Out of time

Fandom: Sherlock Holmes/Iron Man movie-verse
Genre: crossover, crack
Rating: PG for homoerotic overtones. This is Tony Stark, after all.
Warnings: None, except hinky science, and some swearing. Changing POVs. Oh, and it's crack.

Author's Note: This was inspired by RDJ, who plays both Sherlock and Iron Man, being quoted as saying: "A time travel thing. It's a great idea. I'll cross-pollinate my own double-franchise… That's pathetic. The fact that I even thought of that is pathetic." Well, I'm obviously even more pathetic for writing it.

Chapter I

There was a gigantic explosion. Iron Man, being right on top of it, didn't even have time to curl up into an instinctive fetal position before he was hit by the concussion wave and blasted an indeterminate but probably considerable distance. His head up display went dark even as his own senses faded for a few seconds.

Tony's consciousness was back online before Jarvis was. "Systems rebooting" was the slightly blurry message he could see on the HUD even as the swishing sounds that got through his helmet told him that he was, incredibly, still air-borne, and going at high speeds. Some blast, he thought, bracing himself for the impact that surely was imminent. Apruptly, his display and systems fizzled to life just in time for him to fire up his boot thrusters and repulsors, barely avoiding crashing into a building that suddenly loomed up right in front of him.

Heart pounding, senses awash with adrenaline, he gained altitude and hovered in vertical flight mode to assess his situation.

The blast site was nowhere in sight. For that matter, the UK division of his company wasn't, either. In fact, London suddenly looked completely different, with almost all buildings higher than four floors gone, and if it weren't for the familiar landmarks of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben to his left, he would have thought he'd overshot London somehow and ended up God knew where.

"Um, Jarvis..." he began.

"I have lost contact with the mainframe," the AI's disembodied voice informed him at the same time. "Satellite feeds are down. No contact with - no contact with anything, Sir." Jarvis sounded puzzled.

Tony could sympathize. "I assume GPS is down as well?" He didn't really need to know his exact position anyway. This was London. He'd bet his controlling interest in Stark Industries on that.

"Affirmative. I am picking up a number of unusual pollution factors in the air. Also, barometric pressure and temperature have changed drastically from five minutes ago."

He was beginning to see where this was going. "Show me the electric grid down there," he ordered Jarvis.

The AI superimposed some lines onto the HUD. Disconcertingly few lines. London's electricity supply was now apparently limited to half a dozen buildings, all linked to one single power station.

"Great," Tony said cheerfully. "This looks like the late 1800s. Another time slip. If nothing else, it'll give me the chance to prevent that explosion. All I have to do is get back a few minutes before I left. Jarvis, analyze your records of the blast and extrapolate the precise conditions I must recreate in order to get back to 2008 and my spectacular experiment failure. Apparently, the containment field wasn't quite as secure as I thought it was."

"Will do, Sir." There was a brief pause as the AI processed what must be terabytes of information. "It appears to have been the combined impact of the blast in conjunction with certain atmospheric and astronomical conditions that will not be reproducible within the foreseeable future."

"Hah," Tony commented. "Gives me time for sightseeing. I've always wanted to watch pre-electric engineering in action."

"Indeed, Sir. In the meantime, I suggest we avoid corrupting the timeline."

At this, Tony deflated a little. No pub-crawling, then, and no sampling the local - or should that be temporal? - nubile female population. Pity. "Right. Scan for life signs, and show me an area where I can get down unseen."

- Watson -

Sherlock Holmes, hunched over on one bony knee with the other at the same height as his head, carefully copied the minute impressions of the tyre tracks upon the dirt in front of him into his notebook while I turned to catch the warmth of the sun upon my face. It was a glorious day with a deep azure sky and a slight breeze just sufficient to prevent one from becoming overheated. The lush greens of the countryside, the twittering of the birds, and the companionable silence between us all contrived to make me a very happy fellow.

Holmes, of course, showed no signs of appreciation for his surroundings. "I think I have it," he announced, rising and brushing the dirt off his trousers. "That's thirteen different impressions recorded. My monograph is progressing nicely." With a nod, he pushed the bicycle over to the patiently waiting boy and the other machines that he had already examined. "Time for some divertissement."

Taking that as my cue, I hefted the picnic basket. "Ready whenever you are, Holmes."

We left the bicycle rental and proceeded on foot, both of us on the lookout for a suitable site to spread our blanket. "Isn't it glorious, Holmes?" I enthused, unable to keep silent any longer. "I swear, after all the gloom and doom of London, the countryside is getting fresher and greener to my eyes every time I come here."

"Quite pleasant," my friend agreed, an amused smile quirking up one side of his mouth as he looked at me. "One would wish such occasions offered themselves more often. As a matter of fact, I -" He fell silent, listening.

I, too, had heard the thunder, and I gazed, puzzled, at the cloudless sky.

"That sounded like an explosion," Holmes said, pointing. "From over there."

"Or it might have been a hunting party all happening upon the fox at the same time," I objected, fearing our peaceful outing would end now in favour of the game being afoot once more. "Besides, even if it was an explosion, it would surely be a matter for the police."

I expected him to state something upon the lines of any diversion being acceptable after the recent dearth of cases coming his way, but to my surprise, he demurred. "You are right, my dear fellow. In any case, it sounded like it was miles away -" Again, he interrupted himself, eyes fixed upon some point in the distance in an expression of utter surprise.

I followed his gaze, but could see nothing. "Holmes?"

"Must have been a trick of the light," he muttered, visibly trying to dismiss what he had seen. "Although I cannot imagine... Never mind. Let's set up camp over there."

Tony Stark was faced with a problem. A chain of problems, in fact, all hinging on the single fact that he must keep contact with the population of this time to a minimum while he waited for the window of opportunity to get back to his own time.

Normally, he would simply withdraw into his workroom - any workroom - and busy his mind with designing an upgrade for his armor or even just some small gadget like an electron field nullifier or whatever else might cross his mind. However, he had no access to anything - no local currency to buy parts or even food, no workshop, not even a roof over his head. Heck, not even any clothes apart from his underwear, which was sexy and perfectly acceptable in private or the right company, but certainly not in public in Victorian England. And his armor, a titanium-gold alloy exoskeleton capable of supersonic flight, was such a glaring anachronism that he could under no circumstances be seen with it.

On the other hand, he did have his armor. Therefore, he had emergency food of sorts for three days (even if it was disgusting astronaut's goop), he had mobility, protection, offensive weaponry, and company in the form of Jarvis. He had almost 80,000 songs in his mp3 library. The Arc reactor in his chest guaranteed that he would not run out of juice for the next several thousand years. While he definitely preferred silk-covered sheets and all the luxuries his multi-billion dollar personal fortune could afford him, he was not averse to roughing it for a few days, or for however long it would take.

"Could be worse," he muttered. "Jarvis? How is that time estimate coming along?"

"Astronomical conditions will be equivalent in 28 days," the AI's cool voice announced.

"Phase of the moon?" Tony snorted. "You're kiddin' me."

"I am not."

"Never mind. What about the other conditions?"

"There is no way, without satellite surveys, to accurately predict the weather conditions for this long a period."

Tony looked up at the cloudless sky. He could make his own weather surveys if he wanted to. His armor could bring him up into orbit within minutes, and he could even conceivably stay there for a few hours while Jarvis recorded meteorological data. But that would entail the risk of being seen, however minimal, so he would resort to flying only when there was no alternative.

"So, I'll have to stay off the radar - not that it's been invented yet - for a whole month while avoiding going insane with boredom, hunting game and gathering berries for food and sleeping in my armor, not to mention the fact that my sex life will be reduced to manifestations of my awesome manual dexterity. Then, there's a good chance that weather conditions won't be duplicated in 28 days, in which case I'll have to stay for another 28 days for more of the above, and so on and so on, until conditions happen to match. And then, provided I haven't gone bonkers by then, I'll have to blow shit up in close proximity with sufficient force to affect the time continuum, without, and this is the ironic part, without affecting the time I leave behind. Have I left out anything?"

"You'll have to be airborne at a specific place and distance from the ground and must be moving at a specific speed in a specific direction during the time jump, but other than that, no, I'd say you've summarized your predicament precisely."

"I have you for the specifics, Jarvis," Tony grumbled. Occasional stints of solitary designing and constructing aside, he was a social animal, and he loved flying in his armor too much to look forward to being grounded like this. "Here I am, as close to the steampunk age as I'm ever going to get, with steam-driven boats and trains all around me, and I can't even venture near anyone or anything for fear of being seen and having my great-grandmother falling in love with me, or something."

"Weren't your ancestors in the United States by this time?" Jarvis interrupted the litany.

Tony didn't lose a beat. "You know what I mean. If I interact with anyone, it would mean that they wouldn't be able to do whatever it was they were supposed to be doing without my interference, and that could affect the timeline. Not to mention the fact that any fluctuations in time might be picked up by any of my time-travelling foes who'd just love to wreak havoc with me here and now, when I can't even repair my armor adequately if it gets damaged. And can you imagine what a fight with Kang and his ilk would do to the timeline?" He looked at his densely wooded surroundings. "We'd accelerate Great Britain's deforestation single-handedly, for one, and add to the local folklore for another. No. I'd best make this forest my world for the next months. And if I start acting funny, Jarvis, you are instructed to disconnect my reactor to shut me down. I'm serious."

"But that would kill you, Sir."

"Not immediately. It might serve to bring me to my senses, though. Besides, dying in the past would be infinitely preferable to screwing up the future. Therefore, effective immediately, you're charged with monitoring my mental profile, and if there are deviations that exceed 51 percent from the established norm, you're ordered to negate Arc reactor output for however long it takes me to get my reason back online. Got it?"

"With great misgivings, Sir."

"I have a feeling that great misgivings will be a bit of a theme for the two of us for a while, Jarv. On the upside, nobody's actively trying to kill me right now, so I suppose that's something. Let's see about scaring up dinner."

- Watson -

"We seem to be given a choice, my dear Watson," Holmes pronounced. "Either we consume this excellent roast without the accompaniment of cranberries, or we shall have to sally forth into the undergrowth in search of some."

I grinned in response to his playful tone. "I move we stretch our legs a bit and see what we can find."

"And I second the motion, which makes it unanimous. I should even think that, in this deserted neck of the woods, it's safe to simply leave everything behind. The only thing that could happen is bears despairing of being able to open Mrs. Hudson's patented jars."

And so, we embarked upon a delightful stroll, trying to keep the location of our blanket in mind while moving in ever widening circles in search of the elusive red berries. Holmes regaled me with a recitation of recipes for cranberry chutneys he had happened upon, while I wondered if he remembered them because they had once had relevance to one of his cases, and if there existed a monograph penned by him, possibly titled, "upon the differences of the various cranberry chutneys and their application to the solving of crimes".

I was on the point of asking him that when we both came to an abrupt standstill.

We had moved through a thicket and reached a spot where it was possible to see quite far past the thick trunks of a cluster of old beeches. And there, about fifty yards away, stood a red-and-gold metal manlike figure with glowing eyes and a glowing lamp upon its chest, holding what appeared to be a rabbit in its metal hand.

Holmes and I exchanged a glance. Having tacitly agreed that we were both seeing the same impossible thing, we cautiously advanced towards it.

The metal man had noticed us, for he turned towards us, watching our approach with a posture that, incongruously, conveyed frustrated resignation in a way that I never would have expected from an inanimate object.

"From its dimensions, I should assume that there might be a man in there," Holmes told me sotto voce. "It looks like some elaborate suit of armour."

To my mind, it looked like a mechanical contraption of some sort that had somehow learned human movement. I would not get past the glowing eyes, the almost ethereal bluish light emanating from them and a circular hole in the thing's chest. If there were a man in there, I thought, he would have to have the source of that light embedded in his chest, and that was surely impossible.

We had by then approached the metal man sufficiently to make out the details of his surface, an intricate design of joints and overlapping segment-like covers clearly intended to provide full articulation, even if it - or he- was currently motionless.

"Good afternoon, Sir," Holmes addressed the metal man cheerfully, assuming the local dialect with the ease of a natural born actor. "Are you with the local hunt? You haven't by any chance seen a cranberry bush around here?"

There was a moment's silence, then the metal man responded, "Do I look like a hunter?" His voice sounded strange, somehow distorted, but the modulation was human, with a distinct American accent. Maybe, I thought, Holmes was right and there was a man in there. How else would such a thing be possible, after all? "Next cranberry bush is one hundred and twenty-sex meters thataway." One red-metal hand pointed, the other still holding the rabbit.

"Thank you," Holmes responded, eyes sparkling, clearly intrigued by this improbable encounter, and clearly having no intention of moving in the indicated direction. "And might I further trouble you for the time of day, Sir?"

"Fuck," the metal man responded clearly.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Sorry, I meant, how very unfortunate. You're Sherlock Holmes, and you're Dr. Watson. Of all the people to run into, it'd have to be you. So much for remaining inconspicuous. I assume you've already deduced my life story from way I hold my head or something, Mr. Holmes."

Now, Holmes' eyes were shining like stars. "Only parts of it as yet, and that much from the way you speak and appear rather than your body language. You were born on the East Coast of the USA but have spent a considerable part of your life on the West Coast, and you have considerable, if not formidable, engineering knowledge. This I gathered from your accent and from the contraption you are wearing, which surely was not manufactured in any of the factories I know. As for our names, it appears you have the advantage of us, Sir."

"Do the words 'non-disclosure agreement' mean anything to you?"

"Not as such, but you may be assured of our complete discretion."

There was a brief silence. I had the distinct impression that there was an unheard communication going on inside that metal shell that Holmes and I were not privy to.

"Good enough," the metal man finally said. There was a sharp, hissing sound, and then his golden faceplate moved up onto his head, revealing a handsome, very human face fringed with black hair and a well-groomed short black beard. "My name is Tony Stark. It seems I'm in a bit of a tight spot."

Holmes held out his hand, and Stark took it in his metal-clad one. "If we can be of assistance..."

Our new acquaintance held up his rabbit. "For now, I could really use something to go with that in exchange for bits of it. In the long run, I need to go underground until I can get back home, and believe me, it's a hell of a story."

"It's a hell of a story," Tony had said. The complicated part of it was that he could not, under any circumstances, tell the true story. Anything would be better than letting slip that he was from the future - the consequences for the timeline would certainly be disastrous. But of course, it was just his luck that his audience would have to contain the world's most astute reasoning and observing mind of his generation. Tony was used to spinning things to his customers or his board of directors if he wanted to achieve certain results, but fabricating a story out of whole cloth that was bulletproof enough to fool Sherlock Holmes would be a whole different ballgame, and one he was not at all sure he could pull off.

While he pondered the problem, another part of his mind was jumping up and down with excitement at being in the company with Sherlock Holmes. Tony had read some of the short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle as a bored seven-year-old. One story in particular, "The Engineer's Thumb", had made quite an impression on him as it depicted a hydraulic engineer applying the principles of his profession to another field, namely medicine, by using pressure to stop a heavy bleeding. It had taught Tony that physical laws were universal, and that being able to think outside the box could save your life. Then, of course, there had been the appeal of logic and intelligence triumphing over evil, and that being a genius in a particular field could be a force for good. Thus, to a boy who had written a computer operating system when he was ten, Sherlock Holmes had been something of a role model.

However, he had to admit that his imagination had provided him with a somewhat different mental image of the famous detective. The illustrations, while not dissimilar, had not done Holmes justice. The man was striking. Everything about him, from his whippet-thin body and abrupt, almost bird-like movements to his piercing eyes, spoke about a sense of purpose and a concentration of all his considerable faculties on the here-and-now. A force to be reckoned with. If Tony ever met such a man in his time, he would hire him for Stark Industries on the spot and worry about finding an adequate position for him later.

Then there was Holmes' faithful chronicler. Far from being the slow, portly gentleman Tony had imagined, Watson was, to put none too fine a point on it, hot. And very aware of it. There was a certain ease and confidence about the way the man held his body, something Tony had often seen in handsome men (and in the mirror), that just screamed "I'm too polite to say it aloud, but damn I'm pretty and good in the sack". Ordinarily, Tony would not be averse to taking Watson up on the unspoken promise, and, judging from the smirk he was receiving in return to his scrutiny of the good Doctor, Watson was thinking along similar lines.

Well, well. Tony felt his heart rate pick up a little at the prospect, and he returned the smirk with interest, only belatedly remembering that he was supposed to stay away from all sorts of contact with the temporal population. Well, too late anyway.

"Perhaps you would care to give us some indication on exactly what this 'tight spot' you find yourself in is, Mr. Stark," Holmes interrupted the moment.

Was that an undertone of miffedness? Tony wondered. Was the Great Detective peeved at the flirtation that he could hardly have missed, being such a good observer and all? Amused at the implications, Tony turned to Holmes, smirk still in place, and could stop himself just in time from telling him to call him Tony. 'Victorian England, Tony,' he reminded himself. 'No such shocking familiarities unless you're married.' The thought prompted the smirk to deepen.

"Well," he began, "as you can see, I'm field-testing a new piece of equipment." 'Don't mention flight capabilities, crude oil derivatives, integrated circuits, computer-assisted hydraulics, repulsors, reactors, jets, or Metallica,' he reminded himself. 'Doesn't leave much except the armored parts themselves, does it.' "It's an experimental body armor to be used in search-and-rescue operations. I built it in my home, and I'm thinking of selling it if it proves feasible, and if a way can be found to bulk manufacture it at a reasonable cost. I, uh, haven't patented any of it, so you can understand that I'm a little averse to my competitors spotting it, or me in it." So far, so good. Dissimulation was better than fabrication. Except for the fact that he had no intention of selling the technology, none of that had been an actual lie.

Holmes was nodding thoughtfully. "It is certainly a revolutionary idea and a novel design. Isn't it a bit heavy to be walking around in it, though?" He reached out a hand and briefly tapped a finger against Tony's armored shoulder.

Tony blinked, taking care to keep his thoughts off his features. 'Fishing. He's encouraging me, trying to keep me talking. He suspects I'm lying and is trying to catch me contradicting myself. It's what I would do.' "It's fine," he said aloud, " and yeah, it's pretty cool. I'd give you a demonstration, but I don't think you'll be buying it, so let's not waste your and my time. Besides, I'd much rather be out of it, to be frank."

Watson, obviously truly being the all-around decent fellow that Tony had read about, picked up his cue. "How can we help, Mr. Stark? Is it stuck? Do you need any tools?"

"No, not that. I, um, well, I really need a change of clothes. Mine suffered a little accident when I conducted the fire resistance test."

"I should be happy to lend you something of mine," Watson offered immediately.

Tony looked at him, taking in his athletic physique, the wide shoulders and sturdy legs, liking what he saw. Watson returned his assessment with a frank gaze that was all but inviting. "That would work," Tony said, smiling his most charming smile. "Thank you."

"An excellent idea, Watson," Holmes agreed immediately, and Tony wondered amusedly if the detective was trying to stop the flirting because it was getting on his nerves, or whether he actually was jealous. "There should be a train presently to get you to Baker Street and back within an hour. We'll make Mr. Stark presentable, and then we can all return in time for dinner."

'I should definitely not go to Baker Street, most famous address of this time or no,' Tony admonished himself. 'Think of the timeline. Think of the danger.' But then he grinned to himself. 'Like hell.'

"Here," Tony said impulsively, holding the rabbit he was still clutching in his left gauntlet out to Watson. "I'm sure your housekeeper can do this more justice than I ever could." 'At least not without access to my ultra-modern computer-assisted range and Jarvis' recipes,' he added silently.

Watson took the rabbit, muttering something about it being a fine thing for a respectable gentleman to be seen carrying around, and left after a brisk, matter-of-fact nod.

Which left Tony alone in the formidable company of Sherlock Holmes. "Well, Mr. Stark," the detective said casually, "it appears that we have quite a bit of time to kill. How about we bring the quest for cranberries to a successful conclusion? And then, while we prevent Mrs. Hudson's excellent picnic repast from going to waste, you can tell me the true story."

Tony widened his eyes in his best innocent look. "Are you calling me a liar, Mr. Holmes?"

Holmes began walking, clearly expecting Tony to keep up with him. "By omission, if nothing else. It's not exactly my field of expertise, yet I should be prepared to wager that only a very small part of your 'experimental body armor' consists of materials that I would recognize. It is not made of iron - the light reflection is wrong. Yet when I touched it, it affected the compass needle I keep in my signet ring as if it were heavily magnetized. Clearly, it is not just a metal shell. There are other components inside, which elevates it from mere armor to something wholly unique, if not impossible."

Tony swallowed an oath. He should have known.

Holmes, having reached a cranberry bush, began to collect berries into his free hand. "And speaking of impossibilities, you arrived here by flight - Watson and I have circled your position, and still I did not see your very distinctive footmarks anywhere. Besides, I saw you arrive. Your armor is capable of something over which scientists are currently merely theorizing. Also, that peculiar light in your chest is obviously recessed far enough to penetrate your sternum, which indicates a medicinal intervention that not even the best British surgeons could conceivably perform."

'He's going to deduce it,' Tony thought, heart sinking. 'All of it. I was screwed from the beginning. He's Sherlock fucking Holmes, dammit.'

"And then there's the rabbit," Holmes went on, relentlessly. "It was dead yet uninjured, so obviously it was not killed by a gun, and I cannot conceive of you pursuing and catching it wearing this cumbrous armor, which leaves some method of hunt that I am unfamiliar with. You did not have time to set traps, after all. Therefore, your armor is equipped with some sort of weapon that leaves no wounds. Then there is the matter of your speech, which is more unusual than your being American would account for. Lastly, there's your reluctance of being seen at a time when you should be giving public demonstrations of your invention in order to attract customers, not skulking about in the woods." Holmes looked at Tony triumphantly. "Would you care to advance an explanation that can cover all these inconsistencies and impossibilities, Mr. Stark?"

Tony smiled ruefully. "I'm sorry. I can't. You're every bit as sharp as I expected, and I knew I didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of feeding you bull, but I swear that I didn't have a choice. I'm not one of the bad guys. All I want is get back home, which I can't even attempt for a month, and during that time, I've got to lay low. That's all I can tell you."

Holmes scowled at him and compressed his lips. "I have assured you of my discretion."

Tony sighed. "I don't doubt that. Look, I know you're intrigued. I expect you'd be constitutionally incapable of leaving a mystery unsolved. But you've got to believe me that telling you the whole story would be a Very Bad Thing."

"Why? What could possibly happen?"

Tony fixed those intense grey eyes with a steely glare. "I'd have to kill you."

At that, Holmes actually laughed, a sharp, short bark of amusement. "Hardly. In fact, if my deductions are correct, killing me or anyone else is the last thing you would do. But you do bluff very handsomely, Stark. I'm impressed."

'Fuck,' Tony thought. 'I can't win this.' "You seem very sure of that, Holmes."

"I am almost certain. Let me ask you one question to settle the matter: What is today's date?"

"Fuck," Tony said out loud.

Holmes smiled.

- Watson -

"There really is no alternative, Stark," Sherlock Holmes told our new acquaintance as we were taking our seats in the otherwise empty carriage. "We cannot have you running loose in London, or anywhere else for that matter. Still, you need shelter and food. Ergo, you are staying with us. Watson and I will make do."

I was frankly astonished. Our little flat was hardly suited for three persons, especially considering its permanently cluttered state. Apart from that, Holmes was not in the habit of inviting perfect strangers into our home for any extended period of time. Something had obviously happened during my brief absence that had convinced my friend to consider such drastic measures.

Stark, now dressed appropriately and accompanied by a metal suitcase that, I assumed, contained his remarkable armour, leaned back in his seat and regarded my friend with that detached amusement that seemed to be an integral part of his character. "Something tells me we're all going to regret this decision," he offered, "but I admit I see no choice, either. Lucky for you I don't snore." This last sentence was uttered with a glance in my direction.

The fellow's advances bordered upon the positively scandalous, and yet his innuendos were uttered with such charm and deadpan nonchalance that I found it impossible to take offence.

Holmes, however, clearly did not share my lenience. "You are aware, Stark, that what you are insinuating is quite illegal," he said severely. "You are certainly sleeping on the couch."

"Sure, fine. Whatever," Stark said carelessly, looking at Holmes with an impish smile. "And I'll just retreat into your room whenever a client comes calling."

"There is a cellar you could retreat to," Holmes countered sternly. "It's mainly used for storage, but I'm sure we could make you at home amongst the potatoes and piles of firewood."

"Holmes," I admonished my friend, but they both ignored me.

"Throw in a work bench, a blowtorch, and a box of metal scraps, and I won't come up to bother you for days," Stark shot back, clearly not offended by Holmes' poor show of hospitality. "I'd even be grateful, all kiddin' aside."

"Excellent," Holmes said. "I expect that Mrs. Hudson will probably raise the rent to accommodate another eater. As I rather doubt you'll be able to offer monetary compensation -"

"Oh, don't worry, I can make myself useful," Stark interrupted him. "You have no idea how useful."

To be continued...