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How To Royally Fuck Up The Avengers Tower

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Spoilers for the movie. Don't read if you haven't seen it.

Okay, if we're being honest here: Steve actually likes Tony, despite what multiple tabloids think.

Respects him, even- it's kind of hard not to, after seeing him force a nuclear bomb into a different dimension with him wrapped around it as the portal closed behind him.

I mean, yeah, they had both pissed each other off with the whole, uh. Shouting thing.

But in Steve's defence, Tony had been a total jerk to everyone.

And yes, Steve might have had to make himself think 'jerk' instead of something else.

But yeah, Steve likes Tony, bordering on grudging respect, but he doesn't think that Tony likes him that much, so he's surprised when he gets back from a run and his phone- cellular phone- cell phone, damnit- the screen of it is flashing:

One missed call from: Tony Stark.

"Uh," Steve says, looking at the tiny, light-up buttons that barely fit his fingers.

He knows how to use it- he's always been a fast learner, even before the serum, but he just thinks that most technology they have nowadays is downright unnecessary.

Come on, an automatic egg-slicer? Couldn't they just cut it by hand? Are people in this century really this lazy?

And oh, god, Jersey Shore. Steve had spent the first three weeks thinking that Snooki had an unfortunate skin cancer.

The screen lights up again: Press 2 to hear voicemail.

Steve quickly stabs '2' and holds it to his ear.

Beeeep.

Voicemail in three- two-

"Hey, Cap, it's Tony. Stark. Iron Man. Uh, yeah- I was looking over the designs for your floor in the Avengers Tower, and I am pretty sure Fury will castrate me if I put in some stripper poles, so I was wondering if you could swing by and see if everything is, uh. Dandy. Did people say 'dandy' in the 40s? I have no idea. Ah, anyway, drop by anytime. Yep. Bye."

Beeeep.

End of voicemail. Would you like t-

Steve closes the phone, staring at it with a bemused expression.

Well.

Huh.

-

Tony drums his fingers on his knee to the tune of AC/DC shrieking the chorus to 'Shoot To Thrill,' glancing down at the schematics of the fabric he's attempting to make.

"Dummy, I swear to god, if you drop another-"

"Tony," Bruce says as he walks into the lab. "Kindly turn that crap down."

"AC/DC," Tony declares, turning away from Dummy, "is the work of the gods. And by that, I don't mean Thor. To turn it down would mean to blaspheme-"

"It kind of pisses me off," Bruce says.

Tony grins. "Jarvis-"

"Shall I switch to the bongo drums, sir?" Jarvis's dry sarcasm bounces off the walls.

Tony waves his hand. "Nah, just turn it off."

They do this a lot- either Tony switches the loud music off when Bruce comes in, or they banter for a while before Tony caves.

Bruce polishes his glasses on his shirt before shoving them on. "Where's Clint and Tash?"

"SHIELD business," Tony answers. "AKA, strangling men with their thighs. Emphasis on Clint doing it. They'll be back tomorrow."

"Uh-huh," Bruce says. "Hey, did Natasha s-" he pauses. "What on earth are you making?"

"Pants," Tony says, flicking his wrist so the hologram flips itself.

Bruce stares blankly.

Tony arches an eyebrow. "It'd be nice if you didn't flash the entirety of Fox News every time you hulk out."

Bruce blinks owlishly. "Oh. Yes. Yes, I- that would be good."

Tony circles his index finger in the middle of the hologram. "Damn straight. It's incredibly awkward fighting off aliens while trying the fact that there's a green dick in front of me that's the size of my forearm."

"I despise you," Bruce smiles, walking towards his part of the lab.

"Likewise," Tony says. "And fucking Christ, this is harder than it looks. Do you know how big your thighs get when you hulk out?"

"Are you saying I'm fat?"

"I'm not not saying it."

"Y-"

"Sir," Jarvis's voice cuts Bruce off. "There's a Captain Rogers at the door."

Tony looks up. "Oh, yeah, I called him, didn't I."

He pulls up the skeleton of Steve's room. "Let him in, I'll be up in a second."

"Of course, sir."

-

A few minutes later, Tony climbs the stairs, rubbing a rag to get rid of the tar behind his right ear. Instead, it smudges it across his cheek.

Tony sighs.

Good enough.

When he reaches the top of the stairs, Steve is standing near the couch, looking around at the city- there's only half a wall, due to the explosions, etc, so there's quite a view.

"Hey, Cap," Tony half-salutes. "How goes it?"

Steve frowns. "I- what?"

"It's a thing," Tony says. "It's like saying, 'how are y-' uh, doesn't matter." He clears his throat. "How's your week been?

"Well," Steve says, "Six days ago, I joined a group of superheroes and helped save the world from aliens from another dimension. Then I slept for 36 hours. Then you called me a few hours ago, and, uh, here we are."

Tony's mouth twitches. "Sounds exhilarating. So, no stripper poles, I'm guessing?"

Steve's cheeks colour slightly, and Tony grins. "Joking, joking. I missed that blush, though. No-one else does it like you."

Steve's blush deepens. "I- thank you?"

"Yeah, I don't know why I said that." Tony scrubs at the back of his head. "Uh, you want to see the ruins of what is eventually going to be your room?"

"Sure," Steve says. "Where is it?"

Tony holds up his arms. "This."

Steve looks around- there's a breeze, due to there being half a wall, and there's charred pieces of rubble all over the floor.

"It's a work in progress," Tony shrugs. "What do you think?"

Steve raises his eyebrows. "I think it's just dandy."

Tony looks surprised for a second before he barks out a laugh. "You- did they say that in the 40s?"

"Yeah," Steve says. "Usually dames, but yeah."

"Mmm," Tony nods. "Dames. Gotta love 'em."

Steve sighs. "Women, then."

Tony's mouth twitches upwards again. "I see you're adapting, Cap."

"Steve."

Tony gets that pleased, surprised look again, before he tones it down again. "Steve. Hey, speaking of, can I see your shield?"

Steve flaps his mouth open and shut. "That has- that has nothing to do with anything that we just talked about."

"Yeah, well, I thought I would be able to shove it in sooner, but the opportunity never came up, so. Pretty please?" Tony flashes a grin.

"Uh. Why?" Steve's hand curls instinctively around the shield's non-existent straps, thinking of the metal ghosting over his knuckles.

"Because it's awesome," Tony says. "Scientifically, it makes me want to fanboy. I didn't want to mention it before, because there was the whole shouting thing, which, to be fair, was 100% your fault-"

Steve opens his mouth to retort, but he catches Tony's expression: he's joking. As in, good-naturedly. As in, Tony was looking at him through his eyelashes, and he's kind of sweaty, and his stubble makes Steve want to drag his mouth across it- wait, what?

"-and I thought you were kind of a dick. No offence."

"None taken," Steve smirks, caught off-guard, and then tries to stop. "I- yeah, I guess you could have a look at it."

There's the infamous, debauching, dazzling, bona-fide Tony Stark grin again. "Cool. I promise to be gentle. Where the hell are you staying, anyway?"

"SHIELD," Steve says, and when Tony leans his head forward, like, details, you moron, Steve says, "They have apartments for agents and the like. Coulson showed-"

It burns in his throat, and he stops. Judging by Tony's expression, he notices, and it's burning him, too.

But Tony recovers quickly, quicker than Steve- a lifetime of practice helped- and smiles feebly. "He was, ah."

"He was," Steve agrees, stuck between Captain America, arms crossed, steady gaze, standing straight, and Steve Rogers, soft smile, nervous flutter of his hands, 30-pound-man in a six-foot-brick-wall-could-shatter-a-skull-with-his-fist body.

Tony bats his hands together, twists his thumbs awkwardly.

He swallows, and Steve watches his adam's apple rake up and down his throat. "Well, this was. Uh."

"Dandy," Steve says, and Tony catches his eye.

They both crack up at the same time, laughing from the gut, half bent over, laughing until Tony is leaning against the doorframe.

"You," Tony chokes, trying to swallow his laughter. "You're not what I expected."

"I'm going to take that as a compliment," Steve grins, and Tony looks slightly shellshocked.

"Yeah. Yeah, uh-" Tony takes a step forward, hands in his pockets, looking younger than he is. He still looks like Tony Stark from page six: genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, and it suits him, but Steve likes it a bit more now.

Tony says, "You should come by again sometime."

Steve tilts his head, a sudden rush of something running through him. "I will."

There's that smile again: uninhibited, still Tony-Stark-from-page-six but so much looser, happier, even, and it makes Steve smile back just from looking at it.

"Well, until next time, Ca- Steve," Tony catches himself just in time. "Don't let those SHIELD agents walk over you. Hell, if they get mouthy, just shoot them."

A week ago, a comment like that from Tony would have at the least exasperated him. Right now, it just amuses him. "Shoot them?"

Tony bumps his eyebrows up and down. "Politely."

Steve huffs out a laugh, and Tony slaps a hand to his forehead.

"Oh, my god. You didn't get that reference. Of course you didn't get that reference. Oh, god, you poor bastard, they haven't even made you watch Firefly yet."

At this point, Steve is kind of getting used to the rapid changes in direction while talking to Tony, so he just goes along with it: "Firefly?"

"Firefly," Tony nods.

"What's that?"

Tony is flapping his hands. "The greatest show to ever grace the- it got cancelled, and I was really pissed, I tried to fund the next season- fuck, seriously, they haven't told you about it? They should have put it in the pamphlet."

"They didn't give me a pamphlet. They gave me files of-"

"Yeah, yeah, but fuck, Steve, you missed out on so many good shows! Did they even tell you who Michael Jackson was?"

Steve looks down at him. "From what I've gathered, he was some kind of mutant who could change skin colour."

Tony claps a hand over his mouth to stifle his laughter. "Y- okay, that's the basic gist of it," Tony chokes finally. "Oh, god, this is gold. Follow me."

Steve blinks, but obeys, trailing behind Tony as he leads him down a hallway.

"Where are we going?"

"We," Tony says, "Are going to catch you up on 70 years of pop culture. Starting with Firefly. And Serenity. They're pretty much the same thing- Jarvis," he yells to the ceiling, and Steve almost jumps out of his skin when a voice says, "Yes, sir?"

Tony, apparently used to it, says, "Tell Bruce we're having a Firefly marathon. Again." He turns to Steve, now walking backwards. "That's my AI. Artificial Intelligence," he adds when Steve looks confused. "Computer program. I made him. Because I'm awesome. Jarvis, also tell him that Steve's joining us."

"A most sensible idea, sir," the voice says. "Considering both you and Mr. Banner have a meeting at 7 A.M. tomorrow."

Steve smiles. Leave it to Tony to make an AI that would be sarcastic to him.

Tony waves his hand. "We'll reschedule, this is more important, he hasn't seen Summer Glau in action yet."

"Priorities in order, as always, sir."

Steve looks up. "Why is he British?"

"Everyone asks that," Tony sighs. "It's a thing. There are a lot of things, I'll tell you later. Come on, I'll show you how to work a DVD player before I introduce you to the wonders of Joss Whedon."

-

It was illegal in the 40s, Steve just wants that to be on the record.

As in, illegal. As in, if you were gay, you went to jail, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars.

Actually, it was kind of ignored- no-one really talked about it, and when they did, they joked about it and some men laughed along with fear in their voices.

There were quite a few people who were okay with it, but if they were smart, they kept it under wraps.

Most queers- gay people, Steve keeps reminding himself, and calling black people 'niggers' is apparently really, really rude in 2012- managed to hide it, and most of them denied it until absolutely necessary. Heck, most of them got unhappily married and had children.

Steve had never had a problem with it- he had been puzzled at age four, when he had heard his mother whispering to her friend about their neighbour, who had been arrested because he had been caught kissing a man.

When he had asked why, his mother had given him one of those weathered smiles, bent down, and told him that some people were scared of things they didn't understand.

But, hey, it was the 40s: things were how they were, and Steve couldn't change that, not when he was just a kid from Brooklyn, and not when he was The Star Spangled Man- he'd probably have a better chance as the kid, actually.

And the 40s was only three weeks ago, for him- 70 years later he thought people would have gotten over it, but to no avail. Most states haven't even legalized gay marriage at this point, and, to be honest, Steve's kind of disappointed, but then again, he had been kind of expecting it.

So he's sitting on the couch in the 21st century, with Peggy dead from old age and Bucky just dead, and the TV screen he's staring at is bigger than the movie screens he had seen at any theatre in the 40s.

Firefly's a good show, which Steve didn't expect, but he's still stuck on colour, holy jesus, and the special effects, although apparently sub-par in this century, make Steve gape.

Bruce is leaning against the edge of the couch with crossed legs, getting up every hour or so to get refills of popcorn, and laughing quietly at the right times.

Tony is sitting on the floor, sprawled on the carpet, one arm hooked over the arm of the couch close to Steve. His left hand is resting absent-mindedly on Steve's thigh like a brand.

Mal says something onscreen, and Tony laughs, and Steve watches his head tip back, the sides of his eyes crinkling, and thinks:

christ, he's gorgeous.

Which is quickly followed by:

aw, shit.