Author's Note: I’ve never read the Avenger comics, so any discrepancy between Marvel’s universe and what I’ve written can be attributed to that. (The AU goes for more than just the fact there is discipline). Verse/Setting: Post-Avengers movie
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Avengers and am not making money from this fic.
Warning(s): AU; discipline of adult.

What Tony Don't Know

“Tony! What in the…” Pepper’s horrified gasp greeted her limping boyfriend as he slowly hobbled into the group area of what had become the Avenger’s living quarters. Steve was only a few steps behind him, ready to reach out and grab the shorter man if he looked like he was going to go down- so far sheer determination and stubbornness had kept the injured Iron Man upright and on his feet.

Of course, while determination and stubbornness were helping him out currently- they were also the culprits behind his being hurt in the first place. Tony gave Pepper a grimacing smile. “We had a little run-in with some robots. It was nothing that couldn’t be handled- eventually. Just took a little longer than planned, is all.”

Steve narrowed his eyes and spoke for the first time since entering the building, his voice soft but full of indignant anger. “What he means is he decided that following orders and waiting for Clint and Natasha to get into position to ambush was taking too much time- plus he figured there weren’t that many and he could take them on all by himself.”

Tony shot the Captain an irritated look before looking back at Pepper, already forming an excuse for what he was sure would be a furious expression. Oddly enough, Pepper’s face wasn’t furious. Oh. She was worried. He’d likely be lectured numerous times in the next few weeks about not taking unnecessary chances and working with the team instead of solo…but she didn’t look furious. He frowned, what he was planning to say slipping right out of his mind as he tried to figure out why she would be staring at Steve with such an odd expression. And then Steve nodded at her and she was smiling…what the heck?

“Pepper, I…” Tony began, only to be cut off by his erstwhile girlfriend.

“It’s ok Tony. You have obviously made it out alive- and I know that Steve has things well in control, so you don’t need to make excuses to me and try and calm me down. I’m fine. And…I’m late to a very important meeting and won’t be back till next week. Remember, I told you? So I will see you when I return for our date- although I don’t think we should go out given you probably won’t be able to walk straight.” Quickly, Pepper leaned in and gave him a peck on the mouth, pulling away again before he could make the kiss really interesting.

Tony pouted as he watched her go. “Yeah, my leg might be a little stiff…but that’s no reason for us not o go somewhere. It won’t take THAT long to heal. I’ll be able to walk just fine.” He muttered in confusion, before jumping slightly, startled when Steve placed one hand on his shoulder.

“I don’t think it’s your leg that will hinder you walking,” his team leader said ominously. Tony paled.

# # #
In retrospect, Tony couldn’t honestly say why he had done what he’d done. The plan Steve had laid out for them all was a good plan- and had Tony followed it, no one would have been hurt. As it stood, he was lucky he’d not been hurt more seriously. His leg had been badly sprained on top of a rather nasty cut.

After Pepper had left, Steve had maneuvered him into the lab and hovered over him, making certain that he cooperated when Bruce cleaned and dressed the cut; immobilized his leg as much as possible so that the sprain wouldn’t be irritated; and then had literally held him in place when the good Doc gave him a tetanus shot. Tony hated needles and had let some rather colorful language fly when he realized that he wasn’t going to be allowed to leave without it.

It had only taken a raised eyebrow from Steve for him to bite his tongue and cooperate- even if he did have to turn his head and look the other way when Bruce pushed the needle into his arm. He supposed he was lucky they put it there and not a more embarrassing part of his anatomy.

After Bruce was satisfied that he’d been taken care of to the best of their abilities, Steve had trundled him off to the kitchen to eat. He would have complained about being treated like a child, but the rest of the team was there and he didn’t want to give Steve an excuse to begin his dressing down in public. He knew he’d screwed up. Royally. Again.

Sighing, he picked up the sandwich that Natasha had placed in front of him and murmuring a quick thank you, took a big bite. He was honestly surprised when he managed to finish the entire sandwich. He hadn’t really felt hungry.

“Ok. Bed for you.” Steve stated firmly.

Tony blinked in astonishment, noting the quickly hidden grins of the rest of his team as they tried to hide their amusement at his expense. He narrowed his eyes at Steve. “I’m not tired.”

“Too bad, because you’re going to bed.” Steve calmly answered back. If there had been any ridicule in the man’s tone, Tony would have balked. If there had been any hint of Steve attempting to dominate him, he would have fought him about it. Instead Steve stood calmly by the kitchen door, giving his order in a matter of fact tone with no challenge in it at all. He expected to be obeyed; he expected to be obeyed now; he did not expect Tony to argue.

Tony didn’t argue. Sighing, he stood and hobbled his way to the captain’s side, not surprised when the other man started walking beside him, ready to catch him if his leg gave out and he fell. Tony didn’t say anything when Steve waited outside his bathroom door while he changed and got ready for bed. He didn’t say anything when Steve helped him into the bed and made sure he was able to prop his leg up in a comfortable position. When Steve turned to leave the room, after a sincerely offered good night and the admonishment to have JARVIS get him if Tony needed anything, Tony finally said something.

“Aren’t you going to yell at me?” he asked in a confused voice.

Steve turned back to face him his own face confused. “Why would I yell at you?”

Tony winced, looking at his hands. “Because I disobeyed orders and screwed up everything so badly that I’m lucky I’m the only one that was hurt?” he answered back, confusion still in his voice.

“You know what you did wrong.” Steve shrugged. “You’ll be disciplined for it- but not until I’m convinced your leg is better.”

“So you’re going to…” Tony’s voice faltered and he finally looked back up into Steve’s knowing eyes.

Steve had to smile at the look on Tony’s face. “Yes. I am. And you know you deserve it- even asked for it in a way.”

Tony sighed. “Yeah. I don’t suppose it will help if I say I already learned my lesson? …. Didn’t think so…” he gave a chagrined smile to Steve’s shaking head.

“Get some rest Tony.” Steve softly ordered, giving him another smile before turning and leaving the room.

Sighing softly, Tony sunk back into his pillows, thinking about what he’d done and asking himself for the hundredth time why he’d done it.

# # #
Steve was true to his word that he wouldn’t do anything until he was positive that Tony’s leg was better. Of course, Tony hadn’t realized that Steve had also meant that he would personally be making sure that Tony’s leg had a chance to get better. Tony might have enjoyed the attention he was getting and the fact that Steve- and really everyone on the team- was going out of their way to do things to help him and make things easier for him. He would have enjoyed it had he not felt so guilty.

For his part, Tony did everything he could to be the model patient, taking whatever medicine Bruce said he needed, cooperating with the regular check-ups of his leg, eating, taking naps, and in general doing whatever he was told without fuss. He’d overheard Natasha tell Clint that it was probably because he didn’t want more of a butt-roasting than he already had coming. Tony couldn’t have argued that point- even if he was willing to let them know that he’d overheard Nat; but he also felt like it was more than that. He just felt so guilty about what he’d done.

He’d done a lot of thinking the night they’d gotten back from their assignment. He’d been trying to figure out what would have made him behave in such a reckless and foolhardy manner- but he had yet to come up with a reason. He didn’t like he fact that he had apparently done something so dangerous- to himself and to his team- without having at least a semi-thought out reason for doing it. It made him feel like he wasn’t in control of himself. Despite his playboy reputation and the appearance that he was frequently out-of-control, Tony prided himself on fact that he was in complete control of himself. It may not always be the best reason- but Tony always had a reason for what he did, and he knew what that reason was. Normally.

He hadn’t been able to say what his reason for disobeying Steve was or why he’d taken such a chance in attacking the robots. Did he even have a reason? It was confusing to the genius and he didn’t like feeling confused. He liked feeling guilty even less.

It had been three days since he’d FUBARed the mission. His leg was healing nicely. The sprain didn’t bother him nearly at all so he was able to walk normally- and the cut was well on its way to mending. Tony was still on his best behavior- although he was finding it difficult not to argue and dig in his little barbs or fire off his quips. After three days, it was more than impossible.

An argument had escalated. Tony had said something biting to Natasha and the next thing he knew Clint was physically keeping Nat from giving him a busted lip; Thor and Bruce were shaking their heads at him like he’d stepped over some line; and Steve was quickly walking into the room and taking his arm to lead him out of the kitchen. Tony honestly couldn’t even remember what he’d said to set her off. He hadn’t actually been paying that much attention to the conversation. He blushed in chagrin and more than a little shame. “I…” he glanced at Steve as the taller man led him to his bed room, closing the door firmly behind him before physically moving Tony into the corner and pressing his nose to the wall.

“You’re obviously feeling more like yourself if you’re able to pick fights with SHIELD’s number one assassin.” Tony couldn’t tell- since he refused to move from the position Steve had placed him in- but it sounded as if the Captain was slightly amused. Hesitantly Tony raised his hand in the age old symbol of school-aged children everywhere. Steve swallowed a snort of laughter. “Yes, Tony?”

“I…I don’t remember what I said to her,” Tony admitted hesitantly. “I know I need to apologize, but I don’t know what I said…” the Iron Man sighed softly, letting his head fall forward against the wall with a thump.

Steve frowned slightly. “Doing things without thinking again?” he asked quietly.

Tony slumped. “I’ve tried to come up with the reason I went against your orders, but I don’t have one. I don’t know why I did it,” he said softly. “I don’t like that I don’t have a reason…I…I’m normally more in control of what I do- even if it isn’t wisest thing to be doing.”

“Well,” Steve said seriously. “I’ll just have to help you figure it out then, won’t I? It’s a lot easier to avoid making the same mistake twice if you know why you did it in the first place. Come here Tony.”

Swallowing hard, Tony turned from the corner and faced his team leader. Steve was sitting on the bed. Closing his eyes tightly, Tony forced himself to walk to the other man- stopping only when he was next to his knee. He wanted to argue- going over Steve’s lap was such a childish position to be in! At the same time, he knew he deserved the punishment and if he was honest with himself, he knew that he needed it if he ever wanted to be able to move past his mistake.

Sniffling- and wasn’t that humiliating to be crying already when he hadn’t even been smacked once- Tony quickly unbuttoned his jeans then pushed them and his briefs down to his knees before quickly draping himself over his commanders lap. Steve quickly put one arm around his waist, pulling him in tight against him so that his upper-torso was resting on the bed then lay his other hand against Tony’s bottom.

“Tell me what you did wrong Tony.” Steve demanded gently.

Closing his eyes tightly Tony answered, “I disregarded your orders, went after the target by myself, and endangered myself and the entire team because I was impatient and didn’t want to obey orders.”

“Correct,” with that one word Steve raised his hand up then let it fall with a resounding smack against Tony’s bare backside. Tony barely bit back a yelp. Steve liberally covered Tony’s butt with firm hard smacks until it was entirely red from the tops of his cheeks to a few inches above his knees. Tony had begun crying half-way through.

“Tell me why you chose to disobey me, Tony.” Steve’s voice was gentle again.

“I…I don’t know.” Tony admitted. His voice caught. “I thought and thought and couldn’t come up with any good reason…”

Steve gave him five harsh smacks, causing Tony to devolve from silent tears to more vocal ones.

“Is it because you don’t respect me and don’t think I should be leading the team?” Steve asked, although he doubted that was the reason.

“NO!” Tony said vehemently, horrified that Steve would even consider that as a possible reason.

“I’m glad to hear that…” Steve said softly before giving him another five harsh smacks.

Tony slumped, gripping the covers in his fingers tightly. His arse was on fire and Steve wasn’t going to stop the punishment until he could give him the reason why he’d disobeyed??? He’d never survive!

“Did you think my plan was bad ?” Steve continued.

“No…your plan was very good- I wish I’d followed it!” Tony cried, knowing what was coming.

“I wish you had too…” Steve sadly stated before landing five more blistering smacks on the already scarlet backside.

“You don’t trust me…” Steve admonished quietly.

Tony blinked in consternation, choking back sobs as he tried to answer. “I..I do trust you. More than I have ever…ever trusted any man in my life. Ever. More even than…” Tony stopped. He stiffened as he suddenly realized why he’d done what he did. He swallowed hard before slumping down again and just sobbing.

“Tony?” Steve looked down on his repentant friend, knowing that Tony needed to admit what he’d just discovered.

“More than my own father…” Tony finally choked out. “I…I was testing you? That…that’s the most childish, asinine….” Tony spluttered, rubbing at his eyes furious at himself and still crying because- damn his butt hurt!

Steve smiled softly before tilting Tony forward just enough to expose his sit spots. Tony whimpered when he realized what was about to occur- but didn’t argue it. At least this meant it was almost done. Steve quickly turned the sensitive area the same scarlet color as the rest of the backside in front of him before gently rubbing Tony’s back. When the smaller man’s sobs finally died down into quiet hiccups and sniffles, he helped Tony stand and gently replaced his clothing- ignoring the hiss that escaped Tony’s lips as the rough material rubbed against a very hot and sore bottom.

“I still don’t know why I’d feel the need to test you,” Tony looked at the ground, pouting as he clenched his hands tightly in an attempt not to rub his butt.

“I suspect I know why- and I think you know deep down, you just don’t want to admit it to yourself.” Steve shrugged, not too worried about the fact.

Tony looked at him askance, reaching up and rubbing an errant tear from his face. Steve had to smile at how young Tony looked when he was uncertain and looking to someone else for guidance.

“So I might screw up again?” Tony asked in genuine worry.

Steve shook his head. “It’s possible, but if you do it won’t be for the same reason. I think that now that I know what was going on, I can keep a handle on you when needed.” He smiled to take any sting out of his words and Tony felt himself relaxing.

“If you know that you need to keep a handle on me…” he muttered with his own smile.

Steve chuckled. “Oh…I’ll pretty much always have to keep a handle on you. But at least now I know why.” He smirked at the indignant look on Tony’s face before wrapping an arm around the shorter man’s shoulder.

“Come on, Iron Man- time to face the Widow and say your apologies.” He nearly tripped when Tony stopped abruptly, a look of abject terror on his face. Shaking his head, Steve drug Tony from the room. “Come on- I promise I won’t let her kill you,” he muttered, amusement clear in his voice.

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