A Breath Of New Into The Old

Characters: Tony Stark Bruce Wayne Sofia Strange Pepper Potts
Rated: R: Language
Summary: Once dinner is done, Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark are ready to retire to the drawing room of a stuffy castle with the other gentlemen. The ladies, Sofia Strange and Pepper Potts are obviously not invited, but rather are encouraged to sit with the ladies. Women's Lib comes to the castle with Bruce and Tony as 'knights in shining checkbooks'.
OOC Date: 23 November 2017
IC Date: 23 November 2017
Where: Gruyerz Castle, Swiss Alps

A castle high in the mountains of Germany and Switzerland; a veritable playground for the rich and well-bred at night, so much so that should any uninvited hear of gatherings here, they may think that the Illumanati or somesuch gathers. In a way, it is true, sort of, but not really. What it is is a chance for those influentials to gather socially and discuss matters of potential global importance in a fine and civilized manner, in civilized clothes (Black tie affair.).

After a dinner that was probably cooked by a Michelin-star kitchen, there is a less than subtle 'announcement' that the men were to retire to the drawing room for drink and cigars, and for the ladies, the sitting room for tea. Through the sitting room, the outside porch overlooks part of the valley and the rise of the mountainside above it. Snow came early this season, and in the starlight, the crystals glisten on the rocks, the trees. The drawing room is enclosed, panelled wall with life-like statues of exotic big game hunted and stufffed from over the centuries. Large, overstuffed chairs are dotted throughout the room, and across the back wall, deep, dark-wood shelves are built, filled with leatherbound books.

The moving from dinner, then, to 'afters' begins, and as Pepper rises to her feet, brows rise as the attempt begins to shuttle her in with the other ladies, and she moves sideways to try and get past the flow of people to get to the other side. Not without some disapproving 'clucking', of course…


Tony is used to these kinds of affairs, an so naturally starts to head towards the drawing room. He gets about five steps from the door, and stops, as if it's de rigeur for him to do so. He glances at his watch, and waits. Smirking. He knows what's going on.

Oh no. See? Not evening happening. even with all of Sofia's discipline and practice, there's no -way- she could be locked up with those vapid, hair brained, empty headed… Just… No. And she's not the only one.


Weaving her way through the throng of women, Sofia's chin lifts jauntily as she reaches Pepper and one of the ones trying to usher her new redhead friend away.

"Do you value your job? Do you have any idea who she is? Who either of us are here with?" The bright blue eyes woman does a very good job of looking down her nose at the man taller than she is. "Why don't you, personally, go inform Mr. Stark and Mr. Wayne that you feel you have the right to detain us when they, personally, felt the need to have us here. In the meantime, I'll speak with your boss."

The shoo'ing motion she makes with her hand as she reaches out with her free arm to link it with Pepper's is just icing on the cake. "Go on then. Unless you're afraid of the outcome. In which case, step aside and I -might- forget this happened."

Such a not-so-polite way of saying: Fuck. Off.


Bruce, for his part, didn't even look up at first when the exodus began. One of the first rules of power is never to be rushed and he's always been a man of patience. He hears Sofia's words, however, and cannot entirely keep the faint ghost of a smile from the corner of his mouth.

"Consider yourself duly chastised," he says to the servant who looks to him, flicking his fingers in a motion not dissimilar to that of his partner. He stands up and adjusts his tie, "What do you think, Mr. Stark?" he says, catching Tony's eye across the gathering. "Not that the ladies need knights, but we are in a castle, after all."


To be fair, everyone present is 'someone'. It's just a matter of how 'someone-ish' they are. Most everyone present has had money, prestige, power for at least 5 generations, if not more, and Tony Stark was personally invited because of recognition that he is a player on a global scale. To ignore him would be short-sighted. And Mr. Wayne? He falls in that category of 'generations'..

Pepper doesn't look as if she expects that she'll be able to fight the current, and her expression is such that she's about ready to 'admit' defeat. After all, she's not an officer of Stark Industries.. she's Tony's PA. He's more than capable of doing… whatever it is without her present. Mostly (in her opinion).

It's the words that rise from her newly found acquaintance, rapidly becoming 'friend' in the face of 'adversity'. It is moreso, however, the linking of arms of two evening-gowned ladies that gives a little more sway to the words. Pepper straightens, her head quirks and brows rise as if to say, 'Is that enough?'. Catching Tony's posture and the pause at the door, Pepper makes the cross towards that door and her employer.


Tony Stark grins, "And what better knights to have than knights in shining Checkbooks?" he says, reaching into his own sportcoat and producing said checkbook. "What do ya say, Mr. Wayne? We could update the rules, fire certain stodgy staff members, give it a make over…what do ya say we go halves on a quaint Bavarian castle?" - there is no doubt, Tony is enjoying this: Not only the banter with Bruce, but the ladies causing a fuss.


Sofia's eyes slip to Bruce as he stands and dismisses the annoying little man who was harassing her new friend. Her eyes sparkle faintly at the mention of him being a Knight for her and she barely manages not to smirk slyly at him.

She smiles at Pepper and gives the other woman a wink and a slight squeeze of her arm before the redhead starts making her way towards Tony who, at the banter, immediately has her attention. "Oooh. I always wanted a castle!," is chimed as she quickly plays along with a bright smile and wide, excited eyes. All as she links her arm with one of Bruce's.

"And since he likes to put things in particular places, I know -just- who to hire as a dishwasher…'5r


Bruce Wayne makes a point of looking around the room, taking in the decor, the ceiling, tapping a finger against his lips, "I like the thought, although, really, we'd be punishing ourselves. The upkeep alone would be outrageous. Quite honestly, the property would be better used likely if we just demolished the thing and made a modern building without all of this…atmosphere," he says, scandalizing quite a few of the other old money families as he teases them.

"Or, perhaps, these fine, fine gentleman would recognize that we're having this meeting in the 21st century, not the thirteenth, regardless of our environs, and thus not develop a case of the vapors at the presence of women in the halls of power. You'd better get used to it, Gustav," he says.

"Or we can just buy the castle. And boot you and your decrepit, inbred caste of uppercrust hillbillies back amongst the sheepherders from whence you came. Either way. It makes little difference to me."


The mention of 'knights in shinging armor', or more to it, 'knights in shining checkbooks' brings Pepper's hand up to her face for the briefest of moments, and as she glides towards Tony, she presses her lips together and tries really hard not to smile, but she's failing miserably. Instead, then, those fingers entwine at her waist, and she tilts her head slightly, listening to the men make their not-so-idle threats. As Bruce looks around, Pepper does so as well, her nose scrunching up at the sight of the taxidermy within the room just beyond; the room that was to be barred from herself and Ms Strange.

"I don't think Jarvis would like it here," Pepper murmurs. "It's a little far, though it might get more use than the apartment in Abu Dhabi."


Tony Stark looks over to Bruce, and nods, "Good points, all, Mr. Wayne." he says, and takes a step towards Pepper when she gets closer, "My colleague makes a very good point, and to that point, I notice on this side of the room there's not a single female global player that's joining us in the drawing room. Now I wonder why that is? Could it be A) You simply forgot? B) Your outdated values still see this as a sausage infested honeycomb hideout? or C) You'd rather claw your eyes out with a melon baller than acknowledge that either of the women that came here with us negotiate deals over breakfast that could buy and sell your family lineage several times over? It's okay.." he says pausing, "You can phone a friend, but I happen to know that the countess I had coffee with just a few hours ago found the guest list highly suspect, and the +1 list even more so." he says finally before looking over at Pepper at her mention of Jarvis, "Oh Jarvis? He'd like a stuffy old place like this. Although he might get tired of hearing the repeated games of Rapunzel, Snow White and the Seven Marks, and my personal favorite Little Red Armor Hood." and gives her a saucy wink.


Sofia smirks faintly, leaving Bruce's side and moving up to once more link an arm with Pepper's and very pointedly walk with her into the drawing room. "I'm sure Alfred wouldn't mind coming up with us when we want to use it. We can redo the interior entirely… Put in a spa so you can be properly pampered while handling your work. Hire a personal masseuse. "It could be quite grand!"

A look is thrown over her shoulder at the men, the only ones getting any look of respect from her being Tony and Bruce and the look she gives them is laced with amusement over the whole thing.

And then her attention is right back on Pepper so they can each find a seat. "The animals in the room would have to go…" A pause and she grins. "Or we could simply enjoy a drink while we all talk. Of course, when we get home, I'll have to come visit. I promise to bring scones."


Bruce Wayne keeps a light expression on his face, although his eyes have a certain merciless quality that a few of the other wealthy can recognize. Playboy Bruce Wayne may be, but he can be a shark in certain circumstances and this would appear to be one such occasion.

"I think we can all reach a pleasant detente without need to seize any massive tracts of land," he says. "At least, for the moment. The evening is young, after all," he says.

He moves over near the woman, in part a gesture of solidarity, in part simply because he likes being near Sophia. She smells good, certainly better than most of the cabbage-and-cigar crowd that takes up most of the room. "The gist, my friends, is that the more you resist progress, the more irrelevant this little gathering becomes. And I know how much some of us like to be important. So let's try to put all this nonsense behind us, pass the good brandy and we'll get through the evening like civilized people, shall we?"


Pepper presses her lips together again in that grand attempt not to laugh, but the amusement is obvious in those green eyes, if not a touch of affection for the display of not just support, but defense. "I wouldn't want to subject him to something like that," she teases softly.

When Sofia comes 'round again and links arms to usher her in, Pepper looks back as they pair enter the panelled room, the animals all perched and looking at them, it doesn't take her long to make the declaration, "I think I'm liking the direction this is going. I haven't had a good massage in… I don't know how long." Though the drink does sound good, and once inside, Pepper unhooks her arm to go to the bar in order to pour that next glass of scotch for Tony, a glass of wine for herself.. and she looks up with question towards Sofia, her hand over a glass and the bottle of wine. "Those cranberry scones sounded amazing."

Bruce Wayne does make a 'good' argument, as does Tony Stark… and a few of those more stalwart look as if they're about to capitulate, but instead, they stand straight up, look between Bruce and Tony, and walk out. It's only a couple out of about 10, but they're making the grand attempt to make a statement. The others? They begin to file into the drawing room, caught up short by the sight of Pepper coming from behind the bar with a glass of scotch in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.


Tony Stark perks up at the word Brandy, "Oh yes, a good brandy. I've had several, but not lately. I think the last one was on the cover of..something? I forget." he rubs his chin, "Anyway, Miss Potts, shall we avail ourselves and our friends here to a private table where the conversation and time will be much better passed than discussing dusty deals and companies that are no longer relevant?" he smiles at her, then to Bruce and Sophia, "Sound good to you guys?" - he notes those leaving and grins. "Oh look, Mr. Wayne! Flouncers!" he gives a little finger waggle as they walk out, "Bye Felicia.."


Sofia grins and nods her head, joining Pepper in pouring. "It's a date then!" She chuckles softly. Neither she nor Bruce will drink the alcohol but that's beside the point. "I'll male sure to bring some. And some of the blueberry ones as well. They're to die for."

Her eyes flit over to Bruce and Tony and she grins. "Sounds lovely, Mr. Stark." His farewell has her biting back the urge to laugh and a brow is arched at Pepper. "Is it always like this?" At least the evening won't be boring!

Look! Returning with drinks.


Bruce Wayne follows the ladies, knowing whose company he prefers, leaning himself against the bar. He might taste, at least, the brandy, but he keeps his drinking always measured, when out in the field. You never know when you might be called upon to have a sharp mind.

He's also not entirely sure who Felicia is, but he's used to missing out on those kind of references.

"Ah, they love it. A bit of scandal will keep their black hearts beating a little while longer. I'm sure I'll receive a few reproaching calls here and there about it, most of which Alfred will answer and pretend to be me," he says. "In the meantime, I absolutely prefer the mixed company over yet another year of dry talk about hunting in the savannah and Prince Freidrich's boils."


Brandy then! And wine. Pepper returns to the bar, finds the brandy and pours a could of snifters before she begins to make her way towards a likely looking table. "If you do, I'll have Carlo make lunch for us. He has a little place on the Upper West Side, and it is-"

'Bye Felicia'… and Pepper pauses before she shakes her head and looks sideways at Sofia. Her voice drops, but it's more a stage whisper, her tones mixed with fondness with a hint of exasperation. "Yes, yes it is." She winks at the other woman before she settles the glasses down, "One of the constants is that you never really know what'll happen next."

Now see, this looks like a blooming bromance. Prince Freidrich's boils? Pepper wrinkles her nose again, ready to sit down at the table. "We could recommend a good doctor?" Ever helpful!


Tony Stark shakes his head, "Oh Freddy's Boils have been a running joke for years. Especially how he comes to get them." he chuckles, when the Brandy appears he takes it hand and smells. "Mmm.." and glances over, "Thank you, Pepper." he says with some warmth. "I have to agree with Bruce here, though. The last thing I want to hear about is hunting trips, I have no intention or desire to take, and men who have no idea about technical progress much less how to use what we already have."

Table claimed, the drinks are sat down but Sofia never really leaves Pepper's side. "I can only imagine how…exciting that must be," is said with more than a little amusement. Personally, she finds Tony funny as hell. But she isn't dealing with it on a daily basis.

Once seats are taken, she smirks at Bruce. She's trying very hard not to outright laugh at the conversation but the men are making it increasingly difficult.

The answer? Focus on Pepper for a moment. "Lunch sounds lovely, actually." It's not often Sofia genuinely socializes but she likes the redhead.

Her attention returns to the decor for a moment and her look becomes sly and almost mischievous. "Poor Alfred," is noted absently.


Bruce Wayne raises an eyebrow. Indeed, Bruce and Sofia are known to be somewhat reclusive, beyond the obligations of charity and corporate life that comes with being the head of Wayne Enterprises. Tabloid speculation focuses on the idea that Bruce is kept on a short leash by the woman, a result of his notorious youth as a playboy who went through model after model when he was a young man.

"Alfred wouldn't have it any other way, I assure you," he says to Sofia. "You know he revels in unleashing his usually civil tongue on the unwary and the deserving. He may have a forgiving nature, but he likes to dish out his own share of justice now and again," he says.

He nods to Tony's words, "The European elite cling to outmoded luxuries, passed down from their elders. Although even Americans can be bad about it. I have no use for golf, much as it's the standard for business now. I do so tire of walking endlessly just to placate some CEO who wants to be buttered up to make a deal we already know to be mutually beneficial. I have lost my patience for 'schmoozing'."


"It's definitely different. I think it's the most challenging position I've had so far…" She's teasing! Really! "Call me when you get back to the States, assuming we get home before you do."

Pepper raises a hand in gesture to stop Tony before he gets going about those boils, her expression holding briefly a look of 'No, don't go any further' before she changes the subject. The smile relights upon her face, and she says quietly, "You're welcome." Now, however, she shifts over into a slightly different mode as she considers Tony's statement. "I don't know if they're going to be ready for what we're offering, Tony. One, two of them are so wrapped up in oil from Russia and trying to get better deals from the Saudis that it'll be a hard sell. But I think-" Always working.


Tony Stark sips his Brandy, "Oh it'll be easy. Either they'll want in on something that's going make oil worthless as an energy source within the next decade or hold onto their interests and curse themselves when their personal profits and corporate portfolio drop about three hundred fifty percent when we drop what we're offering. Or..they can buy stock in what we got, and continue to light their cigars with hundreds. It's that simple." he looks over to Bruce, "We must be that new generation they hate. I personally abhor golf. I can do just about any schmoozing with a smile on my face but that one. If that's how they want to broker a deal, I just smile, and move for hostile takeover before the scheduled tee time."


Sofia arches a brow in return before she smirks, nodding her head. "Oh, I'm well aware. And he always looks so smug afterwards which is just such an odd expression to see on him." Alfred is very much the 'beloved uncle' as far as Sofia's concerned.

As for Tony and Pepper getting home before they do… "I have no doubt you will. He still owes me a train ride after all. But, yes, I'll call."

When they shift gears and begin talking of business, Sofia's eyes dart to Bruce and she bites back the urge to offer help in some way. After all, what they're trying to do is admirable and could certainly benefit a lot of people…

Oh, look! Wine!
Herf course, Tony's 'business practices' have her snorting slightly and dipping her head to hide the smile. Ignore the way her shoulders are shaking with laughter, please and thank you.


Bruce Wayne smiles, "There are some businessmen, mostly Russian and Greek, who transact all of their most important deals in the sauna. You can't even get their secretaries on the phone, but they'll happily meet you totally naked in a steamroom. I think some of my lawyers have actually gone blind from being forced to attend those meetings in my stead. And they are perpetually pruned, like raisins," he says.

"And don't worry, my love, I have not forgotten the train ride. No amount of haughty nonsense from this crowd will keep us from our appointment tomorrow. I've even called ahead to reserve a car entirely for ourselves. Which means, also, we get the entire car's allotment worth of chocolate. I would have a light breakfast," he says.


The train ride! "That's right.. your chocolate tour," Pepper returns. "When you're back and settled. Before the holiday, I hope." Sofia's response to Tony's musings gains a brief grin from Pepper.

Tony's brief overview of business practices doesn't seem to get a reaction from the redhead; she's used to it. What does come from her is a nod of acknowledgemnt of the reasons. "If they're smart."

Now Pepper's ready to shift gears again, particularly after that visual of the Greek businessmen naked in saunas. The only outward sign of it is a brief headshake as if to dislodge it physically from her brain. Instead? Awwww, Mr Wayne called Ms Strange 'my love'.. so the tabloids aren't far off? "That sounds like it will be a lovely trip. Tony and I will be flying back," and here, Pepper takes a quick glance at Tony before she continues, "but let me know how the chocolate compares with others?" Every woman loves chocolate!


Tony Stark smiles at Bruce's statement to Sofia, and looks at Pepper, "Oh, he's smooth." he says brightly, "Like, Italian silk smooth." he looks to Bruce, "Bravo. Especially on the chocolate." he sips his Brandy, "I have to remember that. Jarvis," he says to no one in particular, "Remember chocolate. Remind me later. I'll know what you're talking about." at which point from the phone the dry British voice responds, "Yes, sir. I do so admire it when you get romantic. It's dreadfully out of character for you." he looks over to Pepper, "You're a woman, Pepper - what's the good stuff?"


Those bright blue pools lift to Bruce and Sofia smiles lovingly at him. "You spoil me." He's only been trying for ten years or so now!

Again, Tony earns a laugh from Sofia but this time, it's actually audible. Warm and bright and happy. Bruce really is smooth. He knows it. She knows it. Everyone knows.

"Better. I'll make sure to bring you some back," is said to Pepper with a friendly smile. "And we'll definitely have to have some for the holiday gathering." She looks back and forth between Pepper and Tony, smiling ever so sweetly. "You'll both come, won't you?"

The voice from no where has that sweet, innocent look fading as she blinks. "Well now… That's inserting…" And it keeps her distracted enough she manages -not- to face palm at Tony.


Bruce Wayne is more than happy to bask in his good reputation. Admittedly, he studied such matters, the same way he does everything, to at first simply provide the illusion of the ladies man. That he happens to actually mean it with Sofia doesn't make it any less part of a learned technique. It always pays to study.

"I'm certain we will have numerous samples. We might get some boxes, as well, to send out. Corporate gifting is always complicated and most everyone likes chocolate. I'll have to have Alfred make sure no one on the list is allergic," he says. He isn't even sure he's met most of the people on the Wayne Christmas Card list. Again - appearances to maintain.

He glances down at his phone, looking for all the world like a distracted playboy checking a score or looking at a social app. In fact, he's just checking the progress on a decryption he's running. Close to cracked.


Pepper looks to Tony, brows rising. Does this actually mean he's going to buy chocolate? She's not holding her breath; what usually happens is that she'll be the one to buy the chocolate for, well, whomever Tony wants to give it. Though when Jarvis chimes in about Tony's being romantic, her head shakes and she chuckles, "I'll remind him, Jarvis." Tony can be awkwardly smooth at times; that and he has an ability to be maddening and sweet, all at the same time!

Her response, then, to Tony begins with a dry and amused, "So good of you to have noticed." There's a moment before, "Amano. It did win awards in London this year."

Pepper lifts her wine glass, finally, to her lips, watching Tony from over the rim. She takes a small swallow before she shakes her head, "It's okay. You take it and keep it, and when you run out, be sure to take another ride." There, the mention of a holiday party rises once again, and Pepper smiles before, "Just let me know when the date is, and I'll work out the schedule."


Sofia's nose wrinkles at slightly at the idea of buying chocolate for everyone. For a split second, it looks as if she might well object to it though she seems to change her mind at the last moment.

Bruce glances at his phone and Sofia glances at Bruce. "Time to go?" Pepper and Tony will work their way. Sofia and Bruce will work theirs.

Her eyes slide to Pepper and she smiles. "We'll see." You may have met your match in stubborn, Miss Potts. "And I'll definitely let you know as soon as we get back and I talk with Alfred." Because he knows Bruce's schedule better than Bruce does.

When she gets an affirmative answer from Bruce, Sofi nods, stands and smiles. "Well, I thank you both for saving us from a dreadfully boring evening. It was truly a pleasure and I look forward to seeing you both again."

Linking her arm with Bruce's when he stands, her eyes cut up to him and the mask slips right back into place as they start to make their way out of the room to tend to 'business'.

If rumors circulate later about those animals coming back to life and terrorizing those stuffy old me… Sofia had nothing to do with. Really!


Tony finishes his brandy about the time his phone goes active again, the dry British voice sounding far more serious than when chiding him over his romantic inclinations. "Sir, I hate to break up your soiree, but it would appear a small Eastern European mercenary group cum terrorist cell has decided to take several hostages just a couple of hundred kilometers from you. Would you like to lend a hand in their rescue?"

Tony ahhs, "Well, they're playing my song. I hate to gab and go, but duty calls." he looks to Pepper, "Tell Happy to get the briefcase ready, I'll be out in two minutes." he says, very bosslike and manner of fact, a turn on a dime shift in attitude and demeanor. He reaches up and starts to remove his tie as well as unbutton his shirt, revealing a tight under armor style body suit through which the arc ractor can be seen glowing.

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