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Operation Tony Stark has a Heart

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The idea started when Clint got kicked out of his apartment for ‘a suspicious sound that they can in no way connect to my apartment’ and ‘target practice, pigeons are a menace’. He spent a grand total of two hours at SHIELD, complaining about his impending homelessness before Tony had reacted. “Barton,” Tony said, peering at him over his sunglasses, “shut up.”

Steve lifted his shield to block Thor’s swing and tried not to wonder why Tony, here for a training session, apparently felt that a three piece suit that cost more than any of them made and sunglasses were the appropriate gear for training.

“Easy for you to say,” Clint muttered.

“Look,” Tony said, leaning back against the wall and speaking over the sounds Thor and Steve were making, “if it will shut you up, come stay at the manse. I’ve got the space, God knows. A bedroom suite, underground target range, best security in the city, catered meals and two roommates.”

“Two roommates?” Clint asked.

“Pepper’s being staying over,” Tony replied, “but she has to go back West for business next week, then it’ll be just me.” He glanced up as the door opened, “There’s even space in the attic for your things.”

An older man walked in, flanked by two SHIELD operatives and carrying a red and silver briefcase. Steve waved Thor off and turned to watch as the man approached Steve. “Sir,” the man said.

“Happy,” Tony said and clapped the man on his shoulder, “get lost?”

“Issues with security,” ‘Happy’ replied, holding up the briefcase. Steve blinked as he realized that it was handcuffed to the man’s wrist.

“I told Fury,” Tony muttered, taking the case. ‘Happy’ unlocked the case and stepped back.

“Good luck, sir,” he said.

“Yup,” Tony replied. He dropped the suitcase on the floor and it popped open. Then, Steve realized that this was some piece of technology that Tony honestly considered basic but which amazed everybody else. As Tony bent over and lifted the strange contraption, Steve realized that everyone was watching Tony.

In moments, Tony was clad in a red and silver version of the Iron Man armor. “All right,” Tony said in the same, filtered mechanical tone that was always present. “Let’s get this training done.”

“All right,” Steve said, he lifted his shield, “Tony and Thor against me. Clint, use the safety arrows for target of opportunity. Natasha, you’re next. Either step in if Tony or Thor goes down, or you’ll go up against Tony and Thor.”

After training, as Tony watched ‘Happy Hogan’, his driver, leave with the briefcase secured about his wrist, he commented, “You never gave me an answer, Barton.”

Clint, who had opened his mouth, probably to complain about the ‘safety arrows’ again, closed it. Then he nodded, “Yeah sure, I’d appreciate that.” He paused, “I didn’t think you liked me that much.”

Tony snorted as he adjusted his sunglasses, “Barton, I don’t like you. I just wanted you to shut up.”

Chapter Text

“Seriously, Clint,” Tony said as he stood in the door to his kitchen, “it’s four am, what are you doing up?”

“Breakfast before work,” Clint replied, “I prefer to eat now, because otherwise, I’ll get called out to, I don’t know, chase the Hulk or something, get hit in my stomach and then six o’clock news has a government agent losing his meal all over some little old granny or something.” He glanced at Tony before sliding eggs on his plate, “Why are you up?”

“I haven’t gone to bed yet,” Tony replied. His coffee machine bleeped three times and Tony stared at it as a series of red lights flickered over the front. “God, did you mess with my coffee maker?”

“I tried to get it to make coffee,” Clint replied.

“Shit, why didn’t you ask JEEVES?” Tony half stumbled over to the coffee maker and began to press buttons. “He could have told you what to do, or gotten me.” Looking up, Tony glared at the camera to the house AI before the machine beeped again. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you,” he added, looking back down.

“You? You’ve anthropromorphized your coffee maker?” Clint asked.

“No, and that’s not really a word” Tony replied as he pulled a phone out of his pocket. “It’s got an advanced decision making processor that can maintain coffee at a drinkable temperature without burning it, as well as being able to receive remote commands to make coffee or drain itself.” He hooked his phone into the coffee maker’s system and nodded, “You can’t just go pushing buttons on her. You have to know how to give her commands. She’s very temperamental, it’s why we haven’t gotten them out of prototype phase yet.”

“Only you would have a bitchy coffee machine,” Clint muttered.

Tony flicked him a glanced as the machine beeped and began to dispense coffee, “Don’t knock it. The last prototype we built and field tested turned homicidal because the tester would program for one type of coffee and then complain when he got it. We were able to save the tester, but the machine had to be destroyed.”

Clint shook his head, “I need coffee if I’m going to deal with this shit.”

Tony grabbed a second mug, “Her name is Goddess and if you want more coffee ask JEEVES to speak with her.”

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For Tony to have opened his home to one Avenger was a rare thing, but the next part had stunned him. Fury, in what was clearly a bout of insanity, told him that the other Avengers should also move into his mansion.

“Do you know me?” Tony asked, “I don’t play homeless shelter. Get someone else to do it.”

“No one else has a mansion in reasonable driving distance from downtown,” Fury replied, “In fact, no one else in SHIELD has a mansion at all. It just makes since from a logistic standpoint to have the Avengers together if we need them.”

“It makes sense?” Tony replied, “What about, it’s my private property and was not in any way, shape or form handed over to SHIELD for personal use. The United States Government cannot require me to house them. Third Amendment.” He stood and walked out, slamming the door on Fury’s demand that he come back.

Steve, standing by the secretary’s desk, stared at him, “Is everything all right?” Steve asked.

“No,” Tony snapped, “that one-eyed, overbearing, control freak thinks he can order me around like that and I swear to God if he tries again we are going to have a serious issue over the word ‘consultant’. I am not one of his little agent to do and say whatever he wants, and I’m not a pet, or a serf, or whatever he thinks because I get a paycheck from him. And I will not stand by and let him act like he has the right to control me.”

“What happened?” Steve asked.

Tony took a deep breath, “Nothing. Nothing happened. You’re still in the Army right?”

“Right,” Steve said, “I’m just not on active duty.”

“That’s OK,” Tony replied. “I’ll see you later. Clint said something about another team night.”

“Right,” Steve said, “it’ll be good to get away from here for a while.”

Tony left, but Steve’s wistful tone stuck with him and later that night, after a Star Trek movie marathon that had dragged on far to long, Tony didn’t think twice about offering guest rooms. If Steve followed him home again the next night, Tony still didn’t think about it.

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Steve moved into Tony’s house slowly and with a minimum of fuss. Fury had mentioned the idea and Steve got the idea that Tony’s utter rejection had not been what the SHIELD commander had expected. Steve understood though. It was one thing to offer a room to a friend and another to be ordered to take in a collection of strangers.

Not to mention that Fury seemed to be pissed that Tony had a legal basis for his side of the argument.

Still, living with Tony, Clint and JEEVES was an experience. It all started with the coffee machine.

It was a Saturday, so when Steve came in from his run at eight, he wasn’t surprised to find Clint in the kitchen. What he heard, however, did surprise him. “Come on, Goddess, just make coffee. JEEVES, why won’t she make a cup of coffee? I haven’t said anything nasty to her in days.”

“I do not know sir,” the computer replied.

“What’s going on?” Steve asked as he stepped into the kitchen.

Clint spun away from the coffee machine, “Cap, you startled me!” He said. THen he sighed, “Tony’s coffeemaker is sentient to an extent, and today, she’s decided that I can’t have coffee, apparently.”

Steve shook his head, “Maybe you should try asking politely.”

“I did,” Clint muttered, casting the coffeemaker a dark look. “I guess that’s what you get when you call your coffeemaker Goddess. Sometimes, she asks for more than you can give.”

Steve hid his smile and got out a coffee mug, “Allow me to try,” he said and stepped up to the machine. As he slid the mug under the spout, there was a click and black coffee poured out with a waft of steam.

“That’s not fair!” Clint cried, “Why couldn’t I have any?”

“Problems?” Tony asked as he walked into the kitchen.

“Apparently,” Steve said as he stepped away from the machine, “Clint can’t have coffee today.”

“Again?” Tony asked, “I’ve got this.” He stepped up to the machine with two coffee mugs.

“Have you even been to bed yet?” Clint asked Tony.

“Does it matter?” Tony replied and handed Clint a mug.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t really any one person’s fault that Natasha came to the mansion next. It just sort of happened. Tony saw it as Steve collecting a stray. Steve said it was all on Tony and Clint just laughed hysterically whenever it came up.

It all started with an attack by Loki, an attack that left a portion of Queens in ruins. Standing at the edge of the ruins, watching as Thor dealt with the last Frost Giant, Steve turned to Tony, “Shame about the collateral damage,” he managed after a moment, the accent of a born and bred New Yorker giving the words a notable twist.

Tony, mask pulled back, smiled as well, “I know.”

Maybe he didn’t have that New York accent anymore, being a man of the world, but Tony had the New York attitude down pat. A kid from Brooklyn and a son of the Bronx exchanged an amused look, “At least it was in Queens,” Steve added.

Loud cursing in several dialects made both men turn to find the Black Widow staring at a partially demolished building, “That was my apartment!” She finally declared.

Captain America turned to Iron Man, just in time to see the panic in his eyes before the mask clanged shut. “Sorry,” Tony said, “Pepper needs me to sign something. I’m sure you can take care of things here.” With a burst of his repulsors, Iron Man was gone.

Steve sighed and turned back to Natasha. “Tony’s got plenty of bedrooms,” he said, even as he adjusted his grip on his shield. It took a strong will to keep the shiled from drifting to a guard position as she stalked towards him, “I’m sure he won’t mind letting you have one of them.”

“He’d better not,” Natasha replied as she stalked past him.

Chapter Text

After Natasha was settled at the mansion, Tony vanished.

Iron Man stuck around, helping to fight Loki’s mutated wolves and brainwashed Asgardians, but Tony was no where to be found.

Steve checked his room, workshop, and asked JEEVES before he called Ms. Potts.

Pepper didn’t seem to be concerned by Tony’s sudden vanishment, and told Steve that it happened at times. Tony, she said, tried hard to be a part of their world but sometimes, it was just overwhelming for him. Finding private places was a skill Tony had perfected in Stark Mansion.

While Tony was MIA, Steve found himself going toe to toe with Fury over Thor’s continued living at SHIELD. Steve wasn’t about to let Fury house Thor in the mansion without Tony’s permission, even though Tony had mentioned that he wanted the Asgardian to come to the mansion.

After a training session one day, after watching Iron Man leave, Thor turned to Steve. “I understand your reluctance to give into Fury,” he said quietly, “yet I find myself longing to leave this place.”

“It’ll happen,” Steve replied, “as soon as Tony gets back.”

That night, Tony came back to the mansion, trailing Thor and Bruce Banner. “Ok, Thor,” Tony said, “there are a ton of bedrooms up stairs. Bruce, if you’ll come with me, I’ll show you the lab.”

“And my room?” Bruce asked as Steve, Clint and Natasha looked on.

Tony shrugged, “There’s a bunk in the lab, but there’s also direct access to the pool house. It’s reinforced, isolated and far enough from the house that you could set off a small bomb and we’d probably never hear it. Thus fitting every one of Fury’s criteria for you.”

“Letter but not spirit,” Bruce mused with a slight smile.

“Something like that,” Tony agreed. “Although if you go Hulk, I’d rather you did that out there. I haven’t had time to renovate out there and contractors apparently charge less if we do the demolition for them.”

Steve reflected that it was amazing that Tony didn’t get Bruce to ‘go Hulk’.

“I like you,” Bruce said, and his smile was shy. “At least you don’t dance around the truth all the time.”

“Where’s the fun in that?” Tony replied dryly.