I Don't Wanna be in Love
There's a reason why Tony Stark is hidden away in his lab, and it isn't because there's a former brainwashed, ex- assassin upstairs, though he's okay with everyone thinking that. He's okay with everyone thinking that he hates James Barnes, though that's furthest thing from the truth. He doesn't hate the man, though he did at first. Then again, he hates everyone the first time he meets them. It was the same with Rogers, though that's no longer the case. Everything is different than when he first met the members of the Avengers, though he denies it to everyone around him.
There's a reason why he's okay with the Avengers believing that. For one, he's too damn old for this shit, and he has no interest in them knowing the truth. Besides, if they do, it will only cause trouble and drama, and again, he's too damn old for childish shit. Two, there's the fact that he would look like a fool if they find out, and since he prides himself in not looking like an idiot, he will do anything to prevent it.
This is why he spends much of his time in the lab, so no one will learn the truth. He doesn't need them to know that he has a crush—No, not a crush. He's not a teenager girl. He doesn't get and have crushes. He's grown ass man for crying out loud, though he isn't sure what to call it… Fond of? Cherishes? Likes? Tony isn't sure, but he won't call it love. That's impossible. Tony Stark does not fall in love. Love is for children. It's a fairy tale that they tell in order to sell shit.
If you ask him, Tony will tell you exactly what love is: a curse. It really is, because it takes over every part of your life and refuses to let go. It controls every part of you, not letting you to think for yourself, and if you try to fight it, it only causes pain and destruction. That's what happened to his late relationship. Sure, he was happy in that relationship—well at one point, but it didn't last, and he can't say it wasn't without its issues. They fought a lot, and though fighting was a part of any relationship, they fought way too much for it to be healthy.
Deciding it was best to end it before they lost something more than their relationship, Pepper ended. She ended it quietly, without giving him a chance to fight, to argue this point, to do anything. She left with very little said, leaving Tony alone to his thoughts, which is never a good thing. For a while after that, Tony had locked himself in his lab, refusing to leave unless the world was coming to an end. However, in his line of work, that happens a lot.
But again, he's hiding in his lab for another reason, though some might say it's the same reason. But he will refuse that until he's blue in the face. He's not hiding from his emotions….even if it's the truth. He would rather they think he's hiding from Barnes, which the team believes without a second thought. It's common knowledge that the Winter Soldier had killed his father, and even if he did first, the genius doesn't hold anything against the former assassin now. He was brainwashed and all. Can't blame him, even if it was easy to.
Yes, Tony did hold it against him at first and was ready to throw the book at him. He was willing and did go to war with Rogers, but that's the past, and Tony wants to keep it there. Those days were bloody, painful times that will haunt Tony's dreams for years. For a while, he had thought the only way to end the war was for one of them to die, and towards the end, Tony had thought it would be him. He was ready in fact as he was the one that the world needed less.
Tony isn't sure when his opinion changed on Barnes, but he no longer hates him. If he really thinks about it, how could he hate someone who went through what Barnes had gone through? He went through decades of torture, which no one else can say. So how can Tony judge him? Though his torture cannot compare, he knows how it feels. He knows how it feels to know only pain. He knows how it feels to completely lose oneself and not know who you are anymore. He doesn't know why it took him so long to realize that, but now that he does, he can no longer hold it against Barnes, though that isn't to say it still doesn't hurt. Though he may not have gotten along with his father, it doesn't mean he didn't care for him, because he did—does. He does care, and it hurts.
Originally, the only reason why he's hiding is because of Steve Freaking Rogers. It isn't because he hates him as that's the farthest thing from the truth. No, No, No. He does not love him either. Not at all, though he gets that weird feeling in his chest each time he sees him. He isn't sure why this happens as they had always fought like cats and dogs. There is and was never a time that they didn't, but he feels something for the blond, the likes he never knew. However, he refuses to knowledge or speak it out loud. It won't end well if he does.
For one, the Super Soldier is currently dating the other Super Soldier in the tower, which comes to no surprise to the genius, as he knows the rumors well enough. Growing up, he had heard a few things about the two, which his dear old dad didn't like. Howard bit off the head of anyone who suggested that Rogers had a thing with Barnes, and no one, even Peggy, was safe from it. Tony was surprised that Howard hadn't killed anyone over it, as he bitched, making sure everyone knew that Rogers was straight. Tony wonders what his father would do now if he knew.
Then, there's the fact that Rogers lifted heaven and hell to bring Barnes back. There's a bond between the two that Tony will never understand, though his own bond with Rhodes comes close. Besides, even without Barnes, there's no way that Rogers will see him as anything but a pain in the ass. He has no doubt that the blond dislikes him, especially now, as they never agree on anything. He sees Tony as a riskless, selfish person, who will never put anyone first, and for a while, Tony had agreed. Now, it's a completely different story, but he doubts that Rogers sees that.
Even if something happens to the couple—which it won't as they are soul mates, there's no way that Rogers and he would work. Again, Rogers would have to like him first, which he does not and will not, and the second something would go wrong (and it will), the super soldier will go running back to the other super soldier. Then, once again, he'll have two angry soldiers coming at him again, ready to kill him, and he cannot take that again. Not again.
"Won't work," he mutters to himself. He doesn't want to be a second choice. Can't be. It will hurt, and he doesn't want to be second place—well, that's given in any field as he's a Stark, but he doesn't want that in a relationship. He doesn't want someone to 'settle' for him. He wants to be the one and only, and he can't be that with Rogers. Barnes, even when he was gone-dead to the world, is the most important person to Rogers, and there's no completing with a dead guy. He will always pick Barnes no matter what, and Tony isn't a fool. He isn't going to lie to himself and say it's any different.
This is why he hides—no, not hides. He does not hide. He's a Stark. They don't hide. This is why he stays in his lab for much of the day. He can't deal with their lovey dovelyness. He can't deal with their affectionate touches, and he definitely can't deal with their loving words to each other. Even with the playful insults, it's clear that they love each other more than anyone else in the world, and Tony can't deal with it. So instead of looking like an idiot, he stays in his lab, and it was working for a while.
However, it doesn't last long as it seems like Barnes had made it his life mission to win him over. Tony isn't sure why Barnes thinks it's so important, but he sees it in his eyes. He isn't sure what it is, but he sees how hard he's willing to work for it. He's a stubborn bastard, and there's no wonder how his relationship with Rogers works. They're willing to fight until the ends of the Earth for each other; they're in it until the end of the line, and that's clear to everyone. Tony likes to think that's why he gets light headed whenever he sees them as he wishes he had that. Not because he likes either of them—again, he's not teenager.
But with Barnes, it seems like he wants Tony to like him, though Tony has no idea why this is so important. Why does it matters? What does it change? What good does it do? Again, Tony isn't sure, but Barnes is, which is why he keeps coming down to the lab. He remembers the first time the former assassin came down to see him. He didn't say one single word the whole entire time. He just dropped the food off, stared at Tony for a few seconds like he had wanted to say something but couldn't, and left without a word.
Tony didn't and still doesn't know what to make of it, but he ate the food with a bit hesitation. At that time, he wasn't sure if Barnes still hated him and wanted to off him; however, since he didn't die a few hours later, he guessed the former Assassin didn't want to kill him anymore. Tony took that as a plus, but it meant daily, silent visits by Barnes who keeps bringing him delicious food. He now knows the saying about men is correct: a way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
He doesn't know what's worse: the fact that his heart skips a beat every time he sees him or the smile on Barnes' face whenever he spots an empty plate. He hadn't learn until a few dishes in that the smile on Barnes' handsome face is because he's glad that Tony enjoys his cook—his stupid, home cooking. Serious, the Super Soldier can cook? What else can he do? Make clothes? Save the small kittens from trees? No, it's Rogers who saves kittens from trees. But seriously?! Barnes cooks. That's totally unfair. He's hot and can cook… and sleeps with a hot blond. The lucky bastard.
"Stupid," Tony utters as he gets to his numbed feet. He has been in the lab for so long that he forgets the last time he has been upstairs. He does know that he needs bath, if he's to judge from the smell coming off him. "I need to get out," he says, stepping away from his work. He needs to get his mind off Rogers, Barnes and his food, and get out. He needs a night out with some woman. A man would be a painful reminder of what he can never have.
Just as he turns to go upstairs, he spots an empty plate on one of the work benches. His heart beats rapidly as his chest feels tighten at the sight of it. "He didn't come down today," he utters. The dish is from yesterday when Barnes came down with a plate of Chicken Penne. He isn't sure why it stings so much that he didn't come down today, but he knows it's for a best. He doesn't need to get attached to Barnes, not that he isn't already. That Stupid Soldier fought his way into his damn heart to join Rogers, and that annoys him. He isn't some teenager who falls in lo—nope not love. He does not love, but he isn't some person who falls for someone simply because he or she takes care of him.
Tony knows when he had made his mistake with Barnes. It was when he told Barnes the truth… Well, the half-truth. He didn't and will not tell him the whole truth as that will get his ass kicked, and he would rather not get his prefect ass kicked, especially from a Super Soldier. His ass is one of the few things he loves.
"You don't have to do this," Barnes says softly, staring down at Tony. There's a tone to his voice, almost as if he isn't sure of himself.
"Do what, Barnes?" Tony asks with a smile. He isn't looking at Barnes, but he can read the expression on Barnes' face. "Look at this arm! I've been dying to take look at this! It's a wet dream."
"I don't wanna make you uncomfortable."
Tony looks up at his face and lets out a sigh. He looks like someone has kicked his puppy, and Tony doesn't like that face whatsoever. "Contrary to what everyone things, Barnes, you don't make me uncomfortable." He knows he shouldn't say it, because that's what he wants the team to think; however, he can't take the look on Barnes' face. He blames it on the home cooked meals, and this is the most Barnes has ever said to him…so that's something.
"What about Ho-"
"Yes, it still hurts, but I don't blame you," Tony admits. Why does he have to have those puppy dog eyes?
Barnes' eyes lights up but there is a bit of hesitation in his eyes. "What about-"
Tony cuts him off again as he stares at the arm. "I can't lie and say I didn't blame you at first, but…" He takes a deep breath. "Things are different. I'm not… My eyes aren't clouded anymore. I can now see it isn't your fault. I can see you're hurting too. I'm sorry, Barnes, that it took me so long." Why is he getting all emotional? Damn it.
Barnes looks down at him and smiles softly. "I'm still sorry, Stark."
Tony nods. "My old man used to say that apologies were stupid as they didn't change anything. The past doesn't change. He told me that it was selfish, as the solo purpose was making the person giving it feel better, not the person he or she wronged. He would always get angry when I tried to say sorry… well not that he talked to me much. He had better things to do than to talk to me. He hated me." He knows he is saying too much, but he can't stop.
Barnes' expression turns slightly cold. "He's an idiot, and he's wrong."
Tony shrugs. "Rarely."
"No, Tony. He was wrong."
At that moment, Tony looks up, and his chest tightens as he stares into Barnes' eyes. He isn't sure what he's seeing in the Soldier's eyes, but his stomach is doing flips. He is not a teenager. He is not a teenager.
Tony takes a deep breath as he picks up the plate. After that, Barnes started to stop by the lab more often, and he's talking more, which Tony doesn't know how to deal with. But in any case, he refuses to think of it as anything more than it is. Barnes is just a stubborn guy, who wants everyone to like him. It means he's getting better, which is good, and Tony is glad. He is glad for both Rogers and Barnes.
But he's angry at himself for being a damn fool. He's idiot and he knows it. He hates the idea of love and here he is, falling for two—not one, but two—guys he can't have. Again, he's an idiot and he knows it. He knows he's fucking screwed, but what's a guy supposed to do? Tony isn't sure, but he is tired of this. Tired of his emotions. Tired of how they attacked him. He isn't supposed to fall for them. He isn't a teenager with uncontrollable urges, damn it.
There's only one way to get rid of this: he's going out. He's going find some chick…maybe two…or maybe, not. He's pushing his luck with more than one. He is not a teenager in more ways than one.
Tony can hear voices as he makes his way to the kitchen. With a deep breath, he continues, knowing the team would tease him on sight. Barnes hadn't been the only one who had tried to get the genius out of the lab; the whole entire team (besides the Red Witch, Vision, and BirdMan Wilson) had tried to get Tony out of the lab, but each had failed. When Rogers came down, Tony had barely spoken a word, just eyeing him the whole entire time, but this is more of a reaction than most had gotten from him.
"Dude, there's nothing to eat this in kitchen!" Barton cries.
"Open your eyes. What do you call that?" Wilson replies, pointing at something.
"That's frozen! What do you want me to do with raw chicken?" the archer asks as if that the dumbest thing ever.
Natasha lets out a harsh sigh. "Cook it, Clint."
"I wouldn't even know how to turn this on!" Barton replies, waving.
Wilson laughs. "How does your wife put up with you?"
Tony lets out a chuckle as he steps into the kitchen. "We know it isn't for the money," he says, putting on a smile. He can feel every eye on him.
"Oh, he lives!" Wilson utters, with a smile on his face.
Natasha's eyes go straight to him, and he can feel her sizing him up from head to toe. He knows he smells, and he has no doubt he looks like shit too. He doesn't remember the last time he has changed his clothes or clean up. It isn't like he has anyone to impress. "So which one of you loses the bet? And what do you win?" he asks, as he crosses to the sink. He sets the plate down, turning the sink on to rinse it off.
"I thought you died days ago, Stark," Barton states as he closes the refrigerator's door. "You seem like it."
"I said weeks ago," Wilson adds with a chuckle.
Tony smiles as he turns and leans against the counter. "And what about you, Tasha?" he asks, smiling at her. Natasha and Tony hadn't been close originally, but that had changed in the past few months. She has been become one of this favorite people, and that's saying something.
She smiles at him. "I said you were too stupid to die," she says, taking a seat at one of the chairs at the table.
"Hey, now," Tony replies, glancing around the rest of the kitchen. It's just the four of them, which is more than Tony is used too. He knows he shouldn't shut himself off from the world or at least the team, but he isn't sure he can handle them all. Plus, there's no way that he can hide his emotion from them. "At least, I can feed myself."
"Oh, can you?" Natasha asks, looking past the genius and toward the sink.
"Yea, you have your own personal chief!" Wilson mocks.
Tony's eye brow rises, because though he had had personal chiefs in the past, he doesn't currently have one. He doesn't have a regular eating patterns for that. "You know something I don't?"
"Barnes," Barton offers with a smirk, which Tony can't help but hate.
"How is he my personal Chief?" Tony asks. "If he is, he's so fired. He isn't wearing the mini skirt that was provided for his uniform." He knows he's playing it close, but he can't help it. He just speaks, and it's like there's an explosion of words in his mouth.
Wilson let out a chucking sign. "I don't know if Barnes has the legs for that, and I really don't want to find out."
No, No, No, Tony is yelling in his head. He doesn't want that image in his head, even if it's the only thing in his head. It also doesn't help when Rogers pops into his day dream to help Barnes put on said skirt. Damn it, Stop it. He isn't a teenager for crying out loud. He can control himself. "Agreed," he says. His voice creaks, but he hopes no one hears it.
"So how does it taste?" Barton asks.
"How does what taste like?" Tony asks, stepping away from the counter. He needs to get out, before everyone in this kitchen realizes that he's teenager. He doesn't remember being this horny in his life for crying out loud.
"His food," Natasha says with a smile that says it all. "Barnes doesn't share."
She knows. She knows it all. Damn it all to hell, and Tony's cursing in his head. Is there anything that that woman doesn't know? Sure, she's a spy, but it seems like she's reading his mind! Why in the hell does he let Barnes in his lab? He should've kicked him out. "What?"
Wilson crosses to the refrigerator and pulls open the door. "He cooks all the time, but he doesn't let anyone else eats it… well besides Steve and you. So we're all wondering, how it tastes."
Tony isn't sure if his face is red, but his cheeks sure as hell feel warm. What's going on with him? "Taste like food. For a while, I thought he was trying to poison me, but I'm not dead," he says with a shrug. "Though you never know."
Natasha is still eyeing him, following him everywhere he went. "If he wanted you dead, you would've died by now."
The genius doesn't doubt that, though he knows he will be dead if either Barnes or Rogers learns what he wants them to do to him. Serious, he's horny as all hell. What the hell! "Yea, but you won't let him kill me, will you?"
"Depends. Buy us food. We're hungry," Natasha says.
"And none of you know how to cook?" Tony asks, looking at the frozen chicken that Wilson had pulled out. "And you people think I'm spoiled."
"Well you are," Barton says.
"And don't you have parasites at home? How do you feed them?" Tony asks.
"Laura," Natasha replies.
Tony nods, not knowing for sure if Laura is Barton's wife. He doesn't remember her name, not that he really cares. "So Barton is a man child? So what does his wife—Lauren, is it? - see in him?"
"Laura," Barton shouts. "And I am not a man child."
Wilson laughs as he pokes the chicken. "This is too frozen to cook. C'mon man, buy us some food."
Tony laughs. "Why don't you go bug Barnes if he's such a good cook. He'll probably do it if you keep giving him that face."
"He'd tried," Natasha states as she pushes herself up. "Barnes already shot him down, saying he only cooks for two fellas and he isn't one of them." She's giving Tony a look, and it's like her eyes are drilling into him. "We left as Steve was laughing himself to death."
Yup, Tony feels his cheeks warm up again. Damn it all. "Where are the Super Soldiers?" he asks, as he needs to plan his escape. He doesn't want to be in the same room with them when he's this horny. He needs to get laid or he'll go crazy.
"In their room, probably doing some unmentionable things to each other," Barton answers. "I wonder who wins-"
"Dude," Wilson interrupts, whining. "I don't want to think about that."
Tony's hands ball at his sides, forcing his nails into his skin. He doesn't need the image of Rogers and Barnes rolling around in their bed, fighting for control, and he certainly doesn't need to imagine how it would feel if they use that strength on him, pinning him to the bed. And he really doesn't need to know how it would feel to have their bodies against his. What is wrong with me! He curses at himself. He knows he's making it worse for himself. Why does he have to fall for the two people he can't have? Does he enjoy hurting himself?
"Are you okay, Stark?" Natasha asks, her eyes narrowing. "You're sweating."
"I'm fine," he utters.
"You look a little ill," Barton states.
Knowing he looks like an idiot, Tony waves them off. "Geez, you people make me feel so great about myself," he says, playing hurt. "No wonder I have low self-esteem."
Barton laughs. "I don't think anyone has ever said that about you."
"Maybe a few other words," Wilson adds.
"Oh, I feel so loved," Tony says, with a hand over his heart. "Is this why Rogers and Barnes are hiding from you people?"
Wilson laughs. "No, they love us. They just have a date tonight, which is why we aren't staring at Barnes begging for food."
No, there's not a tightening in his chest. Nope, it's all in his head; though if it isn't, he isn't sure which one he is jealous of… He likes the both of them, though he doubts any of them likes him. "No wonder if he does-"
"It's a party in here," a voice calls from the doorway.
Tony finches slightly at hearing the voice at the door. With a deep breath, he turns to the door and eyes James Freaking Barnes, leaning against the door frame. His jaw locks in place as he looks over the former assassin. If anyone says Barnes isn't one of the hottest people on the planet, he or she is fooling themselves. In his dark jeans and navy suit jacket (over a skin tight shirt), Tony isn't afraid—though not aloud. Never aloud—to say it… Just to himself. "Geez, Barnes, you look like shit. Just saying."
Barnes is smirking at him as Rogers comes into view. "Just jealous, Stark," he says.
"Nope," Tony says, leaning against the counter. Not a teenage girl, he repeats in his head. Not a teenage girl. I can control myself. I can! He needs to get out of here. Maybe, he can go and see Pepper in Malibu. Maybe, he can get those two out of his mind once he has someone else in his mind.
Natasha is watching the three with an interesting look in her eyes. "Don't you two look fetching? Be beating the ladies and guys back with a stick," she is smirking.
"That might be interesting to watch," Tony states as he straightens himself up. "Can I video type that?"
"Bucky scares them all off with that death stares of his," Rogers states with a chuckle. He too is wearing dark jeans, but he's wearing a light blue button up shirt.
"I don't share well," Barnes states with a grin.
Yup, Tony thinks to himself. They will totally kick my ass if they know. "Well, you two should be off, then. Don't want to keep the fan girls and boys drooling." He also needs to get that image of a protective Barnes out of his mind.
Rogers stares at Tony for a few seconds before turning to Barnes. Their eyes meet and they stare at each other for a few long seconds. Tony isn't sure what's going on through their eye glances, but it's like they're talking, which just annoys the genius. Why can't they make kissy face at each other in private? Seeing this does not help him.
Barnes turns away and pushes off the door frame as Steve takes a step forward. "You want us join us, Tony?" Rogers asks, smiling as big as he can.
"Well after you take a shower. You reek," Barnes teases, waving the odor away from his nose.
Tony's eyebrow rises, as he feels every eye on him. He doesn't know what they're thinking, but he doesn't need to now. "On your date?" he asks. "Ha Ha. Funny. Almost believed you meant that." The genius waves them off as he heads toward the door.
"It's a serious offer," Rogers says, watching him as he steps toward the door.
Nope. Nope. Never going to happen. Tony refuses to think about it as he walks pass the super soldiers. "Yea, so not interested in being that third wheel," he says with a wink. Yea, he had imagined the three of them together, but that's in his dream, where it's prefect. There's no fighting. There's no one picking the other over him, but it can't be like that in the real world. He's just the second choice here, if he's a choice in the first place. "Have fun you two. Don't stay out too late. I don't wanna ground you." He says, waving his hand at her. "But I will!"
"Tony," Rogers and Barnes call after him, but the genius doesn't stop.
The genus doesn't know when he came home the night before, but he's on the couch in the lab under a blanket. He's in a state of confusion as he doesn't remember falling asleep on the couch. He remembers coming home from his horrible date (He couldn't get hard. The stupid old man jokes are coming. Damn it!) and going straight to his labs with some idea that he can't get out of his heads. He remembers getting settle at this desk with a range of tools and materials, and he remembers when he had started to drift, but he doesn't remember moving to the couch. "FRIDAY," he calls.
"Yes, Sir?" the AI asks.
"How did I get on the couch?" he asks, getting to his feet. He pays no attention to the blanket as he pushes himself up.
"Captain Rogers and Sergeant Barnes."
Tony can't help but groan as FRIDAY brings up the footage. Why do these two think it's their job to take care of him? Bringing him food, making sure he has gotten some sleep. He likes it better when they thought he hated them. Why did he tell Barnes the truth again? Tony isn't sure, but he doesn't like how Rogers in the footage picks him up and moves him to the couch. He doesn't like the look in Roger's eyes when he sets him down, and he hates the feeling in his stomach. He isn't some fuck teenager! He's a grown ass man, and he doesn't fall like this for anyone!
He's glaring at the monitor as Barnes steps forward and covers him with the blanket. His hands balls at his side as the former Assassin tucks him in like he's a child. He hates the way that the soldiers look at his sleeping form before turning to each other. He hates how they reach for each other before they turn back to him. He detests the words that come out of Barnes' mouth. "Gotta take of our fella."
"Oh, yes, we do," Rogers replies, as he runs a finger gently over Tony's cheek. "He never-"
Tony shakes his head as he orders FRIDAY to stop the playback. He doesn't want to think how nice it feels to have someone take care of him. He doesn't want to think about the warm feeling in his chest, because this can never happen. "I don't want that to happen again, FRIDAY," he orders.
"Sir, this has already happen a few times. Rogers has put you to bed a number of times."
"What?!" Tony yells, his hands balling. Where the hell was he doing these times? How didn't he know? "Show me each time," he orders, leaning toward the monitor. He does not like the fact that Rogers had put him to bed over 15 times.
Tony's back hurts like a bitch, and he's starting to regret rejoining the Avengers, though he should stop trying to quit being Iron Man as it never sticks. Ever. He keeps saying that he's done, but he's always putting the stupid suit back on. He's too old for this shit. Too damn old for it all.
With a deep breath, Tony rotates in his chair to face the smiling Rogers. He can feel the tingle in his chest as he faces Steve. "What can I do for you, Cap? Make it fast. Have to get this completed for Pepper," he says. He is lying, but the Captain does not need to know that.
"Movie night. Let's go."
Tony's eyes drifts over Rogers, taking him in. He's wearing low riding sweats and a tight shirt that he can't look away from. "No."
"I told you why."
Rogers walks over to the work desk and stands in front of him. "I know that's bull, as I spoke to Pepper."
Stay cool, Tony tells himself, but he knows he won't be able to. "Checking up on me, Cap?" he asks, angrily. "I don't need you to keep track of me." Rogers doesn't move an inch when Tony gets to his feet, and he is mere inches from him. "I don't need a baby sitter, so you and Barnes can back off!"
"Because we care, Tony," he says, softly, as he looks at him.
Tony knows he should be happy at the news, but he can't. It hurts too much. "It didn't feel like that a few months ago, when you and your buddy were beating the crap out of me. Was that because you care? If so, I don't want that. Don't need that." He knows he might be going too far by bring up the past, but he can't help it. It hurts. Just hurts to be this close to him.
With large eyes, Rogers backs up like he had been hit. "Tony."
"I got work to do, so if you can leave, that would be nice," he says, turning from the Captain and sitting back down. "And take that plate back up. I'm not hungry." He nods this head toward a plate a few feet from him. The plate's no longer warm as Tony had pushed it away, refusing to eat it. He doesn't need Barnes to take care of him.
"Bucky made that for you," Rogers states as he turns from Tony.
"I don't want it," Tony replies as he waits for Rogers to leave. He can't deal with the Captain being this close not after watching that footage, and he's itching to call Pepper to tell her never to tell Rogers shit again. He doesn't need this.
"Fine," he says as he steps to the plate and picks it up. "But if he comes down here, that's on you."
"I'm not your or his boyfriend. You don't need to worry about me," Tony snaps back.
"I know," Rogers replies, his tone uneven. "I know."
Tony stills, waiting for Rogers to leave before he orders FRIDAY to call Pepper. He can't have her and Roger teaming up against him again. He can't have Rogers worrying about him. He can't have anyone worrying about him. He can't suffer that kind of pain again. He can't be second best. He can't be chosen last.
The Captain wasn't lying as Barnes comes flying down into his lab with the plate of food in his hands. If the look could kill, the genius would be dead as this man is angry. His whole body is shaking. "Tony."
"Not in the mood, Barnes," he says.
"I don't give a damn, Stark," he says. He's anything but happy as he sets the plate down in front of the genius. "If you're going to be a punk and stay down here all the damn time, you're going to eat whatever I put in front of you. You hear me?" He doesn't move from Tony as he remains at his side.
Tony looks up and glares at the former Assassin. His Brooklyn accent is strong, getting stronger with each passing second. "Like I told the Captain, I'm not your boyfriend or his. I'm your landlord. Nothing else, so just leave me the hell alone." He pauses for a second as anger builds inside of him. He knows he shouldn't blame Barnes or Rogers for this as they have done nothing wrong (Besides making him lo- Nope not love-for making him like them), but it hurts. It hurts to see them so happy. "Go bug your boyfriend. You two are so goddamn annoying. Makes me sick."
Barnes stands still, eyeing him. "And here I thought we were something more. I guess not," he says as he turns away. "Don't worry. I won't make another meal for you."
The genius knows he'll probably regret this all later, but he knows if he lets them in, it'll hurt so much more when they leave. "Good, and take that with you."
Barnes takes the plates, but he doesn't take it upstairs. He harshly dumps it in the trash as he heads upstairs, and he doesn't turn back when he leaves. He doesn't see the pain written on Tony's face when he returns to whatever he was working on. He doesn't see the pain in his back as Tony hunches over his desk. Barnes doesn't see any of this.
Tony disappears for a few weeks, not letting anyone but Rhodey and Pepper know where he went. He just needs time to himself to try to figure out what he wants. He knows what he thinks he wants, which is Barnes and Rogers, but that isn't possible. They are together, and they are happy without him. They don't need him to bring them down, and he doesn't need the heartbreak.
However, logical doesn't help. The space makes it worse, and Tony loses himself more. He thought distracting himself would help, but neither the woman nor the man that he brought to his bed helped. They made it worst, and he feels less like himself. He doesn't know who he is anymore, but he knows this hiding isn't helping. Maybe, he should tell the Soldiers and see how they react. Once he gets the rejection, he might be able to finally move on, but he's scared. Scared of what would happen after they reject him. Rogers had already rejected him once, and they almost killed each other. Maybe, a second reject will end him.
Tony isn't sure what will happen, but he can't keeping running from his problems. Sure, he thinks love is a curse, but he can't be afraid anymore. He has to face the fear growing in his chest, even if this thing is impossible.
What brings Tony back to the tower is seeing both Barnes and Rogers injured on the news. He doesn't like the idea of both of the Super Soldier hurt no matter how big or small the injuries are. He doesn't like that Rogers in covered in blood (thought he has no idea of who the blood belongs to), and he hates the idea of Barnes holding his metal arm close to his chest as if he can't move it. He doesn't like that he doesn't know what's going on with them. He doesn't like that he has no idea how badly hurt they are.
Getting back to the tower as quickly as he can, Tony asks FRIDAY where the boys are and heads straight for them. He doesn't care about the looks from the rest of Avengers as he makes his way through the tower. He can see Rhodes yelling at him to stop, but he doesn't. He can't. He needs to see them for himself, even if they want nothing to do with him. He doesn't expect them to, not after how he had left.
Tony almost runs into the door as he slides the rest of the way down the hallway and into the medical bay. If it isn't for the auto sliding doors, he would've ran right into the glass doors. However, that wouldn't have mattered to him as he is focused on finding Rogers and Barnes. He needs to see them, and he needs to check them out for himself.
"Stark," Barnes utters as Tony makes it into the room. "What are you doing here?" He's close, so close that he's almost in bed with the injured Cap. He's almost right on top on him in his lap, and Tony doesn't need to know what he has interrupted to know this is probably a mistake. Why is he here?
"Bucky," Rogers groans from the bed, as he gives him a look. "We're fine, Stark."
Tony knows those tones well as he had gotten this tone from his father a few times. Like with his dear old dad, he isn't wanted here, and he can deal with that. He knows how it feels like to not be wanted, and they don't need to spell it out for him. "Good, I'm glad. You're the only two Super Soldiers we have, and I don't know what we would do without you." He can feel the tension in the room, and he can't stand to be in here for one more second. He knows the answer to his question, now. This is a clear rejection. "Come see me later, Barnes. I can repair that arm for you."
"Are you going to be around for that?" Barnes asks. "Or are you going disappear again? It might be safer if I ask someone else." His eyes are drilling into him. "Not some indecisive jerk, who doesn't know what he's doing."
"Bucky," Rogers calls again.
It's picture clear. It all makes sense now, and Tony leaves the room without another word. He doesn't need to burden them anymore than he has already. It was a mistake to come and see them. But isn't this what you want? He asks himself. Now, they will leave him alone.
Barnes was right to his word and didn't go to Tony to repair his arm, and though that's exactly what Tony wants, it doesn't feel right. It feels like he has been rejected on all levels, like someone has stabbed him in the heart. Sure, Tony isn't a nice or friendly person, but his work, his mind is the only thing that Tony can offer the world… though after the Ultron situation, no one wants his mind anymore. So what good is he? This is why he had sent all of the arm's specs to the tech Barnes went to fix his arm. It's why he answers every question, repeating himself a hundred of times to make sure the tech got it right. He has to be useful. Has to. He can't be burden. He just can't. He can't prove his father right.
Tony doesn't look up to greet Natasha as she enters. He doesn't flinch when she steps to his side, and he doesn't talk to her until she hits him hard in the arm. "Ouch, Tasha. What did I do to you?" he asks. The Black Widow is one of the few people in the world that he doesn't call or refer to by their last names. He may not say it aloud, but she's one of few Avengers he trusts. It hadn't started like that, but now, he doesn't know what he would do without her. He wonders if she knows this.
"That's for running away."
Tony finally looks up and smiles at her. "I didn't run away. I got bored," he says. "And I didn't know you care."
"Oh, cut the crap," she says, turning and leaning against the desk. "Are you okay?"
There is only one answer to that question, and there will always be one answer to that question, even if he isn't okay. "Yes, Mom," he says.
She gives him a look, mumbling to herself, but the genius can't make it out. She just stares at him for a few second before she speaks, "Are you sure? You hadn't spoken to anyone since you got back."
Tony wonders if he should've stayed away. It would've been easier. "Is that anything different?" he asks.
Natasha gives him a hard look, as she places a warm hand on his arm. "You can't expect Steve and Barnes to react differently. You did break up with them."
Tony shoots up, giving her a wild look. "What the hell are you talking about? I didn't break up with them."
"Stark, I don't know what you call it, but when you disappear without a word, push them away and refuse to call anyone, people tend to think you don't want them anymore."
Taking a step back, Tony's hand goes to his face as his eyes grow big. "I don't know what you're taking about, but in order to break up with someone, you have to be dating first. I was and am not dating the Brooklyn Twins." He ignores the twist in his stomach as he says it. Why does he want to put himself through so much pain? Why doesn't his heart know that pain will be only the outcome?
Natasha's eyes widen. "What?" she utters, and for once in her life, she looks shocks which is surprising.
"I. Never. Dated. The Captain. And. His Sidekick," he says slowly as if she's stupid. He knows she'll beat him, but he doesn't care. He isn't in the mood to play. He isn't in the mood for company. He isn't in the mood to keep up a happy face.
"How did I miss that?" She asks as she steps away. "How did I miss that?" she repeats as if it's the biggest sin in the world. "They're acting like someone kicked their puppy, and during those weeks you vanished, they were the biggest assholes on the planet. They wouldn't stop pacing, whining, or checking the lab every few seconds. The Team just assumes it is because you broke up with them."
Tony ignores the twitch in his eyes as everyone already thinks this is his fault. It feels so fucken great. "Really? The team thinks we were dating?!"
Natasha gives them a look. "Well, Barnes only cooks for his fellas. He-" She pauses, meeting Tony's glares. "His words not mine. Then, there's the fact that Barnes keeps spending his time down here with you. I thought you were uncomfortable with him originally, but I guess that wasn't the case. Barnes was quite happy when he learned that."
Tony let out a harsh sigh, knowing that he should've never had said that to him. "How did you get dating from that?"
"Then there was Steve, who was always spouting a jealous look whenever Barnes came up. He-"
"Again, how does that equal dating? I make Rogers jealous, so what?"
"He wasn't jealous of you, you idiot," she says, slapping the back of his head lightly. "He was jealous of Barnes. Jealous that Barnes got to spend so much time with you."
"Jealous of his own boyfriend?" Tony asks. Who the hell is she kidding?
Natasha smiles. "Not too hard to imagine. You aged well." Tony glares at her. "Well you do, and after Steve asked you out, we thought-"
"Rogers did not ask me out," Tony interrupts.
"Yes, he did. Why else would he asks you to go out with Barnes and him on date night?" she asks.
Tony shrugs. "How am I supposed to know what goes on in his Serum filled head? And besides I turned him down."
"Yea, we thought it was Barnes' night with him and you didn't want to impose," Natasha says, while shrugging. "And we kept seeing Steve carrying you to bed with that stupid look in his eyes."
Tony doesn't know what to do with all of this knowledge, but he doesn't like the fact that everyone thinks he belongs with the Brooklyn Twins. He doesn't like the feeling in his gut, telling him that he likes that idea. "Not dating."
"I know now," Natasha says. "But, then I guess those soldiers have it bad for you."
"Tony." Her eyes soften. "What are you afraid of?" She steps toward him. "Why are you pushing them away? I can see that you have it bad for them too."
He looks at her, knowing there's no lying to her, but he wishes he could. He wishes he could hide all of his emotions. "They are already in a relationship with each other."
"So? There are poly relationships." She says it as if he should already know this. She says this like this is the most normal thing on the planet. She talks about like it is easy. "Go for it."
"First of all, they don't want me. You all are crazy. Second of all, I don't want them. I'm a ladies man," he replies, stressing the word ladies. For the hundred time, he isn't a teenager girl. He doesn't fall for any guy that looks his way. "And lastly, what happens when we fight? Because we will, you know me. We will, and they will take each other side. They will back each other up, leaving me alone. I'll be the one hanging out to dry. They got history. I got nothing. Did it before. Will do it again." He doesn't know what he's saying, because Natasha's face just falls and her eyes are large.
"So that's it," she says as she reaches for him and pulls him into his arms. "How are Barnes and Steve so stupid?" she asks as her hands travel up and down his back.
"No, I'm stupid," he says, softly.
"No, you aren't," she says as she glides him to the couch. "Never."
He feels so defeated. "Not good for anything. Barnes won't even let me touch his arm."
Natasha pulls him down softly and wraps her arms around him when she has him on the sofa. "He's an idiot. Steve's an idiot too," she says, softly in his hair. "Both of them."
Tony isn't sure why he's letting her do this or why he feels so comfortable in her arms. He isn't sure why it feels okay to let go in front of her and let her see it all, but it's amazing how close they has gotten that they can do this. She isn't on the same lines as Pepper, but she is up there.
Tony isn't sure when he has fallen asleep, but when he comes too, there're two pairs of strong arms around, holding him tight. There's also a hand in his hair, combing through his hair, and neither of these large hands belong to Natasha. "Barnes, Rogers," he utters as he opens his eyes.
"Hey, Tony," Barnes utters into his hair, holding him close. His fingers dances up his arms, caressing him softly.
"You have to share, Bucky," Rogers says, giving him a look as he reaches for him.
Barnes is smiling. "You know me, Stevie," he says. "I don't share well."
Tony looks between the two, unsure what was going on, but he knows he doesn't want to find out. The genius tries to move out of their arms, but the two soldiers keep a firm grip on him, refusing to let go of him. "What are you two doing down here?" he asks, giving up and sitting back.
"Well, our genius is there," Rogers says with a blinding smile. "We refuse to let him go."
"We made a mistake before. We-No, I. I shouldn't have let you walk out of that hospital room. I should've kept you close, and I am sorry. I lost my cool before, and I'm sorry. I have lost so much, and I don't want to lose anyone else important to me," Barnes adds, looking into his eyes.
"Yea, Tony, we're sorry," Rogers says, shifting slightly to look at his face. "We should've realized."
Tony's eyes shifted between Barnes and Rogers. There's something in both of their eyes, and Tony doesn't know what it is, but he can't look away. Are they really sorry? Or are they doing what Howard thinks everyone does when they say sorry? "Realize what?" he asks.
"We won't do that to you, Tony," Barnes adds softly. "It was a mistake before, and we know it. It hurts me to remember what we have done to you. I hate myself for hurting you so badly."
Rogers' eyes falls and he's looking down at Tony's lap. "I shouldn't have let it get that far. I knew better," he says. "I hurt you, and I am sorry."
"That's in the past," Tony says, bitterly. "Why are you bringing it up?" He doesn't want to think about it, and he doesn't want to think about how close the two are.
Barnes shifts as well. "Because, Tony. We're in love with you, and we want you."
Tony freezes between them, unsure of what to do. "No."
Rogers—No, Steve. If the Captain and Barnes are going to tell him that they love him, then he better use their first names. Steve doesn't move from him. "Yes, we are. I've been in love with you for years, but I was too scared to tell you. I wasn't sure how you would react, and when I realized that I was being an idiot, it was too late. Bucky was back and you wouldn't even look at me. I thought you hated me, and I decided to let myself have what I wanted since I was a child. I let myself have Bucky, but there's still something missing. It took me awhile, and Buck was the one who realized it first. It's you, and it isn't too late. I just have to say it. We love you."
"You know, I was jealous at first seeing my boyfriend checking out another guy, a guy that I thought hated me. I thought…" Bucky starts but drifting off. He pauses as he smiles. "Doesn't matter, but I decided to get to know you, even if I knew it was an uphill battle. I wanted to know why Steve cares for you so deeply, and you know what? I fell in love with you. Sure, you push me away like the punk that you are, but I could see it all. I saw how cute and caring you are- No don't deny it. You are-and with each second you let me stayed with you, I knew I wanted to know you more."
Steve laughs. "I was jealous at first, seeing how close Bucky got to you at first. I want to be in your lab with you."
"And let me tell you, a jealous Steve is funny," Bucky smiles.
Tony looks between the two, and he sees nothing but fondness in their eyes. "No," Tony says, pushing away from them. What's going on? How can this be happening? Why aren't they mad at him? He doesn't understand. "Why are you here?" he asks. "I thought you wanted me to leave you alone for being an indecisive jerk?"
Bucky and Steve get to their feet and follow Tony as he paces the labs. "I was wrong. Dead wrong," Bucky states with a weak smile. "I didn't realize why at time."
"Natasha told us," Steve says. "She told us everything, and we're sorry that we didn't see it."
Tony's eyes twitches. "Remind me never to tell her anything again." He should've known that she would tell the Brooklyn Twins.
"We're glad she did," Steve says as he closes the distance between them.
Bucky and Steve circles the genius, putting him between them. "You'll never be a second choice to us. Sure, Stevie and I knew each longer, but you aren't any less. You mean everything to us, Doll Face."
"Yea, Tony," Steve says as he steps forward trapping Tony between him and Barnes. "It was a mistake before, and it'll never happen again. Sure, you don't have the history that we have, but who cares? You're our future, and we'll never leave you hanging, alone. You're just as important to me as Bucky is."
Tony's heart is pounding in his chest, and he can feel his chest tight. "I'm not a teenager girl," he utters before he can stop himself.
Bucky presses himself flatly against Tony as he laughs. "I'm glad for that. I like you for the fact that you aren't a teenager girl. Wouldn't like you any other way," he says with a smile. "A woman doesn't have what I want. I like you for your manly body."
"Yes, a manly body," Tony repeats, leaning against the former Assassin.
"And we like it," Steve says, pressing himself against Tony. "Oh, we like it."
Tony knows he shouldn't let it get it to him, but he can't. He likes being with them. He likes that they care for him. "Promise me," he says as he closes his eyes.
Bucky places a kiss to the top of his head. "We promise, Tony. We won't."
Steve's hand travels to Tony's face, cupping his cheek. "I promise too, Tony. I will never choose anyone over you, again. Both you and Bucky are it. I will never choose one over the other. You got it?"
"Yes, now kiss me and shut up, Cap?" Tony says, knowing it's stupid to fight what he's feeling. These two didn't give up before, and he can tell these two won't give up now, not after what Natasha had told them.
"I'm old fashion, Tony. Needed to hear it," Steve says as he leans forward and catches Tony's lips with his. He sucks on Tony's bottom lip. He keeps a firm hold on Tony's face as he fights for dominance. It's like a battle going on in his mouth, and it doesn't end until Bucky pulls Tony from Steve.
"You gotta share, Punk," Bucky says as he turns Tony to face him. Before Tony or Steve can say anything, Bucky's kissing him, and he's kissing him hard. He doesn't gives Tony time to think as he takes control. It's a wet kiss as Barnes leaves nothing on the table. It's clear that he wants say it all through the kiss.
Needing to breathe, Tony breaks away, and he's grinning. "I should have let you two kiss me sooner, Geez."
"Oh, you should have," Steve say, pulling him close. "But don't worry, we're going to make up for it."
Bucky's grinning like an idiot. "Just wait until we get you into bed. You won't be able to feel your ass."
Tony's chest tightens as Bucky's words go straight to his pants. He has imagined how it would feel like to be fucked into the bed by the both of them, but now, it will happen. "Oh, I will hold you too it," he says with a grin.
"Oh, don't worry," Steve states. "We'll take care you."
"Yes, we will, and you'll take care of us," Bucky says, breathing into his ear. "I want to feel your mouth on my cock."
Yup, that definitely goes to his pants. "Then what are you waiting for?" Tony says as he pulls away from them. He gives them each a look as he heads to the steps. "I am ready when you are."
Bucky gives Steve a look before the two Super Soldiers chase after Tony. They aren't going to let the brunette escape from them again, and unlike last time, they aren't going to give up. For the first time, Tony realizes this and he's smiling as he's being chased through the tower. He probably looks like an idiot to everyone around them, but he doesn't care. He's happy for once, and he can't wait for what comes now.