previously on tiberius

inspired by pixieknight10805’s post here

this is tragically short because i got sidetracked writing a future scene. woops

“Babe, you should meet me for lunch,” Ty says the following morning when Tony’s getting dressed, his hands sliding under the waistband of Tony’s slacks so he can squeeze handfuls of his ass.

“I told you not to call me that,” Tony says, slipping his tie into place. “And I can’t. I’m having lunch with Rhodey.”

Ty stills. “You didn’t tell me Rhodey was coming,” he says petulantly.

“That’s because I didn’t know,” Tony says and pulls Ty’s hands out of his pants before tucking his shirt back in. He turns to look at Tiberius. “Promise me you’re not gonna get into it with him.”

Ty’s mouth thins. “I’m not the one who—”

Tony cuts him off. “Yeah, but you don’t help. Come on. Please. He’s my best friend.”

“I thought I was your best friend,” Ty says and Tony grimaces. God, why can’t he do anything right?

“You are,” he says. “You know what I meant. Please? He’s only going to be here a few days. I don’t want to fight.”

Tiberius sighs. “I hope you’re giving him this talk, too.”

“Of course,” Tony says, and makes a mental note to remind Rhodey that his relationship is off limits.

“Fine, I promise.”

“Thank you.” Tony presses a kiss to his mouth.

“Just remember how generous I am next time you’re mad at me.”

Tony huffs and kisses him again. “See you tonight?”

“No, production is wrapping up. It will be a late night. Enjoy your time with Rhodey.” Tiberius smacks Tony’s ass before he saunters into the shower.

Tony looks at his watch at a quarter to one and spins around in his chair. “Any last requests before I go, Potts?”

She looks up at him. “Go go or go-to-lunch go?”

“Lunch, I won’t abandon you completely. Rhodey’s in town.”

“Oh,” she says, and her whole demeanor softens. “Rhodey’s visiting?” Her expression turns a little sad before she can get her eyes on her papers again. “Tell him I said hello, would you?”

Tony watches her for a beat, chest aching. God, he misses her.

“You should come.”

She looks up, eyes widening. “Excuse me?”

“You,” Tony repeats, more slowly this time. “You should come with. He’d like to see you.”

“Oh, no, Tony. I couldn’t. I—”

He looks down at his hands, picks at a bit of oil under his thumbnail. “I’d like it, too. If you came.”

It’s silent for a long moment. Then Pepper says softly, “Okay. I’d like that, too.”

Tony’s pleased with himself when Rhodey’s face splits into a grin at the sight of her, Pepper’s face warming with the genuine kind of smile he hasn’t seen in months, almost relieved.

“It’s so good to see you,” she says and Rhodey hugs her tight.

“You too.”

For the first time in a long time, everything feels like normal. He gets to hear Pepper laugh and watch her put her face in her hand, muttering, “Oh god.” He gets to see Rhodey smiling and leaned back in his chair like there’s nothing in the world he’d rather be doing. It’s perfect. Everything is perfect.

“Have you met these new friends of his?” Rhodey asks Pepper at one point and she sips at her drink, shakes her head.

“No, no, I know he gave someone named Steve his private line—”

“Wow,” Rhodey says, staring at him and Tony laughs.

“What? I’m a grown adult. I can give away my phone number to random strangers if I want.”

“Yes, and normally when you do that, I end up having to get you a new phone entirely,” Pepper says.

“Well, I met them,” Rhodey says and Pepper perks up.

“Oh? What are they like?”

“Be nice,” Tony warns Rhodey.

“Am I ever anything but?” Rhodey replies with mock-affront. Then to Pepper he says, like he’s reassuring her, “They seem like nice people.”

Pepper looks at Tony. “How many of them are there?”

“A few, you know, a handful—”

“Eight, that were there last night. Who knows if there are others.”

“Oh my god!” Pepper exclaims, staring at Tony. “Eight people? Did you befriend an entire group?”

Tony can’t help it, he starts laughing again. “I don’t know, I guess so. Steve has a lot of friends.”

“He seems like a decent guy,” Rhodey says agreeably. He smirks at Pepper. “Got pissed at me because I got JARVIS to tell me where he was without his permission. Said—what was it he said, Tones?”

“Oh my god, no, I am not helping you,” Tony says; he’s still laughing.

“Oh, he says, ‘I guess I’m old fashioned; it just seems to me if Tony wanted you to know where he was, he’d tell you you if you asked.'”

“He did?” Pepper says. “Oh, Tony you have to keep him.”

“That’s what I’m trying to do!” Tony says. “Not that General Grumpy over here made it that easy, he was giving them the third-degree last night.”

“Well, excuse me, your judgment in character is a little lacking.”

“People don’t make sense,” Tony says, waving it off. “Machines make sense.”

“You can’t be friends with a machine, Tony,” Pepper says, watching him with fond exasperation.

“Hey, that’s offensive to DUM-E.”

Pepper holds her hands up in surrender, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.

“Hey, Tones,” Rhodey says, leaning forward over the table, “do you think your friends would want to hang out again tonight?”

Tony blinks at him in surprise. “What, seriously?”

“Yeah,” he says. “I want to get to know them a little better.”

“Oh, I see. You just want to scope them out some more.”

Rhodey grins, unrepentant. “Good intel is important.”

“I dunno, I can text Steve and find out.”

“Yeah, you do that,” Rhodey says.