The funniest thing is that in the photograph that causes all the trouble in the first place they were arguing.
Looking at it later, objectively Tony can understand why people misinterpreted it. He can even sort of see why they interpreted it that way. Still, they were arguing like they always did and yet...
He's currently standing in Fury's office with Steve by his side, at attention or some goddamn thing like Steve always is. Fury is telling them that when it comes to public appearances, they are for the immediate future, together.
"You mean we have to go together?" Steve asks, a last desperate bid to derail whatever the hell is happening with deliberate misunderstanding. Tony gives him a sideways glance and by the way Steve's ear is pinking, it's definitely deliberate misunderstanding. Fury knows it too because he just snorts and doesn't even bother to respond. There's a woman standing at his shoulder in a black suit and a severe hair cut who's apparently come up with this little idea.
God save him from PR people.
"It'll humanize you," she says, waving the paper around that has the incriminating photo on it.
"Do you really want to be humanizing Captain fucking America?" Tony snaps. He's not above using Steve as a very humanized shield and besides, it's true. The whole allure of Captain America is that he's the bastion of all that's good and proper and boring.
"Can you not use a curse word in the middle of my name?" Steve says primly, pulling a face and Tony throws his hands out, gestures between himself and Steve like see, worst idea ever.
"The novelty of The Avengers is wearing off," the woman, introduced as Celia Yates says. "People are starting to notice the damage bill."
"The damage bill?" Tony says, exasperated. "What does that even mean?"
"People are starting to see you as nothing more than aloof vigilantes."
"Vigilantes!" Steve gets out, going almost purple. "We were recruited by SHIELD. We're law enforcement."
"People can sue the police," Yates says with raised eyebrows, like she's saying exactly my point. "As I was saying, while there was a novelty factor, while people were... awed no one thought about taking you to court. We're going to be buried in litigation the next time you take out a residential block."
"We don't destroy things," Tony says.
Yates takes a file off Fury's desk, flips it open and runs a nail down the page. "You hit a giant hamster with a bus. The city doesn't think they should have to pay for it."
"That was Bruce," Tony splutters, "and the hamster was nine feet long and about to eat the whole class of adorable little kids that were inside the bus until we got there."
"Be that as it may," Yates says. "We need people to start seeing you as one of them, start being able to relate. This couldn't have come at a better time."
"We were arguing," Tony feels compelled to repeat, circling back to his original point. "Doesn't that tell you something about our current relationship?" Tony sees out of the corner of his eye Steve fold his arms and raise his chin, defensive. He's a nice guy, Tony knows that in a kind of peripheral way but they've managed to catch on each others rough edges since they met, unexplained and unplanned for but a fact all the same. Steve just doesn't like him and Tony figures it's got a lot to do with a deep-rooted disapproval of who Tony is, what he represents.
"It doesn't look like that," Yates says, holding the newspaper up again and it doesn't is the thing.
Tony remembers that day, remembers Steve calling him a glorified Rock 'em, Sock 'em Robot and he'd grabbed Steve's hooded shirt and sneered at how cute it was that SHIELD had made him themed outfits. In the photo though, outside SHIELD headquarters, Tony was still grabbing at Steve's shirt but it looked almost playful. Tony's sneer looked like a grin because his eyes were hidden behind sunglasses and Steve's anger appeared to be something closer to fond exasperation.
"It's only for public appearances," Fury says in his best this is not up for negotiation tone. "You don't have to make a sex tape and post it on the internet."
Tony leaves while Steve's still spluttering with indignation.
Clint and Natasha find it all hilarious. Bruce is sympathetic without really understanding the need for it and Thor is confused. Tony gets the unsettling feeling that Thor is picturing him and Steve dry-humping after he's tried to explain what Fury has asked them to do.
If Tony doesn't hear Thor ever say the words feigning copulation again it'll still be too soon.
"I just don't understand how it's going to help us," Bruce says around a mouthful of Chocolate Chex. Tony's silently pleased that Bruce has actually started talking to them but it's not the way he would've chosen to open the lines of communication.
It doesn't help that he's been dealing with all this alone, Steve hiding in his room ever since their meeting with Fury, steadfastly refusing to emerge. "He's probably uncomfortable with you guys living in sin or something," Natasha offers unhelpfully. "Because, you know, you're together now."
"You can all move out," Tony snaps at her and she does what she always does, what they all all do even though it's his house and he's letting them stay there out of the goodness of his heart.
She ignores him.
Steve's forced to emerge from his self-inflicted exile when they have a meet and greet only three days later with the Mayor and some other higher ups on the city council. Yates had been prodding Tony to smooth things over with the bus thing and it seems the perfect opportunity has presented itself. When Tony actually bothers to attend his public appearances, he can out-schmooze anyone.
Tony knocks on Steve's door and Steve grunts something that could be come in or at least Tony chooses to interpret it that way and enters. He's caught off guard by Steve in a tuxedo because while Tony can pull off lazy playboy chic like no one's business, there's something almost glamorous about Steve in a penguin suit.
"What?" Steve grumbles. "I look as uncomfortable as I feel, right?" He's pulling on his collar and huffing. Tony's not sure why Steve finds the suit uncomfortable yet he has no problem with the Cap armor.
"You look nice," Tony says without even thinking about it. He bites down on his lip but Steve's just rolling his eyes, something he probably picked up from Natasha and says, "Don't start."
Tony wants to say that he's not starting anything, or at least not starting what Steve thinks he's starting but he bites down on it, knowing they'll end up yelling at each other because they always do. Tony's tried making conversation a few times, thinking it's pretty crazy that they can't get along when Steve seems to be universally adored by everyone but something always sets them off.
Steve gives him a strange look when he doesn't say anything, but then shrugs to himself and edges around Tony and out his bedroom door. Tony grabs for Steve's sleeve, thinking to hell with it, maybe he should actually explain that he wasn't being an ass before they join everyone but he misses and catches Steve's hand instead and Steve shakes him off with a grimace.
"Are you going to be like this all night?" Steve asks, annoyed and Tony's hackles rise automatically like he's helpless against it.
"You're supposed to be smitten with me," Tony points out. "Get with the smit." He's holding an arm out, waggling his eyebrows when Steve shoves him.
Tony goes down because Steve sometimes forgets his own strength and Tony's relative lack thereof outside the suit. Steve's darting forward, saying, "Tony, I'm really-" when Tony kicks out, catches Steve in the shin. Something hardens in Steve's face, pink high on his cheekbones and he makes a grab for Tony, the movement arrested because he gets caught on something.
"My friends, are you not supposed to be more harmonious on this night of celebration?" Thor asks, hefting Steve up and behind him like he weighs nothing.
"Tell that to Captain Asshat," Tony sniffs, lets Thor help him to his feet once he's released Steve.
There's paparazzi outside the party and Steve and Tony dutifully shuffle together when Fury glares at them. Tony shoves his hands into his pockets and leans into Steve's space so they look friendly without having to actually touch each other.
A fist fight on the red carpet will probably not go down that well.
They avoid each other inside, making nice with the over-coiffed denizens of the city and their significant others. Pepper's attending on behalf of Stark Industries and Tony spends most of the night basically hiding behind her skirts and trying to make it look like he isn't. He's not sure why the whole thing with Steve has gotten him so ruffled, usually he can't care less what other people think of him but something uncomfortable is twisting in Tony's gut at the idea that Steve would be so horrified about them being together.
"I can tell you exactly why," Pepper says when Tony grumbles about it.
"Do enlighten me," Tony says waspishly.
"It's because you like him," she says. "I recognize the signs."
"I have no signs," Tony denies. "I'm sign-less."
"Why do you think he doesn't like you?" she asks, more gently.
"A thousand reasons," Tony sighs.
"I'm not asking why people don't like you in general," Pepper says and ignores Tony scowling at her. "What about Mr. Rogers in particular?"
"I just... get a vibe," Tony says. "Plus we almost always end conversations in hand-to-hand combat. That's a small clue right there."
Right at that moment Tony feels a vice-like grip on his shoulder and he looks up into Fury's unimpressed face. "You and Captain America are doing a fantastic impression of not knowing each other," Fury says through clenched teeth. "Refresh my memory though, is that what I asked for?"
"What's with the giant everything lately?" Tony complains on comms, using a repulsor blast to encourage a frog the size of a truck to let him out of its mouth. Eaten by overlarge amphibian is not what he wants on his headstone.
"Keep the chatter to a minimum," Steve orders and Tony rolls his eyes, even though the only person who would know it would be JARVIS.
"I'm sorry, did I break your concentration while I was being eaten?" Tony snaps.
"You're fine, right?" Steve asks in a tone that makes Tony grit his teeth. He had thought maybe being stuck in an uncomfortable predicament together would cause he and Steve to bond, but so far nothing of the sort has happened. "Don't be a giant Iron Baby."
If anything, Steve seems to find Tony more intolerable than usual.
"Sir," JARVIS says, his way of interrupting because he doesn't have a throat to clear. "I'm concerned about the... frog's mucus affecting the integrity of the suit."
Tony pulls up his armor specs, sorts through until he finds the warning JARVIS is talking about. There's an environmental hazard flag that's jumped from green to yellow in a matter of moments. It shifts to red and then klaxons are blaring and Tony is feeling air on parts of himself he shouldn't be.
"Crap," Tony swears, because of all the things the armor is protection against, it seems caustic amphibian spit is not on the list. The boot repulsors sputter and die because the frog had been eating him from the feet up and then one hand goes because Tony had punched it in the mouth. Tony is able to keep himself aloft for only a few seconds before the other hand overloads and dies and then he's falling, the armor about as responsive as a brick.
Tony sees Steve dart underneath him, arms out and face determined and he screams into comms, "Get your ass out of there Rogers, you can't catch the goddamn armor no matter how-" He doesn't get to finish the mid-air tirade because Thor has caught him instead, grinning.
"Exciting, yes?" he asks, overly enthusiastic about the giant death-frogs.
The damage isn't so bad and Tony has spares of everything, but he's still fuming and bashing around the workshop more than is probably called for. If he's honest with himself, he knows it's because he wants to yell at Steve about being an idiot and hadn't managed to after being benched during the frog fight. He'd instead been picked up by a SHIELD van and smirked at by agents which hadn't improved his mood any.
"You alright?" a voice issues from the staircase leading into the labs and Tony glares about, because he'd told JARVIS to lock everyone out.
It's Steve of course, freshly showered and in one of his cute little SHIELD issue blue and red outfits. "The suit's fine," he says, curt.
"I didn't ask about the suit," Steve says, venturing further into the room, hesitant like he's expecting Tony to throw him out on his ear any moment which Tony is tempted to do, if he didn't think JARVIS would choose to be selectively deaf to that kind of order. "Are you okay?"
"Oh, sorry, I didn't realize you were asking about the frail little human," Tony says, feeling an increasing sense of being impotently angry. He's starting to realize that his anger is because for a split second he'd been terrified. Steve had been going to try to catch him which was ludicrous and just the kind of self-sacrificing bullshit Tony couldn't really deal with but to Steve was automatic. "You know, Clint and Natasha don't actually wear armor in the field and they're as human as me. I don't see you assuming they can't take care of themselves."
Tony sees out of the corner of his eye Steve almost pick up the fight. His nostrils flare and his fists clench, but then he seems to decide against it, kind of deflates like he's overtired. He rubs a hand over his face instead, messes up the neat forties-era haircut when he runs the hand up and over his head as well. "You make me...weary," Steve says finally.
Tony feels like he's been punched. He turns his back on Steve, dives back into the guts of the suit where he'd been soldering fried connections before he'd been interrupted.
He hears Steve head back up the stairs.
"I don't want to know, do I?" Tony says, eyeing the ragged hole where his front door used to be.
"Bruce couldn't remember his entry code. He got a little upset," Natasha says, as unimpressed as ever.
"I'll call the contractor," Tony sighs. "JARVIS has him on speed dial."
Tony finds Steve in the kitchen, poking desolately at the cell phone he'd been given.
"There are birds, and they're angry."
Steve's texts are a constant source of hilarity to everyone else because he's horrified by the very idea of using things like LOL and IMO. He signs off with a Regards, Steve Rogers every time.
Okay, so maybe Tony finds that a little more adorable than funny.
He's making progress though. Tony knows people in this day and age that can't even manage the texting thing and Steve has handled it, like he does most things but SHIELD insists they all have the latest everything which included giving Steve a cell phone that was far too complex for him. Tony would've preferred to just get him a phone that was a phone without so much as a camera and ease him into it.
"You shouldn't let Clint download things onto your phone," Tony says mildly, because without a doubt it would've been Clint. Steve doesn't exactly think there are small people living in the television set, but he isn't far from it. Tony holds a hand out. "I'll delete the birds."
Steve smiles, grateful and readily surrenders his least-favorite piece of technology. Steve loves the widescreen TV and the library of movies Tony owns, working his way through them steadily with glee. He'd loved the microwave until Natasha told him it would give him brain cancer and shrink his balls so now refuses to go near the thing.
Even a super-soldier takes a ball-threat seriously.
"Let's find something a little more your speed," Tony says, finding an app site with old-school games. He chuffs a laugh when he finds Pong and loads it. He hands it back, quickly demonstrating to Steve how to use it and Steve's transfixed immediately.
Steve looks up and he's giving Tony a shy, grateful grin. Tony blames the fact that when Steve smiles like that he looks like a toothpaste commercial come to life for when he blurts, "We should go out."
"Out?" Steve asks, not looking up from his phone.
"Y'know, on a date," Tony adds but then Steve is actually looking at him with a puzzled frown so Tony chickens out and adds, "Like Fury wants? A photo op and he'll get off our backs."
"Oh, right," Steve says and the frown morphs into something else. Tony would swear it was disappointment if he didn't know for sure that the very idea of spending time with him was the last thing Steve would want to be doing.
"Dinner and a movie," Tony offers, rallying. He thinks he's pretty screwed if he's going to use Fury as an excuse to have Steve spend time with him. "You haven't been to the actual cinema yet, right? 3-D will blow you away."
Tony is right. Steve is fascinated by 3-D, probably the only person above eight years old in the whole cinema that's truly jazzed about it. Tony watches out of the corner of his eye as Steve reaches a hand out to grasp at the images and gape in wonder when his fingers brush nothing but air.
Later they head to a little Italian place Tony knows with an outdoor eating area so the press can very covertly snap shots of them making like Lady and the Tramp. They don't exactly share spaghetti but Steve is smiling at him in a fond way that makes Tony's stomach clench so he figures Fury will be happy with the shots.
They head home, Steve babbling about the movie still in the car, practically vibrating in his seat and Tony can't help it. He leans across and plants a kiss square on Steve's lips, like he can steal a little of Steve's excitement, take it into himself.
It's going to be a chaste little peck, but before Tony can pull away, Steve reaches up and grips the back of Tony's head, keeping him in place. He makes a needy little noise that has Tony practically climbing over his lap until Happy, their designated driver for the night, clears his throat noisily.
Happy is usually very discreet but Tony supposes even Happy is going to draw the line at watching Tony desecrate Captain America in the back seat of a car. Steve practically shoves Tony off himself and scrambles sideways. The backseat of the car isn't well lit bit Tony can still see Steve's cheeks burning. "Sorry, I-" Steve starts to say but Tony really doesn't want to hear what part Steve is apologizing for.
"Hey Happy, you're going to drop Steve at home and then take me into the office," he says, feels Steve's gaze on the side of his face but doesn't meet it. He's usually better at this but Steve seems to have flipped all his switches at once, overloaded his systems.
He's not sure what he's doing. All he's sure of is that he's doing it wrong.
Tony hides in his office all night and then finds Fury in his early in the morning. "We have to break up," he says, slumping into the chair in front of Fury's desk.
"It's you, not me, right?" Fury asks dryly, not looking up from his paperwork.
"Funny. You know what I mean," Tony grumbles. "Maybe we could have one of those heartbroken-but-still-friends breakups? I've heard those are nice."
"What did you do?"
"I didn't... why are you assuming it's something I did?" When Fury doesn't even bother to respond to that, Tony slides further down in his chair until his chin is resting on his chest and his neck is protesting. "Look, it's not very convincing considering Steve can't stand me," he says finally.
"I'm not having this conversation with you," Fury says, rubbing a hand carefully over his good eye. "Find someone who actually can stand you to boost your ego."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Tony asks and Fury levels an unreadable gaze at him, something edging on exasperation. Tony changes tack, always good at thinking on his feet. "Surely a breakup will make us more sympathetic? No one wants to sue a guy who's just had his heart stomped on."
"Stark, seriously. People like you guys together, don't ask me why. They think it's cute but it's about as cute as punching bunnies."
"You're a strange man," Tony observes.
"For once on your life be a team player," Fury says finally. "You didn't complain this much about being held hostage in a cave while your heart was hooked up to a car battery."
"Yeah, well," Tony says, retreating. "That was easy."
The mansion has an indoor pool that's hidden under a retractable floor. Steve has found it, probably JARVIS' doing, and is currently doing laps. He reaches the end of the pool, notices Tony hovering and emerges. He's wearing dark blue trunks with red trim and Tony snorts a laugh into his hand.
"Did SHIELD seriously give you a whole range of themed outfits?" he asks as Steve retrieves his towel from the floor and rubs it over himself while Tony swallows, suddenly dry-mouthed.
"I've been trying to figure you out," Steve says, putting a thumb to a panel in the wall that moves the floor back over the pool.
"How's that been going for you?" Tony asks, getting a sinking feeling. It's one thing to have the distinct impression that someone doesn't exactly enjoy your company and another to have that person lay down all the reasons why. Tony's pretty secure, but it's mostly because people either fawn over him or think he's the devil. There's no weird gray area to fumble about in except...
Steve is completely gray area.
"Not great," Steve admits with a wry grin. "I tried asking Pepper and Happy what it was about me that rubbed you the wrong way because of everyone they would know you best but they both just laughed at me. I don't really get what's funny."
"You don't rub me the wrong way," Tony says, resisting the urge to make the obvious joke about being rubbed the right way.
"Really?" Steve asks in a tone that says he doesn't believe Tony at all. "In the car-"
"You were sorry that happened, yeah I know," Tony says with a grimace, holding up one hand as if to ward off Steve's mortification about that happening.
"Yeah, I am," Steve confirms and Tony feels that gut-clench that he's come to associate with Steve. He might be developing his very own Steve-ulcer.
"We can pretend it never happened," Tony offers because he would really like to make peace and he doesn't want Steve to wander around thinking he's going to be jumped at any second.
"Can we?" Steve asks. "Can you?"
"Strictly professional from here on out, you have my word," Tony promises, even though he knows it will be hard. He likes Steve. It kind of crept up on him like his feelings for Pepper but he knows the like is there to stay, might even spread around, get infected and become something infinitely worse, something fatal.
Steve just eyes him for a few more moments, before he nods, expression closed off. "Okay, good," he says finally.
Tony figures he'll gain points if the whole professional thing is applied to all aspects of his life. He turns up to a meeting Pepper sent him an invitation to and everyone in attendance eyes him the whole time like they're waiting for something. He sits quietly, takes notes and asks entirely appropriate and probing questions.
Their next mission out, Tony restrains himself from telling dirty jokes on comms, stays where he's told to stay by Steve and plays shield to Bruce when he fails to bring out the green guy without grumbling about it.
Natasha is giving him the same look Pepper gave him in the meeting and when they're finished up, a bad guy who'd called himself The Incredible Snot hogtied and carted away by SHIELD agents without any commentary from Tony, Natasha approaches, taps on his helmet and says, "Okay, who are you?"
"Who do you think it is?" Tony asks, flipping his face plate up and Natasha narrows her eyes.
"The way you've been acting, I could've sworn you'd slipped Rhodes in there or something as a sub."
"My friend, are you ill?" Thor asks, landing next to Tony and looking concerned.
"I'm fine, what?" he snaps, turning on Clint who's behind him and poking at the suit. Steve's the last to join them and he's frowning too.
"Did Fury slip you something?" Clint asks. "He's been going on and on about SHIELD's new behavioral drug program."
"What the hell would they be... no, you know what? I don't want to know. Can't a guy just turn over a new leaf?"
"There's turning over a leaf and then there's deforestation on a global scale," Natasha says with an arched eyebrow. "I get enough straight-laced G-Man at SHIELD thanks. Go back to being you. This is too creepy."
"I am me," Tony says, glancing at Steve out of the corner of his eye who is still frowning and not saying anything. He doesn't have to put up with this harassment. "I don't have to put up with this harassment," he says and kicks off, engaging his repulsors when he's about a foot off the ground and grinning to himself when it knocks Natasha and Clint off their feet although Thor and Steve remain undisturbed.
Bruce had beaten a prudent retreat much earlier.
Tony gets back to his place, locks himself in his workshop and reminds JARVIS that when he says to let no one in, he means no one.
"Yes Sir," JARVIS says although there's a sigh to his tone and Tony ponders threatening JARVIS with an entire rebuild.
"Jarvis, goddamit," Tony snaps when Steve enters Tony's field of vision only an hour later, well and truly inside the workshop.
"Don't blame Jarvis," Steve says. "I got Thor to drop me in your flight entrance." He stands there, looking mild and unassuming and Tony thunks his head on the gauntlet he'd been tinkering with. "What's going on with you?" Steve finally asks.
"I'm trying to be more..." Tony makes a helpless gesture with the hand not holding his soldering iron. He's learned the hard way not to gesture with the other one. "Someone you'd like," he settles on, hates how desperate and lame it sounds.
Steve blinks at him, stern expression evaporating, replaced with something harder to read. "I thought you were doing an impression of me to amuse yourself."
"Why would you think I'd do that?" Tony asks and does Steve really think he's that awful, that he would poke fun of someone who was just finding their feet. "I know you've decided I'm a jerk but I'm really trying here."
"I don't... why do you think I think that?" Steve asks, looking taken aback.
"I know I'm not what you're used to," Tony says, tries to think of a way to explain it. Steve was raised in a different time, had different values instilled and he must think Tony is genuinely terrible but Steve also hasn't met a lot of people in this time and using people like Fury, Thor, Natasha and Clint as a basis of comparison isn't really fair. "Believe me, there's a lot of people worse than me. They don't make 'em like you anymore."
It's Tony's turn to blink. "I don't think anyone would call Captain America dull."
"Yeah, but Steve Rogers is pretty boring," Steve says, eyes skipping away. "Before I was Captain America I was basically wallpaper."
"I don't believe that," Tony says and this conversation is not going in the direction he was expecting. What he finds unique and compelling about Steve is his endless enthusiasm and genuine joy about things. The muscles, the height, the hair and the toothpaste smile are all very nice but Tony's figured out, probably after longer than it should have taken him, that those things aren't as important.
He'd had dozens of arguments with Pepper about her thinking she was plain and him trying to get through to that stubborn brain of hers that she was anything but. She'd said, well, compared to the people you're usually with and he'd rolled his eyes and changed the subject every time because he wasn't exactly proud of his history and he hadn't thought that maybe she was just looking for a little assurance.
"I kissed you in the car the other night because of the way you were acting, not because you have biceps I could hang off," Tony says.
"You were just being nice," Steve insists and Tony's stunned. "I basically mauled you and you didn't want that."
"Oh my god, we're both idiots," Tony says, slapping a hand to his forehead. "Let me get this straight, just so we're clear. You like me?"
"Of course I do," Steve says, automatic and without the if only you weren't so pause attached to it. Steve blushes furiously, probably didn't mean to just blurt that out so quickly. "I mean, I-"
"No, no take-backs," Tony says, reaches out and smacks a hand over Steve's mouth. When Steve's shoulders drop, Tony releases him.
"I wasn't going to take it back," Steve says. "I just didn't want to make you uncomfortable. It won't affect anything."
"Of course it will," Tony scoffs and Steve gives him hurt puppy eyes so Tony laughs, gets a hand on Steve's shoulder and jostles him. A proprietary instinct makes him grip Steve's hips, really dig his fingers in and Steve makes a small noise, not of protest but of longing and that does Tony in, makes him brave.
Steve’s wearing track pants so it’s nothing to dig hands underneath, find Steve already mostly hard and slick. Steve says, “Wait, I, just a-“ and Tony immediately pulls his hands out and jerks backwards because he’s an idiot.
“Sorry, right. There should be... wooing? I should be um...” Tony’s really at a loss as to what he should be doing because Steve looks like he’s going to cry. “Oh god, no, sorry, I didn’t...” Tony starts to babble but that’s when Steve can’t hold it in anymore.
He doesn’t just laugh, he’s howling and leaning over and holding his stomach.
“I’m not... I can’t... wooing,” Steve chokes out. He gets one hand out and up, clamping firmly onto Tony’s thigh. He finally gets himself under control, Tony glaring at him while he does and he rises upright slowly, wiping at his eyes. “You’re not going to shock me,” Steve says. “That ship sailed with Natasha. She downloaded stuff.”
“She’s banned from you,” Tony huffs. “I didn’t mean... I just thought if you wanted to take it slower we could do that.”
“Look at you,” Steve says, smiling. “That’s hard for you to even say.”
“I could though, for you,” Tony insists even though it would be very difficult, especially since they’ve apparently had long and drawn-out foreplay that neither of them was really aware of.
“Everyone keeps acting like I’m going to be horrified,” Steve says. “People did have sex in the forties you know.”
“Did you?” Tony asks and it’s not really a question but Steve ducks his head and blushes. “Oh my god, didn’t you?”
“I never really...” Steve makes a helpless gesture with his hands. “I wasn’t really what the dames were after, if you know what I mean,” he finally admits, all downcast and it’s Tony’s turn to laugh, a gentle one full of disbelief.
“Those were some dumb dames,” he says.
"Can I...?" Steve says, gesturing around the region of Tony’s crotch and he refrains from inviting Steve to do whatever the hell he wants in that particular area.
"Sure," Tony says and Steve grips his belt, tugs him forward with it before stripping it off and getting Tony’s pants open. His hands are tentative at first, but there’s that moment when he realises that everything is pretty much familiar, just turned around, Tony sees it on his face. His grip becomes firm and sure then and Tony’s sure that he’s going to go off embarrassingly quickly if Steve keeps it up. "Get... get yourself out," Tony manages on a strangled moan.
Steve does, digs back into his sweats and then he’s got one big hand around them both and Tony has to drop his head onto Steve’s shoulder and watch, raise his hands and bear down on Steve’s shoulders, knowing any bruises he leaves will fade within a few hours.
It’s over startlingly fast, just like Tony thought it would be. The only consolation is that Steve follows him right over the edge only a few seconds later, both of them leaning against each other and panting raggedly.
They're standing in Fury's office, Fury just done telling them that he's glad to see they're finally being team players and taking one for the team and a couple of other team-related metaphors that Tony valiantly resists making the dirty jokes for when Steve decides to pick a fight with him.
"I can't believe you're wearing that," he hisses out of the side of his mouth like Fury isn't sitting right in front of them and can hear him. Fury stops his spiel and glances between them for a second.
"What?" Tony says because playing dumb always winds Steve up and he's starting to very much enjoy when Steve's wound up. He's less... careful about the super strength and Tony is enjoying that too.
"You just spent weeks making fun of that sweat shirt and now you're wearing it."
"What's happening here?" Fury asks, looking confused and a little alarmed.
"I didn't have anything else clean," Tony defends, which is blatantly untrue because he has a laundry service. "Plus, unlike you, I can make anything look suave." Tony plucks at the red, white and blue hooded sweatshirt that Steve had been wearing only last night and Tony had plucked off the floor that morning.
"Oh my god, people can see your ego from the moon right now," Steve snits and Tony's biting his lip on a grin.
"Hey! What the hell is-" Fury starts to bark, but then something crosses his face.
"Oh my god... oh no... what is even...I can't...you can't...Celia is so fired!"
"I think we broke him," Tony observes. "Let's leave the nice man alone with his coronary." Tony herds Steve outside Fury's office to the sound of Fury banging his head on the table and swearing.
"You did that on purpose," Steve accuses. "You wanted to tell him and I didn't want to so you did this."
"You were right," Tony says, letting the grin free and smacking Steve on the shoulder. "Fury figuring it out for himself and being mortified was much more fun."
"I don't even know why-"
"You put up with me?" Tony finishes for him, then he's treating Steve to a dirty smile, reeling Steve in by his waistband. "Let me remind you, in detail."