ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This story belongs to the series Love Is For Children which includes "Love Is for Children," "Eggshells," "Dolls and Guys," "Turnabout Is Fair Play," and "Touching Moments," "Splash," "Coming Around," "Birthday Girl," "No Winter Lasts Forever," "Hide and Seek," and "Kernel Error."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Happy Hogan, Tony Stark, JARVIS.
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: Workplace violence, cross-class tension, problem drinking, false friends, misunderstandings, hangover, Happy!whump, Tony!whump.
Summary: Tony rescues Happy from an abusive employer. Happy rescues Tony from himself. But of course it's never really that simple ...
Notes: Angst. Hurt/Comfort. Fear of loss. Friendship. Confusion. Caregiving. Artificial intelligence. Communication. Feels. Tony Stark Has a Heart.

Although this story takes place years prior to "Love Is For Children," it wouldn't make as much sense placed at the beginning, so I'm leaving it here to serve as a flashback to what Tony's life was like beforehand.

Read Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8, Part 9
Read the next posted piece, "Saudades."


"Happy Hour" Part 1


The party kept Happy busy. There weren't enough people trained for valet parking to keep up with the rapid influx of cars, which meant pressing the chauffeurs into service as well. This made Happy nervous because his employer wanted him available at any time for driving duty. With the party in full swing, though, hopefully he wouldn't notice.

Happy's luck was not that good. He had just climbed out of a truly luscious red Lamborghini when a fist connected with his face.

"I told you to be on call! I needed to go out and apparently everyone thought it was more important to park cars so I had to drive myself. How do you think that made me look?"

Happy licked blood off the corner of his mouth. He was an accomplished boxer. He could have pounded this arrogant creampuff into the pavement. It would be no challenge at all, which was rather the problem.

Happy held his tongue and his temper. Silently he resolved to start looking for a new job tomorrow. Again. Rich people tended to be dicks.

Just then a hand descended on his employer's shoulder. "There you are, I've been looking all over for you, just the man I wanted to see. Come with me and I'll tell you all about my cool new project, it is literally cooler than you will believe -- have you heard of cold fusion yet? No? Well prepare to be amazed!"

Happy watched in stunned disbelief as he was rescued by a slender young man in a tailored suit and a goatee, who apparently did not need to breathe between sentences. Nobody could stand against that onslaught.

A discreet tap on his shoulder brought Happy back to the part of the world that actually involved him. "Do you need to call it a night?" the lot supervisor asked.

They were desperately shorthanded, because the boss was a cheap bastard. "No, thank you," Happy said. "I'll just duck around back and ask one of the house girls to loan me a bit of cover-up. I'll be fine."

Happy was fine. He might not get beat up for a living anymore, but he still knew how to take it. He cadged some makeup, concealed the spreading bruise on his jaw, and went back to work. He parked cars and smiled at guests. The tips were good.

Several times, Happy saw his rescuer again. He was charming and elegant in a way that utterly disarmed his victims, sweeping up one person and then another in whatever mad scheme drove him. Dainty hands fluttered in swift, expansive gestures. It was captivating to watch. Happy was perhaps staring more than he should have.

The young man stared back, his dark eyes alert and mischievous as a ferret. His gaze caught on the swelling bruise at Happy's mouth, not at all fooled by the concealer. Then he winked at Happy and went back indoors.

Happy had a ferret once. The aptly named Lucifer delighted in stealing his socks, chewing through the tub of ferret chow, and climbing up people's pant legs. Lucifer had also once tackled him while Happy was trying to get dressed and then proceeded to crawl into Happy's left boot to kill a scorpion hiding inside. Lucifer later got him kicked out of a nice apartment when the landlady found out about the ferret, but Happy didn't mind.

* * *

Notes:

Happy Hogan is Tony's chauffeur and bodyguard, with detailed descriptions appearing both in Wikipedia and the Marvel Wiki. They're oddly protective of each other, and they cross some boundaries, but not in a creepy way. I figured they might have met via shenanigan, so this is my interpretation of the scene.

A Lamborghini is a fancy sportscar.

Workplace abuse can be a serious problem, especially in service jobs. It is related to domestic violence. Happy's employer shows the signs of a serial bully. There are ways to deal with workplace bullying, but basically they don't work very well. Most victims can only escape the abuse by leaving the job. Notice that Tony interrupts the assault by distraction and denying the bully audience attention for the abuse; this is an effective way to discourage bullying.

Rich people are statistically more likely to display psychopathic and greedy behavior, especially the very rich. Anyone can be decent or vile, but the more wealth a person has, the easier it gets for them to evade social expectations and do as they please, so that vices tend to become more prominent.

Cold fusion is legendary scientific technique that people have claimed but not proven possible, which puts it right up Tony's alley.

Concealing bruises is something that many abuse victims do for various reasons. There are ways to cover up bruises, best reserved for times when you really do crash into something. Happy's desire to keep working a highly profitable venue is understandable, but not the best example of self-preservation.

Ferrets make popular pets, but they are notorious for mischief.


[To be continued in Part 2 ...]

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-06 01:35 pm (UTC)
aldersprig: (me-lyn-kitty)
From: [personal profile] aldersprig
*happy (heehe) Grin and bouncing*

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-06 03:17 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
*squee* I always enjoy Tony and Happy interacting.

Poor guy, though. His boss is awful. (Erm, current boss. Tony's challenging in his own way, but that's a different thing.)
Edited (clarity) Date: 2014-01-06 03:18 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-01-10 06:20 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
I keep coming back to this and playing around with concepts of intent. For all that it isn't the ultimate thing, I can't dismiss it as unimportant either - Tony's emotional abuse can be ameliorated by giving him better things to do, where the current boss is acting like a shit because he can, and I would guess he probably can't be convinced out of that gently.

Unless I'm following the wrong tracks here, which is entirely possible. ^^;

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-01-13 05:37 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: Pre-Serum Steve Rogers, shirt and suspenders (Sad Steve)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
I think that well might be, that Happy modeled a way for Tony to be a mensch. (Tony, not typically a mensch, but with Bruce, he steps up to the plate.)

Tony is the sort of thing, like a small caliber bullet, that would make a shambles of a normal person's life, even if he wasn't armor-piercing, which he totally is.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-06 03:31 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: blond and brunet men peer intently (Napoleon & Illya peer)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
That would explain Happy and his strategies for Tony on a tear.

(I did not like the way they made Happy the victim of poor writing in IM3.)

Remember, the best revenge is headhunting good help from people that don't know they're going to be sorry.

"This is Rae. Somehow she was at Hammer Industries. Anyway, I could tell she was smarter than that. So, she went from making coffee there to logistics here at SI. Best investment ever."

Re: Yes...

Date: 2014-01-06 08:39 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: line art Ecto-1 (Ecto-1)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
Steve: "Dis guy bodderin' you, Miss?"

Tiffany:Who? (she gazes at Her Hero)

Hammer completely oblivious that he's ceased to exist as far as Tiffany cares AND that Captain America is moonlighting.

Steve Rogers LOVES this perk. "See, if I'm in the area, I get a text and I can glower at someone that needs glowering at. Tony thinks I'm saving kittens."

-----
Happy:Even if Tony were paranoid, people are variously trying to kill or grab him. So, I make sure whatever he's in the mood for is as safe as it can be. Him asking is much better than him being like a clam. I'm not a mindreader. And I don't want him to meet my sister. Col. Rhodes, she can meet him, but then I'd have to keep him off the private jet.

And the tropes in question were ones soo common, some of them didn't even flip by bs meter. (I really hate abuse of the 'sidekick' characters. The Every Men that are too damn close to the Heroes to ever be safe.)

(Back to Tiffany, think HR has just taken to giving new hires a packet of publicity shots so if they are getting chatted by unsavory types they know they can get an urgent call?)

Re: Yes...

Date: 2014-01-06 11:37 pm (UTC)
somecrazygirl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] somecrazygirl
Thinking about it, if someone's not ready to change, approaches like what Happy takes are probably the best thing to do (unless someone's in imminent and serious danger). Do what you can to make them safe to the extent that you can without causing issues for yourself. Happy can take a whole lot without causing issues for himself and this is one of the reasons that Tony likes him I think. It's not just that Happy makes sure Tony can do what he needs, it's also that it doesn't fuck Happy up too much to do it. Compare to some other people in Tony's life who... would be different.

(On a related note: I've never been a fan of the whole intervention style of trying to force people to change. Even if that person is hurting you and you need them to stop, I'm not convinced that a ritual of group shaming is a good way to go about letting them know. On the other hand I know some people will have trouble setting down an ultimatum and sticking to it without backup even if they know that's what they need to do to protect themselves. But even thinking of that doesn't make it seem any less wrong to me somehow.)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-06 03:34 pm (UTC)
pheylan: (Coulson)
From: [personal profile] pheylan
Yay! More stories!

I'm looking forward to this. It's obvious from the movies that they have a close relationship despite being boss and employee. I think you're take will probably be very interesting and complex.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-01-13 05:47 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: Steve in khaki, Peggy foreground (Behind Woman)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
There are some undercutting tropes being played out through Happy.

The first thing to notice is What League is he playing in? He's support to Tony Stark. This means not only is he competent support (which is a synonym for bamf), but he's working with explosives in a rocking chair factory filled with spring-loaded peanut brickle cans. While wearing skates.

Tony will let Happy hit him because he trusts him to pull and not pull as Tony can take it, and for educational purposes.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-01-13 07:18 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: Steve in khaki, Peggy foreground (Behind Woman)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
Sure, if you put him in a fight alongside Black Widow as in IM2, she'll make him look like an amateur. But notice that Happy did take down one professional guard, without getting killed or captured.

And this is a great example of the dangers of false comparison. Happy is not bad at X, Y, or Z. He isn't in Black Widow's league. There is no snub there. She is the pinnacle of her 'art'. He's able to step up to a challenge outside of his 'description' and show favorably. Yes, he's exhausted and is going to feel it. But he did manage it.

Phil has taken on Support and brought his Skillz to it, but I doubt it's his whole story. While the flour isn't canon, it's not fanon, it was Something (ah, the joys of coloring outside the lines). I figure he's a bit like Alfred, there's only so long your body will hold up in the field, and those that live, have got other things to offer you just can't order up with fresh talent.

There is a certain... well, I wouldn't say Happy and Bunter would get on, their worlds are too different, and there are somethings it would be a breach to disclose. But in a meta bar, they could stand each other a drink.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-06 11:31 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
[To be continued ...]

I'm looking forward to it!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-07 12:45 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Sorry this is anonymous; I haven't set up a Dreamwidth account yet, but I just wanted to say that I am *so excited* that you've posted the next segment of Love Is For Children!!! So excited!! It is/was the highlight of my Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.

Also, I love this. I don't know much about Happy because I haven't read the comics (really, my knowledge of Iron Man/Avengers comes from the fandom, aside from watching the Avengers movie and Iron Man 2, sorry), but it doesn't really matter when I read this because it's so wonderful.

Sorry I haven't commented before, but I love, love, LOVE your Love Is For Children stories.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-07 05:58 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Loving Happy's description of Tony!!! And the comparison to the ferret- now I think I'm always going to think of that as Tony's animal personality. They're very intelligent. :)

Also, I'm super excited to see you writing Happy! I love the way you delve into the characters and let us see them as the real people they are deep inside. If this fic (or any fic ever, really) happens to give us a glimpse at what Happy thinks of the changes Phil has wrought in Tony, I might explode from glee. (Not implying that Happy would ever be part of things or see Tony in kid mindset, just all of the things you've said about Tony being a little more Carter and a little less Stark- those close to him must be noticing and I've been imagining their reactions for awhile.)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-11 02:21 pm (UTC)
annariel: Steed and Emma Peel from The Avengers (Avengers)
From: [personal profile] annariel
That's a nice look at how Tony and Happy might have met!!

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
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