America Isn't Chicken

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Fanfiction
Title: America Isn't Chicken
Author(s): Amuly
Date(s): 28 June 2013
Length: 130,631 words
Genre: slash fanfiction
Fandom: Marvel 616, The Avengers
External Links: America Isn't Chicken (AO3)

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America Isn't Chicken is a Steve/Tony story by Amuly. It was posted as a complete fic to the AO3, with progress excerpts occasionally posted to Tumblr.

A scene in chapter five was inspired by a piece of Iron Man and Captain America fanart by gazdowna (drzwi-do-szafy on tumblr).[1] Steve using the expression "mother and country" was inspired by a post by copperbadge.[2]

Summary

"After a Civil War, death, rebirth, a takeover by Osborn, brain deletion, and the fall of Asgard, Steve and Tony might just be starting to get back on solid ground with one another. Things aren't perfect, not yet, but they can be in the same room as each other without resorting to violence, and they've even managed to share a smile or two. Seems like the perfect time, then, for Tony to try and fuck it all up with a stupid game of gay chicken. Meanwhile, as if he didn't have enough to worry about, Tony realizes some kind of supervillainous trouble is brewing when increasingly advanced armors start popping up all over Manhattan, looking strangely reminiscent of his tech. On the other side of the world, Steve gets news that Zola is on the move in Russia, with some sort of nefarious plan at work. Which will ruin them first? Will it be this unknown armored villain who is after Tony's tech? Or will it be Zola unleashing his mysterious plan on the world? Or will Steve and Tony prove to be their own worst enemies, destroying the tentative truce they managed to forge with their own stubbornness?"

Recs and Reviews

Iron Man and Captain America fanart by drzwi_do_szafy. A scene in chapter five was inspired by this.

Strolling out onto the roof with his hands in his pockets, Steve allowed himself to take in the views of the city. It was beautiful, even after all these years, even after all these changes. That was the thing, growing up in New York: you could always count on it to change with the times, to move forward. It was a constant flux, and conversely enough, one of the very few things that hadn't changed when Steve found himself unfrozen. It was a comfort in its own, strange way. The city that never slept hadn't waited for Steve, and that was the best thing the old girl could have done to make him feel right at home.

At some point in his musings Steve had approached the edge of the roof without realizing it. He glanced down, scuffing a toe in the gravel on the roof. Not too long a way down. Not the farthest he'd even fallen and lived, for sure.

The roar of repulsor boosters filled his ears, causing Steve to take a smooth step back from the ledge. He leaned back, gaze tracking up until he caught on the old familiar gold-and-red armor. A smile tugged at his lips as Tony flew over in his signature flashy style, coming to a hovering stop a foot or two in front of and above Steve. He had to tilt his head back to meet the metal mask's eyes.

“Tony.”

The faceplate flipped back, revealing a grinning Tony.

“Steve.” [...] “Fancy meeting you here,” Tony teased.

Steve stuck his hands in his pockets and glanced around. Tony wasn't landing, which could mean one of two things. He took a shot:

"Got something to show me?”

The faceplate clicked back down and Tony reached one armor-covered hand out to Steve. Steve took a step forward, up onto the safety ledge around the edge of the building. They'd never done this, he was acutely aware. Never done this casually, when there was no danger or imminent threat.
Freedom Bless it and Science damn it, I LOVED THE HELL OUT OF THIS STORY! I balked at first, over 100k, focusing on civil war stuff ordinarily means stay away. I'm so glad SO GLAD that I read it, but so sad that it's over. This was such a great ride, and oddly plausible for the two of them. They are MASSIVE idiots in this and it is completely delightful. Plus I love the action sequences in this almost as much as I love the sexy sequences. It's just all terribly well written and the pace is perfect. I sped through this thing and never felt like there was misstep in style, characterization, tone, or plot or anything. I think what i loved best was steve's obliviousness and inability to look at his own feelings. It was all about Tony until it glaringly obviously could no longer be about Tony, until it delved into his own feelings. And I love everybody else's characterizations as well, esp. Natasha and Bucky. I'm also really impressed by the way you managed to keep the UST running strong throughout, and for a while I really did feel like, will they or won't they? Plus steve's Punnett squares of denial, I was like, yeah, it says you should stop but since you don't WANT to stop having kinky times w. Tony...the whole exercise is moot. Anyway just want to say this was great fun and I thank you for that. Also the idea of the armors was so grotesquely awesome and original...[3]
I was ridiculously excited to see that you'd started putting up the gay chicken fic on AO3 yesterday (I've been following its progress on Tumblr with quite a lot of interest), and holy crap, you delivered a heck of a piece. There were points I was laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair, and then there were points where I was clutching my computer going "OH GOD WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT." Funny, and sad at points, and sometimes heartbreaking, and heartfelt, and brilliantly plotted (can I mention how creepy the idea of organic armor is? Yikes!), and the ending just made me want to curl into a ball and make small happy noises to myself for a while. I have a feeling I'm always going to refer to this as "the gay chicken fic" in my head, but in truth, it is so, so much more than that, and I'm definitely going to have to give it another read fairly soon to pick up all the things I missed the first time around.[4]
I really love the imagery of Steve sketching Tony. Steve running his fingers down Tony's sides right when the convo starts to get tense. Trying to give him laugh lines and rub away the smudges under his eyes. Beautiful.

And...Steve and his confused guilt over their game. I love that he can never decide if he's leading Tony on or if Tony's manipulating him. It's stressing him out SO BAD but he still won't (can't?) put a stop to it. Because he loves Tony.

And they're still not gay for each other. Sure, guys.[5]
Steve using the expression "mother and country" in comic canon. Tumblr post by copperbadge.
This fic makes me think of the plot of that awful 90s Tales of Suspense comic ("clear azure eyes"), except actually done well, and with text to supplement the subtext: villains creating replicas of Tony's tech to attract his attention, two lines of investigation leading to the same place, nowhere near platonic mutual admiration, and a random Japanese father. But you included their world, and friends and allies, and made the characters more lifelike than a typical comic book story would show them, so thank you for this.[6]
I basically inhaled this fic... downloaded it to my Kindle and read. And read. And read some more. And couldn't wait for the story to come to its, ahem, climax, but never ever wanted it to end.

Some favorite things:

“He's an asshole,” she said sharply. “He's a control freak. He's uncompromising and impossibly unsympathetic. Empathetic, yes, to a fault. But not sympathetic. He can't bring himself to see a different perspective on this, understand why someone might make the decisions they did if they appear clearly wrong to Steve from his own perspective. You know this, Tony. You know this better than all of us.”

So Steve just being an achingly sincerely GOOD person is a bullet-proof kink for me, and you have that in spades, but I also love when they call out the ways he really is NOT perfect. Tony's angst over never being able to live up to his vision of Steve is played so well in this story, and Carol's slap of reality here is perfect.

“Why have we never done this?” Steve asked. He turned his face into the side of Tony's helmet, even though he was sure Tony would be able to hear him, even with the wind whisking away his words as it was. Tony would have figured out a way to hear him, invented a way.

That last sentence gave me the biggest lump in my throat. Oh, boys.

He could promise to trust Tony when it came to tech, when it came to armors—but he could never trust Tony when it came to self-preservation, when Tony came down to Tony. Steve trusted Tony with his own life, with the life of his teammates, but never with Tony's. He couldn't promise to trust in that.

Ow, ow, ow. THE FEELS. So true.

So, um, the sex before the sex? So hot. The phone sex call killed me. And then the ... gay chicken simultaneous masturbation porn ... I don't even know what to call it scene. The description of Tony figuring out how to use the vibrator... I'm almost afraid to ask how you did your research! And then Steve ASSISTING him with the vibrator. Wow. Way to build things!

Speaking of sex...

It was one of those “for her pleasure” kinds, but Steve supposed it would work as well for a guy as for a girl. He hadn't gone out and bought gay-specific condoms (did they make those? Were they rainbow-colored? Was it bigoted of him to think that?).

This just cracked me up, it was a great moment in the scene. Gay sex condoms! And I loved that we went from that moment of levity into, just a few lines later:

He thought taking him from behind like this would be easier, would make it less Tony, but Steve had been kidding himself. He'd be able to recognize Tony by an elbow, by his big toe. Having Tony's face hidden from him didn't make him any less Tony. Didn't make this any less significant.

Oh, my heart. My poor poor aching heart. He'd be able to recognize Tony by his big toe. SNIFF.

How long had it been since he fucked up this badly? One year, six months, eighteen days, fourteen hours. One year, six months, eighteen days, fourteen hours since Tony had seen Steve die, right in front of him, on the courthouse steps.

Did I mention my heart? Oh, Tony.

This is sort of rambling and incoherent, but hopefully you've gotten the sense how much I loved this story. I found Avengers fandom and fic through the movie-verse, and have been slowly educating myself on the comic-verse (well, various comic-verses!). This is going straight to my list of favorite stories.[7]
INSTANT REC!!! I loved the plot/case, the build up to the sex was incredibly hot, and I loved the tension between Tony and Steve. I was also amused that for "straight" guys they had some rather kinky sex during this long game of gay chicken. All in all, this story had emotional impact and it made me cry.[8]
Spent the last 3 days reading this (off and on -- I'm not *that* slow!) and I have to say, it was time well spent! Nice work balancing the suspense and romance plots against each other. And great work on the dynamics of the Gay Chicken game -- that's a new one on me, and it was great fun to read.[9]

References

  1. drzwi-do-szafy. iron man and captain america fanart, 05 April 2013. (Accessed 15 December 2013)
  2. copperbadge. Steve. You have to stop trying to bring back “Mother and country!” as a swearword. Just say motherfucker like everyone else. (Accessed 15 December 2013)
  3. thunderkat. AO3 comment, 14 July 2013. (Accessed 15 December 2013)
  4. thatsweetmysteryoflife. AO3 comment, 28 June 2013. (Accessed 15 December 2013)
  5. purpleyedemon. AO3 comment, 07 July 2013. (Accessed 15 December 2013)
  6. firelordstark. AO3 comment, 20 November 2013. (Accessed 15 December 2013)
  7. liz_w. AO3 comment, 29 June 2013. (Accessed 15 December 2013)
  8. amalthia. Avengers, Teen Wolf, Star Trek AOS, Merlin, Supernatural, Harry Potter and Crossover Recs, 13 October 2013. (Accessed 15 December 2013)
  9. Cluegirl. AO3 comment, 06 July 2013. (Accessed 15 December 2013)