The Emperor's Fury

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Title: The Emperor's Fury
Author(s): valtyr
Date(s): 16 August 2011
Length: 39,936 words
Genre: slash fanfiction, AU
Fandom: Marvel Ultimates
External Links: The Emperor's Fury (AO3)

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The Emperor's Fury is a Steve/Tony historical AU by valtyr. It was written for Sci-Fi Big Bang 2011.[1]

Summar: Steve is an ex-gladiator. Tony wears a toga. Together, they litigate civil cases. Also a surprising amount of boating.

Penumbren made two fanmixes for the story[2] and thesuperhusbands created a "if superhusbands fics were movies" gif set.[3] Im 2013 ironfries posted three illustrations for the story.[4]

Recs and Reviews

The Emperor's Fury illustrations by ironfries, posted to Tumblr in 2013. The quote from the story below the illustrations says: Steve looked down, to make sure Hawkeye wasn’t going anywhere, and then looked back to Tony and extended his empty hand, hefting the knife with the other. Tony went still, eyes widening comically. "Well?" his throat was dry, voice a croak, but Tony wouldn’t have heard him if he’d shouted. "Death or mercy?" Tony shoved his hand out, palm open and down, no attempt at dignity or gravity. “Mercy,” he mouthed, as if Steve might misunderstand him, and that might have been of course after it. Tony was a kind man. Soft, a fool, but kind.
In which Steve, ex-slave, returns to Rome to plead for the courts to protect his home village, and Antonius is one of the judges in front of whom he appears; the slantwise world-building is wonderful, Steve's issues and conflicting impulses are gorgeously portrayed, and oh, the *plot*[5]
rome-based!au. wow, this one kind of blew me away. it's really quite intricate, setting and plot both, and wholly satisfying when it comes to the relationship, the characters, and the ending.[6]
This was so awesome! [...] Steve and Tony totally melted my heart, OMG. Steve was just so ridiculous, I kept alternating between wanting to hug him and smack him, LOL. I mean, deciding to live next door to his best friend and his first love after coming back to find them married and being lonely for ten years just made me so sad for him! Then being attracted to Tony and being totally ridiculous when he finally decided to go for it and being all tragic and thinking he probably didn’t even mean anything to Tony while Tony was busy being smitten totally with him and telling Steve all about his villa and the sewers and just being ridiculously charming!! Obviously I enjoyed that nonsense immensely—you know how much I love pining and miscommunication angst, LOLOLOL. ♥♥ And then the plot! I loved all the plotting and the fight scenes and Wanda being a cat-burglar and just everything![7]
Good lord, the characters are so perfectly translated from their comics incarnations in Ultimates that I'm just left kind of boggling in delight. *_* I laughed out loud when you finally name-dropped Emperor Nicolas, and then he and Natasha were both so well realized, in their scheming and plotting and interactions and imperfections and backstory that slots in so well from canon--I really love that the whole story is an engaging page-turner (scroller?), minor characters and all, not just Steve and Tony.

But oh my god, Steve and Tony. ♥_♥ I don't even know if I can express how wonderful I found them, both as individuals and as this perfectly unexpected, wires-crossed, confused and utterly besotted and in love couple. They are the best form of their Ultimate selves, so rounded and well defined that it was so easy to understand what they saw in each other, even when they're so very different and each have their own issues, and ugh ugh ugh they're so delightful I want to smoosh them together foreverrrrr. The progression from Steve being completely stiff and off-put by Tony's easy, shameless advances and immoral indulgences to being slowly won over by Tony's kindness and generosity and silliness and animated brilliance and passion and open affection, yet being so determined not to reveal any of it that Tony is actually left bemused and not at all sure Steve even likes him--aaahahaha, it's such a delicious dynamic, and so believable. Even though we spent the entire fic in Steve's head, every time Tony expressed his bewilderment with Steve I was kind of laughing and shaking my head at the same time, right there with him. STEVE YOU INELOQUENT KNUCKLEHEAD, just say what you mean instead of hinting around everything all the time and expecting Tony to pick up on your mixed signals. XDD

Everything that you tied in from canon, from Steve being lonely and adrift because his best friend and sweetheart married while he was away, to Gregory and Tony's relationship, to Tony being enthralled by Steve from a young age and collecting his uniform and his shield and then returning them--it just makes it such a rich AU, and I'm obsessed with Rome right now but I don't even mind any historical inaccuracies. :D What you do add in fleshes out the world a lot; I actually loved Steve's devotion to the warrior god, and his dissatisfaction that new gladiators aren't sworn to him and many don't have real fights anymore. It wove in this great subtle parallel to Ult Steve's devotion to America and her ideals and his disconnect with the 'fake' new way of doing things once he returned. And Tony blithely inventing an Engineering God! Brilliant, and so perfect for his character. Surely an Engineering God would appreciate such innovation and initiative~

I love the way that you wrote Steve's fight scenes, they were so thrilling and well done from an action standpoint, and wow when Steve finally won his fight with Hawkeye and then turned to Tony to determine 'live or die', *_* that felt so earned both as an end to the battle and as a demonstration of the connection they'd developed that I just wanted to stand up and cheer. :D

Basically I could keep rambling about everything I loved forever, because I loved everything, I love your work, and this was absolutely the most satisfying start to the Big Bang imaginable. \o/!![8]


  1. ^ scifibigbang. 2011 Master List, 23 August 2011. (Accessed 28 June 2012)
  2. ^ The Emperor's Fury, Ultimate Marvel, NC-17, 15 August 2011. (Accessed 28 June 2012)
  3. ^ thesuperhusbands. if superhusbands fics were movies - The Emperor’s Fury by valtyr, 03 August 2012. (Accessed 04 August 2012)
  4. ^ ironfries. The Emperor’s Fury illustrations, June 2013. (Accessed 25 August 2013)
  5. ^ Elucreh. Pinboard summary, 25 September 2011. (Accessed 28 June 2012)
  6. ^ novemberlite. quick! recs!, 05 April 2012. (Accessed 28 June 2012)
  7. ^ Simple Pleasures. [Marvel - Steve/Tony] valtyr – The Emperor's Fury, 24 August 2011. (Accessed 28 June 2012)
  8. ^ zhadrahni. AO3 comment, 16 August 2011. (Accessed 28 June 2012)