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Professional Respect

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"I've done my research on you. You're the best, and I only hire the best," Tony said.

Eliot frowned and crossed his arms. Hardison replied, "If you did your research, you know that we don't work for giant corporations. Not even for an early sample of StarkGlass." Eliot elbowed him and he added, "Or anything else."

"I know you can hear me!" Parker whispered angrily at the ceiling.

Eliot looked questioningly at Hardison, who shrugged.

Tony continued, "But I need someone to make sure Hammer doesn't weaponize the tech he stole from me. It's a classic good guy mission. And I need someone who makes sure nobody gets hurt in the process. That's what you do. By the way, it's Hardison, right? Awesome job on that hack into Interpol last fall, beautiful code, really."

Hardison grinned and poked Eliot. "Iron Man thinks my work is awesome!" Eliot growled at him, and he added, "Uh, but we still won't work for you."

Parker pointed a finger at the ceiling. "Don't think I've forgotten."

"Okay," Eliot whispered to Hardison, "Even for her...."

"Wait, do you know JARVIS?" Tony asked her, confused.

"We have indeed met, sir," JARVIS said.

"Who's that?" Eliot asked.

"One of my AIs," Tony answered.

Hardison's eyes lit up. "Wait, seriously?"

"You know what? Kiss my ass!" Parker said to the ceiling.

"As that would be physically impossible for me, I'm afraid I must decline," JARVIS said with an amused tone.

"He always acts like that!" Parker said to the others.

"Wait, how do you know JARVIS exactly?" Tony asked.

"From when I broke into your house to steal that giant painting of the octopus!" she said, exasperated.

"What?" Tony said, brow furrowed.

JARVIS said, "Ms. Parker has come closer than any other thief to successfully breaking into your mansion. Her cleverness and perseverance were so impressive that I offered to let her have the painting as a sign of truce."

"Do you even know who I am?" Parker yelled. "I don't need anyone to LET me win!"

"Wait," Tony said, "JARVIS, you were going to intentionally give a thief my property."

"Sir, nobody likes that painting," JARVIS said in a long-suffering tone.

"Not the point!" Tony and Parker said in unison.

Parker added, "I'm a thief! Not a ... person who goes around... trying to steal until someone gives her a painting... I don't need your pity art, you jackwad!"

"My girlfriend is frenemies with a full-personality artificial intelligence. This is the hottest thing in the history of the world," Hardison said, and Eliot gave him an annoyed look.

"Okay, I think we better get out of here," Eliot intervened then. "Parker takes exception when her professional reputation is insulted."

"You're a dick!" Parker yelled at the ceiling.

"You know, JARVIS likes you," Tony said to her. "I can tell. I think it's because you treat him like you would a person."

"He's exactly like a person," Parker said.

"Thank you," Tony said.

"I hate people. People, with their houses and their 'Hey how are you's and their stupid punchable faces. Hey, JARVIS! Why don't you get a face so I can punch it?!" she yelled.

"I will put that on my self-improvement list, Ms. Parker," JARVIS replied.

"Really? You're mocking me? Hey, wanna see if I can steal an AI?" she said.

"Okay, we're definitely going now," Eliot said, dragging an angry Parker and a delighted Hardison out. "Mr. Stark, the answer to your offer is no."