Right I know I should be working on one of my other stories but I've been distracted and decided to write about one of the things that I had distracted myself with.
Just a warning, this was the result of 10 hours almost non stop typing (which started at 3am) and gets progressively better. It is also in the form of a long one shot because what the hell. I see no reason why it shouldn't be as I've already written all of it.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Avengers or any of it's characters in any way, shape or form.
Tony sighed as he begun work on his suit. He didn't really have a name for it yet and was working on the prototypes design. "Jarvis." He said over the music.
"What is it sir?" The AI replied, turning the volume of the music down a bit.
"Complete lock down of the lab." He said. "Don't even let Pepper in."
"Very well sir." Jarvis said. The music became louder again and Tony resumed work on his 'project'. He was not going to let anyone know about it, especially after what he was going to do with it.
Hiding it from Rhodes had been hard since he was literally being gunned down, in the end he told him that an employee was in the suit. The threat of a life helped and he made it out okay. When he went back to Stark tower Pepper almost found out, if it wasn't for Tony having the lab in complete lock down and he had reinforced the glass the previous week helped too since otherwise, there was a strong probability it would have been broken. After that he saved the world from Obadiah, with the help of Jarvis who was able to blow the Arc Reactor from the inside, and went back to being himself.
The news printed about the Iron Man which made Tony smile, although it was technically incorrect, the suit was a gold-titanium alloy. The press conference had been fun. He went off the alibi given by S.H.I.E.L.D. almost as soon as it begun.
"The truth is, I am not Iron Man." He said. "I own Iron Man and make the suits." He then turned and left the building. It would have made more sense just to stick to what S.H.I.E.L.D. had given him but he didn't care. He needed the public to know he had something to do with Iron Man, even if it was just that he was the tech guy. He went on to add a voice enhancer to the suit as his voice was too well known and if he had to speak as Iron Man he'd need a new one.
The Iron Man was instantly loved and Tony was spied on by S.H.I.E.L.D. who helped him figure out how to stop himself from dying from the miniature Arc Reactor installed in his chest. He also figured out he was in love with Pepper, which was weird for him. He'd never been 'in love' before. He saved the world Whiplash and Justin Hammer. Iron Man was approved for the Avengers Initiative by the director of shield; Nick Fury. Tony thanked him and told him he'd tell him.
The next year the world was attacked by aliens and a vengeful god. Tony Stark happened to be abroad when the attack happened and Iron Man was a key member of the Avengers although he wouldn't talk unless necessary, wanting to hide as much about himself as possible. He fought with a selfless and reckless abandon, even flying into a wormhole he may not have returned from to save New York. When he had hit the ground from that it took him a while to wake up, thankfully none of the others had torn off the mask.
"I'm fine." He said. He resisted the urge to talk about shawarma but was definitely going to find out what it was once they'd put Loki away. The group that had crowded around him relaxed and he went back to Stark tower for a change of suit. The machines removed the broken suit and it wasn't long till he was fighting in a new suit. He had had to scrap a few things he had wanted to add but this was more important.
They defeated Loki and Thor took him back to Asgard before returning to Earth to help protect it, and Jane. That was when Tony started having nightmares, mainly of the wormhole but also of his past, Pepper helped him with those even though he wouldn't tell her what they were about. She convinced him that if he let Iron Man and the other avengers move into Stark tower with them it could take his mind of things, he smiled and tarted work on getting their floors ready. The team moved into Stark tower the next month after Tony and, surprisingly, Fury insisted.
They hardly saw Tony but were okay with it, none of them really wanted to get to know him anyway. They saw quite a lot of Iron Man. He seemed to always be there. A constant. There were times where he'd disappear for a few days and his absence was noticed by all of the team.
Tony had begun to live in the suit. He'd go out of it when he needed sleep or to make an appearance but he liked the suit, it was comforting. His new slate even. People liked the Iron Man, people disliked Anthony Stark. This meant less contact with Pepper but she didn't seem to mind, suspecting he was working in his lab, which was always off limits to her.
The Avengers talked about Tony sometimes, Steve didn't like him, thought he didn't live up to Howard, thought he was a disappointment. Tony felt like hitting him, like retorting, telling him he didn't know Howard for who he really was but he resisted, he was pretty sure Steve had noticed him tense up though. Bruce half liked Tony, he was the only one allowed in Tony's lab and seemed to think he was quite fun to work with, even if he hardly ever shut up, that had made Tony laugh which sounded odd through the voice enhancer. Natasha often voiced that Tony was not trustworthy and acted irresponsibly, this also made Tony laugh but for a different reason. 'if only you knew' He thought to himself. Clint had no opinion on him, he sort of liked him though, because of the tower. Thor liked him even though he didn't know him like the others did, this made Tony realize Thor liked everyone unless they were proven to be bad, Tony couldn't help but like Thor, he kept the cupboards stocked with pop tarts for him as he knew he liked those.
After a month of living together the Avengers all completely trusted each other and would often ask about Iron Man's true identity when they weren't on mission, something he would never tell them.
Then, a new mission started, the Avengers needed to save the world from another group of idiots who wanted to take it over and destroy it or something. The mission was over quickly because the opposition was as stupid as they came. It was still tiring and something reminded Tony of the wormhole which caused a panic attack. It didn't go unnoticed by the group.
After the mission he made it back to Stark tower without being seen and locked down his lab, even Bruce couldn't get in if he wanted. He stayed in the lab for a week before resurfacing as Iron Man.
"What happened out there?" Steve asked, worry laced in his voice.
"Nothing." Tony said, the enhancer bending his voice. He should tell them about the panic attack. He should tell them who he was but he didn't. Instead he flew off and disappeared. He went back to Stark tower when he was sure everyone would be awake and went straight for his lab where the suit was expertly removed. He slumped to the floor, knowing that he'd have a nightmare if he fell asleep and that Bruce would come in to tell him how the mission went. If Bruce came in before he was awake they'd find out he had PTSD, he knew they already had suspicions, otherwise he'd be fine. He didn't have the strength to move himself and instead just let himself go, allowed himself to be taken by the darkness and memories of the wormhole. When Bruce came in in the morning to tell Tony how the mission went and maybe do a few experiments on one thing or another he found the other on the floor, obviously having a nightmare. He called on the other Avengers who all came up
When Tony was finally released from his nightmare he instinctively flashed the knife he had hidden in his sleeve out, it would have hurt one of them if they'd have been hurt. "Now you see why I told you to stand back." Pepper said before going to comfort her boyfriend. "It's okay Tony." She said, taking the knife away and putting it down. He allowed her to hug him and hugged back, trying not to cry. The Avengers had never seen him this weak before and it was one of the reasons he didn't want any of them to know, he couldn't let them see him as weak, or even worse, kick him off the team because of it. He breathed deeply and eventually, with Pepper's help, stood up.
"How long as he been doing this?" Bruce asked her.
"It started just after New York." Pepper told them.
"It's PTSD." Tony said, "probably a delayed reaction to Afghanistan." He really couldn't risk telling them the truth, that it originated from the wormhole, and this was, at least, a viable explanation since they'd have realize he had PTSD sooner or later anyway. "I'm fine, really." He said. 'stop pretending to be worried about me, I know none of you are.' He added in his mind. They seemed to have forgotten about his 3 month stay in Afghanistan and it made him laugh. "You actually forgot." He said. "Now that hurts." He smiled at them before telling them to get out of his lab. They all did so, relieved that he was okay, apart from Bruce who stayed and told him about the mission as Tony worked on designing new gauntlets for Iron Man, he thought they needed an upgrade. When Bruce got to the part where Iron Man had, what he suspected to be, a panic attack he tensed up slightly but caught himself and loosened, Bruce pretended not to notice. Bruce also pretended not to be keeping a close eye on Tony.
"Bruce." Tony said. "I'd stand back if I were you." Bruce did so and narrowly missed being shot by an extremely powerful blast coming from the gauntlet that Tony was wearing, connected directly to his Arc Reactor. "Would you say that was enough power J?" He asked the AI.
"Indeed sir. It is the most powerful one you've invented yet."
"Good enough for Iron Man Bruce?" He asked.
"Are you seriously asking that?" Bruce asked.
"Of course, only the best for him." Tony said. He carefully removed the gauntlet, unplugging it from his power source.
"Is that going to fit him?" Bruce asked, taking in the fact that it fitted Tony perfectly.
"Why wouldn't it?" Tony asked, oblivious. "Dummy." He called, the robot 'looked up' and went over to him. "Take this and carefully put it with the rest of the suit." He gave the robot the gauntlet. "If anything happens to it I will recycle you." He warned.
"You shouldn't be so hard on him." Bruce said.
"He can take it." Was Tony's response.
Bruce and Tony worked in silence other than the loud music blasting out of speakers hidden all over the lab, Tony would occasionally mutter to Jarvis about his work. Bruce wasn't really working that much, he was more observing the older man. "Why do you do it?" He asked, the music's volume automatically going down so the two could hear each other.
"Do what?" Tony asked back.
"Make the suit, give us all a home, anything we need."
"I'm a philanthropist." He said. "And about the anything you need, I've been meaning to ask you, do you want your own lab?" He looked up at Bruce. "'Cause that could be arranged." He smiled at Bruce's surprised reaction.
"No, I'm fine working here, besides, I like the company." He said, Tony couldn't help but smile.
"When you change your mind tell me." He said. "The Iron Man suit is only getting stronger and I don't know how long it will be before I actually break this place testing it."
"That's not gonna ward me off Stark." Bruce said, causing Tony's smile to widen.
"I hoped not." Tony said, going back to work
Iron Man himself wasn't around for a few days so Clint went to Tony to see if he knew where he was. Tony was in the lab, as usual Clint pounded on the glass. "Birdbrain." Tony said happily when he noticed him, the music stopped and the door opened. "What brings you here?"
"My name's not Birdbrain." Clint said, frowning as he entered the lab. "I wanted to see if you knew where Iron Man is."
"What is it then?" Tony asked. "And, no, I'm not sure where he is and even if I did know I have no possible reason to want to tell you."
"Clint." He said. "You're hopeless Anthony."
"Wow, we really haven't talked much have we?" Tony asked, more to himself than to Clint. "It's Tony." He said. "J, usual lock down please."
"Yes sir." The AI responded. Tony smiled at Clint before walking over and gently pushing the younger man back into the lift which he went into too.
"Who's here?" Tony asked in the lift.
"All of us except for him." Clint told Tony. Tony nodded.
"Who's awake?" He asked.
"Just me as far as I can tell."
"I made you some new arrows by the way, they'll be ready for use later today, before noon."
"Why?" Clint asked.
"I know, I was hoping to have them done earlier but some adjustments to Iron Man's new suit delayed me." Tony said.
"Not what I meant." Clint said annoyed.
"I know what you meant." Tony said and they fell silent for the rest of the journey. When the lift stopped at the Avengers' shared floor Tony got out. "I know it's Avengers only on this floor and all but it's the nearest place for me to get a coffee as I still haven't installed a kitchen in the lab.. I really need to get around to doing that. If you don't want me to then that's fine and I'll go to my floor" Clint laughed. "What?" Tony asked.
"This is your home and you're asking permission to be on a floor."
"It's your home too."
Tony walked over to the kitchen not needing directions which struck Clint as odd until he remembered that Tony built the damn place. When Tony passed the living room he really hoped none of the other avengers were there because he really didn't want to be yelled at. Thankfully it was clear. When he got to the kitchen he pulled down a mug that he himself had put there for when he made coffee in his suit to take up to the lab. He made his coffee quickly, adding a more than generous amount of creamer and sugar, just the way he liked it. He quickly retreated back to the lift and to the lab, passing Clint in the living room.
The other avengers started to go into the living room around an hour later. "I saw Tony earlier." Clint told them.
"How is he?" Bruce asked.
"He's fine, he said he doesn't know where I.M. is and that even if he did there was no reason he'd tell me." Clint said. The others nodded.
"Anything else we should know?" Natasha asked.
"He's making me new arrows, didn't say anything else about them though." Clint said, "He also asked permission before going onto this floor."
"Why?" Steve asked, knowing that Tony wouldn't normally ask before he did anything.
"Said it was just for Avengers." Clint said.
"I'm worried about him." Bruce said.
"Why? The PTSD?" Natasha asked. Bruce nodded.
"Not just that." He said. "He's.. I think he's hiding something."
"What would he hide?" Clint asked. Just then there was a crash from a window.
"I meant to do that." Tony told Jarvis. "Aw, shit. They're here aren't they J?"
"Yes sir, they're about to open the door." Jarvis said into the helmet before the Avengers filed into the room.
"Man of Iron!" Thor exclaimed. "Where have you been?"
"Busy." He responded. Already ignoring the part of his brain that wanted to say more. None of the others pushed, they were used to this sort of answer from him.
"What's it like in there?" Steve asked out of curiosity.
"It fits my needs." Tony said, he wanted to say more, to tell them about the heat regulators and the fact that Jarvis was always with him. He really wanted to tell them he was him but he couldn't let himself do that, it would cause problems for everyone.
"Sir, you should tell them." Jarvis said. Tony ignored the AI. Instead he reached for the quiver of arrows on his back.
"Mr Stark asked me to give these to you." He said, handing them to Clint.
"Tell him thank you." Clint said as he took them. Iron man cocked his head.
"I will." He said.
"Sir. They like you and won't mind that you're you." Jarvis said. Tony was really finding it hard to resist the urge to tell Jarvis to shut up.
"Who are you?" Steve asked.
"Sir." Jarvis said, a more urgent tone to his voice.
"I'm allowed to restrict that information." He said.
"Is there a man in there?" Bruce asked. "Or are you one of Tony's AIs?"
"Despite popular belief I am human." He said, the looks on their faces were entertaining.
"Do you ever leave the Iron suit?" Thor asked.
"Yes." Tony said truthfully, why would he lie? He trusted all of them with his life and he knew they trusted him, the him they knew at least.
"Why do you never leave it around us?" Natasha asked.
"You wouldn't like me." He said, knowing it was the truth.
"You don't know that." Bruce said. Iron man cocked his head again.
"Maybe not with some of you." He said. "But others would." The Avengers' attention was on Bruce for a moment.
"Do you know who he is?" Steve asked.
"I have my suspicions." Bruce said, causing Iron Man to tense in the suit. Man, Tony really wanted to talk to Jarvis. "But I'm not going to voice them. He has a right to keep his identity a secret if he wants to." Bruce noticed Iron Man relax and smiled.
"Do we know you? The real you I mean?" Steve asked.
"What's with all the questions?" Tony asked, purposefully ignoring the one from Steve. "I've already told you that I'm not telling you who I am." He said, pretty sure it was one of the longest sentences he'd said as Iron Man, not including debriefings which he rarely attended anyway, the team didn't need him for that.
"So that's a yes then?" Steve asked.
"No." Tony said, the panic in his voice thankfully hidden. "It's me avoiding the question." He corrected. He knew none of them, save Bruce possibly, would ever jump to the conclusion it was him. The Tony they knew was irresponsible and impulsive, pretty much the complete opposite to his alter ego, the only things they shared was the selflessness and people rarely noticed Tony had that, assuming he was selfish because of his 'text book narcissism' which was an act anyway because he had to know at least one person other than his robots liked him, even if that person had to be himself. In truth, he hated himself, for more reasons than he'd like to admit. He would never allow anyone to know that though, not even Pepper.
"Do you have feelings?" Clint asked. Tony really had to stop himself from retaliating to that one.
"I've just told you I'm human inside here." He said. "Of course I have fucking feelings." He was yelling at Clint but the enhancer normalized his voice. There was nothing he could do about the curse though, it was the first time he'd sworn in front of any of them as Iron Man.
"He swears!" Thor said, smiling. Tony glared at him beneath the mask.
"What's the bet that he was yelling?" Clint asked. Tony's anger really started to flare up. Bruce seemed to notice.
"Clint." He said, more warned.
"What?" Clint asked, "That's the most fun I've ever gotten out of him."
"He's still in the room." Tony said, surprising even himself at the fact. Usually in a situation where he was angry with a team member he'd have left already.
Tony sighed, which went unnoticed and walked past them and into the living room. He sat down in his favorite spot, leaning against the wall as he often did, facing the TV and able to see the whole room, if he was honest he liked the spot more than his lab. He started whispering to Jarvis, very quickly and very panicked. Jarvis tried to calm him down, telling him it was okay and he'd be fine. It took a few minutes for the panic attack to end. It was the first one he'd had in the suit which worried him almost as much as it worried Jarvis. "Sir. I suggest you tell them. They could help."
"No, J. They couldn't, they wouldn't care anyway and would kick me off the team."
"They'd care more than you think." Jarvis said. "And they wouldn't kick you off."
"It's a risk I'm not willing to take." Tony said, ending just as Bruce entered the room. Tony nodded to him in acknowledgement.
"You know, I could help with that anger." Bruce said calmly. Tony shrugged. He was going to keep silent. He knew he'd say something he shouldn't if he spoke. "Ah, you're going back into one of your silent moods." Bruce stated. "Fair enough, I don't blame you. Hell, if I could I'd hide who I really was too." Tony looked at him curiously. Just then the others entered the room.
"I'm sorry." Clint said, what surprised Tony was that he actually meant it. He shrugged it off like it was nothing although it actually meant a lot to him. "and you're not talking again are you?" Clint asked although it was more a statement. Tony smiled at how well the group knew him, Iron Man, he corrected himself.
"Sir, it wouldn't be the end of the world if you just told them." Jarvis said. Tony was really getting annoyed at how much Jarvis was insisting.
"Jarvis." Natasha called to the room, still unsure of where the AI was.
"Yes Miss Romanova?" Jarvis asked through the hidden speakers around the room, making his voice seem like it came from everywhere.
"When did Tony last eat?"
"Sir doesn't like me sharing information on his personal matters with people" It was the response he was told to give if asked about Tony's health although it wasn't programmed into him, Tony didn't like writing programmed responses for Jarvis. "I shall inform him you are worried for his health." He added.
"Sir." Jarvis said, almost causing Tony to laugh. "They are worried for you." Tony knew what he was doing, he was trying to provoke a response, any response that would let the others see that Iron Man was Tony Stark. Tony wasn't going to give into him but he did whisper a code that muted sound from inside the helmet.
"Jarvis. Stop that." He said. He'd keep himself muted for a while, that way he could speak to Jarvis without alerting the others. "You know that I don't want anyone to know. That includes them."
"But sir, they wouldn't change their view of you."
"Of me or of Iron Man?" Jarvis hesitated.
"You are Iron Man sir." He pointed out.
"But they don't know that!" Tony exclaimed, almost shouting but not letting his voice get too loud as to alert the others. "Up until recently they didn't even know there was a man inside the suit."
"That's because you never told them."
"They never asked."
"Iron Man." Steve called. Tony looked up to the -older?- man. "Will you answer any more questions if we asked?" Tony unmuted the suit.
"It depends what they are." He said, his voice, as always, showing no emotion.
"Is Jarvis in there? Does he help you out?" Steve asked. Tony hesitated before responding.
"Yes." He said.
"I've been wondering, what does Jarvis stand for anyway?" Steve asked. Tony stayed silent so Jarvis answered for him.
"Just A Rather Very Intelligent System. Mr Rogers."
"That's actually disappointing." Clint said.
"What were you expecting?" Tony asked curiously. He didn't often ask the group questions but he couldn't help himself with that one.
"Something more.. Scientific." Clint said. Tony had to resist laughing.
"Iron Man?" Natasha asked. "Why don't you ever let your guard down around us?"
"How do you mean?" Tony asked, genuinely confused, he let his guard down around them all the time. Then it hit him, she thought letting his guard down was taking the suit off.
"You never take that suit off." She said, voicing his suspicions.
"You know why." He said.
"No. We don't know why." She said. "You tell us it's because you want to keep your identity a secret but we fight with you. We trust you."
"If you knew me you wouldn't."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Clint asked. "Of course we'd still trust you I.M., you've saved our lives on so many occasions." Tony rolled his eyes.
"You're scared." Thor stated. Tony stayed silent.
"We trust you with our lives Iron Man, please tell us." Steve said. Tony had to mute the suit before he lost it at that one. He whispered the command.
"You may trust Iron Man but you don't trust me. You're the worst of all Steve Rogers. You hate me, you're disappointed in me because I'm not like my fucking father. No I'm not my father, I get it already. I don't want to be my father, can't you see that I've spent all this time trying not to be like him, I never asked to be his son and he never treated me as one. You were always his son, the older brother I never saw, never knew. They told me you were nice, you'd like me if you met me. Peggy even told me about you. You were my hero. But you're nothing like how they described. STOP TREATING ME LIKE I'M MEANT TO BE A PERFECT REPLICA OF HOWARD. YOU NEVER KNEW HOWARD." He'd missed whatever they had said during that and felt the tears running down his face.
"Sir. Are you okay?" Jarvis asked, genuine concern in his voice.
"Yeah, just had to get that out of my system y'know." He said after composing himself. He looked around the room, seeing them all staring at him, worried.
"Are you okay I.M.?" Clint asked. Tony didn't respond or even show acknowledgement. "Jarvis." Clint called.
"Iron Man is fine." Jarvis said. "He just gets angry easily."
"I do not." Tony said, the suit still internally muted. "Just at him."
"That was him being angry?" Bruce asked, impressed.
"Yes." Jarvis said. "And trust me, it was loud."
"Oh, he can mute it." Natasha stated.
"Yes." Jarvis said to the group. "Are you sure you're okay sir?" He asked Tony.
"I'm fine." Tony told him. He unmuted the suit. "If there are no more questions I'll be going." He said to the Avengers. He needed to work on Thor and Hulk proof glass for the lab, he really didn't want it to be destroyed any time soon. He didn't give them time to respond before he was out of a window.
"Who made him angry?" Bruce asked.
"His anger appeared to be directed at Mr Rogers." Jarvis told them
"Why me?" Steve asked.
"He won't like it if I tell you that." Jarvis said.
"He's worried most of all that you won't trust him would be my guess." Natasha said. "Who do you hold a grudge against?" She asked him.
"No-one who's alive at this time." Steve said.
"Okay." Clint said. "Who would want to impress you?"
"No-one, that I can think of." Steve said.
"I'm going to the lab." Bruce informed the others. 'Hopefully Tony hasn't locked me out.' He added in his mind.
He got to the lab and found that, no, Tony had not locked him out. He smiled and entered it. He saw Tony working with holograms and talking almost non stop to Jarvis. He just watched Tony for a while before the older man looked up. "Bruce." He said, the music cut off.
"Tony." Bruce replied. "It's you isn't it?"
"I have no idea-" Tony paused and moved something he disliked about the hologram in front of him. "-what you're talking about." He finished when he was done.
"You're Iron Man." Bruce said. He noticed how Tony didn't tense which he knew he would have if anyone else had asked him.
"I suspected you knew." Tony said. "Thanks for not saying anything by the way." He didn't even need to ask Bruce about how he knew. Tony was always relaxed around him, even as Iron Man. That, combined with how much they trusted and knew each other, both as Iron Man and Hulk and Tony and Bruce he had expected Bruce to find out sooner or later. "How long have you known?" Tony asked.
"Not long." Bruce admitted. "Since the panic attack." Tony nodded.
"I thought so." He said. "Damn." He stopped what he was working on. "You really can't tell the others."
"They'd still trust you Tony." Bruce said.
"That's not what I'm worried about, I know they'll trust me." Tony said.
"J, put this away for now." The holograms suddenly disappeared.
"What are you worried about then?" Bruce asked.
"You know what." Tony said, when Bruce looked at him with a confused expression he sighed. "The PTSD."
"It's not from Afghanistan is it?" Bruce asked.
"As traumatic as that was, no." Tony said.
"What is it from then?"
"The wormhole." Tony admitted.
"I swear, if I get my hands on that-"
"Calm down Bruce, please don't hulk out in the lab, I do all my important research in here." Tony said. Bruce laughed.
"Don't worry, I'm fine." Bruce said. Tony smiled.
"Glad one of us is." He said inaudibly. "Please don't tell them though." Tony said it seriously, more as a warning than a request.
"Okay Tony." Bruce said. "I won't." He paused for a bit. "Who knows?"
"Only you, Jarvis and the kids." Tony said.
"Kids?!" Bruce asked, panic in his voice.
"My robots." Tony said, Bruce physically relaxed "Of course, J is technically one of my kids too but I see him a lot more as a friend than a son."
"That's nice to know sir." Jarvis said. Tony smiled and told Jarvis to bring the holos back up.
"Back then." Bruce said after a while. Tony looked up from his work. "When you got angry. Jarvis told us it was directed at Steve." He saw Tony tense up. "Why?"
"I'm gonna sound so much like Iron Man now." Tony said. "But I really don't have to tell you that."
"You don't have too." Bruce confirmed. "I was hoping you'd want to."
"If you really want to know, ask Jarvis when I'm not around." Tony sighed. "He'll tell you."
"I will sir?" Jarvis asked.
"Just don't tell him anything other than what we discussed." Tony said.
"Yes sir." Jarvis said.
"Besides, if you must know, it's not Steve I'm angry at. I like Steve, he's a good guy with really good intentions. It's Captain America I'm angry at." Bruce nodded and dropped the subject, Tony obviously didn't want to talk about it.
"What are you working on?" Bruce asked, changing the subject. He saw Tony's eyes light up with the mention of his work, as they always did.
"You're not gonna like it." He said. Bruce raised an eyebrow. "I'm working on Hulk and Thor proof glass."
"Why?" Bruce asked slowly.
"It's nothing personal, trust me, I trust you.. When you're sober... I've never seen you drunk and not sure if Thor even can get drunk but it's just a precaution.. I keep all my important research in this lab." Tony said. "And, yeah, I know I'm a worse drunk than pretty much anyone but half of that is faked so I can do reckless things and not have to worry about the consequences. It's going to be Iron-" He paused. "Me." He corrected. "Proof too." Bruce nodded.
"I guess you really do care huh?" He asked.
"What do you mean?" Tony asked.
"You care, about the team."
"Of course I care about the team." Tony said. "I'm not really sure what you're implying there Bruce."
"Everything. I assumed it was Pepper but it wasn't was it? It was you."
"Please explain. I have no idea what you're talking about." Tony said.
"Everything is perfect, tailored to each of our own private preferences." Bruce said. "My room- floor, is calming and peaceful but I know Clint and Natasha's are both full of training equipment. Steve's is probably stuck in the forties."
"I'm actually increasing that slowly, we're at the early fifties now." Tony said.
"See." Bruce said. "I can't even think of what Thor's is like."
"you should ask him sometime, I'm actually rather impressed with it." Bruce glared at him.
"Even the Avengers' floor we share is suited to our personal needs." Tony looked at him curiously. "There are always at least five boxes of pop tarts for Thor, along with various other sweet treats. For Steve everything's not too bright, not too futuristic, for me there are quiet rooms, for Natasha and Clint there are training rooms and you even make sure the cupboards are stocked with coffee and creamer, along with sugar for your coffee." Bruce said. "And don't think I'm forgetting all the high platforms around the floor, obviously for Clint right?"
"Okay, you got me." Tony said, "I'm surprised you noticed all of that." He sighed. "I'm just being a good host, or trying at least." Thankfully Bruce hadn't noticed absolutely everything, like how all their favorite foods were always stocked and when Pepper or sometimes even Jarvis, if it was from the machine, made their coffee it was exactly how each of them liked it, they wouldn't know how if Tony hadn't told them. It was one of the reasons Pepper never left. Tony cared about everything. Possibly too much.
"You've really out done yourself." Bruce said.
"Look, Bruce, I'm closer to you than I am to anyone. Only Jarvis knows me more than you do. I would say Pepper too but she doesn't know about Iron Man, although she does have her suspicions." He looked Bruce in the eyes. "You can't let anyone see the real me." He paused. "I've worked for years trying not to seem so weak, so damn selfless."
"It's nothing to be ashamed of Tony." Tony nodded, almost going back into Iron Man mode, except without the suit. "I won't tell anyone though, about anything."
"Good because they'll be here in approximately 5 seconds." He said after glancing at a screen. Sure enough the lift dinged. Tony was doing his work again and didn't bother to look up, he knew who it was. All of them. Excluding Pepper. "Jarvis." He said, a warning tone in his voice. "If you let them in I'll mute you for a year."
"No you won't sir." The AI said. Tony was glaring. He was glaring at Jarvis even though he wasn't a physical being. The door of the lab opened. and Tony put on the fake smile he always did around the Avengers, other than Bruce, around Bruce his smiles were real.
"What brings you here?" He asked.
"We need to borrow Bruce." Clint said. Tony nodded.
"An Avengerey thing?" He asked.
"Yes." Steve said.
"I would tell Iron Man except he really doesn't want to talk, well, listen, to you all at the moment. You really pissed him off. Congrats on that one."
"Is it a save the world thing?" Bruce asked, ignoring Tony.
"Yeah, some idiot hacked into the national grid." Natasha said.
"It's a good thing my server isn't on the national grid then." Tony said. "Nor is Iron Man's power source, that comes from the Arc Reactor installed in his suits."
"So you're saying you're not gonna help?" Clint asked.
"I trust Iron Man." Tony said. "He'll show if he sees you're in actual danger. Otherwise he really wants to ignore you for - Probably ever thinking about it."
"How would you know?" Natasha asked, voicing everyone, but Bruce's, question.
"He tells me stuff." Tony said. "None of the private, Tony shouldn't know that, stuff but more stuff about himself."
"So you know who he is then?" Natasha said, again voicing the question everyone wanted the answer to.
"Of course I know who he is, I created him. Remember?" Tony said. "Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't. You all seemed to have forgotten about Afghanistan. Save Bruce and Thor. I guess I'm just not a guy worth remembering." He turned back to his work. "J, Music." He said. Jarvis put the music on. "Loud as it goes J." The music started belting out, if it weren't for the soundproof glass Australia would have probably heard it. The Avengers took that as their cue to leave.
"What's up with cranky?" Clint asked as they headed to where the problem was.
"He's had a bad day." Bruce said.
"What do you mean?" Natasha asked. Bruce wasn't a good liar and he knew it but he'd try. For Tony.
"He had just woken up from a nightmare about half an hour before you guys came up." He said, trying, and somehow succeeding, to sound sincere.
"Ah." Was the response from the rest of the group.
"I think he fell asleep just after Iron Man went to see him." Bruce continued, trying to make it sound believable. He hated lying to his friends but Tony needed him to so he would.
When they got there Iron Man was already on scene, Bruce had expected as much. "I guess Tony told him after all." Natasha said.
"I guess he did." Bruce said, smiling. He didn't really see much of a threat, it was just a gang thing. A group of people who were exceptionally smart who had managed to hack into the grid. They were nothing to Tony though. Bruce knew the suit was muted. Tony would be yelling at Jarvis instructions on how to repair it as he fought with the strangely strong nerds. Bruce wasn't needed and was relieved, he never really liked letting the Hulk out, no matter how much Tony seemed to like the green guy. The fight was over quickly and the grid running again, with a better security system. When it was time for the debriefing which happened immediately after, Tony stayed. He unmuted the suit and accepted the thanks from his teammates, knowing it wouldn't have been as easy without him. He allowed himself to wonder the last time anyone had said those words to him without the mask in. He couldn't place it. Bruce had almost said it although he didn't actually say the two words, more acknowledged everything Tony had done for them.
The debriefing was quick. Tony said no more than two sentences throughout the whole thing, one of those had been a slip up. A retort to something Clint had said. The only thing he had said to actually contribute was; "Me and Stark kept in contact via Jarvis, he put the grid back online and updated the security." It was noted, Fury knew how little Iron Man spoke and knew that the sentence had been well thought out. He heard the implied, "Tony will be in contact." Something he couldn't say he was looking forward to. Tony wasn't supposed to know as much as he did about the Avengers. He was just a civilian.
Truth is, the reason Fury didn't mind when Tony knew more than he should was because he saw him as an Avenger. Not one that was 'in on the action' but Tony was more important to the group than any of them realized. Without Tony there would be no Iron Man and without Iron Man there would probably be no world by now. Iron Man was probably the teams strongest link, the one everyone knew would be there to catch them if they fell, the one they trusted more than any other. The one they couldn't help but like, despite his silent tendencies. Tony also made Clint's arrows, much more hi-tech than the ones S.H.I.E.L.D. had been able to supply. Fury didn't know much else that Tony did for the team except always be there when Bruce needed him. He suspected he was a good host. Tony had always had an eye for details. So yes, if Fury was asked if he saw Tony as an Avenger the answer would be yes. It was an answer that he wasn't sure he liked.
That night Bruce asked Jarvis about why Tony didn't like Captain America. The AI responded with a sad tone to his voice. "To Howard, Steve was always his first son and always his favorite. He was the brother sir never had but was always compared to."
"Ah." Bruce said, it was starting to make sense.
"But sir was never able to impress his father, even with his multiple degrees." Jarvis seemed to hesitate. "I'm not supposed to tell you any more."
"I take it you're going to."
"Sir had grown up with tales of how brave and strong Captain America was, when he met him he both realized those tales were true and that he couldn't bring himself to hate the man as much as he tried to. He settled for dislike and rivalry."
The next day Tony got in contact with Fury. "I trust Iron Man told you about my involvement." He said. "Because, you know, without me the grid would still be down."
"Stark, I don't have time for this."
"Okay, straight to business I guess." Tony explained how the new security system worked and gave Fury the override key, which he knew would be changed. He left out as much sarcasm as he could when Fury asked him things. When it was over Tony left quickly and without being asked. "I have stuff I need to take care of." He gave as an explanation. 'like the fact that I noticed Thor bring an abnormally large amount of alcohol into tower.' He added in his mind.
When he got back things weren't nearly as bad as he suspected. He went straight to his lab where Bruce was waiting. "Jarvis, suit." He said as he walked from the lift to the window. The suit was expertly put on, even as he walked. "I'm going down." He told Bruce. "Feel free to stay up here." Then his mask came down and he jumped out of the open window, he skillfully steadied himself before going onto the Avengers' floor. He was met by the sight of Thor and Clint having a drinking competition in celebration of another well thought battle and wow was it hard to resist joining in with that. Tony's presence didn't go unnoticed by any of them.
"Are you muted?" Natasha asked.
"No." Tony responded. "I'm not mute often." He said carefully and truthfully. Normally he would just resist speaking.
"Ready to answer more questions?" She asked as Bruce came into the room. He nodded at Tony who nodded back.
"It depends what they are." Tony said. "Why are you all so interested in my life anyway?" He asked, quite accidentally but he was sure they wouldn't see it like that. The Iron Man was precise and calculated, he didn't make mistakes.
"You're one of us and we don't even know your face." Natasha said.
"You wouldn't like me if you did. Now is not the time Jarvis. That goes for you too Bruce." Tony said just before either spoke. They both stayed silent.
"So you do know who Iron Man is." Natasha half asked, half stated.
"You could say that." Bruce said.
"Bruce." Tony warned.
"Don't worry, I'm not going to tell before you do." He said.
"How do you know?"
"He saw me in the lab, unmasked, one day with Stark." He said. It was a half truth but even so Tony didn't like lying to the team but this was one he'd known he'd had to say. He had told it to Bruce too so he knew what to admit.
"And you trust him?" Natasha asked Bruce.
"With my life." Bruce admitted, causing Tony to smile.
"Do you want us to stop questioning you?" Natasha asked. The question took Tony of guard and he had to think of what the best answer would be.
"No." He said after a few moments of silence. "The interest is highly appreciated." He turned and saw that Steve had been brought into the drinking contest, which was more like a game now and Thor was definitely winning. "You two should join in." He said gesturing to it. "Celebrate." He told them.
"What about you?" Bruce asked.
"Not going to happen Banner." Tony said. The two just nodded knowing there was no way to convince him. Tony stayed in the room, keeping an eye on them, making sure they didn't do anything stupid. It was strange for him, being the only sober one in the room, normally it would be the other way round, him as the only drunk one. Thankfully they weren't completely stupid and didn't get into any big trouble although that may have been helped by Tony locking down the floor. Tony was also thankful that they Bruce didn't tell his secret, not that anyone would have remembered in the morning anyway with the amount they were drinking. Eventually they all passed out and Tony returned to his lab, releasing the floor from lock down. He had finally finished on the glass and was just about ready to install it. He'd do that with Bruce's help in the morning though, if the hangover wasn't too bad. Instead he begun work on the next model of Iron Man suit. An emergency suit that would come to him if he called it, even if it risked his identity becoming known.
The next morning, when they woke up, the Avengers' all had massive hangovers, save Tony and Thor. Tony had left his favorite hangover cure for each of them although he wasn't sure that Thor would need it. There was a note by the tray of cups of the liquid. "I noticed the fact that Thor brought in a load of booze last night, thought you might need this." It was signed by Tony and Bruce couldn't help but smile when he saw it, about an hour after he drank it his headache seemed to have calmed down, quite a lot, and Iron Man came on scene.
"You the only one awake?" He asked more causally than normal with the volume turned down a lot.
"I think so." Bruce said.
"Good." Tony said. "J, drop the enhancer." Jarvis did so. "Thanks." Tony said, now in his voice. "Man it feels weird talking like me in the suit."
"It is odd to hear it's actually you in there when you have the mask down." Bruce admitted.
"Not just the enhancer though, although I must admit it's good to be rid of it." Tony said. "How's the headache?" he asked.
"Better." Bruce said, "Thanks for the cure thing."
"The least I can do." Tony said. "It's good not having to think carefully every time I speak and not restricting my speech is good too."
"I bet." Bruce said. "Why is your guard down? They could wake up at any moment."
"J will alert me as soon as any of them show any signs of waking." Tony said. "And my guard is always down around you guys."
"Which is why you calculate every sentence, very carefully before saying anything." Bruce said.
"It's just my way of showing I care, I don't want to upset any of you." He said.
"You don't seem to mind about me." Bruce said.
"You're like Pepper." Tony explained. "I like you and know that no matter what I do you won't completely hate me. So yes, I don't mind as much if I upset you and Natasha's stirring." He sighed. "J, voice." Jarvis activated the enhancer. "Is it on?" Tony asked.
"Yeah." Bruce said. Just as Natasha woke up. There was a faint trace of upset in his voice which Tony pretended not to notice.
"You know, this would be so much easier if you just told them." Bruce said.
"Now you're becoming Jarvis." Tony said, any emotion in his voice hidden. "Natasha. On the desk." He said. She looked around until she found the desk he was talking about, the hangover was hurting way too much. She didn't care much about what it was but trusted Iron Man so took a cup, she downed the liquid and it took about half an hour to kick in, by which time the others had all woken up and taken the 'antidote'.
"It's nice to know you talk like a human sometimes." Natasha said.
"I've already told you, I am a human." Tony knew he wasn't thinking as hard before speaking, wasn't editing his sentences as much as he should.
"Why are you talking normally?" Natasha asked.
"Let's just say I'm in a good mood." Tony said. "I could be my usual silent self if you'd prefer." He offered.
"No." Natasha said. "I like this you." Tony nodded.
"I might keep him around for a while then." He said. "I know Bruce is more relaxed when I'm like this."
"You actually care about him." Natasha stated.
"I care about all of you."
"Even Steve?" She said, knowing she struck a nerve.
"Yes." He said. "It's not his fault anyway."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Steve asked.
"Good afternoon to you too." Tony said.
"Why is he being half normal?" Steve asked suddenly.
"Why is everyone so intrigued by that?" He asked. It went ignored.
"He said he was in a good mood.." Natasha said.
"I always thought that him being in a good mood just meant being around and occasionally sharing a word or two." Steve said.
"It was." Tony said, "Used to be at least." He thought for a moment. "This is about halfway to being the normal me." He said.
"The normal you who you insist we won't like?" Clint asked.
"I'm suddenly regretting this.." Tony said.
"'Cause I have to admit, I have nothing wrong with this new you."
"Yup. Definitely regretting it. Jarvis." He said.
"Yes sir?" Jarvis asked inside the helmet.
Before he had the chance to say the command for mute Bruce interrupted. "You know, if you mute yourself I will tell them who you are." Bruce knew Tony was glaring at him.
"That's blackmail." Tony pointed out.
"Yes it is."
"I hate you." Tony said after a small hesitation. "I'm going back to usual me though." He said before he fell silent.
"What was that about?" Thor asked suddenly, apparently having no hangover.
"I have no idea." Natasha said. "I hope it happens again soon though. I can see myself growing to like Iron Man." Tony sat down in his usual position on the floor. "Bruce."
"Why was he in a good mood?" She asked.
"I honestly have no idea. It's really not like him." He told her.
"Is it like the man behind the mask?" She asked. It took Bruce a moment of contemplation before he answered.
"Yes. It's something he would do." Bruce said. He noticed the distinct lack of input by Tony. "You aren't muted right?" He asked, looking over at him.
"No." Tony responded. He resisted the urge to say any more. "And that was a slip." He said.
"What do you mean?" Clint asked.
"I don't usually allow my moods to be transferred." Tony informed them. "Don't expect it to happen again."
"You do realize that now we know there's an actual person - A person we all seem to like in there we're going to push until we know who you are." Natasha said. "Might even go as far as persuading Bruce." That made the walls crumble down, even if momentarily.
"If you lay a hand on Bruce I swear I will not hesitate to kill you." He said, allowing the volume of his suit to go up drastically. They all knew Natasha had made him angry.
"You're protective." Natasha noted.
"You really know how to push people's buttons. Even if the person tries not to give you any to push." Tony retaliated. He started walking towards the window and jumped out.
"That was mean." Bruce pointed out.
"I needed to see how he'd react." She said.
"I don't appreciate you taking advantage of Iron Man trying to open up Miss Romanova" Jarvis said to the room.
"Who the hell is he though Jarvis? I'm more curious than ever."
"Even so I'd appreciate it if you don't push when he returns." Jarvis said.
"Returns?" Clint asked.
"Iron Man is never gone for long." Jarvis said before falling silent again. Sure enough, about an hour later Iron Man returned through the window.
"Sorry." He said, returning to observing the room. The way the Avengers acted and reacted had always intrigued him. He muted himself and begun talking to Jarvis about them, just because he needed to talk. He stayed that way for a long time and didn't notice when Bruce tried to get his attention.
"You muted yourself." Bruce said, annoyance in his voice. "And now you're dead to the world." He thought for a moment. "Jarvis, tell him we need to talk to him."
"Sir. Dr Banner is trying to contact you." Jarvis said.
"Shit." Tony said. "unmute it then J."
"Sorry Bruce." Tony said. "I was.. lost in thought." he said.
"You were muted." Bruce stated.
"I speak my thoughts to Jarvis. It clears my mind."
"So you were talking all this time?" Natasha asked.
"Yes." Tony said. "What's wrong?"
"We want to know you." Thor said.
"You do know me." He said. "And I know you all trust me." He sighed. "What is this really about?"
"We really want to know who you actually are." Clint said.
"You won't like it." Tony said.
"I doubt that we will." Natasha admitted. "We will be angry at you for not telling us."
"I'll probably just hide for a week.. Or a year." He said.
"Why?" Bruce asked.
"I don't like being the center of attention." He said.
"Could have fooled me." Bruce whispered.
"I'm not telling you. Okay?"
"No. That's not okay anymore Iron Man." Natasha said. Tony stayed silent.
"If you don't tell them then I will." Bruce said.
"Jarvis?" Tony asked.
"I support it Iron Man." The AI said.
Bruce started counting down slowly from 5. Tony started to panic. This was bad, really bad. The one thing he'd tried to hide from the world, the one thing he didn't want anyone to know was about to be ripped from him.
"Sir. I insist that you calm down." Jarvis said.
"Bruce. I don't think he's reacting well." Clint said.
"This was a bad idea." Thor said.
"Stop it already Banner." Tony was surprised to find it was him who said it.
"Tell them." Bruce said.
"You know, I don't think I've ever seen you like this before." Tony said. Bruce smiled, knowing it meant he'd tell them. "If they kick me out I'm blaming you though."
"I think I would deserve that." Bruce said.
"Damn right you'd deserve it." Tony said. The others watched the exchange of words in silence, noticing that Bruce seemed to know exactly what tone the voice was underneath the enhancer. "I guess it's time. then." Tony said.
"Jarvis." Tony said softly. "Cut off the enhancer." Jarvis did so and suddenly Tony felt himself become scared to speak.
"You'll be fine." Bruce said, comforting him. "They'll be shocked but they wont completely hate you."
"Thanks Bruce, that's really reassuring." He said, sarcastically. Causing Bruce to smirk. "Shut up." He said.
"I never said anything."
"You were thinking." Tony said.
"That I was.."
"Tony?!" Natasha asked after placing the voice.
"And you said they wouldn't mind." Tony said.
"No. I said they wouldn't completely hate you."
"There's a difference?" Tony asked. "Don't answer that."
"It's actually Tony.." Clint said. Tony rolled his eyes in his mask.
"Yes, it's actually Tony." He said.
"Sir, I'm going to remove the mask now." Jarvis said.
"No." Tony told Jarvis.
"You have no choice sir."
"See what you've done?" Tony asked. "You even turned my kid against me." He said it accusingly at Bruce.
"I can't say that that was intentional." Bruce said. The mask came up and Tony stood and turned to face the others.
"I am Tony Stark." He said. "And, I am Iron Man."
I might return to this AU later, possibly a sequel with reactions.. And more Pepper. Also I know I write bad Thor.. I can't get my head around the sorts of words he uses, it's confusing..
Please leave a review to tell me if you want me to write any more avenger stuff and if so tell me what, a prompt or something, I have literally no other ideas at this point..
I know I probably went really OOC at one point or another but I hope no-one minds...
All reviewers get a cookie :3 (::)
That's about it for now.. C'ya next time!