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You Won't Believe Your Eyes

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Tony really feels a proprietary interest in Bruce. Like several of the dogs, Tony had found him in a jam, gotten him a chance, and watched delightedly as he found his feet again. In Bruce's case he had been geeking for a wretched outfit on a whole other circuit, but Tony had always known there was more to him. Any idiot can bite the head off a chicken, but it takes a showman to snarl the way Bruce had, to let the blood run down his chin and look the rubes right in the eye while he did it. It had given Tony honest-to-God goosebumps, and he had gone right to the manager and offered to take the geek off his hands for twenty bucks. He had of course laughed and taken the money, and Tony had hauled Bruce back to Triskelion and had endured Fury yelling at him and Coulson being quietly disappointed in him.

These days Bruce pays for himself at least twice over every night, because Tony knows quality when he sees it. Triskelion has too much class to run a geek show, but Bruce was always destined for greater things. Within two days Tony had gotten him kitted up and trained as a wildman, and had found out that he's good with dogs and knows some actual human medicine and actually isn't an alkie, something Tony had been prepared to work with. Instead he's just kind of loony, and what carny isn't?

Now Tony adjusts his hat and runs a comb through his beard. He takes pride in being one of the better turned-out talkers on any circuit. He can't be too flash because that would give the game away, but he can work within budget sometimes, whatever people say. He looks around at the dogs and smiles. There are almost a dozen of them now, and they all sit attentively, long and docked and curly tails all wagging, faces creased in doggy smiles.

"Good creatures," Tony tells them, and points to the door. All of them leave his trailer in an orderly fashion. The larger ones mostly live outside, but they're always welcome to visit. For now they all trot to the tent that houses the freakshow. One of the many nice things about Bruce is that he knows his place as a gaff, and defers to the real freaks, like Sam, who has weird winglike appendages on his back, and Maria, the Armless Wonder. She's standing by the entrance, smoking a cigarette with one dexterous foot, and Tony smiles at her as the dogs politely sniff her stationary leg and continue past.

"Evening," Tony says, tipping his hat.

She nods, and releases a plume of smoke. "And to you." At first she had distrusted him, but over time Tony has won her over with his natural charm and a line of patter that prominently includes, 'do not forget that our human oddities are human' and his strict adherence to the Triskelion rule of throwing out people who poke or jeer and keeping their damn money. Tony likes freaks. They're tough and funny and he's never the craziest thing they've ever seen.

But of course, Bruce is Tony's favorite freak. He seeks him out in the little alcove near the clowns that serves as Bruce's dressing room, where he changes into his loincloth, sets his glasses aside, and covers himself in cosmetic dirt. He's just dabbing the last of it on when Tony pokes his head in, and he smiles at him in the mirror. "Hey, Tony," he says without looking around, and Tony is still so fucking happy that the guy isn't still calling him Mr. Edwards. The whole 'my real name is Stark' thing still lies in their future, but they'll get there when they get there. For now Tony goes over and pats Bruce's shoulder, resisting the urge to squeeze that heavy muscle. Thor's the real powerhouse around here, of course, but Bruce is a damned creditable wildman. Tony tells him so and he laughs, all ease on the surface but darkness and tension underneath. The man in the geek show hasn't gone away, because he's part of Bruce. A bloody, snarling part that he doesn't want to own. It makes Tony shiver, and he fights the urge to kiss the back of Bruce's neck.

The dogs crowd around their ankles, and Bruce smiles, reaching down to scratch Dummy behind the ears, making the silly little thing kick his back leg and loll his tongue out the side of his mouth. "Thanks, Tony," Bruce says, darkness hidden again. He runs his fingers through his hair, greasepaint making it stand on end and look filthy. He carefully affixes his fangs, and sets his glasses aside. The fangs are dainty, and really barely noticeable. But it's for the best to give the subliminal impression of fangs. Tony helps Bruce get the irons onto his wrists and ankles. He doesn't come out for a while into the program, and Tony has to leave him at last, taking his place by the entrance with Jarvis in his arms. The other dogs wait with the clowns, but Jarvis has seniority and is a definite draw in and of himself. He's a beautiful black miniature poodle, and while he's getting on in years, he's the cleverest dog Tony has ever had, and has lovely manners, shaking hands with everyone and bowing to the ladies.

Tony has always had a gift for patter, and now the pitch rolls out of his mouth on its own, about the bizarre and amazing human oddities to be seen inside, along with clowns and performing dogs, all for just one nickel, one half of one thin dime. Sometimes he gets philosophical, pointing out much longer the memory of their completely amazing show will last than anything else for the same price. It actually is a pretty good show, even by non-rube standards, and once Tony has a decent crowd he drops the flap and hops onto the platform. Puck collects the cash and gets it backstage while the clowns do their bit, and then he re-emerges to display his unique physique as well as his tumbling skills. Puck is worth more than his weight in gold, a midget that any freakshow would prize. After him comes Maria, demonstrating all the prowess of those long and flexible legs in her own brand of acrobatic tumbling, and Aurora and Jean-Paul, a pair of bioluminescent jugglers of unmatched skill.

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The dogs do some work with the clowns, but Tony reserves most of their performance for after Bruce. He tends to unsettle people, and the dogs make them laugh and ease them down again afterward. Now, though. Clowns take down the lights a bit, and Tony starts his whole line about the thin veneer of civilization, and atavistic types that can still be found in the hills of darkest America.

"Are you ready, ladies and gentlemen?" Tony asks at last, when the tent is quiet enough to hear a pin drop. "Are you ready to face what lies within us all?" There's a general murmur of assent, and Tony raises his voice. "Bring him out, boys!" They always use two of the biggest roustabouts for this, to wheel Bruce's huge cage into the center of the tent. It's a trick cage, of course. Real steel, but Bruce knows the way out. Now he crouches in the bottom of it, snarling as Tony tells the crowd all about his diet of raw meat and stray cats, and his uncontrollable rages.

Sometimes they bring Bruce out of the cage and sometimes they don't. It depends on the night and on the tenor of the crowd. This one looks impressed, but they could be more impressed. So Tony informs them that for another nickle apiece, he will open the cage door. As Puck goes around again to collect the money, Tony tells the audience to keep their children close and not make a sound.

There are a few gasps, and all eyes are on them. "Ladies and gentlemen," Tony says, hushed and tense, "what I am about to do is one of the most dangerous feats a man may perform. The beasts of the jungle are unpredictable, but have a sort of law unto themselves. If it were a gorilla in that cage I would certainly be in danger, but we must remember," he flicks the key into being with sleight of hand, "that the most dangerous beast is man."

The roustabouts step well back, and Tony coaxes the wildman out of the cage. Bruce's whole being looks different when he's like this. Hunched and thickened, with a suggestion of being gnarled even though Bruce actually has a beautiful body. He kind of knuckles out of the cage like a gorilla, and then he's loping a circle around Tony on all fours. His ragged loincloth is long enough to cover him, but it's a near thing sometimes, and Tony is pretty sure it's why some of the women stay, and probably also part of why some of them run. Every now and then someone, man or woman, bolts when Tony opens the cage, but this is one of those tough, flinty groups. Constitutionally unimpressed men in overalls, and girls in flour sack skirts who want all the excitement ten cents can buy. That's fine. Tony doesn't mind a challenge. Bruce growls and sniffs the air, and snarls at the crowd. They may be tough, but they pull back just a bit.

"None of that," Tony says, and looks to the closest roustie. "When's the last time he ate? His manners are suffering."

The kid just mumbles something, because he's not Bucky, who can get a whole extra bit out of this when it's his turn because he actually has star quality, unlike this clod. But he goes to the back to get some raw meat for Bruce. Because eating raw meat is a draw, and if it's beef and not a squawking chicken, Bruce actually likes it. Tony has had steak tartare in his time, and can understand the appeal. Now he takes the piece from the roustie and shows it to Bruce, who slavers and growls and snatches for it.

"No," Tony chirps, holding it out of reach. "Not just yet. Sit!" Bruce rumbles, but crouches on the floor, eyes locked on the meat. "You haven't been catching enough cats, have you, boy? Poor hungry thing." Bruce actually drools a little, because Bruce is a real goddamn trouper. It would bring a tear to Tony's eye if he wasn't busy. "Still, you need to be more polite. Say please."

"Please," Bruce growls, deep and inhuman and thick. It really does sound like one of perhaps four words the beast knows, and Tony shivers.

"There you go. Such a nice boy when you want to be." It's one of their code phrases, and Bruce just flicks one finger in acknowledgement. They're not going to give this crowd the full treatment. If they did the full treatment every time, people would get wise. Bruce gobbles up the meat to soft exclamations of disgust. Sometimes this is it, and he goes docilely back into his cage afterward. Sometimes he lunges for Tony's throat, barely beaten back by the rousties. Sometimes he goes for the audience, only to be chased down and barely crammed back into his cage. Tonight he's just going to snap a little, maybe grab for Tony's tie. He finishes his meat as Tony talks, and licks the blood from his fingers.

He lunges right on cue, too, interrupting Tony's bit about soothing savage beasts. Tony side-steps and then goes down as Bruce trips on a tussock hidden by the sawdust and falls on him. Because Bruce is a consummate professional, he turns it into a pounce, roaring and pinning Tony to the ground. They are now deep into full treatment territory, and since the rousties get the code phrases before each show, they're caught flat-footed, so Tony and Bruce have to actually have a bit of a tussle, unprecedented in their act. And in general, and Tony is really enjoying this chance to feel Bruce all over him. He's heavy and warm, his breath hot on Tony's neck, and it's enough to make him a little crazy. He's seized by the sudden urge to stop holding the wildman's fangs back from his throat and to kiss him instead. In the same moment, he realizes that Bruce is hard against him, a cock big enough to give Tony all kinds of happy ideas grinding into his thigh. Their gazes lock for a second, and then the rousties grab Bruce, who snarls and snaps and struggles, keeping himself hunched up enough to hide that nice big problem of his.

Once the door has crashed shut with that wonderful sound of steel on steel, Tony coughs and retrieves his hat, dusting it off and putting it back on his head and then straightening his tie, the tent silent now except for Bruce's sulky, thwarted growling. "You see how deceptive the world's most dangerous animal is," Tony says, brushing himself off. "Which is why I prefer working with dogs." He whistles and his whole pack comes rushing in. "Give the wildman a hand, ladies and gentlemen, and be glad we've got him locked up!" The applause is deafening.

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After the crowd has left Tony to put up the 'Next Show In Fifteen Minutes' sign, he ducks back to Bruce's little alcove, where Bruce is sitting in front of the mirror with his ragged coat over his naked shoulders. The clowns and the rousties are all taking a moment to smoke, and Tony and Bruce are almost alone. Jean-Paul and Aurora are fairly close by, but they're busy having yet another spat. It's part of the background noise around here, really, and Tony ignores it accordingly, tugging the curtain closed behind him.

For once, Tony isn't really sure what to say, watching his friend's tense back, shoulders up around his ears. "Bruce..."

"Not now," Bruce says, pulling the coat tighter and ducking his head so their eyes won't meet in the mirror. "At the end of the night. Please."

And Tony guesses he has a point. Fifteen minutes isn't much time, if Bruce is going to insist on making things all talky. "Okay," he says, and pats Bruce's shoulder.

They get on with it for the rest of the night, but Bruce makes no further attacks. He growls and skulks like a fearful and angry dog, and eats a little more meat to keep things worth the price of admission. At the end of the night Tony follows him to his den again, and watches him scrub off the makeup. He ignores Tony but doesn't tell him to get out, either, and Tony takes that as an invitation to stay where he is and admire the view. When Bruce finally turns around, Tony isn't sure what he's expecting. He definitely isn't expecting Bruce to grab his hair with one hand, his lapel with the other, and haul him into a kiss, but he'll take it. He groans and wraps his arms around Bruce's waist, letting him kiss him like the wildman he is. It tastes like blood, and Bruce is so rough, so hungry that Tony is hard in seconds, and moans as Bruce pulls away.

"I-- I'm sorry," Bruce says, and before Tony can even say that it's okay, Bruce tells him to get out.

Tony tries not to take it personally. Not every queer is ready to own it, and he should be resigned to that. He still feels like shit, though, and gets so godawful drunk that he's really glad he's not expected to do anything tomorrow. He sulks in bed for hours until the outside dogs start to howl and Jarvis starts patting Tony's face with one little paw as if to say that he will very much regret being forced to eat Tony if he fails to provide breakfast.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Tony groans, lurching up and slopping out leftovers and horsemeat for everyone. He skips breakfast, not feeling up to it. Especially after handling the meat. Instead he scrubs off, puts on some comfortable clothes, and sits on the steps of his trailer while the dogs engulf their food, struggling to adjust to the brightness of the sun. When he can finally get his eyes lined up properly, he sees someone headed toward the road. A moment later he can see that it's Bruce, hauling the one battered suitcase with all his wordly goods in it through the dust. "Hey!" Tony calls to him, his own voice making his head feel like it's splitting in half. Bruce stops, and looks over at him for a long moment before trudging toward him, looking like a guy on his way to be executed.

"Mr. Edwards," Bruce says when he gets close enough, and goddamn, this is worse than Tony realized, "I'm sorry about last night. It won't happen again. I've got a cousin in L.A., and--"

"Stop right there," Tony says, and scoots over, patting the steps beside him, "and sit down." Bruce is still tense as hell, but he sets the case down and sits beside Tony. "There's no need to go running to the coast unless you want to run for the coast. In that case I'll help you, so you don't have to hitch your way out of this hellhole."

"Tony..."

"Seriously, Bruce. It's all right. Really, I'd rather you stuck around. You're the kind of guy I'm proud to work with." Bruce stares at him, eyes heartbreakingly wary and hopeful. Tony smiles, lowering his voice a little. "If you hadn't thrown me out so quick last night, you'd have seen how little I minded." Bruce is still staring at him like he's grown a second head and it's the most beautiful thing he has ever seen, and Tony just laughs. "Why don't you come inside for a bit?"

Because Tony can afford decent insulation, it's cooler inside, and he sighs. "Jesus, my fuckin' head. I got good and drunk last night, and I guess I get hangovers after all."

"Was it because of what I did?" Bruce asks, soft and fucking heartbreaking.

Tony sighs. "More because you made me leave afterward. Coffee?"

"Yeah. Thanks." He sits at the table, still looking confused, and doesn't say anything as Tony brews the coffee.

"Look," Tony says after the silence starts getting to him, "it's okay if you want me. I fucking adore you, so we can stay friends or become an item at your discretion, all right?"

"...All right," Bruce says, and he's smiling shyly when Tony pours the coffee and turns to look at him. Tony grins back, and joins him at the table.

"Seriously, boy, cheer up." He offers Bruce milk and sugar, and the silence as they adjust and then consume their coffee is a comfortable one. Jarvis even climbs into Bruce's lap, a sign of high favor indeed. It's not the first time, so Tony doesn't have to warn Bruce not to touch Jarvis's ears. They're so easy to hurt that it makes him nervous and sometimes even nippy. Now he just leans into Bruce's hand, utterly trusting. Tony smiles, and moves his chair a little closer. Bruce glances up at him and his eyes are full of questions. Tony leans in slowly, giving Bruce time to object or deflect. He doesn't, though. He meets Tony halfway instead, pressing his lips to Tony's. This kiss is soft and chaste. They're just sort of feeling each other out and breathing together, and while that's not usually Tony's style, he feels like he could do this for the rest of the day, at least.

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Tony has Bruce come back later, of course. It's the hottest part of the day and he's still feeling pretty wretched and Bruce seems a little too tense to just lie down with Tony while he sleeps it off, more's the pity. As it is the dogs keep him company, and when Tony wakes up again, it's half-past six. That's later enough for Tony to get up and make himself marginally more presentable, as well as letting the little dogs out. He puts on a fresh shirt and is just wondering if another one would be better when Bruce shows up, rapping lightly on the edge of the screen door. Tony smiles at him, and opens it.

"Step right up," he says, and Bruce rolls his eyes. Once he's inside and the actual door is shut behind him, Tony wraps his arms around Bruce's neck and kisses him like they have all the time in the world. He tries not to worry about what might happen later, with the full disclosure. He saves it until a lot of kisses and a drink later, almost in Bruce's lap and watching the lines of his throat as he tips his glass up to finish it off. Tony presses a kiss there, and Bruce shivers. Tony sighs. "Hate to say it, but there is something we have to talk about." Bruce tenses a little, but nods. Tony kisses his cheek. "I really want to sit in your lap, but you might be seriously pissed off in a few minutes."

"This is not reassuring, Tony," Bruce says, but he also looks amused and Tony will take what he can get.

"Okay, okay. Let's get the big one out of the way: Edwards isn't my real name." Bruce just stares at him, and Tony sighs. "My real name is Stark. Anthony Edward Stark." It takes a second for it to click and for Bruce to mentally subtract the beard, but then his eyes go about the size of half-dollars. "Yeah, I know," Tony says. "But I've been R and D for years, and I think just as well on the road as anywhere else. I'm not, not slumming or anything, you know?" It comes out a bit more plaintive than he wants, but at least Bruce doesn't look angry.

"That's... that actually kind of explains things. Like where you get your capital, and why you gave me a chance."

"It does? The last part, I mean."

"Tony Stark likes to gamble," Bruce says with a soft, sad smile.

"Especially when it's a certainty," Tony says, and starts easing into Bruce's lap, only for Bruce to go stiff (in a bad way) and hold him off.

"Wait. What about Virginia Stark?"

"You're such a sweet boy," Tony says, wriggling his way into Bruce's lap anyway and wrapping his arms around his neck. "Pepper-- we all call her Pepper-- makes her own arrangements. I actually shared her with my driver for three years before he wound up marrying someone else and being more traditional about it." He grins at Bruce, whose expression is softening. "I actually have a note, hold on." He goes and gets his wallet out of his good pants, carefully unfolding a sheet of Pepper's soft green personal stationery. He hands it to Bruce, who reads the contents to himself, looking amused and touched and full of longing.

To whom it may concern:
I write to inform you that if Tony wants to sleep with you and you want to sleep with him, you may. I know all about it and do not mind.

Thank you,
Virginia "Pepper" Stark

"Ain't she great?" Tony asks, and Bruce chuckles, studying the note for another long moment.

"She seems like quite a lady," Bruce agrees, and tenderly folds the note up again, passing it back to Tony, who puts it away properly before picking up where he left off. He settles himself on Bruce's lap again, but facing him this time, able to kiss him properly and wrap his legs around Bruce's thick waist. Bruce warms up slowly, going from chaste and tentative beginnings to ravaging Tony's mouth and pulling his hair, the other hand gripping and kneading his ass nearly hard enough to bruise.

A loud crack of thunder makes Bruce flinch and hold Tony even tighter. The inside dogs are already inside and the outside ones have shelter, something Tony has to take a moment to think of even now. And then Bruce is lifting him up and carrying him to the bed, and damned if Tony is going to object. He just moans and helps Bruce to tear his clothes off. He loses a few buttons along the way and cannot even begin to care.

"Want to fuck you," Bruce growls in the wildman's voice. He's shaking, pinning Tony to the mattress, his hair and shirt disarranged by Tony's desperate grabbing.

"Get out of those clothes," Tony gasps, and Bruce sits back to work on that, letting Tony grab his slick and two rubbers, in case they fumble one. He's pretty sure Bruce doesn't have the clap, but it would be damn embarrassing to be wrong. Bruce actually roars when another burst of thunder startles him, and Tony shivers, sitting up to cover that hairy chest in kisses. "Fuck me," he murmurs, and Bruce is no longer distracted. He growls and kisses Tony hard, pinning him down again and forcing his legs apart. There's more thunder as he presses one slick finger into Tony, and he whimpers, hiding his face in Tony's chest, shaking all over in what Tony realizes is a combination of lust and terror.

"It's okay," Tony says softly, staring into Bruce's eyes when he pulls back and stroking his hair, both of them suddenly tentative and tender again. "It's okay, baby." Bruce whines and hides his face again, burrowing in against Tony's neck the way a scared dog would press its face to Tony's knee. He's still rock hard, though, and thrusts over and over Tony's hole and his own finger until Tony wonders if they're going to get off this way. He's just deciding that's all right when Bruce slides his finger out and pushes his cock in, snuffling and whimpering against Tony's skin as he slides into him. It's a sudden and wide stretch, but that's just the kind of thing Tony loves, and he howls so loud it almost drowns out the next clap of thunder.

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Pepper has fucked Tony with her whole hand before, so big as Bruce is, he's not too big. Tony babbles and moans, the usual stupid mid-sex stuff. It's all true, he really does want to make a mold of Bruce's cock so he can always have it, but it's pretty ridiculous all the same. It throws some people off their stroke, but not Bruce. He just keeps his face pressed to Tony so hard Tony has no idea how he's even managing to breathe, and fucks him hard and fast and deep. Not like he wants it to hurt, but like he wants to climb inside. He doesn't say a word to all of Tony's rambling, just grunts and groans and makes helpless little whimpers. It feels like he'll last forever, and Tony dizzily wonders if he'll come without anyone touching his cock. It has happened a few times in his life, and it seems awfully close now.

It turns out to be a moot point, though, because Bruce fumbles between them with one hand for a moment before gripping and squeezing and maybe it is too rough but Tony really doesn't care. He howls some helpless affirmatives and a few choice curses and then comes all over Bruce's hand, a few droplets landing in his chest hair and making Tony feel like he's going to die and not mind. He goes limp as Bruce bites his neck hard and keeps fucking him, grinding up and up into Tony's sore body until he jerks and almost comes again, a bizarre little twitch that's mostly pain and entirely good. Bruce groans, and finally comes with a high-pitched cry that makes him sound utterly lost. He collapses on Tony, and whimpers quietly when Tony wraps around him, arms and legs hugging him tight.

"Good boy," Tony hears himself saying as he nuzzles into Bruce's hair, and starts rubbing slow, hard circles on his back. "Yes," he croons, "my good boy." Bruce whines and shudders, kissing Tony hungrily. A rumble of departing thunder makes him shiver, and Tony nuzzles his neck, murmuring reassurances and praise until they both fall asleep to the sound of peaceful rain on the roof.

They wake up sticky, and Bruce is adorably sheepish, blushing and obsessively checking Tony for injury as they wash up. He's so gentle that it melts Tony's heart, which is kind of worrying. For now he just kisses Bruce and leaves him to finish scrubbing himself because the outside dogs have set up a chorus of complaining yelps. He trains all of them to endure loud noises and adopts anyone who can't hack it out to be a pet, so thunderstorms don't bother them. Late breakfast does, of course, and Tony hollers for them to stop complaining as he slops it all together. At least today he's not hungover, and can offer Bruce bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns to go with his coffee. He sits at the table and watches Tony cook, completely bemused.

"I almost starved when I first started doing this," Tony says. "Couldn't boil a fucking egg."

"I'm glad to see you overcoming your disadvantages," Bruce says, with a completely straight face that only softens into a smile when Tony laughs.

Breakfast really is good, if Tony says it himself, and he only starts to worry after Bruce goes to put the contents of his suitcase back where they belong. Which is here. With Tony. Now that he has leisure to think about what could have happened, that if he hadn't been out there to see Bruce that the man might have just disappeared on him. The bastard. It would have been devastating, and that's what's really getting to Tony. He has had a lot of friendly, low-stakes tumbles in his life, and last night was not one of them. Dummy sidles up to him and whines, sensing his anxiety with that uncanny knack that's the closest thing the little bastard has to intelligence. Tony scoops him up automatically, cuddling him against his chest. Dummy is presumably the product of a pug, a chihuahua, and a particularly dim rabbit, but he's a sweet little thing. Now he whines and wiggles until Tony smiles, letting the little dog lick his face and crooning softly to him about how everything is all right. It might actually be, but after he runs the dogs once around the camp and then drills them on some of their tricks, he's still restless as hell, so he puts on a real shirt and a hat and goes to see if Natasha is around.

Natasha is around, and so is Clint, so Tony has an attentive audience for his panicked babbling and doesn't slow down until Bucky comes in. In the face of the obvious glow of new love hanging around the trailer, Tony finishes his drink and slinks off to write a letter to Pepper. They've discussed what might happen if either of them should fall head-over-heels in love with a third party, so at least the issue is an open one. Now he tells Pepper all about Bruce, and how gorgeous and fragile and fucked up he is.

I might really be in love with this one, Pepper, he scribbles, but of course there's plenty for you. He's a smart boy and I'm sure we can put him to use somehow. You know better than I.

Love,
Tony.

The letter sealed and the dogs settled in for their evening nap (as opposed to their mid-morning and midday naps, as well as to sleeping through the night, the lazy bastards) Tony goes to find Bruce. Due to his poverty he's sharing Puck's trailer, but since Puck spends most of his evenings with Aurora and Jean-Paul in some kind of little Canuck Club, Bruce is the only one home, sitting on his improvised bed and reading from one of the three thick books he hauls everywhere. He's directly opposite the screen door, and blushes when he sees Tony through it. Tony grins at him and unhooks the latch.

"Hey."

"Hey," Bruce replies. Tony shuts the wood door behind him and comes up to sit beside Bruce, leaning against him and reading the open page for a moment before Bruce closes the book and sets it aside before pulling Tony into his lap with that casual strength that always makes him shiver. He sighs and nuzzles Bruce's neck, glad just to be here.