Rain Clouds That Won't Cry
Everything's confusing until it's not. Then it's just grey.
Happy was in the middle of a conference call when it all happened. As it had become accustomed, when the United Nations could not contact one Tony Stark, they would go to Happy Hogan.
"You need to find him immediately!" Ross screamed down the line. "We are dealing with an international crisis. We cannot afford to have one of the United States most powerful pieces of weaponry missing in space."
The other men that sat at the holographic table agreed.
"As I said before," Happy suppressed the urge to yell back, "Tony has left the Earth's atmosphere. His suits are beyond the reach of any Stark satellites. Even if was my job to get you his location, I am unable to so."
"It is your job." One of the suited men replied, "You're head of security."
"Head of Stark Industries' security. Not of America's, and not of the worlds. And last I remember, since the Sokovia Accords have been under revision you have no jurisdiction over the Iron Man suits."
"Well-" Ross cut himself off.
At first, Happy had assumed it to be static. Distorted images from holographic displays, while far from common, were not unheard of. Major disturbances in the signal could cause such a thing. After working with Tony Stark for the last decade, Happy was very used to large disturbances of any kind. It became apparent, however, that this wasn't a signal issue when one of the government officials held up his crumbling arms. He quizzically studied the particles before the rest of his body followed suit. His evaporating body crashing to the ground was met by the cries of surprise from the other seven men.
Happy looked to the pair of assistants that were running the conference. He met the eyes of a young males intern. The barely twenty-one-year-old look to Happy confused before crumbling away and disappearing into dust. The girl next to him shrieked.
Looking back to the display, the head of security noticed that three others—including General Ross—had all followed suit. He looked to the females assistant, her eyes filled with sudden tears and her hands covering her horrified mouth.
"What just…" He asked to no one but himself.
They just… disappeared. That wasn't supposed to happen. People didn't crumble to dust and vanish. Right? How on Earth had that happened? Did Tony have something to do with this? He had heard something was happening in Wakanda. Was that linked to what had just happened?
So many things were buzzing around Happy's head for him to truly realise the horror of the situation.
As Peter picked up the phone he silently begged that it was Happy. Not someone else who was informing calling to let him know Happy had also vanished.
"Oh thank god." Came the response from down the line.
A weight lifted from Peter's shoulders. He wasn't completely alone, that was a relief.
"Happy, what's happening?"
"I don't know," Happy responded immediately as if he'd prepared for the question. "I've just got off the phone with Pepper, she says that as soon as I pick you up I'm needed upstate. I'm taking you with me, okay?"
"Alright," Happy's calm tone help Peter relax. If Happy wasn't freaking out then it meant that whatever had happened wasn't too bad. "I'm still at school."
"I'm not sure how long it'll take me to get to you. The traffic's atrocious, even with F.R.I.D.A.Y.'s quickest routes. I might be another half an hour."
"I can start walking towards you."
"Don't. It's too dangerous with all the crashes that have happened—shit." the squeal of breaks broke through the phone's speakers, "Just stay where you are. Is May at work?"
"I don't know." Once again, Peter had to fight the panic off. "I called her mobile and the hospital but no one's answered."
Ragged breathes climbed into Peter's lungs. What if May was gone too? Had she disappeared like everyone else? What would he do? He needed May. She was all he had left.
Happy cut Peter off. "Just don't think about it." Fear crept along the edges of Happy's voice. "I'll be there as soon as I can. We'll figure this out, I promise. Just try to stay calm."
Even though Happy would not see it, Peter nodded. "Okay." He said with a shaky breath.
"I have to make a few other calls. I'll let you know if anything else happens."
The call ended and Peter was left with his thoughts.
Pepper Potts had known Steve Rodgers for many years. For the past year, she hadn't been his biggest fan—especially after what happened in Siberia—but she still held hope that he was a good man. The Steve Rodgers she knew, the one that had worked with her fiancé, was a man who was both physically and mentally strong. He was everyone's rock. Never would Pepper imagine seeing him fall.
That was why seeing Captain America so broken was devastating.
"We were so close, but we still lost." The man wouldn't meet Pepper's eyes.
Sitting at a round table in the Avengers Compound, Steve stared off into some distant land. Perhaps he was reliving the final moments of the battle. The moments were Thanos snapped his fingers and then vanished to an unknown world.
"Can we get everyone back?" There was no hesitation nor uncertainty in Pepper's voice.
Steve took a deep breath and bought his hands to his face. Guilt and sorrow engulfed his entire composure—a stark contrast to Pepper's.
For the first time in hours, Steve turned and looked directly into Pepper's eyes. "I don't know."
When Happy finally made it through the chaos of Queens, Peter had been waiting for fifty-minutes. In that time, he had searched the web for information. It appeared that everyone was just as clueless as he was. He had tried to call Ned and MJ multiple times, even though he knew it was useless.
Uncharacteristically, Happy asked Peter to sit in the passenger seat. The long drive to the Avengers Compound was mostly silent. Peter did his best to ignore the constant glances Happy sent him. Though he didn't sound it over the phone, Happy was just as confused and scared as Peter was. It was easy to tell from the man's eyes.
When they eventually escaped the city, Happy floored it. The initial jump of speed had Peter almost falling out of his seat. He strapped his seatbelt in before Happy could ask.
"We were supposed to meet Pepper half an hour ago. And I'm sure Tony will cover any fines I cop."
Peter nodded, trusting that Happy knew what he was doing.
With Happy's driving and the deserted rural roads, the forty-five-minute trip became a twenty-minute one. The Compound, unlike the last time Peter had been there, was not full of buzzing life. Government agents were not walking in and out of doors. No representative of the press was banging on doors demanding interviews. There was no evidence that this facility had once been full of life.
The situation continued to feel more real for Peter. When he'd been standing in the school hallways a few hours before, nothing seemed real. Looking back, he was disconnected from the scene. Maybe that's why he hadn't done anything. Maybe that's why he had been so useless.
Deep down Peter knew that wasn't the case.
It made him feel better to think that way, though.
"Where is everyone?" Peter asked when he and Happy left the vehicle.
"Home, I assume." Happy responded firmly. Once again, he was doing his best to remain composed. "That or…"
Neither of them wanted the sentence to be finished.
Both Peter and the aforementioned man turned to Pepper Potts. Her hair was immaculate, her suit a reflection of perfection. The only thing that hinted the true despair she felt was the look in her eyes.
"Tell me you know what's going on." Happy desperately demanded.
Coloured drained from Pepper's face. She had prepared what she was going to say, but couldn't bring herself to form the words.
"I-" Her gaze drifted from Happy to the young man standing next to him. "You're-"
"Peter." He responded quickly.
"Right." Pepper looked at Peter with a whimsical gaze. She found it hard to believe that someone so young was Spiderman. "Tony's told me about you."
For some reason, Peter was surprised by this. "He has?"
Pepper returned to Happy. "I think-" She took a breath. "I think it would be best if Steve told you."
"Yes. The others too."
Peter switched his gaze between the two. Steve? As in Steve Rodgers? And the others. Were those the other 'rogue' Avengers? For some reason, this made Peter's heart sink. What had happened had been on the Avengers radar. Had they not been able to stop whatever had happened?
"You come too, Peter."
The teenager nodded and followed Pepper and Happy.
He was led into a large room with an equally large table. Sitting at that table were two fugitives, a god from another world, and a dead scientist. Peter stared in wonder at the four Avengers in front of him. They didn't display the awe Peter had expected. Instead, they looked lost. Desperate. Broken. Peter felt his heart sink. If the Avengers were this lost, how was he supposed to act?
"Happy." Came the voice of Captain America. It wasn't the commanding voice Peter heard in the PSA's. Nor was the one he's heard in Germany.
The Captains gaze fell to Peter. "Who's this?"
Peter wanted to introduce himself but felt the urge to shrink away when all eyes fell on him. Natasha Romanoff—the Black Widow—eyed him, and Bruce Banner—someone who had been declared dead years ago—looked over him quizzically. Thor sat in the corner gazing out the large floor to ceiling window. He knew he'd met the Avengers before. But he'd had his mask on then. For some reason that made all the difference.
"This is Peter." Happy answered when he noticed Peter's sudden lack of words. "He's with me."
Steve looked to Pepper silently asking if she wanted the kid in the room.
"He's fine," Pepper answered. "He can stay."
"What happened?" Happy suppressed the pent up anger he had towards Steve. He needed to know what the situation was, and what he needed to do to fix it.
Steve and Nat's eyes met. Natasha took a breath and looked at Happy.
"Have you ever heard of Infinity Stones?"
Later Peter would find himself sitting on the edge of a balcony staring off into the sunset. The Avengers… had lost. Peter didn't truly know how he felt about this revelation.
It had taken the four Avengers an hour to explain the full story. A crazed alien titan had been travelling the galaxy for years in search of stones that had the power to achieve anything. Thanos had planned to wipe half of the population of the universe from existence. And he had done it. He'd killed billions on Earth, and trillions across the galaxy.
May, Ned, and MJ. They were all dead.
Tears prickled at the edges of Peter's eyes. He tried to believe that this entire situation was just one, very long, dream. But it wasn't. No matter how many times Peter pinched his arm, and splashed cold water in his face, he wouldn't wake up. This was reality, and there was nothing he could do about it.
Everyone was gone. Just like that. Ned had been right behind him. MJ just a few rooms over. And May treating a patient. In a fraction of a second everyone he had ever loved was gone. And he had done nothing. He had stood there as people crumbled to ash before his eyes. He had stood shocked at the chaos around him. Peter hadn't even attempted to save anyone. He knew it was going to happen before it did—he Spidersense made sure of that. But he just stood there. And now everyone was dead because of it.
He tried his best to keep his grief at bay. The Avengers were doing everything they could to bring everyone back, and Peter would help wherever he could.
Right now the Avengers were inside trying to locate Tony Stark.
"The fact is that we have no information on what he was even planning." When Peter strained his hearing he could listen to the conversation that was happening two floors below. The Black Widows voice sounded again. "All we have is what Tony said to Pepper before he left Earth's atmosphere."
"What about that guy who was with him?" Bruce asked. "There was someone else chasing the aliens with Tony. I'm pretty sure he went up with Tony."
"Who?" That was Steve Rodgers.
"Was in a red suit. Had some string stuff coming out of his wrist."
"Do we know if he came back to Earth?" Natasha asked. "If we can get in contact with him then maybe he can tell us what Tony was planning."
"That's assuming he's even still alive."
The conversation went silent after Steve's final comment.
Peter was torn. Several months ago, Tony Stark had made it very clear that the other Avengers were not to know who Spiderman was. Happy had reminded him of this as earlier. But if he told the Avengers who he was, could he help?
Peter didn't know much. He didn't know what Tony Stark had been planning. And he knew nothing about the Aliens. All he knew was that he was supposed to protect the wizard. He had heard the wizard man say something about 'removing a dead's man spell being troublesome'. He hadn't heard much—he'd been occupied fighting off a large alien—but maybe it would be of some use.
Peter knew he could help. He knew he should help. But Tony Stark had trusted Peter with many things—many things that he'd failed to live up to. Could Peter risk disappointing the man by breaking the rule that was perhaps the easiest to keep to?
The internal struggle would continue for hours.
Peter knew that Happy was approaching long before he opened the balcony doors. The Head of Stark Security just looked at Peter for a moment. The boy had his backed turned to him as he sat on the railing, his legs dangling over the edge of the balcony.
"You should get down from there. Have something to eat."
Peter nodded. He didn't want to move but hunger had been clawing at his insides for the past half an hour.
As Peter walked inside Happy grabbed his shoulder. "Don't worry. The Avengers will figure this out."
Peter nodded and wondered whether he would even be any help if he told the Avengers he was Spiderman. He hadn't been able to do anything when the Decimation had happened, why would that have changed now?
Natasha Romanoff watched Happy and Peter from the shadows. The boy hadn't said much—something she felt was out of character—but she knew she had met him before. A quick search in Stark's file brought up the boy's basic information. When she tried to find more, access was denied. She had even tried using Pepper's profile, but received the same results.
Something was up about the kid, and Natasha was going to find out what it was.
Sorry this took so long to get up. I did have most of the fic written but after some feedback I got from the previous chapter I decided to rewrite the whole thing. This was a bit longer than what I hoped for but it's a lot better than the older version.
In other news, I'm looking for a beta. I have a few guidelines though.
-You must be fluent in English
-You must have experience in editing or have been a beta before
-You have published to this or another publishing site (this isn't a requirement but it will help)
If you're interested, hit me up at . I'll give you a sample to beta and we'll go from there.
Thanks for reading! The next chapter should be up in a week.