Exception Protocols
Roleplaying Log: Exception Protocols
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Tony and Emma finally get a chance to talk. …And they absolutely don't.

Other Characters Referenced: Emery Papsworth, Warren Worthington, Alison Blaire, Skarp (Not by Name)
IC Date: December 28, 2019
IC Location: Emma Frost's Penthouse, New York City, NY
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 29 Dec 2019 05:24
Rating & Warnings: PG (Language)
Scene Soundtrack: Beethoven String Quartet Op. 132 in A Minor - Ariel Quartet
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

She just got in that afternoon from her adventure upstate. The car Shaw hired for her drops her off and brings the luggage upstairs, depositing it just inside the door. It still sits there as she's already seemed to have settled in for the evening, with the penthouse still dressed like an English Manor Christmas House tour, thanks in no small part to Emery Papsworth's deft hand and eye for her preferences.

And yes, the decorations will stay up until Epiphany.

She's already gotten dressed down for the evening and is drinking a glass of spumante in front of the gas fireplace. The lights are down low, candles burn around the place here and there in addition to the golden glow of the Christmas lights.

Even the terrace garden shines with the little golden bulbs and red roses have been tucked among gold ribbons and evergreens everywhere.

She closes her eyes and drinks alone, enjoying the quiet strains of a stringed quartet piped through the sound system while wrapped up in a faux fur blanket and a velvet robe.

A perfect evening by all appearances.


The first thing that might cause her to realize something is not quite normal is the little glow of her security system saying the laser grid is active. It isn't a screaming alarm though, it just seems like a maintenance cycle. No security rushing to get her, no sudden explosions from out on the terrace. The lovely sounds of her music still fill the air.

…but its there. Burning on the control board to show the grid outside powering up.

And then….

…twinkles of light from out near the terrace. No burning or explosions or screams, just little twinkles of light that seem to look like…snowflakes? Snowflakes made of light just drifting down to the floor out in the terrace.

It's possibly nothing.

Probably nothing.

I mean who would be dumb enough to interrupt her without invitation.


Fortunately for the thing that is causing the security system to glow, the main panel is in Emma's office. Behind a presently closed door. And as it is not a screaming alarm, and no lasers are presently firing, it doesn't immediately occur to Emma to look out into the garden. And there are lots of twinkling lights, and so light falling like snow doesn't immediately pull her out of her thoughts, either. Most of her attention is for the hypnotic dance of the fire.

Eventually, though, she does emerge from them and pick up the cigarette case and lighter on her coffee table in order to take them towards the terrace.

And that's about when she notices.

And her eyes narrow in suspicion as she slips into her heeled slippers, cinches her robe about her a little more tightly, and moves towards her garden with decidedly more purpose. Her thoughts fly before her, as a telepath of her calibre is wont to allow, searching for things that should not be in her immediate vicinity.


Oh, there is one.

A familiar one, just hanging out on her terrace. Uninvited and unworried. Two things most sane people are not at the same time when in the presence of one Miss Frost.

The speed of that mind isn't dimmed, it is still up in the air on if Tony Stark's mind /can/ slow down. However its calm enough to not give her a splitting headache. In one of her chairs sits the mad inventor, feet propped up on a stool, eyes mostly closed. A bottle of wine sits on a table near him with a pair of glasses. The air of the terrace is filled with those light-show snowflakes and a miniature sleigh pulled by illumined reindeer meanders by near the ceiling.

Only one person could have entirely rewritten part of her security system to make a light show.

Behind him is a little scrawl of text that hangs in the air.

'I'm sorry for whatever it was that I did. Can we have drinks now?'


Emma crosses her arms obstinately and her eyes remain narrowed.

She's got an apology. From Tony Stark.

There is part of her that is absolutely, perfectly alright with saying 'no' and finding a way to chase him off with the verbal slings and arrows with which she is VERY capable. There are reasons—very good reasons—to do so.

But then there is the part of her that sees the effort involved, and the care wrapped up in it (which really should be all the more reason to chase him off) now and what was at the museum…

And Emma Frost bends, just a little.

"You noticed that I still had the security programmed, I see."


"By 'noticed' I'm assuming you mean 'got shot at'." Stark replies with a smirk angled in her direction. "My compliments though, it took me at least a few hours to rewrite things so it wouldn't try to burn holes in me. Better than most places."

A wave of his and and the scrawl behind him disappears, since she hasn't mind blasted him yet he's going to assume that she accepted said apology. "I would have done it earlier if I wasn't off doing ruining other dimensions."

Offhand comments like that are hard to qualify from Stark, about a fifty shot on if its true or not. In this case, if she's talked to Warren, it is.

One hand though if raised as if in question towards the bottle. I mean, he's going to pour one for himself so he might as well ask.


"I paid enough for it," Emma says of her security system, courtesy of one Sebastian Shaw.

She considers the offer for a moment, and then opens her cigarette case to extract one of the slim sticks inside and light it. It's only once she's got the one solid drag pulled into her lungs that she moves to go sit beside him. "Probably for the best," she tells him without looking at him, choosing instead to stare forward instead. "The taking more time. Not the ruining dimensions. Really, I think you know well enough that ruining one dimension is plenty."


"Totally tell them that someone broke in, you might get a discount for the repair." Stark replies as he sits forwards to open the bottle with an expert twist. The inventor then drags over the glasses to fill one that is then pushed across the table towards her.

"What can I say, I'm an overachiever when it comes to terrible ideas. Besides, I couldn't let other people have all the fun." A pause. "Would it terrify you to know that this is one of the more stable dimensions I know? I mean it terrifies me. Or maybe it makes me feel accomplished. It's hard to tell sometimes."


This is one of the more stable dimensions I know.

"Things can always find a way to be worse. I suppose that's an immutable law somewhere."

Picking up the glass once it's poured, Emma stares at it and takes another good long drag off of her cigarette. With both hands full of vice, she finally feels comfortable enough to rest more fully against the back of the wrought iron chair and—despite its lack of cushion or give—settle the back of her head against its scalloped edge. "Is that where you chose to spend the holiday?"

Small talk is a comfortable refuge. It spares her the uncomfortable comments that would admit that she likely should have called when Worthington and Blaire ended up in the paper if she was at all a decent human being, or if she hadn't been double-timing her usual backroom waltz.

"Because I suppose that would be one way to make here look better. Spending a Christmas in a hell dimension instead."


"Of course they can, I guess they can always get better. Unless you're a sentient warship that was just ripped apart by Magneto. Then that is pretty much nothing but downhill." Stark says with a shrug as he claims his own glass.

He watches her for a long moment, a touch of a smile there. His eyes their normal color instead of holding the flecks of gold that happen when his nanites get uppity.

"Naw, I was just cleaning some things up this holiday." Like a small army of anti-mutant goons. "I didn't really like hanging out in that dimension much, most of the good booze was destroyed and it was nothing but work and existential horror until we all got back."

A smirk.

"I'm assuming you kept busy though. With those parties you hate if nothing else."


"Oh, you know. I always have a few things I'm working on." Whether she talks about them or not, Emma always has them.

"There were a few parties, I suppose. You missed the club affair this year, I noticed. Although, you really didn't miss much. Someone visiting from the Paris chapter was the most interesting thing, really, to happen."

She sips of the wine appreciatively, and then drapes her arm over her velvet-covered lap so she can continue smoking. "Which, really, isn't the worst thing, I suppose, since I can't even go to the damn museum nowadays without something going wrong, it seems."

And she never did really thank him or Phil properly for the cover they provided so that she could slip out easily when DPS arrived at that debacle. But still. They knew, right? Right.


"I'm pretty sure I count on the explosion part of most of the parties either of us go to in order to keep me entertained," Stark says with a snort. "Otherwise I'm just bored to tears and liable to do something drastic to keep myself awake, like ask you to dance, or adopt Bart."

A wave of a hand. "You know. Completely crazy things."

There is a shrug about the museum caper though. "Ever find out who all those idiots were backed by? Energy weapons aren't usually the things that just fall into peoples hands." A long pause. "And you're welcome."

—-

Finally, finally, the last two words draw Emma's gaze towards Tony. Because he just had to go put words to it. An eyebrow pricks upwards, as though she's about to say something to it. Something good and caustic. Clouds of white smoke even escape her nostrils, completing the draconic impression.

But then a barely audible huff of frustration escapes instead as she relents and wordlessly concedes the point, and she turns her attention back to her dwindling cigarette.

Right.

"I didn't. I had other matters that needed my attention, and I don't want to be near anything that has DPS looking into it."


Tony Stark might just be the only one in existence that can get away with something like this. The only one that can survive just teetering just on the edge of her patience. The only one she /lets/ get away with things like that.

Which is possibly why he just grins as sips at his wine as she seems just about ready to spit fire in his direction.

I mean he kind of expects it. When it /doesn't/ come he is almost surprised. The smile just turns up a notch when the brimstone doesn't materialize.

"Well maybe Phil's heard something, I'll bug him. I was a bit busy reclaiming Warren from the jaws of death and all that. Sorry, beautiful. You still have to deal with the both of us."

A pause again as he seems to contemplate the moment.

"Well yeah, DPS are pretty much assholes. I've been trying to needle them just a touch so they stay away from others but…" A pause. "…you know what? Its almost New Year's and we're talking about work. Shouldn't we be slacking off and indulging in every vice possible?"


"Mm. Yes. Mister Worthington. Who promptly came to me with a fist full of demands." Well, a demand. But to the self-proclaimed queen of everything who has more than enough patriarchal demanding going on at present… Well, one demand may as well have been every single demand ever made.

That is to say that it grated.

But move on, we all must.

"Thank you so very much for that." Oh, there it is. That caustic quip you were looking for.

Filling her lungs with the last measure of poison that her cigarette has to offer her, Emma then uncrosses her legs and then lifts herself to her feet and moves across the terrace to twist it into the sand of a small concrete urn set to the purpose of her ashtray. The path, of course, brings her closer to one of the pairs of French doors leading back inside. The wine glass, of course, comes with her.

A manicured hand comes up to pull her plush, quilted collar closer to her neck against the evening chill. "Well, I had the cigarette and the wine… and I have more wine inside. I think that means that I'm ahead on the 'vices' score. I suppose, since you went to all of the trouble of ruining my home defense system, and we're in the same city for the first time in a while, we could play by old rules. At least until the security firm opens and I can get an appointment for them to come fix whatever the bloody hell you did to it." A pause. "Because I suppose you aren't going to reset it and take yourself out of the exception protocols?"


Oh thank god, Stark was about to initiate 'check for shapeshifter' protocols.

"He did just come back from the dead. That can make anyone cranky, I know that one from experience." Stark replies with a smirk. "Are you sure you're not still mad at him for saving you?" A pause. "I /was/ holding off an entire army at the time so…you know…"

Because he has to toot his own horn.

As she stands and swirls over towards the doors there is a smirk. "You know, you could just let me install a security system. Of course they I'd backdoor myself into it but…" A shrug of his shoulders as he slips to his feet. "Or I could just buy that security firm." I mean he could. But he wouldn't. Yet at least.

"And I'd happily reset it. But would you really believe me if I said I took myself out of the exceptions?"

He's got a point there.

"But I'll take old rules," A snap of his unoccupied hand though and the little starlights swirl around again, this time forming a near perfect hologram all around the terrace. One of a beach in Maui, even the cold beings to melt away.

"See," A pause. "Old rules."

Again a smile as he downs the rest of his wine. "Now, you mentioned something about more drinks? Then perhaps I can convince the elusive Emma Frost to dance. And then we can argue about security measures." A flash of that wicked, amused grin of his. "Sound like a night?"


It's a very subtle thing when Tony mentions her rescue from the facility outside of Kenai. The tightening of Emma's hand around her glass. A twitch at the corner of her smile. A thrum upon the air that is all at once hard to describe, hard to pinpoint, and altogether oppressive. It could be her. It could be a bad feeling. A very, very, very bad feeling.

But it passes quickly.

You could let me install a security system. "Or I could not," she quickly retorts.

Would you really believe me? She shakes her head to the negative.

But then he turns the world around them to Maui and it helps her to erect once more the thick walls that only let him so close. There is safety in those walls.

Her hand stretches out in invitation. "Sounds like a night," she agrees in a murmur. "But there isn't too much of it left, so we'd best get started. Bring the bottle?"


"As you wish," His words laced with amusement. The holographic walls of his own making blocking out the city lights and people at least for a time. Enough time so they both can ignore the bigger picture.

And from the outside? Well, he's good enough that it doesn't look like anything has changed.

The maintenance alarm even stops going off.

He knows it's a horrible way to cope with things. Right now though, in fact most of the time, Stark just doesn't care.

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