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The Care and Wooing of Tony Stark, Billionaire

Chapter Text

T’Challa frowned at the knock on his door. He had expressly asked not to be disturbed, especially when considering the various thinly veiled threats the American Secretary of State was sending his way if he ‘chose not to aid in the apprehension of world criminals’ and the other numerous correspondence from other countries in the UN that wanted his view on the Accords after that debacle at the airport. “Enter,” he said coolly.

Shuri stepped in to the room and he felt his scowl darken even more. With others, he would have to pretend calmness or acceptance, but Shuri was still his baby sister and he was more than comfortable being upset at her interruption. She, however, smiled as serenely as she always did when getting under his skin.

“What?” he demanded, leaning forward on his father’s desk – his desk, now, and it still hurt his heart sometimes, an odd jump that pulled at him unexpectedly.

She kept her face smooth and calm as she said, “You have elephants on your front lawn.”

He opened his mouth and then closed it. He – had no idea what to say to that.

“Elephants?” he finally asked.

She nodded, and that serenity cracked to show her amusement in her eyes. “Elephants. Baby elephants.”

He felt slightly shocked, and he wasn’t sure what he was expected to do. “Did they… escape from the zoo?”

Her smile was almost predatory when she handed him a small envelope.

The envelope wasn’t addressed in any particular way, the handwriting sharp and jerky, almost blocky. It had his name on it, but nothing else. He eyed it, and then pulled it open.

Your Highness T’Challa,

I’m not quite sure if elephants thrive or not – is that the right word, Friday, thrive? but they seemed like a gift fit for a king. Also they’re orphaned elephants so it’s not like I stole baby elephants or anything. I figured you could have small babies running around and train them to be careful of the grounds. Do you have grounds there big enough for an elephant? You might not, sorry. Well, shit, they’re already on their way, and they’re sponsored, so I guess if you just want to, you know, keep them around – or donate them to a zoo, whatever. Baby elephants for the ducklings under your wings, it made sense when I did it, you know what, you don’t even need to keep them, they came from Kenya, I’ll even pay for them to be taken back, just talk to the guys that brought them.

You know what, just, end message, Friday.

Dr. Anthony Edward Stark, VP of R&D and CTO of Stark Industries

T’Challa stared at the letter. It had obviously been dictated, not hand-written, and he wasn’t sure why he found that incredibly personal and touching. Clearing his throat, he looked at his sister. “They’re – in the front?”

“I did not let them unload yet,” she said teasingly. “After all, I know who sent them.”

T’Challa frowned. “How?”

“You forget that I have traveled far more extensively than you,” she pointed out, almost gleefully. “I have had the opportunity to see Stark before this entire mess, and I watched him interact with you. I watched you interact with him.” Then she let out a loud laugh and darted out the door as he stood up, cheeks heated in embarrassment.

T’Challa came out of his office and walked down the hallway to the large windows that overlooked the front of the executive office of the King. This wasn’t his house – his house, and his family’s lands, were kept private – but he stayed most of the time here, like his father did. It made him accessible to the people, who could bring petitions in during certain times, and made him closer to the Council. So though it looked grand, with a large lawn in front and a curving drive, it was not exactly equipped for the five baby elephants that were currently, thankfully, still within their trailers. He didn’t know what he’d do if they had been let out.

Shuri was standing by the head trailer, talking with the driver, and she looked up to him and grinned.

T’Challa didn’t know what to say and so rolled his eyes and went back to his office.


The next week, T’Challa stepped into his office and stopped dead.

Shuri looked up from where she’d been sniffing the flowers spread out on his desk and grinned that particular grin that promised problems for him in the future.

“What—” he began.

Shuri interrupted him. “I think you should perhaps talk to Stark. These flowers are absolutely lovely, but I’m sure they’re endangered.”

“I could buy my own flowers,” T’Challa said, a little blankly. “Why is he doing this?”

“Oh, he’s not sending them,” Shuri said airily before flouncing out of the room.

Quite confused, T’Challa looked at the delicate white petals that hung like ethereal bells from a beautiful vine, intertwined with stunning bright blue blossoms. A heavy white card rested in a nest of the blooms, and confused – and flattered – T’Challa picked it up.

Your Highness, T’Challa,

What do you give someone who’s over forty times richer than you? How the hell am I supposed to know, Friday? I – well, these are some ghost orchids and jade vines. I also sent a gardener specially trained in pollinating and caring for them because I’m pretty sure they aren’t natural to Africa, or America for that matter – should I send ones natural to America? I’m American – I’m part Italian? I feel as if American flowers aren’t that great—

Who am I kidding, Friday, just strike—

No, I’m not doing anything, Pepper, nothing at all, just – end, Friday, close.

Dr. Anthony Edward Stark, VP of R&D and CTO of Stark Industries

A faint suspicion began to grow in the back of his mind, and he looked at the stunning flowers a second longer before turning on his heel and exiting the office.

He had some research to do.


When he came into his office to find a staggeringly huge basket full of chocolates and different sweets and treats, he looked for the card he was accustomed to receiving. It was easier to find; the white cream stood out among the gold foils and delicate pastries.

Your Highness, T’Challa,

I’m running out of ideas here – I don’t even know what you like, do you know that? We barely interacted. I don’t know what to say to you – I don’t know why you’d even accept any of these gifts. Why would you? Anything I buy, you could get for yourself ten times over. Forty times, even.

Fuck it, Friday, del—

Rhodey, what are you doing down here? You make it all the way downstairs by yourself? I’ll fire that hot nurse, see if I don’t.

Tony, what are you doing down here?

Nothing, Rhodey, I’m not – nothing. Let’s get you back upstairs, huh?

Pepper says you’ve been buying weird things and then trying to stuff them in the back of your closet.

Pepper is a lying liar who lies and who loves to torture me. Why, just the other day I—

Absence of A.E. Stark ends dictation.

Dr. Anthony Edward Stark, VP of R&D and CTO of Stark Industries

T’Challa reread the note a second and then third time before nodding and moving to the doorway. Outside stood Kaisa and Aziza.

“Bring my sister here, please,” he said mildly, and closed the door again.

The basket he moved to the floor to the side of his desk, unwilling to think about it just yet. He managed to get through five petitions before the door opened and Shuri stepped in, her Cheshire grin firmly in place.

“You summoned me, dear brother?”

T’Challa pointed at the basket. “Explain,” he commanded, voice short and to the point.

It had absolutely no effect on someone who grew up with him, of course, and she merely strolled over to the basket and hummed in the back of her throat appreciatively. “Very good quality, brother. Then again, he does buy good-quality items all the time.”

“You said he is not sending these.”

Shuri shrugged carelessly. “Would it matter if he was?”

T’Challa squinted at her and said in exasperation, “Yes, it would matter, because if he is sending it, he is obviously attempting to begin a relationship. If someone else is sending these gifts, the reasons are endless.”

“Perhaps, like a certain brother I know, he simply needs… a helping hand. To nudge him in the right direction,” Shuri teased, but when T’Challa furrowed his brow, Shuri sighed and shook her head. “He would not send you anything voluntarily. I’m sure you’ve been reading the notes, and perhaps you can take a guess, but his current PA has been looking for the gifts and sending them as quickly as possible.”

T’Challa opened his mouth to respond, but the full implications of the words made him slowly close his mouth, consider his words carefully. “Looking for the gifts, and sending them quickly. Has Stark been…”

“Buying multiple things for you, and then scrapping the purchases almost instantly? Yes,” Shuri said breezily. “Perhaps you should talk to one of your current houseguests and determine what to do next, because this is the last one you’ll receive. Stark’s PA has been very clear that Stark stopped buying gifts. I wonder why?”

T’Challa opened his mouth to reply, but his sister had already opened the plastic and was unwrapping a truffle.

“Hey!” he said, affronted, because those were his candies and truffles.

She licked her lips and chuckled. “Or you could ask the man himself. Send him something in return.”

He took a threatening step forward, and like any little sister she skipped out of the way, snickering, and left the room. He scowled at the doorway, but her words sunk deep, took root. The more he thought of it, she was right. Tony Stark had been sending gifts, and by reading the cards, it certainly didn’t look as if he had intended them to actually send, but that didn’t change the fact that Tony had – that Stark had clearly bought the gifts with T’Challa in mind. He should do something to thank To – Stark. He should show his thankfulness, that someone thought of him. Too often people assumed – rightly, but that was beside the point – that since T’Challa was prince, now king, he bought himself what he wanted and needed no gifts from anyone else.

T’Challa paused.

Tony Stark was head of Stark Industries. He wasn’t in T’Challa’s league in terms of riches, but he certainly was far richer than most people could dream of in their lifetime. Perhaps Tony – Stark – was in the same boat.

Which was a shame. If there was anyone who deserved some pampering and gifts, it was Tony Stark.

That… was not a bad idea, actually. Whether voluntarily or not, Tony Stark had thought about giving him these gifts and they were here. He deserved some gifts in return, didn’t he?


“He’s definitely pining. You should call him,” Shuri murmured, dropping off paperwork on his desk.

“Pining?” T’Challa asked absently, brow furrowed. This was the sixth rewrite of the Accords coming across his desk, and he knew it was Tony – Stark in charge of it, Stark the one pushing to get them rewritten. There were a lot of things, actually, that Tony – that Stark – had been doing recently, and T’Challa had even communicated once or twice with Stark’s assistant on timelines and the like. Not Stark himself; the few times T’Challa had tried to get Tony – get Stark – on the phone, he’d been answered by an advanced AI who had said in a calm, reassuring voice that T’Challa’s message was taken and would be responded to with the utmost urgency by the Dr. Anthony E. Stark.

A snap of fingers jerked his attention out of his thoughts, and he could feel his cheeks flushing as he met Shuri’s eyes.

“You were thinking about Stark again, weren’t you?”

“Shuri, is this the paperwork on the housing situation for the political refugees? I thought that was settled,” he sighed.

Tsking her tongue, she tapped her finger against the Accords draft he had been going over with a blue pen. “You know exactly who’s pining, and what you should do. You should go to the next table talks on the Accords, instead of just faxing in your changes. I know you have a lot of work here, what with all the,” she waved a hand in the air negligently, “refugees you took in, but I know that look in your eye, and I know your… affinity for engineers.”

“I am – I can’t simply leave, Shuri. I am… king, now. I have to fortify and strengthen our country if Ross decides to shove his weight around.”

She let out a huff and shook her head. “You always do this. You see something you want and you hesitate and hesitate until it passes you by. Besides, it is a simple matter to justify your trip. These Accords, rewritten and improved, will be what finally removes Ross as a threat, not fortifying the country. Go submit your changes in person. Talk to Stark.”

Before he could say anything to that, Shuri was exiting the room. He stared at the door behind her and weighed her words in his head.

Finally, he shook his head and dialed his secretary to tell her to prepare the Dora Milaje for a trip outside of Wakanda.