Shangqi x Poppy Stark (former Potts)
Since this story plays before the Blip Shangqi will be referred to as Shaun.
It was the time of the Blip. Only 6 months to go until the people that disintegrated into dust come back. Not that the people on earth know that.
Poppy Stark (formerly Potts) is the adoptive daughter of Tony Stark, biological daughter of Pepper Potts. What's with these weird names? She doesn't know. It always felt like her mother wanted to annoy her. No wonder she ended up with Tony Stark.
As the Blip happened and half of the universe disappeared, especially since Peter Parker disappeared, her father took his distance from his work in Stark industries. He asked Poppy for help. She learned a lot from her mother about marketing and information keeping, which is why Tony trusted her in making deals for Stark industries.
That brought her into a fancy Hotel in San Francisco.
Poppy sat in one of Tony's cars, listening to some music, while preparing for the business meeting. These were horrible clients not willing to listen to a young woman, even though she came in the name of Tony Stark. Old men thinking they know better and that a woman shouldn't decide in such matters. "Fuck you, old man.", she thought looking out of the window, watching the streets of San Francisco. The world got more quiet after the blib. It was kind of scary. So many people she knew vanished, probably never to be seen again. She thanked whatever Deity that she didn't lose her mother or father. She felt horrible for being thankful that their little world was still okay, even more than that since her parents got her little sister Morgan. She knew that Tony loved her, but he was shining since they had Morgan and she loved to see it.
"We'll be at the Hotel in three minutes.", said Friday, the AI of her father. "Thanks, Friday.", Poppy looked around, still not used to drive around in something so expensive and still nervous to represent someone like Tony Stark.
Poppy bound her hair into a bun, one strand falling out at the front, which she put behind her ear. Hopefully it will only look casual, since her hair never liked to stay in a bun.
Her thoughts got distracted as her door was opened. She looked to the front, not ordering Friday to open the door, when she looked to the side and up to the handsome face of a young man, probably about her age, with a friendly smile on his face.
"Welcome Miss! We will park the car for you!", he said holding a hand out for her to help her out of the car.
"Ah, that's actually not-", she intended to decline, because Friday could park herself, but thinking it over. That's their job, they get paid for it. "Yeah, of course.", she corrected herself, taking his hand and getting out of the car. Already hating the feeling of standing in high heels, even though they looked amazing.
The other person working for the park service, a young woman eyed the car way to enthusiastically, as the friendly man took the keys from her.
"Just FYI this car has an AI installed, I will know what you did with it and if any scratches get into the car my dad will kill me so please-", she sighed unmotivated, "just don't.", Poppy went inside letting the pair behind her who looked at her in silence.
"A little trip won't hurt!", the young woman from the parking service, Katy, said, getting into the car. "Come on, Shaun!", said man looked at her through the window: "Didn't you listen to her? She'll know what you did." – "You mean what we did, come on you scaredy cat.", Katy laughed starting the motor as Shaun rolled his eyes, getting inside the car. Better watch her, instead of letting her go nuts.
Katy drove through San Francisco, in not the most careful way, but nothing dramatic happened to the car.
Meanwhile Friday contacted Poppy: "It seems the two of the park service were a little too enthusiastic. They're cruising through the streets, but she seems to be a fair enough driver.", Poppy sighed: "Thanks, Friday. Don't let them put any scratches in there. Thank you.", she muttered as she went into the hotel restaurant to speak to her clients.
This was a disaster. Poppy sat at the hotel bar, drinking her Mojito, just wanting to forget the evening. The Clients weren't willing to listen. Instead they only made sexist comments and intended to harass her.
The young woman sighed, taking another sip, while looking at the drink with a sad gaze.
"Just a few shots before we go and then we'll do some karaoke!", Katy said with enthusiasm as Shaun and her went into the hotel bar.
Katy went to the bartender to order some Jägermeister, while Shaun spotted a familiar figure. It was the young woman who's car with AI they parked. A really awesome car! But why was she sitting there looking so sad?
Shaun wanted to find out, going over to her. He greeted her, with a, he hoped, friendly tone. "I'm not interested.", she muttered sipping her drink. "I'm sorry that wasn't my intention. I'm Shaun, I parked your car this afternoon.", that made her look up. Her gaze meeting his friendly brown eyes, a soft smile grazing his features. Poppy felt a blush creep over her face, damn he's cute.
"No, no, I'm sorry.", she sighed. "I had a really shitty day with absolutely horrible clients and I'm just exhausted.", she made a small pause, looking if he's still listening and was surprised to find him with a small frown, it looked like worry. She shook her head, holding her hand out: "Hi, I'm Poppy.", Shaun took her hand shaking it lightly as Katy came over to them. "We've got shots! And a new friend I guess?" – "Oh the cardriver. Didn't I tell you not to cruise around?", Katy looked at her in shock, suddenly laughing a very fake laugh. "We've only parked your car with utmost care. That's our job.", she sipped her shot not looking at all convincing. "Friday, what do you think about this?"
Katy Chen drove with a speed of 70 mph trying to find a parking spot. Meanwhile she was drifting around 3 blocks, before finding a good spot. No scratches or entrys were left, they heard a robotic voice speak.
Katy looked at her in disbelief, as Shaun's eyebrows raised in surprise.
"I will forgive you, because nothing happened to the car, but I was serious: my dad will kill me, so please do not do this again.", she said, finishing her drink.
"I'm so sorry.", Katy whispered still in shock. Shaun began to laugh, he had a nice laugh, Poppy noted.
"I thought this AI stuff was only to scare us away. There are so many rich assholes spouting nonsense.", Shaun carefully punched against her arm, a signal for her to shut up.
Poppy laughed: "It's okay, don't worry. Many of them are assholes.", Shaun drank his shot. "So, Poppy, wanna come with us to some Karaoke? It looks like you could need it, after your shitty day.", he smirked, looking at her expectantly. "A night out? Man, it's long ago that I did this.", normally going out with strangers would've been the last thing she wanted to do, but the last time going out with anybody was really long ago and it felt like she needed that again.
"Sure, why not!", she said with a smile. "Chris, put the two shots on my bill." – "Of course, Miss Potts.", Poppy mostly used her former last name, when she was away for business. Annoyed by people hearing 'Stark' and crowding her, afterwards disappointed that she isn't actually Tony Stark.
Katy looked at her with a raised eyebrow: "So your name's Poppy.", the other female nodded, "and your last name is Potts. So your name is actually Poppy Potts?! Does your Mom hate you?", Katy asked without thinking, earning another slap from Shaun.
Poppy chuckled: "more like our family likes alliteration."
Poppy payed for the drinks, standing up. The group left the place, going to Shaun and Katys favorite karaoke place. They rented a private booth and went inside.
"So what's the Drill?", Poppy asked, sitting down on the thick cushioned red couch and throwing off her high heels.
"Choose a song and sing, while drinking alcohol.", Shaun answered with a grin, making the young woman chuckle. "I think I can manage that.", she said standing up and going over to the karaoke machine, while Shaun and Katy ordered Margheritas.
"Do we do like normal stuff or Disney stuff?" – "Whatever your heart desires.", the man laughed, sitting down next to Katy.
"You gonna let me sing alone?", Poppy asked, unsure of her qualities and way to sober for this.
"Sure, we need to know your qualities first.", Shaun answered. "See if your worthy.", Katy laughed as a waiter with Margheritas came in.
"Now I'm thinking this is a bad idea.", Poppy mumbled, getting her Margherita and drinking half of it.
Poppy decided to sing Demons from Hayley Kiyoko, starting with it, seeing the smiling faces of Shaun and Katy she started to calm down:
"There's something in the water
I don't like the flavour, I don't like the taste
Searching for nirvana
Something that'll take it all away from me"
And with that the evening went into a funny mess. The three have been drinking way too much, singing bobs like old town road and Hotel California. At some point Shaun and Poppy began singing Disney songs, especially duets both would normally sing alone and horribly, while trying to meet all the parts.
They were in the bar until closing time and got thrown out. Laughing they slandered down the streets. They brought Katy home and continued to walk through the streets of San Francisco.
Poppy smiled at Shaun: "That was fun. Thanks for inviting me." – "No, need to thank me. It looked like you needed it.", he chuckled.
"Where exactly was the hotel again?", she looked around irritated. "Eh that's a long way. You could sleep on my couch for now, if you want.", she looked at him, a blush creeping over her face. Normally something like this wouldn't be good idea, but she felt like she could trust Shaun, after this evening.
"Sure, thank you.", she smiled softly as they went to his apartment.
The next morning Poppy was rudely awakened. Her cell phone rang and the image of her father materialized.
"Yello...", she muttered tiredly and hangover.
"Finally! Poppy, what happened yesterday? Was there a deal?", she heard Tony say, sitting up slowly her head throbbed.
"No, there wasn't a deal, because these old motherfuckers would rather speak with the big boss himself instead of talking with a small Missy.", she muttered, looking at her father.
Shaun came out of the shower, dressed in sweatpants and with only a towel over his shoulders. He stood still as he saw a picture of Tony Stark in his living room. He didn't expect Poppy to be awake already and even less to see a projection of Tony Stark that was talking.
"I was thinking about breaking the deal with them anyway. Especially if they feel the need to treat my daughter that way.", she smiled softly, as he said that, not realizing that a man stood behind her.
"Daughter?", it burst out of Shaun, too astounded by the scene in front of him.
Poppy turned around, looking at him, slowly realizing that he was only wearing sweatpants and damn was he well build. She felt her face get hot, as she turned around again, Tony eyeing her suspiciously.
"Did I interrupt something?", he asked with a smirk.
"No, you did not!", Poppy answered to hastily, sighing afterwards.
"Dad, that's Shaun, he's the-", she stopped, not knowing what his job is called. "He's working for the park service at the hotel. He asked me if I would like to accompany him and his friend Katy to Karaoke, since the meeting made me feel like shit.", she explained turning around again. "Shaun, meet my Dad: Tony Stark. Don't know what else to say about this.", she chuckled.
Shaun still looked at them in shock, she could literally hear the gears clicking in his head: "Potts. So you're Pepper Potts daughter! Damn I didn't think about this! I'll ehm.. leave you to your talk. Sorry for Interrupting.", he stuttered going back into his bedroom.
Poppy turned around, looking at the picture of her father, who looked at her with a smirk: "I'm glad you used your time efficiently." – "it's not like that.", she answered, her face blushing again.
"I just hope you had a nice evening.", he winked. "I'll see you in a week. Love you.", his picture vanished, having ended the call.
The young woman lay down again, putting an arm over her eyes. Still too hungover for this shit. "You want some coffee?", she heard Shaun's soft voice, a smile creeping on her face. "I don't like coffee. What do you think about scrambled eggs? It works wonders for a hangover." – "Scrambled eggs it is.", he laughed starting to prepare breakfast.
Poppy and Shaun sat down at his little table, enjoying the slighty dry eggs and a green tea. "I'm going to be honest: I'm still trying to process that you're Tony Starks daughter.", Shaun chuckled, looking at the woman in front of him.
Poppy hummed: "I'm helping him with managing Stark Industries. Since the Blip he distanced himself from the public and since my Mom got pregnant she's decided to be a stay at home Mom. But I've seen her working for Tony since I was little so I know what to do.", she smiled.
"So the business yesterday-", the young man started, but Poppy interrupted him: "Was with Clients from Stark Industries, yes. But they weren't interested in hearing me out, which is why I was sulking at the Bar.", she chuckled.
"Damn, that's a lot.", he muttered, sipping his coffee. "I think we're about the same age, but you're already leading a company, while I-", he paused for a moment, "park cars for a living.", Poppys gaze was sympathetic as she answered: "Are you happy with what you're doing?" – "Yes, I am.", the man nodded, looking into his coffee, "then I don't see a problem.", she smiled, laying a hand on his forearm, making him look up: "It's to early for an existential crisis, Shaun. Also I don't know about you, but I'm absolutely hungover. To be honest I rarely drink. Tony does, but.. that's why I don't.", both of them laughed.
"You can stay here, if you want. I could get us some Boba. It will sober you up." – "You sure I won't just barf it out again?" – "High risk, but also high reward."
Poppy sat on his couch, her dress shirt and black skirt changed into a shirt and sweatpants from Shaun, too tired to go to the hotel again and get her stuff. She was sipping her bubble tea, while Shaun started the next episode of friends. They've decided to make a marathon out of it.
The young woman was stunned that she would have such a connection to a man she only met yesterday, but something between them just clicked. She can't say that she doesn't feel extremely attracted by him, but for now she's just happy to have some nice company and not laying hungover, alone in some random hotel room.
Her phone began ringing, as she took the call another image was projected and a small girl could be seen.
"Hey Morgan.", the woman smiled at her sister, Shaun curiously looking over to the little girl.
"Poppy! Mom wants to know how long you're gone?", the adorable girl said, holding a captain America plushi in her arm – Tony hates that thing.
"And Mom can't call me herself about it?", the woman chuckled, looking at her sister with a loving gaze.
Shaun felt his heart churn looking at the sisters, thinking about how he left Xialing by herself. Even though he decided this almost a century ago and he didn't regret leaving his father, the guilt about leaving his sister almost ate him up.
"Who's that?", Morgan asked with a grin on her face, already forgetting her first question.
"Are you still with that guy?", she heard her father from further away.
"That's Shaun, a guy I met yesterday and went to Karaoke with. Shaun, my little sister Morgan.", she said while gesturing to both of them.
Shaun leaned into her personal bubble, his head hovering over her shoulder, cheek almost against cheek, making the young woman blush, as Shaun began greeting Morgan.
Suddenly her mother could be seen in the picture, smiling softly at her: "We didn't intend to disturb you two, Morgan was just missing her sister.", Poppy laughed: "no problem, Mom, you're not disturbing anything. Morgan, I'll be back in a week. I still have some clients to talk to and I deserve some vacation. I miss you, little Goblin." – "I miss you, too.", the little girl said with a grin, waving while they ended the call.
"I've now seen the whole Stark family and many people don't even know there's a whole Stark family, that feels like a real honor.", Shaun grinned his head now resting on her shoulder. "You should be. Morgan Stark is a secret treasure.", she chuckled, trying to calm her beating heart, 'You've known this guy for 24 hours. Calm the fuck down.'
"You're here for another week?", Shaun asked, pulling away and looking at her. "Yep." – "Want to join us for more karaoke?", he grinned at her, making the woman laugh. "I'd love to. Give me your phone.", he did as told: "it's just not that fancy, no projections and stuff." – "I'll live.", Poppy chuckled typing in her number. "I have other meetings on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. In the meantime I'll be free to got, til Friday."
Shaun nodded, smiling at her. He was excited to say the least. It's embarrassing to think that he already developed a crush for this woman, he only knows for about 24 hours, but he feels like their chemistry is just right.
A woman that's chilling with him, watching a friends marathon, not judging him for drinking 3 bobas. It's amazing. He just shouldn't think about the fact that she'll be leaving at the end of the next week. Who knows how far away she lives?
"Where are you from?", he asked after finishing his worries. They didn't talk about this.
"From New York, but currently I live in Georgia, in a cute lakeside cabin with my parents." – "Your father really distanced himself, huh?", the woman hummed, putting her arm on the couch back and leaning her cheek against her hand. "The Avengers had a tough time, even before Thanos. It was hard after the Blip, but our live had to go on.", Shaun nodded, even though he didn't know what happened to his family all of this still felt surreal eben after 4 years. He wasn't sure how somebody must feel that lost their family in the Blip.
"We did grow serious right now, didn't we?", Poppy laughed. "Let's just continue and after that I'm ready to leave."
He didn't want her to. He liked this, liked her and felt ridiculous about it.
He didn't know that the woman next to him felt the same way.