2011-04-08: Lifes Burdens


Tabitha_icon.jpg Pietro_icon.jpg Tony_icon.jpg

Summary: Tabitha gives Tony the address to her fathers home in Idaho so that he can use that information to deal with her father. This does not go over well with Tony's friend who sees this as something else in the long list of things Tony's had to handle for the young lady which he sees as unfair. Tony attempts to explain what's happened and why to Tabitha which leads to an understanding that leaves Tony a bit stunned in the end.

Date: April 8, 2011

Log Title: Lifes Burdens

Rating: PG-13

Stark Towers

//This office is a study in monochrome from the metal and black furnishings to the white walls and fixtures. The far wall directly across from the door is made up of large windows that dim according to the brightness coming in from outside. Along the left wall various impressionist paintings hang over a long table where Stark has several pieces of memorabilia out on display. Along the right side of the office there is a long black couch with two matching chairs that face a large flat screen television. A door to the private bathroom is nearby the couch. Just in front of the windowed wall is a semi circle desk, made entirely out of metal, that has a pair of flat monitors suspended over the desk by slim metal arms. A unique keyboard rests atop the desk in front of the futuristic looking desk chair. On the left end of the desk there are several picture frames. On the right end a set of books is held upright by Iron Man bookends. //

It's getting to be late evening, and at the door to the office of Tony Stark, a young rat girl is finally being admitted entrance, having waited patiently for a while. She's dressed in a damaged pair of jeans with several rips up the left leg and a bunch of patches sewn into the right leg, and a blue t-shirt that leaves her belly bare, and features a picture of a pink my little pony. She comes just inside the door and shuffles her feet, thrusting her hands in her pockets as she waits to be invited in properly, which she at least hopes will be viewed as polite.

After making a stop off in China Town to gain information from Mr. Wilks, Iron Man and Quicksilver have returned to the towers clad in their garb befitting their Avenger positions and are heading up to Tony's office discussing how they're going to shake down the lab tech's from the destroyed MGH facility, tracking down information on this Doctor Simmons, finding the ring leader of the NMO and lastly attempting to hold a conversation with Magnus about finding what rock Toad is currently hiding under.
The elevator doors open on the 43rd floor allowing them to see Bambi motioning that she allowed Tabitha to enter even though Tony was not present. With a nod to the elder woman Tony stands a few feet out having walked on silent feet and leans in, "Good evening, Tabitha."

As Iron Man leans in there's a gust of wind that ruffles hair and clothing before the Speedster leans against the desk and lets himself be seen. In his two tone blue costume, he folds his arms across his chest. Pointedly doesn't look at the statue he brought the other day, but has noticed that it's been moved. Since he's no idea who moved it, well, he merely smirks as he watches Tabitha get her greeting. "So much for staying out of trouble." Pietro is on a roll tonight. Hopefully Tony doesn't smack him for it.

Tabitha's ears perk up, and she looks over her shoulder, and then double-takes back towards Pietro. "What? Trouble?" She moves into the office, and moves over to let Tony enter. "I but… I haven't done anything," she sputters in protest. "I haven't even left the tower since I got a concussion." Her ears turn red on the inside as she blushes, "Unless… you're referring to that dust-up with Dingo, which… which wasn't my fault." Her voice trails off into a mumble towards the end, and she thrusts her hands into her pockets. "But, uhm, well… anyway. Good evening, Mr. Stark, and… Uhm, Quicksilver. I still don't think I know your other name."

An armored head shakes from side to side as Pietro's already on a roll. Choosing to ignore most of the conversation that is going on Tony walks past Tabitha, ignores Pietro leaned up against the desk, and pulls his helm off to set it down on the corner of said desk. "He's having you on and you are so easily flustered by it." For a moment Stark disappears into his executive bathroom off to the side of the room and appears after a time clad not in the armor but in a dark t-shirt, jeans and a pair of sneakers. "What's brought you up here?" Cutting right to the chase seeing that time was a precious commodity at the moment.

Pietro doesn't tell Tabitha what he means, for he's getting all kinds of amusing details just for sitting here smirking at the girl. Then Tony has to spoil it. Can you imagine having class with this man? He's a teacher. "Maximoff. Pietro Maximoff." Which is totally not the same last name Magneto offers to everyone. The man has no secret identity, so there's no issue with telling the girl. Arms unfold and he grips the edge of the desk to either side of him. The man's electric blue eyes are bright with laughter. "I hope it's acceptance to Barnes." After Tony has changed clothing and asks what the girl is here for.

Tabitha bobs her head once. "I'll remember, Mr. Maximoff," she replies. "I… no, not acceptance to Barnes, though I have an appointment tomorrow to talk to one of their councillors, I think is what she is? Anyway, they were going to do it earlier, but they put it off since I was kinda… in hospital after Dingo put me through a building." She coughs softly, and her ears flatten out as she focuses on a spot on Tony's desk, just to one side its owner. "I uhm… came to give you this," she mumbles. She advances forwards, and pulls her right hand out of her pocket; and she offers one of Tony's business cards to him, with an address for a personal residence in Idaho written on the back.

Tony takes the card from Tabitha peering at the front curiously then flips over the back to see a hand written address. Lifting his gaze from the card to fall back onto Tabitha who is clearly feeling on the spot and a bit embarrassed at the moment, "What is this exactly?" Could be the address to where she used to live or it could be the location of an amazing potato farm for all he knew. The card is flipped back and forth as Tony walks over to leans back against his desk next to the speedster. "I've Happy driving her over to Barnes for her appointment with whomever over there. I've not been to the school since I stopped by to liberate Miss Franklin for a day ages ago."

White brows arch. An appointment. How odd. Pietro holds his tongue, if for once, and looks to Tony as that card is read. "You aren't her father." He points out, and mostly for Tabitha's benefit. "Are you not wishing to attend?" Asking the girl about Barnes. Never heard of anyone having to meet with a counselor until after they moved in. Then again most are shipped there whether they like it or not due to their powers.

The rat girl snaps bolt upright, "Of course I do!" comes the immediate reply. "I mean, I dunno, I called the number Mr. Stark gave me and they set me up with this meeting. I think they just want to figure out what classes to stick me into or… something. I dunno. Maybe they want to make sure I'm not going to breath hanta virus onto everyone." The last part is a wry attempt at humor. "Anyway. I'm going, and I'd like to learn mechanical engineering maybe… I…" She stops, and sighs heavily, hunching her shoulders over once more and fixing her eyes back on the spot in the middle of Tony's desk. "It's my Dad's house," she murmurs. "Where I used to live. I was thinking about what you said about… about just being seventeen and stuff, and leaving the heroics and all that to people who know what they're doing. So… so I'm doing that. I don't know what to do about my Dad so I'm… I'm gonna let soemone else make the decision."

Resting the card down with a pointed end digging into his thigh Tony crosses his sneaker clad feet while Tabitha speaks of what is transpiring with her progress with Barnes. That she's into mechanical engineering? A good subject to work with if one was inclined that way. As for the other? He's not entirely unsurprised but now responsibility weighs more heavily upon his shoulders. How did he wind up in positions like this? Not even bothering to glance Pietro's way for he knows exactly what the speedster will be thinking he just prays that his friend doesn't snark at the poor girl like he snarked at Kaji the other day. One could wish for things couldn't they. The business card is pushed into a jeans pocket for now, and Tony sighs drifting dark eyes onto Tabitha. "Now would be an excellent time to leave the past behind and focus on the future."

What? Pass up an opportunity? Arms fold over chest as eyes narrow. "This man isn't your father. Why are you so determined to layer his already troubled life with every loose end you can acquire? Hasn't he already gone far out of his way to see to your care?" Yes, Pietro could use a heavy dose of people skills, but he says this now because he knows Tony will feel obligated now. Which totally isn't fair. "This is not a decision you should pass to another, child. This is /your/ family. If you wish to delay responsibility find yourself a lawyer who is willing to make this effort. Not a man who already attempts to shoulder the burdens of the world." Pietro doesn't even sound angry. Just stern.

Tabitha's jaw drops, and she tilts her head to stare at Pietro. She just… stares at him, until she realizes that her mouth is hanging open and she shuts it. "You've both been trying to tell me to stop getting myself into trouble," she replies, "And now I'm doing just that, exactly that, and you're telling me to get back in it now?" She shakes her head, as she plants her hands on her hips. "I'm trying to do what you've been telling me to do. I'm *trying* to be responsible and look beyond my own nose. So I hire a lawyer? And do what? Sue him for being my Dad? I've got no evidence to show any wrong-doing on his part, I've got nothing at all. And if I deal with it on my own and he catches up to me, the only end result I see is a gun fight." She holds her arms out and flaps them back down against her sides. "I was just… just trying to show you I was being responsible, like you were telling me to be."

Pietro rises to his feet as he's lectured. "So instead you opt to burden Stark for your troubles? To leave him with the duty of burden of proof? You wish this man.." He motions to Tony, "To fight your battles for you? This is avoiding trouble by leaving it on someone else's doorstep. This is not being responsible. You seem to believe you are tying yourself to Tony. That he will watch out for you and replace the father you have lost. Child, you can't even see that you are doing the opposite. He will distance himself from you for one simple fact - You are like all the others who only are here to try and get something out of a man already bled dry." The speedster shakes his head. "Good night to both of you. I can't sit and watch him do this." The man is gone the next instant. Didn't even make the door slam or anything.

Tony uses his hands to push away from the desk, walks about one side then heads over to the wall of smartglass to peer out past the other tower onto the cityscape. With chin to chest anyone gazing his direction will see the slow rise and fall of his shoulders. "I am not in the mood for an argument to occur over…Pietro!" The outburst of the speedsters name is to get him to stop the emotional defense that was unnecessary. It was already too late the speedster had made his point and taken off. Shoving hands into his jeans Stark shakes his head. "Overlooking my friends overzealous defense I will contact the police department and impart what I know of the situation. The likelihood that your father will darken the doorstep of Barnes is minimal and he would be a fool to try."

The rat girl is facing in the opposite direction, by the time Tony turns around to look at her again. After he finished explaining what he plans to do, Tabitha is quiet for what might seem a long time; her hands and shoved down in her pockets, and the tip of her tail lies motionless on the floor behind her.
"I never asked," she whispers at last, "For anything. I never asked you to take me in, or set me up at a school, or give me a wad of cash in the mall 'cause I was shopping at thrift stores, or… or anything. The only time I ever tried to take from you was in the warehouse, because I was desperate. And I am so sorry for doing that you have no idea." She tilts her head to look over her shoulder, though she isn't quite looking at Tony; more like at his knees. "I'm grateful that you did. Eternally grateful. I'd do anything for you, in return, I don't think there's enough people like you in the world, which is why you're stretched thin like he says. And…" She turns away again. "I'm not trying to replace my Dad with you. He's my *Dad*… nobody can replace that."

With his back to the young lady and his gaze downward watching the people below Tony's unaware of Tabitha's struggle until she speaks. "Pietro is…." stops himself rubbing a few fingers across his chin then letting his hand fall idly by his side. "I can not apologize for what he's said in defense of me though I am quite capable of speaking for myself. He is very passionate about what he believes and in this case it is more that there has been trouble more so than anything else."
Having already spoken at lengths to Tabitha about her relationship with her father Tony turns back from the window to find Tabitha looking across the room rather than in his direction. "The point that I don't believe got across is that due to your particular situation I am acting as your guardian until the school takes over. I am responsible for what happens to you while your under my watch and you've not made it easy. Something like this…" pulling the card out of his pocket then stuffing it back into the jeans. "I am bound to bring it to law enforcement and coordinate what is going on. Pietro sees it as you're shunting off dealing with the issue and putting it upon me. They, being the police, will need your involvement to begin looking into your fathers doings."

Tabitha shakes her head slowly, as she holds her hands out in front of herself. "I never asked for this," she murmurs. "Any of it. I didn't *want* to be a mutant. I didn't want powers, I didn't want to fight Dingo or get sassy with Envy or get caught up in a turf battle between drug gangs or… or anything. But at least you can take your armor off; I can't peel off my skin and look normal, and no matter how normal I try to be, people cross the street to avoid me and close up stores so I won't come in, everywhere I go. And that'll never stop." She sighs heavily, and turns around to face Tony once more. "I know I haven't made it easy. I don't know how I go wrong, after you took me out of hte warehouse and tried to set me straight I've tried to be nothing but an angel. But *everything* I do turns out wrong. What am I doing wrong? I don't want to push you away, or… or like, use you or suck you dry or something." She shrugs her shoulders, and shakes her head again. "I'm just… just trying to be good
and live up to the second chance you've given me."

"I can take the armor off but I am still Iron Man," Tony replies calmly. For the longest time he wished to be nothing other than Iron Man and spent a good many years trying not to be Anthony Stark. Still there are times where he looks in the mirror and can't stand to see his reflection. The past stays with you no matter how you try to out run it or make amends. "Do you think that I do not know?" Shrugs his arms out to his side with a self depreciating smirk, "Merchant of Death."
Walking over to his desk to close some space between them. "I can't help you with your issues as I have my own and nothing that I can say will change your opinion of yourself or how you perceive the world. I can only show you options." In the end he will fail this girl and quite possibly already has. "Learn, find yourself, and do what you think is right. That's all that anyone of us can do. Despite what has happened I have offered my help though you must understand I can not be relied upon to be able to sort everything that occurs. This is why Barnes will be good for you. To be around people your own age, to have a larger support system, one that works. You won't need me once you start claiming a life for yourself."

Tabitha tilts her gaze up, and shakes her head once more. "You're a smart guy, Mr. Stark," she murmurs. "And you've done a lot of good for me, and given me a lot of good advice… and you're definitely right about Barnes. But there's one thing I think you've totally missed." She clasps her hands behind her back, and rocks back and forth on the balls of her feet. "You did help me with my issues. You helped me so much with my biggest issue, which wasn't my Dad or education or money. And you didn't even need to be Iron Man to do it." She pauses, and bits her bottom lip. "You just… you looked at me like a human being. And you still do… and you have no idea how much it helped, when even *I* didn't look at myself that way. You really did save my life." She smiles softly, as she backs away towards the door. "Thank you." She pauses in the doorway, and looks brightly up at the Man of Iron, before turning and making a quiet exit.

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