lighter. Then, there's an undulation and it attempts to crush him again under its massive weight. Crushed food is just as good as whole food. Flattened and gooey food doesn't need as much digestion. And with a belly full of mace, that's something that it's going to have to care about later.

Now apparently out of the creature's line of fire, Dan pauses with Cordelia and Fred and watches the chaos in the sort of manner one watches a trainwreck. A trainwreck that's trying to eat you. And everybody around you. So it's more like watching a rabid lion attack than a trainwreck. A big slimy wriggling rabid lion attack.

(Usul, we have worm-sign the likes of which God has never seen.)

Ava's arrival is heralded by a moment of complete and utter staring as she looks at creature once she's skidded to a stop, trying to catch her breath. Then, "Nicu!" The sword is tossed, sailing into the air at a slightly slanted angle, primed for the young Roma man to catch in appropriate manner to buckle his swash. For her part, Ava turns to face the creature again, her mouth curling into a frown and eyes becoming dark with concentration. A hand is upraised, spread out, fingers half curled. "Thicken." she whispers, and a semi-visible barrier starts to form along the length of the squirming form of Shai-Hulud's kid brother, about the strength of an inch of steel plate. It likely will only hold it for a moment.

It's not that Nicolae has a martyr fetish or anything, but there's really only so much you can chalk up to courage and when someone's standing his ground beneath the looming maw of a gigantic demon maggot armed only with a machete and a Zippo? Yeah. Back home they called it 'Tuesday', but here it's more commonly regarded as candidacy for a Darwin Award. His eyes are wider than they've been in two years, to better take in the moment. This is gonna sting.
Ava's voice shakes him from his brief bout with fatalistic resignation and when he looks over her way to see the sword heading toward him he frees a hand by pitching the machete at the worm, snatching the incoming sword, and running the hell away, toward the gas can he put down when the worm first showed up. It's got a little bit left in it, and he's got a vague notion that it might do more good here than trying to resuscitate his co-worker's barely running bondo-beast.

Now that they're sort of out of danger, Fred doesn't stop clinging to Cordelia. Instead, she's just down-turned and gripping onto her now very crumpled Victoria Secret bag and Cordelia as much as tightly as possible.

Unfortunately, Cordelia can throw a little bit too well. And Gunn has to actually jump in order to snatch up the hairspray can! His body collides with the ground, something sharp going into his side and causing both bleeding and a wince that's too manly. But he can't stop, because he's rolling over and popping the top off the hairspray.
Pause. Slow Motion. Ava? What the hell? There's a blink and a nod (with a smile) towards her and her magical hands. Even if she came to save Nicu. Still, it's nice to have back up. And the smile is enough to show that he's genuinely grate— Uh, Gunn? Giant Worm. Like… right there. Remember?
Gunn's attention goes back to fast motion and he's popping the lighter up. "I should be shot for sayin' this but…" And there's the lighter ignited and the hairspray brought to the flame and pushed down. "Flame On."
Yes, Dan. Ghetto Flamethrower.

Cordelia makes sure that she and Fred are behind cover, and then starts to "help", which pretty much consists of throwing anything in arms reach at the stupid worm. Except the bags of clothing. One does not defile holy relics like that.

When the worm comes crashing down, it his against the semi-visible barrier. While it doesn't slow the worm down, it does much like branches will do to a person's fall - it slows it down. It gives Nicholae enough time to dodge out of the way and go for his gas can. With all that momentum, there's very little it can do to not crash down on the machete and it makes a high pitched whining sound when that happens. Thrashing about in pain, it's tail swishes for Ava. Fire seems to be the thought of the fight as Gunn fires up his Flamethrower Hood Style. Luckily for team leader, no one has any sort of firearm so he remains bullet free for his pun. The worm is not so lucky, it starts to catch on fire and then burn. The trashing becomes more pronounced and violent as it crushes tables, cracks the sidewalk and almost rolls toward Dan, Cordelia and Fred as it tries to put itself out.

Flinging things. Well, it's not much, but maybe it will serve as a distraction. After some hesitation, Dan starts to join halfheartedly in the Peanut Gallery Help Squad. First he throws whatever knick-knacks are closest. Then he reaches for one of the Victoria's Secret bags to give it a launch. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), that's about the time the worm starts rolling in their direction. Dan uses his free hand to grab for Cordelia and Fred and haul them back out of the thing's path. Too close, too close!

A swipe of the tail sends Ava flying back, hitting the ground with an audible and wheezy, "Ow." No action from the witchy this round, folks. She's going to have some lovely bruising, and right now it's all about picking herself up off her feet. She's also really pissed off. As she struggles to rise, she runs through her catalog of spells for the witch on the go.

Now that he's started running, Nicolae doesn't stop. He snatches up the gas can and circles around as he takes stock of the situation. Gunn's got the fire thing covered, a fact that helps him decide that he'll be joining in the random-object-flingage with what he's sincerely hoping will serve as a passable grenade surrogate. "Down!" he bellows as he runs, without directing the advice toward anyone in particular. It seems like a really great idea for all of them, in his mind. He whips the gas can toward the burning maggot, aiming toward its mouth without stopping. His destination is, quite predictably, Ava, whom he staggers and skids to a halt in front of and tries to dissuade from standing up just yet. He forgets to take his own advice.

Very much too close. In the first offensively defensive move Fred also grabs a hold of the tossing things Cordelia and attempts to yank her back. The extra force given by Dan's attempt also helps and between the three of them, they should all get out of the way of the flaming worm with merely singes as opposed to third degree burns. At the command from Nicolae, she also attempts to pull them downwards, hopefully far enough away from the bouncing worm on fire.

Gunn is not about to let up. He honestly doesn't know what's going on around him, as he's more focused on keeping the flames going than he is seeing what the others are doing. His eyes clench closed and he continues to send the burning flames of Ghetto Justice off in the direction of the worm, even if it just continues to fall in a direction that's not where Gunn is. Bonus.

Cordy yelps in surprise as she gets tugged back by Fred. She still, however, doesn't let that Victoria's Secret bag get tugged out of her hand. "What are you gonna do, beat it to death with brassieres? Use the heavy stuff!!!"

Thrashing and whining in a strange voice, the worm demon thrashes, crashing into whatever and whoever is in it's way. The few patrons of the cafe that had been hiding under their tables are fleeing in terror again or being set on fire. When Nicolae tosses his gas can at the worm, it doesn't do anything immediately. Instead, it's almost like a slow countdown of when the gas will hit the fire. There's not actually much gas in that can, but with the combustible nature of the worm and the fire and everything else having to do with a fantasy realm, after a couple of moments, it explodes into a rain of fiery worm flesh, teeth and goo.

Dan doesn't get much time to answer. Down he goes, and he's even noble enough to try to shield Cordelia and Fred and yes, even the Victoria's Secret bags with his own body. Thus when there is an explosion of epic proportions, he gets the brunt of the worm-shrapnel. A few bits of teeth get lodged into his back and shoulders, adding to an injured arm, but he'll live. Unless they're poisonous. Wouldn't that be an excellent end to the day?

"I'm fine, I - UGH." And that's what Ava has to say about having worm goo rain down on her. "Why does it always have to be so messy?" she complains, holding out her hand to Nicolae. She looks like a rat drowned in sewage and is hating every moment of it. "Let's get Gunn back to the warehouse, I think he's hurt."

When the demon maggot erupts in a fountain of gore, Nicolae is in the middle of giving Ava a stern look and trying to make her take cover, and so his back gets doused with steaming squishy bits and pokey sharp bits as he gets lifted off his feet, arms windmilling while he's airborne.
His face hits the pavement before the sword dislodged from his grasp does, and the resultant groan is nearly drowned out by the clatter of steel as the weapon comes to rest. He picks himself up cautiously, grumbling irritably-as sure sign that all is right in his world as anything- and looks up to take Ava's hand, getting helped to his feet as he reminds, "I did tell you to get down."

Briefly distracted by a tooth poking out of his shoulder, he gives the foreign object an experimental wiggling before opting to leave it be while it's plugging a hole some kind of demony fluid might otherwise leak into. Clearing his throat, he then looks around to see how everyone else is doing. Odds are he's in much better shape than either Dan or Gunn at the moment.

After the worm has exploded and Fred has taken a deep breath, she stands up and checks to make sure both Dan and Cordelia are okay. With with all the teeth and the gore and the goo, which Dan has thankfully saved Fred from the worst of, it's hard to tell what is his injuries and what is from just being close to an exploding fiery worm. As for herself, she's splattered (as opposed to covered) in goo and she has a few minor scratches, but Dan's protection did it's job. "Are ya'll okay? Can you stand?" And, though she knows Dan is hurt, she stands a bit and tries to survey the damage because someone she knows has in more of the brunt of it and she's pretty worried about what happened to him. "Charles?!"

Poor Gunn?Lucky Son of a Gunn? Many different choices for the way that Gunn has ended up. With the explosion comes the dousing of the flames and the fact that Gunn was in mid-roll away when it happened. Still, though, he's absolutely drenched in the nasty gunk that was the worm and whatever the worm had inside it.
"Can't nobody take my pride. Can't nobody hold me down." He only lays there for a moment, before remembering (thanks to Fred calling his name) that he wasn't here by himself and pulls himself up to somewhat unsteady feet. "Everybody okay?" is being asked of the people that he knows, as he's already starting to limp his way off towards the familiar faces. One hand reaching down to try and hold back the blood that's seeping out of his side. Ow.

Cordelia finds herself rained on in demon ick. Unfortunately, she can't say this is the first time she's been doused in demon ick. She stands, and hurries over towards Gunn, moving to use her hand to quickly scoop away any ick from getting in his wound. Demon ick plus wounds never goes well. "We should get you back and get you bandaged up."

Now that the worm is gone, all that is left is a lot of clean up. There are holes in the ground, cafes ruined and a lot of blood and gore all over the sidewalk. Everyone has run from this normally plush part of town leaving only those who stayed behind to fight it. What with the police, though, they'll most likely be by soon in order to clean up and scratch their heads as to what exactly happened.

For his part, Dan does not say anything, nor does he move. He just continues to kneel where he is, eyes closed and focus entirely on his breathing. He can hear everyone moving around and talking, so they must be all right. Nobody is dead. All he has to worry about is stopping the ringing in his ears, not thinking about the pain in his arm or back, and not having some kind of mental breakdown. Two bizarre, inexplicable occurrences in one weekend — it's a bit much.

Ava lets out a little sound of dismay when she sees that Nicolae is hurt. Once she's certain he doesn't seem too upset about the injury, she turns and looks over at Gunn and the two gaja. "That's just what we were saying." Ava's tone is suspiscious, even if just mildly so. "Gunn? You look rattled."

It doesn't seem as though a light peppering of maggot bits or an impact with the street took much wind from Nicolae's sails. He starts heading toward Gunn, only to draw up short and fix Cordelia and Fred with curious looks as they begin to fuss over him. He nods to support Ava's statement. Yep, they're all on the same page. "Where do you mean?" he asks Cordelia, before consulting Gunn on a final decision. After a moment he lets go of Ava's hand and breaks off to go check on Dan, who looks to be faring the worst overall.

Once the proverbial dust as settled, Fred stays by Dan, because he's injured enough to not be able to completely stand. She can't just leave him, even if she wants to rush over to check and make sure that Gunn is alright. He's bleeding, but he's talking and standing and generally seems to be in good order. Cordelia is already doing that and she'd probably do a much better job of it than Fred would, being all worried and in the way and stuff. So, she stays with Dan and tries to check out all his wounds, unsure of what she should really do about them. "Are you alright? Thanks for trying to save me and Cordelia and our underthings," she says softly, still shaken up. "Now I guess you're thinking we're the ones who're the terrorists." Just don't say anything about slave girls.

"It's just a scratch." Gunn explains both to Cordelia and Ava, as much as he can try to do. His eyes send a glance around the immediate area, before pausing for a brief moment on Fred, looking her over to make sure she's alright and then a wince happens because of Cordelia's fingers and her wiping and he's looking down at her hand to see what the hell she's doing! "I'm uh…" These words are meant for Nicu and Ava. "… gonna' make sure these two get home okay. Then I'll be home." Eyes move up to find Ava's and Nic's. "Thanks for the assist, guys." Team Gunn Teamwork!

Cordy seems to decide Gunn is wounded lightly enough that he can make it back. She looks to him, and then back to Dan. "Somebody should get him to a doctor."

Which would be the cue for the faint sound of sirens in the background. Police, ambulances, fire department, they're all coming in to clean up and damage control.

People are talking to him. Dan glances up at Fred, then at Nicole, and slowly starts to take in everything else. Place is a mess. It looks like some foreign planet now. Which is fitting, because that's about how Dan feels: like he's on another planet. He straightens a little and starts to brush gunk off his shoulders. "No, no, I … don't think that." Well, maybe Nic and Ava. They seem to be magnets for this stuff. "I think I need a shower." And some tweezers. He starts to get to his feet, shaky but stable.

"To the Hyperion?" Ava hazzards a guess. She flicks her gaze toward Cordelia and Fred, thoughtfully assessing. Fred is even worth a bit of a second look from the gypsy girl, but then her eyes stray to…Cordelia's shoes. "Are those Jimmy Choos?"

"Right," Nicolae replies, acknowledging Gunn's decision to go with the honeys. They seem nice enough, in the 'still here despite the hell-maggot' kind of way, which earns them props. He's not exactly surprised, considering their escort. He nods in agreement with Cordelia and turns his full attention toward Dan. "Someone should."
For a heartbeat he's got every intention of helping the poor fellow out. Sirens, however, trigger an instinctive reaction in him, one that has him hesitating only long enough to give the poor, put-upon delivery man a congratulatory nod before crossing the street to pick up his discarded sword, and then crossing back toward where Ava is getting ready to talk shoes. He takes her hand and gvies her an impatient look, jerking his head toward the direction of outta here. It's time to make themselves scarce.

From her place by Dan's side, Fred gingerly inspects the wounds, though she really doesn't have any idea what to do with them after looking. "I think you do, too. We all do." She glances around at the others just in time to catch the looks she gets from Ava and Nic and she pauses before she adds, "I think we're gonna get you an ambulance to make sure you're okay." Suddenly feeling like she's in charge of taking care of Dan, she tries to do something that may just come off as patronizing instead of the comfort she means it to be. "You did very well for you're first time! Now, the sirens are coming so that means you're closer to getting all those teeth out of your body. The sure look like they could hurt." It's a strange sort of comfort because she's still all nervous herself, but she wasn't sucked back into Pylea and she didn't die. That's got to count for something.

Cordelia makes sure that an ambulance is called for people, and she blinks in surprise at Ava's question. She's used to being the lone island of estrogen in a sea of testosterone (Fred doesn't count; when you don't love shopping and can't do your own makeup, you have a terminally low estrogen count.) "Yes!" she says, in a chipper voice, before remembering, and looking down. "…which looked much nicer before being covered in goo."

"Hunh." is Ava's reply, which is sort of an agreement, and sort of a general commentary on the situation. She looks up to Nicolae, winces at his injury and says, "We can't afford the hospital. Let's go home. I'll break out the cheap whiskey, needle, and catgut." With a sigh, she moves along with him to head off. It's not like they haven't dealt with wounds before.

It's not really patronizing, it's actually just pretty confusing. "First time— ?" Dan mumbles. First time implies that there will be more times. First time implies that there are other times like this one. Oh dear God. The sound of sirens also sends a snap of electricity down Dan's spine, but he doesn't make a hasty retreat like Nic and Ava (though he does watch them as they go). "I don't have insurance," he groans. And even if he did, what would the claim be? 'Was attacked by a giant worm with large teeth. Fell and caused hairline fracture in arm. Worm exploded, causing teeth and debris to lodge in back.'

"Good times," Nicolae replies indifferently as he turns to depart, leading Ava toward where he dropped his coat and then, on the long trek back home. He's completely forgotten about Gene and the junkpile waiting on him to bring back some gas.

"Sure! You know, with worms the size of cars and stuff." Not getting that this is probably confusing Dan more, well, Fred would continue on this vein for awhile if she wasn't interrupted again by his reality check. "Oh, I'm sure we could help you with something. I mean, you were the one that helped Cordy and me. Couldn't just leave you all hard up in the hospital. Plus, you could just show them all the teeth and they'd have to believe you! Or you could say it was a really big dog. With no legs that was slithery and more worm-like than a dog." She's rambling again. Finally, she comes to a rambling stop and just looks over at Cordelia in question, definitely ready to go home as soon as they see Dan into an ambulance.

Cordelia has little else to say. She's dripping in demon goo, Gunn's hurt, Fred's gooey…about the only thing that makes the day bright are the completely plastic, non-porous bags. That's right, rest easy. The undies are safe.

Within moments, the ambulance and police are here to take whisk off those who were hurt to the hospital and the police to start putting together what is left of the wreckage. Soon, bright yellow 'Police Line' tape is wrapped around telephone poles and street lights. The firefighters don't take long to put out the last of the flaming worm goo and then try to right tables and chairs and put things into some semblance of order. Dan is whisked away and Fred, Cordelia and Gunn can manage to slip away in the commotion with their still safe bags of underwear as Ava and Nicolae have already done so. Just another crazy afternoon in LA.

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