I just want to write more anxious!Tony and explore his mental illness more and I want to add sensory-overload and people actually fucking supporting him instead of the clusterfuck that is the MCU. I’m gonna throw this snippet at you and see what happens.
Edit: I just read up on Sensory Processing Disorder and EVERYTHING DESCRIBES TONY WHAT THE FUCK I’M CONSIDERING IT CANON.
“These are time-sensitive,” Pepper said, opening the folder so he could see the contracts inside. She watched Tony’s eyes track over the paper before she turned to the next page for him. “Can I leave these with you if I spread them out on the desk?”
“…Yes,” Tony decided.
“Alright.” She spread the pages out over his desk. “I need to go send some faxes. Will you be okay?”
Tony stared at the pages. “…Yes.”
Pepper turned to leave, pausing at the door. “If you have trouble, just call me.”
“I will,” Tony said, nodding. He waited for her to leave before he stuck his tongue out at the paperwork.
He read everything over and decided they were all worth signing. Unfortunate. He grabbed a pen, hand hovering over the first contract, then let out a frustrated sound and began pacing his office.
Pepper found him still pacing. “Do you need me to hold your hand?”
“No,” Tony answered immediately. “I can do it!”
“I never said you couldn’t do it. I asked if you wanted me to hold your hand.”
“Well I don’t!” Tony snapped, turning, hand hovering over the contract. After a moment, he finally pressed pen to paper, carefully keeping his hand above it.
Pepper reached out to put a hand on the paper so it wouldn’t move when he signed it. “Where are your gloves?”
“They’re–I was using them–I don’t know,” he admitted, ashamed.
“That’s fine,” she said, not accusing. “I’ll make you another pair.”
“I’m sorry,” he said softly.
Pepper reached toward him, hand hovering over his shoulder for a moment before she actually set it down. “It’s fine. I just wish you’d told me.” She began collecting the contracts before he could say anything else. “It’s fine. I’ll make them while I catch up on Desperate Housewives.”
Tony frowned, uncertain. “Okay.”
“Right? Okay.” She smiled at him. “I think we’re done here for the day.”
Tony blinked at her, then hesitantly walked around his desk, just waiting for her to say ‘oh, I forgot!’ When she didn’t, he managed an awkward but sincere smile and walked past her.
Pepper looked through the contracts one last time, frowning a little. She wished she could forge his signature.
Natalie tried to hand him a sheaf of papers.
Tony skittered away, tugging his pocket square from his jacket and beginning to rub it with his thumbs anxiously. “No thank you.”
Natalie stared at him, looking the closest to confused that he’d ever seen her. “That… that wasn’t a request.”
“I’ll take those,” Pepper said pleasantly, taking the sheaf of papers from her hands. She looked through them. “Patent paperwork.”
“Oh,” Tony said, still rubbing his pocket square.
“Not necessarily as time-sensitive, but you definitely need to sign them.”
Pepper glanced up at him. “It’s not inappropriate to be startled, Tony.” She looked at Natasha. “Tony needs to know you’re there, and he doesn’t like to be handed things.” She gave Natalie a quietly dangerous look, daring her to say something.
“…I can do that,” Natalie said after a moment. She noticed Tony’s shoulders relaxing and didn’t raise an eyebrow, instead adding, “Is there anything else I need to know?”
“Don’t be afraid to tell Tony if he’s standing too close to you,” Pepper answered immediately, then turned to raise an eyebrow at Tony.
Tony flushed and looked down at his feet. “Don’t wear strong perfume. Or. Uh. Perfume at all? Um, and I don’t like to stand in large groups. And I–when I request a certain food, I’m not–I need that food. I’m not–I’m not picky. It’s the texture.”
“The… texture,” Natalie repeated slowly, eyes flicking down to the silk pocket square in his hands. “Okay. I can work with that.”
“And he has special gloves if you have any time-sensitive paperwork,” Pepper added.
“Okay,” Natalie said again, nodding. “I can make this work.” She couldn’t help but swallow thickly when Tony looked incredibly grateful, and she wondered how many times his needs had been ignored.
Natasha felt awful when she stuck him in the neck. She felt worse when he looked up at her, betrayed, and visibly closed off.
“You said I was a narcissist,” Tony said accusingly.
Natasha did not flinch, but only because she’d been trained not to. “How did you get in my room?”
“A textbook narcissist, even.”
“…I decided,” she said after a moment of thought. “That SHIELD didn’t need to know about your disorder.”
Tony stared at her for a long moment. “So you lied instead.”
“I wouldn’t have been approved for this initiative anyway, would I? Because I’m–I’m a mess?”
Natasha opened her mouth, then shut it again, tilting her head thoughtfully. “…You function,” she finally decided on. “Better than most people in your position would. And you seem to do well in the suit when you’re not dying. I wrote that evaluation under certain circumstances, and I wrote it to say the things people wanted to hear. How much it is true or false now doesn’t matter.”
Tony fidgeted with his cuff links, swaying a little where he stood. “…I’m still mad,” he finally decided.
“I’m leaving now.”
“Do you need me to walk you out of the building?”
Tony’s fidgeting grew. “…What’s the alarm for?”
Natasha could not hear an alarm, but she believed him. “I have no idea,” she admitted honestly. “I have earplugs. Would you like them?”
“…Yes,” he answered meekly.
Natasha didn’t say he was weak, because he wasn’t. And she didn’t say he could do better, because he was already doing his best. Instead she set the earplugs on her bedside table and let him pick them up, then waited for him to put them in before she led him out of her apartment, not saying a word when his arm occasionally brushed hers.
“I need,” Tony began, then stopped, clutching his sleeves.
Jim sat up with a snort, still somewhat bleary-eyed. “What? What do you need?”
“I didn’t mean to wake you,” Tony said guiltily.
“I was on the couch, it’s fine.” Jim rubbed his eyes before looking up at him. “What do you need?”
Tony looked down at his feet. “I’m tired. …’nd sad.”
“Aw, Tones,” Jim cooed, immediately holding his arms out. “C’mere.”
Tony shuffled around him, anxious, then held out a robe. “Here.”
Jim pulled the robe on over his arms, spreading the rest of it over his body, then held his arms out again. The brunet touched the robe cautiously, and only then crawled into his lap. “I’m glad you know you can come to me, Tones. Wanna sleep?”
“It’s too loud,” Tony admitted, curling his fingers in the soft material of the robe.
“In your head, or out?”
“Okay,” Jim said, because he could work with that. “You got your earplugs in?”
He began rubbing a soothing hand up and down Tony’s spine. “Great. I’m gonna recite pi as far as I can and if you’re not asleep by then I’m gonna start reciting every component of an F-16′s motor.”
Tony was asleep just after the one hundred and forty-third number of pi. Jim was glad, because he’d only memorized the first one hundred and fifty.