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Paint Me in Trust

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“Tony, I’m pretty sure we’ve taken this turn.”

Tony scoffed. “No shit, Sherlock.” He gestured his hand to the burn mark on the polished white wall. “I made that sign. Burned it there with my gauntlet.”

“Sure did.” Rhodey sighed, leaning to the wall on his left. “Tony, I think we’re—”

“Don’t even jinx it.” Tony cut him off before he finished his sentence. “We’re getting out of here.”

“It’s been an hour.” Rhodey stressed, and Tony flailed his hands dramatically.

“Okay, Sourpatch. Show me the way out, then. No, you can’t because we’re in a fucking magical labyrinth.”

Tony actually looked more stressed after that, and it made Rhodey felt guilty. He raised his hands in surrender.

“Okay, okay. Calm down.”

“No, I can’t calm down. You said it yourself, we’ve been here for an hour, with no phone signal, no sign of help, no—fucking clue of how to get out of here. When we get out, I’m gonna slap Strange’s ass because he should’ve kept an eye on his magical playgrounds—”

“Tony,” Rhodey grabbed Tony’s upper arm, and he exhaled shakily, leaning to the touch almost minutely. It didn’t go unnoticed by Rhodey. “Wouldn’t hurt to sit for a while. C’mon.”

He tugged Tony down, and they ended up leaning to the wall, feet outstretched, shoulders touching. Rhodey kept moving his hand up and down Tony’s arm.

“We’ll figure it out.” Rhodey murmured.

Tony hummed in return. “I just don’t like being trapped.” He whispered, almost too quietly for Rhodey to hear. But he heard it anyway, and his heart ached. He pulled Tony closer.

“I know.” Tony put his head on Rhodey’s shoulder, hiding his face on the crook of Rhodey’s neck. Rhodey sighed. “But, you know, at least you’re trapped with me.”

He felt Tony’s smile against his skin. “Wouldn’t have chosen anyone else.”

And damn if that didn’t make Rhodey felt all warm and fluttery inside. He shook his head, grinning widely, before kissing Tony’s hair.

He scrunched his face. “Ew. When was the last time you showered?”

Tony slapped his chest and Rhodey barked out a laugh. “You’re a dumbass.”

“Uh, I’m sorry, that’s your title.” He tugged Tony up and caught the end of Tony’s eyeroll. “Ready to continue now?”

Tony kissed Rhodey’s cheek and held his hand. “Lead the way, Colonel.”

“We’re definitely stuck.”

Rhodey groaned at Tony’s statement. “You said don’t jinx it.”

Tony shrugged, expression flat. “What? We’ve been here for two and a half hours now.”

“I know that.” Rhodey ran a hand through his hair, frustrated. “I don’t know why we keep finding our signs. We took different turns. We should have gotten somewhere else.”

“Emphasize on should have, Honeybear.” Tony sled down to sit on the white floor, then proceeded to hug his knees close to his chest. Rhodey couldn’t help of thinking about how tiny he was. “General rules don’t exactly work in a magical place.”

Rhodey grunted, pacing in front of Tony. “In this rate, we’re gonna be late.”

He didn’t mean to let Tony hear his mumbling, but apparently Tony heard anyway. Tony perked up and looked at him curiously. “Late? For what?”

Rhodey looked back to him, eyes widening slightly. “Uh, nothing.”

“Very convincing, Platypus.” Tony tapped his knees, expression thoughtful. “Were we supposed to be somewhere today?”

“No.” Rhodey answered, almost too quickly. Damn, he should calm down immediately before he spilled anything else.

Tony hummed, pursing his lips at him. He looks cute, Rhodey’s mind supplied unhelpfully. Rhodey shook his head and crossed his arms, tilting his chin up at Tony.

To his surprise, Tony laughed.

“What?” Rhodey asked, and Tony only laughed harder. “Tony, shut up.”

“I’m sorry,” he wheezed in return. “But if you’re trying to hide the fact that you’re hiding something, that just proved that you are hiding something.”

Rhodey rolled his eyes, this time trying to hide his embarrassment. He plopped down next to Tony, and Tony slapped Rhodey’s shoulder through another wave of laughter.

It’s been a little while since he laughed this freely, Rhodey noticed. He left him be.

“What’s wrong with you?” Tony asked when his laughter died down a bit. “You’re usually the one good at keeping secrets. What are you trying to hide?”

Rhodey hummed, eyes wandering to the white tiles. There was silence for a few moments. It wasn’t uncomfortable or awkward, but it wasn’t exactly content either. They were just.. silent.

“You can trust me, you know.” Tony said lowly, hesitantly, and Rhodey wanted to slap himself for making Tony thought like that.

“No, it’s not about that, not at all.” Rhodey assured, pulling Tony closer. He made a disagreeing noise and Rhodey hugged him tighter. Rhodey really didn’t want to screw this up, but he also didn’t want to make Tony felt more insecure.

He tilted Tony’s chin up, so he would look him in the eyes. And fuck, Tony looked genuinely scared. Scared that Rhodey didn’t trust him. Rhodey should really slap himself later. He pushed his face closer so that their foreheads were touching, eyes still locking to Tony’s, so that he would understand that Rhodey’s serious, and he’s sorry.

“It was supposed to be a surprise.” He said softly.

Tony exhaled shakily, closing his eyes. “That was so dumb. I’m so sorry.”

Slap count: 2, Rhodey mentally noted. “Don’t say that. It’s my fault. You’ll gonna know all about it later, okay?”

A smile twitched on Tony’s lips. “Okay.”

“Do you mean that or are you just saying that to please me?”

Tony huffed a laugh, opening his eyes again. They twinkled with something like gratitude. “Yes, Rhodey, okay.”

“I was gonna bring you out, but you guys seemed quite content here.”

Rhodey jumped from where he was sitting at the same time as Tony. Tony summoned the Iron Man gauntlet from his watch and raised it in alarm to one.. Stephen Strange, who raised an eyebrow, expression unimpressed.

“What the fuck, Strange.” Tony hissed, lowering his gauntlet a little.

“Is that the way you greet your savior, Stark? Honestly, I’m not surprised.”

“Oh, you better be grateful, I can be much more aggressive when I want—"

“Doctor Strange,” Rhodey interrupted. “How did you find us?”

Strange turned his attention from Tony to Rhodey. “Good thing your boyfriend has manners, Stark, or I’ll just leave you here again.” Tony scoffed in response. “And Colonel, you and your friend here disrupted the labyrinth’s walls, I’m bound to know at some point.”

“Disrupted?” Strange gestured at the burns on the walls and Tony groaned. “Oh, come on! We were trying to get out!”

“Whatever it is,” Rhodey piped in again, pinching the bridge of his nose. “We’re sorry if we caused any mess. Can you bring us out now?”

Strange nodded. “I’ll pay more attention so the labyrinth won’t lure any more mortals in.” He created a portal, and on the other side they can see the side of the road they had been walking down before they got stuck in the magical maze. The sun was already up, instead of the warm morning light before they went in.

“You better fucking be.” Tony said one more time before taking Rhodey’s hand and pulling him through the portal. Rhodey yelled his thanks to Strange before the portal closed behind him.

“Ahh, fresh air!” Tony yelled, stretching his arms. Rhodey just smiled watching him. “So? Wanna tell me your secret now?”

Oh, right.

Rhodey pulled out his phone, and visibly paled when he saw the notifications streaming in.

Where are you? Come on, everyone’s already here.

That was Roberta, ten minutes ago.


“Honeybear? What’s wrong?” Tony asked with concern, and it snapped Rhodey back to the present. He gripped Tony’s hand, and without so much of an explanation, took him running.

“Rhodey?” Tony yelled, though he followed Rhodey’s steps. “What’s this about?”

“We’re late!” Rhodey yelled back as an answer.

“Late for what?”

Rhodey didn’t answer. And surprisingly, Tony didn’t ask, just followed where Rhodey took him. He didn’t stop until they were in front of a cheap diner, panting from their run. Rhodey spotted Jeanie inside, saw her sigh of relief. He waved at her and mouthed wait.

“Um, Rhodey?” Tony said in-between his short puffs of breath. “Tell me I’m hallucinating, but is that your whole family from Philadelphia I see in there?”

Rhodey laughed in spite of the absurd situation. He squeezed Tony’s hand, that he belatedly realized they haven’t broken the contact yet.

“It was kind of the surprise.” He grinned. Tony looked up to him. “Happy birthday, Tones.”

A second. Another second. Rhodey’s heart thumped.

Then Tony laughed.

“Seriously?” He giggled, like an actual child. “That was your surprise?”

“Well, I can’t take you to Philadelphia, can I?”

“You’re so corny.”

Rhodey groaned, about to complain at Tony, before Tony moved first and kissed his cheek quickly. Rhodey blinked, looking at him, eyes so bright and grin so wide.

Tony shook his head, squeezing Rhodey’s hand back. “Thank you.”

Rhodey smiled right back at him.

The sun was already up, but they went in to have their breakfast anyway.