Major Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War. Saw the film three days ago, and I'm still not okay. Aside from the zillion questions I have, the very thought of how all people reacted to the losses, and how relationships would change made me so teary-eyed. I couldn't stop imagining stuff so I had to write it all down.
My very first Avengers' Fan Fic, so please be gentle and leave me some reviews, please! :) I'd like to know what you think about it.
The debris was floating all around him and the smell of rotting metal was nearly suffocating. He could still feel where Peter held on to him moments before he… disappeared. The abject sense of helplessness he'd felt as Peter had cried was only amplifying in him.
I don't want to go.
Tony Stark had failed. For the first time in his life, he had failed and the realisation left him numb. For the first time since he'd made the suit, he found it rendering him breathless. The suit had never failed him. Never. But now it felt heavy on him and he wanted to take it off his person as soon as possible.
He started to remember telling the kid to go after the wizard, and was filled with a crushing sense of guilt. It had not been worth it, because ultimately the wizard was gone... and so was the kid. And it was all his fault. He dreaded what he would find back home.
"Friday," he breathed. "Get me on the phone with Pepper."
"I'm afraid Ms. Potts is out of connectivity range, Mr. Stark."
That filled him with a mixture of relief and anguish at the same time. Relief because he would rather prolong finding out if Pepper was okay, because from this far out, if the call hadn't made it through, he wasn't sure what he would have done. Anguish, because he needed to see if she was okay as soon as possible.
"What planet are you from?"
Startled, he whipped his head around; he'd forgotten that he had company. He felt unsteady on his legs, and he wondered if he was imagining his vision blurring. He blinked, trying to keep his focus but felt his knees give away.
"Earth," he gasped, as he started to feel breathlessness take over him.
"Well, better get you there. You don't look so good," said the voice, sounding subdued and slightly bitter.
"Mr. Stark, your biochemical readings suggest that you are having a panic attack."
"Thank you, Friday, I wouldn't have guessed," he rasped, as he fell to his knees, a hand on his chest as he tried to breathe deeply.
He felt two arms grip him, clumsily dragging him to he had no idea where. He wanted to ask, but he had no breath left for a question, and his mind wasn't forming coherent thoughts either. In his head, the images started with running with Pepper in the morning and ended with Peter disappearing - he was not dead, he couldn't be - in his arms.
How did it all go so wrong, so fast?
He merely groaned as the vision of the destroyed planet turned into a haze and he felt the darkness creep over him.
When he woke up again, he was greeted by a familiar sight - bright white hospital lights blinding his sight. The physical weight on his chest seemed to be gone and he realised he was in an old t-shirt and a pair of flannel pyjamas.
He started to sit up, but Pepper was next to him in a flash, hand on his chest, pushing him back down.
"You need to rest," she said softly, and he could practically hear the tears in her voice.
Relief flooded him first; she was okay. She wasn't gone, and she was still here with him. But as the relief ebbed away, the questions came back to the surface, along with a sense of helplessness. Dread at what he'd find here, and a part of him wanted to just go back to sleep; avoid it all.
"Someone brought you here," Pepper said nervously. "In a weird looking pod. Part machine, part… alien, I think."
"Right," he muttered, vaguely recollecting the blue skinned woman with pitch black eyes. She seemed to know the others - The Guardians of the Galaxy.
He waited for the rage to come, but it didn't. He felt too tired for it, and a small part of him understood his rage. Admittedly he may not have known him very well, but from the little he had gathered, he understood.
"I'm sorry," he said in response, reaching out to hold her hand, gently stroking her knuckles with his thumb.
"You should have come back," she said tearfully. "You should've come back when I asked you to."
"I know, honey," he murmured. "I know. I'm really sorry."
They stayed in silence for sometime, Pepper now seated next to him. The doctor had just visited, not that Tony needed a doctor, and had, as all doctors do, suggested some more rest. Tony, like always, had rolled his eyes at him, only refraining from passing a comment because of the worry on Pepper's face.
"How bad is it?" he asked after the doctor left.
"It looks pretty bad," she replied, biting her lower lip. "A lot of people just… they just disintegrated Tony! I don't understand what is happening. It was all over the news and people just died as we watched. I couldn't reach anyone, not Vision, Natasha, or… anyone."
Tony sighed, and stared at the ceiling, still trying to burn away the image of Peter disappearing from his mind. He could feel her eyes on him, looking at him the way she did when she knew something was up and waited patiently for him to say what was on his mind.
"The kid… disappeared, Pepper," said Tony, swallowing thickly as his voice cracked a little.
"What?" she gasped in shock.
"I-I watched… I held him as he cried and just disappeared," he said and Pepper had moved to sit on the bed, lying on his chest as he held her.
"Oh, Tony, I'm so sorry," she whispered, feeling the thrum of the arc reactor in his chest against her cheek. She looked up at him, gazing at the ceiling with the remorse clearly written on his face.
"I need to visit his aunt… And tell her… If she's… not disappeared too," he muttered. "What am I going to tell her? How will I explain-"
"Tony, it's not your fault," she said quietly.
"You don't know that," he said, closing his eyes.
"Yes," she said firmly. "I do. When you wear that suit and leave, a part of me knows that you might not come back. It's just… comes with your job, I suppose," she chuckled humourlessly. "I'm sure she'll… understand. She won't blame you."
"She won't," agreed Tony. "I blame me."
Before Pepper could contradict him again, he started to sit up, as did Pepper.
"Pepper, I need to know," he said. "I need to see."
She sighed with resignation and stood up, watching as Tony straightened his shirt and looked about the small cupboard in the room for jeans. Finding one, he slipped them on and started to head out, when Pepper said, "Happy took the suit home, by the way, if you want to fly out."
"No," he said slowly, pausing in the doorway. "I'll take a cab."