Fandoms: Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers
Characters/Relationships: Thor, Tony Stark
Word count: 2,684
Content Advisory: Violence
Disclaimer: Not mine, just playing.
A/N: Written for a prompt at avengerkink - Where Tony got Mjölnir instead of becoming Iron Man.
Summary: When Tony nearly died in the desert, he was saved and found worthy by a very unusual artifact.
On Ao3 or below the cut
It was difficult to spend nearly three months laboring every single day on a project that was supposed to be your ticket to freedom, while simultaneously doing nothing of the sort. The Ten Rings had been nearly beside themselves when they'd managed to capture "the great" Tony Stark unharmed, and had been very pleased when it took so little painful persuasion to make him turn his talents to their use.
That was exactly what Tony wanted them to think. The Ten Rings wanted a Jericho missile. And that's exactly what they were going to get. One powerful Jericho missile that would explode with devastating force - right on the launchpad. If there was any luck in the world, it would take out the entire camp in one go.
If Tony was really lucky, he'd go up with it. He had to; he couldn't afford be broken for real, to do what they truly wanted him to. So he worked hard, with a calculated amount of defiant sass so they wouldn't think he was being suspiciously pliant. He hammered and welded, rewired and soldered, programmed and double-checked everything.
It worked perfectly. Just like he knew it would.
Tony was deep in the workshop cave when they launched, but that didn't protect him from the Jericho's wrath. Walls collapsed, shrapnel penetrated everything, and Tony barely came to afterwards, ears ringing, his chest of mass of pain.
He's dying. He knew exactly what that shrapnel did to a body; he designed it to be lethal. But at least this time, this one last time, the people dying and dead at his hands are those he knew were cruel killers. Present company not excluded.
There weren’t any screams, but Tony didn't expect any. He did his job, his one last job, finally got something right...
Another explosion rocked his world, and something crashed through the rubble pinning him down, making more blood ooze from the wounds in his chest. A hammer nearly embedded itself into the ground near his head, short-handled and with a head big enough to smash anything. It was an ornate, beautiful tool, and even light-headed with blood loss, spots starting to dance in front of his eyes, Tony lost himself in admiration of it.
He put it down to bleeding out when words emerged from the surface of the metal, inscribing themselves in blocky, angular script - "Whoever holds this hammer, be he worthy, shall have the power of Thor."
Almost certain he was dreaming on his way out of the world, Tony reached out to touch it.
That’s when the lightning started.
Rhodey found him a day later, knee-deep in the rubble of the Ten Rings’ camp, surrounded by the bodies of those who’d come running to discover the source of the explosion. Dusty and streaked with others’ dried blood, clutching an improbably large hammer, Rhodey hadn’t exactly been sure it really was Tony at first.
“The fun-vee sucked,” Tony said wearily, sinking down to his knees. His shirt was ripped, showing freshly-healed scars scattered across his chest in a frightening pattern to anyone who’d seen shrapnel wounds before.
“Next time you ride with me,” Rhodey said, relief suffusing him, and clapped a hand on Tony’s shoulder. And started. It was like clapping his hand against a rock, his muscles were so solid. “Tony? What the hell happened?”
Tony looked down at the hammer in his hand, at the play of the muscles in his arms, with as much confusion as Rhodey. Tony hadn’t been a slouch, but he hadn’t been a bodybuilder either. So why and how had he emerged from three months in captivity looking like the cover of Muscles Quarterly?
“I…” Tony straightened up and swung the hammer lightly in his hand, “changed.”
And apparently nothing else was forthcoming. Frustrating as it was, Rhodey was used to that.
The official story given to the public was mostly close to the truth, that Tony had destroyed the terrorists who’d captured him by building and sabotaging his own weapon. And it stopped there. It didn’t mention Tony fighting his way through a second army with nothing but a strange hammer, a decided upswing in strength, and a sudden ability to be bulletproof.
It didn’t mention that Tony should have died from his chest wounds in the rubble of those caves.
It didn’t mention Tony had been chosen when he’d chosen to take his enemies out with him so they couldn’t hurt anyone else.
It didn’t mention the hammer was magical.
It didn’t mention the hammer was alive.
Her name was Mjölnir. And she was a demanding bitch. Tony meant that in the best possible Pepper Potts kind of way.
Because Rhodey had asked about her on the flight back (even though Tony was eighty-nine percent sure Mjölnir was whispering some crazy shit about hanging on to her as he threw her that could be about as good as flight, but seriously, Tony had done quite a lot today and would resume more impossible daring-do tomorrow). And Tony had, reluctantly, handed her over so his best friend could see the instrument of his salvation.
Rhodey had dropped her. Not in a butterfingers kind of way, but like she weighed a thousand pounds kind of way.
“How the hell were you swinging this, Tony?” he demanded.
“She’s not that heavy. Come on, Rhodey, put your back into it!” Tony teased.
It hadn’t been funny an hour later when every soldier on the plane, alone and in groups, tried to lift her to no avail. She wouldn’t even budge an inch. Not even when the plane had to make some pretty extreme maneuvers. Only Tony could pick her up.
He spent the rest of the trip sitting quietly, staring at the words engraved on her surface. One kept etching itself into his mind. “Worthy.” He was the only one worthy of her. She’d saved his life and given him power because of that. If he ever lost that respect, she’d leave him. And Tony knew she was only thing keeping him alive.
Tony knew what he had to do now.
It wasn’t until six months later that his world turned upside-down again.
To be fair, Tony had been upending the world a fair amount himself, stopping weapons production, turning Stark Industries’ formidable skills towards other fields of science, working on his own contributions to something other than death.
He’d also discovered that yes, he could fly. He’d flown right back into that terrible place and smashed apart what remained of his weapons, targeting the cowards who thought that killing innocent people served some kind of purpose. Seeing what had been done with the work of his hands had made him sick. It felt like he’d been living with blinders on his entire life, like he’d suddenly had a light turned on when Mjölnir had landed in his hand.
There was something exhilarating about what he’d become. Before, his strength had been solely in his mind and words – separate him from the weapons he built, and he was an easy target. That was how he’d gotten captured in the first place. But now… Now he had the physical power to protect himself and anyone else threatened by the ruthless.
Including those whom he thought was family. Obadiah Stane had started to panic after Tony’s spate of public service, and his attempt at finding something that could hurt Tony as he was now had nearly killed Pepper and had endangered dozens of others. Him and his Iron Monger tank had been blown apart by Tony’s thunder and lightning, and with it, the last family Tony had thought he had.
Tony buried himself in his workshop to mourn what he had lost. Or thought he’d lost.
Two weeks after that, a stranger appeared on his doorstep, a blond with a build like a MMA champion who claimed his name was Thor.
The name sent a jolt through him. “…the power of Thor.” That was what Mjölnir had given him.
Tony had Mjölnir with him when he answered the door, too intrigued by JARVIS’ pictures of the stranger to let anyone screen his visitors this time. She was practically vibrating in his hand when he finally got face-to-face with Thor.
“You!” Tony said, eyes widening when he realized why Mjölnir was practically dancing in his grip. Not-quite-memories flashed behind his eyes, showing this man in medieval armor, striking down fantastical beasts, frost giants, and other foes of Asgard. Asgard. He’d never even been there, but he knew it from half-remembered dreams he had dismissed upon waking. But now everything was coming back to him in fractured, Technicolor glory.
Thor merely nodded, looking solemn and a little hangdog. “It is I. I see she found one worthy of her.”
“I know you,” Tony said, and shook his head slowly. “You… She’s yours.” Even as he said it, his heart rebelled, and not just because Mjölnir’s power was keeping him whole. He had a job to do, and he needed her help to do it. But he also knew she’d been given to Thor for a reason. But why had she fallen to Earth then?
“She was. If I may, Thunderer,” Thor said with a kind of painful diffidence, and gestured into the house. Tony opened the door the rest of the way and let him in, guiding him down to the workshop to talk in privacy.
“JARVIS, private mode. No one else in or out,” Tony commanded.
“Yes, sir,” JARVIS responded crisply, and opaqued the smart glass so no one could see inside.
Thor looked startled at JARVIS’ voice and shook his head. “You are a wizard as well as a warrior.”
“I’m an engineer,” Tony corrected, sitting down and letting Mjölnir dangle from one hand. He revised his word choice as Thor furrowed his brow. “A craftsman and inventor.”
“And a good one,” Thor said, looking around the workshop with greater understanding. “I have been on this world for nearly a year, and what you have in this place is like no other.” He nodded, as if to himself. “I read about you in your newspapers. You have turned your craft from that of war to peace. My father spoke that Mjölnir could be used as a tool to build, but rarely did I avail myself of that power.”
“I haven’t. Not yet anyway,” Tony said, wonder coloring his voice as his remembered dreams started to take on new weight with every word Thor spoke.
“You will. You will use her better than I.”
Tony cocked his head in curiosity. The dream-memories he had were of a brash, arrogant Thor laughing boldly and loudly as he swanned through the Asgardian court, fighting duels, going on hunts, leading raiding parties against foes. In none of them did Tony see this humble, contrite, thoughtful man in front of him. But there was still an underlying core of honor that connected them both, stronger in this Thor than the old one.
“She was… taken from you?” Tony asked finally, his question more of a statement.
“I was arrogant and nearly precipitated a war, so the All Father took her from me and cast her to Midgard to find someone worthy. I had hoped that I would find her and return from my test covered in glory.” He shrugged and shook his head self-deprecatingly. “It took me a great deal of humiliation and the understanding of good people to learn what lessons the All Father had needed me to. Long before then, I dreamed she had found another, more worthy bearer, but did not yet believe it until I saw a picture of you with her.”
“She helped me out of a tight spot,” Tony said, running his hand up and down her handle. “She saved my life, in more ways than one.”
“May I touch her?” Thor asked, meeting Tony’s gaze squarely for the first time.
Tony hesitated and finally held her out in one hand. Thor closed his hand upon the handle, but did not even try to lift her. He closed his eyes and stood for a long moment in silence. If Mjölnir had anything to say about the situation, she wasn’t enlightening Tony about it. Finally Thor let go and looked up. There were tears running down his face without shame.
“She has chosen you for true, and holds your life in her power. Even if she judged me worthy, she would not leave you.”
Tony breathed out a small sigh of relief and clasped Thor’s hand in his own, conscious of the strength in him even without the power of Asgard to back him.
“What’re you going to do, Thor?”
“I must find another purpose. I will aid those of Midgard as well as I can. Perhaps those who tend to the upholding of law could find a place for me,” Thor said. He turned to go, but Tony didn’t let him loose just yet.
“Hang on…” Tony said, an idea bouncing around in his head, composed of the dream-fragments of Thor in armor, the revelation that Mjölnir could be used to build, his own recent developments in protective gear, and the stoic, patient determination in Thor’s eyes. “I think you need a broader scope than just being a cop.”
Thor lifted his head, caught by the enthusiasm Tony was projecting. “You have been inspired?”
“You’re a warrior, Thor. Warriors need armor,” Tony said, letting go of Thor so he could spin up the holographic projector. After several long moments of drawing with beams of light, he spun the simple wireframe towards Thor.
He walked around it carefully, examining it with a growing smile. “You would make me a man of iron!” he exclaimed, eyes lighting up with enthusiasm.
“You said she could build,” Tony said, hefting Mjölnir. “And I think she still likes you. Do you want to help me? Midgard could use you.”
“Did I not say I would? Yes, a hundred times yes, I would aid this world with all the strength I have,” Thor said, banging his fist on his chest in a warrior’s salute.
It was Tony’s idea for the electronics, the repulsors, the arc reactor, and even the gold-titanium alloy, but Thor had worked alongside dwarves in Asgard, and it was he who helped shape the armor itself even as Tony wielded Mjölnir to drive strength into the metal. Thor helped craft the shell to cradle him even as Tony filled it with the power and motion of all his robotics expertise.
For the first time in forever, the workshop was filled with laughter as the good humor Thor had denied himself for a year came bubbling to the surface. Tony found himself laughing with him, sometimes over shared ephemeral memories, but more and more as the armor came together they were starting to find things in common that had little to do with Asgard. So much had been had been expected of both of them, and neither of them had expected to fulfill those goals the way they had.
And maybe that had been for the best. No. Actually, no “but” about it.
All the experience Thor had had flying over Asgard stood him in good stead when they both stood on the launchpad for the first time. The product of a month’s worth of labor, gleaming silver and red, the armor was one of the most beautiful things Tony had ever seen.
He stood back as he began to twirl Mjölnir faster and faster, even as Thor activated the repulsors. With a roar of fire like a dragon’s breath, Thor launched himself into the sky, and Tony followed after, both of them riding the wind.
Tony shouted in exultation as they soared over the ocean, and could hear Thor singing a victory song as the water flashed below them like a mirror.
“Where to, buddy?” Tony yelled over the comm.
The gleaming helmet turned slightly towards Tony. “Wherever we are needed most, my friend.”
Tony could feel Mjölnir radiate satisfaction at both of them as they turned towards the nearest trouble that needed their strength, and knew she was happy they’d found something worthy of both of them.