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“Give me your arm.” Tony jumped and looked up towards the person who had just spoken. Steve offered him a smile as he sat on the floor next to him. The blond had a packet of brightly colored Sharpie’s in his hand and that look he got when he was going to do something and not be stopped.  The look however wasn’t enough to stop Tony from asking the usual question. 

“Why?” Steve smiled and busied himself with the Sharpie’s for a moment before answering. 

“I’m going to draw on your arm.” 

Tony blinked even more confused than he had been seconds before. “Why?” 

“Just shut the hell up and let him do it Shell Head.” Tony snorted and turned his head so that he was facing the person who had just walked into the room. 

“Fuck you, Birdbrain.” Tony growled in annoyance (even though he wasn’t really annoyed because he and Clint were always cussing at each other) at Clint as the brunette walked into his living room and threw his book bag to the floor. Clint being the stubborn asshole that he was plopped down on the couch behind him, snagged the arm in question, and held it out to Steve. 

Tony knew better than to refuse the blonde, it was far easier to let Steve do what he wanted otherwise he pulled out that kicked puppy look that not even Natasha could resist. If Steve wanted to draw something on his arm then Steve was going to draw on his arm whether Tony wanted him to or not. Large but gentle fingers rolled the sleeve of Tony’s shirt up and ghosted over the still healing cuts that were revealed on his arm before the cool tip of the marker touched his skin and Steve began drawing. The marks didn’t seem to bother the blonde at all.

Tony winced and his face flushed red with shame upon seeing the marks. They weren’t something he was proud of and he hated the looks his friends gave the marks. He’d never felt so ashamed as when his friends had found out that he’d been cutting into his arms for the better part of the year. They’d been understandably angry at first of course but afterwards they’d been nothing but supportive and helpful and he was more grateful for them than he would ever admit out loud. 

Well he might admit it to Pepper, Steve, or Bruce but none of the others because they’d never let him live it down. Well, maybe, they might take pity on him this one time and let him live it down. Chances were however that the traitors would just use it as an excuse to be twice as bad when they found something new to tease him about. 

“Do I want to know what you’re planning on drawing on my arm?” Tony asked as he flipped through one of the text books on the table in front of him. Technically Steve and Clint were at his house for help in their Chemistry class (not that any studying ever tended to happen) but it seemed like they’d found something better to do. 

“You’ll see.” Steve said as he capped one marker and pulled out another one. 

“We’re drawing nasty things on your arms Tony. Nasty, nasty things that should never see the light of day but will.” Clint said as he plopped his still shod feet on the table in front of Tony. The other boy had let go of his arm but that was only because Steve was holding it down with the hand he wasn’t using for drawing. 

“Are we talking sex related nasty things or things that might get me possessed by Thor’s creepy little brother type things?” Tony asked as he shifted his body slightly so that he was facing Clint more than Steve. If Steve didn’t want him to see what he was drawing then he’d be a good boy and wouldn’t peek. He and the others went to great lengths to avoid any of Steve’s ‘I’m so disappointed in you looks’. Clint merely grinned at him and began running a finger along his chin. 

“No clue. The former I guess. We wouldn’t leave you alone with Loki no matter what you did.” It was true too because Loki freaked all of them but Natasha and Pepper out. It wasn’t that they didn’t like the kid he was just weird and it didn’t help that he actually made an effort to take after his namesake. Thor’s little brother was a tricky little bastard with a silver tongue and if it weren’t for the fact that he creeped everyone out he’d have been a member of their group in a heartbeat. 

A soft kiss against his arm drew Tony’s attention away from his thoughts and back to the world around him. Turning his head to look at Steve Tony couldn’t help but smile at the sight that met his eyes. Steve had pressed his lips against whatever it was that he’d been drawing on Tony’s arm. Steve offered him a smile as he pulled away so the Tony could see what he had drawn on his upper arm. Turning his arm slightly Tony couldn’t help but blink and gape at what he saw. 

Steve had drawn a butterfly on his arm but not just a normal butterfly this butterfly had top wings that were striped in red and silver with blue tips and silver stars while to bottom wings were mostly blue with a red circle surrounded by a silver circle with a silver star in the middle. Steve had gone all patriotic again. 

“Did you seriously just draw a butterfly on my arm Rogers?” Tony asked his voice the kind of serous he only achieved when talking about pranks, science, or sex.  Steve smiled at him all white teeth and good intentions. 

“Yes, I drew a butterfly on your arm. Can I tell you why?” Steve asked. Tony opened his mouth to reply only to be interrupted by Clint before he could get a single word out. 

“He’s going to tell you even if you don’t want to know so shut up and listen.” Tony rolled his eyes and bit his tongue. Of course they were going to tell him why they were doing this. It didn’t matter if he wanted to know why or not because both Steve and Clint were stubborn as hell and would tell him anyways. The ‘this’ being drawing butterflies and the ‘they’ included Clint because he was reaching for the pack of Sharpies and making a’ gimmie’ gesture with his hand at Tony as he did it. 

Sighing in slight frustration Tony and biting back a smart assed comment about “girly things” he shifted so that he could give Clint the arm Steve had just drawn on. If they were going to insist on doing this then he at least wanted all of the butterflies on the same arm and he knew Clint far too well to think that the brunette wouldn’t draw on his other arm just for the satisfaction of having done it. Steve gave Tony a smile and a kiss on the cheek for his grudging participation and then he was explaining the whole butterfly thing in a tone of voice that was soft but still dared Tony to not pay attention. 

So Tony paid attention as Steve went over the rules for how this butterfly thing was supposed to work. They’d botched the rules a bit but Tony could understand why. Because there was no way that he was ever going to draw a butterfly on his own arm willingly. The rule about not washing them off was simple (and understandable) but would be a pain to follow especially when he’d be covered in oil and grease up to his elbows and would really need to scrub to get it off but Steve and Clint really seemed to want him to try so he’d try. It was all he could do really and he’d give it his all if it’d put them at ease. 

Tony leaned his head so that it was leaning on Steve’s shoulder and listened to him continue speaking while Clint continued drawing on his arm. The rule about him cutting killing all of the butterflies on his arm was a little morbid if he cared to think about it long enough but he supposed that that was the point. Who in their right mind would want to kill a butterfly? Sadly, Tony knew the answer to that question because he was quite certain the he was the type of person who would kill a butterfly. 

Tony cringed slightly and tried to get the image of dead butterflies and disappointed looks that would follow out of his head. Well Tony would never admit that some small part of him didn’t want to kill the butterflies on his arm (not that they would really be dead) even if he did wish he could wash them off. No, Steve had apparently looked for ways to help and if the blonde thought that this would do the trick then Tony was going to suck it up and try his best to follow the rules. 

“Is that it?” Tony asked as Steve’s voice trailed off. 
“That’s it seven rules altogether and there are only two you can’t break.” Steve said, a small smile crossing his lips. 

“Fine, but you kinda dropped the ball on the rules. Seeing how you guys forced me into this without telling me what it is do I get to draw a butterfly on you and Clint?” Tony asked with a small grin. Steve full out grinned his teeth flashing white in the light of the living room. 

“Make it a week without cutting or washing the butterflies off and you can draw on our arms.” Steve’s eyes were bright as he made the bargain. Clint let out a semi outraged “Hey!” at Steve’s deal before throwing the black Sharpie he’d been drawing with at Steve. The blonde didn’t even flinch when the marker bounced off the side of his head. Tony didn’t reply to Steve’s arrangement right away instead he worried his bottom lip between his teeth and looked down at his arm.

Clint’s butterfly proved that the other brunette couldn’t draw to save his soul. The butterfly in question had a purple arrow for a body and wings that were purple and black targets. The entire thing was outlined in black as well and Clint had even gone so far as to draw another arrow under his name. Tony supposed that it could have been a lot worse. Hell, the butterfly on his arm was practically a work of art compared to what Clint usually achieved when trying to draw.

Shaking his head slightly Tony looked up at Steve and Clint and narrowed his eyes. “A week and not a single day longer. Be warned that what I draw on you guys will be so much worse than what you decided to mark me with.” If Tony was smiling slightly while he went off on a rant about “girly butterflies” then neither of them said a thing.


Tony knew the moment that he saw an all too familiar pack of Sharpies sitting on Pepper’s desk that he was screwed. “You too, huh?” Tony asked as he plopped down into his seat and slouched down as far as he was able. Pepper simply gave him a smile and pulled a bright orange marker out of the pack. 

“Yes, Tony me too. All of us agreed to do this when Steve told us about it the day before yesterday. There is no getting out of this Mr. Stark. Now give me your arm and be still.” Pepper answered, confirming what Tony had simply assumed the night before. Tony cringed before giving the red head his arm. Pepper had that look on her face that said she was expecting something of him and if he didn’t do what she wanted bad things would happen in his future. 

He wouldn’t put it past her either because the last time he’d made her mad she’d signed him up for every sports tryout available and then she’d made him go to them and Tony hated sports (except for baseball but that was only because Steve played). Bruce had almost had a nervous breakdown when Tony hadn’t shown up in any of their after school activities. Tony swallowed as he watched Pepper draw. 

“How long did it take Steve to talk all of you into this?” Pepper glanced up at him for a moment before going back to her work. 

“Not long. All of us were looking for ways to help you Tony. Steve just found a way before the rest of us did.” Tony snorted and hid his face in the crook of the arm that Pepper wasn’t drawing on. 

“Of course it was Steve. It’s always Steve.” It was true too. Steve had been the first one to find out about his cutting and it had been Steve who had helped him tell the others about it. Pepper offered him a smile as she drew not that Tony could see it from where he had his face buried. 

“You should know by now that Steve isn’t going to let anything bad happen to you if he can help it. It doesn’t matter if you’re the one hurting yourself or not Tony. You can’t scare Steve away. He loves you too much to let that happen.” Tony cringed at the word love. He knew Steve loved him and that was part of the problem because despite his ridiculously high IQ Tony had no idea what to do with the type of love that Steve represented. Tony had never been good with emotions. 

In fact he’d been raised on the belief that emotions of any sort made you weak and that any type of emotional connection made not only you a target but those you felt for targets as well. You couldn’t run a company if you were soft hearted. 

“I know Steve loves me.” Tony mumbled into his arm. He knew that Pepper heard him anyways because the wet swipe of her markers stopped for a moment before continuing again. 

“I know that you know that Tony and I know something else that you might not know.” Pepper said her voice soft in a way that only she could achieve. Looking up from his arm Tony turned his head towards his friend and raised a single eyebrow at her. 

“What do you know that I don’t? Please enlighten me.” Tony asked in a flat voice because he had a feeling that he already knew what she was going to say. Pepper gave him a flat look in response to his tone before her blue eyes softened. 

“You love him too Tony and don’t even try to tell me you don’t. I know you better than anyone else besides Rhodey.” Unable to call his friend a liar (because she wasn’t) Tony simply hid his face back in his arm and shook his head. 

“I’m no good at emotions Pep.” 

"You don't have to be," she told him gently as she finished her butterfly.

As Pepper put the cap back on the marker she’d been using Tony took the moment of freedom to look down at where she’d been drawing. On his left forearm near the crook of his elbow was an elegantly drawn orange butterfly. Tony couldn’t help but smile at the drawing on his arm before he pulled his shirtsleeve down to hide it from view. 

Looking up Tony offered Pepper a small smile. “Will that be all Ms. Potts?”

“That will be all Mr. Stark.” Pepper answered., smiling.


Tony hummed slightly and drummed his fingers on the shiny black surface of the table he shared with Bruce during third period Physics. His friend had yet to make it into the room but given that the poor guy’s locker was on the other side of the school that made sense. Tony had offered to let him put his books for math and science in his locker but his friend had refused. Tony hadn’t argued. 

The last thing he’d want4ed to do was make Bruce made. Nobody liked it when Bruce lost his temper in fact the last time that had really happened there had been fist fights and suspension involved. So no, no making Bruce mad. Looking down Tony rolled up the sleeve of his shirt just enough so that he was looking at the butterfly Clint had drawn there the night before and fought off the mad urge to grin because the butterfly screamed Clint so loud that he’d have known who had drawn it even if there wasn’t a name there. Tony jumped when a pale hand wrapped around his arm. 

Bruce offered him a slightly sheepish smile before he pulled a pair of markers from his satchel and sat down in his seat. Tony didn’t say anything as his friend pushed up his sleeve and began to mark on the skin between Steve and Clint’s butterflies. He knew of course that Bruce probably understood why he’d started cutting better than any others. Bruce’s home life was about as stable as Tony’s was. 

The other boy dealt with his home life by having explosive anger issues. So Tony was quiet while his friend drew on him arm. When the class actually began Tony paid about as much attention as he usually did which wasn’t any at all. Not that it mattered he had an eidetic memory so everything he heard would be remembered. It didn’t matter if he was focusing or not. The sudden lack of pressure on his arm caused Tony to look over at Bruce. His friend was putting a cap on a green sharpie and not paying him any attention at that moment in time. Markers being put away meant Bruce was done drawing on him.

Tony blinked as he looked down at the green and purple butterfly that Bruce had drawn. Then he had to blink again and fight the mad urge to rub at his eyes. When the butterfly didn’t change Tony fought the urge to grin and turned to look at his friend his face as straight as he could make it. 

"Bruce did you just write your science notes on my arm in butterfly form?" Tony asked as his eyes went back to the green and purple butterfly on his arm. In response to his question Bruce blinked, adjusted his glasses, and leaned over to look at Tony’s arm. 

"Yes, it appears I did." The other genius replied sounding slightly embarrassed. Tony blinked and watched his friend for a moment and when it looked like the other nerd was going to apologize, a smile worked its way onto Tony’s face. 

"Brucie that's awesome!" Because really it was. His science bro had just drawn a butterfly using notes for their Physics class on accident. Only Bruce could be that awesome on accident. As far as Tony was concerned Bruce’s butterfly was now his favorite. Steve could pout and give him the kicked puppy look all he wanted when he found out his butterfly had been knocked down a peg. To be fair to his boyfriend however, Steve probably wouldn’t care about where his butterfly ranked that much (his boyfriend was kinda annoying that way) but Bruce would be delighted.


The cafeteria was loud and filled with yelling teenagers and stressed teachers. At that exact moment in time however one of Bruce’s prank bombs could have gone off and Tony wouldn’t have noticed. He was too busy having his arm held down and drawn on by an overly enthusiastic Thor. So doing the only thing he could do if he wanted to keep his arm Tony let the big blonde draw until he was ready to stop. Not that Tony could have stopped him because while Steve pouted when he wanted something Thor was more likely to pin you down and do it whether you wanted him to or not. 

And considering the fact that there were already butterflies on his right arm Thor seemed to find it only fitting that his would be the first to grace his left. Seeing how Tony was rather attached to both his arms it was better for his health to simply give in. Tony just wasn’t quite ready for what he saw when his friend was finished. 

"Thor, what're these red and grey things on the wings?" Tony asked as he poked at the newly completed blob of color on his upper arm. Thor’s butterfly was a great big jagged yellow monster with red outlines and with smudges of red and grey decorating the butterfly’s wings. What the red and grey markings were however was beyond Tony at that moment. 

"Those, friend Anthony, are hammers!" Thor said his voice just as loud as it always was.  

"Hammers? Thor are you taking your namesake too literally again?" Bruce asked as he sat his lunch tray down on the table and took his usual seat. The poor guy was almost always the last one at their table. 

"Nay, friend Bruce, it takes great strength to wield a hammer as it will take great strength for our friend Anthony to beat the urge to harm himself into submission. I was merely drawing him a symbol of strength to encourage him further." Bruce winced at the slowly increasing volume of Thor’s voice. To be fair about it Thor only had two settings: loud and very loud. The big blond didn’t know how to do quite. He also had a thing for sounding like he’d walked right out of a Shakespearian play but that was a subject no one was willing to touch with a ten foot pole no matter how good a mood Thor was in. 

"Well, can't argue with the guy. Get with the beating Tony." Clint ordered in a voice that sounded way too much like the other teen was trying to hide a laugh. 

"Gee thanks Clint. Really." Tony said while rolling his eyes at his friend. 

"No problem... Anthony." Tony scowled at the use of his full name. The only people who used his full name were Pepper (when she was mad at him), Thor (because he refused to stop no matter how many times Tony asked) and his father (not that him shouting Tony’s full name did much of anything anyways). His full first name was not acceptable from Clint however and revenge would be swift and messy and there was a good chance that they’d end up in front of Fury after he’d gotten it. 

The look on Clint’s face however when the brunette was hit with a fourth of his bottle of chocolate milk however would be worth every detention he had to serve with Hill. The surprised laughter from Bruce and Thor’s thundering guffawing were simply an added bonus because while Thor laughed easily Bruce didn’t.


His arm being pulled behind his back and his body being shoved up against his locker was the closest thing he got to a warning before his shirt sleeve was being pushed up and the wet tip of a marker was running across his arm. Only Natasha would ambush him from behind in order to draw a butterfly on his arm instead of asking or just waiting until they had a class together. 

If Pepper hadn’t told him that morning that their entire group was going to draw on him whether he wanted them too or not he’d have been surprised. Butterflies seemed almost too girly for someone like their resident black belt and secret ninja but he wasn’t going to argue with Natasha. At least not while she had his arm in a firm grip and could beat his head in against his locker. 

“You do know that you didn’t have to sneak up on me right? I fear you far too much to have moved while you draw on me.” Tony grinned at the sound of Natasha’s snort. 

“I don’t believe you.” And as if to prove her point Natasha tightened the grip she had on Tony’s arm. 

“Why not?” Tony asked with a grunt of pain. There was a brief moment of silence and a soft popping sound that meant Natasha was switching markers. 

“I don’t believe you because you and Clint make a living by running away from trouble. Most of which you start. I am no fool Stark.” Tony made a face that could have only been described as pouting. Had Natasha been able to see it from where she was standing it might have been more effective. The red head couldn’t however so Tony’s pouting had no effect whatsoever on her current task. 

“Clint and I run because we don’t want to spend half of our lives in detention with Hill.” 

“What about Bruce? I know he helps with your pranks on Fury.” 

Tony grinned. “Bruce only helps when he needs the stress relief. We’re very careful with him when we prank.” 

Natasha snorted and pulled the marker away from his skin. “Good, the last thing we need is a repeat of his sixth grade terrorist act.” 

Tony sighed and shook his head in mock shame. “Poor Bruce is never going to live that down.”  This was true because none of them were ever going to let their friend live it down because Bruce still blushed and stammered whenever it was brought up within their group. 

“He would if you and Clint would stop bringing it up in all of the classes you have with him.” “It’s a tradition that both Barton and I hold dear Tasha. Why can’t you understand that?” 

Natasha remained silent but she did push his arm up a bit more. The red heads constant abuse of his arm was starting to get annoying and tingly. When the tingling started to turn into that numb feel Tony found that he couldn’t keep quiet anymore. "Tasha are you finished yet? I can't feel my arm." 

There was a moment of silence before Natasha spoke her voice firm and annoyingly emotionless. "Good, it's what you deserve for worrying everyone so much." Tony grinned and was thankful that his face was hidden inside of his locker. 

"You were worried?" 

"I said no such thing Tony." And as if to prove how not worried she had been Natasha pushed his arm up enough that it drew a pained shout from Tony before letting him go. When Tony turned around to complain the red head had already vanished into the crowd. Tony shook his head and slung his bag onto his shoulder. 

“I swear she was born a spider.” Tony said before turning his attention to the underside of his left arm. There in black and red was a butterfly made out of the mark seen on black widow spiders. The fact that it somehow managed to look like the edges were sharp actually caused a shiver to run down Tony’s spine. 

“Yah,” Tony said to himself, “she was defiantly born a spider and when we stop amusing her she’s gonna kill us all and eat us for dinner.”


“Thor drew Mothra on your arm Tony.” Rhodey said as he looked over the butterflies that had been drawn on his friend throughout the day. 

“I know that Rhodey. You can’t exactly stop Thor once he sets his mind to do something and if that something happened to be drawing this monster on my arm then so be it.” Tony replied with a shrug before taking a sip of his drink. He and Rhodey had met at a small restaurant not far from Tony’s high school or Rhodey’s college. 

It was a tradition that had started the year before and managed to survive. The one day that both of them had a free hour or so they would meet and talk while Tony waited for Steve to get out of whatever activity he had that day and while Rhodey waited for his next class. Rhodey shook his head and reached over to grab his friend’s bag. The Sharpies were in the front pocket just like Pepper had said they’d be.

Digging through the pocket Rhodey selected his three markers before reaching over and grabbing his friends arm. “I gotta fix this man. No way am I letting Mothra win without doing something.” 

Tony merely snorted and rolled his eyes. Complaining about Rhodey drawing on him would get him nowhere fast and seeing how all of the others had done it, it was only fair that Rhodey got to draw on him too. So Tony sat as still as possible while Rhodey scribbled on his arm with the markers he’d pulled from Tony’s bag. The only noise between the two of them for the next few minutes were the slightly frustrated sounds Rhodey made while drawing and the soft clicking of the ice in Tony’s Coke as he fiddled with the chewed upon red straw. 

“Finished!” Rhodey crowed sounding way too amused for Tony’s good. As Rhodey put the cap back on one of his markers and moved to put them back into Tony’s bag Tony himself took a calming breath and looked down at his arm. He then proceeded to choke on his drink while trying not to laugh. Because Rhodey hadn’t drawn a butterfly like all of the others had. Oh no he’d gone for something totally different. 

“Why did you draw a jet?” Tony asked as he looked between Rhodey and his arm. True to his question there was indeed a silver and blue jet (of unknown type) on his arm shooting at the monster butterfly Thor had drawn on his arm at lunch earlier that day. 

"Because I'm not a butterfly kind of guy, but a jet will remind you of me even better. Plus I said I’d fix it and what better to take down Mothra than a fighter jet." Rhodey said with a grin as he put the markers he’d used back into the front pocket of Tony’s bag. 

Tony himself had no idea when they’d moved there but he suspected it was either Clint or Natasha’s doing because the two of them were like freak’n ninja’s when they wanted to be. Tony snorted and took a deep breath letting the laughs he’d been fighting back die before answering his friend. “Godzilla would have been better Rhodey but you aren’t Steve so I forgive you. You also can’t talk about not being a butterfly kind of guy because Natasha drew a butterfly on my arm and she’s as close being a guy as possible while still being a female.” 

Rhodey snorted and shook his head. “Well be that as it may. I am a man and unlike all of the others I drew a jet. Live with it.” Tony snorted before letting a devious smile cross his face. 

“I think you’re trying a little too hard to prove you manliness there sour patch. Are you hiding something from me Rhodey? Do Clint and I need to talk to you about your sexual preferences?” The blush that worked its way across the dark skin of Rhodey’s face had Tony doubled over and laughing in a matter of seconds. 

It was almost too easy really because if there was one thing that James Rhodes was touchy about it was his manliness. The guy seemed to be obsessed with proving how manly he was and he sputtered and blushed every time someone said something about it. Rhodey’s squeamishness might have had something to do with the ROTC program he was currently enrolled in but Tony didn’t plan on asking and getting rid of something he could tease his friend with. 

“No!” Rhodey almost shouted before lowering his voice and speaking again. “For the love of god Tony. I’ve told you a thousand times that I don’t swing that way Tones.” Tony laughed and leaned back in his seat as he watched his friend sputter and list all of the reasons why he didn’t swing that way.


“Where did this start?” Phil asked making a subtle gesture at what he could see of the butterflies on Tony’s arms. Tony had rolled up his sleeves so he could show Steve the one’s that had been added throughout the day. 

"Steve, duh." Clint said as he plopped down on a chair beside his boyfriend’s and picked up a menu. Phil being the seemingly unshakeable person that he was simply nodded his head in acceptance and took a sip of his water. 

"Of course it was Steve. Steve Rogers is the start of everything good in the world." Clint snorted and turned his head slightly so that he could look at where Steve and Tony were sitting. The view he got of them kissing however wasn’t what he’d wanted to see. 

“Tony Stark’s world you mean. Face it Phil everything good that’s happened to him happened after he got together with Steve.” 

“True,” Phil said. “Do I get to draw a butterfly on Stark’s arm too?” 

Clint grinned at the question. “Do you want to?” 

“No, and that’s only because I can’t draw not because I don’t support the cause.” It was true. Phil supported the Butterfly Project with all his heart and it was great that they were able to use it to help support their friend when he really needed them. Phil had seen plenty of others at his school that could have used it and the support provided by it and he was completely willing to support Stark for as long as he needed. That didn’t mean however that he was going to draw a butterfly on his friends arm. 

“Rhodey drew a jet gunning down the monstrosity that is Thor’s butterfly.”  Phil’s lips twitched upwards in a small smile. 

“I won’t draw a butterfly. I will however write my name.” Clint’s smile widened into something that Phil knew meant he was about to do something loud and rude. 

“Hey Shell Head get over here and bring the Sharpies!” Phil winced slightly at his boyfriend’s loud yell; Clint was spending far too much time with Thor, and shifted his gaze around the room so he could see how many people had been disturbed. Several people were staring at their table and Phil found that he could only shrug and offer apologies to them. 

When Phil turned his attention to where Tony and Steve were however the younger teen hadn’t moved and seemed to be ignoring Clint’s yell altogether. Judging by Clint’s quiet curses however Tony had taken a moment of his time to give the other brunette the finger. Phil found he couldn’t blame him for either thing. He’d go over to them after he and Clint had eaten and write his name. It could wait for now.


Tony grumbled a complaint as he rubbed at his eyes. He’d spent several hours down in the garage working on an engine in one of the Stark’s many cars. It had been wonderful to get his hands on something and work for hours while listening to music so loud lesser mortals would wince in pain. Now however all he wanted to do was take a shower and go to bed. 

Tony yawned and stretched his arms over his head as he made his way into the bathroom that was closest to his bedroom. He took only a moment to kick the door closed before he was pulling off his shirt and throwing it on the floor. It was as he was making his way towards the shower that he caught his reflection in the large mirror that hung over the sink his eyes drawn to the bright spots of color that covered his arms. Seven butterflies (well six and a jet) and eight names stood out like points of light on his arms.

Swallowing the sudden lump in his throat Tony moved away from the shower and towards the mirror he was reflected in. His arms were covered in oil and grease but that only made the colored splotches stand out all the more. Looking down at his arms Tony took what he saw there. He saw scars and cuts (hidden under dirt and filth) that he’d given himself in a desperate attempt to make the pain go away. 

They didn’t hold his attention however. What held his attention were the marks that his friends had made on his skin. His friends who loved him enough to draw butterflies of all things all over his arms. His friends who loved him and wanted to remind him that he wasn’t as alone as he thought he was.