Title: Iron-clad Nurses
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Iron Man (MCU)
Timeline: Between “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2”.
Genre: Family, hurt/comfort
Rating: K+ / FRC
Characters: J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark (Iron Man), Tony’s bots (DUM-E and U). Mentioned: Happy Hogan, Pepper Potts, James “Rhodey” Rhodes.
Summary: Tony’s sick and refuses to call for help. Luckily he has his bots and AI to look after him.
Complete. Part of “Genius, AI & Bots” series.
Warnings: Language, sick character.
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)
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.
“Urgh,” Tony groaned as he waved his hand in the general direction of the toilet’s flush censor. When he heard the water starting to flow, he turned towards the door, eyed the distance back to the couch, then gave up on the idea of rising to his feet and instead began to crawl said distance on all fours.
“Would you care for some assistance, sir?” J.A.R.V.I.S. asked.
The bots rolled over, instantly taking the hint from the AI, following Tony’s progress across the workshop floor.
“I’m fine,” Tony stated and stopped to bat away Dummy’s claw when it reached for him. “Stop hovering and get me another bottle of soda water,” he ordered.
The bot moved to follow his command while You kept tracking his progress. Tony felt like a toddler drawing the mesmerized eyes of onlookers as he made his way to the couch, crawled onto it, then settled down with a groan. He debated moving the couch closer to the bathroom, just to make the trip shorter the next time he had to make it. Or, make the bots or a suit of armor do the moving, because he sure as hell wasn’t up to the task at the moment.
Dummy returned, a bottle of sparkling water in his grip, and Tony took it carefully, twisting the cap open before looking for his – very adult – sippy cup. He had learned the hard way not to drink from a glass that didn’t have a lid and a straw to prevent spills in his current condition.
You moved in, clearly trying to help; the bot raised a small metal bucket from the floor which had previously contained ice chips, but now had only half an inch of melted water sloshing around.
“Get me more ice chips,” Tony ordered. “Also, find the tumbler with the cap and the straw… Oh, here it is,” he said as he located it by the foot of the couch and picked it up, then very carefully poured some of the soda water into it. His hands were shaking and he knew he needed to eat something soon.
“I could call someone for help,” J.A.R.V.I.S. offered.
“Pepper’s out of town on a meeting, Rhodey’s busy and I told Happy to stay away from me until he has that rash under control.”
“I am quite certain the rash is not contagious,” the AI told him.
“Nonetheless, I’m in good hands,” Tony went on, dismissing J.A.R.V.I.S.’s opinion on Happy’s medical condition. He took a sip of the drink in his hand and swallowed it down carefully, feeling the carbon dioxide bubbles tease his palate. They traveled all the way down to his stomach, easing the cramps that were slowly starting up again.
A sudden ruckus could be heard on the far side of the workshop. By the sound of it, You was trying to coerce the ice machine into cooperation by force. The bot appeared to succeed when something solid dropped into the metal bucket, then another something, and another. You made a sound of annoyance, hit the ice machine again – there was no other reasonable explanation for the loud thump – and then there was a rain of little ice cubes falling into the bucket. The bot chirped with approval.
Tony lay back on the couch and adjusted a single worn pillow leaning against an equally worn armrest. The couch had seen better days – especially before a few accidental fires that had happened in its immediate vicinity – but it was comfortable, which was the point of the couch that Tony mainly used for himself.
“Did you find anything in the samples?” Tony asked out loud, trying to distract himself from the queasy sensation in his stomach; he could try and not visit the bathroom again for, say, half an hour, even though that was an overly ambitious goal. The rate at which he had been emptying his body – from both ends – hadn’t shown signs of slowing down, but it wasn’t going to last forever either. Eventually, he was bound to run out of substance to expel.
“All signs suggest food poisoning, sir,” J.A.R.V.I.S. replied with the distinct lack of sympathy only a machine incapable of experiencing said condition could convey.
“Knew it,” Tony muttered. “I should have waited until I got home to eat.” He had been hungry after the last mission, though, and thousands of miles from home, so he had stopped to get some food from a local street vendor in a tiny little village that had never heard of an American cheeseburger.
Or proper food hygiene, for that matter.
You returned with the bucket of ice and carefully set it down by the couch, within arm’s reach. Tony gave the bot a small smile, then reached into the bucket and plucked an ice chip from within and placed it in his mouth. It was shockingly cold, and he rolled it around on his tongue, feeling it melt bit by bit, spreading its coolness more evenly that way.
Even as he lay still, his stomach soon began twisting again. The ice was dulling the soreness in his throat, but sadly it had little to no effect on the cramps that were resuming, just as persistent as before. Tony sighed, wondering if he could just knock himself unconscious until this passed – and hope he didn’t suffocate on anything while he was out.
One of the bots approached him with a soft whir – most likely Dummy, because he had disappeared somewhere while You got the ice bucket filled. Tony made a vague motion with his hand, not feeling like interacting – then saw the bot in question leaning over him, holding something in its claw. It looked like a limp, thin pillow, light brown in color. Dummy carefully lowered it down and laid it across Tony’s abdomen.
The pillow was surprisingly heavy – and warm. A heating pad, Tony realized. Not something he had known he had lying around in the shop, but that wasn’t exactly surprising, seeing as someone else must have brought it down.
“Thanks,” he said. It felt nice, plus it distracted his brain from focusing on his current discomfort.
Dummy whirred in appreciation and pulled back.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to call anyone, sir?” J.A.R.V.I.S. asked.
“I’m sure,” Tony replied, sliding one hand down to press the warm pad more firmly against his stomach. “I’m in good hands,” he repeated.
The bots agreed with bleeps, and J.A.R.V.I.S. responded by dimming the lights a fraction.
Maybe they weren’t the most ideal nursemaids Tony could have asked for, but neither was he the ideal patient.