Title: Nuking the Stars
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Avengers & Iron Man (MCU)
Era: Post-Avengers movie, between “Sleeping It Off” and “Smashed Heart” fics.
Rating: T / FRT
Characters: Bruce Banner (Hulk), Clint Barton (Hawkeye), J.A.R.V.I.S., Pepper Potts, Steve Rogers (Captain America), Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), Tony Stark (Iron Man), Thor (, Nick Fury, Happy Hogan)
Summary: With all the Avengers have been through in their short time together, flying through a portal and then falling back doesn’t seem like much – nor does it feel like much to Tony either before he realizes he might as well carve a line into the wall next to Afghanistan and the palladium poisoning. While he tries to manage yet another potential breakdown, the Avengers begin their journey to actually become a ‘team’.
Complete. Part of the “Turquoise” –series.
Warnings: Vague (or very strong) symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), intended but disrupted attempts of self-harm, references to possible alcoholism, language, spoilers for The Avengers movie (and other random spoilers for the rest of the movies in the Avengers cinematic movie universe).
Disclaimer: Iron Man and Avengers, their characters and everything else belong to Marvel. The movie versions belong to Marvel Studios, Joss Whedon, Jon Favreau, Louis Leterrier, Kenneth Branagh, Joe Johnston, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures… in short: everyone but me. This is pure fiction, created to entertain likeminded fans, no profit made.
Beta: Mythra (mythras_fire)
Feedback: Appreciated and cherished.
About Nuking the Stars: In RDJ’s words: “If you think about someone who saw the skies open up and came through a wormhole – and fought off alien species – suffice to say he’s a little rattled.” (Comic Con 2012 “red carpet” interview by AMC Theaters).
This was supposed to be a one-shot filled with Tony!feels and angst. Somehow it got turned into team building and other things that needed to be addressed at some point of the series.
Chapters and statuses: Below you see the writing process of the story’s chapters. If there is no text after the chapter’s title, then it is finished and checked. Possible updates shall be marked after the title.
Chapter 1: Remembering
Chapter 2: Recapture
Chapter 3: Relocation
Chapter 4: Renovation
Chapter 5: Rehashing
Chapter 6: Resurface
Author’s note: As stated in the “About” section, dedicated to a comment made by Robert Downey Jr. about Tony Stark and his coping with the events seen in The Avengers.
Manhattan, New York, NY, USA
The missile shakes in his grip, heat radiating around him. A screen on his HUD is tracking the radiation levels which are spiking too high for comfort. The turn is ahead, a vicious pull in his stomach as he angles the suit and fires up all that’s left and he wonders if he can see his life flashing before his eyes in the remaining windows of the Stark Tower as they pass by, too fast to count them, to pay attention, to reminisce.
It feels fair that he won’t get to enjoy that, after everything.
The silence is sudden and obsolete. J.A.R.V.I.S. fades away into static. He’s out of power and out of luck, hanging there, watching the sheer brilliance of a nuclear detonation against the dotted darkness of space. The explosion pushes him back but everything is fading and he feels cold even while facing the incredible heat.
Closing his eyes he can still see the vision burned into his retinas and it’s the last image he’ll ever see in his life.
It has never been so dark, not before waking up in the cave and he didn’t know what darkness was like then –
Tony woke up with a violent jerk that threatened to dislocate one of his hip joints. A gasp was stuck in his dry throat but it didn’t keep him from sitting up, frantically pushing off layers of suffocating sheets and obstructing t-shirt. Finally the familiar glow of the arc reactor washed over his face and he let out a sigh of relief which most definitely didn’t resemble a sob if someone asked him.
“Tony?” Pepper’s sleepy voice murmured from beside him and she turned and blinked at him, hair all over the place. “Did you have a bad dream?” she asked next, barely managing to not sound like someone’s mom – nor did she continue with the question of whether he would like some warm milk to go with that.
“A cramp,” he managed but she knew him well enough to tell that stretching and drinking some water wasn’t going to push this one to the side.
She sat up the rest of the way and lit a bedside lamp – needlessly since he had his own in his chest and J.A.R.V.I.S. could have done that for her – but she probably needed something to help her sort out her mind and extract the last tendrils of sleep from her brain.
He felt exposed under the brighter light but refused to pull up the sheets. He wasn’t going to hide in his own bed while someone was in it with him. He was Tony Stark and his life hadn’t fallen to that level of pathetic just yet.
Pepper shifted beside him, moving closer, touching his over-heated skin. “Tell me,” she insisted. “You’ll feel better.”
“I doubt it.”
“And your way is always so much better.” She didn’t snort or give him a disapproving look but it was all over her words.
Tony slid out of bed before she could tell him what else he did wrong all the time. “I’ll just have a drink. Go back to sleep.” He debated whether leaning over and kissing some part of her body would make her more compliant but decided he wasn’t going to risk being drawn back to bed. She was deceptively strong sometimes, especially when she wanted to be, and right now Pepper looked like she wanted him back in bed and not drinking by the liquor cabinet.
But he was already out of the room and padding away, J.A.R.V.I.S. turning the hallway lights on dim. Tony knew where he was going, he had designed most of this place, and if there came a day when he couldn’t find his way to a bottle of alcohol whether he was blind or incapacitated, he didn’t deserve to be alive.
Finding said bottle of alcohol and all its next-of-kin, he sat down for a family reunion and didn’t even bother with a glass after a few dips into family history.
In a few hours he knew he had hit the right lever and returned to bed, the sun climbing up beyond the wide windows that gleamed their newness after being replaced in the aftermath of a visit from the Chitauri, the God of Mischief, and the Hulk.
He rolled onto the bed, moaned, shifted closer to Pepper’s warm, soft body, but no sooner had he closed his eyes did she murmur something about the smell, got up, and left.
At that point Tony wasn’t bothered by such small details and simply hugged closer the pillow she had slept on, drifting into a blissfully blank sleep.
to be continued…