Disclaimer: I own nothing but inspiration. Oh wait no. Even that's not mine *mutters about fine print and muses*
For Amusewithaview who thought Annoyance is Relative was adorable and wanted to see more.
Request: If anyone knows what channel Hercules: Legendary Journies is on I'd appreciate it. Scifi? Lifetime? I want to answer a request for Simi to meet Herc and Iolaus but I don't trust my ability to write them, even passably enough. Thanks!
Hope ya enjoy :-D
"You know as far as secret identities go. Busboy at a Chinese food restaurant is pretty lame."
Warren didn't even pause in wiping down the table.
The little irritating blonde guy at the table in front of him didn't even notice how the firestarter's hands clenched tighter around the towel. He had no idea that the younger male was keeping himself from violently stuffing said towel down his condescending whiny throat with the mantra, "I can not choke Layla's annoying cousin. I can NOT even set him on fire. Not even a little bit." Warren did send him a quelling look that had made men much larger than Andrew Wells piss their pants.
Andrew swallowed, looking properly cowed, however, he didn't back down. He couldn't help himself. First off. He was bored. Again. Layla said that she was going to meet him at the Paper Lantern over an hour ago and not to eat without her. She had called fifteen minutes ago to say that she was going to be a bit late. Rose's Thorn-a super-villainess that was a real counterpart of Poison Ivy-was attacking and seeing as the only other plant manipulator in town to deal with her was male, the job was left to his cousin to teach the blonde seductress that trees were for love not world domination. Or whatever.
Andrew had made her promise to take pictures. Seeing as she wouldn't let him go and watch. It was one of the reasons he was bored. Villains attacked left from right but no one let him anywhere near the action. It was like back at Slayer Central. Except here Layla shoved him to the side because she wanted him safe not because she thought he was good for nothing.
Warren raised an amused brow at Andrew's long winded sigh. That had had to be the third one the guy had let out in the past hour. The long-haired teen had no way of knowing that Andrew wasn't up to dramatic sighing par at the moment.
Andrew glared at him. Warren snorted. "It really is a lame secret identity." Second reason, he couldn't help himself. As a full-on connoisseur of all things comic it was Andrew's responsibility ... no more than that, his DUTY, to get Warren a better secret identity. Even if the guy was scarier than Faith on a bad day, Warren was one of Andrew's beloved cousin's best friends. He would do it out of respect for Layla. And that because if he got any more bored he'd start singing Seaseme Street and end up embarrassing himself beyond reparation.
Warren mentally repeated his mantra once more before grunting.
"I mean Superman, ace reporter. Batman, rich playboy.
Wonder Woman, the elusive and beautiful Diana Prince.
Warren Peace .... Busboy.I mean really." Andrew sighed again, this time with over the top exasperation.
Warren's lips twitched of their own accord. Layla's cousin was pompous, had a grating whine, a weak chin, and was an out and out geek. But there was something about him that truly reminded him of his friend. Like that nervous chatter and unexpected humor. Something that made you want to be real nice to them. Which to Warren was something incredible, since he wasn't real nice to many people.
That was why Warren found himself telling Jay that he was taking a break, removing his apron, and sitting down across from Andrew.
Andrew blinked in surprise and Warren almost smiled again at how the older male tried to hide it under a mask of nonchalance.
"Okay, then, Wells. Give me a new identity."
Andrew blinked again, then frowned. Was Warren making fun of him?
It wouldn't be the first time a Warren had done so.
"And just so you Logan wasn't rich. He's a cage fighter."
Andrew's eyes lit up like a little boy in Christmas. Someone as cool as Warren read comics?!
"True." He admitted. "But he's Wolverine. He can do anything."
"And I can't? I bet I could set ole Wolvie aflame before he popped his claws out."
Warren wondered if he knew what he was setting himself up for when Andrew's eyes went from Christmas to school-girl on Valentine's Day. Stronghold and Williams, so owed him. But he supposed Andrew with a crush on him was better than Andrew about to meet his fist.
"You probably could." Andrew said in breathy awe before giving the younger male a sharp, shrewd look. "Still doesn't mean you have to bus tables. How about .... Photographer."
"Peter Parker. Jimmy Olsen. And Eddie Brock." Warren gave a small almost-grin at the look that passed Andrew's face. "Hero. Friend of a hero. Villian." Apparently he was impressing geek-boy. "Too cliche. Besides, I don't own a camera." God, he just hoped no one from school found out or Zach and Ethan would never leave him alone. Stronghold and Williams, really, REALLY, owed him. "Think of something else."
"Uh, okay. I'm guessing rich playboy is out?"
Warren raised a brow that clearly said 'What do you think?'
Andrew shrugged. It had been worth trying.
He bet Warren would be killer in a James Bond-like tux.
Warren rolled his eyes.
"I-I'm sorry that was lame too."
"Yeah it was. But go on."
He encouraged when he saw Andrew's face fall slightly.
He really did make Warren think of Layla. With certain things.
"How about ..."
They went on like this for a full thirty minutes and you would have had to be torturing Warren Peace to ever get him to admit he had been enjoying himself. His comic-book knowledge wasn't as extensive as Andrew's but it was passable. And what he didn't know Andrew had been willing to share. Not in his typical bragging way either.
The guy was semi-bearable once you saw past the 'brave and all-knowing' mask. He was still a pest. But a more bearable one.
They'd finally settled on owner of a chain of Paper Lanterns when Andrew had decided to tell Warren where his supposed headquarters should be, whether or not he should have side-kicks, and what would be Warren's vehicle of transportation. Currently they were talking about costumes.
"Well, since you're fire-man you should think about oranges and reds."
"I'm not wearing orange. Popsicle wears orange."
Warren said as if it was reason enough. He liked Ethan but he wasn't wearing orange.
"Err, okay. Black and red?"
Warren gave a slight tilt of his head in acceptance.
"Okay." Andrew said quickly getting back his previous excitement, causing Warren to smirk.
"Since you're invulnerable too, I think your costume should be a lighter version of your dad's.
Less metal wou-"
Andrew almost wimpered at the look on Warren's face. Gone was the mildly friendly guy who'd been tolerating his chatter better than Xander ever did and in his place was a dark, irritated, brooding glare.
"Don't. Talk. About. Him." Warren bit out. Andrew could pick on anything he wanted. Warren had even pretended to consider having a motorcycle like his mother had when she'd been a hero. However, the subject of his father wasn't something Warren even wanted to think about. That was one thing that was non-negotiable.
The other man nodded rapidly and the air of enjoyment seemed to all but disappeared.
Andrew, however, wouldn't let that happen. Always one to try to make it better, especially if he'd been the one to mess it up, he tentatively said, "I ... I ... I know about family you don't want to talk about." His tone wasn't sympathetic or trying to evoke pity, it was simply stating a fact. "I won't mention him again." He said softly.
Warren tilted his head slightly. Even Stronghold didn't get when to drop it and the other male was his best friend. It struck Warren again, the small (but significant) similarity between the two cousins. "You're not half-bad, Wells." He murmured.
Andrew scoffed as if it should have been most obvious that he wasn't,
Warren rolled his eyes.
But this time? The smile came full-blown.