Steve was still a little bit confused as to how he got into this situation, with Tony’s nervous, non-stop rambling going on and on, and him just standing there, hands empty of the newspaper article he was supposed to be reading.
“—and you know how it is and how I can’t control my reputation anymore, it’s impossible, and everyone knows that, which really sucks because my reputation is absolutely horrible, but it’s not like it really matters because it means I can do whatever the hell I want, which is totally not the point, by the way—“
“—don’t know why people are such dicks when it comes to me, I mean, hey, sure, I’m Tony Stark, asshole of the century, but I’m really trying to turn over a new leaf here, and I’m telling you it’s difficult with the whole world saying you can’t do it, but, whatever, I’m used to it anyways, but I’m really trying, hell, I haven’t drank anything with alcohol in it for a week now, and that is a pretty big-ass damn miracle right there, though I have this weird feeling that I’ll be feeling withdrawal symptoms sometime soon, and, speaking of alcohol—“
“—‘ve never been more than 5 days without alcohol, and that one time I’d gone without it for months doesn’t count because I was kind of being held prisoner in some godforsaken cave in the middle of a desert, so, taking that into account, my record so far’s pretty good, at least better than dad’s, and wait, no, never mind, delete that, I’m not stepping on that landmine right now, and I’m pretty off-topic aren’t I? Well, you know how it happens, I don’t know how I can just keep talking like this, you should really see me when I’m intensely wasted, I actually get incredibly quiet, contrary to popular belief, I’m only loud when I’m tipsy, thank you very much, but, anyway, going back to the rumor thing—“
“—swear I’ve never, ever, seen her in my life, please, please, please believe me, this thing tends to happen several times a year, in case you didn’t know, which is why I’m telling you now, it’s normal, but definitely not true, you know I wouldn’t do that to you, and don’t be jealous or anything, alright? She’s got nothing on you, at all, seriously, she’s butt-ugly—“
Steve rolled his eyes before covering Tony’s mouth. Pulling him close, he lowered his head just enough to let their foreheads touch, and stared directly into surprised eyes.
“Tony, seriously, hush.”
He held Tony’s gaze for a second longer before lowering his hand, allowing Tony to inhale shakily, his eyes falling shut.
Tony tilted his head down to look at the crumpled article in his clenched fist
“I…just. Needed. To let you know. Because. I…never mind. Sorry. I’m sorry.”
Steve pulled the eccentric, closet-insecure, genius into an embrace.
“Nothing to forgive, Tony, so there’s no need to apologize. You honestly really didn’t have to explain anything to me. I knew it wasn’t true.”
Hesitating arms paused before hugging him back.
“So…you’re not leaving?”
God, that innocently hopeful tone in his voice hurt. Steve was still trying to get used to Tony being so open about himself with him. Even if the snarky attitude and everything else was still there, he had less walls built up around him now.
It still caught him a little off-guard when Tony’s insecurities would just suddenly come barreling in out of nowhere. Of course, they’ve always been there, but the man never actually let anyone see them, did he?
Steve understood the reason why Tony was so panicked about the article, and that was because he was so used to being left behind. People have abandoned him for much less than an inconsequential article. And it was painful, knowing how vulnerable and how human the man behind the Iron Man suit was, and knowing he couldn’t help pretending he was anything but
He tightened his hold, free hand gently coming through jet-black hair that smelled so uniquely Tony
“’Course not. What do you take me for?”
“Crazy.” Tony muttered against his shoulder.
Steve chuckled quietly.
“Between the two of us, I think it’s pretty obvious who the crazy one is.”
He let go, grinning when Tony gave him a small smile.
“Now, give that to me. I’m curious to see what she looks like.”
“Heck no. Steve. No. Give it back, Steve. Steve!”