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Universe 112715: Modern Royalty

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The lights dimmed around a group of tables filled with people as a screen lit up to play a video.

"Tony Stark, Visionary, Genius, America's King."

"Even from an early age, the son of the previous King, Howard Stark quickly stole the spotlight with his brilliant and unique mind." A few pictures flash before them.

"At age four, he build his first circuit board."

"At age six, his first engine."

"And at 17, he had already flown all over the world."

"Then the passing of a titan. The newly introduced government lead by Howard Stark's lifelong friend and ally, Obadiah Stane, steps in to help fill the gap left by the legendary King." A picture of obadiah looking down at a tiny planet earth flashes on the screen.

"Until, at age 21, the prodigal son returns and crowned King. With the keys to the kingdom, Tony ushers in a new era for his father's legacy, creating many partnerships, advanced robotics, policies and creating the famous Stark Industries in the weapons department."

"Today, our King has enforce and lead the royal fist by ensuring freedom and protecting America and her interests around the globe."

Colonel James Rhodes or you may know him as rhodey has the spot light on him as the screen cleared and the lights went back on." I've had the unique and rare privilege of serving the King." Rhodey could have never been more prouder.

"He is my friend and my great mentor. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present his majesty this years's Apogee Award."

There was a round of applause but no one came on stage, Rhodey tried to keep on his smile but was internally cursing. oh, not again Obadiah shook his head, standing up to go up to the stage.

"Thank you, Colonel," he grins and takes the award, Rhodey nods," Thanks for the save," he whispers as he stood one side to let Obadiah speak." This is beautiful. Thank you, thank you all very much," he grinned as another applause sounded.

"This... is wonderful," he replies examining the award." Well, I'm not the King." He muses earning chuckles from the crowd." But if I were Tony, I would tell you how honor I feel and what a joy it is to receive this very prestigious award. Tony, you know... The best thing about Tony is also the worst thing. He's always working."

"Work it! Come on!"

The people surrounding Tony and Happy cheers as they won, Tony grins widely patting Happy on the shoulder after he threw a strong dice." I told you it'll-" he started but then was cut off my rhodey's voice,"  You are unbelievable." Happy gave him a sheepish smile and shrug as Tony nudges him for another round.

They had hushed discussions while Tony is distractingly looking at the board." Did they rope you into this?" He asks distractingly, Rhodey rolls his eyes." Nobody roped me into anything!" Tony grins childishly." I'm so sorry."

Rhodey don't even know how they are having this conversation right now in public no less." But they told me that if I presented you with an award, you'd be deeply honored." " Of course I'd be deeply honored. And it's you, that's great." Tony grins and then asks," So when do we do it?" Rhodey gives Tony the award as Happy place his bet, Tony offhandedly pushes all the bets in and turns back to him.

" It's right here. Here you go. There it is. That was easy." As Tony studies the award, looking impressed but actually really bored of looking at it for more than one time." Here you go. There it is. That was easy." Tony repeats and gave him a genuinely apologetic smile, " I'm so sorry." Rhodey relaxes a bit." Yeah, it's okay."

Happy then lets a woman at his side blow his dice then raise an eyebrow at Rhodey." Do it do it!" Tony chants softly." I don't blow on a man's dice." Rhodey looks at Happy exasperately, he goes to throw it but Tony holds him back, teasing Rhodey." Come on, honey bear." Rhodey intercepts Tony's hand and the Dice falls out of Happy's hand.

"There it is. Lieutenant Colonel Rhodes rolls! And..."  there was a collective groan." Two craps. Line away." Rhodey shakes his head and smiles." That's what happens." "Worse things have happened. I think we're gonna be fine." Tony grins at him." Color me up, William."

They then walk out of the casino, they walk together for a while with guards along Tony's side." This is where I exit." He adds as they both split up." All right. Tomorrow, don't be late." Rhodey reminds Tony." Yeah, you can count on it." Tony replies offhandedly." I'm serious!" Rhodey exclaims." I know, I know." He teases as they split up." Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. There you go." Tony said, passing his newly won award to a random man.

They were about to roll out in a carriage when a blonde woman tries to get pass his guard." Your majesty! Christine Everhart, Vanity Fair Magazine. Can I ask you a couple of questions?" Tony was tempted to ignore her really, he may have been too lenient on the 'all are equal' policy.

Happy and Tony exchange unreadable looks, he turns and smirks, willing to take on the challeng." Hi." "Hi." " Yeah. Okay, go." " It's okay? You've been called the da Vinci of our time." " What do you say to that?" "Absolutely ridiculous. I don't paint." "And what do you say to your other nickname? "The Merchant of Death"?" "That's somewhat biased." "Let me guess. Berkeley?" "Brown, actually." "Well, Ms. Brown, it's an imperfect world, but it's the only one we've got." " I guarantee you, the day weapons are no longer needed to keep the peace, I'll start making bricks and beams for baby hospitals."

She raise her eyebrows." Rehearse that much?" She muses. Tony was getting a little ruffled by her, he plans on turning the tables." Every night in front of the mirror before bedtime." He jokes." I can see that." She muses, he swiftly adds," I'd like to show you first-hand."

She looks like she wanted to just roll her eyes." All I want is a serious answer." "Okay, here's serious. My old man had a philosophy, "Peace means having a bigger stick than the other guy."," " That's a great line," She muses sarcastically he then adds." My father helped defeat the Nazis. He worked on the Manhattan Project. A lot of people, including your professors at Brown, would call that being a hero." "And a lot of people would also call that war profiteering." Tony smirks internally, this woman is brave.

" Tell me, do you plan to report on the millions we've saved by advancing medical technology or kept from starvation with our intelli-crops? All those breakthroughs, military funding, honey." ....

... "You ever lose an hour of sleep your whole life?" "I'd be prepared to lose a few with you."



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"Jeus!" Christine exclaims as she is met with Jarvis' bodiless voice." That's Jarvis, he runs the house," Pepper replies with amusement. Christine straighens herself as if she wasn't caught wondering." I've got your clothes here, they've been dry-cleaned and pressed," Pepper replies and passes to her a bag ignoring Christine's attempt to straighten herself.

"And there's a car waiting for you outside that will take you anywhere you'd like to go." She adds." You must be the famous Pepper Potts." Christine replies, Pepper is the only maid in the mansion, Tony claiming he doesn't need a row of slaves to serve him.

"Indeed I am." Pepper replies." After all these years, Tony still has you picking up the dry-cleaning." Christine replies apparently thinking that Tony was that much of a playboy. Pepper smiles internally shaking her head, she definetely knows Tony more than most people.

"I do anything and everything that his majesty requires, including, occasionally, taking out the trash. Will that be all?" She smiles knowing that she has won.

"Give me an exploded view," Despite him having royal duties and all, he still loves tinkering in his lab, if he's father wasn't a king he would have been an engineer now, not that he isen't one now. "The compression in cylinder three appears to be low," JARVIS commented, his greatest creation.

"Log that."

Pepper Potts was walking down the steps to Tony's lab, muttering on the phone; "Okay, I'll keep you posted." Pepper snapped the phone shut. "You are supposed to be half way around the world right now." She points point to him." How'd she take it?" Tony asks instead. "Like a champ." 

"Why're you trying to hustle me out of here?" Tony asked, still examining his engine parts."The flight was scheduled to leave an hour and a half ago." Pepper muses."That's funny... I thought with it being my plane and all, that it would just wait for me to get there." Tony replies distractingly." Tony, I need to speak to you about a couple things before I get you out of the door." Pepper exasperatedly replies." Doesn't it kind of defeat the whole purpose of having your own plane if it departs before you arrive?" He asks offhandedly.

Pepper continues, "Larry called. He's got another buyer for the Jackson Pollock in the wings. Do you want it? Yes or no." She states." Is it a good representation of his spring period?" He asks now finishing up with his work and standing to face her." No. The Springs was actually the neighborhood in East Hampton where he lived and worked," " not "spring" like the season." He mutters, she prompts."  So?" She asks." I think it's a fair example. I think it's incredibly overpriced. I need it. Buy it. Store it." 

"Okay..." Pepper noted about it and followed Tony. "The MI commencement speech-" "Is in June," Tony interrupted. "please, don't harangue me about that stuff." "Well, they are haranguing me, so I'm gonna say yes..." "Deflect it and absorb it, don't transmit it back to me." He replies as he goes over to the other side of the workshop to grab a drink.

Tony turns as she holds out a document. "I need you to sign this before you get on the plane,"

Tony looked at her and pick up the pen. "What are you trying to get rid of me for? What, you got plans?" "As a matter of fact, I do." "I don't like it when you have plans." He muses." I'm allowed to have plans on my birthday." Pepper states." It's your birthday?" He tries not to look surprised." Yes. I knew that. Already?" He asks." Yeah. Isn't that strange? It's the same day as last year." Pepper teases." Get yourself something nice from me." He adds.

" I already did." " And?" "It was very nice. Yeah. Very tasteful. Thank you, Your majesty"  "You're welcome, Miss Potts."

He then finally leaves his mansion and arrives at the plane in his carraige, smiling at Rhodey sheepishly. He rolls his eyes as Tony nods a thanks to Happy while walking to him." Three hours..." Rhodey grumbles.

On the plane... "What you reading, platypus?" Tony asks as he scribbled down most likely a signature and a stewardess takes it from him and exchanges it for a glass." Nothing. Come on, sour patch. Don't be mad." He pouts." I told you, I'm not mad. I'm indifferent, okay?" Rhodey replies clearly still annoyed." I said I was sorry." "Good morning, your Majesty," another's attractive stewardess smiled at Tony. "No need to apologize," Rhodey replies.

"Hi, I said I was sorry, but he..." Tony said, gesturing to his friend with a pouting look at the stewardess." I'm just indifferent right now." Rhodey repeats." Hot towel?" She asks clearly amused as she hands him a tray and Tony takes one." You don't respect yourself, so I know you don't respect me." Rhodey begins.

Tony pouts, apparently he's still onto this, he ignores the first part." I respect you." He insisted, Rhodey smiles and shakes his head." I'm just your babysitter. So, when you need your diaper changed..." offhandedly he says to the stewardess who hands him a towel." Thank you." Then he turns back to Tony." Let me know and I'll get you a bottle, okay?"

" Hey! Heat up the sake, will you?" Tony asks one of the stewardess." Thanks for reminding me." He grins." No, I'm not talking... We're not drinking. We're working right now." Rhodey protests." You can't have sashimi without sake," He muses.

Rhodey looks at him exasperatedly." You are constitutionally incapable of being responsible." "It would be irresponsible not to drink I'm just talking about a nightcap." Tony replies, a little carried away with the laziness.

" Hot sake?" The stewardess asks coming back with a bottle." Yes two please." " No. I'm not drinking. I don't want any." Rhodey protested but didn't stop the stewardess from pouring him a cup.

In the end, he got drunk easily while Tony offhandedly lets him lean against his shoulder." That's what I'm talking about!" He exclaims." When I get up in the morning, and I'm putting on my uniform, you know what I recognize? I see in that mirror that every person that's got this uniform will have my back!" Rhodey slurred, Tony makes an amuse sound of mild agreement.

" Hey, you know what? I'm not like you. I'm not cut out-" "No, you don't have to be like me. But you're more than what you are, you just don't see it." Tony's eyes are still glued to the entertainment." Can you excuse me if I'm a bit distracted here?" Tony gestures." No! You can't be distracted right now! Listen to me!" Tony just drinks and stares ahead as Rhodey rambles.

Finally they landed at Afghanistan, the Bagram Air Base." Welcome, Mr. Stark," a General bows and said. "I look forward to your weapons presentation." Tony smiles through his sunglasses." Shall we?"

The weapons presentation starts, as Tony stands infront of a group of solider." Is it better to be feared or respected? I say, is it too much to ask for both? With that in mind, I humbly present the crown jewel of Stark Industries freedom line. It's the first missile system to incorporate our proprietary repulsor technology. They say the best weapon is one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once. That's how dad did it, and it's worked out pretty well so far. Find an excuse to let one of these off the chain, and I personally guarantee you the bad guys won't even want to come out of their caves."

He nods to the solider who is at the controls. The missile raises up and fires at a few mountains. " For your consideration, the Jericho." He raises his arms as the explosion's impact gave his stance a dramatic flair as it blows the caps right out of the soldier's hair. After the presentation Tony grabs a drink." I'll be throwing one of these in with every purchase of 500 million or more. To peace!" He toasts as he picks up his high tech phone as it rings.

"Tony," on the screen, in a dim room lies obadiah." Obie, what are you doing up?" He asks." I couldn't sleep till I found out how it went. How'd it go?" Obadiah explains with cheeky innocence but it went unnoticed by Tony." It went great. Looks like it's gonna be an early Christmas." He replies smugly.

" Hey! Way to go, my boy! I'll see you tomorrow, yeah?" He asks, Tony retorts." Why aren't you wearing those pajamas I got you?" " Good night, Tony." He drawled.

He then goes into a jeep." Hey, Tony-" Rhodey starts." I'm sorry, this is the "fun-vee." The "hum-drum-vee" is back there." He teases, Rhodey smiles." Nice job." Tony grins" See you back at base."

Tony puts on some rock music as they drive in silence only the music and the sound of ice from his drink. It was awkward at first but then Tony decided to break it." I feel like you're driving me to a court-marial," he starts," This is crazy, what did I do?" He asks, the soliders look at each other.

"I feel like you're going to pull over and snuff me, what are you not allowed to talk? Hey Forest!" The solider finally replies." We can talk, your majesty." He replies." Oh, I see. So it's personal?" He asks, a female voice replies." No, you intimidate them."

" Good God, you're a woman. I honestly... I couldn't have called that. I mean, I'd apologize, but isn't that what we're going for here? I thought of you as a soldier first." He asks, she replies amusingly." I'm an airman." Tony raises his eyebrows." You have, actually, excellent bone structure, there. I'm kind of having a hard time not looking at you now. Is that weird?" The soliders started chuckling.

" Come on, it's okay, laugh." He encourages with a soft grin, one of the solider turns around to ask," Your majesty I have a question to ask," "Yes please," he gestured." Is it true you went 12 for with last year's Maxim cover models?" He asks." That is an excellent question, Yes and no, March and I had a scheduling conflict but fortunately the Christmas cover was twins."

" Anything else?" He asks and a solider puts his hands up." You're kidding me with the hand up, right?"  He jokes." Is it cool if I take a picture with you?" He asks." Yes. It's very cool." He replies and then the solider gave his camera to the solider infront.

" All right. I don't want to see this on your MySpace page." Tony adds and then the solider puts up a peace sign." Please, no gang signs." He quickly put it down and then Tony adds again." No, throw it up. I'm kidding. Yeah, peace. I love peace. I'd be out of a job with peace." He teases.

" Come on. Hurry up. Just click it. Don't change any settings." The solider beside him pressed on but an explosion cut them out of their chattering.

Their chatter became shouts as they struggled to get out their weapons." What's going on?" Tony demanded.

The female soldier leapt out of the car with her gun, only to be shot down immediately. The soldier who had been taking the picture turned to the young soldier.

"Jimmy, stay with Stark!" He commanded. Then he too, jumped out." Stay down!" He exclaims." Yeah." Tony didn't even have the courage to point out his mistake. The other solider got shot and the solider beside him curses." Son of a bitch!" And goes down and closes the door before saying." Stay here!" He exclaims but got shot too, the bullets pierce through the window, barely missing Tony.

He scrambled out as his ears rang and quickly find a rock to hide behind while trying to get to jarvis or Redmond, his advisor who he remembers told him that Stark Industries was a bad idea, he further wished he had listened as a bomb landed beside him, with his name written all over it. He scrambled to get away but was too late as it blows up into his face, he immediately blackened out.



Chapter Text

"I'm telling you! We need to focus more on weaponry! This is why things like these happen!" He exclaims, though most people think of him as the leader of the government, some people know that everyone in the government is equal, what they didn't know was that Obadiah was actually the one with the lowest power despite being secretary of defense.

"Let it go Mr Stane," Redmond replies softly, he has the power to apparently calm people's nerves (not that it worked during his past life) and obadiah relaxes a little but not entirely." I'm sorry Mr Stane but by majority, we think its more important to tend to the people, these are little things, I'm sure the king can handle his own not like little terrorists can do much to a royal blood," one of them replies.

Obadiah lets out an angry huff of air but before he can dig himself further in, Redmond interupted." First of all, I think that finding the king is important, he don't know if he's dead or alive yet, when the King returns tending to the people will be easier," He explains." Oh please, all he does is build sci-fi materials, waste his own money and sit on a fancy decorated chair, we all know you're the one pulling the strings from fhe throne room, why don't you join us?"

Redmond narrows his eyes, this is why he didn't like the government but was apparently beneficial to the King as one person can't deal with the whole country himself but then he is starting to find flaws in the solution." My place is with the king, I will not take any action without him," he replies definetely earning irritated looks from both the government and Obadiah (secretly).

"I wouldn't do that if I were you," great now what? Tony's mind was already groggled, messy and filled with pain. He could remember what happened before he woke up in a unfamiliar place and didn't want to think about it as he reaches for a glass of water.

But it falled to the ground and he notice a magnet hook up to a car battery, every single movement hurt and if he attempted to reach for the floor he would have snapped the wires. He knows that it'll be dangerous, he also knows what its for but too shock to accept it, he turns to the man who spoke up.

"What the hell did you do to me?" He chokes weakly." What I did? What I did is to save your life," He retorts." I removed all the shrapnel I could, but there's a lot left, and it's headed into your atrial septum." He then takes something out." Here, want to see? I have a souvenir. Take a look." He puts on the table a bottle half full of shrapnel.

" We call them the walking dead because it takes about a week for the barbs to reach the vital organs." He adds, he didn't need to know anymore, he sat up and looking around, he found a camera." That's right smile," the man retorts, following his gaze." 

"We met once before, you know. At the technical conference in Bern." He adds." I don't remember." Tony mutters." You wouldn't, If I had been that drunk, I would not have been able to stand, much less give a lecture on integrated circuits." He muses." Where are we?" Tony starts to ask but then was interupted by the loud clank of the door.

" Come on, stand up. Stand up!" He hisses as a group of men barges in." Just do as I do. Come on, put your hands up." Tony follows suit he then notices something." Those are my guns. How did they get my guns?" He asks." Do you understand me? Do as I do." He replies as the terrorist talks to him in a language Tony doesn't recgonise." He says, "Welcome, Tony Stark, the most famous mass murderer "in the history of America." He is honored." The man beside him translated, the terrorist says something again." He wants you to build the missile. The Jericho missile that you demonstrated." He translated and then shows him a scroll." This one," he adds.

Tony didn't bother to look at it and then looks at the terrorist hard in the eyes." I refuse."

Tony blinks as the light shines painfully into his face, after almost drowning, he staggered along as a terrorist pushes him, forcing him to move. He looks at his surroundings and found alot of boxes with the logo of Stark Industries, he could hear Redmond's lecture at the back of his damp hair.

He then stops infront of the man that he first saw and the terrorist that barge into the cave before, he then says something in a foreign language." He wants to know what you think," he translated, Tony glances at his side." I think you got lot of my weapons," he grumbles.

He then translated to the terrorist. The man replied loudly with confidence. He circled Tony. Tony turned around to face him. The man was expressionless, glaring through his thin framed glasses." He says they have everything you need to build the Jericho missile. He wants you to make the list of materials. He says for you to start working immediately, and when you're done, he will set you free." The man translated after the terrorist started talking again.

The terrorist grins who held out his hand, which Tony took. " No he won't," Tony grits teeth in a broken smile." No he won't." The man confirmed. The terrorist seemed oblivious, and beamed at his Translator and Tony.

Back in the cave... " I'm sure they're looking for you, Stark," Tony didn't have the power to correct him, he wonders if he has been really too relaxed around people." But they'll never find you in these mountains," the man replies who did not notice Tony's discomfort, or maybe he did just that he thinks Tony deserves it.

"Look, what you just saw?" He asks," That is your legacy Stark, your life's work in the hands of those murderers, Is that how you want to go out? Is this the last act of defiance of the great Tony Stark? Or are you going to do something about it?" He asks.

" Why should I do anything? They're going to kill me, you, either way. And if they don't, I'll probably be dead in a week." He replies, defeated." Well, then, this is a very important week for you, isn't it?" He asks. He doesn't even know if Stark can do anything at this point, but he is the King, his hopes were answered as Tony's eyes lit up with inspiration.

Tony then use their cooperation to gather the materials he needs." If this is going to be my work station I want it well-lit, I want these up. I need welding gear. I don't care if it's acetylene or propane. I need a soldering station. I need helmets. I'm gonna need goggles. I would like a smelting cup. I need two sets of precision tools."

Tony disassembles a missile and asks the man beside him," How many languages do you speak?" He asks," Alot," the man replies." But apparently not enough for this place." Tony makes a small sound of humor." They speak arabic, urdu, dari, pashto, mongolian, farsi, russian." As he disassembles the missile," Who are these people?" He asks." They are your loyal customers, your majesty," he replies sarcastistically, Tony looks at him like: are you serious? " They call themselves the Ten Rings."

The camera watches them work, Tony bends down while the man follows him." You know, we might be more productive if you include me in the planning process." He muses," Uh huh," he replies offhandedly as he disassembles another missile. He then brings a part to the workbench.

He then cuts off a part of the gear," Ok we don't need this," Tony proclaimed as he tossed the part behind him, the man eyes his movement and backs off a bit in amusement and surprise then look at what Tony is holding." What is that?" He asks." That's palladium, 0.15 grams. We need at least 1.6, so why don't you go break down the other 11?" He asks, he then does what he is told to.

The terrorist behind the cameras oblivious to what they are doing, simply thinking they are working for them. Tony and the man gets to work," Careful, Careful, we only get one shot at this." Tony replies anxiously as the man hold the pliers." Relax. I have steady hands. Why do you think you're still alive?" He asks.

"What do I call you?" Tony asked, watching him work. "My name is Yinsen," he said." Yinsen. Nice to meet you." He replies, he looks at him as if he wasn't expecting that." Nice to meet you, too." They then continue working, soldering and combining, Tony then turns on a battery, lighting up a comtraption, dimming the lights in the cave.

Yinsen looks at the contraption in awe," That doesn't look like a Jericho missile." He muses." That's because it's a miniaturized arc reactor. I got a big one powering my factory at home. It should keep the shrapnel out of my heart." Tony replies.

" But what could it generate?" He asks, Tony replies." If my math is right, and it always is, three gigajoules per second." He replies." That could run your heart for 50 lifetimes." Yinsen adds in amazement." Yeah. Or something big for 15 minutes." He replies with mischieve in his voice.

He shows Yinsen a few blueprints and then puts them over each other." This is our ticket out of here." He mutters." What is it?" Yinsen asks." Flatten them out and look." He adds and Yinsen does just that and shows a combined armor blueprint." Impressive..." Yinsen mutters, something flash in his eyes.

Chapter Text

After Yinsen helps Tony put on the arc reactor, they start to play a board game." Oo Good roll." Yinsen muses." Good roll." " You still haven't told me where you're from." Tony adds." I'm from a small town called Gulmira. It's actually a nice place." Yinsen replies as he picks up the pieces." Got a family?" He asks, Yinsen looks at Tony who holds his head down, pouring them water.

Yinsen's expression turns regretful." Yes, and I will see them when I leave here." And you, Stark?" He asks as they lock eyes." No." Tony whispers." No? So you're a man who has everything and nothing." Yinsen muses, Tony smirks a little.

Later, Tony goes to heat up things while Yinsen reads a book, the terrorist peeks into the cave and left them to work. The armor was in good progress, the terrorrist really had no idea. But when Tony tests out the armor's leg parts, Raza eyes them suspiciously.

They stop working when a terrorist shouts through the hole from their cell door and then the foor opens. They put their hands behind their head as Raza walks in. He then looks at Tony," Relax," he replies and they put down their hands. Raza walks towards Tony and checks his arc reactor, Tony puts on a neutral face.

"The bow and arrow once was the pinnacle of weapons technology." He says as he steps away from Tony." It allowed the great Genghis Khan to rule from the Pacific to the Ukraine. An empire twice the size of Alexander the Great and four times the size of the Roman Empire. But today, whoever holds the latest Stark weapons rules these lands."

He picks up the blueprints, Tony looks at Yinsen anxiously who gestures at him in reassurance." And soon, it will be my turn." Tony and Raza locks eyes, he then changes language. Yinsen replies to him, they then exchange words, Tony looks at them, watching their every move.

Yinsen was grabbed and forced to kneel down as the terrorist grabs a coal." What does he want?" Tony asks as he eyes the sizziling coal. Yinsen's head was forced on an anvil, they exchange more words, making Tony shift uncomfortably.

" What do you want? A delivery date?" He asks stepping forth, immediately the soliders shouts to stop him, he backs off, glaring at them. But at least he got his attention, he focus his anger on the soliders into his next words as if he didn't like Yinsen." I need him, good assistant."

He drops the coal," You have till tomorrow to assemble my missile," he growls. They then went to work, Tony directing all his hate and anger into workimg hard. They manages to finish the armor, Tony tapes his hands and puts on a jacket and gloves. Yinsen then helps him put the armor on." Ok can you move?" He asks, Tony stretches his hands.

"Okay say it again," Yinsen replies noting the movememt and fastening the armor." 41 steps straight ahead. Then 16 steps, that's from the door, fork right, 33 steps, turn right." He repeated exactly. The terrorists notice then something was wrong. Soliders shout through their door.

"Say something. Say something back to him." Tony prompts." He's speaking Hungarian. I don't..." Yinsen mutters." Then speak Hungarian." He replies." Okay. I know." Yinsen stops to think for a while." What do you know?" He asks. Yinsen yells back but they didn't stop, they try to budge in but they rigged a bomb and it blew them back and destroyed a camera.

" How'd that work?" Tony asks cheekily, Yinsen peered at the open entrance." Oh, my goodness. - It worked all right." Yinsen muses and boltens up the armor." That's what I do." Tony adds." Let me finish this." He replies.

" Initialize the power sequence." Tony insisted." Okay." Yinsen then goes to a laptop." Tell me. Tell me."  Yinsen prompts." Function 11. Tell me when you see a progress bar. It should be up right now." Tony replies." Yes." Yinsen replies." Talk to me. Tell me when you see it." Apparently they are too agitated to hear or think properly.

" I have it." Yinsen repeats." Press Control "l"," "I." Got it. - "I." "Enter." "l" and "Enter." Come over here and button me up." A bunch of soliders quickly runs down the corridoor through the cave.

" Okay. All right. Every other hex bolt." Tony replies." They're coming!" Yinsen grumbles as he peeks over at the entrance." Nothing pretty, just get it done." Tony replies trying to sound calm." Just get it done." " They're coming." Yinsen repeats as he checks the progress bar." Make sure the checkpoints are clear before you follow me out, okay?" Tony asks but Yinsen isen't listening." We need more time." He mutters.

"Hey, I'm gonna go buy you some time." Yinsen replies with determination on his face, he goes to pick up a gun the guards dropped." Stick to the plan!" He ignores Tony at the back and runs out shooting." Stick to the plan! Yinsen!" Tony looks at the laptop anxiously.

Yinsen manages to chase away the guards but stop short when a whole lot of them surround him. The progress bar reaches 100% and the power cuts off, leaving the cave dark and the sound of the armor releasing can be heard. A few guards moves in and they were hesitant, pushing each other inside, one of the guards notice too late as they are faced with a blue light and he got flung away. The other guards panics and starts shooting the cave.

They stop shooting only to get hit afterwards. With the Mark I, Tony storms out, mercilessily hitting the terrrorists. Raza loads a bigger gun, Tony finally reaches near the entrance," Yinsen!" "Watch out!" He dodges the missile while Tony manages to injure him with his. He throws a bag away and flips up the face plate." Stark..." Yinsen is heavily injured." Come on. We got to go. Move for me, come on. We got a plan. We're gonna stick to it." Tony rambles.

" This was always the plan, Stark." Yinsen replies gently," Come on, you're gonna go see your family. Get up." He replies agitatedly." My family is dead. I'm going to see them now, Stark." Yinsen replies, panting, surprise, realisation and self-hatred flashes on Tony's face.

" It's okay. I want this. I want this." Yinsen replies, raspily, his vision fading out, Tony's huff was hollow." Thank you for saving me." Tony replies." D-don't waste it. Don't waste your life. Don't-" He pants, it was hard to talk now with whatever was left of his torso, he didn't manage to choke out his final words. Don't do anything stupid Tony, the world needs you.

But those words got through to him, he straightens himself and face the entrance, putting back on his face plate. The terrorists points their weapons to the cave entrance as a few giant metallic steps could be heard from the inside. They all fired at him but none of them manage to scratch him.

"My turn," Everything engulfs in flames.

Chapter Text

Tony made sure everything went up in flames. He had a little trouble but as soon as everything was in an inferno, he presses a button and flies out of there but it only lasted for a while.

"Not bad," he mutters as he lies in his broken armor.

He wraps his jacket around his head as he walks to the east side of the setting sun, hoping he would get somewhere. He was about to collapse though until choppers flew over him.

He shouts at them and waves at them." Hey!" The helicopter makes a U-turn and lands.

He lands on his knees and gave them a peace sign as a group of soliders runs to him." How was the "fun-vee"?" Rhodey teases, Tony gave him his trademark smirk." Next time, you ride with me, okay?" He asks, clearly very happy and relieved as he pulled him into a hug.

The plane lands where Pepper, Happy and Redmond awaits him. Tony stands up from a wheelchair and he walks down the ramp, arms supported by Rhodey," Watch it, coming up here." Rhodey replies and Tony watches his step, a stretcher and paramedics rolls up to him." Are you kidding me with this? Get rid of them," Tony retorts and walks to Pepper as Rhodey waves the paramedics away.

Tony sniffs at Pepper," Your eyes are red, A few tears for your long-lost boss?" Tony asks." Tears of joy. I hate job hunting." She retorts." Yeah, vacation's over." He replies, Redmond smiles at him," Welcome back your majesty," Redmond replies as Pepper goes to the other side of the carriage." Should have been there before I left," Tony jokes, Redmond smiles sympathetically, Tony has a feeling he knows what is going on." Well I had to deal with several old fools, maybe I'll become your butler next time," he muses.

Pepper huffs at him and hops on, Tony smiles and Redmond helps him up the carriage." Where to your majesty," Happy asks from the driver's seat, he understood that he wouldn't want to go to the hospital considering what he did with the stretchers earlier but apparently Pepper was too stressed to think about it.

" Take us to the hospital, please, Happy." Pepper turns and replies softly, Tony interupts." No." Redmond just sat beside Pepper, fanning himself with his signature fan, a neutral expression on his face." No? Tony- you have to- go to the hospital-" Tony interupts "No is a complete answer." " The doctor has to look at you." Pepper insists." I don't have to do anything. I've been in captivity for three months. There are two things I want to do. I want an American cheeseburger and the other..."

" That's enough of that." Pepper huffs." not what you think. I want you to call for a press conference now." Tony adds Pepper look at him ridiculously." Call for a press conference?" " Yeah," " What on earth for?" " Hogan, drive. Cheeseburger first."

They arrive at the conference, with people clapping and Obadiah goes to open the door for him." Look at this!" He goes on to hug him, Redmond politely waiting for them, knowing their relationship." Tony... We were going to meet at the hospital." Obadiah replies worriedly.

" No, I'm fine." Tony mutters." Look at you!" Happy gave him the last burger." You had to have a burger, yeah?" Obdiah replies exasperatedly, glancing at Redmond offhandedly." Well, come on." Tony protested." You get me one of those?" Obadiah asks." There's only one left. I need it." Tony replies as they walk in together.

" Hey, look who's here! Yeah!" Obadiah calls as they enter the hall. Pepper and Redmond stands one side as they went to the podium." Mr Wen?" A person approaches him, he turns to him, Pepper glancing at them." Yes?" He acknowledges." Can I speak to you for a moment?" Redmond smiles." I believe Ms Potts is more suited to answer your question," he replies, the person raise an eyebrow but wisely didn't question him.

"Um we're not part of the conference, its about to begin right now," Pepper adds." I'm not a reporter. I'm agent Phil Coulson, with the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division." Redmond slowly covers his mouth with his fan." That's quite a mouthful." Pepper muses and accepts a card from him." I know. We're working on it." He replies.

" You know, we've been approached already by the DOD, the FBI, the CIA..." Pepper trails off." We're a separate division with a more specific focus. We need to debrief Mr. Stark about the circumstances of his escape." Coulson replies." I'll put something in the book, shall I?" She asks." Thank you." Coulson replies.

"Uh..." Obadiah goes to the mic and trails off, looking down at Tony who is sitting down leaning against it, taking out a burger." Hey, would it be all right if everyone sat down? Why don't you just sit down? That way you can see me, and I can... A little less formal and..." everyone sits down a little confused and surprised.

"What's up with the love-in?" Rhodey mutters at Pepper, who is sitting.

"Don't look at me, I don't know what he's up to," Pepper whispered." Good to see you," Tony mutters to Obadiah, Obadiah raises his eyebrows and then smiles," Good to see you too," he replies placing a hand on his shoulder, Redmond's face was still hidden, he is standing despite Pepper looks of betrayal, underneath his fan he is frowning.

Is he really going to do it? " I never get to say goodbye to dad," he mutters, Obadiah's face fell at that for a bit, wondering where this is going." I never got to say goodbye to my father." He repeats louder to the press and sets the burger one side as everyone listens to him.

"There's questions that I would have asked him. I would have asked him how he felt about what this company did. If he was conflicted, if he ever had doubts. Or maybe he was every inch the man we all remember from the newsreels." Rhodey smiles at that, but Tony wasn't." I saw young Americans killed by the very weapons I created to defend them and protect them." Obadiah looks at Tony, frowning deeply, expression serious.

"And I saw that I had become part of a system that is comfortable with zero accountability." Tony replies." Your majesty," a few reporters calls but one reporter caught his attention." Hey, Ben." He acknowledged." What happened over there?" He asks." Uh ... I had my eyes opened." Tony replies, standing up, Redmond knows where this is going.

" I came to realize that I have more to offer this world than just making things that blow up." He replies." And that is why, effective immediately, I am shutting down the weapons manufacturing division of Stark International," that gave rise to most of the reporters as a flurry of voices rises up and Obadiah tries to stop him." Until such a time as I can decide what the future of the company will be what direction it should take, one that I'm comfortable with and is consistent with the highest good for this country, as well." Rhodey's expression turns disappointed.

Tony leaves the conference," Good job," Redmond pipped with genuine pride on his face, Pepper and Rhodey sends disbelieving look at him, Tony smiles, a little empty but still has life in them." What we should take away from this is that Tony's back! And he's healthier than ever. We're going to have a little internal discussion and we'll get back to you with the follow-up."

Tony and Redmond leaves the conference without Pepper or Rhodey. Obadiah squints and follows them, Tony trails into the arc station while Redmond and Happy waits for him outside. A while later Obadiah pulls over with a segway." Where is he?" He asks." Mr Stane, I suggest you don't disturb him right now," Redmond replies. Obadiah ignores him," Whatever feather fever," Redmond frowns that was a nickname used by Tony and Tony only.

Obadiah goes in," Well that... That went well." He says sarcastically, Tony looks away," Did I just paint a target on the back of my head?" He asks." Your head?" Obadiah asks walking to him." What about my head? What do you think the over-under on the stock drop is gonna be tomorrow? Optimistically, 40 points." Obadiah retorts." At minimum." " Yep."

"Tony, we're meant to be a weapons manufacturer from the begining," " Obie, I just don't want a body count to be our only legacy." "That's what we do. We're iron mongers. We make weapons."  He replies." It's my name on the side of the building." " And what we do keeps the world from falling into chaos." " Not based on what I saw." Tony interupts

" We're not doing a good enough job. We can do better. We're gonna do something else." He reasoned." Like what? You want us to make baby bottles?" He retorts. "I think we should take another look into Arc Reactor technology," Tony says.

"Oh, come on." Stane shook his head. "The Arc Reactor was a publicity stunt!" He waved his hands at the arc reactor. "Tony, come on, we built that to shut the hippies up!" He exclaims. "It works."

"Yeah, as a science project. The Arc was never cost-effective, we knew that before we built it!" He walks behind Tony. "Arc Reactor technology, that's a dead end, right? Huh?" He prompted. "Maybe," Tony rolls his eyes." Huh, am I right? We haven't had a breakthrough in that for what... thirty years?"

"That's what they say." Tony turns and there was silence. "Could you have a lousier pokerface? Just tell me, who told you?" Tony retorts even if Obadiah really hid it well." Never mind who told me. Show me." Obadiah tries to avoid the subject." It's Rhodey or Pepper." He replies, Redmond probally already knows and knows better than to tell anyone.

" I want to see it." Obadiah replies." Okay, Rhodey," Obadiah make sure no one's looking, Tony does the same, they didn't know that Redmond is listening in. He shows Obadiah the miniaturized arc reactor, he looks at it before nodding.

"Okay, alright." He whispered, doing up Tony's shirt. He glanced around again chuckling." It works," Tony said. Obadiah sighed. "Listen to me, Tony." He slung his arm around Tony's shoulders. "We're a team."

"Do you understand? There's nothing that we can't do, if we stick together, like your father and I," Tony looks up exasperatedly at the mention of his father.

"Sorry I didn't give you a heads up," Tony said. "Okay, but if I had-" "Tony, no more if this heads up-fire-aim business, d'you understand me?" Obadiah asks, Tony flinches at that. "That's dad's line," Obadiah nods and smirks." You gotta let me handle this. We're gonna have to play a whole different kind of ball now." He replies as Tony grabs his vest." We're going to have to take a lot of heat. I want you to promise me that you're gonna lay low." Obadiah replies as they leave.

"Do you want me to go home with you?" Redmond asks as they are back in the carriage, Tony smiles and shakes his head." I'm resting for today, call you tomorrow?" He asks, Redmond thinks for a while, still fanning himself and nods, Tony grabs the fan in a huff from him to fan himself." Say how are you not tired from fanning yourself all the time?"

Chapter Text

Pepper wince as she watches the Tv." Pepper, How big are your hands?" Tony asks, she jumps and lowers down the volume as she listens through the comms on a tablet." What?!" She asks, confused." How big are your hands?" He repeats." I don't understand why-" she starts but Tony cuts her." Get down here. I need you." He replies in a low voice.

She puts down her stufd and goes the to workshop in the basement to see him on a chair holding another arc reactor." Hey," he calls." Let's see them. Show me your hands. Let's see them." Pepper raises her hands." Oh, wow. They are small. Very petite, indeed. I just need your help for a sec." He muses as she gets closer and stops by him.

"Oh, my God, is that the thing that's keeping you alive?" She asks." It was. It is now an antique." Tony replies and then holds up a new one." This is what will be keeping me alive for the foreseeable future." I'm swapping it up for an upgraded unit, and I just ran into a little speed bump."

"Speed bump, what does that mean?" She asks." It's nothing. It's just a little snag. There's an exposed wire under this device. And it's contacting the socket wall and causing a little bit of a short." He takes it out with a snap." I'm fine." And hands it to Pepper, " What do you want me to do?" She asks." Put that on the table over there. That is irrelevant." He was regreting sending Redmond off for this but he had no choice, he is even busier than Tony is especially if he has time to play.

"I want you to reach in, and you're just gonna gently lift the wire out." He replies.

"Is it safe?" She asks." Yeah, it should be fine. It's like Operation. You just don't let it touch the socket wall or it goes 'beep,' " " What do you mean, "Operation"?" She asks." It's just a game, never mind." He replies." Just gently lift the wire. Okay?" "Okay," "Great." Pepper starts to reach in but quickly takes her hand out." You know I-I-I don't think that I'm qualified to do this." She replies just as quickly.

"No No No, you're fine. You're the most capable, qualified, trustworthy person I've ever met. You're gonna do great." Tony replies, Pepper looks at him reluctantly." Is it too much of a problem to ask? 'Cause I'm..." he adds." Okay okay," Pepper whines,"... I really need your help here."

Pepper sucks on her breath as she reaches in, she immediately wretched when she felt something wet and squishy." Urgh... Oh there's pus!" She exclaims groaning in disgust." It's not pus. It's an inorganic plasmic discharge from the device... not from my body." He grunts." It smells!" She exclaims." Yeah it does," he muses.

"The copper wire. The copper wire, you got it?" He asks." Okay, I got it! I got it!" Pepper winced." Okay, you got it? Now, don't let it touch the sides when you're coming out! AH!" A buz sounded, Pepper quickly apologizes." That's what I was trying to tell you before." He mutters." "Okay, now make sure that when you pull it out, you don't pull out the magnet at the end of it-" she pulled it out," Oh, God!" Pepper mutters as the heart monitor goes crazy.

" Okay, I was not expecting- Don't put it back in! Don't put it back in!" She quickly puts it aside." Okay, what do I do? What's wrong?" She asks panicky." Nothing, I'm just going into cardiac arrest 'cause you yanked it out like a trout..." "What? You said it was safe!" " We gotta hurry. Take this. Take this." He gives her the new one." You gotta switch it out really quick." He mutters, gasping in pain." Okay. Okay. Tony..." "What?" "Its going to be okay," " Is it?" " It's gonna be okay. I'm gonna make this okay."

" Let's hope... Okay, you gotta touch that to the baseplate and make sure you-" Tony trails off and he jerkily cries out as Pepper secures the arc reactor." Was that so hard?" He asks nonchalantly as Pepper pants." That was fun right?" He mutters, grinning." Here, I got it. I got it. Here." He adjusts the reactor and then holds it there." Nice," he exaggerately replies.

"Are you okay?" Pepper rasped and Tony replies," Yeah I feel great, you okay?" He retorts laughing, Pepper smiles as she looks at him exasperatedly." Just don't ever ever ever ever to ask me to do anything like that ever again." "I don't have anybody but you," he shrugs, they look at each other, Tony shrugs again.

"Anyway..." wordlessly Pepper goes to dry off her hands and Tony climbs off the chair and grabbing his top." What do you want me to do with this?" Pepper asks taking the old reactor. He pauses for a while before moving again." Destroy it. Incinerate it."

"You don't want to keep it?" She asks." Pepper, I've been called many things. "Nostalgic" is not one of them." Tony replies, Pepper nods." Will that be all, Your Majesty?" "That will be all, Ms. Potts." He turns to a bot." Hey, Butterfingers, come here. What's all this stuff doing on top of my desk?" He asks as the bot whirred at him.

"That's my phone, that's a picture of me and my dad, right there, in the garbage." He turns to see Pepper leave as he taps his arc reactor playfully.

"The future of air combat, Is it manned or unmanned? Let me tell you in my experience, no unmanned aerial vehicle will ever trump a pilot's instinct, his insight, that ability to look into a situation beyond the obvious and discern its outcome. Or pilots judgement." Rhodey says to a group of soliders." Colonel? Why not a pilot without the plane?" Tony asks annoucing his presense, the group of soliders bows to him in greeting.

"Look who fell out of the sky, His Majesty." Rhodey replies."Speaking about manned or unmanned, you gotta get him to tell you about the time he guessed wrong." Tony adds," It's spring break - just remember that - spring break, 1987, that lovely lady, what was his name?" The solider laughs." Was it Ivan?" Tony asked as Rhodey splutters a few protests. "Don't do that, don't do that, they'll believe it, don't do that!" Rhodey grins.

"Give us a couple of minutes, you guys," Rhodey chuckles as the group goes off." I'm surprised! I swear I didn't expect to see you walking around so soon," Rhodey replies, smile faltering." I'm doing a little better than walking." Tony replies, his expression neutral." Really?" Rhodey asks suspiciously." Yeah, Rhodey I'm working on something big... I came to talk to you, I want you to be a part of it," he replies.

Rhodey huffs and nods, smiling," You're about to make a whole lot of people around here real happy, 'cause that little stunt at the press conference that ... that was a doozy." He chuckles.

Tony smiles sheepishly," This is not for the military. I'm not... It's different." He ends lamely." What? You're a humanitarian now or something?" He asks." I need you to listen to me," Tony insisted." No. What you need  is time to get your mind right." He states firmly. Tony smiles and Rhodey shakes his head," I'm Serious." Tony nods," Okay," he whispers." It's nice seeing you Tony," Rhodey replies and leaves.

"... thanks..."

Chapter Text

Back in Malibu, Tony puts Redmond on hold." Looks like its just you and me Feather Fever," Tony teases." I swear I don't even know my I agreed to this," Redmond replies exasperatedly, Tony grins and then unlocks his computer.

"Jarvis you up?" He asks," For you sir, always," Jarvis' muses." I'd like to open a new project file, index as Mark Two." Redmond raises an eyebrow." Really?" "Yes really," Tony retorts." Shall I store this on the Stark Industries Central Database?" Jarvis asks amusingly." Actually, I don't know who to trust right now. Till further notice, why don't we just keep everything on my private server?" He asks," Working on a secret project, are we, sir?" Jarvis asks.

" I don't want this winding up in the wrong hands. Maybe in mine, it can actually do some good." " Are you sure about this Your Majesty? I doubt it would be much of a secret if you plan on taking a test drive," "It won't?" He asks.

"Who else has the ability to build such high tech piece of equipment?" He muses, Tony frowns and looks at the hologram." Though you didn't bring anything back from captivity, what if someone uses your blueprints or armor to build themselves another one?" Redmond asks." I doubt they have the necessity or knowledge to do that," Tony muses.

Tony moves on to make the boots, Redmond is still on but apparently doing something else." Next. Up. Not in the boot, Dummy. Right here. You got me? Stay put. Nice. You're of no benefit at all. Move down to the toe. I got this." He mutters to the bot with the magnifying glass." Okay, I'm sorry, am I in your way? Up. Screw it. Don't even move. You are a tragedy." He grumbles, Redmond offhandedly peeks to see how its going.

A hologram of Redmond sitting down settles beside You with the camera, he watches Tony with interest, fanning himself." Start mark, half a meter, and back and center. Dummy, look alive. You're on standby for fire safety. You roll it." He turns to the bots and adjusts the equipment." Are you sure this will end well?" Redmond asks raising his eyebrows, Tony smirks and steadies himself.

"Okay. Activate hand controls. We're gonna start off nice and easy. We're gonna see if 10% thrust capacity achieves lift. And three, two, one." Tony was flung into the air and hits the wall and falls onto the ground with a grunt as Dummy douse him with the fire extinguisher.

"Really impressive though does your head still hurt?" Redmond teases with fake innocence, Tony pouts and goes back to his computer taking a gulp of a cup, Redmond's hologram looks at the hologram for the fight stabilizer in awe.

When he tests it, Pepper walks down." I've been buzzing you. Did you hear the intercom?" Redmond waves at her in which she returns as she walks to place the items on her hand on the table." Yeah, everything's... What?" He asks as he secures the stabilizer, Redmond walking out and returning in the screen." Obadiah's upstairs." Pepper replies, Redmond tenses up for a while." Great," he mutters." What would you like me to tell him?" She asks.

"Great. I'll be right up." He replies and takes it out from a stand." I thought you said you were done making weapons." Pepper muses as Redmond watches intently." It is," he replies and presses a button," This is a flight stabilizer. It's completely harmless." He replies but was pushed back by the force.

" I didn't expect that." Tony pipes.

Tony goes up after Redmond tells him about his busy schedule." How'd it go?" He asks, Obadiah continues playing the piano, he looks like he is about to say something but thought better of it and continues with his piece." It went that bad huh?" He asks." Just because I brought pizza back from New York doesn't mean it went bad." He muses.

" uh huh," Tony retorts and goes to take a slice." Sure doesn't." He muses." It would have gone better if you were there." Obadiah replies and closes the piano and walks to him." Uh Uh, You told me to lay low. That's what I've been doing." I lay low, and you take care of all the-" he gestures." Hey, come on. In public. The press."

"This was a board of directors meeting." Obadiah replies and sits down beside Tony." This was a board of directors meeting?" He asks." The council is claiming you have post traumatic stress. They're filing an injunction." Obadiah mutters." A what?" He asks unbelievingly and shook his head." They want to lock you out." Obadiah adds." Why, 'cause the stocks dipped 40 points? We knew that was going to happen" He retorts.

"Fifty-six and a half." Pepper adds from the other side, Tony rolls his eyes and looks at her." It doesn't matter I own the controlling interest in the company." He raises is voice, which would have been shocking to anybody else." Tony, the government has rights, too." Obadiah replies like scolding a child.

"They're making the case that you and your new direction isn't in the company's best interest-" Obadiah starts but was interrupted by Tony," I'm being responsible! That's a new direction for me- for the company. I mean, me on the company's behalf being responsible for the way that..." He trails off, a short silence hangs above them, Obadiah and Pepper looking at him with raised eyebrows.

"This is great." Tony retorts and then grabs the whole box of pizza and storms off, Obadiah and Pepper smiling jokingly." Oh come on. Tony. Tony." He protests while finishes his drink." Hey hey hey," he stands up and stops Tony." Listen, I'm trying to turn this thing around, but you gotta give me something. Something to pitch them." He replies as Pepper stretches on the couch she is sitting on.

He points to Tony's arc reactor." Let me have the engineers analyze that. You know, draw up some specs and it'll-" Obadiah starts but Tony states sharply." No, absolutely not," " It'll give me a bone to throw the boys in New York!" "This one stays with me," he insists and walks off, Obadiah sighs exasperatedly and then grabs the pizza box." All right, well, this stays with me, then." He retorts.

" Go on, here, you can have a piece." He replies opening up the box as Tony grabs one." Take two." He offers," Thank you," Tony replies and walks off." You mind if I come down there and see what you're doing?" He asks as Tony goes downstairs." Good night, Obie."

"I feel like if you're here means I'm going to fail really bad," Tony retorts as he sets the hologram projector on the ground, Redmond covers his mouth with his fan." No no of course not," but Tony knows that underneath those feathers was a mischievous smirks, he rolls his eyes and then starts recording.

"Day 11, test 37, configuration 2.0. For lack of a better option, Dummy is still on fire safety. If you douse me again, and I'm not on fire, I'm donating you to a city college." Tony replies." Aw don't be so mean," Redmond teases, Tony grins at him." All right, nice and easy. Seriously, just gonna start off with 1% thrust capacity." He replies and gets into position.

" And three, two, one." He manages to hover over in the air before landing safely." Okay..." he mutters and then turns to dummy," Please don't follow me around with it, either, 'cause I feel like I'm gonna catch on fire spontaneously. Just stand down! If something happens, then come in." He replies and goes back into position, adjusting himself.

"And again, let's bring it up to 2.5. Three, two, one." And he is actually moving in the air, Redmond watches in amusement as he hovers around, he wince as he goes over the cars." Okay, this is where I don't want to be! Ooo Not the car, not the car! Yikes! Table!" Redmond watches in amusement as Tony struggles to control his flight. He finally manages to fly back." Could be worse! Could be worse! We're fine! Okay." Redmond watches him intently, impressed that he is actually seeing this.

He then manages to hover back to where he started." Okay," he reassures more to himself apparently and then lands safely, he then turns to Dummy and quickly shouts at him as he look up and immediately looks down.

He then suits up." Jarvis are you there?" He asks as he puts on the face plate." At your service, sir." A few holograms appear in front of him." Engage Heads Up Display." "Check." " Import all preferences from home interface." " Will do, sir." Redmond has never seen anything like it, that is why he is a little worried.

 "All right, what do you say?" He mutters." I have indeed been uploaded, sir. We're online and ready." " Can we start the virtual walk-around?" He asks." Importing preferences and calibrating virtual environment." Redmond fan himself as he waits patiently.

"Do a check on control surfaces." He replies." As you wish." Redmond watches with amazement as the armor did its check." Testing complete. Preparing to power down and begin diagnostics." " Yeah. Tell you what. Do a weather and ATC check. Start listening in on ground control. Redmond, help me get off the grid please," Redmond raises an eyebrow as he did just that." Sir, there are still terabytes of calculations needed before an actual flight is-"

"Jarvis, sometimes you got to run before you can walk." "That makes no sense whatsoever," Tony ignores Redmond." Ready? In three, two, one." He announces without waiting for an answer, Redmond pulls up a screen of the armor's visual, making sure he is all alone in the room he is in.

Tony is having a lot of fun, Redmond really thinks and predicts it'll go very wrong but with Tony, he can never be too sure." Handles like a dream." "You're reckless you know that?" Redmond muses as he watches the flight.

"All right, let's see what this thing can do. What's SR-71's record?" He asks." Nooo Tony," Redmond groans." The altitude record for fixed wing flight is 85,000 feet," Jarvis muses, Redmond face palms." Don't tell me you're on his side Jarv," Tony grins." Records are made to be broken! Come on!"

He flies up." Sir, there is a potentially fatal buildup of ice occurring." Jarvis warns." Keep going!" "Tony!" He ignores Redmond's protests as he continues forth, Redmond knew what will happen next, it doesn't take the gods to tell him." Higher!" But then a little longer and his suit stops functioning and he starts to fall.

"We iced up, Jarvis! Deploy flaps! Jarvis! Come on, we got to break the ice!" He exclaims he quickly manually deploys them and he manage to get systems online." Yeah!"

He returns to his house," Kill power," he immediately regrets it as he falls through the house and Dummy doses him with the fire extinguisher." ... I'll get Aaron," Redmond muses.

Tony then holds an ice pack on his head and grabs the coffee Pepper brought down earlier for him, he stops when he notices something, a parcel from pepper. He opens it with confusion and smiles at Pepper's gift:" Proof that Tony Stark as a heart." He throws away the wrapper and leaves it on the table as Redmond's hologram flickers online. He looks at Tony questioningly who seem to be in a better mood.

Meanwhile at a terrorist camp, some soldiers are looking into parts of the armor Tony build in captivity.

Chapter Text

"So far no luck on the leader of the vanguard thing, you sure you don't want Happy to take the position?" Redmond asks." You know how he is in the army... I need someone who can work with others," he mutters as he goes back to the armor he is working on.

" Notes. Main transducer feels sluggish at plus 40 altitude. Hull pressurization is problematic. I'm thinking icing is the probable factor." Tony groans in his seat." A very astute observation, sir." Jarvis replies as Tony looks at the screens behind him." Perhaps, if you intend to visit other planets, we should improve the exosystems." " Connect to the sys. co. Have it reconfigure the shell metals. Use the gold titanium alloy from the seraphim tactical satellite. That should ensure a fuselage integrity while maintaining power-to-weight ratio. Yeah?"

" Shall I render using proposed specifications?" He asks." Thrill me," Tony adds," So far I think only one of the candidates looks somewhat manageable... hang on..." Redmond mutters as he reaches over to grab something.

Tony looks at the tv and narrows his eyes." Tonight's red-hot red carpet is right here at the Disney Concert Hall, where Tony Stark's third annual benefit for the Firefighter's Family Fund has become the place to be for L.A.'s high society." He raises an eyebrow and looks at Redmond questioningly." Did I get an invite for that?" He asks, Redmond frowns." I thought the council had you on lock down?" He asks." Yeah still peeved about that..." Tony grumbles.

Tony looks at the tv through a face plate and smirks." The render is complete." Jarvis replies." I suggest you make it less technical," Redmond adds, Tony hums in agreement." What was I thinking?" Jarvis asks sarcastically, Redmond grins at his successful revenge.

He then looks at his cars and narrows his eyes." Tell you what. Throw a little hot-rod red in there." "Yes, that should help you keep a low profile." Jarvis jokingly muses, Redmond his grinning like a mischievous child." The render is complete." Jarvis replies after a while, Redmond whistles, completely out of character, making Tony smile.

" Commencing automated assembly. Estimated completion time is five hours." Jarvis replies as Tony stands up." Don't wait up for me, honey." He jokes as Redmond nods and the hologram disappears as he check his watch and leaves in his own car. He reaches to the place and goes out, earning cheers from the crowd around him.

"Weapons manufacturing is only one small part of what Stark Industries is all about, and our partnership with the fire and rescue community..." Obadiah was in an interview when he is distracted by the cheers." Hey Tony remember me?" A lady asks as he walk pass," Sure don't," he retorts earning a huff from her. He then pats a man on the shoulder." You look great, Hef."

Tony walks to Obadiah with a neutral expression on his face, not liking how Redmond is always right," What's the world coming to when a guy's got to crash his own party?" He asks Obadiah laughs," Look at you.... Hey, what a surprise." Obadiah replies as if he is really irritated like Rhodey was, Tony smirks," I'll see you inside," Obadiah stops Tony." Hey. Listen, take it slow, all right? I think I got the council right where we want them." He replies.

" You got it. Just cabin fever. I'll just be a minute." Tony replies and leaves as Obadiah's smile falter. Tony goes over to the bar." Give me a Scotch. I'm starving." He retorts." Agent Coulson, who is beside him, turns towards him." Your Majesty," he replies," Yeah huh?" He asks." Agent Coulson." He replies taking his glass in hand." Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. The guy from the-" He trails of," Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division." Coulson supplies in.

Tony whistles," God, you need a new name for that." " Yeah, I hear that a lot. Listen, I know this must be a trying time for you, but we need to debrief you. There's still a lot of unanswered questions, and time can be a factor with these things." Tony wasn't exactly listening and notices Pepper among the crowd." Let's just put something on the books. How about the 24th at 7:00 p.m. at Stark Industries?" Coulson asks.

"Tell you what," Tony replies distractingly and holds out a hand, Coulson looks at it hesitantly and shakes his hand." You got it. You're absolutely right. Well, I'm going to go to my assistant, and we'll make a date." He replies and walks to her." You look fantastic! I didn't recognize you."

" What are you doing here?" Pepper asks." Just avoiding government agents." Apparently he recognised the division that previous guy was talking about." Are you by yourself?" She asks." Yes, where'd you get that dress?" He asks." Oh, it was a birthday present. From you actually," "Well, I got great taste."

"Yes," Pepper muses," You wanna dance?" He asks." Oh no," " Come one," Pepper sighs exasperatedly as they go to the dance floor, Pepper seem a little speechless at that." Am I making you uncomfortable?" He asks." No. No. I always forget to wear deodorant and dance with the king in front of everyone that I work with in a dress with no back," Pepper replies sarcastically.

"You look great and you smell great." "Oh God," "But I could fire you if that would take the edge off." He replies." I actually don't think that you could tie your shoes without me." She muses." I'd make it a week. Sure." "Really? What's your Social Security number?" She asks, Tony pauses for a while," Five," "Five?" She muses.

"Right," Pepper grins." Right," Tony mumbles." You're missing just a couple of digits there." She chuckles." The other eight? So I got you for the other eight." Tony replies. As the look at each other awkwardly, Tony finally saves them both," How 'bout a little air?" He offers." Yes I need some air," Pepper's smile fell and clears her throat as they both quickly left.

Agent Coulson looks at them, a little amused." That was totally wierd," "Totally harmless," "It was totally not harmless, by the way." "We're dancing. No one's even watching." " Everybody who I work with... No, you know why?" Pepper asks but Tony interrupts." I think you lost objectivity. I think they just people we just danced."

"No, it was not just a dance. You don't understand because you're you. And everybody knows exactly who you are and how you are with girls and all of that, which is completely fine. But, you know, then me, you're my boss and I'm dancing with you." "I don't think it was taken that way," Because it makes me look like the one who's trying to..." " I just think you're overstating it."

"You know, and we're here, and then I'm wearing this ridiculous dress, and then we were dancing like that and..." she shook her head as she repeats herself, she then realises it as Tony stays silent.

Pepper didn't know what came over her to move closer, as if attempting to kiss him but stopped half way," I would like a drink, please." "Got it, okay." Tony mutters and takes the chance to escape." I would like a vodka martini, please. Very dry with olives, a lot of olives. Like, at least three olives."

Tony goes to the bar, sighing he really needed someone who is good with relationships." Two vodka martinis, extra dry, extra olives, extra fast. Make one of them dirty, will you?" Tony tells the bartender as he puts the cash into a glass, he looks at the crowd and he notices someone approaching him and he quickly turns away, feigning ignorance.

"Wow! Tony Stark!" Tony looks at her with exasperation," Oh Hey," "Fancy seeing you here." Tony guesses her name," Carrie," "Christine," "That's right," She narrows her eyes," You have a lot of nerve showing up here tonight," Tony bit his lip," Can I at least get a reaction from you?" She asks amusingly.

"Panic. I would say panic is my reaction." Tony replies and looks away." 'Cause I was referring to your company's involvement in this latest atrocity." " Yeah. They just put my name on the invitation. I don't know what to tell you." " I actually almost bought it, hook, line and sinker." "I was out of town for a couple monthsin case you didn't hear." He protested.

She interrupts him," Is this what you call accountability? It's a town called Gulmira. Heard of it?" She gives him a photo, he glances at her with furrowed eyes, he definitely remembers that, recognition flashes in his face as he looks at each of the photos." When were these taken?" He asks, voice serious and a little empty." Yesterday." He shook his head." I didn't approve any shipment," "Well your company did," "Well, I'm not my company," He backfires.

"Please," Obadiah waves away a camera, they were then ushered away by a few guards." Have you seen these pictures?" Tony demands," What's going on in Gulmira?" " Tony, Tony. You can't afford to be this naive." " You know what? I was naive before, when they said, "Here's the line. We don't cross it. "This is how we do business. If we're double-dealing under the table... are we?" They both held steady gazes at each other.

"Lets take a picture come on," Obadiah places an arm over Tony's shoulders." Picture time!"

"Tony, Who do you think locked you out? I was the one who filed the injunction against you. It was the only way I could protect you." Obadiah replies and leaves, Tony stands there, with a harden daze look on his face, why does Redmond always have to be right?

Chapter Text

In a Tv... " The 15-mile hike to the outskirts of Gulmira can only be described as a descent into hell, into a modern day Heart of Darkness. Simple farmers and herders from peaceful villages have been driven from their homes, displaced from their lands by warlords emboldened by a new-found power." Tony watches with a gauntlet in hand and a screwdriver in another.

He twists it as the gauntlet made a energy charge sound, glowing bright before dimming again as he watches." Villagers have been forced to take shelter in whatever crude dwellings they can find in the ruins of other villages, or here in the remnants of an old Soviet smelting plant. Recent violence has been attributed to a group of foreign fighters referred to by locals as the Ten Rings. As you can see, these men are heavily armed and on a mission."

He then twists it until he couldn't and stands up." A mission that could prove fatal to anyone who stands in their way. With no political will or international pressure, there's very little hope for these refugees." He tosses the screw driver onto a kitchen table his eyes not leaving the screen until he hears a clatter.

"Around me, a woman begging for news on her husband, who was kidnapped by insurgents, either forced to join their militia-" Tony's repulsor rays shot through the workshop, his arms a little pushed back by the impact. He looks at the damage and walks forth till he stops at the glass windows that reaches to the floor beside the door.

He looks at the gauntlet and then at his reflection, help He aims the gauntlet at the windows and shatters all three of them with no throwback force, he steps onto the grid and suits up. Redmond stops with whatever he was doing as his phone blinks and vibrates, he ons it and notice the visuals and recgonises them." Tony?" "I'd like you to stay in contact please," Redmond frowns, he sounds a little irritated and then makes a sound of affirmative and is wise enough not to ask or talk.

Terrorists raids a village, a man was about to be shot down when Tony in the suit lands, getting all of their attention. He punches the terrorist as he tries to shoot him and uses his repulsory ray to take out the surrounding terrorists.

Redmond looks at the visuals, face half covered with his fan. Tony stops when the terrorists threatens to shoot the civilians but in his HUD the terrorists were secretly targetted and he uses his shoulder missiles to knock all of them, the civilians unharmed.

A boy looks at Tony's moving form from where he hugs his father, Tony walks to where the other terrorist is trying to hide and trying to call for help. Tony punches through the wall and flungs him into the open where the villages stood. Tony then activate his flight stabilisers, in a metallic voice he replies," He's all yours."

"Tony, you got 30 minutes before someone finds out," He didn't question it like before much to Redmond's surprise, he just flies up, planning to destroy all the weapons in one go but he was intercepted by a tank. Tony grunts and walks out, he dodges another hit and counter attacks with a missile, walking away before it explodes, Redmond totally did not save that for later.

He ignores the attempts to shoot him and hovers up in the air, aiming his repulsors at the Jericho missiles and destroying their base much to the shock of the Ten Ring leader. Tony quickly takes off," 25 minutes," Redmond then notice red blinking." Your efforts are being noticed," he muses," I thought you said 25 minutes?" He asks out of breath," I said you, not the suit," he reminds.

"The military?" "Yup," Tony quickly increases his trusters capacity. Tony and Redmond looks at each other, uh oh Redmond gestures for him to pick it up." Heeello," he sing-songed." Who's this?" He asks," Its Rhodes," Redmond eyes widen," Sorry hello?" He asks a little distracted." I said its Rhodes," "Speak up please," "What the hell is that noise?" Rhodey asks covering his ears." Oh, yeah, I'm driving with the top down." Tony replies, Redmond look at him with eyebrows raised.

"Yeah, well, I need your help right now." He replies." It's funny how that works, huh?" Tony asks, Redmond looks at him exasperatedly." Yeah. Speaking of funny, we've got a weapons depot that was just blown up a few clicks from where you were being held captive." "Well, that's a hot spot." Redmond gestures for him to pause and catch his breath." Sounds like someone stepped in and did your job for you, huh?" 

"You sure you don't have any tech in that area I should know about?" "Nope!" "Bogey spotted!" Tony and Redmond look at each other with that same uh oh face." Okay, good, 'cause I'm staring at one right now, and it's about to be blown to kingdom come." "Uh that's my exit," he tries to shake them off." 20 Minutes,"

"Hit it," Tony orders and the suit speeds up with a blast." "Inbound missile," JARVIS warned." Flares!" He manages to not get it but the impact throws him off balance and quickly regained his trusters. He dodges as the jets starts to shoot at them." Deloy flaps!" He exclaims." Holy!" "That thing just jumped off the radar, sir. The sat visual has been lost. No way that's a UAV." The jet pilots replies into their comms, back at the base the officer asks," What is it?"

"I can't see anything," "Whatever it was it just bought the farm. I think bogey's been handled, sir." Redmond gestures to his side, Tony sighs and closes his eyes as he calls Rhodey." Hello?" "Hi Rhodey its me," "Its who?" "I'm sorry it is me, What you were asking about is me." Tony replies in a tired voice." No, see, this isn't a game." Redmond rolls his eyes," Colonel, I believe Your Majesty is answering your previous question," he replies as a matter-of-fact like.

"What?" Rhodey asks," This is not a piece of equipment. I'm in it. It's a suit. It's me!" Tony exclaims into the com stopping their banter, Rhodey's eyes widen at that and then looks at the screen before looking at the officer," Rhodey you got anything for me?" He asks, Rhodey didn't know what to say." Mark your position and return to base." "Roger that, Ballroom."

One of the pilots found Tony clinging onto the other jet." On your belly! It looks like a man! Shake him off! Roll! Roll!" Tony lost his grip and hits into the other jet, the pilot quickly ejects but his parachute is jammed. Tony quickly flies after the pilot despite the other jet chasing his back. Rhodey quickly tries to help Tony but the officer denies it.

"You've been reengaged. Execute evasive maneuver."  Jarvis replies." Keep going!" He excliams, Redmond wince, the chance for both Tony and the pilot to come out alive is 10% and there is less then 20 Minutes left before he gets caught. Tony reaches for the chute and punches it and it flings open.

" Good chute! Good chute!"

Redmond almost has to use the overide, really he has got to enhance his predictions." Tony you still there?" Rhodey asks " Hey thanks," "Oh my God, you crazy son of a bitch," Rhodey chuckles." You owe me a plane. You know that, right?" Tony chuckles,"Yeah, well, technically, he hit me. Now are you going to come by and see what I'm working on?" He asks," No, no, no, no, no, no, the less I know, the better. Now, what am I supposed to tell the press?" He asks.

" Training exercise. Isn't that the usual BS?" Redmond asks... well when he put it that way...

Obadiah watches the Tv, frowning as Rhodey did go with training excerise.

He arrives in a car at the terrorist camp." Welcome." Raza, the overall leader of the ten rings said. Obadiah looks at his injury questioningly." Compliments of Tony Stark," "If you'd killed him when you're supposed to, you'd still have a face," Stane retorts." You paid us trinkets to kill a king," he replies sharply." Show me the weapon." He grumbles.

"Come. Leave your guards outside." Raza replies and Obadiah gestures for them to stand down as he follows him." His escape bore unexpected fruit." He adds as Obadiah looks at the Mark I." So this is how he did it." He says," This is only a first, crude effort," not knowing anything," Stark has perfected his design, he has made a masterpiece of death," but then... he traces the hole where the arc reactor should have been.

"A man with a dozen of these can rule all of Asia. And you dream of Stark's throne." Obadiah looks at him." We have a common enemy." Raza goes to hit down as Obadiah studies the armor." If we are still in business, I will give you these designs as a gift." He replies pouring a drink.

" And in turn, I hope you'll repay me with a gift of iron soldiers." He toasts to him, Obadiah smiles and place a hand on his shoulder and activated a device, Raza's smile became a pained frown. "This is the only gift you shall receive," Obadiah says in arabic." Technology," Obadiah starts." It's always been your Achilles' heel in this part of the world." He replies and switches it off, removing his ear plugs." Don't worry. It'll only last for 15 minutes." He replies and face a hand on his head as if petting him.

" That's the least of your problems."

He walks out and tells a guard," Crate up the armor and the rest of it." He orders as his guards surround the terrorist soliders." All right, let's finish up here." Gunshots rang throughout the camp.

" Set up Sector 16 underneath the arc reactor, and I'm going to want this data masked. Recruit our top engineers. I want a prototype right away."

Chapter Text

Pepper enters the workshop as Tony fixes his armour, despite Redmond's warnings he got caught anyway." Hey. You busy? You mind if I send you on an errand?" He asks." I need you to go to my office. You're going to hack into the mainframe and you're going to retrieve all the recent shipping manifests. This is a lock chip. This'll get you in. It's probably under Executive Files. If not, they put it on a ghost drive, in which case you need to look for the lowest numeric heading." Tony replies, Redmond had just been summoned to Japan for unknown reasons but it'll take a while before they could actually communicate safely.

"And what do you plan to do with this information if I bring it back here?" She asks." Same drill. They've been dealing under the table, and I'm going to stop them. I'm going to find my weapons and destroy them."

" Tony, you know that I would help you with anything, but I cannot help you if you're going to start all of this again." Pepper replies hesitantly." There is nothing except this. There's no art opening. There is no benefit. There is nothing to sign." He raises his voice and in a deep and soft tone he adds," There is the next mission and nothing else." Apparently still pissed at himself despite Redmond's protests.

"Is that so?" She asks nodding." Well, then, I quit." She tosses the drive onto the table." You stood by my side all these years while I reaped the benefits of destruction. And now that I'm trying to protect the people that I put in harm's way, you're going to walk out?" He asks." You're going to kill yourself, Tony. I'm not going to be a part of it." Pepper protests.

" I shouldn't be alive, unless it was for a reason. I'm not crazy, Pepper. I just finally know what I have to do. And I know in my heart that it's right." He replies a little emphasis on the heart, pepper seem taken aback at his words but also not surprising. She reluctenty grabs the drive." You're all I have, too, you know." Pepper replies and leaves, Tony's eyes lingering over her disappearing form, he knew that was not true.

Pepper goes into the main office after checking. She then plugs the drive in and searches for the files." Sector 16? What are you up to, Obadiah?" She asks softly as she finds a video on Tony's capture." You did not tell us that the target you paid us to kill was the great Tony Stark. As you can see, Obadiah Stane," the video translates," Oh, my God," Pepper mutters." Your deception and lies will cost you dearly. The price to kill Tony Stark has just gone up." She quickly copies all the files.

"So..." Pepper gasp softly as Obadiah stands at the door," what are we going to do about this?" He asks and then walks in, her face still a little shocked, he simply smiles at her as she checks the screen." I know what you're going through," Obadiah's face changes for a while before going back to smiling as he picks up the scortch and sniff at it.

"Tony. He always gets the good stuff, doesn't he?" He smiles and Pepper smiles and nods at him, he goes to pour another cup, Pepper uses the change to hide the drive with a newspaper, he starts to walk over and she sneakily press the screen savor option, preventing Obadiah from looking at it.

"I was so happy when he came home." He starts looking at the screen, but he wasn't exactly smiling anymore." It was like we got him back from the dead." He walks over to the other side and sits on the table besides pepper, her eyes follows him." Now I realize, well, Tony never really did come home, did he? He left a part of himself in that cave." Pepper swallows hesitantly." Breaks my heart." He mutters.

"Well, he's a complicated person. He's been through a lot. I think he'll be all right." She replies with a smile as Obadiah takes sip from his drink." You are a very rare woman." He starts and Pepper smiles with fake fondness on her face." Tony doesn't know how lucky he is." He adds and they smile at each other." Thank you," she looks at the computer then at him again." Thanks," she smiles and takes the drive along with the newspaper." I'd better get back there."

Before she could completely leaves, Obadiah looks outside with a serious expression on his face." Is that today's paper?" He asks, Pepper stops in shock." Yes," She replies." Do you mind?" He asks." Not at all," Pepper replies with a smile." Puzzle," he states simply returning the smile." Ofcourse," Pepper smiles and leaves the office with the drive in her hands." Take care," she smiles at him and quickly leaves.

He slams the newspaper on the table and goes to the computer and found out about the download, tsking and goes out in a huff." Ms. Potts? We had an appointment. Did you forget about our appointment?"  Agent coulson asks." Nope, right now. Come with me." Pepper replies in a huff." Right now?" He asks." We're going to have it right now. Yeah, walk with me." She replies." Okay." "I'm going to give you the meeting of your life. Your office."

Obadiah looks down at Pepper and Coulson and burst into the arc reactor station." Mr. Stane? Uh Sir, we've explored what you've asked us, and it seems as though there's a little hiccup. Actually-" "Hiccup?" "Yes, to power the suit, sir, the technology actually doesn't exist so its its its-" The rest of the scientists escapes from the room.

"Wait, wait, wait. The technology? William, here is the technology. I've asked you to simply make it smaller." He replies grabbing his shoulders into a half hug." Okay, sir, and that's what we're trying to do, but honestly, it's impossible." He stammers." Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave! With a box of scraps!" Obadiah shouts as he backs the scientist off." Well, I'm sorry. I'm not Tony Stark." He simply states.

Back at malibu... Tony goes to the living room as the phone rings, he looks at the house with raised eyebrows, suspiciously quiet, he then remember what Redmond told him before he left. Hold on to your heart he had though he was joking but after seeing how Redmond predicted this like telling a horror movie, he picks the phone up while keeping that in mind.

"Tony?" Pepper asks through the phone, before he could reply, a screeching sound intercepts him, he finds himself unable to move." Tony? Are you-" Obadiah closes the phone as he supports Tony's head," Breathe~" Tony felt like throwing up," Easy, easy," Obadiah cooed." You remember this one, right?" He asks holding the device where Tony could see it." It's a shame the government didn't approve it. There's so many applications for causing short-term paralysis."

He walks around the couch and turns Tony's head to face him." Tony." Obadiah cooes and takes off his ear plugs, ." When I ordered the hit on you," shock is shown on his face even when he is paralysed," I worried that I was killing the golden goose." He replies as he takes out a device and pulls out Tony's arc reactor earning a grunt of pain from Tony.

"But, you see, it was just fate that you survived that," His eyes were lifeless as Obadiah holds the arc reactor near his face." You had one last golden egg to give." He then yanks the wires out, Tony lets out a muffled shout, his breathing rough as he feels the shrapenel." Oh, it's beautiful. Tony, this is your Ninth Symphony. What a masterpiece. Look at that." He sits besides Tony who is still processing what is actually happening.

"This is your legacy. A new generation of weapons with this at its heart. Weapons that will help steer the world back on course, put the balance of power in our hands. The right hands." Tony slowly begins to be able to breathe properly but still ragged.

He blinks as Obadiah keeps the arc reactor in a case." I wish you could've seen my prototype. It's not as... Well, not as conservative as yours." Tony's eyes widen at that knowledge though Obadiah pretty much gave away his plans when Tony didn't know them." Too bad you had to involve Pepper in this. I would have preferred that she lived." He adds and leaves Tony dying.

legacy. heart. weapons... heart...

A vision flash across his mind. heart he forces himself to move to the workshop." What do you mean, he paid to have Tony killed? Pepper, slow down. Why would Obadiah... Okay, where's Tony now?" Rhodey asks as he is driving, Pepper walks to the carpark with a bunch of agents." I don't know. He's not answering his phone. Please go over there and make sure everything's okay. Thank you, Rhodey."

She then tells Coulson," I know a shortcut."



Chapter Text

Rhodey makes a swift turn, meanwhile Tony crawls across the workshop and reaches for the reactor Pepper kept, sweating profusely, he tries to reach for it but couldn't, one of the bots hands it to him." Good boy," he mutters and breaks it open.

Obadiah finishes his version of the armor with the arc reactor. Rhodey goes into the house and calls him and finds him on the floor, he quickly goes to his side and helps him up." You okay?" He asks," Where's Pepper?" "She's fine. She's with five agents. They're about to arrest Obadiah." Rhodey reassures, Tony clutches onto Rhodey's arm." That's not going to be enough." He mutters and pulls himself up.

Pepper and the agents arrives at the arc reactor." Section 16... Section 16. There it is." Pepper mutters." My key's not working. It's not opening the door." Pepper replies after a few tries, Coulson holds out his hand in which another agent place a device on his hand.

"Oh, wow! What's that? It's, like, a little device? It's, like, a thing that's going to pick the lock?" She asks as the agent stands one side." You might want to take a few steps back." He warns and Pepper quickly does that and covers her ears as the device blows open the door earning the attention of Obadiah inside.

Tony suits up and tries to call Redmond but apparently he's a little busy." That's the coolest thing I've ever seen." Rhodey muses." Not bad, huh? Let's do it." He replies and pushes a car aside from the hole that hasn't been repaired from earlier." You need me to do anything else?" He asks as Tony walks underneath the hole." He puts down his face plate and his voice becomes robotic." Keep the skies clear." He replies and takes off." Damn!" He then looks at the mark II." Next time, baby." He then drives off.

The agents goes in with weapons ready." Looks like you were right. He was building a suit." Coulson mutters." I thought it'd be bigger." Pepper muses, they look around and then Stane made himself visible as she runs away." How do you think the Mark One chest piece is going to hold up?" Tony asks." The suit's at 48% power and falling, sir. That chest piece was never designed for sustained flight." Jarvis adds." Keep me posted."

Tony manages to arrive in time before Stane could hurt Pepper, despite his warning to get out of there, at least he manage to send Obadiah through walls. They land on a field and Obadiah carries up a rock," I love this suit!"

"Divert power to chest RT." He knocks Stane away and they fought with dirt and sticks." For 30 years, I've been holding you up!" He jokes as he heaved Tony up and then trashes him and steps on him." I built this company from nothing! Nothing is going to stand in my way. Least of all you!" A missile shots at Tony which he barely dodges and was flung into the air but manage to swiftly catch himself.

"Impressive! You've upgraded your armor! I've made some upgrades of my own!" Stane exclaims as he activates his suits thrusters." Sir, it appears that his suit can fly." Jarvis points out despite how he can see it right there." Duly noted. Take me to maximum altitude." He replies." With only 15% power, the odds of reaching that-" " I know the math! Do it!"

They take off, Tony being way faster, Tony's suit power is draining as Obadiah catches up to him. Obadiah grabs him in mid-air," You had a great idea, Tony, but my suit is more advanced in every way!" "How'd you solve the icing problem?" He asks." Icing problem?" He asks really sometimes being reckless doesn't mean he doesn't know what he is doing.

" Might want to look into it." He hits Stane's armor on the helmet as it falls." Two percent. We are now running on emergency backup power." Jarvis replies as Tony less gracefully decends to the ground.

"Potts!" "Tony, Oh, my God, are you okay?" Pepper asks as Tony removes one of his gauntlets." I'm almost out of power. I've got to get out of this thing. I'll be right there." He replies but Obadiah lands behind him." Nice try!" Tony lifts his hands to blast him but forgot that he had removed it, he is knock aside, he charges towards Stane and uses his thrusters to lift himself up to increase power on his punch but was caught in a bear hug.

Stane crushes Tony's armor and then Tony exclaims." Flares!" Temporarily blinding stane." Veeeery clever tony," Stane drawled, Tony hides behind a wall." "Potts?" He whispers." Tony!" She exclaims." This isn't working. We're going to have to overload the reactor and blast the roof." He mutters." Well, how are you going to do that?" She asks." You're going to do it. Go to the central console, open up all the circuits. When I get clear of the roof, I'll let you know. You're going to hit the master bypass button. It's going to fry everything up here."

Pepper walks in," I'm going in now," she replies." Make sure you wait till I clear the roof. I'll buy you some time." He goes at the back of Stane as Pepper walks in, he scans Stanes armor as he struggles to get Tony off." This looks important!" He exclaims and tears a bunch of wiring out. Obadiah manages to shake him off, Obadiah opens out the suit and holds Tony's helmet." I never had a taste for this sort of thing, but I must admit, I'm deeply enjoying the suit!" He exclaims and tosses it to Tony.

"You finally outdid yourself, Tony! You'd have made your father proud!" He exclaims and Tony straightens himself into a kneeling position." It's ready, Tony! Get off the roof!" Pepper exclaims. Tony didn't have it in him to fight anymore, he tries to stand up but Obadiah shoots him." How ironic, Tony! Trying to rid the world of weapons, you gave it its best one ever!" He exclaims." Pepper!" "And now I'm going to kill you with it!" He aims a missile at him but misses entirely." You ripped out my targeting system! Hold still, you little prick!" "Just do it!" "You'll die!" "Push it!" He exclaims.

Pepper finally did and it flings Tony out of the way as Obadiah gets fried and falls into the arc reactor.

Chapter Text

A press conference is held about the incident of Obadiah's death, which, not many people cared for and Redmond apparently told Jarvis to record everything, though it didn't record the last part, it has shown enough evidence that Obadiah was trying to take advantage of his position.

" "Iron Man." That's kind of catchy. It's got a nice ring to it. I mean, it's not technically accurate. The suit's a gold-titanium alloy, but it's kind of evocative, the imagery, anyway."

"Therefore we do not know anything else that transpired on that day, this 'Iron Man' will remain a vigilante, until we can capture him, there is little to know about them,"

"Robot, aliens, an illusion, magic, seriously these people have great imagination," Redmond muses as they sit in Tony's malibu mansion," I've ordered Aaron to take care of the facilities, our plane is scheduled to leave in an hour," he reminds." Yeah... about the vanguard leader thing maybe, we can switch it up a bit," he replies, Redmond raises an eyebrow.

Would you come to know your heart?
As everything breaks apart,
Dancing, my heart won't stop dancing,
Singing, my passion won't stop swaying

I am made out iron,
Like a phoenix rising higher,
You won't break me no no,
I have to be a fighter

"This is our best candidate?" Tony asks in the dark, Redmond turns to him, fanning himself," I've found out alot of her through the gods apparently she isen't all she seem to be," he replies, Tony raise an eyebrow." If you cannot tell, she is using allspeak, that's why she sounds English now while the audience," he gestures to the moving crowd." Is hearing Japanese,"

"Allspeak?" Tony asks." The language of the gods," he explains.

Running faster and higher,
Breaking your own bones and heart,
Will the world let them rest?

Mentally tired,
Close your eyes to see,
The world in a different light,
You'll agree with me

"Are you sure she doesn't know we are here?" Tony muses, Redmond shrugs," These lyrics are not made by her apparently, she didn't say who but she didn't claim it for herself," he muses.

When I say,
Like a dragon the wiser,
You won't break us no no,
Just having my own way

Punching faster and harder,
Mending the hearts of the people,
Will the world ever rest?

"You think it'd be 'from the gods' "Tony retorts." Maybe," Redmond muses.

"Thank you for coming!" Gretal exclaims and waves to the crowd and hops off to the back stage, panting, a group of people rushes over with towels and water bottles, some of them help her with her accesories and her ear piece.

"Thanks," she mutters downing a bottle and reaching for the second one and then Mizuki, her assistant approaches her with Tony and Redmond, somewhat disguised." Ma'am the American King and his advisor has arrived," she gestures to the two. Gretal nods," I heard that you want to conduct some kind of interview?" She asks, wiping her face with a towel.

"Yes... I'm surprise you know that..." Redmond looks at Mizuki questioningly who just looks at him with an expressionless face." Don't take it out on her, I have a talent for guessing people," she muses.

"We would like to-" "Sorry, but I'm not looking for any jobs in America, I'm happy here," She replies as she shrugs of her jacket, Tony and Redmond look at each other," You'll get paid more," Redmond points out," I already have enough money," "You'll be able to live in luxury," "I am satisfied with my apartment," "You get to work with the King," "Of another country," she muses as she checks her watch and puts on another jacket.

"You'll be a bridge between Japan and America," Tony adds, she looks at both of them, frowning," What do you need me for anyway?" She asks." A vanguard leader," Redmond replies." You've got the wrong person then, I'm no fighter," she replies, she said her last line in a sing-song voice, telling Redmond she knows that they were watching, but Tony thinks that she likes to joke, which is somewhat accurate.

"Why do you need a vanguard leader? Isen't there secretary of defense already?" She asks, Redmond and Tony look at each other," Actually he uh... died, he was comprimised at first," Tony explains, as they walk to the door." Shouldn't you get someone that is well known and close to you?" She asks." We have researched, you're trustworthy," Redmond replies.

"I'll be straight with you, you won't know me even if you swipe the net, is there at least an internship or something? So that I can start small?" She asks." We don't exactly have the time.." Redmond replies." Well I see no problem with time unless you guys are at war now, but I guess I can try it out, I can bail whenever I want to right?" She asks. Tony shrugs as Redmond looks at him." Yes... ofcourse you can,"

"Cool, when do we leave?" She asks." Tomorrow," Redmond replies," Tomorrow?" She walks out and walks to the main road," That's a little too soon right?" She asks." We'll be leaving at night," Redmond explains." Oh I see, where do I find you?" She asks." At the Japanese castle," Tony replies.

Tony and Gretal shook hands and part away.

Chapter Text

"I'd like to welcome, Ms Hoshimiya to the chain of command, as Secretary of Defense-" Redmond annouces but was cut off by Christine," I'd like to point out Mr Wen, Ms Hoshimiya seems too young to be among the government," "Yes it has been a concern but right now we are in a dire need of a Secretary of Defense," "And she is from Japan," "Yes but she was born in New York which makes her eligible,"

"And what about this Iron Vigilante?"


"Vanya..." a sick cough made Ivan turn around and walk towards his sick father." That should be you," He mutters in Russian, Ivan shakes his head," Don’t listen to that crap," " I’m sorry. All I can give you is my knowledge..." He coughs and stills as Ivan caress his father's lifeless face. His eyes glistened as he drinks and then cries out in agony.

With determination, he opens up a blueprint, revealing his father's name and goes to build the mini arc reactor, though Iron Man is known as a vigilante, many people look up to him and he becomes somewhat famous. He grins as he looks at the white light.

Six months later...

With the song ACDC’s Shoot to Thrill sounding through the dark, Tony curses as he quickly suits down, now easier to do so, but still, he is apparently running late, he quickly grab a shirt and his vest from Redmond who looks at him amusingly," 10 Seconds," he points out.

Tony quickly puts it on and straightens his hair as he quickly climbs up a few stairs and hops onto stage just on time, the crowd cheers for him as he walks to the centre front of the stage to give his opening speech.

"Without further ado, Welcome back to the Stark Expo!" The crowd cheers chanting his name.

"And now, making a special guest appearance from the great beyond to tell you what it’s all about, please welcome my father, Howard," the stage dims as the screen flashes up with a recording of his father." Everything is achievable through technology. Better living, robust health, and for the first time in human history, the possibility of world peace. So, from all of us here, I would like to personally introduce you to the City of the Future. Technology holds infinite possibilities for mankind-"

Offstage, Tony presses his thumb onto a blood tester and grimance when it shows: Blood toxicity: 19% He looks back at the stage." -and will one day rid society of all its ills. Soon technology will affect the way you live your life every day. No more tedious work, leaving more time for leisure activities and enjoying the sweet life. The Stark Expo. Welcome." The crowd cheers.

"We are coming to you live from the kickoff at the Stark Expo, where His Majesty has just walked offstage. Don’t worry if you can’t make it down here tonight because this Expo goes on all year long. And I’m gonna be here checking out all the attractions and the pavilions and inventions from all around the world."

As they make it out, a row of guards prevents people from crowding Tony as he is being pulled along by Happy, letting him sign a few autographs and shakes a few hands. Two guards opens the doors for him as they exit the building, Redmond following them.

"Look what we got here, the new model," Happy replies unlocking a car, infront of it is a pretty lady." Hey, does she come with the car?" Tony ask, Happy grins," I certainly hope so, Hi," Happy calls." Hi, And you are?" He asks." Marshal," Tony tries not to look too obvious as they walk to the car.

" Irish, I like it," Tony pipped." Pleased to meet you Your Majesty," she grins." I’m on the wheel. Do you mind? Where you from?" He asks." Bedford," "What are you doing here?" "Looking for you," "Yeah? You found me. What are you up to later?" "Serving subpoenas," she muses and shows him a letter." Yikes," he wince, Redmond reaches over to grab it." He doesn’t like to be handed things." He adds," Yeah, I have a peeve,"

Tony face palms as the woman started," You are hereby ordered to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee tomorrow morning at 9 am," she replies," Can I see a badge?" He asks." You wanna see the badge?" She deadpans," he likes the badge," Happy adds.

She shows him her badge," Still like it?" She asks," Yep," He pippes and starts the car," How far are we from D.C.?" Tony asks Happy," D.C.? 250 miles," he adds as they ride off.

"Your Majesty, could we pick up now where we left off? Your Majesty please," Tony and Gretal are having a silent conversation, finally he turns to the front," Yes dear?" Earning chuckling from the rest of the council." Can I have your attention," "Absolutely," "Do you or do you not have any relations with a specialised weapon?" Senator Stern asks." I do not," Tony replies simply." You do not?" He asks," I do not, really even if the incident happened near the arc reactor doesn't mean it has to be about me," he states.

"If your priority was actually the well-being of the American citizen-" "My priority is to get the Iron Man weapon turned over to the people of the United States of America." "It's really not neccessary now is it Senator? He has done no harm so far," Tony replies, the Senator shook his head," Acting openly without any legal authority is not allowed, Your Majesty."

"I'm no expert in weapons, we have somebody here who is an expert on weapons," The Senator adds, as Tony raises his eyebrows, seriously he needs to minimize the amount of people allowed in the white house." I'd now like to call Justin Hammer, our current primary weapons contractor," he replies an only a few people claps for him.

"Let the record reflect that I observed Mr Hammer entering the chamber, and I am wondering if and when any actual expert will also be in attendance," Tony muses, Justin chuckles," Absolutely. I’m no expert. I defer to you, Anthony. You’re the wonder boy. Senator, if I may. I may well not be an expert, but you know who was the expert? Your dad!" Tony looks at him exasperatedly." 

"Howard Stark. Really a father to us all, and to the military-industrial age. Let’s just be clear, he was no flower child. He was a lion," Senator looks at Tony who looks back at him unamused." We all know why we’re here. In the last six months, Anthony Stark has created a sword with untold possibilities. And yet, he insists it’s a shield. He asks us to trust him as we cower behind it. I wish I were comforted, Anthony, I really do. I’d love to leave my door unlocked when I leave the house, but this ain’t Canada. You know, we live in a world of grave threats, threats that Mr Stark will not always be able to foresee," Tony shook his head.

"Thank you. God bless Iron Man. God bless America." He only had a few claps while he sits down." That is well said Mr Hammer. The committee would now like to invite Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes to the chamber," "Rhodey? What?" He asks and then stands up from his seat, going to him despite Hammer's and the Senator's piercing gaze.

"Hey, buddy, I didn’t expect to see you here," Tony shakes his hand and then Rhodey mutters," Look, it’s me, I’m here. Deal with it. Let’s move on," he simply states," I just-" "Go back to your seat," he scolds," All right, I’ll drop it," he muses, he makes a mental note for this to never happen again, its hard as it is to hide that he is sidding with Iron Man, him being the judge and all he should be able to see both sides.

Hopefully Rhodey can even that knowing who Iron Man really is," I have before me a complete report on the Iron Man weapon, Your Majesty, complied by Colonel Rhodes. And, Colonel, for the record, can you please read page 57, paragraph four?" Senator asks, Tony raises an eyebrow." You’re requesting that I read specific selections from my report, Senator?" He asks.

"Yes sir," "It was my understanding that I was going to be testifying in a much more comprehensive and detailed manner-" "I understand. A lot of things have changed today. So if you could just read-" "You do understand that reading a single paragraph out of context does not reflect the summery of my final-" "Just read it, Colonel. I do. Thank you," Tony looks at the somewhat formal blicker among the two, Redmond sighs at his side.

Rhodey nods," Very well. “As he does not operate within any definable branch of government, Iron Man presents a potential threat to the security of both the nation and to her interests.” I did however, go on to summarise that the benefits of Iron Man far outweigh three liabilities and that it would be in our interest-" "That’s enough Colonel-" "to fold him-" "That’s enough-" "-into the existing chain of command, Senator,"

Tony interupts," The Secretary of Defense position is not pernament ... yet..." he points out earning, Gretal's pouting face and Redmond to cover his mouth with his fan." ... I mean I can appoint two... right?" He suggested. Senator didn't like the idea so he tries to change the subject," I’d like to go on and show, if I may, the imagery that’s connected to the colonel's report," Tony purses his lips and nods slowly.

"I believe it is somewhat premature to reveal these images to the general public at this time, Your Majesty," Rhodey protests," With all due respect, Colonel, I understand. And if you could just narrate those for us, we’d be very grateful. Let’s have the images," Senator interupts, Tony feels a little small now as he looks at Rhodey sheepishly.

Rhodey nods and gestures to a screen," Intelligence suggests that the devices seen in these photos are, in fact, attempts at making manned copies of the Iron Man." Redmond hands Tony a phone under the table and hacks the system." This has been corroborated by our allies and local intelligence on the ground, indicating that these suits are quite possibly, at this moment, operational-"

But then the screen fizzles and reveals a few clips and then everyone's attention was immediately on the screen," Is that North Korea?" Tony asks innocently as the screen shows the failed attempts of creating the Iron Man," Can you turn that off? Take it off," Senator asks as Justin stands up quickly and tries to plug it out.

"Iran...?" Another failed attempt," Is that Justin Hammer?" A video of hammer's attempts to guide the suit, but fails terribly, Hammer finally manages to unplug the tv but there are mummurings among the people there, Tony and Rhodey look at each other in recgonition, Rhodey smiles a little.

"I think... we should be more concern about Hammer Industries..." Tony mutters." I’d like to point out that that test pilot survived," he points out." I think that's enough for today..." the senator replies," I think we all know what to do now, with that said I call this hearing closed," Tony replies matter-of-factly," But your majesty-" "Nope I'm not arresting or forcing anyone to do anything we're done here," The King states.

Gretal walks to Tony's side as the crowd claps for the King, the Senator burries his head into his hands, Gretal helps Tony and they both had a little small conversation, both of them smiling like they just got candy, Redmond smile behind them.

Chapter Text

Ivan looks at the tv with narrowed eyes as he finishes up his weapon, a whip and then slashes the tv as the picture of Gretal and Redmond comes up.

"Wake up, Daddy’s home," Tony snap his fingers as the holograms and lights of the workshop comes to life," Welcome home, sir. Congratulations on the opening ceremonies. They were such a success, as was your Senate hearing. And may I say how refreshing it is to finally see you in a video with your clothing on, sir," Jarvis replies amusingly and Tony grins as a row of Iron Man suits lines up in the workshop.

You tries to make a smoothie but fails ultimately," You!  I swear to God I’ll dismantle you. I’ll soak your motherboard. I’ll turn you into a wine rack," He mutters, You's claws moves down a gesture that make it look like its sad.

"How many ounce a day of this gobbledegook am I supposed to drink?" He asks," We are up to 80 ounces a day to counteract the symptoms, sir," Tony gulps down a drink," Check palladium levels," he replies and presses down the blood tester," Blood toxicity, 24%. It appears that the continued use of the Iron Man suit is accelerating your condition. Another core has been depleted,"

Tony takes out his arc reactor and replaces the palladium," God, they’re running out quick," he mutters," I have run simulations on every known element, and none can serve as a viable replacement for the palladium core. You are running out of both time and options. Unfortunately, the device that’s keeping you alive is also killing you," Jarvis replies as Tony puts his reactor back in and checks the scars.

"Miss Potts is approaching. I recommend that you inform her…" Jarvis starts but Tony interupts him and closes all traces of his holograms," mute," he orders and continues to drink, he made a muffled sound of disapproval," Is this a joke? What are you thinking?" Pepper asks." What?" Tony asks," What are you thinking?" Pepper repeats.

"Hey! I’m thinking I’m busy. And you’re angry about ... something. Do you have the sniffles? I don’t want to get sick." He replies as they both walk through his workshop." Did you just donate our entire modern art collection to the..." "Boy Scouts of America." "Boy Scouts of America?!" "Yes. It is a worthwhile organisation. I didn’t physically check the crates but, basically, yes. And it’s not “our” collection, it’s my collection. No offence," he replies.

"No, you know what? I think I’m actually entitled to say “our” collection considering the time that I put in, over 10 years, curating that." It was a tax write-off. I needed that," Tony replies as he faces her." You know, there’s only about 8,011 things that I really need to talk to you about," she replies as they move again." Dummy. Hey, stop spacing out. The Bridgeport’s already machining that part," he pats a bot," The Expo is a gigantic waste of time," Pepper retorts.

" I need you to wear a surgical mask until you’re feeling better. Is that okay?" He asks placing a hand on her shoulders." That's rude..." she mutters." There’s nothing more important to me than the Expo. It’s my primary point of concern. I don’t know why you’re…" "The Expo is your ego gone crazy," Pepper retorts, voice a little ruffled, Tony picks up a painting of Iron Man," Wow. Look at that. That’s modern art. That’s going up," he adds." Oh You’ve got to be kidding-" "I’m gonna put this up right now. This is vital," "Stark is in complete disarray. You understand that?" "No. Our stocks have never been higher," he protests.

"Yes, from a managerial standpoint," Pepper argues," You are… Well, if’s messy then let’s double back," "Let me give you an example-" "Let’s move onto another subject," He replies as he goes to the mini kitchen," Oh no, no, no, no. You are not taking down the Barnett Newman and hanging that up,"  "I’m not taking it down. I’m just replacing it with this," he toses a bunch of medicine away from the table.

"Let’s see what I can get going on here," he hangs the picture up." Okay, fine. My point is, we have already awarded contracts to the wind farm people," Pepper replies." Yeah. Don’t say “wind farm.” I’m already feeling gassy," he interupts," And to the plastic plantation tree, which was your idea by the way. Those people are on payroll…" "Everything was my idea," " …and you won’t make a decision," " I don’t care about the liberal agenda any more. It’s boring. Boring. I’m giving you a boring alert, You do it,"

Tony hops off the table as they both look at each other for a while," I do what?" Pepper asks," Excellent idea. I just figured this out. You run the company," he replies." Yeah, I’m trying to run the company," Pepper adds, apparently not getting it." Pepper, I need you to run the company. Well, stop trying to do it and do it," he adds." You will not give me the information-" "I’m not asking you to try-" "-in order to-" "I’m asking you to physically do it. I need you to do it," "I am trying to do it,"

Redmond listens into the argument in amusement from the stairs," Pepper, you’re not listening to me!" "No, you are not listening to me-" " I’m trying to make you CEO. Why won’t you let me?" Redmond eyes widens and quietly nopes out." ... Have you been drinking?" She asks in suspicion," Chlorophyll," he states and then places a hand on both sides of her shoulders," I hereby irrevocably appoint you chairman and CEO of Stark Industries effective immediately. Yeah, done deal. Okay?" He goes to gesture a bot here as Pepper stands there in shock.

"I’ve actually given this a fair amount of thought, believe it or not. Doing a bit of headhunting, so to speak, trying to figure out who a worthy leader would be. And then I realized it’s you. It’s always been you," He pours them both a drink as Pepper sits down still stunned in silence." I thought there’d be a legal issue, but actually I’m capable of appointing my successor. My successor being you," he hands her a glass.

"Congratulations?" He offers." Take it, just take it," she grabs a glass," I don’t know what to think," she mutters and Tony sits down beside her," Don’t think, drink. There you go," they toasts to each other and drinks as Pepper chuckles.

Meanwhile in Russia, Ivan got tickets to a race and a passport. Meanwhile, in the malibu mansion's gym, Tony and Happy trains together as Redmond and Gretal play chess at the side, Gretal offhandedly looking at them, eyeing their move.

"The notary’s here! Can you please come sign the transfer paperwork?" Pepper calls to Tony," I’m on happy time," he call back as he used a move that knocks Happy back with a yelp," Sorry," he quickly replies," What the hell was that?" Gretal laughs out loud as she made her move on the board, making Happy glare at her, Redmond looks at the board in disbelief, wincing as Gretal laughs.

"It’s called mixed martial arts. It’s been around for three weeks," Tony explains." It’s called dirty boxing, there’s nothing new about it," Happy retorts," Sore Loser!" Gretal exclaims, Tony uses Happy's distraction to land a hit," All right, put them up. Come on."

A woman walks in and Happy nods to the woman, Tony looks at her." I promise this is the only time I will ask you to sign over your company," Pepper calls like an exasperated mother, meanwhile the woman shows her a folder," I need you to initial each box," Tony stares at her as Happy playfully hits Tony on the head, he turns to Happy amusingly," Lesson one. Never take your eye off-" Tony sends him to the other side of the ring in surprise, the woman looks at him in surprise.

"What's your name, lady?" Tony asks pointing to her," Rushman, Natalie Rushman," she replies." Front and centre. Come into the church," Tony replies," No. You’re seriously not gonna ask-" "If it pleases the court, which it does." Natalie turns to Pepper," It's no problem," "I'm sorry... He's very eccentric," Pepper replies as Natalie goes into the ring.

They stand there studying each other," What?" He asks, Redmond looks at them with a frown, Natalie glances at him, Gretal makes her move making him divert his attention. Tony nods and then exit the ring," Can you give her a lesson?" He asks Happy," No problem,"

"Pepper," he whispers, Gretal glances at them and then focus her attention onto the ring," what?" Pepper asks unamused," Who is she?" He asks," She is from legal. And she is potentially a very expensive sexual harassment lawsuit if you keep ogling her like that," "I need a new assistant, boss," he whispers back.

Redmond narrows his eyes," Yes, and I’ve got three excellent potential candidates. They’re lined up and ready to meet you," Pepper muses," I don’t have time to meet. I need someone now. I feel like it’s her," he whispers, Gretal turns to look at Happy and Natalie in amusement as Pepper denies him," You ever boxed before?" "I have, yes," "What, like, the Tae Bo? Booty Boot Camp? Crunch? Something like that?" Gretal shakes her head." Don't taunt the poor girl," she scolds.

Natalie looks at them in gratefulness and looks at him in annoyance," How do you spell your name, Natalie?" Tony calls, she spells it out for him," What, are you gonna google her now?" Pepper asks,"  I thought I was ogling her," Tony muses.

He looks at the results," Wow. Very, very impressive individual," he muses," You’re so predictable, you know that?" Pepper retorts," She’s fluent in French, Italian, Russian, Latin... Who speaks Latin?" He asks," No one speaks Latin," "No one speaks Latin?" "It’s a dead language. You can read Latin or you can write Latin, but you can’t speak Latin," Pepper replies.

"Did you model in Tokyo? ‘Cause she modeled in Tokyo." Tony muses reading the info, Pepper starts to speak but Tony interrupts," I need her. She’s got everything that I need," Gretal grins at the ring as Redmond make his move, Natalie glances back at Tony before looking at Happy.

"Rule number one, never take your eyes off your opponent-" Natalie grabs his hands and flips him, earning another outrageous laugh from Gretal as she beat Redmond in their round of chess." Checkmate!" "Oh my god Happy!" "That’s what I’m talking about,"

Happy quickly stands up as Natalie adjusts her pants," I just slipped," Happy protests," You did? Looks like a TKO to me," he rings the bell as Gretal hops up goes to hug Natalie who seems flustered despite her cool demeanor just now, Redmond walks to him with a smile." Just… I need your impression," Natalie replies." You have a quiet reserve. I don’t know, you have an old soul..." Tony mutters." I meant your fingerprint," "Right," "So how are we doing?" Pepper asks.

"Great. Just wrapping up here. Hey. You’re the boss," "Will that be all, Your Majesty?" Natalie asks," No," Tony replies but Pepper interrupts," Yes, that will be all, Ms Rushman. Thank you very much," Pepper replies as she leaves." I want one," "No,"

Chapter Text

They pull over at Monaco grand pix, in a carriage.

Happy takes a suitcase in which Redmond told him to cover, Redmond isn't there but Gretal is, an ear piece is in her ear as she splits up with Tony, Pepper and Happy.

"You know, it’s Europe. Whatever happens the next 20 minutes, just go with it," Tony replies," Go with it? Go with what?" She asks." Your Majesty?" Natalie asks," Hey!" "Hello, how was your flight?" She asks," It was excellent. Boy, it’s nice to see you," He replies as a waiter serves them drinks, both Pepper and Tony smiles at each other as they take one only to be taken by Natalie.

"We have one photographer from the ACM, if you don’t mind. Okay?" Natalie asks," When did this happen?" Pepper asks still smiling as a camera flashes at them." What? You made me do it," "I made you do what?" "You quit. Smile. Look, right there. Stop acting constipated. Don’t flare your nostrils."

"You are so predictable," "That’s the amazing thing," Tony retorts." Right this way," Natalie leads him away," You look fantastic," He replies," But that’s unprofessional. What’s on the docket?" He asks putting on his sunglasses." You have a 9:30 dinner," she replies," Perfect. I’ll be there at 11:00," he muses." Absolutely," "Is this us?" He asks gesturing to the table," It can be," "Great. Make it us." He replies.

"Mr Musk. How are you?" She asks him sitting beside the table Tony is standing around." Hi, Pepper. Congratulations on the promotion," he shakes her hand and Tony goes to him." Elon, how’s it going. Those Merlin engines are fantastic." "Thank you. Yeah, I’ve got an idea for an electric jet." "You do?" "Yeah," "Then we’ll make it work."

He turns to Pepper, looking around wondering where did Gretal go." You want a massage?" He offers," Oh, God. No. I don’t want a massage." "I’ll have Natalie make an-" "I don’t want Natalie to do-" " Don’t want you tense. By the way, I didn’t mean to spring this on you." " Thank you very much." Pepper grins as they walk to the bar." Green is not your best colour," "Oh please," Justin peeks from a side," Majesty~ Is that you?"

Tony whispers," My least favourite person on Earth..." he turns to Justin as he pats him on the back," hey pal," "Justin Hammer," "How you doing? You’re not the only rich guy here with a fancy car. You know Christine Everhart from Vanity Fair. You guys know each other?" "Yes..." Yes Roughly..." "We do," Tony and Pepper remembers what happened last time.

"BTW, big story. The new CEO of Stark Industries," Christine smiles at them," I know, I know." Christine grins." Congratulations," "My editor will kill me if I don’t grab a quote for our Powerful Women issue," Christine grins," Oh," Pepper straightens." Can I?" "Sure," Justin adds in," She’s actually doing a big spread on me for Vanity Fair. I thought I’d throw her a bone, you know. Right?"

Tony didn't like that and shook his head," Right, Well, she did quite a spread on Tony last year," Pepper muses," And she wrote a story as well," Tony adds," It was very impressive," Pepper trails off," That was good," " It was very well done," Justin and Christine looks at them...

"Thank you, " Christine muses at the awkwardness," I’m gonna go wash," Pepper announce and escapes," Don’t leave me-" Tony mutters but is stopped by Justin's arms over his shoulders trying to slip away from him," Hey, buddy. How you doing?" He asks almost flirty.

"I’m all right," he insists," Looking gorgeous," he adds, he then poses with Tony at a camera, apparently wanting to get as close as possible," Please this is tough," Tony replies." Can I ask you… Is this the first time…" Tony tries to steady both of them as Justin lean in and puts on his glasses." Fromage! Say “Brie”!" Christine's words lost," …that you guys have seen each other?"

Tony grins and and shrugs Justin's hands off and pat his arm almost fondly," God, that’s so awful," he chuckles as Justin laughs," Listen, is it the first time you’ve seen each other since the Senate?" Christine asks," Since he got his contract revoked-" Tony replies as they walk to a table," Actually, it’s on hold," Justin pipes.

"When you were attempting to…That’s not what I heard. What’s the difference between “hold and “cancelled”? The truth?" He gestures to Justin," Yes what is it?" Christine prompts as she holds a recorder," No, The truth is… Why don’t we put that away? The truth is, I’m actually hoping to present something at your Expo," he gestures to Christine and then turns to Tony." Well, if you invent something that works, I’ll make sure I get you a slot."

"Your Majesty?" Natalie asks and Tony turns to her," Yes?" "Your corner table is ready." Tony nods and goes with her and then turns back to joke," Hammer needs a slot, Christine," Justin chuckles," We kid, yeah, haha we kid, we're kidders,"

Tony checks on his blood toxicity is at 53%, he is about to do something stupid when Gretal stops him." H-hey! Um..." Tony stutters like a caught child." Nevermind that, Redmond told me you would come here, now here," She gives him his case," Where did you get it?" Tony asks.

"Redmond also said you'll need it, I'll help you," Gretal replies," Wait what do you mean?" He demands.

Gretal grins as she wears a racing uniform, waving at her idol fans," Starn!" She grins at the crowd and signs a picture. She hops over a small wall and goes to the car. Meanwhile Justin is talking to Christine, " Tony and I… Tony… I love Tony Stark. Tony loves me. We’re not competitors. Him being out of the picture created tremendous opportunities for Hammer Industries, you know? Everything that Tony and I do-" Christine is staring at the tv though, making Justin look behind.

"Well, what’s the use of having and owning a race car if you don’t drive it?" She asks," His Majesty has tasked me, into fulfilling his lifelong dreams," she teases. Justin narrows his eyes.

Pepper is sitting at a table looking around when she caught sight of the tv as Gretal waves dismissively to the original driver he throws his helmet away." Natalie, Natalie!" She calls as Natalie rushes over," What do you know about this?" She asks," This is the first that I have known of it," Natalie replies." This, this ... urgh where's Tony?" She asks.

Gretal checks the car and nods as the race starts and she drives off. Meanwhile, Ivan looking among the audience, he steps out and into the road, revealing his weapon and trashing the cars, earning gasps from the audience. Happy goes to Pepper to whisper at her.

When Stark's car passes by, he breaks it and walks menacingly towards the car." Urgh jealous much?" Gretal grumbles and sneaks out of the car, meanwhile Tony was at another building. She manages to get him by surprise and surprisingly manages to hold her own but he was proven deadly with the whips, almost killing her, luckily she manages to rolls one side even with her injured arm.

Halfway up the stairs, he puts on his briefcase armor. As soon as he reaches the top the armor has encased him and he drops his faceplate and blasts off. He manages to knock him down before Ivan could try and hit her again.

Ivan hits him with the whip and wraps it around his neck, tossing him around but he manages to wrap his arms around one and knocks him, he tosses him in the air and takes out his arc reactor, with cheers behind him. He looks at the reactor and crushes it as Ivan laughs at him and Gretal as she pushes herself up and limps behind Iron Man as he is being dragged off.

Tony then goes pays him a visit," We ran his prints. We got nothing back, not even a name," a guard replies to him in french," Where are we going?" Tony asks in the same language, the guard points to the cell ahead." Over there. We’re not even sure he speaks English. He hasn’t said a word since he got here." the guard adds.

"Five minutes," Tony tells him as he is left in the cell with him, he walks in and hesitantly says," Pretty decent tech. Cycles per second were a little low," he walks towards the front of him, reading his expression but from the looks of Ivan, he had a feeling he already knew." You could have doubled up your rotations. You focused the repulsor energy through ionised plasma channels. It’s effective. Not very efficient. But it’s a passable knock-off," he replies sitting beside him.

"I don’t get it. A little fine tuning you could have made a solid pay check. You could have sold it to North Korea, China, Iran, or gone onto the black market. You look like you got friends in low places," he replies." You come from a family of thieves and butchers. And now, like all guilty men, you try to rewrite your own history. And you forget all the lives the Stark family has destroyed," Ivan replies.

"Speaking of thieves, where did you get this design?" Tony asks." My father. Anton Vanko," Ivan replies." Well, I never heard of him," Tony mutters," My father is the reason you’re alive," he replies as a matter-of-factly." The reason I’m alive is ‘cause you had a shot, you took it, you missed," Tony retorts, clearly oblivious but he isn't that stupid.

"Did I? If you can make God bleed, the people will cease to believe in him. And there will be blood in the water. And the sharks will come. The truth, all I have to do is sit here and watch as the world will consume you." Ivan replies, Tony's expression is unreadable." Where will you be watching the world consume me from? That’s right. A prison cell. I’ll send you a bar of soap." Tony jokes and stands up to leave.

"Hey, Tony... Before you go, palladium in the chest, painful way to die," Ivan points out, Tony faces to a side, yeah he knows Tony knocks on the door and nods to the guards outside, Ivan chuckles.

Chapter Text

"It's just unbelievable, it proves that the genie is out of the bottle and his majesty can't see this necessity," Tony looks at the tv in exasperation.

"He thinks that the Iron Man can be anywhere? I was at a hearing where his Majesty, in fact, was adamant that these technology can’t exist anywhere else, don’t exist anywhere else, never will exist anywhere else, at least for five to ten years, and here we are in Monaco realizing, uh oh “These technology exist now.”," "Mute,"

Tony walks in in front of Pepper and sits with a plate on his hands," He should be giving me a medal. That’s the truth," Pepper ignores what he said and looks at the covered plate," This is your in-flight meal," he replies, opening the cover "Did you just make that?" Pepper asks.

"Yeah. Where do you think I’ve been for three hours?" He asks. Pepper looks at him," Tony, what are you not telling me?" She asks, Tony was tempted to tell her, Jarvis says so, Gretal says so, Redmond says so but..." I don’t want to go home. At all. Let’s cancel my birthday party and… We’re in Europe. Let’s go to Venice, Cipriani. Remember?"

Pepper rolls her eyes," Oh yes," "It’s a great place... to be healthy," Tony trails off," I don’t think this is the right time.... We’re in kind of a mess." "Yeah, but maybe that’s why it’s the best time. ‘Cause then we can-" "Well, I think as the CEO I need to show up-" "As CEO, you are entitled to a... leave," "A leave?" "A company retreat," "A retreat? During a time like this?"

Tony sighs," Just a ride, Well, I’m just saying, to recharge our batteries and figure it all out," Tony adds, Pepper smiles at him sadly," Not everybody runs on batteries Tony," Tony didn't know what he was expecting, he should have known better, Redmond can predict things, Gretal can read people well and Jarvis... well he's stuck with Tony.

Ivan frowns in a cell as the guard gives him a tray of food. He notices a note that says, enjoy the potatoes he turns it over to find a timer he quickly drops it as the guards open the door to shove his cell mate in. He knocks the prisoner out as a guard places the key onto the cell gate and he sets the bomb and escapes.

He knocks out the guard as he tries to escape but was captured by another set of guards. He is then brought to an airport with Justin Hammer.

They talk about business.

Meanwhile Natalie and Pepper are at the malibu mansion taking in calls. Rhodey walks in asking where Tony is." Query complete sir. Anton Vanko was a Soviet physicist who defected to the United States in 1963.However, he was accused of espionage and was deported in 1967. His son, Ivan, who is also a physicist, was convicted of selling Soviet-era weapons grade plutonium to Pakistan, and served 15 years in Kopeisk prison. No further records exist," Tony looks at the screens from a car, his face pained and sickly, Redmond places a hand on his shoulder, Tony looks down not saying anything.

Rhodey walks in, Redmond looks at him and switches place with him, not saying anything to him as he leaves. Rhodey looks at him in confusion for a while but decides to drop it and confront Tony." Tony, you gotta get upstairs and get on top of this situation right now." Tony looks up a little." Listen. I’ve been on the phone with the National Guard all day, trying to talk them out of rolling tanks up the PCH, knocking down your front door and taking these. They’re gonna take your suits, Tony, okay? They’re sick of the games. You said nobody else would possess this technology for 20 years. Well, guess what? Somebody else had it yesterday. It’s not theoretical anymore."

Tony looks even more paler as Rhodey approaches him." Are you listening to me?" His expression filled with concern as he notice his pale looks." Are you okay?" He asks." Lets go," he looks at him and gets off the car only to fall, Rhodey rushes to help him, Hey, man. Hey, hey! You all right?" Sparing a glance at the door, hoping Redmond is still there but with no such luck.

"Yeah, I should get to my desk," Rhodey helps Tony to his workbench." See that cigar box?" He asks." Yeah," Rhodey grabs it," It’s palladium," he states as he sits down and opens it as Tony takes out his arc reactor." Is that supposed to be smoking?" He asks as Tony shows it to him." If you must know, it’s neutron damage. It’s from the reactor wall."

He takes the palladium core out of the reactor," You had this in your body?" He asks as he changes it." And how about the high-tech crossword puzzle on your neck?" He asks." Road rash. Thank you," he puts it back into his chest and takes a drink.

"What are you looking at?" He asks noticing Rhodey looking at him." I’m looking at you. You wanna do this whole lone gunslinger act and it’s unnecessary. You don’t have to do this alone," Rhodey replies."  trust me. Contrary to popular belief, I know exactly what I’m doing," he replies.

Rhodey leaves and Redmond is about to go back down when he stops him." Is Tony okay? He speaking to you?" He asks a little hurt at that, Redmond smiles sympathetically," I only can support His Majesty," Redmond replies, Rhodey nods," How's Gretal?" He asks." Fine... she really wants to get back in the game," Redmond grins." I should... probably apologise to her huh?"

Redmond shakes his head," No... she had complete faith," Rhodey shakes his head, apparently not believing it and smiles at him before leaving, it was Redmond's turn to shake his head as he heads own to the workshop.

That night...

Tony looks at his chest with disdain, his blood toxicity at 89% he probably knew that his party was going to be the last one he will be having, Redmond had told him to meet him after the party. Tony doubt that he'll make it that far, he quickly pulls his robe together as Natalie walks in.

"Do you know which watch you’d like to wear tonight, Mr Stark?" She asks as she walks towards him," I’ll give them a look," he mutters and then after a while he speaks up," I should cancel the party," "Probably," "Yeah cause it's um..." "Ill-timed?" "Right, sends the wrong message," he replies as they walk towards each other," Inappropriate," she adds, she hands him a drink and he gestures to her as if in affirmation and sips it.

"Is that dirty enough for you?" She asks." Yeah... Gold face, brown hand. The Jaeger. I’ll give that a look. Bring them over," he seats down as Natalie hands him the box of watches, he takes it from her." I’ll take that. Why don’t you-" she sits beside him on the arm rest and helps him put on make up.

"I gotta say it. It’s hard to get a read on you. Where are you from?" Tony asks as he glances at her," Legal," she states simply Tony sighs." Can I ask you a question, hypothetically? Bit odd. If this was your last birthday party you were ever gonna have, how would you celebrate it?" He asks rubbing his eyes, Natalie thinks for a bit," I’d do whatever I wanted to do with whoever I wanted to do it with."

She leaves as Tony takes a drink, Tony is at the DJ, making the party go wild, he dances in his King robes, clearly drunk, he fist bumps the DJ wearing his armored gloves (Iron Man ones but cannot be seen in the dark) and the DJ wince a little and shakes his hands.

Rhodey goes in and bumps into an exasperated Pepper and shows what is going on with Tony. He laughs into a mic as Pepper walks up to him." Does this guy know how to throw a party or what?" Pepper asks taking the mic from him as the crowd cheers, he speaks into the mic," I love you," she grins and then she takes the mic," Unbelievable! Thank you so much. Tony, we all thank you so much for such a wonderful night. And we’re gonna say good night now, and thank you all for coming." The crowd groans in disappointment.

"No, no, no, we can’t … Wait, wait, wait. We didn’t have the cake. We didn’t blow out the candles," "You’re out of control, okay? Trust me on this, okay?" "You’re out of control gorgeous," "It’s time to go to bed. It’s time." "Give me another smooch," they whispers as Tony's face goes closer to Pepper while she backs off.

"Just send everybody home, okay? It’s time to…" he backs off." If you say so," he pouts." Okay. I’ll take this, you take that" she exchanges the mic for the bottle." Pepper Potts," He starts a few people claps." She’s right. The party’s over. Then again, the party was over for me, like, an hour and a half ago. The after-party starts in 15 minutes!" The crowd cheers." And if anybody," then in a hushed voice," Pepper," he then changes into a normal tone," doesn’t like it, there’s the door." He shoots the gauntlet at the glass.

Everyone cheers while Rhodey and Pepper look at him disbelievingly, he cheers with them." Hit!" A woman throws a bottle in the air he shoots it, earning more cheers, Rhodey leaves for the workshop," Pull!" She throws another bottle and he shoots it surprisingly accurately. Tony uses a mirror to see where the girl throws the object and shoots it perfectly.

The woman came with a watermelon, Tony grins and,"  I think she wants the Gallagher!" He uses the unibeam to break the watermelon the crowd cheers and Tony grins and covers his armor with the cloak but it stops when Rhodey calls from behind." I’m only gonna say this once," revealing Rhodey in full armor," Get out," everyone rushes out while Tony looks at Rhodey with distain.

Chapter Text

"You don't deserve to wear one of these. Shut it down!" Rhodey exclaims, he rolls his eyes and turns to the DJ with the mic," Goldstein," "Yes your majesty?" He asks behind the DJ." Give me a phat beat to beat my buddy’s ass to," he breaks into laughter at the last part.

Tony nods while Rhodey tries to grab him from behind."  I told you to shut it down!" Tony smirks and reaches for his hidden helmet easily and pushes him backwards, they crash into the gym and lands perfectly." Now, put that thing back where you found it before someone gets hurt,"

Rhodey throws a weight at Tony he looks at Rhodey, the mask look menacing." Really?" Tony muses as he dodges another one, he takes a dumbell and swings it at Rhodey before he could do anything." Sorry, pal, but Iron Man doesn’t have a sidekick," Tony muses as he flies to him.

Rhodey grabs a rod and hits Iron Man," Side," a hit," Kick," another hit," This!" Iron Man grabs the rod and they struggled a while before Rhodey flings it and sends Iron Man through the roof into his bedroom. A hologram flashes at him," Hey.... .... ... I'll get aaron," Redmond mutters and the hologram blinks out.

Rhodey flies through the hole," Had enough?" He asks. Pepper is reprimanding Natalie when the two Armored men almost falls on them." You want it? Take it!" Iron Man exclaims and beats Rhodey into a pulp. Rhodey and Iron Man holds their hands at each other as Iron Man creates some distance between the kneeling colonel.

"You think you got what it takes to wear that suit?" Iron Man taunts." We don't have to do this Tony," Rhodey mutters." You wanna be the War Machine take your shot," "Put it down!" "You gonna take a shot?!" "PUT IT DOWN!" "NO!" "Drop it Tony!" "Take it!"

Their repulsor clashes and Rhodey flies away in the suit as Tony watches him. Really, he just wants him to leave.

Rhodey brings the suit into the Air Force base.

Meamwhile Tony eats a box of donuts at the donut shop's icon, a donut, Redmond and Gretal, who's arm is still in a cast looks at him exasperatedly." Your Majesty, Director Nick Fury of SHIELD is here," Redmond calls. Tony shakes his head but then looks at them as Nick Fury walks beside them.

"Sir! I’m gonna have to ask you to exit the doughnut," Nick Fury exclaims. They reluctantly goes in," I told you I don’t wanna join your super-secret boy band," Tony grumbles with the helmet off, Nick Fury chuckles," No, no, no. See, I remember, you do everything yourself. How’s that working out for you?" He asks as he takes a drink.

"It’s… It’s… It’s…" he stutters," I’m sorry. I don’t wanna get off on the wrong foot. Do I look at the patch or the eye? Honestly I’m a bit hung over. I’m not sure if you’re real of if I’m having…" he asks."  I am very real. I’m the realest person you’re ever gonna meet," he leans against the table inching his face nearer to Tony. He looks down," Just my luck," he mumbles.

He looks around," Where’s the staff here?" He complains, Fury looks at Tony's neck," That’s not looking so good," Fury points out," I’ve been worse," Tomy mumbles and then Natalie walks to them," We’ve secured the perimeter but I don’t think we should hold it for too much longer," Tony looks at her as Fury grins at him," Huh... you're... fired..." his voice trails off," That’s not up to you," she muses as she sits down next to fury.

"Tony, I want you to meet Agent Romanoff," Fury replies," Hi," he replies curtly." I’m a SHIELD shadow. Once we knew you were ill, I was tasked to you by Director Fury," she explains," I sugges you apologise," he replies, she stares at him." You’ve been very busy. You made your girl your CEO, you’re giving away all your stuff. You let your friend fly away with your suit. Now, if I didn’t know better…" "You don’t know better. I didn’t give it to him. He took it," "Whoa, whoa, whoa. He took it? You’re Iron Man and he just took it? The little brother walked in there, kicked your ass and took your suit?" He asks.

Then to agent Romanoff," Is that possible?" " Well, according to Mr Stark’s database security guidelines, there are redundancies to prevent unauthorised usage." He looks at the two exasperatedly." What do you want from me?" He asks." What do we want from you? Nuh uh uh, What do you want from me?" Romanoff walks off." You have become a problem, a problem I have to deal with. Contrary to your belief, you are not the centre of my universe. I have bigger problems than you in the southwest region to deal with."

Romanoff returns and then Fury gestures," Hit him," Romanoff injects him he yelps," Oh, God, are gonna steal my kidney and sell it?!" He asks as Romanoff turns his head to the side as the symptom fades." Could you please not do anything awful for five seconds?" He asks but romanoff stays quiet.

"What did she just do to me?" He asks Fury." What did we just do for you, That’s lithium dioxide. It’s gonna take the edge off. We’re trying to get you back to work." He replies." Give me a couple of boxes of that. I’ll be right as rain." He grumbles and stretches." It’s not a cure, it just abates the symptoms." Romanoff points out." Doesn’t look like it’s gonna be an easy fix."

"Trust me, I know. I’m good at this stuff. I’ve been looking for a suitable replacement for palladium. I’ve tried every combination, every permutation of every known element." Tony replies." Well, I’m here to tell you, you haven’t tried them all."

"Who told you this? Redmond?" Tony asks, Fury rolls his eyes.

Chapter Text

Justin is called in to add weapons to the suits.

Tony sits in the remains of his house," That thing in your chest is based on unfinished technology," Fury replies." No, it was finished. It has never been particularly effective until I miniaturised it and put it in my…" he gestures to his chest." No. Howard said the arc reactor was the stepping stone to something greater. He was about to kick off an energy race that was gonna dwarf the arms race. He was on to something big, something so big that it was gonna make the nuclear reactor look like a triple-A battery." Fury replies.

"Just him, or Anton Vanko in on this too?" He asks." Anton Vanko is the other side of that coin. Anton saw it as a way to get rich. When your father found out, he had him deported. When the Russians found out he couldn’t deliver they shipped his ass off to Siberia and he spent the next 20 years in a vodka-fuelled rage. Not quite the environment you want to raise a kid in, the son you had the misfortune of crossing paths with in Monaco," 

" You told me I hadn’t tried everything. What do you mean I haven’t tried everything? What haven’t I tried?" Tony asks." He said that you were the only person with the means and knowledge to finish what he started," Fury replies." He said that?" Tony asks." Are you that guy? Are you? ‘Cause if you are, then you can solve the riddle of your heart." Tony shook his head and Fury look at him questioningly.

" I don’t know where you get your information, but he wasn’t my biggest fan," Tony retorts." What do you remember about your dad?" Fury asks." He was cold, he was calculating. He never told me he loved me. He never even told me he liked me, so it’s a little tough for me to digest when you’re telling me he said the whole future was riding on me and he’s passing it down. I don’t get that. You’re talking about a guy who’s happiest day was when he shipped me off to boarding school," He retorts.

"That’s not true," Fury adds," Well, then, clearly you knew my dad better than I did," Tony muses," As a matter of fact, I did. He was one of the founding members of SHIELD," Fury muses as agents brings in a case." What?" Tony asks as he straightens himself." I got a 2:00," "Wait, wait, wait, wait. What’s this?" He points to the case.

"Okay, you’re good, right?" He asks," No, I’m not good," literally and metaphorically "You got this? Right? Right?" "Got what? I don’t even know what I’m supposed to get." Fury puts on his coat with Agent Romanoff and Coulson at his side." Natasha will remain a floater at Stark with her cover intact. You remember Agent Coulson, right?" He asks," Yeah..." Tony grumbles.

"Oh and Tony, remember, I got my eye on you," Fury adds and leaves, Tony looks at the two agents exasperatedly." We’ve disabled all communications. No contact with the outside world. Good luck," she replies and leaves, he then turns to Coulson." Please. First thing, I need a little bodywork. I’ll put in a little time at the lab. If we could send one of your goon squad down to The Coffee Bean, Cross Creek, for a Starbucks run, or something like that, that’d be nice."

"I’m not here for that. I’ve been authorised by Director Fury to use any means necessary to keep you on premises. If you attempt to leave or play any games, I will tase you and watch Supernanny while you drool into the carpet. Okay?" "I think I got it... yeah," "Enjoy your evening’s entertainment," Coulson leaves and looks at the case that says, property of H.Stark.

He really should improve on authority if he makes it out alive, speaking of which he calls Redmond and Gretal on a more secure and secret line." Gretal, you still Secretary of Defense?" He asks," Yes?" She asks questioningly as he opens up the crate." Ok, I'll talk to Redmond now," he replies and sorts through the materials in the case.

Gretal nods hesitantly and ends the call while Redmond watches him, he presses a button and a screen became a hologram." So... they gave it to you," he replies Tony takes out a tape and a book," Yeah how did you know about this?" He asks," I didn't," Redmond muses," I predicted that SHIELD might have the answers you need," he replies." God's words?" He asks as he plays the tape." Something like that," he muses.

Tony leans against a seat and reads Howard's notes and plays the tape." Everything is achievable through technology. Better living, robust heath, and for the first time in human history, the possibility of world peace. I’m Howard Stark, and everything you’ll need for the future can be found right here. City of the Future? City of Tomorrow? City of… I’m Howard Stark and everything you’ll need in the future can be found right here. So, from all of us in the government, I would like to personally-" A boy takes a part of the board.

"Tony, what are you doing back there? What is that?" Current Tony looks at the screen," Put that back. Put it back where you got it from. Where’s your mother? Maria? Go on. Go, go, go, go," he shooed." I’ll… I’ll… I’ll come in and… " the tape changes to Howard drinking, the tape changes again," So, from all of us in the goverment, I’d like to personally show you my ass. I’d like to… I can’t… This is… I can’t… We have this, don’t we? This is a ridiculous way…" Tony glances at the screen and then turns back to the notes to find it useless.

He is about to give up and takes a drink, fiddling with it," Tony. You’re too young to understand this right now, so I thought I would put it on film for you." Tony looks at the screen in shock." I built this for you." Tony looks at the screen rubbing his arms.

"And someday you’ll realise that it represents a whole lot more than just people’s inventions. It represents my life’s work. This is the key to the future." Tony looks at the screen, an idea popping into his head." I’m limited by the technology of my time, but one day you’ll figure this out. And when you do, you will change the world. What is and always will be my greatest creation is you,"

Tony looks at the screen.

Redmond goes to the malibu mansion and fans himself in Tony's Workshop, he brings the Stark Expo model to his house from the company office, eating strawberries as he looks at Tony working, in person.

"Jarvis, could you kindly Vac-U-Form a digital wire frame? I need a manipulatable projection," Tony replies to the AI as a scan goes over the model. Redmond sitting down watching him in the sidelines." 1974 Stark Expo model scan complete, sir," Jarvis replies." How many buildings are there?" He asks." Am I to include the Belgium waffle stands?" Redmond grins through chewing.

"That uh was rhetorical," Tony turns to Redmond and then back to the hologram," Just show me," Tony adds and gestures to Redmond to bring him a chair." What does that look like to you?" Tony asks, Redmond shrugs at the other side of the hologram." Not unlike an atom," Tony adds and points to the centre of the hologram, Redmond moving beside him.

"In which case the nucleus would be here. Highlight the unisphere," the hologram glows orange as he enlarges it a bit," Lose the footpaths. Get rid of them," he gestures to the hologram." What exactly are you trying to do?" Redmond asks, curiously looking at him think." I’m discovering… Correction. I’m rediscovering a new element..." Redmond raises an eyebrow.

"Is that even possible?" Redmond asks, Tony didn't answer him as Redmond fans Tony, thinking, making him smile for a bit." Lose the landscaping, the shrubbery, the trees. Parking lots, exits, entrances." He swipes across the holograms, Redmond moves to fan himself, somewhere at the corner." Structure the protons and the neutrons using the pavilions as a framework," the hologram combines everything together.

Tony claps his hands and enlarges it, Redmond almost drops his fan as the hologram surrounds him." Dead for almost 20 years, and still taking me to school," Tony grins and Redmond smiles back and he minimizes it." The proposed element should serve as a viable replacement for palladium," Jarvis inputs." Thanks dad," he mutters, Redmond seems so proud of him.

"Unfortunately, it is impossible to synthesise." Tony smirks," Uh Huh, Get ready for a major remodel, fellas. We’re back in hardware mode," Redmond grins fondly at him as he helps Tony a little but given his not build body, there is little he can do.

Redmond is helping him sort through things and Tony is busy fixing as Coulson walks in." I heard you broke the perimeter," Redmond looks at him sheepishly," Yeah. That was, like, three years ago. Where have you been?" He asks."  I was doing some stuff," Coulson replies." Yeah, well, me too and it worked. Hey, I’m playing for the home team Coulson, you and all your Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Now, are you gonna let me work or break my balls?"

Redmond narrows his eyes at him as Coulson holds up a tattered familiar red and blue shield." What’s this doing here?" He asks, Tony looks at it," That’s it. Bring that to me," he gestures, Coulson hands it to him," It’s exactly what I need to make this work. Lift the coil. Go, go. Put your knees into it. There you go. And… Drop it. Drop it."

"Perfectly level. I’m busy. What do you want?" He asks, sniffing." Nothing. Goodbye. I’ve been reassigned. Director Fury wants me in New Mexico," Coulson replies." Fantastic. Land of Enchantment," Tony says, oblivious." So I’m told," Coulson muses he holds out his hands and Tony shakes it." Good luck," "Bye, Thanks," "We need you," Coulson nods." Yeah more than you know," Tony replies," Not that much," Coulson retorts and leaves earning a snort from Redmond.

Redmond puts on goggles and sits beside Dummy as Tony puts a prism into the coils and turns ok the power." Initialising prismatic accelerator," Jarvis replies, Tony tries to turn the valve but it does not budge," Approaching maximum power," Jarvis warns, Tony grabs a wrench and turns it, it finally moves.

It cuts through things in its way and finally lands on a point, he shuts the energy off before it could glow any brighter, the lights stays on and he huffs walking towards it, Redmond looks at it in interest and awe." That was easy," he mutters and goes to grab a plier to safely remove the element.

"Congratulations sir. You have created a new element." Tony places it in the arc reactor and Redmond smiles from behind," Sir, the reactor has accepted the modified core. I will begin running diagnostics."

Chapter Text

Ivan gets locked in Hammer's industries with two guards guarding him.

Meanwhile, Redmond finishes up the strawberries with Tony and they are playing chess," Dummy, You, can we clean up this mess? You’re killing me. You know I don’t-" "Incoming call with a blocked number sir," Jarvis replies, Tony raises an eyebrow and goes to the desk," My phone privilege is reinstated. Lovely," he mutters and picks up the call.

"Coulson. How’s the Land of Enchantment?" The person that replied was with a familiar russian accent," Hey, Tony, how you doing?" Redmond quickly stands up and uses his computer as Tony looks at him in shock, Redmond shrugs wordlessly." I double cycle," he adds," You what?" Tony asks.

"You told me double cycle’s more power. Good advice." Ivan replies," You sound pretty sprightly for a dead guy," Tony points out," you too," Ivan chuckles while Tony closes his eyes, Redmond starts to trace the call.

"Now, the true history of Stark name will be written, What your father did to my family over 40 years, I will do to you in 40 minutes, I hope you’re ready," Ivan replies," Can we not-" Tony starts but Ivan puts down the phone before he could continue. The tracing was in complete, Redmond shook his head, Tony looks at the Expo website and notice the place where Justin Hammer is giving his presentation.

He looks at Redmond, he nods," He could be related to Ivan, I'd give a 80%," he replies, Tony nods and then takes the new arc reactor and places it in his chest," and I give that a 20%," Redmond muses.

" That tastes like coconut. And metal. Oh wow, yeah!" "Oh you got to be kidding me," 

Hammer gives his presentation on the Hammer drones and Rhodey, the War Machine is introduce too. Ivan is at Hammer industries typing on a computer.

It was interupted by Iron Man flying in and the crowd becomes more lively." We got trouble," Iron Man tells Rhodey," Tony, there are civilians present. I’m here on orders. Let’s not do this right now," Rhodey insists as Iron Man waves at the crowd." All these people are in danger. We gotta get them out of here. You gotta trust me for the next five minutes," Iron Man replies.

"Yeah, I tried that. I got tossed around your house, remember?" Rhodey asks," Listen, Redmond says he might be working with Vanko," Iron Man adds," Vanko's alive?" Rhodey asks, Iron Man approaches Hammer," Yeah!" In a robotic voice Iron Man asks," Where is he?" Iron Man asks," What?" Hammer asks," Where's Vanko?" "Who?" "Tell me," "What are you doing here, man?" Hammer asks.

"Woah woah woah woah," Rhodey mutters as his screen gone all red, Rhodey aims his machine gun at Iron Man," Is that you?!" Tony asks." No, I’m not doing that. That’s not me. I can’t move. I’m locked up. I’m locked up!  Get out of here. Go! This whole system’s been compromised!" Drones take aim as Tony takes off," Let’s take it outside," Tony replies and blasts off, the drones and War Machine shoots at the ceiling and the drones are all deployed, the War Machine armor taking off infront of him.

Tony dodges their attempts to hurt him, War Machine warns him as the drones storms into the crowd, Hammer tries to work with something," He’s locked us out of the mainframe," the technician replies," Who’s locked you out of the mainframe?" Pepper asks Justin," Please, please, go away. Go away. I’ve got this handled," Hammer replies.

" Have you now?!" Pepper exclaims." Yes, I do. In fact, if your guy hadn’t showed up, this wouldn’t be happening. So, please, now go away. Thank you," Hammer replies." Listen, we got to get these bitches out of here." He mutters to the technician, Natasha goes to him and pins him down, earning a shock shout from Pepper.

"You tell me who’s behind this. Who’s behind this?" She threatens." Ivan, Ivan Vanko," "Where is he?" "He's in a facility," She lets go of him roughly and leaves, Pepper dials her phone," I need NYPD, please," " No no no no," "Command Central," "No honey Don’t call the authorities," "Okay. Right away. Right away," "Pepper looks at him," Step aside, step aside," she then bends down to the technician." Tell me everything you know go," Pepper replies.

Iron Man and War Machine with a few drones are still chased, Ivan controls the drones to wreck havoc in the Expo, Natasha walks to Happy and tells him to drive her to Hammer Industries.

Iron Man uses the drones to shoot one another as the rest destroys the Expo. Iron Man tries to lead them away from the Expo.

"That is going to cost alot," Redmond muses in the comms. Both of them enters the facility, Happy taking on guard while Natasha infiltrates the whole building. Iron Man tries to destroys as much as he can, meamwhile Widow seem to be much better off on her own as Happy finally finishes the guard at the door.

Finally all the drones are destroyed but when the two of them entered the room, it is empty. Iron Man tries to knock him off as Natasha reboots Rhodey's suit," Reboot complete, you've got your best friend back," Natasha replies and Tony looks at her through the screen." Thank you very much, Agent Romanoff," Tony replies." Well done with the new chest piece I am reading significantly higher output and your vitals all look promising," She muses.

"Yes for the moment, I'm not dying thank you," Tony replies," What do you mean you're not dying? Did you just say you're dying?" Pepper asks," Is that you? No I'm not," Tony wince, Natasha looks at them with tilting her head." Not any more," "What's going on?" "I was going to tell you, I didn't want to alarm you," "You were going to tell me? You really were dying?" "You didn't let me-" "Why didn't you tell me that?" "I was going to tell you,"

"Hey hey save it for the honeymoon you got invoming Tony," Natasha replies." Looks like the fighting is going to you," Natasha replies," Great, Pepper, I'm fine, don't be mad," " I am mad," "I will formally apologise when I’m not fending off a Hammeroid attack," "Fine," "We could have been in Venice," "Oh please,"

Tony knocks on Rhodey's suit to wake him up, he removes his face plate," Oh you can have your suit back," Rhodey grumbles, Tony chuckles and pulls him up," You okay?" He asks," Yeah thanks," Rhodey replies." Tony look, I'm sorry okay?" "Don't be," "No I should have trusted you more," "I'm the one who put you in this position, forget it," "No it's your fault, I just wanted to say I'm sorry," "Thank you, that's all I wanted to hear... partner?" Rhodey nods," They're coming in hot, any second, what's the play?" Tony asks.

"Well, we want to take the high ground okay? So lets put the biggest gun up on that ridge," "Got you," they walk together despite what Rhodey says," Where do you want to be?" He asks," Where are you going?" Rhodey retorts," What are you talking about?" Tony asks," I meant me," Rhodey retorts." You have a big gun, you are not the big gun," "Tony, don’t be jealous," "No. It’s subtle all the bells and whistles," "Yeah. It’s called being a badass,"

Tony shook his head and points up," Fine. All right. You go up to. I’ll draw them in," "Ok," They move to their positions but the Rhodey turns to him," Don’t stay down here. This is the worst place to be," "Okay, you got a spot. Where’s mine?" "It’s the kill box, Tony. Okay This is where you go to die,"

The sound of thrusters stops their bickering.

Chapter Text

Their face plates went down with two clanks as the drones attacks them, Iron Man and War Machine counter attacks. Iron man dodges a missile and fires multiple that takes out three at once," See that?" "Yeah, yeah. Nice,"

They continues to trash the others but they never seem to end, despite War Machine's endless rain of bullets, he knew he was about to run out soon, while Iron Man runs out of paitence.

"Rhodey? Get down!" He then activates his lasers and turns around, destroying all the drones." Wow. I think you should lead with that next time," Rhodey muses." Yeah. Sorry boss. I can only use it one. It’s a one-off," Tony retorts.

Back at the Expo, the cops arrive at where Pepper and Justin are." I told you that five minutes ago," Justin retorts as Pepper turns to the cops," That’s your guy here," she gestures to Justin," Excuse me?" He asks." You’re being placed under arrest," the officer tells Justin," Are you kidding me?" "Hands behind your back sir,"

Justin didn't struggle because it was outrageous," I’m trying to help here," he insists but grimance as the cuffs locks his wrist, he smirks at Pepper,"  I get it. I see what you’re doing. You’re trying to pin this on me, huh? That’s good. That’s good. You’re starting to think like a CEO, taking out the competition. I like that. You think you’re making a problem for me?" He asks threateningly as he is being taken away, Pepper looks at him hesitantingly.

"I’m gonna make a problem for you. I’m gonna be seeing you again real soon," Pepper looks at Justin, a little intimidated by him." When they get here, I think you should station them at the south, east and both west exits," She replies to the officer as they leave the Expo." We shut down the 7 train in and out of Willets Point already," he replies.

"Well, have city buses there to ferry people to operating lines," Pepper adds," Yeah," he replies, trying not to sound amused," Are you coming with us?" "No, I’m gonna stay until to park is clear," the Officer shrugs," Okay,"

"Head up. You got one more drone incoming. This one looks different," Natasha replies on both of their comms, Redmond sends a secret message to Tony: Pepper is outside the Expo building Tony notes that for later." The repulsor signature is significantly higher," Ivan lands a few paces infront from them.

"Good to be back," Ivan replies as his helmet draws back." Oh This ain’t gonna be good," Rhodey mutters as Ivan whips out his powered whips, now with more power." I got something special for this guy. I’m gonna bust his bunker with the Ex-Wife," Rhodey mutters as his suit pulls it out," With the what?" Tony asks.

It fires at Whiplash but bounces off his suit harmlessly and fizzles to a pop in the water." Hammer tech?" Tony muses," Yeah," Rhodey grumbles." I got this," Tony mumbles and aims his shoukder missiles at Ivan's face but he his helmet goes back on, blocking it. They roll apart as Whiplash's whips swings at them, Rhodey fires with his guns but his machine gun breaks from his whips.

Tony flies up as the whips swings at him, but the other whip grabs him by the waist and swings him one side letting him go unlike the last time, he seems to know who Iron Man is so goes easy on him. He swings at Rhodey but was distracted by Tony, flying at him, he throws him at one side.

Rhodey is being pulled in and knock aside, Ivan is about to attack Rhodey again when Iron Man hits him from behind and manages to land a few punches but gets knock back and a whip wraps around his neck meanwhile Rhodey tries to shoot him but Ivan steps on him and nails him down, Tony pulls his whip towards himself letting Rhodey go but he uses his whips to wrap around Rhodey's neck too.

"Sure you don't want a job? I can give you one," Tony suggests, his reply was a powerful zap, he groans," Rhodes I've got an idea," Tony replies," You want to be a hero?" He asks," What?" Rhodey asks," I could really use a sidekick," he hints." Put your hands up," he aims his repulsor at Rhodey," This is your idea?" He muses," Yep," Rhodey points his repulsor at Tony's.

"I'm ready Go go go!" "Take it!" Their repulsor collides with each other like in the mansion and the power surge takes out everything near it. They walk towards a broken whiplash, he laughs like how he did in the grand prix," You lose," he adds, his armor flashes red and so does the other drones." All these drones are rigged to blow. We gotta get out of here man," Rhodey replies," Pepper?!" They both take off but Tony breaks away from Rhodey and goes to the Expo.

Tony quickly grabs Pepper before the drone can blow up on her face and they land at a roof top. Pepper shoves Tony away, his helmet start to sizzle, he quickly takes it out," I'll be there for pickup," Redmond replies in his earpiece. Pepper burries her hands in her head." Oh my God! I can’t take this anymore," she grumbles." You can’t?" Tony retorts," I can’t take this..." "Look at me," he retorts.

"My body, literally, cannot handle the stress. I never know if you’re gonna kill yourself or wreak the whole company," Pepper grumbles, Tony looks at her in surprise," I think I did okay," he gestures but a distant explosion contradicts his statement." I quit. I’m resigning. That’s it," Tony raises an eyebrow." What did you just say? You’re done? That’s surprising. No, it’s not surprising. I get it. You don’t have to make excuses,"

"I’m… I’m… I’m not making any excuses," Pepper stutters as Tony walks to her." You actually were just making excuses. But you don’t have to," "No, I wasn’t making an excuse. I’m actually very justified." "Listen. Hey, hey. You deserve better," He replies taking her hand," Well..." "You’ve taken such good care of me. I’ve been in a tough spot, but you got me through it, so… Right?" He asks," Thank you," She replies.

"Thank you for understanding," Pepper replies, Tony looks away," Yeah, yeah. Let’s talk uh let's talk clean-up," he stutters," I’ll handle the transition. It’ll be smooth," " Okay. What about the press? Because you only had the job for a week. That’s gonna seem-" "Well, with you it’s like dog years," "I know," "I mean, it’s like the Presidency-" They then abruptly kiss.

"Wierd..." Tony mutters," No, it’s not weird," Pepper mutters," It’s okay, right?" "Yeah," she breathes and then starts to kiss again when Rhodey replies," I think it was weird," they turn to look at Rhodey and Redmond who just arrived." You guys look like two seals fighting over a grape," Rhodey muses, Redmond just shakes his head fanning himself." I had just quit, actually," " Yeah, so we’re not-"

"You don’t have to do that. I heard the whole thing," Rhodey muses, Redmond shakes his head again." You should get lost," Tony points to Rhodey, Redmond pats Rhodey's chest with his fan." I was here first. Get a roof," he pushes Redmond's hand away playfully." I thought you were out of one-liners," Rhodey muses," That’s the last one," "You kicked ass back there, by the way,"

"Thank you. You too. Listen, my car got taken out in the explosion, so I’m gonna have to hang on to your suit for a minute, okay?" He asks." Not okay. Not okay with that," he shakes his head." It wasn’t a question," he states and takes off." How are you gonna resign if I don’t accept?" Pepper chuckles and hits him plafully.

Tony is sitting on a chair in the middle of his throne room, the table in at the centre of the hall, Tony looks at the two files facing away from him. He looks at the AVENGERS INITIATIVE PREMLIMIARY REPORT folder but was intercepted by Fury," I don’t think I want you looking at that. I’m not sure it pertains to you anymore. Now this on the other hand, is Agent Romanoff’s assessment of your alias. Read it," he hands him another folder and Tony takes out the report.

""Personality overview. Mr Stark displays compulsive behaviour." In my own defence, that was last week." Tony replies, Fury looks at him unamused, Tony continues." “Prone to self-destructive tendencies.” I was dying. I mean, please. Aren’t we all?" He asks, Fury still holds his expression as Tony continues.

" “Textbook narcissism”?" he looks at fury who still didn't budge," Agreed. Okay, here it is. “Recruitment assessment for Avenger Initiative. Iron Man? Yes.” I gotta think about it." Tony replies, Fury gestures to the file," Read on," " “Tony Stark not… Not recommended”? That doesn’t make any sense. Am I in or not?" He asks. Fury goes over and sits on the table beside Fury.

"Which leads us to believe at this juncture we’d only like to use you as a consultant," Fury replies, Tony nods and then stands up and puts out his hand in which Fury takes it, as they shake heads, Tony clasp another hand on top of Fury's," You can’t afford me," he smiles and goes to leave but then turns around again." Then again... I am the King, you know where to find me," Tony replies and then continues to walk off as Fury nods to him.

A few months later, a guard calls from the giant doors," Your Majesty, Director Fury of SHIELD is here," he bows and lets Fury and Coulson enter the throne room." Ah yes, we were just talking about you and we were discussing whether we should help you with your tech in the helicarrier," Tony replies as he shifts to face Fury as earlier he was faced to Redmond, holding a scroll.

"I'm honored Your Majesty," "Woah what's with the change of attitude? Need something?" He teases." As a matter of fact I do," Fury replies, Tony raises an eyebrow." We need your permission to oversee the researchers appointed to the Artic Circle," Fury replies." Why something you want there?" Tony asks, Coulson shows him a file in which Redmond takes and hands it to Tony.

"I think it'll be time for you to read that, only you can make this possible Your Majesty," Fury replies. Tony recgonises the name and flips open. Tony looks at Redmond who nods," Alright then, I'll help you with this,"

"Summon General Ross here please,"

Chapter Text

"Have you heard of SHIELD Your Majesty?" Tony narrows his eyes at the council," They have almost everything, intel, subjects, even authority," one of them replies, Gretal looks at him in thought." Are you sure this is the right course of action?" He asks," I haven't gave them any authority, if they were caught they have to be shut down, then again, they were my father's so far I haven't heard him give them authority either,"

"May I suggest? An inside person, to know the ins and outs of SHIELD, what about Natalie Rushman from Stark Industries?" He asks, Tony shakes his head," Ofcourse not I'm not dragging a civilian into this," he lies.

"Shall we contact the world sercurity council?" "Yes that would be for the best, after all Mr Kenley is a close friend of Mr Stark," Redmond replies from Tony's side.

Iron Man uses his stealth suit and flies out of the ocean after placing a device on the transition lines," You're good to go on this end. The rest is up to you," Tony replies as he flies through the city," You disconnected the transition lines? Are we off the grid?" Pepper asks." Stark Towers is about to become a beacon of of self sustaining clean energy," Tony brags.

"Wow, so maybe our reactor takes over and it actually works?" Tony makes a turn and flies to a tall building." I assume, light her up," Stark tower lights up in beautiful blue light." How does it look?" Pepper asks." Like Christmas, but with," "Gotta go wider on the public awareness campaign. You need to do some press. I can do some more tomorrow, I'm working on the zoning for the next billboards."

He lands on a secret door in the tower." Pepper, Pepper, you're killing me. Remember? Enjoy the moment?" He asks," Then get in here and I will~" Tony desuits easily and walks into a small lift and walks into the penthouse of the tower," Sir, Agent Coulson of SHIELD is on the line," "Close the line Jarvis. I got a date,"

"Levels are holding steady...I think..." Pepper bit her lip," Of course they are, I was directly involved. Which brings me to my next question. How does it feel to be a genius?" Tony asks as he walks to her." Well, ha, I really wouldn't know now, would I?" Pepper asks," What do you mean? All this, came from you," Tony replies," No. All this, came from that," she points to his arc reactor.

"Give yourself some credit, please. Stark Tower is your baby. Give yourself... twelve percent of the credit," Tony replies," Twelve percent?" She muses," An argument can be made for fifteen," Tony adds as she goes to a table, Tony follows her." Twelve percent for my baby?" She asks." Well, I did do all the heavy lifting. Literally, I lifted the heavy things. And sorry, but the security snafu? That was on you," "Oooooh," "My private elevator," "You mean our elevator?" "It was teeming with sweaty workmen. I'm going to pay for that comment about percentages in some subtle way later on, aren't I?"

"Not gonna be that subtle," Pepper retorts." I'll tell you what. Next building is gonna say 'Potts' on the tower," "On the lease," "Call your mom, can you bunk over?" Tony asks as they stop toasting, earning a chuckles from Pepper." Sir, the telephone. I'm afraid my protocol's are being overwritten," Jarvis' warns." Your Majesty, we need to talk," Tony picks up the phone," You have reached the life model decoy of Tony Stark, please leave a message," Pepper chuckles in the background.

"This is urgent," Coulson muses," Then leave it urgently," Tony retorts, the elevator door opens to reveal Coulson," Security breach!" Tony pipes," Your Majesty," Coulson greeted." Phil! Come in," Pepper grins and walks towards him." Phil?" Tony mutters," I can't stay," Coulson replies." Uh...his first name is Agent," Tony points out, following her." Come on in, we're celebrating," Pepper adds to coulson.

"Which is why he can't stay," he says with a forced smile, Coulson hands him a file." We need you to look this over as soon as possible," Coulson replies," I don't like to be handed things," Tony adds, Pepper shakes her head," That's fine, cause I love to be handed things. So, let's trade," she gives her glass to Coulson and takes the file and then gives the file to Tony and takes his drink. Tony sighs exasperatedly.

"Official consulting hours are between eight and five every other Thursday," " This isn't a consultation," "Is this about The Avengers? Which I...I know nothing about," Pepper points out, Tony opens up the file to reveal a tablet," The Avengers Initiative was scrapped, I thought. And I didn't even qualify," "I didn't know that either," Pepper adds," Yeah, apparently I'm volatile, self obsessed, don't play well with others," Tony turns to him and then walks back the the desk." That I did know," Pepper muses.

"This isn't about personality profiles anymore," Coulson replies," Whatever, Miss Potts?" He gestured for her to come to him, which she did as he opens through the files." You know, I thought we were having a moment," Tony replies," I was having twelve percent of a moment." She muses then adds," This seems serious, Phil's pretty shaken," "How did you notice? Why is he Phil?"

"This is uh.." he opens up the file and holograms of Captain America, Hulk, Thor and the tesseract," I'm going to take the jet to D.C. tonight," Pepper replies," Tomorrow," Tony protests." You have homework. You have a lot of homework," Pepper replies." Well, what if I didn't?" Tony asks." If you didn't?" Pepper asks," Yeah," "You mean if you finished?" Tony nods," Well, um...then," she whispers into his ears, Tony exagerratedly gasps silently. Coulson stands there uncomfortable.

"Square deal. It's the last date," Tony nods and Pepper goes in to kiss him." Work hard," she whispers and leaves, then talks to Pepper," So, any chance you're driving by LaGuardia?" Pepper asks Coulson, Tony gestures to them but then drops it dismissively as he takes a look at the tesseract." I can drop you," "Fantastic. I want to hear about the cellist. Is that still a thing?" Tony grabs the hologram of the tesseract in realisation.

"She moved back to Portland," "What?! Boo!"

"Clear the area, make sure no one tries to breach the perimeter, you all got your orders, do not translate or tell it to others, if you forget it or lost it somewhere, skidaddle outta here,"

Tony looks at the screen," You need me yet eye patch?" He asks," Stand by, if the Captain can't handle it then cut it," Fury replies exasperatedly, Tony shrugs on the armor anyway. Meanwhile the Captain is fighting Loki and apparently losing," Agent Romanoff. You miss me?" As he overrides the jet's speakers and blasts his own music, making the Captain and Loki look up, Iron Man blasts Loki making him groan.

"Make your move, Reindeer Games," he aims a bunch of weapons at Loki, he places his hands out in surrender," Good move," he muses and then Captain joins him," Iron Man," Steve greeted," Captain," Iron Man replies in a robotic voice.

They were in the jet without Iron Man but they have a feeling that he is close by," Is he saying anything?" Fury asks from the comms," Not a word," Natasha replies," Just get him here. We're low on time," Fury replies. Thunder crackles around the jet," Where is this from?" Natasha asks," What's the matter? Are you scared of a little lightning?" Steve asks as Loki seem agitated," I'm not overly fond of what follows," Loki muses.

Something hits the jet, Steve quickly opens up the ramp as he hears footsteps and Thor lands on it, Steve goes to confront him but is knock back, Thor grabs Loki and flies away." I got it," Iron Man's voice sound from the comms, Steve narrows his eyes and takes a parachute." I'd sit this one out, Cap," Natasha replies.

"I don't see how I can," Cap replies fastening himself," These guys come from legends, they're basically gods," she replies."  There's only one God, ma'am. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that," Steve replies and jumps out of the jet.

Meanwhile in the mountains..." Where is the tesseract?" Thor asks as he dump Loki on the ground, Loki chuckles," I missed you too," "Do I look to be in a gaming mood?" "Oh, you should thank me. With the Bifrost gone how much dark energy did the Allfather have to muster to conjure you here? Your precious Earth," Loki spat.

"I thought you're dead," Thor replies, a little hurt," Did you mourn?" Loki asks softly." We all did. Our father-" " Your father," Loki interupts and breaks away from him." He did tell you my true parentage, did he not?" He asks." We were raised together, we played together, we fought together. Do you remember none of that?" Thor asks." I remember a shadow. Living in the shade of your greatness. I remember you tossing me into an abyss. I, who was, and should be, king!" Tony wince at the conversation, really this is why he is glad he didn't have a sibling.

"So you take the world I love as recompense for your imagined slights. No, the Earth is under my protection, Loki." Thor grumbles, Tony raises an eyebrow and take a mental note to figure out what exactly happened for these two to know earth.

"And you're doing a marvelous job with that. The humans slaughter each other in droves, while you idly threat. I was meant to rule them. And why should I not?" Loki asks, Tony frowns at that." You think yourself above them," Thor grumbles," Well yes," Loki replies." Then you miss the truth of ruling, brother. A throne would suit you ill," Thor replies, Loki growls and shoves him.

"I've seen worlds you've never known about! I have grown, Odinson, in my exile. I have seen the true power of the Tesseract, and when I wield it..." "Who showed you this power? Who controls the would-be king?" "I am a King!" "Not here! You give up the Tesseract! You give up this poisonous dream! You come home," Really who can resist those puppy eyes though.

"I don't have it. You need the Cube to bring me home. But I've sent it off, I know not where," Loki shrugs, Mjölnir flies to Thor's hands and points it at him, welp that's his cue, he powers up his trusters," You listen well brother, I-" Iron Man knocks him into the ground below," I'm listening~" Loki muses.

Chapter Text

Iron Man and Thor lands in the forest, Thor grunts and pushes himself up while Iron Man keeps his distance, losing the robotic voice," Do not touch me again," Thor warns," Then don't take my stuff," Tony retorts." You have no idea what you're dealing with," Thor replies.

He looks at the back and then retorts," Uhhh Shakespeare in the Park? Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?" He teases." This is beyond you, metal man. Loki will face Asgardian justice," Thor replies," He gives up the Cube, he's all yours. Until then, stay out of the way," Iron Man replies and mutters," Tourist," Thor swings his hammer towards him, sitting him in the chest." Okay," He grumbles.

From the cliff, Loki watches like watching a late night movie, Mjölnir flies back to Thor's hand, Thor glances at Loki and then swings the hammer to charge at Iron Man but was knock away by him, he then summons lightning and points the hammer at Iron Man, lightning cackles around him.

"Power at 400% capacity," Jarvis annouce, Tony smirks," How about that?" He asks and his repulsors emits more energy than before, knocking Thor away. They were at it for a few minutes with both sides not backing down, but then they were interupted by Captain America's shield." Hey! That's enough!" He exclaims and hops down a tree," Now, I don't know what you plan on doing here," Captain starts all of them standing down but tense.

"I've come here to put an end to Loki's schemes!" Thor exclaims," Then prove it, Put the hammer down," Steve replies, Iron Man remembers the file he has," Yeah... No. Bad call. He loves his hammer-" he is knock back by said hammer." You want me to put the hammer down?" He asks and attacks Cap but Vibranium manages to block him and sends a giant wave of vibration through the forest.

"Are we done here?" Captain asks.

"Your Majesty, I suggest you don't go there, its magic," Redmond replies," Yeah but Fury won't let me go," Iron Man mutters," I can send Gretal to pick you, you can test out the remote controls on the armor," Redmond replies," I'm sending you the planning of the carrier, find a way to get up there," Redmond replies," Percentage?" Tony asks," 67% chance of success,"

"What do they need the iridium for?" Banner asks," It's a stabilizing agent," Iron Man walks in, his boots less clanky but still have that soft metal sound, he then turns to Coulson," I'm just saying, pick a weekend. I'll fly you to Portland. Keep love alive," he mutters to him and then walks into the conference table.

"It means the portal won't collapse on itself like it did at S.H.I.E.L.D," Iron Man replies, he then walks to Thor and pats his arm," No hard feelings, Point Break. You've got a mean swing," he then walks to the central control where Fury always is at." Also, it means the portal can open as wide, and stay open as long, as Loki wants," Iron Man replies.

"Raise the mizzenmast. Jib the topsails." he gestures to the workers who glances at him." That man is playing Galaga. He thought we wouldn't notice, but we did." he looks at the holograms surrounding the area." How does Fury even see these?" He asks Maria Hill after trying to cover one of his eye," He turns," Maria Hill muses," Well, that sounds exhausting. The rest of the raw materials, Agent Barton can get his hands on pretty easily. Only major component he still needs is a power source." He secretly places a hacking device.

" A high energy density, something to kick start the cube," He snaps his fingers," When did you become an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics?" Maria Hill asks." Last night," he muses, she raises an eyebrow." The packet, Selvig's notes, the Extraction Theory papers. Am I the only one who did the reading?" Iron Man asks exasperatedly." Does Loki need any particular kind of power source?" Steve asks." He would have to heat the Cube to 120-million Kelvin just to break through the Coulomb barrier," Bruce replies.

Iron Man raises his hands like: finally! and then nods," Unless Selvig has figured out how to stabilise the quantum tunnelling effect," Tony replies walking towards him." Well, if he could do that he could achieve Heavy Ion Fusion at any reactor on the planet," Bruce replies, Iron Man gestures to him," Finally, someone who speaks English," Steve shifts in his seat," Is that what just happened?"

Iron Man shakes Bruce's hand," It's good to meet you, Dr. Banner. You're work on anti-electron collisions is unparalleled. And I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster," Bruce nods and then shrugs," Thanks," he muses.

"Dr Banner is only here to track the Cube. I was hoping you might join him," Fury replies walking in." Let's start with that stick of his. It may be magical, but it works an awful lot like a HYDRA weapon," Steve replies." I don't know about that, but it is powered by the cube. And I'd like to know how Loki used it to turn two of the sharpest men I know into his personal flying monkeys," Fury replies." Monkeys? I do not understand," Thor mutters," I do! I understood that reference."

Iron Man shook his head and then turns to the doctor," Shall we play, doctor?" He asks." This way, sir," Bruce replies as they leave, meanwhile the agent at the side continues with his game. Iron Man and Bruce works in the lab, he is more of holograms than physically handling things because of his gloves and *cough* he can't take it off.

"The gamma readings are definitely consistent with Selvig's reports of the Tesseract. But it's going to take weeks to process," Bruce replies." If we bypass their mainframe and direct route to the Homer cluster, we can clock this at around 600 teraflops," Iron Man replies." Heh. All I packed was a toothbrush," Bruce chuckles, Iron Man makes a chuckling sound.

"You know, you should come by Stark Tower sometime. Top ten floors, all R&D. You'd love it. It's Candy Land," Iron Man replies, Bruce did not question his knowledge," Thanks, but the last time I was in New York, I kind of broke Harlem..." Bruce replies." Well, I promise a stress-free environment. No tension, no surprises," Iron Man pokes Bruce making him shock," Aw!" Bruce exclaims, Iron Man looks at him, Cap comes in and stops him, Bruce looks at him in surprise but is smiling like: you have a death wish?," Nothing?" He asks.

"Are you nuts?" Steve asks, Iron Man turns to him," Jury's out," he adds and then looks at Bruce who is smiling and working." You really have got a lid on it, haven't you? What's your secret? Mellow jazz, bongo drums, huge bag of weed?" He asks." Is everything a joke to you?" Steve asks. Iron Man points to him," funny things are," "Threatening the safety of everyone on this ship isn't funny. No offence, Doc," Steve replies, Iron Man shrugs.

"It's all right, I wouldn't have come aboard if I couldn't handle pointy things," Bruce replies." You're tip-toeing, big man. You need to strut," Iron Man jokes," And you need to focus on the problem, Mr," Captain replies," You think I'm not? Why did Fury call us and why now? Why not before? What isn't he telling us? I can't do the equation unless I have all the variables," he replies taking a packet of blueberry.

"You think Fury's hiding something?" Steve asks." He's a spy. Captain, he's the spy. His secrets have secrets," Iron Man retorts," It's bugging him, too. Isn't it?" He gestures to Bruce," Uh...I just wanna finish my work here and..." he starts but Steve interupts him," Doctor," Bruce sighs and looks at them." "A warm light for all mankind." Loki's jab at Fury about the Cube," Bruce replies." I heard it," Steve adds," Well, I think that was meant for Stark Tower," Iron Man opens the pack to Bruce who takes some." Even if Barton didn't tell Loki about the tower, it was still all over the news,"

"The Stark Tower? That big, ugly..." Iron Man looks at him,"... building in New York?" "It's powered by an arc reactor, a self-sustaining energy source. That building will run itself for, what, a year?" Bruce asks." It's just the prototype. Its the only name in clean energy right now. That's what he's getting at," Iron Man points out." So, why didn't S.H.I.E.L.D. Bring the King in on the Tesseract project? What are they doing in the energy business in the first place?" Bruce asks.

"I should probably look into that once my decryption programme finishes breaking into all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secure files," Iron Man muses as his arm pops up a hologram," I'm sorry. Did you say-" Steve starts but Iron Man interupts," Jarvis has been running it since I hit the bridge. In a few hours, I'll know every dirty secret S.H.I.E.L.D. Has ever tried to hide. Blueberry?" He offers.

"I think Loki's trying to wind us up. This is a man who means to start a war and if we don't stay focused, he'll succeed. We have orders. We should follow them," Steve replies," Following's not really my style," Iron Man retorts." And you're all about style, aren't you?" He asks smiling." Of the people in this room, which one is, A, wearing a spangly outfit, and, B, not of use?" Iron Man asks." Steve, tell me none of this smells a little funky to you," Bruce replies.

"Just find the cube..."