Another tumblr drabble in which an anon wanted Tony to get hurt doing science and not be able to walk. I had fun with it.
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Without further ado: the fic.
Current Song: Bewitched by Rufus Wainwright.
Current Thought: It's almost 3:30 am. What is this sleep you speak of?
Title taken from the quot by Leo F. Buscaglia :
"Love withers with predictability; its very essence is surprise and amazement. To make love a prisoner of the mundane is to take its passion and lose it forever."
To Make Love A Prisoner Of The Mundane
He's welding and there are parts for the Mark VIII everywhere and it's a mess. His workshop is a mess, but he's Tony Stark so he's used to it. And then he moves the wrong way, and a piece of sheet-metal falls and slices his fucking leg, and holy shit. Holy shit his leg is on fire and he is going to die and gee, that muscle felt important, why is there blood everywhere and why is passing out?
Tony wakes up in the Medical Wing of SHIELD with seven very disapproving faces looking down on him. Natasha looks unimpressed and Clint looks exasperated. Behind him, Coulson just looks really agitated and has his hands on Clint's shoulders, rubbing the secret tension he can feel there. Because they do care about Tony, they'd just rather keep that fact under wraps.
Bruce looks relieved and a bit pissed that he was stupid enough to let that happen. Pepper just looks pissed and also unimpressed. Tony's going to have to talk to Natasha about teaching Pepper these faces. They're starting to get really terrifying. Thor smiles jovially and congratulates him on not being dead, then severely reprimands him for being so messy and leaving all of his things around. IN Asgard, they would have made him clean up the shop, he says, even with a wonky leg.
Steve just looks really angry. Angry and pissed off and Tony has a bad feeling that he was the one that-
"- so JARVIS calls me with an emergency and I walk into the workshop and your just bleeding out on the floor. Care to explain?" Steve says.
-that he was the one who found him. Of course he was.
And so Tony gives them the short version and they all nod and agree because JARVIS showed them footage, the traitor and they all agree that he has to clean up and then a nurse comes in and tells them that they have to clear out and the person taking care of Tony can stay in. When no one moves, she assumes they're all taking responsibility and says, "Mr. Stark, because you won't be able to walk for a few months, here's what you'll need to do."
And that's it for him. He groans and loses his shit because for two whole months while his stupid leg has to heal, he can't walk.
HE CAN'T WALK.
Well, isn't this going to be fun?
They all take turns entertaining him where he's bedridden. After making sure his room is loaded with a computer, tablet, music player, TV and whatever else he asks for, one by one, each day, someone comes in and tries to keep him company.
Emphasis on the try.
Bruce is first. He lasts three days, amazingly.
At first, it's fun. They talk shop and use the tablets and computers and JARVIS to show each other what they've been working on, what they think about certain factors in the Science Community. The first day goes off without a hitch and it's great.
The second day, Tony starts to bitch a bit. His leg aches, he didn't sleep the night before, and Bruce walking around all the time is driving him crazy. And Bruce gets irritated. Very irritated.
On the third day, he snaps and Hulks out in the middle of Tony's room. Needless to say, Bruce is off Tony-Duty, Tony is moved into another room and someone else takes the scientist's place.
Natasha lasts a day. This is because she starts talking to Tony about fighting technique and that's fine.
Until there's a lull in the conversation and he starts to throw wads of balled-up paper at her and she responds by throwing her super sharp throwing stars at him.
She is removed by Pepper. And the next day, someone else takes her place.
Clint lasts a week and a half.
It's longer than the first two, so everyone thinks it'll last a bit longer, but it doesn't.
The first week, Clint amazes Tony with his video-gaming skills. They play Mario Kart, Super Smash Brothers, Zelda, Wii Sports, Donkey Kong. It's fun. It's entertaining, takes Tony's mind off the pain and the pain-pills he's too afraid to actually take.
And then Clint starts dropping out of the ceiling. At first, Tony thinks Clint is just late or is sick of him, and that's cool too. But then he pops out from the ceiling and Tony shrieks. It's funny the first time, but not so funny the second time when Tony thinks his heart stopped. It's less funny the third time when it causes Tony to jerk so bad, he rips the stitches in his leg.
Clint is banned from Tony-Duty. And right when they were getting to the good part in Donkey Kong.
Thor lasts a week.
And that's only because he never shuts up about Asgard. That's what they do the first few days. Thor talks about Asgard and draws up astrological maps for Tony to try and understand the nine realms and holy shit. That's interesting.
And then he starts to talk about Jane.
And it's not so bad. But the problem is, he never stops. And Tony has to quietly and discreetly tell Pepper to get someone else in there before Tony dies. Because he loves sharing pop tarts and hearing about Valhala but he can't hear another word about the physicist. He can't.
Thor tells Tony he's leaving the day after he confesses to Pepper. He has an early flight to go see Jane, of all people, and regrets having to leave Tony to someone else's devices.
Tony smiles the entire time.
Coulson lasts two days.
He starts off strong, telling Tony what he's missed so far. Nothing big, no major missions, just a few things here and there.
Then he goes on to tell him about SHIELD's R&D division and how they wanted Tony to look over a few things. So he gives Tony something fun to do on the first day.
And then the second day, he let's something slip about Clint that no agent should know, but that his boyfriend would and he accidentally outs himself to Tony. And Tony would love for him to stay, wants to bug him - because really Clint? - but Phil leaves that day and Clint comes in to threaten him and then Phil is in there, getting the other man out and calming him down and Tony feels something odd in his chest at the sight of them.
It's not jealousy, he doesn't want Clint or Phil. Obviously they've been with each other for a while, years most likely. But it's… it's want. He wants that closeness. And he looks away from them because he doesn't have it.
Thor's back, thankfully, the day after Phil leaves and he's brought Darcy back with him.
She lasts two full weeks.
Tony adores her. She's a real riot, really awesome. Literally, Tony thinks, if Phil and Clint had a baby, it would be Darcy. She's tough and knows how to wield a tazer like nobody's business, just like Phil Tony swears, because he knows, but she's got a quirky sense of humor and she's a boss at video games like Clint.
The only reason she's only there for two weeks is because she has to head back to Jane. It sucks and she wishes him luck, seeing as he's only got a month and some change left off his feet, but he is going to miss her and he loads her up with StarkTech before she goes.
Technically Pepper doesn't even count. She stays out of the whole volunteering process because she knows how Tony is and refuses to willingly deal with that. But she brings him work through it all, updates him on current events in the world and his company, and switches people around so no one ends up killing Tony.
Or so Tony doesn't end up killing them.
Steve just… lasts.
He sits in a chair by Tony's bed soon after Darcy leaves and he doesn't talk to Tony much, not unless Tony initiates it. Instead, he has an art pad in his lap, a charcoal pencil in his hand, and he's drawing in silence.
He's left Tony to his own devices, until four days in the other man can't anymore and says, "So, whatcha drawing?"
He swears Steve blushes and holds the drawing pad closer to him as he answers, "Nothing."
"Come on, it's obviously something. I won't shut up about it until I find out. You mind as well tell me," Tony says logically, settling back and putting his trinket to the side. "So?"
Steve looks conflicted for a moment before saying, "…you…"
Tony blinks. "Yes, me. Now what are you drawing?"
"No, I mean…" And if Steve wasn't red before he sure as hell is now. "I mean I'm drawing you." And then he turns the pad of paper to Tony and holy shit. Holy shit that is him and holy shit that is good and wow. Wow.
Tony's silent for a minute before he says, "So… is it better if I just sit still, like this?" and he demonstrates. He doesn't know what it is, but something in him sparked like it had when he'd seen Clint and Coulson and all of a sudden, he's just really willing to pose for Steve.
"I…yeah, it'd be easier; I was having some trouble with your hands," Steve sayd softly.
So Tony takes up the trinket and lies still for an entire two hours, until it's late and Steve says he should head to bed. But he rips out the page, finished and glorious, and hands it to Tony, saying, "Keep it and thank you," and then he's gone.
Pepper walks in to make sure he has what he needs and Tony makes her find a frame for the picture. She smiles when she sees who it's by and nods, promising to find one.
Tony's leg doesn't hurt much that night.
Steve comes back and is still there when two weeks go by. He asks Steve a lot about his art and his process, getting more of Steve's background out of him that way. And Tony doesn't really regret that.
They talk and laugh and Steve brings him lunch and together they watch the 90s revival of Dark Shadows, Tony mostly watching the faces Steve makes at the screen as Barnabas kills another townsperson.
"I don't know whether to love him, despise him or pity him," Steve says at the end of the episode and Tony agrees. But he explains that that is why he loves Barnabas Collins so much; he's a difficult character. He's the most human of them all.
As Steve nods his assent, Tony can't help but feel a bit like Barnabas himself: trapped in a room with nowhere to go. But Steve has been making it bearable. And it's weird that it reminds him of Josette.
Four weeks. Four weeks, an entire month Steve has been around. Tony only has two more weeks left after this. And then he can get up and walk around.
And of course, that's just when he insults Steve.
They have a small fight, something about Howard, and isn't that just a kick in the pants? And Steve storms out and Tony is left, laying in bed, his leg throbbing and he wants to toss himself off the bed and crawl after him, apologize, beg forgiveness but he's got pride and dignity too you know.
He's alone for the rest of the day, goes through his mind wondering who it'll be tomorrow. Maybe they'll just start over again? Maybe Bruce will come in and they'll all just… cycle through?
Except Tony doesn't want them to cycle through. He wants Steve there, because Steve stayed, and he cared damn-it and he made Tony and care and what the hell, Steve? What the ever loving fucking hell?
Tony wakes up around ten o'clock in the morning to find Steve in his regular place by the bed. He isn't drawing, doesn't even have his pad with him. He's just watching Tony lay in bed and when Tony finally stirs and makes his wakefulness known, Steve says softly, "Wanna go outside?"
Tony's stunned, doesn't know how Steve is going to pull that one off, but he nods and suddenly Steve has him scooped up in his arms and he's carrying him down the halls and down the stairs, out the back door and into the large back yard Tony has, into the garden they'd all started to the side and it's drizzling and the fresh air is so sweet in his lungs and Tony's leg stings, but he feels alive for the first time in so long and he's happy.
He lays his head against Steve's shoulder as they just stand there, getting wet. They don't say anything, but Tony understands what this is and he accepts by relaxing into Steve's arms. He knows Steve understands when the other man smiles.
As far as apologies go, this is the best one Tony has ever received yet.
He gets the OK GO two weeks later. Which means he can walk. And go about the mansion. And work and go to meetings. He still has to take it easy, but it's freedom again and Tony is absolutely excited for it.
But it also means no more afternoons with Steve. And no more getting picked up. No more drawings and soft conversations at midnight. And that just hurts. Because Tony wants that. So bad.
But when Tony wakes up on his first day of freedom, Steve is there, sitting, waiting. He smiles and says, "Are you ready?" and now Tony is. He wasn't before but now he is.
He gets dressed, almost falling on himself since his legs are wobbly and Steve catches him by the elbow then leads him downstairs to the kitchen. Everyone's there and they throw a little brunch for him and it's nice. But Tony misses his workshop and asks for a little help walking down there.
Steve volunteers, no one else protests and they head down. It's wonderful and Tony's absolutely thrilled to be breathing in the smell of oil and grease and metal and then JARVIS says, "Sir, there's a-" but never finishes, because Tony trips over the same piece of metal that cut him, shit, and he's going down again-
And then there's an arm wrapped around his waist and Steve is hauling him up and to his chest and he's smiling, saying, "Caught you."
Tony looks at him in a bit of wonder. Behold, the man that actually fucking stayed. "Yeah, you did," he says instead.
To kiss Steve is just natural after that. And it feels a bit anti-climatic after everything. But it's still good, nonetheless.
There it is. Another one shot. Thanks for reading!
Reviews are much appreciated.