"Aunt Peggy?!" Toni leapt to her feet.
"Hi Toni," Peggy smiled warmly back from her wheel chair.
"What are you doing here? I wasn't expecting you for another week!"
"Toni, settle down," Pepper reprimanded from behind Peggy's wheelchair, nursing her aching head from the meeting.
"Peggy…?" Steve murmured, dumbfounded from where he was still seated on the couch.
"Oh, guys, this is my Godmother Peggy. Peggy, this is the team," Toni vaguely introduced.
"Really Toni?" Pepper scowled. "Not even their names?"
"Well, she knows Nat and I've talked about Bruce since I was a teenager so…" she trailed off.
Why…? Why did you talk about me?" Bruce asked Toni, blushing.
"You were like, my biggest idol." He looked disbelieving. "Seriously, I was full fangirl for you."
Pepper sighed and wheeled Peggy into the room further.
"Peggy, this is Bruce, Thor Clint and-"
"Steve?" Peggy breathed out, bewildered.
"Hi Peggy," Steve answered with an awkward wave.
"You guys know each other?" Toni asked.
Peggy smirked slightly, "Yes, Steve had quite the crush on me during WWII."
Toni however, looked horrified.
"You have a crush on my Godmother?!"
Everyone's head swivelled around to look at Toni.
"What do you mean 'have'?' Pepper asked tentatively.
"Feelings don't go away just because you're a Popsicle for 80 years."
Peggy started to feel guilty, Toni looked hurt… But mostly just nauseous.
"I don't have a crush on her Toni. It was just a slight fancy… No offence Peggy," Steve countered.
"None taken," Peggy shook her head.
There was a sudden awkward silence.
"So is anyone going to answer my question?" Peggy asked hesitantly after an awkward silence.
"We're not entirely sure," Nat said softly.
"We just know that the disc appeared on the table, like a weird plot twist of some sort, and we watched it..." Clint continued.
"And we've been learning about Toni's time in Afghanistan," Bruce finished.
Pepper look like she was going to be sick. She went pale at the mention of Afghanistan and the team could see her legs shaking. Peggy didn't look much better.
"And just exactly where are we up to?" Pepper asked shakily.
"Well…" Bruce then proceeded to tell them all that had happened.
"Okay… Peggy I don't think you'll be okay to watch this," Toni said forcefully.
"I'll be fine," Peggy waved her hand.
"You're almost 80 years old!" Toni stressed.
"There are 80 year olds skydiving my dear, I don't think this will harm me too much," Peggy chuckled.
"I don't know…" Toni trailed off anxiously.
"Toni just… Just let her watch this. She doesn't know any of it," Pepper said softly.
"I know but…"
"Do they know about the thing?" Pepper inclined her head toward the team.
"Hey, we're just he- Tasha! That hurt!" Clint said, annoyed.
"No, they'll find out soon though."
"Ok. Should I get some earplugs for when they do?"
"No… Maybe Peggy though."
"I'm good," Peggy interrupted. Toni huffed and sat back down.
Pepper wheeled Peggy's chair between the two couches. Clint, Nat and Bruce bunched up so Pepper could sit down.
JARVIS played the movie.
The scene cut to an airfield with Rhodey talking to a group of trainees.
"The future of air combat is it manned or unmanned?" he asked rhetorically. "I'll tell you, in my experience, no unmanned aerial vehicle will ever trump a pilot's instinct, his insight, that ability to look into a situation beyond the obvious and discern its outcome, or a pilot's judgment."
"Colonel?" Toni interrupted, "why not a pilot without the plane?"
"That is the biggest hint I have ever heard. Toni, you could have been less obvious," Pepper deadpanned.
"Look who fell out of the sky. Miss Tony Stark," Rhodey said casually.
"Hello miss," one of the trainees said politely as Toni shook their hand.
"Speaking of man or unmanned, "she started jokingly, "you have got to get him to tell you about the time he guessed wrong at Spring Break. Just remember that, Spring Break, 1987. That lovely lady you woke up with, what was his name?"
"Don't do that" Rhodey said sternly shaking his head as the trainees laughed.
"Was it Ivan?"
"Don't do that," he repeated, "they'll believe that, don't do that."
The humour drained from Toni's face as the trainees kept laughing.
"Pleasure meeting you," Toni nodded to the trainees as Rhodey dismissed them.
"Toni, why would you do that?" Peggy asked sternly.
"It was funny" Toni chuckled in response.
"That might have ruined his reputation if they told other people."
"They wouldn't have," Toni reassured.
"And how are you so sure?" Peggy glared.
"Because I saw the group when I was leaving and threatened to give bad reviews of them if they spread that," Toni answered almost sheepishly, scratching the back of her neck.
"Toni," Peggy sounded tired, her head hitting the back of the couch with a groan, "you can't threaten someone just because they might spread a rumour."
"Yes I can."
"No, you can't."
"If I don't do it again will you drop it?"
"Okay, I won't threaten anyone who tries to spread a rumour in the near future."
Peggy nodded, "Good."
"I'm surprised," Rhodey confessed.
Toni looked put out. "…Why?"
"I swear, I didn't expect to see you walking around so soon."
"Well… I'm doing a little better than walking," Toni stated, brushing dust off her shoulder in a show of nervousness.
Rhodey didn't seem to believe her. "Really?"
"… Rhodey I'm working on something really big… I came to talk to you," she took a deep breath, "I want you to be a part of it."
Rhodey chuckled in what seemed like relief, "You're about to make a whole lot of people around her real happy, cos' that little stunt at the press conference," he chuckled again, "that was a doozy."
"That doesn't seem like something Colonel Rhodes would say. Are you sure this is right, dear?" Peggy inquired with slight confusion.
"He's not like this. But it had been only a few days after the press conference that I went to see him and the military was still really pissed that I stopped making weapons and he was just taking his frustration out on me. I mean" Toni stated with a chuckle, nodding her head at Steve with a smirk on her lips , "we all know things can be said during times of frustration," she elbowed Steve in the ribs as a show that she was only joking, though Steve still looked guilty. Bruce stifled his laughter, yeah, he knew first hand that hurtful things could be said in times of frustration.
Toni looked hurt for a mere second, before her nervousness resurfaced. "Mhm… This… Is not for the military… I'm not… It's different."
Rhodey looked at Toni as though she'd grown a second head, "What? You a humanitarian now?"
"I need you to listen to me-"
"No. What you need, is time to get your mind right."
'That stupid, idiot,' Steve thought. 'You don't tell someone that.'
Toni gave a watery smile.
"I'm serious," Rhodey countered.
"Okay," Toni answered in a hurt whisper.
Rhodey shook his head at her as he turned to walk away. The look he gave her was one an adult gave an immature child. "It was nice seeing you Toni."
The genius looked gave a betrayed look to Rhodey's back and swallowed past the lump in her throat. "Thanks Rhodey."
"Next time I see that boy he is going to get a lecture so hard that his ear will bleed," Peggy stated in a harsh grumble.
"I really don't think that's necessary Aunt Peggy," Toni retorted forcefully.
"I don't know Toni, he basically just told you that you were crazy," Bruce countered with a carefree shrug of his shoulders, though they were obviously tense.
"Yeah, but he knows now."
"Knows what?" Clint, the ever so fast one, asked.
"The… The thing," Pepper answered before Toni could open her mouth. Toni gave her a puzzled look. The thing? She couldn't have come up with anything better than that?
"The… Thing?" Steve confusedly asked.
"Yes. The. Thing." Pepper gave him a death glare that told him not to question her answer.
"… I'm still going to whoop his ass," Peggy added as an afterthought.
"You know what, fine. Whoop his ass and put your hip out again. But don't ask me for any help," Toni huffed. She couldn't understand why Peggy was so unyielding with her opinion of needing to kick Rhodey's butt. Did they not see how frustrated and tense he looked throughout the whole scene? He obviously didn't mean what he said. Toni really didn't understand the normal human brain. She was getting more and more like Sherlock Holmes every day!
Everyone in the room just gave her a flat look that had her slouching in her seat.
In Toni's Malibu home, the genius' hands glided across a holographic keyboard as it lit up with glowing blue symbols.
"Jarvis you up?"
"For you Miss, always."
Toni grabbed what looked like a pen from a pen holder. "I'd like to open a new project file. Index as Mark II."
It was made clear that what she'd grabbed a hold of was not a pen as she pointed it at the screen, clicked on a file with the suit from Afghanistan on it and dragged it across to the glowing work station across from her.
"Shall I store this on the Stark Industries central database?"
Steve watched mesmerised as Toni let go of the file she was holding which then proceeded to enlarge and rotate while emitting a lime green glow.
"No I don't know who to trust at the moment. Until further notice why don't we just keep everything on my private survey?"
"Working on a secret project are we Miss?"
Toni didn't answer as she began fiddling with the hologram on the table she'd come to stand in front of. She lifted its head and torso off and dragged it down to the holographic trash can.
"I don't want this ending up in the wrong hands," she answered eventually. She continued to spin the hologram and throw away unwanted parts till she spoke again.
"Maybe it can actually do some good," she muttered, spinning the now almost bare hologram around.
"Toni I never knew you could do that," Peggy said, slightly astonished at the sheer genius of her goddaughter.
"… Why does everyone always seem so surprised when I do something smart?" Toni asked, bewildered.
"It's because no matter your real age, you're a five year old at heart," Natasha stated bluntly, patting Toni's knee in sympathy.
Toni didn't even look put out, she just looked proud.
The scene cut to a group of men working in harsh, desert conditions, obviously searching for something. Toni could practically taste the sand and feel the dust in her eyes again. Parts of something were being carried to a truck until the scene cut to somebody digging up what looked to be a mask. The masked and goggled man stood up in triumph and shouted in a foreign language while holding up a mask. Toni's mask to be precise.
"They were looking for your suit. Why?" Steve asked.
"To rebuild it I guess. That's the only logical reason. I'm sure they didn't go looking for spare parts," Toni answered with a shrug.
The leader shouted at the man in the mask in a foreign language, though it was clear that it was a command. The mask was brought to the leader who stared at it with hatred. It was clear that the complications had only just begun.
END OF CHAPTER
I am sorry, I really am. I know I haven't updated in a really long time but hey! If anyone has noticed, I've rewritten the story. No major changes but I did what I thought would make the story better. Thor is no longer sitting with the team. He's in Asgard. I'm pretty sure I haven't mentioned him anywhere but sorry if I have. I got rid of Toni's PTSD scene. I felt like it wasn't done right and I wasn't sure how to rewrite it so I got rid of it altogether. I hope none of you are too mad about that. Anyway! I haven't started the next chapter yet and I am not promising a time frame or a guesstimate of when the next chapter is going to be up.
And keep in mind that I don't follow the comic books so I don't know any real ages. In my head Bruce is like 10 to 15 years older than Tony so yeah…
So! Thank you all for your lovely reviews and PM's and favourites and follows and your suggestions for an alternate thingy to Word!
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN THE AVENGERS OR ANYTHING IN THIS STORY. I MAKE NO PROFIT OFF THIS STORY AND I ONLY WRITE FOR THE BENEFIT OF OTHERS AND TO IMPROVE MY WRITING SKILLS