El has been with the site for nearly two years now and has continued to prove her value. Currently, she is heading up our site event, Battle for Liberterram, on top of keeping up with her own personal plots.
Lux's posts are all wonderful to read. She has done a wonderful job of grasping the new universe and incorporating Peggy into it.
It's good to see Spidey back on the site. Watching him deal with the universe shift in his own snarky way has been nothing short of entertaining.
Eight O'Clock on the Dot!
El and Lux are making magic in this thread. Straight up fireworks, and the way they've played with drawing out the reveal is top class.
It hadn't taken long after returning to New York for Tony's intent to remain sober to muck itself up. He'd known, when Alice was taken, that he needed to stop. He couldn't keep functioning when he was drunk half the time; not at the level that he needed to. And yet, as soon as the opportunity presented itself, Tony had drunk a full bottle of scotch in an attempt to forget about his most recent stress.
The whole thing was rather counter-productive, and even in his completely wasted state, Tony knew that he needed to stop. He needed to get sober; for good, this time. After all, he hadn't even completely dried out when he'd gone to get Alice. He'd been running that operation with something around the legal limit, which was more than the nothing that he needed in order to become the father that he knew that he had to be.
His main problem, at this point, was that he knew that he wasn't strong enough to do this by himself. And he knew that he didn't want to force Pepper or Alice or Darcy to see him through what was sure to be some of his worst moments.
So Tony did the only thing he could think of to do; he decided to go to Namor. The man was an asshole. They didn't get along at the best of times, much less the worst of times as this was about to be. But something in Tony knew that he would need someone to strong-arm him into this. He needed someone who wouldn't be moved by their feelings for him to stop what needed to be done.
It was a chore to get over to Oracle in his current, incredibly inebriated state, but he did manage to. And afterwards he even managed to convince security to let him up to the penthouse.
Standing outside Namor's door, Tony pounded on it for a few moments, leaning heavily against the frame. "Namor! Namor, I need your help," he called out drunkenly, "Please." He was almost certain that the man wasn't going to open the door for long moments, in which he knocked a bit more futilely a few times. But then it opened ad Namor was standing there in his usual half-naked state.
"I need your help. I need. They kidnapped Alice. And I got her back. But I told myself I would sober up. And then I..." he paused with an empty laugh, still leaning against the door frame, "Well, you can see that I'm wasted. I need to... stop. I need help. Please."
It was the closest that he'd gotten to begging in a long time.
Heaving a small sigh, Namor folded his arms across his chest and let his eyes swivel to Natalia. "As he's so completely compromised whatever ability we might have had to operate in secrecy, I've entirely removed him from my plans." There was no excusing the human's stupidity. He'd told Stark time and again that he would need to operate as though nothing was going on. That acting as though everything was as it had always been would give them more freedom in uncovering how systemic the HYDRA corruption was. Not only had the human exposed that he knew and set them on high alert, but he'd done it in exchange for worthless information.
"Until this point, I'd considered the matter between us. But you've access to resources and files and can operate from the inside. While you and Stark are not known to be friends, they may be more heavily monitoring the Avengers as a whole." But she'd training and decades of experience that she could use to shake other operatives. With luck, they would be able to find something of worth so he could do as precise an attack as possible. If not, he would have little qualms about crushing the whole of SHIELD, but he knew the organization was important to her, and he was no fool. Such an action would carry heavy political ramifications for him and his country, even if the corruption was exposed. Whistleblowers were not regarded well. Foreign whistle blowers even less.
Taking her hand in his, he smoothed his fingertips over the back of her palm. "You needn't have any part in this. I understand if you'd rather not." But he did not think that was the case. This being close to home to her would likely motivate her further, as it would if Namor were in her same situation, but he wanted to give her a prospective out. "I'll give you whatever time you need to think on it."
Releasing her hand, he turned toward the stairwell door some two rooms away just before the banging started. It was unusual that anyone take the stairs, as most people of worth that visited were cleared and permitted use of his private elevator. The voice a few seconds later instantly clarified the situation. "What, were his ears burning?" Namor grumbled with a glance the Russian's way. Taking his time, he went to the nearest phone and dialed down to the security lobby.
"Clear visitors with me next time." With nothing else said, he put the rotary phone back on the hook. Fortunately, Natalia's presence here was not as compromising as it might have otherwise been. They were both fully dressed (or as dressed as he allowed himself to be), and though they'd opted for more casual clothing, it was hardly damning. And since he'd no intention of letting Stark see the state of the Master Bedroom or Natalia's own private quarters, he was confident that he could use their discussion and the reason for her presence here on this particular day as excuse enough. But considering that they were not always so decent, he could not tolerate the breach in propriety.
Going to the stairwell door, Namor pulled it open and stared the other man down, nose briefly creasing with displeasure at the overwhelming smell of alcohol that rolled off of him. Though his face returned to a stoic state, it did not stay there long as he found the words even more offensive than the man's odor.
"You've cost my company its deadlines for the Green Energy Initiative." He'd since removed him as a private contractor and gone with Reed Richards, regardless of whatever protests Victor might have had on the matter. "You sabotaged the investigation after I explicitly told you to avoid abnormal behavior. And before you did all of this, I would have been hard pressed to even consider you a favorable acquaintance. Why in Neptune's name would I help you with your nonexistent self control?"
Post by Natalia Romanova on Oct 16, 2016 19:52:49 GMT
Natalia’s arms, already crossed in her natural stance of ease, tensed ever so slightly as Namor spoke about the billionaire, but she didn’t speak out. He was right, of course, so there was nothing really to say. If there was truly a HYDRA mole within SHIELD, Tony had potentially blown any chance of subtlety they had with his reckless behavior. “Good,” she murmured, nodding her understanding. If they were going to come back from this kind of a set-back, it would have to be without the genius’s assistance.
“I have no doubt they will be… which is why I won’t be operating from any of the SHIELD or Stark servers.” She plenty of resources outside those two organizations, all of them tightly wound in the web she’d built over the past few decades, not to mention her more-than-stellar investigative skills. She’d tricked the “God of Mischief” into divulging his plan to her - finding a few human targets inside SHIELD to provide her with answers should be a cake walk.
When Namor reached for her hand, she extended it readily and stepped forward to close the distance between them. “That won’t be necessary,” she smiled, watching the way his fingers worked over the soft flesh of her hand. “SHIELD is one of the closest things I’ve ever had to a family.” The Avengers, too. “And after the hell HYDRA has put Steve and James through recently, I’m more than ready to dish out some vengeance of my own.”
She followed his gaze towards the stairwell when he turned and slipped out of her grasp, her head canting in curiosity. Had his more sensitive ears picked something up? Was somebody out there? The banging on the door answered her question before it even had time to form upon her tongue, and soon enough, Tony’s voice was drifting into the apartment. Concern flashed in Natalia’s eyes, but a quick glance down her body confirmed she was still clothed. Good. The last thing they needed was a man who clearly couldn’t keep a secret to save his life knowing about their relationship.
Natalia lingered near the island as Namor phoned down to security and then moved to the door. She was curious as to Tony’s reason for such a spontaneous visit - not to mention his decision to take the stairs all the way up to the penthouse, not merely the office - but decided to let the billionaire see the Atlantean first. Perhaps he wouldn’t even have to enter the apartment and thus, her presence would not be noticed whatsoever. It was doubtful he was coming to Namor for help with any kind of assistance that the Avengers could easily provide him, so her guess was something of the financial or business variety. She had no doubts that Namor disliked Stark, so a personal problem was one of the very last things she imagined Tony would be requesting help with.
The slurred words that came drifting in, however, set off red flags inside the Russian and she stood from where she’d halfway sat on one of the tall stools tucked under the island counter. Alice had been kidnapped? She didn’t overly like the girl, but that was no reason to be okay with HYDRA - whom she assumed was the ‘they’ in this equation - kidnapping her. All thoughts of remaining hidden left her as Tony continued to ramble, and Natalia’s feet carried her near-silently across the plush carpet until she was visible at Namor’s left side.
“Jesus, Tony…” Natalia’s nose recoiled instantly at the stench of alcohol emanating off of the billionaire. Had he consumed an entire keg of booze before finally stumbling here? Disgust reigned supreme inside the Russian, but some instinct deep inside of her kicked in and caused her to move forward, maneuvering her small frame between Tony’s and the door’s. Casting a glance towards her lover, she frowned apologetically and attempted to help Tony over to the couch facing away from the hallway leading towards the bedrooms so that he was no longer at risk of sprawling out in the middle of the stairwell should his center of gravity fail him.
Tony sagged a bit with his disappointment in himself as Namor spat his failures back in his face. He didn't know why the words really hurt that much coming from a man that he didn't even really like most of the time. "I know, I know... I'm sorry..." he slurred in response, "I got scared, after the attack, when Pepper almost died, and I started drinking more. Then more. Then all the time. And I messed up everything. I need help getting back on track and you're... you're a pretty great guy. And you don't really like me that much and I needed someone tough to make me stop doing this to myself. I can't keep drinking..."
He frowned a bit as his gaze was drawn past Namor and he caught a flash of hair that could only be Natalie's. Natasha's. Natalia's. Which name did she prefer? He was sticking with Nat. "Hey there, Nat. I didn't know you were here." He frowned. "Why're you here?" he asked, even as she stepped in front of him. Her slender and still surprisingly strong arms wrapped around him to assist in getting him over to the couch and Tony frowned at her. "You smell nice," he told her before collapsing onto the piece of furniture.
He looked between Nat and Namor for a moment before smiling at the both of them. "I actually couldn't decide which of you to come to so this is good," he grinned, curling up on the couch. He sighed a little as he looked at them again.
"Alice was kidnapped. Some losers took her and tried to extort me for money and weapons and I was too drunk to get there immediately and by the time I rescued her she was hurt and it was all my fault, y'know? I need to stop drinking. I have to. But I told myself I would when I rescued Alice and then I got drunk again. As you can see. I need your help. To get sober and stay sober. Please."
Namor listened as she confirmed his belief that they'd undoubtedly be scrutinizing the Avengers and anyone associated with them with a greater degree of care. Their situation was hardly a good one--the supposed genius had seen to that. But if anyone could see that they found the information they needed to discover how deep the corruption of SHIELD went, it would undoubtedly be Natalia. She'd skill, intelligence and patience in abundance, and years of training to help her deal with circumstances similar to this.
That being said, he could not help but feel some degree of anxiety. He was not in the habit of endangering those he cared for. There was a reason he was his nation's first line of defense, after all. And though he'd faith in his lover's abilities, she'd never before undertook a task like this. They were speaking of toppling a bloated intelligence organization with eyes and ears everywhere, advanced technology and countless numbers in their ranks. Endangering Stark had been nothing. In part because, if the man had followed their plan, the danger would have been virtually nonexistent. But she meant a great deal to him.
"I thought you'd feel that way," he offered a small smile of his own as she stepped closer. "But be careful. You know how to contact me should the worst transpire. I've every faith in your abilities, but Stark has bollocksed the situation and we are speaking of taking on an empire of sorts..." he heaved a sigh. Tracing his fingertips up to her knuckles, he twisted his hand to thread his fingers between hers and gave the back of her palm a reassuring squeeze.
It was their last comfortable moment before their unexpected guest arrived.
Namor scowled. "Fear does not excuse stupidity nor recklessness. It is only when we're afraid that we can truly find our courage. Apparently yours is liquid." From what little he heard, it seemed that Anthony's solution to his problems was to simply ignore them and engage in self-destructive behavior. That he'd lived as long as he had was living proof that the gods favored fools. "I am," he conceded to his status as superior. "But I do not waste time on those that are undeserving and have repeatedly betrayed my trust. You number among both of those categories."
Before overlong, Natalia was at his side. He supposed that even though she had perhaps even less love of the billionaire than he did, their status as teammates afforded her a greater degree of concern over his wellbeing. They'd had each other's backs over the years, and that bred more kinship. Paying her a little flicker of his eyes, he saw her concern and apology there moments before she moved to invite the drunkard inside. Namor's sense of hospitality was challenged, but for the Russian he would endure a great deal. Including suffering fools.
He did not move to intercept why Natalia was here. He would let her answer it. Whether or not she went with the half truth about their current situation would be interesting. On the one hand, they would be providing Anthony with information that could potentially further jeopardize their operation if he chose to run his mouth. On the other, she would be reminding him how incapable he was, and informing him of how he'd let down those around him. Both of which could help with this attempt at sobriety that they would supposedly be abiding by from here on out.
The billionaire's mood seemed mercurial as ever--undoubtedly a side-effect of his inebriated state. Soon enough his grin once more dissipated and he took to regaling them with a story that Namor would not have cared to hear. The man was a parasite. And though it was difficult to say if he might have dealt with him were Natalia not present, even if he decided to he would have cared very little for the man's plight. At least this time he seemed to acknowledge that he was weak and responsible--as much was not the case when he attempted to wrangle Namor into business partnership.
Keeping his distance so he'd not have to smell the man's stench, Namor folded his arms across his exposed chest. "If I am to help you, it will be on my terms. You will have no coddling. No comfort. I will make you associate your habit with pain and misery until the very idea of drinking seems torturous. Do you understand?"
Post by Natalia Romanova on Oct 25, 2016 16:00:22 GMT
“That seems to be par for the course for Tony,” Natalia sighed, watching the way Namor’s fingers danced over her own. “That’s what I’m on the team for - to pick up after all of the boys when they make their messes.” She had contemplated staying off the team for good after the Triji affair, but ultimately decided against it, though there hadn’t been any group missions to warrant said announcement.
Although Tony hadn’t seemed loathe to admit it during the meeting where they discussed Carol’s membership, she did have her uses on the team - besides simply wasting ammunition. She still didn’t understand how he’d come to the conclusion that her rounds were somehow more expensive than the high-tech arrows that Clint used, but sometimes it was best to just let the billionaire blow out all his hot air.
“And I’m always careful,” she chuckled, tightening her own fingers around his to return the squeeze of affection.
Natalia could hear Tony’s rambling from her position deeper inside the penthouse, and she scowled despite herself. When had Stark suddenly become fond of Namor? Last she’d checked, he’d been in favor of - how had he put it? - that asshole getting some manners knocked into him. Glancing at the clock on the wall, she took note of the time and sighed at the billionaire’s hypocrisy even as she stepped forward into his line of sight.
“Of course you didn’t know I was here, Stark,” she murmured, sliding one arm under the drunk genius’ shoulder. At his question, she didn’t even pause before answering. Any hesitation could come across as suspicious, even to an inebriated Tony. “Being a part of your Avengers isn’t my only job. Namor is an ally of SHIELD.” Tony may have been privy to some SHIELD intel, but not all, and her tone suggested as much lest he think to pry further.
She didn’t even bother responding to the compliment paid to her by the drunkard. He wasn’t smelling anything out of the ordinary for her. Perhaps he’d got a whiff of the lotion she’d put on her hands a few hours previously. Or perhaps her presence at his side had simply provided his nostrils with a moment’s reprieve from the cloying aura of alcohol permeating the area around him. “Seems to me like you made your decision,” she responded, scoffing gently as she took a few steps away from the couch to remove herself from the stench and return to Namor’s side.
Listening to Tony’s plight might have tugged at the heartstrings of normal men and women. Unfortunately for Tony, it seemed neither Natalia nor Namor were normal in this regard. Her lips pursed at his pleas for help, but instead of responding, she placed a hand upon Namor’s bicep, silently letting him know she was moving away from the vicinity. He had been Tony’s choice for assistance, so she’d let her lover take control of the situation.
Natalia moved around Namor, towards the kitchen. She didn’t need to rummage through the cabinets to find what she was looking for - she’d been here enough times to know where the glasses were. Pouring Tony a glass of water straight from the tap, she moved back towards the pair and offered the drink down to the billionaire.
Her tone said everything about what she wanted out of Stark at the moment: compliance.
Namor's scowl was exactly what Tony'd expected and he grinned at the man's words, harsh as they were. "Exactly! I don't deserve your help 'cause I'm a coward, but I need it. Please. For my daughter." He could never forgive himself if he let this disease get the better of him and effect her as a result. That would be the absolute worst thing that he could do. His liquid courage was also making him a bit more honest than he would usually be as well; likely a good thing where Namor was involved.
He wasn't all that surprised, truthfully, that Nat just happened to be there, and he simply nodded in response to her explanation. Made sense that Fury would send his best agents on parleys with someone like Namor, so nothing in her explanation struck him as odd.
The agent excused herself to the kitchen for a moment, but Tony's focus was on Namor as the man started to speak. His head began nodding before he even realized it as he explained that his own brand of assistance would not be kind. That was what Tony needed now, he knew. It was the only way to keep him away from the thing that had been a crutch since his undergraduate days. He'd been drinking his life away for almost three decades; it was time for that to change.
"I can. Yeah. I expected that. I need that. I understand," he replied after a moment of silent nodding in the aftermath of Namor's words. His own were a bit slurred, but that was okay. His point had been gotten across.
He smiled at Nat again as she came back, greedily reaching for the glass and drinking until it was empty before coming up for breath. "Thanks," he told her with a smile. Looking between them, he licked his lips. "So is this gonna be a good cop, bad cop kinda thing, then? Namor's the hard-ass and Nat comes in with the love?"
Namor's nose and mouth wrinkled in a sneer of disgust. That the human had resorted to begging surprised him. While it was plainly obvious that the human had little in way of self-control or self-respect, he'd thought Anthony had enough pride as to not plead with him. Apparently he was mistaken. The man that liked to shout from the rooftops his brilliance and splendor forgot all of his supposed self-love in a moment. That Stark should come to him, unannounced, after everything he did and ask him for so significant a favor was all but inexcusable. It seemed to him the man was little more than a parasite, taking and never giving.
Were Natalia not present, he would have undoubtedly offered a more severe piece of his mind and thrown the offending human out on his ear. But this was her comrade in arms, and he filtered himself and drudged up what little compassion he could muster for Stark on her behalf. And on behalf of this daughter he kept invoking like a mantra. "Even now you hide behind your daughter's skirts, and cannot bother to petition for my aid without attempting to guilt me on family members you've failed." Needless to say, he was unamused. "This will be the final time I will offer my support to you. If this fails and you become some self-endangering thing once more, you'll have to find someone else."
As per usual, Natalia was quick to offer a rather seamless explanation. It had been eight months and more since the trial and with as many handlers as he'd gone through since Natalia, and Fury's rather blatant denial of their involvement during the period, it made a sort of sense. It would be risky, but he did not imagine Anthony was in a state to figure that out. Paying his lover a small glance of acknowledgement and approval for the quick tale she spun, his gaze shifted back to Anthony.
It seemed the Russian vixen was as unmoved by Stark's plight as he was. The gentle touch on his bicep pulled him from the less-than-riveting story, and he placed his palm overtop. It was a casual touch, nothing lingering, though it conveyed the sort of warmth he bestowed upon friends. A category she belonged to. Thereafter, he paid attention to the man whose life seemed to thirst for it, and gave his response. There would be little in way of reassurance for Anthony. He'd seen to that in most every interaction of theirs. And Namor was not particularly good at coddling to begin with.
"Good." He replied. "And so long as you are in my care, you will be in my custody. Solely in my custody. You will not leave my home until I am satisfied with your state. You will not have visitors. When you finally are allowed to leave, I will accompany you for the first few ventures outward to ensure you do not immediately fall off the wagon." As he was not doubt wont to do. "You will sleep where I tell you, and you will eat what I give you. You will not whinge about any of it--you will be grateful that I've decided to give you any of my time when I've a Kingdom and Company to oversee."
At the end of his statement of what he expected from Stark, Natalia returned with a glass of water and a domineering tone that suggested she and Namor were on the same page. Giving her another glance of appreciation, he watched as the human downed the water.
"That water will have done you little good with as quickly as you drank it." Didn't the supposed genius know anything about hydration? Being dehydrated and downing something quickly was like a heavy rain over hardened earth. It didn't do anything. "And I swear if you make sick on any of my furniture, I will have you clean it with a toothbrush." Downing too much cold water on an empty stomach had a way of inducing nausea.
Namor's brow quirked at the human's last statement. Grabbing the glass so he could fetch more water, he decided he'd let Natalia answer that.
Post by Natalia Romanova on Nov 2, 2016 6:03:19 GMT
A smidge of relief washed through Natalia as Tony simply nodded his acceptance of her answer. Her eyes shifted briefly towards Namor, meeting his gaze. His expression was subtle, but she didn’t need him to be blatant where she was concerned. She’d learned to read him well over the years, and knew that to be a look of approval. Clearly, Tony was inept where keeping secrets were concerned - it seemed to be a theme for the men of the Avengers.
At the feel of Namor’s hand over her own, Natalia waited until her back was turned towards Stark before letting her lips slide outward into a gentle smile. There was nothing romantic about the gestures, so she didn’t fret overly much. With as much history as the two of them had as mere friends over the years, she wasn’t afraid of Tony seeing something as innocent as that.
When Tony swallowed the water down as if he were a man who’d been lost in the desert for forty days, she nearly cringed. Was he trying to expel the contents of his stomach all over Namor’s living room? Her lips opened and closed, unsure whether to respond to his thanks, or reprimand him for not taking the water a little slower. She’d never been more than buzzed thanks to the serum in her veins, but many jobs had required her to associate with inebriated people; her job undercover at Stark Industries, for one.
Namor seemed more than willing to do the reprimanding, thankfully, and Natalia let her lips slide shut without a word. Her lover seemed to have the genius well in hand where verbal throttling came, for the time being. The next words out of Tony’s mouth caused Natalia’s brows to furrow and she jerked her chin back in a minute show of shock. Really? Good cop, bad cop?
This time, Namor seemed to want her to respond to the billionaire’s inane comment. Without needing to glance at her lover, Natalia took a step forward as Namor stepped away to the kitchen and finally spoke. “No, Tony. You of all people should know I’m not the ‘good cop’ in these types of situations,” she began, her tone cool, but gaining heat. In all the years she’d been in the business, she could count the times she’d truly attempted to play the devil’s advocate on her fingers.
“First of all - using the suit while under the influence can be a disaster. You’d think you would have learned that lesson when you and Rhodey nearly demolished your penthouse - and all the guests inside of it - during your party a few years back. Actually going into a dangerous situation like that, though? God! You could have gotten yourself killed - or worse: your daughter.”
Now that she’d begun to speak, there was no stopping the floodgates. “And speaking of Alice, that girl is in dire need of some lessons in manners. I’d recommend asking Pepper to teach her, but she’s already too busy running your company for you while you drink your father’s legacy away. He deserves better than that, and so does Alice,” she seethed. Natalia wasn’t overly fond of the girl, but as someone who’d grown up without parents, she could at least appreciate the fact that children - even ones over twenty-one - deserved a loving family for support. Stepping forward, Natalia jutted a finger out at Tony, stabbing it into his shoulder in a half-hearted attempt to force him to sit all the way back on the couch and wipe the grin from his face. “You are a grown ass man, Tony, and a brilliant one at that. It’s about damn time you started acting like it.”
He could tell that Namor wasn’t exactly fond of him in this moment, but that wasn’t exactly a new sensation. Bringing up his daughter had been a gamble, because he was sure that Namor wouldn’t help Tony for his benefit. After all, he hadn’t made it much of a secret that he wasn’t fond of Tony, and then he’d gone off and done almost the exact opposite of Namor’s instructions regarding HYDRA. There was little doubt in Tony’s mind that the man wasn’t holding positive thoughts towards him these days. “Yeah. Last time,” he nodded in acknowledgment to the statement. It made sense. He doubted it would even be offered under different circumstances.
Tony turned his attention more completely towards Namor as the man launched into his short explanation on how things would be if he undertook this after all, and it took far more concentration than it should have to stay on-task and listen to the other man. He managed it, however, and he nodded along to the words until they stopped coming. “Do as you say and no leaving. I can do that,” he replied. Truthfully he was shitty at following any kind of order, but this was something that he needed to do and he was going to do it to the best of his ability.
The water settled into his stomach badly and he felt it roll slightly, but he was confident it’d be fine. “‘M not gonna upchuck. ‘M a pro at being drunk,” he assured the other man with a wave of his hand. He was pretty sure that he didn’t want to catch Namor’s ire for destroying anything, so it was a good thing that he’d perfected techniques for not barfing over the years.
His attention turned to Nat as she spoke. “Shhhh. You’re good people. Don’t tell anyone I said it, though,” he replied, pressing a finger to his lips as he spoke. He wasn’t supposed to like her, after all. They were still on a rocky plane as far as their relationship went and it wouldn’t do for people to think that he’d taken a liking to the assassin after all.
Blinking in surprise and the flood of words that came from the woman’s mouth as soon as she got going, Tony tried to take it all in. The stupid thing was that she was right. He’d done a stupid thing and he was lucky to be alive. “That’s why I need help,” he replied quietly, eyes falling to his lap in something that was as close to shame as he ever visibly showed around people. “‘M not a good guy but I still should be better…”
Namor's nose wrinkled and his mouth lifted in a sneer of disgust and disdain. That Anthony was nodding along and parroting him only further underlined how spineless he was. He was bankrupt of courage and devoid of decency; a truly contemptible creature. As prone as his father was to his own addictions, Howard had remained functional and in control. He would be ashamed to see his son succumb to his addictions like this. Just as he'd be ashamed to see Anthony squander his intellect and trade it in for nonexistent wisdom and sense.
"I think you misunderstand me. You've no choice in the matter." The Atlantean folded his arms across his chest as he glowered down at the inebriated man. "You'll be confined to the guest suite except when Natalia or I are around to monitor you. All communication from that room to the outside world will be disconnected, and technology removed to ensure you don't get inventive. Your food and drink will be stored in a cooler in your room and that will be all you'll have access to except when Natalia and I are feeling generous enough to give you something hot. The only entertainment you'll have will be the books in your room, paper and writing utensils."
This wasn't meant to be fun, and Namor certainly wasn't going to treat him with any dignity. Stark had proven that he didn't have any, so the monarch wasn't even going to bother pretending otherwise. All that would be given would be the bare minimum, and Namor would ensure that his life was uncomfortable and downright unpleasant in the coming days.
"Considering that you swore you would refrain from bollocksing up our investigation into HYDRA, you'll forgive me if I find your word completely worthless." The King responded to the vigilante's assurances that he wouldn't be sick. Even if he didn't regurgitate, there was the future to consider. Would he be able to keep down his food throughout the whole sobriety process? Unlikely. And even if he did, there was the matter of the detox process in general. He would sweat like a pig and stink badly. Such smell wasn't something that Namor wanted imbedded into his furniture.
When he excused himself to get water, he also gathered up a few tarps and some towels and tucked them into a linen basket as he overheard their conversation. Natalia was ruthless in providing Stark a piece of her mind, something that he wholeheartedly agreed with. Hearing Anthony praise her all but earned a laugh from him. It seemed as out of the blue as his defense of her at the trial. How was it he admired and respected her but couldn't even be bothered to visit her while she was in the intensive care unit on the hellicarrier?
After it seemed their conversation was done, Namor returned to the room with a glass of water in one hand and a linen basket under his other arm. Lifting Anthony from the couch and pushing him against the arm of the thing for balance, he draped a tarp over the couch and then tucked a towel down. Satisfied with that, he pushed Anthony back down and then passed him the water. "Drink slowly this time. I'm going to go make sure your stink doesn't ruin my guest suite." Walking off, he went to tend to the bed linens in a similar fashion.
Post by Natalia Romanova on Nov 22, 2016 7:38:14 GMT
Natalia stopped herself from scoffing outwardly at Tony’s agreement to do precisely as Namor said and refrain from leaving. Of course he could do that. She knew Namor well enough to know that the Atlantean wasn’t giving Stark a choice in the matter. No sooner had the thought drifted through her mind, however, Namor enlightened the billionaire, earning him the sliver of a grin at the corner of her mouth.
While her lover explained more thoroughly the conditions of his assistance, Natalia waited patiently. Her eyes skimmed Tony up and down, and she fought the urge to curl her upper lip in disdain. Even from this distance, the stench of alcohol was still potent enough to smell. She kept her ears open to Namor’s words, nodding along to show she, too, was in agreement of the terms he was setting forth. Tony would be staying in the room Namor had prepared for her, meaning if she stayed here, she couldn’t share her lover’s bed.
The selfish part of her that wanted to spend more time alone with Namor was quickly subdued without so much as an outward sign. If Tony really did want to get better, she should help him. Besides, just because Tony was here, didn’t mean she couldn’t interact with her lover. They had kept their previous relationship a secret for months. Now they would have to do so with someone out of the loop living under the same roof as Namor, but she had faith in their abilities.
“That’s not something to be proud of, Tony,” Natalia sighed, proud of herself for refraining from pinching the bridge of her nose. Being a professional alcoholic was not something anyone should boast about. Thank goodness they were in the privacy of Namor’s home, at least, rather than out where the paparazzi that followed Stark like a plague might hear.
Natalia’s eyes flashed dangerously as Tony proceeded to shush her, followed by an attempt to persuade her she was a good person. She wasn’t evil, but she was far from good. Her morals were questionable on a good day, though her decisions were always made with the greater good in mind. Instead of verbally reprimanding him for the shushing, she laid into him for all of his other failings. It felt good to get some of that off of her chest, even if he didn’t remember most of it after the detox.
A sigh brushed past Natalia’s lips as Tony’s response and this time she gave in to the urge to pinch the bridge of her nose. “You’re a good guy, Tony. You’re just stupid..” The man was a genius, so she couldn’t leave it there in good conscious, no matter how badly she wanted to. “..sometimes.” It was a lofty hope, that Namor’s good manners, social etiquette, and all-around civilized way of life would rub off on Stark, but she’d keep her fingers crossed nonetheless. “Perhaps spending some time here with Namor will help with more than your alcohol dependency problem.”
When Namor returned with fresh linens and water, she snagged the basket out from under his arm so that he could maneuver Tony a little more easily. As soon as the inebriated genius was resituated and offered another glass of water, she returned the basket and nodded. Her eyes followed the Atlantean towards the hallway in order to discern which of the guest suites he was preparing for his new house guest. A twinge of relief passed through her when it became clear he was not heading towards the suite he’d prepared for her awhile back -- some of her personal effects were still in there, and the last thing they wanted was for Tony to find those while coming out of a drunken stupor.
Shifting her weight from one foot to the other, Natalia turned her attention back to the billionaire on the couch. Were she a meaner person, she might take a photograph of him here and now - lounging on a tarp, covering a davenport likely more expensive than any of the furniture in her own apartment. “Alright, Tony… Start emptying your pockets,” she instructed, reaching forward to relieve him of the glass so that he didn’t spill. “If I have even an ounce of doubt that you’re withholding anything from me, I won’t hesitate to instigate a strip search. And believe me when I tell you I know all the places people can hide things,” she drawled, a wicked grin tugging at her features.
Tony's face morphed into a scandalized expression at Namor's next insistence. "But what will I do without technology? I need technology. I'll die!" he replied, feeling like everything he loved had just been taken from him. Because it had. He needed computers to live. That was dramatic, but so, so true.
Frowning to himself, he tried to figure out how he was supposed to occupy himself when he didn't feel like he was dying from not having alcohol? He supposed that he could go old-school and just sketch things out with paper and pencil, but that sounded awful and boring.
But he was putting himself in Namor's hands and that meant following his rules. He needed to get sober and stay sober. Negative associations were going to be the best way to do that. He sighed. "I guess I can make it work," he mumbled.
Of course, then Namor had to remind him about his screw-up regarding HYDRA and Tony winced at that. He stayed quiet, knowing that Namor was right. He went quiet, staring at his lap rather than the others in the room. It stayed on his lap even as Namor left the room.
"It wasn't a problem until recently," Tony pointed out. "I just... it got harder and harder to make it through the day without alcohol and then... then I was always drunk." He shrugged a bit.
Taking the glass from Namor, he looked up at him and was almost offended by the words, but decided to slowly nurse the glass of water instead of saying anything. He pouted at Nat when she took the glass from him and stood up. "Nothing up my sleeves," he grinned, pulling out his wallet, a wad o f cash, and a couple condoms from his pockets and handing them to Nat. "That's it, I promise. Please don't strip-search me." He really didn't want to be strip-searched. He just didn't carry all that much with him.
"Good. Do me a favor and try to die in the bathroom. Excrement stains are so much easier to get off of tile." Namor scowled over at Stark's objection about how he couldn't survive without technology. Thousands and thousands of years of mankind had existed without his modern amenities and persevered. Namor believed he could manage, which was quite the accomplishment given his complete lack of faith in the other man's abilities.
Of course, eventually Stark actually attempted to be responsible and mature. It was probably the second time Namor had seen it in his entire life. Not that it ultimately mattered since all he did was rescind some of his whinging complaint. That sort of stole some of the magic of the moment. But perhaps, someday, Anthony would show himself to be capable. "Again, you had no choice in the matter." Namor underlined.
At first he'd refrained from responding aloud to Anthony's rather boastful remark that he was a professional at being drunk. But when his lover decided to reply, he couldn't refrain from joining in at the man's expense. "He has little else to be proud of. Pity we cannot even let him have one badge of honor," the monarch smacked his lips together with a dry sound of indifference to the potential destruction of the man's ego.
"I have a strong desire to burn that spot on my floor," the Atlantean's eyes held firm to the place where the few condoms had fallen. The mere thought that Stark was having sex at all and chancing further polluting the gene pool with a defective condom was almost inhumane. "I agree. Please don't strip search him." The King deadpanned. As contained as the stench was at the moment, it would undoubtedly be worse if those soiled layers were peeled off of him and left to air out.
With all contents emptied from the man's pockets and his lover seemingly satisfied, Namor decided that it was time to squirrel him away before his entire afternoon as well as sanity was ruined. Grabbing up the same towels he'd thrown down, he wrapped them about Anthony so he wouldn't have to touch the man directly, and then hoisted him effortlessly into his arms. Lifting from the floor, he moved fairly quickly into the guest suite he's prepared. Dropping Anthony onto the mattress, he took the time and care to remove the phone, radio and entire entertainment center from the room. After all of that was said and done, he opened a drawer in a dresser and removed the room's key from it.
"Good night," Namor shut the door and pulled the key through the lock, making sure it clicked shut. He might feed the man later, before he went to sleep. More likely he would wait until tomorrow morning considering he didn't want to risk the man vomiting. Sighing aloud and letting some of the tension drain from his body, he walked back into the living room into the kitchenette and poured himself a glass of lemonade which he nursed from.
He was most of the way through the contents of the glass when his paramour walked into the room with lankier strides and a somewhat mischievous look. One that suggested she approved of his treatment of Stark thus far. And he decided then that perhaps it had been worth the man's annoyance before he pulled Natalia into his arms.
Twisting the key through the lock, Namor pushed open the door with his hip. Balanced on his shoulder with an arm wrapped around it was a fairly large red cooler. And then, over one forearm was a large shopping bag. Setting the cooler down onto the middle of the floor, he flipped the lid open to reveal orange juice, grape juice, milk and water. In the same container was also a carton of eggs, carrots and some apples, and some lunch meat and cheeses. Closing that back up, he balanced the shopping bag on top of it. Inside were two loaves of bread, some trail mix, potato chips and a bag of rice. Under all of the food items in the bag was also a solitary hotplate.
"If you're responsible with the hotplate I'll get you a coffee machine. In the mean time, you'll have to make do without it." Considering that those that began to undergo detox often had a heightened heartrate and he had a plagued heart to begin with, it seemed wise not to increase it further. "You'll get a single drink later tonight with dinner. In the mean time, if you would like to go anywhere or do anything, now is your only opportunity."
Post by Natalia Romanova on Dec 2, 2016 6:04:44 GMT
It took no small amount of restraint to keep her face as stoic as possible when the sound of Tony’s scandalized voice drifted over to her. Despite his complaint, she had no doubt he would survive this ordeal - the lack of technology portion of it, at least. Whether his body could survive without any alcohol in it, of course, was something she’d yet to ever witness. Her lips opened, a suggestion ready to dance out, but Namor’s caustic response beat her to the punch. Shooting the Atlantean a quick glance that mixed amusement with feigned disappointment, she quickly resumed her expressionless mask.
“He’s got plenty to be proud of - he just needs to stop acting like a fool long enough to realize that,” she answered her lover, though her heated gaze continued to sear into Stark while she spoke. The glare continued, even as Tony spouted off more piteous explanations. Honestly, he should have done this years ago, but aside from the time she’d spent under cover as his personal aide, she’d never been close enough to the billionaire to warrant a friendly suggestion.
Natalia’s hand jerked away instinctively as the condoms surfaced, as if the little squares might burn her flesh. She managed to hold onto the rest of his belongings, but as the colorful packets fell past her palm, she didn’t bother trying to save them. After taking a quick stock of the items in her hand, Natalia looked up at Tony.
“You’re a terrible liar.”
Stuffing the wad of cash into her back pocket, she dropped Stark’s wallet onto the coffee table and turned her attention back to the genius. “Cell phone, comm, watch… If you’re telling me you don’t have a single technological device on your person right now, you’d better hope you’re not be lying, Stark…” she drawled, the low, almost growling tone of her voice suggesting he heed her warning.
Once finally certain there was nothing secreted away on Tony’s person, Natalia stepped back and allowed Namor to sweep in. It was almost funny, watching him pick Stark up as if he were nothing more than an overgrown toddler - which, in all honesty, seemed to be what the man was anyways. While her lover worked to finish preparing the room for Tony, Natalia busied herself with little tasks in the main area of the penthouse, cleaning all evidence of Tony’s visit, starting with his wallet, which she tucked away into a safe place. The condoms were one of the last items to be picked up, and she used a hand towel to collect them all before dumping the whole wad into the garbage. If Namor commented on the loss of the small towel, she’d use the cash still resting in her back pocket - Tony would have no use of it in his bedroom for the next indefinite amount of time - to replace it.
By the time she heard the dulcet tone of her lover’s voice, Natalia was nearly done with her cleaning project, the final touch of which involved opening windows throughout the penthouse in order to let some fresh air wash away the stench Tony had dragged in. Meandering back towards the kitchen, she spied Namor nursing from a glass of lemonade and moved closer. Her intention was to steal a sip of the sweet and tangy drink, the better to cleanse her own palate of the alcoholic aroma she’d been forced to breathe in, but Namor’s arms encircling her proved too distracting.
Natalia spent the better part of the morning bouncing around each of Tony’s homes within the city limits. Her task was simple: remove all alcohol from each premises. Once her car was packed with as much booze as she could find, she headed towards a place that might truly appreciate the gift. She wasn’t a huge drinker herself, but she still couldn’t fathom simply dumping all of this alcohol.
A quick text to Sam had given her the intel she needed to make her decision, and soon enough, she was pulling up to a low key building in the heart of Manhattan. The elderly gentleman behind the bar didn’t look like he’d be able to lift any of the bottles resting in her car, let alone a whole case. Thankfully, the young man seated at the bar was more than happy to help load the boxes in, even with the prosthetic leg in place. When all was said and done, the bar - a popular watering hole for retired and disabled military veterans - thanked her (and her anonymous donor) for the gift.
Her key slid into the lock of Namor’s penthouse with ease, eliciting a quick ‘click’ as it turned. Letting out a quiet sigh, she brushed past over the threshold, her ears straining to make certain the portal had closed fully as she went. “Namor?” she called out, not bothering to raise her voice too high. His hearing was more than decent; there was no need to shout.
Sounds from the guest quarters the monarch had set up for Tony dragged Natalia’s attention towards the hallway and she headed in that direction first. The heels strapped to her feet clicked on the tile, but her footsteps went silent as soon as she reached the carpet. Stopping in the doorway, she crossed both arms across her chest so that the blazer tugged at her shoulders. A gentle smirk was playing at the edges of her lips as her gaze flickered from the cooler, to the Atlantean, and finally to the Avenger. “Within reason, of course…”