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A Beautiful Journey

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"Well, now you've pissed off the government." Logan said.

"And I will do something that is 'me' next." Tony smirked as everyone snickered.

At Tony's mansion in Malibu, California, he 'woke' JARVIS up with four holographic desktops and the AI congratulated him on his openings and the Senate hearing which was seen on a monitor.

"Good morning JARVIS." Everyone said in unison.

"Good morning." Vision joked.

"That is some very advanced tech there." Peter said in excitement.

"Some of which I gave you, kid." Tony said with a smile.

JARVIS said it was good to have a video of him with clothes on.

Everyone burst out laughing as Vision said, "There is a special file for that."

U attempted to mix something in a blender but knocked it over accidentally, spilling it on the counter as Tony said he would dismantle it.

"Take it easy." Natasha said.

"Yeah, it's just a machine." Sam said.

"And Mr. Stark hurt its feelings." Vision said and everyone snickered.

JARVIS told Tony it was trying to counteract the symptoms and after testing, Tony saw the toxicity in his blood was 24%.

"So you told JARVIS but not me?" Pepper asked with a glare.

"And me neither." Rhodes said.

"I am the dumbest genius around." Tony said and everyone chuckled.

"And Mr. Richards would be the smartest." Xavier said and everyone nodded.

Tony unscrewed an Arc Reactor from his chest and pulled out the large chip on its back.

"That thing smokes?"Hill asked.

"It does." Tony said.

"The extra metal is poisoning you." Clint said and he nodded.

JARVIS said no other elements were viable replacements and the device keeping him alive was also killing him. Tony looked at his blackened veins against the translucent skin.

"How did you survive?" Thor asked in shock.

"Just watch, Point Break." Tony said.

"That looks very frightening." Aunt May said about his nerves.

JARVIS said Pepper was approaching and he should tell her but Tony commanded the AI to "mute" and lowered his shirt.

"Why wouldn't you tell me?" Pepper asked.

"Because I'm an idiot." Tony said glumly.

Tony put on the screensavers and walking through his workshop, started putting the holograms away as Pepper asked what he was thinking donating their art collection to the Boy Scouts of America, to which Tony said it was a worthwhile organization.

"I still think it is." Tony said and everyone sighed.

He then told Pepper it wasn't their art collection but his.

"You had the nerve." Pepper muttered.

"I bought it." Tony shrugged and she glared at him.

"I think Mr. Stark has a death wish today." T'Challa said and everyone nodded.

"Typical." Sam said.

Pepper said she felt entitled to it considering the ten years she had spent curating it. Tony said he needed a tax write-off.

"Really?" Clint asked and he shrugged.

Pepper started talking again when Tony told Dum-E to stop spacing out and do other work.

"Is it weird that I want to pet Dum-E and U?" Wanda asked.

"Uhhh, no." Pepper said and everyone chuckled.

Pepper said the Expo was a waste of time as Tony asked her to wear a surgical mask until she was feeling better. Tony said the Expo was his primary point of concern as Pepper told him it was his ego going crazy.

"It was." Pepper said.

"You really should have told Pepper or Rhodes."Steve said.

Tony then picked up a framed picture of the Iron Man suit and in spite of Pepper's protests, took down Barnett Newman and hung it up as she talked about the stocks of the company. Pepper brought up other ideas Tony was supposed to do but he called them boring and asked her to do them, to her shock. The two argued again for a bit before Tony said he had made her CEO.

"So this is how you became CEO." Fury noted.

"You two talk really fast." Steve said.

"Tell me about it." Rhodes shrugged.

Pepper asked Tony if he had been drinking, to which he replied chlorophyll and then seriously said he had made her CEO of Stark Industries, to her shock.

"Wow!" Hill simply said.

"Well, you did better than him." Natasha shrugged as Tony glared at her.

"She speaks the truth." Rhodes told him and he sighed, conceding their points.

Tony had a bot bring some vodka which he cracked open and then said he had been trying to think of a worthy successor and it was her. It had always been her.

"Awww!" Aunt May said as everyone nodded in approval.

Pepper sank onto a chair as Tony said he was appointing her without any legal issues and gave her a glass of vodka, telling her not to think and just drink. The two toasted and drank as Pepper had a bright smile on her face.

"Is that your motto or something?" Bruce asked.

"Yup." Tony said.

"And that, Peter, is why you shouldn't act like Tony Stark." Aunt May said and everyone snickered.

Pepper was still not the most pleased about that affair.

"That was actually nice." Steve noted about Pepper's reaction to being CEO.

Ivan stood in an alley in Moscow and a man gave him something in an envelope. Ivan thanked him and saw he had a passport now and a pass to Grand Prix de Monaco Historique.

"Good to know that wasn't my fault." Pepper said.

"You actually thought it was?" Tony asked her in shock and guilt.

"Well, now he is coming after you." Hill said about Ivan.

The Clash's The Magnificent Seven began to play as Pepper walked into a fitness room and asked Tony to sign the transfer paperwork for the notary, but Tony replied he was on Happy time as he was boxing with Happy in the boxing ring.

""Happy time?"" Sam asked, "That's the best you can do?"

"I wasn't on the top of my game back then." Tony said.

"Yeah. That is rather obvious." Professor Hulk said.

Tony blocked and dodged some attacks before hitting Happy on the head, staggering him back.

"What the hell was that?" Clint asked.

"Mixed martial arts." Tony shrugged.

"Dirty boxing." Logan said and everyone chuckled, "I once popped out my claws during boxing."

Tony apologized and said he had used mixed martial arts to which Happy replied it was dirty boxing. That was when an attractive woman in a white blouse and black pants with dark red hair arrived. Happy gaped at her. Tony turned around and had the same reaction. She eyed Tony critically before moving to Pepper.

"Look who it is!" Sam said.

"Hi Nat!" Bucky said happily and everyone clapped as Natasha gave a flattered smile.

She asked Pepper to sign as Happy told Tony never to take his eye off his opponent, only to receive a kick, to which he replied he was done.

"Poor Happy." Hill muttered.

"Oh you have no idea." Benjamin said.

Tony asked the woman her name and she introduced herself as Natalie Rushman.

"Isn't that close to your real name?" Bruce asked.

"Not really." Natasha whispered to herself as Wanda saw a flash of Natalia Alianovna in her head.

Tony welcomed her to the church to Pepper's shock who apologized to Natalie, calling her eccentric. She stepped into the ring and stared at Tony, measuring him, as he drank his water and walked out while Happy decided to give her a lesson.

"Now this is getting good." Pepper said as Natasha smirked.

"I would pass out if you measured me like that." Sam told Natasha who gave a flattered smile.

"Yeah. You would." Fury agreed.

Benjamin, Odinson and Professor Hulk looked at the screen sadly. It was almost saddening to see Tony and Natasha on the screen together, considering they had sacrificed themselves against Thanos. The first two of the original Avengers to meet were the first two to lose their lives.

Pepper told Tony she was from legal and if he didn't stop ogling her, she could be a very expensive sexual harassment lawsuit.

"Or very expensive surgery for me." Tony joked and everyone laughed.

Tony said he needed a new assistant.

"A new hot woman to hang around you." Bucky corrected.

"You think I'm hot?" Natasha asked with a seductive smile.

"Of course. No one comes close." Bucky said and everyone groaned at the couple's antics.

"Guys, there are people here." Steve said and the two immediately shook their heads and looked at the screen again, a little embarrassed as everyone laughed.

Pepper said she had three excellent candidates but Tony said he felt it was her. Happy asked Natalie if she had boxed before and he asked what kind.

"Oh you have no idea." Fury said as everyone chuckled.

"Looks like both you and him have death wishes, Mr. Stark." T'Challa noted.

"You might just be right about that, Your Highness." Xavier said with a smile.

"Well, what you did worked, Nat." Hill noted and she nodded.

Tony asked Natalie how her name was spelled. She told him and he looked her up. Pepper asked if he was googling her, to which he replied he thought he was ogling her.

"Rich." Wanda muttered.

Tony saw her resume and found her impressive, seeing that she knew Italian, Russian and Latin. He asked Pepper who spoke Latin, to which she started explaining it was a dead language as he saw pictures of Natalie modeling at Tokyo.

"Now that was fun." Natasha said.

"Was that a mission too?" Tony asked.

"Yup." Natasha said, "But a fun one."

Natalie was watching them when Happy told her not to take her eye off her opponent, only for her head to snap around. Her left hand closed on Happy's right arm. She pushed sideways on the arm, and in an instant her body had flipped completely around, her feet flying over her head and her legs fastening round Happy's neck. The man topped easily. "Oh my God!" Pepper howled.

Everyone clapped happily at the scene.

"Poor Happy." Aunt May muttered.

"He started it." Natasha shrugged.

Natalie unwound her legs from Happy's neck and got up as Happy made excuses but Tony called it a TKO. Natalie walked out of the ring and asked for his impression. Tony started joking when she said she meant his fingerprint.

"Hiiiree meee." Natasha mock squealed and everyone laughed.

Tony did as Pepper walked up next to them and Natalie asked, "Will that be all, Mr. Stark?" Tony said "No" but Pepper said, "Yes, that will be all, Ms. Rushman, thank you very much."

"Called it." Steve said.

"Good call." Benjamin agreed.

"You can't let him have good stuff." Aunt May said in amusement.

"Looks like someone is jealous!" Sam said and Pepper shook her head in amusement, though it was true.

"There was no need to be though. Of course I couldn't tell anyone that." Fury said and everyone snickered.

"I want one." Tony said and Pepper replied, "No."

"You won't have anything." Natasha said and everyone laughed as Tony looked away.

'And we want her back.' Odinson thought to himself.

And then appeared Monaco as the announcer spoke in French about the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique.

"You were supposed to spend a vacation and you raced there." Pepper sighed.

"I can relate." Loki of all people said.

Tony, Pepper and Happy stepped out of his car and walked into the building, Happy carrying a bright red-and-silver briefcase.

"Good thing you had that." Tony told Pepper.

Tony and Pepper walked inside to see all the rich people as Natalie greeted him in a pink dress with a professional smile and asked him about his flight, to which he replied excellent and said it was good to see her.

"Nice dress." Wanda commented.

"Thank you." Natasha said.

Tony and Pepper had a picture of them taken as they exchanged witty banter and then Tony told Natalie she looked fantastic to which she thanked him but then he called her unprofessional.

"Dude, stop with the flirting!" Rhodes said.

"Not even making it subtle." Fury shook his head.

"She always looks fantastic." Bucky said and Natasha looked at him with a smile.

"I agree." Tony said and everyone was surprised they agreed on something.

"And me?" Pepper asked with a glare.

"Oh you are breathtaking." Tony said and she smiled as everyone chuckled.

That was when Elon Musk greeted Pepper and congratulated her on the promotion, to which she thanked him.

"Elon Musk?!" Peter said excitedly.

"Peter is a huge fan." Aunt May said.

"He is right to be." Hill agreed.

"Yeah. He is a smart guy." Sam said.

"Oh absolutely." Rhodes agreed.

"He might even give our Stark a run for his money." Natasha said and everyone nodded thoughtfully.

"He might." Steve agreed.

"If given the chance that is." Benjamin said.

"Mr. Stark has an IQ of 270. Mr. Musk's IQ isn't known but it is estimated to be close to 170." Vision said.

"270?" Aunt May asked in astonishment and Tony shrugged.

"And yet he makes stupid decisions." Clint muttered.

"Dumbest genius, remember?" Tony said with a smirk.

"Well, it's not like Musk does everything perfectly either." Logan said.

"We are all human after all." Xavier said.

"Not me." Odinson and Thor said at the same time.

"Me neither." Loki said.

"I would consider myself somewhere in between." Professor Hulk said.

"I would consider myself a human who shares his brain with something else." Bruce said.

"To be honest, I like the guy." Tony said.

"Don't blame you." Scott said.

"Yeah, he holds up pretty well." Hope agreed.

"One of the few people Tony respects." Pepper told everyone to their shock.

"Maybe in another world, Elon Musk is Tony Stark." T'Challa joked and everyone chuckled.

"Could be." Fury muttered.

Tony greeted Musk and said he loved the designs for the Merlin engines as Musk thanked him and said he had an idea for an electric jet. Tony said they would make it work as him and Pepper walked off.

"Is that possible?" Bruce asked.

"According to Musk, six years from your time." Benjamin said and everyone shrugged.

Tony asked Pepper for a massage but she refused as he said he would have Natalie make an appointment but she refused. Tony apologized for springing it on her as Justin Hammer called out to them from behind, calling Stark "Anthony."

"And he's back." Rhodes said as everyone groaned.

Hammer clapped Tony on the shoulder, calling him pal as Tony told Pepper Hammer was his least favorite person on Earth as he turned to face him. Hammer then said Christine Everhart was there too as she walked up to them.

"Great." Scott groaned, "Her again."

"It's like she is a ghost haunting Stark or something." Hope said.

"Might be." Pepper said.

"Oh look at them, aren't they a happy couple?" Tony said sarcastically about Hammer and Everhart as everyone snickered. [1]

Some forced "Hi's" went around as Hammer told Christine Pepper was the new CEO of Stark Industries. Everhart said her editor would kill her if she didn't grab a quote for their Powerful Women issue, amusing Pepper.

"Oh my how the tables have turned." Scott said and everyone laughed.

"Trash walks back in sometimes." Hope said.

"Yeah, but it's still trash." Pepper said and everyone chuckled.

Hammer said she was doing a big spread on him in the Vanity Fair and she had done for Tony the previous year.

"She had!" Rhodes said and all chuckled.

Pepper walked away in spite of Tony's protests as Hammer and him took a picture, to Tony's displeasure and Everhart tried to ask them questions and Tony said Hammer had got his contract revoked, to which he said it was on hold. Hammer deflected and said he wanted to present something at Stark's Expo, surprising him. Tony said if Hammer made something that worked, he would get him a slot as Natalie pulled him to the table and Hammer said he had a slot.

"Now that was one presentation." Tony muttered to himself.

"I know." Pepper sighed.

"Worst presentation ever." Rhodes groaned.

As Hammer told Christine him and Tony were kidders, Stark checked his blood toxicity in the bathroom and found it at 53%.

"That high already?" Steve asked in shock.

"And you didn't tell anyone?" Sam said.

"I was dying." Tony said.

"And that doesn't entitle you to be stupid-" Rhodes started.

"And reckless." Pepper said.

"Guys!" Benjamin said and everyone focused on the recording.

"Got any new bad ideas?" Tony asked his reflection.

"Worst one." Tony muttered.

Tony was then surrounded by guards, photographers and fans as he walked towards the race track in a blue and black jumpsuit with "Stark" stitched on it. He jumped to the race track.

"This was it." Natasha sighed.

"The worst." Pepper said.

"I am the worst." Tony said.

Hammer was giving his interview to Christine when the TV showed Tony on the race track to his shock. Pepper beckoned Natalie and asked her about it but she said she hadn't known about it until now.

"New bad idea." Tony groaned.

"I would stay still if I were you and sitting next to Pepper." Loki said.

"Yeah, I agree." Thor said.

Tony shut up as Pepper shot him a glare.

One of the racers stormed off angrily after throwing off his helmet as Stark had taken his place and Pepper said she needed Happy to get there.

"God Bless Happy." Steve said.

Hammer tried to give his interview to Christine but she walked off on getting a phone call and she needed to cover Tony's latest screw up. Hammer looked at the TV again.

"His thunder keeps getting stolen." Odinson said and all laughed.

"Nice thunder joke." Thor said.

"Wouldn't expect any less from you." Tony said as the laughter stopped.

After revving the engine, Tony gave his assistant a thumbs up and the race began as everyone cheered. A figure dressed in orange walked up to the tracks with "Intervention" on his helmet along with the assistants. It was Ivan.

"Shit!" Sam said.

"Just watch." Tony said.

Pepper was waiting for Happy to arrive as Ivan walked onto the track, to everyone's shock while Hammer watched him with interest. Tony and the others raced out of the tunnel as Ivan emerged and his whips came out while his jacket was burnt off by his suit. He swung his whips skillfully.

"Oh God!" Steve said.

"That is not good!" Bruce said.

"For him." Tony said.

"Because of me." Pepper added.

"I know he is a bad guy and all but that still looked awesome." Peter said and everyone shook their heads.

Ivan then hit a car with his whip, destroying it as Pepper and Happy drove over to the tracks with Tony's suit. Tony drove over but Ivan hit his car with his whip, sending it flying off as Tony fell down and took off his helmet to look at his opponent. Ivan walked towards him as the cars blew up behind him.

"Shit!" Sam said.

"How are the cars blowing up?" Rhodes asked.

"No idea." Natasha said.

Pepper took the case from Happy as they struggled to drive while Ivan cut off Tony's car, only to see he wasn't there. Tony hit him from behind with the broken door but was sent flying off as Ivan tried to hit him but he dodged, one strike almost hitting his- thing!

"Close one." Pepper said.

Tony tried to escape as the whip slightly hit his leg, making him fall down near a car whose fuel was leaking. Ivan swung his whips and hit the car as Tony jumped off while it exploded. He got up to see a bit of his shoulder was on fire and put it out as him and Ivan faced each other. That was when Happy hit Ivan with the car as Tony jumped to the railing where Ivan got pinned. Happy backed off as Pepper yelled at Tony, asking if he was out of his mind.

"I was." Tony agreed.

He said he needed better security and she was CEO while also not being very grateful to Happy.

"You ungrateful son of a bitch." Fury said.

"You kiss your mother with that mouth?" Steve asked and everyone snickered.

"Just because you're dying doesn't give you the right to act like that." Hill told him.

"I know, I know." Tony said, "Dumb genius."

Ivan woke up again and Happy hit him a few more times before his whips started damaging the car, breaking doors and the roof as Pepper finally threw the case out. Tony put his foot on the handle and then the briefcase opened to reveal many folded layers of red and silver. It unfolded partly as Tony bent down and grasped two more handles. He pulled the main part of the Suit up and put it on his chest, stretching out his arms as the gold-titanium mesh and outer shell fitted itself over his arms, down his back, around his legs, and finally, over his head. The Arc Reactor glowed brightly as the Suit connected to it.

"Okay that was awesome!" Peter cheered.

"Yup." Rhodes agreed.

"Nice suit." Steve said.

"Ivan is so screwed now." Bruce said.

"That was a great suit-up." Thor said.

"Wait till you see my new one." Tony shrugged.

Iron Man tried to fire but Ivan staggered him back with his whips a few times before deflecting a few blasts and wrapping his whip around Tony. Tony's monitors flared as he got up and wrapping more of the whip around himself, he moved closer and punched Ivan twice before slamming him to the ground. He ripped out his Arc Reactor and crushed it as a medical team arrived to take him away. Happy and Pepper watched in horror while Hammer watched with interest as Ivan said, "You-you lose! You lose. You lose, Stark!"

"What does he mean?" Thor asked.

"Nothing good." Tony said.

Tony walked with another man and some police in a prison as the man said they had got nothing off Ivan and weren't even sure he spoke English.

"Oh he definitely speaks English." Rhodes said.

Tony asked for five minutes and went inside alone as Ivan sat in a square box-like prison with only a cot and a bench.

Wanda shuddered, reminded of her own imprisonment as Vision held her hand for comfort.

Ivan wore nothing but a pair of boxers and had a lot of tattoos on his body. Tony commented on his suit, calling it a passable knock-off.

"And now you're giving him ideas." Fury chided as everyone shook their heads.

Tony told him he could have sold it around to some countries as he said Stark came from a family of thieves and butchers and was trying to rewrite his history like all guilty men, forgetting the lives his family had destroyed. Tony asked where he got the design, to which he replied from his father Anton Vanko. Tony said he had never heard of him as Ivan said his father was the reason Tony was alive.

"Part of the reason." Fury said.

Tony said the reason he was alive was that Ivan had a shot, he took it and missed. Ivan said if he could make God bleed, people would cease to believe in him and he had to sit and watch. Tony joked he would watch it from a prison cell and walked off, saying he would send him a bar of soap. Before he was gone, Ivan told him that Palladium in the chest was a painful way to die. Tony stiffened and walked out of the door, slamming it shut as Ivan gave a triumphant laugh.

"How the hell did he know?" Pepper asked.

"No idea." Tony said.

"I have a bad feeling about this." Sam said.

"You're right to, bub." Logan said.