4754/Shattered Glass

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Shattered Glass
Date of Scene: 16 January 2021
Location: Empire Glassworx
Synopsis: Do not mess with Ginny.
Cast of Characters: Terry O'Neil, Nick Lytton
Tinyplot: Another You

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry O'Neil walks into Empire Glassworx looking, perhaps, not exactly at his best.  He has pretty visible bruise on the right side of his face, courtesy of one of Robin's batarangs.  No matter how well you dress or how much you take care of your appearance, something like that will make people stop and stare… and Terry wasn't skillful enough with makeup to hazard hiding it.
    Nevertheless, there were things he had to do, and one of them was to check up on Nick before Reichermann showed up for her interview.  It was a friendly check-up to make sure the artist was ready for anything she would throw at him.  Walking up to the counter, he hefts his messenger bag across his back and smiles as he approaches Ginny.  "Hello!" he calls out.

Nick Lytton has posed:
    Ginny looks up from the counter.  "Hey there, Ter— whoa, what happened to you?"  Yeah, the bruise shows, and she noticed it.  "You okay?  Looks like someone smacked you good.  I, um, wow.  I guess you're here to see Nick?"
    She glances back through the window; yup, he's there, dancing like no one's watching while manipulating a couple globs of glowing glass.  "I'll go back and let him know you're here.  You won't believe the new style he's gotten into.  It's really something!"
    She heads for the door—those who've been here before know, plug your ears.
    Ginny of course goes to the stereo first, and then talks to Nick, who glances towards the lobby while GInny tells him he has a visitor.
    After a moment, Ginny returns and waves Terry on back.  "He's got a project he doesn't want to leave, said to come on back."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Oh, this?  Robin gave it to me.  He gets very throw-happy with those batarangs.  I hear that kids who never get past the object permanence stage are prone to throwing tantrums."  He grins.
    This totally doesn't make his relationship to Robin seem functional at all.  Fortunately for Terry, his relationship with Robin was one of mutually-assured disdain.  "He's working himself into a frenzy, isn't he?  I'll go ahead and go in.  Thanks, Ginny!"
    Terry walks into the workshop, shouldering his jacket off because the temperature merits it.  "Hey!" he calls out over the music, "I hear you're working on something new?"

Nick Lytton has posed:
    Ginny just shakes her head, and returns to her usual spot at the counter.
    Nick glances over; Ginny has turned the music down to a less assaultive volume, although the lyrics are still clear: o/` He's go-o-o-one / And nothin's gonna bring him back / He's gone o/`
    "Terry, sorry, I'm in the throes of total creativity," he says, turning his focus back to his work.  "What can I do you for?"
    The previous work that Nick had been doing was abstract, with its roots in Deco and Mid-Century Modern.  The new pieces around his work area are darker, more organic, with something almost tentacle-like about the curves.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    The redhead arches his eyebrows when he sees Nick's new creation.  It's certainly something that he has never seen from the artist… a creative breakthrough?  An early midlife crisis?  Who knew what motivated artistic types?
    "Is this for the new show, right?" he asks, tilting his head.  "Don't you think it's going to be a little… shocking as far as contrasts go, with the other pieces?"
    He rubs his neck, bobbing a little to the music.  "I was coming in to check on you before Reichermann came by.  You know.  In case you were having pre-show jitters and whatnot.  But you're here putting a show on your own."

Nick Lytton has posed:
    o/` Nine mile skid / On a ten mile ride / Hot as a pistol but cool inside… o/`
    "That's what I do!" Nick says cheerily, drizzling one handful of glowing glass over the other—there's no way to tell what color they'll be when they cool, but if the other recent works are any hint, it'll be clear around a dark core.  "Not for the show, that theme is set and they don't want me improvising too much.  Might see if the aquarium is interested.  I've never made an underwater arrangement."
    It could be an artist completely in the grip of a new inspiration… but the fact is he has simply avoided even looking at Terry for the most part.
    o/` Cat on a tin roof / Dogs in a pile / Nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile... o/`

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    As it were, Terry is not the cat on a hot tin roof, but in his Cheshire shape he has been told he isn't too bad-looki-
    Terry, focus.
    "Well, that's very good, then.  Reichermann can be a bit of a valkyrie when it comes to reviewing a show… she treats it like a battlefield and decides which of the fallen get to go to Vallhalla."
    Is he really that focused?  "Maybe we should go over some of the things you're planning on telling her, just to make sure you hit all the right points.  I'd hate for her to get a… well.  She can be very black-and-white if you start off on the wrong foot, and she can be rather uncharitable."  The human redhead leans on a counter, tilting his head.  "Wanna give it a go?"

Nick Lytton has posed:
    o/` Goin' where the wind don't blow so strange / Maybe out on some high cold mountain range… o/`
    "I thought we might leave that to Ginny.  She's got the people touch that I don't.  I'm the showoff," Nick says, smoothing the shell of glass over the core.  He flicks a quick look at Terry.  "I'd rather deal with her specifically with the pieces for the show.  Surely Ginny has told you what a waste I am explaining what I do rather than just doing it."
    Another glance.
    o/` Lost one round but the prize wasn't anything / Knife in the back, and more of the same… o/`

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry raises an eyebrow.  "Is there something wrong there, Nick?"  He notices that Nick barely glances at him and he frowns.  "You can't still be mad about the Embassy, can you?  I thought we already patched that up," he says playfully.  Teasing his friends is never out of his playbook, and he sits fully on the counter now.  "What do I need to do to make it up to you?  I already said I was going to pose."

Nick Lytton has posed:
    o/` Same ol' rat in a drain ditch, out on a limb… o/`
    "Embassy…?" Nick repeats blankly, then shakes his head.  "Oh, that.  No!  No, of course not," he says quickly, reaching into the furnace for another handful of glass.
    o/` You know better but I know him… o/`

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    A slow shiver begins to spread down Terry's spine.  Normally, he wouldn't be suspicious but…
    Can you blame him?
    "Nick?" he asks, looking around the room to locate any reflective surfaces.  Just in case.  He looks down at this bracelet and flips it over, mirror side up.  "…at the Embassy… when I caught you having sex with my bofyriend in the shrubs… did you really mean it, when you said you were sorry?"
    Part of being a Cheshire Cat is that storytelling comes effortlessly.

Nick Lytton has posed:
    The song fades away, with the repeated refrain o/` Oooo, nothin's gonna bring him back… o/`
    Nick turns and looks at Terry directly for the first time.  Not just a glance, but a full-on look.  "How can you ask that?  You know me, Terry."
    Ball's in your court, he thinks.  When all else fails, punt.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry suddenly smiles.  "I'm glad.  Your friendship is very important to me and I would hate for something like that to get in the way."
    He slides off the counter.  "Since you're all raring and ready, let me go ahead and ask Ginny if she can contact Lois to let her know all is clear!"
    The redhead walks out closing the door behind him, and approaches Ginny.  His expression never drops from casual and amiable.
    "Ginny, do what I tell you and remember who I am.  Don't look at him.  That's not Nick.  Someone's impersonating him."
    He reaches into his jacket and hands her a card.  Any card will do—but this one is special.  He points at the number helpfully.  "Go out and call this number on your cell.  It's SHIELD.  Tell them there's a Doppelganger here and Vorpal of the Titans is on the scene."
    He gives her a wink and a wave, and heads back to the workshop.  "She is such a treasure.  Are you sure I can't convince you to let me hire her from under you for our receptionist?"  He grins, his expression cheerful.

Nick Lytton has posed:
    "Not Nick…?" Ginny says, turning her gaze to the front window—whatever else you say about her, she can follow directions, and she knows perfectly well who Terry really is.  "But he can—the glass—I—right, call this number."  Somehow the efficient Ginny takes over, and she starts dialing… although she does not go out.  It's cold out there.
    Nick smiles at Terry's question when he returns.  "Jesus Christ no, this place would fall apart without her!" he says easily enough to Terry's offer of another job for her.
    And then things happen.  There's a scream from the front of the building—if Terry glances that way, there's a second Ginny.
    However, if he glances that way, there's a problem in that Nick has thrown a glob of molten glass at Terry's face.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Any normal person might have received that fatal blast of glass.  Terry, on the other hand, was already as tense as a cat on a hot tin roof, and when Ginny screams Terry doesn't turn around—he turns and sidesteps, the molten glass passing by him.
    "Mistake number ONE!" he says, moving with a grace and speed that screams 'Harleen Quinzell's School Of Fisticuffs'.  One leg darts out and one of the metal poles resting against the wall is suddenly spinning in the redhead's hands, wooshing before arching low towards Nick, aiming to crack him one in the kneecap.

Nick Lytton has posed:
    There's a sharp yell and a godawful *>CRASH<* from the lobby, although one presumes Terry is too busy to spare a glance, what with liquid silicate flying his direction.
    For his part, Nick tries to leap out of the way, although with only partial success.  He crashes to the floor, but not without flinging a thick, ropy thread of molten glass in Terry's direction.  He's not a superhero, he never has been… but that doesn't mean he's not dangerous.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry's done playing, there's someone outside getting hurt, and he doesn't have time for this.  He leaps out of the way of the hot discharge and throws the tube at Nick.  There is a moment where the redhead is in front of a reflective surface, and he mutters something.
    Poor Nick.  He was probably not expecting a rainbow explosion in his workshop… but that is what he gets.  Then he gets the Cheshire Cat stepping out, looking mad as hell.  "AND THAT," he roars, "was mistake number TWO!"
    Illusion powers, activate!  A sphere of darkness forms around Nick's head, swallowing his eyes with darkness.

Nick Lytton has posed:
    Nick snarls something incoherent, batting at the space around his head as if that might dispel the darkness… and then blindly whipping another rope of molten glass in and around the direction he last heard the cat's voice.
    There's another *>CRASH!<* from the front, then the door slams open and Ginny—one or the other—is running towards the back.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    The molten rope does reach Vorpal, but it makes contact with the chaos magic that extends from him—and quickly turns flying back against the meta.  He knows that it will not hurt him, having incredible resistance.  "I'm a goddamned Titan, you asshole!" the Cheshire cat roars, and push-kicks a table towards Nick, "and you dare to replace my friend?  Where is he?  Tell me and I might leave you some fucking kneecaps!"
    The cat clearly has had enough with Doppelgangers.  If this Ginny is a Doppelganger and tries something… she will not be happy.

Nick Lytton has posed:
    "Dead in an alley!  I'm Nick now!"  The glass of course doesn't bother Nick; it's his element.  "I—!"
    Whatever Nick's "I—!" was remains unclear.  Ginny grabs a fire extinguisher off the wall and blasts Nick with it… or at least a Nick with it.
    And Nick genuinely screams.
    And hits the floor, writhing in obvious pain, and then goes quiet and slack and unconscious.
    Ginny whirls around, pointing the fire extinguisher at Vorpal like it was a howitzer.  "What the FUCK, O'Neil?  What the ACTUAL FUCK?  I just beat the shit out of MYSELF, and one'a my oldest friends was trying to FUCKING KILL YOU!"
    She's breathing hard, glaring, and tense enough that she might use the extinguisher on Vorpal out of pure stress and tension.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Vorpal stares for a second or two.  It suddenly occurs to him that Ginny would be actually perfectly fine as receptionist to the Titans.  "Long story, Ginny, but that's not our Nick.  He's a doppelganger from another dimension intent on taking over his life.  Same with yonder Ginny."
    Mad respect for her, all right.  "But there's another problem.  He thinks he killed Nick.  Now—" he says, jumping ahead of the potential horror, "the same thing happened to my boyfriend… remember Beast Boy?  Green and adorable?  His doppelganger thought he had killed him, but we found him and he's fine.  So there is a chance that Nick is fine, too."
    He quickly taps his comm.  "Titans, I need a quick report of any potential bodies in an alleyway within… one mile of my destination, matching the following demographics…."
    The Titans have an extensive access to reports, and Victor has made sure the computer is formidable.  It doesn't take very long.  "All right, Ginny… the good news is, that was a negative.  The bad news is…" he frowns, "that I need to comb any hospitals in the area for unknowns."
    He taps his shoulder comm, the SHIELD comm.  "This is Vorpal of the Titans.  Two doppelgangers apprehended by a very talented civilian.  She apprehended her own doppelganger, and that of her friend and employer, Nick Lytton.  She will give you the codeword 'Futterwack' to identify herself as the real one.  I am leaving her in charge of the scene while I try to ascertain the fate of Mister Lytton."
    The Cheshire then looks at a set of chains, and zaps them.
    "Tie her up" he tells the chains, and they move towards the front with an impetus of their own, to wrap around the unconscious Ginny.
    "Can I leave you in charge of this Nick?  If he moves, just whack him unconscious again.  It'll do no good to tie him up- he'll burn through the restraints.  SHIELD can take care of him… but I need to go and find our friend."

Nick Lytton has posed:
    Ginny just stares at Vorpal.  "Jesus fucking Christ," is all she says after a moment.  "Are you serious, you want me to… fuck.  You do want me to."  She hefts the fire extinguisher, as if ready to use it again.
    And without taking her eyes off the fake Nick, she says with more than a little brutality, "Where's the real Nick?"  She sounds like she's ready to stomp on the fake Nick's balls, and then hit him with the fire extinguisher again.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "You had better answer, Fake Nick, where did you leave our friend?" the Cheshire cat, giving the fake Nick a kick, claws out, to bring him out.  "Otherwise… well, let's just say that you're going to go cold.  Very fast."
    A Rabbit Hole opens above Nick, displaying a landscape that is pure ice and snow.  "Or I might decide that SHIELD won't give you the treatment you need and might just leave you to the mercy of the polar bears."
    It was an illusion, since Vorpal had lost his Rabbit Hole powers to his doppelganger…
    But this Nick didn't know that.

Nick Lytton has posed:
    This Nick knows nothing of Cheshire cats and rabbit holes; this Nick doesn't even know the Terry O'Neil from the other world, and even if he had, there would still be no Cheshire cats and rabbit holes.  Only barely conscious, the best that can be had fron NotNick is "leff'm behin' dumstr."
    Ginny fires up violently, pointing the fire extinguisher at the doppel's face.  "Where is MY FRIEND?!"
    Fake Nick shakes his head weakly.  "Fuck'ff I know.  Leff'm for dead."
    There might be another death if Terry doesn't restrain Ginny.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "SHIELD are on the way," the cat says with an ice-cold tone, "and you will be restrained.  Then they will deal with you.  But I promise you this…."  He leans forward, purple magic crackling from his hands.  "If you even so much as move until they arrive, you are either going to have your brains bashed out by fire extinguisher or your innards rearranged by chaos magic.  And maybe we'll try both."
    "Ginny, keep watch over him.  Based on the area there's a limited number of hospitals they could have taken him.  I found no reports of dead bodies found in an alley, so he failed in his attempt."
    He takes out his comm.  "I can have the tower do a scan of any John Doe admissions at the hospitals within the last…."  He pauses.  "When did he start working on this tentacular bullshit?  That's the date he probably got replaced.  Also… you've known him the longest.  Aside from his demographics, what else can I use to find him that would pop up?  Health conditions?  Birthmarks?"

Nick Lytton has posed:
    Ginny nods, not taking her eyes off not-Nick.  "Trust me, spraying this bastard with this will hurt more'n hitting him with it."
    Not-Nick's eyes widen: it did.  Dry ice is no fun when you're a creature of heat.
    "The new stuff… I don't know, a week or so ago?  Is that when he—" waggling the extinguisher nozzle in not-Nick's face, from which he shrinks back, "—replaced Nick?"
    And then she whitens.  "Health… oh, fuck."  A quick glance to not-Nick's wrist confirms it for Ginny.  "His MedicAlert bracelet—GIVE ME THAT, you sonofabitch!"
    The nozzle being about two centimeters from his nose, not-Nick decides to comply without much fuss.  He reflects unhappily on the fact that not wanting to be a superhero left him woefully unprepared to be a supervillain, either.
    Ginny kicks it over towards Terry.  "His meta—Christ, they'll think he's burning up of fever when a hundred-somethin' is his normal.  They could kill him thinking they're saving him!"  She turns viciously on the doppel.  "What did you do to Nick?"
    "I am Nick!" he protests—in a philosophical sense, that's actually true.
    Ginny hasn't got a lot of patience for philosophy, and gives him an icy puff in the face.  "What did you do to Nick!" she demands.
    Not-Nick yelps in pain and inches away just a little.  "You want to know?" he pants, glaring back.  "Fine.  I stabbed him.  Big ol' shard of glass, right through the ribcage.  And then I used the weapon as the core of my first new sculpture."  He smiles defiantly.  Let her kill him, that'll just mean she's the same as her own doppel.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Titans, I need a speed report of any reports of hospital admissions within the last week that match the following descriptions—"  He rattles off Nicks' description, and then goes to the nitty gritty: "Find out which cases have a temperature of a hundred and above and were admitted with a stab wound to the ribcage.  If Flash or Impulse are there get them to the hospital that pings stat and inform them that that is Nick Lytton, a meta, and that they are under no circumstances to lower his temperature."  He pauses.  "…if Flash or Impulse aren't there, get Raven there, because I can't Rabbit Hole.  I'll be on standby."
    And then he looks at the sculpture.  "You mean this sculpture?  Oops."  A touch of his finger with a crackling-purple discharge of chaos magic, and the sculpture flies up into the air… and comes crashing down on the man's legs, potentially breaking one of them.
    "SHIELD has adequate medical facilities.  You won't be going anywhere but there for now.  Now do be a dear and don't try to throw your hot shit around or Ginny will end you, and I might conveniently have to take a call outside while I wait for news on our Nick."
    He's not going to let Ginny kill him, but he suspects that after this, Nick will be a lot more pliable.
    "He is Nick.  Just not our Nick.  He grew up in a world that grew to shit and the majority of its population is whacked out, twisted and murderous with a few exceptional freedom fighters like… Harley Quinn."  Amazing.  The other world, in a way, has proven him right about Harley.  Who knew?  "SHIELD will take care of him.  They should be here just about any moment now, and my Titan friends are working to find our Nick.  Stay strong, Ginny.  He'll need us to be there for him during his recovery.  Remember—no body was found.  I thought my Gar was dead, but there was no body and I was proven wrong.  So… just have hope."

Nick Lytton has posed:
    Not-Nick screams, and then somehow squelches it when Ginny says way too sweetly, "Oh, I bet that hurt, maybe we should put some ice on it."  Because right now she would.
    And then she deflates a little, not exactly relaxing, but finally letting some of the adrenaline go.  "That is completley fucked up, and a bottle of white zinf is not going to make this better."
    There is the clatter of what turns out to be SHIELD operatives arriving and taking the two doppels into their care, with appropriate countermeasures for Nick's meta.  Ginny watches the activity a little blankly; this is way outside her normal.
    Once the area is cleared and she's agreed to give a statement ("I said I'll fucking give it LATER!  I've had too fucking much today!"), she drops the fire extinguisher with a loud >CLANG< and clatter.  Exhales once.  She does not cry.
    "Promise me you'll find him.  Or find out what happened.  Nick's an idiot, and an asshole, and a genuinely sweet guy and the best thing that's ever happened to this place.  Just please find him."