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Resonant Harmony

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"Well, shit," the nurse muttered, putting the tray of dressings, sutures and local down a little harder than strictly necessary and stripping off her gloves. The bed was conspicuously empty, the IV leaking saline and morphine onto the sheet. She groaned and rubbed at her temple; two broken fingers and a field-dressed slice in his thigh, he couldn't exactly have gone far.

She pulled herself back together and turned back to recruit a couple of orderlies; Mr. Stark would go back to bed or he would be carried there.

"Try the outer skin, room 208," one of the vents said.

"Jesus fuck." She threw a tongue-depressor at the grating, which snickered the snicker of a very drugged Barton, and stormed out. Barton was not her problem, at least, not this time. He, and his broken ankle where with Riker, Rogers was guarding Banner and Romanoff with the Attending and apparently, assigning one nurse to Stark wasn’t enough.

“Riker; room 203!” She called, passing the ortho-phys on her way past the station.

“I thought that was Stark?”

“Not any more! Barton’s in the crawlway.”

“Damnit! If he dents that cast before it’s set, I’ll--”

The rest of his rant was audible, but incomprehensible as she stuck her head into the break room to conscript a pair of orderlies.

Barton was right though; at the end of the hall, where the rooms were pressed against the Helicarriers hull, she found Stark curled in the corner, back against a strut and temple resting on the six-inch perspex, staring out into the water.

He never should have been left alone, even with minor injuries. She sighed and decided, what the heck; the room was empty, he could stay here, if the windows would keep him occupied.

A fish lazily swum past, underlit by the sun bouncing off the Caribbean sand below and, yeah, she couldn't blame him.

The engines shifted, the low rumble smoothing out slightly, and all the tension went out of Stark's shoulders. It was like he'd never been in pain at all.

 

XXXXXXXXXXxx

 

The eddies were different underwater.

The big counter-flow that hooked starboard and up, had shifted into the rear quadrant, whisking a long stream of sand aft.

Tony shifted and pressed his temple against the window, letting the vibration travel through his bones and straight into his eardrum.

It tickled.

“JARVIS...” he mumbled, blinking his eyes back open and staring out onto the sand. “My hand hurts...”

“This should not come as a surprise, sir. Think of it as a field-test of the new cast-printing equipment.”

“I can see the ripples, JARVIS, three’s only at 47...”

“Indeed. This is why you are underwater, sir. Hush now, and listen to your nurse for once in your life.”

For all JARVIS’ sass, though, Tony felt the deep thrumming of structural resonance quiet into an orchestral harmony, the bone-drumming beat of the ship’s spine and keel easing into a rhythm that matched the shorter frequencies of rib and cross strut.

A fish swam by, and Tony wondered how long it’d take the dolphins to show up.

“Mr. Stark? The Attending said you needed some cosmetic-quality sutures. May I have a look?”

Tony blinked and pushed away the tail-fluke-wave-bow equations and nodded, blearily.

“Okay...”