So. There was a building on him. Well, most of a building. That was ... not as unusual as Tony would have liked, really. That was not something you should consider a normal part of your daily routine, was what he was saying.
Of course, he was Iron Man. And an Avenger. And one of exactly three of them that could probably survive having most of a building landing on him, and they'd needed Thor to do the whole shock-and-awe thing, and no-one was suggesting that the Hulk go hold up a collapsing building for as long as possible, because while he probably would have, if something had knocked him out at the wrong moment, or he transformed back ... Also, collapsing buildings on top of the Hulk didn't tend to end well. For much of anyone. So.
Still. It was not his favourite part of the gig, was his point. Lying buried in a pressurised tin can waiting for the world to stop falling was ... not the part of the job you advertised on career day. If the Avengers ever did career days. And no, he was not going to suggest it.
"Hey, JARVIS? You with me, buddy?" He should be, there hadn't been anything in the building's construction to block a signal, but ...
"Always, sir," came the soft reply, and Tony let himself slump a little in relief. Not that he was ever, ever going to admit it, but the thought that he might be trapped down here alone for however long to took to get the building off him was ... not pleasant. "I would advise staying very still, sir."
Tony paused. JARVIS didn't usually state the obvious. Well, not without sarcasm, anyway. "Huh?"
"Master Banner is coming for you," JARVIS informed him. Delicately.
"And ... by 'Master Banner', you mean ...?"
"The Hulk, sir."
Ah. Well, that was ... slightly unexpected. He wasn't sure if it was comforting, or really, really alarming. The Hulk was not known for his ... cautious and careful tendencies, when doing things like pulling a building off you.
He was usually pushing the building onto you, for a start.
"Um. Why?" he asked, slowly. Feeling a little behind the curve, for once. "I mean, don't we usually go the old-fashioned route for excavations?" You know, with cranes and dig parties and stuff. As opposed to having the big green guy jump right in.
"Yes, sir," JARVIS agreed. With that particular tone that meant he thought someone, most probably Tony, had been very, very stupid about something. "Apparently, no-one thought to inform Master Banner of the part of the plan that involved dropping a building onto you." The 'because it was the stupid part of the plan' went unsaid. Mostly. "He is ... somewhat irate about it, sir."
Oh. Right. Because that was exactly what his day needed added to it. An irate Hulk.
"The others?" he asked. Hopefully, but not exactly optimistically.
The blandness in JARVIS' tone was withering. "They are perforce staying well back from the excavation site, sir. To avoid being accidentally crushed. Or possibly to avoid explaining to the Hulk why they dropped a building on you. Sir."
Tony winced. Okay, okay, so it hadn't been the smartest move he'd ever made. And he probably shouldn't have ... wheedled the Cap into agreeing to it, mostly by virtue of being already in the building when he'd suggested it, and also pointing out that the bad guy was getting away, and what was Cap going to do? Pick a corner and hold the thing up himself? Besides. If they tipped it just right - structural engineering, always a handy field to browse once in a while - they could cut off his escape, and handily smash his power source, all in one go, and wouldn't that make life easier for everyone?
Well, except for Tony, but four storeys' worth of concrete was totally doable, especially when he knew right where to place himself to avoid the brunt of it. All it really should have meant was a few hours waiting for the diggers to arrive, that was all. Except for the part where dropping a building on yourself without warning apparently really annoyed the Hulk. And, also, his AI, who seemed to be absolutely on Bruce's side, right now.
And if both the Hulk and JARVIS were in agreement ... Right. Stupid move. Got it.
Staying still now.
"One more suggestion, sir?" JARVIS said. Apparently taking Tony's silence for apology-slash-agreement, because this one was much less snippy.
"Hit me," Tony said, and yeah, that was apologetic. He could absolutely apologise, if he needed to.
"... I would advise you to dial up the external speakers, sir," JARVIS replied, after a second. Much more gently. Huh. Okay. Apology accepted. "And start talking. It will both give him somewhere to home onto, and also let him know when to start being more careful."
Right. Okay. That, we can do. Dialing up ... now. "Hello, ladies and gentlemen, this is Radio Iron Man, with your host, Tony Stark. Tonight's topic of discussion: The Structural Underpinnings of Building Collapse."
What? He never said he was going to be gracious about it.
And as it turned out, the one advantage of excavation via Hulk was that what would take a normal dig crew anywhere from an hour to six hours, took the Hulk around about twenty minutes at the outside. Though the clean-up was going to be horrendous. But it was hard to care about that when the first crack of daylight filtered down through to the HUD, and Tony could stop thinking about how very, very badly he wanted to move before his butt went permanently to sleep. (Also, stop thinking about pressure, and suit ruptures, and what it would feel like to be slowly crushed to death and/or suffocate, but ... lets not go there, hmm?).
Of course, the bellowing roar that filtered down with the daylight was a little less welcome, but Tony would take that, too. The Hulk made a surprisingly appreciative audience for a lecture on the finer points of demolition and directional collapses and structural weak points. Given that it was Bruce in there somewhere, and the Hulk was consequently a whole hell of a lot smarter than most people gave him credit for, Tony strongly suspected that that was going to come back to bite him in the ass at some point, but hey. No worries.
At least next time, if the Hulk was the one dropping the building, he was unlikely to end up under it. Barring that the Hulk was dropping it on him, of course.
He should probably get the faceplate up, he thought. Once the weight was lifted off the front of the suit. He should get the faceplate up, so he could make with the apologetic smile, and the nice, breezy, sorry-for-worrying-you grin that ... never worked on Pepper, funnily enough, but at least had to be worth a try ...
Except, apparently, the Hulk had no plans to wait around for that. Because first there was daylight, and then, like, five seconds later, there was a giant green hand, and then there was suddenly all the light in the universe, whiting out the HUD for a second before JARVIS could compensate, and then ...
The Hulk was prying him, to the tune of a thousand snapping metal joints, up out of his niche.
"Hey! Hey, hey, hey!" He banged on the thick green wrist above his waist, peaking up into a yell as something in the leg sections snapped alarmingly. "Ow! Fuck. Bruce, be fucking careful, will you?"
The Hulk snarled viciously at him. Apparently not at all appreciating the complaints, but sweet fuck, Tony officially did not care. One piece! He needed those limbs!
"Yes, yes, whatever the hell, Big Guy. Go easy. Leg, leglegleg! Mind the leg!"
The Hulk ... paused, shifting his grip to cradle Tony's torso in the crook of one elbow, reaching down with the other hand to fish around for his legs, and extract them more gently. Because - didn't Tony tell you? - the Hulk was actually a whole lot smarter than people thought. If not really any less angry than people thought.
"Stupid," the Hulk rumbled angrily at him. Tony flipped the faceplate up to growl back.
"Me or you?" he snapped, wincing at the screech of metal coming free. Yeah, that left leg section was fucked. The metal had crumpled alarmingly. Though, now that he looked at it, possibly it had done that before the Hulk. Huh. He'd wondered about the squishy feeling down there. Not his actual leg, thankfully. The suit could stand up to a hell of a lot more crumpling before his limbs started to be in real danger. But there was a fluid leak somewhere down there. And a sheared joint around the ankle, from the looks of it. Getting that off was going to be a bitch ...
"You," the Hulk grumbled, and, wow, there was a whole hell of a lot of Bruce in that angry, exasperated expression. Glaring down at Tony as he shifted him up into his arms properly, one massive hand tucked protectively under the damaged leg. "Stupid," he repeated, as Tony hissed furiously at the sudden pressure.
"Yes, yes," he agreed, clenching his fists inside the gauntlets. "JARVIS agrees with you, I get the point, fuck. Holy shit, that hurts!" Like the worst case of pins 'n' needles ever, wow!
"Iron Man!" Cap's voice, through the comms. The rest of the team were apparently still keeping their distance, and Tony thought he detected a distinct note of worry in the Captain's voice. Wow. Bruce really must have been pissed. "Do you need medical attention?"
"What? No!" he growled, still focusing on attempting to flex his foot, testing the range of motion. Not that bad, actually, if exceptionally painful. "I need a wrench. Possibly a lance. And, shit, also a no. 5 iron, while I'm at it."
"What's the golf club for?" Clint, also over the comms. Being vastly amused, the bastard, from the sounds of it.
"So that when I catch up to that son of a bitch, I can beat him to death," Tony growled. He did not drop buildings on himself without a reason, thank you very much, and that bastard was going to seriously pay for giving him one. Who did that, seriously? Who went into a fight thinking 'this isn't going to be over until one of them has to drop the building to stop it'?
Though, okay, Tony was pretty sure they hadn't expected someone to actually consider dropping the building. Since it was, you know, usually suicide. Also, difficult to accomplish effectively on short notice. Precision drops usually took more planning.
"Go with a putter, then. Better for close range," Natasha noted mildly. And creepily. "Though you will find it difficult regardless. He made the mistake of getting between the Hulk and you."
"Yeah," Clint chipped in. "And then laughed about it."
"Indeed," Thor growled. In fine temper, from the sounds of things. Tony ... had a moment of vague bewilderment, really. "An ignoble act. And a foolish one." A sub-vocal growl. "He deserved his fate."
Tony ... blinked. Absently falling still, looking up into the Hulk's fierce, and mildly desperate, expression. Bruce tucked him closer, some of the anger slipping away from that great, green face, something soft and pained and relieved coming in to replace it.
"Huh," Tony said, softly. Nearly tentatively. "So ... JARVIS wasn't the only one worried, then, I take it?" Which was weird, it was really weird, but ...
"Stupid," the Hulk growled again, cradling Tony close as he picked his way down off the heap of rubble that had recently been an evil lair. Apparently, he felt this adequately summed up his feelings on the matter.
"For once," Natasha said softly, clipped and suddenly very Russian. "The Doctor and I are in agreement."
"Amen, and hallelujah," murmured Clint.
And, huh. Okay. So ... Maybe it turned out having a building dropped on you wasn't the worst thing that could happen to a guy. Who knew? Tony shook his head, and flipped the faceplate back down so he could grin softly to himself in private.
Well, mostly private.
"You know I'll always love you best, sir," JARVIS noted softly, in the privacy of the suit comm. With a note of seriousness in his voice, for all the amusement of it. "You are always in my thoughts. Though, I must admit ... I do appreciate their assistance, in this matter."
"Yeah," Tony murmured, grinning faintly. "Yeah, buddy. You know what? So do I."
So did he.