1963-11-11 - Behind Every Powerful Man
Summary: Pepper Potts and Wilson Fisk meet at a dinner of high ranking city officials and business men. They discuss work, women and the city's problem with super heroes.
Related: All of the Meanest Town on Earth plots
Theme Song: None
pepper kingpin 

Business gatherings are all too frequent in NYC, and with recent events, they have become far more political than in the past. This means that while overall the crowd hasn't changed much (the same class of people have been invited), it has become peppered with a bevy of politicos. Those more business-minded have taken to bending the ear of whichever governor will listen. La Caravelle has been booked in its entirety, and only those with invitations have been permitted entrance.

But where the invitation came from is a relative mystery. Whoever they are, however, felt the need to invite the most powerful members of the business community in addition to City Council in its entirety.

Upon arrival, however, those in attendance may be further perplexed by the open bar, set up buffet, and unusual lack of program for something someone has planned. Clearly, at some point, there is likely to be a speech or discussion around the state of the union.

Wilson Fisk stands nursing a single glass of red wine as Mayor Wagner expounds the disaster that City Hall had become just twenty four hours ago. After taking a long sip of his wine, Fisk manages a stitch of a smile, "Consider the offer, and, I encourage you, along with the rest of Council, to fund the program. With money freed up from what you would've needed to fix the Park, you will finally be able to afford the task force — "


Of course, Tony Stark was invited to this gathering. And, of course, Tony would much rather be in his lab. He seemed to be going through the mad genius side of his personality instead of the drunk playboy these days. It's still a headache for Pepper, just in different ways. And there is surprisingly less clean up. But, having read the invitation twice and done a bit of research on the meeting, Pepper deigned it important enough that ONE of them should be there. This wasn't just about industry, this was about the future of the city. A city where they very much wanted to keep doing business.

So, the redhead put on her best green dress, not so low cut as to look like a call girl but certainly tight enough to show off every generous curve. She's drawn her hair back in a tighter, more calm style than is in fashion. It looks professional and subdued, not like one of those gogo dancers at the club. She's not spoken much, but she's sitting alone and listening. Pale eyes remain narrowed, tracking across almost everyone who is speaking. She's got the look of a woman who hasn't missed a single thing said in this room yet.

Once Fisk is finished speaking to the rather tipsy, too loud mayor, Pepper's slender brows arch. She stands, brushing past him in the casual way of someone going to get a drink, but there is too much purpose behind the route to the open bar for her to not have done anything BUT choose to walk past him. She's within a foot or two as she orders quietly, "Gin and tonic, please. No… the Hendricks, if you have it." She will be quite cross if they don't have a good gin back there.

A casual, pretty smile is given in Fisk's direction, the expression meaning to be played off as idle chat and flirting. If she was better at it, she'd do the vacant bimbo eyes, but she isn't. "…You have a program… in front of the Mayor?"


Wilson Fisk, businessman, has an air of civility as he allows himself to be drawn away from the mayor. A stitch of a smile toys at the edges of his lips, and he easily twists back towards the bar in a slow following of the woman who addresses him. His smile turns toothy as a self-deprecating chuckle emits from his lips, followed by a very bashful drop of his chin. The question, in all its casualness is all-too-reminiscent of his precious Vanessa.

He straightens his tie as his chin lifts, seemingly having noticed it had become askew when his chin had dropped in its shy telling. "Not exactly," the gravelly depth of his voice carries with it that same civil amusement. "The program is just a suggestion of a concerned citizen. Much like many others. Funding, however, has been an issue." He lifts his hand, "We all recognize the heroics exercised by many vigilantes across the city, but ultimately, that unchecked power has precipitated into the nonsense we're seeing today. I merely suggested, over a year ago, that city council create its own police force tasked with dealing with the extraordinary." He shrugs his shoulders. "Civil society needs to govern itself within the confines of the power structures already employed."


A glass of something elegant and clear is handed to Pepper, lime perched on the edge, and she sets down a dollar in tip for the drink. Clearly, she's not a woman who wants for money, as it's done thoughtlessly and without waiting for any sort of change. She then steps away from the bar, closer to the smiling barrel of a business man, her own artfully bronze lips pulling into a warmer, more curious smile.

"…Yes, the amount of damage alone being done to the city is… untoward. I know New York attracts trouble, but this is pushing the limits." She clears her throat then, Pepper's expression a touch more thoughtful as she watches his eyes as much as his face. Just what *was* this man up to? He certainly had a different energy than anyone else in the room. "But… how do you do that without just risking more police? It is not fair to put an unpowered individual up against these powered vigilantes. It seems just asking for more people to be hurt."


Fisk nods slightly at the question as concern furrows his eyebrows, "You bridge communities by actively recruiting and engaging those that have powers with those that do not." His forehead smoothes and he sucks in a long breath before sipping at his very red wine. "You see, Miss Potts," yes, he does know who she is, "the key to negating the current unrest in this city is to ensure everyone's interests are protected. As it stands, a police force that would pair both powered and unpowered individuals to deal with the extraordinary could actually work within the system rather than around it."

He issues her a one-shouldered shrug. "That way justice returns to the system rather than the vigilantes. As it stands, vigilantes cause massive property damage without second thought. At the very least, a police force trained to address our current issues could engage in a meaningful way and help citizens feel safe once again."


The first slight crack in her perfectly put together exterior, smiling, smooth, completely in control, is when he says her name. She had no name tag on and had managed to disappear into the wood work most of the night. Almost all the other men simply assumed she was someone's airheaded date. It let her listen to many a conversation with that pretend-vacant smile. But, apparently, someone was more savvy than that.

"…You will have to forgive me for not properly introducing myself, Mr. Fisk… I wasn't aware anyone even knew who I was." Or cared, more so. But he's not the only one who has done his homework about who is in this room. That smile returns a heartbeat later, her startlement not lasting, but she does look genuinely interested in the possibility. "It's…not a poor choice. I know the government had been trying something, but that was shut down. If you could find regular police *willing* to work with powered individuals… I think many of these 'heroes' do wish to help, they simply don't have the training." Her boss included.


That same nearly-shy smile turns up Wilson's lips. "Of course, Miss Potts. No apology needed, truly." His smile eases some, "I take it Mister Stark was either too busy or disinterested in joining us tonight. Pity, really. I would have enjoyed hearing his musings on the state of the union as it were." His lips twist to the side and he observes an odd moment of silence at the strange loss of Tony's company. "That said," he interrupts that one oddly somber moment, "he's far braver than most in here would assume if he let you come on your own." He lifts a hand in apology, "In a room full of predators, a truly inspired personal assistant is a commodity." He chuckles again, "I doubt you'd let yourself be so leveraged, but know that you could always find a home in Fisk Industries." Pause. "A well-paid one at that."

The smile subdues as he allows the topic to shift again. "Indeed. I feel that seeking volunteers would be the first step for such a task force, and I mean volunteers on both sides. For the task force to work, both individuals in partnership would need to want to be in partnership."


A slight chuckle, edged with a sigh, as he comments about Mr. Stark being too busy. Pepper knew this was not a man to insult, but from that look in his eyes (and the fact she knows just who and what she is), he's also probably not a man she can bullshit well. "Tony cares." Tony is it? She's that close with her boss? "And there is… very much part of him that wants to be here. If he didn't care, I wouldn't be here. But Tony is like a lot of geniuses and his focus on the world is often… skewed. When something consumes him, it's all that matters, even when he will realize later on he very much wished to be a part of this and supporting what the city is trying to do." It's actually pretty much the truth, if a very eloquently made excuse that makes her boss sound both helpful and interested without actually being present. She paints that pretty, confident smile back on her face.

"So…I am here. I make certain his focus is where it needs to be, even if he's not there at the moment." His comment about her being a commodity makes her laugh genuinely, "Mm, the offer is kind, but you are correct. My loyalty to Stark Industries goes beyond money. The other reason I can stand here." Yes. Pepper Potts just said she was something Wilson Fisk cannot buy, and she looks calm and confident about that.

She's also happy to move onto the topic at hand again. She takes a long sip of her gin as she considers that task force…"But… money needs to be there even before the volunteers are. And… a control structure. Who holds the leash to this all? It could be a very excellent…or a very dangerous idea, depending on that."


"The money is available if Council will take it," Fisk replies softly only to lift his hand again. "I have not offered to fund that particular endeavour, but I have offered to foot the bill to rebuild the Park. As it stands, Council stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be spent elsewhere if no one steps up to fund Central Park." Slowly he sips at his wine. He swallows. "I would imagine others would be so willing as well."

It's then that he finally steps forward, clears his throat, and commands the attention of the room. "Gentlemen," he addresses those gathered, and then adds, "and ladies," because he will not neglect half the room, "I have invited you here today to implore you to join me in funding the repair of Central Park. Currently, this city stands at a crux where disaster has befallen it far too long, and it stands to be in a state of disarray long-term without your assistance. I encourage you, therefore, to join me in bailing out our current government in repairing what is an important historic landmark. Please talk to the mayor directly if you would like to join the project."

A murmur falls over the room as Fisk takes a step back and redirects his attention to Pepper, "I trust you will share this information with your boss and his rather loose purse strings," that might be a dig against Tony, but with the gentle tone, it's hard to tell for certain.


As the solid man begins speaking louder, Pepper's brows both arch. Well, now they're all going to think she's HIS mistress, she's standing so damn close, but maybe that's better than the rumors she was sleeping with Tony for a while. No one can just accept a pretty woman with a brain stands on her own. She listens quietly, watching the rest of the room quite carefully as he speaks. Who looks eager to fall into line with this man already. Who looks wary. How the government is responding to this clear show in social power over them. It's like a chess game, but social politics always was.

When he turns back to her, a slightly amused smile crosses her bronze lips. "… Who do you think controls those rather loose purse strings, Mr. Fisk? If you can get the government to be willing to accept your…Program, of course we will donate. But making the Mayor look foolish in front of half a dozen people who donated to his campaign isn't necessarily the best way to get him on your side, you know?"


"No, but social pressure is," Fisk replies idly before bringing his wine to his lips. "Getting the money for the Park will mean having a release of other funds. Currently the Mayor may have reservations about the program, but no one has reservations about fixing the Park. I anticipate by the end of today, at least half a dozen individuals will loosen their purse strings and will fund the Park's repair."

He shoots her a grim smile. "My lovely Vanessa," Missus Fisk, "suggested the soiree. And while she couldn't be here, her mind works far more mechanically than my own. She's not wrong. Once the Park is funded, then Council will have the resources to deal with the city's other problems." He shrugs. "It's unfortunate, but politics require far more capital than even Council has access to, especially in these times. So, she argued, let's give them access."


Vanessa. That name is marked in the back of Pepper's mind as someone to pursue in the future. A cross if interest flickers through her blue eyes also. "Vanessa. She sounds like my kind of woman. Intelligent *and* with an understanding of business. There are too few of us out there." Pepper makes a thoughtful sound at the back of her throat. "You'll have to give her my card, if you wouldn't mind. I'd love to take her to business." The ladies who lunch, of course. Only, Pepper and Vanessa are probably far more dangerous talking over cocktails than most upper east side women.

The redhead then does set her drink down so she can reach into her little clutch and pull out two of her cards. "One for you, one for your Vanessa. As soon as the mayor gives the nod to the program, call me. Stark Industries will no doubt beat any donation any other tech company makes. I know Tony." A little hint with that still flashing smile, as to how to get the most money for a charity project out of her boss.


"I'm sure my wife would be delighted to make your acquaintance, Miss Potts. She's truly the brains behind our business, and the beating heart as well," a fond, extremely genuine, smile plays over Wilson's features. There's no question, this man adores his wife. "And, I agree. I believe it would be useful for you two to connect. She's aiming to visit a free clinic in the Kitchen in the coming weeks, and I'm certain she would appreciate the company if you wished to join." He shoots Pepper an easier smile. "And, perhaps, Mister Stark would wish to invest in the clinic as well. There are so many out there in need of assistance in our fair city. We all must do our part."

He easily takes the cards and issues her a nod. "Thank you, Miss Potts." There's a pause. "Thank you for your attendance, your care, and your continued to support to make New York the best it can be. Both my wife and I will certainly be in touch."


Pepper's smile is genuine, even if there is a small trace of something almost uncomfortable behind it. Maybe it was simply Wilson Fisk's size — something in Pepper's female brain that says men that big are dangerous. Cross to the other side of the street. Or other instincts, but how can she even listen to those when he speaks of his wife like an angel? Clearly, he wasn't a bad man. So, Pepper takes a breath and pushes away that initial worry, her smile warming for a heartbeat or two, "Now I cannot wait to meet her more. And it's been an… expected pleasure to meet you, Mr. Fisk. It's rare that a man actually listens to a woman, much less acknowledges she might have some brains."

Pepper slips her clutch's long chain back over her shoulder and scoops her drink up again. "I will pass along your words to Mr. Stark. I have no doubt that we will all be working together in the future." And with that, Pepper dips her head and turns to go. She needn't monopolize his time. ANd, she wanted to hear what other people were saying about him, and this project.


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