He actually does not end up having sex with Bruce.

That is a disappointment, and trust him, it wasn't for lack of trying; he'd given it the good ol' Stark effort, and that's nothing to scoff at in the best(worst?) of times.

However, Banner control wins out in the end, and even as he's gasping for air against his workshop table, thoughts derailing even before they really form because goddamn Bruce's hands are on his hips, palms pressed firmly in the dips just before his waistband.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Bruce pants, head tipping forward to rest on his shoulder. "Okay, going sort of fast here."

Tony tried to rear back in dismay, the move halted by the scientists firm grip. "This is fast?"

Said scientist huffed out a laugh. "Just a bit. For now. Just for right now."

He groaned. "You're trying to kill me. It's all on purpose; Loki doesn't even have to try anymore, you've taken it upon yourself."

Bruce stilled. "Don't joke, please."

Only slightly apologetic, Tony nuzzled the flesh just under Bruce's jaw until he finally sighed and relaxed.

"We need to talk," he said quietly, leaning back to peer at Tony over his glasses. "All of us. The team, everyone."

"Do I have to?" He muttered. "I'm pretty sure I already filled my 'teamwork' quota for the year."

The corner of Bruce's lips kicked up, and Tony sort of maybe wanted to kiss it. Then he realized he could, so he did.

"Stop trying to distract me," he murmured against Tony's lips. "It won't work."

"Personally, I'm surprised you have any blood to spare for that big, sexy brain of yours," Tony admits. "'Cause, yeah, all mine's gone deep South."

"You're so crude," he laughed quietly, which, Tony didn't think he really had any foot to stand on in that regard when Bruce was doing truly unadulterated, sinful things with his tongue a moment later.

When he pulled away, Tony went to follow this time because, oh, hell yes.

"Talking," Bruce said firmly, and his willpower was awe-inspiring, it really was, but Tony was about ready to break it down with his damn face if he had to.

"Don't wanna." He whimpered, and, oh, Bruce shuddered hard at the sound, that was, yes, that was very interesting.


"Not now, JARVIS." To Bruce now," Ten minutes? I can do a lot in tern minutes. I can multitask, I've got great focus on more than one thing at a time." He eyebrows went up.

Bruces' lips twitched. "No."

"Ah, Sir, I really must interrupt-"

"Put it on ice, JARV. Five minutes?"


"I'm ambidextrous," he singsonged.

Bruce laughed outright now. "No."

"Sir-ah. Nevermind."

The door whooshed open, and Tony craned his neck around to the horrified, painful squeak that sounded a moment later. "Oh. Hey, Cap."

The scientist pressed against his front choked, head falling forward once again.

"I-I'm sorry," Steve stuttered, stumbling back and knocking over a miniature mountain of tools. Dummy whirred excitedly, wheeling in three quick circles before grabbing a rag and zipping over.

"Dummy-no, you, pick up the tools, don't dust them off, Christ." Tony said mildly. "Cap, calm down, you're not cockblocking any more than Bruce already has, stop freaking out."

That earned him a sharp reprimanding bite through his teeshirt just above his collarbone. He yelped.

Steve fairly flew out of the workshop, shouting embarrassed apologies.

"Well," Bruce said, leaning back, cheeks red and ignoring Tony's offended whining as he rubbed at the sore mark over his shirt. "That will makes things nice and awkward."

"Better than the time Thor kissed everyone in post battle victory."

"Only just."

They make it upstairs-eventually, of course, Tony's got quick fingers and it's really Bruce's fault for wearing clothes a size too big for him-to the hoots of Clint and hollers of Thor, and that shouldn't have been as surprising as it was.

"Do you people have nothing better to do?" Tony demanded, settling himself sprawled over Bruce on the couch. The scientist took the invasion of personal space with a self-sacrificing air. In the armchair, Natasha shrugged gracefully, legs crossed and resting across Clint's shoulder who was leaned against the chair.

"Supernatural doesn't come on for another hour," she said.

Everything became unnaturally still when Steve walked in, eyes widening to saucers and shoulders hunching forward as if he was just called on in class before spinning on his heel and leaving the room as rapidly as he entered.

They stared after him.

"You guys broke Steve, didn't you?" Clint asked mildly.

"Maybe," Tony muttered, stretching out the word as he stared curiously after the soldier. "How much do you think Fury will live up to his name when he finds out?"

"On a scale of one to ten?" The archer tapped his chin thoughtfully. "Forty seven."

"Figures. Just, nobody tell Pepper, okay, I've gotten away with a lot of shit, trust me, a lot of shit, but I don't think I can get away with breaking Captain America." He hummed. "Would look great on a resume, though."

"How do you even know what that is?" Bruce asked, amused.

"Blow me." He replied cheerfully.

"Later, darling."

And there went Clint, loudly complaining about mental fucking images and really, you two, really, that's how this is going to be? Fuck, fuck you both, he's done, he's moving out.

"Don't let JARVIS smack your ass on the way out," Tony calls after him. "No, seriously, he will, he has this thing-"

The faint sound of a door whooshing closed is followed very shortly by a startled and terribly unmanly yelp.

"I like your version of team-meetings," Tony said, all loose limbs and satisfied smile, completely ignoring Bruce's answering facepalm. "This is definitely more fun than how I thought this was going to go."

Natasha snorted.

It turns out, and Tony really shouldn't have been so surprised, but Bruce was one sneaky fuck, three days later they were all crowding around him in his own workshop, plopping their asses down wherever they pleased-"I wouldn't crouch there if I were you, Buckbeak, no, seriously, that can actually explode, move your ass-"-and staring at him expectantly.

"Um," Tony said, tone mild as he held the still-lit blowtorch aloft over the spare pieces of metal scattered over his table. "...Sup, everyone."

"Bruce called team-meeting." Steve said promptly, spine ramrod straight and eyes meeting Tony's resolutely, completely earnest and concerned. In reply, Tony's neck snapped around harshly to stare unblinking, accusingly, at Bruce.

He shrugged.

"You're lucky you do that thing with your tongue," Tony grumbled, feeling slightly better about the situation overall when a resulting choked noise escaped Steve, whose face was turning brilliantly red. Before he could go on and into great detail about Bruce's many, many oral-related talents to the flustered super soldier, Bruce interrupted, voice mild but cheeks tinged an enticing pink.

"Do you think we could keep on track here for once?"

Clint, the bastard, said, "I doubt it."

Resisting the urge to stick his tongue out at the archer(though he didn't quell the instinct to flip him off, and was rewarded with a very toothy and not at all comforting smile), Tony settled himself down in his chair and spun back and forth absently in it, head and arms angled over the back of the chair as he stared at the ceiling.

"Okay, so, well, how do we start this party?" He asked, glancing out of the corner of his eye on the next spin at Steve.

"We need to figure out a game plan on what to do about Loki." Steve said immediately, hands clasped so goddamn earnestly in his lap that Tony sort of wanted to get him a goddamn apple pie made from scratch. "Because every battle we've gone into, you've been separated, physically or on the comm. That's not okay, Tony."

He can see where this is going, can hear those apologetic words already ringing in his ears, the sympathetic looks he'll get from Thor and Steve, and grits his teeth hard.

"I sort of deduced that for myself, Cap," he says, forced pleasantness, and he can almost feel Bruce's presence behind him as the man shifted. "As far as I can tell, the-ugh, the magic-that Loki is using to hack the comms is... Like a timer, kind of? Think, hm, think of a specified time period, okay? Say, an hour.

Now, say Loki cuts the comm. Can't talk to you, you can't talk to me, because Loki is literally in there, in the system, blocking the transmission, talking to whoever, just essentially doing whatever he damn well pleases."

Tony lolls his head over to Thor who is dwarfing Tony's rather large and comfortably plush sofa, eyes narrowed at the god who was hunching his shoulders and opening his mouth to speak. He pointed a lazy finger at him. "And you. Don't apologize. Trust me, fucked up family dynamics? Not exactly a tune we haven't heard before." Satisfied when the god looked dubious but nonetheless shut his mouth, Tony went on. "Okay... Where was I?"

"Loki in the system," Natasha murmured, smirking the faintest bit from where she was cocking a hip against the same table Clint was sitting on, one leg pulled up to his chest. Tony beamed at her.

"Right! Loki in the system. So, he's in the system, he's doing whatever the hell he wants-I don't know how far his reach goes, yet, we've only been testing the comms and some of the S.H.I.E.L.D. computers, but my guess? He's targeting most of my tech, the asshole-and then he leaves. But, see, I had JARVIS run a few tests last time crazy face decided to call, and he found something interesting. JARV?"

"Thank you, Sir. From my tests, the traces of Loki's signature on the commlink line were still there well after he disconnected from Sir's radio and the system."

"So what you're saying," Bruce began, voice low and hand raised to press the curled length of his forefinger against his mouth thoughtfully. "Is that the, the connection, between Loki's magic and the computers was still there. Like a telephone, where both phones are off the hook and just sitting on the table."

Tony sends him a 'You are so smart, I knew I wanted to grind you into the mattress for a reason' look.

The look he gets back is utterly unimpressed and maybe just a little bit turned on. He preens.

"Jesus Christ, you two," Clint mutters.

Tony did not resist flipping him off; it was totally worth Steve's disapproving frown. "So what you're saying is," Steve went on, looking thoughtful now. "Is that Loki... Was still connected to the system?"

"Not Loki, per se. Everything... Has a signature, right? Like, well, like a personal touch. When Loki's there, it's different. Sort of spastic. But there's a signature under that, and when Loki leaves, that second signature still remains."

"Okay," Clint drawled, looking edgy. "Is there any way you could explain this in simpler terms? I don't think Thor's getting it."

Said God of Thunder gave the archer an extremely offended look. "I am 'getting' all of it, as you say, Hawkman." And, oh, Clint must've really pissed him off with that comment. Thor hadn't called him Hawkman since he returned back from Asgard to assure them all of Loki's imprisonment.

So much for that, but still.

Clint winced, but Thor went on, eyebrow arched and voice condescending in a way that they had almost never heard from the warrior. "What the Man of Iron is saying," he said coolly. "Is that Loki is using magic to access our communications. His magic has a certain amount of time before it expires. Before the magics time runs out, Loki may enter whatever the magic is in touch with as he pleases."

Tony fairly beamed. "Exactly."

A shuffling and muffled curse brought their attention to Clint, who was glaring at an expectant looking Natasha who still had her elbow raised up to his ribs.

"Sorry, Thor," he muttered petulantly, not sounding very sorry at all. The God smiled, serene.

"Of course, Hawkman."

Tony doesn't even bother to muffle a snort, and it's, big surprise, Steve who attempts to get them back on track.

"So it's magic." He says, spreading his hands. "And it's directed against Tony."

Ah, they've made a circle, have they? Fine, Tony can play this game.

"I'm not going to be benched." He says, tone final, and can feel Bruce jerk behind him. Thor murmured a quiet, "Aye." Clint looks like he swallowed something nasty, Natasha is coolly inspecting her nails, and Steve just sighs.

"I'm not suggesting you be benched." Steve said, and, well, that sort of left Tony blinking. "I'm saying that we need to figure out a way for you to be safe."

What the hell was he suppose to say to that?

"Uh." He manages, and if Tony sounds a little dazed, whatever, okay, no one mentions it. "Am I not?"

"How're your ribs, Stark?" Natasha asks idly, still studying her nails, and Tony flinches instinctively away, arms curling protectively over his torso.

"Fine. Totally fine. Just dandy. Don't come near me, please."

She smiles.

Steve speaks up once more, voice serious and just a little mischievous, and that's nearly as scary as Natasha smiling.

"We need a plan."