People call it the windy city, but only those that have survived an autumn in Chicago know the truth of the matter. It’s still October so the November winds haven’t yet arrived, but their precursors pour in over the lake with the wrath of a particularly annoyed god, whipping up loose trash and hurtling it about, causing flags and sail cloth alike to snap and pop, whistling sharply through wrought iron fence work and kicking up sand in a constant low hiss from the edge of the low tide dock foundations. The sounds fill the air with a soft but poignant orchestral hum that make any conversation not shouted at one another a completely lost cause.
And to think, these are just the starter winds.
Bastion leaps down off of the schooners deck and lands with a heavy thud on the dock, a rope in on hand, the last one meant to lash the sail boat into place. He strains against the pull for a moment then leans down and with practiced motions begins to twine it about a metal twisted pin designed for just such work. He looks up, the hood of his hood blowing into his face and causing him to smile, shaking his head free as he looks around him while his hands work on autopilot. Hold the phone. What is the nerd doing out of his dank bookish basement? Doesn’t he know that this is natural sunlight and not the pale flicker of overhead fluorescents? He must be lost! This air is fresh! Surely he’ll catch his death of nature out here! “IAN!” he bellows, raising an arm in waved greeting.
Contrary to popular (?) belief, Ian actually likes going for walks, not necessarily out on the beach, although he won’t say no to being out in fresh air, or what passes for it in this city. All things considered, he rather enjoys being out when he can, rather than feel like he’s under some sort of house arrest on Institute grounds. He knows it’s out of concern when whispers of HYDRA have been more frequent of late, but honestly, even a librarian needs to get out.
The weather’s been more preferable to the summer heat, an excuse to pull on a jacket, but nothing too heavy as fall’s thankfully absent of that winter chill. He doesn’t come up here all that often, but it being the closest thing to open water around here, it’s the first thing he thinks of when he wants to get away from being flanked by buildings everywhere. Sort of.
The sound of his name actually causes him to jump. You don’t come out this far to expect to get recognized so easily, but once Ian sees who it is who’s called out to him he… Well, he relaxes a little. Bastion is still something of a question mark in his book, difficult to gauge, not someone to trifle with, best to stay on the good side of although not the sort he thinks he’d like to draw too much attention of.
Ian smiles a little, giving the man a nod as he lifts a hand to wave in return. He glances around before starting on over towards the boat, hands sliding once again into the pockets of his jacket. It’s a bit of a mix today, glasses despite the lack of his ‘work’ attire, jeans and a shirt. Sneakers. Yes, he owns sneakers.
“Mister Shaw,” he replies in greeting, once he doesn’t have to outright shout to be heard.
Bastion stands, brushing his hands off on his cargo pants, from the look of them an old pair with worn knees and bits of paint splatter down around the hems and what looks like a marker scribble at the thigh. His hoodie is much like his pants, an old faded bit with one of the now defunct University team logos emblazoned on the front, faded and loose fitting it has that air of ‘comfy clothes’ about it, to beloved to be thrown away despite it’s frayed hems. He pushes his sleeve about halfway up his forearms and nods in greeting, “Didn’t much figure you for a man of the water.” he says as he turns to eye the boat, giving it a solid once over with practiced ease. “Dunno why.”
The librarian chuckles a little at that. “I’m really not,” he admits. “I can probably count the times I’d been taken to the beach as a kid on one hand. At least I learned how to swim.” He shrugs. His boat experiences have been considerably fewer, and he’s not quite sure he wants to count the most recent excursions, acting as bait for S.H.I.E.L.D. to draw out those who were involved in that MGH ring who were skulking about using one of the many thought-to-be deserted islands out on the lake. Needless to say, it hadn’t been fun.
“You out here a lot?” he asks, deciding to try shifting the attention from himself, casting a glance towards the boat. “How’ve things been? I mean, given the last time we ran into each other…”
He looks over his shoulder as though he could see where the unfortunate incident with Mary had occurred.
Bastion’s expression falls slightly and he turns away from the water, “Not as much as I’d like to be.” he admits, “It’s not a bad life really, I mean look at me, I’m rich, I’m gorgeous, I’m passingly charming, smarter then a loaf of bread but only a bit, occasionally witty, great job, who wouldn’t want that life? Ya know?” he looks back to the boat, “But every now and then you get just… sick of the press of it all. Never sleeping more then four hours a night, always having to be groomed, always working, no days off, no time not being ‘you’, nothing but people with their hands out in one way or another and you having to pick and choose which to grease and which not to, trying to balance it all between paying those that can make a change and paying others not to make the changes they want to, mostly at the point of a summons or a gun…” he makes a face and waves a hand, “So.” From where they stand, the boat’s name bobs on the aft, just above the water line. Solace. “Every couple of months I manage to get away for a few hours. Just me and the wind and the waves, it’s not silence per say, but it’s as quiet as my world ever gets.”
He nudges Ian with an elbow lightly, “Don’t tell anyone about that or I’ll hire an army of male strippers to follow you around day and night putting on a show every time you stop moving.” He grins. That’s a sign he’s kidding, right? But the grin fades again, “Yeah. That.” he grows serious once more, “My project will soon go public, and my people have managed to locate three more warehouses where OsCorp was growing it’s Vine. Killed those supplies, but given how fast they’ve been growing it I think they’re more cloning and force growing then allowing for nature to do it’s work. Which is both good and bad honestly. My failsafe still works, but they can produce a ton of the stuff crazy fast that way. It’s an uphill battle and my source has fallen suspiciously silent on the matter this last week. I’m starting to worry.”
The last thing Ian had expected was such an open confession. His brows lift in slight surprise, but he finds himself nodding a little in understanding. Never had he ever thought that having money and influence would make one’s life easier, and by Bastion’s words of experience, it seemed that even some of the problems weren’t all that different from things he’s had to go through, although he’s certain that it’s still on a different level. He couldn’t say which would be worse but felt that he wouldn’t want to be dealing with either end of it had he a choice.
“All work and little sleep makes it hard to enjoy anything, really,” he agrees. He remembers his odd shifts, his split between jobs just to make ends meet. Does he sleep better now that he works at the Institute’s library? It doesn’t really feel like it, sometimes, but he knows the reasons for that.
At Bastion’s threat he coughs, forcing a smile. He sure hopes the man’s joking, but he wouldn’t dare press his luck either way. “Your secret’s safe with me,” he says, hands raised in gesture of reassurance.
His own expression sobers a little with the subject shift. “I hate to play to paranoia, but when it’s things like this, I think I’d be worried too. hopefully it’s just a minor complication or something…?” It’s a sad attempt to stave off the negative, but he’s sure both of them know better.
Bastion lets the air out slowly between his teeth, “Don’t ever be the guy in charge Ian. It’s just not worth all the bullshit. Heavy is the head and all that.” he claps Ian on the back firmly but not painfully, as if he’s aware of his size and is suddenly more careful with it then he was before, “But! I will solve this. I don’t think it’s my fault per say, but it happened on my watch and that’s close enough to the same thing. I’ll clean this shit up one way or another, and then I’ll find out who’s responsible and then I’ll make sure that responsible is a thing they could never again be.” he turns his pearly whites on Ian warmly.
“Enough about my bullshit! What’s going on with you, Second Mostly Nerdly One I Know?” somehow it comes out in all caps like it’s a title, like Baron or Duke or something. “Read any good books lately? Find yourself a naughty librarian gal or pal with horn rimmed glasses and a penchant for a solid back hand?” he pantomimes a tennis backhand, but aims it um… a bit low in the direction of the part of Ian that’s always pointing behind him. “Gimme something entertaining Ian, I’m dying for a tale that is of less woe then those I seem to sew wherever I walk.”
Ian laughs dryly. “Never dreamed of being in charge- was having enough of a time just keeping my head above water.” He nods though, both in being glad of Bastion’s determination and in understanding of where fingers might point if things got bad. Or is it ‘worse’? “Heh. Well, good luck in that. I’d hate to be the guy who gets caught,” he smirks.
A frown flickers across his face, followed by a sigh as questions are turned his way again, if not just being called a nerd. “Is it just because I wear glasses?” he asks flatly before shaking his head, a catch-all response for everything that follows.
“I don’t know that I’d call things entertaining, really. I’ve had my own headaches to deal with.” Some even literally. Seriously, don’t get nanites stuck in your brain, kids.
Bastion doesn’t have nanites in his brain. He puts them in his super death plants of crazy mutation or whatever he calls them. Like a grown up. “Well the glasses certainly don’t help any, mate.” he states simply, “You live in a time where a simple thing like myopia is cured in an out patient procedure, hell, /contacts/, assuming you’re old school, are monofilament thin, and there you are, strapping plastic and ground glass to your face like a savage. What’s next? Gonna write notes down on the bleached pulped corpse of a dead tree with a bit of it’s branch filled with formed graphite instead of using a tablet or holo screen like a normal person?”
“….. Actually I prefer ink,” Ian says after a beat. He doesn’t take it personal though, he knows he’s not the only one who likes the feeling of pen or pencil on paper to a slippery stylus on a flatscreen. He probably owns more print-books than digital too, gasp!
“You say that like I have the money to take care of the bills for that sort of thing,” he says, going back to the first with a shrug. “Anyway, I never thought it too bad a thing to deal with.” He might also have a slight uncertainty about having people point lasers and do whatnot with your eyes. So sure, call him old school or whatever!
Bastion just stares at Ian for a moment, “So you’re one of the ones contributing to the destruction of the planet by consuming these rainforest destroying old habits.” He frowns judgmentally for a moment before shrugging and laughing, “I run an construction company, like I give half a shit. And it’s an eye surgery man, not brain surgery. What is that? A grand out the door, tops? And I’m willing to bet you spend far more then that on frames everytime you break those things. Jeez,” he leans over and peeeeeeers, “they’re not even CNT frames, what is that? Is that actually plastic? I was kidding, man…”
There’s maybe the slightest flinch at the mention of brain surgery, if for other reasons entirely. Ian otherwise maintains eye contact with Bastion, meeting that stare with a dry look that practically reads ‘are you really talking about stuff like this? Why?’
And then as the other leans in, Ian sighs again and brings up a hand to pointedly put over Bastion’s face to nudge him back. Personal space, man! “Hey, if it bothers you so much, you can buy my next pair for me.” His lips twitch in a brief, lopsided smile.
“I don’t mean to be eating into your precious boating time. Please, feel free to go ahead as you will,” he says in helpful reminder, but he’s at least sincere in that.
Bastion snorts, “I just came in from the water doofus, I’m not going out. You can tell because I was tying her up, not slipping her loose.” he lets Ian push him back, either unaware or uncaring about his wee bubble of personal space. Doesn’t Ian know? Everything belongs to Bastion. “Sure, I can do that. We’ll get you some fancy new glasses, I’ll talk to my R&D department and maybe we’ll whip you up some frames that shoot lasers, something to show off at the next office party. See?” he says, beaming, “I knew you’d come around and let me fix a problem for you. Didn’t think it’d be as easy as glasses, but hey. At least I can do that without anyone ending up dead or a giant 12 foot tall furry yeti monster.”
Biting back a retort, Ian lets his hand fall back as he at least gets Bastion out of his face. He’s however left blinking as his suggestion in jest is taken up rather enthusiastically.
“Uh…” So sue him, he can’t help but look just the tiniest bit suspicious, although there’s a small laugh as Bastion goes on. True enough, compared to other things, glasses are low on the scale, but still. “You know, I wasn’t really serious. There’s no need for you to get me glasses,” he says says with a small laugh.
Bastion waves a dismissive hand at the comment, “I was kidding about the lasers man. Mostly. Mostly kidding about the lasers. But fuck man, they’re glasses. I buy and sell buildings on a daily basis and that’s nothing compared to where it’s going next. Besides, I figure you book lot are a dying breed and one should always beware the complete extinction of an endangered creature. One day the zombies will come and we’ll need people like you to teach the kidlets once the rest of us no longer have power and don’t know how to turn a page.” he turns to look at the docks themselves and offers a heavy sigh, “Aaaaand it’s like she has me GPS tagged or something.” he says as he spots a limo making it’s way along the drive along at the top of the boardwalks chained off roadway. “She always knows right when I make landfall, it’s creepy.”
“Considering the things I run into sometimes, lasers might be nice? But I’d rather not accidentally punch a hole through someone by accident. -Or- something. Books can be expensive.” He’s kidding. Maybe.
Ian smiles wryly, deciding there’s nothing more to argue or say otherwise. He supposes that’s something of a compliment, coming from Bastion, so shrugging, he leaves it be. At Bastion’s sigh he follows his look towards the docks, brow arching before he finally spies what the other man does.
“GPS or cameras everywhere. Either way, that’s…too convenient. Or inconvenient, I suppose, depending on how one looks at it.” Ian glances back towards Bastion and the boat. “That mean it’s back to work then?”
Bastion watches the limo comes to a complete stop and a woman who’s more robot then person if her expression is any indication, steps from inside with a no nonsense pants suit and her hair up in a bun so tight she’ll never need worry herself over the cost of a facelift. She too, ironically, is wearing glasses, some professional business types that just scream I’M SUPER EXPENSIVE!! to anyone who cares to look. “Tell me about it.” he says with a heavy sigh, shoving his hands back into the hoodie’s tummy pocket.
“Yes, yes it does. I do still have a few fires to put out, a crisis to end, a product and company launch to oversee, none of which can touch the media with a ten foot pole or everything comes up shit.” he screws a cocky winning smirk on his lips that’s half charming and half standoffish before straightening his shoulders and filling out his chest a bit, inflating himself to his full size. “Have a good one Second Nerd. Don’t forget though,” he shoots Ian that smirk, “army of male strippers. Just drawing attention to you every time you stop moving for more then four seconds.” he winks, and then begins to walk towards the limo with a quick commanding stride, the wind grabbing at his clothing as if wishing it could drag him back out on the water, then pushing him back towards the city the next. The wind is a fickle bitch.
Ian starts to lift a hand as though to offer Bastion a return pat on the shoulder as he sees him deflate upon the arrival of his ride, hesitating before lowering it again. Instead he nods, not at all envying the man in the least as he’s to be summoned back to his duties. The librarian finds a smirk crossing his own face at the farewell and the looming threat of sorts, and he pantomimes zipping his lips shut. Bastion’s got nothing to worry from him; Ian’s hardly the sort to gossip. That aside, it was kind of refreshing to have a glimpse of the Bastion who wasn’t running things behind a suit and tie. Not nearly any reason for him to let his guard down around someone like that, but still, nice to know that there are some things they can relate to for all that their business statuses are on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Ian watches Bastion go until he reaches the limo. Then he turns, sighing as he looks off towards the water as the winds pick up before he wanders along to look for a better place to enjoy the scenery and forget about his own problems for a little while.