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Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 06:33 am
Apologies to the f-list/dwcircle in advance, but I am rushing to meet a [community profile] trope_bingo deadline, and my fics are too large to fit into one post! Excuse the spam.

Title: The Circus is in Town (Avengers/Iron Man, AU: Circus & Immortality/reincarnation)
Summary/Preview: Tony Stark ran away to the circus as a kid, but he isn't sure he likes it there
Content notes: Dark

Pepper Potts was the most beautiful thing in this fucking circus.

That's what Tony thought to himself, as he made modifications to Bruce's cage. Even though she ran concessions, the dark that permeated this circus couldn't touch her. It was as if the day to day grit just withered in her light. Or maybe Tony was too distracted by her legs that went on forever. Whatever it was, she rocked it.

"Tony, I don't think this gadget is broken - " Bruce looked up to see Tony tear off the last of the barbed wire. "Oh Tony. You know that's for the Other Guy."

"That might be my superior intellect talking but I think that the Other Guy sees this as an annoying decoration. You know, like one of those really thorny holly wreaths that you still put up for Christmas because it helps with the festivities?" Tony tossed the roll over his shoulder, where it landed with a satisfying crash. He peeled his thick gloves off before grabbing the remote. "Besides, the Other Guy can't break what he can't touch. I present to you the forefront of defense technology."

Tony jammed the button, and a blue glowing field sprung up around the bars of the cage. Bruce, used to Tony's science experiments, sighed before playing his important role as the participant. He tried to grab the bars of the cage only to be stopped by the blue glowing field. "A force field? But how did you amp up the electromagnetic oscillations to exceed the force by my hand?"

Tony clapped Bruce on the shoulder. "Why don't we find a good place to sit and speak the sweet language of science?"

"I don't think Fury finds it sweet," said Bruce, but followed Tony anyway.

Tony remembers thinking that running away to the circus for shit and giggles was the funniest thing ever.

He can't remember why he stayed. It wasn't as if he had the best job in the universe. Fix the lights Tony. Make us some new stage props Tony. See why our power keeps cutting out Tony. Handy Man, that's what he was. Tony thought he'd be doing some acts in the ring.

Then he thinks of Bruce and Natasha and is really glad he isn't in the ring.

Off the stage, Tony can't tell that Bruce is the resident freak of the circus. Funny and with a mind as sharp as a tack off the stage, Bruce turned into a roaring beast of rage on it. The body shifting was kind of weird too. Tony can't imagine himself doing that.

Tony looks at Natasha and it's even worse. It's as if the death-defying stunts Natasha did night after night above the knives and the dangerous doodads of doom just drained the life out of her. There was no moment when she breaks her porcelain facade to show the real person underneath. He doesn't understand how Clint can stand to be around her. Probably talking the sweet language of sharp pointy things.

Between Bruce and Natasha, Tony can't tell which situation is worse.

So he'd rather be Handyman Tony, fixing things and making everything a bit better for everyone in the circus.

All these thoughts run through Tony's mind when Steve Rogers arrives at the circus.

"The circus was the only thing I found familiar," is all Steve would admit to at first. He's closed like Natasha, but different. Where she is all porcelain and jagged edges, Steve is smooth and earnest. Any accusation Tony throws at Steve just won't stick.

But find the right trigger, and he bursts into fits of emotion only Bruce can rival. "I didn't die in the war," Steve says, during one of these fits. "I didn't die then and I just kept not dying after."

It's Pepper, with her amazing and secret techniques, who gets the full answer out of Steve. "The circus was one of the rare things that reminds him of the time he came from," she tells Tony. "But Tony, we both know this isn't an ordinary circus."

Tony looks out at the circus, at Bruce and his cage, and Natasha and her knives. He looks past his immediate friends to Thor and his lions, and Loki and his conjured illusions.

He wonders how to fix things.