Author’s Note: This story was written as an RPG (roll playing game) between co-author’s Hope1iz and BlackFox12 (aka Cat). This is the thirteenth story in the ‘Redeeming Grant’ series, which is set after the season one finale.
Disclaimer: We don't own anything from Marvel: Agents of SHIELD or The Avengers and we're not making any money from this fic.
Summary: An Addendum to part twelve. Grant and Clint weren’t the only ones at that base, after all.
Warning(s): Spoilers up to the season one finale and for the Avengers movie; spanking
Co-Author’s Website: BlackFox12's fanfiction.net page
REPEATED OFFENSES – ANOTHER SIDE
Steve had guided Tony out of SHIELD headquarters. Tony had assumed that they would be going back to the tower in a car. When they stopped next to Steve's bike, Tony realized he probably shouldn't have assumed. He looked at the bike, then looked at Steve, then at the bike again and opened his mouth before shutting it again quickly. Smart aleck comments wouldn't be advisable at the moment; even he could see that. And he knew what Steve's discussions usually included and he really didn't want to irritate the man any further than he already had. He had to ask, though.
Trying to make his question as respectful and non-sarcastic as he could (which for him was an accomplishment), Tony finally asked, "Should I try and fly back to the tower in my suit? I'm not sure it's working...what with them frying my power...but maybe...."
"I don't think you should risk it," Steve replied, picking up a helmet and handing it to Tony. "Just hold on," he advised.
"Uh....ok," Tony said softly, before putting on the helmet and waiting for Steve to get on so he could climb behind him.
Steve got onto the bike, keeping a lot of his attention focused on Tony to make sure the other man did climb up behind him.
Tony had one brief, irrational, wildly crazy, fleeting moment when he considered turning tail and running like hell in the other direction. He'd even taken a half step backward in preparation to do just that. But then the rational, genius part of his brain reminded him that, a: Steve was faster than he was when it came to running and he'd be caught in seconds; b: even if Steve didn't chase after him and catch him, the man lived in the same building as him- and unless he decided to never go home again, he'd be facing him eventually; and c: did he really, really want to make things worse for himself?
Swallowing hard, Tony climbed onto the bike behind Steve and then leaned forward, wrapping his arms around the other man in a death grip and closing his eyes. He wasn't terribly fond of letting other people be in control of his hurtling at rapid speeds through dangerous areas (like New York City traffic).
Aware that he was carrying a passenger who was more vulnerable than him, Steve kept the speed of his bike relatively slow, making sure he kept to the safer areas that he would have avoided if he'd been on his own. Even so, he still reached the Tower fairly quickly and parked the bike, getting off before turning to help Tony off as well.
Tony climbed off the bike, grateful that Steve had taken his arm to help him...he'd been tense the entire ride back and the sudden lack of tenseness in his muscles caused him to sway as his legs suddenly felt like limp noodles. It only took a few seconds to regain his equilibrium...but a few seconds would have been all it took for him to face-plant into the ground, had Steve not had a hold of him. Carefully, he removed the helmet and handed it to Steve so the man could store it. "Sorry to go all damsel-in-distress, irritating octopus on you, Cap..." he muttered, embarrassed at his lack of cool and calm.
Steve watched Tony to make sure he wasn't going to fall, before releasing him to take hold of the helmet and put it away. "You're not used to riding like that. It happens," he said, voice reassuring, before turning to head into the tower.
Tony grimaced, but didn't say anything. It was the truth, after all. Taking a deep breath, he turned and followed. There was a decidedly dejected slump to his shoulders. He knew he was in trouble...and he sort of knew why...but it didn't make it any easier and he just knew when Steve asked for an explanation, he'd probably make things worse somehow. Because he always did; he let his mouth take over before his brain engaged and while he was a genius, that was only good if he actually used his brain.
Entering the Tower, Steve headed to the main lounge area, glancing around as he did so for signs of the others. Even if how he dealt with things wasn't exactly a secret, he tried to keep it as private as possible.
Tony followed behind, his steps becoming more and more reluctant. He was grateful that the floor seemed deserted. Knowing what was in his near future, he really didnt want anyone else to show up. Just to make sure, though, he cleared his throat and asked quietly, "JARVIS? Are any of the other Avengers or Pepper on this floor right now?"
"No, sir. They are not. Currently, the only people on this floor at the moment are the Captain and yourself," the AI intoned.
Tony took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "Please lock down this floor and do not allow anyone on or off it until Captain Rogers tells you to end the lock-down." Tony sounded resigned.
"What if you order it ended, sir?" JARVIS asked.
"Only if Captain Rogers orders it," Tony reiterated. "I have this really childish desire to run and hide and I really don't want to make things worse for myself, so...yeah. There's that," Tony muttered weakly and flushed, knowing Steve was listening.
"Very well, sir," was the answer.
Steve listened without commenting and then turned to Tony once he was certain they were assured of privacy. "I know we've had this discussion about you telling me things before," he said calmly. "Would you like to tell me what you were thinking?"
Tony grimaced. "Somehow I don't think 'I wasn't thinking' will be an acceptable answer..." His voice trailed off. Yeah. That childish desire to run and hide was still there. Tony fidgeted uncomfortably for a few seconds, then ran his hands through his hair in agitation before dropping them back to his sides limply. And then he was lunging down the hall, running as fast as he could toward his bedroom. He only needed enough space between him and Steve to shut the door and lock it....
Steve had been half-expecting Tony to bolt since they'd been at SHIELD headquarters. He reacted fast anyway, but there wasn't even that split second decision while he considered what to do. Instead, he went after Tony, grabbing him before he could reach his bedroom.
"Aaaarg! Gerroff!" Tony would never admit it, but he squeaked. Of course, the fact that Steve had an unbreakable grip on him and he was falling backward due to the sudden arrest of his momentum wasn't helping.
"I don't think so." Taking a firmer hold on him with both hands, Steve started over towards the couch. "It doesn't matter what you were or weren't thinking," he said as he tugged Tony along with him. "You went directly into a situation that turned out to be dangerous, without letting me know what you were doing. Even if your reasons for doing so were right, you could have been hurt." A worried note slipped into Steve's voice, because for all Tony was technically an adult, there were times he acted so much like a child, Steve couldn't help feeling protective over him.
"But I was with Clint and Ward in SHIELD's building. I didn't think anything bad would happen!" Tony whined, although not as loudly as he would have normally. He'd heard the worry in Steve's voice and where blustering and yelling would have him putting his defenses up, that served to make him feel guilt. He hated feeling guilty.
"And out of the three of you, the only one with a weapon was Clint," Steve pointed out. He reached the couch and, taking a seat, tugged Tony across his lap. "You need to curb your reckless behaviour. I'd rather not lose you."
Tony groaned at the position he found himself; but to his credit, once he was there, he didn't attempt to get away. Instead, he kind of slumped, resigned to his fate. "When we went in, I had my suit. I should have been the most protected and weaponized one of us." His pout could be heard in his voice. "I didn't plan to be reckless...." he finally said softly.
"Your suits have lost power before," Steve pointed out. "And you knew HYDRA had infiltrated SHIELD headquarters in the past. There could still be some double agents there." After all, Ward had been found out to be an undercover agent, even if he was now working towards redemption. "Not thinking things through is as bad as doing something dangerous deliberately." As he spoke, he began to pull down Tony's pants and underwear.
Tony groaned again as he felt himself being bared. "I...I know..." he finally admitted. "We've talked about it before...I just can't seem to remember." he said softly.
"I know, but every time it happens, so will this." Steve wrapped an arm around Tony's waist, pulling him against his stomach, before he started swatting him, hard. It wasn't full force, but the swats were sharper than usual, considering how many times they'd had to revisit this.
"Oooow! Geez, Cap! Not so....OW!" Tony gasped and began squirming immediately.
Steve just tightened his hold on Tony as he continued swatting hard, down to Tony's thighs before going back up again. "We've been in this position too many times now. This reckless behaviour will stop, no matter how many times I have to do this." Steve's voice was stern, but there was still a worried note in it.
"Ooow..." Tony hissed out again, but quieter, Steve's words and the pain of the swats beginning to break through his stubborn resistance. "I...I know." He gasped, ashamed that he was yet again in this position, but more ashamed that he'd worried his leader and friend. He couldn't stop his eyes from beginning to water.
Steve completed three full circuits of swats and then shifted Tony forward slightly to begin swatting his sit spots. "I'm your friend as well as your leader, Tony, but it isn't just me who will be affected if something happens to you."
Tony closed his eyes tightly, thinking about everyone that he considered friends...or, more importantly, family. And he thought of Pepper and how she'd feel if something happened. And he knew Steve was right...he always was. Tony took a shuddering breath and then choked as he finally began to cry. "I'm sorry..." he said softly, with a tear filled voice.
Steve landed a final two swats and then stopped, rubbing Tony's back gently a moment before he helped the other man up and into a hug.
Tony quickly wrapped his arms around Steve in a tight hug, still shaking from crying, although he was regaining control over himself. "I am sorry..." he said hoarsely. "I know we've been through this over and over and it seems like I'm not listening or paying attention, but I am...I just honestly don't...think about it when I need to, but it isn't because I'm not listening...." He spoke rapidly, afraid that Steve wouldn't believe him. "I respect you and I don't want you to think that....I..." He swallowed hard and slumped. "I'm just sorry..." he finally said and then shut up.
Reluctantly, he stepped away and pulled his underwear back up, kicking his jeans off completely. He wasn't known for his modesty, so he doubted anyone would be surprised to come home to see him gallivanting around half-dressed. His backside stung too much to put the rough material of his jeans on it.
Steve placed a hand on Tony's shoulder, squeezing gently. "I know it isn't deliberate. Maybe you should start thinking about the consequences next time," he suggested. "Because I can promise you there are a lot of people who would miss you if you were gone... myself included."
Tony looked at the ground, blinking his eyes rapidly to clear the tears from them. Then, wiping the back of his arm across his face, he looked back up at Steve and nodded his head briskly. "I'll try..." he said with a raspy voice, then swallowed. He was attempting to act very adult about it all; something different than his usual defiant, rebellious, who-gives-a-damn attitude.
His tear streaked and guilty looking face made him look even younger than the headstrong teenager he usually acted like and it was obvious he was still having difficulty believing that so many people would actually care if something happened to him. It had taken him years, after all, to believe that Pepper, Happy and Rhodey cared. Now he had the Avengers' team and Phil's team and it was just so hard to believe. Not that he didn't believe Steve- if he was going to believe anyone who said something like that, he'd believe Steve. It was just really hard to believe.
His struggle was obvious, his eyes troubled and uncertain.
Steve squeezed Tony's shoulder again and then brought him in close to hug him once more. "I understand it's difficult to believe, but I'm not going anywhere. I'm here and I care," he promised.
Tony resisted for a few seconds, trying to be all strong and 'adult' and not need anyone...but the hug felt so good...so comforting...so safe...and Tony realized the last time a man had actually hugged him full on, where it wasn't a contest who could thwap the other on the back the hardest, had been Obie. All this ran through his head in a manner of seconds and he realized something else. He didn't really want to pull away. Hesitantly, he moved in closer and wrapped his arms around Steve to return the hug...letting his head fall forward onto Steve's shoulder.
"I believe you..." he finally said in almost a whisper.
Steve nodded. "Good." He rubbed Tony's back gently. "I'd rather not lose you." He didn't say it, but there was the implication that any more reckless behaviour would earn the other man another spanking.
Tony slumped slightly and sighed, but didn't pull away. "So...realizing that it's my arse on the line if I do something unnecessarily dangerous again...and to be perfectly clear I'm understanding what you want...I'm supposed to tell you when I'm doing anything that might be considered an 'operation'? Cuz...no more going solo vigilante?" He slanted his head slightly so he could look at Steve from under his lashes.
"Exactly," Steve agreed. "Any time your first instinct is to rush headlong into a situation... don't. Come to me or call me."
Tony sighed again and huffed...though he still hadn't moved out of the hug. "Yes, sir..." he finally said.
"Thank you," Steve replied. "I'm glad you weren't hurt," he added.
Tony finally stepped away and gave a sheepish grin. "Was mostly luck, unfortunately. Still can't believe they took out my suit..."
"That's why it's important for you to be able to defend yourself, rather than relying on your suits," Steve pointed out.
"Yeah, yeah..." Tony agreed reluctantly. "That's why I've been training with you and Nat." He smiled. "And I used to make weapons, so if I take a backup with me...."
Steve nodded. "That's a good idea. And training is as well," he added, a proud note slipping into his voice.
Tony couldn't help but straighten his shoulders at the tone in Steve's voice, preening and finding himself wanting to continue to make the man proud. When he realized what he was doing, he smirked slightly. "You know...I think it's obvious why they made you Captain...and it had nothing to do with that super-soldier serum.... Damn, you're good at getting obstinate idiots to do what you want!" He figured it was a given that he was including himself in that number.
JARVIS chose that moment to interrupt. "Sirs, if I may. There is someone in the lobby that would like to speak with Captain Rogers."
Tony blinked then grinned at Steve. "Hey. I left you in control of the locks. You give the order. Meanwhile- I should probably go put some actual pants on. I may not care about modesty, but damn, it's cold on this floor!"
Steve smiled, squeezing Tony's shoulder gently before addressing JARVIS. "It's all right to open up this floor again. Come and find me if you need or want to talk," he added to Tony, before heading in the direction to leave the floor and go down to the lobby.
Tony gave a quick nod and another smile. "I will..." Then, he turned and headed for his room to hunt for a loose pair of shorts.
Steve reached the lobby without rushing and glanced around. Although he didn't immediately spot anyone, that didn't mean anything and he quickly focused on the shadowed corners.
He watched the elevator from the shadows. He watched the windows and exits from the shadows. He was very paranoid. When he saw Steve come out of the elevator and look around, he finally stepped into the light. "Steve." His voice was raspy.
Surprise and then a hesitant smile came across Steve's face. "Bucky..." He stepped nearer to the other man, but didn't come too close. He wasn't sure if Bucky was here for a specific reason, or just to talk, but he was happy to see him.
Bucky's smile was more like a grimace, he was so unused to smiling...but he made the attempt. "You live here?" He looked around, then back at Steve curiously.
Steve nodded. "With my other friends," he answered, hoping Bucky would understand the underlying message; that Steve still thought of him as his friend.
Bucky's smile was more at ease this time, his facial muscles remembering the unfamiliar action. "This is Howard's boy's building, ain't it?"
"It is," Steve replied. "Tony's done very well here..."
Bucky nodded then glanced towards the exits again, as if expecting to have been followed. "I...Steve..." He sighed. "I can't stay long...I'm being followed and it isn't safe for you or your friends...but I've been...remembering and maybe...if you want...we can meet up and talk...." He swallowed uncertainly.
Steve took a step towards his friend. "I'd like to meet up with you again, but it's safe here," he said reassuringly. "The tower has a lot of defenses. You don't have to rush off."
"I'm still a wanted man, Steve..." Bucky's tone was sad and gentle. "I'd like that, but if anyone found out, it would cause all manner of trouble for you and your friends. Howard's kid, at the least, could get in trouble for harboring a fugitive..."
"Tony has a lot more influence than you probably think," Steve said. "SHIELD's director has a former HYDRA agent with him and his team who he's adopted as his son. Tony has enough lawyers on his pay roll to deal with any problems that might arise... and almost everyone living here has a past," he added.
Bucky couldn't keep the surprise off his face at that information. "The director of SHIELD adopted a HYDRA agent? How's that working for him?" He snorted before slanting his head and giving Steve an inquisitive look. "You think Howard's kid would help me?"
"I think Tony knows how important you are to me," Steve said. "He'll help you if I ask him to. And Grant... didn't exactly have the best past, though I don't know all of the details. The director believed in him when most everyone else would have left him to rot."
Bucky's eyes perked up thoughtfully. "Grant? As in Grant Ward? Garrett's boy-toy? Of course, those were just rumors..." he quickly said at the look on Steve's face. "Kid had an unnatural need to please that nut job." He winced at the terms he was using. Figured he'd have a hard time remembering what he wanted to remember, but would remember gossip over-heard in Hydra ranks and the current lingo used to say it.
Straightening g up slightly, he nodded. "If you think...Tony won't mind, then I guess I'll risk staying. I can always run if I need to later."
"I don't really know everything that happened to him... I'm not sure even Coulson knows that," Steve said. "I just know that Coulson believes in him... and so far, Grant's proved him right. Even if the dependency he had on Garrett seems to have transferred to Coulson. And Tony won't mind you staying," he added. "It's not like there isn't room... and if you're trying to stay away from people, this place is defensible."
Bucky nodded. "Well in that case....maybe you should introduce me to the kid and let him actually make a decision about it...." he teased Steve gently.
Steve smiled. "If you come with me, we can go back to the floor where I left him..." He headed back to the elevator.