Flicker

Written in response to hc_bingo prompt: electrocution and cottoncandy_bingo prompt: sacrifice. First Avengers fic. Takes some liberties with medical stuff. Characters not mine, please enjoy! Comments are awesome.


The first time they have sex, Tony's drunk. He's spent all day in his workshop, building on upgrades for his Iron Man suit after the latest villain technology has been spotted and reported to him in the wake of an impressively fatal accident downtown. When he finally finishes, he plies himself with a fair amount of scotch and that's how Steve finds him. He's there to drag the playboy billionaire philanthropist idiot to bed because there's an early S.H.I.E.L.D. meeting in the morning and Fury is less, well, furious when everyone actually is in attendance. It's the last thing he's expecting when Tony jumps him, crashes their mouths together in a rough, biting kiss he can't say he didn't want. They end up in Tony's room, trading rough, quick, just sex hand-jobs until the alcohol finally proves victorious and Tony passes out.

Steve feels awful.

He climbs out of Tony's bed. Luckily, he has the light of the arc reactor in Tony's chest to help him find his clothes so that he can take his leave quietly.


Steve is the one who starts things the next time. They've just finished a mission. A rough one, where they lost a few more civilians that they'd realized at first and failure never sits well with Captain America. Especially snowy, train related failure that brings back the nightmares of Bucky.

He corners Tony in the elevator and kisses him.

Tony seems to get what he needs, drags him back to his room.

They fuck. Slow, and long and drawn out pleasure that should leave Steve too tired for the nightmares to take hold. But the dreams still come. It's the one where it's not just Bucky he loses that day - even if it's ridiculous because Tony wasn't even born yet when that happened - and he starts awake, covered in a light sheen of sweat and breathing too hard.

And surprisingly, Tony hasn't left him to go back to work on his unending projects. He's curled up behind Steve, the soft, blue glow of the technology that keeps him alive giving the room a peaceful radiance. Steve rolls to stare at the device, never having seen it up close like this before. He traces his fingers around the cool metal, loses himself in the faint pulsing of the light, in sync with Tony's heart, he thinks, and somehow the next thing he knows he's waking up to an amused Tony smirking at him, a witty, "Morning, Cap'n," on his lips and the blinding, mid-morning sun leeching into the room from just over his shoulder with no memory of any other nightmares.


They've been stuck on the freight plane for what seems like forever. It's coming in dark and so that means limited power on board, too. Since it's presently 3am, that means very few lights. The dim ones along the walkways are useless, but that's all they've got to work with.

Most of the Avengers are aboard. No one is sleeping because they're all too wired from the disaster they narrowly averted, even though Bruce is trying, unsuccessfully, to do just that. Clint and Natasha are playing cards by the light of a cell phone. Thor's not around for this one, busy with trouble on Asgard.

Tony's leaning back against one of the many shipping crates scattered around, fiddling with a piece of the armor from his suit that had taken damage in the fight. "Remind me not to hold off on installing upgrades to the helicarrier next time, okay?" he mumbles.

Steve hums in acknowledgement, but doesn't really mind their unusual method of transport. It's still better than some of the carriers he'd been on in the 40's (and significantly less crazy than Howard's flying), and he is taking advantage of the fact that the other man is a natural light source. He's laying down with his head pillowed on Tony's knee, using the glow from the arc reactor to read.


The Avengers are digging through the ruins of a huge cave in. The tunnels are barely passable in some places, completely blocked in others, and they still have nearly two dozen people trapped down here somewhere who were separated from the rest of the tour group in the chaos.

It's Steve, clad in his Captain America attire, who finds the two little kids huddled in a break in the cave wall. He almost misses them, but one of them, a boy of about six, sees his shield and recognizes it, letting out an awed "whoa!" that draws the superheroes attention in the darkness. He's quick to collect them, letting the boy cling to his shoulders while he carries the boy's younger sister in his arms.

He's surprised when the girl starts crying. She had been silent back in their hiding place and he thinks that now, in the midst of rescue, is an odd time to start. "Hey," he says softly, "What's wrong?"

"She's afraid of the dark," her brother explains.

"Oh." Steve can't really do anything about that. They're pretty deep in the caves and the collapse had killed most of the electricity. Only sporadic lights are to be found along the common paths and this isn't one of those. "I'm sorry. We'll get out of here as quick as we can, okay?"

But then there's a faint blue glow approaching and Steve knows exactly who that is.

"Good timing," he says.

"Someone called for a light?"

Steve laughs and passes the girl to Tony and she quiets nearly immediately, calmed by the soft light as the boy gasps out an equally awed "Wow! It's Iron Man!" as Tony leads them back to daylight.


They're being held captive by one evil, mad scientist or another. Could by HYDRA, could be the Masters of Evil, could be just a rogue crazy guy who thought this would be a good way to earn some money or power.

Whatever the reason, whoever is behind this is seriously demented because that's the only reason Tony can come up with for why this is happening.

Tony, divested of his Iron Man suit, is chained to a wall. He's got blood trailing down his face and he's pretty sure his arm is broken, that he probably has some cracked ribs, too. That's not even the problem, though, because the madman behind this has knocked out Steve, also stripped of his usual Captain America attire, and left him in an unconscious heap on the floor in a good inch or two of standing water. And that water? The madman is electrocuting that water and no matter what he tries, Tony can't do anything to stop it.

He watches the madman throw the switch again, letting the electricity spark off of Steve's body for a few seconds before he turns it off again. Steve's body convulses and spasms in the wake of the shock and that's when the asshole does it again.

Tony is shouting out threats and obscenities and stupid, witty remarks but none of it is having any effect on the situation.

Finally, finally, something snaps in the wall, where the chain is hooked and it's enough to break free and he doesn't even think because if he had thought, he probably would've taken the time to disable the crazy guy first, but he doesn't do that.

No. Instead, he's mumbling a mantra of "hold on hold on hold on," as he tackles Steve's still spasming body. He doesn't know how he manages the strength to get him completely clear of the water, because all of his physical powers are nicely contained within his Iron Man suit, but he does.

He heaves a sigh of relief, but then the burst of evil, maniacal laughter tells him that this isn't over. He hears the click of the switch as it zaps the electricity back to life and it's all Tony can do to stand the pain.

He seizes in the puddle of water and the arc reactor sizzles when it touches the current. Something happens when it does, though, because it bounces a shock back at their abductor, through the water and then through the wires and out through the switch and then the pain is gone but Tony doesn't want to move.

He looks over and sees Steve, moving his limbs slowly in what looks like an attempt to sit up, and the knowledge that he's okay is enough.


Tony wakes up to a view of the ceiling in his bedroom. It's late, if the lack of sunlight and the dull, blue glow of his arc reactor indicates anything. There are monotonous beeps and pacing footsteps and he forces his eyes open even though his entire body hurts.

And Steve enters his field of vision at the first sign of movement, looking exhausted and worried and "you're an idiot."

"Clearly. What did I do?"

Steve laughs at him. Laughs even though he wants to scream - he can still see the weird, pulsing light he woke up to in the kidnapper's lair. At first he'd thought it was Tony's room, (because he spends a lot of nights there now that they've moved past the it's just sex part of their relationship) but then he remembered. And his limbs were stiff and jerky, he could still feel the jolts of electricity burning through them. He was dizzy and felt off but he knew enough to know that whatever was wrong with the light was bad and he needed to fix it. He turned to see Tony slumped in the water, head lolled to the side in unconsciousness. The arc reactor sputtered in and out of life, flickering dim and then too bright and then out for a few long, long seconds before it sparked back into a steady glow. In the time it took Steve to stand and stumble-step his way back to the other side of the room, the reactor went out again and this time it didn't come back on. Seconds passed and nothing. A minute and he'd feared the worst. The only reason that Tony survived at all was because the rest of the Avengers arrived in time to get them back to Stark Tower and back to medical help and one of Tony's spare arc reactors - and "you're a very lucky idiot."

"Mm," Tony grumbles, "I feel very much not lucky right now, thanks." Tony tries to sit up, regrets the idea nearly immediately and though he tries to complete the move, Steve pushes him back down. "What happened?"

"Your arc reactor shorted out when you took the shock. But it also fried the mad scientist guy, so..."

"Glad it could prove useful, then," he quips.

Steve frowns and sits on the edge of the bed. "I kind of prefer when it's where it belongs and doing what it's supposed to be doing."

"Yeah, same here," Tony agrees, pulling at Steve's arm. It's then that he starts complaining, because after all, it was Steve who got repeatedly zapped by the mad scientist, where Tony had only taken one hit. Why should he be the only one trapped in bed? Steve sighs and lies down beside him, presses a quick kiss to the back of Tony's neck as he settles in, tossing one arm loosely over the other man's, and they both fall back to sleep with the steady, blue glow of Tony's arc reactor lighting the room.