Title: Sweaty Workmen
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Avengers (MCU)
Rating: T / FRT
Characters: Pepper Potts, Steve Rogers (Captain America), Tony Stark (Iron Man), Thor
Pairing: Pepper/Tony (implied)
Summary: It’s a hot day, the AC is turned off in the common floor living room, and there are two blond superheroes building a bookcase. When Tony wanders by, he doesn’t immediately get it – and then he does.
Written for: My ever-so-lovely beta, Mythra!
Fills a square on my card on Cotton Candy Bingo’s round 2 (FREE SPACE square, using prompt: “Building/Creating something”).
Disclaimer: Iron Man, Avengers and Marvel Cinematic Universe, including characters and everything else, belong to Marvel, Marvel Studios, Jon Favreau, Joss Whedon, Shane Black, Kenneth Branagh, Joe Johnston, Alan Taylor, Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. In short: I own nothing; this is pure fiction created to entertain likeminded fans for no profit whatsoever.
Beta: Mythra (mythras-fire)
About Sweaty Workmen: This little story exists to distract/aid ladies through their monthly hormonal upsets and cravings (written with one special lady in mind; I’m looking at you, M); this is mental eye-candy, although Tony’s lack of understanding makes things a bit tricky. Enjoy.
Story and status: Below you see the writing process of the story. If there is no text after the title, then it is finished and checked. Possible updates shall be marked after the title.
The package arrives at midday on a Wednesday; Tony sees it as he comes back from an early meeting, the large parcel leaning against a wall near the private elevator. He barely has time to walk over to it – to determine whether it may actually be a safety hazard – before Thor and Steve swoop in, approaching the parcel like it belongs to them.
Knowing better than to ask, Tony steps into the elevator and heads up.
Whether the blonds take the stairs with their heavy-looking parcel or wait for the elevator to come back down, he doesn’t know.
- - -
The next time Tony grows aware of the continued presence of the large parcel in the Tower, he is on his way to get coffee before getting caught up on work in his workshop. Instead of getting the coffee in his workshop, which would be fine for his needs, he decides to give socializing a chance and goes up to the common floor instead, knowing there is often at least one of the Avengers present.
As the living room comes into view, a frown works its way onto his face: there is something profoundly wrong with the picture he’s seeing.
The large room is bathed in sunlight, to the point that it is raising the temperature in the room. Tony knows it’s going to be one of those days he’s happy to be in a climate-controlled environment, seeing as the rest of Manhattan is suffering from sweltering heat. However, the living room seems to be immune to the efforts of the rest of the Tower’s AC system, and Tony opens his mouth to ask J.A.R.V.I.S. to run a full diagnostic on possible issues – right as Pepper appears and something just clicks.
In the middle of the open space, Steve and Thor have opened the large parcel and are arranging pieces on the floor. At first glance it looks like a large book case or similar structure. Pepper hovers nearby, watching, and smiles when Thor picks something up from between two shelf pieces and hands it to her: a thin stack of papers. Instructions, perhaps.
Steve and Thor finish laying out the pieces and Pepper unfolds what definitely is an instructions manual, showing them the first page.
What Tony realizes, in the next few minutes, is that the bookcase is large and heavy, made of old antique wood that Pepper likes amongst all of Tony’s lean, modern lines. It is not your average IKEA furniture, and Tony notes Steve and Thor are taking care handling the heavy pieces, even though their strength makes it look relatively effortless.
Over the next fifteen minutes, the temperature in the room seems to rise as the sun slowly moves across the sky. The AC doesn’t kick in, no one opens any windows – not that it would do much good – and Steve and Thor actually look like they’re feeling a bit hot.
When the two blonds have wiped their foreheads often enough, they get up for a drink of water – bottles delivered straight from the fridge by Pepper. Thor uses the pause to tie back his hair with a hairband that might actually be his girlfriend’s to begin with, then removes his t-shirt. Steve gives him a look, Thor shrugs, and then Steve follows his lead.
It is truly a bizarre scene and Tony finds himself leaning on the doorframe, remaining unnoticed by the other three.
Steve and Thor go back to constructing the book case, muscles bulging with effort, a light sheen of sweat on their bare upper bodies making them appear like two hunks from a Levi’s jeans commercial.
It would be futile to partake in body envy, seeing as most of the Avengers are almost half Tony’s age, and that is why Tony doesn’t feel a deep stab of jealousy when looking at them – not before he sees Pepper, sitting on the couch, staring at the blonds with a dreamy expression.
Tony has a long history of dealing with women, although his relationship with Pepper is by far the most intimate on every level he can think of, even before they got romantically involved. That is why he knows that Pepper is currently having her ‘time of the month’, and Tony’s been making a point to do what she wants – or just stay out of her way if that’s what she prefers. Seeing her actively put herself in the vicinity of two other men is a bit of a surprise, and Tony is suddenly suspicious of her motives. After all, that dreamy look…
Steve and Thor stop for a second, debating their progress, looking at the instructions. Pepper doesn’t offer advice, simply gazing at them, and Tony wonders if the blonds can feel her eyes burning holes in their backs. Probably not, because they keep on talking. Steve is flipping through the pages of the instructions, probably double-checking the steps they’ve already taken, and Thor nods along – then reaches up to scratch his bare chest, totally casual, and Pepper’s eyes widen just a fraction.
Fuck body envy; Tony’s not going to stand for this.
He digs his phone from his pocket and messages Pepper: ‘Stop ogling them.’ He then watches the message reach her phone, Pepper’s hand moving towards it without her eyes leaving the sight of the two men. It’s as if she really doesn’t want to look away from them even for a second, but she dutifully checks the phone’s screen once it’s in front of her and frowns lightly, then types something back.
Tony’s phone buzzes faintly and he checks the new message: ‘Are you spying on the safety feeds again?’
‘Don’t change the subject,’ he types back. ‘I’m switching on the AC,’ he adds in a mild threat.
‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ she replies.
‘I’m not the one OGLING,’ he stresses the last word. ‘One of them is a god, I get that, but the other is a national icon so you should have some respect.’
She doesn’t answer immediately and Tony feels like throwing something at her to prompt her to reply, but he doesn’t want her to know how close to the scene he really is.
‘Just because I’m enjoying the view doesn’t mean I don’t love you,’ she informs him after a while. Steve and Thor resume working, Thor holding heavy pieces of wood together so that Steve can fasten a few screws in place.
‘Maybe I’ll go and ogle someone else, then,’ he threatens, although his only option would be the only female member of their team and he’s not crazy enough to try and do that.
‘You’re being very immature.’
‘You killed the AC in the room to make them take their shirts off.’
Pepper’s expression shows just a little bit of guilt when she reads the message. ‘It doesn’t hurt to look. In fact, if you get over here…’
Tony knows he’s not going to take his shirt off with Steve and Thor right there. However, he appreciates the sentiment, and backs away from the doorway, deciding that he’ll get his coffee in the workshop after all – cold and with some ice in it.