Magic & Magnets

February 21, 2018:

Tony agrees to help Emma with her little "tattoo" problem and tell her about his misadventures. In the middle of the night. Because that's what normal people do.

Emma Frost's Penthouse - NYC

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: John Constantine, Phil Coulson, Magneto

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

They'd split ways just before Tony’s ill-conceived plan to go off to a new island: this time without Emma to explore the wonders of exotic Genosha.

She’d yelled a lot. He went anyway. She mulled and then ultimately decided to try not to think about all of the myriad things he could wreck while he was down there. Her spinning plates he could send crashing to the ground.

She’s a smart lady. She is able to think of a lot, despite her resolution.

Tonight, despite a party at the Hellfire Club and her best efforts, she's been awake about a different problem, however. Which is why, somewhere in the wee hours of the morning, probably well after he's gone to bed, Tony will get a voicemail from a familiar mezzo voice.

'If you were serious about helping with that mystic problem,' she puts to him, 'Why don't you swing by my place to talk? If you'd rather not, that's fine.' Her Upper West Side penthouse would be a comfortable enough place to talk.

But it would be fine if he didn't come, wouldn't it? She, the woman of a hundred irons turning in the blaze. She'd figure something out. After all, before the argument, he'd indulged her - spoiled her. And what, besides liability and an earful, did she give him in return? Everyone has their limits.

But still. A small little jeweled thing on her desk, extracted from her luggage once she unpacked it after their holiday in Maui, has inspired a little more willingness to ask than might have otherwise been the case.

It's tucked neatly in a desk drawer in her study as she pushes her glasses back up onto her nose and continues working, catching up.

'Shave and a haircut' is a classic knock. It is a knock pattern that defies the ages. That series has been used for years. Decades even as a tool of spy and entertainer.

However it is not something that most people would actually use to knock on the front door of one Emma Frost.

In her posh upscale penthouse in one of the most exclusive areas of the city.

Of course, Tony Stark is not most people now, is he?

His suit is as always impeccable and likely packed with enough super-tech to make Doom himself blush behind his mask. His smile is bright and wide and the everpresent sunglasses perched just at the right angle on his nose.

Why is he here? Well mostly because he's curious. Curious just what she has planned to get rid of magic. Curious if it'll work for everyone. Curious if he can find some way to get rid of magic.

…when the Ten Rings are part of your villain lineup you wonder things like that.

Shave and a haircut was… not what she was expecting. Emma peers out of her study and is drawn towards that strangeness, and her mind races ahead of her as naturally as breathing, only to brush against a familiar race of thought.

The glasses come off and get tucked away as the blonde in her tailored white sheath dress pads across the apartment. When she opens the door, she stretches along the frame with a mind for the artful arrangement of feminine curve.

"My goodness," she purrs, appraising him. "I certainly didn't expect you to come this late looking that good." She pauses, and reconsiders her choice of words with a lift of her gaze. "Early? Early. It's early."

A pause, and then: “And I didn't have to go to the Guggenheim. Thank you for that.”

"Well, if it's too late, I can always leave," Stark replies with a smirk towards her. "But I figured that you would still be awake. I mean, you were working on the beach. That is the sign of a true workaholic."

The man replies as he drinks in that artful position. He always appreciates that. Always. "And this? I figured I'd blend in around here better if I looked like this instead of some grunge rocker. Though if I did the grunge look you could make up some pretty entertaining stories I'm guessing."

As much as she loves setting the papers twittering, she rolls her eyes and shakes her head with the semblance of good naturedness as she dismisses the idea of his pairing grunge with her… anything.

Unpainted lips turn up in a pale half- smile. But is it too late? "No, no. Come on in." Pulling herself off of the door frame, Emma leads into the cavernous, snowy expanse of her condo by leaving the front door open in her wake. It's got a gourmet kitchen to one side, a glass wall with two immense French doors into her bedroom, and then the smaller door leading into her study on the opposite side of the open floor plan. Doors lead out onto the terrace, too, although it's dark out that way. And cold.

"Can I get you something to drink? Wine, whiskey, uhhhhh… I think I may have a prosecco," she continues, turning and walking backwards as she makes her way towards her bar on the far side of the area, "I'm hardly about to ask anyone to work extended hours empty handed."

Turning again, she finishes walking the rest the way normally so she can let her slender hands hover over the selection of glass and crystal available. "Unless you'd rather. If you'd rather, we can go straight to business."

“What I’d rather do is distract you for about…oh….I don’t know. Let’s say a few hours for starters.” The inventor replies with a smirk towards her. “Of course I’m not quite sure if you’re still mad at me for being an idiot.”

At least he admits that. Right?

“But at least I didn’t get turned into modern art right? And now I’ve met all of those lovely people over there. I hate them all so very much.” The man adds with a smirk. “…and if we are going to talk about all that? I am definitely going to need the whiskey. Especially if you bring magic into things. Magic always gives me headaches.”

One of the decanters is pulled up, unstopped, and has its identity confirmed with a small inhalation before Tony’s host begins pouring out a double portion, neat, into two tumblers.

Emma looks in his direction, an eyebrow arching.“Well, I did try to talk you out of going,” she reminds. “But I would like to hear about it. Maybe we could put it next on the agenda? Or…” With her unapologetic, swaying stride, the woman in white crosses the room back to him and promptly invades his space to brush the knuckles of one crystal-bearing hand ever so lightly across his chest as she hugs her own portion close to her own. “…if you hear why I asked you to come out and tell me you can help me, we can… indulge a little? Celebrate your retention of a more classical arrangement of feature and limb. For a few hours. Then you can tell me all about how you managed?”

The agenda proposed and the glass she offers presumably taken up, the mind witch lifts her own glass to clink against his in a silent toast. Her eyes, full of wickedness, watch her guest as she follows the bright sound with a sip.

Some people wouldn't like that invasion of space. That aggressive advance upon a person just turns some people right off. In point of fact when its almost anyone else? It does bother Tony Stark, but he admits to his double standard when it comes to beautiful women and personal space.

Then he doesn't mind too much.

He doesn't retreat from her either, just reach out to take the offered glass. Catching one of her long perfect fingers to bring it up to kiss lightly as he gives her a smile that is every bit as wicked as the look in her eyes.

A matched set.

Then the clink of glasses and the inventor shrugs helplessly. "Well then, with an offer like that only an idiot would refuse. And I'm only an idiot on occasions. So…what can I do for, and possibily to you."

Emma purrs around her mouthful of liquor just before she sends it plummeting down her gullet, and then she abruptly pulls herself out of that sinful reverie to get back to business. She breaks the spell with a sharp inhalation and a wry twist of her lips. "Come this way," she suggests, those kissed fingers curling in his hand and then looking to tug him along after her before she lets go to lead the way with a bare-footed sashay towards the door of her study.

She speaks as she goes, explaining over her shoulder: "Now, I want to preface all of this with: you don't have to agree to this. But… I have secured surveillance tapes of a club member. And I may have acquired them unconventionally. Deal breaker?"

"Full disclosure? I really like it when you're fully disclosed. Just for the record and all." There is a smirk from Stark as he lets himself be pulled along after, sipping is own drink as he goes. She walks so well, and she /knows/ she walks so well. Is she using him a bit? Sure. Most likely. That doesn't mean he can't enjoy it. Right? Right.

A shrug of his shoulders. "Everyone has surveillance tapes. I mean come on Emma, I'm not Captain Boy Scout here. Unless you're intending some creative blackmail of yours truly I'm not going to complain where you got them. But whats got you so distracted eh?"

"I'm not distracted," the blonde counters as she leads her handsome playboy would-be savior, although her features quirk up as though nearly offended as she looks nearly backwards. She's not distracted. She's not distracted! …Is she?

She dismisses the thought with a snort, and continues leading the way into the study that so many find sealed away from view under threat of death.

It's warmer colors here than in the rest of her abode, oxblood leather and antique mahogany, although the technology within is hardly slacking. She's got her own security system, after all, and there is a panel of blinking lights and tiny camera images tucked away discreetly to one side. She's only a few steps in when she tells Tony frankly, "I am the distraction, darling." But still, she can't let it go. And so, she asks without expecting an answer: "Why do you say I'm distracted?" Her feet pad silently over a lush Oriental rug. "Anyway. No. No blackmail. If anything, I'm about to give you fodder."

To the desk she goes, and her empty hand rectifies its situation by filling itself with a small disk from a pile of similar disks. "The catch is, you have to solve a puzzle for it. Or find someone who can." A pause, and then a disgusting confession: "I can't decrypt the bloody things. Been trying for months. Can't find anyone who can. …that I would actually trust with the content on there, anyway."

"You are always distracting to me; you got me there." The inventor replies with a smirk as he watches her swish around the room. Though the way she moves, the way she fixates. He just smiles at that.

Image.

Its always about Image with Miss Frost. It’s one of the strange constants he finds fascinating about the woman. Even when she's alone she doesn't let down that defense, because she never is sure she's really alone. He wonders what is there for a moment, under the facade that she gives the world. Something good, something ugly, just…something?

The whiskey is what seems to be causing this train of thought, one that snaps away as she picks up the disk to show him. A quirk of an eyebrow. "I like puzzles. But I know a few people that can do it if SIRIN and I can't handle it. But you know quite a few of the people that I do…I mean nothing is hack proof…" He glances at the disk. "…you're not going to tell me where you got it are you?"

He doesn't expect an answer, and so moves right along.

"Just standard mini-disk format I'm guessing?"

"Standard format," Emma confirms. Still holding her example aloft she moves it betwixt two fingers, and wraps her other arm around her waist. Then proves, perhaps, that she can surprise a body when she's got a reason to.

She gives him an answer. Fully disclosed.

"The guard gave me a key to a member's apartment, after I… convinced him to do so. And then I found our colleague dead already—which is another whole… thing. Long story, ish. Involves that John Constantine."

Walking back towards her guest, the mind witch keeps her eyes keenly focused on him as her glass-bearing hand drops to her side and suspends the amber liquid by its fingertips. "Anyway, found the body. Took a jaunt on the astral plane, found something very, very nasty there. Came to covered in blood. Stole every damn recording I could find and shove in a duffle bag, put on his clean clothes, and walked out without reporting a murder. Because I know what I did. I need to know what happened before I got there. Who he talked to. Who came to visit him. Because whatever was on that plane, connected to him, was what put this stupid mark on me. And that? Must go."

Lifting her hand, Emma sips quietly. "Is there anything else you would like to know?"

Listening through the explanation the man just quirks an eyebrow as things veer right into the magical. Then he sighs and shakes his head just slightly as he downs the rest of his own drink. "I'm going to need more whiskey to deal with magic." He finally states. "Anything to do with Constantine always gets complicated. And I've only met him three times. One time I had to wrestle a demon wolf, that was also a person." A shake of his head and a helpless shrug.

"Magic."

Though he can't help but be amused that the part she puts the most focus on, the most emphasis even, is the little mark on her posterior.

That is just so…Emma…he just wants to hug her for it.

It's kinda adorable.

Stark has issues if you hadn't guessed.

"Was the murder reported or did someone else cover it up? Where did all this go down? And…you think the disks themselves are magicly encrypted?"

The thought of magical encryption hadn’t occurred to her. And, for a fleeting moment, there’s a look of horror that subtly flits across Emma’s porcelain-like features as she regards Tony. “I… don’t think so?”

She doesn’t know for certain.

“That’s a thing? When did that become a thing? I don’t recall that being a thing.” Blue eyes narrow. “Are… Are you having fun at my expense because I couldn’t find someone to crack this?” The disk is lightly turned between her fine digits.

What Emma doesn’t say is that the mark that mars her flawless skin is more than just a mark. Whatever it is caused her to get ripped onto the astral plane without her permission at a very bad bit of timing, and the London Chapter member who she was entertaining at the time was very unhappy that she passed out in the middle of their exchange.

But it’s not the member’s unhappiness that has her riled. That, she could handle. Dismiss. No, it’s that something forced her to go somewhere she didn’t want to go. It’s a bridge too far. Nothing does that to her and gets away with it.

“I never saw an article on it, but Mister Constantine said that he was going to take care of that end.” And she was certainly going to let him take care of the body, wherever the hell it was. “Mister Templeton lived down at One57, and that’s where I found him.” One57, a lavish and hyper-expensive building of condominiums in Midtown West.

There is a smirk from Stark a smirk that turns into a full grin after only a moment. “I’m stupid, Emma. But I’m not stupid enough to try to have fun at your expense.” The man replies lightly as he reaches out for the disk.

“Some aspects of magic aren’t that different from what I do, at least I’m finding out.” The engineer replies as he continues. “So if I can encrypt something with tech, I’m going to assume someone can do something like that with magic. But I have some people I can get to look into it if I can’t figure it out. Don’t worry about that, I’ll crack it…”

Though he raises his eyes towards her and lets the curiosity there shine. “What do you want to do with whatever I find out I guess is the question.” He asks though. “And…a bigger question…just how loud is Conniekins going to yell about it when he finds out.”

“Well, what’s there to yell about? He’ll want the information as much as I do. Twice as much, if his idiotic tromping into the Club and waxing poetic about the end of the world is any indication. We all do what we can.” Emma says, taking a drink of the amber liquid in her hand. “Just… be careful, hm? With the footage. I really don’t need some uppity white hat getting judgmental in my direction or …God. I don’t even want to think about what could possibly go wrong.”

Because she’s already done it, and there’s an itemized list in the back of her head. Public exposure, criminal proceedings… There’s a lot to be had on that list.

“But… you pull this off for me, Tony, and I swear I’ll make it up to you somehow.”

“I don’t know, British people always find reasons to yell. But with them it's not really yelling it's more just really loud frowning. At least that's what Downton Abbey taught me. My bodyguard loves that show.” Stark pauses for a moment. “Well Pepper’s bodyguard. I mean Happy got bored trying to bodyguard me. For obvious reasons.”

A quirk of the eyebrow though. “Well, I like the sound of that. Making it up to me somehow. I mean I have a few somehow’s in question…some are even PG rated. But really how much fun is that.”

A pause though as he finishes his drink.

“But you don’t have to, I mean really. If I can’t do this little thing I’m not much of a genius am I? Come on, though. Phil trusts me.” A pause. “Well no, Phil trusts me to know how bad I am with spystuff and so to not even try.”

The amendment draws one wary eyebrow upwards. Emma’s pale eyes close over an audible inhalation as she makes the conscious decision to trust.

…or as close to it as she can manage, anyway. Trust doesn’t come to her easily. If it ever comes at all.

When those eyes reopen, they are paired with a small smile. “It’s not just for you. I mean, really,” she says, mirroring the man’s own words back to him with an exaggerated reflection of his delivery. “If this is a friends thing, then there should be benefits to it.”

One shoulder shrugs. “And what’s good for the goose, yes? Mutual benefit.”

Then, after a moment, Frost lifts her eyes skyward. “I suppose with the whole decryption and… magic… thing it’s a little heavily weighted on my end, but… It’s me. Par for the course.” That’s part of the charm, right? They’re unapologetically horrible together. And Emma’s reputation for selfishness looms large.

“Anyway,” she continues, leveling her gaze back on her guest as she airily gestures with and then quaffs down the last of her drink, too… although she has to move a little faster to catch up. “I’m certain that between my somehows and your somehows and the fact that I don’t have anywhere to be in the morning? I’m sure I could make the unbalanced scale feel a little less unbalanced. And you still have all of Genosha to tell me about.”

“I do have that. But I can sum up Genosha in a simple sentence. ‘Magneto is a dick and the X-men were dumb for not understanding what a power vacuum is.’” As usual Stark cuts right to the heart of things as he sets his glass down and turns to smirk towards her.

“As for the rest of it. Well it might take some time but there isn’t any security that I can’t crack.” A beatpause. A frown. “Except Wakandan. Cause those guys are /complete/ jerks who don’t play fair.”

Neither does he of course.

“But anyway, I’d rather we get back to thinking about just how you are going to go about with the scale thing and just what to do with the rest of the night. Unless you had any specific questions on just how much of an asshat King Magnet is?”

Lips quirking up to one side in a smirk right back, Emma chuckles. “King Magnet?” The smirk wavers, suddenly uncertain as her eyebrows arch skyhigh. “You… did not actually use those words anywhere near him, right? …Right?”

The X-Men’s inability in the politics arena is unsurprising, but hopefully Stark knew better than to throw words like that in front of one of the world’s most dangerous—if preoccupied with occupation—mutant terrorists.

“So long as you didn’t, then I suppose the rest of the gossip can wait until morning. You can take the bag of stolen property once we do all the proper catching up.” Moving forward, her perfume blends with the smell of her empty cup as she saunters back into Stark’s space with her head tilting. Her eyes focus on the hand she lifts to gingerly run along the line of his suit’s oh-so-modern collar, admiring its beautiful weave. “I am interested in the unabridged. So much nuance of the story is lost in Cliff Notes.”

“Well we were in Genosha airspace when we said it, but no. Not to him. He was too busy turning a pair of Magistrates into toothpaste and spouting rhetoric to listen to little old us anyway.” Stark replies with a smirk. Though there is a darker edge behind the smirk, the man’s casual manner of killing did not sit well with the inventor. He knew he was going to be a problem, but now…

Well. It’s more than a problem. It is just a little bit personal. There are ways to counter magnetism, and Stark is going to figure out every way he can to use them.

Dark and angry though does not match Tony Stark’s presence well though, and Emma’s words have it banished before it can really set in. There is a wicked smirk from the man before he tosses back the rest of his drink in one careless motion before setting it aside.

His arms are better served slipping around the waist of the woman that sways back towards him as a wicked grin works its way onto his face. “Well,” He drawls out as one hand reaches up to pluck her own drink away and set it aside. “I’ll make sure to be very thorough. I mean, I can’t leave you unsatisfied can I? That would just be rude.”

“It would be,” Emma confirms after having relinquished her cup into Tony’s care to be set aside, settling into the comfortable proximity with a hum of amusement. “Fortunately,” she tells him, chuckling as she starts moving to lead him out of her study with a playful backwards tug on his lapel, “that’s not really a problem I foresee. I know to expect more of you.”

And with that, it’s off to not think about astral monstrosities, magnetically gifted overlords, or anything of real consequence. There’s been more than enough of that.

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