Tony doesn’t wish to speak ill of anyone, but Namor’s being a real dick.
“Look buddy, I get the whole ‘River Guardian schtick you’ve got going on here, and I’ve been pretty discrete about it, I haven’t even mentioned those glorified yellow panties, but you’ve got to work with me here. I am not a plaything.”
Namor—well, what Namor’s doing right now could only be described as leering, which is pretty unfortunate for the rest of his face, and he strokes a finger over Tony’s back in a way that’s most likely meant to be seductive. It’s really, really not working for Tony, and that’s saying something, because almost everything works for Tony. Surprisingly giant perverted centaurs stroking him are not on that list.
“Anthony, I think it would be best if we got to know each other a bit better before we cemented any kind of alliance between ourselves. Don’t you?”
“I really appreciate the offer Namor, but the interspecies thing doesn’t do it for me.” He pulls his hands free from the centaur’s grip and tries on a smile. “I think our alliance will be fine without any, uh, closer relations.”
Namor’s smile gets a lot toothier, and Tony’s just starting to imagine the amount of bad-touching that might be in his near future when a voice pipes up hesitantly.
“Um. Gentlemen?” Tony twists to face the newcomer and is momentarily blinded by all the blonde hair and bulging muscles barely hidden by leather. And whoa, skimpy leather skirt—not an easy thing to pull off, but Blondie is doing pretty well. More than pretty well, actually, but Tony doesn’t want to get too distracted because hello, still captured by the handsy River Guardian. And okay, that hand is dipping a little too far down for Tony’s comfort.
He fixes Namor with a glare, which isn’t really deterring the groping. “I don’t really think you understand the meaning of the word ‘ally’.” Tony huffs, wriggling around and then promptly stopping because there is friction, which is making things so much worse.
“Ah, sir?” Blondie seems to be taking the diplomatic approach to things, which, really? Tony’s tried that already and all it got him was sexual harassment. Clearly Namor doesn’t really get politics either. Blondie doesn’t really seem to get that, or he’s just exceptionally polite, because he persists.
“Sir, I think you should put him down now, or I’m afraid I’ll be forced to—” Tony winces as Namor throws a gut-punch to Blondie’s stomach that sends him tumbling backwards. There goes any chance of a rescue. Not that he needed one anyways, because as soon as Namor’s attention is drawn away Tony unleashes the bolts of blue fire he’s conjured up and directed them at Namor’s head.
The River Guardian howls in pain as the blows connect with a deadly sizzle and suddenly Tony’s free falling until his back hits the river and then he’s under water and he can’t see anything, it’s black and he’s floating out of control and there’s nothing but a thunderous roar in his ears and he puts both hands to his chest and tries to breathe but he can’t because there’s no air only water, water and more water and he closes his eyes and tries to accept the way his body won’t respond—
Air rushes into his lungs and he coughs, choking and hacking and doing his best not to shiver uncontrollably. There’s a muscular arm slung around his shoulders and legs, and oh hell no, Blondie is actually doing a bridal carry right now, and Tony would protest, he really would, but he’s doing his best to avoid hacking up a lung right now so he hopes his manly pride will cut him some slack on this one.
He feels the hard solidity of rock against his back and sags against it, scrubbing a hand over his face to sluice the excess water off. When he opens his eyes, Blondie is about three inches away from his face staring at him concernedly. Tony raises an eyebrow, pointedly.
“Not that I don’t get why my face is irresistible, but I’m pretty sure the angry centaur isn’t going to stay down for long.” He can hear Namor growling in rage at having his prize snatched away, and he pushes himself up the rock until he’s on his feet, batting Blondie’s hands away when he tries to help. “Right, I’ve got an angry River Guardian to pacify, so if you’d excuse me.”
Blondie looks nonplussed for a second, before turning around in time to see Namor snorting and stamping in their general direction, and his face lights up. Tony’s never see someone that excited about a violent centaur, but hey, he’s not one to judge.
And then Blondie takes off, slinging a giant circular shield he’s pulled from nowhere out and launching it at Namor. Tony watches curiously; he doesn’t particularly want to fight Namor, because that hadn’t been part of his instructions, and he’s not feeling especially great about his recent trip to the bottom of the river. In short, if Blondie really wants to take care of it, Tony’s not going to stop him from taking his best shot.
So he watches as the kid jumps around, alternately throwing his shield and throwing punches. He’s not bad—knows how to determine a target’s weak points, seems to be inhumanly strong, and has a definite handle on angles. Tony’s actually rather impressed, mostly against his will.
He lounges on the rock, waiting for Blondie to finish and smirks when he returns, slinging the shield back over his shoulder.
He applauds a bit for the kid, who blushes. Adorably. It’s annoying.
“What an impressive display, Blondie. You really know how to work the shield.” Tony waggles his eyebrows and tells himself it’s not because he wants to know how easily the kid blushes. Nope. Definitely not.
Blondie reddens even more. “Um. I don’t—thank you?”
“No no, thank you. Very kind of you to take care of him for me, the whole ‘I’m going to leer at you until you give in to my blatant sexual advances’ routine was starting to get a little old.” Tony saunters his way over to the kid and pats him on the shoulder. Wow, there are like muscles built on top of muscles there. He stops before the pat becomes a caress. The kid twitches anyway, and runs his hand through his hair nervously.
“So, this has been awesome, but I really got to get going. You know how it is, I got people to see about a thing, and while this has been an enjoyable interlude—”
“What’s your name?”
The question is unexpected and Tony breaks off from the tangent to eye Blondie.
“Well, my full name is Anthony, but that really doesn’t do great things for me. It was my father’s name, makes me sound a bit full of myself, which I’ll admit to on bad days, but you should probably call me Tony.”
“Tony.” The kid smiles, and Gods, Tony is going to need some kind of protection from that if they meet again. “I’m Steve.” There’s cough from some nearby bushes, and Steve flushes. “I—I mean I’m the Captain, I shouldn’t have told you that, um, can you just maybe not tell anyone I said that?”
“Sure, Cap.” Tony drawls, sending a two finger salute the good Captain’s way. “Your secret’s safe with me.” He starts strolling up the hill; he’s got to make a report in on this fiasco.
“Wait!” Steve’s voice calls out and Tony turns back, surprised. “Ah, do you need to get somewhere? Because, I mean, I have a horse—” He gestures, oddly, up into the giant tree rooted a few feet away.
Tony looks up and sure enough, sprawled out on a limb is an enormous white horse.
With wings. Which isn’t totally odd, he was just sexually harassed by a centaur, but winged horses—there’s something about them that captures Tony’s imagination. He can’t sketch out plans for the armor without tracing the graceful slope of a feathered appendage, the elegant elongated neck, proud arch to the back. They’re all there, lurking beneath the surface in hundreds of designs and plans.
However, the horse does not seem to feel the same excitement about Tony. It’s snorting at him fiercely, flapping its wings in indignation, and he ignores the swooping disappointment in his stomach and grins at Steve.
“I don’t think that would work out so well for me. Your loyal steed doesn’t seem to be all that thrilled with that idea.”
Steve—the Captain, tries to protest but Tony waves it off, flailing a hand around. “Nah, don’t worry about it. I’m sure you wouldn’t like the places I’m going anyways.” He smirks, fitting his mouth around the sharp edges, and turns on his heel, determined to walk away.
He’s not that great at a lot of things, but walking away is one of the few. He’s had a lot of practice, really. He hopes Cap doesn’t think too badly of him, in the long run. That’s Tony’s job.