GOD, GOD, oh my fucking god, just EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY TONY STARK FEELINGS AT ONCE, what, how
just, ugh, just please insert a million words about little tony who was so affection starved—because even outside of the relationship with his father a child that smart doesn’t have PEERS, i mean literally can’t have peers, because anyone who is going to be able to interact with them in a meaningful way on an intellectual level is going to intrinsically not be an equal, because they’re going to be an adult. just, goddddd, it’s one of those things i always want to touch on in fic and never quite get right but like—tony has daddy issues, yeah, no question, but they’re all tied up in his people issues and vice versa, because howard stark? aside from being his father? was probably one of the only intellectual equals he ever had contact with as a kid. and how lonely that must have been, how achingly lonely, and just ugh ugh ugh TONY GOD.
but then there’s the robots, right, there’s the technology, there’s the work, and of course he feels like it understands him, because he understands it. and it’s one of the few things he does understand as a kid, one of the few things that just opens up and makes sense for him, every time—because people don’t, not other kids not his teachers not his father, he’s always saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing—but the work, the work does. and i mean, wouldn’t you…you remember moments as a kid, right, where you were just good at something, something little, something stupid, even just for a second, that exhilarating burst of unadulterated glee when you got something on the first try? and just, okay, just think about that, because to be tony stark with a circuit board in his hand would just be to live in that moment all the time, and so of course he becomes who he is, of course talks to them until he figures out how to make them talk back. how could you not do that? how could anyone not do that?
and then, you know, he grows up in other ways, too, learns that money can buy a certain amount of allowances, and he uses them, takes them, and he’s always saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing so he cuts his losses and makes it a persona. because it’s the perfect disguise, isn’t it, masking that discomfort as brashness, changing the tone of it a little bit so it comes out as superior instead of unsure, and for tony stark at 16 or 19 or 21 it would be the safest bet. only then it blends, he puts it on so much that he doesn’t quite remember how to take it off, and when his personality starts to settles a little with age and the toll of running a business he’s still wearing it, isn’t he, the act.
but see, in some ways, his personality doesn’t settle, and that’s why, because it’s all built on these traits he’s played up and over-exaggerated, not really on him, so there’s all this incredible capacity for growth and change because in some ways he’s never been himself, and UGH THIS IS WHY I LOVE TONY STARK. and i really don’t just mean this in an OH TONY kind of way, i mean in it in a construction-of-the-character kind of way: this is such a rounded portrait of a person, with so many layers and nuances, and yet it somehow manages to leave changeable enough that you can literally do anything to his emotional development and it’ll work, and that’s just. god! that’s just so unbelievable, from a story structure standpoint, because it leaves infinite avenues to add a really human layer to stories about ALMOST ANYTHING and just jfhdsjklfhdskfs TONY STARK THE END.