Title: Mr. Fluffy
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Iron Man (MCU)
Timeline: Takes place after “Fluffy Feline Fascination”
Genre: General, family
Rating: K+ / FRC
Characters: J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark (Iron Man), Tony’s bots (DUM-E and U). Mentioned: Clint Barton (Hawkeye), Pepper Potts.
Summary: Tony gives the kitty some tough love, but Mr. Fluffy wins him over eventually.
Complete. Part of the “Genius, AI & Bots” series.
Warnings: Implied canonical violence and a run-over accident.
Disclaimer: Iron Man, Avengers and Marvel Cinematic Universe, including characters and everything else, belong to Marvel, Marvel Studios, Jon Favreau, Joss Whedon, Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. In short: I own nothing; this is pure fiction created to entertain likeminded fans for no profit whatsoever.
Beta: Mythra (mythras-fire)
About Mr. Fluffy: This story exists in honor of featheredschist’s comment on “Fluffy Feline Fascination” – another story in this series which featured a toy cat given to the bots by the one and only Clint Barton.
Story and status: Below you see the writing process of the story. If there is no text after the title, then it is finished and checked. Possible updates shall be marked after the title.
Tony never got around to complaining to Clint Barton about his gift to the bots and how unappreciative Tony felt towards it. On the other hand, the bots – and for some peculiar reason, his AI – loved the toy cat, which had been reason enough to replace its battery-operated power source with something more permanent.
Just because Tony chose to improve it didn’t mean he was in love with Mr. Fluffy, though.
Far from it.
There were days when Tony was tempted to just run over the kitty with one of his cars; he would get fed up with the mechanical mewing and raise the decibels of his own music – only to be alerted a moment later by one of the bots or J.A.R.V.I.S. to rescue Mr. Fluffy from some predicament it had managed to crawl into and from which it could not be retrieved by the bots.
However, when Tony actually did run the toy cat over – completely by accident – the bots hung their arms over the twisted, broken form and the horrible guilty ache in Tony’s chest was so strong he worked for the next twenty hours straight to bring Mr. Fluffy back to life, better than ever.
After all, the stupid toy was balanced incorrectly, its joints working so stiffly it had kept falling over even without anyone pushing at it; Tony fixed the balance issues, the joints, recorded a far more life-like mewing sound, upgraded the light and movement detectors that would make the kitty respond to its surroundings with motion and noise, then spent five hours fixing the fluffy fur coating into place.
At the first mew, the bots chirped happily – then trailed after the cat when Tony set it down on the floor. For the next twenty minutes he watched the bots moving around the workshop, following the cat’s progress, gently steering it away from corners and obstacles.
J.A.R.V.I.S. told him to go to bed, eventually, and Tony gave the bots and their pet one last look before following his AI’s advice.
The morning after, when he entered the workshop again, the bots were still hibernating in their designated spots – Mr. Fluffy securely resting between them, on a bed made out of a cardboard box lid, what looked like Tony’s shirt and a whole lot of cotton wool the origin of which Tony did not want to guess. The makeshift kitty bed hadn’t been there last night so he supposed the bots had been busy after he went to bed.
“Good morning sir,” J.A.R.V.I.S. greeted softly, as if not to stir the bots. “There is an incoming emergency call requesting Iron Man’s immediate assistance.”
Tony sighed then nodded. “Assemble the suit,” he ordered.
“Power-up in progress.”
- - -
One firefight against some lunatic fringe later, Tony was headed home. The fight itself would have been over fast, but there had been bystanders, trapped civilians and hostages to deal with, and Tony had felt like he wasn’t going to be able to breathe normally until every last innocent person was taken to safety.
It was extremely late when he touched down in Malibu, the house empty because Pepper was out of town. Tony was aching and tired by the time he got out of the suit, so he took a quick shower in the workshop’s adjoining bathroom then slumped down on the couch with a drink in his hand, deciding that he might as well stay where he was.
Tossing back the rest of the drink, Tony lay down on the couch, pulled a blanket over himself then settled down to sleep.
At some point during the night he grew aware of the bots moving around but everything was otherwise silent so he didn’t bother opening his eyes, pulling the blanket a bit tighter around his body.
When he woke up, neck and back already complaining from his poor choice for a bed, Tony grew aware of his hand lying draped over something soft. He opened his eyes, blinked at it and recognized the beady eyes of Mr. Fluffy staring back at him from where the toy cat lay beside him on the couch.
It most certainly hadn’t been there when he went to sleep.
Allowing his gaze to wander across the workshop, he spotted the bots at their assigned stations, looking like they were hibernating.
“Good morning, sir,” J.A.R.V.I.S. greeted, just like he had the previous morning.
“Why is the cat on the couch?” Tony asked, staring at Mr. Fluffy’s cute little face. Really, it was sickeningly adorable, especially after Tony fixed him after the accident with the car.
“The bots put it there, sir.” Well, that was the answer Tony had expected – which J.A.R.V.I.S. should know.
“You were sleeping uneasily. DUM-E and U must have thought it would calm you down. Incidentally, it did.”
Tony didn’t remember having nightmares, which was a blessed change of routine, for sure. “I hope they don’t think this will become a thing,” Tony mused.
“I would think not, sir – unless you start spending more nights in the workshop even though there is a perfectly good bed upstairs.”
“Noted,” Tony said then sat up and stretched his back, which let out loud cracks. The bots stirred at the sound, lifting their arms and then proceeded to roll towards him. On the couch, Mr. Fluffy let out a soft meow, and with a roll of his eyes Tony set it down on the floor. Instantly the toy started moving out towards the bots, which chirped happily and greeted the kitty with gentle brushes of their claws against the fur that was a little messy after it had been on the couch with Tony, combing it back into place.
Shaking his head, Tony got to his feet and clapped his hands sharply. “Back to work, boys. No time like the present.” He had wasted enough time with kitty repairs and needed to get back to updating, upgrading and rebuilding his suits.
Tony was not surprised, though, when he could, over the course of the day, spot Mr. Fluffy out of the corner of his eye, being chased by one of the bots. Knowing when he was fighting a losing battle, he let it go.