For Now

May 07, 2018:

Emma comes to talk to Tony about something he has in his possession: one collar designed by Trask.

Stark Tower

Characters

NPCs: JARVIS & the Droid Crew

Mentions: Danny Rand, Emery Papsworth, Pepper Potts, Bolivar Trask

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Tony Stark—human, through and through—has a tool for mutant oppression in his possession.

Were it any other human alive, Emma Frost would not tolerate that very well. But she has, all considered. She let him take it out of her sight and squirrel it away in his tower instead of hers, let him look at it and study it. Let him be alone with his thoughts.

But even her trust of him has its limits.

Eventually, she does come calling.

A sleeveless, highnecked blouse that is more lace than anything else has been painted onto her frame, only the necessary parts strategically made opaque. Her fitted skirt and suit jacket help to tame the ensemble into something remotely professional, but she doesn't seem to care as much today about that veneer as she does others. Particularly not as she enters Stark's lobby with the clack of her kitten-toed pumps with their deadly-sharp pointed toes. An ensemble all in her signature white, of course.

Once she arrives, she promptly sets her finger upon a different chair and pulls out her phone and texts him with her one thumb. ‘I'm touching more of your things.’

The return text is prompt enough.

'I love it when you touch my things. Third elevator from the left. JARVIS will take you up.'

And sure enough even as the text activates on her phone said elevator opens in the back of the lobby and a little, possibly somewhat familiar, drone hovers out. Dunce. Or Ace. Or any of his multitude of names hovers there, shooing people away with sharp gestures of his little manipulator arm as it waits for Emma's perfectly tailored form to enter the personal elevator.

That's right.

All hers. No sharing.

Stark does sometimes show remarkable amounts of self preservation.

The trip upstairs is smooth and quiet as she would remember. Though JARVIS' voice does interrupt her travel just once.

"Ah Miss Frost, so nice for you to visit again. Mister Stark always enjoys it. Is there any kind of refreshment I can get you?"

For being entirely digital, he at least does make for a good Butler.

The doors after the travel open not onto a lab, but onto the inventors personal suite. UP on the very top, the expansive view of the city laid out though the windows. Stark himself? Well he's not as dressed up as she is, but she is invading his home. The t-shirt, and perfectly tailored denim seems to fit him though. The ARC reactor shining slightly though the cloth as he smirks slightly towards the elevator. "The ever gorgeous Miss Emma Frost." A pause. "Is it even possible for you not to look perfect? I'm pretty sure not."

A personal lift. Emma's lips twist into an amused smirk as she rounds on the space. Stark does make a good play for her better mood, and it seems to be paying off.

The woman looks to her watch on the ride up, and then asks of JARVIS, "Thank you. If Mister Stark can be cajoled into joining me, whatever he wants that has a proof associated with it. It's almost the end of the day."

And then she's at the top of her ride, and off she goes into the room. She sashays across the room with her best uneven smile in place, and her hand extended towards his in invitation to be taken up. "Tony, darling. A bright point in my day, as always."

"I'm not interrupting too much, am I?" Because a little's alright.

He's not one of the smartest humans on the face of the planet for nothing.

Every so often it shows. Most of the time he's just a five year old…but every so often…he has his moments.

"Of course, Miss Frost." JARVIS' words drift to her as the elevator slides shut. Dunce is still inside, leaving Tony and Emma fairly alone at the top of the tower.

He watches her walk, drinking it in as she moves. She /does/ know how to move doesn't she?

The offered hand he reaches out to take, but with an impish grin instead of a traditional greeting he steps forwards. Sliding one arm around her waist to pull her close enough to place a light kiss just under the hollow of her throat.

No, he has absolutely no sense of personal space with some people.

And this isn't shaking hands.

He doesn't like shaking hands.

"You? Are never an interruption." A pause. "Well almost never. Since nothing is on fire or exploding at the moment, definitely not an interruption."

A smirk again. "But! What do I owe the pleasure of your company today? I mean I think I can guess…but…"

As she's drawn up and that kiss is set against her skin, Emma purrs contentedly and lets her head fall backwards. She lingers in his orbit, fingers lightly setting at the nape of his neck before she pulls back just enough to set pale eyes on his own. "Well, I came for one thing, but I could perhaps be convinced to stay for two."

Her head tilts to one side as she considers his face at greater length, like a piece of art. "It's been a while. So I'll let you guess which is the reason that brought me here first. Because guessing can be fun."

"I'm very convincing," Stark replies with a smirk. "I've very a lot of things though. And my bar is even more convincing." He adds with a laugh as he draws her deeper into the room, towards said bar and the comfortable chairs in front of it.

Not the barstools of course, the chairs, the ones that cost more than some cars. Because he spares no expense.

"Can I get you something though? I'm going to get me something and I think its only fair. Then I can get you a few more somethings later." He adds with a wicked grin and a smirk as he looks towards the woman.

"Lets see, I'm going to guess it wasn't just me. I'm only a part of it, but if you want to tell me its all me it'll do my ego good."

Not that his ego needs the boost but still.

"I'm going to guess though it has something to do with an ugly piece of jewelry you left me?"

Now it's Stark leading, and Frost is easily pulled along in his wake towards the bar. "If you're having something, then make it two. I wouldn't want to be so rude as to leave you drinking alone."

Once she's close enough to settle into one of those ungodly expensive chairs, she does so and crosses her legs. "Well, it's all you if you think about any of the options from the right perspective. But, to answer your question: I certainly wasn't going to leave the diamonds," Emma says with an amused snort. "Not after you'd gone to all the trouble of tailoring them for me. But you know that I can't just leave that sort of technology sitting around, don't you? I don't like things that can turn me off."

"Oh, the diamonds are entirely yours. There is a built in sonic dampening field in them. So anyone tries to scream at you too much that should stop it. I'll put a mute function in on them later if you like. So you can just selectively tone people out." Stark replies with a smirk as he sees her to her chair and then makes his way behind the bar.

He pulls out scotch, busying making their drinks.

"JARVIS, throw up that nasty collar would ya?" He calls out as a holoscreen opens to reveal the inhibitor collar itself, now split up into its dozens of component parts.

"I've scanned the thing," He adds with a smirk. "Figured out a few workarounds I think that should work in the short term. Longer term…"

There is a wicked smile. "Well I asked Pepper to help slow down Trask, and she had the best idea."

Emma watches Tony up with some amusement, up until the point that the diagram of the collar comes up. Then her lips fall promptly into a frown, her features all descending to a look of disdain. Her tone comes off a little distracted as she looks to the bits and pieces of it. "Did she? I'm certainly all for whatever kicks that would be tyrant in the teeth. And please tell me that you've got a short term way to disable that thing. I've no desire to see Genosha's philosophy spread internationally. Because I'm certain there's someone out there, bewailing the fall of a a 'legitimate' government and saying that it was a legal institution down there, mutant slavery."

"You mean beyond Trask and Stryker? Yeah I'm sure there are idiots that do that. I'm sure there are plenty, in fact I've already run into more than a few that are pushing for something like that. Anti-mutant figures really love to protest me lately. And I'm sure it'll get worse before it gets better…"

A shake of his head. "But yeah. There is a chip I can make to reverse the inhibitor signal. External or implanted should work. Trying to figure out a faster delivery system to short it out without hurting people who are wearing them but…I'm better at blowing things up. So its taking a bit of time."

A flash of a grin. "In the longer term plans…" He drawls as he strolls back around the bar, handing her a drink as he snaps his fingers and a second screen appears. This one has a list of parts. "…I'll have Pepper get hold of your people. She can explain it better than I can, but…we buy up companies and suppliers. Makes it much harder for Trask to find the unique parts that these things are made from. I can get hold of at least one other CEO type to help with this mess so it doesn't seem as obvious. I mean he'll figure it out quick enough to come after us, but…" A shrug. "…by then it should be a bit late."

Pulling herself up out of her seat before she's even really settled into it, Emma closes the distance between herself and the displays so as to get a better look at both. She takes the drink in hand without really so much glancing sideways, although she does lift the glass in a silent toast in Stark's direction before setting it to her lips.

She thinks she understands the broad strokes of the electronics, but she finds that ultimately the fine details of the engineering are lost on her. Any hopes of extracting something useful for herself—without the filter of Stark's analytical brain, anyway—are doomed to be dashed upon the rocks.

So the telepath turns her attention back to the man behind the bar and sips anew, eyes narrowing cautiously. "We have the advantage of it not appearing widely out in the wild, for now." Her eyes narrow a little more. "Who's the other CEO?"

Does Stark know she's already looking for an angle? For her own little bit of leverage when the display of the collar comes up? Well. Yes. He is pretty sure she is. He does know her fairly well by now. It doesn't bother him much though, mostly because in a strange way that reassures him.

That the Emma he knows isn't in complete panic mode.

She's moving at her usual pace. And that is something.

"Rand," Stark answers with a smirk. "Don't ask how, and I'll need to talk to him again. But I think I can bring him around. Before you ask, it'll be better if I talk to him. I mean…" There is a wicked grin for a second. "…you can distract /me/. I think you'd reduce him to a gibbering pile of goo in a chair a few seconds after you walk in."

"Rand?" The word carries a measure of disbelief as Emma's eyebrow pricks upward. That disbelief only resonates more deeply in her contralto voice as she seeks clarification. "As in Danny Rand?" She shakes her head and laughs. "Are you intentionally looking for a sacrificial lamb if the waters get rough? Because I think we might be spending too much time together. That's a page out of my book." A finger points to herself to drive home her claiming of the tactic. "And I've spoken to Danny Rand. He's got the business sense of a guppy in a tank of tiger sharks."

Emma continues, lifting her hand with her fingers pinched together. "A very small, juvenile guppy. …Possibly with directional issues. …And maybe if that guppy was a tiny bit short-sighted. I mean, if that's your plan, hear hear! But do realize that I'm totally blaming you for it. I am not losing my butler over this."

"I'm pretty blamable its true," Stark admits with a smirk as he leans back against the bar. "But I'm not getting him involved that much. Just point him in a direction, a nudge here or there. Don't worry, I won't get your butler too angry. Well, more angry than he was when I invaded the kitchen."

A flash of a grin at that.

"You're adorable when you're half-asleep. And damn attractive when you're angry. So that was a two for one."

A pause again. "I won't put him in danger, well…any more danger than being a CEO of a billion dollar empire is."

Tony's compliments earn him a half-hearted glare as Emma lazily swirls the drink in her hands and then takes a sip. "Sweet talking doesn't answer the concern. Don't get me wrong… I appreciate not having to convince my board to buy up suppliers for parts we don't need, but… don't you think this is a little more than acquiring the drug company next door? Even with just a bottleneck on the supplies."

Wrapping her arms around herself, the telepath continues to medicate herself with the drink in her hand. Her sips getting successively—if surreptitiously—deeper as she goes on. "I suppose we'll be there and can try to help mitigate if we have to."

A pause. "If this costs me the butler, there will be consequences. Dire consequences. Possibly on a global scale." She doesn't care about Rand if the surface of her conversation is to be believed. Just that her breakfast pastries continue to show up on her breakfast plate, uninterrupted.

She might care about more than that… Somewhere in her black heart. Maybe.

"It's a lot more than acquiring the drug company next door." Stark agrees as he nods his head just a fraction as he stares at the collar. "It's important enough to take a few risks though." He looks at the tech for a moment, sighs and with a wave of his hand dismisses it. "I can think up a half dozen ways to tweak it, twist it to do something else. If I can then they are going to eventually figure it out too. So…gotta slow em down enough to find counters for them. Or at least convince the world that trying to use this stuff is a bad end."

He glances towards her again. "Which is why Pepper asked me to put her in contact with our favorite twins. She'll point them in the right direction to do a bit more damage, without knowing the details. And without costing you a butler. Or your pastries. Which I know are /way/ more imporant than my life. I mean can't live without morning cossasandwich." A pause. "Is that a thing? That sounds like its a thing."

As the displays disappear once more, Emma stares flatly in the inventor's direction, challenge bare there. "You've had his pastries. Don't you judge me, Tony Stark."

Then, finally, Emma sighs a little in resignation. "It's not the worst plan I've heard," she tells him at last. "So…" Quietly, lightly, with all the notes of begrudging that—were in anyone beyond a handful of people—could be ever-so-easily taken as hostility. It's not. It sounds like it, sure. But it's not. "Thank you for that."

"Wouldn't dream of it." Stark replies as he sips his scotch, the amusement in his eyes saying that he is totally already judging her. And has been forever. "I mean those pastries were fantastic. Too bad I think you would make me think I'm a vegetable if I tried to poach him."

He waits for it though, waits for her to get it out. Past her defenses. Over her protesting mind that is just screaming about weaknesses. That thank you gets out.

"You're welcome." A pause. "I'm going to record that and play it to keep me warm on cold nights."

"I'll make it so you vomit uncontrollably every time you hit 'play.'" Emma's deadpan continues on, even as she sips and finishes the contents of her glass. "It'll be very sad. You'll never be able to enjoy any recording ever again."

Sliding the empty vessel onto the bar, the blonde settles onto her elbows as she leans forward. "I'll wait until you finish helping me neuter Trask's collar efforts, however. Because, obviously."

"Damn. Just right for the throat there, Emma." Stark's reply is tinged with amusement. Both of them threatening to do things that neither of them are likely to actually do.

"Thanks for giving a few more weeks to work without projectiling all over the place." He drawls lightly before he quirks an eyebrow. "You could of course just give me something different to think about to keep me warm on cold nights and I'd forget all about your apology. Just you know. An idea. I have those sometimes."

A knee pops forward as Emma leans more of her weight on the bar, lips admirably fighting the twitch at their corner that threatens to make itself more publicly known. “I could. But clearly all the things I’ve done thus far have just left no impression at all. The only option is to escalate to something more memorable. I am a very excellent teacher, you see, and I know how to adapt to a difficult student.”

An excellent teacher, with all of her students in graves. Yes, so excellent. She—unsurprisingly—leaves that part out.

“You leave me no choice, really. I mean, we can still enjoy the benefits of our friendship. Just under a lingering threat. You don’t find that more exciting?” She sways a little on her elbows as she hums a note. “But there is that security footage that I still need you to untangle, sooo I suppose you have the upper hand and - alas - my threats must ring hollow.” Her eyes roll upwards, as she shrugs and sighs forlornly. “…For now.”

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