Tony Stark was known by humans as a genius son of Howard Stark. What they didn’t know was that Tony Stark had become the Merchant of Death long before humans gave him the title. He was just a child when a kidnapping had resulted in his death. That was the day he met the Mistress Death, the day the Mistress fell in love with the mortal child and took him under her wing as her own. From the day she returned him to the realm of the living, her love fell over him in a protective blanket, keeping him from all harm. In returned he served her whole heartedly, sending her gifts to show his love for his protector.
1 Ten Rings
Tony woke up not sure where he was. Frowning he looked down at his chest wrapped in bandages. Confused he ripped away the bandages to find what was causing him pain. Looking to the side he found a battery connected to the thing in his chest. When he moved to grab it a voice stopped him. The man explained what had happened, showed him the shards of metal that was removed from his chest. When the metal doors were being opened the man told him to do as he did. The men who entered held Tony’s guns, he didn’t sell to terrorists. As they spoke Tony could understand them perfectly, a gift from his Mistress. Hearing the words, letting them wash over him, his heart grew cold and when they waited for an answer, he gave one that made no sense to them.
“Mistress, your Merchant asks your favor.”
While the group looked confused, Mistress Death appeared behind him.
“You have it always.” He heard her voice in his head as he stood.
The men couldn’t see her but they raised their guns when they saw him standing. The magnet in his chest vanished and his chest repaired itself as a blue glow took its place, a seal of protection granted to him by his Mistress. A cold look in his eyes and a chilling smile on his face he held out his hand, a blade as dark as the deepest void appeared in his hand. Their bullets did nothing; his blade claimed them all for his Mistress. When he reached the mouth of the cave he found the Ten Ring’s leader.
“What are you?” He asked when his attempts to stop Tony failed.
“You already know, I’m the Merchant of Death.” A quick twist and the man’s neck snapped and Tony dropped his limp form to the ground.
His blade claimed all the others standing outside. When nothing but corpses remained of the terrorists Tony returned for the doctor. Holding out his hand covered in blood of his gifts to his Mistress the doctor hesitated.
“Let’s go, freedom awaits.”
The doctor, Yinsen he learned his name, took his hand and followed him. A short trek through the desert came to an end as Rhodey found them not long after. Yinsen said nothing of their escape, unable to even consider the military officials believing his tale.
As the two parted with Tony returning to the states he sent a quick smile to Yinsen and winked at him. No matter the end of making weapons soon revealed, Yinsen knew the Merchant of Death still walked the earth.
2 Obadiah Stane
Obadiah was in his office trying to figure out a different way to dispose of Tony Stark without it linking back to him when the office suddenly turned dark. It was the middle of the day so he turned to look towards the windows to see what happened. Instead all he found was darkness. A chilling chuckle echoed through the darkness making him reach into his desk for the gun that lay in the drawer.
“Now Obie, you wouldn’t happen to be looking for your gun would you?”
Obadiah knew that voice, even with the icy tone there was no mistaking the voice of Tony Stark.
“Tony, you’re supposed to be laying low remember?” He tried to speak calmly but whatever was going on it wasn’t natural.
“Yes, laying low. As far as anyone’s concerned I’m at home in Malibu. When they find your body I’ll be the first suspect of course but I’ll have been nowhere near the office. In fact they’ll find no phone records or emails that suggested I ordered a hit. You see, when I plan to commit murder, I get away with it.”
“Now Tony, I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’ve had a rough experience, traumatic even.”
“Oh don’t keep lying to me Obie, you and I both know your greed got the better of you. Really I commend you on the interesting attempt but I feel like our partnership just isn’t working out anymore. A word of advice though, you know when you get to Hel, don’t try and plead uselessly with my Mistress. She’ll appreciate it far less than I will.”
“What? Mistress? What are you talking about Tony?”
Another chilling chuckle.
“It’s Merchant actually, Merchant of Death. Tony Stark is dead, has been for a long time.” A shot rang out, unheard outside the office.
Later when Agent Coulson reveals Stane’s murder Tony will act heartbroken for his poor dead godfather. The murder remains a cold case.
When Tony met Loki it was in front of Steve Rogers, America’s golden child. He sensed something wasn’t right with the trickster but he didn’t bring it up or approach him alone just yet. Only when the trickster was in his tower did he approach the god.
“Please tell me you’re going to appeal to my humanity.”
Tony turned to face the god with a sharp grin.
“Now why would I do that? I’d be wasting my time. No, I think I’ll do something far more entertaining for me. Tell me, how long will it take for Asgard to fix the bi-frost without the tesseract? A few years? A decade?”
Loki frowned slightly at the line of questioning.
“What could a mortal like you understand about the workings of the bi-frost?”
“A gift from my Mistress, she allowed me to be there the day it was created. I could build a bi-frost with my eyes closed and an arm behind my back. Really, Asgard has no idea what a treasure it is they hold. And yet Thor destroyed it carelessly, a pity really but that’s a typical Asgardian for you. Such mindless twits that bunch of them are.”
Loki’s eyes widened.
Tony’s grin widened.
“Oh yes, my beautiful Mistress. I thought about letting you bring the chitauri here, send their miserable lives to her but really, that just won’t do for a gift. You see, it’s the anniversary of the day we met so you know, time I sent her something special. Like the one who sent you, that would be an appropriate gift don’t you think? So, tell me their name. In exchange you can screw over Asgard by not allowing them to know where the tesseract will be.”
Loki looked intrigued.
“And where will the tesseract be?”
“Well I’m not just going to leave an infinity stone someplace to be used by just anyone. The space stone and mind stone in your scepter I’m keeping. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a use for them. So do we have a deal Loki? I happen to like people of a more chaotic nature; I’d hate to have to kill you.”
“Well I would hate to be killed. Thanos, he is the one who is behind this attack. The Other was the one left in charge of ensuring I complied.”
Loki tossed him the scepter.
“Well, isn’t this place just a bundle of sunshine and rainbows.” Tony said as he walked up to Thanos who sat on his throne looking like an arrogant shriveled grape.
Not far from the purple titan stood two others, his adoptive daughters Nebula and Gamora.
“Who are you?” Thanos asked leaning forward as though interested.
Tony removed his hands from behind his back, in one hand his blade and the other The Other’s head.
“Merchant of Death, pleasure to meet you. Your buddy here really wasn’t all that talkative so it took me a little while to find you. I mean Loki helped narrow it down and all but still, I’m a busy man. I can’t be looking all over the known universe for a mad titan. But now that I’m here I think it’s time I got down to business. I need your head; Mistress won’t accept anything but the best gifts on our special day and really, this guy is scrapping the bottom of the barrel.” He said dropping The Other’s head.
“You think a mortal like you can kill me?”
“Oh please, how many people are going to make this mistake? Not mortal, haven’t been for a long, long time. Now about your head, I really do need it. I’m thinking a gold and silver bow, maybe gold and black. Really I can’t decide, I know I shouldn’t be so indecisive but really, special occasions deserve a lot of thought. I should really hurry this along, I promised Loki he could burn your body to ash and it’s rude to keep a new friend waiting.”
Thanos stood and Loki who had snuck up behind him blasted him with magic sending the titan stumbling forward. Tony moved quickly and brought his blade down on Thanos, separating his head from his shoulders.
“Thanks Lokes, have fun doing your thing. I’ll wait so we can head back together.”
Loki summoned his magic to burn the headless corpse, a satisfied grin on his face.
“You killed Thanos.” Gamora said in disbelief.
“I know, you’re welcome. Don’t become an asshole like him, I’ll have to kill you otherwise.” He said in a teasing tone before taking Loki with him using the tesseract to return to earth.
5 Dark Elves
“Stark speaking.” Tony answered his phone before shoving the last bite of his burger in his mouth.
Loki sat across from him, devouring his third burger.
“Hey Tony, Mr. Stark yeah, hi this is Darcy Lewis. A friend of Thor’s. Look we have a situation here, um Jane, you know Thor’s girlfriend. She kind of maybe has super powers now and we have no idea how or why but like Thor’s concerned and the rainbow thingy hasn’t been fixed yet so he can’t go ask his dad for help. He said maybe you could help.”
Tony considered it, it had been hilarious to see Thor’s face when he realized Loki, the tesseract, and the scepter had all ‘mysteriously’ vanished. True to his original thought, without it Asgard couldn’t fix their bi-frost faster and Thor had been stuck on earth. Lucky for him of course because he got to spend it with Jane, Tony just mostly wanted to fuck with Odin.
“Yeah sure, I’ll send my jet. Don’t mess it up though, otherwise I’ll cry to Pepper and she’ll be angry with me and you. An angry Pepper is a mess no one wants to deal with, she gets all murdery with her heels. I’ll be honest; at this point I’m pretty sure she could get away with murder.”
“Wow, ok sure. Sounds like a plan.”
Tony hung up and met Loki’s inquiring gaze.
“So Jane thinks she has super powers.”
“The mortal woman Thor is infatuated with?”
“That’d be the one.”
Loki rolled his eyes.
“Now what has that fool gotten himself into?”
“Well Mistress told me the convergence is coming up so you know; realty stone is making an appearance. My guess, Jane got to it first. Sounds like some crazy shit someone Thor associates with would get into. So yay me, I’m getting a third stone. At this rate I’ll have a full set. Maybe I’ll become ruler of the universe.”
Loki raised a brow at him.
“You’re right, I’m far too lazy. If anything I’d give the title to Pepper, she’d make a good queen of the universe. I mean I’d give you the universe but let’s face it; you’d get bored of it in a day.”
Loki nodded his agreement.
“True, it would be dreadfully boring. So what do you intend to do when they get here?”
“Take the reality stone of course. Mistress says the dark elves will be coming for it so yeah, might just kill all of them. Haven’t really decided for sure what I want to do yet. What do you think?”
Loki considered it for a moment.
“I believe I will stay here and help you. I mean I shall stay out of sight of Thor but when you’ve sent them away I will be here. I have been looking for a good workout; slaying Asgard’s old enemy will suffice.”
Tony slapped his hands together as he stood.
“Perfect! I’ll make it happen then.”
When the four arrived Tony took Jane to his workshop alone to ‘run tests’ as he told the others. While there Jane passed out which was convenient so Tony removed the realty stone from her. It came out in a liquid like form but formed into a gem at his command. Tony stuck the stone in his pocket and began working on his tablet while he waited for Jane to wake up. When she did he stood up to move to her side.
“How you feeling?”
She rubbed her head wincing in pain.
“Have a headache, what happened?”
“Scans show an anomaly but it passed. Not sure what exactly happened but whatever it was has passed. You should be fine.” He lied easily.
“Oh…ok, I’m really going to be fine?”
“Yep, if anything happens you guys can come back. Hey while you’re in New York you should introduce Thor to pizza. No place better to get one.”
Jane nodded looking slightly confused as she stood to leave. She relayed what Tony told her to Thor who fussed over her but ultimately believed the same lie she did and allowed her to take him for pizza. When they were gone Loki reappeared.
“Well, that’s three stones out of six. I can’t imagine what you’ll do if you get them all.”
“I was thinking of putting a sixty foot statue of a dick on every moon in the universe.”
Loki raised a brow.
“Now why would you make such a statue of Fury? “
Tony burst out laughing causing the trickster to smile.
“You got me there. I’ll figure it out; just give me time to think about it.”
Within the hour dark elves arrived, their massive ships causing panic all over New York.
“Ready?” Loki asked him.
“I actually have a new plan, just give me a second.”
He used the space stone to send the ships away but left a small group of the elves to appear in the tower for Loki to play with. The trickster tore apart the dark elves with ease before he returned to Tony’s side.
“So, what did you do with the rest?”
“Opened a portal to a sun, I thought letting them burn was a fun idea.”
A choked off cough caught their attention as both turned.
“Wh-what are you?” The elf asked blood dripping from his mouth.
“Merchant of Death, when you get to Hel let my Mistress know your all gifts from me and Loki here.”
Loki threw a dagger which embedded itself in the elf’s forehead.
“I feel like celebrating, how about frozen yogurt?” He asked Loki.
“I want chocolate.”
“Sounds like a plan, I’m feeling more like fruity flavor. We’ll see when we get there.”
The two ignored the panicking crowds who seemed more in a frenzy now that the alien ships all mysteriously disappeared. It was weird but Loki got a good laugh out of it.
Tony was just finishing painting Loki’s nails when JARVIS decided to call his attention.
“Sir, it appears there is a problem at Shield.”
Tony and Loki looked up.
“What’s going on?”
“Well it seems Captain Rogers and Agent Romanov decided to call in the other avengers, though only Agent Barton and Thor answered the call, and are in the process of confronting Shield due to Hydra having survived within their organization.”
“Ok, so what does this have to do with me?”
JARVIS actually let out a sigh.
“Sir, they intend to crash the hellicarriers and release all of Shield’s and therefore Hydra’s files online.”
Tony nearly threw the nail polish bottle across the room.
“Are they stupid? Did someone drop them on their head when they were little? Did Rogers and Romanov drink the kool-aid? What the fuck?”
“I don’t know Sir, I thought I’d let you know so you can stop them from being idiots.”
Tony looked at Loki.
“Want to go make a scene and stop some stupidity?”
Loki rolled his eyes.
“When Thor’s involved that’s all I do.”
Loki used his magic to dry his dark green nails and moved to stand next to Tony. Tony used the space stone to teleport them to Bruce’s lab. The scientist looked up startled but didn’t Hulk out.
“Hey Brucie Bear, want to go stop the others from doing something stupid?”
Bruce lowered his glasses looking at Loki.
“Really Tony? You’re here with Loki.”
“Yeah but he’s my buddy, we go get frozen yogurt together and kill genocidal manics. Look at his nails, I made them so pretty.”
Loki held out his hands to show off his wonderfully done nails. Bruce sighed, far to use to the craziness of Tony Stark to even be fazed by this. He just stood from where he was sitting and joined them by their side. Together they teleported to the hellicarriers where a man dressed in black was fighting a guy with metal wings.
“Huh, so that’s a thing.” Tony said titling his head slightly in his confusion.
Bruce sighed as he let Hulk out to deal with this mess. Hulk just grabbed the puny man and held him upside down looking at Tony for instruction.
“Eh, we’ll figure it out. Let’s go deal with the head of Hydra then the idiots.”
He took them to the meeting room where Pierce was giving a long annoying speech but paused when they appeared.
“What the hell?”
“Hi Pierce, so a little birdy told me you’re running Hydra now. Now I don’t want to sound judgmental but I really hate Nazis, especially ones calling themselves Hydra and can’t even get a symbol that matches their name. A hydra has multiple heads, not legs. And they certainly don’t have tentacles for legs. Does Hydra only hire special snowflakes? Is that why you don’t know what a real hydra looks like?”
“How the hell did you get here? Where are you getting this information?”
“Ok addressing the second part first because I think it’s adorable you don’t know already. You put anything on a computer, I’ll find it. The world’s tech genius right here, I’m insulted you underestimate me so much. Now for the first part, I came here using a lovely little stone of unlimited power. Now to address your third question though I know you haven’t asked yet but everyone eventually does. I’m the Merchant of Death, so I’m going to let my friend here stab you to death or maybe just remove your heart from your body, I’m actually curious if Hydra members have hearts. Let’s call it scientific curiosity. Loki?”
The trickster moved forward while Pierce drew his gun and shot at him. Apparently he didn’t get the memo that bullets were ineffective. The god reached Pierce and slammed his fist through the man’s chest, yay godly strength!
“It appears he does have a heart, how strange.” Loki said carelessly as he summoned a cloth to wipe his hand.
“Wow, really? Huh, I’ll mark it down as a miracle.”
Tony decided to hack into Shield’s systems from there to separate Hydra from Shield so he could deal with the organization later. He was still at it when the other Avengers showed up.
“Tony?” Steve asked confused.
“Can you all keep it down, daddy’s working right now. Sit down, shut up, and I’ll yell at you later. Idiots trying to dump Hydra files along with Shield’s. Romanov, take that mask off, you look stupid.”
Natasha tore the mask off and the wig glaring daggers at Tony.
“What did you mean you’re the Merchant of Death?”
Tony kept working as he answered.
“It means I’m Mistress Death’s favorite. It almost means I’m not a mere mortal, ask Thor he knows. By the way, keeping the assassin, he’s cute. And Loki’s mine, you guys can’t have him.”
He finally turned away from what he was doing.
“Oh Thor buddy, just so you don’t go blaming Loki for shit. I’m the one who took the tesseract. It’s mine now and you’re not getting it back. Cool? Cool.”
“Tony you can’t just make these decisions all on your own.”
“First of all Rogers, yes I can. Secondly, you’re the idiot who didn’t call me and came up with a stupid plan. Thirdly, you’ll find I can do this. I can do whatever I want. I have three infinity stones, slaughtered a mad titan who was planning to bring an army to our planet, aka Loki was just a figurehead before for Thanos’s forces, so I’ve saved earth twice already. Once from Thanos and once from the dark elves, you know those guys with the ships that suddenly disappeared. If I didn’t do what I want when I want, earth would be destroyed by now. So if you want to fight me on this, I’ll kick your ass to. Now shut up and look pretty…” Tony looked at them. “Or try to, honestly you’re all ugly as sin, although that could just be my opinion, I have very high standards for beauty.”
They just stood there mouths open in clear shock. Once he was done he stood and stretched.
“Hulk, bring the assassin. I want to get him settled in the tower.”
“Tony you can’t just take Bucky!” Steve protested.
“Wait, that’s Bucky?” Tony turned to Loki. “Loki we totally have to keep him.”
Loki rolled his eyes.
“Very well, I am willing to share you. He is rather handsome.”
“Yay!” Tony cheered as he took them back to the tower.