The elevator shudders as it works its way up the building, jostling its occupants.
Tony had flown to England to do some work for Marvels, and had taken Steve with him. He was able to manipulate things so that Steve and himself would be taking this trip alone together. It has been wonderful so far. Being able to have Steve all to himself, taking him places, showing him the world and spoiling him. There was a certain joy knowing he was the first person to take Steve overseas. The Marvels work was easy and finished in no time, leaving him plenty of time to take Steve around England, showing him some of his favourite places
This place in particular holds a special place in his heart. He's been getting suits from Grace Brother's for years. Jarvis always loved Grace Brother's and it kind of stuck with him. It is a great place, always produces great craftsmanship.
The elevator comes to a stop and the bell chimes. But the doors fail to open. Tony isn’t worried though, he stands there and waits calmly.
Steve shoots Tony a sceptical look. “Ya know, the elevators aroun’ my neck of the woods were bad, but at least I didn’t worry about them eating me”
Tony laughs. “Oh, this is fairly standard. In fact, I don’t remember many times where the elevators actually worked” he says, laying a comforting hand on his partner’s shoulder.
The doors are opened in short time, the floorwalker prying open the door panels with a great deal of grumbling. Captain Peacock’s eyes widen when he realises who he is.
“Mr Stark, I must say it is a fine pleasure to see you again” the man says, beckoning them onto the department floor. Leading them to the men’s area.
The staff of the women’s area gossips amongst themselves. They are quiet, but not quiet enough for Tony not to hear them "Oooh, who's that then?" the junior staff asks her senior.
"That's Mr Stark. You know the famous adventurer, the one from Marvels Comics! Isn’t he awfully handsome?"
"Does he really does all that stuff they say he do?"
Ms Slocombe shushes her. "He does, now shut it"
Tony smiles to himself.
He steps up to the men’s counter, Steve trailing close behind him. “Have you thought what colour you want you’re suit?” Tony asks his man.
Steve sighs behind him. “Tony, I don’t need a new suit. You don’t need to buy me a suit.” He says.
“Nonsense” Tony says, “I want to get you one.”
Mr Humphries rushes around the counter to greet him. “Tony!” he exclaims joyfully.
"Mr Humphries, I didn't know you knew Mr Stark." Mr Goldberg says.
Before Tony or Mr Humphries could say anything they were interrupted by a stern shout from Captain Peacock.
“Get off the floor! How many times must you be told not to come onto the floor while the store is open? I could have you fired for this, union or not. We have a very important guest!”
Everyone turns to a very red-in-the-face Captain Peacock and a put-out Mr Harman who was moving around some sort of mannequin in a suit.
“I’m only doing my job. Regardless. You don’t have the power to fire me. And if you do somehow fire me, I think you will find it will be you having to come in early to give Mr Rumbold his morning tea”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Mr Harman. We’ll just get someone else from the packing department to fulfil your duties”
“Nah, you won’t. They’ll all quit, due to all the poor working conditions. The union will back us, we look after our own”
Captain Peacock scowls at the man but says no more.
“What’s that?” Steve asks, by Tony’s side.
Mr Harman smiles at them. "This here, is the new plants heater-folder. For those who don't have a butler like Mr Stark" he says.
Tony smiles "ahhh, but Jarvis might like it himself" He walks over to the thing. “So it's some sort of animatronic?" he asks.
"Ooh, forgot that he's good with technology" Ms Slocombe swoons. "To have a man like that"
Mr Harman smirks at Tony "I suppose you would like to see a demonstration?"
"I would, yes" Tony says.
Mr Harman switches the robot on from the back.
“How may I serve you?” the robot says, extending its arms out. “Houuuw may I ser-serr-Seerrv” the robot stops still and the arms drop down by its sides. A spark shoots out of a plate on the robots neck and the head starts spinning around.
"It wasn’ supposed to do that" Harman says with a frown.
"Well, take it off the floor" Captain Peacock orders.
"If it’s alright, I'd like to have a look at it" Tony says.
"I'll fetch you some stuff from the basement."
“There’s no need, I carry all the basic equipment around with me.” Tony says, reaching into his pockets.
Tony approaches the robot and lays it down on the floor on its front. He pushes up the jacket and shirt it was dressed in to gain access the back panel. He lays the back panel and its screws on the display stand beside it.
As soon as Tony touches the wires, the insides of the machine starts sparking, and the cables start twisting like snakes in a pit. Tony quickly pulls his hand out of the robot.
“No” the robot cries, an arm shooting out and flailing.
Tony gets up of the floor and backs away from the machine.
“What’s going on?” Steve asks.
“To be frank, I’m not at all sure” Tony admits.
“I have a larger purpose” the robot says. Its manikin head twisting around to stare at them, the mouth unmoving as it speaks. “I’m more than this! I am more than folding pants, so much more.”
Everyone starts backing up as the robot pushes itself up of the floor and approves them stiffly. “You think this is charming.” The robot says, stiffly gesturing to the manikins around the store. “When I’m done… They will be you!”
The robot launches itself forward, arms spinning around viciously. Mr Goldberg throws a hat steamer at the robot with a shout and the department descends into chaos and screams. Everyone makes a grab for whatever can be used as a weapon or something to defend themselves with.
Tony pulls a cane form a display and charges at the robot, bringing the cane down hard on the robot’s arm. A handbag flies past his head, missing both the robot and him.
He desperately tries to fend off the robot with the cane as he looks around the department for another weapon. The cane is doing little damage and if he doesn’t find something else he was going to be in hot water.
The cane jolts in his grasp as the robot grabs a hold of it, then wrenches it out of his hands. Like it was just a twig the robot snaps it in half. With the robot’s hands full, Tony takes a chance to run for cover behind a counter, eyeing his surrounds as he runs across the floor.
Captain Peacock charges at the robot with a metal shoe rack, slamming into the robot and then retreating back.
Tony brakes apart a clothing rack, salvaging one of the metal lengths as a weapon. Taking a firm grip on the metal rod, Tony turns around and returns to the fight.
The metal rod holds up better than the cane against the robot, actually causing a few dints and cracks in the plastic manikin coating. The robot swings its heavy arms wildly in attempts to hit him, but no blow lands. He is very thankful for the martial arts classes he’d taken years back.
The robot gets a lucky swing in and grabs the rod, but Tony wasn’t going to give it up just yet. He digs his heals into the floor, the leather speaking against the hardwood floor panelling.
With a vicious tug from the robot Tony loses his footing and falls to the floor, the rod flying from his grasp. The robot laughs menacingly and bends it in front of him, the metal rings sharply as it is tossed aside on the floor. Tony quickly picks himself up off the ground and makes a fast retreat for the nearest shelter.
Out of the corner of Tony’s eye he spots Steve running over to the fire alarm to get everyone out of the building. The alarm blares loudly through the store.
The robot turns to Steve with a metallic scream like the shriek of twisting and tearing metal.
“Steve!” Tony shouts, “Get out of here!” He throws shoes from a shelf at the robot to take its attention away from Steve, but to no avail.
Mr Humphries jumps over the counter with a cry, fire extinguisher in hand. The man sprays the robot, absolutely drenching it.
The robot spins towards Mr Humphries with a high pitched wail. It turns and takes two hammers of a ‘handy man’ display and launches them at Mr Humphries. The man screams and ducks down.
But before the hammers could hit Mr Humphries, Steve jumps in front of them, using a trouser press as a shield. One hammer hits the trouser press dead in the centre, the wood of the trouser press audibly cracking. But the press is too heavy and Steve didn’t lift the press fast enough to stop the second. The second hammer strikes Steve in the head and he drops.
Tony screams. His ears ring and his vision goes dark around the edges.
The robot laughs as Mr Humphries drags Steve around the counter to safety. Tony grits his teeth.
He drives around a counter and grabs all of the belts from a draw as Ms Slocombe distracts the robot by using a bra to shoot perfume bottles at it across the store. Tony links the belts into three long lengths, tying a slipknot on the end of each.
Taking the three long belt lengths in hand he jumps back over the counter, passing one to the junior of the man’s department. The man nods at him in understanding and moves around the back of the robot.
“Captain Peacock!” he shouts, getting the floorwalker’s attention. He tosses over the second belt. The three of them close in on the robot.
“Now!” Tony cries.
The belts lasso the robot, pining its arms to its body tight. The robot struggles, attempting to free itself. They pull tight, keeping the robot in place as Ms Slocombe and the junior from the woman’s department run in with stockings and scarfs.
When the ladies are done ting up the robot, Tony wraps the belts around the thing as well, just to make sure it wasn’t going to break free any time soon.
He runs over to check on Steve and Mr Humphries. There is blood everywhere all over the floor. Mr Humphries is crying, holding a shirt to Steve’s head wound.
Tony drops down onto the floor beside Steve, checking the man’s pulse. He breathes a sigh of relief when he finds one. Steve is not responding but his alive.
"Call an ambulance" Tony says, taking over keeping pressure on Steve’s wound.
Mr Humphries nods and stands. His legs wobbling wildly due to fear and shock. The man grabs the phone then collapses to the floor, his voice shaky as he talks to the phone operator.
When the ambulance gets there, he hops in beside Steve.