((A new quick piece for New Years! It is going to be silly. This is going to be RIDICULOUSLY SILLY. I don’t want to hear it if you think it’s just that. 8)
Further warnings: There is some alcohol use here! This will result in some impaired judgement and potentially sexy times! All sexy times will be between established partners who would likely have been participating in sexy times with or without the alcohol (shut up, Clint, you would so), but this is impaired judgement. Please use caution if such things bother you!))
“Is this sparkling cider?”
Tony Stark stared suspiciously at his glass, eyes narrowed, lips pursed. The glass had no answers to bestow, so he switched his gaze to Thor, who gave him a shrug. He seemed apologetic, but there was amusement glinting in his eyes. “Of a sort,” he said. “Tis tasty.”
“Tis non-alcoholic,” Tony said. “Tasty is one thing. Non-alcoholic is the anti-tasty. Let’s, let’s not do this.” He held the crystal goblet towards Thor, the stem pinched between his thumb and his forefinger. “You spend about half of your waking hours bragging about Asgardian booze, and you give me apple juice with bubbles? Why would you give me the kiddie drink?”
“It is not a drink for children,” Thor said, his brows drawing tight together as he took the glass..
“Well, I should-”
“Our children drink wine,” Thor said, and Tony decided that he was done with this conversation.
“Okay, you know what? I’ll find my own drink, there are enough giant oaken barrels scattered around, at least a few of them must have alcohol.” With a pleasant little wave of his hand, Tony set off across the Asgardian court.
“Most of them do,” Thor said, ignoring the very clear social cues and falling into step with Tony. He was in full regalia, and Tony took a step to the side because man, that was a hell of a lot of cape. “But it was agreed that you should not drink tonight.”
“No. No, it was agreed that I would not get DRUNK tonight,” Tony said. “Big difference. I can drink without getting plastered. I’m not in college any more, I can pull that off, really.” Thor was giving him a look, and Tony frowned. “Don’t give me that, that face. I am not going to create an international incident.”
Steve had been very, very insistent that they not create an international incident. Tony was trying not to take that personally. It was harder then it should’ve been.
Consequently, he was currently as far away from Steve as he could get, and that was not childish, that was just him being rational and adult and avoiding something that would result in a screaming argument in the middle of a public appearance. It was certainly easy enough to avoid Steve, it was a big room and there were about a thousand Asgardians and just one Steve, and in halls of marble and gold and swathes of velvet and silk, one rather oversized human could blend right in.
Which wasn’t to say that Tony didn’t know exactly where Steve was right now.
“Look, if I can’t drink, I want food,” Tony said, heading for one of the many, many buffet tables that had been set up around the room. “I have met, I have shaken hands, I have remained sober, I have not impregnated anyone, successful international or intergalactic interaction! I’m gonna go find a turkey leg or meat on a stick, pretend I’m at a Ren faire where everyone is taking their roleplaying really seriously, and just wait for this to be over.”
Thor clapped him on the shoulder with a bellow of a laugh, causing Tony to stumble forward a few steps, dress shoes sliding on the polished marble floors. “Eat, and make merry with your newest comrades,” Thor said, and it said a lot about Thor that he was not making a joke.
Tony opened his mouth, and closed it. Not worth it. Not at all. “Yeah. Great. Good idea.”
“And the goat got off the ladder!”
Tony choked into his glass of apple juice. “You are kidding me,” he accused Fandral. Fandral shook his head, because he was laughing too hard to form words. “You are fucking making this up, there is no way that Thor would-”
Fandral grabbed his shoulders, giving him a slight shake. “I swear it is true! Ask Thor, he’ll tell you himself!”
Tony folded forward, laughing so hard that he was crying. It took him an embarrassingly long time to get a hold of himself. “Oh, my God, I do not believe a word of that. It is a good story, but you, you lost me with the Harpies, no, I do not believe you, you are a liar, my good sir.”
Fandral was still laughing, his cheeks red, his eyes dancing. “Ask Volstagg!”
“Oh, please, Volstagg is clearly enjoying messing with the humans,” Tony pointed out. “He tried to bench press Clint. I’ll ask Hogun. He seems reliable.”
“More fool you, he’s anything but,” Fandral said.
“Listen, if you think I’m going to-” Tony jumped as a pair of arms wrapped around his waist from behind, and a solid, familiar weight settled against his back. He tipped his head back over his shoulder. “Hey,” he said, grinning at Steve. Not that he minded, but Steve was usually a little more discreet with his displays of affection when they were ‘on duty.’ “How’s the party treating you, Cap?” He covered one of Steve’s hands with his own, surprised when Steve’s fingers tightened.
“Okay,” Steve said, staring at Fandral, who grinned at him.
“Fandral was telling me horrific lies about Thor, a goat, and a series of dresses that may or may not have been sized for an Asgardian of his stature,” Tony said, leaning back into Steve’s body. It had been a long night, and it seemed like the party was still going. Thor had warned them that Asgardian parties could go on for days, but Tony had long since lost track of time.
“All of it true, I swear on my honor,” Fandral said.
“Wow, you are just-” Tony started, and then Steve punched Fandral in the face.
For an instant, Tony just stood there, completely confused about what had just happened. Fandral, who’d been knocked back into a nearby buffet table, knocking plates and food in all directions, just sat there, blinking, a look of bemused confusion on his face. He reached up and touched his nose.
“What the fuck just happened?” Tony asked no one in particular, but since everyone in the room had frozen, everyone got to hear him sounding like a moron. “Steve, what-”
That was as far as he got before Fandral let out a hoot of laughter and flung a plate of delicate and delicious pastries in Steve’s direction. “A mighty blow!” he howled, scrambling to his feet, “yet not enough. Have at you, Captain!”
“No, no, NO!” Tony yelled, trying to get between them, his hands up and his palms flat. “No, don’t-” Steve lifted him off his feet and set him to the side and caught Fandral in mid-rush. The two of them crashed to the floor with enough force to shake the marble, and there was a roar from somewhere, somewhere behind Tony, and he was not sure what was going on, but he pivoted on one foot, braced for anything.
The ham hock that hit him on the side of the head, he wasn’t really expecting that.
In his defense, he thought as he went down right before someone tossed a table into the wall, life had not prepared him for flying pigs.
As it turned out, Asgard was very forgiving of people who started brawls during diplomatic gatherings. As long as it was a good brawl. A brawl that was still, in the most technical sense, going on, but the humans had been politely shuffled off into a lovely room full of couches and subdued lighting and plenty of space to stretch out and do a quick debrief. Or at least try to do a debrief. With limited information and a lot of adrenaline, it wasn’t going well.
Which never even slowed Coulson down.
“Explain this again,” he said. He had miraculously escaped the chaos, his black suit not showing so much as a bit of lint, his dress shoes still at a mirror shine. But his hair was disordered, and his tie was crooked; for Coulson, that counted as being disheveled.
“I don’t have an explanation,” Tony snapped. “I have nothing. I was standing there, I was talking to Fandral, Steve came over, Steve punched Fandral in the face. Then, boom. Chaos.” He scraped the remains of a fruit tart out of his hair. “Then I lost a perfectly good suit.”
“What happened to your jacket?” Clint asked, nursing a crystal goblet of amber liquid. He had a black eye, a split lip, and he was missing a big chunk of his shirt and one shoe.
“I used it to put out the fire on the balcony,” Tony said. “Then threw it in the punch bowl.”
“That was the best fucking party ever,” Darcy said from the couch. She was sprawled out with her head in Jane’s lap. Her glasses were crooked, her hair was a mess, and she was wearing a man’s dress shirt over the top of her dress. Strapless, as it turned out, was not the best choice for this party. She handed Jane her cup, who refilled it from the pitcher on the counter. Jane was grinning, her cheeks pink and her hair held in a bun with a length of ribbon. She was pretty much untouched, but there were stains down the front of her red and silver dress and she was missing a glove.
Coulson gave her a basilisk stare. “Ms. Lewis, I’m glad you enjoyed yourself, but since this was supposed to be a diplomatic undertaking, you’ve made a mess of our stated purpose.”
“I didn’t, Cap did,” she pointed out. “And I’d like to point out that I scored a couple of direct hits, I’m wearing Bruce’s shirt, and got three, count ‘em, three marriage proposals.” She thrust her fist in the air. “And only ONE of them came after I kinda ripped my top, so two of them were purely for my fightin’ skills.” She tipped her head back. “By the way, thanks for the shirt, Bruce.”
“Glad I could help,” he said, shaking his head. He was still wearing his tie, and with a distinct lack of shirt, it was pretty comical.
“The Chippendales look works for you, Bruce,” Tony said, grinning at him. “But you want a shirt or something?”
“That’d be nice. I was offered a cape, but I thought that would just make the situation weirder.”
“That would be a unique look,” Natasha agreed. The slit in the side of her skirt had started out reaching her knee, it was now all the way up to her hip, and her high heels were discarded beside the chair, an array of weaponry that she’d taken off of various fighters piled in front of her. Tony got the impression that she could’ve raised an army tonight if she’d had the impulse towards world domination.
“This is a disaster,” Coulson said, rubbing his forehead with tense fingers.
“My brothers!” Thor was grinning like a fiend as he strode into the room. His cape was gone, his armor battered and dented, Mjolnir hanging at his side as he came in. “This is a gathering that will go down in our histories!” He clapped Coulson on the back with enough force to knock him forward in his seat. “You have shown yourself to be admirable in conduct and combat!”
“We started a food fight slash riot,” Tony pointed out.
“My good mother admires your aim,” Thor said, flinging himself down on the couch next to Jane. He leaned in to give her a quick kiss, but he was Thor and she was Jane and it didn’t end up being quick.
“And I admire your mom’s sword arm. Seriously. That woman has a swing that could put her on the Yankees’ starting roster. So on the positive side,” Tony said, “we have not started a war with Asgard, so great. Can we go home now?”
“No,” Coulson said. “Thor?” Everyone waited, and Coulson sighed. “Thor!”
Thor raised his head and grinned at the room. Jane struggled to catch her breath. “Aye?”
“Did Fandral say what started the fight?” Coulson asked.
“He did not know. He said merely that the good Captain had a solid, swift punch.” Thor shrugged. “What does Steve say to the matter?”
“He hasn’t said anything,” Tony said, sighing.
Everyone looked at Steve, who was staring at the floor, his face set in grim lines, his eyes narrowed, his shoulders hunched. He’d lost his jacket and his shirt was untucked under his perfectly tailored vest, and he’d lost a big chunk of one pantleg, Tony still didn’t know how he’d managed that.
It was Natasha who rolled to her feet, coming around to crouch in front of him. “Cap?” she said, reaching out. Her nail polish was chipped, and there was a napkin wrapped around her palm, but she stroked Steve’s cheek with steady fingers. “What happened? Are you all right?” Steve muttered something, and she leaned in. “What?”
“He was flirting with Tony,” Steve ground out, and just like that, every eye was on Tony.
Tony blinked at them. “What?”
“He was… Flirty,” Steve said, his voice raw. “And he kept TOUCHING you.”
“Uh,” Tony said, because what the hell was he supposed to say to that?
“Fandral touches everyone,” Thor said, grinning. “He hugged you as well, when we first arrived, do you not recall?”
Steve slumped lower in his chair, his face set in petulant lines. Natasha looked at Tony and tipped her head in Steve’s direction. Tony spread his hands the best pantomime of ‘what the fuck am I supposed to do’ he’d ever managed. Judging by the way her eyes narrowed, she wasn’t impressed by his effort. Tony took a deep breath. “Uh, Steve? Really. We were just talking, he wasn’t FLIRTING flirting, he wasn’t making a pass or anything, believe me, I recognize a pass, and talking about goats does not count. Not by a long shot and-” He stopped. “Wait. Wait. You punched him because you were JEALOUS?”
“Is that really so out of the question, Stark?” Clint asked, propping a foot on the wall.
“For Steven Rogers to use physical violence in a social situation because he lost control of his emotions?” Tony asked.
“Well, fuck, that is out of the question,” Clint said. He set his cup aside and came to his feet. “Nat?”
She was running her fingers over his forehead, down his neck, lingering on his pulse point. “He doesn’t feel feverish.” She leaned in. “Pupils are normal.”
“I’m fine,” Steve muttered, folding his arms.
Tony pulled his phone out and aimed it in Steve’s direction, tapping the clear interface. “Jarvis? Quick scan?”
“I’m fine!” Steve said, surging to his feet, and it said volumes about how much the team trusted him that no one so much as took a step back. Steve stood there, breathing hard, swaying, and then said, “Maybe not so much,” right as he pitched forward.
Tony grabbed one arm and Natasha lunged for the other, and they didn’t really keep him upright, but they slowed his groundward descent a bit. “What the FUCK?” Tony asked, as Steve slumped forward. Tony took the brunt of his weight, and threw his arms around Steve’s chest purely in a defensive move. “Are you drunk?”
“Oh,” said Thor, and Tony glared in that direction as Steve nuzzled at his throat.
“Oh, what ‘oh?’”
“He might be,” Thor said, wincing. “He did partake in the mead.”
“But he doesn’t get drunk,” Coulson said, as he and Thor tried to muscle Steve back towards his seat. Since Steve had decided that Tony was something worth holding onto, literally, in this instance, Tony went along for the ride. “Does he?”
“He says he doesn’t.” Tony tried to ignore the fact that he was in Steve’s lap, with Steve’s face buried in his neck and it was really, really hard to ignore that. He sucked in a deep breath. “Steve? Steve, no, okay, we’re just going to-” He gave up and let Steve kiss him.
In the background, he could hear the rest of the team arguing about the situation, and it didn’t seem all that important until Clint announced, “Pan Galactic Gargle blaster.”
Tony wrenched his lips away from Steve’s, and Steve didn’t seem to care, he just lipped his way down Tony’s neck. “What?” Tony asked, drawing their attention.
“Pan Galactic Gargle blaster,” Clint repeated. “Look, the reason why he doesn’t get drunk is because his metabolism is in overdrive, right? So his system churns through the alcohol before it has a chance to affect him. But what if something hit him hard enough to overwhelm his metabolism?” He shrugged. “’A slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick just hit him upside the head.’”
“I do not understand,” Thor started.
“Don’t pay any attention to Clint,” Natasha said. “You gave Steve mead. Wouldn’t you know if he was drunk?”
“He seemed fine, possibly it affects humans in a different way than it does Asgardians.” Thor shrugged. “For us, it is a slow process, to be intoxicated on good mead. He had two glasses in my presence, and seemed none the worse for it. Then, without warning, he simply walked off.”
“So the effects hit him suddenly,” Tony said. “And are lingering, it would appear by the fact that he is giving me a hickey right now, and usually he gets a little embarrassed just saying the word hickey.” Tony stroked Steve’s hair, refusing to be embarrassed by this, for God’s sake, he’d done far worse in public, and he was mostly clothed right now and Steve was apparently really enjoying his collarbone.
“Maybe he’s not drunk, maybe he’s just a vampire,” Clint said.
“Keeps him out of trouble.” Tony gave him a tight smile, but maybe it was the post fight adrenaline, but Clint was flushed and laughing, his balance a little off as he made his way back to the couch. Tony narrowed his eyes, because Jane was unaccountably quiet and Darcy was giggling, and Natasha was a bit more languid than he would expect. She also hadn’t taken any pictures of this, so that was odd. “Thor, tell me you only gave Steve mead.”
“Of course, it would be foolish to allow any of the rest of you to drink it.”
“Wouldn’t he notice it?” Bruce asked, and there was a distinctly red cast to his nose, and he was blinking a lot. “The taste of alcohol, I mean.”
“It tastes little like Midgardian alcohol, truth be told. It is mild and sweet, with a bite on the tongue, crisp and bright at the end. It tastes like warm honey and spices and apples.”
There was a beat of silence.
“Like, this stuff?” Darcy held up her goblet. “This stuff that was left in a giant pitcher in the room where we were sent to recuperate?”
Tony glanced around the room. “The stuff all of you were drinking?” he asked. “Everyone. But me. Are you telling me I am the only sober person in this room?”
“Fuck me,” Coulson said. He seemed as shocked as everyone else that he’d said it aloud.
“Sure,” Clint said, grinning as he fumbled at the buttons of his shirt.
“No!” Tony snapped. “No. Absolutely not. Thor, I need a fast track shot home, and I need it now. We are not going to do this, not here, I want us back at the tower where I can lock people in their rooms and do not have to-” He grabbed Steve’s wrist as fingers tried to slip beneath the waist of his dress trousers. “Okay. No. Thor! Now, we are getting out of here now!”
Bruce stood up. Then he hulked out. And passed out, crashing to the floor with a shuddering crash that shook the building. As he started to snore, Tony struggled to breathe.
“Oh, this is going to go so badly.”