Del Rion (del_rion) wrote,
Del Rion

Handling Pointy Things; Chapter 20: Untapping

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.

~ ~ ~

Author’s note: While writing the end of the chapter, I happened to be listening to A Perfect Circle’s song The Noose. I think its mood was quite fitting.

Chapter 20: Untapping

When Bruce had stalked out of Tony’s work area in the Mansion, several Avengers had spotted him but none of them were foolish enough to engage his attention in any way; it had been clear he was angry and upset, hopefully more of the latter than the former.

After the Chicago mission, there had been much tension in the air. The situation had been manageable amongst the rest of the team while Tony stayed in bed, recuperating, but it seemed things got worse almost instantaneously when Tony finally felt good enough to work.

“What do you think happened?” Clint mused.

Steve looked out towards the hallway where Bruce had disappeared, in the direction of his and Tony’s shared room.

“Maybe they fought,” Natasha suggested. There was no hiding the unease that followed those words.

“They’ll make up and make out ,” Clint finally decided, shrugging it off – or pretending to, because there was no relaxing the tension of his jaw.

Steve wondered if he should do something. However, he was really just their leader on the field and knew from recent experience that neither Tony nor Bruce appreciated his orders outside of Avengers business. He decided to see how this played out – and prayed it wasn’t what they had all been fearing.

They sat in the living room, watching TV and pointedly not talking about Bruce’s obviously dark state of mind when he passed by the room a few hours ago. Thor arrived late that night, having visited Jane Foster in New Mexico. He seemed cheery until he took a look at the three Avengers and promptly adopted a grave expression. “Is something the matter, my friends?” he asked, putting Mjolnir down on the floor.

“Bruce appeared… upset earlier,” Natasha explained.

“We think he might have had an argument with Tony,” Clint added.

Thor frowned. “Have you not spoken to them?”

“We’re… waiting to see how it goes,” Steve offered. “You do recall Bruce’s stance on us interfering, right?”

“Indeed I do,” Thor nodded. “Perhaps it will be wise to keep our peace and see how this unfolds.”

“I concur,” Clint mused and turned back to the screen. Some hunting show was on and he scoffed at the screen. “Bow and arrow still get the job done with half the fuss,” he mused. “No reason to divert from the classics…”

Natasha switched the channel soon after, landing on some action movie with an on-going car chase of ridiculous proportions. It was entertaining, however, and managed to drag their attention away from the possibility of a conflict between their two teammates.

It was long past midnight when Tony appeared, greasy and dirty, a look of deep discontent on his face. The Avengers looked up in alarm, regarding him as if he were an approaching hurricane which could go either way: right at them or pass them by safely.

“What?” Tony snapped. He wasn’t toning down the anger, not one bit.

“Is everything okay?” Steve asked carefully. “We saw Bruce leave –”

“Yeah?” Tony cut him off. “You got some more relationship advice you want to give me? Or maybe you want to get in line behind Bruce to tell me how to do my job?!”

Steve was taken aback by the sudden outburst. Yes, he had seen Tony angry before, but not like this. “I don’t want to tell you what to do,” he started. “Of course not –”

Tony scoffed at his words, stopping Steve mid-sentence for a second time. “Of course you do! That’s what everyone ever wants. ‘Tony, do this’, ‘Tony, do that’, ‘Tony, I think I know better than you how your fucking armor works’!”

Clint was sinking further into the couch, out of sight. His hand moved back and forth across his throat in an attempt to signal that someone needed to stop the situation from escalating.

“You and Bruce argued about your armor?” Steve frowned. He hadn’t seen that coming, and it didn’t make sense. Why would Bruce care about that – and why on Earth would he make Tony upset? Everyone knew better than to make comments about the Iron Man armor if there was even a slightest chance Tony wouldn’t like whatever came out of their mouths. They had seen what happened to villains who offended Tony’s tech; no one could say Tony didn’t get creative in terms of revenge.

Tony snorted. “You could say that,” he muttered in response to Steve’s question.

“I’m sure he meant nothing by it,” Steve attempted to soften whatever blow Tony’s pride had taken.

It was, clearly, the wrong thing to say, because Tony’s eyes were instantly on his face, burning like a wild furnace. “Oh, he meant it – made sure that I understood that part – so don’t you fucking cover up for him!”

“I’m not trying to –”


“No,” Steve snapped, feeling stressed and backed into a corner. He had never liked being backed into a corner – and he had never stayed down either. He wasn’t going to start now, with Tony of all people. “This is exactly what I was trying to avoid; the two of you getting into some trivial argument –”

“Fuck you, Rogers! Crawl back into the fucking ice cube they pulled you out of!” Tony yelled at him and then stormed out past them. They heard a door slamming and not too long after, Iron Man took off, a sonic boom rattling the windows as he broke the sound barrier at little less than hundred feet from the ground.

“Whoa,” Clint finally commented. “What the hell was that?”

Steve closed his eyes and steadied his breathing. His body was still tense, bordering on painful, as if the danger hadn’t passed yet. However, he was pretty sure it had, because the sound of the armor had disappeared and nothing but silence replaced it

“That was unusual,” Natasha noted. “He rarely explodes like that.”

“Should we follow him?” Thor asked.

“No,” she replied at once. “Give him time to cool down. Right now we’ll just make it worse if we try to intervene.” Steve heard her move, then a slender hand rested on his still-tense shoulder. “It’s not your fault, Cap. You could have stood there, not saying a word, and he would have probably gone off like that anyway.”

Steve wasn’t so sure about that, but he nodded and stated he was going to the gym; a few punching bags needed a beating.

Next day,
Stark Tower,
Manhattan, New York City, NY, USA

That night and the next morning had been an utter waste. The armor he had taken from the Mansion was busted, the repulsors and servos fried from his excessive speeding. J.A.R.V.I.S. knew better than to do his version of ‘I told you so, sir’, but Tony still kept flinging items across the workshop and swearing at the performance issues of the suit.

Bruce didn’t even need to act on his threat to dismantle his armors since most of them were out of commission anyway.

Tony pushed a hand across his face. He was so fucking tired, his body shaking from exhaustion and too much coffee. He couldn’t stop working, however, because he was convinced that once he did, he would sink down to the floor in a miserable heap and bawl his eyes out.

That wasn’t going to happen – no matter how much his eyes burned and his chest felt too tight around the arc reactor, making him shake even more.

“Fuck,” he muttered.

No-one replied; his AI knew better.

Tony moved his gaze along the armor parts laid out on the bench before him, the majority of the suit hanging from the ceiling and awaiting repairs. His eyes landed on the arc reactor, shining blue in the midst of mechanical parts, set aside as he worked on the chest plate connections. It felt like the device was taunting him while sitting there.

He was half-tempted to seize the arc and send it flying across the room, but he knew better. They weren’t cheap and he could build two suits in the time it took to perfect an arc reactor fitted for the armor.

“Sir,” J.A.R.V.I.S. spoke up suddenly, “Thor Odinson has arrived at the Tower.”

“And?” Tony snapped.

“He says he’s here to see you.”

“Tell him I’m busy.”

There was a pause. “Mr. Odinson would like to inquire how long you think it will be before you will see him? It would appear he’s planning on waiting until you’re done.”

“Just tell him to leave me alone,” Tony replied angrily. Why was Thor here, anyway? Were the others on their way? He was pretty sure he could continue from where he had left off last night, if that’s what they wanted.

“I’m afraid he’s being quite obstinate. Perhaps if you entertain him…”

Tony narrowed his eyes at the closest one of J.A.R.V.I.S.’s visual sensors. “Really, J? You’re siding with them?”

“I’m hardly in a position to take sides, sir.”

“Sure you are.”

“Well, in that case, do us both a favor and get this over with. Sir.”

“I’m just putting it out there: re-programming,” Tony replied, pushing back from the bench and making his way to the elevator.

“If you ever get around to it,” J.A.R.V.I.S. noted.

“I sure will,” Tony snapped, stepping inside the elevator and leaning against the back wall, arms cross over his chest. “Watch me.”

“Considering all the times you have threatened me with downgrades and re-programming, sir, I’m not feeling overly threatened.”

Tony glared at the cameras inside the confined space. “Are you arguing with me? Of all… people…”

“I am merely pointing out the illogical, inconsistent side of your threats, sir. Mr. Odinson is in the living room,” he changed the subject smoothly as the elevator stopped.

Tony considered that as he moved to face his fellow Avenger. “Thundercracker, what can I do for you?” he called out when he finally got a look at Thor, standing all tall and noble by the windows, staring at Midtown spreading out beneath them.

Thor turned to look at him and nodded his head. “I understand you and Bruce Banner had an argument.”

“Really, you figure?” Tony raised an eyebrow. He was fairly certain Thor had been standing there when he and Steve… well, Tony, mostly, talked. Argued. Shouted.

“Do you wish to unburden yourself?”

“No,” Tony stated flatly. “Is that all? I’m busy.”

“My friend,” Thor spoke out before Tony could even begin to turn. Those two words lashed out like a whip, snapping Tony to attention. “We are concerned,” Thor went on, a little less sharply yet clearly intent on completing whatever mission he had come out here on.

“It’s none of your business,” Tony sighed. “Just… leave me alone, please.”

“Not before I know you are well,” Thor insisted. “And not before I know you and Bruce will discuss this issue between you.”

“I don’t think talking’s going to do it,” Tony muttered.

Thor raised an eyebrow, waiting for him to go on.

Tony sighed and moved over to the bar. His hands were unsteady as he poured himself a drink and stared at the shot-glass afterwards, the whirling liquid distorting Thor’s noble features as he gazed at the Asgardian through the liquor. “We had… creative differences,” Tony attempted to explain. Thor still didn’t seem to understand. “Bruce made a few ultimatums I’m not comfortable with, and stepped onto a territory he has no place in.”

“A lovers’ spat, or one between shield brothers?” Thor asked.

“Both,” Tony sighed, threw back the drink and then poured himself another, mostly to give himself something to do other than stand there awkwardly while being interrogated by a Norse god. “I get that he’s concerned, in the aftermath of Chicago, and I may have to admit the energy transfer from the arc reactor needs a little work, but it’s a low blow to threaten destroying my suits if I don’t do as he says and remove it.” By the end of it, Tony reflected he was probably talking more to himself than Thor, rehashing the whole thing, but when he looked at the blue eyes, it seemed Thor understood what he was saying.

“He is concerned for your wellbeing?” Thor clarified.

“Yeah,” Tony sighed. “Sort of, but… yeah.”

“Ah,” Thor nodded gravely. “I can relate to that – and that was why I volunteered to come and speak with you.”

Tony raised an eyebrow at that, because he had no idea how Thor ever related to anything that went on in Midgard.

“As you know, I am nigh immortal,” Thor went on. “Yet after my banishment, I have come to care for many of you mortals – and often experience this crushing sense of fear that I cannot protect you. That in my absence, and even in my presence, those I have grown to call friends – and those I have grown to love – may be in grave danger and meet their end.”

“That’s life,” Tony informed him.

“Yes,” Thor said, so very sadly, “for you it is. But for me, it is a hard lesson to learn, and even harder to accept. I cannot say it to be the ultimate truth, but perhaps Bruce Banner, who is also protected by the monster inside him, has to face the terror of losing a person he cares about.”

Tony considered that, and hated how much it made sense. “His broaching of the subject was just about as appealing as polished shit,” he muttered, still angry.

Thor chuckled. “Your responses are ever so… colorful, my friend. That may be why his concern came across as insulting rather than what it truly is; you are not an easy man to negotiate with, especially when you feel you are not in the wrong – a fault I share, I’m afraid.”

“Now you’re just sweet-talking me,” Tony huffed and threw back the drink he had been holding in his hand.

“Be that as it may,” Thor said with equal humor, “I wish you would consider his fears and that he perhaps does not know how to approach them, any better than you know how to respond. I know my Jane is sometimes very… hard-headed. She tells me I smother her when my only intent is to ensure her safety.”

Tony could totally see that happening, and when he tried to picture himself and Bruce instead… well, it kind of made sense, yet again. Beneath all that anger and fear lurked something deeper – something to do with that accursed word Bruce had just thrown out there, knowing it would be a low enough blow to bring Tony in line. Despite all his tantrums and sulking at the Tower, Tony knew that the inevitable loomed ahead of him, whether Thor had chosen to come and talk to him or not. With this nice little discussion, the process was simply speeded along, instead of allowing Tony to wallow in his anger and self-pity until he figured it out for himself.

“Thanks… I guess,” Tony finally mused, debating on another drink but then deciding against it.

Thor merely nodded, then picked up his hammer. “Do you require anything else?”

“Sleep,” Tony chuckled. “And… can you do me a favor?” he looked towards the Asgardian. “Make sure Bruce doesn’t bolt. I’ll be around later today, once I’ve cleared my head.”

Thor nodded. “We shall keep the good doctor distracted.” Then he simply walked out and took off across the sky, heading back down to the Mansion.

Tony sighed and leaned heavily against the bar, placing his face against his folded arms. He felt like he could fall asleep right there, if given the chance.

“I’m very proud of you, sir,” J.A.R.V.I.S. mused dryly.

“Cut the commentary,” Tony muttered. “You’re pushing it; how would you like to operate coffee machines for the rest of your existence?”

“Seeing as I already make your coffee, sir, I don’t see the difference.”

Tony chuckled, huffed, then pushed himself up and headed to his bedroom. It was empty and the clean sheets didn’t smell of Bruce at all, which made it strange to lie down. “Wake me up in five hours,” he ordered the AI, then rolled over and pressed his face into a pillow, determined that half-suffocating himself would make him fall asleep faster.

Whether or not that was true, he was unconscious in minutes.

- - -

As ordered, J.A.R.V.I.S. woke him up five hours later.

Tony methodically showered, put on fresh clothes and then took one of the cars and drove to the Avengers Mansion. He even stopped at a drive-through to get something to eat, munching on a sandwich and sipping coffee as he made his way up to the main floor.

Much like last night, four Avengers were present in the living room, looking up at him with varying expressions. No one said anything; Thor merely nodded and gave Tony the slightest smile before focusing on the program on TV. It had to do with cooking and Tony expected he might have to either fix or replace some of the kitchen appliances in the next few days if Thor once again attempted to master Midgardian culinary skills. He wasn’t getting on Master Chef anytime soon, other than perhaps because of the fact that he was an Avenger.

Tony finished munching on the bread and licked his fingers clean, dumping the wrappings in a garbage bin he passed in the hallway. “Where’s Bruce?” he asked J.A.R.V.I.S.

“In his lab,” the AI replied.

Tony nodded and went downstairs. He wasn’t sure if he could do this – and do it right – but he knew dragging it out wouldn’t work either. “Did he attempt to leave?” he asked, despite fearing the answer.

“No,” J.A.R.V.I.S. responded. “After having a… disturbing dream, he’s been working and hasn’t come out of the lab since you left the Mansion.”

Tony wondered if that was better or worse than Bruce trying to bolt out of the country. Then again, he had been the one to face off against Tony with a whole lot of demands, so why would Bruce leave?

Taking a deep breath, Tony opened the door. It wouldn’t help him to think of how bad Bruce’s words had hurt – or how deep they had burrowed. “Hey,” he called out, in case Bruce was so engrossed in his work he hadn’t heard him come in.

The other man looked up, glasses on his nose, wearing yesterday’s clothes and appearing quite surprised. “I didn’t know you were back,” Bruce mused, taking off the glasses. There were red marks on the sides of his nose, signaling that he had been here just as long and working just as intently as J.A.R.V.I.S. had implied.

Tony just hummed, uncertain of what he wanted to say. He didn’t feel like he should apologize, not really, but clearly he was supposed to say something.

Bruce was waiting, a guarded look on his face. The tension was there, too, familiar from when they first met and Bruce still saw enemies and threats everywhere. He still did, of course, but at least in Tony’s company he was a little less tightly wound.

“Okay,” Tony started with a deep exhale, “last night was…”

“Horrible,” Bruce stated.

“Agreed,” Tony didn’t miss a beat. “Not that I started it.”

Bruce’s fingers tightened slightly around the arm of his glasses. A little more and he might snap it in two, or bend it beyond repair.

Tony threw up his hands, in an apology for trying to take that path, then retracted and tried again: “I was informed that there is a possibility of you being worried about my health.”

The other man raised an eyebrow. “You had to be informed? My telling you that didn’t convince you?”

Tony frowned at him. “I was a little pre-occupied with the other stuff you were spitting at me, so…” He took another deep breath before they were right back where they finished last night. “I’ve been made aware,” he restarted, “that due to your rather impervious, indestructible condition, you may feel extra pressured to protect me, because clearly I’m not a gamma irradiated rage monster who cannot be… who’s very hard to destroy.”

“Go on,” Bruce said slowly, on the border of taking offense but refusing to react just yet.

“Clearly I don’t take orders very well, especially when they’re directed at being Iron Man, or the suit,” Tony pressed forward, eyes flying across the lab, arms moving, and he wasn’t even aware of most of it while he tried to see where he was going with this; to find the path that led them back to a peaceful co-existence. “There have always been people who tried to influence me, force me, or trick me. While I know you’re not one of those people, I… Just don’t do that again, please?” he finally stopped and met Bruce’s eyes.

“How do you know I’m not one of those people?” Bruce challenged him. “And even if I understand the problem, I still refuse to back down on what I asked you to do – for your own sake.”

Tony’s fingers curled against his palms. He tried not to grow tense, although it was inevitable. “I can make my own decisions,” he stated. “There may be plenty of arguments against that, but mostly…” This wasn’t going very well, he could see that. Bruce was still tense – tenser, if possible – and that wasn’t good either. “You told me last night that you… that it wasn’t… that there was more to it than what’s best for me.”

Bruce’s expression softened slightly. “I wish I hadn’t used that word,” he said.

Tony wasn’t certain if a blood vessel broke in his brain or why it felt like his entire world fractured, just slightly. “Okay, that’s… good to know,” he mused.

The other man twitched, almost as if someone had shocked him, and Bruce placed his glasses on the table before moving towards Tony in hurried steps. “No, no,” he chanted, “I didn’t mean it like that,” Bruce said frantically. “God, I… I meant it, of course I meant it,” he insisted, stopping right in front of Tony and the touch of his hands on Tony’s face shouldn’t have made him feel so relieved.

“So… your demands have at least as much to do with your need to keep me safe as they do with my wellbeing in general?” Tony pressed.

“Why is that distinction so important to you?” Bruce frowned. “They’re the one and the same. If you’re okay, then… then I’m okay. We’re okay. And more importantly, you’re not dying because of some stupid idea –”

“Unfinished, not stupid,” Tony corrected. “My brain doesn’t come up with stupid things. Genius, remember?”

“It’s hazardous to your health and potentially deadly,” Bruce said flatly. “If you can’t see it, then I’ll keep pointing it out to you.”

“Because you want me to be safe,” Tony pressed.

“Yes,” Bruce rolled his eyes.

“Because you love me…” Tony’s voice faded away around the middle of that sentence, but he mouthed the words, lips moving, eyed burning again.

“Yes,” Bruce agreed, his fingers sliding along Tony’s face, spreading wider, hold firmer. “I love you.”

Tony looked at him. He knew his eyes were ridiculously wide, because he could feel it, and they were probably wetter than was called for, and his entire body felt like it was going into a rather painful seizure, only nothing was happening. “I’m… I’ll try to work on it,” he promised. “I have never really been in a position where I have to accept the ideas, feelings, needs and opinions of another person. It’s… not easy,” he admitted.

Thinking back to his time with Pepper – the most significant relationship of his life – Tony guessed one of the reasons it hadn’t worked was that he never let her that close. There had always been things between them, obstructing and grinding, and part of him knew Pepper couldn’t have dealt with it. Nor should she, because that kind of burden was… not something ordinary people should have to carry on their shoulders, and in their minds and hearts.

“I know I have to let that happen,” Tony went on, looking at Bruce, the nearness of him almost making him dizzy. “I have to let you protect me, like I’ll always try to protect you.”

Bruce’s thumb traced across his cheek and Tony wondered if he was crying and not noticing, but he didn’t feel wetness and the thumb moved back into place in the middle of his cheek. Bruce’s expression was cracking, as if he were closer to tears than Tony was, and then he was too close to watch, his lips on Tony’s, hands moving further across his face to cradle his head.

When they finally pulled apart, Tony felt their breaths mingle between their faces and then Bruce laughed. “How you’ve convinced the world that you’re a suave playboy, I have no idea.”

Tony laughed back at him, opening his eyes. “Game face, my dear Watson; never play poker with me.”

Bruce nodded, then moved one hand down from his neck to pull him closer by the waist – not that they could be standing any closer. “Come to bed with me,” Bruce whispered in his ear, and Tony swore he felt light-headed because all his blood, literally, shot down between his legs.

“Whatever you say, Doctor,” Tony whispered back and then Bruce was pulling him out into the hallway and over to the stairs, never completely severing contact between them, and if they happened to cross Clint on the way up to their room, neither of them paid him any mind.

The sheets were rumpled on the bed, pushed to the side in obvious hurry. Tony briefly recalled J.A.R.V.I.S. mentioning Bruce had been dreaming – which either meant a nightmare, or the other kind. “Did you dream of me?” Tony asked, and when Bruce looked at him with unmistakably hungry eyes, Tony got his answer. The next second Bruce was tugging off Tony’s clothes and Tony complied, sighing at the cooler air on his skin. He managed a few tugs at Bruce’s pants before he was pushed onto the bed and the other man followed, still mostly clothed, and Tony wasn’t sure how far they would get today, considering everything.

The Hulk had been so close to the surface he doubted much was going to happen.

“How clean are you?” Bruce asked.

“What?” Tony frowned, not following. He wasn’t stained with oil streaks, that much Bruce could see for himself, but before he could crack the code, Bruce had moved down, urged Tony’s legs up and over his shoulders, which was kind of sudden, and then his hot exhales were so close to the most sensitive spots of his body that Tony’s mind froze in anticipation.

His eyes closed and hands fisted the sheet desperately as Bruce’s mouth was suddenly there, but not where Tony had expected it – not in a million years. Bruce pushed forward slightly, reaching up to tug Tony’s legs further apart without dislodging them while his head didn’t move an inch. A wet, firm tongue dove out and Tony stared at the ceiling, letting out a loud gasp of air and he couldn’t hold the sheets tight enough, couldn’t stop his legs from trembling and the build-up was happening way too fast.

He barely got a hand onto his hard cock before it was over, in an embarrassingly short time. Thirty seconds, give or take. Tony threw his head back and tried not to kick Bruce, who was holding his upper thighs and left him with a parting lick.

“Fuck,” Tony finally managed.

Bruce lowered Tony’s body onto the bed and sat there between his spread thighs, a small smile on his face.

“Do you want to…?” Tony started to ask and tried to gesture with his hand but eventually allowed the limb to flop back down onto the mattress like a dead jellyfish.

Bruce kept smiling and shook his head, then wordlessly got up and went to the bathroom. Tony heard running water, then the sound of the other man rinsing his mouth, and he decided not to be grossed out. Bruce returned a while later and climbed back onto the bed, plopping down next to Tony in all his dressed glory. Tony couldn’t find the will to complain in his blissed out state, simply curling an arm around Bruce’s neck and pulling him into a sloppy, lazy kiss.

“I take it you approve,” Bruce murmured after a bit.

“You might have to work for it next time,” Tony smiled. “I’m not always so quickly pleased.” His fingers carded through Bruce’s hair, their noses brushing.

They stayed like that for a long while, letting the tension of the previous day drain out of them.

The spell had to be broken, however, and Bruce did it by sliding his hand across the arc reactor, fingers teasing the surrounding scars to let Tony know he was there. “You’re going to do it, right?” Bruce asked. His voice was quiet, gentle, but the underlying hardness was undeniable. Depending on Tony’s answer, they would be right where they’d started – or somewhere else.

“Yes,” Tony replied. “I’ll work around it. I am a genius, after all…”

Bruce’s answering smile was happy and sad at the same time, but his next kiss spoke of the love his words had so perfectly conveyed earlier.

The hand remained on top of the arc reactor, making a statement, and Tony knew he had to let himself change – grow – to allow that to become another constant in his life. It scared him, but it filled him with a sweet expectancy as well; so natural; so beautiful and wounded – ready to morph into another form of existence.

Bruce leaned close again, lips moving against Tony’s neck. No sound came out, but he knew each syllable:

‘I love you’.

to be continued…

Author’s note: Also check out pretty art by feriowind, drawn especially for this chapter! (AO3 / Tumblr)
 photo HandlingPointyThings-Chapter20artbyferiowind.jpg

Story info
Tags: character: bruce banner / hulk, character: clint barton / hawkeye, character: j.a.r.v.i.s., character: natasha romanoff/black widow, character: steve rogers/captain america, character: thor, character: tony stark / iron man, fandom: avengers (mcu), series: turquoise
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