Not Another Iron Man Fanfiction *revised*
“Now do you see why I couldn’t tell you?"
I didn’t know what to say. Tony paced, looking tired and frustrated.
"I don't get it," I said finally. "How did you hide it all this time? And what does SHIELD have to do with--"
"How did you make that suit?" Tony interrupted me. When I didn't say anything, he said "Show me. Tell me everything you did and why you did it. Then I'll tell you what you need to hear."
I could tell neither of us was going to divulge the whole truth without first hearing it from the other. One of us had to move. The newly-discovered rebel side of me that was getting the hang of standing up for herself raged, 'Tony is the adult! He should tell me first!' But the old part of me I was more familiar with urged me to give way. So I did.
I brought Tony up to my ruined room and showed him the tools I had hijacked, the files I'd retrieved. I explained how I laced every spare piece to the arc reactor I had found and relied on his test drives and protocols to ensure the suit worked. Down in his garage, I walked him through my process of hacking into the armory, with JARVIS' help. His expression changed from stand-offish ness, to curiosity, to frustration, to fascination. When I finished, having explained myself to death, his expression was unreadable.
Then it was his turn. I listened as Tony explained what was killing him. Palladium poisoning from the arc reactor in his chest, a slow-moving killer that was affecting his bloodstream. And Tony ran me through several different formulas and equations that he had tried to use to cure himself. It was a lot for me to handle. But that, plus his issues with the government, plus Vanko making an attempt at his life, plus my arrival at the mansion and my parents' divorce, must have been a lot to take as well. At this point, he was at the end of his rope.
Every secret he had kept, I realized, he'd kept because he was scared of what people would say, how Iron Man would look, how it would affect Pepper and I. He had done it to protect us, only it had backfired.
Finally Tony explained to me that SHIELD was here to ensure he cured himself. They needed him because the world needed Iron Man. So they'd left him here with a lockbox containing all of Tony's father's research, in the hopes that he'd come up with a solution.
"So that's that," Tony said, leaning on his elbows on a work table. "Get it now?"
"Yeah." I looked up and right into his eyes. "I totally get it." And I meant I got everything.
Tony rubbed his temples. "Look. Iz. I understand now why you did what you did. But you still practically stole this stuff from me. And I can't involve you any further--it's too dangerous. You have to promise me: no more stuff with the suit. You don't have to protect yourself anymore. I will, whether I fix myself or not. Okay?"
I sighed. "Okay. But I really, really liked it."
"I...know the feeling," he said, with the air of a tightly-coiled snake finally relaxing. "When you're in the suit, you feel like you can do anything."
"Like you're invincible," I said.
"Best part is breaking the sound barrier," he said.
A smile crept onto my lips. "No kidding. First chance I got I did like Mach 5."
"Really? How far'd you go?"
"As close to the moon as I could get."
Tony nodded, impressed. "Not bad. Not bad at all."
"It's going to be hard to give up," I said, glancing at another armor Tony had stood up in a glass case on the wall.
"I mean it, kiddo," he warned, "We'd get into way more trouble if I let you keep your armor and face off against a Mafia hit squad on supposed 'self-defense.'" But he was chuckling slightly.
Something at the bottom of the lockbox caught my eye. I pried it out; it was an old-style video reel labeled 'The City of the Future 1- Howard Stark'.
"Check this out," I passed it to Tony.
"Hm," he said. "This is...worth a look."
"Maybe there's a clue in there," I said, "whatever 'city of the future' means."
"We'll find out," said Tony. He rattled around the garage for a good five minutes before I asked what he was actually looking for; when he said "Screen and projector" I joined him in the search and we finally found both items. Tony played the film reel, and I discovered about five more in the box.
The reel, ancient and in black and white, depicted a middle-aged Howard Stark--Tony's father and founder of the company--introducing his plans for a completely modern city. A silence descended on both of us as we settled on the couch, fixated on our deceased family member.
Gradually Tony's attention waned and he began sifting through Howard's notes.
I rested my chin on the arm of the couch and curled up, watching Howard move about. God, it had been a full day. And to think I hadn't slept that night either. I barely noticed it when I started nodding off and sank into a deep doze.
"...My greatest creation is, and always will be, you."
The final film reel ended, becoming a flurry of black and white static. Tony turned to look at his niece. "Okay, don't you dare start laughing--"
She wasn't laughing. In fact, she wasn't making a sound at all. She was fast asleep.
Tony blinked in the darkened room. Well, hopefully she hadn't seen that bit where he, aged five, had made a cameo appearance and stole a piece off Howard's 'City of Tomorrow' diorama. Otherwise he'd never live it down.
Tony's phone rang suddenly, and he answered it before it could wake Iz up. "Hello?" He barked.
"Mr. Stark. It's Natalie."
"Natalie? Or Natasha?" He said skeptically. That morning, in an empty doughnut shop, Tony had encountered Director Nick Fury of SHIELD--and Natasha Romanoff, who just so happened to be the real secret identity of his stern and independent new notary. One thing he'd forgotten to tell Isabella. "What do you want?"
"Miss Potts would like you to come over to the office and collect some personal effects," she stated coolly. "I got Coulson to clear you for this afternoon. Did they find your niece yet?"
Tony glanced at the sleeping figure next to him. "Yeah. It was...it worked out."
"Good. We'll see you."
"Sure. Whatever." Natalie hung up, and Tony pocketed his phone. Well, telling Iz everything wasn't so bad...maybe it was time he explained to Pepper. And apologized too. As long as she'd listen, of course. On the couch, Isabella stirred slightly and mumbled something about ginger ale. She couldn't stay here.
Grumbling, Tony scooped up her small, thin frame and carried her up the stairs. He reached her room and, skirting the rubble on the floor, laid her on the bed clumsily. He'd have to get this room fixed. Actually, he'd have to get the whole house fixed. Dammit, first of all, he'd have to get his life fixed. But maybe having this vulnerable, sleeping girl around was no longer going to be a problem. Maybe.
Tony took the stairs back down two at a time to find Triplett and Coulson looking at him--apparently they'd been watching the whole time.
"What?" He snapped. "I'm going out, boys. Make sure the kid doesn't fly off again."
So what did you think of this one...?