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.
Author’s note: I decided it is time for my first Clint POV (I hope it doesn’t suck too much or sound weird).
Also, this chapter is dedicated to my beta, Mythra, who pointed out Hawkeye’s voyeuristic tendencies…
Manhattan, New York, NY, USA
Banner and Stark returned after six days at the Stark Tower.
Well, ‘Stark Tower’ for now, since Clint had overheard discussions between Stark and Director Fury that the tower might become a second home to the Avengers in Manhattan. Why they needed another base, Clint could only guess. Partially he thought it was another one of Stark’s stubborn ideas.
Personally, Clint liked the heights of the Tower so he wouldn’t object to having his own personal space there: it beat most of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s quarters he had grown used to over the years.
He watched as the two men entered, noticing the subtle change – or not-so-subtle because even Rogers stopped for a moment to look at them, then nodded in greeting and kept walking; he was on his way to the gym area, probably to show a few punching bags who’s boss. Clint wondered if it might be better if they tried talking their leader into spending more time outside the gym, getting himself acquainted with the 21st century.
Stark watched Rogers leave and shrugged, then looked at Banner. “Lab?” he asked.
“Sure,” Banner smiled.
As if they hadn’t spent six days in a lab already.
Perhaps they hadn’t.
Clint narrowed his eyes, looking closer. Their mannerisms with each other had been easy since the beginning. Clint was a bit sorry he hadn’t been there since day one, but thinking of that made his mind jump back to the unpleasantness of being controlled by Loki and he had spent enough dark hours beating himself up about that. Everyone kept telling him it wasn’t his fault, but he had a hard time letting it sink in.
The two men moved towards the stairs leading down to the lab area, talking about some mathematic problem they had been solving and clearly didn’t agree on.
“How was the vacation?” Clint finally asked.
Banner jumped, his head shooting around to find him perched near the ceiling on top of a sturdy bookshelf.
“How does he get up there?” Stark muttered.
“It was fine,” Banner responded to his question with a nervous twist of his hands.
“Get anything done?” Clint asked next.
“Since when do you care?” Stark shot back, voice sharp as if Clint had stepped on his favorite toy.
“You promised me new arrows.”
“I’m still working on the designs. You asked for something you didn’t think was possible, remember?”
“And you said you could do it with one hand tied behind your back. The right hand.”
Stark made that noiseless sniff, nose and lip twitching. “I’m getting there.”
Clint just nodded and the two kept walking.
“One day he’s going to fall down from there,” Stark was saying as they rounded a corner and started descending the steps. “Don’t you dare coddle him when he does. He’s a grown-ass man and shouldn’t be climbing on top of furniture. Maybe I should build him some rafters.”
“I’m sure he would like that.”
“You’re no fun at all, Banner,” Stark said sourly.
A lot of interesting things happened at the Avengers Mansion – mostly when Thor was around, providing the team – sans Stark – amusement with his curiosity and bafflement at Midgardian customs. Stark usually got a headache from said antics since it more often than not resulted in destruction of his property, but he always replaced whatever Thor managed to destroy.
Rogers was the same although his way of getting to know the modern world was more cautious and he was always apologetic if he even thought he had broken something. Stark made snappy remarks at Rogers since with Thor he couldn’t use them for lack of understanding on the Asgardian’s part; Thor had an excellent filter towards sarcasm although he always seemed to know if he was being outright insulted, and the Thunderer’s reply to that was brandishing Mjolnir.
There was an unspoken agreement to try and not have Thor use Mjolnir outside training areas – much like not antagonizing Banner to avoid the possibility of a Hulk-out.
However, with Thor currently visiting home and Rogers slowly relaxing in their new base slash home, the new point of interest became Banner and Stark.
The touches came first, hidden from others – but not from Clint since he always chose a spot where no one cared to look and thus stayed invisible to the rest of the room. They were nothing special; fingers tracing a wrist, a brief touch against clothed back, and sometimes Stark’s fingers slid into the loops of Banner’s pants, holding them like a child would cling to a parent.
It was all very subtle but increasingly more bold.
Holding came second.
After one brief but particularly brutal mission where Iron Man took a direct hit in the chest from some strange concoction of a weapon, the Hulk had practically thrown himself on top of their fallen comrade, roaring angrily as another missile hit him – which would have hit Iron Man had the Hulk not been there – then launched himself at the weapon with such ferocity there was not one whole circuit board left to analyze after the big guy was done.
The team pretty much stopped to watch the Hulk rip it apart with gusto, muttering threats at the mangled weapon until it had been all but pulverized between the mighty palms. They absentmindedly rounded up the criminals and had S.H.I.E.L.D. agents take them away, then turned to find the Hulk carefully helping Iron Man back on his feet, the suit spitting out sparks. The arc reactor looked whole, though, and that unknotted a weight in all their chests.
Afterwards, when they were back at the Mansion and Banner had slept it off, Clint saw the doctor slip up behind Stark in the kitchen while everyone else was still resting – save for Clint, who found it more relaxing to rest on top of one of his favorite vantage points, the space between the ceiling and the next story’s floor which was mainly occupied by cables and wires. It had a crawl space, as he had soon discovered, which provided him a lookout from various vents and grids when he moved around.
He watched as Banner held Stark, his grip desperate at first, then growing gentler as the tension left his body. A moment later Stark slid one of his own hands to hold Banner’s crossed ones on his stomach.
“I’m fine,” Stark muttered. “The suit’s designed for this kind of thing.”
“I could feel it… through the haze; the other guy was worried,” Banner replied, his voice quivering with emotion.
“He protected me,” Stark agreed. “Did a number on that new weapon I would have loved to take a look at.”
“I think you couldn’t have talked him out of not taking it apart,” Banner smiled against Stark’s neck then gave it a gentle, lingering kiss, just beneath the hairline.
Stark closed his eyes, looking more relaxed and still than he ever was.
Eventually they pulled apart, took a plate of bread, cheese and fruit with them and disappeared in the direction of Stark’s room. Clint wondered if he would get a chance to get close enough to get a look at what they did there, but Natasha walked into the kitchen before he could start shifting around in the cramped space.
She was the only one he really knew and trusted. Sure, they were a team and were getting there, but the two of them had worked together and been there for each other for years. She was the only one he could think of as a person, not just a name on the side of the locker and a codename in the field.
Natasha went to the fridge, took out one of her favorite juice boxes and set it on the table. She went for a glass, quiet and graceful even when she wasn’t really trying, then stopped and looked up. “Clint?”
He sighed and started crawling out, finding the nearest exit point – a maintenance hatch, opening it and sliding down, closing it before walking to the kitchen. She gave him a look and took out another glass, setting it beside hers. She didn’t even ask if he wanted a drink, but he would accept it since it was there.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Watching,” Clint shrugged, sipping the juice. Expensive stuff, he could taste it; Stark might not do the shopping himself but he managed to get the fridge filled with things each of them liked but in most cases couldn’t afford.
“Tony and Bruce?” she raised an eyebrow; she was having an easier time adjusting to first-name basis, although she never called Stark ‘Tony’ when he might hear it.
“Yeah,” Clint replied, leaning against a worktop. “Have you noticed how they’ve been acting since they got back?”
She thought about it, didn’t even bother to admonish him for spying, knowing he didn’t do it intentionally; he just liked his privacy, which meant hiding away, and if things happened within his line of vision he couldn’t help it. “They’ve gotten closer, but then, that’s been going on ever since the big guy almost… killed Tony,” she finished painfully.
Clint knew she still had problems when the Hulk came out. It would take time before she got past the near-death experience with the green monster. Yet equally painful was the tragic ending to the team sparring session where Stark almost died. Clint was amazed the guy was even breathing these days, but something had to be said about modern medicine and the guy’s determination to get healthy.
“This is different,” Clint got back on topic. “I’ve seen them do everything but kiss.” He recalled the kiss Banner had given Stark’s neck; more intimate than most sloppy kisses he spied between people. “Do you think they could be mingling?”
“And if they are?” Natasha challenged him. Of course she did; it wasn’t as if the two of them had always followed the S.H.I.E.L.D. guidebook when it came to fraternization of fellow agents.
Clint thought about it very carefully. “You know how Stark is.”
“I think Bruce knows that, too,” Natasha reasoned. “He doesn’t seem like a guy who would run head long into a relationship if he wasn’t certain he could take it. Frankly, I’m surprised if they do get it on…” She stepped forward then, caressing her fingers through his hair in a swift, comforting caress. “Stop watching them if it makes you uncomfortable. I’m sure there are places for you to hang out where they don’t.”
“Are you offering?” Clint cracked, deciding to take the bait he thought was being dangled in front of him.
Natasha gave him one of those rare, honest smiles and leaned forward to kiss him briefly. “I didn’t spend an entire weekend disconnecting J.A.R.V.I.S. from my room for nothing.”
“Stark won’t notice?”
“I’m sure he will – and won’t do anything about it. He fears me, poor guy.”
“Wonder how that happened,” Clint grinned, taking his glass and following Natasha down the hall; she had taken the juice box with her, clearly intending to enjoy the rest of it in the peace of her own room – and he had been invited to join her. She usually had something stronger stashed away, too, which would go well with the juice and the post-battle tension.
“I can’t imagine,” she replied, but he knew she had a perfectly good idea – she had told him, after all, of the needle in the café and posing as a harmless assistant at Stark Industries even when Stark knew who and what she was.
Especially the needle.
That made him smile every time.
to be continued…