1331/Think Of A Title, Genius

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Think Of A Title, Genius
Date of Scene: 23 April 2020
Location: Stark Tower: Penthouse
Synopsis: Nat and Tony unwind after a day of meetings - and they weren't even the meetings where someone pulls a gun and things explode ...
Cast of Characters: Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff

Tony Stark has posed:
To call it a 'busy morning' would be an incredible understatement. Things had picked up in intensity over the past few weeks and they only seemed to get moreso - there was scarcely a second of relief to be found.

The morning was spent in a slew of meetings with campaign strategists, image consultants (Tony had balked at that) and all manner of political insiders who knew just what he needed to do to win in November. He'd dragged Nat from meeting to meeting, and now the late afternoon was bearing down on them both and there was an hour or so of genuine reprieve.

Tony sits on the couch. Their couch. In his hands he holds a tablet computer, flicking through a mile-long list of dossiers. VP candidates - the campaign manager had foisted it off on him before he'd escaped the last meeting. He wrinkles his nose as he goes through them, eventually tossing it to the side and letting his head fall back onto the sofa, groaning loudly.

"I feel slimy just reading this thing ... "

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha Romanov is generally consummate professional. She went to all the meetings. Asked questions without seeming too knowledgeable or giving much of an impression of digging beyond her station. Looked very pretty and harmless. And was, at all times, ready to kill everyone in the room of need be.
    That said, by the end, it was a bit tempting to do that regardless of threat level.
    So during their reprieve, Natasha slightly unprofessionally slings her fashionably short jacket onto a table, leaving her in just a modest business-appropriate black dress, and makes a sound like "Hoooouuuuhhhggg-" before she controlled-falls onto the couch so that she lands beside, Tony with a 'ggOOF." on contact. There's an almost wistful look on her face as she thoughtfully says, "If I have to smile for three more seconds... I'm going rogue."
    At Tony's cinnebtm she gently grabs his arm with a soft "Mmm..." and concludes: "You *feel* slimy reading it." with a perfectly straight face.
    "Any winners?"

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony can't suppress the faint smile when Natasha grabs his arm and calls him slimy, the corner of his mouth ticking upwards. The tablet discarded, he lifts his arm to wrap it about her shoulders and draw her closer to him as he relaxes a little more back into the couch.

"One or two," he offers noncommittally, "They don't need me to make a choice until June, but the sooner it's decided the sooner they can start pitching it to the public."

He looks thoughtful for a moment, head turned to stare out the floor-to-ceiling windows at the city beyond them. Then he dons a look of realisation, looking back towards Nat as though he's seen her for the first time.

"What about you? We can make history. The nation's first husband and wife executive duo."

He doesn't do all that much to try and sell it and the fact that it's a joke is painted plainly across his face as he grins across at her.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha allows herself to ragdoll a little as she's held close, helpfully illustrating a bit of fatique that she could probably hide if she wanted to, before smiling faintly at his response with a sidelong look, "Well, be careful; you don't really get takebacks on those announcements unless someone dies."
    Tony's suggestion gets a look that could only be more flat if she didn't have facial features. "By George. That's brilliant." She says perfectly flatly, then allows herself to smirk a bit. "It'll be like a two-barrel shotgun blast of relatable marketting. Partners in life, and in serving our country." She says, slowly sweeping her arm to the side as if to illustrate the immaginary slogan written in front of her. She holds the arm out for a moment, then lets it fall limp at her side as she raises her eyebrows a little. "... Might take a hit when the whole 'foreign secret agent' thing comes out, but you could probably spin it into an American Dream immigrant success story."

Tony Stark has posed:
"See, this is why we work," Tony says with a sharp nod, "You get me, Romanoff. All we'd have to deal with is people complaining about Russian super-spies coming over here and stealing everyday jobs like Vice President and First Lady."

He relaxes back into the couch a little, letting the joking subside for the time being. Part of what he holds so dear about these times is there's no requirement for him to be 'on'. He doesn't need to be winning hearts and minds. Nat's already proven that she doesn't need any of that. That's part of the reason why she's one of the few people on the planet who actually sees a side of him beyond the one he shows the world - the one that needs to be curtailed and stage managed.

"Want me to order up a late lunch or are you full up on meeting room catering and water with lemon slices in it?"

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    "Mmm." Natasha agrees softly, and shakes her head, blandly saying, "Somebody's gotta do the dirty jobs."
    Natasha appreciates the silence as well. While she isn't burdened by the same... social expectations Tony is, her covers tend to have to fill silence and be charming... and in her 'normal' hours she needs to either talk shop, or at least avoid giving the impression she's ignoring people.
    Even if Tony doesn't... *necessarily* know the real her - or at least not the whole story - it's still nice to be able to be yourself. And see the real Tony now and then. It's part of why she likes him. Not nearly as shallow as he can seem, but not deep enough to drown. Refreshingly simple in a world where it's masks all the way down.
    Tony's question prompts a slow breath through her nose, as if buying time while she ponders. "Hmmmmmm." She ponders, having not come to a conclusion in that time. "... It's tempting to get some real good here. Or at least some attractive fake food." She says. Door Dash STILL comes here, after all. Just not to the mansion. Not ever again. "... The only question is, will it get here in time for us to not be greasy at the next meeting."

Tony Stark has posed:
"Ah, here's where I get to shine," Tony begins, giving her shoulder another faint squeeze, "Contingency planning. Okay, so we have an hour and change before the meeting. If it gets here right away, then we eat it, freshen up, and no one's the wiser. If it gets here late, let's call that a shared shower to save time. If it gets here so late that we're on our way out, we take it with us and just declare the meeting informal. Nobody's gonna argue."

As he speaks he's already on his phone, flicking through the collection of apps both commercial and made specifically by him. He's already ordering, finding the greasiest place he can - somewhere they've both eaten before - and making some selections based on historical preference.

"You want the usual or something different?"

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha presses her lips together with a thoughtful expression as the plan is laid out before her, gradually sliding and turning so that her head and shoulders are in Tony's lap. She smirks a bit as a shared shower is incorporated into the plan, but lets it pass without comment, merely assenting at the end, "This is why we pay you the big bucks."
    She turns her eyes upward, looking at what portion of the screen she can see from her vantage point, and replies, "The usual. Probably a... smaller version of the usual. Actually, did they ever add a salad side to that?" She ponders and glances at her discarded jacket on the table, "I'd like to still fit into my clothes before the day's out." she adds, which may be the girliest thing she's ever said. "Or at least still fit into an air vent." There we go.
    In fairness, her diet's gone to *hell* since this assignment started.

Tony Stark has posed:
"I think if they ever put salad on the menu the earth is going to open up and swallow them back to the third circle of Hell," Tony says casually, "But I'll tell you what - we can go halves on the fries."

He glances down at her and runs his free hand across the top of her head. His thumb brushes her forehead, quietly admiring her for a second. Then, because he can't help himself, he starts speaking again:

"If you do have trouble with the vents I've already got the solution for that, too. SHIELD can hire me to walk along behind you and give you a little push."

The phone is dropped down on the arm of the sofa for a second as he lifts both hands and mimes lightly pushing the air in front of him. That broad 'I'm joking' grin crosses his face again and he affects a dramatic sigh before adding: "You're right, though. At this rate I'm going to have a coronary two days into the job if I win."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha sighs at the harsh reality of conveniant food, but smiles a little at the offer. "You're a life saver."
    The vent comment, though, gets a soft huff of a repressed laugh as she shakes her head. "Tony. *Tony.*" She gives Tony a look like she's going to announce he has cancer, "... Everyone at SHIELD knows you'd do that for free. I'm sorry. It's in your file."
    Regarding coronaries, she seems to ponder this and says, "I can see it. I'd say lean into it - do it early? - maybe get a sympathy bump, but... I'm not gonna lie. I'm invested in your body staying the way it is."

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony sighs heavily, closing his eyes and shaking his head at the revelation: "I thought I had a reputation as a real man of mystery and there you go telling me I'm so transparent SHIELD has that in my file." A pause. "You're right though. I absolutely would do that for free."

The food ordered, his phone is discarded now as he lavishes his attention on Natasha instead. His hand still runs through her hair idly, enjoying the quiet moment where it's just the pair of them without the pretense. This is what brought them together, really. At least in his mind. The base level understanding that, when you peel the layers away, there's a human underneath.

"I could just fake one," he adds, "I had a cousin who used to do that to get out of parking tickets."

Then, as though he's only just realised, he looks down at her and prods her gently in the shoulder: "Look at you thinking about my body. Or were you just saying that because your boss is making you keep it alive?"

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    "Don't worry about it too much." Natasha reassures him, "If you weren't so transparent, we wouldn't have given up on spying on you so much." Said the Russian Super-spy in Tony's penthouse. Natasha idly rubs Tony's side suring the silent moment, though she does dip her head back with a closed-mouth laugh of amusement when his cousin's crimes are brought to light.
    Her eyes flutter open as she's caught objectifying the person she's officially protecting and stalls with a long "IIIIIIIIIIIII-" that turns coy in tone as she rolls onto her side, facing away from Tony, her hand switching from his side to his leg, "-III prefer to maintain an air of mystery. Keep 'em guessing, and they'll keep coming back, even when your butt can't fit in a vent anymore."

Tony Stark has posed:
"You're never going to be without that mystery," Tony says with a laugh as she rolls over, "I get the feeling you're going to be surprising me for years and years to come."

There it is. The casual suggestion that there is more to this than two people brought together by work-life necessity and making the most of it. Or at least, evidence that Tony sees it that way. Seated as he is on 'their' couch. It's a pleasant moment, quietly affectionate and without pretense.

But, because he is who he is, he spoils it after a few seconds by leaning to one side to look at her behind before and adding airily: "Looks perfectly fine to me ... "

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    It doesn't escape Natasha's notice, and while at first it makes her smile, she's... a little glad that she's turned away so he can't see her expression go a tiny bit blank as a stray doubtful thought or two hits her brain. Janet had once accused her of thinking she didn't deserve to be happy, and whether it was a shot in the dark or a surprisngly apt assessment despite Nat's masks, she wasn't far off the mark. Natasha isn't sure how much she wants to be surprising Tony.
    Still. It's a pretty thought. Little fast, but that's pretty much how Tony lives his life. As always, they'll see how it goes.
    Tony's laser focused ruining of the moment elicts a subtle shaking of her shoulders with contained laughter, and a hint of a wry grin visible as she just barely cranes her neck to look back at Tony with one eye. "Well, that's my hidden super power." She says, giving a small, demonstrative little wiggle, "Even when it keeps me out of air vents, it gets me into pretty much anywhere I want to be."

Tony Stark has posed:
"I knew it. I'm the only one on the team without super powers."

That said, the joke still makes him smile. For his own part, he's dismissed the intrusive thoughts that suggest trouble. He puts on the front that he's in total control of his world at all times, but there are certain moments where he feels the furthest from it.

Still, it lurks in the back of his mind. The concern that this closeness between them is just another layer of the deception so he wouldn't try to evade her. He dismisses it as unlikely, but that nagging seed that is depression never lets that worry heal over all the way. It always springs up in the unguarded moments, knocking him off balance.

It's then that he realises he's been quiet for too long and he clears his throat, shaking his head airily as though he's been in a daze staring at her butt.

"Sorry, what did you say? You want my bank account details? Sure thing."

The weak joke passed, he glances at his phone and then draws her up to hold her tightly against him. It only takes that intimacy to push those nagging thoughts back into the shadow, and once again he's at ease.

"C'mon," he tells her, "The foods still half an hour away."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    For her part, Natasha is... significantly more sure that this relationship isn't a useful tactic than Tony is. She acknowledges it's uncomfortably conveniant, but she had plenty of opportunity to shut this down back when it wasn't. The fact that she... hadn't totally made her mind up before the assignment is the only stumbling block. She IS *that* pragmatic, after all.
    But she's never been able to trick herself into thinking she's comfortable before. So that's a good sign.
    When Tony breaks the silence, she smirks a little and says "Works every time." That said she sits up a bit and lets Tony gather her up and pull her back against his chest, her head leaning back against his shoulder, where she grins a bit as he speaks. "That's ages. How're we going to fill the time?"

Tony Stark has posed:
It would be easy to think Tony doesn't have those darker moments if Natasha hadn't seen them for herself. But even then they are few and far between. There'll be a time, he's sure, when the imbalanced chemistry of his brain catches up. It'll be rough. But it isn't now, and he's resolved not to think about it until he has to.

"Hmm," he says thoughtfully, keeping one arm about her while the other strokes his chin thoughtfully, "We could play Monopoly. Except in my family we don't call it Monopoly, we call it 'What's wrong with this? This seems perfectly fine.'"

There's no warning as he rises to his feet, arms moving to lift her up with him as he goes. He continues to look thoughtful as he takes a few careful steps out from around the coffee table and into the more open area of the living room.

"Of course, I've got other ideas."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Quite a pair, these two. One on an invisible timer that's set to flood the brain with negativity every so often, and one operating on fairly stable tracks that will carry her a good long while, but are, unfortunately, more or less leading to a stone wall.
    But, if either of them were normal functioning people, they wouldn't be where they are, be able to do what they've done, or have had the opportunity to mess it all up or be happy to begin with. So that's something.
    Tony's line does surprise a genuine laugh out of Natasha, who tries to conceal it behind closed lips for a moment, before grinning and laughing "Shhhhhut uuu-huh-hup...!" followed by a quick "OOP!" as she's lifted up that adds a bit of volume and delight to the laughter before she wrangles it under control. She slings her arms around Tony's shoulder, and slyly tells him "Tell me all your ideas."