Title: The Doctor Doesn't Just Lie, He Also Cheats.
Summary: "This is cheating and you know it," the Doctor told the Tardis, "But the world needs Iron Man, not Tony." Just before Tony goes back inside his home, the Tardis materializes again and the Doctor holds out his hands and says, "You can come with me." Tony couldn't hug the Doctor tight enough.
Genre: Family, Hurt/Comfort
Pairing: Doctor/Tony (father/son)
Unbeta'd. Just something I was playing around with, thought I'd share.
Doctor Constantine said, "Before this war began I was a father and a grandfather. Now I am neither. But still a doctor.
Nine replied, "I know the feeling.
Ten told Rose, "I was a dad once."
Eleven explained to Amy, "When they cry silently, it's cos they just can't stop. Any parent knows that."
Tony tried to catch his breath as quietly as possible. Even though he was small, he was fast for a five year old. He used to always complain about his height but now he thanked it because it allowed him to hide from those horrible creatures.
He hadn't know who they were or how they were possible, but there they were. Real life monsters! They weren't fake toys, or advertising dummies, or a part of his dream. He read a book on dreaming once. Everything in there was suppose to be at his disposal since it was his dream. The people in it were to do what he says, and he wasn't supposed to feel pain. If he were seriously hurt, he'd wake up. It was the way dreams worked.
He didn't wake up when he fell, he didn't wake up when he jumped off of that rock he climbed to get away, he didn't wake up when one scary hand grabbed him.
He had thrashed and screamed and squirmed until he got loose and ran. He didn't care where he ran, he just did, but the monsters didn't stop chasing him.
Tony just wanted to go back home, even if he had to be with his father. This night started out wrong and now it was just plain bad.
He just wanted to spend some time with his father, show him some of the things he had been working on while he was away at work. Tonight had been the first night his father has been home in nearly two weeks! But his father didn't want to see him. He didn't want anything to do with Tony. His fath-no, Howard had called him a burden.
Tony had gotten angry and decided to run away...or at least scare his parents and letting them think that he had. He grabbed his jacket since it was winter and quietly left his house and wondered off to the park. That was where he heard strange noises and saw the horrible monsters.
So busy thinking of how he got to where he was, Tony was caught by surprise by a painful claw digging into his shoulder. He was about to scream but a paw covered his mouth and nose. It made it very difficult to breathe and Tony was beginning to black out when there was a high pitched noise and something near Tony sparked and he was dropped. He groaned in pain but tried to get to his feet as soon as possible and way from the monster.
When Tony looked up he saw a man in a bow tie and a bowler hat. As strange and nonthreatening as he should have been, the man's face was very upset and reminded Tony of his father, so he stayed quiet.
"Now what do we have here? Fur, claws, mole like faces, and underground tunnels...I've heard theories of mole men but never thought they were really true. Bit dull when you think about it...mole men. All you do is dig...not much fun...oh wait, is that why you started kidnapping people? More importantly, children? That's not very nice." the man in the bow tie said.
The monster, which Tony finally got a good glance at, did in fact look like a mole man from the comics. Seeing one for real frightened Tony and he backed up against the wall.
The creature snarled something Tony didn't think was actual dialogue but the man replied with, "That doesn't justify stealing their children! Give them back!"
The mole man gave what Tony thought was laughter before it snarled something else. Tony eyed the man in the bow tie warily. The man's grip on this pen/claw like object tighten, as did his jaw, and his eyes narrowed.
"They. Were. Just. Kids!" the man hissed every word, he was angry and growing more angry by the second.
The mole man snarled something else, something short and the man completely lost it and advanced towards the mole man, "What about them, huh? Didn't they have a choice to grow up? Didn't they have a choice to make their own mistakes? No one should be condemned for the actions of their family because they are not their family! Why! Why them?! Why not their parents who hurt you?"
The mole man was having difficulty before it spoke the first English words Tony heard it speak, "People...take...pain...Body heals...hurt children...never heal...hurt children good..."
Tony's eyes widen and he pieced together the conversation from just that. These monsters lived underground and were wronged by some people. Instead of hurting those people and allowing a chance for them to heal and get better, they'd attack something that was more defenseless, more vulnerable, and far more painful to the parent.
Before Tony had the chance to blink, there was a horrible pain in his chest and he tried to cry out but didn't know if he did or not. He just remembered giving into the darkness, hoping he could escape the pain.
When he opened his eyes again he had to blink them a few times to understand where he was. It looked like an infirmary but none that he had ever seen. The technology in the room was...different. More advance, more cool, more...alien!
"Awake I see. How are you feeling?"
Tony looked up to see the man with the bow tie.
"Did you beat the monster?" Tony asked instead.
The man smiled softly and nodded, "Your city is safe from them. You didn't answer my question. Are you okay?"
Tony thought about running from the monsters, to how he got to running from the monsters when he should have been at home safe, to his father and his words. The young genius shook his head, "That's not what you asked. You asked how was I feeling."
The man grinned, "And?"
"Tired. I did a lot of running," Tony replied.
"Yeah. Running from monster does that." the man replied.
"Do you run from monsters a lot?" Tony asked. The way the man confronted the monster made Tony suspect that it wasn't the man's first time doing so.
"I do...it's sort of my...hobby." the man replied.
"You fight monsters as a hobby?" Tony asked with a raised eye brow.
"Well I can't say it's my job since I don't get paid doing it." the man defended himself but his voice was easy going and teasing, "Sides, I never really mean to run into monsters, I just sort of...end up...running from them..."
"That's not very manly," Tony deadpanned.
"I only run away from them until I come up with a plan! And I always come up with a plan!" the man boasted and Tony giggled. He liked this man, he was cool.
"Are there other monsters?" Tony asked.
The man's smile faltered before he sighed, "Yes. Sometimes they look big and scary and sometimes they don't...but the universe is always full of monsters."
"Oh..." Tony muttered.
The man lifted Tony's chin and their eyes met, "But that doesn't mean they get to win. There will always be heroes to save the day. Like us."
"Us? I didn't do anything," Tony said.
"What are you talking about? I knew there was something off going on with the children around here but I didn't know what. It wasn't until I got this message," the man took out a badge with a blank piece of paper, "it was then that I knew where to go. You lured the monster out. Brave of you...a bit foolish, but brave nonetheless. So, yeah, us. We worked together and stopped the mole men from taking children!"
"Uh...not that that's not cool or anything but...do you have something I can eat? I'm hungry," Tony said.
"Oh! I know just the place, follow me!" the man got up and Tony followed him. They passed many rooms with different things. There was a library, a kitchen, he swore he heard a bowling alley, a pool, and even a lab. Tony assumed wherever they were, it was huge!
Finally they came to what looked like a control room. Tony just turned around, looking in awe at the technology.
"What is this?" Tony whispered.
"This is my Tardis," the man replied. "It stands for Time And Relative Dimension in Space."
Tony's eyes lit up as the words registered in his mind. "A space ship!?
"And time machine!" the man said happily as he pushed a few buttons, twisted a knob or two, and spun some stuff. "Hang on kid! Oh, wait, I don't know your name. That will be useful. What is it?"
Tony grabbed onto the nearest railing as the Tardis began to move. He yelled out, "Tony!" in the man's reply.
When the moving stopped, the man reached for the door and opened it up, "Tony huh? I knew a few Tony's. Now come on."
Tony stepped outside and he definitely wasn't in New York anymore. When the man closed the door, that was when Tony first saw the ship from the outside. His eyes widened more.
"We were in there!" Tony inquired incredulously.
The man smiled brightly, "Yup!"
"But...but...it's so much bigger on the inside!" Tony exclaimed.
The man laughed and ruffled Tony's hair kindly, "Yes, yes it is. Now come on."
"Where are we? And when? I mean, we went back in time obviously," Tony said as he looked at the people dressed like people in plays his mother had taken him to dressed.
"We are in Persia. Very early. Around 400 BC or so," the man replied.
"What are we doing here?" Tony asked.
"Well I thought I'd offer you a treat and kids love ice cream so I'm taking you for a frozen treat. Though this isn't the ice cream you're used to. The first ice cream remotely like you're used to was made in Italy I believe, but this is really good too. The beginning of ice cream, if you will. It's snow with concentrated grape juice over it." the man babbled on as he let Tony through the streets of very old Persia.
Tony was amazed by all of it. The sights, the sounds, the smells...
"I never learned your name," Tony said suddenly as they waited for a man to cross with his chicken.
"I'm the Doctor," the man replied.
"Doctor? Doctor Who?" Tony asked.
The man smiled, and Tony was beginning to think that everything he said was some sort of inside joke to the man, but he didn't feel insulted. "Just Doctor, thank you very much. Now come on, lets go get our frozen treats."
The Doctor led them to a building and pulled out that same sheet of blank paper and showed it to the guard. The guard sort of tripped over his own two feet even though he was completely still, and stuttered as we entered.
"What's that?" Tony asked.
"Psychic paper. Allows people to see anything I want them to see. So if they thought you were a royal prince from Egypt and I was your personal guard, well, who are we to correct them?" the Doctor asked with a smile and a wink as he let Tony look at the paper.
Tony just frowned as he turned the paper this way and that. He handed it back with a pout and said, "I don't see anything. It's just a blank sheet of paper."
The Doctor 'Hmm'd' in interest and knelt to Tony's eye level. He took out the same wand like gadget from before and this green light was emitted as though he was scanning Tony. "Are you psychic Tony? Maybe strange things happen when you're angry or happy? Do things disappear or move when you're around?"
"No," Tony shook his head. He remembers a lot of stuff, and he would have remembered any of that cool stuff if it happened to him.
"Tony? What's 30 times 50?" the Doctor asked.
"1500," Tony replied instantly.
"Okay a bit easy but you're only five and didn't even try counting on your fingers. Lets see...what's 3467 times 456?"
Tony took two seconds to think it over before he replied, "1,580,952."
"Tony...are you a genius?" the Doctor asked.
Tony shrugged, "My father is a genius and my mother says I am too."
The Doctor put on a thinking face before he placed both of his hands on Tony's head, "Won't hurt a bit, just checking something out."
Tony just stood still and waited for the Doctor do finish whatever he was doing.
"Well, this is new." The Doctor said with a smile.
Tony smiled too, glad he wasn't in trouble. Usually when his father takes time to actually look at him, it's full of disdain and only seems to chide Tony for everything he does.
"Normally my companions aren't as smart as you, as so young as well!"
"And that's good, right?" Tony had to ask.
"Yes. Very good. Very, very good. Now, come on. Our treat awaits!" the Doctor led them on until they were seated and served. Though they only got a few bites each before someone started yelling at them, not all that happy either, and the Doctor grabbed Tony's hand and they ran.
They ran through buildings and streets, they jumped over objects, people, and animals, and even went through a bazaar. Somewhere along the way Tony stumbled and by accident, opened up a secret door. The Doctor didn't question it right away, but used it to run from their pursuers. As they explored the new tunnel they had found the Doctor came to a horrible realization that there was about to be an alien invasion.
The Doctor sighed and said, "It's never just sightseeing..."
"What do we do?" Tony asked, a bit afraid.
But the fear went away as he saw the Doctor smile, "We save the day of course!"
The Doctor had sounded so sure, and Tony had believed him...only for them to end up caught by the bad guys.
"Don't worry! This sometimes happens, but I always get out in the end...somehow...just give me a moment to think..." The Doctor ranted.
A long moment passed before Tony got impatient and stated, "I think that's considered a moment."
"Well let me think for another, longer moment!" The Doctor huffed a bit childishly. "And you know, you're a genius too! Help me think of something!"
"I don't know anything about aliens," Tony defended himself.
"You're a little boy! Don't you read comic books?" The Doctor asked.
"Not really. The only ones my dad lets me have are the Captain America ones. Those aren't about aliens. 'Sides, I usually read other things like science books." Tony answered.
The Doctor furrowed his brow and carefully asked, "Tony? What's your full name?"
"Huh? Oh well it's-" Tony was cut short as they was some ruckus coming from the hallway. Some yelling and what sounded like laser guns.
"Honestly, can't you stay out of trouble for a moment?"
"River!" the Doctor cheered.
"He had a full moment, but didn't come up with anything," Tony said with a smirk.
"Hey! I thought you were on my side! I thought we were cool," The Doctor said in a childishly betrayed voice.
"Oh, how adorable! What's your name sweetie?" this River lady asked.
"Tony. Tony Stark," the small genius replied as River freed him and the Doctor.
Both adults froze and looked at each other and then at Tony. It seemed like the Doctor was about to ask something when they heard more noise coming towards them.
"Well, come on! We have to terminate the launch if we want to save Persia, and probably all of the Middle East and stop both human and intergalactic war. Then we still have a big bad guy to beat. Isn't this just fun?" River asked with a huge smile on her face.
Tony ran as fast as he could to keep up. He smiled at the Doctor and said, "I like her!"
They ended up doing a lot more running, a bit of jumping, and Tony actually got to help tinker with some alien technology. River had helped him through it and praised him for understanding what she claimed was beyond normal peoples minds. He blushed a bit, not used to being complimented so much. He was also amazed by the type technology he got to work with. His mind buzz with excitement as his body pumped blood through it in adrenaline.
When they were done he was properly introduced to River Song. She was apparently the Doctor's wife though they didn't act like any married couple Tony knew. Tony loved being with them, he decided not to mention about him being gone so long. He reasoned that with a time machine, it didn't really matter either way.
Since that trip was ruined they decided to take another trip...together. They ended up in 1860's visiting some Lord Tony never heard of, but he was a friend of the Doctor's.
When the Lord and his wife asked who River and Tony were, River stepped up and proclaimed, "I'm Melody, his wife. And this is our son, Anthony."
The wife of the Lord gushed over Tony, making him slightly uncomfortable but he let it passed. When they began to walk away, River knelt down to him, "For the sake of time travel we have to keep to our stories. So while we're here...call us mummy and daddy, okay sweetie?"
Tony just nodded but he had butterflies in his tummy. He very much liked the idea of the Doctor being his dad, and though he loved and missed his mother, River was very fun.
The Lord had a son only a few years older than Tony and they wanted to teach him how to play polo. They asked if they wanted a game between fathers and sons. The Lord and his son versus the Doctor and Tony. They agreed, both Tony and the Doctor learning fast, and actually winning the game. Calling each other 'son' and 'dad' with River in the stands cheering on her 'sweeties'.
They stayed there for about a week. Each of them falling into their role perfectly. From River wiping Tony's cheeks when they ate dinner and he had something on them, to the Doctor adjusting Tony's clothes, and Tony hugging them with so much true love.
They would go on walks, carriage rides, events, breakfast, lunch, and dinner together as a family. It was so natural, so easy, so...perfect.
But all good things have to end at some point. With a deep frown the Doctor turned to Tony as they entered the Tardis, "It's time to go back."
The look of betrayal in Tony's eyes shouldn't have been possible, but it was there. He didn't argue but it looked like he was trying very hard to not cry and merely said, "Oh."
"You should probably go change..." the Doctor whispered.
Tony just nodded and went to find the wardrobe.
"You don't have to give him up, you know." River said.
"I can't keep him...he's Tony Stark. The world needs him," the Doctor muttered.
"The world needs Iron Man, not Tony," River argued.
"No River. Just no." the Doctor said with a shake of a head.
"Sure you can. You just don't think you deserve it," River started, "You were very happy this last week and you took so easy to the role of daddy. For once, think about you. You love being a dad...you love Tony, and goodness knows he needs this!"
"The Doctor lies...who's to say he doesn't also cheat?" River said as she went to go find Tony.
The Doctor sighed and pushed some buttons on the Tardis before it started to move. When it stopped it took about five minutes before Tony came into the control room. He kept his eye on the ground and refused to look up when the Doctor stood before him.
"Tony?" the Doctor asked tentatively.
"Thank you for the time Mr. Doctor," Tony whispered.
The Doctor fidgeted, unsure of what to do, "Hey...we...we had some good times, right?"
Tony only shrugged in response.
"Tony...you have to go back. You have people there waiting..." the Doctor tried.
"My mom has charities and galas to go to. She's there for me I guess, but mostly I'm alone...my dad doesn't care...no one cares about me. Even you...you're abandoning me too," this time Tony did look up and the Doctor saw the tear stains. His chest ached as he listened to Tony cry and speak without stuttering, meaning it was something he was used to.
When he didn't say anything, Tony just walked away and out of the Tardis. The blue police box had landed across his home. He dragged his feet as walked back, unable to decide which to do more; try to forget his awesome time knowing the hurt he'll feel that he won't ever get to do it again, or cling to the memories because they would probably be the best he'll ever have. More tears fell as he heard the Vworp Vworp Vworp of the Tardis and his happiness disappearing.
The Doctor didn't wait to see if River would come out too. She was stubborn like Amy, so maybe for now she left too. He was alone again...
With an ache still in his chest and a sigh, he walked over to the controls and started to type some coordinates for his next location but there was something wrong. The Tardis materialized but it wasn't moving.
"What's wrong?" the Doctor asked. Immediately there was a picture of Tony and the Doctor smiling on the screen.
"No. You know I can't." the Doctor said and tried to sound strict, but he heard the small quiver. It wasn't a statement and sounded more like a question.
The screen changed again and when the Doctor saw what it was he sighed. "This is cheating and you know it!" the Doctor told the Tardis. The image turned to the one of Tony and the Doctor together laughing again. The Doctor hung his head and sighed heavily, "But the world needs Iron Man, not Tony...I might need Tony."
Just before Tony goes back inside his home, the Tardis materializes again and the Doctor opens the door and holds out his hands and says, "You can come with me...if you want."
Tony couldn't hug the Doctor tight enough.
River zapped back in just as the Doctor came out of the lab.
"And where have you been?" the Doctor asked.
River thought about her short adventures. It might be too dangerous for the Doctor himself to take peeks into the future but not her. Besides, she's always been a naughty girl. She knew that the Doctor had already decided to take Tony in, he was just planning out how he was going to keep him, and reason with that ever brilliant, chaotic, yet moral mind that it was the right thing to do. She also knew he had kept some of that 'flesh' that had been used on her mother while she was pregnant. The Doctor would used the 'flesh' to make a second Tony. One with all the memories, emotions, and characteristics of the real one, and take him back to take Tony's place. The lab would be used to completely stabilize his molecules but there was still only so much even the Doctor can do.
Had it been anyone else, only the clone would be needed, but this was Anthony Edward Stark. The little lonely boy who would become a lonely man. A man who will take on the roll of Iron Man one day after being kidnapped and tortured in the middle on a desert. The body of the Flesh wouldn't have survived that and just melted away. With the adjustments the Doctor would have made, the Flesh would have survived the kidnapping and a little bit more. River had gone to check, and of course he did.
Unfortunately after a while the Flesh will become unstable. River had visited him then, but he still had the original's genius. The new element his father had created for the Arc Reactor stabilized him once more...for a while longer.
River made a side trip to Howard Stark. The element he created seemed too good to be true. She suspected that maybe he somehow knew. He was a genius after all. Turns out Howard Stark knew what was out there, and he realized that were was something wrong with Tony...something off. She wasn't sure how he figured it out, but a year after the real Tony was gone, Howard's depression got worse. He was mourning his son. That's when the neglect got more intense. Howard couldn't look at that face the same, knowing it wasn't really Tony. Not knowing where his son really was, not knowing if he was alright, knowing he might have died thinking his father hated him.
Lastly River traveled to the future where she knew it would happen. She knew about the Avengers. It was hard being a time traveler and not know them. She knew Tony had gone through a portal and momentarily left earth. There was a very thin layer of the vortex the Flesh-Tony needed to travel through and he did. That scrambled his molecules horribly, though he didn't know it. That was why he had fallen unconscious on his way back. Though he had woken up, his body was dying, and fast. There were no more tricks, no more secret plays, no more chances. The Flesh-Tony's time was up...it had always been up. It was only through the genius of the Doctor, Howard Stark, and Tony Stark's that it had been delayed for so long.
As the Avengers all walked into S.H.I.E.L.D feeling victorious and triumphant, Tony stumbled. Steve caught him and tried asking what was wrong, but Tony's mind was shutting down. The others surrounded him; panic, fear, and hopelessness on their faces as they watched their teammate, their friend unravel before them. The same black lines from before began to appear on Tony's body, from the Arc Reactor they spread. He looked at them pleadingly, desperately, and a look of betrayal on his face. River didn't need to be psychic to know what was going on in his mind. That was his life now. He was Tony Stark of Earth. He had suffered and hurt, he had risked everything for this world...his world, and here it was just disposing him as if he were nothing. Tears of unfairness and anger flooded Tony-Flesh's eyes and the last words he managed to whisper that confused everyone there but River were, "I am Tony Stark...I am!"
The black lines covered his body completely and he was shaking as if he was having a seizure. Steve held on to Tony, begging for answers and for him to hang on...to be alright, and yelled, "MEDIC!" but it didn't matter. Bruce tried to inspect Tony but he had no idea of what was happening to him. None of them did. Before their very eyes, the one they knew as Tony Stark, exploded into a puddle of white goo that was the residue of Flesh.
River had impersonated an agent to get a better look and thought that maybe Loki had noticed her, but really, what did it matter? He didn't know her and there was no way they could find anything about her or the Doctor even if Loki managed to say something. But after everything she's gone through and from what she witnessed so far, she wouldn't put it passed them to at least try and look for the real Tony. Still, it wouldn't be their Tony...their Tony just died in Steve's arms.
River smiled at the Doctor and shook her head with mirth, not fully knowing what the future held for him and his now son, "Spoilers."