Steve intends on listening, he really does. But there’s something about cephalopod ink and the stench of rotting fish that makes the debrief seem more tedious than usual. Not that he usually has the patience for it, but Captain America’s who he’s committed to in this lifetime and Captain America has responsibilities.
It doesn’t mean Steve Rogers can’t doodle in the margins of the stack of paperwork he’s been handed while Fury and Tony snark at one another. By now, he’s come to appreciate their exchanges as an art form; he’s never heard information about rebuilding, funds and injury reports tossed back and forth so rapidly in the same breath as insults and snark. And ultimately, whenever Tony feels like speaking instead of picking at his tablet, these meetings tend to wrap up quicker. Steve has long since developed a whole new appreciation for the business man in Tony.
Eventually everything tapers off when even Natasha begins to squirm, having cleaned off all her knives and turned her attention to the shrimp shells in Clint’s hair.
At the sight of his spies picking at one another, Fury dismisses them all with a crude, “Get the fuck out. You’re starting to go bad.”
He exits with a dramatic swirl of his trench coat and Steve wonders briefly if there’s some stupid new invention for unnecessary drama. The others stand, stretching and the room fills with quiet grumbles.
“Come friends, we must feast,” Thor demands, twirling his hammer as he exits because apparently nothing brings Thor’s mood down. Then again, Steve recalls that one sleepover in the common room where Thor had detailed his fight against a three headed serpent in swamplands so it’s little wonder this entire affair doesn’t bother the alien.
Bruce shoots the tail end of Thor’s cape a weary glare, one hand pressing against his back as he rises, hiking up the pants he’s swiped from a demolished GAP.
“Shower. If there’s another attack, don’t come looking for me,” he mutters under his breath, talking into his chest and Tony pats him on the shoulder as he walks pass.
“Thank god,” Clint mutters under his breath and he slides in besides Natasha who's waiting for him at the doorway. He wiggles his eyebrows at her, “Shower?”
Steve pulls back immediately, shuffling his papers together.
“No one ask after us either,” Natasha tosses after them and there’s the sound of a smack echoing down the halls.
Steve tries not to think too hard on Clint’s smothered giggle.
“Well that was a lot of images I didn’t really need,” Tony mutters, sidling up besides Steve, close enough to brush their shoulders together. He breaks off, looking thoughtful, “Although…”
“What? I’m getting old. Let me live vicariously through them,” Tony huffs.
Steve raises an eyebrow at him and Tony gives him a light shove, careful of the armor’s strength. The soldier barely moves from the impact and Tony gives him a slow appreciative once over before placing one hand on his shoulder.
“Giant fish though,” Tony complains, rubbing at the back of his neck, awkward with the armor bulk, “Bet they didn’t have that back in your day.”
“No. As a matter of fact if I wanted to see any fish I would’ve had to walk six miles to see them. Up a hill.”
“Oh my god.”
“In the snow.”
Tony looked torn, fluttering uncertainly between amused and scandalized.
“I was thinking sushi tonight,” Tony says, turning the subject away as he snatches the sheets out of Steve’s hand, “Ever have odori-don*?”
He smiles as if he’s said something particularly funny and Steve can’t help wondering how the world doesn’t notice that Tony Stark is a massive dork.
“I don’t know what that is but I don’t think Bruce will appreciate it,” he replies absently, leading them down the halls of the Helicarrier.
Tony makes a face at the subtle threat, “Clam chowder? Cavier?”
“You’re not as funny as you think you are.”
“You’re right, I’m funnier. Fine. What about Chinese? Pizza? That lasagna thing that’s been sitting in the fridge for the pass three weeks? Seriously, why’s that still there? Between you, Thor and Bruce, us pitiful normal humans can barely snatch our hands away fast enough.”
Steve listens with half an ear, knowing that by the time the team gathers in the common room there’ll be a veritable buffet laid out.
For now, food is the last thing on his mind. All he wants is a shower hot enough to scald and to scrape the slime from every inch of his body. Tony makes a soft noise, abruptly cutting himself off. Steve turns to find him standing in the middle of the hallway squinting at one of the pages. Before Steve can make a comment about bifocals, Tony’s already speaking.
“Steven G. Rogers,” he reads.
Steve can almost hear the gears turning, shifting their focus. He clears his throat before Tony can get too caught up in his thoughts. Tony makes a weird flapping motion with his hand, dismissing him and Steve huffs at him, briefly wondering if the taxis would take him if Tony wasn’t going to fly him back. Maybe if he jumped on the armor he could ride Iro–
“George,” Tony says in between mouthfuls of pasta.
“No,” Steve replies immediately, piling his plate high with chow mein.
He glances up, searching the massive spread for the orange chicken which is apparently in Thor’s hands. He mournfully gives up on that and reaches something that just looks like a clump of meat. He picks at it before trying one and deciding he likes the taste.
Form the corner of his eye he sees Clint look up curiously from his burrito and Steve can almost see an antenna go up like a periscope, sensing mayhem.
“Steve G. Rogers,” Natasha supplies in response to the unasked question.
She reaches over Clint to claim an entire pizza box and passes Bruce the carton of broccoli he had been reaching for.
Clint looks positively delighted at the thought of it, turning to Tony, “George, though? Really?”
The billionaire shrugs, “Statistically more likely.”
“Steve George Rogers,” Clint tries out and shudders, making a face, “That's horrible. Might as well call you America McAmericason.”
“It’s not George,” Steve interjects patiently, digging into the mountain he’s shaped out in Chinese food.
“You might as well have been born on the fourth of July,” Clint cackles and there’s a beat where Steve just stares at him.
“Oh my god.”
Sometimes Steve thinks Clint and Tony walked out of the same womb, arm over each other and cracking jokes about their birth. This is one of those times. The expression on their faces are mirror images, slack-jawed and wide-eyed. Tony looks slightly more perturbed while Clint is edging towards delight.
“Did they smother you in the American flag too?” Clint cackles, spraying black beans, yelping when Natasha pinches him.
Steve stares, not saying anything.
“Oh, Steve no. Tell me they didn’t,” Clint amends, face twisting as if he’s unsure whether to laugh or cry. He looks genuinely sorry for a beat as Steve lets the silence stretch.
“They didn’t,” Steve replies simply, scraping off the last of his chow mein and reaching for a pizza.
He doesn’t miss the complicated twisted smirk Tony’s fighting down as he giggles quietly into his soda and Steve tries not to feel too pleased at that.
Steve lets out a swear, nearly putting a hole through the shower. He tucks his hands against his groin, hurrying to cover himself even though the glass doors of the shower are fully steamed and he can’t make out anything but Tony’s silhouette standing by the doorway.
“Are you insane?!”
“Does that mean I’m wrong?” Tony sounds petulant and Steve can just imagine the pout.
He tries valiantly to ignore the heat in his groin, a complicated twist in his gut as he flutters helplessly between two extremes.
“And you thought you would break into my bathroom to ask?!”
“Oh, come on. Your door wasn’t locked.”
“Technically it’s not breaking and entering!”
“Get. Out,” Steve grinds out, glowering down at his groin.
He stubbornly clamps down on the strange flush that races down his spine at Tony’s voice.
“I can’t believe you have your shield in your shower. What do you think is gon–”
“I can't see anything. It’s not like we don’t all masturba–”
“Get the fuck out!”
“You don’t masturbate with your shield do you?”
Steve nearly boxes his ears. He manages to fight down the urge but he snaps his pencil in half. Growling, he packs his supplies, stalking out of the common room. The tips of his ears burn and he’s thankful there is no one else in the tower today.
“Did I mention I was sorry? Cause I am! Steve? Steve!”
The muscle in his jaw jumps as Steve steps into the elevator, ignoring the shouts after him.
“Is it Geoffry?!”
Steve bites down on his tongue, refusing to laugh. He’s not going to forgive the moron quite yet.
“Tony’s been in his lab for three days now,” Natasha mentions offhandedly and Steve ignores her, throwing a punch at her that somehow winds up with him sprawled on his back on one of the gym mats.
“A week now,” Clint drawls as he dangles off the top of the refrigerator, digging deep in the freezer for his coffee ice cream.
Steve swats him like a fly in order to steal the last carton, relishing in the vindictive rush in his veins when Clint calls out after him.
“The Man of Iron has–”
Steve fiddles with his tablet, effectively cutting off Thor’s not-so-subtle observation by pulling up Jane’s Ted talk on Asgard’s bridge.
“Tony hasn’t been out of the lab in two weeks,” Bruce declares as he enters Steve’s room.
He doesn’t mention that Steve's barely left his room in two weeks too but the accusation is there, an underlying current about as subtle as the Hulk. Steve grunts at him, turning the page in his sketchbook and tensing as Bruce steps closer.
“I’d let him suffer for another week after that,” Bruce offers and then hands him a fresh stash of charcoal and a pile of sketchbooks, “But he’s making me play delivery boy after you scared off the last dozen. So you’re going to have bump up your schedule.”
Steve raises an eyebrow but Bruce meets his gaze impassively.
“I’ve been shocked ten times today. If I didn’t need his brain for this project the Other Guy would be putting him through a wall right now. Don’t mess with me Rogers.”
Steve sighs, watching Bruce stalk out.
“And I know you miss him. We could all do without your sulking!” Bruce calls back as he vanishes from sight.
Steve makes a face. He doesn’t miss Tony; no one in their right mind would miss a someone with the maturity of a six year old. He casts a glance at the mountain of art supplies gathering in the corner of his suite. He’s donated about half to the Boy’s and Girl’s club a few blocks down but Tony has shown no sign of letting up. He grinds his teeth at the thought of Tony wearing him down with money but he knows by now the billionaire’s common sense has always been skewed.
He wasn’t forgiving him.
They were going to talk.
And he was going to bring food. Because he couldn’t very well let a teammate starve, right?
With a groan, Steve gets up, wandering into the kitchen where Natasha’s nursing a cup of coffee. She looks pleasantly tired, spacing out as she stares down the coffee machine, waiting for the next pot. Steve makes sure to step loudly, moving pass to grab supplies for a sandwich.
There’s a comfortable silence between them as Steve stacks up a few sandwiches. He slices them into smaller portions, knows Tony will just let it all fall out if he attempts to grab one of them at this point.
Steve catches Natasha’s knowing look when he grabs for the coffee pot first, doling out a careful portion in one of the smaller mugs.
“Hot date tonight?” she asks, sounding smug.
“Don’t think he can compare to Clint,” Steve replies, pointedly eying the hickey on her neck and she smirks, lifting her cup in a toast.
He tosses her a casual salute before heading down to the lab. JARVIS sounds almost relieved when Steve requests entry, toning down the music in Tony’s lab even without being asked.
“JARVIS–” Tony breaks off mid-tirade when he spots Steve in the doorway and offers a small cautious smile, eyes wide, the very picture of innocence.
His eyes fly to the mug immediately, and he sways towards it as if drawn by a magnet.
“You don’t break into my bathroom again,” Steve starts.
“ ‘I won’t break into your bathroom again’ but you know–”
“I have my shield outside my shower and I will use it.”
Tony makes a face, saluting him, “Sir, yes sir.”
“That won’t last,” Steve sighs, rolling his eyes and he passes over the tray. Still withholding the mug of coffee he continues, “And you stop trying to throw money at me.”
Tony visibly tenses at that, bristling, “That wasn’t–”
He seems to catch himself, muttering under his breath, “Fine.”
Steve passes the cup over and takes his corner in the workshop, picking up the sketchbook he had left down here last time. He knows it’s been undisturbed, remembers the exact location it had been in last time and realizes Tony hasn’t taken any liberties. It’s a little easier to relax after that.
“ ‘M sorry. It was inappropriate but – I wasn’t thinking – genius strikes when it strikes. And Pepper said I shouldn’t try to buy you but that wasn’t what that was – I just–” Tony’s tentative apology comes about an hour in.
He makes a frustrated growl at the fractured sentences, clearly on fresh ground, “Look. It won’t happen again.”
“Alright,” Steve says because there’s nothing else to say, squinting at the page in his book, trying to figure out Tony’s eyes.
“So who were you thinking abo–” Tony breaks off, smirking when Steve glares at him.
There’s a beat of silence where Tony apparently decides Steve isn’t going to whip his sketchbook at him.
Steve throws a pillow at him.
“You are too easy, Cap,” Clint remarks when they’re called out two hours later.
Steve snaps his hand, bouncing the shield inches off the wall besides Clint’s head.
“Oops,” he offers when Clint swears, and reaches up to snatch his shield out of the air. He rams it into the head of a strange giant green bunny-like thing, grimacing as the screech it lets out when the stuffing falls out.
“I’m going repulsor Reed in his ugly smug face,” Tony snarls, “I just took down Pooh. Pooh!”
“You think you have it bad, I had to take down Pikachu,” Hawkeye offers, unleashing three arrows into Mickey Mouse.
Steve tries not to take that as a sacrilege. He has no idea who Pikachu is but Mickey.
“Chatter,” he huffs, more to himself than anyone else as he tumbles out of the way of the Velveteen Rabbit, taking off its head with his shield.
Mournfully he peers after the headless body, watching it stumble awkwardly away before collapsing. He bites down on a yelp when Tony plummets into him, snatching him out off the ground seconds before an enormous Iron Man plush can flatten him.
“Thanks,” Steve manages, the absurdity of the entire situation hitting him hard.
Iron Man makes a short distorted crackling noise in response before setting him down, flitting back into the air, cocky and arrogant.
“Is it Glen–”
Steve feels his heart stop at the sight of Iron Man falling out of the air, plummeting to earth like a red and gold comet. The entire world tilts on its axis and Steve can scarcely breath, watching Tony struggle to regain his balance. He manages for a short moment before the enormous toy pterodactyl swipes at his boots, coming in to land on his back, shrieking. He watches the two struggle in the air before bulleting into the side of a building.
The chatter on the comlink snaps off, shattering to give way to complete silence. Quips and taunts giving way to silence.
The entire floor collapse and Steve bites down hard enough on his tongue that he tastes blood. Tony’s last words echo in his mind. Fuck. He should’ve–
There’s a near frantic protest in the back throat but Steve clamps down on it, breathing harsh. He’s distantly aware of himself rattling off orders, entire body numb as his throat works, forcing the words out. He can’t afford to be distracted, entire body snapping to attention as he turns back on the army with a newly discovered viciousness.
“We need the excavation team down here now. Widow, Clint and I will keep them back towards the portal. Thor, stop playing with that and light up anything trying to move pass the barriers the cops have up. Bruce, what’s the status on the portal?”
“Gabriel?” is the first thing out of Tony mouth when he wakes up.
“No, Tony,” Steve replies, smiling helplessly down at him.
Tony glances down at their hands and grins, thumb rubbing the back of Steve’s hand. He hums softly, blinking blearily at the Iron Man plush Steve’s set on his chest. He manages a soft snicker at the sight of it the Captain America shield the bear’s holding, giggling at the sloppy words painted across it: I <3 U.
“Such a sap cap,” Tony slurs and giggles again, “Clint was right. You eeasy.”
Steve wonders briefly if they should tone down on the painkillers but he's too busy being amused by the fact that Tony Stark is wiggling on the bed, doped to the gills.
“Go back to sleep,” he urges, patting Tony’s arm but the man’s already slipped off, breathing evening out as the painkillers and drugs take over.
He settles down in the chair he hasn’t vacated for two days now, playing absently with the bear.
“Not easy,” he tells it, ignoring the fact that he hasn’t let go of Tony’s hand.
The toy just stares at him and he can’t help the smile growing on his face.
“Grover,” Tony hums, biting into Steve’s neck two weeks later.
Steve groans into the man’s chest, hands fisting in the his shirt, “Really? Now?"
He bites down hard on Tony’s bicep, yanking at the shirt, “Am I boring you?”
“Never,” Tony assures, unrolling his hips and Steve damn near goes cross eyed at the delicious drag.
Steve tilts his head, allowing Tony more access and the billionaire hums, dragging his mouth lazily across every bit of skin he can reach. Tony moves his hands downwards, clever fingers digging into hard muscle as he works a hickey carefully into the curve of Steve’s neck.
“It’s Grant,” Steve mutters into the pillow afterwards, panting as the sweat cools from his skin.
He leans back into Tony, enjoying the feel of him.
Tony hums, distracted as he traces patterns into Steve’s pecs, smoothing out the sweat and other fluids there. Steve doesn’t miss the way the hands dip lower; he’ll be up for another round in about five minutes anyways.
“Steven Grant Rogers.”
Tony stills, processing the information and then snickers into Steve’s shoulder blade, “Grant.”
“Why Grant, you’re just the cat’s meow,” Tony sniggers, in a horrible approximation of a Brooklyn accent.
He cackles into Steve’s skin until finally Steve turns them over. Tony’s eyes glaze pleasantly and he all but purrs as Steve slots himself between the man’s legs, fully intent on showing Tony just what he’d been thinking of in the shower.
Tony stops laughing after that. It’s difficult to snigger when your mouth’s occupied.