After Hour Visitation

September 09, 2018:

Pepper finds herself joined by a couple extra guests as she keeps vigil over Tony Stark.

Stark Industries


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Owen Mercer, Red Robin, Tony Stark

Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It's been a handful of days since the attack on the Tower that caused so much destruction and landed Tony essentially comatose in the medical area. Pepper has been non-stop busy since then, ensuring that all SI employees who were on site at the time are safe and sound, working with SHIELD and the local PD to secure the perimeter around the Tower, then getting cleanup started and repairs to the building itself underway. The building has been practically a ghost town since, as she directed all SI employees to remain home and either work remotely if they can or spend the time off with pay. And, she's been having to watch the company's (and Tony's, and some of her own, even) finances like a hawk to cover everything.

It's well past late evening now, approaching midnight. Having finished the last task for the day, Pepper has collected the cold sandwich that had been waiting for her and headed down to the medical area where Tony is. She's been spending as much time there as possible, which has translated to mealtimes considering how busy she's been. Stepping into the room, she leaves her shoes at the door so she can walk quietly over though she knows that something like her shoes against the floor won't wake Tony. Not until whatever he's done to himself THIS time is resolved.

Sitting slumped in the chair by Tony's bed, she picks at the sandwich listlessly for a minute.

Darkedge had visited… the elf wasn't sure how long ago. He never really knew how to tell time on the human realm when he left tot he Fae Realm. But now returned, he went to Stark's Tower to follow up on their conversation only to find the building in a state of disrepair. It was unsettling for the elf, to see how quickly it changed. Fearing the worst, the elf found his way into the building, pulled his look up low over his head, and scanned about for a familiar mind: Lady Pepper. He wasn't familiar with Lord Stark's, and he had no idea what had happened, but he drew his blades, and stuck to the shadows, and hunted for the humans whom he had come to view as 'under his protection'.

After a bit of complications the other day, Impulse had decided to play things a little more carefully this time around, or at least as careful as one can expect from someone who goes by 'Impulse.' It's kind of late and he never had checked on what open and closing times were for the building, mostly because he didn't think to and possibly because he hadn't thought they would apply to him. Heroes don't operate on schedules!

He really had meant to explain and try to make good with the security that he might have befuddled and potentially alarmed, if only because he might have been seen as aiding and abetting an armed suspect. Buuuut since no one seems to be around except for the regular police, he's not going to make a big fuss about it. That'd probably get more questions asked than answered, and the speedster figures he'll save everyone the trouble all around if he just…dashes on by and not bother anyone.

Cool? Cool.

At the very least, the automated security should recognize him by now. Impulse seems to be counting on it as he even gives a wave at a camera, not that it'd be caught by the human eye as he hurries on up. Stairs are always the way to go for him. Even Stark elevators take too long, but he's only ever stood in one in the company of other people on their way up. You know, for formal occasions.

He peeks around the door before slipping out and easing it closed behind him. Rooms still as they were the last time he'd come up. Wait, is someone else here? He sneaks towards the door to Tony's room to peek inside.

Pepper finally takes a breath and starts to tell Tony about her day, stopping herself a few times as if expecting to be interrupted or figuring that the inventor would claim what she was relating is boring.

"…and I figure you likely wouldn't mind, I sent a message to Mr. Barnes and Dr. Foster to ask them to help with getting the building security systems upgraded." She's still picking at that poor unfortunate sandwich.

Darkedge found so few people. In a building of this size, meant for so many humans, the lack of people even at this hour was concerning. Hearing the sound of his target's voice, the elf turned to make his way toward the room, just as Impulse is sneaking his way toward the door.

Impulse, in that familiar red and white… the colors and the pattern unchanging, it was a point of calm in this sea of too mortal changes.

"Darkness," the elf whispers as he steps from Bart's shadow from the other end of the hallway he had been in a heartbeat before.

Oh, it's the Mistress of Ordering and Spices. …yeah, he's never gonna forget that one. Is it weird that he parses it in clicks first?

Impulse is about to ease out of hiding when he hears the voice just behind him, catching movement out of the corner of his eye. "Aah—!" he starts to shout in surprise, clamping his hands over his mouth in an effort to keep things quiet. He blinks at the figure, brows shooting up in recognition.

"Ouf! If oo!" he exclaims, words still muffled behind his hands.

Pepper pauses in relating her day, looking around as if she thought she heard something. She doesn't see anything, though, so she resumes talking to Tony.

"… and that's pretty much been my day. I know, boring." She finally gives up on the picked-at sandwich and sets it aside. "Oh, I got an email from Ms. Fairchild in R&D. She has an idea for a fabric that has, well, it sounds surreal. That has properties that would make it ideal for, for superhero spandex, I guess. I gave her the go-ahead to work on it, but I'm not sure how much she'll be able to do while working from home. Maybe at least the computer simulation things."

"Unless you can Send me your thoughts, I recommend removing your hand from over your mouth to attempt to speak to me," the elf quips at the speedster. There is a glimmer in his silver eyes, amused at the reaction from Impulse at having been snuck up upon.

"There is no magic here currently, btu something has damaged the building and perhaps its denizens," he tells the red and white clad hero, as if the youth didn't know. Likely because Darkedge doesn't know if he knows or not. Silver eyes slide from Impulse to the door he can't see through. The boy's shadow is on the door, spilling into the space beneath it.

"I am searching for Lady Pepper."

"Hwuh? Oh!" The speedster drops his hand, grinning sheepishly at the elf. He tilts his head at the report to follow, one brow quirked. "Uh, yeah dude. I didn't really catch what happened to the building, but a lot's happened in the past week."

His smile's since faded, and he nods his head towards the door.

"Miss Potts is inside. This is where Mister Stark's resting," he says before moving to knock on the door prior to nudging it open. "Hello? Hope we're not disturbing anything."

Looking over at the knock, Pepper tenses until she hears Bart's voice. He's been visiting often enough that his voice is a reassurance to her. "Hello, Bart. Please, come in."

Wait. We?


Stepping in just behind Bart is the black clad elven assassin himself. By the time he's stepped into the room fully, the blades have retreated back up his sleeves. He gives Pepper a nod, before looking at Tony and just pausing there, staring at the unconscious human.

"…..He was well last I spoke to him. I left as he requested, to speak to My Queen… Is the vial safe?" the elf asks eyes still on Tony. Do either of them know what he's talking about? We're about to find out!

There's a brief moment of flailing and a finger pressed to lips and grit teeth as Pepper calls him by name. But by then it's probably already too late, and mentally Impulse scratches another hashmark on a sheet of rapidly growing tallies, head ducked at the disapproving gaze of Max Mercury and Red Robin, feet tapping and arms folded. He sighs and trudges into the room so he won't be blocking Darkedge's entrance. Not like he's going to blame Pepper. She didn't seem aware that he had company, but then a moment ago, neither had he.

The speedster wanders around the other side of the bed, giving the comatose man an appraising glance and the Sharpie artwork and lipstick that still decorates Tony's face.

"You did?" Blinking, he looks up and back over at the elf. "That must have been at least more than a week ago." His earliest visit to see Tony since the news of what had happened had been little more than half a week ago itself.

Whatever vial Darkedge mentions, it doesn't seem like it strikes any familiar bells given the confused look from Impulse.

Straightening a bit in her chair as both men enter the room, Pepper looks at Bart with a flicker of confusion at his flailing attempt to get her to not use his given name, but then Darkedge's words register. "Vial? What… wait. The black stuff he was experimenting on? I… don't know. JARVIS? Do you know the whereabouts of that vial?"

By the concern now on her face, it's clear she hadn't given the stuff a moment's thought since everything happened.

Darkedge, too, eyes Impulse oddly as the young human flails. Multiple names is not unheard of for the elf, and so he assumed 'Bart' was the name he had given Lady Pepper to use. However, since Impulse had only given him leave to use the name 'Impulse', the elf hadn't even considered using this name Bart for the human. Just as he had two other names and had not given either of them to humans to use. A brow quirked at the reaction, but then the conversation was moving along, and so the elf let the confusion be.

Perhaps, like his birth name, 'Bart' was something special between him and Lady Pepper. Were they involved in such a manner? A bit of information for later and for the moment, none of his business to press.

"Black.. Yes. I had come to check on your well-being, my Lady, when I sensed its presence. It disturbed and I followed it. Lord Stark led me down to his apothecary room in which he was holding it, then bid I ask My Queen for information. I have only such returned from speaking with Her," the elf says, eyes flitting toward Impulse as the human speaks of time in a way the elf can't grasp.

"I have no understanding of your measure of time. I left and went immediately to My Queen. She and I spoke in detail. When She dismissed me with information, I returned."

It's probably a good thing Impulse doesn't have telepathy added to his ability list. This black vial stuff is completely new to him, so he volunteers nothing, hoping to make more sense of it as the two spoke, but it didn't seem like Pepper had much of an idea as to what, much less where it was.

He eyes Darkedge again, his expression somewhat incredulous, although it shifts more into something of curiosity as he speaks his train of thought. "Wait, really? I wasn't paying attention back in Avalon- are there days and nights and stuff, or do you just measure by air or something? Or is it that Earth and there are out of sync because the timeflow is just different in general?"

Oh wait, getting off topic there just a little. "-what's this black stuff you're talking about anyway?"

"The vial is in secure storage, Miss Potts," FRIDAY finally replies. It's likely that JARVIS is busy being extra diligent monitoring everything going on around the building while the ground floor entrances aren't secure.

"Oh. Thank you, FRIDAY." Pepper looks at the others. "Well, that's good, at least?" She doesn't seem perturbed by the fact that Darkedge seems to have been gone longer than he realized, she's always figured that time moves differently in the Fae lands.

"I'm not sure exactly what it is," she tells Bart. "But it seemed to actively resist when Tony was experimenting on it."

Drifting topics. When one is a telepath, stray thoughts are to be expected, and so are responded too without strain.

"There are days and nights both. I just do not count them as you do. Nor do they seem to be the same here as they are there. It is possible time flows faster there. Or time can flow more slowly and in Avalon it was longer than this week you spoke of. I have no way of knowing for cetain; I do not count the passing of time," replies the elf, moving to Pepper's side to peer down at Tony from bedside now. FRIDAY replies and he just nods once.

"It is… Lord Stark believed it capable of enhancing humans. To what extent and how, he did not say. The magic that held it is foul, demonic, and evil in a way that does not sit well with me, nor with My Queen. She could not give me a method to destroy it but She was clear that She did not want it in the Fae Realm. It stays here, but I am tasked with helping you humans deal with it and in so doing preventing it from affecting the Fae," says the elf, sharing what he can of the item.

Yeah…don't delve into Bart's mind too much or you'll drown in a flood of images. His thoughts are probably measured in frames per second.

For the moment he manages to pull himself away from trying to contemplate how time works in different worlds, although it's maybe surprisingly easy for him to even accept this as a possibility, not merely because he's visited said other world before, but in general it's not like some completely alien concept. Various forms of media used the idea all the time.

"Oh, so this stuff wasn't from you then?" Wait, wait, okay, rewind, so Tony had some magical something or other he was trying to work out and it enhanced people somehow? The speedster's foot taps steadily as he considers things, because it sounded familiar. And then abruptly breaks from his thoughts as Darkedge talks about the results he'd gotten with his queen.

"I guess that sounds like a reasonable enough concern. Er, did Mister Stark say where he got the stuff?"

Pepper nods as Darkedge explains what he knows, though she turns sharply to look at him while she's talking and stares while he finishes. And then with Bart thinking out loud, she turns to look at Tony again. And not just look, but really stare intently.

Finally, after doing this for what might seem like an uncomfortably long time, she shakes her head and says quietly, as if to herself, "Oh, Tony. You brilliant moron." Then she looks at the two men to explain.

"I don't know where he got the stuff, or if he told me I don't remember. But. I think the reason why he's comatose like this isthat he figured out something about the stuff and then used it on himself. I remember him holding a small container or some sort in his hand when the attack happened. I didn't really pay it any attention because I was too focused on keeping him from dying." She still sees it vividly: Tony on the floor clearly dying, and Pietro Maximoff standing over him with the arc reactor in his hand.

She has SERIOUS WORDS for that young man. And a repulsor with his name on it.

"No. It was not," Darkedge replies to Impulse. The elf's frown at this is dark and unpleasant, but that's as far as the insult is taken.

"And no, he did not mention. But he was well aware it is demonic in origin," says the elf before Pepper adds her own bits of information. The elf's dark frown fades into something more like concern, eyes widening slightly. Without word the elf turns now to Tony, reaching out a four-fingered hand to rest gently on the man's chest. Silver eyes close as he focuses more closely on the sensation of that dark magic he had felt before.


Impulse frowns, amber eyes narrowing behind his goggles. He watches as Darkedge moves his hand towards Tony's prone form, looks slightly over towards Pepper, watching her expression, brow knitting in concern.

They'd had to deal with cultists that ended up getting these weird abilities from some crazy ritual, was this anything similar? Impulse was pretty sure that the three they'd taken into custody were still at the Tower while Red Robin and the others tried to work out what had affected them.

Shaking his head, the speedster looks back at Tony. Same deal or not, he's not sure what to think about the guy using some mystery magical demonic substance. …although thinking about it, those guys they'd fought back in the old subway terminal had managed to recover from some pretty serious injuries, if not death itself…

Pepper doesn't seem at all worried about Darkedge reaching to touch Tony, though she is still clearly worried about Tony himself. And, of course, NOW she remembers that Dummy had been drawing on Tony's face. First with sharpie, then with lipstick. She wants to reach over and clean it off, but at the same time, she doesn't want to upset the 'bot anymore than he is already upset by Tony's being comatose.

The elf is silent, doing whatever magic thing he was doing, for a long tense moment before his eyes open and he pulls his hand back.

"My apologies. There is… He has handled the item enough that I sense it on him, but whether what I am sensing is merely just a lingering from him handling it or because it is within him, I can not tell for certain," the elf says in a soft gentle murmur to Pepper, his hand lowering to his side.

Of the sharpie markings, knowing nothing of human healing techniques, the elf assumes that they are ritualistic, runes of empowerment to aid the healing process. They certainly aren't magical, but then humans are known to attribute magic to the most mundane of things while ignoring truly magical artifacts altogether. Darkedge attributes this to them being numb to the world of world as a race. Nothing to fault the individuals for.

The speedster isn't sure what he expects, or if he'd expected anything like an easy fix to this. He quickly figures that the latter's definitely not the case. Darkedge doesn't really say too much of anything helpful, but Impulse figures at least he'd tried.

"Hope he'll wake up soon," he says, not knowing what else to say. So long as it didn't seem like anything worse was happening with the guy, that's probably the best they could hope for currently.

"I just wanted to see how he was doing. I'll come by again soon though- got a gift basket in the works. Oh—" He looks at Pepper.

"Um…so hopefully I don't get blacklisted by security for the other day but they tried stopping someone with a bazooka— but she said that Owen and Mister Stark helped her make it and she wanted to get it fixed up so I kindagotheroutbeforetheycontactedSHIELD." Awkward foot shuffle.

Pepper looks at Bart for a moment as if trying to make sense of what the young man just said, then ohs and smiles in faint amusement. "Thank you, Bart. I know Tony will appreciate your thoughtfulness. And until the lobby is fully repaired, maybe you should keep this with you." She stands and walks over to a side table and gets a pad and pen that someone left there. Writing a quick note as she walks back, she pulls the sheet of paper from the pad and offers it to Bart.

The paper has a note with her signature stating that Impulse has authorization to enter Stark Tower. "FRIDAY?"

"Yes, Miss Potts?"

"Could you please put in a request for an SI badge through the California office and have it mailed to Bart?"

"Consider it done, Miss Potts."

"Thank you. I'd ask for one for you as well, Darkedge, but the amount of light required to create a digital image would be, well, very unpleasant."

With his less than happy and helpful news delivered, the elf fell silent, eyes flitting up Impulse as the youth speaks faster than he can understand. He could tell, however, that it wasn't directed at him so he doesn't bother trying to decipher it. When Pepper manages it, the elf turns his gaze back to Tony to let the two humans speak.

If he were a Dreamwalker… a a healer proper, perhaps he could do more. Alas, not his brand of magics. He knew he could touch the minds of others, all elves he knew of could in some way, but Darkedge also knew that for a long lived as he was in comparison to the human around him, he was still almost painfully young compared to the race of Elf. He did not have the mental strength to do the things other elves could do. His name spoken, Darkedge returns his silvery gaze to Pepper.

"If there is no other manner by which to accomplish this and it is what you wish from it, I will endure the light to create this digital image," says the elf, voice soft out of deference for the Lady's worry and concern for her liege.

"Cool." Note accepted from Pepper, Impulse grins at her and gives her a nod. "Thanks, Mistress of Ordering and Spices." Sorry. He had to at least once. But at least he doesn't say it in Tamoanchan clicks. Or maybe he should have. Anyway, for now he'll leave the other two to discuss IDs. He hadn't really thought about how something so normal might affect someone from another realm.

"See you later then. And nice running into you again, Darkedge." Ha-ha, see what he did there. "Thanks for helping out too."

Casting one last glance over at Tony, the speedster offers a salute before he turns and shows himself out, zipping off with but the faintest of breezes stirring curtains and clothing in his wake.

Pepper looks at Bart confusedly at the new and … different title. "Take care of yourself, Bart." She watches the young man zoom away then turns to Darkedge again. "I have an idea that might work, but it would take time and can't be done here and now. I'll make arrangements and then let you know when I have something figured out."

She looks at Tony again. "Until then, I really don't like the idea of anything demonic in this building. So there are some precautions I'd like to take. They'll involve preparations and materials gathering, though. Would you be willing to assist?"

Darkedge too watches Impulse speed away, adding the title he's given to Lady Pepper to his moniker for her. Lady Pepper Potts of Stark Tower, Mistress of Order and Spice. This made complete sense to the elf.

"I have brought a gem from Avalon to you. It is a summon stone. My Queen linked it to me as I informed her that I will need to be summonable by my human allies during this time," Darkedge holds out a cabachon the size of a large egg. Beautiful and dark blue, it seems to glow softly of its own accord.

"When you have made your arrangements, hold it, think of me, and speak. I will hear you, and you will hear me," is the explanation of how it functions. His gaze follows Pepper's.

"I am at your command, Lady Pepper. How can I be of assistance?"

Accepting the cabochon, Pepper looks at it for a moment in clear appreciation, which becomes more when he explains what the stone is and how it works. "Please do convey to your Queen that I am awed and humbled by her generosity." She looks at the stone again, then pockets it with plans to get a jewelry maker to build a wire-wrapping frame around the stone so she can wear it as a necklace pendant and thus keep it on her person.

"All right. For my thoughts about protecting against demons, here's what I'm going to need." She begins listing off items that likely sound odd and nonsensical, including salt, water blessed by a priest, and paint. Well, the latter she can acquire more than easily enough on her own.

If the items sound odd and foreign, Darkedge says nothing of it. All of these things I will acquire as the Lady wishes. He will have to learn what humans call priests, and then locate one after going to a clear spring water source he found some time back and collecting some in a crystal vial. The salt, he can collect from the shoreline. Salt is a crystal, as are many grains of sand. He can distinguish them and collect enough into another crystal vial of his own making. The paint might be a bit tricky, if only because he doesn't know any artists.

"Need the paint be liquid or will dry suffice?" Because if he can bring her dry paint, he knows several large buildings filled with useless slabs of paint hung under too bright lights that he can bring her.

Considering what she's already mentioned, Pepper waves a hand briefly. "No, I can get the salt as well as the paint easily enough." It would NOT be too odd if she purchased a full pallet of road salt. It would just be preparation for winter, right? Right. And the paint, well, they ARE repairing the building currently. "It's only the holy water I'll be needing."

Forgetting about that abandoned sandwich (which will no doubt be cleaned away later), Pepper walks briskly toward the door, steps back into her shoes thus gaining a good five inches of height, then continues on. "We're going to need a lot of holy water. Tens of gallons."

Leaving Stark's bedside, Darkedge follows Pepper out, walking behind her until she's out in the hallway and then moving to step to her side. The added height is noted with a brief flicker of 'whoa' before the elf just moves right along.

"I will need to know how much water is tens of gallons," he says, because again.. elves and counting. and then gallons being a human American thing.

Well, at least this math should be easier on Darkedge than metric volume measurements. She leads him back to her office, where she pulls a shot glass, a teacup, and a plastic bottle of water from her credenza.

"All right. All water measurements are multiples. Here is the base unit. One ounce." She fills the shot glass appropriately from the water bottle. "Eight ounces makes one cup." She pours the shot glass into the teacup then fills the teacup the rest of the way from the water bottle, which is now half empty. "Two cups make one pint." She points to the half empty water bottle. "Eight pints make one gallon. So I would need many, many hands of bottles of water that size."

Eight. Two hands. Darkedge has gotten THAT number memorized and so he nods.

One 'ounce'. The elf pulls forth some gemstones from his pouches and shapes himself a replicate of the shot glass.

Twohands ounce is one cup. The shotglass is reshaped into a cup. Twocup is one pint. Again, reshaped; Darkedge is getting a feel for the sized by shaping them for himself.

Twohands pint is one gallon. Darkedge shapes eight pints, then combined them into a reshaped gallon, holding it up to look at it. Many many hands of bottles this size. The elf frowns lightly.

"I do not have enough crystal to make this many vessels. Do you have a larger container that I can fill with this one? I shall make multiple trips.. or…" Darkedge pauses, shaping the crystal jug back down into the various gemstone blanks he carries.

"A priest is a person. I will bring you this person, to enchant your one large vessel." That sounds completely reasonable.

Watching Darkedge process the measurement information, she nods encouragingly until he comes to the conclusion to bring a priest here, and then she's shaking her head no.

"That likely won't be a good option. Most priests, despite their occupation, don't actually believe that demons can exist as corporeal creatures in our world. And with that in mind, they'd likely refuse to bless large quantities of water for us simply because we asked nicely. We might have to settle for acquiring the water small quantities at a time."

Head tilting, Darkedge quirks a brow. Would a priest really refuse in the face of an elf? He rolls a shoulder though, deferring to her better judgement, and so agrees to steal water.

"I will acquire the water. If you know of a location that you wish it from, you have only to inform me. Or I can search the city for myself for something suitable."

Pepper Potts says, "Friday, please bring up a map of Manhattan." She watches as the holoimage appears, the lights in the room and the image itself already dimmed to levels that the AI had calculated the elf could tolerate.

"Now please highlight every Catholic church in a twenty block radius." On the mostly blue map, a series of little yellow spots appears. There are lots of them. She looks at the map, then considers the two or three flagged in the area she knows as Hell's Kitchen.

"Friday, can you extrapolate based on news reports and social media mentions which of these churches might be most central to the area patrolled by the vigilante known as Daredevil?" After a moment, one yellow dot becomes red. She points it out to Darkedge. "This church, based on its proximity to a person known for fighting evil, might be more willing to at least hear our explanations. Maybe we can try that one first.""

Darkedge watches the swirling lights, teh magical map that appears and how Pepper so easily commands it to move about for her. He doesn't really know where these locations are, but he has a sense that the location means something to Pepper. Hearing that she will accompany him, he can only nod. If they refuse to give them the water, he will at least know where the water is, and will then be able to enter and take what's needed in small batches so as to not draw attention.

Additionally, he figures that once he gets a sense of this place, he can then search the city for other buildings like it in look and feel, and take their water as well.

"I stand ready to leave when you are, my Lady."

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