(This is my own artwork so please don't steal)
It was Monday morning and Tony Stark was not looking forward to the day, he had to leave behind the weekend spent tinkering with his robots and taking apart his dads computer and actually face the horror that was High School.
He lay in bed contemplating getting up he began by weighing up the pros and cons of the day. A pro to this day would be that he had double science today with Dr Banner that he always found interesting. However, the biggest con of this day would be to face Obadiah Stane, or Obie as his minions called him.
Tony’s alarm clock went off across the room blasting out the latest chart hits, today he was graced with the techno sound of ‘Safety Dance’ by Men with Hats. This gave Tony an idea for the outfit of the day. Jumping out of bed with new found enthusiasm for the day he flung his wardrobe doors open to reveal a treasure cove of all the colours of the rainbow, every type of fabric and texture you could think of hanging neatly in a cramped row.
Tony took great pride in his appearance and was even more enamoured by his own sense of style. It was the 80s so converse was in at the moment and Tony’s pair of Red High tops had become a particular favourite as he found they went with almost everything in his wardrobe. Today’s outfit of choice consisted of a pair of Khaki shorts, red and grey striped button down shirt that was oversized on his trim frame and a black fitted suit jacket with tartan lining and shawl lapels that donned his many different pins each with their own meaning. Topping off his look with a black pork pie hat that he’d stuck red feathers in shortly after buying.
“Next up we have ‘Sweet child Of mine’” The radio host spoke with his soft drawl as the music started to play. Tony, now dressed for the day, spun on the spot grabbing a tennis racket his dad had bought him for his birthday expecting him to actually use it for its original purpose. Tony turned up the sound on the radio and jumped onto the bed holding the racket the wrong way up simulating a guitar. He closed his eyes and listened to the tune running his fingers over the racket pretending to play along with the band.
“Woah oh oh-oh sweet child of mine!” Tony sang whilst jumping up and down on the bed scrunching up his face straining his voice to match the high-pitched tone of the lead singer. Just as he was getting to the main chorus there was a loud bang that threw him off balance sending him toppling to the bed the racket hitting him in the face as he fell.
“Tony! What have I told you about having your music so loud!” Howard Stark, Tony’s father and High School football coach was at that very moment turning his radio off and ruining his good mood he had managed to build himself up to.
“Dad do you have to do that?” Tony whined from his position on the bed the racket still sat on his face muffling his words.
“When you insist on aggravating the whole house with your rubbish and banging around then yes I do…now get up you’ll be late for school” Howard snapped not giving Tony any time to respond before heading back through the door slamming it behind him causing the radio to knock off the table hitting the floor with a cracking sound.
High School wasn’t exactly easy for Tony, what with all the bullying he received on a daily basis. Sometimes if he was lucky he could get away with hiding in Dr Banner’s science room for the majority of the day avoiding the corridors and the sweaty steroid filled jocks that roamed there. Tony’s plan usually worked for the main bulk of the day like lunch and during free period but on a morning he had to brave the masses of the corridor, it often felt like he was battling his way through the wild plains of Africa with the main goal of avoiding an attack from the lions.
Tony hoisted up his metal contraption so it was sat more comfortably in his arms, the metal frame resembled what could best be described as a giant arm with a claw from one of those fairground prize machines attached to the end to simulate fingers. Tony had designed the robot to help him with his inventions, as he often needed more hands than he had to build some of his odd machines. He had taken this one home for repairs a few days before after one of the other student’s spilt acid over the computer chip, that’ll teach him to leave his work unattended in a science lab. He made his way through the crowds of students each in their own little cliques until he fast approached the one group he really didn’t want to see today.
“Hey, Stark” The voice of one Obadiah Stane emerged from the crowd until he was towering over Tony smirking down at him like a shark who had found its prey. Tony attempted to squeeze around him not daring to look up at the menacing boy, taking one step to the side a gap cleared of students who must have seen this same scenario too many times before as they stepped out of the firing line. Obie came slamming into the side of Tony with all his weight sending Tony flying into the lockers. His robot hit the floor in front of him snapping into two clean pieces and leaving Tony clutching his upper arm where the pain was now shooting through him. Next to him he could hear the cackling laughs of Obadiah and his lemmings, his ears muffled the sound slightly as one ear, in particular, was still ringing from the impact with the metal door of the locker.
“It took me three days to fix this mainframe,” Tony muttered under his breath not loud enough for Obadiah to hear what he’d said but enough so that he knew he’d said something.
“What did you say to me?” Obadiah was pissed off clearly thinking that Tony had said something against him but in reality, it was just another excuse to inflict more pain on the scrunched up form of Tony. Obie pulled Tony’s shirt at the front upwards until Tony was hanging off the ground in front of him his face inches away from Obadiah’s.
“You back chatting me now?” Obadiah spat at Tony who was struggling against the grip trying to get his feet back to the floor to support his weight, pulling frantically at the fist around his shirt.
“I didn’t say anything I swear,” He pleaded, even he knew his voice sounded so pathetic right now but he really didn’t care he had put up with enough from these jocks what’s one more morning of pain and misery.
“That’s what I thought” Obadiah smirked again this time there was something behind his eyes that Tony was all too familiar with, that was the look he got just before a hard blow from a fist came ploughing into his body from one angle or another.
The guys around Obadiah took it in turns to land a punch somewhere on Tony’s torso each hit sending his body sideways as he continued to flail his legs around to reach the floor. Obadiah just stood there his firm grip keeping Tony is one place so his friends could take their hits, laughing hysterically.
When his friends had got their turn he finally placed Tony back on the floor but kept his grip on his shirt, which at this point was the only thing keeping Tony from collapsing into a battered heap on the floor. Obie took one last hit for good measure before letting go allowing Tony to finally slide down the lockers until he was sat on the floor, the broken robot still laying in two pieces beside him.
Just to rub salt in the wound, Obadiah kicked the head of the robot as he passed snapping it into another two pieces and sending the claw flying across the corridor. The bell blared out down the corridor signalling the start of class, before long he was sitting alone on the cold floor with his pride bruised and his invention destroyed. He slammed his head into the locker in frustration he was angry and struggling to keep the tears from falling.
“Don’t you dare cry! Stark’s don’t cry!” Tony recited what had become one of his dad’s favourite sayings over and over pushing the anger down into his stomach and holding back the tears long enough for him to gather up what was left of his machine and rush off to the boy’s toilets.
Tony went to the toilets closest to the science department because he knew no one ever really went in there especially not at this time so he could get some privacy to let out his emotions. As soon as the door closed behind him he threw the now scraps of metal against the cubical door and burst into tears. He screamed out just noise anything to help subside the aching pain in his stomach. He was breathing heavily trying to calm himself down, deciding that his best option was to hide in the shower block until he could face the world again.
This was a regular occurrence for Tony and one he had unfortunately become accustomed to over the years. As a senior in High School he had gone through his whole High School career being ridiculed for being different, he didn’t help his case by dressing in the eccentric fashion that he did but he also didn’t want to follow the crowds and get lost in the sea of indistinguishable personalities. He vowed to always be his own person that was what his mother had always told him to do.
When Tony was five he had gone to his mother and told her that he wanted to be an inventor and that when he had told the other kids at school they all laughed at him saying he couldn’t be an inventor because he wasn’t smart enough.
“Tony, you can be whatever you want to be, don’t ever forget that…and as for being an inventor if you have a new idea in your head then you are already an inventor!”
Tony could hear his mother’s voice in that bathroom on the wet shower block floor telling him he could be whatever he wanted to be and for a moment it comforted him, having the feeling that someone believed in his dreams. He wrapped his arms around his body pulling his knees up to his chest trying in vain to feel her warm embrace the way she used to hug him after school when the kids had been particularly cruel to him. She was always going to protect him from bullies. It was exactly a year later that she died suddenly on a business trip up north her car skidded on the ice and came off the road, Tony was only six but he remembers the day like it was yesterday.
Life hadn’t been the same after she died, particular with his father. Howard Stark had loved his wife and being left a widow with an imaginative six year old to raise, it had taken its toll on the man. He became angrier as the days grew to years and their relationship became almost none existent to point where they were no longer father and son but just two people that shared a house.
Tony’s sobs had slowed to a steady breathing, occasionally his breath would catch as a singular sob escaped his lips. The tears had all but stopped but the evidence of their existence sat in wet paths down his face for all to see. He had been so lost in his own thoughts he hadn’t heard anyone come into the toilet until a voice appeared beside him.
“Hey, are you alright?” The voice was soft, comforting and Tony felt his heart lift at the stranger’s presence. He would admit to the world that he wanted to be alone but in actual fact, he was craving the company.
Looking up he locked eyes with the pearly blues of Steve Rogers the captain of the football team. Tony jumped up from the floor wiping frantically at his eyes trying to hide his weaknesses.
Steve Rogers, although the captain of the football team, had never bullied him directly, however, he hung about in the same circles as Obadiah, which at this point was all Tony could focus on.
“I’m fine, what are you doing in here…no one ever comes in here” Tony pushed away from the wall and began frantically collecting up the broken robot turning his back to Steve.
“You don’t look fine?” Steve pressed hesitating before helping Tony with the remaining pieces of the machine.
“Well I am and I don’t need help from someone like you” Tony snapped, he hadn’t wanted to sound so harsh but he was feeling fed up and worn out he couldn’t take another beating today, emotional or physical.
“Someone like me? You don’t even know me?” Steve sounded insulted but Tony didn’t care he didn’t owe someone that associated with Obadiah any form of courtesy.
“I know enough about you to know you hang around with Obadiah Stane and for that reason alone you’re trouble and I should stay away from you…so thank you for the concern but I don’t need it” Tony liked the way he sounded, he felt superior for a moment like he could stand on his own two feet and hold his own.
Tony nodded a small thanks to Steve and rushed out the bathroom with the intention of fixing his robot, at least he could try and salvage the shred of goodness for the day.
“You’re welcome” Steve muttered into the space as he watched Tony leave slightly stunned by how he had spoken to him.