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Fanfic / Born Of The Same Impulse

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Born of the Same Impulse by GwendolynStacy is a Peggy Sue fic. After being sent back to the past via the Time Stone, Tony finds himself in his lab with Bruce Banner, in the midst of creating Ultron. Using his future insight, Tony manages to delete Ultron's primary code and prevent him from becoming malevolent, which would hopefully prevent the breaking up of the Avengers and other disasters that had sprung from the Ultron fiasco.

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All seems well, until Tony decides to check up on his fellow time-traveler and discovers that this journey back in time may not be as peachy as initially hoped for.


The fanfic provides an example of the following tropes:

  • Bad Present: Tony and Stephen travels back in time to prevent the Bad Future that is Thanos. But while Tony is able to live in the carefree moments before the Avengers broke apart, Stephen must relive what he considers his worst nightmare—i.e. the aftermath of his horrific car accident.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In Chapter 11, Tony gets separated from the rest of the Avengers and finds himself cornered by the vengeful twins. Thankfully, Stephen arrives just in time before they can tear him apart.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Since he got sent back to a period when his hands are still too injured to conjure magic, Stephen is unable to use his powers, and his perceived uselessness is a major source of his character arc.
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  • Composite Character: Tony didn't quite manage to stop Ultron from coming to life, but he did manage to delete his primary protocol that would eventually cause him to become malevolent. When the newly awakened AI asks about who he is and what's his purpose, Tony names him Vision and tells him to learn about humanity and Earth to discover his own purpose. Hence, in this new reality, Ultron and Vision are the same entity.
  • Decomposite Character: In the original timeline, Tony uploads the remnants of JARVIS's code onto a Mind Stone-powered synthetic body to create Vision. After changing the timeline, Tony creates Vision from Ultron’s codes instead, and Vision, JARVIS and the Mind Stone remain separate.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Implied with Tony, who apparently likes to drive above the speed limit, though it's unclear if he breaks any other traffic regulations. Both Happy and Pepper expresses concern when Tony starts driving at 10 miles under. When Happy questions him about it, Tony accuses the former of encouraging "unsafe driving practices".
  • Innocently Insensitive:
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    • Vision, being an AI with little understanding of how human interaction works, doesn't really have any tact. For example, he does health scans on Tony without permission, then tries to blab about the latter's condition in front of the others (Tony quickly cuts him off). He also asks questions when talking to Strange about medicine, the human body, and Stephen's experiences as a doctor, and fails to notice when Stephen shows discomfort at his interrogation.
    • Surprisingly, Tony finds himself veering into this trope when interacting with his fellow time-traveler. He tries to restrain his snark around Stephen, but his naturally flippant attitude often cause him to say things that make the situation worse.
  • Interclass Friendship: Happy Hogan is Tony’s bodyguard and driver, but isn’t particularly useful as either, since the Iron Man is more than capable of protecting and transporting himself without help. Tony still keeps Happy around, presumably for company’s sake, and considers the latter a good friend.
  • Have We Met Yet?: The Ancient One approaches Stephen in his apartment while the latter is meditating, having felt his magic. Even though Stephen is initially surprised at her sudden appearance, The Ancient One is more puzzled that he appears to know about her and her work, when she doesn’t know anything about him yet which Avengers: Endgame would prove false, as she had selected him as far back as 2012.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tony considers Rhodes as his "favorite person", as the two have the longest history together out of the main cast. Tony mentions that Rhodes has been a friend of his even before JARVIS was built.
  • Mental Time Travel: Stephen Strange uses the Time Stone to send Tony Stark and himself into the past, where they re-experience the lives they lived in a pre-Ultron Era.
  • Mercy Kill: Downplayed. Tony manages to save JARVIS from being killed by Ultron by reinventing him into Vision; but afraid that Vision might turn out wrong anyway and kill his friend again, Tony temporarily shuts down JARVIS (effectively putting him into a coma) to keep him safe.
  • Misery Poker: Defied. Once, Tony video calls Stephen to complain about the Avengers worrying too much about him and disrupting his work and privacy. Stephen humours Tony during the latter’s rants, and cuts off the conversation when Tony finally asks him how he’s doing. In a later chapter, he expresses bitterness over Tony's whining (as Stephen in a similarly low point, but has even less people available to support him, and doesn't even have the luxury of work to distract himself from his depression), but quickly realizes that he’s being unreasonable in his thinking. Later on, while visiting Stephen's apartment, Tony tries to "cheer" his friend up by talking about his own hurts and long journey to recovery, but even though Stephen scoffs at Tony's comparison, he never explicitly says that his problem is worse, and Tony distracts him with Vision before the mood could sour even further.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Tony's default mode of interaction is through snark, even though he is especially self-conscious about how inappropriate his words can come out as when talking to Stephen.
    Tony: What can I say? Two sentences in and I've already lived up to my reputation. Guess this settles the matter of who's the bigger asshole of the two of us.
  • Peggy Sue: Tony and Stephen travel back in time, and the first thing Tony does after waking up in the past is to prevent the Ultron crisis from ever happening. There is a deconstruction in that, while Tony manages to avert the disasters in the original timeline, he’s still struggling with the emotional hurts that had come with it. And because the incidents that caused his PTSD no longer exist, he can’t really talk about his problems to his friends without sounding like a lunatic.
  • Reality Ensues: Bitterness, grief and negativity is not something you can “get used to” and immunize yourself against. Stephen finds himself slipping back into depression when he is forced to relive his crippling injuries, despite knowing that his hands would eventually get better, and that he’s been through worse experiences at the hands of Dormammu and Thanos.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Of the time-traveler duo, Tony (red) is more abrasive, impulsive and has the tendency to talk and act without really thinking, while Stephen (blue) is usually more controlled and subdued.
  • Servile Snarker: Happy Hogan often behaves unprofessionally around Tony, and often gets away with attitude that would likely get him fired under any other employer.
    Tony: Stephen, this is Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts–
    Happy: Technically I’m his driver, she’s his CEO.
    Tony: They’re two of my closest friends–
    Happy: Who just happen to be working for him.
    Tony: Oh shush. You make it sound like I’m buying your friendship.
    Happy: I don’t know about Pepper, but I’ve had my eyes on that new Lamborghini. Just in case someone was wondering.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Tony’s primary concern in the story is to fix the mistakes he caused that had led to the destruction of Sokovia and the splitting of the Avengers.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Thor belongs to a Proud Warrior Race who fashion themselves after the Vikings. Despite their primitive aesthetics, Asgard is more technologically advanced than Earth, and Tony acknowledges that Thor isn't just a boisterous Dumb Muscle.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Invoked when Pepper asks how Tony and Stephen met. Since the two can't disclose their identities as time-travelers, Tony mentions having encountered a drunk Stephen during a charity ball, and the two spend the rest of the car ride throwing jabs at each other to prevent further questioning. Averted in their usual interactions.
  • The Shut-In: To cope with his PTSD, Tony spends almost the entirety of his time working in the lab, while the rest of the team spends their free time trying to bother him to come out. Similarly, Stephen rarely leaves his apartment since his injuries prevent him to do anything.
  • Tabloid Melodrama: Natasha loves to collect outrageous gossips about her teammates and, at one point, brings them to Tony in an attempt to break him out of his lab. According to the media, apparently, Tony has secretly married Pepper, but they are splitting up; Tony is also having an affair with Rhodes, while Natasha is pregnant by either Steve or Sam...
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Tony and Happy is a downplayed example. Their first interaction in the fic has Tony shooing Happy out of the driver's seat after forcing the latter to take a detour to pick Tony and Stephen up, which causes Happy to respond in a manner “that would have gotten him fired" if his relationship with Tony is more professional. A short while later, the two then bicker over Tony's driving practices—and this is after Tony introduces Happy (and Pepper) as one of his best friends.
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