Tony briefly casts a disinterested eye over the crowds that mill about at the bar, excitable chatter that doesn’t quite resonate as he forcefully filters out the sound – a pair of earplugs would be useful right now, specifically a set he’d seen during a presentation that could automatically alter the frequency of a person’s surroundings based on the type of environment that was pick up on. They currently had a Kickstarter in progress and were a shoe-in for funding, in his opinion. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, that was important, but his mind’s churning a mile a minute, going from one responsibility to another that the pair’s words which are potentially at his expense are barely register. 

                    “Your timing’s impeccable, but let’s get this over with…

     The latter words are scarcely audible, a hushed growl that traverses past the glass as he brings it down in front of him. There’s a reason why the inventor had been avoid this, a sensation broiling within the pit of his stomach akin to an ulcer’s wet dream. There are a few avenues he wants to discuss but the words feel like lead in his mouth, a grimace kept at bay as Tony finally reverts his dark line of vision towards the young CEO. One that almost looks through him, and yet the engineer manages a faint degree of amicability.

                   “Osborn. First off, I wanted to say that as a firm believer of knowing where credit’s due. Congratulations are in order for Oscorp’s effort during the invasion. People owe you a debt…”

       Now, Harry had sworn he wouldn’t let Stark surprise him with anything. He’d come here with the explicit intent not to be thrown off by anything the older CEO threw at him; be that remark, project, business move. Nothing at all. And yet, somehow. Within the first five minutes of them being in the same space, he’s done it.    Tony Stark has completely surprised him.

             Damn it.

                He even shot Maria a look that vaguely communicated ‘Can You Believe This?’, before, still with his brows raised, he slowly looks back to Stark. They settle into a more regular expression as he soundlessly clears his throat, lifts his chin and looks the man in the eye.

                “Thanks for the acknowledgement: I’ll pass it on to the team…  I’d show it off more, but I think we all know it’s just what anyone in our position should have done. And what you would’ve done, too.”

                           –had you been able, is implicitly tacked on.     

                                       Wow. He’d just been diplomatic with Tony Stark.

               With an ally in the conversation, Stark is almost bearable. Or maybe it’s the drink in his hand that’s helping, but either way Maria feels that this might be the best and only opportunity she has to communicate what she wants with the two CEOs. She returns Harry’s glance with a subtle flick of her own brows. 

                               “This is a good segue. I think we can all acknowledge that we as a whole were not adequately prepared for the technological mishaps of the Skrull invasion. Without Oscorp we would’ve never succeeded in driving them off of the planet.”

               She shifts and nods at Harry, pausing briefly to scan the room before returning her attention to Tony.

         “It’s why we at S.H.I.E.L.D. have decided to divide our interests, technologically speaking. Oscorp has proven itself to be a critical player in the game, and we would like to avoid this sort of situation in the future. I’m sure you can understand. We would like to leave all computing, mechanical tech, and networks to Stark Industries, but shift our communications, surveillance, and medical to Oscorp.”

                                     Hill arches a brow, wishes she had a drink to sip. “Sound fair?”


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