Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Avengers (MCU)
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Bruce Banner (Hulk), Tony Stark (Iron Man). Also: Clint Barton (Hawkeye), J.A.R.V.I.S., Pepper Potts, James “Rhodey” Rhodes (War Machine), Steve Rogers (Captain America), Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), Thor, Tony’s bots (DUM-E and U).
Pairings: Bruce/Tony (implied/past Tony/OFC)
Summary: In the past year and a half, Tony had been infected by an alien werewolf, got lost in space, returned home and was reunited with his friends and teammates. His life should have gone back to normal but the world seemed obsessed with his new hairier, feral side instead, and it didn’t help that the Hulk kept calling him ‘Puppy’ and wanting to pet him. If only that were the least of his problems.
Complete. Sequel to “Broken Howl”.
Warnings: Sexual content (M/M, very mild/borderline/not-really-bestiality), canonical violence, language, vaguely implied death (including death of a child).
Tony had been drunk when he blurted it out: “You’re my pack, y’all.”
Bruce, of course, had already known this – instinctively and as a somewhat ashamed admission from Tony months before. He had a feeling Tony had only confessed it to him in the first place because he had some animal urge to explain to Bruce how, amongst them all, Bruce was still special, even when part of said pack. Even when the word ‘alpha’ had never been spoken out loud, Bruce was smart enough to see what he represented to Tony, and how important it was to him in order to have a balanced life.
The others seemed surprised by the admission, but Bruce shook his head so no one asked for clarification while Tony was still intoxicated.
That didn’t mean they wouldn’t pursue it once he was sober.
“What does this pack thing entail, exactly?” Rhodey asked.
“Yeah,” Clint chorused. “We don’t need to, you know, start marking our territory by pissing in corners or anything, right?”
Tony glowered at Clint and answered Rhodey: “It doesn’t mean anything.”
“Clearly it does or you wouldn’t have said anything in the first place,” Rhodey disagreed.
“I was drunk!” Tony said in his defense.
“That won’t fly with us,” Pepper joined the discussion. “Rhodey and I know, for a fact, that the things you say while drunk often stem from something really important you wouldn’t otherwise say out loud.”
Tony muttered to himself for a bit, then stopped. “It means what it means,” he shrugged.
“Not an explanation,” Rhodey pressed.
“We’re already a team,” Steve cut in, clearly not wanting things to end in a fight. “How is being a pack different from that?”
“Pack means… it’s just different, okay?” Tony huffed.
“It means we’re family,” Bruce clarified because Tony, clearly, wasn’t going to. He got a look from his lover, but with Bruce being what he was, Tony didn’t argue. He actually looked a little relieved.
“A family?” Pepper frowned. “I thought that was a given – for some of us,” she added, seeing as things had been more than just a little awkward between the Avengers after Tony crashed back to Earth in a spaceship. The whole ‘leaving Tony behind on an alien moon’ thing….
“The wolf wants and needs a pack,” Bruce elaborated. “While I would be enough, in a pinch, Tony has an instinctive need to expand the pack to those he trusts. While it doesn’t require anything from you, you should know it’s a sign of trust and loyalty on his part.”
“You’re making it sound like a big deal,” Tony told him. “It’s not.”
“It is to you,” Bruce argued softly. Tony leaned into his body a bit more on the loveseat they were sharing.
“I believe I speak for everyone when I say we are honored to be considered part of your pack,” Thor announced. “We shall cherish that status and see it as a sign that our indifferences are finally behind us.”
“Don’t push it, Goldilocks,” Tony growled. “I’m still mad at you about all this.”
Thor nodded solemnly.
“What about the Hulk?” Clint asked. “Is he part of the pack, too?”
“The big guy’s an honorary member,” Tony grinned. “Plus, I think he knows it, so try to act like you’re totally on board with it – and try not to steal his precious time with my furry self.”
“There’s so many things wrong with that statement,” Rhodey shook his head and smiled.
“You know who else is an honorary member?” Tony went on, like a child talking about his favorite topic. “J.A.R.V.I.S.; I’m pretty sure the wolf digs his groove.”
“I’m honored, sir,” the AI replied through the speakers – managing to sound very unimpressed about being considered as part of Tony’s pack.
“What about the bots?” Pepper asked with a playful smile.
“Well, Dummy’s cool, but I’m pretty sure You’s on probationary status for pulling on my tail last week,” Tony replied.
Clint dared to laugh out loud at that.
Tony instantly glared at him. “Don’t think I don’t remember you almost nailing my tail to a wall with one of your arrows!”
“Oh, please,” Clint snorted. “You barely lost a few hairs. They’ll grow back.”
“I’m sure your arm will grow back when I rip it off,” Tony threatened.
“You won’t, and he didn’t hit you on purpose,” Bruce cut between them. “You weren’t supposed to be out of the armor and transforming.”
“But I needed the exercise!”
“You can go run laps around the house if you want,” Bruce countered, not giving in. “You can’t change tactics mid-battle. It’s not fair to the team and it causes an imbalance that might one day tip the scale in our enemies’ favor.”
“Okay,” Tony murmured, so softly no one else could possibly hear it, and if he’d had his tail out, it would have gone down in submission.
Bruce dropped a kiss on his temple and wrapped an arm around him.
“Okay, next topic,” Steve announced. “If Tony’s… other self keeps fighting with the Avengers, I believe we need a name for him.”
“I want to say it now, in case anyone hasn’t caught on to this somehow: while I adopted the general public’s somewhat inaccurate name ‘Iron Man’, I am not going to be called ‘Wolf Man’ in this lifetime – or the next,” Tony announced. He then looked at Bruce. “And ‘Puppy’ is an inappropriate code name for someone as terrifying as my beastly self, prowling dark allies and making villains piss themselves.”
“I wasn’t going to suggest it,” Bruce told him. “However, good luck trying to tell the other guy not to call you that, whatever the situation.”
Tony groaned, but there was no mistaking the pull on his lips as anything but the smile he was trying to fight back.
“How about when people start to ask why Iron Man and the Dog Boy are never seen at the same time?” Clint asked.
“Also not an acceptable code name,” Tony retorted bitingly, then rolled his eyes. “We’ve already been working on it: J controls the suit while I’m on the ground – or, on the roof or whatever is applicable at the time. Point is, when people start asking too many questions, J.A.R.V.I.S. will pretend to be me and we’ll be fine for another few months.”
“And when someone does figure it out?” Pepper asked. She sounded genuinely concerned – probably because of the company, but also because of Tony and what it would do to his life.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Tony told her, a lot softer. “In the meanwhile, we’ll focus on the real problems – like what my official name will be.”
After a lot of debate, they just called him ‘the Wolf’.
The Hulk was elated about the obvious connection between their names – although he still called him nothing but Puppy and smashed anyone who dared to make fun of that.