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Wrath of the Tides

Chapter Text

Wrath of the Tides




Tony was four when his mother unassumingly entered the kitchen. Tears were streaming down her face, and her cheeks were a blotchy red, but she wore a victorious smile. Uncertain, the little boy held his arms out to be held. The woman kindly met his unspoken request. Tony wiped the tears from her face with a cute little frown.


"Mommy, what's wrong?" He asked, sounding very well-spoken for a child of four.


"Honey," Maria grinned; she looked positively devious. "When there's something you want, and you're angry," she cooed, "cry."




Textbook narcissism


Iron Man- yes


Tony Stark- not recommended


The brunette frowned as he stared at the file in front of him. "Well, that's not very nice." His insides felt like that had caught on fire.


It was a very simplistic room, bland grey walls and boring guards with no expressions. Nick Fury and Tony Stark were the only spots of color in the otherwise awful room. Screens behind him proved that this was a part of SHIELD property. The table and chairs were cold and metallic, and even the light filtering in seemed dreary.


Tony logically knew that the file had come from Natashalie. She was the only person besides Agent who could have really evaluated him, and he knew she was working for SHIELD. He guessed he could see why she might call him narcissistic. His larger than life personality was designed to take up a room and bring the attention to him. Coming in quietly and unassumingly would lead to the impression that he was shy or weak, and Howard had always taught him to make himself seem like real tough stuff. Stark men are made of iron after all.


He wasn't really narcissistic, but Natashalie didn't know that. Didn't know that he hated the sound of his own voice but simply hated silence more. Didn't know that he hated himself with every fiber of said hated being. Didn't know that nightmares kept him awake at night and acting like he did kept the nightmares away during the day.


She just didn't know him.


Tony emotionally felt like a wreck. He had almost died recently, and his heart still gave frightening little twangs every now and then. Pepper and Happy had left him, Rhodey had willingly taken one of suits to the government, Vanko had almost taken over the world, the Stark Expo was in shambles, and he had just been rejected for the Avengers Initiative.


He wanted this, dangit! He wanted to get out there and help people, wanted to work with other supers, wanted to finally meet the man his dad never shut up about!


And this was making him mad. No, not just mad, he was angry. Nope. Not even that. Tony was ticked off.


He went through Afghanistan, took down Obie, and beat Vanko just so the Avengers could reject him because of Natashalie? Because she didn't even know him?


He wanted this, and he was angry.


These were the moments where his mother's long forgotten teachings came back to him. These were the days he remembered being held in her arms, smelling her sweet perfume, and hearing her soft voice.




"Stark, you alright?" Fury's voice broke into his thoughts. How long had he been staring at this file? His vision was starting to get blurry.


"No. I'm not alright," the brunette scowled and rose to his feet slowly, still staring at the fuzzy words and smudgy SHIELD logo. A familiar pressure was building up behind his eyes, and he knew that he could never forget the advice given to him in his younger years. Whether by Howard, Maria, or Jarvis.


Fury looked startled when Tony finally met his gaze. The shorter man was furious, but his eyes were brimming with salty tears. Was this such a big deal for the billionaire?


"Iron Man, yes, Tony Stark, not recommended?" The brunette blurted, sounding almost choked. "We're one and the same! There is no Iron Man without Tony Stark! It's not just some fancy suit I made on a whim! The suit was built out of necessity! You can't have one without the other!" Sparkling drops of liquid fell from Tony's eyes as he gestured emphatically. His face was getting a little red, and his shoulders were quivering.


"And doesn't play well with others? Textbook narcissism? Please! Have you met me?" The genius demanded. "What narcissistic person doesn't bother telling their girlfriend they're about to die?! Wouldn't they want the attention and pity?! And the fight with Obie! I told Pepper to turn on the arc reactor, even though I knew it could kill me!"


He's hurt by this, Fury thought, brows creasing.


"You know why I don't normally work with others? When I was in that cave, Yinsen and I worked together. He let himself die to save my life!" Tony felt like he was openly sobbing now. Yelling like this never felt good at first, and he never liked telling people about his feelings, but he always felt better in the end. When he got what he wanted. "And I don't like letting others close because of Obie! He ripped out my heart and smiled at me!"


Fury paled. Well, that wasn't exactly known.


"Even Pepper and R-Rhodey-" Tony stopped here because he knew he wouldn't be able to stop crying. Maybe he would just seen like and emotional wreck now. Maybe they'd still reject him, just like everybody el-




Tony blinked sharply and stared at Fury.


"That's enough. We'll consider it."


Coming from the Director of SHIELD that was an almost-very-likely-highly-probable yes.


Tony smiled softly and rubbed at his eyes. "A-ahaha, sorry about that." He sniffled. "Got a thing with tears..."


"It's fine, Stark. You're dismissed."


Dismissed. As though he were under Fury's command. As though Fury already considered him hired.


Tony just nodded and left.


Thanks, mom.



Chapter Text



The next time Tony was angry enough to cry, he was on the helicarrier with Steve Rogers, his dad's famous Captain America.


Take the suit away and what are you?


Tony really didn't like it when people didn't know what they were talking about.


Firstly, he was a genius. He made his first circuit board when he was five, built his first engine when he was six, entered MIT at fourteen, and started running a multi-billion dollar company at twenty-one. He wasn't even smart. He made advances in science no one had ever thought of looking into, designed products no one could hope to replicate, built a suit only he could hope to control. He knew English, French, Spanish, Russian, Italian, and Japanese. He built the arc reactor in a freaking cave and then moved on to build the first suit without his captors ever even catching wind.


He was also a multi-billionaire. He wasn't even a millionaire or a regular ol' billionaire. No, he was a multi-billionaire. And almost all of that was his own, hard earned money. He wasn't some lazy bum who sat back on his behind and let his employees do the work for him. He was in the R&D department all the time. Never had he let someone else take care of something he could do himself. Every dollar he owned was something he had rightfully earned, and if he didn't think he earned it, he gave it to someone who had.


Which brought him to philanthropist. He didn't just throw that in there for fun, or because he liked the sound of it, or because it made him feel important. Every year, millions of dollars were poured into charities and organizations. Not to mention the tax dollars that paid for lazy high schoolers' educations and soldiers overseas. Even then, Stark Industries held several charity benefits a year and had special donations arranged to go to starving children in Africa and rape victims and all other kinds of foul things. Tony didn't just do it to make himself look or feel good, he genuinely saw the dark corners of the world and wanted to shine some light on them.


Tony's whole life, people looked down on him. They said he was spoiled rotten and not actually worth a dime, said he got where he was because of his money, said he flaunted his wealth to make others look bad. Even Howard had participated. He spent his time searching for the blessed Captain America, ignoring his own son. He told Tony he had to be a man, like the marvelous Captain Rogers. He ignored Tony's hard work and creative inventions because he could just never be as good as Steve Rogers.


The brunette stood in that lab and wondered if his father was just messed up in the head.


Steve was kind of stupid. And a jerk. Not that Tony was any better, and he certainly wasn't pulling any punches, but he had expected more.


His whole life he had wanted to meet Steve Rogers. Wanted to know why Howard loved him more than Tony, wanted to know what made him so special, wanted to see if maybe Captain America could love him like his dad never had.


Now, he was just angry. Why did Howard search for this guy anyway? He was like a lost puppy, blind and thoughtlessly following orders. How could he have not been suspicious? How could he have not seen that Fury had been trying to manipulate them into helping him make nuclear weapons?




Spheres of crystal fell to the ground as Tony shouted at Steve. The blonde looked shocked, and neither of them paid attention to the crowd. Fury looked frustrated, Natasha was as blank as always, Bruce was upset, and Thor seemed irritated. Fury and Natasha moved to remove Bruce and Tony just shouted at them too.


Gosh, he was just so confused! What did he want? Why was he even so angry? Nothing was making sense right now, and he was so wrecked, his brain was a mess.


Why couldn't he and Steve just get along? Why did Steve dislike him so much? Did he just make people hate him? Why couldn't anybody leave Bruce alone? He didn't even look a little bit green! Why were they so panicked? Why did Loki have to be taking over the world right now? Why did Tony feel so twitchy with the dark god just in the other room?


"I'm sorry," Steve suddenly whispered through the storm. "I didn't mean to make you cry."


"You didn't- didn't make me cry," Tony hiccuped, tears still falling. "You can't m-make me do anything!"


"Of course not," Steve murmured suddenly looking solemn. "I'm sorry."


"S-Stop apologizing!" The brunette shouted.


"I knew something was up and I just didn't care. I'm sorry. You were right to be suspicious. I shouldn't have yelled at you," the blonde replied. Tony trembled, furiously shaking his head, and stumbled backwards.


"Y-you don't even care! You were telling me how worthless I was two seconds ago! You're only saying that because I've got liquid coming outta my eyes!!"


Bruce suddenly chuckled. Natasha's eyes flickered with mirth. Steve's face was bright red.


"I really am sorry. The crying- I just- It made me think about what I said. I'm not sure I really mean that at all." His brows furrowed in a puzzled expression. "It was just sotense, and I feel so confused recently. I didn't want you... to be right."


The computer beeped nearby.


They had found the Tesseract.


"I'm sorry," Steve whispered again. Bruce was checking the screens. Tony wiped his eyes.


"It's- It's okay, I guess. I said mean stuff too," he muttered, still feeling the tension in the room.


"We'll call it even, then."


Everything exploded.



Chapter Text



I have an army.


Tony was mad, but he wasn't too ticked. He was more scared witless.


Maybe it was because he'd been in the suit last time, or because Loki had been kept in a cell far, far away from him, but Tony had never realized how intimidating the god of chaos could be. He was taller than Tony, and everything about him screamed dark and dangerous. Then there was his magical glow stick and his giant alien army.


Um, scary?


"There is no version of this where you come out on top," Tony hissed, feeling his eyes burning. Why did mom have to give him that advice? "We might not be able to stop you from taking over the world now, but you can be sure we'll avenge it!" Valiantly, Tony fought a loosing battle with himself to keep the liquid in his eyes. A few tears dribbled out anyway.


Loki had opened his mouth to speak and held up his scepter, but he paused. His expression clammed up as though he were fighting himself. His bright blue eyes flickered.


Bright blue eyes...


Tony's eyes widened and he quickly reached up for his com link. "Thor! Thor, what color are Loki's eyes?"


"What?" Hawkeye demanded. "Why does it matter?"


"Stark, stop fooling around," Steve barked, and the dull thud of his shield echoed over the line.


"I'm not!" Tony cried and slowly backed away from Loki, holding up his hands slowly. The dark haired man clutched at his hair and almost dropped his scepter.


"D-don't cry-" he growled, still fighting himself.


"Thor!" The brunette squeaked.


"Green," Thor called lowly. "His eyes are green."


"Well, not right now they're not. They're blue."


"DANGIT!" Hawkeye screamed furiously. "Why can't anything ever be simple?"


"Hey, Loki?" Tony called quietly. The taller man lashed out but stumbled backwards.


"Don't cry," he repeated. "Don't cry."


Tony blinked and gently felt the wetness on his cheeks. Loki was clearly under mind control, though the real puppeteer was a mystery. Tears seemed like a trigger. Maybe a trigger to bring back his real, not-freakily-controlled self?


"Widow, how'd you get Legolas back?" Tony demanded.


"Gave him a concussion. Banged his head on a pipe," she grunted. More fighting and explosions commenced in the background.


"Yeah, I'm not going to be able to do that," the billionaire frowned. "Any other ideas?"


"Loki and I are of similar strength," Thor admitted. "The green beast was also able to match me. Perhaps the beast could provide aid?"


"Alright, let's give it a shot!" Steve ordered. "Someone send the Hulk Tony's way-"


The Hulk crashed through the windows.


He roared, grabbed the fumbling Loki, and swung him brutally back and forth. Tony gasped and ducked behind the bar as chunks of cement flew his way. When the giant was finally done, he left the god in a boneless puddle on the floor.


"Puny god make Tin Man cry," Hulk mumbled gruffly and left to bash some more alien heads. Tony sighed and shook his head before shuffling forward to check in the man. Out like a light.


"Loki's officially down," the brunette reported into the com line.


"Well, then we could really use some help here!" Steve snapped. Tony leapt out the shattered window and felt the suit form around him. He located the other Avengers and joined the forming circle of heroes. Thor spun his hammer, Natasha reloaded her guns, Clint notched another arrow, Steve adjusted his shield, Hulk snorted and stomped challengingly, and Tony quietly landed in the circle.


The Avengers were ready to fight.




There were tears in Tony's eyes as he flew the nuke into the portal.



Chapter Text



Adrian Killian was a jerk, simply put. He had taken Pepper, staged the Mandarin's terrorist attacks, and frankly best the crap out of Tony. As if he didn't already have enough problems with trying to restore the tower, house and feed the Avengers, keep up the R&D department, defeat the average villains, and deal with his horrific case of PTSD. Pepper was mad at him, the President still wasn't safe, Tony was probably about to die again...


He really did not want to put up with this. He was done for the day.


So.... Tears.


The Avengers called it his secret ability. Much like Maria had before him, if he was angry or emotional enough and wanted something, the billionaire brunette could burst into a spontaneous fountain of tears and convince just about anyone of anything. Each of the Avengers had personally been confronted with this ability, just to test it effectiveness. Only Natasha had even come close to resisting.




Adrian was officially confused when Tony became a blubbering mess on the ground in front of him. The brunette wasn't begging for his life like expected, but instead shouting at the blonde about the unfairness of life and learning to deal with it. In fact, the man was so distracted he didn't notice Pepper until he'd been knocked unconscious. The redhead growled at him and kicked him in the head for good measure.


"Tony, you okay?" She called, still sounding kinda irritated.


"Y-yeah, jus'- you know- t-tears," he managed. "You l-look so hot, right now." Pepper gave a small chuckle at that and cooled down enough to pull Tony in for a gentle hug. Rhodey and the President joined them eventually, and the odd group returned to D.C. to arrest certain individuals and take care of general business.



Chapter Text



A Hydra base in Slovakia.


Tony was inside, beyond the reaches of his suit, checking out the hidden passage. He was anxious when he saw the Leviathan and Loki's scepter. It had been lost in the craziness of the Battle of New York. Loki was an Avenger now, but he had been reluctant to talk about how he had come in possession of the glow stick of destiny.


Thor seemed to have an idea of what happened and had run off to beat off his little brother's bully. Loki had unassumingly taken over his job while he was away. Now they had finally found the stupid golden spear and could move on with their lives.


A flash of red.


Tony saw a rocky throne, the bodies of his friends laid at the base. A portal was spread before him, aliens swarming to attack the earth. Steve grabbed him and angrily reprimanded him, but the words dug deeper than they ever had before. Then Steve was a cold corpse in his hands. Tony shook his head and stared in the portal with glistening eyes. He shook his head and stumbled back-


You didn't do enough.


The brunette's back hit the table behind him and he let out a small sob. He stared at the scepter with wide eyes and figured he finally had a taste of what Clint had gone through. He covered his mouth with his hand. Shakily, he managed to connect to the com.


"G-guys, I've got the scepter here-" he hiccuped. "But I don'wanna go a-anywhere near it. H-had a strange vision- C-can't-"


"Breathe, Stark," Loki called quietly. "I'm on my way to your location. We're safe for now. We just need to get back to the Quinjet."


"O-okay," Tony whimpered and sank to the floor. He grabbed his head, feeling miserable. 


Unknown to him, the Scarlet Witch was in the shadows, quietly regretting what she had done. A simple glance into his mind had proven that he was in no way responsible for what had happened to her and her twin. He hadn't known about the underhand weapons dealing until a couple of years ago, and now he spent his time trying to make up for his mistakes. He destroyed any old Stark Industries weapons he found, and he worked hard every day to save people's lives.


Quietly, she sent a message to her brother via telepathic link. The she excused herself from the situation. The twins would figure out how to join the Avengers later on...


Minutes later, Loki entered the room and located the shaking teammate. "Anthony," he whispered. The brunette jumped and looked up with a sob.


"I-I'm sorry! I'm so s-so sorry! I'll try h-harder! I'll do b-better!"


Words so familiar, spoken to an ignorant father.


"D-Don't hate me!! I-I'm sorry-"


"Anthony," Loki sighed and sat beside him, gently pulling the brunette into his side. "No one hates you. What have you to be sorry for?"


"Y-you were all d-dead, and t-they came b-back, and it w-was all my fault," Tony admitted unhappily. He sniffled and hiccuped, burying his face in the man's shoulder.


"Who came back? What did you see?"


"I-I was on the o-other side of the portal, a-and everybody was dead. T-there was this rocky t-throne thin-"


Loki made a strangled sound.


"W-what?" Tony frowned and pulled back. "What w-wrong?"


"It's him."