Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Iron Man (MCU)
Rating: T / FRT
Characters: Tony Stark, Tony’s bost (DUM-E and U). (Mentioned: Obadiah Stane.)
Summary: Tony’s trying to finish off a project and fails to notice a gas leak in time. Luckily, the bots are in the workshop with him.
Complete. Part of the “Genius, AI & Bots” series.
Written for: My card on Hurt/Comfort Bingo’s round 4 (square: asphyxiation).
Warnings: Accidental inert gas asphyxiation, language.
Disclaimer: Iron Man and Marvel Cinematic Universe, including characters and everything else, belong to Marvel, Marvel Studios, Jon Favreau and Paramount Pictures. In short: I own nothing; this is pure fiction created to entertain likeminded fans for no profit whatsoever.
Beta: Mythra (mythras-fire)
About Hypoxia: The internet was surprisingly unhelpful when it came to surviving inert gas asphyxiation, so I hope the description here isn’t too far off the mark.
(Also, this incident might be one of the big reasons why Tony built J.A.R.V.I.S.…)
Story and status: Below you see the writing process of the story. If there is no text after the title, then it is finished and checked. Possible updates shall be marked after the title.
Tony yawned and squinted his eyes to better see the inner workings of the new self-guided missile he was working on. It was late, he had been up for almost two days straight – most of that time spent in his workshop – but the current project was not going where he wanted it to and it was driving him mad. Even though he needed sleep and coffee had long since lost its magical effect, he knew his mind would just keep returning to the faulty detectors and ways to pin down and fix the issue.
Somewhere in the background the bots were working, one of them banging against a wall and then moving on. Tony didn’t turn to see what they were up to, guessing some form of clean up; out of frustration, he had been making a mess and throwing things around when they were no longer of use to him.
“Double back,” he muttered, mimicking Obadiah’s voice. “You’ll find the problem or work around it.”
In his worn-out state, Tony was starting to feel like a bratty child and debated making a call to Obie to tell him just where he could shove this whole project…
Tony wanted to work on something else but this thing was on a deadline and he had already been putting it off when he took off for a small vacation in the Seychelles with a few of the hottest models of the year. He needed down-time but Obie hadn’t liked him taking it the last time and had been slave-driving Tony to finish the smart missile guidance system since before he got back from the Seychelles, telling him in no uncertain terms it needed to be ready for presentation in a week.
Normally a week was plenty of time but Tony was stuck. If he hadn’t been so close to completion he might have just pulled the whole thing apart and started over from scratch. It may have even been the best thing to do but he loathed the idea of giving up.
His head was starting to ache, his eyes drooping, and Tony tried to shake himself out of it; he hadn’t felt this tired for hours, save for the difficulty to see straight and keep his hands as steady as they needed to be. A sudden yet faint wave of nausea didn’t surprise him, either.
Perhaps he should get something to eat and then try to tackle the problem…
A far-away sound of something beeping penetrated the haze in his head.
His phone? Probably not since it was like four in the morning – or had been when he last checked the time.
It could have been an alarm, perhaps – or the doorbell, but again, it was early and he should just close his eyes and go to sleep –
Tony didn’t fully register falling to the floor, his body heavy and beyond relaxed.
The bite of metal claws against his left ankle and right shoulder brought him back eventually – right alongside a sensation of suffocating, his lungs drawing in sweet air to replace something that most certainly wasn’t oxygen filling them.
He couldn’t see anything for a while, flailing, coughing and trying to breathe. His entire body buzzed for long, agonizing seconds before everything seemed to settle and Tony grew aware of the alarmed noises made by the bots; one of them was next to his head where one mechanical hand still held onto his shoulder, the other by his feet.
“What the fuck?” he blinked, eyes teary from the shock that was swiftly elbowing him in the gut.
You, who was holding onto his left ankle, gently lowered his leg onto the floor and tilted his arm. Dummy still didn’t let go, the grip bruising, and Tony had no doubts that the bots had just dragged him out of the workshop by force.
He turned his head painfully and glanced up, seeing a red, glaring alarm blinking on a display by the door: gas leak. There were a lot of things to choose from in his workshop but he suspected inert gas because he hadn’t felt it at all. If not for the bots, he would have died in there, never having known what had hit him.
With a trembling hand he touched Dummy’s arm and leaned his head against the bot, his eyes finding You still leaning over his lower half as if checking him for damage.
Tony opened his mouth to speak but felt like he did not have quite enough air yet. So, he simply held onto Dummy, to ground himself, and eventually heard the alarm stop, signaling that the automatic safety guidelines had blocked the leak and brought the oxygen levels back to conditions safe enough for a human to enter. Too little, too late, of course, but that was just another reason why he kept the bots around.