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Unconventional

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Chapter 1

“I dreamed about you.”

Tony started.

“You dreamed about me?” he repeated dubiously, looking up from his Starkphone and eyes catching sight of a young man standing next to his table. He was dressed in the traditional black and white garb of all waiters and carried a bottle of red wine. Pretty good looking, Tony decided; not conventionally handsome by any sense of the word, but his features were regular enough and that shy smile sent shivers down his spine in the most delicious way possible.

“I’m sorry,” the young man immediately stuttered, blushing and looking away from Tony’s intense gaze, “I shouldn’t have said that.”

“Then why did you?” Tony insisted. There was something in the other’s body language that told the billionaire that the declaration hadn’t been meant as a come on.

“I…I.”

Tony sighed.

“Can you at least tell me what I was doing in your dreams?”

If he had been expecting the other to reply with something lewd or sexy, he would have been extremely disappointed.

“You were hit by a truck.”

Tony blinked in surprise.

“At 2.15 on April 24th,” the young waiter continued, “Today. You got hit by a pickup truck when it derailed from the main road. It had a faulty wiring. You died on impact.”

“That's…morbid,” Tony said, “And weirdly specific.”

The waiter shrugged, looking more ill at ease then before.

“My dreams,” he finally muttered, “I don’t believe they’re normal. Sometimes, things I see in my dreams happen in real life; sometimes they’re just figments of my overactive imagination.”

He suddenly looked up and Tony was taken aback by how luminous his green eyes looked under the restaurant’s lighting. It was almost as if they were…glowing.

“I didn’t want to take a chance.”

And Tony believed him. He didn’t know why he did, but Tony believed him.

“Thank you,” he told him sincerely, “May I have the name of my savior?”

For a moment, the waiter didn’t reply, probably silently judging if Tony was making fun of him. In all honesty, Tony should have been making fun of him, but once again, his good sense and logic seemed to have deserted him.

“Harry…Harry Liam.”

“Thank you Mr. Liam,” Tony repeated and watched as Harry bowed before he made his departure.

At exactly 2.15, a commotion made everyone in the restaurant look out of the window. A pickup truck had just crashed in to a nearby tree. Upon inspection, the insurance officer concluded that the truck derailed from the main road because of some faulty wiring. Luckily, there were no one walking about at the time of the incident.

Tony wasn’t even sure if he was surprised.


 You shouldn’t have told him that.

Why? I saved his life, didn’t I?

He’s not worth it.

Shut up!

He won’t understand. He’ll try to exploit you.

No .

Naïve. Just because you have a crush-

I don’t. Stop saying that. Shut up. Shut up. SHUT UP! 


 

“I want to thank you for saving my life.”

“Mr. Stark,” Harry greeted him, bowing slightly, unable to meet the billionaire’s gaze. He wasn’t even surprised that Stark had somehow managed to worm his way in to the employee’s only lounge and found him while he was on his break. “There’s no thanks needed.”

“Not many people would have done so,” Stark continued, ignoring Harry’s words. He didn’t sound the least bitter about what he had just said. “Not many people think I deserve to be saved.”

“No, you’re wrong. Everyone deserves to be saved,” Harry said fervently, barely resisting the urge to clasp the billionaire’s arm to get his point across. He met Stark’s eyes. “Everyone.”

Stark looked surprised at his words before a small smile curved the corner of his lips. He looked really handsome in his form fitting suit and blue tie.

“You’re different,” he concluded, “Special.”

Harry immediately took a step back, horrified. No. It couldn’t be…

Did he really make a huge mistake in taking a chance on Stark?

“No,” he stuttered, hating the way his voice trembled, “No, I’m not. I’m just Harry.”

Stark shook his head.

“I apologize for upsetting you,” he said quickly, in the tone of one who wasn’t used to issue apologies of any kind. Despite it all, Harry felt strangely touched.

“Don’t,” he bit his lip. His heart slowly calming down. “It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have reacted that way.”

Stark stayed silent for a second before asking.

“May I take you out to dinner?”

Harry blinked.

“Dinner?” he repeated.

“Yes,” Stark sounded amused now. “Dinner. I would love to take you out.”

“L…Like a date?” He was stuttering again. Fantastic. What must Stark think of him? Sure he was a little awkward around strangers, but working in the service industry had helped him improve a lot. Why was he deferring back to his old ways?

“If you are interested,” Stark replied smoothly, “Otherwise, it would simply be a dinner among friends.”

Say no!

Why? I want to.

Don’t get involved with Stark! It can only end in bloodshed.

I want to! Please, for once, I want to be selfish.

You don’t deserve to be selfish. You don’t deserve to be loved. Say NO!

“Yes,” Harry said, heart hammering, unable to believe what he had just done. “I would love to.”

“Fantastic,” Stark smiled brightly at him, “Are you free this Friday?”

It was only Wednesday.

Harry did a quick overview of his week.

“I have Fridays off,” he told Tony, remembering his schedule. “I’m free all day.”

“I’ll pick you up at 7 then,” Tony said, looking at him intently, “Is that ok?”

Harry give a tentative smile.

“Yes,” he finally agreed, “That will be fine. I will be looking forward to it, Mr. Stark.”

“Tony,” the billionaire corrected, “Call me Tony.”

Once Tony had departed, the door opened once more and Tyler came in. He give Harry a small smile before taking a seat next to him on the leather sofa all the employees have bullied Mr. Tim, the owner, in to buying.

“Was that Mr. Stark?”

Harry turned to Tyler.

“Yes,” he replied simply.

Tyler was justifiably surprised.

“What did he want with you?”

Harry looked away.

I don’t know. 


 

You shouldn’t have said yes. You know nothing will come out of this.

Shut up!

Why would someone like Tony Stark be interested in you other then for your freakish powers?

Please, shut up!

You have nothing! No beauty to speak of; no money to your name; you live in an orphanage; you haven’t even finished university. Hell, you don’t even have an identity since you can’t remember anything from your past. You stutter like an idiot in public. He’ll see the real you and drop you like a sack of hot potatoes.

Please…

You’re crying again…Pathetic 


 

Friday came faster than Harry would have expected and on the day in question, the young man woke up to the sound of footsteps running just outside his bedroom door.

“Harry!”

Mary. She was the youngest in their little group of 10 and easily Mrs. Keller, the matron’s, favorite. She was a sweet girl; all rosy cheeks and smiles. Harry loved her like a little sister even if they weren’t related by blood.

“Come in Mary,” he called out to her and watched as the door opened, revealing the little girl in all her glittering pink glory.

“Oh Mary,” he sighed, accepting her hug, “How on earth did you get so much glitter on your pretty dress?”

Mary laughed, so carefree that it made Harry’s heart sore.

“I was playing with Michael,” she explained, “He dropped the bottle on to my dress.”

She didn’t look upset at Michael’s actions so Harry decided to put off disciplining him.

“Where’s Mrs. Keller?” he asked instead.

“She’s out,” Mary said, eyes wide. “I don’t know when she’ll be back.”

Women like that shouldn’t even be allowed to open an orphanage. How could she leave 10 children alone without supervision.

Give her a break; 5 of those children are already of age.

“I understand,” Harry nodded, thinking fast. “Mary, why don’t you go get changed in to something less..glittery. Give me your dress when you’re done so I can wash it today.”

“Thank you Harry,” Mary replied politely, manners having been drilled in to her since a young age.

“It’s my pleasure, sweetie.”

He kissed the top of her head and watched her rush out of the door once more.

Sighing, Harry forced his tired body out of bed.

David, the second oldest of Mrs. Keller’s charges, was already in the small bathroom all the boys shared. He looked up when Harry entered and offered him a good morning nod.

“A package came for you,” David told him, “I got Liam to guard it from wandering hands. It’s in the living room.”

“A package?” Harry repeated, surprised. He wondered who would be sending him packages. He didn’t know a lot of people outside the orphanage and he never socialized at work beyond what was necessary.

“It looked expensive,” David admitted, a note of envy in his voice. Harry understood and did not call him out on it. David was a good guy and had his heart in the right place.

“Thank you,” Harry replied, quickly brushing his teeth and washing his face.

He didn’t get to look at the package until two hours later. With the youngest 5 off to school and the oldest 4 either off to school or to work, he took the long thin box Liam had indeed been guarding and brought it to his room. The narrow doorway made manoeuvering the box inside a difficult task, but Harry managed and soon had it resting on his single-sized bed.

With an eager hand, Harry lifted the lid off the box and gasped as he caught sight of a navy colored tuxedo, resting on a bed of high class silk stuffing paper. There was a card.

“A token of my appreciation,” it read, “I’ll see you tonight. TS.”

Trying to bribe you; going to buy you like a common whore.

That’s not what this is about!

He’s probably expecting you to put out at the end of your “date”. You should have said no.

He’s not like that.

You don’t even know him. You know his reputation.

Everyone deservers a second change. Everyone.

No…not everyone. You don’t deserve a second chance. If you could only remember what you did…

Harry closed his eyes and let out a shuttering sigh.

No! You are not going to ruin this day for me.

He’s 10 years older then you.

I’m through discussing this.

At 6.30, Harry went to take a shower. Luckily, none of the other occupants of the house were home. Not surprising considering it was a Friday night after all.

In the shower, Harry paid extra attention to his hair; washing it twice and drying it carefully. He even put on a little cologne; a luxury he rarely allowed himself to have. Then, in his room, he let his towel drop on to the bed, pulled on a pair of briefs before starting to dress.

The suit fitted him perfectly. Harry didn’t even want to know how Tony had managed to get his measurement without him being aware. He borrowed a pair of dress shoes from Liam to complete the look, mentally promising to buy him some candy as apology and when all that was done, he stepped in front of the full length mirror and stared.

A virtual stranger stared back at him. A stranger with his features and body shape, but looked nothing like him in that expensive suit.

Harry didn’t know if that was a good or bad thing.

“You look beautiful,” was out of Tony’s mouth the moment Harry opened the door for him. The boy looked exquisite, absolutely delectable. Tony wondered if he would be able to coax a kiss from him at the end of the night.

“It’s the suit,” Harry replied modestly, blushing slightly, “Shall we go?”

Tony would have liked to protest Harry’s casual brushoff and would have done so if he hadn’t been certain Harry would have scoffed at him. It was better to show him how beautiful Tony found him rather than showering him with compliments. Instead, Tony debated on whether it would be appropriate to offer Harry his arm before finally deciding against it. Harry reminded him of a skittish rabbit; one that would probably bolt if he came on too strong. It was better to keep things casual for now.

“My car is this way,” he said, gesturing to a sleek gray Lamborghini, parked just around the curve. It looked extremely out of place amidst the broken down houses that seemed to populate the neighborhood Harry lived in.

“It’s a sexy car,” Harry said, wonderment coloring his tone.

Tony smiled.

“Do you drive?” he asked.

“I do,” Harry replied, looking over at him.

Tony threw him the keys.

“Go ahead then.”

“You’re letting me drive your car?”

He sounded shocked.

“Go at it,” Tony smirked, “Just don’t get us killed. The paperwork alone would be enough to drive my PA insane.” 


 

The restaurant Tony directed them to had valet parking.

Harry blinked and tried his hardest not to be intimated.

Do you still think this is a good idea? You don’t belong in his world and you never will.

The young man swallowed with difficulty.

This doesn’t mean anything.

“Are you okay?” Tony asked, having noticed just how silent Harry had become.

“I’m fine,” Harry forced out, pasting on a bright smile for good measure. It wasn’t Tony’s fault he didn’t live in the same world as Harry. Tony was being nice bringing him out and Harry was going to do his best to make the evening as enjoyable as possible.

“If you say so,” the billionaire replied, obviously not believing him in the slightest.

Harry didn’t respond nor did he try to justify himself further. At this rate, he’ll end up digging himself a deeper hole.

Instead, he concentrated on driving, pulling the vehicle in front of the entrance and shifting the gear in to park. From beside him, Tony clicked off his safety belt and turned around to open the door. After taking one last breath, Harry turned to do the same.

“Good evening gentlemen,” the valet greeted them, all smiles as he took the keys. Harry saw him throw a truly appreciative look at the car.

“Good evening,” Harry mumbled, unable to meet the valet’s eyes. He felt a little better when Tony walked up to him and put a hand on the small of his back to guide him inside.

The interior of the restaurant was luxuriously decorated, the other patrons beautifully dressed in their evening finest. A Maitre D was waiting for them near the front and led them quickly to a secluded table near the window.

“I’ll be back with your menus,” he told them before leaving them alone.

A little nervous, Harry looked out the window for lack of something to do.

And froze.

“Harry?” Tony asked, worried, but Harry didn’t even hear him. Images and images of his latest dream flashed through his head like a home video. Blood; screams; gun shots.

No! Don’t!

He trembled.

“Harry!” Tony said, this time louder. He came over to Harry’s side of the table and put a hand on the young man’s shoulder. Harry jumped in surprise but was luckily torn out of his gruesome thoughts.

“Tony?” he asked weakly. His head ached; he wanted to cry.

“What’s wrong?”

Harry looked out of the window again.

“That bank,” he finally said, pointing to the building in question, “It’s going to receive a cash shipment today. There’s going to be a hold up.”

Tony remained silent.

“Do you believe me?” Harry turned to him, his eyes glassy.

“Tell me everything,” Tony said.

Harry threw a glance at his watch. 7.15.

“The shipment is set to arrive at 7.30; the car with the armed robbers will arrive at 7.20. They’re going to wait in their vehicle until the cash has disappeared in to the bank and make their entrance. The police will arrive too late and people will die.”

Tony nodded, expression grim. His cellphone was in his hands before Harry had stopped talking.

“I’ll deal with it,” he told the younger man.

Harry closed his eyes and let the feel of Tony’s hands in his hair relax him. 


 

After the police had come and gone, Harry didn’t feel hungry anymore. He was still trembling from his experience and was just about to find some way to ask Tony if he could be brought him when Tony suggested that they take the food and go to his place.

“It’s close from here,” he said, keeping a close eye on Harry. “You can rest a little before I bring you home. You need someone to look after you.”

“Thank you,” Harry said softly, unable to believe how nice Tony was being.

“Come on.”

With the help of a worried looking waiter, Harry managed to make his way back to the car. If the valet was surprised to see him return so fast, he didn’t comment.

The drive back to Tony’s apartment passed in silence. Harry tried his best not to puke. After all, Tony probably wouldn’t appreciate him being sick on his leather upholstery. He didn’t know why he was feeling this way; his episodes as he called them, aren’t usually this violent or this physically taxing.

“We’re here,” Tony said after 5 minutes.

Harry barely noticed the expensive building as Tony led him through the entrance and up the elevator. He was however aware when he was laid down gently on a king-sized bed.

“I’ll go get you some water,” Tony said softly, “Rest.”

“Thank you for being so kind,” Harry managed weakly, trying to open his eyes but failing. He was just so tired. His body doesn’t even feel like his own anymore.

“Rest,” Tony repeated before disappearing. 


 

When Harry woke up from his nap, the clock next to the bed told him it was already 4 in the morning. He felt better by miles and had enough energy to drain the glass of water he found on the night stand. Tony was no where to be found in the room so Harry made his way out of bed and towards what he assumed was the living room. With his head a little clearer, he could admire how beautiful Tony’s loft looked; modern just like the man himself.

“You’re awake.”

He was sitting on the leather sofa, watching some kind of detective show on television. Without even thinking, Harry took a seat next to him and leant in his warmth. Tony smelt fantastic; Harry wondered if it was his cologne or his natural scent.

“Hey,” Tony said softly, pulling Harry closer. The younger man felt the billionaire place a kiss on the top of his head. “How are you feeling?”

“Better,” Harry murmured, unwilling to destroy the serenity of this moment, “Thank you.”

“It’s my pleasure.” He sounded sincere and Harry felt his heart skip a beat.

Don’t get too comfortable. He must be after something.

Tony is a nice guy. Leave me alone.

So trusting…so stupid.

Harry squeezed his eyes shut, trying to ignore his darkest thoughts.

From beside him, Tony sighed.

“Talk to me,” he said.

“I don’t know what to say,” Harry admitted.

“Anything.”

So Harry talked.

“I don’t know who I am,” he admitted, “I know it sounds cliché but in my case it’s true. I really don’t know who I am. Mrs. Keller, the matron at the orphanage, found me wandering along the road. I was brought to a hospital when I admitted I had no memories. They said that my body showed traces of having spent a long period of time on water, maybe in a boat, but there wasn’t even a lake close to the road I was found. For a long time, I didn’t even have a name. Mrs. Keller called me Harry Liam after her cousin-in-law.”

“So you don’t remember anything about your past?” Tony said softly.

“I remember laughter; I remember a green light; I couldn’t explain why I’m sure these are memories but I’m certain. My head aches when I try to think too much. The doctor said it’s because something terrible had happened and I somehow blocked everything out.”

“It’s ok,” Tony placated, “You don’t have to remember your past.”

“I don’t?” Harry turned to him. Their faces were so close they could be kissing if one of them made the move.

“You don’t,” Tony confirmed, “What matters now is the present. You’ll make new memories and I’ll be there every step of the way to make sure they are your happiest yet.”

Without thinking, Harry closed the few inches separating them and kissed him.