“Check out the new guy.”
“Huh?” Tony was startled out of his light doze as Natasha shoved his feet off his desk so she could sit on the corner. She jerked her chin across the room, and Tony followed her gaze to the desk closest to the bathroom, the one that had been empty ever since Rumlow transferred out a few weeks ago. “Hello ,” Tony drawled, sitting up straight and leaning forward a little to get a better look at the new arrival. The man sitting at the desk had long dark hair tied up in a bun at the back of his neck, a few tendrils having already worked their way out to brush his jaw. It was a little after 9 am so his ridiculously chiseled jaw was smooth and clean shaven, but Tony would bet the Stark fortune that he was going to have a hell of a sexy 5 o’clock shadow come, well, 5 o’clock. “Check out the new guy,” he echoed with appreciation. His eyes trailed down the man’s broad shoulders to where his shirt sleeves were rolled up over his forearms, hands pecking at the keyboard as he frowned at his computer screen. “What’s his name?”
Natasha smirked. “I thought you’d be interested. His name is James.”
“James, huh? That’s a good name.” Good name to be calling out in bed, Tony thought, and Natasha snorted as if she heard that.
“But wait, there’s more.” Across the room they heard the distinctive chink of the office toaster as the bread popped up, and at the sound James slid back from his desk and crossed the room.
“Wow,” Tony said with feeling as James walked across the room, all long legs and lean hips. They both watched in admiration as James stooped to grab a jar of peanut butter from under the counter, slacks stretching tightly over his thighs and rear.
“But that’s not even the best part,” Natasha said, and Tony looked up at her skeptically. “Watch.”
Then James turned around, holding the Sarge’s jar of peanut butter, and Tony’s jaw dropped. One of Natasha’s hands covered Tony’s mouth, muffling his excited “He’s got one of my arms!” almost-shout, and the other pushed him back in his chair when he almost got up to run across the room.
James’ left arm was made of interlocking metallic plates, dully reflecting the fluorescent lights overhead as they disappeared into his sleeve; as he tried to open the lid on the jar, the plates shifted and resettled themselves, a technological marvel that gave Tony goosebumps to watch. The fingers were fully articulated, mirroring James’s other hand exactly, and there was no hesitation or clumsiness in its motion as James struggled with the jar. “It’s beautiful,” Tony whispered.
“Yeah, I thought you would like that,” Natasha said with satisfaction, removing her hands when she saw that Tony was going to behave himself. Tony had tried as much as possible to distance himself from Stark Industries since he left the company business, but he had an unspoken arrangement with his father than he would toss his better ideas over the fence to the R&D department and in return Howard mostly left him alone. The design for James’ high-tech prosthesis was one such tribute; it had been born from a caffeine-fueled weekend bender over a year ago and Tony hadn’t even known it had cleared the FDA yet, much less gone into production.
As they watched, James’ hands tightened on the jar of stubborn peanut butter with a frown of effort; everyone in the office knew that Sarge overtightened the lid on purpose so he was the only one who could open it, but apparently James was taking it personally because with a scowl he adjusted his grip and the plates rearranged themselves again. Suddenly there was a sharp crack and James looked down with dismay to see peanut butter oozing all over his fingers.
“I can’t believe I’m going to sleep with him,” Tony said, resting his chin on his hands and his elbows on his desk as they watched James set the jar in the sink and started to scrape the peanut butter on his hand off onto his toast.
“You know, you don’t have to,” Natasha said dubiously. Now James was putting the broken peanut butter jar back into the cabinet as if nothing had happened.
“No, I’m gonna."
*Cue Theme Song*