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Fly Brothers

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“Do you ever think we’re the only sane ones in the bunch?” Rhodey asked Sam once.

“No, man,” Sam replied instantly. “Because if we were sane we wouldn’t be hanging around with these assholes.”

Rhodey thought about it for a minute, then raised his beer bottle. The two of them clinked, and went back to watching Tony bicker with Steve, Bruce refereeing with eyebrows permanently raised.

***************

The sun was just clearing the tops of the trees as Steve started another lap around Central Park. This was the first time in over a week that he’d gotten out for a run, and he drew in huge gulps of the crisp morning air as he picked up the pace. He was just rounding a curve in the path when he heard a mechanical hum approaching from the rear. Steve slowed, scanning his surroundings, then recognized the noise and grinned, picking up the pace again as Sam buzzed past him.

“On your left!” Sam called out as he passed, and Steve flipped him the bird. He didn’t get any warning as Rhodey blasted past him in the Iron Patriot armor. Tony’d improved the stealth mode again.

His “On your left!” hung in the air after he sped on by, the Doppler effect in full force.

They each lapped him another three times before he finished his run, cackling with glee every time.

***************

Try as he might, Clint couldn’t figure out what Sam and Rhodey were up to. He couldn’t hear words from his position in the air vents, even with his hearing aids turned to the max, and they were looking down so he couldn’t read their lips. All he was getting was giggling. That’s right. Two grown men giggling like little girls. Disgusting. He wanted in.

Or not, he thought as Natasha charged into the common room. Her lips and teeth were stained green.

“Oh, shit, Tasha! That was supposed to be for Tony!” Sam stammered.

“Um … Happy St. Paddy’s Day?” Rhodey plastered on a cheesy grin.

Natasha crossed her arms, scowled, and then lunged forward, stamping her foot on the floor. Both Sam and Rhodey squeaked and bolted, knocking over furniture in their haste to escape.

Clint still hadn’t figured out how to turn off the shutter noise on his Stark phone, but he figured the noise they were making would cover him.

Or not, he thought again as Natasha stared straight up at him through the vent. “If those pictures ever see the light of day lastochka, they’ll never find your body.”

Okay, then, he thought as he deleted the pictures. Well, almost all the pictures.

***************

“My white boy? When did he become my white boy?” Sam groused.

“Since you moved into his tower,” Rhodey shot back.

“I didn’t move in. I still have my apartment,” Sam countered.

“But you do have a room in the tower.”

“Says the man who’s got his own suit.”

“That’s different.”

“Nah, man. I just got a mattress and a pair of wings. You got the full deal. He’s your white boy. No way round it.

***************

In the green room before the press conference began, Sam and Rhodey were kicking back on the sofa against the wall, watching Natasha straighten Bruce’s tie and Steve trying to do the same for Tony.

“This is gonna be good. Always love press conferences. Watching the reporters squirm’s gotta be my favorite thing ever,” Rhodey said.

“My favorite part’s after, watching tumblr explode with gifs,” Sam replied.

“Yeah, Mr. ‘I am Iron Man’ Stark’s always good for that,” Rhodey smirked.

"Nah, Mr. ‘I’m Not That Old Fashioned Conservative Guy’ Rogers’ been stealing the show the last couple of these.”

“No. Iron Man all the way,” Rhodey argued.

“Uh huh. Captain America will win the internets today,” Sam came back.

Rhodey grinned. “Five bucks?”

“You’re on.”

They fist-bumped and waited for the fireworks to start.

***************

“Boom! You lookin’ for this?”

Sam decided that night, after hearing that punchline five times in one evening. It was now his mission in life to make Rhodey sorry he’d ever told that story once. He didn’t get a chance to implement his plan for weeks, what with Ultron and all, but hey, it was worth waiting for.

He started when Rhodey dropped his pen during a debriefing. It rolled under the table and Sam, looking for any distraction, dove in after it.

He popped back up, slammed the pen down on the table in front of Rhodey and exclaimed, “Boom! You lookin’ for this?”

There was a split second of silence, and then the room dissolved in laughter. The hilarity that ensued was probably due more to exhaustion than to any actual real appreciation of the joke, but the precedent was set.

It only took one more utterance on Sam’s part before the entire team took it up.

Movie night, Tony shoved a bottle a beer into his hand. “Boom! You lookin’ for this?”

Poker night. Rhodey lost with his two pairs of eights and jacks to Tasha’s three sixes. She pushed the eight she’d had in her hand across the table. “Boom! You lookin’ for this?”

Even Vision got into it. “Boom! You lookin’ for this?” he asked, handed Rhodey a Doombot arm after coming to his rescue when a swarm of the bots had targeted him. Tony forwarded Sam a picture of Rhodey’s face that Friday had pulled from a nearby traffic cam, faceplate open, standing slack-jawed, staring back and forth between Vision and the mechanical appendage.

He kept it in until they got back to base, and then exploded.

“That’s it! I’m sick of y’all. No more boom. You got it? NO … MORE … BOOM.” Rhodey glared at them all.

Steve replied, totally deadpan. “No boom today?”

Movie nights were paying off, it seemed. Sam managed with heroic effort to keep a straight face and responded. “Boom tomorrow.” And they both said in unison, “There’s always a boom tomorrow.”

Rhodey threw his hands up in the air and stalked off, and Sam and Steve collapsed against each other, laughing themselves into tears.