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“Jarvis, this is why I hate being me.”

“Because you discovered that HYDRA operatives make up 42% of the SHIELD workforce and are planning to seize control of the organization in the next week?”

Exactly.  We still need to access those records on Rogers.  Back on task.”

Tony continued to type away at the small keyboard, tugging every so often at the access card around his neck.


“Most of the communication between HYDRA agents must be passed along physically, sir. The reports we located containing the cypher make reference to a sleeper with code name CASR who will lead them 'when the time comes’.  No suggestion to any brainwashing or trigger words.”

Shit.  CASR shows up in intelligence from the forties and present day, doesn't he?”

“Unfortunately, yes. It seems Captain America Steve Rogers may be compromised. You need to report to Director Fury, as he's the only set of eyes restricted from these materials.”

He groaned into his hands.

“Stupid bastard probably knew what I would find when he convinced me to join this stupid organization.  I'm a billionaire. Why the hell am I here digging up government agency secrets? I could be on a beach. Drinking.”

“I believe the director phrased his proposal as more of a dare at the time. And then your personal feelings for Captain Rogers prolonged your service.”

“Mother fucker. And I may be dating a supervillain. Can this day get any worse?”

“Sir, Rogers just exited the elevator and is approaching your office.”

“Switch to silent mode, J.  Start recording and be ready to send Fury everything if things turn ugly.  Have the Mark LIX on standby.”

Tony cleared his computer screen and reached for the stack of files, unfolding the first report as the door opened.

“Hope I'm not too early?” Steve lifted the large brown bag he was holding.

“Never. Did you make me that sinful egg salad?” Tony stood and rounded his desk, attempting to steal the sack from the tall blonde.  Steve raised the arm holding their lunch out of his boyfriend's reach.

“Maybe. You'll just have to wait and see.”  Steve leaned down and kissed Tony as the smaller man pouted.

“Jerk. Should've left SHIELD and let you fend for yourself.  Want to eat here?”

“I should have warned you. I made plans for us to meet up with Natasha and Clint. They both got back from assignment earlier today and asked us to meet them near the garage.”

“Ah. Okay. Let's get to it. I'm not sharing my egg salad with them.”

Tony forced a smile.  He dropped his phone in his pocket and reached for his watch, but Steve pulled him out the door before he could grasp the metal band.

“No need for Iron Man today. I'll be sure to keep you safe.”




“I think an impromptu vacation is in order. How about we take next week off and go to Hawaii?  I can lay on the beach, you can go sprint up a volcano.”

Tony scooted up next to his boyfriend as he pulled out a pair of sandwiches.

“Sprint up a volcano?  Really? As much fun as that sounds, next week is no good. Already booked for an assignment.”

“Doesn't Sam owe you one?  Make him take your mission so we can go have some cake on the beach.”  Tony waggled his eyebrows, hoping the smirk on his face covered his unease.  The lack of reaction from Steve made his stomach roll.

“Sorry, Tones.  Operation parameters called for specifically Captain America.”

“Then I’ll just take a short leave while you’re gone.  I’ve been considering going to--”

Tony Stark definitely did not startle when a heavy hand landed on his back.  He took a couple of quick bites of his lunch, unable to taste the flavor.

“Any reason you have to go next week? We can go wherever you’d like once I get back.”

Tony wanted to believe Steve.  He bit into his sandwich again before noticing he was eating alone.  He assumed the fog collecting in his mind was his paranoia getting away from him.

“I just thought I could use a break. I've got a feeling I'd rather not be here when…”

Tony tried to stand, but the fingers clutching the back of his neck kept him down.  His vision blurred as he dropped the last half of his meal.

“Oh, Tony.  Sometimes you're too clever. Just a little late this time.”

He felt his body being lifted and carried before everything faded to black.




Tony startled awake to Steve's blank features across from him. He sat up, reached in his pocket to find his phone missing.

“There's no one you can call, Tony.”

Taking in their surroundings, Tony determined they were on the Quinjet.  His heart pounded in his chest as turned toward the cockpit.

“Jarvis, code fifty-ni--”

“Jarvis, Captain Rogers override.” Steve's vacant features creased as he snarled, taking the few steps over to Tony before backhanding him.

“Don't make me punish you.  Behave.”

“Yeah, I'm not making you do anything you don’t want to do, Rogers.” Tony rubbed his swollen cheek. His eyes darted around the cabin until they landed on the weapons locker.  As he made to stand, Steve took the seat next to Tony and pulled him over and pressed him into his lap.

“I cleared the guns and knives out of the ship while you rested.  Your AI will no longer take commands from you. Barton and Romanoff confirmed Fury was out of the picture.”  Tony struggled for a short time before the hands holding him tightened to the point of tears. Steve watched as the smaller man dropped his head, letting his dark curls fall against the front of his oppressor’s shirt.

“They’re HYDRA too?  Who that I trusted isn’t HYDRA?”

“Bruce is not, but he’s been MIA for awhile.  Same with Thor.” The supersoldier dipped his head to catch the other’s drifting eyes.

“I granted you amnesty.  You’ll be getting that vacation you wanted over the next week at my safe house.  Not close to the ocean, but the scenery is nice. No one around to bother you.”

“That’s it?  HYDRA will take over SHIELD, and then what?  Launch those helicarriers and murder anyone some software deemed a potential threat?”

“Yes, for now.  More will come later.  And over time, I am sure we can come to some sort of agreement.”

Tony snapped up and glowered.

“Fuck you, Rogers.  You know how adamant I am about normal issues.  I am never going to join the HYDRA bandwagon. Awarding me immunity will be your downfall.”

“I love you, Tony.  I don’t want to have to hurt Rhodes or Potts or young Parker, but I am willing to sacrifice them for the cause.  With time, we all break.” Tony’s tried to keep himself from crumbling, but the stress in his chest made his body tremor.  Steve tucked a lock of hair behind Tony’s ear before he leaned forward and kissed him on the corner of his lips.

“I reckon you will shatter beautifully.”