I promise I've been working on my ongoing stories. But a post I made to amuse the cast and crew of Earth's Mightiest Women (my in-progress webseries, in which we Rule 63 the Avengers universe) got me inspired. I almost wrote it from Antonia's perspective, as the original was, but sometimes, it's good to get back to your roots.

I am totally not doing this as a way to postpone the family's Annual Airing of Grievances or wrapping presents.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and the best of wishes for 2013!

Also, as a disclaimer, I do not encourage or support underage drinking. But this is fiction and this is Tony.


December 1976

Dear Santa,

My name is Tony Stark. I am three. I think you are very nice. I have been a good boy. Please bring me a puppy.

Love,

Tony

Christmas morning, 1976, there was no barking to be heard. But the sitting room of the Stark mansion echoed with delighted giggles as a robotic puppy wagged its tail.


December 1978

Dear Santa,

Hi, it's Tony Stark. I'm five now. I really want a Junior Science Chemistry Set, but I'm pretty sure Dad will get that for me. Could you please bring Captain America back? I think he sounds really cool and it would make my dad super-happy.

Thanks,

Tony Stark

Christmas morning, 1978, Steve Rogers was still sleeping in the Arctic ice. Tony tried not to let his disappointment show. But Santa had brought him some pretty cool Captain America photos and a shield that looked just like the real thing. And he'd totally gotten the Junior Science Chemistry Set.


December 1983

Dear Santa,

I know I haven't written in a few years, but you're supposed to know what we want already. And you've always brought me neat stuff. But would it be too much to ask to have my dad pay some frickin' attention to me?

Tony Stark, age 10

As usual, Tony was deluged with gifts on the morning of December 25, 1983. He was old enough to know the perks of being a rich kid, and he had enough parts now to make a prototype helper robot. He later named it Dummy when it became clear the tech needed work. His father looked at it, nodded thoughtfully, and said, "Well, it's a start." Tony knew to take what he could get from the old man.


December 1988

Dear Santa,

I have been scientifically unable to disprove your existence. There is still a strange, unexplained energy spike at the North Pole I have yet to investigate and the Pentagon's computers have no reference. I hope hacking into the Pentagon to research unexplained phenomena does not automatically qualify me for the "naughty list," if your system indeed works according to legend. At fifteen, one might think I'm a bit old to believe in Santa Claus, but, really, I'm on the fence. You don't always bring what I ask for, but sometimes things I didn't ask my parents for do show up. Dad naturally will take the credit, but this is typical. Mom probably eats the cookies. And, let's be honest, I drank the scotch last year. (I was hoping you might find it a nice change of pace, but holidays with the Starks are taxing.) I would have Dummy film the sitting room, but he has a habit of getting distracted without constant stimulation. It's a glitch I'm working on.

Throw me a bone, is all I'm saying.

Tony Stark

An alarm went off just after midnight on Christmas Day. Tony crept through the mansion to the sitting room, dodging the security system deftly. The cookies were gone. The present count under the tree hadn't changed, but that wasn't unusual; Santa – if he existed – had a habit of leaving his gifts for Tony in Maria Stark's care. She would bring them out sometime Christmas morning. The cookies were gone. The scotch remained, with a note tucked underneath. It read, "I don't fly drunk, kid. Enjoy."

Tony never could convince anyone that Santa would have encouraged such a thing, but he was also unable to identify the handwriting after obtaining samples from everyone in the household.


December 1991

Dear Santa,

I realize you don't do house calls anymore because I'm not a kid. And, don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to bring my parents back from the dead. I figure you don't have that kind of power, because, clearly, it would have been exercised by now in all your years of existence with the number of children I presume make such requests. I'm not sure I even want the old man back. Mom, yes, definitely, but...hell, it's complicated. You can access JARVIS' records of my therapist visits if you need a summary.

So why am I writing? Well, there's still that unexplained energy spike at the North Pole and no one is talking about it. I can accept the premise that NORAD tracks you for the benefit of the children, but given how difficult it is to secure funding for anything in the government, I can't believe they would devote holiday pay to employees on Christmas Eve for nothing. I realize that you can't leave definitive proof because belief requires a willingness to accept the unseen. So I'll play your game. I've got nothing better to do this Christmas, with Mom gone. I'm certainly not spending the holidays with the rat bastards on the Board of Directors.

An invitation to the Playboy Mansion Christmas party will sufficiently pacify me this year.

Thanks in advance,

Tony Stark

It could have been simply due to the fact that he was rich, famous, and finally eighteen. But Tony got his invitation. He cherished it greatly, even if he didn't remember anything about the night after the first three or four body shots.


December 1998

Dear Santa,

Energy spikes at the North Pole have increased dramatically. What the hell are you doing up there?

IF THAT'S REALLY YOU.

If this continues without further proof of your existence, I'll be forced to take action. I have an arsenal of weapons and the exact satellite coordinates. I could redefine Northern Lights.

You have been warned.

Tony Stark, CEO, Stark Industries

Tony had been drunk when composing the letter – not the first threat he'd issued under the influence and hardly the last. He meant to have it shredded the next morning, but it had mysteriously disappeared. Tony spent most of 1999 hoping it was the proof he'd been demanding and it wouldn't show up in a tabloid, forcing him to explain to the world's children why he'd threatened to nuke Santa.

He never did find out what the energy spikes were all about, but they soon returned to normal levels and Tony lost interest.


December 2004

Dear Santa,

A grown-ass man writing Santa, fancy that. But I'm working on a huge contract with the Air Force and I don't really buy into all that God crap, so you'll have to do. In the event I'm wrong about him, send my apologies. He doesn't leave energy spikes at the North Pole.

All the best,

Tony

Tony got the contract. He was introduced to his liaison, Major James Rhodes. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.


December 2009

Dear Santa,

If I don't believe in you, the terrorists win. HA! Yes, I'm drunk. Surprised? Anyhow, rat bastard Stane tried to kill me. More than once. Not cool. And, yadda, yadda, chest full of metal, palladium and human blood are not great friends.

Send me something that could work in its place and I'll buy a whole mall full of kids whatever they want for Christmas.

Love,

Tony

Tony had to wait several months for the Starkanium solution. He could never be sure a legend that might or might not have existed had anything to do with it, considering the concept had literally been waiting for him for decades. But he fulfilled the Christmas wishes of every kid on Yancy Street and several surrounding blocks. He tried to be a man of his word, and it could never hurt to be on Ben Grimm's good side.


December 2011

Dear Santa,

After extensive consultation with the scientists at SHIELD, I have concluded you are most likely an extremely powerful mutant. Dr. Xavier will neither confirm nor deny this, which only makes me surer of my hypothesis. Don't worry. I'm fond of muties. Clearly, however, this would explain the following:

-Ability to teleport across the Earth

-Ability to manipulate time (even with teleportation, it is impossible to be everywhere in the world at precisely midnight without assistance)

-Ability to change shape in order to enter buildings. Possible ability to phase-shift for access to dwellings without a chimney.

And that's just a start. Dude, I am so onto you.

Tony Stark

Nothing scientific came of Tony's suspicions, but it did score him a date with Polaris, who thought his associating Santa with mutant-kind was a great compliment – and seeing as how he and Pepper were in the "off" phase of their "on and off," the timing was fantastic. They had a good time, but they never made it to bed, mostly because they were mutually worried she might accidentally rip out his ribcage with her powers when she climaxed.


December 2012

Dear Santa,

I know it's late in the year, but I figure with that time-shifting thing, you can make do. Anything money can buy, I can buy. Tech that doesn't exist, I can invent. When I'm happy, there's alcohol. When I'm sad, there's alcohol. And I'm never a good boy. But we're big on tradition around here now that Steve's moved in, so have some cookies anyway. I'd have had them imported, but I figure you got some fresh from Europe anyway. Also, surprisingly, baking calms Bruce's nerves.

Pepper naked under my tree would be nice.

Love,

Tony

Tony had a Christmas tree in his bedroom, just because he was rich and he could. It had been his mother's favorite of the many that adorned the Stark mansion and its branches held all the ornaments Tony had inherited. But Pepper figured his mother would understand and his father would probably approve when she greeted Tony that morning wearing only a bow.


Thanks for hanging in there with me this year, folks! Hope Santa brings all you want. And for those of you who don't celebrate, we're still one day closer to Iron Man 3!