The Last Bar: An Iron Man Fanfic
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Character Pairing: Tony Stark x F!Reader, Tony Stark x Pepper Potts (No cheating – relationships happen at different times)
Word Count: 2368
Warnings: Drinking, drunk driving, angst, mentions of dying, mentions of canon torture, smut (mf, drunk foreplay, alcohol-induced impotence)
Synopsis: Tony Stark’s life is going off the rails. He feels alone, misunderstood, and running on empty. No fuel, no battery life, no signal. If he could just find one last bar he might be okay. He pulls into the parking lot of Fin, a dive bar with no discernible location. It could be the last bar he goes into.
It was years before Tony saw that bar again. So long that the memory of the place faded and became just another improbable thing in his alcohol-fueled daze, mixed in with other events like the time he drove his car into someone’s pool, and the night he went to a party at the playboy mansion and came to a week later in bed with two strange women in a hotel in Vegas with no memory of the entire week. He got drunk so often and so completely back then, that it was just one fucked up hazy event after another, and a bar where the owner treated him with kindness was strange, but not strange enough to sear its way into his memory.
Then Tony experienced something both traumatic and life-changing. Obidiah Stane, the man he’d considered a father figure, paid a group of terrorists to murder him.
Instead of killing him, he’d been kept in a cave and tortured. They put an electromagnet in his chest to keep him alive – and with the help of one man, he’d turned that electromagnet into a power source and built a suit of armor that he’d used to break free of his captives.
When he’d crashed in the desert – his suit ruined and the power source depleted – he wasn’t sure he had enough left to get him out of there safe and alive.
There was a moment when he was sure he saw you – a woman he hadn’t even thought of in years – in the desert while he lay in the sand injured and considering that now was the point where he gave up.
He was sure it was a hallucination. How could it not be a hallucination? You were a bartender in California and he was in the middle of the desert in Afghanistan. But even as he lay, praying for the energy to get up and move, he was sure you grabbed his shoulders and told him that if he went east, his friend would find him.
The incident fell away after he got a decent meal and some sleep in his own bed. It didn’t even need to be a good sleep – it was a long time before Tony had a good night’s sleep again – just a few nights of returning to a routine as a free man within the comforts of his own home.
After Afghanistan, things changed for him. He needed to be a better man. Someone other than the fucked up mess of a human his father had shaped. That meant a few things for him. The first was changing what Stark Industries traded in. No longer would he be complacent with the company bearing his name capitalizing on death and destruction. He steered it into green energy and communications. His long-term plan was to have whole households running on Stark appliances with 0 emissions. Next, there was the whole Iron Man thing. He felt guilty for the way Stark Industries weapons had been used and responsible for the innocent people they’d been used against – Iron Man felt like his way to right some wrongs. He’d be a superhero. Like Batman, only less angry and more high-tech.
Finally, he’d try and be a better friend and boss. He’d made it difficult for people to get close to him and even still, a few had slipped in, and looking back at how he’d treated them, he was a little surprised they hadn’t ditched him years ago. So he’d try and let them know he appreciate them, and he’d be more open to them. He’d be less flakey and he’d make sure he didn’t put them in situations that made them uncomfortable. And most of all, he’d stop drinking.
Not completely. He lived a life that lent itself to drinking. There were clients to schmooze and galas to attend. People invited him to parties and award shows. Just about every social interaction Tony had outside of being in the lab involved drinks.
Besides – he liked to drink. He liked the peatiness and smoke of a good Scotch. He liked the malt and hoppy finish of a decent pale ale. He really loved the heat that bloomed in his chest from the alcohol in any top-shelf spirit.
So he didn’t give it up, but he did cut down. Now instead of trying to find somewhere to go as an excuse to get drunk, he might just have a drink with dinner. Instead of making a complete spectacle of himself at a benefit, he would stick to champagne or a couple of dry Martinis.
He knew that most people said you should go cold turkey, but he also knew they also expected you to turn your will over to God – and given he liked having free will and didn’t believe in God – he wasn’t so sure that would work for him. Especially not on top of the fact he liked to drink so much.
Instead, he just replaced getting drunk with other things. Being Iron Man, spending more time in the lab, hanging out with Rhodey, Happy, and Pepper, eating right, exercising. It was working well…
… until it wasn’t.
When Tony found out that the device in his chest that was supposed to be keeping him alive was killing him, he started to spiral.
The first night when he realized there was nothing he could use to replace the palladium cores that were not only burning out faster and faster he went out on a bender to rival any other he’d had.
It was three in the morning when the glowing sign with Fin written on it came into view. The memory of the smokey bar that didn’t seem to have a last call flooded back to him. Everything from how strange his car looked in the parking to the breakfast that you’d set out.
He pulled the car into the car park and staggered out of it, slamming the door behind him. He was in his Tesla Roadster this time, but it looked just as odd as the Bugatti had all those years ago. He felt much drunker than when he had last been here, and he weaved his way into the bar.
The crowd was different this time. The pool table was empty this time, but there was a group of drunk college kids playing quarters in a booth and a woman was smoking and nursing a glass of red wine at the bar. Her makeup was smudged like she’d been crying.
You stood behind the bar, leaning against it as you tossed peanuts into your mouth. Your eyes followed Tony to the bar and when he took a seat you sidled over to him. “Didn’t think you’d be back here,” you said.
“You remembered,” Tony said, aiming for playful but coming off confused. It wasn’t exactly surprising you’d have remembered. He was famous, people tended to remember when they served famous people. Still, it felt strange for some reason. The way the words were said was almost like you were greeting an old friend.
To add to that feeling of strange familiarity, as you approached you took down a bottle of Lagavulin and grabbed a glass. You put the glass in front of him and poured three fingers in it, and set the glass down beside the glass.
“Of course, I remember,” you said. I remember all of you.”
Before Tony could ask how in the world that could be possible you had moved away and topped up the glass off the woman at the other end of the bar. He watched you as you moved around the bar. Despite how cheery you spoke to people, there seemed to be a sadness in the way you held yourself – as if the happiness was just a mask you wore for the people around you. He never felt as connected to a stranger as he did with you right now.
You picked up a mango and sliced off the cheeks as you leaned on the bar opposite him. “So what brings you back to me?” you asked.
Tony emptied his glass as he watched you slide a knife along the inside of one cheek again and again making a grid pattern in the flesh. “I needed to drink and the bars all closed.”
“We are the last bar open, that’s usually the story,” you said. “But why are you drinking tonight?”
Tony refilled his glass and considered the question. You flipped the mango cheek inside out and sucked one of the cubes of mango into your mouth. Some of the sweet sticky juice ran down your chin. As your tongue flicked out and licked it up one of his other self-destructive traits reared its head.
Here he was in your bar – the device that was housed in his chest that had caused him frequent and intense pain since the moment it was put in was killing him even as he swallowed down a mouthful of Scotch – and he wanted you. He wanted to feel something other than this hopeless grief he was trying to drown.
He opened his mouth, the lie already formed lips. The perfect story and smooth segue to get into your bed when you close up for the night. Instead, what came out was the cold, painful truth. “I’m dying. I’m dying and I can’t fix it and I don’t want to feel like this anymore.”
You wiped your chin and your eyes ran up and down his body. “I can’t close until everyone is gone,” you said. “Or at least until they’re done drinking.”
He didn’t know if you had just read his mind or if you’d gotten so good at reading people that you knew when people wanted to sleep with you. He was also too drunk to care. He gave you a nod and topped off his glass again. “I can wait,” he said.
The college kids went first, their one sober friend insisting that it was time to go home. You started to pack up after that. Wiping down tables and flipping the chairs so they sat upside down on top of them. When the woman at the bar needed a refill you’d come over and top her off, but by the time you started mopping the floors, she was sagging over the bar.
You took her up to bed – most likely to one of those white cells that Tony had woken in that first time. When returned you locked the doors and began to clean up the bar area itself, taking out the trash and putting things away. You took the bottle and glass off Tony and packed up the last of the glasses into the dishwasher and turned it on. Finally, you closed off Tony’s tab and gave him back his credit card. “Follow me,” you said.
He followed you upstairs and down the end of the hall to a door that opened at the very end. Your room was large enough to be comfortable, but not so big as to be notable. There was a full-sized bed and dresser, to the left of the room behind a bamboo and paper partition, and on the other side was a couch, coffee table, and tv. You didn’t have a wardrobe, your clothes seemed to be hung on a rolling hanger that sat behind yet another bamboo and paper partition, and there was a door on the left of the exit that opened into a tiny bathroom that only just had enough room to fit a sink, toilet, and shower. None of the furniture matched, and while everything was pristinely clean, it all looked so worn out that Tony half expected the bed to collapse and the sink to start spraying water everywhere.
He didn’t care about any of that at all. All he wanted right now was you, and to feel something good for a change.
He took hold of your hand and you looked back at him, your tongue flicking out and traveling over your bottom lip and tugged him toward you. Without a word, he wrapped an arm around your waist and pulled you into a passionate kiss.
He was drunk and it was sloppy. He fumbled to remove his clothes but you stayed his hand, leading him back to the bed with a broken array of kisses – like breadcrumbs that disappeared as soon as they were doled out.
He fumbled to undress you again, and this time you helped him, shedding both his clothes and yours until there are shoes and jeans and belts scattered on the floor around your bed, but before he can get to the good stuff you stopped him again and pulled him down on top of you.
He kissed you – your lips, your neck, he even tugged up your t-shirt and kissed the exposed skin on your soft stomach, and yet, as much as he wanted this – you, his body was not responding the way it should.
The room felt like it was swaying, making his stomach churn and his vision blur, and even when you cupped his cock in your hands and stroked it slowly, it remained flaccid and useless.
He pulled back and looked at you with a mixture of frustration and embarrassment. “I’m sorry, this never happens to me,” he said as he slipped his hand into his pants and tried to jerk his unresponsive member to life.
You sat up and cradled his jaw. “It’s okay. It’s late and you’re drunk. Sleep. I’m sure you need it and we can try again tomorrow if you still want it.”
Deep down, he knew that under any other circumstance he’d argue. He’d have to try and prove himself or at least get out of there so he didn’t have to suffer this embarrassment any longer than necessary. But there was a kindness and patience in your tone he so rarely heard – even from his friends – and so he complied, lying down beside you, and curling in close. He didn’t even care that the light was still on. He just wanted to sleep and thankfully, for the first time in a long time, it came for him right away.