It’s one of those nights.
Tony’s in his workshop late, running on fumes and coffee, and week-old pizza that he found in the back of the fridge that hasn’t developed sentience yet. He’s got HBO playing in the background, there was one of the Star Trek movies on, the one with the whales, but there’s always a Star Trek movie on HBO at random times, and it’s nice background noise that he can tune out. But the movie ends, and then something else starts with swords and horses and everyone has a British accent, he’s not really paying attention to it, just letting it wash over him like so much white noise. And then someone says “Lord Stark,” and well, he perks up at that, because he’s Tony Stark and no one has ever called him “Lord” before.
He actually stops what he’s doing and starts watching. He’s about a half hour into the episode, he has no idea what the hell is going on, who these people are, only that there are Starks and direwolves and lots and lots of murder, wow, that is a lot of murder and deception going on.
Tony finishes the episode. He watches the preview for the next episode.
“Jarvis? Search Game of Thrones.”
Apparently, he just watched episode three. He goes back, watches the first two episodes, watches episode three again.
And because he can’t wait until Sunday, because is patience is something that happens to other people, and he needs to know what’s going to happen right now, he hacks HBO and acquires the entire first season.
Tony mainlines the entire season in one day. He’s emotionally invested before he realizes it. He cries when Bran is pushed, when Lady is killed, when Ned is killed on the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor, when Drogo dies.
Tony watches the season again, then a third time. He passes out two episodes into watching it for a fourth time.
He dreams of Winterfell.
Tony wakes up with the words, “Winter is Coming,” on his lips.
He finishes his fourth and fifth viewings of the season, and sits in the middle of his workshop, thinking.
“I’m a fucking terrible Stark.”
“Excuse me, sir?”
Tony flops back on to the floor. “I’m a terrible Stark, Jarvis. Terrible. Ned would have shipped me off to the Wall when I was fifteen so I couldn’t contribute my fucked-upedness to the family line.”
“That’s not true, sir. You would be an excellent Lord of Winterfell.”
“That’s nice of you to say, Jarvis.”
“You’re welcome, sir. Would you like to read the books now?”
Tony lifts his head. “There are books?”
“Four so far, sir.”
Tony spends four days reading the books non-stop. Then he reads them again. Then he watches the first season again, and reads Game of Thrones along with it. He ends up developing a program so that Jarvis is narrating, while the actors from the show read their parts from the books.
He ends up realizing that he hasn’t done anything not related to Game of Thrones or A Song of Ice and Fire things for two weeks. It’s the longest period he’s spent not working on something, anything, since he was twelve.
Tony decides to remedy this by trying to re-engineer Valyrian steel. That takes him three days. Four days after that, he’s forged copies of Ice and Longclaw. He’s practicing with them in the workshop, when he catches a glimpse of his armor.
He drops Longclaw.
“My armor is red and gold. Red and gold!”
“Those are Lannister colors! I’m a Stark! I can’t be parading around in Lannister colors!”
“Ah, that, sir. I thought it best not mention that.”
“It is my opinion, sir, that if you were to suddenly change the color of your armor you would run the risk of alienating your fan base. I would not recommend it, sir.”
“But, Jarvis! Lannister colors! I’m a Stark! It’s bad enough that I would be the shame of the Starks, the black wolf, but I can’t just knowingly wear Lannister colors!”
“Might I suggest, sir, that you design a new suit of cold-weather armor in Stark colors?”
Tony ends up designing three new suits in the Stark colors. He used silver instead of grey, because he’s Tony Stark and he likes shiny things. The first is similar to his regular suit, but in silver and white, and cold weather modifications. The second has the same cold-weather modifications, and silver and white coloring, but has a direwolf sigil over his arc reactor. The third has a wolf’s head helm, and claws.
All three sets of armor have energy blades.
He models the third set for Jarvis, with Ice.
“Winter is Coming.”
“Of course, sir.”
He takes a few practice swings with Ice in the armor.
“Though perhaps not in Malibu, sir.”
The fifth book comes out and Tony loses another two weeks to Westeros.
Pepper catches him in the wolf’s head armor. He’s added a cloak, with synthetic, fireproof, white fur around the ruff. He’s got the virtual reality room up and running, and is busy fighting the Lannisters.
“Tony, what are you doing?”
He pauses mid-swing, and has to duck to avoid getting killed by Jaime Lannister. “Jarvis! You said that no one was here!”
“My apologies, sir. Ms. Potts has just arrived.”
Pepper thinks he’s crazy. However, Pepper has thought he was crazy for the entire time that they’ve known each other, so this isn’t anything new. Now she just thinks he’s a crazy guy with a sword that’s having trouble telling where reality begins and Westeros ends.
“You’re totally a Tully,” he tells her.
It would probably be less weird if he wasn’t still wearing the armor and carrying Ice.
Pepper stares at him.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“No, no, it’s a good thing! Tullys are loyal! And honorable! Their words are ‘Family, Duty, Honor!’ That’s totally you!”
“Tony. You have a board meeting in thirty minutes. Get out of the armor.”
“But Pepper! I’m fighting the Lannister hoard! I have the Kingslayer on the ropes!”
Pepper makes him go to his board meeting.
He spends the majority of the meeting designing robotic dragons on his tablet until Pepper confiscates it.
“Pay attention,” she hisses.
“You’re such a Tully.”
And then the Avengers happen.
Tony moves to New York. He opens his father’s house – his house, now – to the other Avengers. He takes his armor with him.
All of his armor.
Stuff happens. The world is saved, evil is vanquished, yadda, yadda, yadda. He’s part of a team now, it’s a weird experience, having people to rely on, and to be relied on in return. Tony still manages to make time for A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones. Everyone thinks that he’s doing crazy-mad-engineer things when he retreats to his workshop for days on end, and admittedly, he does spend a lot of time building robots and better arrows for Clint and designing walls that can stand up to the Hulk and lightning-proof underwear. But, he probably spends an equal amount of time re-reading the books and re-watching the series, and playing in his virtual reality Westeros, and lurking on tumblr.
It inevitably spills over into everyday life.
His everyday life is pretty weird, though, so no one really notices.
Steve, Tony thinks, would be a better Stark than Tony. Even though he looks like a Lannister.
“Steve, you’re totally a better Stark than me. Even though you look like a Lannister. Ned would be so proud. Of you. Not me. He’d have shipped me off to the Wall with Jon. Not you, though, you’d he’d love. You’d be an awesome Stark. Much better than me. With all the honor and preparedness and doing the right thing.”
Tony might be a little drunk.
Or a lot.
He’s lying on the floor of the main living room, a bottle of scotch balanced on his chest – he gave up on glasses over an hour ago. Steve’s the only one that’s still up. He’s sitting on the couch, sketching, making sure that Tony doesn’t accidently die.
“I’m not a Stark, Tony. You are, remember?” Tony thinks that he sounds fond. That could be the scotch talking, though.
“But you’d be so much at it than me. Even though you’re all blond like a Lannister. Maybe you can be an Arryn? They have a bird as their sigil! With a moon! They’re all with the honor and doing what’s right and being…honorable. ‘As High As Honor,’ Steve. Even with the marrying into the crazy part of House Tully. Don’t marry someone way younger than you, Cap, just don’t. Especially if she’s in love with someone younger and prettier than you. Not that you’re not young and pretty, because you totally are Steve, you’re like the prettiest. Don’t make Jon Arryn’s mistakes, Steve. Don’t go hunting for the king’s bastards when the queen is a total crazy bitch that’s sleeping with her twin brother. Don’t do that.”
“Tony, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Tony, for his part, manages to shrug without dislodging the bottle of scotch on his chest.
“I’m a Stark, but I’m more like a Baratheon, what with the drinking and whoring and partying. If Lyanna and Robert had actually gotten hitched and had a kid, I totally would have been that kid, except then I’d be a Baratheon, and not a Stark. ‘Ours is the Fury,’ Steve, those are the Baratheon words. Good words. Fury’s words. Heh. Fury. Fury’d be a horrible Baratheon. Horrible. Thor’d be a good Baratheon, though. They rule the Storm Lands, he’s the god of thunder, it totally works. Thunder and weather and lighting and stags and brother issues. Even has a hammer, just like Robert.”
He’s rambling now, he knows this. He should probably stop talking and go to bed.
“So if you’re an Arryn, you’re too nice to be a Lannister, really Steve, you are, and I’m a Stark, but the worst Stark ever, seriously, and Fury’s not a Baratheon, I don’t know what he is, and Pepper’s a Tully, she so is, Cap, you don’t even know. ‘Family, Duty, Honor,’ that’s Pepper and the Tullys. Pepper Tully, it has a nice ring to it, she has the Tully look.”
“Tony, maybe you should go to bed.” Tony shakes his head, and oh, that’s a bad idea. Bad. But he’s got thoughts and no one to tell them to, except for Jarvis.
“Natasha, Natasha is a Faceless Man. Woman. Faceless Woman. She is, she so is, what with the killing and the spying, she’d be like the best Faceless Woman ever. She could teach Arya! Be her mentor! Teach her how to kill people with her thighs!”
And now Tony’s moving, he’s being carried. He realizes that Steve’s picked him up, is carrying him somewhere, probably his bed. Tony’s bed, not Steve’s.
“Steve, I have thoughts! Thoughts! On everything and Westeros and the Targaryens and Jon Snow’s parentage, oh my God, Jon Snow. He has such cock-sucking lips, it’s totally true, Kit Harington is pretty.”
“You’re drunk, Tony.” Tony is in his room, he totally recognizes his ceiling. Steve drops him on his bed, not roughly, but drops him all the same. Tony stares at the ceiling. He hears Steve moving around, in his bathroom maybe? Though he can’t think of why Steve would be in his bathroom, that’s just weird.
“I’m leaving a glass of water by your bed, with some aspirin.” Steve is looming over him. He looks…actually Tony’s having some trouble focusing his eyes right about now, and Steve is a big, blond blur. “Go to sleep, Tony.”
“Night, Steve Arryn, Lord of the Eyrie, Defender of the Vale, Warden of the East! Remember! Winter is Coming!” He yells that last part, he thinks, if the way Steve winces is any indication. He thinks that Steve winces, at least.
“Good night, Tony.”
That night, Tony dreams that the Avengers are in Westeros, that Fury, Coulson, and Hill are dragons, and that Clint is a Targaryen. At some point or another, Tony has a threesome with Loras Tyrell and Renly Baratheon, and Catelyn Stark shows up to tell him that he has to stop playing with the knights of summer and to put on a cloak before he catches a chill. He’s also pretty sure that he marries Margaery Tyrell for the good of the realm.
It’s totally awesome.
Eventually, they have a mission in Antarctica and Tony doesn’t even hesitate before donning his silver and white armor, the second suit, the one with the direwolf sigil over his arc reactor.
They’re destroying some sort of HYDRA base, and there are evil penguins with lasers, which is both lame and awesome. And they totally kick ass, because the evil penguins aren’t that smart, and HYDRA apparently skimped on the materials for their lasers because they keep breaking and falling off the penguins.
They manage to wrap things up quickly, and Coulson keeps looking at him. He’s bundled up in snow camouflage, the only other person to actually mostly blend in with the ice and the snow other than Tony.
The other Avengers board the quinjet and Thor flies off. Coulson hangs back, though, still studying Tony in his armor. It’s starting to creep him out. When Coulson pays that much obvious attention to him, it’s usually because he’s broken something that’s really expensive or has bugged his office. Again.
He’s about to take off when Coulson stops him.
“Coulson.” Coulson gestures for Tony to lean down, and he does, cautiously. For all his calm, cool, and collected demeanor, Tony is reasonably sure that Coulson is actually batshit crazy. Tony may have volunteered to join the Avengers Initiative, but Coulson volunteered to babysit them. That takes either an incredible set of balls, or a whole lot of crazy.
“Valar morghulis,” he whispers. Tony jerks back, and Coulson fucking winks at him. “See you back in New York, Stark.” He turns towards the quinjet, and Tony’s just fucking shocked. His brain short circuits, and he almost forgets the words, because, fucking Coulson?!