Read the first segment of the series here.
Tony Stark had taken the death of his parents very seriously. A promising career in debauchery and technological innovation had been rudely cut short and Tony, instead of wallowing in despair, decided to take charge of Stark Industries. His father’s favourite secretary, Virginia Potts, soon became his own; he quickly realised her that her efficiency and experience would be able guides. He began to spend more time in developing weapons and emerging technology and left the day-to-day administration in her capable hands.
She quickly began to rise from the position of a mere secretary to virtually running the company, actively participating in negotiations and helping Tony make decisions. After a particularly gruelling round of negotiations with a rival company about Hammer Industries, a promising start-up, Tony could not help but admire her business acumen. The manner in which she had fiercely defended Stark Industries had caught his attention. Her skills were far beyond just those of any ordinary administrator, yet she displayed utter loyalty to the Stark family. Her faith in Tony’s ability as a technological genius was almost child-like; she supported all his plans and defended them when no support was forthcoming from the others.
“Virginia… err Ms. Potts, may I have a word?” Tony blurted. She agreed immediately, slightly surprised at his sudden informality. As much of a ladies man as he was, Tony Stark had always behaved in a dignified manner with her.
“Why did you defend my plans so determinedly? You know it’s very advanced technology and still at the prototype stage. We can’t afford to lose any more investors, especially after the… incident.”
“Mr. Stark, you know I believe in you, as I did your father.”
“Yeah, but it’s ridiculous. What if it fails? What then? What will we tell them?”
“It won’t fail.”
“How can you possibly know that? We only managed to gain partial control over Hammer Industries because Justin Hammer believes in what you told him. It’ll take us a miracle to pull this off.”
“Mr. Stark, I believe that miracles can happen, if you contemplate putting all your energies into one goal.”
“Ms. Potts, I’ll have you know that believing in magic and miracles will not get you anywhere in this company. Let me tell you right here, the entity you refer to as magic simply does not exist. There is only science, and the miracles we perform, are entirely based upon its principles.”
Virginia Potts smiled. The naivety of youth. He would understand one day.
“Mr. Stark, you and I are then completely in agreement.”
“I’m surprised MIT didn’t teach you that any technology, not matter how primitive, is magic to those who don’t understand it.”
“Hah, Ms. Potts in that case, my technology is indistinguishable from magic as I don’t believe there is anybody else on this planet who can perfect this technology in the manner that I can.”
“And therein lies your strength Tony, as it lay in your father.”
Tony Stark and Virginia Potts turned around.
A woman stood in the doorway, framed by the light of the dying sun. She was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbours. What attracted their attention most were the eyes; a long, wide scar ran from her left eye to her upper lip, turning it upwards, forcing her lower lip into a cruel pout. There was sadness in those eyes, but also a burning anger that didn’t seem to subside, no matter her efforts to vanquish it.
“I’m sorry, who are you, again?” Tony Stark said belligerently.
“So you don’t remember me, Tony? Don’t you remember the man in the park, the day we met in Central Park?”
Tony Stark gasped. It couldn’t be. Memories began to flash in his head. A young girl, a little older than he, laughing and playing in Central Park with her sister. He had been very sad that day as Jarvis, his pet fish had died. The girls had come towards him and invited him to play. It was going well until a large brown owl appeared out of nowhere and dropped a letter on her head. “Lily, be careful!” the girl had shouted. The girl called Lily was still dazed at the shock of a sudden appearance of an owl in broad daylight, one that had dropped a funny brown letter, with her name emblazoned in green ink on the front. A man in a violet cloak nearby had chuckled and helped her up to her feet. He had then walked to a clump of trees, smiled at the girl and vanished. Tony had excitedly motioned to his father, whose face had hardened. The family with the two girls exited the park, never to be seen there again.
“Petunia Evans.” Tony mumbled, still in shock.
(You can read Part III of the series here.)