sam_storyteller: (Slash Fic)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2013-04-06 10:58 am
Entry tags:

The Most Amazing Things (Some Terrible Lie) 3/3

Title: The Most Amazing Things (Some Terrible Lie)
Rating: R
Summary: Tony's decision not to reveal his identity as Iron Man to the world was shrewd and calculated. Too bad it's about to backfire on him like a Jericho missile.
Warnings: None.

Chapter One | Chapter Two |Chapter Three

***

Brenda called that evening with the news that she could get Steve on the Daily Show as soon as he wanted. Steve seemed agreeable enough, if a little anxious, so Tony backed off and let Brenda handle it.

Though he did call up the producers on the quiet and secure himself a VIP seat in the control booth to watch the taping.

It was a pretty good show. Steve had been coached well and Stewart was softballing him anyway, up to the point where he asked, "So I have to know, what made you decide to choose us first?"

Steve gave him an uncertain look. "Mr. Stark -- Tony -- he said he thought I wasn't ready for the Colbert Report."

"Not ready. Well, I'll take what I can get," Stewart said. "Can I ask you to do one thing for me before we cut to commercial?"

"Sure, I guess."

"I want you to turn to that camera -- right there -- and say, Eat it, Colbert."

Steve was just beginning to turn when a voice rang out: "I wouldn't do that if I were you."

They both looked to one side and Tony saw the cameras shift; Stephen Colbert was standing at the edge of the stage, in full Captain America regalia, holding a toy shield. He pulled the cowl off dramatically.

"My name is Stephen Colbert, and I am the only Captain America," he proclaimed.

Stewart gave him an incredulous look. "Seriously?"

"I have the shield," Colbert announced.

"That looks like plastic," Steve said.

"Are you wearing spandex?" Stewart asked.

"Captain America doesn't bow to the frivolous constraints of fashion," Colbert declared.

Tony watched, gleefully, as Stewart got up and confronted him. He kept one eye on Steve, who was looking startled, but he knew him well enough to tell that this was scripted. Steve had done movies and a stage show, once; he wasn't a bad actor.

The argument over whether Stephen Colbert was in fact Captain America grew more heated, until finally Colbert said he would defeat any challenger to prove his right to wear the uniform, and Stewart told him to bring it on, and suddenly the two of them were heading offstage to some presumed boxing ring in the back of the studio.

When they were gone, the cameras focused in on Steve.

He looked stunned for a minute, and then awkward; finally he stood up, glancing around stealthily, and crept over to settle into Stewart's chair. He spread his hands on the desk, proprietary, and smiled. The crowd applauded, and the show cut to commercial.

***

When the rest of the show had played out, complete with Stewart nursing a fake-looking black eye, Tony caught up to Steve in the green room backstage.

"Tony!" Steve said, startled.

"Nice show," Tony replied.

"Did you watch?" Steve asked.

"I was up in the booth. Just in case you needed Iron Man to help host the show."

Steve gave him a shy look. "That was pretty funny. Show business is okay sometimes."

"You want to get a bite? Past your bedtime, you know."

"Sure, I suppose. I'd like that."

"I know a place. Come on, let's blow this joint," Tony said, leading him down towards the stage door. They managed to get through the small crowd of people there with Tony's patented "never stop walking" autograph technique, and Happy eased them out of the alley and into New York traffic smoothly.

They ended up at a little bistro down a quiet street, where they weren't likely to be recognized or, if they were, weren't likely to be bothered. Tony watched Steve enthusiastically dig into about twice the food a normal person would be able to eat, appetite apparently sharpened by his latest turn in the public eye.

"Aren't you eating?" Steve asked, when he slowed down somewhere around his second sandwich.

"Sure," Tony said, gesturing to his half-empty plate. "I'm not the one who spent an hour on television tonight, that's all."

"Guess so." Steve set his food down, reaching for the beer he'd ordered. "So you thought it went okay?"

"You were great. Big presence. And pretty good comedic timing."

"Mr. Stewart said that. About the timing," Steve said, with another shy look. "Guess you hang around smart-alecks long enough, it pays off."

"Hey!"

"It's my own fault, really, I have very poor taste in friends -- "

"Don't make me fight you," Tony said.

Steve grinned at him. "Wouldn't dream of it, Shellhead."

Tony grinned back. "I'm nothing but good for you, Winghead."

Steve flushed and looked down, suddenly, and his grin turned small. Private. "That's nothing but the truth, I guess." He looked up. "Are we courting, then?"

"Courting." Tony rolled his eyes. "You and your out of date slang. This is dating, Steve. Daaaaating."

That earned him a quiet laugh. "Okay."

"Okay," Tony agreed.

"Courting," Steve said.

"Dating," Tony insisted.

"Wooing," Steve tried.

"Oh my god, wooing," Tony said, and cracked up, falling back in his chair. Steve was still blushing, but he looked pleased.

"If I kissed you right now how long would it take to get to the front page?" he asked quietly.

"Here?" Tony glanced around. Nobody was paying them the slightest attention. "You might get away with it."

"Hm." Steve picked at his sandwich. "What you said about...about people knowing. I keep thinking. Things like this, they're -- I mean, I don't have a lot of experience, but I know at the start things are fragile. You have to be careful, just to make them work. And I can't imagine trying to hold this gently when the world's just waiting to trample it. Pick it apart, and they'd call us names, because of who we are. But I don't want to hide anything either, I did enough of that..."

Tony tilted his head. "In the war?"

"I had -- there was someone I cared for, but I couldn't...I don't think he ever knew."

Tony licked his lips thoughtfully, and Steve's eyes dropped to them, then skidded away.

"You're thinking about coming out, aren't you?" Tony asked.

"Now that I'm already public? Yes. More than thinking. What do you think? You'd be a part of it. You'd have to be. At least peripherally. I know you like your privacy."

Tony sighed. "Yeah, I do, but that ship more or less sailed. There's always been rumors."

"I don't want it to be a chore, Tony."

Tony leaned forward, reaching out an arm to catch Steve by the back of the head. He tugged him forward, kissed him lightly, and let him go.

"Worth it," he said with a grin.

"You done eating?" Steve asked hoarsely.

"Yep."

"I'm ready to go home."

"Check's paid. Wanna make out in the car?"

"Tony!" Steve looked outraged as they stood up, pulling their coats on hastily. "Happy's in the front seat!"

"He's seen worse."

"Absolutely not, that's just awkward for everyone. You can wait until we get home."

"And then making out?"

"If you behave," Steve said, but he caught Tony's hand and laced their fingers together as they walked out. "Iron Man," he added, in a low voice.

***

Steve, apparently determined to be a gentleman, walked Tony to the door of his suite in the penthouse, and seemed prepared to leave him there. It was sweet, Tony thought, grabbing him by the belt and pulling him into his room before he could try the 'chaste kiss goodnight' routine. Steve went, looking amused, and Tony tugged him close, angling his head up just slightly to kiss him. Steve's hands rested lightly on his hips, keeping their bodies flush.

"This," he said against Tony's mouth, fingers flexing gently. "This is definitely what I wanted."

"Sometime I'll put on the armor just so you can take me out of it," Tony said, and light flared in Steve's eyes. "Ha! I knew it."

"Knew what?" Steve asked, kissing him again, and Tony's hands came up to disorder Steve's carefully-styled hair.

"You're hot for the suit."

"Man inside it," Steve insisted, leaning forward, practically holding him up. "I've been falling for you for so long...didn't think I could feel that way about someone again, and then there you were."

"You still pissed at me?"

"Yep." Steve grabbed one of Tony's hands and kissed the palm. Tony tried to raise a skeptical eyebrow, but Steve's tongue pressed against the heel of his thumb and he sucked in a sharp breath instead. "You made me feel like a fool."

"Funny way of showing it," Tony said, hooking his thumb into Steve's mouth. Steve licked at it, mischief in his eyes, and then sucked gently. "Christ, you're going to kill me."

Steve pulled back, kissed his thumb, and grinned. "Well, I always did like the ones who could get one over on me."

"I think you should kn -- agh!" Tony yelped, as Steve tumbled them both onto the couch against the wall, pulling Tony's thighs around his hips. "You should know, that was insanely hot by the way, you should know that I definitely put out on the first date."

"I wouldn't dream of assuming," Steve replied. "You wouldn't want me to think you were easy, would you?"

"I wouldn't?" Tony asked, leaning back. "Can I blow you?"

"Bl -- oh," Steve blinked at him, but one arm pinned him in place before he could move. "Ah, oh. Tony."

"Satisfaction guaranteed," Tony said.

"No, that sounds fine, but -- that's not what I'm after," Steve said. His other hand lifted to sweep through Tony's hair, and his smile was fond. "I want to do this right. There's more to romance than sex, you know."

"I am how many years older than you?"

"Technically, you're about fifty years younger."

"You don't need to teach me about this stuff."

Steve didn't budge when Tony tried to move again. His fingers tightened in his hair, fractionally.

"I don't know," he said, his expression turning serious. "How many people went to bed with you because you were a good man?"

"What?" Tony asked.

"How many people went to bed with you because you were rich or famous or charming? Because I'm not after him. I'm after Iron Man. I," Steve said, leaning forward, tipping his chin up so that their faces nearly touched, "am falling for the kind, honest, bullheaded man in the suit, not the quippy billionaire. You don't have to impress me. Your worth isn't in your pocketbook. Or your mouth."

Tony stared at him, uncertain whether to be angry or offended, but instead of either he leaned forward, curling his body to press his face against Steve's neck, the curve where it met his broad shoulder.

"It's terribly hard to be wanted for that," Steve said softly, nosing at his ear. "To be one thing and be seen as another -- thinking someone might want the scrappy little guy instead of Captain America. Being torn about who you are and why someone should love you. I think I know that even better than you do," he murmured, and then added, "I think maybe we both could use some sleep."

Tony nodded against his neck, pulling back, and this time Steve let him go. He stood, rubbing at his forehead with the back of his wrist, and Steve pushed up off the couch to kiss him.

"Goodnight," Steve said with a smile. "Come to breakfast tomorrow. You don't want to miss Hawkeye making fun of me on the talk show."

"Make extra coffee. Lots of coffee."

"Lots of coffee, I promise." Steve tipped his chin up with his knuckles. "See you in the morning."

He left Tony standing there in the dark, vaguely aroused and more than a little confused.

***

"All I'm saying is that she's a fox, and if I had the chance I would hit it like Thor's hammer," were the first words Tony heard when he arrived in the kitchen the next morning. Clint apparently had a crush.

"I don't like that kind of talk," he heard Steve say.

"I'm not going to actually hit -- "

"I know that, I'm only saying, it's not respectful."

"I could respect the hell out of her," Clint said.

"Who are we respecting?" Tony asked, beelining for the coffee. Bruce got in his way and handed him a cup. "You are my favorite," he added.

"That's not what I hear," Bruce said with a grin.

"Clint, what is your issue this morning?" Tony demanded.

"Brenda," Clint said with relish.

"Let me get this down and I'll laugh at you," Tony replied, sipping his coffee. "She doesn't sleep with the talent."

"I'm very persuasive."

"Mmhm. Morning," Tony added in the general direction of the stove, where Steve was making the world's biggest omelet.

"Ms. Cunningham was here earlier," Steve said. "Apparently the talk show went well."

"Steve is America's darling," Natasha added with a grin.

"I was trending on Twitter," Steve said proudly. "I don't know what that means but she sounded very happy about it."

"I know it," Thor rumbled. He looked like he was about as much of a morning person as Tony was. "Darcy uses it to share portraits of me with the world."

"Well, I hope I'm smiling in mine," Steve said.

Tony exchanged a look with Bruce, who mouthed let it go. He was about to do the exact opposite when his phone buzzed with Pepper's ringtone (She's got a dime all of the time, stays out at night movin' through time) and he popped it out of his pocket. "Pepper. Save me."

"Tony?" she asked, and there was a certain tone to her voice that Tony recognized as bad news.

"Yeah, it's me, what happened?" he asked. "Aren't you in Malibu? Isn't it like...four in the morning there?"

"Okay, before you do anything, I'm fine," she said.

"Why wouldn't you be fine?"

"The house in Malibu was attacked about half an hour ago."

Tony could feel the blood drain from his face; from the way everyone was looking at him, obviously they could tell something was wrong. "You're okay?"

"I'm fine. The mansion's security systems kicked in, I got to the safe room, nobody was badly hurt."

"Fine is not the same as not badly hurt, Pep -- "

"I'm not hurt," she said. "Just a little shaken."

"Who was it? Do they know?"

"The police are here, they have a few men in custody. It's Advanced Idea Mechanics."

"Fuck. I'll be there in two hours."

"Tony -- "

"If anything happens, if someone breathes on you wrong, go back to the safe room. I'm getting the armor now."

"Tony, you don't have to -- "

"Why didn't JARVIS tell me?" Tony asked, then leaned the phone away from his ear. "JARVIS?"

"Processing," JARVIS said, and then replied, apologetically, "It appears communication between J-MALIBU and J-NYC is down. My morning diagnostic is not scheduled until 8:30am local time. I was unaware of the disconnect."

"What's going on?" Clint asked. Steve was watching Tony carefully.

"AIM went after Pepper," Tony said. "Pep. I'm hanging up now. Get somewhere safe and stay there. I'll come find you."

"Tony, don't do anything stupid."

"None of this plan is stupid. Stay safe. I'll call you from the air," Tony said, and hung up. "Well, I have to go kill everyone who came within shouting distance of Pepper this morning, excuse me."

"Stark, wait," Clint said, catching his wrist as he stood. "AIM? Do you need us?"

"I just need to make sure she's okay, check out the systems," Tony said. "Then killing, as mentioned."

"They attacked Pepper?" Steve asked.

"Is everyone here deaf? I have to get to my suit -- "

"No, stop," Steve said, physically blocking him. Natasha went tense.

"You really do not want to be between me and my suit right now," Tony said.

"You can't go to California," Steve said.

"Excuse me?"

"Listen, just -- Tony, listen!" Steve said, as Tony tried to dart around him. "They attacked her? Not the Stark plant out there?"

"Yes, which is why I have to -- "

"Hear me out, strategy is what I do," Steve said, and the half-desperate tone in his voice made Tony pause. "If someone wanted to draw Iron Man out, who would they go after? You? Not now that they know you're Iron Man. She's across the country. If they wanted you out of the tower and unable to get back quickly, this is what they'd do."

"It's Pepper," Tony said. "I can't just leave her out there. Especially with JARVIS blind."

"I'm not saying you should," Steve said. "I'll go."

"What?"

"I'll go see Pepper. Put me in a car, put me on a plane under your name, nobody will know. AIM is planning something. They want you gone. You have to stay here, Tony."

"And if it's a trap for me out there?" Tony asked.

"Then they're not going to be expecting me," Steve said, showing his teeth.

Tony narrowed his eyes, but he lifted his phone to his ear.

"Happy, it's Tony. Have them get the jet ready. Pick Steve up in the private garage. He's going to California under my name," he said, and hung up again. "Go. Explain things to Happy. If they hurt Pepper, destroy them."

"You're all on alert until I come back," Steve said. "Someone get on the horn with SHIELD and see if they've picked up any chatter."

"I'll call," Natasha volunteered. "I know what to ask for."

"Defend the tower," Steve said, turning back to Tony, and then without a second's hesitation leaned in and kissed him. "I'll call when we touch down."

Steve looked up at everyone in the kitchen. Except for Bruce, they were staring at him in shock. "What, none of you ever saw people kissin' before?"

***

Anyone who didn't know the Avengers would have thought that Stark Tower, anticipating an attack, would be filled with tension. Tony might have expected it, back when the team was new.

Now, however...well, Thor was always spoiling for a fight, and Bruce seemed to enjoy running around locking down his experiments. Clint was in uniform with his quiver on his back, doing pull-ups to keep his arm limber, and Natasha was calmly sorting her knives. Tony didn't know anyone who had as many knives as Natasha.

Tony, because what was the point of being at the tower if he wasn't Iron Man, had suited up and was browsing news blogs on his HUD, watching Malibu as best he could.

"So what do you think?" Clint asked, between pull-ups. "Missiles? Mind-control rays?"

"Gas," Natasha said.

"Five bucks says it's missiles."

"Must you?" Tony asked, flicking the news off his screen with a blink.

"Well, we can either talk about how AIM wants to attack the tower in a way that would require your absence -- " Natasha began.

" -- or we can talk about you and Steve making time," Clint finished.

"Fifty bucks on mind-control," Tony said.

"Hey, I got no dog in the fight," Clint replied. "You want to despoil the national icon, it's your funeral."

"Oh, good, is this where we talk about how you'll hurt me if I break his heart?"

"Steve's a big boy," Natasha said. "He can look after himself. But the public fallout will be..."

"Spectacular," Clint suggested.

"Will you two please stop doing that?"

"Face it," Clint said, dropping to the floor and stretching. "You took a hit when the bomb outed you. We all get it, but you're not the Golden Avenger now that the world knows you're the Artist Formerly Known As The Merchant Of Death. You and him go public, that's what the haters are going to say. You corrupted him."

"You think I'm not aware of that?" Tony asked. "It's not like Captain Good Example is going to stay in the closet for long."

"You never know," Natasha said. "He must have spent a good long while there back in the day."

"World's different now. He gets that," Tony said.

"And you?"

"Fuck, people have always talked about me. I don't care. Maybe when I was some fetal nineteen-year-old who still needed public approval, but what are they going to do, call me names? Like that's new."

"But you still never said anything publicly," Clint pointed out.

"Because my sexuality is not something I felt the need to give a press conference about. Steve wants to, I'll have his back, end of story."

"It'll get nasty," Natasha warned.

"I do not understand this," Thor complained, startling them all with a thump of his fist on the table. Natasha's knives rattled. "On Asgard, the union of two warriors would be cause for celebration. True, it is unfortunate that you would not produce children, but that's a small consequence. Midgardians have a multitude of pointless rules concerning these things. It baffles me."

"We've had a date, let's not get carried away with unions and children and things," Tony said.

"Yeah, but it's not like you just met," Clint said.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"For a genius, you are a blind little man," Natasha put in.

"None of us are exactly surprised Steve's gay for you, is what we're saying," Clint added. "We -- "

He paused, a look of confusion creasing his face. Tony barely had time to register it before Natasha dropped a knife and clapped both hands to her head, grimacing.

"What is -- " Thor asked, and then he let out a yelp and curled into a ball, falling off his chair. Clint was clutching the table's edge, pale and breathing fast.

Tony frowned. "JARVIS -- "

"I am picking up a peculiar subsonic transmission," JARVIS said. "Your armor is shielding against all unauthorized transmissions satisfactorily." There was a crash from somewhere below Tony's feet. "I do not believe Dr. Banner is enjoying the experience."

"Can you block it out to the tower?"

"Working," JARVIS said.

"Clint?" Tony asked. Natasha was making soft, shrill yelps of pain at regular intervals. Clint didn't respond. "JARVIS, come on, they're going to start bleeding from their ears in a minute."

"Aircraft incoming, north-northwest," was JARVIS's only reply, and Tony's head whipped around in time to see a giant face with teeny tiny arms appear outside his living room window.

I AM M.O.D.O.K., it screamed. AVENGERS SHALL SUBMIT!

"Oh, hell no," Tony replied.

***

California was pretty nice, Steve thought. Someday he'd have to tour it when the entire population wasn't living in terror of bombing raids, and when nobody was taking shots at Pepper Potts.

The Malibu version of JARVIS was clearly anxious that he couldn't talk to his counterpart in New York, but Steve couldn't do much about that. Tony could have, but there was an obvious reason Tony wasn't here.

JARVIS didn't like the presence of half the Malibu police force in the mostly-destroyed living room, either. Steve wasn't really happy about that himself, but he'd rather have a bunch of police standing around drinking coffee than not have sufficient reinforcements on hand, should anyone make a second try.

"I have to ask," Pepper said, as she and Steve ate breakfast in the mostly-undamaged kitchen. She gestured at his uniform. "Don't you get hot under all that?"

"Not especially," Steve said. The police respected the uniform; besides, he liked the authority it tended to give him. "It's what they call breathable. The helmet gets a little itchy, but I'm usually not wearing it for more'n a few hours."

"Oh," she said, and they lapsed into silence until Steve cleared his throat.

"Sorry Tony couldn't come," he said. "Guess you might rather have him here."

"Honestly?" Pepper gave him a little smile. "Tony can get kind of..."

"Intense?"

"I was going to say smothery, but intense works. I mean, there wasn't really any need for anyone to come out. The house security systems did exactly what they were supposed to do, and there's a million cops out there."

"We wouldn't leave you here without one of us around, though. AIM's nothing to sneeze at."

"I'm surprised you managed to grab him before he was in the suit and halfway here."

"It wasn't easy."

"How'd you talk him into staying behind?"

Steve shrugged. "He's not unreasonable. And he...listens to me, I guess."

"You're one of the few, then."

"Well, me and him," Steve cleared his throat again, "we're sort of stepping out, I guess you could say."

Pepper choked on a bite of apple danish, coughing and reaching for her coffee. "You and Tony?" she managed. "Does stepping out mean what I think it means?"

"He doesn't like it when I say courting," Steve offered.

"Well, um, I'm very happy for you. Him. I'm happy for him. You, I'm kind of worried about," Pepper said.

"Should I not have said anything? I wouldn't have, but you're his friend..."

"No, it's fine. I just meant that Tony doesn't have the best track record."

Steve was about to reply, but his jacket buzzed; he reached into the inner pocket and took his phone out, frowning at it.

"He sent me a picture," he said.

"If it's of him naked, don't share, been there," Pepper replied.

"Naked? Do people do that?" Steve asked, appalled. "No, it's...there's a...face..."

Pepper turned the phone so that she could see it. "What is that?"

The photo was clearly a self-portrait; Tony was standing in the foreground, holding up the camera, and in the background there was a giant head. It had tiny little arms and legs, and two black eyes in its enormous face. It was lying on its side.

The phone rang.

"Tony, what did you do?" Steve answered.

"Wow, you have clearly been spending time with Pepper," Tony replied. "I suspect we have met the enemy, and they are hilarious. Seriously, it's a giant flying head."

"You think that's what all this was about?" Steve asked.

"From the way it used a mind-control ray to take down every Avenger but me, yeah, pretty sure," Tony said. "He was visibly not expecting me to punch him in his oversized face."

"Is anyone hurt?"

"Clint's still puking. Natasha and Thor are okay, but we're trying to figure out where Hulk went. He did not enjoy the mind-control ray even a little. Some property damage, no lives lost as far as I know. Put Pepper on?"

Steve handed the phone to Pepper.

"Is that a giant head with tiny legs?" she asked. "Uh huh. Okay. Yep. Well, do you think there's a...a backup face? I agree. Tony, I can't run a plant inspection from across the country. Look, these guys already failed once and -- yes, but I'm more evil. Prove it? How about how in less than two hours I found out you're dating Captain America?"

Steve made a chopping gesture across his neck with his hand, much too late.

"He wants to talk to you again," Pepper said, holding out the phone. Steve sighed and took it.

"Don't blame yourself," Tony said. "She has ways. Are you bragging on me?"

"Shouldn't I be?"

"You absolutely should be," Tony said. "You will never have a better bragging opportunity. Now, here's my secret plan. As soon as you hang up, grab Pepper, throw her over your shoulder, and bring her back to New York with you."

"I'm not doing that."

"Why not?"

"Because where I'm from that gets you arrested for kidnapping."

Pepper grinned at him.

"Ugh, this rebellious phase of yours," Tony said. "I killed the giant head, what more do you want from me?"

"I'll stay here overnight to make sure everything's secure. Pepper seems confident in your house's defensive capabilities, and given your history I don't doubt she's correct." Steve stepped away, towards the window, looking out at the Pacific ocean crashing below. "This timing, Tony -- "

"It sucks, I know," Tony said. "But I don't think AIM is cockblocking me on purpose."

"Do I want to know what that word means?"

"Sound it out, you'll get the idea."

Steve pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'll be back tomorrow evening."

"Great. I'll start assembling a plan with SHIELD for hunting these asshats down," Tony replied. "Have fun squiring Pep around."

"Bye, Tony," Steve said, but Tony might already have hung up, he couldn't tell. He missed the click of the receiver hitting the hook.

***

Though he hated to admit it, Steve could see why Tony preferred to leave the running of Stark Industries to Pepper Potts. Not only was it incredibly boring, but it required the kind of focus that Pepper could provide and Tony must have needed heavy medication to endure. For the better part of two days, Steve followed Pepper around, stood guard at the door during conferences, and waited in the office lobby during meetings; he hadn't been this bored since guardhouse duty during Basic. It was frankly a relief to say goodbye the following afternoon and get on a jet back to New York.

His phone rang as soon as he turned it on after landing, which was suspicious; timing that good when it came to technology was generally an indicator that Tony was involving himself.

"Hello, Tony," he said, as he descended the stairs wheeled out for the jet. "I feel like a picture star in this thing, I hope you realize that."

"You look like one too," Tony replied. Steve glanced around and saw Tony, arms crossed and sunglasses on, leaning against the wall of the hangar.

"Do you complicate your life just for the hell of it?" Steve asked with a grin, stopping on the tarmac.

"I bore easy," Tony said, pushing off from the wall with his shoulders. "Come over here."

"You come here," Steve replied.

"I'm not the one who ran off to LA."

"To look after your boss, so that you wouldn't have to," Steve reminded him, resting his free hand on his hip.

"I defeated a giant head!"

"Well, I guess I gotta give you that," Steve agreed, strolling casually towards Tony. He hung up the phone and tucked it in his pocket, then caught Tony's outstretched arms and placed them over his own shoulders, reeling him in.

"Hey," Tony said, when they were chest to chest.

"Hello," Steve replied, pushing Tony's sunglasses up into his hair. "So how was your first outing as Tony-Stark-As-Iron-Man?"

"Not too bad. I had a very public solo triumph saving the other Avengers. And SHIELD used the giant head to track Advanced Idea Mechanics back to their base, so they should be sacking the scientists right about now."

"We ought to be there, don't you think?" Steve asked, pulling back a little.

"Fury benched me, and I don't want to fuck up my frankly brilliant plan by showing up unannounced."

"Unusually sensible of you," Steve said. "I'd feel better if I was knocking a few heads together, to be perfectly honest."

Tony snorted in a way that told Steve he'd missed out on a funny, and probably very dirty, joke at his own expense. "I would too, I guess, but I got to shoot a flying giant head out of the sky, so I've had my moment."

"You sure SHIELD can handle them?"

"If they can't, I get to hold it over them forever. Come home," Tony said. "I can think of a few ways to keep busy until we hear how it went."

***

"Where is everyone?" Steve asked, when they arrived at the Avengers' common floor, which was silent and dark.

"Thor's off with Jane," Tony said. "Bruce is in Maine."

"Maine!"

"It's where he ended up when Hulk went a little crazy after the head showed up," Tony said with a shrug. "He said he was going to get a room and sleep it off, maybe take in some sights. Natasha flew out to keep an eye on him."

"And Clint?"

"Operations room, watching the grunts take out AIM."

Steve glanced at Tony. "He didn't go out alone with the SHIELD team, did he?"

"Nope. He's probably eating popcorn and making fun."

"Tony," Steve said, turning to him. "Did you clear out the tower?"

"Happy coincidence?" Tony tried. "Honestly, all I had to do was nudge Thor, everyone else made their own excuses."

"What did you say to them?" Steve asked curiously. "About us?"

"Nothing. Well, not much," Tony replied. "They think it's all going to end in disaster, but it's not like I'm not prepared for that, my life is a series of disasters interrupted by nice dinners."

"You think we'll be a disaster?"

"I think there's reasonable odds," Tony said. "Us...being who we are. Don't tell me you're over the lie just like that." He snapped his fingers, and Steve took his wrist, careful to be gentle.

"Then why all this?" he asked, gesturing with his other hand. "Sending them away -- you don't need to seduce me, Tony. No -- " he said, when Tony opened his mouth. "I'm still unsettled about the lie, but I understand it now. And it'll fade in time. So if you think this will end in tears, why...?"

Tony shrugged. "Sometimes my luck turns. Disaster gave me Iron Man. And the Avengers. The chance of impending doom is generally not enough to scare me off."

Steve smiled and pulled him forward a little, tipping his chin up with his free hand. "Good," he said, and kissed him. Tony pushed into the kiss, swaying forward, and Steve found his mouth opening, hand dropping Tony's wrist to cup him under the chin. He'd had a few kisses -- not as many as he'd have liked, truth be told -- but this was undoubtedly the best.

"Iron Man," he murmured, when Tony broke the kiss. He felt Tony's hands twining in his shirt, tugging it out of its neat tucks abefore sliding up under Steve's shirt, spreading over his hips. Tony's mouth latched onto the edge of his jaw, teeth nipping there lightly.

"You said you were falling for me forever," Tony answered, nosing down his throat. "You had no idea how much I wanted you. You were the last person I would have told, to keep you safe -- "

"I can protect myself," Steve answered, holding Tony's head against his throat, not wanting him to mistake a scolding for a rejection.

"Sometimes I get stupid about the people I care about," Tony answered. "Can we save this talk for some other time?"

His hands slid around Steve's waist to the small of his back, fingers tucking under the waistband of his trousers. Steve's hips hitched forward and he tensed, uncertain if this was -- allowed, appropriate, if he was supposed to be this hard from a kiss and if Tony was supposed to know it. Tony made a delighted noise, though, and pinned him there, biting his collarbone.

"Tony, is this..." he started, and Tony leaned back, a question on his face. "Is it too fast?"

Tony tilted his head. "Is it?"

"Yes, that's what I want to know."

"Me too," Tony said, letting him go. "We can -- look, I get it, old-fashioned, but Steve, if you want to wait for your wedding night I might break something -- "

"No!" Steve said, and then swallowed. "No, I just -- I don't know how these things work, I don't know the rules."

"Well. We're both Avengers and I'm a billionaire, I think we make our own rules," Tony answered. "I am seriously dying to get you naked, here, but -- and I think you should understand just how much this means, I know you don't know a lot about Tony Stark versus Iron Man -- "

"I've read a few magazines."

"Then you will know that I like sex and I don't like to wait for anything and while I will, I swear I will, I really want you in bed. Yesterday," Tony added.

Steve exhaled. "Oh, thank God."

"Come on," Tony said, eyes lighting up.

Very few people could drag Steve anywhere. He was stronger than just about everyone he knew except maybe Thor. But all Tony had to do was grab his arm and tug and Steve would have followed Tony, followed Iron Man, wherever he went.

Outside Steve's room, Tony pushed him against the wall and kissed him again, halfway to climbing up him like some kind of deranged monkey, and Steve laughed and fumbled behind himself for the doorknob, tumbling them both inside when the door opened silently. Tony tripped trying to get his shoes off and fell into Steve, and Steve caught him with his belt still in one hand. Then they were on the bed, Steve's trousers still on and Tony's shirt still on and the blue glow of the reactor shone faintly through it, a bright rim of light on the edge of Steve's vision.

Tony leaned over him, tucked between Steve's thighs like they were made to fit together, the first three buttons of his shirt open and his bare legs warm between Steve's.

"You're sure about this," he said. Steve, feeling bold, rested a hand on the swell of his ass and pulled their hips together. Tony's head dropped with a groan.

"I'm sure," Steve said evenly, trying to wriggle out of his trousers. It felt good enough, rubbing up into Tony, who was squirming back against him, that he forgot about getting his pants off and just kept doing it, breath coming short, eyes sliding closed.

"Whoa, cowboy," Tony said, and Steve opened his eyes as the decidedly pleasant pressure eased off. Tony was sitting back, pulling his shirt over his head, reaching for Steve's trousers. "Not that I'm not flattered but coming in your pants is messy and unnecessary."

Steve flushed, pushing himself up. "Here, I can -- "

Tony batted his hands away and tugged on his pants, pulling them off. "Oh, please. This is better than Christmas."

Steve had been in the Army. He'd been through recruiting five times before it took -- he'd sat in his shorts on cold benches with thirty other men, calmly reading the paper. In Basic, he'd showered in a big freezing room with no stalls, and in combat the Commandos thought skinny-dipping to get clean after a battle was not only efficient but fun. In his time, most of his friends and acquaintances -- the male ones, at least, and some of the girls in the Star Spangled Show who hadn't learned how to knock -- had seen him bare-butt naked at one time or another.

But not like this. He could feel his blush creeping down his chest, cheeks hot, and when Tony looked up he glanced away.

He saw Tony move out of the corner of his eye, and then the damn fool pinched his nipple.

"Hey!" he yelled, grabbing Tony's shoulders and wrestling him down, Tony laughing as his back hit the bed. "What'd you do that for?"

"Taking you out of yourself," Tony said, pulling him down for a kiss. "You've never done this before, have you?"

Steve shook his head.

"C'mon, this is fine. Here," Tony murmured, and lifted one of Steve's hands, guiding it down to the waistband of the briefs he was still wearing. Steve ducked his head to watch, fascinated, as their hands stripped Tony bare together. Tony guided his fingers around his dick, thick and warm and solid, curving up against his belly.

"Yeah, like that," Tony said, letting go of his hand, arching his back. He was completely unashamed, and when Steve slid his thumb up he made a little ah! noise in the back of his throat.

Steve had tried to reconcile the differences between Iron Man and Tony Stark before, and he'd mostly succeeded; this was the man in the armor, he knew and understood that, and the glowing light in Tony's chest made it hard to forget -- but this was the first time it felt so wholly real. This was the body that moved the armor, the body that took Iron Man's beatings, the mind under the mask.

Steve lowered himself down, bringing them together, and the first touch was electric, skin on skin. He groaned into Tony's neck, felt Tony's arms wrap around his shoulders.

"I'll show you everything, I promise," Tony said in his ear. "This is fine for now. Ah -- yeah, this is good," he added, when Steve's hips began to move. His body clearly knew what it wanted, so Steve tried not to think, just breathed heavily into Tony's skin and kept moving. Tony was talking, Tony was always talking, but Steve only caught words here and there until Tony stiffened underneath him with a yell, and wet warmth smeared up against Steve's abdomen.

He stopped moving, startled, and pushed himself up on one elbow. Tony was smiling, blissed-out, mouth slightly open. When he saw Steve looking, his smile widened.

"You're a natural," he said, and Steve, painfully hard and half-embarrassed, dropped his head and laughed. "I mean it. You could sell videos, you'd make a fortune. Here," he added, shoving Steve's shoulder. "Roll over, beautiful, lie back."

"Oh, I can -- " Steve said, uncertainly, but Tony punched him in the shoulder until he moved, then grabbed his hands and held them down, crawling down his body. Steve pushed himself up and watched as Tony mouthed along his stomach, licking at traces of what he'd left there. "What are you d -- "

He broke off, inhaling sharply, as Tony licked him, licked him there, and he'd heard about this -- of course he had -- but his hazy imaginings hadn't included the soft slickness of Tony's tongue on the head of his dick, or the sharp jolt of pleasure when Tony opened his mouth and practically swallowed him whole.

"Oh," he managed, falling back. "Oh -- oh, Tony -- "

He pressed his hands to his face, trying to keep his wits together, and then realized he could touch Tony's face and that would be even better. He could feel Tony's head move, the tic in his jaw as he swallowed and Steve saw stars. He could feel his body tensing as he tried not to push up into the wonderful heat of Tony's mouth. He managed a choked-off warning, because it didn't seem polite to do that, but Tony swallowed again and Steve gasped and came, one hand tightening in Tony's hair.

He was aware, vaguely, of cool air on damp skin and movement, and then Tony's head hit the pillow next to him, lips red and stretched in a huge grin. Steve couldn't help himself; he mirrored it, and then Tony was laughing, rolling onto his back and howling with glee, arms thrown over his head. Steve laughed too; he wasn't even sure why, it was just so infectious.

"You look like I sucked your brains out through your cock," Tony said, and Steve laughed harder. "Man, it's like someone hit you between the eyes with a sex bomb. I can't wait to try everything with you," he added, rolling back and resting a hand on Steve's chest. "If we are going to be a disaster, we're going to be the best disaster ever."

Steve flailed a little, pulling Tony closer, heedless off the mess they both were. When they kissed, he could taste himself in Tony's mouth.

"We won't be a disaster," he said, nuzzling the crown of his head, dropping an apologetic kiss where he'd pulled his hair. "I'm Captain America, I only make good decisions."

Tony snorted, patting his chest clumsily. "You keep believing that. Am I prodding you?" he asked, adjusting his body, and Steve realized he was asking about the reactor.

"No, you're fine," he said, just as Tony's movement made the edge of it dig into a rib. "Hey! Stop squirming, and if you pinch me again I'll dump you off the bed."

Tony settled down, and the pressure eased on his rib.

"Better, thank you," Steve said. "At some point we're going to discuss your idea of taking me out of myself, by the way."

"Well, it worked," Tony replied.

"Mmhm." Steve ruffled his hair against the grain. Something beeped, and -- as usual -- it was like Tony had some kind of built-in response. He rolled out of bed, ran to his trousers, and rummaged in them; when he came up with his Starkphone, Steve groaned and rubbed his eyes.

"It's from Clint," Tony said. "SHIELD just got done handing AIM's shiny yellow ass to them. Excellent."

He bounced back onto the bed, phone lifted so that he could work on it while lying on his back. Steve, resigned to Tony's eternal love affair with technology, rolled over, nosed into Tony's shoulder, and fell asleep while Tony was still tapping out a reply.

***

It was early evening when Steve fell asleep, and by the time he woke the last of the light through the tall windows in his room had faded. At first he wasn't sure what had woken him, but then he saw Tony's arm slung across his chest, and Tony's phone sitting on his sternum where the other man had apparently dropped it while falling asleep. It was vibrating gently.

Steve picked it up; the buzzing was just a low-battery alert, and he set it aside, trying not to disturb Tony.

He lay there in the dark, wide awake now, bluish light washing over them from Tony's reactor. It was fine to be here, with Tony sprawled against him, drooling into his shoulder. It had been so much fun, he thought, and that was strange. He hadn't known what to expect, beyond the obvious, but Tony's sheer delight in him, and his own delight in everything...it was unanticipated. Something he'd like to hold onto for himself, whether or not that was possible.

Tony, perhaps reacting belatedly to his movement, snorted and coughed, and his eyes slitted open.

"Hey," he slurred, when Steve turned his head. "Not sleeping?"

"Not that tired," Steve answered.

"Is the reactor keeping you up?"

"No, it's fine," Steve said, pinning Tony down when he started to sit up. "Just thinking."

"Isn't that my line?" Tony asked.

"Well, you're a bad influence."

"No doubt." Tony curled into his arm. "What is it?"

Steve shook his head. "Just...enjoying keeping this for myself, for the moment."

"You know, if you want to keep this on the down-low, I can do that," Tony said, yawning. "Wouldn't be the first time."

"It's not that I want it to be a secret. I just want to make sure people understand it. I want to protect you too, you know."

Tony nodded against his shoulder. "Whatever you say, Winghead."

"I want to tell this story right," Steve said. "I don't want it to be cheap or scandalous. I don't want it turned into a talk-show joke."

"Not like last time?" Tony asked, grinning.

"Poking fun at yourself is one thing, that's...classy, shows you don't take yourself too seriously," Steve said. "This is different."

"You have something in mind?"

"No. I don't know yet." Steve shifted, pressing his face to Tony's forehead. "I'll think of something."

"I know a guy," Tony offered. Steve pulled back to look at him. "Well, a woman, actually. She's not that crazy about me but she'd do it right. Like you said. Classy."

He yawned, and Steve smiled.

"Get some more shuteye. I'll remind you in the morning," he said. Tony nodded, eyes sliding shut.

***



Manip by 51stcenturyfox.
soc_puppet: Words "Language Barrier" in yellow (Language Barrier)

[personal profile] soc_puppet 2013-04-06 06:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Wait, what? Am I really first to comment here? I can't be first, I don't have anything important to say! I can't just second what everyone else has said either, because they haven't said it yet (although I'm sure they will say everything I mean, and say it better to boot)! I just thought the bit about Bruce taking delight in locking down his experiments was a good detail; it seems really IC for him to enjoy being able to come back to his work exactly where he left it, to know that's an option for him these days. WHAT IS THIS FIRST COMMENT PRESSURE, WHAT DO I DO WITH IT.
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)

[personal profile] localfreak 2013-04-06 08:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh I love it! After having given up fanfiction for Lent I am currently WALLOWING IN FIC and this was just a really fun read (I love secret identity revalations. LOVE EM).

Haven't got anything useful today except that thanks to people posting gifs on tumblr I understood (mostly) what the Daily Show and the other one were which helped too :) :)

And of course Tony would take a picture of MODOK and text it to Steve, that was the perfect little touch!
pheylan: (Avenge)

[personal profile] pheylan 2013-04-06 08:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Really enjoyed this. I've always liked your interpretation of the characters. And the Stewart/Colbert bit was funny.
jesseofthenorth: (IM unmasked)

[personal profile] jesseofthenorth 2013-04-06 10:31 pm (UTC)(link)
Very enjoyable read. I always like your take on Steve or Tony and you do them together very well. Thanks for sharing a very enjoyable story.
sanura: (Default)

[personal profile] sanura 2013-04-06 11:27 pm (UTC)(link)
I have nothing to contribute, but I can't just read that and let my flailing glee go unexpressed. So, SQUEE

(Anonymous) 2013-04-07 01:25 am (UTC)(link)
I really liked this. Thank you
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)

[personal profile] alee_grrl 2013-04-07 01:49 am (UTC)(link)
I really enjoyed this fic a lot. I also wanted to say in regards to the title that I have thought the words in the lyrics were "the most amazing things (can come from some) terrible lies." Apparently I've been mis-hearing the lyrics. :D
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2013-04-07 04:26 am (UTC)(link)
*flails happily* Hooray for competent media wranglers!
ponderosa: View of Captain America's original shield on his back. (marvel - oldschool shield)

[personal profile] ponderosa 2013-04-07 05:29 am (UTC)(link)
I will try to have more coherent words about this later, but right now all I can manage is that your Steve is the very best and also the Bruce & Tony in this is AMAZING.
cosmic: (Default)

[personal profile] cosmic 2013-04-07 09:18 am (UTC)(link)
LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE this story. Love love love. The romance is great and all, and Tony's reasons for everything, and the reworked bits of dialogue from the movies but the thing I really, really, really, really loved was Bruce and Tony, and Tony's POV regarding Bruce.

In conclusion, LOOOOOOVEEEE.
lulu_destroyer: (Default)

Squeeeeeeee

[personal profile] lulu_destroyer 2013-12-05 06:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh Sam, how do you always manage to write as well as you do? I love you! If that's not too bold.