It started one night after he had about ...six too many whiskies.
Okay, so it actually started earlier that day, when he and Steve Rogers had a roaring fight in front of everyone on the helicarrier bridge. As far as Tony could recall, it was about following orders in combat and something else about disrespect that Tony didn't pay much attention to because Cap's face got redder and redder the calmer he tried to stay and that was just hilarious.
Tony was in the right, obviously, because he already said he didn't play well with others so why was it a surprise that he didn't always fly in formation. Sure, he could concede, maybe, that to a person in leadership, it was frustrating for the big gun to run off and do its own thing the moment it saw something huge and shiny causing trouble. Yet Tony maintained that he was untamable as the wildebeest.
Rogers maintained that he was just an asshole.
So, Tony may have said a few ...unkind things about Captain America's character. Mistakes were made all around, alright? Tony was willing to admit that there's a line that you probably shouldn't cross when calling people names for amusement. Eventually. Once Rogers stormed off. And everyone looked at him like he'd broken the Cap's favorite toy.
And that night, after the whiskies (and some tequila), Tony found himself outside The Ginger Man attempting to play keep away with Happy's car keys and a random patron who looked equal parts terrified and exhilarated to be involved. The bartender, while unfamiliar to Tony, had somehow known exactly who to call, or maybe Happy did it when Tony wasn't looking (he probably had a panic button for that matter) but that wasn't the point, the point was that as soon as Pepper stepped out of a taxi and cleared her throat behind him, Tony knew he was in T-R-O-U-B-L-E. So he ducked his head and tossed the fob to Happy in a smooth arc.
"Geez, big guy, try to stay professional here."
Of course, Tony hadn't been able to bullshit Pepper since her second week on the job. She gave him a look that would set lesser men on fire and without missing a beat, put on her best "I handled this man's ridiculous affairs for a living and I can handle anything" smile and strode into the restaurant.
Tony waited until Pepper was busy smoothing things over with the management, before turning back to Happy and muttering under his breath. "Don't throw me under the bus, I'll give you a hundred dollars."
Happy snorted, and opened the back door for Tony to get in.
"Four hundred." Tony tried.
Happy smiled mischievously and took the restaurant's glass out of Tony's hand.
"Twelve hundred, that's my final offer."
Happy held out his other hand and Tony looked at it. "What, right now?"
"What's right now?" Pepper asked, stepping out from behind Happy like a goddamn ninja. Her tone was one that, to other people, probably sounded light and airy, but made Tony break out into a cold sweat.
"Tony's giving me twelve hundred doll--" Happy said.
"ZZ!" Tony cut in. "I think he's starting a collection." At Pepper's look he placed a hand over his heart in sincerity. "Hey, I don't judge what a grown man does in the privacy of his mother's basement." He waited her out, trying for blase and carefree while she stood there staring at him before he deflated into his seat, pulling the door closed after himself. "Whatever, you guys suck."
And that's the real story of how Tony couldn't go out by himself in New York for a month.
The next day, Pepper was drinking espresso out of an outrageously small cup and reading a newspaper at her desk when Tony slouched in and poured himself into a chair, pillowing his face on a box of tissues.
"Do you know how embarrassing it is for the CEO of Stark Industries to play babysitter?" she started right in, without looking up or offering Tony his own toy cup of coffee. The smell was heavenly, like caramel and bitter chocolate. Maybe she wouldn't notice if he stole hers.
"Happy was babysitting. You were just..." he trailed off and flopped his hand in the air, letting it land on her desk inches away from her cup, "breaking up the party."
"Are you barefoot?" she asked.
Tony sat up long enough to examine his own feet for a few moments. "Hey, would you look at that," he muttered and slumped back over the desk, spider-walking his fingers closer to his prey. Pepper moved the cup and saucer to the other side of her keyboard. "Can't get anything past you." Dammit.
Pepper was silent, and Tony huddled against the waves of disappointment crashing over the top of his head for a whole minute before girding his loins and sitting up, ready to face the music.
Pepper sipped her coffee.
"Alright, give it to me straight, how deep am I in and what is it going to take?"
"It's pretty bad-"
"Bad like, Venice bad? Or bad like that time in Des Moines, which you may recall was not entirely-"
"You are taking- you are TAKING," she continued over his interruptions, "Phil and me to Fig and Olive for his birthday on--"
"Thursday!" Tony snapped his fingers. She had set up twelve reminders over the last two weeks on his calendar. "Wednesday? Saturday." So, he hadn't actually read any of the reminders. Like anyone was surprised about that.
Pepper squinted at him, but continued, "Thursday." Tony did a fist pump. "You are bringing tasteful flowers and a meaningful present. You will be charming to everyone we encounter."
"Easy. Done. That wasn't so... " Tony said dismissively and then realized his rookie mistake when he spied Pepper's pitying look. "...bad and you're not done, are you?"
"You may not bring a date."
"Oh, come on!" It was a blatant misuse of power on her part. Tony had half a mind to make a formal complaint with... well, he supposed the only person who would care is himself and- fine. Okay. So no one could save him.
"You will attend the board meeting for me the following morning so I can stay in bed with Phil --" she raised her voice to shout over Tony's frantic LA LA LAs "-- in the Plaza presidential suite you're paying for. Oh! And you are attending a charity function in LA on Saturday, but Happy will have the weekend off, so you'll have to drive yourself and stay sober."
"Why does he get a weekend off? And why can't I just use a car service instead?" Tony whined, more for the sake of it than because of any real objection.
Pepper looked at him critically. "Because."
"Will that be all, Ms Potts?" Tony grumbled and stood, making fists with his toes in the carpet.
"You're paying for a new chair." Tony glanced back to where he had been sitting and shrugged at the grease stains on the arms. "Go take a shower, you smell like whisky and hydraulic fluid."
"Yeah I do." Tony's mood shifted into self-satisfied and he sauntered back out the door, calling out people's names as he passed. "Jim, diggin' the tie. Hilda, there better be scotch in that mug, I'm not paying you to be a good example."
Thursday came without incident. Well, okay, Tony kind of blew up one of the labs on Wednesday, but that was Bruce's fault, even if he wasn't actually there at the time or technically had anything to do with the experiment in question. It was just easier to blame the big stuff on Bruce, no one questioned it, and he didn't seem to mind.
Happy sent a text at 8pm saying, Cowboy up, boss, and Tony could feel the implied "Or else Pepper is going to rip your arms off."
He cracked his neck and gathered up his gifts, having decided that a bouquet of light pink ranunculus wrapped in green tissue paper and a bottle of Glenlivet 1938 would be suitably penitent. Coulson was a nice guy after all, and Pepper smiled a lot around him. Besides, chances were Coulson would keep the whisky in his office which meant at least Tony could get a decent drink at SHIELD headquarters. Once he ran out of his own stash, anyway.
Tony checked his reflection in the elevator doors, straightening his lapels and making sure the flowers hadn't started shedding on his arm.
"What do you think, Jarvis, the black on black working for me?"
"Indeed sir, terribly contrite."
"Run a debug on the Mach 7 while I'm gone."
"Sir. Approximate time until completion is one hour."
"That's my man." Tony checked his teeth.
The elevator dinged his arrival in the parking garage and he strolled out toward Happy and the waiting Maybach.
"What's wrong with the Fisker?" Tony asked, thrusting the whisky at Happy who opened the rear door with a dopey smirk.
"Precious cargo, sir."
Tony clicked his tongue at Happy's apparent betrayal and ducked inside, ready to put the flowers on the other seat only to end up shoving them in the face of Captain goddamn America.
"Uh, thanks, you shouldn't have." Rogers laughed.
Tony's head whipped around, taking in his surroundings. Steve Rogers, in his car, his private personal armored car, was wearing deep blue jeans, a crisp white shirt, and an ice-blue tie; dressed for going out somewhere nice, but unpretentious, down to his sensible leather shoes.
Tony half-smiled at him suspiciously and grabbed the flowers back. "Sorry, Cap, wrong cab," he muttered. His hand was on the door handle, ready to jump out and double-check that there was only one Maybach idling in the garage, but Happy started forward. "This is kidnapping!" Tony shouted to the front, and pulled his cell phone out of his pocket instead, firing off a text.
- I thought you said "no date".
- Technically, Steve's bringing you.
Steve? They were on first names now?
"So..." Rogers said and cleared his throat. Tony knew it was only a matter of time before they discussed how horrible Tony had been to him over the last few days.
"Are we doing this now?" Tony whined.
Steve addressed the window. "I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry I called you an asshole. I don't really think you are one."
Tony wasn't expecting an apology, since he was the one that usually had to do all the apologizing. Pepper. It was an interesting change of pace. He decided to roll with it. He could be magnanimous. Magnanimous was easy, right?
"Well, I suppose I'm sorry that I called you a..." maybe not so easy, once Tony's brain caught up with what his mouth was doing.
"Sanctimonious." Steve prompted.
"- sanctimonious prick. Twice." Ugh, who let him ever open his mouth. From then on all his apologies would be prescreened by Pepper.
Steve shifted in his seat, angling to face Tony. "Twice?"
"Uh, not -- you might have been imaginary for the second one. Never mind! Not important. We should probably get along tonight," Tony said. "For Phil." Look at that, he could even be gracious.
"For Phil," Steve agreed slowly, and offered his hand to shake. Firm, steady grip. Tony fought down an unwelcome surge of annoyance. Gracious.
"Okay, good, excellent, you get to hold these." Tony hefted the flowers back across the console between them and fiddled with his phone.
"They smell nice," Steve said. "Are they roses?"
Tony glanced up, mouth quirking at the sight of Steve's face buried in the bouquet. "Buttercups. I heard they're Coulson's favorite."
Steve settled the flowers on his lap with a goofy smile. "Well, I'm sure he'll love them."
"Say, Cap, you're looking pretty sharp tonight. Is Ralph Lauren government issue now?" He was allowed to rib the guy a little bit, right?
Steve laughed self-deprecatingly and looked down at himself. He stroked his hand down his tie. "Thanks. Pepper took me shopping for my birthday."
Tony's stomach plunged downward. "When was your birthday! We should have had a party or something. Or, like, cake and ice cream. You like ice cream still, right? Being frozen didn't put you off the cold treats?"
Steve shook his head. "No no, I love ice cream. My birthday was on the Fourth of July."
Tony dropped his hands, which were up until then gesticulating wildly, to his lap. "You're shitting me." It was August already, and nobody mentioned a thing to him. Not to mention the Army had a twisted sense of humor.
"Nope, I was Momma's little firecracker." Steve grinned.
"But what about a party! We could have thrown you a rager. Fireworks, the whole deal!" Tony did not understand the concept of low-key birthdays. It was another year alive, that should involve loud music, skimpy clothing, and so much alcohol.
Steve shrugged. "There was a little get-together, it wasn't a big deal."
Tony would have responded, at least he wanted ask who had been there, but his phone kept buzzing in his hand.
- Is he having fun?
- Are you being nice?
- Don't call him a prick again.
All from Pepper.
- Seriously, Tony.
"Jesus." Tony turned his phone off with a vicious jab of his thumb, slipped it into his breast pocket, and took a deep breath. Be good, be good. He was going to be good if it killed him.
"Everything okay?" Steve asked, tapping at his iPhone. Wait, what?
"Where did you get this?" Tony yanked it out of Steve's hand. On the screen was a brightly-saturated close-up of one of the flowers, the pale pink blown nearly white against the dark tissue paper. "Are you using Instagram?!"
"I like the filters," Steve said with a shrug, apparently unashamed to have besmirched the house of Stark with his iOS wandering eye.
Tony clicked his tongue at the technological treachery from his team mate -- and after they'd just declared a truce! -- and scrolled through the apps Steve had downloaded and organized into folders.
"How many games do you have on here?" Tony counted four folders, which seemed to be catalogued by game style.
"A bunch. I get bored with them pretty fast," Steve said, leaning over to casually watch Tony invade his personal business. Tony stared at the side of his head, bemused. "Ooh, that one's fun."
Tony tore his eyes from Steve's stupid perfect ear to look back at where he was pointing and found himself clicking his tongue again. "Of course it's fun, it's Tetris."
"Here," Steve said and took the phone back. He brought up the camera app and leaned in closer. "Smile!" he said and Tony had no time to think about it before his annoyance was gone and he tucked a giggle away, looking at the camera and projecting, "How is this my life?"
They arrived at the restaurant and found Pepper and Phil seated in the back, enjoying cocktails. Pepper was laughing at something Phil said while he sipped his drink, his arm slung casually around her shoulders. They looked happy, easy together, and Tony was oddly relieved.
He smacked Steve in the chest to bring his attention back from taking a picture of a wall display of rows and rows of artisanal olive oil.
"Come on, Captain American Apparel."
Steve made a face. "I don't like their billboards."
Tony rolled his eyes and crossed the room. Pepper spotted them coming and her face lit up. She was clearly on her second drink, or perhaps just giddy in general.
Phil set his glass down and stood, shaking Steve's hand with a quiet "Captain."
"Steve, Phil, it's your birthday."
Tony shook his head and made his way around the table to kiss Pepper on the cheek and steal a sip of her martini. She didn't even slap his hand away.
"Did you bring him a present?" Pepper asked through her teeth.
"Sure I did, his name is Captain America." Tony flashed his winningest smile and slinked over to catch Phil in a firm handshake while he still had arms.
"Happy Birthday, Agent," Tony kissed him on the cheek for good measure and handed over the bottle of whisky.
Phil took in the label on the bottle and his eyebrows climbed his forehead in recognition.
"This is incredibly generous," he said, his voice thick.
"You deserve it," Tony waved a flippant hand and took a seat across from Pepper, who was smiling approvingly. He presented the bouquet of flowers to her with a flourish.
"Smile!" Steve crooned, capturing the moment with his phone.
"Now get one of Phil and me," Pepper said and tucked herself into Phil's side, smiling serenely for the camera.
"Beautiful," Steve said and set his phone on the table. "What are you guys drinking?"
"Martini," Pepper slid her glass forward and Steve took a sip.
"Mmm, that's nice, which olive?"
"It's got an interesting bitterness, but I think I like the arbequina we tried a few weeks ago more."
Tony watched the conversation, fascinated and horrified at the same time. Steve and Pepper went drinking together? Steve was allowed to try her drinks? That was Tony's thing. They had definitely just had a three-way martini kiss with Pepper.
"What about you, Phil?" Steve had his phone in hand again, taking a photo of the deep red cocktail Phil slid toward him. "Do you mind?"
"Not at all." Coulson shook his head. "It's the Julep." Oh dear god, did he cocktail kiss everyone?!
Steve made a pleased noise as he took a sip and nodded. "There's a lot going on in there. It's really understated. Complicated, but not showy."
Phil beamed, he beamed, for christ's sake, and took his drink back.
"Wait a second -- are you guys all friends?" Tony slapped his hand on the table in ...mostly mock indignation.
"Steve is my cupcake buddy," Pepper informed him, flashing a dazzling smile at Steve, who returned it with gusto. Phil wasn't even bothered! His girlfriend was making cupcake time with another man, and Phil looked happy about it!
Tony looked around for a waiter, or maybe a fire alarm and an emergency exit, and was greeted by a smiling woman in a green shirt and white apron who appeared at his elbow.
"Would you like to start your evening with a cocktail?" she asked.
"Yes," he said emphatically.
She produced a cocktail list and held it out for Tony to take. He looked at it for a moment and sucked in a breath to explain again, Jesus, and why did people just wave stuff around at him all the time anyway?
"I think you'd really like the Il Grande," Steve piped up, leaning over Tony's shoulder for the second time that evening and taking the list smoothly.
Tony turned his head and stared at Steve's other stupid perfect ear.
"That, or the El Matador." What the fresh hell.
"Are you a regular here, Champ?" Tony asked.
Steve shrugged. "I've been a few times to the Fifth Avenue one, but I really like it here." Steve looked at Tony happily. Christ, when that guy was determined to have a pleasant evening, he was charming as hell. Tony almost couldn't believe they'd been growling and snapping at each other only three days before.
"The Il Grande has cinnamon! And tequila!" Nice-Steve cajoled.
Tony turned to the waitress and shrugged in a careless way. "Why not?"
She smiled, and Tony could see her recognition dawning. "And for you, sir?"
"A Summer in Provence, please." Steve flashed a bright smile, and the waitress blushed and ducked her head. Typical.
They chatted amiably about what they were ordering, and Steve took several pictures of the empty wine glasses on the table.
Tony looked around, trying to figure out if he had shifted into some kind of strange alternate dimension where Steve Rogers was a charming cocktail connoisseur and secret pals with his closest friend.
"Seriously," Tony snapped, unable to take it any longer. "When did you guys become besties?"
"Steve wanted to visit Magnolia and I was available," Pepper said absently, looking through Steve's pictures. "Ooh, was this the other night with Natasha?" She moved the screen so Phil, suddenly interested, could see.
Tony would have taken him to Magnolia. Steve never said he wanted cupcakes, dammit, Tony would have provided the hell out of some cupcakes.
"The other night with who?!" Tony's hearing caught up with his internal freakout, but the other three were too absorbed in Steve's story of an evening with Natasha freaking Romanoff and how they obliterated a bar in Queens. Queens.
"She said it was a quiet night," Phil offered wryly.
Steve tipped his head in deference. "Well, compared to our day jobs, I guess it was no big deal."
Pepper gasped and turned the phone around for everyone to see, her face disturbing and gleeful. "Look at this guy's face!" The photo was of an obviously wasted man mugging for the camera with two buddies, blood oozing out of his nose and from between his teeth.
"Oh yeah. Jim." Steve said grimly. "In fairness to Natasha, he was already pretty messed up before we got there."
Pepper giggled and kept scrolling. "What was Bruce making here?" What?!
She turned the phone so Steve could see. In the picture, Bruce was standing barefoot in front of Steve's stove with a dish towel over his shoulder, stirring a skillet filled with red bubbling goo.
"Uh... I think that night was red paneer," Steve said, his face screwed up, remembering. Did that mean Bruce cooked for Steve other nights? Did that mean they were cooking bros? Bruce never cooked for Tony. Sure, he devised complicated algorithms and produced piles of data on the radiological signatures of various isotopes, but you couldn't eat those. Or at least you shouldn't.
"You brought that in the next day, right?" Coulson said and leaned in for a closer look at the photos. "It was very good."
A lesser man would have lost his shit and stormed out of the restaurant -- but not Tony. Oh no, he was going to be the bigger person and keep his cool. He was going to be good, dammit. He was too busy, anyway, for teammate lunch potlucks.
It took maybe two minutes of a spectacular pout before Pepper noticed and gave him an apologetic look.
"Tony, are your worlds colliding?" she asked.
He made strangling motions in the air in front of him. "First you take my company--"
"You gave it to me."
"Then you steal my secret Agent--"
"Well, technically he stole me."
Tony rolled his eyes at her syrupy tone and the sly look she and Phil shared.
"And now you steal my--" Tony trailed off, waving his hand ineffectually at Steve, who was calmly watching the exchange and sipping his drink.
"What. Cupcake buddy?" Pepper's eyes had gone shrewd and warning bells were going off in Tony's head.
"My teammate." he finished lamely with a sideways glance at Steve. Steve met his gaze evenly, and Tony could feel a subtle challenge.
And then Pepper went for the door Tony had basically left swinging open in the breeze with a neon sign flashing over top: I AM EMOTIONALLY INVESTED LIKE YOU ALWAYS KNEW WOULD HAPPEN, PLEASE COME IN AND MESS AROUND WITH MY FEELINGS.
"I wasn't under the impression you were particularly close."
So that stung, which unnerved Tony, which meant the chances of him acting like a fool for the following twenty minutes skyrocketed. He may not have been great at explaining to other people why he did the things he did, but that had never been because he was without self-awareness. He had metacognition falling out of his butt. Sure, sometimes it came with reflection after he acted on impulse. Nobody was perfect.
"Hey, whoa, we are totally buds!" Tony slung his arm around Steve's neck. "See? Bros."
Steve didn't even flinch, he was so goddamn easy-going. "Oh, yes. Those flowers were actually for me, but I didn't want to make it awkward," he said and wrapped his thumb and forefinger around Tony's wrist, punctuating his words with a gentle squeeze. His hand was really warm.
Pepper responded by taking a picture, her eyes dancing mischievously.
Tony snapped his fingers with his free hand and released Steve. "Give me that!"
After a few minutes, the waitress returned again with a platter of three types of crostini. Steve's eyes lit up and he sat forward in his chair, taking a photo of the plate. Jesus, what was with him and the camera?
They were given little plates, but no one used them, preferring to simply pick up the little toasts from the platter and hold each one until they were finished. Pepper smiled around her bite, and Steve made tiny happy noises while he chewed. Tony and Phil wore matching scowls of approval.
"Yes," Tony said, going in for his second and final bite.
Steve nodded. "Right?"
"Totally." Phil said.
Pepper shook her head and went in for another, Tony hot on her... hands.
"I should really eat more." Tony said through his mouthful. He ignored the 'DUH' look Pepper gave him.
"We should get those raviolis," Steve said, licking his thumb clean in what Tony found to be a disturbing manner. Distracting? Disturbing.
"Yes!" Pepper pointed across the table, clearly on her way to drunk and happy. She and Steve high-fived and Tony shared an amused look with Phil, who half-rolled his eyes and smoothed his hand across Pepper's back.
Steve nudged Tony's shoulder and smiled, offering his glass for Tony to try. "You are so weird," Tony informed him, but took a sip anyway. As the alcohol slid across his tongue, Tony realized that he was almost certainly on a double date.
It didn't freak him out as much as it should have.
They did get the raviolis, and then a whole kitchens worth of other dishes that they shared freely amongst each other, offering bites and spoonfuls in between sips of wine. Steve took pictures of everything and polished off what the others couldn't eat. Once the plates were clean and the wine stopped flowing, they all settled back in their seats moaning and clutching their stomachs.
"Would you like coffee or dessert?" The waitress asked while clearing away their plates.
"Yes!" Steve perked up as though he wasn't swearing off all food moments before.
"Coffee," Tony decided. It was close to eleven and he actually felt tired, which was terrible news if he wanted to get any work done before conking out.
"I couldn't possibly," Phil said.
Pepper made a sad face and took his hand. "But it's your birthday!"
Phil regarded her calmly for a moment while her pout crept out further and further. A silent, fierce struggle waged between her quivering lip and his steely, Secret Agent gaze while Steve and Tony looked on, fascinated. Tony was proud.
"She learned this from me," he stage-whispered to Steve and stole another sip of his drink.
The moment dragged on another thirty seconds before Phil sighed, eyelids fluttering, and turned to the waitress.
"Do you have a dessert menu?"
"Seriously, though, why did you make me eat so much?" Tony groaned and clutched at the car door in agony.
Steve looked at him dubiously, his mouth a tight line that was more amused than annoyed. "As I recall," he said, his deep voice layered with sarcasm, "you were perfectly happy to eat everything that was put in front of you."
"There was peer pressure involved."
"Aren't you the king of not doing what others expect of you?" Steve was definitely amused. The bastard.
"Cheap shot! That's not fair, I'm in a weakened state."
"Hey, Tony?" Steve's voice was softer, a little hesitant. Tony realized, the amount of wine and food he was currently incubating notwithstanding, that he should probably take things seriously for a minute, so he picked his head up off the headrest and met Steve's eye.
Steve half-smiled and let out a breath. "This getting along thing worked out pretty well tonight, wouldn't you say?"
Well, Tony had absolutely no response prepared for that. He knew he probably looked surprised, but he hoped he didn't look unhappy, because as he was a little shocked to realize, he liked the getting along thing. Kind of a lot.
"Um, yes. Yeah, we should probably keep it up. For the team's sake?" Hey, look, he brought out the magnanimity again.
"For the team," Steve agreed with an official nod.
How they ended up kissing ten minutes later was anyone's guess. They pulled up to Steve's building, which was over an art gallery in Red Hook, of course. Easy as you please, Tony leaned in to give a bro-hug, maybe a peck on the cheek because he was feeling a pleasant shade of affection-drunk.
Only... Only Steve turned toward him at the same time and then their mouths were bumping together and someone opened theirs, it might have been Tony about to apologize, but then lips parted and so Tony just did what came naturally after that and licked forward and it was slick and warm and Steve tasted like raspberry sorbet and he made a noise and kissed Tony back.
"Um." Tony pulled away after what was probably too long to play off casually and stared first into Steve's eyes, which were dilated and a little wild, and then frowned at his mouth like it was to blame for the situation. Which, frankly, it was.
"That was... unexpected," Steve half-laughed. Tony thought it should be weird but it wasn't and Steve didn't even seem to be alarmed.
"Are you--" Tony stopped, realizing he wasn't sure what would be appropriate. Okay? About to have a hetero freak-out? Free for lunch Saturday?
Steve looked at him closely, like he was measuring Tony's own freak-out level. A gentle smile broke out and then the son of a bitch took a picture.
"Stop that!" Tony slapped the phone down. He was going to take a ball-peen hammer to the thing before all was said and done.
"Listen." Steve clapped his hand on Tony's knee companionably. "Don't worry about this." He gave Tony's leg a gentle shake. The gesture was innocent, like a teammate. Not at all like someone who had just moments before been sucking on Tony's tongue. Tony realized he hadn't said a full sentence in a while.
"I'm not worried." But that was swiftly becoming an outright lie. He just made out with Captain Goddamn America. And liked it. A lot.
Steve gave him a look that clearly meant Bullshit, but instead of calling him out, he just nodded and opened the car door. "Thanks for the ride, Happy!" he called to the front and stepped out.
"Oh," Steve said, ducking his torso back inside. Tony peered up at him warily. "We're still doing the friendly thing, right?"
"Of course." It was out of Tony's mouth before he even thought about it. Why was that happening so much around the guy?
Steve nodded again and closed the door.