IRON KAORU

by Gunman

Disclaimer: I do not own Ai Yori Aoshi or Iron Man.

Summary: Kaoru is chosen to head the Stark Enterprises Asian branches, but is also one of the new successors to the Iron Man legacy.

Authors Notes: This story takes place, in the manga, at the beginning of Chapter 53: Ieji-the road home. (This is what is says in the manga, don't hate me if it's wrong.)

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Chapter 1

Successor

It's almost Ten O'Clock... Miyabi thought. Perhaps... Aoi-sama and Kaoru-dono have run off together, escaping both their families. Aoi-sama will probably never go back to the Sakuraba. But... perhaps it's better this way. Aoi-sama should pursue her joy... and it's clearly with Kaoru-dono.

Miyabi stared at the sky, thinking about how this whole thing had started.

Aoi's father had called his daughter back to their family estate in order to have her marry, or at least meet, another worthy successor.

Naturally Aoi was against that idea. However, her father was insistent on this.

Aoi finally agreed to it, but only if Miyabi would fetch Kaoru from their summer mansion, where he and the others (Tina, Taeko and Uzume) were staying, and bring him to her so that she could spend one last day with him.

This had been successful, as the pair found themselves happy with every second they were together.

But ultimately, their time was up.

While Miyabi wasn't really sure Kaoru was actually worthy of Aoi, since he had left the Hanabishi family due to personal issues, Aoi didn't care. She loved him, and believed with all her heart that they were meant to be together.

As she had told Miyabi once, 'There Is No One Else For Me! NO ONE! It's Kaoru Or It's Nothing!'

The mauve-haired woman was brought out of her thoughts as a familiar voice caught her ear.

"MIYABI-SAAAAN!" Aoi Sakuraba shouted.

"Miyabi-san, Wait Up!!" Kaoru Hanabishi shouted.

The pair rushed up to the woman.

"Sorry, Miyabi-san, we're a little late..." he huffed.

"Kaoru-dono... why?!" Miyabi asked.

"Eh?!" Aoi asked.

"N-No..." he started

"Are you really... okay with this, Kaoru-dono?" Miyabi asked.

He smiled. "Yeah. I don't want Aoi-chan to go through what I did. It really is better to have a place to go home to." he answered.

"Oh, Kaoru-dono..." Miyabi said with a solemn expression.

"Kaoru-sama..." Aoi said, even sadder.

The trio were silent for a few minutes, until Miyabi broke the silence.

"...Well then, let's go, Aoi-sama." Miyabi said.

"Kaoru-sama..." the girl said sadly.

Suddenly, she paused.

"Aoi-sama?" Miyabi gasped as the younger woman had stopped behind her.

"Let's go home." Aoi said.

"Eh?!" Miyabi gasped as Aoi grabbed her hand and ran back to Kaoru.

"Wait... A-Aoi-sama?!"

"Kaoru-sama, let's all go home!!" Aoi said with a smile. "Miyabi-san, too!!"

"Me?!" the older woman gasped.

"Aoi-chan..." Kaoru said with a smile.

"I have someplace real to go home to. It's where you are... and where Miyabi-san is. Evan Tina-san... and Taeko-san. Plus Uzume-chan! That house is where my friends are... so it's the place I call home." she declared.

Miyabi looked unsure about this, but Kaoru had a contented smile on his face.

"Let's Go Home. To OUR home." she said with a bright smile.

Suddenly, as the trio were headed back to Miyabi's car, a quartet of black SUV's roared through the city streets and stopped right in front of them. The second they did, a group of dark-suited men and women exploded from the vehicles and surrounded them all.

"What the..." Kaoru gasped.

"Uh-oh!" Miyabi gasped.

"Did father send these people?" Aoi asked her guardian.

"I don't know." Miyabi replied.

"Kaoru Hanabishi?" the lead agent, an attractive woman with red hair and thin glasses said.

The trio looked confused as it was Kaoru who was being addressed. If Aoi's father had sent them, shouldn't they be here for her?

"Y-Yes?" Kaoru answered.

"My name is Pepper Pots. I need you to come with us, right now." the woman said.

"Uh..."

"Why?!" Aoi shouted. "Kaoru-sama has done nothing wrong!"

Pepper looked at the girl in the Japanese kimono.

"I'm aware of that, miss. However, this is a matter of great importance." she stated.

"Then I wish to come too!" she declared.

Pepper looked at Kaoru.

"You're girlfriend?" she asked.

"Fiancée, actually." Kaoru honestly confessed, which caused Aoi to warm.

"Congratulations." she smiled. "But this is most urgent."

"If it is so, then we will both accompany Kaoru-dono." Miyabi said. "I am Miyabi Kagurazaki and this is Aoi Sakuraba." she introduced.

Pepper nodded and motioned them to the SUV's.

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The group spent the next two hours headed back to Tokyo, where they stopped in front of a huge modern looking, 60-story building with a large red and gold 'S' on the front of it.

Miyabi recognized the symbol.

"Aoi-sama, Kaoru-dono... This is the Japanese Branch Headquarters of Stark Enterprises." she said to them.

"Stark Enterprises?" Aoi asked.

"Huh? Are you sure?" Kaoru asked.

"Yes. I have stock in this company." she explained.

"Really?"

"This way, please." Pepper said as the trio were lead into the large building.

They passed through the large lobby that was elaborately decorated in Japanese motif, dragon and tiger statues, samurai suits of armor, wall scrolls, even a large Koi pond with a fountain. There were dozens of people coming and going, most of them wearing business suits. They parted of course when Pepper and her associates marched through the large lobby.

The trio took a large elevator up to the main conference room that was on the 40th floor.

Aoi clung to Kaoru's arm tightly, feeling rather insignificant in the presence of such a place.

The conference room was large and spacious. A polished white oak conference table in the center of the room, pentagon shaped with a hollow center to allow a person, or several persons, to have the whole rooms attention, was surrounded on the outside by comfortable leather chairs. There was a large red and gold 'S' in the middle of the floor itself. There were no overhanging lights, which would have gotten in the way of the large video monitors that were opposite of each boarder of the pentagon conference table. Meaning that if one were to sit on any of the outer sides of the table they would be looking at one of the five movie theater-sized video monitors.

Pepper instructed the trio to sit on one side of the conference table as the guards closed the doors, sealing the quartet inside.

Suddenly, the monitor in front of them blazed to life.

Within a few seconds, an elderly but handsome face appeared on the monitor.

(Are we on?) The elderly man asked, his voice reverberating over the loudspeakers.

"Loud and clear, sir!" Pepper spoke into the air.

(Excellent. Now that we're all here, we can get down to business.) The man said as four smaller screens popped up around him, each one having a different person on it.

To Kaoru, Aoi and Miyabi's point of view, the upper right screen showed a blond haired young man from his hair to his shoulders. The lower right screen showed a dark haired young man. The upper left hand screen showed a dark skinned young man. The lower left hand screen showed a reddish blond haired young man.

Kaoru and Aoi looked at each other, naturally confused who these other people were, but Miyabi was curious as to who the older man was.

I know that face... but where from? She wondered about the elderly man in the middle. Suddenly it came to her as the man spoke again.

(Greetings to all of you. My name is Tony Stark, owner and CEO of Stark Enterprises.) The man said aloud, apparently to the other people on the screens as well.

The group acknowledged him in their own way.

(Considering the differences in Time Zones, I'll cut right to chase. I have assembled all of you today for a very specific purpose. I am planning to retire soon and need a successor to take over the daily operations of my company.)

Everyone's eyes popped wide open. Was he considering one of them?

(And before anyone starts wondering, I have already selected my successor. You.)

Kaoru and the four other young men on the screens stared back at each other, wondering who he was talking about.

(I mean you. All of you. You five.) He explained better.

"WHAT?!!" the quintet said in unison.

(You see, when I first took over Stark Enterprises back in the late 70's, the company was only based in the United States of America. Since then I've branched out to virtually every corner of the globe. The running of a multi-national corporation is stressful enough for a young man, but to manage all of the Stark Enterprises's facilities required more than just one. Especially since there are 25 major industrial facilities world-wide. Given this, I decided to divide this responsibility amongst five individuals to handle the five different regions where these facilities are located.)

The quintet of young men, including Kaoru, was starting to see where this was going.

(Each of you has been chosen from an extremely extensive research initiative that I instigated years ago.)

The video monitor to the right of the main screen came to life, showing a digital map of the world, with the United States and Canada illuminated. The upper right hand screen boarders surrounding the blond haired young man on the main screen started flashing.

(From America I selected Mr. Simon West to run the five Stark Enterprise facilities in New York, California, Texas, Toronto and Vancouver.) Tony said.

The video map monitor changed to show the European countries illuminated. The lower right hand screen surrounding the dark haired young man started flashing.

(From Europe I selected Marceau Verdant to handle the five Stark Enterprise facilities in England, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany.)

The video map monitor changed again to show the continent of Africa now illuminated. The upper left hand screen surrounding a dark skinned young man started flashing.

(From Africa I have selected Ayo Kwami to oversee the four Stark Enterprise companies in Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar and Wakanda.)

The video map monitor changed to show the island continent of Australia now illuminated. The lower left hand screen surrounding a reddish blond haired young man started flashing.

(From Australia I have selected Nick Duneland to manage the four Stark Enterprise facilities in Australia located in Sydney, Brisbane, Port Hedland, and an aquatics facility located ten miles off the Southern Coast.)

The video map monitor changed again to now display the Asian countries, which was a lot larger than the other regions areas. Attention seemed to shift to Kaoru now as Stark spoke once again.

(From Japan I have chosen Kaoru Hanabishi to take over the seven Stark Enterprise Asian facilities located in Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Beijing, Singapore and India.)

The group was thoroughly stunned at what they were being told.

Miyabi was actually smiling at this. Not only was Kaoru-dono getting the majority of the facilities, but this was actually the answer to their major problem.

(Now, let me explain the details of this.) Stark said as the information set in. (First: I have only chosen five successors for these regions since there are no Stark Enterprise facilities in Russia, South America or the Middle East. Second: I have chosen all of you based upon extensive background and psychological research. All of you are considered good, honest, hard-working individuals who will not abuse your positions for any measure of self-interest. Three: Each of you will be responsible for your individual regions, in all that entails. This means, if you accept, you will be the owners and CEO's of these regions. They will be yours to do with as you please. And Four: Since you are a type of Board of Directors, all of you will be required to attend monthly meetings, via satellite tele-conferencing, to communicate with each other to keep yourselves informed about any and all new developments regarding your individual regions. Aside from that, what you do is your own business. Also, there is one final addendum.)

Just then, Pepper Pots walked up behind Kaoru and set a leather bound folder in front of him and opened it, setting a pen down on the paper and stepping back. Miyabi noticed that each of the other successors appeared to have someone else with them, handing them a folder as well.

(I am planning to announce my retirement one week from today, Eastern Standard New York time.) Stark explained. (The folders that my trusted assistants have placed in front of you are the legal documents stating that I am handing over controlling interest of your particular region to each of you. The five facilities in North America to Simon, the five facilities in Europe to Marceau, the four facilities in Africa to Ayo, the four facilities in Australia to Nick, and the seven facilities in Asia to Kaoru. By signing these documents now, you will have immediate control of all assets and resources connected to these facilities for a full week before it is announced to the world. I know that some of you have college and other graduate studies pending, however, this is something that should be given serious consideration. And knowing the type of people you are, I am sure you will make the right decision.)

With that, Tony Stark's face vanished from the main screen, leaving five young man staring back at each other.

Kaoru watched as two of them, Marceau and Nick, signed right away, their video monitors blinking out. Ayo was next, followed a couple minutes later by Simon.

Once they had signed and vanished from the main screen, only Kaoru was left.

The young Japanese man stared at the legal documents, unmoving, as if he were afraid of them.

To be honest, he was unsure about what to do.

Stark had dropped a heck of a bomb in their laps. And from the expressions on all of their faces, they were all finding out about this at the exact same time. While the others had chosen to accept the offer, Kaoru had yet to do so. And he was wondering if he should.

"Kaoru-sama?" Aoi asked softly, placing her hands on his arm as if to offer him some comfort.

"Aoi... what do I do?" he asked, obviously upset by all this. "I mean... the Stark Enterprise Asian Region? It's... it's more than I could have ever hoped to achieve!"

"I know." she said. "But Stark-san did say that he had complete confidence in you."

"But... this is just so sudden!" he gasped.

"There is an upside to this." Miyabi suddenly said.

"Upside?" Kaoru asked, eager to know what it was.

"Really?" Aoi asked, also wanting to know.

"Yes. If you take control of Stark's Asian Region now... the Sakuraba family will have no choice but to see you as worthy of Aoi-sama." Miyabi explained.

Kaoru's eyes shot wide open at that.

"You mean..." Aoi gasped, hoping this meant what she thought it would.

"It would mean... that Aoi-sama's family would no longer try to engage her to another suitor, and you would no longer have to hide from a potential scandal. You would be free to express your love for each other without fear." she said with a confident smile.

Before Aoi could say anything, Kaoru quickly snatched up the pen and signed his name to the documents.

Sufficed to say, he was sold.

"Excuse me?" Miyabi said to Pepper. "Would it be possible to have a copy of these documents?"

"That would be up to Kaoru-dono now." Pepper said, looking at the young man.

"Uh... what for, Miyabi-san?" Kaoru asked the mauve-haired woman.

"To show to the Sakuraba family as proof of your newfound status and wealth." Miyabi explained.

"Then yes. I'll permit the copies to be made for Miyabi-san." he said to Pepper.

"Understood, sir. I'll be back with the copies in just a few minutes." Pepper said as she scooped up the leather folder. She paused before heading out the door. "Oh, Kaoru-dono."

"Yes?"

"These are for you as well." she said, taking a small wooden box from a small table sitting in the back of the conference room and handing it to him.

"Huh? What's this?"

"Your new pass cards, bank card, and new financial information." Pepper said as she bowed then turned and walked out.

"My what?" he asked, obviously confused.

Kaoru set the box on the table and then opened it. Inside were two metallic cards, one silver the other gold, with the Stark 'S' logo on it. Next to that was a universal banking card that sat on top of a small cream-colored envelop.

Kaoru took the envelop and opened it, finding a letter inside.

(Dear Kaoru,

If you are reading this letter, it means you have accepted my offer and are now the CEO of the Stark Asian region. The three cards I have left you are very important. The banking card can be used at any ATM, bank, or business like a debit card. The total amount of your new fortune, and it is yours by legal right now, is written on the back of this letter. The two metal cards are even more important. Please pick them up and place your thumb over the logo. But make sure only YOU pick them up.)

Kaoru set the letter down and picked up the two metal cards, holding one in each hand, his thumb over the logos. The two cards seemed to glow and hum slightly, then stopped. Kaoru and the others looked confused. Kaoru went back to the letter.

(If you have done as I instructed, the two metal cards have now scanned your DNA via your thumb. This means that only you will be able to use these cards to access all levels of your new facilities. Special DNA scanners have also been installed in the facilities to allow you unlimited access via the cards. The silver card accesses every floor and room in the building itself. The gold card accesses the floors below street level. These lower levels are for you and you alone. Take good care of your new responsibility, Kaoru-dono.

Sincerely, Anthony Stark, former CEO and owner of Stark Enterprises.)

Kaoru looked at Aoi slightly confused, and then turned over the letter.

"Ooooooooooooooh." Kaoru gasped as he suddenly fell to the floor.

"KAORU-SAMA!" Aoi cried out as she rushed to his side.

"What happened?" Miyabi asked as she picked up the letter and turned it over.

Her eyes went wide before she too passed out after staring at the incredibly large bank account that Kaoru now possessed. An amount that was in dollars, not yen, and as such, ridiculously high.

"Oh. I see he read the back of the letter." Pepper Pots said as she suddenly reentered the room.

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Author's Notes:

Hope everyone liked this first chapter of my Ai Yori Aoshi/Iron Man crossover.

This is also my third Ai Yori Aoshi story, after 'New Cars' and 'Blue Eyes of Love'.

Just so people know, Ayo is Nigerian meaning happiness. Marceau is Latin meaning hammer. I chose this name because it sounded the most European. Also, 'Simon West' is intentionally named for Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, who in the comics was a rival businessman of Tony Stark's before he became the ionic-powered Wonder Man.

The original material for this story came from the idea that Aoi's family wanted their daughter to be engaged to a person of wealth and status, despite what Aoi wanted and what she wanted was to be with Kaoru. But since Kaoru had left Hanabishi he didn't really have anything that could be offered to her in that way.

So, in order to give this story substance/plot I decided to make Kaoru a successor to Tony Stark's company. But since running a major industrial corporation would be difficult and all, I chose to lessen the burden by dividing up Stark Enterprises into Regions and giving each Region its own CEO and owner.

Hope that makes sense to everyone. By doing this, I am freeing up Kaoru to spend more time with Aoi than he would have if he took over ALL of Stark Enterprises.

Anyway, hope everyone enjoyed the story and will bless me with lots of reviews.

Next Chapter: Kaoru and the others find out they have also inherited the Iron Man legacy.