|Seeing is Believing
Author: KujotheVicious PM
When Tony is hit with a strange curse from a new villain, he's going to have to look within himself to find the cure. Tony/BruceRated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Drama - Iron Man/Tony S. & Hulk/Bruce B. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 5,465 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 118 - Follows: 14 - Published: 05-24-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8145762
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Bruce carefully lifted the eyedropper with one hand, shifting it over to hover above the open beaker. It was a caustic chemical; one misstep and he'd have a nice circle of acid burning through his hand. He added two drops of it, then waited, his eyes searching for any reaction.
Nothing. Good. It was what he'd been expecting. Now to add two more drops, and see where that left-
His hand jerked at a sudden sound from out in the hallway, and the entire eyedropper's worth of acid squirted into the beaker, the contents starting to fizz. A thud, the scuffle of shoes, and then a very girlish giggle. He sighed, putting the eyedropper back into the vial where it came from and then pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration.
This was the third night in a row Tony had dragged home some random woman. Ever since Pepper had called it quits on their relationship, the man had been a whirlwind of alcohol and flirtation with any attractive female in a 50 mile radius.
Another thud, and more voices in the hall. Bruce stepped over to the door, cracking it open and leaning on the doorframe.
"Tony, your bedroom is two floors up-" he started, only to pause when he realized just how utterly hammered the other man was. Tony had one arm draped over his date's shoulders, and he grinned at Bruce a bit stupidly.
"Wrong floor, yeah. We just fell out. Of the elevator," he said, pointing vaguely back the way they'd come. "Bruce, Brucey boy…this is Fiona."
The buxom brunette smirked and wave to Bruce, just as unsteady on her feet as Tony seemed to be. Bruce just nodded to her, and then gave Tony a look.
"Get back to the elevator before you break something," he pointed out, stepping back into the lab and moving back to his workstation. His stomach felt like it had dropped out the bottom of his feet. He hated seeing Tony like this, clinging to whatever girl that wanted to get into his pants, but what was he doing to say? It wasn't like he could change Tony's mind.
Tony, stop being ridiculous and cut back on the alcohol.
Yeah, that would go over well. Pepper had tried that, for sure, and it hadn't worked.
They're only sleeping with you because you're rich and popular, Tony.
Who said he didn't know that already? Who said he even cared?
Tony, I kind of feel like I may have fallen for you, even though I'm your friend and it can't really ever work because I'm sort of a monster on the inside and you're entirely out of my league.
Yeah, needless to say, that wasn't even going to come close.
Bruce sat down, pressing his hands to his forehead with a heavy sigh, staring at the beaker. The contents were just finishing their reaction, having fizzed down to nearly nothing, bubbling and popping in the container. He'd have to start over.
He didn't even have the motivation to work any more at the moment. He just wanted to sit there and stare at the table, really, and not think about anything. Or think about everything.
But if there was one thing he'd gotten used to through all these years, it was having hopeless dreams and learning to move on, go through the motions, and just…keep going.
He began to clean up the mess, listing in his head the chemicals that he'd need to start the whole thing over again. The formula that lay on the table wasn't labeled, but had Tony stopped to look, he would have known what it was immediately- a new gaseous mixture for the ventilation system in his suit, designed for longer times spent in environments with little to no oxygen. Like deep water.
Tony woke up the next morning with a raging headache. He felt like there was a small creature inside his head, scratching and biting to be let out, and opening his eyes to sunlight didn't help in the least.
At least the woman was gone. What had her name been? Fiona? Didn't matter. She was lousy in bed, and he'd told her as much, leaving her to scream obscenities at him as she clutched her clothes and ran for the door.
"JARVIS, what time is it…?"
"It's presently 9:43 in the morning, sir," the AI replied, and Tony flopped over, grabbing his phone off the bedside table. Yep, two missed calls from Pepper. He'd probably missed a meeting or something. Not that he particularly cared, she'd just bring the papers to him later and say 'sign this, sign that', and that was much preferable to playing nice with a bunch of stuffy stockbrokers.
He groaned and swung his legs out of the bed, ordering JARVIS to lower the shades a bit. That sunlight was vicious. He glanced at his phone again, the night before coming back to him in bits and pieces.
The elevator. He'd hit the wrong button, they stumbled out on the wrong floor, and…Bruce. Yeah, Bruce hadn't looked happy at all, he remembered that much.
He got up and pulled on sweatpants and a tank top, stretching and popping his neck as he stepped out into the hallway and made his way down to the kitchen, where he found Bruce sitting at the breakfast table, scribbling away on a pad of paper that looked like it couldn't possibly hold any more writing than it already did. A bowl of fruit sat next to the notepad, barely touched at this point.
"What's so fascinating?" Tony asked, grabbing a grape from the bowl and popping it into his mouth as he headed for the coffee machine.
"Just doing some reviews," Bruce said softly, in that kind of distant tone he got when his mind was most definitely elsewhere, focused on equations and chemicals and radiation and whatever else Banner got lost in. "Where's Fiona?"
Tony shrugged. "She left…sometime. I don't know," he said, getting the coffee maker started.
Bruce just nodded, making another scribble onto the paper, then tapping his pencil on the table with a frown. Tony was about to ask, but then his phone rang. He glanced at it and rolled his eyes; Nick Fury.
"Yeah?" he asked, grabbing a couple more grapes as he answered.
"We need all the Avengers at the governor's mansion. There's a…situation down here," Fury said.
"Situation? Does it happen to involve alcohol and gorgeous women? Because that's the kind of situation that would take me away from my coffee today."
"Just get here, Stark, we have civilians in danger."
Fury hung up, and Tony sighed, pouring himself a cup of coffee and then drinking half of it without stopping. Bruce raised an eyebrow at him.
Tony nodded. "Governor's mansion. I'll suit up, you get the others."
"You know, if I knew that by 'situation' he meant 'a mutant Snooki with a set of pipes that can bend steel, I would've stayed home."
Nobody answered Tony, but they didn't have to. That was pretty much what they were dealing with; an orange woman with crazy black hair whose screams and shrieks were enough to burst eardrums if you were too close. She was evidently very angry that the governor had left that morning for a summit in Washington D.C., and she was more than happy to take it out on anyone who got close.
Presently, the person who was closest was Steve. He flung his shield at her, and with a shrill cry, it was knocked away and lodged between the bricks in the wall. Steve moved in for a punch, and then she dodged, pressing one hand to his forehead. He seemed to stiffen, momentarily stunned.
"Oh, they like you a lot, don't they," she hissed, smiling with a face full of sharp fangs. "The Golden Boy, the one everyone looks up to. How…boring."
She was knocked away by Thor's hammer, and Steve dropped to a knee, gasping for air. "D-Don't get too close to her!" he yelled as Thor ran past him. "She can read minds or something, she was in my head!"
Yeah, sure, Tony thought, swinging around to try and get a clear shot at her, but she was too close to Thor. He hovered, trying for a different angle, just as the Hulk leapt into the fray.
Just as Tony was sure they had the upper hand, she let out a scream that made the electronics in his suit cut out, just for a few moments- but that was long enough. Luckily it was a short fall to the ground, because he was busy trying to clutch his ears through his helmet. His head was ringing, the pain like a fire lit in his head. Thor and the Hulk hadn't fared much better- being closer, they were both unconscious in the wreckage and bricks.
"The man of iron," the Snooki mutant said, stepping over to Tony and kicking him over onto his back. "How I've wanted a peek at how your friends see you…"
She pressed a hand to his forehead while he was still twitching with pain from the scream, and it was like something reached into his mind, pulling up memories as if his brain were a filing cabinet.
"…and I'm a big fan of how you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster."
"Big man in a suit of armor, take that away, and what are you?"
"Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist."
"I know guys with none of that who are worth ten of you."
"So you think the Hulk…the Other Guy…saved me. That's nice, a nice sentiment. Saved me…for what?"
"I guess we'll find out."
"You might not enjoy that."
"And you just might."
He was still reeling in memories, last night playing back for him like it was present, when he heard a laugh. "Oh, this is delicious! How blind are you, Iron Man?"
He twitched, unable to move or even think straight anymore as she pressed her other hand to his chest.
"You are among the blindest person I've ever had the fortune of seeing through another's eyes," she said, her voice almost musical now. "I can fix that. So, until you can see what is right in front of you, your physical blindness will match that of your mind. You have three days until your condition is permanent, Mr. Stark. The game is on!"
Everything went dark, and the last thing Tony heard were gunshots as Natasha rounded the corner and tried to distract the woman from Tony's limp form.
Tony woke up with a pained moan. The hangover had tripled in pain, and it took a few moments for him to remember why.
Oh, yeah. Snooki mutant using his brain like her own personal rolodex. He remembered now. He heard voices, familiar voices, and then felt a hand pressed to the armor on his chest.
"Hey, lay still, Tony," Bruce's voice said. "We're still trying to figure out what she did to you."
"Did she get away?" Tony asked, opening his eyes. Nothing. The suit must have malfunctioned, because he couldn't see anything. Just black, everything was black. Weird.
"Yeah, she split right when Natasha started shooting at her," Steve said, and Tony reached up to manually move his faceplate, since the motor didn't seem to be functioning.
His metal glove touched his bare face. Skin.
Confusion and terror washed over him, and he blinked, forcing himself to sit up. He blinked again. No, this couldn't be right. But he could feel his faceplate, flipped up, not lowered.
"Guys…I can't see," he said, shaking his head, as if that might clear it up. "I can't see."
"What?" there was Bruce's voice again, and silence for a few moments. "Not at all? Tony?"
"No, I can't see a goddamn thing," Tony said, panic rising in his voice. He started to stand up, but hands pushed him back down.
"Stay still, let me have a look-"
"Bruce, I can't see. I can't see. What did she do to me?"
"We don't know, we're still trying to figure that out-"
"Figure it out faster!"
"There's no sign of injury, Tony. You look fine. The medics from SHIELD are on their way," Natasha's voice said, and Tony bit back a retort.
He was blind. What was it that crazy Snooki mutant had said?
That he had three days. Three days to see what was right in front of him, or this was permanent. What the hell did that even mean?
A few more moments, and hands were helping him to his feet, guiding him through the rubble toward the helicopter he could hear landing not far away.