Valid Questions
Roleplaying Log: Valid Questions
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Warren and Neena have a moment of social bonding which doesn't involve face punching or freefalls.

Other Characters Referenced: Emma Frost, Jean Grey, Charles Xavier, Wolverine
IC Date: July 31, 2019
IC Location: Outside Mutant Town, NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 02 Aug 2019 15:30
Rating & Warnings: R for language
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

There wasn't much immediate feedback in the few days right after the Kenai trip. Presumably everyone was busy with going over what was recovered from the mission, especially Warren. Eventually, however, a rather brief message did come to Neena from a by-now familiar contact in her phone.

So let's make it a regular thing.

Attached to the message was an address in the city, indicating a location somewhere in that frontier land where the avant-garde East Village laps over with Mutant Town. Every other place Warren's scheduled a meet at, to date, has been expectedly refined to the point of seeming carefully curated, selected as part of an image that must be maintained at all costs.

This is a little different. Perhaps the first word that might come to mind walking down these particular streets is 'grunge.' It's not quite Mutant Town — that's still a few streets away yet — but it's close enough to have some of the same coarse feel, combined with the general East Village demographic of old artists, musicians, and hippies holding out stubbornly against the encroaching gentrification wave of NYU's student body.

The place in question winds up being a dive bar shoved almost invisibly between a hookah lounge and a hole-in-the-wall falafel place. It looks like it was in a war with its two neighbors, lost, and was relegated to the lower basement levels; there's a rather crooked flight of stairs leading down to the darkened space. It's a bit early in the evening by dive bar standards, so it's not terribly crowded, but there's still a degree of elbowing to be done to get to the back where Warren's occupying a small table at the back corner.

At the least, he looks the same as usual. No one appears to care about the wings furled at his back, whether because of the proximity to Mutant Town or otherwise.

***

Is this the right address..? Did Neena somehow misread it? Maybe something to do with auto-correct on Warren's phone? Because this all feels way different from everything that she's come to understand about ol' Hot Wings…

The bar which she DOES find looks like the sort of hole in the wall place that she would frequent, and thus the sort of place that Warren wouldn't be caught dead in. And yet, despite the odds -there he is.-

The albino greets him with a broad smile and arms held out to the sides like she's trying to say 'would you just look at this?!' She's displaying an almost bizarre level of animation when hopping into a seat across from him and leaning forward on the table with arms folding together. "I barely know what to say! You really pulled all of the stops tonight, Birdie."

The grunge, the attitude, the people, the SMELL, it's almost like she's home again. Which means the drinks should all be down to Earth gritty and ready to rock, too. As interesting as the Black and White had been, any drink which involves step by step instructions to serve seems a bit unnecessary to her.

"So!" she chimes back in with a slight upward bounce of her brows. "We've got some things to talk about. How about we start with why Miss Frost makes you such a grumpy sparrow?"

***

People shove Neena around as she makes her way through the crowd. The floor isn't polished so clean she can see her reflection in it. There's a smell that isn't some kind of freshener or cut vase of flowers. And the drinks are, in fact, actually normal! Some of them are even below $10 in price, incredibly enough. There's a $5 beer and shot combo, even, which is kind of unheard of in the city.

Warren has one in front of him already, in fact. The shot looks like some form of whiskey, and it's slightly overflowing onto the table.

At her animated greeting, that familiar bland smile lights across his features — their perfect polish extra-incongruous in a setting like this. "You look like Antaeus touched the earth again," he says, because not everything about him can change. "It wasn't actually difficult, though — turning this place up. I used to come here a lot, years ago."

He pushes the shot across the table at her, like a primer. "And I promised I'd be taking off the masks a little more often. There's not a lot of people I can do it with for various reasons."

Her remark that they do have some things to talk about draws a slow nod, though he's obviously not thinking of the same things she is judging by his slow blink at her query with regards to Miss Frost. "I'd think her public persona would be explanation enough for at least a little bit of rivalry," he says dryly, "but it goes further back than that. You know the Hellfire Club? Not just a rich boys' club, though that shouldn't surprise you. They like meddling with things they shouldn't meddle with for the sake of mutant supremacy. She was with them when their meddling got Jean killed, years ago. Still is so far as I would assume."

Obviously, Jean's recovered from being dead since then.

***

Those eyebrows rise one more time almost as soon as Warren begins to speak. Domino swiftly holds up a hand in silent protest. "Okay, for the record you were a lot more attractive ten seconds ago." Before that whole 'Antaeus' thing. Oh hey, he used to come to this place? "Uh huh. And how long ago did you buy it out?" she teases.

Woo, free intro shot! It's like a participation award just for showing up! She'll take that without question. "Sounds to me like you need to expand your social network. Honestly, Warren. If you can't kick back and be real with someone then you really can't call 'em a friend."

With that bit of wisdom shared the shot disappears and the glass neatly returns to the table with a dull thunk.

Then to Emma, Neena does admit "Without question. But there's more going—yeah." The Hellfire Club prompts a rolling of pale eyes before the expression quickly changes to one of surprise regarding Jean's murder. "No shit? That burns. Though I have to say she's lookin' pretty good for a dead girl."

Resurrection, sure why not! Neena's NOT asking that question tonight.

"Alright, round two." Out comes her phone, quickly thumbing through the menus before she drops it to the table and gives it a neat flick to spin it half of a turn so it's more or less level with Warren. Not that he needs to read the fine print when the headline involves 'Worthington' and 'drugs.'

Dom makes a show of slowly lacing fingertips together then resting her chin upon the bridge which they provide. "Rough childhood?"

***

There is a reasonably good-natured roll of the eyes at her protestations of his Ivy League blathering. "So I've gone from unbearably attractive to merely incredibly attractive," he observes. "I'll live. I'll take the high initial ranking as a success, at any rate. I must be growing on you." His smiling attains a rather sly cast.

As for the accusations of buying out the place? "I did not do any such thing," he says, brows lifting. "And your proof will be in the fact that they've ignored my requests for service for a whole five minutes now. A place like this, you need to let it run free. Take control of it, and it loses all its authenticity." He leans back, trying to catch a server's eye again. "That applies to a lot of things in life, in fact."

His gaze returns to her, however, at her sage advice on friendship. "Suppose not," he says. "But that's easier for some than others. A lot of my relationships with people have ended in asks for money or other favors. Few people can stay 'real' without eventually putting out a hand." A pause. "That's why most of the lasting ones have been X-Men. Nobody there needs to 'use' me for anything."

Neena wants to know about Emma, however, which Warren seems to judge fair enough after making her go down into a scientific hellscape after the woman. The matter of Jean's resurrection is glossed over for the time being, his regard more focused on Neena in these moments. "That was eight years ago now," he says. "No telling if Frost's changed any. I suppose I'll get a read when I talk to her." His grimace shows how much he looks forward to it.

There's a slight pause after that, where Warren's expression grows a little more serious, and it seems he might be trying to shift back into the team lead seat for a brief moment to ask her about the mission particulars… but Neena came prepared. He stops visibly at her presented phone. There's a long moment of silence as Warren considers the headline, which sources from about 2012.

"At least it's not one of the ones involving Tony," he finally says, to start. He scrubs his hand over his face. "All right. Fair's fair," he admits. "I take it I don't need to tell you that cocaine is bad?"

***

There's a silent agreement about needing to let a place like this run free. Domino would have been a little concerned if Warren had bought it out, it wouldn't have been the same. It's also reassuring to hear that he gets it, kudos are in order.

Regarding the X-Men she's tempted to say that people don't use him because he so openly provides handouts. He still has her on the payroll. Even gave her an expensive new car! None of it had been asked for because she didn't -have- to ask for any of it, Warren took care of it all on his own. However, if all of that were to disappear right here and now? Yeah, she'd still keep her butt planted and the drinks coming.

The others would as well, wouldn't they? One big ol' X-Gene family. Maybe that's the missing piece.

This time all of her thoughts remain withheld because the big show-stopper on her phone is waiting for an explanation. When Warren mentions 'the ones involving Tony' she reaches a hand out and both neatly and deliberately places one fingertip upon the screen and gives it a swipe aaaand yep there's one of the stories with Tony.

"I don't trust anything stronger than a Tylenol," deadpans the albino. "I mean, I get it. Lots of money, lots of stress, virtually unlimited 'get out of jail free' cards, the high grade uppers must have been real appealing. Does that awesome blood of yours happen to cure addictions, too?"

It's a valid question!

"I should have seen this a mile off, it makes perfect sense. But..-Damn-," she concludes while staring across the table at the winged mutant. The single word sums up her thoughts on that chapter of his life quite nicely.

***

Perhaps if Warren hadn't been picked up by Charles Xavier so early in his life, he would have become the kind of person who would buy out a place like this and promptly gentrify it. Like a blonder, much more handsome Wilson Fisk. It's fortunate that the whole X-Men thing interjected into his life. It woke him up to existence outside his privileged bubble, and made him the kind of person who would be more concerned with using his resources in a responsible manner.

It also might have turned him into a bit of a provider personality. As Dom notes — she's never quite had to ask him for anything. It's always been taken care of quietly, arranged on her behalf. He does similar for Alison; he does similar for the X-Men. He does similar for anyone who crosses his path who he takes a liking to. He learned to cut off the people who came to expect that and to use him accordingly… and the X-Men were never that. Maybe because of that whole 'family' thing.

That closeness is, though Domino doesn't know it yet, exactly the reason for the self-destructive spiral she's even now pulling up on her phone to tacitly request an explanation for. His brief hope she hasn't found the Tony incidents is squashed by another slow scroll of the screen.

"…in our defense," Warren says eventually, "nobody was hurt by the rocket bathtub, and it was for science."

The actual explanation is not nearly as fun as the apparent shit he and Tony got up to when both were young, high, and stupid. Warren shrugs, with a lift of his wings. "Is this a 'grade your team leader' kind of thing?" he asks first, perhaps only half joking. "Or maybe a 'hold leverage over your team leader in case of future incidents' thing? Or really just because I did it first and I may have told you you could tit-for-tat?

He looks down at the phone again. "Yes, it was easy for us. …For me. Easy to get, easy to keep coming, easy to stay in. No — I didn't have the blood mutation yet, so it was all au naturel." The date range on all the articles is pretty easy to track. Starts in 2012. "Jean was killed, around the end of 2011."

There is a pause. "So what about it makes sense?" There is an essayed effort at his usual bland smiling. "Am I so transparent?"

***

A rocket bathtub. For -science.-

Neena had been trying her best to keep her expression neutral and her tone level like a psychologist talking to an at-risk client. She can only hold the act for so long before her forehead drops down onto crossed arms and she starts -laughing.-

"Oh my god Warren..HAHAH! Really, it's all just—"

'The end of 2011.'

A pale hand slooowly reaches out to drag the phone back over to her. Spin it around. Swipe at the screen a few more times.

2012.

2012.

2013.

"I guess that might also explain part of it," she remarks in a dead level tone which is no longer part of a grander act.

"You took what happened to Jean pretty hard, huh." Even though it wasn't his fault. Even though they weren't going steady. Did the guy really feel that badly over what happened to a -teammate?- A friend?

In a slightly lower tone she admits "That's why I stopped getting close to people."

Pale eyes dart back to the overturned shotglass still sitting on the table and something else suddenly dawns on her. With a quick slap of a palm upon the worn wooden surface and an equally quick jump out of her seat the albino calls "Can we -please- get some fucking drinks over here?"

Nonchalantly the pale lady returns to her seat and re-knits fingers together, ignoring the stares which are no doubt lingering in her direction for a while after the outburst. "I meant in that 'rich white kid with daddy issues' sort of transparent but we've kinda transcended that stereotype a little."

***

Warren, even all these years later, has to crack a smile too when Neena loses it over the rocket bathtub incident. "We did think it was really funny at the time too," he says, "though the owners of the stained glass windows it went through didn't. We were paying a lot of damages to that church… I should have just popped my wings right then, and called it an act of God."

The lighter mood can't last, though, as Warren finally admits the exact reason for his spiral. Perhaps it was a confluence of things — stress, youthful rebellion, the usual — but the primary reason was and always will be Jean Grey, and what they saw when she died. "Up until that point," he says bluntly, "I never even had to lose a sock if I didn't want to. And then I lost Jean. We were right there watching it, and I probably should have stopped her, but… she chose that for herself. How do you choose otherwise for someone?"

He turns his eyes to her at her quiet remark. "I decided the same thing, in a way," he says. "Or at least I decided I would forget about it in the easiest way available to me. That… didn't work out for me." He slants her a searching look. "I'm not sure that not getting close to people will work out for you, either."

There is a brief interlude as Dom decides the heavier subject matter needs more drinks. His feathers puff a little in surprise at the sudden yell, and heads turn towards her as people have their collective 'wtf?' moment. But her direct approach certainly seems to work better than Warren's imperiously passive expectations to be catered to nonstop; soon enough a grumpy server's bringing over a few more shots and beers with an askance look, though she melts a little when Warren tips her a wink. He is absolutely incorrigible.

His attention returns to Neena after he takes one of the shots himself. 'Rich white kid with daddy issues' gets a laugh. "I suppose it's rather stereotypical," he says. "Enough of my peers did blast their brains on drugs purely because they could, and because they were bored out of their minds. A person needs something to work towards… if you've already won the game right at birth, what more is there to do? That's why the X-Men was a sort of godsend for me…"

He shrugs. "I suppose daddy issues are also rather stereotypical… but if you want the truth? My father read to me as a child, raised me as understandingly as he could despite the wings, and left me a few billion. It's hard to complain." His hands fold around one of the beers. "There's plenty enough times I wish he was still here."

***

Right. This table needs lightening up on top of additional drinks. When the shout gets results and Warren's wink quells the resulting ire Neena grins slightly while claiming the next glass. "Teamwork makes the dream work."

With everything else she's content to sit there and listen, as Warren has quite a lot to share about himself. Maybe she had the wrong impression of him all of this time… Or, could it POSSIBLY be that people are legitimately -people- when you stop to get to know them a little better?

Nah. That's just silly.

"Don't take this the wrong way or anything, but..I thiiiink I might be starting to..respect you..?" Neena suggests with an almost pained squint.

"Though it does kinda hurt the overall impression that it took someone else dying for you to kick the spoiled brat shackles. Still.. you got there. And Jean somehow got back, so I'm gonna give that one and all of its -highly unlikely probability- a pass because that's kinda what I do."

A brief pause is soon broken by a black fingernail lightly tapping against the side of an empty glass. "One more."

And she doesn't mean one more drink. Oh no. There's gonna be a LOT more than one of those.

Neena leans forward again and simply meets Warren's eyes with her own for a few seconds as if trying to find the right words. Failing to do so she just goes for it in typical Domino fashion.

"So I met this oddball older mutant the other day..strangest thing..he's somehow got -adamantium fucking machetes- buried under his knuckles. His whole skeleton, even! Total freaking murder machine. And the really funny part," she forces a chuckle, "is that he's -with the X-Men.- I thought yeah right, there's no way someone like that is getting brought into Team Non-Lethal, but it turns out that he's been there longer than I have! I mean I know they've got pretty lax membership requirements if -I- could make it in but this is reaching a whole different realm of crazy!"

***

I thiiiink I might be starting to… respect… you?

You didn't before?" Warren asks, with a perfect expression of absolute shock and horror. "And here I was so certain."

He doesn't actually seem surprised. Her qualifying statement afterwards draws a grimace, and Warren knocks back a shot. "The strongest habits require the rudest shocks," is all he has to say about it. "It took a hard one to wake me up to the fact I could be hurt — that life could take from me. It took another hard one to snap me back out of it, in the end."

The rest? The details are for Jean to tell someday, if she so desires.

Neena wants to talk about a different mutant now. It only takes up until 'adamantium fucking machetes' for Warren to realize who, at which point he slowly nods through the rest of Neena's rather sardonic commentary on the matter.

Yes," is all he says at first. "That was your first mission with Logan, wasn't it?"

He turns the empty shot glass in his hands, before he pushes it aside. "The Professor liked to collect mutants," Warren starts slowly, "or maybe more — collect causes. Projects?" He shrugs. "A lot of mutants he would take under his wing because he thought they would help him exemplify his Dream in some way. He told us first five — Scott, Jean, Hank, Bobby, and me — we were that. Later on, it'd be people like Dani, or Kitty."

He preens absently at a wing, pulling the feathers back in alignment. "But he'd also take mutants he thought would benefit the most from what the Dream was all about. Because the Dream was about tolerance, and forgiveness, and co-existence… and about redemption. I don't think he ever gave up on his friendship with Magneto, or the idea of redeeming him, so there was that. The Dream was about acceptance and second chances. Logan was one of the first Xavier took in for that."

Warren slants a look at Neena. "The rest, I imagine he'd prefer to tell you himself."

***

Neena would very much like to be critical about this subject. About Logan's inclusion. About -something- related to this. Like it would somehow support her cause or give her a winning argument or ..hell, she doesn't even know. What she gets back from Warren is a deeper look at a few points which he had already explained to her a while ago, partly covering how it is that she managed to become involved with the team as well. Warren had told her about keeping Charles' Dream alive, that she could also be one of those 'projects.' Plus, any ground which might seem stable enough for her to stand on kind of disappears after realizing that, while Logan IS a murder machine, he also -doesn't.-

He was, in fact, the single most even tempered and level-headed murder machines she has ever encountered.

And that kind of annoys the shit out of her.

However. There is a decision which should be made here. Tonight Neena picks the winning strategy.

"Well I guess if there's hope for that ol' bastard then there's hope for anyone. I just— The guy has -fucking metal claws.- He's built for -one purpose.- And he doesn't do it. I can't even—"

Neena shuts herself up by hastily grabbing another shot and throwing it down the hatch.

The glass comes down dead center in front of her, turning into a focal point while her hands return to the table and fingertips all drum once upon the surface in unison.

What was she trying to accomplish here..? Maybe if she hadn't already talked to Logan she could rail on Warren about him for a while longer, feel like she pushed a couple more buttons on the Worthybirb.

One hand turns into a fist long enough to rap knuckles against the table exactly one time. "Alright. I'm done railing on you."

Done stalling, more like.

"Go ahead and ask. I know you've been wanting to."

***

Warren can tell Neena's chomping at the bit to say something. He doesn't even need his 20/2 eyesight (or whatever ridiculous number it is) to see that. As it is, he reiterates to her a few of the points which he had brought up at the time of her recruitment as well. That Xavier's Dream had been a two-pronged thing, rather than simply just a focus only on those people who already fit well into the pacifistic mold.

Logan came a long way against his base instincts, thanks to Xavier… and thanks to his own desire to work on leashing his killing nature. It's hard for Warren to gauge how Neena feels about that, precisely, but he can at the least guess that the broad strokes are 'unsettled.'

"He doesn't," Warren agrees quietly. "It took a long time for him to get to the point of not doing it, or so I assume. But he doesn't do it. The thing about people who are bred only for one purpose…" There's an odd sense like Warren is including himself in that category. "…Pretty often, they start to want to be able to do something outside that one life path."

He holds his silence afterwards, as Neena angrily processes the matter. If she wanted to start pushing on his buttons again, she could — he's certainly not doing anything but waiting — but as she's learned not long ago, that does sometimes carry a bit of hazard despite his mild and fluffy-winged appearance. That, or — even worse — he might be patient enough this time to just not react. And that would be the worst.

Instead, she finally decides — she's done enough railing on him. He ought to just ask, if he's going to.

His mind flickers, unbidden, back to a recollection of her frightened features in that underground base, and her hand unexpectedly gripped onto his shoulder. "If you'd prefer not to be on missions that I think are likely to end up in that kind of setting, until you're ready," he says slowly, "then no one will think the worse for it."

***

Yep. Warren's still good at throwing Domino curveballs. There's no question of 'what happened back there?' or 'are you okay?' or even an 'are you freaking crazy?', just..an offer to sit out future missions without taking flak for it. That's nice of him, sure, but it isn't quite what she's wanting to hear. Partly because that kind of response means that she has to -think- about it.

Witty remarks, sarcasm, insults, they fill the empty spaces normally reserved for thought and reflection, which are two of her bigger enemies of late. It's tempting to go back to that habit but darnitall if she doesn't feel like Warren's earned better from her.

It starts by shaking her head. "Warming the bench isn't going to help me through this."

But if she goes ballistic wouldn't that compromise the mission? Put the whole team at risk? Ah, but she's actually thought that part through. Warren isn't the only one who can manage to pull her back into introspective mode.

"I tried the nonlethal approach. Didn't seem to do a damn thing to those guys. I mean -nothing.- So I tried to find some other way to be useful. There was that box in the middle of the room. Looked important. I know enough to know that anything placed in the center of a specialized lab like that is a critical component so I took a shot."

Really she had taken like ALL of the shots but somehow only one managed to hit the darn thing.

"Clipped its cord. Betsy mentioned her powers came back. Cool, I did something useful. So I tried to continue the trend. Whatever those creeps were working on down there? That's not the sort of information we want the enemy to have. Thus," she partly shrugs, "I went full-on Annie Oakley. I have a power so I used a power."

"I may have lost my nerve down there but I didn't lose sight of the objective, Warren."

***

Perhaps someone else would have been better at those other questions. Warren was always better at rushing to people's physical defense than he was to their emotional defense. 'What happened back there?' might have been a Scott question, as he did a breakdown of the mission in debrief. 'Are you okay' might have been more of a Jean question. 'Are you freaking crazy?' Definitely kind of a Bobby question.

Warren might have asked a similar question as Scott, back in the day, except maybe with more 'What the goddamn hell happened?!' because he's historically been known to have a short temper. Fortunately he's moderated a little with age, so the temper now only comes out when he's really provoked. But Neena already knows that.

Nowadays, he tends to take an approach which reminds he's also the head of an international conglomerate: a businesslike 'if you don't think you can perform in that arena, then we will just reorganize you to where you can perform.' But beneath the practicality, there is also a mote of compassion there, possibly spurred by the lingering guilt of how exactly he found out about Neena's particular issues. The offer is also frankly just the right one to make, as X-Men: the team was never about forcing people to suffer unnecessarily.

Her eventual answer draws a slow nod, as if he were expecting such a response. Likely because he agrees with her on that point, despite his offer. There does remain the practical matter of what they should do if she does 'choke' on a mission, but Neena has come prepared for this one with a breakdown of her actions.

I didn't lose sight of the objective. "You didn't," he agrees. "Arguably, you didn't even lose your nerve, since I didn't see you turning and running off."

His wings flick, demonstratively. "Everything about me is pretty nonlethal," he says bluntly. "Always has been. My abilities don't involve direct killing power — not unless I get ahold of someone who can't fly or survive a drop. I still think there's enough I can find to contribute in most situations, though. You did the same, that night." He pulls over another shot. "I intend to be asking Emma Frost about that box you shot. I have a suspicion it is the 'Mutivac' which the doctor was talking about."

***

It's taken a while but Neena's starting to realize that when dealing with the X-Men as a whole, not just with Warren, she doesn't have to constantly be on the defensive. Compared to some of their earlier encounters what had happened down in the lab was pretty darn straightforward. Hearing him confirm her claim seems to be all of the validation that she might be seeking in this moment.

When Warren starts explaining his 'softer' nature she does roll her eyes..with an eventual but thin smirk..at the bit about him dropping people. "There's always something," she offers with a casual showing of hands before one seeks out another drink.

"Logan and I had a talk the other day. I don't know that I agree with what he said, but..when we run into these kinds of situations again..I'll talk to you about the details later." As opposed to clamming up and putting everyone at a future risk. "This approach sure as hell beats the alternative," Dom suggests with a raising of a shotglass.

"Never woulda taken someone like Logan to be a talker over a doer. You're all gonna be a bad influence on me, I can feel it," she considers with a thin smile.

"So this 'Mutivac.' Sounds lovely. We did bring it back with us to figure out what the hell it is, right?"

***

Xavier would probably be proud, honestly, of the progress being made in making Dom feel less on the defensive among the team. The X-Men was formed around the tenets of inclusiveness and tolerance, after all. The world wouldn't give those things to mutants, but mutants wouldn't let that stop them from still expressing those virtues themselves. The 'high road,' as it were.

Things are going pretty okay with the X-Men, all things considered. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it…

Warren himself, independent of what he was taught by Xavier, also has a bit of a small conceit about embodying the virtues and properties of an angel if he is going to look like one. This notably isn't always beatific kindness and fluffy pacifistic hugs, as Neena well knows. Her eyeroll at the bit about dropping people does get a rather sheepish smile. He puts at least 90 percent of his charm into it, perhaps thinking that'll be more than enough to keep anyone from being too mad at him. It usually works out for him.

Perhaps it works now, because the topic moves on. Or Neena just doesn't feel like busting him again on the matter. Her admission that she and Logan had a 'talk' raises his brows, though privately it's a connection he thinks will be good for her in the long run. Not that he's so patronizing as to tell her aloud. "Logan is surprisingly philosophical," Warren says instead. "His advice is usually worth taking." A pause. "Usually." Of course, there's always some exceptions.

He lifts his wings. "At any rate… my door's also always open, and my capacity to be a bad influence on people is infinite." He would definitely rather hear the details than have her continue to run off in silence and sit on things which could risk the team.

As for Mutivac? Warren frowns, emptying another shot and sliding the glass aside. "It was taken while we were tied up with Ruckus and his guys," he says. "I stopped looking for two seconds, and it was gone. It didn't go out the portal with those mutants, so it must have been the other people I saw sneaking into the fray. Didn't catch any sight of who they were. Mutivac itself must have been some kind of psi dampener… more than that, I don't know." His feathers lift a little. "They stole it from the Hellfire Club, so either Hellfire stole it back… or someone else entirely."

***

Hearing that the door is always open earns what could easily be taken as a dismissive gesture from one of the albino's hands but his message isn't written off. "Psh, like I -need- you to be a bad influence," she kids.

Logan thinks that Neena should talk about what's troubling her? Fine. At the moment there's only one person she feels up to talking to and that's the guy who is currently paying for her drinks.

There may or may not be a correlation.

Still, she won't write off Logan just yet. After finding out that he had been chucked into a dark lab for his metal implants it stands to reason that he'd know a few things regarding what they happen to share. On the other hand, he hasn't yet earned what Warren has. Maybe the Wolverine will have to throw her off of a building, too. Who knows.

Back to business she suddenly looks about ready to throw the next empty glass clear across the room. "-Someone else- took it?" Blink. "No one said anything about a third team on the field! Jeezus this is not what we needed," she hisses through teeth while bringing a hand up to rub at her forehead. When she comes to look back at the man her head is propped up on that same hand. "You're already looking into this, I'm sure. Security footage from the facility..fingerprints..psychic reads..fuck if I know," she flicks fingertips outward.

Then comes what is perhaps the new single worst idea Neena has ever had:

"Think there's any chance that Emma might know who took it?"

***

Warren knows Neena well enough by now to know that a dismissive gesture from her actually is kind of a positive signal. If she really wanted to write off his offer, he'd sure know about it pretty unambiguously.

He also knows her well enough by now not to push too hard. The gesture's taken in stride and accepted in silence, Warren opting to signal for another round of drinks instead of trying to talk about Feelings too much more. Though he does give her parting shot a rakish smirk.

The matter of her and Logan is also not something he gets into. The two will work out whatever works for them. Warren has already done his own pathfinding in tangling with Neena and getting this far past her guard (apparently encapsulating fast cars, free cash flow, and fatal falls off buildings). The Wolverine will have to find his own way.

As far as actual business? Warren doesn't look any too pleased about the matter either. "I might have been the only one in a position to even see them before they went undetectable," he says. "I called it out on the comms, but people were getting screamed at by Ruckus at the time." A frown. "I had the security footage pulled, if you want to review it more in depth. I took a cursory look. It shows the box just… disappearing. Thing just vanishes. I want to blame cloaking device, or some kind of psionic ability that we couldn't detect because of the dampeners."

As for the rest? "Psychic reads… what Jean got from the doctors, I put up in the AAR. It's all we got. I put a claim on the facility and the land around it if you want to go look around more, but…"

But he already knows what he really wants to do. And Neena echoes the thought aloud a moment later, terrible idea though it is. "She might," he says. "I mean to press her about it." He pauses consideringly, regarding her. "If you want to try to get an angle on her too, might be worth it. She knows me, and whatever she might feel she owes me because of this, or because I'm friends with Tony, might get canceled out by her… well… knowing me." And Neena knows the substance of that history now.

***

"Yeah, I was a little ..occupied," Neena awkwardly suggests about missing Warren's call on the comms. And of COURSE he would be the one to have noticed something was out of the ordinary! Eagle-Eyes strikes again. "Lucky break that you noticed anything at all, was a real cluster down there and those four metas were right -assholes.-"

Through the commentary her mind is at work digging through what little information they have. The box vanishes. Blame a cloaking device. Or some kind of psionic—

This thought process gets interrupted; At the very moment she has a new idea pop into mind Warren mentions letting her come along to have a talk with Emma. "What, do you want me to try interrogating her? Because I could—"

-No,- Thurman.

Dom lightly clears her throat as though she didn't just make that suggestion. "Like it or not she and I have some common ground. I might be able to help. But, rewind a sec here," she calls for while drawing a circle upon the table with a fingertip.

"That box. It just vanished. That happened shortly after I cut its power and Betsya psychicclaimed to have her mojo back. If it worked for her it could have worked for any other psychic, couldn't it?"

Which..would have meant that she inadvertently gave this 'third team' a winning hand against their efforts.

..Crap.

"They were researching psychics. They had a psychic power dampener. Dollars to donuts whoever made their move against it also had some manner of psychic connection. We would have made for an ideal distraction for anyone else to make their move. It's a classic play, I would have made use of the same opportunity. Also: Goddammit."

***

"Everyone was," is Warren's tactful remark on people being 'occupied' at the time. As for him noticing anything at all even through all the chaos and mess? Warren actually looks a little abashed a moment, which is an odd look on his features — typically so confident as to verge on outright arrogance. Out in the regular world he might have effectively been a modern day prince… but among mutants, on the X-Men team, he was shown what it was like to be simply average in terms of his powers. Even mediocre.

It's led to him having odd reactions when his team contributions come up, sometimes. "I usually did all the scouting back in the day," he explains, with a refreshing lack of his usual cockiness. "Even now I still do. I have a lot of practice."

He hastily lifts both hands, however, when Neena suggests trying to interrogate Emma Frost. That probably wouldn't go well for anyone involved. "Nothing like that," he says. "Maybe shadowing her for a bit. Or just having a conversation with her, separately. She might not connect you with me and the X-Men right away." Of course, all that gets hard when you're dealing with a telepath, but… worth a shot. Right?

But Neena subsequently puts together some pieces… enough pieces to realize she might have helped the third team, if they also had a psychic. Warren shakes his head to the 'oh shit' look on her face. "We didn't know anything for sure, and the odds we might have been enabling some other players wasn't worth continuing to have Betsy at only half efficacy," he says, with an air of finality. "It was necessary. Now we're just going to track down what happened. Because… I think we were a distraction for someone."

He sighs, pushing one of the shots over towards Neena when the next round of drinks comes. "But we couldn't have done much differently. Not going there, not saving those people… that wasn't an option either."

There is a brief pause, before that familiar arch smirk flickers back into being on his face. "So finish your drink and don't think about that too hard."

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