Disclaimer: Tony Stark and the rest of the characters are the property of Stan Lee and Marvel Studios/Disney. Harry Potter and all associated characters and settings remain the intellectual property of JK Rowling and her associates. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Warning: This fic is un-betaed and will most likely stay un-betaed. There will be mistakes and misspellings. There will be things that don't match up with what I wrote before (feel free to point out those mistakes). This is called writing by the seat of my pants. I lost myself as a writer, I think, by participating in fest after fest – it's time I wrote for myself again.
Notes: Same author's note/warning/whatever as before because, hey, it's still true. Here's Chapter one! It's short, but mostly just a set-up chapter.
It started on a miniature vacation in Monaco nearly a year after Stane was killed. Harry had gotten into his company's racecar because stupid stunts brought money (and that started with his "I am Iron Man" statement). He needed that money for suits as well as new bows that he would never admit he was messing with as gifts for Clint. Then, in the middle of the damn race, a man wearing a mockery of his suit had to fuck up his day.
Monaco was not Harry's favorite city after that. Hermione and Neville had almost gotten killed while they got his portable suit out to him (he needed to find a way to have it just come to him like in Nightrider). The local authorities didn't want him talking to the man who did it, but Harry had insisted and threatened until they let him walk, alone, into the cell that held the son of the man who helped Howard create the arc reactor.
Well, it at least explained a few things about the (embarrassingly) better reactor the man had.
Still, the last thing he needed was for someone to come and make him look like an ass. Two days before, Harry had defended himself in front of a bunch of military suits about how nobody in the world was up to his level with an Iron Man suit. Jarvis and Edwin helped find footage and Blaise had done his best to deflect questions on the official report of the suit. In the end, Harry had simply given up, pushed the arrogance he had come to accept out, and simply gave the panel of idiots his middle finger. More elegantly than just raising his fist, but he still did it.
Now he was staring at the man who could put him back into that court subpoena hearing in seconds and Harry didn't like that. He might as well get straight to the point.
"Where'd you get the designs?" Harry wandered around the room until he could look at the man in the face. "Vanko, right? Your father help you?"
The man laughed, giving Harry a nod. Finally, something other than a blank stare. "You come from a family of thieves and butchers." That had stung and Harry was proud of himself for not flinching. "You forget all the lives the Stark family has destroyed. My father is the reason you're alive."
He looked right at Harry's chest and damn that made him uncomfortable. Harry scowled at him. "No, the reason I'm alive is because you missed a shot."
Vanko laughed, sending a chill down Harry's spine. "If you could make God bleed, people would cease to believe in him."
"Good thing I'm not God. Enjoy your prison cell." Harry pulled his coat tighter around himself and headed for the door.
"Hey, Tony, before you go…" Harry hesitated, hand on the door. "Palladium in the chest. Painful way to die."
Harry wasn't sure what kind of messed up warning that was, but he didn't like it. He left the room, slamming the door as he went. The lights flickered a bit and he took a deep breath to calm himself so his magic didn't explode anything around them. He had to make a phone call.
As soon as he was out of the building, Harry ignored Clint's seven missed calls and dialed Blaise's number. His friend had to stay behind in California to take care of some military-whatever, but Harry knew he would take care of this.
"Are you okay?" was the first thing Blaise said as the phone picked up. "That wreck was all over the news. Don't worry about the Senators, I got that covered."
Harry smiled, relaxing as he settled into a rental car next to Hermione. She motioned for him to turn the speaker on and he did, letting all three of them listen. "I'm fine, just a few scrapes and bruises. Really, nothing Miranda can't fix."
While they had all adapted to the reactor in Harry's chest, they still only trusted Miranda, the woman who healed Harry after Afghanistan, to deal with anything medical. Sure, Harry had at least ten back-up reactors just in case (Clint carried one on him at all times – he insisted), but they didn't want to needlessly waste them.
"Good," Blaise said. "You need me to do anything, Tony?"
"Do you want me to wait until you're not around people to tell you?"
Blaise hesitated. "Yeah, okay. Hold on, just let me…"
Neville looked back at Harry from the rear-view mirror. "Want me to call Miranda?"
Harry nodded just as Blaise said, "Yeah, do that, Nev. I'd send a message, but there's just too many people around. I'm okay to talk now, though."
"I don't trust Vanko," Harry told him.
"The man who attacked him," Hermione supplied. "His name is Ivan Vanko and his father helped Howard Stark design the arc reactor. He was—"
"Just send me the information. I love hearing your talk, Hermione, but I don't have a lot of uninterrupted time."
Hermione looked upset for a moment before shrugging and going to her own phone. "I'll have Edwin send you everything. He and Jarvis did a search as soon as the attack started apparently."
"Love that man. He made me chocolate pie last night."
"Traitor," Neville muttered.
Harry smiled and shook his head. "Yes, we all know Edwin loves Blaise more. Back to Vanko now?"
Harry let out a breath and turned to stare out the window. He didn't want see Hermione's face when he asked this. "I want you to take care of him. I don't trust that the prison systems here will … deal with him and I'd rather not have this whole thing bite me in the ass."
"You think he'd try to break out?" Hermione asked. Harry was glad that she wasn't outright voting against the idea.
"He's supposed to be a certified genius," Neville said. "At least, according to Edwin. Something about being on par with the real Tony Stark while growing up."
Harry pressed a hand to his reactor, remembering the warning Vanko gave him. Palladium in the chest. Painful way to die. He wasn't sure how true that was, so he decided to keep it to himself for now. He'd research it on his own and hope that nobody else found out, especially Hermione. Miranda, maybe, because she could attempt to get the shrapnel out of his chest again, but Harry wanted a back-up plan. He'd need to start looking in on the elements and see what could be replaced.
"…need to make an excuse to be out of town for a few days. Harry, where did you say Clint was?"
Harry pulled himself back into the conversation. "Ah, I don't know. He and Agent Coulson left about two months ago and didn't tell me where. I figured it was classified."
"I'll make something up."
Harry snorted. "Hello, injured best friend here. What better excuse do you need?"
"They'll roll their eyes and tell me to get back to work if I try to give them the 'Tony Stark needs me' excuse. You know they don't care, not since you took away their weapons."
"They're just mad they have to deal with Hammer Tech," Hermione said. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not an expert at weaponry of war, but his does seem to break easier."
"He lacks the funds. Edwin told me something about Hammer getting fired from Stark and taking his rejected ideas with him. Stane was running the place at the time, so I don't know what happened, but he seems to think I did it."
"You haven't been CEO for a year. Why doesn't he go after me?"
Harry grinned and lifted Hermione's hand, kissing the back of it. "Because he's too scared to go against you, Miss Pepper Potts."
Hermione wrinkled her nose, pulling her hand out of Harry's grip. "I'm not one of your cover girls, Mister Tony Stark."
"Doesn't stop the press from insinuating it," Blaise said. Harry could hear the grin in his voice. "Not that it makes sense…"
"Yes, we all know that you are dating my CEO. Shut up, Blaise."
Blaise laughed. "As long as we know the truth, that's all that matters. I need to get back, but trust me… I'll take care of Vanko. Guy reminds me of the Carrows."
Neville shuddered and Harry pushed on, knowing that his friend didn't want to remember that. "Thanks, Blaise. Let me know when it's done."
"Will do. I'll see you guys at home."
Harry shut off his phone and turned to Hermione. "I thought you'd object to me asking that."
"If he didn't try to take my head off as well, I might have objected."
"I'm hurt," Harry teased. "Only caring about yourself."
"Yes, well, I didn't want Blaise to kill you because you couldn't put your stupid suit on fast enough." She grinned. "See? I care about you."
"In a roundabout way, yeah."
Hermione shook her head. "I'm just glad you're safe, Harry."
Harry smiled a little and leaned over to rest his head on Hermione's shoulder. "Me, too. Remind me to make a suit that shows up when I want it to."
Hermione groaned and shoved Harry off of her. "Next you're going to want one that crawls out of your skin."
Harry sighed playfully and settled back into his seat. "Fine, no internal suit for now."
"Thank god," Neville said. "It's already hard enough to carry you when you pretend to be drunk in the streets.'
"One time," Harry hissed. "That was one time to prove a point to Clint."
Neville waved him off. "Yeah, sure, which is why Clint was right there with you."
Harry groaned and covered his face, if only to hide his smile. Things weren't perfect as Tony Stark, and he still had things he didn't want to do, but he was finally enjoying himself. The stupid stunts the board wanted him to do were ridiculous, but it got the company a wider audience (and how that worked, Harry didn't want to know) and kept them in the news. It helped take care of the deficit stopping the weapons caused.
Driving his own company-controlled race car had just been one thing on the list of "crazy acts Tony Stark could do." He already skydived to test out the suitcase armor (thankfully already tested before he pulled that trick). The military let him have a dog fight in midair with what they claimed to be their best pilots (Harry won). Other countries had tried to get him to come over and crash random parties (Clint convinced him once, but Harry never did it again after that).
Then there was the Stark Expo, the first one since Howard died. It was originally supposed to last an entire year, but Harry cut it down to three months just so he wouldn't have to deal with it as long. Besides, that way he made it a twenty-four-hour party and the board just considered that another reckless, but profitable move. More people were willing to stay in the area three months, compared to a full year.
They would return to the states just in time to start that off and, really, part of Harry couldn't wait.
I had this mostly written since July. JULY. I added a few things to let it line up with An Iron Magic, but yeah. This has been here for months, guys. Also, if you don't live in America and want to know what the Director's Commentary on The Avengers says (and damn is it hilarious – love Joss), let me know. I recorded it for tumblr and can send you the link.