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The One Where Morgan Potts-Stark Time Travels

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Okay, I know I shouldn’t have messed with that button in Dad’s lab… but yet, it was so tempting… and it’s way too late to turn back now. 

 

It was daunting––the building the machine sent me to was definitely nothing like my home that I’ve known all my life. Despite that, I walked closer to the door. It was closed, but I pushed on it with my left hand––and it opened. 

 

“If anything goes wrong, I’ll just… I’ll just go back,” I mumble to myself as quietly as possible as I walk into the house. It’s big. Way bigger than back home. There’s rock music coming from somewhere in the house––sounded like the basement. 

 

After setting my backpack down on the ground, I sit down on the couch and take a breath, crossing my arms in an attempt to reduce fidgeting. 

 

The music stops a moment later. The sound of a door opens and footsteps sound. They get louder until he’s there. Dad’s there. He’s about to walk somewhere until our eyes meet. His hair is darker than it is now… and it’s longer, too… barely any grey anywhere. You wouldn’t be able to tell if it was black or brown unless it hit the light just right. His style was even different—less laid back… more expensive looking. The arc reactor he doesn’t like to talk about is there, too… And one thing’s for sure, he looked a lot less happy––but that may be because I technically broke into his house… not anything else.

 

He blinks. “Who are you and how did you get in here?” 

 

“Door was open,” I answered with a shrug. “You need to get better security, Dad.”

 

“Dad?!” he yelps at an ungodly volume, slack-jawed and eyes wide.

 

Footsteps come from the upstairs… and then there’s Mom. She looked more stressed than normal and her hair was a brighter shade of red than usual. 

 

“Tony, what’s––”

 

He points directly at me. “Pep, s-she just called me ‘Dad.’”

 

I purse my lips into a thin line. “Yeah. I did. ‘Cause you are my Dad.”

 

“I hate to be this way but it seems extremely possible that you would have at least one child running around somewhere,” she says. “No offense.”

 

“Pepper!” 

 

Mom shrugs. 

 

Dad looks at me. “How old are you? What’s your name?” 

 

I blink. “I’m seventeen… and the name’s Morgan.”

 

“Last name?” Mom asks. “I assume it’s not Stark.”

 

“...do you really want to know?”

 

“Yes,” she says.

 

“Potts-Stark,” I say. 

 

“Me?!”

 

I nod. “I’m your daughter.”

 

Mom blinks. “I swear I would’ve remembered––” She glances at Dad with a disgusted look. “––that, and giving birth to you.” 

 

“Hey,” he mumbles quietly.

 

“Oh, you misunderstood me.” I shake my head. “I was born in 2018.”

 

“2018?” Dad asks. “Nine years from now? How on Earth is that possible?”

 

“Well, I kinda… um… messed around with some stuff in your lab like a minute ago a-and now I’m––” I gesture around the room. “––here? The location and time were set here.” I tap on my watch and it changes into the wrist device. It was already set back to Albany, New York in the present day. “I could go back home right now if I wanted but why would I? Dad isn't going to be back in here for another… 180 seconds?  Well, in my time. Three hours here. He had to water the plants outside because Mom is on a business trip.” 

 

Mom stares.

 

“Oh, yeah, you don’t work for Dad anymore,” I say, as I switch the device back to my watch. “You’re the CEO.” A flash of pride goes across her face. I look at Dad. “And you discovered time travel, which is super cool.”

 

“JARVIS, buddy, wake up for me,” Dad says, changing the subject. “Need you to run some tests for me.”

 

I raise a brow. “You really want to do a DNA test on me?” 

 

“No, but there is just… no way you are ours,” he disagrees. “If you can tell me who hired you to punk us, I won’t. Was it Harold Hogan? Happy? Hap? Or Rhodes?”

 

“Oh! Aw.” I smile. “I love Uncle Hap and Uncle Rhodey. But, no, neither hired me. I swear I’m your kid. I have pictures and videos to prove it.”

 

“I still want that DNA test,” Dad assures.

 

“Fair enough.” I shrug. “Hair follicle, cheek swab, blood sample? All three?”

 

“Dang, kid, you’re smart," he says.

 

“What would you expect? I’m claiming to be your daughter, aren’t I?”

 

“Right,” he mumbles. “JARVIS, you awake yet?”

 

A disembodied voice––which reminded me of FRIDAY, goes off: “Yes sir.” It was a British male voice but disembodied all the same.

 

“You think you could run a DNA test for me?” Dad asks as he walks back toward the staircase he emerged from earlier. “Got a kid claiming she’s mine and Pep’s… want to see if she’s legit… says she’s from 2018 and seventeen… so that would make it… what? 2035 or thirty-six?”

 

“Thirty-six,” I answered as I pick up my backpack. “Born on December 31st, 2018… so eighteen hasn’t really hit yet. It’s October… where I’m from.”

 

“Follow him,” Mom murmurs. 

 

“Oh, well, happy early birthday,” he says as he unlocks the door and walks inside. 

 

Mom and I walked in a moment later. 

 

“Sir, what type of sample will you be testing for the genetic maternity and paternity tests?” JARVIS inquires.

 

Dad looks at me and Mom. “Hair follicle. Don’t want to scare the kid too much.”

 

“Pulling up the program now,” JARVIS assures. “I will let you know when it’s at full completion.”

 

“I’ve done cheek swabs for AP bio before,” I say. “Also I’ve had bloodwork done twice. But thank you for taking pity on me.”

 

“Bloodwork done twice by age seventeen? What happened?” he asks as he walks over to a desk and begins to pull things around. 

 

“I have a sister and she was seven years old when she got diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. Our doctor suggested I get tested to see if I have it too and just don’t know,” I explain. “...it was negative. Then when I was ten, there was this giant stretch of time when I would get sick at school and have to go home a lot. But that was a finger prick and nothing came out of it… just ended up getting sent to a child psychologist and coming out with a diagnosis of… anxiety and interestingly enough, ADHD.” 

 

“I’m sorry.” Mom sympathetically frowns. “Is your sister doing okay?”

 

I hum. “Mm-hmm. There are a few scares, obviously… those are inevitable. But she’s doing okay. She’s twelve now… her birthday’s coming up though. After figuring out how to manage it, she’s continuing her gymnastics training again.”

 

“Two babies between Pep and me? Wow,” Dad mumbles to himself. 

 

“Her name’s Alayna and she looks like you,” I say, looking at Mom.

 

She weakly smiles. 

 

“Program is at completion,” the AI says.

 

“Potts,” he says.

 

Mom rolls her eyes before snagging a strand of hair from her head. She walks it over to him. 

 

“Kid,” he says.

 

“You know you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, right?” Mom asks.

 

“I know,” I assure. “Don’t mind at all.” I pulled a brown strand from her hair and walked it over to her Dad, before walking back over to her Mom, who was now sitting on a couch. “How are you so calm?” I sit next to her.

 

“He’s made me do a blood DNA test before,” she explains, glancing at him, who was doing his half of the task for the test. “A few years ago, he thought I was related to this woman he knew in college despite the fact that I said again and again that I never knew of her… and that I’m well versed in my family’s history. Plus this isn’t exactly the worst or weirdest thing he’s done. Don’t mind him… he’s a big massive child with paranoia.”

 

“I’ve lived with him for seventeen years, I know.”

 

“Also,” she mumbles. “I’m not going to be even remotely freaked out until the results come in. But I’m starting to take your word for it without some test’s say so, actually. My brother has T1D and his daughter has it, too… Tony’s got ADHD, too… and also you seem extremely stubborn.”

 

“The maternity and paternity genetic tests will be done in approximately an hour,” JARVIS says.

 

“So, we’ve got an hour,” Dad says, abandoning the desk and walking over to them. He sits down at the parallel seat. “What makes you, you? You’ve really only talked about your sister.”

 

“Uh… I go to Hudson Valley School of Science. They are like forty minutes away from where we live, but Dad––uh, you... make sure I get there every morning. It’s a magnet school… but with an entrance exam and biannual tuition. I currently have a 4.2 GPA on the five-point scale… so that’s like an A-minus,” I explain. “I have my most recent progress report if you want it… just came out on Friday.” I unzip my backpack and pull the yellow cardstock paper out before setting it on the circular table.

 

He picks it up and looks at it. “4.2, wow,” Dad enthuses. “You weren’t lying when you said you were smart. What’s going on with SAT prep? A ‘C?’”

 

“Oh, I got 1600 in August which is the new 2400… only after I had an anxiety attack in the proctor’s room in June,” I say quietly. “The guidance counselor put me in the class because it was either Family and Childhood Development with those infant simulator robots that give me the creeps or take a class I really don’t need anymore because I already took the exam to fulfill my requirement for extracurriculars. I barely do my work. But I’ll be sure to pass the final like nothing happened and bring my grade back up… I’ve got time. I really only text you in that class even though you tell me not to.” I weakly point at Dad.

 

“They have infant simulators now?” Mom asks. “I remember taking care of a flour sack when I was your age.”

 

I nod. “They’re creepy and they cry like the real thing. My… um, g-girlfriend took the class and she had to bring home one during the weekend and it was set to turn on right after school on Friday and she had to deal with it crying off and on, on the following Monday during class. She was miserable and it wasn’t even real.”

 

“Girlfriend?” Dad asks.

 

I hesitantly nod. “Her name’s Sophia.”

 

“Did your Mom and I approve of her?”

 

I nod, grimacing. “Yeah… I couldn't even go out on a date until I got Uncle Hap’s permission rather than yours. But that’s because I’ve known her since first grade and she lived with us for about two months. Her parents kicked her out when she came out and we let her crash until there was a good match in the foster system for her… which was our eighth grade English teacher. But we never really ever saw Sophia as family so it’s not weird. Our first anniversary is in November.”

 

“Sounds like Happy,” Mom snickers quietly. “I’m glad she’s okay now.”

 

“So… what else? You’re smart, you hate robotic babies…”

 

“I do competition dance. So, like… tap, lyrical, and jazz. I’m trained in ballet as well. I know how to play guitar, piano, uke, and violin… I sing and write stuff a little here and there,” I explain. "Five high golds and three platinum for the various dance solos I’ve done. I won first overall at a competition last season, too. To this song called Mad Woman… it won't come out until 2020. Oh, and I’m in my school’s musical theater program. I was Belle in Beauty and the Beast last year. Sophia played Chip and one of Gaston’s admirers so that was funny. I have a channel where I post covers and stuff. I did a Q and A with you two and my sister like two months ago. Also, I’m terrified of heights. Someone has to hold my hand when we take off or land during flights or if I’m in an elevator with windows… which also means escalators are no-nos. It’s bad.”

 

“You sing?” Mom asks.

 

I nod. “You guys keep trying to get me to drop an album or something.”

 

“Why won’t you?” Dad asks.

 

“What if people don’t like my original work?” I ask. “I can cover Taylor Swift, Dodie, Mary Lambert, and Olivia Rodrigo until the end of time, but… my original stuff? I don’t think I’ll ever share that with anyone aside from my family.”

 

“Is it bad that I only recognize one of those names?” he asks.

 

“Taylor Swift?”

 

He nods. “The kid who got––”

 

“She has like... thirteen albums out now… I’ve lost count. She went from country to pop,” I say. “You know, minus her re-recorded albums. With that, it’s like 20 or more albums.”

 

“Wow,” Mom mumbles.

 

“So, you came here to prove you’re ours,” Dad changes the subject. “What  do you have to show us for proof, huh?”

 

I stare for a moment. “Oh. Yeah, right.” I pick up my backpack and unzip the front pocket, pulling out book by book and journal to get to the laptop, stacking them on the table. “I have like fifteen thousand books in there… and all the journals are of songs. I swear this thing is a bottomless pit and I can’t get my laptop with books pretty much guarding the little pocket for it.” 

 

They both laugh quietly.

 

As soon as I pull out one of my journals and set it on the table, I grab my laptop and open it up, entering my passcode. “What do you want first? Wedding related photos or the videos I’ve done with either of you? There’s one Google Autocomplete quiz thing Dad and I did last year. That was fun.” I type into my browser and then click the first one that comes up. “That’s probably the easiest to pull up.”

 

It plays and with a few gestures of Dad’s hand, it’s projected for everyone to see. 

 

“Hi, I’m Tony Stark,” Tony says in the video.

 

“...and I’m Morgan Potts-Stark,” video Morgan says with a wave. 

 

Then both of them say simultaneously: “...and this is our Google Autocomplete interview.”

 

I glance at Dad. He’s on the verge of freaking out… well, at least, that’s what it looked like. But Mom? She seemed calm and collected. 

 

A white screen shows up with black text, which read: ‘Autocomplete suggests the most common searches on the internet.’

 

The recording of the father and daughter comes back.

 

“Are you ready? Nervous?” Morgan asks.

 

“You have no idea, kid. You have no idea,” Tony assures.

 

The white screen returns: ‘So, we asked Tony Stark and Morgan Potts-Stark the internet’s burning questions.’

 

The video comes back with Morgan holding a poster-board with a Google screenshot on it, saying, ‘What Tony Stark’ on it. 

 

“So what do we do? Do we just—”

 

“You peel off the papers and answer the question that was unveiled,” Morgan says. “You know, Dad, I thought you were a genius. What happened?”

 

“That’s mean,” Tony mumbles before he pulls the first sheet off. “What Tony Stark is known for… man, I don’t know which to say. What would you say?”

 

Morgan looks down at the poster and hums. “Retired Iron Man, mainly… but the graduated from MIT thing is still pretty prevalent, knowing that his eldest daughter is seventeen and has yet to graduate high school.” She rolls her eyes. 

 

“Yeah, stop bothering her about that,” Tony says as he pulls the second query. “What is Tony Stark’s favorite food?” He pauses. “I don’t have a favorite food but on date night a few weeks ago my wife and I went out to eat and had these incredible vegetable dumplings. Doesn’t sound good, but they are.”

 

“I’m still mad you didn’t bring me back any,” Morgan grumbles.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he says. “Remind one of us next time, aight?”

 

“Promise?”

 

He shrugs. “Whatever you want, kiddo.”

 

“Next one,” Morgan says.

 

“What is Tony Stark like?” Tony asks. “I hear that multiple people have different answers to that question.”

 

“Despite his intimidating appearance, he’s sweet,” Morgan answers. “Huggable. He won’t hesitate to punch a––” Bleep. “––person if they hurt one of his daughters. ”

 

“Don’t ruin my reputation, kid.”

 

There’s a jump cut to another clip. This time it’s Tony holding a board with questions about Morgan. ‘Who Morgan Stark’ was the autocomplete. 

 

Morgan pulls off the first sheet. She snickers. “Who are Morgan Stark’s parents?” 

 

“Is that really the most searched question? Isn’t it obvious?” Tony jokes. 

 

Morgan raises a brow. “This man to my left is my father and the lovely lady hanging with the crew right now is my mother. And if all else fails, about fifty percent of my Wikipedia page is accurate.”

 

“Oh, Maguna, I’m not sure if that’s a good enough answer for the internet. They might need a DNA test or something.”

 

I snicker, covering my mouth. “I forgot about that.” I glanced at my parents, who seemed amused or concerned about the coincidence.

 

“––think, honey?” Tony asks.

 

“No,” Pepper says from out of frame as black captions pop up saying ‘Pepper Stark: No.’

 

“Next,” Tony says, holding back a laugh.

 

Morgan pulls off the next sheet to reveal the query. She grimaces. “Who is Morgan Stark’s boyfriend?” She awkwardly shifts in her chair. “That would be Mr. Casually Cruel. But I have a girlfriend now who I love dearly. Not exactly ready to blast her name out publicly just yet.”

 

Tony frowns at the answer and gently rubs his daughter’s back with his free hand.

 

Dad glances at me as I scrunch up my face in discomfort at the memory recollection. 

 

The video continues.

 

“Who was Tony Stark’s first girlfriend?” Tony asks, letting out a somewhat embarrassed laugh. He messes with his hair before saying. “Wow. These questions are getting personal, aren’t they? Well… technically, my first and only real girlfriend was my wife. I got really, really lucky to end up with Pepper.”

 

“Yeah, you did, honey,” Pepper’s echoey voice snarks as black captions pop up saying ‘Pepper Stark: Yeah, you did, honey.’

 

 Tony looks into the camera and deadpans, “She said I did.”

 

A few questions happen after that and by now, the video is almost over. They are on Tony’s last board.

 

Tony pulls off a query. “Is Tony Stark alive?” He quietly laughs as he puts his thumb and forefinger between his wrist. “I think so? There’s a pulse there. God, it’s sad that people have to Google that.”

 

Morgan pulls off her smartwatch and hands it to him. “Are you sure? There’s no chance you died in like… 2023 or something and my father isn’t just a ghost with unfinished business?”

 

“Who knows, kid.” He shrugs before setting it on his wrist for a moment. It beeps, he glances at it, and he hands it back to her. “There. 86 BPM, so I’m alive.”

 

“Good!”

 

They were on the last question about a minute and a half later.

 

Morgan pulls off the last query. “Is Morgan Stark releasing––no. I’m never going to release an album. All of my original stuff will stay in the imaginary vault forever.”

 

“Oh, come on Morgan. Never say never,” Tony says. “I’m calling it right now, you’ll release a song in under two years from now just because you said that.” 

 

Morgan’s eyes widened. “No!” 

 

“The world runs and thrives on reverse psychology, dear,” he teases as he sets the board on the floor. “I think we’re done.”

 

“Are we done?” Morgan asks.

 

“Seems that way,” Tony agrees.

 

The video ends.

 

“So… um,” I say. “That’s that.” I go over to the photo album and pull up a photo album. “Wedding photos first or…?”

 

“Sure,” Mom says as she breathes through a grimace.

 

I pull up the first photo in the wedding album. The first was a photo of their ‘grand exit’. Dad’s right hand was clasped in Mom’s left and was extended upwards. While she held me up at eleven months old on the side of her hip with her right arm. My head rested on her shoulder as I looked around with wide eyes and showed off a giggly smile. “I should note that y’all actually got married before I was born but once I was older you had the wedding y’all planned before I became… known. I was the flower girl but I didn’t do the job that well.” 

 

I flip to the second photo. It was from the ceremony. Dad had a worn piece of paper in his right hand, he was reading off his vows. There were tears in his eyes. He was holding Mom’s right hand with his left. She was wiping her eyes with her left. 

 

I glance at my parents. Mom seemed like she was thinking through it all. But Dad… he looked like he was hanging onto these photos with everything he had. 

 

I switch to the next photo. The kiss. Mom’s arms were around Dad’s neck, his left hand with his freshly placed wedding ring, was wrapped around her waist. His right hand was raised in the air in celebration. “Fun fact about this photo… behind Mom, my Aunt Amanda was trying to hide my eyes from watching the kiss and I’m told that my feeble little arms were enough to stop her from covering my view. There’s no photo of that though… only the aftermath where you can see me grinning.” I click over to the photo I referenced. Eleven-month-old me in Aunt Amanda’s hold, grinning wide, while she was laughing. My little hands were together like I was clapping.

 

Mom weakly laughs. 

 

I switch to another album and pull up the first photo. It was an older photo… from when I was eight. The lighting was dim. Dad and I were asleep on the couch, I was hugging a plushie–an Animal Crossing Isabelle from Build-A-Bear. There was a blanket draped over both of us. “I was really scared of thunderstorms until I was like… eleven? There was a really bad one that hit Albany when I was eight. Dad made sure I felt safe.”

 

There’s a small smile on Dad’s face. “What is that plushie you're holding?”

 

“Her name’s Isabelle,” I explained. “She’s an NPC in Animal Crossing. But she wasn’t introduced until the 2012 installment. She was modeled after a Shih Tzu. She’s the player’s assistant… I’ve played all of the installments briefly and like her introduction the best by far. My girlfriend and I share an island in the 2020 installment because that was the game we’d always play when she would come over when we were like… five.”

 

“How many installments are there now? I’ve heard of the game… my nieces play it on the Wii,” Mom asks.  

 

“Eight… in 2036,” I recall. “The first edition that was released in the U.S. came out in 2002.”

 

“Cool,” she says.

 

I show them a few more pictures ranging from Mom holding my hand on a plane, Dad trying to make pancakes, gym meet photos, and family portraits. I click next and a video pops up. It was taken out of the house. The thumbnail showed Mom, Dad, Alayna, and I sitting on the couch with game controllers in our hands. You could see Alayna’s glucose monitor on her upper arm with black tape. I click play.

 

Morgan yelps. “Who did that? Who threw that blue shell at me!” 

 

Tony snickers and holds out his right hand for Alayna, keeping his left on the controller. “Was it you?”

 

“Mm-hmm,” Alayna says with a grin as her character passes Morgan’s. They high five.

 

“Be careful, I’m your character’s assistant,” Morgan snarks as she recovers. “I know how to screw up your coffee order.” 

 

“Brewster hasn’t been in that game since I was negative eleven years old, Morgan!” Alayna responds as she tilts the controller. “That argument is completely invalid.”

 

Morgan grunts as her character drifts.  

 

Pepper hums as her character passes Tony’s and Morgan’s characters, along with a COM, passing the finish line in first place. 

 

“Hey!” they all yell.

 

She shrugs. 

 

The video stops. I look at my parents. “Sophia was over for movie night and we usually can decide on a movie together… we played Mario Kart and the winner would end up picking… this was a rematch when all four of us tied for first after the first cup.”

 

Mom and Dad glanced at each other.

 

“You said you had covers,” Dad says. 

 

“I do,” I say, before hesitantly clicking over to the browser tab and then to the profile icon in the corner of the screen. A dropdown menu pops up and I click the ‘your channel’ button. Almost immediately, my channel page pops up and the preview video plays. I immediately click off to another tab and the song stops. 

 

“What was that?” Mom asks.

 

“My most popular cover that I hate,” I say. “YouTube makes the preview video the most popular video you’ve got usually.”

 

“What’s wrong with it?” Dad asks. 

 

I sigh before I click back to the homepage and then the main link. The video pops up with the title, ‘sad cover of good 4 u by Olivia Rodrigo because I got cheated on.’ The piano starts and I immediately start fidgeting with my hands.  

 

I mouth the lyrics through the song until the last sentence. 

 

“You’re a good singer, kid,” Dad says. “But what happened? Are you okay?”

 

I nod. “I’m okay now. It’s just… my school doesn’t really have sports so we have the Sadie Hawkins Dance over homecoming in the fall. Well, we have sports, but just not football. We have stuff like soccer, swimming, and baseball. Sophia’s artistic but she’s on the soccer team. But, my… um, my boyfriend at the time turned down my request to go to Sadies with me and so I went alone. Actually, I went with Sophia… but that was before she and I started dating. I went outside to get some air during the slow dance because obviously it’s weird when you thought you’d come with a real date and you end up not. I found him and this girl I was paranoid about for weeks in the quad… um, you know… and I got Sophie’s dad to take me home. It was a rough couple of days and doing that cover was the first thing I actually felt like doing after it happened. You two had to drag me out of bed to do anything before then… including eating.”

 

“Oh, Morgan. I’m so sorry,” Dad says. “Has––”

 

“You threatened to get him blacklisted from CalTech… which is where he wanted to go,” I recall. “You actually scared him enough that he doesn’t go to Hudson Valley anymore. Oh, and you told his mother about it and he’s a mama's boy… so...”

 

“I’m glad you’re okay now,” Mom says. “If it makes you feel any better, a similar thing happened to me when I was in high school. Men suck.”

 

“Amen,” I grumble. 

 

“It did?” Dad asks.

 

Mom nods. “I don’t tell you everything, Tony.”

 

I played a few other videos from my channel–from covers to dance videos, one of which was of my sapphic cover of Call It What You Want. It was the video I posted where Sophia and I went public just a couple of months ago––there were videos and pictures of the two girls together edited into it while the song went on. That song was Sophia’s favorite for a while. 

 

The sound of the guitar stops and there’s a cut to another clip. This time, there’s Morgan sitting at her bay window with Sophia who was wearing a blue letterman jacket with the letters ‘H.V.’ on one side and ‘Hudson Valley Lady Knights Soccer Team - Sophia Danes’ on the other. “I know I don’t normally do outros or intros but this seemed like an appropriate time to actually record one.” 

 

Sophia glances at Morgan and weakly smiles. “I’m Sophia, most of you are probably familiar with me… but not in this light, I guess. It’s nice to meet you all?” She weakly laughs. “I’m not used to being in front of the camera at all… which is weird considering I’m on the soccer team and my face is on the school website at least three times a month.”

 

“My beloved 28 attacking midfielder,” Morgan says jokingly. She smiles at her girlfriend before saying: “This is the girl that I’ve been singing about here when I sang love songs for the past… erm, six months?”

 

There was a cut to a different clip. 

 

“So, um… you want me to introduce myself?” Sophia asks.

 

Morgan nods.

 

“Like it’s been insinuated… I play soccer. I do art and am into musical theater. My favorite musical is Waitress. My favorite book is We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. I’m on the yearbook committee? I don’t know what else you want me to say.” She laughs quietly.

 

Morgan smiles at her. “If you were trapped in a movie or TV show, where would you want to be?”

 

Sophia grins. “I can’t remember the name… but the show was based on that trilogy that came out like eight years ago? About the world that hunted people with powers? Like… I’d want to be stuck there. I know it sounds weird. But like… after the climax and once the new stasis takes over.”

 

“Oh yeah! I can’t remember the name either because the name of the show isn’t the name of the trilogy but it’s really cool. The show is actually doing the books justice. I remember being obsessed with that series,” Morgan says. “And on that note… see y’all next week.”

 

The video stops.

 

Dad picks up one of the journals. “May I?”

 

I shrug. 

 

“What is ‘Classic Cliche’ about?” he asks after flipping to one specific page. “This written for some TV ship you write fanfiction for?”

 

I stare. “I spent three whole months on that song and you can’t even tell what it’s about? Also, I don’t write fanfiction. I read it though… or at least, what my girlfriend writes.”

 

He shakes his head.

 

“Hand me that,” I say before taking it from him and giving it to mom. “Tell me if you get it.”

 

Mom furrows her brow before staring at the lyrics written out.  She glances at me before staring at Dad. “Really? You don’t know what this song is about?”

 

“What is it about?”

 

“It’s about us, you dumbass,” she chastises. “Blue dress, galas, back then… classic cliches?”

 

“What does it sound like?” he asks. “There’s a guitar center like… two miles from here.”

 

“No,” I immediately answered. “Not playing this for y’all. Not even Mama and Dad back home have heard it.”

 

“Really?” Mom asks.

 

“They don’t even know it exists,” I answer. “I literally had to ask three people to help me get the intro and first verse down because y’all didn’t want to tell me the whole story. Uncle Hap and Rhodey… and then my cousin Finn. They told me pretty much everything.”

 

“Finley?” she asks.

 

I nod. “She started going by Finn in 2010.”

 

“You’re a good songwriter and vocalist. You could definitely make it out there,” he compliments. “So what if you… sang another song then?”

 

“Well, thank you. But I don’t––”

 

“Sir, the genetic maternity and paternity tests are complete and background research as well,” JARVIS interrupts. 

 

“And?” Dad asks.

 

“Morgan Hope Potts-Stark, born December 31, 2018, is Virginia Stark’s and Anthony Stark’s daughter,” JARVIS explains. “There also are many news articles I found about two wedding dates on August 27th, 2018 and November 9th, 2019. To name a few references, People Magazine, Variety, and E! News covered it. She is 17 years old. She resides in Albany, New York. She goes to Hudson Valley School of Science and has a 4.2 GPA on a five-point scale. There is one more possible match for the two of you, Alayna Joy Potts-Stark who is five years younger.”

 

Dad pulls up the results in the hologram. Then pulls up the photograph provided. It was the senior photo I submitted for the casual portrait in the yearbook. It was of me, standing by the lake at the house in my prom dress, laughing, as I held my violin and bow in my hands. He turns around and looks at me, then to Mom, and back at me. His eyes are wide. He forces himself to blink. 

 

Mom snaps. “What do you mean we’re married? Like there’s no way we’re not terrible co-parents who live on opposite sides of the country and avoid each other by all means? Like The Parent Trap? I share a house and last name with that inconsiderate and mindless fratboy? What the hell was I thinking!”

 

“But the parents get back together in The Parent Trap,” I say quietly.

 

Dad’s quiet. He held onto his left upper arm with his hand. “Wow, Potts. Tell me what you really think of me.”

 

“Why do you seem so calm?” she yelps. 

 

He shrugs. “Kinda have had a crush on you since 2006…” 

 

Mom blinks. She’s blushing, even smiling. It’s not strong, but it’s there. Almost as quickly as the smile and blush came, she went stoic. “Yeah. Sure you have.”

 

My watch dings and I glance down. I press the read button and FRIDAY’s voice comes through the tiny speakers: “Morgan, I’d suggest you come back from your little time adventure before your Dad comes back and has a panic attack because you suddenly disappeared without a trace.”

 

Mom and Dad stare at me wide-eyed. 

 

“Who’s FRIDAY?” he asks.

 

“JARVIS got turned into a weird human-like robot named Vision before I was born and FRIDAY came in after that,” I explain. “Also Vision fell in love with a crazed chick who enslaved an entire town so she could play sitcom make-believe out of grief.”

 

Dad blinks. “What the hell J?”

 

“Sir, I am afraid I do not have an answer for an action I have yet to make,” JARVIS says weakly. 

 

My watch dings again. I click the notification. “I’m serious, Morgan.”

 

I weakly smile at my parents. “I, um… gotta go back now I guess.”

 

“Goodbye, Morgan,” Mom says. “Maybe one day we’ll see you again when you’re not… time traveling? If that’s the way our life is meant to go.”

 

She hugs me and I hug her back. 

 

We step away and I look at Dad.

 

“Not a hug person,” he says. 

 

“You are in the future,” I say. “But that’s okay.”

 

“Go make music, kid,” he says. “Someone’ll listen.”

 

I smile weakly as I grab my things. “Thanks.” 

 

The next thing I know, I’m back in Albany, New York in 2036. 

 

I shove off the time bracelet just before present-day Dad comes back into the room.

 

“So, I—why are you looking at me like that?” Dad quickly asks as he looks at me.

 

I hugged him. “Thank you.”

 

He hesitantly wraps his arms around me. “You’re welcome? But for what?”

 

“Just thank you,” I say, letting go. 

 

I immediately run out of the room.

 

“Where are you going?” he calls after me.

 

“Forgot I have an upload today at 4!” I yell as I run upstairs. “I love you!”

 

“I love you too!” 

 

As soon as I make it into my room and shut the door, I set up my camera, grab my guitar, and hit record. 

 

I take a deep breath and wave to the camera. “Hi. So, um… I know I don’t do intros or whatever. But this song feels… almost too important not to have one. I wrote this song not that long ago… about love… specifically about the love I’ve seen around my life. It took three months to write and it wasn’t until recently that I felt the courage to share it with anyone aside from my brain. So, um… here’s ‘Classic Cliche’.”