The box came out of nowhere. Literally. One minute it was all clear sky in front of Tony, the next? Box. He didn't see it coming. Hell, Jarvis didn't see it coming.
And if Jarvis didn't see it coming then there was definitely something up.
"Who are you?" Tony demanded.
The man grinned at him. "I'm the Doctor."
"Just... the Doctor."
"Well, 'just the Doctor', you and your flying box--"
"TARDIS," the Doctor supplied helpfully.
"--TARDIS owe me an explanation, and a hell of a lot of money to cover the damages." Tony scowled at the still grinning man a moment before looking around. Something about this place really tugged at him and he was almost embarrassed with how long it took for it to click. "It's... larger on the inside."
The Doctor's grin stilled a moment, before he sighed. "That's what they all say. Why do they always say that?"
Completely ignoring him, Tony continued. "Do you have any idea how this technology could revolutionise--well, everything? How do you do it? It's not an optical illusion, because I've moved further than the space the box should encompass and I can see--" He turned to look at the hole where he'd busted through the box, destroying his suit in the process.
There was nothing there but wall. Which was ludicrous in the extreme, he'd seen the hole he'd made in the wall with his own two eyes, but the case none the less. Tony stepped forward, stripping off his glove and reaching out to touch the wall. He flinched a moment; the wall was warm, but not warm like metal or warm like internal heating, but warm like alive. "Amazing," he murmured, moving closer to the wall, sliding his hands over the--the whatever-it-was that the wall was made of. It had a gentle give to it, barely perceptible except to the kind of sensitive fingers Tony Stark prided himself on having (perfect for all the fiddly little things he found himself doing; working with his technology and women included). "Oh," he said, "you are beautiful, aren't you?"
The Doctor, at this stage, was a little miffed by this stage at the brash, arrogant American who was now feeling up his TARDIS like he intended to romance her right into his fancy little red and gold tin suit. Or what was left of it, anyway. He cleared his throat. The American ignored him.
"What are you?" Tony said, still caressing the TARDIS. "Did you heal yourself after I busted on in on you?" He slowly moved throughout the room, trailing his fingers over wall and surface, gravitating towards the centre of the room. "Jarvis, I want to look into self-healing. If this--this TARDIS can do it then I don't see why it can't be incorporated into the Mark 5."
"Very good, sir."
"Very good, sir?" The Doctor echoed, a trifle confused by this odd human and his crashed but still talking helmet. It wasn't that the Doctor didn't have a wealth of experience with odd humans; this one just seemed a little more eccentric than most.
Tony stopped his perusal of what he assumed from all the levers, buttons and dials was the TARDIS command console (it was like nothing he had ever seen and he was getting ideas, brilliant ideas that would revolutionise the Mark 5 since this Mark 4 was good for little more than scrap), cocking his head. "Was that an echo, Jarvis? Is that something we need to look into when we get home?"
"Not at all, sir. I believe it was the Doctor who spoke."
Tony turned. He'd completely forgotten the other man in the room-slash-TARDIS-slash-thing. "Did you speak?" he asked.
"I just--well," the Doctor stopped, making a vague gesture. "I said 'very good, sir'? Just repeating what your AI – well, I assume it was you AI, you haven't introduced us yet, so I can't be entirely sure and for that matter you haven't even introduced yourself--"
Tony stared at him. Eventually he said "Jarvis?"
"Analysis on tone. The Doctor, comparison with your own."
"Running analysis, sir. Estimated completion time: five minutes."
Tony eyeballed the Doctor. He didn't understand how the man could sound like an AI program Tony had created. It wasn't like he'd used an already existing voice for Jarvis - he'd coded the accent himself, tweaking it until it was just the right shade of British (although he could probably do without the sarcasm; that was something Jarvis had learned without any input from Tony except for positive response - he enjoyed bantering with the AI and had he thought Jarvis capable of enjoyment, he would think the AI liked it too).
Then something else dawned on Tony. "You even look like Jarvis." How he didn't noticed it earlier he didn't know, but now he saw it he couldn't unsee it.
There was an awkward pause. Eventually, into the silence, Jarvis said in a hesitating, almost embarrassed tone, "I would have to disagree, sir. I am your AI; I am--somewhat regretfully--lacking a form of my own."
"No. No," Tony said. "I know that, I know you're not--look, I know, but in here, in my head, that is what you look like Jarvis. You look exactly like that, right down to what he's wearing."
The Doctor smoothed his hands down his lapels a little self-consciously. "What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"
"Nothing, nothing at all," Tony said admiringly, as his gaze swept up and down the Doctor. He really did look exactly how Tony had come to picture Jarvis once he'd given the AI a distinct voice and personality. Tall, slender and long-limbed, with dishevelled reddish-blond hair - pale skin, pale blue eyes, pale hair; it wasn't that Tony had consciously imagined Jarvis as a male version of everything he wanted, but that was what he got, nonetheless. That he was clad in a fine, well tailored grey suit, crisp white shirt and black tie would have been a coincidental had the suit not been the exact shade Tony imagined to compliment Jarvis' pale British colouring.
The Doctor coloured a little at Tony's overt examination.
He wasn't used to being ogled like that, not in this form, anyway. He was aware of a fondness human women had taken in him in his previous regeneration--he was pretty sure it wasn't the hair; that crazy haystack hair had done him no favours at all--but it was rarely with this kind of bright-eyed blatant interest (except for maybe Jack, but Jack Harkness was blatantly interested in anything that moved and breathed and perhaps a few things that didn't).
"You are kind, sir, but perhaps a little overimaginative." Jarvis' embarrassment had deepened--an interesting little tidbit on his evolution that Tony filed away for further study and promptly forgot--and he managed to sound rather uncomfortable with the whole discussion.
For one of the few moments in his life, Tony decided not to push it. Instead he produced a screwdriver attachment from somewhere in what was left of his suit, leaning over the TARDIS console.
"What are you doing?" the Doctor said in alarmed tones.
Tony turned, screwdriver still upraised and gave him a wild grin. "I'm making improvements," he said. He was positively glowing.
"What?" the Doctor yelped, leaping forward to slide himself in between the TARDIS console and the human. "Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no you don't. Nobody touches her but me." He paused. "Well. Mostly me. Occasionally there's been a few others but--" He waved a hand dismissively. "I trusted them." He eyeballed Tony.
"C'mon." Tony grinned and leant in. He was quite close to the Doctor now, almost touching him. "You can trust me. I'm highly trustable. And excellent with technology. Your flying box is in the best hands."
"Human technology," the Doctor pointed out. "You mean you're excellent with human technology, not alien technology."
Tony was close enough now that he was nearly going cross-eyed, making out the faint smattering of freckles across the Doctor's skin. Alien or not, he wondered if the Doctor had those same freckles all over. He wondered how much convincing it would take this Doctor to let him check. He licked his lips. A few more inches and he could kiss this Doctor who looked like his Jarvis.
"I wouldn't recommend touching that," the Doctor warned, raising a hand between them to Tony's eye level and pointing down.
Tony looked down. His hand was resting over a ball that had started to glow gently, with the blue-green of oxidised copper. "What, this?" he asked with a raised brow, not moving his hand.
"Yes--yes that, please, I don't think you should..." he trailed off as the human's eyes rolled back in his skull and he dropped to the floor in a dead faint. "Bugger it. Why do they always do that?"