5688/After the Bonfire

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After the Bonfire
Date of Scene: 23 March 2021
Location: Pepper & Amanda's Apartment, The Dakota, Manhattan, NYC
Synopsis: As Lucifer and Amanda clean up after the church fire in Queens, Pepper turns up unexpectedly. At least the misunderstandings are benign. And the steak is divine... metaphorically speaking.
Cast of Characters: Amanda Sefton, Lucifer, Pepper Potts

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Having arrived home via Lucifer Express, Amanda spent several moments, after inviting him in, searching for the stim potions she keeps on hand for those times she 'over-does it'. It happens more often than she'd like, but she uses the potions far less often than she probably needs. In this case, though? It means she'll keep her eyes open for a little while longer.

More than that, it means she can start considering the idea of food. Because, draining as the healing magic is... it also tends to make her very, very hungry. Probably something to do with replenishing her own life force. Thus, twenty minutes after they've arrived home, she's conjured herself back into normal clothes and is now in the kitchen, trying to decide on something from the freezer or something delivered in.

The single malt she mentioned is out on the sideboard. She has two fingers left of the three she poured in a glass on the counter. "Are you in the mood for food?" she asks Lucifer, even as the little bot Patrick (still!) registers regular complaints at the amount of ash and soot he's cleaned up from the balcony and, subsequently, the carpet inside the balcony door. "I could do with something. Protiene, maybe. And carbs." Because, why the hell not?

Lucifer has posed:
Lucifer did not conjure any clothing changes or anything of the sort - because his clothes are not magical. The man is off in the bathroom, battling the ash clinging to his body at the sink, and possibly putting any cleaner robots into extreme job security. Clouds of the ash from the church are settling from having been flung airborne with a flap of shirt when Lucifer took it off to clean up. It's manual, but there's probably a clear indication that something about the ritual of manually cleaning up holds some importance. A time spent wiping at the remains of the dead church coating his skin and in his hair.

"Yes, that would be fine; a strong liquor would be welcomed with whatever you choose," Lucifer answers. His voice carries, bouncing off the bathroom acoustics and the mirror he's leaned towards. The door is open, he's entirely visible, but it isn't as though he's naked, either, just lacking in shirt.

Pepper Potts has posed:
The news is the news is the news. From stocks and bonds to crime to fire to political promises kept and not, New York City quite probably holds the record for 'stuff', Florida Man notwithstanding. At least that's a NYC-centrist view on it all. This is The city, after all. The definite article. There is no other city on the east coast that is referred to as such, and never will be. And so, other than the hint of ash that falls due to light breezes from the distant Queens, life goes on otherwise uninterrupted for those with absolutely no magical ability at all.

Blissful ignorance.

It is Amanda Sefton's birthday, however. Not a day to be forgotten, at least by a woman whose job it is to wrangle dates, times, activities and leisure with the skill of a surgeon.

The door of the apartment opens, perhaps a little wider than usual, and a lithe redhead (her hair in a neat bun) dressed in a tailored beige business suit with heels that gives her at least a couple of inches more enters, paper bags with handles gripped with both hands. With a practiced kick of the door with a foot behind her, one shoe is removed, then the other, all without setting her bags down. Once completed, she's padding towards the living room, calling out,

"'Mands.. you need to get dressed..."


Pepper stops in her tracks, green eyes narrowing as she catches .. someone down the hall.. and her eyes shift before finally setting the bags down.


Amanda Sefton has posed:
"There are towels under the sink," Amanda notes, as she hears the sink water running in the bathroom. "Grab a shower, if you want. I can't do much about your clothes, but I'm sure I can get Patrick to give them a sweep." The bot burbles. Okay. Mostly, he squawks. But Lucifer is NOT Loki. Therefore, the bot is more forgiving. His prime directive started as a cleaning program, after all. Dirt and ash don't scare him. Conjured snakes, however, are his sworn and mortal enemies, worthy only of contempt and killing.

Then, however, the front door is opening and Amanda hears Pepper's voice. She blinks mildly, but then a smile touches her face. "Gin!" she calls out, shoving the freezer door closed and walking out of the kitchen to greet her friend. "Hey."

Now, Amanda *is* dressed. She just happens to be wearing the jeans and sweater she had on *before* she went to the church at Lucifer's summons. It's nothing fancy. Her feet are bare. Her hair is tied back in a messy knot at the nape of her neck, which suggests it was done in a hurry. She did take time to wash her hands and face, mind. But that means she's sans makeup and, all in all, looking quite ready for an evening in. Half naked man in her bathroom notwithstanding.

Lucifer has posed:
Lucifer is curious - and of course he is going to surface to get a look. So he moves to stand more fully in the door to the hallway, a dark gray washcloth (previously white) in hand, with a curious incline of head. He's similar in height to Loki but is decidedly not him. The vibe is very different: there's no smarm here, and the build and tone differ.

"I have survived far worse than some dust; I think I will shower, though... this cloth is working about as well as a single condom for a whole orgy. Won't be a tic," Lucifer calls, his tone brightening as he adapts for the new person's presence. He flashes her an immediate and deliberate, dazzling smile, entirely confident and lightly playful. But he doesn't linger, he's drawing back into the bathroom, attentive to his own vanity.

Pepper Potts has posed:
The bags are filled with //stuff//. Someone obviously has done some serious shopping!

When Amanda appears, there is that draw of breath, giving her shoulders a light push back to straighten her back, and she exhales audibly. "'Mand-" though before she can say more, her attention is drawn to the half-naked, and VERY nicely put together man in their bathroom, well, Amanda's bathroom. Brows are raised, and her head is canted even as her eyes narrow and there's a slightly puzzled expression on her face. It's fleeting, however, when a polite smile creases her face in the levity shared by said gentleman, and when he returns to his ablutions, Pepper wheels back around to her best girlfriend.

"I thought we agreed?" She puts a hand out towards the door, no doubt indicating doorknobs should have been in play here! "I mean, he's.." and Pepper finds her way through to breathe again, "...I mean..." Okay. Green eyes move towards the bathroom door down the hall, and her voice cants a little lower, "I can put off the plans I made for your birthday. Just need to call Happy." Because.. handsome.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda rolls her eyes at Lucifer's preening -- though, if truth be told, she *does* appreciate the show. But, for her, so far, that's all it is. Thus, she also laughs at his joke, entirely comfortable with its ribaldness. She doesn't blush or otherwise display embarassment. (Which probably means Sister Phillis, the nun riding around in the back of her mind, is likely apoplectic with enough embarassment for both of them.) Instead, Amanda just waves him away with a laugh and a grin. "Yeahyeahyeah. Go."

Then, however, Pepper's rounding on her, gesturing wildly at the doorknob and the blond blinks in confusion. A confusion that quickly passes. Her blue eyes fly open widely and she registers what Pepper's implying. "Oh, gods! No!" She starts to laugh, a bit of relief in the tone. "Nonono, it's okay, Gin." She shakes her head, her grin lopsided and only *now* showing embarrassment. "That's Lucifer. He's a show-off, to be sure. And a friend. But not *that* kind of friend."

Not yet, certainly. And whether he ever will be is yet to be discovered.

Regardless, her expression sobers. "We were... dealing with the mess at church fire in Queens," she explains softly, her voice dropping, too. "He gave me a lift home. That's all. I just... ran out of juice." Eight people walked out of that building alive because of her. And him. Eight people who should, by rights, be dead.

There's a fleeting shadow that flits across eyes and she seems to cant her head as if listening to something only she can hear. Which, well, she is. Whatever the exchange is, however, she doesn't elucidate anyone.

Instead, she pushes a smile back on her lips and takes Pepper's hands. "Seriously. I am starving. Stay. We'll order in. I don't think I can handle a crowd, but I'd love some dinner."

Lucifer has posed:
If Lucifer thinks the whole thing is funny, he's not laughing loud enough to carry over the sounds of the water. He's not messing around, he's cleaning up efficiently. Still, the women will have a bit of time without his cloying aura in the room to deal with. Having him out of sight and immediate proximity will relax that. Lucifer's presence has a /suggestive/ quality of letting guard down, saying things, maybe regrets for later... but hardly forceful. 'Force' is the opposite; he just makes those bad ideas easier to come to.

...And, as if to prove the show-off quality, there's some clean, clear notes of some song from the bathroom, though the song itself is hard to determine with the water muffling it. Who sings in /other people's/ showers?

Pepper Potts has posed:
Pepper's voice is canted softly, almost in a hiss to be sure her words don't carry. Her head is ducked down slightly, her eyes widened and looking right at Amanda. There's a three count, and her lips purse, and she looks.. dubious, to say the least. "Do you really think I believe that?

"The man is singing in your shower!" It's a quiet exclamation, but one all the same. "That's not something a casual visitor does, 'Mands.." Not when they were in uni, after all! There's //always// a reason for a shower.

Pepper isn't really certain whether or not she'll take her friends denials, instead leaning towards the 'Methinks the lady doth protest too much' side. Still, she's willing to let it go for the moment, even if she does turn her head when some of those notes emenating from the bathroom are reached.

An audible chuff of air is exhaled, and she picks up the bags again to move them to the side before she offers her hands for the hold. "The plan was to fly out on the helicopter to the yacht and just spend some quality time out there. You've been busy, and even moreso now. And me?" Pepper lets out a chuckle, "I've been the same." After all, quarterly reports of a corporation like Stark Industries isn't a ten-page affair. Phone calls, accountants from all over the world.. meetings, coupled with the rest of her work, both within the company and on behalf of the Foundation (and the charities). And that's with Tony helping!

It's a reluctant agreement, however, and Pepper nods, ready to head to the kitchen for some tea.

First things first, however, as they walk, Pepper needs to make sure, "I'm not, you know.. interrupting anything? If I am," she gestures towards the front door in a half swing of her head around, "I can leave. It's okay. I totally understand."

The church, though.. and her step pauses, "What were you doing over in Queens?" Of course she'd heard about the fire, but.. fires happen all the time in the City. Fires, water main breaks, natural gas leaks..

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda knows the more she protests the less Pepper will believe her. So, the best way to 'come clean' so to speak is to actually... come clean. In a weird way. "It's something Lucifer does," she says with a rueful sigh. "He's not like most people. And, honestly, you're not interrupting a thing."

She follows her friend into the kitchen while Lucifer continues to sing. She'd get annoyed at him for making things awkward but, really... it's actually funny and she knows it.

"We were at the fire," she explains, all humour vanishing. "It was... pretty horrific, actually. I was trying to heal the victims enough to get them out and he was... keeping us all alive long enough so that I could." She glosses over the truth there, because Pepper really doesn't need all the gory, holy, and unholy details. Nevertheless, she gives her friend a direct look. "I'm really serious about being out of juice. I would not have made it home without him. I'd be passed out in the back of a taxi dressed as Daytripper." She flashes an earnest grin. "Really not good, you know?"

She pulls a bunch of takeout menues out of a basket she keeps atop the fridge. "So... I totally want a day on the yacht," she says, her grin turning more familiar. "I could use the day off." She looks down at the menus. "What are you interested in? I need meat. And carbs."

Lucifer has posed:
The singing concludes... and a little bit later, the water does as well. Hopefully Amanda doesn't mind him using whichever towels he chooses to, because that probably is happening in there. He takes some time then, to finish drying and cleaning up, and re-dressing, before he surfaces. He exits, certainly like he comes there all the time -- though that is, in fact, hardly true. Lucifer belongs everywhere, in his estimation. And his presence helps others believe that. Doesn't make it less weird, though.

He's clean and brisk - lacking his usual heavy cologne - but the dusty pants and shirt still have a cling of fire to them. He's fully dressed, though he didn't bother to entirely button the shirt.

"Do forgive my need to shed that skin of grime before meeting properly," Lucifer says. Amanda may sense that he's smiley like usual, but it isn't turned to 11 like normal. He's more at a 7. Which, in a way, makes him more personable, less startling. His appearance is 'too' good, that he usually feels off, strange. The lowered wattage has grounded him out of the stratosphere.

"Lucifer," he offers, and a polite, warm handshake to Pepper.

Pepper Potts has posed:
Pepper was raised in historically 'Puritan country', up in Connecticut, so giving the name 'Lucifer' to the gent in the shower garners about the same reaction as if he had been named 'Adolf' or somesuch. It's not a //good// connection. She does stop short, however, of actually asking out loud what parent would name their child LUCIFER? That name is pretty much banned in several Western countries...

"No, I imagine not." Her voice remains low, just on the offchance there's the risk of being overheard. "But, you tell me.. you remember our code."

It's the recounting of the fire, or rather, her part in it, that brings her shoulders to a slight slouch; a definite indication that she heard and understands at least some of the ramifications of her friend's words. "Wasn't the fire department there?" Of course they were, but she knows Amanda's got a little more.. leverage, as it were. And the fact that her friend is out of juice? She's seen this once before.. "And if you're really that low, we really need to get you away.." and Pepper really is ready to take her friend wherever she can to give her the peace to recharge. "The yacht is parked-"

As Amanda pulls the stash of menus down, Lucifer finds his way towards the ladies, and Pepper turns around to the sound of his approach. She really can't help but stare, even in the knowledge that his name is, obviously, indeed 'Lucifer'. His parents should be shot!

Pepper finds that smile to rise to her face; one, no doubt, Tony would call her out on, and extends a hand. "Pepper. A.. A pleasure," and as she shakes his hand, she looks towards Amanda in gesture, "Thank you for helping my friend."

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda chuckles warmly as Pepper rises to the social occasion as she often does. She meets Lucifer's eyes briefly as Pepper runs with her story that Lucifer kept them all alive. It *is* the truth, after all. That he was also the cause of all that heartache... she keeps quiet about that still. "Lucifer is the owner and manager of Lux," she tells her friend. "That night club near here?" Perhaps that explains the man's name. Club Mogul. It's doubtless a sobriquette, right? Rather like 'Pepper', actually.

Truthfully, if Lucifer decides to come clean about just who he is, Amanda's not about to quibble about it. And she'll take the inevitable heat from Pepper over it, too. But the reality is: She's a sorceress. Sometimes, her associations will be wildly out of the norm.

Nevertheless, she's apparently content to let Pepper believe whatever's easiest for her to believe in this moment. She can be more forthcoming later, but Lucifer's true story isn't hers to tell. Not until it becomes a danger to her and hers.

"So," she says, tossing one of the menus forward, "that stakehouse is still delivering. A porterhouse with fries sounds just about right to me."

Lucifer has posed:
Lucifer's smile ramps up as he accepts the hand. His aura expands automatically; he does this when he meets people, it isn't specific to Pepper. It's a way to sort of 'test' and get a feel for others: to use his very direct quality to get a scope of who they ARE. His penetrative look is usually not felt to be forceful: instead, more like he really /sees/ a person, fully sees them, and his smile is genuine and comfortable. An old friend, willing to be in that comfortable place without needing all that 'time' to get there!

"A miss Pepper. You're in the news, are you not? Your smiling face I've seen... Stark industries?" Lucifer asks, perceptively. And then with a teasingly greedy, confidential tone, questions, "Is Stark as fun as he /seems/?" It's pointed, direct, and playful, and comes with a squeeze of fingers. There's that little rush of aura, so coaxing: how fun it could to be open, to SHARE....!

"Ah, we help each other, don't we," Lucifer says, to Pepper's thank-you, his warmth now sideways to Amanda. "Glad to share this friend," he says, to Pepper, but speaking OF Amanda. "She's a special sort. Some can't handle me, alas." His attention drifts. "Steaks sound perfect."

Pepper Potts has posed:
It's a very strange feeling; there's just something so easily likeable about the man. Pepper finds herself smile, the shift of 'business neutral' smile to something a touch more warm, open and friendly as the introduction continues. It's not something that she consciously notices, nor does she really quite have full understanding of her reaction. All she knows? It's as if she's known him forever!

"Yes, well..." and Pepper laughs, a touch self-consciously simply because she's //never// the object of the news unless it's on the highly specialized channels of business, and that's when she's referred to as 'spokesman for Stark Industries', and little else. So, the fact that he's picked her out of the crowd behind the main event honestly does surprise her. As a result, she stammers her words a little, "...that's me." Acknowledgment, it's a start. When questionned about Tony, however.. there's a touch of resistance. "Mr Stark is.." and it's almost a hard fought battle before, she dips her head before she shakes it, "I'm not entirely certain 'fun' is the right word?" This, apparently, is a woman who has a much deeper attachment than 'he's fun to be around'. "He's sweet, caring, loyal.." and as she begins to go on, it's as if she's realizing what it is she's saying, but.. she wants to share?

Steaks, though! "Amanda is certainly special," and Pepper does retrieve her hand as talk turns to dinner. "It's her birthday, and I was hoping to take her out." And away.

"Steaks sound perfect."

Amanda Sefton has posed:
"We do," Amanda replies to Lucifer's insistence they help each other. "Luci was instrumental in helping me figure out a lot of that stuff with Zalmoxis back in the summer," she says to Pepper. "You remember?" She should. It was one hell of a final battle in that mountain in Romania.

Nevertheless, as Pepper begins to wax on about Tony, Amanda's eyes flick between her normally reticent friend and the more gregarious mogul. That's... a telling exchange. Her smile turns wry as she retreats back into the kitchen to pick up a phone with which to contact the restaurant. Five minutes later, she's able to rejoin the pair, order in and expected within a reasonable time.

As Pepper tells Lucifer it's her birthday, Amanda gives a lopsided smile. "Yeah, well... Everyone's got one." If not for Pepper and Kurt, she probably wouldn't celebrate many special occasions, her birthday included.

Lucifer has posed:
"Sweet, caring and loyal? Who would have guessed," observes Lucifer, curious, but not negative. "Certainly worth your love, then," he continues, with the same warmth. He grins a little, with a flirty edge of expression. He juxtaposed that nicely with the awareness that she seems smitten. He isn't actively pushing at her at all. That same relaxed quality. His flirts don't mean anything.

"Happy /birthday/," Lucifer says to Amanda, centering back on her, and putting her under his high-beams instead of Pepper. "If you have any special requests to experience, I'll consider them." Cheeky. And broad.

"Instrumental? No need to credit me. Take all the credit," Lucifer teases Amanda with an immediate surge of apparent amusement. He isn't actually joking: he doesn't really have a need there. The humility runs in odd streaks with Lucifer: in and out, dependant on how much he's choosing to give away.

There's a pause, something seems to have attracted Lucifer's attention. It may brush on Amanda's too, as the mystical wards report a return of the demonic presence of earlier. "I'll take care of that," Lucifer says thoughtfully, which is probably very confusing to Pepper, as he rather abruptly goes towards the door, and exits the apartment, leaving the door a bit ajar.

Pepper Potts has posed:
"Yes, I remember," Pepper replies, her head bobbing in the memory. She looks back from her friend to Luci, adding, "Oh? Then I should thank you for that, too. Though, I don't recall her mentioning you before." She sounds .. disappointed in it.

The recitation of her words to describe Tony has her gaze lingering on the man now, her head canting. She's indeed smitten, though she does see the object of her affection with all his flaws and weaknesses, too. 'Fun' is just too shallow a word, or rather, in his 'younger days', she wasn't the one that he'd taken out for 'fun'. "He's worth..." the world to her. "He's worth it." All the aggrevation, the fears.. the nights she'd stayed up to sit beside him...

Birthday, however! "Okay, steak tonight.. tomorrow we fly out."

Lucifer's abrupt path to the door has her attention back, and brows rise as she looks back to Amanda. "I.. I think I'll have a glass of wine with dinner."

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda flashes Pepper an easy grin. "Red?" she asks. It seems appropriate for steak. Of course, her two fingers of whiskey are still on the table. But she can bring out a bottle of wine and set it to breathe while they wait for the food to arrive. She spends only a moment or two seeking out an appropriate bottle and the corkscrew to open it.

She knows who's outside that door. "One of Luci's employees," she tells her friend, setting up the wine as she does. "He's magic, Pepper," she reminds her friend, a hint of her earlier seriousness coming to her eyes. "And so are several of his employees." That, perhaps, explains how he knew there was someone there. "I don't like to ask him for favours often. And I still didn't know what to make of him when we were hunting Zalmoxis."

She knows exactly what he is, now, of course. Her ease with him doesn't mean she's ever unaware of that reality.

Lucifer has posed:
The other presence leaves immediately - it is really just as if Lucifer stepped out, said a word, and then came back in, neatly shutting the door. His smile is still there: none of the little distraction bothered or changed his mood in any way.

"Now then, where were we... reading the wine list?" Lucifer asks, crossing back over. His zone of influence returns with him - which can feel a bit of an emotional whiplash at times. He's distractedly flexing his right hand and wrist. He did take impact earlier, and he's feeling it a little bit again. He joins them by the counter, though. "Speaking of lovers?"

Pepper Potts has posed:
"Red," Pepper finally takes her suit jacket off, laying it across the back of a chair neatly, finding the chance to be comfortable and quickly taking it. A seat is pulled up, and settling down on it, she's more than happy to wait for dinner and have a quick chat. At the explanation, she breathes something of a laugh and nods, though green eyes are pulled back to the front door. "It's not that I forget," she begins, "it's just.." not a central aspect of her life. Amanda is Amanda. And Pepper's been in the middle of the more 'mundane', if everything she's doing can be considered such. Or rather, 'non magical' is better.

With the wine taking its chance to breathe, Pepper pulls her attention away from the door as Luci returns, "Rea-" and she's stopped in mid-statment as he continues on his train of thought. "I.. no. No we're not." She may sound a little flustered; obviously she's never met anyone quite like Lucifer...

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda scoops up her tumbler, for a mouthful. She leans back against the counter now, relaxed in her own home, despite the odd combination of house guests. "Dinner should be here, soon," she says, redirecting the conversation slightly. She's about to say more when Patrick comes scooting out of the bathroom, whistling like BB8 charging into battle.

For a moment, she's inclined to be alarmed. Then, however, she realizes he's found a place that was missed earlier, by the balcony door, where ash still smudges the carpet. Attacking it with gusto only the truly dedicated can muster, he chatters voiciferously the whole time in his 'scolding' tone.

The blonde starts to laugh, flashing Pepper a grin. "Never take Patrick to the beach," she says. "Never, ever, ever." The poor bot would melt down from the stress of it all... But maybe die happy all the same.

Thus, conversation passes until the food arrives. Then, stories out of school are told, traded with casual disregard for propriety -- likely because of Lucifer's presence -- but always with sure regard for what really matters between friends. All of which means, the worst of the embarassing stories stay hidden and the best of them are elaborated to the level of comedy gold.

It's not a bad way to spend the end of a difficult day. Or a birthday.