sam_storyteller: (Crossover Fic)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2013-05-22 01:15 pm
Entry tags:

At Tilde (Matilda-Iron Man crossover)

Title: At Tilde
Rating: PG
Warnings: None.
Summary: Matilda turns hacker, impresses Tony Stark, and fails to be swayed by Charles Xavier.
Notes: Arose out of a chat about what Matilda would think of the internet. Went somewhere terrifying. No regrets.

Also available at AO3.


The internet was the best thing to happen to Matilda since Miss Honey.

That was saying a lot, since Miss Honey was the best thing to ever happen to Matilda. And Miss Honey was partly responsible.

The first computer Matilda ever saw was in a lab at the university where she was studying. She was nine and vastly unimpressed. Of course it did cool things, but it was large and clunky and tedious to program. Matilda felt she could do better if they'd just let her at it, but as much as the other students and professors liked her, earning their respect was still difficult and earning computer rights was probably going to have to wait a few years.

"Not until you have a training bra," one of her professors said, and patted her on the shoulder. (Mostly on the shoulder. Ew.)

Matilda, who had always adhered to the "when people do bad things, they should be punished" law of existence, and who was already well-read in radical feminism, set his office on fire.

Just a little fire. Honest.

Miss Honey sighed when she heard, but she went out the next day and came home with a large box. An Apple IIe, all Matilda's. Now this was business.

Of course, they didn't have the internet at first, but by the time they did, Matilda had disassembled the Apple IIe's operating system down to binary, and she was prepared. She still made sure to spend plenty of time outside, getting fresh air and reading and playing with her friends. But she also made friends with the phone phreaks and the first-gen hackers. They liked her.

Her hacker name was @~. She thought it looked like a flower.


Matilda graduated from university with an honours in computer science when she was twelve. She'd considered lots of different careers, but nobody took a twelve-year-old medical intern seriously and it was hard to imagine being a lawyer when they didn't make Junior sized robes. Nobody judged you for being twelve on the internet as long as you didn't tell anyone you were twelve.

She sent her senior project to Stark Industries.

Tony Stark showed up at her house the next day. He flirted with Miss Honey until she informed him that she wasn't the brilliant computer programmer who put the virus on his computer.

"What did it do, if I can ask?" Miss Honey said.

"Sped up my processing time by twelve percent," Mr. Stark replied.

"Well, that's nice. Matilda," Miss Honey called, and Matilda came down the stairs warily. "This is Mr. Stark."

"Pleased to meet you," she said, offering her hand.

"You're kidding me with this, right?" Mr. Stark said to Miss Honey.

"I'd think you of all people would understand that genius doesn't come with a minimum age requirement," Miss Honey replied.

"Point. Hello," Mr. Stark said, as wary as Matilda. But he did shake her hand and he didn't make the voice some adults made, the syrupy one that said they thought Matilda was a genius tacked onto an average twelve-year-old. "You're @~, huh?"

"Yes, Mr. Stark."

"I was going to ask you if you wanted to work for Stark Industries but there are still some pretty stringent child labor laws I have to adhere to," Mr. Stark said. "But I'm not going to let anyone else get their hooks in you, I saw you first. Got any recommendations, kid?"

Matilda looked up at him, considering the matter. "I could be an intern."

"An intern, she says. Okay, you're about to become the most well-respected intern on the planet," Mr. Stark said.

Matilda liked how he smiled.


Her first six months at Stark Industries were brilliant. She missed Miss Honey, of course, but Mr. Stark paid for her long-distance phone calls and Stark Industries was already working on a video-calling system that would be ready in a year or so.

It wasn't that anything changed. It was that Mr. Xavier showed up.

The first Matilda heard of it was when she came into the lab one morning and found Mr. Stark there, arguing with a bald man in a wheelchair.

"She's already been to college," Mr. Stark was saying, in his I'm Being Very Patient voice. "She works for me, you can't have her."

"She's thirteen," the other man said.

"What's that got to do with the price of eggs? She's perfectly happy here and if she is flinging shit around with her brain I don't care, as long as the work gets done."

"She needs training."

"In what? She's a genius, if she needs to learn something she has the internet. She invented a search engine."

"You can't learn everything from books and the internet, Tony."

"What are you going to do, punch me in the stomach and roll away with -- Matilda," Tony said, sounding relieved, as he noticed her in the doorway. "Come here and tell this nice man to go to hell."

"Don't be rude," Matilda said, sidling forward.

"Matilda, my name is Charles Xavier," the man said. "I'm here to speak to you about your abilities."

"You mean the brain stuff? I'm over that," Matilda replied.

Both men looked at her.

"The brain stuff?" Tony asked.

"I can do stuff with my brain. I mean, you know, aside from programming and quantum physics," Matilda said. "Making things float and stuff."

"Oh. Well. You should have put that on the background check," Tony said.

"You didn't do a background check. I'm still an intern."


"Matilda," Mr. Xavier said, "I'm here to offer you a place at my school. It's for gifted youngsters like yourself who -- "

" -- need a graduate degree?" Matilda asked. Mr. Xavier looked perplexed.

" -- have special abilities," he finished. "What you call the brain stuff."

"Oh. Well, I taught myself how to do what I need, so I'm fine," she said. "Thank you for the offer."

"Tony, I really must insist -- "

"Hey, I'm out of it," Tony said, holding up his hands in mock-innocence. "Matilda's call."

"But surely you'd like to use your skills to the utmost?" Mr. Xavier pressed Matilda.

"I have a lot of skills," she said. "Most adults do, and we don't expect them to use every single one of them. I like programming," she added.

"You heard the woman. Look, no sore feelings, lemme buy you lunch," Tony said.

"It's nine in the morning, Tony," Mr. Xavier said.

"Mimosas, then," Tony said.

"Are you sure you won't reconsider, Matilda?" Mr. Xavier asked.

"Quite sure, thank you," Matilda said. "Have a nice day, Mr. Xavier."

"Just so," Xavier murmured. Tony followed him until he was out the door, then shut it firmly behind him and ran back to Matilda, sweeping her into a hug.

"You're my favorite," he said, putting her down. "Uh, wow, that was inappropriate maybe, sorry."

"It's all right," she replied.

"So move something with your brain, I want to see," Tony said.

"Why? I thought you loved me for my programming," she replied.

"Well, now we've both been inappropriate, awesome. I love your brain like a father, just so we're clear."

"I didn't have any illusions otherwise," she said. "I'm not going to move anything with my brain. But I did finish that aggressive security protocol you wanted."

"Best intern!" he crowed. "Show me, wunderkind."

She turned to one of the computers and brought up the file.

"A Grim And Tremendously Heartless Application," he read aloud.

"A.G.A.T.H.A. for short," Matilda said smugly.
madripoor_rose: milkweed beetle on a leaf (Default)

[personal profile] madripoor_rose 2013-05-22 06:38 pm (UTC)(link)
I have never heard of Matilda, but this is awesome. Going to google now.
droolfangrrl: (Default)

[personal profile] droolfangrrl 2013-05-22 07:36 pm (UTC)(link)
I saw the film, didn't even realize it was adapted from one of Dahl's books.
soc_puppet: Marceline the Vampire Queen [Adventure Time] drinks red from a dreamsheep (Marceline the Vampire Queen)

[personal profile] soc_puppet 2013-05-22 07:50 pm (UTC)(link)
It's one of the rare movies that I like better than the book. Pretty sure this fic is also based more on the movie than the book, because [SPOILER] at the end of the book, Matilda doesn't have her powers anymore since she's using all her brain energy on learning at the right level now [/SPOILER].
tealin: (Default)

[personal profile] tealin 2013-05-22 08:09 pm (UTC)(link)
THANK YOU I am glad I am not the only one who noticed this. I hate to admit it but it kind of ruined the movie for me – I so loved the idea of excess smarts being channelled into brain powers that having it be reduced to 'magic' was really disappointing.
soc_puppet: Words "Baseless Opinion" in orange (Baseless Opinion)

[personal profile] soc_puppet 2013-05-22 08:22 pm (UTC)(link)
I actually like that she got to keep her powers in the movie, but I understand your reason for disliking that. IDK, I guess my interpretation is also that she was able to reach that part of her brain, and then being able to learn things at her own pace didn't mean she could no longer reach that part of her brain or something? More scifi-ish than fantasy-ish, at any rate.

We could probably do a book interpretation of the fic as well, though: in order to access her powers again, Matilda would have to "dumb herself down", and we all know how little she liked that. One very good reason to keep the job internship right there.
tealin: (Default)

[personal profile] tealin 2013-05-22 08:35 pm (UTC)(link)

The way I saw it, it wasn't so much a part of her brain, as total brain activity, like an energy field. Like spare cycles on a CPU – if you're not using them to crunch data yourself, you can donate them to the render farm or search for extraterrestrial life or fold proteins. It's still more sci-fi than fantasy but in a different way.

I very much like your book interpretation of the fic. Yes, Prof. X, everyone is much safer with a Matilda operating at peak mental capacity.

hebethen: (Default)

[personal profile] hebethen 2013-05-22 09:05 pm (UTC)(link)
She can wreak plenty of havoc with normal human "powers"!
devohoneybee: (Default)

[personal profile] devohoneybee 2013-05-22 06:53 pm (UTC)(link)
sanura: (Default)

[personal profile] sanura 2013-05-22 07:09 pm (UTC)(link)
I am particularly enamored of this crossover since the Minchin musical just got to Broadway from the West End. I know musicals aren't your thing, but man, those lyrics, they just kill me no matter what genre he's writing in. Damn.

So this is perfect.
soc_puppet: Words "Creative Process" in purple (Creative Process)

[personal profile] soc_puppet 2013-05-22 07:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Please excuse me while I swoon. And also plot that Elives' Magic Shop crossover wherein Darcy Lewis is one of the few people in the world who has Mr. Elives' phone number, because you have just proven that people can and should capitalize on kids' book nostalgia crossovers.

...Ten points to anyone who recognizes what I'm talking about without Google. Ten more if I spelled it wrong and you can correct me.
soc_puppet: Words "Creative Process" in purple (Creative Process)

[personal profile] soc_puppet 2013-05-22 07:47 pm (UTC)(link)
YES EXACTLY! Also The Monster Ring, The Skull of Truth (which was one of the first books I ever read with a coming-out scene), and Jennifer Murdley's Toad, the last of which I found on cassette a few years back and reminded me of the existence of the others. At any rate, ten points to you!

Darcy totally picked up an old cassette player at Elives' shop when she was, like, eight, and then it turned out to be haunted or something, and so she helped the ghost on its way. Now she routinely takes care of similar objects for Elives (her most recent one being an iPod, which is why she was so upset to have lost it). Elives was also the one who advised her to apply for Jane Foster's internship. She calls him "boss" or "boss-man" :) Possibly she will also meet up with some of Elives' old customers, because yes.
kallaneeboi: (Default)

[personal profile] kallaneeboi 2013-05-22 10:52 pm (UTC)(link)

I feel like I should lose librarian points for not knowing that.

I have to go dig through the catalog now.
soc_puppet: Words "Mad Fangirl" in blue (Mad Fangirl)

[personal profile] soc_puppet 2013-05-23 01:16 am (UTC)(link)
I know, right? <3 They're not sequential books, so you don't have to worry about reading them in order, at least.

Bah; any librarian points you would hypothetically have lost have been totally made up by Recognition Points.

I approve of this plan! I just picked up Juliet Dove myself, and am somewhat gratified to learn that it was published when I was in high school, explaining why I hadn't heard of it when I was first exposed to the other four.

(Anonymous) 2013-05-22 08:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Has no one else heard of Juliet Dove, Queen of Love? That was what got me started.
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[personal profile] soc_puppet 2013-05-22 08:14 pm (UTC)(link)
Wait, what? There's a fifth one, at the very least? HOT DAMN, GET ME TO A LIBRARY!

Also, ten points to you, anon <3 Plus another ten for pointing me to a new book, woo-hoo!
Edited (Forgot the points!) 2013-05-22 20:23 (UTC)
lynati: (CuteLyn)

[personal profile] lynati 2013-05-30 07:46 am (UTC)(link)
Midsummer night will break your heart...

I love this journal. You know that, right? I get a fun story, ten points, AND people who have the same discussion about the change of the ending of the book that I've had. (I tend to remain in the "Her telekinesis only manifested because her overall brain power was backed up, so while we-who-never-had-that-ability think it is sad that Matilda 'lost' it, she's happy to be using her brain for REAL STUFF. The potential outcome from a human mind focused on making the world a better place is a lot more impressive than a human mind that just makes small objects hover briefly in space when you think about it objectively" camp.)

Did the discussion that led to the inspiration for writing it have anything to do with Mara Wilson's Cracked article about child stars? I read that just the other day, which led to me reading her blog. She's pretty great.
surferofdreams: (Default)

[personal profile] surferofdreams 2013-05-22 11:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I like this. Especially setting fire to the office, and Tony Stark not talking down to Matilda. :)
marbleglove: (Default)

[personal profile] marbleglove 2013-05-22 11:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Hahaha! This is awesome! I read and enjoyed Matilda ages ago but haven't thought about it in years. This brings it all springing back to wonderful life. Tony and Matilda in cahoots is terrifyingly wonderful.
aughoti: (Default)

[personal profile] aughoti 2013-05-23 02:24 am (UTC)(link)
Had no idea that Matilda wasn't a creation of Sam's terrifying/wonderful brain (that's what I get for not reading this on AO3) and was inappropriately in love nonetheless.

Totally adorable, no matter who created 'em.

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[personal profile] azurelunatic 2013-05-23 02:29 am (UTC)(link)
Only a LITTLE fire. :D :D :D
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[personal profile] wandererriha 2013-05-23 03:51 am (UTC)(link)

Oh that is awesome! Roald Dahl would be PROUD! ^^
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[personal profile] anthimeria 2013-05-24 08:22 pm (UTC)(link)
All I've really got is EEEEEEEEEEE!

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[personal profile] bare_bear 2013-05-28 03:43 am (UTC)(link)
This is ridiculous and amazing and I love it! :D
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At Tilde (Matilda-Iron Man crossover)

[personal profile] iadorespike 2015-05-02 05:12 am (UTC)(link)
Until I started reading this, I didn't realize that I actually needed a Matilda-Iron Man crossover. There you go - so much for what I thought I knew. This was absolutely perfect. I can absolutely see this happening and I understand how it will work. I love Matilda. *happy sigh*

Thanks so much!