|runs_the_show (runs_the_show) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2012-11-06 01:15:00
|Entry tags:||door: marvel comics, iron man, pepper potts, thor|
|There were a few good things that came out of the party, namely Benji’s moving in, but there were far more bad things. Pepper hadn’t been through the door since the day after the party simply because Justine just hurt. She was careful about how she walked, how she dressed, and how she held herself so that she could limit the amount of pain she was feeling as well as limit the amount of pain Benji could see. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that he was worried about her and about Pepper. She was worried about Pepper and every time she closed her eyes, she hoped the redhead would talk to her. There was nothing. When she was able to check in with Silver, Justine caved to her worries about her Alter. Pepper was a strong woman but the injuries Justine looked at in the mirror scared her. And the injuries she felt? Pepper needed to deal with whatever it was and hiding in Justine wasn’t going to work. |
As soon as Silver said he was on his way, Justine pushed herself out of bed with the intention of making herself a little more presentable. Sweatpants were pulled on gently, a zip up hoodie added to the tank top she wore already, and Justine even tried clumsily to brush her hair. That taken care of, flip flops were shuffled on and then she went in search of her brother. “Benji? Silver’s coming over. Tony wants Pepper to go see a doctor and I think you should come too,” she said as she made her way to his room. “I’m worried about her,” she added softly, looking up at him with big blue eyes, worry all too obvious in her gaze.
"Okay." Ben had been doing his best not to press Justine about what happened, but Thor was giving him a headache being worried over Pepper. It was hard not to give into that and just carry his sister across to find out what the hell was going on, but so far he'd managed to placate both himself and the Asgardian with the knowledge that it'd be better if they didn't force it out of her.
Thor had taken to doing a lot of pacing and Ben had to consciously stop his body from where he was wearing a groove into the carpet in front of the living room window. "Of course, Juju." Dressed in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, he held his arm out to her for a hug. It wasn't much, but having her close meant that he knew no one else could hurt her. It was part of the reason why he'd decided to move out of the monastery and into the empty bedroom. No matter how capable she might be, Ben wasn't going to turn his back on protecting his little sister, no more than Thor would turn his back on Loki. At least they had the better relationship.
Justine was grateful for Benji’s presence, but it wasn’t exactly enough to ease the worries and fears she had. She didn’t trust that just one of them, either Thor or Tony, could convince Pepper to explain, but maybe the two of them together had a chance. They’d figure it out. There wasn’t anyone else she trusted more to do it. When he reached out to her, she went easily, hugging him as tightly as she could. “Thanks, Benji,” she said softly, leaning up to kiss his cheek just as there was a knock on the door. She gave Benji a warm smile before going to open it. She looked tired, worn out, but she was still smiling as she opened the door. “Hey, Silver. It’s good to see you,” she greeted. She glanced at Benji and then back to Silver. “Ready to go? Or do you need anything?”
“Hello.” The sight of Justine on her feet and wearing that smile, worn though it was, eased Silver’s mind significantly. Tony was not so easily reassured, but Tony didn’t have control right now, and despite his urgings Silver simply didn’t allow the man to take over whenever he wanted, even when he was this concerned. Aware that he wasn’t necessarily a knight in armor, he passed his gaze over Justine’s head to look at Benji, curious about the brother that he had heard so much about. His eyes weren’t judgmental, and Silver himself, being cleanly dressed in jean and blue and as calmly unreadable as his namesake mineral’s mirror surface, trusted that the little upnod of greeting in Benji’s direction would be enough.
Silver dropped his chin back down against his chest and fixed his eyes now on Justine, eying the bruising with far too much knowledge about what such things looked like. “She hasn’t spoken to you at all about this?”
Her smile fell, white teeth catching her lower lip, at Silver’s question. “Nothing. I try, every time I go to sleep,” Justine replied, disappointment obvious in her tone. She had been spending a good bit of time sleeping or resting, but no matter how much she tried, Pepper wouldn’t say a word. Today was one of the first days that the pain wasn’t horrible when she walked and they were going to take advantage of that. She completely forgot to ask if Silver and Benji had even met. “And I haven’t really felt well enough to leave lately, or do much moving around.” She hoped that he wasn’t mad, or that Tony wasn’t mad. She didn’t think so, but with Pepper ignoring her for the most part, it was a thought there in the back of her mind. Justine looked over at her shoulder to Benji. Justine didn’t say anything, but she also didn’t need to. He’d be able to tell that she was nervous, but still determined to go through with this, and that she was looking for some support from him just to get through it.
Ben had only spoken to Silver the one time, but he inclined his head towards the other man in the same nod he'd received. He knew Justine talked more frequently with the other man that he did, but he'd never pushed for more and neither had Thor. Now wasn't the time for it either, though maybe if they'd met under better circumstances, it'd be different. As much as Justine wasn't telling him about all of her
injuries, watching her walk around, how she sat, how she moved in general made it clear that there were more injuries than she'd mentioned. Following her to the front door, his arm looped loosely around the small of her back, settling on her waist as he nodded. "Yeah, ready." Thor was going to end up putting Mjolnir through someone's skull once they found out who it was, Ben knew it.
Silver had no such worries about Tony. Tony’s attention was centered entirely on Pepper, and he was watching Justine through Silver’s eyes so intently that it was starting to be distracting. He kept on firing questions to Silver about what possibly could have happened, because Tony was too intelligent not to jump to worst case scenario, and Silver was just the same, though for different reasons. After the concerned gaze left Justine, he quirked a brow at Ben, as if the older man might give him some further hint without words. Silver took in a breath and let it go. Better to ask Pepper in person, and Tony agreed with impatience. Silver stepped back to let the two of them move past first, taking his frown with him where it wasn’t immediately obvious. Everyone else from the party might have had bruises, but no one on the journals had talked about them lasting this long. What did that mean?
Ready. Everyone was ready. Justine took a deep breath and prayed Pepper was ready to talk about what had happened. She’d always been a bit of a slow healer, but it had never been quite as noticeable as it was now. Even so, she put on a brave smile and followed Silver, Ben close behind, down to his car. She and Benji took the backseat as they made their way over to the hotel. Justine was content to be quiet, to just watch the scenery as it passed, and it seemed like no time at all before they were walking into Passages and up to the Marvel Door. It would be important for Pepper to be on home turf, to feel like she had some kind of advantage, so Justine slid her key into the lock and the door opened to Pepper’s apartment in Malibu. It was still very much in order, neat and clean, but there was still a sense of something not really feeling right. Her laptop was closed on the small coffee table in the living area and the view to the ocean was still quite stunning, soothing almost. Justine took another deep breath, looked to each of the men, and then stepped through.
As soon as Pepper realized she was back in her body, she spun around, anticipating something like this on Justine’s part after her conversation with Mr Sorenson. She wasn’t surprised to see him, but she was surprised to see Silver. Stupid girl, she chastised, but Justine couldn’t hear, gone as she was while Pepper was through the door. She put both of her hands up, not even wincing, and leveled her firmest look at the pair of them. “I assure you, I’m fine. A few bruises aren’t anything to worry about.”
This time Silver didn’t glance at Benji for permission or confirmation. He inclined his head at Pepper, whom he had never seen in person, exactly, but she looked much like he expected. The sight of her didn’t bring to him the same sense of relaxed confidence that it brought Tony, and that didn’t surprise Silver at all. He wasn’t abashed by her direct gaze, and he leveled an honest and even gaze to meet hers. “If that’s true, you won’t mind having a doctor check up on you.” A split-second pause. “Just to ease Tony’s mind. Right?” He moved forward in a slight lean, but he didn’t quite move through the door. “He’s worried.”
Pepper's lips down turned just the smallest fraction at his suggestion that she see a doctor. "I hardly think that's necessary," she replied, dropping her arms to her sides before moving into the kitchen. Tony was worried. She believed that, but she didn't think a doctor's opinion would ease his mind. How many times had he insisted on not seeing a doctor when she'd suggested it? "For a few bruises, Tony?" she questioned, assuming he had stepped through the door and that Mr Sorenson had done the same. She pulled three wine glasses and filled them all, though hers easily held a third more than the rest of theirs.
"What did she tell you?" Pepper hadn't said a word to Justine, not trusting her first and foremost, but also because there wasn't anything to be done. It had happened, she'd all but asked the green eyes man to take her, and she had asked him to kill her. It wasn't the dying part that had her worried. If Justine had told them every place she was sore, they might have been asking some different questions and she didn't want to talk about it. At all.
"She didn't say anything," Ben said from across the door. "I saw the bruises on her. The bite marks." Pepper had promised him that Justine was all right, but when his sister moved around the apartment, winced when she sat down or when she stood up, when every little move seemed to hurt her, Ben knew better.
Thor knew it as well as they stepped over the threshold into the apartment. The sunny sky outside turned overcast, clouds rolling in with his concern, and the lingering, barely in check anger that someone had hurt Pepper. No sparks dripped from Mjlonir, but it was a near thing. "Pepper." Not Lady, not Miss, not Ma'am, simply her name. "She told only that she could not get you to tell her what had happened." And as soon as Thor had a who, he would find them. There would be no safe place for them in all the nine realms.
“Fuck this,” Tony said, only Silver was still in control right up until the point that Tony strode through the door, so everyone only heard this the moment after he got his first breath of New York air. Tony was in dark neoprene, the glow of his chestpiece aggressively white against the carefully crafted circle of material. In clothing so carefully cut to his form, he looked like an athlete, intensely spare and cut to take the bite out of wind resistance. His expression suited someone who was on the starting line of the Tour de France, intense, distracted, even angry at whatever dared get in his way. He went around Thor as if the man was simply an inconveniently placed piece of furniture.
Tony went straight for Pepper and moved to her side without hesitation. He put his hand on her arm without thinking. “What happened to you?” The way he said it sounded like an order.
It seemed the mistake had been to leave the Door at all, but she'd know better if there was ever a next time. A visible shudder went down her spine at the thought of another time, another ordeal. Thor's and Tony's presence was enough to make her pretend the shudder never happened. "Please calm down, Thor. There isn't any need for Malibu to have a thunderstorm." She was entirely serious, but then Tony was there and his hand was on her arm and she couldn't help it. She reacted. Her arm pulled away from him and she stepped back, right into the counter. "Damn it," Pepper muttered, knowing this wasn't going to help anything. Deep breaths, she reminded herself, and pretend like it didn't happen.
Pepper took a long drink from her wine glass and walked between them, moving out of reach as she made her way into the living area. She didn't sit, even though she wanted to, and held onto the stem of her glass tightly. "It's not a big deal, honestly. Plenty of people died at the party and as you can both see, not really dead. I'm fine."
Tony’s expression went high and narrow as Pepper recoiled from him. She had never done that before, and it took the breath out of him faster than a blow. He rotated to watch her as she moved away and slid past to move out into the long curve of the white sofa, but he didn’t pursue. He stood there for several seconds, absorbing, and then he went to go make a stiff drink, walking right past the wine glass still standing on the counter. No words were immediately forthcoming, with left Thor to fill the silence as Tony apparently busied himself with clinking glasses and slamming cupboards.
There had been very few times that Thor had seen Pepper and Tony together, but even he knew that the way she jumped away from the other man was not a sign that she was, as she said, fine. The clouds did not dissipate overhead, but began to roll and grow darker. Whether Pepper said that Malibu didn't need a thunderstorm or not, it was going to get one. "Fine?" He echoed, voice filled with the same stunned befuddlement that he'd had when he told Ben he'd gotten eaten at the damned party. "She winces every time she moves," he started, all hopes of remaining calm slowly draining away. "She says you will not speak to her, you jump away from Tony and you expect us to believe that you are fine? None of this is fine."
The glass was empty before Thor was even halfway through his reply. Pepper focused on the darkening clouds, the storm that was about to break over the unsuspecting area. She hadn’t been able to help the knee jerk reaction, Tony’s innocent touch making her flashback to the couch, to the green eyed man’s claws and words she had agreed with. “I put up a fight before the person killed me. I’m sorry that she had to deal with my injuries. I didn’t expect that she would...react so poorly. Had I known, I would have kept her through the door until I healed, which is at a significantly faster rate than Ms Sorenson.” Pepper was quite calm as she reasoned her way out of Thor’s accusations. “I do not speak to her because she and I do not get along. I saw no reason to change that even after the events of the party. One, I might point out, I had no intention of going to.” Her calm facade was starting to slip and by the time she spoke again, there was a good bit of dry sarcasm in her words. “Forgive me, if I didn’t want to rehash my evening.” Not that she expected him to understand, or Tony either for that matter. She did, however, expect that her privacy be respected.
Cool cut glass in his hand and whiskey sloshing against perfect cubes, Tony rounded the wet bar and crossed the soft tile of his domain, making almost no sound in his black suit. He did not attempt to near Pepper again, instead choosing the seat at the farthest part of the couch’s curve. He looked out the window at the storm brewing over the ocean for a few moments before apparently turning his attention back to the conversation. His lashes were low over his eyes and his gaze was intent and hooded as he looked at Pepper with obvious concern. His voice was uncharacteristically low. “If you don’t want to talk about it, fine. But you should see a doctor. It’s bad enough, Pepper,” he said, meaning the injuries were obviously deep enough to warrant the effort.
The smallest bit of tension left her shoulders when Tony kept his distance from her. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be touched, she just didn’t want to be reminded of the party any more than strictly necessary and it still felt like it had been just yesterday. There was a part of her that recognized the irony in all of this, that he was showing his worry and concern, that he cared, but now she couldn’t really appreciate it. It was just another reason to hate the green eyed man as far as she was concerned. “They’re bruises. What is a doctor going to say? Put some ice on it?” No, she didn’t think so. Seeing as she was the only one with the doctor’s phone number, Pepper thought it was a safe bet to refuse. She wanted more wine though, so she headed back into the kitchen, giving Thor a wide berth, and refilled her glass.
Thor did not sit as Tony did, nor did he approach Pepper, or fill his hands with a glass of their drink. "They are not only bruises." Bruises didn't account for all the lingering pain that Justine had felt, why she shuffled along so slowly inside the apartment she shared with Benji. Bruises didn't mention the bite marks that they'd both seen. "There is no weakness in seeking the healers if you are injured." There were bruises, the muscle soreness after a thorough sparring lesson that sometimes sent him or the Warriors Three to the healers and they went, mostly without complaint. And while Pepper was not a warrior as they were, that was no exemption.
Tony took a drink from the glass, a deep one, obviously contemplating the exact same problem of a doctor that Pepper just had. Tony didn’t have any of his doctors’ numbers, mostly because his chestpiece was still relatively privileged information. Then it hit him. “We’ll ask Banner. He’s a doctor.” Tony glanced at Thor. “Healer. Same deal. Got an M.D. and everything.” Tony redirected his attention to Pepper. “You need to talk to somebody,” he insisted, feeling increasingly out of his depth and only narrowly avoiding giving Thor a look that demanded he handle this.
It was a feeling that Thor shared in spades. Ben would have been better to handle this, known what to say to comfort Pepper and what had to be done so she would be seen by their healers, or doctors, or M.D.'s, whatever the mortals were calling them now. Even when he tried to go with Ben's suggestions, the words stuck like glue in his mouth, keeping his tongue behind his teeth, and the clouds outside swarmed with his mounting frustration. "Will you go to him?" He asked Pepper, his thumb rubbing up and down the leather handle of Mjolnir.
Pepper rolled her eyes at the pair of them. “They are only bruises, Thor. Bruises in the shape of teeth marks are still bruises and I’ll be sure to stay on this side until they’re healed.” She didn’t even bother commenting on any weakness that might have been there. If they knew what she’d done...but they weren’t going to and she would suffer silently. That Tony suggested Bruce Banner, someone who didn’t even know her, made her skin crawl, but she wasn’t going to say that. Half of the wine in her cup disappeared down her throat while Tony insisted, in part to stop her from saying something she didn’t mean and in part because she needed something to steady her nerves. “Fine,” she huffed. “I’ll talk to him.” She’d say hello, ask him how he was, and she’d be done with it. “Happy?” She finished off her glass, far from pleased.
Tony drained his glass in one. “No. But if you talk to him, I’ll leave you alone.” It was a promise, and Tony was generally about as dependable as the wind, but this case looked like an exception. He wasn’t smiling, and he wasn’t even thinking about smiling. He brought up a hand and rubbed it over his eyes, and he was deliberately avoiding looking at Pepper. She was suffering over there, and if she thought she was hiding it from him, she was wrong. Tony knew Pepper as well as she knew him, and he couldn’t stand watching her hurt, and then hurt as she hid it. “Thor, have a drink or take a pill before you drown the guys out on the oil rig offshore.”
While Tony was making his promise, Thor made none. He had seen and no talking, at least in his mind, was ever going to suffice for what had happened to her. What would have made him happy was to have a name, a detail, anything that he could have used to hunt the man down that had this. His thumb stilled on Mjolnir's shaft at Tony's comment, but it was another few moments before the storm began to abate. Not because Thor was pleased nor relieved, but because it was not his desire to make any mortals suffer for something they had not done. He did not take the other man up on his offer for a pill or a drink -- he could not smell coffee brewing and neither the wine Pepper was drinking or the whiskey that Tony preferred would in any way help. It would not take back the knowledge that Pepper was harmed and that for whatever reason, she trusted neither him nor Tony enough to speak of it. Nor would it take back the knowledge that she had kept it from both of them, that she had outright lied when she said she was fine.
Pepper was not Loki and did not have the years of crafting lies as his brother did. That was, perhaps, the only reason why he knew that she was lying now and it was a burr underneath his skin, a sharp stick that he could not remove. If this had been his brother, he would have -- "Do you know where his chambers are?" He asked Tony.
Even Tony was impressed by the control Thor had over the weather in their immediate area, and his comment had been mostly facetious. He looked with surprise out over the water as the sky cleared somewhat, and idly he lifted the glass and slid a single cube of ice onto his tongue, rolling the bitter taste of the whiskey off of it until his thoughts took on a more cohesive form. He had no idea who had hurt Pepper, except that he knew it wasn’t him. He couldn’t stop thinking that maybe it could have been him, if all this flinching wasn’t exactly the way his victim was behaving around her friends in some other mostly empty living room. He had intentionally cut their conversation short, and even if he’d claimed it otherwise to Selina, it scared him that he was capable of such violence.
Thor shattered this line of thought with his question. Tony spat out the cube. “What? Whose?” Blink. “Oh, Banner’s? Yeah. He’s got a lab.” Tony dropped his hand with the glass in it, dangling the weight low over the carpet between his toes. “Why?” He looked at Pepper, the movement delayed. “You need an address?”
Pepper nodded, accepting Tony’s promise at face value and leaving it at that. She would talk to Doctor Banner and then she could continue on trying to find some semblance of normalcy in her life. As far as she was concerned, the conversation was over and she simply needed to figure out a way to get the pair of them out of her house before they went snooping where they didn’t belong. It was a relief short lived by Thor’s question. “No,” she replied, answering Tony. “I know where his lab is. I also know how to reach him,” she added, pulling out her phone to indicate that she had what she thought was all the pertinent information. “If you need to see him for something, I suggest you contact him yourself, Thor.” Her cool tone and the hard look in her eye - one Tony knew rather well - suggested that Thor should not have even been entertaining the idea of forcing her to go anywhere.
The cool tone, the hard look that may have cowed others that didn't grow under the eye of Odin or the watchful gaze of Frigga, weren't something that he was used to receiving from Pepper. She was not his brother, nor was she Ben's sister and Thor simply looked at her for a long moment before he said, "No. I have no need." What he had need of was answers but before he could open his mouth to ask, Ben quietly told him not to push. Pepper would tell -- and that was all that Thor wanted to hear. Anything more and he was going to put Mjolnir through the wall, frustration feeding into his anger as the clouds darkened once again, his control slipping. His anger was better vented in the sparring ring than here. "Pepper. Tony," he said with a nod of his head and walked back through the door to Las Vegas, the skies clearing once he was gone.
Tony looked after Thor for a second before rising with the obvious intention to return to the wet bar. He was not moving quickly, and he made no move for the door. “Not like you to bitch at him for trying to help,” Tony said casually, clattering the glass on the counter and leaning bottles around each other so he could try to see the labels. He wasn’t watching her face and he was doing everything he could to look busy and to maintain the distance she seemed to prefer. “Or you don’t know who it was that came after you yet?” It made sense to Tony that if Pepper didn’t know, she might treat them all like the enemy.
There was a brief flicker of regret in her eyes as Thor made his exit. She knew he was only worried about her, that Mr Sorenson was worried for his sister, but Pepper couldn’t focus on that. She didn’t want them to worry about her. Worrying would lead to more questions, ones she didn’t want to think about let alone answer. As Tony approached, she was grateful for the distance and relaxed ever so slightly. One on one was much better, and she knew it hadn’t been him at the party, with those piercing green eyes and sharp fangs. Not that she thought Thor was capable of it either, but she didn’t feel so cornered at the moment and that was a good thing. Pepper ignored the first part entirely, focusing instead on the question. “No, I don’t know who it was. It doesn’t matter.” She didn’t particularly want to know either.
Tony looked up with the amber liquid he had chosen still splashing into his glass. His response was sharper than he really meant it to be, his voice strained and snapping. “Why not?”
Pepper didn’t even blink. “Because what good would it do?” she asked him. “We talked, we agreed on some things, disagreed on others. It escalated and I lost. I’m still alive. There’s no sense in trying to find out who it was.” She shook her head. She didn’t want to know who the green eyed man was. It was bad enough that he was there when she closed her eyes at night. She didn’t need a real name, a real face. It would make everything that much more real, when all she wanted to do was forget.
Tony stared at her for a moment, not moving, but the liquid was still pouring and it splashed over the rim and onto the counter. He twitched as the whiskey slid off the beveled edge and dripped onto his leg and shoe. Cursing, Tony jumped back and abandoned bottle, glass and ice, which now floated in a puddle. “Shit. Sorry.” He avoided looking at her, and backed away from the counter, staring blindly toward the door. “Do you want... anything?”
“Yea.” Pepper didn’t quite sound like she believed him as she walked over to the glass that separated her living area from the balcony, just enjoying the calmness outside. It took a good few minutes for her to answer him, and she didn’t even look at him, not even at his reflection in the glass. She didn’t need to, to know she was probably making him uncomfortable. “No, I’m fine. You can go. She’ll be back in Las Vegas shortly. I have a few things that I need to check up on.” It was meant to be a reassurance, even if it came out a bit blandly.
“Alright. Just... call me if you need anything.” She wasn’t fine, but Tony was at a loss. He didn’t want to go near her again because he didn’t think he could handle the hurt, scared look on her face if she pulled back from him again, and he’d done all he could to convince her to talk to someone else. Awkwardly, he wiped his fingers on his shirt, and with a quick, silent word to Silver, he backed away and went out the door, disappearing into the hotel.