The Forge

BY : Indigo_Miko
Category: Marvel Verse Movies > Iron Man (all) > Iron Man (all)
Dragon prints: 1191
Disclaimer: I do not own Iron Man, X-Men, Avengers, or any other Marvel verse property. I also don't make any money from writing this. All I do is wile away my free time kicking things around inside my head. It's a mess up there.

Chapter 7: The Care and Feeding of Mechanical Engineers

“She drives me crazy. She gives me hot and cold fever then she leaves me in a cool, cool sweat.” Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen

Tony found out that first Wednesday that Four could be just as bad as he was about lab time. He had only had JARVIS announcing if she had shown any interest in his suits, or other things she shouldn’t have been into for the job she was doing. Since it seemed Four was focused on her project Tony didn’t bother keeping tabs on how often she left the lab. He didn’t really pay attention to when he ate and slept, another person’s well being didn’t factor to him at all. 

JARVIS alerted him to the problem. Four had been in the lab for almost seventy two hours, only four of them had been spent sleeping on a dubious looking inflatable thing she’d brought with her. She was having nightmares.

So, Tony had taken a moment to order pizza from his favorite place and play Rhodey for a bit to drag her out of the lab. It was a very strange feeling. 

Dinner was nice though. The uneasiness between them had dissolved somewhere between her inadvertently chasing Pepper out of the lab, and him threatening to have Dum-E follow her around with air freshener if she didn’t bathe regularly. Besides he knew first hand you had to have specialty stuff to get the grease off after it’d been on a for a few days. 

His little bots seemed to adore the woman, and she worked around them like she was used to people being in her way. He’d asked a few questions here and there about her powers. How long had she had them? Since she was a toddler. How long did it take her to master them? She claimed she still was. What was the biggest thing she’d done with them? She had thought about that one for long enough to eat an entire slice of pizza before finally answering it was probably the expo. He wanted to pry further but she had questions of her own.

When Four started asking about the suits he’d been cagey. He had good reasons. Her very first question had been one he’d heard a lot; how did it feel to fly? He’d told her the truth; absolutely amazing. It was the most freedom he’d ever had, stock answer but true. Next. When he was bored had he ever put the suit on and pretended to be a Power Ranger? Or the Iron Giant? That question had started a debate about how the suit was nothing like those leotard wearing posers, and that he was a person in a suit, not a robot. Then she’d wanted to know if he’d ever worn the suit and done the Risky Business dance? What? He had to stop and think about exactly why he’d never done that.

By the end of that round of questions they had both actually done the Risky Business dance. He’d even worn the suit. Every time he’d done a pelvic thrust in the suit she had busted out laughing. She finally made him stop because she was crying. Then she tried to explain about the Humping Robot. 

They took a TV break upstairs, and he watched half a season of Robot Chicken while Four fell asleep on the end of the couch. He was converted though. 

Thursday they managed to act like regular people for the first half of the day. Four ordered some noise cancelling headphones, and then decided to make use of his treadmill. Tony, miracle of miracle’s, actually attended Pepper’s boring ass finance meeting. Not that anything he did made her happy. They had a small fight about him leaving Four alone in his house with access to his lab. He’d reminded her she’d been the one to bring up him attending the meeting to begin with. 

The fight had sent him back to the lab for the evening. When he got there Four was working on the car again, and he learned via JARVIS during a bathroom break that she’d tried to take a nap and woke up after only an hour. Fuck it. Tony figured. The day was shitty. So he went about tempting Four into another Robot Chicken marathon. 

She’d been asleep on the end of the sectional for almost an hour when Tony noticed her start to show signs of distress. He’d gone back and forth with himself about waking her up long enough she woke up on her own.

“Nightmares?” The lights were off in the living room so it was just the TV glow that illuminated them. Four had sat forward and covered her eyes with her hand.

“Yeah.” He could see her shaking off the adrenaline from the dream. “Sorry.”

He couldn’t deal with his own nightmares. He didn’t know how he felt about hers. “Nightmares suck.”

She flopped back against the couch. “Yeah they do,” she took a deep breath. 

“JARVIS told me about you napping down in the lab.” He eyed her. “I don’t have to worry about you levitating cars in your sleep do I?”

Four huffed. “No.”

There was silence for a few moments before Tony pushed. “So,“ he drew the word out. “What’s the story, Dory?” 

She turned to face him. He could see her eyes flicking over his face for a few seconds before she answered. “None of this,” and she nudged the metal coffee table a few inches over with a flick of her finger, “Works when I’m unconscious.”

Tony took in the implications of that statement. “Bummer.”

“Yep,” she agreed. 

He tapped his finger on his leg. “You ever think of a backup system?”

“I’m not a computer, Captain C.” Her voice was disparaging. She glanced away before looking back to him. “What about you? You get knocked out what happens?”

“Ah,” he grinned. “That’s where JARVIS comes in.” 

“What about when you’re not in the suit?” She questioned.

His smile faded. “Then it gets complicated,” he conceded.

She gave a breathy laugh. “That is a good way of putting it. Also, FUBAR.”

“FUBAR is accurate,” he chuckled. A few more moments settled between them before he ventured, “Maybe you need to get a suit.”

“Sure.“ Her voice was falsely bright. “I’ll just whip that up in your lab between tear down and rebuild shall I?”

Tony leaned back further into the couch cushions and grinned. “Feel free,” he chirped at her. “You can always run designs by me. Mine my vast experience performing heroic deeds.” 

She snorted. “Tell you what, in the event I lose my mind and build myself a super suit I will totally read you in.”

“I’m really warming to this idea.” Tony continued. “I could be your superhero mentor.”

“Let me stop you right there.” She held her hands up.

Tony was already running through options in his mind. “You need a cool name.”

Four shook her head. “No.”

“Something like The Mangler.” He paused with a frown. “No. That sounds like a villain.”

“Stop,” she begged.

His eyes went wide with excitement. “Oh, Steelclad. Mistress Titanium.”

She threw a throw pillow at him.

……………………………….........................................................................

Forge found out that Saturday’s were apparently a Happy day. She’d been down in the bat cave working since Thursday night. Stark had been down there most of the time too. But Saturday morning she’d jerked up from a nap on her inflatable bed of wonder to find the lab quiet and Stark gone. At first she thought the billionaire had just done something normal, like go take a shower, or sleep. It reminded her of her own hygiene needs. They had a deal after the air freshener threat. That was how, on her way out of her bedroom after holding up her end of the smell deal, she became clued in to weird noises coming from the workout room. 

She could admit to being hesitant to go anywhere near it. Who knew what the hell Stark was doing in there? Her imagination brought up some very unsavory situations to walk in on, but when she heard two male voices, she figured she wouldn’t be seeing anything too scaring. Also, curiosity. There was a lot of equipment in that gym. Forge was curious about what a superhero work out looked like.

When she peeked her head around the edge of the door she found Happy and Stark boxing of all things. So he did use that obnoxious ring. Unfortunately Stark was facing her. He made a time out motion with his gloves.

“Come to see my prowess?” That damn eyebrow popped up on his forehead again.

Forge moved away from the door toward the two men and decided it was best to address Happy. “Can you knock him down? Because that would make my day.”

Happy smiled from inside his protective headgear. “Sorry Miss Four, I’m just a target.” He held his padded palms up in demonstration.

“Four, Happy,” she corrected. If he insisted on using Stark’s nickname for her he could use it right. “And that’s too bad.”

“Wanna give it a shot?” By the time she was close enough to see the sparkle in Stark’s eyes it was too late to retreat.

“No,” but he was already rolling out of the ring and coming toward her. “I’ve never boxed before.”

“Oh, boxing virgin.” Stark was using his body to herd her toward the ring. “Come on I’ll give you a free shot.” She could have gotten away from him, but it would have looked too much like a desperate sprint for freedom.  Which is what it would have been, and she didn’t want to give him that ammo.

“I’m not dressed for this,” she protested when he actually hip checked her into the ring. “I have steel toe boots on and might actually kick you,” she warned him.

“Don’t do that,” he commanded, climbing back into the ring with her. 

Happy tossed her a pair of gloves and some headgear. What an enabler. She got all but the last glove on okay. Stark just stood there smirking at her. Hmm, urge to hit him in his face, rising, she thought. Happy, dear man that he was, helped her lace up.

Stark tapped his gloves together and did a few little hops. “Okay, hands up.” Forge copied him, bending her knees. It was a little foreign, she was taught to punch from her hips. “Deal’s a deal. First hit goes to you.”

Forge shifted on her feet a bit and thought, what the hell. She faked a right and popped him with a left jab. Nervousness made her hit harder than she meant and Stark grabbed his nose groaning. The look her gave her over his gloved hand was filthy. “Oops?” Forge questioned.

He actually growled at her. Forge had a moment to think, uh oh, and then he was swinging at her. He hit her in the shoulder. It wasn’t hard. Aw, he was being chivalrous. She went for his ribs. 

The circled each other punching at things that were not each other’s faces for about three minutes. She imagined it looked like two little kids in the school yard. That was when Stark hit her in her left boob. 

Forge yelped and involuntarily cupped her chest. “Ow, my tit,” Forge whined. She glared at Stark. “Dick move!” The asshole was snickering. “I didn’t hit you in the balls did I?”

“Want me to kiss it and make it better?”

Forge pulled her fist back and pointedly dropped her eyes to Stark’s crotch. He held up his hands. “Okay no.”

“Happy, hold him down.”

“Sorry, Four. No can do.” Happy chuckled and dinged the bell.

……………………………….........................................................................

Forge was startled when her headphone was tugged down. 

“What are you doing?”

It was Tuesday and they were both back in the lab. Forge had just finished pulling all the wiring out; a tedious job that always caused tension to built up in her neck and jaw. She’d been rolling her neck on her shoulders when Stark had blown through boundaries again.

Sighing through her nose, Forge pulled her headphones the rest of the way off and tossed them on the desk. She reached back to rub her shoulder. “Getting ready to set up the rotisserie.”

Stark must be bored, he was on her side of the lab again. “We’ve both been in here since yesterday morning. Take a break.”

She gave a distracted hum, moving to sit down at her desk. Her lower back ached a little too. “I want to get the chassis up before I break.”

“Can’t you do that with, you know, your mind.” Forge blinked when Stark brushed her hand away and replaced it with his own. That was a little weird.

“Well, yeah, but I can also do it with my hands.” He started rubbing gently along the back of her neck, and it had been a very long time since she’d been able to wheedle herself one of Hay‘s back rubs. Her eyes involuntarily fell to half mast.

“Tell you what. I’ll keep doing this,” he dug his thumbs into her shoulder muscles and she hissed. “And you sit here and use your awesome talent to set up the rotisserie stand.”

Forge hummed skeptically but it was cut off with a short grunt when he ran his thumbs down either side of her spine. Her head tipped forward and shoulders slumped without thought. 

After a moment he stopped, but his hands lingered. Forge rubbed a hand over her eyes. He was obviously angling to see her use her powers again. She noticed he seemed to go after the things he really wanted in a round about manner. “Whatever,” she agreed.

Pursing her lips she thought about what she needed the parts to do and concentrated. Stark continued kneading her muscles as the chassis got situated. For a moment there was only the sound of shifting metal in the lab.

“You should do that more often,” Stark commented. “I noticed you lifted the engine with the cherry picker.”

“I like doing things by hand.” Forge defended. “I don’t really flaunt my powers, outside of life threatening situations,“ she added. Her eyes had closed and her head had dropped all the way forward.

“You should, flaunt your powers,” He elaborated. 

Stark’s thumbs where pushing up either side of the back of her neck then, and it rattled through her mind to wonder if the man was trying to seduce her, or just see her move stuff with her mind. “It draws bad attention, obviously,” she reminded.

He snorted lightly. “That genie is already out of the bottle, sweetie,” he snarked. “Besides, you’re here. Not in your dinky garage in Brooklyn.”

Forge tried to turn around but Stark kept a firm hold of her shoulders. “My garage is not dinky,” she protested.

“Moot point,” he huffed. “You’re here, not there, and no one but me can see you here.” She thought he might be trying to be comforting.

“I think you’re just trying to butter me up to use my powers more because you’re curious.” 

Tony cradled the base of her skull between his palms and rubbed his fingers behind her ears. “Is it working?”

She could hear the smirk in his voice. “You’re going to get grease in my hair.”

“You already had grease in your hair, Four.” The rumble of his chuckle surrounded her. It was nice. “I ordered food, come eat.” He swept his hands down her back and then stepped away.

Forge sighed a little in regret he was done, but stood up. She was done in. Food sounded spectacular. When she turned around he had a little smirk on his face. She went stern faced and pointed at him. “Don’t get any ideas.”

His real smile came back. The one that, even with crazy science hair and grease on his cheek made him look so very pretty. “I always have ideas.”

“That is not comforting.”

His eyebrows popped up and he held his arms out. “I could give you a hug.”

Forge rolled her eyes and pushed his chest a bit. Yup. The man was genuine for a moment and then he just couldn‘t hold it. “Someone offered me food. I get all one track minded when I’m hungry.”

And there went the evil twinkle of despicable doom. “So do I.”

Forge groaned. “Lame.” She headed for the stairs. 

 



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