Hell Freezes Over

Summary:
August 18, 2014: Hell Freezes Over; Tony Stark comes to Metropolis to Apologize.

Daily Planet

Headquarters of one of the greatest papers in the world.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
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Tony is unaware that Pepper has already been to see Clark or he probably wouldn't have come himself. It probably looks like they're trying to strong arm the journalist into retracting the article, even to the receptionist, when Stark heads in wearing a fairly nice ash grey suit asking after Kent. Further, his reputation probably doesn't paint him in a very good light, considering his appearance: Pale, sunken eyes, huge bags… He's done a lot to try and make himself a little more presentable, but there's only so much out there to fix 'the morning afters' that doesn't involve make-up.

Tony stops at the desk and offers the woman a charming smile, "Hey, I called ahead." He did because just showing up seemed to exacerbate the situation. That's a big step for him too, as most of the time he just sort of seat of the pants things. "Meeting with Clark Kent? Tony Stark.. yes ma'am." No doubt he's getting cut eye looks… wasn't his assistant just here?

She was matter of fact. Just yesterday. The receptionist seems to believe she knows what's going on, and the drill is the same. The Bullpen is no place to talk—it's chaotic and ears are everywhere. Tony is led to a conference room where Clark, like he was with Pepper, is already seated. But while yesterday he was smiling when they met and even offered a handshake, he makes no such pretenses this time. "Round three, I presume," Clark says, looking slightly silly with the glasses and the bad suit, but his face is dead serious.

The trip to the conference room is probably a quiet one. There's an air about things that, while polite, does kind of come off like they're strong arming. Tony knows it, hard not to know it. So when he steps into the conference room it's the first time he's smiled since initially greeting the receptionist. With a nod of thanks, he looks to Clark and waits until they're at least marginally alone, "No, not really." Shaking his head and pulling out a seat, only thinking to nod towards it questioning a second before sitting down.

"I owe you an apology. I could have said all this in a phone call, but.." His expression is a little distant, possibly not very good at the saying sorry business, "I was rude and unprofessional. You weren't asking anything that the people didn't have a right to know and I treated you poorly for it. I'm sorry about that."

Clark seems surprised. He raises his eyebrows and leans back in his chair, folding his arms in his lap. "Less than twenty four hours ago, your personal assistant and her hired muscle came in here trying to strong arm me, mock my preparation, and even insinuated that I was un-American. I guess I'm pretty surprised, Mr. Stark. In any event, your apology is duly noted and accepted."

Tony makes an 'ah' face and nods, "Funny, I'm usually the one making accusations…" Again he motions to the seat, "I think this all took a pretty hard turn and honestly, it isn't your fault in the least. Just because it's been a rough couple weeks for me, doesn't mean you should tap dance around that. You have a job to do. Anyways, you think we can start again?" Shrugging a shoulder, "I don't want your readers thinking I'm an uncaring as-… Uh.." Searching for the word, he just leaves it hanging out there and chuckles, fingers running back into his hair.

Clark makes a face of consideration, "Well, I think that you definitely deserve to have your side of the story told. If you'd like, I'd be happy to advocate to Perry White a response in the Opinion column where you could speak directly to the people. I'm sure Ms. Potts will tell you that I'm not going to back down from the story that I wrote. I stand by it, and retracting it is not an option."

Tony considers that option and bobs his head from side to side, "I guess there is the internet crowd… Rumor has it I don't know how to actually write." Levity, if mild levity. "What I'm asking for isn't a retraction, though. What you said, it wasn't wrong, It just wasn't the entire story. I don't do a lot of exclusives because I don't…" Thinking how to word it, Tony tugs at his bottom lip, "I'm narcissistic…" Is that really explaining it? No, so he tries again, "I'm terrible at interviews. I think that just because I've changed, people realize it without me showing them… and as far as you, and probably anyone paying any attention to the other media, has seen… I haven't. I just call it something different and pretend that makes up for everything my company did."

Instead of sitting down, he leans both hands against the chair, "I made weapons that killed people and no matter how much I actually do to change that now, I have to live with that guilt. No amount of money I send, people I protect, or weapons I destroy is ever going to bring those women, children, and fathers back. I know full well who created those weapons… I did. It doesn't matter how they got them, whether I sold them myself or my company did it behind my back… absolutely irrelevant to the fact I created them. Intentional or not, I caused people to die."

Tony tips his head towards Clark, "I'm not here to change your opinion of me. I'm here so that you know and through you, your audience knows, that I'm trying to make up for that. Through my actions, through the actions of my company… and we haven't made a very good impression, if Pepper came with a body guard flinging accusations… but she was trying to protect me. I don't deserve protection because every single word you wrote was true. It was true." That said, he straightens, "After I read your article, I realized that. So, along with my apology, I wanted to thank you."

"You're welcome," Clark says as he eyes the man for a long time. "Listen, I'm not one to give you advice, but if you look at the history of this country, our nation loves honesty. We hated Nixon for never telling the truth, and forgave guys like Bobby Kennedy and Bill Clinton when they apologized and took ownership. I don't want to tell you how to run your company, but if you mean the words you say, it seems like telling people what you told me, filterless and unabridged would go a long way in repairing your image."

Tony, likewise, regards Clark, always with a serious if inwardly distracted expression. Guy looks like he just finished a bottle of jack or came out of a chemotherapy appointment, so he probably does have a lot on his mind. "Talk to your editor." From the inside pocket of his suit he produces a card and hands it over to Clark, "This is my personal number. If he is willing to print it, give me a call?" Genuinely regarding the journalist, "I appreciate someone who sticks to their guns, Mr. Kent. I know it sounds pretty fragile coming from someone with as terrible a reputation as I have, but I value honesty more than just about any quality in a person." Nodding, "Thanks for seeing me. Sorry you've seen so much of Stark Industries, recently…" Laughing quietly, "Hopefully, my dentist doesn't show up later today."


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