1965-04-28 - Write That Down
Summary: Tony putters around the lab with Steve and Bucky.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
steve-rogers bucky tony 

Tony did say he would show Steve some of his gadgets sometime if the star-spangled man with a plan ever ventured downstairs. Which is where Tony is, with Bucky, the mechanical arm wide open. "There we go. It looks great. See, that's what happens when you come in for regular tune-ups. I'm going to be a bear about it, every two weeks instead of a month, especially with you possibly galavanting off on some mission that'll get you killed if your arm decides to jam." He starts to close up panels. "Flex your fingers, I want to make sure those servos are working."

It's like the end of the Empire Strikes Back. Buck ripples the metal fingers like a pianist warming up, and all the little servos and fine wire cables that serve him for joints and tendons respond obediently. "You got it running better than the Russian techs ever did," says the Soldier, with evident satisfaction. "Which reminds me. I was thinking about asking for a cover for it. Something that looks human, so it's not always a dead giveaway," he says, looking up hopefully into Tony's face. Fear the power of puppy eyes.

In regards to puppy dog eyes, Bucky had the best to learn from. Steve isn't sporting an appearance anything like this as he descends the steps to the mansion basement, that place of science and relatively-controlled madness. Familiar voices drew him down from the hallway outside and upon catching sight of his oldest friend, he wanders over in no apparent hurry. Today, he's in jeans, boots, and a plaid-blue button-down, looking about as normal as one can get.

He hears the end of Bucky's question and chimes in from a near-distance, "Sleeves not doing it for you, Buck?" His smile is mild and friendly as he claps the man on the shoulder. "Tony. Looks good," he adds, eyeing the opened contents of the metal arm.

"That's because I'm better than the hacks they've managed to scrounge up." His brows lift when faced with puppy eyes. They are pretty puppyish. Tony gives Bucky a dubious look, then says with a dismissive shrug, "Sure I'll see what I can do." Like he was thinking about doing it anyway.

He is himself dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, and would look normal if not for that clear blue ring of thrumming energy smack in the middle of his chest shining through the thin fabric. He closes up the rest of the panels, gives the metal a polishing with a soft cloth, then waves Bucky away. He's done with the arm, his patient patient is free to do whatever. Steve gets a half-smile as he says, "Gotta keep him fighting fit." Then, "Sleeves tear. In summer they come off weird."

The lab has an organized clutter to it. There are things bubbling in beakers, rows of test tubes, and in another section, the blue gleam of a repulsor lift levitating on its own, wom wom wom.

"What he said," Buck says, as he sits up from where he was lying on the table - it's the easiest position, if there's any prolonged work to be done. And Tony's chatty and good natured enough to keep old memories from surfacing, though Stark's seen it a moment or two - the way something shifts behind his eyes, like some creature of the deeps rising high enough for the light from the surface to hit it, before it sinks again. Winter is not dead, and sometimes he rolls over in his sleep. Buck pulls his own t-shirt on, shivers once, like a bird settling his feathers.

An affable shrug of agreement from Steve, even as he steps back to allow his friend room to get to his feet. His attention shifts around the lab, from whitewashed walls to stern plexiglass paneling and the silver shine of cleaned metal. Instruments catch his attention and, ooh — interesting, that repulsor lift. Walking over, the Captain stops before the gadgetry at a respectful distance. A 'hmph' and he glances back at the other two men.

"What's the plan then, Tony, for a covering that'll fool the general public?"

Tony pats Buck on the flesh shoulder as he gets up. Then he meanders over to a work bench where he's got some sketches spread out. "Flexible polymer," he says, "that can mimic the elasticity and texture of skin. It could have future applications on prosthetics, too." The sketches are different variations on the human hand, both a cross-cut of an anatomically correct hand and a cross-cut of a certain mechanical one. In the margins are jotted down chemical equations.

"It's all still theoretical, but so is evrerything before someone invents it." He sidles over so the other two can see the sketches. "The trick is getting it to look real the way it moves over metal instead of muscle and bone."

Buck looks over with interest, edging over to peer at it. The idea of it makes him grin, brightly, erasing the lines of strain. There are those moments when you can see the kid who enlisted in '41. "Well, if anyone can make it work, it'd be you," he says, patting Tony back. "Exactly. You can't have every amputee vet in America looking like something Frankenstein gave up on."

On Bucky's other side, Steve leans to look in at the sketches. A little frown appears between his brows, but he nods and glances up to his friend. Ah, there's a look he hasn't seen in some time. Smiling is infectious if true; as a result, he sports a small grin himself.

"It'll make going out to get groceries easier. Nobody to point you out. You'll have this civilian look down pat in no time," the Captain comments, teasing the man with the ability to blend nearly seamlessly into any urban environment.

"Mind you, this is all theoretical for the moment," Tony says. "We may have to start out with a skin that looks like a prosthetic — a high quality Stark Industries prosthetic — while I iron out the kinks. Still, it'll let you get around without getting as many weird looks."

He claps Bucky on the shoulder again, barely aware of the gesture, then catches out of his side-eye the repulsor starting to wobble. The wom wom sound starts to slow down, and he jogs over to put a hand on it before it shoots across the lab. He depowers it, sets it aside, checks a stopwatch on a nearby bench, and scribbles something down on a clipboard while murmuring, "Thirteen hours, twenty-five minutes, nine seconds." He frowns, then tosses the clipboard down. "I want fifteen," he says. To the repulsor, he says, "You were supposed to give me fifteen."

"Anything's better than this," Buck agrees. Smile-lines it is. He grins up at Steve, conspiratorially. Trust a Stark to fix a technical problem. "But even if I just look like one of the guys from Korea with the fiber glass limbs, it'd help." Then he snickers at Steve. "Yeah. I gotta keep my hair long, so I don't get confused with the kids." Aw, he calls the polyps/gremlins kids, even though they mostly look to be of an age with him.

"Eh, the length of your hair only helps. All the modern day bands are starting to wear it longer." He looks past Bucky, towards the repulsor now shut down and set aside. "You're…one hip cat?" It's an attempt at the current lingo before Steve then addresses Tony across the lab.

"Do you have any of the polymer here in the lab? So we can take a look at it?" Since, y'know, the Brooklyn boys are basically a unit in and off themselves.

"We'll get you set up," Tony assures Bucky. He glances over some old paperwork and jots things in the margins. This repulsor, he's going to get it to working as long as he wants it to work and not a second before that. "I need to get my hands on a few substances that'll take some wheeling, dealing, and a lot of money," he tells Steve as he jots. "Luckily, I've got all three at my disposal."

He tosses the paperwork aside and moves on. He moseys over to some shelves where he takes down a plastic container, inside is a sample of something Caucasian-colored and fabric-like save for that it's basically a thin rubber. "This is what I've got on-hand." Pun intended.

Bucky holds out a hand, presumably wanting a chance to touch it. He grins at the pun. "Already been thinking, huh? I guess you never do stop, unlike us grunts," he teases.

Steve dares to reach out and brush a fingertip along the fabric, if it makes it outside of its container. His light brows rise and he glances up at the genius-inventor.

"That's pretty good, Tony. That would fool many people until they put a hand on it. Not that you'll let them," he adds, flashing a quick grin at Bucky.

Tony says, "Eh, it's all right. It doesn't feel like skin, and you'd need an artist who can do detailed tinting to give it the properties skin has, like folicles and lines. It's not as durable as I'd like." He lets Steve handle it, then he tosses it to Bucky. "What do you think?"

Leaving the 'cloth' to be inspected, his eye is caught by an objects that looks like folded shafts of metal, and he picks it up. He's like a kid in a toy store with too many toys to choose from and a wicked case of ADHD. The thing fits over his arm like it was made to, a steady brace. He flexes his fingers with their little finger guards, and he snaps something removable into a frame in the palm. Plugging it in, it lights up the same blue as the repulsor. Tony inspects it. "Mm." Noncommital.

Buck catches it, compares it to his own skintone, lays it speculatively over the metal forearm. For all the world like a girl trying to decide if a particular shade of silk is flattering enough to warrant making a dress out of. He nods, approvingly. "It doesn't need to fool touch, or close up detail. Just be enough that a casual glance doesn't give me away," he says, clearly delighted at the thought. But then he's distracted by Tony's new toy, and looks over. "What's that?" he asks, guilelessly. Let Tony show off. If anyone's earned it…

Eyeing the patch of faux-skin, Steve rescues it from the metal surface of Bucky's arm and considers it. He holds it up to the light and then lays it flat along the nearest clear surface of lab table. Leaning in, he touches at it the end of a pen. Hmm, maybe if… The artist in him is mulling through options.

He too glances up when Bucky asks about the mysterious gadget, but remains silent, waiting to hear precisely what this thing is.

"It's just a little something I made for getting around when the suit's not available." Tony aims it at what looks like a block of gelatin sitting on a table, only it's a rather large serving of the stuff (12 inches square), and it's probably not flavored. Tony flexes his fingers just so and a crackling arc of blue light shoots out and hits the gel straight on. The gel pops, with a 4 inch deep scoop taken out of it, and what's left is on fire.

"It needs a few kinks worked out," he says. "Though this is an interesting property. I should write it down." The first thing he does though is unplugs it. It powers down, and Tony delicately sets it aside. With a gesture to the fire, he says, "I should probably…" he goes to get an extinguisher. Funny, he seems to have quite a few stationed all over the lab.

Up go Bucky's brows at that. He whistles between his teeth. "How do you deal with having that many ideas in your head?" he asks, apparently in earnest. "Without going crazy. It's gotta be frustrating as hell. I mean, how many people can you talk to about this stuff without having to explain yourself all the damn time? Is there anyone else out there on your level?"

With the small example of fake skin carefully laid across his palm, Steve steps up beside Bucky and gives him a silently-significant look before adding his own two cents.

"Maybe the doctor…wizard…?" He mutters that last part rather grudgingly. "Here, Stark," and the Captain offers out the polymer sample for retrieval and consequential return.

Tony puts the fire out, then leaves the smoldering gel block to its fate and returns to the two soldiers. "No," he tells Bucky as he takes the offered rubber cloth, then, "Yes. We talk on the same level, though I don't know his area of expertise any more than he knows mine. Still, it's nice to be able to convey complex ideas and not get a blank stare."

He puts the cloth in a plastic bag to keep it safe, seals it, and lays it out on a bench to mess with soonish-later. He's glib as he speaks, with no more gloating than someone talking about the weather. "There were a few profesors at MIT who gave me something to think about when I was a teenager, but." He shrugs. He takes a notepad and starts writing down how his experiment, as stands, can carve a four inch hole in a human being and set them on fire, as well as a few things that need tweaked.

"What do you do for fun?" Bucky asks. It's as if this were the first time he'd really started to consider Tony as someone who does things outside a lab, as something other than the better-mannered and more benign counterpart to people like Zola. "That's gotta be so frustrating."

Steve remains where he is, leaning his weight against the metal lab counter. He lightly folds his arms and listens, glancing between the two men. He's curious and silently so. Old habits of keeping idle thoughts behind his teeth have always earned him answers, even back when he was regularly overlooked due to his more frail physique.

Tony looks up from his scribbling and gestures around with his pencil. "This is fun," he says. As for frustration, he admits, "Sometimes I wonder what it'd be like to go out and have a beer with the guys, but what guys? What would we talk about?" Yeah, it's a bit frustrating, but he shrugs it off. There's always stuff to set on fire in the lab, after all. He glances at the thirteen-hour repulsor. "I don't even mind it when an experiment fails," he says, "because it means there's something left to figure out. I don't know how to relate to someone who's satisfied with their life."

There's ready sympathy in the Soldier's face. "I can understand a little of that," he says, quietly. "I don't really….there's so much I got no one to talk to about with." He casts a fond look at Steve, and man, it's sickening. They really are the old married couple, at least on some levels. "Steve and I, we got the old war stories, but…." He shrugs. "There's the kids, but they….they don't remember not being what they are. They can't relate to having a life stolen, 'cause the only lives they ever had…" He pauses, sighs. "You should come drinking with us, sometime. Though….honestly, we're kinna lame at that. We mostly can't get drunk. Might as well be drinking lemonade and rootbeer."

Steve returns the look with a mild smile of familiarity. "Nothing wrong with rootbeer," opines the Captain from his nonchalance beside the countertop. "And nothing wrong with doing what you love. If the lab is what you're familiar with, no harm in staying in." He eyes the burnt blob of material sporting its impressive gouge and nods to himself.

Tony waves a hand and says, "Nah, I have to go do all these business things, including the parties and the womanizing. It creates an image, and if I want to keep making money so I can play with my toys, I have to leave once in awhile." There hasn't been all that much womanizing in the news, though there are the occasional photos on the front page where he's got a pretty young thing on his arm.

With a glance at both of them, he admits, "I've been dabbling with sobriety. Not too seriously, I could get a beer. I guess we could talk about missions. There was that one in Latveria."

How do they know about the time he was sent to kill Doom and failed? Bucky's expression is a study in blank, utter surprise. "…..wha- what?" he asks, voice gone airless. "How did you find out about that?"

Tony nudges Bucky on the arm and says, "That's right, you weren't there. We had to do some wheeling and dealing in Madripoor with some of the worst of the worst, but you know, bite the bullet and do what needs done. We got intel on Doom, raided his lab, and ended up killing a lot of his doombots before he could mount an attack on North Dakota — he was controlling them remotely — and we brought back a few specimens. I've been noodling around with them. It's not very elegant technology but at least Doom isn't a complete idiot."

That's enough to jar Buck out of that moment of being stuck. "Oh," he says, deflating. "Sheesh. I….the Russians sent me to kill Doom once. I failed. HAd a real bad time before I got outta Latveria," he says. "He's responsible for the bombing at the Fair they tried to pin on me. Just ….just coincidence." A sheepish glance at Steve. Sorry about murdering you in public.

Steve catches the glance and shrugs, forgiveness apparent in the gesture. He knows it wasn't done in true cold-blooded spite. Words do have power…even if he doesn't want to admit that the wizard — no, Sorcerer — was right on that account.

"It was a mess, but we got the job done. I think we made an impression too. I haven't heard anything about Doom since."

"It was good fighting together," he tells Steve. "It's not great that we have to fight, but when we do, I don't know. You're a good soldier. You know how to lead the troops." And he knows how to be an aerial menace and take insane risks. Teamwork! Tony glances down at the pencil marks on his hands, and he wipes them on his jeans along with a little machine oil left over from Bucky's arm. "We did shut him up," he agrees. "So, yeah, there's something to talk about." He's trying this on for size and doesn't look entirely certain..

"You're making me wish I was there," Buck says, faintly wistful. Sounds like the old days, fighting with Steve at his side. "I hate the guy. Wish I'd managed to get him when the Russians sent me after him."

"You might get another chance, Buck, you never know…though it would mean that the man came out of the crater we left him in." Steve grimaces even as he glances over at some of the beakers bubbling away. "The world's a big place. Ever expanding. Something new's bound to crop up any day now." His sigh is jaded.

Tony glances between the two and smiles crookedly. "That's the cost of progress," he says. "It's human evolution; without anything to adapt to, we don't adapt. Our job is to make sure it doesn't get so bad the rest of humanity can't take it. We're the part of the body that keeps the disease from spreading. It's a thankless job, but we do it."

A nod from Bucky, weary, solemn. "Always does," he says, on a sigh. "I wish it were different. I …..that war was supposed to be enough to stop it all. Put an end to it."

A hand reaches out and lightly pats Bucky's shoulder soothingly, twice, before retreating back to fold away once more. Steve understands well enough how disillusioned a soldier can become.

"We have to have faith in our fellow man — remember that there are others like us, even on the streets, who care enough to stand up and tell the jingoists to sit down. We have to have hope." The Captain shakes his head and adds, "Or we have to have the bigger stick, I guess." He doesn't seem to like the concept, even if it direly needs application.

Tony glances at his notes, conveniently not watching that soothing, companionable gesture between the soldiers. "Hope's nice," Tony says as he reviews his precise, blockish writing. "But if you end up needing a big stick, it's better to have it there." And it just happens his company is happy to provide. Not to mention himself accidentally inventing flesh-incinerating death rays.

"We gotta have the bigger stick," Buck agrees, voice gone flat. Of which he is and was a part. He's apparently on the cynical side with Tony, even as he looks at Steve with open fondness.

"Not always," Steve mutters, but there's a hesitance to the opinion. This new age of atomic power and mutant abilities has put a strain on his comfortable beliefs in the manner of executing a struggle beween countries. He shifts in his lean, swapping one foot across an ankle for another, before he begins working at rolling up his sleeves. Muscled forearms are slowly revealed.

Tony flits a glance at them, then back to his notes. "We start with diplomacy," he says, though who knows who he's trying to comfort with the words. "Besides, if you have the biggest stick, you don't have to use it. The fact you've got it is reason enough for the other guy to reconsider. The best kind of weapon is the one you only have to fire once."

"I'd say it's the one you don't have to fire at all," ventures Bucky, quietly. "I dunno about you guys, but I'm hungry. Wanna go upstairs and get something to eat?" he offers. A peace offering, of sorts. If they end up having philosophical debates, it might as well endu p being over beer and pretzels.

Pushing himself off the metal edge of the lab countertop, Steve tilts his head in the direction of the basement's exit.

"I was headed that way myself earlier, before I came down. I thought I saw leftover pizza in the refrigerator last night. Who knows if it's still there, but it sounded like a meal. If you're hungry, I can always order more. It's a quick walk down the block to pick it up." Plus, the weather's nice, and who can say no to an evening jaunt in the warm spring air?

Tony waves a hand and says, "I need to work on this problem with the handheld repulsor blowing things up." Then there's the levitating repulsor, the chemistry experiments he's got going on, the fake flesh problem and god knows what else. Who has time for a social life? "You guys go ahead, though."

"…..the kids ate it," Bucky says, sheepishly, not looking at Steve. "But we should go get something to eat," he says, "Mister - Tony, you want us to pick up something for you?" Trying to include the Stark.

A short sigh from Steve and then a wry laugh.

"That figures. They're bottomless pits. It reminds me of someone, even if he barely makes himself half a sandwich these days." A significant look at Bucky and then he relents, turning and making to walk out of the lab. "Leftovers will be upstairs in the kitchen if you end up wanting some, Tony."

Tony waves a hand to Bucky in ambivalence of food. He manages to stay pretty fit sustaining himself mostly on coffee. "Okay," he tells Steve as they head upstairs. Meanwhile, he mutters to himself, "Why do you want to kill people." In regards to the hand repulsor, surely.

"I…..so much food makes me feel weird," Bucky says, by way of excuse. "It's weird. My metabolism….." He shrugs. Supersoldiers. Who can explain 'em?

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