Boiler Talk

October 19, 2017:

Turns out Tony Stark makes house calls when he's bored, visiting Luke Cage turns into handyman work.

Luke's Bar

It could be any other bar in New York. It's rather unassuming, built into the corner of the ground floor of an aging brickwork building with apartments above.

A set of glass paned doors lead off the vestibule, opening up into a long and skinny main room that's taken up with a J-shaped bar, while small tables dot what little open floor there is. The left wall is compromised of multi-paned windows bifurcated by white metal blinds, blazed with the occasional neon sign sporting this beer or that booze. The bar itself has a draft station and pair of speed wells along with a myriad of multicolored bottles that are shelved against a mirrored wall. The bathrooms and access to the office and cellar are at the back.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jessica Jones

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's not quite time for the bar to be open yet according to the posted hours, but Luke is here early setting things up for the evening. The week is starting to bleed into the weekend, so everything is being double stocked to accommodate. Regulars wouldn't be caught dead in here tonight.

With the man behind the bar, the front door is unlocked, even if all the neon hasn't been turned on just yet like a beacon for the moths. He's busy breaking down empty liquor boxes, not bothering with a straight edge because there is something therapeutic and cathartic about ripping the cardboard into tiny shreds.

*

The door opens and there is a knock knock on the on the wood. The man standing there isn't physically imposing. Not too tall. Not too wide. Not dressed in a costume. T-shirt over a long sleeve shirt, jeans, tennis shoes. Shades cover his eyes. A smirk cutting across his features.

No its not what he's wearing or his size that marks him. Its the presence he has. There isn't really any masking who he is.

That and the brightly glowing circle in the middle of his chest just mark him as one Tony Stark.

"Huh," He says as he glances round the little bar. "Not a bad place."

*

"No, it's a shit hole." Luke says without looking up just yet, "But it's my shit hole." The pride there is undeniable, even if he has to poke fun at himself to get there in the first place. "And we're…" Closed. That should be the word that follows. Or something like 'not open yet'. But see that's about the time that Luke looks up from his task and sees just who is ghosting his door. Instead, Tony is greeted with a, "Sweet Christmas."

*

"Sweeet Christmas, thats a new one." The billionare replies as he strolls in like he owns the place. Truth be told he could likely buy the place a dozen times over, but he doesn't seem to be bothered by it at all. Instead he ambles over towards the bar, hands in his pockets.

"So! Luke Cage right? Bullet proof. Built like some kind of large appliance. Yup, I'm going to guess thats you. I'm gonna also guess you know who I am?" A flash of a grin at that as he offers his hand towards the bartender.

One hand raises to sharply pull his glasses off. "And alright then, its a nice shithole you got here." He adds with a grin as he sharply pulls his glasses off to hang them from the neck of his t-shirt. The stream of light hinted at coming from the inside of the lenses say they are more than glasses.

But with Stark thats expected.

"So! Apparently I owe ya something?"

*

Luke is quick to pick up a bar mop, wiping his hands off with the towel before his big paw of a hand is slapped into Tony's for a shake at the introduction that needed no real introduction. He remains mindful of his own strength, restraining it even as he enthusiastically pumps the arm of the billionaire extraordinaire. "Holy mother of ghosts you came all the way down here for an invoice?" And he's /heard/ of Luke (and his abilities). "Good thing for me black men don't blush. Jess-" He seems to swallow the name as soon as it's out of his mouth, the thing bitter on his tongue. "I helped
Miss Jones out on that Wakanda business and she said I could send in my expenses…normally I wouldn't even think of doing such a thing, but I came back and was a month behind on paying liquor bills and…" And you're babbling like a sophomore high school girl, Luke.

*

"Well more I came all the way down here to see what qualifies as a bulletproof man. The invoice is just a good excuse. That way I look like I'm doing something other than just playing hooky from building things." Tony blathers back with the grin on his face. "But yeah, Wakanda eh? What was it like. Or was there some kind of non disclosure agreement you had to sign in blood or the'll send lawyers shaped like panthers after your soul or something. That sounds like something they would do."

If there is one thing Tony can do, its run his mouth. Weather that puts his new friend at ease or not is hard to say. "Can I have a seat?" He asks as he gestures towards one of the barstools.

Though there is a curious look when he swollows Jess' name like that. A quirked eyebrow. "Oh man, that sounds like a story." He adds…

…mostly because he has no sense of personal space. Emotional or otherwise.

"But yeah, I think we can manage to clear ya on your back bills." He adds with a wave of his hand. "Long as you can tell me the story of what happened?"

A beatpause. "Well I'll still give ya the money if you won't, but man I do love stories."

*

At the question of a seat, Luke happily nods his head to a stool for Tony to claim as his own. Hell, he might just bronze the thing after Stark leaves, as it might be a bragging right our tourist attraction. Luke tucks the tail of the towel into his back pocket, a low chuckle rumbling off his lips. "It was hot as balls." The man says of Wakanda, letting the rest roll off his back, "Why don't we start with a drink first. What'll you have?"

*

"So they either like it hot or don't have weather manipulation technology…" Tony mutters to himself as he slides into the stool, leaning elbows against the polished wood of the bar before he flashes the man a grin. "Scotch. Thats my prefered drink most times. In case your ever curious what to send me for christmas."

*

"Scotch it is." Luke flips over a glass, and instead of going for the bottle with the little plastic pour spout on top, he goes for a bottle on a high shelf on the back wall. The stopper is pulled, and three fingers are poured without adding ice, as it wasn't requested. "Not everyone can control the weather. But if you want to go ahead and make sure Harlem isn't covered in six feet of snow this winter, I won't complain. That is the sort of stuff that you do, isn't it?" Setting up the bar takes a backseat to talking /the/ Stark, and Luke leans forward on the bar with a pair of elbows.

*

Tony pulls the glass towards him to take a sip and sigh with pleasure as the liquid bruns its way down his throat. "You pulled out the good stuff eh? I appriciate that." A pause as he smirks slightly. "Well it wouldn't suprise me if the Wakandas could. You know I've applyed to visit for years, never once let me in. I was sooooo jealous when I heard that Jess and Az got to go without me."

He pauses though before he shrugs. "I guess I could control the weather, wouldn't be that hard. But then you get someone that steals the tech, and uses it to hold the city ransom, then I have to get Steve or Jess or Bucky or whoever else and go punch them until they feel bad for what they did. Its just always a hassle."

…this sounds like something that can and has happened.

"But six feet seems a bit excessive." A beatpause. "Huh. I wonder if I could direct the ARC energy this way and just power everyones heating systems for free…huh…"

…this is sort of what its like to talk Tony Stark.

He rambles.

And thinks outloud.

*

"I think I'd just settle for a reliable boiler in the building." Which might just be helped by that check from the Stark Industries, but as long as Tony is drinking, he's a captive audience. Luke doesn't seem as impressed with the fact that Jess got into Wakanda as Tony is, in fact he seems down right frosty at the mention of her name again. "She has a way about her, doesn't she. Of weaseling into things where she doesn't belong. Good trait for a PI." But clearly not one he admires, at the moment.

*

"Mmmm, its one of the reasons I hired her. She's got a knack for it. Also for pissing people off. Thats a more universal talent though I'm thinking. Usually she has a good reason behind it though. Usually." The inventor replies with a smirk as he takes a different sip of his drink. "And I think I can handle the boiler problem." A pause. "Actually I can totally handle that right now. Where is this boiler thing."

The man is a force of nature, shifting gears almost before he's finished his previous thought. "I think better when I'm doing something with my hands anyway! I can work. You can talk. Cause you seem annoyed enough to bend a barstool into a pretzel." A pause. "Could you do that?"

*

"Yes." Luke replies simply of the barstool, hitching his thumb over his shoulder to indicate the backroom and the access to the basement through there. "Though in my experience if someone indicates something as a 'thing', they aren't really the one to fix it." But, color him intrigued to see if the Ironman himself can actually fix it. "But if you blow up my bar, Imma be pissed." He says good-naturedly as he snags up the bottle of scotch by the neck and moves to lock the front door while they're down there and Tony tinkers. "Right through here." He'll lead the man down the narrow dank stairs to the cellar area, clicking on lights as they go. "Just let me text Billy that he can open up when he gets here." And out comes a flip phone, that seems comically small in his hand as his big thumb fumbles over the number pad to try and tap out that message as they walk.

*

"I call a lot of things, things." Tony replies. "Pepper hates it when I call a million dollar drone a thing." The inventor downs the rest of his drink as he gets up to follow. The glasses go back on. Though the tint seems to be so problem to see though for him as he navigates the shadowed back rooms. The faint glow seen at the corner of his eyes reveal the glasses to likely be some kind of computer feed.

Though what gets his attention isn't the boiler itself. Or the threat of anger should things explode.

Its the phone.

"Oh my god what is it with people and keeping those ancient things! I sware its going to be my personal quest to get proper phones for everyone I know. What is that like…twenty years old?"

*

"If it ain't broke…" Luke says of his phone. "And when you go through the damn things like I do, the cheaper the better. In Chinatown I can get these for a song." He finishes his text and the phone goes back in pocket. The boiler might as well have been the ancient thing that Tony spoke of, as it likely hasn't been updated since the time of prohibition. It's a monstrous thing that spiders out in the basement, serving all the radiators for the entire building of apartments above it. "Million dollar drone." He whistles under his breath as he sets his weight down on a groaning stack of crates, indicating the tool bench off to the side for Tony to get all the things he needs to tinker with. "So what do you want to know about Wakanda?" Luke will happily dish about the operation to the man who is apparently footing his bill.

*

"You just said you broke them, so its obviously been broke. How do you even text on that tiny—-urgh. I'm just making you a new one." Tony has decided on this matter. There will be a new phone. "If I can make ones that a hardened and bulletproof I can make ones that you can't break." He adds as he peers towards the spidery mass of the ancient boiler.

And a grin comes to his face.

"Man, they really /don't/ update things down here do they." He cracks his kunckles a moment before reaching up to touch a little metal band on his wrist, twisting it slightly. Then a similar touch to his watch.

This is when Luke would find out that Tony Stark loves showing off.

Those seemingly ordinary pieces of innocuous jewlery begin to unfold. Metal slipping over metal, impossibily thin as the two pieces spiderweb out to encase his hands. Metal pieces unfold into red and gold armor with a series of clicks until the billionare is wearing a pair of thin gauntlets in the red and gold of his suit.

"JARVIS, scan this thing and give me a holoprojection of how it /should/ work. Then factor in some upgrades."

"Yes, sir." The overly british voice of Tony's AI seems to eminate from his glasses.
"Should I send you your tools."

"Naw, I think Luke can handle any heavy duty work the gauntlets can't do. Right Luke?" He calls over towards the man as a holographic image of how the boiler should look starts to build itself in the middle of the cramped room.

"As for Wakanda, what was their tech like? The people? Did they show off their anti-gravity systems? Just in general everything!"

*

Luke doesn't have time to comment any further on his cell phone deficiencies as he rocks back on his crate perch when Tony spouts gauntlets from jewelry. It's usually not that easy to topple over the mountain of a man, but the surprise nearly does it. "R-right." He stammers back as if addressing that British disembodied voice. "I, uh." He sort of blinks himself back into reality. "Yeah, I didn't really see any of that, sorry. I spent my time chasing down whatever leads Jones sent me on. Drug dealers. Sort of my forte."

*

"Alright, we'll just get the kinks out of this one…" As Tony moves over to the pipes and starts to feel for imperfections in the steal. Sealing them with a tiny laser of some sort built into the fingertip of the gauntlet. "…and that one needs to be shifted…" He mutters as he glances at it.

"Right! Can you just bend this pipe here so it doesn't have this kink in it. Then I can get reweld it up…"

Tony has no problem ordering people around, or wowing people with what he can do. "You like the gauntlets? Don't tell too many people, there supposed to be a close defense suprise." A smirk. "I mean without the suit I'm not bulletproof. I'm just awesome and smart."

A longer pause before he glances back towards Luke with a quirked eyebrow. "Drug dealers? What were they dealing in Wakanda? I thought they all ate pixie dust and rainbows in that place."

*

"Turns out place isn't so shiny as they want you to believe." Luke rubs his palms on the material of his pants, as if drying off a sweat that's suddenly sprung to them. "Make a deal with you. I'll bend that pipe, and so long as you don't go around telling people I can do it, I won't mention your shiny glove-things." He finally comes up to the bend of piping that Tony mentioned, glancing between it and the man a few times. Apparently, he doesn't do this sort of thing in front of others openly very often. When he finally does, it's with no more effort than it would be to change the angle of a paper straw.

*

"Huh, the more you know…" Tony replies with a shake of his head. "…but really they don't want anyone to know anything about the place. Its a land my /mystery~~~/." A beatpause. "One with tech on a level that I can't even get too. I mean the two Wakandas I've talked too called my suits 'quaint'." He frowns. "They are awesome, not quaint."

He nods easily as the big man crunches the steal into place with little in the way of effort. "Bulletproof and superstrength. Good to know for your new phone. But yeah yeah, I won't tell anyone. Not everyone likes the spotlight as much as I do."

*

"I don't like it at all." The spotlight, of course. In fact the thought of it makes the big man frown deep lines into his forehead. "It leads to people asking questions, and then they get answers…" Luke ends up breaking the pipe in his hand cleanly off with an angered tense of muscle, so he's left to just look down at the piece in his hand and sigh. "And answers only lead to more heart break. Can you weld that?" The pipe he's holding out to Tony, not the heart thing.

*

"Huh, a bit too much superstrength there big guy." Tony points out as the pipe snaps cleanly. "Yeah I can get it, just hold it in place a moment and I'll get it settled it. This might work better, we can just…yeah." And he fiddles with other pipes to make the arrangement more efficent.

"Hold…there." He points and starts to weld again. "…anyway, answers are like that. Questions are like that. But if you don't ask questions you don't get anywhere. I mean if I didn't ask questions I'd still be making weapons for people like Hydra
instead of blowing them up. So they arn't all bad things."

*

Luke has no problem following instructions, doing as he's told without so much as a complaint. He's too busy stewing in his own brooding juices to think twice about it, besides in the end Tony is doing him a favor. "What do you do when you get answers you aren't prepared for?" The man grumbles at the aging boiler, as if it's somehow the junk heap's fault for his current mood. "She's …fucked up."

*

"Are we talking about the boiler or…" Tony asks with a quirked eyebrow. Though he doesn't even pause for an answer before he moves on. "Anyway, when you get one you arn't prepared for. Well in my case it usually blows up in my face. Then I figure out what I did wrong and try to work it out. Back up and look at it, come at it from a different angle and see if the answer is different from a different perspective. Funny thing about questions and answers, they can change when you apply different forces to em."

He moves on to a different pipe, angling it slightly differently as he continues his repair work. "Should be working a bit better after this…" A pause. "…I mean it would work way better if I just replaced it entirely but that would take a lot longer than just repair work."

*

"She…the boiler, yeah." Luke might not blush, but he can still manage to look sheepish, stepping back from the work once his bending and holding skills are no longer required. His thick arms fold over each other, "I trust it'll work for another half century by the time you're through. There's no need to replace it. We start just swapping out everything for the new and improved, nothing will be recognizable anymore. Minute you forget about what got you here in the first place, forget about what made you, you lose who you are." Surely he's still talking about the boiler.

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