Through the Portal

Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.

All his life, these four, simple words had been used to describe Tony Stark and even used by himself on occasion. He was brilliant, no one could deny that however he was also self absorbed, arrogant and envied by the simple fact that he didn't need to try.

He had grown up at the hands of Howard Stark, co-founder of Stark industries and Tony's father. He was given the highest standard of Education money can buy, even higher considering that his father passed on his work and business to his son. All of the money he would ever need was chucked at his feet and with that, he climbed the ladder of success, just like his dad.

Throughout his carefree life of women and alcohol, he created the highly impressive, yet completely devastating weapons that pierced the skies, ready to strike the world below with the hit of a small, red button. He had never had to worry during his life.

So why was he now soaring, faster than the speed of sound, over a burning city in a flame red suit chasing a nuclear missile? Tony Stark; genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist… Iron Man.

"I can shut the portal down!" A tired, pained voice echoed through his headset, delivering the amazing news that made his heart leap in his chest before he realized...

"Do it!" Cried a relived Steve who was sounding equally as exhausted.

Tony, for the first time in many, many years, let his slightly dysfunctional heart lead the way instead of his super-computer of a brain. "No wait!" Steve began to argue, however Tony ignored him, "I've got a nuke coming it, it's going to blow in less that one minute." 'And I know exactly where to put it.'

Soaring over the rippling water, Tony locked on to the metal container of destruction. His teammates staring in awe and shock, he approached the missile from the base and latched onto the aluminum casing before putting as much power into the thrusters as he could handle to force his suit into a vertical assent. Suddenly Tony understood exactly what he was doing, and his teammates- no, friends, or that's how he now saw them (though he would never admit it), did too; Tony Stark, the man who only cared for himself, was flying towards a portal which would lead him too…well... somewhere with a nuclear weapon.

As his adrenaline reached an all time high, JARVAIS interrupted his thoughts, "Sir, should I call Miss Potts?"

Returning to his senses slightly, Tony felt his throat swell and his stomach clench; he was leaving behind Pepper, the one person who had picked his company up from the dirt, who dropped whatever she was doing just to step in for him when he had drunk a little too much scotch the previous night, but most of all, who loved him no matter what. "Might as well."

For the first time in his life, he forgot about the money, the fame, the millions of people watching him hurtle upwards into the unknown, the unmerciful alien species that was killing everyone and destroying everything in their path and focused on the hologram of the beautiful woman being projected into his sight, Pepper.

What would she do once he was gone? That was a stupid question. Pepper was usually the one whom Tony relied on as she was organized and reliable and, although it did not seem like it, she was strong. She had to be. She worked with Tony Stark, the man who had been on the brink of death more times than he dared remember, the one who disappeared for days upon end without her knowing, the one who always left her waiting and wondering when he would come home and if he was okay.

He had thought on multiple occasions that she should just leave him, it would be better for her, safer. But that was Pepper; she would never leave him, and yet he now felt like he was leaving her. He wanted to tell her how much he appreciated her and that she meant the world, and all the other worlds out there, to him. He wanted to tell her he loved her.

'Pick up. Pick up. Please.' He thought, still soaring upwards. Within moments, he felt a very unusual sensation take hold of him while he plunged through the portal, leaving Pepper, his friends and Earth behind. The gravity, which held him, to Earth ceased, leaving him to fire further into the dark, cold vacuum of space.

It was huge. Whatever he had expected, it was not what met his eyes, for what did was the biggest most brutal looking piece of machinery Tony Stark had ever laid his observant eyes on. The mother ship was, lets just say, not what he expected, it looked big enough to carry thousands upon thousands of the alien species. And as he released the eager missile, he knew the thousands of lives upon that ship would be over very soon and that he had saved the people of Earth and most importantly, Pepper.

The missile collided with the ship with a vengeance, for a moment, all movement seemed to cease until the engines looked to be collapsing into the body of the machine before the whole structure was blown outward in every direction. But Tony stared at the picture of the woman in front of his watering eyes as the image shook and the distorted voice of JARVAIS announced the failed call. Soon enough, JARVAIS' robotic yet somewhat comforting voice, cut off along with the power of his suit.

Tony Stark was alone. And with the power of his suit depleted, there was no air for him to breathe. He knew what he was doing when he flew through that godforsaken portal; he knew he wouldn't return however he still felt a heartbreaking emptiness seep through his body and leak from his eyes. Still holding the image of Pepper in his head, he closed his eyes.