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and even though the world is mad

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@IronMan:

How many people will realize just today that their lunchboxes were still in their bags during the summer holidays? * vomits and will never be able to look at a banana again *

 

Tony looked surprised as his cell phone lit up and indicated that someone had responded to his Tweet. Quickly, he looked up from his seat at the end of the large, pale blue painted classroom and checked to see if Mr. Han was still looking at the whiteboard, completing his panel.

The course of the Revolutionary War. Not that every American student has known this story by heart since kindergarten, no. They had to repeat it all the time. And Tony had to waste his time with it.

He could practically feel that Vincent Weis was staring at his phone, trying to decipher what was written on the display. Quickly, Tony put it further in front of himself, so that it should be impossible for the boy to read. He didn’t need Stones group of friends to know about his online life.

He unlocked his cell phone and smiled slightly when he read his friend's reply. Rhodey had posted a photo of his legs on the Californian beach and wrote under it, "Yes, I hope I didn’t forget mine. Oh, no, wait: I'm still on vacation #collegerocks"

Tony liked the tweet and sent two annoyed smileys back before he locked his phone again. When he thought about it, it was almost unbelievable: he had known Rhodey only for four years but he was still the best friend he had ever had in his life. Which was not difficult, according to the circumstances, but nevertheless: Rhodey studied in Colorado Springs, he‘d soon be in the second year and so lived most of the year 1,600 miles away from New York.

But neither the distance, nor the different time zones disturbed the two to talk to each other daily, or at least to write.

"Stark, are you listening?" The teacher asked, looking with trained eyes at the boy in the penultimate row.

"Yeah," Tony answered quickly. "I’m writing down notes," he lied, lifting the phone up. Mr. Han nodded - what else should he do? If laptops, mobile phones, and tablets were standard equipment at school, then as a student, it would not be difficult to use it.

"Too cool to listen, Stark?" Weis whispered next to him and Tony had to concentrate really hard not to choke because of the other's bad breath. How could a person stink like that in a school where all the students were among the richest five percent of Americans? He could easily buy some good perfume.

"Too dump so you have to listen to get the Revolutionary War, Weis?" Tony asked, throwing him his practiced ‚Bitch, Please' look.

"We all have money here, don’t act like a bitch," Vincent Weis tried to counter but didn’t seem to know the meaning of the word ‘dump’.

Tony sighed. He’s had learned early on that even in private schools, money was used as a means to an end for rich kids. He had always assumed that buying or losing friends was only normal in public schools, but in the first few weeks as a freshman, he had noticed that the circles in which the students had spread were just decided by who had how many million dollars more in their account.

As a Stark one did not fit into the scheme. His father was at least twice as rich as the next richest family in that school – the Stones - even though they lived in New York. And Ty Stone was an asshole, so from the very start on, he had been doomed to be the outsider. The one everybody knew and liked because he could spend a lot more money all the time, but no one stepped in when the cool kids beat him up in the hallway. And serious conversations didn’t just happen so it was clear to all students that the much younger Stark must have clearly bought his way into high school.

"Listen to Han, if you don’t understand," he answered, rolling his eyes. "Ass."

"What was that?" Weis asked. "You know, I can get Hammer to uninvite you from any future parties?"

"You know that I always book the locations?"

"Stark, Weis!", yelled Mr. Han. "Quiet. This is the second lesson of the year, do you want to get detention just now?"

"Sorry, Mr. H," Tony answered calmly. "Dumbo here forgot which parties were fighting. As an attentive student, I couldn‘t let him stand that way. I'm not a monster."

Mister Han nodded with raised eyebrows and Weis threw an angry look at Tony. "Dumbo?" he hissed.

"Did you see how your new haircut emphasizes your ears?"

Weis jumped up a bit, then swallowed his anger as Mr. Han turned around again and gave him a warning look.

"Hey, calm down. Dumbo is a nice movie, just relaxe. Surely there is another elephant in the school who‘d like that. Milena over there, look," grinned Tony. He knew that Weis was afraid of Milena. The girl was frightening indeed, and Tony could confirm that, even though he'd talked to her like three times in his life. Her parents were high-ranking in a political party, and she talked like that. She knew she had power and a certain intellect. And her best friend was Weis' ex-girlfriend, and Milena had made a drama when they broke up which clearly showed the downsides of the rich upper class. Weis nearly lost his entirety of friends because his reputation had been pulled through the mud. Several times, Tony had seen the boy eating alone, instead of with Stone, Hammer, and the rest of his people.

He had only been a bit malicious.

"Shut up or you'll feel it afterward," growled Weis.

"Oh, and not now, because you're scared of Mr. H.?" Tony laughed. He threw a paper ball through the classroom, which bounced off the wall next to the bin and then flowed in perfectly. The teacher gave him only a sour look but said nothing to Tony.

He grinned. It was easy to impress people when no teacher could hurt him. It was easy when his own father spent nearly a million dollars on the school's renovation.

Tony leaned back and opened the Twitter app again. Weis beside him grumbled sourly but didn’t bother Tony any further.

Tony looked up in surprise and bit his lip when he saw that @WinterSoldier had responded to his tweet. The young man didn’t follow him for a long time and didn’t even have 100 followers himself, but Tony liked to read his tweets. For several months now, Tony kept responding to his tweets and involved him in short conversations, but until now, the other man had never wrote a reply himself, but always liked and retweeted what Tony had written.

 

@WinterSoldier: Replying to: @IronMan

wow, ur still going to school? i thought u were in college or something at least. how old r u haha

 

@TheWarMachine: Replying to: @IronMan @WinterSoldier

In truth, Tones is a 137-year-old monk, who lives in the caves of Cambodia and destroys the silence of the mountains by writing down scrolls of wisdom, drinking coffee, and listening to rock music. No joke.

 

"It's funny cause it's true," Tony quickly wrote as an answer and thought for a moment.

"Why did you think I was already in college?" Tony wrote another reply and waited a moment.

He didn’t know much about @WinterSoldier. He knew his nickname - Bucky - with which most people went, but he himself refused to use such a name for an adult person. He knew the man was only a few years older than him. The WinterSoldier had written during the summer that he and a friend went together to college, and he had also shared photos of his friends’ 18th birthday on July 4. Tony had not even followed him back then, but he found out later. So he was probably 18 as well and studied some kind of science in Boston, while said friend, who was rarely on Twitter - but when he was under the name @Cap_Am_42 - studied an art. Or they’ll start soon. Tony was not sure.

The WinterSoldier always posted very funny tweets, most of which were about his friend Steve. Often, he also tweeted puns that Tony often found grandiose. The man was capable of playing with the English language and he understood people. Also, he seemed interested in science - not only because of his major but he also often read and then liked the conversations between Tony and Bruce Banner on Twitter.

Actually, Tony was able to count everything he knew about the man on one hand. He didn’t like cooking or at least didn’t do it well. He was living or would be living soon in Boston. He had a best friend and was only a little older than Tony. He was smart enough to write interesting and funny thoughts and was probably a bit quiet or reserved, at least he was on the internet.

Nevertheless, Tony could not suppress his grin, because he finally wrote a reply himself. Tony had already begun to wonder if he was annoying the other man because he never started conversing, but today something seemed to have changed.

"Stark, I asked you something. Must I take the phone from you?" Mister Han asked, and Tony looked up innocently.

"No, leave it. My tablet is so deep down in my pocket. I‘d have to dig very deep, which could disturb you while trying to teach.”

A few students laughed and Tony could see that the new girl in the second row was slightly annoyed, rolling her eyes but unable to suppress a smile. Tony winked at her. He had forgotten her name, but since she'd probably be indoctrinated by Melina and co. in just a few days he’ll never have any reason to talk to her, so he didn’t really care. She looked cute, though.

 

@WinterSolider: Replying to: @IronMan @TheWarMachine

because ur always talking about the craziest things with @DrBanner. i’ll soon be studying bioinformatics, i should at least understand the basics of ur theories but i dont haha

 

Tony laughed for a moment when he read the answer.

 

@TheWarMachine: Replying to @IronMan @WinterSoldier @DrBanner

 I’m telling you: hes always brimming with wisdom (thats when he has his phases with Dr B here on twitter) but in the nect moment hes killing his brain cells with coffee or something or asking me how to get damn stains outta a shirt.

 

@EdwinJarvis: Replying to @IronMan @WinterSoldier @TheWarMachine @DrBanner

Anthony, you should be listening in class, not writing on the internet. I can see that!

 

@TheWarMachine: Replying to @IronMan @WinterSoldier @EdwinJarvis @DrBanner

Tony. Run.

 

He’s put a gif under his last Tweet with the famous “run”-melody written under it and Tony really had to pay attention not to burst out laughing.

 

@IronMan: Replying to @WinterSoldier @TheWarMachine @DrBanner

You should see what @DrBanner and I are usually talking about 😏  I’m 15 but everybody’s always saying you’re as old as you feel. And I feel perfectly mature and grown up and OH A PENGUIN!

 

@IronMan: Replying to @WinterSoldier @TheWarMachine @EdwinJarvis @DrBanner

I’m already running. Right into the Revolutionary War. For the twentieth time. @EdwinJarvis, I already know all of this stuff. Everybody knows this. Don’t need to listen. Im learning more here on Twitter. @DrBanner say something!

 

It took a few minutes before anyone answered and Tony stared out of the window dreamily. Twitter gave him the opportunity to really talk to someone. His eyes fell on the two girls in the row in front of him who were always talking and whispering. Tony wondered if - if he had such a friendship - he would actually be that much on Twitter.

He grinned a bit again as he thought on how the WinterSoldier was doing right now. He had asked only one simple question and was suddenly involved in a big conversation. He hoped they didn’t annoy him, because the man was really funny and he didn’t want to scare him away.

 

@black_widow: Replying to @WinterSoldier @EdwinJarvis @TheWarMachine @IronMan @DrBanner

im really reluctant to interfere in other’s conversations but listen to your teacher we want to see you here in boston soon dont let yourself get bad marks or something now

 

Still, Tony felt his heart beat faster when Natasha answered him. She was practically a legend on Twitter and he followed her since joining the platform. Back then, she had already have thousands of followers and now she had almost 100,000.

He could hardly believe that they often wrote to each other now, including WhatsApp, and got along very well. He had told her a few weeks ago that he would be studying in Cambridge next year where she and her boyfriend worked.

Tony answered her briefly, then actually focused on the last few minutes of class. When the bell rang, he was the first person to leave the large classroom and walk in the hallway to his locker. He greeted a few people he knew shallowly. Some he knew from classes last year but he didn’t really talk to them then. But a lot of students were on a party that last weekend. He’s had a great night in which he was actually treated kind of normally for once.

Nethertheless, he rested his head on his cool locker once he’s got there and tried to overcome that sudden tiredness. The loud hallway annoyed him, High School annoyed him. He checked for new messages on Twitter, and then picked out his French book for the next lesson. It was so clichéd to teach French at a school for the super-rich kid, Tony thought, yet he had chosen it. He could speak the language fluently, but a little more practice a week would always work well.

His new French teacher was a young woman from Canada who, unlike last year's Mrs. Abelle, had grown up with the language and was not constantly incorporating grammatical mistakes into her sentences. She was motivated, and Tony actually enjoyed following the lesson, which earned him a few glaring looks from Hammer, who was practically sitting next to him if it was not for the floor between them, but Tony didn’t care. Perhaps Hammer had come to his senses over the summer holidays - and if not: One more year of beating and getting his hair spilled in the toilet was okay with Tony. At least he could fight back here, unlike at home.

 

 


 

 

Tony noticed during lunch break that something should change in this year. He leaned against his locker and wrote a message to Rhodey, complaining that the math class was a lot simpler than he had assumed. He would get bored.

The corridor was mostly empty, only a few kids were standing around, and Tony didn’t really care. Only when he heard his name he looked up.

"Tony Stark?" An unknown female voice had called him. He looked up and grinned when he realized it was the new girl from his grade. The one who had sat in his history class this morning.

"That's me. Unfortunately, I don't have autograph cards with me today, but I can give you other memories," he grinned, probably confirming the new one in everything she'd already heard about him. Better as if something happens like with Jane. He put his phone into his pockets and grinned at the girl.

She only raised her eyebrows. "I wanted to tell you something from Hammer," she said instead and Tony rolled his eyes in annoyance.

"Can I screw up my ass what Hammer wanted you to tell me?"

He could see that he had puzzled the girl because her eyebrows shot up again. The red hair made the face look interesting. "Sorry, you're new. I just didn’t think you had anything to do with Hammer. Thought you weren’t from Nee York. What does good old Hammer want from me?"

"Why did you think I had nothing to do with Hammer?"

"Do you have anything to do with him?"

"Why shouldn’t I?" The girl asked and Tony gave up.

"Because he's an ass?"

She seemed surprised for a second, but then she smiled slightly. "Maybe I'm an ass, too."

Tony glanced at her face with the sparkling, snippy eyes and the crooked smile. "You have an ass. Hammer is an ass. Most who have aren’t," Tony said, getting ready for the slap. It didn't come.

"You're single?" The girl asked, barely holding back her smile.

"And ready to mingle."

She rolled her eyes. "I understand why."

Tony grinned. "It wasn't that bad."

"It was." She looked at him and Tony's grin widened.

"So, what did good old Hammer want me to do?" He brought back the original topic. He should not forget that the girl was apparently already part of the group of the A+ ass.

"He wanted me to tell you that y’all are meeting at his locker. Because apparently, your phone has no reception. But now that I'm hearing you talk I guess you don’t really belong together?"

Tony could not help but laugh. "We belong together just as much as two same-poled sides of neodymium magnets do.”

She raised her eyebrows.

"Not a physics fan by any chance?" Tony asked and she shook her head. "Doesn’t matter. He’s an ass. How exactly did it happen that you two know each other?"

"We don’t. He told me to tell you because you didn’t seem to know where they are. I‘ve got nothing to do anyway. And getting to know people is helpful on the first day at your lovely new school,” she explained.

Tony's eyes brightened. "You don’t know him?"

"Nope," she answered, shaking her head. "Virginia Potts," she introduced herself. "In fact, some people call me Pepper."

"Some people?"

"My brothers, my boyfriend and a few more."

"Here at the school?"

"None of them. My boyfriend’s still in L.A. but moves to New York next year. My brothers are both younger."

Tony nodded. "Sounds like a nice circle of people who call you that. Do you feel like enlarging it by one person?"

Pepper nodded, smiling.

"Tony Stark," Tony introduced himself. "But you obviously knew that already."

"It's hard to miss when you're warned in class at least five times per lesson, and when your name hovers high above the city."

Tony raised his eyebrows. She was in several classes of him?

"You didn’t notice me, right?" The girl - Pepper - asked and looked at him attentively.

"Sorry, I was busy."

"Busy looking out of the window?"

Tony sighed. "It's the first Monday after the holidays. It's a bit exhausting."

Pepper grinned at him.

That should be an interesting last year.