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Brown L.A. Haze

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Steve has been uncomfortable the entire trip -- probably something to do with flying in Tony's private jet, but the suit is going to need some work before Tony'd be comfortable flying himself around in it, let alone carrying someone else. And Tony's not going to apologize for using his money; it is, after all, his.


They've just been reminded to return to their seats for landing, not that either of them has moved. Tony's been wrapped up in retrofitting Clint's quiver with some nanotech -- intended to keep him from running out of arrows, anyway -- and Steve's been staring morosely out the window.

Though, come to think of it, he's not so morose at the moment. Tony glances out a window, trying to figure out what's got the man's attention. He doesn't see anything exceptional, just the great glittering urban sprawl of L.A. in the sunlight.

"Bigger than you remember it?"

Steve glances at him, then back out the window. "Oh. Yes, it is, though not as much as you probably think. I was only here once, before."

"Then what's got your eye?" Tony thinks for a moment. "No real west coast supers to speak of, if that's what you're looking for."

Steve frowns. "It's so...I can see the ocean."

Tony's eyebrows raise. "Yes? And from that window probably downtown, too. And if you look out of the other side of the plane," he added in his best tour-guide voice, "you can see Pasadena and the Foothills."

Steve's spine straightens under the sarcasm. "When I flew in before, you could barely see the tops of the buildings downtown. All that brown in the air."

Ah. "Smog. They still have bad days, and traffic hasn't improved any, but cars and factories both run cleaner than you remember. Visibility's improved, but the air quality downtown still tends to the pretty awful if not downright nasty end of the spectrum."

Tony shrugs, considering the scene out his window again. "Not that different from New York, really, other than the total lack of invading dimensional aliens."

"Has Hollywood changed that much?"

A hoary old joke, sure, but Tony still catches himself grinning, and Steve looks the lightest he has since before SHIELD's airship.

"All the aliens are living in or near Venice Beach these days," he says, "they just work in Hollywood."

Steve shakes his head, but there's the slightest smile on his face. Tony tucks his phone in his pocket and for the first time since he was a child watches Los Angeles get larger and closer as they sweep in for a landing.