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My Greatest Creation

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~Timeline, World War II~

 

 

Howard Stark had been a part of Project Rebirth. The army had requested his assistance and who was he to say no to the offer of being part of a new generation of soldiers. Of super soldiers beyond what normal human beings were capable of. Superior and if it was a success his name would be on it and allow him information he otherwise wouldn’t have. Howard was an inventor and his weapons paved the way of the future of war. He intended to be the best but while he could create all the weapons he wanted, he could not ignore that a part of war was its soldiers and if he could get his hands on the key to also being the best for enhancing their country’s soldiers he would further span the fame of his name.

He glanced at the one they picked for this project. Steven Grant Rogers, a tiny sickly person that had no business in the army or anywhere near the war. He looked so thin that Howard could probably kick him and the weakling would break in two. When this failed he would get the higher ups to give him what remained of the serum. He was a genius; he would make sure the serum worked. He would need to start with a better test subject.

The process began and Howard didn’t expect being injected with an experimental serum would be pleasant but the screams coming from the chamber were unpleasant. Agent Carter screamed for the project to be shut down. Howard had wondered how the military ever let a woman anywhere near the soldiers or this project. She had no place here and to let her try and control if the project was shut down was proof that women couldn’t handle such things.

When the project was a success and Steve stood bigger, stronger, as everything the serum had promised Howard could only stare in awe. His mind already swirling with mass producing the serum to turn the tide of war.

It appeared Hydra had a similar idea of the importance of something like the super soldier serum as one of their agents opened fire and stole the remaining vial of serum. Howard ducked out of the way with the others and watched as the once sickly weak Steve ran faster than any normal human could in pursuit of the thief and the important serum. With Erskine dead the military would turn to Howard to replicate the serum.

Steve failed to get the serum but he managed to deal with the thief and bring a valuable piece of Hydra technology. Unfortunately it was beyond what he’d ever seen and that just angered him. Either way he’d get to the bottom of it and discover how it was Hydra had this kind of technology at their fingertips. He refused to be outdone.

He ignored Steve being taken away already knowing the military had taken blood in hopes to seek the secrets of the serum through that. Howard could easily convince someone later to slip him the blood. For now he had technology to look at. However as he worked he considered the serum and its effects. He knew of Red Skull and how he’d gotten the serum first. An incomplete version and how he had not been fit to receive the serum. The serum amplifies everything inside according to Erskine. Good becomes great and bad becomes worse. Howard had been listening to Erskine’s little speech to Steve. Wanting to stay ahead in the world he needed to spy or steal ideas from time to time. If anyone believed that wasn’t how the world worked than they were fools and had no place in the business world.

So he considered that. Steve as he was now was a manmade evolution of humans. But nature allowed evolution naturally. Seeing the superior human the serum had made Steve he was curious what’s nature’s evolution of man would be. Perhaps that idea was why he kept an eye out. Steve was shown as a sign of something good as he paraded around inspiring people to help support the war. Then Peggy was coming to Howard to fly the only living super soldier into enemy territory. They were idiots but there was no telling the full extent of the serum’s capabilities without a proper test run. So why not see if the man could do what no one else could. See what the serum allowed him to earn him a title of super soldier.

He decided to play a friendly face with the agent and super soldier in case he needed to get more samples to recreate the super soldier serum. It also never hurt to have friends in the right places and Steve was a friend in the right place.

When Steve was claimed to likely be dead Howard waited thinking if the serum was all it was cracked up to be Steve would have survived. He almost wished he’d bet money on it when people began rushing out to see the once captured soldiers returning with Steve Rogers at their head. A single man had gone against Hydra deep in enemy territory, recused soldiers, captured a key piece in Hydra technology, and caught wind of Hydra’s future plans with barely more than a glance. The serum was all it was cracked up to be and Howard was determined to make the most of the serum once he recreated it.

Steve gathered a group of soldiers and their group was called the Howling Commandos. Howard continued to befriend Steve making his uniform as well as allowing him use of the shield he made with the stolen vibranium. It was the rarest metal on earth and once the war was over Howard would take the shield back. No need to give away something of such value. Lending it was all he was doing, he just didn’t mention it to the man he was attempting to befriend.

If he didn’t already have proof of the serum’s capabilities and the possibilities once he recreated it, he saw Steve and with just a few men begin destroying Hydra and turning the tide of war in their favor. The Howling Commandos mostly worked as a single unit though occasionally they worked with other groups and soldiers. Keeping an eye out as he worked to keep the Howling Commandos supplied with the weapons and gear they needed he had spied what he’d been looking for. Nature’s evolution of mankind.

He casually introduced himself to seemingly random soldiers working with the legendary group and Captain America and got the name of the soldier who had so far hidden the fact he wasn’t by any means normal. James Howlett was from the Canadian military and while Howard had little favors owed in that military force money still spoke loud enough to get what he wanted. He was pleased when no one suspected what he was planning. He’d seen James heal a wound within mere seconds. Howard was already planning what he could possibly do with such an ability and the super soldier serum. Red Skull was a fool but the idea of superior men wasn’t completely wrong. Just having superior strength did not make you a perfect human. Howard Stark was not a fool or a short sighted man. He was a genius and he knew he could create the perfect human. Superior in every way. Strong, smart, and invincible.

He would need to find a way to combine the serum, James’s DNA, and his own so he could include the necessary intelligence. Figuring out the secret of what gave James his healing factor was on his list to do once he wasn’t preoccupied with this war. After that he would need a woman to bear the child of superior genes but he would have to choose carefully. Only someone that could add favorable results to the experiment would do. He kept his eyes open for the possible perfect candidate.

His opportunity came to find the ideal candidate and it came in the form of one Arnim Zola. Red Skull had kept the man around for a reason and there was no denying the potential for such a man after seeing his creations. Getting him alone and away from prying eyes was a bit difficult but proved worth it.

“Agent Carter and I are considering recruiting some German scientists for our little organization.”

Zola looked at him seemingly bored.

“I am Swiss.”

Howard only smirked at him.

“Well maybe pretending to be German will prove useful. Our little organization might be the perfect place for a not so German scientist to rebuild Hydra.”

Zola looked at him interested.

“And why would one of the leading forces behind Hydra’s demise possibly want it to survive.”

“I couldn’t care less about Hydra surviving or being destroyed. What I care about is getting what I want. You and Hydra seem like the group to get me what I need.”

Zola looked at him as though studying him. The man was smart; Howard could at least admit that. But he was smarter and he’d get what he wanted.

“What is it the great Howard Stark wants?”

“To create a truly perfect human. Superior in every way. Red Skull died, believing himself worthy of power left by gods but gods cannot die. He was unworthy. Steve Rogers was a superior soldier but not perfect.”

Zola now looked interested.

“What do you need to make this perfect human?”

“Let’s first discuss what you want. Because I know you want more than a way to rebuild Hydra.”

Zola looked slightly annoyed.

“You approached me Howard Stark. It seems only fair you tell me what it is you need.”

He already knew he had Zola interested.

“I need a woman to give birth to this world’s first perfect human being. Someone whose own genes or enhancements can contribute to this perfect human. I’m certain someone like you would have connections I need. After all I can’t imagine people in other countries aren’t attempting to create their own super soldier or that you don’t know there are other enhanced people in this world.”

Zola grinned.

“I believe we can work out a deal. I do have something else I want. You see to begin rebuilding Hydra we must have the perfect tool to aid our cause. I was in the middle of finding the perfect candidate when the captain interfered. Luckily my test subject survived but he is in need of some…repairs. I want your help to create a fully functioning prosthetic arm.”

“Who is this candidate? It doesn’t matter to me either way I’ll get it done, I’m just curious.”

“I believe you’re more than aware of Sargent Barnes.”

“Hmm so he survived the fall. I’ll get the arm done; find me candidates for what I want.”

They parted ways both fulfilling their part of the agreement. Bucky Barnes became the Fist of Hydra and Howard Stark was led to Zola’s connections in Russia known as the Red Room. Female assassins that were both well trained and enhanced. Howard found them to be exactly what he needed.

Chapter Text

~Timeline: 6 years after Anthony Stark is Born~

 

Nickolas Fury had seen many things in his years with Shield. The child hiding out under his desk was new. He was uncertain how the kid had gotten past the agents and managed to wander into his office to hide out under his desk. Looking into the blue eyes of one Anthony Stark Fury sighed. It wasn’t the first time the kid had escaped Shield’s daycare area. However he was the only one who continually outsmarted Shield’s supposedly highly trained agents.

Looking into those eyes of the boy Fury couldn’t help but notice the intelligence in those young eyes. Fury had sometimes wondered if the kid was actually Howard’s. Sure they both had black hair and were smart but there was just something off about the kid and now that he was looking at him up close it could see it more. The kid was smart. Sure the media was already portraying the kid as some kind of prodigy but it somehow seemed an understatement of the boy staring up at him studying him like one does a lesser thing. Like the kid could see right through Fury and already knew all his secrets right down to what he did in the privacy of his own home the night before. It was unnerving.

“Hey kid, you want something to do?”

“I already did everything there was to do here.”

Fury raised a brow curious about that. There wasn’t much to do in his office though for an adult there was plenty if they were smart enough. He had a bookcase with some reading material and his computer had plenty of top secret information. Other than that there was nothing in there for a kid to do.

“There was plenty to do but it didn’t keep me occupied long. I already hacked your computer, upgraded it because the security sucks, I broke into your desk to look through all the top secret documents there but those were boring and I already read them, and I read all the books in the bookcase. They weren’t interesting and I’ve read more challenging books before.”

Fury would normally think the person talking like this was being an arrogant show off but the kid just looked bored while stating facts. Fury was curious and looked into what the kid said regarding his computer. The desk didn’t look like it’d been altered and the locks were still firmly in place. In response to the second glancing towards his desk drawers the kid held up his key to the locks.

“I took it off of you earlier when you were yelling at those stupid agents.”

Fury took the key back but he was smarter than a kid.

“You made a copy of this somehow didn’t you?”

He smiled.

“You’re smarter than the others. I knew you’d be interesting.”

He held up five copies of his key which was honestly to impressive for him to be angry with.

“You’re smart kid. Bet your dad is proud of you.”

The kid’s expression completely shut off within moments. He had seen agents with years of experience with espionage and trained to withstand torture incapable of shutting off their expression so quickly and easily. That trick alone had made his opinion go from impressed to worried. No kid should be able to do that.

“Howard doesn’t care. He says I’m a failed experiment.”

Fury opened his mouth to ask but decided against it. This was something he shouldn’t get involved in. Howard was one of the founders of Shield and he had a lot of power. If the man was involved in some kind of human experimentation and this was the result, he could just see the government trying to get their claws into it and therefore this kid.

“Do you just like being under my desk?”

He shrugged.

“It keeps me away from the other people and you’re interesting enough.”

Fury didn’t respond to that and instead returned to his work. Four hours later agents finally seemed to realize the kid was missing. That or Howard had finally decided it was time to take the kid home. He waited until the agents passed by his office looking for the kid before he looked at Anthony sleeping under his desk. He was looking at his sleeping face for only a few seconds before blue eyes snapped open and he looked at Fury.

“Jarvis is here to pick me up.”

The kid climbed out from under the desk and moved to leave. Fury walked with him curious if he was right. It seemed odd that Howard who worked with Shield wouldn’t take his own kid home. As it turned out the butler Jarvis was picking him up and Howard had left hours ago. Fury’s concern for the child was growing. He watched them leave half expecting the child to look back his way but he realized once he was back in his own office that the child was too smart to make that mistake.

Knowing Howard was a genius and a talented weapons designer he hadn’t thought much about the kid being smart but this wasn’t normal. He thought back to the comment about being a failed experiment. What could Howard have been trying to achieve if that was true? The boy was clearly a step above the rest but he was a failure? It didn’t make sense.

He had begun looking into it and the next time he saw Anthony was a few days later once again hiding under his desk. Fury looked at him and they stared at each other for a moment before the kid pushed a neatly wrapped gift towards him.

“What’s this for?”

“Birthday gift.”

Fury raised a brow.

“No one knows when my birthday is.”

Anthony gave a small sly smile.

“Maybe, but there’s always a way to get information if you know where to look.”

Fury took the gift a little suspicious. He opened it and was surprised by the well-crafted gun within. He’d have to test it later but he had a feeling it would work better than anything Shield had currently.

“Why did you make me this?” He was partly guessing the kid made it seeing how smart he was but he wasn’t entirely sure. He just needed confirmation.

“See Nicky I knew you were smart. I made it because you’re pretty cool and it wouldn’t’ be good if you had less than the best equipment. So maybe this way you won’t die on a mission or something.”

He nodded ignoring the nickname.

“Thank you.”

He went to work ignoring the kid under his desk as he had before. It was an hour before he dared try for any information.

“Why did you say you’re a failed experiment?”

He could be subtle and gain information but he suspected he wasn’t nearly tricky enough or smart enough to get one over on this kid. If he treated the kid as the intelligent person he was he was likely to get more than if he treated him like a child to be underestimated.

“I didn’t live up to the image he had. I was supposed to be the perfect next stage of human evolution.”

He wanted to ask more but the kid crawled out from under the desk and walked out to meet the agent already coming for him. Fury always had his senses listening for anyone approaching but he hadn’t heard the agent coming. Suspicions growing he walked out with the kid seeing Jarvis talking to Agent Carter as he waited for the boy. Fury was aware of Peggy Carter having been close to Howard during the war and later to Edwin Jarvis but as she smiled and moving to b at eye level with Anthony Fury suspected it was more than just being work acquaintances. The distance in recent years had suggested otherwise but maybe Fury had overlooked something. She was friendly with Jarvis but she was kind to the kid. If he had to guess they were as close as family. That left the question of why or how Peggy hadn’t yet noticed the strangeness of the child.

He decided to question her later when Anthony was gone. Something certainly wasn’t right here and he intended to find out what.

“Director Carter, if I could have a word with you.”

Peggy looked up not expecting to see Fury in her office.

“Of course, what can I help you with?”

Fury remained standing on the other side of Director Carter’s desk.

“It’s not a Shield matter…at least not as far as I can tell.”

She frowned never having heard Fury hesitate in anything or waste time with things that weren’t important. Typically the only things important enough to bring the man into her office were Shield matters.

“Alright, what do you think is important enough to bring it to me?”

“It’s about Anthony Stark.”

Peggy closed her eyes and took a deep breathe. It was obvious the child was important to her.

“You’ve noticed.”

It wasn’t a question.

“He isn’t normal and he’s mentioned some things that are cause for concern.”

Peggy met his gaze and Fury was surprised by the mixture of a motherly concern and professional concern within them. He had always known Peggy Carter was impressive but this only added to the list of reasons of why she was.

“Anthony is far more intelligent than just a simple child prodigy. He’s also clearly trained equally or better than our agents. That’s not the only thing but I have no facts to back up what I believe made him the way he is.” Peggy said sharing in Fury’s thoughts.

“He made mention of Howard considering him a failed experiment.”

Peggy closed her eyes not just taking a moment to compose herself. This was someone who cared that was crushed by confirmation of a terrifying truth.

“I suspected Howard of human experimentation…I just didn’t have proof.”

Fury raised a brow waiting for her to continue to explain her suspicions.

“The first time I looked into those boy’s eyes you know what I saw?” Peggy asked him but it was clear he wasn’t meant to answer. “I saw Steve Rogers staring back at me. He has his eyes.”

Fury felt a trickle of dread roll down his spine but he hid his discomfort. The super soldier serum could be both a gift and a curse. The potential for the experimental serum that allowed a once sickly man to become a force to be reckoned with that could take on enemy forces nearly singlehandedly were limitless. However no one knew all the effects of the serum due to Rogers being gone and the serum lost shortly after Rogers received it.

“Rogers is gone, do you think Howard could have found him?” Fury asked.

Peggy shook her head.

“No, he still looks for him but there was a vial of Steve’s blood. I thought Jarvis gave me it but it’s possible Howard kept the real vial someplace else. With it he could possibly recreate the serum.”

“Or use it to add Steve Rogers’s genetic code along with the serum in it to a child.”

They exchanged a look in silent understanding. If Howard had participated in human experimentation it was a big red flag for many reasons. It was something that was both unethical and illegal but it also meant that Howard wasn’t someone they wanted anywhere near Shield. But if Howard was a bad egg there were bound to be others.

“We need to find out how far this goes.”

Fury nodded in agreement.

“Find out who we can trust and who we can’t.”

Later Fury found a file in his desk. At the top of the file was the title: ‘When Manmade and Nature’s evolution meet’ He read over the file before going to Peggy’s office. He dropped it on her desk feeling unease crawl beneath his skin but he knew to remain calm. Peggy looked at the file that was a detailed report on what both could clearly see was the idea behind what Howard had done.

“James Howlett? Why does that name sound familiar?”

“Because he goes by Logan now and is known as the Wolverine.” Fury answered.

Peggy froze looking up at Fury.

“What do you think the x-gene would do mixed with the super soldier serum?”

“If he inherited the gene and the serum is in his blood? I’d rather not find out. There’s also the unknown of who from the Red Room that contributed to Anthony’s creation.”

Peggy gripped her desk to the point her knuckles turned white.

“We need to know what to expect and find proof of what Howard’s done.”

“What to expect?” Fury asked hoping for a little more clarification.

“We don’t know much about mutants right now. I know a source we can talk to and hopefully find out what to expect if it turns out Anthony has the x-gene.”

They left to talk to Peggy’s source a few days later. Charles Xavier was an intelligent man who had started a place for mutants to learn to control their abilities. Fury hadn’t so much as blinked at the blue furry man that worked closely with Charles.

“Hello Margaret Carter, Nickolas Fury.” No one called either by their proper names and Fury had to work to keep from frowning as neither had introduced themselves to him yet.

“I’m more than aware of who you are. Come, we may speak in private.”

Sitting down with Charles Xavier and Hank McCoy Peggy began the discussion.

“We were hoping to get a little more information regarding those that possess the x-gene. We’ve encountered a special case of a child that might possess the gene.”

“Is there a reason to be concerned regarding this child in particular?” Xavier asked.

“He was created for what we can tell with the purpose of being a perfect or superior human. We don’t know if he has the x-gene but the DNA of a known mutant was used along with other enhanced people.”

Charles looked troubled by this.

“What do you need to know about the x-gene?”

“Taking a blood sample isn’t an option in this case to test for the x-gene. Is there a way to know if the gene is active?”

Charles considered this.

“For most mutants the gene becomes active normally during the years of puberty though there are exceptions. Stress or trauma can cause it to happen earlier. If you would allow me to meet this child I can tell you whether he is a mutant. If he is I can help him to control his abilities.”

Fury and Peggy exchanged a look. It would be a risk but they were already facing a situation they knew nothing about and there was the potential for things to go very badly.

“We’ll bring him here the next time he’s dropped off at Shield.”

Anthony was dropped off nearly every day. Howard couldn’t be bothered with the boy it seemed. Fury didn’t even have to seek the boy out the next time he was dropped off. He escaped daycare in record time and waiting for Fury in his office.

“Ready when you are.”

Fury stared a moment before he fully entered the office and closed the door behind him.

“How do you know we’re going someplace?”

“Because I’m the one who put that file in your desk and I knew you’d go to Aunt Peggy and then find a mutant specialist.”

Fury could already see the plans the higher ups might have with just how smart this kid was. They’d find a way to manipulate him and use him for their own means. The idea of that ever happening pissed him off.

“Let’s go then kid.”

Anthony followed behind him silently. It was only then he realized he’d underestimated his training. He knew the kid was more alert than should be possible but his movements were careful and without sound. If anyone trained to pay attention to their surroundings listened they wouldn’t even know the kid was there until they saw him.

“Who trained you?” Fury asked once they were on their way to Xavier’s school.

“If you want to remain alive its best you don’t know.”

Fury kept his eyes on the road while Peggy who sat in the passenger seat looked back at the boy.

“Anthony, you need to tell us. We can help you.”

“The dead can’t help the living. If you know who trained me right now you won’t be around much longer.”

“Alright.” Fury said having already seen how smart the kid was and knew he’d already planned things out well so far. There had been a reason he’d left the file in his desk and why he sought him out.

Peggy looked upset but decided to go with Fury on this. The rest of the ride was silent as Fury watched the road but occasionally looked back at Anthony. The child was always somehow looking directly at him when he glanced in the rearview mirror. It was unnerving but he said nothing on the matter. Arriving at Xavier’s school he and the other two stepped out and were greeted by Charles Xavier. The man looked at Anthony and frowned just slightly.

“You are Anthony Stark.”

Anthony looked at the man in the wheel chair.

“Charles Xavier, paralyzed when Erik Lehnsherr altered the path of a bullet which injured your spine.”

Charles looked surprised.

“You’re already aware you’re a mutant.”

Anthony titled his head to the side like he was considering it.

“Yes, but I know I’m not what I was designed to be. I noticed the abilities when my training began. I know I heal faster than I should but it’s not fast enough. Not part of my mutation but something else from the enhancements put into my design.”

Charles looked equal parts intrigued and horrified as he led them inside the mansion. When Anthony looked at Hank he stared a moment.

“You gained the blue fur when you attempted to work with the DNA of the mutant Raven.”

Hank looked surprised.

“Yes, how did you know that?”

“I saw it in your profile.”

That seemed to trouble a few people as Anthony turned his attention back to Charles.

“Not a written profile provided by anyone else. I just see your information like a profile next to you. Detailing pieces of information randomly unless I look for something specific.”

Fury knew how useful something like that could be but also how easily it could be abused. He wondered for a moment what would have happened if he hadn’t noticed the kid before. He pushed those thoughts aside knowing he couldn’t waste time on what ifs.

“Do you possess any other abilities Anthony?”

He shrugged which was oddly the first normal thing the kid had done so far.

“I’m a genius and heal faster than normal like I said before. Apparently it’s not good enough.”

Charles nodded before he looked at Fury and Peggy.

“If you can convince Howard to allow it he would be welcome in my school.”

Convincing Howard Stark to send his son to Xavier’s school wasn’t difficult. It seemed Howard had already been planning to send the child to a boarding school. Fury kept a close eye on the kid while trying to learn who trained the boy. No one under the age of seven should be able to do the things Anthony could. Not only that, he suspected his mutation was activated due to a trauma. Few adults could withstand the training to be on the level of Shield’s most elite agents. Anthony more than easily matched their skills and he was just a child. If anything would awaken the mutant gene it would be that.

Chapter Text

Fury didn’t know how Tony snuck into his home or why the teen decided he wanted to be in his home after midnight. The kid no doubt snuck out of the Stark mansion. Maybe he was feeling nervous about going to MIT, Fury had grown accustom to the oddity that was Tony Stark. The kid was never predictable and he did what he wanted. Howard had long since stopped caring what his son did and Maria occasionally remembered to be a mother but her attention was always drawn elsewhere. So it left very few to even notice when the boy was doing anything. Even then Tony was very good at only allowing anyone to see what he wanted them to.

“Kid it’s late, why are you here?”

Fury never turned him away but he was more than happy to express how annoyed he was with random unpredictable visits. When the kid stepped out of the shadows so Fury could see him he felt honestly worried. The kid had a habit of getting sick easily. Something that had always made them wonder if the serum hadn’t passed onto Tony. From what he’d heard the serum should have prevented Tony from getting sick or having health issues. This however was something different. Tony was pale and sweating. He looked like he might actually be dying.

“Hey Uncle Nick…just needed a place to stay while…this shit passes.”

Fury couldn’t even ask what it was that had to pass as Tony collapsed and let out an unholy scream. He hadn’t panicked ever during his entire time with Shield. Now his heart he was almost certain would stop as fear gripped him. He was compromised and it was all this kid’s fault. He should have called someone but he couldn’t move. He held the screaming teen that was curled in the fetal position. Fury buried his face in the teen’s dark curls hoping whatever this was it would pass.

He moved to look at Tony when light peaked through his windows. Sunrise and Fury had been panicked enough to not notice how long he stayed there holding the teen who had passed out at some point. He looked healthy. More than healthy. The kid had always been in fairly good shape due to the training he did but now it was more so. It was strange looking at the kid and seeing him look so similar but different. Fury wasn’t entirely certain but he was pretty sure the shrimp grew a few inches. When blue eyes opened to look at him Tony took a sharp inhale and gripped his head.

“Hey kid you ok?”

He shook his head never showing so much emotion before. There was pain, confusion, and something like the determined focus he had when he was working on a project. His eyes opened again and suddenly they glowed with a golden light.

“Holy shit…” Tony sounded in awe.

“Kid what is it? What is this?”

Tony looked around as though seeing everything with new eyes. He slowly stood not yet answering Fury’s question as he walked around the house in stunned silence.

“It’s like looking at the code of the universe. Everything has code, people, the air around us, and the house we’re in.” Tony looked at him and grinned. “It’s awesome.”

“Ok but what the hell happened?”

Tony closed his eyes and took a deep breathe before he opened them again to reveal once again blue eyes.

“My profile said I was hitting puberty and the x-gene and serum in my blood were activating and interacting together.”

Fury knew Tony could see information about other people as well as himself but this was new. He’d never seen that kind of information about himself. Thinking about what he’d heard from Peggy who had been there when Steve Rogers received the serum, it made sense Tony would be in pain if the serum had somehow remained dormant until now.

Then Fury remembers something else he’d heard. Something Peggy had heard from Howard who had overheard it said by the original creator of the serum. He knew words could be twisted being passed from person to person but the idea that the serum amplifies everything inside was concerning. Fury couldn’t help but wonder what it was going to do with the teen who was both a genius and a mutant. Seeing the look in Tony’s eyes Fury was more than aware of the fact the kid knew his thoughts.

“I’ll keep you updated on my abilities.”

Fury considered stopping him from leaving but he knew if Tony wanted to leave he’d leave. There was no containing him even when he was a kid.

“Do you think I should take over Stark Industries someday?” He asked stopping at the door.

Tony wasn’t the type to question himself causing it to be so strange to see him do so now.

“Whatever you do it’ll be the right thing kid.”

He didn’t see Tony’s expression as the teen left but he knew whatever happened Fury would without a doubt back the kid on his decisions. Fourteen years old and heading to college, Fury knew he shared a silent concern with Peggy. It was an entirely different world out there and while Tony had proven to adjust as needed and was smart enough to know how to handle most situations he still worried.

 

~

 

Seventeen years old Tony Stark became an orphan and found his way once again into Fury’s home. Fury spied the bottles of alcohol littering the floor. He suspected the minor to be drunk but his speech was crystal clear and his eyes spoke of being completely sober.

“Guess Howard finally got what he wanted. Heard Rogers couldn’t get drunk either.”

Fury said nothing and instead sat beside the kid on the couch where he’d decided to drink away his problems.

“Do you not want to have the abilities you have?”

Tony didn’t look at him.

“No.”

“Do you want us to work on a way to remove them?”

“No.” No hesitation in that answer.

“Why?”

Tony hesitated.

“Because what’s the point of my existence otherwise? I was created to be enhanced.”

Fury didn’t argue with him. Tony didn’t bother leaving for an entire week when lawyers had been hounding him about his parent’s will and Obadiah Stane had been pushing Tony to stop hiding. Fury had never liked Obadiah and thought him a man to consumed by greed to ever be trusted to remain near Tony. Add to the fact that he was Howard’s business partner and Howard had been a traitor and a snake it only made it obvious the man couldn’t be trusted. Tony when he took over the position of CEO shared this thought as he quickly removed Obadiah and proved the man had been double dealing for years even when Howard was still alive.

Fury wasn’t surprised when Tony had called with the proof to have Obadiah arrested. Nor was he surprised that everyone underestimated the young CEO. Since his parents’ death he had taken on the persona of a reckless idiot who preferred to spend his days partying. Fury could see the potential for taking on the persona. No one would figure out just how dangerous he truly was and it would allow him to ensure people underestimated him.

Fury had seen how ruthless Tony was with his business. Within a year he’d cut out a good portion of his staff and forced several board members to quit. Fury had looked into it and found that the staff and board members removed had held their loyalty to Stane. A few years later Tony had expanded his company’s reach as he moved to clean energy, more defensive than offensive products for the military, and began working more into the technological field than staying focused on weapons.

He was doing great as CEO and he was one of the most powerful people in the world with his wealth and connections. All the power in the world though couldn’t protect him when Obadiah escaped and went after Tony as payback. Fury knew Tony had been in Afghanistan showing off his latest weapon to the military. Though he’d been moving away from weapons he hadn’t fully yet and it seemed on the way back the Humvee he had been in had been attacked. Fury knowing who and what Tony was shouldn’t have been worried but he was. When Xavier called he said Cerebro had alerted him to a new mutant in the same area as Tony had last been seen. A closer look had shown the new mutant was in fact Tony Stark. Xavier had been unable to pin down Tony’s location before he vanished and no longer able to be located by Cerebro. It wasn’t often something could block the device that allowed Charles to find mutants to help them. The fact that Tony had shown up as a new mutant had been the reason for Xavier to be worried.

Tony’s mutation according to Charles was unique. Yes a mutation could grow or change but not like Tony’s had. Without knowing exactly what was running through Tony’s DNA they might never understand how his enhancements worked. Charles had warned though that it was likely Tony’s mutations could grow further in the future.

Fury shared Charles’s worries but he was also afraid as someone who considered Tony family. He didn’t like having the weakness but he had been good about hiding it. Now though he struggled to hide the fact that the disappearance of Tony Stark had him worried. He suspected Coulson knew something was going on. The man wasn’t to be underestimated which was why he was one of the few of Shield agents he trusted. Before he, Peggy, and Tony worked to remove all those that had actually been Hydra he would have never risked trusting anyone within the organization. Now though he had four agents he actually trusted or at the very least respected. Coulson, Hawkeye, and Hill he trusted. Black Widow was another story though. He had respect for the widow but he wasn’t foolish enough to think complete trust in her wouldn’t end with a knife in his back.

Xavier kept looking but it wasn’t until three months later that Cerebro found him. He had shown up as yet another new mutant. Rhodey, Tony’s best friend from MIT, had been looking for him and found him wandering alone in the desert. Fury waited at Tony’s home for him while sending Coulson to debrief Tony mostly for show. It helped keep people from finding the connection between him and the genius. The higher ups would be suspicious if Shield didn’t approach the genius after him and American forces had been attacked and the best weapon designer had been missing for months.

When Coulson contacted him about the press conference Tony was holding Fury had already known. JARVIS always a helpful presence in Tony’s life and a slight pain in Fury’s side had already turned on the TV. He hadn’t understood the jumble of words behind Tony’s explanation of the AI but he knew the bundle of code was sentient. He didn’t mind the AI designed by Tony being sentient nor did he feel it was a threat so long as Fury never crossed his creator. He did however think that he’d overlooked just how mischievous Tony could be if the AI had inherited such a trait so strongly. He doubted he was wrong on this with how often the AI decided to hack Shield for no other reason than it was funny to see Shield scramble about trying to find out what happened. Fury was almost certain they didn’t even know about half of the times the AI had been in their systems. The times they did know about were simply for the AI’s humor.

Seeing Tony declare he was going to stop making weapons entirely Fury frowned slightly. He didn’t know what had happened the three months he was gone but he knew the higher ups would want to have someone make sure Tony Stark was still a sane man. He was behind a good portion of Shield’s tech and weapons which meant the council would not be pleased with this turn of events.

“Quite the announcement.”

Tony looked at him not surprised to see Fury in his home. Fury looked at Tony and knew the younger man was tired. It wasn’t a tired from lack of sleep. The kid had seen too much for a civilian. Tony had never mentioned what kind of training he’d received but regardless of who or what organization trained him he still had too much heart to be left unaffected by things spies and agents saw daily.

Fury remained where he was seated and waited for Tony to act or speak. He chose to move silently across the room and curl up on the couch next to Fury. Silence stretched out for a while before Fury figured Tony wasn’t going to speak.

“I’m happy you returned alive.”

Tony rolled over so he was looking up at him.

“A terrorist group called the Ten Rings attacked the Humvee I was in. I saw soldiers killed by the weapons I created. Obadiah still had some loyal within the company that I didn’t find. Sold the weapons to terrorists and helped him escaped. One of my own bombs went off right in front of me.”

Fury listened with growing concern. Depending on how close it was Tony shouldn’t even be alive. Fury was aware he was more durable than a normal human but a bomb going off would have no doubt done a good amount of damage.

“Did medical check you out?”

Tony sat up with a bitter laugh.

“There’s nothing left of my injuries for medical to check out.”

“The damage wasn’t that bad then?”

Fury knew Tony healed faster than the average human but something told him things might have changed.

“A bomb went off right in front of my face. The terrorists had kidnapped a doctor hoping to save my life so I could build them weapons. Obadiah was there and he’s never been that much of an idiot. He’s greedy, not stupid. He saw the shrapnel from the bomb being pushed out of my body and the damage from the weapon healed. My mutation changed.”

“Is your mutation a danger to yourself and others?”

“No, but Obadiah is dead.”

“I had to send Coulson to debrief you.”

Tony smirked though it did little to relieve the exhaustion in his face. It was honestly hard to remember that he was nearly forty when you look into the fact he’d stopped aging around thirty years old and there were days he struggled to hide just how exhausted he was carrying a weight on his shoulders far too heavy for a single man.

“So ignore, annoy, and bother him until he eventually thinks he has the upper hand and corners me with his persistence?”

Fury patted his shoulder with an unimpressed look.

“You would have made a good Shield agent.”

“We both know I break into your house way too much for you to want me around Shield full time.”

Fury should have asked for more details and should have figured out how Tony escaped. Fury had long ago accepted he was compromised but he wouldn’t change a thing between him and Tony. If his superiors knew he’d no doubt be removed from Shield entirely.

 

~

 

Once Fury had left Tony collapsed back onto the couch. He didn’t want to close his eyes for fear of seeing the cave and Yinsen dying again. He didn’t want to relive that time. Being trained by Hydra’s living weapon had been painful as he always ended up with broken bones. This had been different though. What he’d gone through with the ten rings and Obadiah had been for no other reason than to cause pain and revenge. Ten Rings wanted weapons and Obadiah had wanted him to suffer. The trauma from the bomb had caused his mutation to change; the torture had the same effect. Then Yinsen had died and he’d lost control.

“Did you miss me JARVIS?”

“Of course Sir, I am happy to have you home.”

He took comfort in that as he got up determined to find a way to do as Yinsen had asked. To not waste his life. He got to work on a suit of armor. It was obvious that more of his weapons had been sold to the enemy and he put JARVIS to work to find out who the hell was still in his company that was betraying him for Stane. While Tony worked on the design JARVIS found who was responsible for the weapons being sold to the ten rings. He quickly worked to mend the issue as he wouldn’t allow this to continue. The next step was destroying the weapons that had ended up in enemy hands.

By the time he came up from his work he had another guest. Tony smiled when he saw Warren. The mutant also known as Angel stood there looking concerned but relieved to see Tony.

“I was worried.”

“Thanks but I’m doing just fine. Just had an attempt on my life because an old business partner wanted revenge. How’s the school?”

Warren and him had gotten along due to both being from wealthy families that had negative views of their mutations. Warren’s father wanted him to take the Cure while Howard had thought Tony a weapon to be used. They had bonded during the days they were both at Charles’s school.

“The school is fine though people miss you.”

Tony went to the kitchen to grab drinks for them both. He tossed a bottle of water to Warren who caught it easily.

“I should visit soon anyways. Need to talk to the professor. You still at the school full time?”

He nodded as he removed his coat to let his wings out. Tony had always been envious of the pure white wings. He wondered what it would be like to have the freedom to fly and feel the wind on his face.

“Yeah I’m still there. Been helping some of the younger students. Haven’t really returned home, last time I did dad nearly forced the Cure on me.”

“Damn, sorry to hear that. What are your plans now if you’re not going back home? Weren’t you suppose to take over the company?”

Warren shrugged.

“For now I’ve just been at the school. Trying to do some good there. I understand the reason some take the Cure but I’m not one of the ones who needs to or wants to. The world isn’t a friendly place for mutants.”

Tony paused before he looked at Warren. Ideas were swarming in his mind. He might be able to help change that. Fix the view on mutants that the world had.

Chapter Text

Tony had been working on mutant community’s image since the day he and Warren talked. Stark Industries had hired several mutants since then as well as had stated their support for the super human community. Happy had been his driver/bodyguard since taking over Stark Industries but he moved the man to working with Pepper while Piotr aka Colossus had taken on the role of his bodyguard. People had been nervous seeing the large metal man at first. Last charity event SI had was show casing art that had been donated to help raise money. Among the pieces had been Piotr’s work as the man was a very talented artist. The event had been run by Warren who had taken over being in charge of charity work for Stark Industries. The sight of the angelic mutant had been a big part in changing the views people had on the mutant community.

He had been fairly busy with the company and the increase in workload that he hadn’t had much of a chance to check in with Shield and Fury. So when he had the one eyed man in his home he’d raised a brow curious what brought him for the unexpected visit.

“I need your help.”

“Oh? What do you need my help with? Last I checked Shield thought I was dying and threatened me into staying until I fixed it.”

Fury had known he wasn’t dying. Tony had been making the rest of Shield think he had the arc reactor in his chest when he didn’t. It just proved to Fury that Tony would have made a good Shield agent but it also put into question just how good his agents were. He didn’t know if Tony was just that good or if maybe Shield had been slacking in their training of new agents.

“We both know you aren’t dying. Look, something landed in New Mexico and we’re not entirely sure it’s from this planet. Coulson is already on his way but I’d like you to get there first.”

Tony gathered the paperwork he’d been looking over knowing it wasn’t a priority right now and could wait.

“I’ll head out then and check it out. Just give the location to JARVIS. I’m going to let the others know I’ll be out for a while.”

Pepper made him promise to return safely, Warren had wished him a safe trip as he was distracted with the next event he was setting up, Piotr knew if he wasn’t guarding Tony he was free to do what he wanted or would be given another assignment while Tony was gone.

He chose the suitcase armor for the trip. It wasn’t an overly long flight with the armor from Malibu to New Mexico. When he landed at the location given by Fury he stared in confusion at the hammer sitting in the dirt.

“J, is this really what Fury wanted me to come check out?”

“It appears so Sir. Apparently the locals tried and failed to pick it up. It’s how Shield was alerted to it.”

He raised a brow confused as he looked at the hammer he held in his hand.

“It’s not that heavy but the code in this thing is ridiculous.” His eyes glowed gold as he looked at the hammer that if he was honest he doubted came from earth.

“Shall I alert Director Fury to your discovery of the item and ability to retrieve it?”

“Let him know I have it yeah. Also let him know I’m going to stay around here for a while.”

He didn’t say that he had a feeling something else came through as he took off with the armor and the hammer in hand. His eyes still glowing gold he followed a trail that had a similar code as the hammer. It led him to a hospital which he didn’t hesitate to enter after letting his armor fold back into the suitcase form. At the front desk was a woman saying something about a man calling himself Thor. Tony had read into mythology during one of his bouts of boredom and was more than aware of the Norse deities.

“Excuse me, do you mean my friend Thor? Son of Odin. Big guy that looks like he lives at the gym.”

He was assuming that the Norse deity would look like a viking as the Norse deities were warriors. Thor had several titles including god of battle so it was safe to assume he’d be a strong guy.

“Oh you know him?” The woman asked startled.

He offered his hand after setting his armor down.

“Tony Stark, I’m afraid I had misplaced Thor. He wandered away from me.”

The woman’s eyes widened in shock as she shook his hand.

“You’re Tony Stark…like the Tony Stark?”

“Well unless someone’s cloned me yes. You’re Jane Foster right? I’ve read your work. Amazing stuff and while not my field I’d love to discuss helping fund your work. Right now though I really need to check on my friend.”

Jane looked through her pockets before she found something to write on.

“When you have time and want to talk here’s my number.”

He accepted it not bothering with the usual not liking to be handed things. Jane and the two with her left while Tony turned to the one behind the front desk.

“My friend Thor?”

She nodded as she got the room number for him. When he went to the room he found Thor unconscious and alone. He sat down in the extra chair and set down the suit and hammer. While he waited he sent out a message to get a ride home knowing he couldn’t take the blonde with him with the armor. When the blonde woke up he spotted the hammer and quickly got up.

“My hammer!”

“I figured it was yours big guy. Look before you-”

“Silence mortal, I have no time for you.”

Tony said nothing as Thor grabbed the hammer. However the blonde couldn’t lift it. He pulled harder before he let go looking broken as he stared at the hammer.

“Why? Why…has father forsaken me to this place?”

“Fathers are sometimes assholes.” Tony said drawing Thor’s attention to him.

“You know not what you speak mortal.”

“Well you were apparently abandoned here by your father and mine pretty much abandoned me when I turned out to be worthless in his eyes. Join the club, we’ll get matching t-shirts and prove we don’t need our fathers.”

Thor looked at him with anger until everything seemed to sink in and he collapsed to his knees defeated.

“I have nothing. I have been banished from my home.”

“Then you can come to mine. I’ll help you get on your feet and find a life here that you won’t need your dad for.”

Thor looked up at him for a few moments before he nodded.

“Thank you. What is your name? I should at least know the name of the one offering me such kindness.”

He held out his hand.

“Anthony Edward Stark but everyone calls me Tony.”

Thor accepted the hand thinking he would only shake the mortal’s hand but Tony pulled him to his feet easily.

“I did not think mortals so strong.”

“I’m a unique case, best if you don’t mention it to anyone. Now let’s get going, we have quite the way to go to get to my home.”

He released Thor’s hand to pick up the suitcase armor and hammer. Thor’s eyes widened when he saw Tony pick up the hammer. The genius looked at him and offered a smile.

“Don’t worry, when you regain the ability to pick up the hammer it’s all yours.”

Thor didn’t say anything as he followed him out of the hospital room. Tony checked in with the front desk to leave his information to be billed for anything with Thor’s visit.

“What is that case you carry?” Thor asked as they waited.

“It’s my armor. I’m Iron Man, kind of a hero in this world.”

“You are a warrior? You are so small though.”

Tony looked at him with a raised brow not bothering to get offended.

“I’m actually pretty strong and my abilities help me. I don’t even need the armor to fight, it’s just necessary to hide my true abilities.”

Thor looked confused by this.

“Why should you have to hide? Does Midgard not value its warriors?”

“Let me ask you this Thor, does your world look down on anything?”

That earned a frown and a thoughtful look.

“It is uncommon for women to become warriors as is a man to practice magic. Magic on the battlefield is considered trickery.”

That confused the hell out of Tony but he could question that later.

“Well in this world what I am is considered something of an abomination and looked down on. Normal humans have in the past imprisoned and experimented on my kind. Things are starting to get better though, I’m working on making sure my kind are treated properly and not feared.”

“You do not look like an abomination. You look no different than the other mortals of this realm.”

Tony shrugged as he spotted their ride.

“It’s not something on the surface you can see Thor. What makes me different is my DNA.”

The car pulled up and the driver opened the door for him and Thor. The god got in after him looking a bit cramped in the seat.

“I am still confused as to why-”

Tony placed a finger against his lips to shush the god.

“Remember what I said about secrets?”

Thor nodded and remained silent. Thor stared at him a moment longer until their ride pulled up to where the private plane was waiting. They got out and Tony led Thor onto the aircraft.

“What is this?” Thor asked with a frown.

“An airplane, we’re going to take it because my home is in Malibu which is a fair distance from here which is New Mexico.”

“So we are in a different kingdom?”

“Different state within this country, not kingdom, consists of fifty states.”

“I am unfamiliar with such a way of a realm being ruled.” Thor stated looking confused.

“Seeing as I’m not familiar with other realms you know it’s going to be hard to explain the differences. I’ll try and put together a welcome to earth introductory packet for you with the correct terminology but maybe for the beginning of your stay in this world you should have someone with you. Just to avoid you committing any crimes by accident or causing a scene.”

“I thank you for your help. It has been many centuries since I last came to Midgard, I cannot imagine everything is the same.”

Tony quirked a smirk at the blonde.

“Yeah not sure how things work in your world but even ten years ago the world today and back then are as different as night and day. This world is always changing so it’s good to find out how things work and keep up-to-date on world events.”

“You’re realm sounds so chaotic to change so much and so often. Does this not bother you? How is it your people have not yet destroyed each other?”

Tony let out a laugh.

“Not for lack of trying but that’s one of the strengths of humanity I think. They’re resilient and at their core they are survivors. Even when faced with impossible odds they find a way to rise up from the ashes of defeat and continue on.”

Thor considered that a moment before his to blue gaze met Tony’s.

“You sound as though you have experience in this matter.”

Tony shrugged about to lie but figured maybe truth would be best.

“Growing up I was forced to learn to survive against impossible odds. Trained from a young age to be a weapon with the pretty little lie of being a perfect human, I learned how to survive when I was beaten down. I shouldn’t have survived this long but between horrible genetic experiments and the refusal to allow my creator to win, I lived. Even going so far to be far more than my creator intended.”

Thor frowned.

“I…do not understand. You are human yes? Why do you speak as though you are little more than a construct crafted by a mage?”

Tony was actually surprised by that as he looked at Thor.

“Construct? Mages can just create people?”

Thor shook his head.

“Not so much people but animals that act as a mage’s familiar. My brother has done so many times though they are not just constructs to act as an extension of his will. They live at his side as creatures with wills of their own and freedom. Not many can do such a thing as it takes time and quite a bit of both magic and skill that very few have.”

“I’m not a construct but it sounds closer to what I am then a human.” Tony gave a bitter laugh at the thought of that.

“I am sorry; I did not intend to insult you. I simply do not understand your earlier explanation.”

Tony sighed as he leaned back in his seat.

“Let me ask you this first, you are born a single mother and a single father right?”

Thor nodded.

“All people are.”

Tony looked at him his gaze carefully blank as he held up his hand with four fingers held up.

“I have four fathers.”

Thor frowned looking further confused.

“How is such a thing possible?”

“My creator was attempting to make the perfect human. He took the DNA of several people in order to create me. He found a way to mix the four different male DNA to use with an enhanced woman to birth his so called perfect human baby.”

Thor shook his head looking clearly disgusted.

“Such a thing does not seem like it would bode well for any involved. You mentioned earlier your father abandoned you and thought you worthless. What did you mean?”

“He expected me to be an invincible weapon from the moment I was born. Turns out being a child unable to get up after a beating capable of breaking nearly every bone in my body was a sign I was a failure. He tried a few more times to see if maybe the first test just hadn’t been done right or that the fault lie elsewhere. After what he deemed too many failures he ignored my existence or sent me away so I wasn’t taking up space in his home.”

“I am sorry you have suffered so.”

Tony just shrugged.

“It doesn’t matter. Let’s just keep all this between us. I don’t need anyone finding out and trying recreate what I am.”

Thor nodded in agreement.

“Have you ever seen the ocean?” Tony decided to break the uncomfortable silence they’d fallen into.

“I have, I’m quite fond of it. My brother and I use to go swimming in the oceans of Vanahiem when we were young.”

Tony opened his eyes to look at Thor who had a sad expression on his face.

“Tell me about your brother.”

“He has stuck by me through many battles but as I sit here knowing I’m paying for my foolishness I realize I have wronged my brother in many ways. You claim your means of battle not accepted yet you have offered me kindness when I am but a stranger to you. My brother has offered me loyalty through my many centuries of life yet I mocked him for his magic. He stood with me trying to speak reason when I went to start a war against an entire race with just him at my side and our four friends. I failed him and I failed Asgard.”

Tony was silent for a moment before he nodded.

“Yep, you were a dick to your brother. Let me guess, you’ve never thanked him for standing by you either.”

Thor looked ashamed.

“Aye, I never did even in our youth. I realize now looking back searching for the mistakes that led me here I have never actually been punished for wrong doing. Not like Loki had been. I’ve seen the horrors my brother faced and I said nothing because I believed our father’s word was one I should never question. He was my king so I thought there was no reason to.”

“Kings can be wrong to. Sounds like he favored you. You know parents normally don’t give their children everything they want because they can become spoiled and ungrateful. Is he younger or older?”

“He is younger than I am. Loki has always been the smarter one between us. I had failed to see why a warrior would need to know the things we were being taught by our tutors so I would often skip out on lessons. My brother is a talented mage taught by our mother. In truth I believe Loki would make a far better king than I yet if his words are to be believed he has never wanted the throne for himself.”

Tony watched Thor for a few moments before he shook his head.

“You’re going to have to explain to me what you mean. Why do you say it like your brother often doesn’t speak the truth?”

Thor met his gaze as he answered.

“My brother is often known for his lies and tricks. It’s…difficult to believe what he says when it is not always true.”

“Ok explain this to me, when and how did you find out he was a liar?”

Thor frowned anger beginning to overtake his gaze.

“Don’t get angry with me, you’ve already admitted to wronging your brother. I’m trying to help you figure this all out. I’m assuming the not being able to pick up the hammer thing has to do with being unworthy in some way. Maybe this is the wake up call you need and now we’re trying to figure out what exactly has made you unworthy. You said Loki tried to talk you out of a frankly horrifyingly stupid plan so maybe that’s where you need to start. So, what proof do you have of Loki being a liar?”

Thor calmed down quickly after that as he sat back and considered the question.

“I do not…I am not certain. Many have claimed my brother’s words to be false.”

Tony just stared at Thor and shook his head.

“Tell me this Thor, why would anyone think for a moment they wouldn’t be believed when it sounds like your dad made it painfully clear he really didn’t like his second son? If the king of an entire planet or whatever where you’re from favors one prince over another, what’s to say all that king’s people didn’t just jump on the bandwagon as well to start treating the less than favored prince like shit?”

Thor looked so confused and pained by the thought that his people had been targeting his brother just because they could.

“I…You believe he was not really a liar?”

“You tell me. What was your dad’s reaction the first time someone called your brother a liar?”

Thor thought back to the days of his youth when he and Loki had still gone out together as brothers did. Both smiling and laughing as they waved their toy weapons pretending to slay a dragon. Thor had been boasting that it was he who slayed the dragon while Loki was giggling and proclaiming he helped as he waved his tiny toy dagger. They had been so happy they hadn’t seen one of the servants drawing closer. Loki had not seen her as he waved his dagger that was not sharp in the least hit the poor woman. Thor had remembered the woman screaming and crying. He remembered later Odin approaching them in anger, the woman nearby with bandages on her leg from the healer. Odin had not given Loki a chance to explain. He’d just told the boy who couldn’t actually be at fault because Frigga made certain their toys could not accidently hurt them and not even minutes before the woman was hit the toy had accidently hit Thor to and done nothing.  Odin simply told Loki sternly that he needed to stop with his mischievous tricks because they would only hurt people. Loki had opened his mouth to protest and Thor remembered quite clearly their father’s words. Do not lie to me boy.

“I remember the first time Loki was claimed to be a liar. It was by our own father Odin and Loki had not said a word. A servant had been injured but I would assume she had done it to herself because it was certainly not Loki’s doing.”

Tony stared at Thor for a long moment before he spoke again.

“All it takes is one.”

Thor looked at him confused.

“I beg your pardon?”

“It means things can go very badly or good but sometimes all it takes is one to change things in favor of one way or another. Sometimes all it takes is one person to affect a situation or someone in some way. Like the servant that claimed Loki hurt her, it was just one person but you’ve just said it may have affected Loki’s entire life. You were banished here and here I am helping you. Just one person, sometimes all it takes is one.”

Thor nodded solemnly.

“You are very wise for one so young.” Thor commented and Tony smirked.

“Not as young as I seem but in your terms probably. Thanks though.”

The rest of the ride was uneventful and only when they landed did he receive a call from Fury. Thor looked startled by sound from the phone. Tony smiled as he picked up sounding chipper.

“Nicky, I was just about to call you.” He lied easily and even Thor was giving him a look like he didn’t believe him.

“I don’t believe you.” Came Fury’s reply.

“Oh I know because you’re not an idiot. So what can I do for you Uncle Nick?”

“Are you still in New Mexico?”

“Nope.” He said popping the p. “Decided I had enough and I missed the beautiful salty air of my Malibu home.”

“You still have the unknown artifact?”

“Well of course, did you think I’d just leave it someplace? I may be a bit reckless but I’m not stupid. I’m hurt Nicky, I thought you had more faith in me.”

As he spoke he led Thor to the car where Piotr was waiting. Thor stared shocked at the metal coated mutant while Tony gave him a reassuring look causing the blonde to relax though his eyes never strayed from the mutant.

“Keep it under wraps, the higher ups aren’t happy it’s suddenly missing and I have a feeling something else is going on behind the scenes.”

Tony paused at that as his tone lost all of its teasing and became dead serious.

“Do you think Hydra found a way to infiltrate Shield again?”

“I think maybe we only removed the underlings. Think you can check into the higher ups for anything we might have missed?”

“Sure, I’ll get a report ready for you by tonight. Think you can stop by then?”

“Yeah, I’ll be by.”

Fury hung up without so much as a goodbye and Tony met Piotr’s gaze in the rearview mirror.

“Looks like I’m working tonight. How did you enjoy your time off?”

“Wished it was longer. I was in the middle of a painting.”

“Ah, sorry about that. Maybe I should hire a second driver?”

“It’s fine; I knew what I was getting into becoming your driver and bodyguard.” His eyes turned to Thor who tensed under the metal gaze. “I am Piotr Rasputin, Dr. Stark’s bodyguard and driver.”

“I am Thor son of Odin. I mean no offense but what are you? I have never seen such a man before.”

Piotr wasn’t easily offended and offered a small smile.

“I am a mutant. I am not always like this.” To show proof he allowed the metal to vanish showing a normal if not slightly larger than normal man. Thor’s eyes lit up with interest as Piotr returned the metal coating.

“Why do you not always remain looking normal?”

“Not all mutants appear what is considered normal. We are attempting to show mankind we are not people to be feared and to show other mutants that we do not need to hide.” Piotr answered while Tony typed away on his phone to get JARVIS to begin looking into Shield from the top down.

Tony even with his attention on his phone was listening to the conversation between the alien prince and metal mutant. He thought it was pretty interesting considering the two were from very different worlds. Piotr wasn’t even fazed by the fact Thor wasn’t from earth and Thor was very accepting of Piotr. As they spoke the rest of the tension drained from his body.

“Hey Piotr do you think you can help Thor settle in? I’ve got some stuff that takes priority at the moment.”

The mutant nodded as he continued speaking to Thor as he directed him to one of the guest bedrooms. Tony entered his workshop with JARVIS already bringing up several screens of information.

“How’s it looking so far J?”

“I have already found the Hydra agent within the World Security Council. I have since been looking into everyone Alexander Pierce has brought in and anyone they have. I shall have all the information complied for Director Fury by the time he visits.”

“Alright good. Thor is going to be staying with us for a while. I don’t want him leaving on his own until he is at least familiar with our world. I’m going to get information together for him in the meantime.”

He sat down already gathering relevant information with JARVIS adding here and there. He wasn’t sure how long it was before the workshop door opened and Pepper stepped in with Warren at her side, both holding paperwork he rather not have to deal with.

“Please don’t make me do things.” He half whined.

“I need you to look over and sign these.” Pepper said dropping the papers on his table.

“And I’d like you to look this over and see if you approve.” Warren said adding another pile of paperwork.

“Slave drivers all of you.”

Pepper rolled her eyes.

“So who is your new friend?” She asked as he already pulled the papers towards him to begin on them.

“His name is Thor Odinson, he’s an alien prince that Norse mythology is based on. He was banished from his home and is staying with us for the time being.”

Apparently both were so use to the strangeness that was being friends with him that they just accepted that they now had an alien prince in the house. He probably should be worried but he just shrugged.

“Will he be joining us for dinner?” Warren asked.

“Yeah, also Pep I’m looking to expand into Astrophysics. Looking into funding Jane Foster’s research.”

Pepper gave him a questioning look.

“She’s the one who found Thor. Saw him coming out of whatever was used to bring him to our world. Surprise surprise, aliens don’t use spaceships.”

“Or just his don’t. You think however he came here she might be able to give some answers?”

“Well Dr. Foster’s field of study focuses on Einstein-Rosen Bridges. If that’s what we’re looking at it might be good to get into the field before others do. She doesn’t have much funding but her work is good. I read her research.”

“Alright, I’ll see what we can do.” Pepper said as she turned to leave. “Dinner will be here in thirty minutes.”

He waved at her as she and Warren left, all of them knowing thirty minutes was plenty of time to look over the paperwork. When he went up to the dining room he found everyone already gathered. Happy was sitting beside Pepper, Warren at the head of the table, and Thor sitting next to Piotr. As he took his seat he heard Fury arrive. He went ahead serving himself some of the spaghetti and garlic bread before Fury entered the room. Tony pointed to the other table he’d set the relevant papers for him.

“Are you not joining us for food?” Pepper asked Fury who still wasn’t sure what to make of Pepper. For a civilian she was oddly both terrifying and efficient. Honestly either Shield or Hydra could benefit from someone like her but both had missed out as Tony scooped her up the moment he met her. Now she was his secret weapon to scare both the public and the board into submission.

“Not tonight Ms. Potts.” Fury answered before his one eye moved to Thor who was happily stuffing his face. “Are you picking up more strays Stark?”

Thor looked over clearly knowing who the stray Fury was talking about was. Thor looked offended but decided not to bother commenting as he was too engrossed in eating like he hadn’t in days. That or he was a diehard Italian fan in which case he was good in Tony’s opinion. Italian food was delicious.

“Me? Never, why would I pick up strays? Just eating a delicious meal with some good friends.” Tony offered a cheerful grin which had Fury just accepting whatever may come.

“Pierce? He’s the one who snuck those assholes back into my organization?”

“Yep, luckily he hasn’t been at it to long so it’s not a major problem. Not like it was before.”

Fury still wasn’t happy as he began walking away mumbling to himself. He didn’t get far before Tony’s phone dinged with the sound of a text message. There weren’t many people who texted him as most of those not in the room with him currently would call. He looked at his phone and frowned.

If Director Nickolas Fury leaves your home tonight he’ll die

“Nick wait.” He said taking the unknown number as truth.

Fury stopped hearing his serious tone. Another text came in once he spoke as though the person texting him knew what he’d done.

Alexander Pierce knows Fury is onto him

Tony held up his phone for Fury to see.

“Who the hell knows I’m here? I’m always careful to keep our connection secret.”

Tony looked at the phone again just as another text came in.

Our unwilling donor James Buchanan Barnes is Hydra’s Winter Soldier. He’s been brain washed to obey and has been trailing Fury. If you want to save Sergeant Barnes face him at 1am when he tries to assassinate Fury in the second guest bedroom

Tony stared at Fury before he stood.

“Everyone we need to end this dinner early. Pepper take Warren and Piotr with you when you and Happy leave. I want you four to go to Xavier’s.”

The four looked at him concerned.

“Tony what’s going on?”

Tony looked at the phone that remained silent with no further messages.

“It seems an old acquaintance is coming by for a visit. He’s not the kind I’d bring around the family.”

They nodded as they picked up their plates to clear the table and take what they hadn’t eaten home. Thor was frowning but seemed to know the seriousness of the situation.

“How can I help?” Thor asked as he moved closer to Tony and Fury.

“Right now we just need you to act like you have been. Tonight when everyone’s gone to bed stay in your room until I come get you.”

Thor looked ready to argue but one look from Tony had him closing his mouth. Tony began clearing the table and offered Fury the use of the second guest bedroom. Something he would have done if Fury had decided to stay the night as the first guest bedroom was currently being used by Thor. He didn’t know who this mystery texter was yet but the fact they called Bucky Barnes both their unwilling donor it seemed he wasn’t the only one created by Howard Stark. Tony knew from the files that Howard himself hadn’t been present for his birth. He’d just made sure Zola delivered the goods. Whoever was warning him was either an even better spy than Fury or psychic. Judging by the text coming now of all times it had to be someone he met recently, someone usually overlooked or considered the furthest thing from a threat. He scanned his memories before he sent a text back.

Would you happen to be using your real name sister or that you crossed paths with me by accident

He waited for a reply he knew would come.

Seems you defy even more than just death

Not an answer to his question but certainly one for the unasked one. The person texting him was psychic and he’d just gone against her vision. He wasn’t sure that was necessarily a good thing.

He walked the others to the door saying goodbye to them as he usually would. Keeping things normal as he could. Fury had taken food and sat down in the living room with Thor determined to keep the knowledge they knew there was an assassin after him secret. Tony joined them lounging on the massive couch and had JARVIS turn on Avatar because Tony thought maybe Thor might enjoy a human’s idea of what alien life was like. Thor did in fact enjoy it even though they were still in danger of being targeted by an assassin. If Tony had gone off script of a pre-foreseen future there was no telling what his actions might have changed already.

Night came and Fury went off to bed first and then Thor. Tony laid down on the couch pretending to sleep but his senses were wide awake and waiting. Fury’s attempted murderer was very quiet and very skilled. Tony was too though and so he moved carefully to avoid being seen as he moved towards the guest room Fury was using. He slipped into the room remaining silent and in the shadows to avoid being seen. Fury’s would be assassin climbed through the window allowing Tony to see his deadly and graceful movements. He could see the shine of that metal arm that he was all too familiar with. Flashes of memories echoed in his mind. Remembering a childhood where being beaten down by a Hydra trained assassin was Howard’s way of testing whether he was the perfect human he was hoping for. Memories of late nights unable to sleep because of the pain. Flashes of empty stormy grey eyes almost glowing in the darkness as surprisingly gentle hands treated injuries left as they were by his creator.

He struck fast as he moved forward and grabbed the winter soldier by the head and slammed it into the ground. He calculated the exact amount of force needed to knock him out but not kill him. When the soldier went limp Fury turned on the light with his gun in hand but it not held up.

“I’m keeping him.” He warned Fury not leaving any room for the spy to try and claim some kind of control over the man who had suffered more years of torture than he had of freedom.

“Can you reform him?” Fury asked, his weapon being put down.

“I can heal him.” Tony answered.

Fury nodded.

“Fine, goodnight then.”

Tony picked up the assassin and carried him from the room as Fury laid down to sleep. It was a little unnerving sometimes how much Fury trusted him. He was under no delusion that Fury had never been afraid of him. He had never been stupid enough to think for a moment Fury wished Howard was still alive so he or Shield could recreate what he’d done for their own powerful superhumans. No Fury was more likely to shoot Howard if he were still alive just to make sure no one figured out how to do what he did. Of course Tony could admit he understood Fury’s worries. Tony knew how strong he was and now with the unknown element of another of Howard’s creations or possibly someone else having recreated the process even Tony was a bit uneasy. Whoever had texted him could be just as strong or stronger than him.

He placed the soldier on the bed in yet another guest room. He had so many in his massive home. He straddled the soldier as he pinned him to the bed with his weight and placed his hands on either side of his head. Eyes glowing gold he worked to repair the man. Tony could see the universe in code and the winter soldier wasn’t bad code, just broken and corrupt code. It was like the soldier’s entire being was plagued by a virus that was viciously trying to destroy him. Tony had to destroy the virus and repair every piece of broken code. When Tony finally pulled away from the man sunlight was pouring into the room. He slowly got up and made his way to Thor’s room running on spite at this point. So rarely did he exhaust himself but this hadn’t been an easy task.

“Morning Thor, it’s safe to come out now.” He told the blonde before he passed out right there in the god’s doorway.

 

 

Chapter Text

Tony was a child with far too much knowledge of how dark and cruel the world was with the few short years of life behind him. Eyes long since empty as he stared at the world around him. Wounds healing faster than normal but not fast enough. His body to small, to weak according to the man the world called his father. He was a child with no understanding of such things. Father, a parental figure that should care for their offspring. These things were not true of Howard’s treatment towards him. He stood giving orders to another man, a man that seemed familiar to the child though he couldn’t say why. He ordered the other man to hurt him. To beat him, test his skills as a soldier. Tony was not a soldier. He was a child or at least he appeared to be. Tony did not have the innocence of a child. He did not have the mind of a child. His mind was racing, ideas and creations waiting to be brought into the world. He had the mind of a genius but Howard did not notice, he chose not to focus on the aspect of his being. Instead he focused on the crushing of bones with a frown on his face when they didn’t knit back together seamlessly within moments. He focused on the growing pool of blood far too disappointed to realize the child shouldn’t have survived that amount of blood loss.

A child bloody and bruised beyond what he should have survived sat alone in the closet that was his bedroom. Failures didn’t deserve luxury; experiments didn’t get the same treatment as people. There were no windows or lights in his tiny space. It was big enough for two people to stand in but in the darkness it almost seemed like the walls were closing in on him. When the door opened the boy didn’t even shrink away, there was no point in running. He’d only die tired. In the light from outside he saw the shine of metal; with his enhanced hearing he heard the mechanical arm move. Darkness overtook them both as the man who had spent the better part of the day being ordered around and obeying stepped inside and closed the door. Tony didn’t even tense as cool metal fingers reached out for him. He didn’t scream when bones were set to heal properly, when stitches were put in, or when wounds were disinfected. The touch was gentle and the man said nothing throughout the entire process. His wounds eventually healed and as soon as they had he was beaten down again.

In time Tony knew both cruelty and kindness at the hands of the silent man. Sometimes in the short flashes of light from the outside world he’d seen those stormy eyes look concerned and fearful. Like he was worried about him. Tony almost thought the kindness was crueler than the beatings. Dying would end this hell. In time the soldier would speak and he’d teach Tony speak Russian, a language he picked up far too quickly. Russian was a language Howard didn’t speak; it was almost the first happy memory Tony had to hold, a secret between himself and the soldier. A secret the cold man that stood as a charming man outside in the world would never know.

The soldier trained him, taught him how to protect himself and fight to avoid losing so badly when he was ordered to hurt Tony. It was another of their secrets and Tony was happy for it. At least he was until the cruel people came to take the soldier away. He learned of what the soldier was that day. A prisoner bound in chains that remained unseen to the rest of the world. There was no hero coming to save either of them, you couldn’t save a dead man after all. You didn’t save an experiment, not like you would a person. They were both prisoners even though to the outside they might seem free. Freedom it would seem was life’s greatest lie. It is among the first truths that Tony learns.

 

~

 

Tony woke with a groan and rubbed his forehead trying to chase away the memories of his childhood. He looked up when he felt the presence of anther in his bedroom. There was the soldier…no, there was Bucky Barnes. Tony didn’t tense or show any sign of worry for the other being in his room. He simply sat there staring at the sniper waiting for the older man to speak.

“I remember your dad…I killed him.”

Tony titled his head slightly as he watched the man who had just come right out and told him about Howard.

“Sorry, you must be mistaken. I don’t have a father.”

He threw back the sheets ignoring the confused look on Barnes’s face.

“Howard Stark…you’re Anthony Edward Stark.”

“It doesn’t mean that soulless creature was my father.” Tony answered his voice carefully blank as he moved to the bathroom to do his business.

When he came out Barnes was staring with a dark look in his eyes.

“What did he do?”

Tony walked right up to the sniper that seemed to be slipping more into the assassin mindset.

“Tell me Barnes, what do you see when you look into my eyes?”

Barnes did look, searching his gaze. He’d been a sniper before Hydra got to him. Talented more so than any other. He had been the perfect candidate for Hydra’s project to create a living weapon. The fact he was the only one to survive Zola’s experiments had just made him even more a valuable asset for the evil organization.

“You’re eyes are the same shade as Stevie’s. They don’t match either Howard or Maria Stark.”

“Of course not, Maria wasn’t my mother and Howard needed Steve’s DNA for the serum.”

Barnes froze and suddenly Tony’s eyes were glowing gold as he watched Barnes’s code change. It was like seeing an entirely different person and a quick search of the other man’s file he found under the information for his name listed: Winter Soldier, Fist of Hydra, Asset, Soldat, and Yasha. This was not Bucky Barnes but the winter soldier, what came of Hydra’s torture and programming of Bucky.

“Soldat.” Tony greeted him.

The soldier looked into his glowing golden gaze studying him. Tony just let him look as much as he wanted as he waited for the older man to say something.

“I am not Hydra’s Asset anymore.”

“Then what do you want to be called? Winter? Yasha?”

The older man nodded.

“Yasha, the spider use to call me that.”

“Alright Yasha, do you know who I am?”

Yasha reached out and settled his metal hand on Tony’s head.

“Our son.”

Tony found himself staring at the floor uncertain how to respond. He had never had a true parent. Howard had tossed him aside when he proved to be less than what he wanted and Maria had never looked his way. She had always seemed to accept that Tony was little more than another experiment that took away Howard’s focus. Tony’s mind flashed back to those nights his wounds were treated with such care that he’d never been able to understand why the man who’d beaten him on orders had bothered.

“You knew back then. You knew what I was.”

Yasha nodded.

“Hydra was to strong; all I could do was obey and try to ensure you survived.”

He recalled whispered words of advice in the darkness. A different stance to both block and attack, nights when the rest of the house was asleep he’d find himself being trained under the starry night sky, he remembered lessons on how to be just like Hydra’s deadliest weapon. Kindness had come from the winter soldier, from Yasha. The man who had hurt him to save him.

“I removed the trigger words from your head. Don’t kill anyone I care about and you can stay.”

Yasha nodded ruffling his hair before he removed his hand.

“How did you know what I was anyways?”

Yasha tapped his head.

“My mind has been wiped more times than I doubt I’ll ever know. But I was trained by Hydra, trained to complete my missions quickly and as efficiently as possible. I am aware of my surroundings and those around me even when they think I’m not. I heard them planning, heard why they needed my DNA. They made me believe I was a weapon, not a person. Weapons do not have children but people do. My new mission, my self-imposed mission, it took over that the wipes could not take it.”

Tony was listening as the man’s voice came out with a Russian accent to it. As his stormy gaze remained locked on his own blue eyes. Yasha moved his hand to tap Tony’s chest.

“Primary mission, Protect my children.”

Tony’s eyes flickered up to Yasha’s as something occurred to him.

“You were there when I was born.”

Yasha nodded.

“When you and your twin were born. “

“Who is my twin?”

Yasha stared at him a moment before he shook his head.

“You will know them soon. They’ve already contacted you.”

Tony had never had a mystery before. Everything was always so easy to figure out and study that this was something new to him. He could admit maybe for the first time in his life he was excited.

“Alright, well let’s introduce you to the house. No killing my guests.”

Yasha nodded looking as though that were obvious. Tony just shook his head slightly as he left the room with his biological father behind him. Yasha’s eyes were carefully taking everything in and it was clear he was aware of everything in his surroundings.

“Ah Anthony, are you feeling better?” Thor asked when they entered the kitchen where the god was attempting to make food with the aid of JARVIS.

“I’m fine, what are you making?”

Thor looked at the pot of food in front of him.

“I believe it is chicken noodle soup. Your JARVIS has been aiding me and I hope it is done properly. I thought you might be hungry when you woke up.”

Tony moved towards the pot sniffing it. It smelled ok if maybe under seasoned. He took a taste and quickly remedied the problem.

“Anyways Thor this is Yasha, Yasha Thor Odinson. He’ll be staying with us.”

“This is your father correct?” Thor asked surprising both Tony and Yasha.

“How can you tell?”

Yasha and Bucky had stormy eyes and brown hair. Tony was blue eyed and had black hair. They didn’t really look alike.

“You have a similar expression and he looks at you as a father would a child they are protective of.” Thor replied making Tony look towards Yasha who didn’t hide the protectiveness within his gaze.

“Yeah well Yasha here is only one half of the equation. His other personality is Bucky Barnes. So later I’ll introduce you to him to.”

Thor looked a little confused at that but nodded.

“Alright.” Tony clapped his hands together. “Let’s get you guys settled in. I’ve got that introductory pack for you and I guess I can give a copy to Yasha here to since he’s been on ice for a few decades. Once that’s all done and you’re familiar enough with this world we’ll move onto jobs or schooling. Whatever you guys want.”

“I have already received the best education Asgard has to offer.” Thor said.

“Ok then, job if you want it.”