Tony finds himself in his lab, but something is off. This is the Malibu lab and the Tower lab and the half-remembered pieces of a dozen other labs. The edges are fuzzy, but there is no time to wonder. No time to smile as three bots (not one) come rolling toward him. A roar sounds outside - a roar so loud and deep it echoes in the broken space where the arc-reactor used to be. The Hulk.
The wall shatters and momentarily Tony is falling into the sea, falling from the top of the Tower, falling to the floor with only minutes until the shrapnel shreds his heart. His lip is bleeding, but otherwise he's fine. He's always fine. And then from the enormous hole walks in Bruce. Except there's something wrong with him.
The tilt of his chin and the lay of his shoulders and the look in his eyes. It's like if the world were canted half an inch to the right. There's something wrong; this isn't Bruce. "I would have to agree." Whipping around Tony can almost hear his neck crack. And that's nothing compared to the kick in the chest he feels at what he see. Tony's Science Bro sitting on a lab bench swinging his heels with a shy grin just touching his lips. "It's been a while hasn't it?"
It has - three years or so. And more then anything that let's him know he's dreaming. "Same old Tony. You never take responsibility for your actions! I want to -" And suddenly the fake Banner is several feet off the ground as the Hulk growls into his face. Except Bruce continues to kick his heels twenty feet away as he plays with the Hulk plushy Tony gave him years ago. Maybe Pepper was right and he needed to see a shrink. Nah, it's just dream logic, right?
"I -" "You shut up! Hulk hate liars! Tin Man friend! No hurt him!" The fake Bruce grunts and suddenly there are two Hulks - one red and one green. "Him work for Ross!" "Him no work for Hydra!" "Him ruin everything!" "No! You ruin everything! Everyone ruin everything! Puny Banner run stupid test! Puny Ross try use Hulk! Puny SHIELD try use Hulk! Puny Witch let Hulk loose in city! Puny Widow push Banner off cliff! No one care ‘bout Banner or Hulk - only see tool!"
And with each shout the Red Hulk shrinks until it's child-sized and as intangible as a dream upon waking. The Hulk growls before picking up a rather expensive piece of equipment and flinging it to the side. Shaking his enormous head he steps back huffing. Looking toward Tony and then back to the tiny red figure his expression drops, "Tin Man give Banner lab. Tin Man give Hulk trust. And We -" "We left him holding the bag after Ultron even though there were many actors involved in that situation. Wouldn't you agree Wanda?"
And suddenly Tony is gone, lost beneath the black waters of a thoughtless sleep. There is only Vision and the Scarlet Witch standing before him on a flickering plane of consciousness. "Why are you here Vision?" "I could ask you the same. You don't belong here Wanda." The slender girl - the slender young woman sighs and then stalks away before stomping back. Flickers of light dance at the ends of her fingers.
"He needs to be taught a lesson. I mean he - do you know he got upset with Steve for not telling him HYDRA killed his parents? It was years ago -" "And how long ago did your parents die Wanda? And how many people were you willing to kill if it meant revenge? How many died in Johannesburg, Wanda?" Her eyes widen before her lips curl back from a teeth like a dog ready to strike. "That's different and you know it!"
Her words are less of a statement then a hiss of pure venom dribbling over her sharp, white teeth. She resembles nothing so much as a rabid fox backed into a corner. A sharp shake of her head and then, "He doesn't – The only reason he worked with Ross is because he didn’t want to feel guilty anymore.” The Vision studies her before floating back, “And why are you here with the Avengers? And why did you leave with Mr. Barton? And would Zemos have existed or young Mr. Spencer have died if not for your need for vengeance?”
It's not the questions, but the look in his eyes - something worse than disappointment. Because there is nothing left of the light she used to inspire. Screaming she unleashes a bolt of red lightning. And her hands close tight in regret a second later. Regret that curdles with something like fear (rage) as the bolt fades from existence not even half-way to him. “You hold no power here Wanda, but if you continue to stalk Sir’s slumber… Do not force my hand Wanda.” Grasping her elbows tight enough to draw blood if she were in the flesh the Scarlet Witch shakes her head as she steps back.
“You can’t protect him Viz. No one can – he is finally going to get what is coming to him. He killed my parents. He killed my brother. He’s a murderer and I will have justice for me and my brother and Steve and Clint and all the others. It’s only fair.” With that final word she’s gone and Vision is left to consider his options. His shoulders slump as he fades away.
The next morning Tony wakes more rested then he’s felt in a while. The smell of pancakes comes drifting in and he can hear Rhodey chatting via Skype with Pepper and Happy. It seems like it’s going to be a good day, but – “Fri activate protocol Orwell. I think it’s time me and Brucie finally had a talk.” They also need to work something out regarding the Accords, because fuck if that’s going away. Still pancakes and Rhodey and … Today is going to be a good day. Licking his lips he's surprised to taste salt, but shrugs it off as he gets up missing the blood dotting his pillow.