Creatures of Id

September 07, 2018:

Harley Quinn and Impulse meet. They're friends now.

Stark Tower, followed by an unnamed alleyway

Characters

NPCs: Guards at Stark Tower

Mentions: Owen Mercer, Tony Stark, Red Robin

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Mid-Afternoon
at STARK TOWER

Stark Tower is a wonder unto itself in many ways. Like the man whose name emblazons it, the thing itself is a dazzling display of technology with all of the advanced office and research lab functions that one would expect. It is also a very fine example of contemporary architecture and corporate interior design, put together with an eye for the art of the thing. But what truly sets Stark Industries apart—as any good HR representative would surely share—is the collection of minds and hearts that gather there every day to accomplish THE MISSION.

It also has pretty dang impressive security, as we are about to learn. Pretty impressive security that has… been ramped up to ridiculous levels given the damage to the building and the compromised superstar in the medbay mid-height.

A blonde walks through the front doors. She waits in line patiently to get through the non-employees security line. As it is the middle of the day, this line is hardly insignificant. Still, it's hardly the same as the pill line at Arkham Asylum… The blonde should know!

Harley Quinn—dressed in a surprisingly normal black skirt, red button down shirt, and black Mary Jane pumps—just bobs contentedly to the sound of the effervescent pop song blasting through her earphones, eyes closed behind conservative sunglasses. Only the slight sheen and sparkle of her leggings-style tights sets her apart as something not COMPLETELY PROFESSIONAL.

…Well, and the giant military surplus bag presently slung over her right shoulder.

…And the brace that presently has her left arm and shoulder immobilized.

But otherwise? COMPLETELY PROFESSIONAL.

Even the dyed tips of her hair are hidden from view within an immaculate and COMPLETELY PROFESSIONAL twist.

…And then the security scans catch ahold of her giant bag before she even has an opportunity to set it down to be searched. As the alarms start sounding off, her head falls backwards to stare up and her sunglasses are lifted to rest upon her forehead instead.

And she sighs a world-weary sigh. “That’s probably for me,” she says nonchalantly to her neighbors in line, tone forlorn as she sets the bag down on the floor and raises her one good arm up in surrender with all of the ease and calm that speaks of a long-established habit.

Lines. A speedster's true nemesis. True, there are much worse things that can plague someone blessed (or cursed) with the ability to process and do things at a speed well above the average human, but at this moment Bart Allen can't think of anything more so than the stretch of people in front of him waiting just to enter a facility.

It hadn't been like this the other day. Granted he just sorta breezed through in his usual manner, but he's still fairly certain that the security hadn't been nearly as thick as it looks to be today. Maybe he should've come as Impulse instead. Would he get a quicker pass? He'd thought that maybe he would have been able to skip the line if people recognized him as Tony Stark's …impromptu (?) ward but at the same time he hoped that wouldn't be the case. More attention to his secret identity isn't exactly what he needed. It'd be like high school all over again.

The sound of alarms going off quickly snaps him out of his colorfully illustrated thoughts as he begins to lean one way, then the other, the up on tiptoes to see what the commotion is. As it turns out he really hadn't that long in front of him before it would have been his turn at the checkpoint, but you know, speedsters.

Bart tilts his head as he catches sight of the blonde, TOTALLY PROFESSIONAL woman holding up the line not four people ahead of him, frowning. He sighs. "Aw come oooonnnnnn…." he groans, scrubbing a hand through his shaggy bangs and back to knock the hood from his head. It had been part of his immaculate idea of pseudo-incognito because people wearing hoods never draw anyone's attention. Now he just doesn't care. Plus, it's really hot and he's been in line foreverrrrrrrrrr….

“What the hell…?!”

As Harley’s bag is taken by security personnel, as handguns are set in her direction, she remains surprisingly calm. “Look,” she says, swaying softly from one foot to the other. Her posture remains COMPLETELY PROFESSIONAL.

“I can explain that.”

‘That’ being the enormous bazooka that is presently being pulled out of her surplus bag. Covered in chunks of peach, blueberry, and all manner of crust… And something yellow, hard and crusty, and entirely disgusting looking.

“Just get Mister Stark,” she continues. “He can help me explain.” She leans forward towards the guard, smiling sweetly. “It doesn’t even work right now. I just need him to…”

The guard is exasperated. “On the ground, lady!”

Harley blinks vapidly. “But I'm in a skirt.”

"I wouldn’t care if you were in a tutu and the Crown Jewels, lady! On the ground!”

Harley's mouth screws up to one side. "This seems a little excessive,” she protests, voice mild.

“On the ground!”

“But…”

“Now!”

Quinn sighs. The act of professionalism seems to fade from her, and her eyes roll upwards. "Ugh, fine." And with that, she slowly starts to get down to her knees.

Things…have suddenly gotten a whole lot more interesting. Bart stares as the guards pull out the— is that a bazooka??? —from the bag the woman had been toting. Others in line have begun to get a little nervous, gasps and anxious murmuring rising in place of the previous lull of idle conversation that had borderlined silence.

A few start to trickle away from the line, turn back out, figuring it wasn't worth however much longer this new complication was going to take to wait out, or perhaps their concerns are more for the fact that someone just tried to waltz in with a bazooka.

Bart continues to watch with mounting curiosity. There's something weird about this. Why would you put a bazooka in a bag with pie??

Yes. This is an important point for him.

After a bit of waffling, Bart too makes as though to be fed up with waiting, internally having a tug o'war with himself as to who best to interfere with this situation. Makes better sense to do so with the mask, he figures.

No sooner has he stepped outside and out of plain sight does he come back in again, adjusting his yellow-tinted goggles across the bridge of his nose as he zips right over to the security checkpoint where they're in the process of having Harley get down on the floor.

"Errrm, what's happening here, guys?" he asks, hands up in preemptive placation of any firearms that might be leveled at him for his sudden appearance. Because surprising people already on edge is a great way to do things.

The handgun is definitely leveled in Bart’s direction for a moment before being trained back on the blonde. More Stark security personnel is on the way, and the sound of walkie talkies—Stark style ones, anyway—are filling the lobby.

“Lady’s toting ordinance,” the guard informs Impulse a moment later. “Charlie’s getting ready to put a call into SHIELD now. They’re just upstairs.”

“SHIELD?” The word comes out in a piteous squeak, as Harley’s eyes grow wide as saucers and she plucks out the earbuds that are still blasting pop music. “Look, you don’t gotta do that!” she reasons, her Gotham accent getting thicker with each passing moment. “I’ll just take Zook an’ go…”

“You’re not goin’ anywhere, lady. Except maybe a holding cell. You picked the wrong week to—”

Burst into loud, hysterical tears?! Because that is what the clown princess is doing. “I don’t understaaaaaand,” she wails, eyes squeezing shut as she turns her face towards the high ceiling. “How is this fair?! My ex-boyfriend, Owen Mercer, built this special fer me with Tony Stark. It was a custom job! It got busted! Ya can’t jes’ take it to any putzball hack job with a gun vise! But since Mercer is my ex, that means I couldn't take it to him! So, JES’ GET STARK! How come they’re allowed to build it in here and walk out of here with it, but the minute it breaks and I bring it back, I am the one in trouble?!”

Then? A sudden and very audible gasp transforms her face into a new expression of shock and horror. “Is this ‘cause I'm a girl?!” Her upturned hand begins to point upwards, a sign of her sudden onset of indignation. “I’m gonna sue you for sexual discrimination!!!”

Hoo, boy.

“Lady, quiet!”

She points to Bart as she continues, barking at him instead. “Hurry, Very Conveniently Appearing and Disturbingly Quick Boy! I. NEED. A. LAWYER! My civil rights are in jeopardy!

“Quiet, lady!”

"Yeeeeaaah, I see that, but um, why's there pie—"

While he's grateful that they've moved their guns, Impulse still remains wary as they focus back upon the woman, who abruptly bursts into tears. He has to look back at the guards. S.H.I.E.L.D.? Just because a lady wandered in with…well, okay. It's a bit strange but—

Amber eyes widening behind his goggles, he whirls around to face Harley. "Did you say Owen?" And she's his ex or something? He knows what he heard and yet it's kind of a mess trying to piece together. The story sounds pretty crazy but at the same time it's not like it can be verified, not with Tony's current condition and well, it doesn't sound like this woman wants to get in touch with Owen, so maaaybe it's not a good idea to call up his brother and ask?

The speedster groans, running his hands over his face. This shouldn't be such a difficult problem. It really doesn't even concern him. But he's here, and he's witnessed it, so it kind of does. And if this person is really an acquaintance to both his brother and Mister Stark, then…

Then….

"—okayI'mreallysorryaboutthisbut…!"

Conveniently Appearing and Disturbingly Quick Boy moves. Hands faster than the eye can track take hold of the bazooka and tuck it back into the bag it had been in, pie crumbs and all. Slung over a shoulder, Impulse is rushing for Harley next, fully intent on scooping her up and hauling her out of the building.

It's probably not the best choice he could have made, but it's the first one that came to mind and he's no failure to his namesake.

“WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

What would have been—out of any normally functioning adult woman—a squeak, or a scream, is a shrill declaration of amusement from one Harley Quinn.

Joyriding with a speedster was not among the joys she shared with Owen, and the blonde who looks COMPLETELY PROFESSIONAL shatters the illusion of such with the way she just throws her head back and abandons herself to the thrill of it.

Whenever they stop—wherever they stop—Harley’s overwide grin of unadulterated glee is firmly in place.

“OHMIGAWD,” declares she in defiance of her COMPLETELY PROFESSIONAL attire, be-heeled feet kicking a little with the flutter of movement that speaks of too much energy to be contained in one tiny frame. Her arm, which somehow ended up around Bart’s neck, squeeze tight. Tightly enough that it might make it hard to breathe. “That was GREAT! AAAAAAH. Just,” one hand flies out like an airplane taking off into the horizon, “ZOOOOOOOOOOOM, SEEYA COPPERS!”

That…. Isn't a reaction Impulse had expected, but know what? He can work with it. It's better than having to deal with someone screaming. It's a good several city blocks away before he does finally stop, setting Harley down as he glances towards the mouth of the alley he'd ducked them into.

Or he would, but he's got someone clinging to him. "Glrk- u-um, miss?" he wheezes, trying to pry her arms loose from around his neck, giving a few useless pats at them like a wrestler tapping out. At least while she's gesturing he can catch a breath.

"H-heh, yeah. Iiii'm probably gonna have to explain all that later, but—" The young speedster smiles crookedly as he shoulders the bag behind him, head jerking towards it.

"So you're friends with Owen and Mister Stark?"

“Ehhhhhhhhhhhh” Quinn says, sliding down onto her feet and smoothing her hands over her attire. “Something like that. Was friends with Mercer, and Stark drove me home to Gotham once and lived to tell the tale.” As she talks, she moves to heft the bag up off of Impulse’s shoulder with her good arm, if he’ll let her.

And, assuming he does, she squats down and starts poking around in the bag.

“They built Zook for me.” She pats the ‘ordinance’ affectionately. And then she keeps going. Unconcerned, she starts unbuttoning the collared shirt and—fortunately for Bart’s sense of modesty if he has one—there’s a tank top underneath it. She pulls out a pair of black fingerless gloves, pulls them on. Throws a baggy shirt on that’s been home altered to be collarless and quartered in red and black. Three diamonds of red are sewn onto one black quarter. Three diamonds of black are on one of the red. The twist is pulled out, revealing the pink and blue dyed tips hidden within it and she shakes the curls loose.

“He’s a piezooka; the only one of his kind. I dreamed him up, and then Mercer decided to make it happen fer me. But he’s had better days. …The piezooka. Not Mercer. Although, I guess that could be argued, too. Because I am pretty amazin’ if I do say so myself.”

She arranges her shirt to hang off of one shoulder, and then thrusts a hand out to shake. “Name’s Harley Quinn. Nice to meet you.”

Harley's welcome to take her bag back, and he'll even help to set it down. How she manages to tote the thing around so casually, Impulse has no idea.

"Oh…" he says, uncertain about how he should feel there. Owen had been through a lot lately, it seems. The last time he'd gotten to talk with the guy he'd said he was seeing someone. Had that really been so long ago? What happened? Impulse looks like he wants to ask, but he's not sure he should. Instead, he shakes his head to himself, looking back down as Harley's started to root through her stuff.

And then she starts to unbutton her shirt, and it takes the speedster a moment to realize what she's potentially doing, his eyes going wide as he opens a mouth to protest while somehow managing not to end up sprinting down another block to give her some privacy, if only because she's still talking and he wants to know her side of things. Perhaps she's caught up in changing that she doesn't notice him flailing a bit. Maybe. Hopefully.

"Z-zook?" Play it cool, it's all cool, we're fine here! Waaait, red and black diamonds, he feels like he should know this pattern. But then as it goes, Impulse is all too easily distracted. "Oh, is that why there's pieces of pie in there? Wait, so it shoots pies??" This sounds amazing.

His lips tug up on one end into the semblance of a smile as the woman introduces herself, and he reaches over to grasp her hand to shake in turn. "Impulse. Nice to meet you too, Harley. Or should it be Miss Quinn? Sorry to hear that though. About…well, everything." The whole mess. He scratches the back of his head.

"I guess it's not really widespread news. Mister Stark wouldn't have been able to help you fix Zook today anyway. You see, he…got hurt recently. Pretty bad."

A shadow briefly crosses his face as he recalls his conversation with JARVIS, and he sighs, shoulders sagging. Such a mess. "-but he should get better," he rallies on, forcing a smile. It's not that he doesn't believe it, but he knows there's a lot of other stuff to deal with on that end, although Tony's recovery would be a definite positive. "An' I'm sure he'd be happy to fix Zook up then."

“Harley’s fine!” she tells Bart as she reclaims her hand, grinning broadly with eyes closing happily for a moment.

But then it fades. “Oh,” she says of Mister Stark and indisposition, crestfallen. “That’s unfortunate. I liked him.”

Stooping to shove the collared shirt into her bag, Quinn then pulls out a ponytail holder and starts to pull her hair up high. “Guess that explains the doom and gloom troop back at his place. What a bunch of sourpusses! I mean, ya’d think fer someone like Tony Stark that they’d seen a bazooka or two before!”

She keeps chattering on brightly, nonplussed by the news.

Leaning in at the waist, Harley croons, “Good thing ya were there to interve in my unfortunate misunderstanding of the situation.” There’s an exaggerated wink. “My hero!”

Then her hands are back to adjusting her hair and making sure it feels right.

“How d’ya know Mercer, anyway?”

"I guess it's understandable what with all the damage," Impulse says, shrugging. "But I think it was a little much to be contacting SHIELD over."

So maybe he was taking a risk in believing her story, but how many people actually knew Owen and Tony? Or mentioned as much in the same sentence?

He has to grin a little at Harley's praise. "Well, it is kinda what I do," he says, buffing his nails a bit before he glances back at her and laughs. "Glad to help out though. I didn't think it was fair how they were going about things, high-strung or not."

Harley's next question comes and he barely catches himself as he starts to reply. "Oh, he's my br— o… Bro! Hang out sometimes, that kinda stuff! Ahaha… Actually haven't really known him that long but I think he's changed a lot since then." He shuffles his feet a bit, peering at her.

"So uh…what happened with you and him? Is that something I should ask? I mean, you don't have to say if you don't want."

From Br—o… Bro! to ‘hang out sometimes,’ one of Harley’s eyes narrows in mild suspicion. But, as he offers her grounds to continue complaining, The blonde seizes it.

Or would. If she didn’t have to tap dance her way through a summary of the reason that Good Things can never stay that way.

“People are messy,” she says, readjusting the brace that immobilizes her bum shoulder now that she’s dressed and gingerly used it in the process of getting arranged. “We were messy. Things got messier and he bailed. S’alright, tho.”

A lie, delivered as smooth as glass. She glosses past the swift escalation at Stark Tower, too. How was she supposed to expect facial recognition software, anyway?!

“Zook has two daddies. I just gotta be patient until I can sweet talk Stark into helping me clean and recalibrate his brainchild.” Zipping up the bag, Quinn hoists it back onto her shoulder with little more than a grunt and lets it rest against her back.

Then? she pauses. “How well do you know Tony Stark?” she asks next.

More messes. It sure seems like there's a lot lately. The speedster finds himself nodding, if not necessarily understanding, then at least getting the idea. When it comes to how relationships work, he's still not all that sure about things. He supposes it's different depending on the people involved.

Impulse tilts his head at Harley, vague as she keeps her answer, but it's an explanation, if of the barest bones. "…sorry it didn't work out," he murmurs, and it sounds like he means it because he does. His brother's been through the wringer and he's pretty sure Owen hadn't even told him the half of things. The latest developments sure can't have made things any better. He should catch him and touch base again, soon.

"Yeah, probably for the best. JARVIS said Mister Stark'll be fine, but he needs a lot of rest for now." He smiles again, faint, but hopeful.

How well does he know Tony Stark? "Been working with him on and off here and there on some things. Sometimes he hits up the Titans to look into stuff, or we ask him some things. Other times I just like coming over to play with all the neat tech stuff he has." A grin, brighter, more genuine. He may not know Tony that well, but Bart had like what he'd gotten to know so far.

He’s sorry. A half-hearted chuckle escapes grape-glossed lips as the blonde shrugs. Nothin’ to be done for it, says that shrug. “Thanks.” And she moves on.

“The Titans?” asks Quinn, before laughing mischievously. “It doesn’t matter,” she interrupts before he can start to answer. With the same arm that hoisted up Zook, Harley moves to hook Impulse’s.

“I think ya prolly know ‘im better’n I do, so I think ya just got drafted to help me make a gift basket. I mean, you can totally get in past those meanie guards and deliver somethin’ like that, right? And you can help me pick what to put in it! I mean, not everyone likes salt water taffy and party horns, right? It’ll be FUN, I promise, and I can make up fer needin’ ya to come bail me out.”

Yeah. Haven't heard of us? At least, that's what he would have said, but Harley moves on, so Impulse doesn't press the point. He blinks behind his yellow goggles as she snags his arm in her's.

"A gift basket?" Sure! Right, gift basket! In theory he knows what those are. They're always at stores and stuff when holidays come around. But what to put in one you're making yourself? "Yeeeah… I guess I could," he says. They wouldn't revoke his visiting privileges because of that one stunt, would they? And if they did, well, they couldn't keep him out if he really really wanted in.

"I dunno though, saltwater taffy and party horns sounds fun. But…um. Sure?" He starts to grin again. Seeing people had brought stuff for Tony as a get well gift had made him want to do something too, so this would work perfectly! ….well okay, so he got inspired by a bunch of giant bug people that were bringing the bedridden billionaire tributes because they consider him their god. Same difference?

"Yeah, okay, why not?" What could possibly go wrong?

Absolutely nothing. Nothing can go wrong with picking pick-me-ups with Harley Quinn.

Her grin breaks open her face so great is its wideness, teeth parting as she offers an open-mouthed squeak of glee. “YAY!” she squeals, squeezing on Impulse’s arm. “THIS IS GONNA BE SO GREAT.”

Then, with pale blue eyes batting up at Bart from behind their thick frames of black mascara and eyeliner, the smile fades. “I mean, do you think he’d want party horns? Oh, man. The world is FULL of possibilities, Impulse! …I love the name, by the way. Did I mention that? Because I do. As a creature of id myself, I always appreciate a certain self-awareness and self-celebration in others.”

She’s already strutting towards the mouth of the alley, dragging him towards the wonderful world of dollar store pick-me-ups. Her grating accent continues on as she rambles.

“I mean, really! If you ain’t gonna celebrate yourself in all of your glorious individuality and unique desires, who is? Nobody, that’s who! So. Good. For. You. I’m proud of you fer what it’s worth. Which probably isn’t much since ya jes’ met me today, but I promise having one more person rootin’ fer you to celebrate you is never a bad thing!”

…oh, dear heavens. Does she ever shut up?

If Red Robin happened to call in about now, this current situation would probably make for the most awkward conversation. 'Heya Red Rob! -oh nothin', just helped some girl named Harley out and now we're going shopping for gift basket things.'

Impulse's grin is kind of plastered on his face as he starts to wonder if he should have second thoughts about accompanying Harley as she clings to his arm. But hey, at least it isn't his neck?

"The guy does love to party," he says thoughtfully. "…although I guess he usually goes to those big fancy ones. So I dunno, maybe party horns would be more fun because it's different? Hey, like you said, so many possibilities."

The subject shift kind of derails him a moment, and once again his grin isn't so much forced. "Oh, you do? Thanks! I think it beats Kid Flash any day. I mean…well…" Maybe one day? That'd be too weird. He shakes his head, waving a hand as though to dismiss the thought. "Anyway—"

She is still talking. It's kind of amazing. It's not that he can't keep up with her but usually the people he's around don't tend to be nearly so talkative. "Er. Yeah. Good for me? Uh…"

Is this where people usually smile and nod? Yeah, that sounds like a good tactic. They haven't even gone all that far from the alley and already she's losing him. How much does one really need to go off on about one subject?

He could smile and nod, that would be okay. Harley’s used to it!

…Well, not really. She’s really kinda used to ‘ohmigawd, Harley, shaddup’ and ‘stop talking, Harl’ and threats to staple her mouth shut with a staple gun after an application of superglue. Smiling and nodding is a cakewalk.

Setting her blonde head down on Impulse’s shoulder, she leads on to an afternoon of fun. “Tell me true, Impulse… How do ya’ think Stark would feel about silly putty and those little champagne bottle popper things? I mean, nothin’ says ‘HEY SO GLAD YOU’RE FEELING BETTER’ like someone covering you in confetti and glitter, right?”

This is fine.

“And we’re definitely gonna need to get a card that plays music. OR LET’S YOU RECORD YOUR OWN! …They make those, right? That’s a thing? How do you feel about the BeeGees? You can sing the high parts.”

This is totally fine.

"Silly putty? Those things are super fun and so underrated, and they really should make them come in bigger packages— And who doesn't love bottle poppers?! It'll go with the ….wait, were we having a themed basket? Party theme? Kind of a 'hurray! I'm all better now' thing- I think that'd be awesome!"

…oooor he could start to babble just as much as Harley is. Let's face it, Impulse can't stay quiet forever, just about as well as he can sit still for a second.

His expression brightens at the suggestion of a musical card. "Oh, oh, that's cool! Yeah! And yeah, I think? I think that's a thing? Iiii'm not all that up to date on old people songs though." Was that an old group? He's pretty sure Max had mentioned it, so therefore, old people.

A blink. A frown. "-I am so not singing the high parts." A pause. "…only if you sing the low ones."

It's fine! Just fine…

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