Title: My Demons are Your Superheroes
Fandoms: NCIS and Avengers
Characters: Tony Stark, Tony DiNozzo, and Clint Barton
Relationship: Tony Stark/Tony DiNozzo/Clint Barton
Genre: Alternate Universe, Challenge Response, Established Relationship, Slash
Warnings: Hate Language, No Beta, Alternate Background – Tony Stark, Alternate Background – Clint Barton, Alternate Background – Tony DiNozzo, Avengers aren’t Real,
Word Count: 1768
Authors Note: There is quite a bit of AU here. The Avengers aren’t real. I have altered backgrounds to suit my purposes for all three main characters. Tony is not and has never worked for NCIS. This was written for a picture prompt challenge in The Workshop on Rough Trade. Tony DiNozzo is called AJ in this story to keep the two Tony’s straight. Tony is Tony Stark.
Summary: Tony Stark has had a complicated and at times unhappy life. He’s made it through though thanks to his two partners Tony DiNozzo and Clint Barton and his own personal creation made from the demons in his mind. Ironman.
My Demons are Your Superheroes
Tony was sitting at his drafting table in his studio in the penthouse apartment that he shared with his two partners. He was just about to put his pen down on the paper when he heard someone bellow, “Babe, you home?” through the apartment. Startled, Tony yanked his pen back glad that he hadn’t had it on the table. Usually, he had his earbuds in when drawing, but his partners had been on a case that kept them away from him for almost a week and hadn’t thought it necessary.
“Where are you?” Came from Clint, the first having been AJ.
“In the studio,” Tony replied as he carefully began to pack away his drawing things. He hadn’t yet gotten the sketches that he’d done that day put away before he heard Clint behind him.
“Hey babe,” Clint offered, and when Tony turned his head, he could see that he was leaning against one side of the doorway with AJ leaning against the other. “We missed you.”
Tony smiled and leaned back in his chair as he studied both men. Neither seemed to be injured, but he wouldn’t be able to tell until he could get them both naked and investigate the situation up close. Clinton Francis Barton, who went by Clint, and Anthony Dominic DiNozzo, Jr., who went by AJ with Tony and Clint but was called Tony by everyone else, both worked for the FBI in the Behavioral Analysis Unit under Aaron Hotchner. Tony actually met AJ first. He’d known him since they were kids as Tony’s father Howard was an associate of AJ’s father Anthony, Senior. AJ was one of the few kids that Howard approved of despite the fact that he hated Anthony Senior. They hadn’t been terribly close when they were younger but were friendly enough that the two kept in touch at whatever boarding school they ended up at. There were a few times when they actually got placed together.
However, when Tony’s parents died when he was 17, it was AJ who helped him pull himself together and kept him from going off the rails. When it was time to go to college, Tony passed up the offers he got to all of the top colleges, and instead followed AJ to Ohio State not wanting to lose another connection. AJ’s sports scholarships were more important to the genius, and he knew that he could learn anywhere. Then, after AJ broke his leg his senior year, they regrouped, and Tony moved back to MIT, while AJ transferred to Harvard to work on a psychology degree. The first day they started their new college careers they did so as partners rather than just friends.
It was AJ who met Clint first at Harvard in one of the classes that they shared. Clint grew up in a series of foster homes and worked his ass off to earn a scholarship to Harvard. He wasn’t your typical preppy nerd that AJ felt like he was surrounded by, which was what initially drew him to his fellow student. At first, they were merely friends meeting up occasionally to talk the latest movies and muscle cars. That moved onto the two of them going in together to refurbish a 1969 Camero for Clint, and when that was done, they started working on a 1966 Mustang for AJ, Tony expressed interest and was invited in to help them.
By the time Clint and AJ started the FBI academy, the twosome had become a threesome, and when the BAU recruited AJ and Clint, it was done knowing that they two men were very much a couple. David Rossi though insisted that the team needed them both. So, even though BAU Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner had only been looking for one new agent to replace Derek Morgan who got a promotion and moved onto the New York City office, he ended up with two new profilers.
“Are you ever gonna let us see your drawings, T?” AJ asked, and Tony could tell that he was more subdued than normal. “I was bragging about how good of an artist you are to the team on the plane back. They were all very interested in the notion that the great Tony Stark is an artist in his spare time.”
Tony turned his stool and rested his back against the drawing board as he studied his partners. The owner and head of Stark Industries knew what his reputation was among the general public. He’d been hated amongst a certain sect ever since he and AJ made their relationship public knowledge in college. When he announced that he was moving Stark Industries away from weapons manufacturing, the same faction just saw it as an even bigger reason to hate the man they saw as a faggot and coward.
The ugly split with Obadiah Stane hadn’t helped any. Tony almost lost the company then. The Board of Directors was already skeptical of not just Tony and his abilities, but what the hell SI would do if they didn’t make weapons. It didn’t help that the board was at that time mostly made up of friends of Obadiah’s and Howard’s. Tony was confident that had the Homeland not found evidence that Obadiah was secretly selling weapons to terrorists and other unsavory factions that things would have ended up much differently. As it was, the scandal proved Tony right, and in the end, the majority of the Board was replaced along with Stane’s exit from SI.
Tony’s company still made a great deal of money, a great deal of which went to veterans’ organizations and other charities in his attempt to make up for not knowing what was going on with his own company. These day’s SI recruited the top minds from around the world, and many of the top innovations in technology, healthcare, and renewable energy came out of SI’s R&D Departments. Despite all the good that he tried to do though, it still felt like most days more people hated him than liked him. He found himself constantly fighting with his self-doubts, and when AJ and Clint weren’t around to assure him that he was doing the right thing, sometimes the darkness and the doubt became hard to fight off. It was one of those moments that led to the creation of Ironman.
Comic books had always been something that Tony and AJ shared an enjoyment for. When they found out Clint loved them as well, it was one of the first moments that Tony wondered if two shouldn’t be three. The genius had always had an interest in drawing, but while Howard had been alive, he’d been forced to mostly hide it as his father saw it as nothing more than a colossal waste of time. It was similar to Senior’s distaste for AJ’s musical ability. After Howard and Maria died though, one of the first things AJ had done for Tony was to buy him a shit ton of drawing supplies.
“Draw it out, T,” AJ said quietly one rainy afternoon when he’d come home from classes to find Tony huddled up in a corner trying to hide from his demons. “Put it all on paper and then burn that bitch. Don’t let the demons Howard gave you keep chasing you. He’s gone. He doesn’t deserve the right to keep tormenting you even after his death.”
At first, Tony had been skeptical, but quickly became immersed in his new project. Almost 72 hours later when he fell asleep on the floor from exhaustion, he slept without nightmares for the first time since he’d been notified of his parents’ deaths. When he woke up, the two went outside and burned all the drawings in their firepit. A week later though, Tony drew AJ a picture of his deceased mother as a thank you. The image had been half from Tony’s memories of the woman and half from the few pictures AJ had of her. The picture still hung in their home, and AJ insisted that as far as he was concerned, it always would.
The idea to combine his love of comics with his passion for drawing hadn’t hit Tony until the first image for Ironman had been drawn. He’d come home after a quite vicious meeting with Obadiah and the Board to an empty apartment and a need to release his anger constructively. So, Ironman was born, but thus far, Tony hadn’t shared him with anyone. The billionaire knew most people wouldn’t buy that he was insecure about anything, but this was different.
Ironman was more than just an image on a piece of paper. He was the representation of all of Tony’s hopes and fears and insecurities. He was the man that Tony was afraid he would have become if someone hadn’t plucked him out of the dark and the pain after his parents died, and to bring him back down to earth when his head swelled from too many people telling him how wonderful he was. AJ and eventually Clint had been those safe havens and reality checks for him. Because of that, they had their own places alongside Ironman.
Clint was Hawkeye, expert Marksman, and SHIELD agent. AJ was Colonel Paddington, Ironman’s faithful companion and eventual handler to the Avengers after their original SHIELD handler Phil Coulson was killed in an attack by aliens on New York City. Many other people had taken up roles in the comic as it grew. Steve Rogers, one of Tony’s frat brothers from OSU and a friend of all three of them who had become the head of security for SI, had become Captain America the Avenger’s leader. Bruce Banner, Tony’s head of Development and favorite science buddy, was the Hulk. Even Tony’s personal assistance Natasha Romanoff had a spot in the Avengers with a code name of Black Widow.
“His name is Ironman,” Tony began as he turned and pulled out the drawings he’d recently completed, “and he’s a superhero.”
Later that night, Tony lay in bed sandwiched between his partners listening to their even breaths as they slept. His body was humming from the physical love they’d shared with him, and his mind hummed with the praise for his creation they’d give him. Maybe someday Tony would take AJ’s suggestion to show his comic to David Rossi’s agent and share Ironman and the Avengers with the world. For now, though, for now, Ironman and his friends would remain a secret to be shared only between the three of them. Somehow, it felt like that was the way it was supposed to be.
End Note: I write fanfiction for fun. It’s a hobby and a stress relief. I refuse to stress over my writing. What you see is what you get. Errors, plot holes, and all. Thank you for reading my story!