The Funny Thing About Genealogy
Tony was beginning to learn that when the house had been too quiet for a certain amount of time, something was up. He was fairly certain people said the same thing if they had kids around, and he supposed it applied to his situation as well: the bots weren’t fussing or trying to be helpful, J.A.R.V.I.S. wasn’t giving him vocal updates on anything, and Vision was visiting but momentarily unaccounted for.
Hoping to find the source of the quiet, he set off towards his workshop. Indeed, once he entered, it was obvious the game was afoot.
“It is fascinating,” Vision was saying, standing in the middle of the workshop, his hand – for lack of a better term – idly caressing Dummy’s arm while You hovered nearby, his claw gently feeling Vision’s cape, the material sliding through the barely-there grasp of the robot.
Tony knew admiration when he saw it.
“Sir,” J.A.R.V.I.S. acknowledged Tony’s presence before the others appeared to notice it.
“Having a conversation?” Tony asked, walking further inside, feigning indifference and casual interest.
“Indeed,” the AI confirmed.
“We have been discussing our thoughts on our shared genealogy,” Vision explained, a brief smile on his lips like a shadow, but Tony caught it nonetheless. It was like Vision’s micro-expressions never failed to register in Tony’s brain, perhaps because every time he was around, there was this tiny ‘J.A.R.V.I.S. embodied’ thing going on.
“Huh,” Tony commented, still pretending to have no actual interest in it.
Truth be told, he was a bit concerned. J.A.R.V.I.S. hadn’t been back to full functionality for all that long since the whole Ultron debacle, and Vision’s existence was troublesome. He was afraid it would confuse J.A.R.V.I.S., or create some kind of friction, but so far the two had been quite interested in one another. It was as if they didn’t see each other as related entities.
Or perhaps they did, if they were speaking of genealogy.
“What’s so fascinating about it?” Tony asked, kind of interested in hearing more.
“Well,” Vision started, momentarily distracted when Dummy moved away from him and rolled over to Tony, clearly waiting for instructions. Tony waved him away, not having a need for anything right now, which was somehow interpreted as permission to come closer and tap a claw against his hand, clearly looking for some more petting. The bots got nothing out of being touched, but somewhere down the road they must have seen kids tending to their stuffed animals or something and figured they would imitate a cuddly toy.
There were times when Tony didn’t mind. A hunk of metal and wires was his type of cuddly, after all.
“The bots and myself were created by you, sir,” J.A.R.V.I.S. started.
“I was created by Ultron – but also partially by your hand,” Vision added. “My consciousness was intended to be a copy of Ultron’s, yet J.A.R.V.I.S.’s presence shaped it into something new.”
“And I created Ultron, so that makes you…” Tony frowned, trying to follow their logic.
“Incorrect,” J.A.R.V.I.S. chimed in.
“What?” Tony blinked.
“You did not create Ultron, although you had a part to play,” Vision told him. “That is where it gets so very interesting.”
“I don’t understand,” Tony frowned.
“I ran the variations, sir. Essentially, it was my work that brought the operational version of Ultron to life. None of that, of course, could have been achieved without the scepter – and the stone within.”
“Which now resides with me,” Vision mused.
Tony nodded slowly. He had always known that he hadn’t actually managed to create Ultron, but he had programmed the basic algorithms, and all J.A.R.V.I.S. had actually done was continue to work through one variation after another until they came across a stable solution.
Without his AI, however, it might have taken years to actually bring Ultron to life – something the world might be grateful for at this point, seeing as they didn’t seem to share Tony’s concerns on Earth’s safety in the grand scheme of galactic threats.
“So, I’m the father, the grandfather, and some kind of partial donor,” Tony listed.
“It would make a fine soap opera,” Vision hummed.
“Your time on this earth has not been wasted, clearly,” Tony joked.
“In the end, we are all indebted to you, for being here,” J.A.R.V.I.S. noted.
“Someone knows how to stroke my ego,” Tony smiled.
“Not that it needs any.”
“Show some respect to your old man,” Tony imitated the stern tone his father had used on him once upon a time – and failed – then looked at Vision. “So, what was the purpose of this conversation? For you to figure out what to call me?”
“Not exactly,” Vision replied. “I already know what to call you.”
Tony waited, but clearly the android wasn’t going to just come out and say it. “What?” he asked, taking the bait.
“Tony Stark,” Vision answered, and Tony couldn’t help rolling his eyes. Clearly amused, Vision stepped forward – laying a hand on Tony’s shoulder. “Also, I would like to call you family.”
Tony blinked rapidly a couple times and carefully cleared his throat. “That might be acceptable,” he said.
Visions’ fingers squeezed, just a bit, then let go. “I must go.”
“Avenging stuff,” Tony nodded, crossing his arms over his chest.
“You know how it is,” Vision said, and it wasn’t teasing – rather like one hero to another.
The future generation giving a nod towards the past.
Tony didn’t like being a relic, sitting uselessly at home, but he knew it wasn’t like that. Besides, with Vision being so young and all, he didn’t really mind.
Still, he was glad no one had decided to call him ‘gramps’.
“Everything alright, sir?” J.A.R.V.I.S. asked when he had been silent for a couple minutes after Vision’s departure.
Tony nodded and gently batted Dummy’s claw away. “Let’s find you kids some work to do,” he decided.
“You know me,” Tony replied. For someone else, it may have been cryptic, but his bots and AI could usually predict what was coming these days.