Author's Notes: You thought I forgot about this story, didn't you! Alas! I was just struck with an enormous amount of writers block and didn't know where I wanted the story to go from here! BUT FEAR NOT! There will be more to come! But bear with me, I'm working full time and rarely get a moment to just relax..so if updates aren't as frequent, please be patient! (though I feel bad asking since I DID take nearly half a year to update! D: ) IN ANY CASE: CHAPTER 6! (shorter, because I wanted to at least give you all SOMETHING to read!)
Disclaimer: Avengers belong to Marvel.
His body felt heavy—heavier than usual—in fact it was actually somewhat hard to breathe. And was one of his legs asleep? Tony groaned as his eyes slowly peered open, squinting from the morning light. He'd forgotten to close the blinds the previous night. He yawned and tried to stretch, though finding it difficult to move his arms. He blinked a couple of times before looking down.
His vision was met with a mop of dark hair, and he barely managed to hold in a sneeze as a few of the curls tickled his nose. He squeezed his eyes shut and counted to ten before opening them. Nope still there, it wasn't a dream. Bruce Banner was definitely asleep on top of him.
He wracked his brain for an explanation before remembering the goings on from the night before.
He felt his stomach make a slight lurch when he remembered how he'd had the scientist in a ball of goo from the massage. He blushed when he remembered the numerous noises that had spilled from his lips as well.
Tony quietly cleared his throat, getting his brain on track. He glanced back down and realized just what sort of predicament they were both in. Not only was the position suggestive, but he could feel a slight pressure on his lower thigh indicating that yes, in fact, it was morning after all. He tried to squirm his way out from under Bruce so they could at least be less tangled up together.
Though, after a few seconds, he realized he was only making the situation worse when he heard a barely audible moan come from the man on top of him.
He mentally kicked himself.
If he couldn't squirm out, he'd have to find another way of getting out. And kind of quick. He really had to pee.
Tony was able to wriggle one arm out and get a firm hold of Bruce's waist. In doing so he was able to pull his body weight up just enough to get one of his legs free. Doing a mental victory dance, Tony scooped up the rest of Bruce and swung his free leg overtop. He was just about to set the scientist down when he heard him stir beneath him. His heart picked up pace and he held his breath. Maybe if he was really still, he'd just go back to the land of unconsciousness. Maybe.
Bruce groaned and blinked a couple of times, his eyes adjusting to the view in front of him. Adrenaline shot through his body and a flush erupted on his cheeks.
Tony seemed to be holding their bodies close in one arm, while the other was supporting his weight, he was straddling his hips, and with their heads so close together he could feel Tony's warm breath tickle his lips.
"Uhh..." Was the only coherent thing Bruce managed to get out before glancing down at their hips, also coming to the realization that it was morning. He was surprised that he hadn't already passed out from the rush of the blood to his head, colouring his cheeks an even darker shade of red.
"This isn't what it looks like." Tony winced at how cliché he sounded. "I mean, don't get me wrong, it kind of is what it looks like, but in reality it's not." He babbled on. "I was just, trying to get up...I have to go to the bathroom." He finished rather lamely.
"I, uh..." Bruce began counting backwards from 100 in his head. "Ok." He took a steadying breath in.
Tony set him down on the couch as gentle as he could, noting the slightly laboured breathing from the man below him. He went to say a witty remark to lighten the mood, but stopped when he also noted the way that Bruce had turned away from him, seeming to ensure that no eye contact could be made.
Once fully off the couch, he meekly made his way to the bathroom, stopping briefly to glance back at the scientist. He felt his stomach drop when he saw the frown reflected on the window.
Bruce waited until he heard the click of the door shutting before gathering the courage to finally get up. He could still feel the warmth on his chest where they'd been pressed up against each other. His legs felt wobbly as he hurried to leave. He could hear the sound of the toilet flushing from across the room and quietly, but quickly, shut the bedroom door behind him.
He let his forehead fall against the door with a soft thunk, allowing himself a moment to gather his thoughts.
Bruce jumped at the voice behind him, whipping around to see the Captain standing there. He felt the blush creep up his face, not bothering to try and hide it.
"I, uh..." He cast his eyes down at the floor and shuffled his feet nervously together.
"You ok Banner?" Steve asked him after several seconds passed in silence. He gave Bruce a once over. "You look...tired."
Bruce couldn't help but smile and shake his head, "Tired doesn't even come close." He replied honestly. "But, if you don't mind Cap, I'm just gonna go back to my room." He went to leave after a slight nod in the Captain's direction.
Steve furrowed his brows, placing a hand on Bruce's shoulder to stop him. "If there's anything you need to talk about..." Concern written over his face.
"Thanks, but maybe later." He gave a half hearted smile and then slunk down the hallway and around the corner.
Steve stood waiting a few moments, internally debating on going after the scientist or not, when the door to Tony's room opened.
"Oh hey, Star Spangled...you seen Bruce anywhere? We...uh...I was just looking for him...for stuff." Tony looked up and down the hall, not finding the familiar mop of hair anywhere nearby.
Steve ignored his question, instead fixing him with a scrutinizing glare, "Stark, what did you do this time?"
Tony looked at him confused, "What do you mean?"
"What I mean is, I saw Bruce come out of your room, and something about him seemed off. So what'd you do?"
"Nothing!" Tony glared back. "Why does everyone always assume I did something.."
"Because you usually do." Steve raised an eyebrow.
Tony pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. "What way did he go?"
Steve gave him a questioning look before answering, "He said he was going to his room, but Tony, you might want to give him some space..." Stark nodded and started towards Banner's room. The sinking feeling in his gut still present.
The route to Bruce's room felt longer than normal, his heartbeat gaining speed with each step closer. When he finally was standing in front of the familiar bedroom door he hesitated, hearing muffled voices talking inside. He stood closer, leaning in to hear more of the conversation between Bruce, and Mystery Person A.
"..don't know, I think you're just over thinking things." Tony wasn't surprised to hear Natasha's voice on the other side.
"It's a possibility...but I think it'd do me, and this.." a pause, "whatever this is, some good if I just went away for a bit." Bruce sighed, Tony imagined him running his fingers through his hair at this point. He frowned to himself at the thought of Bruce leaving.
"Look, Bruce, I know Tony can be...eccentric sometimes, and it doesn't seem like he cares about other people's feelings,"
The sound of Bruce snorting could be faintly heard.
Natasha kept on, despite the interruption, "But take it from me, I've never seen him act the way he does when he's around you."
"I don't—" THWACK! "Ow! Hey!"
"Don't 'I don't know' me! And don't give me that look, I know that's what you were going to say.."
"Ok, ok..maybe you're right."
"There is no maybe about this. I'm always right." Natasha muttered.
"Either way, I still think I should go." Bruce said with finality,
Tony's stomach dropped. Bruce was leaving? Where was he going? Why was he going? He didn't want to listen to anymore of the conversation at that point, and instead headed towards the only place he knew would calm his nerves. The lab.
Natasha sat down on the bed next to Bruce, placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Neither aware of one Mr. Stark who had previously been eavesdropping outside just moments prior. "Hey, I know this great Thai restaurant not too far from here if you want to go. It's about a 25 minute walk, might help ease your mind."
"Yeah, sure, just let me take a shower real quick."
"Kay, I'll go tell Clint where I'll be. You gonna tell Tony you'll be out of the lab for the day?"
"Yeah, I guess I should, we were both planning on working on some new prototypes for the Suit today." He stood up and stretched out his neck. "I think I slept on my neck all weird." He said as he massaged one of the knots.
"Well you two were in quite the position last night, so it's not too surprising." Nat smirked.
Bruce's face flushed instantly, "How did you?.."
"Come on, Bruce, don't think Clint and I can maneuver our way through JARVIS's security systems? Who knew Tony had so many security cameras installed." She winked as she left the room.
Banner stood dumbfounded for a few seconds before finally going to the bathroom to take a shower. There was definitely a downside to being friends with two of the top spies for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Bruce fidgeted nervously as he walked down to the lab. He was already feeling uneasy about the goings on of the morning, and adding the fact that he'd be ditching out on work he promised he'd help Tony with didn't help matters.
The scene he arrived to wasn't exactly what he'd been expecting, however.
Tony had the music turned up so high, Bruce could feel every vibration down to the bone practically. Stark was bent over one of the work tables, scribbling something onto one of the many blueprints in front of him. Bruce noted the grease marks smudged over Tony's face and couldn't help the small smile that formed on his lips. He walked awkwardly up to the ruffled man before him and cleared his throat.
"Uhm, Tony?" Banner asked timidly, tapping him on the shoulder.
"What?" Stark's reply was curt. Though he did turn down the music enough for them to talk, Bruce gave him that.
Bruce frowned. "I just wanted to tell you I won't be able to help you with the prototype. I was—"
"It's alright, I already finished it." Tony interrupted and pointed over to the newly upgraded Iron Man suit.
"Oh.." Bruce tried to ignore the pang in his chest. "Ok."
Tony went back to work, seeming to ignore Bruce's very presence in the room altogether. "Did you need anything else, before you go?"
The pang in his chest slowly turned into a fiery feeling in the pit of his stomach. He clenched his fists, shoulders stiffening. "No. No, I guess not." Banner turned to leave, eyebrows drawing together as he glared at the floor. What was with the attitude? Seriously...
"Close the door behind you, when you leave." Stark called after him, not bothering to look up from his station, an air of finality about him.
Banner paused momentarily, thrown off by the brashness of the comment. "Sometimes I wonder why I even try with you, Stark." He started towards the exit again, slamming the door behind him as he left.
Tony winced, still not managing to look up from his work. It wasn't until a full 10 minutes passed by before he finally glanced to where the scientist once stood. He took in the cracks on the wall, not surprised that even in his human form, Bruce was still fully capable of using the same amount of strength as the Hulk when angered.
The only sound was the music Tony had all but stopped listening to. Even with all the gadgets, and multiple work stations throughout the room, the lab suddenly felt empty and bleak.
Stark swallowed the lump in his throat, returning back to blueprints in front of him. If there was one thing he excelled at, it was ignoring a problem until it finally went away or was forgotten about.
He turned up the volume and allowed the sounds of classic rock to tune out the voice of reason inside his head. The one that told him to run back after the scientist and apologize. His pride getting the better of him, Tony clenched his fists and kept his focus fixated on anything and everything else.
If Bruce was going to leave, then he'd be damned if he let it get to him.