1964-11-11 - In Loving Memory of the Champagne Tower
Summary: Another black tie event, another chance for Strange and Tony to judge their peers.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
tony strange 

It's some black tie affair, and with no Pepper on his arm, Tony finds himself standing beside Strange, a glass of scotch in his hand. Once again, the two most excellent men in New York are holding court among the lower beings. "Are you having as much fun as I am?" he says. He gestures to an older CEO of some company, who is laughing like a donkey hee-hawing. "No one's having as much fun as that guy, though."

Cutting a sleek figure in obsidian-dark suit and silver temples, charming in his usual aloof manner, Strange nods in a restrained manner in regards to Tony's comment. Condensation collecting on the highball glass of golden whiskey licks at his palm as he clinks the perfect sphere of ice about within it.

"I would be jealous save for the fact that if he keeps drinking as much as he is, jaundice will be the least of his worries," replies the good Doctor quietly. "Maybe he's attempting to go out in style. In a way, I like the idea." He too is lacking his companion, the Witchy half of his Sorcerous life, and so it seems natural enough to engage further with Stark. After all, the man's just filled with pithy comments that tickle old (bad) habits based in his surgical past.

"There's something to be said for that," Tony says. He's been putting away the scotch all night, himself, but unlike Hee-Haw, he's a functional drunk. He gestures to the young woman who was on Hee-Haw's arm, but is now standing off to the side looking uncomfortable. "She might need comforted," he mentions. "It falls to men like us to do good work in the world." Still, he doesn't approach her, not just yet. Pepper hasn't been gone all that long. "So how is the doctoring business? That's what you do, isn't it?" Like he doesn't know Strange's public dossier.

The young woman is considered and Strange slides a glance to Tony.

"You might be doing her a favor, in the end," he opines before shifting his weight about. Rolling his shoulders loosens up his poise a little, makes him potentially more approachable. "The…" He lingers over the word and finally clicks his tongue before continuing." — doctoring business is busy enough these days. You'd be amazed at what the cat drags in, to use a turn of the tongue. Or you might not. You see enough in your suit and public persona as is, I'd wager. I've yet to see you flying about in it, however, which I count as somewhat of a shame. It's brightly-colored enough." A little curl of a grin here.

Pot ribbing a kettle of same blackish hue, man with the crimson Cloak that might as well constitute a bull's-eye on his shoulders.

"You should come over sometime," Tony says, taking the ribbing with a grin as he continues to idly scan the room. "I'll show you the magic." He says the word wryly. It's no big secret how he feels about mysticism compared to cold, hard technology. 'It's all science,' he's been known to say.

"Business has been a little slow, though," he says. "You wouldn't think so, given everything going on in the world. Is it wrong hoping something bad enough happens they'll call us up? Yeah, that's wrong."

A quiet laugh follows Tony's self-inflicted addendum.

"Indeed, don't wish chaos on all of us for the sake of slaking boredom. Knowing the world as I do…something will turn up — sooner than later, and then we'll both be wishing it hadn't done so." The whiskey is a good year and it's smooth going down, warming from within with the same gentle insistence as a hot washcloth to sore muscles. Yep, someone's moderately tense, even if they're hiding it well, and the liquor is appreciated.

"I'd be interested to see what Stark Technologies is currently working on. See this…magic of yours," Strange says with a sense of fond amusement for the word. The fingers of his free hand twiddle in the air before to accent the word — wait, were those little sparkles of light from nowhere? Maybe not; maybe the drinks are getting to folks and it's a bit like the stars that twinkle when you move your head too fast.

Tony concedes to Strange's point about something being bound to happen with a gesture of his glass. The doctor speaks a regrettable truth. Tony is himself not so much tense as maybe too relaxed. There's a sense of inevitability about him, and it makes for a staggering lack of care.

"I did something interesting in the ballistics lab the other day," he says. "I don't know that I'd call it magic, but it beggars belief. I almost wish I could talk about it." He winks. "But if it pans out the way I hope, it's all everyone will be talking about."

His quick eye catches the sparkles, and he lifts his gaze to Strange's face, one brow arching. Maybe it is the scotch. "Huh."

They compliment one another, in an odd instance here; the slack of Stark's addressing the world reminds the good Doctor that nothing's skulking about the shadows here but the sharks of society and he can keep those at bay well enough. Perhaps his own formality keeps Tony from slipping too far into enjoying his liquor?

In regards to quickly-disappearing twinkles, Strange wears an expression of forced innocence. Wanda would call him out on it, this bend in his personal Rule of Shadow, since the glint of mischief gambols about behind his mask of nonchalance. Teasing the Mundanes — bad Sorcerer.

"Coy, Mr. Stark? You've never struck me as the sort to dangle bait and see what bites. Go on, elucidate — if it's truly magic, I've certainly got thoughts for you."

Tony's smile broadens. Whatever he's seen or thinks he's seen, it's tucked away. Wanda may call Strange out on it, but for Tony it's a nugget of information to pour over later. If he remembers, in his state. He has slowed down since he started talking to Strange, so maybe the Sorcerer Supreme is a good influence, or at least a mitigating one.

"Needs must," he says. "We're still working out the kinks. It's an ongoing process." He lifts the glass to his lips, then says without sipping, "All things in due time. If I might crow though, and I might, I'm making headway into prosthetics technology that looks promising."

Strange nods, finding himself content to let the other man have his secrets. After all, he'd be called on extreme hypocrisy if he expected Stark to wax broadly on the inner workings of his company, especially in the R&D sector, secretive as that tends to be for most companies in general.

"That has a good chance to become not only lucrative for you, but also engendering some excellent PR. It puts you in a thoughtful and benevolent light, Stark, especially with the need for such prosthetics lately. Soldiers having returned and returning still will benefit." Another heavier sip of whiskey. If only this drink had some Hyborean star-grist in it. It would provide such depths of taste. Hmm. Maybe this can be attained with a subtle sleight of hand.

Touching a fingertip to the ice cube, Strange purses his lips slightly as he spins it. It looks like some sport of one inclined to fidget mostly, but the drink itself does take on a more translucent light as the sphere melts away into something other than water. Another sip and a sigh. "Better," he murmurs.

Tony nods amiably, not disputing Strange's words for something as crass as false modesty. "I have a feeling there will be need for more prosthetics coming down the line. I'd like to start production soon." Hey, Tony's weapons may help blow people up, but at least he's looking for ways to put them back together.

He glances at Strange's glass, then lifts his own to his lips, taking a small sip. Just a small one. And he watches as Hew-Haw brays again, and his date tries to lead him away with as much dignity as she can muster. Poor woman. "Interesting trick," he mentions.

"Isn't it?" Strange replies just as blandly, playing along with as much modicum of propriety as he can manage. "Apparently, if you increase the frictional rotation of the sphere enough, it rapidly melts rather than lingering in the drink."

The good Doctor knows full well that this is not only an inadequate explanation, but lacks in factual accuracy as well. Mr. Stark might not be coy, but the Sorcerer simply can't help it. It probably stems from the earlier comment in regards to science as magic. Ah, pride, such a fault line in the man.

"You could go rescue her," he adds, gesturing subtly towards the young woman attempting to remove her drunk date from conversation. "She seems to be having some trouble."

Tony's brows lift. "That's an interesting take on physics," he says, and for him, that's gracious. He breaks into a smile again and says, "And leave where the real party's at?" He gives the woman a nod, and she smiles at him rather helplessly. "If she comes back after Hee-Haw's been put to bed in a broom closet sometime, I think I'll have to give her my condolences on a terrible date and offer her an exchange."

He's quiet a moment, and it's the scotch (and the recent therapy he stopped going to) that prompts him to actually talk about something that's on his mind. "I still keep thinking Pepper is going to come back, but it might be time to start saving damsels again."

Touche — the lines of Strange's goatee shift in the more mild smile he gives Stark in turn.

The shift to a far more serious conversational note has him glancing back to Tony, away from the young woman also giving him an attempt at a come-hither quirk of lips that still manages to be part grimace for her date's behavior.

"I presume Pepper was your significant other and you've been parted for some time? A shame." The lift of his faintly-twinkling whiskey is a salute to the woes of failed relationships, once he knew well enough once, and he keeps his peace to let the other man reply as much or little as wont.

Tony's lips tug at a mirthless smile, and he nods. "Something like that. Don't get me wrong, I'm a pain in the ass to get along with, and I don't blame her for having to go." He taps his whiskey to the sparkling drink, which even in his woe he makes a quick mental note about.

"It's time to start living again," he decides, but with that sense of inevitability, like getting back to life as it was may not be his ideal situation. Fortunately, a stumbling drunk taking out the champagne tower distracts him, and he says, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner."

The resounding CRASH of delicate glasses is impossible to ignore and the poor bastard now blushing to his ears has the regard of EVERYONE in the room. The looks linger longer than the hushed and scandalized silence. Conversation kicks up again, the most boisterous heard with ease briefly, and the waiters scurry over to help mop up the mess. Thankfully, the drunkard didn't cut himself on anything because, inevitably, someone would have called for a doctor and…well, y'know, there's one here.

With a dismissive sniff to go with the less-than-impressed rise of brows, Strange sips at his drink. "You have your moments, Stark, I'll grant you that. However, you're nowhere near as bad as that sap."

Tony incline his head. He'll choose to take that as a compliment. "Think of it this way," he says, "that guy will find this funny in a few years, and we're finding it funny now. We're not cruel, just expedient." He raises his glass to the poor blushing guy who's scurrying away, dripping with champagne. No doubt, if Stark had both hands free, he'd be applauding.

As for the rest of the crowd, they might not find it quite so humorous. In the way of the rich trying to cover up a blemish, the host instructs the string quartet they've hired to start up music again, then encourages people with promises that it is all well in hand to renew their conversing. Many of the people do indeed seem to agree the best thing to do is get back to the business of being talkative and dreary.

"I'm all about expedience. Cheers," and the Sorcerer clinks his glass against Tony's in passing. The quartet picks up some Baroque tune, light and airy and way too dignified for the idea of a smashed champagne tower.

"You offered before, a chance to see your lab, and I'll take you up on that, Stark. Shall we set a time and date? Mind, I may need to show up wearing my work suit rather than tux or jeans and I will attempt to remember to knock first." Is he serious? How does someone forget to knock?

"That's great, though," Tony says, "You'll fit in just fine with the other lab coats." He flashes Strange a grin. Then he says, "What's your next week look like? I'm free approximately 'whenever I want to be.' You'll like it, we've got some cutting edge R&D going on. You like chemistry, don't you? Biology is just applied chemistry with a splash of physics." So a doctor must love it, right?

As for knocking, Tony doesn't look concerned. He has no reason to be. What's Strange going to do, phase through the wall? "I'll introduce you to JARVIS, too. He's not alive, but he does a good job acting like he is."

A faint snort from the Sorcerer at 'fitting in with the lab coats'. Yes — like a black sheep in a herd of white. Or rather, a storm-blue practitioner in a bright Cloak probably scaring the hell out of everyone as he Gates in. Pfft, physics.

"I look forwards to meeting this JARVIS then, if…he's…as singular as you imply." Stark doesn't strike him as the sort to dabble in necromancy, but Strange will be armed. Just in case. "My schedule is lacking the flexibility that yours may provide, seeing as I'm on-call. Perhaps I should drop in, despite the lack of warning?"

Ah, what a relief it will be that Tony's only come close to synthesizing electronic life, at least inasmuch as 1964 will allow. Why dabble in necromancy when one can dabble instead in the force that drives all brain activity? "JARVIS is a sweetheart," Tony says. Of course he is. Tony programmed him to be.

"Sure, drop in," Tony says. "Whoever I'm dealing with at the time, they can wait. We'll have a look around, it'll be fun. I might even let you take a peek at the stuff I can't talk about." Because oh, how he loves to show off how smart he is.

"I will drop in then," Strange replies, grinning truly for once. Oh, word choices, Tony. Watch the lab coats scatter and scream. Mundanes as so very much like sheep sometimes. A good analogy considering the Sorcerer Supreme is Guardian of this realm from Mystical dangers.

"I hope I won't interrupt your day when I do. Looking forwards to seeing this mysterious discovery of yours in the…ballistics lab, was it?" Throwing back the rest of his drink, he places the empty highball glass on a passing tray and then gives Tony a nod. "Forgive my needing to disappear, but I had other plans this evening as well as hobnobbing with the gentry. I'll speak with you again soon enough, I suppose." He tilts his head towards the forlorn date of the Hee-Haw. "Go rescue her, Stark." A final curl of a smile and then he's weaving away through the clusters of people, eventually disappearing into a side hall. Rest assured he Gates out soon after this.

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