“I’m a fucking waste of space. I’m just a stupid kid. I got no sense. Criminal. I’m no fucking use man. I’m nothing. So please. please… Get it into your… you know… Into your bonce. That you killed my friend… I’m Cook.”
Imagine a college au Loki and Tony up to mischief with friends (Bruce is there too, obviously, someone has to keep them in line), and one things leads to another and they’ve gotta skedaddle before the cops show, but before they go someone asks what they should do about the dna evidence they left behind to show that it was them that trashed the lab, and while Loki’s all
Tony’s just like
because seriously nobody’s gonna come searching for dna evidence for who broke into the school to run some lab experiment that blew up in an epic disaster (totally Bruce’s fault as Responsible Adult in charge) and as Tony and Loki start bickering about whether or not this is a bad enough destruction that they need to cover their tracks better Bruce just calmly points out that maybe if Tony and Loki hadn’t been making fuck-me eyes at each other the entire time they would have noticed when things that shouldn’t have been smoking were smoking and Tony just replies that the only smoking thing he had eyes for was Loki
(This jumped the line of prompts and I apologize but I thought of it for…reasons…and had to write it. Smoking, lung problems, oblique references to body horror, winteriron).
Tony’s coughing again, and it’s starting to worry Bucky for real now.
He’s noticed it, how often Tony coughs, or gets short of breath. He sounds like Steve, back in the day, before Erskine and the serum. But Tony doesn’t have asthma and anyways, modern medicine exists now. Tony doesn’t take anything or see anyone or go to any treatments. And every time Bucky asks, he brushes it off.
But right now, he can’t hide this, this doubled-over hacking.
Bucky flings his coat aside, not caring where it lands, and rushes over to Tony. “Tony? Doll? You okay?”
The coughing is taking away his breath now, turning to wheezing, and Bucky wishes his cellphone wasn’t in his jacket pocket, because he thinks he might have to call 911. “Breathe with me,” he says softly. “You’re okay, try for me.”
Practice is the only thing that gets him through it, and eventually Tony’s breathing almost normally again. “I’m fine,” he says, voice raw.
“You seen a doctor?”
“Don’t need one,” Tony hurries to say. “I–just need some fresh air. Be right back.”
Tony rushes out like the room’s on fire, leaving Bucky dazed and bewildered.
“It’s the smoking.”
Bucky jumps half a mile. “Jesus christ. When’d you get here?” He demands, turning to look at Rhodey, who’s looking back at him with hard eyes. Bucky didn’t even hear him come in.
“FRIDAY called me when Tony got bad. I’m glad you can help him, but you could help him by not making it fucking worse,” Rhodey says.
“I…don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bucky confesses.
Rhodey studies him. “Anyone bother to give you a lecture on how bad cigarettes are for your health?”
Bucky shrugs. “The packs says. But I’ve been smokin’ ‘em a long time. Relaxes me. And I can’t get sick like that. So.”
“Know what second-hand smoke is?”
“The chemicals in cigarettes get into the air. Stick to clothes and skin. Every time you smoke near Tony, you’re passing those chemicals onto him. Called second-hand smoke. Causes the same health problems. Most badly hurts children, and the elderly, and those already bodily compromised. And Tony…”
“His lungs,” Bucky finishes.
Rhodey nods. “Yup. Tony’s lungs are shit. Can’t handle the smoke.” He takes a hard look at Bucky and must see how destroyed Bucky is by the news. “It’s not entirely your fault. Tony’s literally missing a chunk of his lungs, breathing’s always gonna be a little harder. And he didn’t exactly treat his body like a temple before…or after…so that isn’t helping either.”
“But I’m making it worse,” Bucky concludes. “I make him choke and hack like that.”
“Yeah,” Rhodey says.
“Why didn’t he say something?” Bucky says, yanking his hand through his hair. “I’ve been living with him for almost two years. Sharing his bed for ten months. Have I been makin’ him sick all this time? Why didn’t he tell me to get lost?”
“It’s Tony,” Rhodey says with a fond eye-roll. “You know him. If he thought it’d work, he’d give you his own left arm if it would make you happy.”
Instead, he just gave his lungs so Bucky could selfishly and unknowingly have his routine. Bucky feels sick, and it’s hard work to get a super soldier to throw up but he thinks he might achieve it.
Well. Nothing else to it, then.
“FRIDAY,” he calls. “I’m gonna take a shower. Send one of those cleaning bots to grab my clothes. All of 'em, not just these. Wash everything. And…could ya look up the best ways to quit smoking?”
“Of course, Sergeant,” FRIDAY says.
Rhodey squeezes his shoulder, looking relieved. “I’m going to check on Tony,” he says. “Come find us as soon as you’re clean. We’ll be having a quiet night. Maybe a movie or something.”
Bucky scrubs his skin and his hair, uses the fragrant shampoos and soaps he normally wouldn’t touch, brushes his teeth for a solid four minutes, and then carefully washes his hands again just to be sure. All his clothes are gone, so he wears his towel downstairs to steal some sweats from Steve–who thankfully never took up smoking, despite the cultural norms of the time, his own lungs not able to handle it when he was young. Then he goes to find Tony and Rhodey so he can–hopefully, if Tony will let him–carefully hold Tony in his arms for the rest of the night, and just feel him breathe.
When Clint had first learned that his boyfriend was secretly a dragon in human disguise and that his life was just one giant urban fantasy novel, he’d naturally freaked, but then he got over it. In fact, learning that Tony was dragon had explained a lot. At first Clint thought Tony liked to collect old computer parts and such to build robots and the like (which Tony did); however, Clint soon realized that collecting such things also soothed Tony. For Tony, just having a old camera from thirty years ago was calming, even if he never used it and it just sat on one of his shelves forever.
Tony being a dragon also explained his possessive tendencies and need for Clint’s attention whenever they were in a crowd together. It also explained why Tony’s mouth tasted like an ashtray even though Clint swore he’d never seen Tony smoke.
And for all the peccadillos that came from Tony being of a different species he was still one of the most loving boyfriends Clint had ever had. He loved going on adventures with Clint, and usually let Clint pick whatever activity they did for their dates. He pampered Clint with gifts, affection, and praise. He liked to feign a devil-may-care attitude at times, but whenever Clint was in distress, Tony was right there by Clint’s side to help.
It was because of all of those good traits that Clint was doing his best understand and come to terms with his current situation, a situation which consisted of him seated in bed, just barely awake, and a large dragon egg in his lap.
“So wait,” Clint rubbed the crud out of his eyes, “what happened while I was asleep? How am I dad now?” Clint was pretty sure he’d heard Tony say that they were adopting a baby dragon. “Is this even legal?”
Tony, who was seated at the foot of the bed, watched Clint and the egg with yellow-slitted eyes. Patches of red scales creeped along the edges of his face. He was just on the edge of taking on his dragon form. “The law doesn’t know about my kind, and I found the egg while I was stretching my wings. The scent of its bearer has faded. It’s been abandoned.”
Clint yawned. He wrapped himself around the egg. It radiated warmth like a heater blanket. Clint hugged the egg to his chest and flopped over onto his side. “Too tired for this. Sleep, then talk later.”
The bed shifted and Tony’s shadow fell over Clint.
Clint squinted open his eyes and grumbled. “What?”
“You don’t have to keep the egg warm. I’ll do it.” Tony looked away and frowned. “I shouldn’t have surprised you like this.”
Clint huffed and closed his eyes. He curled tighter around the egg. “Nope. Mine now. So warm. You can have it when I’m done sleeping.”
“You don’t mind?”
Clint snored in an exaggerated manner.
Tony chuckled then lay down next to Clint. His arm snaked around Clint, pulling Clint and the egg in close so that the egg was nestled between their bodies. Tony kissed Clint’s forehead. “Thanks.”
Clint grunted. “We’re still going to talk about this. I just need more sleep first.”
“Understood.” Tony kissed Clint’s forehead again, and Clint sank into a deep sleep.