Tony groaned and flipped off his welding torch as Jarvis’ alarm blared. Most self-respecting vampires were getting ready for bed at 6 a.m, not getting ready for a day of work. Not that Tony had ever been remotely respectable, but it was still the principle of the thing.
He rode the elevator up from the basement lab floor to his living quarters. Jarvis was already drawing the blackout curtains in the bedroom so at least Tony didn’t have to deal with the sunlight in his own home. He’d have to face it all as soon as he walked out the door, but at least he was safe for a little while.
“You will find a bottle of SPF 100 in your bathroom,” Jarvis said. “Miss Potts wished to remind you to apply a liberal amount before leaving the Tower.”
“It’s not going to really help,” Tony muttered, but he started slathering on sunscreen anyway. Over the sunscreen, he applied a light layer of olive-tinted foundation. He hated to have to wear make-up, but the second he stepped into the sun, his skin would turn pale and sallow. And he couldn’t afford to look ill in front of the board. They were sharks as it was. They didn’t need to see evidence of his weakness.
Tony put on a dark grey suit and reluctantly put on a coordinating tie. “How do I look, J?” he asked as he adjusted the tie.
“Highly professional, sir. Miss Potts would approve.”
That was a ringing endorsement if he ever heard one.
He glanced at his watch. By his calculations, he had enough time to to stop for coffee before work. Which meant he was hitting up Sparks, the little coffeeshop that his boyfriend Bucky co-owned. Bucky’s best friend Steve would be working at this hour, of course, but Tony didn’t care. Steve was friendly enough for a fairy and damn good at making coffee.
Tony descended down to the garage level and slid into his Rolls-Royce. “If I’m not back by noon, send out a search party, J.”
“I await your return with bated breath, sir.”
Tony rolled his eyes as he slid on his sunglasses. “It’s too early for your sass. Doors, please.”
He cringed as the garage door slowly rolled up, letting in bright streams of sunlight. Already he could feel his eyes itching and his skin drying out. Fucking daytime. He couldn’t wait for the tiny respite Sparks afforded him.
It was a tiny, hole in the wall sort of place which meant Tony wouldn’t run into anyone who would recognize him and take pictures of him looking haggard. That alone would have made the place Tony’s new favorite hangout. Anonymity was so rare for him these days. But good coffee was even rarer.
Tony parked the car as close to the entrance as he could and practically ran inside.
Steve was behind the counter, humming to himself as he worked. “One vanilla latte with a shot of courage,” he called out.
The only other person in the shop, a nervous looking young woman in an oversized hoodie stepped up to the counter and carefully curled her hands around the cup.
“Good luck with the speech,” Steve said with a gentle smile.
The woman flashed him a hesitant smile and darted out of the shop.
Steve’s eyes fell on him and he broke into a wide grin. “Tony! Nice to see you. What are you doing here at this hour? I thought vampires were allergic to sunlight.”
“We are,” Tony said with a heavy sigh. “But the board insists on having their meetings during the day.” He surreptitiously itched at his right arm.
“They know you’re a vampire, right?”
“Know and don’t care,” Tony said with a sigh. “That’s the business world for you.”
Steve’s face hardened. He grabbed an extra large cup, filled it up with Midnight Roast and then added a shot of charisma and luck.“On the house,” he said, sliding the cup across the bar to Tony.
Tony smiled at Steve gratefully and took a healthy gulp of his coffee. “Hey, is Bucky still up? Might as well say hello to him while I’m here.”
“I think he was just about to go to bed but I know he’ll want to see you. Hold on.” Steve disappeared through the doors in the back.
He returned dragging a haggard-looking Bucky by the hood of his jacket. Bucky grumbled and fought until his eyes landed on Tony.
Tony swallowed as his pulse sped up. Even after a decade of dating, the incubus still effected him.
Bucky slipped out of Steve’s grip and sauntered over to the counter. “Well, good morning to me,” he purred. He leaned over the counter and pressed a kiss to Tony’s cheek. “What are you doing out at this hour, doll?”
“Meetings,” Tony said with a sigh.
Bucky frowned. “They couldn’t schedule them at a decent hour?”
“Nope. Pepper says it’s all in my head, but I think they want me to suffer.”
“Sure sounds like it,” Steve muttered as he aggressively wiped the counter down.
Tony grinned. Like most fairies, Steve was small and slender, but a lot stronger than he looked. He wasn’t afraid to take on someone twice his size if they were bothering his customers. Tony had little doubt that if any of the board members walked in at the moment, Steve would deck them on principle.
“Let me give you a little something to make it through the day.” Bucky sliced into his finger with a bread knife and held it over Tony’s coffee cup.
“You don’t have to do that,” Tony protested.
“It’ll help, won’t it?” Bucky let two droplets of blood fall into Tony’s cup and then he turned away to wrap a napkin around the cut.
Tony took a sip of his coffee and sighed contentedly. Incubus blood wasn’t as nourishing as human blood, but he could still feel energy flowing through his veins.
Bucky tilted his head to one side. “You have time for a quickie before work?”
“Not in the shop,” Steve growled. “That’s a food safety violation.”
“In the back?” Bucky asked hopefully. He wilted as Steve glared at him. “Okay, fine. I’ll see you later, babe.”
“You could come over tonight,” Tony suggested. “I’ll need something to help me unwind after this horrible fucking day.”
“I’d love to, babe, but there’s a new club opening tonight and I’m supposed to put in my usual appearance. The joy of being the only incubus in town.” He smiled ruefully. “How about you come with me? Everyone will be too drunk and horny to notice if you sneak a bite or two.”
“Sounds good,” Tony said. “Put on those skintight black pants of yours.”
Bucky leaned over the counter and traced a fingertip down Tony’s chest. “Only if you put on those dark jeans, the ones that make your ass look fantastic.”
Tony shuddered and allowed Bucky to pull him further into his orbit. He could practically taste the sex and coffee on Bucky’s breath and he licked into his mouth, savoring Bucky’s taste and the feel of his hands sliding under his shirt.
“Okay, knock it off,” Steve said. He swatted Bucky with a stack of advertisements.
“I can’t help myself,” Bucky whined. “Tony’s fucking delicious.”
“Of course he is,” Steve said with a shake of his head. “But Tony has a meeting to get to and you don’t want to make him late.”
Tony blinked and looked down at his watch. “Oh shit, that’s right. Thanks for the coffee, Steve. And see you tonight, Buck!”
Bucky blew him a kiss. “Keep your phone on. I’ll send you some dirty pictures to keep you awake through that boring meeting.”
“No, you won’t,” Steve said. “You’re going to bed, remember? You’ve got a big job tonight.” He herded Bucky into the back room with a broom.
Tony grinned. Well, at least he had something to look forward. He slipped on his sunglasses and staggered back out into the bright sunlight.