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Iron Man Yes, Tony Stark...Not Recommended

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Iron Man Yes, Tony Stark...Not Recommended

 

Them moving in is actually more than a little awkward. It’s not like Tony hadn’t already been planning on it, the single A left perfectly at the top of the tower, none of the other letters of his name surrounding it, is as close to an omen as he’s ever likely to see. When he remodelled and redecorated he created space for all of them. He was however, waiting for Bruce to calm down enough to come back from whichever part of India he’s holed himself up in. Bruce is the only one Tony really had a rapport with, and Bruce got on well enough with the others and would likely smooth the way a bit with his mild mannered routine, and if his mild mannered thing wasn’t enough, the suggestion that he might get angry if they didn’t all bake team building cookies together or something might work. If Bruce had taken a while to convince himself that living somewhere were SHIELD and the military and the combined governments of the western world was not completely inconceivable, Tony might have moved them in when Thor got back. He’s already making plans to get Jane Foster on Sis staff, they could use brains and lateral thinking like hers and Tony is not above bribery, and if Thor was there this would all be easy because everyone likes Thor. Even Fury likes Thor. He’s still in Asgard though, as remote and unreachable as Bruce’s Indian location. So Tony had been waiting, he is, occasionally, capable of demonstrating patience and restraint.

All of which is why it’s so awkward when, at one of the post clean-up debriefings Fury makes them go to after making them help with rubble removal in their full gear so the press can identify them doing it, the man barks, “Stark. You’ve got space at that tower of yours? You can all stay there then. I’m sick of the media camped out around my supposedly top secret base trying to snap a picture of Captain America in his long johns.”

Steve blushes and says, “Yes sir,” before Barton, who’s already opened his mouth can object.

And that’s that really, Fury’s always been a demanding bastard and Tony can hardly say they’re not invited. That’ll just make him look like a dick later when he invites Bruce to move in, and contrary to expectations Tony is not actually a complete bastard. Not most of the time. Some of the time at least. Besides, the tower is too quiet ever since the night Pepper tearfully confessed that she just couldn’t take the stress of not knowing if he was going to do something dangerously heroic like fly a nuke through an alien portal without any warning and had left him to go and clear her head in Malibu, get some space. Tony hadn’t even tried to stop her. He’d always been willing to give Pepper the world when she cried. “Give me a week to get some rooms ready,” he says instead, tiredly running a hand through sweat sodden hair.

“Three days,” Fury barks.

Tony sticks his tongue out at him when he turns his back. It doesn’t get the laughs he expects, but he already knows that Rogers is a stick in the mud about authority and Barton and Natal- Natasha might know something he doesn’t- like he rips out stuck out tongues with pliers. Whatever.

Tony’s always worked well under pressure though, and the three days he spends delightedly getting their rooms ready are some of the most fun he’s had in ages. So fun that it doesn’t even occur to him to miss Pepper, and her absence has been like a raw burn in his chest.

Forget rooms, he has designed them whole floors and he actually has the plans ready to go, so it’s simply a case of throwing enough money at various contractors to get them to appreciate that this really is urgent and that he won’t be standing for delays for part delivery. He orders them everything he can think of, and some other things besides, decorating a reasonably sized and functional kitchen, bathroom, living room and sleeping area on each floor as well as providing each of them with extra spaces suited to them. He turns a large room with huge bay windows into an art studio for Steve, having always treasured the doodled sketch Auntie Peggy had given him during his Captain America fanboy phase to rival Coulson’s own. For Barton he turns the whole west end of his floor into a shooting gallery. He doesn’t have time with Fury’s insane deadline to design any really amazing target programmes, but he has a few left over from when he was first learning precision shooting with his repulsors and he has JARVIS make sure these are accessible. And Natal- Natasha, god, he’s still getting used to that. Well, he knows she’s deadly and more dangerous than most of the things he expects that they will end up fighting, but she’s also almost ridiculously beautiful and in his not inconsiderable experience with women, he knows she’ll have stacks of clothes and shoes and will want to collect more now that she’s got a full time living space so he provides her with two enormous walk in closets, and an armoury so she doesn’t think he thinks she only cares about shoes because some women are weird about that.

He makes sure the rest of the house is ready too, stocking up the communal living area with every games console known to man, and enough movies to put a video rental store to shame, and making sure the communal fridge has everything anyone could possibly want in it, even though their own kitchens are stocked and ready. Rogers is a sap, Tony bets he’ll want team building dinners and breakfasts of togetherness. The thought makes him have to hide the sort of beaming grin that would ruin his reputation as cynical if it ever got out. The gym on the lower levels is already well stocked, but Tony hasn’t got round to designing an unbreakable punching bag yet, he’s been too busy with clean up and reassuring SI that their stocks weren’t going to drop even though Iron Man had been involved with a stunt which levelled half of the Island of Manhattan, so he orders twenty regular heavy weight ones, figuring that they might at least keep Rogers going until he does finally get round to it.

By the time JARVIS announces, “Agents Barton and Romanov and Captain Rogers have arrived sir,” Tony is wired from caffeine and excitement and all but bouncing on the balls of his feet.

“OK JARVIS, let them know I’m on my way. Be cool.”

“I am cool sir,” and if he didn’t know better he’d swear that was a smirk in his AI’s voice.

“I can reprogram you with a hammer,” he threatens good naturedly as the elevator doors spring open. He can’t help the twitch of pride and pleasure that curls his lips at the sight of the team, his team, standing and looking around in amazement. “Welcome to Diagon Alley,” he says, waving a hand around.

“Stark,” Rogers greets in a level tone, holding his hand out formally.

It takes Tony aback slightly, but then, he can’t really expect Rogers to get a Harry Potter reference. The manic overexcited twitching is coming back full force, he’s going to have so much fun introducing Rogers to this century.

“Thanks for having us,” the man continues, and that...nuh uh.

Tony blows air out loudly over his lips. “Don’t do that Cap. Mi casa, su casa.”

Rogers looks slightly confused but nods anyway, “Thanks anyway.”

Again Tony waves the thanks away, “How do you want to do this? Rooms first? Or the full tour? Do you have any more stuff to bring in?”

“Not all of us have a whole tower to fill with possessions Stark,” Barton says dryly.

Tony smirks back, “You can’t embarrass me Legolas. I’m an unrepentant materialist. And I don’t just have a tower to fill with things, I have half a dozen properties in the states alone, never mind the houses in Europe.” Then he looks at the three of them properly, realising they’re all holding only good sized duffel bags. “Seriously though, is that all you’ve got?”

Natasha’s – yes he remembered her name this time – lips purse very slightly but she answers calmly, “We’ve all just come from the SHIELD barracks Stark, there’s not exactly room for a lot of personal possessions. The Captain might have a few things in storage but...”

Tony frowns slightly, “but your dresses. I know dresses, they take up space, and they have...accessories, matching shoes and purses and stuff, they can’t possibly be in that.”

She raises an eyebrow at him. “Those dresses aren’t mine. They are provided by SHIELD for undercover operations. I return them afterwards.”

“You’re an international superspy and you don’t even get to keep the clothes and designer shoes?”

“Not all of us need compensated for what we do Stark.”

That takes him aback slightly, he hadn’t meant to imply...but he supposes he didn’t make the world’s greatest impression on Natasha, so he bites his tongue against the acid words in his throat and says cheerfully, “Well, you’ve got space now. You can always go shopping later. Come on, you might as well drop off your duffels and check out your floors first and then I’ll show you around.”

“Floors?” Rogers has come to a halt in the middle of the room.

“What now?” Tony huffs impatiently, “Yes floors. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure having roomies will be wonderful, but we all need a little space once in a while.” He notes out of the corner of his eye how Barton and Natasha draw fractionally closer together, how they move in sync. “Uh...I gave you each your own floor but if you two have some...” he pauses, uncharacteristically searching for a delicate word, “arrangement I can move stuff around. There’s plenty of space.”

Natasha raises an eyebrow at him like she’s considering ripping his spine out of his mouth and Steve blushes to his ears before saying repressively, “I don’t really think it’s appropriate to question the lady’s private life Stark.”

“This why my charms didn’t work on you Natalie?” Tony teases. “You’re a lucky man Barton.” The atmosphere in the elevator turns icy as the other three glare at him. Tony throws up his hands, “Fine. Fine. We won’t talk about your secret romance.” He’s more unsettled than he’s willing to admit by the quiet, unfriendly glares, but he’s been called obnoxious by more people than he cares to name and he supposes that being nosy about people who keep secrets for a living is a sure way to provoke their ire, so he drops the line of questioning as the elevator springs open. “OK, floor sixty-nine, this is you Cap.”

Barton looks at him in mingled disgust and humour, and for a moment Tony isn’t sure why.

“Oh my God Barton,” he says, laughing, “You have such a filthy mind. That’s not...I gave you this floor Cap,” he says with exaggerated dignity, “because I thought you’d like the windows for your art studio.”

“Art...studio?” Rogers sounds faint.

Tony nods so hard he makes himself feel dizzy. He forcibly reminds himself that he is no longer a Captain America fanboy and that he can act like a reasonable adult, not a star struck pre teen girl meeting Robert Pattenson, and leads the group over to the door at the end of the hallway which opens up into the apartment. He conducts everyone through, waving his hands at the rooms (kitchen, I’ve put food in it, dad didn’t leave many notes but I know your metabolism is super fast so just let me know if there’s anything else you need; art studio, I can’t even draw stick figures but I bought everything the guy at the store recommended for portraits and sketching, that’s what you do right?) as he goes.

Rogers looks slightly shell shocked as he drops his duffel on the bed and then follows Tony down, through Barton’s floor and then Natasha’s. He takes them through the rest of the tower, talking faster and faster as the amazed looks on their face increase with each subsequent wonder and finally, they end up in the garage, in front of his workshop. He snaps his fingers under Barton’s nose as he sees the man’s lustful stare land on his Ferrari, “Hey, eyes off my baby. She’s a lady. You can’t look at her like that,” he mock chides, making a mental note that probably none of them have wheels of their own and since no one wants to ride the subway make sure to get them some and to make sure that they know Happy will always take them where they want to go, “This is my workshop. It’s always locked because it’s full of dangerous shit. This intercom here will connect you to JARVIS and if it won’t kill you, he’ll let you in OK?”

“Is your AI monitoring our rooms Stark?” Natasha asks, finally able to get a word in edge ways now the whistle stop tour is winding down.

“There are security features in your rooms for obvious safety reasons,” Tony says, and holds up a hand and raises his voice against the sounds of outrage from the others as he continues, “But JARVIS only actively monitors your rooms in the event that you say his name. If you say his name and say nothing further to him for five consecutive minutes the security in there goes back to passive scanning.”

“And passive scanning means?” Natasha demands acidly.

“No audio or visual surveillance but a constant up link of medical data – heart rate, body temperature whatever, of the people on those floors. There’s also an intruder alert function so you need to bring any guests in through the doors not magic them in by ninja skills.” Everyone looks doubtful and Tony sighs heavily, “It’s the same features I have in my bedroom. I like JARVIS and all, we’re buddies, but there are things I do in my bedroom and in my shower that I don’t really want an audience for, even a supportive audience like JARVIS. I’ve just extended that across your whole floors. I know he makes a lot of people nervous at first.”

“And the communal areas?”

“JARVIS is fully active in those. Don’t have sex in TV room. I will have footage of it HD,” Tony grins.

Rogers looks disgusted, “Is sex all you think about?”

“Nope, I think about robots too.”

Barton mutters something under his breath, but Tony doesn’t respond to it more than shooting the archer a narrow-eyed, but amused, glare because he really is trying not to shock Roger’s 1940’s sensibilities.

There’s a long, awkward silence. “Anyone want some lunch?” Tony asks eventually to break it, because he’s pretty sure part of being a host is to make sure that your guests are not starving to death in front of you. Not that he thinks of his team as guests but it’s probably hard for them to think of the tower as home straight away. If they’re used to barracks living this must be like something out of a fairy tale, it’s natural that they’d feel a bit uncertain. That knowledge does not quiet the disappointment in his chest.

The three don’t swap look, but Tony can tell they want to, tell that they’re thinking at each other. “We’ve actually got to go into SHIELD and report so that they know...you know...that our move went OK...and everything. We’ll just grab something there.”

It’s such an obvious lie Tony is almost embarrassed for Rogers. “Oh. OK,” he hears himself say, his words tinny and distant in his own ears. He almost opens his mouth to ask if they want to do dinner instead, but they’re already gone, laughing and joking with one another with easy camaraderie all the more striking for the tense silence that had characterised them as Tony showed them around, as soon as they round the corner towards the elevator. He looks after them for a second, brow furrowed and then turns to let himself into the workshop. The last round of cleanup had left his armour dented and scraped from the rubble and he wants it to be in pristine condition the next time he’s called out.