When Tony walked into the room and saw what Steve was wearing, he wasn't sure what he wanted to do more; laugh, or lunge across the room and throw himself into his arms like they were in some cheesy romcom.
To be fair, the second option was a common reaction he had whenever he saw Steve, regardless of what he’s wearing. This was Steve after all. Tony was pretty sure that most people with eyes wanted to jump his bones at any given time, and with good reason. But, most people didn't live with Steve and see him in various states of dress and undress on daily basis.
Tony had to deal with Steve in all of his Adonis-like glory, in various tortuous and pulse quickening ways. He’d seen him in just pyjama pants paired with a mussed head of bed hair, in work out gear that was damp with sweat and clinging to his body in utterly sinful ways, in his suit post mission when he’d just shrug out of the top half and leave it bunched up around his hips. That was probably one of Tony’s favorite ways to see him, considering he got shirtless Steve and was able to fully appreciate the tightness of the suit all at the same time. Which, of course, did certain inappropriate things to his libido.
Then, there was the time that he’d run into Steve in the hallway far too early in the morning for coherent thoughts, with his tooth brush jammed between his teeth, and wearing nothing but a pair of boxers. Steve hadn't even seemed too concerned about what he was wearing - or rather, what he wasn’t wearing - and had just mumbled a greeting around his toothbrush and gave Tony his familiar smile, as if he hadn't just sent all of the blood in Tony’s body rushing south. Tony had barely made it out of that situation without choking on his tongue.
So, Tony had to deal with half naked Steve far more than he’d imagined he would when the Avengers had moved into the tower, and it took all of his strength to not simply stare at him with his mouth open in awe whenever he came into the room. The problem was, Steve was fuckin’ gorgeous, and it just made the fact that Tony carried a torch for him so much more difficult.
Tony had gotten to the point where he noticed things like the way the cleft of his hip bones would be a perfect resting spot for Tony’s hands, how the dip between his shoulder blades would be a perfect place to rest his forehead as he hugged him from behind, how he ached to curl his fingers around the back of his neck and tangle them in his hair. He thought about how those hands would feel against his own skin, how he would taste against his lips, how his voice would sound breathless in his ear.
So, he was horny and smitten. It truly was a disaster.
All things considered, it was a miracle that Steve hadn’t noticed Tony’s absolutely smitten and lustful stares. And it was all because Steve insisted on not wearing a damn shirt half of the time.
So, since his self restraint had thankfully proved fully functional until this point, Tony would never understand why, of all the things for Steve to wear that could possibly be his undoing, it was a ridiculous “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirt.
So he walked into the room, and assessed is two options. He decided on a third, less instinctual reaction, which was probably the smartest choice.
“What are you wearing,” Tony demanded, as soon as he managed to wrap his head around the fact that Captain America was sitting on his couch, watching the news with that scrunched up, intent expression he always got when he focused on something, and was wearing that on his body.
Steve looked up at the sound of his voice and smiled.
“Hey Tony," he said easily, and then gestured to his shirt with the remote. “It’s Saint Patrick’s Day.”
“I’m aware,” Tony said. “But you’re wearing-” he waved his hand in Steve’s general direction. “That.”
“I am,” Steve agreed, slowly. One brow quirked up as if to say ‘where are you going with this Tony’. “Is that a problem?”
“What? No, it isn’t a problem, I just-” he paused. The first thought that came to mind was somewhere along the lines of ‘don’t need an invitation emblazoned across your chest to kiss you when I already want to all of the time.’
Obviously that wasn't the best choice to say out loud, so he settled for finishing the sentence with, “I’m just surprised. Doesn't seem like your style, Cap.”
He crossed the room then, flopping down next to Steve as casually as possible. For not the first time, he hoped Steve’s super hearing didn’t pick up on his erratic heartbeat. Or, if it did, he hoped he would just attribute it to the arc reactor. Anything other than ‘Tony’s mooning over me like a damn idiot’.
Steve shrugged, his expression completely non apologetic, as if he wasn’t wearing a garish green shirt with an oversized clover dotting the ‘I’ in ‘Irish’. Seriously.
“It’s fun,” Steve said. “Where’s your enthusiasm?"
“I have plenty of enthusiasm,” Tony argued. Instead of answering, Steve just grinned and knocked his knee lightly against Tony’s.
The fact that so little contact between them, not even skin on skin contact, made his whole body thrum, made him want to pinch himself. He was a grown man, for goodness sake.
He bit at his lip and tried not to think about what it would feel like if Steve were the one doing it.
Yeah. He was hopeless.
“You know, if Thor sees you wearing that, he’s just gonna kiss you,” he said, finally, after he’d thoroughly reminded himself he was an idiot and being this close to Steve should not get him all hot and bothered. It was an argument he had with himself far more often than he would like to admit.
Steve made a face at that, half amused and half a grimace, but didn't say anything.
Tony smirked knowingly. “He did already, didn't he?”
Steve glanced away from the TV to look at him from the corner of his eye, a bit sheepish. “There may have been a brief... embrace.”
No, that was not a stab of jealousy over Thor kissing Steve. Absolutely not.
“You asked for it,” Tony laughed feebly, and leaned back on the cushions. “We all know how affectionate he is.”
Steve shrugged indifferently, but Tony didn’t miss the amused twist at the corner of his lips. He shook his head and let out a little laugh. “I had to explain it to him. Of course, he thinks it’s a lovely holiday. Be prepared for Asgardian mead to be flowing freely in the tower next year. He mentioned throwing a party.”
“Great,” Tony groaned. “Last time he brought the mead and insisted on a party, he drank Clint under the table. Do you remember the goat? Horrible”
“And that was nothing compared to the first time,” Steve pointed out.
“Exactly,” Tony said, and shuddered at the memory. That was one of those times that he had to remind himself that they were actually the earth’s last line of defense against imminent, civilization ending danger. It was hard to remember that when there were superheroes in various states of drunk disarray littered around the tower. “I want none of that happening in my tower. If it happens again, I’m blaming you.”
Steve smiled amiably, unbothered by the feeble threat. “Okay, Tony,” he said, nudged him amicably with his elbow this time, and turned back to the TV.
Tony only lasted a few moments in the silence that followed, with every nerve in his body hyper aware of how close he was to Steve, his hands clenched in fists on his knees.
He would never figure out exactly what it was that made him do it, what made him decide that this was the perfect time to make a move. Maybe it was the fact that they were alone in a room and when Steve looked at him, he made him feel like he was the complete center of his attention, like he was all that mattered. Then, on top of that, the stupid shirt was just taunting him, and he just broke.
"Okay," he said out loud, more to himself than to Steve.
"Hmm?" Steve asked, turning to look at Tony. God, Tony loved when he did things like that; he wouldn't talk to him without looking straight at him, those baby blues always focused directly on him whenever he spoke. He never got half of Steve's attention. He didn't get pieces of it, or a small portion of it while he gave the other half to something else menial. Steve had this way of making people feel special without even trying, and Tony was so laughably powerless in the face of it.
"Okay," he repeated, this time to Steve, and reached out to place a hand on his arm. He could feel the muscles bunched underneath the fabric of that stupid shirt, the familiar warmth and solidness that was inherently Steve. Tony's throat felt a little dry as he could feel Steve just staring at him with mild curiosity, his head tilted slightly to one side as he assessed Tony.
Tony felt his resolve shatter, and half acting on giddy impulse, half acting on desires that had been burning in his gut for months, he started leaning forward.
That curiosity in Steve's eyes sharpened, took on a surprised edge, but he didn't pull away, so Tony kept moving forward. His fingers tightened on his arm, digging into the warm flesh, and he paused when he was just a breath away from Steve's lips. He made himself wait for a moment, giving Steve the choice to back away, but he was just staring at him, his body completely still and a little wide eyed, but not showing any signs of aversion.
So Tony just thought fuck it, and kissed him.
The moment that their lips touched, there was a moment of complete calm, neither of them moving. Tony close his eyes at contact, and he was still clinging to Steve's arm as he pressed a kiss to his lips - God they were softer than they had a right to be.
It stayed static and motionless for all of a moment, and just when Tony was about to force himself to pull away, Steve's brain seemed to catch up with the situation, and he made a strangled noise in his throat. He lifted one hand to settle against Tony's cheek, his thumb brushing against his cheekbone, and then he was kissing back. Tony would be hard pressed to admit it to anyone else, but he completely melted the moment he felt Steve pressing back into his touch, his lips moving ever so slightly against his own.
He could feel himself fading fast, he could feel the moment slipping away from him, and he had to be sure, so he forced himself to speak around the onslaught of Steve's lips, only able to get a few scattered words out between kisses.
"Steve, if you… don't want to… sorry, I-"
Steve shook his head, no, and gripped the back of his neck, stealing the tail end of the words from his lips, and Tony was powerless to stop him.
Initially, Tony had only meant to steal a small taste of what it would be like to kiss Steve while he had an excuse, and then laugh it off afterwards as merely following tradition. He'd just wanted it so bad, it was right there staring him in the face, and if Steve he would let him, he wouldn't let the opportunity slip away from him.
What he hadn't expected was for Steve to respond so beautifully, to kiss him back with both hands cupping his face like he was precious and cherished. He hadn't expected for it to last long enough for him to go equally pliant and frantic in his touch, to be able to bury his fingers Steve's hair and clutch at him like he was a lifeline. He hadn't expected to know what Steve's tongue felt like brushing against the seam of his lips, to have those huge, broad artist hands haul him from his spot on the couch and to straddle his lap. He went willingly, albeit surprised, with a low guttural sound on his tongue and a hitch in his breath. As he settled against Steve's body and continued to kiss him and kiss him, he was delighted to find out how it felt when Steve laughed softly against his lips. For a brief moment he thought that he probably shouldn't enjoy the feeling of Steve's laughter rumbling gently against his lips, but then Steve did something rather distracting with his tongue, and that thought was completely forgotten.
Tony truly hadn't expected anything past innocent, and chaste, and yet there he was; his knees on either side of Steve's thighs, arousal curling hot and heavy in his gut as he ground down into Steve's lap, to which Steve reciprocated enthusiastically. Broad hands held him firm and steady, and Steve's mouth was both soft and insistent on his own, taking Tony apart with every hitch of his breath and that way he kept making involuntary pleased noises into the kiss. His brain was glazed over with want as he took from those lips what he'd been wanting for so long, and let he gladly let Steve do the same. Steve's hands wandered from his face, to his waist, fingers clutching at his hips. Tony looped his arms around Steve's shoulders, letting the weight of his body melt into Steve's.
Tony had only meant it to be a small kiss, quick and dismissible, but when they finally broke away from each other, it was for a much needed gasp of air, and Tony was all but writhing in his lap. Neither of them moved to detach themselves. They just sat there, catching their breath, trying to let their minds catch up with what had just happened seemingly out of nowhere.
Eventually, Steve pressed a soft kiss to the scruff on his jaw before leaning his forehead against Tony's and meeting his eyes.
"I ought to wear this shirt more often," he said, his voice rough and scarcely more than a breath, just a whisper against Tony's skin. There was a hint of a laugh in there, mingled with faint awe. Tony wanted to laugh out loud. Steve, in awe over kissing him. He wondered if he was dreaming.
"Absolutely not," Tony countered, "it's absolutely dreadful."
"Yes, but you fell for it," Steve pointed out, grinning. Tony couldn't help himself; he already missed the feeling of that smile against his lips, and he had to lean in steal it for himself again.
He lingered for a moment, and when he leaned back he looked at Steve with the utmost incredulous expression.
"I wanted to kiss you long before that damn shirt," Tony hold him. "I just wasn't expecting you to kiss me back."
"Well, you were wrong," he said, and his smile was brilliant. Tony dreaded the time when he'd have to look away.
"Well, this is one time I don't mind being wrong," Tony grinned. "Cherish it, Rogers."
Steve chuckled, rolled his eyes. "Fine," he agreed.
"Good," Tony said."Now, I have a request."
Still wound tight with lust from their embrace, he pushed his hips forward purposefully to show Steve exactly what he was thinking. Steve let out a sharp breath at the movement.
“I get that you're feeling festive, I do,” Tony said. “But I want that shirt off. Preferably on my floor. Or your floor. I’m not picky.”
Steve laughed softly, eyes darkening with want, and his fingers tightened where they were curled against his neck, warm and firm against the column of his throat. His breath ghosted against Tony’s lips as he leaned in.
“I think I can manage that,” he murmured.
“Good,” Tony said, and because he couldn’t wait any longer, kissed him again, softly, but firm enough to convey some form of urgency. Tony hoped he would interpret it as ‘take me to bed now please’.
Steve seemed to get it. He hummed happily against his mouth and Tony couldn’t help but smile as he let Steve hook his arms tightly around his waist and pick him up as he stood in one fluid motion. Tony made a very pleased sound and clung to him, allowing himself to be carried away, hopefully in the direction of a bedroom.
Kissing Steve was something he should have been doing for a long time now, and he certainly wasn't going to let any opportunities for Steve kisses slip away from him again.