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Del Rion [userpic]

Call Me by Another Name

Story Info

Title: Call Me by Another Name

Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)

Fandom: Avengers & Iron Man (MCU)

Timeline: post-Captain America: Civil War

Genre: Drama, angst

Rating: T / FRT

Characters: J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark (Iron Man), Vision. (Mentioned: FRIDAY)

Summary: Tony’s working hard, trying to bring J.A.R.V.I.S. back, but success keeps eluding him and Vision is unwittingly rubbing him the wrong way.
Complete. Part of “Genius, AI & Bots” series.

Warnings: Language, alcohol consumption, past canonical character death (sort of).

Disclaimer: Iron Man, Avengers, and Marvel Cinematic Universe, including characters and everything else, belong to Marvel, Marvel Studios, Jon Favreau, Shane Black, Joss Whedon, Anthony & Joe Russo, Paramount Pictures, and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. In short: I own nothing; this is pure fiction created to entertain likeminded fans for no profit whatsoever.

Beta: Mythra (mythras_fire)

Story and status:</b> 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.

Call Me by Another Name

~ ~ ~

Call Me by Another Name

Avengers Base of Operations,
Upstate New York

Tony’s fingers slid across the keyboard, his mind zeroing in on the code he was envisioning, a short moment spent in suspension before he began typing, eyes aimed at the screen to keep track of his progress and to make sure there were no errors.

There had been enough of those…

Caffeine was super-focusing his mind, but he could already feel he had passed the highest peak a few hours ago, and it was going to be downhill from here, cascading slopes that could either be seen as failure or a narrow path to success.

He wished he had some alternatives to keep his mind focused on the task, but he wasn’t twenty anymore and he had other responsibilities, so coffee was what he could mostly depend on.

His fingers stopped and his eyes scanned the improved code. Someone else might not have seen the slight adjustments until several minutes had passed, but he had already deleted the failed lines, not wanting them to tarnish his progress.

His left forefinger started tapping impatiently, as if laced with a tinge of nervousness, but not hard enough to type an unwanted symbol into the file. He kept looking at the code, checking and double-checking, then moved over to another batch that he had thought was faulty when he went over the coding a few hours prior.

Another hour passed in a haze. He needed more caffeine if he wanted to keep going. Mistakes would keep happening otherwise, his body craving rest.

He hit ‘enter’, leaned back, and watched as the code was sucked into the larger program and digital gears began turning.

“Good morning, sir,” J.A.R.V.I.S.’s voice emanated from the speakers a moment later. “It is 5:34 in the morning, sunrise –”

Tony smiled, his mind drifting as the AI droned on with his usual litany of the daily forecast and other information that had once been calculated to be of interest to Tony. Right now, he didn’t care about the wind speed or the exact time when the sun was going to rise.

“Run diagnostics for Mark 46, evaluate capability for future deployment,” Tony ordered.

J.A.R.V.I.S. hesitated a moment and then filled the screens in front of Tony with data and images, mapping out the armor that was currently out of commission after his little tussle with certain enhanced super-soldiers in Siberia. He already had the next one available, but history had taught Tony that back-ups were a necessity rather than a commodity, no matter how strong and durable his suits were getting.

There was always someone who punched harder than the last guy he fought…

“Bring data from FRIDAY, compare notes and start building an attack-prediction database based on known fight patterns,” Tony added.

“Yes, sir,” J.A.R.V.I.S. agreed, and for a few more seconds the screens were showing another process before the image suddenly began to stutter and jump, a tiny warning banner showing up in the corner of the screen. “Sir, there is…” J.A.R.V.I.S.’s voice came and went. Tony hissed, pulling up the coding again, but it was already falling apart. The program tried to reset, which created a wave of inconsistent data. “Good morning, sir,” J.A.R.V.I.S. greeted again, as if nothing was wrong. “It is 5:39 in the morning.”

Tony closed his eyes and groaned, leaning over the desk, his back and neck aching from hours of work that was going down the drain – again.

J.A.R.V.I.S. repeated the information he had already put out there five minutes ago, then stopped abruptly. “There are inconsistencies in the background processes, and the attempts to retrieve data are failing.”

“Shut down for maintenance,” Tony grumbled, and silence filled the room.

He needed a drink.

- - -

Four hours later, half a bottle of whiskey heavier, Tony’s mind was at an impasse. His attempts at bringing J.A.R.V.I.S. back to a stable, self-sustainable version kept failing. He had no idea what he was doing wrong, which pissed him off. He was Tony Stark. He had already constructed this AI once, so why the hell couldn’t he do so again?! He was older and smarter than he was when he first began putting J.A.R.V.I.S. together…

“Mr. Stark,” a familiar voice suddenly piped up, and Tony jumped, fairly certain he hadn’t started up J.A.R.V.I.S.’s operational matrix, knowing it would just keep collapsing in on itself.

His confusion lasted until their residential synthezoid’s lanky form breached his peripheral vision.

“It is ten in the morning,” Vision informed him. “Have you slept at all?”

“Maybe,” Tony groused, infuriated that he hadn’t been able to tell the difference between his AI and Ultron’s creation to whom he had sacrificed J.A.R.V.I.S. He poured himself another glass of whiskey, almost overflowing the vessel.

“I think you’ve had enough,” Vision dared to say.

“I don’t care what you think,” Tony responded, sipping the alcohol. It didn’t dull the pain, spiking the anger and disappointment instead. “Stop calling me that,” he added.

“Calling you what?” Vision blinked, face conveying confusion. It annoyed Tony even further that he pretended to have no idea. Vision was smart – especially for his age – and he knew Tony dangerously well, which meant he had to know what Tony was talking about.

“You know what,” Tony snapped.

“You act as if you are offended,” Vision frowned. “You have never protested before, so I am not certain which phrase you are referring to –”

“Mr. Stark!” Tony burst out, yelling. He almost tossed his glass at Vision, but it would be a waste and a mess to clean, plus it wouldn’t hurt the other – especially if Vision instinctively phased through the object aimed at him. Tony knew it would hurt Vision’s feelings more than anything, but he didn’t want to think that was why he held onto the glass in the end.

Vision opened his mouth, then tilted his head, looking at the screens behind Tony. “Another failed attempt?” he asked, voice softer.

Pitying Tony and his inability to make this work.

“I’ll get it working,” Tony replied.

“I know you will,” Vision nodded.

Tony bit his tongue so as not to correct Vision, because it would mean admitting that he was doubting himself.

“You should get some sleep, let your mind rest,” Vision advised.

“It’s too late to go to bed,” Tony mused. That wasn’t really true, because he could sleep at any time he wanted, plus he really was tired after pulling two all-nighters in a row. He didn’t really want to count how many hours he had been awake, but he knew from experience the number was too high.

He was getting nothing done. It just hurt admitting that, failing to complete his project and bring J.A.R.V.I.S. back to full functionality.

While he wallowed in that, Vision reached out and gripped the glass of whiskey. Tony fought valiantly, but couldn’t maintain his hold on the glass, and Vision took it from him, placing it on a far table that may as well have been the other side of the world where Tony’s exhausted body was concerned. “Here, let me help you,” Vision said, voice soft. The tempo he used to speak was different from J.A.R.V.I.S., and Tony couldn’t believe he had mistaken the two earlier.

It wasn’t the first time it happened, though.

Their first mission together, when he heard Vision over the comms, he was momentarily confused. It was swiftly followed by a deep sense of loss, knowing that his AI was gone, and while FRIDAY did an admirable job… there was a reason why Tony was trying to bring J.A.R.V.I.S. back, even when no one knew about it.

Except for Vision, who had figured it out early on. If he was offended, he didn’t say. The synthezoid even pretended to be supportive of the endeavor, although it was hard to believe that was what he genuinely felt. Why would he care, though? He was his own entity, and just because he shared a lot of the same traits, it was mostly just the vocal patterns that threw Tony off – as well as the occasional ‘sir’ that seemed to slip out, and the continued avoidance of calling Tony by his first name.

Vision guided him to his bedroom, Tony’s body following along on auto pilot. Somewhere between the last sip of whiskey and losing the glass, his body had begun to shut down and gear towards rest. There was no going back now, to try to continue his work. He would be nodding off in minutes, so it was better to just admit defeat and continue the fight another day.

Tony pulled off his stubborn clothes and slumped onto the bed, sighing as the covers were pulled out from under him and then tucked across his body. His consciousness was already sinking, farther and farther down…

“Sleep well.”

“Thanks, J,” Tony murmured. “Make sure the bots don’t…” He yawned. “… set anything on fire.”

“Will do, sir,” a soft voice replied, reassuring him, as always, that everything was going to be fine while he slumbered.

The End