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Countdown to the End of the World

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Rhodey stands over him in the Mark II. Tony lets out a cough and tries to sit up, but fails to get far as burning searing pain crushes down on his chest. The palladium is causing more and more pain with every passing minute. He flinches, but no one sees it through his suit. Tony doesn’t need to see his friend’s face to know what he is thinking. His body language, and the way he doesn’t make sure Tony is okay, says it all. He is pissed. Rhodey has every right to be pissed, and hate him. On a normal day he would have felt bad for doing this to his friend, but not today. Not now, because it has been Tony's plan all along. It is a good plan. He has at best 48 hours before the poison pumping through his veins completely takes over. Tony did his research. He knows what Vanko told him was true. Tony knows the palladium in his blood stream will spread the black poison to every muscle in his body, and eat through his muscles, and veins. It will break down the all of his internal organs and corrode them. Slowly. He will be useless in 48 hours, probably lying on his back convulsing and going into shock, and in 72 hours he will be dead. Pepper will likely find his body covered in the crossword puzzle like burns under his skin, but she won't be sad. Tony had just spent the past hour making sure of that. Nobody is going to miss him, and that is how he wants it. 

Tony lets himself fall onto his back as his friend fires up his thrusters and leaves. He is alone now. That's the way it should be. He should be alone when the screams tear through him. There shouldn't be anyone there. It will just make it worse. Dying in someone's arms is the worst way to go. Tony doesn't want to make anyone suffer when the seizures and pain come to claim him. He is a superhero. Superheroes always keep the people's best interest at heart, and while he doesn't want to die alone screaming into oblivion he knows that this is the only way no one else suffers.

Finally Tony works up the strength to sit up. Every muscle in his body writhes and aches. He lurches forward in a twist of pain, and utters a groan. His body burns. Not like a fiery burn, no his body burns like acid... probably because acid is slowly killing him from the inside. His gut convulses, and he throws up. The muscles tightening cause a shooting pain to course through his body in an overwhelming pulse. He throws up again. 

 

Jarvis wishes he can power down. He wishes he didn't have to watch what Tony was doing to himself and what what was being done to him. He has seen Tony do many things. He has seen the man drink himself half to death out of depression and anxiety. He has seen him isolate himself. He has seen him suffer guilt for things he had no control over. Jarvis has seen a lot, but he has never seen Tony give up, at least not until now. Jarvis had watched the party with curiosity. He had watched Tony carefully. He had acted far more waisted than he actually was. Jarvis knows for a fact that Tony has a very high alcohol tolerance. The three sips Tony had taken from the bottle were not enough to get him as drunk as he was acting. Jarvis knows Tony is a good actor. It makes the AI sad. Tony has told no one he is dying, and the AI knows that he isn't going to. Jarvis knows that Tony just spent his last birthday getting rid of everyone who loves him, and trying to get them to hate him so that when they find him is approximately 56 hours they won't be sad. Jarvis doesn't tell Tony that there is a flaw in this logic. Rhodey, Pepper, and Happy love him. It will probably make them sadder when they realize what he tried to do tonight.

 

Tony fires up his thrusters and leaves the ruined house. He is going to go do something he actually enjoys. It’s his birthday, he is dying, and he has made sure no one will miss him. He is going to have a good time before it's time to go home and prepare himself for the waves of pain that will take over and eventually send him into shock. The shock will probably kill him before the palladium actually disintegrates the walls to his organs.

Tony is going to go enjoy some doughnuts on his last birthday.