(Y/N) Your Name
(H/C) Hair Color
(H/L) Hair Length
(E/C) Eye Color
ACTION AND REACTION
Tony: “...hi.” The nurse that had walked in jumped. SHe hadn’t seen me when she had walked in to check Happy’s vitals… Apparently I’m invisible when i’m not in a suit. You’d think the glowing night light in my chest would give me away. “Do you mind leaving that on?” She had gone to turn off the TV.
???: “Sure…” I stood, making my way to leave the room to let her do her work. But before I did.
Tony: “Sunday nights, PBS, Downton Abbey. That’s his show he thinks it’s elegant.” I looked over Happy’s sleeping form one last time before leaving.. I needed sleep, and I wasn’t going to get any here anyway. “One more thing, make sure everyone wears their badges. He’s a stickler for that sort of thing.” I left, closing the door behind me. I needed to get home.. At least, I thought that was what was going to happen… “Hello?” My phone had been ringing.
Tony: “(Y/N).. hey.” It had been hours since Bruce had told me they had gotten hold of diet Coulson. To be honest I was rather surprised he was calling at all. “How.. how are things?”
You: “Could be better.” His tone was unnervingly flat. “We have a problem..”
Tony: “We? As in us or you and your including me.”
You: “As in us….Tony… Sitwell is denying my release… I can’t come to Malibu…”
Tony: “....That son of a bitch..”
You: “Tell me about it. Listen. With everything that’s been going on, I’ve been compiling a file on everything there is on the Mandarin… and I KNOW you’re wanting to take a swing just as much as I am.”
Tony: “You bet your ass I am.”
You: “Good. I’m having JARVIS upload everything I have to the shared servers. Get home, and we can look it over. Maybe you can find something I’ve been missing.”
Tony: “I’m on my way now.” I ended the call, new found determination filing me as I marched towards the Valet at the front entrance. Of course though, with news that Happy was the only survivor of the Theater attack, there was more then a few reporters waiting for me outside. Their voices faded into one another until it was nothing more then screeching white noise. I just ignored all of it.. Until....
???: “Hey Mr. Stark. When is somebody gonna kill this guy?” I stopped, just outside the door to my car. I turned, finding not only the young, clearly douchebaggy TMZ reporter was directly in front of me, but that his phone was inches from my face. “I’m just saying.” Every fiber of my being told me not to say anything. To just get in my car and drive off. I could even hear (Y/N) now. “Say ANYTHING and I will rip you a new one the minute I get my hands on you.” But I was already fuming. The Mandarin had hurt my family. First (Y/N) with Natasha, then Happy. I wanted to send a message.
Tony: “Is that what you want?” And I knew exactly what to say. “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. There’s no politics here. It’s just good old-fashioned revenge. There’s no Pentagon, no S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s just you and me. And on the off chance you’re a man, here’s my home address. 10880 Malibu Point. 90265. I’ll leave the door unlocked.” As he, and the other reporters sat there utterly shocked. I snatched the phone from the TMZ guy. “That’s what you wanted right?” And threw it against the wall, smashing it. “Bill me.” I slipped into my car, and sped off. As I drove down the highway, I replayed the last few minutes over in my head… and I knew, I just fucked up royally. I could hear (Y/N) now… 'If the Ten Rings don’t kill you first. I will kill you.. I will kill you until you are dead.' My phone began to ring, I didn’t answer. It rang again, still didn’t answer.. It rang again… oh how bad could it be. “Hello?”
You: “If the Ten Rings don’t kill you first. I will kill you… I will kill you until you are dead.” Huh.. how about that.
Tony: “You know, I was just thinking you would say that.”
You: “Then you know me very well… I am going to kill you.”
Tony: “Aren’t you under house arrest?” Even though he was 4000 miles away, and I couldn't see him.. I could FEEL the anger boiling.. And I could picture his eye twitching as intensely as it ever had.
You: “You know? I’m ok with this..” ...what?
Tony: “You’re… surprisingly calm.”
You: “Yeah, cause I just realized that it doesn’t matter that I can’t get to you.. Because Pepper will rip your head off for me when you get home.” …. Oh… my god. I forgot about Pepper.
Tony: “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. There’s no politics here. It’s just good old-fashioned revenge. There’s no Pentagon, no S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s just you and me. And on the off chance you’re a man, here’s my home address. 10880 Malibu Point. 90265. I’ll leave the door unlocked.”
NBC Associate: “And that was again, Tony Stark’s message to the international Terrorist identified as The Mandarin after the bombing of the Chinese Theatre where Mr. Starks head of security, Mr. Howard ‘Happy’ Hogan was identified as the sole survivor.”
CNN Associate: “....Tony Stark, how just a few hours ago had made a threatening statement towards The Mandarin…”
ABC Associate: “Tony Stark has made…”
CBS Associate: “Tony Stark..”
MSNBC Associate: “Tony Stark..”
BBC Associate: “Tony Stark…”
FOX Associate: “Tony Stark..”
Bruce: “This is bad… this is very, very bad.”
You: “He’s a dead man.” I flipped through every major news outlet there was, and every single one was talking about how Tony had called out the Mandarin. News coverage choppers had stationed themselves just outside his house on Malibu. “Either the Mandarin will get him, Pepper will, or I will. But he is a dead man.” I flipped through the list again.
CNN: “No response yet from any representative of Stark Industries. Associates in New York have been attempting to reach Mr. (Y/N) Stark for comment regarding his brothers actions.”
CBS: “(Y/N) Stark has denied comment at this time regarding his older brother’s statement.”
MSNBC: “ (Y/N) Stark has been unreachable for comment.”
ABC: “Current CEO (Y/N) Stark…”
BBC: “(Y/N) Stark, current CEO of Stark Industries...”
FOX: “Former United States Marine Lieutenant and current CEO of Stark Industries (Y/N) Stark..” I couldn't take it anymore. I switched off the TV. Instead strolling over to the large bay window. Looking down, I could see dozens of news van’s parked right outside the tower. Vultures, all looking for a story.
You: “He’s turned this whole thing into a shit show.” I turned back to Bruce, currently pacing as he wiped his glasses clean. “Bad enough I have S.H.I.E.L.D. breathing down my neck every damn minute. Bad enough I have to deal with running my families Multi-Billion dollar corporation. Bad ENOUGH I’m sitting in this freaking tower, locked in like a damn animal while my oldest friend is fighting for his life on the other side of the country. But now my idiot of an older brother decides now is the perfect time to call out a Terrorist. I’m amazed I haven't gotten a call from the Pentagon about this.. Or Fury for that matter.”
Bruce: “I doubt they’d call you… Tony made the threat, not you.” I scoffed.
You: “And? Half the damn planet already thinks I’m Tony’s handler, and Hell has a better chance at freezing over then ANYONE getting a hold of Pepper after this.This falls on me. Now I have to worry about whether or not a missle is going to fall on his head.” I looked to my phone again, currently streaming STARK satellite footage of Tony’s house to me. I felt like I had to keep an eye on him now, and have been ever since his car made it up the driveway. “Screw it, I’m initiating the House Party Protocol.”
Bruce: “You know you can’t.”
You: “Watch me.” I pulled up the private security mainframe from my phone. Pulling up Protocol 15, or as Tony had affectionately dubbed it, ‘House Party.’ The order in question would call every ‘Iron’ brand suit or droid currently active into action, all remotely controlled by JARVIS. When the system asked for identification, I provided it, and was denied.
JARVIS: “I’m sorry sir, but your brother did program the protocol to only be activated by his vocal imprint and his alone, unless he deems it necessary, protocol 15 will remain inactive.”
You: “So there’s nothing I can do?”
Bruce: “No… you can still help him track down the Mandarin like we planned. Find him before he comes.” Bruce stepped up, his glasses back on his face. “Go to the holoroom, help Tony out and I’ll keep an eye on things out here.” He took my place at the window, looking down at the news vans. “Maybe I can scare them away… Get Big Green on the job huh?” He turned back, a cheeky smile on his face. I just rolled my eyes at him.
You: “Yeah, that’s what I need, I can see the headlines now. ‘Stark Industries houses dangerous creature. What experiments are REALLY happening in the lab?’.....No offense.”
Bruce: “None taken.” He smiled, used to the fact that he was quite literally a living, breathing Jekyll and Hyde story. “Go, help make sure Tony doesn’t do anything else stupid…” I looked at him, my brow cocked. “Right.. Anything else JUST AS stupid.”
You: “Better.” I turned back, walking towards the holoroom as planned. “Just not by much.”
Once I had gotten home, I figured it was best to just let Pepper have some alone time… whether that was because I felt she wanted to be alone or because I wanted to keep my rather attractive face intact can be up for discussion later. Instead, I made my way back to the basement, wanting to get started on the file (Y/N) had been putting together regarding the Mandarin. To my suprise, (Y/N) was not already there.. Weird, considering he had literally nothing else to do.
As started clearing some walking space, I saw why he may be currently preoccupied. The TV was on.. On BBC world… and apparently my threat had made world headlines.
BBC: “Welcome back to BBC news. Our top story today comes from the United States, where local business mongol Tony Stark, better known to the world as ‘Iron Man’...” Photos of both me and the suit jumped to the screen, The photo of me was rather unflattering, one from my earlier… ‘party’ days. The other, was a screenshot of the Suit flying the missle into the space hole over New York… like i need more reminders that that happened. “...has made a rather astounding statement to the world.” Then my little ‘speech’ played again, and watching it from the outside.. Yeah it was pretty stupid of me to do. “Strong words. But the question on the worlds mind now is, will the Mandarin retaliate? As of yet, the international terrorist has not. THe verbal threat comes after another Mandarin attack, this time directed at Mr. Stark’s home state of California. The target was the famous Chinese theatre in Hollywood, where an associate of Mr. Stark, a Mr. Howard ‘Happy’ Hogan was the sole survivor. Aside from Mr. Stark’s statement there has been no further comment from Stark Industries, including from its current head chair Mr. (Y/N) Stark, younger brother to Tony Stark. Both are certainly rattled by this most recent attack, as is the rest of the world. Continuing our top stories…”
Tony: “Turn it off JARVIS, and bring up (Y/N)’s file.” The TV shut off as holo projections began filling the space I had cleared. “Wow… someone’s been busy.”
JARVIS: “Quite. Your brother has been compiling this database from every outlet he could. Including the Public records, the Pentagon, the C.I.A. and S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Tony: “Really busy then. Is he going to be joining us or…?”
JARVIS: “He and Dr. Banner are currently arguing over how best to handle the barricade of News trucks currently surrounding Stark Tower.” Oh.. I’m gonna get an earful for that one.
Tony: “Lets get started then.” I took the virtual file in hand, slapping my hands over it and then opening my arms wide. The file opened along with them, everything spreading out over the space. “Let’s set the mood JARVIS.”
JARVIS: “Initiating virtual crime scene reconstruction.” The space around me morphed, turning into a holo projection of the bomb sight at the theatre.
Tony: “Ok. What have we got here?” I walked the length, looking over every file I could as i walked. “The name is an ancient Chinese war mantle meaning ‘Advisor to the king’. South American insurgency tactics. Talks like a baptist preacher. There’s lots of pageantry going on here, lots of theater.” I walked back to the center of my holo crime scene. “And what’s going on here?”
JARVIS: “The heat from the blast was in excess of 3000 degrees celsius. Any subject within 12.5 yards were vaporized instantly.”
Tony: “No bomb parts found in a three mile radius of the Chinese Theater?”
JARVIS: “No sir.” I looked over the recreated wreckage.. It was bad but, something was off… something was missing.
Tony: “Talk to me Happy.” I looked down as JARVIS recreated the placement of my friend, his body recreated to a T. As it was, I noticed that his eyes seemed to be looking at something, the same something he seemed to be pointing at, something at a very specific point. I walked over, motioning for the section to rise and meet me at eye level. “When is a bomb not a bomb?” After having some of the wreckage virtually cleared away, it revealed something. Dog Tags. “Any Military Victims?”
JARVIS: “Not according to public record.” The Tag cleared away, Jack Taggart.
Tony: “Why do I know that name? Wasn’t one of the members of Crimson squad named Jack?”
JARVIS: “Decidedly different Jack. Public records show Jack Taggart was enlisted into the army. He was honorably discharged after losing his arm to an RPG.” Ouch.. that’s gotta hurt. “Official records however show he is still very much alive.”
Tony: “Obviously not the case if he was caught in the blast.”
JARVIS: “Obviously, though it may be difficult to identify someone through their shadow.”
Tony: “True.” I hopped up onto my tool boxes, sitting down as high up as I could. “And thermogenic signatures in this file?”
JARVIS: “Recreating.” The projection changed, this time morphing into a revolving globe.
Tony: “Factor in 3000 degrees and show me any bomb sites.” The globe spun, showing major points across the globe that may have been a Mandarin attack. Way more then nine. “Show me Kuwait.” The globe spun, centering itself over Kuwait, just over the Ali Al Airbase.
JARVIS: “Reading from the confirmed bombing shows excess of 1500 degrees celsius.”
Tony: “That’s not possible. Do it again.”
JARVIS: “I have, and I can confirm that this bombing does not match any other confirmed Mandarin attack.”
Tony: “What so he just used a different kind of bomb this time?”
JARVIS: “Perhaps, it was not a Mandarin attack after all.”
Tony: “Then why claim it?” I rubbed my chin in thought. “Let’s bring us back home. Pull up a map of the states, same parameters.” The globe spun and flattened out, isolating itself to just the US.
JARVIS: “Complete.” The maps, like with the world map showed every thermo instance of near or more then 3000 degrees there was over the country over the last 12 months.
Tony: “Take away everywhere there was a confirmed Mandarin attack.” The dozen or so responses boiled down, leaving only 4. One here in Cali. “Nope.” One in Missouri. “Wrong again.” And one in Tennessee. “That. We sure that isn’t one of his?”
JARVIS: “It predates any known Mandarin attack.” The file behind the event opened. “The incident was the use of a bomb to assist a suicide. The heat signature is remarkably similar. Certainly more so then the supposed attack in Kuwait.”
Tony: “That’s two military guys.” It couldn’t be a coincidence. “Ever been to Tennessee JARVIS?”
JARVIS: “Creating a flight plan for Tennessee.” Tennessee it was then. But there’s still the question of what really happened in Kuwait.
Tony: “JARVIS I want you to look a little deeper into Kuwait.”
JARVIS: “I will see if there is anything else to find, sir.”
You: “Why are we looking into Kuwait?” I turned, finding my brothers form shimmering into view. He looked a bit disheveled, and slightly irritated.
Tony: “JARVIS?” The projections changed back into the globe, flattening out to look like it would on a map. Then, the thermo projections for Kuwait and the one in California popped up.
JARVIS: “After extensive research regarding all known confirmed attacks, we have come to the conclusion that the bombing in Kuwait was in fact not an Mandarin attack, despite how he took claim for it.”
You: “Why would someone with 8 bombings under his belt claim another that isn't his? Why try to add to fear that’s already at its peak?”
Tony: “That was my thought. I’m thinking something happened that someone doesn't want us to know about.”
You: “Well, we need someone to go out and find out about it.” He looked at me, his eyes pleading.
Tony: “I would, but we just found this lead with this Military guy and I really think it’s something.” He rolled his eyes at me.
You: “What lead could possibly be this important?”
Tony: “Well it’s in…” The doorbell rang, distracting us both from the conversation.
You: “Are you serious?” The look on his face… pure irritation. I looked to the TV, showing the security footage from the front door.
Tony: “Are we still at ding-dong? We’re supposed to be on total security lockdown. Come on, I threatened a terrorist. Who is that?”
JARVIS: “There’s only so much I can do sir when you give the worlds press your home address.”
You: “Oh that's right. Thank you for the media shit show by the way.” I looked to him. ‘Not Now’ hopefully painted across my face before rushing upstairs, calling the mark 42 on the way. It slipped on like butter as I made my way up the stairwell.
Once I reached the top, I found a woman walking through my front door, making her way into my living room.
Tony: “RIght there’s fine.” She stopped, and for the first time I got a good look at her face. Maya freaking Hanson. “You’re not the Mandarin.” My visor popped open, now clearly unnecessary seeing as there was no real threat in the room. “Are you? ARE you?” Well, better safe then sorry at this point. She started chuckling.
Maya: “You don’t remember. Why am I not surprised?”
Tony: “Don’t take it personally, I don’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning.”
JARVIS: “Gluten free waffles.”
Tony: “That’s right.”
Maya: “Ok look, I need to be alone with you, someplace not here. It’s urgent.” The urgency was evident in her eyes, she was scared of.. Something. But I wasn’t going anywhere.
Tony: “Normally, I’d go for that sort if thing, but, now I’m in a committed relationship with…” As I walked back to the living room. A bag fell from the ceiling at my feet. “Her.” I looked up, another bag falling to my feet. Both I noticed to be packed. The suit released me, letting me out as Pepper called from upstairs.
Pepper: “Tony. Is somebody there?”
Tony: “It’s Maya Hanson.” Maya turned to me, absolutely shocked that I remembered her. It’s not like i was drugged that night after all. “Old Botanist pal that I used to know, barely.” As Pepper made her way downstairs, temporarily blocked by the custom bunny I bought her, I pulled Maya aside. “Please tell me there isn’t a twelve year old kid waiting in the car that i’ve never met.”
Maya: “He’s thirteen.” I felt my heart stop, my breath choking me. “No, I need your help.” Yeah, that’s what I needed. A child scare.
Tony: “But, what for? Why now?” As we were talking, (Y/N) projectors rushed up the stairwell, situating themselves behind Maya as (Y/N) phased into view.
Maya: “Because I watch the news and frankly, I don’t think you’ll last a week.”
Tony: “I’ll be fine.”
You: “She thinks you’ll last a week. That’s funny.” (Y/N) laughed, startling Maya. Second time they’ve met like that. “I wouldn’t give you two days.” He turned to her. “You are a VERY optimistic person.” He turned back to me. “Thank you by the way for ditching the projectors in the basement. I had to get JARVIS to get Dum-E to open the freaking door.” I rolled my eyes.
Maya: “I’m sorry and you are…?” He sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
You: “Does nobody remember my face anymore?”
Tony: “Sorry. Maya (Y/N). (Y/N) Maya.”
You: “Yeah, I remember.” He turned back to her. “We met… Bern? 1999?” Maya’s eyes widened in realization.
Maya: “(Y/N) Stark.. Wow.. you grew up.”
You: “Thirteen years will do that to you.”
Pepper: “I’m sorry, with Happy in the hospital, I didn’t know we were expecting guests.” Pepper had managed her way past the rabbit, coming to stand next to me, a tight smile across her lips.
Tony: “We weren’t.”
Pepper: “And old girlfriends.”
Tony: “She’s not really…”
Maya: “No, not really...I.. It was just he one night.”
Tony: “Yep.” That tight smile turned to me, burning its way into my brain. I looked over to (Y/N) for support. He was currently holding his hand over his mouth, waving his other hand in the air. ‘DO NOT INCLUDE ME IN THIS.’ Always great to have the support of your brother.
Pepper: “That’s how you did it, isn’t it?”
Tony: “It was a great night.” That hand shot up to (Y/N)’s face. Palm over his eyes.
You: “Oh my god.” He looked up from his fingers. “Why? Why do you open your mouth?”
Pepper: “Yep. Well you know. You saved yourself a world of pain.. Maya wasn’t it?”
Tony: “What?” Pepper was just nodding her head.. Like this was a common topic.
Maya: “I’m sure.” Pepper turned her Iron gaze back to me.
Pepper: “We’re going out of town.”
Tony: “What? No, we’re not. Nope.”
Tony: “The man says no.”
Pepper: “Immediately and definitely. (Y/N) could you grab the bags?” Pepper turned to (Y/N), meeting his exasperated gaze. Eyes wide in annoyance. “Oh.. right…”
You: “No.. No I got them.” He bent down, making to grab the bags slings. His hands phasing right through them. “Oh.. oh my god. Oh my god!” He stood, staring at his hands in astonishment “My HANDS!!” After another moment of drama, he looked back to Pepper, his hands falling to his sides with a clap.
Pepper: “You’re such a drama queen. Just like your brother.”
Maya: “You know what? I got them.” Apparently Maya was completely unphased by the ‘ghost’ person standing in the room, making to grab the bags instead.
Tony: “Please don’t touch her bags!” I turned back to Pepper: “I can’t protect you out there.”
Pepper: “Tony, this is how NORMAL people behave.”
Maya: “I’m… I’m sorry is.. Is that normal?” Maya had taken notice of the giant bunny, a confused glare directed at it.
Pepper: “Sadly that is very normal.”
Tony: “Yes this is normal! It’s a big bunny, relax about it!” Maya had had enough of us, turning back to pick up the bags while Pepper and I argued.
Pepper: “Calm down Tony.”
Tony: “I got this FOR you!”
Pepper: “I’m aware of that.”
You: “I told him not it.”
Tony: “You know (Y/N) why don’t you just phase out for a minute ok?” I turned back to Pepper: “You still haven’t even told me you liked it.”
Pepper: “I DON'T like it.”
You: “I knew she wouldn’t.”
Tony: “Shut UP (Y/N).”
Pepper: ‘We are leaving the house. That’s not even up for discussion.”
Maya: “Guys.. guys… guys?”
You/Pepper/Tony: “What!?” Maya’s eyes were wide in alarm, her head swinging between us and the TV.
Maya: “Do we need to worry about that?” We all focused on the TV, showing live footage of the outside of the house. Something small, fast, bright and trailing smoke was headed right for it. We all turned towards the window, noticing the missle for the first time.
You: “Oh…” That’s all (Y/N) was able to get out before the Missile shattered through the window, connecting with the couch and exploding on impact. The explosion was powerful enough to rock the houses foundation, sending everyone back, and cutting the feed from (Y/N)’s projectors.
I saw the missile headed straight for the house. I rushed down the hall as fast as I could, hoping to get to (Y/N) and tell him so he could warn Tony and Pepper before it was to late. But i was to late. The minute I made it to the holoroom, something awful happened.
You: “Oh… fuck.” (Y/N) was shot back, his back connecting and shattering one of the glass panels to the holoroom. The one downside to the holoroom? It can be really disorienting for the user. Tricking the mind into experiencing things it expects to experience. Like a missile explosion for example. I rushed in, throwing a chair through the door to get through.
Bruce: “(Y/N)... (Y/N) talk to me dammit.” I could feel my heart struggling to increase its rate. I forced it to calm down as I kneeled aside his body, ripping off the glasses and checking his eyes. He was unconscious, but his pupils were responding to the light. “Oh thank god.” I picked him up, walking him out of the room to set him down on a nearby couch.
JARVIS: “Dr. Banner…. I’ve lost contact with the home hub network.” ...shit.