Born in Iron
I don’t own Buffy, Iron Man, The Avengers, or Young Justice. I wouldn’t mind a rental contract with M’gann M’orzz, and a long term agreement with Dinah Lance wouldn’t be turned down.
The Iron Shadow of the BatBorn in Iron
Inside his Iron Man armor Tony Stark had to fight his disbelief. Despite the obvious truth staring him in the face he was having a hard time accepting it.
The Hero of World War II, Captain America himself, being found alive in a block of ice? That he could believe.
Thor, God of Thunder, being more than just a myth? Yeah, he could believe that too.
Aliens from the far depths of space coming through a portal created by a block barely a foot to each side? Seen it.
But what was before him was just downright ridiculous.
“Ok guys, this is all very funny. Who are you and why did you decide to dress up as comic book characters?”
Across the roof from Iron Man the three members of the Justice League just raised their eyebrows in a mixture of curiosity and confusion.How can this guy not know who we are? They all thought simultaneously.
Hall of Justice, Washington D.C.
Inside his suit Tony let out a whistle as he was led out of the glowing tube of light. These people had viable teleportation technology, and if JARVIS’ scans were correct the computer hardware concealed in the walls of this building was at least three decades ahead of the rest of the world.If this even is my world.
He silently reminded himself.
He followed his escorts into a side room where they all took seats around a large round table. After testing the strength of the chairs Tony sat down as well, holding his hands before him and gazing across the table at his ‘hosts’.
He was still wrapping his mind around the fact that wherever he was Batman, Superman AND the Martian Manhunter were all real. At first he had thought he was hallucinating, maybe a side effect of whatever blow to the head he received that had left him in a small California town with no memory how he got there and with his satellite communications to his Stark industries satellite net completely blocked. Then they had demonstrated enough proof for him to decide that if this was a hallucination it was a damned detailed one.
His first action upon realizing he was in an unknown place with all his communications blocked he had immediately booked trail towards Los Angeles, ignoring warnings from air traffic control and a pair of F-22 Raptors likely scrambled from either Edwards or Miramar, heading towards his house. He was certain that he could find out what was going on if he could just access his mainframe.
Unfortunately, when he had arrived it was to discover that Point Dume was still a nature reserve park and his house did not, in fact, exist. This was troubling, not because the house was gone but because of how it was gone.
His house hadn’t been destroyed or torn down or even replaced or heavily remodeled. No, the cliff face and peak were pristine, absolutely no sign that a house had ever been constructed there. Idly he recalled that it looked precisely the same as it had before he got the permits to build his house there.
Feeling that there was far more to this than a simple blackout Tony had flown back into LA, stopping by a newsstand to check the date on the day’s newspapers. While the date didn’t line up with his memory (as far as he knew it was still supposed to be September so if this was his world he had lost a month of his life) , it was close enough for him to be certain that he hadn’t been sent back in time in his own reality.
It was while sitting on the roof of a building contemplating his situation when a tube of glowing light had opened up nearby and disgorged the three men who had thrown him for a loop. Without thinking he had spoken, his snark breaking through his worry.
“What is this, men in tights day?”
Tony was drawn out of his musings when the Dark Knight spoke up.
“So, who are you, and why have you built a suit of powered armor modeled after a movie character?”
Tony started at that.A movie character?
He remained silent as he pondered the situation. Here he was, staring at what were to him previously fictional characters in a comic series and who were surprised that he didn’t know who they were. They apparently thought that Iron Man was a movie character. After a few moments he decided that there were only two possibilities for what was going on. Either he had been drugged with a serious hallucinogen, or else he had been-
“To be perfectly honest, I think the best way to describe me is a chrono-spatial anomaly. Strictly speaking, I don’t think I’m supposed to be in your world. I don’t know how I got here, but I know that where I come from you, the Justice League, do not exist. I mean, sure there are comics and cartoons about you guys, but they are just fiction.”
The Dark Knight eyed him appraisingly.
“And here, Mr. Stark, you do not exist. You are a fictional creation of Marvel comics. The particular suit you are wearing I recognize as being used in a recent movie about the character.”
Tony cocked his head.
“So basically either I’m not in the right reality right now, or all four of us are on some very serious hallucinogens.” He said with a laugh.
“If it’s the latter I certainly want to find out where to get some, this is way better than-“
Tony was cut off as he suddenly hunched over, his hands going to the head of his suit. His head had suddenly exploded in blinding pain and as we vaguely aware of screaming somewhere close by. It was a long moment before he realized that he was screaming, just before he blacked out.
Iron Man collapsed boneless to the table before him, causing all three present members of the Justice League to blink and look at each other in surprise.
Rupert Giles stared down at the destroyed bust of Janus. By destroying it he had ended the spell, but the backlash had nearly blinded him. By the time he could see again the degenerate son of Chaos Ethan Rayne had managed to escape.
Under other circumstances Rupert would be feeling relief that he had managed to stop such a major ritual. Unfortunately however he was dealing with Chaos magic, and his own experience had taught him that Chaos magic NEVER worked quite as expected. He just prayed that there weren’t any dangerous or life altering consequences resulting from ending this spell.
Hall of Justice, Washington D.C.
The three League members didn’t have a chance to get up and investigate because Iron Man sat up, shaking his head.
“Ugh, did anyone get the number of that bus?” He asked. The voice sounded the same but something in the timber and tone had changed.
After Iron Man shook his head out he looked straight across the table at them and froze. Batman got the impression that whoever was inside the suit had just turned white.
“Ok, either I’m having a very cool dream, or I’m sitting in the Hall of Justice facing members of the Justice League.”
Iron Man tried to pinch himself but met the resistance of metal rather than plastic and cloth.
“What the hell?!” He exclaimed shooting to his feet. He nearly fell over before some instinct led to him stabilizing himself.
The three Justice League members watched him in a mixture of surprise and curiosity as he moved around, apparently examining and testing out his suit as if he had never seen or worn it before.
Finally he stopped and looked over at them.
“You know, an explanation of what I’m doing here and why I’m wearing a working Iron Man suit would be appreciated.” He asked in a dry manner with just a hint of humor to it.
“We were just trying to figure that out, Mr. Stark, when you cried out in pain and passed out. Then you got up, tried to pinch yourself through your suit, and started to dance a jig.” Bruce replied completely deadpan.
Iron Man’s gaze was steady as he replied in a similar manner.
Iron Man’s gaze slid over both of the two there.
“Yo, Manhunter, all the information about you guys, at least which is out there publically, says you’re psychic. Could you do me a favor and check in my head? Because the last thing I remember was trick or treating wearing an Iron Man costume and the next thing I know I’m sitting before you wearing an active suit.”
Iron Man paused.
“And why do I suddenly know the exact specifications for the arc reactor sitting in the chest of this thing?”
The room was silent for a long moment as the Martian Manhunter reached out and tested Iron Man’s mind. He slid into the boy’s mind, surprised by the complexity he found in one so apparently young. The boy’s mindscape was complicated and gave the Martian an insight into whom and what the boy was. At the center was what appeared to be a small town. People wandered around it, shades of memories, this young man’s ‘images’ of various people.
Looking further out he discovered what appeared to be an area of African Savannah stretching out to one side. It was separated off by a massive wall, or at least had been at some point in the past. The wall was possessed of several psychic wounds, represented by massive bursts opened in it by some sort of explosive or energy blast. Beyond the scars he heard faint cries of Hyena laughter but there didn’t appear to be any threat nearby.
He then looked further around the town and discovered that the remaining three directions outside the town were presented by a sprawling interpretation of a city. It appeared to be a blend between LA and New York City, with a cliff-top house and a large tower rising above the rest of the city. A faint sound caused him to look up, observing some massive silver ship flying over the city on four massive turbines.
“Hello.” A voice asked from behind him, causing him to turn around. “Who are you?”
The Martian Manhunter came face to face with Iron Man, only this time he wasn’t wearing a helmet. Instead he was treated to the sight of a teenage boy, no more than sixteen or seventeen years old, looking at him with a curious expression.
“Oh, Martian Manhunter. I must be dreaming again.”
“No, young one.” He replied. “We are merely within your mind. You are the subconscious of this young man made manifest.
“Oh. Okay then. I’m Alexander, but I usually go by Xander for the sake of my friend Willow. Why are you here?”
“You asked me to figure out how you got to LA with a working Iron Man suit.” J’onn replied honestly.
“Oh, that’s easy.” The subconscious Xander pointed up towards the flying ship. “Some sort of Chaos god powered a spell in Sunnydale, turned everyone into their costumes. Alpha took offense at that and tried to break through to stop my mind from being controlled and fought with the Avengers. Then something ended the spell before it was ready. Tony and the others were ready to go home, but apparently I’m a favorite of Chaos. The God decided to leave the memories behind. The skyline is really pretty at night isn’t it?”
J’onn was not thrown by the non sequitor, having long become accustomed to the randomness of most people’s subconscious minds. Turning to follow the gaze of the mental construct of the young teen he had to admit that the setting sun behind the tower did give the skyline a fairly beautiful appearance.
While the Martian Manhunter was sifting through Xander’s head the teen had not gone quiet . In fact, all that had been done was JARVIS cutting the external speakers from the internal audio so that he could speak to his apparently new master.
“Sir, I believe I can explain at least some of what is going on. You are clearly not my creator, Tony Stark. And yet, everything in my system is calibrated to your body and specifications. My biometric locks all read you as Stark, and everything in my programming tells me that you are my creator.”
Xander resisted the urge to jump in the suit at the sound of another voice in his head. After a moment he realized that he did recognize the voice. It sounded exactly like the voice in the movies.
“JARVIS?” He asked tentatively.
“Yes, sir. I have cut all external broadcast currently so that we can speak in private.”
JARVIS was silent for a moment before replying.
“I’ve accessed the national internet grid for this America, sir. It only took a few minutes to adapt the appropriate interface code to do the job. I’ve been comparing my onboard biometric data on you to government databases. I got a ping from a town called Sunnydale. The local DMV has your fingerprints on file as one Alexander Lavelle Harris. I am inclined to accept these findings as analysis of a map shows that the town in question is where we were when my systems came online with no records of how we arrived there.”
“Yeah, that’s me JARVIS. And Sunnydale is where I’m from. Lived there my entire life.”
“He is not Tony Stark.” The Martian Manhunter said as he exited Xander’s head, drawing everyone’s attentions. “And yet, whatever has happened has left the memories of the man in this young man’s mind. For all intents and purposes he has experienced the life of Tony Stark. With a little work he might be able to recall the information at will.”
Batman looked across the table at Xander.
“Could you at least open your mask so that we can talk to you?” Batman didn’t show it outwardly, but he was nervous. If Tony Stark had considered them fictional characters then he probably knew Batman’s identity. If this boy had inherited those memories he could be a major security breach waiting to happen.
Iron Man shrugged.
“Sure, I mean, you guys are the Justice League. I don’t really mind you knowing who I am, and given what’s going on I’ll need to trust you if I want your help. JARVIS, open the helmet.”
The helmet immediately opened, revealing Xander’s face directly to the trio across from him.
Despite the differences in age all three immediately saw the resemblance to someone they knew well.
Bruce narrowed his eyes.
“Calm down Willow, I’m sure Xander’s okay.” Buffy said, trying to calm the hyperventilating girl. They were currently situated in Buffy’s living room with the telephone nearby.
“But Buffy, you weren’t there. When everyone changed and the chaos started he just stood there for a few seconds before flying off into the sky and jetting away. He ignored my cries and didn’t stop to help anyone. He just disappeared. And now the spell is over and I can’t find him anywhere and he hasn’t called and I’m worried he might be hurt somewhere and what am I going to do Buffy I can’t lose him I can’t I love Xander I can’t lose him.”
Buffy pulled the taller girl into a hug as Willow descended into a stream of patented and repetitive Willow-babble.
Hall of Justice, Washington D.C.
Superman turned to look at Batman.
“Batman, he looks like-“
“I know.” Batman cut the Kryptonian farm boy off.
J’onn continued observing Xander.
“Now that I look closely the resemblance is undeniab-“
“I know.” Batman again cut him off.
“What?” Xander asked in confusion. “What is it?”
Batman remained silent for a long moment before speaking.
“Manhunter, call in Zatara. If this thing involves magic we’ll need his expertise. Superman, keep an eye on the kid. I’m going to go get the supplies to take a blood and DNA sample.”
Batman strode out of the room, his cape billowing behind him.
Xander turned back to the other two League members.
“Um, anyone want to fill me in on what’s going on here? Why did Batman suddenly start acting like that.
Both of the two looked nervous before J’onn replied.
“It is because you look remarkably similar to a young Batman.”
“No shit, I really look like a young Bruce Wayne?”
Both League members looked completely gob smacked. It took a second before Xander’s eyes widened.
“Holy crap I know who Batman is! How the hell do I know this?”
“Because, young Alexander, the magic of this night has left the memories of Tony Stark in your mind.”
Xander blinked before looking down at the suit he was wearing.
“Well, that’d explain the threads.” He said completely deadpan.
Xander knew that this was going to be a very long night.
This is really more a teaser than a full chapter, but it felt right to cut it off where I did. This story will be solid, but is not currently envisioned as the utter epic that Rise of the Ultimates is going to be. I would like everyone who likes this to say thanks to Godogma, who has amazingly volunteered to help beta some of my stories including this once. We all agree it's a bit short, but ultimately it got the Godogma seal of approval.