Easy as A B C

March 03, 2019:

Pepper is burning the late night oil when an old friend comes calling - on the balcony of her office at Stark Tower.

Stark Industries - New York City

Rising high into the skyline with the name of it's Lord and Master for all to see, the Stark Industries Tower is the most visible component of the Stark Industries complex centered in Midtown Manhattan. Manufacturing, office space, power generation and even some inventory is housed in the tower and its associated subelevels. It also contains guest housing and, at the top, the penthouse suite that is the domain of the Main Man himself, at least, when he's not at his Malibu home.

Characters

NPCs: JARVIS

Mentions: Tony Stark

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

As per usual Pepper is pulling a late night in her office, her suit jacket resting over her chair and her blouse open a few buttons as she begins to pace reading the newest reports from Stark Tech. She reaches for her coffee mug, lifting it to her lips as she rests back against the edge of her desk and starts to sip it only to find it empty. She looks down into it, breaking her concentration on the paperwork before setting it aside finally and pushing back up. She moves for the coffee maker on the back shelves and starts a new pot for it seems she is likely to be here a while longer. Folders are open, papers are spread out and she is busy scratching at her head as he waits for the coffee to percolate. She turns the page of the document and then glances at the time, after ten already and she hears the rumble of her stomach as all else is forgotten for a time in favor of recognizing the more basic concerns in life - coffee and food.

"Jarvis, I need to have some food brought."

"Of course. What is it I can get for you."

"Pho I think. Something filling…" The click of her heels start as she rounds the desk and then is slipping one foot out and then another so she can stretch her toes.

In the darkness outside, the elf spots one familiar window casting a warm glow into the night sky: The window of one Lady Pepper Pots. It had been some time since he checked in, or so he thinks. Time here and time in Otherworld behave differently, and even if they did the timeless elf was never good at counting the days… or months… or years. He uses the shadows, stepping up onto the balcony of her office, hidden in the shadows the warm light creates for him. He waits there, as always, knowing that the building's formless servant will inform the lady of his arrival. He keeps the hood of his black leather armor pulled up high, shading his silver eyes.

"I will have it sent over immediately, Pepper."

"Thank you, Jarvis."

"You may wish to know that you have a known visitor outside on the balcony. It has been exactly two months, five days and six hours since last he made his appearance. Do you have need of the lights?"

"No, thank you Jarvis. Lower lights in this room by fifty percent please. She turns about from her desk and walking in her stocking'd feet she moves to the glass doors, unlocking them so that she can open the doors to the open air. "It has been a while. I wondered if I should keep these doors unlocked for you." There is a faint smile on her lips as she notes his outline in the dark. "Do you wish to remain out here or would you like to come in?"

Waiting, a silent shadow, Darkedge notes when his presence is acknowledged and that once again the Lady has agreed to see him: the lights dim. His head bows enough to make the lowering of his hood a smooth motion, one made just as Pepper steps out and greets him.

"I would not enter without your permission or under grave circumstances," replies the elf. His voice, still deep and rich, is once more gravelly and horse. A clear sign that he has not been practicing speaking aloud again. Two month, fives days, six hours since his last visit. It's probable that it has been that long since he last spoke aloud to anyone.

"As you prefer, my Lady," he replies on a slight bowing nod of his head, silver hair once more well past his shoulders. Their first meeting had seen his hair near his waist, but during a fight it had been shorn near his ears. Even now, the ends are an uneven and jagged line.

"You are welcome here," she remarks and watches him a moment, noticing the changes and differences before she steps back and motions him in. She holds the glass door open for him so that he may enter the dimmed interior and then close it behind him. The wash of New York air over her stirs the fringe of bangs across her brow before everything settles once more. "It sounds like you have not been practicing, am I wrong?" She asks as she rounds the desk towards the coffee maker and busies herself with pouring a fresh cup.

"It may be too late to order any food in that you would enjoy. But if you would let me know when you might visit next I will be sure to see that everything is ready." She glances back over her shoulder at him with a smile an then she turns, upending sugar into the cup before stirring and sipping at the steaming contents rather carefully. "Sit if you like." She says and motions for him to do so.

A four fingered hand is brought to his heart and the elf bows as Pepper once more confirms that he is welcome to the Tower. Motioned in, Darkedge steps into her space, silver eyes flitting about in silent survey. Exits are noted. Potential weapons and possible threats, and even where the metal things are is noted by the elven assassin as he steps in far enough to wait for Pepper to join him.

"Few reasons exist to practice," he states while tracking her momvements around the table. As always, she offers food. As always, she asks for when he will arrive next. As always, the elf dips his head in something like an apology.

"I will visit next when I can." Almost the same answer as always. He seems never to grow tired of this dance, nor has he sorted out human counting of time. He steps them to where she motions and settles to sitting.

"You seem well…" Flat and monotone, the words are devoid of emotion and yet almost manage to sound like he was worried.

"I am, thanks to you. You took a great risk coming for me but little has happened since then," Pepper confirms to help assuage his worry. She moves to take up a seat at the chair across from him on the other side of the desk and sets down her coffee as she begins to organize and close folders on the rather wildly strewn desk. She runs her hand up over her hair and sighs.

"Granted I am beset by work, fees, paperwork and more, if you can help me with those I might be grateful." There is a smirk that plays at her lips before she closes her laptop and turns her attention fully to him as she wiggles her toes into the ground to relieve the tension through her feet from her heels. "You seem to be doing well. What brought you this evening specifically?" She tilts her head, rocking back in the chair.

That she's well after the ordeal has teh elf nodding. He didn't seem worried, but he was. This human MEANT something to him. He wasn't about to not at least make an attempt. His eyes slide over the the paperwork, covered in scribbles he can't decipher, even as he refuses to look at teh laptop screen. Such a bright glow from such a tiny object. Those 'cell phones' are worse. Seeing her run a hand through her hair, Darkedge draws a round stone from a pouch on his belt, fingers shaping it like clay into a hair stick. This he holds out.

It's a slender chopstick sized length of rich garnet. It glitters in the low light, held aloft by leather clad fingers.

"If this work is something that will succumb to mortal wounds, I would easily be able to rid you of them," says the Queen's Blade, his lips curling into the faintest of amused smirks.

"I was, as always, searching. This Tower is among the locations I check now." He pauses, since that was teh Truth. But, the better was to explain it is: "Your light was on."

All the screens are off now, closed and unused as she watches him while she reaches or her coffee again to sip from. She lowers it to rest on her leg as he draws something from his pouch. Pepper gives him a curious look until it is produced for her and a slow smile spreads. Leaning forward in her chair, pressing her stocking'd feet to the ground she reaches across to take the piece of garnet and lowers her mug to the desk. Inspecting the length of it she realizes what it is for.

"I wish it did, but no. That would make life far too easy. I am just playing catch up with Tony's decisions." She remarks and reaches her hand back to gather up her strawberry blonde hair. She quickly sets the garnet to it and twists, wrapping it around and around before sticking it firmly into place so that it gleams within similar colored locks.

"The locations you check every couple of months." It is a faint tease as she looks across the desk at him and pulls out the work pad they had been using for lessons. "My light is always one." She adds and then slides it over towards him. "Did you want to continue?"

Once a Prince, the elf watches Pepper coil her hair up, mentally praising himself for the selection of color and how it enahnces the locks. He nods ever so subtly to himself as she sets about teasing him. It's taken work for him to realize human teasing for what it is, and so he plays his part. Head tilts, a brow quirks.

"Has it been so long? I may have, perhaps, lost count," he says. It's as close to a white lie as he is capable of, given that he can't lie at all about anything. His mind has trouble thinking of an untruth. Perhaps he lost count… He most certainly lost count, having found himself until to track past two night times. Oh well. He tried? A little bit? His eyes fall to that pad, and the glow he knows it will create. A breath is drawn.

"I will turn down the screen brightness," Pepper explains and turning it on, immediately begins to make certain all the settings at the lowest possibly before offering him the stylus and bringing her chair around the desk. She comes to set down nar him then so she may work with him on his spelling. "So we are going to review the alphabet if only because I am not sure what you have retained."

She affords him a faint smile and then begins to list the letters out, waiting to see if he can transcribe them on the screen with the stylus. "A…." She pauses and waits, "B…" it will be a slow process but one that will distract her from her own stress. She brushes back her bangs, looking a little tired but not at all deviating from the work they are doing. She crosses her leg and leaning over the desk grabs her coffee and drinks it once she sits back.

The trouble with teaching Darkedge to read and to write is that his brand of elf has no concept of writing at all. The symbols are meaningless, the sounds of their names not something he can hold onto. Still, he does as she asks, tracing out the symbols without finesse or ease or understanding.

"I repeat again my lack of understanding how you humans accomplished so much with such horrid memories."

"We accomplish everything out of sheer willpower and stubbornness. Note that. Its why we manage to continue to survive. The lack of ability to just give in," Pepper is likely teasing again but she does sound serious. She glances up at him. "A is a vowel it makes the sound Ah and ayyyy." She explains. Poor Darkedge having to learn ENGLISH of all languages. This makes everything that much harder.

"B is a consonant. It makes a buh sound." This is going to be a whole walk through again, she can tell. Her eyes lower to his work then, the garnet gleaming in her hair as she then adds, "C…is a consonant and it can make two sounds. Kuh, and Sssss"

Again. He has this memorized and so his hand stills. His silver eyes lift to her face and he takes over, reciting what she had said the last time they did this. Nevermind that it was close to half a year ago and it hadn't been brought up since. Nevermind that Darkedge never practices any of this when he's not with her. Nevermind that until this moment he hasn't once thought about it. At his request, however, the memory of that day is as fresh in his mind as if he were living it once more. Even his inflection shifts to be something closer to a mimicry of Pepper's. He's repeating, from rote memory, and he still doesn't have a clue as to what any of it means.

Drawing her hand back when he repeats everything like that, near on just like herself she goes still and hmmmms. "Right then…where had we left off?" Pepper says as she sits back and drinks her coffee. "What was a wearing?" She asks of him then, there is a tick of her smile before she shakes her head. "You are…quite amazing." She admits and studies his face, her lips parting before she motions for him to guide them back to where they had left off.

She bobs her foot where it rests crossed over her other leg. Food having been forgotten for the time though at the moment her delivery is being sent over.

"You asked me to trace the symbol 'Letter A'. You were wearing a soft rose quartz colored shirt, three buttons down. The undergarment was flesh toned. You had pants of soft grey that bore thin lines of the smae tone as your shirt. You had, as you have tonight, taken off your foot wear. There was the same red mark on your toe as you have tonight. Your ears contained a round white item. Not a gemstone, so i am unfamiliar with it. Similar spheres clung in a round resting at the base of your neck. You pulled your hair up in a similar fashion as you have now but with a black stick. Your eye pigments were not as faded as they are now. The lipcolor was more faded than now. You had just eaten, you had told me, when I arrived. Around your left wrist was a silver bracelet with a tiny charm. I could see the faint dark marks on your face more then than I can now. I wonder if they are fading," he replies, giving a perfectly clear reporting of exactly what she was wearing. Even a bra color. As for amazing, Darkedge tilts his head.

His features are as fine as ever, chiseled adn timeless. His eyes, like motlen pools of silver, are framed with lashes of tarnished silver.

Pepper's lips part as she stares at him a moment, taken aback with how clear he remembers what she wore even down to a bra color. She blinks a few moments, sitting back a moment as she adjusts her deep green colored blouse at the neck and glances down at what she is wearing, as if he might be memorizing small details that she had not thought about. "Quite…amazing." she says again and sits forward to tap the screen so she might focus on what they are doing but she does give him another look.

"Write the entire alphabet for me, name the letters and their sounds. From there I will figure where we need to go. Probably sight words."

Darkedge takes the tablet back. the stylus in his hand, he uneasily rolls the stick in his fingers. His much more comfortable with weapons than with writing items. The same look he took when recounting her clothing he takes to 'write' each letter. Thre is no grace to it and his hand shakes from the effort. It makes him frown, seeing those shakey lines, but he finishes and offers it back before once more repeating exactly what Pepper said to him when introducing him to The Alphabet.

Watching him tend to the alphabet as he does, the shaking is noted as she frowns a moment and watches him curiously. "Is there a reason your hand is not steady?" She takes the tablet back and looks everything over. He does recall them but nothing is fluid, it all has edges to it and she sets the tablet down in order to pull out pen and paper. "Try this..I wonder if it is because of the screen. The lights may be bothering your eyes."

There is an expectant look as she waits for him to try. "Just the first few letters. I want to see if my theory is right." She motions for him to try.

Is there a reason his hand isn't steady? Darkedge refuses to frown.

"It is unfamiliar with the device," he states, not able to say more. It seemed a likely enough reason to him, and so that's what he goes with. When offered the pen and paper, Darkedge takes it and sets it to the table. He slides from the sofa, to sit on his knees on the floor so that he doesnt' have to bend over to try to mimic the shape of the symbols in his head. Asked for the first few letters, however, has him pausing.

"How many symbols?" he asks, clarifying what she wants. When given a number, Darkedge shakily traces out exactly that many. The lowercase ones included in that number, A and a are seperate symbols for him and not different forms of the same letter. And they are, albeit unsteady, the exact same size and shape as the letters from the tablet. Even so far as him trying to make them the same width by dragging the pen back and forth repeatedly to try to widen the mark.

When he goes to to the floor Pepper leans over to watch and then is sliding down to rest on her knees next to him. Her hand reaches out to still him, gently pressing her and over his so that he will stop trying to recreate exactly what he had before. "Okay. Then we need to practice penmanship as well. That will come with time, but it is more important that you can read."

She takes the pen from him and then lifts up the paper while she stands. She smooths her skirt back into place as she studies the work he has done an nods. "It appears sufficient. I think it is best to start with sight words. Oddly enough," she move around the desk and she grabs out a small set of flash cards - sight words. She holds then up and opens the pack. "Words, composed of letters of the alphabet. We will start simple." She expresses and pulling out the word 'at' she holds it up. "At. I looked 'at' the lamp." She motions to the lamp on the table. "Ay - Tee. At"

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