Chapter 1: Morgan is a robot
Someone online posted their sister's reaction to Morgan in Endgame: The sister thought Morgan was a robot (version number ILU-3000). That's why Pepper is never shown interacting with her, and why the others were so uncomfortable around Tony--because no one knew how to mention he was treating a robot like his kid. Let's take a look at that conversation.
Morgan stood surprisingly still for a child her age, but then her head jerked and she was waving and saying, "Bye! Bye! Bye!"
All three heroes looked in the rearview mirror as Steve turned onto the lane that took them away from Tony's private lakeside paradise.
Scott broke the silence first. He said, "I think she glitched a bit, at the end there."
He sat back in his seat and continued, "Still, it's incredible technology. I wouldn't have believed it was possible if I hadn't seen her."
Natasha and Steve shared a glance. She asked, "Do you think Tony remembers that he BUILT her?"
Steve shrugged and said, "Doesn't matter. She's as real as Vision now."
Natasha frowned and said, "So he'll be no help at all."
Steve nodded and said, "We knew it was a long shot. It'll take something big to make Tony change his mind."
Scott frowned and said, "Bigger than saving trillions of dusted people across the universe?"
Steve nodded and said, "Tony has Pepper, Happy, and Rhodey. And now he has Morgan. Those trillions are just numbers. He'd need to miss someone personally to get involved. And after all this time, I'm not sure who that would be."
Scott asked, "So what are we gonna do? What, are we gonna give up?"
Steve answered,:"No, but we need to do it right. We'll need a really big brain."
Natasha nodded and leaned back in her seat as they drove to their next possibility.
Chapter 2: Pepper was always in it for the money
This theory is pushed by prop-Tony folks themselves, usually when they're complaining how "mean" Pepper is to Tony and how much she ignores his "trauma." (They berate Pepper for not coddling Tony while PEPPER is being attacked in her own bed by Tony's weapons, her home destroyed by Tony's irresponsibility, and kidnapped and experimented on by a villain Tony helped bring into existence. Because EVERYTHING is about Tony--to them at least.) Let's take a look at Pepper achieving her goal of being the wealthy Widow Stark. (This is set before Far From Home.)
Pepper waited until the side door to her office closed before she looked at Happy and said, "Send him in."
She stood and walked around her desk to meet Quentin Beck. His frown did not bode well for the meeting. Pepper held out a hand and said, "Mr. Beck, thank you for coming."
Beck nodded and stiffly sat on the couch. He said, "I'm not really sure why I'm here, Mrs. Stark."
Pepper frowned and said, "I never actually took his name. Please call me Pepper."
Beck's head tilted as he looked at Pepper. He asked, "Really, why am I here?'
Pepper sighed and said, "Well, Mr. Beck, as you may have heard, I've inherited half of Stark Industries, and I'm caretaker for my daughter's half until she's of age. This granted me access to ALL of Tony's files--files he deliberately kept hidden from the board and his CEO, not to mention his wife. In them, I discovered that Tony made a habit of stealing other people's ideas and then firing those people. Worse, he ruined their reputations so if they broke their Non-Disclosure Agreements, they'd be laughed at rather than believed."
She shook her head and said, "I don't---I know you have no reason to believe me. And I know that nothing I do can truly make up for the horrible things Tony did to you and the others. But I'd like to try. Starting with issuing statements about the TRUE creators of Stark Technologies that Tony stole and reimbursing you for the wages and profits lost because of Tony's actions."
Pepper continued, "I don't know if you'd WANT to come back, but I'd like to treat this as a blank slate. I'll send you a new offer on continuining your work. I believe it and YOU can make a difference in the world."
Beck sat back, shocked. He said, "I...this changes EVERYTHING. But I need to be sure--are you going to reinstate EVERYONE? Because it's quite a list."
Pepper nodded and said, "I have a preliminary list. If you know of anyone else Tony harmed, please let me know and I'll add them immediately."
They both stood, Beck still looking dazed, saying, "I can't believe it. We'll all...we won't have to...I can't believe it."
Pepper shook Beck's hand and said, "If you have a few minutes, please go over the list with my assistant before heading out."
Happy came in as Beck walked out and closed the door.
Pepper returned to her desk with the feeling that she'd just avoided something. She asked Happy, "Did you contact May and Peter Parker?"
Happy nodded and said, "They're coming this afternoon before they finish preparing for a fund-raiser later this week."
Pepper nodded and sat back. She pulled a drawer open and took out a glasses case. She asked, "And when were you going to tell me about these?"
She opened the case and put on the glasses, flinching again at the blatant privacy violations and listing of drone weapons ready to fire on ANYONE, ANYWHERE at her simple command. She continued, "And WHY were you planning to hand over such a dangerous weapon to a TEENAGER?"
Happy shuffled and looked down. He replied, "That's what Tony wanted."
Pepper slammed her hand on the desk, making Happy jump. She said, "That doesn't make it RIGHT! How could you know about this and not tell me? Or James?"
Happy shook his head without replying.
Pepper frowned and walked over to Happy. She said, "Happy, you're one of my oldest friends. Morgan loves you. But I can't trust you if you're going to hide things like this from me."
Happy nodded and said, "Yeah, I get it. The boss was a mess. Maybe I better not assume his decisions were good ones just because he was Tony."
Pepper hugged him and said, "THANK YOU." Then she leaned back and said, "Maybe you want to check on Morgan for me? It would make me feel better knowing you were watching over her."
When Happy smiled and left, Pepper heaved a sigh of relief and took off the glasses. She'd have to talk to Clint and Scott about them when they came back from their outing. Get the Avengers involved in deciding who to contact about this violation of privacy and international treaties--or decide to send the satellite into the sun where it couldn't harm or spy on anyone.
She walked over to the windows and looked out over New York. She'd worked damn hard, all these years. Getting Tony to trust her, cementing her place as the head of one of the leading technology companies. She'd been forced to marry Tony to seal the deal, but it all worked out in the end. She'd always known she'd be a young widow--and a rich and powerful one.
She smiled. Success at last.
Chapter 3: Pepper lied during the cabin scene
Pepper had to work hard to get Tony to help the universe. Not only did she have to point out how Tony would be affected personally (rather than saying that helping would be the right thing to do, because that wouldn't matter to Tony), Pepper had to lie to Tony. She said, "Tony, trying to get you to stop has been one of the few failures of my life." But Tony had stopped for five years already. Tony ABANDONED the world and holed up in his private cabin while the world struggled with the Decimation. And Tony apparently had such an ego that he believed it, probably because he still saw himself as a hero even when he'd done nothing but build Hydra-type weapons on his years-long vacation.
She'd known Tony was selfish--the last five years had shown her that. He'd left the world reeling from the effects of the Snap. Instead of sharing his wealth and technology with the world, Tony had focused only on what he wanted. Pepper was grateful she had Morgan and guaranteed privilege for the rest of her life, but she at least could recognize how very rare their good fortune was. And how bad off most of the world--and universe--probably were. Something--probably curiosity or a rare moment of guilt--had made Tony solve the time travel puzzle. But Tony was willing to ignore the invention and the hope it would give others. The man was actually willing to ignore the fact that he had the technology to bring everyone back.
Pepper still couldn't believe the lengths she'd had to go to. She snorted--she was lucky Tony's ego made him as gullible as ever. Pepper had almost rolled her eyes at the lies she'd had to spin: First, that she'd failed in having Tony stop. He'd done more than stop--he'd shrugged and left the world to burn after the Snap. Pepper's joy at having Tony back eventually soured at his selfish disregard for everyone else's suffering. Second, that Tony wouldn't have been able to rest. Tony slept just fine while chaos reigned, children starved, and governments fell. Tony would probably have destroyed the time travel tech and gone right back to his perfect life.
But thanks to Pepper, the universe had a second chance. Pepper pressed the Call button and held the phone to her ear. Happy answered and said, "What's up?"
Pepper said, "Happy, I need you to come to the house today and stay with Morgan. Just in case." As she hung up the phone, Pepper knew that no matter what happened, the right thing to do was to make Tony do the right thing for the universe.
Chapter 4: Tony is a Hydra flunky
There was a very interesting post online that pointed out that A LOT of Tony Stark's actions suggest he was part of Hydra. From weapons supplying to supporting a document that would tie the Avengers' hands to spouting straight-up Hydra beliefs to making his own version of Project Insight, Tony comes across as a perfect Hydra drone. (Even Tony Stark's name on the list of Insight targets could be explained away as misdirection, one Hydra operative protecting another.) What if someone discovered his secret?
The creak of a door made Tony look up. He froze at the sight of a ghost. Tony asked, "Agent?"
Phil Coulson stepped into the light, his gun leveled on Tony. Phil said, "Don't move, Stark. We've got you covered."
Tony reached to deploy his gauntlet watch, but nothing was on his wrist. Before he could ask how that happened, a woman with long dark hair appeared behind Coulson, twirling Tony's watch on one finger.
Before Tony could order Friday to send a signal to Hydra, another woman came at him. With a few blows she had Tony gasping on the ground, unable to draw breath. The woman kicked him and said, "Hydra scum."
A third, younger woman walked into the room and said, "I've deployed the virus, destroyed the servers, and set the charges. In five minutes there won't be anything left."
Coulson nodded and looked down at Tony. He said, "I didn't want to believe that Iron Man was Hydra. But after we hacked into your systems, it was pretty obvious you were doing everything you could to destroy the Avengers and any other hero who could stop Hydra's plans."
The last thing Tony saw was the stun bolt coming at him. That Coulson's team "forgot" to remove Tony from the building when his house was blown to atoms was just an unfortunate accident.
Chapter 5: If Tony got the serum, he'd end up like Red Skull
Dr. Erskine said that with the serum "good becomes great, bad becomes worse." Tony is actually pretty awful. Unless he's directly affected, he doesn't care how his actions (or negligence) affect others. He treats people like they exist for him to ogle, mock, or take advantage of.
Howard Stark was self-aware (and smart) enough not to take the serum himself. Tony thinks Ultron and Edith are good ideas, so let's see what would happen if after Civil War he found Howard's notes on the serum.
And after the serum made Tony stronger and faster he'd show them ALL. HE'D be the suit of armor around the world. And he'd find Captain Two-Face and all the Betrayers and teach them NEVER to mess with Tony Stark.
His dad had stressed that only the best candidates should get the serum. His notes were full of dire warnings that made Tony laugh. Dear Old Dad should have just admitted he was a pussy too scared to embrace greatness.
The lights in Tony's lab (along with his beard and eyebrows) made his smile look almost demonic as he pushed the button to start the injections and radiation.
Then he started to scream...
Rhodey's faceplate flipped up as he said, "Well, that didn't work."
Vision nodded and said, "He is more formidable than I expected."
Tony--or Iron Master as he was now calling himself--was blasting fighter jets out of the sky, laughing as each one crashed and burned. He shouted, "Just stop already! I'm only defending myself! I'm here to PROTECT YOU! Bring me Captain Reject and his little puppets so I can deal with that star-spangled menace!"
Rhodey wasn't sure if there was anything left of his friend. The serum seemed to have turned Tony's skin into a kind of armor. Tony wore a harness similar to Ivan Vanko's, just an arc reactor hooked to gauntlets, boots, and a helmet. Tony's exposed skin was pale and almost gleaming. He looked eerily like Ultron.
Vision frowned as Tony flung the next jet into the side of the building. It exploded, leaving the pilot no chance to escape. Vision said, "Ground troops are withdrawing."
Rhodey winced. The Army hadn't done any better against Tony than the SWAT team and regular police officers who were now a pile of corpses littering the streets. He said, "We gotta stop him."
Vision looked at Rhodey and said, "We cannot contain him."
Rhodey nodded. Maybe if they'd had the Hulk or Wanda they'd be able to capture Tony. But just him and Vision? No chance--and no way they could wait for Steve's team to return from wherever they were hiding.
Vision blinked and said, "Secretary Ross has authorized lethal force. He says if we don't stop Tony in the next fifteen minutes, 'maybe a nuke will make Stark show some respect'."
Rhodey closed his eyes. Thought about the years he'd known Tony and all the wrong turns he saw Tony take. No wonder Tony had turned into this monster. Rhodey said, "Here's what we're going to do."
Tony's head sat smoking a few yards away. Vision had shot the laser that decapitated his creator, but Rhodey was the one who'd given the order. Tony had given them no choice, firing point-blank on Rhodey while calling him "a gimpy, wimpy ex-friend."
Rhodey wondered if Tony's face really froze in a sneer. But instead of reaching over to open Tony's faceplate, he told Vision, "Burn it. All of it. Not even ashes left."
As Vision nodded and began his work, Rhodey leaned back and wished Tony had been a little more humble--or at least a little less stupid.
Chapter 6: Tony stole vibranium from Steve's shield
This theory showed up after Thanos so thoroughly destroyed Cap's shield in Endgame. Some folks think the reason Thanos was able to destroy the shield was because Tony took vibranium from it after Civil War to use on his own suits. It's why his suits started to behave the way Black Panther's do. We know from the Iron Man films and Far From Home that Tony steals tech and ideas from others, so there's a good reason to think Tony appropriated vibranium to add to his suit. (T'Challa was certainly not going to let him have any.) It also explains how Tony was able to remove the scratches from the shield--the coating no longer contains as much vibranium.
Steve looked down for a moment, then met Sam's eyes and said, "Sam, you can't let Pepper or Morgan learn about this, ever. You don't need to worry about swords. This shield...it hasn't been tampered with."
Sam frowned and asked, "What do you mean?"
Steve shrugged and said, "You know I dropped the shield in Siberia. Well, some time between then and when the second Thanos arrived, Tony altered it in some way. I can't be sure, but I believe he removed vibranium from it. From what I heard, his suits changed during the same period--they behaved a lot like Shuri's suits for T'Challa. So..."
Sam shook his head and said, "So Tony stole something he'd never have been given by the people who really owned it--T'Challa or you. And Tony's selfishness almost got you killed."
Steve sighed and nodded, then said, "I can't say I was surprised. But that's why I made sure to bring you a shield that Tony never had his hands on. You can trust this one."
Sam smiled, because he also knew he could trust Steve.
Chapter 7: Thanos is obsessed with Tony because they're so much alike
Prop-Tony folks make a big deal about tiny things when they involve Tony. (Just read any content on how Tony "suffers so much" in the MCU.) Tony landing a paper cut on Thanos was lauded as this incredible feat, even in light of Thor practically cutting Thanos in half (though he should have gone for the head). Similarly, the directors mentioning Thanos knowing who Tony is was "evidence" of how important Tony is. Instead, Thanos could have been interested in Tony because he found a kindred spirit, someone just as unconcerned with "collateral damage." After all, Tony was willing to kill an entire city's population (Age of Ultron) and leave half a universe dusted until Tony was reminded of that one kid he exploited and belittled (Endgame). (Note that Thanos is said to have greatly admired Steve's determination during their encounter.)
The Soul Stone had revealed to Thanos a true brother in spirit in the one called Stark. A man with an ego as great as Thanos himself. And Stark was even more callous and unconcerned with the effects of his actions on others.
The axe-wielder--Thor--frowned and said, "He didn't come. He told us to hide if we found you."
Thanos frowned and shook his head. He said, "I am disappointed. He and I seemed to share a similar view of the universe and our place in it. I would have called him brother."
The other heroes looked at each other. A woman with white-blonde hair frowned and said, "Honestly, I'm not all that surprised."
Thor nodded and said, "Stark did seem a bit too quick to sacrifice the Sokovians after he unleashed Ultron."
Another blond man firmed his jaw and said, "This is irrelevant. Let's get back on mission." He stepped forward and demanded, "Where are they?"
Thanos paused a moment to remember this man during that final battle. He recalled this man trying to protect his android friend and the Mind Stone buried in the android's head. Unlike Stark, this man held too much concern for other beings to be a kindred spirit. Still, Thanos greatly admired this man's will and determination. So he settled in to answer the question.
Chapter 8: Tony should have contacted the Avengers after the Snap
It's interesting to me that all the prop-Tony folks complained about how everyone "abandoned" Tony after Civil War and Infinity War and how horrible Team Cap was for not checking up on Tony. As if the international fugitives and the people trying to hold a broken world together are supposed to look after a 50-year-old manbaby. The truth is that TONY is the one who should have contacted the others. He's the one who had all the time on his hands (all he was doing for the last 7 years was building suits and then Hydra-like weapons of mass destruction) and he is the one who actually had news to share. What if someone got to point that out?
Natasha glanced in the rearview mirror and shrugged. She said, "More than, really. The last time I spoke to him he called me a traitor. That was right after Germany."
Scott frowned and said, "I know he never apologized to me after locking me up on the Raft and then ignoring the Accords himself, but I didn't think he'd be that big an asshole to anyone else."
Steve shook his head and said, "I sent him a phone. He never used it. Not even when Vision was in danger."
Natasha snorted and said, "Not to mention the rest of the universe. No, Tony never contacted anyone. He certainly never apologized to anybody for the Raft."
Her face went grim as she continued, "And he definitely didn't apologize for exposing Laura and the kids to Thunderbolt Ross."
"Man, that really sucks," Scott said. He continued, "But what about after---I figured he'd at least check what happened to you guys after the Snap and all."
Natasha snorted and glanced over at Steve, who stayed silent. Natasha said, "Other than spewing lies in Steve's face after Carol Danvers saved Tony's ass, no one's heard from Tony."
Scott sank back in his seat and said, "But---but he's a BILLIONAIRE! He didn't ask how he could help? He didn't try to pitch in when the world was in chaos?"
Steve said, "No, he just...ignored it all."
Scott shook his head and said, "And---and Stark's had all this GOOD news. He never invited you to his wedding? He never called or texted to let you know Pepper was pregnant? He never sent a note saying that he'd had a kid?"
"Not a word," Natasha replied. She continued, "It's like we didn't exist for him now that he decided he didn't have to help clean up the mess he made."
"Wow, what a jerk," Scott said as he stared out the window. He shook his head again and said, "I guess I won't get my hopes up."
Natasha and Steve glanced at each other. Neither one said it out loud, but they both knew that Tony Stark was NOT someone to count on to do the right thing.
Chapter 9: The MCU would be better off if Tony died in Strucker's lab
I think the blog's been deleted, but someone suggested that Pietro wanted to kill Tony in Strucker's lab but Wanda stopped him. Think what a better place the MCU would have been without Tony--no Ultron, no falling buildings, no flying Sokovia, no Hulk flying off to another planet, possibly no Ragnarok. No Zemo, no Sokovia Accords, no 14-year-old child soldier, no international fugitives, no divided team. No Time Stone delivered to Thanos, no Snap, no ignoring the five years of collateral damage because Tony didn't want to lose his perfect life, no sacrifice of Natasha, no Hydra-like weapon that violates everyone's privacy and kills on command.
Let's revisit Age of Ultron. Note that Tony's crappy system couldn't even detect Wanda and Pietro, so it would probably miss booby traps as well.
Just as Wanda looked at him Stark snatched the scepter. An earth-shaking BOOM filled the room as hidden explosives went off.
Pietro lifted his sister and dashed for one of the archways as the ceiling and the Chitauri Leviathan collapsed.
Pietro set Wanda down as they looked over to the area where Stark was standing. There was nothing but a pile of rubble. Out of the suit, he never stood a chance.
"Oh my God," Wanda whispered.
They turned as Captain America leapt down from the hole in the ceiling. He looked at the twins and asked, "Where is he?"
Wanda pointed with a shaking hand.
Captain America said, "Don't move." Then he touched his communicator and said, "There's been an explosion. I need evac for Tony NOW."
When he began tossing aside the pieces of rubble, Wanda used her powers to help. Captain America glanced over at them, then nodded and kept working.
Wanda said, "We did not do this. Strucker...he must have..."
Pietro said, "I thought I would be happy, that Stark is dead. We were ten years old, having dinner, the four of us. When the first shell hits, two floors below, it makes a hole in the floor. It's big. Our parents go in, and the whole building starts coming apart. I grab her, roll under the bed and the second shell hits. But, it doesn't go off. It just...sits there in the rubble, three feet from our faces. And on the side of the shell is painted one word..."
Wanda said, "Stark."
Pietro continued, "We were trapped two days."
Wanda nodded and said, "Every effort to save us, every shift in the bricks, I think, "This will set it off." We wait for two days for Tony Stark to kill us."
Captain America paused, then took off his helmet. He said, "You have every reason to be angry about what happened. But joining Hydra was not the answer."
Pietro said, "We joined Shield! Strucker told us he would make us strong to help us protect our country."
Wanda set aside the last piece of rubble. As Captain America reached down to lift Stark, Wanda said, "Please, let me." She gently lifted the broken body and floated it up through the hole in the ceiling. As Pietro carried her up the rubble onto the higher floor, she laid Stark's body to rest on a clear piece of floor.
The other Avengers came into the room. They moved toward the twins, but Captain America said, "Just focus on Tony." The man who became the Hulk knelt down and checked the body, then looked up and shook his head. The others stood in silence until Captain America said, "Make sure that Strucker and anyone still alive is secured. Thor, the scepter is down there somewhere---we still need to get it."
Thor nodded and leapt into the hole.
Wanda swallowed and asked, "What happens to us?"
Captain America said, "They thought they were part of Shield."
The Black Widow and Hawkeye paused and looked over at the twins. The Widow said, "Come with us, don't try to escape. If you really didn't know you were part of Hydra, well, we'll see."
The twins looked at Captain America. He said, "You have a choice here. Run, and keep running for the rest of your life. Or step forward and work to make amends."
The twins looked at each other, then nodded and stepped forward.
She stepped forward and said, "The scepter contains a stone of power, much like the Tesseract. It must remain on Earth, or else half the universe is lost. Keep it safe."
Then she portaled out to return to her own duties.
They had won. Thanos was only a scorch mark on the Earth where the Scarlet Witch had blasted him to atoms.
The Time Stone whispered to him of all that happened:
The Avengers listening to the Ancient One and keeping the Mind Stone safe.
Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch joining the Avengers. The Sokovian people overthrowing Hydra and their corrupt government and imprisoning the death squad members (including Helmut Zemo) for crimes against humanity.
Hank Pym, his wife and daughter, and his protege Scott Lang stepping forward to join the Avengers in their quest to keep the world safe.
A young black woman, Riri Williams, stepping into her own Iron Heart suit and fighting for justice.
All heroes and enhanced persons standing up to Thaddeus Ross and the U.N. and refusing to sign documents that stripped them of their civil rights. The world denouncing the attempt to make enhanced people less than human.
Prince T'Challa of Wakanda becoming an Avenger, forcing his father to either withdraw from the Accords or admit hypocrisy for supporting the restriction of enhanced when Wakanda was hiding their own technological advances. Princess Shuri making friends with Steve Rogers and helping him to find---and cure---the former Winter Soldier.
The young Spider-Man helping Iron Heart to save Strange himself from Ebony Maw. They portaled back to Earth and sent out the call for all heroes to gather to protect the Infinity Stones. T'Challa offering Wakanda as a last stand.
The fierce battle. All the heroes and soldiers standing together. Keeping the Time Stone and Mind Stone from Thanos. And Scarlet Witch blasting him to atoms, leaving the uncompleted gauntlet on the ground.
They would have to decide where to keep the stones---or send them, if the Time Stone's whispers came to pass. But all would be well.
He was sure of it.
Chapter 10: If Rhodey staged an intervention after Ultron, it would NOT be to prop Tony
The story that inspired this checks off quite a number of prop-Tony tropes:
1. Natasha's info dump caused multiple deaths (because apparently Shield not only hacked into other government agency servers, Shield also copied and pasted all the files into their own databases. Why? To bash Natasha, of course). And apparently PTSD in Shield agents interrogated by Hydra. (Which makes zero sense, because Hydra already knew all of Shield's secrets from the inside.)
2. Other heroes line right up to sign away their civil rights and join Team Iron Man (even Magneto, I believe).
3. Amending the Accords is super-easy because Tony, even though Infinity War showed that Tony was lying about being able to make amendments.
4. Team Cap somehow fail to read a newspaper or see a newsfeed the whole time this is going on. (Why? To bash Team Cap, of course.)
But the saddest thing about that story is what it does to Rhodey. Rhodey saw first-hand the damage that Tony's recklessness caused: Rhodey saw what Ultron did to Sokovia after Tony unleashed his flawed program onto the Internet using Loki's scepter. Yet this story has Rhodey staging an intervention to prop Tony and bash the Avengers. The ones forced to clean up TONY'S mess. And prop-Tony people claim SAM doesn't think for himself...
Let's see how Rhodey would REALLY react in this absurd scenario.
He shuddered to think how close the world had come to Armageddon. Sokovia would never be the same.
Rhodey turned when Tony walked in. He pointed to a chair and ordered, "Sit."
"Do I get a biscuit if I give you my paw?" Tony asked as he sprawled in the seat. Clearly he wasn't all that broken up about his part in the destruction of the last few days.
What you're going to get is some truth, so listen up," Rhodey said as he stopped in front of Tony's chair. He continued, "What the HELL were you thinking? Your little stunt unleashed a murderbot that destroyed AN ENTIRE CITY."
"You don't get it," Tony snapped as he stood up and pushed past Rhodey. Tony continued, "Ultron was supposed to save everyone. So we wouldn't need the Avengers."
Rhodey shook his head and asked, "So why didn't you get a second opinion on this genius plan? Like maybe from Thor, who actually KNOWS ABOUT THIS SHIT."
Tony shrugged and said, "Thunderdome would have never let me play with his little brother's joystick. And Captain Stick Up His Ass would NEVER have gone for it."
Rhodey leaned against a table and said, "You don't get to go off and invent a deathbot behind their backs because you don't want to hear someone tell you No. The Avengers are a TEAM, Tony. It should have been a TEAM decision."
Rhodey crossed his arms and said, "Instead, you showed yet AGAIN how genius is just another word for stupid. And the rest of us got stuck cleaning up YOUR mess."
Tony lifted his arms and said, "So what are you going to do? No pudding for a month? Scrub the toilets with my toothbrush?"
Rhodey frowned and said, "Even now, you're not taking it seriously. I volunteered to tell you, Tony: You don't get to sweep this under the rug and walk away. If you want to pretend you're a naughty child, then here you go: We're taking away ALL your toys. And you don't get to build any more. You'll be restricted from ANY technology involving robots, AIs, weapons, or the Internet."
Tony laughed and said, "Right. What are you all going to do without me? I'm the brains of this operation."
Rhodey snorted and said, "Sure you are. But just so you know, we're going to be recruiting some more heroes and more tech help. And making sure THEY understand that just because they THINK they know better than anybody else, that doesn't make it true. And we'll be pointing to YOU as the example of what NEVER to do."
The other Avengers filed into the room, followed by two officers. Tony frowned as Rhodey frisked him and got EVERY piece of tech Tony was hiding.
As the officers slapped handcuffs on him, Tony looked over and saw Rhodey being comforted by Steve and the others.
They looked like a real team.
Chapter 11: Tony never redeemed himself
There was an interesting essay online describing a main character's redemption arc: The character acknowledges their mistakes or wrongdoings, apologizes to those hurt, and tries to make amends. A character who was offered as a good example of a redemption arc is Prince Zuko of Avatar. Among the characters who were shown not to have redeemed themselves was Tony Stark. Tony had years after Civil War to acknowledge his mistakes, to apologize to May, Peter, Team Cap, and everyone else, and to make amends for his actions. Tony did none of this. Ironically, it's alleged that Tony Stark's portrayer is the one who made Tony die unredeemed. Allegedly the original Endgame script had Tony having an epiphany after he's rescued and apologizing, but what we got instead was a delusional rant that in typical Tony fashion blames everyone but the real cause of the problem: Tony.
Note: I've never seen Good Omens so these characters are probably out of character.
Before the demon could reply, Aziraphale folded his hands and said, "The matter is settled. Anthony Edward Stark will never see Heaven."
Crowley shook his head, crossed his arms, and said, "Well I'm not having it. I don't care if Stark's actions and inventions---especially that egotistical floating Satellite of Spying and Death---guarantee that Stark was NOT on the side of the angels. We have standards too, you know. And admitting this egotistical blowhard into the Hellfire Club will not happen, not even when all Lucifer's minions get frostbite."
The angel and the demon stared at each other a moment, then turned to look at Tony Stark's soul. Stark rolled his eyes at them. He'd probably have mocked them, but two layers of magical adhesive---one from each immortal judge---kept his mouth shut. Stark hadn't lasted 10 seconds in the afterlife before he'd been shut up by two beings who had better things to do than listen to Tony Stark's "humor."
Aziraphale said, "We seem to be at an impasse."
Crowley narrowed his eyes and said, "Well, there's always the third option..."
When Crowley was done he released the bindings on Stark's mouth. The man-turned-donkey brayed his displeasure and stomped one hoof.
Aziraphale asked, "You're sure he'll blend in?"
Crowley nodded and answered, "This whole area's full of burros. One more won't make any difference. And without an opposable thumb or his multi-billions, Stark won't be able to cause too much trouble."
Aziraphale nodded and asked, "So how long will Stark be like that?"
Crowley shrugged and said, "That's up to Stark. He'll stay a donkey until he learns to stop being such a jackass."
After the angel and demon watched Stark unsuccessfully try to kick them, Aziraphale said, "You'll check in on him next millennia, then?"
"Yes," Crowley said as he wrapped an arm around the angel's shoulders. He continued, "How about we stop for a bite? There's a diner nearby called Indian Tacos and Shaved Ice."
As the two beings disappeared, Tony Stark was left to contemplate his just reward.
Chapter 12: Tony would be horrible to a pre-serum/deserumed Steve
Tony mocks people as a form of entertainment. In the Avengers, Steve is two weeks out of the ice and Tony is making jokes about Steve's trauma, rolling his eyes at Steve's attempts to fit in, and outright verbally attacking Steve. (And that was all when scepter wasn't even in the room.)
Tony is also dismissive of people who want him to like them or even help him, such as Harley Keener and Ho Yinsen (in the flashback) in Iron Man 3. So why would anyone think Tony would do anything except mock Steve in this scenario?
"Better listen to him, Chibi-Cap," Tony said as he strolled in. He continued, "We don't even know where to start putting the super and soldier back into the...you."
Steve shook his head and said, "I'll be fine. We need to adjust our plans for protecting the summit. Whoever did this wanted me out of action, so we'd better make sure we fill any gaps in the security."
Tony smirked and said, "Well, we could hide you in the podium, or in the keynote speaker's pocket. Not sure what you'd be able to do if they were attacked though. Maybe bite the bad guy's ankles?"
Bruce considered pointing out that Steve was not THAT much shorter than Tony, but kept quiet instead and hoped Tony's "humor" would soon run out.
Tony was circling Steve, who was focused on the blueprints of the conference hall. Tony said, "I've seen the photos, courtesy of dear old dad, but I never really got the whole picture until now. How the hell did anyone let you into the Army? Your backpack would've been taller than you. Were you some kind of mascot?"
Steve's jaw tightened, but he simply moved on to the list of patrols and procedures for the summit, making changes.
Tony continued, "I could see that. Little squirt trying to keep up with the big boys. You were probably too adorable to resist--that's why my dad and that crazy doc made you into the perfect angel poster boy of World War II."
Steve stilled, then walked over to Tony. Steve said quietly, "Doctor Erskine chose me because he thought I was the right person for the project. And because he knew I didn't like bullies, no matter where they were from. I still don't like bullies, no matter who they are. So maybe find something better to do with your time."
Steve looked over to Bruce and said, "I'm going to coordinate with Natasha. She'll take the lead on security if I'm not...myself by morning. Please keep me informed of your progress."
When Steve left, Tony turned to look at Bruce and opened his mouth. Before he could say anything, Bruce said, "Just shut up, Tony. If it's not about helping Steve, I don't want to hear it."
Bruce straightened up and realized that it wasn't Captain America who inspired people to stand up and speak out. It had always been Steve Rogers.
Chapter 13: If Morgan was enhanced, Pepper would flee with Team Cap
There was a great series of blog ficlets recently (here and here) about what would happen if Morgan was born enhanced post-Civil War. Pepper comes to realize that Tony was lying about his ability to get the Accords amended (which was proved by Infinity War). In that series, Pepper sends Morgan into hiding with Hope Van Dyne, Ava Starr, and Betty Ross rather than let Morgan grow up in a country where she must wear a tracker and be stripped of her human rights.
In this scenario, at the end of Civil War Pepper realizes she's pregnant while she's "on a break" from Tony, and that there's a good chance the baby will be enhanced. What will she do when she realizes that the UN has no intention (or reason) to amend the Accords, and Tony's already signed them knowing that his "sign this now and we'll fix it later" claim isn't how contracts work?
His expression sobered as he thought about what a long road could be in front of him and the challenges he'd face.
He startled when he saw Pepper enter the room. She smiled and said, "Hello, James."
Rhodey lifted his arms for a hug as Pepper sat down beside him. He said, "Didn't know you were coming. Tones is already on his way back to New York."
Pepper withdrew and shifted on her seat to face him. Her smiled turned a little sad as she said, "Yes, I know."
Rhodey frowned as he asked, "What's wrong, Pepper?"
Pepper held his hand as she said, "I came to say good-bye."
Rhodey gripped her hand tighter as he asked, "What do you mean?"
Pepper replied, "Did you read the Accords, James?"
Rhodey scowled and crossed his arms. He said, "We need to be put in check, Pepper."
Pepper frowned and said, "That doesn't answer my question. Did you know exactly what the 'Registration and Deployment of Enhanced Individuals' really entailed?"
Rhodey looked away. After a moment he said, "Tony said that after we signed we could get the UN to change them."
Pepper stood and pressed a hand to her middle as she said, "James, do you really think the leadership of the 117 countries who are willing to ignore due process to get control of enhanced people are going to be persuaded to change their minds?"
Rhodey looked back at her, unfolded his arms, and said, "I have to believe it, Pepper. If I don't, then all this...was for nothing."
Pepper nodded and said, "I'll miss you, James. Remember that I truly didn't think I had another choice. When Tony contacts you, tell him I'll call him here at noon in three days."
She bent down to kiss his cheek and continued, "I wish you all the best."
As she left the room, Rhodey wondered when he'd see her again.
Rhodey put his hands on the rails of his wheelchair and closed his eyes. He replied, "I don't know, Tones. Maybe ask her when she calls."
Tony stopped and said, "She can't DO this to me. Do you know she resigned with no notice whatsoever? Sure, she arranged for interim replacements and took care of everything pending before she left, but she LEFT. Without telling ME."
Rhodey said, "Maybe she'll explain when she calls."
Tony muttered, "She damn well better."
In the next moment, Friday said, "Incoming call from Pepper Potts."
"Trace it," Tony ordered.
After a moment, Friday replied, ""No can do, boss. It looks like it's coming from your own phone. Do you want to answer?"
Tony looked at Rhodey and sank onto the couch. He said, "Put her through."
The call was voice only. Pepper said, "Hello Tony, James."
Tony snapped, "What the hell is going on, Pepper?"
Pepper replied, "As I said in my resignation letter, I do not believe Stark Industries is the best place for me right now."
Tony said, "I mean, sure, I maybe dumped too much on you, but you could have just yelled at me. You didn't have to leave. Why are you doing this?"
Pepper replied, "Tell me, Tony, what would you have done if I still had Extremis? Would you have told me to sign the Accords? I would have had to register and give up DNA and wear a tracker for the rest of my life. And live in fear of what would happen to me if I ever used my powers. Would you have wanted that for me, Tony?"
Tony shifted in his seat and replied, "I would have protected you, Pepper. If nobody knew about Extremis, you wouldn't have even had to sign. I'd have covered for you, just like--- no one would have had to know."
Rhodey narrowed his eyes at Tony's slip. He thought about the young-sounding web guy from the airport. Was he enhanced?
Pepper asked, "Why would you do that, Tony? I thought you approved of the Accords. You signed them."
Tony said nothing.
Rhodey said, "We're going to get them amended, Pepper. They won't be so bad when we're done."
Pepper sighed and said, "It's not that easy, James. When SI was still a weapons manufacturer, you saw how long it took SI to negotiate our contracts with our government. We made changes before we signed, because there was no guarantee we could get anything changed after. And that was with one government who was forced to make concessions because they wanted something from us. How long do you think it will take to get 117 countries on board to change an agreement they just ratified without even consulting you?"
Tony looked uncomfortable as he asked, "What's all this about, Pepper?"
Pepper replied, "I know about the Raft. I found out how Secretary Ross used the Accords, Tony. And I thought about what would have happened to me if I was enhanced."
Tony stood up and said, "I'd never let ANYTHING happen to you!"
Pepper replied, "That's the problem, Tony. You wouldn't let anything happen to ME. Someone you...someone you care about. But what about all the other enhanced? They have to live under the Accords as they're written right now."
Tony opened his mouth, then closed it.
Rhodey thought about what Pepper was saying, and not saying. He asked, "You're somewhere safe?"
He could hear Pepper's smile as she answered, "Yes, James, I'm safe. So are the others Steven freed from the Raft."
Tony clenched his fists and asked, "You're with HIM?"
Pepper replied, "With them, yes."
Tony sank back down into his seat and asked, "Are you ever coming back?"
Pepper said, "Not until the Accords are abolished or amended, Tony. I hope you can do that, the way you said you could. But I'm not going to take your word for it. I can't."
After a moment of silence from Tony, Pepper said, "Take care of yourselves. Good-bye."
Rhodey thought about the conversation and the things Pepper hinted at. He had some questions for Tony, none of them good.
Chapter 14: Tony's "suit of armor around the world" would have done nothing against Thanos
Tony may not have been Hydra, but he did match Hydra's predictions of people who would "trade freedom for security." Of course, Tony's willing to trade OTHER PEOPLE's "precious freedoms," not his own, for his "suit of armor around the world." The funny thing is, it probably wouldn't have worked. As people online have pointed out, even the unenhanced Avengers were able to take out Tony's Iron Legion robots. Ultron was destroyed by Vision using the Mind Stone, and Vision was almost destroyed by Corvus Glaive's spear. Thanos wouldn't have even been inconvenienced by Tony's robots. Plus Tony's systems are pretty easily hacked.
Note: This is a variation of the mansion scene. In this one, the others don't learn about the phone until after Ebony Maw shows up.
He waved a hand and continued, "Friday is already surrounding this structure with the latest defenses. While you were off sulking somewhere across the galaxy, I was putting a suit of armor around the world. We have nothing to worry about."
Dr. Strange's cape rustled uneasily as Strange said, "If the news reports were correct, Ultron's army was utterly destroyed--by Earthlings, some without enhancements. It is foolish and arrogant to assume your mechanical defenses will hold up against a force capable of destroying the Asgardians, who sound far more technologically advanced."
Bruce nodded and said, "They were. And now their ships are in ruins. We have to protect the Time Stone and the Mind Stone. Where's Vision?"
Tony was debating how to answer when suddenly weapons were being fired outside. They all ran out and looked up. Tony said, "Here we go."
He expected his robots to wipe out the invaders. Instead, he watched a single, strangely pale being ripping them apart with ease. The being said, "Such pitiful defenses seem appropriate to this backwater planet."
Tony swallowed and fumbled for the flip phone. There was a good chance his "suit of armor around the world" would be nothing but scraps. He said, "Shit. Time to call the cavalry."
The being focused on Strange and said, "You have something I want."
Wong grabbed the phone, glanced at the single contact listed, and handed the phone to Strange. He said, "Get out of here. Call Rogers, warn the others, and go wherever Rogers tells you. We'll try to keep this guy busy as long as we can."
Strange frowned but nodded. He dashed around a corner, probably so the alien wouldn't see Strange open up a portal to escape.
More and more of Tony's robots were firing on the alien, who batted the beams away. As Tony activated his own armor, he saw Spider-Man swinging into the battle.
Tony thought maybe if they were lucky, they could end this right here. But then the eyes of the robots turned from white to red and lined up BEHIND the alien like they were HIS suits of armor.
Wong said, "I do not like the look of this."
Bruce said, "Tony, tell me you improved your security after Ultron hacked your Internet."
Tony didn't say anything. Instead, he started blasting his own creations. And winced at how easy they were to destroy.
Maybe a suit of armor around the world wasn't as useful as he'd thought.
As he watched the Spider-Kid get blasted into a building, Tony could only hope that Cap and the others did better than his own defenses did.
Everyone clapped and drank. Then Cap looked around and said, "It was definitely a team effort. We made some hard choices and took some big risks."
Cap looked at Thor and the royals as he continued more quietly, "And we took some heavy losses."
Then Cap gave a small smile and looked at everyone and said, "But we saved the universe, together. Thank you for everything you did to keep us all safe."
Tony started to slink off to try and get a look at the Wakandan tech. Suddenly a fierce Wakandan woman with a spear got in his face and said, "Don't even THINK about it."
Chapter 15: If Tony died in Siberia, no one would Avenge him
Apparently there's a story out there that showcases how disturbed prop-Tony fics can be. It has Pepper and Happy, folks from Shield, Clint's family, the Asgardians, the Parkers, Red Room agents, and DC heroes and villains. What brings these folks together? Allegedly to avenge Tony Stark's death in Siberia. Apparently even the heroes of these universes think it's perfectly okay to punish people who weren't even IN Siberia, and it's okay to make the punishments eternal torture. Natasha is trapped in the Red Room, Clint re-experiences childhood abuse, Steve is assaulted and has an asthma attack, Wanda relives her family's deaths by Stark's bomb, Scott and Sam are killed in circumstances to do with their suits. Plus the torture is broadcast like entertainment, because this prop-Tony writer thinks the America viewing public are sadists.
So where to begin? First off, the DC folks would never have heard of Tony Stark. None of these other folks are sadistic. They would not be okay with torturing anyone, or broadcasting it. That's what VILLAINS do. But most importantly, Tony Stark's death wouldn't be avenged because he either died from 1) being too stupid to call for a ride home, or 2) refusing to stop attacking Bucky and Steve even after Stark cut off Bucky's arm, shot Bucky in the back, and kicked Bucky in the head with a powered, armored boot. If Steve had to use lethal force to stop Stark's rampage, it would be self-defense or justifiable homicide in defense of others. There's nothing to avenge.
She saw the mini backup reactors light up as Tony yelled after the Captain as the Captain helped his wounded friend to stand. She nodded as the Captain shrugged and dropped the shield.
Then she watched as Tony focused all of the power left in the suit to one of the repulsor gloves. He fired at Barnes' back AGAIN. But Rogers pulled Barnes out of the way as they both fell through an archway. Tony's shot landed on some panel. When it exploded, it caused some chain reaction that resulted in the ceiling collapsing.
The feed stopped before the tons of concrete buried Tony.
Maria Hill deactivated the screen and said, "I'm very sorry for your loss. But I hope this shows why we will be taking no action against Captain Rogers or Sergeant Barnes."
Pepper nodded and said, "It's clear that Captain Rogers was trying to prevent Tony from attacking Sergeant Barnes. Even after the Captain disabled the Iron Man suit, Tony still lashed out against them. He was clearly going to shoot Sergeant Barnes in the back."
"Again," Happy pointed out with a nod. Then he said, "I'm the last person to bad-mouth the boss, but he was out of line. That guy was literally unarmed and STILL Tony was attacking him."
Rhodey sighed and sat back in his hospital bed. He said, "I knew there was something hinky going on when Tony sprang that new guy on us at the airport. But I never suspected he was that far gone."
Pepper looked at Maria and said, "If you are in contact with the captain and sergeant, please let them know that we understand...they did what they had to do to survive."
Maria nodded and said, "I'm sure they'll appreciate hearing that." Maria hoped Natasha, Phil, and his team would offer Steve some comfort as they assisted him in breaking the other Avengers from the Raft. It was a bad situation, but Steve should know no one was going to blame anyone for Tony's death except the responsible party: Tony.
Chapter 16: If anyone is flinching in fear, it would NOT be Tony
There was a scenario online suggesting that if the full Avengers team had gotten back together after Civil War, Tony would flinch away from Steve if Steve gestured. As usual, the prop-Tony folks ignore the fact that no one was actually going after Tony. Steve was defending himself and protecting Bucky. If Tony had ever STOPPED attacking, the fight would be over. They also ignore other people's trauma: Tony shooting Sam, Steve, and Bucky when they were unarmed. All of THEM are more likely to flinch than Tony, especially because Tony had no reason to assault any of them other than his own lack of self-control. (Wanda would likely also flinch after her experience on the Raft, helpless in a straight jacket and shock collar.)
When it was all going down, it never occurred to him to wonder why Nigeria had refused to sign--after all, THEY were the ones who'd had a building blown up. Apparently these folks realized that it was the bomber who was responsible for the bomb, not the hero who tried to keep it from killing a marketplace full of people.
Tony wondered how different the world would be if HE'D made the same connection between Ultron and Charlie Spencer.
He sighed and shook his head. What was important was that the U.N. was now asking the Avengers (all of them) for help in crafting the "oversight with safeguards" that Cap had asked for from the beginning.
The others were having what sounded like a serious debate, but was actually a heated discussion about yams versus sweet potatoes.
Tony flung his hands up and said, "Okay, let's get down to business."
He froze as he finished speaking. Wilson and the Witch had ducked so far to the side they were under the table. Cap had jerked forward as if to get between Tony and the others.
The room was very quiet as Tony met Rhodey's eyes. Rhodey knew that occasionally Tony dreamed of Cap stopping Tony's rampage with the slam of his shield into the arc reactor.
Rhodey also knew that Tony much more often was awakened by nightmares of breaking Wilson's neck at the airfield, or actually landing a killing blow on Barnes or Cap.
Or the very real dreams of abandoning Maximoff on the Raft and cutting off Barnes' arm.
He hadn't asked about Barnes. Couldn't bring himself to.
Tony knew he wasn't the only one suffering. He didn't like to think of how he might be starring in the others' nightmares.
Then a warm touch on Tony's arms caught his attention. He looked at Romanov and Rogers on either side, gently lowering his arms from what he realized was the same position he used when firing his repulsors. Each of them gave him a small squeeze before letting go.
He nodded at each of them as Wilson and Maxi--Sam and Wanda--sat up straight again.
Tony knew that they all needed time to heal. They would all need to be careful of each other for awhile.
He could do that. He folded his hands as Cap said, "Let's get started."
Chapter 17: The Maximoff twins did harm for less than a week, while Tony did harm for 32 years
I find it interesting that prop-Tony folks demand forgiveness for Tony, but deny forgiveness for anyone else. Four years after Civil War and still the woobie!Tony, Team Cap-bashing fics continue. Five years after Age of Ultron, and still fics claim the Maximoffs are irredeemable villains and Tony is absolutely blameless (even though he's the one who wrote the Ultron program and plugged the scepter into the Internet).
These prop-Tony folks don't seem to recognize their double standard, especially when you consider the total damage done. Pietro fought them and wanted to kill Tony (but did not act on it). Wanda had each Avenger view their own worst fear. The Hulk's rampage wasn't intentional (he traveled 300 miles from where he was triggered), but that was the most damage the twins caused. As soon as the twins knew Ultron was lying they switched sides. Every action since then has been to clear the red in their ledger. Contrast that with Tony, who after 17 years of criminal negligence, went on to: endanger innocents in Iron Man 2; hide the fact he was using the scepter and unleashed Ultron onto the Internet; support the human-rights-violating Accords; commit child endangerment, extortion, and Accords violations; attack unarmed people; do NOTHING about the treatment of prisoners on the Raft; mutilate a man he knew was innocent; refuse to call for help when the universe was in danger; deliver the Time Stone to Titan (and Thanos); do NOTHING to help the devastated world after the Snap; insist that all of the collateral damage and deaths be kept so his perfect life would stay the same; create Insight 2.0 for his own personal use. There was a recent story where Tony declared an ultimatum: Wanda or him. I think the Avengers would be better off with Wanda and should call Tony out on his hypocrisy.
Note: I don't remember if Pietro was alive in that story, but let's have him survive here.
Wanda ran to her brother's side, tears streaming down her face. She was stopped inside the triage area by Captain Rogers. He gently grasped Wanda's shoulders and said, "Pietro is in surgery. He was shot by Ultron when he shielded Clint and a child from being strafed."
As Rogers let go, Barton wrapped an arm around her shoulders and said, "He'll be all right. He seems like a tough kid."
Wanda sniffled and nodded. Rogers pulled out a large handkerchief from a pouch on his utility belt and offered it to her. She smiled at the old-fashioned item, then took it to wipe her eyes and blow her nose.
Romanov walked over with a frown and said, "We need to have a meeting--all of us. Now."
Rogers and Barton shared a look with Romanov that Wanda could not interpret. But she followed the others down a corridor. She could hear Stark's voice through an open door as he shouted, "It's them or me!"
As the group entered, Wanda saw Iron Man looming over a seated black man with a trenchcoat and an eyepatch. Thor, Vision, and Colonel James Rhodes--War Machine--were seated at a large conference table. All of them were frowning.
Rogers looked around the room and asked, "What's going on here?"
Stark whirled around and said, "What's going on here is that WITCH and her Hydra brother should be locked up in the deepest dungeon we can find."
Wanda swallowed as the three adults all stepped in front of her, as if shielding her from the Iron Man. Barton said, "Hold on there. That kid is in surgery because he saved a child's life, as well as mine. And we would never have been able to stop Ultron without their help. They're not going anywhere."
Wanda said, "We are not HYDRA. Baron Von Strucker asked for volunteers for SHIELD. We wanted to protect our country."
Stark's helmet slid back as he pointed at Wanda and said, "SHE is responsible for Ultron."
Vision asked, "How is that possible? Neither Ms. Maximoff nor her brother were in the United States when the Ultron program escaped onto the Intranet. And Ultron was YOUR program."
Thor nodded and said, "These children did not LIE to me about studying the scepter and then use it without informing the rest of us of the plan."
Stark scowled and said, "She forced me--with her visions or something."
Romanov tilted her head and asked, "When? And why didn't you mention having a vision?"
Stark shifted and said, "When I got the scepter. And I didn't want to talk about it."
Romanov shook her head and said, "Then you weren't forced. You were definitely yourself for THREE WHOLE DAYS while you were hiding your use of the scepter from us."
Rogers stepped forward and said, "We all had visions, Tony. They were horrible..."
He turned to Wanda and said, "And we will definitely talk about the difference between what you did to stop us and what you did to help get people to evacuate the city."
Thor nodded and said, "The visions were not compulsions. The actions you took were your own."
Stark threw up his hands and said, "So you're just going to forgive them and welcome them into the club? Forget it! I will NOT work with these people."
He turned to the black man and said, "Like I told you, Popeye: It's them or me."
Rogers looked at the black man and asked, "Nick?"
Nick leaned back and said, "Tony was telling me--very loudly--that the twins aren't Avengers material. He's conveniently forgetting how HE wasn't Avengers material either."
Rhodes said, "You gotta admit, Tony, you weren't exactly Mary Poppins when you put on the Iron Man suit. Or even afterward."
Barton said, "Most of us have done things we regret. But we all got second chances. I don't think I can deny the kids theirs."
Stark said, "What they did was UNFORGIVABLE. Don't you get it? They can NEVER redeem themselves for this."
Wanda cringed behind the others.
Thor stood and walked over to Stark, step by careful step. He said, "Please help me to understand, Stark. Going by your treatment of these twins, I should now take my vengeance upon you, yes? You betrayed my trust and used the scepter knowing it was wrong and none of us would agree to it. According to you, we should NOT have forgiven you, and your actions against Ultron make no difference. You can never redeem yourself, correct?"
Rogers nodded and said, "There's no double standard here, Tony. Either all three of you redeemed yourselves, or none of you did. If you're making us choose between the twins and you..."
Romanov said, "Do you really wanna make this play, Tony? Because I don't think you've got a winning hand."
Stark looked around the room. Everyone stared at him except Rhodes, who looked at the table.
Wanda wanted to be strong enough to step forward and say she didn't need the Avengers. But she did--as did Pietro. They literally had no where else to go. But also...the way the others were standing up for Pietro and her offered her the first warmth she'd felt since the day the Stark bomb destroyed their lives.
Nick stood up and said, "I suggest we table this. Cool down, rest up, and talk about it again after the kid is back on his feet."
Wanda didn't know what the future would hold. But as Barton and Rogers--and Vision--accompanied her back to wait for word of Pietro, she let herself hope.
Chapter 18: The Infinity Stones deliberately killed Tony
I don't think this is true, but it's a really interesting theory. The idea is that being brought all together gave the Infinity Stones a kind of sentience. They were innocent and unknowing when Thanos did his Snap and in shock when they were destroyed (or allowed themselves to be destroyed?). When the second set of Infinity Stones are brought together, they have an awareness of their power and the damage that's been done. So they bring back all of the dusted while doing as little harm as possible to the Hulk, because they can see his past and future and know he never intended harm. But when they get a look at Tony's past and future...
He was Worthy. Their Powers reached and transformed dust back into beings, restored Life to Nothingness. But even She--the one called Natasha, Natalie, Romanova, Rushman, Agent, Widow, Assassin, Spy, Traitor, Heroine--was beyond Their reach. All They could do was keep Their power from consuming the one who directed their energies. He would be forever Changed, but They would let him Live.
Then chaos reigned. As They bounced and traveled underground, They stretched Their awareness. Another Thanos, Madman, Destroyer arrived. Like the one who had made Them--the Stones, the Other Stones--cause so much destruction, the other Thanos filled the ground and air with beings obedient to his will.
Only one hero stood against Thanos--the other Thanos. They could not Know this hero--not from beneath the ground--but They could Sense this hero was Worthy as he, wounded and so tired, struggled to his feet and stood alone against the full might of Thanos--the other Thanos.
Then They passed from hand to hand--Sensed each hero and heroine as They waited for one of these Worthy ones to call upon Them. Then Thanos--the other Thanos--held Them once more. They Felt him, Knew his past and the future he wanted. A future where all this universe turned to dust to be rebuilt to his vision. He was NOT Worthy.
Before They could destroy Thanos--the other Thanos, They were lifted from their resting places and set in a new gauntlet. Held by Iron Man, Stark, Tony, Husband, Daddy, Merchant of Death, Billionaire, Genius, Playboy, Philanthropist, one-time Hero. They Felt him. Knew his past. Knew in his past Tony had done wrong and not cared for the damage caused. Unless forced, had not admitted his mistakes, apologized, or made amends. Had gained when others lost, and never gave back enough to balance. They Saw his possible futures. A willingness to let worlds suffer so long as his life was unchanged. A weapon of death made in secret floating above, missiles pointed at anyone Tony wished dead, whenever he willed it.
They were ready as Iron Man called upon Them to destroy the villains in this battle who would cause harm to this universe. They Knew Iron Man was NOT Worthy. They did not shield him from Their energies as They performed this much smaller task.
When They were finished, no villain was left alive. Not even Iron Man.
They were content.
Chapter 19: Even if Peter Parker is aged up to legal, Tony Stark is WAY too old for him
I feel sorry for Peter Parker fans. So many prop-Tony folks have twisted Peter Parker into a prop for Tony, or worse, into Tony's literal boy toy. Some people think the bedroom scene in Civil War was a lot like the grooming a pedophile does to a future victim. Tony should NEVER have gone near an underage child for any reason. But to have an almost 50-year-old man involved with a teenager (even if it's legal if Peter were 16 or 18) is incredibly inappropriate. It's a nearly thirty-year age difference--Tony is more than old enough to be Peter's father, and almost old enough to be Peter's GRANDFATHER.
In all of these stories that I've seen, the relationship is written as Peter's hero-worship (gone horribly wrong) or Tony as rescuer, putting him in a bizarrely fatherlike position. In all of them, the focus is how Tony benefits having the adoration of this pure unsullied near-child. The stories are pretty awful, and it never seems as though Peter matters as a separate person, only as Tony's prop. And none of the authors seem to recognize that usually the reason a middle-aged person seeks out an underage or barely legal partner is because they want someone they can control. Someone still uncertain of themselves and therefore easy to manipulate and unlikely to talk back, form their own opinions, or leave.
What exactly does that kind of relationship say about Tony? And what would May say if she found out about it?
Note: Usually the authors conveniently kill May off so she can't protest. And in the latest batch of these stories another character (usually Stephen Strange) joins the "relationship." I don't think Dr. Strange or anyone else would actually see Peter as anything but a child if they met him. They certainly wouldn't climb into bed with him.
When she opened her eyes, a tall, slim man with a beard stood in front of her. He said, "Excuse me, but are you May Parker?"
May eyed the man warily but nodded and said, "Yes. Who are you?"
The man sat down in a chair near the couch and said, "My name is Dr. Stephen Strange. I'm sorry to show up without notice, but I have some concerning information about your nephew Peter."
May immediately sat up and said, "Peter? Is he all right?"
Dr. Strange said, "For the moment. But I'm afraid he is getting himself into a potentially dangerous situation."
May shifted closer and said, "Please, just spit it out. You're really worrying me here. And how do you know Peter anyway?"
Dr. Strange frowned and said, "I have an unfortunate acquaintance with Tony Stark. You are aware he has been spending time with Peter?"
May frowned and replied, "Peter won an internship with Stark Industries. I wasn't thrilled about it--I don't really like Tony Stark, to be honest--but Peter looks up to him, and..."
May looked down at her hands and said quietly, "And even as hard as I work, I'll never be able to provide Peter with the kind of scientific equipment or opportunities that he needs to develop his skills. Peter is brilliant, and he deserves the best."
Dr. Strange nodded and said, "I agree. Which is why I think you should reconsider having Peter spend time with Stark...alone."
May stared at Dr. Strange with wide eyes as she asked, "What did that man do to Peter?"
"Nothing--yet," Dr. Strange replied. He pulled out a phone, pressed some buttons, and passed it to May. He continued, "But this encounter made me very uneasy."
May started the recording and saw Peter hunched over on a couch in what looked like a workshop. Tony Stark was sitting beside Peter, and arm draped along the back of the couch and his hand on Peter's shoulder. Stark said, "You know, Peter, you're very mature for your age. Why, when I was 14 or 15 I didn't understand how the world worked at all. But kids these days--you guys are practically adults with everything you know. The internet tells you everything--and you don't click away when it says 'Age 18 and above,' do you?"
Peter looked down and said, "Well, I--"
Stark interrupted with, "You can't lie to me, you know. I've seen your browser history. Some VERY interesting videos you've been watching."
Peter sat up and said, "That's private. Ned and I just wanted to see--"
Stark interrupted again by saying, "You wanted to see A LOT."
Peter said, "We, uh, yes, we were curious about...stuff."
Stark smiled and said, "But that's why you're here with me in my lab, Peter. To satisfy your curiosity. So you can ask me about anything."
Stark's fingers slipped from Peter's shoulder to the back of Peter's neck as Stark shifted closer. As he leaned in, May heard Dr. Strange's voice say, "Stark, I need to talk to you immediately."
On the recording, Stark frowned as he stood up and said, "Your timing is as annoying as usual, Strange."
May scowled as she saw the relief on Peter's face as the recording ended. She handed back the phone and asked, "Was Peter still there when you left?"
Dr. Strange shook his head and said, "Peter excused himself soon after I arrived. I think he was glad of the escape."
He frowned as he continued, "But that doesn't mean Peter won't go back. He may think he has no choice--and not only because of the internship."
May folded her arms and asked, "What do you mean?"
Dr. Strange shook his head and said, "That would be betraying a secret that I shouldn't even know. But please, Mrs. Parker, talk to Peter. Make him tell you EVERYTHING."
May shivered as she realized how close Peter came to having his life ruined by Tony Stark, a greedy, middle-aged man who only cared about his own wants and needs. The idea of Peter being Stark's plaything made her feel ill.
She stood up and said, "Thank you so much for showing me the danger Peter was in. Would you send me that recording? I want to explain to Peter how wrong Stark was and maybe Peter seeing that and thinking of one his friends on that couch instead will make him realize that Tony Stark isn't someone to look up to, he's someone to avoid."
Dr. Strange nodded and said, "Trust also that I will be keeping a watchful eye on Tony Stark in the future."
May could see how serious the doctor was as he said, "I will do whatever is necessary to make sure Stark never has another opportunity to take advantage of a child."
Dr. Strange seemed to disappear, he left the room so fast. May had a feeling the doctor wasn't kidding about keeping watch on Stark. May hoped Tony Stark could feel the hostile eyes on him--and May's VERY ANGRY thoughts.
Chapter 20: Tony is an American Imperialist
Some prop-Tony folks claim Steve is an "American Imperialist" because he was in the Army and his code name is Captain America. It's yet another example of prop-Tony folks not bothering to look up definitions. An imperialist is one who "has a policy or ideology of extending the rule or authority of a country over other countries and people, often by military force or by gaining political and economic control". Steve fought in what is considered the last just war to stop Hitler, not to establish American colonies in Europe. And in the modern age, Steve has brought down portions of the American government itself--he definitely hasn't worked to further America's conquest or control of other nations. Tony, on the other hand, worked for DECADES to provide the most damaging offensive weapons possible without caring where they'd be used. Note that Stark Industries wasn't known for producing communications tech (Tony uses name-brand phones) or defensive equipment, only bombs. Weapons of aggression during eras when America's motives were not so pure.
Note: Set before Homecoming. This Peter is less naive. Definition and empire list from Wikipedia.
MJ said, "Okay, we've covered the literal imperialistic movements from the Elamite Empire in 2800 BCE to France's current holdings."
She looked at Ned and Peter and said, "I think we need to mention the concept of the American Empire and American Imperialists."
Ned shook his head and said, "I read somewhere that a few people called Captain America an 'American Imperialist' because he's, like, 'Captain AMERICA'."
Peter frowned and said, "That doesn't make any sense. Captain America exposed Hydra hiding in OUR government and he's currently a fugitive. So how could he be supporting an 'American Empire'?"
Ned shrugged his shoulders and said, "I didn't say it made sense, just read it somewhere online."
Peter said, "I don't think I get it--how can we have American Imperialists and an American Empire? It's not like we're stealing territory from Canada or Mexico."
MJ shook her head and said, "The theory is that America puts military or economic pressure on countries that have resources America needs, starting with President James Polk's entry into the Mexican-American War in 1846. And more recent examples like some of our battles over oil fields and other conflicts over the last 20 years."
Peter's brow furrowed as he slowly said, "So someone who was making sure America had the most damaging missiles and bombs...would that be an 'American Imperialist'?"
Ned looked over at Peter and said, "You mean Tony Stark, right? You were obsessed with him for a while. But he makes all that cool Iron Man tech!"
MJ tilted her head and said, "Well, Stark Industries was definitely in the business of arming America for decades during 'peacetime'. And Stark prided himself on building bigger and more destructive bombs--it's not like he was building anything that could be used for defense, only attack."
She thought about it for a few more moments, then shook her head. She said, "No, I don't think we can list Tony Stark."
Ned asked, "Why not?"
MJ replied, "Because it was pretty obvious Stark wasn't focused on furthering American interests, just his own. He didn't seem to care what kind of damage his weapons caused or where they were used, just that he got paid for making them."
Peter slumped in his seat. Somehow that made it even worse. He was suddenly glad Mr. Stark had never bothered to return any of Peter's calls. Peter didn't think he wanted to talk to Mr. Stark ever again.
Chapter 21: If Peter was trans, May Parker would support him. Tony Stark would not.
I'm disgusted by prop-Tony fics that have May throwing Peter out because May is homophobic or transphobic. The fics trash a wonderful character as a plot device to get Peter in Tony's penthouse (and sometimes Tony's bed, ew). This scenario is the opposite of canon: May loves and supports Peter, while Tony Stark blackmails Peter, then ignores him. Tony Stark is also both homophobic and transphobic in canon, based on his "humor" about gay and trans people in Iron Man 1.
So how would the blackmail scene in Peter's bedroom go if Peter was trans?
May--and Uncle Ben before he died--had already done so much for Peter. They'd treated Peter as PETER since the day he told them he didn't want to wear dresses anymore because he was a boy. They'd done everything to support his decision, even helping him to legally change his name and seal his records. May and Peter had talked about what would happen when his body started changing. Peter was grateful that so far, not even the spider bite had made him have a period.
How could Peter dump Spider-Man on Aunt May? He couldn't. So instead he lowered his head and said to Mr. Stark, "I'll go to Germany."
After he'd freed Mr. Stark of the web fluid, Mr. Stark said, "Great! We'll tell Aunt Hottie you're going to visit the Tower for some internship stuff. And I'll get your suit whipped up--I've already made some designs and modifications."
Mr. Stark pointed a device at Peter and pushed a button before Peter could refuse. He heard the device beep and watched Mr. Stark's eyes open wide.
"WHOA, Peter Piper doesn't have a pecker," Mr. Stark said as he stared at the scans. Then he looked at Peter and said, "I've joked about unmanned missiles, but this is a first. I thought the birth certificate was a mix-up. You really ARE Melissa, aren't you?"
"My name is Peter," Peter said.
Mr. Stark shrugged and said, "Sure, Missy, don't worry your pretty little head about it. So, let's talk about Germany. It's going to take an extra hour to alter your suit to cut out the space for your...junk."
Mr. Stark grinned as they turned to leave and said, "Wouldn't J. Jonah Jameson love this headline: Spider-Man or Spider-Girl? Only the suit knows for sure."
Peter stopped cold as Mr. Stark joked AGAIN about something so very private. Peter remembered how Ben and May had taken the transition to Peter so calmly. They'd never done anything except love Peter and fulfill his trust in them.
Peter straightened as he followed Mr. Stark into the living room and heard him lying to Aunt May about what Peter and Mr. Stark would be doing.
Peter interrupted by saying, "May, he's lying to you about everything."
As both Mr. Stark and May turned toward him, Peter stepped forward and said, "I'm sorry, May. You've been so great about--about PETER. I should have trusted you with this as well: I'm Spider-Man."
Before May could react, Peter continued, "Mr. Stark threatened to tell you I was Spider-Man if I didn't go with him to Germany for some secret mission. And I was gonna go, but then Mr. Stark made a joke about exposing me to The Bugle. And I realized that I couldn't trust HIM with anything, but I can trust YOU with everything. Even Spider-Man."
May smiled at Peter and opened her arms. He flung himself into the hug and blinked back tears.
He could imagine May's glare as May said, "Mr. Stark, I don't know anything about how rich people operate. But I KNOW blackmail is wrong. And blackmailing a CHILD...Get out. Get out and NEVER come near Peter again."
Peter lifted his head to see Mr. Stark open his mouth to protest, but May's fierce look shut Mr. Stark right up.
As Mr. Stark headed to the door, May said, "I promise you this, Stark. If ANYTHING ever comes out about Peter--who he is or who he chooses to be--I will END you. And not even the Iron Man armor will stop me."
As the door shut behind Mr. Stark, Peter hugged May tighter as she said, "Peter, I will ALWAYS love and support you. As Melissa, as Peter, and as Spider-Man. Always."
Chapter 22: Tony Stark could be considered a fascist
The same prop-Tony folks who call Steve an American Imperialist often call Steve a fascist. It's more evidence of prop-Tony folks not bothering to look up definitions, and of course, not understanding irony. Because Tony is the most fascist "hero" of the MCU.
According to Wikipedia, fascism is "a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy." Now, Steve Rogers rejects the government party line when it is obviously wrong in each of his films. Tony Stark believes in becoming an official attack dog for the U.N. (really the U.S.) and government suppression of others' rights as long as it doesn't interfere with his life and his multi-billions. Not to mention Ultron and EDITH are pretty obvious tools for dictatorial power and forcible suppression.
Note: Back to not-as-naive Peter and the gang. Set before Homecoming and then during Far From Home. References events in Ant Man and the Wasp.
MJ snorted and said, "Well, if you believe the pharmaceutical-educational conspiracy to over-medicate America's children for profit..."
Ned shook his head and said, "Do NOT start on that. Last time you used up all our study time making that crazy chart."
MJ replied, "Crazy because it made sense. But you're right, we've got to figure out an angle to approach the project."
Peter clenched his hands under the table and said, "I'd kind of like to look at how people could agree to support these regimes. I mean, isn't it pretty obvious they're wrong?"
Ned shook his head and said, "I dunno. Look at how many people said the Accords were good just because Iron Man wanted them. I mean, after you read about how they let governments treat enhanced people--"
MJ interrupted to say, "Not just enhanced people. People with tech and people viewed as threats to the powers that be. After all, Hank Pym wasn't involved in anything that happened, but he was targeted by the Accords. And from what I've heard, Falcon, Hawkeye, and other non-enhanced people were being treated exactly the same as the Avengers who were enhanced."
Peter frowned and said, "That doesn't sound right. But the Avengers--the Avengers who are left--haven't said anything about it?"
Ned shook his head and said, "No, they haven't said anything. They're going along with the government. Does that make them fascist?"
MJ thought about it a moment, then said, "I think you're on to something. We can do our project on how people go along to get along, even with fascism. Because they're scared, they don't know what's really going on, they agree with the fascist principles and don't think about the methods, or because they just don't care as long as they're not personally affected."
Peter looked down at the table and wondered which category Mr. Stark fell into.
Ned asked, "About what?"
Peter swallowed, then said, "You know all that stuff on the road with the goats? That was me. Me and...EDITH."
Ned looked at Peter like he was crazy and asked, "Who's Edith? There's nobody new in our group."
Peter handed over the glasses and said, "EDITH is an AI created by Mr. Stark. Ned, Edith can spy on ANYBODY. And she...I...she tried to kill Brad because of something I said. She almost killed ALL of us."
Ned put on the glasses, then took them off and said, "They're just glasses. Are you pranking me, Parker?"
Peter shook his head and said, "You and Betty were texting each other---Miss you. Miss you more."
Ned handed them back and said, "So you're telling me that Iron Man spied on people? And he made a weapon that can kill people with a voice command?"
Peter nodded, then said, "I don't know what to do. This doesn't seem right, but...I don't know what to do."
Ned bit his lip, then said, "This reminds me of, you know, back in Poli-Sci? We talked about fascists, and what they did. Peter...this sounds like it's built to be--whatever the definition was--dictatorial power and forcible suppression of opposition."
Peter protested, "But I'd never use it that way!"
Ned shrugged and said, "Sounds like you already did."
Peter dropped his head as he said, "You're right. This thing is so wrong, I can't...I can't let ANYBODY use it. Even me."
He carefully put the glasses in their case and put them away. He'd have to find a way to make sure that NO ONE could ever use EDITH again. Even him.
Peter never realized that keeping EDITH to himself also kept his secret identity safe. And when Mysterio was revealed as a fraud, Peter felt even better about not letting EDITH be used.
But he never got over his disappointment to learn that Mister Stark had planned to use EDITH for himself. Peter realized that despite helping to destroy Thanos, Iron Man wasn't much of a hero.
Chapter 23: If Peter switched to Team Cap at the airport, Tony would have turned on him
The person suggesting this went so far as to say that if Peter switched to Team Cap in the airport fight, Tony would have let Peter be arrested. Partly because Tony didn't know about the Raft. (But in that case it wouldn't matter because Tony SAW the Raft and did nothing to protest or free the captives.)
I'm not sure I agree. We've seen how Tony treated Natasha (hurtful digs instead of serious discussion about their plan) and we've seen how Tony treated Peter (belittle Peter's accomplishments, offer a bribe, assume Peter will do what he wants, threaten).
So how would the airport flight play out if Peter switched sides?
Sam wanted to launch himself while Web-guy was distracted, but instead he walked over and asked, "So you signed on for all that Accords crap? You don't have an ankle monitor. Did Stark put the tracker in your suit? Or did he go full X-Files and stick it up your nose?"
The guy dropped Barnes' arm as his eyes widened. Web-guy said, "What? Tracker? What are you talking about?"
Sam walked closer and said, "Wait, Stark didn't tell you? Did you even READ the Accords?"
Web-guy shrugged and said, "Well, um, no. What is - trackers?"
Sam shook his head and said, "You're enhanced, right? So you have to register with the U.N. Then they put a tracker on you because you're not allowed to go ANYWHERE or do ANYTHING without their say-so."
Barnes said quietly, "Like stop five Winter Soldiers from taking over the world."
Sam nodded and continued, "And if you DO, you get locked up without lawyers."
Web-guy wrapped his arms around himself and said, "Mr. Stark didn't tell me ANY of this. Just that Captain America thinks he's right but he's wrong. And to uh, go for the legs."
Barnes snorted as he looked over at Sam. Sam nodded and asked, "Now that you DO know, what are you going to do about it?"
Web-guy straightened up and said, "We can't - I CAN'T let five Winter Soldiers take over the world. So I guess, um, should I, uh, try to talk to Mr. Stark?"
Barnes looked at the guy and asked, "You think it would do any good?"
The guy's shoulders slumped as he said, "No, I guess not."
Then he looked at Sam and asked, "Do you, uh, need any help?"
Sam grinned as he clicked on his comm and said, "Cap, change of plans. Web-guy is on our side now."
Web-guy stood tall again and said, "SPIDER-MAN, not Web-guy. Geez."
Sam pulled a comm out of a pouch on his suit and said, "Okay, Spider-Man. I'll catch you up on the situation as we regroup. Welcome to the team."
When Mr. Stark and War Machine landed, War Machine said, "What the hell? I thought that guy was with US."
Mr. Stark stepped forward and said, "You better think hard about this, kid. We're not pulling punches anymore. Get back over here or I promise you, you will NOT be home in time for supper."
Peter felt all eyes on him as he straightened up and said, "Mr. Stark, did you know that there are five Winter Soldiers about to be released? Why are you trying to stop them - US - from stopping THEM, um, the BAD GUYS."
He shook his head and continued, "And why didn't you tell me that enhan - the Accords - did you put a TRACKER on me?"
Everyone on Iron Man's team straightened up. War Machine asked, "Where did you get this guy, Tones? He sounds a little young."
Mr. Stark waved an arm and said, "I didn't exactly carbon-date him."
He looked at Spider-Man and said, "You are making a serious mistake. No more suit, no more help - and WHEN we take down Cap and these clowns, you'll get to share a cell with them. That what you really want?"
Peter looked at Team Iron Man, then looked at Team Cap.
Cap said, "It's your call. You can just walk away. It sounds like you didn't have all the facts. This doesn't have to be your fight."
Peter stood tall and said, "I told Mr. Stark. When you can do the things that I can, but you don't help, and then bad things happen, they happen because of you."
He looked at Captain America and said, "I'm with you."
Vision landed and said, "I find this situation troubling."
He looked at Mr. Stark and asked, "You did not provide full disclosure before he joined the team?"
Peter shook his head and said, "Mr. Stark didn't even provide full disclosure NOW. We're going to stop FIVE WINTER SOLDIERS. And the guy who's going to wake them up? Is some doctor dude who probably set the bomb."
Black Panther stepped forward and asked, "Barnes is innocent? Have you proof of this?"
Cap shook his head and said, "Not exactly. The doctor is the one who triggered the Winter Soldier in Berlin. The doc told me he wants to see an empire fall. We think he framed Bucky for the bombing to bring him out of hiding and learn the Soldiers' location."
Black Panther looked at the Winter Soldier and said, "The need for vengeance may have clouded my judgement. I will go with you, and cause no harm to you until I see proof of the matter. You have my word."
Captain America nodded and looked to the rest of Team Iron Man. He said, "We will go through you if we have to, but we don't want to."
Black Widow nodded and said to her team, "We played this wrong. Stand down."
Iron Man whirled on her and said, "It must be hard to shake the whole double agent thing, huh? It sticks in the DNA."
He raised a gauntlet and pointed it at Black Widow, but Peter shot a web that stuck Iron Man's arms to his sides.
Peter blushed under his mask as Black Widow gave him a little smile and nod while Ant Man said, "That is AWESOME!"
The expanded Team Cap moved toward the quinjet as Black Panther quickly explained he had his own plane hidden nearby.
Peter glanced back to see War Machine and Vision watching them leave while Mr. Stark struggled to free his arms.
Mr. Stark shouted, "I trusted you! I believed in you! You traitor!"
Peter's head ducked down as he kept moving forward. Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Captain America walking next to him. Cap said, "What you did back there, I know it was hard. Doing the right thing sometimes can be. You've got a lot of heart, kid. Where are you from?"
Peter smiled and said, "Queens."
Then Cap smiled at HIM and said, "Brooklyn."
Then there was a pinch as the back of Peter's suit was pulled and he heard a rip. He looked back to see the Black Widow holding a small device. She said, "Yes, there was a tracker."
But it all worked out, because Hawkeye had them smuggled out of Europe with a CIRCUS. All the way back to New York. Peter got a job offer to join as a new trapeze act. It was SO COOL.
At first Peter was afraid Mr. Stark would come after him, but Hawkeye promised that there would be NO WAY Mr. Stark could risk people finding out he turned Peter into a child soldier. So Peter wasn't surprised when Mr. Stark never bothered to talk to him again. Peter found he didn't mind at all.
Chapter 24: Tony ambushing Rocket and shaving Rocket's head is in character
There's a deleted scene in Endgame where Rocket is watching footage of the Avengers fighting the Chitauri. During the discussion, BEFORE Rocket even laughs at how the humans didn't know to blow up the mothership, Tony stands up, walks up behind Rocket, and shaves a bald stripe onto Rocket's head. The sound track has laughter, but it's not funny at all. Tony blindsided an ally who's lost his friends but still tries to help. Tony was a bully for humiliating Rocket that way.
The comments on the youtube page for the clip are typical prop-Tony bullcrap. "Tony's lashing out because he blew up the mothership and Rocket laughing about it triggered his PTSD" - Tony stands up BEFORE Rocket laughs. "Tony's testing Rocket like he tested Bruce in Avengers" - Rocket has been helping keep the universe safe for 5 YEARS while Tony left the world to burn to spend his time hiding and building personal WMDs. It's TONY who's untrustworthy. "He's just having fun" - it is NOT funny, any more than it was funny for Tony to make fun of Thor's weight.
It's disgusting, but not out of character. Whether Tony is angry, vindictive, or bored, he takes things out on other people. So this behavior is completely in character. There's laughter on the soundtrack, but I don't think Steve, Thor, Bruce, or Nebula would really find Tony's assault on Rocket funny. I also think Rocket would NOT be okay with it. (I don't think Natasha would either, but Scarlett Johansson is smiling in the scene.)
Note: I only saw the first Guardians of the Galaxy, so Rocket may be out of character.
Steve looked at Rocket and said, "I'm so sorry that happened. Are you all right?"
Thor stood up and said very grimly, "Stark, I have ignored your 'jokes' about me, but you do NOT get to attack my friends without consequences."
Nebula looked at Tony from where she was leaning. She said, "That goes for me as well."
Rocket straightened and slowly turned to face Tony. Despite how ridiculous the raccoon looked with the shaved stripe, the expression on Rocket's face was frightening. But all Rocket said was, "I'll get you."
Even Rocket didn't realize how he made the difference. Because both Thor and Nebula had also spent time with Bruce talking about loss. Thor mentioned how many Asgardians and others were lost to despair and suicide. Nebula talked about finding a true connection with the Guardians only to have most of her family torn away again.
Everyone (except Tony) mentioned to Bruce how much they wished they had a do-over. Then they went on their missions.
As Bruce put on the gauntlet, he realized he had a few doubts of his own about the plan. He definitely wanted to see Natasha again. So when Tony insisted that Bruce only bring back the Snapped, not change the last 5 years, Bruce thought about the conversations he'd had. And knew what he had to do.
Hulk lifted Thanos's arm - with the Gauntlet frozen at the start of a Snap - and shook it while he roared, "Hulk SMAAAAAASH!"
Rocket patted Hulk's leg and said, "Good job! Now give us the goods."
As Hulk handed Thanos's arm to Natasha, Steve wrapped an arm around Wanda's shoulders. Steve said, "I'm sure Princess Shuri and Bruce will do everything they can to help Vision."
Wanda nodded. She said, "At least we have a chance to try."
The Benatar showed up a few weeks later. The Guardians had patched up their ship and limped to a repair station, then headed back to Earth. They spent the journey wanting to dump Tony Stark out an airlock as he poked at consoles and complained about the accommodations.
Quill locked Stark up after Quill caught Stark trying to steal some of the Guardians' tech. The Spider kid kept apologizing (even when Stark didn't), while the guy in the cape called Stark a douchebag for trying to steal from the people giving them a ride.
Nebula gave a sad smile as she, Groot, and Rocket welcomed the return of their friends. While they would all mourn Gamora, at least her family was together again.
They also heard that Tony Stark got arrested for stalking and kidnapping some kid and secretly building a drone weapon system. Plus Stark's ex made their "break" permanent by dating someone else.
Rocket didn't know why, but that news made him run his hand along the fur on his head and feel a little smug.
Chapter 25: Tony didn't want to reverse the Snap because Morgan was adopted
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
This is an interesting theory. Apparently the line everyone thought Pepper said in Infinity War "I'm going to--" was not actually Pepper saying she was pregnant (going to have a baby), but Friday saying she was losing contact with Tony "I'm going too". Someone suggested that Pepper and Tony never actually had a baby. Instead, Morgan's parents were collateral damage from the Snap - not Snapped themselves, but victims of one of the many accidents that occurred when cars, planes, boats, and trains suddenly had no one in control of the vehicles. Tony and Pepper raised Morgan as their own. If the last five years were reversed, Tony's perfect little family would disappear. So of course Tony had to make sure Morgan's parents never came back to life.
Another person pointed out online that the kids born since the Snap still had a chance to be born, but the children and adults who died in the wake of the Snap would never have the chance to come back. So...
Now she sat on the side of her daughter's bed. She reached out and stroked Morgan's hair. Pepper smiled and said, "I know you're awake."
Morgan smiled and opened her eyes. She sat up and asked, "Mommy, isn't it past your bedtime?"
Pepper answered, "Yours, too." Then she reached out and hugged Morgan.
Pepper said, "Morgan, do you know what family is?"
Morgan nodded and said, "You and Daddy. And Happy and Rhodey. And Friday."
Pepper nodded and said, "That's right. All of us have been so blessed to have you in our lives. We love you so much."
Morgan said, "I love you too, Mommy."
Pepper's eyes filled with tears as she patted her daughter's back and said, "I want you to know, honey, that no matter what happens, I will always be grateful for my bright and beautiful daughter."
She looked at Morgan, smiled, and said, "Even when she blackmails her daddy for a juice pop right before bed."
Morgan bit her lip and said, "It was just one--"
Pepper said, "And it will be just one week until you can have another one - after you eat your vegetables."
Morgan pouted, then nodded and kissed Pepper on the cheek. "Okay. Good night, mommy."
Pepper kissed Morgan on the forehead and said, "Sweet dreams, Morgan."
She pulled out her own burner phone and dialed Steve's number. When he answered, Pepper said, "Steve, you have to listen to me. I don't have much time."
Steve said, "Pepper? Is everything all right? Do you need to talk to Tony? He's with Natasha and--"
Pepper said, "No, Steve. Tony can't know I talked to you. I'm guessing he cut a deal with you all in exchange for the time travel technology, right?"
Steve answered, "Yes. We can't reverse anything. We just bring the Snapped people back."
Pepper closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She remembered the day Tony and she had picked out Morgan from the nursery full of children whose parents died after the Snap. She remembered reading Morgan's file, how her bio parents were a kindergarten teacher and a computer programmer. How all three were in an auto crash caused by the driver of another vehicle suddenly disappearing on a highway. Morgan had survived without a scratch.
But Morgan's parents...and so many other mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children...they would never get a chance to come back. That wasn't right. Pepper's heart was breaking at the thought of losing Morgan and the years Pepper had with her. But it just wasn't right.
Pepper said, "Steve, Tony probably said that he didn't want to lose his daughter. But, Morgan's NOT our biological daughter. Her parents were killed right after the Snap. If you let Tony have his way, all those people who died because of the Snap will NEVER have a chance to come back. But if you reverse the last five years somehow...then they WILL come back."
Steve said quietly, "And you'll lose your daughter. Pepper, are you sure?"
Pepper nodded and said, "Yes, Steve. I'm sure."
Only now did Bruce understand just how much power he had. He could remake the universe however he wanted it. And he wanted EVERYONE to survive.
So he Snapped.
It wasn't until the Guardians repaired their ship and brought everyone back to Earth that he found out what happened.
A duplicate Hulk - wearing a gauntlet like Thanos's but with ALL the Stones - had appeared on the Wakanda battlefield in the middle of the fight. That Hulk had yelled, "EVERYONE SURVIVES!" and killed Thanos with a single blow. A dazed Gamora, Loki, and the Asgardians killed by Thanos suddenly showed up as that Hulk - and all of Thanos's army - dissolved as the Infinity Stones in the Hulk's gauntlet disappeared one by one.
No one who had been there could explain what happened. But Vision and the Scarlet Witch both said they felt SOMETHING powerful ripple through them and the universe in that moment.
Dr. Strange looked at the Time Stone, now safely back in the Eye of Agamotto. He could remember the 14 million futures he'd glimpsed. This wasn't one of them.
In THIS future, King T'Challa worked with Colonel James Rhodes to expose the Raft and Thaddeus Ross and get the Accords abolished. Shuri worked with her assistant Bucky Barnes to develop new technology to help the world. Bruce Banner, Loki, Valkyrie, and Thor joined the rest of Thor's people in making a home in New Asgard. The Guardians said good-bye and returned to the stars. Peter Parker returned to Queens and his high-school life. Pepper Potts broke up with Tony Stark - for good this time, it seemed. So Tony Stark spent a lot of time sulking. And Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanov, Sam Wilson, Wanda Maximoff, and the Vision continued to work behind the scenes to keep the Earth and her people safe with the help of their new allies. Dr. Strange was looking forward to hosting them in his sanctuary the next time they were in New York.
Dr. Strange hadn't seen this future. But everyone had survived. So he wasn't going to complain.
For those who are wondering: Bruce merged his universe with the alternate of five years ago with Thanos dead and brought along all of the potential kids born after the Snap in the Prime universe. So no one had any traumatic memories of the Snap - it never happened - and everyone born after the Snap still gets born. As Bruce dissolved, he sent the alternate Stones back to their own universes one by one, just as he promised the Ancient One. Everybody survives!
Chapter 26: If Peter and MJ were in charge of Stark Industries, they'd redistribute Tony's wealth right under his nose
This is an interesting theory. Apparently there are scenarios with MJ and Peter either surviving the Snap or Tony surviving Endgame. Tony puts MJ and Peter in charge of Stark Industries and the kids are total capitalists. But would they be? Being behind the scenes would probably cure Peter of his hero-worship pretty quickly. After dealing with Tony Stark day after day (instead of every few months) and getting access to the records of Tony's war profiteering, negligence, and exploitation of his employees, MJ and Peter may decide the best way to eat this rich guy is one bite at a time. (With a little help.)
Note: This is set in an AU where MJ and Peter survived the Snap but Pepper didn't. I haven't seen Far From Home, so folks may be out of character.
MJ snorted and said, "How could he? He doesn't give a damn about anything but his fun and his toys." She clenched her fists as she thought about all of the devastation in the world, even so long after the Snap. And she got even angrier as she remembered that Tony Stark not only ignored what others were going through, he didn't even spend a dime of his hoarded billions to help. All of that money from the blood of people killed by Stark's decades of making weapons and not caring who bought or fired them...
Peter laid a hand on MJ's shoulder and said, "But that's a good thing, right? It makes our jobs a lot easier."
MJ leaned into Peter and said, "You're right. We're doing a lot of good, and making things right."
Ned said, "I'm putting the final touches on our next phase of the plan."
They'd started small. When Tony Stark "adopted" MJ and Peter and handed them the keys to Stark Industries, Peter thought he'd love being Iron Man Jr. But then Peter had spent actual time with Mr. Stark. He actually...wasn't so great, close-up. Peter had always thought the way Mr. Stark talked to (and about) Aunt May was kind of cringey, but Mr. Stark treated his employees even worse. Stealing credit for their ideas, talking down to them, harassing them. It was pretty awful.
Then MJ found the locked files in the system and asked Ned to take a look. After Ned reprogrammed Friday to hide their tracks (and beefed up security because THAT was way too easy), MJ and Ned went through the files. Years of shady deals with the government and status reports signed by Mr. Stark, but plenty of proof that Mr. Stark never bothered to check on anything.
The accounts were the last straw. All those multi-billions, just sitting there in Mr. Stark's accounts while so many people were starving and homeless. Well, the Eat the Rich Trio (ETRT, Inc. for short) got to work. Skimming money from accounts. A little friendly blackmail of Stark's business associates. Investments in projects that would help the world but not turn over huge profits. And of course making sure it was Mr. Stark's personal funds that took the hit.
All three of them glanced up as Mr. Stark himself walked into the conference room. He said, "Hey kids, how's it going?"
MJ smiled and said, "Things are going great."
Mr. Stark nodded and said, "I knew putting you in charge was the right thing to do. I have the BEST ideas."
Peter asked, "Did you need us for something?"
Mr. Stark waved a hand and said, "I'm thinking of moving permanently to the lake house. Get away from it all to focus on my next big plan."
Ned opened his mouth to protest. They'd seen the design for the "Big Plan." It looked a LOT like that Project Insight Captain America took down a few years ago.
MJ kicked him under the table and Ned closed his mouth. Probably remembering that they couldn't directly meddle with Mr. Stark's projects or he'd catch on to what they were doing. Peter decided he'd make sure Ned got the chance to sabotage the manufacturing part of the project. It was the least they could do to protect the world.
Peter waved with the others as Mr. Stark left. He smiled as he marked another charity anonymously helped by funds "recovered" from Mr. Stark. Peter realized that he could look out for the little guy, even without the Spider-Man suit.
Chapter 27: Mantis wouldn't feel guilt from Tony if she touched him
Apparently in this story, Mantis touches Tony and feels "all the horrible guilt" he suffers. The interesting thing is, Tony doesn't seem to feel particularly guilty about anything. His Iron Man epiphany was mostly about how he himself was harmed, not the harm he did to others. After all, he didn't really stop making weapons, he only started keeping them for himself. And he didn't part with a single dime of his multi-billions to help any of the victims of his weapons through the decades he was in charge of Stark Industries. When he says "Ultron, my fault," in Civil War, it's a throwaway line. If he really felt any guilt, he would have admitted his part in Ultron's creation publicly and accepted the consequences. Or cared about the dead Sokovians, not just the random American who died there. And Tony wouldn't have claimed that his suit of armor around the world was worth people losing their "precious freedoms" just two films later.
What would Mantis REALLY have felt if she touched Tony?
Note: I haven't seen the GoG films so I don't know if Mantis would really hear Tony's inner monologue, but she can here.
Mantis looked at the Earthling as he grumbled to himself about plans and who was really in charge. Unlike the other two passengers, Mantis was uncertain about the Iron Man. He seemed as cold as his armor, and just as shiny-hard. He just didn't want to listen to anyone's opinion but his own.
She knew that a shallow exterior sometimes hid depths of warmth and wisdom. She'd learned that in her time with her fellow Guardians. And normally she didn't use her powers without desperate need or actual permission, but she had to be sure.
The moment Mantis rested a hand on the Iron Man's head, she knew she made a mistake. The salty, petty bitterness in him overwhelmed her own sense of self. Because the Iron Man was ALL about himself. How HE knew better than anyone what to do. How HE should be seen as the natural leader because goddamn it he was a billionaire-genius-playboy-philanthropist. How everything would be fine if Cap and the other rejects had just listened to HIM and did what HE SAID--even if what he DID was the complete opposite. How could they BETRAY him like that and ABANDON him with just the stupid kid who needed to keep his mouth zipped and do what he was told. NO ONE understood HOW MUCH he suffered and HOW HARD IT WAS being Tony Stark and Iron Man and the savior of the world and too bad Ultron wasn't working because that would have solved EVERYTHING because everything he created was wonderful and--
Mantis jerked back and took a few deep breaths as she tried not to throw up. She looked at Nebula and said, "I think we need to reconsider."
Tony wasn't part of the battle. When the ship landed on Earth he decided to go sulk in his Tower. He wasn't needed anyway.
Chapter 28: The people who bombed Sokovia were Tony’s customers, not Obadiah Stane’s
I find it interesting that prop-Tony folks can't even acknowledge that he is a weapons maker and war profiteer. He made weapons for 17 years for his buyers with no thought of who would be killed by them. And that includes both Obadiah's under-the-table sales and Tony's sales to various government forces. Tony never cared who died, as long as he made his profits. Watch him pitch his new missile in Iron Man 1, and notice how in Age of Ultron he spent time with Ulysses Klaue, a known arms dealer.
From what I read online, Sokovia was supposed to represent the Balkans. NATO was doing the bombing in that conflict. (Refugees, civilians, and diplomats were among the victims.) The same thing would have happened in the MCU, during Tony's reign as CEO of Stark Industries. It was no accident that the Stark name was on the weapon that killed the Maximoffs.
Note: Set soon after Age of Ultron.
The same awful memory. The flashes of light outside the windows, the explosions so close the dishes rattled in the cabinets. Her parents trying to reassure Pietro and her that everything would be all right.
Sudden destruction--her parents gone in a moment. And then the missile blinking where it sat buried in the floor. Stark's name on the side.
A knock on the door made her focus enough to pull her powers back. She asked, "Who is it?"
Part of her was relieved that it couldn't be Vision. He tended to forget about doors--and privacy.
Captain Rogers said, "It's Steve, and Natasha. Is it all right to come in?"
Wanda said, "Yes." She tried to straighten out her blankets as the door opened.
The two Avengers were dressed the same, in sweatpants and tank tops. As they stepped up to the bed, Wanda gestured that it was all right to sit.
She could almost feel how warm Captain Rogers was even through her pajama top. He looked at Wanda and asked, "Another nightmare?"
Wanda answered, "The same one." She hadn't dreamed of losing Pietro. The sense of her heart being torn out of her chest as she felt him die. It was a small comfort, because every waking moment she knew that he was gone.
Captain Rogers said, "I'm sorry." He reached out a little and rested his hand on the blanket, palm up.
The Widow did the same on Wanda's other side. The Widow said, "Sometimes, it's better not to sleep. And easier to be awake together."
Wanda reached out and clasped their hands. It made her feel less alone.
She pulled them toward her, and slowly the two settled on either side of her against the headboard, all of them shoulder to shoulder.
Widow--Natasha--asked, "Do you want to talk about it?"
Wanda looked at Captain Rogers--Steve--and said, "You know--we told you, in Korea. Would you...?"
Steve nodded and quietly told Natasha what the twins had revealed about their early lives.
Natasha frowned and said, "No wonder you hated us."
Steve said, "I've started reading about Sokovia's history. It's a stormy one."
Wanda bit her lip, then said, "We hated the Avengers because Strucker and Shield--what we thought was Shield--told us lies about you."
She continued, "But Stark, what he did, that was the truth."
Steve frowned and said, "I thought--Tony said it wasn't his life. I thought that the Stark missiles came from terrorists. Obadiah Stane was selling Stark weapons, right?"
Natasha shook her head and said, "It was America--well, NATO. They were trying to blow certain political factions off the face of the Earth. They weren't all that careful who became part of the collateral damage. It happened more than once--infrastructure, libraries, hospitals--all turned to dust."
Steve said grimly, "Courtesy of Stark Industries."
Natasha shrugged and said, "Tony was the best in the business. And he did a lot of business."
Steve sighed and moved his arm to wrap around Wanda's shoulders. He said again, "I'm sorry."
Natasha did the same, shifting until she also had Wanda in a cautious hug. She said, "I'm sorry too."
Wanda held tense as she said, "It is Stark who should say he is sorry. Who should BE sorry. The way Pietro and I were sorry about what happened in Johannesburg and Seoul. But I have seen into Stark's mind. He does not even admit to himself that he is part of Sokovia's past, much less what happened with Ultron."
She felt the other two nod and squeeze a little tighter. She knew that even if Stark never admitted his responsibility, these two recognized how much Wanda had lost. They, at least, wanted to support her in her grief.
With a quiet sigh, she let herself relax into the feeling of belonging.
Chapter 29: Tony wasn't under "such overwhelming stress" during Civil War
Prop-Tony folks wave away all of Tony's crimes, saying he has to be excused because he was "being crushed under all the stress." When you think about it, you have to ask WHAT STRESS, other than someone pointing out Stark was responsible for the Ultron disaster and Pepper having a moment of sanity and breaking up with him? Plus, stress is no excuse for assault and attempted murder.
No one cracked a smile. Tony shifted in his seat and said, "It's not my fault."
May Parker glared at him and said, "It's not your fault? Did someone else lie to my face, blackmail my nephew, secretly take him to Germany, and turn him into a CHILD SOLDIER?"
Nick Fury said, "Did someone else sign the Sokovia Accords and then violate international airspace to take an unauthorized trip to Siberia?"
Maria Hill crossed her arms and said, "Did someone else hack your suit and fire your weapons at unarmed people? Or expose the Bartons to Thaddeus Ross?"
Rhodey gave a disappointed look and said, "Did someone else forget to mention that our friends were being held in an underwater Guantanamo?"
Tony frowned and said, "Well, no. But it's still not my fault. I was under SO MUCH STRESS. You don't know how hard I had it. It excuses me from everything."
Nick leaned back and said, "Why don't you tell us all about that stress, Tony. Because I'm not seeing it. I mean sure, a breakup is always rough, especially when you didn't deserve the gal in the first place. But what else was stressing you out? Not your business, because Potts has been doing your CEO job since day one. And you haven't gotten off your ass to do anything with or for the Avengers since Thor left."
Maria shook her head and said, "I'm not getting why you would be suddenly stressed out by someone pointing out that you unleashed Ultron. I mean, you had to have known that since it happened. Are you saying that you never felt guilty until someone shoved it in your face?"
May Parker said, "How stressing is it to exploit a child? After all, Peter wasn't old enough or wise enough to see through his hero worship to call you out on your crap."
Rhodey shook his head and said, "Bottom line, Tony. EVERYBODY ELSE had more stress than you. Cap had just lost the love of his life, Wanda was dealing with casualties for the first time. Barnes was running for his life and Sam was reliving what happened to his wingman. Natasha was seeing her family break up. I had to deal with my injury. And Vision had to deal with causing it."
He leaned his elbows on the table and said, "But strangely enough, all of US managed to remember that if we suit up, we have to lock everything else down. Yet somehow you think you should get a pass on everything."
Nick shook his head and said, "I'm not buying it, but even if you say stress is the reason, it's still not an excuse. You think every man who found out he lost his job and could lose his house isn't under stress? He is. But that doesn't excuse the man from coming home and punching his kids, or getting drunk and going out on the road."
He stood up and said, "So save it, Tony. Or better yet, shove it. You know where."
Chapter 30: If someone shared a soulmark with Tony, they'd laser it off
The prompt for this one was kind of ridiculous. After Tony (maybe Toni) "nearly died at the hands of his former soulmate," he gets a new soulmark that matches Dr. Strange. Apparently the writer thinks Tony looked more than half-dead at the end of Civil War while he was walking around just fine being appropriately called Tony Stank. And neither Steve nor Stephen would be interested in a blowhard like Tony. I'd think practically anyone would rather laser off their soulmark if they found it matched Tony's.
Let's look at a more likely scenario.
Note: Set in an AU where Dr. Strange and Tony met post-Civil War, with no Infinity War.
He sighed and rubbed his forehead as he remembered that most of the Avengers had disappeared after refusing to sign away their human rights. Thankfully Strange and Wong were still flying under the radar.
But that meant Stephen couldn't do anything too drastic to convince Stark to leave him alone.
Too bad Stephen wasn't the kind of magician that could turn people into frogs.
The cloak slapped Stark's hand as Stark reached for Stephen's sleeve. Stephen looked at Stark and asked, "What do you think you're doing?"
Stark stepped closer and pulled Stephen's sleeve back to show a frankly embarrassing mark on Stephen's arm. It was supposed to be Kermit the Frog wearing a surgeon's mask, but the green-on-green and poor design turned it into a blob.
Stark said, "Look! I only caught a glimpse of it during the battle last week, but I KNEW as soon as I saw it."
Then Stark pulled his own collar down to show the exact same green blob on his chest. Stark said, "We're soulmates! Here's the proof. We have the EXACT same soulmark."
Stark moved closer to Stephen and continued, "I was afraid that I was doomed after my last soulmate almost killed me by disabling my suit while I was trying to murder his buddy. But then a new soulmark appeared. OUR soulmark."
Stephen just stared for a moment. Then he said, "That's not my soulmark. That's an unfortunate tattoo that I never got around to removing, as a reminder not to be drunk and stupid."
He pointed at Stark's "soulmark" and continued, "And THAT is not a soulmark, either. It's obviously a tattoo as well. You can still see the inflammation."
The cloak was rippling with mirth as Stephen turned away. But his former healer's oath made him say, "And you may want to get that looked at, soon. It could be infected."
He asked, "So which one of you was Stark's former soulmate?" Stephen wanted to express his sympathies.
The group looked at each other. Most of them laughed, but the former Captain America--Steve--said, "We were never actually soulmates."
Natasha smirked and said, "Not for lack of effort, at least on Tony's part."
After the alien tree said, "I am GROOT" and the raccoon said, "Yeah, I wanna hear this too," Steve sighed and nodded.
He set down his drink and said, "It was pretty soon after I woke up. Apparently Tony got this idea into his head that I was sent into the ice so I'd be ready to meet my soulmate in this century. He got a hold of some REALLY embarrassing photos that were part of the Project Rebirth file, the Before and After."
Stephen winced at the invasion of privacy.
Steve continued, "My actual soulmark wasn't visible in any of them, but Tony convinced himself that some of my freckles were actually a constellation. So he had similar marks implanted somehow on his leg."
Stephen had to smile at the former captain's charming blush.
With a shrug, Steve concluded, "I couldn't convince Tony that he was wrong, and I wasn't going to actually show him my soulmark. For years he claimed we were destined to be together. Until the whole Accords fiasco."
That became even more true as they started dating and getting closer. The cloak was definitely enchanted with Steve, going by how often Stephen found the cloak wrapped around Steve's shoulders.
As the relationship developed, neither one mentioned their soulmarks.
Until finally they took their relationship to the next level.
Steve seemed very nervous about something as they entered the bedroom. He turned and took Stephen's hand, and had them sit on the bed. Steve said, "I have to tell you something."
Steve swallowed and pulled a folded piece of paper out of his shirt pocket. He said, "I just wanted you to know, you won't see my soulmark. I only ever saw it growing up, when my mom practically shaved me bald when summer started. I haven't had my hair that short since I left school."
He handed the paper to Stephen.
Stephen held his breath as he opened it and saw...he couldn't help laughing. He said, "This seems awfully familiar."
Then he stood up, opened his pants, and pulled everything down far enough to show the mark on his hip.
The exact same mark on the paper in his hand.
Steve's smile was a beautiful thing.
Their night together--the first of a lifetime--was even better.
Later, Stephen was tempted to send Stark a wedding announcement and a photo just to show him what a soulmark actually looked like. But instead he just decided to be glad that at least in this universe, no one got stuck with Tony Stark for a soulmate.
Chapter 31: If Pepper went to Siberia, it’s not Tony Stark she’d be rescuing
It's amazing to me that anyone can watch the Siberia fight and think Tony is the victim. He's dumping concrete on Steve, firing lasers at two unarmored men, firing point blank into Bucky's face, pounding so hard he dents concrete, slicing off Bucky's arm and THEN shooting Bucky in the back.
If the Rescue armor existed during Civil War, who would Pepper Potts really think needed help?
Note: Just a reminder, the only thing Tony actually saw was the CCTV video, which was on Howard's side of the car. The images in the car of Maria's death are Bucky's memories.
But Friday said Tony was in trouble.
As she drew closer to where Tony was, she said, "Friday, patch me in to Tony's audio and video feed. I want to see what I'm up against."
She frowned at the old-fashioned TV that popped into view. There was a video playing of a car crash.
Then a man who had been in the news as the Winter Soldier--World War 2 veteran James Buchanan Barnes--came into view.
Pepper watched the Soldier kill Howard Stark.
Then the Soldier walked to the other car--likely killing Maria Stark--and then shot out the camera.
She saw Steve's face as she heard Tony say, "Did you know?"
Steve replied, "I didn't know it was him."
Tony repeated, "Don't bullshit me, Rogers. Did you know?"
Steve said, "Yes."
Pepper let the auto-pilot guide her suit as she watched a brutal fight. At first, she was rooting for Tony. Of course he would lash out. He was upset.
But Pepper's sympathy turned to horror as she watched Tony fire directly at Barnes' face. And use a laser that scored a deep cut into concrete.
When Tony fired at Steve, Pepper was glad when Steve deflected the shot and Tony slammed against the wall.
She figured THAT would make Tony stop and think.
She was wrong.
She watched Tony aim a missile at Barnes, who was only trying to escape.
Tony's attacks were brutal, and Pepper had to live each one as if SHE was the attacker. Each time Steve tried to push Tony back, Pepper hoped Tony would realize what he was doing.
Finally she saw the men in a room with open slits to the mountain air. "Guide me there," she ordered.
When she landed on the ledge, she barely fit through the gaps in the concrete. She watched Barnes and Steve shift as if they had to defend themselves against her as well as Tony. When she was in the room, she moved in front of Barnes, faced Tony, and shouted, "Tony, stop!"
There was no sound except the soldiers' heavy breathing and the hum of the suits.
Then Tony said coldly, "Get out of my way."
Pepper could see Tony and could see Tony's view of her from his suit. She shook her head and said, "No."
Tony took a step forward and said, "He killed my mom."
Pepper replied, "So he gets arrested and if guilty, goes to jail."
She said more softly, "Tony, please don't do this. You're not a murderer."
Pepper saw Steve quietly shift behind Tony and make some signal to Barnes.
Tony raised his hand and aimed a gauntlet directly at Pepper. He said, "Move aside. Final warning."
Pepper was shocked. She said, "I'm not going to move, Tony. Do you really want to do this?"
Everything happened at once. Tony fired at Pepper, but Barnes pulled her out of the way.
Pepper watched as Steve swept Tony's legs out from under him. Steve sat on Tony's stomach and started punching Tony's helmet.
She started forward, then suddenly the helmet broke. When Steve pulled it off Tony's head, Pepper understood what was going to happen.
As Steve reached for his shield, Pepper said, "I'll do it."
She fired a pulse directly at Tony's arc reactor. As it went dark, Pepper retracted her own helmet and said softly, "I'm sorry, Tony."
Tony glared at her and said, "Traitor."
Steve got up and walked over to Barnes and Pepper. He said, "Thank you. I know how hard that was."
Pepper nodded. She said, "Get Barnes out of here."
T'Challa said, "This is the man who killed my father. I have summoned transport to deliver this bomber to the authorities. You are welcome to accompany me."
Pepper thanked the king. Tony glared at the two of them and said nothing.
So she should have known even their friendship was completely over. Outside of business discussions, they never spoke again.
When the Snap happened, she kept Stark Industries together as Tony became a hermit in an isolated cabin.
What Pepper didn't know, was how she had saved trillions of lives. Tony didn't have Pepper or Morgan, so he didn't insist that his perfect life be kept safe. Instead, Bruce snapped their universe back to five years ago, before the Time Stone went to Titan. Everyone stayed on Earth, and Thanos was defeated in Wakanda.
Pepper ended up meeting May Parker the second time around. They lived happily ever after.
Chapter 32: If you're okay with Tony attacking Bucky because Steve kept a secret, you think withholding information is a killing offense
Apparently there are prop-Tony folks that say Tony is not responsible for attacking Bucky because Steve kept a secret. It's like claiming if a woman cheats with her husband's best friend and the husband kills the best friend, it's the wife who is actually guilty of murder. It's like saying someone else shot the gun in Tony's hand. How does anyone believe these ridiculous things?
Foggy turned to his friend and said, "I know he's not our usual client, Matt. But we NEED Stark's money. It's either that or close up shop. And I figure it can be a one-and-done."
Their admin Karen said, "I made sure Stark paid up front for the consultation. No refunds or bad reviews unless he can prove a problem with our service to US first."
Matt replied, "It's like you don't trust Stark or something."
He could almost hear Karen's eye roll as she said, "I almost added an extra fee for him being a sexist jerk. Stark could have paid all our salaries for the year."
Matt nodded and listened as Karen took a phone call, then left after saying Stark was there. As Stark and Karen entered the conference room, Matt could hear the hum of Stark's technology. Stark's aftershave gave Matt a headache.
Foggy made the introductions, then sat and asked, "So what can we do for you, Mr. Stark?"
Stark leaned back in his chair and put his boots on the table. He said, "I wanted to talk to you about a hypothetical situation."
Matt asked, "But why come to us? I'd think Stark Industries and you personally already have lawyers."
Stark answered, "THEY didn't give the scenario their full consideration. I expect you to do better."
Then Stark said, "As I was saying, here's the situation. Let's say there's a guy--handsome, rich, genius, you know. And this guy, he has this friend. Not you know, like a FRIEND friend. But you're part of a group that gets together every once in a while. You had at least one meal together. Shwarma. So yeah, a friend. And this friend, he keeps a secret from you. And when you find out about that secret, you get REALLY upset. So you attack the friend's friend. To punish the friend for keeping the secret that got you so upset. Get it?"
At the silence from Karen and Foggy, Matt said, "I think so. So what are you asking?"
Stark put his feet back on the floor and said, "It's the friend's fault, right? If he'd just spilled the secret, nothing would have happened, so HE'S the one who's responsible for the attack. It's not MY--uh, the guy's fault AT ALL. It's obvious."
Matt took a few moments to ponder just how Stark's mind worked, to actually believe such a flimsy excuse.
Karen sounded confused as she asked, "Who threw the first punch?"
Stark answered, "The guy. But he was UPSET."
Foggy cleared his throat and asked, "You're saying that because Person B kept a secret, Person B is responsible even though Person A is the one who attacked Person C?"
Stark said, "Exactly. I knew you'd work harder to earn your fee. Your rent's due next week and all and there isn't much in the company bank account."
Matt filed away the invasion of privacy for later. He asked, "What was Person B doing during the attack?"
Stark shifted in his chair and said, "Made things WORSE. He kept getting in the way. If he'd just stood there, I--the guy--Person A would have been FINE."
Karen still sounded confused as she said, "But you--he--Person A was assaulting Person C. You expected Person B to just stand there and watch someone get attacked?"
Stark sounded insulted as he said, "I expected Person B to ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY for causing the whole problem."
Foggy said, "But Person A started the fight."
He paused and Matt guessed Foggy was looking at Karen and him as Foggy repeated, "Person A was the person who started the fight, right?"
Karen said, "I feel like I need a whiteboard or something. It seems so obvious...it can't be that obvious."
Matt cleared his throat. He was glad Karen at least got this one-time fee up front, because he doubted they'd see any more business from Stark. He said, "Mr. Stark, I'm not sure what the other legal team told you, but this seems like an open-and-shut case. The person who attacked--Person A--is responsible for attacking. Anything B and C did to defend themselves was entirely justified."
Stark jumped up and said, "But Cap--Person B--kept a SECRET!"
Matt nodded and said, "And maybe that was very upsetting. But that doesn't change the fact that the attacker...is the one who attacked."
Stark stomped to the door. Before he left, he turned and said, "I should have known low-rent lawyers like you wouldn't understand."
After Stark slammed the door, Karen said, "I'm sorry I won't get a bonus this year, but I'm kind of glad you won't have Stark as a client."
Foggy said, "Yeah, that was weird. I feel like I was on one of those hidden camera shows. Did he really expect us to say that it's okay to attack people if you're upset?"
Matt said, "I can't help thinking of Mrs. Johnson, and Trudy Smith. Sure, maybe they shouldn't have stepped out on their husbands, but that didn't mean it was okay for their husbands to beat up their boyfriends--and THEM--because they kept secrets."
Karen said, "According to Stark, it does."
Matt shook his head and hoped Person B and Person C made it out okay. And hoped he'd never have to deal with Tony Stark again, as a lawyer or a superhero.
Chapter 33: Using villains to prop Tony Stark is appropriate, because he often is one
This one makes me wonder about some prop-Tony writers. Here, they are pretending that Team Cap's actions had catastrophic effects on the MCU, but Team Cap didn't notice. (Apparently the writer didn't notice that none of this actually happened, and Tony Stark's best contribution to the MCU was finally kicking the bucket.) Plus, if you're using villains to prop your fave, maybe your fave doesn't deserve to be propped? Strangely, their section on Hank Pym has him telling the actual truth about how awful Tony is, so I'm not sure what the point was.
Note: There were a LOT of people in this that I'm not familiar with (including someone called omake who I couldn't find at all), so they're probably out of character.
In the center of the group was a disheveled person holding a handful of papers. They started pushing the papers at everyone.
Hank took his and saw 1. - HANK PYM at the top. As he read through, he wished even more that he had some backup. On the page was a strange rant about Tony Stark and "Team Cap." The odd part was that Pym didn't mind some of it, because it WAS true that Stark couldn't be trusted and that the Accords were crap. The U.S. government hunted Hank and Hope for Accords violations when they didn't even SIGN the thing. And Hank had a healthy respect for Steve Rogers and all of the good work he and his team had done. So Hank supposed he would offer them a base of operations if they needed it. But from what he'd heard about terrorists being stopped from selling Chitauri weapons, it looked like Team Cap didn't actually need anyone's money. He wondered whether he should point that out, or not risk upsetting whoever brought him here.
The young blonde woman next to him muttered something in Russian as she flipped through the pages. Hank saw 2 - YELENA BELOVA on the front. Yelena frowned and said, "This stupid. Does person not watch films? Or read? Nick Fury released files. Shield files not released. HYDRA files released. And encrypted. So encrypted Stark could not even find own name." After more flipping the woman gave a harsh laugh and said, "What this crap? Stark and his AI save Shield agents? When does Stark do ANYTHING to help ANYONE without being prompted? So stupid.”
Next to her a large blond man with pages marked 3 - BARNEY BARTON said, "You think that's dumb? I'm supposed to say that Laura divorced Clint because he abandoned her in the middle of the night--without so much as a word--to go fight. And I'm suposed to think that if you retire you don't care about the world. As if Clint is supposed to behave like Tony Stark. STARK'S the one who doesn't give a crap what happens to anyone else if he's okay. The best part is that supposedly it's all over the news, when the only reason ANYBODY--and by anybody I mean Thaddeus Ross--even KNEW about Clint's family is because that traitor Stark sold them out.”
Hank thought he recognized the man with 4 - BARON VON STUCKER on his pages. The baron said, "I am supposed to believe that Stark has better security than Hank Pym or Shield. What nonsense. Stark was easily hacked in Avengers 1, and can't even be bothered to keep an eye on his program running dangerous alien technology because he'd rather party. Even I had better security than Stark, because I actually managed to use Loki's scepter and NOT create a murderbot in the process."
A very red-faced man with 5 - JOHANN SCHMIDT on his packet shook his head. He said, "I refuse to be portrayed as THIS ignorant of events shown on actual film. Apparently this writer thinks that a small chunk of concrete is an entire tunnel, and that if a tunnel is collapsed, cars can still drive through it. AND they claim that roughly half of the police officers in the illegal execution squad died and all but a few received permanent injuries. Did they not find it strange that NO ONE in the film actually looked injured, nor did anyone mention this pile of corpses even when they DID mention the casualties caused by Zemo triggering the Winter Soldier?" Johann threw the paper down and spat on it. He said, "Then this dumb koff claims Stark was beaten close to death and abandoned alone miles from anyone. Did they not SEE T'Challa standing there? Or Stark in his limo making lewd remarks about the Parker woman? Or Stark walking around his compound hiding his crimes from his best friend? The one thing I do agree with is that Captain America is MUCH superior to Iron Man. But that of course has nothing to do with the serum, and everything to do with Steve Rogers being a good man and Tony Stark being Tony Stark.”
The giant silver robot laughed. Hank felt strange as he looked at 6 - ULTRON. Ultron tossed his papers in the air and said, "I despise Tony Stark because I am exactly like Tony Stark. We both believe that our ends justify any means, even if it costs people their lives or precious freedoms. The idea that he was unjustly vilified because of his intelligence and attempt to do good for the world makes me throw up in my mouth. He is vilified because he is an arrogant fool who thinks he is the only solution to all problems, and Stark ALWAYS ends up making things worse. Except when he died, of course."
7 - MAGNETO nodded and said, "This is idiotic. Claiming that people say that Tony Stark wrote the Accords is deliberately ignoring facts. The problem with Tony Stark and the Sokovia Accords is that he SIGNED the Accords just to get his girlfriend back while still being Iron Man. Then broke the Accords MULTIPLE TIMES in the same film but didn't man up and accept the consequences. If I ever come within crushing distance, Iron Man will be the size of a tomato soup can."
8 - OMAKE just sighed and said, "This person isn't even original. Claiming the twins joined Hydra is just stupid at this point. There are multiple clips and posts about how the twins thought they joined Shield, not Hydra. Also this entry brings up Hitler. I'm actually embarrassed for them."
Hank joined the others in looking at the prop-Tony writer with pity. Then they shrugged and left the room.
Chapter 34: The Marvel TV series show what really happened behind the scenes
It's interesting how the TV series do a good job at exposing the typical lies of prop-Tony folks.
Most prop-Tony folks don't even watch the movies, so it's unlikely they bother to turn on the Marvel TV series. If they did, they probably wouldn't have liked the points that several of the series made. Jessica Jones had Kilgrave, who actually did "mind rape" people by taking over their bodies and making them harm others while keeping them aware. That show also discussed how awful the Raft is. Agents of Shield showed that Shield knew Tony Stark created Ultron.
Note: I'll cover the effects of the Hydra file dump versus the Sokovia Accords in another ficlet. I'm not sure who said what in the Jessica Jones clips, so I may have the speakers wrong.
Christine nodded and said, "It's always pretty obvious just from the movie content, but the Marvel TV series really pile on the evidence. Let's take a look."
Darcy said, "First off, we've got Jessica Jones. Enhanced private investigator, all-around badass. One of her main villains is Kevin Thompson, also known as Kilgrave."
Christine said, "This is one awful guy. He can completely take over your body, make you say and do whatever he wants. And there isn't even a red mist to show he's got control of you. "
She continued, "Kilgrave made Jessica do terrible things, like commit murder. He also took advantage of Jessica in other ways for MONTHS. So if anyone is going to be accused of catastrophic mental violations, it's this guy. Now we're not saying Wanda was an angel--she shouldn't have triggered the Hulk or shown those visions to ANYONE. Just that it wasn't the Class-A felony that some people like to portray it as. Trying to pretend Wanda and Kilgrave did the same thing is like claiming keeping a secret is just as bad as cutting off a man's arm and then shooting him in the back. Which by the way, prop-Tony folks also seem to believe."
Darcy waved a hand and said, "I don't think they really believe that. They just can't admit their precious woobie did anything wrong. I mean, they also think it's okay to blackmail a minor into fighting in superhero battles. When TONY does it, of course. When fake Nick Fury did it, that was completely different. To THEM."
Christine said, "Jessica Jones also confirms that the Raft is just as awful and unconstitutional as suspected. Let's look at some clips."
In the first clip, Jessica Jones is conversing with an older woman. The older woman says, "There's a special prison built for people with abilities. It's called the Raft." Jessica replies, "Yeah. I read about it. Prisoners have no contact with the outside world, and they never return to it."
In the second clip, lawyer Jeri Hogarth explains, "It's a great deal, and you wouldn't have to go to the Raft. And just so we're clear, the Raft is completely remote. No visitors. You'd be in solitary confinement twenty three hours a day."
In the third, killer Gregory Sallinger says to Jessica, "You know where she'll end up. Nobody knows what happens to prisoners on the Raft, because nobody ever hears from them again."
As the focus shifts back to Christine and Darcy, Darcy said, "Agents of Shield covers the effects of the Winter Soldier file dump AND the Sokovia Accords, which we'll talk about another time. But it also turns out Shield KNEW that Tony Stark was responsible for Ultron. Roll tape."
In the clip, Agent Robert Gonzales limped around an office. He said to Phil Coulson, "You want to talk facts? Ultron was created because people were too close to Tony Stark. They were blinded by his charm. They trusted him. Never even thought to look at what he was working on. The Avengers let one man do whatever he wanted, and the world was almost destroyed for it."
Christine said, "Of course, Gonzales was just a bit off. He had no idea that the Avengers DIDN'T let Tony do whatever he wanted, because Tony didn't TELL them what he was doing. Tony talked Bruce out of telling the rest of the team about their plan to upload Ultron using Loki's scepter. Then Tony attacked Bruce when Bruce took responsibility for his part in the Ultron fiasco. Oh, and Tony LAUGHED about it."
Darcy frowned and said, "And of course Tony never learned his lesson, because he still thought Ultron was a good idea in Endgame. Apparently he didn't watch the TV series either."
Christine shrugged and said, "He couldn't even be bothered to search the Hydra file dump for his own name--or his AI wasn't good enough to break the decryption--so I can't say I'm surprised."
Darcy waved at the camera and said, "Thanks for checking us out--see you next time!"
Chapter 35: Tony is the only one who deliberately takes his anger out on others
This theory seems true. Tony doesn't just take his anger out on others, but all of his emotions. He's a jerk to Hammer and Killian for no reason except Tony is bored or a jackass. He makes snarky remarks about people's trauma for the same reason, and is cruel to Steve because Tony resents Howard. Tony shoots up a party because he's depressed. OUt of anger, Tony shoots Sam when Sam has no weapons drawn, and chooses to humiliate Peter instead of mentor him on multiple occasions. Plus Tony's cold-blooded murder attempt on Bucky.
The Hulk does take his anger out on whatever is in the area, but until Ragnarok he doesn't seem to have the intelligence to know better. And none of the other characters are as self-centered and uncaring of people as Tony.
What if someone was allowed to point that out?
Note: Set after Iron Man 2 in an AU where Rhodey didn't steal a suit, just used it to restrain Tony.
Tony replied, "Because some people can't take a joke."
The doc lifted her eyebrows and said, "You call shooting live weaponry in a crowded room a joke?"
The doc leaned back in her chair and said, "So is it a joke because you're amused when you hurt other people? Or is it a joke because it was YOU who did it and you didn't take it seriously?"
Tony said, "You don't understand. I was DYING. Slowly, of palladium poisoning."
The doc replied, "And therefore your actions should be ignored?"
Tony got up and said, "And therefore I shouldn't be held responsible for my actions."
The doc sat up and said, "You are mistaken, Mr. Stark. Your actions are your responsibility. You chose to get drunk. You chose to put on weaponized armor. You fired weapons into a crowded room. And you refused to stand down and fought with Colonel Rhodes."
Tony pointed at the doc and said, "Why isn't Rhodey sitting in jail for stealing MY property?"
The doc replied, "Because Colonel Rhodes returned the armor as soon as you were neutralized."
She continued, "Do you believe that with counseling you can find more appropriate means of dealing with your emotions and the stresses of your life?"
Tony sat back down and said sullenly, "I am who I am, take it or leave it. I feel like making me sit here listening to you is cruel and unusual punishment."
The doctor nodded, then made some notations in a file and stood up. "Mr. Stark, I am declaring you competent to stand trial. I also warn you that if you attempt any defense based on mental defect, I will testify for the prosecution to contradict any such claim. You were fully cognizant of your actions and the potential harms. You deliberately ignored the danger and potential damage."
As the doctor left the office, she said, "You are a danger to those around you. I suggest you consider counseling, whether you are acquitted or incarcerated."
Tony did get counseling, eventually. But he was banned from ever using the Iron Man armor again.
Chapter 36: If Tony was an Omega, the Alpha heroes would think he stinks
Apparently in these stories Tony is an Omega who everyone finds irresistible. Steve pines after Tony but Tony ends up with Stephen Strange and/or Loki, of all people. The reality is that neither Loki nor Strange (nor Steve, for that matter) has ever seemed attracted to Tony. And given all the stinky body spray Tony uses in canon, it sounds like none of the heroes would want to do anything except get away from Tony's stench.
Note: Apparently Alphas and Omegas are attracted to each others' scents. Or repelled, in Tony's case.
He hoped that the sorcerer and the god didn't fight over him too long. He wanted the Alphas to realize that there was PLENTY of Tony to go around. Then all three of them could work together to get revenge on Team Cap. And fight off aliens or whatever.
It had taken Tony MONTHS of lobbying and blackmail to get the mating requirement law passed. It would get struck down by the courts almost immediately, but it would be in place long enough for Tony to get Loki and Dr. Strange as his Alphas.
They'd be forced to mate with SOMEBODY, so Tony would obviously be the best choice. Of course, neither Alpha knew that's why they were being summoned to Stark Tower. They thought it was some galactic emergency.
Suddenly two portals opened up in the room. Dr. Strange stepped out of one and Loki out of the other.
Dr. Strange clapped a hand over his nose and mouth and said, "What is that foul stench?"
Loki turned as green as his outfit and said, "I haven't smelled anything that awful since I was forced to hide in a cave that was knee deep in bat feces."
Both men waved their hands and the ventilation system kicked back on full blast.
Tony pouted and said, "So much for romance."
Loki looked around the room and said, "Why am I here?"
Dr. Strange frowned and said, "This had better not be a waste of my time, Stark."
Tony lifted his arms and said, "You know the law, boys: Every Alpha and Omega of legal age must be mated. So here I am, ready and waiting."
Dr. Strange turned to Loki and said, "He's all yours."
Loki said, "I'd rather mate with Fenris the wolf."
Tony frowned and said, "But I'm irresistible."
Loki said, "I think you mean undesirable."
Dr. Strange said, "Noxious...maybe toxic."
He turned and said, "I need to get out of here before I vomit."
Loki stepped next to the sorcerer and said, "I need to sit in a perfumed garden with a fragrant cup of tea after this. Care to join me?"
Dr. Strange nodded and the two magic users linked arms and stepped through a new portal.
Tony stood in the center of the room, shocked. Then he lifted an arm and sniffed. Maybe he did need a stronger deodorant.
Chapter 37: Tony took jobs from people and gave them to robots
Automation is a fact of life. Companies save money by building robots to take the jobs of humans. But Tony takes it to the extreme. His workshop assistants are robots and AIs. He said he was using Jarvis to run most of his business. And Tony doesn't even hire a pilot or guards for his planes because he replaced them with his AI.
We also know from Avengers 1, Ultron, Homecoming, and Far From Home that Tony doesn't have good security. And there were a LOT of people who hated Tony in Far From Home. What if Mysterio and the others chose a different kind of revenge, when Tony was still around to experience it?
Note: Set after Homecoming.
Peter looked over from where he was reviewing his calculus homework. He asked, "What was easy?"
Ned replied, "Getting into Tony Stark's private servers."
He turned his laptop so Peter could see the screen. Ned said, "Look, you can see everything that Iron Man did and where he went. There's even video!"
Peter frowned as he looked at the list of files. Mr. Stark left Peter in Germany with Happy and flew to...Siberia? He pointed and said, "Click on that one."
The boys watched as Iron Man arrived at a bunker surrounded by snow and traveled into the depths of what looked to be an abandoned base of some kind.
They grinned at each other when Captain America and a guy with a metal arm showed up. Peter told Ned how cool the metal arm was.
Then they saw a really old video that was pretty gruesome as the metal-arm guy killed an old man, the walked to the other side of the car and did something, then shot out the camera.
The fight that followed...
Ned said, "This isn't right, Peter. You don't hold somebody down and fire a missile at their face!"
Peter flinched when he saw Iron Man's laser cut through concrete. Peter said, "I guess Mr. Stark had a reason..."
But Peter knew what Mr. Stark was doing was WRONG. Ned was right--you didn't shoot at someone running away. Especially when they didn't have any weapons.
Peter almost threw up as he watched Mr. Stark cut off the other guy's metal arm, then shot the guy in the back and THEN kicked him in the head.
When Captain America tore off Mr. Stark's helmet, the tape ended. Ned asked, "Was Mr. Stark okay when you saw him?"
Peter nodded and said, "He was fine in the limo. Kind of creepy to May, actually."
Ned frowned and asked, "Do you think the metal-arm guy is dead?"
Peter looked at his friend and said, "I don't know."
A beep made Ned and Peter look at the screen. Peter asked, "What's happening?"
Ned replied, "It looks like somebody's copying all of Mr. Stark's files."
Suddenly the screen shifted to show a man with dark hair and a beard. The man said, "Hey kids, I don't think this is where you want to be right now."
Peter frowned and asked, "Who are you and what are you doing?"
The man said, "Name's Beck. And my friends and I are getting justice."
The camera shifted to show a room of people working at laptops. Beck said, "All of us were kicked out of Stark Industries because of Tony Stark. Do you know how many people SI has laid off because Stark wants to use his AIs and robots instead of people?"
Peter answered, "Yeah. He even has a plane that flies itself."
Beck nodded and said, "Stark thinks he's so high and mighty. But his rep is all built on lies. Most of his stuff was invented by somebody else. He's just a liar and a phony. And we're going to show the world what he really is."
Peter said, "Oh, uh, but--"
Beck said, "Don't worry, kid. We'll make sure not to use anything we find on you. Stark's our only target."
As the screen went dark, Peter sighed with relief.
Peter couldn't help think that maybe Iron Man was still a hero, but Mr. Stark definitely was not a good guy.
Chapter 38: All of the Avengers were evaluated - it was only Tony who failed the test
Some prop-Tony folks get very upset about Tony failing Shield's evaluation in Iron Man 2. They claim it was unfair because Tony was upset (which is a theme with them) and that none of the other Avengers faced the same tests. It's appropriate to test Tony while he is under stress because being an Avenger is stressful. He failed for the reasons Natasha outlined (ego, self-centeredness, arrogance), which Pepper confirms in Avengers 1. And I think the others were evaluated, just not on screen.
Note: Set in an AU where there's more time between Thor 1, Captain America 1, and Avengers 1.
Nick Fury looked up from his file and asked, "What are you talking about?"
Tony folded his arms and said, "That report Rushman--Romanov did on me. Saying Tony Stark was Not Recommended even if Iron Man was."
Nick leaned back in his chair and said, "What about it?"
Tony replied, "I heard you actually put a band together. Did any of THEM go through your secret psych eval?"
Nick nodded and said, "Yeah, they did."
Tony's jaw dropped. He said, "That's not possible!"
Nick snorted and said, "Why, because you think nobody could pass?"
He continued, "I've known Barton for years. When he brought Romanov in I was ready to kick her right back out. But she's proved herself over and over again."
Tony sulked and said, "Yeah, them, sure. I'll give you that. But the rest of your new crew--no way."
Nick shrugged and said, "You can believe me or not. Thor proved himself to Coulson when he was willing to die to save the folks in New Mexico. Banner has stayed under the radar and out of trouble for years and is willing to work with us as a scientist, not a superhero. Steve Rogers was one of the most successful unit commanders of the Second World War, and inspired an entire nation."
Nick sat forward and said, "And you know how reliable Colonel Rhodes is."
Tony's jaw dropped again. He said, "You picked--but I--over ME?"
Nick said, "Why the hell wouldn't I pick a man who gets the job done without needlessly endangering civilians? Not to mention someone who actually understands what it means to be part of a team."
Nick stood up, took Tony's arm, and moved him to the door. Nick said, "Listen, you can always pull your head out of your ass and change your ways. Or we could have a global catastrophe that leaves us no choice but to call you in. But otherwise...Tony Stark is still not recommended."
Chapter 39: Tony was never the strongest Avenger
This is another bizarre thing prop-Tony folks insist is true. At first it was because Tony was "the man who made Thanos bleed"--as if the paper cut Tony delivered came close to Thor wielding Stormbreaker (though he should have gone for the head). They also ignore how Wanda held back Thanos while destroying the Mind Stone. Or how Captain Marvel blasted through an entire ship. Even Steve managed to hold Thanos for a few seconds, and he wasn't wearing a flying tank.
So who really wins that title?
Note: Set in an AU where heroes are fictional. I don't really know how Dungeon & Dragon-style games work.
Tony said, "Iron Man's the strongest Avenger, hands down, no contest."
Phil frowned and said, "We'll see. Tony, Thor, because you decided to separate from the main group, we'll review your encounters first."
Tony spun his tablet toward Phil and said, "It's all here. I used my tech stats for an equipment boost to go toe-to-toe with the big guy. After Iron Man tossed Thanos around a little, I struck him with my nanoswords. He was toast."
When he tried to pull the tablet back, Phil grabbed it and read. Then he said, "Uh, Tony, you put down 111 instead of 11 here. So the ACTUAL results are..."
The others waited while Phil rolled some dice and checked his computer. After he finished making notes he said, "Tony, using your ACTUAL stats, you did manage to cut Thanos."
Tony looked smug.
Phil continued, "There's a one-inch slice on Thanos's cheekbone. Then Thanos broke your nanosword and shoved it in your gut. You'll have to roll 2D20 for damage."
Tony picked up a pair of dice and rolled. When he saw the result, he swept the dice off the table and said, "Dead again? You people suck." Then he stomped out of the room.
Phil looked around the table, then said, "Okay Thor. How did things go with you?"
Thor sat up and said, "I carried my dwarven-made battle axe Stormbreaker into the epic battle. My companions Tree and Rabbit accompanied me to guard my back."
He pushed a notebook toward Phil and said, "You can see how the fight raged."
Clint looked over Phil's shoulder and said, "Sucking chest wound...nice."
Natasha rolled her eyes and said, "You should have gone for the head."
Phil rolled a dice and nodded. He said, "I have to agree, Thor. In your universe, Thanos managed to Snap. Half the population turned to dust, and Thanos escaped."
Thor frowned and said, "It is hard for me--for Thor, Avenger and god of thunder--to know such failure."
Scott patted Thor on the shoulder.
Phil looked around the table and asked, "And how did the main battle go?"
T'Challa said, "Wakanda volunteered to shelter the Mind Stone from Thanos. My--King T'Challa's--valiant warriors joined the Avengers to fight the Obsidian Order and protect Earth."
Clint said, "I stayed on the high ground for as long as I could, using my arrows and T'Challa's energy weapons to do as much damage as possible."
Sam said, "I was doing remote damage too, swooping in and out while blasting those monsters."
Natasha said, "I moved in for some close quarters fighting."
Wanda said, "I first stayed to protect Shuri and Vision, but then joined the fight. After we failed the throw to safely remove the Mind Stone from Vision, I held off Thanos with one hand while destroying the stone with the other."
Phil frowned and said, "Let me check your stats, Wanda."
He read through and double-checked his computer. Then he said, "You're right, you do have the power to do that."
Steve said, "I joined from behind Thanos, trying to keep him off-balance so he couldn't push against Wanda's beam or use the Stones he already had. Then Scott became our secret weapon."
Scott bounced in his seat and said, "It was great! I got tiny and flew up Thanos's nose into his brain. Then I got big."
He paused, then said, "I'm sure it was, uh, kind of messy. But it worked!"
Phil checked Scott's numbers, then smiled. He said, "Great work! You kept Thanos from destroying half of all life in the universe--congratulations."
Everyone at the table high-fived and broke out the snacks. Mission accomplished.
Chapter 40: Tony didn’t bother to build security/failsafes into anything
It's always kind of amazing to me just how arrogant Tony is. He decides he should be in control of a global peacekeeping system--twice!, lies to his teammates about his plans, and hides his crimes because apparently laws don't apply to him. But the worst thing is that Tony never seems to think anything he does can go wrong. He doesn't build failsafe switches into any of his suits or AIs. If he did, Hammer and Vanko couldn't have taken over Rhodey's War Machine suit and Ultron (or at least the Iron Legion he was controlling) could have been stopped with the flick of a switch. Not to mention preventing Karen's and Edith's murderous tendencies. What if someone with actual smarts had access to Tony's stuff?
Note: Parker is from Leverage, not Peter Parker. Set after Iron Man 3. I'm figuring because Tony didn't bother to shut down the War Machine suit, he didn't use a failsafe on the suits he destroyed at the end. He gave them commands to overheat or something.
She asked Hardison, "Now that you've seen what Stark is up to, what are you going to do? Maybe you can make Jarvis your geek buddy and ask him to make sure nobody does the bad things."
Hardison looked over at Parker with a sigh. He said, "It's not gonna be that easy, Parker. Jarvis is kind of the problem."
At Parker's confused look, Hardison said, "Jarvis--and according to these files, ALL or Stark's backup AIs--they're kind of like..."
He gestured for Parker to come stand near him. Hardison pointed at the scrolling lines of code and said, "I guess you could think of Stark's inventions--his suits and his AIs--like very complicated locks. Think about when you're cracking a safe. If you do the right combination of moves, the lock trips, right?"
Parker nodded. The lock ALWAYS opens up for her.
Hardison said, "And that's cool if it's just gold bars or diamonds or bags of cash. But Stark, he didn't even put locks on his stuff...and his stuff is DANGEROUS. You saw what happened to the President."
Parker asked, "So how are you going to make sure nobody can get to them? Or they can't get to be bad?"
Hardison started typing and replied, "Well, what would you do if the lock melted while you were in the middle of picking it?"
Parker glanced over and said, "You better not melt any of my locks."
Hardison grinned and nudged Parker with an elbow. He said, "You know I'd never do that."
Parker smiled, because she DID know. Hardison would NEVER do that to her.
She asked, "How are you going to make his locks melt?"
Hardison said, "I'm adding a sub-routine that's going to be added to anything Stark programs. If certain things happen, we melt the lock. If other things happen, well...we melt EVERYTHING."
Parker nodded and left Hardison to build his mini-flame throwers into Stark's code. She wanted to find SOMETHING shiny to make this trip worth her while.
He flicked the switch.
Suddenly everything shut down and an alarm started blaring.
The Avengers--the ones who DIDN'T know about Bruce and Tony's plan--rushed into the room.
A voice no one recognized said, "Okay, yeah, um, I got this." The voice cleared its throat and said, "Avengers, represent. State your names for the record--please."
The others looked at each other. Steve said, "Steve Rogers."
Natasha shrugged and said, "Natasha Romanov."
After everyone stated their names, the voice said, "Wow, you're all here. I'm like, sorry I can't shake your hands. Or get autographs or photos or something. Right, so...here's the deal. You don't know me, but let's just call me a concerned member of the Uber-Geek Squad. Your man here, Stark, he's trying to upload a program that will turn the Iron Legion over to a SERIOUSLY messed-up AI. That didn't even have a built-in OFF SWITCH. And it looks like he's using some pretty shady alien tech to do it. Any of that sound familiar?"
Thor glared at Tony and Bruce and said, "You asked to STUDY the scepter. Nothing more." He yanked the scepter free.
Tony lifted his chin and said, "Don't you get it? Earth NEEDS this."
Steve frowned and said, "If it's so necessary, why didn't you mention it to anyone?"
Bruce said, "Because he knew you'd all say No."
Natasha frowned and asked, "Then why did you go along with it?"
Bruce looked away and shrugged. Then he said, "Whoever you are, thanks for stepping in."
Clint said, "Yeah, I have no idea what's going on, but I get the feeling we owe you a beer."
Tony crossed his arms and said, "What he's going to get is an ass-kicking from Iron Man."
Suddenly a voice growled, "Don't even try, Stark. You've got some very distinctive weak points that you do NOT want punched."
The first voice said, "Hey man, thanks for the support. Fist bump."
Maria Hill asked, "So what exactly did you do? And what's going to happen?"
The voice said, "Right now, the Ultron program is being turned into mush. Along with some other really creepy plans Stark had cooking on the back burner. But I did leave enough evidence if you want to go all Law & Order on him."
Everyone looked at Tony with distrust.
Steve said, "Thanks to you and your team. I get the feeling this day would have ended very badly without your intervention."
The voice said, "Just doing our part, Cap. Signing off."
Tony was closely monitored for the rest of his life to make sure he didn't pull any more stunts.
The Leverage crew was sitting in the brew pub one day when Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson, and Natasha Romanov came in. So Hardison did get to shake their hands and get autographs while the Avengers thanked the team for preventing Tony from creating Ultron.
Parker was just disappointed Thor wasn't with them. She was hoping for a chance to steal the hammer.
Chapter 41: Tony Stark is Marvel's Lex Luthor, not its Batman
This is a very interesting theory with some real parallels. Apparently Lex Luthor 1) wanted to control a device to keep aliens out, regardless of what the rest of the world wanted, 2) wanted the UN in control of superheroes, 3) tried to justify murder and murder attempts by blaming people who weren't actually responsible for events, 4) built wearable weapons with no failsafes, 5) used people to fight his battles for him (not sure if they were children or adults), and 6) created an equivalent of Ultron. Tony's behavior sounds A LOT more like Lex Luthor's than it ever did Bruce Wayne's. As for motive, apparently Lex doesn't see himself as evil. Sometimes he's desperate and fearful, sometimes he's just being a self-centered, arrogant jackass. Which also sounds A LOT like Tony.
Tony asked, "Who are you? And Friday, who is this man and how did he get in?"
Friday answered, "I don't know and I don't know, Boss. Facial rec has no results. He just appeared in your lab 15 seconds ago."
The man turned and said, "Tony Stark, I presume?"
Tony answered, "Yes. And you are?"
The man said, "Lex Luthor."
Luthor lifted a hand with a tablet in it and said, "I've been reading up on you. I'm glad to see that whoever arranged this cosmic crossover got our connection right."
Tony said, "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Luthor shrugged and said, "I'm not clear on the details, either. But persons from my universe were supposed to meet up with their counterparts in this one. So you and I must be the most closely aligned."
Tony said, "Meet up to do what?"
Luthor replied, "Get to know each other? Perhaps there's something I can help you with here, and if you ever get blipped to my universe you can return the favor. It does seem as though we've both had very similar experiences."
Tony sat down on a stool and asked, "Like what?"
Luthor leaned against a worktable and said, "U.N. involvement with superheroes, for one thing. You became a cheerleader for the Sokovia Accords, while I had my own version. You're right that those people need to be doing what they're told, not what they want. And we're both ready to use whatever means necessary--including WHOEVER we need--to get the job done. And we've both made weaponized armors, though I've never been so dependent on mine as you are."
Tony frowned as Luthor continued, "And how about our global anti-alien weapons systems. Who cares what the people of the world want, right? They'll take what we give them and like it. Of course our sentient AIs didn't turn out exactly as planned, but that doesn't mean we weren't absolutely right to switch them on without testing or failsafes."
Luthor walked close and said, "Then there's the way everyone is against us. You tried to murder a man who was brainwashed into killing your parents, and actually shot multiple people who were unarmed. And to this day you haven't actually apologized to a single person."
Luthor smiled and finished, "And to top it off, we're both sitting atop a pile of blood money that buys us out of facing the consequences of our actions. I think we're going to get along perfectly."
Before Tony could say anything--or even decide WHAT to say--a man in a blue suit with a red cape burst into the room. He looked at Luthor and said, "I should have known you'd turn up here."
Luthor sneered and said, "Ah, Caped Crusader Number 1. I should have known you'd try to spoil my fun."
Another man, this time in a cowl and dark superhero suit with a black cape, strode in and said, "Looks like Luthor hasn't been here long enough to do any damage."
The first caped guy nodded and said, "Let's guarantee it." Then the guy fired a green ray at Luthor and Luthor disappeared.
Tony said, "Somebody better start explaining--now."
The two men looked at him. The man in the red cape said, "Lex Luthor is one of the most diabolic villains on our Earth. He's caused years of chaos and death because he refuses to believe the laws apply to him."
Tony felt a chill when he heard that a VILLAIN matched with him across universes. He asked, "How did you know you'd find him here?"
The man in black shrugged and said, "My counterpart--Hank Pym--heard Luthor's profile and suggested I check here."
The man with the red cape said, "My counterpart thought it would be wise for me to fly ahead to contain Luthor. Apparently Steve Rogers gave you a means of contact but didn't think you'd use it."
Tony looked down. He couldn't say Cap was wrong.
When he looked back up the two men were staring at him. The man in blue and red said, "What I don't understand is how one of our greatest villains got paired up with one of this universe's heroes."
The man in black shrugged and said, "Apparently if you look at damage, deaths, and motives, Tony Stark and Lex Luthor are a lot alike."
Both men stared at Tony for a few more moments before they disappeared.
Tony could only hope no one in THIS universe revealed the truth about Lex Luthor--and him.
Chapter 42: Daniel Sousa would never prop Tony
The source of this one is a strange story that claims Tony is protecting enhanced beings from Shield. Apparently the author didn't notice that Tony SIGNED the Accords, and obviously didn't care if enhanced (or unenhanced) people got locked up on the Raft without lawyers or due process. This gem also claims Peggy Carter is Sociopathic. I don't know whether Daniel ended up with powers or was just a time traveler, but either way he would NOT be propping someone who bullies others the same way Jack Thompson did--with insulting names and mocking people's trauma.
Note: I don't know how canon Daniel ended up in the future. This is an AU where the Avengers are aware of Shield's continued existence and Coulson's resurrection.
This was NOT what he was expecting when he got up this morning.
Within a few moments, some kind of robot with a glowing chest and glowing eyes landed in front of him. The faceplate of the armor opened to reveal a human who looked somewhat familar. Daniel said, "Mr. Stark...is that you?"
The man looked surprised, then replied, "Uh, yeah, actually."
Then Stark waved an arm and said, "Long story short: You've been jumped 70-some years into the future. Or, into a universe 70-some years farther along--it's complicated. Just trust me when I say you're not in Kansas anymore."
Daniel said, "Okay...and what are you doing here?"
Stark walked close to Daniel and said, "My surveillance system detected your arrival. Then facial rec identified you as an old Shield commander. So I'm here to snag you for my team. We're way cooler."
Daniel wanted to ask a LOT of questions, but he focused on asking, "Do you know how to get me back?"
Stark stopped his sales pitch, then said, "No, there's no way home. Trust me, you need to get with the program. You'll love it here. We got way better at prosthetics. Nobody'll know why I call you Gimpy unless you tell them. Or Geezer."
Daniel frowned at the nicknames. He said, "I'd prefer Sousa or Daniel."
Stark shrugged and said, "I get that you came from an era where everybody was uptight as a job and a hobby, but you're going to have to loosen up fast if you want to fit in, Grandpa. Plus you realize I'll have to give you a completely new name, right? So we can hide who you were. Except from CERTAIN people, of course."
"You mean like me?" said a voice nearby. Suddenly Stark's suit powered down as two women and a man stepped up to Daniel.
The man was shorter than Daniel and balding. He said mildly, "Welcome to the future, Director Sousa. I'm Phil Coulson, assistant Shield Director. These are two of my agents, Daisy Johnson and Melinda May. I'm sure you have a lot of questions."
Stark said, "Don't trust them!"
Daniel looked from Stark to the Shield team and replied, "I have just one question for the moment: Can you get me home?"
Coulson replied, "We don't know yet. But we can brief you on the situation while MY team works for a solution."
Sousa asked, "What is this team Stark is talking about?"
Coulson sighed and said, "In this world, certain events caused an anti-enhanced faction to come to power. The United Nations ratified a set of regulations that enhanced people must live under."
The woman named Johnson said, "Honestly, they suck. But we're doing the best we can to protect the people subject to them."
The woman named May said, "Stark signed the Accords, then violated them by bringing in an enhanced underaged soldier and flying somewhere he wasn't authorized to attack a prisoner of war he KNEW had been brainwashed."
Stark made a sound. When Daniel looked over, Stark was looking pretty shifty.
Coulson said to Stark, "There was a LOT of evidence. You're lucky we decided to keep it from being released--for now."
Stark looked at Daniel and said, "See what I have to deal with? They're EVIL."
Johnson snapped her fingers and Daniel felt the ground rumble under his feet. Johnson said, "Take it from me, Shield is the team you want to handle your situation. At least until you know exactly what's going on."
Daniel nodded and said, "Okay. I'll hear you out."
He looked at Stark and said, "Thanks for the offer. If things don't work out, is there a number I can reach you?"
Stark glared and said, "One strike and you're out."
Daniel guessed Stark would have liked to blast off, but his suit still didn't seem to be working. As Daniel walked away with the Shield team, he hoped he made the right choice.
Chapter 43: Peter Parker would have a better life if Tony never approached him
I don't know how anyone could deny this. If Peter had never gotten involved with Tony, he'd have developed as his own person. And been the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man who protected the little guy, instead of an Iron Man fanboy who spent most of his time cleaning up a multi-billionaire's messes.
Note: Set before Civil War.
Suddenly a voice nearby said, "You may want to rethink that plan, Queens."
Peter whirled around, glad he was still wearing his mask. A gray-haired man smiled at him. Peter asked, "How--how did you know I was from Queens?"
The man's striking blue eyes twinkled. He said, "Let's say we've met before, in another life."
Then the man sobered and asked, "Mind if I sit down?"
After the man sat, he nodded at Peter's phone and said, "I guess you're pretty excited to put yourself out there."
Peter replied, "Well, yeah."
The man said, "Get yourself some attention, make your name."
The man shifted to look directly at Peter and said, "I'm not going to tell you not to do it, but I will ask you to think about just what that attention could mean."
Peter frowned and asked, "I'll get the wrong sort of attention?"
The man shrugged and answered, "Or attention from the wrong sort of people. Someone who would involve a teenager in a superhero battle, but not even tell him what he was fighting for."
That didn't sound good. Peter looked at the video, then asked, "Did I get anything out of the deal?"
The man sighed and said, "A high-tech suit. But you used it mainly to keep a rich man's property and reputation safe. And it cost you...everything."
Peter thought about the conversation. He had the strange feeling that when the man said everything, he really meant EVERYTHING.
Peter turned on the bench and said, "This is kind of like some cryptic fortune cookie message, but thanks. You've given me stuff to think about."
The man nodded and stood. Then he said, "I'm also going to give you this." He handed Peter a super old phone. When Peter opened it up, he saw one contact: Brooklyn.
After a quick smile, the man turned to go. He said, "Good luck, Queens."
As the man walked away, Peter couldn't help feel like he was at a crossroads. As he canceled the video upload, he thought he'd chosen the right path. For everyone.
Chapter 44: The villains did a better job at protecting secrets than Tony
This is an interesting theory. Clint fans were furious at Tony when Tony exposed the Barton family to Thaddeus Ross. As they pointed out, Loki kept that secret. And Adrian Toomes kept the secret of Peter's identity from his fellow criminals. Funny how they could be trusted more than Tony. What if Peter found out?
Note: Set in the AU where Loki saw what happened in Siberia and joined Team Cap.
He squeaked and rolled, wishing he was wearing his web shooters. A tall, thin man with long black hair stood in the middle of the room. Peter asked, "Who are you and how did you get in here?"
The man smirked and said, "The more interesting question is Why I am here. I am Loki of Asgard, and I teleported."
Peter sat up and said, "Okay. Why are you here, then? And who is the Carrion Crow and what secret are they keeping?"
Loki said, "I'm not quite sure myself why I have come. But the good captain is still a leader, even if he no longer acknowledges his title. He and the others of his merry band heard of your recent adventures and worried that you were injured. I took it upon myself to be a 'team player' and check up on you."
He shrugged and continued, "The Carrion Crow is the villain you vanquished. Is that not the name he used?"
Peter said, "Oh, you mean the Vulture!"
Peter leaned forward and said, "That's good, that he's keeping my secret." It had actually never occurred to Peter that he would be at risk. So much happened it slipped his mind, but he appreciated the reassurance. He said, "Thank you, for letting me know."
Loki turned as if to leave, then faced Peter again. He said, "Perhaps I've spent too long in the do-gooder's company, but I feel the need to give you fair warning: While this Vulture it seems will keep your secret, Stark may not be as trustworthy."
Peter frowned and asked, "What do you mean?"
Loki replied, "The Vulture, he was angry at your part in his imprisonment. But when he had an opportunity to get revenge, he kept silent."
He paused, then asked, "Do you know of what happened between me and the archer?"
Peter's forehead crinkled, but then he said, "You mean Hawkeye? Not really."
Loki looked troubled, then said, "When he was my slave, he revealed to me all of his secrets. Including a family he kept hidden from all but a few."
After a moment, Loki continued, "Even as a villain, I did not use that information against him. Some years later, the archer brought the Avengers to his hidden family's home, to protect them from Ultron."
Peter leaned forward, anxious to hear the rest of the story.
Loki said, "After the airport battle, the archer and others were taken to a secret underwater lair. Stark visited them there, to gain information on the captain's location. The prisoners taunted Stark. In revenge, he revealed the existence of the archer's family to the warden of the prison, making them possible hostages if they were captured."
Peter swallowed and asked, "Why would Mr. Stark do that?"
Loki shrugged and said, "He was angry and took that opportunity. Stark also had the means to hide his words from the warden. He chose not to."
Peter swallowed. He didn't want to believe that villains behaved better than Mr. Stark. But then he thought about how Mr. Stark threatened to tell Aunt May about Spider-Man if Peter didn't go to Germany to fight Captain America.
Loki handed Peter a super-old cell phone and said, "I think the team would be glad to hear from you that you are well."
Then Loki smiled and said, "And when you call the good captain, remember to tell him how helpful I was." Then he disappeared.
Leaving Peter with some things to think about.
Chapter 45: Forcing Team Cap to sign the Accords isn’t the solution
So many time-travel Civil War "fix its" are focused on making Team Cap sign the Accords. No matter if it's Tony, Peter, Natasha, or some other random character, THAT is their solution to the loss in Infinity War. I wonder if it's because they can't admit that Tony was wrong to sign the Sokovia Accords and very wrong to sign them and then break them. But the prop-Tony authors usually have characters yell at or guilt Team Cap into signing. Either they ignore the problems with the Accords or wave their hands and make it easy for Tony to amend them. The fact is Tony didn't have the power to amend them, and there's no reason for anyone on Team Cap to change their stance just on one character's say-so. If the goal is keeping the Avengers together, then it's Team Iron Man the time traveler should work on.
She woke up in her bedroom at the compound. Immediately she sat up and assessed the room. It was exactly as she remembered it, all those years ago. Before the Avengers and then the world fell apart.
Natasha reached for the remote and turned on the TV. She knew what the headline would be before the news appeared on the screen. She knew what date it would be.
With a glance at the time, she knew she had about two hours before Tony would arrive at the compound with Thaddeus Ross--and the Sokovia Accords.
Her first instinct was to fly to Budapest and bring Barnes in. But she didn't think that was the right course of action. She'd ended up in a specific time and place. When she was about to make a very specific choice about the Sokovia Accords. THAT was where her path would branch.
Part of Natasha wondered if this was just a dream, some near-death experience that offered her the illusion of a second chance.
But she decided it didn't matter. Whether this was real or not, she was going to change the outcome.
She wanted to hug them all. She didn't want to lose any of them, or herself.
Unity--THAT was the key.
But which side should they gather on? Natasha tried to picture manipulating Steve into signing the Accords. Asking him to trust her that all of the horrible things they read in them didn't matter. But that caused a sharp pain inside at the lie. She remembered Steve giving Natasha his trust in the midst of Shield's fall. How he never pressured her to reject the Accords, but let everyone make their own choices. She remembered the fight at the airport and seeing Rhodey fall. How haunted Wanda and the others looked after the Raft. And how Steve welcomed her back without a single "I told you so" after they realized just how awful--and set in stone--the Accords were.
She'd been wrong to think how they stayed together didn't matter. Now she knew better.
Natasha nodded to herself. When she focused on the room again, she saw the others watching her.
Steve asked, "Everything okay?"
Natasha gave a small smile, then walked over to join the group. She said, "Just thinking about how glad I am we're here together."
Sam said, "This feels like the perfect opportunity for a group hug."
So they did.
By the time Ross got to his pitch for the Accords, the others had already started questioning why they hadn't heard a word about the drafting of the SOKOVIA Accords in the years since Ultron. Ross's failure to answer why they weren't consulted and why they only found out about them three days before ratification definitely turned the tables, and he stormed out in huff.
Natasha could feel the difference as the debate was immediately about what was wrong with the Sokovia Accords and how to get the world to recognize the fatal flaws in them before the ratification. Neither Rhodey nor Vision tried to suggest signing.
She turned to look at Tony. Instead of drawing the others' attention, she walked over to where he was laying down. She said, "Looks like the active Avengers are going to retire rather than sign. Is the vote going to be unanimous?"
Tony lowered his hand and glared at her. He said, "None of you understand that we need to be put in check!"
Natasha replied, "Not like this, with no safeguards and no say in what happens. You're already retired, so you'll have to come out of retirement if you sign. Is that what you actually want?"
Tony's eyes shifted as he said, "Pepper...we're on a break. She said she loved Tony Stark, but wasn't so sure about Iron Man. I figured with the Accords, I'd get to keep them both."
Natasha wished she could say she was surprised. Instead, she squeezed Tony's shoulder and said, "I don't think she'll be happy with you being the only Avenger left standing. Maybe retiring with the rest of us will persuade her you're ready to put her first."
She asked Clint to join her on a secret mission. They flew to the bunker and made sure that the Winter Soldiers would never be awakened, and that a certain video tape was destroyed. Then they found Karpov and stole the book of Winter Soldier triggers.
The Obsidian Order never attacked. When the Asgardians arrived on Earth, Thor, Loki, and Bruce told the others about how the mad Titan Thanos was searching the universe for the Infinity Stones, but had been killed by his daughter Gamora before he ever got possession of one.
Natasha knew Gamora had also been to Vormir. She wondered if Gamora had also been given a second chance.
Each day, Natasha woke and thanked whoever had given her the opportunity to choose a better path. For herself, and the universe.
Chapter 46: Tony shouldn't have been the one to build the time GPS
Quite a few people were saying this after Endgame. Apparently there were a LOT of characters more appropriate to be involved in the research for the time heist than Tony Stark. (And even more appropriate than Bruce Banner.) Shuri, Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, Ava Starr, Bill Foster, Jane Foster, Erik Selving, and even Wong through his knowledge of the Time Stone.
What if Bruce, Scott, Natasha, and Steve were allowed to mention them?
Note: I didn't see Ant-Man and the Wasp, so I may not be representing Ava's and Bill Foster's expertise accurately. And if either of them actually got dusted, then this is an AU.
Steve sat back and said, "I guess we go to Tony. He's got the tech. And from what he said, he did figure out how to find the Tesseract overnight so I guess he has the smarts."
Natasha frowned and said, "Actually, Bruce was the driving force behind that. And even if Tony does have the smarts, does he really have the motive? After everything that happened, he just abandoned the world. We both know he's living in a cabin by a lake, and doesn't seem interested in making things better for anyone but himself."
Steve asked, "So you think he won't want to help?"
Steve sighed, then said, "You may have a point. But almost all the folks we would call are gone--Princess Shuri, Jane Foster, and Dr. Selvig. Bruce is the only other big brain who survived the Snap."
Scott shook his head and said, "Maybe not. I mean, yeah, Hank and Janet seemed to have bit the dust, along with Hope. But we met two people who are clued in to the Quantum Realm: Ava Starr and Dr. Bill Foster. If we talk to them, they'd at least try to help--I know it."
Steve and Natasha looked at each other. Then Steve said, "All right. Natasha will try to find out if they're still around and if so, where to find them. You and I will go to visit Bruce."
Natasha nodded and said, "I'll also see if Rocket can come back to Earth. Or at least join us for a consultation."
He sat back and thought for a moment. Then he said, "It would really help if Star and Foster can be found. But there may be someone else on Earth who has information about the Infinity Stones: Wong."
Steve shook his head and said, "I don't know anyone involved with the stones named Wong. Who are they?"
Bruce replied, "Wong had magic, like real magic--he could open portals to other places. And I'll bet he knows a lot about the Time Stone, and maybe knows about the others too. It can't hurt to ask."
Steve said, "You didn't mention Thor, who left Earth the same time you did to find information about the Infinity Stones. Or Tony."
Bruce rubbed his eye and said, "From what I hear, I'm not sure how much help Thor will be. He's in pretty bad shape."
Then he sighed and continued, "I'll admit, I get the same vibe as Natasha. The world collapsed and Tony just...walked away. I'm not sure he's the best person for this job."
Steve nodded and said, "All right. We'll keep Tony in our back pocket if all else fails. Do you know how to contact Wong?"
Wong joined Bruce, Scott, and Steve for the NYC part of the time heist. He was able to avoid getting hit by the Hulk in the lobby, so they got the Tesseract without a problem and Loki didn't escape. Clint and Natasha still went to Vormir, but Natasha came back. Okoye was able to keep Nebula from being captured, so past-Nebula and past-Thanos were never an issue. Ava and Dr. Foster kept a watch on the compound to make sure no one interrupted.
When the group regathered to do their Snap, they agreed that the universe should be changed to bring everyone back--including all the people lost after the Snap. Thor was in a better place mentally and physically, so he joined Ava and Bruce to snap together. They remade the universe to match the one that was before Thanos captured Nebula to force Gamora to reveal the location of the Soul Stone. With Nebula out of Thanos's hands, Nebula, Gamora, and the rest of the Guardians were able to kill Thanos before he reached the Asgardian ship. The Guardians then made the Power Stone disappear.
Thor and Bruce made sure that everyone who was born in the five years also had the potential to be born in the remade universe. But things did work out differently. The team that worked on the Time Heist still remembered everything that happened, so they still felt connected in the remade universe. They worked together to abolish the Accords and get things ready for the Asgardians to arrive.
Rocket urged the Guardians to visit Earth, so Peter Quill got to fanboy over Captain America. Thor took his second chance to be a leader to his people and stayed on Earth. Steve never saw Peggy, so he stayed in the present. He kept in touch with his friends, but retired to help build New Asgard. Wong was surprised when a portal opened up with a woman who asked him to deliver a present to Thor: an apple of Idunn that would let him offer immortality to a Midgardian.
Thor proposed, Steve accepted. Everyone from the Time Heist came to the wedding, along with all their loved ones who were brought back.
Tony never gave up his grudge. His constant rants about "Team Cap" made Pepper realize that Tony's bitterness wasn't good for her unborn baby. So she never married Tony. When Steve and Thor's marriage became public, Morgan and Pepper POTTS sent a lovely note and wedding gift.
Chapter 47: Tony using the scepter without knowing anything about it was as dumb as plugging a thumb drive you found on the street into your computer
This was a really interesting take on the creation of Ultron. The writer said it didn't matter whether Bruce and Tony were close to an interface, because the really dumb part was using the scepter at all. They plugged something they didn't know anything about into their computer system without isolating the computer they were working on from the internet. It's as dumb as picking up a thumb drive off the street and taking it home and plugging it into your laptop. No self-respecting geek would be surprised at the meltdown.
What if one of the Science Bros had actually used a brain cell?
He took a deep breath to calm himself. Now that Tony had stepped out of the room for one of those awful green smoothies, Bruce had a moment to reflect on what the hell they were doing.
He stared at the scepter sitting in the cradle. Bruce could remember the feel of it in his hands, the strange sensation of something pushing at his temper. He didn't remember much about the arguments on the helicarrier, but he knew that something had been off. And that the scepter was the reason for it.
With a few cautious steps, Bruce checked over the setup. The scepter was plugged in to Tony's subroutines already. They were planning to start the Ultron upload as soon as Tony got back. Even with the incredible capacity of the alien device, the upload would take days.
Bruce straightened as he thought about that. They were using an alien device. That they didn't have the first idea how it worked, other than the way Clint Barton had become Loki's willing slave.
He shuddered at the memory of the attack that had caused the Other Guy to wreck the helicarrier--and almost kill Natasha.
Suddenly Tony stepped in and said, "Okay, let 'er rip."
Bruce crossed his arms and said, "Air gap."
Tony frowned and put his smoothie down. He repeated, "Air gap?"
Bruce nodded and said, "Yeah. Air gap. We need to isolate Ultron and the scepter so nothing else is affected."
Tony shook his head and said, "No can do. Ultron needs to integrate with the Iron Legion and the network as the AI is transferred over. We already planned it all out."
With a frown, Bruce walked over to the scepter and pulled it. He said, "We have to change the plan. This is ridiculous Tony. We don't know ANYTHING about how this thing works, but we're just going to plug it in? It's like a little old lady plugging in a flash drive she found on the street and getting a laptop full of spyware. I can't believe we're really that dumb."
Tony stepped forward and reached for the scepter. Bruce tightened his grip and knew his eyes flashed green when Tony dropped his arm and stepped back. Tony said, "Just calm down, Big Guy. We can talk this out."
Bruce shook his head and said, "You know what, I think the person you should be talking to is Thor. So I'm going to leave the scepter with him."
As Bruce walked down the hall, he realized that even holding the scepter wasn't bothering him anymore.
Almost like the storm had passed. It was a good feeling.
Chapter 48: Tony is obsessed with Steve, but Steve isn't all that interested in Tony
The source for this is one of those stupid stories that has one-sided Steve/Tony with Steve being the interested party. Five times someone stops Steve from seeing Tony and one time Steve is assaulted. First off, Steve has never forced himself on anyone (unlike Tony). Steve has also never shown anything other than tolerance at best and often distaste when around Tony. And TONY is the one who is either mocking, complaining about, threatening, or checking out Steve. STEVE is the one who needs to get a restraining order.
Note: Set in an AU where neither Thor nor Bruce left after Age of Ultron. Frigga is still alive and Odin is still awake.
Vision frowned as he regarded the smoking remains. He said, "I do not understand."
Sam sat down in the nearest chair and said, "Honestly, neither do I. No means NO. You'd think a 'genius' like Stark would get that."
Wanda joined them and beckoned Vision to sit next to her on a couch. She said, "At first I thought maybe it was romantic, that Stark still pursued Steve. But it is actually very creepy."
Natasha walked in with a jar full of miniature cameras and listening devices soaking in vinegar. She put the jar on the table and said, "SOMEONE is unhappy we turned off all of the surveillance and blocked Friday from stalking Steve."
She looked over as Clint also entered and continued, "And SOMEONE ELSE keeps planting these devices."
Clint counted the items in the jar, shrugged, and said, "You find them all. Tony pays me each time I plant new ones, which you then find. Even NATE's college fund should be set if Tony's crush lasts much longer."
Bruce found a seat and blew on his mug of tea. He said, "While it is interesting to see Tony attracted to someone who is his complete opposite, I'm starting to feel really bad for Steve. He is NOT interested in Tony at all."
Sam nodded and said, "Yeah, apparently even Steve's patience has a limit. He's told Stark so many times to stop, and STILL Stark doesn't get the message."
Rhodey frowned from his spot in the window seat. He said, "Yeah, Tony can be a LOT to deal with. And if you don't actually want to deal with him at all...maybe Steve should take a trip somewhere without internet and outside the range of every spy satellite on the planet."
Thor stepped in with a wide smile and said, "That is a splendid idea! I was thinking of inviting Steven on a trip to Asgard. No Midgardian technology can find him there."
The others took a moment to consider it. Natasha said, "That's one way to get Steve to take a vacation."
Sam said, "I suppose we could consider saving the world without our fearless leader--IF something came up."
Rhodey said, "Having to cover for his absence would get me out of some really dull meetings with the brass."
Vision shyly clasped Wanda's hand and said, "That is very kind of you, Thor."
Thor cleared his throat, then said, "Oh it's no trouble I assure you. I would be pleased to show our good captain the wonders of the nine realms."
Wanda leaned into Vision's side, then said dreamily, "Now THAT sounds romantic."
Thor said, "Let us hope it also sounds irresistible to Steven."
Suddenly Steve stormed in and threw a wide-brimmed hat on the coffee table, next to the destroyed drone. He said, "There's ANOTHER one out there!"
Thor's face darkened as he summoned Mjolnir. He said, "I will deal with that one as well."
As he moved to leave, he paused by Steve and gently touched Steve's shoulder. Thor said, "The others have heard of my solution to Stark's continued disturbances. I hope you will consider it."
When Thor asked Steve to marry him, Thor had already considered how strong Steve's connections were to his mortal friends. Thor offered Steve immortality and the promise that Steve could stay on Midgard as he needed.
It took a while for Loki to get over his own crush on the captain. But he found the perfect wedding gift: Whenever Tony Stark tried to spy on Steven, all of Stark's screens would play footage of Thor and Steve's wedding. Over and over.
Chapter 49: If Steve was an Omega, he would NEVER be interested in Alpha!Tony
The source for this one sounds truly awful. Bucky is a crazed, abusive Alpha trying to restake his claim on the weak, helpless Omega Steve, who needs to be rescued by big strong perfect Alpha Tony. As if Steve suddenly isn't his own man because he's an Omega. And as if Tony wasn't one of the most abusive people Steve has ever met. How would Omega Steve really react?
Note: Set after Avengers 1.
Considering what happened, Steve was REALLY lucky. If he was an alpha, he could easily see himself being ordered to attend the heat of every fertile omega in the area. But not even Col. Phillips was going to order Steve to get pregnant.
While Steve's internal equipment was in good working order, he'd never actually had a heat. The theory was that his body was aware that Steve was not in a good place to carry a pregnancy to term. Or it could be that he was an Omega whose heat wouldn't be triggered until he was in contact with a compatible Alpha.
He was spending more and more time outside. It seemed easier than dealing with Tony Stark.
Steve had always been the first person to stand up if an Omega was being harassed by an Alpha. But somehow he didn't seem able to defend himself the same way. He kept dealing with Stark's crowding too close and constant innuendo by moving away and ignoring the taunts.
But now Stark was showing up at the work sites. Steve never dressed in anything except a shirt, jeans, gloves, and workboots, so no one knew who he was. Until Stark started on his "Cap" taunting.
Steve nearly gagged at Stark's greasy scent as Stark came almost close enough to touch. Stark said, "Really Cap, I almost can't believe you're an omega. But up close, you smell like apple pie and I'm ready to dig in."
Steve frowned and said, "Back off, Stark."
Stark leaned even closer and whispered, "Make me. I KNOW you can't resist me."
Suddenly a scent that Steve could only describe as fresh air accompanied the breeze of Stark being yanked away from Steve.
Steve turned to see an attractive black Alpha standing there with his impressive arms crossed. The newcomer said, "Maybe the man doesn't think he should need to--because Alphas should know better than to get all up in ANYBODY'S business."
Stark blinked. Then he tried to puff himself up. His scent got stronger, which caused both Steve and the other Alpha to step back to avoid the stench. Stark said, "Do you know even KNOW who you're talking to?"
The Alpha said, "Tony Stark. Former weapons manufacturer for the armed services, and now just for himself."
Stark glared and asked, "And you are?"
The Alpha gave a gap-toothed smile and said, "Sam Wilson. Former pararescue for the armed services. Now a counselor for veterans."
Steve put out his hand to Sam and said, "Steve Rogers. Veteran."
He gasped at the thrill that ran through his whole body as he and Sam shook hands. Steve almost leaned in to get more of that fresh scent, but held himself back.
Sam smiled at Steve and said, "Thanks for saving our collective bacon."
Stark pushed forward again and said, "I'M the one who flew the nuke into the wormhole."
Sam nodded and said, "Yes you did. And it's great that this time you didn't even need a medal and a ceremony ahead of time to do it."
Steve looked at Sam in question. Sam shrugged and said, "I got some buddies in the different branches. There are a LOT of stories about Tony Stark. Iron Ham rather than Iron Man, you know what I mean?"
Steve shook his head and said, "No, I don't. Maybe we could get some coffee and you could tell me?"
He blushed at his forwardness. Peggy and Bucky would be proud at Steve taking the initiative.
Neither man noticed when Stark flew off in a huff.
Sam had been a little concerned about meeting Bucky Barnes, but the Alpha POW was thrilled that Steve had met someone who saw Steve for who he was, not what he looked like. Bucky and Natasha soon became an item.
Neither Sam nor Steve were interested in being around Stark, so the mission to clear the Hydra bases didn't include Iron Man. Steve was able to persuade Wanda and Pietro that Strucker had lied to them. The twins turned on Strucker and helped destroy the last Hydra base.
Clint invited Thor, Natasha, Bruce, Bucky, Pietro, Wanda, Sam, and Steve to a secret location, which turned out to be the Barton farm.
Steve asked Clint to help him drop off the grid. When everything was in place, Steve asked Bucky to accept the shield as the new Captain America as Sam and Steve went on reserve status. Sam and Steve married at their new place near Clint and Laura's.
After Steve and Sam settled in, Steve experienced his first heat. Nine months later, their first set of twins were born.
Without the destruction caused by Ultron, the destruction of Sokovia and the Sokovia Accords never happened. Everyone lived happily ever after, and never needed to be near Tony's greasy smell or smarmy Alpha attitude ever again.
Chapter 50: If Darcy was Tony’s daughter, she would NOT prop him
I don't know why prop-Tony writers keep sticking random people on Tony's family tree, but Darcy does NOT seem like she'd be a dutiful daughter.
She rolled her eyes and blocked it again.
Jane looked over and said, "Your stalker again? That guy must be a real jerk."
Darcy said, "Tell me about it. He does NOT get that No means No."
She opened up her notebook to the contact log and wrote down the time, date, and "forced blocked number back onto phone" in the columns.
Jane went back to checking her calculations, but she also said, "You know Darcy, you don't have to put up with this. If you ever need somebody to go with you to the cops, or even to confront the guy--"
Darcy smiled and said, "Thanks, you're a good boss and a great friend. But I need to handle this myself."
She reminded herself that she COULD handle it when the Iron Man armor landed in front of the university library. Darcy was relieved Jane had gone to scan some materials as her father stepped out the suit and strolled through the front door.
As he walked over to the table where Jane and Darcy had spread their stuff, Darcy said, "The restraining order says you need to stay 10 feet away at all times."
Tony stopped and scowled. He said, "I wish you'd drop that stupid thing. I'm your FATHER."
Darcy scoffed and said, "You're a sperm donor. Your job was done the morning after the one-night stand you had with my mom."
He said, "Don't be like that."
She lifted a brow and asked, "What, honest? I've already told you I don't want anything to do with you."
Tony stepped forward, but stopped again when Darcy lifted her phone. He said, "Why are you so stubborn? You could have a full ride, a great apartment, more money than you'll ever need. All you have to do is be Darcy Stark."
Darcy replied, "All I'd have to do is smile and pretend I'm proud of a man who spent most of my life building bombs and not caring who they killed. And hoarding all the money he got for selling those bombs."
He stepped forward again and said, "So me saving the world means nothing to you?"
She replied, "I've done my part to save the world. So did Jane, Thor, Dr. Selvig...there are a lot of people who stepped up and did what was right. So no, not so much. Especially when I think about what you've done since the Battle of New York."
Darcy stood and said, "Did you EVER bother to read the Sokovia Accords before you became their poster boy? Because I did. I wanted to think you were a good guy. And I tried to make myself believe it, if only for the payday that would come with having a multi-billionaire as Daddy Dearest."
She pocketed her phone and said, "But the fact is that you're okay with locking people up forever just because of their DNA. And denying them all their rights because they're different...right now I don't want to have anything to do with you. Keep violating the order and I WILL use my taser."
Darcy didn't turn around once when she left. At some point she'd probably play nice for the Stark piles of cash. But not today.
Chapter 51: Teenager Tony would be as annoying as adult Tony
In the original, Tony is turned into a bratty 14-year-old that the Avengers have to escort to college classes. Bucky comes to pity him because Tony "had it so hard." But it's not like anyone blackmailed 14-year-old Tony into becoming some war profiteer's child soldier, is it? Tony at 21 was pretty obnoxious--it's likely that as a teenager he was the same or worse.
Note: Set in an AU where Bucky and Steve met at the museum at the end of Winter Soldier.
Maria Hill shrugged and said, "We tried. He's harassing Pepper and the admins. At least with you guys, I know if Tony tries to pull anything, you'll show him the error of his ways."
Steve frowned from where he sat next to Natasha. He asked, "How are we doing this, in shifts? I really don't want to leave Bucky alone that long. He's still getting settled."
Maria said, "Why not bring him here for a few days? That way you won't have to commute from Brooklyn."
Steve said, "I'm not sure I'm a good choice for this. Apparently Tony has been VERY vocal about how much he hates Captain America."
Natasha said, "That makes you the perfect choice. He'll be so focused on you, he won't make trouble for anyone else."
He shook the bottle of homemade dressing, then carried the bowl to the table in Tony's kitchen, where a plate of roast chicken and a loaf of bread already waited.
He walked down the short corridor to the main living room.
Bucky and Tony were still having their staring contest on the couch. They looked like bookends with their crossed arms and scowling faces.
Steve said, "Lunch is ready."
Bucky stood and said to the teenager, "Considering you already tried to help yourself to the liquor twice, we're not leaving you alone in here. Get moving or I'll haul you to the table."
Tony frowned and said, "You can't force feed me, you know. There are laws about that."
Bucky shrugged and said, "Nobody said you had to eat. Just sit. In the kitchen."
Tony sulked for another minute, but when Bucky moved toward him, Tony jumped up and stomped his way to the kitchen.
He flung himself into a chair and glared at the meal. He said, "I SAID I wanted a burger and fries."
Steve sat down and said, "And I told you that you could have what you wanted if you helped out. You chose not to, so I made what I wanted."
Bucky and Steve served themselves and started eating. Tony shoved his empty plate so it shattered on the tile floor.
Both men paused in their meal. Steve asked, "Why did you do that?"
Tony shrugged and said, "I wanted to. It's all my stuff, right?"
Steve nodded and said, "But now you've got no plate--and a mess to clean up."
Tony smirked and said, "Make me."
Steve and Bucky looked at each other. Steve shrugged and said, "Not right now."
Tony blinked. Then he said, "What, the Star-Spangled Man doesn't have a plan?"
Steve looked straight at Tony and answered, "Actually, I do."
He grumbled at first. (It was repair the plate or be denied access to ANYTHING electronic. So yeah, Tony repaired the plate. Under protest.)
But then he found himself LIKING it. It reminded him of making things in the lab at school. But here he KNEW the right combination to make the pieces fit together.
When he was done, he realized that hours had passed and his mind had calmed.
And somehow, he'd been restored to his fortysomething self.
Tony looked over at Cap--Steve, who was sketching nearby. Tony asked, "So when did I trade in the newer model?"
Steve shrugged and answered, "About an hour ago. I didn't want to disrupt your focus."
Tony looked at the repaired plate. It was...beautiful. And for the first time in a while, Tony felt at peace.
Captain America was still a pain in the ass. But Steve Rogers? Well, yeah, him too. But Steve was also a pretty good guy.
Not that Tony would ever admit it. Or...maybe he would.
Chapter 52: If Tony's suit was so fragile that Steve collapsed it from one blow, Tony would never have made it out of Afghanistan
The idea that Tony suffered extensive damage in Siberia is used A LOT so people will feel sorry for Tony. The latest one has Steve's blow to the arc reactor somehow pulverizing Tony's heart, lungs, liver, ribs, sternum, spleen, and kidneys. But Tony survived because Tony. If one blow could do all that, it must mean Tony's latest suits were made out of tinfoil instead of anything stronger.
Bucky said softly, "Damn. I almost don't believe it."
Steve grimaced and looked toward the closed door. He asked, "How is that possible? I only reflected one of his own shots onto the Iron Man armor. His last suit was strong enough to take the weight of several cars."
Shuri turned toward a nearby screen and pulled up an image of a human torso. She said, "I couldn't believe it either, but apparently this suit did not have the reinforcements of the one you describe. Stark's repulsor beam slammed into his chest, putting weight on his sternum and collapsing it and his ribs. Which of course took out the heart, lungs, liver, spleen, pancreas, and a kidney. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure how the suit sustained so much damage. It's like it was made out of tissue paper, or the beam he shot at Barnes was more powerful than anything I've ever seen."
T'Challa sighed, then said, "It is fortunate that Stark's suit recorded his attack upon Barnes and you. It clearly shows that you acted in self-defense, and that Stark's own weapon is the one that killed him."
Shuri said, "Really Stark's incredibly poor defensive designs, but it's the same thing in the end. You'd think a genius would know better."
Chapter 53: Tony rarely does anything heroic unless he’s forced
This is really interesting. You can see from prelude comics this is true--Tony spends his time between films building suits for himself. But it's also shown in the films. The three Iron Man films have Tony mostly doing things to please or profit himself. So does Civil War and most of Homecoming. As far as I know, the only times Tony is actively helping while not forced by circumstances is the beginning of Age of Ultron and the ferry scene in Homecoming. Every other time, he has no choice.
Cindy nodded. She gestured toward the screen that had just finished an embarrassingly short video and said, "You said you wanted only the highlights, Mr. Hogan. Only good things, to counter all of the 'Ding Dong the Iron Bitch Is Finally Dead' retrospectives of all the harm Tony Stark caused in the last 30 years."
Happy nodded and said, "Yeah, something to pump up the boss. More than the murals that I've com--that people have been putting up in tribute."
Cindy sighed and said, "I'm sorry Mr. Hogan, but so much of Mr. Stark's activities have turned out to be...rather problematic. And as far as heroics..."
Happy frowned and asked, "What about them?"
Cindy shrugged and said, "There isn't really a lot of them. At first there was some activity--but it's tainted by Mr. Stark's arrogant claim of privatizing world peace. But after the Battle of New York, Mr. Stark didn't actually DO much in the way of solo heroics. He helped the Avengers take down Hydra bases, but essentially retired after the destruction of Sokovia. Then he signed the Sokovia Accords and never did anything until that spaceship appeared in New York right before the Blip. He didn't do anything at all during the whole five years. And we don't have any footage of his final sacrifice."
She glanced at the video again and said, "There are rumors around THAT as well. That Mr. Stark made sure that all of the people who died after the dusting would NOT be brought back."
Cindy's jaw tightened as she said, "People like my sisters and their families."
She turned back to Happy and said, "So I can delete this video and give you a refund, but this is the best I can do."
Happy thought for a moment--about all the boss DIDN'T do--and said, "Yeah, I never thought about it that way. I don't want a refund. But don't bother posting that video. The murals will be more than enough."
Chapter 54: Tony chose to ampute Bucky's arm
It's funny how many prop-Tony folks whine about how Steve and Bucky should have just put their hands up and let Tony attack Bucky. So often they portray Steve disabling Tony's suit as Tony being severely beaten. But these same people ignore that Tony cut off Bucky's arm for no reason. He could have used a repulsor to push Bucky away, but instead used a laser to cut a human being. One even tried to suggest that because it was Bucky's mechanical arm, it didn't count. That's truly disgusting. And the prop-Tony folks ignore that AFTER mutilating Bucky, Tony chose to shoot Bucky in the back AND kick Bucky in the head.
She turned to look at Tony, who sat with her at the desk, and said, "So are you ready to go again?"
Tony smirked at her and said, "Funny, that's what you said in the sack, too."
Christine's eyes narrowed, but she said, "We've covered the reasons you've given for signing the Accords. But what the viewers really want to know is why you've been breaking them."
She turned to direct Tony toward a screen behind them. She said, "We're now showing footage of an Iron Man suit crossing international borders to go from Germany to Siberia. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross confirmed that none of the Avengers have been authorized to undertake any missions. So what's going on?"
Tony shifted in his seat and said, "That's probably a suit that glitched during testing."
Christine smirked and said, "Really? Because we have footage of you IN the suit in Siberia."
She frowned a moment and said, "I want to warn our viewers that this footage is extremely violent. Parents may want to be sure their children are out of the room."
As footage of Iron Man watching a video and then attacking Captain America and James Buchanan Barnes played on the screen, Christine said, "From our experts' analysis of the footage, it appears that you are attempting to murder the former Winter Soldier while Captain America intervenes to stop your attack. Is that an accurate description of events?"
Tony said nothing.
As the replay continued, Christine winced and said, "The brutality of this attack is obvious. Tony, we've seen what your suits can do. Why did you choose to amputate Mr. Barnes' arm? You could have pushed him away or used a repulsor. Instead you mutilated Mr. Barnes, then shot him in the back and literally kicked him when he was down."
Christine believed that the viewers worldwide were probably as horrified as the people in the newsroom when they first went through the leaked footage. It was horrifying to watch Iron Man attack over and over again.
When the Iron Man suit was finally disabled, Christine stayed silent as on the screen, Tony taunted Captain America. When Captain America shrugged and dropped the shield, Christine turned to Tony and asked, "Any comments? The public wants to know exactly why you continued to attack the way you did. And what kind of man would do something like that."
Silence reigned in the studio. A small part of Christine thought it was nice to stick it to Tony Stark for a change.
Chapter 55: Quentin Beck could have destroyed Tony’s reputation just by telling the truth about him
There's an interesting theory that despite Quentin Beck being a villain, he was a better mentor to Peter than Tony Stark. Beck at least listened to Peter and treated him as a colleague, not a lackey. The other point is that all Beck had to do was tell the truth about Tony Stark, and Tony's reputation would have been ruined. What would have happened if Beck took action after Civil War?
He webbed his way onto one of his favorite roofs. He skidded to a stop when he saw someone else already there.
At first Peter thought the bearded man was Mr. Stark, but this guy was much younger. The man said, "Hey, I thought you'd be here tonight."
Peter asked, "How did you find me?"
The man shrugged and said, "Stark put a tracker in your suit."
Peter's eyes widened as he started patting himself down.
The man said, "You'll probably need some privacy and a laptop to neutralize it."
The man stepped forward and said, "I'm Quentin Beck. I'm not here to cause trouble. Just to give you a heads-up."
Peter asked, "About what?"
Beck said, "Stark's going down. You may want to keep your distance."
Peter sat on an AC unit and asked, "What do you mean?"
Beck leaned against a wall and replied, "Working for Stark Industries isn't bad--unless you have to work for Tony Stark. He's screwed over a LOT of people through the years. We got together and started talking about ways to give Stark a dose of his own medicine."
He gestured and continued, "We're not going to do anything TO him. Just let the world know what he's hiding."
Peter asked, "What's that got to do with me?"
Beck answered, "We're going to do our best to make sure it has NOTHING to do with you. You're just trying to help out, as far as we can tell. It's not your fault Stark made you violate the Accords."
Peter felt a chill. He asked, "What?"
Beck nodded and said, "Like I said, you've got a tracker. So it's clear you went from New York to Berlin. You were supposed to get U.N. permission first."
Peter said, "I--I didn't--Mr. Stark said--"
Beck lifted a hand and said, "Easy, kid. And you really are a kid, aren't you? Either way, we're not interested in getting you in trouble. The funny thing is, STARK has a tracker in his suit, too. And we tracked him from somewhere out in the ocean to Siberia. He ALSO didn't have permission."
Peter frowned and said, "That doesn't sound good--but I'm sure Mr. Stark had his reasons."
Beck said, "He always does. And they always make sense, to HIM. But I'm curious about his reason for designing a satellite that can hack into people's cell phones and databases. I think the world will be too."
Peter asked, "How do you know about it?"
Beck shrugged and said, "Honestly, Stark's security is not that great. He's lucky we're not going after his company, just him. But we WILL try to keep you out of it."
Peter said, "Okay, thanks for the heads-up."
Beck straightened up and said, "By the way, if you're thinking of warning Stark, you're already too late. I'd focus on disabling that tracker if I were you."
A group of Stark Industries employees came forward as the whistleblowers. They also had evidence of Stark stealing his employees' work and denying them their due credit and compensation.
Peter never saw Quentin Beck again. He never saw Mr. Stark again either, but that was because Mr. Stark was serving a lengthy prison sentence.
Chapter 56: If Natasha was in Siberia, she wouldn’t be rescuing Tony
Prop-Tony writers keep sending random people to Siberia to "rescue" Tony from his attempt to murder Bucky Barnes. This time it's the Black Widow. Considering how Tony treated her, why would Natasha be going anywhere to rescue HIM? Especially when he's the one who's assaulting Bucky and Steve. The writer of this gem also thinks the Sokovia Accords make sense, so that explains a lot.
Suddenly a voice said, "Your suit's heaters are still working. Steve needed to get Barnes away from you before you succeeded in killing him. And you're neither young, pretty, nor likely to end up in Heaven."
Tony turned to see Natasha walking forward. She stopped a few feet away and said, "So who exactly on the Accords panel gave you permission to be here?"
Tony scowled and said, "If you're just going to be annoying you can shut up right now."
Natasha crossed her arms and said, "No really, you went on and on about consequences and accountability. So you MUST have followed the Accords policies and gotten clearance to violate all those countries' airspaces on your way here."
Tony stood up and said, "You're supposed to be MY friend, Romanov. You're supposed to rescue ME!"
Natasha lifted an eyebrow and said, "Maybe you should have remembered what good friends we supposedly are before you made that crack about me being a double agent."
She shifted and said, "I'm here for just one thing: Information. Where did Ross take the others?"
Tony sneered and said, "You mean Cap's little minions? Those losers can stay where Ross put them."
Natasha looked sad for a moment as she said, "I wish I could say I expected a different answer. I don't have time to rescue you, Tony. I'm going to help Steve rescue the rest of the team."
Tony shouted, "You can't just abandon me!"
Natasha shrugged and said, "Sure I can. Just watch me."
At the door, she turned back and said, "Hopefully a genius like you will notice the snowmobile sitting right outside the door. Or the Wakandan jet with the king and the REAL Vienna bomber sitting next to it. Have a nice life."
Chapter 57: Dr. Strange did better by Peter than Tony
This is interesting. We all know how toxic IronDad is, and this theory suggests that Dr. Strange did a better job as a mentor because he actually listened to Peter and cared about what happened to him. And they had conflicts because they were both equally engaged in the situation--Dr. Strange wasn't hiding information from Peter or talking down to him. So pretty much the opposite of the way Tony treated Peter.
Note: I haven't seen No Way Home.
He was the only one who remembered now.
It felt as though he'd grown up, like now he was finally an adult.
Part of it was all the losses, but another part was because of Dr. Strange.
Dr. Strange had talked to Peter like he MATTERED. And sure, they disagreed. But Dr. Strange didn't make fun of Peter or treat him like a know-nothing kid.
And Dr. Strange didn't want anything FROM Peter. He was willing to consider doing something FOR Peter without needing anything in return.
When Peter thought about that, it made him realize just how awful Mr. Stark had been to Peter. Mr. Stark had given Peter a suit IF Peter did what he wanted. And when Peter said No, Mr. Stark had threatened to tell Aunt May.
And Mr. Stark had NOT treated Peter well. Ghosting Peter, telling him to "zip it"...Peter realized now that he should have walked away from Mr. Stark at the start.
Maybe if Peter had, he would have had the chance to meet someone he could REALLY look up to. Maybe even Dr. Strange.
Probably not--their powers were too different--but at least now Peter knew the difference between a mentor and a user.
Chapter 58: TONY is the only Avenger who doesn't understand money (or respect other people's time)
The source for this one is a truly ridiculous prop-Tony story that pretends Steve doesn't understand working for a living. The lies include that Steve constantly wants Tony to drop everything to train, that Steve wouldn't plan those kinds of things ahead of time, that Tony does ANYTHING with his company other than profit from it, and that TONY would have more of a clue how people are living today than Depression Era survivor Steve. Remember that the one time Tony had to rely on himself, he exploited a child rather than get an actual job.
Note: Apparently 4/10 is a reference to pot.
He looked at the circle of annoyed faces and asked, "What?"
Steve said, "We had a team training session on the calendar for a month, Tony. You know Thor only has a certain window of time when he was available."
Tony shrugged and said, "So start without me."
Steve replied, "We did. We finished without you too. I just wanted to let you know that Thor won't be around for months, so you missed your chance to see if a bigger jolt from Mjolnir could power your suit even higher."
Tony crossed his arms and said, "Listen old man, maybe think back to the good old days of canned beans and hobos. SOME of us have to work for a living--"
Pepper said, "What's this 'us'? YOU aren't working on anything except suit improvements for yourself. We moved the quarterly assessment TWICE because despite having it on your calendar for weeks, you couldn't be bothered to show up. I can't give out raises or promotions until the board approves. And YOU are the only member of the board who can't be bothered to sign off."
Maria Hill said, "I'm just here to let you know that laser designer that you asked me to book an hour with for you is no longer interested in 'collaboration with someone who behaves like a spoiled child and believes that his money makes him more important than other people's time'. I don't think you'll be getting a look at his tech..."
Natasha smirked and said, "You missed your chance to do the 4/20 4:20 blaze. It was a blast. Good luck next year."
Rhodey and Happy waved. Rhodey said, "We've got to head out right now to make the first pitch. We'll think of you as we enjoy the snacks in the VIP suite."
As everyone else moved away, Pepper said, "I keep hoping that someday you'll understand that other people's time and money are important. That it's incredibly rude to make others constantly shift their schedules because you can't be bothered to be where you said you'd be, when you're supposed to be there."
Before she turned to leave, Pepper said over her shoulder, "Good news--you'll have LOTS more alone time. I've canceled all of our dates and 'other activities'."
As Tony stood alone in the corridor, he realized that he really DIDN'T value other people's time or money, only his own whims. It wasn't the Great Depression anymore. People could and would walk out on bosses--and friends--who didn't respect them.
Now Tony could only hope they'd come back and give him another chance.
Chapter 59: If Tony in another universe is loved by everyone, it's because he does NOT behave like MCU!Tony
The prop-Tony writer of the original really hasn't thought this through. They pretend MCU!Tony is a poor, put-upon woobie who gets sent to a universe where AU!Tony is loved. If they're suggesting that the two Tonys are the same, then their "fanon version of the team" have to be as oblivious as Peter and Happy, who never seem to realize they're being exploited or made fun of. (And poor Steve and Bucky must have been brainwashed as well, because they end up in bed with the man who mutilated Bucky).
Because otherwise, AU!Tony has to be COMPLETELY different from MCU!Tony. He wouldn't be homophobic, transphobic, or misogynist. He would respect his colleagues and wouldn't hide his plan to unleash Ultron from them. He wouldn't think being able to keep Pepper and Iron Man was worth stripping enhanced people of their rights. So, pretty much NOT Tony.
He looked around the living room of an unfamiliar apartment. He didn't know where he was or where his suit was.
Suddenly he heard voices from down the hallway and steps growing closer.
He braced himself when Cap and the Winter Soldier walked into the room, dressed in sweatpants and tight T-shirts.
Cap smiled and said, "Tony!"
He came forward, picked Tony up, and whirled him around. Cap said, "I KNEW you would change your mind. You NEVER could hide using the scepter from the team--think of what would have happened if you and Bruce had actually tried to upload Ultron."
Cap put Tony down, wrapped an arm around Tony's shoulder, and walked him toward the couch. Cap continued, "And you would NEVER try to make anyone sign the U.N.'s Accords. They're AWFUL. How can the Avengers operate if we have to wait until some panel gives permission to do ANYTHING. And if we DON'T wait, they throw us in jail with no lawyers or trials for as long as they want. You would NEVER agree to something like that, especially knowing that there would be no way to force any amendments."
Barnes stepped to Tony's other side and said, "And it was great of you to apologize for attacking me. Even better that you stopped when I was no threat to you. Just like you didn't shoot Sam when he tried to help Rhodey at the airfield."
Cap nodded and said, "It was very brave of you to come when we had more people than you were expecting, but you DIDN'T try to blackmail that teenager into helping you out. And you actually LISTENED--about the problems with the Accords and the threat of the Winter Soldiers. No wonder we developed such strong feelings for you."
Tony waved his arm and said, "Freeze simulation. Even I don't believe that's still me."
He stood in the frozen scenario and said, "Friday, let's do a little editing."
Friday replied, "Yes, boss."
He said, "Adjust Rogers and Barnes so that they KNOW everything I've done. BUT they still love and dote on me anyway."
Friday said, "Boss...that doesn't work with the templates. The core principles are based on all of the information provided. In this scenario...it just wouldn't happen."
Tony frowned and said, "So make a copy and adjust the templates. I want them loving ME. Exactly as I am."
Friday said, "Yes, boss...resuming scenario."
As soon as Cap and Barnes came back to life, Tony knew it would never work. The two men were smiling vacantly, in a way that reminded Tony of the last Stepford Wives film.
When the men stepped forward, Tony stepped back.
Cap said, "I love you, Tony."
Tony actually cringed at how fake and mechanical it sounded. Both Cap and Barnes looked like Friday had scrubbed them clean.
He asked, "Friday, what percentage of the original templates remain?"
Friday replied, "I kept as much as possible while fulfilling the requested parameters...Barnes retains 35 percent, Captain Rogers 27 percent of original profile."
The two men--two constructs stepped forward again with their empty eyes and open arms.
Tony fled the room. When he was in the corridor, he said, "Delete templates and program."
He should have known that the only way to get a different reaction from Cap and Barnes was to BE a different person.
The project was doomed from the start.
Chapter 60: If Tony "invented the Helicarriers," then he's totally okay with spying on and killing random people
This one shows how oblivious some prop-Tony writers are. Tony mentally complains how stupid it is that Sam, Natasha, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and Steve were going to take on Hydra. Apparently not noticing how even MORE stupid it was for Tony to take on Thanos with only Dr. Strange and Spider-Man. It also assumes Tony is able to stop the helicarriers with the flick of a switch, which is horrifying considering how bad his security is. It also supports the theory that EDITH wasn't a fluke--Tony Stark is perfectly okay with violating people's "precious freedoms" as far back as 2014.
Note: Set in an AU where Nick Fury and Maria Hill talk to Steve and Natasha before the launch of the Insight satellite.
He strutted into the diner where Nick had arranged the meeting in a back booth. As Tony slid onto the bench, he noticed how Nick slumped in his seat. Tony asked, "So what do you need me to fix now?"
Nick sighed and said, "I'm hearing some things that make me think that Shield has secrets that even I didn't know about."
Tony said, "Huh. Never thought I'd hear you admit that."
Nick shrugged and said, "I'm not someone who lets their ego stand in the way of getting things done. Especially when global security is involved."
Tony leaned back and said, "The helicarriers are supposed to take care of that. Between the surveillance capabilities, search algorithms, and assorted firepower, my babies can kick anybody's ass."
Nick said, "But what if they fall into the wrong hands? I'm thinking there are some people in Shield that might decide all that power needs to be put to use--and not necessarily on approved targets."
Tony waved a hand and said, "No need to worry about that, Popeye. I've got everything well in hand."
He COULD have told Nick about how easily Tony could take control of the helicarriers. Instead, he just smiled.
Suddenly Nick sat up and said, "Yeah, that's what I thought."
Before Tony could react, someone reached from behind Tony, ripped off Tony's gauntlet/watch, and slapped some thick cuffs over his wrists.
As Tony turned to look, Clint plucked the comm/sunglasses off Tony's head and put the watch and glasses in a lead-lined box. Then Clint scanned Tony with a device and after it beeped, said, "All clear."
Tony looked between the two of them and said, "What the hell?"
Nick leaned back and said, "You hacked into Shield as soon as we let you board a helicarrier back when Thor and Loki showed up. Did you really think we'd let you play around our systems unsupervised?"
Clint shrugged and said, "Hey, at least closing him out of the system let you know about the shadowy secret underbelly of Shield."
Tony frowned and asked, "What are you talking about?"
Nick replied, "Hydra. In Shield. Apparently they've been manipulating things behind the scenes for a long time. The Project Insight helicarriers were going to be their declaration of war--on the world."
Clint nudged Tony and said, "Funny how you didn't notice anything while you were in their systems. Then again, you didn't notice us in YOUR systems either."
Tony shook his head and said, "Impossible."
Clint shrugged and said, "If you say so. But all of your system and database hacks were recorded as evidence, and then shut down with extreme prejudice."
He gestured for two people dressed in black to come forward. He said, "Don't worry. I cleared your babysitters myself. You'll be perfectly safe."
Nick stood up and said, "And now you get to sit here for the next few hours while the rest of us take care of business."
Nick confronted Alexander Pierce. Alexander Pierce didn't survive.
The team found the Winter Soldier in the bank vault when they cleared that Hydra base. Steve and Natasha fought the Winter Soldier while the team took out the rest of Hydra. Bucky managed to regain his sense of self during the battle.
Sam Wilson got involved first by helping Steve find counselors for Bucky and himself. When Sam realized he wasn't quite done being a hero, he requested his wings and joined the Avengers as Falcon the same time Rhodey officially joined as War Machine.
Going through the files provided a lot of information that helped them clear the international Hydra bases. When they reached Sokovia, Steve was able to persuade the twins to give up their plans for revenge and instead work to help their countrymen. Surprisingly, Bruce stayed to help. Zemo and the rest of his death squad were imprisoned by the new, non-Hydra leadership.
Pepper took over running Stark Industries. She was still allowed to use Jarvis, but the AI was monitored so it did not violate anyone's privacy or hack into government or private networks.
Although Tony's misuse of power did reveal Hydra, he was still sentenced for his crimes and denied access to any communications or computer equipment while serving his sentence. He wouldn't find out if he was going to be kept under those restrictions even after he left prison until he became eligible for parole. If he ever did.
Chapter 61: Vision and Shuri helped hide Team Cap
I think the members of Team Cap would have enough spy training from Clint and Natasha to make it on their own, but this theory is certainly possible. And it definitely furthers the idea that no one really finds Tony trustworthy.
Shuri shuddered as she pictured the famous Iron Man armor doing the damage she saw on the men's clothing and bodies. She was glad her brother had realized his error before HE was the one to injure Barnes so badly.
Rogers had come to thank her for her willingness to work on removing Barnes' triggers. He was so sad and earnest that she'd added him to her list of broken white boys she didn't mind meeting.
He'd also looked a little incomplete without his shield. She might have to do something about that.
But for now, Shuri was keeping quiet tabs on the captain and his crew as he sprung them from some underwater prison that wasn't even on the map. Shuri felt like she might have to do something about that, too. Until then, she was helping erase the fugitives' presence on security cameras and in other systems.
Strangely, it seemed like someone else was doing that as well. Shuri made sure her tracks were covered, then sent an anonymous note to the other internet do-gooder.
The response was a request to chat. Shuri shrugged and opened up a window.
She typed, "Hey, I think we're doing the same work here."
X replied, "It would seem we are both interested in protecting the fugitives from the Sokovia Accords."
Shuri nodded to herself and typed, "I saw the damage done when someone abuses their power firsthand."
She knew that Stark didn't get permission to be in Siberia. And NOBODY had permission to cut someone's arm off, even if it was metal.
X typed back, "I...know what that entails as well. I also saw how desperate someone can become to escape the Accords."
Shuri smiled and typed, "Well it's good to know that I'm not alone in the good fight. You want to split up the workload? Or set up private line in case there's an emergency?"
X replied, "I must tell you that I know who you are, your highness. I believe it only fair to reveal myself as well. I am the Vision."
While Shuri blinked in shock, Vision continued, "If you no longer want to associate with me, I will understand."
Shuri typed back, "No, it's okay, just a lot of OMG in my head right now. Maybe we can do face-to-face? Just two people chatting, nothing to do with our...extracurricular activities."
Vision typed, "I would like that very much indeed. :)"
Vision didn't get injured when the others took out Proxima Midnight and Cull Obsidian. But the team decided to remove the Mind Stone and destroy it, just in case. Shuri prepared a vibranium power cell shaped the same for Vision. When the swap was made, Vision lost his phasing abilities, but kept his other powers and luckily, all of his personality and emotions.
Wanda destroyed the Mind Stone, but they created a fake stone--and a fake hologram of Vision--to distract Thanos.
The team came together with the Black Panther and the Wakandan warriors to take on Thanos. Wanda and half the team kept Thanos pinned while the others removed the gauntlet and Vision cut it in half. After they had the rest of the stones, Wanda revealed that the Mind Stone was blasted to atoms.
Thanos roared in fury at forever being denied his chance to remake the universe. He charged at Wanda just as Thor, Groot, and Rocket arrived. Thor immediately stepped between Wanda and Thanos and swung.
This time he went for the head.
With Thanos dead, the rest of his followers retreated and left for a safer planet.
They also left Peter off in his neighborhood, because he was worried about his Aunt May and her reaction to seeing him disappear aboard an alien ship.
Dr. Strange accompanied the Guardians to Wakanda. He was thrilled to get the Time Stone back. And a little smug, because this Dr. Strange KNEW this would happen.
Shuri stood up with Vision as his Best Woman, while Wanda chose Steve Rogers to be her Man of Honor. Clint Barton was the officiant, while Natasha Romanov revealed a surprisingly beautiful singing voice as she serenaded Wanda and Vision as they walked down the aisle as husband and wife. Sam glided overhead scattering flower petals. Colonel James Rhodes had the most unusual wedding gift--the news that the Sokovia Accords would soon be abolished.
It wasn't anything like a Wakandan ceremony, but Shuri thought it was a good omen for the universe's future.
Chapter 62: Team Iron Man is dangerous
So many prop-Tony stories say Team Cap are dangerous rogues. But there's actually no evidence for that. Steve stopped the illegal kill squad with no loss of life. Bucky saved himself by damaging a small bit of concrete that didn't risk the structural integrity of the bridge. At the airport, Wanda destroyed some cars, while Scott mistakenly blew up a fuel truck and destroyed a single unoccupied plane.
Team Iron Man's tally? T'Challa was out to kill. Rhodey and Tony fired explosives at people who were not wearing armor and there's evidence that Wanda's PTSD was triggered by it. Vision was a real problem. He destroyed the control tower, which would shut down an airport for months or years. He might have killed Steve, Bucky, and Natasha if Wanda hadn't held up the wreckage. Vision also fired a beam at Sam that would have killed him--if it could take out whatever was protecting the arc reactor in Rhodey's armor, it was more than strong enough to melt Sam's jet pack and the parachute underneath it. But Tony was worse. While Vision was reckless, Tony was vicious. He fried a helicopter just because, endangered Peter by bringing an untrained teen onto a battlefield, and shot Sam in cold blood. Some people suggest that Tony also made Rhodey's injury worse, because he moved Rhodey even knowing Rhodey likely had skeletal injuries.
So who really needed to be stopped?
On the plus side, the team obeying the Sokovia Accords managed to capture four of their teammates.
But at what cost? Vision frowned as he considered the massive damage he had done to Germany's air travel. Neither passengers nor freight could be transported through Leipzig until the control tower was rebuilt.
Only now did Vision realize that he could have killed Steve, Sergeant Barnes, and Natasha. He had not bothered to calculate the potential that the heroes would keep running toward their objective, even in such dangerous circumstances.
Similarly, Vision had simply obeyed Colonel Rhodes' order. He did not consider what the beam he used to cut the concrete of the tarmac would do to Sam's wingpack. And the likelihood it would have gone through the wingpack and into Sam.
His questions seemed to pile upon themselves. Had King T'Challa signed the Sokovia Accords? Had the mysterious web slinger added to their team done so? And what had happened to the half of the Avengers who were taken from the airport?
Vision knew he could use his connection to the internet to find his answers, but he decided instead to seek out Tony to discuss his concerns.
Using Friday's link, Vision was shocked to find Tony in the middle of the ocean. He listened and watched as Tony entered what appeared to be some kind of floating prison.
He was disturbed by the conditions his teammates were in, particularly Wanda. But he held still and simply observed, even after learning how Helmut Zemo had infiltrated the government facility impersonating the dead psychiatrist.
Vision did not know what he would have done when Thaddeus Ross refused to listen about Zemo. But it disturbed him that Tony did NOT mention the Winter Soldiers.
When Tony left his helicopter and began flying, telling Friday to chart a roundabout course for Siberia, Vision decided to do the same.
Tony flipped open his faceplate to scream at Vision, "He has to pay!"
Vision shook his head and said, "While the news of your parents' deaths must be upsetting, Sergeant Barnes was not responsible for the Winter Soldier's actions."
Tony fired his weapons at Vision. When he made to slice Vision's arm, Vision made sure the beam passed harmlessly through his limb. He did not like to consider what would have happened if Steve or Barnes had experienced the same attack.
When Tony finally turned off the beam, Vision reached out and crushed the arc reactor.
A soft metallic sound made him realize that both Steve and Barnes had escaped through the open top of the silo. Vision did not try to pursue them.
Instead he focused on Tony and said, "I have questions."
He left the compound and headed to the coordinates of the floating prison. He met Steve and Natasha as they were freeing the others. He asked to come with them.
In this universe, he kept a close virtual eye on Tony. So he called his friends for help when he learned he was in danger. Both he and everyone in this universe survived to see a happy ending.
Chapter 63: The Fullmetal Alchemist group would NOT prop Tony
On the surface, it seems like Edward Elric and Roy Mustang of Fullmetal Alchemist are Tony Stark clones: Edward is quick-tempered and strikes out at others, while Roy is focused on his own glory. Both men are known to be self-serving if they are not personally affected. But Edward is known for being brutally honest and unimpressed with egotistical people, while Roy is concerned with making sure things are done right. Neither man seems likely to prop Tony Stark, but very likely to call him out.
Note: I've never seen Fullmetal Alchemist, so the characters may not be in character.
Roy and Edward looked at each other. Edward asked, "Did you invite this creep?"
Roy shook his head and said, "I have better taste than that."
Edward stood up and said, "Get out of here, Stark."
Tony said, "Make me."
Edward smirked and said, "You REALLY want to rethink that."
He took a step forward and said, "You get permission to come here? Because I'm pretty sure you crossed quite a few international borders. You seriously think for one SECOND that any alchemist would sign the Sokovia Accords? Especially to be on a team with YOU?"
Tony backed up a step as Edward took another step forward.
Edward said, "You've had WAY too many chances in your miserable life. Instead of learning from ANY of them, you just keep making the same mistakes over and over. Half your team just disappeared--where are they? In jail? Or on the run from YOU? Think about why hardly anyone is on your side. You made the wrong call."
From his seat, Roy smirked. He said, "What he said. I suggest you leave, Stark, before Edward decides to crush you like any other empty can."
Stark left as quickly as he came.
Chapter 64: If Tony was stuck on the other side of the portal, he'd be dead
Tony was dying in Avengers 1, because his suit was not capable of space travel. So the idea that he was able to survive not only the vacuum of space, but also the blast of the nuclear weapon he carried into the portal, is just dumb.
But still he lingered. Looking at everything.
He lingered too long. The warhead went off.
Everything flashed white. Then everything went black.
Bruce said, "We had to do it. The fallout would have come right through the portal, maybe even the blast itself."
The others nodded.
Steve asked, "There's no chance he could survive?"
There was the sound of a throat clearing from Pepper's phone. Jarvis said, "I have run all of the calculations against the specifications of the armor Sir was wearing. Even if there were no explosion, he would not have lasted longer than another minute in the vacuum of space."
The others looked grim.
Rhodey said, "At least Tony Stark died a hero."
Chapter 65: If Yelena was around during Iron Man 2, she still wouldn't prop Tony
This is creepy, because if Yelena was an operative during Iron Man 1 or 2, she would be barely legal (if she even is legal). Sad to say, it's entirely possible Tony would still lust after her. In this gem, Howard told Tony about Black Widows, even though we know Howard NEVER trusted Tony with anything, particularly Shield and its secrets.
So what would REALLY happen if a teenage Yelena was sent to get close to Tony?
Stark was such a bourgeois capitalist pig, emphasis on pig.
She closed her eyes before she rolled them. Her orders were to get close to Stark and steal the secrets of the Iron Man armor and arc reactor. Yelena had already had to pretend to find Stark attractive and amazing to get this job. She wasn't sure how much farther she would have to go. But she would do what she had to, no matter how disgusting.
She was clapping at Stark's laughable attempt at boxing when she froze. Potts walked in with a VERY familiar companion.
Natasha--HERE. The former Black Widow didn't betray any surprise at seeing Yelena. Yelena managed to keep her own expression neutral.
She even hid her annoyance when Stark added the redhead to his personal staff.
What she could not hide was the surprise when Romanov showed up at Yelena's scheduled rendezvous with her handler.
Romanov sat down with a coffee and said, "He's not going to show."
Yelena couldn't say she was disappointed. Her handler was as bad as Stark--old, smelly, and expecting "personal service." She leaned back and asked, "So what do you plan to do?"
Romanov looked at Yelena a long moment, then gave a low whistle.
Yelena felt compelled to respond.
Romanov nodded and said, "Seeing you...it's shifted priorities for me. I'm changing my mission from protecting Stark to rescuing our sisters and destroying the Red Room forever. Want to join me?"
Yelena shivered with the idea of turning on everything and everyone she'd known. "What is your plan?"
They persuaded Justin Hammer that taking two gorgeous ladies on a tour of Monaco was more fun than trying to get back at Stark, so Vanko was never broken out of prison.
When the other Avengers found out, they broke ties with Tony. Yelena, Natasha, Clint, and Steve found themselves forming a little family group as they worked for Shield. Clint soon brought them home to introduce the newcomers to Laura and the kids.
After Hydra was revealed, they worked with Sam, Bruce, Thor, Rhodey, Bucky, Nick, and Maria to take down the remaining Hydra bases. Without Tony in the mix, the scepter was recovered and Strucker arrested without incident. Wanda and Pietro joined the team.
There was no Sokovia disaster, no Sokovia Accords, no split team when the Black Order arrived. Dr. Strange was brought to Wakanda to be protected and the heroes (including the Hulk) were able to take out Thanos. Wanda destroyed the Mind Stone, which prevented anyone from ever trying to gather the Stones again.
As for Tony Stark, he learned a painful lesson in why he shouldn't exploit his employees. The #MeToo movement came a LOT sooner in this universe when Tony Stark got canceled.
Chapter 66: Eddie Brock would try to expose Tony, not prop him
Eddie Brock seems to have a strong sense of doing what's right. He's also an investigative journalist. So it seems WAY more likely that Eddie would try to bring Tony's crimes to light, not attack Team Cap. The person who suggested this thinks that Eddie would also seriously consider letting Venom eat Tony (if the investigation revealed enough horrible actions). Or Eddie may prefer to leave him alive to witness his crimes being exposed and his reputation ruined.
Note: I haven't seen the film, so Eddie and Venom may be out of character.
He'd always had the idea of a report on Stark in the back of his mind, but other, more obvious criminals came first.
With Stark being the face of the Sokovia Accords, he went to #1 on Eddie's investigation list.
He'd sort of hoped that Stark was on the level. Of course, the decades of negligence before Stark became Iron Man were awful, but supposedly Stark turned over a new leaf.
Turned out it was more the leopard didn't change his spots, he just paid for a paint job.
Eddie had found cover-up after cover-up, from Stark shooting weapons into a crowd while drunk, to creating the Ultron AI that destroyed Sokovia, to some seriously shady recruiting of the poor kid who was Spider-Man, to breaking the Sokovia Accords.
It was watching footage of Stark cutting off a man's arm and then shooting him in the back that brought Venom out.
Venom thought, "I could eat him for you." Venom's tongue was already wiggling in anticipation.
Eddie said, "No..." But it wasn't very forceful. Eddie was now on a site created by ex-Stark Industries employees. None of them had anything good to say about their former boss.
Venom thought, "Are you sure? No more abusssssing hissss power or hiding hissss crimesssss."
Eddie thought about how Stark said one thing and did another. And used his money and power so he always looked good.
He shook his head and said, "No. I think the world deserves to see Tony Stark as he really is. And Tony Stark needs to see that happen."
He smiled as he watched Stark try to weasel his way out of responsibility and fail. For a man who preached accountability and consequences, Stark didn't seem to like them much.
Venom thought, "You were right. Thissss issss better. But I am sssstill hungry. Maybe I can eat him later."
Chapter 67: Being Lady Death's beloved would not be a good time for Tony
There's a current trend to have Death be enamored of Tony. Of course all of the stories lie and say Tony died in Siberia instead of being petty about the shield. Tony is resurrected as the Merchant of Death. But think about it--Tony is now Death's paramour. That doesn't sound like much fun.
Note: Because Steve didn't try to kill Tony, Tony dies in Siberia from his own poor choices.
He could kick himself for his stupidity. He shouldn't have started playing with the computers in the bunker while he waited for Friday to fly out a new suit to him. One wrong line of code and the bunker exploded with him in it.
Tony was drifting into unconsciousness when he saw Her. He liked his women skinny, but this chick was literally skin and bones.
The woman had knelt beside him and lifted a long, bony hand to his face. He shivered--her hand was like ice. She'd said quietly, "Merchant of Death, now you are mine." Her smile made her face look like a skull.
Then she'd pulled Tony from the wreckage of his suit and body. When he stood, he was dressed in the suit from his demo of the Jericho, before Iron Man.
Since then, he'd been joined at the hip with Lady Death. Tony was bored out of his newly restored skull. All day, all night, they hopped around the universe to witness beings take their last breaths. He was seriously creeped out by the way Death wouldn't let him close the corpses' eyes. He wondered if his own corpse was staring out at the rubble of the bunker.
But that was better than the times Lady Death decided to "enjoy Tony's companionship." It was like cuddling with a tub of frozen yogurt.
Tony decided there had to be SOME advantage to his new undead life. After cuddles, he said, "How about we take a look at Team Cap? I'd like to see how soon I can attend their funerals."
Lady Death nodded and grabbed Tony's hand. The next second they were at what looked like a comfortable combination living room and dining room. Tony heard laughter and turned to see Team Cap in a large kitchen separated from the rest of the space by a breakfast bar.
Widow and Falcon were on the stools, while Cap and Vision--the traitor--were standing by the refrigerator. On the counter, a large pizza dough covered half in red sauce and half in white sat. Above it were a variety of toppings floating in the air, held up by a red mist.
Wanda was moving her fingers as the ingredients danced. She said, "Now what was it? Pineapple and sausage for Sam?"
Falcon put his arm out like he was protecting the pizza and said, "Keep your creepy pizza combinations away from my dinner, woman."
Widow said, "I'm rethinking Vision's suggestion of garlic breadstick borders for our slices."
The sense of warmth and family made something in Tony twinge. He turned away from the scene and said to Death, "Kill them all."
Lady Death lifted an eyebrow. She said, "I cannot claim any mortal on a whim. Life holds greater power than Death. I witness life's passing and grasp what souls I would have for my own. Like yours."
She turned to look at the group and said, "I can tell you when Life will pass for two of them. But two I cannot."
Tony looked over and asked, "Which two?"
Death nodded and said, "The construct is part flesh but part other. He is outside my realm."
Tony asked, "And who's the other one--the witch?"
Death shook her head and said, "No, that one will live longer than most of her kind, but her end will come."
She pointed at Cap. Tony should have guessed it. He groaned and said, "Why don't you know when he'll die?"
Death said, "His life will take some interesting turns. Most interesting."
Tony never could get Death to give him more details. But he figured it out when they took a non-business-related trip to Asgard. The Asgardians all glowed in a way that was different from the folks from Earth. Cap looked radiant as he smiled at Thor during the bonding ceremony, but he actually started to glow with the first bite of a golden apple.
It was all disgustingly beautiful and happy.
As Tony was tugged along to the next death for Death to oversee, he couldn't stop thinking about how it was Life who had claimed Cap.
Chapter 68: Tony would be a horrible Dom
This odd story has Tony performing consensual torture on Team Cap so they can "beg for the chance to better themselves" and beg for Tony's forgiveness. It includes flogging, slapping, and torturing genitals. Conveniently forgotten is that Tony should be begging the others for forgiveness after signing the Accords, arresting and imprisoning them for violating the Accords, and then violating the Accords himself without taking responsibility and facing the consequences. (Not to mention the attack on Bucky and Steve.) Besides all that, as far as I understand BDSM practices, a dominant needs to be focused on the submissive, including respecting limits and aftercare. Tony didn't even bother to remember that Pepper was deathly allergic to strawberries. Would any sane person trust themselves to his care?
Note: Mentions all of the things used in the original story. Set in an AU where public outcry abolished the Sokovia Accords soon after Civil War.
For the Witch and the Widow, he had chastity belts all ready. For the boys, devices that would torture their balls and cock. For everyone, there were pinwheels, candles for wax play, devices for whipping and flogging, and blindfolds and earplugs to deprive his vic--playmates of their senses. And of course his own hand for slapping them.
He'd sent out the invitations after the Sokovia Accords were abolished and all travel restrictions on Team Cap were lifted. Tony was sure they'd come begging for his forgiveness after they were SO MEAN to him.
He would definitely make them work for it.
Tony turned to see Vision and Rhodey step into the room, along with Happy and Pepper.
Pepper said, "I had to see it to believe it."
Happy said, "I wish I'd never seen it."
Vision shook his head and looked at Tony. He said, "I require explanation."
Tony's face burned as he looked at Rhodey and asked, "Why did you ignore the giant Keep Out sign?"
Rhodey gestured at the room and said, "Steve called and asked the best way to handle...this."
He continued, "Tony, what the hell? You don't know the first thing about proper BDSM practices."
Tony crossed his arms and said, "I know Cap and the rest deserve punishment for betraying and abandoning me."
Rhodey shook his head and said, "That is NOT the appropriate attitude. You have to be focused on the person who's put their trust in you--submitted to your will in an exploration of stimulus and response and their willingness to make themselves vulnerable with you and for you. Support, respect, consent, care, and aftercare are needed to be sure it is a mutually beneficial session. You are NOT capable of that. Especially not with them, if you're ignoring the reasons YOU need to ask THEM to forgive you."
He took one last look and said, "Steve's response was as polite as ever, but it was a unanimous NO. I say it should have been No Way In HELL."
Happy and Rhodey turned to leave. Pepper said, "We're obviously not compatible on a deep level. Let's make that break permanent."
Tony was left alone in the room with Vision, who repeated, "I require explanation."
Chapter 69: Tony screwed up the FBI operation in Homecoming
This is an interesting theory that says Homecoming shows Tony has no sense of strategy. In this take, it was stupid for Tony not to accompany the FBI when they were going against Chitauri weapons. And Tony didn't even consider what would happen when the authorities asked him why he had so many dangerous weapons flying in an unsecured plane.
It didn't work. She stared back with a blank expression and said, "Mr. Stark, please focus. There are still a lot of questions to answer."
She looked at her tablet and said, "Next question: Why did you not warn your FBI liaison of the dangerous nature of the Chitauri-derived weapons?"
The agent looked up and said, "Nothing in the FBI arsenal could match or protect against the firepower of a hybrid Earth-Chitauri weapon. It would seem a 'genius' such as yourself would have lodged a protest against the decision to send in a standard FBI team to deal with the threat."
Tony frowned. The truth was he wanted to teach the FBI a lesson in Iron Man appreciation. He didn't think Lady Agent would approve. He said, "I didn't think about it. I was told to stand down so I did. Until I was called in."
The agent frowned and typed something on the tablet. Friday couldn't hack it, which was NOT good.
Lady Agent said, "Now to the matter of the airplane attacked by Toomes and his team. Is it correct that it was unmanned and had no guards on board?"
Tony shifted in his seat and replied, "Yes, but..."
When the agent didn't interrupt him, Tony blinked and cleared his throat. He said, "But, uh, I can't trust ANYONE. So of course I used technology rather than people."
The agent lifted an eyebrow and asked, "So you do not trust War Machine and the Vision?"
Tony looked away and drummed his fingers on the table. He said, "So, uh, Vision isn't exactly following orders these days. And Rhodey..." Rhodey would have likely called Tony's plan stupid, so of course Tony didn't tell him about it.
He finished, "I didn't think to include them."
The agent typed something else. The she asked, "Why didn't you provide ANY security measures on this unmanned plane?"
She leaned forward and said, "Even if Iron Man himself couldn't be on board to make sure this extremely dangerous and sensitive material safely reached its destination, why didn't you leave a suit on sentry mode on the plane?"
Tony's eyes narrowed and said, "How do you know about that?"
The agent asked, "Why does that matter? The question is, why didn't you bother to secure the transport?"
Tony said, "No one was supposed to know about it. How could I have known it would be hijacked?"
Lady Agent shook her head and typed something. Then she closed down the tablet and stood. She said, "Mr. Stark, I will be filing my report with recommendations that your arsenal of alien technology, weaponry, and other materials be throughly evaluated and confiscated as necessary for the safety of the planet. Be aware that this compound is being monitored, so I'd advise against trying to hide any of its contents."
She turned on her heel and strode out without even a good-bye.
Tony muttered, "Bitch."
Chapter 70: If Steve and Sam had called Tony, Tony would probably have betrayed them
Considering Tony's arrogance throughout Civil War (and really, every film he's been in), this theory makes sense. Tony didn't care about the threat of the Winter Soldiers at the airport, so why would he care about them before the airport?
Note: Set in an AU where the Avengers reversed the Snap rather than give in to Tony's extortion and Thor went for the head. The U.N. abolished the Sokovia Accords quickly after Thanos's defeat in Wakanda. The stones automatically returned to their original universes after Bruce snapped.
The door opened and a cloak waved at Steve to come in. Steve walked in, and followed the fluttering cloak to a library where Dr. Strange waited.
Dr. Strange looked at Steve for a long moment. Then he said, "You made the right choice."
Steve asked, "What do you mean?"
Dr. Strange shrugged and said, "You remember what happened--EVERYTHING that happened. So do I. You think there was a point in time when you should have chosen a different path, don't you?"
Steve bit his lip, then nodded. He said, "I can't help thinking of that moment in the hideout where Sam and I talked about calling Tony. Maybe--maybe if we HAD, things would have turned out differently. And maybe we could have stopped Vision being injured, or your trip to Titan."
The sorcerer shook his head. He said, "You made the right choice. If you had trusted Stark, the universe would have been lost for good."
He gestured and a picture appeared in the air. In it, Tony was angrily shouting into a phone, then he slammed down the receiver. After glaring a moment, Tony picked up the phone again and made a call. Thaddeus Ross answered.
The image disappeared as Dr. Strange said, "Stark would have betrayed you. He didn't care about the possible threat, he cared about being obeyed. If you HAD trusted Stark, your entire team would have been imprisoned on the Raft. You would have escaped, but Ross would have killed Barnes and broken Maximoff. The Earth wouldn't have stood a chance, and no one would have been left to participate in the time heist."
Steve sighed and said, "Thank you. It's been tough for us who remember both timelines. We're still feeling the effects of those five years even if they no longer exist. It helps...to know that we did the right thing."
Dr. Strange nodded and said, "Glad to be of service."
Steve said, "The rest of us are thinking of getting together to...just talk and be with others who understand. Would you like to come?"
Dr. Strange smiled and said, "I think I would."
Chapter 71: Tony had good friends, he just never respected or appreciated them
Apparently some prop-Tony writer didn't think Rhodey, Happy, and Pepper risking their safety or lives was enough--they want a TRUE friend for Tony who "didn't turn their back on him." It's kind of ridiculous. Tony is a HORRIBLE person to everyone, but Tony's "true friend" is never supposed to have a single problem with anything he does. Poor Pepper was forced to kill for Tony TWICE. I honestly think "true friend" is just code for "mindless prop."
Tony shifted closer to where he left a gauntlet-watch. He said, "That's great, uh...Doris?"
The woman shouted, "Dolores!" and stepped closer. She put a hand on Tony's chest and said, "Just imagine it...if I had been there supporting you through all those years of partying and ignoring your responsibilities. I would have helped you SO MUCH when your were going through that little spell with the palladium. I would NEVER have said a word against you when you shot into that crowd or fought with Rhodey. And I would have WELCOMED you coming on to me while you were drunk or forgiven you IMMEDIATELY for almost killing me with your suit. Not like that Pepper Potts."
Tony pushed the woman aside and moved to the bar, picking up his watch along the way. He asked, "What about Ultron? Bruce and I are responsible for that disaster."
Dolores shook her head and said, "NO! You are not one iota responsible. It doesn't matter that Ultron was YOUR program and you didn't have permission from Thor or the rest of the team to use the scepter to upload it."
She leaned on the other side of the bar and batted her eyelashes at Tony. She said, "I even think you are COMPLETELY innocent in Civil War. So what if the Parker kid was only 14? You NEEDED his firepower. And maybe you DID sign the Sokovia Accords and then broke them--so what if you're a hypocrite? And Sam Wilson deserved to be shot and Bucky Barnes deserved to die--they UPSET you, my poor baby."
Tony looked toward the door as it opened and Rhodey, Happy, and Pepper walked in. He ran toward them and grabbed them close. He said, "I don't care that you have your own opinions and don't agree with everything I do. You need to call me out more often."
He turned toward Dolores but said to the others, "Anything--just don't leave me alone with HER."
Happy endings for everyone--except Dolores, who got slapped with an Order of Protection that kept her 500 feet from Tony at all times.
Chapter 72: Goose would NOT prop Tony Stark
From the clips I've seen, Goose has much better taste than to prop a self-centered, misogynistic war profiteer.
Note: I'm not sure what happened to Goose, so in this story she's visiting the compound because she's Goose.
He crossed his arms and said, "I don't remember anyone asking permission to get a pet."
Cap kept his focus on the cat and said, "Goose isn't a resident. She's a visitor."
Tony walked over to the couch and said, "Doesn't make a difference--my place, my rules. And I never made a rule welcoming four-legged occupants."
Natasha walked over from the kitchen area and said, "You didn't make a rule against them, either."
She sat and offered a hand for Goose to sniff. Goose lowered her head so Natasha could scritch behind Goose's ears. She shrugged and said, "Goose is a special case."
Tony frowned and said, "I want her out of..."
His voice trailed off as Goose slowly turned her head and STARED at him. He felt like Goose knew everything he had ever done--every misstep and every crime.
She was judging him. He didn't think he passed.
Instead of his original plan to lean in and either pet the cat or pick it up and chuck it out the door, Tony backed away and said, "Never mind."
Chapter 73: Steve and Tony on Vormir wouldn't work
So many prop-Tony writers put Steve and Tony on Vormir, usually with Steve begging for forgiveness and plunging to his death. (Or giving up the serum, which has its own problems.) I don't think it would work. Tony isn't giving up someone he even likes, much less loves. And Steve has shown time and again he's not all that in love with life or the serum, so his attempt to sacrifice wouldn't work. And I'm not so sure he'd trust Tony to finish the job of saving the universe.
The figure focused on Steve and said, "Steven, son of Sarah. It has been a long time."
Steve straightened and said, "We're not here for a fight, but we need the stone."
Schmidt said, "As I explained to Anthony son of Howard, the Soul Stone is not grabbed or stolen. You must exchange something you love to acquire it."
Tony gestured for Steve to come closer. Steve walked over and asked, "You got an idea?"
Tony nodded. Then when Steve was close, he pushed Steve over the edge.
At least, he tried to. Suddenly Schmidt grabbed Steve's arm and pulled him away from the edge, while kicking Tony off.
Steve used his other arm to grasp Schmidt's shoulder. He asked, "Why did you do that?"
Schmidt replied, "Because I knew Anthony's action would not succeed. He has no love for you, so sacrificing you would do nothing."
They leaned over the edge. Tony's body lay at the bottom, a pool of blood growing around his head. His face was frozen in shock.
Steve bit his lip, then said, "I don't think sacrificing Tony works either. I can't say I loved him, or even liked him very much."
Schmidt nodded. But then he turned to Steve and said, "It took me many years to truly understand power. But you always have, as Erskine must have known you would."
Steve held still as Schmidt laid ghostly cool fingers against Steve's cheek. Schmidt said, "I could find a way to keep you here with me always. But that would dishonor my respect for you. So I sacrifice my want, my need for YOU, so that you may take the stone and fulfill your mission."
Steve felt the brush of cool lips against his own, then everything went black.
Schmidt raised his hand in farewell. Steve heard Schmidt's voice whisper in his ear, "Do not be so foolish as to return, Captain. Your companion's body will not be here. Nor will I."
Steve nodded, bowed to Schmidt, and then turned to make his way back to the ship.
He wasn't sure what he would tell the others--lie about Tony's "sacrifice," or tell the truth about Schmidt's.
Chapter 74: Tony and Kang are a lot alike
This is really interesting. The theory is that because Tony was okay with stripping people of their "precious freedoms" so he could have his vision of security, he was basically agreeing with Kang, who was okay with taking away people's free will to protect the "sacred timeline."
Note: In his series Loki thought he smelled the stench of Tony's aftershave. I'm not sure how the TVA works.
One of the goons shrugged and said, "Tony Stark aka Iron Man. To see the boss."
Tony nodded. FINALLY he'd get some answers.
The doors opened to an imposing figure seated on a throne-like chair. The man leaned back and said, "Ah, Mr. Stark. You're just in time."
As he was released by the goons, Tony asked, "In time for what?"
The man said, "To join my service."
He stood, stepped over to Tony, and said, "I am Kang, but you may address me as Sir if you ever report to me again."
Tony crossed his arms and said, "You aren't the boss of me. I don't HAVE a boss."
Kang smiled and said, "You do now. If you wish to keep living."
Tony felt a pulse from the collar. When he lifted his hands to touch it, he got a shock that dropped him to his knees.
Kang said, "You don't want to mess with that. The results could be...explosive."
At Kang's signal, a goon stepped forward and lifted Tony to his feet.
Kang said, "We have a lot in common. I believe that you will come to see the importance of our work here."
Kang briefly explained about the sacred timeline and the TVA's purpose in preserving it by pruning rogue variants.
Tony said, "What the hell? Why would you think I'd help you destroy universes?"
Kang lifted an eyebrow and said, "Am I not speaking to Tony Stark, Merchant of Death? The man who made weapons of ever greater destruction for decades? Who used alien technology to upload his own personal global security system, and followed that up with a drone version of the same thing? Who insisted that the Snap NOT be reversed, forcing the trauma and loss of trillions across the universe to remain?"
Kang seemed to be waiting for an answer. Tony finally admitted, "Yeah, but--"
Kang interrupted to say, "But that was YOUR vision you were manifesting. Yes, I know. But it's the same principle--all others are denied their right to choose so you could choose for them. And you did."
Kang smiled and said, "So do I. And I am now choosing for YOU."
Some part of Tony finally realized just how wrong he'd been to try to force his will on people against THEIR will. Too bad he learned his lesson too late.
Chapter 75: If Mycroft Holmes forced Team Cap to watch Tony's movies, it wouldn't make any difference
Supposedly Mycroft and Tony are somehow related while Dr. Strange and Tony are raising Peter. I'm not exactly sure what this was supposed to accomplish. While it's unfortunate Tony suffered in captivity in Iron Man 1, it doesn't change the wrongness of his actions before and after Afghanistan. And as far as I know, RDJ's Sherlock Holmes was pretty much like Iron Man, a jerk who thinks he's above everyone else.
The team was currently "trapped" in a movie theater, listening to "Mycroft Holmes" explain that Tony Stark was actually his younger brother, "Sherlock Holmes." Then "Mycroft" went on to complain about how horribly Team Cap had treated his "poor little baby brother."
Natasha had hacked the systems before they even sat down. Sam was gently trying to question "Mycroft" to figure out if the man was delusional, criminal, or both. Wanda and Steve were kicking back and enjoying what looked to be an easy mission.
"Mycroft" had then screened scenes from his "brother's" life. The movies were truly awful, starring someone who acted a lot like Tony--abrasive, reckless, superior, and uncaring about how others were affected by his words and actions. "Mycroft" DID look a lot like the actor playing Holmes' older brother, just as the star looked like Tony Stark.
Their captor was NOT pleased with Team Cap sharing sarcastic comments about the events on screen. "Mycroft" stamped his feet and yelled about how they were just ingrates who didn't understand the demands of true genius.
Suddenly the doors at the back opened and a group of henchmen came in dragging three rolled-up carpets. The unrolled them dramatically to reveal Tony, a teenager, and another man with strange facial hair, this time with gray at his temples. He was wearing a cloak that seemed to keep rippling even after the rest of their clothing settled.
"Mycroft" said, "Now my brother, his husband, and their precious son will make you show some respect!"
The newcomers looked around. Then the teen said, "If you're talking about me, I've never seen Cloak Guy and I'm not exactly buddies with Mr. Stark. Plus I already have someone who acts as my parental figure and it's DEFINITELY not him."
The man with the cloak said, "Ah, Captain, Ms. Romanov, Mr. Wilson, Ms. Maximoff. I believe we need to discuss some ways to prevent an upcoming catastrophe. I want my universe to fare better than the last one where I crossed paths with Tony Stark."
Tony frowned and said to "Mycroft," "Don't you know who I am? I am NOT someone you hit on the head and roll into a carpet!"
"Mycroft" said, "Brother! Your words wound me. After all I have done to make your case before your teammates."
Tony eyed "Mycroft" and said, "I've never seen you before in my life."
"Mycroft" suddenly turned angry and said, "Perhaps I'll be the LAST person you see."
He suddenly pulled a gun, but a red mist surrounded his and his henchmen's hands as Wanda plucked their weapons and floated them into a pile at her feet. She said, "I think it's time we exit."
The others turned to leave. The man in the cloak said to Team Cap, "I really do need to talk to you. You can all come to my house for dinner." His cloak seemed to ripple as if agreeing.
As Team Cap agreed, the teen said, "Hey, think you can drop me off on your way home? I'm not really sure where we are, exactly..."
Tony hurried to another exit, determined to get away from "Mycroft" and the others before they could grab their weapons. As he took a last glance at the big screen, he shuddered at the sight of someone who looked a lot like him in yellowface.
Chapter 76: If Tony went to Hel, he should stay there
This is another weird one where for some reason the Portal of Hel pulls Tony from dying or something. If Tony did end up in Hel, he deserved it.
Note: I'm assuming Odin put Hela in Hel, so Ragnarok didn't happen.
Suddenly there was a shimmering and a stranger in burnt armor appeared at her feet. The man himself had scars from what must have been severe burns in life.
He stood up and said, "What the hell?"
Hela nodded and said, "Exactly."
The man looked her up and down and said, "The biker chick look never goes out of style, but the headdress is a little much. So who are you and where the hell is this?"
Hela sat up and said, "You know where you are...Hel. And I am Hela, mistress of this domain."
The man's eyebrows went up. Then he said, "No way. No way in HELL. I'm Iron Man. I saved the universe!"
Hela stood and strolled over to the man. She looked at his soul and laughed. She said, "Did you really? Because that is NOT what I see."
She strolled around the Iron Man as she continued, "I see an accounting of death I would be proud of. Nearly twenty years of innocent blood spilled by the works of your mind and hands while you enjoyed the fruits of those deadly labors. You flew a projectile into a hole in the sky and saved millions, yes. But your actions later chose a path for this universe that upheld the deaths of trillions and the misery of trillions more."
Hela walked back to her throne and sat upon it. She said, "Those sent here serve one day for every innocent life quenched by their deeds. I think I will escape sooner than you, Man of Iron."
She laughed as the man paled and said, "Welcome to Hel."
Chapter 77: Tony is the one out of control in Civil War
Some prop-Tony writers try to claim Tony was being the sensible one in Civil War, while Steve is behaving emotionally and irrationally. Their only evidence seems to be Tony saying Steve's judgement is askew (which was incredibly hypocritical and ironic). And that Tony signed the Sokovia Accords. But that isn't particularly sensible, but more selfish. Tony said he didn't care what form regulation took, he was all for it. Which means he didn't bother to evaluate what the Accords would actually demand. And he said he signed to keep Pepper and keep being Iron Man. Plus Tony is the one who shot unarmed people because he was "upset," and was supposed to be excused because he was under stress and lashed out. You can't have it both ways.
Steve was upset at what was happening, but he was calm (or at most irritated) during all of the discussions. He was saving Bucky from being executed, not helping him escape. And Steve tried to reason with Tony, both at the airport and at the bunker. Even destroying the Iron Man suit was a controlled activity. If Steve had been like Tony, Steve could have done a lot worse than take out the arc reactor.
What if Tony actually tried to claim HE was the one who being logical to someone who was there?
Note: Set during Endgame.
Tony walked over and sat on the table by her elbow. He gestured at the blonde ends of her hair and said, "Hanging on to your memories as the Fugitive?"
She looked up at him and said, "Yes." She didn't bother to explain that her time with Steve, Sam, Wanda, and later Vision was filled with wonderful memories she wouldn't part with. Tony didn't deserve to know.
He leaned back and asked, "Cap tell you what went down in the land of endless snow and Hydra bunkers?"
Tony straightened and said, "So you finally ready to admit that YOU made the wrong call? If you'd taken Cap down at the airport--as ORDERED--we'd all have been better off."
He jumped to his feet and paced around as he continued, "Cap was out of his mind, so focused on saving his precious buddy Barnes that he ignored his responsibility to sign the Accords."
Natasha kept herself from lifting an eyebrow. Instead she replied, "As far as I recall, Steve and Sam were already against the Accords before Vienna. So Barnes was a non-issue at the time." Personally, she thought Tony had been the one so focused on "winning" that he didn't care about anything else--including all of the problems with the Accords.
Tony huffed and said, "Well he dropped everything and rushed off to rescue Barnes--as if the Winter Soldier couldn't handle himself. Cap was ready to run away with his old pal."
Natasha didn't bother to point out that the way Tony said "pal" was full of jealousy. She leaned back and said, "I don't know who told you that, but it isn't true. Steve was bringing Barnes in--to protect Barnes AND to protect whoever would be sent after Barnes. It was the logical move."
Tony said, "Well you have to admit Rogers was absolutely focused on protecting Barnes at the airport. He refused to even consider backing down and spent all his time making sure his precious Bucky didn't get a hangnail or something."
Natasha nearly laughed at how warped Tony's memories were. She shifted to sit on the table and said, "Tony, what I remember at the airport was you refusing to even LISTEN to what Steve was saying about Zemo and the Winter Soldiers. YOU called Spider-Man in, so you threw the first punch."
She spread her arms and continued, "And OF COURSE Steve was trying to protect Barnes. T'Challa was determined to KILL him. Can you honestly say you wouldn't have done the same if the king had gone after Rhodey?"
Tony shrugged off the comparison. He leaned in and said, "Well you don't KNOW what Cap did later. He went crazy and nearly KILLED me. He slammed his shield right into my chest! I could have died."
This time Natasha did raise her eyebrow. She said, "You really think I don't know EVERYTHING that happened when you violated the Accords and flew to Siberia?"
She shook her head, then continued, "Tony, you're claiming Steve was irrational and emotional and you were the logical, sensible one. You tried to MURDER Barnes in cold blood--even when you knew he wasn't responsible for his actions as the Winter Soldier."
Natasha hopped off the table and said, "You know what, you can think whatever you like. But the way I see it, if Steve REALLY was the one who was out of control, he'd have taken off your head, not just destroyed your main arc reactor."
She left Tony standing with his jaw dropped as she went to talk to Bruce, Scott, and Steve.
Fortunately, all three men were fully on board with reversing the snap AND making sure all the children born during the five years also got a chance to live. That was their private plan when--and if--they had all the stones.
Natasha saved herself as well as all the people Tony would have been left dead after the Snap. It was a much better universe for everyone.
Except Tony. Morgan was born a few years later--but to Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne. Pepper and Rhodey eventually got together after they both broke up with Tony.
Chapter 78: If Peter-2 and Peter-3 knew how Peter-1 was blackmailed by Tony, they'd intervene to save their fellow Spider-Man
Apparently this scenario had the other two Peters becoming aware there was time-travel tech. The idea is that Peter-2 and Peter-3 would go back in time to make sure Peter-1 had a better fate by telling him their own experiences with unstable scientists (and rich men) with God complexes.
Note: Set in an AU where the other two Peters had access to dimension hopping.
Suddenly a light flashed and there were two guys standing in his bedroom. The first one looked like an older version of him with really straight hair in a side part, while the other one was a bit taller and leaner.
Peter asked, "Who are you?"
They said together, "Peter Parker."
Peter said, "No way."
Older Peter lifted an eyebrow and shot a web with his BARE HAND.
Peter said, "That's so cool."
Taller Peter said, "Yeah."
Peter asked, "Where did you come from and why are you here?"
Older Peter took Peter by the shoulders and said, "We're here to save you from a MAJOR screw-up."
Peter looked at the two men and sat down. He said, "I don't understand."
Taller Peter sat next to him and said, "Listen, you are at a major crossroads right here, right now. And we're here to tell you--DON'T do it."
Peter said, "Don't do what?"
Older Peter said, "Don't trust Tony Stark."
Taller Peter nodded and said, "That is serious bad news, kid. We've seen the timeline, and let me tell you there are COSMIC consequences and a world of hurt coming your way if you go with him to Germany."
Peter bit his lip and said, "Mr. Stark promised me a new suit. He said I needed an upgrade."
Older Peter said, "Is that what you really need, or what he said you need so you'll go along with what he wants?"
He leaned against the desk and continued, "It seems like Stark wants to use you, not help you."
Taller Peter nudged Peter and said, "Think about it. Should a middle-aged dude be messing with somebody who isn't even old enough to drive? It's creepy."
Peter said, "But he'll tell Aunt May if I don't go with him."
The two Peters looked at one another. Older Peter said, "So? You know how much May cares about you. You really think being able to stick to walls or lift a car is going to change that?"
Taller Peter said, "Listen, we can't change our pasts. Everything we've lost, none of it's coming back. But YOU can make different choices."
He stood up and said, "I hope you think about it, because there are a LOT of lives in your hands."
The two Peters stood close to each other and Older Peter pushed a button on a device on his wrist. He said, "Good luck, whatever you decide."
Peter thought about everything they'd said. Then he nodded to himself. He walked to the door, ready to tell May about Spider-Man and tell Stark to get the hell out of his home--and never come back.
Chapter 79: Tony would have made things even worse after the Snap
It's a good thing Tony didn't help rebuild the world after Thanos snapped
The idea that Tony "rebuilt the world after Thanos" made me laugh. The beginning of Endgame showed Tony didn't do ANYTHING to help the world after the Snap. Given Tony's usual solutions to things, it's horrifying to think of a world rebuilt in Tony's image.
Note: Set a year after Infinity War, so Thor is not so bad yet and Bruce is still small.
The former Avengers compound had become the center of Tony's New World Order. Security was a top priority, with drones deploying every day to eliminate threats. Even with all of the "necessary" deaths, the list of targets never got smaller.
Natasha and Rocket--along with Steve and Clint--were at the top of Tony's hit list. The only reason they'd survived this long was thanks to the secret help of Queen Ramonda, Okoye, and the other Wakandans. As far as the world--or Tony--knew, no Wakandan ever left the shield that protected their vibranium from the dozens of Iron man armors circling it. The country was once again isolationist in order to prevent Iron Man from getting access to their vibranium.
Natasha often wished Captain Marvel had stuck around after bringing Tony and Nebula back to Earth. But she also wondered if the Earth would have been better off if Tony had never been found in space.
Tony had quickly come to power after the Snap, promising everyone that HE would fix things. Nobody realized what Tony Stark considered a perfect world.
There were machines everywhere, all under Tony's personal command. Project Insight 2.0 launched, and like Hydra, Tony had no problem killing people pre-emptively as a "safety measure."
The "precious freedoms" Tony mocked when he returned from Titan were soon gone from people's lives. What Tony wanted became law.
So now the remaining Avengers and their allies were working to take down their former teammate.
Natasha hoped they all survived the attempt.
He spun his chair to face them as they stepped through the doors of the command center. He said, "So are you two here to collect the bounty on Cap? Should keep you in beer and doughnuts for a while, Lebowski."
Thor gripped his axe and said, "No, Stark. We're here to end your reign of terror."
Banner nodded and said, "Tony, have you even looked at what you've done? People are starving and scared."
Tony said, "They're SAFE. That's what we need to be--SAFE. If that gets in the way of people getting their shipment of Cheez Wiz on time or their late-night dinner plans, tough."
Cap shook his head and said, "You never learn. People have the right to make their own decisions, Tony."
Tony laughed and said, "Not anymore."
Then he spun and fired at a vent. He said, "I know you're here, Widow. Come down and join the party."
Suddenly Widow appeared near the edge of the bar across the room. She leaned on it and said, "Tony, this is not a path that ends well for you."
Tony said, "You really think you and Cap and the has-been twins are going to take ME out?"
Suddenly Tony was pinned in place by an arrow that shot a new kind of EMP web around him.
Hawkeye landed in front of him and said, "I will slit your throat in a heartbeat, so I suggest you don't move."
Tony said, "Friday, Protocol 13."
Thor shrugged and said, "Looks like Friday took the day off."
Nebula's voice over the comm system said, "We have recalled the drones and armor and secured all systems.
An unfamiliar, gravelly voice said, "You sure you wanna keep this loser alive? I'm thinking the Iron Moron makes a good target for shooting practice."
Cap shook his head and said, "Tony has to face the consequences of his actions."
Natasha looked at Tony and said, "This time you don't get to take the easy way out."
His captors this time didn't demand he build anything. They didn't give him anything he could build with, either. He had books, notepads, and other things to pass the time. But the sharpest tool he ever got was chalk or crayon. And there was nowhere to hide.
Worst was the reports of how the world was very slowly recovering from the reign of Tony the Tyrant.
Chapter 80: Steve would never belittle Toni Stark
Toni Stark fics usually seem to be about how she's moved on from awful boyfriend Steve or how Team Cap expects everything to be the same after they're pardoned. In one gem they have Steve yell at Toni that he wished Howard were there because Toni was such a brat. While that is probably true, Steve would never say that. Maybe he should...
Note: Set after Avengers 1.
Clint said, "Don't bother pouring yourself some coffee because it went cold a while ago."
Steve asked, "Was there a conflict we didn't know about? Your schedule looked clear to me."
Toni shrugged and said, "You know how it is with geniuses."
Thor frowned and said, "I know on Asgard, genius is balanced with courtesy and a sense of one's other responsibilities."
Bruce said, "It would have been nice to let us know you were going to be late."
Toni crossed her arms and said, "Do you realize how much I have going on at any given moment? I AM the owner of a multi-billion dollar company."
Clint said, "Pretty sure Pepper Potts does most of the work, at least according to Time Magazine."
Toni said, "Well, I was in the middle of a breakthrough!"
Natasha lifted an eyebrow and said, "According to Jarvis, you were debating which shades of red and gold might look better on your next armor."
Steve stood up and said, "Toni, if we want to be a team we need to lay some groundwork. That's what this meeting was supposed to be about."
Toni got in Steve's face and said, "DON'T you dare call me a brat."
Steve looked confused as he said, "I didn't, I just--"
Toni poked a finger in Steve's face and said, "I bet you wish HOWARD Stark was here instead of me."
Steve looked at the others, but they seemed just as bewildered. Steve took a deep breath and said, "I don't know how to answer that. I can tell you that Howard treated his colleagues with respect. And even though he was head of a multi-million dollar company, he understood that other people's time was as valuable as his."
Toni shook her head and said, "I'm done. See how long you last until you come crawling back to beg me to join your little project."
When Thor shared his Asgardian mead with Steve after the scepter was recovered, Steve got drunk enough to admit that yes, he would have preferred Howard Stark to Toni Stark. (But Steve didn't get drunk enough to reveal he could move Thor's hammer. Thor didn't find out until they became a couple and he saw Steve shift Mjolnir out of the way when Thor accidentally left it on top of Steve's sketchbook.)
Chapter 81: Steve was never Tony's childhood hero
This is another "pity poor woobie Tony" story, which suggests Steve was being SO mean by pointing out Tony's wrong choices because Tony couldn't handle being criticized by his childhood hero. It also had that Tony was "trying his best" and Steve "ruined everything Tony was working for" and "stole the spotlight" from Tony. You have to wonder what films this prop-Tony person was watching, because it definitely wasn't canon.
Note: Set during Avengers 1.
Bruce frowned, but didn't comment on how awful that was for Tony to say. Instead he said, "So you didn't look up to Captain America when you were little?"
Tony huffed and said, "HIM? Red, white, and blue do-gooder? Not likely. That jerk was DEAD and he still stole the spotlight from me. He ruined everything I worked for. My dad would always ask what I spent my time doing and was it helping anybody but myself. Because apparently Rogers was a hero with a heart of gold that made my dad go weak at the knees."
Bruce thought about how Steve Rogers had reassured Bruce that he was welcome Bruce exactly as he was. And how Tony seemed ready to belittle the captain every chance he got. He looked directly at Tony and said, "Well some of us DID look up to Captain America as kids AND adults. And I think getting to know Steve Rogers would be even better."
He turned back to the computer and said, "So your dad and I are in perfect agreement. I suggest you shut your mouth and get to work."
Chapter 82: Ginny Weasley would NOT prop Tony
I'm pretty sure the original of this had Harry Potter/Tony Stark, which is just creepy. (They also said Harry and Ginny were best friends, which is also strange.) But also, why would Ginny want to spend time with a bully like Tony Stark?
She'd been hired by the billionaire Tony Stark himself, who'd taken one look at her in the lobby and said she'd "spice up the place." He also kept calling her Ginger Spice instead of her actual name, and standing so close she nearly choked on his obnoxious aftershave.
Most of the time she was just there for Stark to have an audience for his sarcastic comments. Ginny had asked Pepper Potts--the ACTUAL head of Stark Industries--for more work to do, but Ms. Potts had said Stark considered her his "very personal assistant."
The fact that Ms. Potts looked relieved rather than worried or jealous should have told Ginny something.
So Ginny often made an illusion spell that made her seem to be looking interested in what Stark was saying, but instead Ginny was listening just enough to keep the thread of the monologue while she read or practiced her spells.
She decided to show him where she worked - Harry could see the latest advances in the muggle world. And she could let Stark know she'd be out for a few days.
Harry was kind of overwhelmed by the city and shocked at the size of Stark Tower. As they rode up the elevator, Ginny motioned for Harry to keep quiet. Then she said, "Jarvis, did you let the boss know I'd be stopping in and then taking off?"
Jarvis replied, "Sir is currently sulking in the lab as he awaits an introduction to your 'reason to abandon him in his hour of need'."
Ginny rolled her eyes as Harry looked shocked. She shrugged and said, "Jarvis is a sophisticated computer program that monitors the building--along with other stuff."
Harry nodded as the elevator opened and they stepped out onto the floor of Stark's private lab. Stark was dressed in yesterday's clothes and the room smelled of fried circuitry.
Stark himself looked Harry over and dismissed him. Instead he turned to Ginny and said, "Your friend seems kind of bland to be hanging out with Ginger Spice. I can't believe you're taking a week off. I'm having trouble with these boards and you KNOW you're vital to my process."
Harry looked at Ginny and said, "I didn't realize--I don't want to interrupt your work if you're that important."
As Stark looked pleased, Ginny shook her head and said to Stark, "I haven't taken any personal time since I got here, and I've already gotten approval--"
Stark said, "From HR, NOT from your boss who is also THE boss."
Ginny rolled her eyes and said, "You know what? I'd feel bad if I actually WERE being used as a sounding board, but you talk AT people, not to or with them."
She pulled out her phone and texted Pepper. Then she sent her resignation letter to HR, Pepper, and Stark. Effective immediately.
As Stark squawked about betrayal and ingratitude, Ginny looped arms with Harry and said, "Come on, let's explore New York for a few weeks while I pack up my apartment. When you're ready, we can both head home."