Twenty-Five Years Doesn't ExistAuthor: iamshadowFandom:
The Avengers, Marvel Cinematic UniversePairings:
Gen, Steve/Tony, could be read as Phil/ClintRating:
It may not seem like a big deal to those who aren't Tony, but it is
De-aging, angst, humour, hurt/comfort.A/N:
Written as a flashfic for the de-aged square of my card for Round One of trope_bingo
. De-aging pretty much always equals characters being transformed into babies, children, or, occasionally teenagers. So I wanted to write a character being de-aged, but not enough that they weren't still an adult. Also, I liked playing with the idea of those around them not seeing why they'd have a problem with being a few years younger.
“Fix it,” Tony demands, poking a finger into the chest of the stammering doctor. He's aiming for fierce and intimidating, but he's wearing a gown that ties at the back, and no one retains their dignity, no matter how hard they try, when they've got a hand twisted up behind themselves to stop them flashing the room.
“I don't see what the problem is, here,” Coulson says smoothly, keeping his limbs loose just in case he has to intervene. Stark hasn't got a history of violence (not counting the Suit), but this new Stark isn't one Coulson has seen outside of classified files and internet gossip sites, and he looks mad as a bag of cats and twice as nasty.
,” Stark spits, as though that should be explanation enough. “I hated
Stark continues, “Don't get me wrong, my liver thanks you, yadda yadda, and the stamina will come in handy for keeping up with Red, White and Randy over there,” he flaps a hand at Steve, who suddenly looks about ready to catch fire, he's blushing so hard, “but I would rather give Fury a lap dance with a happy ending than be twenty-five. When I was twenty-five, I was an asshole
Coulson manages to keep his expression blank through sheer force of will. Clint doesn't even bother trying for a similar level of tact, he just cracks up laughing so hard Coulson thinks he might actually be crying. That Tony is so visibly seething only seems to make him laugh harder.
“You think this is funny. I had really bad hair with far too much product. I wore neon and spandex, sometimes at the same time. I liked New Wave
,” Tony pleads.
Even Natasha has cracked a smile. Clint is literally
pointing and laughing, and Tony lunges at him, only to be held back by Steve's hand firmly grasping his collar. He jerks up short like a pup caught by the scruff of the neck. Tony still makes an aborted swing, and doesn't stop struggling to free himself until Steve has been muttering in his ear for at least twenty seconds.
“Hawkeye,” Coulson says warningly.
Clint coughs his laughter to a hiccuping halt, wiping at his eyes.
“You want us to try and make you twenty years older again because you made bad fashion choices, in a decade infamous for its bad fashion choices,” Coulson asks slowly.
Tony has given up the fight and is hanging limply in Steve's grasp. Steve has wrapped one of his enormous hands around Tony's arm and is rubbing the pad of his thumb over the inside of Tony's wrist.
“No, I want you to age me back because of the respect
. You wanna know why I never got plastic surgery, never got Botox? I'll give you a hint; it wasn't my frankly incredible modesty. I was the smartest guy in the room as a kid, as a teenager, and in my twenties, and until I started getting crow's feet, not a damn person out there took me seriously, for myself, rather than as just another Stark. I fucking earned
those wrinkles,” Tony hisses venomously.
“Language,” Steve murmurs, but it's reflex, and Tony doesn't bristle.
The room has settled down, now. Clint has suppressed all but an occasional snigger. Bruce appears thoughtful; as another science wunderkind, Coulson thinks that maybe he can relate to Tony's professional woes. Natasha seems to have become bored; she's trimming her nails with a knife magically pulled from somewhere about her person. Thor just looks mildly baffled by the whole thing, but then, he was confused about the permanency of human gender. The slow progression of age in relation to time without magical interference is probably outside his experience.
“Sorry,” the nervous doctor mutters, before fleeing.
Tony pants hugely a few times before turning and face planting into Steve's shoulder. He moans and thuds his head on Steve's muscles.
“I am going to get carded so much
,” Tony whines. He gently hits the side of his closed fist against Steve's pects, punctuating his angst. “That's why I grew the beard in the first place. My face was on Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone every other week, the gossip rags knew what I had for breakfast, and some meathead
on a power trip with a radio and a black t-shirt always wanted to check I was over twenty-one until I was nearly thirty.”
Steve has a hand in Tony's hair and another on Tony's hip, and is trying to make soothing sounds despite probably only understanding about ten percent of what Tony is complaining about. He meets Coulson's eyes in an obvious non-verbal plea for privacy.
Coulson nods his head towards the door and watches as the room fairly swiftly empties. Clint, he personally frogmarches out, because he can't trust him not to stay and provoke a fight just for the fun of it.
“If I start listening to music with synthesisers, you've got my permission to kill me. You don't think I'm serious, but I am,” Tony is declaring earnestly when they slip out the door.
In the lift, Clint turns to him, but Coulson gets the jump on any mockery. “Before you say one word, imagine having to live through seventeen again,” he says.
Clint shudders. “That's so not cool, don't even go there.”
“If the shoe fits.”
me,” Clint points out.
“You were a punk and you wouldn't stop running away from me for long enough to listen to SHIELD's offer.”
“You. Shot. Me.”
“You got better. Leave Stark alone for the next week.”
“Three days,” Clint bargains.
“Five. And no fewer,” Coulson says firmly.
A silence falls, and Coulson can't help but glance at Clint's face. Their eyes meet, and finally, Coulson allows himself to crack a smile.
*On the title
The title comes from a line from a wonderful Swedish queer film called Show Me Love (Fucking Åmål). The scene in question has the main character's father telling her that her high school angst won't matter when she's older, that he, twenty-five years after high school, knows that now. Agnes, very fairly, points out that to someone who's only sixteen, twenty-five years is an incomprehensibly long amount of time, and she does so by remarking, "Twenty-five years? That is forever. Twenty five years doesn't exist. I'd rather be happy now than in twenty five years." Though this story isn't quite the same situation, I think the sentiment is appropriate, in that it's talking about being trapped in an age and a situation where you're unhappy, and having no choice but to live your way through it.
Tags: fan fiction, humour, hurt/comfort, pathos, pg, phil&clint, phil/clint, steve/tony, trope-bingo