“Barton,” Tony said, “this is all your fault.”
“Hey,” Clint groaned from under the coffee table. “That’s not true.”
“It’s true,” Sam called from the kitchen, where he was making something that smelled like it was about to save Tony’s life through the power of bacon.
“It’s definitely true,” Natasha said from her blanket nest on the couch. She held up her phone. “Even Bruce says it’s true.”
“Explain to me how all of this - “ and here Clint waved a hand in the air, presumably trying to indicate the empty pizza boxes, the smashed bottles, the toppled tower of red cups, the arrows sticking out of the wall, the rabbits - oh, fuck, the rabbits - and Steve, passed out with his head in Tony’s lap, which was really weird for a number of reasons, the most pressing of which was that Tony really needed to pee, “ - is my fault.”
“You want me to explain?” Tony hissed, trying and failing to extricate himself from 250 pounds of gently snoring supersoldier. “You want me to explain - okay, Barton, why don’t we start with - ”
“Yo!” Clint dropped a duffel bag on the floor.
Tony looked up from his schematics. “Yo?”
“Just trying it out,” Clint said. “No?”
“No,” Tony said. “What are you doing here?”
“Bible thumping in-laws visiting for the week,” Clint said, opening the fridge and pulling out a beer.
“And you had to take an emergency work trip to New York?”
“Bingo,” Clint said.
“Who let you in? Friday, did you - ”
“Agent Barton is on the Tower’s list of approved visitors,” Friday said. “He doesn’t require further authorization to enter.”
“Friday likes me,” Clint said, grinning.
“Friday is not my smartest AI,” Tony said.
“That’s cold showers for a month, then, sir?” Friday said.
“Mean,” Tony said. “So mean, we’re going to have words, Friday, and Barton, if you think I’m going to tuck you in tonight, you’re going to be very disappointed.”
“I was thinking more along the lines of a party,” Clint said, rummaging in the liquor cabinet. “Nat and the rest of the team will be here in an hour. You got any whiskey?”
“Do I have any - I’m offended, that’s genuinely offensive to me that you would even ask - the rest of the team? You invited the rest of the team to a party at my house without telling me?”
Clint blinked innocently. “Me? No.” He popped the cap of his beer with a knife and took a long swig. “Friday texted them.”
“Words, Friday!” Tony called out. “We’re going to have very strong words! Words like DELETE PROGRAM.”
“Enjoy the party, sir,” Friday said.
“The party”, it turned out, meant not only the rest of the Avengers - or, at least those who were currently on Earth and/or not hiding their exact location from their teammates, Bruce - but also the former SHIELD personnel who manned the new facility, Maria Hill’s spec ops team, a couple of Sam’s vet buddies, and a pet rabbit that the Vision had found in the woods and adopted.
“It had been abandoned by its mother and wouldn’t have survived alone,” Vision explained calmly. “I had no choice but to take it in.”
“It is a very sweet rabbit,” Wanda said. “You vill like it.”
“I will not like it if takes a dump on the Turkish rug,” Tony said. “Of course, Pepper took the nicest ones when she moved back to Malibu but still, I’d prefer if what I have left wasn’t ruined by Bugs Bunny - ”
“Drink,” Clint said, slamming a cold glass against Tony’s chest. “Drink, and stop worrying about the rabbit.”
“Did you invite the rabbit?” Tony took the glass and followed Clint to the pool table. “Who said the rabbit could come?”
“Are you freaking out about the rabbit?” Steve said, not looking up from the eight ball, which he was about to sink in the corner pocket.
“I’m not freaking out - ”
“He’s freaking out about the rabbit,” Clint said.
“I don’t like it either,” Sam said, clearly trying to figure out if he could bump Steve’s cue and survive. “Did you see its beady little eyes? That rabbit is up to no good. Damn it, Rogers, I’m not playing with you anymore, this is one of those times where the supersoldier thing makes this not fun.”
“You’re a sore loser, Wilson.” Steve grinned and leaned his cue against the table. “Thanks for hosting tonight, Tony.”
“Don’t thank me,” Tony said. “I was informed about this party later than you guys were. Barton’s gonna be cleaning my house for the rest of the week to make it up to me.”
“Barton’s gonna be enjoying the home theater and views of Midtown, you mean,” Natasha said dryly, fishing an olive out of her martini.
“And made-to-order omelettes,” Clint said, grinning. “You still have the omelette guy, right?”
“You throw a party at my house, you forfeit access to the omelette guy.”
“Why don’t we have an omelette guy?” Sam said, crossing his arms. “Cap, can we get an omelette guy?”
“I’ll check the budget,” Steve said.
“Okay, I did not budget for this many cups,” Clint said.
From her position sitting sidesaddle on Vision’s back, Natasha called down, “More cups, Cap!”
Steve threw a cup to Natasha. “What level is this, nine?”
“Ten,” Sam called from the other side of the cup tower. “I think we can make it to fifteen, easy.”
“Somebody’s gonna have to run to Duane Reade,” Clint said. “We’re facing a serious cup shortage.”
“I’ll take a team,” Maria said, waving a few people toward the elevator.
“This doesn’t seem structurally sound,” Tony said, pouring himself another glass of scotch. “The base has some serious weaknesses. Who engineered this thing?”
“It was a group effort,” Natasha said, sliding off Vision’s back and landing, cat-like, on her feet, already pulling her phone out of her back pocket.
“Give me two minutes, I’ll redesign the whole thing for maximum stability,” Tony said, pulling up a StarkPad from under the bar. “You won’t even be able to knock it over after I’m done with it.”
“Challenge accepted,” Clint said.
“Minion! Hand me the duct tape!” Tony called to a SHIELD employee, who frowned but, apparently remembering that she was currently drinking straight out of Tony Stark’s bar, tossed it to him.
“Has anybody seen Harold?” Wanda yelled from behind the sofa.
“Who’s Harold? Wait - don’t tell me. Is Harold the rabbit? Don’t tell me you lost a rabbit in my tower,” Tony said.
“He must have hopped out of his box,” Vision said, looking supremely unconcerned. “We’ll find him.”
“Friday, keep an eye out for unauthorized rabbit-sized heat signatures,” Tony said.
“Maybe we could lure him out of hiding vith food?” Wanda suggested.
Natasha glanced up from her phone. “Tony doesn’t keep vegetables in the house.”
“That’s true,” Tony said. “I freely admit to that.”
“There’s a pet store a few blocks away,” Vision said. “Perhaps we should purchase some additional treats for the creature to get him through the evening.”
“Oh my god, what is this, a farm? We’re buying treats for the rabbit now?”
“Anybody else need another drink?” Clint said.
“Can I get a 7 Up?” Steve said.
“One 7 Up for the most boring person on the planet,” Clint said, ducking down behind the bar. “What about for the grown-ups in the room?”
“A martini for me, and another for the lady,” Sam said, elbowing Natasha, who didn’t look up from her phone. “Who you texting that’s so much more interesting than us, anyway?”
“Bruce,” Natasha said.
The stylus Tony’d had clenched between his teeth fell to the floor. “What?”
“I’ve been texting him once in a while since he left, and he texted me back this morning,” Natasha said.
“He - texted you back?” Tony said. “I’ve had Friday continuously searching the airwaves for any trace of him, I’ve got sources all over the world reporting in on any sightings, and after four months of radio silence, he texted you back?”
Natasha shrugged. “Guess he likes me better than you.”
“And you’re sure it’s him?” Steve asked, holding an armful of red cups with a blank look on his face.
Natasha lifted an eyebrow. “Yes.”
“How are you - “
“I’m sure,” Natasha said flatly. “But no, I don’t know where he is or what he’s doing, and yes, his phone is still entirely untraceable.”
“So what are you texting him about?” Clint asked.
“The cup tower.”
Tony blinked. “The cup tower?”
“He asked what we were doing. I sent him a picture of the cups.”
“Is that some kind of code for sexting that I don’t know about because I’m old and married?” Clint asked.
“Ve are going to go to the pet store,” Wanda said. “Vould anybody like to come?”
“Just, whatever you do, do not bring back more rabbits,” Tony said.
“They brought back more rabbits, didn’t they,” Tony said.
“They looked so sad in the pet shop,” Wanda said. “Ve could not leave them there.”
“I don’t blame you,” Clint said, lifting one of the bunnies out of the cage, which was full of the little fluffballs. “They’re so cute! Yes they are! Yes they are! Nat, do you think Laura will kill me if I bring one home to the kids?”
“Yes,” Natasha said. “But I still think you should do it.”
“I am not running a menagerie!” Tony said. “I don’t do pets, I don’t even do plants, doesn’t anybody care what I think about this? I have ceded control of my entire home to a rabbit, this is - ”
Tony whirled around. “If you’re going to suggest we adopt any additional rodents, Cap, I’m going to - ” he paused, noting Steve’s wide eyes. “What’s up?”
Steve took Tony by the elbow and pulled him away from the cooing crowd. “Something’s wrong. I don’t want to scare anybody, but I think there might be some sort of toxin in the house. I’m feeling… off.”
“What do you mean, off?” Tony said, pulling out his phone. “Friday, can you give me an air quality reading?”
“I just feel kind of weird,” Steve said, frowning. “A little dizzy. Do you feel okay?”
“I’ve had about six Scotches on the rocks, but other than that, yeah,” Tony said. “We’re not reading any abnormal gas levels in the house, no poisons, nothing irradiated, somebody had a joint on the balcony but there’s nothing in here that could be making you sick.”
“Sir,” Friday said. “Sending security camera footage to your phone now.”
“It’s just, when I stood up to go see the rabbits, it’s like things were spinning, and everything’s sort of bright and fuzzy. It’s been a while, but it’s almost like I’m a little bit - ”
“Drunk?” Tony said. He turned his phone around to face Steve and pressed play. On screen, Clint was standing behind the bar, talking to the rest of the team and filling a glass with a can of soda. He leaned down and pulled out a small, spherical flask, dumped some of it into the glass, came up grinning - and handed it to Steve.
“Thor’s special 1000-year Asgardian liquor,” Tony said. “He left it here after Ultron, and I, uh, never gave it back. Thought I might run some tests, see what I could do with it, could be a very cool propellant, but I guess I left it behind the bar.” He grinned. “Oops.”
“It tasted weird, but I thought I was just still getting used to the new 7 Up formula.” Steve straightened up. “Hey, Clint?”
Clint looked over his shoulder, his arms full of bunny. “Yeah?”
“Can I talk to you for a minute?” Steve said evenly.
Clint handed off the rabbit he was cuddling and joined Steve and Tony in the corner, his hands in his pockets. “What’s up, Cap?”
“Did you add Asgardian liquor to my drink?” Steve asked.
Clint looked from Steve to Tony. “No,” he said confidently.
“We have security footage,” Tony said, holding up his phone.
“Yes,” Clint amended.
Steve raised his eyebrows.
Tony casually hit the record button on his phone.
And Steve threw his arms around Clint.
“Um,” Clint said, his toes barely scraping the ground. “Is this a hug, or are you trying to squeeze me to death?”
Steve set him down. “I haven’t been drunk in 75 years. This is awesome.”
“You are so welcome,” Clint said.
Steve wrapped an arm around Clint’s neck. “I wanna see the bunnies.”
“The man gets drunk for the first time since the Roosevelt administration and he wants to play with rabbits,” Tony said, following Steve and Clint toward the flock of partygoers, who had completely abandoned the mostly-completed cup tower in favor of the small, fluffy animals currently taking over half of Tony’s living room. “Come on, Cap, live a little! Should we get some strippers in here, will you enjoy strippers drunk? What about dancing? I’m sure Hill will dance with you, I hear you’re an amazing dancer, Maria - ”
“I’m armed, Stark,” Maria said from the bar.
“How are they so soft?” Steve said, picking up one of the rabbits and rubbing his face on it.
Natasha snapped a picture on her phone. “Bruce says you’re adorable.”
“Oh my god, Bruce can’t even tell me where he is, but you get to send him pictures of this?” Tony said.
“Life’s not fair,” Natasha said.
“This is so unfair,” Clint said, flopping down on the sofa next to Tony and handing him a beer. “When I dance drunk I look like a moron. Steve’s wasted and he looks like he should be in Magic Mike.”
“Huh?” Tony said, trying to force some blood back into his brain. “Oh. Yeah, I hadn’t noticed.”
Clint rolled his eyes. “Whatever you say, dude. Do you think I gave him too much?”
“How should I know?” Tony said. “Actual living gods get drunk on that stuff. I think he has a hell of a hangover in his future.”
On the makeshift stage, Steve pushed his sweaty hair back from his face and started to unbutton his shirt. “Is it hot in here?” he called out. “Friday, can we get the AC on? Man, how awesome is that? Air conditioning, we woulda killed for air conditioning in the ‘20s. Sam! Saaaaam! Come dance with me, Sam!”
“I really hope nobody is live tweeting this,” Tony said. He pulled out his StarkPad. “I’m gonna hack all their phones and disconnect them from Twitter.”
“You can do that?”
“No,” Tony said. “Just kidding, ha ha, I have not perfected mass, one-touch remote hacking, why would you suggest that?”
“Dude, I gave Captain America alcohol poisoning,” Clint said. “We are in the circle of trust right now.”
Somebody had turned on the Jackson 5, and Steve was surrounded by most of the female partiers and was dancing with each of them in turn. He spun Wanda and she stumbled backwards, laughing, into Vision’s arms. “I kind of hope somebody is getting video of this, but I’m also kind of worried about how much fun Fox News will have with it if they get their hands on it,” Clint said. “Captain America’s Crazy Night! How many chicks did he bang? We identify them on national television at 11.”
“Aaaand we’re deleting their videos now,” Tony said, his fingers flying over the pad.
Steve emerged from the gaggle of dancers and jogged toward the sofa, sprawling down next to Tony. “Hey.”
“Hey, Gene Kelly. Tire yourself out?”
“I’m really thirsty,” Steve said. “I think I want another drink.”
“How about some water?” Tony suggested. “We don’t know exactly how that stuff works. You’ve probably had enough.”
“Hypocrite,” Steve said, jamming a finger into Tony’s sternum. Tony winced; that would leave a bruise. “You’re drunk, too.”
“I am, but I’m also used to it,” Tony said, removing Steve’s finger gingerly. “Drunk is pretty much my default state. Last time I was drunk was Thursday. Last time you were drunk was 1941.”
“Actually, I didn’t drink that much before the whole, you know, this,” Steve said, gesturing to his ridiculous body. “It made me kinda sick.”
“So what you’re saying is that you’re basically a drunk virgin,” Clint said seriously.
“I’m not a - oh,” Steve said. “I guess, sure. Is there more of it?”
“Yes, sir,” Clint said, jumping up. “One 7 Up and mysterious trillion proof alien liquor, coming right up.”
Steve reached down under the sofa and pulled out a rabbit. It twitched its nose at Tony. “Wanna hold it?”
“Nope,” Tony said.
“I’m good, I’m really good.”
“Here,” Steve said, dumping it on his lap. “See? He’s not so bad.” Steve began to aggressively pet the rabbit as it climbed all over Tony’s lap, his arm resting on Tony’s thigh. “Do you think he’s hungry?”
Tony downed the rest of his beer and stood up quickly before the situation got awkward. “I have no idea. I’m a genius, not a rabbit expert. Wilson, what the hell are you doing to my perfect tower?”
“Improving it,” Sam said from where he was placing an empty vodka bottle on top of the tower by balancing precariously on a chair stacked on a table. “It needs turrets. Vision, you gonna catch me if I fall?”
“Of course,” Vision said. “Unless I am busy with Harold.”
“Pizza!” Steve said from the sofa. “That’s what I want. Oh my god, I want a whole pizza so bad right now, can we get pizza? Hey, who wants pizza?”
“Okay, we have a couple Hawaiian, some three cheese, something gross with broccoli that’s probably for you, Nat,” Clint said, sorting through the boxes as Sam handed out paper plates and Maria passed around beers. “Here’s my sausage and olive, and oh my god, how many pepperonis did you order, Steve?”
“Six,” Steve said around a mouthful of, yep, pepperoni pizza. “Too many?”
“Way too many,” Clint said. “Whatever, leftovers.”
“To the left!” Tony yelled as Vision dangled Wanda over the cup tower. “I have the cord running up through the cup right next to it, so if you just plug it in, we’ll be all set. I said to the left, Wanda!”
“I have heard you, Stark,” Wanda snapped. “It is not so easy, connecting wires in a tower of plastic.”
“Yeah, but it’s gonna look great all lit up,” Clint said. “Tony, can we program it to flash in time with the music?”
“Give me an hour,” Tony said. “And another drink.”
“I’ll get it,” Steve said, stuffing half a slice of pizza into his mouth.
“Still wish we coulda gotten a couple more levels on there,” Clint said.
“We only have one person in the room sober enough to fly up to the top,” Steve said as he handed Tony an excessively healthy portion of whiskey.
“You trying to get me drunk?” Tony asked.
“Maybe,” Steve said, and Tony choked.
“Tony, what’s with this big space between levels eight and ten?” Clint called over from where he was inspecting the tower.
“Decorative,” Tony said, peering down at his schematics. “No, wait. Fire proofing.”
“Huh. Think I could shoot an arrow through the gap?”
“Sober, sure,” Natasha said without looking up from her phone. “Right now? Not a chance.”
“Nah, I bet he can do it,” Sam said. “This is Hawkeye we’re talking about.”
“Are you joking?” Wanda said, arching an eyebrow. “He vill collapse entire thing.”
“I’m gonna try it,” Clint said, disappearing down the hall and returning with his bow and quiver.
“I’m not certain that’s a good idea,” Vision said, in that oh-God-am-I-the-only-sober-one-here tone. “Captain?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Steve said, uncorking the tiny Asgardian flask and turning it over into his cup. “I’d put money on him.”
“I worked too hard on this achievement in plastics technology to see it all disappear before my eyes,” Tony said.
“Please?” Clint said.
Tony sighed. “If you break it, you have to clean it up.”
“I’m not cleaning it up,” Clint said loudly.
The good news was that Clint had, in fact, shot one arrow through the gap, and it was now embedded in the wall.
The bad news was that Clint had, unsurprisingly, been totally unable to back down from a challenge when Natasha had suggested that he couldn’t do it again.
The worse news was that someone - okay, everyone - had forgotten the elaborate system of glass bottles and electrical wiring embedded in the tower, and when his second arrow hit the cups and, incidentally, exploded, the tower had collapsed dramatically and the bottles had shattered all over the marble floor. The partiers were ankle deep in Solo, and rabbits were poking their noses in each cup, hoping to find a hidden treat.
“Hey, that’s okay,” Steve said from behind the bar. “We’ll all clean it up together tomorrow, okay? The whoooole team. It’ll be like a second party!
“Of cleaning,” Wanda said, wrinkling her nose.
“Bruce thinks it wouldn’t have collapsed if you’d set the load-bearing columns further apart,” Natasha reported.
“If Bruce wants to criticize my engineering, he can bring his green ass here to criticize me in person,” Tony snapped.
In the corner, Maria turned up the music, and people flooded the only cup-less part of the room to dance. “Try not to step on any bunnies!” she cried before being pulled into the crowd by Sam.
“Everybody’s having fun,” Steve said, leaning against the bar next to Tony, who was frowning down at his schematics and calculating how much further apart the columns could have gone. “Are you having fun?”
“What? Of course. I’m agonizing over a tower made of red cups that was destroyed by a drunk guy with a bow and arrow. This is me having fun.”
Steve, who apparently only understood sarcasm when he was sober, said, “Good. Me too. Don’t you want to dance?”
“Uh, no,” Tony said. “I’m good here, thanks. Jesus, Barton does look like an idiot out there.”
“You know, it’s funny,” Steve said. “Dancing.” He opened his mouth, then closed it, frowning.
Tony raised an eyebrow. “Is it?” he said.
Steve blinked. “What?”
“You were talking about dancing being funny.”
“No, I wasn’t.”
“Uh huh. Whatever you say.”
Steve frowned again and tipped his head back, draining the last of his drink. “You know, I think that flask is self-filling.”
“It didn’t seem to get any emptier, no matter how much I poured in there,” Steve said.
“That is genius,” Tony said. “And dangerous.”
“Kinda like you,” Steve said.
Tony snorted. “Sure. So why aren’t you dancing?”
“Because I’m not entirely sure I can stand up if I’m not leaning against something,” Steve said matter-of-factly. He was, upon closer inspection, tilting.
“Okay, that’s enough for you.” Tony took cup away. “I seriously hope this stuff doesn’t kill you. I’m going to get in trouble if you survived 70 years in ice only to kick the bucket binge drinking like a freshman at NYU.”
“S’not gonna kill me,” Steve said morosely. “I don’t think anything can kill me.”
“Oookay, we’re getting into sad drunk territory,” Tony said. “I know sad drunk, I have been sad drunk, I usually try to avoid sad drunk by blowing something up or getting laid, but I can’t really recommend either of those options right now considering Barton has already trashed my tower beyond repair and everybody here pretty much works for you, that is an HR violation waiting to happen - ”
“We’re an extra-governmental superhero team, Tony. We don’t have HR.”
“You can borrow some of mine,” Tony said. “I have a robust HR department. It’s a precaution, well, okay, a judicially-ordered one, the 90’s were a weird time. You don’t want to sleep with anyone here anyway, look, okay, Hill is probably one of those spiders who eats her mate after she’s done with him, Natasha is obsessed with a guy who, no offense, would put even you to shame in the below the belt department, Wanda I think just wandered off to one of the guest suites with the Vision - ”
“About time,” Steve said.
“ - Barton’s married, though I think Laura would probably be cool as long as we got it on video, Sam definitely doesn’t swing that way, which is too bad, because damn, who wouldn’t, and then there’s me, which, yeah, insert your own punchline here - you’re laughing now, see, success, I am so good at avoiding sad drunk, I have a lot of experience - hey, grab that rabbit, will you?”
Steve leaned down and scooped up an escaping bunny. “How many do you think there are?”
“Too many,” Tony said. “They’re multiplying. My house is going to be full of rabbits by tomorrow, rabbits will be spilling out of the windows and filling the bathtubs and I’ll have to hand over the keys to my Maserati to the rabbit king.”
“Rabbits can’t drive,” Steve cooed down at the bunny. “You can’t drive, can you buddy?”
“I need another drink,” Tony said.
“Who needs another drink? I can get you anything,” Clint warbled, and immediately knocked over a half-empty bottle, which joined its shattered brethren on the floor. “Oh, shit - okay, anything other than gin.”
“There was a rabbit in the elevator,” Maria said, wandering back from sending the last of her spec ops team down in the elevator and pulling her hair into a ponytail. “And has anybody seen Wanda and Vision?”
“Not since they started making out,” Sam said, grinning and tossing her a beer.
“Man, Wanda and Vision,” Steve said. He leaned back and stared at the ceiling. “Hey, do you guys think he can, uh - ”
“Yes,” Tony said.
“You say that with the confidence of a man who knows for sure,” Sam said wryly.
“You think I haven’t studied everything about him? Come on, I had to know what we’re working with. But yes, he is definitely fully functional.”
“Wouldn’t’ve guessed from the outfit,” Natasha said.
“Yeah,” Steve said. “Everything seemed like it was… on display.”
“You’d be surprised,” Tony said, glancing at his watch. “So is this party finally winding down?”
“I’d say it’s just getting started,” Maria said, perching on the sofa and pulling out a deck of cards. “Who wants to get their ass kicked at poker?”
“You, apparently,” Sam said.
“That’s some big talk for a man who’s never played cards with Maria,” Natasha said.
“I’m so in,” Clint said, handing Natasha a martini with about a thousand olives and collapsing next to her. “Not because I think I can win, but because I want to see Maria hand you your own balls, Wilson.”
“I think you guys forget that I was in the service,” Sam said. “War is 95% boredom, and boredom is at least 99% cards. Deal, Hill.”
“Hill, what is your deal?” Sam threw down his cards in disgust.
Maria grinned and pulled the pot toward her. “Don’t blame me because you can’t play with the big girls, Wilson.” She held her hand out to Natasha, who high-fived her as she counted out her own pile of chips.
“I’m outta chips,” Sam said. He pulled out his wallet. “And cash. Steve, can you cover me? Steve? Steve!”
“Huh?” Steve said, blinking down at him.
“Don’t harass the elderly,” Natasha said.
Steve frowned. “Was I zoning out?”
“Little bit,” Tony said. “Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.”
From beneath the coffee table, there was a snore.
“He’s so sweet when he’s sleeping,” Natasha said, petting Clint’s hair. “Ooh, let’s pose him with some bunnies and send pictures to Laura. And Bruce. And Gawker.”
“Mean,” Tony said. “I approve.”
“When I was a kid we’d just draw a dick on the first person to pass out,” Sam said, scrambling to collect rabbits from across the room. “This is so much more elaborate.”
“I’m gonna get some air,” Steve said, pushing himself off the couch and knocking into a lamp in the process; he caught it with one hand and set it back upright just before it smashed to the floor. “Oops.”
“It’s okay, it’s only priceless,” Tony said, grabbing his elbow and steering him toward the balcony. “You could really do a lot of damage if you were always this clumsy.”
“Don’t take advantage of him, Stark,” Sam called as the balcony doors slid open.
“Go fuck yourself, Wilson,” Tony tossed over his shoulder.
“What’d he say?” Steve said, setting his arms down on the railing and leaning into the wind.
“Nothing. You okay?”
“Yeah, I think so,” Steve said. “I forgot about the part when being drunk gets less fun and more about trying to not fall down.”
“I usually stave it off with more alcohol,” Tony said. “Fuck, my house is going to be full of rabbit shit tomorrow. And no, don’t say that they’re cute, because they’re not cute. They are annoying. You guys are taking them all home with you, you hear me? I don’t want to see a single Peter Cottontail after you leave tomorrow. What’s with this look on your face, you look like somebody kicked a rabbit, spit it out, Cap.”
Steve looked out at the lights of Midtown and sighed. “I kinda wish we’d kept the facility here.”
“Hey, no take backsies on the new digs. Anyway, the team needs the space,” Tony said. “And Vision doesn’t exactly blend in around here.”
“I know,” Steve said. “I just - I miss the city. Upstate is - ”
“I was going to say quiet, but yeah,” Steve said. “It’s boring. And I don’t do well with boring. It makes me... ” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Damn. If I’m not careful, I’m going to end up doing that thing where I talk about my feelings. You shoulda heard the guys, back in the day. You wouldn’t believe how many dames from back home I heard about. Drinking brings that out in fellas.”
“Talking about feelings isn’t such a bad thing,” Tony said. “At least, that’s what my therapist said until he ran off to the ass end of no where with an encrypted phone. So, you got a dame you want to talk about?”
“I did. A long time ago.”
“It wasn’t that long for you,” Tony said.
“It feels further away every day.” Steve shrugged, half-smiling. “Air conditioning in every home! That’s one of the things that still gets me.”
“Really,” Tony said. “Not Velcro? Google Maps? On-demand porn?”
“Okay, yeah, the guys woulda killed for RedTube,” Steve agreed.
“Oh my god, you use RedTube,” Tony said. “You are so lucky I’m not selling your secrets to the tabloids.”
Steve’s cheeks turned pink as he grinned and leaned in closer. “Whasamatter with RedTube? Is there something better out there I’m missing?”
“This is amazing,” Tony said. “You want a walkthrough of everything 2015 has to offer in terms of porn, I’m your man, I am so your man - ”
“Tony,” Steve said.
“ - I am a veritable encyclopedia of porn, it’s one of my many secret talents - what?”
“Just stop talking for a second. I want to try something,” Steve said, and Tony realized that Steve’s hand was skating along his waist, and Steve’s lips were parted, and oh shit -
“Steve,” he said up against Steve’s mouth, which had suddenly gotten very close to his own. “You have no idea how hard this is for me, I seriously deserve some kind of award for stopping you, but you are going to regret this in the morning.”
“No, I’m not,” Steve breathed.
“They always do,” Tony said. “Look, you’re drunk, you want to get laid, I hear that, I am right there with you, buddy, I really am, you have no idea how right there with you I am, but I am really not the person you want to get involved with right now, a lot of people have made this mistake and frankly, I don’t recommend it.”
“You might be a mistake,” Steve said, pulling Tony in until they were chest to chest, “but you know what you’re definitely not?”
“Boring,” Steve whispered, and kissed him.
“Fuck,” Tony said around a mouthful of Steve’s tongue. “Friday, ice the windows, please, this isn’t an all-you-can-see buffet for the rest of the team in there - ”
It was like - it was like kissing Captain America, that was literally the only way to describe it. It was like a bald eagle was humping a firework in Tony’s mouth, all bulging muscles and strong jawlines and rock-hard, uh, patriotism and -
- and he was totally drunk on Asgardian liquor that for all Tony knew was the only thing making him want to do this, shit shit shit shit shit -
“Steve,” Tony said. “Steve, wait.”
Because the world was a cruel, cruel place, Steve ignored him and said, “Bedroom. Now. I want you to - ”
“Please don’t finished that sentence,” Tony said. “If you finish that sentence, I will probably lose consciousness and then I won’t be able to say what I want to say, which is that I would really, really like to do this, but I would prefer to do it when you are not under the influence of something I am pretty sure can be used to power my suit.”
“Less talking, more of that thing you were doing with your tongue,” Steve slurred, cupping Tony’s face and pretty efficiently cutting him off with his lips. “You know, I didn’t think you’d argue so much about this.”
Tony took a second, which was conveniently filled with making out with Steve, to process that. “You’ve thought about this before?”
Steve chuckled, his hands sliding down Tony’s back, his lips drifting down Tony’s neck. “Uh, yeah. Ever since the first time I met you, and you were all ‘genius billionaire playboy blah blah - ”
“It was philanthropist, the last one was philanthropist, and you’re full of shit, you hated me when you met me, I was an asshole - ”
“You’re still an asshole,” Steve said. He grabbed Tony’s ass and kissed him again, hard and desperate. “Doesn’t mean I haven’t always wanted to do this.”
“Always wanted - okay, we are going to have to get you drunk more often, Cap, good things happen when you’re drunk.” Tony kissed his way down Steve’s neck and slid his fingers under the hem of Steve’s shirt. “Very good things.”
“Inside,” Steve said, lacing his fingers with Tony’s and pulling him towards the door. “I want to - ”
And in the most uncoordinated moment in Captain America’s lengthy and illustrious history, Steve stumbled over his own feet and fell backwards, pulling Tony down on top of him.
“Under very slightly different circumstances, this would be one of the greatest moments of my life,” Tony said.
Steve blinked up at him, looked a little dazed. “I think I need to lie down.”
“Yeah, me too,” Tony said. He hauled Steve to his feet and, wobbling slightly, dragged him back into the living room, where it appeared that the card game had been abandoned. Maria was flopped over in a chair; Sam had commandeered an entire sectional and had his head buried under a pillow; and Natasha was curled up in a blanket nest she’d constructed out of every blanket Tony owned, her nose buried in her phone, the white light reflecting in her eyes. Clint was still asleep under the coffee table, and rabbits were hopping around and over him, nibbling at the baby carrots somebody had dropped earlier; somebody (Sam) had drawn a dick on his forehead.
“Here we go, buddy,” Tony said, dropping down onto the last available couch and pulling Steve with him. “You just take a seat, and I’ll - ”
Steve tilted over into Tony’s lap.
“ - and I’ll just stay here, apparently,” Tony said.
Natasha raised an eyebrow.
“Don’t say a word,” Tony hissed.
Natasha mimed zipping her lips and went back to her phone.
“Steve,” Tony said, prodding his shoulder.
Steve let out a light snore.
“Bruce says it’s about time,” Natasha whispered.
“Tell Bruce to bite me,” Tony snapped, wriggling around to try to get comfortable. If he could just move Steve a little bit to the left, that would relieve a whole lotta pressure on a certain part of his anatomy that, frankly, had already put up with quite enough tonight.
Natasha said, “Bruce says it sounds like Steve has that under control.”
Tony dropped his head back onto the couch.
“Okay, so what you’re saying,” Clint said from underneath the coffee table the next morning, “Is that I threw an awesome party at your house and got everybody drunk and you hooked up with Captain America, and you’re mad at me about this?”
“I did not - nothing even happened - ”
“Everyone saw,” Natasha pointed out. “Your wall is made of windows.”
“We are not talking about this,” Tony said. “We are not talking about this.”
“Okay, whatever you say, we’re not talking about it. I just have one question.” Clint squinted down at Tony’s lap. “Are you playing with his hair?”
Tony looked down.
“No,” he said. “Definitely not. Why would I do that. That was not happening, you didn’t see anything - ”
“Steve,” Natasha said, reaching out with her foot and prodding Steve in the ribs. “Wake up, soldier.”
“Huh?” Steve said, stirring in Tony’s lap. He opened his eyes, then closed them again quickly. “Too bright.”
Clint snorted. “Hey, Steve. Get up. Tony’s about to have an aneurysm.”
Steve blinked, then slowly turned his head until he was looking up at Tony.
“Hi,” Tony said.
Steve sat up like a shot. “What - ”
“Breakfast,” Sam called from the kitchen. “Omelettes now, psychological breakdowns later.”
“Omelettes, score,” Clint said, crawling out from under the table. “Ow, ow, ow, I am way too old to sleep on the floor.”
“Bruce says he wishes he could have an omelette. Says there’s no good cheddar where he is,” Natasha said, snapping a picture of her plate. “Well, that narrows it down considerably. Thank you, Dr. Banner.”
“I already have a mental map going,” Maria said, emerging from the bathroom looking absolutely perfect and not at all like she’d slept in a chair in the living room which, wow, was super unfair. “We’ll pin him down within the week.”
“This is delicious,” Clint said, dumping ketchup all over his eggs. “Great news, I can still drink like I’m 20 if you’re around to cook hangover cures, Sam.”
“The secret is bacon,” Sam said.
“Good news, gang,” Tony said, scrolling through Twitter. “Doesn’t look like our little get together made the news.”
“That might be because somebody told a bunch of reporters that we were training in Canada this weekend,” Steve said, grinning sheepishly as he joined them at the table.
“Captain America, you crafty son of a bitch,” Tony said. “And here I thought you could not tell a lie.”
“That’s George Washington,” Clint said. He leaned down and picked up a big-eyed rabbit. “Do bunnies like bacon?”
“No rodents on the table,” Tony said.
“So here’s a question,” Natasha said. “Which one of these rabbits is the original Harold?”
“I can’t believe we lost Harold,” Clint muttered, poking around under the pool table with a cue stick.
“I can’t believe I’m searching my house for a rabbit,” Tony said, lifting up an end table and peering under it. “I don’t even remember what it looks like.”
“It’s… white?” Clint suggested. “I dunno, man. Can’t they just take one of these instead?”
“Vision says he’ll know,” Tony said darkly.
“Ugh, he’s worse than my kids. Okay, I’ll do some recon on the next floor up. Do you think they can climb stairs?”
“I wouldn’t put anything past them. Pesky little motherf - oh, hey,” Tony said, busying himself shifting around some red cups as Steve approached. “I’ve got this side of the room covered.”
“Maria assigned me to this quadrant,” Steve said apologetically. “She says she doesn’t trust you and Clint to be thorough.”
“I resent that - I resent that, Hill!” Tony yelled.
Steve chuckled, clearing up some broken glass with a broom he’d dug up from a cleaning supplies closet Tony didn’t even know he had. “Jeez. I didn’t realize what a mess we made last night.”
“You said we’d all clean it up together,” Tony said.
“I bet said a lot of things.” Steve winced. “It’s all kind of coming back to me.”
“To be fair, Maria balanced a rabbit on her head last night,” Tony said. “Cap, I let Clint do archery inside my house. You were seriously the least of anybody’s concerns.”
“I danced,” Steve said, looking slightly horrified as he tossed some red cups into the trash. “Oh God, I just remembered dancing.”
“Okay, the dancing was pretty memorable,” Tony said.
Steve rubbed the back of his neck. “And, uh, about the other thing.”
“Hey, don’t worry about that,” Tony said, bracing one hand against the wall to pull Clint’s arrow out. “You were drunk, it didn’t mean anything, it happens to the best of us. Trust me, it happens to me pretty much constantly, pretty soon we’ll forget it ever happened - ”
“What if we don’t?” Steve said.
Tony yanked the arrow out of the wall too hard and stumbled backwards. “What?”
“I mean, what if I don’t want to forget?”
“That’s - uh - well, that - just to be clear, we’re talking about the thing where we made out, right?” Tony said.
Steve rubbed his temple, cringing. “Yes.”
“Okay. Just making sure we’re on the same page. So you’re saying, we could not forget - ”
“I’m just going to kiss you again now,” Steve said, stepping forward.
“That’s probably for the best,” Tony said, and met him halfway, their lips crushing together, and there was a little bit of morning breath involved and Tony kind of had a hangover and this was gonna get really, really complicated especially once Fury found out, shit, but it was also pretty much the best second kiss Tony had ever had, so he was down to let the rest of it slide.
“I found Harold!” Maria yelled.
“Oh, thank god,” Tony said.