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The Spaces between Staying and Walking Away

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1.

"Um, Tony, the airport's that way," Bruce says, halfway through the ride.

"Yup. We're not going to the airport," Tony replies, flashing his shit-eating grin at Bruce, the one he wears when he's getting himself, not to mention other people, into a boatload of trouble.

Bruce frowns at him for a second, rapidly catching up. Still, he tries his best to reason with Tony. "But - you said -"

"I said I was getting you to the airport, big guy, I just didn't say when." And there's that grin again. It's making Bruce really antsy, that grin. All he wants is to go back to a place where no-one knew him, and to get on with his work. Is that really too much to ask?

"Look, Tony, I know what you're trying to do, and I appreciate it, but -"

He's cut off again. "But nothing. And I'm not trying to do anything, I just want to show off my lab to someone who will actually appreciate it. C'mon, you know you want to."

Bruce pauses for a second, because yeah, a full-blown lab with no expenses spared sounds pretty tempting after years of being on the run. Judging by Tony's tone, he knows it, too, and he's not hesitating in using it to his advantage. Still, there is the way Tony is looking at him, sideways and pretending not to look at all. And plus, is Bruce going mad or is Tony actually looking at him hopefully, there, for a second?

Bruce relents, because he really wants to see the lab, but also, there's something nice about having someone actually wanting him around, for once. "Fine, but just for a few days, all right?"

Tony's delighted smile is answer enough, and he blasts AC/DC all the way home. Bruce decides that he doesn't actually mind.