Finding A Balance

February 10, 2018:

Pepper confronts Tony about his poor life choices.

Stark Tower


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Magneto(He's a jerk)


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Pepper started off by asking JARVIS and/or FRIDAY every hour for Tony's whereabouts until they finally just started informing her without her having to ask first. Of course, the majority of the time their answers were either, "he does not wish to be disturbed" or "he is not in the Tower currently" with a frustrating lack of specificity beyond that. Finally, though…

Tony's been back in his penthouse long enough that Pepper knows he's going to be there a while yet, so she heads up that way with her tablet in hand. As much as she'd likely to pull a Natasha and just appear next to the inventor, she's limited to arriving via elevator which announces her entrance with an aggravatingly cheery ding. Well, that and the distinctive click of her shoes on the hard flooring.


JARVIS is still out of comission, but FRIDAY and SIRIN do answer. Both seem…concerned. Which is likely not a good sign. This is not a great thing. After everything thats happened in the past month, its crazy to think more things might have piled onto Stark like this.

…but Tony Stark is never one to do things by halves.

Espicially when he goes off the rails.

His head comes up at the ding, and he winces at the sound of clicking heels. Sitting in a sofa at the top of the tower, staring at the news. Tinkering with the toys that he loves so much. He knows he's in trouble.

Shrinking down on the sofa slowly, as if he knows he's not been the best lately and is not regreting his life choices.


Seeing Tony shrink into the sofa, she has to mentally reevaluate how to approach the man, as he's likely already beating himself up enough over whatever's been going on. So instead of stomping right up to him and demanding an explanation, she stops at the edge of the sofa and steps out of her heels to pad around and sit a polite distance from the inventor.

"Do you want to talk about it?"


"…not really."

At least the answer is honest as he glances up with a smirk towards the woman there. He hasn't been sleeping, that's obvious just from his face. The uneven shave, the healing wounds, the circles under his eyes. At least he isn't hung over.

"But I'm pretty sure you're not going to leave until I do."

A longer pause.

"And you should know…"

He leans forwards, resting his elbows against his knees. "I'm going to be on the news again. Its not going to be good."


"And yet I'm still sure that it very likely won't be the worst thing you've been caught doing. Whatever that is, we'll work it out." Honestly, at this point she's more concerned at the fact that Tony has clearly not rested recently. And when he starts letting his appearance slide, that's another warning sign.

"Would you prefer it if I heard about it on the news?" She knows that sometimes that's easier on Tony, even if it's by far not easier for her.


"I don't know. This one /is/ a doozy."

Stark admits as he sits back again on the sofa with a thump, his head tilted back against the rest there so he can stare at the ceiling. "How do you feel about possible international incidents?"

A beatpause.

"I went to Genosha and stuck my face in an anthill." A longer pause. "Magneto is a /real/ asshole."


Pepper is quiet for a moment. Then, "Genosha? Oh, Tony." That's NOT a good thing. "Did you at least have a good reason for riling up Magneto?"

Because, really, what little she knows about the man, he could make Tony's life EXTREMELY unpleasant.


"Oh I did…" Tony frowns for a second. "I…got mad Pepper. /Really/ mad. I found out…" He pauses, the frown on his face real and not a act that he gives some people. Raw , hurt, tired. A jumble of emotions.

"They had my tech. Someone's been selling it to them. Under the table for years. Back to my dads time I guess. And the things they did with it…"

He pauses. "They were killing people. Mutants. Using it to…" He shakes his head. "…I had to go get it back."


Pepper straightens a bit at Tony's words, knowing exactly what it means to him to know his inventions are being used against people. "Then you were right to do it. I'm sure it's going to be a PR nightmare of nearly unprecedented proportions, but we've dealt with that before." She shakes her head then and adds, "Did you manage to get it back?"


"Not quite as bad as you think…though…" There is a smirk from Tony as he flicks fingers towards the wall. A image of Steve Rogers himself delivering a hell of a speach to several stunned looking Genoshain guards.

"That is already on youtube." A shake of his head. "They work fast. I kinda had permission…though I would have done it without." A flash of a tired smile towards her. "You know me. Best decisions ever."

A longer pause though at her question as he draws a deep breath. "Yes. But it was too late…" He looks so tired now, defeated almost. This month has been rough on him to say the least. "…the had my tech for years. Given it over to enslaved mutant technophiles to tinker with along with dozens of other kinds of tech. Those people were using mutants like some kid of resource, enslaving and abusing them. My tech, my original stuff. It was mothballed. Old and unused, their technology now is decades ahead of even what SHIELD has."

A slight smile as he suddenly stands, pacing with a furious fustrated energy. "I helped them Pep, I didn't mean to but I did. Helped them enslave and hunt and kill mutants. Women. Children. Helped them enslave an entire new species. And I have no idea how to fix it."


Pepper spends a moment watching Tony pace. "Can you date the object? When would they have acquired it?" He'll probably cotton on pretty quickly what she's aiming for, but that's okay. "There's no way to fix the past, Tony, you know that. You moved to do what you could the moment you found out. What are the chances of getting these Genoshans out from under what sounds like Nazi Germany all over again?"


"Object? No no. Arsenal. Years worth. Maybe back to dads time with the company, all before I decided to go not-murder-factory." Stark replies before he turns towards her with a fustrated look on his face. "Oh they are out. The whole county is in a civil war. Magneto, yes. That Magneto. The one who is an international terrorist, has taken over most of the country."

The man frowns at that. "And we helped him. Getting my weapons out of the hands of the people fighting against him." A longer pause. "Urgh. Can I just….I don't know…crash a satalite into the whole damn island?"


Pepper finally moves to stand. "And kill still more people?" She shakes her head no. "But if there's a civil war going on there, there will be a desperate need for humanitarian aid. I can call the board of directors for the Maria Stark Foundation first thing in the morning and get them started on that." She takes a step closer.

"Also, I can almost guess you're thinking about going to help the anti-experimentation side of the civil war, but please, don't. If Magneto is anything like the news reports make him out to be, he won't appreciate your interference, even if you're trying to help him."


Tony shakes his head slightly. "SHIELD pulled out. The UN sanctioned the entire island, no real major relief in or out. I told Magneto's daughter, she has green hair, to send up some trade plans. For the rest of my tech that Magneto has, but you'll have to pull some connections with the UN to actually get that though."

The inventor shakes his head. "I'm not helping /either/ side. Not after talking to Magneto. He's as bad as the rest of them if not worse." A longer pause there. "I told Polaris…what the heck is it with them and secret names…that I'll support /refugees/ from either side. But defintally not the Magistrates, or her crazy dad."


Pepper Potts ohs and nods. That's … not a good situation there by the sounds of it. "Then support for the refugees is what will happen. And I'll call over to the UN in the morning as well, to see about getting your tech back. I've never spoken with President Lajcák himself, but his secretary is nice enough."


Tony looks up towards her before he sighs, giving her a wry smile. "How do you put up with me. I do nothing but make your life more difficult. I mean really. How have i not run you off yet?"

He pauses though as he glances back to the screen. "You know if we do this, we'll be marked. Lots of people don't like mutants, and if we support them…well that'll just make us both targets. I don't mind being a target…but…" A glance towards her. "…I really want to keep you out of the line of fire."


Pepper offers a smile back. "I'm a sucker for a challenge. And, I'm pretty sure I'm already marked on multiple counts, considering I've hired sentient robots, genetically modified humans, fae-kin, and a man who turned into a giant, extraterrestrial, super-AI corvid. I've always taken the adage 'equal opportunity' very much to heart here."

"Besides, at this point," she adds, "I think if anyone tried to do anything to me, Bruce's greener side would have something very loud to say about it."


"Its a good thing to be on that mans good side," Stark replies with a shake of his head as he flashes Pepper a tired grin. "The'll come after us again. But…" A smirk at that as he shakes his head. "…they always do. Comes with the territory doesn't it?"

"I'll get you in contact with Polaris then. I left her a basic model drone, so she can contact us with the agreemtns."

He's rebalancing himself. Pepper being one of the few actual static anchors in his life that can do that for him.

"…do you need a raise again. I think you need a raise after that. I think I need a raise after all this. Or dinner." A beatpause. "I have no idea when I ate last."


With a nod, Pepper agrees with Tony's words about Bruce, and then about Polaris. But then he admits to something she'd been suspecting since she stepped out of the elevator: he needs to eat. "I don't need a raise, Tony, it's fine. But if it helps, I've not had dinner either. Maybe if I ask nicely, FRIDAY will be kind enough to order from Pure Thai Cookhouse. Or did you want something simpler?"


A shake of his head as he smirks at her. "No. That's not ok." Then the smile grows. "Come on. I've been cooped up with my brooding for too long. I've already been told earlier that I sound like /Steve/. We are not ordering in, we are going out. And I am going to break all kinds of corporate traditions and buy you dinner. Then end. Plans done. Come on I'll get my coat."

…he's made a decision.

Now the time for brooding is over.

And the time for building is coming.

…but first? Dinner.

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