pretty.” Tony cocked his head to the side and watched as black tresses cascaded
over his shoulder and side. He tapped at his lips, which were painted ruby red,
then traced his eyes. His eyes were large like some anime character’s and his
lashes were thick and lush. He palmed his chin and cheeks. Soft as baby skin
and twice as smooth.
“Who said you could look at
yourself yet?” Rhodey grabbed Tony by the arm and drew Tony back to the bed
where Rhodey had spent the last hour and more adding extensions to Tony’s hair
and applying makeup to Tony’s clean shaven face.
Piles of blush, eyeshadow,
lipstick and many cosmetics slid across the bedspread as Tony landed on the
mattress. Rhodey grumbled as he stood behind Tony and took a comb to Tony’s
hair. He snatched a few bobby pins off the bed and held them in his mouth as he
“I didn’t actually think you
could do it. I was prepared for a disaster, but I actually look like a girl. A
flat chested one at the moment, but a girl nonetheless.”
“I told you I have sisters and
cousins, didn’t I?”
“That just tells me everyday is a
battle for hot water and private time, not that you’re actually good
at this kind of stuff.”
Rhodey rolled his eyes. He gave
Tony’s head a particularly rough shove forward then did some braid-y-thingie
with Tony’s hair.
“I had an emergency makeup artist
on speed dial and everything,” Tony mumbled.
“And aren’t you glad you don’t
have to call them? Your adventure tonight is going to be a secret between the
two of us.” Rhodey thrust out his pinkie at Tony.
Tony grinned and hooked his
pinkie around Rhodey’s. “What are we? Five?” he razzed Rhodey. He loved the childish
act though. It soothed the part of him that was still scared Rhodey would
betray him one day. He’d known Rhodey for a few years now, and Rhodey had
always been by his side even when he was at his worst. Even so, he’d been
burned so many times, it was still hard for him to believe that Rhodey was the
best friend he’d been looking for all his life.
“So are you going to dance with
the prince?” Rhodey teased as he styled Tony’s hair.
Tony scoffed and playfully tried
to elbow Rhodey. “I only want to see what all the fuss is about.” Truthfully,
Tony understood why the Wakanda prince was such a big deal. Wakanda was a very
powerful country and had resources that everyone wanted to get their hands on.
What Tony didn’t understand was why for the first time ever, Howard had forbidden
Tony from attending the prince’s welcome party at the embassy. Usually Howard
forced Tony to attend such things. The one-eighty in attitude made Tony
curious, and now Tony wanted nothing more than to march into the embassy, waltz
up to the Prince T’Challa, and say something shocking.
“Right, you bought a one of a
kind gown just so you could stare at the prince. Sure thing, Cinderella.”
“You’re just jealous because I’ve
proven that no matter what, I’m always beautiful.”
“Watch it, I still have my makeup
brushes. I can turn you into a pumpkin if you keep that ego up.”
Tony feigned a forlorn sigh. “How
did I end up with an abusive fairy godmother?”
Rhodey twisted Tony’s hair.
Rhodey soon finished with Tony’s
hair. He then helped Tony pick out the bra size that looked the most natural
with Tony’s body. Tony was disappointed that Rhodey nixed the D size bra, but
once he saw himself laced up in his flowing crimson gown, Tony could admit that
Rhodey had been right about the cup size. D would have been too much.
“So would you date me now?” Tony
chortled. He’d linked his arm through Rhodey’s as they headed toward the
garage. Tony dangled his strappy heels from his finger–mindful of his press
“Maybe in another universe.”
Tony was a tad disappointed in
Rhodey’s answer, but he had expected it. He’d spent the early half of their
friendship flirting mercilessly with Rhodey, and while Rhodey had always
responded good-naturedly, Rhodey just wasn’t interested in anything sexual or
romantic. He was open to late night drunken cuddles, though, so Tony was
Rhodey held open the car door and
helped Tony inside. Tony was grateful that he’d picked a gown that didn’t have
a bulky skirt or else he would never be able to drive himself to the embassy.
With a hug and a few final well wishes, Rhodey shut the car door and took a
Tony drove off to the embassy. It
took him longer than he’d have preferred to get to the welcome party, but it
was worth it in the end. Everyone and their mother seemed to be attending the
party, and so Tony had managed to avoid the line by showing up late. He gave a
fake name that he’d arranged to have put on the guest then strode into the
It wasn’t the fanciest party Tony
had gone to, but considering it was a bunch of politicians and such who were
hosting the shindig, the event was nicer than their normal parties. Tony would
describe it as Sunday Brunch With Grandma. The food was plentiful and every
table had a flower arrangement. The music was performed by musicians and
classical. Everyone either drank champagne or water.
In short, it was boringly elegant
and tasteful. If it weren’t for his curiosity, Tony would have pivoted and
strolled right out of the room.
Instead, Tony snatched a flute of
champagne when a waiter wandered by with a tray full of glasses. He took a sip
then dove into the crowd, searching for the guest of honor. He had to mingle a
little bit, but for once Tony was amused by the small talk. It was obvious no
one recognized him dressed as a girl, and he found it enjoyable to every now
and then mention his name and see the reaction it got out of people.
He didn’t have many fans among
the older crowd. Those closer to his age varied in their opinions of him, but
even the most irritated of his peers acknowledged Tony’s intelligence and skill
Tony was enjoying himself so much
that as he moved to retreat from the group he was currently mingling with, he
bumped into someone who had just been trying to pass by.
“Sorry.” Tony seized the arm of
his victim without thinking, yanking the young man back into place before he
could fall to the ground. “Wasn’t looking where I was going.”
The young man paused for a
moment. His dark gaze assessed Tony, and Tony took the opportunity to check out
the cutie in return. Soft, springy curls crowned the guy’s head, and Tony’s
fingers twitched to touch the curls. A goatee that arced thinly around the lips
then covered the bottom half his chin reminded Tony of the first time he’d
kissed someone with facial hair and how rough it had been.
Tony certainly wouldn’t mind
kissing the guy in front of him to see if his kiss would be equally as rough.
“No, the trouble is all mine. I
was not paying attention either.”
“Sounds like we’re both to blame
then.” Tony smiled, then just for fun, he held out his hand like he expected
the man in front of him to kiss it. It wasn’t everyday Tony got to dress up
like a girl and attend a fancy party. He was going to take full advantage.
Dark eyes sparkled with mischief.
The young man eyed Tony’s hand then took it and pressed a kiss to the back of
it. “So it would seem. However, I am not the one who would have had to face the
wrath of the Dora Milaje.”
The Dora Milaje? Tony flipped through his memory like a rolodex until he found
what he was looking for.
The Dora Milaje were the personal
bodyguards of Prince T’Challa.
Tony glanced in the direction Prince T’Challa had come from and a woman who radiated strength and authority stood
just a few paces away. Her sight was locked on Tony, and Tony swore she could
see right through him; that she knew that underneath the dress and makeup Tony
was just a boy.
Except he wasn’t just a boy. He
was the same age as Prince T’Challa, and just like the prince he was a genius.
He may not be a prince, but he was set to inherit a company that affected the
lives of billions. He was Tony Stark, and he wasn’t going to let some
overprotective Xena wannabe scare him into submission.
“So I guess that makes you the
prince this party is for. Personally, I think it’s lame. I’ve been to Easter
parties more exciting than this. You should complain. One word from you and we
could get a rock band in here as well as some decent alcohol.”
“I’m sorry to hear that you’re
not enjoying yourself.”
Tony scoffed and tossed back the
last of his champagne. “Please, Prince Charming, don’t pretend like you give a
damn whether someone is enjoying this party or not. This is all just a show,
and everyone here is a clown.”
Prince T’Challa quirked an
eyebrow and met Tony’s gaze challenging. “Everyone?”
The prince’s inflection gave off
the real question he was asking: “Even me?”
Tony smirked. “Everyone.” Tony
thrust his champagne flute at Prince T’Challa. “Mind holding this? Thanks.” Tony
didn’t give Prince T’Challa an option, shoving the glass into Prince T’Challa’s
hands before the young man could stop him.
Tony snatched another flute off a
passing waiter’s tray and sipped from the new glass. “So Prince Charming, I
hear you’re a genius. What’s your field?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Field of
study? Please tell me you’re a genius in the math and sciences and that you’re
not going to pull out some crap about being a literary genius or some bull shit
“You don’t like literature?”
Tony shook his head. “Literature isn’t
objective. It’s important, but I like dealing with hard facts. I don’t need nor
want to get in debate about whether King Lear was a hypocrite and got what he
deserved in the end or if he’s truly a tragic character and should be pitied. I
much rather talk about artificial intelligence, psychics, or even just space.”
Tony paused. “Star Wars and Star Trek are also an option.”
Prince T’Challa chuckled. “So are
you a Picard or a Kirk fan?”
Tony threw a hand over his fake
boobs. “You are Prince Charming.” He fanned himself. “Don’t stop
talking nerdy to me.”
“Then perhaps you’d like to hear
about Wakanda’s research into artificial intelligence?”
“Stop, I’ll be kissing you by the
end of the night.”
Prince T’Challa didn’t stop, and
Tony was entranced. He was enchanted by Prince T’Challa’s crooked smile and the
way his eyes lit up as he spoke to Tony. He was enthralled with each new piece
of information Prince T’Challa shared with him, and before long, Tony had
pulled Prince T’Challa over to a table so Tony could take notes on napkins. He
was disappointed to realize that some of the technology Prince T’Challa
mentioned using in his experiments did not currently exist in the USA. However,
after making a few inquiries, Tony was positive he could develop something
similar if not better.
He enjoyed the warm hand Prince
T’Challa rested on his knee as Tony drew schematics of the tools he intended to
craft. Happiness blossomed in his chest whenever Prince T’Challa looked at his
drawings and pointed out something he’d failed to consider and then offered a
solution or alternative.
They talked back and forth and it
wasn’t until Tony’s back ached from arching over his drawings that he realized
the party had thinned out immensely.
A glance at the clock told it was
late enough to be considered morning. With a curse, he stood up and shoved the
napkins of schematics into his bosom. “Hate to engineer and dash, but it’s
going to take forever for me to get rid of all this makeup and I need it gone
before the evil dragon guarding my castle learns that I snuck out for the
evening. You’ve been a marvelous prince though. Thanks.”
“Before you go, may I-” Tony
didn’t hear what Prince T’Challa said. The moment Prince T’Challa had stood and
made a move to reach for Tony, Tony had taken off like a rabbit after hearing a
He ran out of the embassy and to
his car, ripping the door open as fast as he could. He plopped himself into the
driver’s seat then bent to undo his strappy heels–he couldn’t drive with the
damn things on. He was about to throw them in the passenger seat when a thought
came to him. The night really had been like a fairytale, so why not go all in?
Tony opened the compartment where
he kept insurance papers as well as a few pens. As quickly as possible, he
scribbled a note on the bottom of one shoe then tossed the shoe out of the car.
He then slammed the door and
started the car. He didn’t look back to see if anyone had actually followed him
He grinned to himself. Even if
Prince T’Challa never found his shoe, Tony would be happy. He’d had fun and at
least he’d gotten some cool schematics out of the evening.