Couchforts and Fairy lights.
For Tumblr-user starkwest.
“Tony?” Steve called, flipping open the file in his hand and navigating around the box of comics next to the hall table without looking up. There was no reply, but that wasn’t surprising; Tony had a very tight focus when he needed it. If you just kept talking, some part of his ridiculous brain would hear you and get back to you at eventually.
“We got the numbers from Jonkoping; they’re writing it off as an act of a God and the deficit is gonna be— holy hell!” Steve stopped in his tracks as he looked up, the file fumbled in his hands and suddenly completely irrelevant to his thoughts, which went something like this:
Their living room had … exploded? or imploded. There were sheets and blankets hanging off and draped over things, everywhere. Laundry pegs and bits of tie wrap poked out, where they apparently held the whole thing together, and
and right in the middle, a sheet was draped over an angle that looked a lot like Dummy’s arm. It swiveled towards him, the sheet showing the outline of his claw and Dummy beeped out a pleased greeting.
“My apologies Captain; there was an agreement to have it put away before it became an inconvenience. However, as you can see…”
Steve ran a hand down his face, disbelieving. “Yeah. What’s…?”
“Sir calls it a ‘couch mansion’,” JARVIS reported.
“Impressive, I guess,” Steve murmured, rubbing his chin. “He’s inside?”
“Of course.” JARVIS produced a holographic placemarker, to Dummy’s south by about a meter. “Once construction was complete, Sir was somewhat in need of rest.”
“Huh.” Steve grinned and dumped his now-irrelevant report on what was left of the lounger (now cushionless and forlorn). “Where’s the ‘entrance’ to this thing? I don’t want to break it.”
JARVIS supplied another marker, and then a third. “He constructed a baffle, Captain; ‘in case of cuckoos’. The route is somewhat convoluted.”
“…‘course he did. Feel free to scan me for ‘cuckoo-ness’,” he quipped, shrugging out of his jacket. JARVIS beeped in amusement and hologrammed a big tick-box on his chest.
“Access granted, Captain.”
Steve smiled to himself, head down as he toed off his shoes. “Anything you want me to bring him?” he asked, checking his pockets for potentially uncomfortable objects and turfing his keys out, leaving them in his shoe.
“You do not plan to extract him?” JARVIS asked, amused and curious as he put an object marker on the keys, logging their location on a pop-up screen. JARVIS’ own idea; nothing went missing accidentally anymore, it was real handy.
“Nah, you can still monitor him under all this, right? As long as he’s comfortable, we can put up with chaos for an afternoon.”
“How very open minded of you.” One of JARVIS’ screens flipped through a bunch of stats for a moment; his version of a thoughtful expression. “A bottle of Fix’d would not go amiss. Otherwise; he will keep until supper.”
Steve sidestepped around the ‘mansion’ to the bar by the landing platform —having to dodge guylines and the legs of a kitchen chair on his way— and fished a bottle of the smoothie out of the fridge, along with a couple of cloth napkins.
“Alright, I’m going in.”
Steve grinned and, shoving the napkins into his belt and the bottle in his teeth, crouched and flipped the ‘door’ over his head, ducking inside. Tony’s ‘baffle’ was made of a Hulk-printed fleece blanket that had been hanging around the living room for weeks, making Bruce chuckle. Its bottom edge was tucked under something, and the top pegged to a length of cable; pretty secure. Steve wasn’t about to interfere with Tony’s ‘anti-cuckoo measures’, anyway, and shuffled in an awkward crouch, around the far end.
On the other side, the back of the couch and a tipped-up chair supported the ceiling, which was composed of a pair of photography curtains in white pegged to a cream duvet cover, both of which Steve recognised. the angle of the chair’s back made a kind of doorway, more Tony-sized than Steve-sized, but he managed to squirm through on his belly, pulled along by his elbows.
Beyond that, carpet turned to couch cushions, and Steve pulled himself up into a crouch, looking up at Dummy, proud holder-upper of the ceiling. Fairylights were plugged into his chassis and draped across the various odds and ends of furniture holding up Tony’s construction.
The air was sleep-warm, but fresh, and smelled like bedtime and engine oil. The fairylights lit everything in soft yellow, calm and safe and more like late evening than midafternoon.
Tony was curled up on something big and squashy, his feet near Dummy’s tires and his head resting on a throw pillow, fast asleep with his chest supported by his red physio pillow. He looked like he needed the rest, but in a good way, like he’d used his time well. His cheeks were warm pink, and there weren’t any bags under his eyes, but his expression was that of someone who meant to really sleep. His oxygen was in place under his nose and the canister gauge was well in the green, settled behind him on the coffee table that had been beside the couch this morning.
Steve checked the line, just to make sure, then settled himself into the comfy space to wait for Tony to wake up. He wrapped Tony’s snack up in the napkins, to keep it cool and keep the condensation from getting everywhere, and gave that to Dummy for safe keeping; the bot was very pleased with this and bobbed his head, beeping. There were plenty of soft things left over from Tony’s nesting, scattered about in a general chaos, and Steve made a few into a seat, uncovering one of Tony’s tablets in the process and propping it up against the leg of a chair.
“JARVIS?” Steve said, softly enough to be called a whisper.
JARVIS replied on the tablet screen, rather than aloud. “Yes, Captain?”
“Could you play us a movie? Something Tony can sleep through.”
“I have just the thing. Dummy, behave yourself.”
Something queued up, old enough for the picture to look grainy, but young enough to have colour, and Dummy buzzed happily at the little girl that appeared on screen, then settled in to watch.
Somewhere between Jinx’s well-meant trick with the flight computers and the space-walk, Tony woke up and sleepily tucked his fingers into Steve’s pocket, of all things, but didn’t say anything.
When the end credits rolled up and all the kids in the film were home safe, Steve pulled Tony’s hand out of his pocket and leant over to grab the smoothie.
“Brought you something.” He waggled the drink in front of Tony and raised an eyebrow questioningly.
Tony blinked up at him, fingers shifting against Steve palm. “Din’t mean to sleep…”
“It’s fine; looks like you had a good time.” Steve gestured at the tent around them with the bottle, then pulled the seal off with his teeth and offered it to Tony again. This time, he took it, relinquishing his hold on Steve and sucking on the sports nozzle without sitting up.
“…Pep home yet?” he asked out of the corner of his mouth, eyes closing again.
“Nah. You’ve got a while before we have to be presentable. ‘s only half four.”
Tony cast him a side glance, assessing and surprisingly sharp for someone so sleepy. “SHIELD?”
Steve shrugged and tapped the bottom of the bottle. Tony took another draw on it and made a soft ‘hmmm’ noise after swallowing, visibly pleased. “I had a few meetings, the Thor thing’s nearly sorted out.”
“You can go back to sleep, if you want.”
Tony nodded, a little frown of concentration creasing his forehead for a second, then disappearing again. “Flight of the Navigator.”
“A fine choice, Sir.”
And Steve settled in again with a smile, lying down behind Tony and sharing his pillow, happy to wait until the others got in to do anything but doze.
((The films mentioned are SpaceCamp (1986) and Flight of the Navigator (1986); JARVIS is taking Steve through chronologically.))