The mission had been been awful, gone to shit right off the bat and getting steadily worse minute by minute.
Casualties were unavoidable, though the team tried to keep them to a minimum. An attempt had been made to avoid bringing down entire buildings, but between the Hulk being loose and the Captain’s arguably unnecessary habit of just leaping through windows and walls instead of using doors like a normal person– well there was quite a bit of rubble by the time they managed to put an end to the mayhem.
Tony had the Stark Disaster Relief team en route before the Quinjet had even taken off from the scene and by the time they all made it back to Compound, the first members of the relief team were on site trying to work through the damage and help those who immediately needed help. .
There were groans and grimaces as the team struggled out of the jet and into the Compound, curses and muffled cries as they dropped one by one onto couches and chairs or in Clint’s case– face down onto the floor to groan into the hardwood something unintelligible about his arms falling off..
“Alright guys, come here and let me take a look at you.” Tony was always the first one to go and get first aid supplies post battle and today was no exception. He brought along bandages and pain pills and a case of water, tossing everyone a bottle before he knelt down to take a look at Bruce first. “How you doing, big guy? Just some bumps and bruises? When you de-hulked you sort of splatted on to some busted concrete–”
“My bad, Brucie-bear.” Sam lifted his hand tiredly. “I know I was on Bruce catching duty today but I couldn’t get over there fast enough.”
“It’s fine.” Bruce waved him off. “I’ve got a headache and that’s about it, so no harm no foul.”
“I’ll get you some tea.” Tony jumped back up and jogged towards the kitchen to start a cup of tea, returning with a cold compress for Bruce’s head, tsking over a scrape at the doctors temple. “Sit tight for a few minutes, alright? You want me to put a bandaid on your cut or anything?”
“It’ll heal.” Bruce grunted, but he sighed and leaned into the touch when Tony fussed at his hair for a minute, brushing the unruly curls back so they weren’t in his eyes. “Thank you, Tony.”
Next up was Sam, whose knuckles were torn and bloody from a fight that had gotten too close for comfort after he’d ran out of ammo. Tony cleaned them as best he could, picking gravel out of the deeper ones before soothing the swollen, busted joints with cooling medicated cream and wrapping Sam’s hands and up around his wrist tightly.
“Did you break your wrist?” He asked then, eyeing the uncomfortable angle to the bone and Sam shook his head muttering, “Just a sprain.”
“I’ll get you an ice pack.” Tony decided, already on his way back to the kitchen to dig around in the freezer. “Is ibuprofen going to work today or do you want some of the good stuff?”
Sam cracked a grateful smile. “Always the good stuff, Tony. Thank you.”
“Me next, me next, me next.” Clint whimpered pitifully, then shrieked when Natasha kicked out at him. “Ow! Watch the ribs!”
“I thought it was your arms. Or your shoulders.” Natasha retorted, opening her knife and slitting the leg of her suit from knee to ankle. “Or are you just a whole ball of whiny today?”
“You’re a whole ball of bitchy today.” Clint retorted, slapping her foot away when she tried to kick him again. “Leave me alone, Widow.”
“Calm down kids.” Tony stepped over Clint and handed Nat a glass of water that wasn’t so much water as it was several shots of hard alcohol topped off by a few ice cubes. “Is your leg an emergency Tasha, or can I deal with Legolas first?”
“Not an emergency.” she confirmed, tipping the glass back and draining most of it. “Just need a handful of stitches and maybe another of shot of this particular good stuff–” she shook the glass. “–and I’ll be good to go.”
“Lovely.” Tony said dryly, and crouched down next to Clint. “Alright Clint, where does it hurt?”
“Literally everywhere.” Clint fussed, but even Natasha gasped a little when Tony helped the archer pull his shirt off and they all saw the mass of bruises across his shoulders and down his back. “Falling from buildings isn’t super fun, how come no one caught me? We call catch Tony when he falls. Sam, where were you on that one? I thought you were on catching duty today.”
“I was busy trying to catch Bruce.” Sam snorted, and Bruce added, “But you didn’t catch me either.” and Clint finished, “Big man with wings? You’re basically useless.”
“If my hands didn’t hurt so bad, I’d punch you for that.” Sam threatened and Clint made a face. “Call me useless? You’re basically Robin Hood.”
“Hey.” Clint pointed a finger in Sam’s direction, which was as disgruntled as he could act with Tony working at the bruises on his shoulder. “I’m not Robin Hood. I don’t wear tights.”
“You sort of wear tights.” Tony said mildly, pressing at Clint’s ribs to make sure nothing shifted too far or snapped when it wasn’t supposed to. “I don’t know how you move in those leggings.”
“They aren’t leggings.” Clint huffed, groaning over a particularly tender spot. “They are streamlined utility pants. Also, what the hell are you putting on my back, it smells like a junkyard.”
“Yeah, it smells terrible but it will help with the swelling.” Tony squirted more of the gel on Clint’s back. “Anything feel broken? I checked your ribs and I think you’re okay there.”
“Nothing’s broken.” Clint mumbled, his words muffled in the floor. “I counted my bones, I think they’re all there.”
“Alright, you’ll be fine.” Tony snagged a pillow from the couch and pushed it under Clint’s head before moving over to Natasha, eyeing the gash on her leg nervously. “Just a few stitches, huh?”
“Just a few.” Nat flopped back onto the couch, holding the cool glass up to her forehead. “But if you don’t want to do it–”
“I’ve stitched you up enough times to know how to do it.” Tony hummed, prodding at the cut a few times to make sure nothing was–ick– oozing before cleaning it gently. He ripped open the package holding the sterile needle and thread and glanced up one more time. “You want me to numb you up?”
“I don’t have any feeling there anyway, remember the shrapnel from a few years ago?” Natasha waved him off. “Just do it, can’t take more than ten stitches. I’m fine.”
Steve grimaced and looked away at the first prick of the needle, slouching in his chair and scrubbing his hands down his face. He was less hurt than the other members of the team, but still battered and sore and cranky as all get out over how badly the mission had gone. Every moment from the mission was running round and round in his head as he tried to catalog what had gone wrong when, what they would need to do next to time to make sure that sort of thing didn’t go wrong again.
Steve needed a good run to work out some of the leftover energy from fighting, then a shower to wash the ick from his hair and from under his nails and then he was going to–
“Easy does it, Cap.” Soft fingers were gliding through his hair then, and Steve closed his eyes automatically as Tony felt around his scalp for any large bruises, any cuts he might not have noticed. He’d jumped through at least two different windows today and had been thrown through another so it wouldn’t be the first time there’d been glass in his hair or stuck in his skin.
“All clean, Spangles.” Tony patted him on the shoulder. “You should take a shower then do a few laps in the pool so you don’t feel so anxious, I can see the wheels in your head churning and I know you’re stressing out about this whole thing, but it wasn’t your fault. Sometimes things just suck. We’re fighting super villians and their minions for gods sake, we can’t be expected to know everything that’s going to happen. Take a swim, stop worrying about it, and then some sleep, yeah?”
“Sure thing, Tony.” Steve smiled tiredly up at him. “What would we do without you?”
“Have to get real jobs and pay for your own stuff.” Tony said flatly, but he winked and started cleaning up the supplies. “Everybody else go take showers and try to get some sleep too. I’ll order dinner for about eight and have JARVIS wake you up, alright?”
“Thank you Tony.”
“See you in bit.”
“Love you Tony.”
One by one the team shuffled out of the living room, heading for their own beds while Tony cleaned up and ordered some dinner to be delivered. Once that was done, he headed directly down to his lab.
“Sir?” JARVIS’s voice pitched in alarm the moment Tony stepped into the room, the full body scans at the door showing the AI exactly which injuries Tony had sustained during the battle. “Sit down immediately.”
“I’m trying.” Tony wheezed, his steps faltering now that he was out of view of the team. His jacket came off slowly, painfully, dropping onto the floor and smearing the white tile with red from the hole in his side that hadn’t stopped bleeding yet.
“Fuck.” he slumped into the closest chair and put his head in his hands. “Dum-E? I need a first aid kit pronto.”
“You need a hospital.” JARVIS said disapprovingly. “I’ll call an EMT–”
“Nope, I’m fine.” Tony groaned when his shoulder pulled uncomfortably, rifling through a nearby cabinet for a shot of lidocaine. “Just gonna numb the hell up and then slap a few stitches in it and call it a day.”
“You should at least warn the others that you will be out of commission–”
“Nope.” Tony interrupted again. “They don’t need to know, they’d only worry. By the way? We need to work on the response speed of my suit. I took a hit and the nanos didn’t reform fast enough to protect my side, which is why I’m currently bleeding out on my–” Tony’s vision swam as he got suddenly light headed. “– hey look at that. I am getting blood all over my very expensive shoes. Say JARVIS, I think maybe you should call that EM—”
Tony came to in his own bed, groggy and unsure of what had happened, staring up in confusion at the huddle of concerned faces around him.
“Hey guys.” he rasped. “What uh– what happened? Is everything okay? Did I miss dinner?”
“Did you miss dinner?” Steve was wearing his patented Captain America scowl of disapproval. “I was in the shower when JARVIS came online to tell me you needed some help in the lab!”
“And when we got down there–” from Sam, whose scowl of disapproval was nearly as quelling as Steve’s. “– we found your dumb ass passed out on the floor, bleeding from your side with your stupid robot bumping you in the head with a first aid kit!”
“Dum-E isn’t–” Tony paused. “Alright, well he didn’t have to hit me in the head with the first aid kit I guess. Is that why I have a headache?”
“The headache is from your less than graceful splat from your chair.” Bruce elbowed his way in and propped Tony up far enough help him take a drink. “I saw the video feed from the lab. You were literally complaining about bleeding out on your ridiculous shoes, then just pitched forward and face planted. You’re lucky you didn’t break your nose.”
“And for the record?” Clint pushed Bruce aside, groaning and gasping as he tried to crawl up on the bed with his injured ribs, settling next to Tony and patting at his thigh. “I feel very guilty for bitching about my arms being sore when you had a hole the size of a half dollar in your side.”
“I had to stitch you up.” Natasha finally spoke from the foot of the bed, her eyes wide and face pale and Tony frowned seeing the usually unshakable spy looking so scared. “I thought you were going to bleed out and there was no way we could get you to a hospital fast enough to save you.”
“It’s alright Nat” Tony grimaced as he tried to shift to share more of the pillow with Clint. “That didn’t happen, so everything’s fine.”
“The only reason you didn’t bleed out is because JARVIS unlocked that super secret cabinet for us, the one where you keep the toys you don’t want us knowing about.” Sam spread another blanket over Tony’s legs and Bruce offered him another drink of water. “Nat stitched you up as best as she could then we gave you a shot of whatever that silver stuff was in the vial and–”
“JARVIS, you let them use the NanoSkin?” Tony interrupted. “That’s still in a testing phase and–”
“–And it tested fine.” JARVIS said smoothly. “I instructed them to give you only enough to reknit your skin together, not enough to heal the wound completely since we don’t know how they will affect your arc reactor.”
“Oh.” Tony sighed and went a little limp. “Okay. Well thanks guys. Good teamwork.”
“You could have died, Tony.” From Steve, his scowl sliding into something mournful. “Don’t be that stupid again.”
“Seriously.” Clint was warm and solid against Tony and he started to drift back towards sleep when the archer pressed closer. “I always forget you can get hurt, flying around in that big ol’ tin can but you don’t have to remind me by nearly dying, huh? Take about ten to twenty percent off the top there.”
“Sure thing.” Tony yawned and Natasha bent down to kiss his forehead, whispering, “We wouldn’t be a family if we lost you, Tony.”
“Yeah.” Sam cut in. “And Bruce is so cranky, we’d all run away from home if you weren’t around so unless you want to be directly responsible for a group of homeless Avengers causing trouble in the city, maybe don’t go dying on us.”
“That’s quite enough from you.” Bruce frowned at Sam, and left a fresh water bottle on Tony’s end table. “Get some sleep Tony, don’t worry about anything. We can manage a day without you.”
“And as long as Clint’s sleeping too, nothing bad will happen anyway.” Steve added.
“I’d throw something at you for that, but my arms hurt too bad.” Clint said pathetically and Tony laughed softly.
“Ugh. I love you guys.”
“We love you too, Tony.”