A Pepper Dinner

April 10, 2015:

Pepper hosts a dinner for friends. Cricket, Ludie and Babs show up… and then so does a dragon.

New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

A couple of months back, Partisan and Pepper made an agreement to share home cooked meals with each other about once a month. This month it's Pepper turn to cook. Suspecting she's going to WAY overdo the portions (because she only ever learned how to cook for an army), she invited a few other people to dinner as well. Of course, not all of them can be here, but those that can…

It's early evening, and Pepper's apartment is already filling with the armoas of roast beef in the oven, fresh bread in a basket on the stovetop soaking in the radiated warmth from the oven, the faint underlying aroma of a mini-rose plant in a planter by the patio door. For her own part, Pepper is dressed down as much as she ever is, wearing jeans and a baggy t-shirt in medium blue with a black collar and a gold symbol printed on the fabric just below her left collarbone that vaguely resembles an 'A'. On the back of the t-shirt in a stilted font is a single word: Fascinating.


Partisan is, well on time of course. It's the mother fucking Partisan, She's never late to anything. Dark blue leather riding gear, grey helmet and a backpack stuffed to the brim. She has goodies of course, and more than the strictly edible sorts tonight. She pauses at the door to knock, before leaning against the doorframe and crossing her legs ever so casually. "Pep it's Ludie, get the door when you don't have your hands full girl."


Babs had arrived earlier, the trip from Gotham when not riding a Dragon can be slow. She's dressed in jeans and a collared T-Shirt and has been watching Pepper cook and speaking with her. At Ludie's call, Babs smiles at the other redhead "I'll get. That, at least, I can do." Moving her chair across the floor, Babs opens the door "Hello Ludie, it's nice to see you again."


Pepper specifically told Cricket to dress down for the occasion. it took several tries for Pepper to make it clear what that meant. it finally took the bot scanning several movies from the 80's for her to get it. when she arrives, she is appropriately dressed down, wearing designer jeans, a baseball jersey style shirt that bears the Stark logo and designer sneakers. apparently she found designer style Keds. she brings with her a basket of goodies from Hickory Farms, laden with cheeses, crackers and meats. She nods tothe woman that calls herself Ludie as she too stands at the door.


Pepper Potts is about to holler out for Ludie to let herself in when Babs goes to get the door. "Thank you, Babs." She's almost literally elbows deep in making something she found in one of her hand-me-down recipe books — it's a beverage that mixes several different types of citrus and carbonated water. No grapefruit, though. Too bitter.


Letting Ludie and then Cricket in, Babs smiles up at the dressed down woman "Hello Cricket, nice to see you again too." Looking over her shoulder, Babs responds "My pleasure, Pepper. It's at least a way I can help. Would you like me to organise drinks for your guests, Pepper?"


"Oh thankyou Babs, lovely of you to join us tonight."Part slips into the apartment, unzipping her jacket and tugging the shemagh from around her neck. "I wasn't sure precisely what you were upto so I brought wine and Rakia, this time I made sure the Rakia was a little more gentle mind you."She eases out've her backpack and begins rooting around, before producing a pair of bottles on the dining room table. "Oh Cricket was it?"Her gaze snapping back towards the door with a pleasant smile. "Goodness Pepper you've a full house to feed now."


Smiling to Babs as she enters, Cricket then smiles to Ludie. Facial recognition doesnt alert her that this is anyone she has met before, but she seems familiar with Pepper, so does a quick scan of Pepper's contacts. The PA doesnt let it show when that too proves futile, keeping a careful eye on the stranger now.


"Thank you, Babs. That'd be great." Pepper already has the table quasi-set, all of the flatware and silverware and so on on the table but still stacked to be set out as needed. She wasn't sure how many people would show up, after all. "Well, Ludie, remember I warned you I can't can't cook for just a few people? I kind of stacked the deck so I wouldn't be stuck eating leftovers for the next week." She finishes squeezing the last of the varied citrus fruits and stirs the resulting concoction. The carbonated water gets added later. "Cricket, you… are those dsigner sneakers? Really? I said to dress DOWN. That means casual and comfortable." She plucks at her own blue t-shirt as if to illustrate, then turns to mind something on the stove, which reveals the word printed across the back.


Partisan slips out've her jacket, exposing that ratty "Los Pepes!" T-shirt she has tucked into her riding pants. Exposing the grip of that stainless steel 1911 and what is that 5-6 spare magazines and a big scary looking kerambit in the small of her back? Not that Part seems terribly bothered, because as soon as she untucks that T-shirt she seems to have forgotten all about it. "Well remind me, exactly what part of our last meal was small?"Producing a heavy leather bound tome from her bag, followed by two more which she sets by the head of the table. Then she sets the booze out where it can be accessed by well, anyone. "Hey Pepper you got a balcony or something I can use for a smoke?"


Cricket beams a smile when Pepper comments about her sneakers. "Aren't they wonderful? And a steal at only $300. Since I was wearing the company baseball jersey, I thought you would forgive a little extravagence." When Cricket sees the weapon that this Ludie person is wearing so casually, she contacts JARVIS immediately for a full response strike team to attack at a moments notice


The sight of the pistol in Ludie's belt has Babs stilling, freezing momentarily, going pale as her fingers grip the arm of her chair. Then it's covered and the wheel chair bound redhead let's out a long slow breath, composing herself. "Glasses… and refreshments." Babs busies herself doing those honours… and kind of stares at Cricket with the $300 shoes.


Pepper Potts is sharp enough to notice both Cricket's and Babs' reactions to Ludie's pistol even as she checking on some vegetables steaming on the stove top. "Yes, the french doors just past the rose plant. And Ludie, would you be offended if I asked you to leave your firearms in the guest bedroom while we eat?" She doesn't elaborate on why, hoping that the Partisan will catch on without it having to be explained. THe mention of $300 shoes really doesn't faze Pepper at all, she's got several pairs far more expensive than that. Just… sneakers. Really.


Partisan half turns to blink after Pepper for a moment, before nodding. "Three hundred dollars for sneakers, goodness gracious where do you even find places like that."She snags her backpack, and after a second's thought her jacket as well before heading off to the guest bedroom."Your house your rules Pepper, not an issue."before off she goes, taking a moment to disarm herself. Mostly, more than she would for anyone else really.


Cricket and JARVIS are in a heated conversation, discussing the possible threat to the Stark CEO, even as she feigns a casual air. "Oh, there are many lovely shops here. And if I cant find it here, i can always have things shipped from Europe or Japan." She takes the gift basket into the kitchen.


Throwing Pepper a grateful smile, Babs pours out drinks and offers them around, taking a glass for herself. "So Pepper, what's the occassion? It's very nice of you to invite me along."


Pepper Potts turns off the stove then accepts the basket from Cricket with a smile. Ooh, there are some GOOD cheeses in here. She might just be selfish and not share them. "Not any occasion really, Babs. Ludie and I agreed to cook for each other every now and again because neither of us really gets the chance to cook all that often. And I thought you might want to spare me the leftovers."

Looks like dinner is ready as Pepper starts getting things ready to carry to the table. The steamed veggies are put in a serving bowl, a tossed pasta salad pulled from the fridge, and the basket of bread moved off of the stove. "Should we start a bucket line, maybe?"


"Oh hey I copied down all the recipes I could think of Pep, but yaknow some don't have names so I just sketched what it looks like."Part returns with an idle stretch, before silently getting dishes moved with an appraising eye set on each in turn. "We're sort've cooking nerds I suppose, but well alot've the dishes from my homeland don't reduce very well and it's no fun to just make things for yourself. The people I work with are all cavemen, an well I could give them raw ramen as easily as anything else and they'd all just be pleased as punch that they didn't have to make it. Much more fun making food for people who can enjoy it."


Cricket says nothing about the strike force that is gathering around Pepper's apartment. no need to worry people if they are not needed. She helps bring food from the kitchen. "If there are any leftovers, I could deliver care packages to the homeless in Hell's Kitchen." She pffers a smile to Ludie, "well, that does sound nice."


Pepper Potts hands Cricket the serving bowls as Babs makes room on the table for them, then carefully pulls the pot roast from the oven with a pair of oven mitts made to look like a pair of 8-bit mouse cursor hands. As she does so, she latches onto Cricket's suggestion. "That is a fantastic idea, Cricket. We should do that for the MSF some time. Then both Ludie and I could cook like we're accustomed to cooking, and no one in all of New York would go to sleep hungry."


Partisan shrugs a little "Not sure what I'll have time for, but I've got nothing against that. Been ages since I ran a proper mess, well forever and a day it seems like."Watching that potroast in particular with interest. "One of the very few things the Russians got right though, they get people back to work with very little delay. Its very difficult to be homeless in Russia, not hard to be poor but homeless? Naw."


"It is a good idea" Babs likes the idea of helping the homeless. The potroast smells heavenly and Babs makes sure there is plenty of room on the table and moves out of the way. "I don't cook. Dad worries about me… sends care packages when he remembers."


"We could always have the MSF host a soup kitchen. they are always looking for support. We could do a volunteer night there. Get the Iron Man suit out with the public?" Cricket smiles at Babs mention of her father. "It sounds like he cares about you very much."


Pepper Potts nods to Cricket and Babs as she gets out the serving utensils. "Okay, no formalities here. And Babs, I'll bet you could toss a mean salad if you tried." She then gets the citrus juice mix and the carbonated water. Okay, you've got to try the Rakia first, but this is something maybe we can all sample around dessert time.


Cricket enjoys the evening with good food, good friends, and good conversation. At the end of the evening she offers Babs a ride home.


"The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, that's so true it's proper commedy really."Part seats herself, and well reguardless Part gets into the Rakia first. "If you want Babs, I can teach you how to cook. Every American cook book I've ever seen is a disaster, you just need to learn how to cook the correct way."Part starts filling her plate, clearly wasting no time here. "You start by learning how to bake bread, because if you can't bake bread then you can't cook anything else either. A good loaf of bread though, will be welcome at any dinner table. Its never the wrong thing to bring, and once you can bake bread? You can make bunnychow, and that will snare any man alive. You want to marry, you learn how to bake bread."Love advice with the Partisan, and she hasn't even started drinking yet! She does however, pawn off those three heavy journals to Pepper.


Babs smiles at Part and Pepper and shakes her head "I said I don't cook, not can't… " she shrugs "Honestly, I get so tied up in my computers I forget to eat." Something that is the but of many jokes in her family. Nodding to Cricket "Yes, Dad does. An awful lot." Taking some of the Rakia, Babs blinks at the relationship advise from Part "Truly, if a man only wanted me because I could cook…. " he isn't the man for her.

The journals that are passed to Pepper get an interested look, but if the information is to be shared, it will be.

"Gosh, this is lovely." Babs sips lightly from the Rakia, settling in to enjoy the meal and the company.


Pepper Potts helps serve up then gets her own plate and a cup of the Rakia before looking at the journals curiously. She does take a moment to share a look with Cricket. It's very likely that in the near future Cricket is goign to be helping 'remind' Babs to eat something at regular intervals.


Taking a sip of the Rakia, Pepper smile. "Oh, that IS good, Ludie. I like it a little milder like this." Then with her fork in one hand, she opens the first journal. "Recipes." She blinks. "Wait. Really?"


Partisan nods softly "Very ancient libation, my family have been making this since before the roman empire supposedly. If we're honest, I'm not exactly sure when Rakia was invented so take that family legend for whatever it's worse."Part tosses her glass back, before quietly pouring another. "You don't keep a man with food, you do that with honest love. You must however, capture his interest and pluck his heart strings. A man will tell you almost anything about himself over a very good meal. Thats why they used to call the first time a man went to a woman's home for dinner, the bewitching meal. You pull them in with the food, you pull apart the petals and you get a good look at the man as he truly is not merely as he wishes to be seen."The Journals are, well Part's calligraphy is decidedly business like but it covers everything. There are recipes on everything from apparently the entire national menu of Bulgaria, to more regional dishes like Pho and so fourth. She's even drawn little sketches where a particular method is called for, full of neat little annotations. "The second greatest piece of propaganda ever written, is that men are complicated. They're simple but secretive without meaning to be."


Seeing Pepper settle, Babs becomes very involved with her meal before looking to Partisan and Pepper "You wrote your recipes down for Pepper?" As to men, Babs is quiet about that. Rowan and her have shared several meals…


Pepper Potts looks sincerely gobsmacked at what the journals mean, more so than what they contain. "I'll treasure them, Ludie. And I will use them until they fall to pieces." Then she's tucking in a bit more readily. "Oh, and I don't think Babs needs advice for snagging a man. I've seen her smile at that one young man. WHat's his name again? Rowan?" She doesn't mention that he's anything other than an ordinary young man, that's not her information to share.


Partisan lifts her hands and offers a little "Alrighty, I'll knock off matchmaker mode then promise."pouring another glass of that Rakia with a amiable little shrug. "Pepper it's no big deal girl, you're the first person to ever ask. I've learned more than I've cared to over the years, only right that I teach what I know right?"


Babs nods a little "Rowan. Yes." Although what their relationship is, apart from very good friends, is open to interpretion. The obvious friendship between the two women has Babs smiling and she nods more at Ludie's statement "Sharing what we've learned is a great gift. May I ask how you two come to know each other?" The redhead is still a little stunned that she's developed this friendship with Pepper…


Pepper Potts tries to remember. "Was it someone trying to kill you, Ludie, or me? I can't remember anymore." She finishes her Rakia and opts to fill her glass with wine this time. "Oh, no, I remember. It was when I saw your car at that old coal mine entrance and went to see who was there. And you pointed a gun at me."


"Well yes I zipcuffed you and held a gun to your head and nearly killed you, but you know I was super apologetic."Part pauses there to hit, well more Rakia. "I had no fucking clue who she was, and poof out of the blue in the middle of our little secret base. I did sell her that mine at a bargain just to prove no hard feelings, though I think I sort've freaked her out for awhile."


Well that has Babs chuckling and she pours herself some more Rakia. "Sounds exciting, really." Almost like Ninjas or Vampires attacking your home. Babs blinks a little "Wait, you said 'poof out of the blue', what do you mean?" The meal and the company is just what the wheel chair bound woman needed.


"She means I walked across the parking lot of the adjacent SI plant and into the open gate of the mine property to where she was standing next to a white BMW," Pepper says with a small smile, as if relating a joke. "Nearly turned my ankle on the rocks the drive was made from, too. That's when she drew the gun. JARVIS was… well, about as displeased as an AI can get, Ludie. I think if I hadn't asked him to be patient, he might have sent the entire SI security force after you for pointing that gun at me."


"And then I'd have killed you and presumed Stark was in bed with the Hydra, and gone off the deep end entirely."Part shrugs, sipping her Rakia. "The wolf was nuts, and I was still pretty fresh from solitary and torn up about Ed still. Augh I was a complete basket case, at the time it all seemed very logical of course. I look back on that shit now, I was totally nanners. Good on you and Jerry and the rest, gave me a little stability and gave me time to chain that bitch up."


Babs casts looks between the two women. As Oracle she knows a lot of the story… information mongering is useful for intelligence but not necessiraly relationship building. "That sounds like an interesting onrose1


Babs casts looks between the two women. As Oracle she knows a lot of the story… information mongering is useful for intelligence but not necessiraly relationship building. "That sounds like an interesting tale. Wolves and Ed and the like." Even as Oracle, the full details are somewhat obscured.

Babs continue to sip on the Rakia, looking between the other two women.


Yes, Pepper invited several people to join her for dinner. Yes, she did the cooking. THat might be why only Babs, Partisan, and Cricket took her up on the invitation — well, so far, anyway. Cricket left a bit early, possibly to go 'chat' with JARVIS, and Babs and Ludie have been chatting with Pepper about various and sundry, includuing how a corporate executive managed to meet an old world freedom fighter. Oh, and it's entirely likely that Partisan left the patio doors open after she went out there for a smoke.


What does one bring to a party hosted by a CEO? How about fresh fish? In this particular case, fresh Ahi tuna. Rowan could have caught it himself, true but then he'd have had to butcher and fillet it himself. Which he can do but it takes time. Fortunately he lives in the harbor and fresh fish is easy to get. It did get flown by dragon to the site of the party. There's a whump in the yard as an over large fire breathing lizard makes itself known.


Partisan mmms, pouring herself another tumbler worth of that Rakia. Good lord how does she keep it down? "Ed was my husband, a life or two ago. His death unhinged me, but that was a long time ago."Lifting her hand to display…no wedding ring. "People change, right?"and then theres a whump and theres a dragon and Part frowns. Not because 'oh fuck a dragon', but because this is somone random presumably. The dragon is totes fine, no big deal. This is where her life has taken her. Dragons and shit, dear god what has being best friends with a demonic hacker done to her.


Babs might actually identify with Partisans thought patterns, except her mind doesn't go straight to 'dragon' but she does look to Pepper enquiringly. The redhead still has Rakia left and she moves to the open patio doors and peers out. "Rowan?"


The big lizard actually sticks its head in and smiles. "Hello there Babs." The creature begins to smoke and, in an instant, after giving off most of it's mass as an odd white mist, he's a muddy haired young man. "Sorry I'm late."


Pepper Potts startles at the whump as Rowan arrives, but when Babs goes to greet him she relaxes again. "No problem, come on in. There's still plenty of food." The table is laden with roast beef, salad, pasta salad, steamed veggies, and no less than three kinds of beverages one of which is a red wine. "Help yourself."


Partisan just fixes Pepper with a look for a moment. "Oh really now, No problem come on in? Is that what its going to be, No problem?"casually tucking away another glass but, well. Is she even tipsy who can tell.

Pepper Potts leans toward Partisan and says quietly, "THAT'S Rowan."


Babs smiles at Rowan and holds out a hand, colouring slightly as she recalls the slightly earlier discussion. "Rowan, it's good to see you." Babs might have had a drink or two… not as many as Part but … still. "Come in and join us."


Rowan smiles and offers up those Ahi steaks he was carrying. "Some surfacer sites on your Psi- er… internet, said it was appropriate to bring food to a gathering. I hope I got it right." It's not cooked. Sometimes surfacers cook their meat. Sometimes they eat it raw. Particularly fish. It's odd. "Nice to see you again Pepper. And… miss." He bows to Part as he comes over and sits near Babs, taking her hand and giving it a squeeze. "Nice to see you again too Babs."


Pepper Potts promptly moves to stand and accept the offered ahi tuna. She's familiar with the stuff, and it's pretty darned good quality. "Thank you, Rowan. THis is splendid." She puts the tuna into the fridgeto prepare later, as the table is already laden with food. Then, while she's standing she gets the citrus soda fixings (a pitcher of several kinds of citrus juices all stirred together and a bottle of carbonated water) and trades out her wine glass for a clean tumbler. "Would anyone like to try this while I'm pouring?"


Partisan sighs "Enormous dragon, random…ok wait."Turning to offer Rowan a pleasant smile "Hi Rowan I'm Ludie, do have a seat and join us?". Gaze sliding right back to Pepper. "Alright, so we have shape shifting dragon guys at the table and thats cool. I mean hey I'm cool with that, but we're more OK with shapeshifting dragon dudes than we are with guns? I mean if we're just going to go all Dungeons and Dragons in here, I could quest my self down to that nerdshop and score a totally sick +2 foam sword of smite. At which point I must ask, is the +2 foam sword of smite more or less objectionable than the 1911 I had on my hip when I walked in here? I'm just, totally not following your logic train here sweety and I'm trying to jump aboard."and yes…more Rakia.


Babs squeezes Rowans hand in returns and looks to Pepper. "I'll have one, thank you. Rowan, you might like to try it. It might be to your tastes though." Looking to Ludie as asks the question, Babs looks down at her hands "A shapeshifting dragon didn't shoot me in the back and leave me in a chair… someone with a gun did though and …." Babs glances to Pepper "I'm sure Pepper picked up on my nervousness." Babs shrugs "Maybe there is no logic to it, but try as I might, guns still make nervous." But not shapeshifting dragons who sun themselves on her Clocktower.


And near the harbor. Rowan's a bit slow on what this conversation's about though so he doesn't say anyhting yet other than to smile at Ludie and incline his head again. "Nice to meet you, then, Ludie. Friend of Babs?" Sounds like it if she's ocmfortable having that kind of conversation. "I'll take a glass, sure." He offers to pepper.

"Why do we want to put me in a dungeon?"


Pepper Potts pours glasses of citrus soda for Babs and Rowan and herself, hoping she eyeballed the ratios correctly. Well, one way to find out. She sets the glasses on the table then nods after Babs' words. "I've notice Babs get uneasy around guns before, and I saw her turn white as a sheet just after you got here."


Partisan oooohs, pouring…more Rakia. "Well alright that seems sensible, but you shouldn't get all bent up over the object. I get where your coming from though, fire used to super piss me off but now its cages."pausing to sip after her favored booze. "I won't wear it, but I mean. I'm a hundred year old weretiger, if we want to get serious I'd say I'm considerably more dangerous than a gun."Motioning towards Rowan, casually. "So is he, oh snap. You're, ok. Dude this is going to sound wierd but, has Babs made you bread yet? Like Bunnychow or whatever? Also no, no I don't want to put you in a dungeons. You're the second Dragon I've ever met I think, but the first one was cool. He bought me a car."


"I do, Pepper. I can't seem to help it." Babs shrugs and takes a drink from the glass… "It's lovely, thank you Pepper. And yes Rowan, you can say that Ludie is a friend of mine." a new one, but a friend none the less. Blushing slightly at the mention of making bread, Babs shakes her head to Rowan "Dungeons and Dragons is a game, Rowan. I'll show you one day, soon."


"Bunnychow? Um, I don't think so no." Rowan does seem confused a bit by the references. "I um, should point out that I'm not always a dragon. I'm Blue. From, um, under the sea?" He looks around to see if Babs or Pepper has introduced this concept yet. Bread? Why does this make Babs blush? He takes a sip of the drink Pepper got him.


Partisan sips her booze ever so casually with a sage nod. "Not always a dragon, right. I picked up on that one."isnt a mean drunk apparently, no she's just fairly sarcastic so it could be worse. "Babs and I have mutual friends, but I'm not sure about friends honey. I'm all about guns and violence, you're sort've uncool with either. I think you're pretty swell though, so take that for whatever it's worth. Very clever."


Babs smiles at Rowan, maybe she'll explain about bread later. "I don't hate guns, Ludie… " the redhead sighs "Just seeing them sometimes affects me badly." Gripping Rowans hand a little more firmly she sips the carbonated citrus drink that Pepper prepared. "Rowan, why don't you explain what Blue means."


Rowan settles back in his seat next to Babs. "We're sea people. Related to but different from the Atlanteans and we don't answer to their throne. I come from a world where the sea fought a war with the land… one that was still going when I was ripped from there. That's an… oversimplification but the full explanation takes a long time. Anyway, I used to make my home under the waves."


And another glass of Rakia, which she downs pretty much instantly. "Plenty of things in the world worthy of fear Babs. Inanimate objects are not amongst them, but you know that. I mean, intellectually it's easy for you and I to agree. Emotionally it's more complicated, it's not a measure of logic at all. You should learn how to shoot, immunize yourself to the things that scare you."As for Rowan well, Part listens and nods softly. "Ok a sea dragon, got it. That's pegging out at like a solid 3.5 on the wierdness scale for me tonight, so I guess thats alright. I'd offer to help, but I'm a weretiger not a weretigerfish so I'm afraid my support is going to be somewhat limited. Just the same, you're an American now. So that puts us on the same dream."and one more glass, which Part downs in short fucking order. "If you'll excuse me you two adorable lovebirds, I am going to go and cuddle up with my guns and pass out for like at least two hours. If you need me, well fucking deal with it. It'll have to wait."and well, another half glass just in case. Then, finally after giving the bottle another glance she's off for the guest room. Isn't she regal and lovely and diplomatic?


Babs flushes slightly at the reference to lovebirds and watches Partisan depart. She knows how to shoot and to kill people, it doesn't change her base response to seeing a gun - at least not yet.

"Goodnight Ludie. We'll see you another time…" and Babs will clear the table and stack the dishes in the kitchen before asking Rowan to take her home.

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