For Bruce, one of the best things about working in the Tower with Tony is that he’s never felt like an intruder.
From day one, Tony not only made it clear that “Mi casa is su casa— Wait, is that the same in Portuguese as it is in Spanish? And why do they speak Portuguese in Brazil anyway, shouldn’t it be Aztec or Incan or something?”
“The Aztecs were in Latin America; the Incas were in Peru and Chile.”
“So who the hell was in— Never mind. Doesn’t matter. Make yourself at home in whatever language you want to. Seriously. JARVIS knows… all of them.”
“I am not fluent in all languages, sir,” JARVIS said in a tone of long-suffering that Bruce still marveled at some days. “I am, very fortunately I might add, not C-3PO.”
“Okay, but you know Portuguese, I know you do, so if Bruce wants you to speak it, you can.”
“Really,” Bruce said, unable to keep from smiling, “I’m fine with English too. It’s my first language after all. I don’t really know Portuguese on an academic level.”
“Do you want to?” Tony asked seriously. “JARVIS can teach you… Or practice with you. Whatever.”
“I’ll think about it,” Bruce said, a shortcut he’d learned quickly that could end a conversation with Tony, even if only temporarily.
“Good. Yes. Okay. Next! Your floor.”
“Oh God,” Bruce had muttered, but dutifully followed Tony to the elevator.
Even now almost three years later, with all the Avengers living here and the way things had changed from the beginning when Pepper and Tony were dating and then they weren’t and then they were again and then Pepper moved back to California to live and just visited all the time because Tony didn’t get so confused that way, Bruce still feels like this is his home, not a place he’s staying until he is forced to move on.
Even Tony’s workshop, his sanctum sanctorum, where angels and SHIELD agents feared to tread, has never been a place Bruce felt uncomfortable going to when he needed a machine or some materials or just to get away from others. Tony was surprisingly good at telling when he wanted to talk and when he wanted to be talked at and when he just wanted to be left alone and ignored.
Not perfect, but better than expected.
Which is why Bruce didn’t even hesitate to go into said workshop when he needed to ask Tony a question.
“Is Tony in?” he asked JARVIS, mostly out of habit.
“Sir is, but he is not alone. Dr. Banner, you might not want to—”
“That’s fine, it’ll just take a second. Hey, Tony,” he said as he crossed the threshold, “have you seen the…? Oh.”
Bruce blinked at the sight of Steve bent nearly backwards over the work bench, Tony draped over top of him and, unless Bruce’s eyes were deceiving him, Tony’s hand down the front of Steve’s open pants.
Steve blinked, cheeks flushed already, but darkening when his eyes focused and he realized who it was that had interrupted them. “Dr. Banner!” he yelped and started wriggling away to the far side of Tony to, presumably, put himself back together.
Tony, for his part, just leaned forward and pinned Steve into place, forcing the younger man to drag him along if he was going to go that direction. His hand stayed exactly where it was—though he must have adjusted his, er, grip or… something… because Steve made a high-pitched sound that sort of melted into a moan. His cheeks were downright cherry red at this point and he was staring pointedly at the ceiling like it held the answers to life, the universe, and everything.
“Hey, Bruce, what were you looking for?”
“A bottle of bleach,” Bruce said, then coughed and looked away. “I mean… um, nothing. I’m just… going. I’ll… I’m sure Jane has… her lab… Uh… Carry on. Or… Um.”
He turned on his heel and went right back out the door, stopping only when he’d reached the elevator and could rest his head on the wall there.
“My apologies, Dr. Banner,” JARVIS said. “I did try to warn you but—”
“No, no, JARVIS, that was…” He straightened and shook his head. “That was my fault. I forgot it’s Tony and, well, I guess this means the pool is closed. Who won?”
“Miss Lewis had her money on this week. She will be pleased she can now afford to buy the new iPad she has wanted.”
“She doesn’t have a StarkPad?” Bruce asked, because it was infinitely better than thinking about the laughter of Tony and the mortification in Steve’s voice as Bruce had walked away.
“She does, but she prefers Apple products for her personal devices. Mostly, I think, because of how much it bothers Sir.”
Bruce snorted. “Yeah, that makes sense. Is Jane in her lab?”
“Is Thor in her lab?”
“He is not,” JARVIS said, and Bruce could have sworn he heard dry amusement in that tone.
“Okay then. Take me to her floor, please.”
“Right away, Dr. Banner.”
The floor hummed beneath his feet as the car started moving down and Bruce leaned back against the wall.
He was happy for them, he decided. They both deserved something good.
But from now on, he was definitely going to start calling ahead. Just in case.