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Never Settle for Less Than Gold

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-Tokyo, Japan, 2015-


Working for Stark Industries had both its benefits and its pitfalls, none of which was a relief when he was back in Japan, missing both of his loves terribly as he listened to the other translator bicker with his bosses.

Vincent knew his culture, knew this was a way to stall until they got what they wanted from Stark Industries but he was well-versed in the art of cutting through bullshit.

"Ms. Potts, they want an increase in marginal profits. They're sure that I cannot hear them at this distance, though I personally find it a little annoying to find out they want more money before they put in their own." He translated dutifully. "Also, one of them is wondering if you've killed a man with the stilettos you have on. May I have the distinct pleasure of telling him yes if for nothing other than shock value?"

Ms. Potts put a hand over her lips but Vincent could tell she was amused, unable to show it within the corporate setting. "I'm glad that I decided you were worth hiring that day. Your snark is nearly as bad as Mr. Stark's though with a great deal more... couth. Please, by all means, if it helps my reputation as a business woman."

"It'll make you more intimidating, certainly, though you have that well in hand to begin with, Ms. Potts." He hummed as the conglomerate representatives made their way back over to the Stark section.

«It would please the conglomerate greatly to donate to the cause. However, there is the matter of business and with it the cost of such a donation upon ourselves.»

«Of course. Stark Industries understands this and is willing to part with, perhaps, a little more than agreed upon per the contract. For the member who wondered whether or Ms. Potts killed a man with her stilettos, the answer would be yes. She has and more than likely would not hesitate should it become an issue again. Ms. Potts is quite versed in defending herself, seeing as her relationship with Iron Man has had her run into her fair share of enemies.» he replied with a smile that wouldn't be out of place in his Turk days. «Now, shall we get down to the details?»


They are out 'celebrating' with the conglomerate members and Vincent was taking all of Ms. Potts' drinks for her.

"They're trying, with some success, to see you loosened up, Ms. Potts. However, I know you're not fond of drinking nor are you in need of a headache the following day when negotiations resume. My apologies if you would like to drink." Vincent offered when she raised a brow at his drinking her shots.

"No, no, you're quite right. Will you be alright, Mr. Valentine, come the morning?"

"I'll be fine, Ms. Potts." He pointed out, pushing up his fake frames for emphasis and she nodded briefly in acknowledgement.

«Valentine, you flirting with-»

«Ms. Potts is currently involved with Mr. Stark. Do I look stupid enough to die for the potential fallout of dating a superhero's significant other?» he sniped carefully. «I'd be an even greater fool for irritating my own significant other.»

«You have time for that?»

«Time is what you make of it. If you love someone, you make time for them.» Vincent allowed. «Something, I think, most do not apply to their wives or girlfriends.»

He held his tongue on what he thought of governments and their approach to same-sex couples. It would do him and Stark Industries no good if he were to really speak his opinions; this was, unfortunately, neither the place or the time.

«Huh. I didn't really think of it that way. You got lucky, I guess.»

«Luck is only effort and hard work given voice. For success, there have been a thousand and one failing moments in between the part you see and the part the world sees. »

«You sound like a priest, giving advice when you're sloshed.»

«You'll find my tolerance... rather high.»


Vincent sighed as he sent off the members of the conglomerate back to their hotels via thier company cars. He and Ms. Potts took thier own, though Vincent was decently buzzed from alcohol that would've killed a non-enhanced man.

"Are you doing alright? Truly, Mr. Valentine."

"I'll be... fine, Ms. Potts. I've a vid-con with my beloved. She'll laugh at me but it's worth it."

"Why would she laugh?"

"She runs a bar in New York. She knows my tolerance level."

"Oh. Well, I hope you enjoy that. I have one with Mr. Stark myself." She hummed.


Vincent chuckled as Tifa spotted his intoxication.

«Drinking without us, dear?» she teased in Nibel, the language a relief in its bluntness after so much tiptoeing in Wutainese.

«Not on purpose, yozora. They were attempting, without much success, to get her to relax by drinking. I stole all of her drinks and then drank everyone else under the table. I look forward to their being hungover in the morning while Ms. Potts and I are fresh. It makes for better negotiations by far.»

«Oh, Vincent, you're buzzed! Haven't seen you like this since after the Battle; you're adorably flushed, y'know.» Cloud teased. «Very fetching and enough to worry anyone looking at you who isn't us.»

«Mm, there is that. I got fretted over by the wait staff at the restaurant. They insisted I take water and pain pills before I left because they thought I'd have an awful hangover.» Vincent was already recovering but the thought behind it had been kind. «One of the few times I find myself grateful for my enhancements.»

«No kidding. You know, we definitely need to go on a date.»

«We're going to need to order an amount of alcohol that would terrify regular people. Maybe a mutant bar?» Tifa quipped before she mulled it over.

«Or go out as our AVALANCHE selves,» he countered, happy to hear and see his loves.

«No. Remember the last time we tried that? Just us three?» Cloud asked as he rolled his eyes. «Couldn't even drink, let alone eat, and we're not going to Stark Tower just to be drunk off our asses at least once. Stark's a recovering alcoholic and that'd be mean of us.»

«Mutant bar it is,» Vincent agreed with Tifa. «You have one in mind?»

«It's technically a lounge and really, it's more mutants than regular folks. It's... run by the Brotherhood of Mutants.» She supplied with a helpless shrug.

«If they don't start shit, we won't.» Cloud offered dryly.

«We'd have to prove ourselves.» Vincent reminded them. «It is worth it, however, if for nothing other than being able to have a date in relative solitude.»

«A date where I get to punch people? I'm in!» Tifa cheered.


-Fireball Lounge, New York, United States, 2015-


Vincent set foot into the lounge, settling at the bar with his loves.

"Whiskey, neat, three fingers." Tifa ordered, indicating all of them as she sat in the middle of Cloud and Vincent.

"Do you know where you are?" A mutant with a lighter asked, flicking it open and playing with the flames.

"If you mean that we're aware of whom runs this particular lounge, then yes. Do we care that it's run by said organization? No." Vincent fired back lazily, allowing his left hand to turn into claws for only a moment before he let it fade. "We're here to drink."

"Not every mutant wants to be recruited," came a soft voice from the deeper part of the lounge.

"... Indeed not." He replied as a blue hand reached for a drink that was set down on his left side.

"Either that or you're not mutants but you'll blend well enough, if provoked. Mystique." The blue woman raised her glass in a wordless toast that he returned with an arched brow.

"Hnn. Sharpshooter, if you insist on names."

A lone blue brow rose at that. "You're not mutants but you know of our conventions; how interesting. What about your friends?"

"Wehren and that's Boxen." Cloud offered even as Tifa snorted. The Nibel-yet-not was an interesting choice but it kept their AVALANCHE names out of the conversation for the time being. "Not very interesting names but we can live up to them if forced to."

"Fighters then," Mystique murmured as she downed, Vincent thought, a White Russian. "So long as you don't mind the occasional stink-eye, I suppose you can stay."

"Most gracious of you, Mystique." He responded quietly.


Mystique kept most of the mutants off of their backs and then, apparently, she'd decided that she wanted to see what Vincent could do.

"Wehren, darling, would you like to come in the back? It's quite nice—"

"Take your hand off our Mate if you want to keep it, Mystique." He snarled lowly.

Tifa followed with a swift glare of her own, wine eyes blazing as she shattered the glass in her grip without it slicing her callused hand.

"Thank you but no thank you, Mystique. I've already been part of one terrorist group and I'm not up for playing the game again so soon." Cloud gently but firmly peeled her fingers off of his bicep. "Both Boxen and Sharp would tear this place apart around your ears if you wanted anything else."

Hellmasker rippled under his skin and showed in his gaze, the same one that tracked how Mystique reacted.

"Both? I have misjudged all three of you then." Cloud let the Mako glow bright and he shared a wolfish grin with Tifa. "Destiny warned me that might be the case. Such a shame but you reacted as she'd said, though there were other options. You're being rather restrained, aren't you?"

"Wehren can bring the building down on you just as easily as we can. He's... playing fair." Vincent snorted as Tifa flexed her hand before curling it into a fist. "Neither Boxen or I share very well when it comes to others."

"Well said, Sharpshooter." The soft voice that followed Mystique had Vincent's hackles raised. "They're being nice, dearest. They could level the city if you irritate them badly enough. Power in spades upon spades but held, not by restraint, but by their own personal rules. They like the Lounge, knew they would be tested but prefer it to other places where they will be judged for being what and who they are rather than as mere patrons in a lounge. Leave it and they will be allies for a fight yet unseen. Press and..."

"A battle that cannot be won without cost will be lost to the abyss." Aerith completed with a little twirl of her skirt as Zack followed with a wry chuckle. "Hi Destiny~"

"Hello Speaker, hello Honorbound. Come in, come in. I trust you found us well?"

"We followed Wehren and Boxen. Sharp isn't the easiest to track, even if he's with them. Now, about that battle I mentioned..." Aerith prodded.

"Of course, Speaker. It's going to take quite a lot of help from everyone, isn't it?"

"Everyone has a stake in it; I sure hope they help."