Title: As a Bird in the Sky
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Iron Man (MCU)
Timeline: Between Iron Man and Iron Man 2
Rating: K / FRC
Characters: J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark (Iron Man)
Summary: Tony discovers, through the use of the Iron Man armor, that there’s much of the world he hasn’t seen yet, and that he is finally free to explore it all at will; to go where no man has gone before – or at least not very often, and certainly not in the way in which he’s capable.
Complete. Part of “Genius, AI & Bots” series.
Written for: My card on Cotton Candy Bingo’s round 2 (square: “Clouds”)
Disclaimer: Iron Man and Marvel Cinematic Universe, including characters and everything else, belong to Marvel, Marvel Studios, Jon Favreau and Paramount 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.
As a Bird in the Sky
Experiencing flight had long fascinated mankind, as proven by the long history of aviation.
Before his voyage flight in Mark II armor, Tony had flown in many different planes and contraptions, but never in an aircraft purely of his own design – a machine nobody else had tested before him.
The freedom the armor granted him did not truly sink in until months later, when the flying capabilities had been honed and his own skills enabled him to focus beyond the mechanics of flying – which were many, even with J.A.R.V.I.S.’s aid.
While the first flight had made his stomach flip and nerves sing with the thrill of it, he didn’t truly begin to enjoy himself until after many hours of flight experience. The growing knowledge that he could go anywhere was eye-opening and exhilarating at the same time, and Tony had always been one to break limits.
To have the limits completely removed – the old saying ‘sky’s the limit’ made obsolete – was simultaneously liberating and stress-inducing, because while he could bask in the glory of his own superiority he also knew it would not be enough for long. First there had been the icing problem. The second phase focused largely on survival higher in the atmosphere, which required much delicate tinkering, research, and testing – and left him with miles upon miles of territory that no other man could reach with such ease.
Not that he needed to climb that high to feel satisfied:
Swimming amongst the clouds was the first effective method of calming his mind inside the armor; he would slow down and drift in and out of the clouds, surfacing in shadows and sunlight in turn. He could hover and pretend he was walking on a field of cotton candy, a shining sea lit up by the sun high above – then speed off and disturb the clouds into reshaping in his wake.
The first time he landed on the tip of a mountain top poking out of the ocean of clouds, he actually felt like he was standing at the top of the world. He felt free, unchained from his responsibilities and guilt, gazing upon something one could be mesmerized by in pictures, but which had nothing on the wonders of the real thing.
His discoveries did not end with the clouds, of course: he could fly across deserts and oceans, weave his way through mountain ranges only a few had explored, and look at all the greenery and color the world had to offer beyond the gray boundaries of buzzing cities and artificial lights.
He could also take a detour to the biggest, brightest cities on a whim, even though he’d learned the hard way that flying in the midst of a fireworks show was not worth the splitting headache he developed later on, not to mention the smoke damage to his armor.
Being able to fly freely from one place to another was one thing, but to be able to make snowballs on the tallest mountains of the world and explore uncharted tropical forests made him feel like an adventurer from another time.
If he’d had more time on his hands, he might have embraced that discovery and explored even further, but Iron Man was needed in the real, corporeal world, where the beauty and wonder of planet Earth mattered very little. But every now and then, when there was time for a detour or a ‘test flight’, Tony took the opportunity to indulge his child-like wonder and go see things that were outside a normal person’s scopes.
Even Iron Man deserved a small break from his ever-expanding duties, after all, and J.A.R.V.I.S. considered it so much of a healthy pattern that the AI never reminded Tony of all his unfinished and overdue projects when he was out on one of his explorative flights. Or perhaps the AI enjoyed seeing new things just as much as Tony did, experiencing them through the armor. Either way, the end result was the same, and Tony would continue to cherish those hours for as long as he could.