Everything and nothing about this was weird. For sixteen years, Morgan was under the impression her biological mother-the very woman that had raised her was Shannon Wright. The one who volunteered at her school, gave her rides to the store, held her when she needed to be comforted. Morgan loved her. Shannon loved her back. The two of them were a family.
A very good one. One she wouldn't trade for her own country named after cheeseburgers. Her mother was always there for her. A bit protective at times, but as loving as ever.
When Morgan was fourteen, she began to realize she didn't look much like her mother. Perhaps she took mainly after her dad. She didn't have any pictures of him. It was a taboo subject to bring up with Shannon. But it was the best conclusion she came up with.
At fifteen, she learned about Morgan Stark. The daughter of Tony and Pepper Stark. Kidnapped at the hospital she was born at. Even after all those years, they still hadn't found her. Her birthday, November 16 was only four days before her own.
Sixteen came with a vanilla cake covered in chocolate icing and rainbow sprinkles. This year, Morgan was going to get her drivers license. Her mother hesitated, but eventually gave her the birth certificate required. Her plan was to have a friend drive her down to the office, drop her off, leaving behind the car (he worked nearby). Once Morgan emerged from that building, she would legally be able to drive herself home. Perfect plan.
But once she showed the man there (in all his sweat-smelling glory) her birth certificate, all her hopes plummeted.
"This is fake," he said in a thick southern accent.
"What? No. It can't be," she shot back, "My mom gave me this. She couldn't-"
"Don't know what to tell ya, sweetheart. This is a fake. Come back with the real deal. Then I can get ya yer Iisence." He handed the paper back and made a note. "Next!"
Morgan grabbed the fake certificate, scowling. She did not like being called "Sweetheart" by old, fat men.
There goes that. Sixteen years old and without the legal ability to drive without any restrictions. She took her phone out, only for it to die on her. Probably shouldn't have used it so much while waiting in line. Her friend was planning on taking an Uber home. Neither of them were an option now. She'd have to drive herself home. Illegally. She'd done it before, so it would be fine.
Morgan blinked away the tears in her eyes as she made her way home. She didn't notice the stop sign as she slammed into another car. Making everything go dark.
"I'm fine! I promise, I'm fine!" Morgan nearly yelled at the paramedic, tilting her head up so she wouldn't start bawling. It would only make this worse.
"Miss, you blacked out," replied the paramedic, "Let's get you to the hospital."
With that, she was rolled into the ambulance. Trying not to break down. Assuring them that she was okay. They never did believe her.
Her mother was there once they made it. Tear stains on her cheeks and shirt.
"Tears for your non-injured daughter?" Morgan quipped at her.
"It's what a mother does, hon. We do, in fact, cry over our children."
Morgan was examined in another room. Shannon listened to her over-exaggerated version of the accident. Laughing with her. When the nurse prepared to take her blood, Shannon's eyes widened. Stuttering (she never stuttered), she said,
"Is that really necessary? I mean-"
"I'm afraid it is, ma'am," the nurse replied.
The blood test kept them there for another hour. Until finally, a doctor came back. Lines framed his face. He asked Shannon to step out of the room. She tensed, but did. Leaving Morgan alone.
"We found something in your blood that might interest you, Miss Wright," the Doctor began. His voice was calm in contrast with his messy red hair. "Were you aware you were adopted?"
"No? I wasn't?" Morgan titled an eyebrow.
"Morgan, your real parents are Pepper and Tony Stark."
Morgan Stark? No, she wasn't. That was another girl. Who was probably dead. Not her. They just happened to look a bit alike as babies and have close birthdays. And their mother just happened to give them a fake birth certificate. And they just happened to look almost nothing like their mother.
Morgan jumped up from the examination table. She grabbed her hair, pulling on it. It made perfect sense. It just couldn't.
She couldn't be Morgan Stark.
But she was.
Shannon was gone.
Leaving behind no clues as to where she might have been.
After Morgan had a brief existential crisis, she asked to see her. But she was gone. Her car was still in the parking lot.
Pressure weighted her chest down, sinking into her stomach. Shannon wasn't even her real mom. She was her kidnapper. Morgan gripped the sides of the trash can harder. Waiting to throw up. They told her Tony and Pepper Stark were on their way. How fast would they be? Like, in a car or some sort of rich person jet? Morgan didn't even know what to say to them.
'Hey, I'm your long lost daughter! Just found out you're my real parents. How fun. Yeah, the woman who raised me just took off. I might never see her again. How are you doing?' didn't sound right.
A therapist specializing in adoption was on their way. As well as a social worker. For now it was just Morgan waiting in a conference room with the doctor (his name was Dr. Campbell) who'd delivered the news and a female nurse. He looked at her the same way a parent watched their child playing near the road.
"Can I do anything for you, Morgan?" he wondered. Again.
Ha. Ha. What a lie.
At least she was still Morgan. That much was familiar to her.
Mr. Campbell tried to get her to calm down. Suggesting breathing exercises or other distractions. None of them worked for long. She was still trying to process the fact she was not who she grew up thinking she was.
The social worker came first, with a friendly face. She looked young with laugh lines and a more casual outfit. Morgan gave her a weak smile.
"Hi, Morgan, I'm Emily Jones," she said. Emily took a seat. "I got a call from the police. They want to send someone over, too. Is that okay?"
Might as well drag more people into this.
A few minutes later, she met Mrs. Davis, the therapist. The two of them asked Morgan a few questions before stepping out. Probably to talk about her. When they came back in, Emily said,
"The Starks are here. The police are going to give them a brief interview before they come in. That okay, hon?"
"Yeah. It's fine."
Saying two short sentences at a time was becoming her new thing. Morgan looked down at the green bruise forming on her wrist. Hopefully Tony and Pepper knew about the accident. Otherwise, they might assume Shannon abused her. Which was nowhere near the case.
With the announcement of their arrival, new questions sprang to mind. What should she call them? Mom and Dad? It seemed strange to call two people you didn't know by those titles.
"Your parents are here," Mrs. Davis told her, "I'll let them in."
Morgan moved the trash can. Even if she was about to puke, she didn't want to trip over it while meeting her biological parents. She didn't sit back down but leaned on the table for the support she didn't need. Morgan glanced at the clock.
The door opens a minute later.
Facing her are two people. Pepper on the left. Tony to her right.
Pepper's hair was streaked with brilliant white patches. Wrinkles put worry in her face. She's gentle with her actions. Pepper's eyes are red as tears pour down her cheeks. Her expression once confused and unknowing turns to utter joy. She makes no hesitation to reach out.
Tears fill Tony's eyes as he looks at her. Alive and well. He moves to brush a hand to her face. Morgan allows it.
Soon the two of them have their arms wrapped around her in an embrace. Morgan couldn't reach her arms around. Even if she wanted to. Pepper smelled like apple shampoo, the same kind she liked. Something familiar.
When they finally let her go, Pepper looked her up and down. Worry crossed her face as she found the bruise. Tony set a hand on her shoulder. With a big grin that hit his eyes.
"Oh, gosh," Pepper whispered, her voice cracking, "You're so big."
This was an emotional moment. Yet Morgan felt nothing but longing for Shannon. Her kidnapper. She was terrible. She shouldn't feel like this. That woman abducted her. As a baby. Then raised her as her own. Loved Morgan like any mother would.
She looked back at Tony. She looked just like him. Same hair, same eyes. There was no way she would have noticed it if she wasn't looking.
Tony moved her hair out of her eyes. He took her hands. Morgan smiled at him.
"Um, hi, I guess," she said, getting chuckles from the two of them, "I'm Morgan."They already knew that, dummy. They named you.
"Hi Morgan," Tony said.
She had a dad now. After years of watching Full House where the girls in it only had a dad. Morgan has two parents.
They were wonderful people. She had learned about Iron Man in her classes. Pepper Potts was brought up at least once a day in her business class. She'd read both of their Wikipedia articles. Multiple times. Still, they felt like those strangers to her.
Hopefully, it would turn out okay.
It took a few weeks, but soon enough, Morgan boarded a private plane. On their way home. From her understanding, the Starks lived primarily in Avengers Tower, but they purchased a cabin before she was born. That was where they were going first.
"We'll have Peter and MJ over for lunch sometime, if that's okay," Tony told her beforehand.
Morgan agreed. She'd seen plenty of pictures of the two and heard some stories. Peter was apparently Spider-Man. A son figure to Tony. MJ was his wife, with a job at Stark Industries. They were just the beginning of all the people she apparently had to meet. Peter and MJ had three there were more of the Stark's friends, the Avengers, someone named Rhodey, Happy Hogan, Peter's aunt, cousins on Pepper's side, etc. The list got longer every day.
Of course, someone snitched and told the media she had been found. Reporters and early morning shows were calling Pepper and Tony, trying to get an interview. Her life was never going to be the same comfortable way it had been for the past sixteen years.
It was her first time on a plane. She didn't feel like she was moving at all, but according to Tony, the plane was going 600 miles per hour. No one was piloting, either. Her stomach twisted and turned, not used to this experience. Morgan crammed her eyes shut and forced herself to sleep. Throwing up at one of the last things she wanted to do right now.
Most of her things she was able to take with her. Except a few items the police needed to take. Morgan clung onto her art supplies. Her saving grace. They were the only things that felt normal now. She was able to sneak one of Shannon's sweaters. Passing it off as her own. Sometimes, when she needed it, Morgan would take it out, hugging it to her chest. She breathed in her mother's old perfume.
Getting to the cabin was quiet for the most part. Only the occasional question. Morgan mostly looked out the car window. Marveling at New York City. She'd only seen it before in pictures. They were nothing in comparison with the actual city.
She meet Peter and MJ two days later. They brought their kids along, too. Annie and the twins, Benjy and Ethan. Morgan liked kids. There was a couple a few houses down the street she babysat for a lot. Little people were her favorite kind of people.
Peter was friendly. His features were more on the childish side. He didn't hesitate to give her a big hug after meeting her. Somehow, she felt safer in his arms. If Morgan hadn't been taken, they probably would've been each other's siblings in a way.
MJ greeted Tony with a "What's up, loser?" before introducing herself. She loosened the baby sling around her chest. She was less touchy then her husband, but smiled wide at Morgan. MJ high-fived her with a smirk.
They had lunch together, Tony flipping burgers on the grill outside. MJ declared herself 'not fun anymore' as she helped Annie get a plate and fed the twin strapped to her, a bottle. Peter fed the other. Morgan found herself going to his side when she could. She told herself to stop acting so desperate and rude. It was just a weird instinct.
"Can I hold him?" Morgan asked Peter, gesturing to the baby.
"Yeah, of course!" He adjusted Benjy and put him in her arms.
She smiled down at the infant. There was just something about holding a baby that made everything so special. Breathing in the scent all babies seemed to have, she hummed a little.
"How old is he?" Morgan said.
"Six months," Peter replied, "It's weird how they grow up so fast."
She looked up at him. "And Annie is?"
"Wow. That's amazing."
Morgan glanced at where MJ used a napkin to clean Annie's face as she had a staring contest with her mom's phone. The two looked a lot the same. Except Annie had Peter's eyes and her skin was a shade lighter.
"She looks like-"
"Me? Oh, you're too kind," he quipped.
"No, you dunderhead," she replied with a playful punch, "Like your wife."
"You're acting a lot like my wife, right now."
"Oh his wife? Yeah, she's the best thing that's ever happened to that loser," MJ called from the other table.
"Of course I know that, Em!"
Annie looked up from the screen. She looked at her parents before rolling her eyes.
Peter laughed. "Did you just roll your eyes at me, missy?"
She grinned and repeated the action.
MJ took no hesitation to start tickling her. Annie kicked her legs in the air, giggling. Tony, who was holding Ethan, jumped up before she hit the baby.
Lunch with her mother was never like this. While mealtimes were full of chuckling and making jokes, it was always just the two of them. There was never any chaos. Just normal.
No, not her mother. Shannon was her kidnapper. That's it. Not a parent.
Why was it so hard to accept that?
Morgan lifted up her foot and quickly tightened the laces.
She had a nightmare last night. It was about failing 11th grade. Her old art teacher screamed at her to paint better strokes. Math and Science was full of equations inhumanly possible to complete. In English, she was given a never-ending essay.
Morgan slipped on an old hoodie to cover her bra-less self. She found Pepper and Tony in the kitchen, sipping at coffee and whispering to each other. For the past few days, they had food already on the table. There wasn't any today. She could figure out where the bread was. The Starks gave her a tour of the cabin before.
Fortunately, Morgan found it fairly easily. She popped two slices into the toaster and took a seat at the table, waiting for it to pop.
"Good morning, Morgan!" Pepper greeted.
"'Morning." She gave a smile.
"Your new phone should be here, soon," Tony said, "It should've been here, earlier, seeing as the company is named after me and I'm married to the CEO."
Morgan chuckled, politely. "It's okay."
Her toast popped, giving her an excuse to leave the table. She took a big bite before spreading butter on top.
"Did you sleep well?" Pepper said.
"Just fine, thank you."
"Mrs. Davis is coming over next week," she told her.
"Oh, okay." She put the crusts on her toast down on her plate. "May I be excused?"
The rest of the day went by, mostly normally. Her new normally. Morgan threw her hair into a bun and got started on a new painting. The last few days had sucked her inspiration out. Now it was back, she would pull a Van Gough and paint only until she was near death.
When Morgan came down for dinner, covered in paint, she found Tony in a call. His features paled. He hung up, thanking whoever it was.
"What happened?" Morgan questioned.
"Peter's gone missing."
Sometimes, she wondered what it felt like to the Starks after she'd been stolen. This was it. Needles stabbing her chest. Short breaths. Panic. Panic everywhere.
The three of them pulled into the car. Tony nearly speeded to the Parker's arpartment. The only thing stopping him was the traffic. Police gathered in the building. There was a sobbing MJ trying to explain what happened to a cop. Annie on her lap and Ethan laid in the crook of her arm. Benjy was bawling away on his crib.
"The only thing left behind was this," MJ said, sniffling. She held out a post-it note. "It said to give it to Morgan."
"Can I see?" Morgan wondered, watching Pepper get Benjy.
The officer nodded, holding it out. "You recognize this handwriting?"
Morgan didn't take it, but as she looked closer, it connected. "Yeah, that's Mo-Shannon's handwriting."
"Positive."At least, more than 12%.
She looked it over - meet me at 146 W 37th ST
That's were Peter was. But why was Shannon there, too.
Because she was the one who took him.
But why? She'd kidnapped Morgan as a baby. Peter was thirty-two. What was the use for a grown man? It didn't seem like Shannon, either.
Morgan had to find out.
Looking over her shoulder, she found Tony watching her. Worry in the lines around his eyes. There was no way in heck, he'd let her take off.
"Can I take Annie?" Morgan asked MJ.
"Annie? You wanna go with Morgan?" she whispered in her daughter's ear.
Annie nodded, wiping tears away. Morgan took her hand. The two sat down on the couch, wrapping their arms around each other. She remembered what Peter said about Annie needing physical reassurance.
"Where's Daddy?" she asked, "Why isn't he home?"
"I know, sweetie. I know. He should've been home right now."
"I want Daddy."
A light went off in her head. Annie could distract Tony. The idea came with risks, but didn't all ideas?
"You know what, Annie? I'm gonna get your Daddy back. Okay?" Morgan said.
"Uh huh, but I need you to distract Grandpa, okay? It's going to be a surprise. Give him lots of loves. And if he asks where I am, I need you to tell him I had to get some air."
She had Annie repeat her instructions. Morgan watched her snuggle up to Tony. Distracting him. Perfect.
The fire escape was in the twin's room. Empty. Carefully, Morgan made her way down. She found her way to Tony's car. He forgot to lock it, letting her get in easily.
"Welcome, Little Miss," FRIDAY greeted her.
"Um, hi. Can you give me directions to 146 W 37th St? Please?"
"Starting route to 146 West 37th street."
Morgan chuckled. "You sound like Siri."
She followed the course. Legally, Morgan still didn't have a license. She'd never driven in Queens. It was terrifying. If she got out of this, she didn't want her license anymore. Between that and the dread filling her, she wasn't having the time of her life.
FRIDAY's directions took her to a warehouse. Morgan took a deep breath. Then exited the car.
She should've brought a phone. Or a flashlight. Someway of telling people she was in danger. Shannon wouldn't hurt her. Right? Yeah, she was her mom for sixteen years.
Then why was she about to throw up from her nervousness?
"Take a step. Step again," she murmured. Might as well start quotingFrozen Twowhile she was at it.
Morgan approached the warehouse. She knocked on the door. Then again. No one came. Holding her breath, she stepped inside.
"Hello?" she called out, "Shannon?"
No one said anything. Then,
"Oh, surely you would call the woman who raised you for sixteen years 'Shannon'?"
Mom. Her voice came from the back of the warehouse. The lights came on. There she was. Shannon. Leaning against the furthest wall. She broke into a run. Morgan froze as she was pulled into an embrace.
"Oh, look at you, Morgan," Shannon muttered, "Alright. Let's get you home."
"Home? Back to the cabin?"
Shannon laughed. No humor to it. "Come on, Morgan. Delaware-Laurel is your home. You can't think that just because your so-called parents tell you that you live here now, it means you have to. Don't you want to go back to the way things were before?"
She did. All the time. She pretended she was in a dream. Only this dream was her reality she couldn't wake up from. She missed their little house. She missed coming home from school with her friends. She missed everything. Even Shannon.
Morgan pushed her off. "You kidnapped me."
Shannon grabbed her wrist, but Morgan shoved her off. She began to circle the area. Throwing glances in every direction.
"Where's Peter?" she demanded.
Shannon clicked her tongue. "Why don't we make a deal?"
"No! Where is he?"
"Interesting story, really-"
Morgan grabbed Shannon's shoulders. Staring her dead in the eye, she repeated herself.
"Where is Peter?"
The woman only scowled at her. Morgan dropped her hands, interlocking her fingered together. Like she was a little girl, begging for the toy red panda she saw at the store.
"Please. Let me see him. And I'll-I'll go with you."
She regretted it. Already. But Morgan was out of other ideas. Maybe somehow she could make this better. Maybe she would be able to get away with Peter. Nothing was certain anymore. Hadn't been since the day she'd gotten into the car accident.
Shannon's lips twisted. "That's the best idea I've heard all day."
She grabbed Morgan by the wrist again, dragging her down a flight of stairs. She flipped a light switch. Illuminating a concrete room.
There was Peter. In the corner. Pale. Bruised. Bleeding.
His expression turned hopeful at the sight of her. Then terrified.
Morgan nearly leaped, but Shannon's grip caused her to fall. Scraping her knees on the concrete. She hoisted herself back up.
"What did you do to him?" Morgan whispered.
"Shh." She put a finger to her lips. "Only broke a few ribs. Maybe gave him a concussion."
Morgan looked back at her before her eyes darted back to Peter. He was hunched over now. Little gasps coming from his mouth.
"Peter." It came out as a whisper. "Shannon, I have to go to him! Please!"
Her grip tightened. "What did you call me?"
"Mom! I-I mean, Mom. Please."
Shannon fought for a second. She let Morgan go, landing her on her arm. She grimaced, biting at her lip.
"You have five minutes," she said, "Then we go back home."
Morgan heard her climb back up the stairs. She crawled to Peter's side. What were you supposed to do with a broken rib? Or four? She sucked in a breath.
"What hurts?" she whispered, "What happened?"
"I was on patrol and she caught me while I was distracted," was his explanation, "How'd you . . . ? Tony's probably freaking out right now. How's MJ? Are the kids okay?"
She had to choose her words carefully. None of them were hurt, which was good. But she thought back to when she saw MJ last. Tears streaming down her eyes with worry. Morgan never thought she could cry. Of course, she could cry. Just MJ bawling her eyes out was weird.
"They're . . . worried about you. Other than that, they'll be okay."
"Morgan! Time to get going, sweetheart!"
"No," Morgan whispered.
"Morgan, do the police know where to go?" Peter inquired.
She nodded, wiping away tears. "They should. Yeah."
"Go with her. It'll be okay. She won't hurt you."
She sniffled. "But what about you?"
"I'll figure it out."
"Morgan! Morgan Tristana Wright!"
Morgan couldfeelher heart pounding against her rib cage. "She'll hurt you again!"
"I heal fast. You have to go with her."
"Don't make me come down there, Morgan!"
His voice was painked. Morgan forced herself to rise. She looked back down at Peter, who nodded.
"I'm coming, Mom!" she called up.
Morgan took the steps up slowly. One by one. Shannon waited for her at the top, arms crossed over her chest. She held a scolding look in her eyes. Her lips dropped down slightly. Morgan allowed Shannon to grab her arm again. She followed her to the back door. Morgan glanced back at the stairs. Peter was still down there. Hurting. She couldn't just leave him there. Like that.
"Wait, I forgot something," she spat out her lie.
"What? Morgan, we don't have much time-"
"I'll be right back! I promise. It won't take long at all. You can come down with me if you really want."
Shannon scowled, but let her go. Morgan did as she was told. She nearly fell down the stairs. Peter was on his hands and knees. She saw the handcuff around his wrist. She hadn't noticed that before. Morgan reached out to him.
"How did you . . . ?" Peter said.
"I told her I forgot something. Peter, I can't just leave you here. Just tell me what you need and I'll get it for you. Just ask."
"There's nothing you can do right now. Except keep her happy. I've been in these situations before, Morgs. Listen to me."
"Morgan!" came the voice of a nervous Shannon, "Hurry it up, Morgan!" She paused. "Morgan!"
The doors were flung open. Morgan peered over the top step. Police Officers were filing inside. Raising their guns at Shannon. She raised her arms up, slowly. Glancing around. So she knew she was guilty. Morgan dashed back to Peter. She wrapped her arms gently around him.
"The police are here," she told him in a low tone.
"We'll be okay."
The next few minutes came as a blur. Police found them. Morgan squeezing Peter's hand. Shannon was handcuffed, yelling over her shoulder for her. She held on tighter to Peter, then. An officer assured her it was okay. Peter did, too. Calls were made. MJ was going to meet him at the hospital with May.
Someone was assigned to stay by her side. She introduced herself, but Morgan didn't remember. Then Tony and Pepper arrived.
Looking around frantically, until they saw her. Morgan ran to them. Wrapping them in an embrace.
"You came," Morgan said, her voice cracking, "You're here."
"Of course we are. We got you, baby," Pepper soothed.
"Can we go home now?"
"Yeah. We'll get you home. Soon as we can," Tony assured her.
Morgan left. With her real, living parents.
Fun fact, this is the longest one shot I've ever written at 4,596 words. It's not a lot to some people, but it's a huge deal for me.
Thank you so much for reading!