Draconian Counsel
Roleplaying Log: Draconian Counsel
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Warren Worthington talks to his lawyer.

Other Characters Referenced: Dazzler, Domino, Jean Grey
IC Date: May 19, 2019
IC Location: Warren's Office
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 20 May 2019 03:48
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

"Oh for fucks sakes!!"

Once upon a time, Evangeline Whedon's biggest problem in the world was that she might, maybe, accidentally become an angry red monster and devour whole city blocks with fire and ultraviolence. Or maybe, before she first discovered her ability, it might have been a case load, and victims of criminal intent so vile it turned even her hardened stomach to think of failing them.

Now it was probably just high blood pressure.

"Lawrence v. Texas, Carol! And if that wasn't enough how about a Constitutional fucking right to privacy?! What happens in our client's bedroom is none of your fucking business, no matter what form she takes, and certainly isn't the business of your twice convicted felon witness who, by the way, is under FBI investigation for his little 'Freedom Club'. So no, we will not accept probation before judgement, a harsh talking too, or even a scornful look from your office. Drop it or I will take a break from my day job, fly down there, and hold daily press briefings on your front lawn."

This is how Vange enters Warren's office, shrugging off some assistant who had very good intentions in keeping her out of whatever Warren was up to at the moment, and with a hurry she turns to close the door behind her with a slam that belies her relatively small size. She is dressed as she usually is - a suit at first glance, but something she touched up with her rather macabre flair. Certainly, it is custom, and probably not something she would wear to court, but right now she is not in court.

Right now she is hunting for Warren Worthington, and whirls around with a small stack of paper in one hand, curled up like a newspaper she wants to hit someone with.

Warren is currently at work… nominally. That is to say, he's physically in his office. Nonetheless, the secretary at his door was a little reluctant when Vange showed up seeking entry, and attempted to demur that perhaps she should come back in an hour.

The reason for this is rather quickly elucidated once the lawyer gains entry, because Warren is certainly not at his desk nor doing work right at the moment.

In fact, nothing is actually visible of the esteemed Worthington patriarch at first, except a crooked white wing sticking out from over the low back of one of the sofas in the office's sitting area. It twitches when Vange slams the door, and its feathers rattle a little with its owner's shudder.

"Vange, please," emanates from that general direction. "I'm close enough to death as it is. Your kind drink like absolute fiends."

But presently, ingrained courtesy brings Warren to muster the strength to sit up from his impromptu fainting couch, revealing that… he really doesn't look any less beautiful that usual, honestly, despite the claimed massive hangover (which is really just a headache he's having a melodrama about, because he never used to get hangover headaches at all). Maybe a little disheveled, his hair in disarray, though even then it manages to fall in an appealingly tousled way. It really must be an aspect of his mutant powers.

"Are you going to hit me with that?" he inquires, eyeing the rolled-up papers. "Because I'd really rather you wait at least a half hour for my head to clear up enough to take hits."

The immediate state of her employer seems to strike the wind from her wings, pausing in mid-charge where she was, in fact, considering a swipe at him. But one thing Vange has displayed more than anything, outside of accidental teeth and claws, is an empathy and protective instinct that kicks in and seems to deflate her, just a little. Her arms cross, and she does that little twitch with her nose Warren will be so very used to, like when she really wants to do something but can't because it would be excessively mean.

This expression comes up when meeting with Mr. Worthington.

"You know it's really infuriating. Three nights ago when I was hung over I woke up looking like the girl from The Ring. You look like you're maybe just a little disappointed that your best buddy Tony Stark can't come out to play today. Which, by the way, I thought that was his whole deal, buying up and shutting down weapons companies." She holds up the papers again, giving them a little shake.

"Do you guys have some sort of wager going? Want to tell me what the hell is going on with M-Tec? I just got wind that my favorite dynamic human victim outrage duo, Reynolds and Meyers, wannabe journalists, are interviewing the people who were fired."

Her tone has only softened a little, frustration building in the back of her throat until it's almost too much to stare at Warren's hair being all perfect, and his angelic face making her both want to punch it and also want to just give him a great, big hug. Certainly, this is all part of him being an actual Angel. Vange is already convinced, which really should surprise no one because she's an actual dragon.

Unable to look at that pathetic, pained visage anymore, nor his pitable wing-fluttering, she turns to rummage around the office until she can find him a club soda and at least half a a dozen aspirin. This done she looms over him, offering both with a begrudged expression on her face, the pile of hastily photocopied documents she had in hand? Well she dropped those on the nearest table. All testimonials about the M-Tec takeover.

Some birds feign broken wings in order to deter predators. Warren seems to have inherited this ability genetically along with his wings and fantastic eyesight, because he certainly does look too pathetic and endearingly appealing to hit right about now.

The danger of being hit averted, Warren finally sits up properly and pushes a hand through his hair, which doesn't help it look any more ordered, but does help him look even more fetching. Her outrage at that brings half a smile out on his features, though the mention of Stark and weapons companies — and the topic into which that segues — wipes the expression right back off his face.

"Nngh," is Warren's immediate response to all of that, which is very far from his usual eloquence.

Accepting the soda and aspirin, he waves vaguely for her to sit down wherever she might choose to. "That's a long story," he admits, "and — not a wager with Tony. Not this time." He scrubs a hand over his face, and reaches to take the print-outs to have a look.

"It's probably not important to get into all the details how," he says, "but I found out how that Purifier cell was being supplied. It was M-Tec, running guns up from Florida. I… thought this was the less flashy way to put a quick stop to them than rolling over them with an X strike team, powers blazing." He squints at the documents, confusion slowly dawning on his features.

"But I said that the employees should be taken care of afterwards. Compensation for lost wages until they got placed in new jobs." His blue eyes narrow, as he scans the articles. "I don't understand why it's not happening. This is the same damn thing as happened after AA. I had to go out there myself and make sure reparations were set up for the people there."

The prints are about what he expected. No severance. No healthcare. Abrupt termination. It's all hand written, signed. All from middle management, at least this small batch. Nothing incredibly damning, but this journalistic duo she mentioned is sniffing around.

Her glasses come off the moment his 'Nngh' breaches the air, and she busies herself with wearily cleaning them with a handkerchief from her pocket, and as he continues on it looks as if her soul is almost ready to leave her body, because Vange is nothing if not someone who thinks she can save the world. The fact that she cannot save Warren from himself is an affront to her ego.

It is why she will never quit. It is also why she turns to sink back against the arm of a plush chair, and then slowly oozes backward to land on it, legs hanging off of one side, head caught at an angle that makes her stare through the skylight. Oh, how she wishes she were up there right now instead of considering the possibilities.

"First, let me just say that every time you tell a lawyer that it's 'probably not important to get into all the details' we immediately know the opposite is true. And more specific to me, it pains me. Like literally. It might be my gall bladder. Maybe it's my liver. I don't know, but it is physically painful to hear that Warren."

Her glasses come back on, and she remains reclined, almost dejected, the rage stolen from her by the detail Warren brings, but she still manages to say his name in just the right way convey maximum annoyance. "I've changed my mind, give me those asprin back i need them more than you. Wait, what? This happened before?"

It abruptly uprights her, sitting her in the chair normally, looking perhaps more alarmed than usual, her gaze distant. Eyes narrowed.

"Who was in charge of it? The same people? Shell companies? This is the part where all the details matter, because either you have a serious slacker in both your upper management and human resources departments or someone is purposely exposing you to liability so these dickbags can swoop in and try to stir up some shit. Like, you know. Rich Winged Guy fucks over all people without wings, news at eleven."

Her air quotes have a certain pinache. Her expression, right now, does not.

A blue eye glances at Vange askance at her retort to his choice of phrasing, before Warren heaves a sigh, which is a nonverbal way of admitting that she is right. "Forgive me," he says, his voice dry, though also notably abstracted — he's focusing on the prints right now. "I've grown up with lawyers flocking around me, and very few of them are as charming as either yourself or Mister Murdock. I've gotten in the habit of avoiding them in my life unless I absolutely need them."

Which, unfortunately for someone of Warren's position, is terribly often. Probably why he tries to not have anything to do with them whenever the rare opportunity arises.

"All right," he acquiesces. "We'll go over the details how, if only to spare your liver or gallbladder or whichever it is." He exhales, flicking the aspirin bottle back over to her on request. "I asked one of the newer team members on the X — Domino — to look into things. I first met her when she was doing some independent investigating into what happened at Alternative Air, with the wing-cutting and the Purifiers and the guns, and everything. She'd found some stuff about it, so I put her to find out more, with Dani to help — and keep an eye on her. Nothing particularly illegal happened, just the standard private investigator stuff, but they heard Stryker talking M-Tec with a sympathetic prison guard. That's how we found out where the weapons were sourced." He glances up at her. "That much is tied up — the guard's been arrested and Stryker's parole was denied."

His gaze tracks back down to the pages. "As far as it happening before… while the investigation into AA was ongoing, the employees were supposed to be on paid leave. I found out later they weren't getting it, so I had to go down there myself and make sure it happened. In the end, it turned out AA's C-levels were in on the whole thing — they were arrested and the company collapsed afterwards — so I thought they were the ones responsible for blocking the pay."

He shakes his head. "Evidently not, if it's happening again with M-Tec's people."

Warren is silent a moment, before he says, "I was going to get bad press no matter what, but this is extra bad press, and preventable, and that's twice as unacceptable. I don't need it right now, especially with Aunt Cecilia phoning me every other day with 'friendly advice.' Will you get Cameron on board and figure out who's fucking up?" He is not outwardly angry, but the slip of profanity tells his mood accurately enough.

The wheels turn behind her eyes, and she seems to be considering The Conspiracy. Which may not be one. Maybe it's just two different sets of bad actors. Maybe someone saw what happened last time around and is trying to make sure it happens here too. There is a crunch of a sound as Vange absently chews on several aspirin, the bitter taste forcing her to make such a face, but Warren is filling in the blanks and that alone is helping to put her at ease.

"I'll tell your PR people about the mix-up, make sure Cameron gets in there to unfuck it all, with interest, and then I'll try to see who looks particularly dissatisfied with you doing the right thing. Outside of who I would normally expect, that is." Vange is used to having clean things up. It all goes strictly beyond her job description, but that's just baked in. This is X-Men business as much as it is Worthington Industries business, and she's responsible for the legal ramifications of both.

And, she's just responsible for them both in general. They're both family.

Which is why she gives Warren a particularly apologetic look when he mentions his Aunt, slowly slumping back into her chair, like some often-bored ruler of the great realm of… legal advice.

"I'll fix it. Make it right. Maybe have Cecilia's phone disconnected."

A beat.

"Might buy you maybe twenty four hours of peace. So! What else? I know I never get off the hook with just one catastrophe in my back pocket when I walk out of this office. Lay it on me Worthington."

"Yeah," Warren says, straightening the pile of papers and tossing them back onto the coffee table. "I hate putting more on Cam when he's already so busy handling our German partners, but if there's anyone who can get to the bottom of this quickly and… ah… 'unfuck' it, it's him. In fact, you might have to hold him back from killing whoever it is when he finds them." Warren smiles faintly. "He started his career in PR. He'll take it personally."

A pause, before Warren remembers: full disclosure. It's pure business, not exactly legal, but after Vange's earlier anger Warren seems to be opting to be extra up-front. "Ah… our German affiliates have been losing some confidence lately," he admits, "so Cam's just been trying to assure them everything's fine." He lifts his wings slightly. "I think it's because of these, to be honest. WI being headed by a mutant. Germany's been trending… chilly on metahumans. Apparently there were a few superpowered dust-ups in Berlin over the past few years."

Very mysterious.

As far as his aunt? Warren grimaces a little. "I appreciate the offer, but probably best to just leave it be. If I cut off her ability to call, she might actually stir to come over here personally, and I prefer her to stay out in Long Island with my horrible cousin." He looks morosely at his club soda, perhaps wishing it had something stronger in it despite his headache. "God knows what they are doing. Probably yachting, for all I know, that's about all there is to do out at Centerport. Well — they are welcome to have the run of the estate, as long as it keeps them from coming here."

Vange inquires if there's anything else. Warren hesitates, then starts slowly, "I'm curious about your take on something, actually. Regarding Domino. Piotr and I sponsored her — so to speak — to join up with the team, a while ago. She's a merc, but does good work and seemed like a good sort. But seeing more of her in action, I got… curious? Concerned? I saw her get triggered into what seemed like a traumatic episode during a Sentinel raid, possibly kill some people." He turns his glass in his hands. "And her involvement's evolving to be less contractual-feeling, and more invested. She's been up to the base, and all. She's been to the school." And Vange would know very well how protective Warren is of the school and the kids there. "I've tried to find out more about her, but she's… secretive, and she had a pretty strong reaction to me asking more personal questions."

He looks up at Vange. "Sooo… I did some background checking without telling her. Asked Sloane and Dani and Kitty to do some digging. I'll show you what they found on her, but my question's mainly…" He tilts his golden head back and forth. "Jean thinks I should come clean to Domino I was prying. Says she needs to be able to trust us just as much as we need to be able to trust her — that she deserves to know the people she's settling in with are digging. What do you think?"

Her eyes narrow a little as Warren goes on about the confidence issue in Germany, and sometimes she is certain he is just taunting her. Not on purpose, but just that he migiht be the universe's way of testing her emotional stability, or at the very least challenging her good sense when to leave well enough alone. Which she does, in this case. It's something she'll remember when talking to Cam - the man has never exactly seen eye to eye with her, but she knows he does great work, and knows how close he is to Warren. It means she'll be gentle, and careful about the extra pressure he is under, to say the least.

Carefully crafted eyebrows lift, and so does one finger, pushing her glasses up on her nose just a little. It isn't often anyone asks her advice on strictly X-Men things, as it is not usual for her to run headlong into danger with the group. Vange just doesn't engage the super hero side of things as much as she should, except of course to keep a close eye on the liability it might cause. Still, she does her own prying. She knows who Domino is, but that's about it. Everything Warren tells her now illuminates a vague picture. Certainly, the bit about a traumatic episode has a frown tugging at the corners of her mouth, but not because she somehow disapproves.

Empathy creeps in, because she knows what it's like to act out in a violent way when not fully in control. There's something there, in her eyes. Maybe a little hope, and she leans forward as Warren explains the background check, those involved, and Jean's urging.

Is that disappointment when she leans back again? It is so very brief, but she immediately taps a finger against her lips she turns thoughtful consideration to the problem.

"I think in part my answer to this question would depend on what you found. Generally speaking? I'd give her the full disclosure treatment. Start by explaining with the kids, the movement, all of it, we have to be careful. Everyone gets checked out a little. But that's all without my knowing if you found out that she's secretly a mutant cannibal or something."

Vange stares.

"…she's not, right?"

The mote of empathy that sneaks into Vange's features isn't missed. Warren blinks, connects the dots, and a faint 'ah' expression comes and goes on his features.

He doesn't speak to it, however, remaining quiet as Vange gives the matter consideration. In true lawyerly fashion she eventually advises full disclosure in situations like this, though with a caveat. Is she secretly a mutant cannibal?

Warren has to laugh, at that. "No," he says. "At least, not that we found. The story is rather sad, in fact. Engineered as a weapon, only to be freed by someone with a conscience, and to go on to try to forge some sort of life of her own. Perhaps that's what inclines me, in retrospect, to 'fess up. As it were."

There is a distinct pause. "I'm also inclined to tell her," he says. "If only because it's the context for some other things that I feel need to be made clear to her if she's continuing with the team. Namely that however sordid her past may be, almost killing the person who is asking about it isn't a acceptable response in polite society."

Warren glances at Vange. "We were in a car when I started prying. She drove it into a truck to give me a 'demonstration' of her probability powers. Of course her powers made it so that we got through fine — but she made quite sure to note to me that they don't always save people who aren't her."

Warren grimaces. "Alison was very unhappy about the whole thing. She insists to be present if and when I do speak to Domino."

"Double yikes." This in response to the demonstration of Domino's powers. Her eyes go a little wide, her arms cross, and she does not look very comfortable at all with the thought of someone taking such a huge risk with Warren's life. But then she remembers how often he takes those kind of risks with no one's help but his own and imagines Alison's reaction was the worst part of it all. Warren immediately confirms Alison's reaction and she tries not to look pained.

Vange considers Ali to be, perhaps the best of influences on Warren, and the thought of her upset-

"Well at the very least don't get into a car with her again."

The Dragon-Lawyer rises then, and makes no move to reclaim those papers. Those are for Warren, or whoever picks up around here. "You want me there too? I'm fine if you want to tell her it was all my idea. I can be the bad guy if you want. Anyway, it doesn't sound like anything we haven't heard elsewhere, right? Someone does shitty thing to mutant, mutant does what they can to survive. I haven't been with you all since the beginning but after reading files, preparing briefs, defending kids in court and doing all the rest, I know that the X-Men, if anything, are the way back to a sense of belonging. And she sounds like someone who's not had that for awhile."

Hands find her pockets, and she lets out a little breath. Not quite a sigh. "I say give it to her straight, lay out the ground rules. But tell her we need her. Then give her what she really needs - a home."

Warren visibly braces in preparation for whatever Vange's reaction might be to the car incident. It is an instinctive defensive maneuver after the lashing he got from Alison about it. Vange seems to pick up on that, however, and to think that Alison probably already did a very thorough job beating him over the head about it (she did), and so she lets him off light. This time.

Warren exhales a breath. "Yeah… I was… perhaps… a little reckless." He keeps saying that he's learned his lesson about being brash, he keeps saying that he's moderated in his old age and doesn't leap into things anymore. Clearly none of that is actually true. He still, too often, runs about with the frank overconfidence of a spoiled young billionaire who isn't aware the world isn't obligated to oblige his every thought. But that's why he surrounds himself with the wise counsel of the women in his life!

As for whether Vange should be there? "Maybe on-call nearby, in the event something happens Ali can't neutralize on her own," he muses. "But no, I'll tell her it was me. If I'm going to own up, it'll be all the way. I won't blame somebody else for what I chose to do."

Her thoughts on Domino's history put a thoughtful look on his face, however. 'Nothing they haven't heard before.' "Alison said something like that," he admits. "That plenty of people have sob story backgrounds, and do whatever they have to in order to survive, but that doesn't change or excuse whatever that winds up being. Magneto had a terrible past… even Stryker probably had some sad, sympathetic story, too. That doesn't change that they turned to killing people over it."

His eyes track her as she rises. "But it's true… the point of the X-Men was always to be a home for people who did want to move beyond whatever was in their past, and it's at least worth seeing if Domino is one."

He finally rises as well, bred to an old-fashioned set of manners to always stand to see a lady out. "Thank you, Vange," he says. "I'll walk you out. Cam's out of the country until midweek, but you should be able to find him when he's returned."

Everything Warren says makes sense of course, and as much as they'd like to bring everyone in from the cold, well. Sometimes we can't afford that much blood seeping into the carpet. As much as she does not know about Domino, she imagines Warren and Alison are both good enough judges of character that they can figure out if she's the right fit. And yet…

There's that thing, just that thing. Domino taken by fear, by fight or flight. Vange might even be seeing red for a moment, in the most literal sense, and she's thankful Warren is walking her out, because it drags her back to the here and now. The words 'Thank you' snaps her back to reality, and she resolves to do a little digging of her own.

"Hey.. just remember what I said. I'm serious. No more car trips with her. You're already nearly impossible to insure." And boy does she know it. As she steps out of the office her phone begins to buzz again, and she looks at it with a grimace. "Oh, imma find him, don't worry. We'll get the mess fixed up. I can't wait to see his face when I tell him to double the severance." And then she abruptly turns, a hand in the air as if to wave goodbye, and she's talking to herself again. Or rather, to someone on her phone, her work never really done. The profanity streams forth, the hall echoing with her malcontent and savage roar as she advises the Mutant Defense Fund on how to handle one thing or another, and in her retreating moment it's clear she doesn't need wings or scales to spit fire.

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