Brothers Gotta Hug

April 29, 2018:

Owen works up the nerve to talk to Bart about their family history, while at a bar Valkyrie just happens to be drinking at. There is no actual hugging.

Irish Bar - Midtown Manhattan

An Irish pub with exposed brick walls, dark wood bar and booths and TVs playing Premier League games on all walls.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Red Robin


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It's been a few days since Owen had his latest talk with Jess and he has had plenty of time to try and think through how to even approach this thing with Bart. He hasn't come to any good conclusions, so he decided it's time to do some serious concentrated thinking. And drinking. Mostly drinking. So Owen left his lab in Stark towers where he has been spending the vast majority of his time, avoiding his problems in Gotham and wandered down to Rumors his favorite Irish bar on 8th ave.

And so Owen is seated at the bar, sipping whiskey on the rocks and staring at his phone as if it holds the answers. Eventually after his fourth or fifth drink he decides he might as well just wing it. It'll be fine. Probably.

Text to Bart: Yo! Meet me out for a drink. Or some food I guess. Wanted to catch up.

That's not weird right? No. Totally casual.

Text to Bart: No costume, civvies.

He would know that right? Better safe than sorry.


Valkyrie doesn't know what an 'Irish' is, but she knows what a bar is. The Asgardian has actually learned to tone it down a little. She's without her white face paint, and her hair has been pulled into a pair of long braids that look like they've been done fairly recently. It's not quite as hot mess-y as he previous 'dos, but it's clearly more to keep the stuff out of her face than any real attempt to look good. Though, the braids themselves aren't just the standard over-under-over-under tyle. She's also made half an attempt to 'dress like the natives,' which means her same leather pants, but an oversized long sleeved top and a leather jacket that looks like edgy fashion but that's just because it's from space.

The one thing that definitely does set her apart is that she's currently chugging from a pitcher of beer, a pile of cash in front of her as the others around the bar chant 'chug chug chug.' There's already three empty pitchers lined up on the bar and another two in the line.


The message comes out of the blue, and naturally the first thing that came to Bart's mind when he'd saw that he'd even gotten a text from Owen was 'what did I do now?' The actual message and follow-up seemed innocuous enough, leaving him more curious than wary. There really didn't seem any harm in it, and it had been quite a while since he'd last spoken with the guy, now that he thought about it.

Replying with a 'Sure, okay. See you soon' as one can only expect from a Speedster, Bart hadn't even considered asking what time and it would be easy enough just to head over and check. Also, typical for a Speedster mindset, or at least his.

He walks in not long after he's shot off that message, and Owen will be relieved to see that he's dressed in normal people clothes. Really, he knows better than to go to a bar in costume! Come on! The lanky teenager wanders in, black zip-up hoodie over a maroon shirt, jeans and sneakers. No superheroes here, na-uh!


Owen has mostly been ignoring the people around him in the bar, chatting with the bartender who he knows from his own bartending days. But then the chants of chug start and Owen peers around. Seeing Valkyrie, a smile crosses his seeing that she is now at least paying with eart cash and not chugging top shelf bottles. See? She's got the hang of this. He walks over towards her.

"You know how I knew you were from outer space?" He says to her, making sure that she is mid chug so that she can't actually answer before he can answer his own question. "Because your ass is out of this world." He's always wanted to use that line and come on! Hot alien girl! Totally worth probably getting one of those beers thrown at him.

But then Bart is coming into the bar and and Owen lifts his hand in a greeting, with a half wave.


The beer in the pitcher disappears far faster than would seem possible. Not just because it's booze, but because…well, usually people need to breathe. Valkyrie's picked up her last pitcher by the time Owen ambles over, and she lowers the empty one, mouth still holding the last of the beer. She chokes on that mouthful and ends up spurting a good half of it into Owen's face. She really didn't mean to, but you don't make someone laugh when their mouth is full! She sets the last pitcher down upside down, wipes her arm across her mouth, then lets out a surprisingly delicate burp. "Does that kind of line ever work for you?"


Once he spots him, Bart wanders over towards where Owen is, returning the wave. For the most part he ignores the glances in his direction as some wonder why this kid's here.

"'sup Owen—" he starts, just as Valkyrie has a spittake right at the guy. Blinking, he looks over at the woman and then towards Owen, brow arching. Valkyrie's response seems to say more than enough for answering any question he might have thought to pose.


Owen has had many a beer poured over his head or thrown in his face, but having what feels like most of one spit in his face is new. He winces and swipes it away, but is still smiling. What is he afraid a little beer is going to make him … smell exactly the same?

"You'd be surprised. Lots of girls love to take a dive in my very, very shallow waters." It's not so much bragging if he's also insulting himself, right? But then he realizes that Bart is now next to him.

"Bart! Yo. This is…" He looks back at Valkyrie and looks at her quizzically. "Some hot space chick I met out drinking." Then as an aside to Val, "I'm /great/ with names."

Turning back to Bart he says "You want a drink? Or something to eat? I got a tab going.." His attitude towards Bart is in general way friendlier and less obnoxious than it has ever been.


"I'm sure you're wonderful with names, but don't twist a muscle in your brain. I never gave you mine," says Valkyrie as she scoops up the cash that she won from what seemed to be a bet. She winks at a pair of college boys a little further down. One is propping up his green-looking friend (green in the sick sense, not the alien sense.) Apparently they tried to best her and failed. She starts to sort out coin from cash, examining the bills. "All your currency has old men on it. Have you ever noticed that?" She bounces a fist off her collarbone and burps again to settle the beer.

She looks between the two, eyebrows arching. "He wants something from you." She points to Bart, then nods to Owen.


Bart rolls his eyes at Owen as he continues to chat up the supposed alien woman. "I hope you didn't ask me over to hear your lame pick-up lines," he says, giving the guy a flat look. Then he grins, hauling himself into the nearest empty stool. "If you're treating, then…" Owen knows his tastes when it come to drinks, but since he's expanded the offer to include food, well, best his tab be prepared. Bart will try to be good about it, but he's already eyeballing the menu for stuff they have to eat.

"Maybe!" he says in response to Valkyrie, having glanced up and over at her when she'd spoke up again. "Either way, I'll find out." Sooner or later. True he's figured Owen must have a reason for inviting him over, after all.


"What?!" Owen draws back from Valkyrie as if slapped. "I do not! I can buy my bro-" For goodness sake Owen, get it together. "Something. I owe him for shorting him tips at our last job." He looks at Bart with a half shrug that stands in where an apology might normally go.

"I'd offer to buy you a drink, but I'm not sure I can afford both your ability to down bottles, and his bottomless stomach on my current income of.. shit." Owen laughs it off and then follows up with, "But if you want a regular earth sized drink, I c'd probably swing that. Particularly if Sean here keeps comping me." The bartender, though he is nowhere near close enough to hear, somehow knows now is exactly the time to give Owen a dirty look.

Regardless of Val's answer, Owen retrieves his latest whiskey and grabs a stool at the bar next to Bart.


"In my experience, no one buys someone else a drink unless they want something from them. A favor. Information. Sex." Valkyrie tucks the cash down the front of her shirt and leaves several dollars' worth of coin on the bar by way of tip, along with a few smaller bills. "As long as we're straight that you're not getting any of that from me in exchange for a drink, I will lift a glass with you. Whatever is the strongest in whatever quantity you feel is reasonable."


His attention sliiides back over towards Owen. Bart's not exactly the most subtle, and the look he's giving Owen is clearly suspicious, more so for the strange slip. More so for the excuse given as he thinks, 'wait, did you really??' He's not quite sure what to make of the shrug. What all's happened to the guy? Offering to treat him? Being…nice?

"…you sure she's the alien here…?" he finds himself asking as he continues to side-eye Owen as the man joins him.


"I buy .. " Owen starts to refute Valkyrie's comment, but is first distracted by where she's putting the money and then by the fact that she's not exactly wrong. "I buy other guys drinks all the time." It's true, he has probably never bought a woman a drink without ulterior motives and it's not worth pretending otherwise.

"Sean! Johnny Walker on the rocks for your champion beer chugger over here and whatever this guy wants.." Owen indicates Bart and then looks at him a bit confused when he's kind of accused of being an alien. To be fair, plenty of shapeshifters could have done a better job of acting more like Owen than he has up to this point.

"Yea. Well, that is what I wanted to talk to you about." While looking up at Val, he says pointedly, "I'm not looking for anything. I don't need a favor. But… " he turns back to Bart and says very earnestly, "I could use some answers."


Someone with more decorum and shame might realize that the two of them are about to embark on a personal discussion and give them a little space. Valkyrie? She leans an elbow on the bar and places her chin in her hand. She looks between them both, expression expectant. She reaches over for the drink when it arrives, sips, then digs the ice out and chucks it in one of the empty pitchers. Get out of the booze, stupid hard water!


Still looking as though he's debating whether he's going to stick with his alien theory or not, it's only for a second longer before Bart gets distracted by the menu again. "A coke and up…one of everything from here to here," he informs Sean, poking a finger at the appetizer listings.

Leaning an elbow on the bar counter, he looks back at the two, watching as Valkyrie gets rid of the offending ice cubes, and then staring at Owen.

"…answers?" he echoes, head tilting, his brow furrowing. "You sure I'm the person to ask?" What kind of answers can he possibly provide?


Between the whiskey he's already imbibed, the drug habit he's trying to kick, the alternate life he's still trying to sort through, the Asgardian interloper and Bart being Bart, Owen knows he has an uphill climb here. He mentally curses NYC's smoking ban for the umpteenth time as he tries to find a decent place to start.

"You were born in the future. You told me that once. At Stark's." Well, he mentioned it and Owen was there so same thing. Owen looks intently at Bart his eyes clearer than usual despite the drinking. "Your mom…" Owen doesn't slip and say our mom at least. "Your mom is Meloni Thawne, isn't she? And your dad.." he glances at Valkyrie but can't imagine she cares enough for this to mean anything to her. "Your dad was like the grandkid of a cape, right? A hero, from this time." Yes, the Rogue's know Barry's name. No, Owen is not about to say that out loud. He doesn't even say the Flash because of Valkyrie's presence.

Pausing to take a sip from his drink, he says "Stop me if I'm off track." But he knows he's not. Somehow, he knows.


This is all turning out to be not nearly as juicy as Valkyrie hoped. Mostly because she has no idea what they're talking about. Still, she's apparently nosy enough to keep listening in. She tosses back the rest of her drink, taps at it for a refill and slaps some of those dead white guys on the bartop to cover the next drink. "I bloody hate time travel," she says. That's sort of relevant to the conversation, at least?


Despite knowing that he'd mentioned that accidentally, it's the last thing that Bart had expected to be brought up again. At first he kind of gives Owen a disbelieving look and sort of gestures as though to say 'um, really? Here?' But Owen continues, and amber eyes that were narrowed now widen as Bart's family tree's touched upon.

He's pretty sure he'd never mentioned his mother's first name, and for sure never talks about his dad since he knows squat other than name and relations.

"Wh—" he starts, but at least Owen's keeping discreet. Still doesn't explain to him how he even knows as much as he's said, although the detail about Bart's dad being the grandson of a 'cape' is slightly off. Just kick that 'grand' off and it'd be right on, but Bart still thinks that's beside the point.

Valkyrie had been forgotten until she makes that comment, eyes flicking over towards her before fixing on Owen again. Can't say he blames her, really. Things are crazy complicated in his family because of it. Regarding Owen, Bart gives him a nod. "…go on," he says, tone wary.


Owen knows this is probably a twilight zone experience for Bart, but none of his options made it any easier and at least this way Owen gets to have a drink. And the thought of showing up at Titan Tower to do this made him want to kill himself, so yea, in a bart surrounded by people.

"Do you even know how you got sent back? I don't.." He stops realizing that's a little off topic. "Look. Bart. I had this fucked up alternate universe thing happen. I had a different life. But in that world, I knew my parents. I grew up with them … in the future." He doesn't quite come out and say it yet. Maybe Bart knows? Or knows something?

Instead he turns to Valkyrie and agrees, "Seriously. Time travel sucks. But remind me to chat with you about space travel, because I'm kind of down with the hot chicks who can out drink me and don't understand our crazy earth customs. I'm assuming that's what all aliens are like?" Okay, Owen added that last part about earth customs but he has a very active imagination.


"Sort of. Some aliens have external digestion fronds and will start eating you if you touch them," says Valkyrie in a casual sort of way. "Releases a hormone that makes you feel all tingly." She rocks her empty glass back and forth as she awaits another. Despite the copious amount she's had to drink, she's not looking like it's done more than vaguely take the edge off. "Alternate realities are also a bitch," she says as the bartender fills up her glass again.


Bart looks like he's trying to weigh out just what exactly he should say. What strikes him as weird is what Owen asks. What stokes his curiosity is what Owen might have said. As he shifts gears on the subject, Bart just continues to stare at him. The only reason he looks away is because the first of his appetizers is set there along with his soda, which he picks up to sip at as Owen engages Valkyrie again. Maybe it's a good thing she's there after all, to balance out the weirdness of the conversation. …even if her contributions are doubly weird.

"…I didn't really know my parents," he finally says. "My dad was killed fighting …well, aliens," he says, his lips quirking in the mild irony of the current situation, except that the Dominators are undoubtedly alien while Valkyrie still appears pretty human. "Earthgov saved me from them and told my mom I was dead when they were really keeping me to study." Owen can at least guess why that would be. "But they weren't really helping me, and my aunt decided to fix that. She took me away, and we both came here, to this time." To find someone who could help him learn how to control his speed. "I…actually never met mom until she came to this time to find me. That's the only reason I know other parts of the story."

Shaking his head, he picks up a fried pickle chip, looking at Owen again. "…why bring this up?" he asks, although his brain's already drawing lines between everything as he speaks. "Owen…who are your parents..?" Even as he asks, he's not entirely sure why, but he seems certain at least that it's the right question.


Owen is following along fine, some of it lines up with what he knows from the other time. He is nodding along, sipping his drink until Bart gets to the part about meeting his mom, their mom, here in this time. Owen closes his eyes for a minute and tries to shake that off. And then Bart is asking him a question, and then Bart is asking him the right question.

"You know my dad. Captain Boomerang, Digger Harkness… George." Owen never knew anyone in either world that called his dad George, but technically that was his name. Owen waits a beat before letting it drop, "My mom, our mom, is Meloni Thawne." He waits to see how Bart reacts, or as long as he can before asking, "She came here? To see you? How? When?"

And then needing a distraction he blinks back to Valkyrie's topic, "Wait digestive what nows? You gotta give me fair warning if you're planning on eating me. And does everyone know about alternate universes? When did that become a thing?"


"Alternative universes have been a 'thing' since the birth of time itself. In fact, there may be alternative realities where the universe wasn't created at all. There's all manner of methods for traversing these realms. Some might actually let you arrive with your sanity intact. I can't speak for why people on Midgard are only learning of their existence recently." Valkyrie sucks air between her teeth and bobs her head. Then she grins a bit wickedly, with a little flash in her eyes. "And…I have no intention of eating you. Not with only one of my drinks on your tab."

Speaking of. She kicks back her latest drink, smacks her lips, then slides off her stool. "As enjoyable as it's been to hone in on business that is entirely not my own, I have a feeling this is going to change from interesting to awkward. And I don't do awkward. Enjoy your fried mammal arms." She nods towards the plate of chicken wings that were just delivered.


Popping another pickle chip into his mouth, Bart reaches over for a 'fried mammal arm' without a glance over as the plate's set beside the first. He nods; Owen's father's the better known half, but it seemed right to ask in plural rather than cut to the chase. With the way Owen's been easing into things, it seems like it's still a lot he's trying to digest. Bart's not sure he's ready for the kicker but he tries to be.

That chicken wing doesn't even get past his lips as he just freezes, staring. Maybe waiting to see if Owen would just laugh and tell him it was a joke. But that moment never comes, and Bart lowers the wing as instead he's presented with another question. But before that…

"Wait, your mom is- then…we're…?" His brain's threatening to break. Val's comment is like the kick to the gearworks that gets them back to turning properly where they'd nearly gotten gummed up.

Awkward. Well, that's an understatement if ever there was any. The young speedster stares at her as though she's spoken some foreign language before he looks back almost dazedly at Owen.

"It…was like…I dunno, a few years ago? She tracked down where I was staying, wanted to bring me back home. Used the same time machine thing that we did. I went with her, but I didn't even stay that long. …I couldn't. She made a deal with her dad, Earth's president- and so he'd leave me alone, I came back."

He pauses. "So…you…didn't know mom?"


Watching Bart try to come to grips with it, Owen just winces and nods. "Yea. We're half brothers Bart. … yay?" What is the right response there? Owen's more conflicted about it than he expected, mostly due to the alternate reality memories still kicking around his head. Here Bart and Owen barely interacted and it would just be a brief heads up and move on if not for the other memories.

"Wow." It's a lot to process that his mom somehow came here for Bart… and by extension didn't come for him. Score another point one for this shitty world. Owen smiles tightly trying not to think about that particular point right now, "No. Not here. I didn't even know my dad until I was outta school. But in the other world, I grew up in the future with them. They married after your dad died and my dad got stuck in the future…" He doesn't get into how screwed up his life here was by comparison.

And somehow the revelation that their mom came for Bart makes this an even worse idea than he thought. He slaps down some money and says "Yea.. sorry, this was a bad idea. I'll see ya 'round." He doesn't even look at either of them before making his way out of the bar. He should call Emery. Or Jess. Or Luke. Or anyone but the number listed only as Tuck in his phone. But Owen's never been good at doing what he should.


Something doesn't make sense to him. Wouldn't his mom have said? She'd told him that he was the last of the Allens and the Thawnes. So where does Owen figure into all of this?

…his brain hurts.

There's a lot packed into that one 'Wow.' Bart hears the words Owen says, explaining his own detachment from his parents but the chance at something else with them. He can't help but feel both indifferent and yet a little jealous. After all, he'd never gotten to know his dad. He'd never really gave having parents much thought at all, but then he'd spent most of his childhood hooked up to a computer.

"Wait-" he starts, but his brother is already leaving. "Owen!" His shout's lost in the din of the pub atmosphere. Grifegrifegrifegrife- "Grife!"

What a mess. Bart's on his feet, knows he can catch up to Owen. But then what? Is he ready for a round two? Is Owen? They're definitely not finished talking, but…maybe they needed some time to think. For sure Bart knows he does, or at least some time to get his brain to stop hurting. He drops back down on the stool, still frowning off towards the door.

"…hey, can you pack that to go?" he asks the bartender. There's no point sticking around here.

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