Brooding 37

Tony got up and stretched after confirming that both Loki and Clint had fallen asleep. The wraparound glasses he wore looked like safety goggles – entirely appropriate for the laboratory – but were in fact adapted from the viewscreen technology he had used in the Ironman™ masks, fully capable of showing Ultra-High-Definition images in a curved 120-degree panorama. He had watched the couple’s lovemaking with voyeuristic interest, wishing only that he had popcorn and a soda to make the experience complete, and before that he had listened in surprise to Loki informing Clint about his pheromones.

That was a bit of information he had not expected the god of lies and mischief to volunteer to his lover. Although Tony did not have a vested interest in Clint’s future per se, he was glad (if mildly stunned) to discover that Loki was capable of honesty, at least in this instance. Having seen Loki wracked with sobs before he apparently came to the decision to tell Clint, Tony realized what an effort it had cost him – how much Loki had dreaded losing Clint upon making this revelation. It was a relief to know that the demigod carrying Clint’s child was so enamored of the Human, as well as that Clint himself had worked through his seemingly contradictory emotions and was now confident about his feelings for Loki. It also made the billionaire-genius-philanthropist unwontedly sentimental and homesick for Pepper. On his way to the room prepared for him in the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, Tony told Jarvis to have a large bouquet of her favorite flowers delivered to her in the morning.

Just before he reached his room, he saw the door to Bruce’s assigned room and stopped on impulse. Since he had already hacked the facility’s mainframe, it would be a simple matter to open the door and perhaps poke the sleeping giant with a pointy object. Or, better yet, he could snuggle in next to him and see how he would react upon awaking in bed with another man. It was too good of a prank to pass up, so Tony accessed the code that would grant him entry and tiptoed into the room. His glasses now served as night-vision goggles, allowing him to see in monochromatic green light. He sneaked into the bedroom but was disappointed to find the bed empty and still made up, with no signs of the other scientist.

“Damn.” He looked around all corners of the room, even checking the ceiling to make sure Bruce was not hiding in some bizarre fashion. “Jarvis, where is Doctor Bruce Banner?”

“He is in the quarters assigned to Captain Steve Rogers. Would you like the live video feed from that room as well, Sir?”

“I sure as hell would!” Tony declared. When the image appeared within his goggles, he was so shocked that he had to sit down on the edge of Bruce’s unused bed. Bruce and Steve were lying together in a tangled embrace, Steve’s head resting on Bruce’s hairy chest and Bruce’s nose buried in Steve’s blond hair. They were under the covers but from their naked condition from the chest up, Tony was in no doubt as to their clothing – or rather, lack thereof – from the waist down. The stained and rumpled condition of the bedspread also left no ambiguity as to the activities which had preceded the two men’s current state.

“Jarvis, back up the footage to when they entered the room,” Tony said in trancelike fascination, lying back on the bed and scooting up to get comfortable. “This I gotta see…”




In the morning, Bruce and Steve had very little time to engage in their “experimental” activities, but since they both needed to shower anyway, Bruce suggested that they wash off together and give each other a mutual handjob. It took only a second for Steve to figure out what the term meant, and he agreed to it enthusiastically. His enthusiasm did not abate at the successful conclusion of that experiment, either, so Bruce promised that they would revisit it when they had more time to explore all the various possibilities thereof.

Once showered and dressed, Bruce realized that there were other ramifications to their new experimental status that he needed to consider.

“We can’t leave here at the same time,” he told Steve. “If anyone sees us, the cat’s out of the bag.”

“Oh, right… But the same applies if anyone sees you coming out of my room,” Steve pointed out. “I’ll go out first and let you know if the coast is clear. If not, I’ll just leave… and you’ll have to take your chances a few minutes later. At least I’ll try to move whoever is out there along.”

Bruce nodded. “That’s the best we can do for now.”

Steve moved towards the doorway, then turned around suddenly and gathered Bruce up in his arms to give him a deep, lingering kiss.

“In case I forgot to answer your question… from earlier,” Steve said in a low tone, slightly breathless from plundering Bruce’s mouth, “I really, really like kissing.”

Bruce stared up at him in glazed disbelief but managed to reply, “I noticed.”

Steve nodded, his cheeks tinged pink, and turned back to the door. When he stepped out into the corridor, he looked both ways, then flashed a smile at Bruce as he said, “All clear.”

Bruce followed him into the corridor and told him, “Go on ahead. I need to change into another shirt at least – I can’t go to breakfast wearing the same clothes as yesterday. God only knows what Tony would say if he noticed… and I’m sure he would notice.”

“I would say you were being a very naughty boy, not telling me you were up to all sorts of hanky-panky – not even inviting me to the party,” Tony’s voice came from around a corner, followed shortly by Tony himself. “In fact you actually deflowered our good ol’ boy scout, didn’t you? Popped his cherry? Opened his can? Played ass pirate with the Captain?”

Both men had frozen upon being accosted by Tony, and his prattling did nothing to ease their discomfort.

“It’s none of your business, Stark,” Steve retorted, but he could not hide the flush creeping up his cheeks.

“Uh, w-wh-what are you… talking about?” Bruce began in a feeble attempt to deny his statements.

“Oh, come on!” Tony snapped. “If you’re gonna sleep with another man, at least be man enough to man up to it! And seriously, all I asked was to be there to watch… and maybe tape it from the best camera angles for posterity’s sake… but you didn’t even let me in on this big event! With friends like you, who needs enemies?”

With a melodramatic toss of both hands into the air, Tony put on the air of being grievously aggrieved. Bruce gaped at him, unsure how to respond; Steve shot back first.

“How do you even know anything about it?” he demanded, his eyes narrowing with suspicion. “What have you done now, Stark?”

“What? Me? I just hacked into the system here so I could watch Hawkeye and Loki practice making alien-human hybrid babies,” Tony replied with aplomb. “Getting to watch the footage of you two doing the nasty was an unexpected bonus – although the picture would have been a thousand times better if I’d done the recording.”

“Wait, what?” Bruce said sharply. “There was footage – you actually saw footage?

“They’re spying on us too?” Steve asked, although it was a rhetorical question for all intents and purposes. “So there’s a camera… or cameras… in each of our rooms?”

“Yeah! You didn’t know?” Tony blandly asked. “No wonder you weren’t turning your best side to the camera! Now, if I were filming and directing it–”

“They were spying on us? All of us?” Bruce growled through gritted teeth. There was a dangerous undertone in his voice that made even Tony sober up right away.

“It’s standard operating procedure, you know,” he said placatingly. “You know how paranoid these pseudo-governmental military organizations are…”

“Bruce, it’s all right,” Steve interrupted, standing in front of his lover and forcing him to look directly into his eyes. “I don’t care if the whole world knows – what we have is special, the start of something really amazing, and I don’t care if Fury or anybody else watches us. Let them watch! Nobody can take this away from us.”

Bruce’s breathing grew somewhat more relaxed as Steve talked to him, and the tension in his jaw decreased as he gazed into those sky-blue eyes. Bruce forced himself to inhale deeply and let out a cleansing breath, imagining all the dark, swirling smog of anger leaving his lungs as he expelled the air.

The sound of feminine voices came around the corner moments before Frigga and Maria appeared in the corridor, but by then Bruce was back in full control of his faculties, the threat averted. However, Tony’s jaw dropped as the two women ingenuously wished them all a good morning.

“Agent Hill,” Tony said in a mock stage whisper, “is that the same outfit you had on yesterday?

“This is my uniform,” Maria responded tartly, but a telltale blush turned her cheeks crimson and stunned the other two men as well. Tony recovered first.

“Jarvis, have a box of Pepper’s favorite chocolate delivered today too,” he said into his com-link. “I’ll be damned if I’m the only one not getting any action tonight!”

Frigga smiled with beneficence and swept past them all to press the doorbell of Loki’s room.

“I do hope he’s awake and ready by now,” she said conversationally while Steve and Bruce still looked askance at her and Maria. “I need to empty his stomach of the bile before he will be able to enjoy any breakfast.”

Clint opened the door and greeted her. “Good morning, Queen Frigga. Your son is still primping in the bathroom, but I promise he’s no worse for wear.”

Frigga beamed as she entered the room. “If anything, I expect him to be better than before, my dear Clint.”

He grinned in reply, and she flitted over to the bathroom to assist Loki in his primping.

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