Ps. 35:4-5
Cutscene: Ps. 35:4-5
IC Details

Warren concludes his last piece of unfinished business. Plot wrap up.

IC Date: December 17, 2019
IC Location: Worthington Tower
OOC Notes & Details
Posted: 20 Dec 2019 21:03
Rating & Warnings:
Associated Plots

The board of Worthington Industries always meets on the ninety-first floor of Worthington Tower. From that high up, there's a beautiful view of the Financial District, of Battery Park, of Brooklyn across the river, and Governor's Island in the Upper Bay. The view is especially nice as evening approaches; most of the windows face west, and the sunset comes pouring in as the hour grows late.

The loveliness of the winter sunset is lost on the board on this particular day. They are gathered on the cusp of a momentous vote, and despite an hour of debate are not much closer to a decision on whether to take it.

"It's been weeks, and we're no closer to resolving where Warren is — if he's even still alive," one man finally complains, at the far end of the boardroom table. "How long are we supposed to wait? As the board, we're supposed to act in the best interests of the company — not the best interests of whoever's got their name on the side of the building. And for the sake of the company, we've got to decide something soon. Offer some semblance of stability."

"The uncertainty's killing us out there," another agrees. "Confidence in us is fading. People are already nervous about us because he's a damned mutant, and all this extra… drama lately… it's not a help."

"Cecilia, you shouldn't even be here," grouses another member of the board, her dark eyes turning on the blonde sitting, poised and impeccable, off to one side of the boardroom table. "You or your son."

"I don't see why not," fires back Hunter, from his mother's side. "After the vote's held, a new board member and chairman are going to need to be elected, and we should have a say in that."

The woman starts to retort, looking annoyed — but her voice cuts off when the doors open unexpectedly, yielding the sight of a shocked-looking secretary.

"I'm sorry to interrupt," she says, a little breathless, "but he — insisted — "

She is brushed aside a moment later, gently, by the familiar form of Warren Worthington. Warren Worthington, who looks broadly unchanged… except for the way sunlight gleams tellingly off the silvery edges of razored feathers.

"Nobody get up," he says, his voice cool. "You'll be sitting for a while yet."

Cecilia, in spite of the injunction, rises immediately from her seat, her eyes going wide in the manner of a rat who feels a trap shut suddenly upon its tail. "Warren," she says, struggling to maintain her famed composure, to salvage something of a scheme which she feels rapidly collapsing around her. "You — the board was just about to take a vote — "

"So I am aware," he dismisses. "But there will not be a vote."

"Warren — for God's sake," tries one of the board members, half-rising. "Will you tell us what the hell is going on? We have a right to know where you've been, what's happened these few weeks — "

"Sit down," Warren interrupts, in the sort of tone that implies violence as the immediate next step if not obeyed. "You'll hear all of what happened, later, and most of it from my goddamned lawyers."

A silence descends. So does the standing man, back into his seat.

"Warren," Cecilia asks, strained, "where is Cameron?"

"Fled," replies Archangel, his voice flat.

No one says anything, for a long few seconds.

"Cecilia," Warren finally addresses his aunt directly, his voice measured, "all my life, I've known that you only ever wanted one thing."

"Warren — " Cecilia tries to interject. Even now her tone holds some warning, and her head is held high.

"And here we are, with you finally grasping for it," Warren interrupts. "So. Here is what I am going to do about it."

His wings fan. Just slightly, but enough that the edge of each spread feather can be seen, reflecting the bloody color of the setting sun in light-hot red. "What you want… you will never have. You and your son are no longer part of this family. You and your son will never touch Worthington money again. You are cut off. I don't care what you do from here on out — whatever you have to, I imagine — but you will do it on your own."

Hunter lurches to his feet, hands clenched. "You can't do this, Warren. Your own blood — "

"I can," is Warren's simple counter. "And I already have. I did it before I came here. Lucky for me, you never found my body to declare me dead. There are so many things I would not have been able to do, if I was."

Hunter stammers, out of things to say.

"Learn to work, Hunter. You will have to," Warren says simply. "Survive, or die: it's of no consequence to me. Now leave."

Hunter starts forward, as if to physically confront his cousin. He hesitates, however, when those wings unsheathe further. The feathers do not rustle; they hiss, sliding against one another with the unmistakable sound of razor-keen blades whetting against one another.

There is a sheen of silver in Warren's eyes — a chill to the warm hue of his skin — that was not there previously.

"Leave," Warren repeats with an odd urgency, his voice strained, "before you make me do worse."

Cecilia rises, her eyes fixed on her nephew. Some instinct makes her grab her son by the arm, and pull him along with her to leave the room.

Shocked silence falls back over the boardroom.

Long after he is certain they are gone, Warren turns back to face the room. Standing at the head of the table, he lets his wings sheathe again at his back.

"Now," he concludes, "we'll finish this board meeting. I'd like to be caught up on everything that transpired in my absence."

The denouement, after Cameron — after Cecilia and Hunter — is almost anticlimactic. With all the smoking gun evidence brought to light, gathered by friends and allies, the conspiracy's house of cards falls down fast.

Dr. Stuart's confession is a long one, rambling and emotional, detailing the years-long grudge of a man who felt his best friend to have been cursed with a son who was both an ingrate and a mutant freak. In deference to Warren Jr., he did nothing but his duty as a physician for the many years of Warren III's life, but after Warren Jr.'s murder — which Stuart blamed in part on stress over his son's wanton lifestyle making him careless — the good doctor started to take concrete action.

It started with membership in other anti-mutant groups. It ended with him coming into contact with The Right, in late 2018… a nascent group which armed itself with fallen Chitauri tech. Its leader never made his identity known to him, but one day — after Warren lost his wings — he came to Stuart, and asked a specific favor:

Soon, Warren's wings would be removed. On that day, those wings would then need to be disposed as quickly as possible. They would have evidence in them, the leader said, and it needed to be destroyed. Dr. Stuart was just the man for the job.

Andrew Young, a disillusioned young professional drudging away in Worthington's PR division, watched Warren Worthington's announcement of his mutant status with a mixture of disgust and hate. Not only was he overworked and underpaid, he was overworked and underpaid by a filthy mutie.

And so, he joined The Right. Their leader took an especial interest in him from the start, once he learned where Young worked. He intimated that Young should leak the sordid details of Worthington's actions to the press. There was ripe material in the fiasco at Alternative Air; there was ripe material in the takeover of M-Tec.

So Young did. He found a journalist willing to listen, and he dished the dirt. Not too long later, a scathing op-ed went up in the New York Times. More fires for Warren Worthington to put out.

Days later, Young was fired from WI. He despaired… until he got a call from Hunter, an old school friend of his, offering to set him up with a sweet new gig at JP Morgan. All he'd have to do was never talk about any of this again.

Andrew Young put two and two together, and he hung up that call laughing. He didn't know how he'd lucked into profiting off a family grudge match, but he wasn't about to complain.

Of course, too, there were other members of The Right, many of whom wore those formidable altered Chitauri suits — ones with custom smiles painted grotesquely over their faceplates. And one of those arrested members of The Right, taken in by the authorities after that final confrontation with Cameron Hodge, confessed directly to Hodge having been the leader of their organization.

Whence the funds for The Right?

Some of those other arrested members of The Right confessed, too. But they confessed to maintaining false identities. Those identities, traced back, showed authorizations to withdraw from certain accounts in a shell corporation. A shell which channeled funds from a certain offshore trust, established in the British Virgin Islands.

A trust established by Cecilia LeFrak, confirmed after a deep dive through the many baffling veils of her intricate finances.

Cecilia and Cameron, who had been in communication from the start, and who were always meticulous about their phone records: except for that one single call they made, the night Warren's wings were amputated.

Both of them fend for themselves, now. Warren learned one thing very well from Apocalypse, one thing now written in his blood: the strong will live, and the weak will die.

Time will tell which they are.

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