Checks and Balances
Roleplaying Log: Checks and Balances
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Bart invites Tony and Warren to lunch to discuss…other business of the Sentinel type.

Other Characters Referenced: Batman, Misfit
IC Date: April 08, 2019
IC Location: A Dim Sum place in New York City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 09 Apr 2019 17:40
Rating & Warnings: PG
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The month has been off to a busy start, bleeding over from the turbulent events of the month prior, and with the DPS unveiling their latest means to enforcing the registration law, things seemed to promise for much worse.

It once again left it difficult for the young, largely unregistered heroes known as the Titans do anything outright, but at least they had a better idea of what they could do in the meantime. Information seeking typically wasn't something that Bart normally found himself saddled with, but then he'd never had the kind of connections he did until recently. And with him just as curious about these shiny new robots that New York now has, it didn't take much urging for him to see what he could do on his end.

That said, being considered a wealthy businessman is kind of amazing. Bart may not be able to pull of Zatanna-brand magic, but being rich and asking and requesting the right things was a pretty close second so far as he was concerned. You asked people if they could set stuff up for you and ding! It was done like, next day. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later. For a natural-born speedster that can still improve but it's still pretty darn good. It's like a microwave of life. Or something. Except microwaves are still slow.

An invitation to lunch had been made, to both Tony Stark and Warren Worthington. It was a simple request, with the mentioned hopes of wanting to catch up on Things. It'd certainly be quite an afternoon for the dim sum place that the 'business meeting' would be taking place, eyes bulging at the names put on the reservation- perhaps at the very least ever offering service to one at a time but never all at once!

While they don't have a private room the corner table that's been set up for the three is as private as one can hope for while also hoping to be properly served- not that the managers will let that be a problem as they've ensured cart routes will frequent that end of the room as much as possible.

Bart Allen sits, more dressed up than he's been allowed to slide while in office, trying to make out what the difference is between one little plate of balls and another that have passed by while awaiting his guests and trying very hard not to start without them.


Tony Stark has to admit, being invited to a dinner meeting in an email that came from a company he used to own but now didn't was kind of surreal. In an interesting way. Also the fact that Bart was inviting him and Warren was highly amusing to the inventor, at least judging from the smirk on his face as he stepped out of the million dollar supercar in the parking lot.

Oh wait. No. Its just his face. It always smirks like that.

Still, dressed to the nines, sunglasses firmly in place(to hide the fact that his eyes occasionally glow now when he gets all excited) the Avenger strolls in towards the door. It is of course entirely impossible of him to make a quiet entrance, doubly so when he's meeting just who he's meeting here. I mean he's pretty sure Warren has never done a quiet anything. Ever.

Possibly why they get along.

So it is obvious when he strolls in, waving, smiling, signing autographs like he was born for it. Like he owns the place. Which who knows he might after this depending on how good it is.

His gaze sweeps the interior before he finds a familiar figure in the corner and with a gesture that is somewhere between 'it's fine' and 'go away' aimed at the manager Stark ambles on over. "So!" The man drawls as he slips into one of the chairs, a grin sliding across his face. "A business meeting about Things, huh? You're getting up on the espionage speak are ya, kid?" A beatpause. "Yeah, surprising I know what espionage is. The trick is to know what it means and then just ignore it."


Warren had smiled himself on receiving the invitation from Bart, the way a proud uncle might on seeing his nephew all grown up. "They learn so fast," he asided to Kiff, "though we might need to work a bit on his venue selection."

"Not everyone wants to go to the places you want to go, Warren," Kiff said patiently. "In fact, most people don't want to go to the places you go."

"Why do I pay you again?" Warren wondered.

"You would be dead without me is why," was the rejoinder.

At the time of the actual engagement, Warren Worthington does… not arrive in a million-dollar supercar, though — just as Tony expects — he has his own way of making a stir. He arrives by his own wing-power, circling down leisurely from fifteen hundred feet to alight on the sidewalk (to a considerable number of side-eyes). The one small benefit of being registered is that he's been able to finally stop hiding his wings and have them out, and as a result he's been indulging himself using them to get to most of his engagements.

After a brief moment spent preening for the surreptitious camera-phone pictures — straightening his clothes and running a hand through windblown hair to… just make it look more windblown, honestly — Warren finally proceeds within. There's a brief stop at the reception desk, before the winged X-Man turns and heads towards where Bart and Tony are settling in.

So pleasant to see you both," is his greeting, though the way he claps Tony on the shoulder before he takes the remaining chair is a few degrees more familiar than that suave boilerplate. "Is Tony already teasing you, Bart? That's unfair. I'm sure he only learned what the word 'espionage' meant last year."


Bart smiles easily once he catches sight of Tony. It's difficult to miss the man's entrance, and likewise Warren's for the bearing and the general attention that they command (demand?) when entering a room. He begins to wave enthusiastically before checking himself, but his foot's tapping under the table, his only outlet for restlessness.

"Is that what you think it was? I was just trying to be super vague- Hey Mister Worthington!" He glances from Tony to Warren with a small laugh. "Good to see both of you too. Thanks for coming. Um. Hope this is okay! Sooo how've things been?" As much as he'd really wanna ask about killer robots right off the back he supposes it's better not to spoil anyone's appetites before they even start!

Thankfully the waitstaff take their silent cue, and with all three businessmen seated they ask for drinks and carts start to roll up by the table, a menu left for specialized dishes, although with it lacking in pictures Bart's lost interest in it rather quickly.


"I'm pretty sure that's what espionage means, 'being super vague'." Stark replies with a smirk as he gets clapped on the shoulder. "And if I wasn't teasing you two might take me for a shapeshifter. I wouldn't want that now would I." He adds as he looks around the place, peering over towards the passing carts over the top of his glasses before turning his attention back to the pair at the table.

"You know I think sitting at this table is a not unsubstantial percentage of the GOP." He makes the comment in an amused and offhand way as he looks back towards Bart, grinning at Warren for a moment. "You totally made your hair look more messy before you walked in didn't you?"

The waitstaff homes in and Tony grins. "Haven't been to one of these in awhile." A pause. "Mostly because Pepper was the one that is always getting me to eat. But things…could be better." A shake of his head at that before he holds up a finger for a moment.

A small, thin disk is put on the table, slid out from his sleeve. A few casual taps on it before it shifts from a dull gray to a blue color.

"There we go, should be able to talk without worrying about electronic eavesdroppers now."


"Call me Warren," says the owner of the name with an affable smile, as Bart greets him. His wings fold easily at his back as he takes a seat, albeit with a few minor adjustments to accommodate the chair's high back. A smirk crosses his features at Tony's comments, and he tosses said hair in a practiced motion that somehow, magically, makes it fall into a perfect state of artful disarray. The light even catches it at the perfect angle to make it gleam the deep gold of ripe wheat. "I have a brand, Tony," he says mildly. "The term is 'windblown.' The exact amount of dishevelment involved is a precise art."

Asked how he's been by Bart, there's a small approving upward tick of his brows as Bart makes a little small talk prior to diving straight into business. It's a clear 'doing good, kid,' expression. Warren doesn't immediately answer, though, his blue eyes half-lidding as he pauses. What he's holding for becomes obvious when Tony takes out that disk and and activates it. Clearly he's familiar with his old friend's tricks. "Oh, you know," he says, once their confidentiality is assured. "Busy stamping out bigots who tried to kill me, handling the PR messes that keep popping up on the way, getting jailed for disorderly conduct." He flashes a smile. "Though by the end of it the NYPD was trying to get rid of me again."

Now, regardless of what he might have said earlier to Kiff about 'venue selection,' Warren seems as completely adept in this setting as he might in WI's corporate boardroom, the rooftop lounge of a luxury hotel, or in the private dining room of a three-starred Michelin restaurant. It's all part of the training that goes into being a stuffy socialite heir and consummate businessman: be comfortable anywhere, anytime. "I like places like these," he admits, picking up the pot and pouring the tea when it arrives. No one does it for them, which Warren seems fine with: "There's so much bootlicking everywhere else that their lack of interest in my comfort is refreshingly novel. Excuse me — "

With a murmur and a gesture, he pulls a lady and her speeding cart over to examine the offerings. In serviceable Mandarin he picks out a few dishes for the table, eyes Bart, and then adds a second set of everything he just ordered. "Duo xie," he finishes, and leans back.

"But I'm sure there's something on your mind, Bart," he inquires.


Tony's comment gets a politely blank look from Bart, although the attention brought to Warren's hair has his own focus dutifully readjusted. He might be taking mental notes. He might also stand in front of the mirror later and try to see if he can make his hair fall stylishly with just a toss of his head and hopefully not give himself a whiplash.

Smile quirking in Warren's direction at the subtle approval, Bart thankfully doesn't have to wait long nor inquire as he watches as Tony sets the disk in place, brows lifting before he nods. He doesn't make a face at the tea at least, although his brow furrows with the summary the winged wonder makes of his week. Not that it's anything really surprising, or not everything, at least.

"Yeah, I caught something of that on the news," he frowns briefly. "That's… Well yeah. I mean, with everything happening, kinda hard not to be wondering what's going on." He pauses as Warren makes a request, eyes roving over the contents of the cart, not that many of them are identifiable to him, but they look pretty tasty.

"-that said, this…isn't so much a work business meeting so much as…other work…business meeting." Bart has to consider if this makes sense, but apparently it does, at least to him as he nods to himself. He's not sure how much about him that Tony's mentioned to Warren, but he's pretty sure Warren must have figured some things himself for the tailing the speedster'd been doing on him the other day.

"Those robot things."


"Other work, the actual interesting part of things right?" The engineer says with a sigh. "And yeah, by the way I'm totally never letting you forget about bailing you out. At least till you bail me out. And then we'll just continually remind each other of the fact. Kinda like when…" He pauses a moment, remembering an old story with a smirk. "…you know. I never did get to finish the whole flying yacht prototype. I should do that sometime. Oh man wouldn't that be the best mobile base?"

He shakes his head slightly though. "But you didn't call me all the way out here to see me gloat about all that did ya?" He asks as he angles a glance towards Bart. He catches that look for a moment from Bart though. That 'does he know?' look. There is a smirk.

Bart has already figured out that Warren is more than a pretty face. So he'll figure out just what Bart is sooner or later.

There is a quirk of a brow though at that last question as he glances at Warren for a moment then back to Bart. "Normally I'd have to ask which robot things. But I'm going to guess the big purple ones are the ones you're talking about?"

A glance back to Warren.

"Why the hell do they paint them that color anyway. It's terrible."


Warren's blue eyes roll visibly at Tony's taunt. "You and Betsy," he says. "Coming in before I could even turn around and see what the number was for myself. Is it really so important to have one up on me, Tony? Don't answer that. Just go get yourself jailed soon so I can return the favor. I'm sure it won't take long."

A pause. "Though I will forgive you if you actually finish the flying yacht." Warren tips a conspiratorial smile towards Bart. "2012 was a good year for Tony and I. The yacht sinking was really the only thing that went wrong."

Warren exchanges a glance with Tony, however, as Bart refers to this as not a work business meeting, but a … other work business meeting. Still a few rough spots to polish off Bart Allen — though then again, a brand can be built just as well around a young man's callow charm as it can anything else. The wheels in Warren's mind start to turn.

He's distracted, at the least, from thoughts of 'building Bart Allen's Image' when Bart takes his cue and brings up the meat of the more serious talk. The look that passes between Tony and his young charge doesn't escape his sharp eyes, either.

In turn, it might not escape their eyes when Warren… fails to react with any surprise to the idea of the robots, and in fact looks briefly weary. "I don't know 'why purple,'" Warren answers the easy question first. "Magneto liked purple, too. It's a thing."

He puts down his tea. "I will tell you what we know about them, though their capabilities likely have been upgraded since the last time we saw them deployed. The Sentinels have been in development and production for a while, though up until now they've been one of those 'secret government programs in conjunction with a military defense contractor.' In this case, Trask Industries. They've never made them fully public until now — they've mostly been deployed against us, honestly." A pause. "Us, and the Brotherhood. I suppose we were the testing ground. I never truly thought the population would accept hunter-killer robots… I thought we might make some strides towards acceptance of mutants before then."

Warren exhales. "Of course, times and sentiments change."


Picking up his tea, Stark just smirks. "Yes." Is the answer to the question of one-upsmanship.


Warren shoots Bart an amused 'Can you believe this man' look. "This is clearly revenge for me inundating his hospital room with get well bouquets."


"Oh, that was you?" Bart smirks between the two at their exchange. Beware Tim. He feels he is in good company.

'Other work' was also a pretty vague way to put things, right? Bart's never been one for planning, so naturally it's in hindsight that he has to wonder if he could have just dismissed the whole premise of work altogether so long as they touched on the subject of the robots.

But he likes Warren, and he feels he can trust the guy. And Tony trusts him and has known him a while. …not that people may not think much of that. But if you can't trust the judgment of your kind-of-adopted father then who can you trust?!

"Yeah, the purple's kind of…" Bart makes a slight face. "I guess they don't care about being obvious but maybe that's the whole point." He pauses, fingers working chopsticks into position before sneaking closer to on of the little steamer containers to relieve it of its contents. The rate in which things disappear probably shouldn't at all be surprising to Warren by now, not since the Crepe Incident.

"-wait, last time? And they're called Sentinels? …what a lame name." Trying a sip of tea and managing not to wrinkle his nose at it, Bart lets his eyes wander towards the approaching carts for a moment. "Unfortunately that's not what happened with them," he frowns, stating the obvious. "How do they know who to target?"


Again a smirk.

"I couldn't damn well walk between all those bouquets when I got up. Between that and the bug statue it was cramped in that room." Stark comments before he nods. "And yeah, that was him. 'To make me feel like I actually had as many admirers as I thought I did' read one of the cards." He sips at the tea, making just a bit of a face at it.

He makes a face at most things non booze based though so don't take it too bad.

A frown though does cross his face at the mention of those Sentinels. "Yeah, last time. They've been deployed several times from what I know." The engineer shakes his head. "They put the whole Sentinel program into production when I flat out refused to have the Avengers involved in anything like that. Possibly before then." A beatpause. "Also I really don't like Trask." A side glance at Bart. "He's the one I was working against when I aimed you and Pepper at those smaller tech firms to buy out. Sadly I don't think it slowed him down too much."

A sip of tea again as the dumplings start to arrive. "As far as I know they have some kind of DNA scanner built in. It can seek out mutants. At least that's what I'm guessing." Now he looks at Warren a moment. "Bird brain here has more ideas than that I'm guessing."

A pause again.

He is so judging X-men antagonists for being purple right now.

So judging.


"'To make you feel like you have a quarter as many as I do,' was another one," Warren relates fondly.

As far as Bart diving in? Warren doesn't blink. Nothing surprises Warren about Bart anymore ever since the Crepe Incident; that really set the tone. The fact that Bart and Tony both pull faces at the tea has him a little concerned, though. Bart don't emulate that about Tony!!

"Yeah… it's not the most inventive name," Warren says of 'Sentinels,' "but there you are." He nods as Tony adds what he himself knows of the machines, his blue eyes shadowing with thought. "Several times, yeah. There was an incident with them abducting us, and space, and…" Warren winces, and doesn't finish that memory. "Either way… Trask has government interests behind him. We can't buy out this one — more's the pity."

As far as how they know who to target? "They detect the X-Gene," he says bluntly, ignoring 'Bird Brain.' "At least, the models with which I'm familiar do. That's how they pick out mutants who don't have visible mutations." His wings twitch a little at his back. "They may have modified them to detect a broader range of metahumans, but that I can't be sure about. No idea about their control system, either — none of them have pilots. What I do know is that they fly, though not very agilely," Warren looks distasteful, "they fire energy lasers, and have an electrical stunner for incapacitation. Along with being a twenty foot tall robot, and all that entails."

A pause. "On the plus side, now that they seem to be committing to pulling them out so brazenly in public, it'll be easier for you to get your hands on one to reverse-engineer."


Well, so much for Misfit's suggestion to buy out Trask, not that Bart had thought it would be so easy. He nods thoughtfully, even as his attention drifts between carts and present company. He's probably looking for something that resembles dessert. Or meat. Or those little steamed pork things.

"They can scan for that kind of thing?" That had been the main concern that he and some of the Titans had been wondering about. Warren's confirmation has him frowning. That just means they have to be extra careful around those things in plain clothes.

"What're they made of?" he wonders aloud, although the suggestion of one being easier to get and reverse-engineer has his head swiveling towards Tony then. For all things technical, Tony was definitely the obvious choice. "That'd be better than breaking into the factory or Trask's."


"Oh we've tried damn hard to buy them out but there is enough government behind them that we haven't had any luck trying to get at them and picking them apart isn't easy." Stark looks rather annoyed at that. "Its not for lack of trying though." So he's been at least aware of it enough of it too try.

He nods though to the question. "Yeah though, they can scan for that sort of thing. I could too, most of my security systems kinda involve that just so I don't get surprises when I'm taking a model out to dinner." It has happened once or twice. "I've heard rumblings that they are working on full meta-scans. Which does not make me feel happy. What they are doing now is bad enough." A glance at Warren though before he nods. "No pilots, so its some kind of linked hive mind style of AI. A sad excuse for one, but one none the less. I can see what I can do to scramble their brains after I reverse-engineer one."

A pause.

Then a smirk is aimed towards Bart at that last question, a touch of amusement, a touch of pride. "So hypothetically speaking. Since. You know. I'm a member of the Avengers and totally can't condone breaking into anywhere. But hypothetically speaking. If you want hard technical data on them, you would find it at Trask's lab. I'm going to assume that is where he would work on any upgrades too. If you want to knock one over and see how it all works, then hit the factory. So. Since we are /just/ talking about hypothetical situations its fine. But reverse-engineering them is totally better than all of that hypothetical stuff. Less problems that way."

A glance at Warren. "You really hate space don't you?"

A pause, then back to the matter at hand. "As for what they are made of? Some kind of composite armor. Can't hold up to a sold blast but from what I've seen they can take a lot of damage before they fall."


"If only everything could be solved with a buyout," Warren mourns. Noticing the direction of Bart's roving eye, Warren fans his wings slightly and draws the attention of one of the roving carts, getting another round of dishes and then a stack of desserts. The woman looks nonplussed about how much food is being brought to this one table (between these three, it is… a lot) but certainly no one is complaining about it.

"Not surprised," he observes of Tony having genetic scanning tech, after the cart has rolled away again. He started paying attention again in time to catch his friend's anecdote. "Wasn't there that one that popped out tentacles midway through — ?" There's a slight trail to the sentence like there was another word to be said, but Warren thought better of it after looking at Bart.

Anyway. "Wouldn't be surprised if they have meta-scans by now," he course-corrects to another topic. "It's the metahuman registration act, after all, not just mutant. It would be a big step to figure out where their central processing is coming from, though." He glances between Bart and Tony blandly. "However that might happen."

As for space? "Terrible things happen there," Warren explains. "I get thrown into combat to the death, my friends light on fire and die, there's intergalactic stalkers and space sharks…"

He shakes his head. It doesn't even bear thinking about. "Yeah, you have Magneto to thank for that," he says. "Composite ceramic, plastics, metal. I imagine they were trying to work towards no metal at all because of him." He lifts his wings in a shrug. "But we'll probably be able to get exact numbers on all that sooner rather than later."


"Er, right! Hypothetically. Totally hypothetically speaking," Bart says with a blink before nodding emphatically. "-although I don't know that it'd make for less problems, really. More like different problems, trying to figure out how to get in. Hypothetically. I figure security would be super tight, especially if they have a way to scan for metahumans." He scratches his head. "Unless it'd be possible to…fool the scanners?"

For the time being, any food requested from the carts at least has a chance to occupy space on the table for longer than a few minutes as Bart's really paying more attention to the conversation. Unfortunately he can't help but keep making faces every time he takes an idle sip of tea. Sorry Warren.

He does blink though, once a moment has lapsed enough that he's acquired more food bits to deposit into his mouth. "-tentacles..?"

As Warren continues about his space experiences it only seems that Bart's interest grows, although not necessarily about combat to the death and friends burning to death. Nope, right to- "Did you say space sharks???"

But they're not here to talk about space sharks, as much as he'd like to Know More. Killer robots made of a mix of materials is more important, and Bart nibbles thoughtfully on some sticky rice thing as he mulls distractedly over the details he's been gleaning.


"…space sharks…oh wait you've been hanging out with Atli!" Tony says with a laugh. "She make sure things are never. Ever. Boring." The engineer draws a deep breath as he leans back. "But yeah, scanners can always be fooled and we do not talk about that whole thing with the shapeshifter unless you want me to start listing your space stalkers." A mock-glower at Warren before he smirks slightly and looks back towards Bart. "Just…better not to ask."

Really. It is.

"But yeah, they are at least less magnetic than most things, so ol' buckethead couldn't quite tear them apart to turn them into puppets."

'Ol' Buckethead'. Tony does love his nicknames.

Taking a dumpling from the plate polishes it off quickly enough before he smirks. "And yes, security there is pretty damn tight. Not that I have satellite scans or drone flybys of the lab. I mean. That would be wrong."

A shake of his head though as he waves a few fingers towards the server, trying to get the attention without Warren seeing. For the check of course.

He does glance back towards the pair though. "They seem to change tactics depending on who they are fighting though."


"Yeah," Warren notes, peering at Bart critically as if to suss out his full range of powers just through his extraordinary sight alone. "The Sentinels' ability to scan has always made getting past them very hard. Until we can figure out a way past that detection, trying to carry off an already-deployed Sentinel seems easier than breaking into Trask's labs." A pause. "Which Tony definitely has not done anything illicit, in regards to."

As for Atli? Warren grimaces visibly. "I wouldn't say I was hanging out with her so much as she decided she was going to hang out with me," he explains grimly. "And every single time, she's crashed in on me from off her goat. First in the pool at the Institute. Then in my office." He sighs. "She does seem to mean well. The… execution leaves much to be desired, however."

Sadly (fortunately?) for Bart, there is no clarification on the shapeshifter matter. Warren lifts hands in surrender and backs off when Tony threatens to list HIS stalkers. "God forbid, we'd be here all day."

'Buckethead' as an appellation for Magneto does make him laugh, though it's the sort of incredulous laugh that indicates someone retaining a very healthy respect for a very old archenemy. "It did slow him down — a little. But anything that slowed him down even a little was a needed advantage." Tony's mention that they seem to change tactics draws a frown, however. "They… do seem more responsive than I remember them being, years ago. More… adaptive."

He sighs. "Anyway, that's all I really know about them, at the moment. — And Tony, you should know by now that I can see a quarter across Manhattan. I can see you trying to get the check. Don't bother, I told the hostess when I first came in it was mine."


Atli… "OH! She knows space sharks??" Well, if Asgardians can have space goats then why not space sharks? It makes sense to Bart. Or as much as there needs to be before the speedster just connects the dots with snaking lines.

More of the food begins to disappear from plates, his hands moving almost automatically to feed his face and move on to whatever might be left by him before he pauses again. He looks like he wants to ask. You can't tell him not to ask and expect him to accept it. Yet, there's just something in that look from Tony that really underlines it.

As Tony tries signaling for a waiter, Bart slips his phone out as though to check something. His fingers are a blur as he types out a quick message to have SIRIN message JARVIS about asking Tony if he can pass on whatever he might have on Trask's security, later on.

"Well, plastic and stuff still melts. Misfit dunked one of them in a volcano," he says as he slips his phone away again. "…which is too bad but we'll figure something out." He pauses. Is he supposed to add 'hypothetically' again? "Batman's hoping for more information on all this but I guess he doesn't wanna ask directly for some reason-"

It's another thing he says without quite thinking, but his train of thought is disrupted more so because of his two guests apparently trying to cover the check. Oh, but that isn't right, is it? He invited them, after all. No wait, he's heard about this, but he still hasn't really come to understand why people would want to fight over who pays.

Unless it's a game.

A rich people game.

Maybe this is a test. Or maybe it's just Tony and Warren being competitive.

Bart glances from them to the rest of the room, picking out the waitstaff who approaches their table with the check. She seems to be hesitating as eyes flick between the two men. And then she looks altogether confused when she finds a credit card already in hand, Bart smiling politely as he gives her a nod. Blinking, she finally turns and starts back towards the front to get it processed.


"Batman wants information, of course Batman wants information. Batman always wants information. He better not have tried to hack my drones." Stark grumbles though Bart can tell at this point that it is mostly for show.

Mostly.

"I'll get information bundled up and sent to you at SI though. Everything that I totally have not found out about Trask and his Sentinels. Just make sure Batman knows that I found out and that he didn't know till I told him." A pause. "It'll make me feel better at least."

Turning to Warren though there is a smirk. "Oh I know that trick, I talked to the owner before we sat down. Do you think I was just signing autographs. I got it this time, Feather—"

Then he looks up to see the waitstaff already turning around to process the check. Slowly his eyes look towards his own card, still in hand. Then towards Warren's, also still in hand.

…then towards Bart.

There is a pause for a moment. Then a slow nod. "And now. The student has become the master." A beatpause before there is a flash of a grin.

"I told you he's good, Warren." There is some strange pride there. And not a small amount of amusement.

They grow up so fast…and…they…are so fast.

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