Tony wouldn’t have suspected anything if not for that name.
Yes, he’d been having more injuries than usual during missions, but he thought it’s the Karma thing, when you can’t have all the luck in the world, even if you were Tony Stark. As a superhero, it was to be expected to encounter life-and-death situations every other day – Tony had always managed to turn the table, so, you know, it made sense, in a statistical way. It’s not natural to have heads every time you throw a coin, right?
So when an enemy target charged at Tony from behind and the alarming system hadn’t gone off, resulting in Tony taking a hard one at the back, he hadn’t suspected. When a piece of the armor, which he told Jarvis to check, fell off during a close struggle with the enemy, and Tony got two cracked ribs, he hadn’t suspected. When the arc reactor disconnected from the power system of the armor without any warning, and he fell hard on the ground, he hadn’t suspected a thing. After all, he was only flying 5-floor high at the time, plus he had iron skin to protect him, so he’d considered himself lucky. As soon as the bed-rest period was over – no, as soon as he managed to slip away from the hospital, Tony’s going to check his armor himself, head to toe.
But when Tony limped into the kitchen in the morning and Jarvis served him with fresh-brewed coffee, saying “Good morning, Tony”, his hand twitched hard, and the coffee spilled.
Jarvis never called him “Tony”.
In an instant, thoughts he never had before crammed hard in his brain and it all made horrible sense. Jarvis was cleaning the spilled coffee on the ground, while reminding Tony not to step onto any shards, but he was already rushing in to the elevator to go into the main control room. Jarvis, as always, turned on the lights for him, and set his chair to the most comfortable height. His hesitated, fingers hovering over the keyboard, but then he typed in the code to access the most fundamental basic of the program. It was an order he hadn’t used in many years; he would have forgotten it, had he not been a genius.
When the core of Jarvis came up (it couldn’t even been called Jarvis, at this rate), Tony took a deep breath.
“Artificial Intelligence, report your priority.”
“First priority, do not allow target to detect anything unusual while operating the mission.”
Jarvis’ vocal system hadn’t changed at all, but Tony thought he’d never heard a word so cold. Of course, Jarvis obviously wasn’t doing his mission right now, which is why he used the unusual name on Tony.
Tony knew that Jarvis was a program, something that could be broken, decoded, rewritten.
He had trusted him anyway.
And now Jarvis wanted him dead. Not only that, but Jarvis didn’t even have the decency to do it himself. He didn’t actively do anything, he just – protected Tony a little less.
If Tony hadn’t discovered, he would survive in the field to for – how long? – a week, if it’s quick, at most a month or so. It’s not that Tony was afraid of dying – he knew he was already a dead man, his life having ended at that Afghanistan cave. Every day he lived through now was stolen for him by Yinsen. He never expected a dying of old age. What made his spine froze and his hand shook was that he would have died thinking it was because of his own stupidity and ignorance, would never suspect loyal old Jarvis who was with him 24 hours a day. Maybe he’d even feel sorry to leave Jarvis without a master this early.
No, if he died, it would be exactly because of his own stupidity and ignorance. Stupid enough to trust a person that was not even a person, and ignorant enough to forget that he couldn’t trust anyone except his own brain.
Tony gritted his teeth, swore to never make a mistake like this again, and tried his hardest to ignore this little voice inside his head telling him that he’d made an oath exactly like this before.