Title: Avengers’ Halloween 101: You’re Never Too Old
Author: The Artful Dodger / dodger_sister
Fandom: The Avengers
Category: Gen, Holiday, Humor
Characters/Pairing: Bruce, Tony, Thor, Clint, Steve & Natasha
Warnings/Kinks: Mild Language & Cross-Dressing
Spoilers: Not at all.
Summary: Thor wants to know what this Trick Or Treating is all about. Tony makes costumes. Bruce hates his life.
Word Count: 3,130 words.
Date Written: October, 2013.
Disclaimer: The Avengers belong to Marvel, not me. Sadly. I wrote this story, for fun, not profit.
Feedback: Bring it. dodger_sister / TheArtofDodger@comcast.net
Beta’d: By the always awesome vikingprincess!
Author's Notes: This was not the Halloween story I had intended to write - (I had been working on an X-Files fic instead) - but I was under the weather and needed something a little less intense to work on. I don’t know how this came into my head, but once the image of them in their costumes was in there, I couldn’t shake it. The underlying sexual vibes showed up once Steve came in wearing his costume. Bruce can blame Tony, but I blame Steve!
Dedication: To all my Flisties! Happy Halloween!
Bruce wouldn’t have even known it was a Thursday if it hadn’t been for the regular Thursday morning mandatory Avengers meeting/breakfast fiasco that Tony said Nick Fury demanded they all have for a proper weekly check-in, but that Bruce was almost certain was actually Pepper’s idea. Not that Tony knew that. He just went where she pointed him and on Thursdays, she pointed him to Chuck’s Diner at 8:30 am exactly.
Bruce also wouldn’t have known it was October 31st if it hadn’t been for Tony, barging into his lab and declaring, “Here, put this on,” and then dragging in an Iron Man suit on a cargo cart.
“I’m sorry, what?” Bruce asked and slid the goggles he was wearing up onto his head.
“Put that on. We’re going trick-or-treating.”
“Aren’t we a little old?” Bruce asked and eyed the suit suspiciously. It was not made of metal, but rather some sort of cheap plastic, though it did look like it was his size, oddly enough.
“It’s not for us. It’s for Thor. Big guy wants to know what this madness is all about. Apparently there was both a zombie and a sexy nurse in line in front of him at Starbucks’s today and he had some questions.”
“He didn’t behead the man dressed as the zombie, did he?” Bruce asked and took a step closer to the suit, eyeing the duct tape holding it together with caution.
“I didn’t actually ask,” Tony said with a shrug and then hollered out, “Hey, Thor, come here!”
“You made this?” Bruce asked and poked at the suit like it might attack him.
“For you. So you can be my Iron Man,” Tony said and winked at him.
Bruce flushed and rolled his eyes at the same time.
“Yes, Stark. I am here. I feel a bit itchy though,” Thor said and stepped into the room.
Bruce took a giant step backwards and nearly fell on his ass.
Thor was covered head to toe in green body paint and wearing nothing but a pair of purple boxer shorts.
“What?” Bruce asked and then pointed at Thor. “Why? Are those my boxers?”
Thor looked down at the purple shorts, then up at Bruce, then over at Tony.
“He needed to look the part,” Tony said, but his shrug of nonchalance was half-aborted when he saw the look on Bruce’s face.
“I will return them when we have finished our trick and treating,” Thor told him.
“No, no, no,” Bruce said and held up his hands in supplication. “You’re fine. You just keep those. My treat, buddy.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Thor said and Bruce found it really hard to be pissed when Thor was being so genuine about it.
“So, if I’m Iron Man and he’s The Hulk, who the hell are you supposed to be?” Bruce asked and glanced at Tony, dressed in exactly the same outfit he had been wearing at breakfast that morning. “Because there is no way in hell you are getting me into that thing, if you don’t look equally as ridiculous.”
“We will not look ridiculous,” Thor told him. “We are The Avengers.”
“The Avengers cosplaying The Avengers. No, there is no way we could possibly look ridiculous,” Bruce said and could have scraped the sarcasm off his chin with how much it was dripping.
Thor just nodded at him. “Then we are in agreement.”
“Go to the living room. I’ll be right out,” Tony said and grinned maniacally at them both.
Really, it was the glint in Tony’s eyes that should have told Bruce to beware.
“I did not behead the zombie-person. I was considering it, but he ordered a Frappuccino so I assumed, rightly it seems, that he could not be too much of a threat,” Thor said, standing awkwardly in the middle of the living area because he wasn’t convinced all of his paint was dry just yet.
Bruce sat in the recliner and switched between staring at the Iron Man suit Tony expected him to wear and the hallway where he suspected Tony was going to be making some sort of grand flourish of an entrance with whatever costume he had decided to wear.
“Why aren’t you in your suit?’ someone asked from the other side of the room and Bruce turned to look at the front door, where Clint had just slid in unnoticed.
Clint was dressed up in costume as well. He was wearing some sort of cheap plastic armor, spray-painted gray, on his upper half, a pair of blue jeans on his lower half, a red cape, and an unusually long blond wig that Bruce was almost positive was supposed to go with a Barbie doll outfit. In his hand, Clint was holding a hammer. Not a mighty hammer though. Just a regular old hammer.
“It is my understanding that you are not supposed to look as a doppleganger, but merely as oneself wearing the outfit of the person you wish to emulate,” Thor said and eyed Clint critically.
“Some people take Halloween more seriously than others,” Clint told him. “But we kind of threw this together last minute here, man.”
“Then I approve,” Thor said and slapped Clint on the back.
“Is there a giant green handprint on my back now?” Clint asked, turning around so Bruce could check him - there was no handprint - just as Tony came sprinting into the room, doing a double somersault across the floor and coming up into some sort of attack mode, a bow and arrow pulled to fire.
It was a plastic bow though, with little suction cups on the tips of the arrows. The bow itself was small enough that Bruce was sure it was meant solely for a child’s hand. Tony had also changed his clothes, now dressed in a tight black tank top, black jeans, black boots, his hair slightly matted down on his head, which was a change from its usual frenzied look.
“I feel ripped-off somehow,” Clint said with a small pout. “Your costume seems to be a hell of a lot easier to make than any of ours.”
Bruce agreed with Clint on that point, but he didn’t say it out loud because the fact of the matter was - Tony looked damn good in that outfit. And he knew that Tony knew it too.
“And you thought we were gonna look ridiculous,” Tony said with a laugh and slung his arm over Bruce’s shoulder. “What do ya’ say, Doc? Wanna suit up now?”
“I would very much like it if you came with us,” Thor told him and there was no pretense about it. “I am excited to learn about Halloween.”
“Plus, we’re gonna eat a shit-ton of candy tonight,” Tony told him and Thor nodded vigorously.
He didn’t like it the way he liked whiskey, but Thor had still taken a shine to chocolate that constantly made Bruce wonder if alien-gods could get diabetes.
“Okay, I’ll put the stupid thing on,” Bruce said with an exhausted sigh.
“That’s my boy,” and Tony ran his hand along the back of Bruce’s neck, fingers like little spider-legs sending a rush down Bruce’s spine. “I’ll go get the Captain. For some reason, he doesn’t want to come out of his room.”
Tony disappeared down the hallway and Clint came over to help Bruce rip some of the duct tape off so he could fasten the individual pieces of painted plastic over himself. He was halfway through putting it on when he realized it was wasn’t an oddity that the suit seemed to be his size, but rather that Tony had made it that way using Bruce’s exact measurements. Which was only disconcerting in how Tony had managed to get said measurements: by sneaking a peek at Bruce’s official encrypted file, measuring him in his sleep, or just a lucky guess born from the amount of time they had spent together, looking at each other across the room.
“You know,” Clint said, bent down to fasten a piece of the outfit around the lower half of Bruce’s left leg, “Given what I know of his relationship with his father, this might be the only real Halloween Stark’s ever had. Despite his insistence that it’s all for Thor.”
Bruce snorted softly. “I never really had a Halloween myself,” he said and when Clint looked up at him, he added, “I suspect neither did you.”
“Well then,” Clint said and stood up to slap the plastic-and-tape encased man on the arm. “Lets go get us some candy.”
“Captain,” Thor said and it was not a loud boisterous greeting, but rather a small, gasp of a word.
Bruce swiveled around somewhat clumsily to see Steve standing at the edge of the hallway, next to Tony, dressed in a full on black jump suit, possibly made from spandex, and zipped up the front, along with knee high black boots and a very luscious long-haired red wig. To be honest, it looked less like Black Widow and more like Jessica Rabbit going sky-diving, but that didn’t really matter so much when Steve started walking across the room.
Maybe it was the outfit itself, or the effects of walking in those boots, but when Steve moved, his hips actually did miniature swivels and Bruce felt for a second like he might be having a heart-attack. With Tony standing next to Steve, wearing his head-to-toe black outfit as well, Bruce could feel every single beat of his heart somewhere up near his throat.
“Straight up,” Clint said suddenly, “Nat and I look good on a regular basis, but that is just…”
“Captivating,” Thor finished for him and Bruce was only mildly horrified when Clint offered the man a fist-bump and Thor readily returned it. Thor had been spending way too much time at Avengers Tower.
“Okay then, let’s go get some treats,” Tony said with a grin.
“Or tricks,” Thor added.
“Natasha’s not joining us?” Bruce asked and Clint made a strange noise that was half-laugh/half-choking.
“Man, she got out of here the second she saw Stark putting together that contraption you are wearing.”
“Smart lady,” Bruce muttered to himself.
“Aww, Banner, see…if you didn’t spend so much time holed up in your lab, you would have known what I was up to and could have gotten out before I ever dragged you in,” Tony told him, slinging his arm across Bruce’s now plastic shoulders.
“I am absolutely positive I could still get out.” Bruce told him with confidence.
Tony just leveled his best challenge-stare back at Bruce and tightened his grip across the man’s shoulders.
“Alright,” Steve said, “That’s enough. Let’s move out,” and when Tony didn’t make any indication that he was going to let go of Bruce in any way whatsoever, Steve added, “Barton! That’s enough! Front flank! Move out!”
Tony and Clint both jumped simultaneously and then Clint grinned over at Steve and said, “I am oddly turned on right now.”
“Move it, soldier,” Steve snapped and Clint just laughed.
“Yeah, definitely turned on right now,” he said and let Tony lead the way out of the room.
Bruce followed in the back, regretting all of his life choices.
Thor rang the doorbell on the third house and waited patiently for the front door to open. When it did, a woman in her fifties stared out at them with a disgusted look.
“Give me some treats or I shall have upon you some tricks,” Thor told her.
“No, dude,” Clint whispered-hissed at him. “We’ve been over this. Just say ‘trick-or-treat’.”
“Ignore him,” Tony said to the woman. “He’s not from around here.”
The woman glared at Tony. “Aren’t you a little old for this?”
“Our foreign friend here was interested in the holiday,” Bruce supplied helpfully, tipping his mask up to look at the woman. “Halloween is primarily a North American holiday, though it is also seen in some European countries, such as France.”
“Thanks, Doc. That was not at all helpful and completely geektastic,” Tony whispered to him, pressed up behind Bruce in their group of misfit trick-or-treaters.
The woman continued to give them a less than happy look, even as she dropped candy into each of their plastic bags.
“Thank you very much, ma’am. A very happy Halloween to you,” Thor said and smiled at the woman, as she shut the door in his face.
“Some people do not appreciate these festivities as they should. That woman would be appalled by an Asgardian holiday celebration.”
“Dude, I’ve seen you drunk. Everyone would be appalled by that,” Clint told him as they made their way down the sidewalk.
Bruce started to reply to that, because he actually had some questions about what holidays an Asgardian would observe, when he heard, “Your costume sucks,” from somewhere near his kneecaps.
Bruce looked down to see a small boy, eight years old perhaps, dressed in a store-bought Iron Man suit.
“It was a last minute thing,” Bruce told him and attempted to step around the kid.
“Mine lights up,” the boy said, blocking Bruce’s path. “Does yours light up?”
“I’m not going to engage with you,” Bruce told him and looked around for the boy’s parents, who were farther off down the sidewalk, dragging a disgruntled looking toddler, dressed as what was probably suppose to be a cute- clown but instead looked like some sort of demon-child, behind them.
“It’s fine,” Tony said, stepping up next to Bruce. “I have no problem engaging with him. Hey kid,” he said and leaned down so he was eye-to-eye with the boy. “Your suit is missing something.”
“No, it’s not,” the boy told him disgustedly. “And who the hell are you suppose to be?”
“What?!” Clint cried from the back of the group. “He’s mother-fucking Hawkeye, that’s who he’s supposed to be!”
Tony waved his hand at Clint to calm down, but Bruce could still hear him simmering behind them all, muttering obscenities under his breath.
“Your suit is missing something,” Tony insisted and grabbed a hold of the neck of his tank top, yanking it down to reveal the arc reactor in his chest. “You don’t have one of these, do you?”
The kid took a quick step backwards, then another, and then another, eyes bulging out, comically white through the eyeholes of his mask.
“That’s what I thought,” Tony said and strode off down the sidewalk.
“Oh good, we’re done berating children on the street,” Bruce said. “Next we’ll go egging and toilet papering, because we are that mature.”
“What is this ‘egging’?” Thor asked. “I would like to try it.”
“Absolutely not,” Bruce and Steve said at the same time.
“Just keep walking,” Clint told him and followed Tony to the next house.
“No, see, before you can eat any of it, you have to dump it all out and then sort through what you don’t like and trade it with everyone else for something they have that you want,” Clint explained as Thor stuffed two Toostie Rolls in his mouth at once.
“Who taught you to trick-or-treat…Natasha?” Tony asked. “It’s not an exchange of services. Just eat your damn candy.”
They were all sprawled out on the living room floor, costumes half off and candy scattered across the carpet, waiting pleasantly for the sugar rush to kick in. Bruce had removed most of his Iron Man outfit, except for the chest-plate, and was stuffing his favorite candies - Dots and Milky Way minis - into the plastic molds that had gone over his shoes, solely so Tony would stop stealing them from him.
“I do not know what kinds of candy I like and dislike,” Thor told Clint. “I have not tried them all.”
“Oh,” Bruce said and leaned over to Thor’s stash, spread out around him. “Then you have to approach it like an experiment. Divide out one of each kind and taste them. You need water to wash out the taste of the previous piece though. Like a proper wine tasting.”
Clint snorted and then erupted into what could possibly be referred to as ‘giggles.’ “Nerd,” he said under his breath and then, “Ow, Tony, stop it!”
Bruce looked over to see Tony yanking on Clint’s ear in a rather violent fashion.
“Stark, knock it off,” Steve said and Tony abruptly let go of Clint’s ear.
Bruce leaned over to take a miniature box of Dots from Clint’s pile. “Payment for being a douche,” he said when Clint started to protest.
“Holy…bananas,” Steve said suddenly and they all looked over at him and then followed his eye-line to the front entrance, where Natasha had just come in.
“Uh…hi,” she said, as they all stared at her. “You’re all home.”
“Holy fuck,” Clint said, just as Thor held his hand out in the air for a fist-bump. Bruce wasn’t sure if this was the appropriate use of a fist-bump, but Clint reached over and gave Thor one nonetheless.
Natasha, it seemed, had the same idea as the rest of them - though where she’d gone in her costume, Bruce had no idea. She was dressed in a rather well-fitting, well-made, Captain America outfit. And while the shield was most certainly plastic, Bruce wouldn’t have batted an eye at the idea that the outfit might actually be one of Steve’s very own, if it weren’t for how well it fit her. It was definitely expensive and had been special ordered and was by no means a last minute costume idea.
“Well, this would be embarrassing if I cared what any of you jackasses think of me,” Natasha said and then flipped the shield over, backside up, and held it out towards them. “Everyone give me your Jolly Ranchers.”
“What?” Tony cried, clearly knocked out of his half-open mouth state by her demands of his candy. “Screw off, lady.”
“Jolly. Ranchers,” Natasha said, dropping to her knees and leaning into Tony’s space.
“You may have mine, Natasha. I don’t like them anyway,” Steve told her and dropped a handful of Jolly Ranchers onto her upturned shield.
“Thank you, Captain,” Natasha said, in an overly sweet voice that actually kind of scared Bruce a little.
Then she leaned in towards Steve and planted a kiss on his lips, no more than two seconds, but the image was enough for them all - Natasha dressed as Captain America kissing Steve dressed as Black Widow.
“Yep,” Tony said and jumped to his feet. “I’ll be in my bunk.”
He ran from the room just as Thor proclaimed, “I like Halloween very much,” around a mouthful of Skittles.
“You know what, man?” Bruce said to him. “This was not a bad idea at all,” and then proceeded to steal all of Tony’s Milky Ways.