Birds of a Feather
Roleplaying Log: Birds of a Feather
IC Details

Warren finds a break in his business routine and it comes in the shape of a stalking speedster.

Other Characters Referenced: Pepper Potts, Tim Drake, Tony Stark
IC Date: March 29, 2019
IC Location: New York City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 30 Mar 2019 06:40
Rating & Warnings: G
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

As it turns out, Warren Worthington is not that difficult of a man to find, especially when you have the advantage of superspeed and can check a lot of places really fast, and when you know Tony Stark, who can give a bit of an insider's scoop on the matter ("there's the Institute, there's Worthington Tower, there's the topless bar we nearly burnt down in '11…").

Okay so maybe Tony isn't helpful.

Preliminary investigation early in the morning would yield the discovery that Warren is, in fact, at the Institute at that particular point in time, though he appears to be only 'stopping over.' Very soon after Bart finds him there, he heads out to return to New York City. Most normal people would drive to the Metro-North and take it back down to Grand Central; most rich assholes would just get in their private helicopter or plane or whatever and fly off.

Warren does neither. He opens his wings and just takes off straight from the lawn in a flurry of feathers, heading west until he hits the Hudson, and then flying strongly south along the river. He's trivial to keep up with, for someone like Bart; in fact, the difficulty might be not dying of boredom along the way, because it takes Warren about half an hour to get back to the city at his leisurely pace.

The difficulty is also in keeping track of him visually, because once he hits the city limits he skews upwards, climbing about fifteen hundred feet in the air — enough for decent clearance over the skyscrapers. His path is unerringly back towards Worthington Tower, where he stops over in his office by just landing directly on his own roof. That is where Bart might lose track of him for a little while, up until around noon he emerges from the Tower — at street level, mercifully — in the company of his personal assistant, and the two of them walk (actually walk!) a few blocks down towards a really nice restaurant, presumably for some kind of business lunch meeting. He and his party are seated by the restaurant's front windows, presumably as a display, and it is pretty easy to make an observation of him throughout the meeting. Throughout the meeting he looks very gracious, but towards the end of it his body language starts to get a little more aggressive, and the others start to look more closed off.

The frown he wears on emerging again a little later, afterwards, confirms it probably did not go well, but — undaunted — Warren stands debriefing with Kiff a little while on the corner, before Kiff nods and walks away. Warren turns and heads in a different direction, still (amazingly) walking like a normal person.

If a normal person had wings. Warren has stopped hiding them entirely, and he is definitely getting askance looks.

Did you ever get the feeling you were being watched?

Bart's no stranger to tailing someone. The question of whether he's actually good at being inconspicuous while doing so is another matter, but at least he's mindful enough to dress casually and so his day had been decided upon. It had to be more fun than sitting at the desk from morning until afternoon.

The awe of watching Warren actually make use of his wings to fly had lasted an extremely short while, which in Bart Allen's case, is really to be of no surprise to anyone who truly knows him. He wonders why it hadn't occurred to him that following rich business people could possibly be boring?

It had taken Bart about thirty seconds (he was being generous) before deciding that trailing the winged man's route back towards the city was not going to be fun at all as he imagined himself hanging onto a Warren-shaped kite. Waiting for Warren to catch up proved to be another problem entirely, and by the time the winged-man had made it back to New York Bart had been starting to reconsider his activities for the day.

Thankfully Tony's suggestions weren't completely unhelpful, although even if you knew the potential destinations, you couldn't nail down times quite as precisely. Finding a person who's airborne might have seemed at first deceptively easy to keep track of until you realized that you were now in a virtual forest of concrete and glass. Armed with binoculars and poking out of windows and fire-escapes or having raced to the top of apartment rooftops, it at least serves to occupy the speedster for the leisurely pace that Warren makes when he finally is spotted once again. And Bart had enough presence of mind to figure that people might become suspicious of some hoodie-wearing teenager skulking about the block of Worthington Tower. Which isn't to say that the person in the trench coat and fedora, the girl in the puffy coat and a blond wig, and the kid wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses weren't any less suspicious.

He's downing a fifth hotdog from a street vendor he'd found blocks away when finally his target reemerges from the building, and once again the game is on. Hood tugged over his head, Bart doesn't bother to keep too much distance between him and Warren's party as he darts behind bushes and building corners, trees and parked cars, sign posts much too thin to offer cover. It's slow torture. He considers just going home for the third time today.

Fingerprints are left on the glass of the window, now and then a mop of auburn hair poking out of the corner. Then he's across the street, watching, passing by and glancing around a newspaper at the ongoings within the restaurant. Grife, were they eating or just talking?!

Bart must have circled that block more than a dozen times, and it's only by luck that when he peers towards the window again that Warren is (finally!!) on the move once more. What had happened in that meeting?

Again he takes up trailing the winged man, who on street level isn't really difficult at all to keep an eye on, those wings practically a banner.

In a way, for Bart, following Warren around is like getting a look into his own future as a rich businessperson.

And to judge from Warren's calendar so far, rich businessperson life is surprisingly boring.

Bart Allen is doomed.

As far as Warren Worthington? He gives no evidence that he has noticed someone following him about at all, or that he might be feeling that prickly sensation of 'being watched.' He carries on with his day as blithely as ever, though truth be told he had noticed he had a tail very early on. For all that his moniker is 'Angel,' and he leans — to a large degree — into that whole angelic aesthetic, the fact remains that biologically most of his mutations are extremely birdlike, and from the kinds of birds that can see mice from two miles up. Especially when the mice are moving very quickly.

Especially when the same mice show up repeatedly over the course of the day, wearing different things but otherwise not troubling to be very careful about the following.

Knowing Bart is with Tony in some way, Warren is… not very concerned. Mainly, he's feeling curious — and somewhat playful. Walking along the block blithely, he considers the current wind direction, the sharp corner up ahead of the tall building they are passing, and makes a quick decision. As he reaches the corner, he turns it swiftly and is temporarily lost to line of sight.

Around the corner, he lets all sixteen feet of those wings snap open, ignoring the angry protestations of New Yorkers 'tryin' to walk here!' The harsh updraft vortexing around the base of the skyscraper eagerly catches them like sails, and he rides the wind straight upwards with the deft experience of a man who is, perhaps, the absolute best in class at the mechanics of flight.

He doesn't go far. Only high enough to pivot in the air, skim along the gusting wind to duck back around the corner, and fold his wings to drop back down to the sidewalk behind the Bart following him.

"Does Tony miss me that much?" he wonders. " — Or is this unrelated to Tony at all?"

Either Bart has not realized the implications of Warren's Day Out or refuses to let himself think about it. In actuality the sad truth is that in trying to keep tabs on the guy that he's just successfully distracted himself from his initial reason for even following Warren Worthington in the first place. It's become more of a game than actual act of observation, although the snippets of the business spectacle at the restaurant had very nearly recalled his focus to such.

He has no idea that he's possibly been noticed! He thinks he's actually doing an amazing job.

And as Bart sees Warren turn the next corner he pushes on ahead. Seeing everything happen around you in slow motion doesn't account for things that happen just out of your line of vision, and so when he reaches the corner and finds Warren gone, the speedster looks completely baffled.

It lasts for a handful of seconds as he processes everything else around him, the shouts, the gust of wind, the shadow suddenly—


People can't really manage to turn around, jump with a start, and keep their balance very well but Bart sure does seem to be trying very hard to juggle all that and keep both feet planted. He stares at Warren a moment and then forces a grin. "Oh hey Mister Worthington! I uh… not sure what you're talking about."

The frank truth is that Warren has always… lacked a little bit in firepower compared to his compatriots; as such, he has developed other ways to make creative use of his mutant gifts. Extreme maneuverability has become his niche, and he's used deft positioning often enough over the years to gain some advantage. The thing that you learn after half a lifetime moving in three dimensions rather than the usual two is that most humans never, ever look up. If something disappears from their line of sight straight forward-and-back, left-and-right, they usually pause in confusion before they think about up-and-down.

That gives Warren just enough time to drop down on the young man following him. The wide-winged shadow suddenly falling across Bart might be the speedster's first hint — that, or the drifting down feathers, or the indignant mutterings of people straightening their clothes and hair from the state of disarray massive wingbeats put them in.

Bart's very forced grin is answered by a very cavalier one from Warren. The breezy smile is tossed off without much thought, and yet somehow manages to look as poised and posed as a smile being photographed for a magazine cover. It looks like something he's had a lot of practice doing. Not sure what you're talking about! Bart starts. "I'm not sure yet either," Warren says sagely, "but I'm about to find out."

And with that, Bart will find a wing folding around him and steering him off, like the feathery version of an arm being thrown about his shoulders to guide him away. "This is fortuitous, actually. I've been meaning to see how you're doing — and to get to know you a little better. There just wasn't enough time for more than introductions, last time Tony brought you over."

He peers somewhat critically at the speedster. "And it seems to me Tony's thrown you into the deep end. Unless I miss my guess."

Is he buying it? Is he buying it? He's…yeah. Didn't think so.

Bart's not sure what to make of the smile he gets in response. He had no idea that people could smile so naturally like that. It's kind of impressive! The glance he casts over his shoulders is only in expectation of there being cameras somewhere to capture the dazzling expression of this angelic being.

A feathery wing comes about him, and Bart's not really left with much choice but to go along in the direction he's being guided as the slight weight of Warren's arm is brought about his shoulders. Well this definitely hadn't been part of the plan. His self-proclaimed mission had been purely to observe, not directly engage! Of course, this could be much better. Maybe. He hasn't really worked things out this far, but then that's per the norm.

Warren seems to be taking this in stride. Bart can work with that. He blinks, looking a little surprised at what the man says. "Oh, really? I… Well I guess things being busy goes without saying. Cool. So this works out and running into you like this isn't super awkward at all."

And then the Look. All right, so maybe a liiittle awkward, or at least so appears the smile on Bart's face. "Err…yeah. I think that's a fair guess," he admits.

It certainly wasn't part of the plan, but it may be better in the long run. After all, there's only so much that can be gleaned from observation from afar. What if he were to be right there, shadowing Warren while he was going about doing his thing? Maybe it would be less boring than looking in through windows or trying to keep up with Angel's distinctively aerial means of getting around.

…though given the usual content of meetings, that's a very dubious 'maybe.'

At the least Warren doesn't seem offended that Bart was following him around, judging by the seamless aplomb with which he takes Impulse quite literally under his wing, and starts guiding him — somewhere. Go with the flow, Bart. "Not awkward in the least," Warren assures, waving away stalking and binoculars and wigs with arch indifference. "And — well," he explains, as Bart seems confused by his interest, "I've known Tony quite a long time, and a friend of his is a friend of mine. He's trusted you with Stark Industries, and that in itself — very interesting."

And very sudden, as Warren guesses… and Bart confirms.

"Now I know all the mechanics of what happened, and why, and et cetera, but what I haven't heard necessarily is how you feel about it," Warren inquires, looking genuinely curious and empathetic, his blue eyes turning to rest on Bart's with listening interest. There's already some stuff to be learned here; Warren's demeanor is pretty much exactly what one would expect of the wealthy, blue-blooded socialite and businessman, and there's certainly some sense that there's rules governing it that can be learned by watching him. 'Gracious' is a fair summarizing word for it. The way Warren carries himself seems calculated to make others feel at ease, and part of that is a very convincing display of interest in other people.

Of course, in this case he is actually interested. "I'm curious to hear it from you. 'Busy' is an understatement. I find all this difficult and tedious enough — and I was raised to do it."

Despite the attention that he now finds himself afforded, Bart doesn't appear to be ill at ease. Go with the flow? He can do that. Talk with Tony's bestie? Sure, why not? It helps that the speedster's naturally outgoing.

"How I…? Oh. I…guess I'm still working that out, myself." It had been sudden, the proposition as Tony had put it forth so unexpected and, well, completely against any reasonable decisions that even Bart had hesitated rather than immediately jumped on board. He knew absolutely nothing about business! On top of that, he's a metahuman- which would just make Tony's idea pointless if that sort of word got out. Just revisiting that whole conversation threatens a headache.

"Honestly, I can't even imagine how someone can stand being raised to do this sort of thing. And I've only been at it for a few months. I don't even do most of the stuff myself and what I am stuck with is boring enough!" He shrugs his shoulders, laughing a little. "But I want to… I dunno. I don't want to let Tony down."

I can't even imagine how someone can stand being raised to do this sort of thing.

Warren smiles, the expression a little more wistful this time. "It's a very restrictive lifestyle," he says, "I can tell you that. There are a lot of unspoken rules that go into what you do, what you can't do, how much you show to people and what you can say. You're under a spotlight, 24/7." He regards Bart thoughtfully. "It's a lot to be thrown into, headfirst."

Soon enough, Bart will find Warren has brought them to a spot that does not actually advertise clearly what it is from its exterior facade. Upon entry it is revealed to be a small bistro, discreet and clearly used to patrons of Warren's ilk — perhaps, honestly, used to Warren himself, personally, from the way the hostess shows them immediately to a private table towards the very back.

"They do excellent crepes here," is Warren's absent explanation for whisking Bart away. "More importantly, as you'll learn, it is best to hold your conversations in private — or as much privacy as you can manage — and to hold them in locations where people expect someone like you to be, because there will always be someone who finds you anyway. Now… how much did Tony tell you about what to do? I assume Pepper's giving you pointers, at the least?"

Unspoken rules and being watched 24/7. Some things he supposes he can relate to, the rest. Bart smiles crookedly. "I get thrown headfirst into a lotta things. This is just…a lot different."

You didn't learn business from watching people for a few seconds like you could learn how to write and work out what was expected of you in school. Business was a lot of little things pushing for long term. Bart did not do long-term very well.

The place that Warren brings him to seems to confuse him for the lack of obvious signage or any clues from the outside, and it shows on his face. He mouths a 'wow' once they enter, gawking a tiny bit, and wondering as he glances down at himself if he's a little, okay, a lot under-dressed for a place like this. Then again if people can pay for hidden bistros then who can complain what their customers wear?

"Crepes are great. Do you mean like, savory crepes or sweet? I like dessert crepes. Or at least the one I had in Harajuku. Cheesecake and strawberry in a crepe!" He veers off on that offhanded mention without much urging, but as Warren continues, and explains his real reasoning for bringing him to this out of public-eye setting, Bart nods as they settle into their seats at the secluded table. "Nice. That…makes sense. -should I be taking notes?" Patting about his pockets, he pauses when he realizes Warren's still talking.

"How much did Tony tell you about what to do?"

Bart makes a face. "Basically? He said to listen to Pepper," he replies dryly. "Pepper's been a lot more helpful with letting me know what's expected of me and to do though."

"Very different," Warren agrees. "And unfortunately, this is one of those things that cannot be learned quickly, nor done quickly."

And in fact, everything that Warren does — everything about how he conducts himself — is sedate as hell. Warren carries himself with the unhurried assurance that comes of being completely confident in one's own place in the world: that place being at the very top. When he spoke to the hostess earlier, and when he speaks to the waitress now when she stops at the table for drink orders, there is never any hint of questioning in his voice. He never talks as if he might be asking permission for anything. He speaks only in gentle, cordial statements.

There is a lot to learn about the mechanics of being wealthy, or a businessman, or just plain 'someone who belongs in these sorts of circles,' but there is also a lot that is ineffable and cannot quite be taught, and must simply be studied and observed from someone who lives it. Warren is as good a person to observe for that as any — and it's certainly much easier to observe him up close than it is from a distance.

"Get whatever you like," he says. "They have both kinds." His brows do loft when Bart mentions Harajaku. "Oh? What brought you there?"

As far as whether Bart should be taking notes… Warren laughs, before he realizes Bart is probably serious. "If it helps you," he says, "though best to develop the ability to absorb information without writing it down. Most people betray a lot in their expressions, and you can't watch them if you're looking down at your notepad. Besides, a good hard stare at people usually keeps them on their toes."

The news that Tony told him to 'basically just listen to Pepper' seems to relieve Warren, unsurprisingly. "I love Tony," Warren says, "…but that's for the best. You will be in good hands with Pepper. Though if you need anything, I'd like you to think of me as a resource as well." His eyes shade a little distant. "I was thrown into things a little young, also. I was twenty… five, I believe. Of course, I was trained for it — but I still recall how overwhelming it was. There is really no softening the suddenness of it.

It's both infuriating and fascinating watching Warren at work. There's absolutely no room for doubt that the man belongs where he is. In some way, Bart's reminded of his own mentor. Max just seemed to know how to flow with things, even when it wasn't at mindless speeds. The Zen Master of Speed, he's called. Bart nods to himself. The way Warren goes about things is very zen-like.

Still, he wishes the guy would just hurry up and sit down.

There's no way one can miss the way Bart's eyes light up at being told he can get whatever he wants. His earlier stalking had worked up an appetite, and the hotdogs had been but a small snack for someone with a hypermetabolism. -wait, did Warren mean just between crepes or like, to eat in general? Beneath the table Bart's foot taps as though it were part of his loading animation. Right. Better to hold back a little. …but if there are dessert crepes then it's free game.

"My feet," the speedster replies when asked what brought him to Harajuku. He grins, figuring it a good joke even without admitting to super speed. "I was looking for Christmas presents for my friends."

It seems he's given up on looking for whatever manner of note-taking he'd thought to dig out of his pocket, be it phone or an actual pad of paper. He glances back at Warren and nods. "I can do that." He has an excellent memory when he puts it to work. As though to try out Warren's advice right then, he fixes his amber gaze on him.

There's something of relief that doesn't merely surface on his own face but washes right through the rest of him when told that he can consider Warren himself as a resource. "I… Wow. That means a lot to me. So… thanks." He glances down at his hands, folded with a finger tapping anxiously against the other. "I um. Didn't want to be a huge bother, but I wanted to see how other people did this…sort of thing and you were the first person outside of Tony that I could think of."

Warren does indeed seem to proceed through life at a very zen pace. The zen of being beautiful and wealthy and ornamentally patrician, one could call it; though it would not be quite accurate to call him useless. It would be easy to stereotype him as a lovely airheaded heir good for nothing but laying around on yachts, but Warren Worthington is one of those few 'playboy billionaire philanthropist' tropes who actually knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to transacting business. He certainly did not have trouble keeping up with the material at Harvard Business, for all people eyeroll about how he probably just bought his way in.

He seems apt to pass along some of that knowledge now to Bart, though in truth with his abilities Bart shouldn't really have trouble learning what can be read from books or taught via a lecture. What is more valuable, perhaps, is the more ineffable stuff; how to carry oneself, in order to seem to fit in among wealthy industrialists, shark-tank businessmen, and grasping socialites, and not come off as too much of a naive target. How to sense when one is about to be taken advantage of, and gracefully avoid it. How to rearrange one's life to ensure one can still have a modicum of privacy, even as one's life becomes more and more ensnared in the spotlight…

Things like that. He also thinks Bart might appreciate someone stepping in and offering a little support. The full-body relief that washes through Bart at the offer confirms that.

"Whatever you like," he reiterates, amused, on noting Bart's momentary uncertainty… though the amusement lapses a bit in a blink of surprise when Bart offhandedly mentions popping to Harajaku 'just to get gifts.' "Ah. Well, you have the correct attitude already in place, in that respect. All the people I know don't think much of hopping to Paris because they had a passing macaron craving."

As for Bart's final admission? "I had an inkling," Warren assures, his blue eyes half-lidding under long lashes in a way that softens away any potential embarrassment Bart might feel. "You didn't fit the usual profiles of people who follow me around, and there were only so many reasons I could think of for you to do so in specific. I promise, it's not a bother. I'm told I'm much too idle to begin with," he says dryly, "so I may as well be useful and help others out. It's the least I can do. If you feel uncertain, or have any questions, please, call me."

He sits back in his chair, thoughtful, his wings folding more tightly. "If you want to shadow some of the meetings I go to, you're also welcome. God knows I go to enough as part of raising Aegis' profile, and that sort of thing will become a staple for you as well. Typically a majority shareholder like yourself wouldn't necessarily have to be putting themselves out there, but I think your circumstances are a little… unusual. Tony attracts attention… and he appointed you. People will ask why, and they'll get nosy."

If it weren't for how tedious it is to keep up appearances and deal with business on a daily basis Bart might envy Warren for just how naturally he carries himself. As it is, Bart's just not the sort to feel that way about people in general, and when it comes to this lifestyle he doesn't quite think it's…him. It's another identity, apart from being Impulse, apart from being plain old Bart Allen from Manchester, Alabama.

He'd gotten enough books on business, Tim had seen to it for Christmas, if only to make sure that his impulsive friend didn't land himself in jail accidentally or by overall design. Bart had pushed through reading them no matter how boring a lot of the content had been, but application often proves to be different, and nothing tells you about what's expected of you socially.

At permission from Warren to order whatever he likes, Bart smiles. Well, if he insists, then the speedster won't object. Besides, looking at the crepe listings he might just have to try all of them. Or at least the sweet ones. …okay, he supposes he should balance things out. All of them.

"More meetings. Yaaay." He looks just about as enthusiastic about that as he sounds, although it's on purpose as a smirk follows. "I…guess it couldn't hurt to do that. At least I'll be in good company." It's the attracting attention part that Bart's still trying to figure out how to work with. All his life in this time, Max Mercury had insisted keeping a low profile. Bart fumbled that in the first few days of high school, going from a nobody freshman to the most popular kid in school, and through no real effort of his own. This….

Actually, this is kind of the same, in a way, isn't it? Tony's thrust him into a spotlight, except a lot more is riding on his shoulders and he actually does have to make some effort to do things. The bullies are tougher and the pleasantries, the smiles, sometimes false.

Bart sighs, nodding. Put in that perspective, maybe it's not as overwhelming as it might have seemed to be at first. But he'll still be glad to have Warren's help.

Warren probably has no idea of what he has gotten himself into, saying 'whatever you like' to Bart 'Impulse' Allen. He's familiar enough with accelerated metabolisms and increased caloric requirements, of course — he's one of those people himself, though not anywhere near the degree of a speedster — but Bart is another category entirely.

Well, at least he can afford it. ALL the crepes.

Bart's remark about how more meetings couldn't hurt, he supposes — especially if he's in good company — draws a laugh. "You're already well on your way, Bart," Warren says, approving. "Flattery is an excellent tool for people with overstuffed egos — wield it well." And he is transparently including himself in the overstuffed ego category.

But there is a definite hint of seriousness to Warren's blue eyes, however, as he regards Bart Allen. The position Bart's landed himself in can often be outright dangerous, and not in the way most average people suspect, but in far more subtle, manipulative ways. It is telling to Warren how adrift Bart must feel, that he's taken to shadowing 'other people like Tony' to try to learn.

If he can offer that help outright, he will be glad to do it.

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