Pots and Kettles.
As Tony and Remy worked on the Iron Man suit, there was a tap on the lab door and then it swung open.
In walked a strapping blonde man who looked to be in his thirties but whom Tony knew was closer to 90.
"Steve. What the hell brings you here?" he asked. He dropped his tools and met the man halfway and gave him a bear hug then released him.
"Good to see you Tony ". The stranger nodded at Remy.
Remy looked at him coolly and said. "Hi."
"Oh. Remy, this is Steve Rodgers." Tony stood aside so Remy could walk up. "He's an old friend of mine. Steve this is Remy..."
"Harrison.... Yes. I know about you. Everyone does. You are all the buzz these days." Steve extended a hand to Remy. Remy shook it but said nothing. Remy noticed a stiffness in Tony's backbone that told him Tony wasn't 100% pleased that this man was here.
"You want a beer?" Tony asked?
"Sure. And a word."
Tony looked at Remy.
"I'll go." he put down his tools and said to the visitor pointedly "but I will be back in a second."
"I don't think he likes me." Steve joked as Remy pushed thru the door.
"He takes his job seriously." Tony shrugged it off.
“Is that all it is?" Steve gave Tony a long look.
"What do you mean?" Tony bristled a bit.
"Wellll - word is going around that you've gone queer." Steve studied Tony's face for reaction.
"Not for you Steve. I'm afraid you've wasted a trip." Tony turned back to his work.
"With a science project? What are you thinking, Tony?"
"Remy is not the project." Tony said stridently. "He is the subject. You should know that Steve. Of all people. You've been in Remy's shoes. And besides...you’re hardly one to talk about being queer."
"What do you mean?" Steve was the one with iron in his back now.
" I mean you and Buckey is what I mean." Tony turned to him and gave him the quickest, tightest smile, before letting it fall off his face.
Steve’s hands curled into fists. " Me and Buckey… what?” Steve’s voice got dangerously low. “What about Buckey? "
"Steve...c’mon. Its Tony you're talking to. Remember? I walked in on you two in the shower at headquarters."
"We...he....I was washing his back...."
"Yeah. I'm sure it needed a good scrub after what I saw." Tony smirked. "You know if you could only have admitted what he meant to you maybe he would still be around."
Steve took a step forward a snarl on his lips, his blue eyes flashing.
Steve felt a tap on his right shoulder. Even as he turned his instincts of seven decades told him to throw his arm up to block an incoming punch. But it did no good.
A punch was coming. But instead of a roundhouse or a jab Remy threw the sharpest upper cut that 20 years of street fights, soccer riots, and pub brawls could produce.
Captain America's teeth clacked together like castanets. His head flew back and as it did Remy took a half step back and kicked the superhero's balls about sixty meters (or rather that was the distance they would have gone if not permanently affixed to Steve's groin).
Steve made a retching sound and crumpled to his knees.
Remy interlaced his fingers behind the Steve's head and was about to smash his knee square into Steve's nose when Tony stepped in.
"Remy! Remy! REMY! Stop! That's enough."
Remy looked up from the groggy man at his feet as if he were waking from a dream.
"It’s ok. I think you've taken all the fight out of him for now."
"Oh Jesus..." groaned the man from the floor "...maybe for the next ten months.".
Remy extended a hand to help Steve up. Steve tried not to flinch but his eyes pulled down at the corners just a bit. Then he took Remy's hand and was helped to a stool.
"Thanks. And its Captain America, not Superman." Steve said ruefully checking the alignment of his jaw.
"Oh. Sorry mate. Here." Remy cracked open one of the bottles of Pale ale he had fetched and handed it to the injured superhero before handing the other to Tony.
"Thanks Remy" Tony said taking the proffered beer. "So what do you want Steve, besides getting your ass kicked."
Steve shook his head. "No wonder the Army is so desperate to get their hands on him."
"He fought like that before he got here. What makes you think the Army wants him?"
"Just the grapevine gossip. "
Tony noticed the frown on Remy's face. He said loudly, for Remy’s benefit- "They don't get him. I'm in tight with the Commander in Chief. The President loves Iron Man. I support all his favorite charities. I fly by the Whitehouse for the Fourth of July. You're not going anywhere Remy. Don't worry."
"That's not what General Beck thinks. He wants to get his hands on him in the worst way."
“General Beck again. I can deal with him.”
“I don’t know Tony, he has a real hard on for Remy here. He’s been making it his life’s work to get this guy.”
Tony raised an eyebrow at Steve. Steve noticed and also took in the stricken look on Remy’s face. He spoke to Remy.
“Hey, don’t worry kid. What ever Tony want’s Tony gets. You’ll be fine.” he turned back to Tony. “And as for me, guess what I want?”
“You've busted your shield again." Tony said flatly.
"No but I have heard that you came up with a new element...what was it?"
"Adamantium" Tony said, unable to hide his pride.
“Harder than any metal, they say.”
“So…” Steve said,, picking the label off his beer bottle, "I was wondering of I could commission a shield from you.."
"No?....Wait, no… I'd pay for it."
"No. No money no commission.!" Tony said with finality.
“But .... I ....."
Tony laughed. He reached in his pants pocket and pulled out his key ring.
"Show him Remy." He tossed the keys to Remy.
Remy stooped to open a simple black metal trunk on a shelf under the work table. He opened the latch and tipped back the lid. Inside, wrapped in a couple of shop rags was a shiny new shield.
“ I made it with the colors mixed in the adamantium, so they wont chip off. Just buff it out, good as new.” pride filled Tony’s voice.
Remy handed it to Steve.
Steve’s eyes shone like a kid’s at Christmas.
“It’s beautiful, and so light.” he hefted the shield on his fore arm..
“Take it to the range. Fire a surface to air missile at it. I’d say it’s impregnable.”
“I don’t know what to say, Tony. I owe you one.”
“Yes , you do.” Tony said. “And remember that, if I need a favor.”
After Steve left, Tony was still uneasy about the talk of General Beck trying to take Remy. Standing next to Remy, who’s head was bent forward over his work as if waiting for an axe to fall on it, unnerved Tony. He couldn't take it anymore.
“Let’s go for a ride.” he suggested.
In moments they had fired up the Husqvarnas and were shredding their way through sage and mustard grass on hillside behind Tony’s house.
It was a perfect tonic.
Hot sun. Dust. Bucking motorcycles demanding constant attention. The golden brown skin of Remy’s forearms and the flex and slack of their muscles as he fought to control his bike. Tony felt better than he had for days.
Tony throttled his machine and blasted past Remy, standing to save his balls from a racking and to show off his round muscular ass. He heard a shout from Remy and the roar of his bike and the race was on to the top of the hill.
Once on the fire-break road at the top of the rocky hill, they wheeled left and followed the ridge line of the hills for nearly a mile when Remy , who had pulled ahead
a bit, hit the breaks and slid his bike sideways and across Tony’s, who only just got it stopped before crashing into his body guard.
“What the fuck Remy?”
“Some one is shooting, I heard it.” Remy shouted over the bikes.
“Hunters?” Tony guessed, then the gravel and dirt before them flew up in a spray as another round just missed Remy and landed between them.
“Go go go!” Remy shouted, revving his bike while Tony took a precious half second wheeling around, and then they were racing back along the fire-break.
Shots whipped past them. The cliff to the downward side of the hill was too steep, nearly vertical, and all loose rock and boulders. No way down. No escape.
Completely exposed. But on the left ahead was a boulder the size of a Volkswagen van, Tony pulled up to it and slid to a stop. Remy did the same. For a moment, they
would be safe. Unless the gunmen was moving into position.
Remy pulled off his helmet, a shiny black wrap around that he thought made him look like a badass. He tossed it to Tony, who caught it by instinct.
“What are you doing ?” Tony asked as Remy reached over with both hands and yanked Tony’s helmet off.
Tony's helmet was distinctive. Fire engine read with gold on the top, to replicate his suit. Remy jammed it on his head, anyone looking through a rifle scope would think he was Tony.
“Remy!” Tony protested.
“Stay here!” Remy ordered, and revving the bike’s engine turned with a spray of gravel and headed straight up the hill toward the shooter's location.
“Remy!” Tony shouted, but Remy was not listening. Instead he was praying that the shooter was in the middle of changing locations to shoot behind the boulder If so Remy had a nearly a minute to make it up the ridge to the next fire break.
He must have guessed right, because the next shot didn't come until he was cresting the ridge and turning the motorcycle down the fire-break to a position above the boulder. He felt a rage that pushed him forward, oblivious to the whine of lead flying past him. Shooting at his Tony. Wait until he got his hands on this guy.
Tony still had his cell on him and he called in to Pepper.
“Yeah, Tony…” she answered.
“We have a breach in security. A sniper, North East quadrant. I need the helo up at once, half the team down the back road, and the rest up the mountain to where I am.”
“Right.” Pepper hung up.
The sound of shots echoing off the hill sides, dropped Tony’s heart into his shoes. He gunned his sputtering bike and dropping Remy’s helmet he raced down the dirt road, straight toward the sound of gunfire. Maybe he could flank the gunner and call the helo down on him. At the very least he could split the shooter’s attention.
As the dirt road curved up hill there was a flash of chrome to his right and Remy burst out onto the road ahead, turning on his foot as he popped the clutch and lurched up hill. Tony's front wheel come up as he went full throttle to catch up. He pulled along side and Remy turned his head and nodded. Tony smiled back wolfishly. The two were on the hunt. Feeling invincible.
That is until Tony saw the groove in Remy’s helmet. It was right at ear level, about a ¼ inch deep and 4 inches long.
Suddenly Tony remembered that they were unarmed, and heading straight into an ambush. He was about to shout at Remy, when a blast of wind, like a palm heel strike to the back of the head shocked them both into a crouch. A roar followed as the helicopter battered the air a mere thirty feet over their heads.
The Calvary was here.
Tony opened the throttle and Remy followed after.
Bouncing over and off of the pear shaped rocks exposed by fire control's grader, the two of them barely maintained control of both their motorbikes and excitement.
Though Tony knew if he was in his Iron Man suit he'd have captured the shooter already, it was still an adrenaline rush doing it the old fashioned way. Especially when he had someone to share the high with him. A wall of green crashed through the sage and lavender brush 100 yards ahead. Three hummers , half his security team, followed a cross fire-break road at top speed heading toward the north west fence.
Remy pulled in behind them and shouted "C’mon!" to Tony. Threading a needle between the lurching hummers and the slapping - grabbing brush on the side of the road - Remy took the lead in the caravan . Tony steeled his nerves and followed, getting the worst of it as he didn't have a helmet to stop brush clawing at his face.
Out in front they weren't eating anyone’s dust. Tony knew this road. It was a section of fire break that ran for twenty miles across the hill tops. A mile of it crossed this corner of his property. To maintain it the fire control department had insisted on gates on each end of the section.
One of those gates loomed before them. Wide open.
Remy shot through the gate, driving right over the twenty foot jumper cable that completed the electrical security circuit. It would have silenced any alarms. Tony hit the brakes and slid on his left foot and skidding tires for ten feet before coming to a halt. He shut down the bike to listen.
Impossible, over the roar of Remy’s bike and the wind tunnel of the helo, he couldn't hear anything.
“Damn!” The caravan of hummers pulled up. Tony dropped his bike and walked to the lead car, “Get the helo pilot on. “ Tony ordered the driver, the captain of his
“Yes sir. … Got em.”
“Ask him what if he sees anything? And put it on the speaker.”
“Yes sir…” The man relayed the question to the pilot. A static filled voice came over the Hummer’s’ radio.
“Just Remy. Nothing else.”
“Hey! Which one of you assholes just tried to run me over!” A different voice came over the radio, clearer. Peeved.
“Who is that“ Tony asked .
“It’s the guard at the front gate, Patrick.”
Tony pulled the Bluetooth off the guard and spoke into it.
“Patrick this is Tony. Who drove past, what kind of car.”
"It was one of our guys. Heading out onto highway , flashing his lights and honking his horn. I only just got the gate open in time. I thought he was going to crash
“Shit.” Tony was beginning to see a plan, not his. “Tony to helo,., how many cars do you see?”
There was a delay, then finally “This is helo,. Six. All present and accounted for.”
“Then who went out the gate” the guard from the Hummer asked.
“The sniper.” Tony answered. “ Helo, get eyes on the highway, look for a green Hummer.”
Remy came flying back up to the group. “He’s not out there.”
“No, he got away.” Tony said, handing back the Bluetooth to captain of the security detail.
“Got the car.” the pilot of the helo came back on the radio. “Looks like it’s been abandoned. Two miles south on PCH. Scenic overlook.”
“Shit.” Tony exclaimed again. “He must have had a get away car parked there.”
The men stood silently for a second. Then Remy said what they had all been thinking…
“Boy, this was well planned.”