madimpossibledreamer: Jiraiya|Yosuke jumping and using a throwing star (jiraiya|yosuke)
[personal profile] madimpossibledreamer
Main Points:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Iron Man Crossover and more than just your average fic in this 'verse (Self-Made Hero)
Summary: Tony's not the only one with the urge to fix broken things.
Word Count: 1101
Rating: Gen


           It takes the two a while to come up for air, but then, she’d expected that.  Pepper realizes that Xander probably hadn’t actually been given the suit.  He’d probably made it.  Which meant she wasn’t dealing with just one man who didn’t have a clue about the passage of time, but two of them.
           They do, eventually, and Tony stops in the doorway, falling silent mid-sentence.  “You have got to be kidding me.”
           Pepper grins and pats the carpet next to her.  “Cheese?”
           She’d gathered an assortment of cheeses, lunch meat, and fruit and put them on several plates.
           “You know, you’re standing in the way.  I can’t see,” Xander complains, attempting to peek out from around his ‘brother’.
           “We hope the two of you enjoy the surprise we prepared,” Jarvis adds.
           Tony doesn’t move, probably to annoy Xander.
           “Quote-unquote ‘normal’ family activities?  Really, Pep?”  She sees the pain in the brown eyes that he’s trying hard to hide, but she sees it.  But that’s exactly why this is important, too, to give them both something to distract them from the pain of being superheroes.  And maybe convince them both that no, family didn’t have to involve pain and disappointment and anxiety attacks.
           She sees Xander’s head pop into view and the sound on the carpet and stifles a giggle.  He’s bouncing behind Tony, trying to see.  He waves cheekily the next time he surfaces, and she doesn’t bother hiding her amusement this time.
           “That looks like a…railroad game?” Xander guesses, sounding surprised and intrigued, and Pepper hopes that her boyfriend is smart enough to catch the difference.  He’d kept his ‘brother’ busy for a while.  Now it was her turn.  The least she could do is give both of them good memories with family.
           “Please?”  She smiles, innocently.
           “You’re lucky I like you, Miss Potts,” Tony grumbles, but he comes to join her anyway.
           The younger one’s bouncing, and comes to join them much quicker.  He stuffs a few slices of cheese and some pepperoni in his mouth.  “It’s almost like a pizza,” he mutters through chewing.
           “Hey, hey, my girlfriend, manners,” Tony protests, even though he’s not really up on table manners either, and just receives a mischievous grin in return.
           Tony’s aloof at first, haphazardly building tracks and not even trying to win.  Xander, by contrast, is having a blast, although she’s a little worried for him if the way he earns a lot of money and spends it within one or two turns is any indication of the usual way he handles money.  Still, she recognizes that instinct when he’s enjoying himself and just can’t help being generous and throwing money at a problem.  (He also has the same issue of building and then realizing he actually doesn’t have the money to do that, which means that he probably at least isn’t wanting for money.)
           Jarvis is even participating, if with a handicap.  He’s taking turns with Xander’s AI, White Star, who is polite, generally.  It was her idea to play the fantasy version, so Tony would actually have to try harder, and because it would be more normal for Xander.  Apparently.  There’s a lot no one’s telling her about Xander’s life.  Star and Jarvis appear to be having some sort of rivalry during the game, since they’re mostly focusing on each other, and any particularly good move on Jarvis’s part results in what sounds like swearing in Russian.
           Xander looks embarrassed.  “I swear I didn’t program her with that,” he insists, throwing his hands up.
           “She’s not—based on Natasha, is she?” Pepper asks hesitantly.  Not that there would be a problem if she was, it’s just a little…odd.
           “Nah, but you’re not the first to think that,” Xander responds, frowning at the destination cards in front of him and darting his gaze to the board.  He eventually picks up dragons.  “She’s based on a character from the best science fiction TV show.  That no one has seen.  Because everyone has bad taste, apparently.”
           Jarvis makes another strategically sound decision, cutting Star off from one of the smaller cities, and Tony finally rolls his eyes.  There’s a smile playing around his lips, though.  “Play nicely, children.  Do we have to separate you two?”
           “Either that, or they’re flirting in their own way.  Hard to tell, really,” Xander shrugs.  It silences the AIs, at least.
           Pepper’s at least doing well.  Better than she expected, actually, considering she’s keeping up with the others.  She’s still good at math, if not (generally) as good as Tony, but she has better business sense, while Stark tends to get distracted.
           A couple of turns later, the two are arguing animatedly, complete with theatrical gestures, about whether they’ve been playing long enough to have house rules, and she tries not to smile too widely and draw attention to the fact that they’re enjoying themselves.  It’s not the bad kind of arguing.  They’re playing off each other smoothly, pushing each other to do better.  “Come on, me taking your line is a business transaction, therefore even if I have no money you should be amenable to a trade.  Take my wheat cargo.  You should be able to use that.”
           “That’s worth more than four…dollars, whatever.  I mean, I get that this is a fantasy world and they might also use a barter system, but seriously?  And no, I’m not going to owe you for using my line.”
           “I’m willing to take the hit.  This one’s payoff is pretty good, and I don’t need the wheat.”  Xander shrugs and leans back to grab one of the cans of soda she’d gotten out.
           “He’s up to something.  Jarvis, back me on this one.  Stark Jr. is plotting something.”
           “He probably is, but he’s also desperate,” Star responds.  “If you’ll look at his possible routes, he’d need to build new track for any of the others, and Pepper has yet to finish the only other viable option even if she might be more willing to make a deal.  He could trade in cards until he gets one that works, but he’d rather at least have some sort of base to work off before he gambles it all on the unknown.”
           Knight whistles.  “Nice, Star.  You didn’t tell me you were studying psychology.”
           “It was part of my studies to look after your overall health, Entil’Zha,” she explains, and he nods.
           “I…fine, but if Jarv or Star say this was the move that won you the game, you’re disqualified,” Tony finally decides, holding out his hand for the wheat.
           “Fair enough,” Xander agrees and makes his move.



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