1965-09-17 - By Firelight
Summary: A camping trip. Steve and Tony sit around the fire.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
steve-rogers tony 

The world is officially done. Stick a fork in it. The impossible has come to pass. Tony Stark is camping. If one could call it that. There are cabins, and he's brought important appliances for his, including a fancy coffee maker. Silk sheets, designer outerwear. He has brought fine wine and gourmet cheeses, confit, and sausages for a proper charcuterie board. This is his version of roughing it.

Tonight, while Bucky and the pups are out howling at the moon, Tony sits at the campfire in a comfortable camp chair he brought with him. As a nod to the occasion, he's in jeans and a button up shirt, with a flannel fleece-lined jacket. The nights are getting chilly, but the fire is roaring, and so he seems comfortable. About as comfortable as he can this far away from work.

And on the opposite end of the spectrum, taking a flip-knife to a thick length of fallen branch he collected on his wanderings for firewood initially, there's Steve Rogers. He's in his boots, jeans, and leather bomber jacket, shearling collar and all. He sits in a folding chair, one with steel frame and woven plastic slats. There's no particular shape he's working at, but he does pause every now and then to look off beyond the fire and into the darkness of the woods. It's clear that half his mind, at least, is wondering what on earth Bucky and the pups are up to. Every odd sound is weighed at the off-chance of danger. He's been silent for a while. Once he determines that no, that wasn't a cry of pain off in the distance, but instead a coyote, he sighs and goes back to whittling. His breath curls silvery before his face, out of immediate reach of the fire's warmth.

Tony watches the fire. He's been watching the fire for some time, and in its flickering glow, his features have been fixed in a ponderous stare. Those dark eyes are bright, and the cogs are turning behind them. Always. The man is always thinking. Strange had the right of it, Tony couldn't meditate if his life depended on it. He's watching that fire, and he's working something out.

Finally, he says, "If we put the fish we catch between two grills, wire them together, and make a spit from a poker and two Y-forked pieces of firewood, we could cook it evenly without losing any of the meat to the fire. We could wrap the fish in bacon. That way it wouldn't lose any moisture, either."

Steve pauses in his whittling, a curled shaving of white wood arcing up abvoe the sharp edge of his knife, to consider his camp-mate across the fire. His wheat-blond brows lift and he considers Tony's logic for a few seconds, eyes dropping back to the flames. Then comes the mildly noncommittal nod of agreement, little bob back and forth.

"That's not a bad idea, Tony. I know Buck and the boys wouldn't say no to bacon-wrapped fish. But…well, no, it'd be a good flavor. An interesting flavor," he amends with another nod. "If you want to rig that up, I'm not stopping you." Back to carving he goes.

Tony's gaze flits to the carving. "If you could get me two pieces of wood with a Y-fork, I've got the poker, and we've got the grills. It'll taste better than trying to fry them on an iron skillet, and the cleanup will be so much easier." Because things can always be made easier, better. "I'll whip up something tomorrow."

That settles, Tony goes back to looking at the fire. Only without a problem to solve, his brow knits and he looks a little uneasy. Turning his attention to Steve, he asks, "What are you carving?"

The soldier smiles gently to himself and holds up the carving in progress. It might be turning into something, but it's not certain what it is yet. Animal? Person? Esoteric statue to the heathen gods? Firelight flickers off the pale wood, still striated with darker bark in places.

"Dunno just yet. I figure it'll turn into something if I work at it long enough," he replies quietly. "But what do you have against iron skillets? One nicely seasoned does the job well enough at frying fish. You know you let them season, right? You don't deep-scrub 'em? You lightly wash 'em and let 'em dry." He looks up at Tony, honestly interested in the answer.

"Iron skillets are fine," Tony says, "but there's cleanup. With the grills you can burn off the residue and wipe it clean with paper towels you can then put into the fire. The open flame changes the flavor, too. Makes it smokier." His eyes narrow, and he's quiet for a moment. His mind has wandered off. When it returns, he says, "I could rig it so the spit could be turned by pressing a pedal. I might have to take apart one of the cars. Almost effortless cooking." Never mind the effort of taking apart the car.

Steve shakes his head with a small snort of a laugh. "No, no, no taking apart the cars. We'll turn it by hand, like you're supposed to when you go camping. It's the simplicity of things that need to be embraced here," he says and gestures at Tony with the would-be carving along with a significant loft of brows. "Simplicity, Tony. Not mechanisms, though don't get me wrong, I'm going to go find those Y-forks for you tonight before I tuck in. I still like the idea as a whole." He pauses. "But don't take apart the cars."

"I would put them back together," Tony points out. "We still need them to get back to civilization." Sweet, sweet civilization. He just shakes his head at the word 'simplicity.' "Fishing is inefficient, isn't it?" he comments. "You spend most of your time waiting for the fish to bite. It wouldn't take that much effort to make a weir. The fish swim up it, trap themselves, and you collect the fish. We'd have our pick of the lake, release the rest."

He shivers and nestles further into his nice fleece-lined coat. "I don't get it," he admits. "Camping is like intentionally regressing to a feral state. Man struggled for eons to get out from around the fire and into houses with central heating."

"And I don't get camping because you sit around and you do nearly nothing," he opines even as another bit of white shaving goes flying off and nearly into the fire. It begins to crisp at the edges of the rocky containment of the flames, turning bright and then black even as it catches alight. "I didn't have to promise anyone any favors over at SHIELD to get these days off, but…"

And herein lies the rub for the Captain. Away from his home city, his home burrough, and only god knows what could happen while he's gone. Bucky had to have said something stupendously convincing to get Steve to follow them all out here, into the wilderness. "I did promise Buck that I'd try fishing…the normal way. Hook, line, and sinker. Pole from shore or boat."

Tony shakes his head. "He's trying to torture us," Tony says. "There's no other explanation. Either that, or he wants you to do the fishing, me to do the cooking, and this is about having a good time with the boys." He taps the side of his nose. He's on to you, Barnes.

"It's not too bad," he admits after a moment. "The quiet is hard to get used to. You never think about how loud the city is until you're out in the country." He looks up. "Never really thought about how many stars there are, either. It must have been terrifying, before technoogy."

It takes a few seconds for Steve's eyes to shift from the glare of the fire to the gentle expanse of starshine above, but once he does look upon them, he doesn't look away for some time. The knife blade remains embedded in the pale wood, safe from sliding and causing harm to his fingers.

A brief chuckle. "At least they had the stars. I don't mind the quiet. It lets you think…but you have to be careful not to let your mind get away from itself." He shifts in his chair and then looks back down at his creation. "I'll get up early tomorrow morning, throw in a line. We'll have breakfast soon enough…or lunch, at least."

"I'm so used to silence meaning something went wrong," Tony says wryly. "Because the power's gone out, usually because a fuse has blown, usually because I ran too much juice through it. But I noticed after awhile you can hear stuff. The wind through the trees, the coyotes." He wrinkles his nose. Don't get him started on the fact that wildlife has the gall to live out here.

"I have eggs," he says. "If you didn't want to catch breakfast. They're hard-boiled. I've preserved them so they'll keep without a fridge. Just let me know and I'll give you some. In fact, take them with you when you go out, so you're not fishing on an empty stomach."

The blond nods in understanding. Silence in a room full of electronics generally doesn't bode well, even if it was that someone flicked the main power switch to 'off' without warning.

"Thanks, Tony, I'll grab a handful before I head out tomorrow morning. D'you want to come with? You gonna be up that early? I intend to have lines baited before the sun rises," he explains, glancing up from his knife working out a gentle bump of a curve on the wood.

Tony rubs his chin thoughtfully. Finally, he nods and says, "Sure. I'll go with you." Hell, he barely sleeps, and there hasn't been any lab tempting him to stay awake out here. He's been sleeping through the night like some kind of non-genius. "Crack of dawn? I'll have a thermos of coffee ready for us and some eggs. I'm sure the boys and Barnes will be sleeping off their wild night. It'll probably be just us."

He tilts his head and regards Steve oddly. "Do you realize, we haven't argued once tonight? About anything? How weird is that?" He glances around at the woods and shivers. "This place must be haunted or something."

That last thought it enough to bring Steve up from his whittling. He's giving Tony a frown now, mouth pulled to one side in disapproval. "I don't feel like we argue. We…discuss our differences like civilized individuals," he says evenly. "Besides…you said you were going to prep coffee for tomorrow morning's attempt at catching breakfast. I can't get mad at a man who does that. Now, after I've had my coffee and it's all gone? That's another kettle of fish entirely." He levels that pun so blandly, but mark the smirk even as he goes back to trying to square off one end of the chunk of wood.

Tony regards Steve evenly. Then his eyes crescent and he grins broadly. "I'll just have to keep the coffee coming," he says. "I suppose we don't argue so much anymore." He's not even going to argue about arguing. "Dad would be happy." He can just imagine his old man. Just… not his old man roughing it.

"All my life, he compared me to you, and the way he made it sound, I was always found wanting. It used to make me so mad, and now?" He shrugs and shakes his head. "I don't feel so threatened. You're really good at what you do, and I'm really good at what I do, and that's how it should be."

"Right. That's how it should be," Steve echoes with a decisive nod. Maybe this piece of wood will be a bookend? It seems like it by the sharp planes he's working at. "No one should be like anyone else anyways. You've only got one brain and personality, when it all boils down." What he does not list is the exceptions to this rule he's come across over the years. "And you're right. Howard wouldn't have wanted us fighting. If anything, he'd want us to be teammates at the very least. He wanted to keep the world safe…in his way."

Then the Captain considers Tony across the fire. "…d'you that Howard once asked me to be your god-father? I said no. I said you needed your father there, not me." His expression goes a hint more glum as he looks into the flames. "…I hope he listened, in his way."

Tony's brows lift. He looks across the fire at Steve. "He never mentioned," he says. It takes him a moment to process that information. "Wow, that would've made working together interesting. Then again, who else would get to claim Captain America was his god-father?" Yeah, once that sinks in, there will be jokes about it. For now, he's still wrapping his mind around it.

With a wave of his hand, he says, "Dad made sure I wanted for nothing. He was a busy man, though. The world's a dangerous place, and he made it his job to make us safer in it. Sometimes that means sacrificing weekends at home tossing the ball around. He pushed me constantly, and as much as I may have hated it, I wouldn't be who I am today if he hadn't."

Steve smiles almost to himself at the thought of the genius-inventor shifted to status of god-child. Oh. Oh dear, that's…that's just weird. His mouth is puckered briefly even as he looks up from his knife work as Tony continues. He nods. "The world is a dangerous place and Howard did his best. He talked about you. How proud he was of you, of what you were accomplishing while he was stuck looking over the…" The Captain laughs faintly, eyes still on his wood-work. "The 'same damn set of number as last time'. He never accepted anything less than the best."

Holding up the hunk of pine to the firelight, he frowns at it. "…still not sure what this is going to be." It's the eternal difficulty of the artist on display. When will that Muse strike? Nobody knows. Probably in the middle of the weekly meeting next he's seated in SHIELD.

"That sounds like Dad," Tony says with a small chuckle. Time does heal some wounds, and it has crept up on him, how he can think about his father and smile, bittersweet as it is. "I'm glad he wasp roud. I was never sure. I used to say I did my best and he'd say 'I haven't seen your best.' At the time, it sound like he didn't think I was trying, but now I realize he was telling me I had that much more potential. When I'm in the lab, and I think I've done something pretty fantastic, I'll tell myself, 'I haven't seen my best.'"

He looks at the carving in progress. "Can you make a whistle?" he asks. "Or a paperweight? Maybe whittle a smaller, smoother piece of firewood. I don't know, I got nothing."

The Captain shrugs his broad shoulders and turns the piece of wood in his hand, giving it the glare of the unsatisfied. "It'll be a paper-weight if nothing else. Proof that I actually went camping, according to the definition of the act. Buck'll probably call it a piece of modern art and proof that he can convince me to do just about anything." The man laughs, but his jovality fades as he cranes his neck to look beyond the fire and into the darkness of the woods again. He still hasn't heard any ambient sounds of dismay, but believe it that he won't rest easily until he knows his oldest friend and the boys are back, if not safe.

"Guess all you can give is your best. Can't do much more than that, in the end…and if you're short-changing yourself, you're short-changing the people around you," he adds quietly as he gets back to rounding a section of the wood.

"I would have thought by now I would have peaked," Tony says, "but I continue to surprise myself. That's one of the things about being within the upper limit of human intelligence. You don't know where the boundaries are. You're peerless, there's nothing familiar with which to compare your thinking. They say the line between genius and madness…" He shakes his head.

"I suppose it's like that with your abilities," he says. "There aren't many stronger than you, with your reflexes or raw vitality. Where's the line? The only records you're breaking are your own."

"Buck can toe that line easily." And Steve seems to have no shame in admitting it. "He can hold his own against me any day. Beat me?" The shrug isn't haughty and dismissive, but nor is it a concession. "He has his good days, I have mine. I don't mind breaking my own reconds. I means I worked a little harder, got a little stronger or faster yet."

The hunk of wood is held up to the fireglow once more and the Captain makes a moue of disappointment. "Guess I'd better work more on this tomorrow. Maybe it's the lighting. You staying up? I figured we could take shifts until Buck and the boys show up again." Rather assumptive of him, but he might be banking on Tony's lack of a proper circadian rhythm.

Tony waves a hand and says, "Get some rest, Captain. I'll stay up." He peers out into the darkness, seeing nothing beyond the flickering shadows cast by the fire. "They're fine, you know. Just bleeding off some energy, and he's probably fretting over them like a mother hen."

Even so, he'll stay up til they're back. He's got a grill-spit to work on. It'll keep him busy til the pups come dragging themselves back to camp.

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