That was all the warning Rhodey got before a very dirty and rather smelly Tony Stark was hanging from his neck. Rhodey made a disgusted face.
“Tony, I thought we had that covered,” he complained. “No clinging when you're fresh out of the workshop!”
“But honey bear, sweet cheeks, you never call, never write, you left me stew in my tower like a jilted lover! I'm not feeling the love here!” Tony pouted, making Bambi eyes at Rhodey.
“Jilted lover, my ass,” Rhodey groused, placing a hand on Tony's face and shoving him away ungently. “I know for a fact that you were busy replacing me with a fine collection of superheroes and assassins.”
“Aw, sugar mouth, you know you will always be the number one in my heart,” Tony declared.
“Good to know that, Tony. I guess I'm not needed anymore. I'll leave tomorrow,” said a serious voice behind him. Tony spun around, eyes growing huge with shock.
“Steve!” he exclaimed. “No, Steve, no, I didn't mean that, you know I didn't mean it like that, Rhodey is my friend, my best friend, my bro, and you are, you are...”
“Tony,” Steve interrupted Tony's rambling, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Tony, it was a joke. I didn't mean to make you upset. I know Rhodey is your best friend.”
Steve reached out and pulled Tony in, hugging him close for a second and kissing him on his brow. Then he backed away a little.
“You really stink, Tony,” he said, scrunching up his nose. “You need a shower, now.” He unceremoniously shoved Tony into the direction of his room.
“But Rhodey!” Tony protested and flailed around with his arms, trying to turn around. “Also, I don't stink, I am as fresh as a flower garden!”
“A decomposing flower garden, and Rhodey will have to put up with my company in the mean time,” Steve calmly replied. “The sooner you return, the less material for blackmail am I able to press out of him.”
“You wouldn't!” he cried. Steve only rose a challenging eyebrow, and Tony was zooming to his room like the hounds of hell were hot on his heels.
“You really know how to handle him,” Rhodey said with an appreciative tone in his voice.
“I guess I do,” Steve replied with a self-satisfied little smile. “Now, concerning that blackmail material...”
By the time Tony returned freshly washed, shaven and dolled up (no, being told he stunk had not hurt his pride), Steve and Rhodey had made themselves comfortable on the sofa in the living room, drinks and snacks on the table. They were having a very animated conversation, and Tony paused to watch them for a moment before entering the room. Both of them were relaxed, and Steve was telling Rhodey something that they both seemed to find extremely amusing. Not about him, he hoped.
“Looks like I'm not even needed here anymore,” he finally announced himself, chuckling. Rhodey raised an eyebrow and waved him over.
“Come over here, idiot” he called.
“Rhodey, I really don't know why you keep insisting on calling one of the brightest people in the world an idiot,” Tony complained. “I am a certified genius.”
“You are a certified idiot,” Rhodey calmly replied and pulled him down next to him on the sofa. He stared into Tony's face with an intense expression on his face, making Tony squirm a bit. After a few moments, his expression softened, and amusement sparked in his eyes.
“Looking good, Tones,” he finally judged and gave him a hug. Tony clung to him for a moment, soaking up Rhodey's presence and feeling inexplicably moved.
“I missed you, apple pie,” he confessed, mashing his face into Rhodey's shoulder.
“I missed you too, idiot,” Rhodey replied affectionately before giving him a last squeeze and drawing back. “What's with the box?”
“Oh, I almost forgot!” Tony exclaimed, taking the box that he had brought with him when he returned from prettying himself up, and handed it to Rhodey. “It's for you.”
Rhodey raised an eyebrow but didn't say anything, and instead went for the lid of the box immediately. Inside, there was a pretty accurate toy replica of the Iron Patriot armour, only now, it had ears. Rhodey gave Tony a look before he took the toy out of the box and flipped the visor up. A fluffy bear with shiny dark fur looked back at him. Rhodey huffed out a laugh.
“Really, Tony?” he asked, but the tone of his voice was warm and amused.
“The whole armour is removable. You can hug it when you miss me?” Tony suggested, leaning into Rhodey's side, taking one of the bear's arms and waving it at Rhodey.
“Yeah, right,” Rhodey sarcastically replied, but he still put the bear away for a second and gave Tony a hug and a kiss on his temple. Tony made a happy little humming sound and stuck to Rhodey some more.
“Should I leave you guys alone?” came Steve's quietly amused voice from the other end of the sofa. Rhodey laughed, and manhandled Tony into reversing their positions on the sofa.
“No thanks, Cap,” he said with a huge smile, pushing Tony into Steve's embrace. “I'm pretty happy you took him off me.”
“Meanie,” Tony complained, but he still leaned into Steve's embrace enthusiastically.
Rhodey ignored him in favour of examining his new toy more closely.