Hiding away at Harry's

Summary:
August 19, 2014: This could be the start of a beautiful friendship

Harry's Hideaway

A bar in Salem Center.


Characters

NPCs


Mood Music:


Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Barry Allen walked into mine. He had come to Salem Centre, Westchester County. There was no rhyme or reason behind it. He'd been out for a jog and found himself here, in Upstate New York. He'd actually stopped because he had to use the restroom. When he came out, he saw that they had the game on, so he found himself a spot at the bar, and had ordered a nice drink as he watched his favourite team… losing. Okay, so he doesn't get everything, but at least he's getting to see the game. Now over, he's drowning his not too deep sorrows in what looks like some kind of fizzy orange sugar water. Dressed in his blue jeans and brown leather jacket, he currently has his back to the doorway, not expecting anything too interesting to happen in a remote place like Harry's Hideaway.

*

With the beginnings of cooler weather, it means that Hank is a bit less uncomfortable in the longer coats and hats that he tends to wear when going out. Seeing as students are beginning to move back into the school grounds, he's had to seek adult beverages elsewhere. Since it tends to be relatively empty during the earlier parts of the day at Harry's Hideaway, he's chosen that particular bar to frequent. Stepping up to the bar, he orders one of the tap beers and glances briefly at the game from under his hat. The other patron is noted quickly but no greeting is given yet. Once the beer is served, he takes it with a blue, clawed hand, and lifts it to his lips for a long drink.

*

While Hank can camouflage himself to a certain extent with a trench coat, it does nothing to protect his furry, clawed hand. Barry doesn't have that problem. When he's not moving fast, or wearing red, he looks normal. Not that he cares about that kind of thing. With a glance at the blue, only because it caught his attention. What really captivates him is the long drink. With a calm, casual tone, he asks, "want to talk about it?" He's not sure what's going on, but usually when you take a long drink of something alcoholic, there's a reason behind it.

*

There's a reason why he came to Harry's at the time that he did… the other patron there was a bit of a surprise and when he began to speak to him, there's a pause before golden eyes (behind spectacles), look over at the speaker. "Thank you for your concern, but not particularly." The voice is cultured, with a 'non-accent' sort of accent. "Besides, I would be quite surprised if you were qualified for such a thing." How many psychiatrists are found drinking in the middle of the weekday at a dive bar?

*

Barry would call his colleague's accent a Mid-Atlantic accent, not your typical American, but not British either, instead, somewhere in between. But Barry, he sounds like he's from the heartland, a real salt of the Earth tone, Kansas, Iowa, somewhere out that way. "You got me there, pal, you want me to do a spectral analysis, toxicology, blood work, or DNA mapping, sure, I'm your guy, but I'm not sure I'm qualified for whatever's got you down. Still, I'm here, I'm listening, and" with an outstretched hand, he says, "I'm Barry Allen."

*

It's a beautiful day for a bike ride. It's just sunny enough without being too humid, and there's a nice breeze blowing which means, when he gets off the motorcycle, Scott Summers won't be sweating up a storm. It's also a rare occasion for him to throw on a pair of blue jeans and boots, a more rugged look he often wore back in Omaha, when he was younger. Still, the Ralph Lauren polo shirt, light red in colour, speaks that this guy is about as far from a rugged biker as you can get, in spite of the leather jacket he wears. That is, after all, just to keep the bugs off his arms.

It won't be long before the school season starts again, so he's spent the morning taking care of some affairs. Ordering supplies, going over some of the recent educational resource editions, the whole nine.

Which means, it's time for a cold one.

Now, Scott's about as responsible as they come, but he has been known to knock down one or two. Never three, and never when he's driving, which must mean he has more affairs to attend to here in Salem Center. However, when he walks through the door, Hank is easy enough to spot. Leaving his ruby-red shades on, he approaches the young man with a sly grin and sits down, right next to the guy. "Don't tell me you're reading minds now," he quips aside to Hank, before passing a glance Barry's way. Clean shaven, nice clothes, looks like an All-American kind of guy. Probably played wide receiver or ran track.

"Scott Summers." He offers a hand.

*

"Thank you, but I'm not in any particular need of those tests at the moment. It's a kind offer, however." That actually brings a slightly toothy grin to Hank's face before he looks at the offered hand. "I'm not particularly 'down' at the moment…" he starts, but then Scott comes in, introduces himself, and takes the offered hand.

That is some excellent timing. "Wouldn't you be the one reading minds, Scott? After all, I was here first." There's another grin as the two obviously seem to know each other. There's another moment before he lifts the cold glass to his lips, takes another, shorter, sip, and offers a name, "Hank." Or, part of a name.

*

Joking references to reading minds may be the sport of choice for the residents of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, but to Barry, it's a grim reminder of the pain he's caused to someone he cares about. When your mind works as fast as Barry's does, it can be an ordeal to try and siphon out even a single thought. There's just too much, too soon, it can be difficult to handle.

At 6' tall, with blond hair, blue eyes, a farming background, and an athletic build, yep, he's certainly the spitting image of an All-American. But he doesn't look like one as those thoughts cross his mind, about the telepathic backlash he inadvertently caused. He stares into drink for a moment, looking sad, but doesn't volunteer anything. You'd think with two X-Men in the room, one of them would be a telepath, but then we'd all wind up back where we started from, with the backlash.

But then there's the hands to shake. He shakes the clawed one and the not-clawed one alike, having a firm grip, probably from working on the farm when he was growing up. That kind of grip strength never leaves you. "You two, know each other?" he asks, looking from one to the other.

*

A knowing grin develops on Scott's face, but he says nothing of it. Mind readers. As if! Suppose there was a mind reader around, she'd probably have red hair and be so impossibly attractive there would be grown men fighting over her. Mind readers are bad news, man.

Now, if Scott is perceptive enough to notice the brief change in Barry's demeanour, it doesn't show. His smile has since faded in lieu of a professional expression, because everyone knows that you're just as bound to make professional connections in a social setting as you are to make social connections in a professional setting. That's what he tells his juniors, after all. Plus, the sunglasses do help to conceal the expressions of his eyes. In fact, it doesn't take much to realise that they seem to be custom made, designed to block out all sunlight (or to keep something else contained).

"Yes," he answers at first, but then spares a glance toward Hank. "Professionally, of course, but." He claps Hank on the shoulder in a good natured manner. "He's good at what he does, and has helped me quite a bit." For a moment, he turns aside to order himself a beer, and something that the three of them might be able to snack on.

*

The other's more serious expression gets noted and Hank offers a little quietly, "Perhaps you might want to talk?" He glances over at Scott, "We're here…and I actually do have some training in psychology…" maybe even a degree, but he's not going to flaunt that. Now isn't the time.

*

Barry hops off his stool, and nudges it back a little with his backside. It makes a slight creaking noise as it brushes against the hardwood flooring. Slipping back onto the stool, he's created just enough of a pocket of space for Scott to lean in and grab some peanuts, pretzels, or whatever the bar is serving, and rest his drink on one of those coasters while not holding it. The salty snack seems to be of the mixed nut variety.

Ordering another after finishing off his fizzy orange sugar water, suddenly, his mobile begins to ring. London Calling by the Clash plays from the phone clipped to his belt, a Samsung Galaxy S5 by the looks of it. Answering it, he says, "Hello there, I'm in Salem Centre right now, but what's up?" The response, to those who can hear, comes from a distinctly British voice, feminine, the kind of girl who has a thing for purple. Her answer is succinct. "Bangers and mash." Then there is a click. Looking at the phone, Barry shakes his head, "women," and smiles, "sorry about that."

*

Scott is about to pop some mixed nuts into his mouth, when he eyeballs Barry's phone curiously. He just… was it… naaah. Mind your manners, for Pete's sake, Scott Summers.

"Three grown men, at a bar, around midday?" Scott shakes his head. "Bound to be some problems going on. Mine involve… textbooks, school supplies, curriculum, and a schedule that's becoming harder and harder to deal with." In to the nuts, finally, and he shrugs while munching on them. "First world problems."

He's not that clever. One of the students said that, but out here, no one is going to bust him for copying one of the students just to sound cool.

*

Beast arches a bushy eyebrow at the response from the phone, but he doesn't comment on it. Yet. Instead, he placed an order for some jalapeno poppers. "That, or you're being responsible and not having alcohol where your underage students might potentially catch you with it… and thusly thinking they can somehow raid your stash for 'cool points'.

He's learned the hard way.

Back to Barry, "Everything all right then?"

*

Barry can't really give the honest explanation. He was on his way from England, picking up some coasters he saw on amazon.co.uk, and they wouldn't ship to the United States, so he arranged for local pickup. Then on his way home, he had to go the restroom, and Harry's seemed like as good a place as any. So yeah, he can't give the real explanation.

So he was about to concoct a story based on a prior event, but Hank saves him from having to lie. "Oh, just the girlfriend letting me know what's for dinner. At least I think she's my girlfriend. She's ah, strong personality. Sometimes it's hard to know." He looks genuinely befuddled at that, since he likes her, she seems to like him, but he really isn't sure what's happening there.

*

Scott tips his beer in Beast's direction (after draining it a bit), as if to toast the man for nailing it on the head. Then, he diverts his attention to Barry. "Oh, that." He grins ruefully. "Women. It's always something, isn't it?" he asks. "Come on too strong… don't come on at all… then there's that really awkward middle space, where the ball usually drops." He nods his head slowly, empathy in his expression while the exposed skin around his glasses shrinks up a bit.

"Cheers," he offers, feeling Barry's pain all too well, so he lifts up his glass and offers it over for a clinking.

"So, what do you do, Barry? What brings you out here to our quiet little neighborhood?"

*

Beast doesn't add to the commiseration regarding the mysteries of women. He merely finishes off his beer and requests another. "Indeed. Salem Centre really isn't a scientific Mecca… or even a growing one. What brings someone of your ilk here?" Since he did mention the various tests he -could- run.

*

Barry raises his glass, brushing against Scott’s with a clink, and then to Hank's after. "Cheers," he says, in all too British manner. Something he may have picked up from her, or maybe he's just been watching a lot of BBC America. "Oh, I'm a forensic scientist with the… police department," he was about to say Central City, but that would add more questions than answer them. "Have you ever watched CSI? Just like that, except 95% of the time I'm playing solitaire on the computer. So, it's not at all like they show on TV. And using my finely tuned police skills," which actually aren't that bad since he noticed the Xavier Institute logo on Scott's money clip before he had to nip out for a phone call, "I believe the pair of you are teachers at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning? I'm going to guess that Scott's more of an administrator, and you teach one of the sciences?"

*

"I know full well what a forensic scientist does, thank you, and I am well aware that isn't at all like it is represented in television shows." The second beer arrives and Hank takes another sip. It gives him a chance to formulate an answer, "I'm sorry, Sherlock, but your powers of deduction aren't exactly spot-on in this case. What makes you think that an exclusive, private school for wealthy folk would hire a freak like me?"

*

"Well, I meant it more for Scott's benefit," who has since departed. "I meant no disrespect. He just doesn't give off the scientific vibe. Seems more like the kind of guy who'd be into geography and history. But, maybe that's just a preconception. He was dressed for biking."

He'll take a sip of his own drink as Beast seems offended by his hypothesis, "First off, you're not a freak. You're a man. I don't know what happened, mutancy, fell into a vat of chemicals, auditioning for the next planet of the apes film, or whatever, but you're not a freak. Don't ever let anyone tell you that, and you certainly shouldn't disparage yourself like that."

"Now, you and Scott clearly knew each other. Could be friends, could just live here, but you two know each other well, at least it looks that way to me by body language and the conversation. You mentioned he has students, and given the, I don't know, academic vibe I'm getting from you, you seem like a man of intelligence and understanding. So naturally, I penned you as a teacher of some sort. I'm sorry if you found that suggestion offensive."

*

Beast can't seem to help but chuckle at the backpedalling and explanation the other gives, "And you certainly don't strike me as the sort who sits at his computer all day playing solitaire." If they're going to play that game. "I most definitely am a freak, by the very definition of the word. I don't find offense with it," especially since he's always been one, in one way or another. "He mentioned he had students…as they were one of the reasons he came into the bar today."

*

With a smirk, Barry raises his hands, "guilty as charged. I like to set up intricate setups using dominoes, Bunsen burners, chemicals, and vials to make toast and other innocuous things. I posted a couple of them on youtube, you should check them out. It's under BATSG. It stands for Barry Allen the Science Guy."

*

"Rube Goldberg machines? Are you trying to take work from Bill Nye then?" But Hank seems at least a little amused at the admission. It's about that time that the jalapeno poppers are brought out and the plate is offered to Barry to share. "Perhaps I shall. I hope you don't show any hints as to what police department you work for in those videos."

*

Barry looks a little embarrassed at that, "Oh, I picked the name pretty much when Youtube started, even before that I was making videos like that. Not before Bill Nye, but similar kinds of things.” He feels like he's been caught out as being a geek. The cool, suave, and sophisticated demeanour is gone. Thankfully, he gets to have a jalapeno to calm him down, except it’s a bit spicier than he used to. He immediately has to take a drink of his beverage, "Owe, hot, jalapeno reacting with the carbonated drink, bad choice." Of course, he says that rather quickly. "Oh, no, I'd probably get into trouble for it. But I talked about it with my Captain anyway. He's a fan.”

*

Beast arches eyebrows again as he takes one of the poppers and pops it in his mouth, "Not much of a tolerance for spicy foods, hmm? It's a midwestern thing, I know…" and he smirks a little knowingly at that. "Well, that's good…I mean, I wouldn't want you all of a sudden getting reamed out by your Captain for fooling around at work and all. Sounds amusing though. I'll definitely have to check it out sometime."

*

"It's a good thing we're having bangers and mash tonight, I'll need something cool and bland after having some of these." He tries another one, but it's affects doesn't seem quite as pronounced this time around. "If you do, you should really check out the one where I made an apple turn blue and taste like strawberries. I like to make them for parties. Most people find it confusing and just can't seem to wrap their minds around them."

*

"What, do you use some sort of chemical coating that changes or affects the taste buds? I know there are the chemical pills that turn savoury to sweet and vice versa…" Hank takes another popper, seemingly un-phased by the heat.

*

"Actually, it involves some chemical and minor selective freezing on the branch as it grows. There are a few other steps, but, I've figured out how to change their colour and taste. Probably comes from growing up on a farm. Not a lot to do out in the flyover states."

*

"I thought that tipping cows was the 'de rigueur' thing to do when one grows up on a farm?" Hank offers. "I mean, I tend to prefer my fruit fresh from the orchard… or vine… or what have you, but that's a fun little party trick and an interesting exploration of genetics and atmospheric effects."

*

"You know, I don't think I’ve ever tipped over a single cow," he's tipped over cars, trucks, and other large objects, but never a cow. "But, that's probably just a stereotype, like British people have bad teeth, California is filled with models and surfers, or Canadians put mayonnaise on everything. Okay, so that last one's probably true in Quebec, but you get my meaning." He is of course joking. "And you should try it. I could send you the detailed recipe if you wanted?"

*

"Canadians -and- Midwesterners put mayonnaise on everything," Hank corrects. "But sure, feel free to give me the recipe… could be interesting, although I don't tend to grow apples very much. I suppose one could, up here, but I'm afraid I don't have much of a green thumb."

*

Pulling out the Samsung Galaxy S5 again, Barry asks, "All right, what's your E-Mail address? Or if you give me your number, I could text it?" While he could recite it from memory, it is a little involved to go through without writing it down if you haven't done it a few times. "And mayonnaise is good, best condiment there is. I just wish they offered it more often at fast food restaurants. I mean, there's always ketchup and mustard, but not enough mayo, and way too much relish."

*

"Spoken like a true midwesterner," Hank muses before he hesitates a moment. A number or an email. Either could potentially give away too much information. He decides, however, on a phone number, which is given easily. "You could always bring a jar of your own," is offered once the number is given for the text.

*

With the phone number programmed into his phone, Barry sends a brief text message to Hank saying that this is his number. It's always great to do it that way so only one person has to write it down. "My own, are we still talking about the mayonnaise or the apples?" With a chuckle, his own phone goes again, that same London Calling ring tone. Speaking into it, he says, "Yeah, I'm on my way ten minutes ago. See you soon." With an apologetic look to Hank, "looks like I'm needed. It was nice meeting you Hank." And he'll pay up and head out the door. Oh, that text message? It also said 'I've programmed you into my phone with the ring tone 'Super Freak' :)'


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