This is my first foray into Marvel territory. I am largely ignorant of comic cannon and admit to basing everything entirely on movieverse and Saturday morning cartoons. Oh, and I have no beta, so any mistakes are mine and mine alone.
This work of rather pointless fluff was inspired by too much time staring at fanart. There really aren't any spoilers, just a whole lot of presumptions made for the sake of my own amusement. I suppose this could be viewed as slash. It's not really. Maybe pre-slash. So if that bothers you, consider yourself cautioned. The rating is for the cursing.
Standard disclaimer: I own nothing and am making no profit from any of this.
Summary: In which a car explodes, Captain America does not throw his shield, Hawkeye borrows the keys, and Tony's day has never been so stupid.
They were walking back to the mansion.
They were walking. Back to the mansion.
And seriously? Why the hell were they walking across Manhattan, back to the mansion?
Simple explanation: Pepper had Happy for the week in L.A. and some asshole who fancied himself a super villain decided today would be a good day to blow up Tony's car. It was good fortune that Captain Rogers had joined him for lunch at that nice diner across from Stark Tower, or he might have been riding home in the back of a police cruiser. And wouldn't that have looked good in the press?
Oh, and Steve had done him the kindness of tipping up their table and shielding Tony from the blast. Which, then, maybe saved Tony an ambulance ride to the Emergency Room.
Naturally, the would-be bad guy did not make it far after that. No mere mortal could outrun Captain America, especially after just having tossed a grenade into the Captain's friend's car window.
The jerk was taken off in handcuffs, Tony and Steve gave their eyewitness reports (well, Tony ranted and raved about his car—he had liked the Audi, okay?), and they were set loose on the wonderful city of New York. After Steve freed his shield from the wreckage, and hot damn that thing could survive a nuclear holocaust, and the mangled heap of a vehicle was towed away.
"We could take a cab," Steve suggested, not for the first time, some fifty minutes later.
"Have you seen a New York cab?" Because with Steve's propensity for exercise, it was very likely he would actually walk everyplace he wanted to go. Unless there was an emergency, and then there was the Quinjet.
"You keep complaining about walking home," Steve shrugged. He looked a little ridiculous walking with his shield but not the rest of the uniform. But really, the uniform had not been worth trying to save. The Boy Scout of America would probably miss it, but hey, that's what he got for bringing it along. Anyway, Tony would rig him up new and better body armor.
"No," Tony objected. "No. I'm not complaining about walking home. I'm complaining that my favorite car was blown up!"
Something struck his nose, distracting him from Steve's sympathetic look. He blinked, rubbed his nose, and scowled.
"And now it's raining!" he snarled.
Steve looked up, which really was kind of a stupid thing to do when it came right down to it. Tony was in enough of a mood to call him on it because—honestly?—it was raining. Where the hell did Steve think the rain was coming from, if not the sky? He would have said something equally vindictive had the sky not chosen that moment to open up and dump the equivalent of an Olympic-sized swimming pool over their heads.
Okay, Tony might have been exaggerating, but it did not alter the fact that his hair was almost instantly plastered to his skull, and water was dripping down the back of his suit in an entirely uncomfortable manner.
Because he'd left his umbrella in the car. Which had been blown up. And Steve was not laughing because this was not funny in the slightest. At least the bastard looked sorry for it a few seconds later, after Tony gave him a mighty glare of keep-laughing-and-suffer-Patriot-Boy.
"I'm sorry." But how sorry could he be when he was still chuckling? Tony looked away, marching on determinedly, not talking to Steve.
A warm arm—warm and wet arm—wrapped around his shoulders, and the rain abruptly stopped. The confusion lasted only a moment because it was not difficult to hear the sound of rain bouncing off metal, and Tony looked up in the same stupid manner Steve had a moment ago.
"That… is the most ridiculous application of the shield I have yet to see," Tony muttered. Steve just smiled and kept the shield held over their heads as an impromptu umbrella, pulling Tony along down the street until they reached a nice awning. "What? You're not going to hold that thing up the entire way home?"
"My arm would get tired," Steve said mildly. "At the rate we're going, it would be another hour and a half before we get there."
"Mr. Buckets-of-Energy is worried his arm will get tired?" Tony snorted. It was a sad attempt at baiting, or Steve was getting used to him because the remark only earned him a grin. Somehow it was irritating, the way Steve was refusing to let him cling to his irritation. He shivered, half out of displeasure, half from the water that dripped a startling streak down his spine.
"You could call Clint," Steve suggested. "I'm sure he would love the opportunity to take one of your cars out for a spin."
"I think I'd rather brave the storm," Tony grumbled, but he was pulling out his phone, tapping out a message with icy fingers. Barton was a good driver, if a little reckless, and hey, so was Tony. Not that he wouldn't murder the archer if he wrecked a second of Tony's beloved vehicles in a day. The last time that had happened, Obie had—hey look, was that a rainbow off in the distance? Yep. Pretty rainbow. Nice and definitely not adding to the chill. When had it gotten so cold?
Something heavy fell over his shoulders, warmth spreading instantly over his back.
"Oh, my god!" Tony blurted, and there was no keeping the horror off his face now. "You just gave me your jacket."
How wrong was that? Not that he had been keeping track (though now he certainly was), but that was the third time Steve had treated him like a goddamn damsel in distress. Steve apparently had no clue, if his startled blink was to be believed, but Tony knew the man was far more devious than he liked to let on. Yes, he was a good-old-boy raised through the Depression, but the modern era (and, let's be honest, time spent with Tony and Barton) had taught Captain America many things.
"You're shaking," Steve felt the need to point out.
"Well yeah, it's cold and wet," Tony plucked at the leather of Steve's jacket. It was worn and brown and so not his style or color, but it had that same smell of whatever cologne Steve used, and look, his hands had stopped shaking. Fortunately, his phone buzzed, and he could pretend his distraction with technology made him forget about the perceived offense. "Barton's coming."
He quickly tapped out a return message. Nothing major. Their location. A threat. Do not scratch my car.
"This is nice," Steve said a few minutes into their wait, and Tony looked at him, wondering if perhaps he had been affected by the explosion after all. There had been a table between them and it, but Steve had thrown himself over Tony, and maybe he had been struck by some stray piece of debris. He didn't appear to be bleeding, but the man had a thick head of hair. Maybe it was covering a deadly wound.
Or maybe it gave Steve mystical mind-reading powers because the man was laughing again.
"I don't mean that your car blew up," Steve assured him. "Just… the rain. Falling straight down like this. It's peaceful."
He figured someone had laced Steve's jacket with some airborne sedative because he normally would have had a field day with that. Since today was not normal—his car had exploded—he should have latched onto that peaceful comment like a lawyer to a liability lawsuit.
Instead, Tony sniffed—right, it had to be the cologne; the cologne was designed to neutralize threats, like Tony's ire—and wiped at the water that suddenly slid past his eyebrow to drain down his nose. It happened again almost immediately, which, again, should have been aggravating, but he finally gave his head a rough shake because that was totally coming from his hair.
"Geez, Tony," Steve griped, then laughed, and Tony blinked at him, uncertain what was so entertaining now. Steve just rubbed at the water in his eyes. "I hope you told Clint to bring towels or the interior of your car is going to get very wet."
He had not, in fact, reminded Barton of any such thing. Hopefully the man was smart enough to anticipate that need. If not, well leather was designed to take a beating, right?
The rain was a steady beat against the city concrete, and the captain was right. It was rather soothing. And wouldn't you know it, Tony had his afternoon coffee interrupted. He was a few cups shy of his normal caffeine intake for the day, the adrenaline rush was long since gone, and the self-righteous fury was waning under a droning flow of what was probably acid rain.
There was a reason Tony didn't do peaceful.
Fortunately, Barton was almost as much of a speed demon as Tony. He pulled up in another of the favored fast cars mere moments before Tony could doze off on his feet. Which—hey, look at that—brought the irritation roaring right back.
"Are you some kind of moron?" he demanded. Barton really had to work on his innocent grin because, compared to Steve, it was really lacking. "I told you both Steve and I needed a ride!"
"What? You'll fit," Barton retorted.
"That is a bucket-seat sports car that barely fits two people!" Tony snarled. "Give me the keys. You are walking home."
"I brought you the car!" Barton shot back. "I am not walking home after doing you a favor!"
"I can walk," Steve suggested, which just… no. No. Tony glared at him for saying it. Because he was not sending Steve running across the city in the rain because Barton decided driving a cool car outweighed the need for a slightly more practical one. "It's really not that big a deal, Tony."
"It is a big deal," Tony insisted. "It is a very big deal. I just had my car blown up, my lunch ruined, I got rained on in a two-thousand dollar suit, I'm freezing, and now Barton is a complete idiot! The entire goddamn city has it out for me! Get out, Barton! Give me the keys!"
"You're just an ungrateful prick, aren't you?" Barton griped, and did not move.
"And you're an asshole!"
"You know, I think maybe Clint is right." Tony stared blankly as Steve stepped out from the safety of the awning and peered into the car. "There's enough room. It's not a long drive back home."
"See!" Barton crowed. Really? How was this happening to him? Tony was certain he was not watching Barton popped the trunk so Steve could tuck away the shield into the small space that constituted a trunk. Hey! Maybe they could stuff Barton back there. "Come on, Stark. You dripping all over the seats will cause more damage to your precious car than I ever would."
"You should have brought towels," Tony grumbled. "You two are out of your mind if you think—what are you doing?"
Steve was back, and he was doing that thing where he manhandled Tony, and Tony was not okay with this. There were certain things in life he did not like. He did not like people handing him things—it was a thing. He despised caves and standing water—yeah, he wasn't going there. People lying to him had fairly recently jumped to the top of the list. Oh, and overly strong people using their serum-enhanced muscly hands to bully him.
"Come on, Tony. It'll be fine."
"It won't be fine. Let go!" But let's face it. Tony wasn't in the Iron Man suit, and Steve was Captain America. There was no way he was shaking free of the hand around his arm or that one around his waist, both distinctively careful not to hurt him but not letting go nonetheless.
"You're in no shape to drive, and I really don't think it's a good idea to leave you alone in a car with Clint right now," Steve said reasonably, all the while dragging him to the curb. Tony considered kicking and screaming like an overgrown toddler as a method of defense. It could work.
"I am perfectly capable of driving," Tony snapped.
"You were falling asleep while you were standing," Steve retorted. "I am not making Clint walk home, and you apparently need a babysitter."
"Oh, fuck you." Hissing. He was hissing. At Captain America. Who still had him immobilized while climbing into a low-sitting vehicle, which, honestly, took some talent. When had this become his life?
"Come on, Tony. There's plenty of leg room."
If someone was recording this—and let's face it, with all the smartphones out there and how recognizable Steve and Tony were, someone probably was—he was certain this would be a youtube sensation by the end of the day. To an outside viewer, they had to look ridiculous, which was why Tony was so very against this. But Steve had an arm around his middle, and it was a miracle he didn't brain himself on the car as he fell in. (Okay, it wasn't a miracle, it was Steve's hand protecting his head, the bastard.)
"Oh, my god," Tony said for the second time that day. It was completely justified, that repetition, because he was in Steve Rogers' lap in a tiny vehicle. For one, he couldn't believe they both fit, and two, he was in Steve Rogers' lap in the passenger seat of his own car! "Shoot me. Just shoot me and leave me for dead."
"Relax, Tony," Steve said, his reassurance doing nothing to cover the sound of Barton's snickering. And then—holy shit—Steve was a fucking octopus, all arms holding Tony unpleasantly tight against his chest. "It's a ten minute drive."
"If we get pulled over and humiliated for this, I am making you pay the fine," Tony said, regardless of the fact that whatever fine the police might mete out for such an offense would barely register as a blip on his bank account. He squirmed, horrendously uncomfortable. "Let—! Ow! Goddamn it!"
Apparently trying to sit upright in such a small vehicle was also ill advised. Barton hit a bump, and Tony's head hit the ceiling. Steve's arm became a vise over his chest that no amount of struggling would displace.
"Tony, you're going to hurt yourself."
"Fine!" he huffed—yes, huffed—and collapsed back, letting Steve have his way no matter how awkward it was. And it was awkward. It was like being hugged from behind in an extremely small enclosure by an over-sized super-soldier. No. It wasn't like that. It was that, and Tony did not appreciate it.
Unfortunately, there was no escaping it. Even if he were of a mind to throw himself from a moving vehicle, Steve would stop him. Because Steve was unfairly strong. And warm. Good lord, the man was his own heating unit. No wonder he gave up his jacket. How could he tolerate wearing it in the first place?
"You okay now?" Ever considerate, Steve Rogers. Tony grumbled something even he was unable to comprehend and dropped his head back. Steve was probably smiling, because Steve always smiled when Tony did something unseemly. Using Captain America as a lounge? Definitely unseemly. But it was far less effort to let his head rest back on Steve's shoulder than it was to try to keep himself half strained away because of a silly little sense of propriety. Since when had Tony Stark ever cared for decorum anyway?
The trip was taking longer than ten minutes because it was raining, and it was afternoon, and, well, it was Manhattan. Oh, and because to take any less time would mean sparing Tony these moments of humiliation, and that just could not be allowed. So he did what he could with the situation. That is to say, he did nothing. Steve was a not entirely unwelcome warmth against the wet cold that had settled in, and despite the cramped quarters, he was not overly uncomfortable. Physically speaking.
Psychologically? He was scarred for life.
"Sorry to hear about the Audi, Stark," Barton said abruptly. "It was a nice ride."
"It can be replaced," he muttered. "But thanks. I guess."
It was hard to hang onto grudges when there was a furnace at his back, warm arms looped casually around his waist, and calm breathing just above his ear.
A hand on his shoulder startled him—when had he closed his eyes?—and it took a moment to register the open door and Barton, stooped with his hand on Tony's arm, eyebrows furrowed in what looked like concern. Which meant something was wrong.
"Hum… what… what happened?" His brain was moving slowly. Jesus. Had they been hit? Was Steve okay? Come on, big brain. Kick yourself into gear! "What's wrong?"
"Man, when was the last time you slept?"
Tony just stared because… what?
Barton rolled his eyes. Oh. Oh. That was another of his cars behind Barton, and… they were home?
"Come on, Stark. No wonder you've been so pissy."
"What? I'm not pissy!" He protested the hands grabbing at his arms, another set at his waist, both pushing and pulling him out of the car. "Hey! Not so grabby!"
"Since when are you modest?" Barton challenged. Fair point. Tony had nothing to say to that, so he let the assassin drag him out of the way so Steve could climb out behind him. "You know, before you summoned me for this worthy mission, Banner and I were thinking movie night."
"Good movie or bad movie?" Steve asked. Yes, the man out of time was getting used to things around here. Tony was so proud.
"I'm in the mood for something funny—I'm thinking bad. You joining us, Stark?"
But…This whole cuddly domestic scene was getting uncomfortable now. Tony brought forth his media grin.
"I think you should stay out of your workshop when you're irritated, Tony," Steve remarked before he could speak.
Tony's mouth snapped shut. Captain America did not just tell him he should stay away from his inventions. Wait. There was the determined jaw. That was definitely Steve's determined jaw clench.
"Do you want to know how irritated I was when I first made the Iron Man?" he challenged, and Steve had the good grace to look chagrined. But that determined jaw was still there, and Tony was not sure how to make that go away. Steve was as stubborn as the Hulk was destructive when he had a mind. "Fine! I'll sit in on your stupid movie night!"
He would never admit it, but his stomach went a little funny when Barton grinned and Steve's face lit up. Just as he would never agree that maybe Steve was right to keep him away from the heavy machinery, because he truly did create some of the most heinous things when he was annoyed and sleep deprived—just the one time, honest. Nor would he ever say he enjoyed watching Batman & Robin (how did that get into his collection anyway?).
Actually, he was fully capable of stating he did not enjoy the movie. Tony did not remember more than the opening credits. He did remember feeling a bit surprised when his world started shaking at some point during the film, which, no, that was not quite right. Because the world could not actually laugh, no matter how amused it seemed to be at times, which meant he was leaning on someone. He had a vague recollection of Steve apologizing and Bruce muttering something in the background. And he was certain he did not care when he opened his eyes to see he was very likely drooling on Steve's plaid-covered stomach because someone had thrown a blanket over him, and he was warm and comfortable for the first time that day.
He woke sometime later with Steve's hand on his head, his arm tangled fairly inappropriately in Steve's legs, and his cheek against a firm abdomen. This should be uncomfortable he supposed, but Steve was breathing evenly, and no one else was about.
Tony closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
Yeah... I have much love for Tony. I can't help it. He's so... prickly fluffy.