"So, really all the time?" Stark asks.
Bruce isn't really in the mood for a chat right now, and particularly not with Tony Stark and particularly not about this, so he just grunts and tries to immerse himself in the design he's trying to put together to alert them if the Tesseract ever makes its way back to Earth.
The screen goes dark in front of him. "How about now?" Stark asks and so he totally deserves it when Bruce whirls around to give him the look. The look that says ‘you're trying my patience now. Is that really something you want?’ The look that he always feels guilty about because he has only to bring it out to have anyone around him backing off with that fear in their eyes. It even works on Fury to a limited extent - it'll at least divert him, if not actually get him to quit whatever it is.
The thing is, it's not having the usual effect. Stark doesn't look scared, he looks excited. His eyes are dark and sparkling and there's just a hint of a shit eating grin on his face. "What is your problem, Stark?" Bruce snaps, and it feels good to let some of how he's feeling show in his tone for a change. "Do you have a death wish? Are you hoping I'll let the other guy out? Because believe me, he will fuck you up."
Stark shrugs, doesn't drop his gaze. "You can't just drop a comment like that and expect me not to be curious," he says. "What does it take to make the big boy come out and play, then?"
"A lot more than you've got," he tells Stark. It's true, but he knows Stark will see it as a challenge.
"And yet I'm normally so talented in the field of pissing people off, particularly if they have to interact with me for any length of time," Stark says meditatively.
"And what, this would be the pinnacle of your achievements?" Bruce asks irritably. He pushes up, away from the computer terminal and steps towards Stark, who is leaning back against the workbench, watching him intently.
"Well, if you put it like that, it sounds petty," Stark says. He's got just a hint of a smirk on his face and he looks far too confident for someone on the receiving end of Bruce's current tone, but then Tony has always liked taking risks, Bruce remembers. He gives Stark a long deliberate look up and down, looking for the tension that should be there, but he can't see it. He can see another kind of tension though, he thinks and looks back up into Tony's eyes.
Bruce takes another step closer, right into Tony's personal space. "You're getting off on this, aren't you?" he accuses. "Poking me with a stick, seeing how big a risk you can take." Stark says nothing, an occurrence so rare as to be an admission in itself. "That's a dangerous game, Tony."
Stark shrugs, one shouldered, "I like to keep life interesting."
Bruce laughs. "And I'm nothing if not interesting. Of course." He can feel his focus sharpening, the increase in his heart rate, the intensity that must be creeping into his gaze as he watches Tony, but Tony doesn't back off, just gives it right back, look for look. It's so long since he's been able to be fierce with anyone. "You're pretty confident in my control," he says softly.
"Somehow, I think if the big guy was likely to come out to play, you would be playing this a whole lot differently," Tony points out. "I guess I just don't make you the right kind of angry."
"True," Bruce agrees. Tony is irritating sometimes and infuriating but he's never irrational. Differently rational, perhaps. "See, you may be a pain sometimes but I've been watching you, Tony, and I know I could shut you up if I really needed to."
"Yeah," Tony says, and it's not a question, it's agreement. It's permission. Bruce leans forward and kisses him. He had expected, when he had thought about what this would be like, that Tony would be a pushy kisser, would want to take control, but actually, he seems quite happy to let Bruce lead. He rests his hands on Bruce's hips and parts his lips, letting Bruce go wherever he wants to.
After a minute or so, they come up for air. "You should shave," Bruce tells Tony.
"Yeah, no, I don't think so," Tony retorts. "Take me as I am."
Bruce has taken a lot of risks in his life, and they haven’t all panned out, to put it mildly, but he thinks, just maybe, this might be worth trying. “Deal,” he agrees and he can feel Tony’s smile as their lips meet again.