Fandom: Avengers (MCU)
Pairings: Tony Stark/Bruce Banner
Characters: Tony Stark, Bruce Banner
Warnings: None, except for kissing and hints of sex
Summary: Tony’s excited. He’s been planning this for a while, but sometimes the best-laid plans fall apart, and sometimes, it’s for the best.
AN: Written for Avland Mission 7's Challenge 3 - Prompt Bingo!
Cross Posted to AO3
“What!?” Bruce demanded, startling and knocking a petri dish off the counter. Tony and Bruce watched it crack on the metal floor and Bruce sighed, pushing his glasses onto his forehead and pinching the bridge of his nose. The bridge of his spectacles snagged in his hair and he had to spend a minute untangling them from his disastrous curls.
“Was that important?” Tony asked, sounded a little strangled. Bruce knew better than to think that Tony’d developed a sense of self-preservation overnight, so it probably wasn’t fear constricting his scrawny throat. It was probably amusement, or some other shitty emotion. Tony was an asshat, when he wasn’t busy being one of the most generous, brilliant people Bruce had ever met. Reconciling the dichotomy was difficult, and Bruce wasn’t much prone to exaggeration.
“Yeah, but it’s okay, I have double samples.”
Tony beamed at him, face going open and honest. Or, as honest as Tony could get. “Good,” he said, and didn’t continue, so Bruce picked up the broken dish while waiting for Tony to re-gather his thoughts. It didn’t happen though, and when he stood up with the thankfully manageable shards of glass, Tony’s eyes were slightly glazed over, and he swallowed hard, once.
Bruce had come to accept that sometimes, Tony was just very weird. It probably came with the genius. He was pretty damn smart himself, and was more than self-aware enough to know that he was in no position to be throwing stones.
Tony shook his head and swallowed again, fists clenching reflexively. Bruce wondered for a moment if Tony was having some sort of attack, because it was hardly unheard of; living in this tower meant everyone was bound to trip over someone’s neuroses, at least once.
He cleared his throat and opened his mouth to ask, gently, but Tony seemed to have collected himself. “Right. Sorry. NEWS FLASH. It’s GOOGLE VAN DAY.”
Bruce, as mentioned previously, was a genius. So having heard the all-caps lock, it didn’t take him too long to track Tony’s thought process. “Oh god, you’re one of those people who spends the whole year planning a pose, aren’t you?”
Tony didn’t seem to have heard Bruce’s statement, because he was vibrating with excitement. Possibly even literally, and Bruce wasn’t sure how that was possible but if anyone could break the laws of physics, it was Tony Stark. For all that he pretended to be only interested in the practical applications of science, he was a theoretical physicist at heart, amongst other things. If he’d devoted his life to research, Bruce was sure he wouldn’t have achieved as much as Tony could have managed in a single month, and he wasn’t just being self-deprecating.
“How do you know it’s coming today? I thought they didn’t tell people where exactly—” He was pretty sure he’d interrupted something Tony was saying, but both of them had been badly socialised as children, and around each other they didn’t particularly need to worry about being rude, which was fantastic.
Tony flapped a hand at Bruce, as if to dismiss his petty mortal concerns about getting highly confidential information from a nigh un-hackable source.
Tony vibrated some more in the silence that ensued, and Bruce studied him a little sceptically. People complained about Tony Stark’s childish behaviour and his apparently unending enthusiasm, but Bruce liked to think he knew Tony a little bit better. Because he spent a lot of time in the lab with him, and he’d have had to be blind to miss how Tony could sink into dark moods for days on end, and refuse to speak to anyone except JARVIS and the Bots, and how it seemed to be pretty much par for the course for him. Bruce knew from personal experience that someone who had suffered as much as Tony had, would never be happy on a whim. It would take effort, and energy, and it would drain him, so even when Fury bitched about Tony behaving like a kid with a sugar rush, Bruce made sure to growl in such a way that made it clear the Other Guy didn’t appreciate their comments. Neither did he, but somehow the Hulk was more threatening.
“So?” Tony demanded, breaking into the silence expectantly, and Bruce just knew that conversation had happened in Tony’s head and not out loud.
“So what?” he asked, flashing Tony a grin.
“What are you going to pose as?”
Bruce snorted out a laugh, almost despite himself. “I,” he said, trying his level best to keep a straight face, “am an Adult, and—”
Tony didn’t even let him finish his sentence before bursting into laughter, collapsing back into a conveniently located wheelchair (and how did that get there? Bruce didn’t have any wheelchairs in his part of the lab. If Tony had somehow installed AIs into his chairs, they would be having Words), holding onto his stomach and wheezing for breath. Bruce rolled his eyes and tried to hold back a grin. To be fair, the laughter was merited, it wasn’t like he was the most mature person either. He just kept most of his internal commentary where it belonged; inside. Unlike Tony, who had probably burnt out his mental filter with alcohol and sex-endorphins when he was twenty-one.
When Tony’s laughter finally tapered off, Bruce asked, “So that probably means you have a pose.”
It wasn’t even a question, but Tony took it as an invitation. “Hell yes I do! I’ll be in the armour, of course—”
“Of course,” Bruce repeated dryly, because Tony really was like a giant kid sometimes, and it was fantastic.
“But I can’t decide whether I want the faceplate up or down, because if it’s up, it ruins the line of the suit, but if it’s down, I’ll deprive the world of my face.” He paused, as if waiting for a response from Bruce, and he could have laughed. He raised a single eyebrow and enjoyed the blush that spread over Tony’s face, and he couldn’t understand why people thought this man was shameless, because by god, he wasn’t! And it was maybe a good thing that the world had never seen Tony Stark blush, because it was one of the most attractive things Bruce had seen himself. People wouldn’t have been able to restrain themselves.
He grinned to cover up the sudden influx of not-exactly-welcome thoughts in his mind, and there was a comfortable moment in which they just stared at each other. They did that, a lot. Bruce wished he knew what it meant, but it was beyond his knowledge and abilities to figure it out, and it didn’t seem like the thing he could ask Tony to collaborate on.
“Well, the line of the armour is important,” Bruce started, looking mock-thoughtful, “but you do have a very nice face.” He’d been expecting a laugh, or a sarcastic comment, but Tony only flushed a darker red, and averted his gaze, and that was… That was unexpected. More unexpected than usual.
He gave it a moment of silence but when Tony didn’t say anything, he reached out to touch Tony, because something was definitely off, and he just didn’t know what it was. Tony shrugged his hand off, which was so shocking it would have hurt, but Tony spoke before he could process the emotion. “You shouldn’t tease like that, Bruce,” he said, and turned to leave.
Bruce lunged out, not know what was going on but knowing that he had to stop Tony from leaving, because if they left this conversation here, Tony would pretend it had never happened and they’d never mention it again, and this was important. He didn’t know why, but he knew enough to trust his gut.
“I’m not teasing,” he blurted out, two fingers snagging in the sleeve of Tony’s terribly grungy t-shirt. For a billionaire, he spent a lot of time dressed like a hobo (like Bruce). Tony stopped short, not turning to face him. “I’m not teasing about that,” he repeated, because yeah, they joked a lot, but Tony really did have a nice face, and Bruce wasn’t ashamed to admit that he liked it. Amongst other things.
Then Tony turned to look at him, studying him sceptically, and Bruce wasn’t sure why he was sceptical, surely Tony was well aware of how attractive he was, even if he hadn’t known that Bruce was attracted to him.
“You’re not,” he said, flatly, but letting Bruce reel him in with a gentle grip on his t-shirt.
“Not about that,” Bruce repeated, again, because he’d say it as long as he had to, to get it into Tony’s thick skull. And with anyone else he’d have been nervous about basically admitting to his bisexuality (he hadn’t done that before), but Tony wouldn’t give a damn about that. And if he was wrong, then Tony would only be flattered by his interest, not angry. But there was a niggling thought in the back of Bruce’s head that he’d got it all wrong, that he’d missed a crucially important clue, in the way Tony’s eyes glazed over sometimes when he was talking to Bruce, and the way he didn’t blush for anyone else.
He took a risk and pulled him even closer, and Tony came easily, not hesitating until they were standing in each other’s spaces.
“You’re going to have to explain this to me, Tony, because I’m not sure what I’m doing,” Bruce admitted, because he didn’t. He’d been attracted to other men before, and he wanted to think about sex, wanted to think about how Tony would feel under his hands, but Tony hadn’t even admitted to liking him back, let alone wanted to get naked for him.
“I thought you were a genius,” Tony asked, and peeled his eyes away from Bruce’s lips, and oh, Bruce was almost a hundred per-cent sure now, because no way in hell that had been a platonic look, but he wanted concrete words to hold on to, before he jumped into this head first.
“Not like you, Tony,” he said, not thinking about it, fingers wrapping around Tony’s bicep, pleasingly firm under his palm, looking straight into Tony’s eyes. He could smell the coffee on Tony’s breath, and he was sure he smelled unattractively like black tea and day-old-scientist, but there was something about Tony’s grease-and-coffee smell that made his heart beat a little faster.
“God,” Tony breathed, “We’re such morons,” and leaned in to kiss Bruce, soft and warm and gentle, breath moist on Bruce’s upper lip. Bruce broke and hauled him in closer, planting his other hand firmly on Tony’s lower back, possessively. One of Tony’s hands cupped his cheek and the other one went straight into Bruce’s hair and tugged at him, changing the angle of the kiss. He moved, not knowing whether he was about to melt into a puddle or purr like a cat, or both.
The pads of Tony’s fingertips rubbed firm circles in Bruce’s scalp and almost against his will, his mouth parted in a moan and Tony took the chance to suck on his tongue, hot and wet and generous, tasting somewhat of sour coffee, and if it were anybody else, it would have been a little unpleasant. But it tasted like Tony and Bruce just leaned even deeper into the kiss, pressing his body against Tony’s and holding him close.
“You’re right,” Bruce agreed, when they stopped to breathe, “but at least we’ve figured it out now?”
“I officially,” Tony said, pausing to nibble at Bruce’s lower lip, “reinstate your genius status with the power vested in me as Tony Fucking Stark.” Bruce huffed a laugh and Tony kissed him again, stealing the breath from his mouth, not letting him complete the laugh. Their teeth clacked against each other’s, and it didn’t stop them.
“Bedroom?” Tony asked, already dragging Bruce along with him. Bruce, on his part, had no intention of protesting.
“You’re going to miss the Google Van though,” Bruce pointed out, because, well. Tony had been preparing for it all year.
Tony pushed him against the wall of the stairs up to his bedroom and kissed him, pinned in place. “Do I feel,” he ground his hips against Bruce’s thigh, where he could feel the undeniable erection, “like I care?”
Bruce took the initiative to put his hands on Tony’s ass (he could touch now!) and repeated the movement. “Not in the least, Tony.” When Tony kissed him again, and pulled him the rest of the way up the stairs, he didn’t interrupt again. A Google Van came around once a year, but things like this only happened once a lifetime.