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A Little Wine for thy Heart's Sake

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(If you are reading this on any PAY site this is a STOLEN WORK, the author has NOT Given Permission for it to be here. If you're paying to read it, you're being cheated too because you can read it on Archiveofourown for FREE.)

"The man said my money wasn't any good, but he wouldn't give me a drink! That's nowt how it works where I come from!" The woman speaking sounded in equal parts astonished and affronted. "I knew I should have taken a left turn at the elephant! Foreigners just don't know how to treat a respectable witch!"

Tony looked away from his sullen contemplation of his reflection in the mirror and over at the woman complaining. She was stout, and elderly, and dressed in the most peculiar clothes; a rusty greenish black dress well filled by a bosom that looked bent on escape, bright red leather boots and a pointy hat of the same non-color as her dress, but decorated with bits of wax fruit. Tony waved at the bartender. "Give this lady whatever she wants, and put it on my tab." She looked to be more entertaining than his previous plan for the morning- after all he could always go sit in the giant donut later, after the hair of the dog had lessened his hangover.

"Yes, sir," the bartender said.

"Thank ee, kindly," she said as she climbed onto the barstool next to Tony. He couldn't place her accent. "I'll have a glass of scumble," she announced.

"I'm afraid we don't have any 'scumble'."

"Uncivilized parts. Hmm, ye don't have apples?"

"Cider?" the bartender poured a glass and set it in front of her. She picked up a stirring spoon and stirred the cider around. "Tha's got no heart in it. Lookie, it didn't even take off the tarnish!"

Tony grinned. "Try the Calvados. The Michel Huard 1976." A hundred dollars a bottle, but Tony was dying, what did he care what he spent?

The woman sniffed as the bartender poured the Calvados into a delicate, tulip shaped, glass. She eyed it with misgiving, and then picked it up and drank it off in one go. She smiled, revealing one lone tooth. "Much oblige'," she said. " 'Tis tasty, although a bit on the weak side. Glytha Ogg," she said, and looked expectantly at Tony while he was trying to figure out what language that was. "Nanny Ogg, they call me."

"Oh. I'm Tony Stark." Tony was bemused that anyone wouldn't know who he was. But it was a pleasant surprise. "Iron Man?" he said, testing.

She looked him up and down, and then reached out to tap on his chest. His reflexes were impaired by the load of booze he'd taken on at the party, so he didn't jerk back in time to stop her. "Shoddy workmanship," she said.

"I beg your pardon?"

Nanny waved the bartender back. "More of that Cally A Dos."

Tony blinked and shrugged. Old women were strange and this old woman was stranger than most. He poured himself another Scotch from the bottle in front of him, and when he looked up, Nanny had the bottle of Calvados and was pouring it into a water glass. "Bottoms up," he said, extending his glass in a toast.

Nanny grinned back at him. "An' tops off." She tipped the Calvados down her throat as if it was water.

Tony wasn't quite sure what she meant by that, but from the twinkle in her eyes, he figured it was the old lady equivalent of a dirty joke.

"So," Nanny said a moment later, "who was it cursed ye' then?"

"Um," Tony considered the question. He was drunk enough to want to be honest, and frankly, this woman seemed far too crazy for anyone to believe anything she said. "My father's business partner. He paid terrorists to kill me, but they only managed part of the job."

Nanny tugged at Tony's shirt and peered at the jagged black vein lines on his neck. He waved a bit, but she was a lot stronger than she looked and held on for a good long look before she released him. "Sloppy," she said. "If I wants someone dead, I makes them dead and no fooling around."

Tony nodded and poured her more Calvados and himself more Scotch.

She drank and then sniffed. "It's just mean-spirited to pizen a fellow slowly and make him wait to fall over. An' it's hard on th' kinfolk, not known' how long they have to be nice to stay in the will."

Tony nodded again. "You're right. When you're right, you're right!" He laid his head down on the bar.

Nanny finished off the bottle of Calvados, and then finished off Tony's Scotch. "Such a nice young man." She patted Tony on the head. "Another bottle of Cally A Dos," she told the bartender. "To go." She rolled up her sleeves. "Where's th' nearest graveyard? I need ingredients."

 

"Sit up an' drink this."

"No. I'm dying," Tony whined. He opened his eyes just far enough to realize he was in his garage workshop and closed his eyes. When had he installed a full-room centrifuge?

"That's why ye're to drink this!" Strong fingers pinched his nose and something liquid and very, very foul poured into his mouth. Tony opened his eyes and sputtered, momentarily sent back to a barrel in a cave. He flopped and sat up straight. U and DUM-E wheeped in concern.

"God, what did you do to me?"

"Fixed ye," Nanny said. "I hate pretty boys bein' wasted." She picked up a fresh bottle of Calvados, lifted her skirt and tucked it into a cloth sack that fit into her... bloomers? Tony didn't know and really, didn't want to know.

He blinked at her, and then looked down at his chest because he felt cold. He wasn't wearing a shirt, and he had smooth, unmarred skin. No arc reactor. "What?" he said, stupidly, patting at himself.

"If ye're ever in the Ramtop Mountains, ask fer Nanny Ogg." She beamed at him. "I make the best scumble." Then she turned away and took two steps, muttering to herself, "It's right at the elephant, Right, Glytha." And vanished.

"Huh." Tony said. He patted his chest again before coming to a decision. "Jarvis, I'm going for a swim." Tony walked upstairs, past the general destruction of the party to end all parties, stripped off the rest of his clothes, and walked into his swimming pool. He floated on his stomach, only turning his head to breathe every once in a while. He hadn't been able to feel anything on his chest for so long. It was amazing just letting the water caress him.

 

"Don't do it, Stark!"

Before Tony could look up there was a splash and he was being dragged out of the pool and laid on the cement. And then Nick Fury was kissing him.

"EEEEWW!" Tony shouted and pushed at Fury. "RED LIGHT!"

Fury sat back on his heels. He was a sight. Soaking wet from head to toe. His leather coat looked like a dead pterodactyl. "Stark. You were dying." Natalie Rushman stood next to him, wearing a leather catsuit which Tony appreciated, but he had no idea why she was wearing it with Fury, unless they were an item. Which... Tony... ok, not something to dwell on.

"Can't a man swim in his own pool without being rescued? Sheesh." Tony got up and crossed his arms, smirking down at Fury and ignoring his own nudity. He'd been naked far more embarrassing places than his own home.

Fury looked at Natalie. "He was dying. You said so, Agent Romanov."

"Heavy metal poisoning. There was no doubt. I saw it for myself." Natalie, or Agent whoever she was, said.

"You're not dying," Fury said, frowning at Tony as if he'd offended him deeply by not keeling over on command.

"Nope," Tony said cheerfully.

"I guess there's no reason to give you Howard's notes, then," Fury said. He pointed to a large chest labeled H. Stark which was being carried by men in plain black suits. "Take it away, men."

"Woah. My father's stuff is my stuff. Drop it and go." Tony had no idea what was in the chest, but even if it was only his father's collection of Captain America comics, it was his stuff. "What the hell were you doing with it anyway?"

"Your father was one of the founders of SHIELD."

"He founded a lot of things, and none of them kept his stuff." Tony went over to the chest and flung it open. "Mine."

Fury rolled his eye. "Fine. Come, Agent Romanov. We will discuss your report later."

Tony watched them go, and then he looked around at the rubble of his house and briefly considered starting repairs. "Nah." He sat down beside the chest and began rummaging. "Oh, hey! Captain America number one! I haven't got this issue. Go, Cap, punch out Hitler."