1385/Soooo ...

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Soooo ...
Date of Scene: 26 April 2020
Location: Stark Tower: Pepper Potts' Office
Synopsis: Nat and Tony reveal their big secret to Pepper. Emotions are had.
Cast of Characters: Pepper Potts, Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff

Pepper Potts has posed:
Back to the office... and the backdrop of NYC at night can be seen through the window that sits at the back of a clean, almost antiseptic office. It's an amazing view, the lights that twinkle from the other buildings try to compete with the clearness of the night sky. The posters on the wall of the light colored room are pretty standard Industry posters, but for one. It's a small oil by a artist that had caught Pepper's attention years ago; the picture of a Connecticutt winter landscape with an old clapboard house set to the side in the background, and an old, stone stacked 'fenceline' in the fore.

Her desk top is made of dark glass, the steel and aluminum lines of the frame making it look less utilitarian than it really is, and upon the dark colored desk blotter, a few papers topped with her tablet, a tape dispenser, and a stapler to the side. She has a little balance 'toy' off to the side, but there's little else.

Pepper is seated behind her desk, her hair down, dressed in a grey skirt suit, her jacket hanging on the back of her light colored leather chair. She's watching yet another news report regarding the Expo before she changes channels to look at the national news, business news, and something newly added to her repetoire, medical channels. Some may call it information overload, and others can call it...

... another night in the office for Pepper Potts.

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony and Nat ride the private elevator down from the penthouse. It has been set aside completely for Tony's exclusive use, though both Nat and Pepper enjoy access to it when they need. It's not overly spacious, but it only ever needs to carry two or three people at a time. Tony is dressed in a blazer and a simple black t-shirt with jeans, the glowing blue of the reactor in his chest visible through the fabric.

He lifts his head to glance sidelong at Nat, peering at her over the top of a pair of Tom Ford sunglasses.

"Thanks for doing this," he tells her with an earnest tone as the elevator begins to slow and the doors slide open, "It means a lot."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Nat, herself dressed in a smart, simple black skirtsuit over a red dress shirt, stands with ther arms folded in front of her, eyes fixed forward. This is probably closer to the Nat Tony's used to, rather than the Nat who's been getting comfortable around him; which is to say Nat At Work, completely primed and ready.
    Which is kind of overkill, under the circumstances. Maybe she's nervous? It's a weird place to draw the line when you've killed Dark Elves and Frost Giants.
    That said, Nat does allow herself the ghost of a smile as Tony speaks, and says "Oh, don't thank me yet. I'll take a bow if we leave without anyone getting defenestrated.
    She's... probably kidding.

Pepper Potts has posed:
Tony's Penthouse complex is replete with various levels; one staircase down, a staircase up, floors, levels.. and Pepper's official office is just below that. It's rare that anyone actually //goes// there; the proximity is specifically to make her job as 'Personal Assistant' a little easier. Gives her employer living space and gives her a little easier access when needed.

"Miss Potts," a voice seems to come out of everywhere and nowhere at the same time; HOMER. "You have received a new message from-"

"I'll read it later," is given hurridly in reply. Pepper is so used to 'artificial intelligences' talking at her either helpfully or conversationally, that she no longer feels the need to look up. It's an instinctual gesture, and familiarity has managed to work it out. She rubs at her face, digging fingers into her eyes, "Tomorrow, okay Homer?"

"Yes, Miss Potts. And if I may--"

It's the only warning Pepper will get prior to the meeting, at least from her 'assistant'.

Tony Stark has posed:
"Well, I hope you'll catch me," is all Tony offers when defenestration is mentioned, stepping out of the elevator and through the anteroom towards Pepper's office, "You're still my bodyguard, after all. You can't let me plummet to my death no matter how much simpler it'd be."

He's still smiling across the room at her when he taps his knuckles against Pepper's door. He doesn't wait for the answer, pushing the door open and holding it for Natasha to go ahead of him. He clears his throat a little, looking off into the distance and steeling himself for the conversation to come.

"Pep, I need to talk to you about something and I don't think it can wait."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    "We'll see." Natasha says a bit too evenly for comfort, though she does give Tony a little smile afterwards. When Tony knocks on the door, Natasha idly straightens out her outfit, and tilts her neck to the side until there's a subtle KRICK in the bone, before she puts on a friendly smile and moves forward.
    She is now Nice Nat, who peeks her head in an oddly cute display of caution, before giving a little wave and stepping into the office with a little, "Helloooo." In a friendly tone that seems to appreciate the awkwardness of the situation. She's shown up a bit on TV. Natalie Rushman-Stark, the surprise secret bride of the Invincible Iron Man. "Hi." She says a bit redundantly once she's inside, and says, "I'm Nat. It's nice to meet you. Tony's told me a lot about you!"

Pepper Potts has posed:
The knock on the door and the door opening effectively interrupts Homer's fair 'warning' of those approaching, and Pepper can't help but murmur, "Thanks for the heads up," to the AI before first looking up from her desk and then rising to her feet as Natasha enters first, followed by Tony. She, thankfully, missed the defenestration commentary...

Pepper puts on her best attempt for a smile and lays fingertips on top of the dark tabletop. "Mrs Stark. Tony.." Her brows rise and she can hear it now.. the NDA is signed, however, as is the no-competition clause document.

And there's the greeting; the awkward tones, the attempted levity.. and Pepper repeats, "Nat." She corrects herself. "A pleasure. Tony's told me nothing about you."

Green eyes flicker towards him, now, questioning. Pepper is not a TV personality; it's only in board meetings that she holds something of a poker face, and in negotiations. In this case, once again, she's caught off guard and it shows.

Tony Stark has posed:
"There's a good reason for that," Tony explains, not missing the tone in Pepper's voice, "A real good reason. That's actually what I wanted to talk about."

He watches Nat putting on the Natalie Rushman-Stark act, a wry smile on his face. When he nears the visitor side of Pepper's desk he pulls out one of the chairs and then the other for himself, settling down heavily and looking at the floor. He takes another deep breath, thinking about how to word it.

For a moment it almost looks like he's going to defer to Nat and get her to explain. But in the end he's the one to take the bullet, clearing his throat and beginning:

"A little while back I was attacked. Someone tried to kill me. We think Hydra made the call but we're not quite sure why. But they managed to turn both the security guys that were assigned to me. They would've got me, too, if ... if Nat hadn't been there."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    'Natalie' gives a look that somehow manages to combine a grin with a wince and nods, responding, "Fair."
    She lets Tony drive for now, though, and merely comments, "It was... remarkably close." Letting her arms dangle while her fingers are steepled together.

Pepper Potts has posed:
As Tony begins to speak again, Pepper doesn't move until Tony sits down, and then she slowly takes her place again behind the desk. A quick glance is given towards Nat; silent offer to sit as well, if she hadn't yet.

Taking short, shallow breaths as he begins to explain, her jaw tightens as the story begins to unfold. To hear of his almost death brings a genuine .. fear to her face. Concern, with that touch of protection that she's known for. Before he finishes, she looks to Nat and inclines her head,

"Thank you for saving him. I probably would have been madder at him if he died." There's a catch to her voice as she speaks, a bit of emotion tied to the attempt at levity.

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony takes a deep breath. One layer of the mystery peeled away and so far he's not being thrown out of the window. That's good. He presses on.

"That's not the whole of it," he continues," Nat saved me because that's what she does. What she's trained to do."

Another deep breath. He spots the balance toy which he thought had been removed, glad to see it returned. He grabs it up, occupying his hands with it as he speaks.

"Nat and I - we're not really married, Pep. It's a cover. One that SHIELD came up with so she could be close to me without any suspicion. She's my bodyguard. We couldn't tell you because - well, because they didn't want to tell anybody. That's how secrets work best."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    And as if on cue, Natalie's entire demeanor changes. An almost imperceptible change in posture nontheless makes her seem taller, nervous hands clasp in front of her at the wrist, still and steady; and the sympathetic smile is the second to last thing to go, replaced by an icey sort of composure that would still be a bit unfamiliar to those who know her, given the brown lenses changing her eye color, yet nontheless is very clearly... Natasha.
    Her friendly voice is now now even and firm, saying, simply. "... My name is Natasha. 'Agent' Natasha Romanoff. We..." she inclines her head very slightly, "... apologise for the trouble."

Pepper Potts has posed:
"Tony, I know about SHIELD. Heck, I knew they wanted you before they approached you, remember?" She shakes her head and the fear turns to a brief moment of anger. "And---

"What?" Pepper sits back in her seat heavily, her emotions playing fast and wild on her face. Anger, relief, fear.. and she shakes her head. "Repeat that, please? And.. and.." She's beginning to stutter her words, struggling to try and make sense of it all, and it's only making her madder, a little more ... betrayed.

A deep breath is pulled, and she rises to her feet, moving to stand behind her chair. She puts her hand out to interrupt, "No.. don't repeat that."

Shaking her head again, Pepper opens her mouth, closes it, opens it again.. only to not be able to form any words, and closes it once more.

Nat's transformation from 'Nat' to 'Natasha' puts the woman on high alert almost immediately. Green eyes watch the woman, her jaw setting again, and she nods slowly as if she's about to touch a bear. "Ok..." She glances back at Tony, looking for his reaction, and back to Natasha, and back to Tony.

"We you going to let me go on believing all of this? And.. and.. how long is this going to go on? Have you found out who is behind it?" Concern for Tony rears its head again, "Or.. is this something now that SHIELD has decided.. that he needs a bodyguard for the rest of his life? Is he in that much danger?" Important figures have always been targets; presidents... presidents.

"Oh, Tony... no..."

Tony Stark has posed:
"They're still investigating it," Tony says, glancing sidelong at Natasha for a moment as though waiting for her to confirm that, "It's Hydra stuff. You know how it is. Bring the whole world to heel. I'm guessing they don't trust me to follow their lead if I'm in the White House. Which, surprise surprise, I don't plan to."

"I don't know if this is the plan forever. From what I understand, come November I either win and SHIELD turn me over to the Secret Service, or I lose and I cease to be a target. Either way, the whole marriage thing is temporary. I didn't want to put you in danger, Pep. If you know things, that puts you at risk."

He takes another long pause. Only one more layer of the onion to get past, and it'll probably be the hardest one.

"But there's ... one more thing. Natasha is one of the Avengers. I think the press call her Scarlet or Danger Girl," he can't help but grin a little at that, glancing Nat's way, "That's not here name, obviously. But we've known each other for a little while now. We're certainly not married but we are .. "

He glances towards Nat, trailing off. Maybe giving her a chance to jump in and cut him off just in case she's changed her mind.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Looked to for aid, Natasha confidantly says, "When we're confidant Hydra's been rooted out of the Secret Service, or feel we've properly... dissuaded them... Tony and Natalie will quietly and amicably divorce. Won't even take his stuff."
    That was a joke, but her voice didn't make it sound very humerous.
    "... In the unlikely event that it comes to November... SHIELD takes official security duties until the matter's resolved. Not great optics to personally protect a single country's President, but it is what it is."
    The corner of Natasha's lip twitches a little as 'Danger Girl' is brought into the mix, and she seems almost bemused when she says, "... Well, when Tony's merchandise starts coming out, they'll have to think of lyrics that rhyme with Black Widow." She says, referring to the broadway musical (of all things) that has come out regarding the Avenger's formation in response to Loki's invasion. "... Apparently some folks think I'm a super hero."
    There's the professional aspect of it done. She'd be pretty happy leaving it at that! But no. Noooo, now there's personal matters, and suddenly Natasha seems a tiny bit more human as she glances to the side awkwardly, "... The timing has been... awkward."

Pepper Potts has posed:
"Tony, they don't know if I know things or not. Do you really think they care? Do you think they wouldn't want to try to get me to get to you? But I refuse to hide behind some..." Pepper waves her hand in gesture, and ends up not finishing the thought. Instead, she starts back up with, "If you win, Tony, you're BAIT. I don't like that.. and I won't allow it.." The last few words fall flat, and she shakes her head again, her mouth open to say more, but no sound comes out. There isn't a damned thing she can do. Helpless to watch him self destruct.. or worse.



"So you know Steve.." someone that she trusts and could call 'friend'. Pepper adds a little lamely, "Obviously."

It's true.. the joke about taking Tony's stuff falls a little flat on Pepper's ears too, but the woman is willing to give the benefit. It was something she'd mentioned to Tony as a concern. Not for her sake, but for his. If this whole ride on the rollercoaster (NOT a merry-go-round in the least!) ended, she's retire back to Connecticut. Or get another job somewhere in some little accounting firm in the middle of the US where no one ever heard of Stark Industries, if there was a place on this earth that hasn't. She chuffs quietly, and looks back at Tony.

"You are..." and Pepper can almost hear it from him with the hesitation. "The timing has been akward?" There's a touch of rise in her voice, and she still doesn't come from behind her chair. A look is given to Tony as he messes with her balance creation, a 'stop it'.. glance before she looks between the pair.

It's hard to get that killer vision out of her head now; and it's one that frankly scares her. That belongs outside these walls... out there..

Tony Stark has posed:
"We're seeing each other," Tony finally admits, giving Nat a look that suggests he can't believe she let him take that particular bullet - some bodyguard!

"We have been ... sort of ... for a while. Since just before this whole thing, really. We weren't - nobody knows, Pep. Not Steve. Nobody. As far as the Avengers are concerned, the whole thing is just an act put on by SHIELD. And it is, but there's also a bit of truth underneath it. We are seeing each other."

He lets out a sigh, putting the balance toy back on the desk where he found it. Maybe a few inches to the left of where he found it.

"You're the only one we've told."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha catches that look and sighs very softly. Fiiiine. She can openly confess to this and not just allude to it! "... I was there when they attacked because we were... on a date. Sort of. A 'should we date' date. That ended with me shooting two men."
    It's honestly the healthiest start to a relationship she's ever had!
    She nods as Tony describes the situation with who knows and who doesn't, finally drawing closer to put her hands on the back of the offered free chair, but still doesn't sit down. "That part's... not top secret. I just-" she shakes her head, "-*We* just... prefer our privacy while we feel things out. News tends to get put on broadcast around the manor, and then everyone sticks their nose in."
    She presses her lips together for a moment, and says, "... That and it's not... strictly... the most professional thing we could be doing right now. So."

Pepper Potts has posed:
Pepper feels like she's been hit by a ton of bricks, and being thrown out her window would be a mercy. She takes a sofly audible breath of air and holds it at the announcement, and she looks away, looks at anything //but// Tony; she needs to focus on something. The little balance moveable sculpture.. that is now a couple of inches off its position. A move is taken around the chair to purposefully move it back to its spot, thus giving her that break to try and find her equillibrium. Her brain is screaming at her.. and she wants to yell, to throw something.. to do anything. But, she can't.

She won't.

If she truly cares for Tony, then this is the way it is because, well.. it is. And, well..

"Right," is said quietly, and it's a fight to be heard, it's spoken so softly. Again, she repeats herself after a moment passes and she can trust herself. Her jaw sets and her head rises, "Right.. well.. thank you for being honest with me, Tony." Finally. "I.. uh.."

A 'should we date' date? "It's good to know some thought was put into it." Normally it's a few bottles of top shelf booze and she's throwing the girl out the next day.

"Not that it is my business, really." After all.

"I'll make sure if any rumors start, I'll stop them. Though, marriage is a pretty good cover for it. I understand you're actually supposed to like the person you're married to."

Tony Stark has posed:
For once, Tony doesn't have some witty rejoinder to add. He can sense that strange tension in the room, and it doesn't sit well with him. It's easy to be dismissive with people you don't really care that much about, but neither of these women are people he'd ever care to hurt. He'd go out of his way to avoid that, truth be told.

So he lapses into silence, watching at the balance toy is moved back across the desk from where he put it. He glances from Pepper and then to Natasha, as though waiting for something further than might smooth the whole situation over.

It's not coming.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha watches Pepper very closely as all of this plays out. It's part of her job to read people, you see. To know where they're weak, to pick up subtleties, find anything exploitable. So she can make an educated guess or two about what's troubling Pepper so much - attempted murder aside.
    ... So that's complicated.
    "... I've known him for a few years." She smiles a little, "... He seems pretty okay." She doesn't go as far as to squeeze Tony's arm or anything, as it suddenly feels as if such a display would be... 'showing off' somehow and not help anyone's situation. That said, it's partly with the goal of helping Pepper feel a bit better that she says, "At any rate. SHIELD's policy is not to share this information with anyone for... obvious reasons." It sounds like she's just giving the 'stay quiet' spiel, but she says, "... But Tony was... very adamant that we not keep secrets from you." She smiles a little bit and says, "... To the point where it's kind of a miracle it stayed under wraps as long as it did." The unspoken implication being that Tony cares about Pepper a lot.

Pepper Potts has posed:
This is one of the few times that Pepper isn't going to help him feel better, to assuage his hurt. She's not going to lie and say 'it's okay', because in her book, it's not. She was apparently right when she'd told Steve that she felt she couldn't help Tony if she didn't know. Now, she does know and is still helpless.

She thought... she had thought...

Guess not.

Pepper hadn't lied to him when she said that he was all she had. But now? She can't rely on that anymore. She has her job, sure.. and for the time being, it's her anchor. She was warned when she started...

"Yes, he is," Pepper agrees. "Don't let anything happen to him or I'll never forgive you." There's often a truth oft said in jest, and she is trying, she really is. Not for Tony's sake, but for her own.

"Nat, SHIELD's secrets don't even begin to compare with trade secrets of this company," Pepper offers dryly. "SHIELD doesn't have offices in almost every country of the world." Stark Industries, on the other hand? "I get it."

Pepper glances at Tony, but her attention doesn't stay long before it's back to Nat, "I don't know. But I understand."

Tony Stark has posed:
It is becoming abundantly clear that he isn't going to come out of this feeling better. It's an awkward sense of having done wrong, though not in any way he can fix. He doesn't have the ability to read people in quite the same way Natasha come, so any revelations of hers might be lost on him.

That's just how it goes.

He stands up, placing both hands on Pepper's desk as he rises to his feet. He looks towards Natasha expectantly, moving a few steps across the room towards the painting. It's new. He looks at it carefully for a moment, tilting his head and asking Pepper:

"Your old place?"

Pepper Potts has posed:
"Home," Pepper replies, and expounds slightly so she's not just single-word-responding, even if she might think that's what he deserves. She watches his progress through her office, as he stops at the small painting. "Remember we met Anton Tice a few years ago at auction? When I first started collecting art for the Foundation. I asked him to paint the family home in Connecticut. He did, and it was in my apartment for awhile. I was going through a few things and found it."

She can tell he wants to leave, and truth be told, she wants to turn the lights out for the night, at the very least. Instead, "Don't forget I have the trip to the UK tomorrow," she pauses, "I'm assuming you're not going. I called and let them know there was that potential." SI work goes on. "I'll be gone for a few days. Everything is in a file with the date marked. Open it up every day and you'll see what you need to answer any questions for the Board. Quarterlies are done. SEC filings are done.

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony nods his head silently, staring at the painting for a little longer. He's listening as Pepper explains what's going on, where she's going, and accurately guesses he won't be coming with her to the UK. When she's done speaking he moves towards the door, keeping a small distance from Nat. Like her, he's sensed that it wouldn't be proper to play up their closeness right this moment.

"You've got it handled," he tells Pepper, sounding convinced, "I'll keep things from blowing up on the homefront."

He arrives at the door, pushing it open to allow Nat passage through before him should she take it. A last glance is paid back towards Pepper.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha mentally notes all of this, but otherwise stays silent for the most part until Tony starts making noises that sound like leaving, prompting her to stand up. "And I'll keep his head on his shoulders." She smiles... a bit sympathetically. "... It was... nice meeting you, Pepper. Thank you for understanding." She says, and turns to leave, giving Tony a gracious nod as she steps through the open doorway.

Pepper Potts has posed:
Pepper stands at chairside, watching the pair leave her office. She nods her acknowledgment to Nat, a tight smile at Tony's words that she's got it handled. "Sure, Tony. Always do."

Once the pair are out, Pepper picks up her tablet, pushes in her chair, and re-places her 'guest' chairs. "Good night, Homer."

"Good night, Miss Potts."