It's been a long day in the lab, coming hot on the heels of a long, long week. It's understandable that it's caught up with Bruce. Tony recognises now that the only reason he's still going is a combination of stubbornness, caffeine, and what people like Nick Fury call possible mania. He's jittery and on edge, pushing through it. He's drinking more coffee and bracing himself for the crash.
Bruce, more sensibly, is taking a nap. Tony hasn't seen anyone asleep at a desk like this since college. Bruce is actually using a stack of notes as a pillow, glasses crooked on his face, mouth slightly open, the pen next to his hand indicating that maybe he dropped off right in the middle of noting something down.
Hopefully nothing important.
Tony snaps a quick photo with his cell and is ready to leave it at that, the tiny patch of drool at the corner of Bruce's mouth blackmail material enough, the way Bruce looks, sleepy and scruffy, enough to get Pepper calling him adorable when she sees it and making him turn all bashful. Tony is a good buddy. He'll use his powers for good and evil. The pen, though – it's right there. It's calling to him.
Tony is one of the most successful businessmen in the world, and Tony is a genius, and Tony is a superhero. Under the armour, though, he's still only human.
He's only drawn one ball on Bruce's cheek when the door slides open and Rogers walks in. Tony freezes like a kid who's been caught doing something wrong, like he never used to do when he actually was a kid, because he was usually too smart to get caught or too reckless to care. There's something about Steve Rogers that has that effect on him. He makes Tony feel as though he should be sitting up straighter.
He thinks that probably the only reason there's any kind of issue between the two of them is because he has so many issues of his own. Rogers doesn't go easy on him, though. He holds onto that.
“JARVIS let me in,” Steve begins, and pauses as he gets closer, neatly side-stepping a toolbox without taking his eyes from the scene in front of him. He pauses.
Tony is pretty sure he knows what's coming. Don't do that, Stark. Don't do this. Don't provoke the other guy, don't draw a dick on your friend's face.
Tony maybe also has a few issues with people telling him what to do. He's okay with it.
Steve, though, just looks seriously at him. “That's terrible.” Tony opens his mouth to protest and stops as Steve's lips twitch. “It's not realistic at all.”
Wordlessly, a little in awe, Tony hands him the pen, and Captain America proceeds to draw the most realistic erect penis on the side of a sleeping Bruce Banner's face that Tony has ever seen.
“You're a genius,” he breathes. “I know, I know, I'm meant to be genius. But you. I pass the torch.”
Steve offers him a tiny smile and shrugs those broad shoulders. “I'm an artist.”
“No fucking way,” Tony exclaims, and slams his beer down onto the table to illustrate his point.
Steve looks a little startled, but mostly amused. “You're the one so fond of pointing out how I'm an old, uptight man, Stark. What did you expect?”
“Yeah, but.” Tony looks around the table at large. No one looks suitably outraged. Bruce looks like he doesn't know whether to laugh or shake his head, and Clint and Natasha remain mostly inscrutable. Tony's stopped worrying for his consciousness in their presence now, though, so these team-bonding nights that Steve had suggested when he got back from god knows where on his bike and removed at least some of the stick from up his ass have been a relative success. “Never?”
“I was a good little guy,” Steve says, but his mouth does that twitching thing Tony recognises from the artistic dick incident, so he's pretty sure Steve is fucking with him.
It's a hell of an improvement on Steve's judgemental anger. Tony kind of sense it, like it's probably still lurking there, but Steve seems to have more of a handle on it. Maybe Bruce told him about some yoga retreat.
“Plus,” Steve adds, “it was the 40s. There was a different attitude.”
Tony waves a dismissive hand. “Strip joints have existed forever, don't give me that. We need to – okay, drink up everyone, let's share this rite of passage with the good Captain.”
“Oh, jeez,” Bruce mutters. Tony gives him a good-natured, sharp elbow to the ribs. Bruce just smiles and rolls his eyes.
“You really don't have to.”
“I know a good place near here,” Natasha chips in unexpectedly, and if there's one thing Tony likes more than strip clubs, it's strip clubs recommended to him by female friends. They've got a knack for knowing the good ones. It's uncanny. Tony wishes he could master the skill. Clint's knowing laugh only serves to make him more curious.
Steve, predictably, averts his eyes as soon as they settle down at their table, right up close to the action. It's a damn shame. The girls here are gorgeous. Tony will have to send Natasha a thank you bouquet or a brand new gun or something in thanks. It's hard to tell with the dull lighting, but Tony imagines he's blushing too.
Still, as Tony slides the pile of twenties – he's Tony Stark, no one dollar bills for him – across the table and raises his eyebrows at Steve in a silent challenge, Steve takes one and slips it into the front of the closest girl's g-string without breaking a sweat.
She beams and can hardly tear her eyes away from him for the rest of the night.
Of fucking course Captain America can even charmer a stripper.
“Sir.” JARVIS' smooth voice cuts through Tony's haze of it's-2-pm-but-I'm-not-awake-yet sleep, and Tony waves an arm in acknowledgement. “There have been some unauthorised changes to the official Tony Stark Facebook page, sir.”
Tony cracks a bleary eye open. “That thing's still running?”
“Facebook is an excellent tool of communication with the general public,” JARVIS tells him. It's disturbing to hear Pepper's words in such a different voice.
“Change it back then. I don't care.”
Tony should definitely get an award for creating the most smart ass AI ever to exist, because he's sure that's a thread of amusement running through JARVIS' voice. “Perhaps you'd like to take a look first.”
Tony heaves a sigh and rolls to the side of his bed so he can grab his cell from the dresser. “Come on, JARVIS,” he mutters as he loads up Facebook, eyes narrowed, still half-asleep, “I don't care what some kid's hacked in to do--”
Tony Stark likes Captain America
Tony Stark likes CAPTAIN AMERICA KICKS ASS
Tony Stark likes Captain America more like Captain ASSmerica
Tony Stark likes Captain America looking good for seventy!
He remembers just the other day, Steve saying how amazed he was by the internet and its capabilities. Steve's exact words had been, “I find out how to do something new on there every day.” Unsure whether the frown or laugh at the screen, Tony does something strange between the two.
Steve fucking Rogers. Of course he took Tony's strip club moment as a literal challenge.
In spite of himself, Tony is impressed.
JARVIS is programmed to refer to Steve only as Capscicle, and Tony is back down in the lab with Bruce, ranting, because seriously, who even taught Steve to use his washing machine, let alone how to use it to dye all of Tony's whites red and blue?
Bruce smiles at him. He looks very zen for a man who for the time being now has to work with two guys dressed up like the American flag. “You realise you've created a monster,” he says. He holds his hands out in front of him, still smiling in the face of Tony's scowl. “Welcome to my world, friend.”