Author: To Be Revealed
Characters: Gaeta, Tony Stark
Pairing: Gaeta, Tony Stark
Summary: Tony Stark meets Felix Gaeta and suggestive comments happen!
Original Story: Impulse Control by millari
Author's Notes: I actually had to watch Iron Man to do this.
Tony Stark eyed the young military attaché that the fleet of refugees orbiting the Earth had sent. “You don’t like me very much, do you, Major Gaeta?”
“I barely know you, Mr. Stark.” The younger man looked down at his clipboard and then back up, as if biting back his irritation. “I’m sorry if I gave any offense.” A perfunctionary apology.
The question, Tony thought suddenly, was how amusing it would be to pick a fight with the space man. It would create a diplomatic incident, certainly. That alone made the idea entertaining. On the other hand, it would delay his access to the fleet’s ships and he really wanted to see the ships. He also got the sense that he would have to poke this Major Felix Gaeta rather hard to get him to stop with the automatic apologies to a dignitary. He could poke that hard, but it was harder to insist that he hadn’t taken the opportunity to bait the man. No one would chastise him, he was Iron Man and head of Stark Industries, but it could have consequences if he was too blatant in his attempt to get a rise out of the attaché.
No, he didn’t want to risk his chance to see the ships. On the other hand…
“So how did you lose the leg?” Something of an easy target, although the man’s limp was barely discernible. “The security scanners picked up the metal.” He looked down at Gaeta’s sharply polished boots. “That’s what, two pieces of metal welded together?” He smiled at how Gaeta was obviously biting his tongue. “What happened? Let me guess, you lost it while rescuing a band of orphaned school children from your Cylon enemy?”
He rather doubted it. Gaeta didn’t have the look of a line soldier at all. If anything, as he stepped closer to the man, he had the sense that one Felix Gaeta was fighting back physical attraction.
“If you must know,” Gaeta said after a moment. “I was shot by a fellow officer on accident. And by fellow officer, I mean an incompetent idiot with no training who was made an officer mostly because my commander wanted to do one of his favorites a favor. No, I wasn’t some sort of super soldier before it happened, and I may not be a genius but I do understand that you were mocking me with that suggestion. Now, I *never* will be that kind of soldier, and I was chosen for this mission in part because my commander didn’t want to waste one of his real soldiers on a diplomatic mission that a cripple could handle.” Gaeta crossed his arms. “And I know you don’t care in the slightest what my sad story is. You get your amusement in needling others and then using your intellect to say something cutting. If it blows up, you have the money and power to make the problem go away. If I win this little game of piss off you’re playing, you complain to your officials and I get replaced because we need your help as much as you want our tech and our people don’t want any silly fuss from your people’s resident tech genius. So you win, all right? Say or do whatever you want. Have me do some degrading task and play the little games that let you feel you’re up above me. Because you are. You win.”
It wasn’t the reaction he had expected, that was true, but it intrigued him. “For a soldier you’re not putting up much of a fight.”
“If we physically fought, you would win. In part because it was never one of my skills, and in part because I’m obviously easily incapacitated. I would also let you win because the consequences for me are much worse if I don’t let you win. I f I win, you’d see to it that I paid dearly because your ego would get in the way of the fact that you started this.” Gaeta blinked tiredly. “Anything other than accepting your abuse will end up with my being punished in some way. You’re attempting to anger me by suggesting I’m not a good soldier because I’m not spouting the party line of fight until you can’t. So answer this question for me. You’re the genius. What is my path to victory here? If I fight with you, verbally or physically, I create an incident, you report me, I get in trouble. If I don’t fight with you, you make comments about my manhood and lack thereof. Punching you in the face has its appeal, but at the end of the day, it costs you a bruised face. It would cost me my job, what respect my commander still has for me, and I’d be publically punished so your ego can be appeased. And you’ll move on to hassling someone else. In the end it’s easier to appease you and accept your insults about my skill as a soldier than it is to insist you treat me as something other than an amusing piece of dirt to grind your boots on.”
Tony almost smiled. It was interesting to see that there was more fire in the man than what he’d originally thought. It helped that the man was right on all counts. “We have a saying here on Earth, Major Gaeta. Discretion is the better part of valor. I don’t often meet people who are willing to admit that they behave a certain way towards me merely because they understand the consequences of pissing me off.”
“Most likely because they do understand the consequences of pissing you off,” Gaeta retorted.
Now Tony did smile. “But here you are, rubbing my face in in my arrogance. Does that really seem wise?”
Gaeta smiled as well. “Our doctor, when he isn’t bitching about my pegleg, has noted that he thinks I’m self-destructive but too duty bound to be actively suicidal. His expectation is that I’ll end up talking some rich arrogant genius into killing me, so I can keep my own hands clean.”
“Sadly,” Tony said, letting his words take on a mocking tone, “if I did beat you to death in my lab, I have enough enemies that it would be difficult, even with my wealth, to cover up your murder. So instead, why don’t we retire to my bar upstairs and we’ll both drink excessively and discuss how you’re going to fit into Stark Industries. For starters, if I can build the Iron Man suit, I’m sure I can build something that would work better than what you have.” He looked down at Gaeta’s feet. “Although frankly, most of the fun things I could do, like adding jets, would really require you to need both legs replaced. Do you like scotch? Come along, Felix, we have much to discuss about the terms of your employment.” He walked to the lab door.
“What? You’re serious?” For the first time, Gaeta’s expression of calm sternness broke. Tony savored it. There was more than one way to win at playing with people and he could almost see the naïve idealistic man Gaeta had been, before life had ground him into the self-destructive cynic standing in his lab. Gaeta wanted to be rescued, and it was nice to have someone other than Pepper be honest to his face.
“I never kid about scotch, Felix. Especially expensive scotch. And I am not kidding about the job, although we’ll also need to find you a tailor. I have a certain image to maintain after all.” He paused. “It occurs to me that I could use someone who is self-destructive enough to tell me when I’m being an asshole. I’ll also need a permanent liaison to your people, and I get the sense that your commander won’t mind sharing you if I sing your praises and offer lots of Stark Industry goodies at him. You must admit, we have a lot of goodies to offer. Of course you’ll get a salary and I imagine we’ll have to arrange some sort of permanent resident visa. Stark Industries also has a health care program that covers the expensive one of kind prosthetic I’ve already designed in my head. But again, the fancy add-ons would really require both legs so the rockets wouldn’t put you off balance. What terms do you have?”
“Well, you’re not cutting off my leg to add a jet to it,” Gaeta said after a moment.
“You can reconsider that later,” Tony said. It was actually an intriguing application of the suit’s technology.
Gaeta rolled his eyes but clearly was amused. His eyes twinkled suddenly. “Do I get to have sex with you? The last crazy genius I worked for always said no.”
And there was a story there, Tony could see it, but it was time to stop pushing. “You’re not really my type but you might get prettier if I’ve had more to drink. So let’s go get started on the drinks.”