5979/Getting To Know (Another) You

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Getting To Know (Another) You
Date of Scene: 19 April 2021
Location: Main Room - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: Alt-Colette comes to visit the tower.  There is some speculation involving laboratories and… never mind.
Cast of Characters: Terry O'Neil, Irie West, Kian, Gar Logan, Colette O'Connail

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "I mean, it really has taken you far too long," Vorpal says, making his way up to the main room from the lobby, "it's not as if you're suspicious or anything.  And it's not like we don't know how to keep a secret.  Provided Colette doesn't, you know, magically pop in for a visit, you'll be fine."
    He glances back at the guest he has dragged back to the tower.  It had been months since the Doppelganger had made her appearance, and provided them with some assistance, and still they had to tiptoe around her secret and be discreet.  Well, discretion might be the better part of valor, but dessert was the better part of lunch, and Vorpal had treated Colette to lunch—and invited her to take a peek at the tower, and some dessert.
    His mother's award-winning tiramisu recipe, no less.  "There might be some people watching TV, so we'll play it by ear," the Cheshire cat says, making his way in, destination: the kitchenette.

Irie West has posed:
    There's a crackle of Speed Force electricity above the roof of the kitchen, and slowly the form of Irie appears as she phases down into it.  She settles on the floor right in front of Terry and waves at him.  "HI!  Guess whose room is right above the kitchen!"
    Her attention turns to Terry's companion.  "Hi!  Who's this?  I'm Irie."  She holds out a hand for her to shake.  "Any friend of Terry's is a friend of mine!"  She turns and walks around Terry to open up the fridge, grabbing a Snacky Shake and a Tupperware container of leftovers.  Popping it open she grins.  "Lasagna!"

Kian has posed:
    Purple Kool-Ade.  Therefore, Kían.  Predictable bird.
    When he hears the noise of people coming in, he looks up and smiles.  "Kié, Colette tavár'h, Terry tav… tenár'h," he says with a slight bow and wingspread, as ever careful not to knock anything over.
    He tilts his head and peers close at Colette, and then nods once, glancing at Irie, to whom he also bows.  He hasn't any good idea who is and is not inside the loop regarding other-Colette other than himself and Terry, and he's not going to be the one to blow her cover.

Gar Logan has posed:
    TV is a Gar thing.  Documentaries, movies, gaming, streaming, it all works for him, but as he's in the midst of watching a thing on tigers, practicing how effective he can be at a conscious partial shift of just a hand and forearm, his focus is interrupted by activity nearby.
    "Hey, guys," he calls out a hint of claws and stripes fading away immediately.  "Terry, Kian, Irie."  Pause.  "Colette."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    The security system had been somewhat confused by Colette at first, but had eventually decided she was, after all, Colette.  She looks almost the same—the dark hair is just a matter of not having a bleach habit, and her features are a little thinner, but the visual recognition systems had obviously decided that these differences are within the realms of normal variation and flagged her up as being Colette, who's on the security system already.
    For those with more human perceptions the clearer tells are body language.  Colette strides into just about anywhere as if she owned the place, and she's very familiar with Titans Tower.  This Colette is looking around with wide-eyed amazement at everything.  It takes her a moment to register Irie's presence in front of her, and responds to her greeting with a vague, "Uh… hi," as she shakes the offered hand.  Kian's greeting she responds to with a smile and a small wave.
    Her eyes go to Gar, watching him do the hand changing thing with curiosity.  "Hi," she responds quietly.  "Uh, you're Garfield, right?" she says to him.  She had not responded to Irie with her name, but with both Kian and Gar naming her, it will probably occur to Irie that apart from the different hair color, this does appear to be Colette from school.

Irie West has posed:
    Irie pops the lasagna into the microwave and cracks open the Snacky Shake, taking a sip of it.  While the microwave turns the lasagna around on it's little dish and nukes the hell out of it, she studies Colette for a moment before recognition strikes her.  "Oh!  Ms. O'Connail!  I didn't recognize you with black hair."  While Colette isn't one of her teachers, she has been introduced to her and has seen her around Happy Harbor.
    Irie blushes a bit, looking up at where she popped out from the ceiling and back at Colette.  "I… uh… guess the cat's out of the bag, then.  I'm Kid Flash."  Not that she's really kept it secret, but she hasn't been advertising it either.  "What brings you to the Titans?"

Kian has posed:
    Kían hadn't noticed Gar when he came in, but he was on a mission for purple sugar water.  He pales a little at Gar playing with tiger parts—that memory is a little raw for him—but if Gar is ready to handle it, well, fair enough, he's not going to second-guess that.  He perches on the back of the couch, favoring the green Titan with a smile.
    For his part, he punts—"Haf you an' Terry been out, Colette?"

Gar Logan has posed:
    It may be a good sign if Gar is doing something like that.  The fingers looked more stubby, the hand closer to a paw than not, then it went back to normal.  "Hey, you," he says, muting the TV a moment later.
    After a glance toward Colette, then Irie, he goes back to Colette again.  "Uh, yeah, but you already knew that," he reminds her.  How could she forget?  They haven't had the warmest of relationships, and they don't talk all that often, but this was confusing.  The reason doesn't immediately register.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Oh boy.  Vorpal clears his throat.  "Ahem…."  He glances from Irie to Gar, and then to Colette before returning to look at his teammates.
    "This is not the Colette you're looking for."
    The Cheshire cat waves a hand in the manner of Obi-Wan Kenobi to emphasize what he means.
    "Your secret is still safe, Irie.  This is… Colette.  From a different universe.  You know.  The one where all the murderous doubles keep coming from."  A quick glance to Gar in order to add, "In true Colette fashion, she goes against the grain of that universe and is, in fact, super nice, not murderous at all, and has helped us track down some dangerous doppels."
    He glances at Colette.  "Have I missed anything?  Oh.  Right.  Other Colette must not know of Colette's existence.  So this is where I call upon the Oath Of The Titans to keep this secret, else your toes fall out and your tongue turns green.  Pinky swear?"

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "Uh yeah, Terry invited me for food, Kian," Colette responds, standing on the spot and looking around herself as if she's nervous of touching anything.  She looks back at Irie with confusion.  "Uh… no.  I mean… I've been working with the Titans on a… a case," she replies.  "But I'm not… uh."  She waves a hand around vaguely, but Terry rescues her with an explanation of his own, and she flashes him a thankful smile.
    "Yeah, that," she confirms, looking a little sheepish as she turns back to Gar and Irie.  "So uh… I'm not the Colette you guys know, and… yeah.  I would really appreciate if you don't mention me to her.  That would make things unnecessarily complicated."
    Alt-Colette turns an apologetic smile on Gar.  "Sorry Garfield, but… you've met my alternate number from this universe, but I haven't met you before.  Sorry for not—I mean I recognized you from pictures, but we've never talked before.  I'm, uh… I'm not evil or anything.  Like Terry said, I'm only here to try to help out with the Leapers from my universe."
    Colette shoves her hands into the pockets of her hoodie and looks side-long at Irie.  "I thought Kid Flash was a guy.  Uh… Wally West, right?"  It has been a few years since he used that name.

Irie West has posed:
    The microwave beeps, signaling that the food has been reheated.  Irie opens the door to the microwave to pull out the steaming plate of lasagna.  Irie's eyes go wide as Terry explains the situation and nods solemnly.  "Pinky swear," she says, holding out her pinky to the cat to seal the deal.  She turns to nuColette and says, "Trust me.  I know all about having to keep secrets.  I've got…."  She hesitates considering how much she can say about her own situation.  "Tons.  Of secrets, that is.  That I can't tell anybody about."
    She grins when nuColette mentions her hero name.  "Yeah.  He was that for a while, but when Barry left, he took the Flash name.  And since my cousin, Bart, is still Impulse that left Kid Flash for me."  She pulls a fork out of the drawer, and sticks it in the lasagna as she makes her way around the island to plop herself down on one of the stools.  "Wally is my father and I'm… well… from the future.  So.  You know.  Tons of secrets."

Kian has posed:
    Kían blinks at Terry as he extracts an incomprehensible oath from Irie.  "Some day I will under-stan' everythin' you say, Terry.  An' that will be the day this worl' has finally ruin' my brain," he says, shaking his head… but grinning.
    "Can they be help, then, Colette?" he asks abruptly, tilting his head.  "Will they be made right when they go back to their Earth?  An' can they help their worl' heal, too?"
    He takes a sip of his drink.  "I woul' not want to haf use my rhy'thar on them for nothin'."

Gar Logan has posed:
    "You know my tongue is green already, right?" Gar points out to Vorpal.  "And I sort of forgot there might still be some running around here.  I have… questions… but maybe I'm better off not knowing the answers to them."  Kian is already getting into at least one or two of those ponderings.
    He's facing the rest more fully by now, resting his chin against arms crossed over the back of the couch.  "Can we keep this one?" he asks of the nicer, if somewhat more timid Colette.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Gar, be nice," Vorpal says, smirking.  "Other Colette is fine, too.  I keep trying to convince this one to stay, because two is always better than one, but she thinks that might upset some sort of order.  As if I weren't a thing."
    "Irie is the eternal reminder to Wally that he's going to have to settle down and do the parental responsibility thing."  The Cheshire cat grins, leaning into Gar and putting an arm around his waist.  "And we also have run into a Superboy from the future, and I don't know what his story is, but maybe he's Kara's son from the future?  I know Bart says I'm supposed to have kids in the future with Gar, but I'm sure that was a joke…."
    He walks over to the refrigerator and takes out the tiramisu, which he had disguised in a container labeled 'Boiled Brussel Sprouts' because he knows what Gar will and will not touch.  "All right, everybody gather for mom's tiramisu!"

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Colette seems remarkably unfazed by Irie's revelation that she's from the future, but honestly this is just a survival trait when you're visiting from another universe.  For all she knows being from the future isn't that uncommon here, and she figured out a while back that accepting the extraordinary with a degree of nonchalance comes across as less suspicious than reacting with surprise to the ordinary.  Terry's explanation of there being a horde of visitors from the future makes it seem likely to her that it's a commonplace occurrance in this universe and being surprised would be a mistake.
    "That's exactly my hope, Kian," Colette replies with a nod.  "Your people have developed a kind of… a cure, for those affected by Zhed'Zhud'Ger'Uth.  It's not perfect, but it has allowed a lot of people to start healing.  In your world, my people are a danger.  Those who are returned to my world can start to heal, and perhaps they can help rebuild my world.  It will take a lot of work to rebuild it.
    Gar gets a long, considered look from Doppelette.  "You don't like her," she guesses when Terry admonishes him.  She isn't giving anything away about how she feels about this assumption.  "If you have questions I will do my best to answer you," she says.  "Though there are a few things it is probably best if I don't reveal, sorry.  While I have some concerns about my opposite number, I would like to try to respect her decisions as much as… as far as I can without getting in the way of my mission."

Irie West has posed:
    Irie snickers at Terry's reaction to being told that he has kids in the future.  "You think that's a joke.  That's cute."  There's a mischievous glint in her eye as she sticks a forkful of lasagna in her mouth to keep herself from saying anything further.
    She chews thoughtfully, and surprisingly slow for a speedster as she listens and nods as nuColette talks.  "Yeah.  I had an inkling that I came back far enough that we were still dealing with Zhed'Zhud'Ger'Uth.  You're the first from that dimension that I've met…."  She pauses and considers her statement.  "That I know of."

Kian has posed:
    Kían reaches over and ruffles Gar's hair.  "Be nice, tenár'h.  Remember the Colette who iss already here brought me to the Tower.  An' as weird as it iss here, I am glad she did."
    He regards other-Colette thoughtfully.  "I hope they can.  I can not even really imagine what kin' of worl' they mus' live in to make them like that.  I wish there was more I coul' do to help."

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan grimaces, if only in a mild way.  "I was just joking!  Mostly," he admits.  "She… helped me get through a couple things, even if we disagree on some stuff, and…."
    Warmth floods to his cheeks and ears.  "We can't have kids!  Not unless we… adopt or something like that, and I'm pretty sure we'd both make the worst dads ever, so I'd feel sorry for whoever got stuck with us."  And that's all he wants to think about that for now!
    The mussing of his hair has the side effect of making it look a little less unruly.  Funny how that happens.  "But… yeah.  The other versions of Vorpal and I were not very good.  If they got sent back and can actually be good…."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "There is nothing wrong with my doppelganger that a twelve-foot water spraying bottle can't fix.  As for Gar's… a muzzle.  Gar, you'd make a great dad.  Many years in the future.  I'm sure."  Clearly in no rush to even contemplate having kids, the Cheshire cat starts serving up the tiramisu squares in small plates.  "Besides, I can't have biological children or else I'll lose half of my soul and it'll pass to them, just like what happened with my doppelganger, so I'm sure we either have adopted—"
    A quick, playful glance at Gar.  "Or someone had an escapade somewhere."  And with that last bit of teasing, he hands Gar his plate.
    "You've ever had tiramisu, Lettie?  You're in for a treat if you haven't.  But what do you think of the tower from the inside?  We could even arrange a tour… I'm sure you'd like to see our training area.  Although Caitlin's kitchen is probably the second most highly-equipped facility in the tower."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "I'm not sure how much good they're going to do really," Colette admits while investigating Terry's tiramisu curiously, and giving him a shake of the head to acknowledge that she has indeed never had tiramisu before.  "There are some who once the influence of the Beast is gone… they will try to be better people.  Try to make the world a better place.  But you have to remember that this is something we have been living with for decades.  For others it may just be too deep."
    She glances towards Gar and gives him an apologetic shrug.  "Your opposite numbers must have been corrupted from birth.  They can be rid of the corruption that they have always lived with, but they have never known a world that wasn't cruel, and didn't reward cruelty more than kindness.  Maybe it is too late for them to learn to be good people.  But even then, it's our problem not yours.  Your world has already done for ours a favor that can never be repaid.  The least we can do is to take responsibility for our own and not burden you with our problems."
    She sighs a little, looking down.  "The worst of it is, the longer I am here the harder it is for me to blame them.  Wanting to come here, I mean.  You live in paradise, we live in hell.  I have to admit that the idea of staying here is tempting.  But my world needs me and this world doesn't.  Besides, there's already a me here."
    "It's very impressive here Terry," Colette answer him.  "I can't imagine how much money this must have cost.  Even by the standards of your world, this is… a lot.  I was staying at a place on the Moon recently, and even that seemed… well, less technologically advanced than this."

Irie West has posed:
    "Gar," Irie says leveling a fork at him.  "You severely underestimate the amount of sheer weirdness that can happen around you."  Her face is of that of somebody who's trying super hard to remain serious but is just barely managing it.  She decides to leave it there.
    She shoves another forkful of lasagna in her mouth and nods in agreement with Terry.  "Yeah, you're in for a treat, Colette. Tiramisu is awesome."  She turns her attention to the cat and gives him big, begging doe eyes.  "Is there enough for everybody?"

Kian has posed:
    Kían blinks between Gar and Terry.  "You woul' be fathers that woul' be fun to watch," he says impishly, "from a distance.  An' you coul' haf a child together, wit' some help from a lab."  He does not expand on that.
    He listens to Colette attentively, although it's fair to say that not all of it lands.  "I think there iss room for both Colettes, if you can share a worl'," he suggests.  "If it iss that bad there, I woul' not like to see you go back."

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan shoots Kian a look, shifting in place to poke at him in the side.  "Stop it.  And Irie, nothing about my life is normal.  If you think I'm underestimating weirdness around me, it's because I'm used to it.  And I'm not going to think about this any more for now."  Not about adoption, not about labs, not about a variety of even stranger ways one might have a child.
    That's because he's telling the other version of Colette, "All I know is my dupe knew just about everything I do about animals and he didn't hold back with it.  By rights, I shouldn't even be here right now talking to you about him or any of this.  But he underestimated me and we stopped him.  I'm just gonna choose to believe someone who's cured of all that can be better, because I don't want to think about the alternative.  I'm sorry that's the only world you know."
    Vorpal gets a swat in passing, but Gar now has tiramisu and he is doing a fine job of inhaling it.  "I'll remember that later.  Escapade.  Maybe you're the one who needs a muzzle."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Oh?  Is THAT the surprise?" Vorpal shoots back with a grin, taking the swat in good nature as he sits down.  "I understand why you must Poochie it up with 'my planet needs me,' Lettie, but you can visit every now and then to decompress, relax, that sort of stuff.  There are ways to travel, just ask our resident mad scientist, Nadia."
    The Cheshire gestures to Colette.  "Mom made the tiramisu this time.  She has at times used it in place of cash, it's that good—and she made plenty.  Remember, she knows I live with speedsters."  Who bakes plenty of everything?  It's been Agatha all along.
    "The Tower is a beaut.  We'll take a tour after eating… Captain Marvel did tell me you met her over at the moon… which is just low-tier weird in the list of weird things people I know have said to me.  I've only been doing this hero thing for a year but nothing fazes me anymore."
    He glances at Irie and raises an eyebrow.  "Nooothing.  Especially not leaking winning lottery numbers from the future," he jokes.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    There is a definite degree of discomfort in Colette's reaction to Kian's suggestion there is room for two Colettes here.  "I'm not sure the other version of me would agree with you, Kian," she says.  "Besides.  There are very few on my world who are sane, and many who need help.  When I have completed my mission here, I have to return.  There's just too much that needs to be done there, and too few to do it all.
    She takes the tiramisu from Terry with a smile of thanks, and pokes at it experimentally.  "I hope you are correct, Garfield.  The more people who get better, the better chance my world has of having a future.  If I am honest with myself though, I have to recognize that there were very few people on my world who were not affected by Zhed'Zhud'Ger'Uth to provide a sense of normal for those recovering to aim for.  Even with his influence gone, we can't count on the environment people live in being one that will turn the recovered to a more positive way of living their lives.  Perhaps the battle is already lost, but I intend to go on fighting it while a chance remains."
    Colette takes a taste of the tiramisu and her face goes through a rapid sequence of expressions that make her reaction to it hard to read.  "I thought Captain Marvel might talk to you, Terry.  She seems rather nice.  Is it weird to meet her on the moon?  As far as I could make out she spends a lot of time in space.  I didn't want it to be weird for her, but it seemed like a safe place to meet her, in case… in case things got strange."
    Colette takes another small taste of the tiramisu.  "So, uh… Irie?  You called me 'Ms. O'Connail', and you didn't seem aware that she has some association with the Titans.  Do I guess correctly that you attend the school where she works?  I would be curious to know how she is regarded there."

Irie West has posed:
    Irie rolls her eyes.  "The lottery numbers?  Again?  You're surrounded by rich people who would probably be more than happy to spend money on anything you might need."  She cleans her plate off and goes back into the kitchen to get herself a slice of tiramisu.  "Okay, fine."  She makes her way to the couch and sits down.  "I'm only going to say this once."  Before anybody can get a pen and paper to write this down she says, "17, 27, 28, 50, 55."  All those assembled a smug little look.  Sure they may be winning lottery numbers.  But which lottery?  When?  There's 20 years and God knows how many different lotteries that it could be.  The numbers themselves are nearly worthless.
    She turns her attention to Colette when she's addressed.  "Yeah.  I go to Happy Harbor.  Everybody agreed that while my circumstances are, uh, unique, I should go to high school to experience a bit of normalcy."  She shakes her head.  "I've meet Ms. O'Connail all of once, and have seen her around the grounds a couple of times.  'Swhy I didn't recognize you at first."

Kian has posed:
    "The other version of you," Kían says to other-Colette, quite seriously, "iss not anythin' like the other-Terry an' the other-Gar were, compared to this Terry an' this Gar.  She has been only help-ful to me.  I do not always under-stan' her, but she has only ever been a frien' to me.  If it iss possible for two doubles to get along, maybe you two are the ones to do it."
    Gar, for his part, gets a somewhat aggrieved look.  "What?  I did not say anythin' incorrec'…."

Gar Logan has posed:
    "Guys, look," Gar begins, his expression giving away that what he's about to say isn't going to be very comfortable.  "It's great to know there's someone from that other world who's good and isn't just trying to kill everyone, but once a better cure is worked out and this Colette can go back, she has to stay there. Having two of the same person here is gonna mean they'll eventually meet, and… Vorpal, you and your doppelganger were like one step away from sleeping with each other."
    He states this as if it's all the proof they need that Weird Things Happen when putting people around each other that shouldn't be, especially when it's another reality's version of you.  "And going back and forth between the two worlds is also a bad idea.  That just makes it more likely one of them will find a way back here again and then we're doing this all over again, just with someone else.  Sorry, but that's the only way I can see this ending, but hopefully we can make sure you go back with a real chance to help make things better somehow."
    Upon finishing the dessert, he gets up to go wash his hands but he adds, "And it was nice to meet you, but I gotta go deal with some stuff.  Vorpal, Kian, come on by later if you want to talk some more."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "I didn't almost sleep with myself!  It was a tactical distraction!"
    That didn't work in his favor.  But at least he tried, right?  And Harley had the pictures.  He needed to ask her what she did with those….
    "All right, greenie, see you later for dinner?" he says to Gar as he departs.  Vorpal takes one scoop of his tiramisu and tastes it, looking thoughtful.  "I think he's wrong, though.  I think there's probably a way you can come every once in a while.  But we'll cross that interdimensional bridge when we come to it…."  He claps his hands and looks at the assembled team.  "I did promise a tour of the tower, didn't I?"

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "I… ah… thank you Irie," Colette replies.  "Oh well.  It's… it's curious she would be working at a school, I guess.  It certainly wasn't whatt I expected to find when I came looking for her here.  It's one of the things about her I have had difficulty figuring out."
    She takes another rather small taste of the tiramisu, apparently set on eating it in very small bites.  "It's reassuring to hear you say that Kian, but I really don't think it would be a good idea.  Captain Marvel suggested the same thing, but I… she might not react well.  It probably would be for the best if you don't mention my existence to her even after I have left.  She may… may be concerned that I have told you things about her that she doesn't wish you to know."
    Gar's comment about Terry almost sleeping with his opposite number almost causes Colette to inhale her next bit of tiramisu, but she survives with a short cough.  "SHIELD has a portal, Garfield," she says after recovering a bit.  "Once I am done here I will ask them to send me back.  My original plan had been to construct a portal on this side so I could send people back and then go through myself, but that makes it all a lot easier.  But uh… yes.  I'm glad you understand my viewpoint on this, thank you Garfield.  It was nice to meet you, too."  She gives him a smile that's a hint shy—really not the smile he'd expect from that face.
    Colette takes one more bite of the tiramisu and puts it down, giving an apologetic grin to Terry, followed by a rueful laugh.  "It's… it tastes really nice… but Hades, it's so rich."  That's the second time Terry has heard alt-Colette making intriguing exclamations.  "A lot of your food here is.  Sorry.  I'm just not used to eating things like this, I don't think I can manage any more.  So uh… yeah, the tour sounds fun."  She looks over to Irie and to Kian with a smile.  "You two coming with us?  I… it's kind of nice having company."