Bruised

May 07, 2017:

After his fight with T'Challa, Peggy and Sally find him in his workshop.

Stark Industries Tower

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Black Panther, Azalea

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Tony has time, after dealing with uninvited guests to finally sit down with his new intern and discuss design plans. Learning procedures. Various ways to teach and build. Things Tony likes to do. So its a good rest up time.

…mostly because its been forced on him.

Since he has a set of bruised ribs and a black eye from dealing with said uninvited guests. And JARVIS has threatened security lockdown if he doesn't take it easy.

Which is why he's in his lab, in a chair, with several piles of what looks to be dissembled engines on various tables around him.

More tests. More learnings. Or more of Tony being bored. Always hard to tell.

Now with Tony's addled brain, or distracted brain, its not /all/ that suprising he went and scheduled a meeting with Peggy at the same time.

…oops.

But its fine. He's sure its fine.

*

And, of course, due to Peggy's nature, she is right on time for that scheduled meeting. The former Head of SHIELD has a million things on her mind as she strides through the doors that JARVIS opens for her and then closes behind. She has an appointment and she is known: why shouldn't she be let through? Also, she's Peggy Carter.

Stepping into the lab, she only sees Tony's back and not the bruises and the pain. Instead, she sees the pile of engine parts and the slouched shoulders. Frowning, she stops in her tracks. Crossing her arms, she looks at the table and then the back of the man and sighs. "Tony, did you forget we had a meeting today?"

*

Said new intern had heard about their recent visitor. Granted, it may be something Mr. Stark would prefer to keep on the hush-hush, but when security cordons off several rooms and there's a bit of reconstruction going on, it tends to attract questions. Among the other employees she'd heard suggestions of everything from a ghost that haunts the labs to a malfunctioning ejection seat test dummy. Rusalka's hedging her bets, but the randomly exploding vent-cleaning robot theory did get her attention.

Coming almost on Peggy's heels is a new face, who…JARVIS also permits through the Great Veil that permits no mere mortal into such holy technological terrain. Rusalka at least has a lab coat on, and edges around behind Peggy for a moment - deep blue eyes staring in wonder at the treasures spread out before her.

That is, until hearing Peggy's words. A meeting? Now? But…oh dear. Wait, why is she let in? The newest intern for Stark Industries glances from one to the other, only seeing their backs - and wondering what she's doing here. A soft cough announces her presence, finally, if none of the others had noticed - probably quite unlikely, in Peggy's case.

*

He winces when she hears that voice. She might not can hear the face but she knows a Stark Wince. She saw it on Howard a time or two after all. His shoulders hunch more for just a moment before he sloooooowly lowers his head to the back of the chair. Then he slooowly tilts the chair back so that his eyes can take in the upside down forms of the SHIELD Agent and his Intern.

"So." Still leaning back. The nice shiner on his eye, the deep purple bruise is slowly fading from his jaw. "I totally didn't forget."

His head tilts back up. "JARVIS I didn't forget did I?"

"You did, sir. I attempted to remind you but I believe you were on the 'good' painkillers at that point."

"Huh, sounds like something I'd do." A pause from Stark before he flips his chair back standing again and pulls himself out of it. Not quite moving as fast as usual but that energy is still there in the sharp movements of his eyes and in the strength of his tone. "Right then! I can totally do two meetings at once! Of course I can, I'm Tony Stark." A flash of a grin at them both. "Anyway! Rusalka, this is Peggy Carter. Peggy this is Sally." A pause. "So close to Harry meet Sally but not quite. Not quite." Then a smirk as he turns towards them, leaning one hip against the table near him. "You two should meet anyway, Sally here wants to be a SHIELD Agent when I let her go. Phil got his hooks in her."

*

The entrance of Rusalka is met with a raised eyebrow. Peggy has yet to meet Stark's intern, so she assumes the woman is there under Tony pretenses or that he has double booked himself. There's a lecture bubbling, but as Tony turns, she quickly notices the bruises, the slow gait. He's been hurt. And this is Tony Stark, while he parties hard, he generally fights in an Iron Suit and doesn't get physically hurt.

Stepping forward, her attention is completely drawn from Sally and focuses on Tony for the moment. "What did you do to yourself?" she asks. The tone is sharp, but it comes from worry. While Peggy may not actually know Tony all that well, he is a Stark and due to family history she feels responsible.

As Tony introduces her to Rusalka, she gives the woman a nod of greeting, attempting to - at least - not be rude. "It's nice to meet you. Do you happen to know what Tony has done to himself?" Everything else Tony has said is undercut now, as far as she is concerned.

*

Peggy might know the Stark Wince, but it's Rusalka's first time witnessing such an act of contrition among the gods. And then the seat reclines, giving a view of a rather wicked looking bruise on his face. It's time for a Stojespal Wince, though this one is much more sympathetic than apologetic. Whatever laid into his head was a nasty piece of work.

Definitely the exploding ventilation robot.

Forget? …Oh. When Tony admits it's something he'd do, there's a hand raised and an unexpected voice - Sally's Sokovian accent quite clear to anyone with an ear for more than Bad English, and probably even those without. At least it's not /too/ thick; she's had plenty of practice before coming to New York. "Mr. Stark, I can return another time…"

Of course, the soft accent gets completely steamrolled by the man's energetic carrying on, and like a good girl Sally shuts right up. At least, until she's introduced. Judgement call - as she's addressed, there's definitely a strong presence about the other woman. Such control of everything around her! Damn English; what does she call her? "Peggy Carter," she settles on, memorizing the name and the face. "Rusalka Stojespal. A pleasure to meet you, ma'am. Though, if you please, I prefer Sally." See, Tony's not just nicknaming her already!

Ma'am is a good word. She can use that on anyone over…mm, perhaps 22 or 23. And then comes the question. "I had heard of an accident, in one of the lower floors, but." She shakes her head, brown hair bobbing. "I know of no details, Miss Carter." She turns back to face him, eyes curious at the bruise. "But it certainly seems quite painful. Ah, excuse me, I'm taking up your time…"

*

"Would you believe a king came to talk to the soul of an ancient aztec god that happens to be inhabiting the body of a girl that just happened to ask me to lock her up till some magic people find out how to fix her." Tony rattles it off with a lazy sort of air as he waves a hand. "Said king is /really/ sensitive about the fact that he wears perfume and kicked me all the way across a room." A beatpause before he looks at Peggy. "…does it count as an international incident if they don't press charges and I only shot him a little with a repulsor?"

A longer pause.

"You know what, don't answer that. Its fine. I'm sure its fine."

Then he's going back to Sally. "Bunny you're here because I want to see if its feasable to put a miniture ARC reactor in a car instead of conventional engine and I want to see which one of these piles you would use for the new generator and engine layout."

A beatpause before looking back at Peggy. "I call her Bunny cause she was a Bunny when I first saw her." Every word is entirely serious. Not a hint of a lie.

"But…yeah! Thats what happened. Aztec gods, crazy Wakandan kings. Strange right? Have I said today how much I hate magic?"

*

Peggy remains in the room and stands next to Tony. As Sally enters and calls her by her full name with that soft accent, there is an instinctual glance. She can't help herself. However, she shakes her head at the offer that she should come back another time. It doesn't matter if the question was directed at Tony and not at her. "Sally, of course. But, no, you are not taking up our time. In fact you are enhancing it. You work for Mr. Stark, is that correct? That is good. I am sure to need your help shortly." Because Tony is stubborn and needing help.

For that exchange, she ignored Tony and remained focused on Sally and her own misgivings about interrupting. Now, thought, she turns back to the bruised Stark. "Yes. You're talking about Azalea, though I don't know what king you might be discussing," she tells Tony dryly. Perhaps she's annoyed that he thinks she may not know Azalea, it's hard to tell.

Finally, she moves forward and reaches a hand to try and move his head this way and that, perhaps even to check if his pupils are dilated. "Do you have brain damage?" she asks - it's hard to tell if she's being serious. "Because you are talking as if you are a person who either has a severe concussion or brain damage. And neither of those are proper states to declare whether you are fine or not."

Peggy's lips purse together as he explains fruther. "You got into a fight with the king of Wakanda? Tony. We're attempting to establish better diplomatic ties with Wakanda and you tried to beat up their King?" She gives a long suffering sigh. "No, Tony, when you are involved, I do not think this is strange."

The founder of SHIELD gives Sally something of a look, apologetic. "Do you mind that he calls you Bunny? Please tell me the truth, I'll brainwash him into believing he never called you that if you'd like."

*

It's like being hit by a steamroller of an explanation. And appears to have…proven literally /every/ theory correct as to what had happened to Tony Stark in the lab. Well, every theory but one - but at least Sally didn't jump in on the betting pool. She may be young with old money, but she isn't so foolish as to fritter it away like some dropout!

Even if it was tempting.

Then again, it's all said to Peggy - all Sally can do is just nod mutely, letting it blow past her, before Tony bounces over to her - and there's a start of protest as he calls her /that/ nickname. It turns into a defeated sigh; she knows she's never going to get him to stop. It could be worse, at least he's not insisting on her full given name…usually.

Well, the interview she'd had was a split event anyway, though at least it seems Peggy isn't about to tear his head from his shoulders like Isa is. It gives her a chance to be a little more direct, maybe, and…step up to the table, looking over the parts and schematics.

"It is unfortunately true, Miss Carter. It was at the auto show last month, I was…working." Meanwhile she's already started looking over the specs, and considering things. A miniature ARC reactor? "It would be a tremendous amount of power, unless it were detuned somehow…restricted in output. But…" Hrm. Wait what?

"Need my help?" Peggy's words come like a screech of brakes, interrupting her train of thought, and she lets the holograms and components settle back to the table. "Yes, I do work for him for the time being, ma'am." Be honest in everything with SHIELD, Pepper had said. From Tony's words, it seems Peggy knows about the organization, so she'll follow the safe path.

Sally comes around the table to stand next to Peggy, as the other woman lights into her boss. Wait, assault royalty?! He wasn't kidding, and the shock on her face shows it. She may only be the heiress of a barony, eventually in the distant future, but she's almost aghast at the idea. But then the spotlight of Peggy is back on her, and she realizes something similar about them both.

They're both extremely fast thinkers, and expect equally fast results. A moment to clear her throat. "Ah…I suppose it isn't that bad, really. It was because it was the only way I could work at the show - as a demonstrator." Booth babe. And with legs like hers, well…maybe she's got a little pride in her looks after all. "When one is a girl, young, and foreign," she adds, letting the Sokovian accent thicken up a little for a moment, "it is hard to be taken seriously. Besides," she adds with a smirk and a raised eyebrow at the undermedicated(?) man. "Perhaps he will think of something worse."

Not that Peggy knows anything about being brushed off for being a woman, no ma'am.

*

"Technicly he got into a fight with me," Tony replies as he quirks an eyebrow at Peggy. "I mean he broke in, got all uppity with my guest, then nearly broke my jaw. I was just being polite to him. Then he got all punchy on me when I asked if he wore perfume. I mean really. Seriously rude."

A roll of his eyes then.

"And no I don't have brain damage. Maybe a concussion, but I work best with concussions. JARVIS said I was fine!" A pause again. "Yeah, Az. Apparently she had a moment…" There are airquotes thrown here. "…and I needed to lock her up for a little bit till Jessica comes back with some magey kind of people to figure out just what to do about it. I mean the place is really nice once I got it all furnished."

A pause.

"Alright, the ribs might be not fine but everything else is. No brain damage."

The discussion of women and Bunnies and how hard it is? Sometimes even Tony Stark knows better than to stick his foot in a bear trap. Sometimes. Instead he smirks and leans back in with a smug look on his face.

"I told ya she was smart." He nods towards Sally. "Regulator system is the only real way to get it to work, unless you can dump enough power into something thats an energy hog. Flight system. Energy shielding. Weapons. Then you can back down on the regulator much."

*

Despite not knowing all the details, Peggy starts to put together a picture just from what she's garnered from Tony and Sally's explanation. A scientific mind that Tony found interesting at an autoshow, offered her a job, started calling her 'Bunny', is giving her opportunities but also weird nicknames. It seems a pattern she with which she is almost familiar.

"Ah," she tells Sally with a bit of a smile. "I see. If he attempts to think of something worse, simply tell him he's being a chauvinistic pig, hopefully that will stop him." It seems the SHIELD Agent has little to no issues talking about Tony as if he isn't right in front of her. The mention of not being taken seriously by being a woman is met with merely a quirk of an eyebrow. "The more things change…" she mutters under her breath in regards to that. Then, things are focused again on the task at hand. She doesn't glance around, instead, asking the clearly competent Sally, "There is some form of medical kit here, yes? Let's locate it before we insist Mr. Stark goes to the emergency room."

Then, her eyes turn to Tony, less kind and more no-nonsense. There's still a bit of a start to her countenance to hear 'JARVIS' in the way that Tony says it: all caps, no Mister at the front of it. She has had quite awhile to get used to it, but it still sets her a bit on edge. It's - at this point, at least - mostly just as sheen of discomfort. "As smart as JARVIS is - he is not a medical doctor, is he? Did he go to medical school? You're obviously in pain." Then, she blinks, backtracking, "Wait, what? You are locking Az up? What did she do?"

*

"If he is truly a kulturny individual, a proper King, then he would honor the masters of other lands as well." It's an absentminded observation as Sally looks over various readouts, pinching and compressing holograms - or blowing them up to larger size. Blue eyes look up after a moment, glancing between Peggy and Tony. "I mean…if the Perfume King were to observe the proper forms between royalty, that is."

She's not helping.

Who is this 'Azz?' It's a curious name, and Tony actually invoking the word /magic/ - from arguably the greatest technician of the still-young 21st century? And Aztec gods? She's about to protest with a laugh, before something her great grandmother once said comes to mind. 'I do not worship her. But that is not the same as not believing in her.'

Well, there might be a bit of flexibility between Peggy's assessment and the truth; it might not have been Sally's technical skill so much as other assets. She certainly doesn't remember a conversation with the man, not directly, and would very likely have melted a hole through the floor from sheer embarrassment and excitement if she had.

There's a laugh at the British woman's words, and Rusalka nods gravely. "If he shows himself to be a nekulturny pig I will do just that. With your permission, ma'am." Yes, it's quite clear who has the control here.

The question of detuning something as powerful as an Arc reactor is a curious one, but Sally listens carefully to her teacher's advice. "I suppose so. There's so much power, but to complicate it so much…" Her face droops a little, frowning, before remembering a famous quote - and Sally promptly ignores Tony, a uniquely rare circumstance. Instead she's suddenly hard at work examining the hologram of the Arc reactor itself.

"Uproshchat'. Dobavit' legkost'" she mumbles softly. Simplify. Add lightness. The mantra echoes through her mind, and she starts picking at the reactor itself - each time, the hologram flashing a red alarm as she tries removing a component here or there. There's an idea she's working towards, it's just not working yet - she doesn't understand the ins and outs of a reactor.

But before she can get further, Peggy's question gets a blink and an owlish stare for an instant. "Right! One moment-" A glance around the room, but she doesn't see one in the usual easy-to-find places. And yet here is Tony Stark walking around with injuries he's not trying to treat…hrm. Sally takes a few strides to the corner of the room, long legs making it a quick trip, before standing on tiptoe and reaching over the top of a shelf - got it.

It probably dates back to the Nixon administration, but it is still a first-aid kit with tape and other such things, in a simple red plastic box. Sally's divination was simple; what would be the likeliest place of the very first item Tony Stark tossed aside believing it was unnecessary?

*

As Rusalka comes down from her perch she will find herself face-to-receptor with what looks like a mechanical arm system. On wheels. It might be more than that though as the arm-system twists left and then right. Almost like a puppy canting its head towards someone new.

"Dummy! Come on, don't bother Bunny. And you don't need that! I mean really, we've had this really nice new medscanner that I tried out on myself. Its just bruised ribs, really. Fine. I mean I only got kicked across a room. Nothing big." For Tony? That really isn't anything /that/ big. Except for the fact it happened when he wans't in his suit. Which is why he's in the state he's in. "Also I'll take that as a compliment." The last would be in responce for what he was told to be called.

…he's very much like his father in some ways isn't he?

"Anyway, Az…" A glance at Sally for a moment. "Short for Azalea. She's kinda posessed by a demon? God? Thing? I don't know I didn't get all the details." Yes, he is compleatly talking about this like its all real. Which is saying something. "Oh yeah, magic is totally real." This again to Sally before he goes back to Peggy. "Anyway! Az had some kind of fit, shot some sort of entropy beam across half the city. My bots are still trying to find out everywhere it hit and get repairs done. I've found a good bit of em by now. But yeah, after that she asked me to put her somewhere for a bit. Until Constantine and Zatanna could look at her. So…yeah." A beatpause. "…you know in hindsight I should have called you, but really it was kinda sprung at me at the time."

*

There's a lot of things to process for Peggy at the moment. There's the foreign language from Sally, there's the fact that the medical kit brought to her looks remarkably like one she might have had in the field during WWII and then Tony's own assessment of himself.

It's quite a lot, but luckily Peggy is used to running an entire facility as well as Howard Stark, so it does not seem to floor her as much as it might any one else. If fact, she gives Tony a stern look. "Yes, and I'm sure that kick across a room happened while you were not in your armor, hence the injuries." She can read through that without any further excuses. "You weren't Iron Man when attacked, you were Tony Stark. What exactly was it that you did that made a member of royalty attack you as Tony Stark, Tony?" There's a very pointed look given at the man at that. She's not sure if he deserves the attack or not, but she wants to know what it was that got him into this mess int he fist place.

The talk moves to Az and she frowns. "She shot an entropy beam? Did you find out why she did this? What effect did it have?" There's a sigh. "I would say you should generally call me with most things you encounter, but I don't have that kind of time." She glances at Sally and raises an eyebrow. "You seem to have a good head on your shoulders. Do you think you could alert me to when he gets himself into this kind of trouble?"

*

And there is a mechanical arm on a wheeled pod in front of her. This gets another blink of surprise from the Sokovian girl, even if it's something she should have expected after Peggy's talk. But rather than try to assimilate her, it just…looks at her, tilting its 'face' one way and then the other. Tony names it, and understanding dawns.

She gives the three-fingered, two-eyed arm a smile and a nod. "Hello Dummy. Ah, Mr. Stark, you should not yell at him," Sally chides. "I was told of them by Miss Potts, it is not a problem." With a nod to the taller mechanical arm, she slips around the thing and hands over the box to Peggy - listening to his babbling explanation with naught but raised eyebrows.

Azalea. A flower's name, it seems, and someone…oh dear. Granted, the sheer idea of it is lunacy. Gods and such creatures walking the earth, in this modern day. And yet. And yet. Rusalka closes both eyes for a moment, settling a little - and thanking her family upbringing for insisting on the lunatic things she'd grown up hearing. "I suppose…I should not be surprised," the Sokovian heiress mumbles. Her best friend /is/ an Inhuman - a Bogatyr, she chides herself. But really, what the hell do you say when the world is turned inside out?

Rusalka doesn't know the story behind Peggy's background, only … that she's a very strong woman and someone Tony Stark treats as a parental figure of sorts. He hasn't quite dropped an 'aw, man' at her - yet - but there's a curious, irreverent respect there. Well, Bunny, you wanted to know how deep the rabbit hole goes, she tells herself with a sardonic grin.

"If you were kicked like that…that hard, sir, you know what those injuries can mean. Like a car crash; you're a race driver. You know how wrong it can go." There's actual concern in her voice, over the accent; if anyone should understand blunt-force injuries it would be Stark. It also hints at their shared passion, and her awareness of its tragic past.

Sally isn't sure what an 'entropy beam' is other than the basic concepts in physics - but magic tends to turn physics on its head and play a drumbeat on its rear end. At least, so the stories go. When Peggy questions her, she nods, though, and then smirks a little. "I believe someone has to. I will do so, if this happens again." There's a soft mumble in Sokovian Russian, as well, perhaps a little bit of frustration or perhaps a little bit of disbelief. And perhaps a lot of both.

Do all boys need to be looked after so?

*

"I told you Peggy, I was being polite." Stark replies with a smirk. "I was doing my best to be nice! Well as nice as I can be." A smirk. "And T'Challa took offence to the fact that I was wearing slippers or something. I don't know he didn't really explain, just started with the hitting."

A beatpause.

"I only shot him a little for it. Well. Technically JARVIS shot him for me. Since I was locked in the elevator at that point."

These things happen.

He sighs though as they both gang up on him to try to make sure that he takes care of himself. "…it loosened the structural integrity of anything it hit from what I can tell. Not enough to have it break imeadeatly but enough to have it crumble sooner rather than later." The man replies with a shake of his head. "Combine that with a lot of anger and Asgardian levels of strength it wasn't great news. Which is why they asked me to lock her up for a bit."

He glowers from one of the pair to the other before he sighs. "…fine! I'm outnumbered. Do your worst. I promise only to be the worst patient ever."

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