Double Vision
Roleplaying Log: Double Vision
IC Details

It isn't Raven's imagination — she really is seeing multiples of one tired Bart Allen.

Other Characters Referenced: Red Robin, Tony Stark, Bucky
IC Date: January 22, 2020
IC Location: Titans Mall, Long Island, NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 28 Jan 2020 08:19
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [*\# None]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

January 22nd, The Titans' Hideout (AKA The Old Abandoned Mall):

Meditation and self-reflection is the name of the game and Raven has been invested for almost three hours now, shutting out the world and centering her thoughts, maintaining a cool serenity to soothe a few nerves after another one of many strangely disturbing dreams.

These dreams, she finds, aren't getting any easier. Sometimes they are less, but this week is proving to be more of a burden in that department, all too active during the times she should be asleep. And while the presence of a oversized pink cat is nice to have around, it doesn't chase the dreams away completely.

So she hovers, cross-legged over her bed, eyes closed, her breathing even. As ridiculous as it is to be doing this twice as many times as she already has to, there is still an upside to this; the more she does it, the better her habit of practice and the more control she has over own autonomy.

Breathe in. Out. Pause, and repeat.

Calm. Collected. Nothing but the peace and quiet the dark grants her.

…that peace doesn't last very long.

The interruption starts as a ripple, like the end-rings at the outermost edges of a pond from where a pebble has been tossed. But then it vibrates like a freshly plucked string, except instead of decreasing its amplitude it remains consistant, taut as a rope during a tug-o-war match. Yet it's a familiar presence that accompanies it, although the usual brilliance of positive energy is slightly dampened by exhaustion. Raven might have experienced this feeling from Bart before, after he'd mistakenly had an espresso. This just feels like it's been amplified a hundred fold.

"Clawmy?" The call just barely follows the brief knock on Raven's door before a familiar head pokes in. "Hey Raven, Clawmy! I'm back!" Bart greets with only slightly forced brightness. He's gone in the next instant, not terribly unusual considering how fast he can move, but he's not usually that impatient as to not wait for a response.

Further investigation would however find sounds coming from the food court area.

Just like shining a flashlight through a black curtain. The void the Daughter of Darkness looks into is briefly disrupted, the energy behind it varying as the vibrations fade to leave behind the spot she's become familiar with, uncertain about the result of what she's seeing.

Or not exactly seeing, if one can understand what she's does with her meditations. The voice confirms who the presence belongs to.

"Bart," Raven greets, her voice barely above a whisper as she notes the tiredness in his tone. Yes, she does remember this feeling, how different it is from the speedster's usual exuberance. She falls silent, trying to pin down his emotional state of mind right when he suddenly disappears.

It doesn't surprise her, however, when she tracks down where he ran off to. Smoothing out her oversized sweater, the young woman eventually arrives in the food court, arms folding over one another as she asks, "So…where did you go, exactly?"

Clawminator Destrucat Mk. II has also gotten up, perked and now confused by the Bart that's no longer there. The large pink cat pads after Raven, meowing inquiringly.

In the refurbished food court there are empty pizza boxes stacked on one table, balled up wrappers filling the topmost. There's a few empty bottles of Powerade and water, a package that, according to the label once held an entire chocolate cake, and a smattering of open Chinese take-out boxes in varying states of quantity. Bart sits at a table in the eye of the food binge storm, chewing on a bite of a pastrami sandwich. He pauses from taking another bite, blinking at Raven before he glances around.

"…the usual pizza joints, that deli over by Stark Industries, the grocery store a couple streets down from Times Square…"

Overall he still seems in positive spirits, and that he's refueling certainly explains the exhaustion however not the output. At least he's not vibrating in place, although that feeling that something is just hasn't faded.

"All because of work?"

Raven asks because she's seen Bart down a large amount of food before. This (and the mess that usually follows) is nothing new to her. But she also recalls him being mostly bored by work as Stark's protégé and ward, which doesn't necessarily mean that he ran about to shake off the stiffness but can possibly still be a reason as to why he's eating so much.

It's not like her to deduce, but Red Robin's influence is slowly attaching to some of her interactions with others.

Still, she can't ignore the initial sensation she's getting from the speedster, quietly studying him as he continues listing off all of the food places he hit on the way back to base.

"Bart." Her tone stays the same, yet the weight placed on his name is noticeable. "I know I don't ask this very much, but what's going on?"

The sandwich is gone. A bag of chips is opened. Crunching ensues. But if Raven's paying attention she might swear she's seeing double as Bart offers more affectionate greetings to his overgrown cat, hugging Clawmy around the neck and offering her scritches- while he otherwise remains seated and stuffing his face. Pettings finished, the second (?) Bart grins over at Raven and then pops back towards the famished speedster before vanishing. By then Bart's stopped inserting chips into his mouth as he stares where his double had been, further evidence that it hadn't merely been one's imagination.

"…did you just…?" he starts, glancing over at Raven while Clawmy takes the opportunity to grab his chip bag.

He seems jolted to attention with the weight of his name, sitting straighter. "I…don't…know? I mean, I was- Okay, so I went to Metropolis cuz Tony wanted me to help with something in Stark Unlimited. Side project. Portal skipping or something." He grins. "It's really cool. Basically it was like we were in a giant hamster ball and I was running to power the arc reactor up so that there'd be enough juice! So we practically ran to Asgard and all those -heim places they have."

What is he even smiling about? Well, it's Bart, he always smiles and grins and laughs and shows more emotions than Raven ever does. It doesn't seem like he's even heard her as she catches a glimpse of him administering the appropriate amount of attention for Clawmy-

Wait. Bart is still sitting there, eating chips.

Mildly perplexed, Raven's brow lifts, blinking several times as she now keeps her eyes on the Bart that's been there, that's always been sitting right there. "I. I didn't?" That minor point of confusion aside, she hears him out.

…It starts to make a little more sense.

A pale hand lifts in a weak attempt to pause the explanation so she can let it sink in. "Okay. So Mister Stark wanted to test this…side project," she says. "But was it ever tested beforehand?"

Then another beat passes. "And you willingly decided to go along with running inside of a giant hamster ball?" She has a feeling she knows the answer to this question already, but it will help confirm how their present narrative is going so far.

"Ack! Hey Clawmy!" Hearing her name in that tone, the cat takes off, her prize between her teeth. Bart takes off after her. Pop! Oh but wait, Raven's still talking to him. So clearly he should stay and answer her questions, even though he's starting to fidget. He sits there, blinking after himself who goes to tackle Clawmy and try to wrestle the chip bag out of her mouth, which earns him a smack in the face with a paw and some nearly-not-play-bites. His double holds up the chip bag triumphantly, along with a thumbs-up to himself as Clawmy gets bored and trots off to nap on the couch. Zipping back over to the seated Bart, he pops back into place, and that Bart rubs at his forearm where he'd been nipped, frowning at the soggy bag of chips on the table in front of him.

"Um… yeah," he says, smiling more uncertainly before he shakes his head. "Nope, this was the first time. Isn't that the whole point of testing? And the hamster ball part was more like a shield or something? I was on a treadmill thingy." He gestures with his hands and then goes to reach for more chips before recalling where they've been.

"Bart- " Raven stops again, still seeing that Bart is sitting where he's been sitting, meeting his gaze with an arched brow before flicking over to…Bart tackling Clawmy and getting bit for his efforts to take back the stolen bag of chips. "How- ?"

And her eyes return to Bart who is now rubbing his arm, noting that he hasn't moved an inch. She stays quiet for a bit longer than intended. "…Yes. I suppose it is." Whatever she senses, there isn't anything or anyone else around. Just her. Just Bart.

At least, she hopes this is the case.

"I thought testing would take time," she replies, moving to take a seat next to the speedster. "Like…steps. Perhaps I should have assumed you and Mister Stark were going to dive headfirst into it."

But it's been bothering her. As patient as she is, it's bothering her so much. "How are you doing, Bart? Are you okay?" She shakes her head, shrugging a shoulder. "Do you feel any…different after the whole experience?"

The speedster stares down at his hands, and not for the cat drool on them. He'd seen what had happened, but he's not sure what's going on either by the look on his face. Looking up at Raven, his expression falters only slightly as her half spoken question only reveals that she knows even less than he does. But that's to be expected, isn't it?

The wired charge of his usual aura seems to be evening out a little. Food helped, but he's still tired. You would be too if you ran from Earth to Asgard to Jotunheim and back. "It did. We did- Not headfirst! We started off slow. And then he let me go all out." Beat. "Also Bucky was there." As though that makes the situation any better.

Amber eyes blink again, and he look down at himself. Was something wrong with him? Why else would Raven be asking? "I'm…fine. Just kinda worn out, I think. I collapsed for a bit when we got back- I think I might have kinda overdone it with the speed." He gesticulates pointlessly. "Like- I dunno! I'm tired but I'm not but I can't just… You know, gotta do stuff. Gotta run, maybe. Think that'd help? A run?"

On the heels of his words another of himself leaps away from him, mostly a blur that one would think that he'd gone off and come back himself, save that when this copy comes back, he looks squarely at himself and Raven and goes, "Nope!" before vanishing back into Bart, who nearly tips his chair with a start.

"Oh…." he says, an inkling of understanding seeming to dawn on him.

He sounds fine. Exhaustion is hanging around him, all right, but he's talking and he's aware of everything.

Most of it, anyway. As soon as he thinks about running, there's another Bart acting the way he normally does, zipping off and speeding back like a boomerang before vanishing into thin air.

And all the while, Raven continues to stare at Bart.

"Yeah. This may be a problem."

Being stared at like that makes him feel like he's in trouble. Bart ducks his head a little, shifting in his chair.

"…soo… I'm not exactly sure how it works, but it's like another me goes off, does stuff, and when he comes back everything syncs up so I know what I just did. Even though technically I wasn't? But I was? So was that me in both places or did I just go really really fast…"

He looks even more confused just trying to explain what he'd thought he'd grasped.

"…my head hurts."

Raven's lips press together, forming a thin line as she nods. "I think I understand what you mean. And I think you did just do that…"

She leans forward to inspect him, then leans back, folding her hands in her lap. There isn't anything she can do for Bart other than check to see if there are any other Barts popping out of the woodwork, and so far it hasn't been too crazy.

A soft sigh escapes her. "We're going to have to tell Mister Stark and Bucky about this." Since Bucky is also responsible for being there, but probably has good reason for it.

"So if another me goes to wash his hands will my hands have gotten washed??" Of all the things his thoughts manage to home in on. Bart stares at his hands again, and then abruptly leans back when Raven leans closer to look him over. He glances over his shoulder as though half expecting himself to sprout another copy at that moment, and he's only mildly disappointed when none are forthcoming.

"Yeah…" he sighs, nodding at Raven in resigned agreement as he runs a hand through his hair. He then stops and makes a face.

"…I…should wash my hands."

At this point, Raven isn't sure if it would work the same way or not. They did just see Bart go and wrestle Clawmy and then have the resulting cat bites and drool on his arm and the chips.

Violet eyes watch his hand go up and through his hair. And her nose wrinkles. "…You should do that."

"And everything else while I'm at it," Bart supposes as he moves to get up. He totters a couple of steps before grabbing hold of the table, shaking his head.

"…I'm okay, I'm okay I'mokayI'mokay…" he breathes, squeezing his eyes shut as he tries to banish a dizzy spell. Maybe a shower can wait. Rest might be better, if he can make himself lie down long enough to do so.

Stubbornly he pushes away from the table after convincing himself that he's good to go.

By that time, Raven drift from her seat to his side, firmly yet gently holding him by the shoulders. "That's a good idea," she says, being rather matter-of-fact. "If you're feeling up to it, anyway."

She doesn't leave him in his attempt, only to extend one arm and gesture a portal straight into his room. "Shortcut," she offers, nudging him forward once he's found his balance. It's kind of like reading his mind, but his tiredness is obvious. "Get some rest. We can try contacting Mister Stark later."

A smile flickers into place as the speedster glances at Raven with unspoken gratitude. Bart nods and steps towards the portal with a wave.

"Yeah, that should probably be a thing. Thanks Rache." The rest of whatever he tries saying by way of cleaning up later is lost in a yawn that he doesn't bother stifling as he trudges on through and to his room. Maybe convincing himself won't be as difficult as he thinks, considering he looks about ready to faceplant into bed.

With a half-wave, Raven sees Bart off, closing off the portal when he's a few feet into his room. "Sleep soundly," she says under a breath, brushing back her hair as she turns to go back to her room…

…But not until the piled mess that's been left behind is gone. She visibly slumps, placing her hands on her hips for a moment.

"Well. It's not going to disappear on its own…"

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