1. Colin Creevey
When Colin opens the door the man waiting outside, who seems incapable of taking his finger off the doorbell, is saying to someone on his mobile phone, “Look, I hate magic, okay?”
Colin casually slips a hand inside his pocket, the one that has a hole at the bottom for easy access to the wand in his thigh holster.
“Tony Stark,” the man says, ending his call abruptly and putting the phone away.
“Stark,” Colin repeats. “Oh, the company with the crap timers.”
“Excuse me?” Stark slides his sunglasses down his nose so that Colin can see his raised eyebrows. “Stark Industries does not make ‘crap’. Just because I’m hating on magic does not mean you need to hate on my tech, thank you oh so much. And crap timers for what?”
“Cameras,” says Colin. “The timers on Stark cameras are inaccurate.”
“Fine. I’ll make a note.”
He steps forward, moving to enter the apartment, but Colin blocks his way whilst smiling politely.
“I’m sorry, was there something that you wanted?”
Stark removes the sunglasses with a sigh, tucking them in the top pocket of his suit jacket.
“Let’s try this again, shall we? Tony Stark, as in Iron Man, and I am fed up of my highly technically advanced suit being magicked into uselessness and I hear you’re the go-to guy in these parts for people who want magical solutions that can coexist with tech.”
“Oh.” Colin tries, and suspects that he fails, to hide his excitement at the thought of working on a project like that. “Well, there are limits to what I can and will do.”
“I can appreciate that,” Stark replies and Colin lets him in.
2. Hoban Washburne
“If they made one of these just for flying and not for fighting…”
“Unfortunate side effect of wearing one is that the fighting tends to come to you,” says Tony Stark, coming up behind him as Wash admires the Iron Man Mark VIII suit.
“I’m not really a fighter,” says Wash, shrugging.
“Maybe, but I’ve seen you fly.” Stark shoves his hands in the pockets of his jeans. “I’d build you a suit just to see what you’d do with it.”
“Seriously?” says Wash. “Shouldn’t you check that I’m not an axe murderer or a clown or something equally horrendous before making me an offer like that?”
The other man smirks.
“You’ve been piloting for SHIELD. Are you suggesting that their hiring practises are suspect? ‘Cause I can totally look into that. I should look into that. It’d be hilarious.”
“There were no ticky boxes for ‘axe murderer’ or ‘clown’ on my intake form,” Wash tells him. “It’s definitely an oversight.”
“And yet there is one for ‘god’,” says Stark, slinging an arm around Wash’s shoulders companionably. “True fact.”
“Funnily enough I didn’t tick that one,” says Wash with a grin.
“I did.” Stark dons a pair of designer shades with his free hand adding, “Fury disagrees, but I’ll win him over eventually.”
3. Toshiko Sato
She breaks into the Avengers secure communications mid-battle to inform Hawkeye that he’s rewiring the device wrong. The device which if rewired wrong will blow up Manhattan.
“I said you should have let me handle the tech!” says Tony.
“We need you in the air,” Steve insists.
Tony knows that the Captain’s right, but on days like today he’s needed on the ground as well.
“What about you?” he says, executing a ninety-degree turn in mid-air to avoid something big and ugly. “What did you say your name was again?”
“Toshiko Sato. Now, the red wire on the left,” she says, continuing giving directions to Clint.
“Toshiko Sato,” he repeats, getting JARVIS to bring up her details as he takes out a few small and uglies heading for Natasha. “Hey, Asian and female, that’d shut up the people complaining about the lack of minorities on the team. How would you like to join the Avengers?”
“I’m bisexual too,” she informs him frostily.
“Aren’t we all?”
“Female is not a minority,” says Natasha, scarily calm and, well, just plain scary as ever.
“Focus, people!” says Steve.
“Look, we can use a mind as bright and as fast as yours out here,” Tony cajoles, firing all repulsers. “Front lines. I’ll build you a suit. Doesn’t everyone wish that I’d build them a suit?”
“You build it,” she tells him, “and I’ll improve it.”
“Sir,” says Agent Sitwell, “Stark’s stealing from R&D again.”
“So I heard,” says Fury dryly.
“Sir, he’s building her a suit. Sato.”
“Well tell her to let us take a look at it.”
“Um, she said she’s making improvements to it, sir. Private ones.”
Fury fixes his eye on Sitwell and gives the Agent his best This Is Serious Look.
“Agent, the US government has all our requests to examine the War Machine armour tied up in red tape for generations to come and Stark won’t let us anywhere near the Iron Man. Whatever scraps of information you can get, get it.”
“She’s already off our employee list and on the one for Stark Industries. She’s signed their confidentiality agreements. And, well, she says she doesn’t trust a group that places itself outside the government and beyond the police with that kind of technology, sir.”
That’s a ‘no’, isn’t it?”
“From her and Stark, Sir. Sorry, Sir.”
4. Wesley Wyndam-Price
“I told you it needed a stake,” the new guy complains as the vampire he pushed back with a repulser blast rises to its feet.
“You do not stick a piece of wood in a multibillion dollar, high tech, Stark-made Suit!”
Clint doesn’t think he’s ever heard Tony sounding that livid over the comms before and that’s including the time that a (sort of) EMP blast managed to knock his suit offline.
“Rip off a door or something,” says Steve.
“Doors aren’t all made of wood these days,” Natasha informs him, snatching what must be a wooden umbrella off a man running past, because when she slams it pointy tip first into a vampire it explodes into dust.
“I feel like I’m doing all the work today,” Clint says as he shoots three more, choosing not to mention that R&D have had on and off discussions about removing the wooden arrows from his quiver selection and just how grateful he is that they haven’t.
“I’m just saying,” Wesley mutters mutinously, “sometimes you just really need a pointy piece of wood, you know?”
5. River Song
Iron Man reaches the ground seconds after the other suit crashes. Tony raises his faceplate and strips his gauntlets, tossing them to one side, so that he can work on removing the faceplate of the newcomer, who worryingly isn’t moving at all.
“What the hell?” Clint demands over the comms. “Who was that?”
“The person who just blew up the enemy creeping up on you that you didn’t notice?” snaps Natasha.
“I can’t have an off day?” the archer mutters.
“Secure the site and cut the chatter,” Steve orders before placing his shield next to Tony’s gauntlets and crouching down next to him, asking if he can help.
“With what?” says Tony, sounding a little hysterical. “This is really not your area of expertise, Captain.”
“And this obviously isn’t theirs,” Steve chides him gently. “You can’t just invite anyone to come and fight with us. It really isn’t a party.”
“I know that! You think I don’t know that?” Tony twists something, shoves his fingers under the edge of the blue suit’s faceplate, and prises it off. “Trust me, crazy is her area of expertise, but I didn’t invite her,” he says, “and definitely not in a prototype suit.”
“Her?” Steve leans forward, but there’s nothing underneath the faceplate. There’s no one inside at all.
“JARVIS?” Tony demands and Steve hears the AI respond from inside the empty suit.
“The Professor has been backed up as per the suit protocols, sir, and she should be online again in 5 seconds.”
Tony breathes a sigh of relief and sits back on his heels.
“Er, her who?” asks Steve. “The suit’s empty. Is it run by another AI? Like JARVIS?”
“What?” Tony shoots him a strange look. “No.”
“Artificial Intelligence?” says a woman’s voice from the suit. “Sweetheart, I’m the real deal. Just currently disembodied.”
“River.” Tony retrieves his gauntlets, gives the blue suit a hand up, and passes it its faceplate. “Thanks for the assist, but I told you the suit wasn’t ready.”
“And if you’d gotten yourself killed it never would be ready, now would it?”
Steve watches in bemusement as the suit fastens its faceplate back on. He’s seen Tony’s robots and lived at the Tower long enough to be used to JARVIS, but an Iron Man suit walking and talking without anyone inside it is definitely new.
“Your faith in me is overwhelming,” Tony drawls.
“Right,” says Steve, rising to his feet and attempting to get a grip on the situation; first things first. “Ma’am, are you okay?”
The blue suit – River – pats his butt as she says, “I always am.”
Steve closes his eyes.
“Tony, is the suit flirting with me?”
“Gosh, he’s slow isn’t he?” says River.
Tony winks at her as he picks up his own faceplate and replies, “Tell me about it.”
It’s still not the weirdest day Steve’s ever had.
And One He Did: James Rhodes
“You’re not having it back, Tony,” says Rhodes when he hears the ominous little click from his headset that means his friend has once again hacked into what is meant to be a secure military communications system.
“After it’s been dirtied by Hammer tech? Please. I wouldn’t defile my workshop with that. I’m calling about your suit. Hey, are you working on something in Syria by any chance?”
“No,” Rhodes says cautiously. “Tony, are you in Syria?”
“No, no, absolutely not, wouldn’t dream of it.”
“Alright.” He frowns a little and tries not to sigh. “You said you were calling about my suit though. I definitely heard you say that.”
“Your suit. I do believe I said that, yes.”
“Tony.” He pinches the bridge of his nose with his free hand, the other remaining steady on the controls in front of him. “I’m in the middle of something here.”
“Bitch, bitch, bitch. I am trying to be nice. You understand the concept?”
Three of the alert signs in the top right-hand corner of his computer screen change from amber to red.
“Rhodey,” he drags the name out childishly, then takes a breath. “Friends don’t let friends risk their lives in out-dated gear, okay, let alone out-dated gear that was never designed for them. I mean you wish you had my figure and that military posture of yours has got to be messing with the shoulder arching. So, you got a colour scheme in mind?”
Rhodes keys in a few commands and two of alert signs on his screen fade back to amber. The third goes all the way back to green and he grins.
“Right. What are you on about?”
“For your suit. Are you sure you’re smart enough to be in the military, because I’m getting vibes of stupidity here. Lots of vibes. A multitude even.”
“Wait, are you building me a new suit?”
“Ding, ding, ding! Give the man a prize!”
Rhodes rolls his eyes as Tony continues rambling.
“I haven’t got all day. Very busy man and all that jazz. Colour scheme?”
“Yeah. Yeah, actually I have.”
“And you’ll need to come to a fitting, Sour Puss. Think you can handle that?”
Operation Completed flashes up, covering the row of alert signs, and Rhodes laughs.
“I’ll bring pizza.”