There was a loud, resounding ‘crack’ and Tony felt the blood drain from his face. Then he was smashed face forward into the window of a – fortunately already evacuated – restaurant, crashed through it and landed in a heap on the floor.
“Iron Man, status!” Steve commanded over the comm unit and Tony groaned. “Still alive and kicking, Cap! Might need to replace a window or two, but y’know, collateral damage and all that” he responded and struggled to get up. He felt strangely light-headed and it didn’t help that the restaurant had apparently decided to turn into a merry-go-round especially for him and seemed to be revolving and swaying back and forth at the same time. Or maybe that was just him.
“It’s most definitely you, sir. It seems you have a concussion and I am sorry to report that you right arm is most likely broken. I advice you seek medical assistance immediately, sir, and update Captain Rogers as to your condition.”
Tony nearly flinched at JARVIS’ calm and collected voice and grabbed a nearby table for support. Damn. For a routine mission, this had turned sour fast.
“Shut up, JARVIS, no one asked for your opinion, I’m good to go, the suit’s not damaged, we’re golden”, he ground out between clenched teeth and took a few wobbly steps before setting off his repulsors and dashing off down the street towards the rest of his team.
Which was fighting a gigantic mud-brown toad.
“Ah, awoken from your beauty sleep, Iron Man?” an amused voice greeted him when he reached the scene. “Fuck off, Hawkeye! How about you give our frog prince over here a nice little kiss? Maybe he’ll transform and you’ll finally find the one” Tony suggested with a grin that no one could see behind the mask.
“Guess he didn’t want one from you, judging how he smashed you straight through a building and into a wall. And look at that! You haven’t turned into a prince either, I’m disappointed, Stark. Just the same jackass as before…” Clint was perched on the roof of a nearby building, shooting tranquilizers at the monstrosity, the same ones they usually used for the Hulk, and they were finally, painfully slowly showing some effect.
At first, the use of the sharp little things had caused to enrage the newest failed experiment – biologists, Tony thought bitterly, nothing but trouble – resulting in quite a few civilian casualties and an enormous material damage to the city of New York.
Now, the toad seemed to be slowing down, its movements growing more sluggish by the second.
“Toads are not the same as frogs, idiots! Iron Man, some help down here?” Black Widow barked over the comm and Tony raised his right arm in a mock salute. Or at least he tried. It hurt like a bitch and brought tears to his eyes. Fuck it all. “…broken, you said?” he asked JARVIS under his breath while using his left hand to blast a beam at the crumpled street the toad was standing on, causing it to crack open even more, trapping the huge thing. Natasha jumped backwards and Steve, who had been behind the toad to make sure it didn’t destroy anything else, retrieved his shield and walked towards them. The monster’s eyes slowly closed and Tony lowered the suit to the ground carefully.
“Yes, sir. You require immediate medical assistance; your bone might need to be set in order to avoid permanent damage. This is serious, sir, and, if I may say so, nothing you can keep from the rest of the Avengers. They will find out in a matter of minutes, so spare yourself the embarrassment and be honest for once please, sir.”
“Aw, JARVIS, are you worried? I’m touched!”
“No, sir, I just want to facilitate the lives of Captain Rogers and the rest of the people who have to put up with you at a daily level. And at the same time I still hold some hope that you might turn into a responsible adult some of these days.” JARVIS sounded cynical even as he said it and Tony chuckled.
“Oh JARVIS, you should know better than that! But SHIELD medical, really? Can’t Bruce just have a look at it?” He knew he was whining, but he didn’t care. It was, after all, his AI-butler he was whining to, and there was no one else there to hear him, so it didn’t matter. And, as he had just stated, Tony Stark was pretty much everything but a responsible adult anyway.
“Dr. Banner and Mr. Odinson are at Dr. Foster’s research facility in New Mexico at the moment and even if he was here, Dr. Banner himself has repeatedly stated that he is quote: ‘not that kind of doctor’, sir.”
Right, there was that. Tony had started to wonder why it had been so quiet in the tower lately. Bruce and Thor weren’t at home, that explained it!
“Target is down, good job, everyone. Status? Is anyone hurt?” Steve asked and looked around. Clint had somehow managed to descend the building and was currently sitting on what looked like a chunk out of an office building. He shook his head and wiggled his arms around with a lazy smile on his face. “Completely fine, Cap”
Natasha took a seat next to him and wiped at her face. There was a shallow cut on her cheek from some debris, but other than that she was fine.
Satisfied, Steve turned towards Tony. “Everything alright, Tony?” he asked again, this time with a hint of concern in his voice.
Stupid fucking megalomaniac biologists with their stupid fucking failed experiments who all had to have their fucking labs in NYC! He should just get JARVIS to compile a list of all biologist research facilities in the New York area and he’d check them out himself, one by one, to make sure this didn’t keep on happening. By now it was really just one hell of a nuisance for everyone involved and an embarrassment for SHIELD and the Avengers!
“Stark? Open up your visor and let me see your face, the thing smashed you into a building!” Ah, nice. Steve’s voice had taken on an edge now, he was using his commanding Captain America-voice that was inherently different from his nice guy Steve Rogers-voice. Tony kinda hated that voice.
“Calm your tits, Cap, I’m good. Just a little banged up, kinda broke my right arm a bit, but it’s nothing I can’t handle, nothing I haven’t had before, don’t worry, I’ll be fine, really, I’m just fucking tired of fucking failed experiments, like, really, why do people keep making those things, what are they trying to accomplish, what could you possible use a giant toad for, and where are you taking me, Steve, ow, no, don’t touch my shoulder, please, yes, it hurts, don’t give me that look, ouch…”
The incessant blabbing didn’t seem to faze Steve in the slightest and so Tony was dragged off to medical by a stern looking Captain. “Anything else I should know about?”
Tony was instantly taken aback by the question, a bad feeling creeping up on him. “Like what, Capsicle? It’s not…my suit didn’t go wandering around the tower again, did it? Or was it the tabloids? Those people lie, y’know? I haven’t done shit like that in ages! Look, I, whatever I did, I didn’t do it on purpose, I swear! I even know that Bruce and Thor are with Thor’s girlfriend right now, oh yes, I do pay attention when people talk to me. So, whatever this is about, I’ve got no part in it, cross my heart and hope to die” He made a dramatic gesture with his left arm for emphasis - the right hurt too much and he doubted he could have lifted it - and gave Steve what he hoped was an earnest smile.
He received a look of befuddlement in return, followed by a sigh. “I meant injuries, Tony. Is it only your arm or are you hiding something? Funny how you always just assume I’m calling you out on something…guilty conscience much?” Steve shook his head and talked to the nearest SHIELD medic and Tony felt a strange mixture between relieved and stupid.
“So. You pay attention when people talk to you, is that right, sir?” an icy voice asked and Tony rolled his eyes. “Don’t be a diva, JARVIS, at this point, you’re practically people.”
The AI made a noise like an offended cough and Tony looked around.
The Cap had somehow disappeared, run off somewhere and was now nowhere to be seen and Tony contemplated simply sitting down on the street. He wasn’t feeling too great right now, if he was being honest. Of course, being honest with himself was not something Tony Stark excelled in, but then again, he couldn’t be great at everything, that wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the world. Not when you were already a genius, billionaire…urgh, this pain was slowly becoming unbearable, now that the adrenaline from the fight was receding. And it was his right arm, too, fucking toad, he needed his arms, both his arms, but he was right-handed and this was gonna suck, he could feel it.
Fucking biology experiments!