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: Some of the Tony/Hulk fondness responds to an avengerkink (LiveJournal) prompt by feriowind (Hulk/Tony, Kisses – Any fic where Tony gives kisses to the Hulk on the cheek, forehead, or nose, or maybe even eskimo kisses, I dunno! Just rot my teeth out with adorableness please! Would love it if the fic also included Hulk being really happy because no one’s ever cared about him before. Would definitely not mind getting my heartstrings tugged too. And bonus points if the other Avengers freak out when they see Tony kiss the Hulk for the first time!)
Manhattan New York City, NY, USA
There was still a bruise on Tony’s left cheek. Well, to be literal, it reached from his temple across the entirety of his cheek and down to his jaw, but the edges were beginning to heal, slowly. In Bruce’s eyes, the process was too slow, reminding him of the moment when he saw the Wrecking Crew’s leader smack Tony across the face with the magical crowbar. He still remembered how it had felt, deep down. He could claim he had lost control, that the other guy had been too strong, but he knew that would be a lie.
Knowing he couldn’t get there fast enough to keep Tony out of harm’s way, he had handed the reins over to the monster he had tried to keep at a distance and control during all of their time together.
The Hulk hadn’t disappointed him.
There was footage from the area, as well as S.H.I.E.L.D. reports and Avenger accounts. Bruce had heard of the shooting incident with an agent and was honestly shocked the situation hadn’t ended in a bloodbath.
Tony had just smiled radiantly at his expression – and winced soon after as the pull on facial muscles pained him – declaring that he hadn’t been worried. Later, though, Tony had confessed he had only been that scared a few times in his life, but the other guy had saved him, protected him and listened to him when it mattered most.
Bruce could only accept that what could have been a disaster had turned out okay. Fury hadn’t called him in to lock away the beast, the other Avengers didn’t try to avoid him, and Tony’s injuries weren’t worrisome. That, of course, didn’t keep Bruce from spending hours staring at that body he knew so well by now, as if that alone would make it heal faster. He hated the reminders on Tony’s skin, wishing they would vanish as fast as the bullet wound had from the other guy’s chest.
“Hey,” Tony’s voice was drowsy and one clumsy hand reached towards him. Bruce guided it the rest of the way until Tony’s fingers settled on his face. “Should be sleeping,” Tony mumbled.
“It’s almost time to wake up,” Bruce argued softly, although he wasn’t in a hurry to get out of bed. To see Tony sleep so deeply for the past few days – boosted by the painkillers – had helped him wind down from the transformation and he rather enjoyed these moments.
“Is not,” Tony argued and rolled towards him, which made his hand plop down onto the pillow. His dark eyes were already falling shut, thick lashes resting against his cheeks. This way, Bruce could no longer watch the darkened, bruised area, creating an illusion that all was well in the world.
Tony’s upper hand moved towards him again, unerringly, tugging at his hair to force him to lie back down and join him. Bruce acquiesced, settling down on the bed, feeling Tony’s warm breaths on his skin. He saw a faint twist of his lover’s lips – a smile of satisfaction – and leaned forward to briefly kiss them before closing his eyes and guessing he could nap a bit longer.
Bruce’s life hadn’t been enjoyable most of the time. There had been good years while doing research and allowing his brain to run wild, but that had been cut short by the gamma ray incident. Before that… well, suffice to say, Bruce didn’t miss his childhood, or teenage years.
In a sense he had a lot in common with Tony, although clearly one of them had taken control of their life and thrived.
“How in hell did you enroll at MIT at the age of… what were you, twelve?” Bruce narrowed his eyes at the screen where he had idly been looking for something else but had stumbled upon this instead.
Tony laughed, the sound bright and honest. “I was a little more than twelve, and I guess family money never hurts. Mostly, though, I got in because I was me,” he noted with self-satisfaction – although it may have had something to do with his current project and not the subject matter.
Bruce huffed. “Right…”
He was aware of Tony looking at him and moving closer, abandoning his work. “Come on, big guy,” Tony teased. “What did you do when you were fifteen?”
“Felt truly unappreciated?” Bruce threw it out there, frowned at it and tried to recall what he had been doing at that age.
“I had my hair ruffled by girls who thought I was cute,” Tony went on, probably not even listening to his answer. “I didn’t correct them – and I was cute, make no mistake. Still am. And – this is the point, by the way: I swear I saw more boobs during my time there than any of the other guys,” he concluded with a grin.
“You went to MIT for boobs?” Bruce had to smile, he couldn’t help it.
“No,” Tony shook his head, picking up a loupe from the table and raising it up to his eye, looking at the room through it. “But if the girls wanted to drag me around like a pet and didn’t bother to shove me out the room while they were changing, I didn’t mind. They treated me like a little brother. While I may have been insulted, just a little… I graduated before most of them and achieved something great in my life. And saw a lot of boobs,” he added, grinning again. He put the loupe down and regarded Bruce, the mischief disappearing from his face. “I got kicked around like a nerd for most of my childhood. Private school doesn’t keep jockeys from becoming bullies when they see someone with a better brain than their own. MIT for me was… a chance to thrive.”
“Enough with the boobs, Banner,” Tony warned, although his eyes were bright. “I had the silver spoon. I used it. Get over it and get over here,” he finished and pulled Bruce closer and into a tender kiss that deepened quickly. Bruce allowed it, shifting his chair closer to Tony’s, and felt the other man’s hand move to his shoulder, then down, tweaking a nipple. Tony grinned against his mouth and Bruce proceeded to short-circuit his brain in all the ways he knew how, to make Tony forget any half-naked women he might have been thinking of. Not that he was offended or anything, but it didn’t hurt to remind Tony of what he had gotten himself into – quite willingly, too.
Tony groaned into his mouth as Bruce dragged his nails along the nape of his neck, hard enough to leave a temporary mark but comfortable enough to make small shudders run down Tony’s body.
“I think we might need a bedroom,” Tony finally uttered, drawing back with some difficulty.
Bruce’s hand remained on the back of his neck, running thoughtful patterns near the hairline, then reached up and ruffled the other man’s hair. “If you say so.”
Tony slapped his hand away. “By the way, what we talked about earlier? That was confidential. No one will hear about it.”
“Whatever you say, cutie,” Bruce grinned, mimicking what he imagined one of the girls at MIT might have sounded like.
Tony lunged at him, probably planning on some kind of vengeance, but Bruce caught his jaw in a firm hold and kissed him instead, successfully forcing Tony to drop the matter in favor of some further making out.
It was good. Really good.
When Bruce finally reached that conclusion, he almost bolted out the door, took the first bus away from the city and disappeared over the edge of the civilized world.
Several steadying breaths later he managed to quell that spark of panic. What would he be running from – and how far would he get before Tony was there, stopping him, eyes filled with hurt that he refused to put into words but were nonetheless carving a hole the size of his heart into Bruce’s chest?
No, there was no running from this. First of all, there was no reason to, and secondly, when had good things begun to scare him almost as much as the bad? Before, it had been the fear of being found and persecuted – and the other guy coming out to wreak havoc wherever he happened to be. With S.H.I.E.L.D. offering him partial protection, the resources Tony was giving him to work with and his duties with the Avengers, his life was as good as he may have wanted it to be.
He had never dreamt of being with Tony, prior to meeting him – and falling for him. He had thought they might have an intelligent discussion should they ever meet – and should Tony ever get over his own ego to recognize another genius in the room.
He hadn’t counted on how it would feel to have the other man’s weight rest beside him in bed at night, the comforting glow of the arc reactor between their skins.
He hadn’t thought he would feel so peaceful putting on his socks in the morning and having Tony shift behind him, leaning against his back as Bruce sat on the edge of the bed; Tony breathing him in and nuzzling his neck, kissing the skin and saying ‘good morning’ in that adorable morning voice.
Bruce certainly hadn’t thought he would drop the sock he was working on in favor of twisting around and capturing Tony’s lips with his own, running his fingers through Tony’s hair as the other man tugged him back onto the bed so that they could just lie there, kissing and touching – and that it wouldn’t be about sex but rather about being close to the one person who mattered. The open look in Tony’s eyes as he just looked at Bruce’s face, tracing his fingers across his features as if he was figuring out one of the unanswered mathematical questions of the world just by doing that…
It was good. Really good – and Bruce didn’t want to leave anymore.
“Do you remember what I told you about strutting?” Tony asked – an odd thing to say at that very moment but such a small circumstantial issue had never stopped Tony from saying whatever his mind came up with. It was another thing Bruce had grown used to, seeing as both of them could be tossing various topics around in their heads at the same time and the one they ended up talking about wasn’t necessarily the one that fit the situation.
“You think I should strut in bed?” Bruce raised an eyebrow, letting out a nervous laugh, and if he hadn’t been holding himself up with his arms he would have probably started wringing his hands. Not because it made him truly nervous, thinking of the first time Tony had told him to strut, but because he wondered what he was doing wrong at this moment – what he could be doing differently.
To comprehend and decipher all the hidden meanings, innuendos and references required more brainpower than he was willing to invest in at this very moment. After all, Tony lay beneath him, naked and flushed, and Bruce was equally nude, his faint arousal making him work twice as hard to keep his composure.
Yes, Tony would ask him to strut in bed – that made sense. It wasn’t a demand, merely a suggestion. Another hint that Tony wanted them to move on from their established comfort zone. Bruce wished it were that easy but he guessed they wouldn’t be getting very far, ever, if they went at Bruce’s pace.
“Something like that,” Tony replied, voice lower – but not obviously seductive; like he was just going to throw it out there, for future reference. His tone was real and honest, no performance or bravado, and that was why Bruce leaned down to kiss him, pressing his weight a bit closer. Tony’s mouth quirked and his breaths grew hot as he moved his mouth to the side, closer to Bruce’s ear. He could count each inhale and exhale, their rhythm irregular as they adopted the pace of their hips moving together.
It might not happen today, or tomorrow, but Bruce knew he was getting there, whatever Tony wanted to call it.
Just another day in the lab.
Tony was currently hiding beneath his desk, waiting for the automatic sprinklers to stop drowning everything in water. The fire was gone, the explosion contained, and judging by the sounds, Bruce was going to be okay – once he de-Hulked.
Deeming it was time, Tony emerged from his temporary shelter and looked around the lab. Half of it was almost completely obliterated into blown up pieces and melted parts. The Hulk stood in the midst of it, growling at the sprinklers and flicking away rubble that had stuck to his skin.
“Hey, big guy!” Tony called out, approaching carefully.
The Hulk turned his head sharply and Tony stopped – only for a micro-second, though. Once he was certain the Hulk wouldn’t smash him out of sheer annoyance, Tony kept walking, treading carefully in the midst of broken lab equipment. He would have to ask what Bruce had been up to – and then politely ask him to do it in a safer location next time.
For the time being, the current situation warranted his full attention. “Let me look at you,” Tony insisted, blinking through the water. This was getting ridiculous. “J.A.R.V.I.S., shut off the sprinklers!”
“Great,” Tony muttered then looked at the ceiling and jumped on top of a table, yanking a partially blackened panel loose and found a valve, managing to turn off a portion of the sprinklers in their vicinity. The Hulk let out a sound of appreciation and watched as Tony descended back to the water-covered floor. There were a good four inches of it rippling around, which would be a bitch to clean up if the drains didn’t work for some reason; plumbing wasn’t Tony’s favorite part of engineering, but he wouldn’t let others touch his lab either.
“Okay, back to business,” Tony said, snapping his fingers as he gazed up at the Hulk. “Are you hurt? Now, I know what you’re thinking, because you’re a tough cookie, but there may have been some really nasty substances in the tubes and it might take some time to heal.”
“Puny Banner,” the Hulk growled unhappily.
“I bet he got a face full of it,” Tony grimaced.
The Hulk huffed and looked at himself. “Hulk is strong,” he declared.
“Strong, nigh invincible, but please humor me, big guy,” Tony said and moved much closer, touching the green skin carefully, searching for injuries that might need a little help to heal. The Hulk let him do it, lifting an arm when he yanked at it and spreading his fingers as Tony checked each of his hands.
Once satisfied, Tony gave the other man a relieved smile. “All limbs accounted for, we’re good to go,” he joked.
The green eyes narrowed then one big hand reached over and touched the drenched shoulder of Tony’s shirt. “Injured?” he asked. “Tony injured?”
“No, I’m fine. I was over there,” he motioned towards the other end of the lab.
Appearing somewhat unconvinced, the Hulk went over a quite similar round of checking him over, with some excessive poking that made Tony grimace or chuckle depending on the spot. “No blood,” the Hulk decided, then sniffed and growled at the lab in general. “Smells bad!”
“It does smell, yeah,” Tony agreed. “Chemicals. But at least we’re okay and I’ll turn off the water so that we don’t drown. Wanna help?”
And that was how Tony ended up sitting on the Hulk’s shoulders, manually shutting off each of the sprinklers. A few times when the Hulk got a spray of water in the face he growled and went to punch at the ceiling, but Tony managed to avoid any further destruction of the lab. Once the artificial deluge was over, Tony started sliding down from the Hulk’s shoulders and kissed his forehead in passing, tugging gently at the wet hair. “We make a good team.”
“Good together,” the Hulk agreed, then suddenly appeared almost sheepish, which for a creature of his size was awkward as hell. “Hulk likes,” he sort of mumbled and Tony reached out to take a couple fingers in his hand in a gesture that almost resembled hand-holding.
As much as Bruce treated the Hulk like a separate person, Tony knew it was important that he get along with both of them – and clearly the Hulk wasn’t completely averse to his company. “You liked it?” Tony asked. He got a cautious nod in return and reached up again, petting the wet hair with some difficulty.
The Hulk suddenly sat down on the wet floor, making Tony grin, let go of the powerful fingers and stepped between his thick legs. “Look, I don’t know if you know this, but me and Bruce… Banner,” he corrected, already seeing a expression of distain on the massive face. “I like him a lot, and I think he likes me.”
There was another nod, which may or may not have made this whole explosion worth it. “Puny Banner likes Tony.” The green eyes met his gaze. “Hulk likes Shellhead.”
“You like Iron Man?” Tony arched an eyebrow then pouted playfully, still combing the dark hair with his fingers since that seemed to be something that made the rage monster purr – without an actual purring sound. “What about me? Don’t you like me? I think we’re friends and I like you. But I get it if you can’t be my friend because Banner –”
“Talk too much,” the Hulk complained.
Tony laughed. “I do, don’t I? But you listen well. Maybe we should trade: you talk, I listen?”
The Hulk huffed. “Hulk likes Tony, too. Shellhead fights with Hulk.” It seemed he understood the concept of fighting alongside someone and fighting against them, which was good.
“You know it’s me in the suit, right?” Tony asked to make sure. “I’m Shellhead. God, that’s an awful name, we should change it.” The Hulk growled. “Or not!” Tony quickly covered his mistake. “So, you like me.” He leaned a bit closer and one of the big, green arms suddenly rose around him, as if inviting him in. Tony knew it could snap him in two, too, but he wasn’t too worried about that; all those months the Hulk had spent protecting him on the battlefield couldn’t and wouldn’t be undermined during such a calm moment as this.
“Okay, so we’ve… established that we like each other, which is good,” Tony went on after a bit. He really couldn’t shut up, and it wasn’t as if he and the big guy got to spend a lot of quality time together. That was why he had to make the best of it while the Hulk was sitting in a huge puddle of water and Tony was drenched to the bone.
The arm hugged him a bit closer, and that was the first time Tony actually registered it as a hug. He shifted his arms and looped them around the thick neck to return the gesture for a bit, feeling the muscles relax. It was amazing, almost like embracing a wild animal, although the Hulk was so much more; very few people were able to just get close to him like this.
Tony pressed a small kiss on his neck, thinking it would go unnoticed but he felt a rumble rise in the Hulk’s chest in response.
“Hulk likes that.”
For whatever reason, that made sense. As angry as the Hulk was most of the time, easily provoked and hard to control, he was a living being as well – regardless of what Bruce said on his worst days. The Hulk needed some love, too, and since Tony was already in a relationship with the Hulk’s other half, it was his duty to provide some comfort to him as well, right?
Pulling back slightly, Tony looked at the green eyes and smiled fondly. “Can I ask you something?”
“What?” the Hulk asked.
“Has anyone ever kissed you?”
The Hulk frowned and for a moment Tony feared he didn’t understand the concept. That might end this discussion in a very tense silence. However, the big guy spoke up soon after: “Hulk smash.” It wasn’t said with the usual bravado, nor did it look like he was going to do any smashing in the next heartbeat. It was more like a very apt description of what he usually did.
“And you smash very well,” Tony nodded, “but that doesn’t exclude kissing – or other things, but I asked you about kissing, so…”
Another frown, as if Tony weren’t speaking the same language. Tony was of the opinion that the Hulk was smart and understood anything anyone said, although he had seen many people talking down to him as if he were a child with some kind of disability.
“No one kisses Hulk,” Hulk finally said. “Hulk smash.”
“But you said you liked it? When I did this,” Tony went on and landed a small peck on the Hulk’s forehead.
An appreciative rumble rose from the wide chest. “Hulk likes kisses.”
Tony smiled. “Who doesn’t? I think you’ve just scared away all the candidates with all the smashing.” Tony knew he was just swiping at the surface with that comment; he wouldn’t have gotten up close and personal with the Hulk before he and Bruce got involved – or at least not before their first battle together. He had seen what this guy was capable of and he wasn’t going to act like there had been a chance, in the past, for the Hulk to experience something like this.
“Tony not scared,” the Hulk noted then, looking at him quizzically, as if trying to solve a puzzle.
“I trust you,” Tony informed him, leaning closer, feeling his nose rub against the wider green one. “You’re not going to smash me if I kiss you again, right?”
The Hulk shook his head, very carefully, as if thinking he might hurt Tony when he was so close with such a simple movement. It made their noses rub together more firmly, which was kind of sweet, and Tony pulled back after a moment, placing both his hands on the Hulk’s face.
“You’re my friend,” Tony said. “I care about you, just like I care about Bruce. We fight together, and we live together. Never forget that, big guy, even if you get a little angry – or a lot angry. Okay?” And then he leaned in and pressed his lips to the big green ones, feeling the sharp inhale. It was just a dry little peck, but the sensation was as if he had been pushed off another building, making his legs a bit weak and his body realizing he had just done something amazing.
He pulled back and watched as the Hulk slowly touched his lips where Tony’s had just been, then a smile made them curve and it was perhaps the happiest, most serene expression Tony had ever seen on the Hulk’s face.
It passed, however, as the Hulk’s eyes moved past his shoulder. The arm still around Tony tightened slightly as if in alarm and Tony looked around, finding Romanoff standing in the doorway, staring at them. It wasn’t horror on her face, not really, but there was definitely something she wasn’t able to hide even with all her training.
Footsteps drew near and Rogers jogged down the hall, stopping at the lab’s door beside her. “There was an alarm,” he said needlessly. “You guys okay?”
“Yeah,” Tony called back, drawing away from the Hulk with a gentle pat on his shoulder. “Bruce Hulked-out and the big guy’s fine. Just a little experiment gone wrong.”
“Is that what you call it?” Romanoff asked before snapping her mouth shut and turning away, striding back down the hallway. Tony didn’t think she should be all that shocked, considering whom Tony was in a relationship with. Part of him felt particularly good about being able to shake her a little.
Rogers looked after Romanoff with a puzzled expression then peered into the lab again. “You sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah,” Tony nodded, then turned to look just in time to see the Hulk shrinking back into a very dazed-looking scientist. “Hey, babe,” Tony cracked a grin. “You okay?”
Bruce started, as if coming back to the moment. “Oh my God, Tony, are you okay?!” His eyes went wide so fast it was almost comical, if not for the tension caused by sudden panic and fear taking over his body.
“I’m fine,” Tony dismissed his concerns and helped Bruce to his feet. “I was further off and sought a very professional refuge under my table over there. The other guy saved your skin, I imagine.”
Bruce looked at himself, noting the tattered, wet remnants of his clothes. He looked at Tony then, still concerned. “He didn’t go wild?”
“No,” Tony reassured him. “He helped me stop the sprinklers and we… well, I’ll tell you about it later,” he promised, seeing as Rogers was still hanging around. Tony knew that discussion was best had behind closed doors.
“Okay,” Bruce agreed, still looking a bit out of it.
“Great,” Tony snapped his fingers, slapped his hands together and promptly marched to the door of the lab, forcing Rogers to retreat out of the way. “J.A.R.V.I.S.!” he bellowed in the next second. “Where are you holed up? I don’t pay you to not manage potential hazard zones!”
“I apologize, sir. The explosion knocked out my sensors in this floor and I have been operational only for the last three point four minutes.”
“Huh,” Tony shrugged, counting back. “We’ll have words later,” he noted then, returning into the lab.
“Of course, sir,” he heard the AI’s voice from the hallway. Most of the sensors and speakers in the lab were probably ruined. “I assume you want to restrict the footage of your latest encounter with the Hulk for your own use only?”
“Until I say differently,” Tony nodded along then patted Bruce on the back as the scientist gave him a very concerned look. “I told you, everything went fine! We sat down, talked a little, got close and comfortable. He didn’t tear any limbs or do any smashing.”
“You’re still going to tell me about it – in detail,” Bruce insisted.
“Of course,” Tony replied – and how could he not? After Bruce was done freaking out at the news – there was no doubt he would do just that – perhaps he would consider letting the other guy out more so that he could better integrate with the Avengers. And hang out with Tony. Not just for the kissing, but for the intimacy the big guy had clearly missed out on and which might make him a little less angry in the long run.
to be continued…