AN: Been a while, but I'm slowly working on things.
So just to get a clear mind on the timeline, we are going to say for the sake of this story that it is 2010, which is the year for Iron Man 2, and we will say that Avengers is happening during this time. This means that we're changing up Bella's birth year to 1992. So, it has been 1-2 years since Tony came out and said he's Iron Man.
Chapter 4: Tribulations
Tony slid the Tylenol across the bar, and Bella caught it with her hand. She popped two in her mouth, chugging down water. "Thanks," She murmured. Tony just nodded, still angry that someone shot his kid. He started digging a lot into this HAMMER business and when he learned that they were building weapons, he could only shake his head.
Hadn't anyone learned from his mistake? He wasn't sure what HAMMER had to do with his daughter, but he would find out. Tony cleared his throat and looked to Bella. "About this Edward person…" He trailed off, watching her face closely as it shifted to annoyance and then anger.
"What about him?" She replied, sliding over her glass. "He's not human, is he?" Bella frowned, looking around as if someone was listening in, before meeting his eyes. "I can't confirm or deny. Why do you say that?" Tony had to smile. He could see the loyalty within her.
"Well I can. He's a vampire, a cold one. SHIELD has records of different species, and they are one of them. I did a little digging and just put two and two together. The reason I am saying this is because in order for me to protect you, I need to know everything there is in your life that could cause you harm. I just got you, and I won't lose you,"
Bella's eyes glossed over, and she sent him a wobbly smile. "Ditto," She chuckled. Tony cleared his throat again, "So, I was thinking, you need some things, and it might be nice to get out a bit. So, I got you a card, there's no limit, whatever you want, go for it," He slid over a black platinum card with her name on it: Isabella Stark
Bella sucked in a breath. "I…" Tony just raised a brow. "Bella….like I said, what's mine is yours. This will one day be yours. Please? I missed out on so much…" Bella swallowed, seeing how much he needed this. "Okay…" She caved, smiling a little as he gazed upon her. "Besides, you're a Stark now…we tend to do things a bit flashy,"
Bella softly laughed. "All you have to do is call Happy, and he will take you wherever you want to go. He doesn't hover around, but he'll keep his eyes on you. Like I said, go anywhere, do anything…but I think it's best you have someone a bit more durable at your side," Bella raised a brow and Tony smirked.
"I introduce to you, your bodyguard," Tony clapped his hands, and around the corner emerged Thor who looked a tad bit uncomfortable. He was dressed in a black suit, black dress shoes, and his hair hung back in a tamed and slick fashion. He even had a pair of sunglasses hanging on his shirt.
Bella covered her mouth, trying to hide her laugh. "Wow," She murmured behind a fit of giggles. "Yes, I am glad you find this humorous," Thor bellowed, rolling his eyes. "I'm going to go get my shoes on," She said, sending Tony a smile.
He just nodded her way as she made her way to the elevator. JARVIS was helping her navigate the living quarters of Stark Tower, and as the doors opened, she held up her hand. "Don't tell me yet. I go down the hall and take a right,"
She waited for JARVIS to respond. "It's actually a left Ms. Swan," She grumbled under her breath, walking down the hall.
Downstairs, Tony stared at Thor. "God or not, I'll kick your beefy ass if she doesn't come back home in one piece. If you really want to help her, you can start by protecting her with your life. I also want you to keep an eye out for these people. They aren't to be trusted, especially that one,"
He handed Thor a picture of the Cullen's, and Thor scanned it over, nodding. "Who are these people?" Tony just shrugged. "Bastards, that's what. Just keep her safe, that's all I ask," Thor nods. "Of course. Any word on Loki?" He asks curiously.
Tony shook his head. "To be honest, none of it has crossed my mind. No though, wherever he is, he's staying hidden for a reason," Thor just lowered his brows in thought. "I will stop him. We will find him," Tony just nodded, looking over as the elevator doors opened to reveal Bella in a pair of converses, blue jeans, and a white plain shirt.
Her hair hung down in waves, and Tony rolled his eyes seeing the look on Thor's face. She was literally the female version of him, just pale. "Dear god," He murmured, clearing his throat so that Thor would snap back to attention. Thor walked towards her, offering his arm to her.
Bella smiled in his direction and the two were walking out the door, leaving Tony alone. "And why did she have to get my good looks?" He murmured, going back down to the garage. "J, I want you to pull up the surveillance from the other day when Bella was attacked. I want frame by frame of every face and run them through every database there is,"
"Right away sir,"
Happy stood off to the side with Thor as they waited for Bella to come out of the restroom. Both of them had bags in each hand. Bella wasn't a big shopper, but she found some enjoyment when she was alone. She didn't go overboard with it, but she got the essentials. A few outfits even that were professional-like.
Thor and Happy quietly talk amongst themselves, watching the area. Bella emerged a few minutes later, and both men stood up as she approached. She went to grab a few of the bags, but Happy shook his head. "Sorry Ms. Swan, but we hold the bags," Bella chuckled, knowing this was something she'd have to get used to. Thor followed behind the two as Bella questioned Happy about the incident at the racetrack the other day.
"Who exactly was he?" Bella asks curiously. Happy sighs, maneuvering Bella around a group of people. "Ivan Vanko. His father used to work with Howard, your grandfather. They built the arc reactor, and his father tried selling it. Howard had him deported where he blamed the Starks for his life. Ivan kind of picked up the torch," Bella frowned. "So…that's why he was trying to kill Tony?" Happy nodded. "He never catches a break, does he?" Happy shook his head.
"Not since he told the world who he was," Bella just hummed. She stopped walking as they passed by a bookstore. "You mind?" She asks. "You go where you want. I'm going to take these bags to the car, and have Thor stay with you,"
Thor handed the bags in his hands to Happy who rushed off. He followed behind Bella at a safe distance so he wouldn't hover, watching her pick out a few books that caught her interest. Bella traveled down a few isles, picking up some reads that she never saw before.
Thor watched her closely and met up with her at the register. She paid for her purchases, and Thor held onto a few of her bags while she pulled out one book to take a deeper look at. As they were leaving, a bunch of people corralled around them, flashing mics or recorders in their faces.
Bella shielded her eyes as the cameras flashed in her face, her book dropping to the floor. "Ms. Swan! Ms. Swan! Were you aware that Tony Stark was your father?! What happened to your parents?! Is it true they were murdered?!" Someone shoved a recorder in her face. Thor bent down to pick up her book, standing back up swiftly.
He used his hand to weave through the crowd, taking Bella's hand, and pulling her behind him. "Get out of the way dammit," Thor snapped, pushing people to the side. The reporters trailed after them, talking over one another. They made their way out of the mall, and Happy had just pulled the car around.
Thor opened the door for Bella, getting her in and climbing after her. Happy drove off as soon as the door was closed, heading back onto the streets. Thor just shook his head. "I don't understand why some Midgardian's find that entertaining," He glanced over at Bella then, noticing that her eyes were closed.
"Are you alright?" He questions, and Bella slowly opened her eyes to look at him. He could tell that she wanted to cry. "I'll be fine. Thank you,"
The ride was silent back to the tower, and Happy kept glancing at Bella on and off. Thor was silent as well, his mind on multiple things. "Ms. Swan, would you like us to pick you up something for lunch?" Bella blushed as her stomach growled at the thought of food. "What do you recommend?" Happy grinned. "I know a place that has great pizza,"
Bella nodded. "That sounds good right about now. Thor? Is pizza alright with you?" Thor shook himself from his thoughts. "Pizza? Is that the delicacy with the bread and little red spicy round things?" Bella looked to him oddly, a snort escaping her lips.
Thor knew exactly what pizza was, but he just wanted to see the frown disappear from her face. "Well, pizza it is. Would you like me to drop you off first? It seems like today was a good enough outing," Happy said, waiting for her nod.
Bella thought about it, and as much as she knew she'd have to get used to being in the public eye, she wasn't ready for it just yet. "Yes please, that would be nice," Happy nodded and drove them home. When they arrived, Thor pulled out all the bags she had. Bella bit her lip. "On second thought, I need to make a stop," Thor looked down at her in confusion. "Just take everything inside. Tell Tony that I won't be long,"
She reached into the bookstore bag for one of her books, nodding in assurance to Thor as he hesitantly walked towards the door. Happy looked to her, waiting for her instruction. "Take me by Stark Industries please," Happy nodded and pulled off. They spoke a bit on the way, and she told him that she's been helping Tony figure out the solution to not dying. He told her that it was a good thing that she had some brains, confessing his worry about Tony's physical and mental health.
He dropped her off and told her that he'd be back to pick her up in about 10 minutes. She made her way inside, looking for the right room to make copies. She eyed the huge lobby, shaking her head. Never in a million years did she think she'd be standing in Stark Industries.
Upon finding the copy room, she saw that nobody was in there, and it took her a few tries to work the machine, but she got the hang of it. She flipped through her new book that went into the scientific research of elements. She found one elemental theory and thought it was worth looking at. She started to make copies of certain passages to study and read up on.
As she was making her copies, a security guard had walked by, stopping short at seeing someone he didn't recognize. "Excuse me, but this is for employees only," Bella looked up, tilting her head. "I figured, but I'll only be a minute," She went back to making sure she was copying the right page.
"Look Miss, I don't know how you got past security, but you need to come with me," He moved into the room, turning off the machine. "Hey! I'm Tony's daughter, and I think I have every right to be in here," She defended, wrenching her arm from his grasp as he tried to pull her out.
The security guard laughed. "I've heard that one before, now let's go missy before you're charged for trespassing," Bella turned back on the machine, standing her ground. "Call him. My name is Isabella Swan, and Tony Stark is my biological father. I'm not making this up," The man sighed and spoke into his walkie-talkie. He grabbed Bella's arm, and started pulling her out.
She relaxed, letting him take all her weight. He grunted and Bella rolled her eyes as he lifted up her arms. "Jesus, you can't lift a 120-pound girl?" A few other security guards came to assist, lifting her legs. "Put me down!" She snapped.
News hadn't officially made headlines that Tony had a daughter, and Tony was keeping it out of the press until he made an official announcement. A few of his closest employees were privy to the information, and some people had told the security guards that they should double-check first.
They headed for the doors, and Bella wiggled in their holds. "Put me down dammit!" She maneuvered herself from their hold and they accidentally dropped her. She glared at one of them that was still holding her foot. She yanked her leg back and looked up at the security camera above them.
She wondered if Tony managed these too. The security guards looked at her oddly as she waved her hands.
In Tony's office sat Pepper and Tony himself. He had come down to work on a few things while Bella was out. He had no idea Bella was even in the building until Jarvis called his attention to it. "Sir. It seems that Ms. Swan is in the lobby, waving at the camera," Both he and Pepper shared a glance before standing.
They ran into Phil Coulson on the way, who had emerged from the security room. "You're not going to like this," They rounded the corner to see two officers lifting her from the floor. "Woah, woah, woah! Put her down!" Tony snapped, making his way forward.
They sat Bella down, stepping away. "What's going on here?" Pepper pulled Bella out of the way, sending her an apologetic smile. "Are you okay?" She asks quietly, knowing that Tony was about to raise hell.
Bella rubbed her bottom, nodding. "I'll be fine,"
The security officer that pulled her from the copier room spoke first. "Well, she was in the copier room and after politely asking her to leave, she refused, claiming that she was your daughter. We were just escorting her out of the premises,"
Tony just stared at him, taking in a deep breath. "Do any of you read emails?" He asks, and they look to him confused. Tony just rolled his eyes. "I'll take that as a no. If you did, you would have been informed that that girl right there is permitted to enter this building and do whatever she pleases and go wherever she pleases. You know why? She's a Stark. My daughter. Pack your shit and leave. You're fired,"
Tony turned away from them, effectively dismissing them, looking Bella over. "Sorry about that. Where's Happy and Thor?" Bella followed behind him and Pepper back to his office. "Happy went to get pizza, and I sent Thor home with all my things. I thought you were home, sorry,"
Tony waved her off, sitting back down in his seat. "No worries. So how was your outing?" Bella shrugged. "It was nice until lights were flashing in my face and reporters were throwing Charlie and Renee's deaths at me," Tony wrinkled his nose.
"I know it can be a lot. I need to make an official release about what happened, and who you are instead of just speculation. The press should die down a bit after. You can choose to be present, and if not, I understand,"
Bella didn't say anything at first, not sure if she was ready for that. She also noticed that Tony seemed to be struggling with something. He cleared his throat, leaning forward to stare at her. "I failed you. When Renee married Phil, I didn't do a lot of research on him as I should have. I gave myself a false sense of security that nothing would ever happen to you. Renee and Charlie both trusted him, and I trusted them in their judgment. As we know, Phil isn't who he says he was, and I believe that from the moment he met Renee…it was all to get to you,"
Bella felt all the blood drain from her face, and she took in a deep breath. Her ears started to ring, and Tony's voice faded as her heart beat loudly in her chest. She dropped her head between her legs, her hands going to her hair.
She felt like she was going to be sick. She felt a hand running down her back, and Tony pushed her up, realizing that she was having a panic attack. "Breathe Bella," He soothed, meeting her eyes, loudly breathing out so that she could match his breaths.
Bella swallowed, breathing like him. "That's it kid. Just breathe,"
Tony wiped away the few tears that leaked from her eyes. "I-I…I let him in. She was so happy with him and I left her alone," Bella broke down into tears, her head resting on Tony's shoulder. Tony wrapped her arms around her, holding her as she cried.
"It's not your fault. None of this is your fault," He whispered in her hair, his own heart breaking. It was clear that whoever Phil worked for, it was all a setup from the very beginning. Pepper looked away for the moment, wiping her own tears.
Tony just held her, and after a while, he realized she had fallen asleep. He lifted her gently and laid her on the white chair in his office, laying his jacket over her. He let out a deep sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I don't know what to do here Pep. I don't know how to fix this. I don't know how to…" He trailed off, shaking his head.
Pepper waved him over and he went to sit behind his desk. Pepper laid a hand on his shoulder, leaning down. "This isn't something you can fix. Just be there for her. You're all she has now. She needs you,"
Later that night, Tony had placed Bella in bed, the girl unmoving since her break down earlier. He watched her for a second as she mumbled something, her face burrowing in her pillow. He could see the frown that marred her face, her pale face flushed.
He sighed again, bending down to kiss her forehead. He eased the worry lines across her forehead with his thumb. "Everything will be alright," He whispered before leaving the room, softly shutting it behind him.
Tony stood in front of the flashing cameras, looking down at the short brunette, holding out his hand for her to take. She grasped it, flashing her eyes to Pepper who gave her a small nod of encouragement. Bella stood up straight, her eyes squinting against the lights.
Tony loudly cleared his throat, and the noise settled down, the reporters quieting down. "As you are all aware, there has been some speculation about a young woman. The woman next to me is Isabella Marie Stark, taking on the adoptive name Swan. When she was just a child, I gave her up for a less hectic life, and as I can see…that doesn't seem to be the case any longer. Yes, I have kept her hidden from the world for 18 years. With that being said, I'd like to send a message,"
He pauses for effect, squeezing Bella's hand. "To the bastards that murdered the loving parents that took care of her in my absence, I'm coming for you," He stares at the camera in front of him, his eyes hardening.
"Next weekend, we will be holding a service for Charles Swan and Renee Dwyer. I ask that this be a private event. Please show some respect. In a second you will see a picture pop on the screen. This man is dangerous and wanted for murder. Please, do not hesitate to call the authorities if you see him. In addition, there is this man, if anyone knows his identity, please step forward," The man that had shot at Bella before she ran into Thor was showed next. "That'll be all,"
Numerous voices spoke up, and Tony ignored them, leading Bella off the platform. Thor and Agent Coulson were at their sides, blocking reporters who tried to get closer.
Lights flashed everywhere, and Bella couldn't help but reach to her father. Tony was surprised at her initiated contact, but he squeezed her hand, wrapping an arm around her shoulders as she hid her face in his blazer.
Bella stared up at the ceiling of the room blankly, tears falling down the side of her face. She sniffled, her hand going to her chest as the flashes of Charlie's death plagued her mind. She sucked in a breath as Jarvis spoke to her. "Ms. Swan, I have detected an irregular heart pattern. Are you alright?"
Bella paused for a moment. "No, I'm not Jarvis. I'm very upset right now," She whispered, turning on her side. Jarvis paused for a moment. "I have something that may cheer you up. If you direct your attention to the curtains, there is a holographic screen,"
Bella indulged in what Jarvis was saying, and as she turned over, lights flickered across the screen, and Bella sat up slowly as Jarvis was playing a video.
There was Renee and Charlie, one of the few times they got together for Christmas after their separation. Bella was probably 2, Renee holding her hand in her grasp, Charlie holding her by the leg, as Bella stuffed her tiny fist in her mouth. "Say 'Hi Tony'," Renee smiled, waving into the camera. Bella looked at Renee before turning back to the camera. "H-Hi Tony!" Little Bella squealed, her smile widening as Charlie ruffled her hair.
"Say Merry Christmas!" Renee said, waving Bella's hand in hers to show that she was waving. "Mewwy Christmas!"
The screen went dark, and the small light illuminated Bella's face. "Would you like to see more?" Jarvis asked. Bella nodded, laying her head back down as Jarvis played video after video of all the moments in her life. She silently cried as she watched, the memories somewhat refreshing.
She noticed that as she got older, they stopped saying Tony's name, using the excuse to want to make memories instead. There were pictures from all her birthday parties and first days of school. Little things you wouldn't think of as important. "Jarvis. Stop this picture," It was a picture of a very young Tony, along with Charlie and Renee, a baby in Tony's arms. Bella just stared at it for a moment, reaching out her hand to touch it.
She studied the picture for a moment, before lying back down. "Okay," She whispered, and Jarvis resumed the slideshow. Bella eventually fell asleep.
Tony and Pepper ordered pizza that night. Two boxes for Thor alone, and two for themselves and Bella. Tony hadn't seen her since he made the announcement to the press and decided to take her up a slice and some soda.
He quietly knocked on the door, and after hearing no response, he walked in, pausing as one of the videos was playing. He moved into the room quietly, seeing that she had fallen asleep. He went to the side of the bed, setting the plate on the table beside him.
"Bella," He shook her awake, smiling gently as she tiredly blinked her eyes open. "Hungry?" He asked, and grabbed the plate, and Bella sat up. She took the plate, her eyes going back to the home video. Tony watched for a second as well, before he made his way towards the door.
"Stay," Bella called out, her eyes unmoving from the screen, biting into the hot slice. Tony turned back around, and sat beside her, watching the screen. They both laughed as little Bella tripped over air, her young face contorting in annoyance.
"So clumsy Bells," Charlie piped up, his own chuckle bringing tears to both of their eyes. Bella leaned against Tony as Jarvis put everything Tony had in his files on loop. Tony wrapped an arm around her shoulders, neither saying a word.
They both had fallen asleep at some point, stretched out on the bed. Pepper and Thor came up to look for them, both stopping in the doorway. Pepper smiled, her eyes going to the various pictures that flashed. She too noticed the picture of Tony with Charlie and Renee, Bella in his arms.
That wasn't what held her attention though. There was a man standing behind them, far off to the side, clearly not trying to be seen. "Jarvis," She whispered. "Yes Ms. Potts?" Jarvis whispered back. "Blow up this image in Tony's workshop. Print this out magnified at 30%, catching the right frame,"
"Right away Ms. Potts. Shall I wake Mr. Stark?" He whispered back. "That won't be necessary," She replied. She closed the door behind her looking to Thor. "I could use an extra set of eyes,"
Down in the workshop, the next morning, Tony was pouring over different things at once. The photo that Pepper had looked at, Bella's theory on Vibranium, and funeral arrangements. Bella was standing next to him as he started on theory after theory.
He and Bella had started bonding slowly over the last few hours, and she was like him in a way. Once she was focused on something, her mind ran with it. They kept the conversation light at first, but then they got onto more heavier topics. Bella found herself opening up to her father about how she always felt out of place and was always the odd one out. She even opened up to him about Edward seeing as he already knew the secret.
Tony hated the kid even more. Who breaks up with someone just days after their birthday? He felt like Edward couldn't handle responsibility. Bella hadn't even wanted a birthday party, and he should have respected her wish.
All Bella did was fall in love. Edward knew exactly what he was getting himself into when he met Bella.
"Who needs him honey? There's plenty of fish in the sea," Bella paused for a moment, hearing the term of endearment from his lips. Tony barely realized it, going back over his notes. "Who, like Thor?" Bella replied, chuckling as he just nodded. "Yeah, like Thor,"
She stifled a laugh as Thor walked in. "What about me?" He asked, speaking softer than normal for him. Bella grabbed her jacket, slipping it on, making her way to him. "Oh nothing. Dad was saying that you were suitable to date," She winked at him, and Thor smiled as she came toward him, laying her hand on his arm. "Come on, let's go get breakfast,"
He watched her walk up the stairs for the moment, even to go as far as to tilt his head. Bella had changed her wardrobe a bit, finding that she was comfortable in form-fitting clothing, like jeans that clung to her legs, and t-shirts that actually accentuated her form than the baggy shirts she wore back in Forks.
She was doing her hardest to move on and find herself in this new world. The jeans she wore today really hugged her body, and she liked the feeling of feeling pretty and not so plain. Her hair was up in a bun, and she wore a simple black shirt, with her sneakers.
"Pointbreak, stop the staring," Tony's words shook Thor from his stupor, and he gave Tony an apologetic shrug. Tony just rolled his eyes, wrinkling his nose. He froze for a moment, Bella's words filtering into his brain. "Did she call me dad?" He asked, slightly baffled.
"I believe she did," Thor replied, about to head upstairs. "Hmmm," Tony hummed, a feeling settling in his heart. "You did say I was suitable to date her," Thor added, heading up the stairs. Tony reared back, looking at Thor's retreating form. "I did?" He asked to himself.
"You did sir. Here is a replay," Jarvis pulled up a holographic video of the minutes prior.
Who, like Thor?
"Yeah, like Thor,"
Tony rolled his eyes. "Oh come on, I wasn't even paying attention,"
"Well sir, I believe this makes up for it,"
Jarvis sped up a few seconds, and Tony watched as Bella smiled.
"Dad was saying that you were suitable to date,"
Jarvis then rewound it for Tony just to hear the word dad from her mouth.
Bella grabbed the box of donuts, handing the other to Thor first. "You really can eat, can't you?" She asked, letting Happy steer her around. Thor nodded, scooting behind her as they walked outside of the donut shop. "Asgardian thing," He answered. Tony was right that the attention would die down, and Bella wasn't swarmed with so many people, although it didn't deter some reporters coming up to ask her what she planned to do with her life.
She was like a minor celebrity, pictures taken of her made it on magazines, titles like Isabella Stark or The 18-year secret…who is Isabella Stark? All over the place. Bella had been thinking about letting Tony change her last name to Stark as that is what everyone referred to her as.
She was a bit apprehensive about changing the name she had all of her life. She felt like she was letting go too soon. She also knew that her parents would want her to be happy and be strong. Not wallow. They'd want her to live her life in every which way she wanted.
After she left Tony's workshop, she too realized she had called him dad. When she arrived that night, she didn't think she'd ever call him anything but Tony, because to her, that is who he was to her. Just Tony. He'd been there for her though, he made sure she wasn't alone.
Even though she didn't know who he was as a child, he was there in her life, even from afar.
"Interesting," She replied, the three walking down the street. "So these other superheroes, where are they?" Thor looked down at her briefly before turning his attention to the people around him. "Trying to catch my brother," Bella remembered him mentioning a brother, and she frowned. "Shouldn't you be with them?"
Thor gave her a shrug. "I should, but your father asked me to be here. Until he is located, this is where I'll be," Bella stared up at him for the moment, admiring him. "How old are you?" Thor pondered for a moment, a small smile on his lips. "Somewhere around 1,492 maybe. I've lost count," Bella's eyes widened.
"Okay…you're old," She mumbled. Thor let out a laugh. "Well, Asgardians can live up to approximately 5,000 years," Bella slowly turned her head to him. "You're kidding," Thor shook his head. "I do not kid," Happy snorted. Bella smiled, the three weaving their way through the crowd.
Bella sucked in a breath, looking at the faces of friends she didn't know her parents had. Bella opened her mouth, then closed it, swallowing heavily. Tony stepped beside her, leaning down to whisper in her ear. "You don't have to do this,"
Bella gripped his hand tightly in hers, and he squeezed. "Charlie and Renee…" She started, looking down at her notecard to finish her speech. She balled it up, sniffing. "They were the world to me," She went on, fondly explaining the beauty of the people she had in her life.
She'd stop from time to time, and her voice would waver, but she spoke only good of the people that raised her. Tony held her hand along the way, his eyes sweeping over faces. When Bella was done, she stepped away from the podium.
The funeral service continued outside, as they sat, listening to the preacher give his final remarks. Bella sat in between Tony and Pepper. Thor, Happy, and Phil sat behind each of them. As the immediate family gathered around the caskets, Bella and Tony stood on opposite ends, each placing flowers and a sentimental item on their casket.
Bella placed Charlie's badge on his, and Tony got ahold of a piece of jewelry of Renee's. Thor was next to her, and she buried her face in his chest as they lowered them into the ground. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, saddened himself.
He held her steady as her knees buckled. Thor nodded to Tony at his worried look, silently letting him know that he was supporting her. The preacher said a final prayer and three volleys were fired in Charlie's honor.
Bella stared at the 6ft ground, tears blurring her vision.
As she composed herself, she gave Thor a smile in thanks, letting him steer her towards the podium. Tony was silent as he stared down at the graves. "Tony," Pepper whispered. Tony clenched his teeth, looking down at her. "They're going to pay for this Pep," Pepper sadly nodded.
As they started to head for the podium, an array of loud gunshots rang out, and the people that had stayed to give condolences started screaming and running for cover. Tony pushed Pepper to the ground, rolling them over so that he'd be on top of her. He lifted his head to see that Thor had pushed Bella behind the podium and was covering her.
Phil and Happy tugged on each of Pepper and Tony, pulling them back for cover behind the podium.
Tony watched as people started dropping to the ground like flies. The officers there were doing their best to get people out of the way and shooting in a particular direction.
Bella lifted her head to look for Tony, and Thor made sure she kept her head down. "Dad!" She yelled out over the noise, and Thor lifted himself up a bit to peek through the chairs, dropping his head back, narrowly missing a bullet.
Tony pressed something on his watch, and he stayed low. "Stay down!" Tony whispered to Pepper before crawling his way across the grass to Thor and Bella. Thor eased up, wishing he had his hammer. "Crawl to Pepper," Tony urged Bella, ducking down to avoid being hit.
"What?!" She asked wide-eyed. "Do it!" Tony snapped, giving her a desperate look. Bella nodded, staying on her stomach and belly-crawling towards Pepper. Once Phil got himself into position to shield her, Tony looked to Thor.
"I need you to cover me," He said urgently, and before Thor could question him, Tony stood and started running. Thor followed after him, staying at his side as Tony kept looking to his watch. They hid behind a tombstone, and Tony kept muttering to himself. "Come on…come on…" Thor looked over to see a red jetpack-type thing, propelling its way to them and Tony came to a stand as it expanded into his suit, narrowly blocking himself from behind hit.
As soon as he was fully covered, he flew into the air, zeroing in on the shooters. There were probably 20 of them, still shooting, aiming for anyone that hadn't hid or could easily be seen. He shot in their directions with a short burst, knocking a few to the side. At this, some of the shooters took off in a van, while the others tried to flee.
As he zeroed in on them, he noticed a few black SUVs pulling up before SHIELD agents got out, aiming their weapons. Fury emerged from one of them, giving out orders, looking up as Tony dropped down in front of him.
"We're a little late I know. Yes, someone is tracking the van as we speak. How many out there?" Tony's faceplate opened and he shook his head. "Almost all of them. They shot almost everybody in attendance. How the hell did this happen? I thought you were keeping eyes out,"
Fury remained calm and pursed his lips. "They evaded us. This isn't some group out to get you. These people are serious Stark. They want you, your daughter, Pepper, dead," Tony ran a hand down his face. "I want in on the interrogations. You owe me this much,"
Tony flew back towards the podium to check on Bella and Pepper. "We need a clean-up crew. I need the identification of all the victims. We have a lot of family members to call," He instructed gravely.
Tony landed in front of Pepper and Bella who were looking around at the damage. He wrapped his arms around them as they sought him for comfort. "When will it stop?" Bella whimpered; her eyes wide as she looked at some of the deceased. A few of her friends from school had come down, and so far, all of them were dead.
Tony had no answers. He held them tighter, shaking his head.
"Let's get you both home," He kissed each of their heads, before getting a good grip on them and shooting up into the sky.