"So. Anything we should know about these alien liaisons?"
"Well, 'don't cause trouble' should cover an awful lot of ground." Bruce shifted his glasses, giving Tony a meaningful gaze over them. "And that's not negotiable, by the way."
"Why are you looking at me like that? I don't like you looking at me like that. Did you guys see him looking at me like that?" Geez, like he was the token evil teammate or something. He was just the lovable rogue, a bit rough around the edges, but not evil.
"Of course he was looking at you like that. You're the one most likely to cause trouble." As though Hawkeye had any room to talk. "Why us, anyway? I'd think there's a lot of other heroes who could handle this. We're not exactly experts on interstellar diplomacy."
"They seem to have heard of us and specifically requested that we make the contact." At least Bruce wasn't giving him meaningful gazes any more. "Presumably because we already have an alien teammate."
"Who isn't even here at the moment. You'd think the X-Men would be better, they've had a lot more contact with various aliens that didn't involve nukes. Or, hey, how about we send those young copycats? They've actually got an alien of their own!"
"Because the last time aliens wanted anything to do with Hulkling turned out so very well for everyone." Captain shook his head. Come on, couldn't the man even take a joke?
"Yeah, well, obviously I wasn't being serious." Entirely, at least. "So, anything you can tell us about these aliens? They're human-shaped, right? Anything else we should be aware of?"
"They're very close to appearing human, yes, aside from rather uncommon hair colors." Bruce glanced down at the tablet in his hand, flipping through a couple of files. "Nothing much. They seem to have a racial allergy for tomatoes and basil, so be careful if you get the urge to start cooking."
"Well, that's so very likely to happen." Tony snorted. "But yeah, we'll try not to poison them."
"Anything of theirs that we should be careful of?" Ah, Clint's cute paranoia. He supposed working as an assassin taught you to be careful.
"Nothing we've seen so far. Aside from the couple of problematic things, they can even digest Earth foods, so they'll probably be feeding you reasonably familiar things." Bruce flipped through a couple of more files. "Oh, and their seminal fluid is apparently poisonous to humans."
This time it was Clint who snorted. "I don't want to know how they figured that out."
Tony, however, had quite a few plausible scenarios in mind, staring at Bruce in shock. "Wait, what? And you didn't think it might be important to mention that, except as a last-minute off-hand mention?"
Bruce raised his eyebrows. "Well, I didn't exactly think it was the top priority in this meeting."
"I'm hurt, Bruce. I thought we'd bonded over all the science, and here you are, not even caring if I get killed in a freak alien venom accident?"
"Given the circumstances, I have trouble thinking of a scenario where it could be entirely accidental. And in my defense, I was not aware you were planning to get in contact with seminal fluid on our very careful, don't rock the boat type of mission."
"Hey, you never know. There are several ways to do diplomacy." Tony raised his eyebrows. "They're supposedly close to human in appearance, right? And they're sentient and all. I don't see a problem."
"That still doesn't make sense." Captain gave him a flat stare. "I'm not sure exactly how similar their biology is to ours, but to my knowledge seminal fluid is generally exclusive to men."
"Yeah, well, that's kind of the point." Tony spun dramatically around to look at him. "If there were no differences between men and women, we wouldn't have even nearly as much fun. I doubt building a stork's nest would be very pleasurable. Well, unless you are into that kind of thing, in which case, go nuts."
"Except you're into women." Well, that was a surprise. He'd known Steve could be a bit of a stick in the mud sometimes, but hadn't expected him to be so downright blind.
"Correction: I mainly sleep with women, partly by choice and partly through circumstance. I seriously thought you would have noticed by now that I don't discriminate in my flirting."
"After you broke up with Pepper, I saw a different lady escorted out of the tower each morning for over a week. No men in the mix." Steve still seemed to be a mix between confused and disbelieving.
"True. I do prefer women, but that's because it's much easier for me to find a woman who fits my tastes and is willing to hop into bed with me than it's for me to find a man of the same description." And now he was surrounded by several lovely men all day and none of them were likely to give him any fun. Oh, the ordeals life threw his way.
"You never flirt with men." Okay, definitely blind. He was pretty sure he'd even made flirty comments directed at the man himself.
"Hell, I've already lost count of all the times I've hit on Rhodey when we're both drunk. Lucky for me, he's either good enough a friend or bad enough a drunk to never remember it when we're sober again." Not because he thought Rhodey would react badly, aside from the one time he'd punched Tony for getting a little too lewd with his suggestions, but because that would just make things all kind of awkward. If not otherwise, then if he finally let himself to make such suggestions while sober. "See, just because I don't actively try to get you into my bed doesn't mean I've never had a single man in it."
"But…" Out of arguments already? Well, he was disappointed.
"Just give up, Cap." Clint snorted. "The last thing you want to get into an argument about is claiming that Stark is less of a lech than he actually is."
"Why am I the only one who finds this hard to believe?" Steve glanced around now, seeing the either uninterested or amused gazes of their darling teammates. "What, this isn't a surprise to anyone else?"
"Well, I wouldn't have necessarily called this, but I don't see anything contradictory with this." Bruce adjusted his glasses. "Bi with a preference for women sounds entirely appropriate."
"Yeah, I've definitely caught him ogling an ass that doesn't come with tits." Trust dear Clint to be appropriately crude. And truthful. Really, it wasn't his fault so many people working with SHIELD seemed to prefer nice and tight pants, men or women.
"Why, is that a problem?" Natasha finally saw it appropriate to weigh in on the issue. "Suddenly afraid he has ulterior motives for hauling you around in the air?"
"What? No! No, that's not it!" Steve's eyes widened. "I'm just surprised, that's all!"
"Oh, come on, Cap." Tony rolled his eyes. "You didn't bat an eye when I insinuated I might sleep with an alien, but my not being exclusively into women forces you to change your whole view on me? You've got your priorities a little bit backwards, there."
"That's because I've never actively thought about your preferences regarding aliens! It's easier to accept a new idea than change my earlier perceptions."
"Well, we've just established that it would be potentially very unhealthy for me to get too frisky with a male alien, so unless one of you guys is willing to be my pretend boyfriend for the mission, it's unlikely to come up any time soon." He glanced around. "No one? Really? I have to say, you're just no fun at all."
"Let's just try to get through this mission without any interplanetary incidents." Poor Bruce looked like he was about to get a bad headache.
"Define 'incident'." Hey, it was always good to be clear on the rules.
"No explosions, no grave insults, no fighting, no practical jokes or distasteful humour, no getting them addicted to any Earth substances, no exclusive marketing of Stark Industries to the exclusion of any other available technology, no misrepresentations of politics, reality TV, or conflating the two, and absolutely no paternity law suits." And there was another meaningful look. What had he done to deserve all these meaningful looks?
"So no having fun. Got it." He gave a dramatic sigh. "Are you absolutely sure none of you want to be my pretend boyfriend?"
Of course, most of them ignored him, but it was quite worth it for the way Captain's cheeks turned a shade closer to pink.
Well. Maybe it wouldn't be the aliens he devoted his attentions to seducing, after all.