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I Am Not Afraid to Keep on Living

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“And I… Am… Iron Man”

 

After the snap, Tony felt like floating, he wasn’t sure if he was asleep or dead yet, some kind of limbo state. Somehow on autopilot, he felt more that saw Pepper in front of him, he couldn’t hear what she was saying -he assumed she was telling him something anyways-, but he could feel she was close and safe, she and Morgan will be safe now. With a last thought of his family, he let out a last breath and closed his eyes. For the first time in decades, he felt at peace: no fears, no worries, no guilt… just a soft calm colored a light blue, almost like the glow of the Arc Reactor…

 

It felt like both centuries and just minutes at the same time, when the blue light turned a deep burgundy, and the calm fell victim to the agonizing feeling of burning all over. He thought he had died, but maybe he was still alive, and his body was suffering the consequences of handling the Infinity Stones while being just a regular human? He would have to grovel to poor Bruce for forgiveness if he survived, if the man had it rough while being a (now tamed) green rage monster, then Tony was having a hell of a time.

 

It was an awful pain, encompassing his whole body inside, like his blood was boiling and turning his body to ashes from inside out. And the thirst! His throat felt rough like he had swallowed a fistful of sand… even worse than that, not even while wondering the desert after his escape all those years ago did he felt like this… Did someone give him Extremis again to try and save him and now his body was rejecting it and burning itself into a crisp? He hoped not, exploding wasn’t a fun way to die… And how was he still THINKING while dying like this?!

 

After what felt like an eternity of torture (and he knew a thing or two about being tortured), the agony reached a peak and then slowly ebbed away, the extreme thirst persisting but somehow he was able to ignore it to a point where it was just a mild inconvenience in the back of his mind (he’s felt worse things, after all). Slowly, he felt his senses coming back to him, and that’s when he felt strange… He swore he could smell about everything (identifying each singular smell), as well as hear everything from the butterflies flying outside (and just how did he know those were butterflies?) to the slight movement from the corner of the room. He wouldn’t have been able to know there was someone else in the room without his -now confirmed- enhanced senses. Maybe he was given a higher dose of Extremis? Or a combination with some super soldier serum he didn’t know about? Whatever it was, he was sure he wasn’t just human anymore.

 

He slowly opened his eyes and was immediately surprised by how clear he could see everything despite how dark it was. Looking around the room, he noticed he wasn’t in a hospital, nor in his house or anywhere he recognized. He saw a blond young man standing in the corner, staring at him with a kind smile and keen eyes. Tony didn’t know him, but he looked like he knew Tony -not that knowing him was strange, he was Tony Stark after all-. The man must have realized Tony didn’t recognize him and frowned slightly, approaching the bed he was lying on with slow, careful steps, as if he was cautious Tnoy would attack him or something.

 

“How are you feeling, Edward? Do you remember me?”

 

“Edward?” He asked, confused. And had to stop himself from flinching at how young his voice sounded. The blond must have noticed that too, because the frown became more pronounced.

 

“Edward? I’m Dr. Carlisle Cullen, remember? I treated you and your parents, your mother asked me to do everything withing my power to save you, so I did… I hope you forgive me someday for burdening you like this, but I promised her I would save you, and you didn’t seem opposed to the idea when I asked you… Of course, you were not in a clear state of mind at the moment, so I beg your forgiveness for imposing on you like this…” Said the young man, his sad face reminding him of Peter. Tony could see this Dr. Cullen was a good, kind soul. You couldn’t fake that level of goodness, and those sad eyes -even with the evidently different color- made him think of his kid(s) so much that Tony felt the compulsion of giving the poor guy a hug and tell him everything would be alright. Though, he seemed to be confusing Tony with someone else…

 

“My parents are dead…” Is what he said instead, confused beyond belief. Tony startled again at hearing ‘his voice’, it was too high, like a teenager’s…

 

The doctor’s face crumbled, looking at him with a level of sadness so deep Tony was ‘this close’ from getting up and hugging the life out of this man. His level of expressiveness surpassed even Peter’s, not even Morgan as a baby could pull a face like that… “Yes, they are. I’m sorry for your loss, Edward.” Answered the doctor, looking down. And really, he shouldn’t be so sad, his parents died decades ago, and it wasn’t even his fault. Still, he kept calling him Edward, and sure it was his middle name, but no one called him that. He was Tony Stark, not even Anthony Edward Stark, not after he graduated anyways… and even then, everyone but the teachers called him Tony…

 

“I’m sorry Dr. Cullen, there must be a mistake. Thank you for helping me, but you are confusing me with someone else, I’m not this Edward you are talking about.”

 

He looked at Tony in confusion and worry, the way you look at someone who just got a concussion (or your drunk friend when they start talking nonsense).

 

“Your name is Edward…?” He sounded more like he was asking him than stating a fact.

 

“Well, yes… Anthony Edward Stark, but everyone and their grandma knows I always go by Tony and had done so since I was a teen to my old-old age of 53” He smirked with a playful tone, still a bit bothered by his weird sounding voice (maybe it had something to do with the scratchy feeling he had in his throat and how thirsty he felt? First thing he would do after settling this case of mistaken identities would be to get a drink, mark his words… He deserved it…). Tony’s playful mood died a swift dead at the look of complete and utter horror the man was giving him… Rude, he wasn’t so bad…

 

“Your name is Edward Anthony Masen, only son of Edward and Elizabeth Masen… you were 17 when you almost died from the Spanish Influenza, and I turned you into a Vampire so you wouldn’t die as per you mother’s wishes…” said the man (vampire?) with a dazed look.

 

Tony stared at him, he stared at Tony… His mind completely blanked, was he having a fever dream or was this a prank? He wasn’t sure how to respond to that. Tony was about to ask if the man had indulged in some questionable substances while doing his hospital shifts (if he was even a doctor), when the blond ran out of the room and back in again in less than a second, carrying a handheld mirror in one hand. Weird thing is that, while Tony was completely sure he moved at an inhuman speed, his eyes could track him perfectly. Then he handed Tony the mirror, and from its polished surface he saw the young face of an unknown teenaged boy, with pale skin, soft auburn curls and deep red eyes… Tony could only do one thing in this situation…

 

“What the actual fuck?!”

 

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After his baffling awakening from the realm of the dead into the body of a teenage boy, Tony and the doctor went to the man’s office to talk this trough. At first, the young man offered Tony to bring him something to drink… Tony was embarrassed to admit it took him a couple of minutes to realize the man (an actual vampire, how was this his life?) was talking about bringing him blood. Then it was the blond’s turn to be baffled at Tony’s refusal. Apparently, it was not normal for a newborn (…what?) vampire to refuse blood. But after recovering from being an alcoholic (and all the times he fell out the wagon and had to start again), it wasn’t so difficult for Tony to ignore the mild burn in his throat. He was glad that at least Carlisle (Tony started using his name at the doctor’s insistence, and he stated calling him Tony in exchange, thanks fuck), only drank animals’ blood. It wasn’t something Tony wanted to do, but he guessed he had eaten worse things in that cave in Afghanistan, so a bit of blood wouldn’t be so bad, especially if he could avoid going all Dracula on a human…

 

“So, you are saying you are a ‘vegetarian’ Vampire doctor, born about the 1640s in London, spent some time in Italy before moving to the States, and now it’s 1918 and you saved Edward from the Spanish Influenza by turning him into a vampire, who I then body-snatched?” Asked Tony, rapid-fire and just entering the acceptance stage.

 

“Disregarding your strange form of speak… yes? How are you so calm about all this? And what do you think happened to Edward?”

 

“Well, seeing as I’m a 53 year old man who died in 2023 after a life full of impossible things made real, waking up as a teenage vampire is almost funny, but not the weirdest thing that’s happened to me.” Snorted Tony. “About Edward, I’m sorry to say this, but I think he actually died and my mind just took over his body after I died… My death wasn’t exactly normal, so it probably has to do with some mind, soul, time and reality breaking bullshitery…” Tony grumbled, thinking about the gauntlet and the stones. He looked up to see Carlisle’s face crumble in pain and guilt. “Hey, buddy! You tried literally everything you could, you didn’t break your promise! I’m sure this is mostly my fault…” and some magic stones too, probably… “Don’t start beating yourself over it, you can’t save everyone!” Said Tony, panicking a bit, he didn’t want to make Carlisle cry! (Can vampires cry?) That would be almost like making Morgan cry. Sure, the man (vampire?) was a couple of centuries older than Tony, but he looked so young (especially his eyes), Tony could almost see a grown-up Peter in him, making him cry would be a crime.

 

“But I promised his mother I would save him!” Anguished Carlisle, his eyes looking like he was crying but no tears falling (so maybe vampires can’t actually cry?).

 

“And you did! I promise you, you did!” Insisted Tony “It’s not your fault I took over, that’s all on me. If I wasn’t here Edward would probably be asking you all sorts of questions.” Said Tony, trying to console the blond man he was probably going to adopt.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry! It’s not that I would wish you to be dead!” Insisted Carlisle. “I’m just… I promised his mother.” He finished, the anguished look gone, but still sad over the death of the boy he tried to save.

 

“Don’t worry about it, many people had wished me death -or tried to kill me- in the past, I know you didn’t mean anything by it.” Answered Tony, snorting at the alarmed look Carlisle sent his way. “So, about that ‘vegetarian’ meal you were talking about earlier, I think I could drink something about now…” Said Tony, snorting again at the way Carlisle startled and then gestured for him to follow.

 

Tony smirked to himself and followed after the blond vampire. Living in the early XX century wasn’t ideal (what with all the wars, diseases and all that), but it surely won’t be boring… and if he could push technological advances a bit earlier, no one would ever know besides him (and maybe Carlisle).

 

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They spent two years in Chicago, Carlisle working in the hospital and Tony ‘finishing school’. Since Edward got sick, and then Tony had to wait for his new diet to change his eyes from red to yellow, he missed a whole year of schooling, and in order not to raise suspicions he had to graduate from Edward’s private school -valedictorian, of course-. He also had to rapidly remember his piano lessons as apparently Edward was an accomplished young pianist. He didn’t mind, it was actually relaxing now that he had nothing else to do -what with having no modern technology to thinker with-. He put his foot down when the teachers approached Tony about following in Edward’s father steps and becoming a lawyer. He insisted he wanted to be an engineer and that was that -he was running circles around both his peers and teachers in both math and physics, so they couldn’t really argue with him. Surprisingly, no one batted an eye about ‘Edward’ moving in with Carlisle, or his change in personality -Tony wasn’t the most ‘mature’ middle aged man, but he surely didn’t behave like a teen, so he was sure he and Edward were completely different-, but maybe everyone just thought it was because both ‘his parents’ died and he ‘almost did too’.

 

During that time, they discovered Tony had some kind of mental abilities, not quite mind-control (and thanks fuck for that, old issues apart, over it and all, Tony really didn’t want to mess with anyone’s mind), but he could kind of convince people (but not force their opinions to change, more like making a good argument and people deciding he was right, like when he interacted with rich assholes in galas from his past life, or when he convinced the board of directors to do what he wanted). Like a bit of manipulation and a bit of smart talking, but he was a businessman at heart, so it came with it…

 

Nevertheless, two years went by quick, and they moved to Ashland, Wisconsin, where Carlisle worked night shifts at the hospital and ‘Edward’ attended Northland College. It was tricky, but they managed to fake a skin condition record for him so he could avoid going to classes on sunny days. That meant he mostly skipped summers and took ridiculous number of classes in winter to make up for that, skipping when the sun was out and making up for it by testing out of most classes -made easier with his vampire mind powers- (Think differently. Live differently, right?). Carlisle was worried about getting to much attention, but Edward was already a young prodigy when he was alive, so Tony didn’t think too much about it. He still took care to make sure not to skip all the classes -he knew everything already, and most of what they were teaching him was outdated anyways- so there was no reason to stand out more than he did. He just focused on getting his degree and that was it.

 

About a year after they moved into Wisconsin, Carlisle noticed something in the morgue. A young woman he recognized by scent was still alive, but barely. He remembered her from a long time ago, and after reading the way she died and listening to the nurses gossiping about why she decided to commit suicide, he felt compelled to save her. So, he took her home and turned her, at first she was confused and very depressed, but with Carlisle and Tony’s help she started coming out of her shell and enjoy ‘life’ again. Tony was glad he found someone like Esme, she was a sweetheart. She tried to mother him, and to be honest, Tony let her because only someone without a soul would upset Esme. He even played piano for her, something he didn’t actively do and enjoy since he played with his own mother, and later with Morgan.

 

Esme fit perfectly into their lives, and while Dr. Carlisle Cullen worked in the hospital and his adopted son ‘Edward’ went through college, Esme stayed at home to paint, read and relax while her eyed changed from the damning red to the soothing yellow. Tony spent all the days he skipped college because the sun was out playing the piano for her, he even started writing a piece just for her. Once she had yellow eyes like them, Esme started interacting more with the neighbors and took pastries she baked to Carlisle’s hospital to share with the nurses and doctors that also worked the graveyard shift, to their delight. No one recognized her, everyone ‘knew’ Esme Platt had died, and after the transformation Esme looked too different from her past self, so everyone just assumed she was someone else -which was really convenient for them-. It wasn’t long until Carlisle and Esme got married, and she officially became part of their little family. She already knew about Tony being Tony, she didn’t understand much about all that, but accepted the explanations they gave her and just adapted to calling Tony by his name while in private, and as Edward in public. At first, she was baffled that Tony was older than her, but as Carlisle was centuries old, and with all the vampire business, she just went with it.

 

It was a bit weird for Tony, who was sometimes treated as a father figure, and other times as their kid. Their family dynamics were unconventional, and sometimes beyond strange, but life was good with them, and they all felt like they belonged. The newlyweds went on their honeymoon and Tony kept advancing with his major, he missed MIT and all the technology from when he was actually a student, but he decided to wait until the all the wars were over before influencing that field -he didn’t want to give anyone any ideas about weapons of mass destruction, they did all that by themselves the first time around… plus he wanted to see if Howard Stark existed in this timeline-. So, he was a brilliant engineer student, promising but not enough to draw too much attention to himself. They spent some years in peace there, until Tony graduated and found a good job, but eventually they had to move. They couldn’t stay too long in one place or people will notice they didn’t age, so by 1930 they decided to move to New York. The big city was far enough away that no one that knew them would be anywhere near, and with how many people lived there -even in the 30s-, people wouldn’t find it strange for a doctor and his family to move in.

 

Sadly, it meant Tony had to start High School from the beginning in order to prolong the time they spent there -also, because Edward’s body looked like a teenager’s body… you could fool people into believing he was a young adult, but not from the start, so Tony had to pretend-. But on the brighter side, Esme could attend college to become a nurse, so the next time they moved she could work with Carlisle is she wanted. They got closer and Tony told them more about his previous life -they were very confused about many things that didn’t exist yet, or things that had changed along the way, but were openminded and enjoyed Tony’s tales anyways-, and asked him what were his thoughts about having a mate in the future.

 

“I had my soulmate already… she doesn’t exist anymore, maybe never will…” Answered Tony with a sad smile. They accepted his answer and told him they would support him if he ever found one in the future or if he chose to stay single, in any case they were family.

 

Time passed -Tony in school, Esme in college and Carlisle in the hospital-, when one random night in 1933 Carlisle arrived home with a blond girl with a torn dress covered in blood and a bite on her neck. Esme gasped and rapidly approached her husband while Tony met Carlisle guilty eyes.

 

“I had to help her…” said the blond, letting Esme pick up the girl and take her away to an empty room to clean her and change her clothes.

 

Tony sighed “You are just like a little kid, picking up strays everywhere…” he snorted when he saw Carlisle wince. “It’s alright, I’m not mad, and we both know Esme isn’t either. I can guess what happened to her…” said Tony with a grimace. “She didn’t deserve that, no one does, and I agree she deserved all the help you could give her. So, are we keeping her or will you let her go after the change happens?” He saw Carlisle wince again, guiltily, and frowned. “Carlisle?”

 

“… I thought you might be lonely…”

 

Tony’s frown intensified “Carlisle, we talked about this…” He started, not wanting to assume, but not liking where his thoughts were going. He saw Esme come out of the room, looking at both of them apprehensively, before going to stand besides her husband.

 

“She’s clean and clothed in the spare room, now we just have to wait for her to wake up…” She whispered, both they both heard her clearly.

 

“No! I know you don’t want a mate Tony, but you still look sad and lonely sometimes… I know you are older, and if you ever get a mate they would have to be at least as old as you are, or to have been a vampire for a while, so I wasn’t thinking about that when I decided to turn her… but maybe a sibling would make you less lonely?” Explained Carlisle, looking at Tony with those soulful eyes that reminded him of Peter.

 

“Huh?” Said Tony, thinking it over. “I never had a little sister…” He said and smiled. This he could do, he looked at his vampire friends (kids? Parents?) as they smiled back at him. “Looks like the family is growing” He finally said, happy at seeing their smiling faces. “Well, we better go get some blood for my new little sister before she wakes up, we don’t know yet what kind of newborn she’s going to be, so we better be prepared.” He concluded. And with that, Carlisle and Tony went out to get some cattle from nearby states so the girl could have something to eat when she woke up, while Esme stayed behind in case she woke up earlier than expected.

 

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The girl woke up three days later, thirsty for blood, furious at the world and miserable by the way her life ended and all he lost because of it -not that she admitted it, but Tony recognized the sadness camouflaged as rage-. They learned her name was Rosalie Lillian Hale, and she decided to keep her name as it was the only choice left for her to decide on her own freewill, and everyone agreed. It was awkward at first, because she assumed she was turned to be Tony’s mate -and seeing as Carlisle and Esme were obviously mates, and Tony was single, it was logical for her to jump to that conclusion-, but Tony quickly corrected her. She went through a complex cycle of anger, sadness, and a feeling of rejection despite not wanting to have a mate herself, but Tony was patient and understanding of her situation and gave her space and companionship accordingly to what she needed at any given moment. Carlisle, Esme, and Tony kept her well-fed and entertained, so there were no accidents with humans during her adapting period, and soon enough she could go out with them to hunt in the nearby states. During that time, Tony also found out that Howard Stark, Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes didn’t exist in this time, so that put an end to his wondering. This was a different universe, not a different timeline. Still, he would keep an eye on the next war just to confirm Hydra didn’t exist and that there were no Infinity Stones to be misused here. One time was enough…

 

Despite the initial ‘mate-dilemma’, Tony and Rose became quite close, Tony behaving as an older brother and Rosalie enjoying being the spoiled little sister she never got to be. She was also confused by Tony’s backstory, but in the end, she just accepted it and moved on. Tony was overjoyed to teach his little sister the mechanical wonders of cars and how to fix them. The first time Tony took Rose to his private garage to fix a car (Carlisle had bought him a tiny garage and fixed all kind of vehicles, which was convenient in that he didn’t have to interact with anyone but the sporadic client as he was both owner and mechanic, not that the clients knew he was the owner, they just assumed he was the owner’s kid helping around), it was hilarious. Rose, being a high-class lady, had never had to do something as mundane as get her hands dirty doing anything, but when Tony presented her with some overalls and showed her the basics before letting her work on an easy tune up while he completed more difficult works around the garage, she went head first into it. Tony founded minutes later completely covered in oil with a huge grin and an improved car, turned up his little sister was as big a grease monkey as he was… he was delighted. So that became their bonding activity and the place where they had the deepest of conversations.

 

“So you don’t really want a mate at all?” asked Rose one day, fixing an engine that was several months late for a tune up.

 

Tony considered the question, working on another car, before answering “It’s not that I don’t want to be with anyone… It’s that I already had a family and lost it… I’m glad I met you all, and I’m happy with the family we have now. If I find someone else to spend eternity -or however long we get to live-, I would be glad and wouldn’t fight it… but if I don’t find anyone, I’ll still be happy having you three brats as my cute little kids to spend eternity with.” Smiled Tony

 

Rose smirked “I still can’t believe you are such an old man beneath that baby face, you know Carlisle thinks you are his son, right?”

 

Tony snorted before answering “Well, that brat is wrong because he’s obviously MY son, because I adopted him and am the head of this family…” Grumbled Tony.

 

Rose snorted back at him “Sure, old man, whatever you say… But I doubt you will be able to convince him of that” She smirked, finishing up and wiping her hands with a rag before going to help Tony with another car.

 

That night when everyone was home, Tony looked directly into Carlisle’s eyes and proclaimed, in his most dramatic, Darth Vader’s voice “Carlisle… I am your Father…” and ignored Rosalie’s roaring with laugher in the background and Esme’s befuddled but amused look to stare at Carlisle’s confused stare while trying not to laugh himself.

 

“…What?” Said the doctor, making Tony lose his fight against laughter. “Tony, what are you talking about, technically you are my son, you know?”

 

“You’ll get it a couple of years later” he snickered (not mentioning that ‘a couple of years’ were actually ‘a couple of decades’). “Also, if you want to believe that alright, but you are my brat, so that’s it.” He concluded with a smirk, to Esme and Rosalie’s amusement and Carlisle’s befuddlement but acceptance -you couldn’t argue with Tony-.

 

Time passed quickly, Tony graduated high school and didn’t bother going to college, as he was fine working in the garage with Rose as his helper (and since he was the one to interact with the clients, which already knew him as the one working with the cars, no one knew she was even there); Esme finished college and started working with Carlisle in the hospital doing the graveyard shifts, her inner instinct to nurture helping her deal with the tentation that was human blood; and Carlisle helping his wife adapt to the hospital and enjoying his family. Everything was going smoothly, until one day Rose came one day late to the garage, her face a mixture of rage and despair. Tony approached her immediately, worried.

 

“Rose! What’s wrong?” He asked her.

 

“He got engaged again…” Was the answer. “That poor girl does not deserve that kind of torture! What if he does it again?” She anguished.

 

“…What do you want to do?” Tony asked her, seriously.

 

“…Carlisle wouldn’t approve…” She said, looking down.

 

Tony lifted her face gently and looked her in the eyes “He would not approve, but he won’t judge you either… none of us will… What do you want to do?” He asked her again.

 

She hesitated a bit, before firmly stating “He has to die… all of them.”

 

Tony nodded. “Then they will.” He hugged her, before stepping back and asking her if she wanted help. She shook her head, stating it was something she had to do on her own. Tony just nodded again.

 

Later that night, Rose went out and killed all of Royce’s friends, delighting in their terrified screams. She stalked Royce for a couple of nights, just close enough for him to know he was in danger, but out of his sight. After that, she donned up a bride gown, Esme helping her with it, and went out to hunt after Tony hugged her. She murdered him slowly, in the most painful way she could inflict upon him, making sure he saw her face so he knew exactly who was killing him.

 

“You are a demon!” He howled, delirious with pain.

 

“You made me this way…” She answered calmly, feeling a part of her soul mend together as the man who ruined her exhaled his last breath. She shook her head, remembering what Tony always told her when she was feeling down -she wasn’t ruined, it wasn’t her fault this monster did what he did to her, it was all on him-. With a sigh, she stood up and went back home. Tony and Esme greeted her at the door, hugging her. Carlisle was by a corner and nodded at her when she looked at him -he didn’t agree with killing humans, but he didn’t interfere with her revenge and didn’t judge her for it, so it was ok-. They burned the dress, and she felt another part of her soul mend back together while looking at the flames eating the gown. They never spoke of that again, and when the newspaper arrived to inform another death by the mysterious serial killer targeting high-class young men, they just threw it out without a comment. And life went on. It was almost time to move again, so they sold their belongings and started moving west. They stopped in Michigan to stay a few years, taking care to stay as far North as they could, when Rose decided she wanted to explore the country on her own for a few years. Tony was sad to see her go but supported her in her decision -as did the rest of the family-, and off she went. They were just a couple of years into their new life and identities when Rose came back covered in blood and carrying a huge man that looked like he had been mauled by a bear. She begged Carlisle to save him, and so the doctor did. Just two days later, they welcomed Emmett McCarty into their fold. Carlisle took care to explain everything to him and everyone supported Emmett with his transition into the veggie vampire lifestyle -as Tony called it-. It was soon quite obvious that the big man was smitten with Rose, and that she felt that way too, so Tony decided it was time to mess with the blond woman as any big brother worth their title should do.

 

“So…” Drawled Tony one day, amused with the way Emmett kept sending him suspicious looks. “Isn’t it time you introduced your boyfriend to your big bro’ properly? What happened with manners? I swear, the younglings these days…” He had to reign his laugh in when he saw the way Emmett’s shoulders dropped in relief, probably assuming Rosalie and Tony had some sort of romantic past -which, ewww… that was his little sister/younger kid-.

 

“Shut up, Tony…” Snarked Rose, aware of Tony’s mischievous plans. ‘Oh, he taught her well’ he thought, proudly.

 

“Is that the way to speak to the head of this family, young lady? Honestly, the disrespect…” Snorted Tony.

 

“Head of the family?” Asked Emmett, confused. “Isn’t that Carlisle? Also, how old are you, 14?” He snorted.

 

Tony smirked “Oh, you didn’t know? Despite the baby face, I’m actually quite old… and Carlisle is my brat, don’t believe his wise doctor façade, he’s worse than a toddler, what with his tendencies to collect strays left and right…” He snorted.

 

Emmett looked at him dubiously. “So what, Carlisle is Daddy and you are what? Zaddy?”

 

Tony just lost it at that, roaring with laugher. “Oh, I like this one Rose, you sure picked well.” Chuckled Tony. “Welcome to the family, new brat. You better take care of my youngest brat, aka my little sister.” Said Tony, smiling up at the gentle giant that reminded him a bit of Thor -just, you know, more socialized and better adjusted-.

 

Emmett smirked and enveloped Tony in a literal bear’s hug. “Thanks for your blessing, Zaddy. I promise I will treat her like the queen she is.” He said, smiling at Rose, who was looking at them with a fond smile.

 

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After that, they got married and went on their way, returning every few months to update their family on how they were doing. Tony helped with Emmett’s living family by getting them a bag full of money to help them sustain themselves after their son’s ‘death’, earning more brownie points from both vampires and easing Emmett’s guilt about leaving them -even if he knew he couldn’t go back to them-. They kept moving Northwest, never spending more than a few months in any place -Emmett and Rosalie tracking them and keeping up with the constant moves, while also spending months alone to enjoy their honeymoon phase-. Things settled down a bit when they finally reached Washington, where they established a bit more permanently. Everything was fine until they were discovered by a pack of werewolves – and seriously, how ridiculous was that? Though since he was a vampire, Tony couldn’t argue against other supernatural beings existing in this world, but he still insisted they couldn’t be real werewolves… maybe shapeshifters? –. In any case, they struck a deal, Tony helping guide the negotiations with his ‘powers’ -he refused to call them powers. In his opinion, they were just updated abilities he just carried with him from his previous life-; in the end, they all agreed on a simple treaty: each group stays on their side, no one attacks and no biting humans -which, fairly easy to do-. After that, they bought some land and went back around Southeast into the East Coast, spending some time in the States that allowed them to hunt and spend some time as a family, with Emmett and Rosalie leaving and coming back every few months.

 

During that time, Tony started to reminisce about his past life. Besides his family and friends -obviously-, the thing he missed the most was his facial hair. His iconic goatee was legendary, and Edward’s pubescent body couldn’t grow a beard if it killed him while he was alive, and after becoming a vampire it was impossible. Tony quickly got rid of any cat-whiskers he had -it was embarrassing- and conformed himself with regaling his brats with tales of how perfect his facial hair used to be, it got to a point where Rose decided to keep a ‘Beard Board’ as she called it, to keep track of his ‘Beard Talks’ -that cheeky brat-. It never got further than ‘14 days without Beard Talk’ before reverting back to 0. That was usually the time they decided to leave… Maybe he should lay off on the Beard Talks for a while, he missed the brats… In any case, during their travels they met many established covens and nomad vampires, but none of them agreed on their diet, so they never spent more than a few weeks anywhere near them before moving again. They spent some years like that, staying for years in some places or only weeks in others, collecting graduation caps -which had become a bit of an inside joke between them-, Emmett and Rosalie getting married several times over -the dramatic brats they were but refused to admit to be-, and finding which career they were most suited to: Esme became an Architect and after graduating decided to create their perfect home, choosing to stay at home as a housewife most of the time after that; Rosalie became a mechanic to have the technical knowledge to support her experience working on cars with Tony, working as a mechanic as a hobby when they had enough time to stay enough to buy cars; Emmett didn’t get any major’s degrees, preferring a more eclectic way of education, moving from subject to subject based on what he was curious about and interested at in any given time; and Tony got business, music, and medicine majors in between some more engineering, enjoying how his chosen career was advancing and pushing some classmates into the right paths to slightly influence and advance technological inventions, but not enough to change major events, he could wait a bit more until he could start making robots and I.A.s. They were near Pennsylvania, in 1950, when they were approached by two vampires. A blond, tall guy that carried himself as a solider that made Tony feel cautious, named Jasper; and a tiny woman with a bright smile and shining eyes called Alice. They both had yellow eyes, so they were well received.

 

Tony was a bit wary of Jasper at first, not having the best of experiences with blond soldiers, but soon found out he was actually very calm and easygoing, and enjoyed having long talks about history and the repercussions war brought -Tony had to stage a couple of ‘Confederacy Interventions’ along the way, but Jasper was a nice kid, if a bit misguided, so it went mostly well-. They established an easy friendship, and funnily enough, Jasper instinctually knew that, while Carlisle was technically the head of the coven for being the sire, Tony was the one in charge of the kiddos most of the time. Tony helped him a lot with resisting the temptation that was human blood -it wasn’t exactly the same, but Tony used to be a recovered alcoholic, so he knew a thing or two about that kind of struggle. On the other hand, with Alice he quickly bonded in their mutual love of fashion, and how sad it was that they had to wait for decades yet to enjoy the most dramatic flairs but consoled themselves in that they would be together to experience all the changes fashion would go through over the years.

 

They both easily accepted that Tony was basically a body-snatcher from another dimension, and that he was essentially the coven’s dad -including Carlisle’s, much to the blond chagrin-. It was obvious they were mates, and now part of the family, so in order to avoid drawing more attention than necessary and avoid the worse rumors humans could come up with, they all decided their backstory: Carlisle and Esme were husband and wife, but couldn’t have children so they decided to adopt; Emmett and Alice Cullen were their adopted kids, though not related by blood -Emmett being their first, and Alice after the twins were adopted-; Rosalie and Jasper Hale were twins and Esme’s niece and nephew that were adopted after their parents died an untimely death; and lastly there was Tony Stark-Cullen, the youngest of the bunch-besides Alice, who was a couple of months older-, who had decided to keep his original name for his biological parents, which the Cullens understood and allowed -in reality, Tony just wanted to keep it as a token from his previous life, as it was the only thing he had left from his first family and all it represented-.

 

They kept moving around, now an established coven -or family, as they preferred to think of themselves as-. They weren’t really nomads, as they stuck around some places for as many years as they could afford before it started to look suspicious, but they couldn’t really stay in one place forever, so they kept jumping states. Living during the Cold War was not funny, but it came with some interesting conversation with Jasper -and let’s stay away from Vietnam, please-. They had to be more careful than usual at the beginning because a large group of ridiculously beautiful, pale people draw attention, and people were paranoid thinking everyone could be a Soviet spy. Still, Tony thoroughly enjoyed living through the golden age of Classic Rock, and since he was technically a teenager, he could dress up with all of his favorite bands merchandise and even go to a few concerts, to his family’s befuddlement, since they didn’t expect him to like rock so much, what with his background as a pianist -boy, were they surprised when Elton John started his career- except for Alice, because of course it was Alice. Also, he had a lot of fun with the tiny pixie fashionista during the 60’s and 80’s decades -the 70’s were kind of meh, and the 90’s were a bit weird, so Tony stuck to wearing Rock bands merc, even if people though he was an Emo… much to his chagrin and his family’s great amusement-. When the Star Wars Saga came out, Tony took care to take his family to watch it together, laughing inside when Carlisle, Rosalie and Esme choked at The Scene. The doctor turned to him in a deadpan, the rest of the family not in the know watching in confusion -except for Alice, who had a vision of Rosalie explaining the situation while roaring in laughter, and proceeded to giggle and fill the others in, making them snicker too-.

 

“You are the biggest dork to ever exist,” said the blond in a whisper inaudible for the humans around them.

 

“I love you too, my son” Said Tony, with a satisfied smirk, noting that while the blond was embarrassed, he also had a fond smile. They continued watching the movie, and if they later bought them all and made a tradition of watching them on every anniversary of Tony’s birthday as a vampire, it was nobody’s business but theirs.

 

Another thing he enjoyed was that he got to go to his Alma Mater in the 90’s, MIT was a bit different than the first time he went, and of course he was older and Rhoadey wasn’t there, so it was a bit of a bittersweet feeling. He didn’t made Dum-E -couldn’t- but he made a tiny robot puppy with a simple A.I. and named him Peter, and later made a bear cub named Harley and a kitten named Morgan -he patented both to the name of Edward A. Cullen, and arranged an account were all the revenues that came from it would go with one of Jasper’s shady contacts, and kept both the original models for himself to thinker with and advance more than the ones being mass produced-. They were nothing more than fancy toys for rich kids, but it was the beginning of advanced robotics and computer programming that he allowed himself to pitch out to the world, and since he created them while in college and didn’t allow anyone to take pictures of himself -taking further precautions of always wearing a wig and fake glasses when he went into campus-, no one knew he was the one to create them. After that, he kept anonymously updating the robots’ software and inventing gadgets that served as initial and revolutionary points in engineering and computer sciences, but always from the shadows.

 

After his stunt in MIT, they had to move around several times because they encountered humans that seriously tested each vampire’s resolution to not drink human’s blood -with the exceptions of Carlisle, Tony, and Alice-, and ended up going to Alaska to ‘cool down for a bit’ -yes, pun intended-. There they found another coven that followed their ideology, the Denali Coven. Sisters Tanya, Kate and Irina, and mates Eleazar and Carmen. They got along well, Carlisle and Eleazar bonding over some previous Italian Coven; Jasper and Carmen speaking Spanish; Esme, Alice and Rosalie got along with the sisters, and Emmett got along with anyone, really… The only problem was that the sisters were pestering Tony, as he was the only Vampire without a mate, and they wanted to find one to spend their lives with. They didn’t know Tony’s complete story, because his family would never reveal his secrets without permission and Tony didn’t trust them enough yet to tell them about it, but they figured out Tony was the unofficial head of the coven based on their family dynamics, despite Tony being so ‘young’. It came as a surprise when they found out Carlisle was actually the Coven’s sire -and supposed to be the head of it because of that-. At first, they assumed Carlisle and Tony fought for the leader position -and Eleazar started acting weird around Tony-, but then were just baffled when Emmett said that while Carlisle was sire and technically Daddy, Tony was Zaddy and therefore outranked him. Both vampires turned to look at their chaotic child in chagrin, they looked at each other and sighed, accepting their fate.

 

“This is your fault, just so you know it” said Tony in a deadpan.

 

“Mine? You are the chaotic parent, that’s why he calls you Zaddy…” said Carlisle in a perfectly composed voice.

 

“What’s Esme then?” asked Tony.

 

“Mom” Replied everyone, including Carlisle and Esme.

 

“See?” Said Carlisle, smug.

 

“Shut up before I ground you, young man…” grumbled Tony.

 

The Denali Coven just stood there, bewildered at their chaotic dynamics, but confirming there was no inside fighting in the Cullen Coven for the leader position, everything relaxed again. But it came with the downside of the sisters pestering Tony again -except for Kate, who had already accepted Tony wasn’t looking for a mate-, which he tried to ignore as gracefully as he could.

 

 “What’s wrong with him?” Asked Tanya one day.

 

“Maybe he’s gay?” Asked Irina.

 

“Or maybe he’s just not interested in any of you, sisters,” said Kate.

 

“You are one to talk, he’s not interested in you either,” said Tanya.

 

Kate shrugged “Yes, but I already accepted that, unlike you two…” Deadpanned Kate.

 

“Excuse you, he’s right here listening to your conversation about him…” Grumbled Tony. “And for your information, I’m pansexual.” He continued.

 

“What does that mean?” Asked Tanya. “Are you actually in a relationship with Carlisle and Esme? Is that why you are the third ‘parent’?”

 

“First thing, ewww… They are both my kids, that’s just disgusting…” said Tony with a grimace. “Secondly, who said I’m the third parent? If anything, I’m the first one!” He complained. “And thirdly, being pansexual means I’m not limited in sexual or romantic choice with regards to biological sex, gender, or gender identity” He explained.

 

“…so you are into anything and anyone, but us?” Asked Tanya.

 

“That’s mildly insulting, when you put it like that…” Said Irina.

 

“…why do I bother?” Asked Tony, shaking his head and walking away.

 

“Wait, you didn’t answer the question!” Exclaimed Tanya, but Tony was already long gone, off to hunt some caribous.

 

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They spent some years with the Denali Coven, considering them cousins, yet they didn’t reveal Tony’s past to them. Eventually they assumed he used to have a mate who died or was killed, so they left him be -which, not really what happened, but if they left him alone, he wasn’t going to correct them-. But after a while, people were starting to notice such a large group of perfect-looking people, so they decided to move again. Carlisle and Esme went first to arrange the construction of the house Esme designed in the plot of land they bought in Forks, Washington, while the rest of them hunted in the Olympic National Park. The pack of wolves had already died many years ago, but they still decided to respect the deal they made and stayed on their side of the territory, becoming what others would soon call the Olympic Coven. They then briefly moved to Seattle to wait for the house to get finished and establish their identities again, going to the National Park several times to hunt as it was close and had many available game, drinking the blood and leaving the carcasses for other predators to eat the meat and therefore not leaving any evidence of their existence. After about a year and a half, they moved to Forks and started the charade all over again. Alice and Tony had to start as Freshmen students, while the rest became Sophomores -Emmett could be a Junior with his supposed age, but since he was supposed to have juvenile arthritis he has ‘missed’ a year when it supposedly flare up and he couldn’t keep going to school, so he had to repeat that year and stay away from sports-. Tony always hated having to start over in high school, because teenage girls were scary stalkers when they wanted to be, but at least now they had a semipermanent home -they would have to disappear for a couple generations every now and then, but having a place to come back to was especially soothing to him. He felt complete, even if he had to pretend to be a teen boy with weird interests in ‘old rock’ and robots, he was practically a nerd -no, he WAS a nerd-, but he never got bullied -advantages of having ‘older brothers’ that looked like a bear and a mass murderer, and an ‘older sister’ that looked like she could kill with just her eyes-, not that any teenage bully could do anything to him, but having to pretend to be bullied before Emmett and Jasper came to their family the few times it happened was exhausting, so he was glad he didn’t have to pretend now. Still, for being a nerd the girls really liked him.

 

While he spent the first day of school in Forks High, he though about what he could do from now on, he already advanced technological progress as far as he dared while remaining in the shadows -and he didn’t want to provoke a Third World War over who got the biggest stick in the playground, so he didn’t want to mess too much with that until things got to the level he was used to in a natural way-, so what to do? Looking at his family, he though about the physiological effects and explanations of becoming and existing as a vampire. ‘Was it a virus? How did it happen? Hmmm…’ He wasn’t as savvy in the ‘soft sciences’ as Bruce was, but maybe he could invest some time researching that, who knows? Maybe he could find a cure? Maybe he couldn’t, but he wouldn’t know until he tried it.