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New Fic: A New Hope

A New Hope

Fandom: Avengers
Rated: G
Category: Vignette. Angst, Friendship. (Plus? Depends entirely on your own point of view. both in if the ship sails and which ship it is.)
Spoilers: Civil War (MCU), a throwaway line from Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Summary: Tony Stark can lie to everyone, even himself, very well. But he can’t lie to her. Not this time. So maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for him yet.
Word Count: 748
Note: Happy loaded a “prototype of Cap’s new shield” onto that plane in Spider-Man: Homecoming. What? Tony has a prototype of a new shield for Steve that soon after Civil War? Why? How? And at what cost? Here’s what came to mind.

-----

If you'd asked him, he would've said he did it because he was bored.

He would've said that it intrigued him.

That he wanted to see what modern technology could bring to the table. Just as an experiment.

He wouldn't have admitted that he'd been up for three days straight and at the end of his rope on another project when he came across it while digging in a parts bin. Or that the other work was immediately forgotten.

He most certainly wouldn't have shared that seeing it again made his chest ache in more than one way.

He wouldn't have said that working on it made him feel closer to his father than he ever had in his life.

And he certainly wouldn't have admitted that, despite everything, he wanted to make it better for its owner.

No, he never would’ve said any of those things.

Except to her. Just this once.

She checked in on him before she left. And something is his eyes made her look twice at him - and at his work bench.

Then she saw what was there, her usual words stuck in her throat. In their place, something far less formal came out.

"Tony, are you okay?"

He didn't speak. He just blinked a few times, then looked at the floor. His right hand curled into a fist as he took a deep breath.

It was all the answer she needed. She stepped closer to him and laid one hand carefully on his arm. It had been a while, but she knew to approach him cautiously. And even with everything they'd gone through, she couldn't help but try to settle him now. It had been her job for far too long.

Suddenly, he spun on his stool. Then he was just there - in her arms. She held him for a moment in silence. Then, three words she'd never thought she'd hear from him changed everything.

"I miss them," Tony murmured into her shirt.

"I know," she said, running a hand through his hair and gently shushing him.

It all came out then. How he couldn't help but work on it. How he just wanted to make it better, just in case. How he had ideas for all of them, actually. How the whole thing was complicated and messy and he never meant for any of it to happen like this and how he didn't see any way to fix the situation.

It didn't last long. A few moments later, as suddenly as it started, he was done. He sniffled and moved out of her embrace. He stood up and stepped back, looking anywhere but at her.

She smiled sadly. There was the Tony she knew. The one in the armor - always. The one that had driven so many away.

But as she looked at him again, her smile brightened a little.

Because she'd told the truth. She did know. In truth, she knew a lot of things.

But what she knew most was that if Tony Stark was willing to admit to missing anyone, he was making progress.

And that if Iron Man was willing to make Captain America a better shield "just in case", there was hope.

Hope for the Avengers.

Hope for everything to work out right in the end.

And maybe even hope for them, personally.

Tony backed up a few steps until his knees hit resistance. When they did, he sat down on the couch and sighed. A moment later, he was asleep sitting up. It happened that way with him sometimes.

She chuckled, then stepped over to him. She grabbed a thin blanket from the other end of the couch and draped it over Tony's chest. She took in his greasy hands, dirty shirt, and ragged jeans and sighed. He was a mess, but that was nothing new. She pushed a stray lock of hair off his forehead and lingered for just a second.

Then she slid out of her heels and padded to the door.

Once there, she flipped the manual light switch off and slipped out the door without ceremony.

Except for her words. She hadn't said them in a while, but they came easily enough.

Tony didn't hear her, but that didn't matter.

Because it felt right.

No. Because it was right.

Because all was right with the world when Tony Stark was working on something for Steve Rogers and Pepper Potts ended her day with "Good night, Mister Stark."

-----

A/N: I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself with the title. May the Force be with you all. *grin* Also, though I don’t exactly ship Steve/Tony, I love this vid, and it comes to mind hard core right now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u-jGnIQwgo
This entry was originally posted at http://jackwabbit.dreamwidth.org/831759.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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