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31 January 2010 @ 11:59 pm
Iron Man Gen Fiction: "When The Dust Settled" (PG)  
Title: When The Dust Settled
Fandom: Iron Man
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Tony, Yinsen, Rhodey (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: In the cave, Tony was focused on his plan. There was no time to give in to doubt.
Author's Notes: A birthday gift for realpestilence, who wanted Tony being vulnerable.
Also for writers_choice, this is "Fear."

x-x-x-x-x

In the cave, Tony had been completely focused on his plan. Creating something new—with only the crudest of materials and the bare minimum of time—had consumed him. His mind had translated results into the physics, mechanics and components he needed, turning the pieces over day and night and refining them as he went.

It had all been about survival, whether it was making Raza think his weapons were being built on schedule, or figuring out how to escape once the suit was ready. There'd been no time to give in to doubt.

He hadn't been completely ready when the moment came. He and Yinsen had been rushed, had barely gotten the suit on and powered-up before the door broke down. Tony couldn't have done it without Yinsen (wouldn't even be alive without that arc reactor). But he'd been too wrapped up in strategies and building the suit to realize that they'd never made any provisions for Yinsen's escape. Hell, if Tony had even listened with more than half an ear, he'd have heard the resignation in Yinsen's voice when he'd spoken of his village and family, recognized the finality of what it all meant.

That cave had been filled with loneliness, but all Tony had noticed was a puzzle to be solved and the challenge of finding all the pieces required to do it. He hoped now that Yinsen had thought his sacrifice had been worth it, that gambling on something he'd seen inside Tony had paid off, even if Tony couldn't be sure of that himself.

All of that was hours ago—a lifetime ago. Tony had made it out into the open and blasted off from that rebel camp, traveling like an unguided missile before crash-landing in the desert sand. Then he'd gone to work, shedding what was left of the metal skin before the sun heated it enough to burn him, and finally headed in the direction that would take him farthest from that camp.

He was still going, still stumbling across the sand toward nothing, but it was all right. As long as he kept moving, he knew he was alive. It was the only hope or truth he had left.

When he heard the choppers, his heart sped through a sequence of shock, relief and doubt. Surely he was hallucinating, because who would be looking for him after all this time? It was wishful thinking, the deluded fantasies of a dying man too close to falling off the edge of a cliff to even realize it was there.

When the door of the chopper opened, Tony fell to his knees as exhaustion and emotion claimed him. It couldn't—how did—Rhodey had come to rescue him, and it was either true or Tony was already dead. He didn't have the strength left to do more than wait to see which possibility was real.

Rhodey pulled him close, and Tony leaned against him, feeling the solidity of his friend and letting the weight on his shoulders begin to slip away—first the horror of the ambush and the escape and Yinsen's death, and then the drive to keep going forward that had blotted out the pain of his injuries.

"Next time, you ride with me," Rhodey said hoarsely.

It was a promise Tony could keep, but right now he was barely hanging onto the present, every aspect of him unhinged, shattered, and uncertain.

With all that had happened, the only future he could grasp lay in the next few seconds. Whether Rhodey was here or not, Tony was comforted by the idea of his presence. The real challenge was going to be making himself let go.


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happy is as happy does: Robert & Terrence - Ironman (movie)happywriter06 on February 2nd, 2010 07:14 am (UTC)
Oh, Tony! I can't wait for the new movie. I've been reading IM fic that I missed.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: IronManhalfshellvenus on February 2nd, 2010 08:02 am (UTC)
I'm afraid of the new movie, because of the new Rhodey. :(

So I'm getting out all the Tony/Rhodey fic I can (and some other random things like this that I hadn't planned on writing), before my Rhodey love gets hijacked or mutated or whatever.

Seen Sherlock Holmes yet? It's yummy!
(Anonymous) on February 2nd, 2010 09:06 am (UTC)
So I'm getting out all the Tony/Rhodey fic I can

and don't think we're not grateful : )

ps - I'm glad hh is better
peanutgallery79peanutgallery79 on February 2nd, 2010 09:08 am (UTC)
*facepalm* sorry, that was me
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: IronManhalfshellvenus on February 2nd, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
:D Thanks for the good thoughts, on all accounts!

And for reading, even though this one is Gen.
happy is as happy does: Jim happywriter06 on February 6th, 2010 06:44 am (UTC)
I KNOW!!!! In my head I just can't picture T/R with him as R. It's just not working right. Add that to the fact that to me, recasting only works in soaps and even then it's tricky.

Haven't seen it yet. I'm scared of getting a new fandom. Too little time.
Serena64serena64 on February 2nd, 2010 12:33 pm (UTC)
Lovely fic, thanks.
New Rhodey???? Nooooo.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: IronManhalfshellvenus on February 2nd, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
So glad you liked it!

They re-cast Rhodey between the first and second movie (I hate having characters recast in ongoing series), and while Don Cheadle is an amazing actor he's just a completely different person from Terrence Howard (and it ruins my slash OTP to change one of the characters, for crying out loud!)
realpestilence: aelfsiden's win!realpestilence on February 3rd, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
I'm perfectly fine with Rhodey/Tony fic, but I like your gen as well. Thank you very much for this! :D

What I wanted most of all was to pinpoint a moment where Tony is, despite money/looks/brains/charm/wit/power...vulnerable. Physically, emotionally, broken open and forced to admit something, let something in or out, that he normally wouldn't, and having his identity hang on that pivotal moment, in a way.

You ~got that, bb! :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: IronManhalfshellvenus on April 2nd, 2010 05:45 am (UTC)
Sorry for the late response, and I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I really had no idea that you liked the Iron Man stories, and it's so nice to have excuses to write more of them. :)

Physically, emotionally, broken open and forced to admit something, let something in or out, that he normally wouldn't, and having his identity hang on that pivotal moment, in a way.
It was a great prompt, and it led immediately to that scene of desperately wandering in the desert. Thanks to being kidnapped and Yinsen's influence, Tony had the chance to contemplate dying with no possibility other than to f**k up the terrorists on the way out, and on the small chance that he did survive he knew his life needed to become something else.

But after- miraculously- blowing his way out of that compound and into freedom, he was alone, injured, and within hours of dying from the elements. For the first time in his life, he had no ability to do anything that would change what happened next. Already emotionally at sea, he was as helpless as any man would be in that situation.

And to find salvation, in the form of Rhodey and a well-timed miracle, was beyond anything he could have hoped for.