1096/Apple Pie and Job Offers

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Apple Pie and Job Offers
Date of Scene: 10 April 2020
Location: Parker Residence - 20 Ingram Street - Queens
Synopsis: Tony Stark seeks to make things right with Peter Parker, as an Ironheart and a Black Widow accompany him. Plus, apple pie!
Cast of Characters: Tony Stark, Riri Williams, Natasha Romanoff, Peter Parker

Tony Stark has posed:
Buried as it was, Peter Parker's personnel portfolio (three times, fast) contained all the helpful information required to track the kid down. On the way out of Stark Tower the following day, Tony had even made sure to stop by Riri's lab and rope her into the recruitment drive. You can never go wrong with too many geniuses, after all. You definitely can't. There's no example anywhere in history of that going poorly for anyone. Stop looking, you won't find any.

Tony has opted for a limo instead of the faster luxury vehicles he usually gets around in, the vehicle rolling up the cracked and occasionally potholed streets that lead to the Parker Residence. Once they're there, he's out of the car swiftly and marching pointedly towards the door. No time to waste here. All those other HR managers knew their goose was cooked, and he didn't want them trying to hire Parker just as a means to save their own hides.

He looks at the doorbell for a second and then bangs his knuckles a couple times on the doorframe.

Riri Williams has posed:
     Riri had been tearing into a new gadget, trying to find a new way to enhance the Mark II's protective capabilities, when she'd suddenly been press ganged into playing obvious bodyguard and/or teenager translator. ...Which she supposed did make sense, especially since she'd already visited Pete once. Since it's kind of hard to fly as slow as a limo in power armor and maintain lift without doing that weird half standing leaning forward thing, she'd been orbiting the limo as it made its way through New York, dropping back into a hover as the limo pulls to a stop. No superhero landing this time, she comes in nice and slow, boots clanking down to the driveway without leaving any new cracks. ...Maybe some slight heat discoloration, but that's besides the point.
    The back of the armor clamshells open and Riri disembarks, clad in a T-shirt that was clearly just grabbed from the SI Merch locker, and a pair of cargo pants still laden with assorted tools. "AISHA, Sentry mode." The armor's eyes light up again as it closes, head slowly panning back and forth while the AI within surveys the neighbourhood. Mostly for show, honestly. The sensor suite was more likely to pick things up before the cameras did, but the visual was important. And it wouldn't do to have someone try to steal her boss' car.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    "This is kind of exciting." Natalie says with a chipper smile on her face on the ride over. "Feels a little like we're delivering a giant lottery check." She looks thoughtful, "Except the winner can get fired, I guess." Natalie just seems happy to be along for the ride, and not at all like she's literally prepared to kill at a moment's notice which... pssshhh no way.
    She's just getting into character, there's an audiance of one in here.
    She follows after Tony at a somewhat more leisurely pace, and gives a slight "Eep!" and side-steps away a little as Riri lands, before laughing softly. "Looking good,Riri~" She compliments the armor with a dazzling little grin before she catches up to him in the space between knocking and any sort of answer. She gingerly brushes his shoulders, as if straightening his suit, and smiles. "Remember. Nice normal people."

Peter Parker has posed:
The door knock is followed by a series of short steps, and then the door opens.

Not Peter. But the next best thing, a face Riri reocgnizes.
The elderly woman with short white hair is looking better then the last time Riri saw her. She is wearing an apron over a green blouse and faded jeans, with flats completing the ensemble.
She looks startled. It's not often a handsome young man, a striking young woman, and a brilliant young lady come to call.
She recognizes Riri, though, and then gives her the warm smile that would have made her a hearbreaker four decades ago. "RIRI! How good of you to call! I..."

Then she looks at Tony, and something in him cools her pleasant demeanor almost immediately.
"MISTER STARK..." she intones darkly, her blue eyes the color of steel. A I-Will-Brook-No-Nonsense-From-You look. And yet, she still backs up, allowing room to enter. "Won't you come in?"

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony quirks one eyebrow at the reaction, turning to look questioningly at Nat and then at Riri. After a moment he removes his sunglasses, folding them up in his hands and tucking one arm into the collar of his shirt.

"Hi ... " he starts, before realising the older lady's name didn't show up anywhere in the files and just hazarding, "Mrs. Parker."

He accepts the invitation, stepping into the house and taking a quick look around. He almost immediately gravitates towards a shelf lined with knick knacks and photos, though a cautious glance towards Nat seems to remind him not to just start prodding around in other people's things.

"You've already met?" he asks, gesturing between Riri and May, before finishing up the introductions by gesturing towards Nat, "This is my wife. Natalie."

Riri Williams has posed:
    "Hey, Aunt May." Riri gives a little wave, following Tony and Natalie inside. "I dropped by a few weeks ago to talk to Peter about a patent he had on some drone navigation algorithms after Legal pinged me about it. He's got a really great lab. Reminds me of the one I built the prototype in. ...Except kinda more lived in." She shrugs, not quite meeting anyone's eyes. "Then I kind of got buried in projects again. Just..." She gestures vaguely in the air. "Lots of ideas."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natalie exchanges a look with Tony at the icey greeting, her smile staying fixed while her eyes say something like 'What can ya do?" before she nods graciously and enters the home, offering her hand to May when Tony introduces her. "It's so no nice meet me, Mrs. Parker." She says warmly, though her eyes do briefly give Tony a quick 'make sure he's behaving around knick-knacks' glance, eyebrows briefly raised.
    "Ohhh, a whole laboratory?" She says after Riri speaks. "That sounds-" actually that sound dangerous given the size of this place. Hrm. "-impressive!"

Peter Parker has posed:
Aunt May smiles pleasantly to Riri, but appraises Tony before giving Natalie a pleasant smile. "Peter's always been a bright young man..."

Then another glance to Stark before she continues, "...it's a pity more people don't see that."
Wow, Shots Fired.
"Peter and Benjy built it in the basement over the span of a few years. Equipment from his old machine shop business, with furniture and equipment Peter rescued from a place he calls 'Engineer Row.' It is quite an achievement, really..."

Then, she cannot help himself, and looks at Stark directly. "Mr. Stark, you will forgive an old woman for being rude after she invites you into her home, but you certainly have brass ones for showing up after the way you responded to Peter's interest in working for you."

Tony Stark has posed:
"Right," Tony answers, turning away from the shelf and back towards May, "I can understand that. But maybe you'll forgive me for asking why exactly - "

Slowly, slowly his eyes shift to meet Natalie's. Whether or not she actually expresses anything, Tony nevertheless notices the trajectory he's on and aborts. He clears his throat, sucking his lower lip between his teeth and nodding pointedly at the mention of a lab.

"Anyway," he carries on, "I'm actually here to address that. As of lunchtime yesterday, Philip Blevins doesn't work at Stark Industries anymore - nor anywhere else, if our lawyers get their way."

Riri Williams has posed:
     As someone who Aunt May is a little more predisposed to like, Riri decides that about now is the time to chip in. "He was cooking the books and denying people who didn't suck up to him enough. Mr. Stark had me escort him out in the armor, I've still got the footage if you want to see it." She removes her phone from her pocket and wiggles it, grinning a bit sheepishly. "Turns out he didn't feel quite so big and mighty when I'm suddenly taller than he is."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    During Tony's meaningful look, Natalie smiles VERY tightly and makes a little hand motion like she's turning a dial backwards.
    Natasha nods and gestures to Riri when she speaks, and then folds her hands in front her saying, "When Tony finally *actually* heard about your nephew, he was so impressed he wanted to rush right over! Right, honey?"
    Positive impressions, Tony! Fake it til you make it!

Peter Parker has posed:
Aunt May was building up a full head of steam. All three of them could see it, the righteous indignation rising in those steel blue eyes.

And then Tony mentions the name, and it's like a valve has been opened. Riri's contribution opens the valve WIDE, and all the justified anger drains from her face. It's kinda interesting to watch.

It could go one of two ways. Either she would lay into Tony for employing such a sociopath...

"...So you're saying it wasn't you? It was this...one man? And you didn't know. So...you're saying he has a CHANCE now?"

Wow. Looks like she went with Option Two.

Tony Stark has posed:
"Something like that, yeah," Tony explains, looking between Nat and Riri as they more or less cover the full explanation of how that happens, "Stark Industries is a big company. There's a lot of delegation. Granted it doesn't usually go like this but ... unfortunately that's the price of doing business all over the world. I'm - we're just glad we caught it before it got even more out of hand."

"So," he claps his hands together in front of him noisily, "Is the Man of the Moment here? I'd actually like to talk to him face to face if I can," a glance towards May, "Maybe you can arrange that now that we've established I'm not here to kick over his sandcastle and laugh?"

Riri Williams has posed:
     Okay. Phew. Situation has seemingly been defused. "Plus you'd get sand in your shoes." Riri definitely knows how unpleasant that can be. And that was cheap sneakers, not however expensive the ones Tony's currently wearing are. Hmmmm. Quick checkup via phone with AISHA couldn't hurt. The teen looks down at her phone for a moment while Peter is scrounged up.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natalie nods. "We don't mean to crowd anyone, we'd just really like to clear all of this up as soon as possible."

Peter Parker has posed:
Aunt May looks thoughtful. "Hang on." She calls up. "PETER! You awake?"
She smiles apologetically to the trio. "He was up late last night in the lab."

Peter gingerly pulls the shirt up, looking at his chest. Impressive, but he was currently black-and-blue. Still...bruised was better than three cracked ribs. That Rhino guy can HIT.

Then Aunt May calls from downstairs and he drops his shirt. He hoped it wasn't the TV being broken again.

Aunt May smiled at the response. "I'm sure he will be quite thrilled, Mr. Stark." She ohs and looks to the kitchen. "My word, and I haven't offered you ANYTHING! Where are my manners?" She smiled to Riri. "You're in for a treat today, young lady. When Peter comes down, I'll get some pie for all of us while you all talk..."

That was Peter, rumpled in a t-shirt and sweatpants, barefoot with a clear case of bed hair.
And apparently off to a great conversation opener.

Tony Stark has posed:
"You're Peter Parker," Tony offers more as an announcement than a question, pointing a finger at the kid, "Or, at least, his extremely casual doppelganger. I recognize you from the photo."

Now that the air seems to have been relatively cleared, Tony is once again at the shelf. Only this time he's picked up a framed photo which he looks at curiously as though it's the first time he's ever seen one. It's still in his hands while he talks, attention still fixated on it.

"I'll just be blunt," he continues, "Phil Blevins doesn't speak for me. He didn't before, now he especially doesn't - get Riri to show you the footage. Guy had some weird axe to grind with you. Not really at liberty to talk about it since it's a whole legal thing but ... we're going to wind things back to the beginning here, okay?"

Riri Williams has posed:
     Ooooooh. The cookies last time had been heavenly, so Riri can't wait to see what the pie's like. She returns Aunt May's smile, before waving to Peter. "Hey. It's true, I helped 86 him. Wearing the armor." She grins a little at that. It was a fun memory. "Good to see you again. We should talk ideas later, after..." She waves in the general direction of Tony and all his... Starkness

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    "Ooooohh~" Natalie intones softly, asthough tantalized by the idea of pie, before looking up to see Peter's arrival from upstairs.
    She gives a tight, sympathetic little smile and waves with a soft "Hellooooo." But otherwise she lets Tony handle his business with him.

Peter Parker has posed:
Peter is at a loss. He's been so torn up about what had happened, how the interview at SI seemed to close all the doors for him...

And it had been because of one guy? So THAT was why his Spider-Sense had been tingling during a meeting. He had thought it was the Green Goblin, based on the intensity.

"Uhm...well...I...sure. I mean, if you're willing to start over, Mr. Stark, I'm willing to." He looked to Aunt May, but she had already disappeared into the kitchen. No idea how she could do that.

"Uhm...let's sit down. I'm sure the sight of that guy would be very cathartic, but I'm hoping you're providing more than just closure. Sir."

Tony Stark has posed:
"I'm not making up for Blevins' transgressions," Tony explains simply, putting the photo frame back on the shelf and moving to sit down on the arm of a sofa, "Those were his own and he's going to be punished for them in more ways than just giving you a job."

As he speaks, he glances towards Nat and gestures her a little closer. Then his attention turns fully back to Peter again, regarding him carefully as though trying to take the measure of him just by sight alone.

"It's a job. Same as Riri has. Working in the Ironworks, being supervised by me and also Doctor Fairchild once she finishes moving her work over there. You'll get access to the lab and materials, as well as a two point five percent share of revenue from anything you make that we market. That last part depends on performance. The whole sleeping and no-showing thing? I'm not going to act like you don't have things going on, but if this is the job you want then you need to demonstrate that."

Riri Williams has posed:
     Riri settles onto the actual cushion of the couch, on the end opposite Tony. "He doesn't just offer this to anyone. I did what he did after he did it in a garage with a box of scraps. You did something /before/ he did it. This isn't an apology thing, he's genuinely impressed. ...We do run pretty flexible schedules though. I'm pretty sure the guy in the lab on one side of mine is actually nocturnal."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Ha. He's cute. Needs a comb, though. Natalie steps closer to Tony when he gestures to her and gently rests a hand on his shoulder while looking between the two of them with an encouraging smile. Though at the moment she's accomplishing little more than adding to Tony's general glow of success, but... that goes with the job right now.
    She nods a little as Riri speaks, squinting a LITTLE as the patent card is tipped, but letting it pass without comment as she agrees "As long as the work gets done when it needs to get done."

Peter Parker has posed:
Peter looks to Mr. Stark. His face is an odd mixture of both hope and fear.

Hope because this is the kind of work he'd longed to do ever since he'd been the age of 12. Granted, being an anthropologist like Indiana Jones had been cooler at the age of ten. But he felt he had a lot to contribute.

And the fear was that he would eventually come in late one too many times. Some guy might go to bed that night instead of the morgue, but it was eventually going to cost him this job.

He realized that he might as well do all the best he can...before he's canned.

He is about to speak when the kitchen doorway is suddenly occupied by Aunt May Parker, who is balancing five small plates like a career waitress. As she places them on the table, Nat and Tony and Riri get a good look, and whiff, of what's on the plate.

Granny apples from Australia. A light filling with sugar, honey, and May Parker's secret ingredient. A crispy, flaky crust with caramelized sugar on the lattice work.

Ladies and gentlemen, Aunt May's Lattice Apple Pie (New York's Best, 2016).

"Have a seat...and I want to be the vulgar one to ask what sort of salary he will get."

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony almost involuntarily stands up to move towards the pie. 'Homemade' is not something that shows up in his diet all that often, and the interest definitely shows. He moves from sofa to table without so much as a look to the others, sitting down in front of the piece of pie cut for him and looking it over critically.

"Well, provided he says yes, we'll put him on a standard twelve month non-compete contract which is essentially an internship with an option to renew or transition into a more permanent role after it's up. As far as salary goes, how does ... "

He makes a brief calculation in his head, looking from Riri to Nat to Peter and then finally back to May.

" ... Eighty grand a year? That stomps all over what Google pays their interns, and you've got your two-point-five tucked in there, too."

Riri Williams has posed:
     Riri's eyes widen at the sight and smell of what has to be the most delicious thing she's eaten in ages. A bite is forked up, and transferred into her mouth. The teen's eyes immediately unfocus, slowly chewing and savoring the flavors. Mmmmmm.... Delicious piiiiie. Riri is entirely no longer focused on the conversation right now. There is /pie/ to be eaten.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natalie's eyes light up as pie is delivered, thanking hers with a gracious "Oh, thank you so much." before she closes her eyes and takes a gentle little smell of it. When her eyes open she appears hungrier than she when she closed. She is not as quick or ravenous as Riri, bringing the plate to the table. Though when she takes a bite, her eyes close and she makes a sound like a bullet's just been yanked out of her body and she's trying not to make too big a deal out of it. "Rmmph! Tony, sorry; *oh* my gosh Mrs. Parker, this is *so* good."
    It's not really in Natasha's nature to gush about food, but she's in character, and she's also inspired!
    "Can you hire her too? No, I'm sorry, no. Go on." She waves as if to say 'forget all that' while smiling sheepishly at interrupting business.

Peter Parker has posed:
Peter's eyes go WIDE. Aunt May covers her open mouth with her hand, whispering, "Good Lord have mercy on us..."
Peter gulps air like a goldfish on a carpet. He looks to Aunt May, who looks back at Peter before looking at Mr. Stark. And it looks like Scorn has left the building and taken Righteous Indignation with it.

"Peter...? Answer...answer the man." Aunt May sounds almost shy.

Peter nods. A reveal like this even makes him forget the slice of pie in front of him, and that is something in itself. "Yes...Yes, sir! As long as I can continue to go to school!" He looks to Aunt May. "That means I don't have to go with the student loans after all! I can go to ESU!"

Aunt May seems to find her resolve, and then smiles at Tony Stark with open gratitude. "Mr. Stark...please...call me 'Aunt May.'"

Tony Stark has posed:
"We'll work around it," Tony says when the topic of school comes up, "College, grad school - whatever comes after. I think I gave up after the third set of letters after my name - eventually it's all just gilding the lily, right?"

The invitation from May raises his eyebrows a little, and he looks towards Nat as though seeking out a helping hand. It's not by any stretch the sort of situation he is either used to being in nor used to dealing with. His response, in the end, is to nod his head and then take a forkful of pie and sit in silence for a second.

"Myself or Doctor Fairchild'll throw projects your way from time to time, but for the most part the point of the Ironworks is to just innovate for the sake of it. Though I ask that you try and keep the death rays and murder robots to a minimum."

Riri Williams has posed:
     "Mmmf. I went to ESU." Riri swallows the bite of pie that had been muffling her speech. "For a bit. Kind of dropped out after I got my armor working. And/or got kicked out for /how/ I got my armor working. Mr. Stark handled the legal stuff. This is /really/ good pie. Thanks, Aunt May." Riri gives another one of her rare genuine smiles. "Best I've ever had."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    To Tony's searching look - her expression remaining otherwise totally the same - Natalie expressively mouthes the words 'THANK YOU AUNT MAY' in an advisory capacity.

Peter Parker has posed:
Aunt May bows. "Thank you, Riri." She turned to Peter, who still looked amazed. "Peter, perhaps you could tell that reporter who is doing that article on you, Miss Danvers, about this new development." She turned to the other three, and said by way of explanation, "A reporter from the DAILY PLANET is doing a character piece on Peter, highlighting his scholastic achievements. He is going to graduate valedictorian, you see, and this major metropolitan newspaper apparently feels that Peter's story should be told." She smiled back to Peter. "This would be a wonderful coda to her article."

Tony Stark has posed:
"Danvers, huh?" Tony seems genuinely interested in that for a second, even prompting another glance towards Nat. But it's a common enough name, and he lets it slide on through and instead adopts the 'how to be normal' advice given to him: "Thank you, Aunt May."

"Speaking of newspaper articles," he carries on, pointing at Peter with the fork he wields, "That no-compete comes with an NDA, too - a non-disclosure agreement. Generally we like what's going on in the Ironworks to be hush hush before we unveil it. Otherwise you get those second-stringers from OsCorp and WayneTech trying to beat us to the punch."

He mops up another bit of pastry crust and apple, ferrying it to his mouth and finishing the bite: "But yeah, the job's yours if you want to take it. Riri can help get you settled in."

Riri Williams has posed:
     "Mmmmf. ...Nobody ever interviewed me. Maybe I don't know enough reporters." Or, Riri, maybe it's because you spend all your time in the lab and they don't have a chance. "I can probabl help though. There's an empty lab on the other side of mine from the nocturnal guy. Honestly most of the first week is configuring things the way you want them and getting your projects set up. Most of what's holding me back lately is machining time." Riri's phone beeps with a notification. "...And that's a part just finishing. Handling arms swap in the next one, and... It's really cool. And more people close to my age would be nice. Then there'd be someone else besides me to get grumbled at." ...Okay, MOST people aren't grumpy about 'upstart teenagers'.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    "I think that's a great idea." Natalie says of May's suggestion, glancing to Tony and offering a subtle shrug. Though Riri gets a bit of a wry look and says "Ohhh, hush, you'll be a cranky veteran soon. Look! You already have seniority over someone!"

Peter Parker has posed:
Peter smiled to Riri, then looked back to Tony.

Something had occurred to him. It was crazy...but considering who Tony was, maybe not that crazy. And he had Aunt May to think about.

"I can report anywhere you want me to go after 3 PM on Monday, Mr. Stark. Thank you. Really...thank you."

Tony Stark has posed:
"I'm not going to pry about your other commitments, kid. If you play jai alai on Monday morning and graffiti subway cars in the early afternoon, that's your business. This is like Riri says. You thought of something before I did. That's rare. I want to foster that. More importantly, I want to make a lot of money off the back of it. So anything you need to make this happen, we'll work it out. Sound good?"

Once he's finished speaking, Tony finishes off the remnants of his pie and rises up from his seat. He straightens out the front of his suit, pulls the sunglasses from his collar and once again puts them on.

"So, after three on Monday. Riri, want to come see daylight for a couple hours on Monday so you can help get him situated?"

Riri Williams has posed:
     Riri is again momentarily distracted by pie, but is returned to reality by the sound of her name. "Mmm? Oh, yeah. I can do that. He might need help with the heavy lifting anyway, and the armor's good for that. ...Might see if I can get AISHA more practice operating the armor independently too..." ...Yep. Self nerd sniped.

Peter Parker has posed:
Peter smiles slightly, as he feels something like hope in his non-superheroic life. Maybe life was finally turning around. Maybe...just maybe...this will all work out.

The figure looking through the window seethed with rage.
He was doing it AGAIN. Taking what wasn't supposed to be his.
The man who was not a man smiled, eyes gleaming, then stepped away and moved down the street like a malignant shadow.

Peter thought he was so smart. But he was going to pay...
The man who was not a man smiled.

He was going to pay a Thousand times over.