Raegan Stark stood on the side of the stage as her father, Tony Stark, gave a speech to the students and faculty about his newest invention, BARF. An acronym that her father seriously needed to work on because no one would want to use an invention that resembles the word for vomit. The purpose of the device was for it to clear traumatic memories of whoever wore it, much like the one of Tony right before his parents died on the way to the airport. A memory that Tony never spoke about often to Raegan because he held a lot of guilt towards the strained relationship between him and his father, Howard Stark.
The students and teachers ate up every word that Tony said as if he were the most important person on the planet. Though, to be fair, in some cases he was along with the rest of the Avengers who helped save the planet on more than one occasion. It wasn’t an unknown fact that whenever Tony was in the room, everyone stopped, stared and listened to every single thing he said or did. Not only did the people love him because of his brilliant inventions and mind, but also because he was Iron Man. Raegan was quickly joining their ranks, helping them the past few years with her powers. It took a lot of convincing for Tony to even agree to letting her join in with The Avengers in the first place, but Sam Wilson had helped swindle Tony into letting Raegan help them.
Tony wasn’t Raegan’s biological father and that was obvious in their looks. Raegan had chestnut brown hair and blue eyes while Tony had dark hair and eyes. Regardless of the fact that Tony had adopted Raegan when she was just a newborn, he still treated Raegan as if she were his own flesh and blood from day one. He tried to be the complete opposite type of father that his father had been to him. He was more loving and caring even though he would make Raegan tell no one that he was a softy because " he had a reputation to uphold ". His overprotectiveness got in the way most of the time and Raegan pretty much had to break the rules for him to even consider letting her fight alongside him before Sam had eventually stepped in.
Raegan’s suit had been created by her father ( the best suit had to be made by the best, he had said ) and pretty much was proof to everything and anything you could think of. Water, fire, random alien powers, everything. The red and black suit was always on Raegan no matter what she was doing or where she was. All she had to do was use her powers to summon the suit onto her body and it would materialize right over her clothes so this way she was always prepared for any attack. The world knew who she and her father were, so there was always a target on both of their backs for enemies to come around and try to take them down.
The sound of applause and cheers from the mass crowd in the auditorium snapped Raegan out of her thoughts and she glanced to the stage to see Tony abruptly turn to walk off the stage. His face was pulled into a straight face, but Raegan knew her father better than that. Something bothered him and she wondered what could have happened while he was on that stage to make him so upset that he had to hide it from everyone. When her eyes flickered over to the teleprompter above the crowd, all her questions were answered. There, written in blue text was the sentence NOW I WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE THE HEAD OF THE FOUNDATION: PEPPER POTTS.
Pepper Potts had been Tony’s right hand woman for as long as Raegan could remember. She made sure Tony always stayed on schedule and that all of his priorities were set in order to keep him on track with his never ending workload. Raegan never saw her as an assistant, but more of a mother figure. Pepper had been family to Raegan ever since she met Pepper. The blonde haired woman would always sneak Raegan out for sweets and take her out for " girl days " whenever Tony had a lot going on and couldn’t be there to look out for Raegan. Pepper pretty much was like Raegan’s mom in most aspects and Raegan had been overjoyed when Tony had sat her down to let her know he and Pepper were dating. However, that all came crashing down one day when Pepper said that Tony was too into his job as Iron Man, even neglecting Raegan some days to be in his lab to work on his suit.
Raegan, however, understood the stress of the job that Iron Man brought, especially with her father’s PTSD that even his medicine didn’t help most days. After the events of New York that Raegan usually tried to forget about - which he fought Sam and Raegan long and hard that it was just an anxiety attack from stress - Tony had broken down. Seeing her father so debilitated and frightened was a rough sight to see on the usual stoic and brave Tony Stark. Sam had taken Raegan in for a few weeks while Tony slowly got himself back together and saw a therapist who provided him with medication for his panic attacks.
Tony brushed past Raegan and she had to almost jog in order to keep up with Tony’s fast pace while Tony’s other assistant, Holly, profusely apologized about the teleprompter mistake. It was no shock to Raegan that the blonde had suddenly canceled on the speech. She hadn’t come to a single thing since her and Tony went on their " break ". Much like Ross and Rachel from FRIENDS - yes, Raegan knew they were in fact on a break in the show - they didn’t really talk much and Tony wasn’t taking any of it too lightly. He was a bit of mess . . . more so than usual.
“It’s fine, Holly. I’ll be right back,” Tony waved off dirty blonde and proceeded forward towards the side exit to the corridors of the college.
Raegan offered Holly a reassuring smile when seeing the sad look on her face. It wasn’t Holly’s fault that Pepper canceled last minute and the team didn’t have time to change the teleprompter and Raegan didn’t want Holly to go home and beat herself up over the whole thing. “Holly, don’t worry about it, okay? It wasn’t your fault.”
“Thanks, Rae,” Holly said, squeezing the young girl’s hand before she turned on her heels to go speak with the team again.
Raegan rushed out the door after her father to see him stood rigid in front of a small, dark skinned woman by the elevators. Upon reaching her father’s side, she heard the small woman blame Tony for killing her son back in Sokovia. That Tony probably didn’t care in the least bit that her baby boy had been murdered because of The Avengers. The elevator doors dinged open and the woman stepped inside, pressing the button so the doors closed before either one of the Starks could step on the elevator.
Raegan felt the anger flare in her chest at the woman blaming Tony for the death of her son. Any casualties they brought when trying to save the world wasn’t their fault. They couldn’t save everyone, no matter how hard all of the Avengers tried to save. Sometimes they couldn’t get to every single civilian in danger before it was too late. There were only so many Avengers compared to the vast crowds that happened to be around every time an alien or another enemy attacked the cities. Lagos had been their most recent mission where Wanda, also known as Scarlet Witch, had accidentally destroyed a building when trying to get rid of one of the enemies. She had been a wreck for the past month or so over the whole thing and blamed herself for the casualties that occurred.
“Dad, don’t listen to her,” Raegan whispered, gently taking the photo of the woman’s son from her father’s hands and tossed it to the side carelessly so he wouldn’t have to stare at the boy’s smiling face any longer. He, much like Wanda, already beat himself up enough over the disasters from Sokovia and Raegan didn’t want him to slip even further beneath the murky waters he already drowned in. “You did what you had to do in Sokovia. People think we can save the whole free world, but we can’t. We can sure as hell try to, but there’s only so much we can do.”
Tony shook his head and Raegan’s heart ripped to pieces when she saw the raw pain appear on her father’s face as he agreed with the woman. “I could have done more in Sokovia. Tried harder to save all those people. We shouldn’t have had all those casualties like that.”
“You put too much pressure on yourself. That’s not good,” Raegan said, frowning deeply at her father. “You’re still a hero, Dad. You always will be.”
“Thanks, my little Rae of sunshine,” Tony mumbled, tugging Raegan towards him and hugging her close to his chest as he pressed a kiss to her forehead. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Raegan mumbled, placing her cheek on her father’s chest and squeezing him tight. She just wished that she could hug the pain right out of her father. It sucked seeing him like this.
The next day, Raegan sat at the desk in her room as she sketched out the skyline of Manhattan. There wasn’t much else to do and drawing had always been one of Raegan’s escapes from the stress of crime fighting. It was something she was able to let loose with and not have to overanalyze every single thing she did. She could just let her mind take over and kind of just disappear into whatever visual she’d decided to sketch that day. Sometimes, she didn’t even know what she was sketching until she was finished with it as her hand tended to have a mind of its own most days.
Ever since she was young, Raegan would draw on any surface she could find and most of the time it was the walls, much to Tony’s annoyance and dismay. She couldn’t even begin to count the amount of times Tony grounded her for ruining his walls and made her clean it up all by herself. However, he did let her paint a mural in a portion of the Avengers Tower when she was fourteen to " brighten the place up ".
A knock on the door alerted Raegan and she turned to see Steve Rogers, also known as Captain America, open the door and lean against the doorframe. “Hey, kiddo. Your dad needs everyone downstairs in the board room.”
Raegan’s eyebrows furrowed, placing her pencil down and dusting her pencil shaving caked hands on her work out leggings, standing up. “What? Why?”
“Secretary Ross is here,” Steve responded, his blue eyes holding the same amount of confusion as Raegan did. “Sounded important.”
“Well, that doesn’t usually end well,” Raegan sighed, following Steve out of her room and down the hallway that would lead to the board room where they usually had all of their meetings. She could feel her head pound with all the questions she had on this meeting and what it could all possibly mean. Secretary Ross typically told them when he was arriving, but this seemed to be out nowhere if Steve had to come get her. None of this was good.
Raegan stepped into the room with Steve to see Sam, Natasha Romanoff, Wanda, Vision, Tony and James Rhodes sat around the conference table with Secretary Ross stood at the head and Tony sat in a chair in the corner of the room behind the conference table. She stepped over to her father while Steve took a seat behind Natasha at the table. She tried to read Tony’s face for any indication of what this meeting was about, but his face gave nothing away.
“Now that everyone is here, I can begin,” Secretary Ross announced, pacing back and forth across the front of the table. “Five years ago . . . I had a heart attack and dropped right in the middle of my backswing. Turned out it was the best round of my life because after thirteen hours of surgery and a triple bypass . . . I found something forty years in the army had never taught me. Perspective. The world owes the Avengers an unpayable debt. You have fought for us . . . protected us, risked your lives . . . but while a great many people see you as heroes . . . there are some . . . who would prefer the word vigilantes.”
Raegan scoffed at the term and none too lowly either since she earned the eyes of everyone in the room. So some people really thought they were just specially enhanced people that went out and did the work for the law without the legal authority? That just show up to cause more destruction than there already was? So much for being the beloved superheroes the people always say they are. Raegan hadn’t been watching the news as of late, but Wanda had mentioned they weren’t talking too kindly about her after what happened in Lagos.
“And what word would you use, Secretary Ross?” Raegan challenged, crossing her arms and narrowing her eyes daringly. She ignored the way Tony nudged the back of her leg to try and watch her mouth. However, Raegan had always been a spitfire, something that Tony hated that she had adapted from him. She could fly off the handle at any given second if pushed hard enough and, right now, Secretary Ross was finding a way to get on all seven trillion of her nerves.
“How about dangerous? What would you call a group of US-based, enhanced individuals — who routinely ignore sovereign borders — and inflict their will wherever they choose . . . and who, frankly, seem unconcerned about what they leave behind?”
Secretary Ross stepped to the side as the large glass screen showed a map of the United States, multiple places marked with a yellow dot. As he said each state that had been marked, video footage of the Avengers destroying something in their wake while trying to stop the enemy appeared on the screen.
Bruce Banner, also known as the Hulk, breaking through a building to stop the alien while the military shot their guns at it.
Three alien ships shooting down on the capital and a massive boat sinking into the ocean while they were in Washington, DC.
The destruction of Sokovia.
Then Wanda’s destruction of the building in Lagos just a month ago.
“Okay. That’s enough,” Steve demanded, slamming his hand onto the oak table at the sight of Wanda’s guilt ridden expression.
“For the past four year years, you’ve operated with unlimited power and no supervision. That’s an arrangement the governments of the world can no longer tolerate, but I think we have a solution,” Secretary Ross continued, taking a thick packet from his assistant stood to the side. He held it out to Raegan who furrowed her eyebrows and slowly took the heavy packet from the secretary. The thing weighed her hand down and she didn’t even want to imagine how many pages were in the packet. “The Sokovia Accords. It’s been approved by one hundred and seventeen countries . . . it states that the Avengers shall no longer be a private organization. Instead, they’ll operate under the supervision of a United Nations panel . . . only when and if the panel deems it necessary.”
Steve’s jaw twitched as the secretary finished his explanation, a tell tale sign that Steve was anything but happy. If anything, he was annoyed. “The Avengers were formed to make the world a safer place. I feel we’ve done that.”
The secretary offered Steve a fake smile and Raegan had to fight the urge to shoot a power ball at his face and wipe the condescending look right off his wrinkled face. “Tell me, Captain, do you know where Thor and Banner are right now?”
Raegan flinched at the mention of the God of Thunder and Bruce. She hadn’t seen them since . . . no. The Stark girl couldn’t let herself get lost in those memories right now. They were still too raw and fresh for her to think about. Not right now when she struggled to keep her cool as it was the more Secretary Ross spoke. One look at her father told her he was affected by the secretary’s question as well, his hand running over his mouth with sad eyes. Though, he made no moves to speak up and argue with Secretary Ross.
“If I misplaced a couple of thirty megaton nukes, you can bet there’d be consequences,” Secretary Ross concluded to the room of superheroes. “Compromise. Reassurance. That’s how the world works. Believe me, this is middle ground.”
“So, there are contingencies,” James said.
“Three days from now, the UN meets in Vienna . . . to ratify the Accords. Talk it over.”
Natasha pushed her tongue into her cheek and Raegan saw her take a deep breath before she opened her mouth. More than likely to halt the words the red head assassin truly wanted to say to the man. Words that Raegan also wanted to spew at the man with so much hate that it would shake the whole room. “And if we come to a decision you don’t like?”
“Then you all retire. For good.”