Author: Teddy R. Lupin PM
Sometimes it feels like you're missing a large part of yourself, and it's right in front of you...but you don't know what it is. What happens to Pepper Potts' son, Jason, when he learns? AU Movie-verse Tony/Pepper.Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - A. E. Stark/Tony & V. Potts/Pepper - Chapters: 9 - Words: 16,865 - Reviews: 66 - Favs: 33 - Follows: 52 - Updated: 07-31-10 - Published: 03-02-10 - id: 5787820
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Wow, it's been almost a month since I've posted chapter 8, and it's summer! Funny. Every year, I tell people that I'll be able to post more frequently during the summer. *cough, cough* That's a lie. I've been more busy than ever, and when I'm not busy, I'm lazy. Next week, I get to lay around and do nothing. The week after is hockey camp, and the week after that is TV Production camp at school, both of which I'm looking forward to. After that, I have another week of lazyness and then I start my JUNIOR YEAR on August 30th. WAY too early, I know.
Well...to remind you what's going on in the story...Jason's being hunted by Obadiah Stane, and he is drawing ever closer. Tony, Pepper, and the others wait with bated breath for Stane to capture his prey.
Previously in Left Behind...
"Why me?" I looked up, only to see Stark looking at me with an expression that I couldn't fully identify. But whatever it was…it was definitely not something I had ever expected to see on his face.
"Because he knew me too well," he muttered, running his fingers through his black hair that had splashes of grey. "He knew everything, Jason. From the beginning. You were never hidden from him. He was just waiting until…until I realized who you were." He slammed his hands down onto his desk with a force I was surprised didn't shatter the glass. "How could I have been such an idiot?" I shifted uncomfortably, not trusting myself to speak.
"Well…" I finally said, "That's just the past…I mean…right?" He turned his head to look at me, like he couldn't believe his ears. I swallowed, making a decision. "We can just make up for it in the future." Stark continued to stare at me.
I took a deep breath and swallowed again. Had life always been this hard?
"The future begins now."
One morning, I woke early, only to hear the steady rhythm of the waves beating against the rocky cliff upon which the Stark Mansion was built. Frowning, I ran my fingers through my hair. It had grown some, but it was still way shorter than what I was used to. Standing up, I stared at myself in the mirror. Why couldn't I sleep? I'd never been restless as a young boy. If I was asleep…I was asleep. No longer, it seemed.
Coughing, I pulled a t-shirt on over my bare chest. Suddenly hearing raised voices from down the hall, my eyes narrowed. One of the voices I didn't recognize. The other was my father.
"You have no evidence, Fury!" he was saying. As I approached the living room, I silently laid flat against the wall, my heart pounding in my chest. I smirked to myself for a moment. This was the exact same position I'd been in when Stark had appeared at my house.
"What were you thinking, bringing them here?" the other man's voice said. It was deeper than Stark's, and ten times more intimidating. But from what I understood, they were arguing about Mom and I, and I wasn't going to miss anything they had to say. "It's no safer here than where they were."
"Not true," Stark disagreed. Though he was trying to stay calm, I could tell from the tremor in his voice that his fist was a second away from blasting Fury's brains out the window.
"Your orders were to bring them to the Tower," Fury answered angrily. "And you brought them to Los Angeles."
"There's no way Stane could've tracked them here," Stark replied. "Everything I did…was with utmost secrecy. It wouldn't be possible for-"
"Be that as it may, Stane also knows you," the deeper voice said slowly, though anything but calm. The other man stepped out of the shadows, giving me a first look at the dude who was arguing with my father. He had dark skin, and wore a black eye patch over his left eye…everything about him screamed…evil. But he couldn't be, right? Hell, my dad's Iron Man. He wouldn't be having a meeting with the bad guys…would he? And that's certainly not what it sounded like.
Where had he been supposed to take me…this "tower" that they had talked about? Where was it…why was it there…and why had he brought me back here instead?
"Stane knows every inch of this house. He'll tear it apart looking for the kid." I shuddered, closing my eyes that had already been narrowed. When I looked up again, Stark was smirking.
"Begging your pardon, Director Fury," he said with a sarcastic grin, "But he doesn't. I've made some modifications of my own. Stane doesn't know." He walked over to the piano and played a few keys, which I immediately recognized as Iron Man by Black Sabbath, one of my more favorite songs. (Ironic, right?) I grimaced, the song being badly played. (Though that might have to do with the fact that it's not supposed to be played on the piano.) But I guess Fury recognized it just as well as I had, because he snorted.
"Fantastic," he said, his voice borderline sarcastic as well. "You can play your self-chosen theme song. Well done." But as Stark pressed the last key, I heard something that sounded strangely like a stone roll out of the way of…something. Having seen these kinds of things in movies, I figured it was some sort of secret door. I smiled, just imagining the smirk wiped off of Fury's face. "Well…well. I must admit I underestimated you." Stark grinned.
"What'd I tell you?"
"But…that doesn't change the fact that you went against SHIELD's orders," the other man continued. I stared at him in disbelief. Gritting my teeth, I walked out from my hiding place, making it seem like I was heading for the kitchen. (Well, I was sort of hungry, in my defense.) "You-" At the sound of my footsteps on the hollow, cold floor, they stopped arguing and turned around.
"Jason," Stark said, regaining something resembling dignity to his face. "I didn't…I'm sorry if I woke you." I shook my head.
"You didn't," I lied easily. Or had I been lying? What had woken me up in the first place? I didn't even remember anymore. "I was just going to get a snack or something." He raised his eyebrows doubtfully.
"Right," he said. As he walked closer to me, he whispered, "How much did you hear?"
"Not much." I shrugged indifferently.
"I know you're lying," he said, a firm grip on my shoulder. "Jason, you're…"
"…In danger, yeah," I said. "I know. But what I'd like to know is why." I shrugged his hand away and headed into the kitchen. Trying to clear my head, I searched the freezer, grinning in triumph when I set eyes on a container of rocky road ice cream. I reached for a spoon and sat down, rubbing my forehead.
"Of all people, why did this have to happen to me?" I muttered to myself, setting the ice cream container on the counter. I gripped the edges of the table and breathed in heavily, bowing my head.
Hearing footsteps approaching from down the hall, I swung around, my eyes wide.
"So…this is the famous Jason Potts," a deep voice said. I gave him a curt nod in acknowledgement. He continued to stare at me with his one dark eye, and I glared back. I wasn't sure why, but I was starting to hate him.
"Maybe," I finally answered, avoiding his glance by stashing the ice cream back into the freezer. "What's it to you?"
"I lead the Avengers," he said. I slammed the door shut and folded my arms across my chest.
"It was our job to protect you," Fury continued. "But your father…" And the rest I didn't hear.
It was their job to protect me. All this time, I'd thought that Stark was working alone. But had he honestly just come for me because this…Fury…told him to?
I narrowed my eyebrows. "He hasn't done anything wrong, Fury. And if this is your way of trying to twist my mind into coming with you…well…it isn't working." I swallowed nervously, trying to keep my heartbeat steady.
"You are like him."
"Surprised?" I asked. He shrugged.
"A bit." I looked him over for a quick second.
"I thought you'd be taller," I said simply, causing him to grab my shoulder in anger.
"And I thought you'd have more respect," Fury spat. My eyes darted between the eye and the patch, not sure which to avoid. In the end, I chose to stare at his eye. As he continued to stare at me, I was given the uncomfortable feeling that he was trying to read my thoughts…not intimidate me. I freed myself from his grip and leaned back against the kitchen counter, narrowing my eyebrows.
"Why were the Avengers assigned to protect me?" I finally asked. Fury continued to frown, though I could somehow tell that he was honestly thinking of an answer to my question.
"Because if the other side got a hold of you, it wouldn't be good for us," he said. It was my turn to frown.
"You're as smart as your father," Fury said. "And even more vulnerable because of your past." As he said that, I couldn't help but wonder what exactly he meant by my past. "If Stane had gotten to you first…it wouldn't have been good."
So that was it. Finally, an answer. Obadiah Stane was after me because of my brain. He wanted my father's genius. He wanted my genius. And if I wouldn't help him…he would kill me. I would've laughed at the cliché movie climax…only if it'd been someone else's life. But this was real…this was my life that was about to be taken away. This was my life that we were trying to protect…wasn't it?
But…did the Avengers honestly think that I would fall prey to Stane's wishes? I may not have had history with him…but I would've known a bad guy when I saw one…right?
"Is your team that bad a judge of character?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.
"We didn't know you."
"That's not what I asked," I said immediately, hardly giving him a chance to finish.
"What about my father?" I asked, sighing heavily. What Fury's opinion of me was didn't really matter. "He came to find me…because you told him to?" Though I'd been trying to tell myself for weeks that I didn't give a shit what he felt for me…I did feel an odd sinking feeling in my chest.
"No," Fury said.
"No," he affirmed. "SHIELD didn't know that he knew about you. It was our original goal to have you kept safe without him ever knowing who you were…"
"…And without me ever knowing him," I finished, starting to understand. He nodded slightly.
"But when he came to base for the mission, I handed him a sheet of paper with your information," he continued. "He immediately recognized who you were, and told us to leave you alone." I frowned, my eyebrows narrowing. But I continued to listen to Fury's story in silence. "Then I told him what was happening, told him to take you to the base in New York, Stark Tower."
So that was the "tower" that they'd been arguing about earlier. I nodded again.
"He ripped the paper in half and walked out."
"And then he came to find me," I said slowly. "He got all my information from you…everything he needed. And then he brought me back here." I unfolded my arms and leaned on the counter. "Why?" Fury exhaled heavily and continued to study me.
"I'm no expert on feelings…but…I believe it was because he loves you," he admitted, cocking an eyebrow at me. I snorted, looking back at him.
"Well, that's bullshit," I said, laughing. But after seeing his expression, my smile faded. "He's all right…I admit that…but he doesn't love me." I shook my head, running my fingers through my hair. "He doesn't know me," I added quietly.
"You're his son," Fury said, his one dark eye penetrating my forehead. "He doesn't need to know you."
I opened my mouth to retort, but closed it when I realized there was no comeback for it. Nothing could disprove that we were related. But that didn't automatically mean that he loved me…did it? Just because we shared a few strands of DNA…did that make him care for me as if he'd raised me? And did the fact that he was my father plainly give him the right?
My eyebrows narrowed and I clenched my fist. "That's a lie," I muttered, my eyes downcast. If I could avoid the gaze of Nick Fury, I would. On whose authority did that asshole have the right to even suggest things about me? Or my life?
"Like I said," he repeated. "I'm no expert on human emotions. Just telling you what I observed." Fury gave me a last long-winded, one-eyed stare, and then, with the swish of a cloak, was gone.
And it was only after he had gone that I realized Nick Fury was a much better judge of human emotion than he thought.
What'd you guys think? Worthy of Iron Man? :) I hope so, anyway. I've gotten the most reviews for this story, and this is my first 9th chapter! Most of my stories are about 6 chapters long, but I'm aiming for this one to be about 15 or so. It depends on if I go with the epilogue or not.
But if you like Jason...I want to recommend:
A Life Not Wasted (which isn't finished yet, but I'm working on it.)
Just A Memory (one-shot, wrote it a while ago.)
Thanks, and please review,
William D. J. Watson