Tony was working on his engineering projects in his workshop. After a day of working with board members and paper works, it was a respite to tinker with his hands. That his project would only become another deadly weapon delighted him too.
The door opened behind him, and he didn't look back, fully know that there were only three people who were given full access to the workshop.
"Mr. Stark, it's late now. You should rest," a familiar voice said. Tony smiled at the concern in the voice and turned to the source of the voice.
"Call me Tony. Only my father was Mr. Stark," Tony smiled at his bodyguard Steve.
"Tony, it's 3. The project can wait."
"And you wait for me?" Tony asked, fully intending to tease Steve.
"My duty's to protect you. I won't rest until you do," came the reply.
"All right," Tony sighed, putting down his tools and left with Steve, closing the door behind them.
"Did you eat anything?" Steve asked.
"Let me think... when did you hand me the spaghetti with meatballs?"
"That was in the afternoon. Let me cook something for you, if you don't mind?"
"Of course I won't," Tony said. He was glad about Steve's concern. Recently Steve'd been more relaxed with him and he saw that as a good sign.
They went to the kitchen. Steve took out a can of tomato soup, boiled it and made a sandwich. Tony just watched and enjoyed the fluid movement of Steve. Then Steve finished the cooking, he served it to Tony.
Tony looked at his dish and said, "You should eat some, too."
Steve just smiled. "It's all right."
Tony started to eat his sandwich and sipped his soup. It was homely, and Tony was just filled with warmth. He talked with Steve over the course of the meal and enjoyed every moment of it.
The next day Tony woke up and finished the morning routine. Out of a whim, he accessed the surveillance system and found that Steve wasn't in his room. Tracking the cameras, he switched to the camera watching the gym and found that Steve was doing his usual exercise there. Tony watched mesmerized how Steve's muscle flexed, how his expression intense and imagined that he could see them in other situation. He reluctantly cut off his access when he saw Steve leaving, probably to grab him. He was right when there was finally a knock on his door.
After having breakfast under Steve and Jarvis' concerned eyes, Tony went to his car, which had already been checked by Steve if there was a bomb. It had happened. Tony had many enemies, as per a successful merchant did. That was why he hired Steve, which was one of his best decision.
Tony went to his office and Pepper had already had his day planned out. He grumbled but went to work on it anyway. Then during a break Pepper asked, "Are you serious about Steve?"
"What do you think?" Tony asked.
"I've never seen you so focused on someone for a very long time, not till... But will you reconsider? Steve doesn't seem the type to fully adapt to our kind of life."
Tony was silent. Of course he'd considered the problem, but Tony being Tony, he didn't know how to give up. "Don't worry. I have it planned."
"All right. I just don't want you and him to be hurt, now the next item..."
At the end of the day lives'd be lost, money'd exchange hands, but Tony was always on top of the game.
On Sunday Tony walked by Steve's room and found that he was drawing some kinds of landscape. Tony stopped to appreciate it. He always loved Steve's art. There was something joyful in it.
Steve looked up from his painting and when he saw Tony, he said, "M... Tony, sorry that I didn't hear you coming."
"It's all right. You art's very good."
Steve blushed a bit and denied it as usual. In Tony's opinion, Steve underrated his talent a lot.
"You should draw a picture of me sometimes, so I can have something artistic in my office."
"I'm not such a good painter."
"Will you do it for me though?" Tony smiled.
When Tony finally persuaded Steve, he couldn't help but thought how much Steve'd blush if he posed nude for him.
Days passed, and Steve was more and more relaxed with him, and Tony anted up his game and invited Steve to a restaurant for dinner. It was casual but romantic, just an ideal place for them. Even though he 'd made gestures to other people before, he was still a bit nervous when he made the offer, and glad when Steve accepted it.
They were in the restaurant, eating and talking, and Tony managed to make Steve laugh when their dinner was abruptly interrupted by a gang rushing into the restaurant, shouting his name. Tony could almost see Steve visibly switching gear to the bodyguard mode and helped him to leave through the back door. They returned safe, but Tony was displeased. He would find out who were behind them and heads 'd roll.
Several days later Steve asked Tony whether he wanted to go to a car show. Tony agreed, trying not to show his glee. It was the first time Steve invited him to some events.
They had a good time together, and Steve listened to Tony attentively when Tony talked about the cars. Tony discreetly close out the physical distance between them and Steve didn't object. Tony counted as a small success.
The next night Steve was more silent than usual and Tony started to worry. He asked Steve what'd happened and finally persuaded Steve to speak. He 'd watched the news that there was a gang war and innocents'd been hurt and killed.
Tony comforted him. Of course Tony knew about it --- he'd orchestrated it--- and in the wide scheme of things, several life loss were nothing, but he definitely wouldn't tell Steve that. Despite being a veteran, Steve had weird hangup about civilian deaths.
Over all their relationship had stepped forward and Tony was glad about it.
Steve accompanied Tony to walk to his company and suddenly pounced on him. Before Tony'd realized what'd happen, he heard a gun shot and saw blood coming out of Steve's body. Frantic, Tony called for an ambulance and never in his life he'd so strong a thought that "I want to crush someone 's neck with my bare hands."
Steve was sent into the hospital and Tony hired the best medical care for him. Tony was there when Steve woke up, still pale and weak. It frightened Tony. Steve shouldn't be weak.
Steve looked at him and asked, "Are you all right?"
Tony caught Steve's hand."Of course I'm not. You're hurt and..."
"It's my job."
"It's not part of your job trying to die for me. I don't remember it mentioned in the contract clause. Anyway, I forbid you to do it again."
"It'll make my job hard."
"Steve, you know you're not just a bodyguard to me. You're a dear friend to me, and more."
Steve stared at him, and Tony'd never felt so nervous. Not even the time he took a gun and killed the first person. As a good practice, his father said.
Finally Steve said, "You're not just a boss to me either."
Tony kissed him. Steve's lips were dry and smelt like medicine. It wasn't a great kiss, but Tony didn't care.
When Steve was finally able to leave the hospital, Tony prepared for the best to escort him safely back home. The gunner was dead, and Tony took pleasure to destroy the people behind them, but he didn't want to take a chance.
When they were safely back home and Steve smiled at him, Tony smiled back. He would make Steve safe. Now that he had Steve's love, he would take every measure to ensure that he wouldn't lose it.
At all cost.