“Tabs!!” the suddenness of the professor’s voice entering her brain startled her immensely. J’onn noticed and looked at her.
“Is everything fine?”
“No! This damn idiot is trying to bust my eardrum out!” she had to take the communicator out to rub at her sore ear, “Wait… how are you on this channel?!” it was her turn to attempt to deafen her best friend.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mention it to you earlier; I gave Dr. Lindsey a communicator. She’s just as a reliable asset as any of the Justice League members, now.” the Martian told her. Seeing that she was his girlfriend’s best friend, he knew that if he didn’t know where she was, the professor would more than likely know. The idea came to him during a very confusing moment; he could not make any contact with either her, Bruce, John or Diana whatsoever. The four were nonresponsive for almost an hour however neither wanted to say for sure where they had been. When he made an attempt to go through their minds, he received no answers except for Tabitha’s concern for the Lindsey family. He had to shrug it off; whatever happened between the four, they wanted to keep it amongst themselves and he wouldn’t pry any further.
“You hear that; I’m Justice League material!”
“That does not make you a member! What do you want; I’m busy!” J’onn chuckled at the fact that she was smiling when she said it; he knew that she was always willing to talk to the professor.
“Whatever! I’m requesting entry onto Watchtower; got a special visitor for you…” she informed. Tabitha looked at J’onn and he gave her a small smile.
“I’ll let you make the decision… as well as do the honors…” he motioned towards the control panel. It made her heart warm up that he was letting her take control; she had seen him handle the controls of Watchtower so many times and figured that she knew what to do. She couldn’t help but to have a wide grin plastered on her face.
The Martian looked on with a sense of proudness as she accurately put in the channel the professor was using and retrieved her coordinates. She didn’t look over at him for help; he knew that she was more than ready to become the Monitor if he ever made the decision to step down.
“Alright; coordinates are set: prepare for transport.” Tabitha informed and ended transmission. She looked over at J’onn, “You’ve got to stop keeping things from me…” she said with a more serious face.
“Believe me, it was not intentional… but, I do apologize.” he looked at her with an equally serious face, “I just assumed that since she is someone you trust fully, I should do the same…” he finished. She couldn’t help but to soften her look at him; he was sincere about everything. She gave out a sigh and gave him a quick hug. She made sure that she kissed the cheek facing away from the others.
“Thank you…” she smiled and continued the teleport process.
“Any idea who this ‘special visitor’ is?”
“None. I thought it would be the triplets but I think she would’ve just straight out told me that they were coming. Maybe it’s…” her thoughts were interrupted when two figures appeared on the teleportation pads. She waited until both no longer looked as though they were dizzy to approach them, “P; buddy!!” she reacted and gave him a huge hug. Peter gave out a laugh and hugged her back.
“It’s really nice to see you, again, Tabby Cat…” his words made her flush a shade of red, prompting J’onn and Jamila to laugh.
“Don’t call me that!” she mumbled. Peter threw his head back in laughter.
“You’ve been Tabby Cat since day one; I’m not about to stop calling you that!” he gleamed at her. His glance switched from the embarrassed woman to the Martian who approached the three. He appeared menacing to Peter, although J’onn had a small smile on his face. Peter immediately stuck his hand out, “J’onn J’onzz…?”
“Yes. And you must be Peter Parker. She’s talked so much about you.” he said, shaking his hand.
“Funny… she hasn’t said much about you… or to me, for that matter…” Peter gave her a look. She tried to shy away from his look, locking her arm around her best friend’s arm.
“I’ll leave you three to catch up, then. You can give Peter a tour of Watchtower if you like… Tabby Cat…” he gave his girlfriend a small smile. She flushed even more as he turned to tend to the controls of Watchtower. She scoffed as she took the two away from the control room and down the hallway towards the cafeteria.
“Gaddamn Martian…” she mumbled.
“I can still hear you, by the way…” his voice inside her head made her wince. Jamila took noticed and laughed.
“He heard ya…?”
“Yeah…” she sighed and the two women laughed, “So… you brought him here to lecture me about not staying in contact…?”
“The conversation came up…” Peter slightly smiled, “It would’ve been nice to have known where you actually were.”
“I didn’t want you coming after me, trying to talk me into coming back to New York.”
“All you had to do was tell me that you didn’t want to come back. But… it looks like you’re in good hands…”
“Yep; nice, big and green hands…” Jamila smiled at Tabitha. Her eyes widened at her best friend as Peter looked at the two.
“What… you and J’onn J’onzz are…”
“… Having Martian sex!” Jamila answered for Tabitha. She covered her friend’s mouth, interrupting her lewd dance.
“W-W-What is wrong with you?! We’ve had this conversation before about him reading minds, right?! A-A-And… why are you so excited about this?! God, you’re like a child!”
“Aw, come on, Tabs; tell me it ain’t sexy thinking about it!” her words made the young woman flustered.
“Hmm… thinking about it… it is kind of… hot…” Peter joined in. Tabitha swung around and gave him a surprised look.
“Two words, Peter: shape… shifter…” Jamila waggled her eyebrows.
“Oh… now that is interesting!”
“Oh… my fucking… God… would you two pervs stop talking about my sex life?! Why?!?!”
“Because it’s too easy to get you to turn so many shades of red!” Jamila laughed. Tabitha sighed and continued to blush as her two friends laughed.
“I really, really hope he’s listening to you two… anyway; so, you two just wanted to visit?”
“Not really. I wanted to ask you for a favor.”
“Wait… we ain’t seen each other in, what, two years and you want a favor from me?”
“Seeing that you ran away from me…”
“I did not run away…”
“… Whatever makes you sleep better at night…” Peter smirked at Tabitha. She gave him a light jab on his shoulder, “I think that you owe me something!” he laughed lightly.
“Fine; I’m listening!”
“I have an acquaintance who may need a little help with a… well, let’s just call it a project of his. I promised him that if I could find you, you might be willing to help out.”
“You know I don’t know nothing but wires and stuff…”
“Which makes you the perfect candidate. His name is Tony Stark and…”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa… Tony Stark? The Tony Stark?!”
“… Who’s Tony Stark…?” Tabitha looked at Jamila. Her brown eyes widened at her young friend.
“Wow, you really need to spend more time down on Earth! Tony Stark is a brilliant engineer and he owns Stark Industries…”
“… Stark Industries… kinda rings a bell…”
“They were top suppliers to the military for weapons and high-tech gadgets. Let’s put it this way: whatever Bruce Wayne doesn’t own, Tony Stark does! Oh; and he’s Iron Man!” Jamila continued to rant. Tabitha looked at Peter, who nodded in agreement.
“Another superhero. So, he has all this access to technology and he’s a genius; what the hell would he need me for?”
“He’s overworking himself. He needs some help upgrading his suits.” Peter tried to explain. Tabitha nodded slightly but suddenly looked over at Jamila, who sighed.
“He uses a metal suit when he’s Iron Man. I heard that he has a lot of prototypes for it, too…”
“You know… you know a lot about this guy…”
“He’s a top engineer and one of the best damn physicists known; I make it my duty to know about him! Plus… he’s quite handsome…”
“Geez… how did I know?! Why are you even married if ya gonna look at other men?!”
“Remember; look but don’t touch…” Jamila noted and the three laughed. Tabitha leaned against the wall and thought for a moment.
“So… he’s gonna need some upgrades to all of ‘em…?”
“I think so but I’m not sure.” Peter answered.
“How many does he have so far?”
“… Ten?” his answer made her blink a couple of times at him.
“Think I’m gonna need some help…” she said and looked dead at Jamila. It was her turn to blink a few times at her friend.
“Who… me? Oh, trust me, I’m honored and all but…”
“Not you; you’d probably rape the guy! Ramil and Ashley! I don’t know if their powers would come handy… but I’m gonna need all the manpower I can get! Talk to Mr. Stark about letting me have a small crew and we gotta deal!”
Tabitha, Ramil and Ashley traveled to Malibu, California to Tony Stark’s home; a massive, rounded home that hung on a cliff looking below the Pacific Ocean. Tabitha looked around the circular driveway and put her attention back to the home.
“Umm… are you sure the coordinates were right…?” she knew better than to question J’onn’s judgment; however, as she stood in awe, she couldn’t believe that they were at the right location. It wasn’t as large as Bruce’s manor but it ranked high on Tabitha’s list.
“This… is pretty fucking impressive…” even Ramil was astounded by the sight.
“Yes; the coordinates were correct. I take that it is impressive…?” J’onn’s voice entered Tabitha’s ear.
“An understatement at least! Okay; let’s put out tongues back in our mouths: we got work to do.” she cleared her throat as they approached the door. Before anyone could locate the doorbell, the door swung open and the three were greeted by a slim, leggy woman. Her straight copper blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail with bangs sweeping her forehead. The light grey business suit fit her well as she smiled at the three; as always, Tabitha felt underdressed, wearing a simple blue t-shirt and jeans with her once signature t-shirt head wrap.
“Miss Lyght, Mr. and Mrs. Jones; come in.” she simply announced, letting the three in.
“Oh… Mr. Stark must’ve told you…”
“That… and you’re also being scanned…” the idea made Tabitha stop walking. She looked around for some type of sensors in the large foyer area, “The best security known to man. Pepper Potts…” she finally introduced herself. Tabitha reluctantly shook her hand.
“…Pepper…?” she mused. The leggy woman kept her smile however pointed to the various freckles on her face, “Oh! Tabitha, Ashley and Ramil, then.”
The three were guided towards the living room area, which had a panoramic view of the ocean.
“Your home is really nice…”
“This is Mr. Stark’s home. I’m just CEO of his company.” Pepper corrected Ashley. As she approached the middle of the living room, the floor started to give way, transforming into a circular staircase.
“Holy shit…” Ramil couldn’t help himself. The three were about to follow Pepper down to what they could only think was a basement until she turned and looked at Tabitha.
“What do you know about Tony Stark?”
“… So far, he’s a filthy rich genius engineer superhero who may have too much money or time… or both on his hands!” she smiled. Pepper smiled back but shook her head.
“Seems as though you know very little! Just a warning; he considers himself a ladies’ man…”
“Wait… why didn’t she get the warning…?” Tabitha pointed to Ashley.
“Well… don’t worry; I’m taken…”
“… You are…?” Ramil looked at Tabitha.
“… Yeah… you don’t remember the twin brother incident…?” she eyed the husband and wife. They gave each other a slight look.
“Wait… what?! You and J’onn…” Ashley trailed off. Tabitha sighed.
“C-Can we just keep that between us, please? Anyway… thanks for the warning… but I’m pretty sure I can handle him…” Tabitha smiled at Pepper. She didn’t know what all Peter had told about her; she actually found herself looking forward to Stark “misbehaving”.
When the three followed Pepper down into the basement, they were absolutely amazed at what laid in front of them.
“Jesus… it’s like another house down here!” Ramil’s eyes widened. The “basement” was complete with a training area, a garage and most noted, lab areas. On the far wall, Tabitha noticed the display of armors that she knew she would be working on; roughly six. In the middle of the room was where the group found Tony Stark. His short, black hair laid in a slightly cropped mess on top of his head as he made modifications to a piece of red metal. His black tank top revealed toned and defined arms. The man’s arms weren’t what stuck out to her; the light blue circular glow in the middle of his chest did.
“Sir, you have guests…” a voice came from nowhere, partly computerized. Yet again, Tabitha found herself trying to find the source but failed. Tony reluctantly removed his goggles and slightly glared at the group. Even as he didn’t hide the fact that they were probably not welcomed, Tabitha couldn’t help but to agree that the professor was right; he was indeed handsome. When his eyes landed on her, they softened a bit as a smile played on his lips. She cleared her throat and approached the workstation, sticking her hand out.
“Tabitha Lyght. Heard you needed some help with your suits.” she introduced herself. He simply stared at her, not even bothering to shake her hand.
“Hmm; southern?” he bluntly asked.
“Born and raised!” she was about to retract her hand until he finally shook it, “This is Ramil and Ashley; I hope you don’t mind…”
“I do, actually. But, since you’re already here, we might as well get to work. So… how do you know Peter…?” he asked casually as he stood and went over to his wall of prototypes.
“Um… I was his sidekick… but I’m pretty sure he told you everything about me…”
“He did; I just wanted to hear it from the source.”
“Oh… okay… what you want to know about…?”
“Your alien boyfriend.”
“Martian; what about him?”
“You two have sex?” his question made Ashley and Ramil snicker. Tabitha widened her eyes at his audacity.
“I mean, you would think that it would be incompatible if not impossible. I’m just intrigued about the whole thing. Is he built like a human man or is the sex a mind thing…?”
“Oh… my, God…” Ashley laughed.
“No need for formalities, here; call me Tony.”
“No… I can’t do that. Anyway… it’s none of your business if w…”
“What? Why can’t you? We’re working together, right? Is it a southern thing? You know; hospitality or something like that?”
“It’s… something I don’t wanna get into right now… and that also includes my sex life… which everyone’s got a sudden interest in…” the thought made her slightly blush; she could imagine her best friend doing her lewd dance at that moment, “Look; if you ain’t gonna take this seriously, we can leave.”
“Calm down, southern belle… so, what can you do to these suits?” he waved his arm over to the wall. She joined him and examined the suits from afar.
“… Well… I could make ‘em indestructible but I’d have to take ‘em apart and assemble ‘em all over again…”
“You can do that?” she finally saw a look of surprise on his face and smiled slightly.
“I mean, they’d probably get dinged a little bit but… yeah. Nothing would destroy ‘em…”
“If you can do all that… what the hell do you need us for?” Ramil asked. Her smile grew.
“To make things go by faster! We’re gonna have to dismantle and reassemble. You got blueprints…?” she looked at Tony. He nodded and tapped at his temple, making her lose her smile, “Great…”
For the remainder of the day, the four worked on improving the Iron Man suits. They figured on a method of disassembling all of the suits first, letting Tabitha work her ability on the metal pieces and then reassembling. However, Tony insisted on a trial run and reassembled the Mark II armor first. When he stepped into the suit, it was then that Tabitha realized that whatever was glowing in the middle of Tony’s chest powered up the suit.
“Let’s see what you’ve improved…” he said before putting on his face helmet. The slits that served as eyes lit the same light blue as the orb in the middle of his chest plate. After a few moments going through a checklist, he nodded and motioned for the three, “Give me everything you got.” he challenged. The husband and wife duo looked at Tabitha and she shrugged.
“Okay…” she nodded towards the two. Ramil immediately took a fighting stance briefly before releasing a large stream of fire towards Tony. When it came into proximity, he flicked his wrists, making the stream engulf Tony in an upward spiral. Out of habit, he attempted to shield himself from the fire. Tabitha held her breath, looking on to see if there was any damage. When the fire dissipated and there were no visible signs of any damage, she let out a slight sigh of relief. Without hesitation, Ashley opened up her canteen that she carried on her hip and guided the water out of it. Expanding it, she threw the water towards Tony as hard as she could, encasing him in a bubble. With a quick clench of her fist, the pressure inside the bubble crashed onto him, sending him to his knees. Tabitha didn’t wait for him to get up, she charged up with all of her might and sent various streaks of lightning towards the suit, knocking him back a few feet. She had hoped that the combination of her lightning and Ashley’s water didn’t short circuit the suit as the three approached him. She smiled as the lights in his eye slits and chest plate were still glowing; he gave the three a thumbs up as he immediately removed his head plate.
“That was… amazing! ‘Dawling’, do you know what you just did?”
“Your lightning… charged up my suit…”
“Whoa…” Ramil blinked at the two.
“Well, I should’ve known it would but not beyond max capacity! One final test…” he looked at Ashley, “You can work with water; can you form ice?” he asked. She gave him a quick nod, “Freeze me…” he ordered, getting up. Ashley looked at Tabitha for some sort of approval.
“Hold that thought; what the hell is a ‘dawling’?”
“He’s mocking your accent…” Ashley pointed out. She narrowed her eyes at Tony as he slightly rolled his.
“Anyway; something about ice you don’t like?”
“High altitudes causes the suit to ice over and shut down. It just survived flames and built up water pressure so I’m curious. Now… freeze me…” he put his helmet back on. Tabitha nodded towards Ashley, who pulled out more water from her canteen and made it wrap around various parts of the armor. A slight movement of her hands made it ice over and the three waited for some sort of reaction. Seconds later, cracking was heard as Tony freed himself from the ice patches, hovering a couple of feet in the air.
“Nice…” even Tabitha had to show her amusement. He landed back on the ground, removed his helmet and gave the lightning woman a slight smile.
“Is there any way that I can hire you…?”
As the four made their way back to the first floor, they were greeted by Pepper and another slender woman. Her red locks fell in curls down to her shoulders, moving whenever she moved as she eyed the three that followed Tony, her grey eyes showing a slight glint when they landed on Tabitha.
“Sweet; pizza…” Tabitha noticed the pizza boxes on the elegant glass coffee table instead of the steely stare from the redhead.
“Figured you’d be hungry with all the work you four were doing. This is Tony’s personal assistant, Natalie Rushman.” Pepper introduced. The redhead shook hands with the three, “Help yourselves.” she offered as the three sat down. Natalie gave everyone a polite smile as she stood.
“I have to get going. Mr. Stark, if there isn’t anything…” before she could finish, he waved her off and headed to his personal bar. Tabitha smiled at the woman.
“Aha; not the only one who calls you ‘Mr. Stark’…” she switched glances from Natalie to Tony, giving him a smug grin. He shrugged.
“She works for me...” he simply replied.
“Nice meeting you, Miss Rush…”
“Just Natalie. If you’re here to help Mr. Stark then we’ll see each other, soon.” Natalie smiled and left.
“Drinks around the room?” Tony continued to fix himself a drink; Tabitha noticed without any type of chaser.
“Just a beer, if you got it…” Ramil took him up on his offer. His wife nodded.
“The same here. Tabitha?”
“… Yeah; ditto.”
“What are you, frat boys?” Tony scoffed however handed his three guests beer. He suddenly nodded towards the t-shirt head wrap of Tabitha’s, “Why are you wearing a shirt around your head, dawling?” the last word made her cringe slightly. She sighed; what was she hiding from? She gently took the head wrap off, letting her snow white hair fall to her shoulders.
“Oh… wow…” Pepper couldn’t hide her own amusement. Tony idly grabbed a strand of her hair and studied it.
“Stripped pigments… whatever did this gave you your powers?”
“What happened to you?” Pepper asked and Tabitha started her story. Before she could fully explain, the phantom computerized voice interrupted her.
“James Rhodes, sir…” it announced as a tall, lean uniformed man entered the room. His coffee skin matched well with the blue uniform, one that Tabitha immediately recognized as an Air Force Service Dress uniform. She was also glad that she remembered her insignias; she knew what the silver oak leafs pinned on his shoulders stood for: lieutenant colonel.
“Just in time; this is James Rhodes, a dear friend of mine and general…”
“Lieutenant colonel…” his eye roll made Tabitha slightly giggle.
“… Of the Air Force.” Tony finished without missing a beat. James shook his head at first as he greeted everyone in the room. When he went to shake Tabitha’s hand, he couldn’t help staring at her white locks.
“A pleasure, sir…” her voice took him out of his trance. He gave her a warm smile.
“Either you’re as southern as your accent portrays or you’re military; only my unit calls me sir!”
“Both, actually… well, I was military; Army.” she answered. She took notice that his eyes continued to stare at her hair and smiled, “And I’m from Tennessee. You, um… wanna hear why my hair is white…”
“Yes…” he blinked and sat down with the others.
The next day, the four continued with their work on the armors. It went by faster this time around, seeing that Tony didn’t want to test out the other suits. Tabitha was putting the finishing touches on the last prototype armor; this one was different from the rest, being mainly grey and black instead of the usual red and gold.
“Wow…” a familiar voice commented. She stopped what she was doing and turned, looking into the brown eyes of James. She removed her goggles and smiled, “So, you really can make anything indestructible…?”
“I guess. I just recently moved up to metal. The first test went pretty good. I wanna see it go through a rougher test, though…” she looked around at the other armors. She looked back at him, “So… how did you and Mr. Stark meet?”
“I was a military liaison for Stark Industries. I… didn’t like him at first. Arrogant, selfish, rude…”
“… An asshole…” she volunteered lowly. It was enough to make James laugh.
“I was trying to be nice but yes; Tony can be an asshole some… all of the time!” he sighed. She giggled slightly.
“Damn… hate to hear what you say about your enemies!”
“You pointed it out! I admit; he’s a jerk but… he’s a good jerk, you know?” he commented. She could only nod in agreement; she had never met anyone like Tony Stark. She saw that behind the attitude, he had a fraction of a soft side to him.
“So… is he just all suit? I mean, does he have powers like me or is it just the suit?”
“Wow; have you lived underneath a rock the past year?”
“Actually, smart ass; in space…” she smirked.
“It’s my home, now. Has been for a couple of years, now.”
“Oh. Well… I know that you’ve noticed that glow in the middle of his chest…”
“Yeah; been meaning to ask about that…”
“It’s what powers the suits. We kind of joke and say that it’s his heart now… which can almost be taken literally.” James explained lowly. Her eyes widened at his words. She looked over at where Tony, Ramil and Ashley were doing light training.
“You saying… he ain’t got no heart?!” her words made him cringe.
“No one cares that you speak like that…?”
“… Like what?”
“Forget it! Anyway; it’s called an arc reactor. About a year ago, we were in Afghanistan, testing out a missile. Call him what you want but the man is dedicated to anything that his company makes…”
“He had to see to things personally…” she realized. James nodded but his expression quickly turned to one of guilt.
“I… I should’ve stayed with him. We were leaving the test site in different hummers… his was ambushed. Before we could turn around and retaliate, the terrorist group had already captured him and fled. He was in a bad way; shrapnel from the attack hit him in the chest.”
“Jesus; how did he survive…?” her voice lowered. She studied him, now as Ramil and himself sparred with one another.
“He explained it to me but… I’m not a genius like he is! Someone else was there with him, put some sort of magnet in his chest to keep the shrapnel from getting to his heart. They needed him alive so that he could make them a missile. The man was running off a generator… it was needed to power up that magnet.”
“Yeah. Long story short, he ended up making a makeshift suit to escape; destroyed their base and everything. I finally found him roaming the desert. We got back here, he updated the reactor, his company stopped producing weapons and he created what you see here.”
“Wow! He’s been through a lot…”
“Yeah. And… since you live out in space, you probably don’t know that the government wants his armor…”
“And, here you are, making them indestructible…” he looked at her. She returned the stare.
“What you saying; that I was sent here by the government…? I was doing this as a favor for a friend!”
“No; I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to accuse you. I just found it slightly ironic of your timing. The two of you do incredible work…” he gazed at the black and grey armor. She took notice and slightly nodded.
“James… do you like his suits?” she pried. He slightly shrugged.
“I won’t lie; it’s the best thing that he’s ever created. I’ve seen it in action; it’s no wonder the government wants them.”
“But… do you want one?” she gave him a look, waiting for his response. He returned her gaze.
“What are you getting at?”
“Why would he make so many different armors? You’d think that if he’s such a great engineer, the only thing he’d have to do is just… continue to modify the one suit, right? He knows what I can do; all he had to do was let me upgrade one of the suits and be done with it. But, I’m upgrading all of ‘em!”
“Maybe he’s using them for different circumstances…”
“Or maybe… he’s making them different for different folks…”
“Let’s say you’re right. How would someone else work the suits? His arc reactor powers the suits; he and the armor are one.” James pointed out. Tabitha studied the armor that she was working on and smiled.
“I ain’t the sharpest knife in the drawer… but I do know a few things! I noticed that this suit… don’t need his reactor; it’s got one built in, already…”
“It’s the only suit that does. Let’s see; he just met me and Pepper don’t look like she’d do the superhero stuff… this is your suit, James…”
“Why would he do that?”
“Because… he’s your friend…”
The three completed their work ahead of time to Tony’s delight. He was so impressed with their work, he invited them to stay for his birthday party. Had James not told the story of how Tony came to be, Tabitha would’ve declined, as Ramil and Ashley did. However, she was even more curious about the arc reactor… as well as her theory about the extra armors; she wanted to get a chance to talk about both to him.
She was slightly disappointed as James and herself sat away from the crowd that begged for Tony’s undivided attention; he had given her the run-around and never wanted to talk about anything that she found was important. She sighed and shook her head as she watched him; he insisted on enjoying himself in one of his modified armors sans his helmet. She wasn’t used to seeing anyone drink as heavily as he did; her forehead wrinkled at the fact that he was on his eighth stiff drink.
“That ain’t healthy… or safe, is it?” she noted. James shook his head.
“That’s Tony for you! By the way… you look nice tonight.” he surprised her. She blushed as she sipped her champagne. She hadn’t packed for a night on the town; her wardrobe was work-related: t-shirts and jeans. She couldn’t imagine what James was seeing that was different about her, aside from the t-shirt head wrap.
“… Anyone in space missing you?” she smirked at his boldness. The thought made her blush even more.
“Uh… yeah, actually.”
“So, Tony was right! He said that he’s an alien…”
“Martian!” Tabitha rolled her eyes and laughed. James chuckled slightly but then gave her a look.
“Wait… Martian? As in…”
“Yes; the one who rehabbed me…” she slightly sighed out.
“How did that happen?”
“I don’t know; it just… did.”
“Hmm. He’s lucky…”
“He’s also a mind reader so watch what you think!” her words made him straighten up and stare at her.
“Wait… he doesn’t have to be here to read minds?!” his shocked expression made her laugh aloud.
“Nope. He don’t have to know you or have ever even seen you before to do it. Oh… and he could be here; he’s a shape shifter, too!”
“Holy… makes it hard to cheat!” he laughed and shook his head, “So, I’m getting you in trouble by just talking to you!”
“What? No! He’s… not like that… I don’t think…” she wanted to giggle thinking that J’onn would ever get jealous, “Anyway; I wouldn’t think of cheating…”
“Is it serious, then?” his question made her think back to her time-traveling adventure. According to that scenario, it definitely was serious between the two. She remembered her words about the Martian being able to read minds and immediately stopped thinking about the secret mission, smiling down at her glass.
“I would think so…”
“You ‘think’ so?”
“I mean, if you’re asking if he proposed or something like that, no. But, that ain’t on my mind right now. We’re still tryna figure out how to tell the others about us…”
“Wow; no one knows?!”
“Only my best friend, the two that were with me this whole week, Mr. Stark and you. Oh, and one Justice League member. Being a superhero has its disadvantages…” she realized sadly.
“Why do it, then, if you have to keep it secret?” he asked. She leaned back in her seat and thought about his question.
“Is Mr. Stark and Pepper seeing each other?”
“It’s… kind of hard to say. You see it wanting to happen but then… Tony will be Tony…”
“Since he’s told everyone that he’s Iron Man, how many times has she been kidnapped or threatened?” she wanted to know. It was James’ turn to lean back in his chair to think. He slowly nodded and looked at her.
“The worst thing a villain can do is hurt the one you care about…” her words made her think back to two instances. When Joker took Ethan hostage and called her out; he knew what to do to attempt to grab her attention. Had Bruce told her, she knew that she wouldn’t have thought twice about saving him, herself. The other instance was when she was terrorized briefly by J’onn’s twin brother. She knew that the Martian was going to do anything to get her out of harm’s way; if that meant succumbing to the very virus that killed off his race, he was willing to do it. Another thought had crossed her mind; she knew that Ma’alefa’ak had terrified her… she couldn’t put her finger on exactly why she was too afraid to continue her attack on him…
Her thoughts were interrupted by a series of drunken cheering. Both put their attention towards the front of the room, where Tony was standing beside the deejay’s booth, grabbing a microphone.
“Oh, hell…” James sighed. Tabitha shook her head but laughed a little.
“It’s his birthday; let ‘em have some fun!”
“Thank you for coming to celebrate with me. I know most of you are wondering how I go to the bathroom in the suit…” he drunkenly announced. Tabitha raised an eyebrow and had to admit that she wondered the same. He closed his eyes for a moment, slightly wobbled and a sign of relief flushed across his face, “Like that!” he continued and the crowd roared with laughter. Tabitha widened her eyes.
“Oh… my… God… did he just really…”
“I really don’t want to know right about now!” James rushed, shaking his head. Tony’s antics prompted Pepper to appear and attempt to scold him.
“They act like my mom and dad…” she didn’t know why it warmed her slightly, “You know; without all the drinking!”
“Your dad embarrasses your mom a lot?”
“No… he just does shit that makes her fuss at him!” she smiled. Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard a blast; her instincts made her dive towards James and cover him on the ground.
“What the hell…” was his muffled response. She quickly looked around and noticed that Tony’s arm was extended out towards what used to be the door.
“Sorry; you alright?”
“I’m fine. You would’ve made one hell of a combat buddy…” he smirked at her.
“Oops…” Tony drunkenly smirked. Instead of the partygoers becoming intimidated, they began to cheer.
“Blast this!” one drunken woman yelled and threw a vase in the air. Tony shrugged and extended his arm out once more, exposing the proton blaster in his suited glove. A light blue repulsor ray shot out and hit the vase, shattering it into pieces above the partygoers’ heads.
“Okay; that definitely ain’t safe!” Tabitha got up from the floor. James followed her as they approached Tony.
“I think that’s enough!” James threatened.
“He’s right, Mr. Stark; you’re gonna seriously hurt someone…”
“Dawling! You know, I really love your accent; get up here and show them what you can do!” he tried to pull Tabitha beside him.
“Mr. Stark!” she snatched away from his grasp.
“Oh, don’t be shy; hit me with that lightning of yours!”
“You’ve had enough fun for tonight; don’t drag her into this!” James gently pushed Tabitha out of the way so the two men were nearly face-to-face.
“I really think you’re out of your league, ‘soldier boy’!” Tony actually laughed, pointing his proton blaster towards James.
“Stop it!!” Tabitha was beyond shocked that he would threaten the lieutenant colonel like he did. However, James didn’t flinch, narrowing his eyes at his friend. His lips formed a thin line before he slowly backed away and stormed off. Her concerned stare for James switched to irate as soon as she laid eyes on Tony laughing. Without thinking, she placed her hands on his chest plate, charged up and gave him a powerful shock, knocking him off his feet. The crowd continued to cheer even as she went after James, following him to the lower level of the home, “James…” she tried however he was too busy fuming to listen to her. He put the access code in to continue beyond the glass shield and continued his aggravated pace towards the back, “James! What you gonna do…?”
“Even the odds…” he finally responded. He suddenly turned to her, “You know… you’re the only one that calls me James… it’s nice to hear that instead of ‘Rhodey’ all the damn time!” he slightly smiled. James approached the grey and black Iron Man prototype armor, “Help me into this…” he ordered. She simply stared at him.
“Do you think it’s worth it…?”
“He said I was out of my league. I want to see what he’ll say after this!”
“… I don’t think you’d know how to operate it…”
“I’m a pilot, Tabitha; how hard can it be?”
“James… don’t do this. Let’s just… leave and let ‘em be. He’ll pass out sooner or later…”
“He is going to hurt someone! Do you want that to happen?”
“Then, help me… please? You said it the other day; this is my suit.” he slightly pleaded. She sighed and started to help him into the armor.
“Don’t kill him!”
“You think I’m reckless?”
“No but… things can get outta hand quick. I’m coming with you.”
“Fine.” he said as the suit immediately enclosed on him. Moments later, his limbs moved, “Hmm… sensors… they respond to my every move.” he noticed. Tabitha grabbed the helmet and put it over his head. The front shield immediately covered his face and the eye plates lit up white, “Alright; let’s clear the party out!”
When the two made their way back to the party, they saw that Tony was dancing around. Tabitha filled the air with her lightning, drawing the attention of the crowd.
“I’m only going to say this once… get out…” James threatened.
“Yep… you ain’t gotta go home but you gotta get the hell outta here!” she continued to charge up. The partygoers left immediately, leaving only Tony, James and Tabitha.
“Two against one? You two can’t take me on…”
“You’re drunk, Mr. Stark. We don’t wanna hurt you while you’re like this…”
“Really? Oh, dawling… I don’t want to hurt you!” he retaliated. Before James could react, Tony released a repulsor ray towards Tabitha. She barely missed getting hit, doing a Lightning Cloud out of the way. She appeared behind Tony, placed her hands on his back and released her lightning, making him stumble to the ground.
“Whoa…” James couldn’t help himself; he noted that she was incredibly quick. It didn’t change the fact that his friend had attempted to hurt her; he stalked him angrily, “You don’t even deserve to wear one of these; shut it down!” he growled at him. Tony wearily got up and sighed.
“Goldstein…” he looked towards the deejay’s booth. The man came out of his hiding spot, peeking slightly over his laptop.
“Yes, Mr. Stark?”
“Give me a phat beat to beat my buddy’s ass to…” he actually laughed. Tabitha raised her eyebrow at his cockiness however James grabbed him from behind. Without warning, Tony blasted backwards, making both go through the adjacent wall. Tabitha gave an apologetic look towards the deejay and followed the two to the other room. She didn’t know what to do besides make sure that she was careful not to get in the way; the two exchanged each other’s blows, Tony with more strength although he was intoxicated. She realized why; the two hits she delivered to him had charged his suit up… twice. Her lightning would only increase the power within the suits.
As she watched Tony get the upper hand in the fight, she immediately went to James’ side as he was knocked down.
“Relax…” she warned and gave him a shock. With renewed energy, James grabbed Tony and threw him into the ceiling, knocking him into the level upstairs. She continued to follow the two, making sure that neither was injured badly. Another thing that she had to admit was that she did a great job on the armors; as much as they were throwing each other around, going through ceilings and walls, she couldn’t see so much as a dent in either suit.
James proved that although he was a pilot, he was inexperienced in operating the armor; Tony yet again took advantage and slammed him down on the ground, hard enough to go through the floor. Tabitha followed the two, jumping down from the hole they made. When she saw Pepper and Natalie in the corner of the room, her instincts kicked in; she pushed the two towards Tony’s bodyguard, Happy.
“Get ‘em out of here!” she yelled at him. While doing so, she noticed that the crowd that was partying were standing outside, watching the fight through the panoramic window. She went outside and glared at them, “Didn’t we say get the hell on?!” she purposely made sure that the crowd saw the waves of currents flowing around her hands and arms. They immediately ran away from the area, “Damn; do they want to get hurt?!” she shook her head in anger. She went back inside to tend to the two men, sighing a bit in relief to see Tony down, looking defeated. Before she could move, he rose his arm up towards James, prompting him to do the same; she held her breath.
“Put your hand down…”
“You think you got what it takes to wear that suit…?” Tony challenged.
“We don’t have to do this.”
“He’s right, Mr. Stark… please…”
“You want to be the ‘war machine’, take your shot…” Tony challenged as he began to charge up. She had to do something, she realized. She made her move right as the two proton beams connected; her plan was to push Tony out of the way. Tabitha hadn’t planned on the force of the beams knocking both men back; she was thrown back into the wall along with Tony.
He saw it in a split second and gathered his senses quickly.
“No… Tabitha!” he yelled. James hurried over to where the two had crashed into the wall, quickly moving Tony out of the way. Her breathing shallow and her body battered, he gently scooped her up. He took to the sky, hoping that their antics hadn’t cost her life.
She awoke with a start and immediately wished she hadn’t; her entire body throbbed with pain. She let her eyes adjust and saw that she was in a room; the hospital, she realized. She looked towards her right and sneered at the IV in her arm. As she calmed down, she started to feel a bit better, letting out an exasperating sigh. What happened, she tried to think. She moaned as she tried to sit up, debating on snatching the IV out of her arm as she lightly fiddled with it.
“H-Hey… don’t do that…” a familiar and concerned voice came at her from her left. She quickly turned and was looking into James’ brown eyes. He slightly smiled, “You are one tough cookie!”
“Tell me something I don’t know… like, where am I…” she croaked out.
“Base hospital; I didn’t know where else to take you.” he tried to explain. He helped her sit up in the bed and gave her water for her throat.
“What the hell happened? Why do I feel like I went through a concrete wall?!” her questions spewed out after she wetted her throat.
“People feel like that when you get a guy in a metal suit slamming into you… going through a wall!” he tried to make light of the situation. He was amazed that she had survived the collision; anyone else probably would had died. When she smirked at him, he returned the smile.
“How long I’ve been here…?”
“A little over a day. They… noticed how advanced your body is and wanted to do some tests… but I talked them out of it; told them that your ‘condition’ was top secret.”
“Thanks…” she said, sincerely; the last thing she needed was to be treated like some lab rat.
“I’m so sorry, Tabitha. I never meant for you to get hurt…”
“It’s alright… I guess…” she slowly shook her head. She knew it was her fault for attempting to meddle; all she had to do was stand out of the way. However, they had already destroyed half of Tony’s home; she had enough of the uncalled destruction. She suddenly looked at him, “James… where’s your suit?” she asked. He opened his mouth to speak but then turned towards the wall.
“I… turned it in… sort of…”
“You did what?! James! That was your suit!”
“And, it’s still my suit. It’s just government property as well.”
“I can’t believe you. You know what’s gonna happen! They won’t be satisfied with you being in control of the suit; they’re gonna take it and make copies! Is that what you want? Because you got pissed off at a friend?!”
“You could’ve been killed; he could’ve injured other people!”
“I can take care of my damn self! And I took care of everyone else when you two didn’t give two shits who got in the way!” she fumed. She looked angrily at her IV, “Get me a nurse or doctor or someone who knows how to take this shit off of me…”
“Tabitha… what else was I supposed to do?”
“Act like a fucking grownup! You really want me to try to pull this out myself?!”
“What are you doing…”
“Getting the hell outta here…”
“Don’t try to stop me; I’m either getting outta here the easy or the hard way…” she glared at him. He let out a huge sigh and called for a doctor. He gave her a sympathetic look.
“I really don’t want you upset with me. But… this couldn’t be helped. He’s out of control.” he stopped speaking when she glared at him yet again. He didn’t know what else to say to make her understand his actions; his best bet was to simply be quiet and let her leave.
She was upset with both men however, she felt that Tony at least deserved to know what his supposedly friend had done. When she went by his home, she realized that either he was wealthier than she expected or what happened the night before was commonplace; there were no signs of the fight between the two. An apologetic yet frustrated Pepper found his coordinates for Tabitha and she found him at a local donut shop… still in his Iron Man suit. She sighed as she approached him and noticed that he wasn’t alone. Sitting across from him was Natalie and a dark brown man. When Tony’s attention went to Tabitha, the two turned to look at her.
“Dawling!” his teasing made her jaw slightly twitch. She gave him a quick narrow stare and put her attention towards his company. Looking at the older man, she knew how others felt when they stared at her snow-white hair; the man was wearing an eye patch. She couldn’t help but to wonder what he had gone through to have to wear it however she kept her thoughts to herself as she gave them a dry smile; she was still sore from the ordeal she had gone through.
“Natalie…” she nodded.
“… no, it’s Tabitha…” she gave her a confused look. It was enough to make Tony snort and the other man give her a smirk.
“Natasha is Natalie’s real name. Apparently, she’s a spy; a Russian one at that…” Tony’s words made Tabitha’s eyes widen.
“What the fuck did I miss…”
“Miss Tabitha Lyght. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you in person…” the older man continued to smirk at her.
“And, you are…?”
“Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“Never heard of ‘em…”
“Short for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.”
“That did… nothing to make me understand… but I’m flattered that I’m popular with you guys. Sorry but I was recently put through a concrete wall so I’m a little slow right now…” she finally put her attention towards Tony, “I wanna talk to you… in private.”
“It may have to wait; we’d like to talk to you as well. Please, have a seat.” Nick announced. Tabitha looked at him with a confused look and then looked back at Tony.
“They’re forming a superhero boy band…” he commented while sipping his coffee. He patted the spot beside him, “Come on; they have good coffee here and I know you love coffee…” he coaxed. She reluctantly sat but looked at the older man.
“Mr. Fury, I already belong to a group of…”
“I know; the Justice League. We have no jurisdiction where Watchtower is so I was unable to talk to you there.” he surprised her. She shot a look over at Tony who shrugged.
“That wasn’t my doing; he knows a lot of things that he shouldn’t know…” he explained. Tabitha slowly nodded as a waitress appeared at their table, “She’ll have a coffee. Cream, sugar?” he asked Tabitha. She looked at the waitress and gave the Japanese woman a polite smile.
“Two creamers, please…” she said and took notice of the woman’s nametag: Hino Rei. Where had she heard that name before? The waitress smiled back at Tabitha, refilled everyone else’s beverages and left the table. Tabitha racked her brain as to why the woman’s name looked familiar. She sat straight up and quickly looked at the waitress once she realized, who was towards the kitchen area.
“J’onn! What are you doing here?!”
“… How did you figure it out…?”
“The Lindseys are anime fanatics; I learned a little something while I was there! Hino Rei, Rei Hino… Sailor Mars…” she smiled to herself; she was actually elated that she had guessed right. She looked over and warmed up at the returning smile.
“I was worried when I tried to contact you and received no response; I sensed that you were injured…”
“Hmm… a dollar past and a day short you are, hon…”
“… I believe the saying is a day late and a dollar short…”
“Are you… flirting with the waitress? Dawling, I didn’t know you swung that way!” Tony’s voice startled her. Blushing, she looked at the three and shook her head.
“N-No! She’s… not who you think she is… a-anyway; you said you wanted to talk to me. I ain’t joining your group, just to make things clear…” she warned.
“You may have no other choice, once you hear what I have to tell you…” he retaliated. She gave him a look.
“Do you know what he’s talking about?”
“I just now found out. For what it’s worth, I apologize…”
“Operation: Recharge was an S.H.I.E.L.D. beta project, an old one. We were attempting to copy the success of the ‘Super Soldier Serum’; our version would be able to give elemental super abilities to test subjects along with super strength, accelerated healing and super speed. You are familiar with Steve Rogers…?” Nick tried. Tabitha slightly nodded.
“Captain America; he helped us out against the Germans in World War II. Wait… I’m like Captain America?!” she widened her eyes.
“Yes and no. The project had dangerous side effects and was eventually shelved; put away until technology would catch up to improve it. We found out too late that a scientist had stolen the beta formula.” he finished explaining. It was enough for Tabitha to slowly sit back and shake her head.
“You mean to tell me that the son-of-a-bitch wasn’t even a real general…” she slowly began to fume.
“Remember your breathing…”
“Gary First was an extraordinary scientist… but he had mental issues. The one thing that was agreed on was that the serum wouldn’t be used on every single person; just a small select few. He wanted to turn every single military personnel into a ‘Super Soldier’ variant.” Nick said. Tabitha sat there, arms folded across her chest, shaking her head.
“What do you want from me?”
“Two things, actually. Mr. Stark knows about the ‘Avengers Initiative’…”
“Superhero boy band…” Tony mumbled.
“We would like for you to consider it, both of you. And, seeing that you’re the sole survivor of the beta program… we would like a sample of your DNA…” his last words made her glare at the two.
“What?! No! Hell no!! I ain’t gonna be responsible for another plague of fucking white-haired kids! Fuck that; I don’t care what government agency you’re from!”
“You are a valuable asset to your country, now Miss Lyght.” Nick tried. She rose from her seat but shook her head.
“No… I’m just another test subject to you; I’m a valuable asset to the Justice League, now!” she mentioned and turned to leave. She was stopped by J’onn who was still shape shifted as the waitress. He gently grabbed her hand.
“Trust me; no one is taking you anywhere… if I have anything to say about it…” he threatened, looking dead at Nick.
“Um… a little too much testosterone in your diet, miss…?” Tony tried. It was enough to make Tabitha slightly smirk.
“J’onn J’onzz; Tony Stark, Natal… Natasha, Nick Fury.” she introduced.
“J’onn J’onzz? As in…”
“Shape shifting, alien boyfriend J’onn J’onzz…” Tony finished for Nick.
“Martian…” both Tabitha and J’onn corrected; he continued to look at Nick, “As far as attempting to make her join… that conversation is now over…” he clarified. Nick uneasily cleared his throat and looked Natasha’s way.
“Fine. But, I guarantee that we’ll see each other soon, Miss Lyght.”
“No, we won’t. If I see anyone who even looks like a S.H.I.E.L.D. employee or agent or whatever… I’m shocking ‘em to high hell!”
“Tabitha…” J’onn warned.
“I will… you two included…”
“You think you would get away with attacking us…?” Natasha asked with a slight smirk.
“Honey, all the spy techniques in the world won’t stop you from getting electrocuted! You really wanna see how fast I can do it?”
“She’s really fast…” Tony nodded in agreement. Natasha pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes at Tabitha. Nick nodded politely as the two got up and left. J’onn shook his head.
“Why do you insist on taunting people?”
“It’s the only way to get the point across…” she sighed.
“You know; it’s a bit unnerving to look at you and hear you speak…”
In the comfort of Tony’s labs, J’onn examined Tabitha, paying close attention to her bruises. He shape shifted back to his normal form, making Tony blink a few times.
“Hmm… not what I was expecting for you to look.” he commented. J’onn ignored him as he ran a finger gently across a bruise on Tabitha’s forehead, making her completely flustered, “Oh… is it happening now? Like, right now…?” Tony’s question drew their attention.
“The Martian sex; are you two getting nasty right in front of me?” his question made her turn completely red as well as gape at him. She was too stunned to notice that J’onn only lightly chuckled.
“I assure you that we’re not having sex right now. I prefer physical contact…” he gave her a wry smile as she shot a look his way.
“C-C-Can we just… change the subject?!”
“Yes. Tell me what happened to you…” J’onn grabbed her arm and studied the bruises that ran along it. She sighed and glanced over at Tony.
“Kinda got rammed through a wall… followed by a metal suit…”
“Which I would like to formally apologize for, if I haven’t done so…” Tony quickly added as the Martian slowly glared at him. His look softened as he felt her hand on his chest.
“It’s alright… kinda. I miscalculated; I was tryna stop him and his buddy from tearing up the house... even more. Oh! Mr. Stark… James turned in your grey and black armor…”
“The Mark II. I’m not too worried about it; it was his suit…”
“I knew it…” she beamed, “Look; I’m fine. A bit banged up but it’s okay. I just wanted to know one thing and then we’ll leave: don’t all that drinking affect that thing in your chest…?” she asked him, seriously. Although she was still upset at James for turning in the armor, the one thing that she agreed with him on was that Tony was out of control. The man shrugged slightly as he went through a chest.
“Before, I didn’t care…”
“… I was dying. The core of the arc reactor is made of palladium…”
“Oh, God; science…”
“Which, from your reaction, you have no idea what it is! It was poisoning me…”
“Still is; it’s just been slowed down drastically so that I can find a replacement element. I found out a lot of things from Nick Fury today. This…” he motioned towards the chest, “Is all that S.H.I.E.L.D. has on my father. He thinks that it’ll help me come up with a solution to my problem.”
“Why not just tell you…?”
“Because Nick Fury is an idiot! I think he knows… but he doesn’t… if that makes sense…”
“Maybe we could be of some assistance…” J’onn volunteered.
“See, when he said ‘we’, he really meant him cuz I have no clue on this stuff!”
“J.A.R.V.I.S., you don’t mind if the Martian helps us?”
“The more, the merrier, sir…”
“Clever; you named your A.I.”
“That’s what’s been talking to us this whole time?!” Tabitha smiled.
“Clearly, you didn’t fall for her because of her brain…”
“She is intelligent in other aspects…”
“Um… right here, guys… and I can hear you!”
The three sifted through the various documents the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. had given to Tony. They found out that his father, Howard Stark, was actually the founding member of the organization and that a lot of his creations just needed to wait for technology to catch up. A clue in one of the old film reels led to Tony and J’onn creating a diorama of the 1974 Stark Expo. After getting some rest, Tabitha made her way back down into the lab.
“You’re supposed to be resting…” the Martian mentioned, still studying the diorama. She shrugged.
“I’ve worked on less sleep… which I see that there’s no more work to do…” she looked at the small scaled model, “You should be telling your lab partner to get some sleep…”
“I have tried; he will not listen…”
“We’re not out of the red, yet…” Tony yawned. He studied the model along with the Martian, “There’s something here. Don’t need to rest until I find out…” he continued. She took a seat across the way and idly looked along with the two; she had no idea what they would be looking for in the first place.
“Hmm… maybe if you could get a digital picture of this; could flip it all kinds of ways to see stuff better…” she shrugged. She knew that science was beyond her and was waiting for one of the men to brush her idea aside. However, she became startled when Tony suddenly clasped his hands together.
“You heard the lady!” he announced. J.A.R.V.I.S. scanned the model, producing a holographic image, “Dawling, I would kiss you… if I knew I would live afterwards…” he added when J’onn shot him a look.
“Don’t ask…” she huffed. Her exasperation turned into amazement as she watched Tony lift up the hologram away from the model. He turned it a few times and stood it upright, backing away to study it. J’onn followed suit.
“You see that?”
“Yes… I do. An atomic structure…” J’onn noticed. The two took turns analyzing their findings, “Do you have the means to synthesize…?”
“… I can make do. Dawling… you feel up to breaking walls down the right way?”
“Cocked, locked and ready to rock!”
After reconstructing a portion of his home, Tabitha and J’onn helped Tony build a modified particle accelerator, synthesizing the new element in a triangular case. Tony carefully removed the case and placed it inside of a spare arc reactor. Moments later, a confirmation was made that the element was accepted as the core of the reactor.
“I will run diagnostic tests now, sir.” J.A.R.V.I.S. informed. After the tests were ran, Tony grabbed the new arc reactor and looked at Tabitha.
“I would ask if you would like to do the honors but…”
“… I’d be honored…”
“Really? I thought all this ‘science stuff’ was beyond you…”
“I’m good at making things work; not good at explaining how it works: I’ll leave that to you and J’onn!”
“I’ll talk you through it, then…”
“Am I gonna be dealing with a lot of wires and stuff?”
“Then… I can make sure that they never fray on you. Seeing that it’s keeping that shrapnel away from your heart… I think you’d like that peace of mind…”
“Actually… I would. Work your magic, dawling!”
Tony and J’onn shook hands while Tabitha and Pepper did the same.
“To be honest with you… I don’t know how to thank you two.”
“I’m just relieved that the poison’s gone. Maybe you won’t be so reckless, now?” Tabitha eyed Tony, who smirked.
“Me, reckless? When did that ever happen…?” he asked and the women chuckled.
“You know… deep down, I guess you’re an okay guy, Tee…”
“If ya gonna call me dawling all the damn time, I get to call you Tee!”
“Fair enough…” he agreed. Tony handed her a glass case that contained his old arc reactor and an envelope. She narrowed her eyes at the paper.
“Is this money? Cuz, if it is, I ain’t accepting it…”
“What? No! It’s a card…”
“A thank you note! For God’s sake; take it and get out of here! I’m pretty sure you have some Martian sex to catch up to…”
“Oh… my… God…”
She waited until she was back on Watchtower to open the envelope. Just as she had suspected, there was a check inside of the envelope. What she didn’t expected to see was the amount; a quarter of a million dollars! She shook her head at the check and pulled out the note that came with it; at least he didn’t lie to her, she figured:
Thanks for your help, again, “darling”! I know that I got a bit carried away at my party and just wanted to let you know that I never meant to put you in any physical danger. Give the Martian my thanks as well (I have no clue on how to spell his name…). Whenever Rhodey decides to come around and start speaking to me, again, I’ll let you know. If there’s anything you ever need, don’t hesitate to call me. And, by the way… deposit the damn check: you deserve every penny of that and then some!
 - Taken from Iron Man 2 motion picture
 Paraphrased from Iron Man 2 motion picture. Stark actually says that he doesn’t want to join his superhero boy band.
 Taken from Iron Man 2 motion picture