O.K. I have a break between exams, so I'm going to post.
Notes on Characters: Davey is also known as the Human Top, one of the Kid Commandoes and later of V Battalion. Full information on all of these can be found on Wikipedia (click for pages ). Information on Spitfire can be found here.
I blame the conversation with Dr Dundee on a comment left on lj user="pervygirl" fic "No matter how dark the night", which suggested the possibility of a Bruce with OCD in another world. I did some research on it, to see if it was possible he suffered from it in cannon. I found Obsessive Compulsive Personality disorder. I leave it up to you as to how well this fits. The scene between Tony and Ms Marvel, I admit is borrowed from the "Mask in the Iron man". It's in Tony's Hallucination, in there. I thought it was a great scene and very close to the truth, so I made it real.
I hope if people like this, they will let me know.
Previous chapter here
There was something wrong about the kitchen, Carol thought as she spread the New York Times over the table.
At first glance, everything appeared fine, table laid for breakfast, Jarvis at the stove, cooking, even a pot of hot chocolate in a silver pot standing on a tray by the table. But something was missing.
Just like with the Avengers, she thought, switching on the coffee machine, even though she couldn't stand the stuff.
"Thought you didn't like coffee." A voice at her elbow made her turn. Cat stood there in full SHIELD Uniform.
"What are you doing here?" Carol asked, avoiding the question. Cat shrugged.
"Fury's still mad at me after yesterday. So while Sharon's out of action I am the official liaise with the Avengers and their guests."
Carol smiled. "Fury's getting soft in his old age."
"More a case of lack of agents." Cat replied, pouring herself some hot chocolate. "Stomach flu's all over SHIELD, barely got enough agents for a single shift." She took a sip. "Reminds me, are our guests up yet?"
Carol shook her head. "Kid literally fell asleep as soon as he sat down in the Quinjet. I basically carried him upstairs and he never stirred." She poured herself a mug before continuing. "It seemed a shame to wake him, so I just let him sleep. And Cap and the other guy weren't back till nearly midnight. Steve hasn't even got up yet for his morning run." She stared down at her mug, as through it contained not chocolate granular, but tea. "I'm going to visit Tony later on."
Cat nodded. "That would be a good idea," she said slowly, her face grave, "as my brilliant plan appears to have a slight hitch-"
The sound of a voice raised in anger echoed through the house.
"Thanks for this," Cat said, carefully handing the bag over to Davey. "I was hoping to talk to Cap before he found out, but I over looked his habit of reading every paper in the English world."
"And the Gotham Times, this morning carried a report on the activities of Batman and Robin on its front page." Davey finished softly, shaking his head. Cat nodded.
"Believe me, the full lecture on the subject of sidekicks is bad enough, but when Rhodey and Peter decided to wade in..." she shook her head. "I had to protect the innocents."
Davey nodded. "As I said on the phone, we're running a training session with the kids. Couple more or less isn't really going to make a great deal of difference."
He watched as the two boys, both dark haired climbed out of the flying car. He wandered if it was his imagination or if the smallest one really looked that green. It was only with a jerk that he realized that Cat was still talking.
"Taken them with me, but with the stomach flu on the Helicarrier, the last thing we need is it been passed on the Avengers." She might have said more, but the beeper on her belt went off. She glanced at it and grimaced.
"Sure." Davey agreed. "Hey Cat." She turned in her seat, as she started up the engine. "The Avengers. We heard about Tony... are you guys O.K.?"
The momentary pause confirmed his suspicions of a lie. "Yeah." Cat said, firmly. "We're fine."
"I'm not a specialist in eating disorders." Dr. Dundee had said this on the phone and twice since they had entered his office, but Samson still nodded.
"Neither am I. But Tony Stark is my patient and your name was on the forms, so I was hoping..."
"That I could give you some insight into what caused it." Dundee sighed. "As I said, I'm not a specialist in eating disorder, my actual specials is Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. I took Stark on as a favor to another patient."
"Bruce Wayne." Samson guessed.
Dundee smiled. "You know I can't tell you that. All I will say is that as the records indicate I was given a false name. Stark had been seen by the staff physiarist at the hospital and was starting to eat more normally. I will give you my opinion that he checked himself out before he was ready, but that was his right and so on."
"Tony can be a difficult patient." Samson said, smiling dryly.
Dundee made no response.
"What was the diagnosis?" Samson asked, though he'd read the reports.
"Anorexia nervosa" Dundee replied. "I won't bore you with the details, but suffices to say we had evidence that he'd been either avoiding food or purging for a little under a year when it was detected."
He paused at Samson's expression.
"I take it, it has been happening for longer this time?"
"At least two years." He paused, uncertain how to phrase the question. "Doctor I hate to ask this, but during the time you were treating Stark did you observe any evidence of...self harm?" he trailed off weakly. The only evidence he had for his theory was the word of a woman committed for her own safety, and a Skrull, but he was fairly certain he was right.
"Not necessarily." Dundee wandered over and surveyed the view that his window supplied. "I know that I noticed scratches, or cuts on Stark's fist a couple of times that I was at a loss to explain. Stark claimed accidents, and B... the patient who recommend him, clammed up more than usual when questioned." He looked uncomfortable. Samson was fairly sure he didn't look much better.
"I'm aware a sufferer is never fully cured," Samson said, slowly, "but was Tony in remission?"
The expression on Dundee's face became fierce.
"In my professional opinion no. The disorder itself was in remission, but the underlying issues remained unsolved." He sighed. "I admit I allowed myself to be influenced by personal feelings, a mistake I made twice. Bru... my patient's symptoms were reduced by their relationship. And I let my past with his father blind me to the fact that he needed help."
He turned back to face Samson, "I hope you can do what I could not and help them both."
Samson didn't think that he could say anything.
This was ridiculous.
He was trapped in a room about the size of the bathroom at Stark towers. The ensuite bathroom had a lock on it, so he had to call a nurse if he wanted to use it, then he/she stood and watched while he did his business, to make sure he didn't make himself sick.
Like the expression on Steve's face wasn't motive enough.
And everyone kept telling him it was for his own good! They keep talking to him, trying to get through to him. He overheard Samson and the staff phyarist talking. Words like suicidal, irrational, depressed kept floating around. He wasn't even sure he cared anymore.
They couldn't understand. He had accepted that a long time ago.
Who knew that Extremis added so much weight? It had been after he got Extremis that things started to go downhill, so if he could get himself back to the weight he was before Extremis, then things had to start getting better, they just had too.
He lost the weight he gained while on the run and Steve had come back. Maybe if he worked hard enough he could get Happy back soon.
He nodded to himself. The lock didn't look that difficult, and Tony Stark had built his first suit of amour in a cave from scrap metal.
Carefully he pushed the covers away and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. The whirring was back in his ears, but he ignored it.
Glancing around to check that the nurses were too busy with other patients and weren't likely to look in, He placed his feet on the floor and force himself to his feet.
Instantly the world span, and the next thing he knew, he was looking at the pebble dashed pattern on the floor. He groaned.
This was ridiculous. HE was so weak, so pathetic that he couldn't even stand without-
"Need a hand big guy?" there was a black glove under his arm, and blonde hairs, too long for Steve trailing across his face.
"Carol?" he muttered, trying to focus.
"At your service." As though he weighed nothing more than a new born kitten, Carol lifted him and placed him back on the bed.
"Don't try doing that without help huh?" she said, pushing the call button slightly.
"What are you doing here?" Carol blinked at the expressionless, hopeless voice that was talking to her. "Did you just come to mock me, to rub my face in it?"
"What?" Carol's face displayed genuine horror and surprise. "No Tony. I just wanted to return the favor. You were there for me when I was struggling with the bottle. It took some time, but you helped me see thought he pain of my own ego. With you as my sponsor…I'm sober now because of you."
"Well I'm really happy for you."
Why was he doing this? Carol was his friend, one of those who'd stood by him when no one else would,
And you screwed her over a voice in the back of his head reminded him.
"Now. GO AWAY! Go on; get your little Ms Marvel kiester out of here! I don't want anyone seeing me this way!"
Least of all Steve.
"What gives you the right to think you of all people could help me?"
Carol fought to control her temper, but it was no use.
"What gives me the right? What gives me the right? Tony I'm your friend for crying out loud! What do you mean all those speeches, all those lectures were just you talking out of the side of your mouth? What was it, Tony? A sympathy thing? Was I just few good points on your karmic wheel? I thought you cared!"
She had to stop. If she didn't, she'd say something she'd regret. She turned rapidly and began walking away.
"No, Carol. It wasn't… it isn't like the…"
"I've got to go, Stark!" she pushed past the nurse, trying not to hear the cry that came after her.
"There, there darlin'." There were times when Wolverine regretted his decision to join the Avengers. Supporting Carol, while she sobbed on his shoulder and resisting the desire to go and beat up Stark was one of them.
"I just… I can't believe…" she hiccupped. Wolverine breathed in her scent, a mixture of pomegranates from her shampoo, unstable molecules of her costume and the underlying scent of Carol Danver. He fought to remember what it smelt like without tears.
"It ain't Stark talking to you."
"You'd… better not be suggesting…that …that Tony's…" she couldn't finish.
"No, but it's the same basic principle." Logan ran his hands through his hair, wandering how to condense nearly sixty years of observation into some comforting words. "After a while, what he's doing, it gets addictive, as much as drugs or alcohol. And as deadly, 'haps even more so." He paused, slowly. "You can't help them, 'less they wanna be helped. All you can do is be there for them."
Carol sniffed, and nodded, getting control of herself.
"Thanks Logan." She paused, at the sound of footsteps in the corridor. "I'd best go…"
She paused by the door.
"Logan, I'm sorry, but I have to ask did you…?"
"Never gone down that route darlin'." Logan's voice was soft, but it seemed to betray the owner's age unintentionally. "Just lost some friends to it."
It was easy to tell which one Cat had trained, Davey thought, watching the kids train under Spitfire.
The moves he used were similar to Bucky's and his own, but the passion bubbling beneath the surface was so similar to Cat's that a couple of times he had to make sure that it wasn't the church hall in 1939 with himself not his grandson attempting to beat the street child.
An attempt that was made all the more difficult when he realized that Darren had managed to pin Jason. He watched, grateful for the passage of the years, as Jason's struggles became less controlled, more desperate as Darren's grip tightened.
He winced, spotting before his grandson, the knee that desperately came up and more by luck than design made contact with one of its possible targets. Darren double up, rolling off Jason without a moment's thought. Jason rolled too, but instinctively, into an attack position.
His breathing was rapid and his eyes darted around the room as though daring the others to attack him. None of them did so.
"O.k." Spitfire said, slowly, taking in the situation. "Let's call it a day huh?"
The others nodded, slowly, leaving the room. Jason left last of all, with a brief glance at Darren who still lay on the floor.
"Could be worse," Davey observed, helping his grandson to his feet. "When I did that to Cat, she spat in my eye before kicking me in the balls."
Bruce Wayne was the rudest, the most arrogant man that Steve Rogers had ever had the misfortune to meet.
He had given the man a quite reasonable explanation of why using children as sidekicks was a bad plan and the man had just refused to listen.
Things had got heated fairly rapidly after that. He wasn't entirely sure what had been said but it had ended with Cat, slightly unceremoniously, thrusting him out of the door of the Avenger's mansion and telling him to run over to the hospital to see Tony.
It hadn't been a bad idea. What with one thing and another, he'd missed his morning runs since Tony was admitted and the morning sunshine was good. He closed his eyes and tried to erase the image of Tony looking like the skeletal figures he rescued from the Nazi death camps from his mind.
Logically he accepted that there was nothing he could do about it, that Tony had to make the decision to get well on his own but emotionally he couldn't accept that.
So he was going to be there and talk to Tony. Pretty much, he was the first to admit, in the same manner he used when Tony was comatose or similar, in the hope that on some level some of what he was saying would reach him and snap him out of this.
He was so lost in his thoughts; he didn't notice that he had hit a road...