Tony Stark doesn't deserve anything good.
It's become his sort of motto, a chant to recite when things go wrong.
He even named the voice in his head that begins to recite it (hello, Howie) and came up with character designs. (He thought black hair and green eyes made a very decent fit.)
And believe me, this chant is something that's mentioned every single day, at least once.
Right now, Howie is going crazy, and the chant has become a broken record, pulsing and pounding on his brain.
Tony stares at his latest mistake. Sure, he's made lots of mistakes, some of them were insignificant, some were solvable, but some of them were colossal and not going anywhere soon.
This mistake he would classify under colossal.
Pepper Potts is lugging a suitcase out from her wardrobe, dusty and closed with the dustcover, and the whole thing speaks of preparedness and Tony wonders how long she's waited for this moment.
"It's not you, it's me," she says as she closes the final zipper. "I'm sorry. If you still want me to run Stark Industries-"
"I do," he says, the words spilling from his mouth. "Pepper-don't do this."
Pepper's mouth tightens into a thin line. "I'm sorry, Tony. I hope we can still be friends," her mouth relaxes, and Tony wonders how many people she's given this speech to. "But I- I can't do this anymore. I can wait around for you to return home not knowing if you will, and I can't handle all this secrecy with what you're doing with the Avengers. And Ultron-"
Tony's Arc Reactor lurches, as if his heart had just pulsed, and eyebrows crease into a snarl. "Just go," he laughs humourlessly. "You want to go, don't you? So go."
Pepper glares back at him, and turns on her heel, marching out of the door in a click of heels.
Tony Stark does not deserve anything good.
He thought the world was being kind when they gave him someone who understood. He was wrong. The world was being kind to be cruel, as the person who he once loved even more than he thought he was capable march out of their -his- door in a flurry of heels and red hair.
Howie laughs at him, the voice in his head going crazy with this amount of material as he sinks to the floor. "What made you think you could build anything permanent?" The voice laughs. "Your Iron Man suits fail after a while. Ultron was a bust. The Avengers is falling apart. Everything you touch you break."
Tony is too tired to even argue. "Yes," he agrees, as the air became hot and heavy. "Yes."
Tony Stark does not deserve anything good.
That's what he says when the Avengers are having movie night, and they're all laughing and getting tipsy and watching Disney cartoons.
Hawkeye reenacts the opening scene of Tangled with Thor's hair, and Natasha does wicked impressions of Rapunzel's crazy stepmother, and Pietro pulls of Flynn Rider extremely well.
They're all laughing and grinning and the popcorn machine has been on non-stop for the entire two hour duration. (Courtesy of Thor, who had been obsessed with this, and I quote "delightful cooked corn substance.")
But Tony is still himself, laughing and tipsy yes, but not reenacting scenes, too busy focussing on not having anything good.
And this was very good.
Steve is sitting next to him, his laugh wondrous and deep, and through the light of the television all his best angles were put on display, each one only making him seem like a marble statue.
His blue eyes shine and he turns to Tony with a delighted laugh, grinning at him.
Tony resists the urge to gulp, even as the voice in his head starts chanting.
"You've got to admit, the quality has improved tremendously," Steve says, delighted, and Tony almost wishes to share in his delight. "I wish Bucky were here to see this."
Tony knows this is his cue. "Ah, old man, I bet the reason why you can't find that elusive punk is because he's hanging out in run-down pubs watching old Disney cartoons," he tilts his head at Steve. "You never know."
This earns a real laugh out of him, making shivers run down Tony's spine. "Of course," Steve says, placing a hand on Tony's thigh. "I should get Sam to start checking those places out."
Tony waits a minute, Steve's hand still on his thigh, and suddenly the domestication gets too much for him and he jerks away, sliding away from the couch and yelling, "I LEFT THE BUNSEN BURNER ON!"
The Avengers burst into laughter even as Tony tries to get out of the door.
He opens the door and escapes down to the lab, where he locks the door and throws on a jacket.
He darkens the window and slides to the floor, the cold tile almost comforting against his cheek.
"Tony Stark does not deserve anything good," he whispers, and believes it. "Tony Stark does not deserve anything good."
He rolls onto his back and his fingers reach up to the top drawer, where his new AI, Friday, scans his fingerprints and unlocks the drawer.
He tells everyone that this drawer contains the most reactive substances in the lab, possibly in the city, and therefore keeps it locked securely, but his fingers reach inside and dig out a small velvet box.
Tony Stark opens the box and pulls out a small ring, running his fingers over the inscription, brushing over the delicately carven Pepper Potts. He places the jewel against his Arc Reactor and watches it light up, having synchronised the jewels. He gasps and flings the ring across in the room, but within a minute is clambering to find it.
He doesn't know what to do with it. He's considered burning in it in his specialised oven, but every time he moved to throw it he couldn't. He's considered dumping it into the ocean, but things that go into the ocean have a nasty way of coming out. He's even debated having Thor smash it, but Thor couldn't keep secrets. So he kept it, under lock and key, in his lab. Only fitting.
There is a knock on the lab door. "Tony?" Tony jerks upright and throws the ring and the box back into the drawer and closing it.
He then makes a small fire out of paper and a lit Bunsen burner and tells Friday to open the door. It opens soundlessly to reveal a messy-haired, half-naked, sweatpants wearing Steve, and if Tony thought this mild crush was going anywhere, it really wasn't.
He gapes and warbles a little, until Friday reminds him that he has, in fact, started a fire. Steve gasps at the fire, and hurriedly grabs a fire extinguisher and puts it out, while Tony struggles to not stare, anything but stare.
"And to whom do I owe the pleasure of getting to see Captain America shirtless?" Steve turns to him and he winks. "Would you mind if I told Friday to save this security feed?"
This was always his tactic when it came to dealing with the overly attractive Steve Rogers. He overflirted and distanced himself.
Steve rolls his eyes. "The others spilt coke on my shirt," he laughs slightly, and then I remembered you said you had a fire."
"And you came down to make sure I was doing fine?" Tony raised his eyebrows. "Do you even know how many lab fires I have been through. There was this one time, I burnt all the hair off my eyebrows."
Steve chuckled at that. "That would have made quite the spectacle."
"Indeed it did," Tony agrees. His eyes dim. "Why are you here, really?" He stares at the charred mass of papers.
Steve shrugs. "Came to see if you were alright."
"But there's no need for that. I was never in any danger," Tony says as he turns around, and focuses on Steve's forehead instead of his extremely well-toned chest. "So why are you here?"
Steve looks at him seriously. "Because Friday would have told you if there was a fire. Which there wasn't."
Tony gestures to the papers. "Yes there was!"
Steve looks at him as if he was dumb. "You've been down here for ten minutes. It's been enough time to control the blaze yet when I come here it's fresh and new," he taps his fingers against the granite tabletop. "So the real question is, why are you here?"
Tony throws his hands up. "You got me old man, I actually do not like Tangled." Steve looks at him. "You remind me a lot of Flynn, though."
"Yes, that's why I do not like Tangled. Hey," he points a finger at Steve. "If I'm Flynn, would you be Rapunzel? I mean- you're both, you know, blonde and out their time."
It's always like this. Steve comes to make sure he's okay, and Tony just annoys the hell out of him till he goes away. It's gotten easier.
Steve throws his hands up into the air. "Maybe I will be," he grins, and Tony looks way. "I could pull off long hair."
Tony shrugs. "You'd have to sing."
Steve smiles almost ferally. "So would you."
Tony turns to look at him, really look at him, and decided he really didn't like what he saw. It was too good.
And Tony Stark does not deserve anything good.
"Look, just get lost, Cap," Tony waves him off with a flick of his wrist and a bottle of ammonia gas that even with Steve's accelerated healing, would give his nose a knockout for an hour.
Steve chokes and his eyes water. "What did you do?"
"Ammonia," Tony shrugs. "Occupational hazard."
Steve glares at him, sniffing uncontrollably. "I'm going to bed. God, that thing stinks!"
Tony is already sketching something onto a piece of white paper. "You go do that."
The final click of the door shutting has an extremely final connotation about it. Tony punches the cabinet and tries to breathe through the pain of split knuckles and blood.
"What's happened to your hand?" Clint asks the next day, staring at his hand, which was swollen and scabbed over.
Tony shrugs. "Occupational hazard," he says, and when Steve raises an eyebrow at him he shrugs again. "Not all of us have accelerated healing, buddy."
He uses his lack of superpowers as an excuse to whatever shit he gets into.
Steve shakes his head and looks away, but Tony can tell that this conversation isn't over yet.
He bites his lip and returns to trying to figure out how to contain acid within an arrowhead without throwing off the shots.
He's annoyed, of course. Perhaps an insoluble layer of calcium sulfate would do, and he takes the chemicals out of the workbench. He's so engrossed in his work that he doesn't notice everyone had left the room.
Steve speaks up from across the room, striding to where Tony stood with long legs. "So now, what really happened to your hand?"
Tony looks up as he places the metal and the acid on the table. "Nothing," Tony says as he turns his back to finish up a blueprint. "Like I said. Occupational hazard. You don't get special treatment just because you managed to quietly get everyone to leave my lab."
Steve shrugs as he plays with the bottles Tony put out. "What are these?" Tony doesn't even look up. "Calcium and sulfuric acid." Steve stares at the chemicals. "What happens if I put on in the other?" He asks, curiosity overcoming him as he pours out a little of the acid into a test tube, and picks out a calcium ribbon.
"What?" Tony asks as he places the final sketches. "What did you say?"
Steve shrugs as he prepares to drop the ribbon into the acid. "What happens if I mix them?"
Tony drops his pencil. "Steve- wait-" he whirls around and smacks Steve's hand just as he was about to drop the ribbon, causing the test tube to knock into the table and then into the floor and the ribbon to go flying.
Steve looks at him and then back to the acid now puddling on the floor. The ribbon, mercifully, landed on the table with a clatter. "What was that for?" A bead of acid rolled down the table and came into contact with the ribbon, and all of a sudden it burst into a series of flames, sparks and smoke.
Alarms started blaring and one of the desk assistances screamed. Tony coughs and waves away the smoke, and Friday immediately activates the sprinkler system.
He stares at Steve with a mixture of exasperation and relief, fighting the urge to run to him and make sure he was alright."You okay?"
Steve looks at him, his eyes watering from the smoke. "Oops."
Tony presses his good hand to the bridge of his nose, even as his shirt begins to stick to him. "Why did you mess around with the chemicals in the lab- remind me to start tutoring you," Tony coughs again. "Jesus."
Steve stares at the charred remains of the ribbon. "But what happened?"
Tony walks over and gives him a brisk once over. Chemical explosions were no good even for supersoliders. "Calcium is an extremely reactive metal- namely, it comes into contact with a liquid, even water, and the whole thing explodes higher than a grenade. You're lucky it was only a drop of acid, not an entire test tube full."
Steve looks right at him, and Tony fights the urge to gulp. "But you were going to use it." Tony sighs as he gives Steve's now delightfully wet shirt a pat. "I was going to combine it with a carbonate to make the significantly less reactive calcium carbonate. And then react it with sulfuric acid, not dump an entire ribbon straight up."
Steve blinks and shakes his head ruefully. "Perhaps you should start teaching me, and I could help out around here."
Tony scoffs as he walks out of the door. "That'll be the day," he waves open the door as the ventilators start work on the smoke. "I'm going to change."
"This guy is seriously getting on my nerves," Steve- or Captain America now- grunts as his fists pummel another marionette doll said bad guy was animating.
Iron Man stands behind him and fires shot after shot of lasers. "These things don't stay down," he curses. "Aim for the strings and the legs."
The fight was going really well, considering what they were fighting were dolls, for fucks sake.
Black Widow was off in the corner doing crazy stunts with wide eyes and a panicked face. Hawkeye was next to her, a reassuring presence, his voice a familiar sound.
Thor was smashing them to itty bitty porcelain chips, while the Vision worked on frying them.
Falcon picked up dolls on random and dropped them from on high, and Iron Man was strongly reminded of bald eagles. He half expected him to start screaming "freedom!"
Quicksilver was knocking into the dolls like a bowling ball, his accelerated healing preventing any long term bruises. And Scarlet Witch- she was the most helpful here, unanimating dolls faster than the guy (they still didn't know what to call him) could renanimate them.
The wave of dolls parted like the Red Sea, and revealed a man, in a long black cape, wearing a porcelain mask. Blue swirled around him. "You think you can defeat the Puppetmaker? You cannot hope to win anything. Soon, I will turn everyone into dolls, and they will be better off for it. Dolls-"
Iron Man loved it when people like him revealed their code names, their plans, and their next plan of attack all in one sentence, but he was getting sick of this guy, and his stupid fucked up dolls, so he cut his sentence short by zapping him in the chest.
He tumbled backward and the legion of dolls advanced again.
This carried on for a while until the dolls stopped moving, and the Puppetmaster (honestly, the most cliched thing ever to ever be supervilliany ever, apart from calling yourself Doctor Doom, because really. Really.) levitated high above the room.
Iron Man tensed. "That's an electromagnetic ionising radiation gun, guys."
Hawkeye sighed loudly into the comms, and Iron Man rolled his eyes. "As in, the gun will cause severe tissue damage, destruction and modification. Not even your accelerated healing could help you."
The Puppetmaster laughs. "You fear this. That is good! You learn."
The Avengers all share a look.
"Ah, whatever," Scarlet Witch snaps first. The man flies into a wall. The battle resumes.
"Where did the guy go?" Iron Man asks after a while, noting that the hole in the wall is now empty.
Captain America pauses and looks around, and Iron Man takes a second to appreciate just how awesome he looks, all roughed up.
He shakes it off, (a boner is not something you want in an iron suit), and instead begins to scan the surrounding area.
There is an evil laugh, (why) and Iron Man turns in time to see him (from a nifty position in the rafters, fucking levitation) fire his fucking gun at Captain fucking America.
The blast goes in slow motion, and all Iron Man can think of is not him, and the next thing he knows his suit is melting and his ears are ringing, and there's nothing but darkness.
His eyes blink open to reveal harsh white lights.
He blinks hard, and sits up, groaning. There's a white bandage spotted with blood on his stomach, and an IV runs into his hand.
Steve is sitting next to him, anxiously watching his face. "Don't you ever do that again," he says harshly, and reaches out a hand to take Tony's. He swears he can hear his heart monitor spiking. "Don't you do that again."
Tony groans. "The suit could take it," he whispers, hoarsely. "Can I get some water?"
Steve's hand was warm and calloused, and fucking big. It felt nice.
Steve helps him to drink down the water. "It caved in, you know. Impaled you," and here he swears. "Dammit Tony, you could've died."
Tony laughs, despite how much it hurts. "But you didn't. That's good enough for me."
Steve looks at him sidelong. "Is it?"
Tony makes a non-committal sound. "It would've fried you. I'm alive, that's what matters."
Steve clenches his jaw. "No, it's not. You're hurt."
Tony turns his head to look at him. "Occupational hazard," he says, cheekily. "I'm already hell-bound."
Tony wasn't sure what was going on. He put it down to the pain meds and the whole hospital thing, but it felt nice to finally tell someone how he felt about himself.
"God, I'm a mess. I've done so much crap, Steve Rogers, so excuse me if I want to let the better one survive. Besides," he mumbles as he slips back into unconsciousness. "I don't deserve anything good. And you do."
He misses Steve's slack jawed look, and the way his hand didn't let go of Tony's.
Tony ignores the conversation he had with Steve, as if it didn't happen. Well, right now, Tony couldn't even remember what happened that month, not while he has a bottle of beer in one hand and an empty wine bottle in front of him.
"Tony, what the crap are you doing?" The voice is familiar, it's tones lilting, and Tony blearily turns to the left to see Steve's patented Captain America Is Disappointed In You face.
Tony tips the bottle towards him with a yo and a resolve to never say yo again. "I'm drinking, Cap. You should try it."
Steve shakes his head as he takes the bottle from Tony. "Can't get drunk," he says, and taps Tony's Arc Reactor. "And you shouldn't be drinking."
Tony shrugs. "Whatever." He stumbles over to the wine cooler and takes out another bottle, which he fumbles to unscrew. "You're not the boss of me."
Steve looks at Tony's wine-stained lips. "What's happened?"
Tony laughs, drunkenly, and it seems as if he gets more sarcastic and more depressed as he gets more and more drunk. "Ya really need to know?"
Steve nods. "Yes, I need to know, if it's something to get drunk about," he wrinkles his nose. "How long has it been since you slept?"
Tony waves his hand. "Give or take twenty four hours. You know, this is high quality wine I've been saving. It's not like I decided, oh yes, I'm going to get drunk randomly! It's all been planned."
Steve taps his foot. "You haven't answered my question."
Tony sighs as he starts pours the wine into a glass, before changing his mind and chugging it straight from the bottle. "Today's date is December 17."
Steve nods. "What about it?" "It's the date my parents died, in a car accident most likely done by your childhood sweetheart," he laughs viciously. "Not that I blame him, Howard was a prick, but my mother didn't deserve it."
Steve cringes and his body tenses. "I'm sorry."
Tony turns on him. "God, why does everyone say that? I'm sorry for your loss, I'm sorry for what you've been through. You don't know what it's like okay, and you don't, ever, tell me you're sorry, for something that doesn't when concern or create feelings of apology, because it's not even your fault."
Steve puts his hands palm up. "I knew Howard, you know."
Tony throws a test tube at him. "I fucking know, he made you this, he gave you a vibranium shield, ha ha, hurrah, best friends forever. Newsflash, he thought you were dead, and he would've been dead by the time you became uncorpsicled."
Steve catches the tube with one hand and resists the urge to grab Tony in a bearhug.
"I thought he was having sex with Peggy Carter. He was, in a way, just like you."
Tony's face spasms with an undefinable emotion. "Oh sure, compare me to the world's biggest failure at being a dad. Really helps improve my self-esteem."
Steve shrugs as he begins to cross the room. "Tony."
Tony holds up a hand, and sways. He glares at Steve. "Will you just fucking leave already? The door is like, literally three metres away. Not that hard."
Steve stands in front of him. "Sometimes leaving isn't the best option."
Tony leans against the counter and gives him an incredulous look. "Well, it is now. Get lost. It's called alone time, have you heard of it? Oh wait, you were alone the whole seventy years. Guess you do, then."
Steve places a hand on Tony's shoulder, and it takes what's left of his sanity not to pull him in. "How many times must I say it? You aren't alone in this."
Tony laughs, a harsh sound that spills from his mouth. "Oh yes, silly me to forget. No, just me, the world's biggest fuck up, a man who kinda travelled in time, two ex dirty assassins, two ex HYDRA mercs, one fucking jesus android, an arrogant demigod, a man who has serious temper issues and a mechanised bird."
Steve shrugs. "We're all messed up a little, little broken and a little cracked, but still good."
Tony glares. "Did you just quote fucking lilo and stitch at me?"
Steve's hand trails down to the Arc Reactor, and he gives it a slight push. Tony's breath hitches and he quickly takes a huge gulp of wine.
"Isn't this proof you have a heart?"
Tony stares at it. "No, it's proof that just like old times, I cannot survive without my dad. Great times, great times, indeed."
Steve seems frustrated. Good. Tony likes it when Steve is frustrated. It's like he won a bet with himself. Get the man with the most patience to become impatient.
"Why do you push everyone away?"
Tony laughs again. "Now we're quoting Frozen? Let it go, my unfrozen star spangled man. Let it go."
Steve is definitely frustrated now. "Why."
Tony pats his shoulder and wiggles out of his grasp, signalling with one hand to get out of the door. "Because I don't deserve anything good, Steve Rogers."
Steve scratches his head with one hand. "But you do. You help so much people."
Tony turns to him with dim eyes and a half empty wine bottle.
Steve has never felt that Tony ever looked empty, but it was the only word left to describe him now.
"Not as much as I killed them. Hello, weapons contract. Oh, better yet, did you miss the one where I accidentally set a murder bot loose on the world? Were you frozen again?"
Steve pushes Tony against the counter, and now Tony is definitely having breathing difficulties. He takes a long draught of wine, even as heat threatens to overwhelm him.
"But you created Vision with it. And you created Iron Man because of that contract. It's a thing, you know. You solve problems."
Tony stares at Steve's lips. They were quite red. "Not as much as I hurt them, like I'm going to do to you, if you don't fucking leave."
Steve sighs through his nose, and places his hands on Tony's waist, before pulling him into a large hug.
Tony gasps and stutters, the wine bottle threatening to fall out of his hands. His free hand tightens and closes on Steve's shirt, and he can feel Steve's heartbeat and the rise and fall of his chest.
He smells like mint and snow, and it's like a fucking aphrodisiac. Tony's knees buckle, and they sink to the floor, Tony sitting in Steve's lap, head buried in the crook of Steve's neck.
"Jesus, you're like a teddy bear," Tony says, his voice muffled, and Steve chuckles. Tony can feel the vibrations travel through his chest. "Scratch that, you're better than a teddy bear."
The wine bottle lands with a clink onto the floor, miraculously upright, but Tony can't be bothered because of what's going on now.
Suddenly, he feels tears well up behind his eyes, fucking tears, even though it's been years since he last cried. This was becoming too cliched and Tony wanted Steve to stand up and leave him to fuel his hate fire.
"Aren't you going to let go?" He asks, after a while. Steve murmurs a no, but that's alright, because he can physically feel it, and it sends a thrill up his spine. "Not until you let go first."
Tony makes a noise of affirmation. He wonders how long it's been, but it's nice here, and he could stay here for another day. "I want you to stand up, punch me, say you hate me, and leave."
Steve tenses. "Why would I do that?"
Tony shrugs, but it's weird to do when you're wrapped up like that, so he doesn't do it again. "Because."
Steve growls, and it's so predatory, and Tony is this close to Steve, and the whole thing is pretty damn hot.
"You want the world to kick you and say they hate you just so you can be right."
Tony sits up, because that sounded so much like him he wonders how much Steve has been hiding. "What?"
"You want the world to hurt you so that you can say I was right, they are the monsters, not me. I am the victim."
Tony tilts his head, and winces at the proximity. "Maybe."
Steve presses a finger to the middle of Tony's chest. "But that's not how it works. You can't- the whole world isn't against you, you know."
Tony places his hands on the sides of Steve's chest, curling around the edges.
He leans forward again and presses his into the crook of his neck, his lips touching bare skin, and stays there.
Steve doesn't let go.
Tony wakes up to someone shaking him, and he blinks open his eyes to a pounding headache and blue eyes.
He yells and topples off the bed. Steve Rogers is standing next to him, with messy hair and pyjamas, a small smile on his face.
Tony can't remember all that happened yesterday, but he knows it was sad and deep and wonderful, and he was certain he would remember sex.
"What the fuck are you doing here?" Tony chokes as he climbs back onto his bed. Steve laughs, his morning voice husky and deep and criminally hot.
"I wanted to check on you."
"We didn't sleep in the same bed, did we? That's so gay," Tony shakes his head as he reaches for the two white tablets he laid out yesterday afternoon. "We didn't, right?"
Steve shakes his head as he plops down next to him. "You feel asleep on my shoulder, so I brought you to your room."
Tony nods as he pops the pills into his mouth, knowing now why he wasn't wearing any pyjamas. Thank god.
"Let's not bring that up. Why're you here, now, at...eleven am?"
Steve grins at him. "To check up on you, of course. And, I wanted to tell you that we're going out."
Tony looks at him, sure that the question marks around his head were tangible. "Going out? As in, on a mission, or like a-"
"Friends thing," Steve interrupted him. "We're going to DC."
Tony sighs as he falls back into the sheets. "Why?"
"Because it's been a while since I've been to DC, and, it's time you and I did something together."
Tony puts his head into his hands, even though a day out with Steve Rogers was something he had looked forward to for what, five hundred years? "Oh no, you're starting to sound like those overly enthusiastic camp leaders."
Steve looks hurt. "I was a squadron leader."
Tony waves a hand at him. "Same thing, big guy. Same thing."
Tony can't forget the way Steve smelt, (which was creepy, but also, not, because if you were there you would also be all, phwoar, this guy smells better than a Yankee's Candle, God bless America) and the way it felt to be held, so just looking at Steve caused blushes to rise to his face and he tried to regain his cool, because he was a forty year old man, for christ's sake.
Steve falls back next to him, and turns to face him, and holy crap is he doing this on fucking purpose, because Tony wasn't sure if he could handle a deep-voiced and pyjama clad, 5 o'clock shadow Steve Rogers.
Tony considers turning the other way, but this was too good to pass up, so he stares back at Steve with a somewhat defiant expression. "I have morning breath, you know," he grins lazily and reaches out a hand to run his fingers through Steve's hair.
It's fucking soft and knotless. Did he just wake up perfect? Steve goes rigid, and Tony finds he just does not care.
"Then go get dressed," Steve chuckles, and Tony makes a dramatic stretching noise.
"Tell you what," Tony says as he pats Steve's cheek with one hand. "Today, we just spend the day indoors but together, and then we go to DC some other day, because I ain't feeling it."
Steve shrugs, and gives him a pat on his cheek as he sits up. "Sure. I was going to book a five star restaurant, but then I though, eh, Tony's getting enough of this anyway."
Tony laughs as he sits up and moves to the bathroom. "Steve Rogers, you know me too well."
Steve watches his disappearing figure. "But not good enough."
Tony rejoins Steve after he's showered and changed (and debated about clothes choice for about several centuries) and finds that
Steve's already changed and stretched out on his bed, his face planted in the middle of the pillow.
Heat floods his body.
"Um, what exactly are you doing?" Tony asks, amused, as Steve turns around and gives him a cheeky smile.
"Your pillows are softer than mine, it's no fair." Tony sits down next to him and pats his shoulder.
"There there, Cap, you'll get over it." Steve sits up, and the realisation of what Steve is wearing sends a jolt through his body.
"Where in the world did you get plaid and jeans?" Steve looks down at his apparel.
"Natasha literally forced me to go shopping. She said, one more day with white shirts and khakis and I'm going to put this gun up your ass."
Tony nods, reminding himself to send her a fruit basket. "Looks nice."
Steve flushes. "Thanks," he says and flops back down onto the bed. "So what do you want to do?"
Tony groans. "This is like a middle school sleepover where everyone doesn't know what to do so they all end up using their phones."
Steve slaps Tony's head. "I'm imaginative. I can think of plenty of things we can do in this room."
Tony waggles his eyebrows. "Oh, I'm absolutely positive you can, Steve, but let's keep it PG-13."
Steve looks at him disapprovingly. "You wanna watch a movie or something?"
"Sure," Tony nods as he settles down next to Steve. "There's a lovely site we can go called pornhub."
Steve's mouth drops open and turns to Tony with a red face. "No."
Tony shrugs. "Your loss. Friday, can you play a movie you think Cap over here would like? Oh, and popcorn. Lots of popcorn."
"Certainly sir," the AI crackles over the intercom, and the TV flicks on to a movie screening of the Breakfast Club.
Tony laughs when he sees it. "I suppose so," he says, grinning. "Though JARVIS would've put on something like Galaxy Quest."
Steve looks at him weirdly. "Galaxy Quest?" Tony nods. "We're doing that immediately after. Meanwhile, enjoy one of the greatest movies ever made."
Steve nods and settles in to watch the show. He itches to shuffle closer to Tony, but doesn't want to seem like he wants to shuffle closer to Tony, so he sits there in an angry silence, fuming at nothing.
Tony is half watching the show and half wondering what Steve would do if he shifted a little closer. He does.
Steve notices the shift and tenses, before shifting a little closer too. Tony is raging.
This is exactly like a romance novel, and fuck him if he was going to go with the status quo and watch a romantic movie while sitting in his bed with shoulders touching, fuck no.
But it was very nice, and very comfortable, and hell no. And Tony Stark doesn't deserve anything good.
He sits up and stretches, the tip of his shirt riding up to reveal a flat strip of stomach, and yawns. "Fight me."
Steve looks at him weirdly. "What?" Tony nods as he flicks the light back on. "Spar with me."
The corners of Steve's mouth lifts up. "Should you really be doing that after drinking practically an entire pub?"
Tony points a finger at him. "I'll have you know I've become very good at that."
Steve stands up too, smiling slightly. "We both aren't dressed for it."
Tony mulls over that piece of information. He would really like it if Steve stayed in the apparel he was wearing right now.
Steve gets a wicked (well, no, not really wicked, but it was the best adjective at that point in time, okay) idea, and lies back down on the bed. "We could just ask each other questions."
Tony look at him with his most disappointed face. "That is singlehandedly the lamest idea I have ever heard, ever."
Steve shrugs. "I was from the 1940s."
Tony sighs as he sits back down. "It's like truth or dare," he says as he turns to face Steve. "You know, where-"
"I know what truth or dare is, thank you," Steve flicks Tony's forehead.
Tony frowns. "This is the most middleschooly I have ever felt."
Steve shrugs. "My middle school experience sucked. This isn't so bad."
Tony sighs. "Truth or dare, Steven."
Steve quirks an eyebrow. "Truth?"
"There is no way I'm doing that," Steve hisses, mortified.
Tony shrugs and makes double pistols with his hands. "Hey, you called for dare."
"But I-" Steve chokes. "That's gotta be in some way illegal."
Tony shakes his head. "Nope."
Steve gets up unwillingly and moves to the door. "You're such a shit."
Tony laughs and follows him, and they go down the stairs together, until they come to the living room.
"See, Friday was right. Thor's right there, buddy."
Steve has his face in his hands. "I'm only doing this because you did that other one."
Tony shudders. "Never again."
Tony Stark doesn't deserve anything good, Tony Stark doesn't deserve anything good-
Steve takes a deep breath and pushes open the glass door, walking into the room with a nervous air.
Tony trails behind, fighting the urge to laugh.
"Thor?" Steve asks, twiddling his thumb. Thor looks up from his bowl of Captain Crunch (even though it was like, one pm)and looks at Steve with a confused expression.
"Is there something wrong?" Thor asks, mouth full of cereal, his hand clutching his spoon like a weapon. (Clint had once used it as a weapon, and it was officially the scariest shit Tony had ever seen, and he had seen the Hulk.)
Steve looks back and Tony, who gives him a thumbs up. Thor has stopped eating.
"You have not created another Ultron, have you?" Steve shakes his head vigorously.
"No no, nothing, nothing like that," he takes a deep breath. "Um." Thor looks at him with suspicion.
Steve takes a deep breath. "I can show you the world, shining, shimmering, splendid."
Tony cackles, and Thor tilts his head. "I know that song."
Steve continues. He had been dared to sing two stanzas, so sing two stanzas he had to. "Tell me, princess, now when did you last let your heart decide?"
Thor starts to point a finger. "From that show," he mumbles. "That show."
Steve continues to sing, thankful the serum lowered his voice and made his singing, well, not that ear-splitting. "I can open your eyes take you wonder by wonder, over sideways and under on a magic carpet ride."
Tony is laughing his head off, secure in the knowledge that Friday was recording this, grinning as he watches Steve serenade Thor (even though he would give to be in Thor's place).
Thor's eyes widen, and just as Steve started to trail off, Thor picked up the song and burst into a stunning opera ready version. "A whole new world, a new fantastic point of view, no one to tell us "No", or where to go, or say we're only dreaming!"
Tony and Steve exchange wide-eyed expressions before bursting into peals of laughter again.
The door opens, and Natasha walks in. She stops when she sees all of them nearly bent double with laughing, shakes her head slowly, and turns to leave.
Tony grins lazily as he sits back down on his bed. He turns to Steve with a tired expression. "This was the most fun I've had in- forever."
Steve turns to him, his grin wide enough to split his face, and tackles him. His weight pins Tony to the bed, and Tony makes a sort of wobbling noise (which he is not proud of) and falls backward.
Steve's head is buried in the crook of Tony's neck, and it feels criminally good. Tony doesn't move a muscle, too afraid of ruining the moment.
His hands land on Steve's waistline, and he chuckles softly. Steve lets him go after a while, rubbing his head sheepishly.
"It's late," he says, and Tony gives him a thumbs up.
"I don't deserve this kind of fun, you know," Tony sighs and rubs his face with his hands.
Steve bristles. "Of course you do, will you shut up about that? God, if I hear that one more time I'm going to take you to the Iron Man shrine in Brooklyn."
Tony sits up. "Why is there an Iron Man shrine in Brooklyn?"
Steve shrugs. "I was from Brooklyn, and Howard Stark chaired the whole, you know, super solider thing," he trails off. "I'm actually not too sure."
"Goodnight, Steve," he says, laughing at the other's awkwardness.
Tony Stark doesn't deserve anything good, that's what Howie is trying to say, but as of right now, Tony Stark can't be bothered.
He's sitting next to Steve with a math textbook, and he's teaching him about quadratic equations, but he can't focus.
Tony Stark can't focus. Amazing.
His fingers tap out a beat on the table, literally this close to snapping, because Steve looks absolutely fuckable when he's concentrating.
"So I get x plus one and x plus two, right?" Steve asks, turning to Tony, biting his pencil. Tony's stomach flips.
"Yeah, so what is x?"
Steve hits his head on the table. "Why do I need to know this again?"
Tony pats his back. "Because it's the current education system? You can use it in trigonometry, which will help you when you throw your shield, so..."
Steve sits back up and glares at the paper. "Besides," Tony continues. "This is literally the easiest part."
Steve pencils down his answer, and Tony checks his answer over, and it's right.
He pats Steve's cheek and gives him another question. Steve takes one look at it and gives up, throwing his pencil across the room.
Tony looks at him from the corner of his eyes and steels his courage. "You do this question, and get it right, then I'll...oh, I don't know, give you something."
Steve perks up. "Give me what?"
Jesus, he should have known that Steve would rock the reward system like a puppy."Anything reasonable."
Steve gets a demonic look in his eyes. "So, if I do this right, then you'll give me something."
Tony nods, feeling like someone's stepped on his grave. "Yeah, sure."
Steve has never done a question faster than this one in his entire life. Tony is actually extremely impressed.
"Done," Steve announces after what, one minute, and Tony leans over to check his answer leisurely, feeling Steve's impatience grow.
"You're right," Tony nods appreciatively. "You're actually pretty smart, for a Popsicle."
Steve grins at him. "So do I get my gift now?"
Tony sighs as he leans back in his chair. "Yeah sure, shoot." He figured what Steve would ask for was probably dumb. A new suit? A day out? A break?
"Well," Steve says, twiddling his fingers. "God this is awkward. Never mind."
Tony leans forward. "No, no what is it?"
Steve laughs slightly. "Nah, I was just wondering, if you could, um," he takes a deep breath. "Kiss me."
Tony's heart jolts and he bolts up, but there's a laziness about his smile, and about his nose and mouth that proclaims a hidden knowledge. "Called it."
Steve looks affronted. "What?"
Tony gives him a grin. "It's not like you haven't been leaving signs, Cap."
Steve looks at him, slack jawed and incredulous. "How long have you known?"
"Bout a week," Tony laughs. "No one calls dates friend things anymore, you know."
Steve sputters. "B-but, what- why didn't you do anything, for crying out loud?"
Tony smirks. "Wanted to see what you would do," he stands up from the chair and moves to the counter, and Steve follows him. "Not quite romantic, confessing to someone over algebra, though there is a bra in it."
Steve glares at him, like a huge marshmallow of anger. "So you knew, this whole time, and you decide just to let me stew?"
Tony nods, a smile curling it's way across his face. "Put you on slow heat and let it simmer."
Steve seems speechless. "Then-"
Tony pulls open a drawer, and pulls out an opaque Tupperware. He shakes it, and the contents rattle.
"Did you know the rest had a bet on who would say it and when? I didn't know till I had to look for a Tupperware to keep the calcium sulfate."
Steve's hand twitches. "What."
Tony gives him a rather insecure grin. "I would definitely not mind kissing you too, Cap."
Steve puts his hand up and turns to the door. "That's it, I'm out." He marches out of the door, and Tony stays inside, packing up the textbooks and thrown pencils (and there were a lot).
He looks up just as Steve re enters the room, but before he can say anything, Steve has shoved him up against the wall.
His eyes flash with an undefinable emotion. The cold granite seeps into his clothes, and the voice in Tony's head is back again on loop. This time, however, he tells it to shut up.
"I am so angry right now, you cannot believe," Steve hisses, frustrated. Tony drops him a wink. "Why would you-"
Tony reaches up a hand to cup Steve's face, his eyes becoming half-lidded. "Would you shut up and kiss me already? Jesus."
Steve glares at him before pulling him into a kiss, rough and angry and downright dirty. (About fucking time.
Tony resists the urge to scream hallelujah at the top of his lungs.
Maybe, maybe just this once, Tony Stark did deserve something good. (And no, you can't say anything about it, Howie.)