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Bruce Banner knows Tony Stark doesn’t give a shit about shawarma.

Sure, the billionaire takes all out for dinner after the situation is more or less contained - after Loki’s anchored to the deck of the helicarrier with Thor’s hammer, after the press’s attention has been thoroughly and skillfully turned towards the swath of alien destruction and away from the team by Fury’s propaganda people, after Bruce manages to get the other guy locked safely away within the meditative prison that takes so, so much effort to maintain.

Tony doesn’t care about how much effort it takes him to keep the... the other guy locked up. Bruce knows this. He’s known it since the moment he set eyes on the other man, since Tony set eyes on him, that gleam of interest so clearly evidently. But before today, Bruce would have said that the billionaire was only curious, childish and stupid, for wanting to see the other guy. His enormous green rage monster as the weapons dealer so gleefully put it.

Today... after the wormhole ... well, Bruce doesn’t think it’s that easy. That anything is really that easy, that obvious, about Tony Stark.

Which is why he knows that the weapons dealer doesn’t give a shit about shawarma.

What he does care about, though... that’s a much, much harder thing to pin down.

The team’s here now, eating in silence, nobody sure what to say to anyone else. The only person in the ruined little dinner who isn’t still in uniform, as the Captain might say, is Bruce himself. The other guy probably wouldn’t appreciate the shawarma anyway, which is a shame.

It really isn’t bad here. Not bad for America, anyway. Bruce has been all over the Middle East, had this kind of flatbread sandwich dozens of times. He knows what it should taste like. It tastes like it should, plus or minus some spices, and his own unwilling taste buds aside. He wonders if anybody else has ever had it before, if it even matters either way.

They’re just happy they’re alive.

Bruce isn’t sure he feels the same way.

Tony looks up at him then, right as he takes a bite out of his own sandwich, and Bruce doesn’t know why Tony brought them here, why it was so goddamn important, why Tony kept joking about it, even after the battle was over, why Tony got so obsessive about getting JARVIS to find the place, about bringing them here, even telling Fury to back the fuck off, okay dad, we’re getting dinner together and we aren’t gonna be home in time for curfew, so just get over it.

Tony might not care about shawarma, but he is after something, and Bruce has no idea what that is.

The thought of somebody being about to get the drop on him like this, being able to out-think him, is as unsettling as it is fascinating, though.

Bruce hasn’t felt either of those two things in a long, long time.

Tony’s still looking at him, still eating his sandwich and looking at him, and the sheer amount of analytical consideration in his eyes makes Bruce shiver.

The billionaire takes one more bite, and then drops the whole flatbread-meat-yogurt sauce configuration back into the greasy, paper-lined basket. “So,” Tony says in his flat, smooth, suave way, wiping his hands on a wad of flimsy napkins, “everybody got a place to stay tonight? Cause I know we made a bit of a mess earlier, but I’m more than happy to host a sleepover. We can have naked pillow fights and everything,” and he smiles at Natasha, who just rolls her eyes.

Bruce doesn’t fail to notice the way she’s holding Clint’s hand under the table.

Everybody drifts out after that, as if Tony, breaking the silence, has given them permission to go.

Clint says he’s got a safehouse in the Upper East Side, and Natasha doesn’t even protest as he slips his arm around her waist and leads her from the diner. She’s trying to hide it, but Bruce knows that the events of the day have shaken her. Badly. He feels partially responsible for that, for not being able to keep the other guy from scaring the shit out of her in the bowels of the helicarrier... but neither she nor Clint would let him apologize, he knows, if he tried.

Cap’s next, the man clapping Tony on the back with one big hand, saying he wants to make a stop by the hospital on his way back home, make sure the injured are doing okay, that New York’s probably never seen a disaster like this before, that they might need some extra help getting things organized right. Neither Tony or Bruce mention 9/11 in rebuttal to that idea - the old man’s had enough horrible things thrown at him as it is already today.

Thor lingers a little while longer, finishing his meal with quick, efficient bites - he ordered triple what everyone else did - and then excuses himself with a strange grace. If you will pardon my hasty departure, my friends, I believe my brother will need attending to. He and I have much to discuss before we return to our father for his judgement, and Fury has already proven himself ill-equipped to manage him. His manners seem more at home in Lord of the Rings than some shitty little dive like this, Bruce thinks. Judging from Tony’s wry little smile as he gives Thor a goodbye fist-bump, he‘s not alone in that opinion.

And then it’s just Bruce and Tony.

Bruce isn’t hungry - he never is after the other guy comes out, his stomach’s usually too upset to even consider the thought of food - but he keeps eating, on auto-pilot, until Tony peels off what has to be a thousand dollars and drops it on the table.

“You done?” he asks quietly.

The scientist nods, and lays the remains of his half-eaten meal down, staring at his hands. “I’d, uhh, hate to impose, but...”

“Way ahead of you,” Tony replies. “Wouldn’t have offered if I didn’t want you there.”

And then it just comes out. What’s bugging him so much about all of this. “Why aren’t you afraid of me?”

“It’s like you said about him,” the other man answer slowly, and offers him a hand up. “The other guy’s nothing but an exposed nerve. You, turned inside out. He’s nothing but an expression of you.”

“Yeah, but he’s not me. He’d kill you as soon as...”

“Then why he’d help us today, Banner? He could have killed us all...”

Bruce shrugs. He doesn’t really understand that, either. Falling on that building so he wouldn’t hurt anyone, fighting alongside the rest of the team, the frantic scramble up to catch Iron Man... he can almost remember it. And it’s nothing the... the other guy’s ever done before. “Maybe it was more fun for him to fight the aliens than you guys.”

“Sure, whatever, believe that if you want,” Tony replies, and looks back down at the table, frowning. He adds another five hundred-dollar bills to the little pile already there. “You coming? I don’t know about you, but I’d like to take a fucking shower. I hate smelling like war zone.”

Tony’s limping now, past the controlled chaos of the NYPD and the National Guard and the rubble and the memorials of candles and flowers already cropping up on still-intact walls. Tony wasn’t limping before, and Bruce wonders if the man is just that good at hiding it. He feels guilty about not being hurt himself - as far as he’s been able to tell, there’s not a force on earth can can hurt the Hulk - but Tony won’t accept any help.

So Bruce just walks slow, and Tony has to stop once or twice to catch his breath, but between them, they get back to Stark Tower, invisible, unmolested by Fury or cops or media in the falling night.

Tony already had his engineers patch the building’s arc reactor into the city’s power grid. It was the first call he made after they’d won the battle. Bruce is pretty sure that’s the only thing that’s keeping Midtown Manhattan from black-out right now.

He’s also pretty sure that if he asked Tony about that, the other man would just laugh him off and say it’s a demonstration that’ll help him win some kind of clean energy contract with the federal government when this is all over. Something like that. He’s already seen the man’s altruism come out today. No need to rub his face in it now.

The elevators are working, and Tony keys his thumbprint on a recessed digital reader in one of the panels, takes them up to his penthouse. The main living room is smashed apart and cold, exposed to the night - your handiwork, buddy, beating the shit out of Loki.

Bruce knows that somehow. He hardly ever remembers what the Hulk does. But this, this he does. His stomach roils now with the knowledge of it, the faint memory of the power, of a life in his hands to rip asunder as he sees fit, of the sheer ecstasy, the unbridled joy of the fury that suffuses every fiber of his being, let loose to play...

“Bathroom,” he gasps, and Tony just points down a long, untouched, dark hallway.

Next thing the scientist knows, he’s over the toilet, on his knees, gripping the still-spotless rim tight as his body heaves itself apart. His throat’s on fire and his vision floats on the tears filling his eyes and he can’t, he just can’t...

“Hey man, let’s not have another of those, okay?”

It’s Tony, standing in the doorway behind him, and Bruce reaches blind for a handful of toilet paper to wipe the acidic burn off his chin. “It’s okay, he’s not coming out again tonight,” he says honestly. He’s not mad. He’s not... anything, right now. All he is is empty. “You don’t have be afraid of that.”

“I’m not afraid of him,” Tony says, and comes in, moving over to a smooth panel of glass by what Bruce realizes is a ridiculously opulent shower. The billionaire’s fingers run over the small controls, and water starts pouring out of a huge rainfall showerhead. “I thought you’d figured that out by now.”

“You should be.”

“Just because you are? What’s that ever done for you, Banner?” Tony shrugs, and strips his shirt off, tossing it away into a corner of the bathroom. His heavily-muscled back is nothing but a mass of purpling bruise, and the scientist realizes, for the first time, what wearing that suit must do to him. He turns around, and taps the light in the center of his chest. “You think I wasn’t afraid of this, until I learned how to use it properly?”

Bruce shakes his head, and falls back into sitting on the heated marble floor. “We aren’t going to have that discussion again, are we, Stark? Because as touching as it was the first time around...”

Stark just shrugs, and his hands drop to his fly. “I thought I’d take a shower. You’re welcome to do whatever you like. Stay there and watch for all I care.” And then, as if suddenly thinking of something, pants hanging open and loose on his hips, the billionaire chuckles and saunters over, offering Bruce the same open hand from the diner. He’s grinning again. “Or you can join me.”

Bruce stares back at Tony, not sure if he just heard what he thought he heard, if Tony really just said...

But the billionaire waggles his hand a little, lifting an eyebrow in question, and Bruce sighs as he reaches up for it, as he lets himself be pulled to his feet. “Your woman Pepper okay with you showering with strange men?” he asks.

“Doesn’t matter,” Tony says after a slight pause, tones clipped. “I need a shower, you need a shower... Pepper’s a big fan of men showering. She’s fine with it.”

There’s more to that non-answer - a hell of a lot more - but Bruce has had enough complications of his own in the past few years to understand how that all can go. It’s none of his business what’s between Tony and the woman whom all the gossip rags insist is his girlfriend. So he just nods and rolls his eyes up when Tony wriggles out of pants and boxers, and focuses on getting his own borrowed clothes off instead.

“Coming?” Tony calls. There’s the unmistakable sound of interrupted water, and Bruce grips the edge of the sink as his heart starts to speed up. He’d once thought that the key to the change, to keeping the other guy corralled, but it’s turned out to be a bit more complicated than that. Easier to control, but far, far easier to unleash.

What would have happened to everyone today if you hadn’t been able to do that, Bruce wonders as he finishes shucking himself bare. If Tony hadn’t been right about you, if you’d let Tony down...

But that’s a dangerous thought that will undoubtedly lead to dangerous conclusions, and Bruce is far too exhausted right now to put himself through that kind of mental exercise. So he shoves it away and tries not to look at Tony as he slips into the shower next to him.

The other man’s leaned back against the wall, dark hair slicked to his head, the deliciously hot water coursing down his battered body, arms folded across his chest, just under the glowing circle of light embedded there, eyes closed. It’s awkward and strange in a way that things haven’t been in a long, long while.

How was this okay again?

“Doesn’t that thing short out or something?” he finally asks, the strange silence from a man who’s normally so talkative, who can’t ever seem to shut the fuck up, starting to unnerve him. “Your arc reactor? Shouldn’t you cover it up with, like a plastic bag or something?”

“It survived the vacuum of space today, I think it can handle a little water,” Tony replies. His eyes don’t open, but he runs a hand back through his hair, the massive contusions on either side of his ribs now clearly on display.

Bruce knows that Tony knows damn well that that’s the kind of junk science you’d find in a comic book, but he doesn’t challenge it. Interesting, though that the man was prescient enough to build a suit that could withstand those kind of conditions, or how he was able to incorporate such wildly different environmental extremes into the design. That, the scientist in him would like to know more about.

He doesn’t ask that either, though.

“What was it like?”

“Space?” Tony asks.

“Or wherever the, uhh, Chitauri were coming from. That must have been a hell of a thing.”

Tony doesn’t answer, though he finally stirs enough to toss Bruce a bottle of expensive-looking body wash, and take another from himself, palming a handful of it and soaping his torso up, moving quick and efficient down to his legs, between.

Bruce looks up, so he doesn’t have to watch that. The water seems to be falling from the entire ceiling, all around them. It’s like standing under the spray of a perfectly paced, perfectly heated waterfall, and Bruce can’t help but make the unpleasant comparison to the the broken, sputtering faucets and filthy river bath houses of Kolkata.

“Hey,” Tony says, and Bruce jumps a little as a slick hand lands on his chest, and takes the body wash away from him, flipping the cap open with a lazy thumb, and pulling one of the scientist’s hands out, filling it with cool gel. “You still with me here, Banner?”

The billionaire’s eyes are dark and unfocused, lacking both that wry amusement and frenetic consideration that Bruce has seen there over the past few days, and that somehow keeps it all from being awkward, strange, wrong.

No, no instead it all feels... it feels right. Somehow. In way things haven’t been right in a long, long time.

“Yeah, I’m still here,” he says. Bruce can’t take his eyes off Tony this time, as he starts lathering the shower gel up between his hands, slowly working on his own arms and torso. The billionaire’s gone for the shampoo himself, working it up into his hair with the tips of his fingers, dextrous and nimble. It’s showing off the lines of his body - leanly muscled, spare and clean, the bruising still welting out doing nothing to detract from the sight.

Part of Bruce wishes he could look like that. Battered. Bruises. It's how he feels, how he wishes he could feel. But there's not a scratch on him. The other guy saw to that. Just like he saw to the suicide attempts, every single one of them...

“Does it normally do that to you, your suit, in a battle like that?” the scientist asks, trying to ignore his own unease, not wanting to think about that month when he thought he could somehow die, and the night he realized he couldn't.

Tony looks down at his chest, like he’s seeing the mess there for the first time, like he hadn’t even noticed, but his voice is tired as he answers, “no. Today was a unique case.”

Bruce nods, glad this conversation is back on something a bit more familiar. Tech stuff. How Tony’s suit works. Safer. Much safer by far. “I would think that you’d have to have pretty decent safety features in order to keep you from, like, liquifying under the gee forces...”

But Tony just cuts right through all of that. “How’d you get him to fight for us today, Bruce? The other guy? How’d you get him under control like that?”

“Fuck, Stark...”

“Come on, talk to me,” and his gaze is suddenly piercing. “Tell me.”

Bruce closes his eyes for a moment, unsure about all of this, of what in the hell he thinks he's doing, what Tony's up to, why Tony cares so damn much about the Hulk. “At first,” he says quietly, “I treated the Hulk like a disease or a mutation. Something I could control, just a chemical imbalance that just needed the right medication. When that didn’t work, I moved on to the psychological and metaphysical. Yoga, meditation, that shit. I thought my heart rate might be the secret to keeping him in control.”

“And now?”

“I don’t think there is any controlling him. There’s just ignoring the anger, covering it up.”

Tony thinks about this for a moment, and then nods. “Before, when you said you were always angry...”

“I am,” Bruce says shortly, not wanting to think about this. “It’s his anger. It’s always his anger, bubbling up through everything...”

“But anger about what?” Tony queries, and that’s definitely the man from the lab, waggling a finger, pacing a bit, clearly in full-on thinking mode. “What makes him angry? What makes you angry?”

“It’s not my...”

“It is,” Tony says firmly, and stops, right in front of him. “It is your anger, Banner, because he’s part of you. Could it be, just maybe, that perhaps the reason why he’s so angry all time is because you lock him away in a cage and don’t acknowledge him, that you're denying a part of yourself...”

Bruce blinks as that idea hits him, as the anger, fading, ripples up in agreement. Oh fuck, is that true? Could that be it? But yet... “You don’t know what you’re talking about, Stark.”

“Oh, don’t I?” the billionaire challenges.

“You wanna have that conversation again, huh? About how he saved my life from the radiation?” Bruce can feel the anger surging back again, feel the roar of the other guy rattle through his bones, hear his voice starting to raise. “How he wouldn’t let me just end it? You wanna hear about all the times, all the ways, I tried to...”

“How about how he behaved today?” Tony interrupts, cutting him off, and Bruce feels the Hulk go silent. “He didn’t hurt any of us. He fought with the team. You think that he might have enjoyed you letting him out, accepting him...”

“What? Am I supposed to be happy about all the Chitauri he killed?” Bruce snaps, and takes a step forward now. “About...”

“Why not?” Tony says, and there’s something desperate on his face now. “I nuked them. Humanity’s first real contact with an alien race, and I deployed a nuke against it. A ship, miles long, just gone. Like Hiroshima...”

And suddenly, as Tony trails off, hands running up into his hair, turning away now, it all makes sense to Bruce. All of it.

The snark, the battle, the jokes he kept cracking through the whole damn thing, the nuke...

The shawarma.

The whole reason for the fucking shawarma.

Tony doesn’t want to look at all the horrible things.

The things he’s done.

The things around him.

The things he is.

But nothing, nothing at all, can make them go away. Nothing he tries. No matter how much he tries. No amount of joking around, of focusing on other things, will ever make the truth of it all go away.

Which means... which has to mean...

That Tony’s just like him.

They both built their own monsters, drew themselves into a world they never wanted to inhabit, become something they never wanted to be. Just because they were curious. Because they could. Because they were too smart to prevent it from happening. Because they can’t stop it now, no matter how many jokes are made at its expense, no matter how they try to stay aloof, distance, cynical, how much they try to hide in the richest penthouses, the deepest slums...

And the other man must sense that thought or something, as the smile playing in the angles of his goatee fails to manifest, and Bruce can feel his heart speeding up again, feel the Hulk laughing in some combination of glee and anger and... sympathy too, maybe, in the back of his mind...

“Is it really about your heart rate?” Tony asks, and Bruce draws a deep, shuddering breath as he looks down, sees the other man’s hand resting on the top of his left pectoral.

He shakes his head. They already talked about this. So what are they talking about now? “N-no...”

“Good,” the billionaire-genius-playboy-philanphropist says, looking little more than a desperately lonely man who’s finally recognized a kindred spirit. “Because I don’t want to be interrupted right now.”

Before Bruce can formulate another, a better, protest against whatever the hell is going on right now between them, Tony’s mouth is on his own. Tony’s neat goatee is scraping the rough stubble of his own chin, Tony’s hands are gripping hard around the base of his shoulders, Tony’s muscled, battered body is pressed to his own, Tony’s cock is hardening against his thigh.

They’re kissing, Bruce marvels for a moment. Somebody who’s seen in him at his absolute worst, knows what monster lurks beneath the surface, is kissing him, wants him...

“Stop,” he gasps, realizing where this could go, if he loses control, if that carefully cultivated detachment slides into passion, if he loses himself in something. And he tries to jerk away. “Fuck, Tony, stop...”

But Tony’s hands are like steel around the back of his head, and while he’s careful not to force anything, he’s not letting the scientist move away. “I trust you,” he whispers in Bruce ear.

“You shouldn’t.”

“Then trust me,” Tony replies, voice softer than Bruce ever thought possible, and starts moving them slowly backwards. “Trust me when I say that you’re not going to hurt me.”

Bruce just closes his eyes, and lets his forehead fall forward onto Tony’s, lets his body collapse into Tony’s. Between those words and that touch, his own cock is waking up, taking interest, starting to fill the little space that there is between them. He knows he shouldn’t, that it probably won’t end well, but goddamn, he wants to believe in this man, the first person who’s looked at him with anything other than fear since the accident.

Tony’s back hits the wall, and the billionaire sighs a little as the kiss breaks, and Bruce moves back in to reclaim it. A wet fist clenches up in Bruce’s hair then, a lean thigh brushes up against his own, and their lips slide together and apart, frictionless in the heat of the falling water.

“I... want you... inside of me,” Tony murmurs out in between passes, a thumb rubbing across the hard nub of one of Bruce’s nipples. “Can you do that?”

“I.. I don’t know,” Bruce says brokenly. He hasn’t had sex in so long, hasn’t dared, and even now, he can feel the rising crest of his own arousal bringing with it the fury, up from the depths. But he wants it, wants it so bad, to feel this connection, the sync of emotion and thought that was a infinitely rare thing in his life, even before he ruined himself with the radiation. “He might show up if I can’t concentrate on...”

“Then don’t concentrate,” Tony continues, lips and teeth pulling lightly at the skin of his neck, arching back so their cocks slide against one another. The round rim of his chestpiece bumps against Bruce, and somehow, that’s even more erotic, the thought that this man’s genius enough to save himself with spare parts, forged together in some desert cave. “Tell him to stay the fuck away right now and focus on me instead.”

They’re moving faster now, the random movements of hips and groins starting to line up, finding harmonic resonance, and that’s got to stop, stop before...

“He doesn’t listen to me, he’ll hurt you without your suit,” Bruce insists. He can feel him, roaring in the back of his mind.

“Sure he does,” his would-be lover tells him with the utter confidence that he’d worn this morning in the S.H.I.E.L.D. lab. “C’mon, you know I’m right...”

So, despite all his fear, about the anger welling up at Tony’s refusal to listen, Bruce tries that. tells himself he can have this, tells the other guy stay down, you had your fun, this is mine. He puts everything he can into kissing Tony, into gripping Tony’s thigh high around his waist, into the moans that escape him as Tony slicks him up with another palmful of soap, into entering Tony slowly, into thrusting deep and even, into grinding Tony’s own erection between them on every upstroke. Into breathing, into feeling everything their bodies are saying to him, into the noises that Tony is making. Into everything that’s right about this moment, instead of everything that’s wrong.

Bruce has had earth-shattering orgasms before, the kind that come rough and fast and blinding. Tonight isn’t like that. Tonight isn’t some violent crash. No, tonight, Bruce feels his orgasm pull on and out, threading him thin, until all he can see is white. He falls apart then, when that color becomes too much to bear, slamming a hand against the tile wall of the shower as his release rushes out of him, into Tony. Tony, who holds him through the whole thing, who trusts him enough to hang on through it all...

And his last thought as he slips completely away is that he has no idea what he's done to deserve this, but it just might be real.


When Bruce wakes up, when he comes back to himself, the first thing he notices is daylight streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Which is more than a little disorienting, in and of itself. Fuck, did he walk in here?

Not to mention the soft sheets, the ridiculously plush bed around him, the pillows that seem to be everywhere, the rumpled, empty space beside him...

“Good morning, Mr. Banner,” a voice that can only be described as droll says, chiming pleasantly out from a speaker or something somewhere. “I trust you had a pleasant evening?”

“What the hell?” Bruce groans, pulling himself up into sitting, letting his feet dangle off the end of the bed. That’s got be JARVIS, that voice - he’s read the articles written on Tony’s AI, from Wired to Quantum Computing Quarterly. It’s hardly worth worrying about right now. What more of a concern to he can’t remember how in the hell he got from the bathroom to here. Wherever here is. “What... where am I?”

“You’re in Mr. Stark’s master bedroom, sir,” the computer answers in a long-suffering sort of way, like finding strangers in his programmer’s bed is a common occurrence around here. Bruce feels something in his chest clench up at the thought that it probably is.

“Did the other guy... did the Hulk put in an appearance last night?”

“No. You were still conscious when Mr. Stark brought you in here to put you to bed.”

“And where’s Mr. Stark?”

“He stepped out for a few minutes, sir. He should be back...” and the computer pauses for a split second, probably to check the security cameras or something, “...momentarily.”

“Great, great, he went out,” Bruce says, and stands up, walking over to the window that overlooks Midtown, his feet protesting slightly at the cold floor. For as hedonistic as Tony’s bed is, the rest of this place seems kind of empty. At least there’s no cockroaches, though, he tells himself. Lots of those in Kolkata. “What, for coffee and doughnuts?” The city really is a mess. It’s amazing to Bruce that all of that happened in only about a half-hour period. “Or is that shawarma place open this early?”

“I can look it up for you if you would like, sir...”

Bruce waves it off, and leans his forehead on his arm against the glass. The sun feels warm on his bare skin. The anger feels distant and disinterested, like a sated predator lounging after a huge, filling kill. And the scientist realizes, right then, that for the first time in a long time, he feels like he’s at peace.

“Huh,” he says to himself, wondering at that. “Didn’t expect that, did we?”

He can almost imagine, has a sudden flash. The other guy, nodding back...

“Whoa, Sleeping Beauty,” Tony says from behind him. “Admiring the view? It’s particularly nice this morning, if I do say so myself.”

“It’s a nice place,” he acknowledges, and turns slightly, just to see.

Tony’s perfectly composed in some eccentric suit-sneaker combos. He should look ridiculous like that, Bruce knows, but somehow, he just looks like... good. He’s also got a couple of bags in his hand, too, all slick paper and over-designed minimalistic logos.

“Oh, and look. Now the view’s improved immensely,” the other man grins, and saunters over, dangling the bags on one finger. “I took the liberty of having JARVIS order you some clothes while you were asleep. Can’t have you going to our meeting with Fury in an hour naked, can we?”

“You had your AI measure me?” Bruce asks incredulously. “Do you have infrared scanners in the ceiling or something?”

“That’s what I like about you, Bruce, you go for the obvious question where everyone else goes for the stupid one,” Tony says, sidling up beside him, handing him the bags, laying a hand on his shoulder.

Bruce, feeling himself leaning into the touch, isn’t sure what this means. What this is.

Just that Tony is the first person he’s been able to relate to in a long, long time. The first person he’s felt comfortable around. Safe. Which in itself is more than a small revelation.


“Can we do this again?” he finds himself asking. “Sometime? Maybe...”

And gets a real smile from Tony in response.