Title: Goodbye and Welcome
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Iron Man 3 (MCU)
Timeline: takes place during the final scene of Iron Man 3
Rating: K+ / FRC
Characters: Tony Stark (Iron Man). Mentioned: Tony’s bots (DUM-E & U).
Summary: Tony takes a moment to look back before moving forward.
Complete. Part of “Genius, AI & Bots” series.
Written for: My card on Hurt/Comfort Bingo’s (hc_bingo) Round 4 (square: parting ways)
Warnings: Implied illness and very vaguely implied suicidal thoughts.
Disclaimer: Iron Man, Avengers and Marvel Cinematic Universe, including characters and everything else, belong to Marvel, Marvel Studios, Jon Favreau, Joss Whedon, Shane Black, Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. In short: I own nothing; this is pure fiction created to entertain likeminded fans for no profit whatsoever.
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.
Goodbye and Welcome
It was a nearly windless moment, the sun shining down upon fresh vegetation covering the ruins.
Tony reached into the car, picking up a brown paper bag from the passenger seat and closed the car door behind him. Measured steps took him away from the vehicle; no skipping but no hesitation either.
He stepped down onto a ledge reaching out over the sudden drop into the ocean. For a moment he got a feeling deep in his gut that he was falling all over again…
Solid stone remained beneath him, though, slowly grounding him.
The blue of the water and the sky mixed on the horizon, far away – making him miss this place already. Years ago he had made his home here. Now? He wasn’t sure…
Slowly his hand reached into the paper bag, drawing out the familiar shape of the arc reactor. His eyes moved down to it, testing its weight in his hand – tossing it up briefly. There was no glow and the weight was less than usual. It was just a shell, stripped of its essence.
He considered it for a moment and the symbolism of what he was about to do – then reached back and tossed the skeleton of the arc reactor into the air, his eyes failing to track its long trajectory into the water. Today was not the day he’d said goodbye to the reactor in his chest but doing this here and now felt fitting and necessary. To step back from the constant fear of the fall and take a steadying breath, believing it would all be okay…
For years now he had thought he would go to his grave with the reactor in his chest; had thought his end had come several times, too. There was much glory in being a superhero in a flying metal suit, but there were also moments of fear and doubt.
More than once, he had thought of saying goodbye to the reactor, whether it was from the pain or the fact that the palladium core was slowly killing him. Every time he had thought he was finished with the machine in his chest he had ended up clutching at it - then tried to ignore its existence in favor of finding meaning in things it allowed him do.
Today, finally, he was going to welcome the change, confident that he was ready to embrace what his life would bring tomorrow.
Well, maybe the day after tomorrow, or a week, because he still had some things to do before he would feel like he was all the way there; he turned and his eyes checked the trailer attached to his car. The two broken figures secured on top of it made his heart clench all over again and he actually had to bring his hand up to his chest to realize that the sensation wasn’t caused by the shrapnel or the device his life had depended on since the cave in Afghanistan.
The pain was all his now…
He moved away from the edge, towards the car – then spotted something in a patch of green leaves and crouched down to pick up a tiny screwdriver. Like a premonition of his upcoming task, which he was finally ready to face, he brought it up into the sunlight, turned it around in his grip – then smiled and went on, holding onto his finding.
“Goodbye, and welcome,” he murmured as he passed the trailer and reached out to gently pat the lifeless form of Dummy; lifeless for now, but he was ready to extend the courtesy once handed down to him, to preserve life in the face of death.
To not waste it.