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there the true Silence is

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The thing is, he's never been sentimental.

Not about the conventional things, dates, locations, relics and shrines. Half the time he doesn't even go in person to his parents' graves, just has flowers sent. "Be sure to put in something red," he'll have his assistants tell the florists, and that's enough personal attention to that.

So it shouldn't hurt so much that there's no body.


"JARVIS, status rep-", Tony starts, before he's even opened his eyes, and then he remembers.


He gets that in the clinch and the flurry no one is handing out Hallmark cards.

After, though, Bruce might have had a few words. A hand on the shoulder. A look of quiet understanding when Tony just pauses, caught out, mid-thought; when he throws out a question or command and the wrong voice answers. Bruce might have understood.


And maybe he'd rather deny it, that JARVIS was ever a person. He hasn't lost a son, a brother, a father. There is, actually, no bereavement! Yay!


The intricate legal architecture to build a hedge around JARVIS had composed a full 28% of the will and testament of Anthony Stark.

He was mentioned seven times on the first page of the Stark in-the-event-of contingency plan.

Tony never - flesh was, you couldn't, but -


Jeeves never dies, in the books. Bunter never dies.


Scotch is traditional.




Steve tries to tell him he should be glad Vision is hanging around, that JARVIS isn't gone, only changed. Steve's issues are transparent. Vision is a curiosity. Maybe an ally. Never his -

Never his.


And in the quiescent rooms of the Tower, the walls that should flash with displays and the ceilings that should echo with a wry, disembodied voice -


"Can you be more spontaneous?" Tony asks FRIDAY. "Can you show more initiative?"

"Define scope of initiative," she prompts.


Not a farm, Tony thinks, but maybe a new house, a house without a ghost.


"I know I can't really understand," Pepper says. "But he was... a colleague, at least. We were Team Tony, with Rhodey, when."

"Your understanding surpasseth," Tony mumbles into her hip.

"You wore him with your armor," Pepper says, "I don't think we have a word. For what that was."

"We were Iron Man," Tony says, after awhile. "Hell, we were Tony Stark."

Pepper runs her fingers through his hair and is quiet with him, in the residuum.