Holly and Hellfire

December 15, 2017:

The season is in full swing, and the Hellfire Club is known for its lavish soirees. The HFC's Yule Cigar Party is a ever-so-slightly more public event than is typically their habit, where members can drink, smoke, rub elbows with their fellow rich snobs, and bring a friend.

Take out the finery! It's time to indulge!

A Private Cigar Club on the Upper West Side, NYC


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [https://youtu.be/vBecM3CQVD8 "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones]

Fade In…

It's an intimate cigar club on the Upper West Side, known for its gentlemanly Victorian-styled decor, large selection of imported cigars, disgustingly costly private humidors, and impressive whiskey selection. This evening's event is being held upstairs, although the restaurant downstairs has been closed for the evening.

Old books line the inset bookshelves and an enormous double fireplace burns on one side of the room. A grand piano has been tucked into the corner, where a tuxedoed man plays the accompaniment for a lovely woman in a scarlet sequined mini-dress who performs her airy, breathless renditions of Christmas selections for the pleasure of the room at large, between innocuous instrumentals meant to provide a certain amount of ambient flavor without overpowering conversation.

Leather couches line the sides of the room, and mahogany highboy and pub tables are scattered around, too.

The room has been greened for the event, and the room smells of the fresh evergreen, holly, and roses used for table centerpieces, window dressings, and door garlands.

And then, tucked in one corner, is one subtly hung mistletoe ball.

The party is already well underway, and a number of women in their fancy evening gowns and men in their well-cut tuxedos have already started in on the passed hors d'oeuvres which have all been - so cute - selected as a subtle homage to the 12 Days of Christmas.


Kara has been a stranger in a strange land ever since arriving on Earth, so any place she goes for the most part feels alien to her. Which is why she went out of her way to be adventurous and experience more of what this planet has to offer by attending this exclusive club and its fancy party, in the very fancy white dress, that she got courtesy of Carol Danvers, her favorite person other than her cousin. A whole new wardrobe had a lot to do with it, but still, she was supremely nice to her.

It's not hard to tell Kara is the answer to "which of those things is not like the other," she looks ravishing, no doubt, perfect golden locks, vibrant blue eyes, spectacular dress with intricate embrodiery, but with all that, she looks like it's the first party she ever attended in her life. She's awkwardly keeping against a wall, observing others while not quite daring to take an initiative on anything.


It wasn't exactly unlike William AKA Wiccan to attend such extravagant parties, though it wasn't hard with the use of magic. He normally wouldn't really care for these kinds of things, but his mother told him to go so that he can understand both sides of the spectrum instead of just one. Thus is Wiccan begrudgingly (perhaps) here.

Lookin rather extravagent in accordance to the party, he wears a perfectly clean and well-kempt black two-piece suit, with a dark blue tie that's reminiscent of the stars. Holding a glass of wine in his hand…it's actually Kara that grabs his attention with how amazing she looks, so…since Billy has no desire to sit in a corner all day, he decides to be social, perhaps being the first to actually approach Kara and connect already since both of them are fairly awkward in this situation.

"Hello miss. If you would allow me, I would like to be the first to officially welcome you to the party. May I ask your name?"


The match strikes and fire flares to light all the lines in Obadiah Stane's face, his white suit and red tie tinting orange for a moment as he lights the end of his cigar. Soon smoke billows and plumes and rises all around him, past the shiny contour of his scalp to fill the air around him with the earthy tones of aged tobacco. A man bends his ear for a moment, and his eyes shift sidelong, narrowing on a swath of white, and then past to the stairway. A look at his watch, brief and meaningful, adds and air of purpose to his meandering near the book case, his gaze sweeping back to tomes old and new, but never meant for sale. Not here. These were for reading in house, for members only.

Fingertips rise and fall upon the spine of a book with a V, gold leaf etched in black, and then that hand falls to his pocket and he brings his cigar to his mouth once more. The two men who are his security are not a stifling presence, but they are never far. One mingles with a woman on a leather sofa nearby, the third member of his detail revealing herself to an attentive gaze when she glances to the exit for a brief moment and inclines her head as if to hear something.

Ever since the gala, it's been like this, but Obi doesn't mind. No no, he ignores them all, and dives into the world of texture and sensation of old skin against old literature, turning over book after book as if on a quest to find meaning in a cigar shop's curated library. Not the book he was looking for.

Nor the swath of white.

He'll wait. Patience is his super power.


Cigars and vintage, high quality alcohol? Miss Rusalka Stojespal has grown up around such things, of course. Never sampled directly, they're simply the scents and sounds of a fine ambience in the family castle. It's just not typically been 'her thing' despite growing up the daughter of the current baroness and one part of Polyuchyn's nobility. Her blood may run blue, but her choices tend to other things. A fine V-12 engine, perhaps.

Not to say she has no idea how to comport herself in such an occasion; the Sokovian girl simply slips into a persona she'd been taught. Demure, charming, quiet, watching more than engaging at first. Learning who is who, and why they are, before speaking. Interactions at this level are always a chess game, and it's always being played - even when you're not at the table.

A blue silk dress, modern in style and touched with black embroidery, and matching fine sandals. Nothing more than mid-heeled, even Sally's got limits when it comes to being a proper noblewoman. A gold pendant lies over the collar, and a fine watch sits on her left wrist. Other than that, it's simply her way to circle through the crowd slowly, watching the chess boards form and the pieces arrange.

She's even practiced enough to keep the 'where the hell is Tony Stark' completely off her face. Fashionably late as usual…oh no. If he shows up in some sort of ebony Iron Man unit claiming it's his 'finest black suit…' Fortunately, the sight of Mr. Stane breaks the momentary thought, and she'll make her way to his general direction. It never hurts to see a friendly face to start the night.


Kara looks surprised when Billy approaches her, and tries to take a step back, before bumping into the wall she's standing against, reminding her where she was. She puts on a silly smile, and pretends as if she didn't just do that. "Hello!" She's eager to draw attention away from her unintended show of clumsiness, looking at Billy with a warm smile, "very nice of you to welcome me, and my name is Kara." She pauses a moment, then asks, "what is yours?" Yes, small talk 101 is one of those classes she'll have to take at some point.


o/~ "Santa, baby, slip a sable under the tree for me… Been an awful good girl…" o/~

The clink of crystal and the continued murmur of conversation continues on as the brunette by the piano launches into a new piece with a smile on her ruby-painted lips. Candles dance here and there, make the room feel just a little more intimate even though bodies continue to enter and the count of attendees rises to thirty. No forty?

Kara will find that, even though she's hugging the wall, that a redhead will approach - one in a short black skirt and white collared shirt and a plate full of meat on top of pear halves. "Partridge?" the other woman offers to she and William, holding out the tray of tiny dishes and forks.

Quietly, through a set of doors apart from the main ones leading downstairs, another blonde makes her way into the party. Emma has her own way of lurking around the edges of the room, her hair swept up and over one shoulder to give maximum attention to the white gown that she's selected: the floor-length velvet one with a neckline that plunges until her naval, features a generous slit that cuts high on one side, and that leaves her finely muscled back bare as the background for a cascade of crystal and pearl fringe that matches the elaborate beadwork that explodes across the expanse of soft fabric like frost upon a windowpane. Her diamond and platinum earrings offer a complimentary aesthetic of icicles. Her shoes, surprisingly moderate kitten heeled mules of dupioni and beads, are custom done to match. For her part? She goes straight for the open whiskey bar. Because that is a sensible place to start.


Billy smiles warmly to Kara even though she fumbles. Though with a gesture he actually helps her regain her footing easier with the smallest use of a magic spell. Regardless, when she introduces herself, Billy just smiles wider, bowing his head in greeting. "William Kaplan. Though friends just call me Billy. A pleasure to meet you Kara." he offers her his hand in greeting, as well as to walk with her. "So, what brings you to this party?" he, on the other hand, is fairly expert at small talk.


Eyes track and approach and Obadiah turns to meet the oncoming Agent, dressed in a whole other kind of uniform tonight. But then, SHIELD agents were nothing if not adaptable. "Ms. Stojespal, I live in fear of what's ten steps behind you. Tell me it isn't dressed in metal and powered by ego."

Obadiah's little joke at Tony's expense is part of his right as the man's family, a hand reaching out to take the good Agent by the arm and draw her closer, so he might lean in to whisper at her ear. "But no, really. Is Tony coming by tonight? Please tell me you aren't here to keep an eye on me, or even worse, actually come to these things all on your own. It's a sickness I tell you, and I keep promising myself I'll quit every year.." He waves his cigar to indicate what he's talking about, eyeing Emma's entrance from the corner of his eyes, a meaningful look cast her way, as if he might be able to do something absurd like speak to her telepathically or something.

Sheer nonsense, of course.

The warmth of his smile is ever inviting, far more amiable than the picture the papers might paint of him. Far more likable than the rest of his reputation suggests. The practiced smile of an every man in a suit worth a college tuition.


Kara turns to look at the redhead that approaches her with the plate of hors d'oeuvres, shaking her head at her question, "oh no, I just told him," she points at Billy, "my name is Kara, not Partridge." Having corrected the redhead, she turns back to Billy, and grins, "a sense of adventure! I never been to one, so I figured I ought to! What brings you here, William Kaplan?"


A word of hello here, a smile there. It's an intimate sort of event, but one that Rusalka is doing her best to feel a part of. Even as there's this … itch, in the back of her mind. Perhaps just a little bit of nerves, remembering the last time she was in a gala like this. But this is a night of warmth and silk, not fire and glass.

She catches a glimpse of Emma, and it's instantly clear the difference between them. Admiration, certainly, the woman carries herself with the kind of dignity and control - and display - that even her great grandmother would respect.

And then she's near enough to Stane, and his jibe gets a momentary widening of her eyes, the cobalt blue dress matching the color. Then Sally just laughs softly without turning around. "Absolutely not, Mr. Stane." Even for a grin, her accent never goes away. "If it were powered so, it could not be silent as a ghost. Yes?" But then she raises a hand.

"He will be. I have made sure of that, and that is why I am here. You did tell me to watch out for him, remember? Though…" Sally eyes Obi carefully, staring at the cigar for a minute. "Only because that is a flavor my uncle prefers, will I say nothing about your choice of tobacco. Absolutely I would not dare go against my family's wishes, yes?"

But he's looking for someone else it seems, and she gets the message. "Merry Christmas, Mr. Stane. Please enjoy yourself." She'll pat the kindly old man on the shoulder, and leave him to his ways - idly wondering if he'd not make a good Santa Claus. He certainly had the beard for it, at least…to start with.


Billy just can't help but find Kara to be a pleasant new experience! Though when she corrects the waiter, he simply chuckles and looks to the redhead. "Apologies, she is new the scene. We humbly decline, but thank you." he says politely before a look is given to Kara. As a powerful Sorcerer, he generally has knowledge of when someone is -clearly- not of earth, and he speaks with her with the benefit of the doubt as to be polite. "Such is a delicacy, not so much asking your name, my lady." he says in a humorous, rather than scolding, tone.

"Ah, a sense of adventure is more than enough for me to be here as well. Trying new things as it were. and please, call me Billy." a warm smile for her then as he offers her his arm. "Shall we walk?"


Enter Virgil Hawkins, Agent of S.T.A.R. LABS. Wait, that's not actually a spy organization or anything. However, it looks as though the dreadlocked boy wonder is on a mission of spy-styled proportions. He's rocking a black suit with a purple tie and a pair of purple and white sneakers. He's killin' it. Or, well, at least he looks like he's killin' it to himself. Even his locks are pulled back with a purple band. He's feeling that color tonight or something.

Either way, the S.T.A.R. Labs intern is here to mingle and ring in the holiday cheer. It's a party, right? He might as well see if he can't rub some elbows with some rich people and get S.T.A.R. Labs some more investors. Open up some wallets. Get some blank checks signed. The works!

Mingle Mode!


Kara's correction earns her a skeptical glance from the server, and it's a skepticism that doesn't seem to immediately abate as Wiccan offers his mild explanation. The young woman does, however, remove the tray from their vicinity as she moves on to other gathered conversations. It gets her near the door in enough time to catch Virgil when he comes in. "Partridge?" she offers of her tray.

From way across the room, Emma's head partly turns in Obadiah's direction so that she can offer a secretive little smile over her bare shoulder. She chuckles to herself, and then murmurs something more to the bartender who proceeds to pull down a bottle of vodka from a high shelf behind him.

She collects her tumbler of Macallan with one hand and a creamier thing in a cup with the other.


"Why are you apologizing? It was her who got my name wrong," Kara whispers to Billy, feeling a little bad that he's apologizing for her when she's done nothing wrong. "I'm not -your- lady!" Kara is quick to note as Billy tries to explain her mistake, getting caught instead of the possessive term, "I'm mine, I don't belong to anyone, certainly not you!" Yes, a comedy of error is Kara.

Kara does cool a bit at the offer of a walk, but looking around the room, she seems at a loss, "where should we walk to, Billy?" She's rather quick to take on his request, before grinning, as she asks, "does that mean we're friends now?" He did say 'Billy' is what his friends called him. Kara then adds in a softer whisper, "that redhead didn't like me one bit, did she? Did you see how she was looking at me? Is it because of my dress?"


Meanwhile there's something curious - Sally blinks when she sees the young man from S.T.A.R. Labs. Between the curious hairstyle for such an event, and the brilliant purple tie - and shoes - she can't help but smile a little. She manages to find a champagne glass with sparkling water, at least, before making her way to the newcomer's side.

"Such color choices are quite remarkable," she says with a smirk. The accent to her voice is slavic, somewhere in Eastern Europe, but not so thick as to be hard to hear. A small sip of her drink before Rusalka continues, polite and inviting. "That shade of purple, very daring. It looks familiar…mister…?" A new chess game begins, and she'll concede making the first move to him.


Billy seems to sigh a moment when Kara starts getting hostile with him. Thus does he eventually start explaining things more bluntly. "Kara, allow me to explain these things to you, if you do not mind? I nkow you are not of here." he whispers to her. "The term 'my lady' is a common form of etiquette meant to show respect to women in terms of addressing them. It's not a form of claiming ownership of you." he chuckles then, a little blush to his cheeks.

What? he thought she was gorgeous.

Alas, when she asks that they are friends now, he nods. "If you like. I find you friendly." he teases.


There's a turn of his attention when Sally brings up her family, and he laughs a little before reaching into his pocket to give her a parting gift. It even has a little bow: Just one of the cigars he is smoking, pressing it into her hand. "With my compliments."

A moment later his brows lift and his smile grows wide and pleasant, and he reaches out to take the White Russian from Emma when she draws close. "Well look at that. Festive as the driven snow, and your dress to match. I hope I'm not ruining it with all this smoke but when I come to a place like this I can't pretend to be polite. You want one? I have a whole pocket full. As soon as I find a spare hand."

Of course this theater is what he's good at, the oblivious man at the center of the party, his mind goes other places. «Thanks for the drink. My new guards aren't fond of me having anything. I think they're afraid someone might drug me. As if a roofie and a kidnapping were somehow the same thing as some kid trying to bomb me back to the stone age. On a more serious note, how has your evening been?»

Thoughts fly through the mindspace, and he takes a long sip of his drink to the disapproving stares of his security detail.


"You do…? How? Were you spying on me…?" Kara asks Billy, all of a sudden looking very concerned. She was warned there might be those who would seek her out to study her or worse! Could Billy be one of those 'someones'?

But then she actually listens to what he has to say, and starts to calm a little, the man is merely explaining things. He's being nice! "So you weren't trying to say you own me…?" Kara tests just to make sure, "because saying 'my lady' is a stupid way not to show ownership." At least she's honest with her review of the sentence at hand, maybe it would make more sense to her if it were to be presented in Kryptonian, alas, that's not the case for the time being.

"I am friendly, because being friendly is a great way to make friends, I also want people to like me…I don't really know anyone, well," she stops to think a moment, then holds up two fingers, "I guess I know two people," before adding a third finger, "maybe three?"


Billy chuckles faintly. "You arn't the only one who's special." Then a message to her mind. «I am a sorcerer, Kara. My duties is to ensure the world at large is safe…even from extraterrestrials. Er, beings from other worlds.» he chuckles then before he speaks. "It is a little weird, but hey, welcome to humanity." he teases her just a little bit.

"A great way to make friends. Either way, you can consider me among them if you choose." a warmness given to her.


Kara is utterly unfamiliar with telepaths, so when she hears Billy's voice in her head, she lets out a startled yelp, her sudden jolt of surprie causing her to lose balance in her fine heels, so she latches onto Billy's arm in hopes of not falling down. Then again, MAYBE she used a little bit more force than one would expect of a human. And by MAYBE it means ABSOLUTELY, just as by little it means A LOT. It's not that she means to throw Billy to the ground, she just got stratled and is not quite familiar with her own uber strength quite yet, which makes her prone to errors in judgement. Particularly when she's trying to avoid falling down.

«I'm sorry, but did you just talk in my head!? That's…unreasonable!» Kara tries to think her reply if only to test if Billy could hear it. But the thought experiment is followed by a squeaky, "sorry," when she realizes how strong was her grip and pull in trying to stay on her feet.


Emma's lips quirk upwards, pleased by the praise put to her from Obadiah. "Mister Stane, it's a cigar bar. God help us all if they aren't prepared to deal with cigars. Because that certainly would leave little hope for the rest of the evening. I'll pass for now, but maybe I'll see if you still have something in stock " There's a pause as Emma sips from her cup, an enormous pearl cocktail ring catching the light as she does so. Her eyes turn in Rulsalka's direction. "She's familiar, I think. Who is she?" It's civil conversation that easily masks the one that flows beneath, unheard by all but one. «Quiet. Where's Stark?»

o/~ "And hurry down the chimney tonight." o/~ The singer swaying against the mic stand releases it so that she too can go find a bar to avail herself of some sparkling water as she takes her first fifteen minute break.


"Rusalka Stojespal, Agent of SHIELD, old money Sokovian, and right now an overpaid babysitter - part of Tony's advance team. Or something like that." His smile is a private one. He won't mention how that job got cemented. But sometimes things like this have to happen to further a career. «Well, I can't be sure. But I did see something about a Christmas Swimsuit pageant on the schedule today. Or maybe today was that Science Fund competition.. either way I'm sure he's judging non-linear curvature and taking far to long about it. But I've been assured he'll be along.»

The pause is careful, deliberate. "She saved my life at the gala. Kept me from bleeding out, when she should have ran. I'd say I owe her one, but it's more than that."

His dual conversation continues on with flawless poise, something he only recently learned to do, but then, he's had a good teacher in this regard. «You need to bend both our ears?»

Of course, Obi takes some time to enjoy his drink, and his cigar too, even as he speaks with Emma on two fronts.


Yes, Billy almost gets thrown straight to the ground at Kara's expression of being severely startled. Though it was unintentional, he appears somewhat apologetic. "Hm…it will be difficult to explain things…" he chuckles then good-naturedly. Power of magic! Though when she starts to think again, he notices. «Apologies…I simply attempted to keep your secret…assuming it was secret.» he looks at her apologetically, then verbally to help save face. "I'm sorry I startled you."


Kara looks duly embarrassed at that little misshap, quickly letting go of Billy and pulling her hand back to her side. Nervously playing with her skirt, half expecting Billy to call her all manner of things. When that doesn't happen, she smiles at him, "it's okay…I should be more alert, sometimes I just lose myself in thoughts." She looks around the party, particularly at Emma with her remarkable dress, and Stane who seems, suspicious? Either way, she thinks back to Billy «I think it's supposed to be, that why I present myself as Kara Danvers.» Isn't it just great to think secret thoughts with a telepath around?


Obi's cigar is tucked away discreetly - she's not been one to smoke herself, but it never hurts to accept things from the boss. Besides, her uncle might well approve of such a gift, and she can merely say it was for him all along.

Meanwhile, after a short conversation with the interesting young man with equally interesting color choices, Sally finds herself alone once more - work calls, it seems. She understands, and accepts the forfeit gracefully. Meanwhile, to mingle. And occasionally partake upon the hors d'oeuvres, maybe one or two won't be so bad.

Quite tasty.

Mild conversation here and there, a face to remember, a name to forget. And wondering just where has Stark gotten to this time. Well…perhaps it gives her a breather, and she'll take it - examining once more the library of classics and antiques. First editions all, probably; she's careful not to touch. Just observe. And…frankly, enjoy the peaceful nostalgic feeling.


There was a yelp. And now there's murmuring of party attendees, several of whom have no shortage of irritation to level at Kara and Billy. There are apologies overheard, but it doesn't seem to keep the room from starting to—with increasing overtness—tuning into the outward parts of Kara and Billy's conversation.

It also draws the vitriolic gaze of one Emma Frost. Blue eyes narrow in their direction. "SHIELD, you say?" she asks, now a mite distracted as she watches guests disturbing her world's peace. "Whatever did our dear Tony do this time to earn that sort of keeper?" His last unspoken but not unknown question seems to be left without answer. Instead, she puts one to him as she continues to stare at Kara and William without apology: «Do you know them, Mister Stane?»


Billy smiles warmly to Kara as they have a little conversation all to themselves! he offers her his arm again as if he wasn unafraid of being accidentally thrown down. "It is completely alright. No apologies are needed." «Ah…Kara Danvers. I see. So then, may I know your true name?»


To her credit, Emma Frost can be said to have a menacing gaze, the sort that invokes in Kara memories of Zor-El, looking at her with displeasure when she was only top 5 in her class, rather than top of her class. It gets her to literally take a step back only for having met Emma's gaze, before she squeaks sheepishly, and thinks to Billy «is that woman going to hurt me? She looks like she doesn't want me to be here…should I just leave?» She takes Billy's arms, really gently this time, answering his thoughtful question with thought «Kara Zor-El is my real name. I guess it's just like your real name is William Kaplan, but you call yourself Billy?»


«I don't know them at all. If they're a bother, Vance can speak with them. Ask them to keep it down.» Obadiah isn't as annoyed by at all, really, all this does is distract from anything he might be working on with Emma, and business conducted in the open is his specialty. "Like Tony ever had to earn a careful eye placed on him. My understanding is it's a mutual agreement. Something to help the Avengers and SHIELD work better together. Honestly, I'm more wondering what she did to get the short straw." He smirks at that, then looks to his watch.

"Tony really should be here by now. But you know how he is. Always distracted, always late." «I really hope he wasn't judging the swimsuit contest we might be here all night.»

Finally he finishes off his drink and hands the glass over to a server, finally plucking a partridge from another. Here his cigar finds an ashtray nearby and he decides it's time for a treat. He's careful enough, but it's a decadent thing and he does look like he's enjoying the meat and fruit a little to much.


It looks like a fun time.

People are laughing. People are dancing. People are in general having a good time. In the posh restrained way that the one percent of the one percent have. Which might be why as soon as Obadiah Stane speaks people might raise their eyes as something rattles the windows. A light flashes by the second story and a rumble sounds outside. There might be murmurs and talking, people might look out the windows.

Nothing dangerous, really.

But loud. Shiny. And obnoxious.

Outside? The valet in the parking lot is staring at the silver outside of the classic Delorian that just landed in front of him. One gullwing door flips open as Tony Stark steps out. Smirking as he tosses the poor kid the keys. "Don't scratch her!" He calls as he strolls inside. "And no joyriding. Seriously. Security system is a bitch. Just don't do it."

The bouncers at the door? Oh yes. They know who he is. Who doesn't know who he is? Not the tallest of the powerful figures in the room, but fairly exploding with personality even as he walks in. Wide smile on his face, fitted tux looking perfect. Sunglasses even at night, though he does at least take those off to slip them into a pocket. And a smile that is worth a million bucks.

"Right," He says as heads turn his way. "I'm here. The party can actually start. Isn't there supposed to be dancing? I was told there would be dancing."


Billy glances to Kara then, pondering her expression. Though he turns his head towards Emma then, locking eye contact with her as the young man's eyes narrow just a little bit. As the Sorcerer and Telepath square off in sight, he simply offers Emma a warm smile, before offering Kara the same. «She's one of the more important people here, from what I've heard. But no, she's not going to hurt you. I believe she is simply an intimidating woman. A pleasure to meet you officially, Kara Zor-El. You could say that…though that's more of a nickname I was given.» he says with a soft chuckle.


Maybe she's not quite there to watch over Obadiah, but the man did just have a six inch long, half inch thick chunk of glass between the ribs. There's a cool glance from Sally, those blue eyes noting his extra enjoyment of the treats…but he did trade one very fine cigar for her silence. At least she can't hear their verbal conversation; it's a stranger situation than Obi might believe - and just a bit more embarrassing too.

A lot more embarrassing, really.

Then, hah, told you so Mr. Stane. She knew he'd arrive later or sooner. And about as ostentatiously; at least he'd managed to wear normal clothing this time. Normal-ish; there's something about that tuxedo…hm. It seems she's not the only one who was a feeling a little nervous about another fancy gala.

Surprisingly he doesn't seem to have anyone on his arm, so Sally will take a chance to say hello. Once the immediate gladhanders and other personalities have their chance, that is; eventually she gets her chance. "Mr. Stark. Good to see you arrived, sir." A quick pat to smooth down the tuxedo, before a nod to the piano. "Yes, dancing, once the intermission ends. May I get you anything, sir?"


Normally, Emma Frost would make her way in her dear friend Tony's direction. She would play the game of light-hearted exasperation at his antics and fawning. Normally, she really would.

But now there's an upstart in her midst, and daring to narrow his eyes at her. At her.

And Wiccan might, should he be so astute or look too closely, feel the strange glassy reflection of Emma's veiled and thus opaque thoughts. Of Stane's, as the elder telepath covers them. And moments after his arrival, of Stark, too. The blonde in the velvet dress with its near-scandalous slit and neckline stands, perhaps, with her proud posture growing just a little more stiff-backed.

And if he's not careful, he's about to find his little tete-a-tete with Kara discovered as Frost begins poking.

"Oh, there he is," she says mildly, for appearances mostly. Or… for acoustics, anyway. Because she's really looking like a storm is brewing over her countenance, despite the lovely rendition of Jingle Bell Rock escaping the piano man's fingers presently. "The bikinis must have been desperately uninspiring."


«Important is she? Then why is she giving me such a mean look!? Important people should be nice to those less important than them…» but it's all just Kara wishful thinking, because sure as the sun is warm, the Kryptonian Council of Science were all important assholes who brought about the destruction of their own planet, for being too large a set of egos to listen to solid facts. «I'll show her I can give her a stare too!» Kara thinks to Billy, and she goes about squinting at Emma, she really needs to work on her intimidating look. However, as she squints, she seems to have haphazardly happened by her x-ray vision ability, causing her to shriek in horror, as everything looks very very freaky! She turns to and fro, seeing different layers, at first distinction between layers of clothing, then outright skeletons, all manner of oddities, and the damned thing doesn't shut down! But during this bout of curiosity and panic, she does happen to note something very Kryptonian Crystal-like in Tony's suit, which makes her blink several time and approach him, "<are you from Krypton?>" She asks Tony in Kryptonian, and likely makes her seem drunk out of her mind to anyone else at the odd gibberish escaping her lips.


Well what can Obadiah do but laugh at Emma's joke. How does one inspire a bikini? Nevermind, it's a thought he shouldn't have had, it shows his age, and he knows his thoughts are as telling as his words in this room. He finishes his little snack, picks up his cigar, and then glances to his smart watch again.

Really, the most disturbing thing to him is that she didn't reply back into his mind. That, combined with her look, that ire behind the eyes… he's seen that before.

He can remember the screams.

"Well then, I'll let you two get caught up. What I mean to say is, he's not dancing with me." He smirks and leans in for a whisper. «I'll be downstairs a moment. I'll make a private call, see if they ring any bells with anyone I know. My watch has a scan or two.»

With that, Stane departs, passing Tony by an clapping him on the shoulder. "Mistletoe's hanging in the corner champ, stay frosty."


"Whiskey, neat." Calls Tony as he smirks towards Sally. "I told you I'd be here. Just had a bit of a fight with the medical scaner for my suit. I love experimental tech, but its still experimental." A smirk towards Sally at that before he laughs. "Bikini's are never uninspiring. And no I'm not Obi, last time I tried you stepped all over my feet." He punches the older man lightly in the arm before he turns back towards Emma, about to say something…

Which is about when Kara comes up to him and asks him something in a language even he doesn't understand.

"JARVIS? Help me out here." His voice subvocal as he blinks towards Kara.

"Ah…no records on fire for that language, sir." Comes the reponce from his everpresent AI. The posh english accent quiet in his ear. "And yes sir, I know I have every earth language on file. Even the dead ones."

Tony just smirks at that before he extends his hand towards Kara, to shake of course. "Try that again in english, darlin?" He asks with a chuckle and a wink. "Tony Stark," He'll still introduce himself. "And you are /defintally/ not from around here." He adds with widening grin. "I would know, since I know all the pretty ladies of New York."


Following Kara because he knows Tony's reputation, Wiccan arrives next to Kara. "She's a visitor." and he said that in a way the billionaire philanthropist could understand. Though Emma's possible attempts at reading his mind are aptly defended against via a silent spell, he smiles then. "She's asking you if.." he lowers his voice to a whisper. "If you're from Krypton. Her home, I would imagine." he puts a single hand briefly on Kara's shoulder as if telling her to tone it down just a tad.


Kara is a bit surprised when Tony doesn't seem to know the language, how else would he have such crystals if he wasn't from Krypton? Now she has to think…she also needs to get this weird freaky x-ray effect to stop, because it's spooky. She still shakes hands with Tony, at least Carol taught her that much, "I was wondering…er…about…how you got those fancy fancy…" Kara winds up looking an idiot as she just shuts up. Whatever she'll say will be too much, her cousin explained to her the importance of secrecy, and so it just looks like a pretty girl who couldn't handle being in Tony Stark's presence. Made all the worse when his comments about her not being from 'around' makes her even more nervous and jittery, because she doesn't want him to out her. But when he completes the sentence, she laughs nervously, "no…not from New York, hahaha!" It also doesn't help remove the impression that she's drunk out of her mind.

But then Billy comes to save the day, and by saving the day, he completely intends to destroy it. Kara was just making herself sound like a complete airhead in her feeble attempt to not giveaway her secret, when Billy just walks nonchalantly up to Stark and mentions Krypton. When he does, Kara turns to look at him, and her stare is very similar to the one Emma beset on her earlier when she was uber angry with her. Only, unlike Emma, when Kara honestly glares at Billy in anger, her eyes suddenly brighten and glow with a red flash and with a piercing sound, twin laser rays shoot out from her eyes directly at Billy. The funny part is she's the one screaming in panic when it happens, and she makes everything all the worse when she runs, and not only runs, but runs at ridiculous speed out of the place. Sadly, bits of her dress not made for such strain are left behind, such as the shawl and some ribbony bits along with pieces of tulle. The more important thing is, she was far too embarrassed and upset to even dare to stay there, and she's gone. Those who can spot speed demons moving at super speed, would have noticed she didn't magicked out of there, but actually ran. Otherwise, she's there one moment blasting Billy with laser eyes, the next there's a gust of wind and she's gone.


Billy looks legitimately surprised when Kara looks like she's about to try to knock him to the moon. Then she fires lasers from her eyes and he leans out of the way -just- in the knick of time with the help of a magic gesture to increase his physical abilities. Then? She's gone. and his heart stopped beating for a microsecond "T-too close…." he looks at Tony and facepalms. "Damn…I really need to remember…" this isn't his world. His Tony is different from this Tony. God damn it. Regardless, he stands back up and brushes himself off.

"Well…I fucked up." he mutters to himself.


"…" Her… Her party. Did they just… They just… What?! HER PARTY.

In a blindingly fast moment, things go from bad to worse. And Frost moves with a different sort of speed to change gears. Because now she has guests who have just watched this party get crashed by people who are NOT very popular right now. There's chattering starting up and a few screams, and a number of people are already racing for the doors. Others are cowering at the edges of the room.

The piano music—which had stopped with a sharp bang of the keys as the player stands up in horror and surprise—resumes as Emma sharply turns in his direction and points at the keyboard with a murderously emphatic stab of her manicured fingertip. "Play. Now."

And then she's in Wiccan's direction, a furious blonde maelstrom wrapped in crushed velvet and Swarovski as she draws up beside Stark with just barely a glance up at him. "You have no idea, you pathetic little toad," she hisses to Billy, voice low as she holds her liquor behind her and leans in and points towards the door. "Now, are you leaving, or must I actually get security involved?"


The shriek manages to cut through the music, which gets a sudden jerked turn from Sally. The blue silk dress isn't much, if there's going to be a fight, but at the same time there's a quiver of fear that gets quashed almost instantly. It's not the same as last time. She is a Stojespal, now it is time to gather herself together!

Foreign languages, well, that's hardly a surprise - though Sally's definitely not moving from between Kara and Tony, just in case. She promised Obadiah after all. Though Tony himself is brushing it off, and she steps aside - her teacher did ask for a whiskey. Not hard to find, and offer up to him at his side.

She's good enough that she doesn't even roll her eyes at his last remark, instead just stepping back slightly and suspecting that Tony's just a bit more protected than he might seem. Besides, if that shriek had anything to do with her current hanger-on…she can't help but turn that sharp blue stare on her companion for a moment. Just long enough to see where his chess game lies.

And then apparently something explodes after all, because the bright flash and blast of wind that immediately follows definitely brings back a memory of what happened last time. Except…noone's hurt, but the one blonde girl that had approached Tony? Disappeared. But before she can do much more than pluck a shredded piece of lace from where it'd tangled on her wristwatch…

…nobility looks up and steps back deferentially as royalty appears. Angry royalty. Sally may still be a little stunned but Rusalka knows what to do in this - and it's be quiet, keep your head down, and be very polite and wait in the background.

Once things settle, she'll tuck the piece of cloth into Tony's hand like the fairy tale's glass slipper. A very soft whisper in Ukrainian follows. "YA vvazhayu, shcho bulo b krashche, yakshcho // vy // stanete pryntsem charivnym, ser." Only for Tony's hearing, and anyone else with very heightened super-senses. But she sticks to her guns - at least she'd seemed to recognize something about Stark. This other person…definitely shouldn't be the Prince Charming.


Tony's eyes cut towards Wiccan as the brows arc up at the words. "…who are you?" He asks just before it regesters. Kryptonian. That means….



"JARVIS, absorbtion shield would you?" He asks as he snatches the whiskey from Sally and swings to the side. Metal plates unfold from under black cloth sleeves to snake down his arms as he slips behind Wiccan even as he sees Kara eyes start to glow…and…

His own arm comes up, not the one holding the drink, as the beams miss Wiccan and slam into a gleaming energy shield that just springs into existance as the Iron Man Tux Suit(Stealth Mark XV) deploys. No mask though, just a hint of metal around the throat.

"Sir," JARVIS' voice is urgent in his ears. "The ray is burning though the backup systems very quickly."

"I'm well aware of that." Tony mutters as he feels the arm of his suit heat up…

But as he hoped the beam lasts only a few seconds. As soon as it ceases and the woman from another planet is gone the shield drops and Stark ejects the melting power cell to the ground to stomp on it a few times.

A deep breath. "Emma, I know I said I'd provide the floorshow but I'm sorry about the carpet." He drawls in a loud tone ment to carry after a moment and takes a long sip of his drink.

Giving her the oppurtunity to recover at least.

And no one was hurt in the process.

His eyes settle on Wiccan though as his voice lowers again. "So, kid," He adds. "No idea who you are. But you obviously know me. Few helpful hints here? First off, don't out a Kryptonian. They don't like it. You know. Secret identities are kinda useless when they aren't secret. Two, don't ever piss off Emma. She's vicious. And three…" Then Sally is slipping a piece of fabric into his hand and derailed from that train of thought he just blinks.

Then takes another sip of his drink.

"JARVIS, open a new Kryptionian file. Codename Cinderella."


Billy brushes himself off still even as Emma Frost approaches him in her silent rage. "Nah, I was gonna leave whether you asked or not, though I appreciate you asking first." he replies with a small grin, though he looks off in the direction Kara went and he whistles a moment. Huh, Kryptonians, and with that, he gives a small bow to the lady of the house, and he walks off then, though surely once he's out of range and sight, he vanishes. Likely to repair the damage he had made.


"I wasn't asking," Emma says to the empty air with a snort. She looks up to Tony, incredulous. Not because he's saved the day and spared the rental room more property damage. Not because the rug now has a hole the shape of a power cell and the room smells of scorched wood as it mingles with the… cigar smoke. And… a smoldering cigar that landed on another rug in all of the commotion. No, incredulous for one simple thing: "In what crazy bizarro world did that sound like I was asking?"

And now the management is racing upstairs, checking on staff and the room. There goes the security deposit.

Frost closes her eyes and sighs. "I just wanted a party, Tony. Was it so much to ask?" A pause, and then quietly: "Thank you for minimizing the damage." And then, her eyes reopen and move to take in Rusalka. "And at least I have the pleasure of making the acquaintance of the person responsible for ensuring my last failed party wasn't the end of Mister Stane."

While she's a far cry from calm, Emma is at least back to remembering civility. A slender, pale hand extends in Rusalka's direction as she offers tightly, but sincerely. "Belated, I am aware, but thank you for that."


Fury unbridled, and Rusalka knows not at all to step in front of that diamond-hard gaze. It melts, though, as Emma speaks to Tony—and then that gaze settles on her. Sally blinks a moment as she's finally met, but then drops back into a respectful curtsey which is thankfully only possible because of low flat heels. "I am honored."

Sally's voice is softer, though the slavic accent still echoes across it. "I could have done nothing else, ma'am. Even if I did not know him, I…" She swallows, and shakes her head. Especially not the kind of wounds Obi had. Familiar ones, ones that had been fatal once before and left her with only a mother.

"Upon my honor as a Stojespal, my duty as an agent of SHIELD, and…simply being a person, I could not abandon Mr. Stane." She takes Emma's hand gracefully, nodding a small bow over it before letting the diamond queen draw back as she likes. "I deserve no thanks, only the knowledge he is well."

And pilfering from the hors d'oeuvres tray again, she can't help but notice out of the corner of her eye. "Absolutely I suppose it is perhaps early to say so, but I appreciate the party you have held, and wish you a Merry Christmas to go with it." And she smiles her best, glancing around to include everyone else with the sentiment.


"Pretty sure there was something wrong with that kid," Stark replies as he shakes his head and knocks back the rest of his drink. "I'm going to guess neither of them were invited?" A shake of his head. "I'll see if I can get a trace of Cinderalla later." A smirk at that as he tucks the cloth away and turns back towards Emma.

A smirk crests his features though, eyes dancing with amusement. "Come on, Emma." He says cajolingly. "You know if your parties were normal you'd get bored. I'm pretty sure a beautiful and intelligent woman like you can salvage this. Consider it a challenge!"

A smirk again though as she turns towards Sally. "Oh yeah, no one at all knows you're from nobility." He downs the few remaining drops in his glass before putting it on tray of a passing server without even looking at what else is on the tray.

He's good at making parties challenges.

"Come on now, its Christmas. Lets have some fun." He adds as he turns towards the bar. "Now, where was that Mistletoe…"


It's over there. Very pointedly where Rusalka is not standing. As it so happens, the piano singer, however…


The sound of a fire extinguisher going off as a waitress tries to salvage the rug, all to the bright accompaniment of Deck the Halls is probably the best exit music that her guests could hope for, considering. She casts her eyes in management's direction, the chief of whom is now looking at her and pointing in her direction and…"Ms. Frost?"

Emma's head just falls forward.

But Tony is trying to salvage things, all flattery and friendly encouragement. It's… sweet. "If you're up for sticking around a little while I get things… handled, we can see about salvaging the amusements," she says, allowing herself to be begrudgingly brought out of her dark little hole. "The bar's open and paid for. The cigars, too. And… oh, good grief. We didn't even get through a third of the hors d'oeuvres. Nine days of Christmas, sitting on warmers. So… dinner and drinks. Merry Christmas."

A glance to Sally. "Do be sure to take a few trays back for your colleagues, hm?"

And with that? Emma goes to deal with a very surly manager.

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