6293/Strawberry or Chocolate Banana

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Strawberry or Chocolate Banana
Date of Scene: 27 January 2019
Location: Shake Shack
Synopsis: Greasy cheeseburgers and shakes...
Cast of Characters: Spider-Woman (Drew), Black Panther

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
A greasy burger promised is a covenant that cannot be broken. Especially when that promise is made to a king. And so, after Jarvis negotiated the terms between the King and Jessica in their respective rooms, a car arrived to take them to Jessica's choice of restaurants where a greasy cheeseburger could be procured.

"Shake Shack is awesome!" Jessica gushes, as the two approach the door. She turns to look at T'Challa, who'd probably look far more regal in a pair of sweat pants than she does in her black leather pants, boots, and jacket. Beneath the jacket, only her bodysuit, of crimson gradient adorned with shining gold spiderweb. At least she isn't rocking the sweaty ponytail today, but the New York wind catches her hair and throws it right across her face as she's turned to address him. Fantastic. "Best burgers around," she states, muffled through a mane of dark hair.

Black Panther has posed:
The night of T'Challa's arrival was far better than the Wakandan could have hoped for. Looking forward to seeing his friends again was nothing compared to actually seeing them. The feelings of comraderie that have become more rare in T'Challa's life since taking the throne.

Remembering dinner with the young Miss Drew was enough by itself to bring out a smile. The lopsided, private smile. Not the polite, regal one. Having Jarvis interrupt to plan out the cheeseburger expedition kept the smile on his face as T'Challa got a quick shower, having finished a workout not long before.

He met Jessica Drew at the car, wearing a black v-neck knit shirt that fits his torso a little snugly, slacks, and a soft leather jacket. "Consider my appetite whetted," T'Challa replies, reaching out to brush the stray locks back from Jessica's face, the touch brief but soft, while he holds the door for her with the other hand. "And do you hold their 'shakes' in high regard as well?" T'Challa inquires.

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
"Well, their strawberry shakes are awesome, but I dunno about the rest. I've heard chocolate banana is great, too. I'm just...a creature of habit. I always get strawberry..." She smiles and shrugs as she steps up to the counter and looks at the menu, which is vast. All sorts of burgers, all sorts of cheeses and toppings. It's a little overwhelming. Why it would be overwhelming is a better question. She always gets the same thing, without fail. But she has to look at the menu and stress over it for just a moment before deciding. Without fail.

"See....anything that looks good?" She asks distractedly, as the choices seem never to end. "I...think I'm going to get...a regular cheeseburger, with lettuce and onions, but no tomato." She nods, half to herself. Never considering the consequences of breathing onion across the table toward royalty. Not yet, anyway.

Black Panther has posed:
T'Challa steps up to the counter beside Jessica as he looks over the menu. "I believe the cheeseburger with bacon. A sauce so good it is known only as 'special sauce'? That is something I must try," he says, the Oxford influence on his accent applied to the topic of conversation making for an amusing combination.

    "I will get the chocolate banana shake. Then we can both try it." T'Challa looks to the man behind the counter, seeing if he caught their order. As he's just kind of staring at Jessica, oggling really, T'Challa clears his throat a little loudly to get the man's attention. Though most of T'Challa's expression remains impassive, his eyes seem to discourage the overt gawking.

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
"Uh...yeah. Bacon cheeseburger. Cheeseburger with lettuce, onion, no tomatoes." The cashier replies quickly, trying to recover. He knew Jessica's order before she said it, so all he really had to remember was T'Challa's. "Strawberry shake, chocolate banana shake. Fries?" he asks, looking a little in confusion at Jessica.

"Oh, of course, yeah, make them baskets," Jess replies quickly, apparently off her groove.

The cashier looks a little relieved. If she hadn't ordered fries this time, the universe might have taken a turn that no one yet knew about. "Right." He doesn't even have time to give the total, before Jessica hands him two bills, and he makes change, returning it to her with a plastic tray, on which he piles napkins, straws, plastic spoons, and a plastic sign bearing the number 12.

"Shall we find a seat then?" Jess asks T'Challa as she turns back to him, oblivious that the cashier has just gone back to staring.

Black Panther has posed:
T'Challa stays silent as Jessica makes sure the young man gets the order right, the brief hardness in his gaze giving way once the gawking has ended. The question from Jessica draws an agreeing smile and a nod to the young woman. "Yes, let us," he agrees. He picks up the tray and motions for her to lead the way.

The line of sight between the clerk's eyes and Jessica's derriere is disturbed by T'Challa stepping in the way, still looking at the young man, his brows pressing together in disapproval. Once he's turned to get the next order T'Challa turns to follow Jessica, the non-verbal exchange possibly missed by the young woman if she is focusing on table selection.

T'Challa follows her, sliding out a chair for her at whichever table she selects, and waiting for Jessica to be seated before he takes a chair himself. "I wish to thank you for this invitation. And for last night, Miss Drew. I could not have hoped for a warmer welcome back to New York." He settles into a seat and says, "Your State Department could learned much from you on hosting such an event."

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
"This work okay?" Jess nods to an oversized and rounded booth in the corner. Assuming it is satisfactory, she slips into one side and slides around a little ways, to ensure the larger booth isn't taken up only at the edges. And so she can see the door clearly. And the guys handling her food. Because you can never be too careful.

"I think there /might/ be better burgers other places. Like that place that has thirty dollar burgers. And the one with the hundred dollar burger. But I've never been there, and I can't judge. At least I know they're good here," Jess explains, as she fiddles with a mini jukebox on the table.

Black Panther has posed:
"You have not steered me wrong yet," T'Challa tells her as they slide into the booth. "I believe the custom is for me to return the favor next. Of buying you a meal the next time?" T'Challa asks.

He looks up as the shakes are delivered by a young woman, the food still on the way. "Thank you," he tells the woman politely. She just nods and walks off, though T'Challa looks after her, seeming briefly curious about something. He slides Jessica's shake over, and the straws. "I am not truly considered a member of the team," he says, perhaps a little out of nowhere. Maybe something that has been on his mind. "In part because of my duties in Wakanda. I am hoping to change that status though. I think it is important that I do."

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Jessica watches after the young woman as she strides away silently, her brow a little furrowed. But her attention turns back to T'Challa as he begins to speak. "Well, THAT remains to be seen," Jess chides. You may decide never to trust me again if you don't like your meal." She grins and shakes her head. "It's the least I could do, either way. We'll negotiate further meals and said expenditures at a later date."

But she nods slowly as T'Challa explains what is on his mind. "Well, I feel that you're as much a part of the team as any of us. You've risked your life for us, and we have done the same. For causes that threaten us all. But if it's important to you, it's important to me. Well, to us. All of us. There is no question of where your loyalties lie. The technicalities of it are just that. If that is what you want, it is as simple as talking to Tony and Captain Rogers, of course."

Black Panther has posed:
As Jessica Drew brings up the possibility that a bad meal here could ruin T'Challa's trust in her, the well-groomed black man gives an agreeing nod. "Most certainly. If this burger should be under cooked, for example?" T'Challa intones before making a thumbed 'you are out' gesture. "My faith would be irrevocably shaken," he says, shaking his head and giving a sad sigh at that outcome.

Though Jessica can no doubt tell T'Challa is joking, there's really nothing in his expression or demeanor to confirm it. Not until finally, his eyes slide over slyly as if to check her reaction.

The Wakandan leans back, resting his arm along the back of the booth and turning towards Jessica a little more. "Thank you, Miss Drew. I will be speaking to Captain Rogers and Tony soon. Hopefully." He takes a sip of his shake. "Chocolate banana? I find it quite agreeable. Would you like to try it?" he asks. "Speaking of the team. Would you be amenable to simulation room training with me? We have not fought side by side yet. Learning how I might best anticipate your moves, and work together, would benefit us all."

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Jessica's gaze slides into a narrow side-eye toward T'Challa, so that when he gives her the same look, she can't help laughing. "I...guess I could give it a shot." She takes a plastic spoon and skims along the top of his shake to get enough of the delectable if suspiciously-flavored ice cream to try. When she tastes it, though...well, she goes into what the others on the team affectionately (or not so affectionately) refer to as the 'food dance.' She sways a little in her spot, like a slow-motion shiver goes through her. "Okay...yeah, that's good. MAYBE even better than the strawberry. But you can judge for yourself." She offers her shake likewise.

"I'd be glad to train with you. I've always considered myself more support than heavy-hitter, so it'd be even more helpful for me to learn your styles, if I am to assist. If you end up in a web-net hanging upside-down from the ceiling, I apologize in advance..."

Black Panther has posed:
A spoon is taken up by T'Challa, and a bit of strawberry shake gathered and tasted. "Mmm. That is quite delicious as well. We do not have strawberries. Not as a native plant. I found they are quite delicious when covered with dark chocolate," T'Challa mentions.

"Then I will book us time in the simulation room," T'Challa agrees. His lips curl up in a gently crooked smile. "If I give this apology in advance, does it also absolve you should the web-net hanging be done intentionally?" T'Challa questions her in a genial tone. "I am sure we have much to learn about each other's styles," he agrees. "And I look forward to anything you can teach me," he says.

And the food is arriving. It's Joel. The guy who was working the counter. Seems like he took a break from it just to deliver the food himself.

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Jessica splutters, as she looks back up to T'Challa. "Wait, I wouldn't--" Well she would. Depending on who it was. "I mean I won't, not with you." It doesn't do ANYTHING to help her case. But the truth of the matter is, she almost never webs anyone to the ceiling. Almost. "Kings are the very last people on my list of people to string up and leave dangling upside-down," she finally manages. Definitely not helping her case.

OH FOOD. THANK GOD, she can stop talking now. "Thank you, Joel!" Her tone is a little too friendly, and a little too relieved. "And...thanks for not letting Maggie come back over here. She doesn't like me much..." Jess smiles as she slides her basket over in front of her, and looks down at it, all talk of webbing anyone anywhere accidentally on purpose now safely stowed over there. --->

Black Panther has posed:
The man's soft, dark eyes are alight, small lines creasing at the sides as he smiles at Jessica's spluttering. T'Challa neither lets her off the hook, nor makes the moment worse. Watching Jessica go through those zestful reactions keeps the warm light in T'Challa's eyes.

Joel's approach causes T'Challa to look over to him. Lacking Joel showing behavior disrespectful to Jessica, T'Challa simply nods to him and says, "Thank you. Joel." He takes his food and slides it over in front of him. Getting a knife he cuts the burger in half. Yep, lots of nice gooey grease oozing from the meat. It looks delicious. Or gross. Or deliciously gross depending on one's point of view.

T'Challa's nose twitches a little bit, one might think at the aroma of the meat, though his eyes go back to Joel as the young man is leaving. A brief, curious look but it passes so fast it would be missed by anyone not looking directly at him. "How is your burger?" he asks, not having tried his yet.

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Lacking the refinement and social grace of royalty, Jessica has already opened her bun up to douse the burger with a black pepper storm from the shaker. Probably a little too fast, probably a little too hard. Sometimes the little things are easy to overlook when trying to look entirely normal. But as long as the pepperstorm has rained down its blessings on the burger until it is sufficiently coated, JD is good with it. By the time T'Challa asks how her burger is, she's taking a bite with oozy special sauce and pepper dripping down the side of the bun. No time taken to cut anything in half. "Mmmm..." she replies with the little swaying shiver, and then she looks over to T'Challa and his pristinely cut burger, still sitting patiently in its basket. "Oh God, thish was wrong, washn't it?" she asks, quickly putting down her burger with its bite still filling her mouth. She covers her mouth swiftly while she chews. "Now you know why I don't date," she confesses after having swallowed the bite that might possibly have been a quarter of the whole cow.

Black Panther has posed:
Another of those moments where there is not a lot to go on from T'Challa's expression as he watches Jessica take the big, greasy, drippy bite from the burger. Just observing her with a quiet curiosity at first. When Jessica begins to show signs of nervousness, T'Challa picks up his burger, squeezing it to make sure it's good and runny and then takes an even bigger bite than she did.

Grease and special sauce end up on the corner of his lips as he chews it. Perhaps more slowly and thoroughly, but his dark eyes lit from inside with mirth. And he makes a soft, "mmmm," sound before he's quite done with swallowing it all. "Then we would both be wrong. And one does not tell a king he is wrong," T'Challa says. His eyes drift off to the side at a memory. "Though, I do not think any of my council heed that saying," he says. "I doubt they even know it."

T'Challa gives that crooked smile to Jessica, which just looks a little goofy as he hasn't noticed the sauce on the corner of his lips. "If you do not date? I can only believe it is of your choice," he says with a shake of his head. "Any man would be lucky to be favored with your time, Miss Drew."

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
"I have issues," Jess says quite transparently, picking up a crinkle-cut french fry and dipping it absently in her shake as she squirts a lagoon of ketchup into her basket with the other hand. She eats the strawberry shake-covered french fry as she sets the ketchup bottle down. "You've read my file, I'm quite sure. You're thorough in your work. There are plenty of reasons men ask me out. But few of them are considered a basis for any sort of relationship, friendly or otherwise." She's exact on this point. Not flailing, not spluttering. This is a subject on which she feels quite confident.

And it would seem the fact that she dips french fries in ice cream is probably the least of those issues.

Black Panther has posed:
Black Panther's head tilts to the side. From his expression one might think that he's not sure what Jessica is talking about. "It has been months since I read your file," T'Challa says, though slowly as if in thought. "After meeting you last night? I enjoyed learning about you the old fashioned way. And so did not review it."

T'Challa does have an excellent memory though. Throw in what Jessica has said. And the scents and emotions he's been noting from people that come near to her. Finally it seems he might be remembering a pertinent detail.

"I do remember something from it. Now." he confirms with a slow nod of his head. "I remember it, because it made a particular thought crossed my mind," T'Challa says, picking up his burger and taking a bite, chewing it with a thoughtful expression.

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
"Wait, what particular thought?" Jess has put down her burger now, and she's watching T'Challa more intently. "It can work to my advantage...depending, of course on the assignment or battle. I wouldn't, say, want to go to battle with a whole horde of Amazons, though. Never piss off a bunch of women that powerful," she concludes with a nod. "The rest of the team would have to be my life support. I'd be the LeeRoy Jenkins of the Avengers."

Black Panther has posed:
T'Challa finishes chewing his bite and brushes a napkin across his lips. "At least I've got chicken," T'Challa tells Jessica.

Her file made him think that? Oh. No, wait. The Wakandan King is quoting Leeroy Jenkins!?

T'Challa rests his arms lightly on the edge of the table, turning in the curved booth towards Jessica as she sits beside him. In a very softly spoken voice, T'Challa tells her, "I thought... Bast protects me from most chemicals. I doubt the young lady would have this affect on me."

He is looking across into her eyes when he says it. After, he lets his eyes drift to take in the sight of her face. Looking at her as if really seeing her. "Any man would be fortunate to be favored with your attention. That is me speaking. Not the pheromones."

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Jessica nods thoughtfully for a moment, considering the king's words. "Well, to be fair, I do think that most men who see me /are/ glad they have chicken...." Jessica deadpans as she speaks, but there's a mirthful sparkle in her eyes that gives her away. She's an open book. Terrible liar. And worse at trying to get away with a joke. "But thank you," she says quietly as she returns to looking at her burger and fries. She picks one up and swamps it. Apparently she likes a few fries to go with her ketchup. "So we're in agreement. I don't go into battle if the Amazons turn on us." She nods definitively, to put a cap on the subject for now. "I can't even write a missive to them myself, it just enrages whoever gets it. I have to dictate."

Black Panther has posed:
Black Panther watches Jessica's reaction quietly, finally giving a soft chuckle about the Amazons. "Yes. I have met Miss Prince. I think she alone would be more Amazon than I would want upset at me," T'Challa says softly. He slides his shake over towards her, with a little motion of his finger for her to spoon up a bit more of it if she likes.

Though it's also possible she might dip a french fry in it. T'Challa is a strategist. He's considered that possibility, and seems willing to live with it. "I believe I had offered to let you ask questions of me. Or about Wakanda. Before dessert arrived with the rest of the team." Avengers Assemble? More like Avengers Ice Cream Social. "Was there anything else that you were curious about?" he asks her.

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
"EVERYTHING," Jessica replies without hesitation. "I mean I've read a little about you, but most of what I know is from anecdotes and comments from the team. And what I've observed of you here..."

Jessica takes up the spoon and skims another little bite of his shake, closing her eyes for a moment as she enjoys it. "So...what's life like over there? I was kinda serious about the question last night. Can you even /lead/ a normal life there? Are you always being all kingly and royal? How often do you train? Are they overly-protective, or do they look to YOU as protector? Or is like, everone kinda the same on the battlefield? Other than the fact that everyone probably expects you to give the orders. Do you have people who help you put on your clothes? Do they really chase after you and fret over your every little whim?"

She offers her shake, as well, but knows his keen eye saw that french fry go in there, very well. So he may not exactly jump at the opportunity.

Black Panther has posed:
The bacon cheeseburger with special sauce continues to be consumed by T'Challa as he listens to Jessica's questions. He lets her run through them before he'll begin to answer, giving him a chance to finish the tasty bite of burger. T'Challa considers the burger and says in a conspiratorial tone, "Incidentally, Miss Drew? The burger is not under cooked." T'Challa wipes his fingers on a napkin and says thoughtfully, "I wonder if they realize their special sauce tastes like Thousand Island dressing?"

But then it is time for answers, not questions. "No one dresses me. Only people that do the laundry and such," T'Challa tells her. "People expect their leader to hold to a certain image. It gives them confidence. With Captain Rogers, we are inspired seeing him in his uniform. Yes? And with Tony... ... .... we are inspired seeing Captain Rogers in his uniform," T'Challa says, smile making a joke of it.

"So my appearance does matter. I take more care in public. They do seek to protect me on the battlefield. To some extent. But they understand the Black Panther's role is to fight. Not just to play general."

T'Challa leans back in the booth. He motions to the table Jessica shares with him. "I do not have many moments such as this. Your candidness is refreshing to me, Miss Drew." He smiles over to her softly, and avails himself of the opportunity to have more strawberry shake. "Thank you. That is delicious. Other questions you have?"

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Her reaction to T'Challa's answers is one of almost a dreamlike state, trying to imagine what it must be like in a whole different world like the one he calls home. But her next question, the most real question of them all so far, she knows may cut to the bone of the matter.

"How do your people feel about your coming here and being a part of the Avengers? Whether occasionally, or on a regular basis? Are they supportive of you? Do they begrudge it? Or, as I suspect, perhaps some combination of the two?"

Black Panther has posed:
Black Panther takes one of his french fries which he hasn't really been eating so far. He dips it in a bit of catsup speculatively, as if not having tried this combination before. T'Challa seems pleased enough with the result judging by his expression. "A combination. As you say," T'challa confirms to Jessica.

"I believe people vary greatly in empathy. Some see the gap between our society and the rest of Africa and want to help. Others? Perhaps they cannot picture themselves in the place of others as easily?" T'Challa asks. He looks away from her, losing himself in thoughts. "I am not sure. Wakandans have a great capacity for charity. But there is a large faction that opposes being open with the outside world. I must strike the right balance."

The man's normally composed demeanor changes slightly. As if Jessica is glimpsing that he hides concerns, but keeps that calm outward presence that he mentioned a leader needs to portray. "There will be problems. It will not go smoothly at times. I expect this," he says. T'Challa stirs a bit in his seat, as if realizing he's let down too far a mask that he didn't mean to. Sitting up straighter, he says, "I think it will be for the best though." T'Challa looks over to Jessica, eyes drawn back to her for the first time in a little bit. The young woman's presence brings back a bit of smile that has been missing for the last few moments.

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Jessica observes T'Challa's fluid expressions as they shift from one to the next. When the spark again returns to his eyes, she smiles. "You're a very wise man, and your people know this undoubtedly, if I have seen it in less than a day. I know that they will trust your judgment and support your decisions. If you believe in yourself, they will believe in you, too. There will always be voices of dissent, T'Challa. No matter what you do. But you're on a path that you can live with, and they can live with it, too."

Black Panther has posed:
T'Challa looks over to Jessica. The woman's smile and her words add warmth to his expression. "Thank you," he tells her quietly. "I hope that they believe as you do." T'Challa glances about the restaurant. "This has been another nice meal with you. I hope that you will let me repay the favor now. There are so many places to try. I would enjoy finding something that might be a pleasant surprise for you." T'Challa glances at the time. "Speaking of membership with the Avengers. I believe Captain Rogers is due back. Shall we grab our shakes and see if he is available to speak?"

Assuming he is, the pair depart. Joel gazing with longing at Jessica as she walks out. Because, you know. Dat ass.