A/N: Okay so this is my first story that I've ever written, and I'm updating this chapter with this author's note six days after it was published because I only just realised that it's a thing that people do.
I know this is a pretty random crossover, but I've been revisiting The Wolf Among Us during lock-down and the idea just popped into my head.
I also know that my writing technique is pretty bad, so if anyone's got any idea how to improve it, I would really appreciate any advice.
I didn't choose Tony for this story for the simple reason that he's sixteen during the events of The Wolf Among us, so I thought giving him an older brother made sense. I don't think I'm good enough to write Tony's character anyway, and I also don't believe that Tony would just go round investing in communities.
Anyway, here's my attempt at making the weirdest crossover in history :)
Chapter 1: Enlightenment
The Bronx wasn't a great place to live. Edward Stark had noticed that as he was driving his Lamborghini Countach through the streets of New York City. His company had been a shining example of societal advancement through the ages, yet, there were people living in such squalor. Admittedly, he hadn't had all the involvement in that. Sure, it was his company, and his money, but he had passed over the CEO position to share between his younger brother, Tony Stark, and his friend and assistant, Pepper Potts. His father, Howard Stark, had not been exactly the nicest person. He had not spoken once about running his company, and had treated Edward, and then Tony, with complete contempt.
When he died, Edward, as the eldest, was given everything. He became CEO but passed the responsibility onto Pepper. She knew much more about business than he did, and he had been too young to run the company at the time anyway. He wanted to 'live a bit', as he put it, and intended to take up the mantle when he had experienced what life had to offer.
Tony was still in school, only being thirteen years old, although, just like Edward, he was a boy genius. He, on the other hand, was twenty-three, and had spent the last four years travelling the world, going to all sorts of different places, and living up to his philanthropist name, investing in communities and businesses around the world.
Edward, by the age of eighteen, had collected four doctorates, and was, at least by IQ, the best measurement they had, the smartest person on Earth. He tried to stay away from the public attention, he was rather happy out of the public eye, meaning, luckily for him, that he would not be recognised as much as he probably should be.
He probably shouldn't have driven such an expensive car through a neighbourhood as troubled as the Bronx, but he had an appointment, with one Mister Ichabod Crane, who resided and conducted business in a building of luxury apartments called 'The Woodlands', so naturally he wanted to make an impression.
He approached the apartment building, pulling up just outside. He had to admit, it looked nice from the outside, but it was like finding a diamond in a pile of shit. Getting out the car, dressed in a black, two-piece suit, white shirt and crimson tie, he approached and entered the gates to the building. He passed by a sign, Keep off the Grass! making him chuckle. Someone was a disciplinarian.
Entering the building, he noticed the security guard in the corner, snoozing away. Probably should wake him up. He needed directions.
"Um, excuse me?" He asked, to no avail. The guard did not react at all, just continuously snoring.
"Hey! Mister!" He tried again, to no avail. He sighed, rubbing his forehead. First impressions were not great.
He started to wander around the room, finally noticing the list of rooms next to the elevator. He read the list, looking for some sort of office. Most of the rooms were listed as private, but he managed to locate the business office. Pressing the button on the elevator, he waited patiently as the door closed, checking his watch. 12:55pm. His appointment was in two minutes. Despite the terrible security, the building was relatively nice. Buildings like this had nice suites on the upper floors. Perhaps he could have one, if there were any available.
His mind drifted to his brother, Tony, short for Anthony. Tony was very clever, although Edward liked to boast that he was smarter, having a higher IQ than Tony when he was his age, but his brother was still by no means a slouch. Tony and Edward had a lot of differences. Tony loved being the centre of attention, loved the spotlight, and was a lot more impulsive. Edward was fully aware that his brother was better company than him. Edward was often a straight-to-business type. He had a biting sarcastic wit, but Edward was prone to being infuriated when someone was wasting his time. His brother was more capable and willing to put up with pointless conversation. His brother was a people person. Edward was not.
As the elevator reached the floor, the door opened, allowing the billionaire to walk out into the corridor. He saw someone sweeping the floor to his right.
"Excuse me, sir?" Edward asked him. The man, who was wearing orange overalls, and a weird, green hat, with his hair covering his eyes, turned to him.
"Hello there! Can I help you?" He asked, in a sort of cheery way.
"Uh, yeah, can you point me in the direction of the business office? I have a meeting for one pm."
"Yeah, it's just down the hall then to your right. There's a long line outside, though. So, prepare to wait a while."
"Brilliant. Thank you." He answered. He sighed as he walked away.
Turning the corner, he realised that the janitor was telling the truth. There was a long line. A real long line. Some people were sitting down. He sighed again. Not only that, but one of the people towards the front of the queue was arguing with someone who he assumed was an employee. She was dressed in a dark grey blazer, matching pencil skirt, going down to her knees, dark grey high heels, and a light blue shirt, with what looked like, snowflakes on it? He couldn't be sure from such a distance, though.
"This is such fucking bullshit! I've been waiting for half an hour. I got places to fucking be!" The man was yelling at her.
"I'm very sorry, sir, but the deputy mayor is really-"
"Fuck that! I have problems. Real fucking problems. I don't give a shit how busy this is. This line hasn't moved since I fucking got here!"
Edward was confused about the deputy mayor part. He was pretty sure Mr Crane was not a Deputy mayor. Probably just a title used internally within the building. But some of the people who were in the queue didn't look like they lived in luxury apartments.
"I am sorry, mister, but there's nothing I can do. You'll just have to wait your turn."
"Fuck you!" He snapped back at her. People in the line ignored it like it was a regular occurrence, and she seemed to be handling it well, so he assumed it was commonplace. Great. She noticed that he had joined the queue, and approached him, heels clicking along the wooden floor.
"Hi there, are you Dr Stark?" She asked him, as she approached.
Immediately, he was struck with amazement. The woman before him was absolutely stunning. Flawless, pale skin, with a slight rose tint to her cheeks, luscious, raven locks, parted in the middle, and tied into a bun behind her head, with a slight loose strand on the side, gorgeous yet icy blue eyes, red full lips, curved into an awe-striking smile. He was no Tony, picking up anyone woman he saw, but even he couldn't deny just how gorgeous he was.
"Um, yes. How could you tell?" He asked. He felt like an idiot. He had been dumbstruck by her looks and asked a pretty obvious question. If she didn't recognise him from some article in the newspaper, then she would have guessed by the clothes he wore. No one else in the line wore anything close to smart. "Never mind, it's the suit, isn't it?" He quickly recovered.
"Well, I don't know many people around here that can afford a $10,000 suit." She told him, her smile gaining a twinge of amusement.
"I'd ask how you'd know how expensive my suit is, but your suit is not exactly cheap either. Armani? Very impressive." He complimented.
"Thank you. Mr Crane was generous in giving it to me. Speaking of him, shall I take you to your appointment?" She asked.
Edward was going to ask about the line but decided against it. He wasn't in the mood for waiting. "Of course." He smiled yet again, and then following her down the corridor.
That was so fucking awkward, he thought to himself, groaning internally.
Walking past the line, he was waiting for someone in the line to get pissed. He didn't have to wait long.
"Hey! What the fuck is this shit? He just gets to jump the line?" The man who was complaining earlier once again complained. Getting a closer look at him, Edward concluded that this man was one ugly son of a bitch. He wore this strange, brown jacket, had one golden earring, was blind in one eye, and had a face that was extremely hard not to hit, in comparison to any other face that he had ever seen.
"Dr Stark has an appointment with The Director of Operations that could be a great benefit to this community. It may indirectly solve any problems you may have, so please, be patient." The woman half-scolded-half-informed him. Must be a real pain in the ass, to do her job, he thought. As she opened the door to the office, he smiled at her, before entering.
"Edward fucking Stark. He's a fucking mun-" Edward didn't catch the rest of the sentence, as the door closed behind him.
He was greeted with a large room. It looked more like an auditorium than it did an office. In the centre of the room, was the man he was supposed to meet with, Ichabod Crane, sitting at a desk, his name displayed on a sign facing him. He was dressed rather formally and looked seventy years old.
"Dr Stark?" Ichabod asked him.
"Yes, and you must be Mr Crane." Edward asked, approaching the desk, and shaking the man's hand. Crane's handshake was pathetically weak.
"Indeed I am. Thank you for taking the time to visit our little community. I hope you found your way here fine."
"Yes, I suppose you could say that. This place is pretty secluded from everything else."
"It is both a blessing and a curse. We do not need to deal with greater affairs, but we also struggle to manage our community being so disconnected."
"When you say, 'our community', what do you refer to? What exactly is this community?"
"Just the neighbouring streets from this apartment complex. We've banded together, just to help each other."
"Which explains the queue outside?"
"Yes. Sadly, some people wish to take advantage of our help, refusing to do their bit for the community."
"A shame. One particularly gentleman seemed particularly angry."
"Yes, well, like I said. Some take us for granted. Hopefully, this meeting will allow us to help even more… disenfranchised folks."
"Hopefully. So please, Mr Crane, what did you have in mind?"
The meeting was an interesting one to say the least. He had expected to be shelling out millions for this deal, but instead, Crane had only asked for… thousands. His excuse had been that the people in the community were not a fan of outsiders, and too much outside help would get them cranky. Edward thought that was the whole point of the visit, to bring the community up through the modern world. Clearly not.
"Mr Crane. Are there any properties available in this building?"
"Well, there is one, but it is probably not to your taste. It's the smallest apartment in the building, and the occupant before you… well… he wasn't exactly interested in keeping the apartment in a good condition."
"I'd like to have a look. It may suit my needs." Edward felt like he should have a small piece of the community that he was apparently propping up with only a few thousand dollars.
"If you are sure, Dr Stark. I warn you; you may be wasting your time."
"I promise you, Mr Crane, even if I decide not to purchase the property, it will help me get a better idea of the community I'm investing in." He told him.
"Very well." He reached into his desk and pulled out a key. "Follow me."
Edward followed him out of the room, and down the corridor. The line had gone, as had the woman who had been there before. He couldn't be bothered to ask about their whereabouts. He doubted, judging by Crane's attitude in the meeting, that he would get a straight answer, anyway.
Eventually, they arrived at the apartment. The number '0' was hanging off slightly. Crane looked to him, probably looking for some sign of hesitation. Edward assumed Crane didn't really want him in the community, for reasons that he didn't really understand. Edward showed no hesitation, simply nodding to the old man holding the key.
Stepping inside the apartment, he was immediately hit with the stench of cigarette smoke. Cheap cigarette smoke.
Switching on the light to the apartment, which was low quality, and barely lit the place at all, he noticed that Crane wasn't wrong. The apartment was tiny, the wallpaper was coming off, and the furniture was shabby and broken.
But Edward could see the potential.
"I'll take it."
"A-are you sure?"
"Positive. There's only one of me. Downsizing might not be a bad idea. I'll come by tomorrow to exchange finances and sort out paperwork."
"If you're absolutely sure. My assistant, Miss White, will be in the office from eight in the morning tomorrow."
"Thank you, Mr Crane. If that's everything, I'll be on my way."
The next day, Edward entered The Woodlands again. He went by taxi this time, since when he walked outside, the tyres had been taken off his car, along with the hood. This time he knew where the business office was. The security guard, who he still didn't know the name of, was asleep. Edward wondered if he had even moved since the day before.
After getting out of the elevator, he walked towards the business office. It was early, 08:15 to be exact, so luckily there was no queue of people to get angry at him when he walked past them and straight into the Business Office.
He had to wonder about how the community operated. It seemed, at least, from what Ichabod Crane had said yesterday, that he really wasn't invested that much in the community, or at least, the people. Sure, he had no doubt that some were probably taking advantage of the system, but not all of them. He had seen the conditions that they lived in. no one wanted to live like that, and if they earned a decent salary, then they would probably not have to live in those rundown buildings.
He wanted to find out more, to see how exactly they operated. He found the whole situation a bit strange, and if he wanted to know more, he had to take an active interest, not that Crane seemed to be too pleased with that.
He knocked on the door to the business office and waited for the door to open. Crane had mentioned to him previously that it would be his assistant in the office. If his assistant was who he thought it was, then it would be both a blessing and a curse.
Edward was not like his younger brother. Tony could pick up girls and dump them the next day. Edward couldn't. He became attracted to girls rather quickly, and the woman he had met yesterday was the most beautiful he had ever seen. She seemed to have an integral role in the community, so no doubt he would be working with her. He saw himself growing a strong attraction to her, and that wouldn't be good in a working relationship.
The door opened, and his hopes and fears came to light as she appeared on the other side.
"Dr Stark, good morning. Crane told me you were coming, please, come in." She gestured.
"Good morning to you too, miss…"
"White. Snow White." She offered her hand, to which he shook.
"Parents a fan of fairy tales?" He asked.
"Something like that." She smiled back. "Please, sit down."
He took his seat at the desk, having exchanges his black suit with a red tie from the previous day, to a grey suit with a blue tie. Snow, as he had just learned her name, was dressed in a black blazer, black pencil skirt, black heels and a red shirt.
"Appears we have swapped colour schemes, Miss White." He remarked, as she walked over, heels clicking and folders in her arm.
"It appears so. Do you always dress this formal?" She asked him.
"If I can help it. It's good to make good first impressions." He offered.
"It is indeed, although, some people may not appreciate your taste in clothing. Specifically, the people in the line outside. I'm not saying they're bad people, but…"
"I know what you're saying. It's fine." He gave her a reassuring smile, a smile which she returned.
"Anyway, here is all the documentation you'll need." She handed him over a couple of folders. "Most of it is just terms, but it is in essence buying a house, so there's no difference."
Eventually, he filled out the forms and put down his signature. He handed her back the folders.
"Perfect. You can start moving in any furniture as soon as you'd like."
"Great. Do you mind if I use the phone? I need to make a call to start bringing it all over."
"Go ahead." She walked off as he moved over to the telephone. She disappeared behind one of the tall bookcases, putting the folder back.
He dialled the number and waited.
"Hi it's Edward. You can start moving the stuff in… yeah, the key is on the desk… all of it… yeah and the redecorating stuff… an hour? Okay that's fine. Thank you… yeah, goodbye." He put the phone down.
As soon as he put it down, he noticed something in moving behind the bookcase. Something green. He narrowed his eyes. Snow wasn't wearing green. He moved over to the bookcase. Snow apparently saw this.
"Dr Stark… what are you doing?" She asked. She seemed worried, anxious.
"I just thought I saw something moving. Probably my eyes playing tricks on me, but I just want to satisfy my curiosity for a second. Not going to steal anything I promise."
"Dr Stark please, it's nothing. Mr Crane doesn't like people poking around his things."
"I'm just…" Edward trailed off as he turned the corner and tried to come to terms with what he was seeing.
"Dr Stark?" She asked, anxiety plain on her face. Not that he noticed, he was too busy staring at whatever was before him.
"What… the fuck… is that?" It was all he could muster at that moment. Eventually, Snow caught up to him, and walked to see what he was talking about.
"Dr Stark, I-"
"I am looking, at a fucking green monkey with wings. I know it's early but I'm not hallucinating." The winged monkey was just looking back at him, wide-eyed. "I know your name's Snow White, but I didn't expect to be literally living a fairy-tale!"
It was at that moment that Crane walked in and noticed the scene before him.
"Miss Snow what the hell is…" He trailed off when he noticed Edward staring at Bufkin.
"Dr Stark, I see you have discovered our office pet."
Edward simply turned to him. "Office pet? It is a monkey. With wings."
Crane sighed and turned to Snow.
"Miss Snow, fetch the memory wipe spell out of-"
"Wait a fucking second, memory wipe? Spell? What the fuck is going on here? I thought I was investing in a community not a fucking cult!" He couldn't believe what was happening.
"Sir, we can use him!" Snow argued.
"Use me? What-"
"I'm trying to help you here!" Snow interrupted. Edward stopped speaking. He had no idea what to do.
"Oh, is that right? Please Miss Snow, enlighten me!"
"He is, if you read the newspapers, officially the smartest man in the world. He's also one of the richest. He also is seemingly a good person. I'm sure, if we were to actually explain what's going on, he'll be happy to help. Besides, we have a vacancy available, don't we?"
"Please, you cannot think he is qualified to-"
"Was Bigby qualified?" She shot back.
Edward wanted to say he appreciated her opting to tell him just what he had walked into, and also that he had four doctorates and that he was sure that those qualified for something, but he held his tongue, not knowing the full context. That was an ability that he possessed that his brother didn't- knowing when to shut up.
"If you explain to him, and he wants to help, then fine. But if he messes up, exposes us, it will fall onto you, Miss Snow."
"Fine by me." She replied, her brows narrowed and eyes cold. Even then she was gorgeous. She turned to him then, her icy blue eyes locking onto his darker, midnight blue ones.
"Please, take a seat, Dr Stark, I believe I owe you an explanation." The once friendly demeanour she held was replaced by one that was serious and professional. He wished for the other one to return, but sat down anyway, Crane leaving the office at the same time.
"Okay, Miss White, please help me understand, before I feel like I've gone insane."
Out of all the things that he had ever heard, this was the strangest. Fables were real. Actual people from mystical lands. The green winged monkey was called Bufkin, and he had been talking to THE Snow White. The actual one. She was real and talking to him. Magic was a thing, and the community that he had invested in was full of different fables, and they called their community, 'Fabletown'. It wasn't exactly original, but it had been made hundreds of years ago, so he gave it a pass.
The vacancy Miss White had been talking about was Fabletown Sheriff. The previous Sheriff had been a Fable called Bigby Wolf, also known as the Big Bad Wolf. He had left, however. Apparently, he struggled to do his job when every Fable hated him and decided to carve out his own path in life, away from Fabletown. No one could really stop him when he decided to leave, so now the Sheriff position was open. Edward wasn't really sure what to think about that, being law enforcement, especially in an area he didn't really know. Honestly though, it seemed it was either that, or have his memory wiped. Sure, he could have agreed but left and never go back to the place ever again, but he didn't know what they were capable of with all the magic, and he didn't feel like calling their bluff on that particular issue, so he agreed.
Snow seemed relieved. He was too, but probably not for the reasons she was. She called back Crane in to break the news, and he mentioned he'd have to write a letter to King Cole, who was apparently coming back in the next few days. He went away often, apparently, leaving Crane to do most of the day-to-day operations. He thought Crane was weak and annoying when he first met him, but somewhat polite. Now, after being 'enlightened' as he liked to put it, he thought Crane was nothing more than an asshole. A weak and pathetic asshole, but an asshole nonetheless, who wielded more power than he knew what to do with.
It had taken them quite a while to get through the main gist of their history, meaning that Edward was looking forward to his fully furnished, yet small apartment. He had them move some of his clothes in too, so he'd at least be able to change.
He left the business office, claiming he needed time to adjust to whatever the hell had just happened. It was true. Even though he'd accepted, he still hadn't fully come to terms with it. He entered his apartment to see a pleasant surprise. Old furniture had vanished. The old table had been replaced with a brand new one. The old blue chair had gone, being replaced with a black one, made from expensive fabric. There were two doors on the right as you walked on. The nearest to the front door led to the bathroom, and the other led to the bedroom.
The kitchen had a new fridge-freezer, and the ceiling light had been replaced with a chandelier, and there had been lamps placed on the table next to the armchair, and on the new desk that was where the old one was, and the phone had been placed on that desk too.
Edward collapsed onto his bed.
What a day.