Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Avengers (MCU)
Era: Post-Avengers movie
Genre: Action, drama
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Bruce Banner (Hulk), Clint Barton (Hawkeye), Jane Foster, Nick Fury, Happy Hogan, J.A.R.V.I.S., Loki, Pepper Potts, James “Rhodey” Rhodes (War Machine), Steve Rogers (Captain America), Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), Lady Sif and the Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg), Tony Stark (Iron Man), Thor
(Brief/smaller appearances: Odin, Maria Hill, Darcy Lewis, The Other, Benjamin “Benny” Pollack, Erik Selvig, Jasper Sitwell, Claire Wise.)
Pairings: Happy/Pepper, Jane/Thor. Mentions of: Benny/Claire, Pepper/Tony
Summary: Iron Man never fell back through the portal. The Avengers must deal with the loss of their comrade and move on – until Earth once again comes under an attack from the Chitauri and their new-found weapons that decimate everything in their path with unmatched power and intellect. As cities and nations collapse around their decreasing resistance, the heroes of Earth must find a way to defeat their enemy before there is nothing left to avenge.
Work in progress.
Written for: Apocalypse Big Bang, Round One (apocalypsebang at LiveJournal)
Art: Imaan (insteadofdeath at dA/DW/LJ)
Warnings: Graphic description of torture, major character death, apocalypse & invasion themes (including but not limited to: mass destruction, terrorism, holocaust, death, violence and gore), brain-washing & mind-control, language (including some remarks that could be seen as racist). Serious spoilers for the ending of The Avengers (and other random spoilers for the rest of the movies in the Avengers cinematic universe).
The large, dark mecha didn’t move, remaining above the building like a giant version of Rodin’s The Thinker. They couldn’t wait indefinitely and since the mecha showed no signs of life, they slowly made their way to the doorway. Steve and Clint went first with Natasha, opening it, then the rest of them hurried along.
Lady Sif, Warriors Three and Clint remained outside to keep watch and lead away a possible attack should they be discovered.
Rhodey had actually entered the house this way once; Tony had been drunk, refused to call Pepper and J.A.R.V.I.S., for whatever reason, hadn’t let them into the house. They had muscled open the hatch that led to the maintenance shaft and Rhodey had been certain Tony was going to bend over to throw up at every other step.
He had demanded his own set of keys to the house soon after that.
They climbed down to garage level when an access point came across their path, distancing themselves from the mecha above them. Every little sound, gasp and sniff in the dusty, thick air seemed explosively loud, their lights too bright and every now and then they would stop to listen because they thought they’d heard something. With all these people in the narrow tunnel, it seemed even smaller than the first time and Rhodey, who had never been claustrophobic in his life, started to have difficulty breathing. Judging from the occasional wild-eyed looks from the others, he wasn’t alone.
“We’re almost there,” Pepper finally whispered.
“Thank god,” Rhodey replied.
Someone – perhaps Thor – chuckled.
“At least there was a way for us to slip in. Plan B was for someone to distract and lead away all the mecha into the surrounding area,” Steve noted from the head of the group. How he – and Thor – even fit into the narrow tunnel was beyond Rhodey. It had to be hard for them to breathe.
“I prefer dark, narrow places to imminent threat of dying,” Happy decided, his voice strained.
“Where’s your sense of adventure?” Natasha teased.
“Left it in my other jacket.”
“Focus,” Steve commanded as they came to another door. It was thick and they had no idea what lay on the other side; debris, enemies, a ruined storage area…
People shifted around, letting Steve and Natasha work on opening the door. Their last resort was to let Thor smash it down with his magical hammer but that would be too loud and they didn’t want to start a battle before they got any information at all – or got to see whether Tony’s workshop would yield any needed parts and devices.
They finally maneuvered the lock release and carefully pulled the door open. Everyone stepped back when Steve and Natasha slid inside. The rest of them followed after the route was clear and found themselves in what looked like a storage area. It being Tony’s storage area, it was bigger than most people’s houses.
“The workshop is just over there,” Pepper pointed.
Happy hovered near her, offering silent support. It had to be hard for her to come here like this. Rhodey, while having not spent as much time here as Pepper, felt nostalgia rattling around his head, yet it was as if their past lives had happened ages ago. Things that used to be important were far from significant now, although some memories persisted, worth more than everything else combined.
“Let’s move,” Rhodey said and pushed ahead of the others: another door, a short hallway and then they would be at the workshop…
There were sounds and lights coming from up ahead and Rhodey almost dropped his flashlight in his effort to turn it off quickly. Everyone else froze, waiting, darkness surrounding them. The sounds continued, steady and rhythmic, and it was almost like… music. Rhodey frowned then slowly moved forward, staying low, making as little noise as possible as he crossed the hallway. He was aware of the Avengers following him, Steve probably wanting to ask him to wait but not daring to make a noise.
The workshop was lit and music filled the space. Rhodey hadn’t realized how long it had been since he had heard any music at all which wasn’t made directly by a guitar, a beat on a hard surface and singing voices, and even those were rare. This was actual recorded music, however, coming from speakers and Rhodey felt almost transported back in time.
Steve had reached him and together they moved forward. A pile of debris rose before them, as if it had been just pushed there out of the way; pieces of wall, concrete, mechanical parts and maybe even a couple cars. They used it as a shelter as the others pushed forward behind them, cautious. Happy was holding a gun, as was Natasha; Thor’s hand gripped his hammer. Steve adjusted his shield to pull out his own weapon and Rhodey did the same; guns might not make a difference against a mecha but Chitauri were another story if you knew where to aim.
The workshop was almost whole, Rhodey noticed as he craned his neck to look around; his view was limited but the room didn’t seem to have gone through much. Well, that wasn’t entirely true; it seemed that instead of going through a demolition, its walls had been reinforced with crude pieces of metal, as if someone had been trying to hold the place together. The view towards the sea showed the round spaceship and a little bit of the two mecha on the beach, their shapes almost framing the view out to the ship.
Rhodey shifted slightly and noticed that not only were there lights and music but it seemed programs were running around the space either on physical screens or holographic displays. Just like before…
“The adjustments have been completed as per your calculations, sir. They are compatible and I shall begin transferring the data to the Edwin unit.”
Rhodey almost broke the silence and heard Pepper gasp somewhere behind him. He looked over, seeing her silence herself with a hand on her mouth and the others giving her warning looks.
“Parsing recovered data is nearing completion,” the familiar voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. continued.
Rhodey tried looking around but there was no-one in the room. He wondered if the AI could have gone insane, somehow finding a way to power itself – J.A.R.V.I.S. had had control over the arc reactors after all – and was now doing some project he thought Tony might have wanted him to complete.
He tried getting a better look at the holograms. Some of them looked like suit designs, only different. Maybe an alternative Iron Man armor Tony had been in the middle of…
The others pressed closer to him and Steve, wanting to see what was going on. Pepper’s eyes were wide as she took in the surroundings. Rhodey almost missed a movement while focusing on her but turned in time to see a door open on the far side, a visible cloud of humid air escaping it, and through the doorway came Tony Stark, toweling his hair.
to be continued…