Who: Bobbi Morse and Tony Stark Where: Tony's lab When: Tonight What: Bobbi comes with a proposal Rating: Green
Tony was still holed up in his lab, fingers tapping away at as he leaned in toward a screen in front of him. He'd been out on two overnight test flights and was typing out some aerodynamics notes to Shuri. Sleep was for the weak, and that's why Tony was working on yet another cup of coffee. While half the screen contained the note he was writing and filling up with an alarming amount of math, the other window behind it displayed various schematics and designs.
For once, it was blessedly quiet as he finished the last set of numbers and stopped, reaching for his coffee and letting his eyes skim over the screen, checking over his work.
Except his hand didn’t touch the coffee cup. Instead there was another hand over the rim, holding it down. There were scars at various age cross crossing the back of the hand and knuckles from defensive wounds against knives or what have you. Hey, life as a SHIELD agent didn’t leave you with supermodel smooth skin. But at least she still wore bikinis.
Bobbi had slipped into the lab unnoticed, and glad she hadn’t lost her touch. Of course, she registered as non-hostile so whatever alarm system of Stark’s she missed wasn’t screaming like a banshee or summoning Banner or worse. There was a blinky light on a nearby monitor that was trying to tell Tony someone was on this floor.
When he looked he would see Bobbi smiling...but not wearing a bikini.
Big brown eyes followed that hand, all the way up an arm, to the body they belonged to, and finally he tipped his head back to stare fixedly at Bobbi's smiling face. Right. The former SHIELD bikini lady that he hired as a Stark Industries security guard. He really kept screwing himself by hiring spies and at least one intergalactic outlaw, two of the most historically sneaky and potentially deadly professions out there.
"Security breach!" Tony chirped, a little too cutely. A little chuckle slipped out, a nervous habit he was never able to shake. He sat back and folded his arms over himself, his gaze flickering toward the other monitor where he saw the blinking, and silently cursed himself for being hyper focused again. "Is that a good smile or a bad smile? Because you can kill me and get it over with, or get your hand off my jet fuel."
Which was the actual name of the coffee he used to drink. He upgraded to Death Wish, which he hoped wasn't some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Especially right now.
The cuteness got a smirk and a huff of amusement from Bobbi. So far he was living up to his reputation. She just hoped that was as much of his personality that would come out. She didn’t feel like being hit on, thanks. This was business.
“If I were here to kill you it would have happened by now so it’s a good smile.” As suggested, Bobbi took her hand off the coffee mug. “What are you working on?” Her eyes went to his monitor as she asked.
Since there was a Pepper to hit on, Bobbi didn't have to worry. Sure, Tony Stark certainly had a roaming eye, but Pepper Potts was always and forever going to be the woman he wanted. The other thing he wanted was his coffee, which he slowly slid toward him while watching Bobby for any sudden moves.
Tony eyed the computer for only a few token seconds, before he blurted out, "Running thrust numbers for the suit. Sharing some of the last test numbers with Shuri."
The schematics weren't suit related though, and it wasn't clear if they were being shared. They were definitely older SHIELD weapon designs, from the time that Tony helped SHIELD upgrade the helicarriers. Right before Cap & Friends plummeted them down into the Potomac.
A second glance and Tony quickly covered that up by maximizing the window with the test results. He smiled a disarming smile up at Bobbi before asking, "To what do I owe the honor of this visit, Miss Morse? Is it missus, or miss or mizz? I can't figure it out, but it's better than hey, you. Speaking of hey you? It's getting warmer out. Are you gonna be doing that whole bikini weather thing here at work? Because I think that's against dress code. Fair warning."
The corner of Bobbi’s lips twitched when she watched Tony move like a cat trying to slink past a pack of sleeping dogs. She was briefly tempted to stomp forward to make him jump but decided games wasn’t why she was here and stayed still.
Bobbi had been a full time Agent at the time the helicarriers had been brought down. She definitely recognized the schematics that she caught a glimpse of. Her curiosity was definitely piqued.
“Just Bobbi is fine,” she answered. The bikini thing was ignored. “I’m here on behalf of a mutual friend.” Everything about her went serious, business like even though she hadn’t made a move. “There’s a thought that we’d like to turn into a plan, and we’d like you on board.”
Tony leaned away approximately one inch, watching Bobbi go from friendly infiltrator, to dead serious secret agent. Of the flip-floppy spook variety. By the way one of his eyebrows arched up, Tony was definitely displaying the more wary-but-interested side of his personality. All talk of bikinis was long forgotten.
"Ok, Bobbi. Spill. Because if there's one thing I'm on board for, it's planning ahead."
It was interesting to watch Stark switch from one fragment of himself to another. No wonder he’d been kept under observation. That unpredictability could be good, but it also made him a loose cannon. Bobbi didn’t like things like that. They tended to lead to her getting tied to a chair and tortured.
“There’s a popular if discrete opinion that this place could use something like SHIELD.” No sense pussy footing around. Fury hadn’t told her to be delicate. “Something like what SHIELD had been meant to be. Fury thinks you will back this idea.”
That unpredictability was what got Tony (and other people) into and out of trouble. It was what put him a head above his own AI programs, because he could think outside the box. Outside the box was where all the interesting things were.
After a bout of silence, Tony proved how unpredictable he was by looking uncharacteristically solemn for nearly thirty seconds. When his lips finally parted as though he was going to speak, what came out instead was what could only be described as a high pitched giggle.
Not because it was amusing. He appreciated the bluntness and candor, and it wasn't like Bobbi or Nick were wrong. It was merely a nervous tick he never got rid of. As of late, his nerves were on edge due to a situation that he was trying to plan for, from every conceivable angle. A revamped SHIELD was one of those angles he was tooling around with. It wasn't that he trusted Fury completely, or any of the people that once worked for Fury. Tony's full trust extended only to people like Pepper, Rhodey, or Happy. But, over time, he found he trusted Fury's opinion more than he wanted to openly admit. Probably due to Fury approaching him like he actually gave a rat's ass, even when they were pissed off at one another.
Finally, the chuckling stopped and Tony was left with a lopsided smile on his face. He didn't want to give away too much of his own planning phases, so his guard went up just a little bit.
"Okay. Wild guess? Fury sent you in. So how discreet is this opinion, and why don't you tell me what SHIELD can do for me laaaaately," Tony said with a sassy little side-to-side sway of his head. He folded his arms and leaned back in his chair, after swiveling it more toward Bobbi. It was obvious that his full attention was now focused on her and her every word.
Bobbi could give Agent Hill lessons in stoicism, but unlike Fury’s right hand, Bobbi knew that it was healthier...and more fun...to not have a stick up your ass 24/7. So when Tony started giggling like a teenage girl with a crush her brows twitched upward. Soon that was followed by her lips pulling up into a crooked smile, then an outright grin. “Note to self: Don’t break the R&D wizard.”
And that was right there was what Fury and this new SHIELD wanted from Stark. As for what they could offer Stark? That was a little more nebulous. Bobbi’s grin became a smirk. “Mutual assistance agreement,” she supplied. “You scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours.” She switched to a bad Jack Sparrow accent. “Savvy?”
"Like what? An intel exchange?" Tony looked off to one side while considering the offer, one hand rising up to rub over his chin. It wasn't a bad idea, although he wasn't ready to reveal any of his planning regarding the HYDRA resurgence issue. "If I hand it over to Fury, that might be doable. I mean, who doesn't like a good back scratching?"
As though going back on high alert, he sat up a little straighter.
"Tell him no going behind my back or backstabbing," he added, looking a little agitated as he grabbed at his coffee cup. "Got something to say, say it to my face. Only caveats I've got. Not negotiable. Take it or leave it."
“Intel. Assistance. Someone goes after us, you help. Someone goes after you, we help. Give and take.” Fury could negotiate the weapons designs. Bobbi had flat out refused to do that. Open the doors, sure. Feel out the willingness. Absolutely. The bitter details were up to people with more authority than her, thank you.
To Tony’s demand she just shrugged a shoulder. “When have you ever known Fury to hold back his opinion?” Rarely. Hold back intel? Sure, but he’d tell you how things were and harshly.
Tony took a long drink of coffee while looking aside, like he was really mulling things over. If one listened close, they might hear a pin drop, or the gears of his mind whirring at full speed. If he played this right, it really could benefit everyone on the network, entirely. Not to mention, help get those weapons mopped up. Still, it was better to keep any cards held close to his chest, and for once, Tony was compelled to clam up rather than word vomit. There was a lot to consider and he had a lot of things already on his mind.
While he didn't need the help on his end, it was a tempting offer. He was still convinced there weren't many people that would have his back, so he had to have a 360 degree view of everything at all times, and deal with anything that came up on his own. He wasn't beyond working with others, though. Steve, Bruce, and whoever else wanted him to. But at this point, he was starting to feel redundant, and like saving the world like a big damn hero was going to rest firmly on his shoulders.
He swallowed at the thought and drew in a deep breath, letting it out in a harsh exhale.
"True? He doesn't. I'd still want full disclosure. Not just unfiltered opinions on how big of an asshole I am." He turned the chair so he was facing the computer screen again. "I mean, I already know that. It goes without saying. Otherwise? Sure. It's not sounding like a shit deal or anything."
Better to keep it casual and non-committal at this juncture. Bobbi approaching him with an offer was like the universe was giving a big thumbs up at what he was already working on.
Bobbi wasn’t caught up on everything that had happened in the city. Not yet, anyway. She’d get up to speed ASAP. For right now she could read Tony’s underlying body language and knew there was something important she should learn and fast. She made a mental note to ask Fury about it.
She smirked as she crossed her arms, watching Tony. “You two get to hash out the details. I’m just the lucky one that got to feel you out.” And if Stark didn’t jump on that there was something seriously wrong with him.
Tony gave a dismissive shrug while sipping coffee, looking as though his mind was on about a million and one other matters. Which they were, because now there was a lot more things to work on. As fast as possible.
"Sure, that's great. Tell unjolly ol' Saint Nick that he knows where to find me." He glanced up at Bobbi and smirked. "I think it's debateable about who the lucky one is. Fury likes to send me pretty faces that are capable of killing me seven ways from Sunday. Pfft! Please. He's getting preditable trying to predict my predictability."
After setting his coffee aside, Tony rolled his eyes and looked back at the monitor. He launched into typing a stream of numbers again.
"Since you're here and got a good look around," he said, "got any security concerns you wanna bring up?"
Oh, Fury had had a reason for sending Bobbi, and it hadn’t been because she was pretty to look at. Bobbi was the one you sent into an interrogation, and she was scary good at it. Emphasis on the scary part. She’d gotten more information from Tony than he might suspect...then again, he ran with Romanoff.
“There’s a blind spot by the central heat and air units,” she answered with a grin. “Not the ducts. Those are overly covered, including inside them. This is by the backup generator behind them all.” Then she made a show of thinking. “You should watch The Matrix again. Between the walls is vulnerable. I disabled the vibration triggers too easily. And they could be diverted so your systems would never know there was anything wrong. Should I go on or just bring it up to head of security?”
Natasha had a scary sort of insight where Tony was concerned, so those two could probably compare notes. It wasn't something that he liked to think about too much. SHIELD agents usually made him wary after he uncovered the secret agenda while on the helicarrier, during Loki's "I'm adopted" meltdown. Some people - who still had family members left - desperately needed some family counseling.
Tony was listening, even if it looked like he was honed in on the computer screen. The Matrix remark got a snort of amusement. He finished typing and glanced up at Bobbi.
"You can go on if you want. You just told Friday. Are you on it, Friday?"
"I've heard every word," Friday responded. "Adjusting security parameters as we speak."
"I'd say tell her, but she's a little funky about chatting with other people," Tony said with a shrug. He wasn't sure where in the coding that had gone too far, but it wasn't intentional on his part. Just like Jarvis, Friday had her own distinct personality. "You should probably tell the head of security too. Happy needs a good scare. Keeps him on his toes."
A.I.s made Bobbi twitch. She didn’t trust anything that could learn that fast and be unpredictable as well as unseen. So her expression went blank when this Friday spoke up. Learning that the A.I. lurked everywhere in the building didn’t make her feel much better. She’ll have to tell Fury that.
“I’ll make a full report,” she muttered. It was time to go. “Don’t stay up too late.” She gave Tony a wink then turned to go. “You’ll ruin your eyes sitting that close to the monitor.”
If she didn't like regular Friday, it was a sure thing that Franken-Friday would be nightmare fuel. Franken-Friday was an ever-evolving system that was always scrambling and unscrambling packets, running interference on the Avengers Network so it was untraceable while creeping throughout the Stark Industries internet satellites and the internet hub in Oslo. It was the same thing that Tony discovered when the remnants of Jarvis was keeping Ultron from obtaining nuke codes. While it started out as a copy of the Friday operating system, it was now what Tony liked to call a 'beneficial virus.' A pretty amusing one too, that he was still tinkering with when he got bored.
Right now, he wasn't bored. He looked amused and even winked back at her.
"I'll just make my HUD bigger," he said, waving a hand before reaching for his nearly empty coffee cup. "See you later, huh?"