[Placeholder] Who: Darcy, Tony What: Darcy checks in on dad. When: backdated, right after Tony's net post Notes/Warning: nothing red
Things had been a little chaotic since Jane and Thor’s wedding between all the new people showing up and Steve and Bruce losing their powers. In some ways, Darcy figured she shouldn’t be surprised when Pepper told Tony she was over it all and took Morgan to live in the cabin. It sucked since she didn’t have a lot of the context that would have made Tony’s behavior make a lot more sense. She felt bad for her dad though and wanted to be as supportive as she could.
Which was why she showed up at his door with pizza and beer, letting herself in. “Yo, Pops, where are you?” she called. “I come bearing gifts.”
The penthouse was dimly lit with some wadded up t-shirts and sweatpants strewn between the front door and the couch. There was the sound of rummaging in the kitchen, and the faint aroma of burnt toast was hanging in the air.
A haggard looking Tony peeked around the corner, wearing a tank top and sweatpants that had seen better days, the socks on his feet hopelessly mismatched. His goatee had already blended into the shadow of growing facial hair around it. He blinked incomprehensibly at her for a few seconds until recognition clicked past the fog of a massive hangover.
"Yay, pizza and beer," he noted, sounding like he needed to clear out a frog stuck in his throat. "Good choices, kiddo. C'mon in? I'm set up in the kitchen."
He retreated, plopping down into a chair at the kitchen table. It was cluttered with armor parts, electronic panels, take out wrappers, and empty bottles, all of which were swept aside to make a little room. Luckily, nothing fell off or broke, only made bigger piles than before.
He was looking much rougher than Darcy was expecting and she had to try very hard to keep herself from visibly reacting to his appearance. She was glad that she got a pizza with veggies and meat and wished she’d brought a salad too. Oh well, next time. And she was going to have to keep a much closer eye on him.
“What are you working on?” she asked, eyeing the mess with concern. Next time Tony passed out, she was going to have to come in and clean this place.
There was a regular maid service, but Tony told them to get lost for the week. Whenever that happened, things got very cluttered and messy, very quickly. Given the amount of unwashed dishes in the sink, it was easy to see just how much mess Tony could generate if he was left to his own devices while deep into a project.
"Some weapons upgrades," he explained. He tapped the arc reactor housing still magnetized to his chest. "I have to configure them before breaking down the components into small enough nano-parts to house in this. What've you been up to?"
It was easier to divert focus to other people or things, so he didn't have to cope with them for a while. Alcohol also helped. It was his favorite classic coping mechanism, and since his body was full of nanobots, he wasn't exactly shying away from the hair of the dog that bit him.
He reached for a beer and raised his eyebrows expectantly, like he was waiting to focus on her day instead of his own.
Since Darcy didn’t understand the first thing about his suits or the arc reactor, she didn’t comment, though she suspected what he was doing was dangerous. She’d have to check in with Bruce and make sure he was keeping an eye on the science side of things. And maybe enlist Steve and Peter to help with the care and feeding.
“Work, mostly. I was going to plan a big Thanksgiving dinner for everyone. Do you think we should do it at the Tower or somewhere else?”
Tony opened the beer and took a drink, looking like he was thinking as he downed half of it. When he came up for air he replied, "Depends on how many people are going. I mean, the people over at Charlie's place probably wont' have homes to go back to, without getting arrested. Maybe rent a place, or ask the Professor if he has a big enough dining room for everyone."
He sat the beer down and skipped the pizza, picking up a circuit board and popped up a holo-screen, starting to manipulate the conductive connections.
"Who's on the invite list," he asked, his attention momentarily diverted to the task at hand.
“You should eat some pizza while it’s hot,” Darcy said, trying to get his attention away from his technical fiddling to some sustenance that he clearly needed. She opened the box and took a slice out for herself, not bothering to find a plate in the mess and just eating over the box lid. Maybe the scent would entice him.
As for Thanksgiving, she shrugged. “All the people who are displaced in this universe, I guess. I can talk to Xavier and see what he says. Gotta look into hiring a caterer too.” No way was Darcy capable of cooking for a few dozen people and she didn’t think anyone else was either. Maybe Bruce, but she wouldn’t ask him to do something like that.
Like clockwork, the smell of pizza was too potent to resist, and one of Tony's hands reached out for a slice. He folded it like any good New Yorker would do, pausing to enter in some last bit of configuration coding. The circuit board reconfigured itself by the time he took the first bite.
No stranger to multitasking, even after a binger, Tony thought about it. Having other things to focus on was easier than thinking about his own problems, anyway.
"Definitely wanna cater that," he replied between bites. "Not cool to ask someone to use their house and then not have caterers roll in. You still got one of the business expense cards? Use that and spare no expense. Get pie for everyone."
In all honesty, most people shoveled in the dinner so they could get to the pie, before their Thanksgiving coma set in.
Distracted eating was still eating and Darcy would take what she could get right now. She hated seeing Tony in this much pain and wished there was more she could for him. “All right, so I’ll talk to Charles and then, if there’s not a place at the mansion, find a place to rent. And I’ll line up caterers.”
Maybe she could convince Pepper to let her pick up Morgan for the holiday. Or at least for a few hours. They had a decent relationship and it would give Tony a chance to spend time with her. She wasn’t going to mention it to him though, not wanting to get his hopes up in case it didn’t work.
“What’s your favorite kind of pie?” she asked.
The custody agreement looked good on paper, and Pepper wasn't keen on not letting their daughter visit. Just not 'around the suits.' Which was going to be a problem now that he put the suit IN him, but he imagined it meant when he wasn't openly doing never ending upgrades and improvements.
He polished off his first slice, washing it down with the rest of the beer. He reached for another piece - likely his last for a while - since he was already eyeing the circuit board as though he spied something there could be tweaked.
"Lemon meringue. Pumpkin. Pecan. Holy trinity of Thanksgiving pie." He looked over at her as though really fully focusing on her for the first time since she arrived. "You?"
Darcy gave him a slightly confused look. “I didn’t know lemon meringue was a Thanksgiving pie,” she said. “I’m boring, I like apple best.” There was probably a joke to be made there about her crush on Steve, but hopefully Tony was too distracted to make it. She hadn’t really talked to him much since he was back to normal.
Finishing her own slice, she grabbed a beer and popped off the top.
He looked at her like she had to be off her rocker as he ate the second piece, until it dawned on him that he hadn't told her much about the relatives she wouldn't get a chance to know. Even thinking about it was uncomfortable.
"Your grandmother, Maria, had that whole Italian heritage thing. She used to get these Limoncello Meringue pies for holidays. Not the really super sour stuff or anything..." As his voice trailed off he shrugged a shoulder, looking away. "Apple's good too. Maybe you can bring one to impress Steve."
Tony had no problems with a conversational diversion during uncomfortable topics. He even wagged his eyebrows a little, before reaching for another beer. After opening it, he nearly drained the entire contents in one go without coming up for air.
Somehow, it had never really occurred to Darcy to ask him about his parents or family traditions. She knew that Tony and his father had a difficult relationship and that Howard had been good friends with Steve so she always sort of avoided it. It was nice hearing about it though and she appreciated him sharing with her, even though she did sense it was an awkward topic for him.
“Well, then, lemon meringue for sure,” she said with a slight smile. When he made the joke about apple pie, she rolled her eyes. “Yeah, right. I’m sure that’ll work.”
She was content with being friends with Steve.
"Never know, it could. But the whole marriage thing?" He shook his head and wrinkled his nose slightly, setting the empty soldier down on the table. "Morgan aside? It's worth it but not worth it. Pep and I probably should have kept doing that whole cohabitation thing because this kinda makes it...."
Worse. That's what he wanted to say, it made it worse. He hated failing at anything. If he did, even a perceived failure, it ate away at him and kept him awake at night. The problem was when it was something he couldn't tinker with, improve upon, or fix. Like this. It either worked or it didn't. And it didn't.
"You probably have better things to do than to watch your old man get wasted," he said suddenly. "Pity parties are the most unfun parties ever. You don't have to stay, you know. You live downstairs."
If he set himself on fire on accident, Friday would send Darcy an alert anyway.
“Hey, if you want company, I’m yours,” Darcy said. “If you don’t, I’ll skedaddle.” She wasn’t going to cramp his style or overstay her welcome, but she also didn’t want him to think that she’d prefer to be elsewhere. “We could have movie night. Or game night. I don’t have any plans.”
She wished she had some words of comfort or wisdom for him, but she knew that nothing she could say would make him feel better and she wasn’t going to offer hollow words.
The no pressure approach seemed to work. Tony stared at Darcy for a while, blinking every so often, knowing that he would be inundated with people either checking in on him or acting as a drinking buddy.
"You know what? Yes to movie night. Let's watch something cheesy." He pushed his chair back away from the table, swaying slightly as he stood up. "Friday? Finish configuring this part for maximum output, so I can cram it back in my bod."
"Of course," the AI responded like a long suffering secretary, as lines of programming began scrolling across the holoscreen.
Tony closed the pizza box to pick it up.
"C'mon," he said with a smirk. It was a devastating loss, but he had known loss before. He managed to out stubborn it before too, even if that process was messy. "Lets find something to watch."
Darcy was pleased that he accepted her offer since it was clear he was in pretty bad shape and she didn’t really want to leave him alone. “Yeah, okay,” she said. “You pick.” Maybe he’d even fall asleep if they got comfortable watching. That would be good too.