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Revision as of 23:00, 12 September 2019

Secret
Dramatis Personae

Steve, Tony

2019-09-07


"Doubt you intended your untimely demise."

Location

<PRV> Tony's Penthouse - Midtown Manhattan


Accessible only by private elevator, this home takes up the top four floors of Stark Tower. Three of them are residential, a luxurious sprawl of space equipped with state of the art technology and a wealth of comforts. Private gym, terraced pool room whose glass walls can be rolled back in summer to turn it into an outdoor balcony, full bar equipped with robotic-armed bartender, extensive home entertainment system. For all its opulence, the place is decorated tastefully, careful coordination through its wood-and-stone look.

The views, through many windows, terraces, balconies, might be the best part of all of it; from this perch high atop the tower, the city spreads out beneath.

The lowest floor of the home is less residential, more technologically bent; packed with a host of robotics, monitors, equipment. Where Tony does the bulk of his personal work, it may well be the real heart of Stark Industries' R&D.

Steve looks somewhat less poleaxed this time when he steps out of the elevator into the spacious opulence of Tony's home, though he still takes a moment to orient himself. He's smartly yet casually dressed, a tailored gray jacket worn open over a blue-and-white-striped seersucker shirt, perfectly fitted straight-leg jeans, and polished black boots. "Good afternoon," he calls, the slight lift of his intonation just enough to sound uncertain, though not questioning exactly.

"Scotch?" Tony's voice is coming from somewhere below. His offered drinks can be seen before the man himself -- a small wheeled drone skims its way over, the domed tray it carries opening up to reveal two squat glasses of whiskey flanking a crystal decanter. Tony is just trotting up the stairs from a lower level of the penthouse, more casual than Steve in jeans, a dark blue tee over a white long-sleeved shirt, sleeves pushed up to his elbows. He's wiping his hands off on a paper towel that he crumples, tosses kind of carelessly aside. A trashcan that he had in no way been aiming for -- that had, in fact, not really been in evidence -- extends itself from a wall near the bar, stretches out an arm to yoink the crumpled ball before it hits the ground. Vanish with the trash whisked neatly away. "How's the hero life been working out?"

Steve's brows furrow, and he peers dubiously at the drone as it approaches, but takes one of the glasses all the same. "Thank you." His eyes snap to the robotic trash receptacle. "Your ah, technology is really something else, Mr. Stark." He pauses, considering his host. "I dropped by the museum downstairs, the other day. Did you have a hand in curating the exhibits?"

"That's, ah. Why my name's on the building." Tony strides over, plucking up the other glass. Lifting it to his mouth as he moves to lean back against a sofa, fingers creaking down into the leather. He takes a swig, raises his brows. "Huh. We have a museum? That's nice of me."

Steve takes a sip of his scotch, too, his eyes widening. He coughs, but manages not to choke. "I -- yes. Down on the ground floor. It's quite extensive." A brief pause, then. "There's some memorabilia of your father's on display, including a letter he sent to me during the war." His cheeks flush pink. "But I'm not actually here about that, so much as..." He takes a much bigger swig of the whiskey. "I assume you know about my relationship with Howard. I wanted to know how much you care about keeping that a secret."

"A secret?" Tony tips his drink outward toward Steve. "You mean like the, uh. The secret love letter secretly displayed in --" His wrist rolls, swirling the scotch in the glass. "Wait, is this a secret museum?"

Steve's face goes stony, and he fixes a flat stare at Tony. "Apparently it was to you," his tone is clipped. "The exhibit called it a letter of friendship. I'm not sure how to interpret that, considering its contents, but --" The red in his cheeks now likely bespeaks anger, though he's clearly struggling to keep it out of his voice. "-- it suggested to me his surviving family might not want to draw attention to that affair."

Tony returns Steve's look steadily, a very small twitch toying at one side of his mouth. "It's never been much of a secret how freely Howard riddled his bedpost with notches. Whole life long." He takes a long swallow of his drink. "Rest of the world never heard the way he'd go on about --" He shakes his head quickly. "Think your worry's aimed in the wrong direction. Only part that might jar with his reputation is figuring out he actually cared about one of his, ah." His hand waves in Steve's direction.

Steve remains frozen save for his slow, steady breathing and his expression growing slowly less angry and more dismayed. "I --" He looks up, as if searching the ceiling for words. "I see. Thank you for explaining that to me." Here he hesitates. Finally just tosses back the rest of his whiskey. That might or might not explain the roughness in his voice when he continues. "I knew his reputation, and it's not as though I intend to go shouting about our love from the mountains anyhow." He doesn't seem to know what to do with his glass. Or himself. "I just thought..." His head shakes, quick and frustrated. "It sounds like I cast a longer shadow across his life than I imagined."

"Doubt you intended your untimely demise." Something twitches in Tony's cheek, his eyes shifting to his own liquor glass. "Most people generally don't." He pushes away from the couch. Moves to refill Steve's glass, and top up his own. "Howard's gone. You, on the other hand. America's golden boy. You've still got a lot of life left to live. Whatever you do choose to. To tell the world. Just --" He sets the decanter carefully back down, eyes tracking stray glimmers of light on the floor as they play through the crystal. "Maybe he doesn't need to cast one over yours, too."

Steve's "Thank you" is quiet, and he stares down into his drink for a moment. "I hadn't planned it, but -- it was my choice. His was the last voice I heard." Some degree of animation returns to him, as if by some effort of will. "Don't know if there's a lot I can do about his shadow, for better or worse, but..." He sips his whiskey. "I'm going to defer to my publicist on how likely we could even keep it coming to light, if I start drawing attention to my ah...orientation. As you pointed out..." He chuckles dryly. "It's not exactly a secret, to anyone looking in the right place."

"Your publicist." Tony's fingers snap -- he looks down at the Scotch in his hand. "Right. I don't know what you pay that man, but I'm sure it's not enough. Especially if you're about to --" He takes a swallow of his drink, looks over Steve thoughtfully. "Well. Guess I'll keep my eye on the papers. I'm sure you'll make a lot of journalists happy. Good, ah -- do you wish people good luck with this?"

"I'll take that into consideration and give him a raise, as soon as I can afford to." Steve seems steadier, now. "I don't know, but I'll take any luck I can get. Maybe it's foolish." Takes another sip of his drink, showing no sign of impairment from having finished his last one so quickly. "But I've done a lot of foolish things in my life that." The twitch of his smile is bittersweet. "And I don't mean to stop."