Overdue

July 08, 2017:

Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost sit down for a little talk.

Hellfire Club

Characters

NPCs: HFC Guard.

Mentions: Tony Stark, Lucky Yin, Obadiah Stane, Pepper Potts

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

As dusk takes over the city of Manhattan after a rainstorm, life begins to stir at the Hellfire Club's New York Chapter. Its activities are the sort that lend itself to the later hours, and the converted church that serves as the Club's home seems to breathe a different life when it is cloaked in shadow.

The smell of cigars and pipes filters through the air faintly, although hardly oppressive due to the fancy ventilation systems. The crisp sounds of crystal and glass bottles punctuate the rise and fall of murmured conversations and laughter. Well-appointed men and scandalously attired women abound.

Through the rooms, though, there is also a sharp, precise clack. Its perfect rhythm—the herald of a figure with legs wrapped from toe to thigh in stiletto boots—accents the gentle sway of feminine hips, and the rustle of a white cape. Nestled down in a mantle of fur against the air conditioning that battles the oppressive summer air outside, the delicate and refined features of one Emma Frost are framed in its downy softness as she sets her pale crystalline eyes and mind to the task of finding someone in the maze of rooms. "Where are you, Shaw?" she whispers to herself.

—-

For almost a hundred and seventy years it has been one of America's oldest, most exclusive clubs. Membership is a list of the nation's social, political and economic elite. Most of them Shaw would enjoy watching suffer. Most. There are the few exceptions…

"Miss Frost. How fares my darling White Queen?" Sebastian's voice is deep, smooth yet always on the verge of a growl or bark of orders, the sort of voice that commands respect much like his stature. Imposing and broad shouldered. The man is shirtless, sweat dripping from his brow and down his chest. A sash around his waist, belt under that, buckled boots. The attire of the inner circle. Garments of prestige.

He joins her from a back room or lower level, the redness on his knuckles says he was either striking a wall or allowing subservients to beat his flesh in an attempt to bolster is mutant gifts for the week ahead or weekend, depending on the man's plans.

A man in a two colored full body suit with a doll-like whitemask follows Shaw, shirt and jacket in hand. Awaiting commands to hand them over.

—-

Frost's painted lips curl upwards into a familiar smile, as she finds the man she's looking for. …Or he finds her, anyway, in a room further back where the general membership tends to not wander.

His voice is the commanding sort. Her voice, by contrast, is sultry and low. Hers, for now, is meant to ingratiate. "Ah, Shaw," she purrs, finding a comfortable wing chair to settle herself. Long legs cross, and slender arms wrapped in white opera gloves drape along the upholstery of oxblood leather. "I'm well." Sculpted eyebrows lift as one corner of her mouth tugs a degree higher than the other. "And you?" Her gaze shifts between the guard and Black King pointedly. "I'm not interrupting anything important, am I?"

—-

"Not at all, my dear. The ritual has finished. If anything, you have perfect timing." Shaw assures as his hand extends over and the shirt and jacket are placed over his forearm, he begins to draw it on, buttoning it up slowly. The aid, one of their Hellfire guardsmen, assists where he is allowed and respectfully.

Those shrewd eyes settle on Emma, a light smirk twisting up his lips as she gets comfortable, "Ever the sight." Respect in there for the White Queen, one can't partner with those they find beneath them too far. Perhaps some small measure of affection as well, the woman is responsible for a large portion of their coup after all.

"Something on the agenda this night or do you bring me news?"

—-

A sight? Perfect timing? The compliment and praise are greeted with a theatrical flourish of Emma's hand at her shoulder, an unspoken 'ah, but of course!', and then that hand opens so she might delicately rest her elbow back upon the chair and her chin upon her arranged fingertips with an artful approximation of ease. Every part of her, carefully composed.

"I can give you a little of both, if you like," she replies, sounding altogether pleased. And then, after a beat, she lets the act drop a little. "Although, I must confess, the news is a little stale. My request, however, I think you will find far more promising. So… What do you say, darling? A little cognac. A little conversation?"

—-

The deep navy blue velvet trim tailcoat is placed on after the white shirt. Adjusted on neatly Sebastian leaves the neck open for now. The guard is waved off with a hand.

"To both, yes. We are overdue."

The chair beside her is gifted his weight as he lowers in to it, getting comfortable beside her. Close enough for familiar but not enough to break personal space. They are conversing after all.

"Stale news is still news. Out with it, and your request can wait until we've had our first drink."

—-

As Shaw continues robing himself, Emma idly rubs lightly but intently at something on the back of her glove. A pulled thread, barely visible, that dares disturb her outward perfection. Hmph.

It's not until the guard is gone and the large mass that is Sebastian Shaw has settled beside her that the mind witch turns her attention once more towards him. After her quick scan about them to ensure that they are truly alone, she smiles once more. "We are." Overdue, that is. A great deal has happened, but not all of it is on the docket for repeating. "Did you hear about the unfortunate business with Lucky Yin and Stark Industries?"

—-

"I can say I have not. My usual informants in that direction are otherwise preoccupied. So it is unfortunately not something I am up to date on, enlighten me." Shaw implores, his fingers curling around the chair's knobby end. A recline back of his shoulders allows his chin to lift up. If he could look more haughty, he just managed it. The tied off ponytail with the ribbon and the high widow's peaks don't help counter that either. It's just his natural air.

—-

"I already called him on the carpet for it, but Mister Lucky decided he was going to try to hack into Stark Industries. Put the fruits of his theft on the public club server. Now, as both Stark and his business partner Mister Stane are members…" Emma's hand unfurls as though to say, You can see where this is going.

"Needless to say, they were both very upset about the whole thing. But I managed to smooth it over." By giving them the public club server drives, but she doesn't say that part out loud. "Meanwhile, Lucky…" She reaches into her glove with two fingers and extracts a small thumb drive, which she holds out a a presentation to Shaw. "Thought it best to promptly serve his penance, I suppose. An AI he was working on, based off of his Stark learnings."

—-

"I see. It was perhaps fortunate that you were the one to handle this." Sebastian considers, "In the end it only serves us better. What was Stark's response?"A creak of leather and wood as he situates himself on that chair, angling so he has a better vantage of her.

"An A.I. based off his technology… I would hope Lucky was more creative than Justin Hammer. Not that Stark is anything to shake a stick at."

"I assume you already gave the data to our experts?"

—-

"I haven't," Emma confesses slowly, chin tucking a small degree as she moves to hand the drive over to her fellow mutant. Perhaps to help make it sound less terribly that she waited, she adds in short order, "I wanted you to have first look at it since Lucky is a little more yours than mine." Pulling her glove back to its previous height on her arm, the blonde continues to answer the questions put to her. "As for Stark, he… is satisfied with the outcome, I think. The data was removed from the severs, and he checked them himself. However, I'm given to understand that his Miss Potts is still a little prickly about it. Were I you, I might go to see Mister Lucky whenever it's convenient and make doubly certain that he doesn't think to go crossing Stark again."

—-

"If you were me." Shaw muses with a slight uplift of one dark brow, "Indeed. I'll take a look at it when I find the time, if Stark is less than worried about it I'd like to hope that is just him being cavalier and there is some importance to it. Though, robotics and artificial intelligence as it is… " A lean forward and his hand is enclosing hers to remove the drive. A casual look at it before it's slide in to an inner pocket of his jacket. "Well done, as per your usual."

"Now, this request you mentioned?"

—-

That dark eyebrow's lift gives Emma pause. But a breath that she didn't know she was holding releases as his warm hand releases her cooler one in order to take possession of the drive. She settles back into her seat for just a moment, and then moves to stand. "Let me get us something to drink."

She goes to the sideboard on the edge of the room, and moves to prepare the two glasses of cognac that she'd mentioned earlier. She inspects the decanter of brandy subtly before measuring some into a pair of snifters. She brings both cups back across the room, closing the distance between them further, and then stretches one of them towards Sebastian with a vixen's smile for him to take. "I'd like to make an introduction."

—-

"Thank you, Frost. I was being patient." Shaw teases darkly. It is evident he had been waiting and being polite, surprisingly. A polite Sebastian Shaw is always an uneasy thing. He is not bashful in his openly appraising gaze upon her as she moves. Why bother? Bashful and reserved is not the Inner Circle way. Sneaky, manipulative, sadistic, yes. Bashful, no.

"Who or what are you intending to introduce and to what extent?" He inquires, surprises are not a thing he enjoys. Unless of course it's one of his surprises.

—-

Honestly, the way Emma's dressed invites some measure of perusal by design. Club dress codes aside, she knows how to make the most of whatever is handed to her. Settling back down into her seat once she's handed off the extra glass, she continues. "I want you to consider Mister Obadiah Stane for… greater things, Shaw. He has been putting together an impressive showing for a charity gala, even after that incident with Lucky. A little genetically boring, perhaps, but very good connections. Sharp. And strong ambitions that I think might suit him well to a little more investment in our little gathering."

A hand lifts to trace lightly across her clavicle as she takes a sip of her drink. And then her head tilts. "Just talk to him, please? I think you'll be pleased with the find."

—-

"Genetically boring. What is the term I heard the other day… a flatscan?" Shaw almost scoffs, "Obadiah Stane, hrm. I am familiar with the name not so much the man." That earlier offered glass and it's vixen smile were not ignored, no it is now held in one hand, a thumb idly rubbing over the smooth surface. Whatever damage had been wrought to his knuckles earlier doesn't look evident any longer.

"How much does he know of us? Of you?" Shaw has to ask though he knows the woman is a master of subterfuge and revealing only what is necessary. His eyes traverse her fingers trace of clavicle to settle once more upon her face, eyes locked as he takes a drink of his own. "Greater things, you find him worthy and sharing the same ambitions, ideals? I would rather not have to deal with yet another Pierce."

—-

"Nor do I." Pierce was… problematic. And Frost does not like problems.

"He knows I'm a telepath," she continues. "Didn't mean to let him know, but…" Another shrug of the shoulders obscured by fox fur serves as a sort of almost-apology. "He's familiar with telepaths, in a limited capacity. He doesn't know about you. Or us, really, much beyond that," her voice tilts towards the dramatic, as though quoting a line or two of Shakespeare, "I'm a well-connected member here who would like to see him do well." Painted lips hover over the edge of Emma's glass as she bats her eyelashes. "You don't have to tell him anything. If you like him, we can tilt the hand a little and I can read him further. Bring him in on probation and see if he works out."

—-

"Are you giving me instruction on how to handle a potential?" Shaw questions, that stare he is holding on her doesn't move from her own gaze. It's almost as if he is challenging her. Almost. Then there is a smile, a curve of lips and his teeth show.

"You seem to rather like him from the sounds of it… " Shaw releases a muffled grunt behind his glass, "For you, my White Queen and the possibility of securing another power for our esteemed cabal, I shall meet him. If he is worthy enough to at least sit at our table, genetics aside, we'll give him a probationary status, it's not as if we couldn't use a replacement for several on the board as is."

A cant of his head, "You've been busy." Another of those crooked smiles appears. "Gifts, a possible new member of the Circle… anything else?"

—-

He might challenge her, but Emma simply abandons her intention to drink and instead tilts her chin a degree upwards as she remains silent. She'll stand her ground on the matter it would seem. It's a gambit that doesn't seem to let her down, with the smile Shaw allows breaking the tension. "I do like him well enough for a human, and I think you will see why." A pause, and then she lifts her glass as a wordless toast to her colleague. "So, thank you, darling. That's all I have."

—-

"Then I almost look forward to meeting this most impressive of humans. A true rarity, no doubt." A drink in time with her own and the toast is returned, "A pleasure, as always."

Shaw's chair creaks again and he goes silent, that heavy stare resituated upon her and his smile faint now, not the forced teeth displaying ones prior. The music beyond the room they're in a muted thing through the walls, laughter, talking, all of it quiet enough it's inaudible.

—-

Business concluded, Emma knows well enough when she has been dismissed. She fluidly rises back up onto her feet, smiles. "Agreed. But I think I will make a quick round of things before heading out for the night. I was up very late last night and I think a few more hours sleep tonight would suit me well." Taking another sip from the glass dangling from her fingertips, her head tilts, spilling golden waves over one shoulder. "I'll make the arrangements with Stane."

—-

"Make sure those arrangements are on my time table and not his." Shaw insists as he stands upright, the empty glass sat down. He moves across the room to join Emma a hand lowering to rest on the small of her back, "I will walk with you. It is good for appearances for them to see us together." Them being the other gentrified members of the club beyond. "Besides, we are overdue you and I."

—-

"As you say, Shaw." It is a unworried acquiescence to both demands. For now, Emma has gotten her way and praise beside. She is, by outward appearances, for now a docile creature as she settles with into the close and familiar proximity to Sebastian. To the feel of his large hand upon her back. She takes down more of the cognac, letting it warm her blood and her senses. And then she is off, leading the way back into the more densely populated rooms of the club to run that circuit atop her tall stiletto heels.

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