AN-Yes, I still live! I just found a new universe to play in and it kinda sucked me in. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did. For this story, Thor is still in Asgard dealing with Loki. Don't worry, he will return!
AN2- I got several comments about the formatting of the first version of this story. As I had forgotten to preview the story before publishing (naughty me!) I got curious. So I went and checked it out. Man, ya'll, that first block of text was seriously brutal! I'm not exactly sure what happened since I did have it formatted the right way when I loaded it. I guess got hungry and ate my formatting. I owe everyone who said something a huge thank you! And I am so sorry for those of you who had to slog through the ludicrously viscious first version. I deleted that one and posted a corrected version. Here's hoping this one is easier.
Disclaimer:If I owned The Avengers there would be much more almost-nakedness and a ridiculous amount of Slash.
Rating- T for language. SLASH story. Don't like that? Don't read it.
It had taken a lot of nagging, pleading, and flat out bribery but Tony had finally talked the rest of the Avengers into moving into Stark Tower. Once the last member was moved in (Clint), the billionaire had promptly renamed the building Avengers Tower. No one admitted it, but they were all pleased with the gesture. It made the place seem more like it belonged to all of them and not just Tony. The team quickly established a routine. They would eat breakfast together and then go their separate ways until dinner time. Usually dinner would be followed by a movie or two as the team was trying to slowly catch their captain up on the things that he had missed. Tonight's movie was Armageddon.
Tony looked over all of them with fondness. This was the family that he had always wanted. He studied each of his fellow teammates. His eyes fell on their Hawk and Spider first. The pair was snuggled together on the couch. They had both sworn every oath they knew that there wasn't anything going on between them. Tony didn't believe them. He just couldn't believe or understand the fact that they said that there had NEVER been anything between them. He knew that Clint's file implied that he was in a serious, committed relationship with someone in the agency. It HAD to be the redheaded Russian, it just had to be.
He dismissed the two SHIELD agents from his mind when he looked at the person on the other side of Clint. Phil Coulson was still very pale from his encounter with Loki. Fury hadn't lied to them exactly. Phil had died. The SHIELD doctors had managed to bring him back and repair his wounds. Not long after all of the team had moved into the Tower, Coulson had shown up unannounced and when Tony had wandered towards the kitchen to get something to drink when he had discovered the supposededly dead handler in the common area watching Supernanny, looking positively gaunt and ill. He had greeted Tony by telling him that he still had permission to tase him whenever the hell he felt like it. After the rest of the Avengers had had a chance to fuss over him and express their joy that he was actually alive, Clint had pointed out the older agent's pallid face and nagged him into a nap. The archer had become a different person with Phil's return. He still struggled with his guilt and anger, but the reappearance of his handler had brought him a sense of peace. It was perfectly reasonable in Tony's mind. He had read enough of Clint's file to understand the horror that his early years had been. Phil had rescued him from that, had stuck by Clint until the archer finally believed that there was someone in the world who wouldn't abuse or abandon him. When they had all thought Coulson was dead, it had ripped apart every bit of faith that the handler had managed to instill in Clint. He was finally getting to a semi-healthy place now.
Tony's eyes moved past Phil to their Capsicle, who was sitting on the floor using his knees as a makeshift table while he sketched. The billionaire's eyes softened. Here was their heart. The man really was ridiculously perfect. The blond hair and bright blue eyes made him physically gorgeous, but more than that he was sweet, naïve, and despite all he had seen, still trusting. Tony knew good and damn well that the super soldier held what was left of his heart in the palm of his hand and Steve had no idea how much Tony cared for him. After the Loki incident (as they were calling the invasion) Pepper had told him that as much as she loved him, she couldn't bring herself to marry a man whose heart belonged to someone else. She knew him so well. They were still close. Pepper mothered all of them whenever she got a chance, especially Steve and Coulson. Steve because of Tony and because she adored him due to his manners and shyness. And Phil because the two of them had been close since the minute they had met. She had been as broken as the rest of them after Phil's "death". The genius had accepted the fact that Steve was never going to be his. Mostly anyways. As long as he didn't see him wandering around without his shirt on. Or in his skintight Captain America unifom. Tony had to force himself to stop staring at Steve in all of his adorable Steveness.
He studied Bruce now. His science bro. The doctor was his best friend. And Tony had learned a very interesting fact about him. Everyone was so terrified of the Hulk, when it was actually Bruce that you had to watch out for. Yes, Hulk was more intimidating but Bruce was just fucking devious. Fury was said to be starting to wonder who the bad influence in the Science Bros duo was. When they had found out that some of the other agents were tormenting Clint, it had been Bruce who had created a virus that caused all the agents to act like six year old girls who had just seen a mouse. Tony had videoed the ensuing chaos, naturally. Fury had been pissed off after seeing the video link Tony had emailed him until he found out why and who. Then he had looked at Bruce with new respect and understanding. Three weeks later, when some of his agents had stormed into the meeting room (filled with Avengers) with their skin dyed bright coward yellow. Fury had looked at the doctor briefly and then proceeded to say blandly that he didn't see anything out of the ordinary with the agents in question. Tony grinned at the memory. He watched Bruce glance at Natasha and Clint. A brief look of pain flickered through the doctor's brown eyes.
Tony finally decided he was bored and wanted to torment someone. His eyes narrowed in contemplation. Clint, he decided.
"Hey, Cupid. You know what I don't get?"
The archer looked at Tony and raised an eyebrow
"I'm sure there are lots of things. What is it this time?"
"You and Red are snuggled together like Russian nesting dolls, but you both say there's nothing between you two. Even though there obviously is."
The assassins spoke at the same time
"Nothing between us."
Tony rolled his eyes in disbelief
"Oh for fuck's sake! It's not like it's gonna surprise or shock us to death if you were to tell us the truth. Look at her! It's only natural to be attracted to all that hotness."
Clint studied the inventor with his usual intense stare. He turned to Tasha
"What do you think? Should we tell them?"
Nat looked around at the team and shrugged
"I guess so. Doesn't make sense to hide it anymore. They can handle it."
Tony leaned forward eagerly, sure he was finally gonna get to see them kiss. Instead Clint turned to Phil and kissed him passionately. The handler's fingers threaded themselves in Clint's dark blonde hair in a way that told the genius that the gesture was an ingrained habit. When the two broke away from each other, Clint looked at Tony with a cheeky grin
"That's why nothing has ever happened between me and Nat. I'm not into Russian redheads. I prefer American paperwork ninjas."
Bruce almost choked on the popcorn he had just tried to swallow because he was laughing so hard. It was Steve who stuttered out the question
"What…I mean…How…When…How long has this been going on?"
"We've been together for five years and been married for three."
Bruce went wide-eyed at the last bit
"You two are married? You don't wear rings!"
"Not practical in our line of work."
He tugged a long chain with a ring attached from beneath his shirt as Phil mirrored the move.
"We wear them this way. No one asks questions that way and there's less chance of them getting caught on something."
Steve flushed bright red when he spoke up again
"Is this okay now? When I went into the ice it was illegal and punishable. I mean, I've never seen a problem with it. You love who you love and all that but I don't want you two to get into trouble because you told us. Will it have repercussions on you?"
Phil had a half-smile on his face as he answered
"No, Steve. It's fine now. There are always morons who don't approve, but it's legal and mostly accepted now."
Steve nodded, relieved. Then both Clint and Phil noticed the super soldier throw a quick speculative glance at Tony. The husbands grinned at each other. Oh yeah. They were so going to have fun fixing that. The team gathered around their Hawk and his handler offering hugs and congratulations. Things were perfect now.
"Hey! Does that mean we can call Agent the austringer now?"
"Shut up, Tony!"
AN3- So that's the first installment of these stories. I really really hope you guys like it. Please feed my muse. She's a greedy wench and reviews make her happy! If there are any mistakes in here, be sure and let me know so that I can fix them. I tried to go over it carefully, but it's 2 am and I can't brain very well right now so I apologize in advance if there are any mistakes. BTW, an austringer is the official name for a hawk trainer.