Angel's Share
Roleplaying Log: Angel's Share
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

After a lot of running around, spy maneuvers, and face-punching goodness, Warren and Neena finally sit down and just..talk.

Other Characters Referenced: Dani Moonstar, Alison Blaire, Charles Xavier
IC Date: July 02, 2019
IC Location: Angel's Share restaurant
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 04 Jul 2019 15:28
Rating & Warnings: PG-13 for that language stuff
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Contact with Warren Worthington has gotten sparse again. There hasn't been any facetime with him at all lately for Neena Thurman, other than his eleventh-hour appearance to save Dani Moonstar's life… and that was an emergency. Since then, Neena has talked to Ali, she's talked to Dani, she's talked to Rogue and to the so-named 'spyfishes,' but the winged man behind all of them has remained aloof and elusive. He's a busy bird, so it's probably not terribly surprising… and given the circumstances of their last extensive conversation, it would not be surprising even if he wasn't busy.

It might therefore be a bit unexpected when she receives a message from him on a nondescript weekday evening, with what is presumably a location. <Angel's Share, 8 Stuyvesant St, second floor. You're in the right place if you've walked into a Japanese restaurant. Take the first door on your left. It will be worth it — and if not, I'm paying anyway. :wink:>

It is a bit of a hunt to find the place, at the appointed time — New York is infamous for its hidden hole-in-the-wall watering holes like this — and this one is not only buried on the second floor, but behind another establishment entirely and accessed by an unmarked door. Angel's Share turns out to be a tiny little Japanese cocktail bar with a 1920s speakeasy flair, and it's not hard to find Warren on arrival. He's commandeered a table beside one of the big windows looking out over East Village, with a clear sightline to the bar. Befitting the place's name, there's a rather fascinating slanted mural with images of angels over the bar itself.

Warren, waiting with his wings out and neatly folded — and carrying a quiet conversation in Japanese with one of the waistcoated bartenders — seems to fit right in.

***

Is it wrong that the scariest detail in receiving such a text message from Warren is that he -actually winked- in it? That's the kind of signal in the movies where one goes 'yeah, this is absolutely a trap.' Unless Domino is somehow misinterpreting it when he really means for it to reference having a black eye from their last significant encounter but somehow she doubts that's the case.

Either way the hunt has begun. For whatever reason (maybe the regularly scheduled paychecks of significant proportions) she doesn't see turning down his offer as being an option.

The fancy new matte black on black on grey sport bike, one of the few new toys which Warren hadn't directly funded the purchase of, makes short work of the traffic situation. Some time is gained only to be largely spent trying to find the darn place, though a point in his favor is that it's nice and secluded.

As soon as the biker leathered albino sees the winged one already in here -surrounded by angel decorations- she facepalms So…Damn…Hard. Her arrival may be announced more by the *thap!* of skull striking glove than by the sounds of the door behind her.

Actions speaking louder than words she says NOTHING about his choice of location, or that he looks more like a fixture than a customer. The jacket is shed then rolled up into her arms as she stands by the leader of the free mutants and waits.

Sort of.

"Do you have any idea how cheesy you look?"

So much for letting actions speak for her.

***

It was a terrifying day when Warren Worthington got up on social media and found all the saucy emoticons. Think those are bad? Take a look at his Instagram sometime (@aviewfromabove).

That said, this is certainly a rather Instagrammable place, especially given how well Warren himself fits into the whole aesthetic. Judging from how hard it is to find, though, it's rapidly clear that he probably didn't pick it wholly for the aesthetic and also picked it in large part for its seclusion. As he says often — he likes his privacy. His treatment of the privacy of others is another story, of course — but perhaps he's learned his lesson there.

Perhaps.

The bartender returns to the bar as Domino makes her rather disapproving entrance, leaving Warren to slant an amused blue-eyed gaze up at her as she declares her opinion of his venue choice. "Does that mean you're not going to sit?" he inquires, looking completely unashamed. "Come now. When you have as strong an imagery as I do, you learn to lean into it."

He leans forward conspiratorially. "Besides, they love me here, and I do like being loved. I add a lot to the ambience. Business is up by twenty percent. See the Angel at the Angel's Share! As a result, they do take care of me." That is about the time Domino might notice that their half of the establishment is entirely cleared, despite the place being small to begin with. Warren didn't want to be bumping elbows with people, and made the preference clear, and so it was done.

He flicks a wing. "Sit, and I'll get you something strong, and maybe a job. Or leave, if the cheesiness has utterly overwhelmed you."

***

Given the winged man's ego Domino has not a single question in her mind as to why he gravitated toward this location. The privacy is an added perk but even if it was the most popular bar in the entire state she would put money on him being unable to resist its call.

On the upside it isn't some grungy dive bar like she's more accustomed to dealing with when it comes to public-not-public meetings such as this one.

"You're leaning, alright," she teases with something of a better-natured smirk. Her sarcasm is clearly up to par today, complete with the stoic grand entrance. The 'Angel in an Angel Bar' didn't really bother her but she couldn't allow such a moment to pass her by without latching onto it. It comes with the territory!

She's juuust about to make some other snarky comment about him wanting a secluded place despite that he single-handedly increased their business by such a large margin. This immediately comes to an end upon realizing that he reserved the whole place just for the two of them. Flashing his power and/or money again, naturally. It -almost- bugs her but she also directly benefits from such scattershot generosity.

"I'm good with a little cheese," she deadpans while taking a seat beside Warren with the jacket resting right on the counter off to the side. It's not like she's blocking anyone's access to the bar.

The offer of a strong drink is always a good opener. As is the potential for a job, though this detail puzzles her somewhat. After the way they had left things off before is he really good with jumping right back into their professional relationship? There's still more left to be talked about, isn't there? There ALWAYS is…

In fact, there may be a few items which -she- feels the need to say. Not that she's going to volunteer to take point. Screw that.

***

Warren has, despite appearances or expectations, been in his share of grungy dive bars in his time. Said time might have been the time he was fucked up on cocaine sixty percent of the time. In his old age, however, he's had to revert back to settings more in line with his means and his particular station in life. A lot more eyes are on him now than a decade or so ago.

That, and he does have to admit, they are rather more comfortable, and less likely to land him on the cover of some gossip rag.

His blue eyes stay on her as she removes her jacket and takes a seat beside him. The wing on that side folds back in a little more tightly, giving her space. Despite his outward flippancy, there is a distinct intensity to the way he studies her, perhaps gauging his approach. The… awkward way they left things off is probably why he's so good with jumping straight back into professional relations as a first step. Warren handles people pretty well in general, but there's no arguing that he handles them distinctly better in a professional context than he does when emotions and dark pasts and such get involved.

"You might have heard about this business with the missing telepaths," he starts, pulling a small envelope out of the inner pocket of his jacket and sliding it across the table. "First priority is to find and extract them, of course… but I want to dig into who's behind the mess. The people who've been doing the kidnapping have been mercenaries, from all I can tell, so I thought I'd give you a few names in case you know anyone who knows anyone, and so on. That's all we know about the one man we've questioned so far. He's connected with an agency… Rampart Security… and I'd like to know how deep the rabbit hole goes with them."

He pauses. His gaze flicks over towards the bar, and he nods briefly at one of the bartenders, who starts putting together some drinks. "Seem fair?"

***

Oddly enough it may help Warren's case if Neena ever learns that he had been a crackpot. Another time and another place, perhaps.

Getting straight to the point is the perfect guidance for this flavor of reunion. A glimmer of recognition washes across the albino's face as soon as Warren gets the ball rolling. "Dani had mentioned something about it, yeah," she confirms while absently reaching out to catch the offered envelope. "She didn't have a lot of details to offer." A situation which is now being remedied. Progress!

As Warren speaks she's picking through the pages. Not surprisingly, as soon as he mentions a strong chance of mercenary involvement an eyebrow twitches and she's looking his way again. "That's never good." Speaking from experience! Rampart Security, "Not familiar. But I will be. Individual mercs can be difficult to get anything useful out of. Get a group of them together and it takes an act of congress to keep anyone from saying something they shouldn't."

It's part of how she's managed to keep her own history so well covered for so long. Fly solo.

"Maybe I'll find a lucky break and catch these morons having a laugh over some drinks."

To the question of seeming fair she gently nods. "Yeah. Anyone getting an arsenal of psychics isn't good for anyone else."

There is one picture in the file… Warren's keen eyes may have noticed a slight hesitation from Neena. A slight bunching up of muscles within her forehead as though trying to recall an older memory. She doesn't linger, that would be too obvious, but look closely enough and every poker-face has its tells.

Does she know that guy from somewhere..?

***

Another time, another place… or some reciprocal digging of Neena's own. Being such a public figure means that many of Warren's misdeeds have turned up in the news at some point or another. It didn't help that his compatriot in Bad Fucking Ideas was, quite often, the equally-public Tony Stark. The knowledge he was, at one time, a fuckup would certainly would mitigate any viewpoints of Warren as a poncy, stuffy, overprivileged asshole, though for obvious reasons he doesn't really discuss that part of his life too often. There were many reasons he started getting that fucked up to begin with, none of them fare for 'casual conversation.'

Instead, he breaks the ice between the two of them with a safely professional discussion of work for which he thinks Neena might be suited. After an encounter where she pulled a gun on him, and he responded by punting her off a skyscraper, there's maybe just a little bit of awkwardness that needs to be dispelled. Warren studies her reaction as she does a preliminary review of the pertinent information; it's not everything that he knows people know, but it is what he thinks she is most likely to have the necessary connections for.

That twitch of potential recollection is caught by his aquiline gaze, but it's not lingering or substantial enough for him to draw conclusions from it. He takes note nonetheless. "I do find people tend to share a universal interest in gossiping," is all he says aloud, dryly. "Doesn't matter who they are — group them up and they'll chat like housewives. I have a private investigator looking as well, but someone actually in the business has a… special kind of in."

Half a smile crosses his features as she concludes that it sounds fair, because it's no good for anyone to get an arsenal of psychics. "That and the check." His smile turns teasing. "I do have to justify my expenses sometimes."

The bartender arrives at about this point with drinks. A concoction involving a shiso leaf and a plum salt rim, in what appears to be an oversized, shallow sake cup, is placed in front of Warren. The winged man isn't looking at it; his head tilted and jaw leaned against his knuckles, his amused blue eyes are watching Neena as the bartender pours her her drink out of a leather pouch.

"They call that a Night and Day," he says, his gaze straying between her black hair and white skin. "Glenmorangie base. Cherry Heering, Mandarinetto… and…" A brief moment of thought. "…Cap Corse Rouge. They let it sit in that leather for added flavor. I took the liberty of picking something I thought would suit you." He lifts his head, his freed hand lowering so long fingers can turn his own cup. "I've been yelled at a few times now that if I want to get to know you, it should be via 'actually normal means.' A beer was suggested. But I'm not really a 'beers' type of person."

His wings spread their feathers a little, ruffling absently. "This is my 'normal means.' I'll also call it the start of my apology tour."

***

A 'special kind of in.' "My thoughts exactly," Neena responds in a flat and distracted voice while focusing on the provided evidence for a little while longer.

And the check. This brings her attention back to the corporate bird full and proper. There's something of a lazy smirk playing across her face here, probably more of a defensive move than in finding true amusement in what he says. "If you're trying to guilt me into doing this for free it isn't working, but don't let me stop you."

The drinks which come forth are a fair deal fancier than what she tends to dive into. Maybe she can't identify a single part of the concoction other than 'it's in a glass' but that won't keep her sidelined for long.

Okay wait. Is that—is he pouring it out of a damn waterskin?

"Clever. Point to you."

Once the drink is poured she slides the glass closer then leans forward to give it an experimental sniff or two. It looks expensive. Which makes it perfect coming from someone like Warren. Though it isn't the drink which brings about her immediate suspicion. It's his following admission. She stares at the other mutant and declares "You've been talking to Ali."

Wait. -Apology tour?- Neena blinks a few times, brought back into silence before giving an incredibly subtle half-shrug then turning to look at the wall behind the bar again. The next couple of seconds sees her lost in thought before providing a gross understatement of "We did kinda get off on the wrong foot, huh."

Is the drink going to kill her? May as well find out now. It'd be a minor blessing if she keeled over before they started digging into the feels.

Also Warren is absolutely going to go first. Besides, the last time she started something with him it didn't work out too well for her.

***

"I would never," is Warren's scandalized reply, when Neena asks if he's trying to guilt her into doing anything for free. "If there's one ideal I believe we're on the same page about, it's respect for the business transaction. Now… formal operations with the X aren't a thing we do for money, understand. But this is a little aside. A contract. Therefore…" He shrugs expansively, which for him appears to involve the wings as much as his shoulders.

He pulls over his own drink, a self-satisfied smile flickering across his features as she grants him a point. "I'm told I have my occasional charms," he says, in a way that suggests his actual thinking on the matter isn't half so modest as he makes it sound. "I may sometimes even be clever." He's already taking a sip from his own drink even as Neena examines her own. "This is a Flirtibird," he says, of his drink. "For some reason I always feel compelled to get one when I come here." He laughs, amused at his own ridiculousness. "I can't fathom why."

Some of that mood dispels when he finally admits at the other purpose for this meeting. Neena's immediate reaction prompts a dry smile. "I have been known to do that on occasion," he says, of 'talking to Ali.' "I outsource most of my common sense to her."

That common sense appears to be one he listens to regularly, at the least, judging by the fact he's here now, musing over how to begin this. He sits back in his chair at that profound understatement. "Yes," he says. "We did. With the Professor gone, most of the task of looking after the school fell upon me. Or I should say… I wound up taking it voluntarily, because I was equipped to, and because the place means more to me than I tend to let on."

His blue eyes stay on his drink, and not on her. The lack of eye contact might come across impolite to some; from Warren, it is a courtesy. "It is not an excuse, but it is an explanation for my protectionist behavior regarding new elements in our orbit…" He turns his drink slowly in his slim fingers. "Which I handled poorly," he admits, with the frankness of one trained to gracefully deliver mea culpas when necessary. "I was raised in a certain atmosphere far more underhanded than the one the Professor created for us at the Institute."

He shrugs. "Still… as I was reminded… I try to do things as he would have wanted them to be done. He may have wondered the same things I did, but would have gotten to know you a different way."

***

At Warren's explanation Domino looks ..amused. He can do all of the explaining that he feels necessary, the end result from her is still going to be nothing more than an "Okay."

Though it is nice to know they're on the same page. One page of many, many pages. It's a start.

Regarding his 'occasional charms' she points out "Well no one's killed you yet." About being clever though? Again a brow hooks upward as blue eyes meet blue eyes. "Don't push it."

Then she just about spits out some of her own drink when Warren calls his a 'Flirtibird.' It is -surprisingly difficult- to remain stoic when someone drops a word like that in normal conversation!

'Normal' conversation…

"You both seem good for each other. Between the two of you there might actually be one properly reasonable adult," she snipes back with a sly grin.

Once Warren gets started Neena grants him the quarter turn upon the bar stool in his direction and drapes one leg across the other. She's still leaning sideways against the counter but at least she's now looking -at- him. Even if he's regressed into looking at his drink. He's permitted this much, as well as the space and silence required to speak his mind. There are several places where she could jump in but for once she holds back until a natural pause settles into play.

"Well shit, Warren. It's nice to finally meet you."

Looking ready to say something in return her eyes flick downward and her drink is slowly placed back upon the counter then slid via black capped fingertips a few inches further away as if in danger of getting bumped into. Hands come together, fingers knitting closed.

"Here's the sitch. I know I gave you a hard time about trying to talk to me over drinks like a normal person but I wouldn't have told you shit. It would have taken years before I felt up to sharing even a small percent of what you managed to uncover. Not that I'm excusing what you did, but as the saying goes I did kinda put a gun to your head."

Her hands come apart, lift upward, drop back down to her lap. "We both fucked up. Shit happens. No one died. We're all good. That -said,- talking over drinks will likely get you some better results now, and if you drop me from another building like that I'm gonna start punching you in the face with bullets."

***

"Not for lack of trying," is his immediate repartee, as he slowly swirls his drink and watches the shiso leaf twirl around in it. "Magneto tried for — oh, years. Far, far back in the distant past, he got ahold of me once, and tried to get some information out of me, and I wouldn't cooperate… and I feel he held that against me for quite some time." A pause. "That, or the sheer unimpressiveness of my mutation affronted him on a personal level. Never was able to tell."

It's delivered with a casual flippancy, but reading between the lines — he's probably talking about having been captured and interrogated by a terrorist. At eighteen. Small wonder he's a bit odd himself, if this is how he spent his teenage years.

He smirks a little at her reaction to the drink name, but talk of Ali sobers him again. She does seem to have a moderating effect on him, which is why he doesn't even protest Neena's snipe. "We do work well together," he admits. "She has all the reason and common sense, and I make an attractive accessory." A rather self-deprecating smile. "Well — I remind her to have a little fun now and then as well, I suppose." It does not seem he is ready to talk about what he actually thinks he does for Alison Blaire.

Besides, this conversation is more about himself and Neena. He seems to have decided the correct tack is to open a few windows and shed a little light on himself first, and once he's finished?

Well shit, Warren. It's nice to finally meet you.

"I wear a lot of masks which do not come off easily," he says, and though his tone is light, there's a sense it's probably the most serious remark he's made so far. His head turns away, blue eyes watching the people walking by on the streets. "It's something you learn very early in my position."

There is a pause, and then the moment passes, and he looks back and listens to her in turn. "No, you wouldn't have," he says. "And I didn't have years to wait for you to be comfortable to. Nonetheless, it would have been proper to at least begin the process…"

He tilts his head. "…with no more skyscraper drops involved. I promise. My face is too lovely to be punched with bullets." He nods at her glass, a sly and playful malice flickering in his blue eyes. "Now this is the part where I ply you with alochol until you are at my mercy."

A pause — the joke dissolves, and his blue eyes go a little distant. "Or where we have a simple conversation over a drink. If you would believe, I don't have many of those myself either. Not sincere ones. Ask me about myself if that's what you want. Tit for tat."

***

The conversation at large may be about them and not Alison but with their brief detour Neena does dip her head slightly and suggest "I might have been a little hard on her." Particularly when Ali had admitted to running to the X-Men out of selfish reasons. Because that was -exactly- what Dom had done.

After Warren talks of being stuck behind a lot of masks Neena gives him a meaningful stare and holds a hand out his way, palm turned up. "Uh..hey? I happen to know something about that. Different masks for different reasons but the mechanics remains the same."

At the 'suggestion' that his plan is to get her at his mercy she mocks innocence and looks down at her glass with a softly voiced "Oh. Then I should pick up the pace, shouldn't I."

It's also one of the few drinks she's experienced where it's honestly worth stopping to inhale the vapors before taking another sip. Like the two now in conversation this is a drink which has some serious layers.

"No, I'd believe it. You don't have the time for many normal social interactions and if you did I doubt you'd allow yourself to have them. This could become a regular thing for you if only you'd let it happen. Think of it as social therapy," she suggests with a light smirk.

The offer's officially on the table. Permission to ask Warren anything that she wants to. Why does she always have so much difficulty with such freedom? Is it because she prefers to take people at face value or because if the situations were reversed she'd rather not have to reveal any of her secrets? Digging into one's past is easy enough. He's proven that much. If anything she'd like to poke around at the here and now, get an idea of where their commanding officer's mind is at.

"Do you really think this can work? Xavier's dream, humans and metas living together without being at one anothers' throats. I mean just look at the news, humans can't even accept -other humans.- I'm not seeing that there's going to be a lot of room left over for the rest of us class freaks. Hell, even metahumans can't seem to accept other metahumans half of the time."

With this point raised something..somewhere..triggers in the back of her mind. A yet outstanding question which she never got around to asking the guy on account of them trying to kill one another when the subject had first come up. Why it had remained buried until this precise moment is unknown to her but it's important enough now that she'll physically grab his head and turn him to look at her if required.

"And -who the hell- told you about the Project?" she hisses in a low tone.

***

I might have been a little hard on her.

If anything can throw a slight disruption into Warren's relaxed openness, it's that. His face doesn't change, and his idle grasp on his cup doesn't tighten, but his white feathers slowly lift. Just a little, but when each wing spans eight feet, and some of his primary feathers are the length of a woman's arm, it's noticeable.

The vaguely aggressive body language lasts a second, before he shakes his head, seems to realize it, and sleeks his feathers back down. "Well, you're both big girls," he says, and leaves it at that. Perhaps someone finally beat into him the idea that he shouldn't chivalric-charge into her business all the time.

The awkward moment breaks even more fully at her faux innocence. "One would almost think you wanted to be taken advantage of by me," he says, his blue eyes half-lidding. "Unfortunately I'm not that kind of bird — not anymore."

As far as the quality or lack thereof of his social interactions? He exhales, looking back down into his drink. "Yes… most of my relationships are imbalanced," he says. "There is always a certain power dynamic involved. I have a lot of employees and a lot of subordinates, and a lot of people who want things out of me. Or need things out of me. The rest… is thin on the ground."

'This could be a regular thing for you if only you'd let it happen.' Warren turns a rather inscrutable look on her. "Could it?"

But that open-ended question aside, he seems content to let her have the floor for now. Her first question turns his eyes away again, back to the people strolling by on the streets. His wings pull in, apparently unconsciously, folding tightly against his back in a familiar old reflex to hide. "It won't work if no attempts are ever made to make it work," is his simple answer. "Is it difficult? Yes. Might it be impossible? Yes. But without an effort, we will never know for certain."

There is a brief silence. "Professor Xavier began his outreach in earnest over thirteen years ago. Do I feel dispirited sometimes, that after over a decade of his efforts — our efforts — we still have such a divided society? Yes… especially after what we gave up and lost along the way. But do I also feel that it is still worth striving for what he wanted? Yes."

There is another question she wants to ask, though, one far more personal. Warren's eyes return to her. "I didn't get a name," he says, "other than Mister Grey, but it was plain he was one of the researchers on the Project. He spoke of the Director, of his colleagues…"

***

"Oh don't you puff your chest out at me, Cuckoo," Domino quickly cuts in at Warren's winged display. Then to herself, "And he says -I- need to be drinking more."

As far as being taken advantage of? "Not really. Well—maybe a little yes and a little no," she wobbles a hand. "I play some pretty wild games. Ever been handcuffed to the passenger seat of a car doing one sixty? Good times," she nods slightly then pauses. "Don't mind me."

To the sudden question of 'could it?' she refocuses on the winged man with a slightly blank expression and a shrug to match. "Sure? I mean there's probably other people you can crash at a bar with but I don't have any steady drinking partners on the team yet, so…" She holds up her glass for a "Cheers" then takes another sip.

The matter about Xavier, the dream, the need to keep striving for a better tomorrow, she hears it all and will process what is offered in a moment. For now all of this gets to take a back seat as he explains his limited shoulder-brush with the Project. The name 'Mister Grey' is silently mouthed by the albino as she casts her point of focus back down to the bar. Soon enough she's shaking her head. "The name doesn't tell me jack but I think I know who it was." Turning back to Warren partway through, she explains "Warren I don't know how you managed it but out of everyone associated with that mess he was the -one- and -only- person who would have shared anything with you and not immediately send a hit squad for the trouble."

Luck… It's a strange critter. Was Warren the fortunate one here, or was Neena?

A quick sigh is breathed. Maybe there's more left to talk about here but she'll have to sort her thoughts and they'd be smart to find somewhere else to discuss it any further. For now it's back to Xavier's vision for tomorrow.

"Okay, let's step back a little. What I'm hearing from you is that his vision is worth fighting for. Regardless of the cost. No giving up. Right?" she asks JUST to make absolutely sure. Even though she really doesn't have to.

Again she turns back to the bar, dips her head once, takes another drink, then sets it aside to drum fingertips along the counter once. "This isn't gonna be easy for me, so I need you to sit there and shut it for a minute."

Also she needs to figure out what the heck she's trying to say.

"I've helped you out on a couple of fronts since getting involved here but overall..I haven't -helped- you. I know you've had trouble being able to trust me, and I get that. That was smart of you."

Another pause. Another drink. She's starting to make some real progress now.

"I've made promises. I haven't kept them. That's going to change. It was easy to hide behind ignorance before but I've seen how things work around here. ..Dammit," she mutters.

"Okay, look. I want to be seen as part of the solution. Not part of the problem. You kids value life. -All- life. But, I'm still a realist. Now I could offer you ten pounds of symbolism here but I know that one of these days you'd be giving it back to me. All I can do is wait until the moment when you'd make the call."

***

Being told not to 'puff out his chest' gets, as far as immediate reactions, a scowl from Warren, but after a moment he does smooth all his feathers back down. "…Fine. But would you recognize me if I didn't?"

Speaking of things that Warren wouldn't be recognizable as Warren if he weren't doing: flirting, and being wildly egotistical. He grins openly at 'maybe yes, maybe no.' "You can be honest. There's no shame in it. There aren't many women who wouldn't at least consider it. Now… I haven't been handcuffed in the passenger seat of a car doing one sixty, but I've done other things in the backseat while going one sixty."

A pause. "I think. It's really all a blur."

There's a brief, more stilted moment afterwards, however, where she offers this as a more regular event, and — for whatever reason — Warren seems to turn a little cautious. He gauges her and her casual reaction, before he seems to relax. Perhaps he's got some guarded reflexes of his own towards people getting close… but after all, the purpose of this whole thing was for them to get over that and connect a little bit. Or at least have a conversation not involving guns and fatal plunges.

"There are," he finally allows, "but Tony has the annoying habit of buying the bar afterwards, and Scott talks about new unit formations he wants to try out all the time, and… well. Yes — I think I'd appreciate different company once in a while, if you're looking for a drinking partner. But I warn you," his smile turns wicked, "I was forged by Ivy League fraternities, ad agencies, and miserable lawyers. Be sure you're ready to keep up with me."

As far as Mister Grey? Warren leans back in his chair, his features back to inscrutability, as she outlines how he managed to land on just the right person to not trigger a hit squad like a poked beehive. "Money is an amazing tool if leveraged properly," he says dryly. "Though I imagine a healthy dose of luck was involved…"

He regards her a moment, then takes another sip from his drink before shifting to the topic of his mentor's vision. Her summary draws a nod from him, though he doesn't speak — not until she's fully finished with what she's going to say.

"You will be part of the solution," he says simply, at the end of it. "Perhaps it wasn't in the spirit of what we're all about, to have even viewed you as a potential problem. His Dream was about welcome and tolerance, without judgment. A lot of people who come to the Institute don't have… the most polished pasts. What matters is what they want to do going forward. If you want to change, then we will believe that you do."

He sighs. "If I acted differently to begin with, it is because… I tend to also be a realist. It's not always been easy reconciling that — who I am outside of the X-Men — with the Professor's idealism. But often, I find people strive the hardest to try become the things they are most innately unlike…" His wing twitches, as if in a nervous tic. "Still… the times are very different from when the Professor was around. We might have more call for realism, these days. I wish he were around to tell me if I were right."

Warren lapses into a brief silence. "Which call is that?" he asks, as if to be sure.

***

Would she recognize him? Fair point. That earns him another smirk.

Then a proper grin. It would seem that Warren has spent some time on the wild side, after all. Neena reaches out to give his nearest shoulder a friendly shove with a "Good for you!"

The caution is noted, and allowed to exist as it chooses. For once she has no ulterior motive. Drinking alone probably isn't the best option for her and Warren could stand to cut loose and not have to worry about business always following after him. This might seem completely hilarious coming from soneone like Domino where nine tenths of all of their interactions had been focused on business, but there's room to change their relationship somewhat. Isn't there?

"So long as Ali realizes this is a teammate sort of drinking arrangement. I don't need her throwing me out of a building, too."

There's something about the overall level of acceptance that those among the X-Men seem to share which makes things MORE difficult at times. Like she's really trying to level here and make a commitment and Warren's just shrugging it off with a 'don't worry about it.' It's almost a blessing that he leaves the door open for her to prove it through action. That much she can work with. It's not like people tend to trust her at face value, nor her word. They really shouldn't, either. As with everything in her life, she's prepared to fight for it.

As for the clarification that Warren is seeking, Neena quietly finishes her drink and sets the glass down before returning her full attention to him.

"The lethal call," is softly stated.

They've been down this road before and she has consistently messed it up. This new approach isn't a promise to never kill so much as a promise to not do so until he greenlights it. An act which she firmly believes will be coming sooner than later.

"Two of your spies are working on a little project for me. One which will considerably lower the body count when I'm going to be out in the field with the team. You shouldn't have to worry about the fallout of a massacre and the rest of those kids shouldn't have to worry about me going off on them at full tilt."

***

Neena might be shocked on the day she discovers the full extent of exactly how wild Warren Worthington III was back in the day. As it is, she might receive a hint here and now when he raises his brows in amusement and remarks, "Well, that's the first time anyone ever encouraged me in that," in response to her shoulder-squeeze. "I'm used to people running after me trying to get me to stop. All right, I like you. You may stay."

Her assessment of his current status, however, is certainly accurate. These days, Warren is all work and very little play… and that makes him a rather dull bird compared to his crazed, escapist hedonism of yesteryear. Though certain people might implore for him not to be encouraged to cut loose again. Especially not if he's in any proximity to Tony Stark at the time.

He does laugh, however, as Neena makes quite sure that Alison should know the context of the drinking arrangements. "She knows," he says. "The gossip mill might turn, certainly, but we're both old hat at living in the public eye. We know what's real and what's not. Half the tabloids are trying to link her up with Bruce Wayne right now, in fact." He shrugs. "I know there's no truth to it, and she would know there's no truth to anything anyone might say about this."

There's a similar sort of vibe of 'implicit understanding' which comes off the overall attitude the X-Men take towards the people they accept as members, which Domino certainly notices. Granted, when you add Warren to the picture, there's an added layer of careful cynicism that he brings to the mix — an extra layer of good faith proof required from anyone he might consider to potentially bring threatening baggage along. You don't easily shake off years of learning about risk assessment. But that turns out to be something Neena actually wants. It might even be a bit hard for her to work with people who didn't seem to exercise some basic due diligence. She'd always be wondering about how much they really have shit together…

But there's something she says, towards the end, which he wants to be absolutely certain he understands correctly. Her offered clarification sobers any levity straight off his face. He is silent for a few moments, perhaps picking his response.

"God willing, I do not have to," he finally says, which is a careful phrasing that does not entirely rule out the possibility he might ask for it someday — and therefore doubly affirms that any such call should rest squarely on a direct greenlight order. In practice he intends never to if he can help it… yet banning it outright might result in her making her own judgment calls. "Though the current atmosphere might ask for actions we have never taken before which would fall short of that, yet still make use of your talents. There is so much that goes on behind closed doors these days that we will never find out by standing up and asking for it aloud, or waiting for people to come to meet us halfway. Things we will have to find out extrajudicially. More so than ever."

His eyes turn to her with some interest as she mentions a project, however. "Ah? And what is that?"

***

Domino's doing it again, isn't she. She's bringing business back into the social visit. Ugh. But only because she thought it was important enough to mention.

Besides, there'll be plenty more to socialize over once she's done some cursory digging into -his- past. She's not exactly a computer wiz but search engines do take a lot of the guesswork out of the internet.

Regarding tabloids, "I'm not looking to get my mug on the cover of any rags. If anyone tries to print some dirt on us I'll take care of it."

She's joking, honest! Probably!

A pale hand quietly lifts away from the table. "We all hope the call never needs to be made," most do, anyway, "but if it DOES become a necessity then you'll need to know there's someone on hand that you can also trust with that detail."

Yep. Business again. She's terrible sometimes. Before any further explanation takes place she catches eye contact with one of the staff and quickly holds a hand up, fingers snapping then pointing down to the empty glass in front of her. A nod is exchanged and her refill order is officially placed.

"Moonie and ..Bluegills..what's her face..Ssssloane..? That right?" The frown gets wiped away from her face. "They have some connections of their own, as you've recently highlighted. They're looking into procuring some non-lethal ballistic tech for me. Some day soon I'll be shooting Bullet Lites," she claims with a humorous edge.

"Anyway, my bad for getting back into the heavyweight bull. Just ..figured I owed you that much." She hesitates, frowns anew, points to her empty glass before it can get swept away, and asks "What did you call this again?"

***

Fortunately for Neena, it won't take being a computer whiz to turn up the majority of his past. So much of it is public record in some way. A bit of assiduous Googling and looking around old magazine and newspaper issues — mainly high society articles and gossip mags that she would never really have had reason to look at before — would piece together his history well enough.

An uneventful childhood, up until a sharp left turn was made off the expected path and he withdrew from Phillips Exeter to enroll at the then-unknown Xavier Institute instead. From there, he can be traced well enough by following the news coverage of the X-Men when they were still an unknown vigilante team… up until 2011, when the reports of 'Angel' stop appearing and reports of 'Warren Worthington' appear again. That's where it gets interesting: a self-destructive, degenerate lifestyle, countless sightings of him coked out of his mind or pass-out drunk in various haunts frequented by the idle and dissolute rich. Years of fooling around with Tony Stark — not in the sexy way, but in the 'who let them do that fucking bad idea?' way.

And then 2014: his parents were murdered by his uncle. Said uncle was found at the base of the promontory on which the Worthington estate sits, severely injured, and jailed after he was treated for his broken… everything. That's about when trashfire Warren suddenly stops, and the Warren she knows today starts to take form…

Of course, there are details associated with every one of those life milestones, but the only way to find out those? To ask the man himself.

At the least, he doesn't seem presently aware of her newfound determination to do a little reciprocal digging; his attention is on his drink, though it lifts back up to her promptly at that joke. "You let me take care of that if it happens," he says, his voice sardonic. "I have people to do that sort of thing for me now."

What she does insist on taking care of is being the person to pull the trigger if the lethal call ever becomes necessary. "If it's something you are willing to continue having on your hands, he says quietly, "then there is no question to me that you will be the one." If not Warren himself. He would, if there were no other choice, were it were to protect someone he sees as more innocent. It's a matter of extreme practicality: let the hands that are already dirty keep doing it. Spare the others.

From the closed look to his body language and features, however, it's not a possibility he wants to make seem even more likely by continuing to talk and plan about it. Avoidant, perhaps, but he seems to think enough has been said about it, for now. He watches her place a refill order, letting the conversation shift with some muted gratitude. "I'm glad to hear it," he says, of her quest to obtain nonlethal rounds. It's obvious he's guessed the 'connections' she's talking about, but there's no need to say it aloud.

Her 'my bad' is shrugged off easily. "Some things need to be discussed," he says. Among those things, clearly, is the name of her drink. "Night and Day," he answers, a smile with a rather wistful quality coming and going across his features. He leans back in his chair again, crossing his ankle up over his opposite knee in a relaxed posture. "Black and white. Scotch and leather. I thought it suited. Did it? I have so few talents, but I like to think that one is being an individual of some taste. We are bred and trained for little else, people like me." A pause. "Unless we look for other things in which to be trained." As Warren clearly did.

***

Oh how she would be zipping about the net on her phone at this very moment if she had any idea there was so much to be uncovered regarding ol' Worthaton here. The initial assumption is that it would be really boring! A waste of time, even. But not anymore. She knows just enough to set aside some time for such a hunt. Just wait for it, the jokes about 'Angel Dust' will be on their way.

This is also why you'll never see Neena creating social media profiles. Not serious ones, anyway. Although a satirical one could be an interesting way to pass some time…

"Oh -fine,- take all of my fun," Domino mock-complains. There's no denying that his way would be cleaner and more ..politically correct? Anyway.

Willing? "Warren, if it didn't cause so many problems I would -still- be doing it." Not that it's always easy..or fun..or something she can easily compartmentalize..but it is what it is. She was made for this sort of work.

That out of the way she's gearing up to reach over and mess with the feathers of his nearest wing if such measures are necessary to lighten the mood. "Wait, that's seriously it? Just..night and day. That sounds more like a mix of black coffee and Rum Chata than something so ..elaborate." Shrug. "Easy enough to remember." Smirk. "Yeah, it fits the bill. You may hold your head up high tonight, Hot Wings. That Ivy League education is really paying off."

***

One doesn't usually think of 'spoiled trust fund princes' — especially not ones who are not also 'celebrities' in the traditional sense — in terms of people who would have a complicated or dramatic life, no. Yet a cursory look at Warren's history would certainly prove otherwise when it comes to him. Odd occurrences just sort of follow him around, peppering along the timeline of his life. Even as far back as his early days at Phillips Exeter, where an old story can be turned up about a school minister who abruptly went crazy, claimed he'd had a visitation from an angry archangel, and confessed to all his… sexual iniquities before turning himself in.

Couldn't have anything to do with Warren at all, could it?

The man sitting across from her certainly doesn't show any outward indication of anything but well-bred, pampered indolence. But as he said himself — he wears masks. "I shall in fact take your fun," he says, mock-admonishing, "when your fun would create a good deal of non-fun for me."

Her mention that she'd still be doing it if not for all the problems does seem to sober him a moment. He studies her, as if trying to read the meaning behind her saying such a thing, before she reaches over and handily distracts him by messing up the feathers of his left wing, which had been propped half-open at rest, placing it easily within mussing range. His wing twitches under her hand, the softness of the feathers ruffling up under her touch. But he doesn't pull it away. "My dear," he murmurs, feigning scandal, "you should buy me a drink before you do that."

As for the drink name? "Yes — that is 'all,'" he says, amused. "Minimalism is quite hot these days. But it's good to receive affirmation my education was all worth it to lead up to this very moment." He gestures the bartender back over with a crook of two fingers. "There are other good offerings here as well, however. You ought to try them. I won't even take any liberties after buying you so many drinks."

He laughs. "Only request you not shoot me again — though perhaps the point of all this is to make your aim so bad that you cannot."

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