Pity Party Stark Style

November 12, 2014:

Pepper finds Tony after he returns to Stark Tower from his 'meeting' with LMD Howard Stark.

Stark Tower

Rising high into the skyline with the name of it's Lord and Master for all to see, the Stark Industries Tower is the most visible component of the Stark Industries complex centered in Midtown Manhattan. Manufacturing, office space, power generation and even some inventory is housed in the tower and its associated sub-levels. It also contains guest housing and, at the top, the penthouse suite that is the domain of the Main Man himself, at least, when he's not at his Malibu home.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

So Tony didn't mention it to Pepper, but he had been to see Howard over at SHIELD HQ. That meeting when about as well as anyone could have expected it would, but who really would have ever expected it would at all? Tony certainly hadn't.

The entire ride back to the Tower he hadn't said two words to Sam, which probably made the medic a little uncomfortable. Especially when he waved off company and headed for the penthouse alone with strict instructions to JARVIS that NOBODY was allowed to interrupt him.

The elevators won't even go to that floor. The AI just refuses.

All except a very small group of people, one actually, who has the access codes to override JARVIS' commands, that is.

In as long as Pepper has worked for Tony he'd never locked himself that tightly away. Sitting on the over stuffed couch with a water bottle sitting on his sweat pants covered knee while some news broadcast plays on one of the holo screens suspended in mid-air. Cigar unlit between his fingers laying on the arm of the couch. He looks somewhere else, somewhere far away.

-

Pepper has seen Tony lock himself away before, but never to this degree. That does not bode well. After asking JARVIS to tell her what he could, she raided her personal stash of gelato, left her shoes on the floor in her office, and padded up to Tony's penthouse, keying in the override so she could get past the AI's locks.

Her weight settles onto the soft next to Tony, the chill of the frozen confection's container landing lightly next to the water bottle on his knee. "Hey," Pepper offers quietly. She's completely and totally blaming herself for having failed to catch Tony before he found out and headed to SHIELD HQ to see Howard Stark for himself.

-

Tony glances over at the door when it slides open and seeing Pepper, the only person besides himself who could have gotten up here, doesn't seem at all surprised. Or upset, honestly. He waves his hand in a half-hearts salute from where it sits holding a cigar on the couch then turns to stare up at the holo screen once more.

When she plops down beside him and offers gelato on the other hand? The cigar is forgotten into an ash tray and the water bottle is set on the table in favor of the frozen treat. "Hey." Said quietly, distantly. "Interesting thing… you're never going to believe this… I ran into my two decade old dad today." Grinning, sardonically, probably a little sarcastically, but still grinning.

"Crazy right?"

-

Pepper's return smile is small and just a little bit sad. "Well, yes crazy, but…" How does she tell him that she was there when the SHIELD people found the LMD claiming to be the elder Stark? "… weirder things have happened?" She knows what she really wants to ask, but she just can't bring herself to form the words. Not yet, anyway.

Turning to sit facing Tony with one shoulder leaned into the back of the sofa, she tucks her feet up under her legs to give herself a moment longer to think. "How did you find out?"

-

Tony concedes that point with a nod and a motion with one hand, not like it's THAT far out of the realm of believeability considering everything he's accomplished and all that they've seen and done. Just that it's his father… and the meeting hadn't gone nearly as well as he'd ever hoped or imagined.

Instead of saying anything else, at least right at first, he scoops up some of the gelato with one curled finger and sucks it from the digit. Quietly chuckling and lifting one shoulder in a shrug, "Nobody in this building can keep a secret like that." Which doesn't really answer the question does it? "A mixture of something JARVIS said and me directly confronting Falcon. That guy would make a terrible poker player."

That being said, "When were you going to tell me?" Not 'were you going to tell me', but 'when'. He knows she would have eventually.

-

"As soon as I could get back here. I didn't want to tell you news like that over a text or phone call. I tried to hurry, but you found out before I managed it." Pepper then holds up a spoon for Tony to claim. You know, unless he wants to keep eating the Italian ice cream with his fingers. "Then I knew it was too late and kind of pointless to try and catch you." So, she's trying for appeasement now.

"Miss Potts, Sir," JARVIS offers in the less snarky than usual tone he seems to reserve for Pepper, "Mr. Lucky is in the elevator with dinner. Am I permitted to grant him access?"

-

Tony reaches for the spoon and reverses it for repurposing into eating italian ice the way god intended it: not with his fingers. "Mm." Nodding, waiting until he's swallowed another delightfully rejuvenating mouthful of gelato, "What can I say, I do everything quickly." Possibly in way of sounding a little apologetic. Leaning back so as to kick his bare feet up on the edge of the table.

"Meeting didn't go so well." As if that was some sort of surprise. "I think at one point I even called him names. I'm not proud of it…" Still grinning, now so as to hide the fact that this particular point bothers him more than he would ever openly let on.

Tony looks to the elevator doors when JARVIS chimes in, "Yeah, let him up JARVIS. So long as it's Italian food. If it's not, tell him he's fired."

"Not really JARVIS, he can come up." Tony corrects quickly, knowing the AI would do exactly that.

-

It was a bit of a long trek trying to find the best southern comfort food in NYC, being as most of the 'better' places were a bit too packed to get in and out quickly but he eventually found it in well the last place you'd think to find good food: a bar. By now he's practically on a first name basis with the staff over at the HH, which made it easy for an odd request for a nice meal. It's everything one could expect from home grown southern comfort food with that odd Vietnamese twist that you wouldn't think would work well with it.

Jason's got the food held under one arm in an unmarked paper bag, stored in containers he provided himself, but hey boss wants southern comfort, he's going to get it. He doesn't know the boss wanted Italian, but to be honest this food could probably pass just as easily for Italian as the southern comfort food Pepper had asked for. The look on his face is a bit more somber then usual as he waits in the elevator, still trying to recover somewhat from recent events, though the plan is to shove all that pesky emotion and trauma away soon as the doors open.

Pepper Potts ohs as Tony relates vaguely how his meeting his long-dead father went, but before she can really formulate a reply JARVIS informs them that Jason has arrived with dinner. "Well, if it went that well, Tony, then you have nowhere to go but up. Right?" She then moves to stand as the elevator doors open to let Lucky through, headed toward the kitchen to get plates and silverware and napkins. Because sitting on the sofa for dinner actually sounds like an even better idea now. "Do you want me to put the gelato in the freezer for you?" She offers Jason a small wave as an invitation to come on down.

-

Tony had just really gotten started devouring the gelato when the elevator doors opened, but with food arrived it seemed polite to at least pretend to be interested in it right? "Yeah." Recapping the ice cream and pushing up from the sofa to make his way into the kitchen. Even the casual observer would not that some of the fire is out of him. Like some switch has been flipped in the off position.

Handing the ice cream over to Pepper, Tony digs around in one of the cabinets for a bottle of rather expensive scotch in a crystal glass bottle. A few pieces of ice from a bucket on the counter into a glass and he pours two fingers and heads back to his seat.

Snickering, quietly, as he relates a bit more, "He had the balls to stand in my face and tell me he built Stark Industries for ''me''… can you believe that?"

-

Tony's not the only one but with Jason it'd take a bit more trained eye to spot what's off with him lately, though it's not unexpected as he places down the bags, and starts opening up the…. well the whatever it is. When he asked for southern comfort food it seems the chef didn't exactly know what to make of it and just kind of went nuts with it. There are combinations mixed in that even some of the most daring connoisseurs could hardly imagine, and every bit of it looks fantastic.

When the booze gets pulled Jason's hand tenses a bit, the temptation being there to try and have a bit of it with Tony, but he went three weeks without any of his usual vices, what can another week hurt? He looks back over to the food trying to set it up, and not get himself thrown out by commenting on Tony's father issues. He's been around long enough to know getting involved with that kind of thing only ends in tears. Even agreeing with what someone says could get you slapped in this kind of situation, so he just keeps his nose out of it the wafting oddly mixed aromas carrying through the air.

-

Inwardly telling herself to let Tony have a little scotch if he wants, Pepper does not so much as give the glass a second look as she takes the gelato container and puts it into the freezer. She'll cut him off if he starts trying to single-handedly empty the Tower's liquor stores. "That was probably more in reaction to the way I introduced myself more than anything, Tony." She's not trying to defend the elder Stark, just state a simple fact. "He has no way of knowing that you're actually more involved with Stark Industries now that you're not having to deal with the everyday headaches of being CEO."

Pepper brings the plates et al over to where Lucky's revealing the food, and her eyebrows draw together in mild confusion. "You weren't able to get into Trudy's?" The question is pretty much moot, though, because whatever this stuff is, it smells INCREDIBLE.

-

Tony mms quietly and takes a sip of scotch as he resettles onto the couch where he can prop his feet back up and retake his cigar. Now between his teeth he grabs a small butane lighter and tilts his head towards the strong flame and puffs the cigar to life, mostly because scotch and cigar is a wonderful thing.

"I guess." Said quietly after he's taken a few long puffs, eyeing whatever it is that Lucky's brought them to eat. "You're surprisingly quiet… even more so than usual." Said to the security man, "The guy who made you immortal comes back from the dead and you don't even have a 'that's so ironic' joke for me?" Pointing at Jason, "You're slipping."

-

Jason makes his way back over silently with the plate Tony's comment getting to him for just a moment as he sits out the plates for everyone with a bit of everything on it. There's that instant where he just looks completely dead inside that veneer of calm and collected dourness cracking slightly, but it's gone just as fast. He reaches into the pocket of his shirt pulling out a rather oddly expensive cigar, and sitting it in front of Tony beside the plate of food.

"Was preoccupied" is the first set of real words out of his mouth all day to any of them, as he forces all of that trauma right back where it belongs, balled into a corner. Then he's moving right along to answering pepper with a simple "Too packed," His voice sounding about as monotone as one would really expect.

-

Pepper Potts came in here worried about Tony (and peripherally, Jason). But now she's equally worried about both them. She accepts the plate from Lucky and looks from one man to the other for a moment before going for what she hopes is a 'safe' topic. "Tony, I thought we'd agreed to make entire building a no-smoking environment." At least, that's what she told Jason a few weeks back… back when that horrid book of Constantine's buried in the bottom drawer of her desk was making her snappish and short-tempered.

-

Tony considers the cigar laying on the table beside his plate, and yes he does know a cuban when he sees one. Then he considers Lucky with the cigar he's smoking rolling slowly between his fingers. Ultimately it is Pepper that drags him out of whatever he was thinking, mming with one brow raised as he glances over at her, "And I distinctly remember saying 'except for special occations'. And if I didn't specifically say that, I specifically know I should have." Holding up his cigar, "This." Scotch in the other hand, "And this. Are increasing my calm, right now."

That being said he looks out towards the balcony and sighs, "If you want, I'll take it out on the patio, but I'd much rather not. It's cold out there and I'd have to find shoes."

-

Moving back over to his own plate of food Jason sits down cracking open a bottle of water, trying to offer a somewhat reassuring look over at Pepper that he's just fine, but his whole heart isn't exactly in it. Tony's mention of shoes makes him think for a moment about taking off his own boots looking down at the light they're reflecting back off of them from the mirror polish shine on them.

-

Pepper Potts backs off from the cigar topic as readily as she spoke up. "If today isn't a unique occasion, I don't know what is." She doesn't care at all for the smell of the smoke, but for Tony right here and now she'll put up with it. Taking up her fork, she samples the food on the plate Jason gave her and appears very positively surprised. "Okay, you have got to tell me where you ordered this."

-

Tony lays his head back on the cushion of the couch, feet kicked up with his ankles crossed on the corner of the table, a cigar in one hand and a glass of scotch in the other. To the uninformed observer it may well seem like this is what the good life looks like. Those who scratch the surface or just know the truth of things know there's a great deal more to the picture. Beneath the calm exterior, Tony is in a flux. For two decades everything about him has been a carefully constructed outward expression designed specifically to combat a multitude of self doubt related issues, more than one of which, is a direct response to the awkward relationship between himself and his father.

That facade is now coming down all around him. The ultimate legacy of the Stark name is 'secrets'. Black secrets that have long reaching and over shadowing consequences. He's no better than his father in that regard. Building things in his workshop that will never see the light of day or only see it if the light of day starts to fade. Back up plans upon backup plans. How easily could he slip into something ever so similar to that of Howard?

Wake up one day with so many years of regret and too much time past to actually express them? The thought has him glancing down at the ever present glow of the arc reactor in his chest. His father is a machine, but how ''different'' is Tony?

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