Jazz Evans had come to California for one reason and one reason only. To become a special intern at one of the biggest tech and weapon companies in the world.
To be honest, most of her reason for picking Stark Industries was more personal than for anything she would gain by interning there. She still had her inheritance, even if the Goblins were rather pissed at her for pulling out over half of it from their precious banks to invest heavily in the real world.
She had various accounts under different names, but left a respectable amount under her current alias so she could legally claim to be living off her inheritance. The rest of it was squirreled away under false identities that she could access online to invest in different companies.
She had found an entry in her mother's journal (strangely stashed in her trust vault) that made her suspect James Potter wasn't her biological father.
Oh she still had her original inheritance, but the possibility that she might have a father out there, alive, was too tempting not to investigate.
The fact it gave her the perfect excuse to leave England behind and make her own fortunes without being dragged down by the nonsense Dumbledore kept pulling made the idea even more appealing.
She double checked the interview time, and got into the elevator. She was so nervous she almost missed the fact she wasn't alone.
"Aren't you a bit young to be applying here for a job?" asked the man next to her. He looked vaguely familiar but she couldn't pin down why.
"Not here for a job. I'm here for the internship interviews. There's no age limit on that," she replied.
She had faced down Voldemort and near death from multiple magical creatures. A stupid interview should not be making her this nervous!
The man snorted.
"So long as you don't simper at Stark and try to get into the boss' pants, I have little doubt Pepper would jump at hiring you. Every idiot who's applied so far has either been a cocky moron or some halfwit trying to jump into bed with Stark and get their claws into his fortune," he commented. "And the few who did managed to survive usually quit because they get tired after cleaning up after him."
Jazz highly doubted dealing with Tony Stark would be nearly as trying as half of what she had to put up with before now.
Even a grown man-child was nothing compared to dealing with the Dursleys. So long as he didn't try to flirt with her she could put up with damn near anything.
The elevator dinged, and the man left. It took her a moment to realize this was the floor she had to get off on as well, and she followed directions to a waiting area where several people were sitting to be interviewed.
After an hour or two, she was called up.
Pepper Potts looked rather frazzled, but managed to keep a professional attitude.
Jazz liked her immediately.
Pepper blinked when she saw Jazz.
"Aren't you a bit young to be trying for an internship?"
"Which makes me too young to be within Stark's 'strike range' for acceptable bed partners and him too old to be within mine," she easily countered.
Pepper took a moment to process that, before she beamed at Jazz.
"Let me guess...first job?" asked Pepper somewhat kindly.
"Yeah. I've been living off my parent's inheritance for a while now, but I want some real world experience while I complete my education online. I'm less likely to be picked up by truant officers if I'm busy working and doing my homework after normal school hours," said Jazz.
"And your parents are okay with this?"
"Why wouldn't they be? It's not like they've actively been part of my life before now," said Jazz, deliberately not saying that her parents had been dead since before she was two.
Instead she implied that they were typical "hands-off rich folk" who were more inclined to spend time either at the business or on lavish vacations while the kid was stuck with nannies, tutors and bodyguards who could care less so long as they were paid.
Not uncommon or frowned upon, so long as she did her job and didn't cause trouble. It also meant that Pepper was unlikely to look too hard into it so long as she fully believed that Jazz was a typical "trust fund baby" looking to step out of her parent's shadow.
As the interview continued, Jazz tried to be as honest as possible, while relying on a few half-truths like what school she had gone to before now.
It only took three days to get the call. She had the job!
It was official. Pepper was in love with her new intern. Jazz was hardworking, generally honest, and could handle Tony's more annoying quirks without complaint.
There had to be a catch, outside of the fact she wasn't used to modern technology like tablets and smart phones.
Apparently her old boarding school was so out of the way they didn't even get cell reception and they discouraged using anything other than some outdated computers. Jazz was a very bright thing and caught on very quickly though, so that was okay if a bit odd.
Then came the real test... Telling Tony that "No, he couldn't galivant off to some random location because he had a meeting in an hour."
Jazz waited until Tony was about to leave for whatever ridiculous reason he could come up with to get out of the meeting or just be "fashionably late".
"I have undetectable laxatives and I can slip them into Obie coffee. They'll activate within fifteen minutes and he won't know until he starts to shit in his pants," said Jazz.
Tony perked up, always ready for a good prank.
"What's the catch?"
"You have to actually be at the meeting in an hour, and if we time it right then Obie will shit himself in front of everyone and you'll be able to get blackmail," she replied.
Tony was positively giddy at the idea. Forget blowing off the meeting, this sounded like way more fun.
"And if you promise to behave and actually go to meetings for the next two weeks on time, I can promise even more fun. Like giving Rhodey a harmless bout of hiccups for an hour when he's supposed to be talking to his superiors," said Jazz.
Tony looked like she had handed him the holy grail.
"Best. Intern. Ever."
Jazz smiled at him, and Tony had the most surreal feeling of Dejavu for some reason.
Pepper certainly did a rather amusing doubletake when she saw Tony at the meeting, on time and without any of his usual whining. That confusion turned to understanding when Obie had to flee the meeting fifteen minutes in to use the restroom.
He was not happy upon leaving, when he was able to, as someone had mysteriously stolen every single roll of toilet paper in that particular restroom and and the only supply closet was two floors up. Oddly, the elevator wasn't working and those who gamely went to retrieve said rolls had to use the stairs...which became jammed the second they left the floor to get the roll.
Tony laughed himself sick at the fact that Obie had to order some poor bastard to get him a new pair of pants later that night and had to walk around with the ones he had crapped in.
Jazz merely smirked. Obie had given her a bad feeling from the start, one that reminded her far too strongly of Pettigrew to be a coincidence.
Pepper looked at Jazz incredulous.
"Carrot and stick approach. I bribed him with an amusing prank he could witness so long as he went to the meeting. He's not too dissimiliar to a pair of identical twins I know."
Pepper felt more than a little relieved. For a split second she thought Jazz had offered up something she shouldn't have to get Tony to cooperate.
"How hard would it be for you to bribe him into coming to the other meetings on time and getting work done?"
"Not too hard. I have plenty of pranks to bribe him with and I'm sure there are enough people who annoy him that would deserve it. As for work...he's an inventor. Sitting still doing paperwork would be anethema to him," she shrugged. "At best I would suggest setting up a system where you do the real paperwork and he just countersigns it when necessary like approving budget or supplies."
Pepper sighed. It was a good plan and one that would keep the headaches to a minimum.
She wasn't the least bit surprised when Tony discreetly left Jazz a new Stark Tablet to play around with during meetings...apparently she had been quite bored during the one she convinced him to go to, and the tablet in question had an app that would allow her to draw.
Tony had rather liked the doodles he had caught her making and wondered what she could do with it if given a chance.
What Jazz didn't find out until she was officially hired as Pepper's "stand-in" whenever the woman fell sick or needed a day off, was that the tablet had a direct link to the R and D department.
Some of the 'doodles' she had been messing around with looked somewhat viable and highly marketable, from what Tony had been able to see during that rather boring meeting. He had a hunch Jazz was a wellspring of ideas that didn't require making a bunch of boring weapons just to shut up the government, and as much as he loved Rhodey he was somewhat tired of their demands that he build more weapons. If he could find a new way to get out of that government contract legally, then he would be a very happy man.
As it was, he had high hopes for the "personal defense" item he had spotted her making within a few hours of getting the tablet and figuring out how to use it.
Two weeks after getting the tablet, Tony started a line of "personal protection" items. Which was mainly a discreet, but somewhat fashionable bracelet filled with five rounds of mace with a chemical dye that would show up under flourescent light but be more or less invisible to the naked eye. The idea behind it was that while mace hurt, it was easily enough to explain it away as an accident.
The dye was specially formulated to be invisible and not wear off naturally for three full days. Which was more than enough time for the cops to use black lights to find anyone who had the rather distinct spray pattern of someone getting hit in the face with it, until the bad guys started catching on to what the bracelets were.
There was even a specially formulated wipe that could remove the dye, but wouldn't be available for public use. Only the cops and hospitals would be given the wipes to remove the dye and only then after an investigation was made.
Tony had mostly thought it a very neat idea, so he was rather surprised by the massive amount of public support for it, never mind the fact that stores generally sold out of the product within a week of a new shipment. There were several factors that made it very popular.
Jazz had made a "demonstration" version which was loaded with water (that one could be reloaded, but the real thing only had five uses before you had to buy a new one). It showed people how to use the actual item without accidentally macing your friends and could easily be made into a toy for children, since it was more or less an oddly shaped water gun. The demo version was a bright orange color, and was a bit bigger than the real thing which made it easy to distinguish it from the one with the mace and dye. It also didn't have a helpful counter that told the user how many "shots" the item had before you had to get a new one.
Another thing that made it popular was that it was discreet enough that anyone could wear it and there was no chance of accidentally firing it at people. You had to deliberately slip your finger into the loop, pull it up and push it down to release the spray. Sure it was slightly awkward, but it was a wearable version of mace that would be much harder to get off a victim in an attack and you could take anywhere because it was a self-contained unit that was waterproof.
As a special PR move, one that Pepper strongly advised Tony to make since it would make people think a lot better of him, Tony had Stark industries deliver a hundred units of the real things and twenty demo copies with the reload attachments to groups that helped victims of assault and domestic abuse. He also included people who would train those who needed them in how to use them correctly, all for free.
Tony mostly liked the idea because it gave him a lot of access to a bunch of female cops who were strong supporters of the idea and helping other women protect themselves.
"Are you really that surprised he liked your idea so much?" asked Pepper.
"No one ever credits me with anything good. It was just an idea I had..." said Jazz.
Pepper patted her on the shoulder.
"Well it's a really good one. I know for a fact a lot of women are buying it and it's not just the civilians either. Rhodey said that the military bought a special shipment of a thousand units and a hundred of the demo units once they realized what it was for the female soldiers. If the brass likes it, it might become a standard item for female soldiers. I also know that a lot of cops have been ordering them for their people since it's a lot less bulky compared to the standard mace and allows them to detain people without harm."
Jazz looked at her in shock.
"What?! But it was just a small idea!"
"One that was highly marketable and has an open demand for it. The fact we can also sell the counter agent to hospitals and police departments as a separate item only available to authorized agents means that we can make even more money from it. I know for a fact that Tony has said if you had any other good ideas he would be happy to try them out. He's always looking for fresh blood for the R and D department," said Pepper simply. She looked at the confused shock on the girl's face. "You didn't know about his standing policy to give new inventors twenty-five percent of the profits if the idea goes above a certain profit margin?"
Jazz looked at her in shock.
"Twenty-five?" she said weakly.
"Tony likes to reward good ideas, and twenty-five percent of an idea that we can make a lot of money off of is enough incentive for people to come up with really good ones. It also encourages them to keep making new ideas that help the business expand. You don't want to live off your trust fund forever, do you?"
Jazz was still in shock Tony liked her idea that much. Never mind the amount of money she would be getting from the sales...not that she actually cared about the money, but still.