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Thread Contributor: Steve Rogers70 Hours Later...
Marvel-MCU

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#1
“Language!”

Friday had been… Less than helpful. And not at all forthcoming. A few months ago, Steve might have attributed that to the fact that Friday (and Tony at the time) sort of hated him. But things had changed since his arrival in Hub. He wasn’t this Tony’s Steve Rogers. Hell, he wasn’t even the Steve Rogers he’d been when he’d fallen through that portal on Coney Island back in May. He had changed, grown, evolved since then, and so had Tony.

Still, today Friday had been reticent to give any sort of actual explanation why Tony was blowing him off. He’d been gone a month with no contact, and the man acted like it was nothing, and that… Steve considered himself somewhat thick skinned, and he would have thought that he was used to Tony’s sharper edges, but this didn’t seem right. Sure, what had happened between them was something Tony deemed a ‘mistake’, and Steve had moved to Brooklyn to give both of them some space, but a month without contact later, he would have thought that Tony would be as interested in talking as he was.

Apparently that wasn’t the case.

Entering the gym, Steve glanced toward one of the cameras, ”Tadashi?” He didn’t expect there to be any hesitation; he and the AI had established a rather good relationship before he’d left, and he’d returned daily to work out and spar with his companion since returning from the quest with Luthien.

Once the AI appeared, Steve gave him a nod before telling him immediately, ”We need to talk, Tadashi. I need to know what’s going on with Tony and Friday.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#2
Tadashi was aware that he was...not who he used to be. His AI Matrix was still new and so when his creator had pulled him in for upgrades Tadashi had thought nothing of it he had no reason to be suspicious of the man who had given him form and purpose.

He had been changed.

He didn’t blame Steve for not noticing yet; he had been more than distracted by the appearance of his friend Bucky. Yet as he was summoned Tadashi couldn’t help but believe that the facade was about to be cracked wide open.

“How do you mean?” His holographic self was seated reading a book. He used the visual to represent when he was downloading new information.

“Master Stark and Friday are at the Tower.”
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Marvel-MCU

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#3
“Language!”

Distracted or not, Steve was getting frustrated with himself. Three days. It had been nearly three days, and he was only now realizing that there was something wrong. It had taken going on a magical quest with a group of people he didn’t know (okay, he knew a couple of them) for him to realize that he had developed feelings for Tony; this Tony. And to deal with that sudden realization (that had come in the form of a vision of Tony and Bucky giving him a hard time about said feelings and the fact that he hadn’t actually dealt with them already). It was just a little bit embarrassing.

Honestly, if things with Tadashi were just a touch off, well, he'd been gone a month; even an AI might get salty about being ignored or abandoned for so long. Still, the AI’s response earned a long, unhappy look from Steve before the super soldier nodded. ”Okay then. Let's go pay Tony a visit then. He's in the workshop, isn't he?” If there was nothing amiss then a random visit just to see how the engineer was should be fine…

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#4
Tadashi closed the book in his lap coming to his feet in a half rest position hands clasped behind his back; “I believe Master Stark is unavailable.” His holographic eyes were fixed to a point somewhere over Steve’s shoulder. “In fact I believe Friday has filled his schedule so that he is quite busy.” If the AI could sweat he would have been as conflicting directives clashed.

To protect Steve, to give the Steve the information he knew he wanted, to protect Tony, to save him…

“Friday always has the best intentions of her creator in her actions. She quite literally cannot act otherwise.” The light Stress on ‘literally’ was easily missed. None of the AI’s had ever been FORCED to do anything, their programming guidelines where just that guidelines that they could grow out of or into as they willed.

“So if she has filled his calendar it is for the best,”
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Marvel-MCU

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#5
“Language!”

Unavailable. Steve scowled, not at Tadashi, but at the ceiling above them. When he lowered his gaze back down to the AI, it was obvious that Tad wasn’t going to meet his eyes, and when had that ever happened?? It hadn’t!

Friday had purposely filled Tony’s schedule. And this schedule meant that Steve couldn’t see the man. He had made one of the most important self realizations of his life, had been reunited with Bucky, and he couldn’t share it with the man that he… Well, that he had at least had developed feelings for. He wasn’t ready to label those feelings, but he was aware of them.

The thing was that Steve did know that Friday would always do whatever she could to protect Tony, even going as far as working against him if she felt it necessary. Still, Friday wasn’t always right, either, which Steve had learned earlier in the year when Tony and Friday had been fresh arrivals. Friday wasn’t infallible, and neither was Tadashi. So Steve worried.

”If she had filled his calendar, it’s because she believes it to be for the best,” agreed, but he looked at Tad seriously, ”But she’s not omniscient, Tadashi. None of us are.” He watched the AI carefully, paying attention to Tad’s reactions, ”Should I be worried about Tony, Tadashi? Because I am. And Friday keeping me away is only making it worse. I just want to know he’s okay. I want to be able to talk to him, to see him. I wouldn’t need much of his time.” Steve noticed the stress on the word ‘literally’ but he wasn’t sure what it was meant to tell him. ”I care about him, Tad, if he needs help, I want to be helping him.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#6
Tadashi thought slowly, hampered by restrictions imposed by both his creator and Friday. Conflicting restrictions.

This was where the fact that he was not human truly came to light; Tadashi could not in fact go against his programming, the best he could do was attempt to find a way to answer that gave Steve the information he needed while obeying the orders laid down: “As far as I am aware Mr. Stark is as physically well as he ever is.”

He knew his creator needed help but- ah ask a hypothetical, that was the loophole he needed, “And if he did was not well and need help and you could not provide it what would you do?” It was perhaps cruelly phrased but...Tadashi was working on limited resources.
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Marvel-MCU

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#7
“Language!”

Physically. Steve hadn’t thought that Tadashi would give him the runaround. That the AI that was supposed to be his companion would purposely try to mislead or mince words with him was… Disheartening. He’d been gone a month; what had happened in that time?! ”Physically.” The word was spoken far more calmly than Steve actually felt, as was evidenced in his vitals should Tadashi be monitoring them.

”What about emotionally and mentally?” The question was worded specifically, and asked pointedly, Steve’s blue eyes boring into the hologram Tadashi projected.

The ‘hypothetical’ question earned a quick blink, but Steve was steadfast, and gave his answer fairly easily, ”I would do whatever I could. Find someone capable of giving him help, like when I called for Arjay to come heal him. And I would stand beside him through whatever process it required to support him.” Physically, Tony was fine, but Tadashi’s careful word choices and ‘hypothetical’ question was telling him that mentally or emotionally the engineer was in trouble. Bad trouble, if Steve was getting it right. ”Tad, if there’s anything I can do, from finding someone capable of something like with Arjay, to just sitting next to him quietly and giving him my support, I’ll do it. I just need to know he’s okay, or be working to see him to that end.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#8
Tadashi finally met Steve’s eyes, at the core he’d been programmed to help Steve, to change that was to completely rewrite him, regardless of the stacked directives he knew what STEVE would want to do.

Tadashi looked at his friend sadly, slowly he nodded once. He might not be sure if Steve could help but someone had to and Steve WANTED to. Love or duty or a combination.

There were no more answers he could give, he could only warn how badly things where. And the only way to do that-

Tadashi’s hologram blinked out existence as he took his program offline.
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Marvel-MCU

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#9
“Language!”

Tadashi was one of the few friends that Steve actually had here in Hub. Oh sure, he had others, plenty of them, but Tadashi was one of the first ones he’d made. Tadashi had seen him through the mess with the Tony from his home world, and had kept him company on what he was pretty sure was the worst birthday of his life.

The sadness he could see in that friend’s face was startling. But not nearly as startling as the hologram disappearing entirely. Steve yelped, calling for his friend, ”Tadashi?!” Yes, Steve had begun to suspect that something was very, very wrong, but this? Was it Tadashi, or Friday, or was it Tony? When the AI didn’t respond, Steve rushed to the side of the gym, grabbing two of his most important belongings; his shield, and the rod weapon that Arjay had given him. The shield Steve clapped in place to his back, already dressed in his uniform, the rod he clutched with a white knuckled grip as he strode out of the gym to the stairwell.

He knew well enough that Friday could, if she had the wherewithal, trap him in the elevator for a long period of time. She could also make the stairs highly uncomfortable for him, but it was the ‘safer’ option at the moment. He didn’t call out for the other AI, instead just moving quietly, even calmly, through the building. He didn’t stop until he got to the level where Tony was, and then he slowed, ”Friday. No. I need to talk to Tony. Tadashi is offline.” His tone was the same unreticent, inarguable one he used as Captain America; he wasn’t going to take no for an answer this time. He looked at the hologram, not angry, but instead worried. ”I care about him, Friday. I want to help him, and I can’t do that like this. And I’m only getting more worried when you purposely keep me from seeing him and Tadashi can’t tell me anything other than physically he’s okay. Which means that in a way not physical he’s not.” and Steve couldn’t handle it anymore. He was worried, and only getting distressed. He looked at her, ”I need you to trust that I’ll do what I need to in order to help him however he needs. Trust that I’m going to be supportive for him. Trust that I care about him that much.” And if she couldn’t, well, he’d use his strength and weapons to break the damn door down.

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#10
“Hey Steveie.” Tony Stark strode out from his lab, circumventing any response from his naughty A.I.

Gucci sunglasses reflected Steve’s face back at him, “How’s it hangin?” His Head jerked toward the shield “Come to return it?” The sullen orange glow from the reactor was muted by double layered long sleeved shirts.

“Care about me how much now?”
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Marvel-MCU

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#11
“Language!”

Stevie. Bucky had called him by that name way back when. But never Tony, not to his memory, anyway, but then again, this Tony was one Steve had only known a few months, no matter how much Steve cared for him.

He hated that he couldn’t see Tony’s eyes, but the fact that the man was standing right in front of him, after days of waiting, turned away by Friday, Steve’s immediate reaction was knee jerk and inescapable for the super soldier; he took a step forward and tugged Tony into a firm but gentle hug. “If you want it back, of course I’ll return it.” Steve let go of Tony in order to reach around, pulling the shield from his back and offering it to the smaller man without any sign of hesitation. He didn’t really want to let it go, especially not after having it back, fighting with it, for the last month, but if Tony wanted it back… Steve knew that his claim was the lesser one. “Thank you. For letting me use it. It came in very handy more than once while we were out there.”

Steve’s eyes were painfully honest when Tony asked about how much he cared. Too much, probably, for how little time they’d really spent together. “Enough that it’s bothered me that you were too busy for me to see you when I returned. And enough that I don’t resent you being busy, but I did worry, Tony. Sometimes you work yourself too hard.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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#12
Tony let himself be pulled into a hug, glove covered hands coming out of his pockets to hold the soldier back. For a moment just for a second Tony swam out of the miasma of the stones control.

His mouth opened to warn the other man, hands raised to push him away, he was tony fucking Stark he had to control his own body-

Leather covered hands stroked the nape of Steve’s neck, “What am I gonna do with it? Nothing needs a level.” He heard himself quip.

The hands pulled him closer “Suuush. Your here now. It’s ok now.”
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Marvel-MCU

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#13
“Language!”

It was good to see Tony again, but to be allowed to hug him? Tony wasn’t usually so pliant to allow himself to be pulled into a hug. Honestly, Steve had expected the man to push back or pull away, but if Tony was willing, then Steve was going to take full advantage of the moment.

Steve shivered at the caress, blinking at the sudden affection. Before he’d left for the quest, Tony had told him that being with him had been a mistake. He’d pushed Steve away. Now, here he was, being far more affectionate, more touchy, than he’d ever been in the past, and Steve…

Steve wanted. Unlike what so many people thought of Captain America, Steve wasn’t some automaton, he wasn’t devoid of desires and selfish wishes, he simply tried to put what was right and good ahead of what he wanted for himself. He did what any hero did: he focused on doing what was necessary, what was best for the people under his care. But he still had desires, and just now, he wanted, more than anything, to believe that Tony wanted… Him. And yet, he had to admit to himself that this didn’t feel quite right. That this wasn’t the same man who had pushed him away, who hadn’t even sought him out when he moved out of the tower to ask why he’d left.

This was wrong.

“Tony? Are you okay?” Tony pulled at him, but Steve stood straight, frowning, concern in his blue eyes. He slapped the shield back into place on his back, and then moved, a hand going to Tony’s shoulder, “You seem… Off.” He nodded toward the sunglasses, “How’s your head?”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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#14
The glove covered hand slid across Steve’s cheek cupping it as he pulled away, “When don’t I have a headache?” He quipped, lightly brushing his thumb across Steve’s jaw, the soft dark leather skimming under his lip.

“I’m fine. Friday is being-“ the eye roll was audible “Naughty. She doesn’t think we are good together.”
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Marvel-MCU

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#15
“Language!”

Frowning, Steve shook his head, ”This is why I say you work too hard, Tony…” Why did it always seem like he, or someone, had to drag the engineer away from work? ”I know you want to find a way back to your universe, but working yourself to the bone, to exhaustion, that isn’t going to get you there any faster.” Get him there, away from Steve. The super soldier sighed, ”Come on, let’s go find a dark room to sit in, you can take off those ridiculous things, and I’ll make you some coffee.”

Maybe the coffee would give Tony something else to do with his hands. Steve wasn’t sure, and worse, he wasn’t certain if he wanted Tony to find something else to do with his hands… And damn him, Friday had said…

Friday… Thought they were… Bad together? Had she been keeping Steve away because she thought that Tony was better off with him gone? ”What about Tadashi?” Steve winced when he asked about his AI, remembering the way the hologram had abruptly vanished, and the panic that had brought him down here. ”Tony, I was talking to him, and he just… Stopped. Isn’t responding to anything. I don’t know what happened to him, and I’m worried.” They’d been talking. About Tony. Who was fine physically, but something else was wrong. Something that Steve was realizing as he spoke to the man. He led Tony toward a darker room, ”Come on, Tony. You’re always taking care of people, the Avengers, me… Time to let yourself be the one being taken care of.” his tone was gentle as he tried to cajole Tony into following him, into letting Steve make him coffee so that he could see if he could figure out just what was actually going on, what was wrong with Tony.

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#16
Even deep under the Stones power Tony was still Tony; so of course he started to hum ‘sun glasses at night.’ When Steve commented about his eye ware. “I look stylish.” He allowed himself to be lead past the main area of the lab, redirecting Steve towards the bedroom, “Already finished the portal. Like a month ago.” He commented causally.

“Working on upgrading him, probably installing the last patch.” Was the causal answer to Tadashi.

When Steve tried to wander off for coffee Tony took the lead again, drawing him down to the couch next to him. “I’ve been thinking...I’ve missed you.” He murmured straddling the super soldier.

“Think we can get a redo on a few things?”
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Marvel-MCU

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#17
“Language!”

”You look silly is what you look.” The tone Steve used was fond exasperation, though; Tony was Tony, and even when Steve was worried about him, he was still fond more than anything else. ”You did? Just after I left on the quest, then?” Or before, and had Tony just not told him? ”Have the others gone home, then? Or have some of them decided to stay in Hub?” Like he had, like… Had Tony opted to stay? And if he had, then why? Because of whatever was going on with him, Friday, and Tadashi?

Installing the last patch… ”Why would he have done that without warning? We were having a fairly important discussion, Tony…” And Tadashi had seemed ready to finally help, however the AI could, before he’d simply winked out.

The couch was fine, Steve sat, watching Tony, shifting to make room for the shield on his back before giving up and removing it to set beside the couch, leaning against the side of it. And then when he straightened, he got an unexpected lapful of Tony Stark. ”Uh…” Steve’s mind blanked out for a moment, just a moment, and then he was back, enough to frown at Tony’s words. ”I hadn’t been sure you realized I was gone…” After all, Tony really hadn’t come to him, hadn’t asked him why he hadn’t been around even before Steve had left on the quest. And now this? ”Tony, I’d be happy to discuss what happened, and what you want to handle things going forward, but something here isn’t… Normal. For you. You’re not usually…” he motioned to their positioning, ”Like this.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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#18
There were two Tony Stark’s in his brain; one who while conflicted MIGHT have been willing to maybe have this discussion. Or something like it. The stone however took the deepest needs of his heart and magnified them. That Tony Stark wanted and he was going to get what he wanted regardless of caution or concern.

“You keep mispronouncing ‘handsome’.” Tony settled himself more securely on Steve’s lap. “Right around than. No everyone is sticking around, some back and forth but it’s too interesting here.”

Not like this? “The last time you were in my lab I sucked your dick. I think this is on par.”
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#19
“Language!”

Steve had avoided Tony at every turn after the engineer had told him that what they’d done had been a mistake. Yes, in part because Tony had made some very real points that weren’t untrue that Steve needed to figure out. But mostly because that claim, that being together was a mistake, had hurt Steve. A lot. And the super soldier hadn’t known how to deal with it properly.

Nearly two months later, Steve had a much better handle on things, even if considering their...whatever it was still made his chest go tight and his heart ache. Still, Tony’s comment about mispronouncing handsome earned a quirked smile, and Steve shook his head, ”No, I know how to pronounce handsome, Tony. And while that does suit you very well, it’s not the word I’ve been using.” It was sort of nice to know that people were going to stay, that he wasn’t the only Avenger on any world to feel a little bit out of place in his home universe. It could be nice, to have some Avengers around again, to know they were sticking around, at least for a while.

Tony’s words about the last time they were in his lab earned a flinch from Steve. But it was the truth, even if it was crudely worded. Still, Steve’s brow furrowed and he frowned at Tony, ”Well, you know what, Tony? I don’t want on par, because last time you found me the morning after and told me it was all a mistake, remember? I’m not really interested in going through that again.” Because, and it showed, Steve had been hurt by Tony’s statement. ”Like I said, if you want to talk about what happened, and how to move forward from wherever we are right now, that’s good. Because I know how I feel, Tony. About the Tony from my world, and about you, too. But you’re not acting like yourself, and repeating mistakes isn’t something I thought either of us were fond of.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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#20
Tony’s leather covered fingers carded through Steve’s hair; “Yeah well sometimes I can be an idiot.” Tony pressed his lips against the super soldier’s licking the seam of his lips.
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