Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Iron Man. Buffy belongs to Whedon, and Iron Man belongs to Marvel comics. No money made.

A/N: This is set post Buffy S7, disregarding the comics—save for a few ideas plucked here and there. Also, I'm going solely off the Iron Man and recent Avengers movies, and I'm doing that by memory only. Forgive me if I mess up something that did or didn't happen in Iron Man 1 or 2 or in The Avengers. And I'm not taking the comics—Iron Man or Avengers—into account since I'm usually a DC girl and know very little of their comic existence. Also, there's some art that goes along with this. If you want to see it with the art, please visit my LJ at patriciatepes dot livejournal dot com (remove spaces, replace with actual periods). Please enjoy!


Shooting Stars

"Head down!" came a voice from above, and Buffy had just enough time to duck and roll out of the way.

She was on her knees in a crouch, staring at the spot where she had stood not moments earlier, as a blue beam of light shot down, incinerating the vampire that she had been about to stake. In fact, she still had the stake in her hands, ready to go.

"Huh?" she said, shaking her head.

A man in a red and gold metal suit landed—because, yeah, he had rockets helping him fly—and the mask opened. The man underneath the robot had brown eyes that were dancing—practically doing backflips—as he found Buffy's form in the darkness. He had a black beard and mustache, both neatly groomed, and he was smiling like a real idiot. Buffy launched to her feet, storming over to him.

"You're welcome," he said. "I imagine that I did a lot more damage than that would've."

He pointed at her stake. Buffy could almost feel the fire roar to life in her eyes. She pointed at him, shaking her head.

"The hell did you think you were doing? I had him! I didn't need your help! That vamp had valuable information, I'll have you know! Now my wiccans are gonna have to find some other way to stop Cleveland from being sucked into oblivion!"

The slayer huffed, whirling fast enough to make sure her long, blonde hair smacked him soundly. The man in the suit huffed.

"Well, excuse me! Next time I see you in obvious peril, I'll leave you alone. How's that?"

Buffy turned, her mouth gaping open in surprise. "Obvious? Well, you know what? Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, but no thank you!"

"Fine!" the man said. "And it's Iron Man, thank you. You'd know that if you were educated enough to turn on the television once in a while! Or read a paper!"

"Whatever!" Buffy shouted just as Iron Man ignited his thrusters.

He was gone, shooting off into the sky, just like the star he thought he was. Buffy shook her head, pulling out her cell phone.

"Obviously in peril," she muttered as she dialed. When the other end answered, she said, "Will, bad news. The vamp is now vacuum chow."

#

"Really, Fury, don't you ever take a day off?" Stark said, lifting his thin, dark sunglasses up onto his slightly spiked hair. "Who even let you in here? Was it Ms. Potts?"

Nick Fury, dressed in his usual black duster and matching eye patch, crossed the posh living room in no time, stopping to stand on the other side of the coffee table. Meanwhile, Stark was still reclined on the white couch opposite the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fury dropped a manila folder, the word "confidential" stamped across it in red, on the table.

"I have a job for you," he said, crossing his arms.

Stark rolled his eyes, sitting up a little straighter. "Really, man, have you even been to Fiji? It's gorgeous! A weekend, just one, to get the stick out of your ass."

"It's about the Avengers initiative. We need to keep up our efforts, in case Loki tries again. Or something worse."

Stark reached for the folder, holding it but not opening it. He shook it up at Fury, shrugging.

"And this has to do with me because…?"

"Because I need your help with this recruit. I think you're one of the best I could send in to convince her."

He scoffed, resting the folder on his knees. "One of the best? What, was Romanoff busy?"

Fury grinned. "Yes, actually. So I came to you."

"Wonderful. That's nice."

Stark flipped over the folder, and Fury moved to clasp his hands behind his back.

"I thought you'd feel that way. But I really do think you'll enjoy this assignment. It just screamed your name to me."

"No friggin' way," Stark muttered, leaning forward enough so that his nose almost touched the paper.

He shot back upright, holding the picture of the pretty blonde girl he was supposed to recruit up to the director.

"Her? You've got to be kidding me!"

Fury smiled. "Ah, so you've met her before. Perfect."

He turned, making his way out of Stark's penthouse apartment. Stark stood, calling after him.

"Yeah, I don't think I told you that story! Trust me. I am most definitely not the one you want to send after her!"

Fury turned only when he reached the elevator.

"She's in Scotland, Tony. Don't let me down."

The doors closed with a ding, and Stark only sighed.

#

"Uh, Buffy?" Willow said, calling to the lead slayer.

Willow was still standing at the wall overlooking the highlands that the castle the slayers had claimed as their own stood on. She was by the rise that kept one from walking right off the thin turret that rose above all the other towers. And Buffy had just begun to make her way back inside. She turned.

"What is it, Wil—Ah, damn it," the slayer muttered, her eyes gazing upward.

The metal man—Iron Man, he had called himself—was now landing on the turret, her turret. She did a tiny jog to join where Willow stood gaping at Iron Man. The mask to the machine opened, and the same, arrogant man who had inhabited it last time was there, grinning.

"Miss Summers? I don't believe we were properly introduced last time. I'm Tony Stark," he said, extending a metal hand.

"You mean last time when you dusted my vamp that I totally had on my own?" Buffy snipped.

Stark retracted his hand. "Uh, why don't I get a little more comfortable. This thing'll make an awful noise in those halls, I bet. Jarvis, let's put this away."

"Yes, sir," a very proper sounding voice said from somewhere within the suit.

The metal began to retract itself, folding until it was nothing but a suitcase—silver, instead of gold and red. Buffy rolled her eyes.

"Like I'm inviting you in," she said.

Stark shrugged. "Okay, look, I don't want to be here any more than you want me to be here. But I was asked—and I'm using that term lightly—to come and present a proposition to you. For some reason, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. thinks that you and your group—mainly, you—would be a good addition to the Avengers initiative."

"You know, I've not liked the term 'initiative' since somewhere around my freshman year in college," Buffy said, crossing her arms.

But Willow eyes were wide. "Buffy! S.H.I.E.L.D.!"

She turned to the red-haired witch, an eyebrow arched. "Are you stroking?"

Willow shook her head. "No, Buffy! S.H.I.E.L.D.! I've heard of it! Back in our junior year, when we did the career aptitude thing? They tried to recruit me!"

"Yeah," Stark said, opening up the suitcase-formerly-suit and pulling out a piece of paper. "You're Willow Rosenberg, right? I think Fury expects you to be a part of this package."

Willow squeed, and Buffy glared her into submission. She muttered an apology as the slayer turned back to Stark.

"So, what is this Avengers thing?" she asked.

"Can't we go in? It's cold," Stark whined.

"Oh, God… No. No, you cannot come in."

"Oh, come on! I killed something you were gonna kill anyway once, and you're still pissed? According to this file, you do that sort of thing all the time! You've probably killed like a hundred more vampires since we last saw each other!"

"Do you have any idea what my girls had to go through to get the info that I could've gotten right then and there? One of them got turned into a pig, for God's sake!"

"Well that's not my—a pig, really? Like, pink and curly tail?" Stark said, drawing the tail in the air.

"Pink and curly tail and snorting," Willow confirmed, nodding.

"Wow," Stark said, running his free hand through his hair. "Sorry about that, I guess. But, hey, hey! I didn't actually cause that!"

"But you could've prevented it!"

Stark sighed, putting his back to the women. When he turned back around, he looked as if he was trying desperately to remember that count to ten rule of being angry. He sighed again, shaking his head.

"I'm sorry. Okay? Can we please let bygones be bygones so we can discuss this like adults?"

Buffy eyed him, from head to toe, several times before she finally nodded.

"All right. After you," she said, gesturing to the door.

"Thank you," Stark said as if a great debate had just been ended.

The two started down the hall, and Willow took a moment, standing just in the threshold of the door. She counted down, silently—and on her fingers—from three to one. And as soon as she lowered her index finger into her fist, she heard Stark shout, "Look, believe me, I wouldn't wish pig on anyone!"

Willow giggled, hiding it in her hand.

"Adults," the witch muttered, beginning to finally follow after. "Right."