When Tony hears it, he spills his hot, scalding coffee across the table.
Rhodey curses as some of it falls into his lap, but Tony barely hears him. Barely hears anything around him because he just heard his thinking voice, inside the coffee shop.
Except his thinking voice is blabbering excitedly about art galleries and commissions, and things that are definitely not in Tony’s mind.
Which means that Tony’s not hearing his thinking voice.
He looks around, but there’s so much chatter around him that he can’t locate it. He’s about to scream at the whole fucking shop to just shut up, when he hears it again, and then he turns his head and oh.
There’s a man sitting at the corner, huddled by a handful of other people, and he has his head thrown back in laughter-- the same fucking laughter Tony hears in his head sometimes, how is that possible?-- sun shining through the window and making his hair shine gold. The pale, long line of this throat is just perfection, and Tony can’t stop staring.
He doesn’t want to stop staring.
He doesn’t ever want to do anything except stare at the most beautiful man in the world, whose voice Tony has been hearing ever since he can remember.
He’s on his feet and walking towards the group before he even realizes what he’s doing, and the sound of Rhodey calling out his name is barely registering because right now his mind is all golden hair and sunshine and that voice.
“Can we help you?” Tony suddenly hears, and the new voice-- low and rough and wrong because it’s not his voice-- breaks the bubble that he’d somehow been sucked into. It’s a shaggy haired man who’d asked the question, and Tony only notices him because he’s sitting next to him.
“W-what?” he stutters, and god, he should probably stop staring at Blondie, because now everyone’s staring at him.
Even Blondie himself, and wow, Tony’s suddenly finding it hard to breathe-- whoever gave him eyes that blue, Tony wants to thank them for the rest of his life.
“I said,” Shaggy stands up, “can. We. Help. You?”
Tony clears his throat. “This... this is going to sound fucking insane, okay, but I’m gonna need you to hear me out.”
“I don’t think so,” Shaggy scoffs.
“No, not you. Him,” Tony points at Blondie, whose eyes widen at the sudden attention. It’s so adorable, Tony wants to cry. “The rest of you can stay, but really, I don’t care what you do.”
“... Okay,” Blondie says.
“Steve,” Shaggy puts a hand on his shoulder, but Steve-- god, that’s a beautiful name, for a beautiful man-- shakes his head.
“It’s okay, Buck. Go on, sir,” he says.
“Right,” Tony nods. “Okay, so... Jesus, Rhodey already wants to kill me, he might not even laugh when I tell him this-- sorry,” he winces, when Steve furrows his brow in confusion, and he’s still standing in front of everyone like an idiot but he really needs to get this out, because he’s more than a little freaked out by all of this. “Okay, this is crazy, alright? But, I’m not kidding, your voice sounds exactly like my thinking voice.”
“Sorry?” Steve asks, after a long moment of confused silence. He can’t blame them.
“I know,” he sighs, “I told you it was going to sound insane.”
“Your thinking voice?”
“Yeah,” Tony nods. “Like, y’know, that voice in your head that does all the thinking?”
“Look, asshole. If you’re just here to mess with us--”
“You can just fuck off.”
“Bucky, stop,” Steve shakes his head, and then he stands up and wow, this man’s just a masterpiece all over, isn’t he?
“Excuse me?” Steve squeaks, and when the red haired lady sitting on Steve’s other side starts laughing, Tony realizes what he just did.
“I said that last part out loud, didn’t I?”
“Yeah,” Steve’s blushing now, but he doesn’t really look bothered by it, and it makes Tony feel better for reasons he can’t really dwell on right now.
“I, uh... I do that a lot.”
“Did you...” Steve smiles shyly, and looks at Tony from beneath his eyelashes even though he’s, like, half a foot taller. “Does that mean you heard everything you just thought about me in my voice?”
Tony’s laughing before he knows he’s doing it, loud and real and a little out of place for a quiet coffee shop, but he can’t find it in himself to care when he’s standing in front of the most attractive human being he’s ever seen, when he’s being smiled at the way Steve is smiling at him.
“Yeah,” he manages to say in between giggles. “You think I’m fucking crazy, don’t you?”
“I don’t know,” Steve replies, pulling him away from the others. “I can’t decide if this is a really... creative way of hitting on me, or if you really believe what you’re saying.”
“I really do,” Tony says. “But in case you don’t,” he points to where Rhodey’s still sitting and glaring at him, “I spilled my coffee all over the table-- and all over my friend-- the second I heard your voice. Sorry, honey bear,” he calls out, but Rhodey just flips him off.
“So,” Steve says, “why me?”
“Hell if I know,” Tony scoffs, and then he grins playfully. “If I weren’t such a cynic, though, I’d say it’s destiny.”
Steve laughs. “You sure move fast, Mister...”
“Stark. Tony Stark.”
“We only just met, and you’re already talking about destiny,” Steve replies, and he looks so perfect standing by the big, clear windows-- like he’s everything Tony’s never known he’s wanted-- and Tony still has no fucking clue how Steve’s voice sounds exactly like his thinking voice, but he couldn’t care less about that anymore. He’ll take what he can get.
“Yeah, you’re right,” he says, and then takes a step closer until their chests are almost touching. “I haven’t even asked you out.”
Steve lets out a sharp breath, and then he smiles.“Maybe you should,” he says, voice so soft and low.
“Sure thing, big guy,” Tony says. “How does Thursday sound, at seven? We can meet here and then see where the night takes us?”
“Sounds perfect,” Steve nods, and then Tony stops breathing when he leans in and kisses Tony’s cheek. He’s big and warm and he smells delicious and god, Tony’s so fucked.
“Still think I’m not crazy?” He asks, and isn’t even annoyed at the way he can’t quite catch his breath. He doesn’t think a single person alive could blame him.
“Who’s the more foolish, the fool, or the fool who follows him?” Steve raises his eyebrows.
“Star Wars?” Tony almost whimpers. “Oh my god, okay, you’re perfect. It’s settled-- destiny, two thumbs up. Is it Thursday already?”
Steve laughs again, and when Tony’s heart picks up speed again, he thinks he may not be such a cynic after all.