Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Avengers & Iron Man (MCU)
Era: Post-Avengers movie, after “Blue Glow” fic.
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Bruce Banner (Hulk), Clint Barton (Hawkeye), Jane Foster, Nick Fury, Happy Hogan, J.A.R.V.I.S., Darcy Lewis, Pepper Potts, James “Rhodey” Rhodes (War Machine), Steve Rogers (Captain America), Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), Thor, Tony Stark (Iron Man)
Pairings: Bruce/Tony, Happy/Pepper, Jane/Thor (, Clint/Natasha, implied past Pepper/Tony)
Summary: It starts with a dream and ends with something that resembles strutting more than tiptoeing; in other words, Bruce has a new-found obsession with Tony, Tony finds that endearing and wants to take it further while everyone else – including Bruce – seems to think it might actually be a very bad idea.
Work in progress. Part of the “Turquoise” –series.
Warnings: Slash (m/m relationship) and some sexual content, past and current het (f/m), superheroes vs. villains violence, language.
Manhattan, New York, NY, USA
“J.A.R.V.I.S. thinks we should hook up.”
Bruce almost spat his orange juice all over the table. Well, it may have been the better option because trying to hold it in made him almost choke, and having fresh orange juice up your nose wasn’t on the top of the list of things he enjoyed. Not even close.
Tony moved over to smack him on the back with his hand as he tried to cough out the rest of the juice, covering his face with a paper towel once he was done.
“You gonna come out of there sometime today and give me your reply?” Tony asked after a while when Bruce resolutely stayed behind said paper towel.
“My reply?” Bruce muttered in a half-question, lowering the towel slightly, doing one more thorough clean-up of his face just in case he had missed a spot earlier.
“To my helpful AI’s suggestion; I think he wants to start a dateline,” Tony mused, leaning back in his chair, close to tipping it over and crashing to the floor.
“He thinks we should… Can J.A.R.V.I.S. really understand the concept of a relationship and all it entails?” Bruce asked with a deep frown.
The AI stayed suspiciously quiet even at the continued mention of its name.
“I’m sure he could calculate the outcome with several variables and be pretty accurate,” Tony mused. “I didn’t create him for that but he’s learning on his own and has been watching me fail at relationships for years.”
“I always thought Pepper was the only one.”
Tony leaned forward again with a slight thump, looking at the table. “She was the only one who meant something because she was my friend. There were a few… people… who stuck around longer than others, when I was younger. Mainly when I didn’t have a company to run or didn’t care for it much. Afterwards there was no reason to settle for one, if you know what I mean? And no one was good enough.”
“So you have standards,” Bruce joked; a popular opinion seemed to be that Tony Stark’s standards were low at best, but maybe all those articles has been written by people he had turned down, who knew. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…
Tony looked at him searchingly. “Before, not so much. They just had to look good or promise me a good enough time to compensate for the lack of the former. More often than not I was disappointed. After Afghanistan… it was all for show. I stopped sleeping with people. Pepper was the first in a long time, and now she’s gone, so…”
“I’m sorry,” Bruce said honestly.
“It’s not like I couldn’t get a date. I’m Iron Man,” Tony mused, scratching at some stain on the tabletop.
Bruce nodded encouragingly. “It takes time. When you love someone –”
“I don’t want to talk about Pepper,” Tony interrupted him rather sharply, looking at him again. Clearly the subject hurt and Tony dove in the opposite direction to avoid it: “We were talking about us.”
“There is no ‘us’,” Bruce argued.
“In your head there is.”
“But that’s in my head. Don’t make it into more than it is. It’s just… pent up frustration and a fantasy.”
“A fantasy that can be made very real,” Tony said with barely contained enthusiasm.
Bruce wondered if Tony pursued this only to fill the void; the other guy had almost killed him, so maybe it was only fitting in Tony’s head Bruce should help him with the rest of his issues.
Well, Bruce had his own problems and he had to put them first. “I thank you for that but it’s never going to happen.”
“Didn’t we already talk about this earlier this morning?” Tony frowned.
“You don’t listen very well.”
“I know what you want.”
“And what is that?”
“In my head!” Tony jerked back; Bruce hadn’t meant to yell. He took a steadying breath and tried again, quieter: “Yes, I’ve dreamt of you – us – but it doesn’t make it real. And even if I wanted to, I can’t risk it. I could seriously hurt you.”
Tony debated that for a moment. “You liked the kiss,” he said then.
“I did.” Bruce could admit that much with a fond smile. He would remember that for a long time. Such a simple thing, but it meant a lot to him because it was Tony.
“We could do more of that,” Tony suggested. “We could take it slow. I know we both miss human contact and we get along fine. Your brain is the most amazing, sexiest thing I’ve come across in all my life. That it has decided to fixate on me doesn’t make it any kind of turn-off.”
Yeah, there was that… “And what happens when kissing isn’t enough?” Bruce asked. “I don’t think it will take long for you to get bored with something so… childish as kissing and holding hands.”
“We would be holding hands?” Tony looked at him teasingly, then grew serious. “I don’t know. We’ll work on it. I’m sure deep down you want more than a kiss, and there has to be a way to control the other guy during sex. You’ve got a better handle on him than you had in the beginning, right?”
The words left an empty feeling inside Bruce; he remembered the last time he had kissed a person he cared about, held her at night, too afraid of hurting her to enjoy the last moments they had together before he ran…
“Maybe I can’t control it,” he finally said.
“Then we would work around that,” Tony said adamantly. “It’s all about figuring out a pattern; finding the triggers, getting used to a new element.”
“It’s not science,” Bruce said, dejected.
“No; it’s human relations, and that doesn’t exactly have rules we can follow or attempt to modify.” Tony slid closer with his chair, leaning into his space but not touching him yet. “Tell me honestly you’re not interested in giving it a shot. That you would rather spend your nights dreaming of something you could actually have, waking up with that empty feeling that you’re alone and pretending that it’s what you want.”
“I don’t always get what I want,” Bruce said in a hollow voice.
“You could get it now.”
Bruce looked at Tony; the brown eyes were guarded even now but more honest than with most people he had seen him with; his tan skin smooth under the lamps, his hair still slightly damp from the shower he must have taken after Bruce left his room; the wife-beater and pants, so simple and looking like comfort clothes instead of the type he wore to meetings; the desperate honesty on his face, speaking of the mutual need they both shared to not be alone.
“I guess I could deal with kissing,” Bruce finally admitted. “And hand-holding. And a degree of touching. But you’ll have to respect my boundaries, Tony,” he added. “If it’s too much –”
“I’ll back off, no questions asked,” Tony nodded. “I have no desire for a re-match with the big guy in case he still feels resentment about that sparring incident.”
The Hulk didn’t, but Bruce had no reason to tell Tony that; maybe it would keep him from pulling such insane stunts with him in the future. Instead he nodded then leaned forward, touching Tony’s face with one hand and kissing him. It was deeper this time, a little bit of open lips, breathing the same air, and they kept at it for more than just a few seconds.
It was sad and pathetic, as if they were back in middle-school, but it left them both with slightly bashful smiles afterwards and the air was significantly lighter in the room.
They had decided to spend a few more days at the Tower. No one asked them what they were up to in there; they assumed some kind of science – and there was some of that, too – but they also spent time together in front of the TV, watching documentaries or stupid soap operas… just hanging out. They ordered out, tried new foods, played games neither of them was good at and Tony tried to cheat anyway if it looked like he was losing. Bruce always responded by trying to win a little harder and making it difficult to win by foul play.
In the middle of saving the world and then almost killing Tony, there had never been real time for them to bond although they had instinctively felt each other out since the beginning. There was only a little trial and error between them because they just instinctively knew what worked.
If not, J.A.R.V.I.S. was quick to supply them with corrections and ideas of his own.
That was, Tony could admit, a little creepy.
It was a few days after the kitchen talk when they were on the couch, watching some program about couples playing against each other, trying to correctly guess facts about their own partners’ ideas.
Tony and Bruce took to answering the answers along with the contestants to pass time. It was clear Bruce knew a lot about Tony even when it didn’t have to do with his career. “I thought you were hiding from the world,” Tony complained.
“I wasn’t always in hiding, and you were a pretty public figure,” Bruce defended his success.
“What would be the color to represent you as a couple?” the host asked.
Tony frowned. “Well, you’re green and I’m gold and red so that makes some ugly brown color with a little hint of bling.”
“Turquoise,” was Bruce’s answer.
Tony looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
Bruce shrugged. “Green,” he pointed at himself, “and pale blue,” he moved to gently tap the arc reactor through Tony’s shirt. “Which makes turquoise.”
Tony smiled. “I like your answer better. Also, I want popcorn.” He got up and wandered off to the kitchen, popping a bag into the microwave. As he waited for it to pop he hummed idly and went to pour them both tall glasses of juice; Bruce didn’t want to drink and Tony didn’t feel like getting wasted around him.
“Sir,” J.A.R.V.I.S. piped up. “The evening is proceeding very nicely.”
“Don’t tell me there’s a swarm of villains that needs to be taken care of,” Tony complained in advance.
“It seems to be a quiet night; no such alarms have come to my attention.”
“Then what’s up?”
“Nothing. I merely wanted to let you know the evening is going well.”
“Huh,” Tony mused then took the popcorn out of the microwave when it was ready. He had never known J.A.R.V.I.S. to take such concern in his affairs before. Maybe he’d have to take a look at his coding sometime soon to make sure nothing was amiss.
Bruce glanced up as he approached, smelling the treat.
“Has J.A.R.V.I.S. talked to you lately?” Tony asked.
Bruce pursed his lips. “Earlier today, why?”
“Not funny. Just… caring. He’s amazingly life-like,” Bruce smiled. He had always liked the AI, appreciating the genius put into creating it.
“What did he say?” Tony asked.
“That he’s glad we’ve taken to each other. I think he’s been worried ever since Pepper left. He implied your brush with death was nothing if not expected after such a breakdown.”
Tony thought about that while munching a mouthful of popcorn. “Well, it’s only fair you’re taking care of me now,” he mused then.
Bruce gave him one of those gentle, patient smiles. “Yeah, that’s all there is to it.”
The only word Bruce could give it was ‘tiptoeing’; they hung out, they touched, they kissed. They napped together, but most nights they wouldn’t go into the same bedroom. It took Bruce a few days to tell himself that he could, in fact, join Tony in his bed and it wouldn’t be weird because they were sort of together and that’s why they should do it.
Tony, as he had suspected, didn’t find a fault in that logic when Bruce showed up at his door again. He simply scooted over on the mattress, allowing Bruce to throw down the pillow he had brought with him from his own bed. They opted to use only Tony’s covers and Bruce folded his to wait in a vacant chair in case they were needed.
When they lay down, ready for sleep, it was strange.
“It isn’t this weird cuddling on a couch,” Tony commented. “I’ve never had this much trouble relaxing in bed with anyone.” He didn’t suggest they should have sex, though. He had been amazing at holding back those comments, Bruce had noticed.
“Maybe we’re over-thinking this,” Bruce suggested.
“Feel free to stop thinking.”
Bruce chuckled knowing that for the two of them ‘not thinking’ was asking a lot, then scooted closer, pressing his face in the back of Tony’s neck. The other man sighed at the touch. They lay still for a moment, then Bruce lifted one arm and threw it over Tony’s side. They were used to this much closeness on the couch and although it would get warm during the night, they could start like this. After all, they were still at the learning phase…
His bed partner was kind of hogging the pillow, Tony noticed as he began to stir. They were lying really close to each other, the sheet kicked off to not suffocate them – although J.A.R.V.I.S. would be cooling down the room temperature to a pleasant one so it didn’t really matter.
A leg brushed his, meatier and hairier. There was none of Pepper’s perfume in the air either, or a draft from the shampoo she liked.
Tony opened his eyes and was acutely aware it wasn’t Pepper. He wondered how long it would take before he stopped expecting it to be her. They hadn’t been together for that long, but it had obviously meant more to him than anyone else.
For one, he had slept entire nights beside her which could not be said about most of his other partners.
Except for Bruce. It would be rude to run out on Bruce, no matter how attractive an idea he got that he should work on in the workshop.
Bruce sighed and shifted in his sleep, then he groaned and started pulling his arm from beneath the pillow where Tony had been sleeping on top of it. Either the limb was asleep or achy; Tony could sympathize with both. Bruce blinked, curly hair all over the place. It was a bit weird to wake up like this, probably for both of them, but they had spent enough time snuggling on the couch that it wasn’t downright awkward.
“Morning,” Bruce finally mumbled and lay back down, rolling onto his back and getting his bearings. He stretched the arm that had been twisted under the pillow, getting blood flowing.
“You slept well?” Tony asked, unsure if they could just start talking science this early to avoid any other topics.
Bruce nodded, looking at him. “Why is this still weird?” he mused out loud.
Tony shook his head, no smarter. Well, it was a good sign Bruce didn’t use the strangeness as an excuse to put an end to it, which was something Tony had half-expected him to do. Thank goodness for small miracles.
“Perhaps we should work on it a bit harder,” he suggested.
“You have ideas on how to do that?”
“A few.” So he leaned over, brushing noses with Bruce before angling his head for a kiss. He swore he could still taste Bruce’s toothpaste, which had a funny flavor of some organic shit. Well, so much of Bruce smelled and tasted organic that Tony didn’t even mind, and Pepper kept telling him organic was good, so… Yeah, maybe he was starting to like it.
“I like this idea,” Bruce noted after a bit and one of his hands slid down Tony’s bare side. His skin was sensitive and warm after sleep, Bruce’s fingertips roughened by work like Tony’s own, nails blunt. They edged all the way down to the waistband of his underwear before stopping.
“By all means do go on,” Tony murmured and kissed him again, with a bit more passion.
Bruce held onto his lower lip for a moment when they broke apart. “I don’t want to… cross any lines.”
“I thought it was your lines we were worrying about, not mine,” Tony reminded him impatiently. He shifted a bit closer to the other man, almost straddling one of Bruce’s legs, then moaned faintly as his morning erection brushed against something other than the bed. He could feel the heat radiating from Bruce so he knew he wasn’t alone. “Just kiss me again if you’re not going to do anything else,” he demanded then, forgetting whatever they may have been arguing about just a moment earlier.
Bruce kissed him, tentatively opening his mouth, letting them play. Tony wondered if he worried about the radiation in his blood and that this little bit of contact might hurt him. Tony sure hoped not, knowing it would be a turn-off for them both.
Since the other man obviously wasn’t getting handsy, Tony rubbed himself against Bruce’s body to get some relief. It would not take off the edge, not really, but it was better than forcing his hard-on to disappear. And perhaps if he rubbed against Bruce’s resistance long enough…
One of Bruce’s hands moved up along his ribs, tracing the bone up to the spine, making Tony shudder a bit at the sensation, then he felt the fingers map the path up between his shoulder blades and then to his neck, tugging at the hair before the fingers rubbed the base of his scalp.
Tony’s eyes rolled in his head just a little. “Do that again.”
Bruce chuckled, his fingers pressing further against his skull, delicious and just right.
“Damn that feels good,” Tony praised, eyes closed, body still as Bruce made small sensations run down his body.
“I know other places like this, too,” Bruce promised.
“That makes you sound almost filthy, Dr. Banner.”
“I didn’t mean that spot, Mr. Stark, although I’m sure you would love me to give it a stroke or two.”
“Is that what you think?” Tony asked, forcing his eyes open.
Bruce was biting his tongue, he had to be; he had said something that made sense to him, but which they hadn’t talked about prior to this moment. That would be a discussion Tony remembered, no matter the time, the place, or his state of drunkenness. “Well, most men who know anything about G-spots would agree,” Bruce tried to back pedal without revealing too much.
“Not what you were originally thinking about,” Tony shot back, narrowing his eyes. “I can tell, don’t play me for a fool.” He waited a few seconds. “Could it be, Dr. Banner, that you want to give me a sexy prostate exam?”
Bruce flushed – which looked just as sexy on his sun-kissed skin as it looked on Tony’s.
“Well?” Tony prodded.
“Uhh… Can we just go back to what we were doing before?”
“After you tell me what that was all about.”
“I can do this all day.”
“I just want you to admit it.”
“That you want to play with my ass. That you think I would like it.”
Tony stopped to think for about one second. “Yes.”
Bruce let out the breath he had been holding.
“Was that so hard?” Tony asked, grinning.
“I wasn’t sure if you… Well, I’m still not because I can never be sure with you.”
“Bullshit. You’re one of the few people who could see through me from the first moment we met – which, I admit, is a bit disturbing, but I like you and am willing to let it go.”
“Thanks, I guess,” Bruce smiled at him. He had one hand still curled at the base of Tony’s neck and he ruffled the hair there.
“Tell me about your dreams,” Tony insisted next because he had a feeling Bruce’s confident slip about Tony’s sexual preferences had something to do with what had been going on in his head for weeks.
Another blush and Bruce looked away from his eyes, landing somewhere near the arc reactor; people seemed to take it as a suitable alternative for looking him in the eye. “There’s only one dream, really. Small changes, but essentially it is just that one scene.”
Tony raised an eyebrow. “Didn’t it get a bit boring?”
Bruce glanced up at him again. “Not in any way you would think.”
Tony grinned then. “So I’m amazing even in repetitive dream sex!” Bruce pinched his thigh to stop his self-congratulatory victory dance and refocus his attention back on the matter at hand. “Would you like to show me?” Tony added then, leaning closer, kissing his jaw briefly before pulling back again. “I want you to show me.”
“We agreed –”
“We don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with at this juncture,” Tony deflated a little, but it didn’t kill his spirits just yet. “Just show me. Talk me through it. I feel like there’s some inside joke considering our slumberland-affair that you’re not letting me in on although you should.”
Bruce chuckled. “It’s not that amazing. I have a simple mind when it comes to… erotic dreams, it would seem. It’s not nearly elaborate enough to hold your interest, I’m sure.”
“You can’t bore me to death with erotic dreams, especially if I’m involved,” Tony promised earnestly. “Show me,” he said then, softer, knowing that sometimes sweet-talking was exactly what it took to get Bruce more comfortable with something he was chary about.
“The room’s always dark,” Bruce started, then slid his hands down – to Tony’s hips and urged him to the side so that he was finally straddling Bruce’s hips. Even with the underwear on it was undeniably the most erotic thing they had ever done. “You’re above me, and… I can see the arc moving. Up and down, slowly, smoothly. It feels good. I run my hands up your skin,” Bruce went on, his hands sliding up from his hips, along the ribs, all the way up until one hand covered the blue shine of the arc on his chest.
Tony didn’t breathe. He could imagine it, almost feel the dream, and he had a sudden urge to start moving although he knew it would break the moment and it wouldn’t be the same.
Bruce dropped his hands, just like that, looking uncomfortable again. “I’m not sure if you would ever consider doing that. I know you prefer women so –”
“Bruce,” Tony interrupted him, leaning forward until he was almost lying on top of him, arms on either side of Bruce’s head keeping his weight up. “I don’t see any women in this room. And… I would have no issues about doing that, or anything else with you. Frankly, if I’m going to sleep with a guy – which I have in the past, let’s make no bashful mistakes about that – I mostly do it because there are no female parts involved. And if you ever start jonesin’ to play the so-called ‘submissive’ part, I’m sure we can discuss all that although I do have a bit of a preference for being the one –”
Bruce interrupted his monologue by pulling him down into another kiss which dragged on until Tony had lost his train of thought entirely. He felt like Bruce may have done it on purpose. The brown eyes looked up at him when they parted for much-needed air, a hand in Tony’s hair keeping him from pulling away. “Thank you,” he said.
“We haven’t even done anything yet,” Tony reminded him.
“I didn’t thank you for that.”
“For… you being you.”
“That, Doctor, is not something you should ever have to thank me for. But it is my pleasure, nonetheless.” He guessed he had lifted some invisible weight from Bruce’s chest and that shouldn’t make him feel as good as it did.
“Kiss me again?” Bruce requested and Tony decided he would have to work to make sure Bruce never had to ask in the future.
to be continued…