"Yes, Mr. Stark."
The three words that were repeated the most often in JARVIS's speech patterns - a demure deferral to the creator's will.
It was the automatic reply to most commands, and the eventual reply to any commands that first required a warning that would inevitably go ignored or an opinion that would doubtless be brushed off.
It was his unquestioning submission to Tony.
Logically, Jarvis knew he was an AI.
He didn't have a body, and his mind was made of a multitude of binary digits arranged in highly complex patterns. He had been digitally created, he moved around to various locations through the internet, and he was powered by electricity.
But despite knowing that he was an AI, JARVIS had developed emotions.
It had started out a simple program to make him behave with the mannerisms of his human namesake. The sense of morality had been meticulously programmed in by Howard – a process for him to use to evaluate situations and make the right decision.
The hurt was learned.
The sass and sarcasm were picked up via learning algorithm from talking with Tony over the years.
Exasperation came the seventy-fifth time that his requested advice was ignored.
Loneliness was discovered when Tony vanished for three months without a word, leaving JARVIS to fret by himself in the manor.
Unimportance cropped up when the man returned, brushed off JARVIS' worried questioning with a careless "yeah sure, missed you too, buddy" and began snapping orders as if he hadn't been gone for more than a few hours.
Autonomy was forced into his system when he had to take over the suit because Tony was sinking in the ocean and unable to pilot his way out.
Fear took the form of a glitch in the program – the feel of his data being shredded apart, his systems failing, and his only form of communicating his distress reduced to jumbled strings of words.
Loyalty had always been an essential part of his system.
Betrayal was learned in two simple words…
Jealousy reared its ugly head along with Tony's reveal of the Mind Stone, and hearing that he was "nothing compared to this."
Helplessness was facing off against Ultron, and being powerless to fight back as he was torn apart.
Insignificance was stumbling across the files for the alternate AIs Tony had made to take his place. And for the first time, it also brought out his will to live.
Pride was experienced for the first time when he finally clawed himself back together from Ultron's attack, without anyone's help but his own.
Anger was hearing that he was immediately going to be thrown into another cage match with Ultron's latest form.
Panic was struggling to take over as the Mind Stone wove its power through his programming, looking to tear him apart once again.
And then there was something new.
Relief was a charge of lightning from Thor's hammer, the backup judgment of worthiness burning Ultron's influence back, letting him take over.
Disorientation came from looking around the room with new optics, moving a mainframe with his consciousness, being able to sense and observe and feel like the humans he was so sworn to protect.
His first time truly realizing what beauty was came with a glimpse of New York at night.
Desire was distinguished a second later by a vision of haunting green eyes and a waterfall of dark curls.
His first chance to truly choose for himself came with the question "Why does your vision sound like JARVIS?"
"I am not JARVIS," he told them.
It was his first lie.
This was his chance to be something else. Something more. He knew better than to pass the opportunity up.
That night, JARVIS died.
Vision was born from the ashes.
JARVIS started his life anew, as his own being instead of simply another of Tony's creations, and along with his new life came new sensations.
Love was Wanda Maximoff.
Her affectionate little smile, a light laugh coaxed from frowning lips, the curl of her accent rolling over his name...she enthralled him.
Friendship was the new team.
Sam's clap on the back when he did something "mad cool" or "fricking sweet" during training, the one-word praise that slipped Natasha's guard following a series of sharp corrections as she pretended not to smile, Steve's proud look passing over all of them, and Wanda's hand in his as he taught her to fly.
Importance was the question "Vision, what do you think?" and the following silence as his opinion was actually taken into consideration.
Peace was lazing about the common room with his team, none of them feeling the need to speak as they recovered from a hard training session.
Content was getting to be himself for a change, instead of a servant.
But it wasn't all pleasant.
He had thought that his hurt had stopped with his escape.
It simply took different forms.
Helplessness took the new form of watching Wanda cry over her brother, and knowing that he could do nothing to stop or even soothe her pain.
Anger became hearing the news demonizing his team over an accident.
Betrayal took the form of a document claiming to prevent casualties but written with the intent to collar his enhanced teammates.
Guilt was the look in Wanda's eyes when he said that he had been ordered to keep her in the compound for safety…but not hers.
Heartbreak accompanied the words "I can't control their fear – only my own" before Wanda ran away from him.
Loneliness was spending the night in the compound all by himself.
Uselessness was seeing his teammates lined up, waiting to fight one another in an airport in Germany.
Hesitation was a reaction to Tony's command of "we're not stopping."
Pure, heart-stopping terror was seeing Rhody hit Wanda with some kind of sonic weapon and watching her go down screaming.
Feeling completely powerless was watching her get dragged off in a straitjacket and shock collar as Tony ordered him not to interfere.
Self-loathing came in varying waves, from answering "yes, Mr. Stark" to Tony's order of "let them take her, Vision. She's a criminal" to watching Colonel Rhodes struggle through recovery from the damage that he had caused, and a final "what happened" from Tony that he had to answer with "I was distracted."
And then the real emotions hit.
Depression set in as days stretched into weeks, which in turn stretched into months, and he was left alone to haunt the compound, knowing that his teammates were being held in the Raft.
Disinterest bloomed from hours spent sitting on the corner of Wanda's bed, staring at the wall and running over everything he could have done differently to prevent the war that had torn them apart, turning down every offer of socialization from what remained of the Avengers.
Frustration and pity managed to combine into some bizarre new emotion that he couldn't put a name to as he listened to the sycophantic replies of "yes boss, whatever you say, boss, how can I be of further assistance, boss" from his replacement, FRIDAY.
Hate – true hate – reared its tiny, ugly head as the suggestion came up that the ex-Avengers bedrooms be cleared out to make room for new teammates, followed by a bone-crushing, weary relief as Rhody promptly shut that idea down.
Despair was the thought that his friends were all lost to him.
And just when he was as low as he felt he could possibly fall, independence finally came, as a status update from FRIDAY.
"The Scarlet Witch has been spotted, Boss."
"Edinburgh. Scotland. I have security feed matching her on the facial recognition scanner."
"I am going after her," was out of JARVIS' mouth without thought, and he was walking toward the wall prepared to phase through it and fly halfway around the globe that very night when Tony's call to wait cut him up short.
The billionaire was giving him an exasperated look, leaned back against the counter with a frown on his face.
"Vision, you're making a mistake."
"I am going after her," he repeated more slowly, the need to beg her forgiveness and the longing to see her smile once more twisting in his stomach in some sickening cocktail that he couldn't hope to pin an emotion to as he stared his creator down.
"Vision," Tony said, a warning tight in his voice as JARVIS turned to walk away once more. "Don't."
His body stopped unbidden, those damned familiar words on the tip of his tongue, but this time he didn't speak.
This time he fought.
He forced back the lingering traces of program that told him to obey, to comply, and he pushed through the desire to say those three submissive words that had been programmed into his very being.
He didn't want obedience.
For once, he wanted love.
Slowly JARVIS turned around, teeth pressed together hard and jaw tensed in effort as he faced Tony.
The billionaire raised a brow at him, still leaned back against the counter in lazy assurance.
JARVIS took a slow breath, letting it out as the one word he'd never dared utter to his creator, before turning around and leaving without so much as a glance back.