The Godling in the Basement

May 24, 2017:

John Constantine and Zatanna Zatara meet with Tony Stark to discuss Azalea Kingston's god problem.

Stark Tower - Manhattan - New York

The Stark Tower.

Characters

NPCs: JARVIS

Mentions: Jessica Jones, Black Panther

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

After hours at Stark Tower is…well really its not /that/ different from mid-afternoon at Stark Tower. There are slightly less people. Way more lights on. The security guard in the front office looks…well…bored.

I mean really. Why does Stark Tower need security. /TONY STARK LIVES THERE/.

But The guy is there, behind a desk. Watching a ballgame. One fist props up his head as he swills poorly ground black coffee to try to keep awake. Which is a testiment to just how boring this is.

Since the sun /just/ went down.

However there is a buzz on the intercom and the poor guard takes it without looking at who its from.

"Yeah?"

The voice on the other end of the line sounds distracted. "Yeah. So I'm totally expecting visitors tonight. One guy will prolly be wearing a trenchcoat that looks like he slept in it, the other girl might have fishnets or a tophat. Just buzz me when they get here."

The guard just blinks for a moment. "Just who is thi—" And his eyes fall on the swichboard. Realising that this is Tony's personal line.

"Er— I— mean yes sir Mister Stark."

"Oh and be nice. Or they migth hex you."

Then a click as the intercom cuts out leaving the guard to stare in bemusement at it.

'Hex' him? What even does that mean?!

What this means though for the two wizards arriving though is that they get fasttracked though security in short order. Shown to a private little elevator in the back of the building and a short trip down of all directions to…well when the doors open it looks like some kind of lab. Superscience scattered haphazardly about. Piled onto talbes and about six different projects all in various stages of compleation.

Of Tony Stark himself? There is a definate sign. The inventor is at the moment arm deep in some kind of engine. Tounge poking just slightly out of his mouth as he reaches for something inside the machine. "Almost got it…almost got iiiiitttt."

—-

She has never been to Stark Tower before.

When Jessica mentioned that Azalea was being held in Tony's custody, she was surprised, because up until that point, Zatanna had no idea that Tony Stark was a client of the caustic private investigator. Though she is thankful that the older woman's business appears to be booming, the fact that she still knows the Tony Stark is somewhat of a mind-bender, considering that while she knows various celebrities due to who her father is, those who occupy the business end of the spectrum are still beyond her. There is nobody on Earth, and perhaps in other worlds, that doesn't know the infamous genius playboy billionaire philanthropist. Privately, she wonders whether she should start reading Forbes, if not just so she could shove Tony's own likeness to his face and ask for his autograph.

Her hyper-modern surroundings are taken in with an appreciative eye as the harried-looking security guard ushers them into the private elevator and hits the button that takes them to Tony Stark's working environment. No fishnets or top hats, the man will probably be somewhat disapppointed that the Great Zatara's daughter doesn't wear her risque get-up whenever she's off-stage, opting instead to wear said fishnets underneath a pair of ripped black skinny jeans and a lace long-sleeved shirt pulled over a tanktop - all in black, of course, rendering her skin all the more pale and the pops of color on her more pronoounced.

"Did you know Jess knew Tony Stark?" she wonders at John, unable to help but be somewhat star-struck. For all that she tends to defy her youth, there are times when it shows and this is one of those moments. "I mean…I didn't know she knew Tony Stark. God, I wonder what that's like…"

The elevators swing open, and booted feet take a few steps inside the infamous tech mogul's lab. She immediately gravitates to one of the tables, staring at a roboting grappling arm with pinchers for fingers. A hand lifts to poke at it lightly.

Look, she can't help it.

She then tries to look around and finally sees the man himself hal-disappeared into the bowels of some mechanical beast at the far end of the room. "Hi, Mister Stark?"

—-

John and Zatanna are mid-conversation when John opens the door for her, standing aside to let her pass him on their way into the lobby.

"— and Chas, the both of you. He's a god like I'm the bloody King of England. I am English, that's a bit of a leap. And he's an elemental, but that doesn't mean he can't be set to rights with a good pair of hedgeclippers if he gets uppity. Which he bloody well does."

The conversation is light and casual, ending — or pausing, anyway — when he and the Mistress of Magic draw up to the desk. Zatanna distinctly lacks a top hat and John's trench coat looks well taken care-of, thank you very much, Tony Stark, but otherwise the shoes seem, as it were, to fit.

"We're here to see the man in the can," John says, with a shark's smile.

And then in they go. On the way to the elevator he glances sidelong as his companion and looks vaguely tickled. "You're gobsmacked, aren't you?" It's an affectionate question, though as with most of John's rhetoric it has a faint edge. "People are pillocks by default. Pillocks with money aren't much different, they just get up to a better class of pillocking."

Says the man who once left a young royal of England in very precarious circumstances in the Caligula Club. It's difficult to imagine what kind of person could leave John feeling star-struck, really. The Sex Pistols, perhaps.

Into the little elevator, which travels not up, but down, and that reminds John: "One of these days we ought to have another go at The Abyss. Just one."

And then, after a long silence: "Maybe we should add 'in Tony Stark's private elevator' to the list."

What list??

And then the doors open and they step out into the lab. Sky blue eyes watch Zatanna as she's drawn like a curious moth to a complicated flame, lingering near one of the workbenches, and John tucks his hands into his pockets and adds his own variety of greeting: "We're here to talk about the angry Aztec in your basement."

—-

The little robo arm swings in her direction. The 'pincher' part rotating on its axis to give her the robotic equivelent of a headtilt. For all that its made of metal and circuit boards, there is a suprising amount of personality in that little movement. Curiousity and friendliness that most robots don't seem to posess.

"Ah, sir." Suddenly a voice comes from nowhere and everywhere. Filling the room with a warm english accent. "Your guests have arrived, I did tell you a few moments ago…" A sigh. "…Miss Zatanna Zatara and Mister John Constantine to see you." A pause again and there is a feeling almost of someone watching them as the voice pauses a moment. "Is there any other parts of your titles I should know? Doctor Strange usually prefers to be announced with the entire title…"

He's very helpful.

Tony though just continues to get his hand. Well. Stuck. Until finally. "YES!" And out he pops…

…with a wrench.

He really likes that wrench.

The greese on his hand is wiped off in a towel as he turns. The glowing of his artifical heart visible though that thin fabric as he crosses his arms over his chest and he grins. "Thats me! Tony Stark. Man in a can. Asshole extrodanaire. I have so many names I can't keep track. You two can call me Tony, or Stark." A smirk curls up one side of his mouth. "So, you two are the finger-wigglers here to help huh?" A flash of a grin. "Well come on in, Dummy there won't bite." This with a nod to indicate the robot.

—-

"I'll always go back to the Abyss with you," Zatanna tells him, leaning in to press her lips on John's cheek just before they get out of the elevator. Followed by a murmur:

"We'll add it after the meeting."

When Jarvis asks her about her title, she blinks at…well, nothing, as the voice seems to be coming everywhere. Her expression looks befuddled, at first, but she seems to get an idea after a few blinks of those long lashes, as if a light bulb had just popped over her head. She leans into whatever looks like a mic on the workbench close to Dummy and speaks into it.

"No thank you," she tells the electronic butler, nevermind the fact that she can just talk to thin air and it'd be fine. "Zee's fine." Mention of Doctor Strange, though, has her expression flattening just a touch.

Easing away from the workbench, she heads further into the super-projects lab that Tony keeps, still looking around curiously, considering there appears to be so much to poke at; things she's never seen before. Magic has always been her birthright, and while she isn't an ignoramus when it comes to technology, superscience and all of its forms are elements in modern-day New York that continue to escape her. She can't help but wonder which ones in Tony's lab would blow up if she even so much as breathed on it wrong.

With John's introduction, she nods. "Thanks for looking after her while we were gone, Tony," she tells him. "Last time I faced Xiuhnel he almost….well. Broke New York. We're trying to figure out how to fix the problem, but business called us away to Germany." She elects to leave out the holiday to French Polynesia she and John took afterwards. "We're happy to be back in New York, though. How's Az doing?"

—-

Whatever The List is, it's probably terrible. One can tell by the way John's mood seems to brighten at the prospect of that little murmur.

It's the little things in life. It really is.

And then Jarvis nearly ruins it with that little aside. Zee is polite about her reaction, but John —

Well, John is John.

"Ugh, that melodramatic tosser. Spare me the pomp, if you please. You shouldn't humor anyone who wears a high-collared cape. Next time he asks you to recite his litany of rubbish tell him you're not programmed to wank people you don't work for." And free advice, Jarvis! You lucky little piece of sentient technology.

After that, though, he lapses into a content silence, trailing in Zatanna's wake and splitting his focus three ways: he takes in the lab in all of its many gleaming particulars, takes in Zee's fascination with it all, and studies the man they've come to see — including the Arc Reactor so luminously visible through the fabric of his clothing. The engine, really, responsible for keeping this vast empire afloat.

John may not be wowed by Stark's star-factor, but the understanding that he's standing so close to the one string that could unravel it all if properly pulled never really fails to elicit a thoughtful response in him.

—-

Technicly? Most of them would blow up.

If anyone is wondering.

There is a snort of laughter. "Ah I should have introduced you all. That is JARVIS. My Virtual Intelligence system here. Stands for 'Just Another Rather Very Intelligent System'."

There is a sigh from JARVIS. "Mister Stark was running out of acrynoms at that point I'm afraid."

The inventor grins. "Something like that." He adds wryly. "But you can talk anywhere and he'll hear you. He runs most of the building."

JARVIS cuts in again. "Ah, thank you Mister Constantine. I shall keep that advice in mind." Ever the diplomatic buttler. Even though his circuts might be turning red with the amount of curses that were just fitted into one sentence.

"As for Germany, yeah. I heard. A dragon? Exploding hotels. You guys sounded like you had a grand ol' vacation." The dry humor is there as he chuckles slightly. Though when asked about Az he sighs slightly.

"She's not doing well, truth be told. She needs out." A snap of his fingers brings up a holoscreen infront of the two of them.

Its a roughly circular room made of some kind of clear material. Thick too. Capped with metal. Inside is a very nicely appointed set of furniture for a room. Partitioned area for a bath. And an Az. Sitting sullenly with her back against the clear wall. Head down.

"I didn't have many other places to put her, since Jess asked for something to hold someone with Asgardian levels of strength." A smirk at that.

Yeah. He built that.

"And I have /no/ idea how to deal with posession. Do I need an old priest and a young priest?" He had to make the joke. "…I've done just about everything I could."

A beatpause.

"Oh, and did either of you piss off the King of Wakanda before she got left here?"

—-

"Her case is a little different than your typical Asgardian fare, I'm afraid," Zatanna tells Tony rather ruefully, following the man as he shows her where Az is kept. Thick and clear sheeting dominates the chamber, and while she doesn't see Azalea herself, she can sense Xiuhnel somewhere within. Careful fingertips press lightly on the outside of her university classmate's prison, inspecting it carefully. "What is this? It looks like plastic but…" It isn't, otherwise they'd be running all over the city looking for the godling.

When told that she isn't doing well and needs out, there's a small, sardonic smirk at that. "Yeah. I know how that goes," she mutters, remembering the spate of weeks in which she was practically under house arrest in John's flat. Unlike Azalea, however, are no boxes stuffed with customized not-too-real adventures that she can spend whiling away the hours with. There's a look over at the British magus at that. "Maybe we can loan her the Box to make things a little easier for her while she's in here?" she wonders.

It was technically her present, but she is, as ever, the giving sort.

"Anyway, thank you very much for looking after her, Tony, I know this is a little unusual…and just a little bit out of your wheelhouse. We'll get to working on a solution as soon as we can, I promise. We just need a few things." Like Xiuhnel's heart, currently in possession of the Obsidian Butterfly.

That's no easy task. She purses her lips quietly. "Maybe I can challenge Itzpapalotl to a formal duel for it." As much as she is John Constantine's pupil, she is, ultimately, Giovanni Zatara's daughter.

Mention of the King of Wakanda, though, has her furrowing her brows at Tony. "What? Who?" There is a pause, and ice-blue eyes swing towards John.

No offense, Constantine. She loves you and all. But she also knows you.

—-

John joins them in front of the holoscreen, folding his arms loosely over his chest and tilting his head as he studies the chamber in all of its particulars. "Bit 'Silence of the Lambs'-ish, innit?" he asks with a brow cocked, slanting his gaze Tony's way. No mention of how that had ended.

He's still looking thoughtfully at the cell in which Azalea is presently imprisoned when Zee asks him that question, and what passes through his face is…complicated. She'll know immediately that the answer is 'no,' but there's apology there, and the very faintest trace of something tender. "Too much a risk. I don't know whether or not Xiuhnel could make use of it, and I wouldn't like to lose her in there." He draws a long breath, holds it, and flicks his eyes back toward the screen, the contents of which are reflected in his eyes in miniature. "Maybe we can bring her some of your favorite movies, though." Pause. "Bridget Jones' Diary, was it?" It's very difficult to actually catch the twitch at the corner of his mouth.

Promptly upstaged by the very flat look he shoots the teenaged witch when she muses about challenging the Aztec goddess who did this to Xiuhnel in the first place to a duel. That look isn't even a 'no,' that's a long paragraph with a greater profanity-to-polite-language ratio than the advice he gave Jarvis. By now, though, they've done that dance often enough that he feels sure he doesn't have to give her the longhand version.

"We don't want to leave her for long. It's just fiddly business, you understand. Hearts don't just — "

He stops talking, abruptly. His expression empties. Things happen in his eyes, but he fails to disclose his thoughts to the other people in the room. And when he does speak again, it's the answer the question Tony posed, feeling Zatanna's eyes on him and glancing that way. At least he's self-aware enough not to bridle at the expectant look she gives him. If anything, he looks amused. "Listen, I'm not popular with the royal set in general, but I like to remember my little victories over their patience. T'Challa, is it? Never even met the bloke. Wakandans tend to stick close to home. Whossit, he say we did?" His brows quirk.

—-

"Ever heard of a prince rupert drop?" Stark asks before he smirks. "Sounds dirty doesn't it? Anyway its a method to create nearly unbreakable glass. I took the method, improved it, applied it on a massive scale and volia." He gestures towards the room. Obviously proud of what he's done.

…and John just takes that away.

"Well this was the testbed. It wasn't actually supposed to be used. But technicly it could, in theory, hold the Hulk on a good day." Which is what it was ment for.

He shrugs though. "Well Jess says it was an emergency, and she's looking into something for me. So I figured this wasn't too much skin off my teath. Pepper wanted to bring in SHIELD, but I figure I'll give you all a crack at it first."

He flips open a second holoscreen. This one though is security footage.

"But. Its getting worse."

On the footage would be Jess visiting Az. With Az inside screaming, punching the wall till her fists are bloody. Jess outside shouting at…well…something that isn't there. Then Az goes flying across the little room to impact against the far side.

"I'm going to assume she was yelling at a goddess or spirit or something. Security cams didn't pick anything up."

A glance though is cast between the two as the inventor quirks up a smirk. "…man. You two are good at the silent comunication." Moving right along. "Anyway, T'Challa…thats the king guy. Yeah apparently he has a history with Xiuhnel. Or his people do. Something about Xiuhnel attacking Wakanda in the past. So he snuck in here to threaten the demon." A beatpause. "He also wears perfume. Lavander. I asked him about it and he kicked me across the room. So I'm just going to assume he's sensitive about it."

—-

The crack about Bridget Jones' Diary has Zatanna attempting to place a wondering look on her face. "What? I don't think I've ever heard of that movie," she says, side-eyeing the corner of the room. "I'll bring her a bunch of hardboiled Hong Kong action flicks."

It is one solution to their problems, and she seems relatively confident that she can take on a goddess. But John's flat look tells her not just the fact that he is vetoing that idea immediately, but the long rant hinted at by those pale eyes, and emphasized by the silver tether that binds their souls together. She furrows her brows at him, but she doesn't argue the point, though she does look somewhat petulant. As always, she deems herself ready for a large scale magical battle if necessary, but she does understand John's reasons why…and his worries associated there.

As his expression falls into absolute neutrality when he starts talking about hearts, the raven-haired goth girl gives him an inquiring look, though it doesn't last long, letting it lie when the conversation shifts towards Wakanda and its king. But the mental note to poke John about it later. Whatever overtook the Englishman's brain, it was either a realization or an idea, or both, with respect to the issue of Xiuhnel's heart. But she is, at least, willing to wait.

When the security footage is called up, Zatanna takes a quiet look at it, frowning at what she sees. She wordlessly agrees with Tony's assessment, that the woman was speaking to some kind of spirit. Her lips press into a thin line. "It's probably Itzpapalotl," she tells both men. "I know she's been visiting Jess now and then, I saw her on the roof when I bound Xiuhnel again and brought Az out the last time. Not really a huge leap in logic, I think, she's very interested in seeing how this plays out."

The revelation that the Wakandans have prior experience with Xiuhnel has her giving John a quick glance.

"What do you think?" she wonders. "Worth talking to T'Challa to see if he knows anything useful?"

—-

"Itzpapalotl…is that some kind of drug?" Tony can't help but quip. Because. Really. JUST LOOK AT THAT WORD.

—-

For her willingness to consider alternatives to a flat-out duel, Zatanna is rewarded with a short pulse of relief across the astral link, and the sensation of some sort of tension letting go.

John adds a short nod to Zee's suspicion: that the invisible presence in the room was the Goddess who cleaved Xiuhnel's heart from his chest. That fact sits uneasily with him, though, if the look on his face is anything by which to judge. He watches the footage looping, the way Azalea is thrown across the room like a ragdoll over and over again. A splinter of shadow lodges itself between his brows, expressing silent puzzlement that he resolves by digging into his pocket and retrieving his smartphone.

Yes, Tony Stark: it's a retail smartphone.

At least it's Android?

He swipes his thumb across the keyboard on-screen and fires off a text message to ASS-BLASTER PI, and without lifting his bowed head lifts his eyes to meet Zee's glance at his way. "Sounds it. If I've got to wear a sachet for the meeting, though…"

Tony's question he answers straight, as though it hadn't been a joke: "Itzpapalotl is the Aztec goddess who took Xiuhnel's heart. Xiuhnel is the Aztec god bound to Azalea's soul. The two of them can't be separated in their current condition. Not safely, at any rate. Azalea might die, and Xiuhnel could just…flit off into the world to find another vulnerable soul to attach to. Given its fetishes appear to be rape and genocide, we thought we might try for a better solution to the problem."

—-

Urgh. Retail smartphones.

"I could print you out a better one of those right now," Stark mutters as he glowers with distaste at the smartphone in John's hands. As if it is personally offensive to him. Who knows. It might be. Android or Apple might have said something back about his enginnering.

Who knows with Stark.

"Huh. So 'Sounds-like-drugs' and 'I'm-a-Dick' are basicly having a several thousand year long lovers spat. Wonderful." This is what Stark doesn't like magic. "…yeah, more permenant solution might be better. But…you two have a quick fix to get her /out/ of there? I'm pretty sure she's going more crazy, and she wasn't that stable to begin with."

Just matter of fact on that one.

"I guess that makes sense with a demon in your head." He adds after a moment before he frowns slightly. "T'Challa was saying something about how Xiuhnel…I'm just gonna call him Xiuuy. Anyway Xiuuy attacked Wakanda centuries ago and their Goddess figured a way to beat him up and send him packing. And if the current version of Xiuuy tries it again, T'Challa will just streight up kill him. Which I'm guessing would be bad for Az."

—-

"I don't know if it'd be safe for her to go anywhere, not without me monitoring her anyway," Zatanna tells Tony with a furrowed brow. "I suppose I could try and make something that'll function as a…handcuff of sorts, keep Xiuhnel mellow. My magic's been able to keep him sedate on several occasions, but with the Obsidian Butterfly running around, I don't know how tenable of a solution that's going to be."

Tony's brief explanation of the Wakandan problem does have her frowning quietly. "Yeah, that would be bad," Zatanna murmurs. "This T'challa guy sounds like a pretty brutal guy, though. Understandable considering the thorny history and everything, but…if anything, Azalea might kill him if he's not careful. I mean, he's human, right? Does he know magic?"

Her biases are showing, but that is comprehensible also. Xiuhnel is a god. Ancient and with centuries of bloodshed under his belt. She finds it difficult to believe the King of Wakanda would be able to kill her without Xiuhnel reacting to protect his chosen vessel, and without his Goddess' intercession.

—-

"He can't kill Xiuhnel." John has no doubts about that, though his biases surely line up with Zatanna's on the matter. He tucks his hands into his pockets again, pivots away from the ongoing loop on the holoscreen to face the other two, and sharp blue eyes tick from one to the other and back again. "Even if he could, it wouldn't stick. Xiuhnel's been in Hell before, multiple times — which is bloody strange, because it's not mortal and shouldn't have wound up there even if it did die, but setting that aside: that doesn't stick, either. It's not going to solve T'Challa's uppity Aztec problem." In his pocket his phone begins to light up, multiple notifications sounding in a rapid-fire chain. He withdraws it from his pocket and as he's turning it on and passing through the lock screen — a recent shot, this one of he and Zatanna and a…dolphin? It's the kind of shot tourists get in tropical locations, meant to be taken home as memento keepsakes, only it was clearly taken on John's phone, and it vaguely recalls traditional images of young children meeting horrifying easter bunnies and looking appropriately upset about it — he aims a dry look at Stark. "An' I'd take you up on that, Stark, if I thought for a minute you wouldn't put some sort of monitoring device in it, or what-ever-else." He flicks through the texts he's gotten, then passes the phone over to Zatanna so that she can have a look.

"I'll need to 'ave a chat with Jones and 'tanna about things, but it may be she an' I ought to come back and add a few wards to your aquarium. Having a pissy Goddess popping in periodically to chuck Azalea around isn't ideal for she or you, I expect."

—-

Tony leans back against the table to stare at the pair of them. A quirked eyebrow at that. "…you know. I mean you two do actual magic. I'd think you both would have the whole 'nothing is impossible' vibe going. But thats fine. Ruin my view of wizards. Its fine." He seems perfectly fine with not really understanding.

But he sighs. "He seemed pretty sure he could. And Wakanda, because they cheat and have access to vibranium and various other little short cuts, is the most technologicaly advanced place on the planet." A beatpause. "And yes, I'm pretty sure they know magic too. Very spiritualistic from what I can get out of people in the know. Which isn't much."

Then he shrugs slightly. "You guys are experts…and I totally would put a listening device in…how else do you think I find out things. Its not like anyone actually /tells/ people things." A smirk at that. "So many secrets. Its kinda crazy."

He takes a deep breath before picking up a little bouble from a side table and starting to fiddle with it. As if its second nature to him. He can't keep still, has to have his hands busy. "But yes. Please. Wards or whatever else. I mean the prison thing might be two miles down, but people still work in the building and I'd rather not have to explain to Pepper why an angry goddess decided to turn the building into a sinkhole."

—-

"Sorry Tony," Zatanna tells him with a sheepish smile. "But Magic costs. The possibilities are endless, but it operates around some crucial limits also. We won't bore you with all of that, though. Besides, knowing your reputation, you'll just try and reverse engineer everything we give you and then you'll be putting us mystics and mages out of a job."

The fact that he doesn't know much about Wakanda's occult practices jives with what little she does know of the country. Isolationist and jealous of its secrets, Wakanda may as well be a practitioner in country form, and there's a quiet glance towards John at that. If there's a means to drive Xiuhnel away, the secret might lie with Wakanda's goddess, except that banishing him from existence as they know it might also kill Azalea and that's not a possibility that she wants to entertain right now.

"I'll help with the wards," she tells John, taking the phone - and of course he uses that picture as a lock screen. She gives him a bemused, but exasperated look from where she stands and takes a look at Jessica's texts, furrowing her brows at what she reads. What. What?

But she passes the device back to John. "Anyway, we'll get to work. Thanks for seeing us, Tony, and for all the help so far. We really appreciate it."

—-

It's not easy to read John most of the time. Granted, most people don't have a hotline directly to his soul, but Zee might not need it to taste the range of subtle things contained in the quick wink she gets for her roll of the eyes. When she hands him the phone back he drops it into his pocket without a word.

"Oh, I think I'd like to see that," he says, of Stark-engineered magic. It puts a wicked hook into the corner of his mouth, and anything that brings John that much catlike amusement to contemplate cannot possibly be a good idea.

"I meant you, luv, he adds, with an amused glitter in pale eyes. "We can sit down this week and come up with a few to try. May as well throw the whole sodding works at it. It wouldn't hurt to spread them around to the flat and Shadowcrest, either. She may get a bit tetchy about being denied conjugal visits."

Lean shoulders slowly roll under the sharp-cut lines of his coat while he visibly debates continuing on with some other issue that needs discussing, the weight of it evident in the way he looks at her. Ultimately, though, he deigns to hold those things in reserve, probably for more private surrounds, and turns back to Tony, lifting his chin. "Thanks for your time, mate. We'll let you know when we've cooked up a few wards and schedule a time to pop in. Meantime, anything gets weird, you let us know." His lips twitch to one side. Something sparks in the quality of his gaze. "Think you've been more helpful than you may realize."

—-

"Well, I can reverse engineer almost anything. Why not try magic." Stark replies with a smirk before he turns his eyes towards John. One eyebrow quirks up slowly. "…that a challenge?" Because if it is, he is totally going to do it. Because.

Well.

He must.

"Anyway, magical theory aside I'll get you two set up with security IDs so you can pop in if you need to check on things. Not many people know about the bunker, but JARVIS can show you where it is."

A smirk.

"Thats me though, the soul of helpfulness." A breath before he adds. "I just /really/ don't want to have to explain a plague of locusts or whatever curse that happens to Pepper. So…sooner the better."

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