Del Rion (del_rion) wrote,
Del Rion

Handling Pointy Things; Chapter 11: Conditioning

Title: Handling Pointy Things
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at)
Fandom: The Avengers & Iron Man (MCU)
Era: Post-Avengers movie, after “Blue Glow” fic.
Genre: Drama
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.

~ ~ ~

Written for: This chapter was partially inspired by anonymous’ prompt at avengerkink, Live Journal (Bruce/Tony, Dryhump – Yep, that’s all I want. A fic about Bruce and Tony dryhumping. ♥ Cause it would be hot).

Chapter 11: Conditioning

Stark Tower
Manhattan, New York City, NY, USA

When Tony finally made his way back to Manhattan, he had managed to avoid further confrontation with Fury. He knew it wasn’t only through his own efforts, though; most likely the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. had said his piece and had nothing further to discuss with Tony for the time being. It wasn’t as if Tony wanted to talk to him either so he just finished all the repairs he could do on the spot, promised S.H.I.E.L.D. engineers he would get back to them about a few persisting issues and headed home.

He had checked with J.A.R.V.I.S. that Bruce was still at the Tower – which he was – and it was stupid how giddy he felt while taking off the armor and preparing to join the other man. They enjoyed science together regularly, although their areas of expertise didn’t always meet outside crisis situations. Tony, however, compared Bruce’s brilliance to the rays of the sun and basked in it shamelessly. He would have even done it naked should that yield better results, but the one time he suggested that to Bruce the other man threatened to ban him from his lab – the lab that was actually Tony’s but he wasn’t a stickler about correcting that particular fact.

“Daddy’s home!” Tony called out when he entered the lab, looking around for Bruce. He heard a chuckle before he actually spotted him and sauntered over, smiling, leaning close to the other man. “Have I told you how good you look in a lab coat? I wouldn’t mind you wearing nothing but that for a week.”

“I didn’t know working on something for Fury would get you so horny,” Bruce replied.

Tony let out a mock gasp, pulling away from him and sitting on a table filled with notes and lab equipment. “That’s cruel, buddy,” Tony accused him. “After you sent that little message through J.A.R.V.I.S., did you think I wouldn’t be excited at the prospect of coming here to work with you while you’re enjoying the lab?”

He got a smile in return; it was shy and coy but beneath it, quite visibly, was an undertone that told Tony Bruce knew very well. “The two of us must see the term ‘working’ very differently,” the scientist finally replied.

“It’s a good thing I like you,” Tony pressed, leaning a bit closer to him while swinging his legs. “I’m giving you a lot more leeway than I would other people.”

“You are?”

“Oh yes. You’re a tease.”

“Well,” Bruce mused, putting away a tool – Tony had no idea what it was and that alone made his cock jerk, just a little, because Bruce was one of the few people who could actually make equipment he didn’t recognize – and looking at him. The simple sensation that traveled across his body as their gazes locked was incredible and Tony inched a bit closer on the table, pushing away items on his way.

“Well, what?” Tony challenged, impatient.

“I did ask you here for a reason,” Bruce admitted.


“It actually wasn’t work; I used the term ‘test’. But I digress. I wasn’t really interested in conducting tests – not lab-related ones, anyway. It could be seen as scientific and a lot of biological aspects are involved…”

“You sweet-talker you,” Tony grinned. “Come here and kiss me. Now.”

Bruce narrowed his eyes just slightly. “How did you know I meant that?”

“What else could you be meaning?” Tony deadpanned. Well, frankly, a few months – hell, weeks – ago he might have considered Bruce wasn’t talking about sex, or something sex-related, but after they had begun to actually explore that avenue, slowly and painfully, he got the feeling Bruce was getting more comfortable with it – and at embracing the fact that he had needs and was allowed to fulfill them, especially with Tony.

“I could name a few things,” Bruce admitted, stepping over, his body pushing Tony’s legs a bit wider as he very innocently shoved his weight between them.

“Is that your nose growing?” Tony teased, knowing it to be a lie.

“I’m pretty sure it’s something else,” Bruce murmured then tilted his head and Tony leaned in the rest of the way to kiss him. It was lovely, as far as kissing went. Bruce always started slow and careful, as if expecting Tony to have a seizure and die of some unexpected exposure to his infected blood. It had yet to happen and until it did, Tony was going to push the other man to skip the pleasantries and just go to town.

It was fortunate Tony was gifted at motivating other people when it came to intimacy; his tongue chased Bruce’s lips, drawing the other man to follow him back to his mouth, accompanied by a gasp – almost as if Bruce took himself by surprise every time. Tony knew it wasn’t like that, seeing as Bruce controlled his every breath and what his tongue did in Tony’s mouth once it finally got there.

Bruce could fake it all he wanted but it was nothing but an act anymore. After the necessary precautions had been taken, it was all about what they wanted, and that happened to be, very conveniently, each other.

- - -

Even on the best of days, a call from Fury for whatever reason put them all on edge. That he had simply wanted Tony to take a look at the Helicarrier’s engines was nothing short of a miracle, yet Bruce suspected it had been about more than that; Tony always relaxed when he worked, being in his element, but right now his body was tense against Bruce’s, betraying what his good mood was hiding perfectly.

There were so many signs he could read which Tony couldn’t cover once he had let Bruce near enough to see them. That was one of the privileges that came with their deepening relationship. After all, knowing when Tony was on edge helped Bruce control his environment; if he anticipated Tony’s triggers on top of controlling himself, his life was in a sort of harmony.

Bruce withdrew his tongue for a moment, inhaling, licking Tony’s lips while he felt a slight tug on them – a half-smile from his lover, a private display of pleasure and happiness. He lifted his hands, tracing Tony’s sides and moving up to his shoulders, feeling the tension and waiting for it to vanish bit by bit. Tony was easily distracted although it was only temporary at this point; Bruce would have to dig deeper to find out what had happened with Fury – he knew how easily the man got to Tony – and then untangle the emotional mess.

For the time being, though, ‘temporary’ was enough.

Bruce was eager for it today, he could admit as much. He had been thinking about Tony and when the man finally arrived, perching himself on top of the table, the faint smell of his cologne invading the sterile lab area, Bruce knew he wasn’t going to back down. Just because he wanted it didn’t mean he was out of control and they still had all their safety measures in place. Should something happen, Tony would be out of the lab and in his suit and J.A.R.V.I.S. would contain the other guy.

Tony always said it wouldn’t come to that, which provoked Bruce’s fear that the other man would not actually leave the room when he should. That Tony would stay, adamant that the other guy wouldn’t hurt him. It wasn’t something Bruce could control, however, and if he wanted to be absolutely certain then he would have to leave Tony, the country, and disappear, making sure they would never see each other again. That was the only way to ensure Tony wouldn’t get hurt.

Bruce could admit he was selfish when he pushed forward, the friction against his hardness maddeningly good. He was taunting the beast, flirting with danger at every thrust against Tony. He put the man he cared about – and countless others – at risk just because he couldn’t find the will to call this off and leave.

Tony would come after him, he knew he would, adamant that Bruce was just being stubborn. Convinced that he would do more good than evil here…

Bruce had been determined and adamant before, resolutely staying away from people. His resolve had been crumbling lately and it was beginning to feel like a weakness. If only it didn’t come with such sweet sensations, of Tony pushing closer to him, winding his fingers in Bruce’s hair, tugging but not pulling, mouthing his cheek, his hot breaths ghosting over his skin as stubble and goatee dragged together before one side gave in and released the tension.

“Is this really how we’re going to do this?” Tony asked, voice breathy, eyelids fluttering. It was partially a well-learned act, Bruce knew that, so he waited it out; waited until Tony’s eyes were open again, so much wider than when he usually looked at people. One of his hands was still in Bruce’s hair while the other was clutching his shoulder, tracing, tugging, holding onto him and refusing to let go.

Bruce smiled. His hands slid down from Tony’s shoulders to his hips and he pulled slightly, helping him off the table. “Four layers of clothing is… safe,” he announced.

“You’re assuming I’m wearing underwear,” Tony teased.

“You are,” Bruce said confidently in his ear as he turned the other man around then leaned against his backside, feeling Tony’s body from thighs to shoulders. The curve of Tony’s ass was most prominent against him and gave Bruce a fine counterpoint to work against. His arms held Tony close around his waist, offering no immediate relief as he sought his own. The rubbing sensation of his underwear was by no means pleasant but when he pushed his face against Tony’s shoulder, smelling him, a peeking odor of sweat piercing through the cologne, he knew it was good enough.

Tony’s hands were on the table, holding his weight steady, his head held high. His skin was heating up beneath his clothes and Bruce lifted his face, pressing it at Tony’s hairline, encountering slight wetness. He stuck his tongue out, licking it, all the way to his ear, making Tony moan at the sensation. Bruce moved back down, as far as he could go before clothing restricted his access then started again, chasing the taste of sweat and skin. His hips pressed more intently against the other man, his teeth carefully nipping the skin, knowing he could not afford to break it.

“One day,” Tony murmured, “we’re going to do this the right way.”

Bruce knew what he meant and needed no clarification. He knew what Tony wanted, could admit he wanted it himself, but it was so far away from where they were now. Yet the mere idea of reclaiming the level of intimacy he’d had before the other guy, to be with another person like that… By no means did he want to downplay what he and Tony had now, even if it meant rutting against him with their clothes still on for the rest of his days. He would gladly take it.

But the human mind was forever reaching out for more and he had already dreamt it a dozen times, knowing his brain knew what he couldn’t have while awake – not yet.

“You would let me,” he sighed against Tony’s neck.

“I would. It will be good.”

Bruce smiled, wanted to laugh and drown himself in the idea of being inside the other man, of giving Tony what he wanted and to not feel so damn afraid of the connection that was the most natural thing in the world. But Bruce was still concerned and it had to remain, for the time being, just another sizzling fantasy that pushed his current pleasure a step further on the road to completion.

He shifted his hips, finding a perfect angle and Tony shifted his legs just slightly. It seemed to make all the difference: Bruce groaned, feeling his release rush across his abdomen and he held Tony still through it, face still pressed into the back of his neck, eyes closed, hips jerking and rubbing his release all over the inside of his clothes. It was going to be a mess but that had been the goal to begin with.

Tony’s back was moving with his every breath and brought Bruce back to the moment. He smiled, kissed the sweaty skin one last time and then allowed Tony to turn around, meeting his hot eyes with his sated ones.

“You still like me?” Bruce had to ask.

Tony’s lips twitched. “A little less if you’re not going to give me a hand.”

“Can’t risk that,” Bruce decided and reached out. Tony’s eyes followed and he said nothing at all as Bruce pulled over a box of gloves, tugging out two and putting them on. “Undo the belt and the button,” he instructed then.

Tony complied, his hands hovering afterwards. “This will be easier if I just take my pants off,” he noted.

“We’re not going for easy,” Bruce informed him then shoved one hand down the front of Tony’s pants and underwear, directly to where it mattered most. Tony’s hips jerked into the touch and he leaned forward against Bruce’s chest, fingers restless on his clothed shoulders.

“Why the gloves?” Tony asked after a moment, the touch no doubt alien on his skin yet no less pleasant. “I mean, we’ve done this before and there’s no danger. Is this a medical fantasy?”

Bruce admitted nothing and decided to leave it at that as he slid his other hand over, against the curve of Tony’s ass and between the cheeks. He didn’t have to wander to find what he was looking for and Tony practically mewled in his ear, hips sashaying between the sensation of pre-cum-slicked fingers on his cock and the dry touch on his hole.

It didn’t take long and Bruce felt Tony’s body clench tightly as one of his digits slipped in to the heat of his ass while warm wetness covered his latex-covered fingers.

Tony sagged against him briefly before regaining control over his body. Bruce took that moment to withdraw his hands and remove the gloves, throwing them into the trash. Tony had resumed his seat on the table in the meanwhile, pants still unfastened and clinging to his hips along with his underwear. A smile tugged his lips and Bruce reached out to try and smooth the wild disarray of Tony’s hair, knowing his own was no better.

“Sir, Captain Rogers is requesting to know whether you and Dr. Banner will be returning to the Avengers Mansion tonight?” J.A.R.V.I.S. broke in, ruining the moment. Well, most likely the AI had been waiting for them to finish before posing his question.

“Are we?” Tony asked.

“Sure,” Bruce agreed, fingers still in Tony’s hair. “Are they preparing supper?”

“They are going to order pizza in a few hours,” J.A.R.V.I.S. responded.

“The food of the gods, clearly proven by Thor’s voracious appetite for the cuisine,” Tony chuckled.

“We should clean up,” Bruce reminded him.

“Don’t make it sound like it’s my fault, because this time it’s not,” the other man was quick to remind Bruce this had been his idea. It was Tony’s way of showing his appreciation, in a way, even if he hid it within complaints and protestations.

“What can I say, you’re a bad influence on hazardous lab activities,” Bruce shrugged.

Tony narrowed his eyes. “Don’t play innocent with me, Dr. Banner.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it, Mr. Stark.”

Tony sighed and hopped down from the table, fastening the button of his pants. “Shower, then we’re off to the Mansion,” he decided and looked up hopefully. “We could shower together.”

It was something they rarely did, mostly because they felt the need for it at separate times and sharing a bed didn’t mean sharing everything else. Bruce guessed he wouldn’t mind having Tony for himself a little longer, not to mention enjoying the closeness of his naked skin – although that might lead them somewhere Bruce wasn’t comfortable with again right this instant. It was a risk he had to take, however, to enjoy the rest of what was being offered.

So, he nodded, and Tony smiled, heading to the door, leaving Bruce to follow him up to his room. Bruce took one last look around the lab then nodded and watched as lights began to switch off; J.A.R.V.I.S. would take care of anything else. Tony was at the elevator, holding the doors open, leaning against the frame nonchalantly. He rolled inside when Bruce reached him, the doors sliding shut before the car moved upwards.

“Hello,” Tony said in a sultry voice. “Fancy meeting you here.”

“You sound like a bad porn movie,” Bruce commented.

“Then maybe I’ll give you a bad, slutty blowjob in the shower,” Tony’s raised his eyebrows suggestively.

Bruce’s eyes shifted to the side. He brushed at the side of his nose with his hand, shifted slightly. “Tony…”

“Hey.” In those few seconds Tony’s entire tone had changed and he approached carefully, touching Bruce’s arm gently. “Look at me, big guy,” he asked softly, none of the earlier teasing clinging to his words. “You know I didn’t…”

Bruce felt frustration boil in his throat and he looked at Tony. He wanted to shove him back, to break the contact of their bodies, no matter how minimal. He wanted to smash his hand against the elevator wall, see it bend and give in. He burned to push against Tony’s body and claim him, hoist him up and fuck him hard – but he knew he could do none of those things.

The elevator stopped, doors sliding open. There was no one else there and the doors magically stayed open – thanks to the ever-present AI. Bruce knew that if this went the wrong way, J.A.R.V.I.S. would intervene.

“Are we still going to shower?” Tony asked. Some of that hidden uncertainty bled through his words, his body already leaning backwards, away from Bruce, resigned to the fact that he had blown it and they wouldn’t talk for the rest of the night. Might not even sleep in the same bed.

Bruce knew how it would feel to go down that road; he would feel bad, wanting to smash his head against a wall and pound at something. Itching to let the other guy out but knowing it wouldn’t change his basic needs in any way. He would lie in bed at night, alone, keenly aware of it and knowing Tony was doing the same, pretending it didn’t hurt but aware that each setback ate at Tony’s confidence.

“Yes, we’re still going to shower,” Bruce replied.

Tony nodded and started to move out, heading towards his suit. His posture suggested he didn’t expect Bruce to follow. It was such a small change but Bruce saw it nonetheless. It was as if his brain had slowly been tuned to read the other man, his mind conditioned to respond to Tony’s countless unspoken means of communication most people never unlocked or bothered to see.

Those people had blown their chances at more, would never get to see the man behind the layers of pretense and insecurity, of bravery and harshness. Those people never knew what they had failed to understand.

Bruce wasn’t those people.

“Do I have a change of clothes in your room?” he called out.

Tony stopped, turned to look at him, re-calculating the situation. “I’m pretty sure you do. Want me to bring them over?”

“No,” Bruce shook his head minutely and stepped out of the elevator, moving to follow Tony.

“You’ll get them yourself,” Tony replied for him.

“I’ll get them once I’m done washing up,” he corrected, crowding Tony’s space for a moment and resting his lips against his. It was more like a brief nudge of shoulders than a kiss but it was a sufficient apology for his near-freak-out. Tony took it, all of it, following him instead and not questioning the new approach.

Bruce opened the door, knowing J.A.R.V.I.S. had already unlocked it. He was aware how special it was to be able to just step into Tony’s space like this; his bedroom was perhaps the most guarded room in the entire tower. Somewhere between Afghanistan, nightmares and becoming Iron Man, it was important to feel secure when in his own bed and Bruce knew his was a name on a very short list of people who could actually walk in while Tony was asleep.

They stripped quite unceremoniously, although not without certain long looks passing between them. It was more than just two guys checking each other out because they were past that even if seeing each other completely naked was still a bit of a rarity. Bruce wondered why one of them was usually partially dressed, or both of them, even when sex was happening.

Bruce expected Tony to carefully test the ground – which he did, but not very cautiously when he stepped over and laid a hand on Bruce’s chest, playing with the dark hairs before flicking a nipple. His eyes were on Bruce’s face the entire time, barely sparing a glance at what he was doing. His other hand eventually slid down to Bruce’s stomach, following the treasure trail down towards his flaccid cock. Bruce knew he wasn’t going to go for it, though. The talk in the elevator had been a scare of sorts, more than shouting and arguing could ever accomplish; Bruce had frozen and that indicated an end to certain pleasures.

“Let’s get showered before there’s no more food left,” Bruce finally said and pulled back. It wasn’t that he disliked being touched, least of all by the man he enjoyed touching in return in so many ways, but he knew that if he let it go on long enough, he would have to re-evaluate his own resolve once again and he would rather not give Tony mixed messages while doing it. They both deserved better.

The shower was spacious but they still stayed close under the spray. Tony never stayed beneath the water’s flow for too long, never turned his face up beyond a certain angle. They were small things, unnoticeable if you didn’t look for them and see them repeatedly. It hadn’t taken Bruce long to spot it, nor to realize that in certain moments it was better for Tony to be alone, away from people, while in others he craved company he could trust. He liked to fake it, to surround himself with strangers and hide the signs but that was merely a coping mechanism born of an urge to pretend nothing was going on. The real Tony still tensed sometimes when Bruce touched the arc reactor, loathed the sensation of water up his nose, and could spend hours sitting with an untouched drink in his hand as he stared at nothing at all.

Between their first meeting on the Helicarrier and this moment here, it was like knowing two completely different people. Tony hadn’t kept the act going with Bruce for long, steadily stripping it away, perhaps not even knowing how much had changed. Bruce felt bad, more often than not, that he couldn’t do the same. Not because he felt guilty or felt pressured to open up the way Tony did, but because he needed to get that feeling of trust with another person, a sense of security and confidence.

Part of him had been resigned to the fact that it would never happen, that he could never give Tony the real Bruce Banner, whoever that man was – or had been, years ago.

“I can leave if you want,” Tony spoke up. He was looking at Bruce, wet hair on his face, eyes blinking against errant droplets of water. Bruce looked at him, acknowledging the residual tension between them and wanting to extinguish it, to surgically remove it and stitch the wound close so it could never gape open again.

“It’s your shower,” Bruce replied, knowing it was far from what he should say or do.

Tony shrugged, looking away. There was nothing but tile wall to look at so it couldn’t be interesting, yet Bruce had the feeling it wasn’t the tiles Tony was seeing in the first place.

He reached out, touching Tony’s cheek, making him snap out of it. That startled look lasted less than a second before the walls came up, then lowered again when he recalled whom he was with. The fact that Tony thought – or felt – that he didn’t need his usual walls with Bruce made his insides twist and forced him to take a step closer, to touch Tony more, to reassure him that they were okay, that nothing was wrong.

“One day,” Bruce murmured, “we’re going to look back at this and laugh at how pathetic we were.”

“We’re doing okay,” Tony frowned.

“Does this feel like ‘okay’?” he had to ask.

“I’ve done worse,” Tony boasted, which made Bruce doubt each word.

“Tell me one of those things meant something and I’ll believe you.” His voice wasn’t a growl, far from it, but Tony reacted as if it had been, eyes darkening, lips relaxing. He didn’t answer, not verbally, but the passion with which they were kissing the next second proved Bruce’s unspoken thesis; Tony treated their fragile, new relationship like it was nothing he had ever experienced before. He put it on a pedestal, determined to believe it meant something more, that it would become something more meaningful, if it wasn’t already. Whether or not Tony was just kidding himself was harder to prove, especially when Bruce liked to think that maybe, just maybe, this was every bit as special and precious, no matter which romantic filter he ran it through.

Tony’s body against him was wet and solid, more so in the chest. The metal of the arc reactor casing was never really cold, warmed by the skin and the reactor inside, but the change in texture, with the mass of scars alone, set the protruding section apart. Without it, however, he would have had to open his eyes and confirm it was Tony. Whatever cues Tony used to do the same with him…

Tony always said Bruce smelled different. It could be the gamma radiation although Bruce didn’t expect Tony to be able to distinguish a smell even if there was one. Other than that his body wasn’t remarkable in any way; he was reasonably fit after being on the run but there were no scars to set him apart. He was an average guy in every sense and he knew the brain Tony claimed rivaled his own was not a physical thing to enjoy or recognize.

“We’re missing supper,” Tony finally whispered against his lips. They were still kissing, slow and shallow, just lips and a tiny bit of tongue slipped here and there. Bruce knew that if he allowed his mind to wander, he would get hard and as tempting as that was, someone needed to be responsible. He knew Tony wouldn’t say no to anything he wanted but Bruce wanted to take one step at a time and his days of marathon sex were most likely long gone.

“Better get scrubbing,” Bruce agreed eventually, pulling back a bit and allowing Tony to select a bodywash. He opted to use the same since it was within his reach and soaped away the traces of their earlier activities. He wasn’t really dirty otherwise but Tony being Tony meant that he did at least some kind of routine with his hair before getting out and since he didn’t want to leave the shower early, Bruce opted to give his scalp a massage while the conditioner worked.

“So, what did Fury really want?” he asked, thinking this a good time to broach the subject; Tony was relaxed under his ministration and he couldn’t really escape the situation, his hair needing rinsing and soap in his eyes.

“Engine repairs,” Tony replied.

“Besides that.”

Tony was silent for a moment, no doubt trying to foresee the reaction to his words if he let them out of his mouth. He usually didn’t have such good restraint which led Bruce to prod for answers:

“I know something happened up there, and while it might have not been Fury –”

“Of course it was Fury,” Tony huffed.

“What did he say?” Bruce pressed.

“He… delivered carefully worded concerns. Wanted to know how you’re settling in.”

“Settling in?”

“With me,” Tony finally admitted.

Bruce didn’t let his fingers stop their movements, feeling the tension return and wanting it gone. If he showed how much this got to him, Tony was going to go off his hinges with frustration and no one wanted that – least of all Fury. He knew this wasn’t the first time someone had felt it was their place to tell Tony their version of how things should be going. Previously it had been two people who knew Tony perhaps better than Bruce did, although he wanted to remedy that, but to have Fury join the movement made him uneasy.

“It wasn’t a big deal,” Tony attempted to calm him, reading Bruce’s silence as disapproval. Well, he was disapproving… “I told him to shove it.”

“In those words?” Bruce smiled.

“Not exactly.”

“You’re actually showing some restraint. I’m so proud.” He leaned in to kiss Tony’s naked shoulder, avoiding a tiny river of conditioner.

“I was tempted to make the Helicarrier drop from the sky, at least a little bit,” Tony confessed with that angelic voice of his that never fooled anyone of his sinister intentions.

Bruce chuckled, unable to help it. “Better you than me,” he said, thinking he should regret it but he didn’t, not really. They all knew what had happened that first time. Bruce had dug out footage, with J.A.R.V.I.S.’s help when Tony refused to show him in case Bruce ‘took it the wrong way’. Bruce still wondered how he was supposed to take it, other than for what it was.

Tony relaxed a tiny bit and Bruce started the water, slow at first so as to not alarm him. He rinsed Tony’s hair clean, liking the intimacy of it, knowing the other man was bound to enjoy it, too.

“It will get better,” he said when the shower was finally turned off and they stepped out to towel themselves dry.

“Of course it will,” Tony replied. “Can’t get much worse.”

Bruce guessed so, but as long as people weren’t openly protesting their involvement, it was manageable. It was just a transition phase and if Bruce wasn’t directly involved he might have questioned it as well. That, of course, was a lie: Bruce questioned it more than anyone else ever would, and Tony knew that, too. That was why he didn’t bring it up unless he had to, preferring not to feed the flame of doubt in Bruce’s mind and give him reasons to call this off.

Not that Bruce was certain he could even if he wanted to – especially when he didn’t want to. He was weak, after all, and weak people made bad choices even against their better judgment.

to be continued…

Story info
Tags: character: bruce banner / hulk, character: j.a.r.v.i.s., character: tony stark / iron man, fandom: avengers (mcu), series: turquoise
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