Demon Free

September 11, 2018:

Impulse brings Raven along to visit the comatose Tony Stark for an expert opinion on potential supernatural afflictions.

Stark Industries

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, Darkedge, Owen Mercer, Harley Quinn

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

"Hey, mind going along with me to visit Mister Stark?"

That had been Bart's invitation to Raven earlier on, back at the Titans Tower. The explanation to follow proved a point to the perhaps otherwise random inquiry, given the things that he'd heard during his last visitation when Pepper Potts and Darkedge the Avalonian elf had been present.

While he isn't aware of Raven's direct relations nor background, he had gathered that she must know something about demons after their last mission involving that weirdo cult. His reasoning had been purely innocent and out of genuine concern, as quite simply, he has no idea what to do for a friend and he absolutely hates having to wait things out. But this. Maybe they can at least figure something out, or make sure that everything's still okay. It's less heroic than what he'd prefer, but it's still a hero thing to do.

They'd gone in costume, given that Bart had his security pass under his cape name, and hopefully having a friend along wouldn't put him under question. …actually his 'pass' was a note from Pepper, but it still had her signature and his name on it, so it was definitely something. He also had with him a gift basket, a handkerchief tied over the top to keep the things nestled within it secure as possible.

The guards in the lobby of Stark Industries eye the two young Titans when they enter, Raven out of wary curiosity, Impulse, well…it seems they're familiar with him, and the sheepish grin he wears on his face paired with the wiggle-fingered wave doesn't exactly impress them.

**

The moment she appears within the premises with Impulse, she can sense the uneasiness about the lobby. She can feel the eyes on her, the darkness of her cloak embellished with gold-trimmed crimson brooches a strange sight to some despite being in the company of a friendlier Titan who has been there more times than she ever has.

When Bart Allen asked the question, Raven had no other commitments at the time. Mundane tasks were minor - things that could be done any other day of the week once she had minutes to spare. She could have carried them out, got them out of the way so she didn't have to circle back to it later. Instead, she changed her mind and decided to follow along to see this 'Mister Stark' everyone in New York couldn't seem to stop talking about.

She expected security to be on edge, but the seriousness of the situation weighed heavily under a thin line of tension. That alone was enough to confirm whatever the young speedster had told her on the way over to Stark Tower.

Her shadowed gaze lifts to meet the eyes of those who are curious, allowing them a chance to stare before saying, "I'm with him. A friend of a friend." She shows her hands, palms empty as they turn upward. "If I need to sign in anywhere, then I will."

Surely that can help keep them at ease. Maybe they can get through without too much of a problem.

**

Impulse nods along as Raven explains her presence. He looks apologetically towards the nearest security guard. "Super sorry about what happened the last time, but it was a giant misunderstanding," he explains. Slipping a hand into the edge of the basket, he pulls out the note, waving it. Not that he's going to mention anything about the visit before this one and after the last one where the trouble had all begun, mostly because he'd kinda sorta snuck in that time.

"Here's my pass. It's from the Mistress of Or— Err, Miss Potts? Yeah." He pauses to double check on the note before holding it out for the guard to verify.

The guard still looks pretty suspicious of the speedster as he takes the note and looks it over, eyes flicking between the written pass and the young heroes a few times before he finally hands it back. "What's in there?" he asks before motioning to the x-ray security scanner. "No bazookas, are there?"

"Whaaaat? No! Of course not!" Impulse laughs, setting the basket on the conveyor belt before stepping onto the other side to pick it up. He gives Raven a nod to follow, leaving the guards squinting at the x-ray results. Is that… a toy dinosaur?

Reluctant as he is to take the elevator, he suspects Raven will prefer it to being run up the stairs, so the speedster hits the call button, letting his friend enter once the doors slide open.

**

Giant misunderstanding? Well, from what Raven recalls, Impulse skimmed over other details that probably aren't necessary to the narrative. Not that she needs to know, anyway; the faster they get through the checkpoint, the better.

Of course, as she goes through, a hidden brow arches at the young man. "A bazooka?" she repeats somewhat flatly once they pass the guards. "There was a bazooka involved the last time you were here…?"

At least she isn't shaking her head in shame at him for that. For some reason, she can accept the fact Bart either has a pretty exciting life or a weird streak of, for lack of a better term, luck.

The good thing about this is that she leaves it for him to answer or not answer. The choice is his and she really doesn't need to get into it on a long elevator ride. Which can make for some more awkward moments, now that she thinks about it.

A quick sideways glance isn't the only thing to tell her there's a telltale restlessness radiating from the speedster, and it won't go away until it's taken care of. "…I can shorten the wait time if you want," Raven half-whispers, holding up a hand to demonstrate the potential of a dark portal opening.

**

Yeah, he should have figured that was coming.

"Yeah, a bazooka. A pie-launching bazooka," Impulse says once the elevator doors have closed behind them and the button to the medbay floor depressed. "Not mine. Was someone else's- As it turns out, my brother's ex-girlfriend. I didn't even know they'd broken up. I mean, the last time we spoke he'd mentioned that he was seeing someone. And now…" His mood dips a bit, confusion with a dash of melancholy. Shrugging, Bart seems to shake it off with the movement of his head.

"Anyway, she said that the bazooka was made by him and Mister Stark, but it broke, so she wanted to see if Mister Stark could fix it. She just wasn't aware of what happened to him."

He sighs, leaning back against the railing running along the sides of the elevator's interior, basket bouncing off the wall as it hangs off his wrist. "So security was tight, as you saw, and she came in with a bazooka. I figured that she was telling the truth since she mentioned both Owen and Mister Stark, and so I thought I'd help out before things got too complicated." A crooked smile, another shrug. He lifts up the basket. "After I told her about Mister Stark's situation, she decided it'd be a good idea to make a gift basket, so I kinda got dragged along."

At least when he's talking he's distracted from waiting as the elevator (which, to be fair is pretty fast for an elevator, but Stark probably spares no expense), but once he's done, his foot's tapping anxiously as he looks up towards the ceiling, willing the thing to move faster. Raven's offer gets a blink, followed by a grin at the suggestion.

"Whoooa, seriously? I didn't know you could do that." He gives a small hop from the wall, closer to the cloaked teenager, abuzz with excitement. "Doitdoitdoit!"

**

Sunny as Bart's personality is, the notes of solemnity and melancholy are not lost on Raven. They stand out, uncharacteristically so, blending back into the background once he lets the moment pass to finish telling her all she needs to hear about the bazooka incident.

Familial relations are one thing, an ex-girlfriend is another. She sometimes wonders if it's worth the trouble for the latter kind of relationship, but it isn't her business. Or his. He just knows as much as he does and that's fine.

"…Ah. That makes more sense now."

Pale fingers loosely flex as the burst of metaphorical sunshine returns in full force at Raven's suggestion, her internal feelings hopping from annoyed by the suddenness to relief as a brief distraction while being trapped in a high-tech vertically-climbing box. "All right," she sighs, mildly smirking at his enthusiasm. "Hold on."

A circle wreathed in swirling dark matter forms in the air, flat against nothing as it sits half a foot away from the elevator door. And it grows, widening so that they can both pass through without any issues into the area reserved for patients, just outside of the room where the famed Tony Stark currently resides.

Raven lets the portal close behind them, turning to check on Impulse. "Well. I hope that didn't feel…you know. Weird."

**

At some point Bart figures that maybe he should talk to Owen about it. Maybe. He's not sure how to bridge that subject, or if it's a subject that should even be bridged. Really, what do you say? Heya, I ran into your ex at work, what's up with that? …yeah, he doesn't see that going so well.

It's a reminder of how much he doesn't really know about his brother. Half-brother. Still, brother. Family. It was nice to even have family in the same time period at all.

Letting the subject slip from his thoughts for the time being, the speedster nods and looks on eagerly as Raven works her magic. He eyes the swirling portal, sticking a hand through it without hesitation, and with a determined grin, slips right on through.

"That…was a little more anticlimactic than I thought it'd be, but still, cool!" he says, shaking hands and legs out. "Eh, it wasn't too bad. I went through another shadow portal before- except I ended up in a fairy world. It was pretty awesome."

Looking around, he then points over to the room that Tony Stark has been laid out in. "Heya Jarvis, just me and a friend. Just wanted to drop something off and check up on Mister Stark- shouldn't be long," he informs the air, figuring the AI is about.

**

"Fairy world."

It's more of a statement than a question, one that says, 'No, I don't need to know the details of that trip. We're good.'

With a slight shake of her head, Raven waits, then follows Impulse into the room eerily reminiscent of a shrine. She takes a long look at all of the images of Stark as the speedsters announces their presence to the AI butler, scrutinizing the same face over and over again before letting her gaze finally fall upon the man lying in the large bed unconscious.

The same face. Yet it isn't the same at all.

She steps closer, as close as she manages to do without crossing an invisible line somewhere on the floor. It may have looked like hesitation at the last second, but none of that ever crosses her half-hidden features. No lines or creases make themselves known on the skin of her face, smooth and mask-like until it comes time to speak again. "…How long has he been like this?"

**

Impulse looks like he would have launched into that story regardless of what Raven's statement might have implied. But with them being here now, she's saved that adventure (for now) as they enter the room.

It's festooned with all sorts of gifts and…yes, there is actually a shrinelike thing at the foot of the bed upon further examination. Wandering over towards one of the bedstands, Impulse nudges a few things aside to set the gift basket down before pulling off the handkerchief covering, revealing an assortment of dollar-store sundries from plastic toy dinosaurs to silly putty eggs, and a good amount of champagne bottle poppers besides. A card's tucked in there somehow, bulging slightly in the manner of those that might hide some sort of musical device, or in this case, one that records personal messages.

"Hey Mister Stark. Just thought we'd drop by again. Harley and I made you a gift basket. Um. hope you'll enjoy it when you wake up," he says quietly as he looks down at the sleeping man, somehow managing a subdued mood despite the writing on the unconscious billionaire's face.

Raven's question gets a shake of his head. "A couple of weeks? I'm not exactly sure. When I was here last time, Darkedge was here to talk to Miss Potts about some weird magic thing that Mister Stark was testing. Miss Potts said it had demonic properties or something, and Mister Stark might've used it on himself to keep himself from dying when the attack happened."

He lifts his gaze towards the darkly dressed Titan. "I dunno if you can…do anything or figure out what's going on, but…"

**

So it isn't just her imagination. It really is a shrine (two shrines, even) full of offerings and well-wishes to make the recovery go faster. Mismatched and kitschy, yet hopeful.

Raven feels her throat and chest tighten when Impulse addresses Tony Stark, her face never once betraying the fact as he quietly greets the man like he has been awake at the start of their visit. Her nose wrinkles, however, when she takes another look at Tony's face.

The same, not-so-same face. Defaced. And she feels like she should know who did this, but it remains a mystery.

Whatever the story is behind it, she would have to ask later. It's tough not to laugh out loud, the tickling feeling replacing the earlier twinge that threatens to escape the back of her throat.

With a breath, she manages to keep herself in control, blinking back anything that may read as inappropriate for the setting. The mood shifts back into its previously muted tone easily enough once Impulse answers her question about the coma, blue eyes narrowing slightly the longer she stares down at the man who usually stands so tall. "From death…?"

Magic. Demonic properties. These are within her field of knowledge, and her friend wants to know if there is anything more to the man's condition instead of it just being as it is.

…Helping is the least she can do.

A small yet confident step is taken to close the gap between Raven and Tony, cloak trailing lightly before it settles around her feet. And her brow furrows. "Magic is…present, as far as I can tell," she says in a low, rasping tone laden with renewed focus. Her hands, pale as they are, lift up from the black, rising halfway over the patient before she leans over to lower them, gingerly grazing Stark's cheeks up to his temples. Fingers are splayed out gently over that particular area, pressing down a little firmer now that she has the contact. The color of her eyes drain away, blue-violet hues replaced with white…

And she searches.

She seeks out darkness. She seeks out shadows, traces of negativity. She seeks out the demonic energies that may have been left behind.

And she finds…

"-Nothing."

Raven doesn't wait for a response, still standing where she is, still bent over the body. "There is nothing wrong with Mister Stark."

**

He doesn't know the details, only who was involved and the barest idea of what had happened. It was upsetting for all that went wrong, and Impulse is only glad that there was still a fine line drawn between the wrong and worse.

"Nothing?"

Amber eyes blink uncomprehendingly as he looks up at Raven. When she'd moved to Tony Stark's other side to suss out any demonic activity, Impulse had squatted beside the bed, leaning at its edge to watch. Now he looks at her as she informs him that nothing is wrong with the man lying on the bed between them, brows knit in confusion. It only lasts a moment as he slowly stands again.

"Really? But then… I don't get it," he murmurs, shaking his head. "But that's…good, right?"

**

"Nothing," Raven confirms, now meeting Impulse's gaze. What may be a little creepy is how she's looking directly at him with blank white eyes, but that doesn't matter at the moment. She then clarifies her initial answer, repeating the same word one more time. "Nothing demonic. It isn't anything like that at all."

Her eyes close as she leans back, letting her hands and arms fall away from Stark to rest upon the bed railing. "It's…light," the goth tries to explain, replaying what she has sensed within the man's soul. "Bright and…positive, for lack of a better word."

Bold. Intense? Maybe so, for her tastes. The nod is for Bart, though. "Which is good. Very good."

She exhales softly, eyes fluttering open to reveal their normal coloring. As she looks down at Tony, she shakes her head. "You are either insane or a very lucky man to have cheated death however the way you did, Mister Stark."

**

Those eyes are only slightly unsettling, but Impulse hardly seems bothered by it as he looks at Raven, curious as to what else she has to say. He's not sure he gets it, but he's hardly the expert on magical or demony matters, and he trusts his teammate to know what she's going on about.

A smile eases its way back onto his face, and he sighs, expressing relief to a tension he hadn't realized had been clinging to him the entire time.

"Good," he echoes, nodding as he looks back at Tony as well. His lips quirk, his smile crooked. "Maybe a little of both. But that's okay, I think. That's part of how he is. …thanks Raven."

So all that's left is to wait for the guy to wake up. That's a difficult thing that Impulse knows he's no good for, but at least the trip hadn't been without some positive news. Turning, the speedster nods again at Raven. "Guess we can head back now. Let Mister Stark rest up. -we'll see ourselves out, Jarvis. Let me know if anything changes, yeah?"

**

Releasing the tension is always a good sign. Although Bart shows his relief, Raven feels it all the same. While worry is still present, the burden lifts.

A ghost of a smile slips over her lips as she glances up at the speedster. "I figured as much. It seems to match his public face."

Now that she has done what she can for Stark and Bart, she agrees with the next logical step. They don't need to be lurking about his room any longer than they already have. "That's fine with me. And perhaps this information will be useful to anyone else who needs an update on his condition," she replies, stepping away from the side of the bed.

Before she moves completely, she returns to the man's bedside, looking him over again as if to make sure she did everything correctly. A hand then reaches up and over to plainly pat him on the cheek.

"Take care. And wake up soon so that everyone can stop worrying about you."

And those are her parting words. With that, she goes to take her leave with the other Titan, ever so silent.

**

Perhaps this information will be useful to anyone else who needs an update on his condition, she'd said. Impulse blinks, then snaps his fingers as he nods. "Good idea. Um…" In a matter of seconds he's scoured the room for a piece of paper and something to write with, opting for the envelope that had held the card he'd gotten with Harley— definitely something of the noise variety— as to which he writes upon with the Sharpie he'd found.

Demon Free

He sets the envelope sign on Tony's chest, looking satisfied at his work as he caps the marker and sets it aside. Looking at Raven, he gives her a thumb's up, zipping back over to the door where she is and on out.

"…I'd ask if you could portal us back outside but I guess it'd be better to let the guards know we left, huh…" he says as they head back to the elevator.

**

Raven looks back over at the bed where Stark now has a sign on his chest. And there's the thumb's up from Bart.

She sort of nods, resigned to accept that as a placeholder for anyone else who drops by to visit.

When he catches up with her, she pauses, letting his thought sink in. "…Yeah, we do need to head back down," she says, turning toward the elevator as well. "So they don't overreact."

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