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The Star-Spangled Fallacy (5+1)

Chapter Text

(1)

“Fuck!” Clint swore softly as he tried desperately to juggle the three plates containing his breakfast. “Fuck fuck fuck fuck-”

Steve, who was watching the situation unfold from the nearby kitchen table, set down his toast and leaned over to take the plate balanced precariously on Clint’s forearm.

“Thank you so much,” Clint sighed, and placed his two plates onto the table. He sank down into the chair opposite Steve. “You saved my life there. Heck, you saved my pancakes, which is better than my life. Man, I could kiss you.”

Steve raised an eyebrow. “How about five dollars to the swear jar instead?”

Clint froze with a forkful of scrambled eggs halfway to his mouth.

What? ” He whined, letting his fork fall to his plate with a clatter. “Really? I was in a- a difficult situation, okay, surely you can-”

He deflated suddenly and let his head fall backwards.

“Oh, come on, bro, not the puppy dog eyes,” he complained to the ceiling. “You can’t just-” He glanced down for a moment and met Steve’s wide blue eyes. Clint let out a defeated groan.

“Fine, you manipulative fu-” Clint’s eyes widened and he redirected hastily. “-fun. Fun-loving nonagenarian, that’s what I was saying. Yes.”

Clint extracted a five-dollar bill from the back pocket of his jeans and balled it up. He tossed it into the large glass jar sitting on the counter ten feet away just as Tony walked into the kitchen.

“‘Evening, guys,” Tony said, and then did a double take at the sight of the sun shining through the floor-to-ceiling windows. “Or not. Shit, what time is it?”

“Eight,” Steve answered, and then said, “Swear jar.”

Tony dropped a bill into the jar on his way to the coffee machine without a complaint.

“This is all your fault,” Clint grumbled.

“I was joking ,” Tony said defensively as he jabbed at a button on the new-and-improved Stark coffeemaker that he had spent days tinkering on. The rest of the team warily avoided it in case it went boom like the previous one had. “I didn’t think he’d actually start a swear jar .”

And that was how it had all started- Tony swore loudly during a battle, Steve frowned, and Tony jokingly suggested a swear jar if he was getting so worked up about it. Steve had gotten a glint in his eye, and Sam had said “Oh no ” while the rest of the team laughed, because Sam was the only sensible one. The laughing had stopped pretty quickly, about a week into the establishment of the swear jar, when Steve had deprived each of them by at least fifty dollars.

Chapter Text

(2)

“Do you have any dope at all?” Captain America demanded, frustration filling his voice.

There was silence over the comms.

“Cap, maybe focus on killing robots right now,” Tony said, blasting said robots from the air. “You can get your fix later, although I think that’s kind of illegal.”

“No, what?” Steve sounded confused. “I mean, I’m trying to kill them, but they just keep getting back up! I need some dope on their weak spots!”

“Oh,” Clint said suddenly. “Is dope a ‘40s slang thing, Cap? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure it means something different now.”

“Information!” Steve said impatiently. He bashed a mangled robot on the head ten times before it finally fell. “I need-” he vaulted over a car and kicked a robot in the chest “-more information on how to kill these things more efficiently!”

“Ah,” Tony said. “That makes a lot more sense.”

“While I’m sure we’re all grateful that Captain America isn’t a junkie,” Natasha said drily, sounding out of breath, “I could really use that info, Iron Man.”

“Copy that, Widow,” Tony said, and the incident was forgotten.

-

“Tony, you have to stop doing this,” Bruce said wearily, pinching the bridge of his nose. The headline on the TV in front of him blared “IRON MAN MAKES SHOCKING STATEMENT”. The volume was muted, but the footage clearly showed Tony gesticulating wildly at a reporter who looked like she had just hit pay dirt. The press conference had been a disaster. Bruce had elected not to attend; he didn’t want to risk the Hulk making an appearance in such a crowded venue.

“Stop doing what?” Tony asked breezily as he swept out of the elevator. He made a beeline for the large glass bowl of muffins on the countertop.

“Tony, this is serious,” Steve said irritably, crossing his arms. Tony ignored him in favor of stuffing a chocolate chip muffin into his mouth. “Your boners bring down the reputation of the entire team.”

Tony froze mid-chew and set down the remains of his muffin.

“Wha?” He said around a full mouth. A few stray crumbs escaped onto the floor. He swallowed. “Sorry, my what ?”

“Well, I missed that part,” Clint announced to the silent room. He turned to Natasha. “Did you-”

“No,” she said, quirking an eyebrow.

“What is a boner?” Thor asked perplexedly.

-

“Damn, that’s good,” Sam said one day during the Avengers’ weekly movie night. He reached over to drop a quarter in the swear jar. “How do you make it look so realistic?”

Steve looked up from his sketch of Princess Leia firing a blaster and smirked. “Well, it’s simple. You gotta bone the subject for a while first, and-”

Then three things happened simultaneously. One: on-screen, Darth Vader said, “I have you now.”. Two: Tony did a spit-take, spewing his thousand-dollar scotch all over the pristine white rug. Three: Clint started choking on his ill-timed mouthful of popcorn, prompting Natasha to whack him on the back, which only served to make it worse (although that may have been her intention).

“Could you-” Sam said weakly amidst the chaos that Steve had unwittingly (?) caused, “Could you maybe clarify?”

“Um,” Steve said bemusedly, “I only said that you have to bone the subject. It just really helps you understand all the parts of what you're drawing and makes the experience more intimate.”

“You're doing this on purpose!” Tony shouted, jabbing an accusing finger in Steve's direction.

Wanda, who had been sitting silently through this entire ordeal, caught Steve's eye and squinted suspiciously at him. His mouth curved into a slight smirk, and he winked discreetly at her. She sighed and rolled her eyes, but when she turned back to the movie, her lips were curved with a barely suppressed smile.

Chapter Text

The army of invincible robots crumpled to the ground in unison, now no more than a bunch of glorified hunks of scrap metal. Once their main power source had been located, Wanda made easy work of destroying them. Her triumphant “ Ha! ” filtered through the comms. Tony whooped, the sound a mechanical whir through his helmet.

“Wanda, I could kiss you!” he declared emphatically as his faceplate slid back to reveal his battered face.

“Please don’t.”

“Another triumphant endeavor, my comrades!” Thor proclaimed. His hair was askew and an impressive bruise was blooming on his left cheek, but he was beaming like a madman. His face brightened suddenly and he held up a gauntlet-clad fist.

“Fist me, Man of Iron!” he said loudly, a proud expression on his face.

Tony blanched and actually staggered back a few paces.

Steve, who was rounding the street corner to their position, had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from sniggering.

“C’mon, Tony, fist him,” Steve said amicably once he was within earshot. “Aren’t you glad we won?”

Tony scowled at him. “I know what you’re playing at, Captain. You may be fooling everyone else, but you can’t fool me.”

He smiled tightly at Thor and said firmly, “Sorry, Thor, but I’m afraid our dear Captain has taken advantage of your foreign status. Please, never ask anyone to fist you- unless, of course, you’re getting the right signals, y’know… Which. You don’t. Scratch that. Uh-”

“Well, explain it to me, then,” Thor interrupted politely. “What is fisting?”

Tony gaped and floundered for a few moments, looking remarkably like a fish out of water. He was saved when his eyes snagged on an approaching Bruce, who had a pink bathrobe wrapped around him as he picked his way unsteadily through the rubble-strewn street.

“Oh look, it’s Bruce,” Tony said wildly, lurching forward. “My, he looks dishevelled, I should probably go help- no! You can stay here, rest your, uh, muscles, I’m sure they need some time to recharge-”

“Of course!” Thor said agreeably. “You may explain it to me during our team dinner, then!”

Tony flinched, opened his mouth, and snapped it shut again as he apparently decided against speaking. He nodded stiffly, motioned vaguely towards Bruce, and clunked away.

Steve couldn’t help the tiny smirk that flitted across his face.

Good work, he mouthed at Thor.

Thor winked conspiratorially back at him.