Chapter Twelve is up :). This one is a bit more emotional then some of the others and it's mainly a long talk between Tony and April about some of the things from the past. I hope you guys really like it. Please Read and Review :D
There was no Hell quite like a hangover. Everything hurt from my head to my feet. I must have worn some killer high heels for my arches to be this sore. Opening my one eye I glanced around the room. It still looked fairly dark but I knew that was only because the curtains had been drawn. The sun was probably just on the other side of them...just waiting to slam it's freaking yellow fists into my eye sockets. Today was going to be awful and I truly wanted to just sleep through all of it...but I still had some details to take care of with the suit and the expo was too close for me to get sloppy.
"Ah, you're awake," Tony said coming over to me, his free hand holding a bagel. "I had been worried you'd fallen into a coma of sorts."
"Geez...you sound so worried..." I whispered. "Thanks."
"I've seen my fair share of hangovers dear-heart," he smiled. "If I had thought you were in really bad shape you would have woken up in the hospital."
In a way I was happy that it wasn't as bad as it could be. I still hated hospitals and after that long stay in one back in the UK I wasn't going to ever willingly walk into another one again. Seriously, Tony was going to have to find me a private physician or become a doctor himself before I went to see any old quack. They couldn't be trusted...all of them say they are going to help you, but for all you know they could be plotting your demise at that very minute...planning to harvest your organs and sell them on the black-market to later be made into meat-pies...or whatever black market dealers did with harvested organs.
"What are you thinking about?" Tony asked, breaking me from my thoughts.
"Huh? Oh..." I shrugged. "Just doctors...and organs..."
Tony sat down beside me and looked into my eyes. It was weird having him stare at me like that. I wasn't used to making direct eye contact with my father. Usually I was too angry or hurt to really look at him. Lately, it seemed that I found myself lowering my guard a bit more and more for him. I wasn't sure if I should be happy about that or worried. I was wary that if I let my father back into my heart he would just break it again...and after losing him once when I was very little...I don't think I would be able to stand losing him again.
"You really hate doctors, don't you?" he asked gently.
"Yeah...I really do." I sighed.
I shrugged for a moment. I just never liked them. There had been one time I had considered being one but backed out of it. I felt that doctors didn't do enough. There was so much wrong with the world, so many things that needed to be fixed and shared with humans. In my mind a doctor was limited by what they could and could not do and in the end...it didn't matter what they did. Money was the main factor for all doctors. Did they really care about their patients or were they more concerned about that giant paycheck that fell into their laps after a week of "hard work". I could not stand any of them.
"I just feel..." I began. "For all the help they give...for all they say that they do...they do so little. They are supposed to be men of science right?"
"Well...then with science being so far ahead now...shouldn't their be more cures for diseases? Shouldn't there be some progress?"
"April...it's not the doctors that invent these cures," Tony said. "It's...people like me. The scientists...it really isn't the doctors fault."
I looked at Tony and part of me knew he was right. The other part still hated all doctors. I hated being poked and prodded when I went to hospitals and I hated all the injections. There was just nothing a doctor could do that would make me remotely interested in them or their line of work anymore.
"I still don't like them..." I sighed. "I'd take death first over going into a hospital any day."
"Yes well...that's not going to happen kiddo," he snorted. "I'd rather die then watch you sit there and suffer. Excluding this hangover...this you kind of put on yourself."
I stuck my tongue out at him and sunk back into the pillows of my bed. I really didn't want to leave this room at the moment. It was so nice and dark and I knew that the minute we went outside I was going to die under the spotlight of the sun. Hangovers really did suck...why was it that I chose to drink and let it get to this point? One would think that we as a species would realize how stupid we are not to forsee the inevitable when it came to alcohol consumption.
"You know..." he said, carefully sitting beside me on the bed. "There was one time when you were little that you were so sick you had me scared to death...do you remember?"
Looking up at him, I shook my head.
"I think you were three...just a baby...well...a baby by my standards," he smirked. "And I had left you with a nanny because I had a business meeting in Las Vegas."
I gave him a look and he cleared his throat. Yeah...people definitely went to Vegas for "business meetings".
"Alright...I went to gamble," he admitted. "But I didn't want to be an even worse father by bringing my baby along. Anyway you were only with this nanny for a day and I came home around midnight to check on you and make sure you were okay."
He paused and readjusted himself on the bed.
"You weren't okay...you were in bed but you were soaking wet with sweat and...and you were shaking because you were freezing cold...I had never seen you so sick," Tony sighed. "And I was an idiot, I had no clue what to do...all my years of science and being your dad had just shot out the window. I tried to think about something...scientific...I could do for you but all that came to mind was how scared I was that I was going to lose my princess...forever."
Tony frowned and gently took my hand into his own. It was so warm and strong...and for a moment I really did feel like a little girl again. I even remembered being small and placing my hand in the center of his palm...to show him how long my fingers were in comparison...and how soon they would be as long as his.
"I called Pepper and told her that I needed help and she came over as soon as she could," he continued. "You were so warm from the fever...and any time I tried to get you to drink some water you would just throw it up...all over me, mind you...I think you ruined four of my shirts in that one evening."
I smirked and moved my head to rest against Tony's arm. He stiffened for a moment but then moved his arm around my so that I could lay my head against his side instead.
"What was wrong with me?" I asked looking up at him.
"Your dumbass nanny let you eat rotten chicken and you got food poisoning...needless to say she never set FOOT in our home again and I wouldn't let anyone watch you until I went through an entire background check on each of them. I felt like such an idiot for letting you be put through so much Hell. For at least a month I wouldn't let you out of my sight."
I felt myself smile slightly and lay my head against Tony's chest. I felt the cold metal of his chest piece and shuddered. Every time I saw this...this thing he had been forced to place inside of him...it reminded me of the day I had heard the news reports that my father had been kidnapped. That was one day of my life that I had lived in absolute terror and it continued on for months. That was until I found out he was safe and NEVER bothered to get into contact with me, that's when the fear was replaced with pure fury.
"Can I ask you a question?" I yawned.
"Sure kiddo; anything."
"When you were locked in that cave...where you first made your Iron Man suit...did you think about me while you were being held hostage?"
My dad sat there silent for a couple of minutes and for a moment I felt dread seep into my heart. Maybe he didn't think about me while he was facing death...maybe he really hadn't cared that much about me at all. I wanted to believe that part of him held on to some kind of hope that he would see me again before the end of his life, that maybe there was a message he had left for me to find in that cave so that he could display how much he loved me.
"I did..." he said softly. "A man was in the cave with me that helped me escape...and he asked me if I had any family...and...and at first...I almost said no...not because I was denying you princess, but because I was terrified that if they heard me say I had a daughter they would come after you. You kept a quiet life in England, you were smart and tried not to attract attention to yourself. I didn't want you being...tortured and hurt...look at what I've already put you through sweetheart? The only comfort I have is that I was with you when you were kidnapped...but if they had taken you to Afghanistan, there would have been a great chance I would have never seen you again."
Tony's hands were shaking slightly with his voice and I held them firmly in my own. He really was upset about this and I felt sort of bad for bringing it up, but then another part of me was happy for this kind of emotion. I was happy that my father could show this kind of emotion and that he felt so strongly about me and my well-being. It was refreshing and...in a way it kind of made me want to be closer with him.
"April..." he said softly, his eyes moist. "You were the only thing that kept me fighting..."
-I know that you believe I don't...think about you...when we aren't fighting or yelling at each other, but I do...I think about you quite a bit...even when it didn't seem like I was, you were always on my mind." he reached into the pocket of his pants and pulled out a folded piece of paper.
It was old and worn but had the sheen of a Polaroid. I suppose that even the great Tony Stark had to use a base camera at some point of his life. He unfolded the paper and gingerly placed it in my hands. It was a picture...a picture of me...but it wasn't from when I was a toddler, no...this picture was of me during graduation. I looked at the picture and then looked up at my father.
"How did you...but...but Pepper told me you were gone on business."
"I was...in a way...I left for England..." he said gently. "I didn't want people to know I was going to see you because this was your day to shine. I...I have a bad habit of stealing the limelight."
I felt my eyes swell with tears as I looked at the picture. All that day I had spent just wanting to kill my father for not showing up...that I had waited and hoped that he would be there and had to live with the disappointment that he wasn't. When here was the proof that he had been there and he had even gone so far as to take a picture of me to prove it. It was a very nice picture of me...but I could tell from my expression that there was something missing.
"I didn't care if it was my day," I said. "I would have given anything to share it with you...to make it our day. All I wanted that day was to know that there was a part of you that cared about me...or even knew I existed. And...I hated you so much for letting me down...for not being there. Now that I know you were there...I...I still don't know what to do with the information."
I looked up at him as a tear slowly slid down my cheek.
"I...I want to give you a chance...and...and I want to let you in...but I am so scared..." I whispered, my words trembling past my lips.
"I don't expect you to ever forgive me princess," he said gently wiping my tears away. "I know that I wouldn't have if I was in your position...but...I will tell you one thing. I will continue to work at this dad thing. I will try and be better...I'd make the promise to be what you deserve...but...I know that no matter what I do, I will always feel like you deserve better."
I felt my own tears slide down my face and I hugged him, burrowing myself into his chest. I could feel the metal of Tony's chest plate but I didn't care. I just wanted to hold him. I never expected him to open up to me...not ever. Even after all we have been through I didn't think I would hear Tony be serious about anything...and I just couldn't contain myself. The sadness I felt from doubting his love for me, the anger of him not telling me sooner, and the happiness...the happiness of realizing that maybe him and I could make this work...maybe there was some hope for us...
"I...I love you...daddy..." I cried softly. "I love you..."
I'm thinking about writing a one shot for the story from when Tony had to take care of April when she was little, but I'm still not sure yet. If you guys think that sounds like a good side project just let me know and I'll start it when I have time :D
(Please Read and Review...but no flames :) )