626/Stubborn Wounds

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Stubborn Wounds
Date of Scene: 19 March 2020
Location: Avengers Mansion - Recreation Room
Synopsis: Natasha checks on Tony after his bad reaction to the revelation of Lord Rogers.
Cast of Characters: Natasha Romanoff, Tony Stark

NOTE: The scene was recorded/took place after the scene: And Many Happy Returns, Lord Rogers. Log sorting is funky!)

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    After everyone drifted off to cope with the massive cloud that was now hanging over what had been an optimistic mood over the mansion not so very long ago, Natasha was left alone with a lot on her mind, and not a lot that she could practically do.
    She did end up putting that discarded bowl in the wash, though. Had a sniff. The contents were surprisingly nostalgic.
    Tony generally isn't that hard to find unless he flies away, and Natasha winds up in the nearest doorway - still in costume, if slightly unzipped to let some of the pressure off her neck - arms crossed. She got this far and didn't think of how to approach him. Wit seems to be failing her today. But she didn't want Tony to just be left to that mood without knowing where he was going with it.

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony had wanted to fly away, that much was evident about the way he stormed out. His suit was 'parked' in the front yard, and it isn't like there's not plenty to do back at Stark Tower. King Steve notwithstanding, his campaign was still running and the people of this little corner of Midgard were going to need to pick a president. Despite all of that, he's still at the Mansion.

Natasha finds him in the recreation room, with its television, video games, bar, and other amusement. Surprisingly, he's not drinking. Instead he's standing off in one corner, playing one of a few pinball machines that have been set up in the room. This one is itself a vintage collectible in the style of the comic books they made during World War II about Captain America. It's got a comic book art version of the Captain up on the scoreboard, and its currently whistling and chiming as Tony bats the little silver ball around the board.

He doesn't look up, though he notices Natasha there all the same.

"What's up?" he asks, in a voice more clipped and curt than normal, "More good tidings from Asgard?"

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha watches Tony for a moment, weighing one approach or another when he speaks up first. She doesn't answer for a moment, taking a slow breath and putting on a hint of a rueful smile as she says, "No. No. Nothing like that, I just..." Natasha shakes her head. "I'm about to have to go on an apology tour, I think. I figured I should see how you're doing before one of them wrings my neck."
    She's... sorta kidding. A little.

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony is silent for a little while, letting the noise of the pinball machine speak for him. He leans into the buttons heavier than he should, causing the machine to shake and rattle with each motion. There's whistles and bells and flashing lights as he plays, letting Natasha stand there and wait for his reply. Finally, the silver ball disappears into the gutter and a little electronic cackle of some generic wartime-era Cap villain fills the air. His score appears on the screen - passable, but not superhuman.

Just like him.

"Nat," he starts, resting his hands on the sides of the machine and looking town into the glass, "You don't have anything to apologize to me for. I know this wasn't your decision, and even if you supported it you were just doing the right thing. I - look, I don't want you ever thinking we're at odds, okay?"

It's uncharacteristically soft given his display in the kitchen just minutes before, and he steps away from the machine to cross a little of the distance between them.

"Like I told you," he says, seeming as though he's almost about to swallow the words rather than say them given her reaction last time he did but ultimately following through, "You're a good person."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha smiles softly as she picks up on Tony's subtle misunderstanding of her words, her eyes closing briefly before they open partway, half lidded and warm as Tony speaks. "Oh, I know." She says, allowing a little wryness into her voice, referring more to not having to apologise to Tony rather than the good person part which is... debatable.
    She steps towards Tony while counting her fingers, "But I have to apologise to Thor for running off to find Loki, before Loki tells him," on her second finger she counts, "I have to tell *Clint* that Loki diplomacy's something we may be about to swallow when he was all nice and wrapped up before..." and on her third finger she counts, "... And I have to explain to Fury how I accidentally participated in a successful Coup over the planet Earth."
    Natasha smiles thinly. "So. I just wanted to  check on you before things get... hectic." The smile falters a little and she says, "I know this is frustrating for you..."

Tony Stark has posed:
"Little bit," Tony agrees to the 'frustrating' part, raising his hand to hold thumb and forefinger an inch or so apart. He stops a few feet short of Natasha, giving her space. He leans backwards against a Golden Axe arcade cabinet, folding his arms again although a little looser. He seems far less tense than he did in the kitchen.

"Well, let me help you. I've got a bit of experience apologizing for things," he offers, counting on his own hand, "Thor, for all the pseudo-Shakespearean, knows you mean well. He mightn't agree, but he's not going to hold a difference of opinion against you. Barton? There was a time you two were joined at the hip, and I don't think too much has changed. I think it'd take nothing short of a nuclear warhead to fracture that foundation. Finally, Fury? Well, hell, I've seen you in action. I pity whoever he sends to try and 'sanction' you."

"I kind of thought I'd pushed past it all, you know?" He'd tried to push the attention off him, but seems to lapse back into it almost by reflex, "We talked and I felt like you got me, and I'd finally said it and whatever hole was there was gone. But it's not. I don't know that it's ever gonna be."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha's smiles softly, though her eyes drift down as Tony speaks of her prospects. Thor she's not as sure about. Clint... she and Clint has something special and hard to define. She doesn't want to test it too hard, but it sounds right when Tony says she can't ruin it. Fury?
    ... Fury's a bigger problem. Nat would prefer not to have to kill Fury's fixer. Or the next one. Or the twenty after him. That's... a level of stress she doesn't feel up for right now. So here's hoping that doesn't come to pass.
    When the subject comes back to Tony, though, she looks at him again, her expression returning to something close to neutral, her eyes thoughtful. "... Logic never fills those holes." She says sympathetically. "... Not like we think they should. You just... kick a little dirt into it every time you think about it, and... I guess you hope it's full enough to climb out again once you fall in."
    There's a reason Tony and Clint's assurances never quite stick the way you'd hope. But they help. Little by little they help. And in that spirit, Natasha closes some of that distance between them and says, "... I could run down the list, Tony, of everything you have. I don't think you want to hear it, so... just trust me on this one thing for now, okay?" Natasha closes that list bit of distance and says softly, close to Tony's ear, "You're a better man than you think you are." before kissing him very gently on the cheek.
    She's *already* questioning the wisdom of this when she pulls back, but mostly it just translates to a slightly awkward, if warm little smile. "I can't stick around. You gonna be okay?"

Tony Stark has posed:
"I'll get there," Tony answers, sounding assured even if he doesn't truly feel it, "That's one thing you can say about us guys who built complex weapons platforms in a bamboo hut with a few chunks of shrapnel in our chests. We get shit done."

His eyes lift a little to watch Natasha when she approaches him. There's a little half-grin on his face, but he forgets to maintain it when she gets a little closer. He doesn't move, remaining where he is leaning against the cabinet. Almost as though he's afraid to move lest he spoil or change whatever this moment is - or could be. He turns his head slightly to look at her askance when she whispers in his ear, and the kiss on his cheek actually catches his breath for a moment.

He reaches out a little. Perhaps to try and clasp her hand, but he's not quite quick enough and his fingers just brush against her palm. He moves again as though to try and grasp it properly but gives up and just folds his fingers into his palm. The smile on his face is something else, though. Not cocky. Not a grin. It's something warm. Like whatever was wound was paining him has suddenly faded away into the barest of background thoughts.

"Yeah," he tells her, voice low, "Yeah, I am."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha smiles warmly , pleased to see his brightened mood, and says "Good." With a nod, before she begins to back away. "I've gotta go. I'll... see you at your place, yeah?" She says, turning away to move towards the door. She hesitates for a moment before looking back over her shoulder at him. "Unless I'm on the lam, in which case..." Natasha shrugs a little, "I'll send a card."

Tony Stark has posed:
"Yeah," Tony agrees. That movie night hasn't left its place in his schedule. It hasn't moved a minute.

The mention of potentially being on the run brings out a smile in him, and he lets it show without trying to bury it under his usual veneer.

"If you're on the run, I still expect to see you there," he answers, "But if I'm willing to dash my campaign hopes by harboring a fugitive, the very least you can do is bring some snacks."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha lingers at the door with a soft huff of a laugh, letting a rare natural grin touch her lips, "I've got one or two in mind." She says with a wave before she disappears through the doorway.