Rated T for teen – content similar to the Iron Man movies.
Disclaimer: I do not own Tony Stark or Stark Enterprises – I think that goes to Marvel Comics and/or Marvel entertainment. I do not own Sunnydale. I do own Nate – he can't have always had Pepper as his assistant.
Notes: takes place in Movie-verse, before the Iron Man movies.
There were many things that Tony Stark could have been doing, perhaps even should have been doing. There were several reports on projects that his company, Stark Enterprises, was currently working on developing or manufacturing. Requests to approve funding for new projects, requests to expand departments, to build new testing facilities. Offers for contracts with the Department of Defense for military weapons.
He could have been reviewing his personal finances. He'd received the insurance policy for his newest car, a classic Aston-Martin, and said policy was sitting on his desk. There was the bill from his most recent home security upgrades. Or the most recent set of bills from his birthday bash.
He could have been considering the media impact of the last scandal from the tabloids, a 'tell-all interview and sex-tape' featuring himself and Miss May from a fancy calendar where she'd been one of the models, though all she'd been wearing was a pair of red high heels and a ribbon around her neck. Glancing down at the file prepared by his lawyer, with the scrawled 'please read and get back in contact, Mr. Stark', he smiled. "Damn that was fun. Now what was her name again…"
Instead, Tony Stark picked up a half-empty bottle and took a drink.
The bottle was put down again on the letter, scrawled in smudged blue ink over notebook paper. The envelope with the return address was on the desk, torn open. Tony tried to remember who he knew from Sunnydale and drew a blank. He tried to remember if he'd ever been to Sunnydale or even where it was and shuddered, taking a deep swallow from the bottle as the memories tried to crawl forwards. There had been teeth, and eyes, and… Tony took another swallow.
A few words of the letter caught his eye. Pregnancy. Confirmed.
Tony stark took another drink and scrawled a note to have his current assistant – what was his name again? Yes, Nate, good ol' Nate. He left a note for Nate to set up a fund for the support of his child. Nothing too extravagant, and not enough that it would make his accountants start howling, but enough that she could manage what she said she wanted – to cover a few basic things while she got a normal life together. A few thousand dollars a month. It would be a pittance to him, he wasn't sure but suspected that he made more than that on one or two of his patents. He'd never notice the money.
It was the line that was a paragraph by itself that hurt the most. 'I never want to have to explain to my baby where his or her real father is – they can't know about you.' The line suggested that there was something wrong with the situation, that he was someone to be ashamed of.
Some sort of dirty secret.
Tony Stark took another drink, "Damn woman. If I'm that awful that you don't want to ever tell baby about me, why the hell did you tell me about the baby?
He leaned back in the chair, closing his eyes. He could remember trying to hide from those horrible things, the shambling, awful moving dead things with their reek of rotting flesh and the bits falling from them. Remember trying to barricade the door. Remember her clinging to him, whispering to hold her, whispering that she didn't want to be alone. Remembered her begging him to help her think of something else.
As Tony Stark lost consciousness to the vicious combination of a long day and a bottle of Scotch, his last thought was that he hated that hellhole of a town. He hated Sunnydale.
When he woke up in the morning, everything was stiff, protesting from a night in the chair, still mostly wearing his suit. Someone, probably Nate, had come into the office and cleared away some of the papers and the bottle that he was certain he'd had on the desk. It had been replaced by a pair of little white pills and a glass of water.
Rubbing at his eyes, Tony Stark took the pills and drank the water, his head throbbing. "What the hell did I do last night?"
Throbbing head. Stiff neck, sore body. Same clothing from yesterday. Mouth tasting like something had curled up for the winter and shed before leaving. Stacks of reports still on the desk. Vague impression of an awful letter.
Raising his voice just enough to carry out of the office, he called, "Nate? What was I working on last night?"
"You have reports from the various departments of Stark Enterprises. Funding requests for new projects. A Defense Department contract ready for your approval. And there was a letter from your lawyer concerning Miss May's interview," Nate appeared at the doorway, looking fresh and pressed and smiling, an awful expression that showed too many teeth and looked so damn cheerful.
"Are you sure there wasn't anything else?" Tony frowned, his head pounding. He had the oddest feeling, as if there was something that he needed to remember, or maybe something important that he hadn't finished.
"Nothing else of importance, Mr. Stark," Nate assured him. "You really shouldn't sleep in your chair like that, it leaves you resembling the walking dead."
Tony shuddered, fighting the urge to throw up. "Don't make that comparison again."
Tony felt a little better when Nate and his sparkling smile had left the room. If he was forgetting something, Nate would remind him in time. That was part of Nate's job.
Tony Stark retreated to his marble countered washroom to try to make his eyes feel less like gummy embers. The images of shambling dead things were there again, making him shudder. "bad images… go away."
A tiny part of his mind pictured the moving dead things being engulfed in a mass of brilliant yellow flames, leaving no more than a heat shimmer in the air. "No more dead things. Kill it with fire."
Returning to his desk, Tony Stark found himself sketching out an idea for a one man portable flame thrower. One that could get a wide area of coverage, with a good supply of fuel, and be light enough that that one man could still run.
By lunch time, Tony Stark had completely pushed away the images of dead things chasing him. He'd also pushed away that nagging feeling of something important that he was forgetting. The last thing he did before lunch was try to promise himself that he wouldn't watch any more zombie movies. Not unless it was with a hot date who wanted to see something like that.
After all, if he was forgetting something really important, it would turn up again.
End The Letter.