Disclaimer: I own squat.

Sorry this update has taken so long... Like every other update... Oops

Chapter Nineteen: Into Darkness

Tony's eyes opened, a blurry figure consuming most of his vision before he shut them again against the light. Someone was talking but Tony was still working out what the fuck was going on.

"-ony... Tony! Can you hear me? Are you awake? Tony?"

"Hmm"

Tony heard a sigh. "Can you open your eyes for me?"

"No," Tony mumbled.

"Please, Tony."

Tony cracked open his eyes slowly."Wht?"

"Tony, do you know where you are? Do you know what's going on?

"'Vngers Towr. Yer wakin' mh up," Tony slurred. He lifted his hand and gently rubbed his eyes. Taking in the sight of his companion, Tony asked "Are you 'kay, Bruce?"

"Yeah, things have been pretty tough while you've been out."

Deciding now would be a perfect time for coffee, Tony swung his legs to the side of the bed. "What're you talking about?"

"You've been... unconscious... for quite a while."

"How long?" Tony began to stand.

"Seven weeks." Tony's legs buckled underneath, the muscles not quite ready to support weight just yet after lying still for so long. Bruce managed to catch Tony before he could face plant onto the floor.

"What?" Tony asked, slightly alarmed. The memories came flooding back to him and Tony had to sit down slowly onto the floor.

"You went into a coma seven weeks ago, Tony. I was just coming in to check on you when I saw your eyes moving."

"What happened?"

"We don't really know. We had some tests ordered up at the hospital but they all said you were just fine. Do you have any idea of what happened?"

Tony paused. "No."

Bruce didn't seem to notice. "What is your last memory?"

"I fell asleep in the lab. Steve carried me up to my room, I think. There was a thunderstorm and I got scared. I asked Steve to stay with me, and then I fell asleep. That's it."

"Well, it doesn't seem like you've lost any memories so my worries of a brain injury can be put to rest. Could something have happened to your arc reactor to make something like this happen?"

"Not that I can think of. My arc pretty much only deals with my heart, nothing else."

"Alright... Well, I want to check you over and make sure you're okay. After that we can tell... we can tell the others you woke up."

* STONY FOREVER *

Tony sat unstaring at the window, a light rain pelting the glass. It was late; any lights left on had been dimmed by Jarvis. He had forgotten the memory about Nat and all of the ones afterwards.

"Tony?"

Tony flinched, remembering his conversations with Loki.

"Are you okay?"

"I lied."

"What?" Steve took a hesitant seat next to Tony.

"I lied to Bruce... about what happened."

"Why would you do that?... Do you know what happened to you?"

"I remember things, things from when I was unconscious," Tony continued.

"Tony, you were in a coma. They were probably just dreams."

"I remember what you said to me... That night in the hospital? I remember."

Steve's mouth opened and closed, unsure of what to say. "Oh."

"I remember other things, too. I learned things, things I wasn't supposed to see or hear. Secrets."

"What secrets?"

"I also had time to think," Tony ignored Steve's last comment. "Plenty of time to think about what I was doing, about what I should be doing."

"Tony, what-?"

"I'm leaving, Steve."

"Wait, where are you going?" Tony stood and began walking away. "Tony, wait, what are you doing?" Steve got up to follow Tony but stopped when the man turned to face him.

"Goodbye, Steve."

Steve stood in the middle of the room dumbstruck as Tony walked away silently into the darkness.

* STONY FOREVER *

Tony walked away from Steve, every fiber in his being begging him to turn back. He took the elevator down to the garage; mind still processing what he was about to do.

Tony stopped the car in front of a beautiful mansion out in the middle of absolute fucking nowhere. He walked up the steps, glanced around once, and then knocked on the large wooden door. The door swung lazily open and Tony walked inside.

"Anthony." Tony looked to the top of the grand staircase in front of him. "I'm so glad you could make it," the speaker grinned.

* STONY FOREVER *

"Bruce, I think Tony left."

"He just woke up from his coma last week, Steve. Where would he have gone?"

"I don't know. I was speaking with him a few minutes ago. He was talking about remembering stuff while he was unconscious, learning secrets and things."

"Like an out of body experience?"

"I guess, I don't know. But then he said he had a lot of time to think about what he's been doing and what he needs to do instead. I didn't know what he meant. Then he said goodbye and he just left."

"He shouldn't be off on his own, not yet anyways."

"We need to go and find him, Bruce," Steve tried not to let the rising panic seep into his voice.

Bruce nodded. "Is anyone else here?"

"No, Coulson and Clint went back to the Helicarrier for a meeting or something."

"Right, well, I guess we'll have to find him on our own."

* STONY FOREVER *

It had been a little over a week since Tony had left the tower. Bruce and Steve hadn't been able to find a trace of him, neither had SHIELD when they looked for him. Jarvis had apparently been shut down sometime before Tony had left, and neither Bruce nor any of SHIELD's hackers could get him back online to ask about his creator.

A call had come in while the remaining Avengers had been on the Helicarrier trying to get any information about Tony's whereabouts they could; Loki had been spotted near the edge of the city. Clint, Bruce, and Steve boarded a Quinjet and set off towards the sighting. As they landed, Steve spotted the first of ten mutant wolf like creatures. Overgrown and razor sharp teeth didn't allow the mouth of the creature to close, it's dark fur was missing in patches, it's tail was thick with muscles and probable heavy enough to be used as a weapon. Blood red eyes instantly transfixed on its new prey, sharp claws clicking on the asphalt road as it ran towards the men.

Clint quickly scaled a building, finding a good place to shoot from and Bruce's shirt split as the Hulk let out a frightening roar. The grotesque mutts descended upon the remaining Avengers as best they could. Two knocked straight through the wall of the building Clint was on top of, racing towards the staircase that led the way to the roof.

Five other creatures went for the Hulk, two of which were attacked immediately. The Hulk roared with pain and anger as their claws and teeth dug into his skin, pushing one of the wolves away from himself while reaching for the one latched onto his back. Clint let loose arrow after arrow into the mutt's backside until it dropped lifelessly to the ground. The other three wolves after the Hulk held a loose circle around him as they planned a better strategy to fight the enormous green man.

The last three wolves set their sights on the lone Captain. With no Tony to get his back, Steve turned sharply to glance at each wolf as they too began to circle their prey. One of the wolves gave a sharp bark and as Steve turned to look at it, the wolf behind Steve lunged. Steve turned in time to raise his shield in front of him, the impact of the furry body pushing him backwards a few feet. The wolf charged him and Steve remained still until he suddenly smashed his shield into the mutt's nose, a spray of red blood falling to the ground accompanying a wet squelching noise. The heavy body of the wolf fell to the ground and did not move again, only serving to anger the remaining two wolves nearby Steve.

"Shit!"

"Hawkeye, what is it?" Steve asked over the com, not daring to turn his eyes from the wolves in front of him.

"They're coming up the stairs, I can hear them. I don't have anything to barricade the doors... Looks like I'm coming to you, Cap."

"Be careful, Clint."

Clint reached behind him and grabbed an arrow, quickly notching it in place. Without sparing any time, Clint let the arrow go, running towards the edge of the building before it even hit it's target. The arrow pierced through cement and steel just as Clint jumped from the building, the snapping jaws of one of the wolves catching his arm by chance. The animal yelped, it's momentum pulling it over the edge of the building next to Clint. Halfway down the line and Clint heard the loud thump as the creature hit the pavement below.

Clint jumped from the line a few feet of the ground, tucking and rolling with his injured arm held securely in place.

"Clint, you make it alright?"

"One of the bastards got my arm, I can still shoot but you won't want to get too close to anything I'm shooting at." Clint breathed, leaning against the building behind him for support.

"I'm on my way over to you. I'm about two blocks away."

"How's the big guy going?"

"He's down to two wolves but they're taking their toll on him."

"Fuck... How are you doing, Cap?"

"I'm right here." Clint turned to see Steve next to him, his back to the building as well and his eyes fixed on the two approaching wolves. Clint heard the other wolf run back through the other side of the building, large paws scrabbling on chunks of rubble. The three wolves quickly surrounded the two men, forming a tight semicircle to close them in with the building.

"What the?" Steve trailed off as he spotted the Hulk approaching the two men, a small vial sticking out the side of his neck as he carried the bodies of the other two wolves in his hand, their carcasses dragging on the asphalt. The Hulk stumbled, blinking his eyes slowly before collapsing in a heap.

"Clint, the Hulk is down. Someone else is here."

"Yup." Steve turned to look at Clint, but the other man's head was pointing to the sky. Floating above them, clad in his usual garb, was Loki.

"Greetings, asshat!" Clint called out.

Loki glared at Clint but did not move to attack him.

"So, what're you gonna do now that you don't have your little alien friends to attack Manhattan anymore? You decide to see if mutts would work any better?"

Loki sneered. "No," he practically purred. "I think I'll just let my new friend help me in my plans."

Steve spotted the Iron Man suit a few blocks behind Loki and fast approaching.

Clint scoffed. "What dumbass-" Clint cut off as Iron Man stopped to hover next to Loki not one foot away. The suit's arms raised, pointing towards Clint and Steve as the gauntlets quickly charged up.

"How did you get his suit?" Steve demanded, his eyes narrowing at Loki. The faceplate of the suit slid open and locked into place.

"Tony?"

A/N: Any thoughts? I didn't really like this chapter but I wanted to have something to post... Please send me a review or any suggestions you may have, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks! -A