Three pictures were paneled together on the headline of a newspaper that decried Tony as a playboy while simultaneously revealing his fledgling polyamorous relationship to the world. The news came out just days after he had won his award in robotics at MIT.
His heart thundered painfully in his chest as his eyes jumped from the pictures to the article that accompanied them. His breathing came out short and rapid. His muscles were tense and he couldn’t think. He just knew he wasn’t getting any air in his lungs no matter how hard he tried.
“Deep breaths, Tony.” Rhodey, who had been the one to hand Tony the newspaper that morning, slipped the newspaper out from Tony’s hands then grabbed Tony by the shoulders. “Focus. You’re with me. We are in our dorm room. You’re safe here. Just breath. Now where are we?”
“In our dorm room,” Tony answered.
“And you’re with…?”
“You,” Tony said.
“Good. What are you going to do?”
“Breath.” Tony sucked in a deep breath and felt it in his lungs. He released it and took another deep and another until he no longer felt like he was dying. “What is Howard going to say?”
Rhodey’s expression hardened. “Don’t think about that.”
Tony opened his mouth to voice another concern.
“And don’t worry about Steve, Clint, or Bucky. They knew when they started dating you that this could happen. Even if they are mad right now, it’s not at you. It’s at the asshole who leaked this story.”
“We weren’t careful enough,” Tony mumbled. He wasn’t careful enough, his brain supplied. He wasn’t an A-list celebrity that was hunted by the media everyday. He wasn’t even B-list. He should have been able to hide his relationship with his three boyfriends easily. He had messed up somewhere.
“Hey.” Rhodey’s voice demanded attention and seriousness. “You care about Steve, Bucky, and Clint, right?”
“And they care about you, don’t they?”
Tony scoffed. “They better.” Although they probably didn’t right now.
Rhodey smiled. “Then you’re going to be okay. I’m not going to lie. The news is not going to be kind to you for a while, but if you four care about each other, then you’re going to make it through this. Also, anyone who messes with you will have to deal with me.”
Rhodey’s words were kind, and Tony could even believe them. He just didn’t know if his relationship could survive Howard. His father was going to murder Tony.
But not for a few hours at least, and possibly not even today, Tony told himself. It was just enough to give him the strength to take a deep breath and stand a little taller. “Thanks, Rhodey.”
Rhodey smiled. He patted Tony on the back then wrapped his arm around Tony’s shoulders. “No problem. Now, let’s call those boyfriends of yours and see how they’re handling things.” Rhodey gave Tony’s shoulder a whack. “We should get them to come here and take a picture with you! We can finally give those damn reporters an actual photo of you four together.”
Joy bled into Tony at Rhodey’s suggestion. “We’ll pose with our middle fingers in the air so they can’t use the photo.”
“And this is why they call you a genius.” Rhodey guided Tony toward the door. “And to show my support, you can use my coins for the payphone.”
“Rhodey, let’s be honest here. I never carry anything less than a twenty dollar bill. It was always going to be you who pays for my phone calls.”
If Peter has to die in Infinity War, even temporarily, I want to FEEL it. No boom, he’s dead, back to the battle.
I want to see Tony hugging his dead body, hear him screaming and crying like any dad who just lost his only child.
I want to see Groot realize that, though he’s just a teen, he’s not invulnerable.
I want to see Wanda cry because she can feel Peter’s death and Tony’s grief and she knows what it’s like to lose your whole world.
I want to see Strange run over and try to staunch the blood flow, do CPR, do anything to desperately try to save his new friend.
I want to see Rhodey pulling a struggling Tony away from Peter’s body, his own voice shaking as he tries futilely to calm his best friend down.
I want to see Clint and Scott pat whatever part of their uniforms holds the picture of their kids while Clint starts moving towards Wanda.
I want to see everyone look at the friends and loved ones they have on that battlefield with shock and grief and a new terror in their eyes because the teenager - the happy, sassy, brilliant teenager with a long life ahead of him who had more protection on that battlefield than anyone thanks to Stark tech and a hoard of protective adults - was just killed in front of them. And if he couldn’t survive… can any of them?
tbh i kinda really miss the cocky arrogant tony stark too, like its been so long that he just really showed the basic bitches what hes worth. i want that in infinity war “my sunglasses are worth more than your life insurance, sit down barton.”
I love the way the guys use their natural instincts in this scene.
Cap makes a makeshift shield to protect himself, Tony grabs a screwdriver and uses his engineering brain to take them down, Clint uses his aim to throw Steve his shield to support him and Natasha grabs a gun she taped beforehand because she is prepared like a god damn professional.