814/Safe At Last

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Safe At Last
Date of Scene: 28 March 2020
Location: Stark Tower: Penthouse
Synopsis: Nat and Tony unwind after an attempted poisoning by a genuine Gotham crazy.
Cast of Characters: Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff

Tony Stark has posed:
The media was quite abuzz with news from the Hellfire Club, doubly so now that word had got out that Tony was there with his new 'wife'. They'd nevertheless managed to get to the car and back to Stark Tower before the press had gotten wind of it all and were safely bunkering in the penthouse. Tony's removed the jacket of the suit he wore out, leaving him in the vest and shirt with the tie undone and flung over the back over one of the barstools.

His phone beeps again with another request to make a statement to the press. He frowns at it and turns it off, tossing it across the room casually and letting it land in the cushions on the sofa. He sets about making a couple of Manhattans, expertly pouring out the portions by eyesight alone.

"We used to have an apartment a few floors down," Tony tells Nat as he mixes, "For guests and things. Riri's in it now, so I hadn't really considered where we're going to set you up. I guess you can take the bedroom for tonight and I'll sleep on the couch? It's a step up from the floor in the shop, anyway."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha has removed her deeply impractical - but incredibly stylish! - boots, and is pacing by the couch, glancing at the television as it plays news related to the incident, while keeping her phone held to her ear. She is otherwise still dressed fetchingly for the club, and has one arm across her body with her hand hooked under her phone-arm. "... *Gotham?*" She asks incredulously into the phone. "Yes, I know they're close by- hold on."
    Natasha holds her phone to her shoulder, muffling what she says to whoever's on the other end; "I'll take the couch, it's fine. I need to be between you and the exits. Your couch is softer than most beds anyw- what was that?" She hears the agent talking on the phone again and stops to put it back to her ear. "... Okay. Okay. Keep me posted."
    Natasha finally hangs up and moves towards the bar, takes a seat, and sighs, "I'm going to shoot whoever commissioned The Loop." before taking the drink, saying "Cheers." and taking a sip.

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony leans against the bar from behind it, skewering a cherry on stainless steel toothpick before dropping it into the mixture with a tiny splash as a garnish. Satisfied he takes a sip, the whiskey concoction doing well to soothe whatever jangled nerves he might have. It's not often he's caught in a situation like that without his suit, and now it had happened twice in the last few days.

His shoulders sink a little at the bodyguard talk, and he chews thoughtfully on the inside of his cheek. He doesn't speak up initially, only nodding his head in response to the 'cheers' and getting to work on his own. He's down to almost half a glass before he finally says something.

"Gotham, huh?" he gestures the glass towards the television screen, "They're saying its someone Crane. One of those Arkham crazies who calls himself the Scarecrow."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha notices the subtle shift in Tony's demeanor with a slight lowering of her brow, though for the moment she focuses on her drink, respond with a muffled "Mm!" of affirmation while her lips are still on the glass before setting it down. "Just confirmed it. A Dr. Jonathan Crane. Put some kind of hallucinatory biotoxin in the drinks. Specifically brings out your worst fears." Natasha is... very very glad she wasn't hit by that. Her brain's a bit of a deep well, there's a lot to pull out of there, even if she likes to think she's numb to pretty much everything.
    "Guess this was bound to happen when your neighboring city's chief export is the homicidally insane." She says with a rueful smile and takes another drink. "Lucky so many people stopped us before we made it to the bar." Natasha pauses and tilts her head slightly as she looks at Tony. "Are you sure you're okay?"

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony nods his head in agreement, rendering his drink down to a quarter or so of the glass before putting it down on the counter. The question prompts him to step back a little, undoing the buttons of the vest he wears and holding it open. He even does a bit of a spin, showing the shirt underneath completely unmarred.

"Looks like it, yeah," he confirms, "Just wasn't really expecting date night to end with a homicidal biochemist and someone blasting a hole in the ceiling. Though you're right, it probably could've gone worse than it did. Maybe."

He scoops up his glass, wandering over in the direction of a seemingly innocuous wooden panel on the wall near the lounge area. Once he nears it the panel slides away, revealing folded linens, blankets, and extra pillows. He scoops a number of them out with one arm, still supporting his drink in the other, and shuffles over to deposit them on the sofa.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    "Could have gone worse." Natasha echoes in agreement, seemingly satisfied for the third time that you're inhurt, which is two times more than she'd normally ask. "If anything you may get your Roosevelt bump after all." She says very dryly.
    She can joke because nobody died!
    "Oh, thank you." She says very softly, voice even and composed always usual as you fix the sheets, giving a small smile of appreciation.
    It can be a little disconcerting to think about, in a way. Roughly half an hour ago Natasha - beautiful, distant, brutally blunt Natasha - was hanging off of your arm, sweet as a peach. Giggling at any joke you cared to muster, bright eyed and affectionate, ready to dance at a crowded club and shy to meet new people.
    Now she's quiet again, speaking just over the bare minimum volume needed to bear heard. It's almost like the room feels emptier because her personality is no longer being projected out into the room, but is seated quietly inside of her again, her eyes focused and narrow rather than wide and friendly. She's only touched you to check for bullet holes or burns, and since then more or seemed content to just work on figuring out what the hell they just ran away from until this moment.
    It's weirder because she's still wearing 'Natalie's' clubbing outfit, which is... very unlike the sweater and tights looks she leans towards for comfort.
    She seems to realize she's just having a nice drink while Tony's doing her a favor, and slides off the barstool to approach Tony, saying "Here, let me help you with that." aiming to get it set up nice and comfortable-like.

Tony Stark has posed:
The sudden change was a hard one to get used to. Even though he knew Natalie was just an act, their time together had felt good in ways he couldn't deny. But, conversely, he knew well enough that who she was under the mask and that was the woman he'd fallen for. He wasn't sure he'd ever truly wrap his head around that, but it was a fact of life now and he wasn't going to spend time worrying about it.

"I've got it," he tells her, turning about so he's got his back to her and doing his best to keep the bedclothes out of her reach, "What? You think because I grew up in a mansion, I don't know how to make a bed?"

He quickly finishes the remnants of his drink, depositing the glass down on the coffee table before unceremoniously dumping all the sheets, blankets, and pillows down on the couch in a heap.

"Ta da. Bed made."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha looks a little perplexed as Tony dodges her, and his comment makes her face briefly go blank in that way it does when she's not specifically making it do anything; which in this case means she doesn't want to communicate what's going on in her head. Not that she's explained THAT fun little nugget to him.
    That said, when the punchline is delivered in the form of a giant jumbled pile of softness on a couch, and she sees where he was going with that, a very dry smile comes to Natasha's face as she slowly clap... clap... claps three times, and then drops her arms, "... This only supports Clint's robot-butler theory. He'll be thrilled."


Tony Stark has posed:
"He wasn't a robot," Tony says pointedly, "He only acted like one. Dad knew him after the war or - I dunno, something along those lines. A good guy. A damn side better at the whole paternity thing than dad ever was."

Once he's spoken, Tony takes a step towards Nat and reaches out to clasp her hand in his. He holds it there for a moment, brushing his thumb across the back of it and over the rise of her knuckles thoughtfully. He looks down at it, tilting his head and furrowing his brow. His eyes shift back up to look at her, that knowing smile that is so quintessentially Tony Stark suddenly appearing on his face - he's up to something.

Then he shifts, clasping her wrist before falling backwards like a dead weight into the pile of blankets and pillows on the couch. Doing his best to take her with him, though ready to let go if it seems like she might fall uncomfortably.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha looks down at Tony's hand when he takes hers, briefly feeling asthough she has to adjust to the idea of being touched casually, before she gives a soft smile and returns a bit of a squeeze. "Sorry about your night out." She starts to say, getting as far as the next "I-" before Tony grasps her wrist. She looks puzzled. "Ton-" she starts to say, and then blurts out a jostled "*-YYYEEE?!* as he falls backwards, dragging her along with him so that she falls on top of him.
    She very quickly puts her hands to the cushions and pushes herself up anough to look up at him. "*O*-kay- ah..." she tries to grin a bit, but looks a little hesitant. "This is, uh... unusually expensive padding." She jokes, regarding Tony's general net worth.

Tony Stark has posed:
"What can I say? I'm just a generous guy. The sheets are Egyptian cotton, too ... at least that's what JARVIS said. I don't really have any way of proving it. Presumably there's a test."

Tony contents himself to lay there with her for the moment, letting his head drop back into the pillows and tilt comfortably off to one side. One hand rests on her wrist, giving her a gentle squeeze there. The other lifts to her face, toying with her hair a little bit - tucking a strand behind her ear that quickly falls right back out to where it was.

"You know," he says quietly, "From here the night doesn't seem ruined at all."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    "Yeah?" She asks teasingly regarding the sheets "I'll stay impressed until JARVIS tells me otherwise."
    She's smiling, but in her head her brain is raising, collapsing, and re-raising numerous distracting flags as she's struck with uncharacteristic indecision. This is normal. This is sweet! This is the kind of thing she wants.
    This doesn't come naturally to her at all.
    When Tony tilts, she tlts with him, chest to chest with him with her back to the television, essentially flanking Tony against the back of the couch. "No...?" She asks softly with a warm little smile that looks like Natasha... and a bit of a sparkle in her eyes that looks more like Natalie, as she falls back a bit on the performances she knows works to carry her through the unexpected block trying to form in her brain. "... No, I guess not. A city skyline... soft couch... good company... egyptian cotton." She says, tapping the sheet twice, her smile flickering a bit asthough she isn't sure what expression to make, but settling on a fairly genuine smile as she says. "... Surprisingly cozy, as far as attempted poisonings go..."

Tony Stark has posed:
"You know," Tony begins, as though Natasha had just struck an excellent and erudite point, "I was just about to say. Maybe we need to go out and have homicidal maniacs from New Jersey try to poison us every night? Or Hydra can take shots at me. Either one seems to end okay, based on the sample size."

His attention has left the television completely. It could be airing a documentary solely about him right now and he wouldn't even spare it a glance. His eyes fixated on Nat's own, hand leaving her wrist to rest easily on her shoulder. He turns slow, lazy circles against her upper arm with the tip of his finger.

There's a long, drawn out silence as he looks at her. Admires her. He's known for compartmentalizing his thoughts as well, though not with the same success that Natasha enjoys. They still read on his face a little bit. They speak of deep thought and genuine fascination.

"I'm glad this is happening," he tells her finally, "You. Me. I - I just like it."

Another pause.

"Oh, and not having two Secret Service guys freezing on the balcony is a definite plus."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha's hand goes to Tony's chest, pressing against it gently, her heartrate beginning to calm, oddly enough, as she gets settled in a bit. Her hand briefly grabs Tony's shirt with a tiny little yank as he speaks, giving a short huff of a laugh that shakes her shoulders. Her eyes close briefly, and when they open they're... quieter somehow, but more natural, a bemused look on her face as she shakes her head. "That's..." she presses her lips together tightly and then grins gently, "... an amazing idea. Absolutely. On free days... you just go for a walk someplace that doesn't poll well... I'll set up a sniper's nest, and we'll just..." she shrugs a little, "... let the magic happen."
    Natasha honestly basks in that comfortable moment of silence. She likes the silence. She likes being here with him. She feels stupid for getting nervous there like this isn't what she signed up for, and she smiles warmly and says, "... Me too. It's... it's really... nice."
    Natasha's not accustomed to things being nice. She could get used to it. To that end, she begins to drift closer, her nose grazing against Tony's as her lips gravitate towards his.
    And then Tony's joke registers, and, unbidden, unspoken, her mind clarifies 'No, one of them's freezing in the morgue.'
    Natasha takes a very sharp breath through her nose and tilts her head forward so that her forehead presses to Tony's head instead as she closes her eyes. The smile stays on her face, but she forces it to stay there, almost as a matter of professionalism.
    It's stupid. He was a Hydra assassin. She literally doesn't feel bad at all about what happened.
    And that's why she doesn't deserve nice things.
    She swallows hard and tries to refocus herself, opening her eyes again. "... I could probably just drift off like this. ... It'll be a new personal record for unprofessional behavior, but..." she says, pressing her face into his shoulder a bit and keeping one big blue eye turned up towards Tony's face.
    It's cute! It's a little more Natalie than Natasha, but it's cute.

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony doesn't read expressions in others as well as a trained super-spy might, but he can certainly sense the changes. He's learning still, but he's gotten pretty good at spotting those expressions that are more Natalie than Natasha and vice versa. The sudden little change isn't lost on him, but he doesn't make a note of it. This whole thing is as difficult for Nat as it is for him; just in different ways. He knows this.

"I haven't been told I'm comfortable before," Tony offers up gently, "I can add that to the list. Billionaire, genius - huh, I suppose we've got to axe the playboy part, huh? Billionaire, genius, comfortable, philanthropist."

When she buries her face in his shoulder, he rests his hand on her back, running the tips of his fingers up and down her spine in an idle sort of motion. He lifts and tilts his head to look down at that eye staring back up at him, the corner of his mouth twitching up into a lopsided smile.

"If you want to sleep, you go right ahead. I can think of about eighteen million worse places to be right now ... "

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha's lone visible eye closes as she smiles indulgently at Tony's spiel, correcting "Billionaire, genius, comfortable, President if you get your way." She says a little dreamily. The 'dropping the playboy' thing made her... kinda happy.
    She comfortably sighs "Ooookaaaay..." as she puts her arm behind and over Tony's shoulder and pulls herself against him so her cheek is nuzzled against his chest. Still banishing unwanted thoughts from her damned ancient spy brain left and right, but... Tony's warm. That helps.
    Though she does eventually make a half-heartedly grumpy "Hnnnnnn..." sound, and muffledly says "... My gun's still on the table." She turns her head enough that her mouth is free to speak but doesn't open her eyes. "If someone crashes through the window, you'll have to run over and get it, I don't want to move anymore."
    She is seriously gonna have to go get that when Tony either falls asleep or gets up, whichever comes first.

Tony Stark has posed:
"If someone crashes through that window," Tony says, nodding in the direction of the glass, "They're stronger than Banner on a bad day. I had this whole floor redesigned after Loki. It might look open and airy but it's a bunker for the most part."

He leans his head forward, lifting an arm to brush her hair out the way gently in order to speak quietly into her ear: "I know how much you love security, agent."

It's just a small joke because he truly cannot help himself from making them. He softens that display of acerbic wit by ducking his head forward to press his lips against her forehead, kissing her lightly there. He's silent for another long moment, contented to lay there with her - as comfortable as can be.

"Thank you."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    "That's..." Natasha starts to say, eyebrows raising against Tony's chest, "... legitimately impressive..." her voice a bit heavy and dreamy, perhaps taking credence away from the theory that she *waits* rather than sleeps. "... Wonder if it can keep Power Girl out..." she muses and smiles a little to herself at the thought. She and Tony really have the worst luck with interruptions.
    Knock on wood, tonight.
    During that long silence, Natasha nestles comfortably against Tony. He can probably feel her heart beat against his chest; the remarkably dangerous woman looking remarkably peaceful for once; possibly for the first time Tony's seen. She only stirs a little when Tony speaks, and dreamily slurs a response, "Hmmmm...? W'for...?" with a little smile.

Tony Stark has posed:
"Giving this a shot," Tony tells her, using that quiet voice reserved for discussions in the dead of night or the depths of sleep, "Us, I mean. I know there's probably a million and a half reasons or rules against it."

His hand finds her head now, fingers lacing through her red hair. He doesn't do much more than run his hand through it, letting it slide through the gaps between his fingers. Occasionally he turns his hand around, dragging his knuckles gently across her head or down her cheek. The other arm wraps around her, palm flat against the small of her back.

"So, thank you. For being you. A while ago I told you that you were a good person, Nat. I meant it. I've always had a bit of a problem just ... doing nothing. Being at ease, I guess would be a more productive thing to call it. You help me get there. Right now? I could do this forever." A beat. "Or at least until my arm falls asleep."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha's eyes slowly open very narrowly as Tony speaks, a thoughtful look on her face. That's right. Tony's nervous about this too. It's easy to forget, with how cocky he acts. ... It's not like she's the only one with regrets or... deep... dark personality flaws. Right? Right.
    "A million and three quarters." she 'corrects' him with a sigh, sounding a little bit more awake, though her voice is still a bit of a whisper. "I think I might be legally coercing you now, being your body guard and everthing." she teases him gently, though her smiles falls away to a more sincere expression as he goes on, bringing her hand to the back of Tony's hand and squeezing.
    "... I like quiet. When I can get it." She admits softly when Tony talks of stillness, and gives a little smile. "... I like it more when it's not as lonesome." She gives his hand another little squeeze, and then slides her hand down the length of his arm, over his shoulder, and cups Tony's cheek, her cheeks actually reddening just slightly with a blush. This feels a lot more daring when she's not high on adrenaline, and even if the gesture's less intense than their first rushed kiss, she feels her heart race for a second as she rises up and sweetly kisses Tony under the chin.
    Her shoulders shake with a closed-mouthed "HM!" of a chuckle and she shakes her head closing her eyes again. "Mmmmmmnoooo... it's my arm now, you messed up. You'll have to shove me off the couch."

Tony Stark has posed:
It is kind of strange. When they aren't both concerned for the safety of their lives or on the run from some burst of violence, the kiss feels kind of different. More meaningful. More impactful. There's something about the slow, measured way she moves up to kiss him that sets his eyes to close. He sighs almost dreamily (is it possible to imagine Tony Stark doing anything dreamily?) and lays in the contented silence for a moment.

His eyes crack open again when he hears her joke: "I don't think there's anybody else in the world I'd trust more with my arm. You swore to Fury you'd protect it, after all. Consider it all yours."

He tries something then, shifting on his free elbow to lean forward. He tilts his head, at an odd half-upside-down angle with her for a moment. It's not awkwardly, but it certainly has more weight behind it. A greater depth of meaning than those other kisses share in the heat of the moment. His lips find hers.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Trust, huh?
    ... That's really nice.
    Natasha sees him draw closer, and a small part of her brain remembers that she wanted to take this slow and easy. Feel it out more. Not rush into anything they'd regret.
    She closes her eyes.
    She... can't remember why she wanted that.
    She kisses Tony back with a gentle purr, moving her hand to the back of his head and slowly nuzzling her lips against his, rolling against them in a gentle little circle. Not driven by adrenaline, not drawn out by the emotional confession of their feelings; just a warm embrace between two people enjoying each other's company in peace, who want to be close to each other.
    How oddly domestic.
    It's pretty much the most romantic thing Natasha can think of in the middle of a very intense life that never lets up.

Tony Stark has posed:
For once in Tony Stark's life, things seem to slow down.

Even before he was Iron Man, he saw the uncertainty inherent in his life. His parents had been snuffed out like a flickering candle in an instant. He'd seen the field implementation of the weapons he'd designed and learned just how death could come from above without word nor warning. It was Stark Industries weapons that had put the few grams of shrapnel in his chest that would end his life if not for the arc reactor of his own design.

He's gotten very used to living life quickly. Enjoying the best parts, fast-forwarding through the less good. He'd seemed to adopt that as a personal philosophy without really knowing it. It hadn't occurred to him until just now how nice it was to simply stop and enjoy a moment for what it was. Never thinking about the next one, nor worrying that it may be over too soon.

The kiss is long and languid. One hand on the small of her back and the other in the red tresses of her hair. It's soothing. His own reasons for not wanting to go too fast here had been different. He wanted to make sure this was a real feeling on his part, and not something conjured up in the midst of high stress and alcohol.

He needs no more convincing.