I own the plunny.
Warnings: Mention of abuse. Coulson!Alive.
Summary: Tony is use to being a disappointment, a failure. No matter how many wrongs he rights, the red in his ledge never seems to grow smaller. As life turns against him, Tony ponders his legacy. "You're a good man Tony." Oh how he wish he believed that.
Let it be said that Virginia "Pepper" Potts has the patience of a saint. Well at least the patience of a god. It is a trait highly valued and the first basic requirement when it comes to dealing with one Anthony Edward Stark.
Especially in moments like these.
"Now Tony," Pepper demands. She gently pulls her boss out his lab and away from his shiny toys.
"Pepper," Tony whines. "I'm busy." He makes grabby hands at the plans scatter across holographic screens and scraps of papers. Pepper lightly smacks his hands away from them and resumes pulling and pushing Tony out of his lab.
"No," she says in a firm tone, one that clearly says she is putting her foot down. "You were supposed to meet with the CEO of Kinga Company three hours ago."
Tony crinkles his nose. He doesn't remember that meeting being on the schedule. "Why am I meeting with the CEO of whatever company?"
"Kinga," Pepper corrects with an exasperated sigh. "Because they're from Japan and want to enter a joint collaboration with Stark Industries in setting up a branch in America. Also they're very interesting in your whole "clean energy" plan and want to talk about bringing it to Japan as well. In other words, go play nice."
"Fine fine," Tony grumbles and he allows him to be drag out of his lab by Pepper.
Twenty minutes later, Tony is cleaned up and in a fresh suit. Whistling a small tune to himself, he strolls down the hallway to the conference room where this meeting is suppose to be taking place. "So sorry," Tony says, hand flinging outward in a show of theatrics.
Anything else he wants to say instantly dies on his lips when he takes a good look at the CEO. He is not expecting some young boy who doesn't even look like he's out of high school to be sitting in the room. The thing that unnerves him though is the look in the boy's brown eyes. It's a familiar look; one Tony is all too familiar with, that mixture of anger, annoyance and disappointment.
"I must have the wrong room," Tony lightly jokes. "And you're clearly lost kid." There are warning bells going off in his head, telling him to leave the room now.
"Mr. Stark," the boy says in a cold tone. Tony flinch at the harsh tone. Even that tone held a razor sharp edge to it.
"Don't worry kid," Tony interrupts. "I'll send someone this way to help you find your parents." Not giving the boy a chance to reply, Tony turns around and leaves.
He's not running away. He's... retreating. If he manages to lock himself into the lab for the next twelve hours or so, it isn't his problem.
It isn't uncommon to see Pepper hanging around the Avengers Mansion. After all, she is Tony's best friend, nanny and half-responsible for helping rebuild the Avengers Mansion. (The other half belongs to Tony and of course it is Tony's house.) So yes, it isn't uncommon to see Pepper in the mansion.
It is however uncommon to see her in the kitchen, nursing a bottle of whiskey in one hand and an empty glass with ice press against her forehead. That is where Steve found her as he walks into the kitchen in search of lunch.
"A little early to be breaking out the drinks, Ms. Potts," Steve says.
Pepper gives him a leveled stare, a mix of seriousness and amusement. "I told you, Captain. Pepper is fine." She pours another round of the brown liquor into her cup. "And don't judge, I need this."
"Then call me Steve," Steve insists. He takes a seat across from her on the counter and gently nudges the bottle away from her. Pepper rolls her eyes but let Steve remove the bottle from her reach. "You didn't strike me as the type to drink your problems away," Steve says softly. That was more of Tony's type of thing, something Steve found out within the first week of moving into the mansion.
"I'm not," Pepper agrees. Between her and Tony, one of them needs to stay sober or Stark Industries would be in the toilet.
"Then may I ask why?" Steve questions.
Pepper drowns the last of her drink, setting the glass on the counter with a small clink. She remains silent for a few more minutes, evaluating Steve and weighing her options. Finally her shoulders sag and she relents. It isn't her story to tell but since the Avengers have all but moved into Tony's personal bubble it's something they'll have to learn to deal with. "It's Tony," she finally says.
The raised eyebrow on Steve's face tells her that he isn't buying it. It's always about Tony. The question is never 'who' but more along the lines of 'what did he do now?' "He locked himself in his lab," Pepper elaborates.
"I thought that was common," Steve says. It has been a month since he moved in and even Steve knows that Tony regularly locks himself in his lab five of the seven days of the week.
"It is," Pepper agrees. "However it isn't normal for him to lockdown the lab where nothing short of the world ending and perhaps a few thousands Hulk punches is going to open the door." She reaches for the bottle again only for Steve to slide it away from her. 'Curse Captain America and his concern,' she thinks.
"What causes this?" Steve asks.
"Don't know," Pepper replies honestly. She doesn't know what set Tony off. "All I know is that I have to reschedule a meeting that Tony ignored and that he's having an extremely bad day to have lockdown his lab. Which makes no sense since I saw him before that meeting and he was fine."
"Does this happen often?"
Pepper waves her hand. "No. He hasn't had this kind of bad day since..." she trails off. Steve wisely doesn't push her for more as a dark look appears on her face. He doesn't want to consider what could have cause such an angry and upset look on Pepper's face.
"So what do we do?" Steve asks, quickly shifting the subject.
"Well, we have three options," Pepper says, counting off from her fingers. "One we hack JARVIS and overwrite Tony's lockdown code. Two, wait until JARVIS gets worried enough about Tony and lets us in. Or three, wait for Tony's mood to improve."
"... It's going to be a long day isn't it?"
"Yes, yes it is."
It is somewhere around 2am that Tony works out why the kid unnerves him so much. It's such a tiny insignificant reason that has no reason to cause such a major panic attack. It's silly and stupid and Tony can't believe he let it get the better of him.
It doesn't change the fact that if you aged the kid a couple years, threw a mustache and a brown hair wig on him that he would be a dead ringer for Howard Stark. It's less about the resemblance though and more about the expression and tone. Even worse is the disappointment.
Tony is use to being a disappointment, use to not meeting people's standards and expectations. He's worthless and knows it. Years of neglect and harsh words from Howard, followed by how the media portrays him and even the words spoke by people he calls friends and teammates solidify this in this head. But he can brush it off with a wide grin and a smartass comment that deflects the disappointment away and morphs it into anger.
Anger is easy to deal with. It's easy to control and manipulate. Anger is blinding. Tony goes out of his way to make people angry just so they become so blinded by it that they don't see him for what he really is... a disappointment.
Since Howard's death no one has ever manage to replicate that exact look of disappointment, annoyance and anger that Howard use to look at him. Fury comes close sometimes, but the eye patch ruins the illusion (something Tony is grateful for no matter how much he teases Fury about it). Thus Tony just lashes out like a rebelling teenager whenever Fury comes too close.
Yet this kid pulls it off brilliantly, complete with a cold commanding tone. It makes Tony feel like a small child again, back when he's still wide eyed and still hoping to please his father.
Frustrated, Tony throws down his wrench and pushes away his project. It's no longer keeping the memories at bay; his rock music no longer drowns out his thoughts. He needs to stop thinking, to forget that there's only one way to do that.
Without hesitation he pulls out a bottle of Scotch from his stash in the lab and a glass with it. As he pours himself the first drink, Tony desperately tries to push away the memories of a belt whipping against his back and the sharp pain on his cheek.
It's funny how the ghosts of his past keep coming around.
It's two days later, after he nurses his hangover and Pepper takes pity and lets him be, that she gently informs him that he still has to meet with that kid this coming Friday. Not meeting with Kinga Company will be a major lost to Stark Industries and Tony doesn't really want them to go to Hammer Industries or Oscorp does he?
It occurs to Tony somewhere around 9am Friday morning that Pepper is a very sly woman to con him into agreeing into the meeting like that. But it isn't like anything can be done because he's still going to miss the meeting that's suppose to happen in half an hour.
Saving the world kinda takes priority or so Tony's been told.
The next time Tony is forced into a meeting with the CEO of Kinga Company, it's five days later. Pepper all but drags him onto the balcony where they're having a lunch meeting. She's not accepting any excuses from him and point blank told Fury that if he calls Tony for a mission there will be hell to pay. Thankfully, the kid decides to wear sunglasses (as Tony would agree) there is a horribly glare from the next door building's glass windows.
"Nice to finally meet you, Mr. Stark," the kid says frigidly. Tony focuses on the light accent he hears in the kid's voice and tries not flinch over the cold tone.
"I am Tier Fujimoto," the kid holds out his hand for a handshake. Clearly someone has been paying attention to their culture studies.
Tony squashes whatever uncomfortable feelings he's having. 'This is silly,' he thinks to himself. He's a grown man who has long stepped out of the shadow of his dead father.
A loud roar interrupts his thought process. Smashing through a blue building in the distance a green blob ooze out, engulfing the entire building. Tony gives Pepper a sympathetic grin and an 'it can't be helped' look. He pops open his suitcase, armor unfolding and wrapping around him.
"Sorry," Tony says addressing the kid. "Duty calls." He blasts off before anyone can say anything.
Pepper sighs and looks at her remaining lunchmate. "I'm terribly sorry about this, Mr. Fujimoto," she apologizes.
"Does this happen often?" Tier asks, gesturing at the raging monster.
"Often enough," Pepper mutters under her breath.
Clint stumbles into the tower around 4AM. He had just finished all of his paperwork on the mission he just returned from and is looking forward to crashing on a soft comfy bed. Just as he turns the doorknob to his room, a light down the hall catches his attention.
That is never a good sign. It means someone has stupidly left the light on or someone is still awake. Since JARVIS is usually good about energy conservation that probably meant someone is still up. Now no one in Avengers could boast having good normalsleeping habits but someone being up at 4AM usually isn't exactly good. Despite Tony and Bruce's game of "How Long Can I Stay Up Researching?" sleep is important and everyone tries to at least grab a few hours here and there. Just in case they need to save the world in the morning and sleep deprivation isn't going to help anyone.
By some whacky coincidence 4AM is usually the one hour where the house is entirely asleep. Pepper has JARVIS under strict orders to kick Bruce and Tony out of the lab by three, assuming they haven't crashed before that. Natasha if she can help it is asleep around 1AM and Thor promptly falls asleep around midnight. Clint tries to be asleep by 2AM assuming he doesn't catch up at the range and crashing at 3AM instead when JARVIS kicks him out. Steve doesn't even need that much sleep and still he gets kicked out of the gym at 3AM by JARVIS too.
So for someone to be up at 4AM it means a myriad of things. The first is usually someone returning from a mission (or escaping from the Medical Bay), the second is nightmares (any one of them) and the third is insomnia (usually Steve or Tony).
Against the protesting of his aching body, Clint hobbles toward the living room where the light is coming from. He really hopes it's just a case of insomnia. As he peers in, he sees Tony sitting on the couch surrounded by five floating screens. It looks like it's just insomnia then.
Clint moves to head back when he catches how Tony is hunch into himself. He looks almost furious and a closer look shows that he's shaking. Clint frowns. Okay this is not just a case of insomnia.
He (painfully) walks over to the couch and without waiting for Tony to stay anything, takes a seat next to him. "You okay?" Clint asks. Now that he's even closer, he can see the dark circles around Tony's eyes and the way his hands are shaking.
Tony doesn't answer him at first. Then he wordlessly flicks a screen in front of Clint. "This will be hitting the newsstands in an hour," Tony says in an even tight tone.
Clint's eyes widen as he read the article in front of him. "Stark Industries Weapons used in latest Terrorist Bombing in London. Over 120 people injured, another 45 dead."
"Shit," Clint swears. This was bad. He knows (they all knows) that Tony is always tracking down the weapons his company use to sell. Every time he thinks he found them all, something like this pops up again. When that happens, they're weathering another media storm that calls every single decision Tony's made in his entire life plastered on every news channels, newspaper and gossip magazine.
And Tony... Tony just sits there and takes it all. Doesn't say anything about it, doesn't joke about it, doesn't get angry, just visibly upset. 'It's like he thinks he deserves it,' Clint thinks.
"Of course the media is a having a field day," Tony continues. He flicks another article onto the screen. This one read: "Merchant of Death still selling weapons?" Clint winces at the fresh look of hurt on Tony's face. That particular nickname, he discovered last time, really hurts Tony on a deeper level than anything the media could have thrown at him.
Screw sleep. Tony needs a friend and Clint is here to help.
"Are you alright Stark?"
Tony looks up to see Coulson standing in the doorway of his lab. "Of course," Tony dismiss with a wave of his hand. "Now go away, I'm in the middle of upgrading Barton's arrows. Highly explosive." Tony is willing to admit (this time) that yes he's hiding because the media storm is starting to get to him. Because he's hiding, he doesn't want people bothering him and he kinda owes Clint a upgrade cause the man stayed up with him all this morning through the initial crapstorm even though he hadn't slept in the last 48 hours and nursing some pretty bad bruises. (Tony let Natasha chew him out for that.)
Coulson doesn't leave, moving further into the lab. "Heard you're having a shitty month."
Tony gives a snort. That is one way to put it nicely. He's projecting the ghost of his father on some foreign kid, Iron Man gets hurt in the field at least once a week and now the rumors and media frenzy? He's surprise that he hasn't taken out the alcohol yet.
"Are you here to mother-hen me?" Tony bitterly asks. Pepper had tried earlier and is only stopped because Tony lockdown his lab again. He's surprise that Coulson (or anyone) actually waited until midnight to come and check up on him again.
"What's wrong Tony?" Coulson asks in a gentle voice.
Emotions surge forward within Tony. Anger, disgust, annoyance, realization. So many different ways to answer that question. Things he doesn't want to discuss with anyone, things he rather not face. At the same time, it's Phil. Phil who doesn't judge, who simply listens. Phil who is the binding agent to the Avengers, their mother-hen, their core, their inspiration. Phil who won't say a word about anything Tony says in this room to SHIELD because he belongs more to the Avengers then to SHIELD these days.
"If I die tomorrow, Phil," Tony starts hesitantly. "What is my legacy?"
"A billionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist," Phil answers in a deadpan tone.
Under normal circumstances, Tony would have been amused by that. But this isn't normal circumstances so he ignores it and continues with his rant, "Is it Iron Man? The Merchant of Death? In a 100 years from now, when people talk about Iron Man will they remember Tony Stark? Or only the superhero? Will they think that Tony Stark is responsible for millions of deaths with the weapons he created and that Iron Man is the superhero who saved millions of people? Because it's Iron Man: Yes and Tony Stark: No right? RIGHT?" He flings the wrench he had been holding against the wall. It clatters against the wall, dropping to the floor among the scraps of metal and blueprints.
Anger rage through Tony, clawing at him like a vicious animal. "These people don't get it," he hisses. "The suit and I are one in the same. You take away the suit and I am still Iron Man. There's nothing that changes. I am the same person in the suit as I am out the suit and these people CAN'T. SEE. IT."
Phil stops him, placing a firm hand on Tony's shoulder. "Tony look at me," he instructs in a firm voice. Tony stares back at him, eyes gleaming mad. "Tony you are a good person," Phil says with conviction.
"I wish I believed that," Tony bitterly replies.
"Sir?" JARVIS interrupts.
Tony steps back, his eyes close and stomping down on the anger. Phil doesn't deserve to be yelled at. Yet another reason to add to 'Why Tony is a worthless asshole' list. "Yeah JARVIS?" Tony asks, addressing his AI.
"Sir, we seem to have an intruder," JARVIS answers.
Tony frowns. "They broke through the front door?" He's secretly impressed and annoy. On one hand Tony put hours into designing his security system and to have it be broken by someone is annoying. On the other hand it says something about person for even being able to break in through the front door. They can't be that high of security threat if JARVIS hasn't sounded the alarms yet.
"That is what is most puzzling sir. They aren't entering through the front door."
"What?" Coulson demands, hand reaching for his gun.
"How are they coming in JARVIS?" Tony questions. He already has his cellphone out, pulling up the commands to call the suit out.
"They're ziplining into the living room on the top floor, sir."
Tony pales and locks up his suit. He doesn't want his suit out in the open in the same room where the intruder is entering. Swearing in his head, Tony says, "We're heading up there JARVIS. Alert the others."
Coulson is already standing outside of the lab, gun drawn. Tony locks up his lab and they head up towards the stairs. One flight up they run into Bruce stumbling out of his own lab. Down the hall they run into the rest of the team, looking sleepy but weapons present. Tony stifle his laughter. Natasha doesn't look as threatening as she normally does in pajamas pants with pink hearts on them and thankfully Thor remembered to sleep with clothes on instead of nude.
As they gather around the door to the living room. Clint and Natasha are in the front, weapons aim readied to fire. "Where are they JARVIS?" Steve asks. He's standing behind the two assassins, shield in front of him.
"Sir," JARVIS begins. He sounds almost confuse. "My scans show that it's Mr. Fujimoto."
"What?" Tony exclaims. Why on earth is that kid breaking into his house? Why ziplining? So he missed today's meeting. This is rather childish of the kid, even if the kid is a child.
"He's sitting on your couch and reading a magazine that he brought with him."
"Oh for the love," Tony grumbles. He pushes forward, reaching for the door.
"Tony!" Steve yells. It could be dangerous! Who knows who this Mr. Fujimoto is and what he's after?
"It's fine," Tony says dismissively. "He's a business associate, sorta." He flings open the door and struts into the living room. Behind him, his teammates pour into the room, carefully surrounding the intruder in case something happens. True to JARVIS words, Tier is sitting on the couch, legs crossed and reading a magazine written in Japanese.
"Pardon my French, but what the hell are you doing here Tier?" Tony demands. He refuses to address the kid as Mister anything. First he's too young and two he hasn't done anything to actually earn that respect from Tony.
Tier looks up at him, glare in full effect. Tony subconsciously steps back. "You, Mr. Stark," Tier says in his usual frigid tone, " are a very hard person to get a hold of."
Tony's stomach lurches as panic begins to bubble inside of him. He knows where this is going. There have been enough fail deals in his lifetime and Tony's been in the game of business longer then this kid has been alive. Really, though, it's only Tony's fault. He made it a point to miss as many meetings as possible just to avoid dealing with this kid. 'No no no,' Tony wails inside of his head. 'Pepper is going to kill me if I lose this deal with these guys.' This deal would take Stark Industries to international status, something Tony admittedly is looking forward too because Kinga Company is thebiggest company in all of Asia. It is time to start groveling and begging.
"I've come to conclusion that for some reason I make you uncomfortable."
"Wait what?" Tony says. Oddly that doesn't sound like accusations of how Tony is a failure of Stark Industries.
Tier looks at him, one eyebrow raise in what Tony thinks is amusement. "I said, Mr. Stark, that I've come to conclusion that for some reason I make you uncomfortable. My apologies."
Tony winces. "That's not your fault," he weakly protests. Definitely not the kid's fault that Tony is projecting his father's ghost on to him. Nor was it the kid's fault for Tony's inability to man up and deal with the issue.
Tier waves it off. "Regardless, since you don't want to talk to me I've arranged it so that the next meeting which according to Ms. Potts, is," he paused to look at his watch. "Today in 10 hours, for you to meet the head of my R&D department."
That... doesn't sound like a bad idea. Tony doesn't have to face the ghosts of his past and still gets the deal for the companies. Win-win situation. Coward's way out, but it works.
"Okay," Tony agrees, subdue by the entire thing. "Why the zipline?" he asks, veering off topic because he's kinda curious why someone who is so stiff and cold would something dangerous and well... wild like that.
Tier shrugs and says, "Couldn't scale your building due to wind factor. Normally I would have my head of R&D break your security system but after looking at it she said there was no way she was going to break the most perfect AI she's ever seen in existence." He pauses for a brief moment, head tilting to the side. "She wants a date with JARVIS actually."
There's an odd swell of parental pride that replaces the dying panic in Tony. Someone who appreciates JARVIS! Like really appreciates him.
Tier stands up and heads towards the elevator. After he pushes the button, he turns and looks back at Tony. "By the way, Mr. Stark. I do want my head of R&D back now."
"You make it sound like I'm gonna kidnap her!" Tony immediately protests on habit.
A soft ping sound rings as the elevator doors open. Tier steps inside as a smirk appears on Tier's face (which is kinda creepy because clearly showing emotions on a ice statue is something Tony never gets use to). "You have enough shiny toys to distract her for an entire year. If I were you I would keep your suit away from her. She might take it apart if you let her get too close."
As the doors close, Tier gives a small bow. "Good night, Mr. Stark."
Tony stands there, dumbstruck by the turn of events. "Tony," Clint calls to him. "What the hell just happened?"
"I'm not sure."
Coulson, or rather Phil, being the secret mother-hen he is, demands the meeting take place at the tower... with everyone present for the meeting. Tony protests because it's Stark Industries business and the only person who need to show up is Tony (and Pepper if she wasn't in LA handling another stockholders meeting). He's immediately shot down by the entire team for various of reasons.
"We're worried Tony."
"Last night sounded like a threat to me."
"The guy zipline into the Avengers Tower just to tell you to show up for the meeting today."
"I agree. Why are they so eager to meet you?"
"What if this person takes away your armor of metal, Friend Tony?"
As one, they all look at Tony and told him none of them were leaving and he will let them stay for the meeting. They're not leaving anything to chance, especially considering Tony's luck this month. Tony grudgingly agrees but is touch that they even care this much.
As ten o'clock rolls around, the elevator pings and its doors open. Out pops this girl who didn't look any older than Tier did. She's... not exactly what Tony is expecting. Her outfit, a fedora hat, black gloves and pants with a grey vest shirt thing makes her look like she belongs in some club partying the night away. There's the rational part of Tony's brain that is concern that the most powerful company in all of Japan, in all of Asia is run by a bunch of kids. Kids who should still be in college, having fun and partying (that is what normal college kids did right? Tony doesn't have a frame of reference to 'normal' experiences to draw from).
The first thing she does is squeal and promptly tackles Bruce who had been hiding near the window. "You're Doctor Banner!" she exclaims, bouncing with excitement. "Can you give me a crash course in gamma radiation later cause my last university didn't explain anything remotely interesting about it and I'm like 96.7% certain most the material was outdated. Radiation is kinda touchy subject for some people too."
'She's weird,' is Tony's first thought. In a ramble-y weird way. Clearly much more friendly than Tier. He thinks he can handle this.
"Ahem," Coulson interrupts in his best "Agent" voice. "I'm Agent Coulson. You can talk to Doctor Banner later, Ms..."
The girl blinks. "Oh, yes. Focus! I am Ayu- wait wrong order. Ayame Ayumu. Head of Research and Development and Vice President. I think," she introduces with a small bow. Her accent is light as Tier's, barely noticeable unless you're looking for it.
"You think?" Coulson questions.
Ayame shrugs. "That's what my business card says. Tier hasn't told me about it though. I would give you one but I don't have any written in English." She looks around the room with a wide grin on her face. "I get to meet the Avengers, this is so cool," she mutters to herself.
"Young female! Thou will not harm my friend's armor!" Thor booms, walking up to the smaller Japanese girl.
Ayame tilts her head and blinks. "What?" Tony gives her props. She doesn't even flinch as Thor looms over her by nearly almost a good one foot.
"Your boss said last night to not let you near my suit," Tony says, stepping forward and drawing her attention away from Thor. He holds out his hand. "Said you would take it apart and everyone under the expression that's exactly what you're going to do."
Ayame blinks again, shaking Tony's hand in greeting. "Oh, well it's kinda true. It's something new and shiny and I love taking part things and putting them back together. You should see how often I take apart the toaster at home. He originally didn't want me to meet you. Tier said it would be the equivalent of letting a child loose in a candy story." Then she grimace. "He also said if I don't focus I'll be doing all of the paperwork by myself."
"What is it with you people and taking apart toasters?" Clint asks from the kitchen. He glances at the broken toaster lying in pieces. Tony took it apart three days ago and hasn't had the time or mindset to put it back together. Thankfully the spare one is still whole otherwise Thor would be very sad over not being able to cook his poptarts.
"I don't," Bruce says.
"Yeah, thank god. Tony is bad enough."
"And why does your company want this deal with Stark Industries?" Natasha cuts in.
Ayame's eyebrow rose. "Is that really any of your concern?" she shot back.
"What she means, and I'm curious about it as well," Tony interrupts. Really everyone is making this much harder than it has to be. "Is why your boss just redirected to me to you. Not that I'm complaining cause I'm very interested in this deal but most people would just get fed up with me and would have walked away by now."
"Oh. Well to start you meet our company policy and ideals."
Ayame sits down on the couch, tossing her hat on to the cushion next to her. "Ah, that's right. Tier didn't get a chance to explain it to you. So by chance do you know what Kinga translates to in English?"
Silence fills the room. "No," Tony finally says.
"I see," Ayame says. "Well let's start with some history. Until Tier officially resume ownership of the company a few years ago, Kinga Company was actually known as Fujimoto Incorporation. It was company created by his grandfather and was well known throughout Japan. Tier's father started the plans to make it an international company setting up factories in China, Korea and Taiwan. It was, still is, considered to be the leading corporation in all of Asia and responsible for about 30% of jobs the Japan alone. When Tier took over the company he decided to rehaul the entire thing from the bottom up. He started by renaming the company Kinga."
Ayame looks Tony straight in the eyes, all traces of playfulness gone. "In kenjougo, that is the humble form of Japanese, Kinga means wishes of happiness. Our ideal is that everyone, even the future children of the world deserve a slice of happiness. We want to make the world a better place. This means cleaning up the world, cutting down on pollution, creating jobs, using recyclable materials, educating people and so much more. So if we're publishing books, we're using recycled paper to do so. If we make cars the frames will use reusable metal and engine must eventually be refined into something better and alternative energy will used as a fuel source instead of fossil fuels. If we make toys, half the proceeds will go to into improving orphanages and every toy sold means another toy will be donated to charity."
Taking a seat down on the couch in front of Ayame, Tony could feel his throat constrict. That is their company policy? It sounds so selfless, so good. How on earth does he even meet up to such impossible standards? Steve would be a better match for such lofty ideals then Tony could ever be. They're either mad or they have the wrong person.
"Six months ago," Ayame continues, oblivious to Tony's mental dilemma. "You created the first sustainable building using your arc reactor technology. It's utterly brilliant, let me tell you that. There are two things we wanted to accomplish when we came to America. The first was to set up a store to sell our wares. That's already well on its way and you'll be seeing Kinga's Toy Store in a few months down the street from here. The second is your clean energy arc reactor. We want you to install it in every Kinga factory and building and then we want to help you spread that technology worldwide."
"But it's only a prototype," Tony sputters out. "Won't even last a year." There hasn't been much time to refine his pet project lately between the whole saving the world and crap life had been throwing at him.
Ayame shrugs. "We are willing to wait. No one expects the world to change overnight. Baby steps as people say."
"I crunched the numbers," Ayame interrupts. "If you install your technology in every building that Kinga owns in Japan, pollution in Japan goes down by 25 percent. Install it every building Kinga owns internationally and every building Stark Industries owns world pollution goes down by 30 percent."
Tony leans back and runs a hand through his hair, stun into silence. Out of the corner of his eye he realizes that he isn't the only one who was. His teammates are quiet and wide eyed as well. "You realize is this incredibly ambitious right?"
Ayame lets out a laugh. "Yes. People tell us that all the time. 'You're too young to realize that it's impossible to do.' However I do believe in a brighter future. Is a better world something we'll achieve in our lifetime? Who knows, but it never hurts to try. You should see my to-do list to accomplish. Some which I think Doctor Banner will be really interested in." She glances at quiet doctor hiding in the kitchen next to Clint. "Which is why I fully plan on kidnapping him after we settle this deal thing," she says with a smirk.
Turning her attention back to Tony, her features softens as she smiles. "The bottom line of this, is that you, Mr. Stark was the first to create the technology, you no longer produce weapons and you regularly save the world with your teammates. Simply you are the best there is, and we refuse to accept anything less than that. We want to help you change the world."
She pulls out a stack of papers from god knows where and hands it to Tony. "This is the paperwork for it. Feel free to have your lawyers take a look over it. If you choose not to accept that's fine, however the deal will remain open should in the future you feel ready to accept it. Tier and I leave in three days. Please decide by then." Ayame stands up and picks up her hat from the couch. She gives a quick brush and places it on her head.
"It's been an honor to meet you Mr. Stark," she says with a bow. Then she heads toward the elevator and exits leaving the entire team to their thoughts.
Tony pauses his reading to look up to see Coulso- (nope he's definitely Phil right now) standing next to him, looking concern. It's about eight o'clock at night and the rest of the team has wandered off, leaving Tony to ponder the offer.
"Hi Phil," Tony greets. He flips through the document. It's his thirteenth read of the contract and it's still blowing his mind.
"So what does the contract say?" Phil asks. He isn't surprised to see a bottle of Vodka on the counter next to Tony. He is surprised to see it unopened though.
"Exactly as Ayame explain it," Tony answers. "They want to convert to pure clean energy in every single building they own, all three hundred and seventy two buildings including Tier's personal house." Tony pauses and flips to the last page. "Not only that they included several patents and ideas they want to work jointly together with. Including portable medical equipment that are usable in a battlefield or a third world country where electricity isn't readily available. That's why she wants to kidnap Bruce, someone who has been there personally and knows which equipment would take priority over others."
Tony makes a frustrated sound, tosses the papers to the side and slams his forehead into the counter.
"I'm just... this is just..." Tony lifts his head and rubs his temples. "They got a billion ideas and they're all good. Shit whoever told them these kids they can't change the world, never bother to stop and listen to what they have to say. These are great ideas, Phil. I mean Stark Industries is always looking to create and improve new technologies, but most times we don't, most people don't, stop to think about the impact it'll have on the future. I certainly didn't when I was creating weapons."
"But you're not anymore," Phil points out. He never likes it when Tony blames himself for a mistake in his past. There are days when Phil wonders what Tony really thinks about himself and his self-worth.
"True. But even now, I'm just about making better things, like a faster car or a better phone. These kids... shit, Phil. That girl included a list of three things I can do to improve my Iron Armor based off watching newsclips."
"What?" Phil asks, eyes wide.
"It's right next to how to improve the latest Stark Phone battery by nine point two percent. They really can change the world, I know it," Tony breathlessly says. It's just... everything in this contract it is amazing. They're plausible too. If he's reading this thing right, they have the research, the prototypes and the funding to pull it off. All they need is more time and manpower to implement them all.
"So what do you get out of this?" Phil asks. To him the entire thing just sounds like they want to use Stark Industries to meet the end goal.
"You mean beside taking Stark Industries to an international level and access to the shiny tech that only Japanese can get?" Tony lets out a laugh. "A legacy to start."
He flips through the contract once more. This small ream of paper holds so many ideas, so many hopes and dreams. What if... he's not good enough? That's a horrible startling realization. He's use to being disappointment, he has never rose up to meet someone's expectations before. Just ask his father. These expectations are so lofty.
A tight squeeze on his shoulder snaps Tony out of his thoughts. He looks to see Phil giving a reassuring and patient smile. "You're a good man, Tony. You'll do fine."
Tony swallows and looks back at the stack of papers.
Maybe it is time to start believing that.
Author's Rambling: So I guess this is the flipped version of "A Good Man" story. (Which is funny since I wrote this story first and "A Good Man" second.) But since I'm not sure it's presented clearly enough in the story, what I wanted Tony to take away from this, is that he doesn't just have to be a superhero to help change the world. And if he wants it, his legacy that he leaves behind doesn't just have to be Iron Man. It can be something more, something about the man in the suit instead of just the superhero.
Basically, didn't want it to be a "fix it" fic where the past abuse and issues come spilling out and yay for team bonding. Not that I don't love those kind stories (I actually worship them to death) but rather just one Tony knows he's got issues and even though he's coping the best he can I wanted him to realize that he has the support of friends, the resources to change the world and that he is a better man than he gives himself credit for.
As for Tier and Ayame, hopefully they didn't come across as Mary Sues/Gary Stus. I made them young on purpose because youth = ambition. You become more ridged in age after all. If you're confused about them (and I don't blame you since Tony spent all his time dodging Tier and Ayame threw Tony off mentally), here's a basic run-down. Tier is a bastard, or at least he acts like one. It isn't until you realize that what he's doing actually something good that you realize he's got a heart under all that ice. He's never been the type of express his emotions and a firm believer of actions speak louder than words. Ayame on the other hand is a bag full of crazy. She's like Tony in that she had just spend hours creating and experimenting, only with a little more insanity and possibly a tad more ADHD. Ayame and Tier are best friends too.
Right so enough rambling. Thanks for reading!