July 13, 2017:

Jane Foster gave Tony Stark the rights to her nanotube-aggregate cloth, in trade for the money for Bucky Barnes' bail. Now, Tony arrives with paperwork for Jane to sign in re: formation of the company to manage production of said cloth. …He also gets a magical cape, because John Constantine is a troll when setting up wards. Tony is unhappy about it.

Brooklyn, New York


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Steve Rogers, Pepper Potts, Justin Hammer, John Constantine, Matt Murdock

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Not every minute is work in this little Brooklyn brownstone.

At least, not when Jane Foster is no longer the solitary creature she once was, left to her own devices and her fifteen-hour binges. At least she's on a forced hiatus, at least for a couple eyes, between the processing time to run a new test decryption script through tetrabytes of data — the last eleven attempts at her algorithm came up empty — and at James Barnes's insistence she takes her eyes off her laptop screen and her body away from the self-imposed nest she's made of math and strenuous error testing.

It's grown late in the evening, the sun winking low in the summer sky — not that either Barnes or Foster care to look, with their shutters permanently drawn, the apartment cloistered off and caged in privacy.

What would an ex-assassin on trial and a consummate genius be doing inside?

Watching a movie.

An American in Paris plays vividly and in bold technicolour along her flat panel, and sprawled on the couch, her head taking pillow on Bucky's knee, Jane tiredly watches Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron perform dances and aerial jumps that make /her/ feel exhausted. Ever since learning her boyfriend is a dancer in himself, and with a shocking amount of skill, she's had the mind to put him on a diet of the old classics. Movies released the handfuls of years right after the war. Movies he should have seen decades ago and never did.

"That's seriously not human," Jane mutters. "Gotta be some cyborg or something. I mean — look at that. Who moves like that."

"Me," Bucky says, because he's modest. "I can't believe you still say stuff like that, after having seen me. And it's not all the serum, either. I could probably have done that even before."

There's a pause, before he has to admit, "I did wanna see For Me and My Gal when it first came out, but I happened to be on a beach in Algeria at the time."

His grousing is, as one might expect, mostly for show. In truth this is a moment he's deeply enjoying, aware that perhaps it might be one of his last opportunities to have such a moment. His right hand tangled in Jane's hair to periodically pet it, his eyes drowsy, he watches her probably about as much as he watches the actual movie.

He's probably relieved, also, to finally get a reprieve from the endless flurry of MATH.

Its adoreable the pair of them together. A pleasent night. Home just with the loved one. Lazing about watching old movies. Truly a hallmark moment. The last gasp before the gathering storm. A last chance to spend those moments with someone you care about. To revel into each others company at the expense of all else. To drink in the moments…

Which is why its just /begging/ to be intrupted.

Which is exactly what happens.

Before Bucky can enact some kind of well formulated plan to distract Jane from the movie there is a thump against the door. Then a couple knocks. Then a call /through/ the door. "How many deadbolts do you have on this thing?"

…Tony Stark is never subtle.

"And if I just open it am I gonna turn into a lobster or something? Just asking. For future visits." Still yelling though the door.

…no. He won't go away.

Before anyone asks.

"But — no, look at that," Jane counters, with a squint of her eyes at the television, staring on incredulously as Gene Kelly makes some sort of graceful toe-point leap across the screen. "You can't do that. You've never done that. You're so full of it, Barnes."

He can feel her smile against his knee, her eyes hooding to the slow, leisurely pass of his fingers through her hair. From the glimpses Bucky can steal, Jane looks something so unlike these past few weeks — someone who has, in this moment, forgotten everything else going on. Almost serene. "We'll rent that movie next," she promises. "Not that you would've even seen it the first time. Probably would have spent it making out in —"

Then the door knocks. And then door /talks to them/. And it sounds remarkably like —

"Tony?" Jane murmurs bemusedly, rolled over to slant a look up at Bucky. "I'll get up."

And with a sigh, she pulls herself to her feet, moving through the apartment to unhinge all those deadbolts Stark makes note of. When the door swings open, it's to a tired-eyed but in-one-piece Jane, looking several pounds lighter since a month or so ago, and all for good reason. The worry that touches her briefly as she asks, "Everything OK, Tony? You make house calls now?"

She holds the door open in invitation, stepping to one side, allowing a better look into her cramped little apartment within, and Bucky taking residence therein. Also an implicit welcome for Tony to cross the threshold. "Of course you are," she says about lobsters, "how else do I keep the guy in here fed? Come on in. Nothing to worry about."

Except for — what happens when Tony does step inside.

No lobsters. No curses. No magical barriers.

Just a flutter of something that appears, tethered to the shoulders of what he'll be wearing. Something light. Something long. Something that flaps valiantly in the wind.

Tony Stark is, for some strange and ineffable reason, now wearing a cape.

The cape is stylized in only the best way befitting of Iron Man:

It's a giant picture of Captain America, mask on, teeth gleaming, awash in the passionate fires of freedom, and proudly facing his country and his people with a double thumbs-up. A text box promises beside him: "I'VE GOT YOUR BACK!"

"I have totally done that," Bucky argues. "I am not full of it. You just haven't seen me." Gene Kelly performs another stunning aerial with Leslie Caron. "Yeah, done that too. I just haven't really shown you the full breadth of what I can do 'cause you gotta catch up to my level first."

He mollifies to the promise that they'll watch that long-ago missed movie next. Her tease just elicits a chuckle. "I would have watched most of it," he protests. "Well. Maybe. Woulda depended on the girl — "

The knock on the door instantly turns off his good mood. His gaze swings sharply around, his lazy relaxed demeanor going alert and electric within instants.

Well, up until he hears Stark. Then he relaxes — marginally. He stays put as Jane gets up, though he's probably got a pistol within reach just in case it's some kind of imposter Tony. Because he's just that paranoid.

"I don't actually like lobster," is his opinion on Jane feeding him transmogrified houseguests, though it's very likely his background voice goes ignored.

Especially given what happens when Tony crosses the threshold.

"Fuck me," is Bucky's first comment, after a very long pause. "I forgot about — "

And then he sort of just swivels around and mashes his face directly into the couch's cushioned back, because that is the only way he is not going to die instantly of laughter.

Tony crosses the threshhold and suddenly there is a weight on his shoulders that wasn't there a moment before. A woosh of fabric that he doesn't reconise. His eyes narrow as he spins slightly, nealy slinging the sheefs of paper he has in a folder under one arm all over the room before he just thrusts it all at Jane as he grappels around to take a fist full of fabric that wasn't there a second ago.

"…why am I wearing a cape?!" A longer pause. "…a /Steve/ cape!? Whose idea was this…who—AND STOP LAUGHING BARNES I CAN HEAR YOU LAUGHING!"

A finger is thrust at Jane.

"And you pick a name!" He waves at the papers. "It needs a name, you have a pen right? Get signing you have a lot to sign! And…get me some sissors!"

"I am so totally at your level, James Buchanan," is Jane's warning grouse all the way to the front door.

Then the rest is history. Caped history. So much so she absolutely forgets what the hell she was even pretend-arguing about.

Jane just stands there, frozen on the spot, eyes wide to their whites and mouth left open, as Tony Stark — the Iron Man — suddenly wears Captain America on his back. She makes a half-choked, wheezy sort of sound. She blurts out a sputtery laugh, then quickly claps both hands over her mouth.

Desperate for some sort of help, or just confirmation that she's seeing this, she turns a pleading glance back at Bucky. His face is already smushed into the couch. It just makes her want to laugh harder. IT HURTS TO HOLD IT IN.

Forced to let her mouth go as a wealth of paper is SHOVED her way, Jane desperately grasps it all, all the while still valiantly struggling not to smile. "It's — not us, I promise! It's — it — it matches your tie?"

Closing the door after with her elbow, she wades in quickly, hugging the folder tight, trying to use it to hide her face behind it for temporary sanctuary. "What is this? What — what name? And — oh — scissors — uh — might not —"

Bucky is currently useless. His shoulders are shaking from the effort of not dying.

"Not — us — John Constantine — " is all he can manage as far as words, before he has to suppress himself again.

Some might call this a betrayal. Bucky calls it self-preservation instinct.

Then again, when Jane tries to tell Tony that scissors might NOT be what Tony wants… Bucky makes a sort of flailing, quelling gesture with one hand. DON'T TELL HIM, the gesture says. Please let me have this, before I possibly die.

"Wait wait wait, /Constantine/." Tony just stares at the cape. "Not only do I have a cape. But I have a /magic/ cape?! I'm being hugged by magic? This is the worst day ever. JARVIS is it night whever Constantine is right now? If it is call him and then hang up!"

…because Tony is nothing if not petty. "…and tell him it was these twos fault!!"

There is sort of a flailing gesture made with one hand. Unfortunately that hand was holding part of the cape, so it makes it just billow out majesticly.

"…this is the worst day of my life…laser cutter. I'm just gonna laser this off…"

The papers, should Jane glance at them seem to be…well thick reams of lawyer speak. Financial laywer speak if she can reconise that sort of thing.

"…I am never doing anything for anyone ever again!"

DON'T TELL HIM, gestures Bucky Barnes ferociously.

Jane gets the hint and shuts her mouth. Loose lips sink ships.

Instead, she just intones against all of poor Tony's grousing, "Oh, yes you /will/, Tony Stark. Because you are a superhero, and more importantly, a /good person/. With a really good heart!"

With that said, she opens the folder in her arms and thumbs through page after page of unreadable legalese. Jane Foster is prodigiously fluent in every sort of theoretical math known and possibly unknown to man, but she turns some of these pages to the side in vain hopes to understand it better. No dice. "I don't," she mumbles through the fine print, "what is this even about? You're not sueing me, are you?"

And should Tony use his patented laser cutter, the cape slices freely away, billowing harmlessly to puddle around his feet on the floor.

But, just like that, it is replaced. Thanks to the ward, thanks to John Constantine's magic, a new cape falls majestically from Tony's shoulders.

This one wields a full, head-to-toe likeness of Pepper Potts, pin-up style, wearing temptingly little and fixing the world with an impish look.

The caption writes below her: I hope Justin HAMMERS me tonight! AD PAID FOR BY HAMMERTECH.

"JARVIS. Strike that. Find out if this is an actual add. If it is? Make all the speakers in Hammer's house play elevator music. At max volume. For the next twelve hours!!"

Bucky may actually literally die soon. David Archer won't have to do anything. The United States of America won't have to do anything. Wakanda won't have to do anything. Matt Murdock will be sad, but whatever, Matt Murdock is always sad. At least Bucky will be dying in a good mood.

As JARVIS wisks away to enact brutal vengence on Justin Hammer, the inventor turns to try to gather the cape and bunch it up again. "How long is this gonna last?!" He asks the both of them. "Oh my god you both are useless!" A longer pause. "And no I'm not sueing you, why would I sue you. You don't have any money…" A pause. "…well you /didn't/ have any money."

Wait what?

"Just sign stuff! And think up a name! A company needs a name. Doesn't have to be a good name. Not like you'll be doing branding or anything…"

"…I can't belive I'm being hugged by a magic cape! Pepper is gonna kill me if I wear this back to the Tower!"

And wishes do come true. As the first and only rule of their cape curse is broken: thou shalt not remove thy cape until thee suffers fifteen minutes of sacred cape penance.

Paper crumples as Jane hugs the folder close, grasping perilously down for some kind of life raft in this drowning sea of laughter and tears. Candid shock flushes her cheeks. "Is that Pepper?!" she declares owlishly, with complete innocence. "Why is Justin hammering Pepper?! Why does she like it?!"

Poor Tony.

"The cape will go away soon!" Jane promises breathlessly. "I promise! Just — " she pauses to look back at the papers. Company? NAME?! "Wait, I have a company? Wait, what? What is this about? I don't know how to run a company. I barely know how to run my coffee machine! Is this for — my nanotube-aggregate cloth?"

A name. A name, a name, a name. Jane glances over at Bucky, lost in a beautiful, precious moment of levity. "We can call it Tarazed."

Bucky finally stops dying. Which is to say, he gets himself back under enough control that he can turn around and stop mashing his face into the couch. Settling back in his seat the right way around, he scrubs the back of his hand over his eyes and composes himself.

He's kind of interested in the past tense on Jane being poor, and the fact she apparently has a company now, also.

"Soon," he confirms. "Couple minutes. Long as you leave it alone. You can hide out here until it goes away."

Equally at a loss as to what's going on with the company, he waits for some clarity ("You sold your tubecloth?" he does ask, because that's what he calls it).

Her choice of name, however, does briefly soften his eyes. He gets the joke.

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