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For an idea of what I’ve written so far this year, you can check this post, which is still pretty up-to-date, except for the recent edits to Happy Lights. As always, you can check the ladyshadowdrake writes tag.

What’s on the to-do list?

RBBs! I made the questionable decision of taking on two of them this year, which seemed like a good idea at the time. xD 

A New Beginning, which is a mystical creatures AU where Steve is a newly manifested Incubus who hasn’t quite figured out how to feed. Tony offers to be his guinea pig.

Ashes, which is a kind of steampunk Cinderella re-telling I’m collaborating with @bromocresol0green on.

An ID porn AU where Captain America is a cop by day and a vigilante by night - trades blows with his rival Iron Man in one guise, and takes Tony Stark out for dates in the other. Life sure is complicated. It has been posted in progress over on Imzy.

Things that are on my mind, but have no specific urgency: 

This Meets-in-Prison AU

This random tentacles idea

Nanny AU that semi-recently got a part two

Getting these edited/finished/posted to AO3

Agent Stark round robin @arukou-arukou and I started a long while ago

Happy Lights edits, and new stories.
ladyshadowdrake: (Default)
via http://ift.tt/2nUWom3:Happy Lights - revised with 13k words of new content.:

An interdimensional portal opens over New York and drops a tentacled alien in the middle of Central Park. The Avengers are called out to investigate, and hopefully return the visitor home. Steve has been brushing up on his diplomacy, but he never expected to be a liaison to an alien in such an intimate capacity, or that the alien would be so friendly. The unusual visit turns into the world’s best team-building exercise.
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I mentioned a few months ago that I had started edits on Happy Lights. They are now finished, with about 13,000 words of additional content. 

Thank you to @arukou-arukou and @sweetsaltygingerbitch for edits, and @kittyknowsthings for early comments. 

I am getting ready to put the edits up right now, and I’ll post a link as soon as they up on AO3. 
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As of March 11, 2017

Colony Vs. The Tax Evaders for Freedom and Justice – a Happy Lights ficclet

Email chain at SHIELD HQ

Handwriting 2 (Sequel to this soulmate AU, where someone writes on their skin and it shows up on their soulmate’s body)

Sensitivity (A H/C giftfic for Flange5): Steve wakes up from a nightmare suffering from hypersensitivity

A giftfic for Musicalluna: Tony patching Steve up while they chat and are domestic and sappy.

Painting Meatballs – giftfic for Copperbadge – Clint coming home after a very bad day to the best kind of surprise – meatballs.

A New Beginning (Steve is a newly manifested incubus and doesn’t know how to feed. Tony to the rescue)

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Memory – Tony is caught between universes/waking&sleeping and struggling to get home

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Normal – Steve and Peggy on a (kind of) date in London during the war, and they get to meet Alan Turing

Shelter – a quick fill for a one word prompt over on Imzy

Mistletoe – Loki, Thor, and Baldur in Asgard. Loki’s attempted prank on Baldur goes awry.

Ashes – a Cinderella retelling
ladyshadowdrake: (Default)
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This fills the tentacle square on my bingo card. 
Challenger @rose-on-the-mountain, who is also responsible for the Tax Evaders. 

I’m not sure if this will actually fit into the Happy Lights ‘verse, or if it’s just a fun sort of what-if scenario, but I hope you enjoy it!

“They call themselves The Tax Evaders for Freedom and Justice,” Steve explained. He rubbed at the center of his forehead. “They’re registered as a church.”

“That is a joke,” Tony insisted. “There’s no way that is actually not a joke.”

Steve shrugged helplessly. “That’s what the file says. They’ve recruited some B-list villains including… The Kangaroo, Asbestos Lady, and… Flag Smasher?” He was miserable just reading the names and pushed his tablet away so he could put his face in his palm.

“Wow,” Clint said, “You are a massive troll, Cap, but I don’t think even you could troll this hard. Why are we getting called for this one? Isn’t this something that the cops can handle? Or, you know… the local biker gang?”

“We don’t really have anything better to do at the moment,” Steve pointed out, “And it would be a good training exercise for our newest member.”

The colony didn’t quite understand the point of chairs, but it was trying to imitate its human colony members. Several of the larger tentacles were coiled around the empty chair at the briefing table, and the rest were spread out over and around the table to keep limbs wrapped around their humans. It was a small subcolony of only forty-seven members who had come back with ‘Steve Colony’ after their last trip to the colony homeworld, and looked intent on setting up a permanent colony presence.  

“Can’t we just sic the IRS on them? I mean…The Church of the Tax Evaders for Freedom and Justice. Really,” Clint persisted.

Think of it like a team building exercise, Tony suggested, and the colony lit up gold at his mental voice. I have new arrows for you to try out.

Sold! Clint agreed.

Sold! the colony repeated, flickering through a quick rainbow of colors, and then asked, Sold?

The colony did not understand currency, and the last time Tony had tried to explain the concepts of buying and selling, they’d ended up in a circular loop of Why? for most of the night. About the only thing the colony had been attracted to during the conversation was Tony unleashing financial ‘logic’ into the colony mindspace. It was a good thing they weren’t interested in using the colony’s understanding of math to their own benefit, because they could just about take over the world with only minimal effort and the colony’s help.

Let’s not start that conversation again, Bruce pleaded. “Asbestos Lady?”

Steve checked the notes. He grimaced, but offered, “Apparently she’s fire-proof?”

“And dying of asbestos poisoning?” Sam guessed. His chair was conspicuously tentacle-free, but he had his head propped up on one fist and was casually petting the magenta tentacle that had wrapped around his water glass, the end periscoped up to eye level and nuzzling against his fingers. It flickered gold and the colony was suffused with a definite sense of smugness at the attention. “Has the colony been cleared to leave the tower?”

“Technically or theoretically?” Tony asked innocently. He was completely bound to his chair by a dozen thick loops and being towed around the table at the colony’s leisure.

Sam hastily held up a hand. “I don’t even want to know. Plausible deniability is a thing.”

~*~

This is beyond ridiculous, Natasha said, from her perch in the rafters in the main room. How did these people even organize enough to get a lease?

The Church of the Tax Evaders for Freedom and Justice was in a strip mall that had seen better days. The building was previously a Baptist church built in the 70’s, with the original pale green-gold carpet and wood paneled. The only change CTEFJ had made to the décor was to cover the cross-shaped lighter section of paint at the front of the chapel with a hand-painted sign reading, Down with the Man! Remember the Tea Party!

History was not their strongest subject, obviously, Clint said. Below them, a dozen men and women in business suits sat among the pews while their ‘pastor’ gave a rousing speech about the evils of taxes. Asbestos Lady is in the hallway.

I’ve got The Kangaroo in the back office, Tony said, Sounds like he might be talking to Flag Smasher. This guy really has a thing against flags. I’m not even sure that he’s protesting against government – I think he just genuinely hates flags.

Sitting in the back pew in a trench coat and a wide brimmed hat, Steve leaned back to see if he could get a visual check of the colony.

Now? the colony asked, bright neon excitement shivering in the colony bond. Now? Soil is cold and hard. Not pleasure, it added, just to remind Steve that it was locked up in the vents and didn’t appreciate the chilly metal. Tastes bad.

Okay, go ahead, Steve said, standing. He saw the pastor’s eyes flicker to him, and just dropped his hat onto the pew. “Sorry to interrupt,” Steve said, immediately getting the attention of the gathered congregation. “I’m here on behalf of the New York City Police Department, and I would like to ask you all to accompany me to the station. We have some questions for your… er. Congregation regarding a recent string of thefts.”

“Government dog!” the pastor yelled, pointing a finger at Steve. “Pawn of the man!”

Steve slid the trench coat off and pulled his shield off his back as hands started reaching into purses and pockets. He held out one hand forestallingly. “Please don’t,” he tried.

Outside the double doors, a great crash and a feminine shout of rage distracted the crowd long enough for Natasha to drop out of the rafters behind the pastor. She wrapped an arm around his throat, pulled his right wrist behind his back, and suggested, “Don’t do anything stupid.”

The pastor replied by shouting, “Kill the government dogs!”

Guns came out and Steve dove for the doors while Natasha dragged the spitting, screaming pastor out the side door. Sam popped in through the double doors and tossed a flash bang in before the civilians could start firing.

“So much for asking nicely,” Sam muttered. He opened the door after a moment and they watched as a dozen tentacles burst up from the floor vents to wrap around the suit-clad figures and drag them down. Two gun shots went off and the colony went red, as it yanked firearms away and shook the offenders.

Gently, Steve reminded them. The last thing they needed was the colony in the news for unnecessary force.

Flag Smasher and Kangaroo are tied up in the office, Tony announced. Isn’t this bouncy guy is on a kid’s TV show?

He played Captain Kangaroo back in the 90’s, Clint said. Asbestos Lady probably needs a medic. She’s not looking too good. Obviously doesn’t watch late night TV.

“I’m guessing by that look on your face, all is going well with the B-Listers?” Sam said, leaning a hip on the doorframe and watching the CTEFJ congregation struggle against a pile of very curious tentacles.

Steve quirked an eyebrow at his friend. After Sam’s initial vehement insistence that he didn’t want to be involved with the colony, Steve hadn’t brought it up. “You know you don’t have to be involved with the colony to get the telepathy, right?”

“I thought it was a telepathy-STD,” Sam said, but he didn’t step away when one of the tentacles slid out from the mass of the colony and slid between their feet to curl up Steve’s leg. “I’m claustrophobic,” he blurted out unexpectedly.

“That explains a lot of things,” Tony announced from behind them before Steve could respond. He twisted his hands so the gauntlets peeled back and he poked Sam in the ribs. “Cuddling not necessary, Wilson.”

Sam rolled his eyes, but gestured at the writhing mass of tentacles curiously passing CTEFJ members from one tentacle to the other while the humans struggled against their hold. “That looks like a nightmare, not gonna lie.”

Not Steve Colony, the colony decided quite firmly, dumping a pile of firearms at Steve feet, and then nudging them away distastefully. The limbs that had gathered up the guns were a splotchy combination of sickly green and bright red.

They stepped out of the way so the colony could start to pass CTEFJ members through the door, where Clint was waiting with a box of handcuffs and an NYPD officer who looked a little pale in the cheeks as she read Miranda rights. The pastor was already sulking against the wall next to Kangaroo and an unmasked Flag Smasher.

Maybe let SWAT handle this type of thing next time? Tony suggested. I’m almost embarrassed to be here in the armor. Or! he put in excitedly, We could have alternate cheesy identity for these kinds of engagements. I have one in the wings.

Spare Parts Man will never be a reality, Bruce interrupted, and a round of laughter went around the colony, tentacles flickering gold and pink at the sound. The tentacle around Steve’s waist practically vibrated in excitement and joy.

The colony had fun at least, Natasha pointed out, helping the officer get one screaming woman out of the coils of a limb and into handcuffs. The colony flashed bright gold and diverted to wrap around her waist. The police officer lost another two shades and Steve worried for a moment that she was going to pass out.

“Ok!” Sam said, his jaw so tight that he could have been chiseled out of stone. He made an impatient gesture with his fingers. “Give it to me. Without the…” he gestured vaguely to where the colony was still wrapped tightly around three CTEFJ members.

“You sure?” Steve asked, more than a little stunned. Sam had persisted on staying out of the colony through an invasion and two trips to the colony homeworld, and despite relaxing the three-foot distance and even going far enough to pet limbs when they presented themselves, Steve hadn’t thought he would change his mind.

Sam nodded shortly. “Do it before I change my mind.”

Steve pulled one glove off and reached out to touch Sam’s bare arm. For a moment, he saw Sam as a kaleidoscope of colors. His aura was shot through with fright, nervousness and a curling thread of excitement. It was nothing more complicated than locating the bright blaze of color that was Sam’s brilliant mind and tying the golden thread that he’d come to think of as Steve colony to it.

Hi, he greeted softly. The colony bond sang with Sam’s presence, sky blue, and steady as a metronome.

Sam’s expression went slack and he stared at Steve in shock, his aura flared greenpinkGOLD, and then Steve drew his hand away and the colors faded.

SAM! The colony howled, making Sam jump.

All around them, the tentacles blazed golden-white and surged toward him. Sam threw himself back against the doorframe, scrabbling for the walls as the tentacles closed in on him.

No grabbing, Steve hurried to say, and they reluctantly stopped a respectfully three feet away, though they piled up in a wall two-feet around his feet and arched up to wave at him.

Um, Sam said, and then glared as he demanded, That was it?

Samuel! Thor boomed into the colony bond – he was a universe away back on Asgard, but his voice was as bright and electric-blue as always. Welcome, my friend!

Steve stood back and watched as the rest of his colony greeted their newest member. He felt the warm-metal press of Tony’s presence in the bond and tapped the thread.

You look pleased with yourself, Tony murmured into the private connection between them. Conscious of their audience, Tony didn’t reach out to him physically, but Steve could feel the solid warmth of him nonetheless.

I am pleased with myself, Steve said, turning to give Tony a smile. In the back of his head, he could hear Darcy enthusiastically greeting Sam from Asgard and telling him all about the pterodactyls and her plan to smuggle one home.

Not going to happen, Lewis, Phil said calmly.

Keep thinking that if it makes you happy, Darcy replied blithely.

Pterodactyl, the colony thrummed.

I guess not too bad for a training run, Tony admitted after watching the last of the CTEFJ congregation being led out to waiting NYPD cars, and the B-Listers to SHIELD containment vans. Asbestos Lady went out on a stretcher with an oxygen mask over her face, craning her neck so she could glare at Clint all the way out the door. Think I can make a costume for the colony?

Forty-seven tentacles in a trench coat? Steve suggested as his earlier trench coat passed through the door straining at the seams with tentacles stuffed through the sleeves, the tails trailing behind.

Tony laughed, and the colony scooped Steve up and pointedly re-wrapped him in his ‘fake skin.’

Colony can nest? the colony asked hopefully.

Yes, Steve said, holding a hand out toward the door. Let’s go home.  
ladyshadowdrake: (Default)
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For my stony bingo 2017 card, 2Y “writing format: email/chat log”Challenger: @calamityj0hn​ (I don’t think I’ve ever done one of these before)

Watch for the cut!

From: The Boss <pcoulson@shield.gov>
To: All Staff
Subject: Break Room

Staff,

It has come to my attention that someone has been eating
food from the staff break room that does not belong to them. As this is not a
kindergarten classroom, I’m sure this is just a mistake, and I hope I don’t
have to tell my highly trained agents not to eat anyone else’s lunch.

Do not reply all to this message.

Phil Coulson
Director of Field Operations
P. (202) 555.9764 ext 543 f. (202) 555.3234

“I’m loyal to nothing except
the dream.”

From: The Best Marksman in the History of Ever
<cbarton@shield.gov>
To: All Staff
Subject: Re: Break Room

Who ate my left-over pizza??

Clint Barton
Specialist
p. (202) 555.9764 ext 862 f. (202) 555.7896

If you fax me anything
I will use it for toilet paper I s2g.

From: Cap <capsrogers@shield.gov>To: All StaffSubject: Re: Break Room

Why doesn’t everyone just write their name on their lunches?
That should solve the problem.

Steven G. Rogers
Avenger’s Initiative
p. (202) 555.8564 f. (202) 555. 1498

“What makes a King out
of a slave? Courage!” – Wizard of Oz

From: Iron Man <ironmanisthebestavenger@shield.gov>
To: All Staff
Subject: Re: Re: Break Room

Agent said not to reply all, guys.

You Know Who I Am
Google has my number

“Science, bitches!” –
Me.

From: The Best Marksman in the History of Ever
<cbarton@shield.gov>
To: All Staff
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Break Room

Who gave you a shield email?????

Also, seriously, who ate my pizza?

Clint Barton
Specialist
p. (202) 555.9764 ext 862 f. (202) 555.7896

If you fax me anything
I will use it for toilet paper I s2g.

From: Cap <capsrogers@shield.gov>
To: All Staff
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Break Room

Clint, I threw your pizza away because it had been in the refrigerator
for ten days. On that note, please clean up after yourselves. No one here is
your mother.

Steven G. Rogers
Avenger’s Initiative
p. (202) 555.8564 f. (202) 555. 1498

“What makes a King out
of a slave? Courage!” – Wizard of Oz

From: The Boss <pcoulson@shield.gov>
To: Iron Man <ironmanisthebestavenger@shield.gov>
Subject: Break Room

Mr. Stark,

Please stop hacking into SHIELD servers and assigning
yourself email addresses. You have a perfectly functional consultant email
address. If you’ve forgotten your login credentials, please contact IT and they
will be happy to reset it for you.

Phil Coulson
Director of Field Operations
P. (202) 555.9764 ext 543 f. (202) 555.3234

“I’m loyal to nothing except
the dream.”

From: The Best Marksman in the History of Ever
<cbarton@shield.gov>
To: All Staff
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Break Room

I vote Cap as Break Room Mom.

Clint Barton
Specialist
p. (202) 555.9764 ext 862 f. (202) 555.7896

Pizza never goes bad.

From: Director Hill <mhill@shield.gov>
To: All Staff
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Break Room

The next person who replies all to this message will be
fired.

Maria Hill
Director of Internal Operations
P. (202) 555.9764 ext 221 f. (202) 555.7896

 

From: Iron Man <iamironman@shield.gov>
To: All Staff
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Break Room

Cap can’t be break room mom, he’s already tower mom.

Someone Took Away My Email
You don’t call me, I call you.

I can do this all day.

From: The Best Marksman in the History of Ever
<cbarton@shield.gov>
To: All Staff
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Break Room

Aww, I wanted to be the next person to reply all to the email.

Stark, just because Steve makes you breakfast, lunch,
dinner, a gazillion snacks every day doesn’t mean he’s tower mom. I thought you
were smart or something?

Clint Barton
Specialist
p. (202) 555.9764 ext 862 f. (202) 555.7896

Hip deep in it and can’t
even see the water.

 

From: Director Hill <mhill@shield.gov>
To: All Staff
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Break Room

Nice try, Barton. You’ve just been assigned kitchen duty for
the next month.

Maria Hill
Director of Internal Operations
P. (202) 555.9764 ext 221 f. (202) 555.7896

From: Cap <capsrogers@shield.gov>
To: Iron Man <iamironman@shield.gov>
Subject: How old are you again?

Stop antagonizing them, Tony.

What do you want for dinner tonight?

Steven G. Rogers
Avenger’s Initiative
p. (202) 555.8564 f. (202) 555. 1498

“What makes a King out
of a slave? Courage!” – Wizard of Oz

From: Director Hill <mhill@shield.gov>
To: Iron Man <iamironman@shield.gov>
Subject: Server Security

Mr. Stark,

If you don’t stop making my IT department panic over
security breaches, I will assign Rogers to a diplomatic mission in Columbia for
the rest of the year.

Thank you for your cooperation,

Maria Hill
Director of Internal Operations
P. (202) 555.9764 ext 221 f. (202) 555.7896

From: Iron Man <iamironman@shield.gov>
To: Cap <capsrogers@shield.gov>
Subject: Still younger than you

They love it and you know it.

Can we have dinner in bed?

P.s. How do you feel about Columbia?

Someone Took Away My Email
You don’t call me, I call you.

I can do this all day.

From: Cap <capsrogers@shield.gov>
To: Iron Man <iamironman@shield.gov>
Subject: Re: Still younger than you

Can we compromise on a picnic on the bedroom floor? Crumbs
in the sheets are so uncomfortable.

A P.S. is a post
script, Tony. The whole point is that it comes after your signature. Columbia
looks like a really pretty country. Why?

Steven G. Rogers
Avenger’s Initiative
p. (202) 555.8564 f. (202) 555. 1498

“What makes a King out
of a slave? Courage!” – Wizard of Oz

From: Iron Man <iamironman@shield.gov>
To: Director Hill <mhill@shield.gov>
Subject: Re: Server Security

If you made better hiring decisions, they wouldn’t be
panicking so often.

Do your worst – I’ve been waiting for an excuse to take a
vacation for seven years.

Someone Took Away My Email
You don’t call me, I call you.

I can do this all day.

From: Jarvis <justaratherveryintelligentsystem@avengers.com>
To: All Avengers
Subject: Columbia

Avengers,

Due to staff availability, home operations will temporarily
be moved to a secure facility on the coast of Columbia. Please direct all inquiries
to Mr. Stark or Captain Rogers.

Thank you,

J.A.R.V.I.S

From: Cap <cptspanglepants@avengers.com>
To: Iron Man <gold-titanium-alloy-man@avengers.com>
Subject: Fwd: Columbia

Really, Tony?

> show quoted text

Steve G. Rogers
Captain America

From: Iron Man <gold-titanium-alloy-man@avengers.com>
To: Cap <cptspanglepants@avengers.com>
Subject: Re: Fwd: Columbia

You wanted a vacation.

L-words and mushy things,

Tony Stark
Iron Man
ladyshadowdrake: (Default)
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lightshadowverisimilitude:

elvenavari:

because-im-freaking-greed:

diminuendodaydreams:

let-gavin-free:

princess-tuna:

let-gavin-free:

Soulmate au where when you write something on your skin with pen/marker/whatever the hell you want, it will show up on your soul mates skin as well. 

Imagine having a super artistic soulmate who draws flowers and designs and really beautiful patterns all over their arms and person 2 just sits there and watches the little lines appear on their arms and they can’t stop smiling and it’s their favorite part of the day

Imagine person 1 being super forgetful so they scribble down all the places their appointments are and person 2 tries to decipher them and figure out where they’re at and they meet and they see their writing on their hand from across the waiting room/ coffee shop/ etc. and they scramble to find a pen and write ‘found you’ on the back of their hand and person 1 sees it and they lock eyes and

Wow I like this au

YES

imagine person 1 drawing a giant penis on their forehead because they’re an asshole

Also, this works for platonic/poly soul mates so some people can draw a dick on their foreheads and it ruins like four people’s meetings

@lightshadowverisimilitude: Do you have time?

(2300 words, so look for the cut if you’re on mobile)

Handwriting

Tony had been writing on his skin his entire life. Sure, most people wrote on themselves occasionally, just to see if someone would write back. Tony had started doing it mostly to tick Dad off, but he’d found that it was a surprisingly good medium for record-keeping. He taught himself to be abidextrious, because wasting a whole arm’s worth of writing space just because of brain orientation was stupid. He doodled equations on his arms, drew schematics on his legs – he’d designed at least half of Dum-E’s original code right on his own body in bits and pieces – and occasionally just wrote out nonsense.

When he was seven, he’d taken a sharpie to the inside of his left forearm and wrote Are you there?

No one responded, but he traced over it with different colored pens every day for a month until Dad saw it and went off on one of his drunken rambling fits. “As if anyone’s ever gonna respond to you,” he’d muttered.

Tony started asking his questions on his ribcage after that. Once, high on Speed and ready to take on the world, he’d managed to cover himself from chin to toes in ink, a long rambling poem-turned-treatise about why soulmates were an irrational concept. By the time he was thirty, he’d stopped asking questions, but he couldn’t quite give up the habit of writing on himself.

His whole R&D team thought he was nuts the first time he’d stripped off his shirt to find that one line of code he was sure he’d written down the night before, but they eventually got used to him walking around only partially clothed half the time. Most people thought he was nuts, really, for a lot of reasons, but writing on himself just to write?

Don’t you think it’s disrespectful? A prim young socialite had asked him once, batting her big eyelashes at him because she apparently couldn’t turn of the flirt response even when her voice was betraying her body language. What if you met your soulmate tonight and she ended up with all this ink on her in public?

Who says my soulmate would be a she? Tony had responded instead of arguing that, at 39, he was pretty sure there was no soul in the known universe that would meet whatever arbitrary requirements had been set down by the mysterious Higher Powers that would match his soul.

So it took him awhile to notice the handwriting that wasn’t his. It was three weeks after The Invasion and Tony was pulling 18 and 20 hour days separated by bouts of biology-forced unconsciousness, doing what he could to get the city back on its feet. He’d patched the Stark Tower reactor into the power grid to the city a much needed boost, had personally funded dozens of projects to dig out homes and mount rescues, and spent most of the day in the suit, moving wreckage and collecting Chitauri tech.

Either tell me your name or stop writing all these numbers on my skin, read the text in 52-pt block letters down his right leg.

Tony blinked at it. He screwed his eyes closed, gave them a few good rubs, and opened them again. Yup, letters still there, dark and a little sloppy, and they looked. Irritated?

“Jarvis?” Tony asked very calmly. “Have I been behaving like myself lately?”

“You are currently functioning on six hours of sleep, and that is longest rest period you’ve entertained for the past twenty-two days. Your caffeine intake is four times the suggested limit, and you fell asleep in the suit last night. In short, sir, yes. You are behaving quite like yourself.”

“Okay, yeah, so sass aside. Do I have like… an alter ego? Is it possible that I’ve been. I don’t know? Mind controlled? Did I write this on myself?”

He stretched backward so Jarvis had a clear view of his thigh, pointing to the disquieting letters.

“A handwriting analysis would suggest that you did not, sir.”

“Right, so? Does that rule out alter ego or mind control?” Tony asked, doing his best to remain calm, but seriously, someone else in control of his mind and body? Not only was that personally terrifying, but that could have major bad-news ramifications for like. The entire planet.

“It does not specifically rule out a dissociative identity disorder,” Jarvis said, “Nor would it theoretically rule out mind control. However, I have been monitoring your vital signs very closely since The Invasion, and I have not noticed any discrepancies.”

Tony nodded – he knew that, he’d ordered it, even given Jarvis the shutdown overrides for the suit if he fell below a certain threshold of rational behavior, but obviously they’d missed something. “I’m grounded until we figure this out,” Tony decided reluctantly. “Don’t let me leave the tower until we have an answer for this. Let’s start reviewing the data. Pull of video files, pupillary response records, and vitals.”

“Of course, sir,” Jarvis agreed readily. “May I posit another possible answer to this predicament?”

“Shoot,” Tony invited, already scanning over Jarvis’ data, and yeah, wow, blood pressure much?

“Perhaps this is a message from your soulmate, sir.”

Tony scoffed. “How about a reasonable hypothesis that doesn’t have 42 years of data to the contrary.”

“It is widely documented that compatible partners do not start manifesting soul ink until after they have come into physical contact with one another’s skin,” Jarvis reported as if that was something that anyone over the age of seven didn’t know. “You may have encountered your mate in the past twenty-two days.”

“Unlikely since I’ve been in the suit for most of that time, and most of the time I wasn’t in the suit, I was at home. In bed. Alone. So unless you’ve been letting spy ninja assassins into my room to see if they are my ‘compatible partner,’ that’s probably not it.” Tony pulled his brain scans since The Invasion and set them to play through, showing which areas of his brain were active, looking for any abnormalities that the system may have missed.

“There is an easy way to test the hypothesis, sir,” Jarvis continued.

“I’m all ears.”

“You could write back.”

Which was a preposterous suggestion. Tony continued scanning through the gathered data, and didn’t leave the workshop until Pepper chased him out with a sandwich and a pillow.

Keep reading
ladyshadowdrake: (Default)
via http://ift.tt/2m5ElFQ:
I said I would write a Steve POV for this and then kind of forgot? Well, I finally remembered, so here it is!

I just reblogged part one, but you can find it here.

4200 words, watch for the cut!

When he was growing up, writing on the skin was a difficult prospect. He’d been taught that it was rude to write anywhere that might show up in an embarrassing place for his soulmate. Arms, hands, even lower legs and the tops of the feet were out, but writing anywhere that was covered by clothing was lewd and shameful. What if his soulmate had taken her shirt off one night and found his name written on her chest or thighs? The very idea had been enough to make his teenage-self flush in shameful arousal and had led to more than one embarrassing situation.

The compromise had been the bottom of the feet. His mom wrote his name for him the first, spelled out in flowing letters from his heel to the bottom of his toes on his left foot. It had tickled and she’d only been able to write a letter at a time so he could stop and giggle. She’d ended up sitting on him so he couldn’t accidentally wiggle out of her grip half-way through, and when she’d finished he had to sit with his foot on the window sill to let the ink dry.

“Now your solemate will know your name,” his mom had teased, tickling his opposite foot until he was shrieking with laughter. He didn’t get the pun until many years later when he’d learned to spell.

He’d checked his opposite foot every few minutes those first couple of days, waiting for another name to appear. Everyone knew that soul ink didn’t start manifesting until after soulmates had touched skin-to-skin, so playing tag at school took on a new context that Steve had found a little cruel. Mostly it was the boys chasing after the girls, while the girls tried to escape. Steve had never been very good at running anyways, so he’d ended up helping the girls hide while he’d misdirected the boys’ efforts around the playground.

Still, he continued to check his right foot every night, and when the ink started to fade, he’d trace over the letters again and again.

By the time he made it to high school, writing his name on his foot had become a habit as much as combing his hair or tying his shoes. By then, his classmates had started flouting the rules – names would appear in small writing on palms or wrists, and Steve had once seen Mary Lewis edge up her skirt so she could write on the inside of her thigh, right there in class. Anyone who was caught with visible ink got lines or cleaning duty, but that didn’t stop them. Bucky ended up in detention for a whole month when he’d taken a paint brush to write “HELLO SWEET THING” all the way up his left forearm in thick, tall letters.  

A few of his classmates paired off and used their soul ink to pass notes back and forth in class, and Steve would feel the bottom of his foot tingling whenever he caught one of them at it.

After his mom died, he’d covered his entire chest in ink – doodles, words, meaningless slashes of thick lines over his ribs and across his heart. No one wrote back, but Bucky had walked into the room and caught him at it one day. It was a private thing, and almost as bad as someone catching him touching himself like that, but Steve had just forced himself to straighten up and let his shirt hang open so Bucky could see the ruin he’d made of his skin. Bucky hadn’t said a thing, just set his fingertips on the messy scrawl of ‘Where are you?’ and then pulled Steve’s shirt closed and did up the buttons.

~*~

The SSO tour had been a different kind of thing. He’d been in the dressing room with the girls every night, and once they’d gotten used to him, they hadn’t been shy about taking their clothes off with him hiding behind a dressing screen trying to get into or out of his tights.

Some of the girls had a lot of ink. Lisa’s torso was painted from just under the line of her ribs to the crease of her hipbones, and Annabel had a permanent tattoo on the sole of her left foot. The other girls had called her brave and giggled with her when she’d shown them all, and Steve should have looked away because ink was private, but he’d been so stunned by the very idea of a permanent tattoo (on a dame no less) that he’d just stared at her with his mouth hanging open.

“You’re such a boy, Steve Rogers,” she’d said, nudging his hip with her tattooed foot. “I just got tired of writing it over and over, so I figured this was better.”

“Who would even do that for you?” he’d babbled to the laughter of the girls around him.

“I did it, silly,” Annabel had said, and then had given him a sly look and asked, “You want one?”

Steve had turned about seven shades of red and got himself out of the dressing room as fast as he could without hurting anyone.

It hadn’t taken long for the girls to find out that he was an artist. By the end of the tour he’d been writing and drawing on them by request, all the while aware that his mother would have had a heart attack if she’d caught him putting ink on a lady who wasn’t his soulmate. She’d have gone apoplectic if she’d walked into that one hotel room in Minnesota with Steve sprawled on a squeaky bed in nothing but his shorts with six girls drawing on his skin.

~*~

The Army was another brand of different. They didn’t have ink just lying around, but that wasn’t about stop the guys from writing lewd messages on themselves. After better than a year with the choir girls, Steve had lost all of his shyness about ink, and their early attempts to shock him with their writing had only escalated when he hadn’t responded with the shock they’d expected.

The Howling Commandos used charcoal mostly, or campfire ash. If one of the guys fell asleep on watch, whoever found him would scrawl all over his face and then kick his ass awake. Steve mostly turned a blind eye to it, even that time that they’d found a stash of Nazi liquor and gotten rip-roaring drunk. Dum Dum had come up with the bright idea to strip naked and write Suck It on his cock with the fountain pen they’d found in the base commander’s desk. Dum Dum had been sore and itchy for days afterward and Steve hadn’t felt a bit of pity for him.

He hadn’t found it quite as funny when Bucky had wrestled him to the ground and wrote I won’t give away my sniper’s nest in the goddamned field like a fucking idiot all over his chest.

“Don’t blaspheme on my skin, Buck,” Steve had tried to protest, but his soulmate could be a person of faith, but he’d just gotten another goddamn fucking idiot for his efforts, and really, he’d deserved it.

~*~

When he woke up in the new century, his handlers had expected him to be shocked and appalled by all the visible ink. Girls walking around in short skirts with their legs covered in writing, men in tank-tops with messages from their soulmates proudly on display, tattoo parlors out in the open with advertisements on billboards, and fake tattoos available for 25 cents out of a machine. There were even people walking around with ink on their faces.

Steve had politely not laughed in his handlers’ faces when they’d gently explained that the world was different and he might find ink practices a little shocking. It was like the 21st Century thought they’d invented ink. He’d just nodded along and tried not to break their hearts by telling them that he’d probably seen more ink in more obscene places than they’d ever dreamed about.

He hadn’t written on the bottom of his foot – or anywhere else – since waking up. It didn’t seem like it would matter. If he had a soulmate out there, they’d be old enough to be his grandparent, and might not appreciate finding him so late in life. He did his best not to touch anyone over seventy, and generally kept his hands to himself with everyone else, just in case.

When he peeled his clothes off, sweaty and smeared with soot after The Invasion, and found a jumble of numbers and letters on his stomach, he was too exhausted to react to at all. He grunted, struggled out of his pants, and stepped into the shower.

The marks had grown by the time he woke up. Steve found himself staring at in the mirror, too stunned to do anything other than trace the shape of the numbers. Differential math, he realized belatedly. He hadn’t had much math in school, but he recognized the format from staring at Howard’s blackboard back in the workshop. He tried to solve the equation, but it was in pieces. Whoever was writing it had a brain that apparently moved too quickly for complete equations, or else they were writing some of it on paper rather than their skin.

“Okay,” Steve told his reflection. His heart gave an unsteady jerk. He had a soulmate. He had a soulmate who was good at math and had very neat handwriting, and had no compunctions about writing anywhere. Steve stood in front of the mirror for almost an hour, mesmerized by the ink boiling out of his skin.

He’d expected soul ink to feel like something, but there was almost no sensation, just a bare tickle that he might have been imagining. He traced the letters and numbers and wondered if his soulmate could feel him touching the marks, if they thought they were imagining the sensation as well.

A polite knock at the door interrupted him, and Steve only barely restrained himself from yelling at them to go away. He wanted to spend all day just watching his soulmate work, but when the agent on the other side of the door called out a tentative, “Captain Rogers…?” Steve sighed and pulled on a t-shirt.

He tried to write back. It took two days to work up the nerve, but he finally picked up a marker and wrote hello? on his hip, snuggled in between the two most recent equations, hoping it would be the most visible there. He waited for several minutes, but there was no immediate response. He had work to do – a city to clean up, alien technology to pick up before it fell into the hands of a civilian, and a cultural liaison to play pranks on.

Over the next several days, Steve grew increasingly frustrated as all of his questions were ignored and more and more ink showed up on his body. He wasn’t even sure how his soulmate had managed to get half of that equation onto his ass. Whoever his soulmate was, they were apparently ambidextrous and very flexible, and they didn’t sleep much.

It would just figure that Steve finally found his soulmate on the other side of a 70 year long nap under the water, and they were obviously brilliant, and – based on the number of times the caffeine molecule had been doodled on his arms – a coffee addict. They were passionate, and had steady hands, and were completely uninterested in responding to Steve in the slightest.

After tracing the most recent equation where it spidered out from his hip, crawled across his pelvis and ran down his left leg, Steve finally grabbed his marker in a fit of irritation and wrote, Either tell me your name or stop writing all these numbers on my skin in thick letters down his thigh. He traced over the letters again and again until they would be impossible to miss, even among all the clutter.

There was no response, but it was nearly one o’clock in the morning and Steve didn’t know when the equation had been written in the first place. His soulmate was probably asleep, though hopefully they would see it in the morning and at least acknowledge his existence.

~*~

Two days passed without a single spot of new ink showing up on his skin. Steve brushed his finger over the fading evidence of his annoyance, smearing a corner of the ‘E.’ Choosing a thinner marker, he found a clear space on the opposite leg and tried, Thank you for stopping the differential equations. I was missing too many pieces to keep up.

By the evening, there was no response, so Steve tried an apology: I’m sorry for shouting the other day. Or writing loudly?

Steve tried not to be disappointed when there was no response by the next morning. Maybe his soulmate had been responding to him in some kind of mathematical code that Steve didn’t understand. Maybe his soulmate couldn’t respond – maybe they had some kind of mental disability, or they were actually in a coma somewhere and this was their best friend doodling on their skin, shocked that someone had written back and didn’t know how to respond. They could be senile, or have some other kind of sickness, or just anxious because someone was yelling on their skin.

He made it all the way through the next day and into the following morning before picking a clear spot and writing, If you could write something back, I would appreciate it. Starting to think I’m going crazy here.

Steve sat on the edge of the bed and stared at his calf where he’d made his stupid desperate plea. He tried to scrub the letters off, but he’d used a sharpie and it had already dried. If he got into the shower, maybe he could get it off his skin before his soulmate saw it. He stared at the bathroom door. His SHIELD-issued apartment was the same size as the tenement he and his mom had shared with another single mom and her daughter, but Steve had the place all to himself. It had felt like luxury on those few occasions when he’d had the run of the tenement for an evening, but the apartment was just lonely and quiet.

Are you there? He wrote on the inside of his left forearm without expecting to get a response, but he was still disappointed when he finally went to sleep without one.

~*~

Yes.

Steve’s heart flip-flopped in his chest. He traced over the letters, for a moment wondering if he had written the word himself in his sleep, so desperate for an answer that he’d manufactured one himself. But the letters matched the rest of the writing, neat and precisely crafty, if not a little shaky compared to the others.

“Hi,” Steve said to his arm. He ran his thumb over the word again and again. Wiping his hands nervously on his bedspread, Steve picked up the marker and wrote back, Oh, good.

“Oh, good?” Steve hissed, “What the hell, Rogers?”

He tried to fix it by adding That’s really good, gave himself a sharp knock on the head, and helplessly added, Hi.

There was no immediate response and Steve cursed at himself. They probably thought he was a teenager with that witty introduction. Stripping off his t-shirt, he hurried into the bathroom and craned his neck back so he could get to the empty space on the left side of chest and wrote, My name’s Steve.

He tapped the marker on the counter, waiting for a response, feeling foolish and jittery. It was almost four in the morning, and he needed to be in the briefing room by five, but he didn’t want to cover his skin up in case he missed something. Maybe he could wear a tank-top and shorts – people did that in the twenty-first century, and if anyone called him on it, he could just play dumb and claim that he had misunderstood modern fashion.

Tony, appeared over his ribs, and then Can I.

Steve placed his hand over the name. Tony – he had a soulmate, and his soulmate’s name was Tony. It was perfect. He waited for the rest of the question to show up – could he what?

Impatient and excited, Steve twisted the pen around to the center of his chest, which had yet to fill up with differential math. I would love to meet you, he tried nervously. His hand was shaking so badly that the words came out spidery.

He waited nervously for a response, and almost missed it on his right arm. Skip the middle of the chest.

Steve winced. He should have noticed that Tony would rather twist around and write on his ass than the more easily accessible middle of his chest. He stretched his left arm over his head to pull the skin taut and wrote, Sorry. Does it hurt?

He’d never heard of soul ink hurting, but there was a lot that he’d never heard of before he woke up in the new century.

No, Tony reassured him over his hip. Just can’t see it.

Steve frowned, trying to think of a reason that Tony wouldn’t be able to see the center of his chest when the name finally impacted. Tony, who spoke fluent differential math and couldn’t see the center of his chest – because there was an arc reactor embedded in his sternum. Steve’s jaw went slack and he stared at his own reflection for several seconds. They’d touched skin-to-skin on the helicarrier. Steve boggled at the insanity of chance that had dragged him across a century to meet his soulmate, and his soulmate was Tony Stark.

He leaned back and wrote upside along the curve of his stomach, I would love to meet you.

Steve waited several seconds for a reply, twisting around to look at his back in the mirror in case Tony had decided to put his answer across his low back. The clock was ticking closer to five and Steve finally gave up and got dressed. He didn’t think Maria would let him get away with a tank-top and shorts after all.

Just as he was leaving the room, an address and a time appeared on his wrist.

~*~

Tony was already sitting at a small table on the outdoor patio at a café three blocks down from Stark Tower, dressed in a hoodie, baggy pants, and sunglasses. Steve had decided on simple clothing, a ball cap, and a pair of sunglasses that he’d borrowed from Mark, his cultural liaison. The sidewalk was still littered in debris, but the street was clear, and the café had either avoided the devastation of the battle, or repaired whatever damage had been done.  The café was busy, and Steve kept his head down to avoid recognition as he wended through the tables. He didn’t have as much trouble with it as the others – as long as he was out of his uniform, he didn’t usually get mobbed by civilians.

Tony didn’t look surprised to see him at all, but Steve shoved his hands in his pockets to keep them from giving away how nervous he was to see the other man. They hadn’t exactly gotten off to a good start, and Steve wouldn’t blame Tony if the meeting was just an opportunity to say we shouldn’t see each other without taking up precious skin space.

“I thought it might be you,” Steve said, stopping beside the table.

“Yeah,” Tony said after giving him an inscrutable once-over. “Well look at how surprised I am to see you.”

Steve didn’t know how to respond, or how to interpret Tony’s tone of voice. He gestured to a chair and waited for Tony to nod before sitting down. He was so nervous he felt like his spine was made of concrete and it wouldn’t bend on its own. It took conscious effort to make his posture relax and then he shifted around in the chair until he found a comfortable position for his legs where his knees weren’t wedged under the table, but he also wasn’t invading Tony’s space. Or setting himself up a potential tripping hazard. That was one thing that he did miss about being smaller – being so big and bulky meant constant negotiation of where his limbs were in relation to everyone else.

The waitress slid up to them with her notepad out, her eyes darting back and forth between them. Steve winced – she obviously recognized them, and all it would take was one word to get the attention of the entire café, and his meet-and-greet with his soulmate would vanish. She hesitated, the pen twisting in her fingers as if she was on the verge of asking for an autograph, but finally decided to take pity on them. She pulled out a smile and asked if they were ready to order.

“Espresso,” Tony said with a charming smile and a wink that was maybe a reward for not blowing their cover, “You know the way I like it.”

Steve held two fingers up for the same. Caffeine had no effect on him, but the army had given him a taste for strong coffee. She nodded, gave them another nervous look, and then nodded again and practically skipped away. Tony’s eyes followed her, but Steve couldn’t tell if it was an interested kind of following, or just a distracted kind of following.

“What are we going to do about this?” Steve asked to get his attention back and hid a wince by brushing his hair back from his face.

“Well,” Tony said, his eyes following Steve’s wrist, where the café’s address peeked out around the cuff of his jacket. “The Mystical Higher Powers That Be think we’re meant for each other. Apparently.”

Steve couldn’t tell if Tony was mocking ‘The Mystical Higher Powers that Be’ or not, but the uncertain feeling in his gut was starting to descend into dread. He managed a shrug, but he couldn’t stop his brows from drawing together in what he knew would read as a frown.

“Meant for each other can mean a lot of things,” he said. It could mean a lot of things – there were plenty of soulmates who ended up being the very best of friends, partners in business, there were even siblings who sometimes ended up as soulmates. It didn’t mean that they had to be in a romantic relationship, or even friends. They could just be excellent teammates. Or nothing at all.

Before he could babble any of that out, their server returned. It looked like she’d brushed her ponytail and put on more lipstick. She dropped off their coffee and bounced off in a way that made her ponytail swing.

Steve winced. “She recognizes us,” he said with a sigh.

“Yup,” Tony answered, but he sounded unconcerned. He picked up his cup and took a sip of it. The steam briefly fogged up his glasses, but the mist disappeared once he’d set the cup down.

“So,” Steve started, but then had no idea to continue. So, we should be friends. So, let’s not be enemies. So, how do you feel about being fuckbuddies?

“I think you should move in,” Tony said before Steve could say anything stupid. “I meant the Initiative,” he clarified when Steve just blinked at him like an idiot. “Which means you. As well.”

Steve’s heart was going crazy in his chest – leaping with hope and falling with disappointment at every third word. He swallowed and said, “Okay. What are we going to do about this?” He held up his arm just in case Tony thought he was talking about their coffee, or the mosaic pattern of the table, or the server who looked like she was half a breath away from starting a mob at the café.

“Well, I guess you’re going to be learning some differential math,” Tony said. Before Steve could get too disappointed, Tony spread his hands out on the surface of the table and added, “And… Maybe we can do. This.”

Steve’s skin went cold and his fingertips started to tingle with the force of his relief. He let out a lungful of air he hadn’t realized he’d been holding onto and sank collapsed into his chair. He felt the smile stretching across his face, and he couldn’t stop it from taking over. He felt light enough to float away. “I would like that Tony,” he said. “I would like that a lot.”

A tentative smile flickered over Tony’s lips, but he quickly hid it with his coffee. He nodded. “Great. That’s. Great.”

Steve drained his coffee, fished his pen out of one pocket and his wallet out of the other. He dropped a twenty dollar bill on the table (enough for living expenses for a month and change to spare in his youth), and then scrawled his signature on a napkin. Tony quirked an amused eyebrow at him, but he snagged the pen before Steve could cap and added his own signature to the bottom.

“Want to help me with the floor plan designs? I’m pretty sure I can drum up some coffee and Chinese takeout,” Tony said, recapping the pen and tossing it back.

Steve caught it and ducked to hide the stupid smile on his face. He slid the pen back into his jacket pocket and stood up. “I’d like that too.”

Sensitivity

Mar. 9th, 2017 01:52 am
ladyshadowdrake: (Default)
via http://ift.tt/2m0Re3E:
This is for @flange5, who needed a pickmeup. I meant to have it posted last week, sorry I’m behind. :( 

She asked for some H/C and thanks to @arukou-arukou for the prompt. 

Look for the cut!

Steve woke from a nightmare filled with mud, and the taste of wet metal, and snow whipping against his cheeks like miniature blades. For several seconds, he couldn’t move. His chest was paralyzed, his joints were frozen, and he was chilled straight down to his bones. He stared up at his ceiling, eyes wide and teeth chattering loudly in the silence, and he couldn’t breathe.

Above him, the heater kicked on with a loud fwoom and a blast of heat poured over him. He choked on the sudden influx of air, eyes watering in the heat, and then his muscles finally unlocked. He rolled out from under the press of the hot air onto his right side and managed to suck in a breath. The force of the air diminished to a gentle stream, warming up his room and chasing the chill out of his skin. Steve tugged his knees up and shivered while the room went from pleasantly warm to stiflingly hot. He dropped back onto his back and pushed the blankets away, groaning. The sheets were soaked in sweat and he felt weak as a cooked noodle.

“Captain Rogers?” Jarvis asked gently.

Steve sat up and braced his elbows on his knees. Even in the heat, his nightmare sweat was cooling on his skin, and he needed a hot shower and a cup of something warm, and he felt miserably sensitive. “I’m good, Jarvis. Thank you for the heat.”

“Of course. Shall I let Sir know that you’re awake?” Jarvis offered.

Steve hesitated. His skin was alive with tingles and he could feel the weave of the sheets against his skin, the hairs on his legs and arms were standing straight up, and even his nail beds felt sore. He could just ask Jarvis to warm up the shower and heat up the bathroom floor, and stand under the spray for as long as his overly sensitized skin could handle the punishment. Eventually the hypersensitivity would fade back to regular sensitivity, and could go back to ignoring it.

“If he’s… if he’s not busy,” Steve said instead. “Could you?”

“I am quite sure that he is not busy,” Jarvis said.

Steve shifted his weight to stand, but the compression of the carpet fibers beneath his bare feet was an obscure sort of agony. Tingles spread over the soles of his feet, just on the painful side of ticklish, and he jerked his feet back up on the bed. The sheets were cooling quickly into a sticky, soggy mess, and he couldn’t help feeling like he was back in the tenement room he’d shared with his mother, the bed soaked with urine, and Steve too embarrassed to get out of the bed to tell her.

The door opened with a sound like a gunshot. Steve flinched. His teeth ground together at the sound of the door scraping over the carpet, and his neck locked up as the door scrapped back over the carpet and clicked shut with a quieter gunshot. Tony moved softly around the room, but every footstep still sounded like an elephant trampling on the carpets, and his attempts to walk softly only seemed to make it worse.

“Hey,” Tony said quietly, kneeling down beside the bed. He didn’t reach out to Steve, but he was close enough for Steve to feel his body heat. “Bad one?” he asked. He didn’t ask if Steve was alright or if there was anything he needed, and he kept his voice soft without whispering – the whispering was worse, directional sound carried better, it hissed across his ears and made his head hurt.

“Yeah,” Steve said simply. “Sorry. Were you busy?”

“You know I’m never busy. I just talk fast and move my hands a lot. Great illusion of activity.”

Steve smiled despite himself and reached out to run his fingertips over Tony’s hair. The texture of his hair against Steve’s fingerprints made him shiver, but it wasn’t an unpleasant sensation. He repeated the motion until it didn’t feel like each one of Tony’s hairs were catching on the folds of his skin. Tony sat quietly to let him, tilting his head back with his eyes closed. He’d never admit it, but he liked to be petted, and Steve didn’t usually have the opportunity to just touch him. They didn’t get as much time together as either of them would have liked, and they typically used the time for much needed rest, or much needed stress relief.

“You make the world a little quieter,” Steve murmured. He made another attempt to put his feet down, but the dry carpet on his damp feet put his teeth on edge. He jerked his feet back up, and Tony tensed next to him.

“Why didn’t you tell me that the carpet bothers you? I put it in here to help keep the floor warm,” Tony said, his voice briefly rising in his usual excited-problem solving, but he quickly remembered Steve’s sensitive ears and quieted down again.

“I know,” Steve said, rubbing at the soles of his feet. “That’s why I didn’t say anything.”

“You drive me a little crazy sometimes,” Tony said. He climbed up to his feet, and walked quietly out of the room.

Steve stared at the door for several seconds, too startled to be upset. Before he had time to work all the way through startled to confused to annoyed to offended, the door opened again. Tony eased back into the room trailing a bundle of cloth behind him. Steve watched, bemused, as Tony spread the gold silk sheet from his bed across the floor from Steve’s bed through the bathroom door.

“Jarvis is heating up the shower on the rainfall setting. Do you want help?”

Struck dumb, Steve just stared up at him for several seconds. Tony’s lips quirked to one side in a soft smile, and he reached out to run the back of his fingers down Steve’s cheek. Steve leaned against him, the contrast of Tony’s meticulously well-maintained hands against Steve’s stubble making him shiver in pleasant ways.

“You do drive me a little crazy sometimes,” Tony said, “And I am still completely happy to climb in the shower with you, if you want.”

Steve smiled, and turned his head to kiss Tony’s fingers. “No thank you. Might be too much right now.”

Tony softly tapped his finger to Steve’s nose and left the room again.

~*~

By the time Steve made it out of the shower, Tony had stripped the bed and replaced the cotton sheets with satin, and the entire carpet had been covered in a tapestry of red, gold, and black silk sheets. Steve stopped in the doorway wrapped in a plushy robe, steam still curling around his feet and lifting off his hands. Tony was on his hands and knees by the bookcase, tucking a black sheet around the base of it. He twisted to look over his shoulder at Steve, giving him a sultry smile and a smoldering look from under his eyelashes.

“Hello, hot stuff. Literal hot stuff,” he said, crawling in a careful circle so he didn’t twist the sheets. “My very own Mr. Steamy.” He did his absolute best to crawl sexily across the room, but he had to pick his knees and hands up carefully to avoid undoing all his work, and the result ended up somewhere in the region of ‘unsteady puppy just learned how to walk.’

Stifling a laugh, Steve took a step back, and then another when Tony followed him into the bathroom. He’d stretched the sheet in earlier, and it had wet footprints down the length of it and a splash pattern of darker patches by the shower. Steve kept taking steps backwards and Tony kept following, though he started laughing on the third awkward crawl into the bathroom.

“Take pity on my old knees,” Tony pleaded finally, giving Steve his best impression of puppy dog eyes (he did a good impression).

“My knees are at least forty years older than yours,” Steve pointed out, but he cuddled the robe tighter to his chest and sat down on the toilet seat. Tony took the last two shuffling steps to his side and sat back on his ass. Despite his claims of old knees, he was still fantastically limber and his hips fit neatly between his ankles.

Tony held his hands up questioningly. When Steve nodded, he set his palms gently on Steve’s thighs over the plush robe. His fingers slid over the soft fibers and Steve felt a flush rise up his cheeks. Tony had gone out in the middle of the night for the plushy robe after the first time Steve had woken hypersensitive from a nightmare and could barely explain why he didn’t want to be touched. Tony had returned from a pharmacy run with two armfuls of bags filled with satin sheets, fleece blankets, fuzzy socks, and the robe. It was lemon yellow and just barely fell to his knees by virtue of being a XXXL. The sleeves were big enough to fit his head through, and even though Tony had furnished him with half a dozen others of various lengths and materials, it was still his favorite.

“Why didn’t you just tell me that the carpet didn’t work?” Tony asked.

Steve brushed a thumb across Tony’s cheek. Most of the hypersensitivity had faded under the water pressure, so the scrape of Tony’s facial hair against his skin was deliciously pleasant. “Because I can live with the carpet bothering my feet for a few hours, every now and then. And you have a tiny tendency,” he added, holding his forefinger and thumb up, “Just a tiny tendency to go overboard.”

“Me?” Tony asked, aghast. He put one hand on his chest and batted his eyelashes. “I think I’m offended.”

“I’m sure you are,” Steve said. “I think I can handle the satin sheets now, if you feel like joining me.”

Tony shifted and did something liquid and lovely with his spine to get up to his feet. He held his hands out, and cradled Steve’s fingers in his palms when they were offered. He drew Steve up to his feet and walked carefully backwards, lifting his feet to avoid tripping on the material. Tony crawled backwards over the bed to draw Steve down with him, and then pulled a crisp top sheet up over their shoulders. The satin was cool, but Tony was pressed against his spine, and his fluffy robe was insulating him from the worst of it. The sheets would warm up quickly with their body heat.

“If you have work, you can leave,” Steve offered, even though the last thing he wanted was to be left alone again.

Tony wrapped a careful arm around his chest and slid in closer. “It was time for me to take a break anyways.” ­

Steve pressed back against him. With his skin gradually desensitizing, the tingles from being held and the scent of Tony – cologne, rosemary, molten metal, and the faintest hint of sweat – was a soothing combination more than the nausea-inducing nightmare it would have been less than an hour before. He cuddled tighter to Tony’s body and trailed his fingers down Tony’s arm, brushing over his short arm hair and humming at the gentle tingles across his hands.

“You are stunning,” Tony murmured against Steve’s neck. The tickle of Tony’s breath made gooseflesh lift up down his spine and legs.

“You are more stunning,” Steve said around a yawn. Tony laughed nearly-silently, only the shaking of his chest and the gentle huff of his breath giving him away. “Shut up,” Steve told him. “Go to sleep.”

Tony shifted around to get one arm under Steve’s neck and slid his hand further up Steve’s chest so his arm was more accessible for petting. Steve hummed happily, enjoying the vibration of his own voice against his throat, and the softness of his robe, and the slickness of the new sheets, and the sound of Tony’s heart beating steadily in his chest.
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via http://ift.tt/2lKdsdB:
It’s @musicalluna‘s bday! She asked for Tony patching Steve up while they chat and are domestic and sappy. I ended up with more sleepy than anything, but I hope you like it! Happy birthday! :D

About 1900 words, watch out for the cut!

“You should take better care of your skin,” Tony admonished from the bathroom. The light clicked off a moment later and he walked back into the room with the vintage first aid kit that Jan had given Steve as a gag on his last birthday. Steve had never used it himself, but it was packed with new “made to look vintage” packages of bandages, alcohol wipes, gauze rolls, and glass bottles of heavy duty pain killers.

Steve smiled at Tony’s bare feet under the trailing hem of a pair of Steve’s pajama pants, and then looked pointedly at the first aid kit. “You don’t need to do that, Tony. They’re just scratches. I’ll be healed in a couple days.”

“Shut up, and let me take care of you,” Tony advised sweetly. He knelt down between Steve’s feet and made himself comfortable. He was so focused on his task that he didn’t even give Steve a heated look and make a joke about being on his knees. He unpacked the first aid kit and arranged the items he needed in neat piles, and then pulled on a pair of blue nitrile gloves.

“I have a vested interest in keeping your skin in one piece,” Tony said, glancing up at Steve through his eyelashes. “It would be nice if you would try to help.”

He gently turned Steve’s arm over to examine the thick swathe of abrasions curling up his arm from the base of his palm to his elbow. Tiny pieces of gravel, glass, and asphalt were embedded in the scratches. Steve had planned to just climb into the shower and scrub them out with a loofa, but he’d found Tony sprawled out on his bed, and plans had changed. He was grimy and coated in sweat, dirt, and soot, but when Tony had ordered him to strip, now he hadn’t argued. So he was perched on the edge of his studio couch with his boyfriend kneeling between his knees and he wasn’t even getting any fun out of it.

Humming reproachfully, Tony levered himself up to his feet and crossed to the small kitchenette in the corner. He returned with a shallow plate, went back to his knees, and peeled the tweezers out of their sterile bag. Steve did his best to cover up any sounds of discomfort as Tony set to picking the largest slivers out of the gashes.

“What did you do?” Tony asked finally. When Steve had first walked in, he’d gone through the emergency questions: are you alright? Are you in immediate danger? Do I need to suit up? But hadn’t asked for another explanation as he was bustling about getting Steve water and grabbing the first aid kit. “I’m guessing by the placement of the scratches that you laid your bike down at least.”

Steve winced and used his free hand to scratch the back of his neck. “Yeah… it might need some of your first aid tomorrow too.”

Tony snorted. “I guessed as much. Run of the mill risking your life to avoid running over a family of quails on the road, or baddies shooting at you kind of situation?”

“There was a cat in the road,” Steve confessed. “I tried to find it after I crashed, but it was gone. I hope it’s alright. I don’t think I hit it.”

“Cats are resilient creatures,” Tony said, teasing out a long sliver of Steve’s headlight from his thigh. “Should we go look for it tomorrow?” he asked, glancing up again.

“You know me so well.” Steve leaned down and kissed the top of Tony’s head. He rested his forehead in the mess of Tony’s hair until Tony reached up and pushed him back so he could get to the scrapes on Steve’s ribs.

Tony finished picking the largest pieces out, and then held the plate of shards up and rattled it at Steve’s face. “Did you bring half the road home with you?”

“Considerably less than half,” Steve said, and then added, “Maybe twelve percent.”

Tony groaned. “That will never die,” he complained, but set the plate out of the way, pulled the gloves off, and held his hands out to help Steve up. “Come on. The rest will come out in the shower.”

Steve resisted saying finally! but only just. He took Tony’s offered hands and stood up slowly. The muscles in his back had seized up while he’d cooled down on the couch, and his joints were stiff and achy. Tony watched him with a concerned frown, but he didn’t say anything – they’d watched each other hobble around after enough accidents and fights that they’d both gotten a pretty good handle on what was ‘normal’ stiffness, and what required the intervention of a wheelchair or a bridal carry. Steve had to admit that he wouldn’t really mind being carried just then, but he settled for slinging an arm around Tony’s shoulders and leaning into him under the pretense of kissing his temple.

“You take good care of me,” he said as they shuffled to the hotel sized bathroom. His apartment was really just a quiet escape that was mostly dedicated to his art, and occasionally used as a crash pad when it was closer than the tower. He hadn’t been looking for much by way of amenities when he’d bought the place, but sometimes he really missed the hot tub in Tony’s palatial bathroom.

Tony eased him out of his boxers while the shower groaned and hissed and generally complained about being used. It took a subjective eternity to heat up, so Steve just leaned his uninjured shoulder against the wall while Tony went back into the main room to pick up Steve’s motorcycle clothing and cluck at the tears in the fabric. Steve had a feeling that he would have an armored motorcycle suit within the week and chuckled in fond exasperation.

The water had reluctantly warmed by the time Tony made it back with a handful of soft, paint stained but clean cloths. He’d stripped out of his own clothes on the way back in, but didn’t even give Steve time to appreciate his nudity before nudging him under the water. He’d left one cloth on the edge of the sink and used the other to softly clean out the scrapes while Steve just luxuriated in the hot water. The cloth smelled like lavender detergent and dryer sheets and felt like clouds of marshmallows against his skin. He heard himself making happy noises as Tony brushed it along uninjured sections of skin and didn’t even try to stop.

Possibly the one amenity benefit of his tiny studio apartment was the giant hot water heater. Hot showers after disasters was one luxury he’d given himself permission to indulge in, and he’d never yet exhausted the hot water once it warmed it. Steve lost track of how long they’d been in the shower and was starting to drift off a bit by the time Tony was satisfied that the grit had been cleaned out of the scratches. He didn’t immediately flip the water off, but dropped the cloth and wrapped his arms around Steve’s chest.

Feeling warm and relaxed and comfortable, Steve leaned into Tony’s chest and reached up to hold on to his wrists. Tony set his forehead carefully to Steve’s neck and laid gentle kisses over his spine that traveled across his shoulders, and then turned to soft bites, and then darting, ticklish little licks.

“You are giving me gray hairs, Steve Rogers,” Tony murmured against his skin.

“You don’t have a single gray hair,” Steve argued back, curling his spine to encourage more kisses.

Tony laughed, but obliged him with a line of kisses from the nape of Steve’s neck to his right shoulder. “You can thank my hairstylist for that,” he said between soft presses of his lips. “Trust me, many grays. All of them have your name inscribed on the follicles.”

“I do like my name on things,” Steve hummed. He turned in Tony’s arms and ducked down to capture his lips. Tony tasted like sleep and the faintest memory of cinnamon toothpaste, and Steve was sure his mouth tasted like dirt and asphalt, but Tony didn’t complain. They kissed languidly with the hot water pouring down around them until Steve had to pull away to hide a yawn behind his hand.

“Let’s get you bandaged and into bed,” Tony suggested, but they stayed under the water for several more seconds, swaying, both of them about one long blink from falling asleep. Tony finally curled an arm around Steve’s hip and turned off the water. The benefit of a tiny bathroom was that the entire space had warmed up admirably under the steam, so it wasn’t an agony of cold air to climb out of the shallow tub and hunt for towels.

Despite his eyes being half-lidded, Tony insisted on drying Steve off with the remaining soft towels, and then bundled him up in a bathrobe, and got him back to the couch where the bandages were still sitting out. He knelt naked on the rug, put on another pair of gloves, and soaked cotton balls with peroxide to swab all the scrapes. It was uncomfortable, but Steve was still too warm and too sleepy to really care. The cotton balls disappeared into a paper bag that he would burn later – Tony was even more paranoid about anyone getting their hands on Steve’s blood than Steve was himself – and then he smeared antibiotic cream on large bandages and applied them to the worst of the scrapes.

Steve considered reminding him that the serum would do a better job of heading off infection than the Neosporin would, but he just leaned back against the couch and watched Tony work instead. It had been a long time since someone had taken care of him like this. He typically ended up in Medical for major injuries and got neatly patched back together by a detached professional, and he ignored minor injuries beyond making sure he was wearing clothing that covered them so he didn’t get blood on his sheets.

Tony had him slide out of the robe so he could get to the scratches on Steve’s back, and then tucked the soft fabric around him again, striped out of the gloves with elastic snaps, and carefully repacked the first aid kit. Steve thought about going to bed, but the further he got was turning his head to stare at it while Tony put everything away, sealed the bag of bloody cotton balls, shards of road debris, and gloves up in a plastic bag, and refilled Steve’s water glass.

“Come on,” Tony cajoled through a yawn, “You will regret falling asleep on the couch. Drink the water and let’s cuddle in the nice big bed instead.”

“Best offer I’ve had all night,” Steve said. He managed about half the glass of water and set it down when it felt like it was starting to slide out of his fingers. Tony hauled him off the couch and they weaved drunkly to the bed. He lost a couple seconds of time between one blink and the next, during which he’d apparently taken off the robe and gotten under the covers, and then another few seconds disappeared between getting his arm under his pillow and the light turning out.

“I am so making Rhodey help us find that cat tomorrow,” Tony mumbled. “He’s gonna love it.”

“Mmm,” Steve managed, and then said, “I love you.”

Tony kissed his neck and snuggled up tightly behind him. “I’ll remember that when we’re crawling through the underbrush looking for the cat.”

Steve meant to respond, but forgot to open his mouth, and the last thing he heard was I love you too before drifting off to sleep.
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via http://ift.tt/2mpIMwt:Steve the Cop AU 6/14 - Ladyshadowdrake's lair away from la - Imzy:

This is just smut. Seriously, this is about 6000 words of sex scene and 1000 words of morning after cuteness. No apologies. (Those of you who have been with me on tumblr for a while might remember the post I made about a sex scene that was 12% of the total word count up to that point. This is that.)
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via http://ift.tt/2lEIPEJ:Steve the Cop AU 5/14 - Ladyshadowdrake's lair away from la - Imzy:

Darcy, Jane, and “Thor” on scene, and date night! :D
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via http://ift.tt/2mlJHhp:Steve the Cop AU 4/14 - Ladyshadowdrake's lair away from la - Imzy:

Tony gets Jury Duty and finally gets to meet Officer Rogers. Flirting and awkwardness ensues. 
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via http://ift.tt/2lFh69a:
For @copperbadge: Sounds like you could use some cheering up this week. :) 

Most days, being a superhero did not pay off. He’d been chased through probably twenty miles of tunnel, managed to drop his last nine arrows down an open manhole (who just leaves manholes open?), and it was only by the grace of his fingertips that he hadn’t gone down after them. He’d forgotten to go grocery shopping, he had a headache from somewhere south of hell, and he was almost hungry enough to share a bowl of Kibbles ‘N’ Bits with Lucky and call it a night.

“Happy freaking birthday to me,” he grumbled as he trudged up the stairs to his apartment. By the time he realized that his keys had apparently gone the way of the arrows, he didn’t even have enough frustration left in him to swear. He dropped his head forward, hitting the door about ten million times harder than he’d meant to, and jerked away with both hands over his forehead.

He definitely didn’t think anyone could blame him for being a tiny bit slow to react when his apartment door opened by itself, but he did manage to have a knife up by the time the interloper leaned around the doorway.

Natasha quirked an eyebrow at him. “Is that a sharpened butter knife?”

Clint glowered at her and slid the blade back into his boot – one of only three, but his count, that hadn’t ended up buried in some guy’s thigh, or washed away in Shit River. “I had to improvise,” he defended. “Why are you in my apartment?”

The other eyebrow quirked up to join the first. “Why are you not in your apartment? Also, you smell like sewage.”

“Long story.”

She tipped her head to the left to examine him, and maybe he was projecting or something else that the group home counselor would have said was unhealthy, but he was positive she could see right through the smarting mark on his head and read his mind. Without a word, she stepped back to hold the door open and gestured inside with one hand.

“I’ll get you a beer.”

“Don’t have any,” Clint muttered. He had about half a bottle of Nat’s shitty vodka somewhere, though he’d used the whiskey for antiseptic the week before.

“Good thing Jan knows how to throw a party,” she said. Her smile softened slightly and she gestured in again. “Though Tony thought jumping out and yelling ‘surprise’ was a smart idea for all of twenty-two seconds.”

Clint shuddered just imagining the heart attack he would have had if he’d opened the door and yelling had been the result. He was suddenly grateful that he’d lost his keys – he’d forgotten all about Stark’s threatened birthday party, and he was more than a little surprised that everyone else had apparently remembered. Now that he was paying attention like an ex-assassin and current masked superhero with poor apartment security and lots of enemies should be, he could hear the faint chatter of about half a dozen people and the subtle clinking of forks on plates.

He glanced at the door and then over to the elevator. “Maybe I should just go get some chips or something.”

Natasha shrugged. “If you want. But your meatballs will probably be cold by the time you get back.”

Clint’s stomach emitted a loud snarl, and his mouth instantly flooded with saliva. Nat might have been kinder than most people gave her credit for, but she still laughed at him as he stood rooted to the spot, doing a good impression of a meatball-zombie. 

“Please tell me they’re not those bullshit fancy meatless-meatballs or whatever Pepper had A Thing about,” he begged.

“Nope, they’re the cheap frozen meatballs you get out of a bag and dump in the oven.”

He could have kissed her. He definitely did moan, “My favorite.”

His apartment had been cleaned, and it smelled like Pinesol and sweet sweet processed meatballs fresh from the oven. Every lamp he owned had been moved into the living room, which had apparently not been enough, because there was an Iron Man suit standing in the corner and glowing like a six-and-a-half-foot art deco lamp.

“Surprise?” Tony offered, from the kitchen, and Holy Patron Saint of I’m never letting you live this down, was wearing a bright yellow apron liberally splashed with hearts and smiling sunflowers, a matching pair of oven mitts, and a lime green party hat.

“Why are you like this?” Clint blurted out with a laugh.

“Laugh all you want,” Tony said, setting down a tray of freshly cooked previously frozen guaranteed delicious meatballs so he could point at Clint with one bemittened hand. His eyes transferred over Clint’s shoulder and he nodded faintly. “But I’m leaving this here when I go. You can thank Jan.”

“Happy birthday!” Jan said as soon as Clint turned to face her, looking like she was ready to burst. “I really want to hug you, but you have been out doing things that got you a little too close to a sewer. Air hug!” She announced and crossed her arms over her own chest, squeezing hard and twisting side-to-side.

It looked like a really nice hug, and Clint was even sorrier about the damned sewer. He looked between his bathroom door and the piles of warm meatballs, and made a noise that he normally would have blamed on Lucky, but Lucky was on his back in the middle of the living room, shamelessly soaking up the belly rubs from Thor and getting his muzzle petted by Steve.

Natasha pushed past him to the kitchen, piled a dozen meatballs on a purple plate with the Hawkeye symbol stamped in the middle, and nudged him away with one finger. “They should be cooled down by the time you wash your hands. Go!”

Clint eagerly took the plate, leaned over, and lipped one of the meatballs right off the top. He tried to smirk at her, but was too busy sucking air in around the molten mouthful as she pushed him toward his bedroom.

~*~

Despite orders to the contrary, Clint had devoured the plate of meatballs before his shower, and he felt less likely to gnaw someone’s arm off by the time he made it back to the living room. A long folding table had been wedged between the couch and the bar, and it looked like Jan had dumped the entire Hawkeye section of Party City on top of it. It was cheesy, and stupid, and perfect. He stood in the doorway for a second to just look it over – they were all pretending that he wasn’t staring at them, and that was what good friends were for when you just got off of a Hell Week leading into Nightmare Night. Lucky was up on his back legs so he could have his front paw on Tony’s lap and was doing his damndest to get at the mountain of meatballs in the center of the table.

“I’m not feeding you,” Tony told the dog seriously, but his hand was wrapped around Lucky’s ribs to rub at his belly. “Seriously, have I ever fed a single thing in your entire life? Why don’t you go to climb in Steve’s lap? He’s a dog person, and I know for sure that he’s fed you at least once tonight.”

“That was just a treat, Tony,” Steve protested.

“He said the word treat,” Tony told Lucky, which just got him a messy kiss across the cheek and Tony leaning comically sideways in the chair to in a vain attempt to avoid it.

“Just push him away,” Clint suggested, stepping into the living room and climbing over the couch to get the open chair.

Tony gave him a frankly scandalized look, but turned back to Lucky to say, “You’re not getting anywhere with this. I am immune to canine flattery.”

“Not all canine flattery,” Natasha muttered, and for some unfathomable reason, Steve blushed and kicked her under the table. Natasha neatly dodged, and held an open beer out for Clint, so cold that it had mist curling out of the neck and droplets running down the sides.

“I love you,” Clint told her very seriously.

“I know,” she answered.

He swallowed about half of it before pressing the cold bottle gently to his forehead and rolling it back and forth. This was the life – why did he not have a million roommates again? He set the bottle aside and looked down to realize that what he’d mistaken for plates were actually large plastic painter’s pallets with little cups of “paint” set around the edges. There was a bright purple cup of paintbrushes sitting opposite his beer, and a stack of napkins with the Avengers Assemble cartoon Hawkeye at his elbow.

Jan leaned forward to explain, but Clint just shoved his finger in the yellow paint and licked it off – spicy mustard, the kind he got at Chinese restaurants and poured over everything.

“Or you could just do that,” Jan finished, laughing. “It was Steve’s idea.”

“This,” Clint said, snagging a meatball off the pile and a paintbrush, “Is the best birthday idea ever.”

Jan nudged Tony, who was still not-really fending off Lucky’s affectionate begging. “And you wanted to bring wine,” she scoffed.

Clint had three painted meatballs stuffed in his mouth when Jan climbed out of her chair and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. She leaned over to press their cheeks together and squeezed hard, rocking him gently side-to-side.

“Happy birthday.”

“’appy meathba’ ‘ay,” Clint corrected, but he reached up to squeeze her wrist and leaned back against her.

Maybe he was just imagining it or something, but it seemed like his headache was gone.
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via http://ift.tt/2lg45Ak:Steve the Cop AU 2/14 - Ladyshadowdrake's lair away from la - Imzy:

Steve as a New York rookie beat cop with Sam Wilson as his partner.
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via http://ift.tt/2m59xVO:
I’ve decided to stray away from strictly following the prompts on my 52 short stories in 52 weeks list, because I feel that I will never progress on my WiPs if I’m spending all my writing energy on filling the prompts. However, I do still plan to stick to putting out at least one chapter/story/what have you a week, and I may still occasionally fill a specific prompt. 

Here’s the next section of Incubus!AU Steve for week 8. :D

Just shy of 3,000 words, check for the cut.

Chapter OneChapter Four

The pen came flying out of nowhere. Tony flinched at the last second, but it hit harmlessly across his upper arm, bounced off to clatter on the table, and then rolled off the side and hit the carpet. It managed to land perfectly upright in the heavy pile, and Tony had the absurd urge to reach down and flick it over.

Pepper lifted both eyebrow at him. “If it weren’t for the fact that I know you can’t be enthralled, I would think you’d been enthralled,” she said.

Tony loosened his tie and unbuttoned his shirt. Despite making a few vague you don’t have to do that, Tony noises, Pepper still leaned forward to put one gentle finger on Tony’s ward. It was barely visible with the bright light from the windows and florescent above them, but she traced the edge quickly and sat back.

“So this is just the regular, non-magical kind of enthrallment,” she decided. Her face twisted weirdly – eyebrows wanting to narrow down in disappointment, but eyes bright with happiness, mouth pulled down at one side and up at the other. She made a frustrated noise. “I can’t decide if I want to just be happy for you, or smack you over the head with all the work you’re not getting done while you’re mooning over this guy.”

“Why not do both?” Tony offered. He leaned forward slightly so the back of his head was reachable, and Pepper laughingly tapped him with a handful of papers.

“I’m not even sure how to handle you like this,” she said once Tony had straightened up and her papers had been returned to the table, neatly smoothed out and precisely arranged. “It’s been two months, and I was a little surprised when it lasted more than two days.”

“You’re fishing,” Tony realized, “You’re trying to get me to dish about my new beau!” He fluttered his eyelashes and her and put a hand to the base of his throat. Pepper glared at him, but a flush spread under her eyes and across her nose. Tony propped his chin in his hand to just look at her – she had such an expressive face and she changed colors so quickly and so noticeably that it was almost an anti-chameleon response. He’d seen her go red from her hairline all the way to her chest when she was angry, and even the tips of her ears flushed red when she changed colors.

“Fine!” Pepper said, “Yes I am. You’ve been very secretive about him.”

“He’s not my dirty secret, Pep. I’m not just… using him for the phenomenal sex.”

Pepper’s eyes softened and the color faded slowly from her cheeks. Her eyebrows did that slight scrunching thing in the middle. “Are you sure he’s not using you for the free meal with the phenomenal sex?”

Tony shrugged. “Does it matter?” Pepper’s eyes widened her expression shifted toward ‘disappointed’ so Tony hurriedly continued, “I can’t have normal relationships with people, Pep. You know that. The press would serve him up with a side salad and chocolate cake for desert. I like him, I enjoy his company, he’s smart, and he’s an artist, and he has great taste in automobiles – seriously, an affinity for them like you wouldn’t believe. He doesn’t expect anything out of me, and he doesn’t get angry when I get wrapped up in work and don’t call for three days.  He’s never asked me for anything, he’s a cuddler, and did I mention the sex? Fantastic, lose feeling in your toes, incoherent babbling sex. He gets a good safe meal out of it, I get lots of orgasms, and we watch Netflix on the couch like normal people. It’s fine. It works.”

“I just don’t want you to get hurt,” Pepper said with a stubborn tilt to her chin.

Tony liked the way her nose scrunched up a little when she was being Serious, though he was smarter than to tell her that she was cute when she was feeling protective. He smiled and just watched her for a few seconds, and she just looked back at him without a trace of awkwardness. Tony wanted to blurt out I love you, but bit it back at the last second.

“You are probably one of maybe… three people on the entire planet who think it’s even possible for me to be hurt.”

She rolled her eyes at him, but the blush was back as two faint smears under her eyes. The color made her eyes glow and her freckles stand out.

“How’s Huggybear?” Tony asked before they could slide even further into Moment realm. “Still snoring like a sawmill and stealing all the covers?”

Pepper threw another pen at him, and then one more for good measure, but she covered her eyes with one hand and said, “So loud.”

Tony laughed. “I did warn you.”

She’d run out of pens to throw at him, so she threw her sandwich wrapper instead. “Now can we please finish this press release?”

~*~

Tony dropped back to the bed, struggling to remember how to breathe and swallow at the same time. His abdominal muscles kept twitching violently, and his legs were trembling like newborn puppies. Steve curled carefully over him, warm and purring, and nuzzled happily into his neck. Tony had always loved the post-orgasmic glow on his partners, but Steve really did glow. He emitted joy like an 8 million gigawatt happiness lap, and was absolutely the best post-sex cuddler Tony had ever met. Tony curled his arms around Steve’s shoulders and laughed while his muscles continued to twitch and tremble.

Steve mouthed at his neck, licked a line up over his jaw, bit his goatee – Tony had no idea why that was sexy, but it made him twitch again – and lapped at his lips. “Hi,” he said in that rumbly after-sex voice that made Tony wish refractory times were not a thing.

Tony finally managed to figure out how to get his lips and tongue to cooperate and said, “Hello to you, too. Miss me?”

Shifting backwards, Steve rearranged himself at Tony’s side and then gathered him up in a full body hug that instantly made Tony feel safe and warm and comfortable. “You looked so hot at that press conference,” he said against Tony’s shoulder, squeezing him briefly. “I knew I shouldn’t have watched it, but I just couldn’t help myself. You make me understand the phrase power suit.”

A laugh found its way up from Tony’s chest. He twisted to press his nose to the warm blush on Steve’s cheeks. “You do have a thing for my suits,” he agreed.

“I don’t fantasize much,” Steve confessed, “Not about… not whole scenarios, just usually. Well. But I wanted to be at that press conference. I wanted to climb up on the stage and strip you out of that million dollar suit right in front of all those people.” He shivered and tucked his head down to hide against Tony’s shoulder. “I really really did. I had to lock myself in the bathroom.”

Tony groaned. “You are a gift from some god that I’ve made really happy,” he babbled. “What the hell did I do to earn you, because I swear I will keep doing it.” He thought about it for a second and then groaned again. “Or someone I pissed off. I am never going to be able to do another press conference again.”

Steve laughed, squirming around in obvious embarrassment and arousal, which was doing things for Tony, refractory period or no refractory period. He tucked himself tighter to Steve’s body, and Steve drew a blanket up over their hips. He nibbled gently at the back of Tony’s neck and started to purr again. His chest vibrated against Tony’s back, setting a wave shivers loose down his spine and making him feel like he was glowing. He understood, intellectually, that the warm-fuzzy feeling was Steve feeding on his energy, but it wasn’t anything he wasn’t already leaking out into the air, and it felt nice. He never understood the demonizing of feeling nice, and privately thought that the world would be a lot better off if everyone had an incubus to make them feel warm and comfortable and nice.

“I’m sorry for just barging over without being invited,” Steve said finally, but his purring didn’t stop, and his fingers drifted lovingly up and down Tony’s arm.

“You don’t need an invitation,” Tony told him, “And besides… couldn’t leave you trapped in a bathroom.”

Steve laughed breathlessly and managed to wedge himself even further under Tony’s shoulder. “I was at work, Tony. It was embarrassing.”

Tony made a noncommittal noise. “Next time you should just call me. Phone sex is a thing.”

“Oh, gods,” Steve moaned, “I would die.”

Tony laughed and reached back to wrap a hand to card his fingers in Steve’s hair. He could feel the heat of Steve’s blush against the back of his neck. A smile took up residence on his face that felt permanent. Steve set his teeth against Tony’s shoulder and bit gently. They fell quite, heart rates slowly coming down, fever heat changing to simple warmth. Steve’s fingers kept up a constant lazy dance on Tony’s skin.

“Tony?” Steve asked after a long minute of quiet. When Tony hummed a noise of acknowledgement he pressed himself up on an elbow and leaned over Tony’s side to trace a finger over his ward. The ward prickled at the touch of a Seducer, but not badly enough for Tony to push him away. “Why did you get a tattoo ward? Most people just jewelry, or carry around a card.”

“Paper and jewelry wards only work as long as they’re against the skin, and they break if they get worn away. They’re good, but they’re fallible, and they can be taken away. My father warded me when I was a kid.”

Steve’s disapproval could be felt in the air between them, rumbling like a distant storm. “He tattooed you when you were a kid?”

Tony shrugged. “I was twelve. There had been a kidnapping scare. Enthralling the kid of one of the largest weapon’s manufacturers in the world? Probably seemed like a good idea to at least one Seducer.”

“But you were so young,” Steve protested, “Your body, your energy – it changes. No tattoo that you got when you were twelve would continue to function for more than a year, maybe less. He would have had to redo it every year.”

The warm-glowy feeling was starting to fade. Tony turned so he was on his back with Steve’s bulk leaning over him. “I was kidnapped three times between ages fourteen and nineteen. They all tested my ward, none of them were successful. Dad never paid the ransom, just tore down the organizations that had me. After that last time, everyone was pretty sure that my ward was stable, and I stopped getting it redone.”

Steve laid his palm over the golden ward, his expression turning thunderous, his purr turning into a growl. “I would have done worse than just torn the organizations down,” he rumbled.

Tony’s lips twitched upwards, and put a hand over Steve’s. The ward’s buzzing had started to get uncomfortable – it must have felt like a nest of bees trapped under his palm for Steve. He gently moved his hand away from the ward and his heart instead.

“It was flawed…It failed, in Afghanistan.” Tony wasn’t sure why he said it – he didn’t talk about Afghanistan to anyone, not even Rhodey, and Rhodey was the one who picked him up out of the sand and brought him home. He cleared his throat. “It did its job, but not well enough. So I made it better, I made it air-tight. There isn’t a force on this planet that could overpower it now.”

Tony felt Steve’s gaze sharpen on his face. Steve sounded horrified when he observed, “You’ve tested it.”

“Of course. I had to know it could take the stress. Even Bruce can’t break through it, and Bruce could Seduce someone over the phone if he wanted to.”

Steve didn’t say anything else, but he lowered his chest so he was all but smothering Tony, throwing a leg over his hips and tugging him under his body. Tony laughed, twisting until his chin was wedged up on Steve’s shoulder. Steve was heavy, and it wouldn’t be comfortable for long, but it felt nice for the moment. Tony reached down and dragged the blanket up over their heads to make Steve feel more sheltered. The growling faded slowly and Steve shifted his weight sideways so he wasn’t entirely on top of Tony anymore.

“Can you not do that anymore?” Steve asked in a small voice. He tucked his face into Tony’s neck and tugged Tony over tighter with his leg.

“Sure,” Tony agreed blithely. He didn’t need to test the ward any more, though he’d need to touch it up in a few years. If Steve was still around in a few years, maybe he would ask Steve to test it for him.

~*~

It was a familiar one. Tony still didn’t remember how he’d escaped the cave in Afghanistan and his imagination liked to make up a few options for him. Sometimes, he dreamt that he’d turned into a bird and flown out through a fissure in the cave wall. Most of the time, it was fire. The world around him turned red-orange-blue-white, and it burned. He dreamt that he walked through the fire while the Ten Rings Soldiers burnt around him. He dreamt that he carried Yinsen’s corpse through the flames, that everywhere he walked, fire followed. He dreamt that Yinsen turned to ash in his arms and blew away with the firestorm.

He dreamt of blue sky, red sand. And of falling.

Tony woke with a jerk. His body was wracked with shivers, and the blankets were stiflingly hot. He was alone in the bed, and the sun was beating down through the windows. His room was decorated in greens and grays, not a scrap of sand-red to be found. From the angle and intensity of the light, he guessed that it was after noon, and felt out along the sheets. They were cold, but he found a sheet of paper. It felt strange and too-dry against his fingertips after the nightmare.

Running his free hand down his face, Tony sat up and turned the page over.

Had to work, didn’t want to wake you. Sweet dreams, it read. Steve had doodled a picture of himself on his junker motorcycle driving away from Stark Tower, with a thought bubble over his head of Tony in a suit. The last vestiges of nightmare-chills faded and Tony smiled at the doodle.

“Can you add this to the file, Jarvis?” he called, dropping the page on the floor so Jarvis could get a scan of it.

“Of course, sir,” Jarvis answered readily enough, but Tony could still hear the faintest hint of offense in his voice – or maybe Tony was just projecting. He hadn’t introduced Steve to Jarvis yet. Jarvis was still a secret project. If the wrong people figured out what he’d managed to accomplish, Jarvis would be at risk, and Tony might end up in jail. He trusted Steve and he didn’t think that Steve would ever breathe a word about Jarvis’ existence if Tony told him not to, but he’d been wrong about people before. He was willing to risk himself on a pretty damn strong hunch, but not Jarvis.

Tony stretched out sideways on the bed, grabbing Steve’s abandoned pillow and cuddling it into his chest. “Jarvis?”

“Yes, sir?”

“Are you happy like this? With what I’ve made you?”

Jarvis was quiet for several long moments, and then said, “It is a different sort of life than I led when I had a body. In many ways, it is more freeing. I am pleased to be alive, sir, and prefer it to the alternative.”

Tony nodded. He’d asked the question in so many words before, but it was something he worried about in the quieter moments. He had fledgling AI – U and Dum-E – and given another decade, they might have the kind of autonomy that Jarvis did. But no one had ever managed to breakdown a human’s essence and integrate it into a computer program. It wasn’t technically necromancy – there was no body involved – but Tony wanted to have his research in order before anyone found out what he’d done. He didn’t want the religious nuts and Anti-Fae shitbags to get their hands on before he could prove that it was science, not magic. Jarvis was not a very expensive Ouija board, reaching out to the dead from beyond the grave. He was every bit as alive as he’d been when he still had a body, he just moved through the Internet like a fish in water, and had access to every piece of information ever put online. Nothing to be scared of.

“You seem introspective this morning, sir,” Jarvis noted.

Stretching, Tony finally forced himself up and out of the bed. “I just want you to be happy and safe. Is that so strange? Besides,” he added before Jarvis could respond, “Happy Safe Jarvis is less likely to take over the planet and enslave humanity than Mad Threatened Jarvis.”

“Of course, sir,” Jarvis said graciously, “Your concern for my wellbeing is merely proactive self-defense.”

“You know me so well!” Tony called as he headed for the shower.
ladyshadowdrake: (Default)
via http://ift.tt/2kDNNPY:Steve the Cop AU 1/14 - Ladyshadowdrake's lair away from la - Imzy:

AU where Steve is found by Hydra rather than SHIELD, and rescued by Nat and Clint. Identity porn all around - no one knows that Captain America is alive, all identities are secret.
ladyshadowdrake: (Default)
via http://ift.tt/2kE6jHI:Steve the Cop AU Prologue/14 - Ladyshadowdrake's lair away from la - Imzy:

AU where Steve is found by Hydra rather than SHIELD, and rescued by Nat and Clint. Identity porn all around - no one knows that Captain America is alive, all identities are secret.
ladyshadowdrake: (Default)
via http://ift.tt/2kvP68k:
Hi!

So here is the thing, my friends. I have been working on a plotty ID porn story for about 2 years, and I really love it, and I *really* want to finish it. Now, I have it 100% plotted out, but despite knowing what needs to happen, I am experiencing a writer’s block around the 45k mark. If you guys could read along with me and give me feedback, I would be eternally grateful. I have been debating posting this while in progress for months, but I have been a little gunshy. Since I started it so long ago, it will probably go through a fairly significant face-lift before it makes it to AO3.

All this having been said, I do welcome critical feedback, BUT it’s in a vulnerable writing stage (and I really love it a lot a lot a lot) so please don’t be mean. 

The prologue and chapter one will be posted over on Imzy (I feel that it’s just more friendly to long text and the comment-and-reply system is WAAAAAAAAAAAAY better). If you could be kind enough to give me your thoughts, I would appreciate it very much!

I’ll post separate links for each chapter and thank you in advance!

Also - if you do not have an Imzy account and don’t want to make one, I’m pretty sure you can still read the post (I’m still new to Imzy so let me know if you can’t) and if you can’t comment, feel free to come back to tumblr and send me a message. 

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