Late Night Meeting

Summary:
August 09 2014: Jericho Nancy and Partisan meet with Tony, Pepper, Lucky and Evelyn

Stark Tower, Penthouse

Tony's Home Away from Home, the Stark Tower penthouse is a luxury suite with a view. Everything a billionaire genius playboy philanthropist needs.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


Late on a Saturday is usually what Tony likes to call: 'Second Friday party night'. Where he invites Rhodey, who doesn't show up, and several of his closest friends, which he really doesn't have, and drinks the night away on the overstuffed couch in th lounge. One of the monitors has been moved along the sensor points to spread out in front of him, dressed only in a Egyptian Silk bedroom robe, with a rerun of Friends playing in front of him on a screen that's visible from both sides.

His expression is distant, almost absent, and there's an uneaten sandwich sitting on a plate in front of him. There is for sure alcohol.

*

Evelyn actually appears for the night. More because of coincidence than because she was actually invited. In fact, Evelyn -tried- to contact Tony earlier to see if he had time out of his 'Iron Man' schedule to hang out with her. Unfortunately the number Eve tried to call was disconnected. It doesn't help that the number is four years old. Normally, at this point Evelyn would have just given up. But for some reason she decided that she might as well try the lobby.

Now, entering Tony's Second Friday Party Night, Evelyn is accompanied by Pepper. "Hey, Mr. Stark." The apparent second Friday party night attire for the girl is is a plaid button up shirt, a gray tanktop, a necklace of keys, and a pair of torn jeans. Yeah. Good enough. "Pepper let me in, she somehow heard me in the lobby." Maybe JARVIS? Maybe Pepper is just that good. Or maybe Eve shot Pep a text message. They're pals, right?

*

Though there was really no need for Pepper to be accompanied by a bodyguard within the tower itself, Lucky is soon to fallow behind the other two after making sure to check the path for any holes that might result in him being thrown from the tower yet again. He's current wearing a fairly nice black suit with one of those trendy looking ear-bud radios that the secret service tend to wear, and looks like he's just happy to have some form of work to keep him busy.

*

Maybe Pepper IS that good. But more likely JARVIS told her. And she very likely sent Lucky down to greet Evelyn, hence why he's how trailing after them. She looks at Tony's attire (what there is of it), then notices the liquor and the uneaten sandwich, which she steps over and collects. "Should I try to order in some pizza?" She's asking the room in general, but really, if she can get Tony to eat anything at all, it will be a good thing.

*

Tony barely even realizes that anyone's entered the penthouse, but once he does they all get a loopy grin and a raised glass that he immediately spills on himself in a drunken display of dexterity. "Oh shit…" Wobbling a little as he works his way to his feet… the decanter, the one that's in the hidden cabinet on his couch, the one that was filled only a night before, it is almost empty.

There is absolutely no telling how long he's been sitting there drinking. At least not until he almost falls through the glass table, only barely managing to dodge it by taking the inevitable hit across his forehead on the edge of the couch. "whoa… ground's moving…"

*

"Oh," Evelyn says watching Tony's display of incredibly dexterity. She looks over towards Pepper and offers a small smile to her, ".. a pizza would be nice, thank you, Pepper. Would you join us tonight, too?" There's not much you can really say to poor Tony, he's drunk as shit, looks like. Instead of anger, or disgust, pretty common reactions to someone intoxicated off their feet, Eve just looks concerned. Awkwardly, she sort of stands there in the center of the room, watching Tony fall into the couch.

"I thought you told me that you have a pretty good alcohol tolerance, Tony. It doesn't quite work when you drink a whole bottle." Evelyn says, in a somehow incredibly polite tone.

*

Lucky finally makes his way into the room, only to hear offers of pizza. "I wouldn't mind, haven't eaten all day" The former soldier offering a friendly smile, as he looks for a way to help clean up the rather nasty mess that's been made of the place.

*

Pepper Potts startles and hastily sets the uneaten food aside to hurry over and help Tony sit up again. "Are you all right, Tony?" She glances at Lucky — perhaps silently asking him to take over the ordering of the pizza — then looks at Evelyn apologetically. "Please, have a seat. Jason, would you be so kind as to start some coffee brewing?"

*

One of the most brilliant minds on the planet slumps over until his face is smushed into the carpet.. but at least it smells good. He's slick with sweat and looking a little pale like there's going to be a visit to the porcelain god at some point tonight. Right now, however, his eyes roll to the side so he can look up at Pepper. "An angel…" Slurred, partly because his mouth is working against the carpet. "An angel named Potts… Pepper Potts.."

Once she's got him sitting up it's clear there's a little cut on his forehead where he hit the arm rest and head wounds, no matter how small, they love to bleed. "Oh and an.. an.." Staring at Evelyn. Pointing. Sort of pointing. He's just waving his finger at her in a mockery of pointing professionals everywhere, "Don't tell me…" Pause, "No, do tell me. I'm really drunk…"

*

Evelyn gives a defeated look. She's only visited Tony a couple times, but you'd think it be memorable enough to remember. Probably fair enough that he doesn't, though. It's been a while since they've last seen each other. Walking over, Ev sits next to Stark. A nearby clean napkin, probably near the sandwich, is sufficient material, and she takes it to wipe away a bit of the blood. "You are a mess. It's.. Evelyn." It's too bad JARVIS doesn't have a mnemonic reactivator. That would be handy if it existed. It would also be helpful if that whole event wasn't wiped from JARVIS' memory, though it's probably for the best that it was. Some memories are left sleeping.

"I'm sorry, Pepper," Evelyn apologizes, raising her eyebrows in a sympathetic gesture. She didn't realize tonight would be a bad time to visit, though there's hardly ever a good time.

*

Lucky pulls out a cellphone from his pocket, while making his way over towards the coffee maker. He doesn't say a word only offering an understanding nod towards Pepper. With little effort the coffee pot is filled with water, a new filter shoved in the back, and a few spoons of coffee, the phone number of Di Fara Pizza dialed right into his mobile.

Lucky tries his best not to stare at the drunken mess of a multibillionaire laying on the floor in a pile as he quickly places in an order for a hot and fresh pizza. He doesn't really seem to waste time working on his multitasking, but what can you expect with the kind of money he's getting paid to fling himself into danger. While he's at it, he even pours a few drinks for the interim, while the coffee boils.

*

Pepper Potts manages to not sigh when she sees the first aid kit will be needed and with a look at Evelyn that includes a nod toward Tony she pushes back to stand again and head over toward the bar with the now-empty decanter and the glass Tony spilled on himself to leave them there and get the first aid kit.

"Thank you, Jason," she tells Lucky quietly while also retrieving one of those high-nutrient smoothies she keeps on hand for days like today. Food likely won't happen for him, so this is the best alternative. "So, Tony," she says in a forced conversational tone (though likely only the sober people would pick up on the effort it's taking her to sound so normal, "how are the plans going for the arc-based rail system? I'll be ready to take it to the city transportation commission when you're ready."

*

"Evelyn!" Tony interrupt/speaks along with Evelyn when she tells him her name. As people do. "See?" Psssshing, shaking his head in a loopy, lopsided swing of drunken disagreement, "Everybody this is Evelyn.." Pointing at her, also slightly slumping against her shoulder. He really did drink a whole lot of every expensive alcohol.

There's a few seconds of blinking, forced attempt to regain his senses, so that he can see Pepper as all it is right now is a voice from across this swimmy fog of wibbly wobbly that's laid out in front of him… and Joey doing something or another because 'Friends' is still on. "Ooooh…" Raising a finger and wiggling his shoulders, "Oh this is good… super secret.." Shhhhhing Eve, finger to her lips, because that's totally appropriate.

"I have finished the propulsion system.." Wooooing at everybody, like a ghost, "But.. BUT.. I haven't finished working out where to put the railguns.. Gang defense.. don't want them spraying it up…"

*

"Evelyn." echoes Ev, because, well why not? It's a fun name to say. It's hers. She sighs a bit as Tony slumps against her shoulder, in the most attractive and adorably intoxicated way possible. Looking over to Lucky, she narrows her eyes then raises an eyebrow. "Weren't you at the park during that gala event?" She looks back at Tony, "New bodyguard? He see-mmph." A finger to her lips. This is probably the most amused anyone will ever see Evelyn. And by amused, well, amused is just about the opposite of what she is.

A hand on Tony, it takes the lightest shove to try and push him away. The result will likely be him just totally falling right off the couch and onto the floor, but she can't really control his balance. Personal space. He knows better. It's not like she told him outright before about that.

*

Lucky offers a low nod, making his way over towards the couch with a drink in hand for Evelyn, while hanging up the phone having placed the order for rapid delivery. He offers her the glass while placing his phone safely back into the pocket of his suit. He holds up a few fingers on the now free hand in the direction of Pepper to signify the time they said it'd take for the pizza to get to Stark Tower.

*

Pepper Potts does sigh this time as Tony sort of explains the plans, and then can't help bu wince when Evelyn inadvertently pushes Tony over. She steps over, puts the first aid kit aside, and reaches to help Tony upright again if he needs it.

*

Timber.

Tony is in no condition to direct his fall from glory. In this case, the part of glory is being played by Evelyn's shoulder. So when she gives the little shove he tumbles over on his side towards the arm of the couch. His face eats it in the cushiony part, but then his body weight keeps dragging him along the line of gravity right onto the floor. Not painfully, but all that hard work getting him up on the couch has now been undone in one swoop of her hand.

"Deserved that." He slurs, yet again face deep in carpet.

Pepper, yet again, rescues him from the discomfort of a face full of very soft carpeting. When he's sitting upright, blood has smeared into his hair giving him a cowlick up the right side. "Hey, who wants to go for a ride?" Looking around, probably at the second or third image he sees of the three… no, six people in the room.

*

"Oh .. Shit.. Sorry." Evelyn stumbles a bit with her words. She looks genuinely surprised and helps Tony back up with Pepper, despite having been the one to push him over. "Sorry. I didn't mean to —.." She sighs, looking at the blood-made cowlick. Facepalming, she hands over the bloody napkin to Pepper. When Lucky offers her the drink, she looks up and forces a smile. "Thanks," she does take it, taking a sip from its contents while looking back at Tony. This is so awkward, at least for her.

"You're making a repulsor railway for the city?" Ev asks, carefully. Perhaps changing the subject again will make him forget wanting to pilot or drive -anything- while totally intoxicated.

*

Lucky quickly and with a bit of grace makes his way back over towards the coffee pot, pulling off the pot to pour a quick mug of the piping hot liquid. "Cream? Sugar?" He asks grabbing for another mug, with a beefed up arm.

*

Pepper Potts opens the first aid kit quickly before Tony can take a header again, taking the napkin from Evelyn and then gets out the supplies to deal with Tony's small but bleedy head wound while saying aside to Lucky, "No cream, six sugars, please." Of course she knows how Tony prefers his coffee. She doesn't /agree/ with it, but she knows it.

*

Tony sits as upright as he can manage given his intoxicated state. His head tilting back so that Pepper can see the wound better or maybe so he can stare up at the ceiling. It's a solid color, which means it does not spin quite the same way as all those contoured angles of the penthouse do. His eyes flick over to Evelyn, hands laying like limp noodles on either side of his robe. Then around Pepper to Lucky who is making him coffee… which Pepper, as always, knows how he takes it.

Of course she knows.

His blue eyes lock onto her and the smile on his face isn't half as genuine as the one in his eyes. He doesn't say anything because, quite frankly, he's not entirely certain that he could keep from vomiting. On the one hand, he doesn't want to tell anyone that… and on the other if he did tell them, it would probably cause it.

*

Evelyn is currently sitting on the couch next to Tony Stark. On Tony's other side is Pepper, who is currently tending to a small cut on Stark's head. Tony is the least dressed out of everyone in the room, though that hardly comes as a surprise. His bathrobe is at least stylish. Evelyn is wearing a plaid button-up shirt, a pair of jeans, and a grey shirt with necklace. An old sandwich is on the table, and Friends plays on the T.V. Tony is stone drunk, and he looks it.

*

Sitting back a little bit into the couch with her drink, Evelyn looks over to Lucky and says back, "No coffee for me, I should probably get back to base soon, anyways." She looks back at Pepper, "We should get another cup of tea sometime."

*

JARVIS, with his most proper of tones, speaks up from every corner of the penthouse and nowhere specific at all. He ''is'' Stark Tower. "Miss Potts, there are three individuals downstairs wishing to come up. One of them did have an appointment, but Mister Stark cancelled. Will you be taking visitors at this hour?" Addressing the assistant because Tony is clearly in no state to make that judgement call.

*

Lucky drops in the six small bits of sugar into the bowl, with a bit of a low hum to himself. The song itself seems to be a somewhat off key rendition of yellow submarine, which has been stuck in his head for a while. He sits down the piping hot mug just as the voice of JARVIS chimes in, looking over towards Pepper, as if to ask if he should bring them up without saying a word.

*

Pepper Potts cleans up the cut on Tony's forehead with the efficiency of practice, applying a small bandage to stop any further bleeding. She knows the look on Tony's face, unfortunately. It's the 'nearly time to worship the porcelain god' expression. But, before she start to usher him washroom-wards, JARVIS speaks up. "Three?" She glances toward one of the AI's sensors set into the ceiling. "Can you give me an image, please?" And maybe stop that insipid sitcom at the same time.

*

One of the three is rather unmistakable. Because he's boring to look at. Seriously. Pepper, at least, knows that it's a skill and not a trait, but Jericho is doing his 'part of the background' routine and honestly looks like the least interesting person of all time ever in the history of things. And… he's striding up toward the elevator like he knows where he's going, along with two apparently younger women.

*

Believe it or not, Partisan cleans up real nice. No joke Nancy and Jericho can totally vouch, they know. Tonight she's put her hair into a neat bun, snagged a pair of lovely bookworm glasses and -gasp- even worn makeup and a proper business skirt suit. She looks, albeit maybe a little more amazon than most, every bit the sort've woman you'd expect to be a corporate lawyer or a executive something or other. "Fuck this shit, I should've just gone with tactical casual."

Quietly adjusting her collar as those low heels click towards the elevator. "I cannot believe I'm the only one who dressed nice, you two are in so much shit." Arms falling to her side, delicately pressing that forearm against the reassuring steel at her hip. Also no, no she's of course not being that serious. Glancing over her shoulder towards Jericho. "Ring Pepper if they don't send down the Elevator, I did not get dressed up to get ditched in the lobby."

*

For those that know Nancy, which is only the people she is with, she looks remarkably different. She is wearing her orchestral outfit, long black skirt, white blouse, her hair tied back in a low bun without any colors showing but the black. Her make-up is as subdued as the rest of her. She holds a leather presentation binder in her hands and is looking nervously around the Tower.

*

"Are you *sure* this is a good idea? It's after midnight! They're not going to want to see *me* at this time of night. Well, actually, if the rumors I've heard about Stark are true, he might want to see me, just not about this."

Nancy looks down at herself and then to Partisan, smirking. "How much nicer did you want me to dress? Only thing I got nicer then this is my grandmother's wedding dress."

*

The rumors are all true. Tony Stark is a lecherous bastard who is trying to start a franchise.

Now that we've got that out of the way, Tony blinks a few times and then moves way fasters than a man of this level of intoxication should be capable of at this steady a pace. It's the instinctually reaction to vomitus, the absolutely fundamental ingrained need to void of thine digestion, and it is science. Pure and simple science.

He's in the bathroom, only stumbling a few times into a corner of the wall, then the door frame, the bed… and finally BOOM… he makes it to the bathroom. For the sake of everyone, the details of his stomachs evacuation will be spared a litany, but the after party of echoing toilet-bowl talk… everyone has to suffer through that.

"My god this seat is comfortable…" Spitting.. "I don't know how much I paid for you, but yo-.." More undescribed sounds of emesis, "-.. worth it.."

"So worth it…"

So he got bored one night and installed a seat warmer to his throne? Anyone who says that's not brilliant and a billion dollar patent is clearly not reading George R.R. Martin.

*

Standing up, Evelyn sets her drink down before adjusting her shirt. Convenient, because it's about the time that Tony darts off to pray to the porcelain gods. They demand a tribute, and he's going to give it. At least he won't be dying of alcohol poisoning for one more night. "Hey, Pepper. I'm going to head out. I'll call you in the morning, okay?" She offers a polite smile, and on turning to leave, gives Lucky a nod. She briefly passes Jericho, Nancy, and Partisan on the way out and does a double take on Jericho. She doesn't stop, though, and is gone before anyone will likely be able to catch her. JARVIS and her? They're pals, she's got the door.

*

Pepper Potts apparently is familiar with this part of the routine as well, because she neatly sidesteps out of Tony's way and while he's disappeared back into his room then nods to Evelyn as she tidies and packs up the first aid kit. "All right, Evelyn. And, sorry about all of this." And then she's gone and the trio of trouble are arriving.

"Hello, please come in and have a seat. Would any of you care for a drink?" Pepper looks at Lucky and nods slightly, indicating they're all okay to be here, even if she'd love to be more curious about the young lady accompanying the Partisan and Aspect. Pulling Tony's coffee to one side so no one else risks trying to take a sip, she carries the first aid kit back to his place behind the bar. "Jason, would you like anything while I'm over here?"

*

"No thank you Ma'am, but thank you for a the offer" Lucky says in a rather firm voice his rather well toned muscles clearly visible even with the black suit and tie, with the little ear radio like the ones the boys in the cia/secret service have he's wearing at the moment. For the average person Jason Lucky looks like a very well trained musclebound soldier turned bodyguard, an intimidating sight for sure. This is only enhanced by the rather ridiculous amounts of scars covering his face and hands.

*

Tony takes his time with this particular visit to the alter. There's a lot of alcoholic sins to confess, as it were. At least now it has gone beyond the actual slurpy seriousness of fluidic eruption into the hackle raising sounds of dry heave. That's a good sign. That means he's not choking to death.

Because that would be bad.

A little while after that the water begins to run and Tony splashes some into his face so as not to come out looking like something from Return of the Living Dead. Even smoothing his hair down and cleaning the blood cowlick. It's a wonderful feeling to get all that out, to vomit when it's needed and then be rejuvenated as if by magic.

A deep breath and he walks out into his room. Visible through the open door as having only a bathrobe (expensive as it may be) on. He reaches up and swings the door closed with a slam and collapses onto the bed with a groan. "Jesus, you really forgot her name?" Of Eve. He hadn't, not really. It was the alcohol, but try explaining THAT to someone.

Let's be serious though, it's not the first time he's had to explain that to someone.

*

Jericho is not, for the record, in his usual 'work' clothes of jeans, long tee and a cap. He's just not dressed nearly as nicely as the other two. Slacks, a burgundy button up to cover the traces and some nice loafers. "I don't do suits Parti. Not unless it's for work." He murmurs.

Evelyn gets a surprised look as she passes them on the way out. Yes, he remembers her. Mostly as a SHIELD agent who ran him down and stuffed him in a car with Steve Rogers and Melinda May. For which… actually he should probably thank her. In any case she's gone and he stops being boring the moment they're up in the penthouse suite. Which is not to say he does anything beyond give Pepper a nod and a small smile and the 'Jason' a curious look. This is Nancy's show. He's just here to provide extra information and be 'backup.' Tony's wretching and abrupt appearance in his bathrobe earns Pepper a raised eyebrow though. He'll ask later.

*

Partisan peers around quietly, damn no ashtrays. She can't smoke here! "We got a problem, related to the late unpleasantness we told you about. There have been complications of a humanitarian nature, we have an out but it'll be a stretch and an uncomfortable one for everyone involved. Time table is potentially very taut here, but there is a fairly significant need." Glancing cooly after Lucky, before looking back to Pepper. "This is about to get very fucking serious discussion wise, take a minute and decide who you want to be in the room for this. We're going to have to be somewhat explicit with names and places here."

*

Nancy closes her eyes on the elevator up, listening to Moonlight Sonata in her head to help her relax. So nervous. Tony Stark! *THE* Tony Stark! Who knew that those closest to her were hob-nobbing and rubbing elbows with these sorts! Next she'll found out that they hang out with Bruce Wayne or Lex Luthor every other Friday night for drinks! She holds onto that leather portfolio binder tightly, trying to keep her breathing calm. This is no more stressful then Juilliard. Right?! Just walk in, do what you do and… Yeah, but Juilliard was with a cello. This is just her. Talking. How did she tell herself that this would be a good idea? She smiles at Pepper and Lucky, looking to the door with a bathrobed Tony before the door is closed.

*

Pepper Potts nods to Jason when he refuses a beverage, and seeing as none of the others answer her about a beverage, she pours a cup of coffee only half full for herself to sip at while she gets some tea brewing. The coffee carafe, some cups, a pitcher of water, and the still-steeping teapot (she keeps one here with some Yunnan for those work all-nighters that do actually happen occasionally) over to the table by the couch. That way she won't have to get up again when someone does ask for a beverage.

Just as Pepper's about to lift the slightly overloaded tray of beverages, the slam of Tony's door manages to make her flinch but she recovers quickly enough and returns to where everyone waits.

"So. Remind me of what's going on." She looks at Lucky and gestures for him to have a seat as well. It's still disconcerting having him hovering all the time.

*

Jason silently moves his way over towards a nearby chair, taking this moment to try and pop a pill without being noticed, from a small yellow bottle. The pill itself looking rather like a horsepill in how large the damned thing is. Whatever he's taking he obviously needs to take a lot of it. He keeps his eyes on the three mentally tearing each of them apart with a glance. His muscles seem a bit more pronounced from his sitting position.

*

"Sir, should I alert Miss Potts?" Jarvis asks Tony, intentionally keeping it quiet and centered on the wrist watch that he always wears to stay in touch with the AI.

Tony rolls over onto his back and squeezes at the metalic bindings on the arc reactor, teeth grinding as the pain shoots out from it and up his left arm. "No.. not right now…" It passes quickly and the last of the pain is blinked away as he sits up and rubs at his face. Fingers comb back into his hair and he stands to pull off the bathrobe and put on something a little more decent for company.

"You should tell her soon, sir." JARVIS doesn't speak emotionally, he can see Tony's biometrics and is programmed to understand what that means.

"I will, JARVIS. Just not yet." After grabbing a white t-shirt that reads 'WWTD' in black script and slipping it on over a pair of very comfortable gym shorts, Tony pulls the door to his bedroom open. There are obviously still vestages of intoxication, nobody sobers up completely that fast, but his liver has grown accustomed to his hatred and thus processes things faster than most's. He wears a smile as he pads over to the kitchen and grabs the nutra-juice Pepper had intended to give him earlier, until he bashed his head.

Drinking the less than flavorful, but exceptionally electrolyte balanced beverage (perfect for correcting drunken vomiting), he looks between them. "Uh oh… This looks hella serious.. Sh- JARVIS, please turn off the monitors… I've already seen this episode." Shaking his head, motioning, "I love that show."

*

Jericho gives Lucky an even look and then Pepper another one that says quite eloquently 'really?'. "JARVIS, I'm uploading files. Standby." Symbols flash on the hacker's HUD as he transfers to Tony's AI a number of video, audio and text files to help with Nan's presentation. Mostly, they're edited helmet and gun cam footage from the rescue itself (the bit where he eats a frag grenade is in there, but it's not clear where the grenade comes from), text summaries of exactly what Hydra was doing to the N-Series Mutates and their families and finally audio clips from his conversations with Nancy and Angelo, making it clear exactly what is being done: the Mutates being isolated without regard to their wishes or the efforts of those who actually rescued them, for - near as anyone can tell - no better reason than 'we disapprove of you.'

*

Partisan Seems, forever unimpressed. "So basically I ate three mags, I bled like a fuckin stuck pig. We went through some extroidinary shit, because these assholes didn't wanna help. Then we do this thing, and yaknow these are their people right? Nothing to worry about right? Nope, they go jackboot and try to slam the door in our face and play fucking gestapo with these poor fucks. I did not liberate these people from medical experimentation and psychological manipulation, so some amateur hour chuckle fucks could play games. So we're going to pull them out, and we need help settling these poor folks where nobody can find them."

*

Looking to Partisan as she goes off on the room, Nancy blanches. Is this going to ruin her chances at a grant. She looks to Jericho. Does Parti really know these people? Are they this much in the loop already?

Nancy clears her throat and offers a hand, though she's not exactly sure whose hand she should be shaking, so she just puts it down again. "Good afternoon," she says, starting the speech she had practiced all morning. Okay, it's the middle of the night, but she's nervous. "My name is Nancy O'Neal, and I'm here to represent the mutates from the N-Series of Hydra's Ubermensch Project." She opens her binder and hands out neatly printed presentation folders to everyone in the room, hoping that the shaking isn't obvious. This would be so much easier if she could be her usual self here and just pretend she didn't care. Fake it till ya make it, baby.

"If you would please turn to page 1 of the folder in front of you, you will see a run down of the N-Series Mutates. As you can see, Hydra was working on a two generation mutation program, to weaponize non-obvious mutations for use against military, government and even private sectors." She clears her throat again, wishing it wasn't so dry.

*

Making note of Tony's return and that he's actually drinking something with nutritional value without actually visually tracking him, Pepper listens to each person in turn and nods. She seems completely unruffled by Partisan's simple and unpolished way of speaking (the clothing seems more shocking), and as Jericho uploads all sorts of things, Pepper makes use of the display that has stopped showing Friends to pull up all of the data. And then Nancy speaks up. Accepting the presentation folder, she opens it on her lap before reaching over and pouring some of the chilled water into a cup and offering it to Nancy. She then returns her attention to the data presented, skimming the data exceedingly quickly. When she said to remind her, it was clearly just to put her mind out of Pickled Tony mode and into Business mode.

"You're needing financial assistance to relocate all of the individuals from this program and their families? How far are you wanting to move them?"

*

Lucky does a quick and silent run through of the various pages in the folder. His expression doesn't change much as he tucks away the bottle of pills into one of the many pockets on his suit, though he does seem to be holding his badly scarred head quite a bit. The images on the pages swirling and turning, mention of Hydra ringing off through his brain, bringing back small flashes of fragmented memory to light.

*

Tony is being handed something, which clearly is not sitting well with him at all. He tilts his head just a little with his eyes widening just a hair when he looks down at it, "I don't like being handed things… Here take this." A glass of water for Nancy, he was pouring it while she was making rounds as he was the furthest away in the kitchen. "Drink… breath.. you good? I like to picture everyone is naked." He's all smiles. "It wont help you be less nervous, but at least I'm always enjoying the show, right?"

And he still doesn't actually ever open the folder as he never takes it, but he does walk over and look at the data from above and behind Pepper, spying over her shoulder. With a mouthful of sluggy green smoothie, his eyes widen a bit. Once he swallows his eyes go up to the one with the extensive vocabulary of swears. "Okay.. Tell me about the chuckle fucks." Pepper has the financial element of this whole proposal all well in hand, so he doesn't bother boring himself by deciding whether they're going to fund a single thing.

The part he's interested in is how they're going to get them to this newly funded mysterious far away land of safe-dom. "I'm guessing the current guardians of the talented are going to be none to pleased with your intentions to relocate these unfortunate experimentees?" More sludgey drinking of smoothie.

*

Jericho gives Parti the ease back sign. Daughter Wolf has this. He's upset too, but Nan needs to make this pitch. It's important to her and frankly, she is the leader of this refugee group whether Hank likes it or not simply by virtue of the refugees accepting her as such. This would ordinarily be the part where he speaks up, lets Pepper know about the place between New York and Gotham that he's got a line on in the event that Nancy can't make the head honcho at the School see reason. However… he'd already briefed Nan on it. So he just uploads the relevant documents. Defunct cattle ranching facility. Lots of from. Possible adjoining hotel complex on the next property over. In need of renovation but honestly, 30 motivated people can get a lot done, especially if he and Parti and Angelo can be there to lend a hand in their respective spheres.

Tony gets a nod and here he does speak if only just to keep Nan's presentation from being derailed. "I suspect so. I'm not sure they'd violently resist if we had to move them." There's another option in play although… that one needs funding too. Nan can explain. "But they wouldn't be happy."

*

Partisan rolls it back with a sigh, watching Nancy like a proud mother. "Don't worry about dudes violently resisting us moving them, that would be the worst decision they could possibly make. If they want to start a war, I'm getting to the point where I might be obliged to give it to them."

*

Nancy takes the offered water and saying a quiet thank you to Tony. He seems to be deferring to Pepper though, so Nancy starts addressing Pepper. Mr. Stark must just be a figure head. Like one of those frat boys that inherits everything but doesn't actually know anything. The naked joke? Yeah, knowing that Tony is picturing her naked right now is not helping. She's trying to be professional, after all. She is about to continue her well practiced speech when Pepper just launches straight into page 5. Her mouth opens and closes like a fish out of water. She looks to both Parti and Jer. Ms. Potts is going off book!

Nancy closes her eyes for a moment. This is just like when a conductor decided they want to skip ahead. It's no different. Annoying, but we adapt. On with the show. She takes a calming breath, sips at the water and nods. "Yes, ma'am. We are wishing for a grant to be able to purchase the land that we are currently on. If we are unable to do that, we would buy land of equal value to it to continue the work of rehabilitating and resocializing these people. We would like to continue, even after these people are well enough to leave, for other victims of human trafficking, mutant or normal alike. We have a property lined up should the one we currently be at not prove viable."

Nancy is calmer now that she's started thinking of this as just another symphony. "We doubt that the group that has ownership of the property now will grow violent. However, should that become and issue, we have contingencies ready to go into place." She really doesn't want to get the media involved. After all, that's like outing all those people as mutants and you just don't out another person.

*

Pepper Potts can't help but smile a bit as Nancy now has two containers of water in front of her — and that Tony thought to bring her one. She seems entirely okay with letting him read over her shoulder, and in a hopefully subtle move, she sets her presentation folder on the arm of her chair while she leans forward to pour some tea into her now-empty coffee cup. And if Tony just happens to claim that copy to read more closely, well, there's the one that Nancy had for him originally that she can look at.

"How much would you be needing, and who owns the property now?" It almost sounds like Pepper is ready to cut a check right here and now, even though it's still officially Tony's or the Maria Stark Foundation's money. Because, really. Relocating people is difficult. Paying for the land they already have ties to, MUCH easier. She's also trying to make a point of not asking where this land is located. She doesn't really need to know that.

*

All the talk of relocation has Lucky in a right state, though he doesn't show it, he's currently experiencing flashbacks to a relocation of his own. A village burning those unable to make the trek locked inside the straw huts as they collapsed under the weight of the fire. Rivers of blood bodies piled high into the sky, and yet this six still sits in the middle of it all talking away as people are executed. Though he knows none of its real, it's still almost enough to drive a man mad.

*

Yoink.

As soon as Pepper very subtly lays down her folder, Tony very overtly takes it and flips through the pages without any consideration for the carefully planned presentation that is being delivered. By all accounts, he's probably thinking about something else… like everyone being naked. Periodically, while pretending, assumedly, to read the porfolio of information, he sips at his sludgy drink and makes little sounds akin too 'mmm' and 'oooh'.

Just a ruse to make people think he's still here.

As far as he's concerned, as far as he's ever been concerned, Pepper is completely capable and effectively authorized to spend his money as she sees fit. All she really has to do is put it on his desk and he'll sign it. Most people assume it is because he doesn't care, the truth is he just trusts her. Period. The woman could walk right out with everything he owns and he would just assumed she'd be back when she needed to be.

Besides, he's got a lot of money. The other day? Ten million dollars just because he wanted to give people a car. Dude is ballin'.

"I wish I had an apple…" Perking slightly, thoughtfully, and looking over into the kitchen. Then, more to the point, "I'm going to want to know more about these contingences. I get that what you're doing is for the good of some unfortunate people, but you're asking for a considerable amount of money." Wiggling the folder, still bending and searching the kitchen around the island divid. "I'm hesitant to ''officially'' fund anything that ''overtly'' leads to hostility. Because this has, 'you're taking this personal' written all over it."

Finally he's headed for his apple, brushing it off on his shirt and turning to regard the group, chewing on the first savory bite. "This is apple is amazing."

*

The Wolf Family, Jericho, Partisan and Nancy, went over property values at length and the answer is a bit over a million dollars. The property values in New York are pretty variable. On the one hand, the Nest was pretty dilapidated, so that drove the value down. On the other hand, it was on a pretty big parcel of land. So there's that.

"I am taking this personally, Mister Stark. Partisan and I befriended and defended Nancy. She went to them for help and they locked her away for two months. I found out about this while protecting her mother. I reached out for help from everywhere I could and got very little response. I worked with what I had, and risked the lives of my dearest friends to make it happen. I have fought, killed and bled for these people. I am taking this very, very, very personally."

He pauses. "But that's not what this is about. What this about is the fact that thirty people were liberated from captivity and slavery and the people we trusted to help us help them recover have decided that what they need is a gentler, kinder, less overt form of captivity. To prevent that I am prepared to push as hard as I have to. We will go to the media, take them to court, and if need be, go in shooting to extract them, though that last only at absolute last resort. And we will not do this to prove how much better or stronger we are than them. We'll do it because at the end of the day the people we rescued need help not overlords. And that is something I will die to make sure they get, if it comes to that."

*

"I'd fund this myself, but it takes time to sell conflict diamonds and gold bullion. Well and arms, unless we're talking chem-bio but I'm not terribly eager to go dumping any of that stuff on the market. The arms market is nuts these days ever since the invention of trophy and similar hardkill systems."

Glancing towards Stark casually. "Everyone wants stark ATGMs, and those aren't cheap or easy to get if you're trying to acquire them on the down low. Which is the only way to acquire them, because the only guys who have hardkill systems are Russia, Israel, America and France with the Germans soon to follow."

Finally waving a hand dismissively. "I make it a point not to become emotionally invested in my work, but Nancy is for all intents and purposes my daughter. These are her people, and I'm more than happy to undertake whatever measures are necessary to secure their safety. These jackboots want to play games and make it personal that's ok by me, I'll hurt their mother fucking feelings. They think I'm some random rinky dink weekend terrorist or something, they have no fucking clue what they're doing. We really are not just going to walk away from these people, if they had done any degree of research I would think that would be very clear. They seem to loathe me especially, so you'd think they would google me or something."

*

Nancy stands there with her two glasses of water, not wanting to offend either of her possible future benefactors. She stares at Tony. Is this guy for real? *This* is the infamous Tony Stark? Genius? Nancy decides that this Potts woman is her better choice for talking to, cause Stark is … just wow! Him and her mom. Cray cray! Still, he is in charge of the money, so when he asks…

She starts to open her mouth to assure him that it's not personal when Jericho says that it very much is. "As Jericho says, it is difficult not to take this personally. The N-Series mutates have been undergoing physical and mental testing for all their lives, imprisoned in the last year, their families imprisoned as well to insure their co-operation. We worked hard to help them be free of that and as nice as … " Nancy clears her throat. She knows she's going to have to give names. She really doesn't want to. It just feels like finger pointing and will cause troubles.

"I really am sorry. I don't feel comfortable disclosing the identity of the other people that own the land now. They try to keep private, to keep themselves as a safe haven for mutants. Some people are very … adamant against us. I don't want to say who our previous backers were, because doing so reveals them when I don't have that right to do so. It's like how the only person who had the right to tell the world that you were Iron Man is yourself, Mr. Stark."

*

Pepper Potts finishes pouring her tea, and yep, Tony took the bait. After sipping from her cup, she turns to the display now showing all the information Jericho uploaded to JARVIS. She waves a hand, pushing and minimizing all of the data to one bottom corner of the screen and opening a new document file. "JARVIS, please start drafting a form for the creation of a new targeted non-profit subsidiary of the Maria Stark Foundation, specializing in the rehabilitation and resocialization of victims of human trafficking and their families." Words are appearing on the new document as Pepper speaks. "Add in that special clause created last year specifically stating that this organization can and will and is expected to welcome individuals of every walk of life." The document suddenly has a LOT more to it.

Turning to look at Partisan, Jericho, and Nancy, she regards each of them for a moment. "Who is going to be in charge of this new rehabilitation center? Or should I ask the Foundation to assign a coordinator for you?"

*

Lucky looks off into the distance pulling a somewhat confused expression at the mention of 'google' obviously not being a big computer person himself. He adjusts his sitting position trying to focus himself back on reality the walls, and floor of the room slowly coming back into existence. It looks like he's just staring off for miles into the distance, somewhat out of the conversation altogether while he gathers his thoughts.

*

Tony takes another crunchy bite of his apple and looks down at the perforation created by his teeth. His jaw works in a slow circular chewing while he rolls the fruit around between his thumb and forefingers curiously. "Jesus, where did we get these?" Looking up with a seriously amused and elated expression. Someone is easily distracted? Thankfully, he's a decisively good mental multi-tasker.

"Won’t be long and those STark ATGMs will be gone completely." Fleety waving his fingers with a quiet whistle, "Like smoke… poof." He'll find them. That's half the point of the satellites and the markers. That part of his history is going to become very much written off as an acceptable, forgettable, and unfortunate mistake.

"You're like a little nervous bundle of adorable aren't you?" Tony calls it like he sees it. Even smiling at Nancy, "My god… you're like that little kid from the Christmas Story… only smarter." Glancing down at his watch, then back up to the group, "And cuter. Hopefully older…" Pause, "Otherwise, not cute, so not cute…"

One more bite and he's lost interest in the apple, tossing it into the recycler that mulches it and uses it for furtilizer on one of the gardens on one of the levels of his Tower. Maybe all of them? He'll check the file later. "Hey, I get it. Secrets. I love secrets.. totally one of my favorite things." Fingers splayed out on his chest, headed around the kitchen island out into the lounge with the portfolio left on the counter.

As he passes Pepper and the 'crew', he points at Nancy, "I'd say that one. You need an adorable front person, people are disarmed by it." Finger gunning towards his workshop. "JARVIS, start some easy listening huh? I'm feeling…" Stopping in his tracks and looking up into the corner of his skull, "Charitable… I love charity. It's chicken noodle soup for the soul."

*

"The refugees have accepted Nancy as their leader and frankly - I think Parti will back me up on this - that's a good choice. There's a few of the parents with experience in this kind of thing though I suppose some kind of an advisor might not be amiss, Nan?" Jericho looks over to Lucky frowns. The man's doing a good job of holding it in but Jeri has PTSD. He knows exactly what it looks like. Still, he seems to be handling it pretty well so he's not an issue for now.

"Doctor Angelo DiLucci is presently providing medical support. He'll want to continue to do so. I believe you've met him, Miss Potts?" The last question isn't really a question. Jericho was present when Pepper met Angelo at that Gala. He wonders if she remembers meeting him. He was kind of… incognito. And working.

"If the time comes to name names, Mister Stark, I'll make sure you have a bit of advanced warning. Frankly, these people betrayed every trust I have given them." His voice is hard again, as are his eyes. Nan and Part have seen him like this. Pepper? Perhaps not. "So I don't feel they're particularly due any consideration from me." Nan… may have to talk to Jeri about that later. He will, in his current frame of mind, absolutely drag that place's name through the mud given the slightest provocation.

*

“That's a Pity Stark, they're damn fine weapons though the batteries are shit. On an unrelated topic, just so nobody starts fretting over the fact your associated with a wanted man, a internationally wanted terrorist and a fantastic cello player. This op, from day one has been sanctioned. Financial and logistical support has been granted from day one, by an entity of the United States Government I don't think I should or even need to name. Likewise the shit I'm wanted for, was done under the express request of the CIA. So yes, we do go out of our way to look like mean nasty mercenary types. No in fact we're not." Part lets that just sort've hang out there for a moment

"Also I think Nancy would be lovely, but Pepper I believe she will need your assistance from time to time. If you stick me in there I'm liable to turn these people into militants by osmosis alone."

Glancing around with a lifted brow as Part recues that cigarette pack from her jacket. "Does anyone mind if I smoke? This corporate girl look shit is fucking murder, I haven't worn heels in like twenty years and I'm getting the urge to drive my thumbs into somone's eyesockets over here."

*

Nancy takes a sip from one of the two glasses. And then, just so as not to offend, she takes a sip from the other glass. See? She likes you both. Even you, Mr. Crazy Iron Man-Lord Help Me If I Ever Need You To Save My Sorry Ass. And then he calls her cute. And did he just call her smart? Okay, so not so much on the Genius front. Nancy looks over at Jericho and Partisan. Cute?? She then looks down at what she's wearing. She may never wear her orchestra ensemble again. Totally should have come in the wedding dress. Made a statement. And she feels sorry for whoever this Jarvis guy is. Some poor schmuck being this guy's butler? And he can't turn on a radio himself? Some old British poof having to be up at 2 in the morning to put on music for his boss? Hope he gets paid well.

"The N-Series Mutates, or Nutates as we have taken to calling ourselves, are still establishing a bit of a pecking order amongst ourselves. As the one that sorta saved them, they seem to look to me as a leader. I realize I'm only 21 though, so having someone more experienced than me to give me advice and suggestions would be a real load off my mind. I still have a year to go at Juilliard. Though I have considered going to school again after that for studies into therapy, to help people."

She looks to Jericho and shakes her head, letting him know it's okay. "Mr. Stark, Ms. Potts. I have reason to believe that the man that funded us to begin with might not actually be aware of the situation. It is two of the … upper echelon of his… organization, that seem to have taken it upon themselves to 'be in charge'. They feel that my youth is a disadvantage to the other nutates."

*

Pepper Potts looks at Tony and can only shake her head in quiet amusement and offer Nancy a mildly apologetic smile. At Jericho's vote to name Nancy the head of this new organization she gives the nervous young woman another assessing look before nodding and turning back to the display. "JARVIS, please list Nancy O'Neal as the head of this new organization, and get all of the paperwork started through the Foundation."

Pepper glances over at Partisan, then gestures toward the glass wall — one panel happens to be a door leading out to a balcony of sorts. More like half of the building's rooftop structure. "The patio has chairs and things, if that would be more comfortable." But if the Partisan even thinks about lighting that thing up in here, there WILL be words.

Nancy gets a smile, and then Pepper turns back to the digital document in progress. "Please add that in addition to the initial ratification grant, the Foundation will be supplying Ms. O'Neal with whatever support staff she deems necessary for the first five years, not to exceed twenty administrative positions at any one time. The Foundation will also supply any material requirements for the new organization — building remodeling or ground up construction as necessary for the first six months."

At this point, she turns to look at Tony to ensure that this meets with his approval while saying, "The initial grant will a sum total of one point five million US dollars placed in a trust fund accessible only by Ms. O'Neal and the administrator assigned to assist her by the Foundation, with a supplemental two hundred fifty thousand each following year for the first three years of the organization's existence."

*

Well that saves him going into a long and work stalling background check. Tony can appreciate the straight-forwardness of it and also harbors zero concern for what the Government wants. Never has, never will, can't be bothered. He still talks to Bruce Banner too and he's wanted for some preeeetty messed up stuff.

He's the consummate badboy.

"Tony." Says to Part. "Stark seems so professional and board roomy…" Shivering.

Tony only technically said Nan was smarter than that kid from The Christmas Story… He shot his eye out with a BB gun, so that's not saying very much at all.

"Yeah, they said the same thing about me.." Age, disadvantage, "Turns out it wasn't…" Since they're standing in the epicenter of technology and all that jazz, "I've found that the most important thing isn't what people say about you, but how you make it your business to prove them wrong." Pointing, "I'm going downstairs to invent something that funds your new foundation." Looking to his peoples, "Jason." And lastly to Pepper, "I'll have the designs on the monorail finished in a few hours… Come see me later?" The important voice…

Down he goes at a slow jog towards his workshop. Trusting Pepper explicitly in this, as he always does.

*

"Jericho nods as Pepper talks. This, frankly, is better than he'd hoped for. Regardless off where the Nest is located, it'll be well provided for, and this'll give he and Parti and Nancy a chance to set up other (legitimate) revenue streams to meet any other needs that they'll have and eventually fund this place so that Stark doesn’t have to.

Well, unless they deicide they want to. He can't imagine Nan'd turn that down. But it's her baby now.

He doesn't say anything more. He may have said too much already. Stark gets a nod as he heads out. Does Tony know that JARVIS is still tracking his every move? Hell… he hopes not.

Pepper gets a grateful nod as well, though his eyes cut over for a concerned look at Lucky before cutting back. He'll look her up later to thank her in private. For now it's late and he's got some additional work to do so that everything's ready to go when the time comes. Levering himself up, he waits for Parti and Nancy to signal their readiness to leave.

*

"If it is at all possible to add a non-disclosure clause in there, for the protection of the people that live there. Hydra is still looking for us, so any media coverage of us would sorta be … bad." And then she gets put in charge of the 'nutates'. Suddenly, Kurt and Hank's words ring in her ears. "She's only 20. Trust us, we have experience. You don't know what we know." The sudden feeling that she has just gotten in way over her head swarms over her, only getting stronger as Pepper starts mentioning numbers. Staff? 5 years? Did she say *million*? She gets that fish out of water look again, her mouth opening and closing wordlessly. Yeah, she's making a great impression here.

As Tony starts to leave, Nancy smiles at him. That 'You just gave me a pony! Yer the best dad ever' smile. "Thank you, Mr. Stark!" So taking back everything I just thought about you!

*

Partisan steps forward and rests a hand gently on Nancy's shoulder. "Breathe deep, your not alone. This is not all you, and you will have help. Me and Jerry and Miss Potts here aren't going anywhere at all, It's a little freaky and it's ok to be a little freaked out but you got this. Have I been wrong about anything in your life yet Nancy, have faith alright? Faith in the people in this room, and faith that you're incredible. Didn't I teach you that you didn't need to use violence to be a revolutionary, that change should never always come at the end of a gun?"

*

As Partisan puts her hand on Nancy's shoulder, she breaks. She starts to cry. Happy tears. She's overwhelmed. This summer has been so life changing that she doesn't know what to think. She turns around and hugs Partisan tightly, fiercely even. "Thank you. Thank you all so much. I know the nutates will do everything they can to make this up to you. All of you." Luckily, she isn't wearing her usual goth make-up or the tears would have streaked down her cheeks by now in little black rivers.


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