Where is (my) Sock?
Roleplaying Log: Where is (my) Sock?
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Owen busts up a club on a quest to find an old friend who might know too much. Batwoman puts an end to his mayhem.

Other Characters Referenced: Batgirl, Jessica Jones
IC Date: February 26, 2019
IC Location: China Basin - Gotham
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 27 Feb 2019 13:54
Rating & Warnings: R for Owen
NPC & GM Credits: Julia Pennyworth, Sock (short for Socrates, old friend of Owen's)
Associated Plots

* * *

Somehow Owen's venting to Jessica about his frustrations about Batgirl and the mess he got looped into and how sloppy she was with her secret identity, in his not so useful opinion, turned into something else. The bone chilling realization that he might have made everything a thousand times worse by pulling his buddy Sock out of the battle. Barbara wasn't dressed as Batgirl that night. She was out there in much more recognizable form and while Owen's almost sure she was wearing a helmet, he's hesitant to reach out to confirm. There last meeting was more than a little testy … okay, Owen spent most of the time yelling at her.

So he's taking a different approach to resolving the issue.

A more violent one.

Because of course Sock has decided to vanish off the face of the earth. Because when in the hell has Sock ever done anything that was helpful? Oh, right. There was that time where Sock literally saved Owen's life by coming to his aid, beating the ever living crap out of the gang members trying to murder him and offered him a place to crash. But after that? Nothing but self serving manipulations to get Owen to do whatever the hell he wanted him to. Owen after visiting his third dead end of the night has had about enough of it. He's reached the end of what Owen Mercer can do.

That's what a mask is for right? Putting on that identity and cracking skulls to track people down for the greater good? Yea, Owen convinces himself that's what he's doing and why as he gears up.

And somehow, coincidentally Tiger, Tiger just happens to be the place he hits. He tells himself it's because Sock mentioned it, so it's a hot lead. As the glass door shatters and people scream Owen laughs as the people scramble in the chaos. Little brown packets are pocketed, not so subtly, though he tells himself that's not why he's here.

"Where is he?! Where. The. Hell. Is. Sock?!"

Yes, the unfortunate moniker undercuts the seriousness with which Owen undertakes this 'search'. About the time that security pulls their guns and begins to shoot, Owen realizes that doesn't Batman usually do this more quietly and usually in a one-on-one way? Hmm. He never really paid all that much attention before it turns out, but now, with bullets coming at him from at least four different directions he finds that's all he can think about.

* * *

«"Seriously. You're an army brat. You ought to know this by now."»

"I'm not talking about this."

«"That's fine. I'll talk about it instead. You can just listen."»

"Thoughtful."

«"Right? So anyway. You've been around the world, yeah? You have to have been. And yet you choose here. Could've gone anywhere. Done anything. Certainly have the money. Pretty sure Gotham isn't somehow suffering from a dearth in bat-themed psychotics beating people bloody senseless."»

"And birds."

«"That's my point! The market's oversaturated! So I was thinking, maybe the west coast could use some love, eh? All those nice beaches and the temperate weather is probably just stuffed with crime."»

"Not really my scene."

«"Washington? Seattle? They had that movie. And it's the home of grunge! I know you love some quality grunge."»

"Not a fan of space needles."

«"Fine. Somewhere out of country. I know this quaint little tropical archipelago-"»

"No islands."

«"You're impossible. You know that? Fucking cock-up. To the bones. What's even so great about this, Gotham, the world's grandest pispot? Seriously, I — wait, hang on a sec. Got something. Guess our aggressive little heroin hassler is at it again. Got a bead on a location."»

"Where?"

«"Some club — Tiger, Tiger? Really just a fancier flavor of heroin hole for fancier flavor of boys. Think they have long, in-depth debates about Blake's thoughts on the contrary nature of man and existence, or…"»

Kate Kane isn't listening, from her perch overlooking Gotham's cityscape. She's just grimacing.

Tiger, Tiger. She knows that name. That place. Because—

"Shit. I think I know who our friend is. Shit."

«"Well, this sounds inspiring. Is this another exciting edition of 'Batwoman makes ill-advised friendships'? Because if so, tell me, so I can get the aspirin."»

The only sound in immediate answer is the hydraulic hiss of a zipline firing as Batwoman — Kate Kane — lunges into the night skies.

"Yeah, well."

Tiger, Tiger isn't that far away. Because part of her knew the answer before she could admit it. Because…

"Find me a drinking buddy who can hold their liquor and isn't at least a little morally dubious and then we can talk, Tuxedo One."

«"Touch?."»

~-~

So, why Gotham?

It's the last question from Julia Pennyworth that hangs on Katherine Kane's mind, and it's swiftly becoming a distraction she needs a distraction from. Much like how her hunch on the activity leading towards Tiger, Tiger proved headache-inducingly true for reasons she chooses not to dwell on, she knows the answer.

She just doesn't want to think about it.

Fortunately, gunfire in a clubful of drug addicts is an excellent way to keep from dwelling on things overlong; the presence of firearms always necessitates immediate and decisive action.

And immediate and decisive action is what Owen Mercer gets, in the explosive sound of shattering glass and a great winged silhouette of black and red sweeping in towards him.

Boots first.

The upside: Owen will find himself wonderfully and mercifully whisked away from the hail of bullet fire before they can make stunning swiss cheese out of him from multiple directions for maximum riddling.

The downside: Owen will find himself terribly and mercilessly booted in the gut by someone carrying all the velocity and unforgiving weight of a battering ram that will send them both hurtling out of the way of those bullets —

— and through the nearest door into an adjacent, slightly less bullet-filled room.

She's tall. Her hair long and scarlet and dancing wildly about her shoulders as she rolls her way through the club grounds of the adjacent room, debris and detritus trailing in her wake. Ruby red lips are pressed into a firm line of neutrality, neither a scowl nor a smile, as her black and red cape pools around her crouched position.

White lenses bore relentlessly into Owen, wherever he ends up. Mercer. Ugh.

Shit, is really all she chooses to think at this moment.

"This? Isn't happening," she utters, her voice deep and commanding — but unlike Batman's guttural, terrifying snarls, hers has more of the qualities of the most intense of drill instructors.

"Now stand down. Before I make you stand down."

Which is more intimidating is really a matter of perspective.

"I'll save you some time: you don't want to go that route."

* * *

The funny thing about Owen's superspeed is that it doesn't last all that long. You can save the jokes about leaving people unsatisfied, he's already made most of them and Luke has filled in the rest. But in this case it means that Owen's waiting to use a speed burst when it's needed leaves him open to a good solid cannonballing from Batwoman. He has enough time to give her a WTF? face right before being doubled over by the boots to the gut and sent crashing into the next room.

On the ground, covered in bits of debris, he moans out something that sounds like a mesh of five different curse words, "Shifucabitass" and rolls off to his side. He staggers up to his feet and looks at the caped crusader-ess with a mix of confusion and disgust.

"Are you shitting me?!"

A boomerang is drawn and thrown off to the side, through the open door and finds its mark with a tell tale *crunch* of nose cartilage exploding in a bloody mess on one of the gun man's face, followed closely by a scream from the same man. Owen doesn't bother to even look before or after the throw, instead keeping his eyes locked on hers.

"First off! I like the drag bit, changing things up is a good move. Super fierce. Probably throws some people off." He does know that's not Batman, right? Unclear, but he's at least recovered enough from the surprise of being booted into another room to start running his mouth. Lucky her.

"But I'm a little busy, so our fun little game of 'punish the criminal' is sadly gonna have to wait. Though I've been very naughty, and I /am/ looking forward to it."

He then speed blurs to get away before she can wittily rejoinder back or more likely punch him straight in smarmy face. Back into the fray, Owen appears behind one of the body guards, points the man's own gun down and fires, shooting him in the foot. He then bounces the man's face off of a nearby table sending him to night-night land.

Two more boomerangs are pulled out, one with ice blue tips. He ducks behind the bar for a moment to help burn up some of the bullets without having to use any of his limited speed to dodge them.

* * *

Glass and plaster crunch around the weighted pressure of booted heels as Batwoman lifts back into a standing position; her cape falling around her in that classical, pooling drape style, glimmers of bright red can be seen amidst the sea of black as that unemotive, white-lensed stare levels onto Owen in the midst of his amalgamated swearing. A boomerang is thrown; her head cocks breezily to the right as it whooshes its way past and curves artfully to pummel cartilage into paste.

She'd feel bad she didn't even remotely try to stop it but, well —

— she's fairly certain most of the people here have it coming.

What she does take issue with is Owen's dismissive tangents followed by him not following her advice. It's not surprising, really. Kate still suppresses a sigh despite her utter lack of shock. A part of her was really hoping she could get through this without violence, for once, which is shocking enough. What can she say? It's like she told Julia.

Good drinking buddies are harder to come by than you'd think.

She doesn't have a response to Owen's quips. She doesn't even react at the sudden whoosh of motion that sprints past her in a smear of Owen Mercer color palettes, sending vibrantly scarlet hair dancing along the velocity-borne winds. Instead, her right hand immediately drops down to her utility belt.

Super speed. Fantastic. That's a known factor, too. But if he could use it all the time, this fight would've been over with before she even arrived. Which means —

It's the second Mercer lands behind the bar that three glinting edges of black and red go buzzing through the air in little flashes of metal. Batarangs — two of which will find the gun hands of those bodyguards still standing, to relieve them of their firearm-related burdens.

The third?

The third deftly swipes across the topmost drink shelf behind Owen with perfect precision —

— to send it crashing into the one beneath it, into the one beneath it, into the one beneath it —

—until an entire domino effect of booze and bottles and broken glass comes crashing down on Owen like a very unpleasant waterfall of liquor that can't even be enjoyed.

What with all the shattering glass.

Whereupon Batwoman -leaps- over the bar counter to introduce Owen's face to her elbow. Face, elbow. Elbow, face. Elbow is a little angry right now, sorry face.

Someone made its owner ruin some perfectly good liquor.

"Wow. You chose the route you shouldn't have. I'm so shocked."

Said the flattest voice on earth.

* * *

Stuck with his back against the bar, Owen is surprised when he hears the batarangs disarm the men. Huh. He really figured that they would be … oh. The third red and black projectile does it's job and makes it rain, but not in the fun money and strippers way. No, in the glass and wasted booze way that causes Owen to cover his head to stop the glass from cutting his beautiful face … well, his face anyway.

The only good part is that having his arms over his head means that the elbow is denied it's introduction to the face and is instead engaged in some hot elbow on elbow action instead. Of course, his own arms are still mashed into his face rather painfully but do cushion the blow somewhat.

The disarmed men scramble to pick up their guns again, or one just pulls a knife and tries to come at the two masked folks behind the bar.

Owen laughs and says, "You think that's a bad decision? Bat, please. I make thousands of worse decisions before breakfast!" He stands in time to see one of the knife wielding man coming at him, he grabs the man's wrist, pulls the knife out his hand and then slams it back down through the man's hand and into the bar. He does a little elbowing of his own now, smashing the man's face repeatedly while yelling at Batwoman.

"Just leave, this has nothing to do with /you/. I need to find someone!"

Another gunshot causes him to drop back down to a squat behind the bar, retrieving his two boomerangs from earlier, he holds the blue tipped one out at her pointing.

"Leave."

* * *

The men are already scrambling for their weapons. Kate realizes her time is limited, and splitting her focus isn't exactly an option. If she takes her eyes off Mercer, odds are good he'll use the distraction to find Sock and then… who knows what will happen?

She tables the questions on why he's so violently seeking out a friend for later. Not salient to the current mission; not her concern. Sometimes, being able to reduce things to 1s and 0s is convenient. Sometimes.

So for now, she just prepares. They're going to start shooting again; one's already coming at them with a knife. Mercer introduces his elbow to the advancing crony. Batwoman helpfully finishes that introduction off with a casual right hook, white lensed gaze fixated on Owen the entire time the goon drops like a sack of bricks. She needs to resolve this before they shoot the entire club up and get someone hurt in the process. And the quickest way to do that is—

More gunfire. Batwoman drops, a bullet clipping scarlet hair; strands float lazily between herself and Owen as they crouch across from each other, one holding out a boomerang like the deadly weapon it truly is in his hands. The other—

"Everyone does. But there's some mistakes you can't take away."

The other stays there, crouched, as the bar acts as an increasingly frayed and unreliable bullet sponge. Calves tense in a subtle way. Her voice projects over the sound of the bulletfire in a commanding way.

"Let me make this simple for you. I don't care who you need to find, or why. You're making a bad situation worse. You."

A soft 'vmmmmmmmmm' sound emanating from Batwoman's gloves is likely drowned out with the sound of bullet hail. She needs to wait for an opening. The speed comes in bursts. The boomerang is probably tricked out. Blue tip. Don't think about how much those words can apply to you, too. Wait for an opening…

"And that means you're leaving before you screw this up anymore, Mercer."

His demand echoes back to him, unbending as steel.

"Leave."

* * *

Expecting the right hook to come from him, Owen dodges far too much and slips down into the crouch to avoid the gunfire, versus the more purposeful drop.
Mistakes you can't take away

Owen has a litany of things that might fall into that category. The first time he shot up heroin at just fifteen. Bonding with a father he never knew, who would kill a Tim's dad to 'prove himself'. The first time he kissed Harley in that building after nearly getting shot to death. Things he bitterly regrets but knows he wouldn't make a different decision even if he were to purposely time-travel for once back to those moments. Are they mistakes? Or are they just playing the best hand he can with the cards he's been dealt. It's hard to say.

Leave

"Fine."

The blue tipped boomerang is dropped from his hand, and before it can touch the floor, Owen's not there anymore. But as Kate probably could guess even in the moment he agreed, he's not exactly doing what she asked. The boomerang if it touches the floor will try to encase the area around it in ice, a modification of the technology used by Mr. Freeze.

Appearing again behind the last shooter Owen stabs the man's shooting arm with a boomerang, twisting it to likely ruin any chance the poor guy will ever be able to hold a gun let alone fire one. He uses his other hand to grasp him by the neck and ask in his best menacing tone, "Where is Sock? I know he's been in here. Regular junkie, my height, army tats, comes in with the bartender and server crowd?"

The man answers, not in words but in vitriol, spitting in Owen's face instead.

Owen is hardly the first junkie to have gotten violent in a place like this, especially those desperate for a fix, looking to score. But the difference is that he's also probably the only junkie who's gone toe to toe with superhero and supervillain alike, so he's a bit more than they were expecting. Owen's response to the spitting, it to start slamming his fist into the man's face. Even the breaking of the table underneath him doesn't stop Owen. But his focus on this also means he's forgotten to check if his ice trap caught a bat or not…

* * *

Does she expect Owen 'I Dated Harley Quinn, No Seriously, Check Out These Selfies, Also I Have a Friend Named Sock' Mercer to do what she asks?

No. Of course not.

Does a small part of her hope against hope he will, for reasons that would require too much self-reflection to explain properly?

… Yes.

Of course.

But he doesn't, and no matter what one small sliver of her might hope, Batwoman is prepared for the most obvious outcome. Fine, says Mercer. The pale vigilante braces herself in the first second that single-syllable word leaves Owen's lips.

In the next second, he's not there anymore.

But his boomerang is.

Behind white lenses, green eyes instinctively widen. Honed years of experience take over for Kate where overthinking might well leave her in a lurch. Survival instincts send the redhead slamming palms into the bar counter as gravity gives Owen's weapon a fond how-do-you-do embrace, easing its process towards the ground as Kate Kane attempts to vault -over- it.

It hits. It activates. The moisture in the air starts to rapidly slow and condense.

And Batwoman lets out a vaporous puff of breath as crystalline ice fractals bloom in an engorging wall of frost behind her, obscuring everything in a veil of wintery white.

Owen is hardly the first junkie to threaten this place. He probably won't even be the last. But he's probably done the most damage of anyone who's come here, before and after. The way he beats that man down is testament to that fact. If it were any other time, Katherine Kane might have wondered if she would have stopped when that table shatters into so many splintering fragments.

As it stands, though…

… as Owen pounds, and pounds, and pounds that bodyguard's face in with one relentless fist, something cold seeks to press to the back of his neck. He might feel a little tingle. Something to make the hairs at the back of his neck stand on end.

And from his peripherals, he might see Batwoman, lips pressed into a thin, red line, chunks of scarlet hair ripped out, cape tattered, and down one bright red glove, all of which currently decorate pieces of a fresh wall of ice. He might see all that.

zzzzzzzzzZZZOT.

Before the other, gloved, hand, seeks to deliver a charged taser current straight through his nervous system.

* * *

It's almost like Owen's forgotten about Batwoman as he continues to punch poor Bobby 'Angie' D'angelo's once relatively handsome face in. He has most certainly forgotten Sock, his ostensible reason for causing this mayhem in the first place, let alone protecting Barbara's identity, the reason he needed to find Sock in the first place. No. Somewhere after the fifth punch it became more about venting some well earned ire and frustration out. But that release comes at a price.

Owen doesn't even feel a the tickle on his neck when the probes attach. He doesn't see anything out of the corner of his eyes, which are focused intently on watching poor Angie's face deform under his fist-based ministrations.

The jolt hits him, and poor BobbyAngie hard. Both bodies go rigid in time with the alternating current of the taser. After the first pulse the connection is thankfully broken and a bloodied Angie can slip off into a blissful blacking out, while Owen continues to pulse, now on the ground by himself.

He manages to turn his head and raise a hand, with a single finger lifted in-between spasms.

* * *

Why Gotham?

Maybe it's just because some people make mistakes they can never get away from.

Beneath thinned lips, Kate Kane's teeth grind just a bit at the sight of the pulverized man shocked to blissful unconsciousness beneath Owen Mercer's fists.

Dammit, Mercer, she thinks.

She thinks it, but does not give voice to it. Instead, it's Batwoman running that merciless current that disrupts the electrical signals in the man's body into bloody bedlam. It's Batwoman, presenting a stone-faced lack of sympathy for a plight she tells herself Owen invited on himself.

Owen falls. And Kate drops down after him, a knee pressing her weight into the small of his back, her red hair falling in an uneven, choppy veil around her face as she looks to pin the man to the ground. His head turns. He raises his hand. A single finger lifts, presented eloquently for her consideration.

The right corner of her lip quirks up. It's not an entirely unpleasant thing, but it is entirely sardonic.

"Cute," is what she says. "But your technique could use some work." They're glib, those words. A perfect poker face.

But what she thinks is something entirely different.

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