Title: Avengers & Dragons
Characters: Tony Stark, James Rhodes, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, Clint Barton, Thor, and Jarvis
Warnings: Canon-Level Violence
Challenge/Prompt: Fluff Bingo Challenge 2019/ Game Night
Word Count: 2188
Author’s Notes: Fluff Bingo is a short story challenge from the Just Write! server on Discord. Some entries are available on AO3. Special thanks to Darkseraphina, Arete, Rivermoon1970, and QueenieKildare for a late-night crack session that resulted in this. I couldn’t use everything we threw out there, but I kept what I could.
Summary: I don’t think this is what Fury was thinking about when he suggested the Avengers needed some team bonding.
Rhodey was tired. Body and soul tired. His superiors had deployed him on several War Machine missions lately that reinforced the knowledge that you just can’t win them all. He was given leave while they complete some overdue maintenance. Maintenance that resulted in injuries and loss of life in the platoon he was attempting to aid when weapons servos failed to fire.
So Rhodey was doing what he usually did when the world got to be too much for him. He took the offered leave and headed for Tony. Whether he was driving him crazy, bingeing on a creation high, or drifting into a self-destructive spiral, there was an energy that was pure Tony Stark and Rhodey fed on it like a starving man. Since the moment they met in that dorm room at MIT, Tony had been Rhodey’s drug of choice.
He had a couple of conference calls he couldn’t avoid this evening, but he would take them from the Tower to give himself a bit of distance. He entered through the private parking garage and headed for Tony’s elevator. He needed to avoid as many people as possible right now. He probably should have called first, but it’s not like Tony would turn him away.
“Greetings, Col. Rhodes.”
“Hi, Jarvis. Can you take me to Tony?”
“Of course, Colonel.”
He watched the elevator doors close and felt the movement. “Is he in his suite?”
“No. Sir is currently located on the Avengers’ communal floor. I believe they are working on a team bonding exercise. Director Fury insisted they socialize outside combat situations.”
Hell, he didn’t want to barge in on a team thing. Maybe this was a bad idea. “Jarvis, maybe you should take me to…”
Jarvis interrupted him, “Sir says, and I quote, Honeybear, get your ass in here. I need your help.”
Rhodey dropped his head down in defeat. “Ok, take me to Tony.”
The doors soon opened, and Rhodey exited the elevator to the sounds of good-natured teasing. He spotted them all around the large dining table. Paper, pencils, books, bags, and a massive amount of snacks and pizza surrounding them.
“Hi.” Rhodey hesitantly approached them, not sure of his welcome. The loud response put him at ease. “So, what are you guys up to?”
Thor pulled out a chair for him, “Come join us friend Rhodey. We are to play a game most thrilling. According to Anthony, one cannot appreciate Midguardian Culture until one understands the nuance of R.P.G. I am told it is a game of imagination, skill, and bravery where campaigns are won and lost by intrepid heroes.”
Rhodey froze halfway down on the seat. “You’re playing D&D with Tones as the DM? Are you people masochistic?”
Tony looked up from the end of the table, “Are you disparaging me? That sounded like disparagement. I’m wounded, Sourpatch. Wounded.”
Shaking his head, he responded, “Three words: Halfling Whore House.”
Tony waved a hand dismissively. “Technically, that’s two words.”
Thor perked up. “This game has brothels and houses of ill repute?”
“Sometimes.” Tony exchanged a smile with Thor while winking at Rhodey.
Steve Rogers leaned back from the table. “I’m not sure I should play this game.”
“What? Worried about your imaginary virtue?”
“Tones.” Rhodey tried to warn him off.
“Don’t worry. I’ll ensure there are no imaginary STDs.”
“It’s ok, Steve.” Natasha slipped her arm through Rogers’ arm. “It’s just in good fun, and you don’t have to participate in a part that makes you uncomfortable.” She gave Tony a warning glare. “It’s about role-playing and using your imagination to solve problems.”
“OK, fine.” Steve leaned back over the character sheet he was completing.
“So, Platypus, wanna play or help the neophytes?”
“I’m expecting a couple calls, so why don’t I just help out.” He got up to get some food and a soda. Better to leave the beer for after his calls.
“Alright, my little friends. Let’s get those character sheets finished so we can get this game started. Pass them all up to your friendly Dungeon Master.” Tony took in the sheets, flipping them around to face upward. Let’s see what you’ve chosen.”
Tony picked up the first one while making notes. “Natashali, Elf Rogue. Neutral/Neutral. I see you’re playing to type. Legolas. Half-Elf Ranger. Chaotic Neutral. Gee…What. A. Surprise. OK, I’ll give you a plus one bow to start.” Clint took the sheet back and grinned.
Flipping over the next sheet, he raised his eyebrows. “Lawful Neutral Halfling Cleric. You’re gonna be overworked with this crew.” Tony flew through the stats before tossing the sheet back. “Your deity?”
Bruce pulled the sheet over and picked up a pencil. “Aleister.”
Rhodey sucked in a breath in surprise and started coughing as the soda went down the wrong pipe.
Tony just stared at Bruce until Bruce looked back at him with a smirk. “Good for you.” Then he picked up the next sheet. “Capsicle. Human Paladin. OK, so just playing yourself, I see. Everyone read the part where you get to imagine you’re something other than what you are every day? Soooo that will be lawful good. You need to pick a god, Spangledex.”
Steve took the sheet back with a frown. “There’s only one god.”
Making a cutting motion toward Tony, Rhodey explained. “The different deities have different aspects that give your character power. There’s nothing serious about this.” He reached for a Player’s Handbook. “I can help you find something.”
With a sigh, Steve shook his head. “Fine, I’ll just take whatever Bruce chose.”
Rhodey looked up. “I don’t think that’s a great idea.”
“I trust Bruce.” Steve started writing on the sheet again.
“Now, Platypus, the man’s made his choice. Paladin of Aleister it is.” Tony shared a grin with Bruce before making another note. “Thor, a Chaotic Good Dwarven Fighter. Not bad. Surprised you went small.”
“Surely you jest man of iron. The dwarves of Nidavellir are huge.” Thor gestured broadly.
“Huh. Did you want to mark down a deity?” Tony flipped the page.
Thor took a long drink of beer. “I am my own deity.”
“I’m putting you down as atheist.” Tony tossed the sheet back. “OK, let’s get this show started. You wake up on the deck of a flatboat, drifting along a slow canal toward a town you can barely see through the mist ahead. The only people on the boat you see are these strangers around you. Do you introduce yourselves?” Tony popped a couple of blueberries in his mouth and gestured for them to begin.
Rhodey felt a vibration in his pocket and pulled out his phone. He motioned toward the phone and took the call as he quickly left the room.
Rhodey walked back into the room about forty minutes later. The calls were stressful, but at least he knew he was cleared regarding the failed armament. As he passed the table, he saw that Tony had the holographic game display up. Rhodey grabbed a beer and another slice of pizza as he watched.
Tony flipped his hands to show a town with a keep and buildings. A figure that looked suspiciously like Steve in armor was running in place. “OK, you are running toward the apothecary shop to pick up the flask of antidote. You need to return it to the Keep in time to save the Master of Arms.”
He flicked a finger, and the runner started to move. As it passed sections, they went from fuzzy to clear. “As you pass the alley, you see a woman and her son being pushed around by three drunks. What do you do? Remember, you are on a time limit.”
Steve winced then pointed. “I keep going to get the flask. I’ve promised I can get it to them in time.”
Bruce shook his head, and Clint tossed an empty bowl at Rogers before saying, “Oh, Please. You’re a Lawful Good Paladin and you just leave a woman and child? No fucking way. You couldn’t do that if you tried.”
Rogers sighed. “You’re right. I run into the alley and order them to stop.”
“It was a trap,” Tony smirked. “The kid throws a dagger at your face. Roll a saving throw.”
Clint and Bruce exchanged a high five as Steve picked up a blue D20 and rolled…a 1.
“BOTCH!” Clint held out a hand, and everyone threw twenty-dollar bills at him. He picked them up as he did a little dance and Rogers glared at him.
Tony just shook his head. “As you try to dodge the dagger you trip over a rock in the alley. You fall to the ground and are knocked unconscious as your head hits the brick wall behind you. You wake up ten minutes later without your weapons or your money pouch.”
An hour later, they were still going strong. Rhodey was surprised. So far, they had worked together, overcame the hurdles, and had a relatively fun time doing it without severe fault or death. Tony had tried a few of his tricks, but surprisingly Romanoff was able to circumvent most of them.
Tony is moving new characters onto the board. One of them was a tiny character dressed in black. Steve made the motions to enlarge it.
“Tony, did you make this thing to look like Fury?”
“Of course not. See how short it is, it’s a halfling.”
“It looks like Fury. So who is it?” Steve shrunk it back.
“His name is Frenzy. He runs a halfling whorehouse.”
“Tones,” Rhodey groaned out.
“It shares a building with the Temple of Aleister the Great. I figured Steve and Bruce might need to do a little worshiping.” Tony smirked.
Steve looked perplexed. “Why would a temple be attached to a whorehouse?”
Natasha leaned over and whispered in his ear. Steve first went pale then blushed a deep red.
Bruce held out a hand, “Want to help me practice what I preach?”
Steve’s eyes widened, and he backed away from Bruce. “I think I’ll just wait this one out.”
Everyone laughed though Rhodey noticed Steve’s blush would return whenever he looked at Tony.
It was well past midnight when the big battle of the event took place. There was a great deal of good-natured arguing going on.
“I venture forth to smite it with my mace.”
“Sorry, Goldilocks. You can’t move until Bruce casts the counterspell.” Tony leaned back, twirling his pen through his fingers.
Thor frowned. “He has cast the spell.”
“He started casting. It takes 3 rounds for that spell to cast.”
Thor banged his hand down on the table, causing it to jerk. “It does not. I know this spell well. It is a favorite of Loki’s, and it does not take my brother that much time to cast.”
Bruce picked up the book. “I’m afraid it says right here it takes three rounds.”
Thor dismissed the book. “When you stand before an army of sorcerous fiends, you are well aware of the length of the counterspell.”
Tony froze a moment. “Okay, he holds. Next.”
Clint was sitting on the back of the chair with his feet on the seat, leaning back to reach a bag of chips on the counter. “I shoot it with an arrow and hit it.”
“OK, roll for the hit.”
“Don’t have to, I hit it.”
“What do you mean you don’t have to roll?”
“I never miss.” Clint grinned as he got his finger on the bag.
Tony glared at him. “You know what. OK, You hit it. A perfect hit through the eye. In its death throes it falls from the sky and lands on you, crushing you instantly.”
Natasha shoved the chair and Clint fell, landing on his back, the bag of chips falling all over him.
The fight quickly ended with Thor getting the killing blow and dancing around the table. “It was a glorious quest. We will feast and tell tales of your heroic sacrifice friend Barton. I must take this game home to Asgard. Though I do believe we need to make it more realistic. The portrayal of magic is not believable, but I am certain it can be fixed.”
Rhodey laughed with Tony as he rolled his eyes at the God of Thunder and began passing out treasure. Thor offered to carry the entire chest.
“Sorry buddy, but you’re already at maximum. I don’t think you can carry something that heavy with all your gear.”
“I assure you, I can carry much more than this pitiful amount.”
“No, actually you can’t.” Tony shook his head as he started to gather everything.
“Do you wish me to prove it to you, Man of Iron. I will do so immediately.” Thor stood up and started looking for things to lift as he first picked up Clint from where he was still sitting on the floor eating chips.
Rhodey just leaned back and laughed as he watched Thor chase the Avengers around the room attempting to lift them all while Barton struggled to be let go.