Chapter 1: Chapter One - Third Times The Charm
Chapter One - Third Times The Charm
"…really?" I asked her. "Again?"
God sighed and gestured to something behind me.
I turned around.
The rest of the Tenrou Team was behind me.
My name is Elle. I'm female, twenty-one years old, and utterly in love with my husband.
Here's where it gets complicated.
We were dead. But this wasn't the first time this has happened.
I died young in my first life, and basically decide to fuck up (or fix) the Fairy Tail world in my second, because (let's be honest here) it was fun.
Though if we're really being honest, it's because in Fairy Tail I could get the family I never had.
If I was back in God's library, it usually meant that I went into something like a coma so we could communicate.
But if the others were here, too…
"We're all dead, aren't we?" I asked God.
She nodded. "I'm not quite sure why Fairy Sphere didn't activate in your timeline, but yes. You all died."
"We're dead?" Orga asked with wide eyes.
"At least it was quick," Laxus muttered.
I hit him. "Baka." I turned back to God. "Can we go back?"
She shook her head. "The only way one can return to their universe like that would be to be reborn, and lose your memories. The same would happen for your previous world; you only got to keep your memories because you switched dimensions."
"Does this mean we could go into a different dimension?" Levy asked with wide eyes.
"Let's do Harry Potter!" Erigor shouted.
"Absolutely not," I said. "If we do Harry Potter, we're going to have to de-age ourselves so we'd be at our prime during the war. In addition to that, we'd have to go through seven years of schooling. I don't care if it is magic school, I don't want to do that. Also, I don't want to de-age myself much again. A few years is fine, but I'm not re-doing puberty again."
"Thank God," Laxus muttered next to me.
"Yes?" God asked.
I patted his shoulder. "Maybe you should stop talking."
"He's dead, he's allowed to be confused," Macbeth said.
"If anyone suggests Hunger Games, I'm punching them," Erza said.
"You do realize you could probably take down the Capitol single-handedly?" Jellal pointed out.
"No," Erza said.
"We're not doing Hunger Games," I sighed.
The sound of quiet whispering caught my ear, and I turned to look at Gajeel and Natsu who were conspiring with each other in the corner.
"What's running through your minds?" I asked them.
They both stopped, before they said together, "We want to go to Marvel."
"Oh, that'd be fun!" Levy said.
"You guys remember that a war with Thanos is coming, right?"
"That means that a few of us should probably meet up with the Guardians in space," I pointed out. "We'd have to split up."
"Well, Lucy and I-" Natsu said.
"No," Lucy interrupted, running up and clutching my arm. "I'm not going to be away from Ellie-nee for who knows how many years!"
"Same, I'm not leaving Onee-sama!" Juvia shouted, grabbing my other arm.
"Everyone, stop!" I said.
"Is everyone okay with Marvel? Do we all agree?"
There were nods, except for… "Master?"
"I think I'll stay here, if that's alright," he said, looking at God, who nodded. "At some point, the rest of our guild will pass, and they'll need someone familiar to lead them to the right place. Besides…I think it's about time for me to relax, and stop fretting over you people."
I looked at everyone else. "You guys agree, though."
I bit my lip. "Let me think."
Before I went into the Fairy Tail universe, I had thought over things I actively wanted to do; hell, I thought of them before I died. But now…
I thought over what I knew, and when would be a good time to interfere. This…this could work.
"Okay," I finally said. "We're going to Marvel, then?"
Nods all around.
I turned to God. "How would we get Ethernano?" I asked her.
"It will be in the air," she reassured me, though there was an extra smile in her eyes. "In all ecosystems, even other planets."
"Some of us will need to start off in space," I said, looking around. "Lucy, you already said no?"
She nodded, tightening her grip on me.
I couldn't really blame her, though.
I looked over the others.
"Jellal, Erza, what would you think?" I asked them. "Going into space and joining up with the Guardians, leading them back to Earth?"
The two exchanged looks, before Jellal looked back at me and nodded.
"Good," I said, nodding.
I knew I could count on Jellal for something like this.
"You can't all start off in the same place," God warned.
"Are we allowed to start off in pairs?" I asked.
She nodded. "That's allowed."
"Alright, everyone pair up," I commanded.
"I call Ellie-nee!" Lucy called.
"No fair!" Freed whined.
"ABSOLUTELY NOT!" Laxus said. He glared down at all of the kids. "All of you, pair up with your significant lovers."
"Isn't it significant 'others'?" Erigor muttered.
"I don't care what you idiots are calling your relationships now, but grab your other half," he demanded, pulling me closer to his side.
"Stop reading my mind!" Laxus glared at him. "And Exceeds go together."
Everyone started pairing up.
Lucy and Natsu, Gray and Juvia, Levy and Gajeel, Jellal and Erza, Macbeth and Erigor, Erik and Kinana, Freed and Mira, Evergreen and Elfman, Bickslow and Lisanna, Brandish and Cana, me and Laxus, and Happy and Lily.
"What about me?" Orga asked.
At sixteen, he was the youngest here, and the odd one out.
Laxus and I exchanged looks.
God was letting all of us go into a different dimension (the same one) with our memories intact. I wasn't going to push it by asking for a group of three.
"Orga, you'll be with Laxus," I said.
"He should be with you, I'm the oldest," Laxus said. "I should go alone."
"Actually-" Erigor said.
"Shut up, Erigor," we said.
I glared at Laxus. "I already did this once. Don't forget. I know what I'm doing."
We stared at each other, in a stalemate before God interrupted. "Elle will go alone."
Laxus threw up his hands. "Fine!"
I smirked at him. "Alright, guys, discuss with your partner where you want to show up. Or, point out a character you'd like to show up by."
"You don't care if we mess things up?" Natsu asked.
I glared at him. "I'm trusting the reasonable half of your pair to keep you in line."
Lucy sighed. "No promises, Ellie-nee."
"You'll be fine," I told her.
"Why don't you choose the places?" Freed suggested.
"If you have a place you want to go, that's fine," I said. "But yeah, I can help you pick."
"Oh, I know!" Natsu said excitedly.
"No," Lucy said, glaring at him. She looked at me. "I do have an idea, though."
"Alright," I said, looking around at them all. "Let's get started."
I started pacing and turned to God. "Can I have some paper and pen?" I asked her.
She nodded and gave me a notepad and a pencil.
I continued pacing.
"Anyway, we can help?" Laxus asked.
"Shhhhhhhhhhhhh," Freed shushed him. "Ella-sama is working."
I flipped forward and wrote a few things on the 'things we need' section, before flipping back up and writing down all of our names in groups.
Laxus and Orga
Natsu and Lucy
Gajeel and Levy
Gray and Juvia
Jellal and Erza
Erigor and Macbeth
Erik and Kinana
Cana and Brandish
Freed and Mira
Bickslow and Lisanna
Evergreen and Elfman
Happy and Lily
Then I flipped to the second page and wrote down important characters and places
Thor and Jane and co.
SHIELD and associates
Pym and Hope?
I already had ideas for Tony, Bucky and the Maximoffs. And technically Steve.
I looked back at my list
I added Wakanda and Kamar-Taj (Masters of the Mystic Arts) onto the list.
"Jellal, Erza, you guys are good for space?" I asked.
I crossed out Guardians and added it next to their name, and while I was at it, added Tony, Bucky, Steve and the Maximoffs next to mine. I'd take care of it.
"Who's okay with going undercover?" I asked. "Like…being evil? Or even infiltrating a place that's not evil?"
"Not evil!" Levy put up her hands.
"Awww," Gajeel whined.
"Okay, who's okay with pretending to be evil?" I asked.
Couples exchanged glances and raised their hands. Macbeth and Erigor, Gray and Juvia, Erik and Kinana – wait.
"Kinana, you're okay with pretending to be evil?" I asked her.
"If I spend my entire time as a snake with my Transformation Magic," she said, nodding.
"Oh!" at that Lisanna straightened. "Then we're okay with being evil, too!" she said, gesturing between her and Bickslow.
I looked between the two couples. "Are you sure? One of you will be hiding under Thanos."
"'Cause of our Soul Magic?" Erik asked.
The boys exchanged a glance and nodded. I don't know if it was acknowledging that they wouldn't back out so the other couple wouldn't get stuck with something, or if they were agreeing to do it or what, but I knew that they were okay with this now.
"Bickslow, Lisanna," I said, turning to them. "Are you sure? I'm going to place you with Thanos."
They both looked a bit frightened, but they nodded.
"Bickslow, are you okay wearing a helmet again?" I asked him. "It'll help you hide your expression. Also, I want you to downplay your abilities, make it seem like you don't have full control over them so they underestimate you."
At those words, Bickslow grew more confident.
"Lisanna, you'll be spending time in animal form?" I asked her.
"I want you to downplay your intelligence, and maybe only have like…three forms or something? So that way they underestimate you. They're more likely to speak around you if they think you don't understand."
At those words, I scribbled a few more things onto the third page.
Lisanna nodded. "Let's do it!"
I nodded back. "Then go over your forms with Bickslow, tell me if you have any ideas on something you want to specifically change."
The two of them split off from the group as I crossed off Thanos's name and tagged it onto theirs.
"Okay," I said, looking down at the sheet and the amount of available couples. "Macbeth, Erigor, and Erik, Kinana? Are you guys okay with infiltrating H.Y.D.R.A.? And possibly - technically S.H.I.E.L.D.?"
The group exchanged several looks before nodding.
"You realize you'll be, like….triple agents?" I clarified.
"We'll be good, Dawnie," Macbeth said, taking my hand and squeezing it.
"You'll probably see some really tough, really shitty things."
Bickslow snorted in the corner.
"Hush you!" I yelled at him.
I turned back to the two couples.
"We're good," Erik said, Kinana with her arms swept around his neck from behind, looking similar to the snake she'd eventually be.
Erigor and Macbeth nodded.
"You know H.Y.D.R.A. worked for the Nazis, right?" I asked them. "While the group originally was based on something else, they joined the Nazis in the 40s, and they weren't very accepting about…well, anything, but also homosexuals."
"Didn't we already cover that Macbeth is not gay, just Erigor-sexual?" Erigor muttered as the other glared at him.
"Still," I said, looking at them. "Are you going to be alright?"
They exchanged looks and nodded.
"Alright," I said, crossing off H.Y.D.R.A. twice and then tagging it next to their names.
I looked back up at the second list, of characters and places in the MCU.
I raised my gaze to stare at the group in front of me.
The very white group in front of me.
Yeah, there was no way any of us would be able to infiltrate Wakanda (hell, we'd probably be shot on sight since they hate intruders and such…).
But maybe…my gaze drifted.
The two Exceeds looked up.
"This is a pretty important job," I said. "You guys up to it?"
"What is it?" Lily asked, all serious.
"I need you guys to sneak into Wakanda," I said. "And befriend Shuri. Can you do that?"
"Will I get fish?" Happy asked.
I didn't answer. Wakanda was a landlocked country in the middle of Africa.
There'd probably be some freshwater fish, but still.
Lily hit him. "We'll be fine, Elle."
I smiled at him and crossed off Wakanda, adding it to their name.
Well, that's good. I was a bit worried about that.
"How many of you are up to joining organizations?" I asked.
I was surprised by Elfman and Evergreen's hands. "Really?" I asked them.
"Really," Evergreen said, glaring at Elfman.
The ones who specifically didn't raise their hands didn't surprise me. The thought of Natsu or Cana trying to work specifically in an organization was asking for trouble.
Most of the groups had at least one half I could count on to keep the other in line. Lucy can control Natsu, Levy keeps Gajeel in line. Gray keeps Juvia in line when she goes psycho, and she keeps him in line when his anger gets away from him. Jellal keeps Erza from going too far. Lisanna keeps Bickslow in line, just like Evergreen keeps Elfman in line. Lily is several years older than Happy, and has more experience than him.
Erik and Kinana are usually good, but being undercover should help them mature more, same as Erigor and Macbeth, who are a bit of a worry sometimes. Freed and Mira can be a bit much when it comes to certain things, but they can generally keep the other in a straight line…unless it comes to Ellaxus. But Laxus and I will not only be far away from the couple, but also far away from each other, so that should take care of it…
Cana and Brandish are going to be a bit worrying, because neither of them have much self-restraint. Cana, when it comes to drinking, or Brandish, when it comes to shrinking.
My eyes widened. Shrinking.
I crossed off another name on the second list and scribbled it onto the first one. "Alright, Cana, Brandish?"
"Yeah?" Cana asked.
"You guys are going to find Hope van Dyne," I said. "Cana, make sure Brandish only shrinks what she's supposed to."
Brandish deflated a bit.
"They'll let you do it a lot, don't worry," I told her. "Just make sure Cana gets coffee, alright?"
As long as Cana stuck to coffee, they should be okay. Mostly.
They nodded as I looked back at the available couples, and I tried to think through my options.
If someone needed to take on the Hulk, Laxus or Elfman would probably be the best bet to stopping him, though I'm more worried about General Ross.
"Levy, Gajeel?" I asked them.
They looked at me.
"How do you guys feel about joining SI?" I asked.
"What's that?" Gajeel asked.
"It's Stark Industries," Levy said. "And the answer is yes."
I nodded and scribbled some answers, looking at my remaining choices.
For Jane (and later Thor when he crashed) there was always Laxus and Orga (after all, they have lightning) but that might make Thor feel sad. And then there was my other option…
"Lucy, Natsu," I said, looking at the two. "Are you guys okay meeting up with Jane Foster and her group?"
Lucy brightened. "The astrophysicist?"
"Who?" Natsu asked.
"We'll meet up with Thor," Lucy told him.
"ALRIGHT!" Natsu yelled, fire breathing out of his mouth.
"No," Lucy said. "You can fight him when everything else is done."
I made a note, then looked at the remaining couples and flipping back and forth between the pages.
"You guys sure you're okay with going undercover?" I asked Elfman and Evergreen.
"Alright," I said. "You guys and Juvia and Gray will be joining S.H.I.E.L.D. Okay?"
They nodded, and I turned to Juvia and Gray, as well as Natsu and Lucy. "Gray, Juvia, you guys will end up with Hawkeye. Which means that you'll be in New Mexico near Natsu and Lucy." I glared at the two boys. "Don't spoil your cover by attacking each other."
"What about Black Widow?" Evergreen asked.
I thought of the timing. "You don't need to worry about her. You guys will probably be placed near the upper echelons so you can spy on them. Alright? You might need to be a secretary, Evergreen."
I looked at the last two groups and what remained on the second page.
There was still Peggy, Hulk, and Kamar-Taj.
"Freed, Mira, up for joining some Sorcerers?" I asked them.
"Awesome," I muttered, looking at the last two and thinking about the timeline.
I heard somewhere that part of The Incredible Hulk (the part where Hulk reunites with Betty and then beats the Abomination in Harlem) takes place a few days after the end of Iron Man 2. If that's true…
"Laxus, Orga, you're going to meet up with Betty Ross at Culver University," I told them.
"Okay?" Laxus asked, still confused.
I crossed out the name and added Peggy to mine as a possibility; it depended on a few things, mostly her dementia.
Finally, the first page looked like this:
Elle – Tony, Bucky, Steve and Maximoffs. Natasha. Peggy?
Laxus and Orga – Betty Ross and Bruce
Natsu and Lucy – Jane and co. (plus Thor)
Gajeel and Levy – Stark Industries
Gray and Juvia – S.H.I.E.L.D. (Clint)
Jellal and Erza – Guardians
Erigor and Macbeth – H.Y.D.R.A.
Erik and Kinana – H.Y.D.R.A.
Cana and Brandish – Hope van Dyne and Hank Pym
Freed and Mira – Sorcerers, Kamar-Taj
Bickslow and Lisanna – Thanos
Evergreen and Elfman – S.H.I.E.L.D.
Happy and Lily – Wakanda
No one was going to Asgard, but I had plans for that. Hopefully, everything will still work out, but I don't think the Allfather would be too welcoming to a bunch of mortals running around in Asgard anyway.
I looked at the third page of things we'd need.
I turned to God. "I'm a bit worried about the language barrier, and about telepaths getting into our heads and stuff."
"You'll possess the All-Speak," she said, nodding. "And even the Mind Stone should stay out of your heads."
I smiled. Nice.
"How about money?" I asked her.
"You all have a month to find a job," she told us. "You will receive an allowance."
"Thank you," I told her. That was awesomely generous.
I took each couple aside and privately told them what I wanted them to do, and covered any other questions they had. Everyone threw out suggestions, and eventually, everything was agreed and settled upon.
I took one last look at them all, and then back to Makarov, who sat off to the side with a contented smile.
And then the world shimmered and changed.
Anyone wanna guess when they're joining in on the timeline?
Chapter 2: Chapter Two - Tony, Part One
CLEARING THINGS UP: The Tenrou Team might not be the same as it will eventually be in Ripples, but for now, at least, Gildarts and Ur stayed behind because they have families, and Elle warned them about the time skip. Wendy, Sting, Rogue, Yukino and Rufus stayed back because they're barely twelve. Since this was not the S-Class trials, but SS-Class trials (yes, everyone on the list is S-Class or above) Wendy was not invited. If they needed healing done, Elle's become pretty proficient with Saturn's Healing Winds and Lucy still has Phoenix. That is all.
But people die all the time. So we'll be getting other people popping up all over the place. Eventually.
Also, this is only counting the singular MCU – nothing co-owned, so no X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, etc. Sorry. Most of it will follow Elle and Tony for now, but as they meet up with other pairs of people, you'll get to see how their journeys went. Just a heads up!
Also this chapter was getting way too long, so Elle's explanations are going to take several chapters. I figured you'd want something more for now.
Chapter Two - Tony, Part One
...So buses suck.
I'm sure that I must have taken a bus once or twice in my first life, but I don't remember it.
I couldn't exactly take a plane (no ID) and I didn't want to steal a car because, again (no ID).
So I got on a bus.
And GOD I was bored out of my fucking mind.
There were so many stops! And this was with me already being in the right place, give or take (I mean I'm still in California, so it's the right state. But it's a big state).
Originally, I did this because I wanted to plan things out.
After a few stops though, I gave up and took the easy way out: teleportation!
I figured that on the bus ride I could go through the things in my Requip space and also write down some notes, try to get my thoughts together.
But it took us ten minutes for three stops, and I thought, Yeah, no.
So I teleported directly in front of Tony's Malibu house instead.
If I could whistle, I would've.
It was a niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice house.
(I mean Tony's rich, so duh, but still. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice).
And now for the hard part.
I walked up to the door and rang the bell, trying not to stare into the house through the glass panels.
Now, I didn't know if Tony was actually here (he might've been in D.C. at the Senate meeting, I was pretty vague on when I wanted us to jump in the timeline, just post-palladium poisoning and pre-Natalie Rushman) but at the very least, JARVIS was here.
There was silence, and so I rang again and cleared my throat.
"Alright, so I dunno if Tony's home, but that's fine. JARVIS, it's a super long story and I know you probably don't trust me because, boom, random stranger out of nowhere (I don't blame you) but I know how to fix the palladium poisoning."
There was a moment of silence before the glass door automatically slid open.
"Please enter," JARVIS said.
I took several steps forward and entered the living room, where Tony lay out on a couch. He stared at me for several seconds before standing up and approaching me, and I realized we were around the same height (if anything, I was slightly taller). "How do you know about the palladium poisoning?" he asked, coming up to me.
"It's a long story," I told him. "And we may want to sit down. And if you don't want me to stay in the house we can sit on the steps or something."
He waved off the worries and sat back down.
"How long of a story?" he asked.
"Longer than Harry Potter," I told him.
"I'm not quite sure I know what that means," he stared at me.
"Yes, you do," I said.
"Alright, yeah I do," he conceded, tilting his head. "Sit down."
"Sir, I really must protest-" JARVIS started saying.
"Nahhhhhhhhh, it's fine." Tony waved it off. "What's the worst that can happen?"
I facepalmed, and I get the feeling JARVIS would be doing the same if he had a face. Or a palm.
Well, if he had both, because you can't really facepalm with only one of those.
I sat down across from Tony, who got up and went to his bar to start pouring alcohol.
"So what's this about my palladium poisoning?" Tony asked. "Want some?" he raised the bottle.
"No thank you. Before we get to the poisoning, let me tell you a story," I said. "Also, you're dying of palladium poisoning, Tony, put away the alcohol. Drink some of your chlorophyll or whatever."
He scowled at me but put the drink down anyway, which kinda surprised me.
Still, I'll take what I can get.
He sat back down across from me on the opposite side of the couch, and I looked at him.
He stared at me.
"I'm going to tell you the whole story, alright?" I told him. "Which is saying a lot, because I don't think I've ever told anyone the whole story, even my husband."
It was true. There were still things that I just didn't have the heart to tell Laxus.
Well, I might not explain the Civil War too in depth to Tony.
"You're married?" he asked.
I nodded, holding up my ring finger.
"Why isn't it a diamond?" he asked.
I pointed to the matching necklace. "He picked this out for me when we were children. Said it kinda matched the color of my eyes. So he got a matching ring."
I looked down at it and smiled, before looking back up. "Where were we?"
"How old are you?" he asked, taking another gulp of his chlorophyll.
"What day is it?"
"Physically, I'm twenty." God had de-aged us all several months so our birthdays would still line up. Which means I wouldn't become twenty one again for a few more days.
He paused his drinking. "Physically?"
He put down his bottle and crossed his arms. "Alright, you've got me interested. I'll admit. It's not everyday that a random girl appears on my doorstep with knowledge of not only something most people don't know, but also knowledge of how to fix it, which I don't know. In addition to that, she's divided her age between physically and another way, and she also doesn't match any facial recognition."
"That's because I'm not in the system," I told him.
"It should be impossible," he told me. "You don't exist anywhere and the only record of you ever on camera started this morning."
I raised my eyebrows. "J.A.R.V.I.S., you got that all while I was waiting at the door? Impressive."
"Technically, it was me who did it, seeing as I built J.A.R.V.I.S…" Tony started, but I rolled my eyes and interrupted him.
"I'm not from around here," I told him.
"What, like an alien?" he asked.
"No, that'll be a few weeks from now," I told him.
He laughed, before he realized I wasn't and that I was completely straight-faced.
"You're serious?" he asked.
I nodded. "Up until now, since you've joined in on the 'heroing' business, everything has still been in the realm of science that you can understand. But it won't be for long. Soon you'll be getting aliens, gods, sorcerers; all sorts of different things."
"And what about you then?" he asked.
"I'm from another dimension," I said. "Here's how my first life went-"
"First life?" Tony asked.
I nodded. "In my first universe, I was dumped on an orphanage as a child. The ladies there named me 'Eleanor Rigby' and don't you dare fucking laugh."
"Why that name?" he asked, but he didn't laugh.
"Eleanor after the Roosevelt," I said. "Rigby because another one liked the song. I didn't even know where it came from until I was seven or eight."
"So…" I continued. "I grew up in an orphanage for the most part. A bunch of complicated shit happens, but basically, I ran away and lived in an abandoned apartment building when I was twelve and got a job. Up until the day I died."
"Died?" he asked.
"Died," I nodded. "And then I met God."
"You're shitting me," Tony deadpanned.
"I'm not," I said, shaking my head. "I was nineteen years old, and I accidentally cursed in front of God. So shameful. But she was nice."
"She?" Tony asked.
"God took the form she thought would be most reassuring to me, and then asked me what I wanted to do now that I was dead. She asks everyone this. Some people get reborn, some choose to move on, some choose to wait…but I had no reason for any of that. I was alone. I had no friends or family in my first life and I wanted that, I wanted a family, so badly. So I asked a different sort of question."
"I asked about the multiverse theory," I said. "And she said it was true."
"So you went to a different universe?" he asked.
"I went to a fictional universe," I corrected. "After a series of negotiation I woke up in a world from a story I really loved, called 'Fairy Tail'."
"Fairy Tale?" Tony asked.
I shook my head. "I'll explain more on that later. But I went into that universe, and I went with my memories intact. And I changed things."
"By how much?" Tony asked.
"A lot," I admitted. "There were some things out of my control, which happened anyway. But I use my foreknowledge to save as many people as possible."
"But what about that timeline?" Tony asked.
"I didn't really care about the timeline," I said honestly. "From the second I entered the universe, it split off from the original universe. I could make as many changes as I wanted, because it was a new timeline. It would be like any normal action I would take, but sometimes I knew people's plans before they even thought them up, and that's what majorly gave everyone an advantage."
I paused, and Tony let me, even though I'm sure he wanted to bombard me with questions.
"I had selfish reasons for going there," I said. "I told myself it was because I wanted everyone to have a happier story. And in part, it was the truth. I had gotten attached to everyone and wanted them to have a happy ending. But I wanted someone to care for me they way they cared for each other, and I wanted someone to care for, period."
Tony was quiet, and I took a deep breath. "There's a lot of things that happened in that dimension. In it, I was de-aged to nine, so I'm actually ten years older than I look. And then, when not too long ago, me and a bunch of the rest of my family…didn't make it out."
Tony paused. "This is a fictional universe, isn't it? Or at least it's considered one from another universe."
"Yes," I told him. "But it's more complicated than that. And I'm saying that because of 'Free Will'. In my last universe, the rest of my family knew that I was from a place that considered their universe fictional. They didn't care. The way the universe is structured, there is such a thing as free will; the choices you make are part of your characteristics. It's because of who you are, that the choices are made, not because someone forced you to."
"Alright…" he said slowly.
I nodded. "We've diverged from this original timeline already. Things will change now, but a lot of things will stay the same, because you guys are still the same people at heart, and still have the same characteristics."
"So why did you come here, then-?" Tony asked.
"Because I care about you, idiot," I interrupted him. "I know my story was complicated and a bit convoluted, but I thought I got at least that point across."
He was quiet.
"In comparison to other universes, we decided that this would be the best one. It was a universe where we could be happy, we could help other people be happy, and we had the biggest chance of getting as many people to live as possible."
"What do you mean?" Tony asked.
I shrugged. "Well, we considered Harry Potter, too, along with a few others. But we chose here for a reason, Tony. I'm not the only one who cares about you."
"You keep saying 'we'," Tony said. "Where's the rest of your family, then?"
"God made us divide into pairs," I said. "So we did. We had an odd number, so I chose to go alone, especially since I've already done this before. Everyone else is off on their own missions, trying to minimize damage and speed up parts of the timeline a bit."
"And you came to me," he said.
I nodded. "And I came to you, because I've care about you a lot, and because you're in the best position to help with some things. Because even if you don't really believe me about everything, there are still some things you should know."
"Because of the way the timeline originally went?"
He paused and stared at me. "JARVIS, give Eleanor-"
"-Give Elle Beta Access."
"Sir, I must protest-" JARVIS started.
"It's fine!" Tony waved it off. "I don't know why, but I trust you."
"I'm pretty sure that's just the heavy metal poisoning," I pointed out. "It's been awhile since I had access to the internet, though, so I'm not entirely sure what your symptoms are."
"You didn't have internet connection in your last dimension?" Tony gasped scandalously. "Where were you, Hell?" He paused. "Oh God, you were in Hell. You're from Hell! JARVIS does this mean I'm consorting with demons now!"
"See, this is what I meant," I told him. "So for now, how about we work on getting rid of the palladium poisoning?"
Tony stared at me. "Alright, and how exactly do we do that? I've tried every possible combination and permutation known to man, and I've got nothing."
"That's because it's not known to man," I told him. "It's an element that your father found."
He raised his eyebrows. "Howard?"
"Yeah," I said. "It doesn't occur in nature, so it has to be synthesized. And he couldn't do it with what he had access to. I'm not sure how to make the element, but I can tell you how to find its atomic structure."
"And how exactly do I do that?" he asked.
Tony made a few phone calls and arranged for the model of the Stark Expo to be delivered, before he sat back down across from me.
"Okay, so what else do I need to know?" he said.
"Before we get started on this universe, I should tell you a bit more about my last one," I said.
He nodded. "Seems reasonable."
"Alright, so it didn't exactly take place around now," I started. "It took place in the 700s, though they were able to get away with a lot of pseudo-technology through things called 'lacrimas'. Lacrimas run on magic."
"Magic?" he deadpanned.
"Magic," I repeated. "And yes, you can play with some stuff later but story time first."
He brightened at that.
"We had these 'guilds', and they functioned normally for the most part. But there were also magic guilds, where wizards could gather and find work. One of these guilds functioned a bit differently than the rest, and that was Fairy Tail."
I shook my head. "Fairy Tail, T-A-I-L. The guild was created by a girl named Mavis Vermillion, who was obsessed with fairies, and she grew up with an adage on whether or not fairies have tails."
"Fairies don't have tails," Tony pointed out. "At least not according to any sort of legend that I can remember."
"The point isn't really the question, it's the nature of the question; it's alright that you don't know, because this gives you a chance to find out. It's an endless adventure."
"Okay…" he trailed off.
"We also had these things called 'guild marks' which were symbols that identified whether or not we belonged to a guild," I stood up and turned around so he could see the one on my back. "This is the guild mark for Fairy Tail. Just in case you run into any of the other idiots, and they mention stuff about fairies and tails and endless adventures. Though you'll probably get your attention drawn to them by the stupid shit they do. And the magic."
"Stupid shit?" he asked.
I nodded. "Also, expect puns. Gray, an Ice Wizard, uses so many fucking puns that I'm immune to them now. I don't even really notice them anymore. To explain more in depth on our craziness, though, I'll use him as an example."
"…Okay?" Tony asked, waiting.
"When he was first taught Ice Magic, he was told to strip and become more attuned to the cold. He does it naturally now, doesn't even realize his clothes are coming off, half the time."
"…Okay then," Tony said, his face a mix between amused and exasperated. "So, I have two questions."
"One: is that your natural hair color?"
"Yes, yes it is," I told him. "Most of us have hair color that doesn't correlate with normal hair. I think, of our group, we have two blondes, two brunettes, and three with black hair."
"No redheads?" Tony asked.
I snorted. "Kinda. Their hair is read, but I'm not sure they could really pass for natural. Erik has a mix between chestnut and maroon hair, and Erza…well, lets just say there's a reason she goes by Erza Scarlet."
"Okay. Second question: are their different types of magic, and can you only learn one, or what?"
"Oh, this one is a bit complicated," I said. "JARVIS, you might want to take notes."
"Understood, Miss Rigby."
"Mrs. Dreyar, please," I corrected. "I did get married in my last life."
"Is your husband here, too?"
I nodded. "Yep. He'll probably end up meeting up with Dr. Bruce Banner and Dr. Betty Ross in a few days now."
Tony's eyes widened. "Really?"
"Yep; but more on that later. You'll meet them soon enough. So…magic."
So they've met each other! Next chapter should be up in a few days, hopefully. Also, do you guys prefer JARVIS or J.A.R.V.I.S., SHIELD or S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Chapter 3: Chapter Three - Tony, Part Two
Someone asked me about bashing.
As you can probably tell from Ripples alone, I like saving people (so does Elle). So you will see stuff like that.
As for bashing…there will be some bashing for some of the stupider decisions made in the MCU. There will be NO serious bashing. Probably.
Looking at you, Jason.
Anyway, the 'Tony' explanation chapters were way too long, and I'm not done, so I've been cutting it into reasonably sized pieces for you guys. Next chapter should be up later this week.
Also, reminder that they were all de-aged a couple of months. So Brandish, Gray, Lisanna, and Juvia have all had their birthdays.
Chapter Three – Tony, Part Two
"Magic is generally divided into two different types; Caster Magic, and Holder Magic. Caster Magic is the kind from within, and it doesn't need a specific outlet."
"Like the Force?" Tony asked.
I shrugged. "Eh. Kinda? I'll let you know when I think of a better example. And I'm sure you can guess what Holder Magic is."
"Wands, right?" Tony asked. "Like Harry Potter?"
"Yes, but also no. We actually don't use wands at all, but Holder Magic is using magical devices to concentrate our magic on something specific. Holder Magic is usually more varied, so they need part of the boost. While our magic is all within us – we have something called a Magical Container, yes you can scan me later – Holder Mages usually don't use Caster Magic at all, and so are unused to redirecting their magic any other way through their body."
"So if you take it away, they're powerless?"
"Normally, yes," I admitted. "But it's time to go onto a different type of magic. Those are the types of magic that people can use, but magic changes based on the person themselves. There are three types that are noted; Primary Magic, Secondary Magic, and Tertiary Magic. These are what you're skilled in. Primary Magic is only one type of magic, and it's the most skilled you'll grow in any magical category. Secondary Magic and Tertiary Magic are magics that you have an affinity for. There are generally three, at most, Secondary Magics per person, and there can be many Tertiary forms. Older wizards tend to have many forms of tertiary magic. Sometimes people get confused and think that their Tertiary is actually their primary, and they never explore further, so they never get past a certain level of strength."
"Some wizards are content with just one kind of magic, and never learn Secondary or Tertiary forms. If you have a holder wizard like that, then yeah, taking away their magical items will render them pretty powerless. But if you're like a few of my friends, then you might also have some Caster spells to use as backup, for Secondary and Tertiary Magic."
"Does it pass through families?" Tony asked.
"It can," I said. "Though magic also has a lot to do with personality. But if enough family members are skilled at it, and they use the same magic generation after generation, then the magic can be tied through their bloodlines. That true for more than a few people. But before I mention some of those, I think I'll cover the most common magics first, followed by rarer magics, and then the Lost Magics."
"Ohh, that sounds nice and mystical," Tony said, waving his fingers.
I rolled my eyes at him.
"Alright, so as I already mentioned before; Gray is an Ice Wizard – he specializes in something called Ice-Make, in which he forms things out of ice that he can use. Weapons, cages, catapults, whatever he can think of; it's up to his imagination. Most of the members of our group are-"
I paused. "You know what, give me a second."
I was silent as I thought things over and I could see Tony start to get antsy.
"Okay," I said. "So, as I mentioned, we were in the 700s. I wanted to find a way to share some movies with the rest of the guild, so Cana, who uses Card Magic, made things called a Memory Card. So I'm going to use them to tell you about each member."
"Cool." Tony's eyes were wide. "Do you think I can replicate that with technology?"
"You already do," I told him. "And you name it something awful, really."
"What do I name it?" he asked.
"BARF," I said. "B.A.R.F., for Binarily Augmented Retro Framing. I think."
"Hmmmmm," he hummed, thinking.
"Do you want to see my guild members, or…?" I asked him.
He looked back at me. "Sorry."
"It's fine," I said, requipping a card into my hand.
"Holy shit, where did that come from?" he asked.
"That's from my Requip space," I told him. "It's one of my Secondary Magics. It's a lot like…hmm…a bit like inventory, actually, from video games. Only it doesn't put things in stasis."
"What do you mean?" Tony asked.
I shrugged. "If I put food in it, it'll spoil at a normal pace. In video games, if you make a potion that has to be used immediately, you can put it in your inventory and it will stay fresh because it won't change. But that's not how requip works. Other than that, though, it's pretty accurate. Like I have access to my own little pocket dimension."
"That is awesome," he said. "I wonder if I can replicate that?"
He side-eyed me.
I rolled my eyes. "As far as I know, no, you do not replicate that."
"Awwwww," Tony sagged and pouted.
"Keep pouting, I'll pinch your cheeks," I told him.
His pout disappeared, and I put the Memory Card to my forehead, thinking, before pulling it back.
"What was that sigil?" Tony asked.
"It's called a Magic Circle. Different magics have different types, so it looks different depending on the magic."
I projected an image of Gray, which translated to 3D pretty effortlessly.
If anything, it looks like I put on some glasses, or that I had bad vision in my last life.
God, that's so weird.
"This is Gray," I introduced. "He's eighteen, and an Ice-Make Mage. He has an unfortunate habit of stripping without realizing it, and has gotten in trouble for public indecency multiple times. Currently, he's undercover at SHIELD."
"Really?" Tony asked in surprise. "And you're just telling me this?"
I looked at him. "I trust you, Tony. We all do, and we have our reasons. Now, continuing on." I switched out the image for a picture of Juvia. "This is his girlfriend, Juvia. She's joining him on his undercover mission at SHIELD. She just turned seventeen and is a Water Woman; her body is made entirely out of water."
"I'm sorry, what?" Tony asked. "How is that structurally or physically sound? How did she even survive as a newborn? I don't understand."
"We're from a fictional universe," I pointed out.
He paused. "Oh yeah."
"She also tends to call me 'Onee-sama'," I said. "Do you know what that means?"
"Yeah, that's the most formal version of Big Sister for Japanese honorifics, right?" Tony asked.
I nodded. "A few of them use honorifics, but only a few."
I waited, thinking about who to do next.
"The only one of us left who is a normal elemental user is Erigor," I said, showing a picture of him next. "He's the oldest of us, at twenty six, and he has control over wind. He also has a penchant for flying. A lot. Like, he will hover and fly everywhere as much as possible, seriously."
"Where's he undercover?" Tony asked.
I winced. "How about we finish talking about magic, first?"
Tony nodded reluctantly. "That bad?"
"Yep." The picture switched out for one of Macbeth. "This is Macbeth. He's twenty two, and has something called 'Reflector Magic'. Yes, it's what it sounds like; he can deflect things back at people and bend things any way he wishes. Also, he tends to use a lot of Illusion Magic and Sleep Magic as well. They're a couple."
I paused. "I should stop doing this by couple and start doing it by magic. Oh, and shit! Evergreen!"
"What about trees?" Tony asked.
I rolled my eyes, switching the image from the card. "This is Evergreen. She's nineteen and has a secondary Magic called Fairy Magic, which is a form of Light Magic, which does count as an element, by the way. So do shadows. And lightning. And metal. And a few others…"
Tony sighed. "Alright then. So we have four with normal elementals, right? Juvia, Gray, Erigor and Evergreen? Water, Ice, Wind and Light?"
I nodded, before switching out for a picture of Erza. "This is Erza. She's eighteen, and her Primary Magic is Requip. So far, she's the only one I've ever met who had that as a Primary Magic. Everyone else has had it as a Secondary or Tertiary."
He stared at her hair. "Wow, that's red."
"Yep," I said, switching it out for a picture of Levy. "This is Levy. She's sixteen, and has something called Solid Script Magic. Basically, she writes out what she wants in the form of words. And it gets produced. From those words."
"Magic," I said. "If you ever question anything the answer is, and always will be, magic."
The picture switched to Freed. "This is Freed. He's nineteen, and uses a different type of written magic, where he writes runes."
Next was Bickslow. "This is Bickslow. He's twenty, and can control souls."
"…Souls?" Tony deadpanned.
"Souls," I said. "It's called Seith Magic, and it's particularly focused in his eyes. When he activates them, it's called Figure Eyes, and it allows him to see souls and the connections they have."
Tony put a hand to his forehead. "Okay, why not? What else?"
"Oh!" I said, remembering. I went back to the picture of Evergreen. "Evergreen's Primary Magic is something called Stone Eyes. Yes, it's like Medusa. If the magic is something they're born with, it's almost always considered their Primary Magic."
"She can turn people to stone?" Tony asked.
"She can turn them back, too," I said, rolling my eyes and moving on.
I showed a picture of Kinana. "This is Kinana. She's nineteen-"
"No way!" Tony said. "She is not that old. She looks fifteen!"
"I'll explain why in a bit," I said, rolling my eyes. "She uses something called Transformation Magic, which allows her to turn into animals. Particularly, she likes to turn into a snake." The picture changed to show her in Cubellios's form. "The reason she's so small was because she was cursed into this form as a kid. So she spent most of her growing years as a snake, and it stunted her growth."
Tony paused. "She can turn into a snake?"
He looked at me. "Alright, you got me. As far as I know, there's no scientific explanation for being able to turn into another animal. The difference in mass alone should make it impossible, the physics make no sense, but what really gets me is the bone structure. There's a reason why werewolves are supposed to go through a painful transformation. and that's not even taking into account the shifting of bone structure. You really weren't kidding about magic."
I lifted an eyebrow. "And Gray manifesting ice on his own, or Juvia having a body made of water didn't sink that in for you?"
He glared at me. "I understand that even though some of these can be explained with science, most of it is in a different realm entirely. But I can't think of any way to explain something like this. Wouldn't it be painful?"
"That's the magic part of it," I said. "It's not like a werewolf, or an Animagus transformation. It happens instantly. Like that."
I snapped my fingers.
"It's just…look, I get that magic doesn't follow normal rules. But how does it not hurt?" he whined.
"There are still rules," I said. "For magic. It's just a different set."
He relaxed a bit. "Okay. I can deal with it. As long as it follows its own rules, and there's not any changes as far as I know."
He leaned back into the couch. "That's always been my biggest issue. They just need to follow a set pattern."
"No promises on this world's sorcerers," I warned him.
"I don't have to deal with them for awhile though," Tony pointed out. "So how about I try and understand yours for now?"
I smiled at him.
"Still, I don't get how it doesn't hurt…" Tony trailed off.
"I don't really know, either," I said. "But it's probably because it's Caster Magic. Holder Magic will redirect their magic directly to their object. Caster Magic particularly needs to be pushed throughout the body, to the point that it slightly mutates cells and blood. It literally becomes built into the body, and magic itself already works a bit like one of the feel-good pheromones (not as strong as dopamine or oxytocin or serotonin or anything, though). But it'll still give you a boost, and there's also the adrenaline. But as far as I know, most magic doesn't hurt while using it. At least, not for us, with a few exceptions. More on that later."
Tony nodded, and I could tell his mind was racing.
"We can find out more later, okay?" I told him. "We can try experimenting and stuff, but I'm still not too sure on the science."
He nodded. "Alright. Why don't we go back to the rest of your guild?"
I smiled at him, and showed him three pictures next, of the Strauss siblings. "These are the Strauss siblings. This is Mirajane, she's the oldest at eighteen. This is Elfman, he's seventeen. And this is Lisanna, she just turned seventeen. They have something called Take-Over Magic. It's technically considered a type of Transformation Magic, but it's usually unique to its caster. Mira has something called 'Satan Soul', Elfman has 'Beast Soul' and Lisanna has 'Animal Soul'. This allows them to take on traits of certain creatures."
"…Satan Soul?" Tony asked.
I nodded. "Demons. This is her base form."
The image shifted to her Satan Soul version. "But she has a few other types with different varieties. Same for the other two. And they also have regular Transformation Magic, and they're much more skilled at it than Kinana. Transformation Magic is only her Secondary Magic, not her Primary."
Tony tore his eyes away from the two pictures demonstrating Mira's normal form and her Satan Soul form. "Wait, then what's Kinana's Primary Magic?"
"She doesn't have one," I said. "And before you ask, no, it's not normal. But being locked in her snake form also locked away her main magic, which she was kinda born into. In order to turn her human again, she had to lose it. I'll tell you more about that magic by the end, because another member uses the same type, but for now that should be all."
Tony nodded, before his eyes darted back to Mira's two pictures.
"Yes, Tony, Mira is very pretty, we're moving on."
"It's not just that," Tony said. "I've seen lots of beautiful people, though I will admit that you and your friends are definitely up there."
I'm pretty sure I preened, I'll admit.
"But, again, I'm mostly wondering how the human body can handle changing like that. Not just physically, but magically, too. You mentioned that it's a bit like a pheromone, but if it works a bit like that, could you get high from it?"
"Absolutely," I said. "There are some ways it can be really problematic, actually, but you kind of have a reserve amount of magic. It refills on its own, but you can only take so much. Kind of like blood, though you can drain it a hell of a lot more, and you can increase the amount of magic you can use if you work hard enough. But you can only use a certain amount before you pass out, and if you use too much, you can have a serious backlash from it."
Tony nodded. "Okay."
Next, I showed a picture of Cana. "This is Cana. I've mentioned her before; she's a Holder Mage and uses Card Magic, which allows her to do a large variety of things." I smirked. "She could also probably outdrink you if she tried."
"What?" Tony asked, upset.
"Hush. No complaining about alcohol until I'm done with everything."
Tony grumbled but rolled his eyes.
"Cana is seventeen, and this is her girlfriend, Brandish." The picture changed to show a picture of Brandish. "She's also seventeen, and has magic called Command T. It allows her to alter mass."
Tony stared at me. "…alter mass?" he asked.
I nodded. "Yep."
More staring. "….all mass?"
I smiled. "Yeah. Organic and inorganic, she does it all. I've seen her reduce things inside other things. Once, in an emergency, she was able to shrink down a tumor until we could take care of it under better circumstances. It was only a temporary measure, but…"
Still, Tony was staring in amazement.
I blinked. "Tony, do you not know about Pym Particles?"
His forehead creased. "No. What are those?"
I sighed. "Something else we'll save for later. Let's continue."
"Does it have to do with Hank?" Tony pressed.
"Yes," I said. "But we should probably keep going. I'll add that to more things you should know."
He slumped. "Fine. Who else is there?"
I paused. "First I would like to remind you this was originally a fictional universe."
"Why?" he asked warily.
"Because we've reached Lost Magic, and this is where it gets complicated," I said.
Chapter 4: Chapter Four - Tony, Part Three
Sorry. Forgot to mention. There will be no periods, from the insistence of most of you, and the fact that I do not write things as F.B.I vs FBI.
Also, no, I will not abandon Ripples. Right now I'm having the same sort of issue as I am with DoD – I need to find out how to transition to the next big thing that's going to happen. I've been working on a timeline, and that seems to be helping me. Either way, the next chapter will hopefully be up in about a week OR SO.
And since Gajeel's and Jellal's birthdays are BEFORE their point in the timeline, they're the only ones who are a year older.
Chapter Four – Tony, Part Three
"It wasn't complicated before?" Tony joked.
I rolled my eyes and continued. "There is a type of magic called 'Dragon Slaying Magic'. It's considered a Lost Magic, which is generally only able to be learnt from the original thing or through a magical lacrima that's fused with the body."
"The real thing?" Tony asked. "So…dragons?"
I nodded. "Dragons."
"Because why the hell not?" Tony muttered, putting a hand to his forehead. "So these people…were taught by dragons?"
"Yep. The dragons gifted them with the magic that also fused with their bodies, and started training them how to use it. Though two of them got their magic through lacrima implantation."
"That sounds like it hurts," Tony commented. "And I still don't really know what lacrimas really are. Lacrima? Lacrimi?"
"It does," I hissed, before specifically letting out a deep breath. "And it's lacrimas. And a lacrima generally looks like a crystal ball, in different shapes and sizes." I requipped out one of the moderate lacrima magical containers, about an inch in diameter. "This is probably around the size they got put into them. And it happened when they were young; if they're learning via dragon it needs to happen before you reach double digits, and if you're getting it via lacrima, you need to get it by ten but before fifteen or so, or it won't adapt right. But if you're not old enough, you won't survive the implantation process."
Tony was quiet before he asked. "Did those two do it willingly?"
I slumped over a bit. "No."
He was quiet, probably thinking back over to his own 'implantation', and how he essentially woke up in a hostile environment with a bunch of dangerous metal stuck in his chest.
Sure enough, his hand was drifting up to his arc reactor.
"You okay?" I asked him.
"Were they awake?" he asked.
"Probably," I said quietly. "They weren't forthcoming, and I didn't exactly ask."
He was quiet, and I figured he was probably thinking back to his own surgery, when he was awake without any anesthetic.
"Tony?" I asked.
"I just…can't imagine a kid going through that," he whispered.
"Then don't," I said quietly. "We've all had bad pasts, Tony. But we have each other now."
He's quiet but he nods. "So, what was that about dragon magic and stuff?"
"Well, we've got four dragon slayers."
"Four?" Tony asked. "I thought you said it was Lost Magic?"
"It is," I continued. "There aren't that many people who know it, and the ones who learned without a lacrima – via real dragon – actually got to the X700s by traveling forward in time."
"Time travel," Tony deadpanned. "Because there wasn't enough things in the mix. Alright then. Four?"
I nodded. "Well, four that were with the rest of the group when we died. The rest were all left home. Pretty much."
"First, this is Natsu." I showed him a picture of the pink menace. "He's the Fire Dragon Slayer-"
"Wait, are you suggesting that they all have different elements?" Tony asked.
I nodded. "Each dragon had a different specialty, though there were some that same base type of element. The same thing works with the slayers. Anyway, Natsu's element is fire. You can usually find out where he is because something is exploding."
Tony sighed. "You guys are pretty destructive, aren't you?"
"We've been working on ways to hold back," I said. "But when some of our strongest let loose, yeah, we can be a bit dangerous."
"Fire is a destructive element," I explained. "It can get away from its caster, and they can lose their grip on it. It's the most lifelike element there is."
"And so Natsu is destructive because he can't hold back?"
"Yep," I continued. "Natsu's also sixteen, by the way."
"Okay," Tony said. "Who's next?"
"This is Gajeel," I said, bringing up his photo. "He's twenty. He's known as the Iron Dragon Slayer."
"Alright," Tony continued. "Is it Iron like..."
"It's like how we call your suit 'Iron', yeah," I admitted. "He can manipulate different types of metals."
"Cool," Tony said, nodding. "So we've got Fire and Iron. And these were the two raised by dragons, right?"
"How does that work, anyway?" Tony asked.
"Well, dragons can talk, for one. And they like to mimic humans. I've seen one cross its arms."
Tony's eyes widened as he tried to picture it.
"Think of the Geico gecko, but with a more scaled body and a pair of wings. And also the size of this house," I tried to explain, before pausing. "Wait. Is the Geico gecko a thing right now? Has that happened yet?"
"Yeah, he became a big thing a while ago," Tony commented. "They've started up this fairy tale thing this year. Guess it was a sign."
He smirked as I rolled my eyes.
"Anyway, can I continue?" I asked him,
"Wait, first I gotta know..." he paused dramatically. "Does Fire beat Iron?"
"Yes," I deadpanned.
"Does it beat Ice?" Tony was laughing now.
"Are you going to continue making references?" I asked.
"Probably," he said, his laughing dying down. "So who's next?"
I rolled my eyes before changing the picture to Erik. "The next two are the ones with lacrimas. This is Erik. He's twenty one, and has two main types of magic that tend to flicker back and forth between Primary and Secondary."
"Why?" Tony asked.
"Born Magics are usually Primary," I explained. "But so is Lost Magic, which is also usually born. Sometimes, though, if gifted (via Dragon Magic, for example) it can shift. Normally, the Dragon Magic would have won over if it was a regular type of Born Magic. But Erik can hear souls."
"Hear souls?" Tony asked, eyes wide.
"Closest thing you'll get to mind reading from us," I said. "Though he'll probably stay out of yours."
"Why?" Tony asked, breathlessly.
"Well, one, you're a genius, Tony. It would probably hurt to hear everything that goes on up there. And two, because we trust you. The biggest problem is that we usually use Erik for communication issues – like if two people aren't communicating, or two people like each other, or things like that. So we're going to work on your openness, okay?"
"I'm allergic to emotions," Tony claimed. "I break out in hives."
"Then it's best we start getting you immune to it," I shot back.
Tony grumbled about it, crossing his arms, but didn't say anything else.
"Erik is the Poison Dragon Slayer," I continued, before changing the picture one more time. "And last but certainly not least…my husband. This is Laxus. He's the Lightning Dragon Slayer, and one of the strongest members in our guild. He's twenty two."
"You miss him," Tony said softly.
"I've spent a majority of the past twelve years with him," I admitted. "I think the most I was away from him for one time was when I was on a training binge for four months. So yeah, it's going to be rough. But I know we'll be fine." I smiled, before changing the picture again. "So, after Dragon Slayers, we have God Slayers."
"We've only got one," I said, continuing. "And Orga only has a lacrima. But it's the same concept, though 'God' probably isn't the exactly right term. And they're not the same as the God who lead us here, anyway."
"Jeez," Tony muttered, rubbing his head. "He's pretty young."
"Yeah," I said. "He's fifteen. Youngest of our group. He's with Laxus right now."
"Why are you guys so young?" He asked.
"Well, for one, we were all de-aged a few months before we came here," I explained.
"Why?" Tony asked.
"We died in December, Tony. By de-aging us, it's easier to keep track of how old we are physically - when I died I was twenty one. Laxus was twenty three. Now I'm twenty and he's twenty two." I shrugged. "But we've also been part of the guild since we were young, so..."
Tony nodded, still lost in thought. "So did everyone else go as a couple?"
I nodded. "And when we get to the next part I'll tell you who's together and where they went. But yeah. Since Orga is also the Lightning God Slayer, he looks up to Laxus a lot. There's a seven year age difference between the two of them. He looks up to me a lot, too."
"You've known him awhile?" Tony asked.
"Around nine years, now," I said, smiling softly. "I've known most of these idiots for awhile. Even the most recent of the group only joined around six years ago or so."
"You're really a tight-knit group…" Tony trailed off.
"It's part of what makes Fairy Tail who we are. Other guilds aren't nearly as family-oriented. Theirs are more about getting a job. Ours is a home...Though Lily actually only joined a month ago."
"Jeez, how many hot women do you have in your guild?" Tony muttered.
I almost choked at thinking of 'hot women' and Pantherlily together. Now I could only picture him in his larger form wearing a coconut bra and a grass skirt, one of his hands bent over his head like he was brushing some hair or he was posing.
"Uh….we'll get to that later," I said, swiping away Orga's picture.
"Anyway," I continued, my voice cracking a bit. "We're almost done. There's only really five of us left, including me, though the last two are special cases. And, this is where is also gets a bit more complicated."
"You keep saying that," Tony pointed out.
I rolled my eyes. "So, we've talked over different type of magic – Elemental Magic, Transformation Magic. Side magics like Transportation and Requip are considered Spatial Magic. But then, for three of us, there's Stellar Magic."
"Space?" Tony asked.
I smiled. "Space. Now, Stellar Magic isn't necessarily Lost Magic – some types are considered Lost, but I know that it would've become Lost within a decade or so if we continued on that timeline."
"So Lost Magic-"
"For our group, is Slaying Magic and Stellar Magic," I said, nodding. "Alright, ready for some history?"
"If I say no, will you stop?" he asked.
I shrugged. "If you really want me to."
He seemed a bit surprised at that, but smiled. "Alright, so what's up with this?"
"So, while again, most people can learn these types of magic, there's also a group of five families called the 'Stellar Bloodlines'. There are five different types of Stellar Magic, and while they can be proficient in the other types, the ones closest to their bloodlines are the strongest."
"There were a few others back home," I said. "There was the Royal family (yes, we're distantly related to the royal family back home) who specialized in Sun Spells."
"Sun Spells?" Tony asked. "Does that mean there are Moon Spells?"
I nodded. "The Agurias, some of the girls left back at home, are known as the Priestesses of the Moon."
"Alright, but that leaves three lines for the three members you mentioned," Tony pointed out.
"Yeah," I nodded. "Then there's Heavenly Body Magic."
"Not all of them," I said quickly. "I know the term 'heavenly body' fits planets and stars, but those are left mostly excluded, though Jellal can be pretty skilled with them if he needs too…"
His image flickered from the card. "Jellal is nineteen. Heavenly Body Magic allows him to enhance himself. For instance, he uses a spell called Meteor – it speeds up his body and allows him to move very quickly."
I pointed at his Heir Mark. "This mark on his face symbolizes that he's the Heir to the family. While all of the bloodlines have Heir Marks, the only one that continued the practice was Jellal's, so none of us have them (though Lucy's sometimes shows up if she uses a specific spell, but I'll get to that later)."
"Remember Levy?" I asked, bringing up her picture.
"What about her?" Tony asked.
"She's Jellal's cousin, also descended from the Bloodline. But her Primary Magic is still her Solid Script Magic, though she uses Heavenly Body Magic as a Secondary."
"Okay," Tony said, nodding.
"Speaking of being related..." I trailed off for a bit. "Okay, so Jellal and Laxus," I brought up both of their pictures. "Have the same father. Who is a dick that we do not mention. So they're half-brothers. Then Laxus's mom remarried...to Cana's dad." Cana's picture came up. "So...yeah. Thought you should know. Complicated family lines, and shit."
Tony rubbed his forehead. "Let me guess...it gets more complicated?" he asked wryly.
"I know you have a photographic memory, but if you need me to stop or slow down, just tell me," I said. "Same for you, JARVIS."
"I am well, thank you Mrs. Dreyar."
I smiled and continued at Tony's nod, switching out the pictures for Lucy. "This is Lucy. She's sixteen, and has a different type of Stellar Magic. She has something called Celestial Spirit Magic, and it's special because it's a Holder Magic."
"Why is it different from the other Stellar Magics?" Tony asked.
"Celestial Spirit Magic is one of the most difficult magics to learn. While the other magics enhance themselves and the area around them, Celestial Spirit Magic also counts as Spatial Magic, like Requip and Teleportation, because it's a type of Summoning Magic."
"So what does it do?" Tony asked.
"It's kind of what it sounds like," I said. "It's magic from Celestial Spirits. From spirits made from stars."
"Stars?" Tony asked.
"Specifically, constellations," I finished.
"Wait…constellations?" Tony asked in slight shock.
I nodded. "Eighty-Eight constellations, and they're all a Celestial Spirit. Lucy can summon them onto our plane – they're normally in their own plane."
"She can summon…people?" Tony asked, slightly aghast. "Like Pokémon?"
"I can handle this," said a new voice.
Tony jumped and I slapped Corvus in the head.
"You know you're not supposed to do that!" I yelled at him. "Especially because Tony has a heart condition."
Corvus at least looked slightly abashed at that. "I forgot."
I sighed and put my head on my forehead.
"Sir…" JARVIS said. "Sir, I don't understand what I'm picking up."
"What?" Tony asked, still looking at us.
"He registers normally both visually and verbally, but the rest of my scanners are…unreadable."
Tony stared at Corvus. "Who are you supposed to be, then?"
"Tony, this is Corvus," I said.
"The crow?" Tony asked.
Corvus nodded. "I figured having one of us here might help in case Elle got stuck."
"I wouldn't get stuck," I muttered, before turning to one of the cameras. "JARVIS, if you have any questions, you know that I'm explaining this to you, too, right?" I asked him.
"...Thank you, Mrs. Dreyar," JARVIS finally said, and Tony beamed.
"Celestial Spirit Magic is complicated, and as it's not your own, no one would blame you," Corvus said, bringing us back to the subject at hand.
I glared at him before turning back to Tony. "Alright, so I'm going to continue."
Tony nodded, still staring at Corvus.
I rolled my eyes. "In repayment for scaring you while you have a heart condition, Corvus will let you scan him later."
"I will?" Corvus asked.
I hit him.
"I mean, I will," Corvus offered. "Now's not a good time - I can't stay long - but I'll come visit in a few days."
Tony smiled and finally turned his attention back to me.
"Okay, so the Celestial Spirits live on a different plane," I said. "Essentially, Celestial Spirit Wizards use a key to find that spirit's specific doorway between worlds. Using that key, they use their magic to open the door and lend the spirit power, allowing them to enter to the real world."
"That's why it's a difficult magic?" Tony asked.
Corvus nodded. "Yes. They must constantly supply and feed us energy while we're out. There are only a few exceptions to the rule."
"Exceptions?" Tony asked.
"Some of the more powerful spirits can open their doors themselves," I explained. "Corvus is one of them."
Corvus nodded. "But although we can leave on our own, we are still much more powerful if we have a contract with someone, and we will always be more powerful if they are supporting our energy over here."
"A large majority of keys are Silver Keys," I started. "Those are the easiest to summon, and also the most common. Then there are the Zodiac Keys, which are Gold, and of which there are only twelve, plus Ophiuchus."
"And those are more powerful?" Tony asked.
I nodded. "Yeah, but they're also a lot harder to open. And they can only be as powerful as the wizard they're contracted to."
"Yeah, you mentioned this 'contract' business," Tony said, looking back and forth between me and Corvus. "What's up with that?"
"Celestial Spirits are people, too," I said, shrugging. "They have their own thing sometimes, so there are some times that they're not allowed to be summoned. That's part of what the contract is about. And sometimes they don't want to do certain things. And I know what you're thinking of, STOP IT."
Tony looked away and laughed awkwardly. "Sorry. But it's kinda accurate?"
"Kinda," I said, sighing. "Get your head out of the gutter, man."
"I don't get it," Corvus said.
"Virgo," I replied.
Comprehension dawned. "Ah. Wait. Contract?"
I sighed and turned to look at Tony. "Do you have a tablet or something you we can use real quick?"
He nodded and passed it to me. I opened up Wikipedia, found the specific page, and handed it to Corvus.
"Alright, let's keep going," I said, turning back to Tony as Corvus read through the articles.
Tony nodded. "So Celestial Spirits make contracts with wizards so they can be summoned."
I nodded. "The highest level of spirits are known as the Platinum Spirits. There are seven of them, and they are the hardest to open. Each higher rank of Platinum Key takes around the amount of one more Golden Gate to open."
"Generally, how much can people open?" Tony asked.
"One golden gate," I answered. "If they're particularly skilled, two. Which is part of why Lucy is so special."
Corvus's head shot up from the tablet and stared at Tony, his hands cupped together as he dazed off dreamily. "My Princess is soooooooooooooooo wonderful! Best wizard I've ever had-"
I sighed and pulled him back down so he wasn't in Tony's face too much. "It takes two golden gates to open Corvus's key, and three to use it to the full extent. Up until Lucy, only the two lowest gates, Corvus and Pegasus, were properly opened. And Pegasus was only opened once. Phoenix was summoned one time, but the strain of summoning killed the summoner."
"It killed the summoner?" Tony asked, voice in shock.
"Yeah," I winced, looking at Corvus. "Whether or not you know more though is up to him. But it was a bad shock, and it was his worse summoning. What's worse is that Phoenix is immortally a fourteen-year-old, for all sakes and purposes."
Corvus nodded. "That's why I helped him hide our keys." He looked over at Tony. "If you've been summoned once as a Platinum Key, you can come out on your own, but it's on a completely different level. I guess the best way to say it would be like being underwater. You're trying to fight and do things underwater, and you're breathing but a smaller amount of oxygen than you usually get. If you've got a contract and come out on your own, it's like normal. I'm like you guys, but using up my own magic takes up my own strength, as if I was lifting weights, and there's a bit of a lag. The more energy I put forward, the more likely I'll get sent back we're to the spirit world. But if actively summoned by our wizard…it's amazing. A bit like your suit, I guess? But it's like a constant adrenaline rush."
Tony nodded. "Okay, I'm starting to get it. But who can Lucy summon?"
"All of them," Corvus said, smirking.
"But…" Tony was thinking. "If it's another gold gate per key, then to summon the highest would be like summoning nine."
I nodded. "Yeah. But Lucy can summon all of the Zodiacs at the same time."
Tony stared. "And you said that most people can only summon one?"
"Well, Lucy is special in more than a few ways. For one, her bloodline has been summoning Celestial Spirits for hundreds of years. Her mom could summon three gates at once. As for why Lucy herself is so powerful…we don't know."
"You don't know," Corvus corrected.
I rolled my eyes. "The Celestial Spirits know, but the Celestial Spirit King have forbidden them from telling us. The reasons she's 'special' is also why she gets to keep her contracts. According to God, Celestial Spirit Magic is becoming a Lost Magic, and as it's filtered out of our previous dimension, it's transferring over to this one."
"Normally," Corvus said, interrupting at Tony's confused look. "When a mage dies, their contract expires. But, again, there are exceptions to the rule. And Leo and Capricorn swore an oath to Lucy's line directly; and she is the last of the line. No one else would be able to wield the keys properly anyway."
"Okay," Tony said, nodding. "Wow. And which are the Platinum Keys?"
"From lowest to highest?" I responded. "Corvus, Pegasus, Monoceros, Phoenix, Cetus, Hydra and Draco."
"She can summon a dragon?" Tony asked, his eyes wide.
I nodded. "And if he agrees with it, then you might be able to do some tests with Draco too."
He seemed almost frozen.
I coughed. "Ah, Tony? Three members left. One more with Stellar Magic."
"Right," Tony said, nodding. "And you're fine with the tests?"
"This is amazing!" he whispered.
I laughed. "You don't even know what my magic is yet."
"I don't care," he said. "But...what is your magic?"
And yes...Elle might have forgotten to mention something important. XD
Oh well. They'll find out eventually.
Chapter 5: Chapter Five - Tony, Part Four
This is dedicated to Stan Lee. Ninety-five years of life, and still following his heart and dreams to the last minute of it. He created a world that has blossomed into something new, something that some people, no matter how hard they try (cough DC cough) can't recreate. He cameo'd in production after production, able to watch his characters come to life on the big screen, all the way up to Infinity War. We'll remember you, Stan Lee, and we all look forward to your one, final cameo in the next Avengers film.
May you and your wife sleep soundly in the stars.
Chapter Five - Tony, Part Four
"Luckily, my magic is the last Stellar Magic," I said. "So we would have gotten here anyway. Now, before I get to my Primary Magic, it's time to talk about my other ones. One of my Secondary is Requip, like I mentioned."
"I'm done," Corvus said, and out of nowhere, disappeared, with the words, "I'll come back in a few days," left behind.
"Is that normal?" Tony asked.
Tony nodded. "Back to your Requip Magic...Are you okay with putting things I give you in there?"
"Sure," I said. "Why, are you going to try a locator thing? Like track a signal?"
"One of the things..."
I smiled. "You'll probably be happy to know that my other Secondary Magic is Teleportation."
"Can you do it right now?" Tony asked.
I nodded. "I don't want give you a jump scare, so where do you want me to go?"
He shrugged. "Grab me another reactor core from my lab. JARVIS will tell you where it is."
"Beta Access, JARVIS," Tony reminded him.
"Can you pull up camera access?" I asked Tony.
"Do you need to see where you're going?" he asked.
"Not always," I said. "But it's underground and a lot of the shit down there is dangerous, so…"
He nodded and brought up a camera.
"Ready?" I asked.
He nodded and I teleported down to his workshop.
There was a bunch of whirring noises as the bots came running towards me.
"Hey, DUM-E," I said, petting his claw.
He beeped questioningly, the other two echoing him.
"I'm here to get another core for your Dad," I told him.
He nodded and whirred away, U and Butterfingers following after.
"JARVIS?" I asked.
"Follow them, Mrs. Dreyar," the A.I. suggested.
I trailed after them and came to a safe which was already open (via electronic lock, probably), and grabbed one of his replacements before closing the safe.
"JARVIS, can you warn Tony that I'll appear back where I was sitting?" I asked.
There was a beat before JARVIS said, "Sir has been warned."
"Good," I said, teleporting back up.
Tony looked up from the tablet he was using, which was still showing the camera access from the workshop. "That was amazing. And there was almost no lag time! Does it change based on distance? Will it take you longer to go somewhere farther?"
"I don't know," I said, shrugging and putting the core down on the table. "Probably. It's harder to teleport farther away, so there's a greater power output. I'd assume, but I could be wrong."
Tony stared at the core that sat in front of him, before he peered up at me with a strange look on his face.
"What?" he asked.
I gave him a soft smile. "You don't like being handed things."
He seemed to stare at me for awhile longer before he looked away and said, "Anyway, your other magics?"
"My Tertiary Magic is a type of Spatial Magic, too," I said. "It's one of the reasons it's so easy for me to use all three types of magic – because all three of them; Requip, Transportation and Location Magic, are the same type. Location Magic allows me to find people, objects – things like that."
"What, like a tracking thing?" Tony asked.
"Well, yes and no. I can find someone when I need to, but I can't just check something and instantly know where they are, down to the street corner. Not like a tracker put on something."
Tony nodded. "But other than that?"
"I can get us to the right city," I said. "And then we can follow a pointer until we get there. Like the Harry Potter 'Point Me' spell that spins the wand in the right direction. It'll be like following a compass. But I can do it."
Tony nodded. "Alright. And what's your Primary Magic? The last type of Stellar Magic?"
I bit my lip, smiling, eager to see his reaction. "Can you guess? What's left?"
Tony groaned. "Well there were the Agurias with the Moon, the Royal Family with the Sun, Jellal with Heavenly Bodies, Lucy with Stars and Constellations…"
He eyed me. "...Planets?"
I beamed. "PLANETS. And each planet correlates with an element!"
He stared at me. "WHAT?"
"God said if I made a magic instead of using one that already existed she'd give me bonus magic," I said, shrugging. "So I asked for Planetary Magic. Because I also like elements. So each planet is an element, with a bonus for the dwarf planets."
"But dwarf planets aren't planets," Tony said. "And you're telling me that you've got control over eight elements?"
"Eight plus the dwarf planets, because they were once honored as planets, so…" I shrugged again. "I tend to not use the dwarf planets unless I have to." A shiver ran down my spine and I tried to think of something else. "If you use them too much, the rebound and side effects and be...unpleasant."
Tony still stared at me. "Eight planets. I feel like it's cheating."
"Not really," I said honestly. "Remember the bloodline thing? My Bloodline is more closely related to Jellal's than with the others, and because of that, it's easier to cast the spells. In the previous timeline, Jellal didn't know these spells in particular, but he did learn how to control multiple elements."
Tony was staring at me.
I shrugged. "It's not as hard as people think to build up a magical core. Once you hit a certain size, it transfers to a second type of core, known as Second Origin, which isn't a physical part of you. It's on a different plane, and stored through a different aura. Like a backup generator."
"Do you have this?" Tony asked.
I nodded. "I got something called Magical Overload when I was a kid. I had too much magic for my body, basically, and throughout those years, as long as I followed a certain amount of rules, it slowly managed to open my Second Origin. Which is a painful thing to do, but mine got spread out over several years, so..." I shrugged.
"So you have more magic..." Tony trailed off.
I nodded. "Yeah. It's on a separate plane, and most of the time it rests there. Imagine a tank of water. I have another tank of water inside me. If I need too, I open up the first tank to the second tank, so I have a steady stream of magic. In my free time, I hack away at the second tank, slowly making it larger. That's how it works for most people."
He stared at me. "I'm sensing a 'but', here..."
I grinned. "There's also a second option, that is generally only available to people who wield Stellar Magic, but some...others had gotten away with it." I thought of Gray and Erza and Cana and Levy (well, Levy doesn't really count) accelerating faster than others because of some left-over magic.
"It's called the Astral Plane, and it doesn't have a sense of time."
"Generally, everyone has a magical container. It gets bigger and bigger until you can only hold so much. Then, your body starts trying to unlock Second Origin, slowly connecting to that. This is where most wizards give up. They don't try to get stronger at this point, so they stop here. But others, (us, for example) keep going, and unlock our Second Origin and get a bonus container to start holding more magic. Now, if you have Stellar Magic and/or access to the Astral Plane, you can also hold more magic over there. Except it's a little whooey."
"Did you just say 'whooey'?"
I ignored him. "As I said before, it's kinda like water. Except the water in your First and Second Origin are the same. Any magic stored on the Astral Plane tends to be purified and mixed in a type of Stellar Magic that even us descendants shouldn't touch. And then its like pulling water out of oil; it's harder. Time also has no meaning, so people who had access to the plane the first time around, such as Jellal, got a secondary boost from left-over magic."
Tony stared. "JARVIS, you're recording this, right?"
"Yes sir," JARVIS answered.
"Good, I'll wanna go over it again later."
"Is it too much?" I asked. "Do you want to me to slow down? I know you have an eidetic memory, but it's still a bit much to spring on someone at once."
Tony shook his head. "I'm fine, we can keep going. Sorry, I'm just a bit distracted by the different ways I can test stuff...The possibilities...So, planets and elements?"
"First, Pluto's not a planet here, is it?"
Tony shook his head. "No, they demoted it down to a dwarf planet when they found Eris and the rest of the Keiper Belt."
I nodded. "Alright. So, can you guess what elements I assigned with what?"
Tony rolled his eyes. "Alright, fine. Earth is earth. Mars is fire. Mercury is…probably metals. Maybe wind." He paused, thinking. "Venus is…light?"
"As for the others…" Tony tapped his fingers. "…I'm guessing you related some of the other planets with their Roman counterparts?"
"Is that why you thought Mercury might be wind? Because he's fast?"
"You were right the first time," I said. "Mercury is metal. Saturn is wind. And I also made Uranus ice."
"So Jupiter is lightning and Neptune is water," Tony muttered.
"And for the dwarf planets?"
"I only get the named ones," I joked. "So Pluto is shadows, Ceres is poison and perfume/potion magic, Eris is chaos magic…Haumea is childbirth and Makemake is fertility."
"Childbirth and fertility?" Tony asked, raising an eyebrow.
I shrugged. "I make it easier for people to give birth. And I can restore someone's fertility if they're infertile."
My thoughts went to Natasha, and how the Red Room took away her ability to have a child.
That was something I could fix.
"Wow," Tony said, giving me an impressed look and rubbing his forehead.
"I told you," I said. "We're heavy hitters."
"You didn't mention you were one of them," Tony said.
I blinked. "Are you sure?"
"Oh," I said. "Sorry about that. I thought I mentioned it. Anyway, that's my magic. Yes, you can do tests."
"And the last two people?" Tony asked. "Of your guild?"
"They're not exactly human," I said, projecting pictures. "This is Happy, and this is Lily, short for Pantherlily. They're a breed called Exceeds. They're cats that can fly and talk and have slightly human forms."
The picture shifted to Pantherlily's fighting form and Happy's human form, which still looked like a young boy. "Pantherlily is a lot older than Happy, who's actually only six."
"Talking…flying…cats," Tony said. "Because why not?"
"Sir, a man is approaching the door with the equipment you've requested," JARVIS announced.
I smiled at Tony, hopping off the couch and putting away the card. "Alright, let's start making your new element!"
WE'RE GONNA SAY THAT THIS DIVERGED FROM RIPPLES BEFOREAMBER.
I've had multiple people ask about Civil War and my opinions.
And let me say, it's hilarious how y'all are trying to subtly blame certain characters so I don't bash them others.
So let me give you guys a run down.
IF YOU CARE ABOUT MY OPINIONS/POSSIBLE FUTURE BASHING FOR TSUNAMI, YOU SHOULD READ THIS:
Civil War was FUCKED UP and ridiculously stupid, with more than a few idiots acting out of character. When it comes down to Cap's side vs Iron Man's, whose side I'm on is a bit icky. On the actual issue of the Accords , I agree more with Cap; even though 'the safest hands are our own' are extremely egotistical and likely not always correct, the entire premise of these fanfictions literally fall under that category. Elle's hands are saf er than the Avengers, because we've all seen what could happen if she wasn't there.
On the other hand, oversight is important, and if people are scared of you, or you're fighting the government at the same time, you generally aren't doing a good job (though, admittedly, it does depend on the government). Natasha made a very good point of 'one hand on the wheel', and it's because of that that I think Steve should've bowed to Tony and Nat on this one, since they actually understand the political spectrum and what exactly the UN is. There's also the fact that Steve didn't actually read the entirety of the Accords . So even though I was on Steve's side (opinion-wise) when it comes to amount of governmental control (I don't like too much), and I desperately want Bucky to be safe because Bucky is on my list of PRECIOUS BABIES, I was upset with almost all of Cap's actions. Steve broke several laws with all the fighting between him, Bucky, T'Challa, and Sam, and people definitely got hurt ( how hurt is up for debate).
So even though I still agree with Cap's sentiment of 'safest hands are our own', I fall more in line with Team Tony, because 1) Cap never should've lied to Tony about his parents in the first place, and once Tony adjusted to everything in private (which you will see soon enough), he'd probably help Steve find Bucky and then get Bucky acquitted so that would've fixed most of the mess. And 2) Steve's extremely out of character 'I can do this all day' and then leaving Tony behind, when Steve, even before going into the army (where it is drilled into you 'never leave a man behind') would likely risk his life to save someone, even a villain, such as when Peter saves Vulture in Homecoming. To Tony's mental state, he sees Steve as someone who his father valued over him (for possibly his entire life), but who didn't value his father or Tony as much in return, because he lied for him to years, responded to his attack like he was a villain, and then left him behind , which probably makes Tony think he's worth less than dirt in Steve's eyes. Then the letter talked about how the Avengers were Tony's family, but there weren't exactly any left; just Rhodey, who practically fucking adopted Tony as a younger brother at MIT, and Vision, who is practically related to Tony from the way he was created (let's be honest, he was a JARVIS and Ultron love child, and Ultron was already a Tony and Bruce lovechild, so…anyway) the only Avengers left were people who couldn't abandon Tony. Natasha disappeared into the wind, and as much as I love T'Challa, he didn't help Tony much at all, or offer to fix up Rhodey's back injury (which Wakanda could've done, even later, after they came out to the world).
And yeah, some of this was Tony's fault. Some was Zemo, some was (probably) HYDRA. Ross was a big dick. There was an extreme lack of communication issues about everything (which was mostly Cap's fault), and in the end, the Team wasn't split; it was gone, and Tony was alone, and broken, and lied to when he was just trying to do the right thing.
...which is why, despite agreeing with (most of) Cap's sentiments , I am Team Tony.
Chapter 6: Chapter Six - Tony, Part Five
Okay! Sorry this took so long, I was having technical difficulties. Also, I managed to fix my account thing I'm using to raise money for my next semester at college! (The other account didn't work.) Just letting everyone know, also thank you to everyone who let me know about the problems they had.
Enjoy the chapter! Next one definitely won't take as long.
(Also, sorry, not sorry about the way this ends).
Chapter Six - Tony, Part Five
We took the Stark Expo model to the basement and Tony created a holographic version of it.
I pointed at the center. "This is the nucleus. Everything else is up to you."
He rolled his eyes and gave me a type of glare, though I could sense the teasing behind it, "I think I can recognize a nucleus, Sabrina," before he turned back to the hologram and started getting rid of parts of the model. "You ever going to tell me what's going on with my timeline? The thing you don't want to talk about?"
"There's a lot of things coming. What do you think of Shield?"
He frowned. "I'm not that fond of them, but they helped protect Pepper when…"
"When you fought the Iron Monger, right," I finished for him. "But you can't trust Shield. Speaking of which, where's your Aunt Peggy?"
Tony narrowed his eyes at me. "Why?"
"Because Peggy helped create Shield, and she deserves to know that it's been infiltrated."
"How infiltrated?" Tony asked.
I snorted. "A lot. But we can find that out more in the future. For now, we should concentrate on the element."
"Stop changing the subject," Tony said.
"Shut up and make your element."
I had no idea what was happening. So I just sat in the rolling chair and spun around as I watched him and Tony played with holograms.
Finally, he finished up and spread out the atomic structure for his new element.
"Amazing," he breathed, before turning back to his computer. "JARVIS, inventory list on what items we have here."
"Would you also like a list of items we also have stored in the nearest Stark Industries Warehouse?" Jarvis asked.
"Yeah, that'd be great," Tony said distractedly, highlighting a few things and setting those items aside.
He clicked a few items and sent them onto another list. "And can you have these items delivered to our house?"
"On it, sir."
Tony finally turned back to me, where I was sitting on a couch holding the arc reactor core.
I held it up. "You going to change this anytime soon?"
He shrugged. "I asked you to get it early. I might be fine for now, especially if we finish it in time."
I glared at him, getting off the couch and putting it down on the desk in front of him. "Even if we get the materials and make it quickly, JARVIS still has to test everything. Change your core when it needs to be changed."
He scowled at me and started changing it. "You know, I can do this on my own."
"I know," I told him. "But you don't have to."
He stared at me. "Why do you care? What do you want?"
I met his eyes for a long moment before I sighed. "Alright, you need to listen to what I say in its entirety first. With someone else with similar foot-in-mouth problems, you know how sometimes you can start off wrong. Alright?"
I breathed out. "You asked what I want, right? Well, I guess the most simple way to put it is that I want to be your friend."
He paused, before looking up at me. "Why? Money? New designs, what is it?"
I sighed. "You ready to listen to me in its entirety? Because honestly, Tony, you have a very stupid idea of your own self-worth, and you'll probably take everything I say wrong until it sinks in properly. Got it?"
He nodded, still looking at me warily.
I stared him straight in the eyes. "I want to be your friend because…God, Tony, you don't realize what a gem you are."
He started at that, and from the look in his eyes I could tell he was already getting the wrong idea.
I reached out my hands and took his in mine. "Dammit, Tony, I don't mean because you're rich, or even because you're a genius. Do those things contribute to who you are? And some of the things we can do together? Yeah. It is a part of you, and we wouldn't be able to do awesome science-magic fun things if not. But I want to be your friend because you are someone I'd like to be able to say is my friend. Not in a 'look at my famous friend, Tony Stark' or even in a 'I know Iron Man' way. Tony, I know you don't think it a lot, but you are genuinely a good, sweet person. And while you might have a bit of an offsetting personality, I saw a lot of your life and I know and understand the person you are underneath. And that person, the person underneath, who is a lot more kind and caring then he lets on? That is someone I'd be proud to call my friend. That is someone who I'd like to introduce to others; not as the genius billionaire Tony Stark or the superhero Iron Man, but as Tony, my friend who has trouble showing the people he cares about his affection, and is awkward in his generosity, but still one of the most caring people I know of. The one who helps people without always letting it known that he's him. Dammit, Tony, you're not just someone I'd be proud to say I'm friends with. You're someone I'd be proud to be."
He stared at me, silently, and I knew he was trying to work out what I said.
He opened his mouth and finally said. "Why would someone like you want to be someone like me?"
I bit my lip. "Tony, I told you that my last universe was my second life, right?"
He nodded. "And from the other perspective we are technically considered fictional and you got a, frankly, invading sense of our lifestyles. What about it?"
"Tony, I like to think that I do things to help others. But I told you; a lot of the things I do are selfish, and self-serving. In my first universe, I was alone. I didn't have family, I didn't really have friends, and I didn't have anything. There was nothing for me to live for, and nothing for me to wait for, either, and that's why I decided to jump universes. The Fairy Tail universe was a universe about family. And as much as I wanted to help all of them avoid horrible experiences, as much as I cared about them, I wanted to be there with them. I wanted to be accepted by them, I wanted that sort of unconditional love for me and people I could openly unconditionally love in return. I think it's selfish of me. Laxus says that despite that, it's okay that what I did was selfish, because he'd rather I be in his life than without. But Tony, this is just another example. When we died a second time, and we discussed jumping into this universe, I decided to take it, because I wanted to care for you. I wanted to be able to say that someone like you; an honestly good person, is my friend. Tony, I try to be a good person. And I know you're trying too. But you already are a good person, you've just been trying harder. Because that's how good you are. Me? I know that I'm selfish sometimes. But if Fairy Tail taught me anything, it's that it is okay to be selfish sometimes. And that sometimes, things will always be selfish or selfless, or both, depending on the point of view. And no matter what, I want you to know that that is something okay for you too. It's okay to want others. And while some people view codependency as a horrid thing (which it can be), some people also can't live without it. It's human nature to want company, one of our basic survival traits for the continuity of our race. So Tony, this is me, being selfish, saying I want to be your friend. Not because you're rich – I've survived off of nothing, and I can do it again if I need to. Not because you're a superhero – I do enough hero-ing on my own time. But because you're a good person, and maybe by surrounding myself by more good people, I can be a better one too. You are someone I want as a friend because of your heart," I said. "Not your money, not your brain. But on who you are inside. That's what's important to me."
Be the end of this, Tony was just staring at me. I had teared up some time halfway through.
I sighed, wiping away my tears. "Look, I can tell you still don't really believe me," I said. "But that's okay." I dug through my requip space and pulled out some more cards. "Freed and Cana made these; they have runes on them to create a space so the truth is only said, though it can only be used once. I have-" I checked my requip space "-three total. Do you want me to use this?"
I wished I had Yuri's artifact. A few years ago, Laxus found the cube Yuri used in Fairy Tail Zero, to create an area where no lies could be said, and Freed and Levy used it to create these cards. But Erza currently had the original. It was in her requip space when she died; therefore it's currently somewhere in space with the redhead.
Tony continued staring at me, his mouth opening before closing again.
"Do you want me to use one?" I asked him.
"You should save them," he said quietly.
I requipped the cards away and reached for his hands again. "I know it seems unbelievable," I said softly. "God knows that I imagined stuff like this happening to me in my first life. Someone coming along who would be my friend and take me away from my boring life and on an adventure – not that your life is boring. But I get what you're feeling, Tony."
I squeezed his hands again.
Finally, he nodded, before turning back to his work.
I let him, turning to play with DUM–E. knowing that Tony probably needed a bit of time to himself. He was generally not an openly emotional person.
DUM-E beeped and held out his tennis ball, which I took and gently tossed across the workshop. The bot beeped again before running after it and returning with it.
Tony cleared his throat and I turned around. His face was composed and he crossed his arms. "I think it's about time that you told me about my timeline, Rigby. You've put it off enough."
"Dreyar," I corrected automatically. "And you know my name is Elle. Are you really just saying my surname to sound more intimidating?"
"No," he lied.
I stared at him before I settled down on the couch. "You might want to sit down, Tony. It's not exactly a happy story."
"Is it really that bad?" Tony asked, sitting down.
"It's that bad," I said, nodding.
Tony paused, thinking. "Like…Obie level bad?"
I paused, thinking. "Yes."
He stiffened a bit and lost some color, though I didn't blame him. Obadiah helped raise him, and then tried to kill him three times; 1) through the Ten Rings, 2) by yanking out his Arc Reactor and 3) when they fought suit vs suit.
DUM-E rolled up, beeping, with U and Butterfingers behind him.
"Alright," Tony said, preparing himself and petting Dum-E. "Lay it on me."
"You sure you don't want someone else here?" I asked. "I can be comforting and I've got no problem hugging you, but if you'd prefer someone else I can pick up Rhodey-"
"I'll be fine," Tony said, cutting me off.
I looked at him and nodded. "Fine. But Jarvis needs to monitor your vitals and if it starts getting bad then I'm going to go grab Rhodey anyway."
Tony nodded. "…Sounds sensible. But stop putting it off. I want to know. I need to know."
I bit my lip. "Okay, first; you need to know that HYDRA still exists."
"What?" Tony asked. "You mean…the Nazis? I thought Captain America took them out in the 40s-"
"Yeah, so did everyone else," I muttered. "No. Through something called 'Project Paperclip', a few of HYDRA scientists got absorbed by SHIELD."
"SHIELD?" Tony asked. "As in-"
"Strategic, Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistic Division," I said, nodding. "Something like that, anyway. It was co-created by Howard and Peggy."
"I didn't know they founded SHIELD," Tony muttered. "Though it certainly explains a lot. Wait!" His eyes shot up to meet mine. "Are you telling me that SHIELD is HYDRA?"
"Some of them, anyway. I can name a few agents."
"How many would you guess are HYDRA?" Tony asked.
"Probably…12%, if I had to guess, just because there's some jokes with that number, and the writers probably wanted to keep it up."
Tony paused, shaking it off. "God, it's so weird to think about life like that. But it also kind of makes it easier if I know to look for patterns…" He sighed. "Still…12%. That's still a lot." Tony groaned, rubbing his forehead. "This is going to be so annoying to clean up."
"Could technically be 88%," I muttered.
"Don't worry," I said. "You can wait until we get a few more people. You won't be doing this alone. And we've got plenty of time to plan. I made sure of it.
He smiled back at me, small and tentatively.
"Okay," he said, seeming to snap back into work. "Alright, so what else is there?"
"Breathe," I told him.
"I am," he said.
"Tony, this is going to change how you viewed lots of things for almost two decades," I told him. "And you've already had a large amount of information overload today. I don't blame you if you want to put it off for tomorrow."
"I want to know," Tony insisted. His fear was only visible in his eyes, but I could sense it. "Tell me."
"Your parents didn't die in a car crash," I said quietly. "They were murdered. By HYDRA."
Chapter 7: Chapter Seven - Tony, Part Six
On the first night of Chanukah the-real-narnia gave to me:
Another chapter of Tsunami!
^Yes, I am doing this again. Happy Chanukah, 2018!
Also, yeah, we're still on Tony, if you look at the titles. We're like...barely half way through it, I think. Sorry about all the exposition, but here, have the feels; this is super sappy and something I've always wanted to say to Tony, actually, so Elle gave me the perfect opportunity.
Chapter Seven - Tony, Part Six
Tony was frozen. "…What?"
"That night, your dad was delivering five vials of super serum that he made to SHIELD," I explained. "HYDRA killed him. Your mom died because they didn't want any witnesses."
He still seemed pale.
"Do you want me to get Rhodey?" I asked.
He shook his head.
"Do you want a hug?"
"Can I give you one anyway?"
He nodded. Tony's eyes looked suspiciously wet.
I've only seen Tony cry a handful of times, because the first thing that hits him usually seems to be shock.
I pulled Tony into my arms. Normally, it wouldn't work – even though we were both around the same height, Tony was still bigger than me (it was probably from all of his work in the shop, but he has muscles, like what the fuck) but by laying Tony down next to me and curling up around him it seemed to work. It was similar to the way I'd comfort Laxus, or any of the other boys who got too big for me.
He still seemed a bit in shock, but I tightened my hold on him. "It'll be okay," I told him. "You can cry. There's nothing wrong with crying," I said.
His arms tightened around me, but he didn't seem to be crying yet.
"And we'll get back at HYDRA," I continued, rocking back and forth. "We'll save their prisoners. We'll take them down. When we all work together, they won't be able to handle anything we throw at them."
And then the tears started. I could feel my shirt getting wetter.
We mostly stayed there, and I stroked his hair. It's probably because he starts to cut his hair shorter more in the future (maybe he has problems with it in the suit?) but his hair is actually pretty long and soft right now, curling down around his ears.
It makes him look adorable, and a lot younger.
Eventually, he stopped crying. He pulled his face away and looked up to me, and there was shame on his face as he wiped away his tears.
I sighed and brought his face forward, back into my embrace. "It's okay to cry, Tony."
His head shook again against me. "Stark men are made of iron," he whispered.
I stared down at him and went back to running my fingers through his hair. "Oh, Tony." I gently tugged on his hair and pulled his head back until he looked up at me.
"'Stark men are made of iron', right? That's the stupid saying."
I made him look into my eyes. "Okay. Fine. Stark men are made of iron. But you know what else is made of 'iron'?" I put up air quotes.
He was quiet, waiting for the answer.
"Tony, you are Iron Man," I said. "But that suit isn't iron. It's a titanium-gold alloy. And Tony, that's you. That's the iron you're made of. You've got a mind as sharp as titanium, a will as strong as your yet-to-be synthesized vibranium, and a heart made of gold."
He stared at me as tears welled up in his eyes, and he threw his arms back around me, clutching at me tightly and sobbing more than he had earlier.
I've seen Tony Stark shed a tear or two before, but never full out crying. This was actually a good thing. All of that shouldn't be bottled up.
Plus, the heavy metal poisoning can cause mood swings and stuff. I think. So it's good for him to get overemotional right now until another time.
I shushed him and stroked his hair until the crying died down.
"Do you feel better?" I asked him.
He was silent before he pulled back from me and nodded, breathing heavily.
"Are you ready to continue?" I asked.
He nodded again.
I took a deep breath. "Now, you need to know the difference in HYDRA agents."
"There's a difference?" he asked.
"Most of them are crazy, evil fanatics," I admitted. "But they tend to torture and brainwash their prisoners. Turn them into puppets. Those are the ones I think we should save."
He looked at me, understanding dawning on his face. "One of them was the one who killed my parents, weren't they? One of the brainwashed ones?"
I nodded. "Yeah."
Tony was silent before he grabbed a mug off the table and hurled it at the wall. The ceramic shattered, but he didn't notice. He was standing now, pacing and thinking. "You know…ugh. I've never had a great relationship with Howard, I'm sure you know that."
"But for all of the shit he pulled, for all the times he…"
"Neglected," I said softly. "He neglected you, Tony."
"Fine," Tony continued. "For all the times he neglected me, I still…"
"I know," I said. "That's why you worked so hard, that's why you acted out. You wanted to impress him, and when that didn't work, you wanted his attention."
"He was my dad," Tony whispered. "And as much as I hated him, I also loved him. And I never got to say goodbye." He swallowed heavily and paced again, walking over to his desk and leaning on it, his head hunched over. "But despite it all, for the last…well, nearly twenty years, I've been blaming it on him. I've been forcing myself to hate him, to hate me, because I thought it was my fault. Because I argued with him, and when we argued, he drank, and when he left with mom there was one less bottle in the kitchen. I blamed him and I blamed me, for years, because he not only went and killed himself, but he killed Mom too, and she should've never…"
His voice cracked on the last word and he took an uneven breath, so I moved forward and hugged him, figuring that he might be a bit close to a panic attack.
"I know," I said quietly. "She didn't deserve that. Neither of them did."
He was still quiet. "You know, it was closed casket? And I'm pretty sure that Obie paid off the mortician. At first I thought it was because Howard was obviously intoxicated. Now I'm wondering…"
"If Stane was HYDRA?" I asked. "Or if he was the one who got HYDRA to take them out?"
Tony took another deep, uneven breath. "Does Aunt Peggy know? About any of this?"
I shook my head. "I don't think so. But I do think you should let her move in. They never confirmed it, but I think HYDRA killed her in the last timeline – probably through a nurse or something. The time she died was too convenient for them; and it caused a lot of fighting. If she hadn't died then, everyone might've been calm enough and had enough time to talk things out and settle them the right way."
Tony nodded. "I think that'd be okay. But I think she's getting worse…"
I stroked his hair. "We'll see what we can do, okay?"
"So, the person who killed my parents didn't have a choice," he said quietly.
"Not really, no. Even if he had tried to resist again, like he did in the beginning, they'd have someone else do it and spend the next few years re-breaking him."
"I still want to hate him," Tony whispered. "He…he took my mom from me."
"Tony, he didn't know," I said softly. "He was, for all intent and purposes, a robot, following their every command. And not like one of your bots. There was no free will, no self awareness at all. They could make him kill a friend, and he would do it. Because at this point he doesn't even know his own name. He didn't even have a name. He refers to himself as an 'it'."
Tony looked horrified. Not that I was so surprised. To a genius like Tony, his mind was probably everything.
"They would torture him over and over again, specifically electrocution, so he'd forget things."
"And he'd kill a friend because he had no free will," Tony said softly. "And he wouldn't recognize them."
He was silent before I finally said, "He didn't."
"What?" Tony asked, lost in thought.
"You're right," I said softly. "He didn't recognize a friend. Howard was his friend, and it's probably one reason why HYDRA particularly sent him to take your parents out. Because they'd think it was funny. Or ironic."
"He knew Howard?" Tony asked, his mouth slightly open.
"They call him the Winter Soldier," I said. "and he's known as a ghost story, and has been around for decades. But he was born as James Buchanan Barnes, and he went by the nickname 'Bucky'."
Tony's eyes were wide. "Captain America's best friend?"
I nodded. "I know you were raised on some of their exploits. I'm sure you've heard about how Steve rescued the 107th because he heard that Bucky had gotten captured, right?"
"While he was there, Bucky was experimented on by a man named Armin Zola, who, by the way, is only dead in body."
"In body?" Tony asked.
"He uploaded his brain onto a computer server," I said. "Because the brain runs on electrical signals anyway, and he wanted to be immortal. So once we rescue Bucky and do some other things, we're going to trash his servers. That should help a bit with your feelings on HYDRA. Anyway. Bucky."
Tony nodded. "Continue."
"Bucky was the only one who was experimented on who lived, and then he continued traveling and fighting with Steve and the Howling Commandos. And then…"
"He fell off the train," Tony said quietly.
I nodded. "When he was captured the first time, I think they gave him some version of the super serum. But it didn't activate until he was falling – maybe because of adrenaline or something? He survived the fall and HYDRA got him. And then they wiped him again and again, so he doesn't remember. He's cryogenetically frozen in between 'missions'."
"And you said he doesn't know his own name?" Tony asked.
I shook my head, before thinking over my next words. "For whatever reason, HYDRA liked to record some of their missions. Maybe it was for kicks. Maybe it was for feedback. Maybe it was to point out mistakes and punish people for disobeying. Who knows? But in the video, your dad recognizes Bucky. He calls him 'Sargent Barnes'."
"And he didn't stop?" Tony asked softly.
"No," I said, just as softly. "He didn't."
"If he doesn't remember anything," Tony said, "Then how can we help him?"
"I have a few ideas," I admitted. "But I also think that the super soldier serum he got helps him. The serum – that it heals him. Part of it speeds up regeneration, super soldiers heal a lot faster, and I think it's healing his brain, too. That's why they need to wipe his mind so often. Because if given the chance, the neural pathways in the brain that they fry might start healing and he might start recovering."
"So you think if we get him out of their clutches and let him recover, he should get his memories back on his own?"
"I don't think it's anywhere near that simple," I said. "But something like that, I guess."
Tony shook his head. "HYDRA, Bucky Barnes…jeez, what's next?"
"I think you already know," I said quietly.
He froze, staring at me. "Really? Are you kidding me? Captain America?"
I nodded. "We'll fish him out of the arctic soon. But we need to find him before SHIELD does. SHIELD is infiltrated by HYDRA , remember? And because of the way he acted the last time around…"
My mind flashed back to the incident on the Helicarrier. 'I've seen the videos, Stark,' Steve had said.
What videos? A compilation of Tony Stark's Biggest Mistakes?
"I think that they made him biased against people, and tried to turn him against them. Also, he didn't exactly adjust well. They tried to get him to cling to the past."
Tony winced. "Yeah, I can see why that might be a problem."
"But we need to get Bucky first," I said.
"Why?" Tony asked.
"Well, for one, when it comes to Bucky, Steve has a one-track mind," I said dryly. "He's like a dog. And instead of going 'bacon bacon bacon bacon' it's 'Bucky Bucky Bucky Bucky'. If Bucky is already here and recovering (which will probably take awhile anyway) we have a much bigger chance of 1) getting Steve to stay here and not run off causing chaos and 2) help him adjust to the 21st century. He'll have a few links to the past. Bucky, Peggy, and you."
"How am I a link?" Tony asked.
"Do you really need to ask?" I asked him.
He looked down. "So, what, he's just gonna think I'm Howard?"
"He might at first," I said. "But I get the feeling Peggy will kick his ass if he doesn't straighten up. Another reason we need them here first."
"Alright," Tony nodded. "As for the rest of your plans?"
I smiled. "Don't worry," I reassured him. "I think you'll enjoy them."
Chapter 8: Chapter Eight - Tony, Part Seven
*on the fifth night of Chanukah, the-real-narnia gave to me:
Another chapter of Tsunami!*
Someone mentioned how nice Elle is to the people she loves.
Yes. Yes, she will dote on Tony and others (Bucky, Loki, Bruce...dark-haired broken men with sad pasts...) And some people are going to get fucked.
Including Thor (yeah, I'm looking at you), but only at first when he's still a huge asshole. Once he hits golden-retriever mode it'll be fine.
Also, it'll probably be a bit longer before you guys get another chapter of this. Just a heads up that it might be a bit longer than normal, like a week or two.
Chapter Eight - Tony, Part Seven
I finished explaining my plan for the upcoming month.
Tony was staring at me again, a sheen of excitement in his eyes. "Jarvis, I don't care what the hell you say, we're keeping her!"
"I tend to cause chaos," I told him.
"I can tell." Tony nodded. "Alright, so what now?"
"Until then?" I asked.
"Well, for one, you should probably finish the design for Stark Tower, get them to start building it. Also, I know you make it run off an arc reactor you put in somewhere underwater…sorry that's not more specific." I said.
Tony nodded. "It's fine. Anything else?"
I nodded. "Hand the company over to Pepper and make Rhodey War Machine, and then I'll become your P.A. You will still be acting like you're sick."
"We'll end up meeting a female member of one of these boy-bands, and we'll start stealing her away from Shield. We'll pick up Peggy, bring her back with us. And steal Bucky Barnes from the Nazis."
I paused, going over the list I just made. "Not necessarily in that order."
He was staring at me. "You are scarily efficient. Like Pepper."
I beamed. "Good."
When it came to efficiency, Pepper was a goddess.
Which is a good sign, because (other than the times I need to run around fighting) I'm usually very lazy.
There was a pinging noise. "Sir, the equipment you ordered should be arriving soon. Perhaps you should start to prepare your workstation?"
"Alright!" Tony said. He turned to me. "Are you going to help?"
I shook my head. "If I help you break your house it won't get fixed…ever. I can help you move things, but if it involves breaking through your walls or your floors, you leave me out of it."
Tony slightly pouted, but I helped him by moving things as he went through stuff.
His tools were delivered to the door, and I'll admit, I showed off a little. In order to get everything in place and build what he called a 'particle accelerator,' I used Mercury to help line them up.
Tony also had Jarvis scanning me the whole time while he set it up.
"These stats are amazing," he breathed as he looked them over.
"You realize you're going to cut through a lot of things if you do it like this," I told Tony, ignoring him and gesturing to the particle accelerator.
"Yeah, I'll take care of it," I sighed. "Now, do you want me to help with tightening the screw? It'll cause problems if it's not held down while we do this."
He eyes my muscles.
"Tony, Castor Magic affects the body, remember? Most of us are a hell of a lot stronger than we look. Plus, I could probably move it entirely with magic."
He thought about it, but shook his head. "No. This is something I need to do myself."
I smiled and him and took a step back. "You should probably get started then."
I watched him as he started to tighten the screw and Jarvis listened to his commands to crank up the power. My mind went back to Natasha's report, which I could only think was faked for manipulation or some shit. But Tony? Not a team player?
He worked amazingly well with everyone on the field. When he was with Yinsen they both worked well together in order to create the arc reactor. He and Bruce would gravitate around each other without actually properly communicating half the time.
No. The biggest problem is that Tony starts to get frustrated when people don't understand things and then they get frustrated with him, and sometimes he has trouble accepting help, because he keeps feeling like he should do it alone.
And hopefully, now Tony would get the message that he had more people he could count on…even though the entire gang wasn't here yet.
Tony tightened the screw one more time, and the beam finally hit the triangle, transforming it into the synthesized vibranium.
"It is complete," Jarvis intoned, shutting down the machine.
Tony walked towards his new core slowly.
He reached out to pick it up.
"Hey," I told him.
He looked at me. "What?"
"Let Jarvis run some tests," I said gently. "And sit. There are more things we need to talk about."
Tony sighed. "Of course there is," he muttered, settling down on the couch beside me.
The robots came running up again, as if they knew he might need comfort.
"We need to talk about the game plan from here on out," I told him.
"I thought we did?" he asked, confused.
"Not exactly," I said. "First, we need to talk about the arc reactor."
"Alright. What about it?" Tony asked.
"So, when it comes to 'presenting' yourself as sick," I said. "I can create an illusion to make you look more sickly. If we go by your previous timeline, you made it until a few days into June before you were on your deathbed. You can say you're seeing a special doctor that's helping you prolong it while you look for a cure." I gestured to myself. "That'll be me, and that should at least buy us until the end of the summer, I think."
He gave me a hesitant look. "Maybe we should hold off on switching the reactor? We don't know if your illusions will hold up on camera."
I rolled my eyes. "That's why we test things. I might not have really taken any properscience classes since middle school, but I remember enough about the Scientific Method."
He gasped scandalously, the same way he had when he found out there was no internet in the Fairy Tail universe. "You haven't even had high school science?"
I glared at him. "Don't change the subject. Plus, I'm living with you, I'll catch up soon enough. I want to know why you don't want to switch out the reactor yet. Yeah, I'm on to you."
"That's gonna get annoying," Tony muttered, rubbing his head. "Look, you also said that you didn't like doing that."
"Don't like doing what?" I asked, confused.
"You mentioned it earlier. Illusions count as Chaos Magic, which is Eris, which is one of the dwarf planets. And you said you had bad side effects if you used them too often."
I sighed. "Eidetic memory. Right. Look, Tony, I don't care. I'll just need Jarvis to keep an eye on me, I'll be fine. You can't seriously be considering wearing the palladium core for longer."
"Excuse me, Mrs. Dreyar," Jarvis's voice interrupted mine and Tony's stare down. "What do you mean 'keep an eye on you'? Does using Chaos Magic make you dangerous?"
I sighed. "The side effects for using the dwarf planets usually has to do with the same thing, or the opposite thing happening to the user. Chaos Magic makes illusions and includes sleep magic. Using it can cause hallucinations, and also sleep deprivation. Illusions can be seen by anyone; the hallucinations would be unique to me. Instead of putting others to sleep, I have trouble falling asleep. Those are just some of the things that can happen for dwarf planets. I wouldn't get violent without a reason, but it does deteriorate some common sense. For instance, if the hallucination I see might be someone from my past, I might still react badly, even though I should realize that there's almost no way they would be able to get here. I'd mostly need your help to confirm whether or not someone was there. Otherwise I'll dissociate. Not the most pleasant feeling."
Tony looked at me, aghast. "And you want to use it?"
I shrugged. "It usually takes around three spells for it to cause any noticeable effects. More if I dilute it with another element. For instance, I was thinking of maybe using some Sleep Magic on you, mixed with Healing Magic and Purity Magic. It should help kickstart you into a normal sleeping schedule as long as I do it for about a week. It should be fine for me."
"…You have Healing Magic?" Tony asked.
I stared at him this time. "That's what you took from that?"
"I understood everything else. You didn't mention Healing Magic."
"I didn't?" I asked, frowning. "Sorry. Okay, so Healing Magic is also a form of Lost Magic, and is also acquainted with an element. Can you guess?"
Tony's forehead creased. "Can Natsu heal, then?"
I shook my head. "No, though I'm sure you've made the same connection; Phoenix, Lucy's spirit, can heal. He says that Natsu's fire isn't pure enough, and that it's only the fire of the stars that have the proper type of fire for the cleansing to work properly. Normally, it's associated with Sky Magic. So, for me, Saturn. I can't heal nearly as well, though, so we won't do anything about the arc reactor until we meet up with Natsu and Lucy again."
"…The arc reactor?" Tony asked quietly.
I glared at him. "I've seen the size of that thing, Tony, and I once read a fan's theoretical report on what that would do to your body medically. Even without the poisoning and the shrapnel, the arc reactor probably reduced your lifespan to your late fifties, if you're lucky. But Phoenix can help fix your sternum properly and make your organs recover."
He stared at me, slightly in shock. He opened and closed his mouth several times.
He seemed to be struggling with what to say.
I approached him and hugged him again.
"Tony, you can't keep doing this self-imposed punishment on yourself. You can't keepthe arc reactor."
"Are you going to force me to get rid of it?" he asked.
I pursed my lips. "No, not force you. You're still an adult, I can't take away your right to consent. But you are technically killing yourself. And I can at least tell Pepper and Rhodey."
His eyes widened. "That's cheating!"
I shrugged. "If I have to. Look, Tony, if you really want to help people, then you also need to take care of yourself. If you're not in the best shape you can be, then you can't help people as much. Speaking of, we should talk about your eating habits and your sleep cycle."
"What about them?" he asked mulishly.
"Tony, it's basically written into your DNA that you can achieve all of these amazing things even with the small amount of sleep and food you get. If you increase it up to the amount needed for a normal human being, you'll probably be more productive, too."
"But I'll have less time," he whined.
"That's what I'm for," I pointed out. "To help you get certain things out of the way."
He stared at me. "Alright, I will let Phoenix heal…everything if-" he glared at me, raising his hand. "and only if I switch my arc reactor out on rotation. I want it to look more authentic, and we need to test your illusions first, and I don't want you doing them too much, so we'll be spreading those out anyway."
I stared at him before throwing up my hands. "Fine. You do it under the condition that you tell Rhodey, Pepper and Happy about the poisoning, and also that you'll be recovering. Speaking of, I also want to know what you want them to know and what you don't. They might be safer not knowing certain things, and Rhodey can't get in trouble if he has nothing to report…"
"Okay," Tony said, leaning forward. "Maybe just that you're from another dimension and that you know the future? We'll work on the rest as we go?"
I nodded. "We shouldn't mention the element just yet. Pepper can contact R & D once you're officially 'recovered'."
"Alright," Tony said, leaning forward. "Now that we've settled the health debate… what exactly were your plans for me in the next month or so? I noticed you kinda left them out of your plans"
I smiled at him. "I was getting there. So, there's a few. One, have you thought about building the Iron Legion?"
"You can present that to the UN, and have them do search and retrieval. Help with natural disasters and that sort of thing. One of your 'last gifts' before you die, and we can keep an airtight contract and stuff."
"And what are my other gifts?" Tony asked. "I've got a few ideas, but I'm looking forward to hearing yours."
"Body armor. Communication, Prosthetics," I listed. "Medical supplies. Just about anything, really, though we can put them in order of most important to least."
"What do you mean by 'just about anything'?" Tony asked.
I smiled at him. "Simple. It has to do with your superpower."
"Iron Man?" Tony asked.
I shook my head. "No Tony, it's a lot more complicated than that. Iron Man isn't your superpower."
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"You do have an actual power," I said.
He eyed me curiously. "Explain."
I thought about where to start.
"We've diverged from the main timeline," I said. "So you now have free will. But the characteristics you've always had, they're written down to your very soul. Like lines of codes you can't erase."
"And my superpower…is there?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
…Why was it that this was the thing he seemed most skeptical about?
I nodded. "You need to remember that this used to be a fictional universe. So it's created with certain rules and loopholes that don't happen normally, things we can use to our advantage."
"Like what?" Tony asked.
"Science," I said instantly. "Tony, a lot of what you call science makes no sense to the rest of us-" I held up a hand as he started to protest. "Let me finish." He nodded. "because it's not real science."
"What do you mean, it's not real science?" Tony asked, alarmed.
"We call it comic book science," I said. "It's just hand-wavy, scientific-sounding words. It's like…coding. You're speaking in a set of coding that some people can understand, and some people can't. A lot of the things you do can't be explained, can't be done with real science, with what I had in my original universe. So it was generally waved away with suspension of disbelief, as 'comic book science'. You, Bruce, Jane, Helen; all of the scientists are on a separate wavelength, getting some sort of signal that allows them to do other things. Kinda like how I and the rest of the Fairies are on a separate wavelength for our magic. You guys seem to jump to something else like it's the next logical step to make; a step that changes the road you're on that most people can't follow. It's one of the reasons why you have a hard time connecting to certain people."
Tony swallowed. "So what, exactly, do I do now?"
"Nothing," I said, grasping his hands. "Keep doing exactly what you're doing. So there's a missing piece for the rest of us, so maybe it won't ever be considered 'real' in my original world. It still works. You guys are still able to do amazing things. And that, Tony, is part of your superpower."
"So…my superpower is my science?"
I shrugged. "Kinda. It's your mind; you have the ability to fix anything that's broken. Tony, your superpower is the very definition of 'Anything you can do, I can do better'. Anything you make, anything at all, will be an improvement over the original – even if you made the original, too. It'll take you a while, but no matter what, you can always fix it in the end. That's your strongest superpower. You're a mechanic; you're The Mechanic. You fix things."
Tony nodded, starting to brighten up.
"Which is why you're going to fix everything."
His smile disappeared again. "What."
I grinned at him. "Tony Stark, we're going to take over the world."
"Tony, we're going to fix the world. We will make anything and everything. SI can do a whole bunch of shit, produce a whole bunch of shit." I squeezed his hands. "Let's give Bucky and Steve a world we can be proud they'll wake up to."
"That's going to need a lot more people than I have, working at SI."
I shrugged. "That's fine. We'll probably end up putting all the energy companies out of business, anyway."
"I was thinking about an addition to the tower." I grinned at him. "What do you know of Tesla?"
Tony stared at me before he threw his head back and began to laugh.
Chapter 9: Chapter Nine - Tony, Part Eight
Alright! I'm back home for the holidays! I also want to thank everyone who gave me their own little present in the form of financial support! (The link on my tumblr is fixed, though with what's going on with tumblr...eh). For Chanukah I also posted several chapters in my other fics, as well as some FT one shots, in case you didn't get any alerts. I'd be really happy if you could check them out!
Anyway, thank you guys so much! To celebrate, this is last of the Tony arc (for now. He's still totally gonna be in it, the chapters aren't going to be called Tony, Part... anymore).
Sorry it's a bit of a cliffy - next chapter should at least be up at the end of the week.
Chapter Nine – Tony, Part Eight
Here's the thing.
Elle mentioned changing things for the better; creating a world that he'd be proud for Bucky and Steve to wake up to.
But Tony still wasn't sure what he thought about them.
He'd get over them eventually, he knew he'd have to.
But Bucky had killed his parents, and Steve was…Captain America.
He knew he was being a hypocrite. Tony didn't like it when other people judged him through association, or by rumors or things like that.
But when every word that came out of Howard's mouth had to do with Steve, it was hard to still remain neutral.
Tony had worshipped Steve, at first, but it didn't take him long before he realized he'd never measure up in his father's eyes. He'd started worrying about it after Howard didn't really do anything about building an engine when he was six; sending him off to boarding school a few years later only reinforced his suspicions. When he got into MIT, Howard barely huffed, and that was when Tony knew he wasn't worth it.
That was when he started rejecting Captain America; when he tore down the poster and refused to hear another word about him.
The only time after that…
Well, the only time when he could stand to learn about him was when he was hearing about Steve, not Captain America. He knew that his father was blind to just about anything concerning the Captain, but Aunt Peggy and the rest of his uncles; they could be relied on a bit more.
But Tony wasn't fixing the world for them and the thing is, he knew that Elle knew it too. She didn't say it outright, but this had just as much to do with making himself proud of something. When she talked about making them proud, she wasn't entirely talking about them; more the 'waking up' aspect.
Because if Tony woke up to a future that was a piece of shit like his life was now…well, he got what she was saying.
And the way that that resonated between them; well, that was another reason he trusted her so easily.
But not the main one.
It was her eyes.
Of all the things that Eleanor Rigby – Elle Dreyar – showed him, it was her eyes that shown with the truth.
And more than that; they didn't look at him with pity.
She looked at him with understanding, and when she had teared up earlier he hadn't been sure if she was crying for him or for herself.
Tony didn't think she knew, either.
He watched as she helpfully used her magic to clear things up, and was also talking about her guildmates, while 'suggesting' that he work on his plans for Stark Tower as she took care of things.
They'd fallen into a nice sort of camaraderie with Tony working and Elle supporting background noise, and he knew that he could get used to this.
It seemed like a good thing (though he wasn't quite sure yet).
Still, he liked Elle, and learning about her friends was pretty fun and entertaining (if not slightly alarming).
"Wait, Macbeth and Erigor went undercover in Hydra?" Tony asked, alarmed. "But they're a couple! They need to hide the fact that they're gay under the noses of Nazis!"
Elle nodded with a smile on her face. "Yep. And Erigor is going to love rubbing it in their face once they blow their cover. But it's fine. I'm confident in their abilities. As are they."
"Really?" Tony asked.
"Back in the other dimension – Fiore (that's the country we lived in), – jobs were organized by skill class. Originally it was standard guild mage, before moving up to S Class quests. Bigger reward, more danger. And then infamous quests that people haven't been able to complete for all the years they've been available. You could only take a quest based on what wizard class you were," she explained. "If you wanted to go on a quest above your level, you'd have to team up with someone on that level. All of us who died were S Class, or above."
"Why the letter S?" Tony asked.
She shrugged. "It's always been like that. And eventually, 'guild mage' was specified, too. There's D Class, then C, then B, then A. Followed by S, followed by SS, followed by the level of a Wizard Saint."
"Wizard Saint?" Tony asked, alarmed.
Elle nodded. "Generally, a guild is lucky if they have four or five S Class wizards. But I screwed a lot of things up and pushed people a lot harder. It caused a type of Ripple effect, and in the end, we all ended up a lot stronger for it. All of us who died were S Class or above. It was during a trial to move people in S Class up to SS. They could partner with someone, but that person had to be S Class, and couldn't be a nominee. Their partner also couldn't be below, and it couldn't be above. The ones who were already SS Class helped test the others. Things like that."
"And the Wizard Saint?" Tony asked, still focusing on that.
As he watched her, Tony noticed her eyes go out of focus, as if she was remembering something. "Originally, they were just called the Ten Wizard Saints; the ten most powerful people on the continent. Not Fiore, which was our country, but the entire continent, which is called Ishgar. And while there are still only ten 'official' Wizard Saints by the council, it's generally acknowledged that our guild has at least seven members who could contend for a spot. Though only some of those members actually have a spot."
"Seven?" Tony nearly choked. "Out of ten?"
She smirked. "We're not all official. But the third most powerful Wizard Saint was actually one of the founders of Fairy Tail. Warrod still has his guild mark, too. So technically eight."
He considered the implications of what she had said earlier. "So wait, how many of the people who died during the trials were considered some of the saints?"
"Five on the skill level, though only four were official," she answered, sighing. "The two that stayed behind were watching their kids. And Warrod's retired, so…"
"Wait…" Tony stared at her. "Are you telling me that in a group of kids from fifteen to twenty-seven, five of you are considered some of the strongest people on your continent?"
"Four," she corrected softly. "Our guild master was also monitoring the trials. And he decided, when we died, that he would wait. So he's back up there, resting in the library. Finally having some peace from his brats." She smiled fondly, as if she was talking about something entirely unrelated to her guildmaster basically chilling in heaven. "He was Laxus's and Jellal's grandfather. Well, and kinda Cana's. Weird family tree, remember?"
"I remember," Tony murmured, his eyes returning to the Stark Tower hologram.
So maybe it was weird that he trusted her so easily. Maybe she was right when she said it was a side effect of the poisoning.
But something about her screamed sincerity, and God, was Tony tired. And maybe that was a side effect of the poisoning (or maybe something worse) but he was kind of okay with throwing care to the wind. Elle and her group were a risk, but a risk he think would end up fine. (Plus, if she and they were risks, he highly doubted he could stop them from destroying or taking over the world if she wanted to). And unless Elle was the best actress he'd ever met, she actually cared about him, and God, he wanted that.
He wanted her.
Not in that way (she was married, and he did have limits despite was gossip rags said) but she was so nice, she was snarky, she was brilliant.
And she cared.
He could probably count the people who actually cared for his wellbeing on two hands. Even including Elle.
She was honest, she was open, and people don't do that, but maybe that's what made it work.
Tony side eyed her as she shuffled through her cards, looking for something (what, he had no idea).
"Hey, Elle," he said softly.
Now wasn't the time for nicknames.
…Besides, he could only think of so many witchy or wizard nicknames, so he was probably going to put most of them on hold until he met the rest of the group.
Though Elle would have to make do with 'Sabrina'.
"Yeah?" she asked, looking up.
"Why did you have so many friends in your second life but not your first?" Tony asked.
Inwardly, he winced. Wow, so much for sensitivity.
But she smiled at him, as if she was guessing what he was thinking. "Maybe in the future, if you ask something like that, you tell the person ahead of time that it might be a difficult subject matter? Give them some sort of warning?"
Tony nodded, slightly ashamed (not that he let it show on his face).
"But yeah, I can answer," she said, breathing out air through her teeth. She settled down on the couch and Tony sat next to her, bringing over the hologram so he could play with it. Elle seemed unbothered by his multitasking, by his need to always have his hand moving, and it just made it even better.
"When I died in my first life, it was several years from now," she announced. "So I don't necessarily remember when certain things happened. But I know there was some sort of dating test thing with relationships. And that, from a psychological perspective, people would have a very deep connection if they bore their soul to one another. And I think…I wasn't able to do that in my first life. I wasn't willing to take the leap of faith, to give up my vulnerability first when I didn't know what would attack me. Not after my time in the orphanage, where it was generally seen as 'each man for themselves'. But in the Fairy Tail universe…I knew the characters. Even if they didn't do it themselves, they've been very vulnerable around me, and I already understand and connect with them. So it was okay for me to take that leap and reach out to them; it would make the relationship two sided. Slowly, through the last universe, I learned a bit more about making friends with people I know nothing about, but it's always easier for me if I already know a lot about them. Which also makes it easier for me to bear my soul to them in return."
Tony contemplated Elle's words. He could see and understand why that would make a difference. But he felt like it put him in an odd spot. On the one hand, he didn't have to tell her anything specifically, because she's already seen it all. On the other hand, he would've preferred to pick and choose what others knew about him.
But it was too late for that, and if Elle really saw something that she thought made him want to be her friend, then maybe he wasn't as much of a monster as he thought.
Aloud, he said, "Let's go shopping."
Elle stopped and looked at him. "What?"
"Let's go shopping!" Tony said excitedly. "Come on! You need clothes, right?"
"Then let's go!" Tony said enthusiastically. "Come on!"
She stared at him. "I pick where we shop. I don't care about stupidly amazing suits and stuff you wear. If I need fancy clothes eventually you can pick it out when we get to that point. For now I just want comfortable shit. Let's go to Kohl's, or Target. Or Kmart. Is there Kmart in California?"
"Oh come on!" Tony whined.
"I am not a doll," Elle said, her hands going to her hips. "If you want someone to dress up, give it some time, you'll get a few people. And a large majority of the guild's guys are a hot mess when it comes to wardrobes. So you can have fun then."
"You don't want to dress up and get all fancy?" Tony asked.
She rolled her eyes. "Of course, I want to; sometimes. Not a lot. This is Malibu, I need shorts and tank tops. If you want to dress me all up in fancy clothes for something important, like a charity ball (you do those, right?) then that would be different."
"Yes, I do do those, and I will be dressing you up," Tony said.
Elle shrugged. "Fine, but I'm fucking with the people there. Gotta get my kicks in somehow." She snickered, and Tony didn't know if he was supposed to be an adult and berate her, or encourage her.
Yeah, just because he was a superhero didn't mean he had to be an adult. He was totally going to encourage her.
"I've got no problem with that," Tony said. "But if you're going to be my PA and I need to suffer through those, so do you."
"That's fine," she said. "But I'm still not getting fancy clothes today."
It took me awhile to get Tony to agree to let me wear normal clothes, but he finally accepted and let me teleport him to the nearest Target, during which he spent most of the time recording the teleportation on his phone and talking to JARVIS about stats.
"You know," I said, searching through some clothes. "Wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap is not a real disguise. If anything, you look like Tony Stark going to a baseball game. That's it."
"Eh," Tony's carefree voice drifted over to me, and I could practically hear the shrug in his voice.
"Tony, have you ever even been in a department store?" I asked him incredulously, pulling out of the clothes. Tony stared at me, where he had been caught playing with a bathing suit red handed.
A girl's bathing suit.
"Why is there a bikini on your head?" I asked him, sighing.
Tony opened his mouth and closed it. "I don't…know."
"Dear god, you haven't been in a department store," I muttered, snatching it off his head and shoving it back into the pile. I grabbed his hand and patted his pocket with it.
"What are you doing?" Tony asked, his eyes following my movements.
"Reminding you that you have a phone," I said, rolling my eyes. "And that you've complained about the amount of work you have earlier."
Tony grumbled and pulled out the phone, pulling up the hologram for Stark Tower.
I facepalmed. "Tony, what is the point of trying to go incognito if you're going to use technology only Tony Stark has access to? Don't you have a stencil or something?"
"Stylus," Tony corrected. He grumbled and collapsed the hologram, pulling out a stylus and drawing on the screen.
I continued to walk through the aisles, tugging Tony along while Tony grabbed some shirts he saw out of the corner of his eye.
He held up a shirt for me.
I rolled my eyes when I read it and threw it in the basket, trying to hide a smile.
"Why didn't you grab a cart?" Tony asked.
"I still have some clothes in my requip space," I said. "So I don't need to get as much things as you probably think. Besides, I'll pick out undergarments with Pepper or something."
"Pepper is best at shoes," Tony told me.
"I know, because you practically beg her forgiveness in shoes," I pointed out. "But I don't need heels."
"You don't?" Tony asked.
"Tony, I'm taller than you," I said, bending down and grabbing some shorts.
"No, you're not," Tony said, straightening up as I stood up again and threw them in the basket.
I spared him a glance and noticed he was around 5'9'' now, causing me to stop and stare at him. "OH MY GOD, do you really put heels on your shoes?"
Tony sniffed and crossed his arms. "They're platforms."
"You do!" I said, laughing. "I know you have them in your Iron Man suit, but your regular shoes, too?"
"Heels were made for men first, anyway," Tony muttered.
I laughed again. "Anyway, I don't need heels. I don't need to be any taller, and they make me unsteady. Action movies like to make it impressive that a girl can fight in heels, and it is impressive, and could also function as a good weapon, but it's a lot easier to kick ass without it holding you back. And I keep all my important shoes in my requip space anyway, so it doesn't matter anyway."
I grabbed a bathing suit, because that was one thing I didn't have, and then reviewed what was in the basket. "I'm done," I told him.
"Fancy clothes?" he asked.
"Tony," I sighed.
"Look, if you're going to follow me around as a PA you'll probably need to look somewhat professional."
"I'm not dying my hair," I said immediately. After the first time I appeared back in the library with my hair still purple, even though it was original brown, I realized how much of it had become my identity, and I wasn't giving it up.
Tony shrugged. "Fine, but you need to put it up."
"It won't fit in a bun," I warned him, rolling my eyes and heading towards some blouses.
"Then use a ponytail," he said, grabbing my arm. "And I'll call my tailor, you don't need to get those shirts."
I sighed and let him drag me to the checkout, where I took him to the self-scanner so he wouldn't attract as much attention.
"Why are these so slow?" Tony asked, tapping the machine as I scanned more things.
"Because they weren't made by you. Didn't we go over this?" I asked him as I scanned the next item.
Tony looked at the machine dubiously, then back at me. "What, you really think I should make these?"
I snorted. "They'd be at the bottom of the list, and like...only if you really want to. Though I could totally see you do it out of annoyance. But I wasn't kidding when I said you make things better. Like, I'm pretty sure there are bullet trains in Japan that go, like…200 miles an hour. I'm just saying, Tony, if you even just recreated one version of everything, it'd be ten times better, and that's without you even trying."
Tony was quiet as I finished scanning, and he handed me his card, which I quickly put in.
"You're good at this," he said as I put the card down on the machine for him to swipe it off of, so he didn't have to take it from my hand.
"I just know what I'm doing," I said, picking up the bags. "Help me carry them outside."
"What, are we gonna carry them back?" Tony asked, grabbing the remaining bags and exiting the store.
"Of course not," I said, taking the bags from them and requipping them. "I have Spatial Magic, remember? Requip and Teleportation."
"Wow, you could steal things easily," Tony muttered.
I glared at him. "I'm not a klepto!"
"I didn't say you were," he said, following me as we walked to the grocery store next door.
I blushed, before straightening as I sensed something.
Tony jumped when a noise came out of nowhere, but I was already on alert.
"What was that?" he asked.
"Let's find out," I murmured, already moving forward.
Chapter 10: Chapter Ten - Cats, Part One
Chapter Ten - Cats, Part One
We had followed the noise to a dumpster behind the grocery store, before coming across a scene.
A cat who was dragging a tin back to a cardboard box hissed at us, dropped the food and jumped into the box defensively.
"Poor cat," I muttered, walking forward slowly. "Hey, sweetie."
Tony followed me behind, cautiously, and we approached the box.
The cat hissed at us.
I stopped as I neared the box and requipped some fish.
"Why do you have fish with you?" Tony asked.
"Exceeds, remember?" I told him. "Here, give it to her." I held it out to him with magic so he wouldn't have to take it from me.
"How do you know it's a her?" Tony asked, eyebrow raised, while monitoring the magic with his phone.
"The box has kittens in it," I answered, jerking my head over to it. "I'm making a probably-accurate assumption."
Slowly, Tony put away his phone, took my fish, and handed it over to the mother cat, who swiped it suspiciously and began to sniff it appreciatively. She bit it into pieces and began handing it out to her kittens, and Tony and I moved closer to the box for a better look.
The mother gave us a wary but slightly hopeful look, and I gave Tony some more fish.
This time, the cat took it with respect and handed it out to her children.
"Tony, you stay here," I said, giving him some more fish. "And watch over them. I'm going to get food and cat toys, and then we can go back to the house."
"We're just going to keep them?" Tony asked, blinking.
"Yes," I told him. "I was going to make you get a cat anyway."
"What?" Tony asked. "Why?"
"Tony, you have serious PTSD. You've been spiraling downwards since Afghanistan, and it'll only get worse if you don't do something about it."
"I don't want to do therapy," Tony growled. "I'm not seeing a shrink."
"You don't have to do that," I said. "Should you see a therapist? Absolutely, I believe you should give it a try. But it doesn't always work for everyone."
"What does that have to do with this?" Tony asked frustratedly, gesturing to the cats in the box.
"Animal therapy," I explained. "Fluffy things you can cuddle."
He stared at me. "A pet? You think the answer…is a pet."
"A pet," I repeated.
"I don't want a pet," Tony said. "I can barely take care of myself, JARVIS can back me up!"
"I know," I rolled my eyes. "But it doesn't matter. You'll be fine."
He stared at me. "You really think that it'll help?" he asked skeptically, looking back down at the cats.
I nodded. "Absolutely."
He seemed to be thinking.
"Are you okay with strays?" I asked. "I know you're usually fine with it."
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Tony, you like taking in strays," I told him. "Maybe not right now, but I've seen it. You basically adopt Bruce Banner as a Science Bro. It's adorable."
He ignored my words, probably because he looked like he was about to blush.
"Will you help me take care of them?" Tony asked, looking back to the cats.
I shrugged. "I'm already helping you with everything else. You think I'm going to turn down fluffy animals?"
I had had a talk with Tony earlier about money, before I finished explaining my plan, when he basically invited me to move in:
Also…evidence about taking in strays. ^See above
"Okay," I said to him. "So here's the deal. One, thank you. The fact that you're inviting me here, even though I am constantly watched by JARVIS, means a lot to me. And you're also going to be giving me a credit card. So we need to talk about this."
"About what?" Tony asked, curiously, though I could tell he was nervous. Probably because this is where most of his relationships go South.
"Tony, you're unbelievable generous, so much so that some people will probably think that you're buying friends."
His mouth opened in protest, and I held up my hand. "I know that's not what you're doing, sweetie. You like taking care of people, and you're bad at communicating your feelings so this is how you do it. I get that. But it's what some idiots – the ones who automatically assume the worst of you – will think."
"Then there's also another thing about gifts," I said. "People will either feel like they're in debt to you, or they're going to start to feel that you owe them things like this; like it's just something that you do, so much so they won't even thank you. Do you see a bit of what I'm talking about?"
He nodded. "But…"
"I can help with that," I told him, nodding. "For instance, I slightly feel the urge to turn down moving in here. But one, it would hurt your feelings. It would be easier for both of us if I was here, and I'd also like to live here…"
I trailed off. "You know, in my first life, I had a bit of a similar idea. When I started a middle school, I dreamed that maybe I could be rich and famous, and that I could have all my friends live together with me in a big house when we were adults…but that didn't exactly happen. I didn't get rich, and I didn't make real friends. And I didn't stay in school much longer, either…"
I turned to look at him. "If you don't want some people to feel in debt or anything, then let other people help you with things."
"How?" he asked.
"I was thinking I could help you get work done. Maybe not in the ways you're thinking, but the other fairies and I…we've seen a lot of 'stories' from alternate dimensions. Even if we don't come up with an idea on our own, we might still think of things. I can help with organizing. I can be your new PA."
"Why do I need a new PA?" Tony asked, confused, though he's in my face a split second later. "Did something happen to Pepper? Is she okay?"
I put my hands on his shoulders and pushed him back onto the couch. "She's fine . But you're going to make her your CEO."
"Oh, good." Tony relaxed. "So I do go through with it?"
I nodded. "As far as I know, you are very happy with the results."
Tony beamed. "Okay. I can get behind that."
"Pepper's your new CEO, I'm your new PA, then," I continued. "Are you going to give Rhodey an armor?"
"I was thinking about it," Tony said. "But I'm a bit afraid of giving it to the government."
"I think I can help with that," I said. "There's a few other things that you could do."
"All ears," he said.
"I think you should announce the palladium poisoning," I said.
"Why would I do that?" he asked, surprised.
"Well, people will let you get away with a lot more. You can say that you're searching for a cure, but we can make it seem like one is extremely unlikely. You can give yourself time to do a lot of things undercover. The government will easily agree to your terms. Things like that…"
He stared at me. "I'm keeping you."
I shrugged. "That's fine. I pretty much already adopted you."
"Whether you take your mental age or your physical age, I'm still eight to eighteen years older than you," he pointed out.
"I don't care," I told him. "I'm mothering you. Get over it."
Tony smiled, and he seemed to have brightened up behind his mask.
"You should also probably activate another one of your AIs," I said. "Maybe Friday, if you've made her code yet? I was thinking she could help me with social media."
"Social media?" he asked.
I nodded. "Facebook has become a thing, right?"
He shrugged. "Yeah, but I don't really use it."
"In the future," I began. "Social media is a bunch of different websites like Facebook and Twitter were people can connect and express their opinions. We're going to use it as a platform for good press, for the Avengers."
"I don't want to join Fury's secret boy band," Tony lied.
"You're not joining Fury's secret boy band," I said. "You're making your own boy band, and you're not keeping it a secret, you're 'I am Iron Man'-ing up to the public. A lot of transparency. We need good PR or else normal citizens can get scared of people with powers."
Understanding dawned on Tony's face. "It becomes prejudiced, doesn't it? Like racism or homophobia."
I nodded. "We can avoid that, but we need good PR from the beginning. Also (take this from someone who ends up breaking a lot of things while fighting) we should start up a charity event to help clean up aftermaths. We can make Avenger merchandise, capitalize on it, and use the money for the charity."
He stared at me. "Yeah, you're definitely hired. You've obviously put a lot of thought into this."
That's when he got really excited and started talking about keeping me, before I began to explain my plan, and the other things I'd be running around doing.
It made JARVIS wary, but Tony was obviously having fun, which is good. He spends most of the movies in a depressive state, after all. Though that's also probably because of the alcohol.
"Thank you, then, Elle," Tony said, looking back at the cats and holding out his hand. The mother nudged her face on it.
"I'll get food and cat stuff," I said to him, and he handed me the credit card. "You watch over the cats. Bond with them."
"I am," he said huffily, though his face turned fond as he looked down at the cat and smiled, petting its head. The cat began to purr and even moved out of the way so Tony could peer at the kittens. Tony scratched her chin and gave them some more food.
I laughed and left, heading to the store. I got some food I know Tony didn't have (I checked the fridge and pantry before I left) as well as a big cat bed and a basic litter box and food and some toys. I know that Tony would probably make a self-cleaning litter box before he went to sleep tonight (because it's Tony) but we'd see what happened first.
I checked it out, and left the store, requipping the bags as I went. By the time I returned to Tony, I had everything tucked away.
"I'm finished," I told him.
Tony nodded, still petting the mother cat.
I rolled my eyes and squatted down next to him, putting a hand on his arm and a hand on the box. "Hold on," I warned.
I teleported and we were in Tony's living room.
There was some slight screaming from the cats, who hushed down as Tony gave her more fish and I requipped out the bed and also some treats for them.
Another thing I had in storage was some catnip from my backyard garden, which I took out and rubbed into the comfy bed for them, before pushing it over and shaking the bag of treats.
The Momma Cat paused, and I saw little faces peeking up from inside the box. I shook the bag again and put a few treats onto the pillow, and then they were off, running for the pillow for some treats. The cat bed was big, big enough for all of them (it might've actually been a dog bed, but it still worked) and they all fit.
"Aww," Tony said. I turned to look at him as he picked up a really small kitten from the box, who had trouble climbing over the sides. "Here you go, kiddo."
He popped the other kitten down with the others, and the Momma cat purred gratefully, nudging against Tony's hand before curling around the others.
Tony watched them with a soft look on his face, reaching out his hand and petting a few of them, who purred.
It was already working.
"Now what?" Tony asked softly, petting a few of them.
"Now, we cat-proof the house," I told him. "Do you care if they go into your lab, or should we just label it entirely off-limits?"
"You can always change your mind," I pointed out. "How about we leave it off-limits for now?"
We went around the house, looking at anything that might need to be changed, and he watched me set up the litter box in a bathroom and carry the cats over one by one so they knew where it was.
"Why's it so big?" Tony asked.
"Because there's a lot of cats," I answered. "And you're actually supposed to get one more litter box than cats you have. But you have a bunch of kittens. And I figured you'd probably end up creating some sort of self-cleaning box within a few days. So if it's constantly cleaned, they don't need more than one, just one big enough so more than one can go at once, if needed."
"Hmm," Tony said, as we lead the cats back to their cushion. The mother gave us a glare and tucked the cats in around the bed and started cleaning them. "So..."
"So now we name them," I said.
No joke about having a giant house I'm making my friends move into. I've wanted that since I was a kid. Still a plan.
Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven - Cats, Part Two
Happy Christmas Eve, people! Here's a chappy, whether you celebrate or not! :D I'll try and get another one up tomorrow, too.
Chapter Eleven - Cats, Part Two
"So," I said. "I would suggest you name them, because they are primarily yours, but you don't have the best naming history."
"Hey!" Tony whined. "I do, too!"
I gave him a look.
"I name things after people I love," he said quietly.
I paused, looking at him. "I get JARVIS, who's actually been really quietly lately..."
"I am scanning information on being a cat owner," JARVIS said. "In the future, please give me a warning."
I nodded. "Okay. But what about the others? Are you saying that the bots are named after people, too?"
Tony nodded. "When I first named Dum-E I didn't do it on purpose. I was drunk, and was showing him pictures of the Howling Commandos. When I got to Uncle Dum-Dum, and talked about what a dummy he was, well…the little bot got really excited. He started whistling, you know? And I ended up naming him Dum-E."
"Oh," I said quietly. "And the others?"
"It's a bit of a weird story, but U is named after Gabe Jones because of his multilingualism, and Butterfingers was named after Jack Dernier because he was really good with bombs. He'd slip them under tank and stuff and make it look effortless, so…yeah. And when Butterfingers dropped something, it just became funnier."
"There were two others, right?" I asked.
Tony nodded. "Yeah. I never met Falsworth. He died before I was born. But as for the others…I grew up with them as my Uncles. Uncle Gabe, Uncle Tim – Dum Dum's real name, Uncle Jacque and Uncle Jim."
"Jim…Morita?" I asked. "What about him?"
Tony began to blush. "He…might've told me that I'm not allowed to name any of my…children…after him."
"Wait, is he still alive?" I asked, shocked.
"They all are," Tony said. "Why do you ask?"
"Because I know he's dead when Steve woke up," I said. "Or at least…his file said he was. Who the fuck knows if SHIELD was lying to him…"
Tony nodded firmly. "Okay, then we'll move them in with us, too. It won't be hard to grab Uncle Jim; he lives in New York with his grandson."
I nodded; that I remembered, because Morita (the grandson) was the principal of Peter's school.
"And the others?" I asked him.
Tony shrugged. "Uncle Jacque is going to be more annoying, because he doesn't live in the US, but neither does Aunt Peggy right now. Uncle Tim and Uncle Gabe live in Virginia, though, and it won't be too hard to get them, either."
"Alright, it's a plan then," I said, nodding.
Tony sat on the couch working on his Tower and playing with the cats, who still didn't have names yet.
I was in the kitchen, making dinner for the two of us and a cake, because I think Tony deserves a cake at this point.
Well, I hadn't started the cake yet.
"Hey, JARVIS?" I asked.
"Yes, Mrs. Dreyar?" he asked.
"Can you make three lists for me? Visual, so I can look at them?"
Three blank screens popped up in front of me.
"Thanks," I said. I looked at the first one. "On this one can you write some names down for me?"
"Whenever you're ready," JARVIS said.
"Alright. On this list, we need Justin Hammer, Aldrich Killian…Wilson Fisk…I don't remember the first name, but he goes by Kilgrave and he looks like David Tennant."
"What are you doing?" Tony asked, coming into the room and tugging the kitten bed with it. The cats seemed content to just sit there.
"Making lists and making dinner," I told him. "You come up with any names?"
He nodded. "This one is Oxy, and this one is Nitry…"
"You are not naming them after elements," I told him.
"The only other thing I have is pop culture!" he pointed out.
"Then use pop culture. It's better then elements! What were you gonna name Momma, Hydrogen?"
"Fine," Tony grumbled. "She's Duchess then. And this one," he patted the runt, the smallest one, "is Marie."
"The Aristocats?" I asked him. "And what if Marie is male? Also, JARVIS, can you find schedule an appointment at the vets for us?"
"Is there a specific one you'd like?" JARVIS asked.
"The one with the best reviews," Tony said, sitting on the floor next to the kitchen. "And if they're the wrong sex…eh. It'll be fine."
I rolled my eyes. "Alright, who else?"
The two cats he had already named – the mother, and the smallest – were both white. They were the only ones, though, and it made me wonder what breed the father was, because they were a mix of different colors.
Tony picked up what was the fourth biggest kitten (not that any of them were really big, just not as small as the others), who was covered in gray and dark streaks. "This'll be Tom."
"As in Tom and Jerry?" I guessed.
He nodded, and turned to the remaining ones. "These two will be Aslan, and Simba," he pointed to the biggest two kittens. Simba was the one that was slightly smaller, and Aslan also had more streaks of color on him (Simba was closer to solid-colored). "And this one will be Milo." He pointed at the last white and golden kitten, who was the second smallest.
"I got the first two," I said. "But Milo?"
"Milo and Otis?" Tony asked. "It's a movie."
"Hmm," I muttered. "And the last two?"
The remaining two cats were both solid black, but could be told apart from their size and their eyes. "This one will be Salem," Tony pointed to the third biggest, who had bright green eyes. "And this one will be Snowball." He pointed to the fifth biggest.
"What's Snowball from?" I asked, confused. Salem was from Sabrina, I knew that much.
"The Simpsons," Tony said.
In order from largest to smallest, Duchess (she doesn't really count, though, as the mother), then Aslan, Simba, Salem, Tom, Snowball, Milo and Marie. Marie was also much smaller than the others, obviously the runt of the group.
Tony scratched a few of their heads and they purred wildly.
I rolled my eyes and returned to the cooking and the lists.
"On this list," I gestured to one of the blank ones. "I need you to put down the names Nicholas Fury, Maria Hill, Phil Coulson, Natasha Romanov, Clint Barton, Melinda May, and Jemma Fitz and Leopold Simmons."
I paused. "Or maybe it's Leopold Fitz and Jemma Simmons? Fuck. They're a scientific pair that works together."
"What's that?" Tony asked, reading over the list.
"That is the list of SHIELD agents that are absolutely not HYDRA."
I turned to the last list. "Finally, add Alexander Pierce, Senator Stern, Brock Rumlow, Baron Von Wolfgang, Grant Ward, and Jasper Sitwell."
I paused. "Put a question mark next to Sitwell's name."
"Who are these?" Tony asked. "Secretary of State? Senator Stern?"
"These are people who are HYDRA," I told him.
He froze. "Secretary Pierce?"
I nodded. "Worse, he's on the World Security Council."
"I know," Tony muttered, rubbing his forehead. "And Stern? I mean, I knew he was an asshole, but…"
"He's a slimy piece of shit, Tony, accept it," I shivered as I thought about him. Just thinking about him gave me the creeps. He reminded me of Ivan far too much.
"Why is there a question mark by Sitwell's name?" Tony asked.
I shrugged. "I'm pretty sure I saw his name on the list, but it's not one of the ones I know for positive. And even then, I'm not quite sure everyone else on the list is, either. You know I read fanfiction, right?"
"Oh My God, did you read fanfiction about this universe?" Tony asked, jaw dropped.
I shrugged. "Anyway, in one of them, an agent approached another agent and told them 'Hail Hydra'. And he repeated it back, because he thought it was a prank."
"How would that be a prank?" Tony asked.
"Coulson," I answered.
"What about Agent?" Tony asked.
"He's a huge Captain America fan, and the guy thought they were passing the saying back and forth to see how long it took for Coulson to notice and blow up at them. They also want to see him lose his temper, which I'm not actually sure is possible. Even at his most dangerous, he was threatening in a calm, quiet voice. Anyway, the guy fell into the plot and then he realized Holy shit it's actually Hydra."
"So how are you going to know?" Tony asked.
I smirked. "Erik. Anyway, about Coulson, I'm going to try and put him in 'danger' at some point and have Steve save him. It's going to be hilarious!" I wheezed.
Tony rolled his eyes, before looking back at the lists. "When are you going to get Bucky?" he asked quietly.
"Soon," I promised. "I was hoping you'd build me some sort of indestructible containment room first, though. Preferably white, and also movable so we can carry it to New York with us."
"Why can't we just rebuild it?" Tony asked.
"I'm gonna be using paint therapy," I told Tony.
"I dunno what that means," he said.
"You'll figure it out eventually."
"An indestructible room…" Tony murmured, before smiling at me. "Will you test it?"
I sighed with a smile on my face, and rolled my eyes. "Yes, Tony, I'll test your stuff with magic. Though perhaps it's be better to use my magic to launch other things at it, see if it can test the weight and force rather than the magic itself."
"But we'll do that later?" Tony asked, pouting.
I smiled at him. "Yes, Tony, we'll do that later."
He smiled and then clapped his hands, the hologram vanishing. "Awesome! And I'm done with the base structure of the tower, enough for them to start building, anyway. I'll contact the builders. And also get ahold of the property if I don't have it?"
"You have already bought the property, Sir," JARVIS announced.
"Oh good, thanks JARVIS!" Tony said happily.
"Now, I'm going to finish up with our food," I said. "Tony, I have some questions about your suit."
"Yeah?" he asked.
"One, do you have a suitcase suit? Like a portable suitcase you carry around with you that you can wear?"
"I'm working on one, but it's not finished yet," Tony said. "Why?"
"Add in some stuff to it to make it electricity resistant or whatever. It'll come in handy. And then once you've got that done, I'll talk to you about some updates I know you put in, okay? I'll have JARVIS tell you when food is ready."
"What about the cats?" Tony asked worriedly.
I smiled at him. "You're sweet. Don't worry about them, I'll give them some sweet dreams for a bit, let them adjust to the house in their sleep."
"Is that how it works?" Tony asked.
"I have absolutely no idea," I told him. "Now shoo."
"Did you just 'shoo' me?" Tony gasped scandalously.
"I will find a newspaper," I warned him.
He smiled and went down to his lab.
As he left, I swiped away the lists for the HYDRA members and the SHIELD members. "JARVIS, add the name Ivan Vanko to this last list. He's going to become a bit of a problem soon, along with Hammer. Thought you'd might like a heads up."
"Thank you," JARVIS said.
"Also, can you try and keep Tony distracted for over an hour?" I asked, requipping out the other 'secret ingredients' I bought. "I'm going to make him a surprise cake. What does he like? I've got what I need for white, chocolate, red velvet, etc…We should celebrate! If not his new element, then his newfound communication skills! Plus, I haven't made a home-baked cake in ages! Do you know what his favorite type is?"
"He likes just about any type of cake, as long as it is unhealthy," JARVIS deadpanned.
I snorted. "What about the frosting? Like…is there a limit to the amount of sugar he can have? Because it's gonna be sweet."
"Is that such a good idea?" JARVIS asked.
"How big are you planning on making the cake?" JARVIS asked.
I paused. Good question. "Eh…normal sized?" I measured it out with my arms.
"I see. Perhaps chocolate cake would be the best bet then?"
"Wait…" I looked up, confused. "But…why would making a certain amount change the flavor?"
"Colonel Rhodes, Ms. Potts, and Mr. Hogan are all fond of chocolate cake."
I nodded. "Oh, I get it." I grabbed out everything else I need and grabbed the stuff I saw in the kitchen before I left. "By the way, JARVIS, why does Tony have a mixer?" I asked.
"That is a story better asked to him," JARVIS replied.
I shrugged and went back to work.
Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve - Cats, Part Three
I'm gonna try and update Ripples sometime tomorrow. Happy New Year, everyone!~
Chapter Twelve - Cats, Part Three
I managed to finish the cake and dinner well before Tony was done. Unfortunately, it left a bit of a mess.
I probably should have realized that Tony would have adjusted his electronic mixer, but for some reason it didn't occur to me. So yeah.
I finished up the frosting and put the cake into the fridge before finishing up dinner and returning to cleaning up.
"I can't tell if that's impressive or lazy," a voice said, and I shrieked and dropped the flour I had magically picked up off the floor. The dishes I had that were scrubbing themselves dropped back into the sink (luckily nothing broke).
"Impressive," I coughed, pulling any flour off myself and off the floor, floating it into a ball in the air. The dishes started up again. "It still requires skill, and you can burn through a lot of calories using magic. I've found that casually using magic tends to strengthen it, too."
Tony nodded. "So, what's the occasion?" he asked, looking at the baking tools. "We could've just ordered takeout or something."
I raised an eyebrow, and pushed the ball of flour into the trashcan. "You've made a new element. It's a celebration."
"You aren't saying a spell," he pointed out.
I nodded. "Spells…spells focus the energy. In order to do some things in particular, you'll need incantations. The longer the incantation is, the more powerful it generally is. For instance, take Lucy and Cana."
"What about them?" Tony asked.
"Their Primary Magics are both Holder Magics," I said, serving spaghetti on two plates and moving towards the table so we could eat. "But remember what I said earlier?"
"That de-arming Holder Mages usually make them useless, unless they know more?"
I nodded. "Cana and Lucy both have a form of Caster Magic for their Secondary Magic. Cana's is called Fairy Glitter, and it's one of the Three Great Fairy Spells, designed by the founder of our guild. They can only be cast by guildmates, and they all have a specific amount of requirements to fulfill in order to cast them."
"What do they do?" Tony asked, taking a bite of his noodles and smiling. "These are good, thanks."
"There's Fairy Law, Fairy Sphere, and Fairy Glitter. Fairy Law and Fairy Glitter are both similar in that it takes down enemies, but Fairy Law is the stronger of the two. Fairy Glitter will put a group down for the count, but Fairy Law will take out your enemy. Aging them decades, killing them instantly; it changes. And because it has such a bad consequence on the targets, Fairy Law also has a bad rebound on the users; the more people they catch in the spell, the more it will drain their lifespan."
"Jeez," Tony muttered.
"Yeah. In either way, you need to consider them your enemies, all the way down to your heart, or otherwise it won't work. Even if you just think they're your enemies, in a burst of anger or so, they won't actually work."
"Okay," Tony said. "And what about Fairy Sphere?"
"It's a defensive spell," I said. "It can't be cast by one person, but rather a group of people at once, and it's generated specifically through the feelings and emotions you have related with the other people in the group."
"What, like the power of friends makes me stronger?" Tony joked.
"Yes, actually," I admitted. "And I have a few theories on that, both philosophical and scientific, so we can go over that later if you want. Anyway; long spells are generally very powerful. Fairy Law is one of the few exceptions to this, because it takes directly from the Castor. Spells like these barely have any words at all. There's also a set of spells called the Amaterasu Formula. These spells cause insanity in the castor and are a very dark and powerful magic. Not fun getting hit by one of them, either."
I shivered, before continuing.
"They number from 1 to 100; the higher the number, the more powerful the spell."
"What were you hit with?" Tony asked.
I paused mid-bite. "Formula 10. I was thirteen. Not the best months of my life, I'll admit."
"Months?" Tony asked.
"Months," I agreed. "My own personal Afghanistan."
I felt Tony freeze. "Thirteen?"
"Thirteen," I said, eating my last piece of spaghetti and cleaning up my dishes. "But let's move on to happier topics, alright?"
I went over to the fridge and opened the door, pulling out the cake and carrying it to the island.
"Cake?" Tony asked, perking up.
"Cake," I nodded, setting it down in front of him.
His head tilted as he read it aloud. "Congratulations! On your newfound communication skills!" He looked up. "I thought we were celebrating the new element."
"We are," I said, grabbing his dirty plate and putting it in the sink. "But JARVIS mentioned that we could give leftovers to Pepper, Rhodey and Happy. And they're not going to know about the element until after your 'miraculous' recovery."
I took a knife from the counter and began to cut a slice. "This size good for you?"
He nodded, and I moved it onto a plate and passed it to him.
"You made this from scratch?" Tony asked, cutting off a piece.
I nodded, smiling. "How is it?"
His eyes went wide as he tasted it. "OHMAYGOHD!" He moaned, swallowing. "You are not allowed to leave. Ever."
I laughed. "That's good. I'm not the best at cooking (Natsu and Laxus are good at that, but they cheat with magic and I don't have the patience for cooking with fire), but when it comes to baking sweets…well, I can follow a recipe damn well. Because I love sweets. And if I can make them then I can eat them more. And I might also cheat a bit."
"You need to do this more often," Tony said, eating another piece. "JESUSIMINHEAVEN."
I smiled at him. "Ready for some more learning?"
He nodded, clearing his throat. "Yeah, but first, why is this so good?"
"A mix of ingredients and also magic," I admitted. "'Made with love' is a thing, actually. Though there is one girl who does particularly well with this type of magic, since it's related to emotions. You should taste her food. Anyway, since I use magic to prepare the cake, and magic is generally fused with emotions, it'll tend to taste good."
"That explains why your spaghetti tasted really good, too, even though it was normal spaghetti," Tony muttered. "I thought I was just hungry."
"To be fair, that might be it, too," I admitted. "Generally, the hungrier you are, the better something tastes."
Tony nodded, cutting another piece off his cake. "Back to magic, for now. Long spells are more advanced, generally; but ones that have a bad backlash on the caster don't. Any reason why?" He shoved the piece into his mouth when he was done.
I nodded. "Yeah. So, remember how I mentioned the 'magical container'?"
"Wh't ab't it?" he tried to speak through his full mouth.
"It's filled with something we generally call 'Ethernano'. That's what our magic runs on, and it naturally replenishes itself. But it's also in the air. Using the spell calls more Ethernano to you, which is one reason why longer spells are also stronger. Now, as I said before, Cana has Fairy Glitter. Lucy has one called Urano Metria."
"That sounds slightly familiar," Tony muttered after swallowing his cake with water.
"It is the name of the first known Star Atlas, sir," JARVIS announced.
"Huh," I muttered. "That explains a lot."
I looked up from the piece of cake I cut. "Then, there's something called 'Sacred Arts' – things that Slayers have. A specialized type of spell they need to build up more, and generally have a much more powerful outcome. They'll usually have a few different ones, and can even create their own."
"That's kinda cool," Tony muttered.
I nodded, taking a bite of my cake.
Okay. Yeah. Wow. That tasted good.
I missed corn sugar.
Shit, they're all going to go nuts over candy. I winced in my mind. Sorry, Lucy.
Well, at least Erza wasn't on Earth. They probably still had cake in space, but ever since Erza's had my cake, she's gone especially nuts over it (which is saying something because I didn't think she could go crazier over cake). And that's without corn sugar.
"Anyway," I said, taking a drink of water and hoping that half of them don't blow their cover over sugar. "There's one last important thing, I figure."
I nodded. "It's called a Unison Raid. Now, Unison Raids are generally considered difficult. The casters need to resonate on the same frequency and combine their magic, which is then doubled again. The easiest types of Unison Raids are Light, Water, and Sky (or Air or Wind)."
"What was that about frequencies?" Tony asked.
"Our magic is on a specific frequency," I explained. "Because of this, we're in tune with a lot of things in particular."
"Well…one of the girls back home has a type of Music Magic. If she plays the right sort of song with her magic, she can enhance other people's magic. Generally, we're a very music orientated group. Singing and dancing and things like that."
"That's kinda cool," Tony muttered. "But it could also be pretty bad. There's probably a way to magic-proof things, then, as long as they learn how to block frequencies."
"Probably," I said, sighing. "In our older world, we just used Rune Walls that Freed would put down - that would stop certain things - but I guess we would have to worry about things differently now, considering the technology available here."
"We'll work on it later," Tony said, shrugging, before pushing his (now empty) plate back to me. "More please?" he begged.
I rolled my eyes and cut another slice. "Only because it's a special occasion and you already ate dinner."
"Yes, mom," Tony said.
"Good, son," I said, patting his head as I passed him for the fridge. I smiled at his incredulous look. "I told you. I adopted you. And since I'm 'never allowed to leave' as you put it, I guess you adopted me too."
He did tell JARVIS he was keeping me, after all. Tony ate another scope of cake and seemed to be thinking. "What about the west coast?" he asked, out of nowhere.
"For now we'll leave this coast to Pym," I said. "But New York is where we'll need to be. A lot of things like to target New York. I have no idea why anyone would want to live there."
He gave me a look. "We want to live there."
"I meant civilians," I said, rolling my eyes. "JARVIS, can I access the internet through this countertop?"
"Yes, Mrs. Dreyar."
"That's fucking awesome," I breathed, double tapping on the island and watching the screen activate.
"Why are you opening Chrome?" Tony asked, watching me.
"Why?" I asked. "Is it not the best right now?"
He shook his head.
I grimaced and opened Internet Explorer. "I have an unusual amount of hatred for Safari and Firefox, and no, I do not know why. Chrome should be getting an update sometime this year though, I think, and it'll be working best then."
"JARVIS?" Tony asked.
"They have a new release scheduled at the end of May," JARVIS intoned.
"Goodie!" I muttered, going through Google. "Chrome is the best."
I looked up at Tony. "Unless you want to create your own browser. I'm sure a Stark Internet Platform would be the best one."
"You're not sure?" Tony asked.
"You didn't exist in my original universe," I pointed out. "And Tony, you're the mechanic equivalent of 'everything you can do, I can do better', remember? Whatever you decide to make will end up better; you're the second smartest person alive."
He started. "Second? Second?" he leaned forward eagerly. "Who's the first?"
"You've gotta be patient~!" I sang.
"Ellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllle," Tony whined. "Do you know how hard it is to find people who can even slightly keep up with me intellectually? To be able to find someone smarter than me?"
I gave him a soft smile. "You'll meet her eventually. And you'll have Bruce and Betty to look forward to meeting. Also Jane."
He groaned. "Fine, I'll wait. Can I at least have a hint?"
I rolled my eyes. "Oh My God, Tony. Fine. She doesn't have a last name."
"The…smartest person in the world…doesn't have a last name?" he asked, confused.
"Hmm," he muttered. "Is it like a hacker-code name?"
I sighed and shook my head. "Tony, you're going to drive yourself crazy trying to figure it out. She'll contact us eventually."
"She'll contact us?" Tony asked. "Why can't she do it now?"
I rolled my eyes. "Because we have things to do first."
He sagged. "Fine," he whined, pulling up a hologram of a self-cleaning litter box.
I sighed, going back to the screen in front of me. "JARVIS, can you show me Tony, Pepper, and Rhodey's schedules?"
"Why?" Tony asked.
"So you can tell them you were dying and we can discuss out a plan," I said, not looking at him. "Go back to your hologram."
He grumbled but did as I asked.
"Do you happen to know where Rhodey is?" I asked.
Rhodey was actually stationed close by, luckily, and Pepper had a free spot coming up soon.
"Alright. Tell Pepper and Happy to be here by 11:00 AM, tomorrow," I said.
"What?" Tony whined. "But that's so early."
"And tell Rhodey to go outside at 15 to 11," I continued, ignoring him. "There will be a ride waiting for him."
"There will?" Tony asked.
"Me," I answered. "Now, it's time for bed."
Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen - Cats, Part Four
I know that some of you will have trouble remembering the kittens' names; that's why they're named after pop culture. You should be able to get the colors right, at least.
Also, I will not tell you what I'm planning on updating next, because I obviously have no clue. ¯\_( ツ )_/¯ Sorry guys.
Chapter Thirteen - Cats, Part Four
Before going to bed, I finished tidying up. Tony put away his half-complete plans on a self-cleaning litter box, and I gathered the cats from their nap and moved them upstairs.
"I don't understand how they take up so much space when they're so tiny," Tony muttered, looking at the pile of cats sleeping on his giant king-sized bed.
"It's a cat thing," I told him. "This is another reason you're a cat. You're tiny and you like to take up an obscene amount of space."
He pouted at me, and I rolled my eyes. "Get in bed," I said. "Remember what I said about experimenting?"
"No," he claimed.
"Tony," I crossed my arms.
"Maybe," he muttered.
"Look," I said. "Maybe those bad sleeping habits are written into you, or something, but we should experiment. What if you're more productive if you get a proper sleep cycle?!"
"I can't," Tony whined, scooping up the nearest kitten, which was Tom, and snuggling him to his chest. "I just can't, Elle."
"That's what I'm here for," I told him, wiggling my fingers. "Sleep Magic falls under Chaos Magic. Kinda weird, yeah, but still true. Okay? I can help you sleep."
Tony pet Tom, thinking, and Simba got up and meowed at Tony, wanting his own cuddles. The other ones looked about ready to get up, too.
"Okay," Tony relented, climbing onto the bed and laying down. After waiting for him to finish, the cats began to climb all over him until they were comfortable satisfactorily.
"Do you want dreamless sleep?" I asked. "Or do you still want dreams? I can make sure they're not nightmares. I've been told you can get some pretty wacky dreams from it, though."
"Dreamless, for now at least," Tony said softly, stroking the cats. He closed his eyes and tightened his fists over the cats. "Do it now, before I change my mind."
"Eris's Sleep," I whispered, and the magic flowed from my hands and coagulated around Tony, his face relaxing and his hands unclasping.
The fog disappeared and I smiled at Tony before leaving the door to the room slightly cracked for the cats and crawling into my own bed.
"Goodnight, Tony," I whispered.
"Wha-?" Tony scrambled awake.
"Sir, Mrs. Rigby appears to be having a nightmare," JARVIS told him.
"Fuck," Tony muttered, pushing the cats off him. The kittens meowed up at him, but Duchess merely leveled a look, and Tony distinctly remembered Elle mentioning that cats thought the world revolved around them.
"Not now, kitties," he muttered, leaving his room and barging into the one a door down.
Elle was tangled in the sheets, sweating crazily as she tossed and turned.
Without a thought, Tony threw himself on the mattress and shook her. "Elle, wake up!"
Her eyes snapped open with a gasp, and her eyes flared with magic, glowing. The blue of her eyes were nearly silver, and her pupil seemed to be an odd purple color a few shades darker than a hair.
But it was only for a split second, before her eyes returned to a normal light blue, and she settled down, still shaking.
"Elle?" Tony asked quietly.
"I'm okay," she said quietly, still breathing heavily. "I'm okay, I'm good."
Her breathing calmed and she looked up at Tony. "You're lucky you're okay, Tony."
"Why?" he asked.
"Tony, shaking someone awake from a nightmare can be dangerous. It can be even worse if you have magic. Mine didn't attack you because it recognized you."
"Recognized me?" Tony asked, sitting back on the bed.
She nodded. "I told you, magic works on a different frequency. And any living thing emits a type of energy that magic can recognize. While it's easier with other wizards, it's easy enough for me to recognize you, especially since I care about you a lot. Makes it easier to match."
She said it so casually, it threw him off. It seemed like she was doing that a lot.
"Are you okay?" Tony asked her.
"I will be," she said, shuddering. "I haven't slept without my husband next to me in a long time." Elle gave him a sad smile. "I'll adjust, I just miss him for now."
There was a meow by the bottom of the bed, and Tony looked down to see that the cats had followed him in. Duchess hovered near the door, but the kittens were all near the bottom of the bed. Tony reached over and scooped them up, remembering what Elle said about them making people feel better.
He passed Salem, Aslan, and Tom over to Elle who gave him a bright smile and started petting them.
"Thank you, Tony," she said. "You're a good friend."
And there it was. Just so casually – like the sky was blue. The sun rises in the east. It was a fact of life.
He pulled the other three kitties closer to him as Duchess joined them all on the bed. "Why do you do that?"
"Do what?" she asked.
"I just…why do you like me? Most people hate me."
She snorted. "Tony, most people are idiots. And we're still going to fix that." Her smile curved up. "Well, not the idiot thing, that might be too hard. But we're going to change people's opinions of you, you know that. And it's going to be a bunch of fun, too."
"I just don't get-"
"Tony," she said, grasping at his hands. She bit her lip. "Okay, so listen, there's this thing my guild does. We sing songs to each other; romantic others, friends, siblings, parents. And we find a better way of expressing things that way. Magic resonates with music on a different frequency, so most of us are pretty good at singing and stuff."
"So?" he asked.
"The first time I did it, it was to help Juvia get over her hatred of rain," she continued slowly. "When she couldn't control magic, it was raining all the time around her, which made the other kids mad at her and led to some bullying. Which led to her hating the rain. Singing to her helped her have fun." Elle looked up at him. "Did you replace your broken piano?"
"No," Tony said, shaking his head.
"Alright, then you're going to have to let me warm up," she told him. "I'm not very good at guitar."
She requipped out a guitar and a Memory Card, and let the card play for a bit so she could hear the chords, before stroking the guitar a bunch of times to match it with hearing. After a few minutes of playing the wrong chord, with Elle's face getting more and more frustrated, Tony spoke up.
"Hey, JARVIS," he asked. "Can you identify those chords?"
Elle facepalmed as she stopped strumming.
"Alright, you ready?" I asked him.
Tony didn't really look ready but he nodded anyway.
"Listen to the lyrics," I told him, and started playing. I'm glad that the song was pretty slow, because it'd be easier for me to switch chords that way.
It doesn't make you a narcissiiiist, to looooove yourseeeelf.
It feels like nothing is easy, it'llll never beee.
That's alright, let it out, talk to me."
I locked eyes with him as I sang, and even though I wasn't actually using magic, it still resonated with the music to the point of where my outline and the guitar were slightly glowing, illuminating his face.
"You don't have to be a prodigyyyy to beeee uniiiiique.
You don't have to know what to saaay or what… to think….
You don't have to be annnybooody, you can never be.
That's alright, let it out, talk to me.
Annxiietyy, tossing turning in your sleeeep.
Even if you run awayyy, you still see them in your dreeeeeeeeeeeeams.
It's so daaaark tonight, but you'll surviiiiiiiiiiive certainlyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.
It's alriiiiiight, come insiiiiide, and talk to me.
We can talk here on the floor, on the phone if you prefer.
I'll be here until you're oookaaaaaaaaaay.
Let your words release your pain.
You and I will share the weight.
Growing strongeeer day byyy daaaaaaaaaaaaay.
It's so daaaaaaaark outside toniiiiight.
Build a fireeee warm and briiiiiight.
And the wind it hoooowls and biiiites.
Bite it back with, all your, miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
Annxiietyy, tossing turning in your sleep.
Even if you run away, you still see them in your dreams….
It's so daaaark toniiiiiiight, it looks niiiiiice, fall asleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
It's alriiiiiiight, come insiiiiiiiiiiiiide, and talk to me."
He stared at me with silent tears running from his eyes as I finished strumming. The light faded away with the music, and I watched his pupils opens as he struggled with finding something to say.
"Come on," I said, smiling at him. "Let's go downstairs."
I took his hands and pulled him down the stairs, clicking my tongue so the cats would follow.
"What are we doing?" Tony asked.
I sat him on the living room couch. "We…" I said, going back to the stairs for the closet at the bottom. "Are going to build a blanket fort."
"A what?" Tony asked, eyebrows rising.
I smiled at him. "Therapy is about more than just talking to someone. Sometimes, it's about trying new things, and finding out who you are." I carried over the bundle of blankets to him. "I can't imagine that you had a lot of time to be a kid, growing up. Can't really see Howard being approving of blanket forts. And in my first life, I didn't get a chance either. But the second?" I grinned. "We would have sleepovers all the damn time, watching movies and eating candy and rolling around in our stupid, not-entirely-structurally-sound forts."
"So…" Tony trailed off.
"So we're gonna build a blanket fort," I told him. "The top isn't supposed to be structurally sound, by the way, so if you're okay with tying blankets together and shoving it under walls and tying it to weird places in order to try to keep it up, then you can work with that. If purposely messing it up gets annoying, I can take care of that."
"I'll try with the top," Tony said slowly, with a soft smile.
"Great," I smiled. "Make sure that the blankets hide us from the windows to block out light, but frame the TV so we can watch shit."
"And…cake?" Tony asked hesitantly.
I grinned. "And cake."
Tony stood up and reached for the first blanket, and I went back to the closet and started grabbing a bunch of unused pillows.
"What are those for?" Tony asked.
"The floor," I told him. "We'll probably have to cannibalize some of the stuff from some of the bedrooms. We can probably leave ours alone, though."
He snorted, standing on the couch so he can tie one strip of the blanket to the chandelier. "'Cannibalize.' That's great. What're we gonna watch?"
"You've seen all the Harry Potter movies?"
"Yeah, the first part of Book Seven comes out in like…six months." Tony shrugged. "Can't believe they're splitting it in two."
"Well, you can believe I'm from the future," I said. "Where I died several years after the last movie came out. And that in my last universe, we created Memory Cards so I could share films and stuff."
He stared at me, mouth open. "You have the last two films?"
I smiled and nodded. "Yep. This is what I call therapy. In which we build a blanket fort, watch a movie and eat cake, and sleep with cats. Though warning you, I'm totally going to cry. Multiple times."
"I probably won't."
I shrugged. "I've been told I cry enough for two people. Or three. Maybe even four. It's fine."
"You didn't cry that much earlier," Tony mentioned, raising an eyebrow and grabbing another blanket.
"It's always worse with music and dramatic flashbacks," I admitted. Which is part of what made watching the Tartarus arc so fucking emotional for me in the first life. I laid out some pillows around the coffee table and gently moved the cat bed (with four of the seven cats on it) on top of some of the pillows.
"So, the blankets will probably end up draping a bit like a circus tent," I told him, grabbing some more pillows. "That's fine. Make sure that you get enough lift above the coffee table so we can still eat cake and watch the movie."
Tony made a sound of acknowledgment as he continued with the top of the fort. "How are you going to be able to watch the memory on the TV?" he asked.
"We aren't, not really," I admitted. "Not the way you're thinking. We haven't found a way to transfer it to any of your technological systems. I was thinking that JARVIS could light up the screen white, and then I'd project the card."
Tony nodded as he finished tying off another blanket.
"Tony, hey!" I said, turning to him. I nodded my head to the statue he'd tied it to. "What happens if that falls over?"
"Most of the fort will fall down?" Tony asked, confused.
I rolled my eyes. "Like, will the statue break? Is it important?"
Tony shook his head. "Nah, it should be solid enough. Especially since it will fall onto a pillow if you're lining the floor with them."
I nodded and continued laying out more pillows. "Alright."
Tony hung up one last blanket, before reaching for the last one, and I showed him how to hang it so it could be opened like a tent, or a curtain.
I pointed to the last blankets on the couch. "Spread those out on top of the pillows so it's layered. It'll help the kittens from getting lost. I'll cut up two slices for us."
Tony nodded and did that, while I cut two more pieces of cake for us and put them on plates and silverware.
"Ready?" I asked, using my magic to carry the dishes and moving the curtain out of the way.
Tony nodded and leaned back against the bottom of the couch from where he sat on the floor, away from the pile of kittens next to him. I put a plate of cake in front of him and the other in front of me, as I sat down next to him on the other side.
"JARVIS?" Tony asked.
"Yes, Sir," JARVIS said, lighting up the television screen with a very dim white glow. I requipped out the Memory Card and laid it on the couch, angling it up so it'd aim at the screen.
"In case I fall asleep," I told Tony's inquisitive look, queuing up the film. "Here we go. Deathly Hallows, Part One."
Tony grinned to me left as I sat back down, picking up his fork and scooping up some cake.
One of the kittens meowed next to him, getting up to sniff at the fork with cake on it.
Duchess batted her kitten back and moved forward to sniff it instead.
"Don't let her lick it," I told Tony. "I have treats for them if they start to get annoying. But it's not a good idea to give them things with milk."
"Aren't they cats?" Tony asked, confused.
"Actually, Mrs. Dreyar is correct. There has been evidence found that milk is bad for cats," JARVIS announced.
"Anyway," I smiled at Tony as he nudged to cats to the side to protect them from cake...or to protect his cake from them? It seemed like both. "Let's watch."
And we settled down for our first movie night.
The 'waiting for him to get comfortable' thing that the kittens did was something my cats do. Once they plop themselves down on me, they don't want me moving, so they'll wait for me to settle in.
The song is called 'Talk to Me' by Cavetown. I've linked it on every site it's available (so everyone but fanfiction).
Chapter 14: Chapter Fourteen - Rhodey, Pepper and Happy, Part One
New semester of college. I am exhausted as fuck. Sorry guys. :(
Chapter Fourteen - Rhodey, Pepper and Happy, Part One
Tony opened his eyes up downstairs, looking up at a collage of blankets.
He was sleeping an assortment of different pillows, with four or so cats on top of him. Looking around him, he spotted the other three on top of Elle.
What they did last night was more fun than he'd had in a long, long time. It reminded him of the really fun nights with Rhodey in college; not the ones where they went out and partied, but the ones where they stayed in and did stupid things and talked all night.
And the song…
God, that fucking song.
He understood what she meant about the importance of it.
The first two lines still got to him.
You don't have to be a hero to save the world. It doesn't make you a narcissist to love yourself.
Even as Tony Stark, he can be a hero. Not the same way Iron Man can, but he had the power and influence and genius to change the world.
He looked fondly over at Elle. And so that's what I…no, what we're going to do.
And as for the second line…he doesn't think he can just start loving himself so easily, but maybe he can try to stop hating himself.
"JARVIS, what time is it?" he asked, stretching.
"It is exactly 10:18 AM," JARVIS said promptly. "I was going to wake you soon if you did not wake on your own, but I didn't want to disturb your sleep. I do not believe I've ever seen you sleep that soundly."
"It was probably some lasting effects from Elle's spell," Tony said, cracking his back.
He turned to look at Elle, who was trying to shift underneath the cats without disturbing them (it wasn't working).
"What do you mean?" Tony asked.
"Kicking off the spell…maybe there was some latent magic left, but it's sort of like hitting a RESET button. You should fall back into a proper sleeping habit all on your own." She smiled. "Why don't you go shower before Pepper, Rhodey and Happy come over, and I'll cook some breakfast. Anything in particular you want?"
"Chocolate chip pancakes?" Tony asked hopefully.
"Alright," Elle said, shrugging and shifting off the kittens.
"You know you don't have to cook for me, right?" Tony asked.
"I know," she said. "But I want to. I like cooking, and I like taking care of people, so this is me being what you need me to be. A caretaker, a cook, an assistant…a friend…" she smiled at him.
"…I'll go take that shower now…" Tony said, picking off the cats and making a break for it.
To be honest, Elle probably had a point with the 'newfound communication' skills. With the exception a handful of people, he's never been good with open affection (Tony blames Howard). Even Maria wasn't allowed to be overly affectionate to him when Howard was watching (he's not a child, Maria, stop mollycoddling him). Of the main three who gave him affection, Jarvis and Ana are dead now, and half the time Peggy thinks he's Howard (and it's not like Howard had that type of relationship with her, so not a lot of hugs from that corner). Tony can sometimes get away with hugging his uncles, but he doesn't get to see them as often as he'd like, especially because they try to keep a low profile because of their Howling Commando background.
Rhodey, and Rhodey's family are also exceptions. Mama Rhodes is like Elle, in the way how he can't escape affection. She always insists on affection, and it's something that makes him love her all the more. Lila, Rhodey's niece, who is being raised by Mama Rhodes in Pennsylvania, is ten, and back before Tony went missing, she was 'getting too old for hugs, Uncle Tony!'. It wasn't until he returned safely from Afghanistan that she went back to hugging everyone. Though she doesn't stop now, of course. (Besides, how many kids get to say they can hug Iron Man?)
And Rhodey? Well. Rhodey's seen him at his best and at his worst, when he was a stupid fourteen-year-old genius in college, and when he was an idiot CEO before. He could count on Rhodey for just about anything.
But Tony's not exactly used to open affection. He doesn't see most of them often, after all, considering his Uncles live in a different state, one is in another country entirely with Aunt Peggy, and Mama Rhodes and Lila are also in a different state. Rhodey's probably the one he sees the most, and even then, that's only when he's on leave.
And that's only physical affection. Verbal affection is not something he does well. He doesn't know how to react to it, what to do with it, and usually whatever his blasé response is only ruins the moment, or even the relationship entirely.
At least when it's a hug, the person hugging him usually can't see his face.
Because of Howard, he was raised in the spotlight, ready for the sharks that were the businessmen and reporters. He knows what to do for just about anything…except actual affection. When he's in public, he tries to play off complements and such (which is usually what leads to news outlets calling him 'narcissistic'). But he still doesn't know how to react to them.
His mask always fails when it comes to positive attention.
"Why does she keep saying things like that?" Tony muttered in the shower, using the hose carefully so he didn't get water on his face (the first few times that happened were disastrous).
"Perhaps she actually means it, Sir," JARVIS suggested.
Tony paused. "I thought you didn't trust her."
"I don't," JARVIS commented. "Not entirely. You, Sir, are far too trusting. However, she seems to genuinely care about you, and her heartbeat remained steady the whole time."
Tony was quiet a bit before he said, "Hey, JARVIS, order a new grand, will you?"
"Yes, sir," JARVIS said.
Tony went back to showering, and started humming as he continued.
You don't have to be a prodiigyy, to beeeeee uniqueee...
He didn't hear him do it, but he's pretty sure that JARVIS was sighing, even if it wasn't audible.
I finished making the pancakes and tidying up as Tony came out of the shower.
"It smells good," he said, taking a deep breath.
"Good," I said, passing a stack of pancakes across the island to him.
"Hungry much?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at my stack of pancakes, which was slightly bigger than his.
"Yes," I said, sitting across from him on the island. "I told you, using up magic burns a lot of calories."
Tony hummed, using the countertop to pull up the litterbox plans.
"Mrs. Dreyar," JARVIS said. "It is nearing 10:45. I believe you said you'd pick up Colonel Rhodes?"
I nodded, finishing up my pancakes. "Thanks for the reminder. I'll be back in a few, guys."
I left Tony, telling him where I'd reappear back inside the house, and took one last look at the map before teleporting to Rhodey's location.
I appeared outside the fort, where Rhodey was already waiting on me. He seemed very annoyed – probably because Tony had said someone would pick him up and no one was there.
I know that JARVIS had told Rhodey to take a few hours off, but he was obviously getting frustrated.
Time to fix that.
I appeared right behind him, grabbed him, and then reappeared back in Tony's house.
"What the fuck?" He shouted, spinning around and pulling out a gun.
I was already gone.
But Salem was standing behind me and meowed at Rhodey, who grew even more confused at the sight of a kitten.
"Platypus!" Tony yelled happily. "You're here! Put down your gun, you're scaring the cats! And you're not allowed to hurt my new…"
I raised my eyebrow at him.
"…person," Tony finished awkwardly.
"Really?" I asked him.
"Tony, what in the hell is going on?" Rhodey demanded. "What 'cats'?"
"My cats," Tony said, like it was obvious.
"Since when do you have cats?" Rhodey asked, exasperated.
Salem took off and Rhodey watched him leave, and finally saw the blanket fort in its entirety. "What the fuck is that?"
"It's a blanket fort," Tony said snobbishly. "And if you're going to act like that, then you're not invited."
"Tony, explain," Rhodey said more firmly. He gestured to me. "Who the hell is this?"
"Uh…" Tony seemed to draw a blank.
"I'm Elle," I said, holding out my hand. Rhodey tentatively took it. "I know the future and have magic."
He dropped my hand.
"Tony," Rhodey groaned, turning to him. "Really? I thought you stopped using!"
"I did," he whined.
"What, so you're just taking them in, now?"
"Rhodey, she's telling the truth," Tony said. "She knows things. And her magic is awesome! And she's helping me. I'm not going to die anymore!"
He had gotten excited and spread out his arms, before his brain caught up to his mouth.
"What?" Rhodey yelled.
"Shit," Tony hissed.
And then the doorbell rang; Happy and Pepper have arrived.
"Oh, look, it's Pepper and Happy!" Tony deflected. "I'll just get the door-"
"Absolutely not, we're talking about this," Rhodey commanded.
"He's right, Tony," I said. "Both of you, sit your asses down. I'll get the door."
"...Who the hell are you?" Pepper blurted upon seeing me, which wasn't actually as surprising as I thought it'd be.
After all, it was eleven in the morning, Tony had invited them to a clearly important meeting, neither of them knew me, and I had purple hair.
Which can be kinda offsetting.
So not that surprising, actually.
"I'll explain in a bit," I said, holding open the door. "It's kind of a long story. Come on."
I jerked my head over to the kitchen and the two filed in suspiciously.
Rhodey and Tony were arguing in the kitchen.
"-why didn't you tell any of us?" Rhodey was saying.
"How was I supposed to break the news?" Tony said. "'Hi, how have you been lately? I've been dying, thanks for asking.'"
Pepper's sharp intake of breath made him pause. "They're right behind me, aren't they?" he asked, before spinning around and smiling at Pepper, holding out his hands. "Pepper! Darling, my love, Pepper-"
"Don't you dare," she hissed. "Don't beat around the bush, Tony! Tell me what the hell is going on."
Rhodey looked at Tony expectantly from another stool, his hands on his hips even though he was sitting, which was an odd sight.
Happy was just looking back and forth between the other three.
Tony opened his mouth and closed it several times before letting out a sigh. "I can't. It's complicated," he whined.
I rolled my eyes. "Alright, then how about I explain?" I looked at Pepper and Happy. "Sit down, guys. It's story time."
"Dear God, there's two of them," Pepper breathed, looking back and forth between me and Tony.
I laughed and went to the fridge to get out the cake. "Nah, I'm not that much like Tony. The only thing we have in common is the recklessness and self-sacrificing and snark, really."
"Oh, is that all?" Rhodey asked sarcastically.
"You're pretty smart," Tony said. "Not genius smart, but you've got some good ideas, and I know we still haven't gotten through all of it."
I shrugged, pulling out the cake. "I'll admit I can get pretty creative." I smiled at them, closing the fridge door with my foot. "Sit down, guys. Have some cake. You'll need it."
"Why is there a blanket fort?" Happy asked.
"Long story," Tony said.
"Was that a cat?" Pepper asked.
"Yeah, apparently Tony has cats now," Rhodey said, throwing up his hands. "How many, Tony?"
"Eight," I answered for him.
"I knew that," he said defensively.
Pepper moaned and sat down. "Where's the alcohol?"
Tony got up and opened a cabinet. "It's right-"
He paused. "Elle?" he asked, his voice slightly strained. "Where's the alcohol?"
"Hiding," I answered, putting down the cake and going for dishes and silverware.
"Jay, did you tell Elle where all the alcohol is?" Tony asked.
"I found it would be conductive to your health," JARVIS said.
"Traitor," Tony grumbled. He turned to me, having decided he's not going to get anywhere with JARVIS.
"But Ellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllle," Tony whined.
I put the silverware down on the plates and crossed my arms. "I told you, Tony. No more alcohol while you're sick."
"Wherever you hid it, I'll find it," he protested.
"It's in my requip space," I admitted.
His mouth dropped open. "That's cheating!"
"Oh no. How dare I?" I deadpanned. "Sit."
Still pouting, Tony sat back down at the table. "But-"
"Ah!" I said, holding up a finger. "Quiet, or no more cake."
He snapped his mouth shut, which seemed like an odd mix with the expression of horror he was wearing.
I passed out the plates and silverware with some of Saturn, and the Sky Magic landed them gently in front of each person as I started cutting the cake. "Is this a good size?" I asked Rhodey, looking at him.
He, Pepper, and Happy were still all staring at me with various expressions of shock on their faces. Probably because of the floating utensils.
"I'm gonna assume that's a yes," I said, cutting the size and passing them out. "Alright, introductions. I know who you all are. My name is Elle. Like the letter. I also take nicknames Ellie or Ella or anything other than my real name."
Before he had a chance to call me it, I spun around and pointed the large cake knife at Tony. "Ah! No. Cake!"
He deflated, still quiet. The other three still looked incredulous.
I sighed. "Alright, then. Let's start from the top."
Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen - Rhodey, Pepper and Happy, Part Two
So, apparently, my carpal tunnel went from being 'a slight nuisance after writing a few sentences by hand' to 'acute pain unable to bend my wrist in any direction and constantly throbbing'. So yeah. That's a thing. My doctor says that I'm lucky that I manage to type in a certain way, because my habits stop it from agitating my wrist. I've been wearing a brace a few days, and it's been getting better, though, so at least there's that.
But here's a chapter that's bigger than usual, so at least there's that! :)
Chapter Fifteen - Rhodey, Pepper and Happy, Part Two
"Alright, I'm twenty years old," I said, "And I'm married to a wonderful man who's currently on the other side of the country. Sorry guys, none of you are our type."
"Our?" Pepper squeaked.
I shrugged. "We're open to other people joining us. Depends on the situation. If we both fall in love with someone, or one of us falls in love with someone, then we'll talk it out. Polyamorous relationships are mostly pushed off, but they should be taken much more seriously. Plus, I find that communication makes things so much easier. Where I come from, there's a group of kids that I would bet all of Tony's money would end up in a poly relationship when they're all older."
The four were staring at me, even Tony.
"Right, it's 2010," I sighed. "Anyway, continuing on. As Rhodey has already heard, I know the future and also have magic. Those are not as related as you think; my magic doesn't allow me to see the future. Also, it's only a possible future. Now that we've come and started fucking things up, we're already on a different path."
The other three stared at me, Tony no longer surprised. I floated a cake slice over to Happy.
"Are you an alien?" Rhodey finally asked.
"No, I'm not an alien, yes, this is my real hair color," I answered. "And in the future, I will be teaching 'How to Care for your Pet Genius 101'."
"Hey!" Tony said.
I paused in my cutting. "I guess this slice is for me, then?"
His eyes widened. "No, please Elle!"
"It can't be that good," Rhodey said.
"Then I'll just take yours!" Tony shouted.
I used my magic to push him back down onto the seat. "Bad Tony. Now you really shouldn't get another piece of cake, I was just teasing originally. No stealing."
"Please!" Tony whined.
"No," I said, turning and putting the cake back in the fridge. "Jarvis, are their electronic locks on the fridge door?"
"Yes, there are," Jarvis said. "Would you like me to regulate them, Mrs. Dreyar?"
"Yes, please," I said, closing the door. "Tony needs someone else if he wants to get in."
"Traitors!" Tony shouted, sinking down in his chair.
"I don't get what you're making such a big deal about," Rhodey complained, finally taking a bite. He swallowed it. "Okay, now I'm starting to see it."
"He's my best friend, we steal food from each other all the time," Tony complained.
"Is he alright with that?" I asked.
"Just for the record, I am not alright with you stealing this cake," Rhodey said, taking another bite. "You know I'll usually give you what I'm eating, Tones, but this is the exception."
"But caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake," Tony whined.
"I still don't understand what's going on," Pepper said slowly.
I nodded, ignoring Tony's whines and eyes. Now he looked more like a kicked puppy than a cat. "So, since I know the future, I also know how to fix Tony's dying problem."
"His what?" Pepper shrieked, paling. "He was telling the truth?"
"Why would I lie about that?" Tony asked.
"I don't know!" Pepper yelled. "But it's better than it being true!"
"See, this is why I didn't want to tell you!" Tony yelled back, throwing his hands in the air.
"I mentioned fixing it, right?" I interrupted them. "Look, he's gonna be sick for a while, but we're gonna find a solution, and I do have some Healing Magic, enough to buy us a lot more time."
"How are you dying?" Rhodey asked, turning to Tony.
Tony sighed. "The palladium in the arc reactor has been discharging into my bloodstream. If we don't find an element that will be accepted by the human body, then I'll end up dying from palladium poisoning."
"But you can fix it?" Pepper turned to me desperately, and the others followed her gaze.
I nodded. "He'll be okay. He's probably going to be acting a bit weird for the next few months, so I'm gonna be his impulse control."
"I've known you one day, Elle, and I'm pretty sure you have no impulse control," Tony pointed out.
I stuck my tongue out at him. "I'll be able to stop you from making really, really, REALLY stupid decisions." Like the racecar driving and the party, I thought. I looked at the other three. "He's gonna be sick for a while, but he'll end up okay."
Tony nodded. "It'll take a while," he agreed. "But-"
He was unable to finish over the simultaneous groaning from the other three.
"'Course there's a catch," Pepper said darkly.
"What?" I asked, confused. "There's no catch. Why do you think there's a catch?"
"He said 'but'," Rhodey said plainly.
"Well, as you can tell from the cake, we're working on Tony's communication skills," I said. "He originally wasn't going to tell you about this, but he made contingency plans in the case of his death, and even though he's not going to die," I emphasized, "Tony and I agree that some of those plans should still be implemented."
"Yeah," Tony said, nodding. "Like, Elle's gonna be my new PA!"
"What?" Pepper cried.
I facepalmed. "Tony, communication. What did you forget to tell Pepper first?"
"What do you mean?" he asked me.
"She thinks you just fired her!" I told him, gesturing to her pale face.
"Oh, shit!" he spun around. "No, no, no, I'm not firing you! I'm giving you a promotion!"
"What?" Pepper asked, some color returning.
"Well…if I died, I wanted the company to be in good hands. But then I realized, you're already doing just about everything other than actual engineering in an unofficial capacity, and you should get recognized for it. So, I'm making you CEO!"
The three stared at him.
"You're making me…CEO?" Pepper asked in a strangled sort of voice.
"Yep!" Tony said eagerly.
"I don't think you can bump someone straight to CEO from PA," Happy said.
"Don't care, doing it anyway," Tony said. "My company, my rules."
"Not anymore," I pointed out. "Pepper's company. Well, I mean you still have majority stock, but you get the idea."
Tony pouted at me, before spinning back to look at Pepper. "So, I figured we should throw an announcement party! This Friday, in New York!"
"What?" Pepper asked.
"There's already that one charity ball, see? We can announce it there!"
I shook my head. "No, Tony, that will redirect attention from the charity to Pepper. We should do it the day after."
Tony pouted. "So, Saturday morning?"
"That makes more sense," I nodded.
"I'm still dragging you to the ball," he told me.
I rolled my eyes.
"Wait, I haven't even agreed yet!" Pepper pointed out.
"But you're not going to disagree," Rhodey said, and Pepper sighed.
"No, I'm not," she sighed.
"Perfect," Tony said. "What else was there?"
"A week from Friday, we'll be making an announcement regarding your health," I reminded him.
Pepper's eyes widened. "Tony, if you tell people you're dying, SI's stock is going to drop like crazy."
I shook my head. "We've been planning it out. Tony has some tech that will slowly be released after his death because SI's board teemed it too high tech for the modern person."
Tony nodded. "It's true, too. Even commercializing holograms, it would still be too much for consumers. Tech needs to build itself up first, otherwise it'd overwhelm the public and they wouldn't want to use it."
"In addition to that," I continued. "We'll be using Tony's 'impending death'-" I made quotation marks to remind them that Tony wasn't actually going to die, "to be able to make some more things and make certain deals with the government in our favor."
"You're really doing this?" Rhodey asked.
Tony nodded. "Just hold off the government for a little bit more, Honey Bear. Please. We know what we're doing."
"What about me?" Happy asked.
I shrugged, "You keep driving Tony."
"I can drive myself!" Tony said.
I didn't really blame Tony for wanting to drive himself. His parents died in a car accident, and he also wasn't the one driving when the convoy was attacked in Afghanistan, which probably just added on to his fear in his subconscious.
I'd seen Happy drive a car with Tony in it, but the only time I can think of is when Happy and Tony were dropping off Peter in the beginning of Homecoming.
"Tony, it's not reasonable for me to teleport you everywhere," I muttered rolling my eyes. "And I'm not exactly comfortable with you driving when you're sick."
As he opened his mouth I continued. "And I don't know how to drive, remember?"
I lived in downtown Boston, less than ten minutes away from my workplace. I didn't need a car.
And I always just sort of teleported back in Fiore.
"Fine," he sulked.
I rolled my eyes. "Less driving means more time experimenting."
He brightened at that.
"Uh…" Rhodey interrupted, him and Happy staring behind me. Tony and Pepper twisted around in their seats.
"Milo! Get off the counter!" I said to the kitten.
"Milo," I said sternly. He looked back and forth between me and the frosting left on the counter.
"Just take him off, Elle," Tony said. "You can't get a cat to listen."
I didn't listen to him. "Milo…Down."
The kitten leapt off the counter.
"I can't believe he listened to you," Tony muttered.
"Kitten's smarter than you," I said, ruffling his hair. "Maybe I'll give him cake."
"Elle," Tony whined.
I rolled my eyes. "I'm joking. You can't give a cat cake, it'll get sick." I cleaned up the frosting. "But I'm not that surprised he listened. He's your cat."
"But Tony doesn't listen," Happy pointed out.
"Not that," I said. "But they're Tony's. So they're gonna be smart."
"That's not how it works, Elle," Tony said.
"Yes, it is."
"No, it's not."
"Maybe not in the normal world," I reminded him. "But remember what I said about this one? We randomly found cats in a back alley when I had decided that you should have cats. They were destined for you, and so they'll be smart. Because they're yours."
"Tony," Rhodey moaned.
"I'm not that insane," I told him.
"You sound kinda insane," Tony said. "But you also kinda make sense."
I shrugged. "I'm like 89% sure. No. Wait. I'm 88% sure." I smiled. "So there's a 12% chance I'm wrong."
"Dear God, there's two of them," Pepper moaned.
I frowned. "I thought we already cleared that up."
"No, she's right," Rhodey sighed. "There's two of them now."
"Not true!" Tony protested.
"Yeah!" I said. "I take care of people! Tony can barely take care of himself!"
"She's right!" Tony said. "and hey!"
"You know you can earn cake back, right?" I asked him.
"I'll be quiet now."
"This is insane," Happy said. "She made him quiet."
"You don't need to be quiet to earn cake back, Tony," I told him. "Being loud is who you are. And I'm trying to get you to communicate more. You just need to be quiet about certain things in particular."
He smirked. "Oh, like your name?"
"Cake is still in the air," I reminded him.
"There's nothing wrong with your name," he told me.
"There is when assholes who use Amaterasu formulas call me by it the entire time I'm there."
Tony's smile dropped off. "Oh."
"What is it?" Rhodey said, he and the others noticing the change in the air.
"Nothing," Tony shook his head. "Anyway, Pepper, JARVIS and I talked to builders and we're going to start building a tower in New York!"
He tapped the island and projected the blueprints to show them, and Rhodey approached me to take me aside.
"Walk with me," the man told me, and I followed him outside.
"So," I said after a bit of silent walking. "Is this where you give me the platonic version of the shovel talk?"
"No," He said. "This is where I thank you."
I paused and stared at him. "What?"
"This is where I thank you," he repeated. "I don't know where you come from, or what you believe, or even what your end goal is. And I don't necessarily trust you, either. But I've watched over Tony for years. And by now, I've learned when people are in it for the long run. So thank you for looking out for him when I can't. Because I can tell that you care, and that's what matters."
I smiled at him. "No problem. I like being there for Tony. He deserves more people around him."
I frowned, remembering what happened in the movies. The worst part about everything was that by the end, Tony was almost always alone.
"Yeah," Rhodey nodded, giving me an appraising look. "He does."
A few hours later, after agreeing over things, Pepper, Rhodey and Happy all left.
While the announcement of Pepper's jump to CEO wouldn't be until Saturday morning, we'd sign the company over on Thursday, and then file the rest of the paperwork over the next few weeks.
When they were gone, I turned to look at Tony, who was leaning against the island, thinking.
"So…" I crossed my arms. "When were you going to tell me about the charity ball?"
"…Friday?" Tony answered, scooping Marie off the ground and using her to hide his face.
"Of all the cats to hide behind, you not only choose a kitten, but the smallest," I shook my head.
Tony pouted and lowered Marie, allowing her to curl up on his shoulder. "I wasn't really planning on going to this one," he admitted.
"Tony, it's for charity," I said, rolling my eyes.
"I know," he said. "But it's full of stuffy old rich people. They'll spend most of the time talking about how much money they spent on their outfits. I was probably going to just go to an actual charity instead or something."
I smirked at him. "Remember the 'chaos' I mentioned? What makes you think I'd leave a charity ball alone? I'm going to fuck up the status quo, especially when it comes to fucking with them."
"You did mention that," Tony admitted. "But how?"
I smiled, sitting on the couch, and a few of the kittens started hopping up to curl on my legs. Tony sat next to me and took the rest of the kittens, and Duchess gave us both a look from where she sat on the arm of the couch, upset with the shaking.
I looked at Tony. "You said they spend a lot of money on their clothes, right?"
"Accessories, too," Tony muttered.
"Okay, so here's what we'll do," I said. "I'll grab Lucy's spirit, Virgo, and the three of us will go shopping for fabric. That's it, just fabric. And we'll set a limit, like no more than a certain amount can be spent, like...$50 each."
"$100," Tony countered.
I rolled my eyes. "You don't even know what you're arguing for, but we'll see. Anyway, then Virgo will make what we're going to wear. And it'll look amazing, just you wait. And then we'll show off our outfits, and me, the clueless newcomer when it comes to the higher lifestyle, will ask why the hell they'd spend so much on their clothing when they could just give the rest of their money for charity, because that's the whole point of the ball in the first place."
Tony laughed. "That's great!"
"And we'll set the rules at the previous charity ball, and switch it up at the next one," I explained. "For example, we're the only ones who will be making our outfits cheap this time. Next time, everyone else will also do it, and so will we, but we'll add another touch onto it."
Tony nodded. "Setting a trend."
I smiled. "Let's break the internet."
We high-fived and tried to get up to go do some science, which led to the kittens getting upset.
"Wow, cats are needy," Tony muttered, and he stopped shifting.
"Yes, you are," I said, rubbing his hair.
He glared at me, but his heart wasn't in it.
"I'm getting up anyway," I told the kittens.
They didn't move.
I sighed. "Have it your way." I grabbed the blankets from the back of the couch and warming them up, before I bunched them together and shifted the cats onto it.
"Wow, they didn't even move," Tony muttered. The cats had barely changed positions.
"They're comfortable," I said, pulling Tony's cats off of his lap and putting them with the others. "It doesn't take much for them to get back into place, but they'll stay here since I warmed up the blanket." I patted the seat of the couch. "When a cat is on a person, and the person has to leave, the cat is usually more upset by the lack of body heat than by how comfortable the position is, though that probably changes depending on the climate."
"They like heat?" Tony asked.
I snorted. "They will fight you for heat. I've seen Lucy and Happy fight over Natsu before, because he burns a lot hotter, not just because he's a Dragon Slayer, but also because his element is fire."
Tony nodded, and started leading the way downstairs. "Hey, Elle, how are you going to get Virgo?"
"I'll just go visit her in Roswell," I shrugged. I had told Tony where everyone was stationed when I was discussing part of my plan.
"Uh, Roswell is pretty far from here," Tony pointed out.
I frowned. "JARVIS, what's the distance between here and Roswell?"
"It is approximately 980 miles to Roswell, New Mexico," JARVIS said. "If one is traveling in a straight line and avoiding all obstacles."
I winced. "Well, Corvus should visit in a day or two, at least, so there's that…and I guess we can always try screaming at the sky if we need to. The Celestial Spirit World was switched over, after all, so they might be able to hear."
"Wait, how far can you teleport?" Tony asked. "Because if the jump from here to Roswell is too much…"
"It would be," I admitted. "And that's going to be another thing I'll practice this month. Fiore is around the size of New Jersey…hell, even smaller. I haven't actually ever jumped that far in comparison."
"Didn't you say you were planning to jump to Culver from Roswell, though?" he asked.
"Yeah," I said, remembering the plan. "Why, how far is it?"
"It's probably around 2,000 miles," he said, giving me a look.
I winced. "…Yeah, that'll need some practicing. I didn't exactly know where Culver University is. Oh well, we have a month."
"Now," Tony clapped his hands together. "Let's get to work."
980 is my guess from using my finger as a measurement on Google Maps.
No, no one will be joining Elle and Laxus's relationship. But this is a head's up that some of the couples may gain a third member (probably not your OTPs don't worry).
Also, yes, you will eventually get the Happy and Lucy fight in Ripples. :)
Cats do love heat. In my old house, there was only one vent that had enough space to sit in front of, at the bottom of the stairs. Whenever the heat came on, both my cat and I would rush for it and fight for a spot (we eventually came to an agreement in which I pinned down blankets around the edges of the heater, and both of us sat under the blanket in the warm air.
Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen – Montage, Part One
Happy Superbowl Sunday! Hope you enjoyed our minuscule TV spot for Endgame.
Chapter Sixteen – Montage, Part One
"Launch!" Tony called.
I released my magic and the titanium ball flew through the air, flying towards a wall of metal.
It ripped straight through, leaving a hole in the middle.
"Jarvis?" Tony called.
"I'm afraid that is still not enough force as estimated," Jarvis said.
I sighed. "And it still ripped a hole straight through."
"Alright, let's upgrade to Titanium then," Tony muttered, grabbing a panel of wall and hauling it over to where we'd secure it into the ground.
The decision to calculate the force needed was probably the most troublesome part. I didn't know just how strong Bucky was, but I did know enough for us to get a rough estimate. After all – Steve could grab a helicopter with one arm and a bar with the other and hold it in place while the copter was actively trying to fly away.
With the help of Jarvis, Tony and I discovered the weight of the helicopter. After showing him the memory (and we both took a few seconds to appreciate Cap's physic) he took the acceleration speed (how fast it took for the copter to get in the air) and the deceleration speed (how quickly Cap pulled it to a stop) along with its weight in order to calculate the amount of force needed to hold the helicopter in place.
The problem is that even with this, and knowing the fact that Bucky is weaker than Steve, Bucky also had a metal arm. And the movies had shown that he didn't care about any damage to his body. Back in my first life, I saw a post on tumblr talk about the difference between the way that Steve and Bucky both land when they fall and how Steve lands lightly on his feet so his body doesn't take damage. Bucky, on the other hand, doesn't care and falls heavily on his feet (which is apparently really bad for the knees) and just focused on fulfilling his mission no matter the pain. So we also had to prepare for Bucky deciding to do something like that, and just plow through walls anyway.
Tony set the new wall in place and I grabbed a ball.
Tony and I had had an argument earlier, when he realized that I could make something out of nothing. I argued that magic was still energy, and I was using the energy to create something. He said that making gold was still cheating.
I pointed out that I don't really make gold, but he pointed out that I could and so it was cheating.
He might have a bit of a point.
Back in Fiore, if something was created with magic, it was priced differently (actually, it was usually more expensive, because items made with magic could usually be imbued with magical properties, so they could be turned into charms and such). As I mentioned to Tony, all living things have energy, and you can generally sense the energy coming from magic, like the humming of electricity.
Upon pointing that out, Tony got a bit happier, especially learning that he might be able to imbue energy (because magic is energy) in the metals.
Because we weren't testing the strength of magic, but just trying to build stable walls for Bucky, he instead forged the balls on his own, with regular metal. This is so we didn't need to worry about the extra factors caused by magic, because I was only using magic so I can mimic the strength caused by a super soldier hitting something with a metal arm. So the magic was used to throw the balls at high speed, rather than actually using the magic to attack the wall.
That testing would come later.
"Ready?" Tony asked.
I nodded, building up the magic, and U beeped, focusing the camera on a wide shot covering me and the metal wall from the side.
"Launch!" Tony yelled.
The ball flew through the air and still left a hole in the metal, but it was oddly misshapen and the ball was almost definitely scratched up.
"Jarvis, was that good enough?" I asked.
"You are at approximately the right speed to equate the force, Mrs. Rigby," he announced.
"Yes!" I cheered.
Tony walked over to the hole. "U, did you get that?"
The little bot beeped, shaking the attached camera.
Dum-E set off the fire extinguisher.
"Dum-E, nothing is on fire-" Tony paused as he looked at me. I tried to hide the remaining traces of Mars, but it didn't work. "Elle, don't encourage him!"
"Aww, but it's cute," I pouted. "And he's like a cat. You know, with a laser pointer? He still hasn't figured out where the fire is coming from. And I'm celebrating finally getting the speed right!"
"He knows the fire is because of you," Tony said, gesturing to the bot. "He's gonna be super attached to you, now."
"That's okay," I said. "You want more fire, Dum-E?"
The bot whistled and spun around.
"How about we practice your aim?" I asked him. The bot stopped and tilted his head, curiously looking at me. I saw his camera focus on my face.
"Here's what we're going to do," I told Dum-E. "I'm going to make a fireball, and throw it. You're going to put it out. The goal is to use as little stuff from the fire extinguisher as possible."
Tony snorted. "'Stuff'. It's sodium bicarbonate."
"We can't all be geniuses," I told him. "I'm lucky that I can probably guess what that looks like in chemical formula. I didn't get to finish middle school, remember?"
"You're still smart," he said, rolling his eyes. "You can't keep using that as an excuse."
I shrugged. "I went to the library a lot. Chemistry and physics interested me a bit, so I know some more of that, but not the really heavy stuff. I never had time for mechanics. I love space, but biology…not so much. Unless it was psychology, which doesn't really count."
"So all over the place," Tony nodded, measuring the hole the ball left.
"Pretty much," I said, shrugging.
Dum-E beeped and tugged on my shirt.
I smiled down at him. "Okay, so I'm going to make one fireball, and throw it. Once it stops moving, it should stay in place, and it won't burn anything, alright? And I'm going to make it purple, so you know you don't need to get rid of it immediately. If it's the normal color of fire, then you should try and blow it out immediately, understand? Even if in the future, it's me that's making it."
"Ca' 'u 'ake i' 'ack?" Tony asked, the ruler in his mouth now.
I rolled my eyes and made the ruler float with Saturn. "Don't eat your tools. Now, what was that?"
"Can you make it black?" he asked, comparing the numbers he was adjusting to the ones from the last test so he could pick the next metal wall. "I don't exactly have potassium chloride lying around, but if it happened to fall into fire, it would turn the fire purple. With the right chemicals, you can make fire turn just about any color, except black."
"'Cause black is the absence of light, right?" I asked him, focusing on the color in my mind.
"Yep. It's common sense, but it still throws people off, and I'm pretty sure they don't teach that in basic school," Tony said. "Don't they do it the other way?"
"That's paint," I said. "Black is all the colors together and white is absence when it comes to paint, because it's on whether or not pigment has been added. Light is opposite. Which is why the primary colors of light are red, green and blue."
"Not red, yellow and blue?" Tony asked.
I snorted. "While they can technically be considered the primary colors of paint, it's really just switched with light's secondary colors, which is fuchsia, cyan, and yellow. Which is why that's what printers use for colored ink. Some artists prefer working with those shades as their primary colors, instead."
"Why do you even know this?" Tony asked.
I shrugged, making the black flame come to life/
"You ready?" I asked the little bot, and he beeped and ran after it as I threw the ball.
"Dum-E, when it's done moving, try and do it from five feet away," I shouted to him, before turning back to Tony. "I didn't really give up hope on my future until the time I ran away. So up until then, I actually had dreams like most people. Thing is, they were never really concrete dreams; they'd shift from day to day. The longer ones would last a while. I was interested in some digital work, with coloring, for a bit. I can't draw for shit, but I liked doing stuff on the computer, so I ended up learning about RGB. When I learned that white was the combination of light, as opposed to the absence of paint pigment, it confused me for awhile, so I spent longer trying to understand what the differences were. That's one reason I still remember it."
Tony nodded, still looking at the hole.
"You already knew all that, didn't you?"
I laughed, moving closer to him. "Thanks for humoring me. What are you doing?"
"You see how this part of the metal was dented?" Tony asked, running his finger along the inside of the hole. "And it looks sort of stretched out?"
"Yeah," I said.
He nodded. "Even though your speed was faster, this wall is stronger than the last one, strong enough to slow it down. It's a lot more resistant than the last one, and it's stretched out several inches further than the last test…"
He mumbled to himself as I heard Dum-E whistling away from us, where he danced around a white blob on the ground.
"What's that?" Tony asked.
I shrugged. "I lit the fireball around some Earth. I felt like a physical object to hit might make it easier on him."
Dum-E whistled and came back to me, tugging my shirt.
"Again?" I asked him.
"Try it from ten feet away this time, okay?" I asked him.
His whistled and waited.
I conjured up the fireball and threw it across the yard.
"Hey, Jarvis?" Tony asked.
"Yes?" asked the computer we brought outside with us.
"Can you hack the satellite and see us from space?" Tony asked.
"You want to see check on how the illusion is holding up?" I asked Tony.
We decided (me, I decided) that we should experiment outside because, well…magic. And also, we'd have more space. So I used one of Cana's cards to create what we call a sustaining illusion. It's especially helpful because I don't need to continually cast Eris to do it; I just cast the spell and link it to the card, which keeps it powered, same as Freed's runes could be.
Since the illusion wasn't really interacting with anything, it was easier done than giving Tony an illusion. This is like taking a picture of a hallway and putting it over a camera so the security watchers can't see.
Since Tony was a living, breathing person, the illusion would need to interact with him. Even if I linked it to a card, it was a much stronger spell to cast in the first place.
"This is the view that others are seeing from the satellite," Jarvis said, projecting a picture - one that Tony had already seen.
"Tony, it's not going to change. It will stay up, don't worry."
"It's still so cool," Tony murmured, staring at the screen. "I just can't believe how easily you took care of it. How it still seems like we're not even outside at all."
"You should see the stuff that Macbeth can do. It's really something," I said.
"Doesn't make this less impressive," he said, turning away from the image and ambling up to grab the next sheet of metal, which he started switching out and attaching to the poles in the ground.
I beamed at him. "I'm really looking forward to seeing how you react when we pull out the big guns."
His smile mimicked mine, and both Dum-E and U started beeping and spinning around. Butterfingers just looked at them sadly and let out a series of beeps that sounded like a sigh.
"Butterfingers is the mature one?" I asked, bemused.
Tony smiled, locking the wall into place. "The younger ones are more mature. Even though they are all learning A.I.s. The newer ones just have bigger processing abilities, so they pick things up faster."
I turned and grabbed the next ball and waited for Tony to finish setting it up.
"Ready?" he asked.
I tightened the magic, building it up to the same level as last time. "Got it."
"Launch!" he called.
I let go and the ball slingshot over to the wall.
But it didn't go through it this time, instead it knocked it over.
We ran over for a better look. There was a large dent where the ball had hit it, and it looked like it almost went through. The wall had also ripped out of the supports, which is why it fell over. Something I probably should have realized that we'd have to reinforce as the walls got stronger.
"Awesome!" Tony hissed, jotting things down.
"What now?" I asked him.
"Now…" he said. "I need you to use magic."
I raised an eyebrow. "How?"
He drew up the specks of the walls and other metals he'd need as the bots started cleaning up. "I figure that if you make the metal out of magic it'd be stronger. Can you make this much metal with your magic, and will it last?"
I nodded. "Yeah. It'll be a bit until we rescue Bucky, so for now I'll build a wall a day. I'd rather spread out the production and make them stronger than get it done quickly."
"Okay," Tony said, and the group of us headed inside, while I grabbed the card sustaining the illusion.
"Do you want to keep this?" I asked as the bots zoomed the equipment away. "You can always use it again."
Tony smiled. "Yeah, that'd be great."
Today, April 27th, was a Tuesday. I was hoping Corvus would come around today, and I could make him grab Virgo.
If he doesn't show up within an hour or two…I'll probably send a Thought Projection to Lucy about it.
Thought Magic is something most wizards will pick up very easily. Mostly because the centering wizards need to do to focus their core also focuses thoughts. Projecting your thoughts into another's mind is actually pretty easy, and while I started making sure that most people had some forms of Tertiary Magic that could be helpful (Requip, Teleportation, Location Magic, Transformation Magic, etc) Thought Magic was also included.
I just don't really like doing Thought Projections. I like being in my body. There's a reason I don't wander the Astral Plane, like Lucy so freely does. Or even Jellal, who's also pretty cavalier about it. It's one thing for me to take energy from it, wandering it is another concept. Returning to the water and oil example about magic, using magic from that plane is like opening a hole, or a doorway that lets more magic in. Wandering it is like swimming in it, and it's something that's hard for me to handle.
Zeref (an ex-dark wizard member of Fairy Tail that can't die (it's complicated)) says that it's probably because Lucy and Jellal's magic is a more concentrated and pure form. Mine specializes in elements, and that makes it more difficult for me to wander freely. So I prefer to stay in my body. Lucy can Astral Project and dance around with her spirit in her dreams all she wants, but that is just not for me.
Freed thinks it's because I died before, and that when I project out of my body, the tether between my vessel and soul become thinner.
I overheard Zeref telling Mavis he thought that too; he just didn't want to scare me.
And it is a scary concept.
So I'll only Astral Project if I really have to. Right now, it was close to two o'clock. If Corvus didn't show up at four, I'd contact them then. I wanted Virgo to get started on our clothes soon. I know that she's amazing, but the ball was on Friday, the last day of the month. And the 30th was only three days away.
So she didn't exactly have a lot of time.
Though I suppose she might be able to get help from Capricorn and Loke, when it comes to suits.
"Let's eat," I told Tony. "Sciencing makes me hungry."
Next chapter should be up on Wednesday or something. Next Ripples chapter should be up next weekend. (THESE ARE NOT FIXED DATES). But they should be a-coming soon.
By the weekend (in the story not actual irl) things will start picking up soon! We've got a few more parts of the Montage to go, though.
Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen – Montage, Part Two
Things I forgot to mention:
The idea of Tony in a blanket fort partly comes from the fic 'Why HYDRA Should Not Use FedEx'. That is the previously mentioned fic in which Jasper Sitwell accidentally finds out the Hydra thing is real, and not a prank. I recommend it, it's on AO3 and is only 15K.
Also this weekend I'm doing the 48 hour film festival!
Now have some crack.
Chapter Seventeen – Montage, Part Two
I didn't end up having to Astral Project.
In addition to all my other problems with Astral Projecting, I always get weird dreams after, too. Laxus has never had a problem with it and Lucy and Jellal actually like their dreams.
But mine, especially mixed with the Eris I used earlier for the illusion? That's not something I'm looking forward to.
And yeah, maybe that makes me a bit of a baby, but sleep is important to me.
And I don't like to linger on Freed's theory, either.
Corvus showed up a few minutes after three, and sighed at the look on my face. "What do you want?"
"Virgo," I answered.
"Why Virgo?" he asked.
"We need to look good while we break society," I explained.
"You're going to need to channel," Corvus warned me.
I made a face, but held out a hand. "Fine."
"What does he mean by 'channel'?" Tony asked. "Are you sharing magic?"
"Kinda," I admitted. "Lucy's powerful enough and has strong enough contracts that all of her Zodiacs and Platinums can come out on their own, and spend a general amount of time out of the Celestial World. Virgo can come out on her own, too, which she probably will-"
"Actually, Princess says she'll support her," Corvus said, his eyes closed as he concentrated on his hand and mentally spoke to Lucy.
I sighed. "If Lucy really wants to. Virgo might be out for a few days, if she wants to keep working."
"Princess does," Corvus said. "And Virgo will."
"Corvus, and even the other Platinums can travel as they want, like through his shadows," I continued explaining to Tony. "While Virgo can travel, it's not extremely long distances. She can burrow underground, but there's no point in doing that in New Mexico and coming here. What I'm doing is localizing a signal; sending out a flare, basically. She's coming to me and-"
I grunted as the Celestial Spirit Magic hit me.
I honestly don't know how Lucy does this shit.
"-and I prop open the gate," I finished, as Virgo's magical circle appeared, before she shimmered into existence.
I relaxed as Virgo took the burden and passed it back to Lucy. "And then once she's in the right place, they'll take the magic back."
Tony was staring at Virgo. "Oh my god. It all makes sense."
"What does?" I asked.
"Of all the fictional universes out there, you decided to jump into anime?" he asked, gesturing to Virgo.
"Don't make fun of me you cuddly cat loving science nerd!" I shouted at him.
"None of that is an insult," he deadpanned.
I deflated. "Yeah…but don't make fun of me. Some anime is great! And hilarious."
"You're really doing this?" he asked.
I glared at him. "Netflix is a thing now, right?"
"Good," I said. "We're having another sleepover tonight. And we're going to watch anime."
"Elle," he sighed.
"Give them a chance," I said. "Some of them are kinda weird, and they're written in a different style, but it's still really good and enjoyable."
Tony sighed. "Fine. Where are we going to watch it? It's not all on Netflix, right?"
I shook my head. "Probably not, no, especially since they won't have the one I want to start you with. Speaking of which-" I ducked into the kitchen and the other three followed me. Corvus and Virgo have been silently watching our conversation. "-You might want to get in on that. Netflix, I mean. Like buy it or whatever…Unless you want to make your own streaming service. It would probably be better."
"There's an idea," Tony muttered, and I swiped the island countertop so my To-Do list came up.
I quickly added 'Netflix' to the list, and looked up at the other three.
"Alright, we're going to go do some shopping," I said.
Virgo's eyes lit up. "Will you let me do adjustments, Elle-sama?"
"Virgo," I smiled at her. "I was actually thinking that we could just get the fabric. And that you could stitch it together yourself."
Her eyes brightened and she clasped her hands and let out an odd 'eep' sound, which is about the most excitement you'll ever get from her.
"Here's the situation," I said, leaning across the countertop. Tony came to my left and leaned across too, looking down at the countertop where I had opened the Internet. "Tony and I are going to a charity ball. We're going to spend less than $50-"
"$100." Tony corrected.
I rolled my eyes. "We're going to spend no more than a set amount per person to buy fabric and create our clothing to 1) completely blow everyone else out of the water and 2) to show them that they shouldn't waste a few thousand dollars for how they look at a charity ball."
Virgo was quiet. Contemplative. "What is the charity for?"
Corvus had left and Virgo had searched the internet on the countertop at the styles most people would wear to these balls.
"How will it be decorated?" she asked.
This is why Virgo is in charge of appearance. She thinks things through. I never would have thought of creating a theme and relating them together.
Then again, I'm the type of person who might completely glam up if I could pull it off, or maybe just come with jeans and a nice top, just to fuck with people.
"This one is for clean energy," Tony said. "So nature stuff, I guess? Because we've been promoting green energy, and since we're going to be building Stark Tower off of the arc reactor, it should help with pollution…"
Virgo nodded, not looking up from her searching as she swiped through pictures.
"Any requirements?" she asked. "Things you need to add or are not allowed?"
"No heels," I said immediately.
"I wouldn't mind some heels," Tony said, shrugging. "Well, platforms."
"He just wants to be taller than me if we dance," I said.
"If?" he asked.
I shrugged. "My dancing is horrible. We'll work on it."
"I can do that," Virgo said. "…Will you be treating these charity balls more as costume parties?"
I paused. "Uh…"
"Yes," Tony answered.
We looked at him.
"The one after this has to do with kids. When you started talking about the theme, I was thinking we could dress up, and dress up the kids, too, as fantasy and royalty and stuff."
He seemed flippant saying it, but I could tell he was a bit embarrassed and also worried about it.
I beamed at him. "That's a great idea! The kids will love it!" My smile got bigger. "And I've got a great idea, then, on what to do next time to show them up."
Virgo nodded. "I believe I have a plan. Shall we shop for fabric, Elle-sama?"
I nodded and took her arm, turning to Tony, who made sure he had his phone and his wallet before we teleported.
Several hours later, we finally left the fabric store.
Tony was obviously nervous with what we had bought.
"Tony," I said softly, taking his hands. "It should be fine. You've only seen the fabric."
"I know how it will work for you, but I don't know if it will work on me," Tony pointed out. "We're going to embarrass ourselves."
"So what?" I asked, pausing on our walk. "Tony, I don't care what other people think of me, unless they're people I care about. And you've been in the public eye forever, so this shouldn't bother you that much. You're Tony Stark. Iron Man. And they're going to make fun of you for wearing what you want? At your own benefit?"
He relaxed a bit. "I still don't see how this is going to work."
I shrugged. "I guess we'll just wait for the rest to unfold."
I had also mentioned getting stuff for me to build a costume for a secret identity, but Virgo and Tony have both said they'd be making it with stronger materials, and then they'd started arguing over Celestial Spirit clothes and adjustable Kevlar for armor. (So Virgo would be giving Tony some clothes for them to experiment with).
We left with our cloth for the ball (soon to be clothes) and stopped by a library really quickly (anime) before we returned to the Malibu house. Upon our arrival, a series of kittens came for us, meowing, having all woken up from their earlier nap.
"Are they out of food?" Tony asked worriedly.
I peered around the island to look at the full bowl floor. "Nope. Probably just want attention. Come here, guys."
Salem came towards me, as did Tom and Milo. Aslan, Simba, Snowball and Marie circled around Tony, Marie being particularly loud as he started giving her affection.
Duchess was observing Virgo, and after some odd sort of staredown between the two of them, Duchess finally came forward asking for attention. Virgo picked her up, and I stared at the way she was holding Duchess in her arms.
"Oh My God."
Tony looked up. "Elle? What is it?"
"Tony!" I happily swirled around, which caused some disgruntled meows before they returned to their purrs. "Do you realize what this means?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Tony said.
"Kittens are cute," I explained. "But you have a white cat."
He stared at me. "What?"
"And a goatee?" I reminded him. "And money?"
It still didn't sink in.
"And we're going to be taking over the world?"
Tony looked back and forth between me, and Duchess in Virgo's arms.
He burst out laughing, and even looked like he was having trouble breathing. Duchess hopped down from Virgo to check on him and lick his cheek.
"I am so taking you to the next board meeting," he wheezed, petting her. "Pepper will find that hilarious. And maybe the board will stop being such a pain in the ass."
"And I am so going to be there to watch their faces!" I said excitedly. "How's your evil laugh?"
It was already around dinner time when we had returned to the house, so Tony ordered pizza and we ate in front of the TV. Virgo ate with us, and also spent time sketching out what we'd wear with things we'd gotten for her from the art department of the store.
Unfortunately, the first anime I wanted to show Tony wasn't at the library – according to Jarvis, it wasn't even released yet, so we'd have to make do with my memories.
I loaded it up as we curled up in front of the TV under the blanket fort, Virgo sitting next to us while she measured her fabric and sketched out clothes. Though after a few of the kittens were eying up the fabric (Tom and Milo specifically, those troublemakers) she put it in the Celestial Spirit World so they wouldn't get any cat hair on it.
"You really think I'll like this?" Tony asked skeptically.
"Yes," I said. "Especially this one. It's about science! And it's also one of my favorites. So be quiet and eat your pizza."
He rolled his eyes and took an exaggerated bite of his pizza, drawing up some schematics with his hologram so he could work while we watched.
"Alright!" I said, starting it. "Also, don't recreate anything you see."
"I thought you said I can make anything?" he asked.
"Just because you can doesn't mean you should," I said darkly.
Tony went uncharacteristically quiet, and I gave him a hug.
"Come on," I said quietly. "Let's watch."
Several minutes in, Tony still wasn't very interested.
"Just a few episodes?" I asked him. "I know it can be a bit confusing at first."
"I'm not confused!" he paused. "So maybe I'm a little confused, but I'm confused on the characters and their interactions. Is all of this actually important? And this guy is just …nuts!"
"Pot, meet kettle," I pointed out to him, before nodding. "And yeah, it's all set up. You'll like it, just give it some time."
He sighed. "Alright."
Virgo smiled to herself as she sketched designs and ate the cake I had brought out.
Over nine and a half hours later, we finished watching Steins;Gate. I was once again in tears.
"Is everything we watch going to make you cry?" Tony asked.
"Yes," I said, wiping my eyes. "What did you think?"
"It was actually pretty good," he admitted. "I enjoyed it. The beginning was a bit weird…"
"That's kind of anime in general," I said. "You kinda need to wait for it to kick off. After a few episodes, then you realize you've been sucked in and it's actually good, just really weird. You just need to adjust to the writers' individual styles."
"I'm probably still not going to try it on my own," Tony said.
I shrugged. "That's fine, you're pretty busy. But I can filter them out so you only get the really good ones."
"The ones that will make you cry?" he asked wryly.
"I suggest that you two get some sleep," Jarvis put in.
I sighed, glancing at the time. "Yeah, we probably should."
"It's not even four!" Tony said.
"And you have an appointment at the vet around noon," Jarvis reminded him.
"What?" Tony asked. "I didn't know that!"
"He told us before we started testing this morning, Tony," I sighed.
Tony was quiet as he searched his memory. "But you said the appointment was on Wednesday!"
"It is Wednesday," I said. "Now that it's past midnight, at least. What day did you think earlier was?"
"…Sunday?" he asked. "…maybe?"
"Well, it's now Wednesday, the 28th," I told him. "So we should get some sleep for the vet."
"But I'm comfy…" Tony whined as he stroked the kittens laying on him. "Can't we just watch more anime?"
He paused. "Wow, I never thought I'd say that aloud."
I snorted. "Trust me, if you went to college in a few years instead of in the eighties, you probably would. Around the time I died there was a bunch of memes on the internet about how college students watched a bunch of cartoons and Disney and anime. And that's what I heard the students say when I'd sneak into MIT, so…"
I paused, realizing what I said.
"Wait," Tony said, and the only reason he didn't sit up to look closer at me was because of the cats on top of him. "You snuck into MIT?"
I blushed and hid my face behind a kitten, who, coincidentally, was Marie, the same one Tony hid behind earlier. "…Maybe."
Tony started laughing, and I slowly lowered the kitten, who meowed at me until I laid her on my chest and pet her. She purred as she resumed her spot.
"What?" I asked, annoyed.
"You snuck into MIT!" he continued laughing. "That's great!"
I blushed some more. "Well, I told you, I was interested in psychology. So I might have snuck into a few lectures. It's a lot more difficult, too, because now they have these keycards and scanning and IDs."
Tony smiled. "No, I'm glad. The biggest part of paying for college is getting credit for it. You went because you wanted to learn. That's a good thing, Elle."
"It is?" I asked.
He nodded. "Yeah. Absolutely. So, psychology, yeah?"
I shrugged. "It interested me. And it came in handy in Fiore, where they didn't exactly have a bunch of psychology texts. And considering most of the guilds' unfortunate backgrounds and odd relationships, it was kinda needed."
Tony nodded, a thoughtful look on his face.
"Alright, enough talking," I said, rolling my eyes. "We don't exactly need to get up if you're comfortable. I mean, we've already prepped the living room for the last sleepover," I shrugged. "And there are cats on us. And you also have really comfy couches. Might as well just sleep here tonight."
Tony shrugged. "Yeah, okay."
"Virgo?" I asked her, where she was switching between two sketches. "Are you going to go back to the Spirit World?"
She shook her head. "I will likely work on the clothes tonight."
"So she can stay up all night working?" Tony asked, unimpressed.
"Celestial Spirits don't sleep," I started, before pausing and thinking of Crux. "Well, most of them don't. A few of the Silver Keys do, but one of the stronger keys only really sleep if they're injured or mentally exhausted. The most Virgo would do to rest is go back to the spirit world, but…well, Lucy's spirits are like a part of the guild. So they'd come out to spend more and more time with everyone. They'd return to the Spirit World at the end of the day if they were tired or have done a lot of things, but Virgo has barely done anything."
Virgo nodded. "Elle-sama is correct. And Hime-sama would like the practice over her magical energy. It is not easy for wizards to practice magic freely in this society."
I nodded. "Yeah, it's like she's exercising her magic. It's kinda like a muscle, so it would actually kinda fit."
"Hime-sama…" Tony trailed off. "That's…Princess, right?"
"I only know a bit of Japanese," Tony admitted. "I've learned some other languages for business deals with other countries, now that Stark Industries has expanded into green energy, but Japan still doesn't like us. Not that I blame them, considering that Howard worked on the Manhattan Project."
"Ah," I said, a few things making sense.
Jarvis cleared his throat. "Sleep?"
"Sleep," I agreed, looking at Tony.
"Stark-san," Virgo started.
"Tony, please," he said.
She nodded. "Tony-san, may I tidy up while you rest? If I am thinking over designs, I might like to keep my hands busy."
"Um…" Tony thought.
"Virgo, why don't you stitch some runes into the bottoms of things?" I suggested. "Now that Tony has cats, they might scratch up the couch and stuff."
"They seem to be doing fine with the cat scratcher you got," Tony pointed out.
"It will likely get worse," Virgo put in. "Putting protection runes on your furniture should prevent it from being torn up by their claws."
Tony shrugged. "Eh, what the hell? You said that the runes will be hidden, right?"
Virgo and I nodded.
"Then it should be fine," he said. "And if you finish, I guess you can tidy up my lab if Elle will understand your system. It's kinda a mess."
"Oh," I said, the thought hitting me like a truck. I glared at Tony. "I fucking knew I forgot something. Have you switched out your reactor?"
He looked away. "…No."
"Tony!" I cried.
"What?" he asked. "I've been thinking if I should wear the new reactor during the day or night, and use the palladium the other time around."
I glared. "That's a shitty excuse and you know it. But to answer your question, I suggest that you wear the new one during the day. That way if you exert yourself or use the suit you're not going to be poisoning yourself."
Tony nodded. "Got it. I'll start wearing the new one tomorrow. Promise."
"I know you will," I glared at him. "Because Virgo is going to get it and leave it on the table, so it's the first thing you see when you wake up. You have no excuse."
Virgo bowed. "Understood, Elle-sama. Goodnight."
"'Night," I told her, and she swept out from under the pillow fort.
"'Night," Tony called after her, before looking at me. "I'll start wearing it tomorrow, alright?"
I nodded. "Alright. Goodnight, Tony."
Chapter 18: Chapter Eighteen - Friday, Part One
Alright guys, this is a longer chapter than normal because I decided that I'd jump straight to the ball (the vet can be told through flashbacks).
Also, remember when I said that Elle and Laxus won't have a third joining them? That might be a lie. This sort of just happened, so...we'll see how it turns out. (To be fair, I didn't have a partner planned for this person yet anyway).
Enjoy the surprises!
Chapter Eighteen - Friday, Part One
In the next couple of days, Tony and I finished up most of my plans for the next week or so, and Virgo and Tony continued to argue about my costume.
The superhero one, not the dress for the ball. That was taken care of pretty quickly.
Tony eventually won the argument in eventuality, but not for now. Considering the magic I was using, we hadn't done enough testing to create magic-proof clothing, so I'd be wearing Celestial Spirit armor for this run. He did style the design for me, though, and we started magic-testing Kevlar, which really just boiled down to me throwing magic at a mannequin wearing clothes.
We might have run out of mannequins.
So yeah, this might take awhile.
Anyway, Tony styled the suit and Virgo made it with Celestial Spirit armor until Tony was able to create one himself. It was designed similar to Natasha's formfitting style, except in purple.
"You want it to be the same color as your hair?" he deadpanned.
"And you don't think that will stick out?"
"You are not allowed to talk," I responded. "It's not like you have a stealth suit. And besides, I can use Pluto to sneak in," I shrugged. "But I need to make a scene. And besides, my hair won't actually be purple when I'm in costume. Virgo will take care of that."
And because why the hell not, I'm going to have two superhero identities. One of them (this one) will be a secret. The other, not so much.
I've been told I do things overboard, sometimes, but hey, I want to see what it's like to have a secret identity, too. Plus, there will be things I can do in my secret identity that I can't with my public one.
"Elle-sama, I have returned," Virgo announced, appearing out of thin air.
"Heart condition," I said, pointing at Tony.
Tony smiled. "You know, I actually think I'm getting used to it."
"Remember what I said about magic and frequencies?" I asked. He nodded. "That's why," I continued. "You can feel the adjustment of magic in the air."
"Does that mean you can't sneak up on me, if I get to used to it, then?" Tony asked.
I shook my head. "Shadow Magic would give me a bonus. Some people – not a lot, but a few mages – can sense when someone with Shadow Magic is there. But they're really sensitive and attuned to it. It's why we make Corvus appear at the front. Virgo is like the opposite. You can feel her magical presence from a while away – you can with most Celestial Spirit Magic, actually, because the opening of a gate is like…well, like a flare. Lucy's gotten pretty adept at hiding it in the middle of a combat situation, but it can stand out a lot normally, and now that she's more powerful it's actually a lot harder for her to try and hide it. Then again, Virgo is also appearing directly here. Corvus is still summoned in Roswell – he just comes here through shadows. So you don't feel his gate open."
Tony nodded. "Okay."
Virgo cleared her throat and held out two pairs of magical shoes. One, a pair of boots I would be fine with (for my costume and for kicking ass), and the other, a pair of flats.
"Nooooooo," I whined, recognizing the Flats of Doom.
"What is it?" Tony asked.
"It's the Flats of Doom," I announced, glaring at them. "Remember how I mentioned I can't dance? These can make me dance."
"If you are going to appear elegant, you need to be able to do at least one waltz," Virgo pointed out.
"I hate you," I told her.
"No you do not, Elle-sama," she replied, handing them over to me. I requipped them away and she held out one last thing; a hair tie.
"I had Gemini and Cancer make it," Virgo said as she passed it to me.
"Awesome," I smiled, before pulling my hair back into a ponytail. "This is how my hair will be in costume."
"Wow," Tony said.
"It's cool, right?" I asked him, smiling. "You could probably make something like it with technology if you wanted."
The hair tie changed the color of the hair it was tied back with, so my hair was back to the plain original chocolate brown color of my first life.
"Why brunette?" Tony asked.
I shrugged. "This was how I was born, originally. But purple hair fits my personality better, so I prefer it." I pulled off the hair tie and requipped it away.
Tony shrugged. "Fair enough."
Happy promised to watch the cats while we were in New York, (which was just overnight). We'd be staying at the 'Stark Mansion of Doom', Tony's childhood home. I'm pretty sure it's because he wants to pick up all of Steve and Bucky's old stuff from his Dad's collection.
Maybe not. Either way, it's there, so we should probably grab it.
And by we, I mean me, because of my requip space.
"First time on a private plane?" Tony asked me from where he sat.
I snorted. "First time on any plane." I reclined in the seat. "It's pretty cool, I'll admit."
"The private or the flying?" Tony asked.
"Both," I shrugged. "I'll admit that the ear thing is annoying. And it's also taking a lot of time. I think I prefer teleportation."
Tony nodded. "I prefer flying in my suit, too. But this is more convenient. And it also allows us to get ready on the plane, so we can take a limo straight from the airport. Speaking of which…" he trailed off, looking at the time, and raised his eyebrows at me.
I rolled my eyes and got up. "Yeah, yeah, I'm going."
I entered the bedroom (still can't believe there's a bed on the plane) where Virgo and Cancer were waiting to help me with makeup and hair. They decided they'd return to Lucy or the Spirit World when the plane landed (we didn't know if disappearing would do something to it).
I mean it would probably be fine, but it's like airplane mode. You still switch your phone over…just in case.
It didn't take very long before I was done, and Virgo gave me the Flats of Doom, which looked nowhere near as evil as they actually were (if they did look as evil, they'd also be heels, though). She had also adjusted its color and style so it'd match my outfit.
I returned to the main part of the plane, where Tony whistled upon seeing me. "Alright, I'll admit that I'm looking forward to their reactions. We look awesome."
We did look awesome.
I smiled at him. "Come on. Let's knock their fucking socks off."
"You nervous?" I asked Tony as we approached the carpet.
He shrugged. "Kinda? They're going to write about me anyway, always have and always will. I just went with the stuff they did in the past because it was easier to be a businessman if the people you're making deals with think you're some partying drunk most of the time."
"That's fair," I muttered.
"This, though?" he smiled, gesturing to our clothes. "I'm looking forward to their reactions. How about we give them something to talk about?"
He smiled at me and with a burst of confidence, threw open the door and stepped out of the limo. Cries of "Mr. Stark" echoed back to me, and I could hear murmurs about his clothes ringing out.
Tony held out his hand for me, and I took it, with him carefully helping me out of the limo.
"Mr. Stark, Mr. Stark, who's your date?" "What are you wearing, Mr. Stark?" "Who are you wearing?"
We made our way up the steps, just smiling at the reporters and not answering any questions as we made our way inside.
"You're not really out of your element," Tony told me later, kinda surprised. "I mean, you obviously stand out, but you...still make it seem like you belong here, even though you don't fit the norm."
I smiled at him. "When I was…twelve, I think…I was pretty much knighted. And they didn't want to call a twelve-year old girl 'Dame' so they would call me Lady Elle. I was close friends with the Royal Family – most of us were, especially since there was the Stellar Connection between a few of our bloodlines. Also, Laxus's mother is related to the Queen, who married into royalty. So we'd spend a lot of time with them. And they made me go to balls and stuff. Belonging there but also standing out was kinda my thing. We had our version of…I guess like the Magical Olympics, maybe? So I was kinda well-known."
"Why did they knight you?" Tony asked.
"I, uh…saved the Queens life. Kinda," I admitted.
"How do you kinda save the Queen's life?" Tony asked.
"Well, originally, she was supposed to die in childbirth…" I started.
"And you have magical childbirth magic," Tony said, a dawn of realization on his face.
"Actually, no, that was before I knew about that," I admitted. "But I basically put her in stasis for a year or so until Lucy was strong enough to summon Phoenix, who could heal her. And…yeah."
He stared at me. "What the hell was even going on in your last universe?"
"So many things," I said. "So many things."
"You know we should probably start dancing soon," Tony mentioned.
I made a face. "Alright."
Tony gathered us into the middle of the room and caught everyone's attention.
"Hello, everyone. Thank you for attending our charity benefit for clean energy. It's time we start saving the environment. And starting now, we've decided to start a new tradition of dressing up according to the theme of the charity," Tony announced, and I curtseyed next to him.
My outfit was a lot more obvious than Tony's. While he looked a bit like a prince, I looked more like…well, like a fairy. Minus the wings.
Virgo's having a laugh and we all know it.
It was a fancy pink dress that flowed out like a flower, and the top part above my chest was mostly made with twirling pink...I dunno, vines? The straps curled around the side of my arms rather than over my shoulders, and it swirled down my back, which was mostly laced up (Virgo covered the guildmark for now). The bottom of the dress flowed out, but didn't hit the floor, rather stopping near my knees and slightly longer in the back. The top part of the dress (not the upper body part, but the rim think on the edges) also had flowers in them, and those same flowers were in my hair, too. Cancer had twisted hair from each the front of each side and pulled it back, the rest of my curls falling underneath the makeshift crown. Then he weaved the purple flowers into the twists. My flats were no longer white, which is basically like a blank shade - instead they were purple and curled up my legs like vines.
Yeah, Virgo was having fun.
Tony took my hand and lead me out onto the middle of the dance floor as the music started up.
We stood there and I clicked the heels of my feet together three times.
Tony snorted. "Really, Dorothy?"
"It activates the Dancing Magic," I said, shrugging.
He snorted and his expression changed as he whispered in my ear and began to dance with me. "See that group of older ladies in the corner?"
"What about them?" I whispered back.
"They're internally panicking right now," he muffled another snort. "They like our outfits but are unsure they're 'appropriate' and have no idea what to do. They'll probably ambush us when we get off the floor." He hid a smirk. "And they also spent a few thousand dollars on their dresses."
"Ohhh, that's perfect," I said happily. "Are they gossipers?"
"You have no idea," Tony muttered.
He twirled me around.
Even though I don't like the Flats of Doom, I do like the dancing, especially when Virgo gives me a flow-y dresses like this one. Whenever I'm spun around, I feel a bit like a princess.
I'm guessing he probably had dancing lessons when he was younger. I wonder if they hurt or helped him. With the amount of energy he had, it could be good to let off steam through dancing, but I doubt that Tony had the patience to learn dance normally.
The song ended and other people made their way onto the floor. Tony started spinning me again.
"Another song?" I whined at him.
"After this we can leave the floor," he promised.
I didn't tell him, but the Flats of Doom hurt. When they're activated, of course. Magic can do a lot of things, but dancing doesn't like me. They don't hurt that much, compared to some things (needles) but they were still painful. It's not like the original little mermaid, where every step she took felt like shards of glass (look it up). The pain was more in the muscles of my feet, cramping them into doing things they didn't like to do. It was almost as painful as normal cramps, actually.
Ugh, my feet were going to hurt for the rest of the night. I wonder if anyone would notice if I hovered a few centimeters off the ground?
I'm not as skilled at Wind Magic as Erigor was, but I can still do a few things related to flying.
But I still wasn't going to risk it. Still, it was kinda funny to picture everyone's faces if I just floated for the rest of the night.
Tony twirled me right off the dance floor, over to a buffet table. He got us glasses (not that I'd drink it; alcohol has always been…well, everyone else's thing but mine. In Fairy Tail, anyway) and I clicked my heels three times, turning off the Dancing Magic. My feet cramped as the magic let them go, and they stretched out again in my shoes.
There's a reason I call them the Flats of Doom, and it's not just that I'm melodramatic.
(Hey, I can be self aware, alright?)
The group of ladies Tony had mentioned were heading our way, and several other groups of people were looking at us and trying to hide their curiosity.
Jeez, they're like sharks.
I miss Fiore.
Not that everyone's nice there. We still deal with asshole rich people, and dark guilds and stuff, but it was a lot friendlier.
I feel like I just graduated to a much more dangerous video game.
Graduated? Leveled up? Is it leveled down because I died?
I honestly don't even care right now, my brain just won't shut up because I'm excited and nervous for this to go down.
"Mr. Stark!" the woman in front cried, reaching forward and kissing each of Tony's cheeks.
"Meredith!" he said enthusiastically.
"Margaret," she corrected.
"Who's your friend?" she asked, eyeing me up with a face I couldn't read.
"This is Elle!" Tony said, introducing me. "She's…a friend."
"Hey!" I said, shaking her hand enthusiastically, which she wasn't expecting. "It's nice to meet you. I love your dress."
It did look pretty – not as pretty as mine, though.
And certainly not worth over a few hundred dollars.
And even then, I DON'T GET THAT. It's one thing to spend money on things like dresses for special events, like weddings and stuff, but I just can't process the idea of spending so much money on something they don't even really wear more than once because it's out of fashion.
"Thank you," the woman said, bragging. "It's Versace. It cost six thousand."
"What?!" I shrieked. More than a few people looked over.
Okay, that kinda came out louder than I was expecting.
Tony looked like he was hiding a mix of embarrassment and amusement.
"You spent six thousand dollars on a dress? WHY?"
"I need to look my best, dear," the woman said imperiously.
"This is a charity ball," I pointed out. "Why not spend less money on the dress and more on charity, it doesn't even make sense!"
Tony's eyes were definitely leaning more towards amusement now.
"Well, how much did your dress cost?" the lady asked snobbishly.
I paused. "Uh…Tony, how much did we spend?"
"One hundred and eighty."
"Like you're one to talk!" the woman scoffed. "You spent one hundred and eighty thousand dollars on a dress!"
I stared at her. "No, I didn't. I spent one hundred and eighty dollars on fabric, and then my friend made the dress. And besides, that was fabric for me, and Tony."
The woman stared at me, her mouth open in shock. So were her friends. Lots of people were staring, actually.
"Seriously, do you guys really spend that much money on how you look?" I asked everyone. "Wouldn't be more impressive if you could spend less money on how you look but still look awesome?! Especially since your dresses go out in like a season or something. Right? Have you ever worn the same dress twice?"
Someone coughed. No one answered.
Finally, Meredith, or Margaret, or whatever, finally spoke. "You spent one hundred and eighty dollars…total?" She looked back and forth between me and Tony.
"Yeah, it's great," Tony said, nodding. "Her friend is gonna be making stuff for us from now on, I'm really looking forward to seeing what she comes up for the next few."
"I think it's a brilliant idea," a calm voice said in a thick accent.
Okay, totally not expecting him, but awesome, I love curve-balls.
Okay, that's a lie, I usually hate them, but this is fine.
"Hello, Prince T'Challa," I said, curtsying to him.
He smiled at me and held out his hand. "May I have this dance?"
I took it and smiled. "You may."
He led me back to the dance floor and the crowd eventually returned to their previous positions.
"I'm surprised to see you here," I commented, clicking my heels as discretely as possible. He still noticed. "I didn't think you'd be attending."
"Neither did I," he said. "But my younger sister insisted. Something about…a girl with purple hair and knowledge of the future?"
"And of all the people in the room, you were drawn to me," I teased.
"You do have purple hair," he commented.
I shrugged as he spun me. "I thought cats were colorblind."
There wasn't a falter in his step (that wouldn't happen, he's a Prince, he's been trained for this) but his smile did twitch.
"Knowledge of the future, remember?" I told him. "Are you ready for a bit of a history lesson?"
He raised his eyebrows. "Not really, but I believe you're going to tell me anyway."
"Well, if you really want, I could leave you alone…but then you'd be a curious little kitty."
"I am not little," he sniffed.
"You're only a few inches taller than me, T'Challa."
"That is not what I meant."
"You win," I told him. "And I'm married. And we're not looking for a third partner right now."
Again, his face was very composed, but there was still a small twitch.
"Anyway," I continued. "So the giant-ass vibranium mine you guys have, it came from an asteroid, right?"
His eye twitched now. This was kinda fun.
"Anyway. You guys probably realize that there's alien life out there, right?"
"I do not follow."
"The asteroid came from somewhere, and yeah, you made some of your tech out of it, but you had to have found some tech with it. Which means that someone else built that technology."
"…Why are you telling me this?" he asked.
"Aliens are going to become a bit of a problem in a year or two," I said. "One of the reasons I'm here is to warn you guys. But I also know one of your possible futures. Anyway, I was hoping we could fast-forward a few years and you could join our team. It'll be fun, we'll fight aliens together and topple secret government agencies and stuff."
He raised an eyebrow. "Secret government agencies?"
I nodded. "You know about Captain America?"
"Yes," he said.
"Well, the organization he took down, HYDRA? They're still out there, and they've got their hooks into just about everything. And personally, I don't want Nazis running my government."
He gave me an odd look. "You're serious?"
"About toppling governments, Nazis, aliens, or you joining our team?" I asked, before shaking my head. "You know what, it doesn't matter, I'm serious on all of it. Which is saying something, most of the time I'm just chaos embodied."
He stared at me intently as we danced some more, and I tried to keep a straight face. I still had the urge to break down in giggles. I was having a staring contest with a cat on a dancefloor about aliens.
At least this conversation was distracting from my feet.
"Let me give you my phone number," T'Challa finally said.
"Sure," I said. "But, uh, it might be a bit before I contact you. Tony hasn't given me a phone yet. I'm kinda trying to wait and see how long it is before he notices." I laughed. "But you can tell Shuri to hack us once the weekend is over. Tony's been impatient about meeting another genius and I've been bragging."
"What's this weekend?" T'Challa raised an eyebrow.
"I'm kidnapping a brainwashed assassin," I said, shrugging.
"A…brainwashed assassin?" T'Challa questioned.
"Yep," I nodded.
"Well then," he said, as the song ended. I clicked my heels again. "I wish you luck…"
"Elle," I said, smiling.
"Elle," he smiled and handed me a card.
Tony stepped up next to us. "May I have this dance?" he asked me.
"No," I said bluntly.
His brief look of shock was so worth it, especially when T'Challa laughed.
"I've danced enough for one night," I said. "Let's get some food."
I grabbed Tony's hand and dragged him over to the food table.
"So, what did you guys talk about?" Tony asked.
"You know, HYDRA, aliens, the huge vibranium forge under Wakanda, joining our superhero boyband-"
"Wait, back up," Tony interrupted. "One, you do realize we're in public? And two, 'huge vibranium forge'?"
"Mine, whatever," I rolled my eyes. "And I have magic, Tony. Any time I start to talk about something top secret I use Saturn to redirect the sound vibrations in the air, keep up."
He let out a bit of a strangled sound, and I took a bite of the cake on my plate.
"Oh, I'm spoiling myself," I said, frowning at the cake. "This isn't as good. Awwww."
"What did he give you?" Tony asked.
"His number," I said.
"I knew I was forgetting something," Tony muttered.
"There's usually no need to give me a phone because I'm usually right there, because I can teleport," I said. "But yeah, one might kinda come in handy."
"Especially now that you've got the number of royalty." He winked at me.
"Married, Tony," I reminded him.
Tony's eyes moved over to T'Challa. "Are you telling me that hunk of chocolate isn't yours, or your husband's, type? Because if not…"
"Oh my god, Tony," I snorted, taking a bite of a cookie. My eyes widened. "Oh, Tony, these are good!"
"There are more on the back, we can grab some on the way out," Tony said, shrugging.
"Alright, let's go," I said.
"Wait, right now?" he asked.
"Yep! Just a feeling I've got," I said. "Will Pepper kill us if we leave now?"
"No, we should be good," Tony said.
"Great, let's go!"
He chased me into the kitchen, where I grabbed a platter of cookies and put them in a bunch of Tupperware containers before requipping it away.
"You good?" I asked him.
"Yeah, why?" he asked.
"Let's find out!"
Teleporting blindly is a bit weird, but sometimes I just get feelings. It's usually God pushing me in a certain direction, or giving me a bonus, or something. It's happened a few times back in Fiore.
At least this was a good feeling, rather than an 'oh shit it's urgent' feeling.
Tony blinked as we appeared. "Why are we at the Stark Expo?"
"I have no idea," I answered. I requipped a set of jeans and a T-Shirt for him, along with his baseball cap and sunglasses. "Here, let's go change, we're kind conspicuous."
We went into the bathrooms and we exited a bit later, both in our more casual clothes. And wow, was it a relief to be back in normal shoes.
"Now what?" Tony asked me.
"Now…" I took a bite of a cookie. "We explore!"
Now, don't get me wrong, the Stark Expo is really cool. And Tony was using my Tablet to take a shit-ton of notes on ideas he was getting, conversing with JARVIS at the same time. But we've kinda been walking aimlessly for around an hour, and the feeling hadn't gone away.
And I'm not exactly the most patient woman.
"You realize you're practically vibrating with impatience, right?" Tony asked me, amused.
I shrugged, still tapping my foot. "Some people have calm magic. They focus their energy through things like meditation. Others, like me, have a chaotic type of magic. I do better when I'm moving, and since I use my magic so much, staying still isn't exactly fun for me."
"You could maybe hide some magic, if you're careful enough," Tony told me.
"Eh." I shrugged again. "I'm already reorganizing my requip space in my mind. Well, more or less…"
Look, I like being organized, but again…it's hard to keep things in place. There are a few things that are always in the right place because of labels and stuff.
Like food, any magical artifacts that are important, weapons, and clothes.
The rest is just sort of a mess. All of the jewelry I have, except for the ones that are actually mine, are kinda just off in a pile.
Other than that, I was also floating about an inch off the ground, not that Tony noticed. But I didn't really want to draw attention to it either, because then he'd ask why, and then he'd feel all guilty about the Flats of Doom.
"You usually do a pretty fine job, normally," Tony said.
I shook my head. "Normally I don't have an overwhelming urge to get something done when I don't know what it-"
"What is it?" Tony asked.
"I don't know," I said, frowning. "It just disappear-"
A small body crashed into my legs.
"…ed," I finished, looking down.
The body backed up and kid looked up at me, a small Iron Man helmet covering his head.
So, what do you think of T'Challa joining Elle and Laxus? I have no idea if it will happen, but I'm interested in seeing your opinions. If it's an overwhelming majority for or against, I'll probably do that, but if not, I'll probably just see where it goes. Also, it could be a triangle, in which T'Challa and Laxus love each other (eventually) too, or it could be a V, with Elle in the middle.
Also, it's canon in the comics that Tony has a huge crush on T'Challa (there's this one point where he's making a speech and he idly mentions that he thinks he speaks for everyone when he says he's in love with him, and T'Challa replies that he always has been). Plus, who can blame any of them? Chadwick Boseman is very attractive. And 6 feet, for those who were wondering when they talked about height.
Also, does anyone understand who the kid is? Looking forward to your comments!
Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen - Friday, Part Two
Okay, first, T'Challa and Ellaxus is a no go. I actually realized it pretty soon after I posted. For those of you who still really want it, I might write a one-shot, but yeah, it's not gonna happen in this main fic. He'll still be around, though. And flirting is always fun.
Also, now that I've seen the movie, I'd say there are Captain Marvel parallels - a mysterious girl with powers appears knowing things about an upcoming/ongoing alien invasion that a somewhat influential person does not, and then they run around solving mysteries and fighting crime like it's a superhero version of a buddy-cop film. Or whatever.
Also, according to the Far From Home trailer, Peter's passport says he's born on May 3rd, 2001. And it is currently April 30th, 2010, for Tony and Elle.
Chapter Nineteen - Friday, Part Two
So that's why we're here.
I squatted down in front of the kid so my head was more even with his.
"Hey, kiddo," I said. "Are you lost?"
The kid slowly nodded.
"Do you want us to help you find your family?" I asked.
I tugged Tony's hand until he was squatted next to me.
"I'm sure that your family told you not to talk to strangers," I said. "But he's not a stranger."
I gave Tony a look and he took off his sunglasses and moved his hat.
The tiny gasp was still audible through the helmet.
"Are you here with your aunt and uncle, Peter?" I asked.
He pushed the helmet up, and I wondered if Peter had made the mask himself. "How do you know that?" the totally adorable child asked me.
"I have magic," I told him.
His eyes were a mix of hope and doubt.
"It's true," Tony said, and Peter's eyes shot to him in surprise.
"…Really?" he whispered doubtfully, but more willing to trust that his hero was telling the truth.
"Cup your hands," I whispered.
He did, and I made a small ball of light and passed it over to him. It illuminated the awe on his face as he looked up at us.
I blew out the ball like it was a candle.
"Peter, I know a lot about magical things, and I even know a bit of the future. And you're special Peter, that's how I know who you are."
"Really?" Peter asked.
I nodded. "Peter, everyone is special, in some way. I'm just…gathering some special people together. People who would've all gotten together eventually, I'm just picking up the pace."
"Including me?" Peter asked.
"No, actually, I wasn't expecting to meet you today," I said. "You're going to be a bit older before you can do a lot of the heavy lifting. But you know, you can probably give us a pretty good view on the science side of things."
"You like science?" Tony asked.
Peter nodded wordlessly at his hero.
"Peter, how about we look around for your aunt and uncle, okay?" I asked him.
He looked upset again. "I can't find them. I'm too short. I tried climbing up the back of one of the exhibits but I saw that they were keeping Perchloric acid near one of the walls and I didn't want to knock it over and cause a fire."
"What!" Tony asked, straightening. "I have crazy strict guidelines. Who the hell is breaking them?"
"Is it Hammer Industries?" I asked.
Peter shook his head. "No, they're called…AIM?"
"Advanced Idea Mechanics," I told Tony. "They could be an issue in the future. For now, we ought to be able to kick them off the Expo for not following safety rules."
I looked back at Peter. "You know, my husband will usually put lost kids on his shoulders to see if they see their relatives. Tony could lift you up."
"I could?" Tony asked.
"Yes," I said. "You could."
Peter's eyes were huge. "I-if it wouldn't be a problem, Mr. Stark."
"Please kid, call me Tony," Tony said, lifting Peter up on his shoulders. "Mr. Stark was my dad."
"You're really strong," Peter said, surprised.
"Well, the suit isn't exactly light," Tony said. "And I do a lot of heavy lifting myself."
"Wow," Peter said.
With Tony's regular platforms, he was still a few inches taller than me. I think he started switching to higher platforms when he realized that he'd be walking next to me for awhile.
"Will you message Pepper to get someone to search AIM's station?" Tony asked.
I nodded, and requipped my tablet out, opening an email.
"Woah. How'd you do that?" Peter asked.
"Magic, silly," I told him.
"I know that," Peter said. "But it's a different type of magic, isn't it?"
Tony looked up at him. "You're a pretty clever kid, Peter."
Peter blushed. "I-It just makes sense. The typed you used before was with light, but you just summoned that out of nowhere. Which means it has to do with...controlling space, right?"
"Yeah," I said. "The first type was Elemental Magic. This one was a type of Spatial Magic, called Requip. It's basically like an inventory in a video game, so I can carry things around in it."
"That sounds pretty handy," Peter commented.
"It is," I said, looking around us. "Peter, is it just Aunt May and Uncle Ben?"
"Yeah," Peter nodded.
"I know what Aunt May looks like, so I'll keep a lookout for her," I told him.
"Thank you," he smiled.
"What are their main features?" Tony asked.
"Aunt May looks like the girl from My Cousin Vinny," I told him. "Melissa Tomae?"
I haven't seen that movie, and I didn't remember her name, but that was all I knew about the actress.
"You mean Marisa Tomei?" Tony asked.
"…yes?" I guessed. "I dunno, it sounds about right." I turned to look at Peter. "What does your Uncle Ben look like?"
"He has short light brown hair," Peter said thoughtfully. "I don't think he was wearing his glasses tonight though."
"Is he tall?" Tony asked.
"No, he's only a bit taller than you," Peter said, and Tony sighed.
"Speaking of introductions, Peter, I'm Elle," I told him.
"Hi," he said, mildly shyly.
"How old are you Peter?" Tony asked him.
"I'm eight!" he said.
"Really?" I asked. "I thought you were nine."
"I will be in a few days," he admitted. "That's why I'm here! Aunt May and Uncle Ben got us summer passes for my birthday!"
"You know," Tony said. "I'm a May baby, too!"
"…Really?" Peter asked, not nearly as enthusiastically, and trying to sound surprised.
I tried to stifle my giggles. Of course, Peter would have looked up his hero's birthday.
"Do you know how old I'm turning?" Tony asked Peter.
"Forty?" Peter suggested shyly.
Tony gave a dramatic gasp. "I'll have you know that I'm turning thirty nine…for the second time."
Peter started giggling, and Tony tilted his head back to try and look at him. "You really wanted to come here for your birthday?"
Peter nodded vigorously, enough so that Tony probably would've been able to guess what he was doing even if he couldn't see his head. "I like science."
"So do I," Tony said.
"So do I," I added. "Almost as much as I like magic."
Peter giggled and Tony rolled his eyes.
"Alright, bud, what's your favorite type?" Tony asked.
"Of magic?" Peter joked.
"Of science!" Tony exclaimed.
"Mine is magic," I added.
Tony swatted my shoulder. "Stop that."
"What?" I asked, laughing. "We're already looking into the energy signatures of the magic. For all we know, you might be able to actually explain it."
"Really?" Peter asked, looking fascinated. "Does it emit radiation, too?"
I shrugged. "If it does, it doesn't harm the human body."
"Plus, she has a type of healing magic," Tony added. "That actually repairs the person."
"How does that work?" Peter asked, staring at me in awe.
"Well…" I tried to explain. "We're not really sure. I'm pretty sure mine speeds up normal regeneration speed, but also strings it back together." I paused. "Basically, imagine me stitching it together with magic, minus the pain, and speeding up the process. Depending on it, it might not even scar."
"That's so cool," Peter said, eyes shining.
"So, back to the important stuff," Tony said, and Peter giggled. "What type of actual science do you like?" Tony asked, his elbow nudging me.
"I like chemistry," Peter said. "And biology is pretty interesting. I've been building stuff, too," he said bashfully.
"Out of metal, or Legos?" I asked him.
"I…I'm too old for Legos," Peter said.
"You are never too old for Legos," I said seriously.
"Really?" Peter asked.
"Probably would've been safer if my Dad let me mess with Legos before electronics as a kid," Tony snorted. "Would've blown less stuff up, at least."
"Do you know what the world record is for amount of Legos used in one thing?" I asked. "It'd be kinda cool if we could beat it."
"Well, it changes," Peter said. "And they score by longest and tallest and stuff. But the longest Lego ever built was a few years ago, and it was over 2.9 million pieces."
"Longest Lego?" I asked. "Do you know how long?"
"Over 5,000 feet!" Peter said eagerly.
"Okay, I've got to admit that seems pretty awesome," Tony said.
"You want to build something out of Legos now, don't you?" I asked him.
"Hush," he told me.
Peter giggled. "That's the most amount of pieces that were used. So it doesn't matter what is built as long as more bricks are used."
"Over 2.9 million Legos," I said. I would've whistled if I could. "That's a lot."
"Yeah," Peter said quietly. "I wanted to build one. But…we don't…have enough Legos."
Tony and I both knew he meant 'couldn't afford more Legos'.
"What would you build?" I asked him.
"A spaceship," Peter said. "Or a boat maybe. If I really had enough, maybe I'd build a house."
"Out of Legos?" I asked.
He shrugged. "Or a castle. But it'd be cool to be in a giant castle made of Legos."
Cheating person that I was, I figured we could just build a complicated miniature castle and use Pym Particles or Brandish to make it bigger, but the thought of actually being able to build a full size castle out of small, miniature Legos, was pretty impressive.
"It would be pretty awesome," Tony muttered. "Uh…Elle?"
I followed his gaze, and recognized someone who I was pretty sure was May.
"Is that them, Peter?" I asked, pointing at her and the man walking beside her both searching the crowd worriedly.
"Yeah!" Peter said excitedly, and began waving.
The two spotted us and started running, and Tony put Peter down, who ran up to his aunt and uncle happily.
"Uncle Ben! Aunt May! Guess what, guess what guess what!"
May threw her arms around him. "God, Peter, we were so worried!"
"What?" she humored him.
"Look who I met!" he pointed back at me and Tony.
Ben frowned. "Peter, we told you not to talk to strangers."
"But they're not strangers," Peter said. "They're friends."
Tony moved his sunglasses up and gave a little wave while May and Ben stared. "Hi."
"...They're still strangers," Ben said when he got his voice back.
"If I can't trust superheroes, who can I trust?" Peter asked.
"Us," Ben said.
"But you weren't there!" Peter pointed out rationally.
Tony snorted. "I'm starting to understand how Jarvis felt when I was a kid."
"Who's Jarvis?" Peter asked, turning back to us.
"His dad," I said.
Tony looked at me in shock. "What? No, he's not."
"I already told you that Howard Stark is a dick…tator," I finished, eyeing Peter. He giggled. "I'm not going to acknowledge him as anything other than your donor. Jarvis was the one who raised you."
Tony stared at me. "Please do not throw an emotional curveball at me in public, ever again."
"Relax, no one can see us," I said, waving my hand. I turned to the nearest person, who was looking in our direction, and made faces at him, before flipping him off (making sure Peter couldn't see).
He didn't react.
"What, you're using Eris?" Tony asked.
I shook my head. "Nah, I don't need to use it for something this simple. A mix of Venus and Saturn."
He raised an eyebrow. "You're deflecting the light around us?"
"Yep," I said, popping my lips.
"That's so cool!" Peter whispered, his eyes wide. "Can they hear us?"
I shook my head.
"I'm sorry, who are you?" Ben asked. May nudged him.
"Sorry, I'm Elle!" I said, reaching out a hand and shaking his.
"She has magic," Peter said.
Ben sighed. "Peter-"
I summoned a ball of light again.
Ben shut up.
I waved it away.
"What's your superhero name, Elle?" Peter asked.
I shrugged. "I dunno. We're working on it."
"What, you're his sidekick?" Ben gestured to Tony.
Tony started to laugh, and I could see his eyes watering. "Sidekick! Ah! I can't breathe!"
"He's my sidekick," I told them.
"Iron Man is not a sidekick!" he gasped.
"My minion, then?" I suggested.
"Fine," he gasped. "I'll be your sidekick, if you be my minion."
"Deal," I said.
"That was easy," he said, breathing better.
I snorted. "Yeah, I got you to agree to be my sidekick."
"I got you to agree to be my minion," Tony pointed out.
"I was already your minion," I said.
Peter stared. "Is he really your sidekick?"
I laughed. "Nah, this is more like a buddy-superhero relationship."
Tony snorted. "Which one of us is the rookie?"
"We're both the rookie and the experienced one, in this case," I said. "Because we're both experts at different things."
"I'm sorry," Ben interrupted again, and May sighed as he continued. "...Who are you? What are you doing here? How did you meet Peter?"
I sighed. "Well, I like to play a game with lost kids…" I blinked. "Wow, that came out wrong. Okay, so where I'm from, I'm pretty well known. I guess like a mix between a superhero and an Olympian athlete? It's kinda complicated. Anyway, since I'm a…very identifiable character-" I gestured to my face, particularly my hair "-if a kid is lost, they usually find their way to me. And most of the time, the kid is pretty scared. So, I make a game of it. I put them on my husband's shoulders, because he's really tall, and I turn it into I-Spy. Especially since some kids have a lot of problems actually describing their parents, or even knowing their names as something other than 'Mom' and 'Dad'. This helps us find the parents, and also calm them down a bit."
"How tall?" Tony asked.
I nodded. "Taller than you. You're going to need bigger heels."
"You wear heels?" Peter asked curiously.
"Heels were made for men in the first place!" Tony insisted.
"Tony's actually only 5'9"," I said. "At most. He's taken to wearing heels around me so I'm not taller."
"Don't feel bad, Peter doesn't get very tall, either," I said.
"I don't?" Peter pouted.
I shook my head. "Assuming you're done growing at around seventeen, which I think you are-" I'm pretty sure that after getting bitten, he finished growing "-then you'll be around Tony's actual height. Maybe an inch or two shorter."
"Okay, that makes me feel better," Tony muttered.
Peter looked at Tony. "That's not that bad."
I lowered a hand to my eye-level. "This is how tall Tony really is."
Ben was looking at me, Tony and Peter with a look of confusion and frustration. May just seemed kind of amused.
"Alright, we should probably get going," Ben said abruptly.
"Awww," Peter said.
"To be fair, we need to go pick up a map," I offered.
"We do?" Tony asked, surprised.
"Yeah, a big, giant, paper World Map," I said, staring at him.
"Why can't we just use a projection?" he whined.
"Because my Locating Magic doesn't like your projections, we've been over this."
"We have a big World Map!" Peter said enthusiastically. "You can come over and use it! And we have Legos, too!"
"What?" Ben asked.
I bent down to face Peter. "Peter, sweetie, you can't just invite people over to your house without your guardians' permission. What if they have things to do? What if they have to clean? What if they don't want to host a bunch of strangers and just sleep after losing their ward for a bit at a giant science fair?"
"Science fair," Tony scoffed.
"It is one and you know it," I said.
"Ohhhhhh," Peter slumped.
"Hey," I said softly. "Tony's building a place in New York, and we're going to be moving up here soon. And when we do, we might be able to invite you over for science and stuff."
"Yeah, schools out soon, right?" Tony asked. "We can watch Elle teleport and look at it through UV and X-Ray and infrared and stuff."
"You can teleport, too?" Peter asked.
I disappeared and reappeared behind Peter. "Boo!"
"Wow that's so cool!" Peter cried.
I pouted. "Not even a jump scare?"
"You don't do that to me," Tony said.
"You have a heart condition," I said, as I requipped out a cookie from storage space and offered one to Tony and the others, who shook their heads. I shrugged and requipped away the container, taking a bite out of the cookie.
"Why don't you come over for dinner?" May offered suddenly. "Or dessert, at least."
"What?" Ben cried.
"Really?" Peter asked excitedly.
"Yeah. Besides, we should probably get going soon anyway."
Peter pouted a bit. "Why can't we stay longer?"
"Because it's getting late and we have passes for the whole summer," May said gently. "The exhibits will still be there this weekend."
"It's true," Tony said. "The next exhibit doesn't rotate in for another week. Though they might come early because we're kicking out AIM."
"Speaking of which," I said, looking at my tablet, which had dinged. "Pepper wants to know if we want to make it a spectacle. Jarvis told her I said they'd be a problem and he suggested discrediting them."
"Do you know for sure they'd be a problem?" Tony asked. "If not, it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy."
"I know," I said, nodding seriously. "But I also know that the guy in charge is a sociopath and that kicking him out will make us hate him even more, whether it's public or not. If it is public, we can at least use him as an example so everyone else knows to follow the rules."
"Sociopath?" Tony asked.
I nodded. "Yeah. The guy's nuts. But I'm also pretty sure they don't start actual human experimentation until early 2012, so Jarvis and I are still working on it…"
At least that's when I think that the guy in Rose Hill exploded.
"Human experimentation?" Ben asked, alarmed.
"She knows the future," Peter explained.
"Yeah, I mean it's been happening for years- oh, that's not common knowledge yet, right."
"You're talking about Banner?" Tony asked.
"Bruce Banner?" Peter asked excitedly. "Is he okay? Is he alive? He disappeared a few years ago and I've read some of his papers and some of them were confusing but most of them were really really cool-"
I laughed and ruffled his hair. "You'll meet him someday, kid."
Peter was nearly bursting with excitement, and he started shouting and running around in circles about how this was the best day ever.
"I never really know what to do when he does this," May commented, sighing.
"Let him run out of energy," Tony said. Ben and May looked at him, and he continued. "I had ADHD – well, I still have ADHD – and when I was a kid, it was horrible. Made my…made Howard can't stand me. I was always super hyper, excited about showing people products, I can't stop moving, I get distracted easily if I'm not interested...A lot of people have the problem. For now, I'd just let Peter get the energy out. It's not like anyone can see us."
It was true. I was still deflecting light and sound away from us.
"He has some trouble in school," Ben said quietly. "And we don't exactly have much experience raising children."
May nodded, and I realized that, looking at her now, and at Ben, that they were in their late twenties.
"When did you get him?" I asked them.
"Richard and Mary died four years ago," Ben said. "We've been trying, since then…"
"You're doing a good job," Tony said. He was watching Peter run around with a mix of fondness and longing on his face. Whether it was longing for a childhood like Peter's or for a kid, I didn't know. "He's a good kid. And very smart. And he obviously loves you guys very much." He turned back to May and Ben. "He have trouble concentrating in class, you said?"
"He does a good job," Ben said. "But he's always scored lower than we thought he should be."
Tony nodded. "Some kids with ADHD do terrible in school. Others find a way to use it to their advantage. But even when you use it to your advantage, it can still be debilitating. What happens is that if you're uninterested, your attention wanders. When you are interested, you sort of hyper-focus on that thing and get pretty productive with it. It's one reason I make so many things; I just love to build. I can give him some tips."
"…that would be nice," Ben admitted.
May shared a smile with me.
"Men," I muttered to her, rolling my eyes.
Peter ran back up to us, slowing down as he approached. "That's so cool!"
"Now, how about we go back to your apartment, yeah?" I asked him.
"We took the bus," Ben told May quietly. "Remember?"
I requipped out a Memory Card and handed it to Peter. "Alrighty, Petey, put this to your forehead and think about the sidewalk in front of your apartment."
Ben and May stopped to stare and Peter closed his eyes as he thought of his home. A magic circle appeared before fading, and he opened his eyes.
"Did I do it?" he asked.
"Perfect," I said, taking it from him. "Now, everyone hold hands."
Peter took Ben's hand in one hand and shyly took Tony's in the other. May held Ben's hand and I put the card to my forehead, concentrating on the image Peter put there.
"Does it hurt?" Ben asked.
"Yeah," Tony said, before shaking his head 'no' at Peter, who giggled, despite the fact that it was still in clear view of Ben.
I put my hand on Tony's shoulder. "Let's do this."
Tony Stark and Peter Parker have ADHD and you can FIGHT ME ON THIS.
Also I used to invite my friends over to my house all the time without my parents permission and my mom hated it and would ground me all the time for doing it and looking back it actually makes a lot of sense, because after watching a bunch of children run around for hours, I think I'd just want to put my own to bed and take a nice bath.
Also 2.9 million is still the record for Legos, and it has been since 2005.
Next update is Friday.
Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty - Friday, Part Three
Chapter Twenty - Friday, Part Three
Their apartment was cute.
After teleporting all of us over to their apartment (which lead to more excited cries from Peter), the Parkers invited us inside.
Ben glared at Tony, waiting for him to criticize the place.
"It's nice," Tony said softly. "Cozy."
"I think we have some ice cream if you'd like some dessert," May said, walking over to the fridge.
"Oh, it's fine," I said. "I took some cookies from the gala, and there's a bunch left over. I might eat a lot but I can't eat that much."
That was a lie. I could too eat that much. But I took a lot, so...
I requipped out another Tupperware of cookies, and May grabbed some plates as we all sat down on the couches.
Peter sat next to Tony and was still vibrating with excitement. "Can I see you do more magic, Elle, can I?"
I smiled at him. "Sure. Where's your map?"
He got up and ran to his room, before coming back with a giant map which he started pinning up on the wall. "I'm still trying to learn more geography," he told us as he finished taping it up and moving aside.
I stood up and requipped one of my tacks, thinking about Bucky Barnes and infusing it with magic, before I threw it at the map.
To all of our surprise, the tack flew towards the map and stopped about a foot away, hovering in air, before it dropped to the ground.
"What happened?" Tony asked.
I grimaced. "I was searching for the person from before the brainwashing. But my magic isn't registering it. Let's try this again."
I picked up the tack and took a few steps back, before closing my eyes and thinking of the Winter Soldier, breathing in and out, before I threw the tack.
Luckily, it flew over to Virginia and planted itself into the map.
"Oh, good, he's still in the US," I said. "Now we just gotta get some maps of Virginia."
"We could try with holograms again," Tony suggested.
"My magic doesn't like your holograms," I said, pulling out the tack.
Peter looked back and forth between us before running to his room. "Wait right there!"
A few seconds later he ran back out and held out a marble. "What if you project the hologram on the floor? Maybe your magic doesn't like it because you're using a thumb tack, and the hologram can move?"
We all stared at him.
Tony smiled. "He could have a point. It could be because the thumb tack is stationary and it can't move if the hologram is jostled."
"Alright," I said, taking the marble. "Let's see Virginia."
Tony projected a map of Virginia onto the floor, and I closed my eyes and concentrated on the Winter Soldier before rolling the marble. Unlike the thumb tack, the marble glowed much more, shining from the inside (probably because it's made of glass, and as a crystal, it works a bit like a lacrima). The thumb tack usually barely glows for an outline.
The marble rolled to a stop. Tony jostled his phone and moved the map, and the marble moved with it, so it was on the same place it was before. I picked up the marble and stood back while Tony zoomed in on where it landed, and then we repeated the process. Finally, we got close enough to the facility that the marble began spinning around the place Bucky was in.
"That's so cool," Peter whispered, his eyes still wide.
"Even though it's not that exciting?" I asked.
"It's still magic!" Peter said.
Tony chuckled and grabbed a cookie. "That marble idea was pretty smart, Peter. Now, where are these Legos of yours?"
Peter led Tony into his room, a tiny, nearly closet-sized thing off the corner of the living room. From where May, Ben and I were sitting in the living room, we could easily see Peter showing Tony a lot of his different building pieces.
"He's really a lot better with children than you'd think," May murmured.
I nodded. I couldn't see what Peter was showing Tony, but whatever it was, it made Tony yell, "Elle, I'm keeping him!"
Immediately, I threw up a wall of wind redirecting sound as both May and Ben cried out.
"It's not what you think!" I shouted, my hands up in a placating manner. "It's not like Tony wants to adopt Peter or whatever."
It was enough for them to share a wary glance and sit back down.
"Tony has a really bad problem communicating," I started. "We're working on it. But when he says he's 'keeping' Peter, it doesn't mean that he wants to adopt Peter. Tony is too scared of becoming Howard to ever adopt a child without a lot of reassurances from other people, and even then it's pushing it."
"What does it mean, then?" May asked warily.
"Tony gets attached really easily," I said. "He probably sees a lot of himself in Peter, back when he was younger, before he started acting out for Howard's approval. And Peter is smart and bright and…adorable. If anything, it means that sometimes, Tony will probably invite Peter over for science experiments, and be like that one uncle who everyone loves to spend time with but most people agree probably shouldn't take care of children in the long-term without a lot of help and backup, or at least without getting himself some more self-care first. More like a mentor."
"And that's it?" May asked, a bit more relaxed.
Ben was still keeping quiet, probably because he wasn't sure what to say.
I nodded. "He'll probably randomly give Peter presents, like Legos. The problem with Tony is that he's not really good at showing affection, so he tries to do it through his money. Don't turn his stuff down. It's not charity, it's a gift, and turning him down is like rejecting him. I'm trying to get him to adjust a bit better than just using his money, but it's not going to change overnight."
"We don't need charity," Ben protested.
"It's not charity," I repeated. "It's Tony's way of showering people with love, he doesn't know any better. I'm trying to get him to see how some people are uncomfortable with it, and he's been dialing it back a bit, but again, it's not going to change overnight. Though he probably will try and pay for Peter's education."
"We can-" Ben started, but I was already shaking my head.
"Trust me, just accept it the first time around, otherwise Tony will go through the process of secretly creating a scholarship for Peter to cover everything and it's just going to annoy everyone who has to do the paperwork."
May snorted, but didn't say anything.
Ben gave me a wary look. "I don't like him just bursting into our lives like this."
"He's not bursting into your lives," I said logically. "I am. I'm just dragging him along for the ride."
May started laughing then. "Alright."
"May!" Ben exclaimed. "What gives? I thought you didn't like Tony Stark."
"I didn't," she said, shrugging, before glancing over to Tony and Peter. We followed her gaze, and there was something about the scene that was really sweet. There was an overwhelming amount of joy on Peter's facer, and a soft, fond look on Tony's. "At least not until I met him in person. And there are still parts of him that I don't like, but seeing him with Peter..." She shrugged again, and smiled at Ben. "Besides, there are parts of you that I don't like."
She laughed and teasingly bumped her shoulder into his. "I told you something special was going to happen today," she reminded him, her eyes twinkling.
"Yeah, I found twenty bucks on the ground."
"You know that's not what I'm talking about," May told him, before turning to me. "Will you take down the sound barrier?"
I smiled at her and dropped it. "Sure. Glad you noticed."
"Peter, Mr. Stark, come have something to drink," she said, grabbing some cups from the kitchen. I stood up to help her.
"Oh, sit down, hon," she said. "No need for you to get up."
Before I could go over to her anyway, or sit down, Peter came up to me and grabbed my hands. "Elle, Elle, Mr. Stark said he liked my designs!"
I picked him up and spun him around, and he cried out in glee. "That's great, kiddo."
I sat him down on the couch and sat next to him, Tony joining us on his other side. "I told you, it's Tony."
"S-Sorry. Tony," Peter said, blushing furiously.
"Thank you, May," I said, taking a glass from her as she rejoined us and Ben on the couches. "And you know, you're only a few years older than me."
"I know, hon," she said.
"And thank you for inviting us over," Tony said, taking a glass from the table.
"I was wondering that, too," Ben said pointedly.
"Ben!" May chastised. "And it's not a problem. I'm not going to leave a sick man and a pregnant woman out alone."
We both stared at her. "WHAT?"
"How do you know that?" Tony asked, frowning. "We haven't revealed it to the public yet."
"And I'm not pregnant," I said, shaking my head.
May reached out and took my hands in hers. "Oh, honey," she said gently. "I'm a nurse, I know these things. You're a bit over eight weeks."
I was silent, and exchanging confused looks with Tony, who knew that I hadn't even physically existed in this universe for even a week. "Elle, would that line up?" he asked.
I did the math. "Well, yeah, but…you know how I got here!" I exclaimed. "How can I be pregnant?"
"What do you mean?" Peter asked with a worried voice as he looked at my stomach curiously. "Is the baby hurt?"
I picked up the cup and drank a few gulps of water, suddenly thirsty. "Remember how I said that I'm well known, where I was? Well, it was another dimension. And the thing is, a baby shouldn't have survived a dimensional jump."
"Maybe it's a gift," Tony said softly. "One could consider it…miraculous, even."
Ben squinted at him. "I wouldn't have pegged you as a religious man."
"I'm not, not really," Tony said, shrugging with a smile on his face. "Though...there are a few parts I'm starting to reconsider."
"Wait, so Elle and the baby are gonna be okay?" Peter asked.
Tony pulled out his phone and scanned me. "Maybe."
"What do you mean, maybe?" Ben asked.
"JARVIS- uh, my AI, I named him after the real Jarvis - should have registered that Elle's pregnant," Tony commented, going over the results of his scan. "The baby has a heartbeat by now, JARVIS should have at the very least picked up a second life form. It's likely that her magic is creating a barrier that's preventing us from sensing the baby. It's already hard enough for JARVIS to get basic vitals from Elle anyway, it was something I was going to work on. Obviously, it's not enough. So now we're going to have to magic-proof certain machines if we ever want to do an ultrasound, much less other things."
"Laxus is gonna freak," I muttered. "I'm gonna freak."
"You seem okay now," Peter said.
"I don't think it's hit me yet," I told him. "It'll probably hit me later. I think. With the way my head works, it might not hit me until the baby's already born."
"Yeah, I don't think that's a good idea," Tony muttered. "We'll talk over this later then."
"Wait," Peter said, frowning, and he turned to Tony. "You're sick?"
Tony stopped playing with his phone. "Uh…"
"Yes," I said gently. "Tony is sick, but we're working on a way for him to get better."
"Is it really bad?" Peter asked, starting to tear up.
"Hey, I've got healing powers, remember?" I said, softly nudging him. "But I'm mostly just staving off the sickness until we find a permanent cure. And we will find one. I know things, remember?. He'll be alright, it will just be awhile. And there won't be any Iron Man-ing unless it's an emergency."
Peter bit his lip, before he asked. "Okay. But can you still use magic when you're pregnant?"
Tony looked over at me, projecting up the image of the facility Bucky was stationed at. "That's a good question. Not just your healing magic, but would you be able to do a mission? If we need to, I can go, but…"
I nodded. "Yeah," I said, grabbing some cookies and taking a bite. "So, back at my guild, there were these two women; Enno, and Ur. Enno wasn't very strong magical-wise. She mostly had an enhancing magic, and so she worked at the guild instead of going on quests while she was pregnant. Ur is one of the Wizard Saints I mentioned that stayed behind. She's extremely powerful, and she kept doing quests up until a month or so before she gave birth, mostly because it was more difficult for her to move than use magic by that point. They weren't high level quests, but she could still do them. Breaking into a facility and kidnapping a brainwashed assassin from Nazis won't be too difficult. If, however, something like a giant squid attacks a city, then it would be a lot more dangerous to use magic, because I'd need to use a higher level of magic, or at the very least, a very high concentration of magic, though it is generally better to bring out the bigger spells for things like that."
Tony raised an eyebrow. "Have you fought a giant squid before?"
I made a face. "I'd rather fight a giant squid than giant bugs. Ugh."
"Wait, what's this about Nazis?" May asked. "Elle, you can't do that, you're eight weeks pregnant!"
I shook my head. "Look, while most of the pregnant symptoms for mages are the same as they are for non-mages, we don't get any sort of morning sickness for a few more months, and nothing should swell up for a few more months either. There's a reason why I didn't notice. That, and I thought it wasn't possible. The only symptoms I've really had are me eating a lot more, and that's just to supply for the extra energy I spend on the baby and magic."
"I dunno, you were crying a lot during some of the shows you showed me," Tony said, taking a bite of a cookie. "And you're cooking a lot."
I shook my head. "Nah, that's normal."
He raised an eyebrow. "There was a lot of crying."
"Well, it was sad!"
"I'm sorry, can we go back to the Nazis?" Ben asked.
May held up a hand and looked at me. "I'm trusting that you know more about magical pregnancies than I do, but you need to promise me you won't take unnecessary risks."
I nodded, keeping her gaze. "I can be a bit reckless when it's my own life, I'll admit to that. But it's not just me now, I'm carrying a tiny life inside of me. I'll be extra cautious."
"Nazis!" Ben yelled. "Why are Nazis still a problem?"
I turned to look at Peter. "Peter, is Tony the only superhero you like?"
He shook his head. "I like some more but he's my favorite and he's real."
Tony gave a soft smile.
"Do you know the story of Captain America?"
"Ya-huh," Peter said, nodding.
"So do you remember HYDRA?"
He nodded. "They were the evil scientists Nazis who made an opposing serum that was used on Red Skull who tried to take over the world, or something." Peter made a face. "The comics weren't that clear."
I shrugged. "No, that's pretty accurate. Especially considering the amount of information everyone else was missing. And the stuff that needs to stay top secret. But anyway. Basically, HYDRA went into hiding, but it's still alive and kicking. And it's in more than a few government things, so I need to be careful, because I don't know if this is a HYDRA facility, or a different official facility with HYDRA hidden way, way underneath."
"Ohhhh," Tony said. "So that's why you don't want me to go."
"And you're okay with just telling us this?" Ben asked, looking at Tony.
He shrugged. "Elle's pretty much in charge here. I'm just going along with it, for the most part. If she thinks you guys can know, then there's a reason. And besides...even if I didn't agree, it's not like I could stop her. She's out-stubborned me."
"I don't think that's a word," I told him.
"If you're really sure," Ben said, exchanging a look with May before they both turned to Peter.
"Why are you all looking at me?" he pouted.
I smiled, messing with his hair.
"Elle!" he said, swatting me away a bit, but he was giggling.
"Peter can keep a secret," I said, moving my hands away from his hair in order to give him a little tickle. "It'll be fine."
Well, he can kinda keep a secret. But it doesn't really matter, kids have 'crazy' imaginations.
"Elle!" Peter gasped, squirming and squealing as my fingers darted to his ribs.
I stopped and held out my arms, still laughing a bit. "Alright Peter. But we should probably get going soon. It's getting late, and you need your sleep."
"Really? Can't you stay a bit later?" Peter whined, drooping immediately. Oh My God, he looks like a kicked puppy.
"Su-" Tony caved, but I cut him off.
"Sorry, Peter," I said. "But we've got to prepare for our mission tomorrow, too. I promise we'll come and visit. And even if we won't we can send you messages."
"Okay," Peter said, still slumped a bit.
"Do I get a hug?" I asked, holding out my arms more, and he ran closer to them and squeezed me tight.
He was still clinging to me a few moments later.
"Okay, kiddo," I said. "You can let go now."
"I'm trying to hear the baby's heartbeat," Peter said.
"You'll need an ultrasound for that," Tony said, getting up next to me. "Even with normal pregnancies, you can't just hear it like that."
"Oh," Peter slumped, before turning and looking at Tony shyly.
He rolled his eyes and opened his arms. Peter lit up and ran to hug him.
"It was…interesting meeting you," Ben said.
May laughed. "It was nice meeting you guys. We look forward to seeing you again. Please try and give us a heads-up."
I nodded and handed her some more of the cookies. "No problem. Bye guys. Bye Peter."
"Bye Elle! Bye Tony!" Peter said happily. "Goodnight!"
"Bye Peter, it was nice meeting you," Tony waved as we left. "Goodnight."
The door closed behind us and Tony took a deep breath of the night air.
"Back to the mansion?" he asked.
I nodded and took his hand. "Got everything?"
"Then let's go."
Do you know how hard it is to detach yourself from an adorable child that wants you to stay?...Pretty damn hard (I have a five-year old cousin that I don't get to see a lot and she adores me, so I'm pretty used to this now) Luckily for Tony, Elle is used to tiny children, and can resist (but only by avoiding Peter's puppiness, lol).
Also BOOM, Elle is pregnant. I'm pretty sure only one of you saw this coming and that was because I told you, so...yeah.
There will be some more deep talks (depression/philosophical contemplation likes to kick in at night, okay?) and some surprise visits from other Fairies in the next few chapters before we go and save Bucky.
And Tony would so find a way to make a scholarship completely unconnected to him so Peter gets a full ride wherever the hell he wants. We all know he would.
Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty One - Friday, Part Four
I saw Endgame.
That's why it's been so long. I've been getting my thoughts and feelings in order.
There will be no Endgame spoilers until it comes on DVD, even though Marvel has lifted the spoiler ban. Please do not put spoilers in the comments.
It will be fixed, though (Endgame was a wonderful mix of amazing and horrible). That's what fanfiction is for.
And a reminder (or just to let you know if you didn't) Elle has seen every movie up to Infinity War. Infinity War and everything after she knows nothing about (she will eventually, though (and if you read Ripples, yes, it will happen similarly)).
Chapter Twenty One - Friday, Part Four
"You've been pretty quiet," I said as I helped him pack up another box. "What's on your mind?"
Tony said nothing.
After leaving the Parker's apartment, we returned to the mansion and began going through Howard's older junk and war memorabilia in case Steve and Bucky might eventually want them.
Tony still didn't respond, staring emptily into the box in front of him.
I paused. "Tony?"
He didn't look up.
I got up and approached him, sitting down across from him on the floor.
"I can't read minds, Tony," I reminded him. "Can you give me a peek of what you're thinking? It's probably wrong."
He snorted, but also finally met my eyes. He continued to stare at me for a bit while his finger twitched.
"Fine!" he snapped out. "I'm thinking about how this is really nice so far, but it won't be long until you leave. Everyone leaves."
"Tony, if for some reason I do need to leave, I'll always come back to you," I told him. "You're a Fairy now, and we stick together. Even if we need to separate for a bit, like we do now."
He did look pleased at that, before he deflated and asked, "What about if you die?"
I paused. This was something I hadn't really planned on telling anyone, but if it would make Tony feel better…
"So, about that..."
Tony was completely, one hundred percent okay with this.
If anything, that was what was odd with this picture.
But every time a new worry popped up, Elle found a way to dismiss it.
He knew that JARVIS wasn't very happy with a random person coming out of nowhere with all of this knowledge, and Tony didn't really blame him. From an unbiased perspective, it certainly seems ridiculous, and like he shouldn't trust Elle.
But the more time he spent with her, the more he trusted her.
If anything, it was because she was so genuine.
When she was joking, she could barely keep a straight face before she'd bust out laughing. (Even earlier, when they'd been at the gala, he's pretty sure she was only able to keep a straight face because of the surprise appearance of a prince).
And even more than that, she was fine with so many things, with so many of his quirks; things that bothered even Pepper or Rhodey. And she had offered Tony to make her costume because she said she might think he'd want to, but she was also completely prepared to make it with Virgo on her own. The only thing she actually asked him to make was smoke bombs, and Tony had no problem making those, (though that was mostly because he didn't want to see Elle try to make them through DIY YouTube videos, if they even existed. He felt some horror over the fact that what he felt was probably akin to what Pepper and Rhodey feel when they try to prevent him from going on a blackout drunk inventing binge).
And another odd thing was how easily she could read him. The only reason he was even slightly okay with that was because she was also so easy to read.
And now she had gotten rid of his biggest doubt, just like that.
Everybody leaves. Rhodey goes back to the Air Force. Pepper had threatened to quit when he started Iron Man. Happy hasn't said anything, but he'd probably leave with Pepper.
He had thought that it would only be a matter of time before Elle was gone in the wind, like the others, or dead, like everyone else.
Jarvis. Yinsen. Howard and Maria. The Commandos were getting old, and Peggy had called him 'Howard' the last three times he'd visited.
But he felt on top of the world after hearing Elle's solution.
"Wow, I think we're done," Elle said.
Tony looked up. Sure enough, the whole room was a hell of a lot neater than when he first came in, and most things were now in Elle's requip space.
"Come on," Elle said, squeezing his shoulder. "Let's go eat some cookies."
That was another thing. Elle was pretty touchy-feely. But he really didn't mind. It was good, actually. Tony had always liked touch, but after Obadiah, he not only didn't want to feel human skin, but not even human pressure, like something as simple as a hand on his shoulder, or someone leaning against him.
Elle had a way of expressing comfort through hugs. She had told him previously that it was mostly because she was touch-starved in her first life that she became so 'huggy'. It didn't feel restraining when she did it; it felt comforting. The way it feels when he'd hug Lila Rhodes, or even Peter, earlier. Kids are easy to be around; innocent. He doesn't need to worry about a kid gaslighting him, or having a lot of ulterior motives. Most of the time, they're just in awe that he flies around in a metal suit, and they don't care about his past or his reputation or his problems. Iron Man is all they care about, and it's nice how kids can be so nonjudgmental.
Well, some of them.
"How much sugar are you having?" Tony said incredulously, following Elle out of the study. "You're going to get fat."
"I'm eating for two," Elle snapped, before pausing at the edge of the doorway. "Hey, is there anything else you want me to take? Like for you?"
Tony's mind immediately jumped to the amount of embarrassing old memorabilia he had in his closet. But he didn't need Elle to take that, he could smuggle it out with his own stuff, if he really wanted it. But there wasn't really anything that he'd want in the house, except...
"How much can you fit in your requip space?" he asked hesitantly.
Elle tilted her head as she stared at the piano. "Yeah, this'll fit, no problem. You want me to bring it with us?"
Tony nodded, keeping his hands in his pockets so she wouldn't see him fidgeting. "Yep."
There was a layer of dust over the keys. He had told the cleaning crew to leave the piano untouched.
The last person who played on it was his mother.
But she was gone. And she would've preferred that it was played on than hidden away. He had still needed to order a new grand for his Malibu house, but when JARVIS had given him options and he hesitated, considering this trip to the old Mansion, he knew that he didn't need to buy a new one.
It was time it was played again.
And it was time he moved on.
He loved his parents. Despite all of his father's flaws, and his mother's depression, and odd spurts of life in between. But their deaths wasn't his father's fault, and if what Elle said about the footage was true, then their last thoughts were for each other.
And Elle and him were going to destroy HYDRA anyway.
So he was starting to be okay with that.
"Yeah," Tony said, more firmly this time. "Let's take it with us."
Elle smiled at him, and requipped it away.
The big empty space where it used to be didn't feel as big as he thought it was. Instead of a gaping hole, an empty maw, it was more like a clean slate.
Yeah. It was time to move on.
"Hey, Tony?" I asked, sitting next to him.
We were outside, sitting next to a fire I had lit with Mars, and roasting marshmallows. Tony was working on a heater in the patio that connected with the pool, having it warm up for me, having suggested a warm swim when he learned that I didn't need to watch out for hot water like normal women in their first trimester, as my control over Mars and Neptune made my body immune to any adverse effects.
"Yeah?" he asked.
"Are you wearing the palladium reactor?"
He froze and looked up at me. "…Maybe?"
"Tony!" I said, crossing my arms. "I thought you were going to wear the new one during the day!"
"I do," he conceded. "Like…every other day. Sometimes I just forget to switch it out, and considering that I'll be actively getting sicker until my last appearance a week from tomorrow, when I announce it, I've decided that I should go back to the palladium reactor for the week. Only the week, though."
"You're a moron," I said, putting a hand to my forehead before tapping his shoulder.. "Venus's Cleansing Light."
Tony glowed gold for a second before it faded. His eyes widened as he took a breath. "Woah, what did you do? And that wasn't Saturn."
"That's because I didn't heal you," I answered. Tony pulled up at his shirt and looked at the palladium lines, which were still rather long. "I just took away some of the pain. It's not permanent, and it won't last through tomorrow, and while I'm able to help take away some of it, there's parts I can't. For instance, the reactor blocks some of your lungspace. I can't get you more room to breathe, but I can take some of the restricting pain away. But I'm not that good at this and I can't do it often."
"Why not?" Tony asked.
I shrugged. "That's not what the spell is made for. That's the type of spell I'd use to exorcise someone who's possessed, or under a dark spell. But I went over my spell repertoire awhile back, and me and the rest of the Stellar Siblings decided that this one was the best for this type of situation."
Tony raised an eyebrow. "Stellar Siblings?"
"It's a thing," I said, sighing. "The magazine Sorcerer Weekly liked to do spreads on the guilds, and they gave us all nicknames. Actually, we can probably use about half of them for superhero names."
"What was yours?" Tony asked.
I sighed. "Ugh, can we discuss this at another point? I said that we would have to change about half of them."
"I'll get the story out of you eventually," he said, switching tools and pausing, before he looked back up at me. "Elle? What is it? You're staring."
"...You sure you're okay with being out here with me?" I asked him. "I know what happened in Afghanistan, I get it. I understand the lasting consequences of that…"
"What do you mean?" Tony asked.
I looked away from him, but my mind was elsewhere. "My hair has always been long. It was a part of me. If I ever changed it, I just made it longer. Whenever we would go to a ball, or a party, it would just get curlier. Cancer – you met him, Lucy's Zodiac spirit with hair-cutting magic – and would always complain about me never letting him do something different. And there was an ongoing joke in the whole guild that I hated bangs. It managed to look good on the other characters, but after one bad haircut in my first life…anyway. People liked my long hair. Others would grow theirs out so we could have braid trains on movie night. Things like that. It's a weird thing, but some of us bonded over longer hair. Lucy has always been like a sister to me, and she grew her hair out to be like me and her mom."
My mind was in my memories now. "But then, my own Afghanistan happened. I nearly escaped several times, actually, but my captors deliberately went for my hair rather than anything else. And they'd throw me around with it. I hated my hair for a bit after that. I cut almost all of it off when I got back to the guild. It was even shorter than yours, more of a chick-buzz cut look than anything else. And it was weird for all of us."
I was quiet.
"What happened?" Tony prodded gently.
I smiled. "We have this annual parade, where we perform magic and tricks. That year, I decided to add songs. Laxus and I danced and fought off fake monsters, and we practically threw down a gauntlet for dark guilds. It had extra significance because they broke my legs so I couldn't run away-"
I almost missed Tony's look of horror. "But after time with Phoenix I managed to get healed up in time. So we grew my hair out again for the performance. And while I would still tense up when people were behind me, sometimes, I also slowly adjusted back to normal."
I turned back to Tony. "I'll always be sensitive with my hair. And if I ever get kidnapped again, the first thing I'll do is probably sheer it all off if I can. But it's a part of me, even if it took a bit to come back. I don't know what water was like for you before, Tony, but I wouldn't be surprised if you loved it. You have a pool, and you also live on a private beach in Malibu…" I trailed off. "So, I get it. But if you don't want to be out here, that's fine. I can swim once you go to sleep."
"No, it's fine," Tony said. "In fact,-" he took a deep breath and toed off his shoes, moving carefully to the shallow end of the pool before putting his feet in.
"Tony, you don't have to do this," I stressed to him, putting a hand on his shoulder.
"I know," he told me, slowly sitting down. "I want to. It's just a little water. Just…a little…water."
The water was up to his knees now, and though he was tense, he very slowly started to relax.
"If you're sure," I said, and very, very slowly walked into the pool. I let out a sigh of relief at the hot water. "Oh, this feels very, very nice."
I waded over to Tony's side and folded my arms on the wall next to him, resting my head on them and kicking softly as I stayed in place.
"So," I asked him. "The sun has set. We've had an interesting day. We've reached witching hour-"
"It's like, nine," Tony scoffed.
I rolled my eyes, before they rested on someone else, and I froze as I stared at the person behind Tony. "What the fuck, it's hasn't even been a week!"
Tony turned his head to follow my gaze. "Uh…"
"Sir, I do not understand the readings I am picking up!" JARVIS announced from Tony's phone. He was not as connected with this house as he was with the Malibu house, so he's mostly been a silent watcher on Tony's phone.
"That's because it's a thought projection," I said. "So it probably gives off magical energy but not any heat. Now, seriously, it's hasn't even been a week."
Macbeth winced. "Sorry Dawnie. There were some…complications and I thought you might want to know."
"Yeah," said a voice, and Erigor faded into view next to him. "So…" he drifted off, staring at me. "No fair! We're stuck with these HYDRA asshats and you're in a pool?"
Macbeth rolled his eyes. "If Dawnie wants to relax in a pool, she should get to. You'rethe one who wanted to go undercover."
"Beth," Erigor whined.
"Eri," Macbeth mimicked.
Tony laughed. "Erigor and Macbeth, right?" he asked, pointing at them for clarification.
They both nodded and were quiet, before...
"…hi," they said in unison, awkwardly.
"They have bad social skills, ignore that," I told Tony.
"It's true," Macbeth shrugged.
"Anyway, what's the problem?" I asked.
"We ran into Erik," Macbeth said, sighing.
I straightened and used the water to pull me out of the pool so we were face to face. "That shouldn't have happened." Tony got up behind me to see what the problem was.
"We know," Erigor said, serious for once.
"What did you do?" I asked.
"We did the 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' thing," Macbeth said. "It got us stationed somewhere else, and it also made us acknowledge that we'd be seeing other 'Fairies'."
I grimaced. "What did you have to tell them?"
"We decided we would wait to see what happens," Erigor said. "So far, it's just that we come from a different universe where there's magic, and we're probably not the only ones who came over."
"I'm planning on breaking in soon to get Bucky," I admitted. "Tony and I spent time testing metal so it was strong enough to resist Bucky's strength, so he won't break the room we put him in. And I'll be going in disguised, and I'm going to try and pretend that I don't actually have magic; I'm using Noir's staff."
"Smart," Macbeth nodded.
I nodded. "I'll teleport in through the air shaft or something, and I'll focus on an element or two, make me seem specifically skilled in them, one for each end of staff. If you can, tell them you don't recognize me and that, despite the timing, you think I might be using the Fairies' arrival as a cover-up because I didn't actually use magic."
Erigor nodded. "We can do that."
"What two elements?" Macbeth asked. "Jupiter and Saturn?"
"I was thinking Mars, actually," I admitted. "HYDRA are enemies I'm fine with using some of the more violent spells on. And I can save what my best elements are for ones that I actually find 'difficult' so I'll stick to using Mars and maybe Venus for now."
"You should keep the spells silent, if you can," Tony pointed out. "If you use the name of two planets, they might catch on that you can do other planets, too."
I nodded. "Good thinking."
"I think that covers most of it," Macbeth said. "We should be good."
Erigor nodded. "And we mostly wanted to see how you were doing?"
"I have a question or two," I said. "First, do you guys have any problems astral projecting?"
They exchanged confused looks and shook their heads. "No, no not really."
"Alright," I said, sighing. "Can one of you astral project to Laxus and tell him to send a Thought Projection my way? Sometime in the evening, New York time, or California time if he's going to be longer than two days."
"Sure," Macbeth said. "Is that all?"
I nodded, and Tony waved. "Bye!"
And they were gone.
"Huh," Tony said.
"No, this is good news, actually," I said, before turning and falling backwards into the pool. I raised the water up to catch me before I could create a splash or have my back hurt from a back flop.
"Show off," Tony said.
"Absolutely," I said. "My first life I had no powers. This time, I will take full-out advantage of it."
"It's like you use it for everything," Tony said, sitting back on the ledge.
"It's honestly like a muscle for me now," I admitted. "Like how you have that tic where you need to keep moving your hands. Like how someone bounces a leg when they're sitting down. My magic is just casually manipulating the air around me, and when I do something like with the water, it's like the difference between bouncing a leg and then getting up and pacing for a bit. If I don't use magic, then I start to get antsy. It happens with all of us, actually."
Tony sat there, thinking and moving his feet slowly while I floated peacefully.
Tony broke the peace. "What did you mean about having trouble astral projecting?"
I floated in silence for a bit longer before I said, "Freed thinks that because I died the first time around before jumping universes, I have some trouble keeping my soul tethered to my body. So I can't astral project very well, or very long. Macbeth and Erigor don't have trouble, though, so it's probably just me. Probably because they already knew how to astral project before they died."
I looked up from my floating to find Tony staring at me. "So, if you astral project…what, you can just die?"
"…Probably not," I said, shrugging. "That feels like a really big design flaw, and I doubt She would make a mistake like that. But I just feel really uncomfortable about doing it, so I don't. And it makes it a bit more difficult for me to access more magic from the Astral Plane. Anyway, that's why I asked them to contact Laxus. I can tell him I'm pregnant when he comes to visit."
"You are oddly non-chalant about certain things," Tony commented. "You said…you were what, thirteen during your Afghanistan? And they broke your legs?"
"I got over it," I said somewhat uncomfortably. "I healed pretty quickly and I moved past that. Generally, our more powerful guild members can only get caught by dark guilds if they get the jump on us. I mean, it does happen."
"Okay," Tony said quietly.
"Anyway, we should probably be getting to bed," I said, stretching and leaving the pool. "It might still be a bit early in the evening, but you've got the press conference for Pepper's promotion and I'm going to be suiting up in the morning."
Elle's a bit more like Tony than either of them realize. She doesn't realize how, despite how often she communicates some things, she still deflects others. (They'll realize eventually, though).
I've also had several of my readers who I've discussed this with say that I shouldn't actually reveal Elle's plan. Actually, I wouldn't have even wanted you guys to know there was a plan, but that's some of the problems with writing a fix it fic where the MC knows a bunch of things. As an author, for instance, I love things like Arc Reactor whump. But with Elle there, Tony's pain becomes real, and she has to try all the ways she can find to avoid it. (Same with FMA - I prefer when Ed and Al are on the road, traveling, even if Al has no body and Ed has his automail).
I'm on a long road vacation, so the updates should come in pretty often now! Next chapter of Ripples should be finished and up tomorrow, as long as I have Wifi!
Chapter 22: Chapter Twenty Two - Winter, Part One
Yes, it's pronounced the normal way. Also, a bit of a sneak peek for Ripples' Edolas Arc.
Chapter Twenty Two - Winter, Part One
"What do you think?" I asked.
Tony looked up from his phone and stared at me.
"Well," Tony said. "You look…different."
I raised an eyebrow. "That's kind of the point."
"Still," he muttered, watching me put on the domino mask. "So, you and Virgo finally added magic to it?"
I nodded, securing it in place. "Yeah. And it shouldn't come off, either."
"This is only for the secret identity, right?" Tony asked.
I nodded. "That's why I've changed so much."
The bodysuit was a more muted color of purple than I would've liked, but it was still obviously purple. The boots I was wearing, given to me by Virgo, took off a good three inches of height, by making it compactible inside of the shoes.
"Why are you shorter?" Tony asked. "How are you shorter?"
"The boots are compacted," I said, jumping up and down. "While it's easy enough to adjust to the difference in height at first, it makes fighting a little difficult, so I need to practice before I actually fight them."
"But everything else is an illusion?" Tony asked.
I shrugged. "The one the mask uses to change the shape of my face is. The bodysuit is designed for more protection in a way that makes me look stockier."
Physically, it'd be a lot harder for them to match my new costume up to Elle Rigby. Now I'm 5'5", have a much curvier and buff body, and my face seems stretched out a bit longer. My mask also changes my eye color to brown, and I have my hair brown too, when it's in the ponytail.
"Okay, I'll admit it's kinda impressive," Tony said, circling me. "You really do look different. The height really helps."
I nodded. Height was important. That's why on bank exits, they have a strip that measures how tall you are. So, when the thief runs out the door, the bankers can tell the cops how tall they were. Height and build were one of the first things people notice about people who have hidden their identity. This alone should rule me out almost immediately, in case anyone gets suspicious about similar magic.
I put on the mask and pulled back my hair into a pony tail, changing it to a darker brown. Finally, I zipped up the rest of the suit and pulled up the hood in the back, which clicked into place around my head and the mask so it would stay in place.
"You can barely even see your hair," Tony commented, packing up another box.
I shrugged. "One last piece."
Finally, I requipped a staff that was compacted into about a foot. I clicked it into place and it extended from one foot to three, and then from three to six, before I turned it back down to three.
"Why do you only have it half-way?" Tony asked.
"If I'm in a tricky position," I said, maneuvering buttons on the staff. "I can push the button in the middle of the fight. If my opponent doesn't know my staff extends, I can usually get in a really good hit."
Tony nodded. "So...who's Noir, exactly?"
I looked up from the staff. "Well, it's complicated. But to put it simply…Noir is me."
"…What," Tony asked flatly.
"There's a universe aligned with Fairy Tail," I said. "Called Edolas. There are versions of all of us there, including me. 'Noir' comes from the end of 'Eleanor', and she was kinda…the darker side of me, maybe? So we thought it was fitting, and it's better than just calling her Edo-Elle. That gets kinda annoying."
"Anyway," I continued. "There's no magic in Edolas. Instead, they had magical items." I held up the staff and showed him the side. "The buttons correspond with an element. And I can shift it on or off to redirect the power. There's a certain amount of magic stored in the staff – my own magic, now - and it's already directly loaded to all the elements. By turning off all of them but Venus and Mars…" I flipped the switch over the Dark Grey (Mercury), Green (Earth), Purple (Jupiter), Light Gray (Saturn), Light Blue (Uranus), and Dark Blue (Neptune). "Those are shut off. It would take a few minutes to…warm it up, basically, so I limit the amount of elements I use, but more magic is redirected there."
"What about the Dwarf Planets?" Tony asked.
I showed him a panel on the side that was shut completely. "Even using one spell can make it harder to use any more magic. It slows down how the magic flows through the staff."
"Can you supply it with more magic?" Tony asked.
I nodded, smiling. "And since it's fire and…well, a laser, basically, it might seem like it's not magic."
Tony nodded and passed over a utility belt. "I made you the smoke bombs and stuff."
"Did you have fun?" I asked him, grinning.
He smiled. "I kinda feel like Q. I like it."
I patted his shoulder. "You want to make a lipstick laser, then go for it. Even if I won't use it, some of the girls joining us later might use it for spy missions. Hell, Macbeth and Erigor might use it, too."
He handed me the coms he made, and I slipped it into my ear. It was surprisingly comfortable.
"Now, I'll be following you every step of the way," Tony said.
He had found a layout of the facility online, which he would use to try and direct me to certain places. In addition to getting Bucky, Tony also asked me to download some of Hydra's information, and to also upload a virus, which I was fine with.
The HYDRA base modeled as a shipping company, and would stow packages in large trucks and ship them out to other locations. Some of those boxes were very big, and Tony is the one who commented that while they might fit Bucky in one of those while he's in cryostasis, other people could fit in there, too.
That's why we were going to download information, too.
AIM might not have started human experimentation yet, but HYDRA has never really been above that. So that was kind of important.
"And you can put the whole tank in your requip space?" Tony asked.
Tony handed me a handful of…more coms?
"Why do you have more coms?" I asked him.
"We still haven't really worked on magic resistant tech," Tony said. "I don't want it to accidentally break around magic. If you don't hear me talking, then you'll need to switch out for another one. I think they'll hold up, but…"
I nodded and requipped most of them to a safe place before slipping the rest into one of the belt's pouches. Magic (like requipping) should be fine on a smaller level, but if it was in the direct way of a spell, or close enough to a powerful blast, it would probably cause some interference.
"Okay," Tony said, backing up. "That's all things on my end. But, uh…how did you get the staff from Noir, and can I play with it later?"
I laughed. "Yeah, you can mess with it. I brought a lot of magically-run items back with me when we left. There was no magic left in Edolas either, so other-me handed it over."
"Got it," Tony said. "Anything else?"
"No, I think that's all," I said softly.
He gave me a look, and slowly nodded, before he reached out and hugged me.
"Be careful," he told me.
"I will," I responded.
Tony cleared his throat and stepped back. "Good luck."
I smiled back. "Time to go."
"Remember to take breaks," he told me.
"I know, Tony. Now go. You have a press conference."
He nodded and left.
"JARVIS?" I asked. "Can you put up a map and point out where we are and our destination in Virginia?"
"Yes, Mrs. Dreyar."
"Okay," I muttered. "Okay, I can do this. Can you bring up pictures of the biggest attractions between them? No distance more than 100 miles, if you can."
He brought up four pictures, before he showed the last one of the facility.
"Alright," I said. "Time to go. Bye, JARVIS!"
"Goodbye, Mrs. Dreyar. Good luck."
I made sure to stick to the shadows.
I would make one jump, hang out in the shadows for a bit, do some kicks and flips and eat a lot of food – even more than usual, considering the amount of teleporting I had to do, and the baby.
At the first rest point, there was a television nearby. I listened to it as I snacked on some grapes. (Fruit for now. Sugar right before the mission).
Tony stood at a podium, overlooking the crowd.
"I've brought you here today for a reason," he started. "And it's a bit of an odd thing to announce, but I am stepping down as CEO of Stark Industries."
There was a large gasp from the reporters and the audience that had gathered around the television.
"I've recently realized I'd prefer to spend much more time inventing than in meetings, signing paperwork, and the like. So I will simply be the head of Research and Development, and I am promoting Pepper Potts to CEO."
Wildly waving hands from the reporters.
"You, kid," Tony said, pointing to a particularly young looking one.
"So, Mr. Stark, you're still going to be designing things for Stark Industries, but you will no longer be CEO? Why did you decide to hand it over to Ms. Potts?"
"Well, I realized that being CEO is time-consuming and boring, and Pepper already did a lot of the work because I would slack off to make stuff instead. We decided to make it official, because Pepper deserves the credit and the paycheck. And because I'm tired of getting yelled at for missing meetings."
The reporters chuckled and another one shouted a question. "Will you still be Iron Man?"
"I will be Iron Man for as long as I can, for as long as the world needs me," Tony stated.
Some of the reporters cheered.
"I will now pass this over to Pepper Potts…"
I smiled and teleported to the next stop.
I repeated this a few times and tried not to think of what was weighing on my mind. Because it wasn't Bucky, and it wasn't Tony; it was Laxus, who had yet to Astral Project.
Virgo had appeared this morning to make sure my costume was complete, (and to help tidy the house, which would've been nice before we had went through Howard's shit) and I asked her to ask Lucy to Astral Project to Laxus and tell him to visit me.
Virgo relayed the message and Lucy said she would tonight.
I had hoped that Macbeth and Erigor would stop at Laxus's on the way back to their bodies, but maybe they hadn't last night. Maybe something about HYDRA came up or something.
But it was weird that Laxus hadn't visited yet, and I'm definitely not going to Astral Project if I'm pregnant, so he needs to contact me.
The thing is, I didn't really know what to say to him.
We weren't trying for a baby; after what I told him of the Fairy Tail timeline, we both decided that we should have children aftereverything calms down.
This was completely unexpected.
But we'd come to that when he arrived, I guess.
A few more jumps and I ended up near the facility. I was busy stretching and practicing kicking when my com chirped.
"Elle?" Tony asked.
"Hey, I saw the speech. Good job."
"Thanks," he said. "It feels like there's a weight off my chest now that I've done that."
"Well, being CEO is a heavy responsibility," I said to him. "This took a lot of things you had to do off your plate, and we still have a lot to do."
"You've got a point," Tony said. "Plus, you know, the secret missions and stuff."
"Yeah, that too," I responded. "You gonna be my guy in the chair?"
"Guy in the chair?" Tony snorted.
"Yeah, you're in front of a bunch of computers helping me do shit."
"Well, you're not wrong," Tony agreed.
"You seeing what I'm seeing?" The mask is meant to transmit my visuals.
"Yeah," Tony said. "Let's do this."
"Well, this brings back memories," I muttered.
"What, you go climbing through vents before?" Tony asked.
"Yeah. When I grabbed Macbeth, Erik, Orga and a few other kids," I explained as I moved forward. "I saved them from some crazy psychos. This was right before my Afghanistan, actually. It was a lot easier to do this when I was thirteen."
"Well, yeah, that was seven years ago," Tony snorted. "You were probably much smaller."
I groaned. "God, I was tiny. I didn't get my growth spurt until after that happened, so I was actually like…the size of a ten year old. At least these vents are a little bigger."
I could practically see Tony roll his eyes at me. "You're sure it's okay to talk so freely?" he asked.
"Redirecting sound vibrations," I reminded him. "But thank you for worrying."
He grumbled. I kept crawling.
"Alright, you should take a left here," Tony said. "And you're approaching the tech room."
"Alright," I said. "Do you want them to knowwe stole information and uploaded a virus?"
"I'd prefer that that'sstill a secret," Tony admitted.
"Got it," I muttered. "I'll use breaking out Bucky as a distraction for stealing and destroying their files."
Here's the thing. If possible, I didn't want to use any magic, only the stuff I had pre-charged onto Noir's staff. You see, as Tony and I messed around, we realized that magic can register on more than a few different types of scans – usually almost all of them, actually, including the light spectrum, since you can usually see magic. So if I can get through this without actually using my magic, and just using what's already pre-set in the staff, I'll have a much better time convincing these people that I don't have magic, and that it's all tricks (like with what I planned with Macbeth and Erigor).
Redirecting sound vibrations is one of those things that doesn't really register. Since there's already a small level of magic (or Ethernano, back in Fiore) in the air, it wouldn't really create an effect; same as requipping, generally. Just a small disruption, like if there's bubbles in a special goo and I just poked at a few of the bubbles. Things that can happen naturally.
But any of my stronger magic, like full-out spells, would register.
This means that I couldn't just use Pluto to peek my head through the vents and the ceiling to see if anyone was in the room.
Though I probably wouldn't because Pluto usually sucks.
"Is anyone in the room?" I asked Tony.
"Let's…see," Tony muttered, doings something. I heard corresponding beeps as he did something on his computer.
All of a sudden, the lenses that covered the eye holes of the mask flickered, and I was looking around in infrared.
"Holy shit, that's awesome," I whispered in awe.
"Thank you, thank you very much," Tony said, emanating Elvis. "If you hit the button next to your left eye, you can change it manually."
I raised my hand to a part between my left eye and my ear, pressing the button. The light flickered to ultraviolet.
"So cool," I hissed, pressing the button again and again until I came back to infrared.
I looked back down with my new heat-vision. "There's one person in the room," I told Tony. "Any chance you could cause something in the other side of the building that would alert them so they can leave?"
"Give me a sec…" Tony said, stretching out his words. "…Got it!"
I heard him typing, and within a few seconds, someone else ran into the room. I strained my ears, trying to hear what they were saying. Here's the thing – it's easy to deflect sound vibrations, but it's harder to direct them somewhere, particularly back to me. It's not something I'm the best at, even when I'm in the room and have a direct line to the conversation. Trying it in the vents was stupid, and I gave up almost immediately. It was just a waste of energy, and I wasn't getting anywhere like this.
It didn't really matter, anyway. The person sitting down got up and quickly hurried after the new person.
"Alright," Tony said. "You've probably got a few minutes. Depends on how competent that guy was. Whoever they are, they're smarter than the rest of those noobs, but still slow on their computer programming. I'm keeping an eye on them in another room, I'll give you a warning if they start to come back. And you're good to go with their cameras."
"Are you already in their system?" I asked, as I distantly remembered that Tony could also see what I was seeing. I moved aside the vent plating and swung into the room, with my mask flickering back to regular color vision. "Also, did you say noobs?"
"Kinda," Tony said. "As for what I can see…It's like going on a website. I can see their page and presentation, but I can't really make an account and change things, much less rewrite the entire webpages code….and no."
"You did," I said gleefully, moving forward to the computer.
Luckily, I was wearing gloves (just in case) but they didn't feel like gloves. Tony said that since they weren't there to specifically prevent cold, just DNA trails, they could be a lot thinner.
"Well, they are," Tony muttered.
I snorted, taking out the first USB and plugging it into the computer. This wasn't the biggest tech room – there was only a handful of computers, but it was obviously the 'mainframe' or whatever (I don't know a lot about computers, okay?). But in my mind, it was kinda like how on the helicarrier, Fury had a station in the middle with like… four screens, and a bunch of other people were on their own computers doing research. And this is just Fury's computer.
The screen blinked three times before a loading bar showed.
"Oh my god, Tony, really?" I asked.
"Elle, it's 2010. I don't know what it's like in the future, but no matter how amazing I am, I still can't make things download instantly." His voice sounded even more annoyed than I was.
It also didn't matter. The loading bar was already full, and the screen blinked three times again.
"You can remove it," Tony said.
I took out the flashdrive and switched it for the red one (the one with the virus). And yeah, you can make fun of the fact that I asked Tony to color-code them, but everything works better with color coding (I mean, unless you're colorblind). And I didn't want to upload the virus before we got the information, that would just suck.
"Congratulations," I said, as the screen blinked again, with a new loading bar for uploading. "Your downloading and uploading speed is still faster than it is in 2017."
"That's when you died?" Tony asked.
"More or less."
"How can it be more or less?" Tony demanded.
The uploading finished and the screen blinked again. I took out the flash drive maneuvered the chair back into its previous position.
"More it a bit to the left," Tony commented. I adjusted the chair and used it to spring back into the vents, shutting the opening behind me. "Elle. More or less?"
"Okay," I said, as I continued through the shafts. "So I died May 1st, 2017, right? Every once in awhile, though, I'd end up back in the library-"
"Library?" Tony cut me off.
"That's where I ended up when I died. God's basically a librarian, and our souls are recorded in books. Or something. Anyway, I ended up back there a few more times and she would give me some more information. That was kinda nice. I found out a lot more by then."
"Turn right," Tony said, and I automatically followed his directions. "Uh-"
I fell forward and threw out my hands and knees, bracing myself against the wall and sliding down. It turned into a quick fall to a slow slide until I came to a halt. There was silence other than the squeak of my gloves and bodysuit against the wall.
"Thanks for the warning," I grumbled.
"Sorry," Tony winced. "The shaft drops off the map, I didn't realize until it was too late."
"Not cool, Tony," I hissed, straightening out.
"That's the only drop you'll approach," Tony warned.
"Still not cool," I replied. "Now where?"
Tony paused. "Do you want to magically appear in Barnes' room, or do you want to appear down the hall and break into the room?"
"Down the hall," I answered immediately. "I live for terrifying HYDRA agents. Bring on the drama."
"Then take a right, and you should be good," Tony replied, sounding like he was trying to stifle laughter. "I'm comparing the electricity output with the new information from the download and I'm pretty sure he's at the end of that hall."
"You already got the downloaded information?" I asked him, surprised.
"Yeah, most of it's wireless," Tony answered. "JARVIS is sifting through it right now."
"Huh," I muttered, continuing forward. I made the right and approached the corner. There was another vent grille on the bottom. "This is the beginning of the hall?" I asked.
"And Barnes is on the end," Tony said, nervously. "You ready?"
"If you are," I said, smiling. I tapped the button on the left side of my mask again, flashing to infrared. Two people were on the other end of the hallway, slowly approaching me under the vent.
I grinned and reset to regular vision, counting down. Three, two…
I dropped down from the vent, swinging forward and kicking both men in the face.
They were not expecting that.
Before either could recover, I had already twirled Noir's staff and hit them both in the face, one with each end. They both hit the ground.
"You didn't even use magic," Tony snorted.
"To be fair, they still think they're completely secret," I told him, moving towards the doors and kicking them open.
Time to get this party started.
There were a handful of Hydra agents in the room, who all looked up as the doors banged into the wall. Three of them were scientists. Three more were Hydra agents.
"Who the hell are you?" one of the scientists asked.
"Dead," another agent said, pulling out a gun and shooting it.
I used Noir's staff to knock it off its course.
"Holy shit, you can DO THAT?" Tony shouted in my ear.
"I'm The Avenger," I said. "And HYDRA will fall."
Yes, that is the name I'm using for my secret identity. Did I pick that name to fuck with Fury?
With that, I threw three smoke bombs on the floor and switched my mask to infrared, so I could see where they were.
I swept through the smoke and whacked two agents with my staff. The third one climbed onto a desk and jumped down on me from above, holding my staff in place. I ignited the side closest to him, and flames burst out of it, causing the man to back off and try and pat himself down. I banged him on the head and he fell unconscious.
To my surprise, one of the scientists threw a clipboard at me and used the few seconds it took me to knock it away in order to grab a gun.
He froze, unable to pull the trigger, as I held my staff right at his eye.
"I'll be honest," I said, very casually. "I'm not sure which end that is. Which means it can either be fire, or a laser, basically. Either one, though, will still end up seriously wounding you at this range, at the very least.Put down the gun."
The scientist lowered to the floor slowly, my staff following his eye during his descent. He put down the gun and kicked it over.
"Good," I said, smiling. The other two scientists were still frozen, their hands in the air.
"Now," I said. "Here's the thing. And make sure the others know this, too. I've marked you all. This is your final warning. I'm giving you all a second chance. Move on from HYDRA, be a good person – and you'll be left alone. Keep working for HYDRA; and you won't be so lucky next time."
I threw down some more smoke bombs, waiting for them to obscure the entirety of the Winter Soldier's tank before I requipped it away.
Alarms started going off, and I turned to the far wall and quickly carved HYDRA WILL FALL with the staff's Venus. Then I switched to Mars and destroyed the other wall in a series of explosions before I took off running, leaving the building up in flames.
Chapter 23: Chapter Twenty Three - Winter, Part Two
It's been forever, and I'm sooo sorry about that. On the bright side, my medication has been corrected (my prozac dose was lowered, long story) and I'm back to being productive! And here's a long chapter to make up for it!
Chapter Twenty Three - Winter, Part Two
There was a lot of yelling.
Erigor didn't like HYDRA. And he knew that Macbeth didn't either.
But of the ones in the Tenrou group, they were the best that could work undercover.
He was mostly upset that he couldn't be as affectionate with Macbeth, because Hydra was, as Elle put it, full of 'fucking NAZIs'.
Not that they were ever really affectionate in public anyway. But that wasn't the point. The point was that they didn't get the option to decide not to do it.
Though at least their hovering around each other was explained by Erik, mentioning that magic resonating in other people (or snakes/other animals) made them more powerful.
Besides, they were all from another dimension. It's not like HYDRA knew anything about their magic. They could feed them all the bullshit they want.
"Can you all just SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Erik roared. "I can't think!"
Erik's menacing glare made the HYDRA goons freeze, and Kinana, currently in her eight-foot-long Cubellios form for this mission, curled around Erik's shoulders, hissing over at them. They shuddered, and Macbeth exchanged a smirk with Erigor.
Erik growled at the man. "With all due respect, Mr. Pierce, I lost that name long ago."
Erik shot a glare at them, and Erigor glared back. Macbeth didn't care.
"Sorry. Mr. Cobra, I'm trying to find out what happened here."
"If you all just shut up and give me a minute, I can tell you," Erik hissed.
There was quiet.
"And don't call me 'Mr.', either, that's just fucking stupid," he added, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "Alright, now who was actually here when…whatever…happened?"
Eight people raised their hands.
"Great," he said, grabbing the first one and looking into their eyes. "Next."
He went down the line of them, looking into their eyes.
Back before they all left the library, Elle had taken them all aside and told them what she wanted them to do. And then she spent a little extra time with the groups that were going undercover, in order to make them seem less powerful. For instance, HYDRA believes that Erik can only read minds if he stares directly in their eyes. Macbeth has only ever shown them his Illusion Magic, and made it seem like the Reflector Magic he was using was just a variation of Wind Magic he could use when Erigor was around, and Erigor had only shown them using wind as a weapon, like slicing through things in a fight. Any other way it could be used – flying, telekinesis, suffocation – was still kept a secret.
Erik admitted to having an affinity for poison and enhanced senses, which is why he brought a snake around with him and also 'creeped everyone the fuck out'.
Personally, Erigor thought that Erik was really enjoying that part.
Cubellios, the giant flying snake, helped though.
"Alright," Erik finally said, having gone through all eight people. "You two!" he pointed at the first two. "Over here," he moved them to the left, and turned back, before pointing at a third agent. "You join them." He moved over to the three scientists and sent two of them over.
"Alright, this group is fucking useless to us," Erik waved them off carelessly, staring at the remaining three. "This is where the information is. Now, you said you think she had magic?"
"Kinda," the scientist said.
Erik gave him a deep stare, but the scientist didn't quiver too much under it.
"I…see…" Erik said.
"What, what is it?" Pierce asked desperately.
"Do we have any video footage of this…hero?" Erik said, his voice curling up at the distaste.
Erigor was really getting a kick out of this. Not too long after the Strauss siblings joined in, Elle had started introducing theater to the kids, and Erik had taken a surprising liking to it.
To be fair, this was kinda similar, except they didn't know any lines. So, improv with an already developed character. Or something.
Erigor had always cared more about the musicals. Joining Fairy Tail had allowed him to be himself whenever he wanted, so why would he try being another person after his father had tried so hard to make him something he wasn't? But singing? Singing he could do. And, as Elle pointed out, as long as he hid his more caring side and only showed the side that got a kick out of everything, he should be fine.
"We do have some footage," the scientist admitted, bringing it up on the monitor. "We've already had most experts go over it, and we were just about to show it to…Ace and Midnight, when you arrived."
The replayed the short clip of a well-built, woman of average height come down from the vents, kick two men in the face before downing them, and then run to the lab and break down its doors before taking out most of the men easily. She gave her warning and blew up a wall, disappearing in clouds of smoke and flame.
"Well?" Pierce asked impatiently, staring at Erik.
Erik paused, before he asked. "What was so important?"
"What?" Pierce paused.
Erik raised an eyebrow at him. "What – no…" he glanced at the scientists. "Who did she take? And how important are they?"
"Very important," Pierce admitted. "He is known as the Fist of HYDRA, and I would like him back. He's helping us shape the world."
Erik stared into Pierce's eyes, and then nodded, before looking at Cubellios as if to confer with her. Erigor knew that Kinana was probably using their bond and Erik his magic, in order to pass messages back and forth. "Right. Okay, then. About the girl." He gestured back to the screen, which was paused on her figure. "I don't actually think she's using magic at all."
"Why?" Pierce demanded.
"Well for one," Erik said distastefully. "I heard that they," he jerked his head over to Erigor and Macbeth, "already investigated the scene and found no magic other than what occurs naturally."
"Magic occurs naturally?" Pierce asked.
Erik sighed and shrugged. "It's complicated. Look, I don't know magical theory. It's like…being a really good shot. You don't necessarily need to know and understand the physics behind it, you can just sort of do it, sometimes. Anyway…"
He turned back to the screen. "I know we told you that more of us would come out of the woodwork. We don't know how many of us came over. This is either someone who found out about us, or someone from our world without magic, that are using the transition to make their hero 'debut'."
"Wait, what if they're making it seem like they don't have magic to hide their magic?" the scientist asked.
They're too close to the truth! Make them forget it! Erigor screamed into Erik's mind.
Oh, shit, that was too loud.
"What is it?" Pierce said.
"Just…" Erik trailed off. "This guy is your top scientist?"
Erigor felt better at that. He'd forgotten how good Erik was at thinking on his feet.
Cubellios helped by staring at the man over Erik's shoulder and giving him a look of like he was the stupidest specimen of the human race she'd ever encountered.
"Excuse me?" the man demanded.
"Look," Erik began. "I'm sure you're...plenty smart and all. And I know you work for a hidden government organization, so paranoia should be expected. But, um…I think you might want to dial it back and leave it to the experts."
"I agree," Macbeth said nonchalantly. "The girl isn't using magic. There's nothing that registers on any sort of spectrum."
"But I'm sure she's faking a lack of magic to hide magic. Or maybe," Erigor faked gasped. "Maybe, she's faking a fake about lack of magic in order to hide the fact that she really doesn't have magic."
Erik snorted at that, but when Erigor threw him a smirk, a growl escaped Erik's lips.
The rest of the Hydra agents shuddered.
"Enough," Macbeth commanded. "We're getting nowhere."
"That's not true," Erik said, smirking. Kinana let out a hissing sound that seemed similar to laughing. "We've decided that this guy's an idiot."
He jerked his head over to the scientist, who looked indignant. "At least I tried to fight her!"
"Wait, what if she's not a girl? What if she's just a boy faking to throw us off her trail?" Erigor said overdramatically. "Oh. Or maybe, she's a girl, faking being a boy faking being a girl so we get the wrong idea!"
"Quiet!" Pierce barked, rubbing his forehead. "What do we know so far?"
"We know she seems to be a Caucasian female of around 5'5", with a bulkier weight set. And we definitely know that she took out most of these guys easy as pie, and made off with someone you refer to as 'the Fist of Hydra'," Macbeth said carelessly. "And we know that she at least likely knows about the universe dumping, and is likely using the influx of people to blend in as she debuts as a hero. I doubt she has magic. She didn't try to fake having magic, either. She simply didn't use any. Which means she's either enhanced or well-trained, though that doesn't really give credence to her being from our universe or this one."
Pierce nodded. "Cadets, dismissed."
The rest of the Hydra agents left, leaving Pierce with Erik, Macbeth, and Erigor. And Cubellios, of course, not that Pierce understood just how smart and aware Kinana was.
"I still need to confer with the other Heads," Pierce remarked. "But I am…open to any ideas."
Erik held up his hand. "This guy, the one she took. He's important to you? Extremely so?"
Erik was obviously thinking. "I'm skilled in more than one area of magic, and my enhanced senses give me a one up on…hunting. I think I should go after this person."
"But we need your powers nearby," Pierce demanded.
"He's not as good at it as I am," Erik bragged. "But Midnight can be adept at some Mind Magic."
Pierce whirled around. "You can read minds, too?"
"No," Macbeth said flatly. "I've never been able to read minds. But I'm good at breaking down barriers and telling the difference between a truth and a lie. It's a part of Illusion Magic. Erik-"
"Cobra is much more adept at Mind Magic than I am," Macbeth said. "But if there is someone important enough that you need him for, I should be able to suffice until he has time to return. I don't like to admit it, but Cobra has a…gift…when it comes to hunting."
"So you think you'll be able to catch him?" Pierce asked Erik.
"Depends. If he's as good as you say he is, it might take some time. But I'm always up for a good hunt."
"Excellent," Pierce said. "Get started right away."
"See ya, boss," Erik said, moving to leave the room. "Get out of my way, you lazy fucktards!" he howled at the agents dwelling outside the room. Cubellios hissed at them on the way out. They scattered and the two left.
"Do I need to take both of you?" Pierce asked the last two.
"Yes. Another reason I doubt she's a mage is because generally, mages work in pairs or with familiars. And no one else was there," Macbeth replied. "And if she was hiding a familiar on her person, we would have been able to sense the familiar's magic, definitely. It's much easier to sense than a mages."
Erigor nodded. "If you want better results, we'll work better as a team than we would separately. Once you find a suitable partner, you tend to stick with them."
"Could one of you do it with Cobra?" Pierce asked.
"It's very unlikely that either of us would ever find another mage or being we'd like to work with, but it's possible," Macbeth said slowly. "Cobra, however, is a bad idea. We'd clash too much."
Erigor did his best to stop from laughing, because next to him, Erik was one of the other people Macbeth preferred fighting side by side with.
"What if you…fall for someone?"
Both of them scoffed.
"Not an option for either of us," Erigor stated. "But even if there were a pair of two mages who were partners, if one of them found someone else they deeply cared about, they'd probably still stick with the first. It depends."
"Mages work better in pairs," Macbeth added.
"Well, then we best be going back to Washington, then."
Erigor and Macbeth exchanged another look. They had a few more things they'd have to tell Elle about, with these new developments. And while it is true that most of Fairy Tail worked better when another teammate was beside them, they weren't nearly as weak when alone as they made it seem.
An hour or so after I made it back to New York, Tony's plane landed in California. I yawned and stretched out as Tony flipped off some switches.
"Good?" I asked him as he finished.
"Good," he said.
"To the cats!" I said, hopping out of my seat excitedly, energy returning.
Tony smiled a bit as I took his hand and teleported.
"Guys, we're back!" I shouted as we appeared in the front hall. "Duchess, Aslan, Simba, Salem, Snowball, Tom, Milo, Marie, we're home! Come here, babies!" I made a clicking noise with my tongue.
The cats came out, meowing and I prepared their wet food while Tony played with them.
"Here you guys go," I said, putting the plates down, using my magic to carry the bowls I couldn't grab with my arms.
I stood up and caught Tony's gaze as he stared at me with apprehension.
"Are you ready?" I asked him softly.
We walked into the basement and entered the room that Tony had made. So far, it was empty with the exception of a hospital bed. We had other things that I'd give Bucky eventually, but for now, the room was empty and pristine, a bright white – a sharp contrast to the dark dirty places Bucky was usually kept in at HYDRA.
Tony closed the door behind me, and I dropped some cards at each corner of the room.
"What are those?" Tony asked.
"They should block any signals," I said, lining them up. "I have some around your house that stops any sort of bugs, so I know SHIELD isn't listening to us or anything. But they might put a tracker in his arm, or a kill switch or something, so I want to take extra precautions."
Tony frowned. "If they had a kill switch, wouldn't they have used it when he escaped last time around?"
I shook my head. "He started gaining independence right as everything crashed down around HYDRA. If he knew about them, he might have been able to get them out at a time when no one had the ability to do anything else."
Tony nodded, taking a deep breath. "Then let's get started."
I activated the new border in the room and requipped Bucky's cryostasis machine, which was running perfectly fine.
I opened it, releasing Bucky, who was frozen at the window. Quickly, I used Eris to keep him asleep as I moved him to the bed.
"Help me change him," I said to Tony.
"What?!" he asked. "You want me to what?"
"Well, fine, we'll leave him like that. I'm sure sleeping in leather is perfectly comfortable," I said sarcastically.
Tony rolled his eyes but helped me pull off Bucky's leather jacket thing, before helping me tug off his pants and pull up some soft white drawstring pants I had bought on the way back. Bucky remained shirtless.
I tied the pants and took a step back, noticing Tony staring at the arm.
One of his hands was absently tapping his arc reactor.
"Tony?" I asked cautiously.
He snapped out of it and moved closer to Bucky. "JARVIS, give me everything you have on Barnes' arm in those files."
While JARVIS was searching, Tony was scanning through the arm for things like trackers or kill switches.
"Okay, I don't think there's a kill switch," Tony said, comparing his scans to a picture JARVIS had put up from the files. "Maybe they thought he didn't need one? Unlike normal HYDRA agents, who pop cyanide pills like candy, he doesn't exactly have information to be tortured out of him. And it's not like that would work, because of what HYDRA did to him."
I could tell it was bothering Tony, but he forced himself to keep looking at the scans.
"Sir, he was programmed with a set of words to follow commands, and another set to put him asleep instantly," JARVIS piped in, showing another set of holograms with information on them.
Tony nodded, going over that before looking back at the arm. "There is, however, a tracker. I can probably remove it, but…I'd prefer to wait until he's in a better frame of mind."
I got it. "You don't want to mess with his body without his permission?"
Tony's fingers were tapping against his arc reactor again. "No one should have that."
I nodded. "Then we'll keep him in this room for now, and maybe work on something to cut the signal if he needs to leave."
Tony relaxed, just a tinge. "Okay." He stared at me. "Are you sure this is a good idea?"
I shrugged. "Most things I do aren't really good ideas."
He stared at me.
"They're great ideas."
Tony didn't laugh. Which was a shame. "We'll be monitoring. Just so you know."
I nodded. "I figured. That's fine. But also remember that I can take care of myself. If I hit him with Venus's Sword he won't move. I can use air to keep him in place. I can take care of myself. So don't come bursting in and terrifying him."
"He's not a child," Tony protested, "He's one of the most infamous and lethal assassins ever known." He seemed to be stuck between being amused at my treatment of the Winter Soldier, and upset over the way I'd be facing him.
I just raised an eyebrow at him.
"…Ready?" Tony asked.
I looked at him. "Tony, we both know I'm ready. The question is, are you ready?"
He huffed, crossing his arms.
I smiled at him and leaned forward, wrapping my arms around him.
"I'll be fine," I told him.
He uncrossed his arms and hugged me back, careful with his arc reactor.
"JARVIS will tell me when you guys are ready," I said, pulling out of his hug.
He nodded and turned, taking a deep breath and going to the surveillance room.
There was silence as I walked over to the seat beside the Winter Soldier's bedside, pulling up the soft fuzzy blanket to cover most of Bucky's chest.
After several seconds of silence, JARVIS quietly said, "We are ready, Mrs. Dreyar."
"Good," I said. "Got the scans of his head?"
"Yes," JARVIS said.
"Okay, then," I said, and closed my eyes, putting my fingers on his temples. "Venus's Cleansing Light."
A bright light shone through my closed eyelids before fading down. "Saturn's Healing Winds."
A soft wind blew through the room, blowing my hair gently as it swirled around his head.
I opened my eyes again, and took one last look around.
The room was very bright, and white, and while it was a bit blinding, I hoped that the bright lights would help him realize he's not with Hydra.
Of course, that could have a bad reaction, instead.
I put my elbows on my knees, leaning forward to watch over Bucky, who was still sleeping as I removed all traces of Eris from his system, hoping that casting those spells on Bucky's mind might give him a healing boost and would wipe any lingering traces of loyalty to Hydra from his mind.
It wouldn't be much longer now.
It woke up slowly.
That was not right. Normally It woke to pain, and shock, with Its body struggling to quickly adjust from the cold of the cryochamber.
But this room was warm.
Something was different.
Something was wrong.
"Hello," a soft voice said from Its right.
Its hand shot out immediately, grabbing the person around the neck and pulling them closer. Now that It was awake, It could tell that it was a girl around her early twenties, probably around 5'8" though that wasn't known for sure as she was seated. She had vividly purple hair and light, pale blue eyes.
And she was completely calm.
It wasn't squeezing Its hand yet – It had to gather any needed information.
Its right hand (the flesh one) was wrapped around her throat, one of its fingers lying directly on her pulse.
And while she seemed to have started at Its quick action, her heartbeat was slowing down, and she was calm.
Instead, she gently placed one of her hands on its own hand, and began to rub her thumb along it reassuringly.
It wasn't quite sure what it was supposed to do with that.
"Hello," she continued, giving him a soft smile. "Do you have any questions you'd like me to answer?"
This was not normal. This was not normal.
It did not have a normal outlook on life. It knows that. It wakes up with no real memory, but still knows how to shoot, how to fight. Its training has been ingrained so much that It doesn't need to think.
Assets don't think.
So It just stared at her.
"You can take your time," she said softly, still stroking its hand.
It didn't know what to do.
Slowly, she reached out her other hand, the one that wasn't on top of its flesh one.
It didn't bat it away.
It still didn't know what to do.
Her hand slowly came up to its hair and gently began to brush her fingers through it.
Finally, It asked, "Are you my new handler?"
"Do you want me to be your new handler?" she asked.
"Assets do not want," It told her.
"You're correct," she said, staring at It. "But you are no longer an Asset."
It stared at her. "…I – I do not understand."
She smiled softly at It. "That's okay. And we're going to work on that, alright? You will understand. Eventually."
It continued to stare at her. "Am I being decommissioned?"
"You're not going to be put down like a dog," she said soothingly. "You're going to get freedom."
It knew It couldn't hide the panic on Its face. "But I have not been trained in freedom."
She sighed, and gently moved the hand she had on Its. It didn't even realize it, but it had let go of her neck.
That was not supposed to happen. It didn't know what was going on at all.
She was holding Its hand gently, and squeezed. "Alright. So you haven't been trained in freedom yet. That's what I'm going to do, then."
"So you are my new handler."
The Asset was relieved. Finally, something that made sense. Something It could work with.
The girl looked at him, sadness all over her face. "If it helps you to think of me as a handler, then you can do it. But I'd prefer to be thought of as a friend."
"Assets don't have friends," It said automatically. "The Asset does not understand friendship."
She gently squeezed Its hand. "You will."
Dealing with the Winter Soldier was mentally exhausting. Eventually, I handed over a Rubix Cube and gave him a big red button and excused myself.
"If you need me, push the button," I told him, and then exited. "I'll be back soon."
Tony sat outside the room, his head in his hands.
"Tony?" I asked. "Are you okay?"
Tony sat up, with a breath. "No, but it's not about me right now."
I gave him a hug.
Tony stood still before he let out another breath and finally hugged me back.
"Never be afraid to ask for a hug," I told him. "I'll rarely turn you down."
"Does that mean that at some point you might turn me down?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.
I shrugged. "Once in a blue moon I like to be completely alone. Probably won't be anytime soon, though."
Tony nodded. "I'm going to start working on some arms. I probably won't go to bed tonight."
He said the last part cautiously, like he was afraid I might be upset.
"Okay," I said.
He stared at me. "Wait, what? You're not upset about my sleep cycle or anything?"
"I know what it's like to be so passionate about something that you have trouble doing anything else. And I know the difference between working because you're passionate or working because your mind is tearing you apart. If it's the second one, then I'll help you sleep. For now, you can start working. If you get in the zone, I'll be sure to bring you some food so you at least get a bite to eat."
He was still staring at me.
I shrugged. "It's just really bad for you to do that every night, all the time, with little neglect for anything else. You're not just an inventing machine, Tony, you're human. You need rest."
"…Right. I'm going to work on arms now," Tony said.
"Okay," I said. "I'm going to get some broth for Bucky. They kept him on an entirely liquid diet, so we need to be careful, and I don't know enough about how my healing works for us to just bypass the recovery process completely."
Tony nodded and went over to a table where he brought up a hologram of Bucky's arm, before he looked back up. "Hey, Elle?"
"Yeah?" I asked, paused where I was on the staircase.
"You've still got my alcohol in your requip space, right?" Tony asked.
I nodded, and requipped three bottles. I know he has a high tolerance, but that shouldn't be too bad, right?
Okay, I have no idea how to judge alcohol. It's not like Fairy Tail standards are right.
"You're really gonna let me have some?" Tony asked, staring at the bottles.
"Tony, if you really wanted alcohol, you could've gotten more," I told him, shrugging. "The fact that you didn't is great. But after today…" my voice trailed off. "I get it."
I probably shouldn't have given it to him anyway, but after today...
He nodded, and popped one open. "Thanks."
After all, Tony was going through those files…including the ones that have Bucky's torture recorded on them. I didn't blame him for wanting to get drunk. I wanted to get drunk. And I don't drink. Even when I'm not pregnant.
I was back downstairs within a few minutes after making some soup and teleporting next to the door, so I didn't spill it on the way down.
I knocked on it so he knew I was coming, and then slowly opened it. Bucky was sitting up in the bed, holding the button.
"I…I didn't push it," he said, starting to panic.
"It's okay," I said. "I came back because I have some food for you."
He relaxed a bit as I came in, and I sat down at the chair next to his bed while I moved the soup in front of him, putting it on a table that pulled around the side of the bed for him.
"Do you know how to eat soup?" I asked him softly.
He said nothing, simply staring into the bowl.
I realized that he probably did know how to eat soup, but wasn't quite sure whether or not he had permission or if this was a test.
Slowly, I took his arm in mine and picked up the spoon, showing him how to lift it to his mouth.
His eyes widened at the taste.
According to the data from Hydra, Bucky had been on a liquid diet for a few decades at this point. They would wake him up, usually 'wipe' him, give him his mission, and send him on his way. If it took longer than three days, they would bring him back, give him some 'nourishment', and wipe him again.
He hasn't tasted anything real in a very long time.
Luckily, things like eating and breathing are automatic reflexes, and he settled in easily enough. And even though I'd only been gone a few minutes, he still seemed a bit more lucid.
"I see you finished the cube," I said, letting go of his hand and reaching for the cube on his lap.
He froze in his eating, until I nodded to him that it was okay for him to eat on his own.
"Did you like it?" I asked him.
His mouth opened and closed.
Oh. That might be a question that was too hard – or broad – for him to answer.
"Was it easy?" I asked instead.
"Would you like something harder?" I asked him.
"…Whatever you think is best," he said demurely, looking down.
I took his hands again.
"I promise I won't hurt you," I said. "You can say and do what you want, and I won't hit you. I promise."
He looked down, thinking, before he looked up. "Okay."
I bit my lip, before reaching for my back pocket and pulling out pictures of Steve, both before and after the serum.
"Do you know who this is?" I asked, sliding the pictures forward.
His forehead creased as he stared at the pictures.
"Okay," I said. "Does the name, 'Bucky', or 'James Buchanan Barnes', mean anything to you?"
There was recognition in his eyes for a second, before it was gone. "It sounds familiar, but…"
"That's fine," I said. "Give it time, alright? How was your soup?"
"…Different," he said.
I nodded. "That's not surprising, it been awhile since you've had real food."
He nodded and took another spoonful of soup, before putting it down and sighing.
"Are you tired?" I asked him.
Terror appeared in his eyes, and then all signs of fatigue disappeared immediately.
Ugh, that's going to be annoying, if he can hide it so well.
"That's fine," I continued, ignoring his actions. "You can go to sleep, if you want. And you can keep the button. If you push it, I'll come running, I promise."
He seemed hesitant. "It's okay to sleep?"
"It's okay to sleep," I repeated, nodding. "Goodnight, sweetheart."
He didn't say anything.
I squeezed his hands and left the room.
Do you know how HARD it was to make sure that when I was from Bucky's 3rd POV that I stuck to 'It' instead of 'Him'? Exhausting.
I'm back baby, and I'm already working on the next chapter, too. Also, I'm back at school and fitting into my schedule, so I'll hopefully update something (either this or Ripples) again at the end of the week.