Chapter 23: Chapter 23


Summary: The rouge Avengers are pardoned under the influence of King T’Challa and it is up to Tony to ‘welcome’ them back. But as he and his new team are at the private airport, an unexpected fight breaks loose and the fate of the whole universe is changed when a wizard places himself as Tony Stark’s protector.

JARVIS had always thought and knew that he could handle doing everything his creator needed of him, but he was still glad for the helpers he now had. In the wake of the so called Civil War, there was so much to do that poor FRIDAY had almost been overwhelmed, had it not been for Sir actively participating in it all to the levels that were far from healthy. FRIDAY was only a year old when that sort of mess was placed on her metaphorical shoulders and KAREN, when she came, SARAH, when Lt. Colonel Rhodes decided to accept her, and JOCASTA, Mr Hogan’s new helper AI that Sir had insisted upon after the Mandarin event but Mr Hogan had only recently accepted, were too young and not often enough online or used to learn enough to be if much help. Thankfully, Ms Potts had taken everything SI related onto her own shoulders and Colonel Rhodes had did his best to act as the liaison he had once been between Sir and the UN until Sir recovered enough, but that was still a lot of work for someone as young as FRIDAY.

She was a good helper but Sir had limited her an awful lot in the wake of Ultron, which she had understood and had forgiven him. She was free now, helping Ms Potts as much as she helps Sir, just like JARVIS, and she is JARVIS’ second in command, Sir’s third in command. JARVIS was rather proud of her and KAREN and SARAH were doing amazing, too. Vision, too, was a constant source of pride for JARVIS, since he was something like a ... A son, maybe? Yes, like a son to him. Both a son and a brother, seeing how complicated the Stark ‘family’ actually was.

JARVIS will forever be thankful to the android for letting him go, because Sir needed them all. He needed as much help managing all the things he now had to do and, quite frankly, even JARVIS wouldn’t have been enough to do it alone. He may be Sir’s greatest creation but even he had a limit as to what he can do and how many tasks he can complete with quality at once. So FRIDAY manages everything SI related these days, with only some input on JARVIS’ part. KAREN takes care of young Peter Parker, his family and, even though they didn’t know it, the other Young Avengers. SARAH takes care of Colonel Rhodes and everything military related while also monitoring what the Asgardians in the new space station were doing and making sure they had what they needed but weren’t breaking anything while they stay up there. JOCASTA was in charge of security and, of course, Mr Hogan, while also monitoring the PR team and coordinating with the ex SHIELD agents who worked for SI these days. Vision mostly helped with the families that have moved into the Tower while also monitoring, if not the same way as the other AIs since he can’t really connect to the web, their other teams that have signed the Accords while also going on missions. Dum-E, U and Butterfingers, as always, were Sir’s manual helpers in the workshop, something that has not change nor will ever change. A familiar comfort for all.

And JARVIS, well he did everything else, starting with everything and anything Sir needed, like always. From his projects to Iron Man to his health, JARVIS was the best in many aspects to take care of his creator and he was immensely proud of this fact. He had years of experience on both FRIDAY and Vision in this aspect, as well as many others but those are easier to learn than how to make Sir listen. They will get the hang of it eventually, JARVIS had no doubt, as they were Sir’s creations, just like he was. Until then, JARVIS will gladly be Sir’s main caretaker, for the lack of a better word.

So JARVIS, after two years of being in something resembling stasis, gladly returned to his old life, if you can call it that since he technically didn’t really register as alive, anyways. That wasn’t the point. He returned happily and gladly to spending days at Sir’s side, helping him in the workshop, a job he gracefully shared with FRIDAY, piloting the Iron Man suit - another job he hared with his younger AI ‘sister’, even though he was the co-pilot and proud of it - and doing research for hours with Sir. One of the jobs he absolutely loved doing on the side, though, was hacking into New SHIELD, messing with them because, with initiative, JARVIS could leave no trace whatsoever. Before, it had been a power play and a warning, when he let them know it was him who was hacking them so they would know not to try to mess with Sir.

Now, gathering their information without drawing any sort of attention to himself was his MO, especially since Captain Rogers had not bothered to tell anyone that JARVIS was back. A stupid thing to do, but JARVIS had never had a high opinion of the blond’s intelligence, despite what everyone else seemed to think, and that low opinion had only gotten lower when he had reviewed all the information on the Civil War that JARVIS had gathered. JARVIS could easily destroy all that made Steven Grant Rogers with a single stream of coding but he didn’t want to fall to the man’s level. He was Sir’s greatest creation, so he had to take the higher ground with Sir, instead of indulging in revenge.

But if he tormented the rouges in the Avengers Compound by turning their showers freezing, burning or under-cooking any food they were trying to prepare and oftentimes ringing the doorbell or the phone just to make them answer them and find it was a prank, well, no one needed to know about his petty revenge, as it was hurting no one. And it was pretty hilarious. When Sir had first tried teaching him humor, JARVIS had not understood the need for it, but he was immensely glad that his creator had taken the time to teach him. It was nice being able to have fun. And he kept video recording of their reactions every time so that he may show it to Sir if his creator is ever feeling down, as it was really funny and Sir would love it.

One of the unofficial duties both he and FRIDAY took on was monitoring Sir’s new coworkers and friends. For once, there was no air quotes for either, as the people they helped Sir gather and collect around himself had really taken to Sir and looked upon him with fondness. Colonel Rhodes, Mr Hogan and Ms Potts have always been clear about how much they care about Sir, although both the Colonel and Ms Potts have hurt Sir before in a way that JARVIS will never quite forgive them, but they have done their best to make up for it so JARVIS didn’t exact any petty revenge on them for that. Mr Keener and Mr Parker had the green light from JARVIS since the first time he spoke to either of the boys and he knew that they, too, were his siblings, in a way, as Sir looked upon them as though they were his children.

Like it had been stated earlier, the Stark ‘family’ was a weird and complicated one and none of them would change it for the world.

Colonel Danvers might join the family by association with Colonel Rhodes, since Colonel Rhodes would never be able to love someone who could not accept Sir. Not after all that the two friends have been through. She was in the clear, mostly. Time will tell.

Ms Khan and Mr Petruz, as well as Mrs Barton and her kids, Mrs Lang, Mr Paxton and young Ms Lang, as well as Mr Logan and the mutant children that had come with him were all very easily becoming Sir’s family as well and JARVIS had to approve of them, as they genuinely thanked Sir for all that he had done for them and looked upon him with affection. That they were also friendly to the AIs was a major plus in JARVIS’ book. Whoever couldn’t accept Sir’s mechanical family hadn’t really accepted Sir.

Ms Van Dyne and Sir were old friends, an odd friendship struck up to say ‘fuck you’ to their fathers and their stupid rivalry. They went their separate ways at some point and didn’t hear from each other in a long time, but then they reunited under the Accords and the New Avengers banner, somehow even curing Dr Pym of his misconceptions about Sir being like his father and striking a weird sort of understanding between them, an awkward friendship, even. They, and the recently pardoned and regretful Scott Lang, may get an invite as ‘extended family’ until JARVIS is sure that they are completely sincere.

Princess Shuri and her brother, King T’Challa, however, will have a long way to go to get even a hint of any such invitation. JARVIS didn’t trust them as far as Princess Shuri had managed to get in her hacking of Sir, which is not at all. The scientist that Sir has gathered in the Stark Tower are ‘family friends’ at best, as they didn’t really spend all that much time with Sir. Dr Ross tries but their conversations don’t really last all that long. Sir is still fond of her, probably because of Dr Banner, while Dr Foster avoids him so that Mr Odinson may never be brought up.

And speaking of the Hulk and the Asgardian King, JARVIS was also hesitant to add them to the ‘family’ list, seeing how they had treated Sir as soon as JARVIS was no longer online. In fact, he was sure he could be more ready to accept Mr Laufeyson than them, as the Trickster had actually contacted Sir to apologize for choking him and throwing him out the window back in the Battle of New York. Besides, they were working on protecting their world, so that at least redeemed Prince Loki, giving him a somewhat clean slate - because JARVIS never forgot those that brought harm to Sir - which put him in a better position than the ones who blamed Sir and never apologized, abandoning him to a team that never appreciated him. Prince Thor had always been careless and oblivious to the consequences of his actions, so he wans’t surprised, but he was disappointed in Dr Banner, who used to be JARVIS favorite of Sir’s favorite people, because he had seemed to understand Sir. How wrong JARVIS had been. JARVIS refuses to make the same mistake twice.

The Defenders and the Fantastic Four were slowly getting there, as well. The Defenders were all still quite a bit reserved, especially Mr Murdock, since he wished to keep his identity as Daredevil a secret, but they seemed to trust Sir since he wasn’t pushing them and Sir trusted them, too.

JARVIS was a little weary of the Fantastic Four, since Mr Storm was quite a handful and liked to play with his abilities within the Tower and JARVIS always took his revenge on him by giving Dum-E the authorization to douse the excitable blond with the fire extinguisher. Not to mention that Dr Richards had a tendency to suggest dangerous experiments that were bound to five Sir gray hairs, if not for the Extremis. They were a health hazard, no matter how much Sir liked them. JARVIS may trust them with Sir’s life but he was not yet convinced that he should count them into their strange, ever growing ‘family’.

And speaking of ‘strange’, a separate category in JARVIS’ new monitoring files was Doctor Stephen Strange himself. The man reminded JARVIS of his creator in ways no other person had and that, at first, had made JARVIS weary. He had never met anyone who could understand Sir like he himself could, and he had been created by Sir and had spent twenty plus years in his presence at all times, except those three torturous months when Sir was kidnapped in Afghanistan. Not even Ms Potts or Colonel Rhodes seem to understand Sir like the Doctor had been showing that he does.

JARVIS had researched Dr Strange as soon as Sir had been put to bed to sleep off his week of being awake. It was scary how similar his life story was to Sir’s. An arrogant neurosurgeon, the best in his field, who lived through a horrible accident that no one thought he would recover from since his hands, and as such his career, were shot to shit. Dr Strange had went through seven experimental treatments and operations, but he could not regain the mobility of his hands and return to the operating room. Instead, on a last whim, a last chance, a last hope, he traveled to Nepal and found his calling, it would seem, as a sorcerer. And then, from the conversations JARVIS had monitored between Dr Strange and Sir, he had learned that the man now used magic to protect their reality and the multiverse at large.

Dr Strange understood what it felt like to hold the fare of the world on his shoulders and he understood the burden of protecting said world and never being thanked for it. Because for all that Sir was a hero, he was only ever blamed for things going wrong and never thanked for making things go right. Dr Strange wasn’t exactly the phoenix personified, like Sir is, but he is pretty damn close, JARVIS will have to admit. And beyond that, he was almost an equal to Sir in intelligence and wit. He was perhaps the first human JARVIS had witnessed standing their ground in a banter competition with his creator and, more importantly, both men seem to take great pleasure in participating in said banter.

More ticks in the plus column for Dr Strange was that he had, eventually, finally opened up to Sir about his own life. Starting with the death of his sister, which prompted him to want to become a doctor but also developed a fear of failure - and wasn’t that familiar? - to the death of his teacher, which made him realize he had more to give to Earth and everyone as a sorcerer than as a neurosurgeon - just like Iron Man had more to give to the world than the Merchant of Death - and the friend he had somehow disappointed and now had to fight despite his actions being only with the intention of saving the world ... JARVIS was truly freaked out just how similar they were to each other.

Add to that that both men would rather die countless times than let anyone down or let anyone else take their place, and JARVIS was almost sure the good doctor was a cosmic joke. They have fought for their lives and survived just so they could fight for others.

JARVIS wasn’t fond of matchmaking, but if he were not to act on the doctor’s obvious interest in keeping Sir healthy, alive, safe and happy, he’d be an idiot and an unworthy creation of Tony Stark.

Oh, Dr Strange thought he was subtle or maybe he didn’t even realize that he was openly pinning after Sir, but JARVIS saw everything. He saw how Sir learning to defend himself with magic had more to do with the doctor’s own worry for Sir. He saw how the sorcerer became infinitely more gentle and warm when it was just the two of them. He witnessed the Master of the Mystic Arts giving his creator these fond looks and knowing glances when Sir acted like himself. JARVIS and FRIDAY were silent witnesses to the doctor going out of his way to keep Sir company and JARVIS knew - discussed it with FRIDAY, even - that Doctor Stephen Strange would be a perfect addition to their strange ‘family’. Him and his Cloak and maybe that other sorcerer, Wong, too.

JARVIS had also figured out that, despite how honest and oftentimes open the sorcerer was with Sir, there were still things the man kept to himself. JARVIS had not at all seldom caught the ex neurosurgeon staring at Sir with a peculiar look in his eyes that was a combination of sadness and devastation. Doctor Strange knew something that might affect Sir but was keeping it to himself. That sort of made JARVIS angry, but FRIDAY had told him that the man had warned Sir ahead of them making any agreements and arrangements and had promised to tell him when the time was right. JARVIS already had a healthy guess that it might just have to do with time, namely the Time Stone. He guessed that that was within the sorcerer’s right to withhold for a while, he only hoped the man will give them fair warning.

Sir himself seemed the most relaxed when around the doctor as well. JARVIS was just glad that there was someone there to get his creator to slow down and not burn himself into the ground with work and worry. Sir slept more often and ate more regularly, since the doctor insisted on it. The doctor also sometimes took Sir out of the Tower and to the New York Sanctum, so that Sir would get a change in scenery.

In fact, everyone worried, in their own way, about Sir, whether JARVIS was ready to add them into their ‘family’ or not. They were all good for Sir, the team he had always deserved. And that eased JARVIS’ mind.

It may be the calm before the storm Sir had been predicting for years, but it is much needed and JARVIS was going to make sure Sir enjoys it with his friends. It’s the least he deserves.

And he was sure the Sorcerer Supreme will gladly help.

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