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Fractures Emanating

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"You know what there isn't enough of?" Tony says, face washed in the blue light of half a dozen monitors and a legion of glowing buttons, "Compliments on my genius."

Nobody says anything in response. Tony goes on anyway, sounding more than a little absent.

"I mean, I know everybody knows and I know you guys are appreciative, but it would be nice to hear it once in a while, you know? I mean, I mention all the time how Steve's pancakes are amazing--"

"Thanks, Tony."

"No problem. You're a great breakfast chef. See? Isn't that conducive to team building and the general feel goods?" He's chewing on his lower lip, peering intently at what Steve thinks of as Monitor Three--middle, bottom row. "I like to feel good, too. Don't make jokes about that. I'm baring my heart here. You'll hurt my feelings." He punches buttons and Monitor Six--top row, upper left--turns to static, then clears and shows a floor plan. Tony punches another button and says "Voila."

Monitor One, right of Monitor Three--Steve had an ordered system, before Tony started moving the screens around--blinks on, the image bleeding over onto the screen next to it.

Bruce exhales. Thor says, "I give thanks for your gifts," in a whisper, and Steve has no idea if he's being sincere or just humoring Tony.

Tony's doesn't look away from the screen. His expression doesn't change. He says. "Yeah. Well. Me, too." and gets up to pour a drink.

-----

Clint's been missing for days. It's not entirely clear when he'd been taken, because Clint had a tendency disappear on SHIELD business with little or no notice and it wasn't until Natasha came back alone from an op, triggering a round of "I thought he was with you," that they realized Clint was most likely in trouble.

"We would make terrible parents," Tony said, already tapping at his keyboard, starting his hack into every available information source and then some.

-----

Tony's screens have too much glare. They make Steve's eyes water as he stares at the slightly grainy image. He wipes his hand over his face and blinks hard, and someone pats him on the shoulder and says, "Easy Cap."

It's Bruce, leaning over his shoulder, jaw set as he studies the image.

"How does he even get into these messes?" Tony complains from across the room, and there's the sound of tools falling--a heavy, metal clatter. Natasha says something to him, soothing, and Tony stalks back and slams his tumbler down on the table, studying the other screens from beside Steve's shoulder.

"Well. We found him. Now we have to find him." Tony's breakdowns are dramatic, but brief. He's already working again.