Jensen tugs at his bow tie and tries not to look like he's bored. All he wants to do is play around in the Batcave, maybe spruce up some of the outdated security software his Uncle had in the Batmobile. Instead he's been hogtied into this damn monkey suit.
The rest of his team is on leave, scattered through out the country. Not even Pooch is here to distract him from all the rich assholes that are here kissing up to his Uncle. Jensen is pretty sure half of them are of the criminal type.
“Stop fidgeting. You look fine,” Dick announces, stepping up and batting Jensen's hands away from his bow tie in a smooth motion. Unlike Jensen, Dick actually looks like he belongs here: In this room, in this life, in this horrible suit.
“It's too tight.”
“No, it's fitted. You should wear fitted clothing more often instead of those army rags,” Bruce adds, stepping up beside Jensen. Dick hides a smirk in his glass of champagne then rolls his eyes and turns to glance at Bruce who's stiffened up, hackles raising like possessive, angry dog.
“Stark at your six,” Dick mutters to Jensen, who slumps even more. Bruce had warned him about Stark. Given him implicit instructions to not be in the same room alone as Stark, to not say more then three words to Stark - to avoid freaking eye contact with Stark.
Dick had gone so far as to tell him that Tony Stark had the unfortunate habit of sleeping with everything that held still long enough. Apparently a few years ago, there had been an incident with lots of alcohol and a badly placed knothole in a maple tree during one of the billionare’s infamous birthday parties.
“Can I go?”
“You're my nephew Jacob. It would be rude for me to invite you to spend time with me and not show you off.” Bruce speaks snidely, enjoying the near violent eye roll his nephew gives. “Stark won't come near you as long as I'm around. He hates me too much. I think it's because I'm richer.”
Jensen balances his weight on the balls of his feet and prays for one of the caterers to bring him something he's allergic to, so he can escape this party sooner rather than later. He feels eyes on him and glances up, sure it's going to be another sorority debutante that's assured they can sleep their way into the Wayne family.
Instead, it's Stark, watching him with an expression that makes him feel hunted. It takes his breath away for a moment and he can feel his fight or flight kicking in, but half a million dollars in army training keeps him looking bored. He gives Stark a cocky sort of smirk: You can look but you can't touch.
As it turns out, Bruce's prophecy has turned out wrong, and Stark heads over to where they stand. He nods to Bruce, grins at Dick, and holds out his hand for Jensen. “Tony Stark,” he says by way of introduction, all but purred in a whiskey-bedroom sort of voice. “You must be Jacob Jensen-Wayne.”
“It's nice to know that fancy MIT education wasn't wasted on you,” Jensen replies with a snarky kind of grin, and tightens his grip, trying to get Stark to back off.
“Quite a grip you've got,” Tony comments, after he's extracted his hand from Jensen's. He flexes it into a fist a couple of times and makes a show of shaking it out until Jensen wants to punch him. He's seen whores with more subtlety.
“Can I go now?” Jensen asks again, trying to keep the whine out of his voice.
“But we've only just met.” Tony's blinking quickly, trying to come off as innocent and friendly. It's the exact same thing Clay does when he's trying to convince them he hasn't met another one of his soon to be psychotic ex's. Or when Cougar's trying to get off the couch because he slept in Jensen's bed with another trashy girl he brought home from the bar.
“I bet Alfred needs help with stuff. Lots and lots of help.”
“Nice try,” Dick mutters, and Jensen glares at him. “If I have to suffer, so do you.”
“Boys.” Bruce levels them both with a look that makes Jensen feel like he's eight years old with a priceless Ming vase shattered in pieces at his feet, because he'd been skateboarding around the living room even after Alfred had told him not to.
“So what do you do Jacob? May I call you Jacob?”
Bruce raises an eyebrow and crosses his arms at Tony's mostly harmless smile. He's not worried about his nephew, not even around Stark. Jensen can take care of himself, but he also knows about Stark's reputation and his nephew doesn't need that sort of talk.
“Work for the army,” Jensen mutters, scuffing his nine hundred dollar Ferragamo loafer against the hardwood floor.
“That's fascinating. What branch?”
“You sure about that? I have a pretty high clearance.”
“No you don't.” Jensen knows these things. He's checked. “Colonel Rhodes does.”
“You know Rhodie?”
“We've met a few times. He's cool.” Jensen doesn't tell him that Colonel Rhodes and Colonel Clay have a love/hate relationship that tends to land the Losers with more missions in Middle-of-nowhere, Tanzania then any other Spec Ops team, because Clay pissed off Rhodie again.
Stark's expression flows from sexyface to downright predatory, and Jensen gets a disturbing flash of Roque right before he starts playing dirty. He can practically read Stark's mind, the binary of ’Rhodie knows him. I can use this’, written clear as day in the sudden gleam in his eyes. Finally, Bruce takes pity on him and pats him on the shoulder, letting him know he can escape if he provides the way out.
“Didn't you say you wanted to talk to Tony here about a modified non lethal hollow tipped rounds for police issued nine mils?” Jensen says quickly, shooting off a grin as he ducks out as fast as he can, leaving the billionaires to their business. He feels Tony's eyes on him every step of the way.
He makes it to the stairs, intending to sneak into the kitchen for one of those awesome chocolate chip cookies that Alfred had baked earlier, except there's a lovely red head blocking them. And the expression on her face tells Jensen they're about to have the sort of chat he really hates having. Pooch loves to have them. About all the awkward shit Jensen likes to ignore. Like the way Cougar, and sometimes Roque, will leave his room in the morning when they think everyone else is asleep.
That short of shit you ignore. Bottle it up and pretend it's because you were having a sleep over and talking about boys.
“Mr. Jensen-Wayne I presume.”
“Ms. Potts.” Jensen fights the urge to tug on his bow tie and wishes Dick would swoop in and rescue him. “I like your-” He tries to find something that won't make him sound like some sort of babbling man child. “shoes.”
“Thank you.” She smiles briefly, a flicker of humor before her face goes iceberg still again. It's like being in front of a hot redheaded Cougar. And Holy Motherboard that's hotter then it has any right to be. “You've met Tony have you not?”
“Yeeeessssss.” He draws the answer out, wondering what the hell she's getting at.
“He approached you?”
“Seriously?” He can't help but laugh in her face. “Lady, the last thing I need is a financial backing. I think we both know why he's acting like a child with a new toy.” Shock flutters across her features. Kind of nice to see he threw her like that.
“Super secret S.H.I.E.L.D file telling me to stay away? Of course I looked inside it. The security was actually kind of impressive. Took me twice as long to get through the firewalls as it normally does for the CIA.” Jensen shrugs, shoving his hands in his pockets.
“Do you have somewhere we can talk in private.” The way she stresses the word makes Jensen want to laugh in her face again. As if his Uncle would have any room in his house not bugged up with surveillance equipment. Instead, he shrugs once more and leads her into the library, ignoring the raised eyebrow he gets from Dick when he wanders out into the hallway.
Jensen doesn’t bother shutting the library door and turns, holding up a hand to forestall whatever Pepper had been about to say. “Blah blah Tony's not as bad as he seems, blah blah, he has a heart, blah blah, you'd like him if you got to know him, blah blah, I'm getting paid to tell you this because it keeps him happy.” At Pepper’s expression, Jensen raises an eyebrow. “Tell me that wasn’t the speech I was about to get.”
He's surprised to see the full on humor bloom across her face.
“You are not to be in the same room as Tony without supervision and at least three chaperones. And while Tony's heart seems to be more of an urban legend, I can assure you he does have one, buried underneath the lechery. His come-on’s are embarrassing for all parties forced to watch, and I have the distinct pleasure of kicking out every and all guests from his bedroom, once the sun comes up.”
“Oh thank god. For a second there I thought you were going to encourage him.” Jensen presses a hand to his heart and flutters it there. “I work with a guy like him. Sleeps with anything that stands still long enough.”
“That sounds like Tony,” Pepper says dryly.
“Gives me a certain immunity to the smug charm.” Jensen cocks his head to the side the same time Pepper does. They look at each other with twin expressions of resignation.
“Fuck.” Jensen’s the one who says it aloud, but he can tell Pepper is thinking it.
“Pepper there you are. Oh, hello again Jacob.”
Tony grins at Jensen's dead pan reply, like he thinks he's wearing down the other man.
“So Jacob. I work with weapons design, and you use weapons. I think it would be very beneficial for us to work together in a close work environment.”
Tony blinks, thrown off his game a little. He shoots Pepper a glance, like she's betrayed him by not warming Jensen up for his patter. “Opportunity of a lifetime Jacob.”
“I don’t think so.” Jensen grins. “But you keep telling yourself that.”
Tony opens his mouth to say something that will no doubt be cringe worthy, and Alfred is suddenly there. His expression serene as he hands Jensen a slim black house phone.
“For you, Master Jacob.”
“Thanks Alfred.” Jensen puts the phone to his ear. “ Hello?”
“Yo Jensen.” Jensen has never been so glad to hear Roque's voice. “You still up in Gotham?”
“Good. I hear some crazy shit goes on up there.”
“Cool. I'm outside.”
“Wait. Like outside-outside?”
“Yeah. The rent-a-cop here won't let me in.”
“I'll uh...give me a second.” Jensen turns to Alfred. “Can we let Roque in?”
“Of course. If I had known he was here I would have let him in already.”
“Alfred's coming to get you. I'm gonna change.”
“Into a human?”
“Ha ha man. My uncle has me in a monkey suit. There's a charity ball for rich fuckers.” He barely remembers that Pepper is still in the room and shoots her an apologetic look.
“Stay in it. I'll help you out of it later.” The room feels a little too warm at the smolder in Roque's voice and he nods, then remembers Roque can't see him.
“Okaybye.” He has to hang up or he'll embarrass himself. He sits down in one of the his uncle’s plush, leather armchairs and waits for Roque, restlessly tapping his very expensive shoes against the even more expensive carpet, as if the movement might make the time pass quicker.
It's the longest ten minutes of Jensen’s life; he fidgets in his chair and listens to Tony attempt some sort of small talk. The man is so used to his money and fame paving the way for him that he doesn't seem to understand rejection.
“Master Jacob. Your guest is in the main foyer,” Alfred announces, and Jensen suddenly feels awkward. He wants to stay in this chair for the rest of his life, because there's no way Roque isn't going to mock him forever once he sees his suit. “Shall I show him into the library?”
“Yeah, sure. Thanks Alfred.”
“Very good sir.”
“So who is this guy? Obviously a team player of yours. How well do you know him? Does Rhodie know him too?” Apparently Tony really wants to sleep with him, because he's gone from charming to desperate.
Roque steps into the library and Jensen remembers that not everyone is as comfortable in this place as he is. He looks as awkward as Jensen feels, wearing jeans and a ratty black t-shirt that clings to him in a way that leaves little to the imagination.
Roque's eyes rake over him and one eyebrow raises. It’s a subtle expression that sends a bolt of heat all the way through Jensen, who clings to the arm of his chair like he's drowning.
“Not what I pictured when you said monkey suit.” Roque’s voice is raspy with no sleep.
Tony immediately inserts himself into Roque’s field of vision. “Hi. I'm Tony Stark. You probably know me better as Iron Man. Famous vigilante superhero.” He thrusts out a hand; Roque ignores it.
He doesn’t look impressed and Pepper has her lips pressed together so tightly her mouth seems to be a flat line. Jensen's pretty sure this can't get any weirder, and then his Uncle walks in, flanked by Dick. Jensen gets out of his chair
“William. Had I known you would be stopping by I would have had the guest house prepared for you.” Bruce bares his teeth in what could loosely be called a smile and Dick stands behind him, ready to fight.
“It's no problem. Me and Jakey here have a lot to catch up on. It'll be like a sleep over.” Jensen titters nervously at the expression on Dick's face - half amusement, half hostility. Bruce wants to throw him out, but it would be like giving Tony free reign on his nephew.
“Of course.” There's something about Roque that sets all of Bruce's protective instincts on edge, and normally Jensen would find this hilarious and then do his best to exploit it. Because watching his uncle cockblock Roque? Hand’s down the funniest thing since people figured out they could post their stupid animal videos on Youtube.
“Jacob. My personal number. Call me if you change your mind about that...proposition,” Tony purrs, handing Jensen a business card in a long stroke from his shoulder to the tips of his fingers. Pepper shares a commiserating look of misery with Jensen. “In fact, call me if you ever get tired of the military way of life. I'm sure I could set you up with a little something.”
There is literally no way this is going to end well for him. Jensen knows this. So he squeaks out a ‘thank you’ and grabs for the card. Instead Tony smirks at him and slides it slowly into his breast pocket, patting his chest twice.
Roque actually looks amused when Jensen glances at him over Tony's shoulder. He smirks slowly at Jensen when their eyes meet, which of course means that Dick has to loudly announce that if it gets any gayer in here it's gonna turn into a disco. Bruce frowns and smacks his ward across the back of the head, and, with a pointed look, sends Jensen scurrying out of the library, Roque in tow.
The time change between Boston and Gotham City keeps Roque from sleeping, and he finds himself wandering through the rose garden at the back of the estate. There’s a full moon lighting his way, and he's been on enough night ops to find his way around the place without stumbling over the uneven ground.
The night is quiet, the air cool enough to make it pleasant without being too cold. Every now and again a firefly would light up, yellow and glowing like something out of a faerie story. It adds to the quiet elegance of the garden. Roque feels out of place.
There’s a faint sound from behind him: the whoosh of misplaced air that always accompanies someone trying to sneak up into your blind spot. Quick feint to the left, spin to the right, arm up, knife to the enemy's carotid artery.
Roque isn’t surprised to be holding his blade level to Bruce's throat. Though, at the moment, Bruce is decked out in his black bondage gear, masked face looking halfway retarded. It takes a moment for Roque to get his composure back, and to keep from laughing directly in Bruce's face.
“William.” Bruce’s voice is a lower register, almost raspy and Roque takes another moment to compose himself under the guise of tucking his knife away.
“Nice...suit.” Bruce stares him down, and Roque serves up a lazy grin. He can appreciate the change in attitude. And it takes balls to dress up like a bat and go out into a city that hates him, night after night, to protect it's citizens from the sort of people even Roque admits are fucked in the head. Not that he'll ever admit that to Bruce's face.
“I don't trust you.”
“You don’t have to. He does.” Roque shrugs, because he's used to being the guy no one likes. Jensen trusts him with his life, and that's enough.
“I don't like you.”
“Something we have in common. I don't like you either.”
Bruce nods once, sharp and concise. “As much as I don't like you. I don't like Tony Stark more.”
Roque considers this and cocks his head to the side. Bruce straightens a little, his black leather suit creaking. “He's dangerous to every one he gets close to.”
“Sounds like someone I know.”
“Yes, but your Colonel doesn't have the resources to end the world in a fit of jealous rage.”
“Oh you'd be surprised what he can gets his hands on when he needs to.” Roque sticks his hands in his pockets, his body language as non threatening as he can make it.
“I'm glad we've had this talk.” Bruce stares at him for a few moments, and it's obvious that he wants to be the bigger man; wants Roque to look away first. But Roque’s seen things, done things, that makes this right here seem no more threatening then a childhood game.
“I'll keep him busy.” Roque lets the smirk drag across his face, purposefully infuriating Bruce. “He won't have time to talk to Stark.”
Bruce doesn't bother to comment, just sinks into the shadows like he was never there at all.
James Rhodes fumbles for his phone, the shrill ring tone waking him from a deep sleep. Tony's obnoxious face is grinning at him from the flashing screen and he groans, wondering what he'd done in a past life to deserve this.
“Someone had better be dead.”
“Rhodie. How are you? Were you sleeping? Of course you were sleeping. Sorry for waking you up. But listen, I have this thing I need your help with.” Jim has learned a long time ago that you don’t try to reason with Tony, because he will just steam roll you over with his enthusiasm. Instead, he lets out a long sigh, and panders to Tony in the passive/aggressive style that works the best.
“Why are you calling me in the middle of the night?”
“Listen. Okay listen. There's a guy here I think you know. He's Bruce's nephew and-”
“Let me stop you right there.” Jim can feel a headache brewing and flips on the lamp beside his bed. “Jake Jensen is a valuable asset to the united states military.”
“And not because he looks like your favorite defrosted pin up boy from the nineteen forties. You need to stay away from him.”
“See that's why I called you. Everyone's been telling me to stay away from him. So since you two work together, you could talk to him for me. Tell him about how I saved a bus load of orphaned kittens from Somalian drug lords.”
“You've never been to Somalia.”
“Not the point Rhodie. Who's side are you on here?” There’s huff on the other line and Rhodie is willing bet his entire paycheck that Tony’s pacing. “Just once and I can get him out of my system.”
“Tony, if I come down there, it will be to take you back home in a straight jacket and a muzzle.”
“You always were the kinky one.”
“Stay away from Corporal Jensen. He's too good for you. I'm going back to sleep.”
“But-” Tony's pleading is cut short when Rhodie hangs up. After a few moments of debate, he shuts off his phone, placing the need for a few hours of uninterrupted rest over the possibility of an emergency on base.
Tony stares down at his phone. Rhodie hung up on him. Now that’s just rude and uncalled for! Brown eyes narrow and Tony pulls the Digital Interface handheld from his pocket and powers it up. A few taps on the screen is all it takes and Rhodie's phone is in his control.
A few more taps to turn it on, and, rather then dial the number, he switches on the speaker aspect of it. Otherwise Rhodie will just ignore his calls. Rude much?
“James Rupert Rhodes.”
“What did I do to deserve you as a friend?”
“Jimmy, you're lucky to even know me.”
“Don't call me Jimmy.”
“Jimmy. I'll owe you.”
“You always say that.”
“Yeah but this time I mean it.”
“You always say that too.”
“Okay look. You help me with this one tiny thing and I'll put in that hideous laser sighting sub machine gun you keep harassing me about. And I'll include all the new updates on my War Machine suit.”
“Oh it's nothing. Just some new flight stabilizers and a built in iPod.”
“And I'll do it all for fre- wait what?”
“I'll do it. I have no integrity. Let me just sign away my soul now.”
“You're such a drama queen. I'll see you tonight. Happy'll meet you at the airport. Get some sleep.”
While Alfred has Jensen distracted in the kitchen, passing down some sort of super secret recipe he wouldn't even give to Bruce, Roque’s been summoned to the dojo in the basement. He's been expecting something like this, wondering when Bruce was going to pull his, 'I'm just cleaning my shotgun on the kitchen table,' father figure routine.
Dick is waiting for him, standing in a white gi, another one laid across a chair for Roque. Bruce is nowhere to be seen and Dick has nothing to add when Roque raises an eyebrow in a silent question. Probably off signing paperwork or harassing his maids then.
Roque changes quickly, unsurprised that the gi fits him perfectly. He steps back out onto the mat and faces Dick, who is picking at his nails like he’s bored. Little shit head.
Roque doesn’t do anything as cliche as crack his knuckles, doesn’t call out insults or posture in a threatening way. Just takes his place on the opposite side of the mat and waits for Dick to make the first move. He isn’t disappointed.
Dick lunges forward, darting to the left in a feint and coming in low and fast from the right. He’s good, Roque will give him that, but Dick doesn’t have the experience Roque has. He’s fought half assed wanna-be gangsters that can barely find the safety switch on their guns, let alone take a man in hand-to-hand combat. Still, he’s fast and he’s fluid, and Roque can appreciate that - still doesn’t mean he’s going to go easy on him. At all.
Roque keeps his stance neutral until Dick gets in close enough to grab. It is only then he reacts, snapping out his left forearm while swinging low with his right. Dick is new enough at this to still telegraph his movements, though it’s not enough for a street punk to pick up on. But to a fighter with Roque’s capabilities and knowledge, Dick might as well be shouting out what move he is going to make next, like those dumbasses from that seizure-inducing, Japanese cartoon that Jensen loves so damn much.
His strike catches Dick in the middle of his chest, sending him stumbling back a few feet as he tries to regain his balance. Dick shakes it off and darts back in, his style subtly changing from Judo to Aikido. Roque grins and adjusts his stance. He lets Dick come at him again.
To have mastered two martial arts at such a young age is impressive, it’s just too bad Roque knows half a dozen, far deadlier styles. Dick uses his to incapacitate people; Roque uses his to kill. Out of the five men that make up the Losers, Roque is one of the best at hand-to-hand combat.
It’s obvious that Dick is overconfident in his abilities, thinking Roque will go easy on him, underestimate him. Instead, Roque cocks his head, and waits for the opportune moment to strike and lash out. He ducks under Dick’s first punch, dodges his kick, and blocks his second strike. The kid is fast, but he’s faster.
In a lightening-quick move, Roque grabs Dick’s wrist and twists him around, knocking his feet out from under him and pinning him to the mat. He keeps Dick’s arm wrenched behind his back, pulled up, his wrist nearly touching his shoulder. Dick doesn’t struggle, doesn’t attempt to get out of the hold. Instead, he waits until Roque releases him, and then scissor kicks his legs in an attempt to knock Roque down and gain the upper hand.
Unfortunately, Roque sees the counterattack coming three moves away and, with a grace belying his bulk, leaps away from Dick in a flashy one handed front flip. He lands in a crouch and grins at him; Dick returns his smile with a fierce glare from two feet away.
“Gotta be faster then that boy,” Roque taunts, eyes lighting up when his words find their mark. Dick charges at him, anger making him stupid. Roque laughs, dodging punches and blocking kicks, practically dancing circles around him.
Instead of realizing Roque is toying with him, Dick just gets angrier and angrier, and his movements start getting sloppy. He isn’t mixing Judo and Aikido into one flawless dance of death like he should be, instead he’s falling back to the one he knows best. Falling back to Aikido, and onto moves he telegraphs before he even thinks of making them.
After nearly ten minutes of dancing around the dojo, never letting Dick land a single blow, Roque starts getting bored and decides to end it. He ducks under a strike meant to crush his trachea and surges up fast, wrapping a hand around Dick’s throat. Roque hooks a leg around Dick’s knee and pulls it out from under him, slamming him back onto the mat and pinning him in less than three heartbeats.
Dick’s eyes go huge and he’s gasping for air. He’s impressed despite himself. Roque makes him tap out before he lets him up, holding out a hand to help Dick to his feet.
“Where the hell did you learn that? What was that?” Dick gasps out, rubbing his throat. He shakes Roque’s hand, conceding it a good match, though it feels like his pride is more bruised than his body.
“Man in Russia taught me that. He came up to my elbow, weighed about ninety pounds, and knocked me on my ass every single time I fought him. And no, I am not teaching you that. You’re still green enough to not know how strong you are. End up killing someone by accident, and I hella ain’t taking responsibility for your actions.”
“Hell no,” Roque snaps and turns, heading for the showers. “I ain’t even telling you the name. Idiot like you’ll end up killing yourself trying to master it.”
Somehow, in the span of eighteen hours Roque has gotten a custom made suit done up in white linen. He takes one look at it and starts swearing, while Jensen laughs his ass off, delighted at the thought of Roque suffering through the same monkey-suited hell as him, all night long.
Bruce steps up, smoothly intoning that this is a gift for all the times he’s no doubt saved Jensen’s ass, and that he’s expected to attend tonight’s festivities as an honoured guest. Roque glowers the entire time Bruce talks, and Bruce smiles the smile of a man who’s knows that while he may not have yet won the war, this battle belongs to him. Then Alfred steps up and tells him Bruce’s tailor, one of his oldest friends, had worked his fingers nearly to the bone to prepare the suit in time.
And goddammit, anything else but Alfred and his big sad eyes. Roque actually likes Alfred and isn’t afraid to admit it. He’s never met someone who can sneak up on him as often as Alfred manages it. He’s almost sure Alfred has undergone SERE, though with the skillset the butler seems to have, and Roque is sure he’s only seen a quarter of what the old man is capable of.
He’s a little afraid to ask.
So he puts the damn suit on, and lets Alfred adjust his tie and the little coloured pocket square that matches the subtle gold hue of the tie. He catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror and smirks a little, impressed with how good he looks. The cut of the suit is perfect, clinging where it needs to and hanging where it should, and the colour makes his skin glow. The pale gold of the tie brings out his eyes, makes them look amber instead of just brown.
Jensen chokes on air when he sees him and Dick smacks him across the back of the head. He lets out a wolf whistle, telling Roque he cleans up nicely, could almost pass for one of the blueblooded assholes that will be swarming the manor tonight. Roque takes it as the compliment it’s meant to be, and tells Dick he’s still not teaching him that move.
Alfred seems like a proud father, and it feels odd to have someone beaming at him like that. Like he did something right, instead of always fucking up. Even Bruce seems impressed, despite himself. Murmuring something about how a suit made by Andreis Widmark can make anyone look good. And then Bruce straightens his tie, like Roque had let it go loose and sloppy in the five minutes since Alfred had fiddled with it.
But he lets Bruce flick imaginary lint off his shoulders and straighten his lapels and the little coloured square of fabric in his pocket. And when Bruce steps back, it feels like something in the air has changed, and maybe he’s not just the babykiller on Jensen’s team that everyone disapproves of. It feels like Bruce has warmed up to him a tiny bit.
It feels nice.
Everyone leaves the room and Jensen stands behind Roque, drawing a line from his neck down his back, ending just above his ass. If Roque didn’t know the guy any better, he’d say Jensen is just feeling the fabric, but when he turns and glances at his him, he takes in the way Jensen’s pupils are blown, his breath just a little too quick.
“Like what you see?” He purrs out and Jensen’s grin is sharp and wicked.
“After this is over, I’m peeling this off of you with my teeth,” Jensen murmurs, leaning forward to nip at the shell of Roque’s ear. He disappears out the door before Roque can retaliate.
Of all the people Jensen is expecting here tonight, James Rhodes is not one of them. Colonel Rhodes, or Rhodie as Tony Stark calls him, does not look impressed at being here, forced to mingle with civilians. Jensen has to wonder why he’s even here, because he doesn’t seem the type to play the mind games of the politically inclined.
“So, Jake,” Tony purrs “I brought my friend. You two know each other. Play nice while I go mingle with the other billionaires.” And then he vanishes into the crowd. Jensen glances at Rhodes out of the corner of his eye, unable to help the sudden stiffness of his stance.
Frank Clay was the Colonel that didn’t care how you stood as long as you got the job done. James Rhodes was the Colonel that liked everything neat and by the book.
“Colonel,” Jensen mumbles, fighting the urge to snap off a salute and stand at attention.
“We’re not anywhere near a base. Army or Airforce. Call me Jim.”
“...I don’t feel comfortable doing that sir.”
“You want me to make it an order?” Jim raises an eyebrow and smirks as he grabs a flute of pale gold champagne from a passing tray. He sips it, enjoying the explosion of bubbles on his tongue and the half-confused expression on the face of one of the smartest people he knows. There’s never been an actual throw-down of science, but Jim thinks Jensen might be able to take on Tony, head-to-head.
The kid is off-the-charts smart in a way that’s just a little bit terrifying, and Jim takes a moment to thank the Gods of war that the Army got to Jensen first before he figured out that it might be in his best interest financially to offer his services to whichever country paid the highest.
“Yo Jay, how long before we can ditch this.....Colonel Rhodes, I didn’t expect to see you here.” Roque slips from civilian to Captain Roque in the blink of an eye. He goes from half-slouching to perfect-posture so fast, that Jensen thinks he can hear vertebrae popping.
“Captain Roque.” Jim takes in his suit and can’t keep the shit-eating grin off his face. “That’s a fine suit.” Roque fidgets in embarrassment and Jim starts to really enjoy himself, fishing his phone out of his pocket so he can take a picture. This isn’t just a blackmail opportunity, this is a moment in time that will live on in infamy.
“Thank you Sir. Jay, can I talk to you for a second?” Roque doesn’t wait for Jim to dismiss them, just grabs Jensen’s elbow and drags him away. They aren’t anywhere near a base and Jim doesn’t have his uniform on, which means he can’t give them a direct order, as none of them are on duty tonight.
Jim looks across the room to where Tony is flapping at him in a mostly discreet manner. His frantic hand gestures probably mean something like, ‘Who is that man in the white suit and why is he taking my shiny new toy away with him?’ or maybe, ‘Go after them you fool, this isn’t what I pay you for!’ which is just ridiculous because Tony doesn’t pay Jim’s cheque at all.
Regardless, Jim sighs and heads after the pair who’ve disappeared from the room and gone out onto one of the moonlight drenched balconies overlooking the exquisitely kept rose garden. There’s no one on the terrace when Jim steps out, save for a French diplomat and a woman that’s definitely not his wife.
He turns, scanning in all directions, even going so far as to lean over the balcony and make sure they haven’t escaped downward. Every direction is clear, which only leaves the roof. And sure enough, as soon as he glances upwards, Jim sees a leg lift over the fancy molding of Bruce’s Gothica style roof. For men like Roque and Jensen, free climbing a structure with as many hand and foot holds as Bruce Wayne’s house, is essentially a walk in the park.
Jim finishes his beer, enjoying the few moments of silence and wondering how fast Jensen and Roque are going to be before making a reappearance. Bruce’s butler seems somehow more terrifyingly efficient then Pepper, and twice as sneaky. The man has snuck up on him more the once tonight, and seems to take pleasure in keeping him off guard.
As soon as his mental countdown hits zero, Tony barrels through the double doors and leers at the French diplomat until he and his lady friend leave. He then turns to Jim, and taps his foot impatiently, waiting for the Colonel to break. Jim leans against the stone railing and enjoys the cool night air, ignoring Tony. It pisses the guy off to be ignored. He’s got the personality of a three year-old: he always has to be the center of attention no matter what he or anyone else is doing.
“You let them get away,” Tony finally says, a plaintive whining note colouring his voice. “I told you not to let them get away. And was that Captain Roque in the white suit? It really brings out his eyes...I should tell him that.”
“You really shouldn’t,” Jim replies, amused by the turn of events. He lets the thought of Roque eviscerating Tony for hitting on him dance through his mind, before he settles in to do some serious damage control. “The Captain doesn’t have manners or restraint that Corporal Jensen has.”
“Don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.” Jim’s amusement is growing by the minute. He leaves Tony on the balcony and heads back inside to grab a glass of fizzy water instead of more champagne. If it bubbles, Tony’ll think it’s alcohol related and won’t badger him to do shots, like the last boring gala he got dragged to. That had ended with his face splashed over the front page of the society section.
The next few weeks hadn't been pretty. He still doesn’t like to talk about it.
Bruce glances at the balcony door where Roque and Jensen have disappeared. He sees Jim Rhodes, the Air force Colonel that Tony Stark had brought as his plus one, follow them out. Tony goes out a few minutes later, once he’s shaken the debutantes off his arm.
Rhodes comes back in and heads to the bar, Tony’s still on the balcony, and if he knows his nephew, Jensen’s on the roof. Alfred didn’t even have to nod to Bruce, just headed for the stairs as soon as Jensen had made a beeline for the open doors.
Bruce lets out a quiet sigh and goes back to half listening to one of the Gotham’s prominent celebrities talk about what it’s like to be in the spotlight. He pastes a pleasant expression on his face and waits for the chance to make a polite escape without making it look like an escape. Everything is a game with these people: the political world seems like a tightrope over a shark tank at times.
One misstep and you’re being eaten alive.
Jensen’s still half laughing when he follows Roque up over the top of the building. Somehow the other man manages to keep his suit pristine and spotless. Jensen isn’t even going to wonder how he did that, but he figures it’s because even the rooftop grime is too afraid of Roque to even dare sully his clothing.
As soon as he’s up Roque wraps a hand around the back of his neck and hauls him in close, nipping at his bottom lip until Jensen opens his mouth. Roque tastes like expensive champagne and crab cakes and tiny golden mushroom caps stuffed with cheese and basil. There’s an undercurrent of something that Jensen imagines electricity would taste like, if he was stupid enough to stick his tongue to a live wire and somehow live through the experience.
Jensen giggles into the kiss; can’t help himself. He’s still laughing at the expression on Roque’s face when he’d seen Colonel Rhodes, laughing at the both of them for nearly letting an off-the-clock officer boss them around. Roque seems to take this as a dare and wrestles Jensen back against one of the towers that spear up from the roof.
He slides a leg between Jensen’s thighs, pushing upwards softly until Jensen is moaning into his mouth, seemingly on the cusp of giving into the urge and riding Roque’s thigh until he’s spent and shivering, his expensive suit ruined.
It’s a heady thought, always is, that he can hold so much power over someone like Jensen. Someone who comes from all this, has every possible thing at his fingertips and has never wanted for anything. That a man like that would choose him over all this, every single time, is a thought that makes Roque feel drunk when he thinks about it.
Roque gentles his touch, rubbing his thumb against Jensen’s jaw and easing away. Jensen whines against his mouth, grabbing at his hips and trying to pull him closer. Roque just grins, nipping at the corner of Jensen’s mouth and pulling away. He has the distinct feeling Alfred is going to show up at any moment and order them back down to the party, and if there’s one person in the world he really doesn’t want getting a free show, Alfred is the guy. Tony Stark taking a close second place.
Ten seconds later, when they’ve both straightened themselves out enough so it doesn’t look like they’ve been making out on the roof, a door on the spire across from them opens and Alfred steps out, raising an eyebrow and giving them both an unimpressed face. Jensen grins sheepishly and heads back into the fray. Roque rolls his shoulders to ease the tension he can feel tightening his muscles, winding tauter at the thought of going back down there.
But if Jensen can do it, so can he. SERE was worst two weeks of his life, but having these brainless bimbo’s paw at him and ask which gym he goes to, is a strong competitor. Alfred stays, holding open the door until Roque realises it’s being held for him. He feels like an asshole and heads over, his antisocial scowl set firmly in place to scare off both debutante and politician.
As soon as Jensen gets back into the room Tony Stark is at his side, all smiles and cheer. He can’t stop staring at Jensen’s mouth, and Jensen knows from that one time that Roque and Cougar found a honeymoon suite with the mirrored ceiling and decided to play around with it, that his mouth is red and swollen and he probably looks like he’s been sucking cock.
He can’t help the low flush that starts to crawl up his neck, making his ears hot and his cheeks burn. He chews on the corner of his mouth, a bad habit he just can’t seem to break, until he realizes that’s just making it worse and Tony’s actually stopped talking, his eyes focused on Jensen’s bottom lip.
Literally everyone he knows that could help him is busy talking to someone else, and there’s pretty much no way to get away from Tony without a scene being caused. And it wouldn’t be Jensen causing the scene, as surprising a thought as it is, between himself and Tony Stark, he’s the more mature one.
So, rather then try to escape he decides to pull out his socially awkward self in he hopes that something he says will make Tony rethink this whole thing about pursuing him.
“Do you like Steve because he looks like me, or me, because I look like Steve?” Jensen asks,in a mostly conversational tone. Tony actually freezes, mouth falling open and eyes going round. “I mean sure, he came before me, but you knew who I was before you met him. And it’s kind of freaky how much we look alike.”
“I...you...how do you know about...that?” Tony finishes weakly and Jensen gives him the look he normally reserves for Clay, when the man asks him something stupid like, ‘Can you do that thing with the computers?’
If it’s online, he knows about it. And while S.H.I.E.L.D’s mainframe is pretty damn secure, it only took him five more hours then it took to hack into the Pentagon. He’s half sure they know he’s snooping around in there and they’re only letting him stay because they know who he is, what he can do, and that some of the stuff in their database is the sort of stuff someone like Jensen actually needs to know.
“I hacked S.H.I.E.L.D.” Jensen shrugs. “Plus, if you google Steve Rogers, there’s a couple fansites already up. And from the amount of photos of him shirtless, I figure you’re running at least one of them.”
Tony looks completely taken aback. Like he’d thought Jensen was just going to sit idly by and be visually groped and undressed.
“Well what else was I supposed to do with my spare time? Sudoku?” Jensen shrugs and steals a crab cake from a passing member of the wait staff.