The first time Tony kisses Steve is on their first official date.
They’re lying on a picnic blanket in Central Park hours after the sun has already gone down, and Steve doesn’t even realize how long they’ve been there until he notices the flashing lights of a plane flying overhead.
Steve is about to suggest heading back to the tower at the same moment Tony decides to lace their fingers together before leaning forward and kissing him.
It’s soft and unhurried, and… well, not at all what others would expect from Tony Stark.
Tony pulls back a few moments later, and for the first time since Steve’s known him, the brunet looks… unsure.
In the three years that Steve’s been awake in this new world, he’s seen Tony run headfirst into every situation. Even three months ago, when the team was preparing to battle Ultron with no idea if any of them would even make it out, Tony had this fortitude that Steve admired.
…but the man lying on the scratchy blanket with him in the middle the deserted section of the park does not have any of the confidence of the man who Steve fights alongside with.
“Was that okay?” Tony asks quietly.
Steve’s never seen Tony so vulnerable before. Of course, Steve has known for a while that beneath the brash exterior, Tony’s a man constantly looking for reassurance, but to see it is an entirely different story.
It makes Steve fall in love with Tony just a little bit more, and he kisses the man in lieu of a response.
They don’t sleep together until their fifth date.
It isn’t Steve’s first time in this new world. He’s gone on plenty of dates since his defrosting (thanks to Natasha), and may have had a few intimate encounters on particularly long missions (also thanks to Natasha), so while he isn’t inexperienced per se, he still can’t help but be nervous about his first time with Tony.
It’s certainly a surprise—a pleasant and welcome surprise—when Tony appears to be just as nervous as he is.
They fall onto Steve’s bed together and it feels like they spend hours—even days—mapping every inch of each other’s’ bodies before Steve finally presses inside him.
They spend several moments reveling in the feel of being connected, of being one. Steve’s had sex with other people, but it doesn’t take long for him to realize that nothing could have prepared him for sex with Tony.
It’s the first time Steve’s had sex with anyone he’s cared so deeply about, and it’s as exhilarating as it is terrifying.
Later, when they’re both sated and drifting off and Steve is running his fingers through Tony’s hair, Tony closes the tiny bit of distance between them and murmurs three little words that make Steve’s heart skip a beat.
The next morning, as Steve sets a stack of pancakes on the table, he kisses Tony square on the mouth in front of their friends and teammates because Steve is in love, damn it, and all he wants to do is shout it from the rooftops.
The last thing he expects is for Tony to make an honest to God squeak and turn as red as a tomato (Clint and Thor somehow find a way to obtain the video footage from JARVIS and upload it to Vine not long after Stark Industries makes an official statement about their relationship).
Steve doesn’t think much of the incident until he kisses Tony over dinner at one of their favorite restaurants. While Tony doesn’t make an undignified noise this time, his face still turns cherry red. Then, when Steve takes his hand as they walk around the city, the man looks almost scandalized. Granted, it doesn’t last long, but Steve’s quick enough to catch it.
It doesn’t take long for Steve to notice a pattern.
In public, it’s always Steve who initiates any sort of intimate contact; whether it be a simple peck on the cheek, innocent handholding, or a make-out session in a semi-public place that is so steamy it’s practically fully-clothed sex.
Around the tower, Tony is generally less shy. He has no qualms about kissing Steve or cuddling with him on the couch—and one morning while Steve was making breakfast, Tony had come up behind him and grabbed his ass—but once their friends are in the vicinity, Tony adapts the mentality of… of…
Well, let’s just say he adapts the mentality that most people believe Steve has about sex and other related topics.
With JARVIS’ help, Steve does some digging. It’s strange, after all, that someone as loud and show-offish as Tony Stark could be so easily embarrassed by a little bit of PDA. He finds story after story of Tony, and realizes that while the man has photos upon photos of himself in public with various attractive models and actresses and the like hanging off his arm, that’s all they’re ever doing.
There aren’t any photos of Tony kissing anyone, and the only photo of Tony holding someone’s hand was a photo of him and Pepper taken right after they had gotten together.
And okay, maybe there’s a sex tape or two, but those don’t count because they were intended for private viewing.
…and because Steve tries his hardest to forget they exist in the first place.
…come to think of a it, a sex tape with Tony sounds like a pretty interesting project.
Because Steve isn’t sure what to make of his discovery, so he does what any reasonable person would do: he asks.
He asks because he gets a feeling that Tony’s reactions to his public displays of affection may have had more to do with uneasiness than a mere quirk, and the last thing he wants to do is make Tony feel uncomfortable. But when Steve brings it up in conversation, Tony brushes it off like it’s nothing, and assures Steve that he does enjoy it—he just isn’t used to it.
Steve starts to back off a bit—even if Tony insists that it’s fine—and sure, it’s a little disappointing (Steve won’t deny that), but the last thing he wants to do is scare Tony off.
When Steve stops fixating on it, however, he notices another pattern at home.
Tony loves to touch him when they’re alone, whether it’s a simple brush of hands, or Tony’s tendency to mimic an octopus in bed. When it’s just the two of them, Tony can’t seem to keep his hands off of Steve, and the kisses are just as recurrent.
On their third date, Tony had brought Steve a bouquet of red and yellow roses. Their colors stand for romance and friendship respectively, but Steve’s pretty sure Tony had mainly picked them because they match his armor.
It’s quite possibly the sweetest thing that anyone’s ever done for Steve, until Tony does it again.
And again, and again.
Steve doesn’t get flowers every day, nor does he get them every four days, or every Thursday. There is no exact schedule that Tony follows, which makes the days that Tony surprises him even sweeter.
Tony leaves Steve notes too. He gives Steve a card for every holiday that Hallmark thinks merits a card, and he writes messages on their bathroom mirror with a dry-erase marker the same shade of blue as Steve’s uniform, and leaves hastily scribbled notes and post-its in places around the tower that Steve frequents the most.
It doesn’t take long for the drawer in Steve’s bedside table to fill up with these various pieces of paper, and when Tony goes away on business trips, Steve spends his nights re-reading each one.
It’s six months into their relationship when Tony comes home from another long day at work, and kisses Steve on the nose before presenting him with yet another red rose, that Steve realizes how absolutely ridiculous he had been for being disappointed earlier.
Sure, Tony Stark may not show affection in the same flashy, brazen manner he does everything else, but Steve wouldn’t have it any other way.