Y/N Stark: An Avenger Story [Reader Insert]: xdarkloki.deviantart.com/galle…
You are Tony Stark's adopted younger sister and at the age of six, your parents died, leaving you to be raised by your only brother. At the time, you couldn't imagine how this dramatic episode had already changed your future life!
Freshly out of high school, your quite calm billionaire routine twisted definitely for the greater good. In your career you will have to meet a lot of people that would surely become friends or enemies, even lover. In this story, we discover your epic journey as a successful S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent to a powerful Avenger from day one.
Friendship, violence, action, romance, and betrayal. A cocktail inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Television Series.
These stories are ALL linked together.
I'm just another huge and hopeless Marvel fan, basically they've ruined my social life and I'm not even sorry.
I love a lot of things and writing is one of those, so if you love reader inserts with your favorite MCU superheroes, join me!
Thanks for watching or passing by.
Oh, and as you can see, I'm a proud member of the Tony Stark defense squad who also loves every other character.
Rose Hill, TN
The noise was close to you as if someone was searching in a pile of tools, but you couldn’t know where exactly it was coming from. You felt as though you were in a heavy black cloud as you tried to force your eye open. You just felt this heaviness in your whole body, the sound kept hitting your head like a hammer and the first glimpse of the light above blinded your sight for a few seconds.
As you got used to the environment, you slowly turned your head, trying to find anything familiar. Dozens of questions kept repeating as you tried to remember what had happened to you and what had caused you so much pain. You blinked your eyes and you could hear it: Pepper screaming your name and Tony’s, ashes and you could barely see the ocean before something red and gold caught you. Everything became slightly clear, now.
“Tony, are you there?” You groaned, clutching your shoulder and you slowly shifted your position on what felt to be a couch. “Good Lord…” You yelped, seeing a well-built form hidden by a poncho sitting next to you.
Finally, hearing your voice, Tony rushed to your side- from a corner of the room. “Hey- hey, easy, sweetie. It’s me, we’re safe. I’m fine,” he soothed and helped you sit up. “Are you all right? Do you need anything?” He put an ice pack on your head, letting you hold it.
“Uh- just give me a few seconds.” You grunted and he saw your confusion as you slowly detailed the unfamiliar environment. “Why are we here?”
“I carried you to this farmhouse and then the suit lost power as well as J.A.R.V.I.S. We’re basically alone here with Mark 42.” He stood up, searching for a glass as he carried on. “I already called Pepper and some friends to tell them we’re good… are you sure you okay?”
As you heard this, you instantly searched for some cameras or microphones, old habits; you had to admit, but you who knew better? Everything around you seemed old, just like the furniture, but the papers and the tools on the desk told you this place was actually someone’s and you hadn’t a lot of time in your hands before they would get back.
“Yeah, I’m fine, I guess.” You finally forced a smile and looked out at the window to see some snow falling onto the already white road. “Where are we, upstate?”
“Take this first. It took me a lot of time to find one,” Tony said and gave you a glass of water with a painkiller that you swallowed quickly. “And we're in Rose Hills, Tennessee.”
“What?!” The high sound of your voice only felt like your head was being shaken and you winced. “I… I gotta call S.H.I.E.L.D. because- they are probably wondering where we are. Is there a phone somewhere?”
Your question found no answer when your brother took this opportunity to look at the healing wound on your scalp, reminding of what had happened back at the mansion. Your home now inexistent with your happiest memories destroyed.
“You’ve been an idiot. You’ve been reckless,” he groaned as your face told him you had no idea what he was talking about. “The mansion! You came in and then I saw you falling with the house into the ocean! You were unconscious for at least two hours!”
“Aren’t I a Stark?” You quirked an eyebrow and exhaled heavily as he crossed his arms and stood in front of you. “Listen, I already feel like shit. I’m sorry, but you were there and I couldn’t let you inside. You mean the world to me, you know. We’ve lost so many people in our life that I couldn’t afford to lose my world.”
“And you think that sacrificing yourself is better when all I want is to protect you?” He moved the iron suit to sit next to you and you fought the tears welling in your eyes. “Come here.” He put his arms around you, holding you close for a moment and you released the shaky you had no idea you were holding.
“I’m sorry,” you whispered and he shook his head. “We’re going to be fine and we’ll find this guy. It’ll be easy… remember, I got shot in the chest by a guy with a metal arm five years ago.”
“A metal arm…?”
“Shit, that was classified information. If Fury asks you, don’t mention that,” you chuckled and he looked down at you with incredulous eyes. “I think I should keep my mouth shut ‘cause this painkiller is making me talk too much.”
“Classified or not, that still sounds creepy.”
“And you haven’t even been there.” You breathed a light laugh and stood with his help. “Okay, I really need to call S.H.I.E.L.D., now. Have you seen a phone somewhere?” He pointed at the staircase and you smiled. “Thanks.”
You took the stairs, finding two different rooms and you opted for the biggest bedroom where a phone was kept. You pushed the curtain, looking out at the road before you quickly dialed the first number you had in mind and it wasn’t long before a familiar voice greeted you.
“Y/N?! Thank goodness you are alive!” She exclaimed and you could hear some male voices with her, expressing some cries of joy. “Where are you? Is your brother safe? He’s all over the news, people are searching for you! Do you need anything?”
“Hey, it’s okay,” you chuckled lightly. “We’re both fine, a little shaken, but we’ll get over it. I can’t exactly tell you where we are ‘cause I don’t want to compromise our work… uh- are you in a car?”
“Yes, wait a second… Steve just drive, she’s okay!” You heard your friends arguing and she finally brought the phone back to her ear. “Technically, Clint and I are supposed to be in Europe, but Bobbi and Triplet are covering us.”
“Are you telling me that you disobeyed Fury and Captain Steven Grant Rogers himself is leading this mutiny?” You asked, dumbfounded and heard Clint’s laugh at the back. “I take that as a yes. Please, go back to D.C. and don’t do anything else. Tony and I have the situation under control, we need to find this Mandarin and finish the job. If the press thinks Tony’s presumed dead, it’s actually the best chance we have.”
“Can’t kill you if you’re already dead.”
“Exactly.” You narrowed your eyes as you heard your brother’s voice and some noises beneath you. “Now, I need you to tell Fury we’re doing well and we don’t need S.H.I.E.L.D.’s help. We can handle this alone. Please?”
“All right, stay safe. Barton is saying hello and Rogers is telling you to lay low,” she said and you smiled. “Bye. You call us when you need us, promise?”
“Promise. I have to go now.” You hung up and sneaked back into the living room to see a kid talking to your brother. “Um- who are you?”
“Hey!” The boy turned to you, pointing what looked like a potato gun at your chest and you raised your hands, holding a smile. “Is she with you?” He asked, glancing at Tony, who had a newspaper in hand.
“Of course, it’s my sister. Relax, kid.” He dropped the paper on the desk and you followed as the boy walked to the couch and removed the poncho covering Mark 42.
“Oh my God! That... that's... Is that Iron Man?”
“Technically, I am.”
“Technically, you're dead,” the boy pointed out and you took the newspaper, reading the headline: Mandarin Attack: Stark presumed dead.
“A valid point,” you agreed and the child sat next to the iron suit, checking it out.
“What happened to him?”
“Life. I built him. I take care of him. I’ll fix him.”
“Like a mechanic?” He asked and Tony approved. “Oh. If I was building Iron Man and War Machine-”
“It's Iron Patriot, now,” you interrupted.
“That's way cooler!”
“No, it's not,” your brother and you said at the same time, letting the boy touch the suit.
“Anyways, I would have added in um... the retro-reflective panels to make him stealth mode.”
“That's actually a good idea. Maybe I'll build one,” Tony agreed and the kid accidentally snapped off one of its fingers. “Not a good idea.”
“He's in pain, he's been injured. Leave him alone,” your brother scolded, but internally regretted it. “Don't worry about it, I’ll fix it.”
“Relax, man.” You patted his shoulder and knelt in front of the kid. “What's your name?”
“Harley. And you're...”
“The mechanic is Tony. And I’m the badass. Y/N.” You winked, making Harley giggle and your brother scoffed at the back. “Now, I’m going to ask you where we can find some clean clothes because nobody except you must know we’re here, is that clear?”
“A hundred percent.” He smiled widely and pointed upstairs. “You can pick some in my parents’ wardrobe. My mom will be okay if I’m helping two Avengers.”
“Thank you, I think I found a recruit… So, uh, who's home?”
“Well, my mom already left for the diner and dad went to 7-Eleven to get scratchers. I guess he won 'cause that was six years ago.”
“Hmm… Which happens. Dads leave. No need to be a pussy about it,” your brother tried to explain awkwardly and you shook your head, knowing he referred to his own backstory. “Here's what we need: two of your best knives for the lady. Very thin and keen ‘cause she’s picky. A laptop, a digital watch, a cell phone, the pneumatic actuator from your bazooka over there, a map of town, a big spring, and two tuna fish sandwiches.”
“What, you’re going to break into the local Toys“R”Us? We’ll need more than to take down you know who.”
“What's in it for me?” Harley interrogated.
“What's his name?” Tony asked and the boy furrowed his brows. “The kid that bullies you at school, what's his name?”
“How'd you know that?”
“I got just the thing.” He opened a compartment on the suit and took out a metal object. “This is a piñata for a cricket. I'm kidding. It's a very powerful weapon. Point it away from your face, press the button on top. It discourages bullying. Nonlethal, just to cover one's ass.” Harley reached out to take it, but he pulled his hand away. “Deal? Deal? What'd you say?”
“Deal.” Your brother gave the object to Harley and looked at him for a moment. “You know what keeps going through my head? Where are our sandwiches?”
Later that night, Tony, Harley and you walked down in town, planning on investigating the suicide attack that had happened here not a long time ago. Under your hood and hidden by a coat, your brother closed his own and shifted his hat as you all approached the site.
“The sandwiches were fair, the spring was a little rusty, the rest of the materials, I'll make do,” Tony started as you walked into a dead end. “By the way, when you said your sister had a watch, I was kinda hoping for something a little more than that.” He pulled his sleeve up, revealing a Dora the Explorer pink watch and you both laughed at him.
“She's six! Anyway, it's limited edition,” Harley defended. “When can we talk about New York?”
“Maybe never, relax about it,” Tony scolded and went faster as you saw a corner of the street filled with candles, memorial photos, crosses, flowers and other decorations. On the walls were five imprinted body figures and lay in the middle, the crater circle.
“What about The Avengers, can you talk about them?” Harley insisted and you noticed your brother slowly losing his temper.
“I don't know, later, Harley. Just give him a little space.” You all stopped and looked at the remains of the local explosion site. “What's the official story here? What happened?”
“I guess this guy named Chad Davis, used to live roundabouts.” The boy sat down in the circle and you touched the wall with Tony. “He won a bunch of medals in the army. One day, folks said he went crazy and made, you know, a bomb. Then he blew himself up right here.”
“Six people died, right?” Your brother asked and Harley confirmed. “Including Chad Davis?” Once again, a positive answer and he tried to understand, sitting next to him. “That can’t be a suicide. Look at the shadows, it’s not prepared. It’s not the Mandarin’s work.”
“What do you think? Maybe they’re using him?” You took a step back to have a better view. “No bomb casings, what could it be? Some kind of weapon they have inside… the more we investigate the more I wonder if these are real suicides.”
“Yeah. That doesn't make sense? Think about it. Six dead, only five shadows.”
“Yeah, people said these shadows are like the mark of souls gone to Heaven. Except for the bomb guy, he went to Hell on account of he didn't get a shadow. That's why there's only five.”
“Do you buy that?” You interrogated the boy and joined them.
“That's what everyone says. You know what this crater reminds me of?”
“No idea. I'm not... I don't care,” Tony answered.
“That giant wormhole in New York. Does it remind you?”
“That's manipulative,” your brother sighed and rubbed his chin. “I don't want to talk about it.”
“Are they coming back? The aliens?”
“Maybe,” you bit and Harley looked down in embarrassment. “Can you stop? Remember when I told you, that he has an anxiety issue?”
“Does this subject make him edgy?”
“Yeah, a little bit,” Tony barked and closed his eyes. “Can I just catch my breath for a second?”
“Are there bad guys in Rose Hills? Do you... do you need a plastic bag to breathe into? Do you have medication?”
“Do you need to be on it?”
“Do you have PTSD?”
“I don't think so.”
“Are you going completely mental? I can stop; do you want me to stop? Do you want me to stop?”
“Harley, please, shut up!” You finally exclaimed and Tony panicked.
“Remember when I said to stop doing that? I swear to God, you're going to freak me out!” He glanced around him, trying to forget his agitation and he suddenly rose to his feet. “Ah, man, you did it, didn't you? You happy now?”
“What did I say?!” Harley cried as your brother started running off and you both caught up when he stopped, taking support of a wall as he fell to his knees.
“Hey, take a deep breath. I’m here,” you soothed with your softest tone, careful to keep a distance to let him inhale deeply. “Focus on my voice and breathe.”
“What the hell was that?” Harley interrogated and Tony rubbed some snow on his forehead for a moment and then threw the rest at the boy.
“Your fault, you spazzed me out.” He got up and patted the snow out of his clothes. “Okay, back to business. Where were we? The guy who died... relatives? Mom? Mrs. Davis, where is she?”
“Where she always is.”
“See, now you're being helpful.”
“Will you be more helpful and tell us exactly where she is?” You asked, smiling lightly.
“At the bar.”
Stark Mansion, Malibu, CA
As you were both about to get ready to leave for Tennessee, the doorbell rang and you motioned your hands to close the virtual display in a quick movement.
“Are we still at ding-dong?” Tony’s grin faded away as soon as the facial scan started at the front door. “We're supposed to be on total security lockdown. Come on, I threatened a terrorist. Who is that?”
“There's only so much we can do, Tony, when you give the world's press our home address.”
“Shut up… I’m going to check who it is, stay here.” He jumped from the tool box and went to the front door, leaving you alone in the basement. Yet, you approached the staircase leading to the living room, carefully listening to everything that could happen above your head.
After a few seconds where no strange sounds could be heard, you took another gun you’d secretly hidden under the stairs, ready to shoot at any moment. You finally went upstairs to see Tony dressed in his new Iron Man suit, talking to a brunette woman standing in the middle of the foyer. As they seemed to be in the middle of a conversation, you concluded she wasn’t an assassin sent by the Mandarin to kill him. She didn’t look like that either, but discretion was the better part of valor as you’d been taught.
“Oh, so you’re not alone…” The woman finally acknowledged your presence, swallowing thickly with this sudden uncomfortable feeling. Your brother moved his gaze to you as stopped next to him. “(Y/SH/N) is here as well.”
“Uh, hi?” You glanced at them back and forth for an answer, still aiming at her chest. “Who are you?”
“Can you put that gun down…? I’m just-”
“She’s the woman I knew when we were in Bern in ninety-nine,” Tony interrupted.
“You mean that party in Switzerland where you tried to leave me in our hotel room because you were too occupied with your hook up.”
“Hook up, who happens to be this woman.” He pointed at her and you narrowed your eyes for a few seconds as you tried to recall the moment in the elevator back then.
“Oh, yeah, it’s you! I didn't recognize you under all those wrinkles.” You lowered the weapon, putting it in the back of your belt and she gasped silently. “No hard feelings since then, sweetheart. Trust me.”
“Okay, look, I need to be alone with you,” Hansen said, pointing at the doors behind her as she scanned your place as if searching for threats. “Someplace not here, it's urgent.”
“Normally, I'd go for that sort of thing, but now I'm in a committed relationship.” He turned to walk into the living room while you and the botanist trailed after him when two bags were thrown down from the balcony above. “It's... with her.”
“Tony, is somebody there?” Pepper asked, looking down as he stepped out of his suit.
“Yeah, it's Maya Hansen. Old botanist pal that I used to know, barely.”
“At least he remembered you, you should be honored,” you whispered to her as Pepper started walking downstairs, bumping into the giant custom rabbit.
Tony took this occasion and moved closer to Hansen, speaking quietly. “Please don't tell me that there is a twelve-year-old kid waiting in the car that I've never met.”
“He's thirteen,” she quipped and you both gasped, jumping lightly. “And no, I need your help.”
“What... what for? Why now?” Tony asked in relief, but questioning the ridiculous timing.
“Because I read the papers and frankly, I don't think you'll last the week.”
“Thanks, we’ll be fine,” you said and Pepper finally stood beside her boyfriend with this forced smile on her face, trying to forget all of these details making her angry.
“I'm sorry,” she said. “With Happy in the hospital, I didn't know we were expecting guests. And old girlfriends!”
“She’s not really,” Tony corrected.
“No, not really. It was just one night.”
“Yep. A real nightmare,” you added and your brother’s brown eyes threw you daggers.
“That's how you did it, isn't it?” Pepper interrogated sarcastically.
“It was a great night.” He shrugged and you brought a palm to your face, muttering that he wasn’t making this easy for himself.
“Well, you know, you have saved yourself a world of pain.”
“What?” Tony and you barked at the same time.
“Trust me.” Pepper smiled, then turned to her boyfriend. “We're going out of town.”
“Okay, we've been through this. Nope. The man says no,” he argued.
“Yep! Immediately and indefinitely!”
“Great idea,” Hansen interrupted you, walking closer to the luggage. “Let's go. I'll-”
“I'm sorry, that's a terrible idea. Please, don't touch her bags.”
“Tony, this is how normal people behave,” Pepper tried to reason with him.
“I can't protect you out there. I challenged-”
“Is that normal?” Hansen cut in; beckoning her head towards the stairs where the giant stuffed rabbit your brother had bought for Pepper was.
“Yes, this is normal!” You exclaimed, annoyed by her habit of commenting and interrupting when it wasn’t the appropriate time.
“Sadly, that is very normal.”
“It's a big bunny, relax about it!”
“Calm down,” you told your brother and turned back to the brunette as the couple bickered in the background. “Will you stop talking, okay?! Don’t you see you’re making it worse? What do you-” You trailed off as you noticed she stared at the television on the opposite wall, showing that an unknown object was flying fast to your home. “Tony?”
“Guys, can we- um-”
“What?!” Your brother stopped the argument when Hansen pointed at a rocket missile heading straight for the living room of your mansion.
“Do we need to worry about that?”
Your words found no end as the bomb hit the house and created an enormous explosion around you. The blast caused you to fly backward with Hansen as Tony and Pepper were thrown in the other way. You collapsed against a wall, feeling that your shoulder had taken most of the hit and your body finally landed back on the floor as many parts of the ceiling started to collapse onto you.
You rolled instinctively, avoiding most of the debris until your side bumped into an unconscious Maya Hansen lying close to the foyer. As you brought your fingers onto her neck, checking her slow pulse, you winced and felt the pain in your shoulder more vivid.
“Tony!” You called and crawled towards a red and gold well-built form as more dust flew around you, making you inhale more of it.
“Here!” He coughed and before he could’ve been hit by the ceiling, Pepper protected his body as she was dressed in his Mark 42 suit. You finally gathered your strength and rose to your feet, seeing Tony standing up. You held out your hand closer as he began to run to you with Pepper, but three helicopters started shooting at the house.
“Move! I'm right behind!” Tony commanded as you all avoided the shots successfully and the floor collapsed between Pepper, you, and him. “Pepper, go get Maya outside with Y/N, I’m going to find another way around.” He stopped as he saw the hesitation and panic in your eyes. “Listen to me and stop stopping!”
Despite the injury of your shoulder and your concern about his safety, you listened to your brother, and Pepper wrapped one arm around you as she grabbed Hansen with the other. She used the gauntlet and beamed at the glass door, shattering it as you finally got outside the mansion that got further destroyed as the helicopters continued to fire.
“Oh, my God. Tony!” You and Pepper screamed, cradling a hand on your shoulder while the house collapsed before your eyes. Just as when you were about to go back inside, the Iron Man suit came off the redhead and flew straight to him you supposed, helping him bring down one of the helicopters shooting at him.
“Y/N, what are you doing?!” She cried as you rushed closer to the mansion, knowing what would happen there if you weren’t here for Tony. The dust, the thick smoke, the bare cables still hanging on the walls and the pieces of concrete around you couldn’t change your mind when you saw your brother running and trying to avoid the bullets of the two helicopters firing at him with their machine guns.
“Y/N!” Tony screamed as you made it to him close to a window. He used his armor to protect you from the bullets as the helicopter approached you in the living room. “Just go, get out of here!”
“No, not without you!” Using your pain endurance at best, you held out a hand toward the enemy and threw an enormous ball of fire towards the helicopter, setting it on fire before the pilot lost control. “That's two,” you breathed out and he nodded. “Now, come with me!”
“Too late!” He cried as the helicopter exploded, flying straight to the house where it would crash. “Hold on to me!” Your brother folded his arms around you tightly and you both knelt, feeling the floor shaking beneath your feet as it fell.
You tightened your grip around the iron suit when the foundation collapsed and you both landed at the lowest level- in the workshop, hitting the concrete with a loud thud. The side of your head slammed against a remain of the ceiling as the last helicopter shot at the previous and first Iron Man suits standing behind their glasses of protection.
“Y/N, stay with me! Don’t sleep, all right?” Tony called as he noticed some blood slipping through a cut on your head where you received the shock and your arms loosened their grip around him gradually. “Sweetheart!”
Dark spots quickly invaded your vision as you felt yourself drifting to another state. Tony held you and him with one hand, clinging to the metallic structure of the house when the whole basement gave in and slid down, falling into the ocean just like the upper level a few seconds ago. Your growing weakness and grogginess finally won the battle against you as you let go of Tony, fainting in the air where you followed the rest of debris destined to hit the water.
“Y/N!” He let himself fall with you, ready to catch your body. “J, my flight power! NOW!”
‘Flight power restored, sir.’ J.A.R.V.I.S. said and Tony finally used the blast to fly down faster and grab you. He wrapped one arm around your back while the other went under your knees, keeping you safe- close to him. He flew back up, noting that the last helicopter seemed to have taken off, leaving you with your brother flying straight through the sky to an unknown destination.
A couple of hours later - The Triskelion, Washington D.C.
Sitting in his office on the penultimate floor of the building, Fury waited for Steve to come from Brooklyn for a special meeting with him. After six months only working as an adviser for S.H.I.E.L.D., the director wanted Steve to become a full-time agent exclusively working for this intelligence agency- with his own teammate and another team as STRIKE to command.
“Sir.” Steve finally knocked at the door and approached Fury after he had let him in. “You’ve called me.”
“Captain Rogers.” He shook his hand and gestured he could take a seat. “I have some offer for you to consider… I think it’s time that you officially join S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“Me?” The super soldier’s eyes widened. “I don’t think I’m qualified enough to be a spy.”
“That’s the thing, you won’t be one. You’ll be mainly here for the combat in the field-”
“Director Fury!” Hill interrupted in shock and came in a rush with Clint and Natasha following behind. “I think you want to see this… you too, Captain.” She took the remote on the desk and turned on the television, switching to a news channel.
‘We’re live in Malibu, above what seems to be the last remaining of the famous Stark Mansion owned by Tony Stark himself.’ A reporter pointed at the nonexistent house as she was in one of the many news helicopters flying around Malibu to have the exclusivity of the news. ‘A bit more than two hours ago, some neighbors reported that three helicopters were here to shoot all kinds of missiles at the house. Earlier today, the billionaire also known as Iron Man has threatened the Mandarin- we still don’t know if the two events are linked, but we know for sure that Pepper Potts has survived the attack while Tony Stark is still missing.’
“What happened to Tony?” Steve asked, dumbfounded, standing from his seat as well as Fury. The horror and fear on their faces were unexplainable, even though all of them tried to conceal them, knowing that showing their emotions wasn’t part of their respective jobs.
“We think he’s… dead.” Natasha said and the atmosphere became worse. “It’s not over; I know that Y/N was inside with him at this moment. We were the only ones at S.H.I.E.L.D. knowing she was spending Christmas with him, that’s why the reporters don’t mention her.”
“What are you going to do about it?!” Clint asked as he paced around the room nervously. “They might have survived, they have to be somewhere… and we all know they are tough!”
“Calm down, Barton. We’ll find them and if they are still alive, they'll let us know it,” Steve soothed; coming back to the Captain he is to fight the panic growing inside him as he turned to Fury with this serious tone. “I’m sure you are already trying to track them down, Director.”
“Listen up. Hill, I want our best five agents on site, searching for anything that might lead us to them: dead or alive,” Fury ordered and the deputy director nodded, taking her phone. “There’s no more missions to focus on for them until we have some news. This will be the priority of this team.”
“We want to be part of it, boss,” Natasha growled, hoping it wasn’t too late.
“No, none of you will go to Malibu,” the boss finished and interrupted Steve as he was about to argue and expose his opinions. “You too, Rogers. You’re all compromised ‘cause you’re too close to them. That’s an order.”
Overnight - Stark Mansion, Malibu, CA
Eyes opened, you shifted your position on the mattress to find the right way to reach sleep again, but this couldn’t seem to work anymore. After you had worked with Tony on the Mandarin lead, Pepper came back home and finally convinced him to relax with her, which was a relief to see, you had to admit… yet something about him was still bothering you.
The only person with whom you could speak about it wasn’t there, but you wanted to contact him anyway, just to hear a reassuring voice. You dialed the number on your phone before you brought it to your ear as you heard the usual voicemail making you smile in pain of loss.
‘Hi, you’ve reached Coulson, but obviously, I’m not here… probably doing some normal stuff… Y/N, I’ve told you this message is ridiculous. I’ll do it my way.’ You heard your voice in the background, laughing and Phil got back to his phone. ‘Anyway, I’m not here, so leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.’ He tried to hang up, but the device continued to record his voice scolding you. ‘Seriously, Y/N, I’m not taking your advice anymore and- BEEP.’
“Hey, Phil. It’s me… again. I know, it’s crazy, I’m just talking to a voicemail, but I needed to hear your voice and your advice would be very welcome at this moment,” you sighed and looked out at the window overlooking the ocean. “Right now I’m worried about Tony. Lately, he’s been very anxious, and he’s trying to hide it… family thing you would’ve said, but I want to help him… and- and I don’t know how. My brother has PTSD and I’m feeling so helpless, he’s also in trouble. He needs my support, my skills and if it has to go roughly… so be it.”
“Phil, I know this will never be heard, but I miss you so much. I wish you were here. You were the only one who could read straight through me and see how hard it was for me since I’ve joined S.H.I.E.L.D.” Your voice cracked under unformed tears and you let the silence take over the room while it calmed you down. “I love you, and I’m still sorry about everything.”
You hung up shakily and tossed the phone on your bed, still looking at the window and the landscape invaded your mind for peaceful seconds. Your brain was brought back to reality when some cries of fear could be heard from the master bedroom across the hallway. In an instinctive move, you took your gun to rush outside your room and see Pepper leaving upset.
“What happened?” You questioned and lowered your weapon, seeing her features frozen with stress and confusion.
“Mark 42,” she gasped and rubbed her face with her hands. “I’m going to sleep downstairs… just talk to him- I can’t...” Without another word, she took the staircase as she tried to hide some tears. You stepped into the bedroom to see Tony catching his breath on the mattress while his brand new suit armor was scattered in pieces next to the bed.
You closed your eyes a few seconds, trying to swallow the pain and naturally, you climbed to sit next to him. Even when the silence filled the thick atmosphere, you understood he had another nightmare. You rubbed your brother’s back and he put his head on your shoulder while he tried to fight the anxiety his dark dream had triggered.
“You want to share it?” You offered and he declined, still shaken by the horror his subconscious showed him. “Okay, so what do you want to talk about?” You asked instead, trying to make him forget and he searched his mind for a few seconds.
“Dunno…” He shushed for long minutes. “Maybe, uh- so, still afraid to fall in love?”
“Uh, I don't think I want to discuss this with my older brother.”
“What, you see yourself having a conversation about love with the parents if they were still alive?” He questioned with this concern in his tone and you huffed out a laugh. “So?”
“I'm fine the way I am, right now,” you admitted. “Besides, I have no time for dating as I have my own responsibilities to tend to,” you finally answered his question and frowned. “Seriously, why is everyone worrying about my love life? I'm already happy and it's enough!"
“Whoa, Frosty. Calm down, just trying to make a nice conversation with my favorite little sister.” He eventually smiled and moved his head to look at you. “Thanks.”
“Love you, too,” you chuckled lightly and shifted your gaze to the feet of the bed. You kept on looking at the gold and red on the floor and spoke again. “If you want to dismantle the Ten Rings, we’ll need more. Some backup, don’t you think?”
“They are all minding their own business,” Tony argued. “Even the god is still in Asgard!”
“Technically, I don't believe Thor is a god.” You stared up lovingly at the ceiling, and a stupid smile crept up onto your face. “You've never been held by his arms, though… Mr. Fancy.”
“Wait a minute. You have a crush on Capsicle, not the Asgardian.”
“You're kidding, right?” Tony tried to read through your eyes, but nothing changed. “Rogers has always been protecting you and you eyed him so greedily... it was so awkward for us.”
“We're friends! Once again, you're wrong and I'm right. Starting to get a little tired of this-”
“That's why you’re seeing him every weekend outside of work.” He arched a brow, smirking.
“Not every weekend and I'm assigned to help him, remember?”
“Nope, sweetie, this assignment has been lifted ever since the last events.”
“There is nothing. We are friends... yeah; friendship between a man and a woman exists.” You rose to your feet and helped him up. “Let’s talk about something else, all right?”
“I need to tinker,” he mused and motioned for his armor to stand again. “I need to check the flying system of the suit.”
Long hours later- during day time -when Tony focused on the calculations and algorithms, J.A.R.V.I.S. interrupted your work. You received a call from the hospital, informing that Happy had been injured in a bombing near the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. Immediately, your brother rushed to his old friend side while you stayed at home with Pepper to have some news about the sudden attack that had caused so many damages.
“Anything on the bomb yet?” You asked Natasha on the phone, pacing around the living room while the bay window was transformed into a monitor showing the info channels.
‘Same than what May and Rhodey have already sent you. Though there are some similarities with one attack in the country, I’m sending this to J.A.R.V.I.S.’
“Thanks… I’ll check this later. Bye.” You ended the call as the Ten Rings hijacked the channels once again. You dropped your hands on your hips and Pepper joined you in time.
‘True story about fortune cookies.’ As the Mandarin spoke, sharing his new propaganda, another terrorist footage took control. ‘They look Chinese. They sound Chinese. But they're actually an American invention. Which is why they're hollow, full of lies, and leave a bad taste in the mouth… My disciples just destroyed another cheap American knockoff. The Chinese Theater. Mr. President, I know this must be getting frustrating, but this season of terror is drawing to a close. And don't worry, the big one is coming. Your graduation.’
Pepper clearly tried to swallow the fear that surrounded her face, sitting on the couch and you crossed your arms. As the channels finally came back, it wasn’t long before the focus shifted on the cameras of news reporters from all over the world, waiting for Tony outside the hospital as they wanted him to share his thoughts.
‘We're awaiting the arrival of Tony Stark. We're hoping he'll give us the reaction... his reaction to the latest attack.’ A blonde journalist said a few feet away from the main entrance and Tony walked out as all the dozen of reporters swarmed toward him. ‘Mr. Stark! Mr. Stark! Our sources are telling us that this is another Mandarin attack. Anything else you can tell us?’
“Please, keep your mouth shut, Tony,” Pepper begged quietly as her boyfriend ignored the many questions, going to his white car.
‘Hey, Mr. Stark!’ A pushy tabloid reporter called out, and he turned to face him. ‘When is somebody gonna kill this guy? Just sayin'.’
“Too soon, Pep. You know the guy.”
‘Is that what you want?’ Tony questioned the journalists and they all stayed quiet. ‘Here's a little Holiday greeting I've been wanting to send to the Mandarin. I just didn't know how to phrase it until now. My name is Tony Stark and I'm not afraid of you. I know you're a coward, so I've decided that you just died, pal. I'm gonna come get the body.’
“Please, Y/N… tell me I’m not hearing this. This gotta be a nightmare,” Pepper faltered and you scoffed, rubbing your tired eyes. If Tony wanted revenge, then you wanted it as well.
‘There's no politics here; it's just good old-fashioned revenge. There's no Pentagon; it's just you and me. And on the off-chance you're a man, here's my home address: 10880, Malibu Port, 90265. I'll leave the door unlocked.’
“Nice move, bro, you’re only supposed to be a genius, after all.”
“Did- did he just give our address to the world’s craziest man?” Pepper questioned, and you swallowed before nodding your head slowly. “Okay, I’m gonna pack up right now. We’re not living here anymore!”
“No, you’re overreacting, Pepper!” She rolled her eyes as yours followed her going upstairs fast. “Trust me; he knows what he’s doing. We’ve fought worse!”
“But, what if I want him to stop? He’s always throwing himself in danger.” She ran her shaky hands through her hair and she eventually left to her master bedroom, packing up her bags.
You sighed heavily, taking the stairs to the kitchen from where you could hear the reporters’ helicopters already flying above the mansion. You poured yourself a large mug of coffee and waited for your brother to come back home and handle the situation.
“Y/N?” Tony called as soon as he stepped into the living room and you stood from the couch. “You saw it, I want revenge. I’ll make him suffer.”
“And I’m gonna be here when it will happen,” you promised and went to the workshop. “He’s gonna regret everything.”
“Then you’re in.”
As soon as you both got comfortable, knowing you would stay there for a long time; you began to share your information with Tony and discussed the first tactics of your plan. You both had different views about the way to see things: he wanted to go in Afghanistan- practically unprepared and when the recruit you were ten years ago would’ve agreed, you opted for a more subtle plan involving some research in the field. A work of spy as he called it.
“I've compiled a Mandarin database for you, sir,” J.A.R.V.I.S. said as you stood on the platform with your brother. “Drawn from S.H.I.E.L.D., F.B.I., and C.I.A. intercepts. Initiating virtual crime scene reconstruction.” As soon as he finished, the virtual scene appeared in three dimensions on the platform and you both started to walk around as you looked at all the data gathered.
“Okay, what do we got here? His name is an ancient Chinese war mantle, meaning: adviser to the King.” Tony enumerated, remembering important details. “South American insurgency tactics, talks like a Baptist preacher. There's lots of pageantry going on here... lots of theater.”
“Close.” You pushed the virtual information down to close and a new holographic scene appeared as J.A.R.V.I.S. spoke.
“The heat from the blast was in excess of 3000 degrees Celsius. Any subjects within 12.5 yards were vaporized instantly.”
“No bomb parts found in a three-mile radius of the Chinese theater.” You said as more of a statement than a question to anyone.
“Talk to me, Happy,” Tony whispered and noticed in the virtual reconstruction, Happy pointing his finger at some dog tags on the ground. He picked up the virtual image for you to investigate them further. “When is a bomb not a bomb?”
“When there’s no bomb casings,” you reminded and took a closer look at the hologram. “Any military victims?” You inquired as you tried to read the name on the necklace.
“Not according to public records.”
“Bring up the thermogenic signatures again, factor in three thousand degrees,” your brother ordered and sat on top of the big tool box to have a better view.
“The oracle cloud has completed analysis,” J.A.R.V.I.S. said. “Accessing satellites and plotting the last twelve months of thermogenic occurrence now.”
“Take away everywhere that there's been a Mandarin attack.” Tony looked at the many pads of locations popping up, moving them to the side. “Nope.” You both saw the data gathered about an attack in Rose Hill, Tennessee extremely similar to what the Mandarin had done already. “That. You sure that's not one of his?”
“It predates any known Mandarin attack. The incident was the use of a bomb to assist a suicide.”
“Bring her around,” you said and the information pad floated towards you. It opened and all the information about the suicide was shown to you, informing you that it was committed by an ex-soldier. Another soldier involved in a similar attack wasn’t a coincidence for any of you.
“The heat signature is remarkably similar. Three thousand degrees Celsius.”
“I can be hotter than that.” You smirked, keeping your serious as your brother rolled his eyes.
“That's two military guys. What if we spend Christmas in Tennessee this year, Y/N?”
“I’ll pack up my stuff. J.A.R.V.I.S., you know what to do.”
“Creating a flight plan for Tennessee.”
As you were both about to get ready to leave for Tennessee, the doorbell rang and you motioned your hands to close the virtual display in a quick movement.
“Are we still at ding-dong?” Tony’s grin faded away as soon as the facial scan started at the front door. “We're supposed to be on total security lockdown. Come on, I threatened a terrorist. Who is that?”
“There's only so much we can do, Tony, when you give the world's press our home address.”
Two days later - a bar, Malibu, CA
During these past two days, your brother had been new to you: very busy, spending his whole time in the workshop, working on his suit. You had no idea when it did happen, but you realized he’d already designed dozens of new armors without a break since May. He was even secretive whenever someone would mention the attacks committed by the Ten Rings. You stepped away from him with Pepper, but you both wanted to save him and protect him.
After endless tries, you managed to get Tony out of the mansion as Rhodey had offered to share a lunch with you and his best friend in his favorite bar in town. You both jumped gladly on the occasion of making fun of Rhodey’s new Iron Patriot suit while you ate all together.
“The same suit, but painted red white and blue. Look at that,” you laughed, pointing at the TV showing the new armor. “And they also renamed you Iron Patriot...? Why, just in case the paint was too subtle? Guess that Captain America was already taken.”
“You mean Rogers took you,” Tony coughed and you almost spat on his face the fresh water you’d drunk.
“It tested well with focus groups, all right?” Rhodey addressed your endless teasing, looking at you half-amused.
“I am Iron Patriot!” Tony put on a mocking voice. “It sucks.”
“You should’ve worked on another name, I could have helped.”
“Listen, War Machine was a little too aggressive, all right? This sends a better message.” The Colonel ate a bite of his French fry and you snorted.
“So, what's really goin' on? With the Mandarin,” Tony interrogated and removed his red sunglasses. “Seriously, can we talk about this guy?” He inched closer to Rhodey and you mimicked as you wanted to compare his info with what S.H.I.E.L.D. had given your brother.
“It's classified information, Tony.” Rhodey tried to stop it, but you both insisted, not moving back and he surrendered. “Okay, there have been nine bombings.”
“Nine,” your brother repeated.
“The public only knows about three,” you added, matching your S.H.I.E.L.D. info.
“But here's the thing, nobody can ID a device. There's no bomb casings,” Rhodey finished.
“You know I can help, just ask,” Tony offered his help. “I got a ton of new tech, I got a prehensile suit, I got a... I got a new bomb disposal: catches explosions midair.”
“When's the last time you got a good night's sleep?”
“He’s been like this for days.” You turned your head to the soldier.
“Einstein slept three hours a year. Look what he did?”
“People are concerned about you, Tony,” Rhodey confessed and beckoned his head towards you. “I'm concerned about you just like Y/N is.”
“You're gonna come at me like that?”
“No. No, look, I'm not trying to be a dic...” his best friend stopped himself as two children came up to your table. “...tator.”
“Do you mind signing my drawings?” The girl asked Tony, handing him a paper. “You too, Miss (Y/SH/N).” She then gave you a drawing of you on fire as well as a crayon.
“Wow, another kid asking me to sign a paper! Of course, I’m doing it,” you exclaimed with a beam and turned to Rhodey. “If Richard doesn't mind.”
“You all right with this, Dick?” Your brother added and you chuckled.
“Yeah. Fine with me,” he laughed and you took the crayon, signing the paper while Tony chitchatted with the children standing next to him.
“Listen, the Pentagon is scared,” Rhodey said, coming back to the Mandarin subject. “After what happened in New York... aliens, come on. They need to look strong. Stopping the Mandarin is a priority, but it's not-”
“It's not superhero business, I get it.” Tony cut in and you gave back the drawing to the girl.
“No, it's not, quite frankly. It's American business.”
“That's why I said I... got it.” As he wrote his name on the paper, he abruptly broke the crayon with a shaky hand. You stopped focusing on the drawing when he placed a hand on his face, hiding his features contorting as if he felt ill.
“Hey, what’s going on?” You questioned, laying your palm on his forearm as the genuine worries grew inside you.
“I broke the crayon.”
“Are you okay, Mr. Stark?” The girl asked, yet he didn’t answer.
“Take it easy... Tony.” Rhodey patted his shoulder, but when the little boy whispered something in his ear, the billionaire suddenly rose from his chair with a horrified look trapping his face and he started walking off.
“Wait!” You called out and followed him as he walked out the bar. “What'd he say?” You tried to know what the boy might have whispered to trigger such reaction.
“Tony!” Rhodey left some dollars on the table and finally followed.
“Sorry. Have to check on the suit... make sure... okay.” Tony stepped into his Iron Man suit that was parked outside the bar and knelt a brief moment before you both joined him. Rhodey knocked on the helmet while people gathered around you, watching what happened to the superheroes in front of them.
“Come on, man. This isn't a good look. Open up,” the soldier urged.
“Sorry, I gotta split.” Tony excused and flew off in his suit, probably heading to his mansion.
“Tony,” you whispered to yourself as you looked up to the sky. “Pepper told me he’s been like this ever since New York,” you told Rhodey, and walked fast to your car that you opened.
“He still doesn’t want to speak about it,” he sighed and shut the door after you had sat in. “Doesn’t it remind you of something that frequently happens in our jobs?”
“The worst case scenario.” You nodded sadly as you understood what he’d referred to. “Let’s give him some space, and then I’ll try to talk to him later.”
A few hours had passed until you fastened up your car to the mansion and parked inside the garage. You took the staircase leading to the large living area where you thought Tony was, but nothing else than Mark 42 sitting on the couch was to be seen.
You decided to take the stairs directly deserving to the wine cellar and as your eyes shifted through the room, yet again he wasn’t there. You were about to go back up when Tony’s brand new phone caught your attention- inside a fridge while a Skype session was still online.
“Uh, is this forehead of security?” You questioned the camera monitor showing a forehead after you had opened the glass door. “Happy, is it you?”
“Hey, Y/N,” Pepper’s new bodyguard greeted. “So, what’s up with your super-friends?”
“What are you doing in the fridge?”
“Your brother put me in there.”
“Then log off,” you suggested and a noise coming from the level above made you jump lightly. “Sorry, I gotta go!” You excused and rushed to the workshop upstairs where the back of your brother welcomed you. “Will you tell me what’s going on with you?” You asked as he worked on some calculations on his monitor onto the platform.
“Nothing, I told Rhodey the same,” he brushed it off and finally turned to you. “I hope you didn’t hit the custom rabbit with your car in front of the house.”
“No, I parked at the back,” you responded and approached him. “A giant bunny to apologize because you’re ignoring your girlfriend, who is the best thing that ever happened in your life.”
“Yep, she’ll like it!” He smiled and flipped a file on the monitor to show you the I.D. of a blonde man. “Reminds me, Pepper is having a meeting with Aldrich Killian… and Happy told me she’s giggling like a teen while he’s basically showing her his big brain.”
“Killian, he was a creepy blonde not long ago. I actually met the guy back in ‘99 in a science conference in Bern.” Tony explained and took a seat next to the monitor where he checked more articles or interviews given by Killian since that night in Switzerland.
“Oh, yeah, I remember him!” You clapped your hands. “He helped me going inside the ballroom and I saw him again when I left the party at two in the morning... He also invited you to join A.I.M. thirteen years ago, but you turned him down.”
“You went to the party?!” Your brother cried. “You were almost fifteen!”
“Hey, I'm not exactly like you, Tony! I didn't drink... just danced. Remember the 'staying inside the elevator' thing? It was me!” You ducked when he threw a piece of his suit, but then all traces of laughter disappeared from your face. “So what’s the problem?
“I don’t trust the guy. Happy seemed concerned.”
“No, you're spying on Pepper. Killian isn't the real problem I’m talking about,” you pressed your lips together as he quirked an eyebrow, his signature move. “I’m talking about what happened back in the bar!”
“I wasn’t feeling well, all right? Drop it!” Tony exclaimed, and you stood in front of him.
You touched the screens to reveal the Mandarin investigation he had led and had tried to hide from you or Pepper in the last two days. “So, you’re really going after this terrorist, and you really want to do this alone.”
“I have to.”
“No, you don’t because S.H.I.E.L.D. is the best qualified in tracking someone down, and you know that. This Mandarin isn’t invincible; it’s been days that you are studying him, so now let me join in.”
“It’s too dangerous.”
“This is dangerous.” You snapped your fingers and shot up a flame. “I am.”
“I, uh… I just don’t want all this to happen all over again,” your brother stuttered, and passed his hands across his face as he turned his gaze. At that moment, you understood he’d referred to New York’s dramatic events and you saw the chance to finally talk about the real issue behind all this.
“You know how we call what you're going through?” You asked rhetorically in a voice heavy with concern and he clenched his jaw. “PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder. I have friends that are living the same tough experience.”
He looked down as he tried to find a way to avoid this subject, “I've just finished a suit you need to see and you can even put it on if you want! Some verification needed.”
“You're not going to buy me with it, Tony.” You crossed your arms and your brother stared at you like it was a challenge, knowing either one of you weren’t going to give up.
“What do you want me to say?”
“Admit that you're working on these suits as a cure or a therapy... it's your cocoon. Admit that you are doing this for all the people you think you’re still putting in the harm. Admit it and talk to us. Talk to me.”
“No, those suits are part of me.”
“They are you, I get it. But tell me something,” you whispered the last words as you put a hand on his shoulder, yet he didn’t say a word. “You know what, take all the time you need, but if you want to talk to me, I'll be in my room.” You started walking off the workshop, passing the door glasses and you took the first stairs.
“No, wait, stop! Hey, I admit it!” Tony finally confessed and you turned back to look at him. “I'm a piping hot mess. It's been going on for a while, I haven't said anything. Nothing's been the same since New York.”
“Oh, really? Well, I didn't notice that at all.”
“You experience things and then they're over and you still can't explain 'em. Gods, aliens, other dimensions. I... I'm just a man in a can. The only reason I haven't cracked up is probably because Pepper moved in. Which is great. I love her, I'm lucky. But Y/N, I can't sleep. She goes to bed, I come down here. I do what I know, I tinker.” Tony stopped for a moment and you looked at him clearly saddened. “Threat is imminent, and I have to protect the two things that I can't live without. That's you and Pepper.”
You walked up to your brother with a small smile that he tried to mimic from the chair and you cupped his cheeks to reassure him. The exact same way he had done with you in the past when you weren’t old enough to understand everything about life.
“There’s no shame to speak about it, you know.” He nodded his head, standing up and you took him in your arms. “My special little snowflake… Will you do me a favor today? Make yourself comfortable, take a shower and have a dinner date with Pep. She misses you.”
“Right, I'm gonna… I’m gonna do it.”
“You're going to work on the Mandarin lead until she gets home, right?” You pulled away.
“Then let me help you with it, please.”
December 2012 - Stark Mansion, Malibu, CA
“Peggy, you’re being an insomniac again,” you laughed at your old friend through the phone and you took your bags out of the car parked in front of the mansion at night.
‘The doctors say it’s a side effect of the disease.’
“You can call me whenever you want, what I’m saying is you also need to rest.” You closed the door of the trunk and walked towards the entrance.
‘I miss you already and Sharon isn’t picking up the phone because of a mission.’
“I know, but I’ve promised Tony and Pepper to join them for Christmas.” You stepped in your big house and let your bags on the ground while walking in the living room. “I gotta go, though,” you whispered as the only lights coming down from the workshop were accompanied by a well-known voice making fun of the silly Dum-E.
‘Right, goodnight, darling.’
“Night, night, Peg.” You hung up and put the phone inside your pocket. “Hey, J.A.R.V.I.S.! What’s going on down there?”
“Good evening and welcome back, Miss Stark. Sir completed the micro-repeater implanting sequence, and now is testing his work,” J responded, referring to Tony’s new fad of getting his suits coming to him by a simple movement of his arms.
“I bet he entirely ignored the safety briefing you’ve prepared,” you guessed, and the AI confirmed your suspicion. “When was the last time he had a full night of sleep?”
“A very long time ago I’m afraid.”
“Listen to the woman, buddy and don’t say I’m here yet,” you said and he agreed.
You took a deep breath and walked downstairs towards the entrance of the workshop. You chose to stay in the corner of the staircase to not be seen as something interesting happened before your eyes.
“Sir, may I remind you that you've been awake for nearly seventy-two hours?” J.A.R.V.I.S. tried to reason with your brother, but it was ignored as he stood on the platform with Dum-U recording him like he had done in the past.
“Focus up, ladies. Good evening, and welcome to the birthing suite,” Tony addressed the Iron Man suits proudly exposed in their glass cages. “I'm pleased to announce the imminent arrival of your bouncing, badass, baby brother.” He turned to Dum-U as he ordered: “Start tight and go wide, stamp date and time. Mark 42, autonomous prehensile propulsion suit test. Initialize sequence.” He raised his hands and motioned to activate the new suit in pieces scattered inside the new workshop. “J.A.R.V.I.S., drop my needle.”
As commanded, Jingle Bells started playing and Tony moved his upper body with the music while you unconsciously tapped your foot on the floor to follow the famous seasonal rhythm. He pointed his arm where he had injected the mini devices toward the dismantled new Iron Man suit on the table opposite, but nothing happened. As it was the first fail in his experiment, he tried again with more conviction in his movement, yet the armor still didn’t attach itself to his stretched arm.
“Crap,” Tony cursed and hit his arm containing the micro-repeaters. He finally motioned his arm again, this time a part of the suit complied as it flew over to him and attached itself to his hand to extend to his arm and shoulder as it created the suit’s golden left arm. The result finally achieved, he then positioned his other arm toward the suit and the second golden piece latched itself to his hand.
“All right, I think we got this,” your brother laughed proud of his own mad work. “Send 'em all.” As ordered, J.A.R.V.I.S. made the leg part flew over and attached itself to Tony's leg. Then, as another part fastened on him, he moved away slightly before it crashed into one of the Iron Man suit glass cages. Abruptly, another part hurled itself at Tony, who inflicted it with his arm making it crash against the ceiling.
“Oh, boy. You’re not going out of this so easily,” you mumbled, and still your brother didn’t notice you were there as he was too busy working on Mark 42.
“Probably a little fast, slow it down. Slow it down just a...” The chest part of the suit shot over and Tony ducked in time as it narrowly missed hitting him in the head again, “...little bit.”
“Don’t slow down, J,” you ordered in a whisper, and the AI obliged as the other parts fixed themselves with force onto Tony's back, leg and crotch area.
“Cool it, will you, J.A.R.V.I.S.?” Finally, all the other parts shot over and got attached to Tony, except for the final face piece, which just hovered, facing him. “Come on. I ain't scared of you.” The face piece fastened and Tony flipped over to grab the golden part of the armor as the new Iron Man suit was finally completely attached to him… or so he was led to believe.
“I'm the best.” He cried victory too soon and at that moment, one of the stray pieces of the suit knocked into him, making him fall to the ground. The entire suit dispersed around him except for the helmet, and you laughed loudly before you came into the workshop.
“The best in the world!” You clapped your hands and the billionaire jumped, finally acknowledging your presence as you hit his Wing Chun a few times.
“As always, sir, a great pleasure watching you work.” J.A.R.V.I.S. teased like he had always loved. You helped your brother sit on the platform with you after a quick peck on his cheek as greet and you removed the red helmet from his head.
“I thought your flight was in two days.” Tony shook his head, taking back his senses. “You should’ve called Happy; he would’ve picked you up at the airport.” You ignored and saw a cut on his lips before you took some cotton with the antiseptic bottle on the table next to you.
“Fury gave me the day since I didn’t take a single break this year and you know I like to have my independence, so no Happy.” You smiled, wiping away the blood on the corner of his mouth and you chuckled as he hissed because of the disinfection. You looked at the mess around the workshop, trying to find something you had dreamed of. “You hid it, didn’t you?”
“What are you talking about?”
“My Christmas gift… which is a new car!” You exclaimed extremely joyful and Tony smiled, seeing the joyful little girl under the tree once again.
“First of all, you’ve also inherited and became a billionaire, which means you can pay everything you want! Isn’t the principle of this holiday to give the gift on December 25th? The last time I checked, we were on…” He trailed off, detailing the new helmet in his hands.
“December 19th,” you finished for him with an obvious frown of concern while you noticed how tired and tensed he looked. “You all right?”
“Always,” Tony responded after a brief moment, looking into your eyes.
“Pepper told me about your little problem since… since, well you know. Why don’t you sleep?” You interrogated, but he looked down, ashamed or anxious at the idea of talking about his failures. “C’mon, Tony, you’ve gotta let me in. You know you can tell me everything, right?”
“I… I’ve tried to sleep really, but every time I close my eyes, I get some nightmares, the same that keeps repeating over and over again… I’m just trying to figure this out.”
“By working all night while you are ignoring your girlfriend and your only sister.”
“Y/N, this is my own therapy. I need to work on those suits because that’s how I see it!”
“What do you see?”
“Up there, it was the end of the world and I need to protect it,” Tony referred to the wormhole and you looked down, painful memories coming back to you both. “I see a suit of armor around the world, but it’s run by J.A.R.V.I.S.… no more Avengers and everyone is safe.”
“So, Mark…” You glanced at the armor lying at your feet. “Mark 42 is the member of some kind of army?” You questioned, afraid of this cold world.
“Nope, just the Iron Legion. It’s a simple prototype I’ve had in my head since I came back from Manhattan, so nothing serious at this stage. And it probably won’t happen soon… I don’t know, what about a single-”
“Sir, I highly suggest you watch the T.V.!” J.A.R.V.I.S. interrupted with an urgent tone.
“Show us.” Tony jumped on the occasion to close the sensitive subject. The screen next to you turned on and the logo of the Ten Rings invaded your vision as footage of terrorists was shown to the eyes of the U.S. citizens until an unfortunately well-known voice began to speak.
‘Some people call me a terrorist, I consider myself a teacher. America. Ready for another lesson?’ That was how the Mandarin began a new propaganda, threatening the world by the same way. Serving as the leader of the Ten Rings, the man was a powerful terrorist, ruling the same international terrorist organization that had kidnapped Tony a few years prior and unwillingly made him Iron Man.
‘In 1864 in Sand Creek, Colorado, the U.S. military waited till the friendly Cheyenne braves all gone hunting. Waited to attack and slaughter their families left behind, and claim their land. Thirty-nine hours ago, the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait was attacked. I... I... I did that.’
“Does S.H.I.E.L.D. have anything on him?” Tony asked as he watched the desolation caused by the bombing through the screen.
“Not that I know, I’m not assigned to this mission,” you responded and your eyes remained locked in front of you.
‘A quaint military church filled with wives and children, of course. The soldiers were out on maneuvers. The braves were away. President Ellis, you continue to resist my attempts to educate you, sir. And now, you've missed me again. You know who I am. You don't know where I am. And you'll never see me coming.’ The Mandarin threatened again and the message video ended to let the usual television show come back.
“They hijacked the American airwaves! How’d they do that?!” You exclaimed, still looking at the screen showing the White House. “I’ll try to get more information from Agent May tomorrow.” You turned to the billionaire and the rage and anger burning his brown eyes froze you until you understood the meaning of this gaze. “No, Tony. Don’t even think about it!”
“Already done,” he admitted and grabbed the hand of his armor to put it on.
“You want to go back to Afghanistan?” You asked in disbelief and dropped your hands on your hips. “Why don’t you let S.H.I.E.L.D. do the job? Political stuff is also our specialty.”
“This problem has its solution and it doesn’t need your presence,” Tony argued and you groaned before you took his hand, leading to the lounge area of the garage.
“Truth is you don’t have to do this alone. You won’t be,” you claimed as you sat on a sofa.
“You know, I wish I could believe that.” He exhaled and grasped his hand nervously. “I really do. But you’ve gotta trust me. Contrary to popular belief, I know exactly what I’m doing.”
“You don't want to stop this lone gunslinger thing, do you?” Your question remained unanswered as the TV finally showed the White House’s response to yet another fearful message from the Ten Rings.
‘Central to my Administration's response to this terrorist event, is a newly minted resource,’ President Ellis addressed The Mandarin threat, and you watched carefully. ‘I know him as Colonel James Rhodes. The American people will soon know him as the Iron Patriot.’ Words said, Rhodey showed up in his brand new suit painted with the American flag colors.“Iron Patriot…? Our country is definitely screwed up.”