Mark Four (Faith/Tony Stark)
Tony Stark belongs to people in Marvel, who aren't me. And I’m not Joss Whedon or someone who might be able to legally make money off the Buffyverse. Not mine!Summary:
Tony didn't want a helper. Tony got one anyways. Tony needs a drink.Joe's Note:
I wanted to take a break from Carry You Home just to avoid burnout. I don't know where the fuck this shit came from.
"'I am Iron Man'. You think you're the only superhero in the world? Mr. Stark, you've become part of a bigger universe. You just don't know it yet."
"Who the hell are you?"
"Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D."
"I'm here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative."
"So this one's mine? Paint job needs a bit of work, but other than that… that's one hell of a toy, boss man. When do I get to take it out for a spin?"
God, Tony Stark loathed the sound of that voice. From the moment she'd arrived, they'd maintained a love-hate relationship. That was to say, she loved to annoy him at every available opportunity and he'd come to hate spending time in his own house because he was stuck with her. "There is nothing wrong with the way it looks, Faith. A bit of gold from the metal itself with a layer of hot rod red. It was good enough for me, and…"
Faith Lehane shook her head, actually having the gall to reach out and slap a hand over his mouth. Him. People didn't touch him. Not even by accident. He'd seen them stammer and apologize just for bumping into him. Contact just wasn't made. Except, of course, unless they were very beautiful women who he'd given permission to, usually by way of touching them first. And Pepper, but she was Pepper. Faith was not. So why was she touching him? "Fuck no, boyo. I'm not going to go hunting vampires in that getup. I want it in black. In time for the press conference tomorrow."
"How about it's my multi-million dollar suit of armor and I say it's going to be in red and gold like mine?" And holy crap did he feel like a third grader all of a sudden. Granted at that age he was already working on a high school level, but still. 'It's my toy so my rules'? He'd handled hostile reporters, company board meetings, Greenpeace, and being stuck in a room with Donald Trump for an hour with ease… but this one damnable woman had him reverting to eight years old. He needed a drink. A very stiff one.
Rolling her eyes, Faith moved away and reached out, fingertips brushing gently over the sleek curves of the new Mark Four armor he'd created for her. Technically Mark Four, Revision Three, but who was counting? "It's too bright for night work, and I'm not a fucking Gryffindor. No red and gold."
Tony blinked and did his best to avoid laughing, knowing this mercurial woman could quite literally break him in half with her bare hands if she so chose. "You don't strike me as the Harry Potter type." Come to think of it, how the hell did he know that? Oh, right. Movie premieres. That was his story and he was sticking to it.
"Yeah, well, there was a complete set of the books in the prison library. Got bored in the big house and decided to take up reading. Got a problem with that?" Turning back to him, Faith sighed. Tony's eyes followed Faith's hand as it dipped between her breasts, disappearing into the cleavage so generously displayed by her tank top for a moment before emerging with a golden pendant. It was the only piece of jewelry she wore and he mentally cursed as she flipped it over to display the raised eagle. "And if you really want to, we can call up the big boss and ask him to settle the matter? I'm sure he'd love to be pulled out of his business to settle our beef."
After a moment of silence, Tony growled and threw himself into his chair, rolling over to a terminal and ordering the change. S.H.I.E.L.D. was still too uncertain an ally to antagonize at the moment. He wanted the contracts for the 'helicarriers' that Fury was intent on building and pissing off the man awarding the multi-billion dollar deals by engaging in childish feuds with one of his agents was not the way to get them. "There. Black. Done. Can you go away now? There is nothing to fit to you, nothing for you to test, the security system is finally back online, and we haven't worked the kinks out of the supernatural scanning program for the satellites. I do not want you here, I do not need you here… so please. Go be somewhere other than here?"
"You know, Tony, if I didn't know better… I'd say you didn't like me." Faith sauntered over to him and slid onto his lap, pressing her chest against his as she violated his personal space to an obscene degree. Her arms wrapped around his neck as she gave him a smirk. "But that's just silly. You like me plenty, don'tcha, Tony?"
Tony grit his teeth and glared at her, trying to will himself not to respond to the very warm and curvaceous form on his lap. "Get… out…"
Sighing, Faith unwound her arms and slid off his lap. "You're such a killjoy. At least Pepper loves me." She trailed her hand over his chest one last time before pulling away. "But fine. I'm out of here. Evidently I need a 'proper gown' for our coming out party next week and she's decided to take me out searching for the perfect dress. Not really the shopping type but hey, it gives me an excuse to get half-naked a bunch of times and flirt with your girl, so I'm there. Later!"
Tony watched the leather-clad posterior as it retreated to the security door on his basement haven, then ascended the stairs up into the main level of his house. Pepper… and Faith. Christ. There was an image he could have done without her implanting in his head. Not that it was unpleasant. Far from it, in fact. But his brain had somehow managed to merge memories of those lovely blonde twins he'd picked up once with his secretary and the bane of his existence, and the resulting mental image was enough to completely derail his train of thought. Fuck. He REALLY needed a drink. Hell, times like this were the reason drinking was invented.
It was times like this, where Faith managed to completely twist his world into knots without even trying, that Tony truly regretted becoming involved with the Avengers Initiative. Oh, it'd sounded great at first. Meet some other superheroes, get some backup, let the government take some of the cost of his armor of his hands… then the actual fighting had started. That had been a bit of a shock, teaming up with one or more other heroes to help them with problems too big for any one of them. Especially since his only real experience had been a few pitiful terrorists and Stane in his Iron Monger suit. But he'd managed. Risen to the occasion each and every time, just like the world expected Tony Stark to.
Then Nick Fury had come to him with a… hell, an order really. It had been phrased fairly nicely, but it'd been an order nonetheless. Tony Stark could be seen rushing out of business meetings to suit up since he'd blown his secret identity before the program even started… but that still relied on him being able to reach his armor and suit up before even being able to head to the source of the problem. Fury wanted someone assigned to monitor for trouble and ready in their own suit of armor, so they could serve as first response during times when Tony Stark was occupied being Tony Stark. And Tony had agreed, figuring a happy government was a spending government and that he'd be able to reinvest his freed up time in developing newer and better versions of the armor.
And then Fury had given him Faith.
Five and a half feet (five feet, four and three-quarters inches, he knew from making the armor) of muscle, sass, and irritation. She had superpowers of her own; Tony had learned of them the first night, after watching her pick up a piece of equipment that he would have had to use the armor to move. It'd played hell on the armor's interface as well, and he'd had to repeatedly reinforce it so she didn't just tear through the armor when in the middle of combat. And while her powers were strictly related to melee combat… he still wondered what it was about her that had caused Fury to pass her his way.
Likely something to do with the supernatural creatures she loved to go out and hunt at night, he imagined. Which was something that boggled his mind even to this day, even after seeing Faith 'dust' several vampires in front of him, and he didn't want to think about at the moment.
Sighing, Tony hopped up and got back to work. He had one set of armor to repaint and two costumes to finish off before the press conference tomorrow. "Jarvis, load the model for Miss van Dyne. Let's see if we can finish her off first. Although why she's not sewing her own costume is beyond me. Isn't that why Fury hired her?"
"Yes, sir." The AI that ran his house sounded distinctly put upon, and Tony grinned. If only the real Jarvis was still with him. But life was an inevitable circle, and all eventually passed on. At least he'd been able to sit down with his family's butler in his waning days and program the simulation so a part of Jarvis would live on to chide him for the rest of his days. "I do believe that changed when she gained powers of her own, though, sir."
Tony nodded absently as he started to fiddle with the computer, looking back and forth between the modeling program he was working in and his spare display, where he'd sent the costume idea images Janet had emailed him. "Ah, right. Do you know if her and Pym are still having relationship difficulties? Because I wouldn't be opposed to finding out for myself if size does matter…"
Another sigh. "No, sir. If you'd like, I can tune in Entertainment Tonight or some other tawdry show exploiting celebrity gossip for profit and you can attempt to find out from them?"
"Now there's an idea. Thanks, Jarvis."
"You're welcome, sir. I think."
Tony stared out at the crowd of reporters, keeping a genial smile on his face even as he inwardly sneered in disgust. He could be doing actual work right now on projects like commercially useful arc reactors… or drinking… rather than hosting the coming out party for his annoying sidekick slash bodyguard slash roommate. "How many of you used to read comics when you were a kid? Or maybe still read them now?" The low current of discussion abruptly died and silence fell, leaving him staring at a still room. Tony sighed and raised his hand. "C'mon, don't be shy. I'll admit it, I've got a pile of Superman comics of my own…"
One by one, a few hands went up and Tony's grin became a bit less fake. It was much easier to feed pop culture references to a crowd you knew would understand them. "Alright, now… Bruce Wayne always had to rush off to change into Batman and save the day… am I the only one who ever wondered how nobody noticed him constantly disappearing? Business meetings, dinners, dates with his girlfriends… nobody puts it together?"
"Now while I won't have that problem because you all know who I am… what am I supposed to do? Haul my armor with me in a giant crate so I can run into the other room and change every time there's a problem? And what happens if there's a crisis here while I'm in New York on business?" A black speck dropped through the clouds in the distance and Tony decided to just wrap it up, leaving Faith to handle the bulk of the reporters' interest. "So today, the family grows by one member. May I present… Iron Maiden!"
In New York City, deep inside the slowly growing base that had been established by SHIELD both for their own operations and the Avenger Initiative, several figures were clustered around a huge television. "May I present… Iron Maiden!"
The cameras all shifted from Tony Stark to follow where he was pointing, waving back and forth wildly before fixing on a black dot and zooming in. It resolved into a vaguely humanoid figure with bluish flames emerging from its boots, slowly growing larger and larger as it approached the crowd.
"This is just so… unbelievable." Steve Rogers scooted forward on the sofa, staring at the television. "I still can't understand how this can be happening in Los Angeles, but we can see it live here in New York. That's the complete other side of the country!"
With a booming laugh, a large hand came down on Steve's back. "Do not fret, my friend. I have seen many things, from Valhalla to the Midgard serpent, and even I do not understand how you mortals make such a thing possible." Leaning back, Thor hoisted the oversized tankard he held in his other hand and took a sip. "Those who think too much about the joys in life are doomed to miss out on them."
Hank sighed and shook his head. He could easily explain how satellite television and cross-country broadcasting was now possible, if anyone cared to ask him. But no, the god had spoken and so the geek's opinion wouldn't be welcome. Why had he signed on for this, again? A pitiful sum of money, financing for his experiments, and the 'joy' of being surrounded by people like the world's first superhero, the Norse God of Thunder, and Tony Stark. None of whom valued his contributions, either in the lab or on the battlefield. Was it really a fair trade?
Even his girlfriend wasn't showing him much interest these days, and he'd turned her from a wannabe fashion designer to a fucking superheroine. Hank glared over at where Janet was curled up in an armchair, eyes flicking back and forth between the television and her Sidekick as she texted away to… someone. He didn't know who she was talking to, but she was always on the damn thing these days.
If she wasn't on base almost constantly, he would have suspected she was cheating on him with someone in New York City. And the men who actually lived on base all knew about the 'unfortunate side effects' of the Vespula germanica
DNA he'd grafted into her body, meaning none of them would touch her. She had no other options… but still was pulling away. Why? How? He didn't understand it.
A loud crash followed by Janet's giggles of delight wrenched him from his thoughts and Hank looked up at the television. The black-suited figure was rising from the flaming wreckage of an expensive sports car as Tony hopped off the platform he'd been standing on and hurried over. "Faith, you psychotic… that was my favorite car! What the… my God, woman, what the heck is wrong with you?!"
"Oh come on, boss man. You're like Bill Gates's richer and more successful brother. You can afford a new one." The figure stepped out of the wreckage, utterly unscathed from the impact and resulting explosion. "Or if you want… oops. Guess I need to work on my landings a bit more."
Hank wanted to cackle as Tony's face cycled through several levels of rage at the woman's casual brush-off to the destruction she'd caused. Yeah. Take that, playboy. Maybe now he'd understand how Hank had felt when Tony had waltzed in and applied his electronics knowledge to fix a kink in the Ant-Man technology that Hank had been struggling with for years. "I spent two years restoring that car, Faith. There's not another one out there in the world exactly like it."
Shrugging, 'Faith' stomped over to the podium, the black armor letting out little whirs with each step. "You've got flying armor that can bust up tanks. And a chauffer. Like you need another penis mobile. Besides, that thing was tiny. I thought the point of a car like that was to be big and compensate for the fact you had a small…"
"Faith Lehane, everybody!" Tony started clapping and the reporters followed suit, the camera panning to leave him and follow Faith as she took his place behind the podium. "And now, I leave you in her very capable hands as I… go do something."
Leaning forward over the podium, Faith raised one hand to her mouth and pretended to whisper. "Something being code for booze or a babe." That got even more laughter and she bounced lightly on her toes, the platform creaking alarmingly beneath her. "Alright… so… um… hey. What's up?" She cocked her head to the side before growling softly. "Oh shut up, Janet, it's not my fault I look stupid. I'm not the public speaking type."
All attention in the room turned to Janet, who whistled innocently and tucked her Sidekick away in her pocket. "What?"