The Iron Heart Project
SUMMARY– Tony Stark sacrificed himself for the greater good of the world, but in being the hero he left behind his daughters who have already lost so much.
PAIRING – Dad!Tony Stark x Daughter!Reader x Avengers Team [ 1.8k ]
AUTHORS NOTE – Here’s another angsty one for you. Canon Endgame and Infinity War plotline. Heavy mention of Tony and Natasha.
You barely recognized the small, clammy little hand that forcefully claimed a place within your tightly crumpled fist, or the darkness that drew closer after every minute past that you spent brokenly glaring out at the unchanging ripples in the water. Your heart felt empty as sunlight hit a shard of metal in the distance, only amplifying the grief that paralyzed your body. You hadn’t left the dock since your mother released that small bouquet of wildflowers you and Morgan picked, along with the metal that had once been inside of your fathers’ chest. The last physical part of him had been lost to the depths of a lake you’d never be able to explore to find it, and you weren’t sure how that pain could ever ease.
The small person beside you was quiet, save for soft sniffles and her wobbly bottom lip that offer you reassurance that you aren’t alone in this suffering. After falling from an alien wormhole, evil android, and multiple hydra takeovers, you, Y/N Stark, had surrendered your vulnerability to the prominent promise that your father could, and always would, come home after it all was over and done with. But he hadn’t come home after Thanos, and he never would walk through those wooden doors again. Anthony Stark, the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, had laid down his life to save a billion others. His selfless actions had rendered both you and Morgan fatherless, and Pepper Potts completely devastated. How was that ever meant to get easier?
Years ago — before the iron man suit or the Avengers initiative — the story of metal strong as iron was just a saying of affection between a father and his daughter. All those nights ago, when Y/N and Tony would sit beneath the stars on the roof of Stark Industries, stories of great adventure had been conceived and after every great escape would come the words, my love is stronger than iron. Cheesy, Tony was painfully aware.
On nights when neither could sleep and the stars were hidden by clouds and pollution, they’d escape to the lab to forge a tangible representation of their inseparable bond. During the process, small hands would clench and grab at the neckline or Tony’s shirt, offering advice on how they could make their Iron Heart project better. You were always his favorite lab partner.
When you had prompted the idea of Iron Man, it had been the result of cold medicine and delirium, though when the coughs and sneezes subsided that next week, your determination to succeed was driven and true: just like Tony’s always was. The small child of the billionaire with bright eyes and unruly hair created the perfect symbol of unity and strength using the schematics that had once been dedicated to her Iron Heart project.
You wished you could go back to those days, sit with your father for a while and slave over blueprints and schematics until the early hours of the morning when Pepper came to find you. You wished it could all be that simple again, without the threat of alien invasions and death lurking over your shoulder. It wasn’t lurking anymore. Never would you take Iron Man away from the world, though on days like this when you were confronted with the worst and forced to accept it, you wished the world would have considered that the man beneath the metal had a family waiting for him to come home. Nobody ever saw Tony Stark as a father, nobody considered that being a father was his favorite job.
You stood from the docks with a sudden inability to remain still. Your body was shaking, trembling from the sheer emotional distress you were under, though you paid it no mind, instead looking down at Morgan who was peering at you curiously. Grabbing onto your sisters hand again, you made your way back to the cabin where you and Tony had unpacked thousands of memories over the course of five beautifully uninterrupted years. You want those years back, even if it’s just for another day.
Wanda visibly flinched as you brushed past her, your sorrow thick and heavy and unbelievably painful as it flashed before the Avengers eyes. The loss of Vision had already put a heavy burden on the young sokovian, though the depth of which you were feeling for your father (and Natasha, how could you forget you’d lost Natasha in this mess too? A woman that had become like your second mother: your best friend) was sickening and heart-wrenching.
“Y/N—” Pepper called for her step-daughter, watching the distant gleam in the girl's bright eyes becoming farther and farther detached from the reality they shared. Y/N Stark was completely lost to her memory of the days when her father was alive and well.
The sea of Avengers that were sitting in what used to be Tony Stark’s living room watched warily as you brought Morgan towards a shelf of priceless artifacts. Pepper stepped out from behind the kitchen island, throwing a dish rag to the side with her eyebrows drawn in curiosity and sadness. Both you and Morgan were spitting images of Tony while in the trenches of his worst funk, though now the promise of late night juice-pops wouldn’t ease your misfortune. You’d have to find your own way out of this long, dark tunnel. Pepper worried you might never find the light again.
You reached up for the shimmering sculpture that could (and would) withstand the test of time, holding it tightly to your chest as if to relive the short months it took to make. They were months that you could barely remember now, but you cherished what minuscule details you could recall. Morgan reached towards the iron heart sculpture as well, brushing her small fingertips across its smooth surface with interest.
“Dad and I made this.” Your voice broke, though your strength didn’t falter as you bent down to further explain the significance of the sculpture to Morgan. “Look.” You gently turned the iron heart around, showing Morgan the two visible patches of missing metal.
You drew in a harsh breath as a new wave of inconsolable tears made their way to your eyes. You hadn’t stopped crying since the news of Tony’s death reached your ears two days ago, though each time you cried the weeping became more painful. You feared that the urge to crumble would never go away, but you couldn’t let Morgan see you so weak, even if you were terrified that you would never stop crying.
You reached into your shirt, retrieving the small shard of metal that you wore proudly each and every day. The only difference now being that the identical shard was no longer clinging to the interior of the Iron Man suit. The small charm that symbolizes so much was instead laying in your pocket, begging to be worn by a man that would never breathe again.
Reaching for the other necklace, you lifted the chain over Morgan’s head, letting the cold necklace lay atop of your sister's silky black dress. “Dad would want you to have it.” You whispered to her gently, sniffling, you reached to put the iron heart back to it’s place on the shelf when a dim beam of light projected from the top.
Tony Stark grinned happy with himself as he paced around a very disheveled laboratory. Schematics and blueprints were thrown about everywhere, shards of spare metal and faulty wrenches tossed aside onto every available surface. The sun had set ages ago, instead a city skyline painted a picture just outside of the windows behind him.
“Does it work yet, Daddy?!” An excited voice called, small little hands grabbing onto the billionaire's pants with utter impatience. Tony bent down to pick up the small child, a teasing grin on his face as she wriggled about anxiously. Strands of unruly hair fell into Tony’s mouth when he attempted to answer, though he figured the small child had already figured it out for herself when she leaned in impossibly close towards the microscopic camera. “Hi!” She waved, clambering higher up onto Tony’s chest when she realized his hesitation to proceed. “Say hi, daddy!”
“Hi.” Tony waved, a bright smile filling his features as he took appreciation for the small piece of technology that meant more to him then the billion dollar corporation he was standing within. “What do you say we include Jarvis?”
The small child shook her head, once again reaching for the silver heart with pure adoration. “No.” She exclaimed, once again waving to metal as if it had the limbs — or ability — to wave back. “But, we gotta tell it about us, Daddy. Like you tell Jarvis about your day.”
“Well, I’m Daddy—” Tony was cut off by loud giggles, small hands pressing against his cheeks as if to cut off his incessant lies.
“I’ll tell it!” The young child exclaimed, determination on her features as she wiggled down from her fathers arms and instead sat happily on the desk. “That’s Tony Stark, and I’m Y/N/N Stark! I’m four—”
This time it was Tony’s turn to cut off the little girl, tickling her sides as he spilled all her secrets to the small immobile metal structure. His smile, unchanged by trauma and heavy burdens, was bright as he continued to ramble on and on about favorite constellations and ice cream flavors. The world seemed so small in the moment, just him and his little girl to impress, though that reality wouldn’t stay the same for long.
“I think it’s breaking, Daddy.” The small girl spoke as she watched the iron heart begin to flash with sad, disappointment filled eyes.
The picture faded slowly, much to younger you’s prediction, but sound was still playing from the metal heart as you watched it brokenly. Every person in the room had lost Tony Stark, though the world was only missing Iron Man. Now, that fact seemed even more primitive.
“I love you stronger than iron.” The voice of a small child echoed around the cabin, Pepper Potts sniffling sadly as she watched her two daughters grieve in silence.
“My love is stronger than iron.” The sound of Tony’s promise was the final undoing of all the composure you had been trying to muster since Natasha sacrificed herself.
You crumbled to the floor in absolute despair, heartbreaking sobs shaking your body. The iron heart tumbled to the floor too, slipping past Morgan’s fingers as she attempted to catch it. Unlike you, it didn’t shatter, but yet another scratch was added to its battered appearance.
Tony Stark's love for his daughter outlasted the test of time, though inevitably he left them both behind to collect the pieces of a world that was vulnerable to opposing threats.
Tony Stark, The Villain Factory
I've been wanting to talk about this for a while now, and with my finals slowly coming to a close, I can procrastinate juuusst long enough to make this post.
For a very long time there has been this trend of talking about how Tony Stark creates his own villains (and even villains for others). Even people who love his character include this in their arguments, how his character arc is defined by him attempting to rectify his past actions. His own trilogy is connected by this need of bettering himself, and that starts with fixing his mistakes and protecting the ones he loves. This change from playboy rich kid to savior of the universe is what makes him so interesting to some compared to a character like Steve Rogers, his foil.
Steve Rogers is supposed to personify good, even from the start he is defined by what is to be seen as an all encompassing selfless nature. He does good, good things come from it, he is rewarded, rinsed and repeated. He is rarely told no, because to his credit, he usually is right when it comes to what is morally correct. Since Steve Rogers starts as the good, he has nowhere to grow outside of this narrative, and is constantly surrounded by yes men. He is charismatic in a golden boy type way, America's golden boy. He isn't used to being told no, and on the off chance that he is incorrect, whether fully or partially, he is unwilling to listen to another perspective.
Of course, as previously mentioned, he is usually correct. Key word: usually. So, on the few occasions he is wrong, he is unable to grasp the concept of compromise. He has a very black and white view of the world, and he fully believes that he is always in the white.
Tony Stark, on the other hand, has a different perspective.
Oftentimes, Tony has a very negative self image of himself and his impact on the world. It's easy to forget that it wasn't him who built his empire, but his father. The comics go further in depth with his relationship with the late Howard Stark, but unfortunately the movies attempted to mellow the man out, and even redeem him slightly in later movies (see: Endgame).
In short, at his best, Howard was incredibly dismissive and harsh with his son, and at his worst downright abusive. Tony was essentially groomed to take over a company which was already responsible for providing weapons that slaughtered thousands, profiting from war and destruction. His morality started at a deficit, in the eyes of the characters, the audience, and even to himself.
Unlike Steve, who is supposed to represent two sides of the same coin when it comes to dual roles, both as Steve Rogers the soldier and Captain America the hero, Tony Stark asks the question- "Can a hero do good despite the evil his alter ego has committed?"
Tony essentially has to work against a legacy that he didn't start, a life he was groomed into, and the consequences of his unhealthy coping mechanisms. With that, the main point of this post- why I think the statement "Tony Stark is responsible for his (and others) villains" is (mostly) utter bullshit.
In order to do this, we first need to define what being responsible means. This is important, because if you just define responsible as “connected with,” it muddles down the severity of the action.
What makes someone responsible?
Responsible means being the primary cause of something and so able to be blamed or credited for it.
The word primary is the most important here, as well as understanding that a character being angry at Tony does not equate him being responsible for their actions. This is a common tactic used to victim-blame, that person A did something to either upset or provoke person B, making person A responsible for person B’s actions.
In order for Tony Stark to be responsible for a villain, he had to directly cause an action to take place, which then created the villain in question. He also has to be the primary cause of said action, and not just a vessel for the anger of someone who feels like they’ve been wronged and are using him as a metaphorical punching bag.
Now, let us move down the list of the villains he is known for creating, and count the ones he's actually responsible for.
Obadiah Stane & The 10 Rings: Iron Man was the catalyst for the MCU, and the first hero (disregarding the current multiverse storyline) to hit the big screen. With it, the introduction to the first villain. The 10 Rings existed with or without Tony's presence, seeing as Howard created the company and Obadiah both oversaw its business before Tony took over in the mid to late nineties, and was the one who was working with Raza. I've seen the argument that since Stark Industries provided the weapons he is to blame for their actions, and although that's the feeling Tony has, it is factually incorrect. Stane was the one dealing under the table, not Tony- who finds out only after his kidnapping and through Christine Everheart. Let me make this point clear now.
Tony was only aware of his supplying of weapons to the American Government and Armed forces.
This will come into play again later down the line. Was it his responsibility to know what was going on in his own company that had his name on it? Absolutely- but I would also argue he had no reason to be aware of Obadiah and what he was doing behind his back. This man was supposed to be a father figure to him, a mentor- a friend of his parents and the man who guided him when they died. We never hear mention of other family, so it wouldn't be a jump to assume that Obadiah was all he had left. Jarvis (the real person) could have potentially been still alive, but even so- he definitely is not at the start of the movie.
Tony is not responsible for Obadiah's actions. He was betrayed, stabbed in the back, and almost killed by the man who he was supposed to trust. He (literally) had his heart ripped out by him. Stane's motivation is power and greed, a desire to take control of Stark Industries and all that would give him. He was angry at Tony, sure, but the only thing we saw Tony do that directly caused him to be angry was shutting down the weapons division of the company.
Tony, 1/3rd of the way into his first movie, has already started his journey towards redemption, is already trying to fix the pain he thinks he helped create- and Stane wanted to reverse it.
Also this movie ends with him sacrificing himself to make sure Stane doesn’t win and continue to hurt others- making the later jabs at him weak and not as meaningful.
0/2 so far on created villains.
Whiplash and Hammer:
This one is going to be quick.
Venko was angry at Tony because of something his father did, plain and simple.
Hammer was a competitor of Tony’s, we see multiple times throughout the movie that his work is not to the same standard. His attempt to recreate the Iron Man suit almost kills a man, his greatest weapons used by Rhodey fail, and he is overall portrayed to be a slimy individual. His bitterness towards his inadequacy is not Tony’s responsibility, Tony is not at fault for the anger of others when all he did was provide better work. It’s easy to victim-blame him in this situation because of his erratic behavior throughout this movie, but that was fueled by the fact that he was actively dying and had no bearing on Hammer’s or Venko’s actions.
0/4 responsible so far.
Aldrich Killian: Out of the entire trilogy, this is the only villain I would attribute to Tony.
Tony was a drunk asshole. Tony left him out on the roof. Tony upset him, and was overall a dick. I’m not going to spend that much time arguing whether someone pulling a dick move is enough to justify mass death and inhumane experimentation- because that isn’t the question here.
(If you want my opinion, no- because if I threw my sprite at a random dude who was having a bad day, and he later killed a bunch of people and cited me as the cause, I wouldn’t be convicted as even an accesory to murder.)
Still, Tony’s direct action = Killian working with Maya and creating extremis. This is different to Hammer, where Tony didn’t directly do anything other than be better at his job. It might have led to a similar outcome, but didn’t come from the same place. I’ll give it a .5, but I don’t fully agree.
Ultron: This one is probably the most talked about in the MCU. Let me be clear, this is a point, I’m not arguing against that-my problem is people like to pretend he is solely responsible for Ultron.
I’m going to outline the timeline of Ultron (the bot, not the film).
-Aliens invade and destroy New York, and the Avengers are tasked with defeating them.
-The government attempts to drop a nuke, which Iron Man intercepts and directs into the wormhole, essentially sacrificing himself. While he is in the wormhole, he sees what they are up against.
-After nearly dying in space, he returns with severe PTSD. Iron Man 3 shows how much the whole experience affected him, how he didn’t sleep, obsessed over the suits, over protecting the world. He develops an anxiety disorder because of it.
-He comes up with the concept of Ultron but scraps the idea.
-While fighting a Hydra base, Wanda Maximoff, who knew (as stated in the movie by Wanda herself) that she could manipulate Tony into creating something (she did not know what at the time) that would lead to his destruction.
-She manipulates his mind and triggers his severe PTSD, which outlines his biggest fears.
-He then takes the scepter and, after consulting Bruce Banner, uses it to create Ultron. They work on it together, but do not complete it, the super bot had not been completed and was still in progress at the time of the party.
People like to say Bruce was forced into working on Ultron, he was not. He was apprehensive, yes- but he is a grown adult that has seven Phd’s, he can damn well think for himself.
Neither Bruce nor Tony had the intention for it to turn evil, it was supposed to help humanity- not destroy it. The sick truth of it all is that Tony was right. As seen in Infinity War, something big was coming, and they weren’t prepared. Ultron was a failure, but the intention behind it was just and good.
Wanda Maximoff, on the other hand, also an adult woman at the time, intended for destruction, regardless of who it hurt. She, on the flip side, did not know of Ultron, but wanted something that would destroy, for the sole reason of being angry at Tony Stark. We know that at this point she had no care for anyone other than herself and her brother, she even used the Hulk to attack a town as a distraction, something that was devastating for Bruce. If you watch the movie, her face after she whammied Stark at the beginning is sinister. She has the biggest smile on her face when she realizes that her actions were going to lead to something big.
Tony Stark was partially responsible, yes- responsible enough that Ultron brings the score to 1.5/6 . Still, absolving Bruce’s, and much more importantly, Wanda’s contributions is absolutely not ok.
Which nicely leads to our next villains-
Wanda and Pietro Maximoff: Yes, they started off as bad guys. Yes, people will take every opportunity to blame Tony Stark for something. Let me first state something that should be obvious:
Tony Stark was not responsible for the death of their parents.
(Ok that’s not it, I have more to say)
The twin’s parents were killed when they were 10 years old, meaning they died in 1999. The Novi Grad bombings were conducted by the American Air force, which Stark Industry provided with weapons. Still, and I can not stress this enough, the manufacturer is not responsible for the acts of the user.
If you’re angry that Tony was working for the military, then I’m sorry to tell you, but there are a lot of MCU characters that work for the military. He did not orchestrate the bombings, he did not make descisions on what the government would do in Sokovia, he did not provide his weapons illegally.
HE DID NOT CREATE STARK INDUSTRIES. HE BARELY OVERSAW THE DAMN COMPANY BETWEEN HIS FATHER AND OBADIAH. THERE WERE MULTIPLE SHAREHOLDERS, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, MEMBERS OF THE COMPANY THAT ALL HAD A SAY. WHEN HE SAW THE PAIN AND DESTRUCTION THAT WAS HIS FATHER’S LEGACY, HE IMMEDIATELY SHUT IT DOWN.
We even see in the first Iron Man how much power Obidiah had, how he was able to shut him out of the company when he did anything outside of what Stane wanted. Tony mostly kept to himself even when he was CEO, and Stane was the one shown to make the big choices. The company's connection to the United States military wasn’t even started by Tony, but by his father. When he was exposed to the destruction and went to shut it all down and stop the manufacturing of his weapons, pretty much everyone was angry at him. Stane and Rhodey are never blamed for the deaths of Wanda’s parents, even so their connection and desire to continue working with the military after Tony’s ordeal is even more significant.
Even if it was Tony who directly made the sale, something which again, was established by his father and continued by Stane, it still would not make him responsible.
See previous point: The manufacturer is not responsible for the acts of the user.
This is probably the point, besides Ultron, that the most amount of people will argue with me over.
Vulture: There's a very popular idea that Tony Stark is responsible for all of Spider-Man’s villains. The DOC was established as a way to rectify the damage caused by the attack on New York in 2012. Since it was all funded by Tony Stark, he is the one connected to the project. I’ve seen a lot of Tony stan’s use this as an argument for Tony, saying he is the only Avenger who cared about New York after the attack.
I am not making that argument.
As much as I love him, I think it’s unfair to accuse the other Avengers of not caring. We have no proof that they didn’t help in any way after the attacks. Unlike Tony, none of them have the money, nor the resources to fund an endeavor such as a complete reconstruction and clean up of a city such as New York.
Now, that isn’t to undermine Tony’s charitable actions: in the real world, not every billionaire contributes to events such as this one. Even when they do, there is a close to zero probability that they would fund the entire thing. We see how Tony uses his money to help in multiple situations, not only funding the Avengers themselves, but doing things such as buying a building the Hulk was about to destroy in Age of Ultron.
If there wasn’t a billionaire on the team, or Tony, who you could argue did his part by almost getting himself killed getting a missile away from the city, did not contribute his own money, that burden would fall on to the government.
In short, we see his contributions through the eyes of the villain, who is attributing his loss to the man responsible for not only saving the lives of countless others, but funding the effort to clean up a mess the Avengers didn’t create.
This is another example of Person A being wronged by someone, attributing it to Tony, and then using that hate to justify their actions.
You can not tell me that Tony was in the wrong for providing resources to aid in the reconstruction of a city he almost gave his life for.
The DOC even told Toomes he could reach out and complain, and with everything else we have no reason to believe Tony wouldn’t have compensated Toomes and his crew. If there was a scene where he made the attempt and Tony denied him, then you could potentially make the argument that he was the cause.
Mysterio: This one hurts me to even entertain.
Quentin Beck, a person who worked for Tony Stark, was angry that an invention that he worked on while under contract for Stark Industries, was taken, repurposed for use in therapy, and named B.A.R.F.
Let’s break this down.
We don’t know how much of B.A.R.F was actually Beck’s doing, since we know that his recollection of events was incorrect. A prime example of this is shown through the flashback in FFH, where on stage at Tony's joke about the name, there was a lot of laughter coming from the audience.
In the actual scene which we see in Civil War, no one is laughing. It is either a blatant lie or a fabricated memory.
Even if Beck was a major part in the project, he still created it for Stark Industries, which, approximately seven years prior to Civil War, shut down their weapons division.
Beck was angry that the company didn’t want to use it as a weapon.
This is a decision which would also probably be pushed through to the CEO, which by this time, is not Tony Stark, but Pepper Potts. We see in Iron Man three that she is the one making the big choices, probably in collaboration with members of the board alongside Tony Stark himself. There is a possibility that Tony himself didn’t even fire him, and that this is yet another example of name attribution, but that of course, is merely speculation.
Beck says he was fired for being “erratic”- I do not doubt this, considering how he acts in FFH. He is constantly yelling and threatening his coworkers when he doesn’t get his way.
The crew alongside him are also portrayed to be wronged by Tony, including a man named William Ginter Riva. He is the guy everyone knows from this classic interaction with Stane:
"Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave! With a box of scraps!"
"Well, I'm sorry. I'm not Tony Stark."
This is the reason Riva is shown to be angry at Tony, because Obidiah yelled at him. Not Tony himself, but Stane. Just another example of people being angry at Stane, but attributing that anger to Tony.
The group is upset that Tony left Peter Edith instead of them- why would Tony leave Edith to a random bunch of employees, some of which were even fired or had left the company?
Their motivation makes no sense, is unhinged, and is no way the responsibility of Tony Stark.
To conclude, Tony is responsible for 1.5/10 of the villains people accuse him of being responsible for.
That’s 15%, and that’s not even taking into account the rest of the villains in the MCU that he has nothing to do with
A rough count (that i'm low balling) is approximately 40 villains in the MCU. 1.5/40 is 3.75%.
“But he still antagonized/motivated/upset them!”
So has every hero in every movie ever. So has a lot of victims of crimes, that is not an excuse for these people to hurt Tony, his loved ones, or any one else they so please.