The buxom blonde's bosom heaved wildly as the vampire laird drew closer, his dark, dangerous eyes glinting with blood lust…
"Jesus, who writes this crap?" Kara sighed as she set her StarkPad down. (Never mind that she'd paid $4.99 for 'that crap'.) She looked around the office. It was a quiet day, for once.
She hated it.
More than that, it worried her. SOMETHING was going to happen soon.
The only questions were 1) how soon 2) how bad and 3) was Tony the cause of or the solution to the problem? Or both?
Tony Stark knew he should be working, but the game was just too good.
Aside from the fact that it was one of the most entertaining computer games he’d played in ages, he also knew for a fact that the subject matter was going to drive Bruce (Wayne that is) absolutely batty, which was reason enough for Stark to put money into it. Before the program was sent to him this morning to review, Stark had intended to spend the day working on updates to his Iron Man suit, but once he started playing –the thing was positively addictive.
Based on Batman’s recent slugfest in Arkham Asylum at Gotham, where the dark knight had gone lone wolf and kicked nine kinds of ass when the place had a massive security breach, Stark spent the entire morning playing the game. He wondered how Bruce was going to take the depiction, but Stark wasn’t going to quibble with artistic license. Not when the main character was so damn entertaining.
Staring at the screen, Stark directed the digitised Batman to fight an entire ward of lunatics, wondering how many of the combat and takedown moves were authentic to Bruce. Probably all of them, he thought. The guy could give Steve Rogers a run for his money, even without powers. Reaching for the supersized fast food type cup of caffeinated drink, he was disappointed to find it empty. This kind of gaming required a serious sugar and caffeine fix.
Kara appeared a few seconds later. "Yes, Tony?" she asked. Then she turned and looked at the big screen.
"Is... is that Batman beating up everyone in the world?"
"Isn't it great?" Stark grinned not looking away from the screen as Batman did a spin kick that flattened some bad guy into the wall. "He'll hate it of course, but this is going to make millions. I haven't gotten to the big bad guy fight yet, but so far it’s pretty accurate. The developer was a friend of some guy in the GCPD who claims to have gotten his hands on some security camera footage of Batman in Arkham."
"Okay. First, he's going to use his scary voice on you, you know. Second, can I get it in writing that I have nothing to do with this?"
"His scary voice is a voice modulator… I think,” Stark paused long enough to wonder. “Anyway, it’s not like the game says he’s got a butler on comms or that he topped the most eligible bachelor list over me."
Yep, that had nothing to do with it AT ALL.
Kara folded her arms over her chest. "I see. You know that thing is totally political."
Stark didn't believe that for one moment, not when Bruce was almost six foot two, clocked in at 220 pounds and cut like a diamond. No wonder Emma Frost was into him. Deciding his knowledge of Bruce’s physique was bordering on disturbing, he shrugged it off and gestured to his empty soda cup.
"Yeah, right,” he retorted. “Anyway, eager young space cadet, I need some refreshment."
"What's your poison, sir?" Kara asked. Then she looked around. "Uh. Did you hear that?"
"Soda Cola please, extra strong," he answered and glanced at the screen just as Batman laid out a goon with some kind of twistee kick that might have put a contortionist’s back in knots. "What...?”
He didn’t hear anything and then again, his attention was fixated elsewhere.
"I thought I heard..." Kara looked around again, sweeping the place with her x-ray vision. There was no sign of anybody or anything. "Maybe it was downstairs... Never mind. Caffeine. Got it."
"And maybe some bagels too," he called out after her as she left. "Preferably from that deli I like."
The one in Bludhaven.
Hey if you were going to have an assistant who could fly at superspeed, it was foolish not to take advantage of her. It’s not like he was sending her to Beijing for Chinese food…again.
"Can I use the roof?" Kara called back.
"Just make sure you stand away from my glass roof because I will look." Stark threw her a wicked smirk as she left.
Kara rolled her eyes as she headed for the elevator.
A few minutes after she left, there was a faint POP, and then Stark's game was replaced by the image of a weird little green... thing... with a huge cigar and a tiny bowler cap.
“What the hell?” Stark asked as he stared at the screen. “The game has a midget? When does Batman fight a midget in Arkham Asylum? Not to mention an old midget.”
"I don't look a day over fifty thousand, thank ya very much," the man answered as he climbed out of the TV. He looked around, gnawing on his cigar and clucking his tongue. "Nice digs. Ain't yer Fortress of Solitude level of nice, but nice. Anyway, pleasure ta meet ya. Big fan."
"Nice to meet you too..." Stark put down the game controller and stared at the screen, realising that this was not part of the program and was something more. Stark almost thought he might be a part of the program, but somehow he doubted it. Glancing at the watch on his wrist, he was grateful to be wearing. The Iron Man watch (he really needed to call it something else, Batman couldn't be the only one to get to name his cool gadgets) would give him some modicum of protection if necessary.
"I’m going to get a drink. Don’t suppose you want one?" He asked, testing the man’s(?) limitations.
"Got any Hyperborean ale? Haven't had any since that one time I went boozing with Conan. Great guy, fun at parties, but whew, that breath of his... Anyway, so I see yer palling around with some of my best buds in all of space-time."
"No, but I got some Asgard stuff that will make you stand tall and speak without contractions," Stark rose from his desk and went to his bar, ready to play the polite host for the moment even though he was poised to defend himself if necessary.
"Asgard. Good drinkers. Terrible card players. Never trust a man pretending he's only got one eye, believe you me," the little man told Tony. "Getting back to the matter at hand, what are your intentions towards Lil' Supergirl? And the Big Blue Cheese?"
Stark stopped short and peered over the man on the screen with puzzlement. "My intentions? She brings me coffee and the other well, he's a boy scout. There's really nothing else to do there."
"I know them backwards and forwards and sideways, mister. By the way, you don't want to see Supergirl when she goes bad. Gives ya funny feelings, and by funny I mean tugs on yer heartstrings... if she doesn't burn them to bits. Anyway, what I'm telling ya is, I'm not sure about ya." The little guy stared at Stark for a minute. "I got it! Yeah, I'm a regular gen-eye-us. I know what to do." His eyes flashed a little.
"You and Supergirl...?” Stark couldn't hide the incredulity out of his voice and laughed despite his best efforts to keep his trademark flippancy under control. "Man, that's really aiming high...not to mention creepy. She's old enough to be your...sperm."
The guy blew steam out of his ears. (It looked peculiar and a little creepy). "That ain't what I mean, ya perv. Why I oughta... and I'm gonna!" He snapped his fingers, and there was a flash of light...
A couple minutes later, Kara strolled back into the office. "I got us bagels, too! And by us, I mean me, mostly..."
She stopped short.
"Don’t say it.”
Scowling, Tony Stark was still in the clothes she had seen him in earlier, except they now hung off him as if he were wearing a circus tent. He was standing in front of a mirror (which he could only reach with a chair) studying his reflection when she entered and found a ten-year-old version of himself waiting for her.
"I look weird without the moustache, right?"
"Yes, it’s me," Stark rolled his eyes, suspecting there was going to be a lot of this today and explained. "Some pygmy in a bowler hat showed up on my screen after you were gone and did this to me."
This was going to be harder than he thought. “I said…” a thought suddenly occurred to him and he pulled at the waistband of his now oversized jeans and looked down, wincing when he saw what was down there. "Okay, now that really hurts."
Kara sat down, a little cross-eyed. "Wait. Bowler hat? Did he sound like a Hollywood guy from the 40s?"
"If you mean if he sounded like something out of a TNT Jimmy Cagney film, yeah," Stark confirmed as he stepped down from the chair and nearly tripped the rest of the way down. "I take it you know this ass clown?"
"Mxyzptlk!" Kara growled, a little like Jerry Seinfeld saying "Newman!"
"Yes, I know him. He's... he's a... it's... he's confusing. What'd you say to him?"
The conversation replayed in his head before he answered. "Nothing!” he exclaimed with a look of helpless kitten all iinnocence “I was just my usual lovable self!"
Kara gave him a look, the kind Pepper had taught her. "Tony..."
Damn it! Pepper had taught her young padawan well. That look was so reminiscent of his lover’s disapproval and disbelief that Stark had no power over it.
“Okay!” He exclaimed, throwing his arms up in exasperation. “I may have…sort off… implied his interest in you is a teeny-weenie creepy since you're old enough to be his spe...I mean, daughter!" He caught himself before saying too much.
"You have SUCH a way with people," Kara said, but she smiled a little at Tony defending her. Sort of. In his own Stark-y way. "At least you're not acting like a child... but we probably need to fix this."
"No, kidding! I'm ten! Is this guy screwing with me, or is it this permanent? I’m not going through that whole puberty crap again?” The thought was enough to make his head ache. Heading towards his minibar, he was trying not to trip over his oversized jeans. “I need a drink."
"No, you don't!" Kara said, hurrying to get between him and the bar. "You can't."
It didn’t register for a moment and when it did….
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN'T? I'm not really ten!"
The neurons in his head fired at tachyon speed as he calculated all the things that were now no longer age appropriate. Did that mean twins were out of bounds too?? The thought was too much for him.
Kara wasn't sure what had made Stark suddenly look so glum, but whatever it was, it made his face look adorable. She giggled. She couldn't help it.
Then she coughed. "Your brain might not be, but your body can not handle the alcohol."
He caught the snigger and warned with as much menace as a ten-year-old could muster, which wasn’t very menacing at all and looked more like he was having a tantrum.
"You laugh one more time, and you're fired.”
Of course, she was right, he couldn’t drink in this body. He'd puke his guts out and not in the good kind of way, like after a night of sin and debauchery but what came after a depression type bender. He’d done enough of both in his lifetime to know it was not a good feeling.
He tasted carrots for weeks, and he didn’t even have any.
"Who is this guy and what does he want other than to be a pain in the ass. I cannot be ten again!" Stark sat down on the steps to the lowered centre of his office, hands beneath his chins, elbows propped up by his knees.
"He's... he... it's... he's a weird little... gremlin... He likes to goof around. I think he's really lonely. But all we need to do is get him to say his own name."
"What's his name?" Stark asked.
"Mxyzptlk. Mr Mxyzptlk."
Stark's response was just as colourful.
“Uh not to interrupt at an inopportune moment, Sir,” Jarvis’ voice came through the speakers. “Mr Wayne has entered the building.”
Stark glared at the heavens. “God hates me.”
"Oh, Rao... Okay, I got it! You're Toby Stark, your dad is Tony's cousin."
"He'll never buy it," Stark discarded the idea immediately. Bruce Wayne would not be fooled by such a flimsy line. “Besides, he has files on all of us. He’s probably seen pictures of me when I was a kid. Curse him and his paranoid genius.”
"Yeah, but... Okay..."
Kara walked over to the desk and picked up the phone. "Hi, Corinne! Send Mr Wayne right up, please."
Bruce Wayne was not happy.
Through methods he preferred not to discuss because it could be considered industrial espionage, he knew all about the prototype game Stark was financing about his or rather Batman’s adventures at Arkham Asylum. It did nothing for his methods of intimidation if there was a game in every arcade, showing him beating up bad guys in some pseudo-fabricated version of events at Arkham. It was just the kind of thing Stark would do to get a rise out of him.
Even though he had arrived at Stark Towers as Bruce Wayne, he was more than happy to let the Bat make an appearance if it meant he could dangle Iron Man off his roof without the benefit of his armour.
"Where is he?" Bruce demanded as he entered the room. Whether or not he knew it, he was using the angry voice.
"Okay, first of all, he hasn't technically done anything illegal," Kara said, trying not to squeak. But she'd been fifteen the first time she met Batman, and the scary voice kept making her feel that small. It was a thing, okay? "Second, don't laugh. Third, I'm serious. Fourth, he's over there."
He didn't know whether or not to be flattered that the girl of steel appeared to be frightened by him. A conversation for another time, he decided, and he tabled the thought for the moment. His eyes shifting in the direction she was pointing at, Stark saw a ten-year-old in oversized clothing. It took, but a few seconds before Bruce assessed the situation, however improbable and ridiculous it may be. However, once accepting the evidence of his eyes, he reacted in the most genuine way possible.
"Nobody ever listens," Kara sighed. She looked to Stark to see his reaction to that.
Stark didn’t know what was worse, the fact that he was like this in front of Bruce Wayne or the man was laughing. Stark didn’t think that Bruce’s facial muscles worked that way without severe damage being done.
“It’s not funny!” Stark burst out.
"Oh yes, it is," Bruce replied, enjoying the moment immensely. Turning to Kara because he’d get a more sensible answer, he asked, “which magician did he piss off now?"
While Zee was capable of this, he certainly could not imagine her using her powers this way –even if Stark sorely deserved it.
"His name's Mr Mxyzptlk. He's this... he's a... Kind of... Basically, this little gremlin from the fifth dimension. He kind of fixates on Kal and me."
"What did you say to him?" Bruce asked, knowing that there had to be a reason why Stark was bearing the brunt of this Mxyzptlk’s antics and not Kara and Clark, if what she said was true.
"Yeah and you're not an annoying jackass either,” Bruce retorted, not believing him for a second. What did...you...say?"
Kara looked at Mini-Tony, wondering that herself.
Stark cleared his throat and like a kid that was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. This was not unusual, however, since he managed to project the same look as an adult when he’d been caught amid some dumbassery.
Stark looked at Kara and shrugged his slight shoulders. "Well, I may have implied that his interest in you was creepy. You are old enough to be his uhm...." he couldn't look at her and say it. For some reason, he felt more awkward than usual. "Sperm."
Bruce gave him a withering look. "You're an idiot."
Kara stared in silence (and a passable imitation of the Befuddled Mal Reynolds meme) before sighing "Tony Stark, I could kick you in the head, I really could."
"Would an apology work with this Mxyzptlk?" Bruce asked Kara, wondering how it was possible for the man to behave like a frat boy and supposed that might be the imp’s purpose in turning Stark into a child.
"Apologise!" Stark sputtered. "I'm not..."
"Quiet," Bruce cut him off. "Before you get sent to the woodshed."
“First of all, there is no woodshed, and I’ll scream child abuse.” Stark retaliated glaring at Bruce who was enjoying this way more than was decent.
"It might..." Kara said, rather doubtfully. To be honest, this was kind of new territory. She'd never seen anybody actually get Mxyzptlk really cranky before. "But he won't go away until you make him say his name backwards."
"It's a thing, okay? You have to play along and make it look clever, he pretends you really tricked him, then he goes away."
"Well isn't that your thing?" Stark accused Bruce. "Being strategic and crap?"
"Keep it up - it will make me more inclined to help you, even if Mxyzptlk might have turned you back to your correct mental age.
"Would he be watching us?” Bruce asked Kara. “I can’t imagine he’d this without wanting to see the effects?"
"Oh, I'm sure he's around somewhere. Or he went to a baseball game. It's... you know... he's a little orthogonal to humans."
"So he's likely hoping Tony makes good theatre," Bruce remarked, staring at Stark who was rubbing his hand over his cheeks, winching at the lack of growth. Shaking his head, he considered Kara’s words. "Well is there a baseball game in town today?"
If there was, then that was the best place to undo all of this. Of course, that meant… he glanced at Stark, they would have to take the delinquent outside.
Kara nodded. "The Meteors are playing the Rockets. It's a doubleheader... the first game is at two." She looked at Lil' Tony and got it. "Oh."
Stark’s eyes widened as he got it too. “No way. I am no going out there like this. I don’t care what the consequences.”
Bruce’s eyes narrowed, and he uttered one word. "Sex."
Stark’s expression fell as swiftly as his silence.
"He'll need something to wear in his size," Bruce declared now that there were no further objections.
"There's a Gap Kids down the boulevard," Kara said after sizing up Tiny Tony for a second. "Don't go anywhere. BRB."
"You’re just loving this, aren't you?" Stark glared at Bruce after she’d gone, watching the man rifled through the coat of his expensive suit to produce a smartphone.
"Please, I'm above such pettiness, but you’re always complaining that I never share so for once I’m going to take your advice.”
With that, he captured the image of little Stark and pressed SHARE.
A couple minutes later, Kara reappeared with a big blue bag in her arms. "Okay. I charged it to the corporate card, so brace for mid-brow mall store swankiness."
Stark grabbed the bag and stomped away to his bedroom via the penthouse steps. "If there's one Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-shirt in here, you're fired."
"That's Teenage METAHUMAN Ninja Turtles, and no," Kara called after him.
Ignoring Stark’s histrionics, Bruce filled Kara in on what he’d devised. “That’s your cousin, and you're taking him to the game. I'll join you there, I have a few stops to make first."
Kara nodded. "Got it, Mr Wayne," she said. She had no idea what stops he was going to make but suspected none of them would make Tony especially happy.
Stark appeared a moment after, dressed in suitably fashioned clothes for the billionaire teen. He had to admit, kids dressed a hell of a lot better than they did when he was this age, the first time round that is). "I feel like I should be hanging out at the Gap,” he said, making a face as he looked himself over.
"I'm sure you'd make some teenage cashier very happy, Tony," Kara told him.
"Hey, that's a thought. I can check out underaged teenaged girls. It’s not illegal anymore."
He was joking, of course – well mostly.
Kara narrowed her eyes at him.
"Hey, leave me alone. My hormones are all over the place." Stark shrugged, feeling none too repentant at his inappropriateness. Under the circumstances, he felt somewhat justified.
"Just... keep them inside. Deep, deep, deep inside. Okay?"
Just to make her as miserable as him, he added with a sly smirk. "I mean you're kind of hot too in an older woman sort of way."
"First, I am. Second, kick you in the HEAD."
“You know I go for the rough stuff,” Stark grinned. “Just ask Pepper.”
"Alright!” Stark laughed, finding her horrified expression very satisfying. “Let's go and see what Grim and Broody has got planned at the ball game."
"You got it," Kara said. Maybe she could get him distracted by soda and pretzels. ... A girl could dream.
As bad as Stark thought it was going to be being stuck in the body of a ten-year-old, it was about to get a great deal worse, he realised as he stepped into the hallways of Stark Towers. As he walked down the corridors, heading for the lobby, he noticed people staring immediately at himself and Kara. He feared the worst, they recognised him!
But it was even more horrible than that.
“Oh my god! What a cutie!”
One of the office girls whom he’d seen around the place burst out as she approached them. "Is he your little brother Kara?"
"No, this is my cousin Toby. He's from Milwaukee."
“Oh, what a handsome little man,” she squealed and to his horror, leaned over and grabbed his cheeks and squeezed. If it weren’t for the ample view of boobs he got as she did this, Stark would have sworn. "I'll bet you'd be a lady killer in a couple of years."
Stark looked up at Kara and mentally projected, I order you to disintegrate her now.
"Oh, I know, isn't he just adorable?" Kara asked with a sweet little smile.
Stark's expression spoke volumes.
A few seconds of idle conversation passed, and they were on their way. Passing a gaggle of girls at the water cooler, Stark had to ask himself that perhaps his hiring practices were a little skewed towards the sexy, brainless type. This was what happens when Pepper was no longer here to keep an eye on him.
Bits of their conversation drifted to his ears and made him stop short and stare, open-mouthed.
"....come on, the whole building is like a giant phallic symbol. I mean, really! Who builds a suit and calls himself IRON MAN if there isn't some erectile dysfunction involved…not to mention hiring a cheerleader for an assistant?"
This was followed by a series of mean spirited giggles and laughter which was silenced the instant they glimpsed Kara and Stark.
"That's it," Stark muttered under his breath, sure she would hear him. "Fire everyone."
Kara managed a bland smile at the girls, then kept walking. Once she was out of earshot, she hissed "I am NOT a cheerleader!"
"Well you are blond and perky, and I mean, the personality of course, not any other type of perky....at least not that I've been able to get out of Barry." He couldn’t help teasing her about her budding romance with speedster Barry Allen.
Kara stared at him in utter exasperation.
"Hey, that’s not as bad as what they said about me!” Stark complained. “I had a good reason for building the suit, and it DIDN'T involve any problems with my junk."
"Can you - can you STOP talking like that? You're four feet tall, and it's creeping me out!"
"Fine," Stark grumbled, wondering how the hell she could bend steel and still be so prissy. "This is all your fault. I was defending your honour!"
"My fault!? You compared me to SPERM!"
"Well, it was accurate!” Stark defended himself. “I said that in the context of a comparative age. I mean he's like hundreds of years old and you're what 20 something? When is your birthday anyway?"
Kara threw up her hands. "May 17, on paper. In reality, I have no idea."
Forgetting his own crap for a moment, he stared at her a second, saddened by the fact she didn’t even know her own birthday. "That kind of sucks. You don't remember?"
"No. And it wasn't in my hyper pod," Kara said. "I... I guess there wasn't enough time for my parents to input it." She sighed. "Let's get you to the ball game, okay? We have a gremlin to find."
Recognising a sore point when he saw one, Stark chose not to pursue the matter since he was not that much of an ass. He reminded himself he needed to get her something on her birthday, maybe something subtle -like a big ass party with elephants and a flyby with Javelins.
"Okay, take me in your arms and fly me to the ball game."
"Up, up and away!" Kara said, managing a faint smile as they took off from the roof.
Ten minutes later...
"Now remember, Toby, only one sugary drink an hour," Kara told Tony as they entered the ballpark.
"I want a hot dog and a beer." Stark insisted, hating how much she liked bossing him around like this. It was different than the usual bossing around when he was an adult. That was fun…not to mention a little hot. "Use the private box. We've got one for sure."
"Tony Stark has a box. Kara Danvers does not, and neither does her cousin Toby," Kara answered, rather glumly.
Stark cursed again.
"So where is tall, grim and broody? I bet that shtick is just for the girls." He swept his gaze across the stands, trying to see Bruce Wayne and hating the fact that it was Bruce who would likely get him out of this mess.
"Well, it's working. Have you SEEN Emma? Let's see..." Kara looked around with her ordinary sight, then her x-ray vision, trying to get a glimpse of Bruce.
Bruce had been busy since leaving Stark Towers.
With Alfred’s help, Bruce had managed to make the preparations necessary to get Tony Stark out of his predicament. Still, there was a part of Bruce who wouldn’t mind seeing the man left the way he was for a few more hours…or days. If nothing else, it would be amusing, and there was so little on television these days.
From his vantage point at one of the entrances into the stadium, he scanned the crowd for Stark and Kara. No doubt, the girl would find him far quicker than the other way around, so he only had to wait before she appeared.
"Got him," Kara murmured to Tony. "Over to the left, under the LuthorCorp banner." She started heading that way.
Great, Stark thought bitterly seeing the banner. I’ll be he is sitting in his private box.
As they approached Bruce, Stark saw that he was still wearing a suit, although he’d discarded the jacket and loosened the tie.
"I got some seats in the back," Bruce announced when they were in earshot and lead them further up the stairs to the top. The seats were awful and occupied by what Stark could only call the truck driving, Wal-Mart crowd, but he understood Bruce’s reasoning. From here, Kara could see all the stands. "Kara see if you can locate Mxyzptlk."
"On it," Kara answered. After a minute, she shook her head. "I saw Peter Dinklage, but not Mr M."
"We’ll have to wait until he shows up," Bruce sighed as he leaned back into the seat they had taken. "For right now, we need to stay out of sight. I don't want him to know we're here. I just want to make sure he is.”
“So what secret squirrel stuff have you got going on Bruce?" Stark asked, folding his arms and leaning back into his own hard, plastic seat, pouting.
"Is it the Batplane? I always loved the Batplane," Kara said.
"Why does everybody keep calling it that?” Bruce asked, making a face. “Besides, if it’s going to get a name, it would be the Batwing."
“Yeah because that doesn't sound any sillier than Batplane." Stark threw him a sidelong glance.
"Nice threads Gap Boy,” Bruce served right back.
"Honestly, you two," Kara sighed. "Can we focus?"
"Well, we should sit tight," Bruce reiterated. "Keep an eye out for him. This can't work if he doesn't show."
"What's the plan, though?" Kara asked as she followed him into the upper seats.
"You said there was one way to make him leave and turn Tiny Tony back to normal…." he paused and looked at Stark. “Well, as normal as he can be, that is. So that’s exactly what we're going to do."
"Yeah... but how? He's...you know, wily," Kara said.
"So am I," Bruce returned.
"Oh, get over yourself.”
"Says the man whose tower looks like an ad for erectile dysfunction."
"Sweet Rao burn you both," Kara sighed. "Seriously, you two..."
The game had already started, and Stark hated to admit it, he was missing his private box a great deal by now. The seats were too hard, there were too many people with caps on and the stench of beer, which he could not have, was getting to him.
"Kara, is he around?" Bruce asked again.
"What is this plan of yours anyway?" Stark interrupted his situation made enjoying the game impossible.
Bruce didn't say, he didn't want to give it away just yet. If only to make Stark sweat just a little more. "Wait for it."
"Hang on..." Kara took another look around the ballpark. "Oh. Yes. There he is. He's, uh - he's with the supermodel behind third base." She looked at Tony, daring him to run with that.
Stark craned his neck but couldn’t see anything. “Well at least he’s having fun,” he grumbled.
Ignoring Stark’s lamentations, Bruce spoke into a hidden earpiece. "Alfred, we're good to go. "
"Hey, Alfred!" Stark hollered into Bruce’s other ear.
Bruce shook his head and paused to listen to Alfred’s response. “Yes, I have taken pictures. I’ll share them with you when I get back to the Manor.”
Stark flipped him a finger.
Kara made a face. Why didn't I think of that? She asked herself.
The game had reached half-time, allowing for the half-time show to proceed. Valeria, a teen sensation in the Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift mould, appeared on the baseball diamond and let the crowd through the Star Spangled Banner. After the song was done, she moved onto a stage with a massive billboard behind her, one for a drink called Tipsy Mix, one of the game sponsors.
"Oo. I see where this is going," Kara murmured with a sudden grin on her face.
Bruce winked as Valeria started belting out her own songs.
Meanwhile, a young girl sitting in the seat in front of Stark’s turned around and looked at him. She was his current age, with long dark curls, lovely brown skin and a sweet smile.
“Hi,” she greeted.
Stark offered a startled response. "Uh, hi."
"I'm Mandy, don’t you love Valeria?” She asked beaming.
“Oh yeah,” he lied, being a Black Sabbath, ACDC man himself. “She rocks.”
“Want to go to the front and listen?” She asked, showing the small group of kids gathering further down to watch the singer.
Kara face-palmed. Seriously? How does he do it?
Stark was about to say yes when Bruce leaned over and whispered, “FELONY."
Meanwhile, behind third base, a certain little fellow was snapping his fingers and humming along to Valeria's song. "It's catchy, isn't it, baby?!" he asked Laetitia.
Valeria continued to sing, coming to her song near its end. The crowd was suitably excited and bopping to the catchy music.
Stark hated to say no to the girl, but he didn’t have much choice. “Can’t,” he sighed disappointedly. “My dad doesn’t want me wandering around the place. He wants me to watch the game with him. He’s such a hard ass.”
"It builds character," Kara told Tony in a stage whisper.
"And this is like your stepmom?" The girl glanced at Kara, wrinkling her nose at Bruce on clearly projecting her thoughts to Bruce about such an old guy marrying a younger trophy wife.
"I'm his cousin!" Kara protested. For Mandy's sake, she was glad Emma wasn't here to hear THAT.
Across the park, Mister Mxyzptlk couldn't help himself. He began to sing along with Valeria.
Valeria, revelling at the adulation she was receiving from the crowd, broke off in the middle of the song as it dulled to background noise and addressed the audience. Dressed in sexy clothes not at all suitable for someone her age, with a wild blond wig and way too much makeup, she waved her arms at them and shouted. “
"IS EVERYONE HAVING A GREAT TIME?”
YEAH! Came the near deafening response.
"WHAT ABOUT THE TIPSY’S NEW FLAVOUR? DOES EVERYONE LIKE ALL TIPSY MIX! SAY YOU LIKE ALL TIPSY MIX. COME ON!"
"We like all Tipsy Mix!" The crowd recited boisterously, and Valeria giggled and clapped, prompting their enthusiasm even more.
"One more time, as loud as you can, and I will sing you one of my new songs! Come on!”
"LIKE ALLLLL TIPSY MIX!" Mxyzptlk cried out along with everyone else. (Well, except Laetitia, who was busy studying her nails.)
Aware of what was about to happen, Bruce leaned forward at Mandy. “Little girl go away! He’s spending the day with me, got it!”
He used the scary voice, and her face melted into dismay. Bruce almost felt bad about it, but if she saw what happened next, she’d be on a shrink’s chair for the next year.
"Your dad's a psycho!! She exclaimed and turned away, facing front once more.
Stark looked at Bruce, appalled. “Nice.”
Bruce ignored him, "Kara, keep an eye out."
Suddenly, Mxyzptlk went "Fiddlesticks, baby."
Laetitia looked over and screamed.
"Psst, Mr Wayne, it worked."
It did? Stark sat up straighter and then a thought occurred to him. "Wait does that mean I'm going to get back to normal right this minute...."
Bruce broke into a genuine smile and waited for it.
In a blink of an eye, Stark had gone from a cute ten-year-old kid to fully, dysfunctional reprobate with clothes to match. The freshly Gapped young man was now struggling not to be suffocated in his clothes as his body grew back to normal size.
"Puberty works faster than I remember," Kara noted before taking off her jacket and putting it over Tony.
"Now I know what a wedgie feels like!" Stark burst out, feeling his shorts ride up in ways that no woman could understand.
The girl turned around and stared at them, her face turning into confusion when she saw not the ten-year-old boy but the older man, wearing clothes that were WAY too tight for him. Full of confusion, she turned around again, looking dazed and confused, uncertain what was going on anymore.
“Well that’s her in therapy for the next decade,” Stark sighed.
As Valeria started singing her next song, the crowd’s eyes were fixed on the stage in the middle of the arena. This was as perfect a time as they could get for a discreet exit.
"Kara get him back to the towers while no one is looking." Bruce hissed.
"Got it." Kara slipped an arm around Tony. "Hold on tight but not too tight."
By the time Kara dropped him back at his office in Stark Towers, the ill-fitting clothes he was wearing was no longer an annoyance but had evolved into full-blown life-threatening. As he felt his body constricted by the material, he rolled onto his hands and knees, gasping.
"Damn! Now I know how Banner feels."
"This builds character too, right?" Kara asked as she let him go.
"I need to cut these things off me!" Stark declared, struggling to reach for any cutting tool on this bench. "HELP!" He implored her.
"Okay, okay, hold still, will you?" Kara grabbed hold of the Gap Kids outfit and RIPPPPPP.
Then she turned away very quickly.
Within seconds, Stark was almost entirely naked, using the remnants of the torn fabric to cover himself after she’d torn through his clothes like a scene from a really bad romance novel. Ensuring his modesty, like the rest of himself was intact, he made his way to his penthouse with head held high.
"No, peeking," he warned.
Kara rolled her eyes and waited sort-of-patiently.
Inside the bedroom, there was a sudden POP! And an unexpected Fifth Dimensional interloper.
"Well, well, well..." Mister Mxyzptlk said to Tony.
Stark, in the process of getting dressed, stared at him aghast. "How are you back?"
"Same way I came here in the first place, buddy! But I'm not sticking around long. I got a hot date with that French chick. As for you - I hope ya learned yer lesson."
"Yeah, yeah," Stark knew how to plead mea culpa when it was required. "I learned my lesson. I apologise. I know that you only have the purest intentions for Kara. Although...." Stark said evilly, "It wasn't me who sent you back. It was Batman."
Mxyzptlk rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I know THAT. Yer not on his level. Now stay outta trouble." There was another POP! and he was gone.
"Not on his level?" Stark stared at the empty space where the man had been. "What does THAT mean?”
Kara knocked on the door. "Tony? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Stark answered before heading out the door, now that he was looking presentable again. “He showed up again, just long enough to tell me I’m not on Bats level."
"I'm not sure - is that a bad thing?" Kara asked him.
"Of course it is, I can do everything he does." Stark pointed out and knew that was alive. Batman couldn’t build a suit, but Stark wasn’t the world’s greatest detective either.
"Well, he is from another dimension..."
"Bruce or Mxyzptlk," Stark asked. Because really, there was no difference.
“Fine, fine,” Stark retorted and then headed towards his desk. The holographic screen hovering above it revealed a dozen message from the various members of the Avengers League, and when Stark opened them to read, each one showed his face as a ten-year-old.
“Meet Tiny Tony.”
Stark glared at Kara. “Sometimes, I really hate that guy.”