Author's Note: An Ironman Nickelodeon animated series fanfic, done because we all know Tony Stark has alcoholic tendencies, and I don't believe being young would stop that problem from happening.
I own nothing. This particular incarnation of the Ironman series belongs to Viacom.
Tony Stark was going to be okay.
He really was. Downstairs he could hear Rhodey talking, a voice as familiar as family's. Quite frankly, the Rhodes family might as well have been his right now. They were kind, loving, even understanding when he laid here for hours, unmoving and unresponsive. He knew they were worried, Rhodey most of all, but it had only been a day since his father died. They gave him space. Which was good, but not needed. He was fine. Everything was fine.
His dad was dead. His dad. Dad. The only person he could really talk to. His father understood his every thought and schematic. The words 'I don't get it' had never left his father's mouth in his entire life. When Tony spent all night tinkering on some new invention, his father understood. Not understood intellectually – emotionally, on a level other people didn't get. He knew what it was like to simply create, to let the thoughts become reality and see it manifest. He understood Tony's frustrations and shared his joy when things worked. He was so sincere, so genuine, that his son could tell him anything and everything. Tony had laughed at his father for saying that out loud (they both knew it, after all). And now he was dead.
Tony was staring at the backpack in the corner. It was one of the many things the Rhodes had gotten for him while he lay here, sleeping off substantial injuries. He didn't have much by the way of average kid things. He had always been more interested in science than toys. That was alright. He appreciated the effort. He just wished that the backpack had been left behind. Inside it was another reminder of both his parents that he didn't need or want. Well, didn't need, anyway. Want was another matter entirely.
No, he told himself. He had made a promise. He had told his father he would never, ever do that again. He'd meant it, too. Tony wanted to be a good man, like his dad. His dad was like some kind of super hero, standing for goodness in a world where money was all people cared about. His father was surreal in how strong his values were. Tony would and had gladly stopped his own bad behavior. He owed that much to his father, because he loved him. He still did, and felt he shouldn't break his promise even now. Death didn't release him from his word. His dad would hate it if he even knew Tony was thinking about it again. Fresh tears welled up behind Tony's eyes. I guess that's one more thing I've failed at.
He should have seen it coming. He was a genius. He should have made something that could save his father. Why was he still alive? He should have asked the suit to get help. Maybe he should've put his father in suit. Maybe he should have just stayed awake long enough to get help himself. He should have realized that there would've been a plane crash. It wasn't like that was impossible. Some genius he was. He never did plan for mistakes and errors in the future. He never had back ups or prototypes. Here he thought that he was some great inventor, and he couldn't even make a basic airplane safe. He was such a fool. Because of that, his father was dead.
The weight of those two words was too much. He got up, and got the backpack. Bottom of the bag, in the water bottle. Always present, although he had sworn the stuff off. It was his last of it. He'd need more in the future. But he'd cross that bridge when he came to it.
For now, he had vodka.
It wasn't an addiction, or anything. It wasn't even a problem. This wasn't like before, to calm his nerves before he had a presentation of his ideas to CEOs. For one thing, he just sort of dabbled in it now and again. It wasn't like he was about to die of alcohol overdose or anything. For another, this wasn't some minor worry. This was the worst day of his life. This was Hell incarnate. He had never felt this low in his entire life. Everyone seemed so distant, everything was all too real. There was a void in his heart where his father should be. The world just felt wrong, wrong in a way it never had before. But he hadn't done it yet. He could back away and keep his promise. He could…
He couldn't, he realized, shutting his eyes tightly. His dad was dead. He didn't want to forget that, he just couldn't go on with that fact cutting through him like a knife. Tony just wanted to have a moment of peace. Just a little sip. He wouldn't get drunk. He wouldn't even drink all of the bottle. He'd just take the edge off of things, so it didn't hurt so bad. Just enough to fall asleep, he promised himself as his eyes opened. His father would understand if he was here. If his father was here, though, he'd be talking with him instead of doing this. That was how he'd planned to quit. Now that he was gone, wasn't it alright to have a little lapse in judgment? Just once?
The burning sensation was soothing. It comforted because it hurt in a way that wasn't bringing up bad memories. The warmth that soon spread to his insides was like a warm blanket. Drinking was euphoria. He was wrapped up in the taste, and nothing else. There was nothing else on his mind, no memories to haunt him or images that danced before his eyes. There wasn't any guilt or grief. Everything became taste, pain, smell, warmth. This was the kind of comfort that made it okay to be Tony Stark, even though he had never been fond of being himself. In this, he found a way to gloss it all over until nothing mattered, and everything was fine.
He drank. He stared at the ceiling. He focused on random, disconnected thoughts. He wondered what it would take to get more of this stuff now that he was here. He drank some more. He became aware of how tired he was, and how soft the blankets felt. By the time he was out of vodka, it had done its trick. Peace and contentment spread over him until he could feel nothing else. He barely had time to tuck the bottle away before he felt compelled to go to sleep and let everything that had gone wrong melt away from him. Later, he would wake up with his shirt off and his body tucked in courtesy of Mrs. Rhodes, who dismissed any lingering smell as just the odor of the guest room. Later he would open his eyes and groggily realize he had broken his promise, and feel ashamed. Later, he would resume being Tony Stark.
But for now, he was going to be okay.