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What is a Monster?

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     When Howard and Maria Stark welcomed their first baby Anthony Edward Stark into the world everything was normal. The child was healthy and as it became known within the first few years, very intelligent. Howard was ecstatic to have a son with an interest in the same things as him and never wasted a chance to show him what he's working on. Maria loved him dearly and taught him piano herself when he showed an interest in her playing. Even after having her second child Gregory, she made an effort to listen to Anthony babbling on about projects she couldn't completely grasp. Gregory was also intelligent but didn't have the same interest in building as Anthony. Maria noticed this and jumped on the chance of him enjoying her interests. While they loved both their boys, each of their favorites were clear. 


     As the years passed by Anthony gathered many achievements. Everything ranging from best in the class to winning a robot building competition against people twice his age and more. Howard bragged and showed him off every chance he got. Unfortunately being in the spotlight and Howard's obvious love for his son got him in trouble. He was 8 the first time he was kidnapped. Howard payed the ransom quickly and got him back but that only encouraged the criminals. Jarvis his butler suggested self defense for both of the boys as a precaution. Despite living in the same house and only being about 2 years apart in age, this was the first time they had much interaction with each other. Howard was always taking Anthony away for one thing or another and the only time he brought Gregory was for the Captain America expedition. 


     The brothers became much closer during the self defense classes and began spending more time together. This resulted in many more pranks in the Stark home to Howard and Maria's displeasure. Jarvis was just glad to see them sharing a brotherly bond and finally acting like children. He made sure to give them time to act their age around him. The boys both loved Jarvis and his wife Ana dearly like a second pair of parents. 


     By the time they became teenagers Howard had already taught them both everything he could about running Stark Industries. They were both great heirs but had different leadership styles. Anthony is much more laid back as his real interest is in R&D while Gregory is much more directive. 


     Their futures changed dramatically when Anthony was kidnapped again at 15 Years old. He tried to fight back but they were prepared. He breathed in something and passed out waking up later locked in some kind of cage. Eventually when they came to gloat he yelled at them to just let him out and leave before his dad sent men to arrest them. To his surprise they did exactly that. After unlocking the cage they all ran out never looking back. Anthony stood there dumbfounded for several minutes thinking it must be some kind of trap but not seeing the point of it. He eventually came out and realized there was no trap they just ran away at once with no explanation. 


     The men sent to rescue him arrived a couple minutes later and were confused to see him standing there alone. As he explained what happened their faces went blank and they kept sending each other looks. After some kind of silent conversation the leader of the group asked him his age and looked nervous after receiving the answer. The group then all injected themselves with something and kept their distance as they took him home. They were all behaving very strange but Anthony was still tired from whatever knocked him out and just thankful to be going home. His family was all waiting in the living room and rushed to greet him when he came through the door. 


     After receiving hugs from everyone he noticed a couple of the guys from the team awkwardly standing there watching them. Feeling bad and realizing he never thanked them properly he started to walk closer to them only to stop when they flinched. "Mr. Stark would you mind talking with us for a few moments?" The leader kept his eyes on him as he spoke to his dad. Howard looked slightly concerned but agreed as Maria and Jarvis walked with Anthony to his room. 


     He fell asleep almost immediately after laying down but was woken up an hour later by his father wrapping something around his arm. "Dad what are you doing?" He mumbled trying to get his eyes to stay open.


     "You said they knocked you out I just need to test your blood to make sure they didn't give you anything else. It'll only take a moment then you can sleep okay?" Finally getting his eyes to cooperate he looked up and saw his dads face looked stressed.


     "Alright dad I'm sure I'm fine though, just tired s'all"


     His dads voice sounded shaky as he replied "I sure hope so my boy". He fell back into deep sleep after his father left.


     When he woke up he felt groggy but knew something was wrong. Looking around he realized he wasn't in his room but instead one of his fathers labs. He tried to get up only to realize he was strapped down on the lab table. Panicking he started calling out for his dad as he tested the restraints. After several minutes someone entered the lab but he couldn't tell who it was since they were wearing some kind of helmet. "Wha-what's going on? Who are you?" He asked trying to sound tough but failing spectacularly. The person stayed silent as they walked up to where he was strapped down. When they looked down at him he was finally able to see the face covered in fresh tears. "Dad? What happened? What's wrong?" Howard just gave a sad smile as he patted his hair before walking back out ignoring his son crying out for answers.  Moments later the I.V he hadnt noticed released something and everything faded to black once again. 


     Anthony had no idea how much time passed as he went in and out of consciousness. He tried not to open his eyes when he woke as he was normally put right back under when they noticed. He settled for listening to conversations they had around him, trying to piece together what was going on. Those kidnappers must have given him something that's contagious. That's the only reason he could think of for his dad wearing that weird helmet around him. It doesn't explain him being tied down though or why he couldn't just wear a regular face mask. Whatever this is must be crazy contagious like ebola. His thoughts were cut off as he heard the lab doors open. 


     "I just don't know what to do. I obviously can't let him out its not safe!" His dad was frantically saying. 


     "Certainly not. You've got to stop thinking with your heart and use that big brain of yours instead. This is an opportunity for S.I" Anthony recognized the voice from his trips to the company. He was always giving him candy and eventually became Uncle Obie to the Stark boys. 


     Howard sputtered "An opportunity?! In what way is this a good thing? This is the worst thing that could happen!" Anthony took in the words. Oh god am I dying? 


     "Howard you make weapons to protect the people from threats. What's one of the biggest threats? Alphas. Now you have one right here. You can test and find out what truly works against them. You know how rare of an opportunity this is." 


     "I can't experiment on my own child! That's Anthony you're talking about Obadiah!"


     "No that's not your son anymore. He's a danger to your family. You can't keep him here with your omega wife and your younger son. Gregory will make a fine leader I'm sure. This one is a lost cause. I have a group of scientists that will do the testing and I'll oversee it so you don't have to be involved." Stane said in a patronizing tone. Howard made a few more attempts at speaking but was cut off. "Think of your family Howard. Don't you care about their safety?" At that Howard went silent. 


     Anthony laid there frozen in shock as their footsteps got further away. As he pieced everything together in his head he thought back on what he knew about alphas. Around the age of 14 to 17 every person starts to show signs of their orientation. 90% of the worlds population is made up of Omegas and Betas. Both are considered equal and pair up in whatever way they wish. Alphas are the remaining 10% and are mindless slaves to their instincts. They also have Alpha voice which they use to force themselves on Omegas. 


     His father had shown him his creations to protect against the voice including a shot that works temporarily. Thinking back he realizes that's what the team that rescued him must have injected. The helmet his dad wore was probably for that reason as well. This is what I am. A monster. 


A few hours later Obadiah and his men came and took him away. Howard watched with a pained look on his face but Anthony felt numb and made no move to fight or reach out for help. As the doors closed on the van they put him in, he doubted he'd ever see his family again.