muccamukk: Supergirl determinedly flying forward. Text: "Here we go again!" (DC: Here We Go Again)
[personal profile] muccamukk
Title: Heart of Steel (Part I) [slash]
Author: [personal profile] muccamukk
Fandom: Marvel Comics (61?)/Iron Man movie/AU
Spoilers/Warnings: PG-13 for mature themes.
Number of Words: 2000
Notes: Back in March, [personal profile] kijikun had this Arranged Marriage fic challenge thing, which has been turning around in my brain ever since. This does not quite fit the prompt, but it's something close. I have planned more, and will hopefully post soon. Thank you to [ profile] culurien for the speedy beta.

Steve stared at the walls of the room that he'd been told was not a cell, no matter that he wasn't allowed to leave, and forced himself not to pace. He should have tried to punch his way out as soon as he woke up, he decided, before they trapped him like this. He shouldn't have believed that line they fed him about the Golden Age of America, and how his country still needed him.

So far all they'd needed from him was his blood, and a lot of information about the original Project: Rebirth. He didn't know many of the technical details about that anyway, and hedged on what he did remember. He'd figured out pretty damn fast that he wanted no part of this age, Golden or otherwise, especially after he'd met the latest incarnation of Captain America. He hadn't seen much of Walker, but the man did not strike Steve as notably mentally stable. Hadn't they learned anything from the other wartime attempts at recreating the super serum?

No one seemed to have given him a choice, however, and he hadn't figured out how to get out yet. They seemed to know exactly what he was capable of, and left him no openings that he'd found. Everywhere he went, young men and women with stun guns watched him from a distance. He'd had it mentioned to him, oh so casually, that any section of this flying monstrosity could be sealed and flooded with knock-out gas.

He hadn't seen the sun or breathed unfiltered air since they'd thawed him out.

He had a machine that played talkies and a selection of books (both mostly from before the '40s), but no radio or newspapers.

Flopping back onto his bunk, Steve picked up the briefing package they'd given him. It was supposed to fill him on major world events since he'd "died" and help him adjust to life in the twenty-first century, but he was finding it a bit difficult to take. It scanned like all the press the War Department issued about him and Bucky, and Lord knew less than a quarter of that was even close to true. Victories had never been that clean, nor justifications that clear.

As usual, he got no warning before the door slid open. Steve dropped the sheaf of paper, but didn't sit up. It was probably just one of the guards here to herd him into the labs for more tests. That, or another damn bureaucrat to give him a speech about his duty to God and Country. He'd been getting more of those the last few days. He suspected they'd started to figure out that he wasn't as forthcoming as he could be. Given a choice of the two, he'd go for the scientists with the giant needles.

As the door closed behind Anthony Stark's leanly muscled frame, Steve sat up a little straighter. He wasn't actually sure what category the current intruder fit into, which made him more wary. In the two weeks he'd been here, he'd seen Stark talking to the boys in the lab like he belonged there, and someone had told Steve that he'd made the technology that thawed him out alive. He also wore suits that obviously cost more than most people made in a year, and pretty much everyone listened to him, and not like they would to a technical expert. Steve had only spoken to him in passing, and didn't have enough information to make an accurate judgement.

"So, I guess you want to get out of here, huh?" Stark asked as soon as the locks finished cycling.

"You bet," Steve said, but without enthusiasm. Whatever the man was, he'd been collaborating with the fascists running the place pretty heavily.

Stark stepped over to stand at the foot of the bed. "I can do that for you," he said.


"Really," Stark's tone stayed as level as Steve's. "And we need to do it soon. Our friends in the grey suits are only going to take so much more of this name, rank and serial number crap you're giving them before they stop asking and start vivisecting."

Which made Steve feel so much more inclined to give vital information to the mad scientists. "You're the worst persuasion tactic they've sent yet," he said. He really wanted to pick up the papers and pretend to read, but decided that might be a bit much.

Sighing, Stark ran a hand through his hair. It stood up a little, but still looked styled and professional. "Okay, that's a fair assumption," he admitted. "I am not, in fact, in league with the Evil Overlords, but I can see why you'd think I was. How about I just talk, and you and listen and decide if you believe me or not. Seem fair?"

Steve shrugged. It wasn't like he had a choice, and Stark was both more entertaining and nicer to look at than the briefing papers.

"So as you've probably figured out by now, this isn't exactly the land of the free anymore." Stark had jammed his hands in his pockets, and was rocking back on his heels, almost bouncing, as he talked. He seemed very much in love with his own voice. "We still have elections every four years, but there isn't much difference between one puppet leader and the next. The military and anyone rich enough to own their own security firm have the real power. Almost everyone else is too scared and poor to do anything about it."

Despite himself, Steve felt drawn in. Maybe it was all a pack of lies, but it sure felt more real than what everyone else had fed him. "And which one are you?" he asked.

"Oh, I'm the Money," Stark said, taking his hands out of his pockets and spreading them to encompass himself and the world. "I own, operate and do most of the design work for Stark International. I make weapons that kill lots of people, which is why they like me here, though now I've moved more into nanotech, which is why we could thaw you out." At Steve's uncomprehending expression, he elaborated, "Little tiny robots too small to see. You have some mixed in with your blood right now, fixing you up."

There was no way in hell Steve was happy with that idea. "Get them out!" he snapped.

Stark raised a hand. "I'm going to," he said sincerely, "just as soon as you can live without them. It should only be another week or so. That’s assuming the boys and girls in the lab here don't inject something worse, or accidentally kill you testing how strong you are." At the word "accidentally" he held up both hands and curved his fingers in front of his face, wiggling them. Steve thought he looked a bit like he was trying to make shadow puppets. "Which brings us back to getting you out of here before our beloved military kills you, brainwashes you, or both."

"Right," Steve said, and looked down at the military-issue wool blanket folded at the foot of his bed. He was back at that again, it seemed. Too bad; he'd been enjoying Stark's ramblings. Despite his tailored appearance and outlandish tales, he seemed like the most authentic person Steve had encountered since he'd woken up. "I'd put more stock in that speech if I didn't know they've hidden recording devices all over this room."

Stark waved dismissively. "Oh yeah, those. I turned those off and looped the video feed. Then I bribed the guards at the door. So far as anyone knows, you're just staring blankly at that idiotic propaganda they gave you."

"You can do that?" Steve asked, trying not to think about the implications of the phrase "video feed." He was getting used to the idea that all this wasn't really magic, especially computers and hovering aircraft carriers, but every time he felt like he had a handle on things, someone would matter-of-factly spring some new wonder on him.

"Well, yeah," Stark said, shrugging easily, "I designed a lot of this bucket of bolts. That and I have a computer in my head that lets me do pretty much whatever I want with most tech." Which really was a case in point for Steve.

Steve swung his feet over the edge of the bed, putting his elbows on his knees and looking up at Stark. "So you're planning to sneak me out?" he asked, intrigued despite himself.

"Nah, they'd figure it out eventually, and then we'd both spend the rest of our lives on the run. I don't do on the run, not enough expensive booze or tall blonds. I like tall blonds." Stark flashed him a grin, but the expression quickly faded. "I've been trying to figure out how to break this to you gently," he told Steve, "But obviously nothing's coming to me, so I'll just say it." He dropped into a crouch, directly meeting Steve’s gaze. Steve hadn't realised before how blue Stark's eyes were, or maybe it was the gleam of excitement that made them so bright. "I think the only way I can get you out of here legally is if you agree to marry me. Sorry." He clearly wasn't.

That this was not remotely the strangest idea he'd heard of late was a clear sign of how Steve's life had been going. He thought that he should feel relieved to finally know what Stark wanted from him. Instead, he just felt hollowly disappointed and a little sick. "I think," he said, leaning away, "that I'd rather be their lab rat then your boy Friday."

Stark's eyes glanced down, and his lips tightened slightly, but almost before Steve noticed the change, his smile was back in place. "You've got a dirty mind, Captain, but the arrangement I'm proposing... sorry, that's a bad word. What I'm suggesting would be as fake as... you're not going to get that cultural reference, are you? It wouldn't be real, just a meaningless piece of paper. If you accept, you'll have your own room in one of my houses -- preferably the one I'm living in now -- and we will have to appear together in public occasionally. That would be the end of your obligations to me."

Steve eyed the man in front of him cautiously as his babbling ground to a halt. Stark was either a phenomenal actor -- certainly possible -- or actually sincere, and somewhat insane. "What do you get out of it?" he asked.

"Well, I can't say it would hurt my reputation to be the one who bagged the original Captain America," Stark said, "but then I could probably get the same effect shacking up with an actor." Some things never changed with the rich and famous, Steve decided.

Then Stark's voice dropped back to that low, intense tone, and Steve felt the words drawing him in. "My family has run Stark International for four generations. My great-grandfather built it during World War One, and he and my grandfather created new weapons for the Allies in your war. I remember their stories from when I was a boy, stories about you and the Invaders. I remember my father's stories and even a bit that I saw myself fifteen-twenty years ago, when the X-Men and the Avengers, the real ones, were active and still out in the open." He paused, a far-off look in his eyes. Steve had seen the same expression on his grandmother's face when she talked about the lush glens of County Antrim. "This country we're in now, this isn't what America is supposed to be. Maybe America never was what it was supposed to be, but somewhere along the way we stalled. We stopped trying to make it better. We stopped trying to make it anything. And here you are, the living, breathing symbol of everything that should have been, and they want to cut you up?" Stark shook his head decisively. "I won't let it happen."

It was then that Steve decided that he was going to marry this man.

TBC... (Probably)

Reviews Warm the Heart. Flames Warm the Hearth. Constructive Criticism Welcome.

(Part I) (Part II) (Part III) (Part IV) (Part V) (Part VI) (Part VII) (Part VIII) (Part IX) (Part X)
(Part XI) (Part XII) (Part XIII) (Part XIV) (Part XV) (Part XVI) (Part XVII) (Part XVIII)

Just stopping by

Date: 2009-05-26 08:34 am (UTC)
jazzypom: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jazzypom
Nice one. Normally I stay clear of marriage fics because there's always some sort of coercion that makes me squick. You know what I mean? The 'marry me, or else'. But I do like this one so far, the fact that the reasons are well... transparent, and both of them seeming to know what each man is getting into.

I do like the atmosphere that you've set up in this fic - the world is AU but strangely recognisable, and I'm pretty interested to know what's behind the far off gleam in Tony's eyes.

On one hand, I'm sorry that I read this, because dammit, I like it, and if it becomes just a stalled WIP I'll be annoyed. On the other hand, I'm glad I read this, because it seems to be the makings of a plausible marriage fic that I'd read gladly (as in, stuff I wouldn't have to beta or something).

So (comment is long, eh?) well done.

Date: 2009-05-26 08:38 am (UTC)
kijikun: (tony's a lush by euluned)
From: [personal profile] kijikun
DFdssgfdsg I love you more than a little bit.

And oh god my heart aches for Steve. Can't wait for more.

Date: 2009-05-29 12:13 am (UTC)
kijikun: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kijikun
Hey I didn't make you write it....

I've always wondered how Steve would handle having amnesia from the point just before he joined the super solider program on.

Date: 2009-05-29 12:29 am (UTC)
kijikun: (tony's a lush by euluned)
From: [personal profile] kijikun
*hides* Sorry? Honestly wasn't trying to give you ideas. *hides more*

Edit: I think I'm blanking on your other amnesia fic.
Edited Date: 2009-05-29 12:30 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-05-29 12:32 am (UTC)
kijikun: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kijikun
If I was siccing bunnies on you, I'd be begging for you to take mine not coming up with new ones.

Date: 2009-05-26 11:45 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh, please do, continue. I already love this story!

Date: 2009-05-26 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Okay, now I'm hooked.

You must keep writing this.

Date: 2009-05-26 04:12 pm (UTC)
giglet: (Default)
From: [personal profile] giglet
Oh yay!

There are few things quite as attractive as Tony Stark when he drops the jaded cynicism and actually does something idealistic.

Also, I liked the, "would be as fake as... you're not going to get that cultural reference, are you?"

Date: 2009-05-26 07:32 pm (UTC)
healingmirth: (heart)
From: [personal profile] healingmirth
my highly constructive feedback goes something like this:

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee *clappy hands*

Also! Quotefingers! And Steve's observation thereof! Brilliant!

Date: 2009-05-27 01:56 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)

Date: 2009-05-27 02:32 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Wow, this is great. I basically agree with everything jazzypom said in that the world you're building triggers a little veja du and I luvs it.

Please continue please

Date: 2009-05-27 04:24 am (UTC)
marinarusalka: Captain America and Iron Man on a date (comics: Cap and Tony dating)
From: [personal profile] marinarusalka
Ohh, great start! You certainly have me hooked.

Love Tony's final speech, and Steve's reaction to it.

Date: 2009-05-27 06:24 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I can see this happening. Excellent story.

Oh, wow..

Date: 2009-05-27 08:46 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The whole premise is fantastically amusing, but that last line absolutely slayed me. XD In the most gleeful way possible.

Date: 2009-05-27 10:58 am (UTC)
dorky: (MARVEL / kiss)
From: [personal profile] dorky
Ooooh. Interesting! I like dystopian AUs, and the arranged marriage... :D

Looking forward to the next part.

I heart idealistic Tony

Date: 2009-06-02 01:54 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
...and I heart Steve hearting idealistic Tony.
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