Tony is very, very used to getting flirted with. It's been happening since a time when it probably shouldn't have been happening, but the thing is, it was pretty much always a prelude to sex.
Which Tony can handle. He's grown more than adept at flirting over the years, along with what it preludes to. A quick search of his name on Youtube is proof of that.
He never really got around to getting flirted with for other reasons, though, which is why he's confused as fuck when he realizes Steve has been flirting with him for the past month or so and Tony doesn't notice until Steve makes a blatant innuendo while pointedly looking Tony in the eyes.
Then he takes his toast into the lounge with him, and Tony is left to collect the rest of his brain cells and think back on all the weird shit Steve had been saying lately that Tony had chalked down to Steve being a weird guy.
Clint walks into the kitchen then, and raises his eyebrows when he catches sight of Tony, mug frozen halfway to his mouth, staring into space. "What's with you?"
"Has Steve been flirting with me," Tony asks.
Clint snorts as he shakes the Coco Puffs to check if there's a bowl's worth in the box. "We've been waiting for you to figure it out, man. Took your time. How long has it been, three months?"
Tony continues to stare dazedly at the wall. "Steve wants to have sex with me."
"Steve wants to date you," Clint corrects him, now sitting on the counter eating Coco Puffs from the box so he can have a better view of Tony freaking the fuck out. "I don't think he'd be opposed to the sex thing, though. I think he's all for the sex thing. But mostly he's aiming for dating."
Tony finally blinks, letting the idea sink in. This is- different. "Steve wants to date me."
"Ding-ding-ding, give the man a prize."
Tony looks up at Clint, who is munching away happily. "What do I do?"
Clint makes a face. Through a mouthful of Coco Puffs, he says, "Gee, what do you think?"
When Steve gets home after his morning jog, he heads to the fridge, like always. He pours himself a glass of orange juice and then leans against the counter to drink it, and Tony avoids his eyes throughout the whole thing, even though Steve usually nods at him when he sees him sitting at the kitchen table.
He hears Steve rinse his glass out and leave it to drain, and just as he thinks he's home free, Steve tosses out a warm, "You look nice this morning, Tony. Your bedhead is cute," as he's leaving the kitchen.
Tony squeaks, and brings up both his hands to run them through his hair.
Steve brings food down to the workshop like always, and Tony mutters a thank you without looking up.
"No problem," Steve answers. "I asked JARVIS to tell you when dinner's ready. We're eating at the table tonight, I'm trying to get us to eat as a team at least once a week. Movie night doesn't count."
Tony grunts in the direction of his project and tries not to be too aware of the distance between him and Steve.
A second passes, and Steve clears his throat. "I really admire that you put so much time into making things for us. We're all grateful for it." Another pause, and Steve clears his throat. "And I think your hands look really nice, especially when you're making things."
Then he leaves with a casual, "See you at dinner," and Tony waits until he's out of sight before tucking both his hands under his armpits.
What the hell is he going to do.
Steve compliments him on his arms. On his craftsmanship. On his jokes. He makes the rare innuendo that get the whole team snickering after Steve leaves the room. He tells Tony he values Tony in the team, and as a person, and as a friend. He looks at Tony with big blue eyes and an easy smile that comes far too rarely.
Tony has no goddamn idea what to do with all this affection. He also has no idea how to respond to it.
A knock on his workshop door makes Tony glance up, and then tense. Steve is standing behind the glass, holding a sketchbook that he gestures towards.
"Sure," Tony says after a second, and JARVIS opens the door for Steve. About a year ago, Steve had started coming down here and sketching while Tony worked. It had become normal for Tony to look up and see Steve on the couch, his eyebrows furrowed in concentration as he dragged his pencil across the page.
Steve says, "Thanks," and heads for the couch, his back straight as he sits down on it. He wets his lips. "Tony?"
"I can stop, if you want," Steve says hesitantly, and Tony looks up at him. Steve's smile is awful, fake as hell. "I know I'm not good at flirting, and if- if my compliments make you uncomfortable, I can stop saying them. I think I go too far sometimes."
"You think," Tony says, and backpedals when Steve winces and drops his gaze. "No, I don't- they aren't too much. I mean, they are, but not because I don't want you saying them."
Steve's eyes are on him again, cautious, like he's afraid he's going to be rebuffed, and Tony pulls in a hard breath.
"I'm not used to people saying things like that," Tony explains slowly, unsure what he's going to say until the words are out, "Unless they just want sex from me. A roll around that'll be fun, granted, but one that they'll leave afterwards. And- apparently you don't just want that."
"I don't," Steve says, earnest and honest and everything Tony isn't used to.
"I know. But it- gets me off-guard, sometimes. God, some of the things you say-"
Steve is wincing. "I'm sorry."
"No, they aren't bad," Tony sighs. "I have no idea how to handle them, though. You say-" Tony's hand clenches around his wrench before he places it down on the work table behind him. He crosses the room to the couch and sits beside Steve, who stares.
"Do you mean them?"
"Everything," Steve says, and his throat clicks. "All of it."
Tony's mouth flickers into a smile. His hands curl together in his lap. "See, I don't know how the fuck to handle any of it, Steve. You're saying I'm a good person and that I'm gorgeous and I'm selfless and you're saying it all in that stupid honest voice, and you're not being sarcastic, and you're saying all this sweet stuff and I don't- I don't know what to do with it."
"I can stop."
"I don't want you to."
Steve's restrained kicked-puppy look subsides into one of careful hope. "Yeah?"
"Just," Tony says, and sighs again. "Give me time to get used to it."
"Okay." Steve meets Tony's gaze. "Tony?"
"Your eyes are really beautiful," Steve says, with a nervous grin. "I spent a month trying to find the right colour for them so I could draw your face properly."
Tony flushes. "Uh. Thanks."
"Sorry," Steve says, twisting his fingers together. "I could tone it down?"
"A little bit would be good," Tony says, and pauses before he takes one of Steve's hands in his. "I like your hands."
"Yeah?" Steve looks just as surprised as Tony at whatever happens between them.
"They're nice," Tony says, turning Steve's hand over and skimming over his palm. Steve lets him, his hand going loose in Tony's grasp. "Pretty fingers."
"Thank you," Steve says, and great, now they're both blushing. This is going to be awkward as hell, Tony can tell already.
Tony lets go of Steve's hand and raises his to brush over Steve's bottom lip, lightly. "I like your mouth."
Steve's eyes have fluttered shut at the first touch. "Yeah," he says after a second, like his thoughts take a while to get to his lips.
"It's a good mouth," Tony continues, tracing it, thumb fitting into the line of Steve's jaw as his fingers ghost over Steve's lips. He lets out a breath when Steve touches Tony's wrist with his hand and kisses Tony's fingers: gentle, dry kisses, and then one to the center of Tony's palm when he brings Tony's hand up further.
"Thanks," Steve says, soft. His eyes have opened again, but only just. "I- yours is nice, too. I don't think I've said."
"Oh," Steve says. "Sorry."
"It's okay," Tony assures him, and Steve looks down to his mouth, then up to meet his gaze again in a silent question, his head moving closer to Tony in tiny movements.
Tony kisses him in answer, opening Steve's mouth with his tongue and getting a quiet groan in reward. He kisses Steve until he finds his way into Steve's lap, knees on either side of him.
"I like your tongue," Steve is saying, breathless, dazed. "I like the insides of your cheeks. I like your teeth." His hands run up Tony's legs, up his sides. "I like the weight of you on top of me. I like your thighs, I like how they feel under my hands. I like the bones in your hips, the lines they make. I like your hands in my hair. I like your stomach. I like-"
"Back at you," Tony gasps, and kisses him silent.