Steve smiled as he listened to Tony fawn over the orange Falcon F7 in front of them. Normally, he was hesitant to attend black tie events with the billionaire, and this one, which Tony had described as ‘Auto Prom’ was no different. He could easily walk down to Tony’s garage-cum-workshop if he wanted to look at cars. But Tony’s persistence won out over Steve’s balking, and for once he didn’t regret giving in as he followed Tony faithfully around Cobo Hall, hiding his delight at the childlike glee the other man expressed.
It was rare to see the engineer Tony so excited and enthused outside his own workshop. He had spent the better part of two hours wandering from supercharged muscle car to high end luxury sedan with seemingly no pattern in mind, making notes about the specifications for each car of interest on his tablet, all the while chattering happily about horsepower and engine blocks to no one at all. Occasionally, he had grabbed Steve by the arm and dragged him to the side or rear of a car to point out a feature, gesticulating wildly as he told the other man more than he ever needed to know.
Currently, Tony was deep in discussion with the designer of the F7. Before encountering this display, Tony had paid special attention to the Audi R8 GT (which Steve suspected he would soon be replacing the model kept in Malibu with), and spent considerable time examining the Bentleys after realizing there were no Rolls Royce models on the floor (Steve doubted Tony would ever buy one, he spent far too much replacing destroyed Phantoms after various Iron Man ‘incidents’). Up until Tony had laid eyes on the F7, the 2012 Porsche 911 had been at the top of the to-buy list on the tablet. Steve had missed exactly what Tony wrote in the tablet, but judging by the red line drawn through the name, Porsche was no longer the favorite.
Even to his untrained eye, which knew next to nothing about modern cars, thought the F7 looked good. There had been a crowd around the car before Tony discovered it, but something about Tony’s interest really seemed to draw attention. What was often referred to as ‘The Stark Collection’ – Tony’s personal collection of purchased and inherited motor vehicles – was considered to be a top selection of classic, muscle, and sport cars, both factory issue and custom modified (modifications never being done by anyone but the Starks themselves). When he was looking to add a car to it from a barely heard of company, the auto world took notice.
Yes, the car was nice. But to Steve, Tony was better. As much as he hated these horribly expensive black tie affairs (even when they were for charity, as this one was), Steve thought he could make an allowance for this one each year to see Tony act like this. The hardened business man and Avenger that was constantly presented to the press was nowhere to be seen, replaced by the childlike ball energy that Steve knew and loved best. This was the Tony that would work for days without sleep, surviving only on coffee and seaweed shakes when he thought of something new. The Tony that eagerly presented new gadgets and technologies to the Avengers, hyped up and excited like he was sharing the best secret in the world with them. This was the Tony who almost never smiled for the paparazzi, afraid that the honesty there – the pure joy at what he did as an engineer – would result in him being taken less seriously as the head of Stark Industries. This was his Tony, the one he loved nothing more than to wake up beside, not playboy philanthropist that Tony claimed to be.
So lost in thought was Steve that he almost missed the handshake signaling the end of the conversation. He moved to stand next to the other man, as for their first time since they stepped onto the auto show floor Tony stashed his tablet in an interior pocket of his tuxedo jacket. There was a satisfied smile on face, eerily similar to the one he wore after being thoroughly fucked.
“You’re buying one, aren’t you?”
“Of course I am, Steve.” He gestured at the car, sparkling orange-ish brown hues in front of them. “Look at it, it’s beautiful. Hand built…family designed… this car is going places. Last year they only had a concept here, you know.”
Steve chuckled. Tony was absolutely giddy. He was infectious when he got like this. His good moods made everyone cheerful. Excited even, whether they knew what about or not.
“You didn’t see anything you wanted, did you?”
“Tony, the only car I know anything about here was that old Ford in the Lincoln area.”
“I could make an offer on it.”
“No Tony, you are not buying me a car.”
“I know. But I would if you wanted me to.” It was a long standing argument that they had had more than once. Steve’s answer was always the same, and Tony’s offers were nothing but sincere.
“I know you would.” Steve replied as he threw his arm over Tony’s shoulders, smiling down at him.
“But, I may encourage you to buy expensive cars more often if it makes you smile like this.”
Tony looked up at him, his expression somewhere between surprised and pleased as a hopeful little smile that Steve knew was reserved especially for him found its way to his face.
“Really?” That sparkle was back in his eyes, the one related to new toys Tony was dying to show off.
“Maybe.” As much as he disliked Tony’s frivolous spending, it might be worth indulging on occasion, just for this.
“Maybe.” Steve confirmed as they began walking towards the exit. “So, we’re coming next year, right?”
The toothy smile Tony responded with was answer enough.