Fandom: Iron Man (with hints of Avengers)
Characters: Tony/Rhodey (Slash, Light Schmoop)
Summary: Tony and Rhodey go shopping and find themselves in utterly unknown territory.
Author's Notes: My first entry for schmoop_bingo ("Baby- Setting Up Nursery").
Also for writers_choice ("Buy").
"Tell me again what we're doing here," Rhodey said, "and why you didn't just have Pepper do this for you."
Tony's gaze wandered from one expectant couple to the next, past would-be grandparents and salespeople with plastic smiles. It was a nightmare, but he'd chosen it willingly. Getting Rhodey to come along had taken a little extra persuasion, which Tony was looking forward to fulfilling as soon as they got home.
"Peter and MJ are our friends," Tony answered, "and it's their first baby. They'll expect something with a more personal touch."
"I'll bet a hundred-thousand-dollar savings bond would go a long way toward feeling personal," Rhodey suggested.
"Really? I didn't know you had that kind of money set aside." Tony felt Rhodey go tense, and hid a smile. They passed into the toy section, and he stopped in front of a xylophone. "Do you think they'd like one of these?" He banged the mallet on a couple of keys.
"No!" Rhodey snatched the mallet away. "You were hoping to stay friends with them, right?"
Tony pulled out his saddest expression, street-mime-level material. "So, no xylophone?" he asked.
"Not if you want to live…"
They moved farther through the store, pausing at the strollers—
"This detachable car seat design is genius," Rhodey announced.
—but Tony couldn't help hurrying past the playpens for some unimaginable reason. They continued around the corner, and nearly crashed into each other at the overwhelming display of furniture and accessories in the next room.
"Holy crap," Rhodey muttered.
Tony nodded as if hypnotized. "This is why I hire other people to do my decorating…"
"So, what's everyone else getting them?" Rhodey asked. "Not a bunch of spider stuff, I hope, 'cause that's just damn creepy no matter whose kid you are."
"Steve seemed to be leaning toward an armored bassinet, but that's all I've heard. I just hope Thor isn't bringing them livestock or something."
"Don't even say that where he can hear you, man. You know how he is about humor."
"Yeah—foreign concept. Kill it first, figure it out later. I've never understood how someone whose mythology includes a wolf eating the sun gets by without a sense of humor."
"Don't be using that word 'mythology' either," Rhodey warned him.
Tony smiled at him, a soft reminder. "I'm a scientist, Rhodey."
"I know. And half your friends have freaky powers that even science can't explain. So don't piss them off."
Tony leaned in close. "Duly noted," he murmured next to Rhodey's ear.
"Damn…" Rhodey shuddered, his voice suddenly hoarse. "Let's finish this up so we can get back home already."
"That saleslady's giving us a goopy look," Tony said.
Rhodey groaned. "Great, that's all we need…"
"Better speed things up before she comes over here."
Tony grabbed Rhodey's arm and steered him along as he waded into the morass of crib-sets, bedspreads, and teddy bears. Who bought all this stuff, anyway? It looked like the entire children's section of a library had exploded all over the room.
Suddenly, he halted at the sight of something there by the window, something wonderful and unexpected. He went over to get a closer look
Hanging above a dark blue bedspread was a mobile, decked out with fine white rockets and purple-red galaxy clusters and yellow fairytale stars. It was bright and beautiful, fueled by dreams of infinite possibilities and undiscovered universes. It was incredible.
Tony heard Rhodey take a slow breath behind him, felt the warmth of Rhodey's hand against his back.
"This one," Rhodey said.
"You think?" Tony teased.
"Yeah." Rhodey slipped an arm around his waist and squeezed his agreement. "It's perfect. This one is most definitely you."
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