Bring Him Home
Rplog-icon Who: Clark Kent,Keith O'Neil,Natalia Romanova,Pepper Potts,Clint Barton
Where: Stark Tower
When: 3/15/14
Tone: Social
What: Thor gives Keith some news, Keith gives Superman some news, Keith gives the Avenger some news, Keith considers getting his own paper route. Oh, and Tony is maybe Not Dead.


As soon as Keith had gotten off the phone with Thor, he immediately got onto the BSA frequencies. Two calls in as many days to Superman from the same source were a little... excessive. At least Keith felt he was abusing the network, but this was urgent. After sending out the distress message with his location, the Cheshire hero sits down in the outside park area where one of the hot tubs are to wait for the Man of Steel.

He doesn't look in the direction of the blackened windows where Tony Stark's Master Bedroom is. But he does replay the brief conversation he had with Thor over and over in his head.

True to form, Superman does not take long to arrive. If he's got any issue with being summoned thus he doesn't show it. He wouldn't be on the network if he didn't expect it to be used, after all. The choice of venue is strange and it tugs at the heartstrings just a little. Still, a recent conversation of his own with the Thunderer and his Consort has eased the parting blow a little bit in regards to Tony Stark.

He descends from above, pausing a few feet above the ground with his hands crossed over his chest, "What's wrong?"

Vorpal starts. He hadn't heard Superman come in, he was that absorbed in his thoughts.

"Superman!" He stands up, and then quickly winces as he forgot himself and his injury. "There's no time to be lost. Something's happened to Tony. To Tony's soul... I was just with Thor on the line and he said something along the lines of his soul being 'taken'... and that they were going to return it... I... I don't understand."


The news is enough to cause Superman's brow to furrow and his mouth to form a harsh frown. He descends to the ground, taking several steps towards Vorpal. He looms over him, forgetting his better nature and his fellow League-er's own issues following the Battle of Apokolips.

"They wouldn't tell you where they're returning it to?"

Vorpal takes a step back from Superman, looking frightened. He tries to compose himself, "Thor was... in the middle of something when I called. He went full Asgardian on me and said---" and what comes next is a perfect imitation of Thor's voice... illusions, they could do marvels. "Fret not, and know that the rage of Thor pales when compared to that of his valkyrior, the Lady Sif, Goddess of War, QUeen of Blades. Anthony Edward Stark shall be avenged, his soul returned to Peace. Not rest nor mead nor comfort shall we take until this task is done." Keith takes a breath, and says "And then he bellowed for Heimdall to open the Bifrost and that was it. I didn't get to ask any questions." There's a pause, with the cat looking at Superman warily. Was he angry with him? "Er... I'm sorry."

Superman immediately shrinks back, almost apologetically and ceases to fill up all the available space like he's used to. He shakes his head, rubbing his eyes as he does so.

"No, no. I ... just think I know what this is. Tony was destroyed by the Omega effect. The kind of power Darkseid emits from his eyes. Whatever he hits with it, if he wishes it to be, is erased from existence. But whatever he erases can also be brought back. I get the feeling that's precisely what he's done."

There is a long pause.

"That....that....That son of a bi------ I mean..."

Vorpal takes a breath.

"So now Tony is alive again... and in HIS power. Oh, fu---sh----wonderful." The cat slaps his forehead and sighs. Hey, Tony could be alive! But also in the hands of a sadistic god! Yay! And then, another ray of hope.

"If he can bring Tony back... then he can bring Booster back, too." He looks at Superman. "... look... I know I'm injured... but don't leave me out of... whatever it is you end up planning. Please. Can I have your word on that, Superman?"

"He must've brought Tony back for a reason. He tried to convince me to kill him. He said that if I intended to kill him then he'd bring Tony back. But that I had to mean it. I didn't do it. That's not Tony would have wanted. But now it looks like he's brought him back anyway. That's his mistake, though. Tony Stark alive and on Apokolips? That's a dangerous thing."

Superman shakes his head at Vorpal, though it's unclear what it's in regards to.

"Booster isn't dead. He's lost. When I spoke to Darkseid just before I returned him to Apokolips he told me that he didn't destroy him. He said he was spiraling through time. It's not ideal but it means he's not in Darkseid's power."

And then, in a moment, it's like something falls away from Keith. The first rock of a dam rolls down and the pressure begins to buck the structure.

Booster wasn't dead. A hand brushes away at his eyes but he keeps staring at Superman. He doesn't have time for this right now. Later.

"We've got to bring him home. Somehow."

"Please, don't leave me out. I was useful once, I can be useful again," he says, a desperate tone in his voice.

"It's not about being useful," Superman explains, "Your heart is in the right place and you wouldn't be in the League if we didn't think you were capable. You don't have anything to prove to us. But Darkseid is a dangerous foe. As much as you hate him and want to make him pay for what he's done he's strong. I barely came out of it with my life and I was the strongest I'd ever been. And you're still wounded. What would Tony say if you died trying to bring him back?"

"He'd say 'Points for effort, minus points for good sense?"

Keith huffs, "It's not about fighting him, Superman... I can't take him. Even if I snorted all the coke in the world and then had dreams based on that, would I even in my wildest dreams be able to take him. I'm weak and I'm... okay, I honestly don't know exactly *what* I am, in the Big Book of Strategy. But my illusions and my constructs may be useful to you. I don't care if there's the danger of dying... Tony didn't. Even if all I can do is be a distraction, let me be one."

He sits down slowly, rubbing his leg.

"I know what you're saying Superman. I do. And let's be honest-- if I were the leader, *I* wouldn't pick me. When Princess Diana asked me to consider being in the League, I thought that maybe someone was mind controlling her, honestly. But still..." he takes a deep breath and stands up. "I will accept your decision, whatever it may be. Just... keep me in mind."

"Everyone deserves their chance," Superman points out, "And when I say I'm wary about bringing you it's not because I think you're weak. Or that I don't think you're useful. I don't even think it's about utility. There are people without any power at all who can bring the most powerful forces for injustice to their knees. It's about heart and you've got a lot of it."

He pats Vorpal on the back as he says that, the lightest of taps to him but a hearty slap to those not possessed of Kryptonian durability, "You're hurt. Is there something we can do to speed your recovery along?"

The Cheshire ponders this. "... I guess Zee could say some of her magic backwards talk and heal me up. In the past, Thor's dropped me a potion from Asgard... I take to magic healing unusually fast." He looks up at Superman. His eyes are moist, because of that dam about to burst. But he keeps it together.

"... I don't know if anyone ever tells you this, Superman... people don't appreciate you enough. If you go solo or without choosing me just... just bring him home. And bring YOURSELF home, too. If you die, I swear to you I will drag John Constantine out of whatever liquor closet he's stashed himself and force him to find your soul, and I'll spend the next few weeks screaming at you. Are we clear?"

Sniffle. Wipe.

Pepper Potts enters from: Stark Tower.

"And I'd ask that you not do that," Superman replies, his tone serious but not intimidating, "Whatever happens to me needs to stay that way. The more we play around with these things the more power we give to people like Darkseid."

The Man of Steel stands outside giving a speech to Vorpal, though it doesn't appear authoritarian or anything less than friendly, "I'll do what I can to find him. And Booster, too."

Even though time travel is not something he's got much experience with.


Inside the penthouse, the elevator door opens and a VERY bouncy and cheerful golden retriever precedes Pepper, who is trying to carry a small stack of pizza boxes without tripping over Pizza Dog. Because, of course, he's focused on the pizza. She manages it, though, and sets the boxes on the bar before shooing the dog ahead of her. "Go on. Outside. Let's go outside, Arrow."

She manages to get the dog to follow her to the doors that lead out onto the balcony/terrace/rooftop garden area, but the moment the canine realizes there are others on the roof he barks at them sharply, tail held stiffly and blocking Pepper from approaching the others.

Natasha -- or, rather, Natalie Rushman, as she's known around the Tower -- comes down the stairs from the Avengers headquarters, rather than the elevator, knowing full well that Pepper is likely waiting for them with both pizza and the pizza dog. "Hey. It was a very, very simple solution," Pepper's new P.A. is saying to Stark Industries' new Head of Security. "I just had JARVIS re-route all her calls to me, instead. After that, it was just..." Her voice trails off as she enters the penthouse to find a remarkable gathering, and Arrow on alert. Without another word, she moves to Pepper and takes the pizza boxes, setting them aside, before she turns back to make a better assessment.

Superman's really not likely to be a threat, after all. And Vorpal is Vorpal. A teammate.

clint ride up the elevator with Natasha and then notices the dog first, "What's the matter boy, Dmitri up here?" then he notices Superman and Vorpal and calls out to Arrow, "Come on buy they are on ours side. Good guys." He pats his leg for the dog to come ot him. Pizza dog then does something he rarely does. He disobey Clint and remains on guard by Pepper.

Vorpal nods at Superman, "Don't... worry too much about Booster, he's displaced so he's in less danger than Tony right now. You focus on Tony and I'll hit up some of the wizards I know to see if they can peer in time--" and about that time is when people- teammates- show up. "Er... hello, everybody." Keith says, scartching the back of his head. How to explain the big S in the Garden? Moreso- who was going to break the news to the team? And how?

"I'll be in touch," Superman answers, "I should see about getting you a more direct line. The B.S.A. operator is ... grating."

That said, he steps back and offers a smile to the new arrivals and their dog. He doesn't really pause to give Vorpal time to explain, floating a few feet into the air.

"I'm sorry, folks. I've got somewhere to be."

That said he takes to the sky, a red and blue blur that streaks across the clouds before vanishing outright.

Pepper Potts stops when Arrow keeps her from approaching Superman and Vorpal, and ends up failing to reassure the dog before the Kryptonian takes his leave. That prompts the pizza dog to stop barking, at least, though he's still got his only eye laser-focused on Keith and standing tensely.

"It's okay, Arrow, really." And when Pepper tries to step around him, the dog stops her again and all she can do is sigh.

The Widow watches Superman retreat. Her blue gaze switches then to Keith, standing there awkwardly as he is. Finally, she glances to Pepper's vain attempts to get past the retriever, and her tone becomes friendly and businesslike. "Vorpal," she greets the cat lightly. "Hope we didn't interrupt anything too serious?" She studies the look on his face. It's probably a good thing his is a feline visage instead of a human one. She smiles, then, however, and busies herself setting out the pizza, now, like that's what she was going to do all along. "How are you settling in upstairs?"

Clint turns down his hearing aids then lets out a peircing whistle. It is enough ot get Arrow's attention and he pats his leg again. this time the dog obeys nad movesto Clint's side letting Pepper move freeey again. Clint kneels down and gives Arrow some loves and says, "Good boy."

Now he was the focus of attention, of course. Superman had gone away without explaining anything, and now he had to say something.

~Just tell them he was lecturing you for knifing yourself?~

~Or that he was checking on you to see how you were after the attack?~

~Could tell them that he was just checking in with the Tower?~

~Yeah, any of those are good things to say. You don't know if you should be mentioning what you know right now. It could cause trouble...~

"... I've got something to tell you, everybody." The cat says, brushing away at his eyes. Damned damn.

"'s about... Tony."

At the end of the day... he owed it to Pepper.

Pepper Potts flinches at the piercing whistle from Clint and turns to look at him and Nat to offer a small smile before starting toward Keith. But then he says he has something to say about Tony and she stops abruptly. She stands there for probably about three seconds before she just turns and walks back inside.

You know that light, friendly expression in Natasha's eyes? It flattens almost instantly at Vorpal's words. In fact, the look on her face more-or-less says 'shut the hell up!' It's a warning. But, one that comes too late. She watches Pepper retreat, however, and the faintest sign of relief flits across her features, which nevertheless retain their flat warning.

When that penthouse door has closed, and she's sure of it, she crosses over to Vorpal directly, outside wind plucking at her red hair. There's nothing about Natalie Rushman about her, now. She is entirely the Black Widow. "You can tell me," she says bluntly, laying a hand on his upper arm, but not squeezing. "Us." She includes Clint in that word. "But you say nothing to Pepper. Do you understand me?" This is the very same conversation she had with Thor and Sif, isn't it? Ye gods, what the hell is with her these days? "She is not ready to talk about Tony, yet."

Clint lets Widow finish then he opens hte door again. Arrow is on the same wavelength as his master and bounds into the penthouse to once again attach himself to Pepper. Clitn shuts the door again after the dog then turns to Vorpal.

"Tony is alive."

The cat lets it drop like a stone right after Natasha is done. He understands why she is giving him the spiel... but...

"Something is going on. Thor told me through the phone that Tony's soul was yanked out of Valhalla... and that is impossible. Unless."

He takes a breath, and a pause. "Superman explained to me how Darkseid's beams work. What he can erase from existence... he can. bring. back." He says, looking at Natasha and Clint in turn.

Genuine startlement shows on the Black Widow's face, followed by a quick glance over her shoulder toward the penthouse window. Then, she's swearing in Russian. It's actually a very creative string of curses, the sort only a Russian whose been to hell and back on multiple occasions can truly muster up. It all ends, however, with her returning her sharp gaze to Vorpal's face, and her hand tightening around his bicep, as she says, "Bozhe moi! And especially do not tell her that!"

She breaks away from him, now, shaking her head before she spins back around to him. "Certainly not before we can prove it." A beat. "Or, better yet, have found him." She's not sure she really believes the cat, but... She's almost glowering at him. "You're telling us Darkseid has him?" She glances at Clint. Clint knows... they've just squirrelled away what may very well turn out to be anti-Darkseid guns.

Pepper Potts walks across the penthouse living area until she gets to the end of the sofa as far from the doors as she can get. Pulling the blanket from the back of the sofa, she abandons her shoes to the floor then sits with her back against the sofa arm, letting Arrow climb onto the sofa and claim her lap as he seems to do a lot lately. She wraps her arms and shoulders in the blanket, tucks her feet under the sofa cushions, and rests her head against the cushioned back of the sofa. She's honestly completely forgotten about the pizza, even though she's the one that carried it in.

Clint shakes his head, "No she must not know until things are certain."He sighs, "To build up her hope then have it turn out to be false just might be too much for her." he says to Vorpal. "She is a strong woman, strnger then most people I know but everyone has limits." There is a definate edge of pleading to the archers voice.

"It is as good as certain!" Keith snaps, looking somewhat hurt after Widow speaks. The kid from the Bronx didn't know Russian from Greek, but he knew the way curses were spoken. The 'I wish I could scorch the air with my words' intent.

"Thor was on the phone telling me they were going to get Tony back, he hollered for the Bifrost to be opened, and that's the last I heard from him. Then Superman put the rest of the puzzle together---" the cat snaps his fingers.

Well. He tries to. Ever tried to snap your fingers while wearing fur gloves? Yeah.

" can't take a soul out of Valhalla. It's impossible. The ONLY possibility is if the person SOMEHOW comes back to life. And Darkseid has demonstrated that power- Superman's word. It all fucking makes sense! Look... Tony goes to Valhalla, so what does the asshole do to the guy who helped defeat him? He brings him back. Yanking him out of basically heaven and into... where?" He snarls. "Where else but fucking Apokolips? Oh, so goddamned clever, he thinks he is... the question is... how the heck do we get Tony back, and how the heck do we take the motherfucker down?"

Keith pauses for a second, to clarify. "Tony and 'the motherfucker' not being the same person. Just to clarify."

"He's still not here, Vorpal," Widow snaps back, entirely unabashed. "And we can't reach him easily. There is no guarantee Darkseid won't kill him again before anyone gets close enough to do a damned thing about it." She shakes her head. "I've been doing this a long time, Vorpal. Shit happens."

Still, she'll concede this explains why Thor's phone bounced all around NYC for days... and then just disappeared again.

She rakes a hand through her hair. "Which doesn't mean, incidentally, that we're not going to do anything." She glances to Clint as she says that. Her lips purse, decades of strategic thinking coming to play. "Okay." Slowly she begins to pace. "The biggest challenge is actually going to be getting to Apokolips. Technology, weaponry, we've got." A beat. She sighs. "And I've got armor." Rescue was never meant for this. She'll need to talk to JARVIS about reinforcements. Maybe even a stealth upgrade. Her expression grows more focussed. "JARVIS will have the specs of whatever Tony used to get the JLA to Apokolips. That should, actually, get us in. But we're going to have to move fast and silently, otherwise we'll be up to or necks in monsters."

She's seen the footage of the fight. She knows.

Finally, she glances apprehensively to the penthouse and rounds on the cat again. "We still breathe no word of this to Pepper, understand? If anything goes wrong--" and something always does -- "it will crush her."

And Natasha's already deeply, deeply concerned about her friend.

"If he kills him again, Widow, I suggest we find whatever it was that Tony had that had the potential to kill Darkeid... and we torture him until he is crying for mercy and we force him to give him back! And when he's done that, we take that weapon and we pierce his eyes with it until he can never see again and can never emit those beams again. THAT is what we do! If shit happens, then WE happen!" the cat says, his face acquiring a predatory, bloodthirsty expression.

"Take me with you. I've been there already--" he helped take down one of Darkseid's sons, however unlikely that was to happena gain. "I can turn invisible. You will have need of it..." he tries to stand straight to draw attention away from his injured leg. He looks at Natasha with a somewhat injured expression.

Clint Barton looks in to the penthouse and nods in agreement with Natasha, "I agree with the Widow, but we should be getting back inside." he says, "We will find a way to get him back but until we know for sure Pepper needs to not have the wounds reponed." He turns and says, "I can't tell you what to do Vorpal, but I am asking." He then starts to head inside, "Now lets go have some pizza, staying out here longer will get give Pepper too much time to think." He starts to head inside.

Pepper Potts has indeed been thinking while sitting on the sofa with Arrow holding her down, but her thoughts are not something she's going to share. Eventually she lets her eyes close but otherwise doesn't move. Maybe she can try to sleep.

"If he kills him again, Widow, I suggest we find whatever it was that Tony had that had the potential to kill Darkeid... and we torture him until he is crying for mercy and we force him to give him back! And when he's done that, we take that weapon and we pierce his eyes with it until he can never see again and can never emit those beams again. THAT is what we do! If shit happens, then WE happen!" the cat says, his face acquiring a predatory, bloodthirsty expression.

"Take me with you. I've been there already--" He tries to stand straight to draw attention away from his injured leg. He looks at Natasha and then at Clint, and he looks over the city skyline. He wasn't hungry. He also felt the wound on his leg and he knew he was pleading in vain- no leader would take an injured soldier into the field. Especially someone as weak as himself.

"Feel free to go inside," he says in a calm and measured tone, leaning on the balcony and looking out at the city. "I'm not hungry. I'll catch up later."

Natasha looks down at Vorpal's leg and back up at the cat. "We've got access to the weapons we need, trust me," she says in a clipped tone. "But, you do not want to start in on torture. You don't want that red like that in your ledger. Once you start..." She knows. She shakes her head. "Besides... there are some foes you take out and you take them out fast. Darkseid is one of them."

She glances to Clint as he leaves and nods simply. They need to cut this short. She pins Vorpal with a direct look. "We will talk about this later, you and I. Tomorrow. I'll make room in my schedule for you."

With that, then, she gathers up the pizza and takes it back inside, taking straight out into the kitchen.

Keith had a good idea about what the topic of discussion would be. "... Natasha?" Keith says before she heads iside.

The Russian pauses and glances back over her shoulder.

"Michael is alive. Superman verified that Darkseid didn't disintegrate him... something went wrong and Michael is somehow... displaced in time. But he is alive, somewhere. I don't know... if Pepper will want to know that or not. But I know you probably did."

The cat adds, "And, I understand. You don't need to spend valuable time that could be spent planning. I know some things about strategy. I'm fully confident that you all will know how to pull this off."

Natasha meets Vorpal's eyes. She nods. "We'll talk tomorrow." And she disappears inside with those pizza boxes.

Keith stands there for a few seconds, listening to the thumping of his heart in his ears and controlling his breath. The dam strains some more.

Not yet.

He goes further into the garden, where there are tall plants, behind the hot tub. He turns on the hot tub, not because he is going to use it (he is injured and bandaged and that would just be unsanitary and gross) but for the cover that the sound provides.

Sitting down behind the hot tub, he rests his head against it and closes his eyes.

Okay. I've got time for it now.

The dam breaks, once he is certain he's not easily heard, and the feelings he hadn't allowed himself to feel catch up to him. They do for quite a bit before he's able to finally pull himself together and levitate off the edge of the balcony and out towards the city.

The Pizza Dog's attention turns toward Natasha and those boxes and yet he doesn't leave his post half-draped over Pepper's lap. The tail is demonstrative enough, wagging and thumping against the sofa cushions. Maybe that's his way of showing he's being a good dog, and maybe, pretty please, just this one time, the pizza will come to him? Please?

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