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Tactical Advantage

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Everyone hated the quarterly medicals.

After battle patch-up jobs were one thing, when you are bleeding like a busted pipe or your elbow is going the wrong way, human-gamma bomb and super soldier alike recognize the need for a doctor. But when it’s a nice sunny day right smack between Zemo unleashing a killer robot and A.I.M. releasing, well, a killer robot in another color scheme, when it’s quiet enough in Stark Tower that the people below the top two floors might actually be getting some work done, when even Natasha has stayed in her dressing gown (that probably isn’t lined in kevlar--probably) past 10am; on days like that no one wants to think about doctors or their own mortality (where applicable).

But everyone eventually submits. Whether by begging or bribing or threat of tasser, everyone submits to Agent Coulson’s prodding.

Except for Tony.

The thing about Tony, the thing about a lot of people that are too smart for their own good, is that the more you tell them to do something the less they want to do it. It’s got to be their idea or you’re just talking to a wall and adding bricks to fortify it with every nagging word.

But Agent Coulson was nothing if not resourceful (you don’t get to be a superhero nanny for nothing, after all) and not above recruiting the right kind of help.


“I’m still not sure what you expect me to do, I can hardly order him to do it.” Steve frowned at the smaller man.

“You are the team leader. Technically, you could,” Coulson corrected.

“You know it doesn’t work like that; Tony only listens to me on missions half the time, I’m not going to have much more luck than you out of combat.”

“I think you are underestimating your assets in this particular situation.”

Steve blinked.

Coulson simply maintained the amiable smile that he had been wearing through the whole conversation.

Steve blinked again.

“I believe that you might be more adept at persuading Mr. Stark than any other member of SHIELD.”

Steve’s cheeks colored and Coulson was satisfied that the Captain had got his meaning.

“That wouldn’t be fair to Tony. I won’t want to manipulate him, it’s underhanded and not the way you treat a friend let alone a--” Steve faltered on finding the right word, “well, a partner.”

“I am perfectly aware of your relationship with Mr. Stark and I would never go so far as to ask you to lie to him but, you do care for him, yes?”

“Of course, I do.” Steve’s expression was firm and resolute.

“Then you must be concerned for his well-being. The medical needs to be done, you know the trouble he had before the the palladium poisoning. He could be keeping something else quiet, or not even be aware of a deadly ailment he contracted. We are all in a very hazardous line of work, Captain, you can’t deny that anyone who loved Mr.Stark would want him to be as healthy as he could be.”

Steve stood stock still, a stern look of worry fixed on his face.

Agent Coulson's non-threatening smile stayed, unfaltering.


“Hey you.” Steve wrapped his arms around Tony’s middle and pressed his nose into to his erratic hair. Sweat and engine oil should never smell so appealing but that was just another wonder of his new life Steve had to grow accustomed to.

“Hey apple pie, how’s my favourite slice?” Steve just chuckled as Tony pushed his goggles up into his hair and leaned back against Steve’s chest.

“What brings you down into my evil lair?”

“Not much.” Steve slipped his hands under Tony’s t-shirt to press against the warm skin of his stomach.

“Checking up on me?”

“Maybe a little. Can’t blame a guy for wanting to keep his fella alive and kicking.” Tony grinned stupidly.

“Call me ‘fella’ again, I love that.”

“Don’t make fun.”

“I’m not, I am being completely serious. I love your old-timey person talk, it’s totally a turn on.” Steve chuckled again and stroked Tony’s tummy, who all but purred in appreciation.

“There is something my fella can do for me, though.” Steve whispered against Tony’s ear and he could feel the muscles under his fingertips twitch as Tony shivered.


“Yeah. But, I don’t know if it’s something you’ll be interested in.” There was a little jump, a small physical tell of caught attention.

“Is this a kinky thing? Do you have a kinky thing that I don’t know about?" Tony tried to turn to look Steve in the eye but he was held in place by the strong arms wrapped around him.

"Tony..." Steve warned.

"Tell me," Tony whined, "you should know nothing you can come up with will surprise me and I'm game to try anything."

"I don't know, I'm pretty sure you won't want to, it's really not your sort of thing."

"Steve," Tony tried to make his voice teasing but Steve knew Tony well enough to pick up on the serious undertone, "you know I'd do anything to make you happy."

Steve smiled. He really was lucky to have Tony, for all their differences, for all they fussed and argued with each other, he wouldn't want anyone else by his side. There was so much more to him than what he let most people see, so much kindness and so much love.

"I guess I could tell you but--"

"Anything Steve, I promise."

"Really promise?"

"Really promise, no matter what."

Steve took a slow breath, spread his fingers over Tony's stomach and leaned in to whisper, soft and low--

"Tony, go get your medical today."

Tony held his breath, still just reacting to the tone of Steve's voice. Then the words hit him.

"Wait what? That's not--that's not a sexy thing--is it?" Tony managed to turn in Steve's arms and stared up at him in confusion.

"I never said it was, Tony."

"But you asked all sexy, you sexy asked for non-sexy things, I'm not really an expert in the field but I think that is a relationship foul."

"I needed to get your attention, it is really important to me that you stay healthy." Steve looked down at Tony, bright blue eyes shining with earnestness.

Tony slumped, knowing for once when he was beat. "That was sneaky--SHIELD sneaky. Did someone put you up to this?"

"I am really concerned about your health and well-being."

"Uh-huh, nice dodge there, tactical droid."

"It's true and you know it, the fact that you were refusing to might have been brought to my attention but that doesn't make my concern any less real."

Tony looked up at Steve, the façade was hard, annoyance, even anger but underneath something infinitely more complex and subtle was going on. Steve stood his ground and waited it out.

"All right."

"Really?” Steve grinned, Tony still wasn’t looking happy about it but he knew Tony, if he was really angry he never would have given in.

"If it means that much to you fine, whatever, not like I don’t have a million things to do or anything. I’ll go sit around doing nothing for an hour while people poke at me,” he waved his hand dismissively the last bits of annoyance clearing from his demeanour, “but one condition.”

Fair is fair, Steve thought and then said so.

“Once I get back with my clean bill of health signed in triplicate, which I know I’ll have, by they way, because the suit runs bio scans on me and I would be the first to know if--”


“Fine, fine, when I get back, I’m going to ask you for a secret sexy thing, and you have to say yes.”

“Tony--” There was a split second of nervousness, Steve was far from the blushing boy he used to be but there were the rumours about Tony, but they were probably just about as true as any of the other stories in the so called newspapers they had around nowadays. He trusted Tony, with his life and with his heart. “All right,” Steve said far too resolutely for the situation, “It’s a deal.”

Tony smirked, which turned into a smile, which turned into a laugh, which turned into hugging and kissing of a Steve.

“You know most people just shake on a deal.”

“When am I most people?” Tony smirked again but addressed JARVIS before there could be a repeat of the full chain. “JARVIS, put all the files for project SR-cfs on my tablet,” he turned back to Steve. “Something to work on in the waiting room,” he explained before Steve could question.

“Thank you, Tony.”

“Nope, you thank me later, that was the deal.”

“Yeah, yeah, get out of here before I change my mind.”


Quietly, quickly and obediently JARVIS transferred Tony’s project on to the mobile device. The restraints, already in a final stage of development, would have no trouble holding an average man in place and, with just a few more tweaks, would work on a super soldier as well.


Either way it was going to be a hell of a test run.