Challenge Time! Word travels in the fanfiction world, eh?
Well, because my story 'Agnising' was so popular, i got this request also.
The Avengers read the fic ''Textbook.'
Infomation is below!
Summery:Tony is brilliant, he's a genius by anyone's standards, and after Obie, terrorists and even Hammer there's no way he'll ever let anyone see his real weaknesses. Spies are not the only people who know how to live a lie
Now, it's only an Oneshot, so you have no excuse to no got read it. :) Go on! She/he has only like, 13 reviews! That's just rude to keep him/her at that!
Enjoy! Hope you like it, Mouse-size-Dragon and my challenger, princessabbie10
Takes place after the fic 'Agnising' but it is not needed to understand the fic.
It was weeks after the whole 'Spectacular Ignorance' incident, (As Natasha had found a tiny margin labeled that). Tony had vanished, returning to a home in Malibu, but promising to return if the Earth (or more specifically, Manhattan) was threatened with destruction, wreckage, or a ban of coffee.
It was an awkward little residence at the Stark Tower without Stark, leaving each Avenger to abandon another to try and help calm their screaming minds that craved something other than boredom.
"…We could play a game?" Steve offered, lounging on the recliner as the Avengers groaned in the main room, the TV off as nothing was suiting their fancy in the afternoon sun.
"Dear god no- the last time we played Risk, Thor wrecked the board." Clint groaned from his spot, a pillow pressed flush against his face, muffling his voice until it was necessary to strain to tell what he said.
"True- we could watch a movie?" Bruce offered more as a question, and Natasha sighed, flipping a pencil (a rarity in Stark Towers) around and twirling it between her fingers.
"We could-"She froze, eyes on the coffee table, where a tiny stack of papers sat, innocent and white on the deep stained mahogany.
"Tasha? What is it?" Clint asked, shifting the pillow as she very slowly reached out, poking the papers to the side with the eraser end of the pencil.
"Oh no- nonononono! We are not reading that- do you remember what happened last time?" Clint shrieked, voice lifting in octaves at the end while Thor frowned at the paper, shifting uncomfortably in the presence of the innocent sheets.
"Friend Natasha, I think it is wise not to read these sheets." Thor stated grimly, and Natasha slowly nodded, looking away as Bruce took control of the remote, groaning as he looked through all of the sit-coms on television with Clint's insistence.
They looked, eyes flickering down on occasion while Clint watched bemused as some cooking show watched competitors race to make cakes- cakes.
"Um, why are we watching thi-"
"Quiet Steve! I think Suzie's Cookie Coliseum about to break!" Clint cried out eagerly, leaning forward as indeed, the chocolate chip monstrosity cracked and shattered on the ground.
Nobody, minus Clint, was amused.
This time, it was Bruce who sighed, noticing everybody's eyes rest on the papers before pausing the TV and looking towards the paper's expectantly.
"…Dang, we're bad at this." Clint sighed, full attention on the papers Natasha quickly scooped up, lifting them up and carefully removing the front cover slip.
"Tony reads SHIELD's file with Natasha's evaluation of him and bites his tongue, literally, to keep from laughing or reacting wrong." She started, eyebrows furrowing in confusion as she paused.
"Wait- you made the evaluation?" Clint asked mouth slightly agape in which he shut it quickly. Thor looked, frowning at the two.
"I do not understand-"
"Iron Man Yes, Tony Stark No, he knows what he's supposed to say and do in reaction to this. "
"What? How can some- how could you say that?" Steve asked in surprise, and Natasha's jaw clicked.
"He seemed emotionally unstable at the moment." She gritted out before continuing to read, very slowly getting more and more agitated.
"He plays his part perfectly and Fury and his little minions never suspect a thing. But later, when the dust settles and he stumbles down to his workshop and he's finally alone with just his creations as his witnesses he collapses. Collapses into his chair shaking with laughter so strong his damaged body protests with even more aches. Once he can breathe again he calls JARVIS on line. "JARVIS pull up SHIELD's file on me will you?""
"He can just get access like that?" Clint asked in surprise, and slight alarm, Bruce sighed and sent him a pitying look.
"Certainly Sir," his AI replies even as he opens an electronic copy of the file he's stolen off their server. Tony has had JARVIS hacking into SHIELD since Agent Coulson first approached him right after he built the suit."
"What?" Clint squawked, causing Natasha to flinch.
"Wait! Tasha! That means-"
" That means, thankfully, that he knew Natalie was really an Agent of SHIELD sent to spy on him before they even met."
There was a brief pause of silence before Bruce winced and Steve let out a low whistle a boy from Brookland could only pull off.
"Seeing her assessment of him again sends him into another fit of glee. "Oh god, JARVIS, I'm dying" he gasps out between trying to suck in air and the uncontrollable snickering. "She actually said textbook!""
"That's it- Jarvis! Call him up right now!" Natasha snapped, throwing the papers angrily on the coffee table in which Bruce gingerly picked up, starting to read calmly while Natasha fumed at the deception.
"Shall I alert Miss. Potts of your decline in health Sir?" JARVIS replies with all the sarcasm his programming contains."
"He'll get his ass kicked for that." Clint winced, imagining an angry Pepper charging him and shrieking.
"No, I'm good now," as he speaks he flicks the holograph to send SHIELD's file on him flying into the hidden, overly protected and encrypted, drive he keeps all such information.
Textbook Narcissism, of course it's textbook, where do you think he was getting his information on how to act from, another person?"
"His dad wasn't the best, and his mum never paid attention." Bruce added, looking at Thor who gave a sad regretful frown, and Steve who blinked in surprise.
"After all the betrayals in his life, all the fake friendships that only exist for his money and false 'relationships' that only happen due to his looks, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Tony Stark trusts no one."
"What about Lady Pepper?" Thor asked sadly, and Bruce held up one hand, calling for silence. "Alright, so he trusts Pepper, mostly, but he also keeps a lot of things from her just to protect her. Tony also happens to not only be a guarded, betrayed, genius with trust issues but also one of the most self-aware people on earth. He knows exactly who he is, why he is the way he is, and how to prevent anyone else from ever getting even a glimpse into how he really works."
"Except for this." Steve mutters, and Natasha grits her teeth again, but couldn't help but agree.
"You know, if Tony finds this, all proof of what he's really like kinda' is gone…And this is really different then the other one." Clint added, and Natasha nodded.
"Maybe it depends on his attitude- he seems more relaxed in this one." Bruce added, and Steve shrugs.
"First of all Tony Stark is depressed. "
"Okay- no, I can't believe that."
"It's true, a shrink who didn't know who she was diagnosing over the phone could confirm it, that is, if she connected that consultation with a billionaire she's never met who lives six states over. So he has been diagnosed with clinical depression, and he had it before the whole Afghanistan mess, it hits him sometimes but he has pills and he's gotten to be an expert at hiding it from everyone until it goes away. Tony managed to turn his AI into his therapist years ago, when he realized he needed one, by having JARVIS download a ton of medical texts, videos, and studies."
"…Can't we get him a doctor or something-"
"If he already has the medication, and Jarvis is a Therapist, we can't do anything." Natasha sighed, cutting off Steve who shifted in his seat again.
" Tied into this is his deeply hidden insecurity, lack of self worth, and occasionally suicidal disregard for his own safety."
"Ouch- how is it that Pepper is still his girlfriend?" Clint winces, and Natasha makes it a small task to reach over and knock him upside the back of his head, making him wince and recoil sharply.
" It comes out at times like when he told Pepper to overload the Reactor and fry Stane knowing it would most likely kill him too; he wasn't thinking about how he had to sacrifice himself for the greater good or anything heroic, no, in his mind Tony was about as important as an ant that happened to be on that roof. If he died it didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, and if there had been anyone else on the roof he wouldn't have let Pepper hit the button, but since it was just Tony it was okay. Same sort of thoughts he had around the flying a nuke into space incident."
"But he's not-"
"The second major weakness that he's hiding is that Tony Stark is possibly the most paranoid man on the planet."
"…You know, I can surprisingly see that." Steve spoke up, Thor giving a slight nod.
"Indeed, my brother was very paranoid that others would seek harm upon he and his discoveries." Thor added, causing Bruce to read again, eyebrows scrunched together while his glasses were pressed into the bridge of his nose.
"Seriously, he even gave JARVIS backdoors into every satellite in orbit. No longer does JARVIS just see all and know all on Stark property, now he sees all and knows all around the world, and even those shuttles in space. With hidden access into SHIELD, the CIA, FBI, NASA, DOD, the Pentagon, and pretty much every other intelligence agency in the world, regardless of nationality, Tony collects and filters more information and secrets than any single person or organization in rest of the world. He's hacked what remains of the KGB, wormed into the IRA's computers and emails to monitor their workings, and hundreds more. There is no organization too small to catch his notice. All his programs and servers devoted to the information filter for one thing; plans to hurt Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, James Rhodes, or Happy Hogan. The rest of the world can fall into ruin and chaos, as long as he can keep the few people he holds dear safe."
"That's not right! He could help anyone in the entire world, and he only looks out fo-"
"Steve, stop." Natasha stated sharply, causing the outburst to burn down.
"With all this information, Tony Stark is, the most dangerous man in the world. Three words and he could destroy the entire stock market in Israel, or send a nuke to Japan. You think he really wants to mess with foreign affairs, that much?"
Steve stared, and Natasha gave a small nod to Bruce, who continued on reading.
"If he was a spy like Fury, Coulson, or Natashalie"
There were a few snorts here at the nickname, and Natasha's cheek twitched.
"- he might care for the rest of the data his systems compile, as it is he lets the world's secrets stay hidden."
"Her point." Clint pointed out to Steve who flushed slightly.
"Finally, there are others but this is the third and last major weakness, Tony Stark is a control freak."
"Okay- I did not see that one coming." Clint blinked quickly, as if trying to adapt to a sudden light change.
"No, Tony is obsessively controlling, no, he needs control to function. This stems from the slight OCD and perfectionism he had before he was captured and held captive by terrorists in a dirty cave. The experience exacerbated his tendencies and turned them into a full-blown issue. He carries hand sanitizer everywhere, there is even some in a small hidden compartment in each of the Iron Man suits, and even soaked in sanitizer he can hardly stand other people touching him. People can't hand things to him because he always has to know what he is touching."
"And here I was thinking he was just being difficult with us." Steve muttered, remembering countless times where Tony would refuse to take a file from him.
"While he used to get drunk now he pretends with watered down drinks or even colored water because just the idea of not being in complete control almost sends him into a panic."
"…Wait- you mean all that 50 year old booze is watered down?"
"Clint! This is a mid-life crisis!"
"Which is why he will never be a good team player, ever again, he cannot allow anyone else to control his actions and decisions but he would also make a terrible leader. He'd hate to lead a team of any kind aside from his robots who will always, only, do exactly as he commands."
"We're too unpredictable." Steve muttered, too low for anyone excepting Thor to hear.
"Humans who aren't him add too many unpredictable, uncontrollable, elements into the equation. Except Pepper who is all about schedules and precision and after knowing and working, sort of, with her for so many years he can predict her every move by now. But even Pepper sometimes is too much, every once in a while she does something spontaneous or unexpected and he has to retreat to the safety of computer codes and solid unchanging metal in his workshop.
No one is allowed into his workshop anymore and he almost freaked out and had JARVIS initiate anti-intruder security protocols on Agent Coulson and the other Agents Fury sent to babysit him when he was dying of Palladium poisoning, multiple times."
"God- is that why he doesn't let us down their?" Clint asked Bruce, who shifted awkwardly.
"I- I've never actually…been in his lab…"
"…I really need some not watered down booze right now."
"He didn't, if only because he would have hated explaining to Pepper why their favorite Agent died in Tony's house from simultaneous gunshot wounds, poisoning, and asphyxiation, at minimum. JARVIS controls the house; the house has more built in weapons than all his suits combined, again with his paranoia."
"And he had to talk to Loki? That man…is an idiot." Natasha scoffed, crossing her arms in frustration.
"Besides if he does, mostly accidentally, order his house to kill anyone people would know how protected it is now, after the Stane incident he takes no chances. Next thing you know the government will be demanding he turn over his house to the military."
Clint couldn't help but snort at that- imagining a huge version of 'house-movers: Case de la Stark.'
"His need for control extends to everything he owns. All the suits are now designed to self-destruct as soon as anyone unauthorized attempts to use them, take them apart, reprogram them, or even just run a non-intrusive scan on them. He trusts no one but himself with his tech anymore; he even builds safeguards and his own override code into every single Stark product out there, regardless of what it is. As a scientist he used to love the thrill of discovering new things, now, as a former prisoner and survivor of torture with post traumatic stress, he hates the unknown simply because if he doesn't understand something he might not be able to control it."
"Torture?" Steve asked in alarm, and Natasha blinking emotionlessly.
"We have suspicions, but Stark deletes everything on his file."
"Guess we're getting something out of reading these." Steve muttered bitterly, hand curling into a fist.
"Now he hates even something so simple as staying in a hotel, there are variables he can't control in hotels.
There is no way he can ever stand by when there is a battle happening, as long as the outcome might affect him or the things he deems precious he cannot leave it up to chance or someone else. It's the control issue that will keep him fighting. The fact that he has no military training or super powers and is, in fact, the weakest and most fragile person considered for the Avengers Initiative will never be enough to stop him. Because when he trusts other people he gets his heart ripped out of his chest, literally, while he is left to die. They steal his things, attack him, betray him to their superiors or the government or the military, and even turn around and reveal they've lied about who they are, and these are just the people he lets in part way. Think of all the damage someone could do if he let them see all of him."
"Bruce." Clint croaked, and Bruce looked up, a look of helplessness in his eyes.
"I- I can't do anything Clint, I can't fix anything."
"He knows all of this, knows his flaws and weaknesses, and knows he should get help of some kind but he can't let anyone prey on his weakness again so he encrypts the sections of JARVIS's files relating to these things far more than anything else he's ever hidden. JARVIS will play nursemaid, therapist, sounding board, butler, caretaker, and friend and it will never be too much, he will never leave or betray Tony, because that is how he is programmed. Tony will hide his true flaws from everyone he doesn't trust, and he doesn't trust anyone.
Tony Stark may suffer from many things, depression, OCD, PTSD, paranoia, self-hate, perfectionism, slightly manic episodes of creativity, a fanatical need to control everything in his life and environment, and the inability to trust another human being, except occasionally Pepper, however one thing he has never had is narcissism."
"And we miss everything else." Natasha spoke bitterly, spinning and hurling a pillow with such precision it knocked a glass vase off of the table, sending it shattering
on the ground in the quiet silence that followed.
"There is no deep-seated need for praise or adoration in him, sure it's nice to be appreciated and admired but Howard spent years ignoring his only son while Maria almost smothered him with adoration, Tony learned to not care either way and be self-sufficient early on. Obadiah's 'admiration' of the miniaturized ARC Reactor and the Iron Man suit killed off any desire Tony ever had for people to marvel over or praise his so called golden eggs."
"Wait- what happened with this 'Obadiah guy'?" Steve asked with a sigh, and this time Bruce beat Natasha to it.
"Obadiah Stane was Tony's godfather, after Howard's death, Obadiah wanted the company…he…arranged, Tony's kidnapping, and…attempted to kill him, twice." Bruce swallowed while Clint looked at him in shock.
"How did you know that-"
"Tony…has nightmares." Bruce stated stiffly, looking down and quickly reading before any questions could be asked.
"But his actions all need explanations, or SHIELD will keep digging, so he does his research and decides, and JARVIS agrees, that it will be easiest to pass himself and his actions off as those of a careless rich man with a classic case of narcissism."
Natasha's hand curls into a fist sharply.
"He studies the books and research obsessively until he can play his part perfectly. Then the curtain comes up, his company hires 'Natalie Rushman' and he acts the fool he wants them to see until the curtain goes down and they leave him alone. It's just ironic that her report reads textbook narcissism because that's exactly what it is. Narcissism pulled straight from a textbook so she will believe her mission is accomplished and dig no further. The performance is a success, the audience leaves satisfied, and he is left alone again in the company of the only beings he can trust, his machines, and occasionally Pepper."
"No Tony- you're in the Avenger Initiative." Clint mimics in a deep tone of Fury in a slow simmering mixture of anger, and hurt.
"When they come back for an encore and invite him to fight for them he sighs to himself and pulls the textbooks back out. Time to review his 'symptoms.'"
Natasha snarled, lunging up and ripping the papers from Bruce's hands, turning and walking towards the high tech fireplace surrounded by the artistic elevator, before hurling them in, watching in slight satisfaction as the paper whistled and curled, flames spreading like a coat.
"…Fury might have wanted that." Clint stated nobody else daring raise their voice against Natasha's obvious anger.
"Then he better pray to god, "She hissed, "That Jarvis has that recorded."
The next few weeks later, Tony returns, mask in place and textbook obviously blocking his face as his picture is next to the description of narcissism as he throws around careless grins and hides in his lab.
"Where are you going?" Clint asked a few days later when the Avengers were on the same couches as before, pizza spread out and Tony halting on his way to the lab.
"…Just to the lab, you know- have to fix the suit." Tony shrugged, blowing a fake kissed as he ran off.
'Time to look up your symptoms.' Natasha thought grimly, ripping a chunk out of pizza angrily.
'Time to find that textbook.'
Hoped you liked it- i think this was the fastest story i've ever written...2 hours, tops? Wow...
Go check out the story 'Textbook!'