Disclaimer: I do not own Marvel or the Avengers.
"I was planning on eating one of those! What the heck do you think you're doing, you stupid god?"
That was the "pleasant" voice Steve Rogers woke up to that morning. He'd merely been trying to get a couple extra hours of sleep when Tony Stark's furious tone blasted its way into his hearing range. He heaved a weary sigh and hauled himself to his feet, padding toward the kitchen. His sock covered feet barely made a sound.
"I am sorry, Man of Iron. I did not mean to upset you."
"It's kind of too late for that because you ate the last of my favorite freaking pop-tarts!"
"Why not eat your second favorite?"
"I don't want brown sugar cinnamon, for God's sake! I was planning on having s'mores."
Steve mentally face-palmed as he strode into the stressful environment. All of that yelling for a measly toaster snack when there were a dozen different kinds in the cupboard.
"Good. You're here. Tell Point Break he owes me a pack of pop-tarts," Tony snapped at Steve as soon as he entered the room.
Steve repressed another sigh. There were times where he regretted moving in with the Avengers. They had at least half a dozen floors at the top of Stark Tower, but he had to be on the one with a temperamental billionaire.
"I did not realize Stark cared this much," Thor insisted, confusion creeping into his eyes.
"It's all right, Thor," Steve assured him in a calm voice.
"All right? Seriously?!" Stark demanded vehemently.
Steve paused to cast a scrutinizing stare at the man. He seemed even more scatterbrained than usual. His dark brown hair was a mess, he was still in his sleepwear even though one slipper appeared to be missing, and his chocolate colored eyes were glassy from lack of sleep.
Stark would deny it if Steve brought the subject up, but he knew the inventor was having nightmares. There had been the occasional time Steve was jolted awake from the sound of terrified cries coming from Stark's general direction. His keen ears would pick up unintelligible reassurances from Pepper to her troubled boyfriend.
"Well?" Stark urged, his eyebrows raising expectantly.
The Captain hesitated again. Tony had been even more volatile as of late. Steve suspected it was because of the tension that came with directing a nuclear bomb into an alien portal. The others had been treading on thin ice around their comrade all week.
"I think," Steve started slowly, "you should settle down. You're a billionaire. You could have pop-tarts flown in on a helicopter, for heaven's sake!"
Tony blinked, the heated light fading from his eyes. "Uh...right. Wait, why the heck would I do that? It's not even that big a deal."
Steve and Thor exchanged concerned looks. Tony was known to be unfocused at times, but he'd never acted like he had no idea what was going on.
"Stark?" Steve questioned cautiously. "Are you okay?"
"I'm..." The usual confident, bright look returned to the man's eyes in a snap. "Yeah, I'm fine. Why do you ask?"
"No reason," Steve returned, keeping his voice even.
He couldn't let Stark find out he was worried. He'd never hear the end of it. He could already imagine getting an earful of, "You? Worried about me? And here I thought you didn't like me."
To be honest, that wasn't entirely wrong. Every time Steve saw Tony, he saw Howard. And he knew Tony hated that considering Howard was kind while Tony...wasn't.
"Anyway!" Stark spoke up, clapping his hands and rubbing them against each other. "Since Goldilocks ate all of my favorite pop-tarts I guess I'll find something else to eat."
Thor looked like he wanted to apologize again, but Stark was already heading into the large, closed off pantry.
"What has just occurred here, Captain?" Thor queried when Tony was out of earshot.
"I don't know," Steve answered. "I say we just keep an eye on him for now."
"Keep an eye on who?" Clint Barton asked as he jogged into the room, immediately perching himself on a stool at the island in the middle of the kitchen.
"The Man of Iron," Thor rumbled in return. "He has been acting strange."
Clint snorted as he grabbed a granola bar off the table and began to unwrap it. "Stark is always acting strange."
"Not like this," Steve said sternly, his tone demanding attention. "I'll tell you later."
Barton half shrugged, but didn't protest as he munched his granola.
Natasha Romanoff was the next person to enter the room. She didn't say a word as she cast a short glance at each of the members in the vicinity. She didn't even have to ask to know something was up. Natasha slipped onto a stool next to Clint and opened her own granola bar.
"And the gang's all here," Tony called as he poked his head out the door of the pantry. "Hold on. Where's Banner?"
"Working," Barton and Natasha said in unison.
As usual, Steve mused to himself. The good doctor was as bad as Stark if not worse.
"He's bound to be hungry," Tony said, mostly to himself as he grabbed a leftover plate of Chinese food from the refrigerator.
"Is he going to want that for breakfast?" Barton asked skeptically.
"I could give him a plate of toxic waste and he'd eat it," Stark scoffed over his shoulder as he left. "That's how distracted Banner gets."
Part of Steve wanted to follow Tony to make sure he didn't...explode again like he had at Thor, but he really was hungry.
Tony balanced the heaping dish of food in his right hand as he punched in the code to the R & D lab with his left. He yanked the door open and headed inside as it hissed shut behind him.
"Hey, Banner!" he shouted above the noise of the many computers whirring in harmony. "Yo! Break time, buddy."
Bruce turned and pushed the clear goggles up into his nest of curly brown hair. "Is it morning already?"
"Yeah. How long have you been down here?" Tony asked as he set the plate on the cleanest table he could find.
"Just a few hours. I woke up at three and couldn't sleep," Bruce told him, washing his hands at the sink before digging in hungrily.
Tony nodded his understanding. He felt the same way. Ever since the Chitauri invasion he'd been having nightmares about Loki of all people. Every night was the same thing. Loki would try to use his "Glowstick of Destiny" and it wouldn't work, therefore throwing Tony out the window. He'd even had a few of Loki talking to him about taking over Midgard again. What was that about?
He was transported out of his thoughts by Banner's sharp yet concerned voice.
"Yeah, I'm listening. What were you saying?"
"I was asking if you were okay," Bruce said gently.
Tony paused. Funny. Rogers had asked him that not half an hour ago. "I'm fine. Why?"
"Because you zoned out."
He must have been lost in thought longer than he'd realized. "Right. What are you working on?" he inquired, abruptly changing the subject.
Bruce shrugged. "This and that. Mostly cures for...you know."
Tony wasn't one to feel sympathetic, but he did now. Banner would never stop trying to find a cure for the Hulk...and failing.
"I could help you if you want," Tony offered.
"No, thanks. I think I'll take a break," Bruce admitted as he picked up the now empty plate. "I'll be right back to clean up."
Tony watched him go before turning to survey the room. It really was a mess. It looked like Banner had all of Tony's robots working with him.
He grabbed the nearest shiny object (a.k.a. a stainless steel bowl) and looked into it, observing the fact that he needed a shave.
Tony startled at the unfamiliar sight that greeted him when he cast his gaze at the one of his reflection. His normally dark brown eyes had light flecks of blue in them. That was weird.
"What are you doing?" Banner question curiously when he had come back in.
"Uh...nothing," Tony answered, putting the bowl down.
It must have been his imagination. That had to be it. After all, he'd never had eyes resembling the color blue in his entire life.
"Hey, I was thinking we'd hit Shawarma for lunch at one. You there?" Tony asked Bruce, purposely meeting the man's eyes, seeing if he would notice the change.
Banner nodded and smiled, not taking note of Tony's eyes. He really must have been imagining it.
I had a really great time writing this. I'd love to have reviews on what you think and if I should continue. Thanks! ;)