Title: Mettle, Pot and Kettle
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Iron Man (MCU)
Rating: K+ / FRC
Characters: Tony Stark, Tony’s bots (DUM-E and U)
Summary: Most people, by the age of 17, had experienced quite a lot – or not much at all. Tony Stark wasn’t like most people; fresh out of MIT, he didn’t want to go back home, so he decided to spread his wings a bit further and try living on his own with his bots, DUM-E and U. That also meant cooking his own dinners.
Complete. Part of the “Genius, AI & Bots” series.
Written for: My card on Trope Bingo’s round 2 (square: rites of passage/coming of age)
Warnings: Language, hazardous & questionable cooking methods (bots & a teenage engineer in the kitchen).
Disclaimer: Iron Man and Marvel Cinematic Universe, including characters and everything else, belong to Marvel, Marvel Studios, Jon Favreau and Paramount Pictures. In short: I own nothing; this is pure fiction created to entertain likeminded fans for no profit whatsoever.
Beta: Mythra (mythras_fire)
About Mettle, Pot and Kettle: While I’m sure Tony’s picked up quite a few tricks over the years when it comes to cooking and kitchenware, I can just imagine the hazardous events a teenage-Tony could come across during his first times in front of a stove.
Story and status: Below you see the writing process of the story. If there is no text after the title, then it is finished and checked. Possible updates shall be marked after the title.
Mettle, Pot and Kettle
Written for my card on Trope Bingo’s round 2 (square: rites of passage/coming of age)
New York City, NY, USA
Most people finished high school at the age of 17, then made plans to attend a college, a university, or something like that.
Tony got into MIT at the age of 14, graduated three years later, and vowed he wasn’t just going to go back to the family mansion and start twiddling his thumbs while waiting for his father’s next outburst of alcohol-fueled disappointment over everything Tony was and wasn’t.
So, the natural next step was to get his own place to stay at.
The penthouse was nice and affordable – for his wallet, anyway. It had a lot of open space, big windows, a nice view, and everything he would need, at least for the time being. Plus, the openness of the place ensured that DUM-E and U, the bots that he had built as an MIT engineering project, had the freedom to roam around.
Tony soon learned, however, that living on his own wasn’t without its pitfalls. He had been in boarding school since he turned seven, going to MIT straight from there, and whenever he had visited home, there had been people taking care of his daily needs.
Daily needs, such as food.
Shopping for ingredients was a new adventure – a frustrating one Tony hoped he would never have to repeat. He had made the mistake of thinking that he would just throw some things together, but when he had nothing at all in his kitchen cabinets and very few ideas of what to get – besides coffee – he ended up buying random things and browsing the cook-book section of a nearby bookshop for ideas on his future meals.
Knowing what he liked, Tony memorized the ingredients, returned to the grocery store, and then hauled all his purchases to his new home.
The bots were waiting for him when he arrived, and Tony made them carry the bags to the kitchen and help him sort everything into appropriate places – which, mostly, meant cramming everything into the fridge unless the packages suggested otherwise.
“This can’t be so difficult,” Tony frowned at the bag of flour and placed it on a shelf that had some free space. If only someone had asked him how to stock the workshop he had planned on establishing in what was supposed to be the living room, and he could envision ten separate ideas for it, not to mention a long list of tools and materials. But, human beings needed food, and he was getting hungry. Of course, he could have gotten pizza from across the street, but that felt like cheating. He was the master of his own place now; he needed to learn the finer things of running a household – or hire someone to do it. Cooking his first dinner felt like a rite of passage to Tony; something that moving in hadn’t been.
“Okay,” Tony rubbed his hands together. He turned the oven on, got the beef out of the fridge, placed it on a good-looking pan and placed it on the oven rack. “There, meat’s taken care of,” he announced. “You, clock it. The instructions said two hours.” The instructions had also suggested using a thermometer which was supposed to be stuck into the meat, but Tony was confident he could manage without one; if it was raw, he would just stick it back in. Basic stuff.
Knowing the other portions of his meal could wait, he went to the living room for a bit to tinker, then returned in time to put the rice on. “Dummy, pour some water into the pot,” he ordered as he fetched the rice from the cupboard – only to find the bot balancing a frying pan in its grip. “No, that’s not right. A pot, I said.”
The bot let out a confused sound and Tony took the pan from it, displaying a pot instead. “Water,” he pointed at the tap, and Dummy went and took the pot to the tap, placed it in the sink, then ran some water into it until the bot was satisfied and turned off the water. Tony was busy looking for salt, which he was certain he had purchased, when he heard a giant crash from beside him and felt his feet getting wet.
He looked up, only to see Dummy staring at the fallen pot and spilled water all over the floor. “Seriously,” Tony snapped. “Not cool. Get a mop, get rid of this water,” he ordered and went to fill the pot himself, then placed it on the gas stove and turned the gas on – only to realize he didn’t have a lighter at hand.
“Damn,” Tony muttered, looking around – his eyes falling in the direction of his living room. “Ha!” he grinned, made his way over, found the mini blowtorch and actually managed to ignite the gas with that. Nodding with satisfaction, Tony located the lid and placed it on top of the pot, resuming his chase for the salt.
Dummy returned a moment later – not with a mop but a broom. Tony supposed it was close enough, then went to show the bot the difference between the two items. Once he finally had Dummy clumsily mopping the floor, Tony returned to looking for the salt, trying not to slip on the wet floor.
He finally located the salt in the fridge, which he was fairly certain wasn’t the right place for it. Next he looked at the rice package, to see how long it should be boiled – yeah, he knew how some of these things were done, he wasn’t stupid – and then heard a hissing sound from the stove: the water was boiling over.
“Shit,” he hissed, dashing over to it – almost falling on the damp floor – and snatched the lid away, turning down the gas. He reached for the bag of rice and tore a corner open, then poured some into the water – only to notice he had too much water and not enough space left for the rice. Pouting, he put the rice bag down, picked up the pot and took it over to the sink, pouring some of the water into it. The metal protested slightly from the heat – as did Tony’s hand when he almost poured some on it as well.
Returning to the stove, he placed the pot on top of it, added more rice and some salt for seasoning, and placed the lid back on the pot to let it boil.
He turned to the next thing on the list, which was dessert: flaming bananas.
Tony knew his other choices for dinner had been relatively simple, so he wanted to try something harder. He cut two bananas lengthwise, grabbed the frying pan Dummy had been handling earlier, and placed a dollop of butter on it. Turning on the gas under another heating element, he lit it up, placed the pan on it, and went to look for the bottle of Jack Daniels he had stashed away somewhere: the recipe had asked for rum, but he was still underage and couldn’t just walk into a store to get one. However, he had some whiskey left over from one of the parties at MIT, so he went to fetch it – only to find that it wasn’t where he had left it.
“Dummy, You!” he called out. “Where did you put the bottle of Jack?” It took him a while to locate it in the box of tools he had in one corner of the living room, which was an odd place for a bottle, but he shrugged and returned to the kitchen. A slight burnt smell greeted him, the butter long since vanished from the pan, and Tony hastily tossed the bananas onto it, then drizzled some whiskey on top of them – then added some more because why not? He waited for a bit, then a while longer, but nothing happened. “Huh…” He grabbed the pan, shook it around, then tipped it a little in case that helped.
The alcohol ignited suddenly, making him jump back and drop the pan. The flames were high and singed his face – and his arm, which made him realize his shirt had just caught fire.
“Fuck!” he yelled – only to be doused with something white a second later. Tony barely clenched his eyes shut in time, blinking them open cautiously once it was all over.
Dummy was beside him, an extinguisher in the bot’s grip.
Tony shook himself out of it. His arm didn’t hurt, which was good, but the food on the stove was completely ruined. He supposed that was better than burning down his new home, though.
You chirped from the side and rolled towards them, offering Tony a napkin.
“Thanks,” Tony said, because he didn’t know what else to do.
After all the clean-up that followed, Tony suddenly remembered the meat in the oven. He glanced at the clock on the wall, gave You an accusing glance because the bot hadn’t reminded him that the meat was still cooking, and pulled the pan out. The beef that sat in the middle of it was blackened and charred, much like the bananas had been under all the foam.
Tony sighed and the bots cocked their arms beside him.
“We tried,” Tony decided and walked to the door, grabbed his keys and wallet, walked outside and across the street – into the pizza place across from his building. Some things clearly weren’t meant to be, and really, people should just stick to the things they knew how to do.
Although, Tony was pretty sure he could still ace crème brûlée because he was very handy with a blowtorch.