Hello, Aunt Peggy

April 28, 2015:

Peggy meets Tony. Tony's already met her. Because, TIME TRAVEL!

Stark Tower

Characters

NPCs: JARVIS

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's a beautiful day in Stark Tower. Actually, it's a beautiful evening in Stark Tower, and Tony's taking a moment to enjoy the view from his penthouse. It's magnificent, particularly at sunset. He's taken a little time to himself ever since finishing up on the power plant for Metropolis. They'll be having the final ribbon-cutting and lever-pulling in another week, but today he's having a quiet evening at home.

Pretty quiet, anyway. Any afternoon delight has come and gone, and Tony's relaxing in a smoking jacket and pajama pants, reclining in an Eanes chair and watching the sun set with a martini next to him. It's frankly as Howard Stark as he ever gets, except for the AC/DC blaring in the background.

*

"The best thing in the world to do is to surprise him," says Howard. "You give him any notice at all, he might conveniently not be here." Which would sound like a criticism, except, well, he pulled that trick himself on numerous occasions. It's matter-of-fact rather than some great strategy.

Whether it's Tony's doing or Pepper's, he still has free run of most of Stark Tower. "JARVIS, if you don't warn him we're coming, I promise to start building you a very sexy robot body," he says to the air as he steps onto the elevator. "He lives where he works. Sound familiar?" Although Howard's 'penthouse' at the first SHIELD HQ was a cot in his office. The principle's the same.

*

Peggy, on the other hand, is not at all sure about Howard's method's of 'surprising' Tony Stark. She has yet to meet her best friend's son in the present (in fact, she never met him in the past, either) and she has assumed there was a reason for this. Though a dynamite spy and a woman who smashes through barriers, barging in on a friend's son's home unannounced is just not done.

"Yes, that sounds quite like he took after you quite a bit, Howard," she tells her friend, her British accent coming forward all the more when she's debating politeness. "But, I'm not sure this is the proper way for him to meet me." Then, however, she is quite distracted. "Did—Did you say Jarvis? But, he's not here."

*

"Good evening, Mr. Stark. Ms. Carter!" It's not quite Jarvis's voice. It's cool and polite and British-accented, but a bit lighter in tone. Still just as professional. And it recognizes Peggy, though it seems to take JARVIS a moment to recollect her name. "Mr. Stark will be delighted to see you, I'm sure. But I don't seem to have a dinner with you on my schedule."

The elevator, clearly on its way to the penthouse — if it isn't already there — pauses.

"You must known I am not in fact bribable, Mr. Stark. Tempting as your offer may be, I do work for Tony. I am duty-bound to alert him to any guests."

He hasn't yet, though, and the elevator hasn't dinged, and Tony himself is draining his martini to the dregs. Nice, quiet, peaceful day.

*

"Tony's computerized, uh…butler, of sorts. I don't know why he named him after Jarvis," then Howard says out of the corner of his mouth to Peggy, "Seemed an awkward question to ask."

"How about you alert him the moment the door opens? That's still doing your duty." With the absolute least amount of time left for Tony to make an escape. Though those damned suits can be launched from the roof.

*

The cool British accent of the JARVIS program makes Peggy's eyes widen. She looks up at the source of the voice, head tilted just slightly. This is all too strange for her. It certainly does not have the same voice as Edwin Jarvis, but it almost has his demeanor and some of his phraseology. "Yes, well, we are here under non-scheduled circumstances, Mr. Jarvis," she tells the computer.

At Howard's aside, she raises an eyebrow. For a moment she thinks he must be joking. "Truly?" Her head tilts slightly to the side when it seems that he is not. "Howard, dear, for a remarkable genius, you can certainly be quite the clueless idiot." Rather than explain herself, she frowns, studying the man. "Would he actually run from us if he knew we were coming?"

*

"I… that is within my protocol; yes, sir. I'm sure," JARVIS continues, his voice somewhat strained — and that's some good programming — "he'll be very pleased to see you both."

The last fifteen feet or so of the elevator shaft are passed and, as the elevator door goes 'ding', the AI clears his nonexistent throat. "Mr. Howard Stark and Miss Peggy Carter to see you, sir."

Tony's already getting out of his chair when he hears the elevator go off, though, and when the door actually finishes opening, he'd got his hand and forearm in one of the gauntlets of his suit. The repulsor is charging up when the names register, and he drops his arm quickly, deactivating the repulsor. It still has enough juice to make him jump a bit, though. He doesn't look ultimately dignified: his hair is tousled and he's… well, in a smoking jacket and pajama pants and an astonished expression. Peggy Carter? But the woman there is — is Peggy. She must be. Just the one who came from the past.

The robotic arm goes 'pfft!', lifting him an inch or two off the ground again. He clenches the fist, activating some switch to deactivate and loosen it. "Hi, guys," he says, doing a pretty good job of looking nonchalant and calm. "Fancy meeting you here. If I'd known you were coming, I could have…" Avoided it entirely. "Cleaned up."

*

"Tony," says Howard as he moves briskly in through the door. He winks up at the AI, then glances at Peggy when he notes his son's state. See? "You remember your Aunt Peggy. We were in the neighbourhood. I thought we'd drop by. I heard everything's finally all sorted out in Metropolis."

He crosses the room and heads for the bar to make himself and Peggy a drink. It would seem rude, except…well, it /is/ rude, but he knows Tony won't be polite and make the offer. "Peggy, this is my son." Except…he currently looks around ten years younger than his own child.

*

Unfortunately, this Peggy is not attune to the struggles and power plays of the two Starks. The actual 'Aunt Peggy' might have known how to handle this situation from the get go. This one, however, has to take in the situation and judge things for herself. "Aunt?" she glances at Howard, the question coming out under her breath. It makes sense after it's been said, but of course, this is all new to her.

In fact, she's completely unsure of how to address the grown son of her best friend and who might already know her as an Aunt. The protocols have flown completely out the window. "Ah, yes." Peggy has faced HYDRA and Nazis and hypnotizers. And yet, despite this, a power struggle between two Starks might be the most intimidating thing she has actually come across. In the face that, she smiles. She most likely looks nothing like the Peggy Tony remembers. She is young, fresh faced and while the meticulous fashion sense always remains, she is clearly a younger woman.

There is a moment of gathering her bearings and then she is striding forward, putting out a hand to shake his, gauntlet and all. "Yes, of course. I know this may sound strange, but I have read and heard quite a bit about you, Tony. I've been quite looking forward to finally meeting you. I'm sure this must be a bit strange for you."

*

The look Tony casts at his father when the man decides to just go mixing a drink is not exactly poisonous, but that's because he's holding himself in check and being Good. So good. And because Peggy's here. It's just possible that Howard knows how likely Tony is to be a little more pleasant with Peggy there. Her, at least he has some good memories of.

He reaches out to shake Peggy's hand, and it's only when his own hand closes around hers that he realizes the gauntlet's still on it. He shakes anyway, but he removes the gauntlet right after and — after an instant's hesitation, given that he doesn't shake hands with most people at the best of times — offers to clasp her hand properly.

"I mean, go ahead, make yourself at home," he says, glancing over at Howard. "I've been curious to meet you," he adds, looking back to Peggy. At least he can offer her a slight smile. "I realize you've never met me, but the part of you that lived through the last sixty-plus years was a part of the family. Aunt Peggy was — is — one of my favorite people, so I have some high hopes for you."

There's some actual warmth there. Even if it is a bit awkward. "Please, make yourself comfortable and give me… five minutes? Long enough for JARVIS to send Dummy out with some. Uh. Tea? You still like tea."

*

"Tony. If you run away from us, I will call the other Aunt Peggy and tell her you've been rude to her. In…a manner of speaking." That's The Tone. Howard hasn't used it much since he woke up in his current state, but it's one he used (sparingly) throughout his son's youth to keep him in line.

It only takes him a minute to mix a Manhattan the way Peggy likes them, and an Old Fashioned for himself. He crosses the room and hands it out to her. "We're covered as far as refreshments. But we would like to take you to dinner. Or we can dine in, if you'd rather. I want to hear what you've been up to lately." He actually sounds like he means that. And that's something he would never have said before they made some efforts at bridge-building over the past few months.

*

"Seeing you here, amidst these things, however, I feel as if I already have," Peggy tells Tony about never meeting him. "So, you know the circumstances of my being here?" She glances at Howard at that, wondering who it was that told him. It's not exactly a government secret, but she was also under the impression that not too many people knew what exactly happened. "Your father has been a good friend to me for years. I look forward to getting to know you, though I apologize for how strange it might be for you."

Having two Aunt Peggy's - one in a nursing home in DC and one who is still in her late twenties in 2015 must be very strange for him. She take the Manhattan from Howard deftly and with a smile; she's used to him making her cocktails in awkward times. "Yes, of course. I believe the day an Englishwoman turns down tea is when the Empire actually will fall, though I'm not quite sure how tea and a Manhattan would mix at the moment."

She can already tell that her elder self was something of a balancer between the two headstrong Starks. "Howard," she chastises her old friend with a raised eyebrow. To Tony, she smiles. "If you need the time, of course. I would like to hear more about you, however."

*

"It wasn't exactly on the nightly news, but you coming back wasn't exactly — I mean, you were trending on Twitter for a little while there. Though I think… someone took care of that. It took me a little while to put two and two together, and a little longer to figure out what had actually happened, but."

When Howard makes his little threat, though, Tony takes a deep breath as if to start that shouting match he's been looking forward to. But Peggy's here. And it's his dad. And his hackles go down a bit when his dad seems to be, well, taking an interest. "I'm actually just getting dressed," he says. "How about this — you two have a nice drink, I'll clean myself up. We'll go out. We'll come back and have a cup of tea then. Let me take you out; my treat, I insist." And he's already turning to jog for his bedroom.

Turning back: "Or. If you don't feel like leaving — and who would? — I can just have dinner catered. Anything you like from anywhere in town." He's flexing his bastard muscles, he knows it. But he's also sincerely trying to do something nice.

*

"I uh, yeah, don't…I can't explain Twitter easily." Howard scratches an eyebrow. "It took me a bit to make sense of it and I had knowledge of technology up until the 80s." He exhales. Kids these days! All the possibilities of the internet and they limit themselves to 140 characters.

Peggy will notice that Howard's demeanor shifts in the presence of his son. He stands a little straighter, a little stiffer. He carries himself with the authority she's seen him carry in meetings with government officials or at press conferences. He's 'on,' in a sense.

"It's up to you, Peggy. The two of us are going to draw attention if we go out. You might not want that." She's already got a pretty high-profile for a spy, which is not exactly helpful for her work.

*

"Twitter?" While Peggy has started to grasp certain things, Twitter is certainly not one of them. Nor does she understand what 'trending' on said 'Twitter' stands for. "I'm not entirely sure I understand what you mean." As for who took care of the trending, it might be assumed it was SHIELD. Who knows, though.

And then, of course, she is put in the deciding role. She gives Howard a bit of a glare at being told the decision is up to her. It sounds quite a bit like she's being made to take sides. "Well, we are here and we have our drinks and are settling," she says. "Perhaps it best if we stay in. It seems all the better to catch up, then. And then we can speak without the worry of the outside."

It's strange to see Howard act so much more business-like with his son than he does with her. She was expecting a certain amount of authority, but this seems rather impersonal. Plus take out and catering is something that is still foreign to her. It's a thrill she is keen on experiencing.

*

"Great!"

And Tony's disappearing into his room, calling out behind him: "Pick a cuisine. I'll get the best in New York here."

When he gets into his room… well, he needs a minute. More than just combing his hair and washing his face and putting on real pants. Which he wouldn't have done for Howard. His nice, quiet evening has been interrupted, but maybe it won't be so bad. Maybe this evening with Dad isn't going to end in a fight.

It's a few minutes before he comes back out, but he's dressed a lot more decently — slacks, dress shirt, but no jacket or tie. He's pulling out his phone and flipping through the options there, adding into whatever conversation they might be having by then: "Twitter's like graffiti. It's just on a wall the size of the internet."

*

Howard snaps and points at Tony. "CANTU. Is that place still open? Fantastic Neapolitan restaurant. Truly authentic. Peggy, you'd love the Genovese. But you know, Tony, we have to get the wine as well. It needs a proper pairing." Because these sorts of things are important.

The fact that he doesn't comment on what Tony's wearing means he doesn't…directly disapprove. He might have something to say if they were actually going out.

*

"Incomprehensible and illegal?" Peggy questions Tony at his attempt at describing Twitter in relation to graffiti. This may be more than just a generational thing.

As for where to order dinner from, she'll allow the two Starks to figure that part out. She's never been particular about food. Nor does she particularly care what Tony is wearing when they eat. As far as she is concerned she is here to meet Tony and to learn more about him. As such, she takes a drink of her Manhattan finally and glances between father and son, already realizing the mine field that she has found herself in.

"I'm amenable to whatever you both choose." For this, she'll stick to the middle of the road.

*

"Just incomprehensible," Tony replies with a slight smile. "Mostly, I mean it's short little messages you want everyone to see. It's — " But he cuts himself off, waving a hand. "CANTU's under new management. Has been for a long time now. But Neapolitan? There's actually a fantastic place for that. You took me to CANTU once. I remember. They had these little things with ricotta… anyway, the best Genovese in town is at Marceliano's. They have one of the old CANTU chefs still there, actually. JARVIS, can you pull up the menu?"

One of the windows shimmers from showing a lovely view to displaying, instead, an elegantly laid-out menu. There's not many dishes, but each one appears to be genuine. There's no mention of delivery.

"Check the wine list," he says. "There's a red that I think is going to be perfect with this. I'll get them to send up a bottle, unless you're going to order something light? Might as well get a white dessert wine too."

*

This kind of showing off might impress ordinary people, but Howard's no stranger to twisting the arms of fine dining establishments to have his way in exchange for a big tip. Money gets around a lot of hurdles.

He stands in front of the larger-than-life menu and examines the choices. He points out a series of dishes. "And one of whatever they've got on as a special. Just because I'm curious."

He glances sidelong at Tony and can't help but grin a little. The peacocking. He knows it all too well. It's a natural Stark impulse that's hard to ignore. "What's next, now that Metropolis is up and running?"

*

Money is going to be initially getting around the fact that this place isn't in fact set up for delivery. Tony makes a mental note of the items, fiddling with his phone and ambling around back and forth in front of the window. "The cannolis are amazing. You remember that little old lady in the place by the underwear store on Orchard? That bakery? It's like those. Not too sweet, they're just — anyway, we're getting some of those."

He starts dialing the phone, adding: "Ribbon cutting next week and then I dunno, I really need to come up with a new project. I mean, it's not like I don't have a dozen lying around, but something… well, big. Hello! Julius. I know that voice anywhere; this is Tony. Tony Stark. …No, really, check the number. Tony Stark. Listen…"

*

At the window suddenly changing to a menu, Peggy looks at it not exactly with wonder, but curiously. She's seen incredibly advancements at SHIELD and the fact that Steve is alive and looks like he did in 1945 is enough of a miracle to her that she will attempt to take most things in stride. She is Peggy Carter, after all.

Having known and worked with Howard for so long, the fact that Tony may be able to call up a restaurant that doesn't deliver to deliver to them is not exactly news to her. However, it does cause her to smirk, eyes drifting between the two Starks - the easy comparisons already made.

"A new project?" she asks Tony curiously. "Is the…Iron…Man… the words are a bit marbled in her mouth, sounding a bit strange with her accent. "…project…is that not enough?"

Then, though, he has turned away to make their orders. She gives Howard a knowing smile. Discreetly, she moves to stand by him and in a low tone of voice says with much warmth, "He's…well, he's very much like I would ever picture your son, Howard."

*

"I'm not sure how to take that," murmurs Howard in response to Peggy. He arches brows and looks towards Tony, then back to Peggy. Well. That might require a conversation over drinks later.

But then, there's delicious Italian to be eaten, and awkward topics to dodge around (hopefully Peggy shares his disapproval re: cybernetic suits.)

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