Author's Note- I was in Washington D.C. for college orientation, and of course in the middle of all sorts of presentations about classes and dorms and safety and such, I manage to think of a Science Boyfriends plot. My brain is mystery.
Obligatory warning- I don't own Marvel, so nothing you recognize is mine.
"I can't believe you think this is a good idea after what happened last time," Pepper raises her eyebrows while staring Tony down from across the desk. "Really. I can't believe that you dumped me, fired me, hired me back, and then tell me that you're going off to Monaco to race in an event that nearly killed both of us the last time you attempted it."
"First, after we broke up, you promptly took up with at least ten other men, so I don't see that as an issue. Second, you quit before I fired you. Third, you let me hire you back without complaint. Four, no psychopaths are out to steal suit designs from me this time. And finally," Tony raises his eyebrows back at her, "Bruce is going with me. I have the suit, I have a Hulk, I'll be fine."
Pepper sighs. "Fine. You're updating your will before you go, though. The last thing I need to find out that you've died in a car wreck and that your company is now property of S.H.I.E.L.D."
"Fine. You have exactly... three hours in which to find me a lawyer." He gets up to leave, but turns back to her for a moment. "Why would I leave my company to S.H.I.E.L.D?"
"It was an example, Tony." She regards him with the same look she usually gives when he's being difficult, glaring. "I refuse, absolutely refuse, to be CEO of this company ever again."
"You wouldn't be CEO if S.H.I.E.L.D owned it!" They both know that this argument is pointless, that Tony would never leave Stark Industries to Pepper or S.H.I.E.L.D, and that he probably won't even meet with the lawyer to discuss changing the will. She also knows that he was probably trying to avoid this argument, or he wouldn't have sprung the news on her three hours before he leaves.
"Hypothetical. This is all hypothetical. How long should I keep your schedule clear for?" Already Pepper can feel the beginnings of a migraine, blurring the edges of her vision, and begging for the medication she keeps easily accessible in her top desk drawer.
"A week?" Tony offers as a suggestion, which really means it's an order. "I've heard good things about the south of France this time of year. And the hotel in Monaco has beds-"
"Please, Tony. I don't need details."
"Now that you're dating that whiny singer, I thought you might like a little romance advice." He's made no progress towards the door, but is standing, arms folding, smirking at Pepper.
"He's not whiny, I don't need romance advice from anyone, much less you, and what I really need right now is for you to leave me alone so I can fix the latest problem you've left me with."
She can practically sense Tony rolling his eyes as he leaves, but gets on the phone and calls a lawyer anyway.
"I agree with Pepper," Bruce says, when they're finally on the plane to Monaco, somewhere over Spain, having exhausted every other conversation topic. Tony is sitting facing him in the expensive leather chair. "This is fairly dangerous."
"I keep telling you that I'm not worried about danger." He takes a sip from his martini and gives Bruce one of his patented Tony Stark looks. "I'm currently in a high-speed pressurized vehicle with a man who could at any point become a giant green rage monster and destroy everything here. What makes you think I even consider the possibility of danger in a simple car race?"
"You're exposed out there," Bruce points out, and Tony notes a hint of concern and maybe even fear in his voice. "No suit, no backup. It's just you and the car."
"Are you afraid that I'll get hurt?" The question comes out as a challenge, but he'll be damned if he's not feeling something twist inside him, knowledge that Bruce cares.
"I'm always afraid you'll get hurt," Bruce admits quietly. Tony is silent for a moment, and then offers him up a smile and leans forward across the table.
"Relax. Have a drink with me. Part of the point of this trip is for me to spend time with you."
"I can't spend time with you if you're dead, Tony."
"Jesus, what is it with people and assuming I'm going to die?"
"Well, there was the way you nearly poisoned yourself to death with palladium and spent that time engaged in a series of increasingly stupid activities, or the way you flew with a nuclear missile into space..."
There is no response, because Bruce knows that he's right, and Tony knows that Bruce knows that Bruce is right. Instead, Tony downs his drink, and moves to sit next to Bruce.
"I wouldn't do it if I genuinely thought I would die," he says finally, as Bruce leans into him. "Death would be highly inconvenient for me right now. I've got too much going for me."
Bruce makes a noise of agreement, and Tony realizes retrospectively that a conversation about suicide and death is not necessarily one that should have with Bruce right now, on what he had intended to be their vacation from Stark Industries and the Avengers and Nick Fury.
"You had things going for you every other time you did something stupid."
"I didn't have you." Tony's lips graze the side of Bruce's head, working their way over the topography of his face as he turns, until their lips finally meet.
"If you'd died every other time, this wouldn't be happening right now," Bruce manages to get out before their lips connect again and they both accept for the second time that Bruce is right. Of course, Tony could mention how he's forever glad that the Other Guy spit out the bullet Bruce had put in his mouth, because this wouldn't be happening right now if that had worked out either.
"We need to stop talking," he decrees, and Bruce seems to be in agreement, because they end up making out for the rest of the trip, first in the leather seats, and then on the curved couch, and finally on the floor. When they arrive, neither one is wearing a shirt and Tony's belt is gone, pants unzipped. It's a testament to whatever Tony has planned when they get there that they don't actually have sex right there in the plane.
Monaco is the same as it always is during the races- crowded, full of rich and famous people, practically drowning in alcohol. A few years ago, Tony would have been all over everything and everyone here- drinking, fucking, drinking some more, racing, drinking even more before fucking again. He doesn't exactly regret it, not a pure ugly, guilty, lonely regret, but he doesn't say anything about it, because a) Bruce already knows, and b) Sometimes Tony would prefer to forget his ability to be extremely self-destructive. But then in the elevator Bruce manages to bring it up as joke, asking Tony (wryly, very wryly, as only Bruce can do) if he's intending on repeating his previous antics this time.
"Only with you," Tony assures him, raising his eyebrows in a manner that indicates his intentions are not at all pure. Bruce's only reaction is look down at the ground a bit and shake his head slightly, like he always does when Tony insinuates things or uses innuendo. It's not embarrassment, but more familiarity with the way Tony operates, combined with a touch of amusement, and a touch of shyness. Quite frankly, Tony finds this reaction relatively endearing (as much as he can find anything endearing) just because it's so typically Bruce, and this makes him smile to himself as they step out of the elevator.
The room they have is sort of insanely lavish in the sense that it's not actually ornate or overtly fancy. Any display of wealth in the room is from the size- the bed, the windows, the room itself- are larger than strictly necessary, and the décor is actually fairly plain, dark wood and white furniture. The style (stark, Bruce thinks for a moment, mildly amused by the obvious pun) reminds him of Tony's houses.
Tony kicks off his shoes, collapses carelessly on the bed, and Bruce sits down on the side of the bed, gazing out the window at the view of harbor, taking in the opulence and the highrise buildings and yachts.
"You can stop feeling guilty about being here," Tony says pointedly. "You are allowed to have fun sometimes, rage monster or not."
"You really think I would prefer to be in slums treating cholera than here with you?" Bruce turns to look at Tony over his shoulder, slightly incredulous.
"You get all uptight whenever I display any form of wealth for you."
Bruce flips himself around, sits barefoot and cross-legged facing Tony, and he looks a little uncomfortable, either from the conversation or from the informality of his body. "Money's not the issue. I keep telling you, I'm not used to people wanting to spend time with me. " His tone is apologetic, as if it's all his fault. This irritates Tony, not the fact that Bruce sounds like he does but that other people have made him feel like he isn't worthy of time or companionship because of the Hulk. The Hulk saved my life, Tony is constantly reminding him, but clearly, it hasn't made the impact he was hoping for.
"Get used to it." He glances up at the other man, who sighs softly, and Tony is sure that he's about to protest, to say something in warning, some ridiculous excuse about his other side that Tony's heard a million times before (and disregarded just as many times), but he doesn't. Instead, he relaxes a bit, lying down next to Tony on the bed, their shoulders just barely touching.
"It's not quite as simple as you want it to be, Tony."
"Then let me make it simple for you," he suggests, and he tugs at Bruce's shoulders until they're face-to-face. There's a pause, in which they both wait for the other to say something, and then they're kissing again, pressing together, mouths open, twisting and writhing as hands reach for buttons and zippers.
(Thankfully, it's night outside and they're on something like the 86th floor, because neither of them had the foresight to shut the curtains, and since this is a hotel, there's not JARVIS to do it for them.)
There's only a few breaks in the kissing- Tony rummaging for the bag by the side of the bed for lube, Bruce pulling the AC/DC shirt over Tony's head- but mostly, they remain connected by their mouths until they're both out of their clothes and under the covers. They break apart finally for Tony to apply lube and arrange their tangled limbs into something workable, legs entwined, arms bracing.
The whole process is a give and take, one of them receiving, taking, accepting; the other pushing and thrusting, bucking against each other until they reach the inevitable climax and they switch places and positions and repeat until they're both panting and gasping and ready to collapse. Which they do, sweaty, sticky, side by side, Tony's hand tangled in Bruce's hair.
"Is that simple enough for you, Dr. Banner?" Tony asks, and is rewarded by Bruce laughing softly.