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 City, NY, USA
The drive to the Mansion was shaping up to be quick and painless. Tony could admit he was hungry; his stomach had evolved past making noise complaints but it didn’t mean he couldn’t feel it, should he be in the state of mind to notice.
He briefly glanced at Bruce as he drove. The man appeared peaceful, looking out the window. His entire demeanor suggested Bruce was in a good place, which delighted Tony; he wanted Bruce to be happy, to feel good. If he was partially to blame for that, all the better.
“One of these days, I’m going to take you to Malibu with me,” Tony said after the silence had gone on long enough.
“Oh?” Bruce turned to look at him.
Tony nodded, making a sound of confirmation. From the corner of his eye he saw the other man smile, just a little and all too quickly, then lean back in the seat and settle in a more comfortable position.
“Okay,” was all Bruce said back.
When they finally got to the Mansion, the gates opened automatically as they recognized the car. Tony briefly wondered if he should change that, seeing as someone might steal one of his cars and gain access to the grounds that way. Unlikely, but possible; you could never be too careful. Then again, who would be insane enough to break into a building housing six superheroes?
Possibly someone who had a beef with them – but those people wouldn’t bother to steal one of Tony’s cars just to get in.
After parking and shutting off the engine, Tony looked at Bruce once again. The other man looked back, giving him another one of those small smiles. Tony considered kissing him; just a peck, quick and sweet… or a full frontal assault which would lead to them staying in the garage for another half an hour at least.
“I’m hungry,” Bruce declared before Tony could make up his mind and opened the door, getting out. Tony had a brief chance to admire his backside before the door was shut and he either got out or sat there stupidly staring at the passenger side door.
Tony rose from the car, shutting the door and locking it. “You owe me a kiss,” he told Bruce as they walked towards the elevator.
“I do?” the other man asked innocently, as if he had no idea.
“Yup,” Tony nodded his head. He stopped by a cabinet on the wall, punching in the code and placing the car keys on a hook inside before closing the door again. By that time the elevator had arrived and Bruce was holding the door open for him.
“I don’t see why,” Bruce went on, not dropping the subject.
“In the car, you knew what I was thinking about,” Tony clarified as the doors closed and the elevator car started moving smoothly upwards.
“You didn’t make your move,” Bruce shrugged.
Tony punched the panel on the wall, stopping the elevator. J.A.R.V.I.S. would know nothing was actually wrong so the AI decided to stay quiet, which worked just fine. “You practically ran out of the car,” Tony started in his defense.
“I thought the point of coming here was to get out of the car,” Bruce reasoned, licking his lips. Tony’s eyes followed the movement. “We came here to eat, and we can’t eat in the car.”
“But before we eat –” Tony insisted, losing his train of thought as Bruce suddenly leaned in.
“If I give you a kiss, can we go and eat?”
“You could try and not make it sound like a hardship.”
“I said I was hungry and while kissing you is satisfying on many levels, it won’t fill my stomach,” Bruce reasoned.
“Don’t they say food fills a certain emotional need?” Tony mused. “Hence a kiss, while equally if not more emotionally satisfying–”
“I’m not going to call you a comfort food, Tony,” Bruce chuckled then leaned in and joined their lips together.
Tony may have leaned on the wall and released the elevator, or J.A.R.V.I.S. decided they were ready to move along again, but before Tony was anywhere near done with the kiss, there was a soft ping and he felt a faint draft – followed by Barton’s groan.
“God, my eyes! I need those to do my work, guys, seriously!”
“Don’t be such a drama queen, Clint.” It was all sorts of wrong that it was Rogers saying that and Tony had to turn around and check that his ears weren’t playing tricks on him. No, they weren’t. “Food’s here,” Rogers announced a second later and began to herd Barton towards the living room where, apparently, they were going to eat tonight.
Bruce shrugged when Tony gave him a look, brushing his hand across his mouth as discretely as possible to wipe off any evidence of the kiss. Tony rolled his eyes, which got him a sharp look – and another kiss, which totally took him by surprise. If Bruce wiped his mouth after that one, Tony didn’t see, too busy exiting the elevator before J.A.R.V.I.S. closed the doors between them.
“Hey, guys,” Romanoff greeted them upon their entrance. Bruce placed his jacket on the back of one vacant chair and claimed it as his. Tony quickly threw himself down on the one next to it, feeling like a little kid trying to be next to his new favorite person at all times but hey, it was his house and his sort-of-boyfriend so he was allowed, right?
Rogers was methodically opening pizza boxes and handing everyone their own plates. There were various toppings to choose from and it could probably feed a family for a week, but between Rogers and the rest of them, there would barely be a few slices left for breakfast.
As they ate, Tony dug out his phone and checked the latest news J.A.R.V.I.S. had collected for him. Nothing alarming had taken place so he soon dismissed the headlines. His message box, on the other hand, was as full as usual. Most of it was Stark Industries-related business – with a fair amount of random messages from ‘friends’ who wanted him – or Iron Man – to attend some function so that they could show off their non-existent connection to him.
He put the phone away, already annoyed, then finished eating, wiped his fingers, and drank the rest of the water in his glass. Peering at it, he mused whether he could get something stronger to fill the glass. He looked to the side, meeting Bruce’s gaze, and knew the answer to his question: not tonight. Where Tony might have typically demanded that he be allowed to drink if he wanted to, he didn’t bother with the theatrics right this time. Maybe if he denied himself the pleasure of drinking, he might coax some extra tenderness out of Bruce later at night.
“Are you done eating?” Rogers asked suddenly and Tony realized he was talking to him.
“Yeah,” he replied, making sure there was nothing on his plate the other man might want to eat; Rogers had an old-fashioned habit of not throwing away anything even remotely edible. Tony guessed it was one of his habits no one felt too pressed to change, and it made them all clean their plates since the alternative was to suffer that sad gaze and the sensation of feeling guilty for throwing away food – not that Rogers let them do that if he was around.
“Can I talk to you?” Rogers went on.
Clearly this wasn’t about the food and Tony nodded hesitantly, getting up with a quick look at Bruce. It wasn’t as if he was seeking approval but rather acknowledging that the man was there, and he knew it, and thus was showing interest in the fact. Yes, Tony could be a considerate lover, with all the little gestures. With Bruce he didn’t even have to think about them that hard because they came naturally, and sometimes he felt like they both liked it that way.
Rogers stood up as well, following Tony to a study a few rooms away from the others. Tony had a feeling this was going to be a private discussion and was proven right when Rogers closed the door softly behind them.
“What’s cooking, Cap?” Tony asked casually.
Rogers frowned – he did that a lot – then let it go. “I hear you visited the Helicarrier today.”
Oh. It was Tony’s turn to frown, although he didn’t let it go nearly as fast. “Really? Fury tattled? I didn’t think he was the type to gossip.” Of course that wasn’t the real issue here. If Fury had bothered to talk to Rogers about his visit, Tony knew it wasn’t about the engine problems.
“He didn’t gossip,” Rogers replied stiffly, as if getting offended on Fury’s behalf. “He informed me of the conversation you two had – not in detail,” he added quickly.
Tony had a feeling he might be having that drink after all. “And?”
“And I think we should talk,” Rogers said, looking as uncomfortable as he sounded.
“I thought you were fine with this. Us. Our involvement. My involvement with Bruce,” Tony rattled off, uncertain how exactly to put it into words and not scream in frustration.
“I am,” Rogers reassured him. “As long as it doesn’t affect the team.”
Tony gave him a suspicious look. “It’s not affecting the team, so what’s the problem, Spangles?”
Rogers was getting defensive, Tony could see it in his posture, and he was just fine with that. Rogers had brought this up; he was the one with a problem, so it was fair to see him squirm. Rogers went on talking, more hesitant than earlier: “I need to know it’s not going to be a problem later, either. Obviously you are…”
Tony’s eyebrows shot up. “Are you blushing? Seriously…” He resisted rolling his eyes. “This is stupid. I can’t promise you a damn thing and you know that. Fury knows that. Everyone knows that and still they think they can come and rub it in my face how our relationship isn’t going to work, how I’m going to fuck it up, how Bruce is going to lose control and squash me –”
“Maybe we should talk about this another time,” Rogers cut him off mid-tirade.
“No!” Tony snapped, pointing a finger at him. “You wanted to talk about this, so we’re going to talk about it, right now.”
Rogers swallowed, his face going a tiny bit blanker than it had been. As if he were preparing himself for something highly unpleasant.
That realization rubbed Tony in all the wrong ways. “Bruce and I are part of this team – we’re one third of the team. It’s not like there’s going to be a majority vote, because I don’t give a fuck what you or anyone else thinks. Neither does he. If this thing works, awesome. If it fails and someone doesn’t get killed, it’s still better than the worst case scenario. Either way, it’s none of your business, and you can relay that message all the way to Director Fury as well, in case he didn’t get the message earlier.”
“There’s no reason for you to get so riled up,” Rogers told him calmly, and he had no right to sound so… righteous.
“Riled up?” Tony hissed. “Okay, I’ll calm down. Fine. Tell me what the problem is. Tell me why we’re here, instead of out there with the others. Do you have some great piece of wisdom you want to share? A great revelation that I don’t know about yet?”
Rogers sighed, looking down at the thick carpet beneath their feet. “I don’t want to tell you what to do,” he started.
“Good,” Tony snapped.
“But I want you to understand that if this thing doesn’t work out, if something goes wrong, for whatever reason, Bruce is going to walk and we’ll lose the Hulk.” Rogers looked at him, Tony could feel it, although he didn’t want to meet his eyes right now, resolutely staring at the wall and a painting that hung there. It was one his mother had liked. He might have to replace it. “Tony,” Rogers went on a bit louder, as if he thought Tony weren’t paying attention, “I don’t want to say you’re not…” He drew a sharp, frustrated breath. “I don’t want to believe everything people say about you because I don’t know if they really know you, but I’ve gotten the impression that things don’t work out for you every time. I don’t want to lose a third of my team because of that.”
Tony chewed on the words, turning them over in his head. Rogers waited with patience that would have certainly killed Tony should he try it himself; the super soldier said nothing and simply stood there, understanding and courteous although he was being the exact opposite. Didn’t Rogers hear himself talking? Did he think that claiming he didn’t want to label Tony as something actually freed him of any guilt when he made his accusations?
“Anything else?” Tony finally spat out, as indifferent as he could make it – which was difficult.
“I didn’t mean to insult you, or insinuate that –”
“But you did,” Tony snapped at him. “If that’s all you have to say, Captain, then we’re done here.”
Rogers met his eyes, nodded stiffly and then exited the room as if he had been dismissed.
Tony took a deep breath and resisted the urge to grab the nearest movable object and hurl it at the door that closed behind the other man.
Instead he took a moment, standing there and letting it flow through him, repeatedly, until it was manageable – or until he had stuffed all of it into some dark corner in the back of his mind. He tried to mimic the breathing exercises he had seen Bruce do but they didn’t help at all, making him feel like he was suffocating instead and that was never good.
Eventually he gave up, returning to the living room via the liquor cabinet. He poured himself a small drink, trying to keep it under control, shuffling over to the others once he was done. Bruce had moved to the couch, listening as Natasha talked about her modeling gigs – she had actually done those, which kind of surprised Tony.
Tony settled down beside Bruce on the couch, close enough to touch but not initiating intimacy. He was aware of Bruce looking at him, then as minutes passed he felt the other man’s familiar grasp slide down his arm to his wrist, settling there, instigating contact. Tony threw back the rest of his drink and allowed his mind to wander, ignoring everyone in the room beyond that touch on his wrist and the fact that he wanted to stab Captain America with one of the tooth picks Barton was using to construct some kind of tower on the other side of the table.
The sad part of it was, it wasn’t Rogers Tony was really mad at.
It was the fact that so many people seemed to think his newest relationship was doomed to fail, and that the aftermath would be too horrific for anyone to imagine.
The most gruesome part of it all was that it was entirely possible.
to be continued…