Tony ran across Amora in the quad and for once she had interesting things to say. Like he was completely stopped in his tracks because Amora had a lot of gossip she wanted to share.
Like Brian Falsworth having a crush on Steve. And Brian Braddock thought Steve’s ass looked nice in jeans. (Jan would totally agree, though she said Steve needed to wear tighter jeans.) That Steve and Sam were seen canoodling over the pool table in Club A. And that Natasha and Kamala were constantly training with Steve at strange hours.
Tony narrowed his eyes. No, he wasn’t jealous. Just because Steve barely had any free time for anything and he chose to spend some of that time with friends like Bucky and Sam, instead of with someone who really loved him. Someone like Tony, his boyfriend.
Well, he would have to do something about that.
Tony bored holes into the back of T’Challa’s head as he worked with Steve on their chemistry assignment. So he was managing quite well to ignore Loki’s smirking at him all during class.
“Armor Man, you seem distressed over something.”
He shook his head. “Nothing’s wrong.” Except that T’Challa was standing too close to Steve. Why wasn’t he standing a good five feet away? Or even better yet, standing in some other building. He could skype Steve about the assignment. That was totally possible.
“Are you sure?” Loki said.
Tony didn’t notice Loki actually seemed concerned about him. He was plotting ways to stop T’Challa from ever taking chemistry again with Steve. He’d have to order special parts for the robots but it would be totally worth it.
Steve turned around and shyly smiled and gave Tony a little hand wave. Totally the most adorable man in the world. Yeah, Steve loved him.
“I said I was fine,” Tony said.
He didn’t fret and worry about Tony Masters or Rumlow -- Steve never showed the slightest bit of interest in them. But Brian Falsworth with his Britishness, admittedly nice personality, acknowledged damn good looks -- no, he couldn’t lure Steve away from Tony. And Tony wasn't going to let that happen anyway.
Steve loved Tony and Tony loved Steve.
All of a sudden Brian was everywhere with Steve, hanging on every word, admiring Steve’s biceps, practically elbowing Tony out of the way at the pool table at Club A. Steve was his usual cheerful and polite self, of course. And Tony made sure that everyone knew that Steve was his. In case Brian was getting any ideas otherwise. Although Steve had to ask Tony to stop hanging on his arm while he tried to play pool. Tony had to settle on staring down anyone who ventured too close to Steve.
“Are you okay?” Jan asked when Tony went to get a drink for Steve. Before T’challa got him one.
“Never better,” he quipped. He liked T’Challa so he’d feel a twinge of sadness when he trapped the guy in a quinjet headed back to Wakanda. But he shouldn’t be talking about movies with Steve if he didn’t want a one-way ticket back home.
“Like, did anything unusual happen to you?”
“It’s Avengers Academy, Jan. If nothing unusual happened -- that would be unusual here.”
“Uh-huh.” Jan twisted her napkin in her hands.
“I should go help Steve.” Tony started to step away from the bar with his drinks. “He’s being harassed.”
Jan glanced over at the pool where Steve was laughing with Sam and Bucky. “Steve seems to be A-okay. And he can defend himself.”
“You never know,” Tony replied huffily. “He could be attacked at any minute and need help.”
“That tears it,” Tony declared to no one. He peeked through the Timeless Archives windows and spied Brian studying with Steve.
Brian. Sitting in Tony’s chair. Next to Tony’s man.
Brian said something to Steve, shoved a couple of books into his messenger bag, and headed towards the door. Tony decided to follow him. To tell him to leave Steve alone. Brian headed towards the dining hall. Tony had no idea why Brian would go there of places -- it wasn’t open for dinner yet.
He glimpsed Brian near the pantry off the kitchen. Tony didn’t know when he’d picked up the axe, which felt nice and solid in his hands. Perfect for getting across to Brian that he should keep his hands off Steve.
Brian was standing in the pantry looking for something. He never saw the swing of the axe and he fell immediately. Tony kept hacking until he stopped moving.
There. Now Brian was never going to bother Steve again.
Tony carefully leaned the axe against the wall. He wiped his bloody hands on his jeans and headed off to find Rhodey for their study session.
He finally found Rhodey in the quad. He was talking to Steve and even clapped him on the back. Well, wasn’t that just ducky.
He strode purposefully towards Steve and Rhodey. He never in a million years would have thought that his bestest friend, his bosom pal, his brother in everything would be making a pass at his boyfriend, the light of his life, his everything. He had to put a stop to that just like he put a stop to Brian.
“Owwww!” He shouted when Natasha stopped him dead with a nerve pinch to the neck. He dropped twitching on the sidewalk, unable to move.
“Okay, next objective in Operation Stop Tony achieved. Someone come and get him,” she reported over her comm.
Steve bent over Tony. He brushed back Tony’s hair from his face. “We’ll make this right, Tony.”
“Is he going to be okay?” Rhodey asked.
Loki said, “I think so. Take Armor Man to his room and I’ll check him. The spell should be wearing off soon.”
Tony laid in his bed staring at the ceiling, feeling the stirrings of a massive headache. The past 24 hours were a complete blur and he couldn’t piece anything together. He heard loud voices on the other side of the door.
“Hey, I did nothing wrong here,” Amora screeched.
Good, sounds like they got got her.
“You did enough. Take her to Fury,” Steve ordered.
And Steve was the one who found her. Good for Steve.
“I cast a love spell on Tony, that’s all I did. I don’t know why he was acting so weird --” Amora protested loudly.
Oh god, did Tony hate magic.
“Okay, that’s it. That’s what Fury gets for letting junior varsity supervillains join the academy,” Maria snapped.
Sitting next to Tony’s bed, Jan patted his hand. “Loki says that Amora’s love spell went horribly wrong. I guess she thought she could magic you into falling for her or something. Instead it all backfired and you got obsessive over Steve instead.”
“Right.” Tony gulped. “Was I the only one affected?”
“Yep,” Jan said. “All you, and only you.”
He couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d done horrible things to keep Steve to himself. He would have hurt Rhodey. Rhodey! He’d killed Brian too. Damn. Brian was a nice guy who didn’t deserve any of this. And Tony was a murderer.
“Um, about Brian --”
“Oh, that.” Jan laughed. “You’re a big hero on campus -- you destroyed all the beets and cauliflower we were supposed to have for dinner tonight.”
“What?” A wave of relief flooded over Tony. Brian was fine!
“Brian went to the dining hall to grab a snack and saw you go into the kitchen -- the cook found a big puddle of smashed beets. We're all hoping that they’ll order pizza tonight.”
The vague headache that had been in the background roared into life and now Tony’s head was throbbing. He grimaced from the pain.
“Yeah, Loki mentioned you might get headaches.”
“I’m just glad I didn’t kill anyone.”
“Not your fault, Tony,” Steve said as he entered the room.
“But I could have.” Tony shuddered. He would have.
“You were mind controlled,” Steve said firmly. “You had no control over your actions.”
“Steve’s right, Tony, listen to him for once.” Jan swatted his arm for emphasis. “I think I’ll leave you two alone.” She left them alone.
Steve did not take her chair but wedged his body somehow next to Tony’s on the bed. He said, “You’ll be okay, Tony.”
Tony still felt chilled to the bone, even with Steve’s warmth next to him. He’d thought and done bad things, even if it was only obliterating a bag of beets. “I thought I’d killed someone.”
“You’ll overcome this just like every other obstacle you’ve beaten before.”
Tony gratefully squeezed Steve’s hand. He might need more than a couple of vacation days though. “Yeah -- but --”
Steve ran his fingers through Tony’s hair. “Fury will deal with Amora. She seems to like making people do stupid stuff.”
“Except for Jan and Natasha.” Bathed in Steve’s warmth, Tony felt more relaxed. “I’ll apologize to Brian tomorrow. Was Jan serious about the pizza?”
“Hmm. You might have to do more than apologize.” Steve kissed the top of Tony’s head. “And I’ll get a few pizzas sent up here.”
“I love you. But I swear off murdering people for you.” Tony gave a full body shudder.
“It's a deal.”
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