Title: Sickle-claws and Feathers
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Avengers: Earth Mightiest Heroes (AEMH)
Rating: T / FRT
Characters: Clint Barton (Hawkeye), JARVIS, Tony Stark (Iron Man), Janet van Dyne (Wasp), Vision. Mentioned: Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic)
Summary: Tony should have known that a little time travel facilitated by Reed Richards could only go wrong. It also looked like Reed was going to end up owing him more than just a new paint-job for his suit – if they ever made it out of the Mesozoic era alive, that is.
Written for: My card on Hurt/Comfort Bingo’s (hc_bingo) round 2 (square: “time travel gone wrong”)
Warnings: Accidental travel to pre-historic time, language, canonical danger (from dinosaurs).
Disclaimer: The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, its characters and places belong to Marvel, Marvel Animation, and all other creators involved in the making and distributing of the show/comics. No profit was made by writing this story.
Beta: Mythra (mythras_fire)
Story and status: Below you see the writing process of the story. If there is no text after the title, then it is finished and checked. Possible updates shall be marked after the title.
Sickle-claws and Feathers
The burst of colors reminded Tony of the time they traveled the Bifrost between Asgard and Earth. However, this time he experienced a dizzying vertigo, losing touch with the ground for a moment – then collapsed hard when the world spun back into firm, unyielding reality.
“Urgh,” someone – Jan – groaned near him.
Clint went as far as puking his guts out and Tony tried to tune out the sound as he took a few steadying breaths of the filtered air of his suit.
“Sir,” JARVIS spoke up. “We may have a problem.”
“Give me a second,” Tony pleaded, still trying to tell his insides to stay put.
“There is…” the AI started, then stopped, and Tony opened his eyes to look around.
He realized at once what JARVIS meant. “Fuck.”
“Most peculiar,” Vision’s voice drifted over, far from unsettled. “Are we still in Utah?”
“I think so,” Tony blinked. “Only…”
“This isn’t March 31st,” the synthezoid guessed.
“It could be,” Tony guessed and struggled to his feet. “JARVIS, give me something. When are we?”
“I estimate we may have entered the early Cretaceous era, sir.”
“What?” Clint asked from where he was sitting on the ground by some bushes that hadn’t existed for millions of years.
“We have a problem,” Tony admitted.
“Did it not work?” Jan asked, changing into her small form and flying around a little. “Everything looks so… strange.”
“Oh, it worked,” Tony replied. “We’re just a rough 125 million years off our mark!” He couldn’t help kicking a large stone half-buried in the earth. It was cleaved in two by the impact, sending the top half flying into the thick bushes. “I’m going to kill Reed,” Tony decided.
“I am not certain that will solve our predicament,” Vision noted.
It wouldn’t – not before they got back home, anyway. “Is the tech still intact?” Tony asked, taking a step closer to Vision.
The synthesoid picked up the simple-looking expandable pad that had brought them here and gave it a critical look. JARVIS began scanning it as well.
“It would appear Mr. Fantastic’s time-transportation device it still functional,” Vision mused.
“Finally some good news,” Clint commented. “How about you do what you came here to do and we head back home? I’m not sure my lungs are working properly. Plus it’s really hot,” he complained, tugging at the neck of his uniform.
“You insisted on joining us so stop complaining,” Tony ordered. He and Vision had been the two Avengers chosen for this trip – mainly because there was a miniscule chance of something going wrong, according to Reed. A miniscule problem that had sent them over a hundred million years off-course when they were supposed to land in Utah just a few days before their departure, to minimize any infraction to the real timeline of events.
“Regardless of the inconvenience of the situation, I believe there is much information we can gather from this trip, however unplanned,” Vision noted and began turning around in a slow circle, no doubt scanning his surroundings.
Tony knew Vision was right and JARVIS began running his own tests, collecting small samples Tony knew might revolutionize the field of paleontology.
Jan came flying back to them, visibly stunned by their surroundings. “It’s so beautiful, green and lush,” she enthused. “Do you think I could bring some flowers with me when we go back?”
“If you plan to start a botanist war, sure,” Tony mused distractedly as he watched the readings coming in, from air quality to the pollen counts in the air. Something flew past them in the sky, shrieking; it sounded almost like a bird and Tony tried to remember where exactly they were on the evolutionary ladder.
Jan flew off again and Clint got to his feet, looking around and poking at the vegetation surrounding them. Suddenly he froze, then leaned forward, narrowing his eyes, and Tony turned his face towards him long enough to spot something moving in the thermal view.
“Clint,” he said, lowering his voice. “Step back from the bushes.”
“Why?” Clint asked but did as he was told, eyeing the thick vegetation suspiciously.
“I think we have company,” Tony replied and looked around, scanning their surroundings. Indeed, there were several large targets moving closer, standing roughly as tall as an average bear, moving on two feet, a long tail following the deliberately slow motions… “Dinos,” Tony said lamely.
“What?” Clint asked sharply and looked at him, clearly not having expected that. “Don’t tell me there’s a T-rex coming.”
“They don’t actually exist yet,” Tony replied, looking at the readings. “What are they?” he asked his AI.
“A large raptor, sir. Considering our location, a Utahraptor is a likely option.”
“A raptor,” Tony repeated. “Lovely.”
A snout pushed itself through from the midst of leaves, nostrils flaring.
Clint backed away from it, snapping open his bow.
Jan came flying back to them just then, eyes wide. “There are dinosaurs coming – oh,” she finished, seeing the snout in the bushes.
The nostrils flared again, followed by the rest of the head being pushed forward, reptilian eyes regarding them. The unfamiliar smells had to be throwing it off, from metal to mammalian heartbeat, but it continued forward curiously, pushing out of the cover of plants and onto open ground.
“Why does it have feathers?” Clint asked.
“Beats me,” Tony replied, noting the same thing. “It has claws, though, so be mindful of those.” One of the toenails looked like it had been created especially for slicing things up, and Tony had a sudden mental picture of being peeled out of his armor like a sardine can being opened. “Vision, prepare the pad,” he ordered.
Around them, more of the raptors approached, sniffing and letting out soft sounds in communication. One of them jerked forward, fast and deadly, trying to snap at Clint – and the archer instantly drew an arrow, pointing it at the reptile’s face. Jan’s small form also seemed to attract the raptors, making them snap at her when she flew too close, and slowly the circle kept getting smaller.
“We need them to stay clear of the pad,” Vision said needlessly, setting the device on the ground and initiating its power up.
“Blast them,” Clint suggested and Tony adjusted the repulsors, not wanting to hurt the animals. They might become extinct in the future, but there was no reason to kill a bunch of them just because his team happened to land in their territory.
“Okay, fellows,” Tony said, stepping forward, raising his hands, “time to go back to minding your own business.” He fired a warning shot on the ground, which had the desired effect of making the raptors scatter. They didn’t go far, though, and Tony hurriedly gestured for the others to move to the pad which was still powering up.
“Can you make it go faster?” Jan asked Vision.
“Yeah: those guys look hungry,” Clint commented, eyeing the raptors that were still gazing at them, toe-claws digging into the earth as if they were debating their next move.
The pad began to expand, ready for the final sequence.
Something collided against Tony from behind and he was slammed face-first into the ground – then heard a screech of metal and felt a faint pressure around his head.
“Tony!” Jan shouted.
“Is someone going to do something?” Clint asked loudly.
“We must hold them away from the pad; if they harm it, we may be trapped here forever,” Vision stated – which meant no one, most likely, was going to come over and help Tony.
A weight moved over his body and Tony managed to shift enough to catch an eyeful of one of the raptors trying to bite through his armor, clearly testing the sturdiness of the alien texture. Reed was going to owe him more than a paint job – if he made it out of this alive. That sickle-shaped claw was biting into the metal at his hip and Tony feared that if these things smelled blood, their curiosity would turn into pure hunting mode.
“Flares,” he ordered JARVIS and the air was filled with bright little explosions, scaring the Utahraptor away from him. Seizing the opportunity, Tony struggled to his knees and then to his feet, hobbling over to the fully expanded pad just when it chimed to inform them it was ready for another time-transportation.
The raptors were cautiously gazing at the last dying lights of the flares when Tony pressed the ‘recall’ button of the pad, hoping it worked and would send them home instead of hurling them even further away in time.
“Hold on!” he ordered, grabbing onto Clint and Jan, and then the vertigo was there again, colorful and dizzying, sending them all sprawling forward once it came to a painful stop at Richard Reed’s science camp site in the Utah desert.
“What happened to you?” Reed had the nerve to ask.
Tony unlocked the helmet and pulled it off, tempted to throw up, then took a look at the large bite marks all over the metal. He glanced up at Reed and glared – while Clint once again proceeded to retch on the side, Jan rolled onto her back and pulled a ruined flower from her pocket, and Vision looked around, bemused by all the fuss as if this were just another day in the life of the Avengers.
The thing was, Vision was probably right – but that didn’t hold Tony back from giving Reed a piece of his mind.