Written for Marvelously Magical Bingo 2019
Square: N5- Mistaken Identity
Hermione marched with determined steps to Tony's lab, her expression set in frustrated lines. As soon as she'd found her belongings in a state of disarray, she'd known exactly who had been in her rooms and what had been taken. Damn Tony Stark for getting her drunk. He knew full well she was a lightweight; it was a miracle she even remembered their conversation. But she did remember, and their theory on time travel had turned into Hermione revealing she had an illicit Time-Turner. Well, it wasn't exactly forbidden, but no one knew she had it.
No one was ever supposed to know. Damn the man and her low tolerance.
He hadn't even tried locking her out of the office, her retina scan letting her through immediately. He looked up from his computer, his mouth picking up into a welcoming grin. "Mary Poppins."
His eyebrows rose in surprise at her tone. "What? I don't know what has you-"
"I know what you're thinking and don't even think of testing it." She placed her hands on her hips.
They stared one another down, Tony a picture of innocence and Hermione of growing ire. Finally, he sighed, "Fine, but I only wanted-"
"Spoilsport," he grumbled. He rose from his seat, walking to a small machine. "I suppose you want your device back?"
Hermione didn't say a word, holding her hand out and waiting. Tony punched in a code, his fingers too fast for Hermione to memorize. It opened, revealing her Time-Turner nestled in the middle. He plucked it from its place, whistling a jaunty tune and swinging it carelessly as he walked back to her. She watched horrified as it almost slipped from his fingers on the way over. Did this man know nothing about fragile items?
She snatched it from him the moment he held it out, pulling it over her neck and hiding it under her sweater. Her wand was in her hand and digging into his chin before he could make another witty comment. "Listen here," she warned. "You go through my things again, and I will destroy every piece of equipment you own. Do you understand?"
Tony swallowed visibly, his Adam's apple bobbing up and down from the effort. "Of course, Elphaba."
Beyond done with the situation, she rolled her eyes and turned on her heel, pocketing her wand and making her way to the lab doors. As she exited the room, there was a rumble that shook the floor they were on. She propped a hand on the wall to keep herself steady, cursing Tony Stark because it had to be one of his experiments that had just blown up.
She swung back around, reentering the lab, hands on her hips as she spied the man bent back over his desk. "Stark!"
He looked up at her, surprise evident on his face. "Well, hello there. You're not supposed to be down here."
"Oh?" A single eyebrow arched at his comment. "And just why wouldn't I be? You had no problem with my access when you stole my property. What are you working on that I need to be kept out of?" Her eyes narrowed. "Don't make me call Pepper."
"I'll have you know that Stark Industries has been accused of many things, but stealing property has never been true." He was watching her calmly. "Though why you think you have access to my lab at all is interesting."
The tunnel vision that surrounded Hermione vanished slowly as she took in her surroundings, becoming aware that her somewhat friend was not wearing the band t-shirt and torn jeans he'd been in five minutes ago. He was in dress pants and a button-up shirt, a plain tie hanging around his neck. Her breathing picked up just a bit when she realized the man in front of her, while having similar features to Tony, was actually a different person. Oh, they were clearly related, but they weren't the same.
Her quick scope of the room proved even more worrisome. The walls were made of brick, the technology outdated. The computer she'd seen this man bent over was not the latest Stark model Tony had tweaked to suit himself. It was a slightly slimmer version of the blocky devices she'd seen as a child at one of the London libraries. Her hand briefly reached up to touch the necklace that lay hidden under her robes.
Oh. Oh no. She was going to kill that man when she figured out how to get back.
But first things first, she brought her attention back to the figure still watching her. She gave him a shaky smile. "I'm so sorry. It seems I've entered the wrong building."
"Yet you knew my last name," he told her with false cheer. "It's only fair you give me yours."
She licked her lips, struggling with what decision would be best. "I'm not sure that that's the best idea."
"Right." He shook his head. "We're strangers, after all. It's smart for damsels such as yourself not to be giving out your information to random strangers." He smirked at the quick flash in her eyes. "I'm afraid I cannot let you leave. You pose a security risk."
She internally sighed. "There's no need to be rash. I have no desire to know whatever it is you're working on."
Stark walked closer to her until Hermione was forced to look up to maintain eye contact. She could see it now, the differences between him and Tony. "How about this," he proposed. "I'll take you out to eat, and we get to know each other. If I think you aren't a threat, I'll let you go."
Her eyes narrowed. Was he serious? "You do realize that I could easily give you the slip as soon as we leave the building."
He grinned at her. "Let me take you for food anyway."
"I could eat," she allowed.
"Perfect." He offered his arm, striding out of the room when she took hold of it. "It's a moot point, but I'll introduce myself anyway. Howard Stark."
Hearing the confirmation shook Hermione, but after a moment, she gave him a side smirk. "Trying to make me fall on good manners, are you? Nice try. I guess you can call me Mia."
"Mia," he repeated. "Sounds like a nickname."
She only shrugged in response.
Howard laughed, delighted. "I like the challenge."
Hermione felt a sense of understanding at his statement and a small dose of consternation. If this man was anything like his son, she had a feeling extracting herself from his presence was going to require magic after all.