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PERSONAL PROBLEMS

(Tony’s POV)

I couldn't help but laugh as the news coverage played on the TV’s overhead.

Joan Rivers: “Same suit. But painted Red, White and Blue. Look at that.” The image of Ellis standing next to MY suit with that awful  new paint job standing next to him. “And they also remained him, ‘Iron Patriot’.” Dear lord. “You know, just incase the paint was too subtle.”

Tony: “You’re kidding me right?” I turned to my.. Soon to be disowned best friend, sitting next to me at the table. He was clearly unamused.

Rhodey: “It tested well with focus groups alright?” He tried to defend it. But I could tell deep inside he hated it just as much as I did.

Tony: “I am Iron Patriot.” I tested it out...nope. “It sucks.”

Rhodey: “Listen. ‘War Machine’ was a little too aggressive alright? This sends a better message.” I looked at him over the rim of my sunglasses. Unconvinced. “You know what? I don’t need to take crap from you ok? I already had (Y/N) call this morning to make fun of me I don’t need it from you too.” I rolled my eyes and sighed, instead focusing on the reason I called him in the first place.

Tony: “So, what’s really going on? With the Mandarin?” Rhodey set down his drink, a serious look crossing his face. “Seriously, can we talk about this guy?”

Rhodey. “It’s… it’s classified information Tony. When (Y/N) called.. He asked the same thing.. But...”

Tony: “Oh shit, (Y/N).” I palmed my head. “Natasha was in Kuwait… he must think shes.. Oh god I should call him. Should I call him?” I was ranting now.

Rhodey: “Tony..Tony, Relax. Yes you should call him. But first.. I need to tell you this. And I’m going to tell you what I told him. I can’t…”

Tony: “Liar. I know you told him something. You and (Y/N) have been like this.” I held up my crossed fingers. “Ever since he joined the marines.. Professional courtesy or something like that?”

Rhodey: “Ok fine.” He sighed. “There have been nine bombings. Including Kuwait. The public only knows about three. But here's the thing. Nobody can I.D. A device. There are no bomb casings.”

Tony: “You know I can help, just ask... I got a ton of new tech. I got a prehensile suit. I got. I.. I got bomb disposal. It catches explosions in mid-air.”

Rhodey: “When is the last time you got a good night’s sleep?”

Tony: “Einstein slept three hours a year.” I fired back. “Look what he did.”

Rhodey: “People are concerned about you Tony. (Y/N)’s concerned, I’m concerned about you. He told me about how you’ve been up for three days. This isn’t healthy.”

Tony: “You’re gonna come at me like that?”

Rhodey: “No. Look I’m not trying to be a Dick….” As we were arguing, a pair of kids, one boy one girl came up to the table. I noticed the boy looked remarkably like that Ralphie kid. “...tator.” The girl presented a sheet of paper to me.

Girl: “Do you mind signing my drawing?” I took a quick look. It was me… Well, Iron Man, with what looked like a rocket on his back, heading up towards a big black hole in the sky, with a bunch of crude buildings in the background. I loved it it was adorable.

Tony: “If Richard doesn’t mind.” I turned to Rhodey, gaining a small nervous chuckle from him. “Are you alright with this? Dick?”

Rhodey: “Yeah, fine with me.”

Tony: “What’s your name hun?”

Girl: “Erin.” Erin, cute name. I turned, noticing the boy was standing rather close.

Tony: “I loved you in ‘A Christmas Story’ by the way.” not even a flinch. Not much of a talker apparently. I turned back to the drawing, instead focusing on signing the sheet. As I did, Rhodey leaned in, keeping the conversation going.

Rhodey: “Listen, the Pentagon is scared. After New York, aliens… come on. They need to look strong.” I just kept writing. “Stopping the Mandarin is a priority, but it’s not…”

You: ‘It’s not superhero business.” I cut in.

Rhodey: “No it’s not.”

Tony: “I get it.”

Rhodey: “No, quite frankly It’s American business.”

Tony: “Yeah, that’s why I said I got it….” Damnit. I palmed my face again.

Rhodey: “Are you ok?”

Tony: “I broke the Crayon.”

Erin: “Are you ok Mr. Stark?” Blood was starting to rush into my ears. My heart was pounding, my head was spinning.

Rhodey: “Take it easy. Tony.” Suddenly, everything shut off.. Dead silence. The boy leaned in, jolting suddenly to life, and whispered in my ear.

Boy: “How did you get out of the wormhole?” I couldn't take it. I jolted out of my seat, rushing for the door.

Rhodey: “Wait a minute, Tony!” I ignored him, instead rushing past people and bumping into them, whispering rushed sorry’s as I barreled towards my suit. Once I was inside it. I collapsed to my knees.

Tony: “Check. Check the heart. Check the heart. Check the… is it the brain?’ My display jumped to life, immediately scanning my body for any abnormalities.

JARVIS: “No sign of cardiac anomaly or unusual brain activity.”

Tony: “Ok, so I was poisoned?”

JARVIS: “....My diagnosis is that you have experienced a severe anxiety attack.”....what?

Tony: “...ME?” There was sudden clinking. Someone was knocking on my head.

Rhodey: “Come on man, this isn’t a good look. Open up.”

Tony: “Sorry, I gotta split.” I stood, preparing to fly home. Except. “Oh, but before I go.” I turned back to Rhodey, leaning in close so only he could hear me. “You wanna tell me this is ‘American business’ fine. But you tell that to the kid who spent three months in a drunken stupor after losing everything to the group of asshats that monster leads.” I took off, leaving on that note without him being able to respond.

(Your POV)

You: “Alright JARVIS, is the Holoroom ready?”

JARVIS: “Prepared and ready sir.” I finished dressing. My best black three piece and Crimson tie centered how I always had it,

You: “And Pepper is aware that I’m not actually going to BE there? Right?”

JARVIS: “Yes sir, she is aware that the ‘You’ that will be present is shall we say.. Untouchable.” I chuckled at the phrase.

You: “As oppose to my usually very touchable face.” I walked off towards the newly installed room, taking up the holo-glasses from their shelf as I did. They were rather simple in design, resembling a pair of blue tinted square lensed sunglasses. The room itself was circular in design, the walls all blue tinted glass. The floor, though solid, was designed to act like a large treadmill, ensuring I was able to walk any building the holoprojectors may have been stationed in. As the door shut behind me, I slipped the lenses on. “Ok JARVIS, let's roll.”

JARVIS: “Initializing Holographic projection sequence.” I stood dead center of the room as it warmed up. The glass panels all beginning to light up. “Scanning subject.” The panels began to shift, slowly spinning counterclockwise as they scanned my body, taking in every detail for the projection that would be sent to the projectors in California. The only thing that wouldn't transmit, would be the lenses, which themselves had a miniaturized scanner implanted into the frame. “Scan complete. Initiating feed.” The lenses jumped to life as the room around me went dim, almost completely dark. My view of the panels was instead replaced with…. The inside of a closet… what?

You: “Uh.. JARVIS? Why am I in a closet?”

JARVIS: “It would seem sir, that Mr. Hogan may have forgotten to release the projectors. Shall I contact him to let them out?” I sighed, rubbing the sides of my temples in frustration.

You: “No.. Call Pepper instead. She should be here.”

JARVIS: “Calling.” There was ringing.. More ringing.. Then eventually.

Pepper: “Happy.. Happy could you just.. I have a call.. Happy shh!” I rolled my eyes.. “Pepper Potts.” She finally answered.

You: “Peper it’s (Y/N).”

Pepper: “Oh thank God. Wait. Please don't tell me you’re calling to cancel the 4 pm? (Y/N) I cannot DEAL with this guy without you. Please please please..”

You: “Pepper.” I barked. “Relax. I’m not canceling. I’m just calling to tell you that Happy forgot to let the projectors out of the closet. I’m staring at its door right now and I can't really let myself out now can I?”

Pepper: “Oh for the love of.. Damnit Happy.”

Happy: “What? What’d I do?”

You: “Put him on the phone.” There was mumbling, some light swearing. And then Happy finally took the phone.

Happy: “This is head of security. How may I help you?”

You: “Open the damn Closet Door!” I roared. I could hear him fumbling around.

JARVIS: “I believe you may have startled him sir.”

You: “The intended effect JARVIS.”

Happy: “I’m coming! I’m sorry! I’m coming! I’m sorry!” I could hear Happy jogging around. “I totally forgot! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” There was a sudden flash of light as the door in front of me opened. Which was then replaced with my new head of security. Red faced and panting. “I’m so, so, so, so, so…” He was still talking on the phone. I just sat there with my arms crossed, waiting.

You: “Happy..” He stopped, confused. “You can hang up the phone.”

Happy: “Oh.. Right.” He did, pocketing the cell before continuing. “So, so, so sorry. I put them in here so nobody would touch them and then I completely forgot to let them out.”

You: “hey, hey. Relax man. Happy it’s ok. Come on let’s hug it out.” His face changed almost instantly. Going from panicked to releaved in an instant. He opened his arms wide, leaping forward to wrap me in a hug, only to phase right through me and fall face first into the closet. I ‘stepped’ out, letting Pepper close the door behind me. “I love him but by god can he be dense sometimes.”

Pepper: “Tell me about it,” Pepper looked me over. “Looking good (Y/N). The projectors seem to be holding up well, even in the sunlight.”

You: “Glad to hear it. The optical camera isnt phasing through is it?” The set up for the holoprojectors was rather simple. Consisting of two or three hovering projectors that would float directly above the projecteded subject. The projections would then form around an additional floating 360 degree optical camera orb which allowed the wearer of the lenses to see everything it saw.. All were kept floating with Tony’s repulsor tech ofcourse. And they were designed to stay out of sight and blend in with the environment. In theory, you wouldn't be able to see them unless you looked directly at them.

Pepper: “hmmm.. A bit. But you wouldn't notice unless you were looking for it.” I sighed.

You: “It’ll have to do then.” The door behind me burst open, revealing a disheveled and annoyed looking Happy.

Happy: “I am not Happy.” To easy.

You: “Wait you’re not? Then who the hell did I hire as head of security?” He huffed. Kicking the bucket his foot had landed in back into the closet before slamming the door. “Oh you know that was funny.” He looked at me, fire and rage burning in his eyes.

You: “HA.” He dragged the false laugh out for a moment, taking the time to straighten out his blazer nad re-adjust his badge. “You’re so funny.”

You: “A popular opinion I must say.” I turned back to Pepper. “Shall we?” She sighed in exasperation.

Pepper: “If we have to.” She turned, leading us down the hall towards the meeting room. Oh, and by the way. Thank you EVER so much for making Happy head or security. He’s made everyone SO happy here.”

You: “I could do without the sarcasm. I’ve had a long day.” She looked over her shoulder, a grave look painted across her face. “Ok fine. What is he doing exactly?” As we passed personnel, Happy consistently called certain employees out. The reason? They weren’t wearing their badges.

Pepper: “That.” SHe flatlined. “He’s doing that,”

You: “Oh he can't be that bad.”

Pepper: ‘Complaints have shot up 300% since you put him in charge.” I nearly tripped over myself.

You: “I’m sorry. Did you say Three HUNDRED?”

Pepper: “Yeah.. People are threatening to quit.”

You: “Well what the hell do you want me to do about it?”

Pepper: “Talk to him.”

You: “Alright fine.” As we approached the meeting room and Happy went to get the door for us, I turned to him. “Happy take this down.” He immediately pulled out a pad and paper from his inner pocket. “ You’re having your first Performance review on January 1st with the President of the company.”

Happy: “President of the company. Got it.” He slipped the pad back into his pocket as I turned back to Pepper.

You: “Happy?”

Pepper: “HappiER.” I nodded, then directed for Happy to open the door. “Wait..” Dammit. “Wait, the CEO transition is on the 31st of December.” I was hoping she wouldn't catch that. “Why you sneaky, slimy, mini Tony Stark!” I just turned back and shrugged.

You: “Like I always say. Better to be like…”

Happy/Pepper: “Your brother then your father.” Well… excuse me.

You: “Do we not have a meeting to get to?”

Pepper: “Unfortunately.”

You: “What is it with you today?” She sighed, leaning in to whisper.

Pepper: “I used to work with this guy and he would ask me out ALL the time so it’s a little awkward.”

Happy: ‘I don’t like the sound of that.”

You: “Yeah me either.” Happy finally opened the door for us as Pepper took the lead into the room. As we did, she stopped dead in her tracks.

???: “Pepper.” In front of us stood a tall, tanned, well dressed dirty blonde haired man. Hair slicked back and a slight five o’clock shadow.

Pepper: “Kilian?”

You: “Killian?” I questioned. I knew that name… but why?”

Killian: “You look great.” He commented.  “You look REALLY great.” Alright, reel it in dude.

Pepper: “God you look great!” I stared at her in confusion. Then turned to Happy. He was just as confused as I was. “I.. I.. I… What on Earth have you been doing?”

Killian: “Nothing Fancy.” He walked up to us, completely ignoring myself and Happy. “Just five years in the hands of physical therapists. And please… call me Aldrich.” It clicked.

You: “Aldrich Killian.. Now I remember you.” Finally, he turned to me, confusion in his eyes as well.

Killian: “I’m sorry, who are you?” I chuckled.

You: “It has been thirteen years since we last saw each other. Seems we’ve both changed a bit.”

Happy: “Uh.. you were supposed to be issued a security badge.” Oh for the…

Pepper: “Happy, it’s ok. I got this.” She shooed him away before I had the opportunity to. Once Happy was out the door, Pepper made to sit down. “It’s very nice to see you Killian.” He followed her, his eyes a bit to low for my taste.

You: “He bud.” He shot his attention back to me. “Eyes about a foot higher then that huh?”

Killian: “Sorry… uh.. I’m sorry, are you like her assistant or...?” I could feel my eye twitching vigorously.

Pepper: “Actually Killian. This is (Y/N) Stark. CEO or Stark Industries.” He turned to her, then back to me with a genuine expression of embarrassment.

Killian: “Oh my.. I can’t believe. I’m so sorry Mr. Stark.” He went to shake my hand, To which I had to quickly side step. Walking around to go stand next to Pepper.

You: “Sorry.” I fake coughed into my hands. “I think I’m coming down with something and I wouldn't want to give it to you.”

Killian: “Right…” He turned, moving to sit himself, conveniently in the seat next to Pepper. “When the memo said I would be meeting with Ms. Potts and Mr. Stark, I assumed it would be Tony.”

You: “Sorry to disappoint.” He stared at me a moment.

Kilian: “Are you going to be sitting down or…?”

You: “I prefer to stand if you don’t mind Mr. Killian.” He threw his hands up in defeat.

Kilain: “Hey, whatever floats your boat. I just figured with your infamous leg injury you would want to take a seat.” I huffed.

You: “Well as you can see.. Just about anything can be fixed.” I brushed a hand over my right leg. “You of course above all should know that. Last time I saw you, you were in a rather feeble state yourself.” He chuckled, a forced one right through his teeth.

Killian: “Well like I said, five years of physical therapy. It does wonders.”

You: “Yeah you did. I heard that while you were ogling my colleague.”

Pepper: “So Killian..” Pepper cut in between us. “You had something to show us?” The two of us continued a small stare down for another brief moment.

Killian: “RIght.” He set his briefcase to the side of his seat. “After years of dodging the President’s ban on ‘immoral’ Biotech research.”

You: “I’m sure it was a major inconvenience. Those pesky human testing laws right?”  They both ignored me. Instead Killian went on with his presentation.

Killian: “My Think Tank,” He pulled a small silver box from his pocket. “has something down the pipeline.” He opened it, pulling something out and placing it behind his ear. “It’s an idea we like to call EXTREMIS. I’m gonna turn your lights down.” He took up the remote for the room, dimming the lights and closing the shades. He then pulled three marbles out of the box. “Regard, the human brain.” Then rolled them onto the table before us. The three rolled to the center before stopping. THey then turned on their own and lights began to flicker from them. Holoprojectors. Cute… Or at least they would be if I wasn’t using the EXACT same tech right now. And his needed the room to be dark to project properly.. Weak. “Oh, Wait.. I’m sorry that’s the universe. My bad. ” Even Pepper rolled her eyes at the obvious display. Taking a moment to look at me and share a small chuckle. He then took up a remote from his box. “But, if I do that.” His projection flickered again, this time changing to a model of the human brain. As I said before… weak. “THAT”s the brain. Strangely mimetic, though, wouldn’t you say?”

Pepper: “Wow. That’s amazing.” I could hear the sarcasm in her voice clearly.

Killian: “Thank’s it’s mine.” Killian clearly could not.

You/Pepper: “What?”

Killian: “This.” He pointed to the projection. “You’re inside my head. It’s a live feed.” He turned his head, gesturing to the device he had placed behind his ear. “Come on I’ll prove it to you.” He stood, stepping up onto the glass table, then extending his hand to help Pepper up. She stepped up, standing next to him within the projection. “Now, pinch my arm. I can take it.”

You: “You sure about that?” Pepper shot me a look. ‘Be nice’ painted across her face. She turned back to him, and pinched his offered arm. In response, the holo projection responded by showing us the sensory node shooting through the pain receptors.

Pepper: “What was that?”

Killian: “It’s the Primary somatosensory cortex.”

You: “He means the brain's pain center.”

Killian: “Right…” Killian looked at me from out of the corner of his eye, clearly annoyed I was commentating on his little skit. “But this..” He turned Pepper around. “Is what I wanted to show you.” Hitting another button on his remote. The projection expanded, moving towards the back end of the brain. “Now, EXTREMIS harnesses our bioelectrical potential and it goes…” THe projection zoomed in to a small space near the back of the brain. A black, empty spot. “Here.”

You: “What does this prove? That you have an empty slot in your head? I could have..”

Pepper: “Don’t.” Pepper shot me down before I could make my joke. Killian looked at me over her shoulder, a smug look of pride staring me down. I just huffed and allowed him to continue.

Killian: “As out friend kindly pointed out, this is an empty slot. But what it tells us, is that our mind, out entire DNA in fact, is destined to be upgraded.”

You: “You’re suggesting Genetic recoding. Instant Evolution.”

Killian: “Exactly.” He cut the feed, the projection disappearing. He stepped down, then helped Pepper down. He directed her to sit down next to him, then continued. “Imagine if you could hack into the hard drive of any living organism, and recode its DNA.”

You: “You’d be able to create super humans.” I walked over, going to stand behind Pepper. “You’re essentially suggesting we turn everyone into Captain America’s.” He shrugged.

Killian: “Well I wouldn’t go that far.. More like, we could heal ourselves. We’d never get sick. We’d never get hurt.”

You: “So Captain America.” he deflated in a huff.

Killian: “If you want to oversimplify it.. Then yes.”

Pepper: “That would be incredible. Unfortunately, to my ears, it also sounds highly weaponizable. Like Mr. Stark said, super soldiers. Which could lead to private armies. And both (Y/N) and Tony….”

Killian: “Tony.. Tony, Tony... “ He sighed. “You know.. I invited Tony to join AIM.. thirteen years ago.” He turned to me. “You two turned me down then too.” He turned back to Pepper. “But I hear that a new genius will be taking the throne very soon, who doesn’t have to answer to the Stark brothers, and has slightly less of an ego.”

You: “You know it’s one thing to insult my intelligence and my authority WHILE i’m in the room. It’s entirely another to insult my BROTHER’s in front of me.” I leaned in close. As close as I could without giving away that I was a hologram. “The Answer.. just like in 99, is no. Killian.” He stared back, anger beginning to grow in his eyes.

Pepper: “Look, as much as I’d like to help Aldrich… even with me taking over as President… it’s still a no. I may be head of the company but it’s still their name on the side of the building. I have to work within the brand they developed… I’m sorry.” He looked between us. The anger dissipating, or perhaps he was just good enough to hide it. “Let me walk you to your car.” He sighed again, slapping his knees before standing again. He walked ahead, holding the door open for both Pepper and myself. As we walked towards the exit. A bald, decently built looking man in a suit walked ahead of us. Kilian’s ‘assissiant’ if I had to take a guess. As we left the final door, Killian did have one last thing to say to us.

Killian: “Well, I can’t say that I’m not disappointed.” Understatement. “But then, as my father used to say, ‘Failure is the fog through which we glimpse triumph.”

Pepper: “That’s very deep…. And I have no idea what it means.”

Killian: “No, me neither. He was kind of an idiot, my old man.” I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. They shared their laugh.. No leave jackass. “I’m sure I’ll see you again, Pepper.” He leaned in, I thought he was going for a hug. But then he had the audacity to kiss her on the cheek. THen he walked off towards a black 4x4, the bald man holding the door open for him. Pepper kept her eyes on him at all times, until Happy stepped into her view.

Peper: “Oh.. Happy. You startled me.” He had a questioning look on his face. He had seen her watching too.

Happy: “Car’s ready if you’re ready to go.”

Pepper: “Yes. I just.. Um. I forgot my other things, so…. I’m just gonna... “ She headed back inside. Disappearing from his view. I meanwhile, never took my sight off Killian.. Or his interesting friend. Happy turned, coming to stand shoulder to shoulder with me.

Happy: “Interesting guy.. “

You: “mhmm. You thinking what I’m thinking?”

Happy: “Mr. Tall, tan and creepy’s got something shady going on?’

You: “Exactly. You thinking about tailing him?”

Happy: ‘I was just telling Tony that was my plan. You got the plate number?”

You: “Just snapped a pic.”

Happy: “Text it to me?”

You: “Just did.” His phone clinged in his pocket. “Go do what you do best Hap.. Protect the Stark Family.”

Happy: “And Pepper?” I smirked.

You: “Let’s be honest.. Pepper is and always will be an unofficial Stark.”

Happy: “Until Tony makes it official.”

You: “We’ll see. I got to go. I have something I need to look into myself.”

Happy: “Good luck.”

You: “Same to you.” The projectors cut, my feed from the Headquarters leaving my sight.
So yes, I am going to be updating this as quickly as possible, seeing as I originally intended for it to come out about... a month ago. I'm working through it as best I can and hope to hav chapter 3 done by tomorrow.
As Always let me know what you think in the comments below!!
I dont own Marvel, The Avengers, the images used, or you.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconignoblefiend:
IgnobleFiend Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2018
Great. :D

Creeper! O_o
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:iconthe-authors-library:
The-Authors-Library Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2018
He really is.. I never liked Killian as a Character.. though I guess that's the point of the villain right?
Reply
:iconignoblefiend:
IgnobleFiend Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2018
>_<
Reply
:iconmanicbulbs:
ManicBulbs Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Loving it!
Reply
:iconthe-authors-library:
The-Authors-Library Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2018
Always glad to hear!
Reply
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