Chapter 1

New York

September 23 2010

"Is this really how the owner of a five star restaurant should be living?"

Hadrian groaned dramatically, burrowing himself even further under his covers, refusing to let Bruce's taunting words tear him away from the heaven that was his bed. Hadrian had never been a morning person and waking up in the mornings was, in his opinion, akin to pulling teeth. He would do everything in his power to get just one more minute of peace until someone decided that enough was enough and that he had to get up. That person was usually Bruce, who, despite having a perfectly good mansion on the outskirt of New York (in Gotham City) often decides to spend his time off work at Hadrian's.

"Hadrian! It's already 7. Wake up!"

"It's only 7," Hadrian corrected, his voice muffled by the thick covers. "I don't want to get up so early."

"Then you should have thought twice before opening a restaurant," Bruce chided before unceremoniously pulling the covers off Hadrian's body. The young man gave an indignant squawk in reply and dove off the mattress in the pursuit of his beddings. Bruce sighed in exasperation as Hadrian somehow managed to bump his head and bruise his nose by landing 2 feet away from his intended target.

"Oww," he complained, rubbing at the bump, "I hate you."

"And I feel 50 years older when you're around," Bruce snapped, turning around to fetch Hadrian's cloth. "And don't you dare go back to sleep, I'll post those embarrassing photos we took in Miami online if you do."

"You still have those," the teen yelped, jumping to his feet, "Bruce! You told me you deleted those."

"White lie, little brother," Bruce smirked, tossing a pair of black slacks over his shoulder. They landed squarely on Hadrian's head, messing up his already messy black curls.

"You are such a bastard," Hadrian decided before snatching the garment off of his head and putting them on. They were a little cold from lying on his floor the entire night, but Hadrian ignored the minor discomfort in favor of trying to get his pyjama top off. His natural morning clumsiness strikes yet again when he managed to hit himself in the eye for his troubles.

"It's kind of sad," said Bruce, coming over to help, "Like watching a little duckling taking his first steps and failing miserably at it."

Hadrian mumbled something that might have been "stupid bastard", but just came out as "stupd custard".

"Very mature," his companion deadpanned, successfully detangling his limbs from the confinement of his shirt, "Now hurry up. Your restaurant won't run itself."

"I know," Hadrian groaned before ducking in to the washroom to wash up. "You tell me that every chance you get."

"And I will continue until I know you've learnt your lesson," Bruce replied, while looking around Hadrian's apartment with a small grimace.

"Stop judging me," the teen snapped from the other room.

"I'm not," Bruce protested.

"Yes you are," Hadrian retorted, "I know you think rich people all have to live in big houses, but I'm happy where I am."

"Actually," Bruce deadpanned, "I'm thinking more along the line of how can a single individual produce so much garbage? It's like a dump in here."

"I'm a teenage boy," Hadrian argued, "What do you expect? And don't be all that high and mighty; I've seen your room before the maids goes through it. That's what we call scary."

They were still arguing about whose rooms were messier as they descended the stairs 20 minutes later. An argument that Jennifer Granger, one of Hadrian's closes friends and best employees, stopped with a slap on the back of both of their heads.

"Boys can be so immature," she tsked, grabbing Hadrian by the arm and dragging him in to the kitchen. "And you Mr. Wayne. Hadrian has a busy day today so don't you dare interfere."

"Hey!" Bruce protested, "Who do you think got this kid out of bed this morning?"

"Just go Bruce," Hadrian called out before Jennifer could reply, "I'll call you later."

"Fine," Bruce pouted, "I see when I'm not wanted."

The slam of the front door made Hadrian roll his eyes.

"So what's up boss lady?" Hadrian asked, grinning at Jennifer.

Despite the fact that he was the one technically paying her salary, Jennifer was the glue that truly held Castle together. A business graduate from NYU, Jennifer had stepped on to the job market two years ago with ambitions of making a name for herself. Unfortunately, all her dreams fell in to the water when her partner betrayed her in order to make a quick buck. Disillusioned, Jennifer spent the next two years working cafes and trying not to fall victim to depression. She was already thinking of taking medication for her condition when Hadrian had met her. He had seen her potential and had offered her a job as the general manager of his restaurant. Bruce had disagreed of course, believing that her inexperience would drive the place to the ground. But Harry has always been the eternal optimist and had seen a kindred soul in Jennifer's sad smiles. They had worked together ever since.

"I've reviewed the reservation list for tonight and guess who's on it?" she asked, eyes nearly sparkling in excitement.

"Who? The President?" Hadrian joked, enjoying the way she was practically bouncing up and down.

"No! Even better!"

"Better than the President?" Hadrian pretended to think, "The Queen?"

"No!" Jennifer snapped, finally had enough of this game, "Tony Stark!"

Hadrian blinked.

"Anthony Edward Stark, the engineer?"

"Yes him," Jennifer said impatiently, "I can't believe I'll be able to meet Iron Man in person in a few hours."

"Don't tell me you're a fan," Hadrian grimaced, "Bruce will hate you for it. He and Stark has this ongoing rivalry. That was part of the reason why Stark hadn't visited Castle before. I wonder why he decided to change his mind."

"Whatever it was, I'm grateful," Jennifer said with conviction, "Iron Man saved my mother's life and I will be forever indebted to him."

Hadrian's smile softened at that.

Jennifer's mother had been in New York for some conference when the Aliens attacked. She and her colleagues had been so unprepared that they hadn't known what to do. The building they were in had mostly collapsed and she had almost given up hope of getting out of there alive when Iron Man appeared and swooped her out. Hadrian knew that Mrs. Granger had been singing the superhero's praises ever since.

"Too bad she won't be here to meet him."

"She's a little disappointed, but she's glad I'll get to meet her hero."

"Of course she already know," Hadrian mumbled to himself as he snatched an apron of the hook, "Well, if he is here to be impressed, we'll do everything to impress him. Tony Stark won't know what hit him."