AN: Written for this- . ?thread=8893829#t8893829 prompt over at Avengerskink on Livejournal. Not Beta'd so please ignore any typos (and if by chand Clint's name is types as Clit, know that my "n" button is on the frtiz.
When Tony was six he accidently phased through the first floor of the California mansion in front of his father and mother. (They were yelling and throwing around nasty words, so who could blame him.) Howard did not like this. He forgot all about Maria and stormed down the stairs into the basement, grabbed Tony by his arm and screamed at him; told him to "never think about doing that again", and some more selective words along those lines.
Tony phased through a solid object again when he was eight. This time there had been another person in the room, his Uncle Obie. "He had been right there," Obadiah said pointing to the other side of the box machine. Howard had waved his friends confusion off. "Are you sure you didn't drink too much coffee last night." Once Obie had gone, convinced he was seeing things, Howard advanced on little Tony who trembled at his father's rage.
Tony's never used his power after that and had the scar on the side of his head -now hidden by hair and dismissed at the hospital as a little boy's clumsy nature- to remind him why.
The wine, while dry enough for Tony's taste, wasn't scratching that spot inside of him. He was glad, however, that the Avenger's seemed to be playing nice with Charles' rag tag group of mutants. Thor seemed fascinated by Sean and his ability while Steve and Clint found themselves taking with Alex. Bruce was with Charles and Hank over at the bar and it seemed like Hank had the doctor in a compelling argument. Natasha was talking with a few other people that Tony didn't care to know the name of. Fury stood in the corner being Fury. The girl behind the bar questioned if he wanted something heavier than wine but Tony shook his head. Pepper would maim his secret robotic scrap pile if he did. "More Poit-Blanc if you will," he said holding his glass to her. The bartender poured his requested and then he moved away from the bar.
If he was otherwise occupied with the other guests he couldn't be tempted to kiss his robotic stash goodbye ad get drunk. He hated that he wasn't even tipsy but ever since not dying by element poisoning his metabolism had stayed in an eternal state of always almost sober. He let himself be drawn into an interview with some slender blond whose left eye sat higher than her right. 'A mutation,' Charles would say and Tony blinked away that thought. "Why no," he said, his voice dripping into sarcasm at her irresponsible question, "I didn't test my suit out before flying it for the time. I just scraped it all together and flew away into the stars." The reporter looked put out and Tony wanted to scoff at her. These news people seemed to be getting stupider and stupider. Or maybe they were just running out of questions to ask about the suit. That wouldn't be bad for Tony since he had better things in the common market that should be getting people's attention.
"Mr. Stark," Charles came to his rescue, "I don't think I've had the pleasure of greeting you all night."
"Well it is only eight," Tony said but thought, please find something to entertain the stupid.
Charles pointed the reporter in Fury's direction.
"That's low," Tony commented when Charles gave a simple finger wave to Fury who looked ready to beat the blonds face in.
"I figured it be entertaining enough," Charles said looking into Tony's eyes.
Tony raised a waxed eyebrow, "something wrong Professor?"
Charles shook his head, "no of course not," he said delicately, "just wondering what color your eyes were."
For as smooth as the night had been going they all seemed to be counting down the second until something bad happened. It was at 11:07 that an unfamiliar woman strolled in. She looked normal enough, save for her suit which was obviously a little less black tie and a little more 'not there'. In fact she was even smiling-okay, Tony thought kicking the suit briefcase from under the table he'd hidden it and let it fall into place- she looked normal except for the madness in her eyes.
Thor was the first to approach her but she raised her hand and Tony could see her veins turn black and something like black string crawled from under her fingernails. They must have been heavy as steel to send Thor flying across the room with a good swipe. She didn't have a pattern of who she was swinging these black "things" at and Charles seemed to be trying to get inside her head while the others protected him. Steve pulled the shield form his back but the black string curled around where his fist held the shield and yanked it away. Steve tried to grab one of the strings but it turned to black fluid in his hand and dripped to the floor. By now Tony could see almost every vein under her skin running black.
Clint and Natasha went at the same time but they found themselves it the same spot as Thor who was rubbing his head. "This is magic," Thor said, "I've never seen something like this."
"Loki," Tony asked as both Wolverine, Beast, and Hulk took her one. She side stepped them easily and they found themselves locked in the string-that had morphed into chains. Tony took a shallow breath. What was this chick? Hulk roared and fought but the chains wouldn't budge.
Thor shook his head. "I don't think I've ever seen my brother have power like this."
Charles choked on his breath and placed his head in his hands, his breath also shallow. "I can't make contact."
"She's rabid," Clint said running for the bow that one of the black strings had taken from him.
"My turn," Tony said cheerfully ad zoomed at her. The woman hadn't moved from her spot in the doorway the entire time and Fury and another shield agent seemed to be pushing the innocents out the back door. She gave a chuckle and drew back her hands; both hands and swung all ten strings from her fingers at him. One got him around the feet first and another around his helmet. He lurched when he stopped and Jarvis was reading the vitals of the suit. "Sir whatever these things are, they are digging into the suit, dangerously close your body sir."
"We need to shake them off," Tony said and went to fly away from her only the strings held him tight. "Shit," he swore, his eyes roaming over the lighted numbers in the HUB.
"Sir, the strings have broken through the first plating. Now Tony could hear the woman really laughing. He also heard Steve snap that his chick had more than ten strings at her command. "Sir the second plating is broken." Shit, Tony thought and tried to booster his way out again, taking a few aims at her. The shots that got close enough seemed to roll off her skin leaving only faint black markings.
"Sir," Jarvis said ad Tony didn't need his AI to finish. He could feel the black strings around his feet constricting and fuck, they burned.
It was the for the third time that Tony's instinct cut in and Tony found himself on the outside of the suit with black strings flying through his corporeal body. Everything seemed to stop on him. The black strings –that she now had protruding from her very pores on her arms- stopped, some resting in the mist like form of his body. She cackled and threw random objects at him. Clit's bow, a couple chairs but they all passed through him. He was running at her at this point but she didn't seem to care. As soon as he got close enough he dropped down to where he could phase back to a solid form and slid behind her, only to pop up and twist her neck. Fury and his damn training put to use finally, Tony thought as the woman fell, the black strings turning to.
"This is blood," Natasha said scraping her fingers over a rather big puddle. She was the only one who seemed over the whole "Tony Stark just phased form his suit and killed the villain" mode.
He'd just phased…
The fourth time in his life he phased was not minutes after his third time. This time he ran.
Charles watched the faint form of his friend run away, this time with Tony's thoughts clustering in his head. He reached out but Tony's subconscious lashed back with more anger than Charles had ever encountered before, and he had known Erik. He focused back into the moment to find all of the Avengers racing after their friend. He smiled at their frantic thoughts but snapped his eyes to Fury's loud thoughts. "Mr. Fury," he said, sickeningly gentle, "I fear me and you have to have a conversation."
Bruce found Tony in the hiding spot under what he first thought was the unusually big bar. (Then he found out just how much alcohol it took to keep the billionaire running and forgot about how big it was until he accidently kicked the sliding plate. It made more sense at that point.) The Tony he found broke his green blood pumping heart. This was not their Tony.
"I'd appreciate it," Tony's voice scratched with anger, "if you waited until after I got out of this tiny hole to punch me in the face."
"I'm not going to punch you in the face," Bruce said almost relieved to hear a bit of the sarcasm in his friend's voice. The look on Tony's face was still killing him inside. He wanted to point out that Tony could have told him but it occurred a second later that Tony's mutation-god he really wanted to study this power but he wasn't that insensitive- was like his Hulk. If they could be rid of them, they would.
Tony poured himself some more Johnny Black into the little "I am Iron Man" shot glass Pepper had gotten him and threw it back. It made Bruce wince. "Not surprised you were the first," Tony said quietly. Bruce reached out and touched Tony's arm. Tony's eyes widened and he shot back. "No, no," he shouted but it was too late. He'd phased again and fell through the floor.
Bruce pulled back, hitting his head on the underneath of the counter. Tony wasn't able to control it; he thought and shot to his feet. The only thought in his head was what damage would be done if Tony phased back and crashed into something that would actually hurt him.
Turns out Thor, son of Odin, isn't easily hurt by squishy mortal bodies.
"Son of Stark," Thor cried catching the solid body of Tony as he fell from the ceiling, "more magic I see."
Tony groaned, dizzy from the rusty power usage. Thor set him down and Tony wavered on his feet. "You found him," Steve called running up to help steady the man. "Tony," he started and led him over to a chair.
"Fuck you," Tony said.
"I'm just trying to help," Steve replied but Tony shook his head.
"Not you Spandex," Tony hissed thrusting his finger at Thor, "I am no one's son," he hissed. He poured himself another shot. (Somehow Tony hadn't lost the bottle. Maybe it was second nature-always carrying a bottle of hard liquor; you never know when you're going need it.) Thor seemed confused, as was Steve.
"I meant no disrespect," Thor countered.
"Tony, if this is about Howard," Steve started but ended up with a bottle of Johnny Black to the head. (Like I said, you never know and it wasn't that much of a loss; only had two bloody shots left going for it.)
"Don't you dare," he screamed at Steve, the alcohol level in his body well past where it should have been, "Don't you fucking say that name to my face you bastard!" Tony pushed up from the chair. Thor went to steady him but Tony pushed from him and then his eyes widened. "Fuck no," he hissed but phased again through the wall.
Bruce came down the stair two at a time and stopped seeing the open expressions of Steve and Thor's faces. "He can't control it," Bruce said running past them, "have to stop him before he hurts himself!" Steve and Thor followed.
The first thing Tony felt when he came to consciousness was the indescribable pain in his left arm. "Calm down," Natasha's firm voice commanded and Tony could feel her thin hands on his chest, "You need to calm down Tony."
"Kay," he said his brain not yet catching up with body.
"I couldn't stop you and you phased back. The rest of your arm is inside my dresser but you've crushed the bone in that section of your arm." She motioned over where his arm was cut off by the contrasting black oak dresser. "I've got a medical team on his way. Clint's gone to grab Bruce and the others. Can you phase back?"
Pain really didn't help his alcohol infused brain when he pointed out: "Dad will kill me."
Natasha soothed his hair and felt the scar but said nothing, not even noting it. "Howard is dead Tony."
"Oh," Tony whispered, "did I push him through the window?"
"No," she frowned, "Tony, your parents died in a car crash."
"Oh, good," he muttered his eyelashes fluttering.
"Tony," her voice was commanding and he looked to her. "Can you phase again," she asked.
"Promise dad won't kill me," Tony whispered and Natasha bit her lip to keep herself from sighing. She knew too well what a painful injury could do to people. It could make them mad, make them sad, or it could make them loopy.
"I promise your dad won't kill you."
Tony closed his eyes and scrunched up his brow but nothing happened. "Can't," he whispered his eyes still closed.
"Keep trying," Natasha urged him.
Tony tried it again but got nothing. Clint returned and stooped down by Tony's side.
"How do you make JARVIS work," he asked as if Tony wasn't completely out of it.
Tony huffed, "It's the coding," he said, "you have to make sure you don't use that crappy C++ shit with him," Tony said.
"Explain C++," Clint commanded.
Tony did, and by the fourth question the medical team was there and doing their best to keep Tony's arm safe from further damage. Tony smirked to Clint as they were taking him out and said, "I lied about how to work JARVIS."
Clint gave a half smile though everyone saw the worry playing at the corners of his mouth, "I know."
"You need to leave."
Tony had never really heard that tone of Bruce's voice. He hadn't heard the Hulk talk much but if Tony had to compare it, this would be Hulk's authoritative voice.
"Get out," Natasha ordered.
"You can't command me like that agent," Fury's unmistakable voice cut the air.
"No but we do have a giant green rage monster who loves Tony on the verge of breaking your face," Clint's wit snapped back.
"Aw," Tony rasped, "I love you too Big Guy but you should know you'll always be second to my scotch."
There was a hand on his chest and Tony opened his eyes to meet Steve's eyes. "Don't try to move your arm," he said. Tony smirked and tried to move his arm but found it heavier than usual. "I wasn't kidding Tony."
"Just making sure," he said and turn his head in Fury's direction. "Lay it on me; tell me how I completed that downwards spiral neck twist thingy wrong so I can get back to my morphine drips."
Fury stood composed as ever and spoke. "Your mutation should have been reported to us when you decided to join the Avenger Initiative."
"Didn't think about it," Tony commented.
"But you knew your ability," Fury countered.
"Fuck yes Fury, jesus what do you want from me?"
"Why did no one know? Ms. Potts seemed clueless when we questioned her."
Tony shifted in the bed and sighed. "No one knows, well they didn't; now they do. No one knew because I couldn't tell anybody. When I could my sperm donor said I couldn't and now when I can't it acts up."
"You've done yourself a lot of damage this time Stark," Fury said.
"No, thanks, I couldn't feel it when I woke up, way to point that out."
"I want a report of your ability so that I can-," he frowns and for a moment it's as if he's searching for a word, "so that the Professor can help you grasp it better."
Tony looked mortified. "I don't want to use this, this was an accident."
"And if you control it, it won't be," Fury said with no room for argument. As he left he said: "And you did the Koehler Break right."
"Is that what that was called," Tony murmured. No one said anything as the door shut behind Fury.
"Your father seems a rough issue for you my friend."
Leave it to Thor.
"I and he had our differences."
"You want to tell them to us," Steve said, his had still draped lightly on Tony's chest.
"You want to snuggle," Natasha said and Tony smiled sweetly at her.
"As long as you keep that knife away from my area's unlike last time, I'm all for it."
Bruce laughed, "I'm going to go get some tea."
"Here boy," Tony said instead, patting the other side of the large hospital bed.
"Not a dog," Bruce said but climbed onto the bed anyway. Tony smiled blearily and held Natasha close while Bruce spooned him.
"I must go retrieve another bed," Thor called, "I too want in on these cuddles!"
Steve laughed and said, "I think there is another one across the hall."
"Let us go get it!"
"Have fun with that guys," Clint said as he crawled on top of Tony, his arms splayed out encompassing the other two in the bed, settling down into a sort of three way hug. He was light enough for it. Tony muttered something about his Arc Reactor but Clint was careful.
The SHIELD doctors left the group alone at Fury's orders after that and he sent a message to Charles that if Tony didn't care to be taught, the team-not Fury- would make sure this point was driven home.