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The Council of the Future

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“Tony!” someone yells as he’s crossing campus.

 

He whips around, seeing a silver-chrome convertible cruising down the road slowly, irritating the drivers behind.

 

“Ty?!” he gapes, “what are you doing? Speed up!”

 

“No!” Sunset screams from the back seat, hair spilling around her face, swarming through the back of the car like fire. Whitney giggles just a little bit hysterically and Tony squints.

 

“Are you drunk ?!”

 

“I’m not!” Ty says helpfully.

 

Lex looks up from his phone, rolling his eyes, “I’m not either, it’s just the girls,” he points to the backseat, where Sunset and Whitney are now sipping crazy straws.

 

“Oh my god,” Tony sighs to himself, hiking his bag up his shoulder. “Meet me at my dorm!” he yells, waving his hand in a ‘go’ gesture. Ty speeds up, accelerating down the empty stretch of road. The angry symphony of horns dies off, hands disappearing back inside windows.

 

He hurries across campus, muttering intelligible gibberish to himself the entire time. Thank god he has a free period, he is not missing school for those bozos, no matter how smart he may be.

 

He makes it to his dorm just as Sunset leans over, puking into a bush. Lex is holding her hair and Ty’s holding up Whitney.

 

“Oh, god,” Tony sighs, hurrying forward.  “What the fuck!” he demands, storming past Sunset wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

 

“Tony!” Whit squeals, stumbling forward. She nearly trips, so Tony braces her with both hands.

 

“Whit? What are you guys doing her?!”

 

“I’ve got business,” Lex says, shrugging.

 

Tony turns on Ty. “Why didn't you stop them?! Why are you even here!”

 

“You think I would have if i could have?” Ty says. “And hell if I know, they just turned up. Who am I to tell them no?”

 

“Um, fucking sane ?”

 

“They insisted. Lex was there too and he had some business in Boston, so we hitched a flight over here.”

 

Tony stares, “how long have the girls been drunk?”

 

“Like...6 hours? I mean, they sobered up on the airplane, so really only 4?”

 

‘And in all that time, you never once thought you'd stop and think: hey, how will Tony feel about this?”

 

Ty rolls his eyes. “Tony, can we go inside? People, are starting to stare.”

 

Glancing around, Tony finds it's true. “Shit,” he hisses. “Fine. Get in.”

 

They open the doors to Tony's dorm hall, making the way to his and Rhodey’s combined room.

 

“Okay, Rhodey’s with ROTC, so we have a while. Let's get these girls sobered up.”

 

“Amen,” Lex mutters, flopping Sunset down like a doll with its strings cut.

 

“Okay,” Ty considers, “..bath? That always works well and they’re the right type of drunk as well.

 

“There are different types of hangover cures for different drunks?” Lex asks incredulously, and a little innocently, despite himself.

 

“Of course,” Ty and Tony say in unison.

 

“You ladies got anywhere to be?” Tony asks them, knowing the answer. 

 

Whitney giggles and shakes her head, hooking a finger into his collar, pulling him forward for a sloppy, drunk kiss. Tony goes along with it, kissing her back until she pulls him back onto the bed, on top of her. He decides it's not the time or place to make out with a drunk girl in front of his friends. 

 

“Okay, okay,” he interrupts, rolling off her. “That's enough.”

 

“Tonyyy!” she wines, wrapping her legs around his.

 

“No, Whit. let's get you sobered up.”

 

She hums, rolling over and arching her back on the bed, stretching.  

 

Tony straightens his shirt, clapping his hands. “Right. Ty, go turn on the shower. As cold as it goes, there's a sticker. Lex, help me bring them down”

 

“Ay, ay, captain,” Ty salutes, walking away in the direction of the bathroom.

 

Lex and Tony grab the girls, lugging them down to the bathroom.

 

HANGOVER MODE is scrawled under the dial, so Ty shrugs and yanks it on. He sticks a hand under the water, and it’s frigid. The girls are not gonna like that. 

 

Here we go,” Tony groans, settling Whit down on the tiles. “Okay, Sun in first. You do not to see Whitney cold. She’s so annoying.”

 

“Am not!” she complains from the floor.

 

“Here we go,” he grunts, ignoring Whit, carrying Sunset over from where she had been giggling to herself and going though Tony’s bathroom cabinet.

 

She falls into the bathtub and kicks her legs over her head, sticking up a hand to stop the water, “no!” she yells, “no! No!”

 

“Sorry,” Tony says, preparing to turn it on.

 

She sobs, and Tony looks down. She looks positively devastated, tears forming, mascara smudging, the happy-go-lucky drunk girl gone.

 

“Tony,” she wails, shuddering sobs.

 

“Sun?” he asks, bending down next to her, “what's wrong?”

 

“Me,” she sobs, "I'm a whore," before Tony can interrupt, she continues, "I'm a fucking whore, and everyone uses me and throws me away, even you.”

 

“I’ll never use you,” Tony says seriously, looking into her eyes, “and I never will, because I don't need to. None of us do, and that's why you’re friends with us.”

 

“Thank you,” she whispers, and her iron grip on his arm falls away. "I -- I don't --"

 

"it's okay, Sun," Tony reassures. "You're fine."

 

She nods wetly and wipes her nose. 

 

“Get ready, Sun,” Ty warns, and then turns the shower handle.

 

She shrieks.

 



“Thank you,” she whispers, hugging a towel to herself and holding a mug of hot cocoa in her trembling hands.

 

“No worries, Sun,” he says, but leans his shoulder against hers.

 


 

 

"Goddamnit, Tony, your fucking friends, again?"

 

"Sorry, Rhodey-bear!"