Metamorphosis

The Day in the Life of Tony's Assistant

Stark Tower: 4:07 am.

A soft thrumming echoed through the darkness of a spacious bedroom. A groan followed shortly after as a pair of jade eyes slowly fluttered open. A sigh then resonated through the disrupted silence as a slim shadow slowly rose from its laying position. A dainty hand reached out and searched the nightstand beside the queen sized bed for the ringing object. Finally, the hand found its treasure, quickly pressing the green button and placing the phone to the awaiting ear.

"Hello?"

"Livingston! Good, you picked up."

"Mr. Stark?" Silver blinked as she glanced at her digital alarm clock and closed her eyes. Taking a deep breath, she mentally cried and shook her head. "Do you have any idea what the time is?"

"That's exactly why I'm calling," her boss stated evenly, causing a brow to rise on Silver's face. She scratched the back of her head before she ran her fingers through her hair and sighed.

"I have an important job for you." The honey blonde was surprised at the staid tone in her boss' voice. She hadn't been expecting that.

The past four weeks of working with Tony had been agonizing for Silver. The man had her running ridiculous and almost impossible errands for him, and she was beginning to grow tired of it; this time around he sounded more serious than she'd ever heard him before.

Silver quickly stood up to her feet as she made her way to her bathroom, wincing as the lights automatically turned on her for. "What can I do for you, sir?"

"I need you to do this as efficiently and as quickly as possible," Tony began to explain as Silver began to brush her teeth, setting her touch screen down and turning the speaker option on. "On the corner of west 51st and 10th avenue, there's a shop that I need you to go to." The assistant spat her minty toothpaste out and into the marble sink, rinsing her mouth with bitter cold water while quickly placing her cell phone back to the side of her face.

"Head inside and say that you're there for me and that you're there to pick up my usual," he instructed. "They'll know what you mean by that." From what Tony was saying, it sounded like he needed whatever Silver was picking up badly.

"What exactly am I getting?" the blonde asked as she pulled a pair of gray slacks on, holding her phone in between her cheek and shoulder as she zipped and buttoned them.

"I need this package in order to finish working down here." Silver nodded as a determined gleam appeared in her green eyes. She quickly shrugged on a button-up shirt and slipped her black heels on before she made her way out the door.

"I'm on my way right now."

"Good. Make sure you get it as quickly as you can." Without another word, the line ended and Silver stuffed her phone into her back pocket. She smiled, slightly, to herself as she nodded and quickly entered the elevator. She continued to smile as she took a deep breath, promising herself she'd make sure to do a good job on getting whatever it was that Tony needed. And with that new-found determination burning inside of her like a freshly lit match, Silver pulled her phone out, calling the driver and telling him to ready the car.

And out she went.

Stark Tower-Lab: 6:57 am.

Tony continued working diligently as he stared up at the holographic images of his Iron Man suit. He enlarged the image of the mechanism on his arm-plate by holding his hands up and gracefully pulling them away so that the image would stretch with the motion of his arms. He stared hard and narrowed his eyes in deep concentration before he heard the elevator approaching.

"Mr. Stark?"

"Livingston, finally," Tony said as he turned around, the image disappearing abruptly. He smiled brazenly as he watched the blonde approach him, the muscles in her face tense. He raised a brow at the woman as she set a brown, greasy, paper bag down on the counter and crossed her arms. "I see you picked up my package without any trouble." His smile morphed into a smirk as he sat down on a stool and grabbed for the bag, dragging it across the counter and leaving an oily trail. Silver did her best to control herself as she smiled stiffly at the man she called "boss". She cleared her throat and straightened up.

"Shawarma?" Tony looked up with a confused expression on his face before he glanced down at his food. A look of realization came over him as he shook his head.

"That was rude of me," he stated. "Do you want some? This place makes killer food."

"You called me and woke me up at four in the morning so you could have shawarma?" the assistant reiterated as Tony shrugged. The assistant released a short breath that was supposed to be a laugh while she shook her head. "When you called, you made it seem urgent."

"They say that eating is important, you know, the whole 'starvation kills you' thing."

"You said you needed this in order to finish working in the lab!"

Tony thought for a moment before he shrugged. "That must have been my exhaustion and hunger talking."

Silver blinked before she cleared her throat and closed her eyes for a moment, hoping she'd lock the boiling anger inside of her away. Tony met her gaze once she opened her eyes and regained her self-control, and the genius raised a brow innocently as he began to rip into the paper bag. He pulled out the to-go container of food as he set it down on the counter.

"I do have to say." Silver was sure that whatever the engineer had to say was going to piss her off. "It took you longer than I thought it would to pick this up." She was right.

"Well," the 30-year-old said. "There was a little traffic, and they weren't open when I got there."

"It doesn't take that long to make this stuff, does it?"

"I waited for an hour-and-a-half!" she almost yelled. Realizing her close blunder, the exasperated woman quickly gained her composure back, though Tony didn't seem to notice the tension in her body as he continued to dig into his meal.

"Well, looks like you learned a lesson. Always plan ahead for these things." The billionaire ignored the blatant glare he was receiving from his assistant as he listened to her release a deep breath through her nostrils. He glanced up at her as she forced a smile across her thin lips.

"Is there anything else I can do for you?" she pushed out as Tony thought for a moment. He shook his head and smiled impishly at her.

"You're free to go." He watched as Silver quickly turned on her heel and made her way to the elevator, not daring to look back; she wasn't about to get stuck running another chore for Tony.

Stark Tower-1st floor: 10:38 am.

Silver sifted through stacks of mail for Tony, organizing and tossing the random letters out and keeping the bills, fan-mail, and invitations in the "keep" pile. It didn't matter though; she'd be the one replying to everything, anyways. She leaned forward in her cushioned chair and closed her eyes, rubbing them with the palm of her hands. Not once did the thought of her make-up smudging cross her mind. All she could concern herself with was the relief she would feel when she was tucked safely in her bed and relieved from Tony's demand for the night.

It had been a tough time for Silver. Not only was she trying to overcome the sudden home-sickness that was trying to consume her, but she was trying to stay afloat in the ocean that was Tony Stark. Every task, every demand, every single thing he asked of her was like a wave crashing over her head, and every time, it was becoming more and more difficult for the blonde to swim back to the surface for that breath of air. Her early mornings and late evenings were beginning to wear her down, and the patience she once prided herself on was beginning to fade—along with whatever was left of her sanity.

Before the exhausted P.A. began to fall asleep at her desk, the beeping of her cell phone shook her from her near-slumber. Hazardously, she scrambled for her phone and quickly picked up, clearing her throat. "Hello?"

"Livingston, I need you on the 17th floor really quick." Said woman blinked as she stood from her desk.

"What can I do for you, Mr. Stark?" she asked, though she truly had no interest in what her boss wanted. She began to make her way to the elevator as the man continued.

"I have something to keep you busy for a little. He's a big one though, so you have to be ready for this."

"Wait, who—" Silver stopped her inquiry as she pushed the up button and realized the elevator doors were still closed. She blinked from confusion as her brows furrowed inward.

"Oh, I forgot to mention," Tony began, as if he'd been given a cue. "The elevators are shut down right now."

"Wh—Why?" Silver asked incredulously as she tried pressing the button once more; it didn't change anything.

"I have JARVIS run random, periodic tests on them to make sure they're working properly and safely—the works," Tony explained evenly as Silver blinked.

"How am I supposed to get to the 17th floor?" she asked wide-eyed as her gaze slowly drifted to the emergency staircase doors to her left. She frowned to herself, already knowing Tony's answer.

"Lucky for us, there's something called stairs that people use when the elevators aren't working," the man stated sarcastically—Silver envisioning him rolling his dark eyes at her. "It's an outdated invention, though. I don't blame you for not knowing." God, what Silver would give to punch the sarcasm out of his voice.

"I'll be up there in…a bit," Silver muttered as she pushed open the metal door and stared at the steps. She frowned to herself as she hung the phone up and stuffed it into her pocket. Within seconds, the woman was groaning and nearly stomping her foot like she once had when she'd been told to way at the end of the line at lunch; that was when she had been six years old.

It was almost embarrassing that she was acting such a way as a grown woman.

With a deep breath, Silver regretfully took her first step, swallowing the lump that was beginning to form in her throat. "Here we go."

Stark Tower-17th floor: 10:53 am.

Ragged pants filled the void-less silence as the metal door to the floor swung open, revealing a slouched over woman. She kept her green eyes shut as she leaned over and used the door to keep her balance; had she not, she would have most definitely fallen to the floor. Not bothering to look around, Silver quickly trudged her way to the nearest seat and sat down, leaning back and catching her breath.

At first, the assistant thought she might be able to run up the set of stairs and push past the slight burning she'd felt in her thighs and lungs; it was more than just slight. By the time Silver made it to the fifth floor, she was already breathing heavily and wishing she could throw herself over the railing and back to the first floor. Anything would have been better at that moment than continuing forward and up. She pushed on, though, not wanting to give her ruthless boss the satisfaction of knowing she couldn't make it past measly stairs. So, after a long journey, Silver finally made it to the 17th floor.

"Livingston, you're just in time. The elevators just started up again!" Tony stated as he looked over, Silver shaking her head in pure agony and closing her eyes. She took a few more seconds to catch her breath before she stood to her feet and sighed. She raised a brow and looked up, Tony holding out a leash to her. And although she knew he could see and understand the expression of confusion on her face, he said nothing. So, the blonde took it upon herself to get the answers she desired.

"What is that for?"

"Him." Silver's eyes widened. She didn't stay on her feet for too long as she heard scampering on the tiled floor. Before she could react, she felt something pounce on to her, causing her to lose her balance and fall to the ground. She winced and grunted, getting the wind slightly knocked out of her.

"Wh—What is this?" she snapped as she felt something slightly slimy and warm run up her cheek.

"This is Grover," Tony introduced as he watched the golden retriever on top of Silver continue to assault her with sloppy licks. He smirked as he heard the woman release a sound of frustration before she shoved the dog away and stood up. She dusted herself off and looked over at Tony with a perplexed look.

"You don't have a dog," she pointed out as Tony nodded.

"I don't, but I'm watching this guy for Rhodey while he's away for work," he explained as Silver looked back into the banks of her memory, reminding herself that the military man did mention his dog during passing, once. She frowned at that before she cleared her throat.

"What am I supposed to do with it?" she asked as she glanced at the pet with a slightly disgusted look, which was all too entertaining for Tony.

"I need you to take him out and entertain him for a while."

"Wh—What? I don't think I can," the blonde stated quickly as she looked down at the dog sitting happily at her feet, staring up at her with his doe-like eyes. "This wasn't really in my job description."

"So, you're not a dog person? I'm surprised, I would've pegged you for one," Tony said, ignoring the woman's refusal to the task at hand. "What are you then? A cat lady? No, cats don't really seem like the household pet you'd like. Maybe—"

"Tony!" Silver quickly interrupted the man's train of thought as she smiled anxiously. "I really can't take it."

"What do you have against dogs?" the billionaire asked curiously as Silver took a small step away from the retriever, the kanine following her eagerly.

"Let me put it this way," the assistant began as she jumped, the dog suddenly standing on his legs and letting his tongue hang freely from his mouth. "I'm already responsible for my life. I don't need to be responsible for another's."

Tony rolled his eyes at that as he scoffed. "You know, that seems sort of contradicting coming from an assistant that works for me," he said as Silver glanced up at him and shook her head.

"Anyways, you just need to take him out on a walk for a little. I would do it myself but I'm swamped." The honey blonde knew that was a complete lie. "Let the little guy get some energy out."

I wouldn't really call him a little guy, Silver snapped to herself as she glared down at the unknowing dog. A sigh then fell from her lips as she looked down at the leash and grimaced. She carefully attached the leash on to the dog's collar before she held tightly to the handle. "Well, I'll just—"

"No animals allowed on the elevator," Tony chimed in as he made his way to said contraption. He looked over his shoulder and shrugged. "Building policy," he stated as Silver blinked and watched the doors slide shut, a smiling Tony giving her one last nod. She stood in silence for a second as she let the moment sink in, her mind racing and her jaw slightly ajar. She closed her eyes and groaned again as she looked down at the dog and then to the staircase. The retriever, catching on to Silver's notion quickly began to sprint towards the door, tugging the unsuspecting woman along. She released a surprised yelp before she was forced to follow after the dog.

"Whoa! Stop! Grover! No!"

Central Park: 11:28 am.

"Stupid mutt." Silver let out a weary breath as she leaned back against the park bench she was seated on and closed her eyes. She released a hum of satisfaction as she glanced over at Grover, the golden retriever's leash tied neatly around a small tree trunk, holding him back from escaping. She rolled her eyes as the animal tried to launch himself at a butterfly gliding past him. She shook her head and glanced down at her heels and frowned; they were officially broken.

These were my favorite pair too, the exhausted assistant mumbled to herself as she shook her head. She sat up and stretched, letting her aching muscles breathe for a moment. She sighed to herself, letting a wave of defeat wash over her soul.

"How am I—"

If you need to know something about him or have any questions and can't get a hold of me, just look at this folder.

Silver was suddenly on her bare feet, remembering the manila folder stuck in the top drawer of her desk. She nodded to herself as a resolute demeanor came over her. But before she began her barefoot walk back to the tower, she stopped, looking back to the creature she had almost forgotten about. Her eyes widened as she watched Grover run loose from his leash, roaming wildly through the grass.

"Shit!" And so the chase continued.

Stark Tower-1St floor: 12:32 pm.

Soft pants echoed through the air as a bark broke out and the gentle pats of paws against marble flooring followed after. A groan filled the air as the wiring sound of the elevator followed, the doors sliding open to reveal the master marksman of S.H.I.E.L.D. He blinked when his gaze fell upon the content dog, and he couldn't stop himself from chuckling as he knelt down beside the animal and began to show him a bit of love.

"Where's Rhodes, big guy?"

"I'm James' temporary dog sitter." Clint looked up and released short laugh as he shook his head and stood to his feet, finally taking note of the woman's disheveled appearance. She threw the archer a playful glare before he cleared his throat and gathered his composure.

"I see who won the battle," he joked as the assistant shook her head and sighed, narrowing her eyes at the innocent looking golden retriever.

"Little devil."

"So, I see Stark's got you running around like a chicken with no head again?" Hawkeye asked as Silver nodded, the exhaustion almost seeping through every pore in her body.

"How did you know?" she queried sarcastically as the archer chuckled once more and shrugged, making his way towards the exit of the building.

"Just a lucky guess, I suppose."

Silver sighed and gave the man a short wave as he nodded back to her and headed out. She didn't bother asking where he was going; they weren't close enough for that. She merely turned her attention back to the dog and shook her head.

"JARVIS?" she called out, as she began to make her way to her office, tossing her shoes aimlessly to the couch situated on the wall adjacent to her desk.

"What can I help you with, Ms. Livingston?" the computerized voice asked. The blonde let out a tired breath as she opened her drawer and began to dig through it, searching for what she hoped had her answers.

"Could you just let me know if the thing tries to leave or do anything?"

"Of course."

Feeling slightly better with JARVIS on her side, Silver put her full attention on finding the folder she had received from Pepper on her first day. She cheered to herself as she pulled out the manila folder, quickly taking a seat and opening it with vigor. She flipped through the pages, skimming through the medical reports—as well as the biography reports. She paused at the page titled "Afghanistan" and stopped for a moment. She stared at it before she cleared her throat and continued on, finally finding what she had been looking for. A smirk began to spread across her lips as she pulled out the couple sheets on the personality evaluation of Tony.

Narcissistic, stubborn, volatile, spontaneous, can show signs of deep depression… The list continued on as Silver read, her frown deepening with each adjective about her boss. She slowly set the sheet of paper down as she glanced up and blankly stared at the wall for a few seconds. She sighed and shook her head, the feeling of defeat slowly sinking into her soul.

She stood to her feet and began to gather her papers together. And as she began to slide them back into the file, she stopped, noticing a note-card sticking out awkwardly. She carefully pulled it completely out, recognizing the familiar hand writing.

I know that Tony can sometimes be hard to deal with, but he does mean well, sometimes we just don't understand how. He just needs some time to…heal and he just needs someone to watch him and make sure that he doesn't drift down the wrong path. That's exactly why I chose you to take this job.

Silver stopped as she felt her heart drop slightly. Her eyes softened and she found herself almost not wanting to read on; if she did, then she'd probably lose her will to truly hate Tony.

I know you can keep up with Tony. He's selfish and cold and sometimes just reckless, but he really doesn't mean any harm. People think that Tony's lost all the kindness in him, and even Tony thinks it too, but he hasn't. I know he hasn't. So just keep trying. If you do, you just might get to see exactly what I'm talking about.

Pepper.

Silver stared at the note-card for a few seconds before she tossed it carelessly on to her desk. She sat back down in her seat and sighed while she shook her head and groaned. Her green eyes roamed up to the ceiling for a few seconds as she let her thoughts process. She wished she could have gone back into time and left the note-card in the folder. She wished that she hadn't noticed it to begin with. Now she had no choice but to sympathize with Tony; her heart wouldn't let her do otherwise.

The emotionally exhausted assistant scoffed as she closed her eyes, enjoying her few seconds of peace. It was soon interrupated when JARVIS suddenly spoke, making the woman jump, slightly. "Ms. Livingston, I believe Grover is heading towards the exit after a squirrel."

"Damn that thing!"

Stark Tower-Lab: 5:57 pm.

"Livingston! Just right there is fine, you know I hate having things handed to me." Tony kept his eyes glued to his suit as he tightened a bolt on the leg piece. He glanced over at his assistant as she set a plate with a hefty slab steak down on the counter. He stood to his feet and approached his dinner, examining it for a moment before he nodded, satisfied with the outcome of his food.

"Nice work. It's perfectly cooked."

"Well, you know what they say," Silver began as she forced a smile on to her lips. "Sixth time's the charm." The blonde watched as Tony began to dig into his medium-rare steak, her shoulders sagging for a moment.

"Is there anything else I can do for you?" she asked as Tony looked up. The reels in his head began to turn before he nodded, and a gleam of excitement appeared in his eyes.

"There is just one thing I need you to do for me," the man stated as he grabbed Silver by her wrist and dragged her towards the middle of the lab. She blinked and raised a brow as she allowed the man to drag her around while he pulled on the arm piece of his suit, the orb on the palm of his hand slowly flickering on and glowing.

"I just made a few modifications to my suit and I just want to test them out really quick," he explained; instantly, an unsettling feeling began to run through Silver's veins.

"What are you asking?"

"I basically need you to stand right there while I practice shooting at the moving targets behind you."

"What?!" Silver's eyes felt almost as if they were going to pop out of their sockets as her entire body stiffened. Tony waved her obvious concern off as he raised his palm and concentrated on the targets hanging from the ceiling.

"Don't worry," he stated. "I'm a professional—saved the world and everything," he explained as he ignored the fear welling up inside of the blonde's eyes.

"M—Mr. Stark?" she called out, feeling the power in her voice began to slowly fade behind a wall of fear. She stared at the uninhibited man as he ignored her, his gaze tracking the targets behind her. "Tony!" she called out slightly louder. Her eyes widened as she watched a ball of light slowly fester at the man's palm.

That was the exact moment Silver lost all sense.

Her palms began to sweat as her heart beat erratically against her chest. Her muscles clenched throughout her entire body as her jaw stayed tightly shut, and her eyes were wide—like a deer staring straight into headlights. She couldn't focus on anything but the glow in Tony's hand that looked deceivingly beautiful. It shined with this white and bluish hue, almost like it was a cloud, and she almost couldn't look anywhere else but at it. Everything around her was moving much slower than she remembered it being, almost as if reality was being altered in that very moment. And as she watched a burst of energy began to burst out from her boss' hand—that was when she heard a voice, screaming.

It wasn't until it was all over that she realized it had been her own voice.

In that short instant, everything began to move normally, once again. Tony flawlessly took out each and every target, though Silver had squeezed her eyes shut and curled into herself. She trembled uncontrollably as she listened to her stressed breathing, her knees shaking and almost buckling underneath her.

Taking a few minutes to recover, Silver slowly looked up, meeting Tony's unreadable gaze. "…See," he said evenly as he pulled the arm piece off. "You had nothing to worry about." The Iron Man watched as Silver said nothing in return. She glared icily at him as she straightened up and stormed off towards the elevator, not bothering with a last glance back. He watched her go, not saying a word, listening to the elevator doors opening and closing. And when a few seconds passed, the man closed his eyes and sighed, letting the moment sink in.

Tony had crossed a line. He knew it. He had known it from the beginning. He hadn't meant to go that far. It was almost like an out-of-body experience. He was merely watching his body act on its own. He didn't care much, though. That reaction was exactly what Tony was striving for.

The hero stared down at his plate of food, watching as the juices from his steak began to stream around his pure white plate, staining it. Slowly, the silent man approached the plate, and for a short moment he did nothing but stare at it. Suddenly, he swept his hand underneath it and watched as everything flew through the air, the steak falling to waste and his perfect plate breaking into tiny, little shards.

"Sir, shall I have—"

"No. Leave it," Tony stated to his A.I. as he stared down at the shattered glass. He knelt down beside the plate, picking up a small piece. He examined the shard before he dropped it and stood to his feet.

He and the shattered plate were quite similar in a peculiar way; no matter how hard anyone tried, the pieces could never be put back completely because every little shard could never be found and placed in the exact spots that they belonged in.

They were forever lost.

Tony shook his head, ignoring the mess and letting everything soil his lab.

Stark Tower: 4:45 am.

Silver sighed as she laid restlessly in her bed. She glanced over at her digital clock and sighed while she turned back to the ceiling, staring through the darkness. She closed her eyes and tried to get her mind to rest, failing miserably. It wasn't until she was almost asleep that she was rudely awoken by the ringing of her phone. She slowly let her eyes flicker open, and she sighed as she sat up, picking her cell up and staring at the caller I.D.

You might get to see just exactly what I'm talking about.

The 30-year-old released a sigh of defeat before she picked up the call and shook her head. "What can I do for you, Mr. Stark?"

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