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School Daze

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"Psst, Steve!"

Steve Rogers sunk a little lower in his desk, pointedly ignoring the fact that Tony Stark had been hissing his name – with increasing volume – for the past five minutes. At this rate, Mr. Richards was even going to notice, which was kind of a big deal since he hadn't noticed Pepper Potts and her girlfriend, Natasha, making out in the back of the room for the last twenty minutes of class the past Friday. Or Peter Parker slipping in late through a window the week before that, which was pretty impressive considering they were on the second floor. Or the week before that, when—

Well, the point was, it took a lot to get Dr. Richards to notice anything except the lesson he was teaching.

Steve felt something tug at his hair, and he barely repressed a groan. He had to get a haircut at some point. He'd let Tony talk him into growing it out over the summer, and at the time it had seemed like a good enough idea. The problem was that now it was just something else for Tony to play with during class when he was bored.

"Come on, Steve." Tony poked at the back of Steve's neck with what felt like an inkpen. Or possibly a small screwdriver. Either was possible with him. "I know you can hear me."

Steve let out an exasperated sigh, and he started to turn around in his seat to see what on earth was so important that it couldn't wait the whole eight minutes left before the bell rang. Tony grinned at him, full of wide-eyed innocence, and waved a tiny screwdriver in his direction.

"Mr. Stark, everyone in this room can hear you."

Steve spun back around, well aware that he probably looked extremely guilty. Dr. Richards was standing with his arm crossed in front of his chest, for once looking like an actual teacher rather than the twentysomething mad scientist he tended to resemble most of the time. His attention was focused entirely on Tony.

There was a rustling sound behind Steve, like Tony was moving some papers around on his desk or flipping through the pages of his textbook. "Sorry, Dr. Reed," Tony said, not sounding even remotely repentant. "It won't happen again."

A couple of people groaned. Steve was almost one of them, but he managed to resist the urge at the last second.

Dr. Richards tilted his head slightly. "Mr. Stark, I think that I've made it very clear that I prefer my students to call me Dr. Richards, not Dr. Reed."

"Johnny Storm calls you Dr. Reed all the time," Tony replied, just a bit too innocently. "He doesn't get in trouble."

Something flashed in Dr. Richards's eyes for a second, but Steve couldn't tell if it was annoyance or amusement. Or a flash of inspiration making some new idea that was going to help him win the Nobel Prize. Any of them was a possibility.

"Correct," Dr. Richards agreed. "However, Mr. Stark, I would like to remind you that Johnny Storm is not allowed to take any of my classes because he is going to be my brother-in-law in the very near future. His grades, therefore, do not rest in my hands."

Tony leaned back in his chair. "That sounds almost like a threat, Dr. Richards," he said slowly, sounding even more smug than usual.

Steve rolled his eyes. "That's probably because it is one," he said, twisting his head around so he could shoot Tony a warning look. "Come on, Tony, some of us don't have a 120 average in this class. Knock it off, will you?"

The grin on Tony's face disappeared, and he straightened up almost instantly. "Sorry, Dr. Richards," he said, though his gaze was focused on Steve. "I'll shut up now."

"That'll be a first," someone in the back of the room muttered. Steve wasn't sure, but he thought it sounded like it might have been Clint Barton. Which was a bit rich, considering class had started a good ten minutes late because he wouldn't stop talking.

The class tittered.

Dr. Richards just shook his head and turned back toward the whiteboard. "Thank you, Mr. Stark. Now, as I was saying—"

He was cut off by the bell ringing.

Dr. Richards sighed. "I will be taking up homework tomorrow!" he called out as students started streaming toward the door.

Tony poked Steve in the neck with his screwdriver again. "Did I time that perfectly or what?" he whispered.

Steve rolled his eyes as he started to gather up his things. "Yes, Tony," he said dryly, "you're gifted."

"Believe me, I know," Tony said, sounding much too smug about it as he followed Steve out of the room and out into the hallway.

"It wasn't supposed to be a compliment," Steve muttered under his breath.

Tony just laughed and made his way over to his locker. He knelt down in front of it, grimacing somewhat as a stack of papers fell out as soon as he had the door open. Biting his lip in concentration, he started to wrestle his three English books out without sending the rest of the haphazardly piled books falling out onto the floor.

Shaking his head, Steve leaned back to watch. His locker was practically on the other side of the school, so he'd hit it after his next class let out. Unlike Tony, he didn't have a problem carrying a couple of classes' worth of books with him at a time.

"For the record, my average in that class is actually 125," Tony said. He sounded distracted, his attention mostly focused on the sole English book still buried at the bottom of his locker.

Steve rolled his eyes.

"Dr. Reed says I'm not allowed to turn in any more extra credit." Tony yanking the book out from the bottom of the stack, jerking back so that he could slam the door closed in one smooth motion. Well, mostly closed. "I wonder if he'd notice if I started writing your name on them instead of mine."

"My mom would kill both of us," Steve said matter-of-factly. He leaned down and gave Tony's locker door a shove, forcing it shut despite the fact that doing so probably broke several laws of physics considering just how many books Tony had crammed in there. "Come on, Tony, would it kill you to go a whole day without baiting any of the teachers?"

Tony put his hand over his heart and let out a theatrical gasp. "I'm hurt, Steve," he said. "Hurt. Just yesterday, I—"

"Principal Fury counts," Steve cut in.

"Oh." Tony dropped his hand. "Maybe not then. But what about last Wednesday? I didn't do anything to any—"

"Coach Dugan."

Tony's face fell as he stood up. "Okay, that's not fair. I told him that I'd make sure my dad replaced all of the grass on the football field by the game Friday night. It's not my fault that he—"

"Tony, anything that involves the fire department showing up is your fault," Steve said, draping his arm over Tony's shoulder.

"Not true!" Tony protested. "I had nothing to do with that fire in the English hall back in August!"

Steve opened his mouth to argue. Then he closed it.

"He's got a point," Peter Parker said, slipping in beside them. From the way he was grinning, he'd probably be eavesdropping on their entire conversation. "Mr. Xavier refuses to tell anyone what actually happened, but the rumor is that it involved one of the Summers brothers." He paused for a second. "Or possibly both of the Summers brothers. I'm a little vague on the details."

Steve moved his arm from Tony's shoulder. "Hi, Pete."

Tony nodded his head a bit. "Parker."

Peter shot Tony an unamused look. "Come on, Stark, did you have to call him Dr. Reed? You know it always puts him in a bad mood for the rest of the day whenever somebody does that." He crossed his arms in front of his chest. "Some of us have him again seventh period, you know."

"Oh, please," Tony said with a snort. "You call him Dr. Reed all the time."

"Not to his face!" Peter exclaimed.

Tony shot Steve a pleading look, but Steve just raised an eyebrow. "What?" he asked. "Peter's right, Tony. He might call him Dr. Reed all the time but never when he's actually talking to Dr. Richards."

"Because I have common sense," Peter said with a nod.

Tony snorted. "Common sense my ass. Did you or did you not climb the building in an attempt to sneak into Dr. Reed's class late without him noticing?"

Peter's eyes went a little shifty. "I can neither confirm or deny any rumors—"

"Mary Jane took pictures," Steve cut in. "She was showing them to Gwen a couple of days ago and talking about your, uh, jeans."

Peter stared at him.

Tony grinned. "And by jeans, I'm pretty sure he means ass."

"I, uh, need to go now," Peter said, his voice sounding a little strangled. "Bye."

He was gone almost before he'd even finished speaking.

Shaking his head, Tony glanced over at Steve and lightly elbowed him in the side. "I believe that MJ somehow managed to get her hands on pictures of Peter Parker climbing the school building," he said. "I believe that she was showing them to Gwen Stacy. I even believe that they were talking about Peter's ass and how they'd both like to own it. Preferably at the same time."

"I didn't say anything about threesomes, Tony," Steve cut in. "Stop using your imagination so much or someone's going to end up punching you. Again."

Tony continued as if Steve hadn't said anything. "What I don't believe is that either of them would tell you any of this."

Steve shrugged. "I heard it from someone else," he said, pulling his backpack a little higher up on his shoulder. "Come on. We're both going to be late for our next classes."

"I knew it!" Tony exclaimed. Steve knew he wasn't imagining the accusing tone in his voice. "You've been talking to Pepper!"

Steve paused and glanced back at Tony, who was gesturing at him with a pointed finger. "Was I not supposed to be talking to Pepper?" he asked, confused.

Tony flung his arms up in the air. "Not when she's refusing to talk to me!"

"Tony," Steve said, rolling his eyes, "half the time, you don't even know if she's talking to you or not. How am I supposed to know she's not talking to you?"

Tony opened his mouth. Then he closed it. "That's beside the point!"

Steve snorted. "What did you do this time?"

"Nothing!" Tony said, just a bit too quickly.

Steve raised an eyebrow.

Tony fidgeted. "Okay, okay, maybe it wasn't nothing," he admitted, "but Rhodey's jacket got singed too, and he didn't stop talking to me."

"That's because Rhodey likes explosions almost as much as you," Steve said, shaking his head and starting down the hall. It didn't matter if Tony was following or not. Mr. Howlett would kill him if he was late to class three days in a row.

For a few seconds, there was silence. Then Tony came running to catch up. "You might have a point there," he agreed. "Rhodey does like fire."

"Why do you think he hangs out with you?" Steve asked, raising an eyebrow as they started up the stairs to the shop classes.

Tony stuck out his tongue at him. "Remind me again why I hang out with you?"

"Because I didn't run away fast enough," Steve said, the corners of his mouth twitching despite his best attempts not to smile. "You do know you're going the wrong way, right? You have English next, not shop."

Tony came to a sudden stop, almost tripping over his feet in the process. "Crap!" he said, spinning around. "See you later, Steve! Ms. Munroe is going to kill me if I skip her class again!"

Steve couldn't help but stop for a second, unable to hide his smile as Tony dashed back through the hall they'd just walked down. It faded as the bell rang.

"Oh, not again," Steve muttered, turning to make a run for his own class.


"Mr. Rogers, we need to talk."

Steve mentally groaned, but he forced himself to smile as he turned around. "Is something the matter, Principal Fury?"

Principal Fury glared at him. "Where is he?"

Steve stared at him blankly. "I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you're talking about Tony Stark," he said slowly, "since Vice Principal Hill has been paging him on the intercom for the past twenty minutes.

"Who else would I be talking about?" Principal Fury growled. There was no other way to describe it.

"I haven't seen him today," Steve said. "We don't have a class together until third period, and I didn't see him hanging out by his locker like he usually does in the mornings."

The principal stared at him and narrowed his eyes. Steve did his best to resist the urge to fidget and instead focused his gaze on the wall behind the principal, where one of the many fliers about the upcoming Halloween dance was hanging.

After what felt like ages, Principal Fury apparently decided Steve was telling the truth about having no idea where Tony was. He made a sound that greatly resembled a snarl. "When you see your boyfriend, tell him I want him and his robot in my office immediately."

Steve just stood there, staring, as the principal stomped off in the direction of the office. He suspected that he was probably gaping, but he honestly didn't care right then. Boyfriend. Principal Fury just said boyfriend.

"Crap," Steve muttered.

He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. Then he looked around, trying to make certain the principal was definitely gone. Once he was sure that Principal Fury wasn't lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike, he walked over to the men's room and knocked on the door. "Okay, Tony, the coast is clear."

Tony poked his head out and looked around. "That was a close one."

"You have no idea," Steve muttered.

Tony shot him an odd look. "What?" he asked. "Did Fury figure out that you were covering for me or something?"

Steve just shook his head. "It's nothing. Please tell me that Pepper at least liked the flowers you got her."

Tony's face lit up. "Oh, she did!" he said, nodding. "You were right. Roses were totally the way to go."

"That's great, Tony, really," Steve said, sighing. "But did you have to deliver them to her by flying robot?"

Tony blinked at him. "Well, yeah. How else was I supposed to deliver them to her?"


"First of all, thanks for the roses."

Steve looked up in surprise as Pepper dropped down in the empty chair beside him. It wasn't a secret that he tended to spend a lot of his lunches in the library, curled up in a corner reading, but it had been ages since anyone had actually come looking for him during that time.

And he definitely couldn't remember the last time Pepper had come looking for him. He liked her and Rhodey, but he didn't really hang out with them. Not like Tony did. Mainly because pretty much the only thing that had in common was Tony.

He realized that she was staring at him, quirking an eyebrow. "Oh, the roses!" he blurted out, feeling his face turning red. "Those were from Tony, not me."

Pepper rolled her eyes. "Oh, please. I've known Tony since we were kids. Both of us know those flowers weren't his idea."

Steve opened his mouth. Then he closed it. There really wasn't any way to respond to that argument. Even he had to admit that Tony was, well, Tony.

"So, one more time, thank you for the roses," Pepper said.

Steve ducked his head sheepishly. "You're welcome."

Pepper smiled at him before leaning back in her chair. "Okay, now it's time for you to spill. How long have the two of you been dating?"

"What?" Steve stared at her, confused. "Wait. Go back. I've missed something."

She just raised an eyebrow and kept smiling.

Steve groaned. "Just a couple of months," he admitted reluctantly. He knew that his blush was increasing. "How did you figure it out?"

"Oh, lots of ways," Pepper said with a shrug. She sounded much too amused for his tastes. "First, I've known Tony for years, more than long enough to tell the difference between when he's friends with someone and when he's dating someone."

Steve brought a hand up to cover his face.

"Second," Pepper continued cheerfully, "you can't bluff to save your life."

"Kill me now?" Steve muttered.

Pepper just grinned. "Third, Tony lent me his English book a couple of weeks ago, and there was a drawing tucked between the pages. It was pretty obvious you drew it."

Steve uncovered his face enough that he could meet her gaze. "I draw pictures for a lot of people," he pointed out.

"Are they usually in their underwear when you draw them?" Pepper asked cheekily.

Steve groaned again and went back to hiding his face. He knew exactly what picture she was talking about, and as soon as he got out of the library he was going to kill Tony for leaving it anywhere where someone might see it.

"Last, but definitely not least," Pepper said, winking at him, "Natasha and I saw the two of you making out back behind the track field on Tuesday."

Steve hadn't thought he could blush any more than he already was. He was wrong. "That was probably a good clue, I guess," he said weakly. "What were you and Natasha doing out behind the track field?"

Pepper shrugged, her mouth twitching a little. "What do you think?" she asked teasingly. "Luke and Jessica were in our usual spot, so we thought we'd try back there since the security cameras were disabled."

"How did you know about the sec—" Steve stopped. "What makes you think the security cameras were disabled?"

She wasn't even trying to hide her smile by now. "Natasha works in the office during fifth period, remember? She noticed them go down right before she left for sixth."

Steve buried his face in his hands again.

"By the way," Pepper said, leaning in conspiratorially, "she says that Vice Principal Hill has noticed that they keep going offline and is trying to figure out how to stop it from happening in the future. You might want to tell Tony."


"Pepper knows we're dating," Steve said as he sat down beside Tony on the bleachers in the gym.

Several of the band geeks sitting on the row below them turned and stared at them. Most of them simply looked surprised, though Luke Cage was grinning in a very disconcerting way. Then, without saying a word, they turned back around and slid down to the next row down, leaving an empty space between them and the top row where he and Tony were sitting.

Steve wasn't sure if they were trying to give them privacy or if they wanted to be out of the potential line of fire. Either was a possibility.

Tony blinked. "Steve, I hate to tell you this, but I'm pretty sure everyone in the school knows that we're dating," he said slowly. "And if they didn't, they will by the end of the day considering you just announced it in front of Luke Cage. He hates me, you know."

There was a loud snort of laughter from two rows down.

"He doesn't hate you. He just dislikes you intently," Steve replied automatically. Then he frowned. "Wait, you knew that Pepper already knew?"

"Well, I didn't know that she knew," Tony said with a shrug. "I just, you know, assumed that she'd figure it out. We haven't exactly been subtle."

Steve didn't quite meet his gaze. "Well, I thought we were being subtle."

Tony laughed. "I'm pretty sure the only people who might have missed the memo are Principal Fury and Vice Principal Hill."

Steve was very careful not to let his eyes meet Tony's. He could feel his face turning red.

Tony didn't say anything for a moment as he tilted his head curiously, studying Steve's face. Then he groaned. "Oh, you have to be kidding me."

"Vice Principal Hill asked me to let you know that they figured out how you kept disabling the security cameras out behind the track field," Steve said, doing his best to avoid looking at Tony's face. "She stopped me on my way here to tell me."

Tony shook his head. "That doesn't mean they know we—"

"They figured it out Tuesday."

Tony blinked. "You mean, when we were—"

Steve nodded. "Yeah."

"Oh." Tony blinked a few times. Then he shrugged. "Well, at least Principal Fury doesn't know. It's not like he and the vice principal ever talk."

Steve could feel his face turning red again.

Tony stared at him and groaned.


James Rhodes was standing in front of Steve's locker, his arms crossed in front of his chest. He was scowling.

If Steve hadn't really needed to pick up some books for his seventh period class, he would have turned and ran in the other direction.

"Rhodes," he said, nodding.

Rhodey just glared back at him. "Pepper says you and Tony are dating."

Steve flinched. Maybe he could get by in English without any books. Mr. Xavier would probably understand.

"Well?" Rhodey asked, stepping aside enough that Steve could get to his locker.

Steve walked over and twisted the lock on the door. "And if we are?"

Rhodey groaned. "Damn it, Rogers, you were supposed to say 'oh, Pepper's just imagining things.'"

"Oh, Pepper's just imagining things," Steve said, deadpan. He pulled out the books he needed for class, replacing them with the ones he'd used for the last two periods.

"Yeah, that's not helping." Rhodey sighed, leaning back against the row of lockers. "You do realize that he's, like, twelve, right? I don't even know how many grades he's skipped. You should have seen him freshman year. He was a baby."

Steve rolled his eyes, ignoring that last remark. "He's fifteen, Rhodey. Pretty close to sixteen by now, actually."

Rhodey shook his head. "Still, he—"

"Didn't Tony tell me you were dating a freshman girl?" Steve cut in, raising an eyebrow. "How old is she?"

Rhodey closed his mouth. "Point made," he said ruefully.

Steve sighed as he closed his locker. "Is this going to be a problem?" he asked tiredly.

For a minute, Rhodey looked like he was going to say something. Then he shook his head. "Nah," he said. "Pepper would kill both of us."

"And then Tony would set us on fire," Steve said, grinning a little.

"Yep," Rhodey agreed.

There was a dull roar on the other side of the school building, like something had just blown up. Five seconds later, the fire alarm started blaring.

The two of them stared at each other. "You don't think—" Rhodey said slowly.

The intercom blared to life, Vice Principal Hill's voice echoing through the hallway. "Students, please evacuate the building immediately. This is not a drill." There was a muffled noise in the background that sounded suspiciously like someone was holding their hand over Principal Fury's mouth in order to keep him from cursing over the intercom.

"Not that it's ever a drill at this school," she continued, this time muttering instead of speaking clearly. Then the intercom crackled and went dead, as if she had just realized it was still on and was hurrying to turn it off.

Rhodey and Steve kept staring at each other as the students around them all started toward the nearest doors.

"Better you than me," Rhodey said, shaking his head in amusement.

Steve nodded. "Trust me, I know."


Steve followed the sound of yelling, pushing through the crowd of curious students who were gathered outside the perimeter the firemen had set up around the gym. He figured that was probably the best way to find out where Tony was.

"It's not as bad as it looks!"

Tony was standing outside the gym, standing with his hands behind his back as Principal Fury and Vice Principal Hill took turns grilling him. Mr. Coulson, the school secretary, was standing nearby, as was Mr. Howlett. Steve couldn't help but notice that Mr. Howlett's hair looked a little singed.

It looked as if Tony was trying to look repentant, but he wasn't succeeding very well. Probably because everyone there, including himself, knew he wasn't actually going to get in any trouble for whatever it was that he'd done.

"Not as bad as it looks!" Principal Fury shot back. He raised his arm, his hand clenched into a fist. "Why you little—"

Mr. Coulson slipped in beside Fury and grabbed his arm, forcing it back down. "Mr. Stark," he said, cutting in, "I'm not sure it could possibly be as bad as it looks."

Tony had the good grace to look at least a little abashed. "My parents will pay to fix up the gym," he said quickly. "I'm sure my dad will even throw in some extras to make it better than it was before."

Mr. Howlett snorted.

Vice Principal Hill turned her glare toward him. "Don't think we're not going to be having a talk with you, Logan," she said. "Why on earth did you think it would be a good idea to test Mr. Stark's newest project in the gym?"

Mr. Howlett shrugged. "Thought it could do with an upgrade," he said. "We replaced most of the shop wing last spring. Didn't see the point in blowing it up again."

Principal Fury, Vice Principal Hill, and Mr. Coulson all stared at him for a minute. He just stared back, eyebrows raised but not saying anything.

Tony raised his hand. "Can I go now?"

The principal's "hell no!" and the vice principal's "yes" overlapped. Mr. Coulson just reached up and rubbed his temples.

Shaking his head, Tony looked past them and met Steve's gaze. He gave him a half-hearted shrug.

"What about the Halloween dance?" Mr. Coulson asked. He sounded very reluctant to be mentioning it.

Principal Fury and Vice Principal Hill both turned toward him.

"It's supposed to be next week," he pointed out.

"It's cancelled!" Principal Fury snapped. "Obviously."

There was a chorus of groans from the eavesdropping students gathered around them. Steve hadn't been at the school the last Halloween, but from what he heard the annual dance was usually a pretty big deal for some reason.

The vice principal joined Mr. Coulson in rubbing her temples. "We'll have to refund all of the money we raised for it."

Mr. Howlett snorted again. "Can I go now?"

Tony cleared his throat. "Or, you know, you could have the dance at one of my parents' houses. Maybe the mansion? Dad doesn't stay there very often, but Mom and I do sometimes so it's in pretty good shape."

Principal Fury, Vice Principal Hill, and Mr. Coulson all turned to stare at him. Mr. Howlett shook his head and started walking off. None of the other adults said anything as he did.

"I'm sure my parents wouldn't mind," Tony said brightly.

Principal Fury looked as if he'd just swallowed something sour. Admittedly, he looked like that a lot whenever he was around Tony for long, but this time it seemed just a bit worse than usual. "Not a chance, Stark."

Vice Principal Hill tilted her head a little, a thoughtful look on her face.

The principal glared at her. "No, Maria."

"It would help with the budget, sir," she said, clearing her throat pointedly. "And if it wasn't actually on school grounds, we wouldn't have to worry about any—"

"Explosions?" Tony suggested, smiling brightly.

She glared at him. "Stop talking, Mr. Stark."

Tony nodded very seriously. As soon as her attention had turned away from him and back to Principal Fury, though, he caught Steve's eye and winked.

Steve sighed.


"What did your parents say when they found about the gym?" Steve asked, shifting a little as Tony leaned against him some more.

The sofa in the Rogers' apartment was a little too small for them to both fit comfortably, but they were making due. Tony was practically sitting in Steve's lap, but Steve had to admit that neither of them really minded that much.

Tony shrugged. "Mom sighed and shook her head," he said. "Dad pulled out his checkbook. Same as always."

Steve grinned a bit at that, despite himself. "And when you told them about offering to host the Halloween dance?"

"Oh, that was a little different," Tony said. He turned so that he was facing Steve, which meant he practically had to straddle him. "When I told them that, it was Dad that sighed and shook his head. Mom was the one who pulled out the checkbook."

"Your mom's a fan of Halloween?" Steve guessed.

Tony nodded. "You have no idea," he said. "She and Jarvis were on the phone all day yesterday, hiring people to do the decorations and the food and everything."

"Ah," Steve said, struggling to keep a straight face. "I wondered why you were so eager to come over to my place tonight instead of having me go over there like we usually do."

Tony waggled his eyebrows. "The fact that your mom is working tonight and mine's at home might have had something to do with it to," he pointed out, leaning in to kiss Steve.

Steve leaned into the kiss, slipping his hands around to rest on Tony's back. Tony shifted again, making certain to rub his groin against Steve's. Tony groaned, leaning into the kiss even more. Steve felt Tony's hand slip between them, playing at the top of his jeans for a second before he started to fumble with the zipper.

You do realize that he's, like, twelve, right?

Steve pulled away. He made a mental note to give Rhodey hell the next time he saw him with his girlfriend.

Tony made a disgruntled sound, but he obediently pulled his hands away from Steve's pants. "We've been dating for months," he said, sounding more than a little exasperated. "I think we can move onto a little more than kissing."

Steve sighed. "Tony, you're fifteen."

A blank look appeared on Tony's face, and he stared at Steve for a second. "Last time I checked, yeah," he said slowly. "Your point?"

"Tony, I started school late because I was sick as a kid, remember?" Steve said, reaching up to run his fingers through his hair. "I'm already eighteen. I'm three years older than you."

"Not even two-and-a-half," Tony shot back, looking more amused than anything else. "And, yeah, that's what happens when you skip a couple of grades. Most of your classmates are older than you. Not to mention boyfriends. Or girlfriends for that matter."

Steve closed his eyes. "Tony."

"Not that I have any girlfriends right now!" Tony said hurriedly. "Or boyfriends. Other boyfriends, I mean. Obviously."

"Tony," Steve repeated slowly. "You're fifteen."

"Yes, Steve, we've covered that part already," Tony said, starting to sound annoyed. Steve swore that he could hear him rolling his eyes. "You're a teenage guy. I'm a teenage guy. I don't know about you, but I tend to be pretty damn hor—"

"Fifteen, Tony," Steve said, cutting in. He still didn't open his eyes.

Tony groaned. "If this is about those pesky age of consent laws—"

Steve finally opened his eyes again. He shot Tony an incredulous look. "Yes, Tony, this is about those pesky age of consent laws!"

"Two-and-a-half years!" Tony said, throwing up his hands. "Even if there was anyone out there who cared, which I can guarantee there isn't, it's still just a misdemeanor!"

"That's not the point!" Steve shot back.

"For the love of—" Tony dragged his fingers through his hair, making it stand straight up. "Fine, let's wait until my birthday."

Steve sighed. "Tony."

"Okay, yes, technically the age of consent in New York is seventeen," Tony continued, "but it's sixteen in pretty much every other state on the East Coast."

"Tony," Steve said. He was aiming for stern, but he expected he sounded more amused.

"We can drive out of state!" Tony said, still not pausing. "That way it would be completely legal and you can stop freaking out. Happy?"


Tony stopped talking. "What?" he snapped.

Steve rolled his eyes before leaning in. "You made your point," he said, leaning in to rest his forehead against Tony's.

"Oh, good," Tony said, his face lighting up. "Sex?"

"Yeah," Steve said with a nod. He gave him a quick peck on the lips before pulling away again. "After your birthday."

Tony groaned and reluctantly moved out of Steve's lap.

Steve stretched. "If it makes you feel any better, if you'd tried this a couple of weeks ago, you wouldn't have had to wait."

"It really doesn't," Tony muttered. Then he paused and shot Steve a look. "Which one of them was it?"

Steve raised an eyebrow but didn't say anything.

Tony narrowed his eyes. "It was Rhodey, wasn't it?"

Steve just smiled.

Tony groaned again. "I'm going to kill him," he grumbled. "No, really, he's dead."


The bright flash of a camera temporarily blinded Steve, and he blinked away spots for a few seconds. He could vaguely make out a blurry form standing in front of him. "Peter?" he guessed.

"Mr. Rogers," Peter said, holding his hand out toward Steve as if he was holding an invisible microphone. "Our readers want to know: what is it like to be dating Tony Stark?"

Steve rolled his eyes. "No comment."

Peter brought his hand down. "Come on, Steve, I need a story! Mr. Jameson is going to kill me if I don't manage an interesting story for the newspaper this week."

"Why don't you write about gym exploding?" Steve asked.

"Wanted to, but MJ called dibs," Peter said with a shrug. "And Jessica Drew's covering the cold war this week."

Steve frowned. "Can you really still call it a cold war?" he asked. "I mean, everyone knows that the football team set up those water balloons in the band room, even if the principal couldn't prove it."

Peter shrugged. "You'd have to ask Jessica about that."

"I'll do that," Steve said, passing by Peter.

There was a pause and then Peter went dashing back in front of him. "Hey!" he said. "Are you trying to ditch me?"

"Your powers of observation astound me," Steve said dryly.

Peter shook his head. "Steve, Steve, I thought we were friends."

"No story, Pete," Steve said, shaking his head.

"You're not any fair," Peter said, sticking out his tongue at him. "Fine, I'll see if Tony will give me a story."

"Good luck finding him," Steve shot back. "He had to go talk to one of his professors this afternoon at the university over in—"

Peter stared at him.

Steve groaned. "Fuck, pretend you didn't hear that."

"Wait, what did you just say?" Peter gasped theatrically, bringing his hand up to his chest. "Steven Rogers, did you just cuss?"

"Peter," Steve said warningly.

"Okay, okay, turning off reporter mode." Peter made a zipping motion across his lips. "It's a secret, gotcha."

Steve let out a breath he hadn't even realized he was holding. "Thank you."

Peter sat there for a moment. Then he leaned forward. "But, you know, since you already started to tell me, would it really hurt to finish whatever you were going to say?"

Steve closed his eyes. "Peter."

"Come on, it won't end up in the newspaper. Cross my heart and hope to die."

For a few seconds, Steve didn't say anything. Then he reluctantly opened his eyes and met Peter's gaze.

There was an unusually serious look on Peter's face. "Seriously, Steve," he said. "I won't say anything."

After another moment or two, Steve nodded. "Tony's been taking a bunch of online classes in his spare time," he said hesitantly. "His dad apparently wanted him to just take some tests and skip high school completely, but his mom insisted he needed to be around kids at least close to his own age. Especially after that whole thing with the—"

Steve trailed off, biting his lip a little.

Peter raised an eyebrow. "You mean after that guy tried to kill Tony's parents in a car crash and then paid some nutjob to kidnap Tony when that didn't work?"

Steve grimaced. "I wasn't sure how much you knew about that. Tony didn't tell me until after I'd known him for months."

"It was on the news," Peter said, shrugging. "I guess you wouldn't have heard about it, since you weren't living here then. It's definitely not a big secret or anything."

Steve nodded. "Anyway, he didn't want everyone to know about the college classes or anything, but that's why he's here instead of off at some private university for geniuses somewhere."

Peter tilted his head. "I thought he was here because all of the private schools within five hundred miles refused to let him in until he promised to stop setting things on fire?"

Steve bit his lip. "Let me rephrase that," he corrected himself. "That's why he's attending high school instead of being off at some college, even though he, uh—"

"Is smarter than half of the teachers?" Peter suggested.

Steve struggled not to smile. "I didn't say that."

"Maybe not, but you were thinking it."


"Jarvis, answer me honestly," Steve said, staring at the closed door to Tony's bedroom at the mansion. "Is the costume he picked out for me going to make me want to throw myself in front of a bus?"

Edwin Jarvis's mouth twitched. Most people probably wouldn't even have noticed it, but Steve was watching.

Steve groaned. "It is, isn't it?"

Jarvis patted him on the shoulder. "Let me simply say that, if Mrs. Stark had any doubts that you boys were more than friends, she no longer did once she saw the costumes he decided on."

Steve didn't even have time to start blushing before Jarvis had opened the door and all but ushered him inside. The door shut behind him, leaving him to reluctantly make his way into Tony's room.

Then he came to a complete halt and just stared.

Tony grinned at him. "Well, what do you think?"

Steve kept staring. Tony was wearing a skirt made out of what looked like some type of hopefully fake fur, with matching boots that came up halfway to his knees. There was a gold necklace hanging around his neck, and. . .

. . . well, that was about it.

The costume was vaguely familiar. Steve thought it looked kind of like the one from that horrible movie they had stumbled across late one night, some horribly historically inaccurate mess with Romans and druids and magic and an impressive amount of nudity. He vaguely remembered a dinosaur being involved somehow. Or maybe it had been a dragon? No, it had been a T-Rex. He was almost certain of it.

Steve didn't remember too much else about it, to be honest. He had been a bit preoccupied with Tony's mouth at the time.

"Earth to Steve," Tony said, holding his arms out. "I'm still waiting for an opinion here."

Steve resisted the urge to hide his face in his hands. Barely. "Tony, what on earth are you wearing?"

Tony grinned at him, spinning around in order to better show off his costume. "What?" he asked. "Why should the girls be the only ones who get to have all the fun and go around half-naked on Halloween?"

"Give me one reason why I shouldn't go tell Pepper you just said that," Steve said, still not looking at Tony.

Tony winked at him. "Okay, first of all, I'm going to assume that you haven't seen what Pepper and Natasha are wearing." There was a pause. "Or, maybe I should say, what they aren't wearing, though the last time I checked they had a pretty good reason for not wearing a whole lot considering they were—"

Steve held up a hand. "Stop talking," he said. His face felt like it was on fire. "Please, just—stop talking, okay?"

Tony threw his head back and laughed again. "Oh my God, you're three years older than me!" he said. "How can you be embarrassed by these things?"

"It's two-and-a-half years," Steve mumbled, "as you keep reminding me."

Tony walked over and kissed him. "Come on, people will start getting here soon. You need to get dressed."

Steve pulled away. "How bad is it going to be?"

Tony raised an eyebrow. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said innocently. "I just have one question for you."

Steve gave him a worried look.

"Tell me, Steve," Tony asked, "how do you feel about kilts?"

"You hate me," Steve said flatly. "This is punishment."

Tony pinched his ass as he walked past him toward the large walk-in closet on the other side of the room. "Not possible," he said. "And yep. If I have to wait until my birthday to get laid, then I'm definitely taking it out on you."

Steve furrowed his brow as Tony disappeared into the closet. "Is that much skin even allowed?" he asked. "I mean, isn't there a dress code? It's still technically affiliated with the school, right?"

"Why do you think I offered to host the party here?" Tony asked, his eyes twinkling as he poked his head back out into the room. "I'm going to be good and set the house computer system to make sure that nobody sneaks in alcohol or tries to slip into one of the empty bedrooms upstairs, so that poor Principal Fury doesn't have an aneurism—"

Steve snorted.

"—but in return, they're going to be a bit more lenient about the amount of clothing that's required and the music that's played. Since, you know, I didn't have to offer to let the dance be here when they were threatening to cancel it."

"They threatened to cancel it because you blew up the gym," Steve cut in.

Tony waved his hand dismissively. "Details, details, details. Come on, you need to get dressed," he said, grabbing Steve by the arm and pulling him toward the closet. "Rhodey should be here any second, and I don't want you to miss the look on his face when he sees his costume."


"I hate you," Steve said, glaring at Tony as he slunk out onto the patio beside him.

Tony raised an eyebrow. "What did I do?"

Steve self-consciously crossed his arms in front of his bare chest, trying to ignore just how much of his legs were showing as well. "Couldn't I at least wear a shirt?" he muttered.

"Now, Steve," Tony said, grinning. "Principal Fury's face wouldn't have turned nearly as purple as it did if you had been wearing a shirt."

Steve groaned and leaned forward enough to rest his forehead on Tony's shoulder. "I hate you," he repeated.

Tony reached up to pat his head. "No, you don't," he said matter-of-factly. "Rhodey is the one who hates me right now."

Despite his best intentions, Steve couldn't help but chuckle a bit at that. He pulled his head up and glanced behind them, through the open doors that led back inside. Rhodey was doing his best to stay in the far corner behind the buffet table, trying to hide the fact that he wearing a kilt very similar to the one Steve had on. The only differences were that Rhodey's was red, rather than green, and instead of reaching just above his knees it bore a striking resemblance to the miniskirts that Pepper and Natasha were wearing.

Steve couldn't help but take a little pleasure in the fact that Tony wasn't let Rhodey wear a shirt either.

"Dance with me?" Tony asked suddenly.

"I don't dance," Steve replied without even thinking. Then he frowned. "And you know that I don't dance."

Tony gave him an innocent look. Steve didn't believe it for a second; he narrowed his eyes suspiciously.

"Fine, no dancing," Tony said agreeably. "Make out with me?"

Steve snorted.

"What?" Tony asked, turning around so that he was facing Steve.

"You're trying to give Principal Fury a heart attack before graduation, aren't you?" Steve asked, shaking his head. He gestured toward the door. Principal Fury was standing just inside, shooting the two of them a very suspicious look.

Tony leaned past Steve and waved.

Principal Fury rolled his eyes before turning and stomping away.

Steve grinned, despite himself. He opened his mouth, getting ready to say something else to Tony . . .

. . . and the next thing he knew, Tony had throw his arms around him and was kissing him like there was nothing else in the world he would rather do.

Despite the part of his brain that pointed out it was probably a very bad idea, Steve didn't protest when Tony tightened his grip around his neck and wrapped his legs around his body. Instead, Steve just leaned back against the wall behind them and rested his hands under Tony's ass so that he could hold him up a bit easier.

There was suddenly a bright flash of light.

The two of them jerked apart, Tony's feet landing on the ground again with a light thud. Tony spun around, searching the patio wildly. Then he groaned.

"Peter Parker just took a picture of us, didn't he?" Steve asked, very carefully not looking to his left.

"Yeah," Tony said with a nod.

"He's still there, isn't he?"

Tony nodded again. "Yep."

Steve closed his eyes. "He's not alone, is he?"

There were several chuckles from nearby that answered his question, but Tony still replied with an amused: "Nope."

"I hate you," Steve said tiredly, still not opening his eyes.

Tony just laughed and looped his arm in Steve's. "No you don't."

Steve didn't reply, but he couldn't help but smile. Just a little.