Tony Stark Aims to Please
An "The Avengers" one shot by Andrew J. Talon
DISCLAIMER: This is a non-profit fan based work of prose. "The Avengers" is the property of Disney, Marvel, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Please support the official release.
Hands on tinkering had not been a pleasure to Tony Stark for a long time - More like a way of life, a life saving habit. He was a mechanic and a superhero and that had pushed his engineering skills in the direction of the practical. Better weapons, better armor, better programming languages, making an entirely new transactinide element.
Well, rediscovering it. How the damn stuff didn't have a half-life of less than a second was still something he was working out.
The point was: All of that had been for pressing, immediate purposes. Like saving the world. Or saving the world again. Or saving his own life, and sometimes saving the world at the same time. He was Tony Stark, master of multitasking when it came to potential...
"JARVIS? What is the plural of 'apocalypse'?" Tony asked as he looked up from his work table in Avenger's Tower. The AI responded promptly.
"Really? Not apocalypsi? Just tack on an extra 's' and you're good?" Tony asked, somehow annoyed by it. It seemed to diminish the fact that they'd gone through more than one potentially world ending scenario.
Then again, he supposed it wasn't the kind of thing most people had to look up.
"I could run through the thesaurus sir, but more than likely your attention will wander by the time I'm done," the AI promptly responded. Tony hummed, and nodded.
"Yep, you are probably right... Entirely right, where was I?"
"Fiddling with the things on your work table, sir," JARVIS said. "Or tinkering, messing with, manipulating-"
"Yes yes, we're all very impressed with your recent vocabulary upgrade," Tony said dryly, resuming his examination of the pieces of hardware on the table. "Especially since I did it. Didn't think it would annoy me quite so much but that's me, optimist."
"What is it you are doing, Sir?" JARVIS inquired. Tony sighed.
"I'm just... Taking something apart, figuring out how it works... For fun! I haven't had a lot of fun involved in tinkering lately. Blowing stuff up can be fun but it gets repetitive after a while and when you find that repetitive, clearly something has gone wrong."
"So taking apart a gamma-"
"Uh uh uh! I'm going to put it back together and then figure out what it is," Tony said. "I might have made it into something entirely different. I've got assorted junk I found in a drawer, I could turn it into a handheld laser or floaty thing to deliver me beer or maybe a se-"
"Does Mr. Banner know you have that item?" JARVIS asked. Tony looked back down at the mess in the manner of a child pretending he had done nothing wrong.
"He'll never know it was gone, because it's a spare I found. Somewhere. Non critical. Besides, I gave him the lab and the stuff but I can borrow it because I bought it for him. It's implied. In the lease... Somewhere..."
"Of course sir," JARVIS said. "Someone is entering the level."
Tony looked up. "If it's Bruce then that makes this a very, very bad joke..."
"No sir, it is-"
Tony felt something pointy pressing against his throat, and the fabric of a certain advanced polymer catsuit pressing gently against his head. Not long enough for him to get a good feel on what said catsuit contained.
There were a lot of SHIELD agents that wore that sexy little number but only one that could enter his tower like this and would be so unfair.
"Natasha," he sighed.
"Stark," Natasha Romanoff, also known as the Black Widow, stated.
"Hello Miss Romanoff, your skill at the evasion of my internal sensors has increased dramatically," JARVIS complimented.
"Thank you JARVIS," Natasha replied.
Tony glared up at the ceiling. "You're complimenting her while she has a knife to my throat. Classy JARVIS, really classy."
"He must get it from you," Natasha said in a cold, deadly purr. She dropped a small silver sphere on the table, where it landed with a metallic thunk. It was about the size of a grape. "What is this?"
"Would you care to be more specific?" Tony asked, a bit confused. The Black Widow reached down and tapped the sphere. It sprouted four tiny metallic tentacles, and stood up on them like a clumsy spider. It turned, a single blue eye staring up at Stark. Tony's eyes widened in recognition.
"Oh! Little camera drone-"
"What was it doing in my shower?" Natasha asked dangerously, the tip of her knife digging into Tony's jugular. The genius coughed.
"Now... Let's talk about this logically, Natasha. You can't exactly kill me in my own Tower. Especially after I got you that nice new level and everything-"
"I can still hurt you in ways you will really not enjoy," Natasha growled deep in her throat.
"And you're kind of failing on denying me enjoyment because that is really-Ow ow ow!" Tony winced. "Look, let me explain-"
"One drone wandering around, inspecting things, accidentally glimpsing me in the shower wouldn't piss me off," Natasha explained, her other hand gripping his shoulder painfully.
"Get that enough on the SHIELD helicarrier, huh?"
"You have no idea... Two? You could make the excuse and maybe I'd just tell Pepper and let her give you hell."
Tony winced. "Now that... That's just not fair..."
"But four. In my shower. All at the same time?" Natasha growled. "And with active camouflage? What are you, a thirteen year old boy?"
Tony was really not entirely sure what part of this incident the Black Widow was more upset about, but he decided he'd just cut to the quick before Natasha got any more murderous.
And fortunately, the truth was on his side.
"It was for Steve."
The knife digging into his neck wavered. "What...?"
Damn the fact he had no mirror - Seeing what had to be a spectacularly wonderful gobsmacked expression on the Black Widow's face would have made Tony's month.
"Steve Rogers, you know, Captain America, our resident all American nice guy has been sneaking looks at you ever since you two met," Tony said quickly. "Guy's got the social graces you'd expect and he's been checking you out. So I thought I'd get him a nice gift, help him loosen up and given the outfit you go around in I didn't think you'd mind-"
"You knew I'd catch you though."
"Thought had occurred, yeah, but think of it this way," Tony went on, trying out his most sincere voice on the irritated assassin. "It would involve you getting Steve Rogers, Captain Freaking America, hot and bothered over you. Now you've got to have some kind of female pride and that has to be one hell of a boost to it, right?"
"Are you saying I'm insecure in my femininity?" Natasha asked in a deadly tone.
"I didn't say that, I didn't-JARVIS! Did I at any point say that?" Tony asked.
"No sir, you did not," JARVIS dutifully replied.
"See? Besides, you get him sputtering and blushing and denying it but you totally know he is going to keep it. Like, in some weird forties romantic sort of keepsake," Tony said.
"Porn. Romantic," Natasha asked flatly. Tony shrugged.
"Romance is porn for women, I thought..."
Natasha sighed. "Well... You're not lying."
"I notice you still haven't removed the knife."
"Nope. I want something in return."
"Again, given you can't kill me-"
"You'd really call my girlfriend on me. Really."
"I will admit, she's far better at causing you pain. I don't have the patience to figure out all the ways to make you hurt."
Tony released a breath through his nostrils.
"All right... What do you want?"
"Two things. I will let you get away with this little present for Cap... On my terms." She had almost removed the knife entirely from his throat, but he still felt the pressure and really felt no inclination to move.
"I know a guy, great editor-" He tried. The pressure increased. "Ulp..."
"JARVIS handles it and you don't see any of it."
"Oh come on-"
"... Fine. And the second?"
She took the drone up and removed the knife entirely. Tony turned his head enough to see her face.
"... You put these in Steve's shower... For me," she said. Tony blinked, several times.
"And... If he asks me about it?"
Was that...? No. It had to be a trick of the light. The Black Widow did not blush. She gave him a little smirk.
"Just point him in my direction, if he wants some... Answers."
Tony stared for a long moment. "You do realize that getting him to do anything-"
"Who says I want him to do anything?" The Black Widow asked with a disdainful sniff. "I'm just keeping you from getting hurt, Tony. Violating a lady's privacy like that, tut tut. Whatever would Steve think of your little scheme?" She tossed the drone to him, and casually walked to the elevator doors. "Better have five of those things in his shower, Stark - And in HD."
Tony stared after her as the doors closed. He sighed and shook his head... And waited until he'd turned back to the worktable to grin. He turned off the drone.
"Sir, I don't think you're quite as good a matchmaker as you think," JARVIS pointed out.
"Now now JARVIS, I haven't even gotten to Phase 2 yet," Tony admonished his creation. "Besides... If it does pan out, oh, the sweet taste of revenge is going to make it all worth it."
"And if you are merely progressing in a direction Miss Romanoff wanted you to go in?" JARVIS asked. Tony shrugged.
"I'm still going to be able to laugh at Steve's expense."
He double checked that the drone was really off though. Just in case.