Right There With You
Author's Note: Thank you to everyone who's even glanced at this. Taking this on has been a project definitely and I just wanted to thank everyone for the positive feedback.
Notes on this chapter: Bruce Banner and Tony Stark know a lot of science words that I don't.
Disclaimer: I do not own a single thing.
I'll Be Right Here With You
After finding Thor wasn't in a gaming mood and had a sort of same goal with the tesseract, they were finally able to bring Loki back to the helicarrier. It had been a little awkward, mainly between Tony and Steve since Tony doesn't want to talk about, well that thing, until they can be alone.
Loki was escorted to by a squad of armored SHIELD agents to a cell in the bowels of the ship. Agent Coulson had met them on the landing strip. Thor wanted to take a few moments to catch up with 'The Son of Coul' as Agent Romonaff went to grab Doctor Banner from his lab.
"Follow me," Tony whispered, grabbing Steve's cowl and dragging him until he followed.
"Where are we going? We need to report-" Tony quickly cut him off as they walked throughthe winding hallways of the helicarrier.
"I need to get my suit off so that I can fix the damage that Hercules caused with his precious hammer, and we need to have a talk."
Steve remained silent and continue to follow Tony until they reached what seemed to be cargo deck.
"JARVIS, strip me."
Steve didn't say anything since he really didn't know who or what a Jarvis was, but his eyes widened as Tony spread his arms out and the Iron Man suit started to removed itself from Tony's body.
"So, Capsicle," Tony's voice broke him from his awe and he looked up to Tony, staring into his brown eyes. "I'm pretty sure we both know went down back there.."
Steve nodded. "Yeah, we bonded." His voice was barely beyond a whisper. He switched his gaze towards the floor, crossing his arms across his chest.
"Yes. So, now we need to figure out a few things." Steve didn't have to look up to know Tony was staring at him.
"Well, first of all, your soulmate is male. I know bonding was uncommon back in your day, and it was even more rare for them to be of the same sex, hell it was illegal. So you should be freaking out."
Steve shook his and looked up. "No, that never bothered me. Ma always told me it didn't matter, the universe chose the souls to be together for a reason."
"Awesome." Tony clapped and then rubbed his hands together. "That definitely makes things a little easier. So, the next thing is I think for now, we should keep this to ourselves."
Steve raised an eyebrow at that. It's not that he objected, he just wanted to know "Why?"
Tony shrugged as if it was obvious, it probably is but Steve wasn't really picking up on it. "This is obviously new for us, I can't even imagine what you're feeling right now. Well, I actually could but that instinct or whatever hasn't shown up yet considering how long it has been since the whole thing happened."
"Anyway, we really don't have the time to go over everything right now that we need to."
Steve nodded. "Right."
"So, we keep acting like nothing has happened. We'll call it an act. I'm just hoping you're acting has improved Star Spangled man." He grinned slightly as a small blush appeared on Steve's face.
"What about the effects of the bond?" Steve asked. "The empathy, the instincts, the tele-"
"-pathy." Tony finished for him. "Yeah, that part freaked me out too."
"STARK!" Both men jumped and turned to see Agent Coulson entering. "What's going on in here?" His eyes bouncing back and forth between the two.
Tony quickly glanced at Steve, who nodded in understanding before turning back to Coulson.
"Nothing Agent, just getting the old man here caught up on somethings."
Coulson rolled his eyes and looked to Steve. "Captain Rogers, I must request that you make your way to the bridge. The others are there. Director Fury has a feed for his interrogation of Loki."
Steve didn't say anything and left, leaving Coulson to glare at Tony.
"Change quickly, then you're coming with me. I'm supposed to escort you."
"So, about the girl cellist in Portland..."
Right now Steve was thankful for his eidetic memory as he made his way towards the bridge, his mind constantly replaying the conversation he just had over. He could understand the reasons why they needed to lay low on this for now. They didn't have the time.
They had their orders and they needed to follow them.
He knew the stories of those who bonded with their soulmates, the feelings that the bond could cause. The heart tugging wasn't even the beginning of it.
As many things are, bonds are different depending on the people. His mother would tell him stories of her and his father, how she knew how he was feeling before he wrote home to her. How before the war he knew when she was feeling ill from working too much. How she knew he wouldn't be coming home before the condolence letter was even written.
Steve loved hearing Bucky tell him how after dancing with Connie for the first time, the bond slowly had them fall in love instead of all at once.
This was something that Steve never thought he'd get the chance to experience, even if the bond was slowly trying to pull him back in the direction of cargo bay.
"Stark already scare you off?" He jumped slightly as Maria Hill fell into step with him. He hadn't even realized someone was with him.
"Agent Romonaff told me Stark had dragged you off somewhere, thought I'd come and try to help."
"Oh," Steve ducked his head and rubbed at the back of his neck. "Ah, thanks, I think."
Hill didn't say anything as the two entered the helicarrier's bridge where Agent Romonaff was seated at the glass table. Doctor Banner stood a few feet behind her, Thor standing at the head of the table, turned slightly away from them.
"Director Fury is interrogating Loki, wanted us to watch the feed," Hill explained as Steve took a seat.
Still amazed with the modern technology, he watched as Fury and Loki had a sort-of stand off from the SHIELD cell.
"How desperate are you? You call on such lost creatures to defend you," Loki's words were nothing short of mocking. Steve quickly shook off the small comparison to Schmidt, the power of the Cube probably effecting both of them in the same way.
The taunts continued to back and forth for a few moments, not really heading in any direction.
"We'll, let me know if 'real power' wants a magazine or something," and the video cut as Director Fury walked out.
The room was silent for a few moments, the occupants taking in what had been said. Steve wondered if Tony and Agent Coulson had seen the feed.
"Yep, on our way to the bridge now." Steve has had forgotten about the telepathy part of the bond.
"He really grows on you, doesn't he?" Doctor Banner was the first to break the silence.
"Loki's gonna drag this out. So, Thor. What's his play?" Steve looked up at him.
The Asgardian turned slowly, one armed across his chest and a worrisome frown upon his face. "He has an army called the Chitauri. They're not of Asgard, nor any known world. He means to lead them against your people. They will win him Earth in return, I suspect, for the Tesseract."
Steve let out an annoyed sigh and looked to Natasha. This was something else he hadn't been warned about. "An army. From outer space."
"So, he's building another portal. That's what he needs Erik Selvig for."
"Selvig?" Thor asked.
"He's an astrophysicist."
"He's a friend."
Natasha had a grim look on her face as she spoke. "Loki has him under some kind of spell, along with one of our own."
"I don't know why Loki took him. He's not leading an army from here," Steve looked from Thor to Bruce, hoping to get an answer.
"I don't think we should focus on Loki. That guy's brain is a bag full of cats. You could smell the crazy on him."
Steve was now just getting more lost. He was a tactician, he worked better when he facts presented directly in front of him. It didn't help that the recent bonding was mixed in with all this.
"Have care of how you speak. Loki is beyond reason but he is of Asgard and he is my brother."
Well, that was unexpected.
"He killed eighty people in two days," Natasha explained, leaning against the tables on her arms.
Thor looked to her with an apologetic look upon his face. "He's adopted."
Steve ignore Thor as he looked to the open archway across the room. The now familiar tug of the bond was getting stronger which meant Tony was getting closer. He remembered Bucky saying something about how he could never show up late for dates with Connie the first few weeks after they bonded, she could always tell when he was coming. This is what he must've meant.
Steve was once again was pulled from from his thoughts as Bruce spoke up. "I think it's about the mechanics. Iridium...what do they need the iridium for?"
"It's a stabilizing agent." Steve's heart fluttered slightly as Tony entered the room with Agent Couslon, whispering something before walking towards the table.
Tony was only half listening as Agent rambled on next to him, his mind anywhere but a cellist in Portland right now.
He told Steve that they would discuss this whole bond thing later when they both had the time but that was only half the truth. He wouldn't admit it out loud, partly because he was pretty sure Jarvis would record it as blackmail for later but that was beside the point.
The actual reason Tony wanted to wait? He was scared. Tony Stark doesn't do scared, he's Tony Stark.
Then again up until an hour ago Tony Stark was an unbonded, genius billionaire kicking a Norse god's ass. Now he was bonded. Not only bonded but bonded to Captain America.
He was already listing the things that he would be experiencing as the time passed. Given that the strong tugging of the bond on his heart already felt normal helped him guess what would be happening between the two.
The short moments of telepathy already hinted towards the strength of the bond between him and Steve. It was a little easier to find your bonded nowadays with technology where it depended on the bond strength to find them. The stronger the bond the more there was.
The last reported case with telepathy had been about twenty years ago and the bond strength was something of legend. The bonded could communicate being even distances apart. Telepathy wasn't that unheard of in bonds but the strength of it varied between single words of thought or full on conversations.
Telepathy wouldn't be the only thing. With time the bond empathy would grow, slowly bringing the telempathy with it.
Neither things were something Tony was looking forward too.
"Are you listening to me Stark?"
Tony blinked and looked to Coulson, poker face in place. "Do I ever?"
Coulson stared at him but didn't say anything and turned the tablet in his hands slightly towards him. "You should probably pay attention to this."
They continued walked towards the bridge, listening to Fury interrogate Loki. Tony fiddled with his phone, looking over the files on the on the tesseract.
"Tony should be here."
Yeah, the telepathy wasn't something that he was easily going to adjust to. Hoping he was able to respond to Steve without actually doing so, he slipped his phone back into his pocket as they approached the bridge.
"So, the cellist.."
"What do they need the Iridium for?" Banner asked.
"It's a stabalizing agent," he turned to Coulson before he had a chance to walk away. "Just pick a weekend and I'll fly you to Portland."
Tony silently ignored Steve's gaze as he continued. "It means the portal won't collapse on itself like it did at SHIELD." He made his way towards what was most likely Fury's command post. He patted Thor's bicep as he passed. "No hard feelings, Point Break. You've got a mean swing." He could almost feel the confusion floating in the air. "It means the portal can open as wide as he wants."
His hand hovered over one of the screens, pulling up different windows and charts. He looked out to the sea of SHIELD agents. This room was full of too much tension for his liking.
"Raise the mizzenmast, job the top sails." Most of the agents stopped what they were doing and turned to him, incredulous looks upon their faces. He sighed slightly and pointed towards an agent seated near the bridge entrance. "That man is playing Galaga, thought he wouldn't notice, but we did."
That feeling of confusion was back, most likely the empathy of the bond picking it up from Steve. He ignored it and looked back to the screens. Slightly confused, he covered his left eye experimentally and turned to Agent Hill. "How does Fury even see these?"
"Sounds exhausting." He skimmed over one of he screens to his right which showed a personnel file on some of the agents that been taken by Loki.
"The rest of the raw materials, Agent Barton can get his hands on." He turned his left, quickly plugging a micro file drive into the computer. "Only major component he still needs is a power source of high-energy density. Something to kick start the Cube," turning towards the group, he clap his slightly to explain.
"When did you become an expert on thermonuclear astrophysics?"
"Last night." Clearly someone didn't debrief Hill on the whole genius thing. "The packet. Selvig's notes, the extraction theory pages. Am I the only one who did the reading?" Probably not, but Tony was pretty sure he was one of the few people in the room who understood it.
"Does Loki need any kind of power source?" Steve asked, his co fusion still obvious through the bond.
"He would have to heat the Cube to 120 million Kelvin just to break through the Coulomb barrier," Banner supplied.
Tony was impressed. "Unless Selvig has figured out how to stabilize the quantum tunneling effect."
"Well, if he could do that, he could achieve heavily ion fusion at any reactor on the planet."
Oh, now Tony was really impressed. He made his way towards Banner. "Finally, someone who speaks English."
"Is that what just happened?"
Tony ignored the comment from Steve and shook his hand out, Doctor Banner shaking it in turn. "Good to meet you, Doctor Banner. Your work on anti-electron collisions is unparalleled. I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster."
Banner gave him an uncertain look. "Thanks."
"Doctor Banner is the only here to track the Cube, I was hoping you may join him."
Oh yeah, Fury was here. Tony quickly disregarded that though because the confusion that Steve was projecting had seemed to turn into what Tony smugly thought was jealously.
Steve tried to pay attention to what Tony what saying. It was easy at first, very straight to the point. Then he made that comment about the agent playing Galaga, whatever that is and broke into the science. That seemed to be a recurring thing between Steve and Stark men. Having experiences like that with Howard, Steve discovered it was just easier to shake his hand and nod.
What threw him for the loop was when Doctor Banner and Tony has started bantering back and forth. Steve wasn't sure why but he had a weird feeling over Toy giving so much positive attention to Doctor Banner, it had to be a science thing.
"Doctor Banner is only here to track the Cube, I was hoping you might join him."
Steve was thankful for Director Fury's return, maybe now he would be able to understand somethings. "I'd start with that stick of his. It might be magic but it works an awful lot like a HYDRA weapon." He was thankful he could at least provide something to the conversation.
"I don't know about that, but it is powered by the Cube. I would know to how Loki used it to turn two of the sharpest men I know into his personal flying monkeys."
"Monkeys? I don't understand." Thor might've not understood but Steve felt ecstatic to finally understand something.
"I do! I understood that reference." He was pretty sure he could feel that Tony was annoyed through the bond, but he dismissed it. There was no way the bond empathy between them could've formed that fast.
"Shall we play, doctor?" Tony asked.
Steve watched them as they left the room, that feeling from a little before growing slightly. Was he actually feeling jealous? It's not like Doctor Banner could do anything, Steve and Tony were the new bonded. The thought didn't make the feeling any better though.
After a few moments Steve decided to get up and make his way towards the lab, maybe play it off that he wanted to understand a little more about the tesseract. He was just hoping that the empathy between them wasn't strong enough for Tony to even think Steve was there for any other reason.
It didn't take him too long to find the lab, and he walked in as Tony jabbed Doctor Banner with something, Steve wasn't sure what, but it managed to shock the him.
"Hey, are you nuts?" Steve asked him as he walked closer to the lab table.
"Jury's out," Tony replied quickly before turning back to Doctor Banner. "You really have got a lid on it, haven't you. What's your secret? Mellow jazz, bongo drums, huge bag of weed..."
"Is everything a joke to you?"
"Funny things are."
Steve didn't really know why he was irritated, but he'd think on that later. "Threatening the safety of everyone on this ship isn't funny, no offense Doc."
Bruce came him a quick glance that look like he understood. "It's alright, I wouldn't have come aboard if I couldn't handle pointy things."
"You're tip-toeing big man, you need to strut."
"And you need to focus on the problem, Mr Stark." Steve quickly hated himself for the slip.
"Someones in a jealous rage." Yep, Tony definitely knew.
"Do you think I'm not?" Tony said aloud, turning to him. "Why did Fury call us in? Why not before? What isn't he telling us? I can't do the equation unless I have all the variables."
Steve raised an eyebrow, the jealousy slowly seeping away as he thought over what Tony said. "You think Fury's hiding something from us?"
Tony was amused at how strongly Steve's jealousy was coming through the bond, so he hadn't been surprised when he saw the captain walk in. He was even more amused at how obvious Steve was ting to hide it from him.
"You think Fury's hiding something from us?" Good, he's smart.
"He's a spy, Captain, he's the spy. It's bugging him too," he gestured to Bruce. "isn't it?"
Bruce looked to them both then raised his hands, slightly waving his hands as if to dismiss the thought. "OH, I just want to finish my work here and..."
Bruce sighed. "'A warm light for all man kind', Loki's jab at the Cube."
"I heard it."
Bruce looked at Tony. "I think that was meant for you." Smart man, he deserves blueberries. Tony held the bag out to him, smiling slightly as he took some. "Even if Barton didn't tell Loki about the Tower, it was still over the news." That's exactly what Tony was thinking.
"The Stark Tower? That big, ugly.." Tony turned to Steve, raising an eyebrow slightly. Is he being serious right now?
"You don't want to continue that description, now do you gramps?'"
"Building in New York?" Smart move, because really?
"It's powered by an arc reactor, a self sustaining energy source. That thing will run itself, for what, a year?" Oh, Tony was definitely going to get along with him well.
Tony nodded. "That's only the prototype," he turned to Steve, who look slightly confused once again. Must not be big on science. Small words then. "I'm kind of the only name in clean energy right now. That's what he's getting at."
"So why didn't SHIELD bring him in on the tesseract project? What are they doing in the energy business in the first place?" The man had a point.
Tony walked around him, pulling one of the hanging computer screens with him as he went to stand next to Steve. "I should probably look into that once my decryption program finishes breaking into all of SHIELD's secure files."
"I'm sorry, did you say-"
Tony cut Steve off my pulling his phone out of his pocket, showing it to Steve, not that he probably knew what it was but all the same. "Jarvis has been running it since I hit the bridge. Soon I'll know every dirty secret SHIELD has ever tried to hide. Blueberry?" He held the small bag out to Steve.
Steve didn't take one; note, Steve mustn't like blueberries. "Yet you're confused as to why they don't want you around."
That threw Tony off. He tried to reach out through the bond, at least he think he was, still not sure how this whole thing worked exactly. Nothing but confusion with a mix of anger. So it's gonna be like that.
"An intelligence organization that fears intelligence? Historically not awesome."
"I think Loki's trying to wind us up. This is a man who means to start a war, and if we don't stay focused he will succeed." This whole military thing really was starting to become more annoying. Tony got enough of this from Rhodey. "We have orders, we should follow them."
"Followings not my style." Not a lie, it really isn't.
"And you're all about style."
"Out of the people in this room, which one is 'A' wearing a spangly outfit and 'B', not of use?" That was gonna come back to bite him in the ass. He could already feel the hurt pouring of Steve.
"Steve," Banner spoke up. "Tell me none of this smells funky to you?"
Steve looked between the two scientists and that definitely didn't help the guilt that Tony was already feeling.
"Just find the Cube," and with that, he left the room.