It was clear that Tony Stark had an admiration for Steve Rogers but he kept things quite subtle, he kept his feelings hidden very well. Tony was an artist of machinery; he would express his feelings through his work and actions rather than burst out with large words. Words were for press conferences, actions are for heroes – such is his mentality. He had yet to convey any sort of emotion asides from the constant sarcasm toward the star spangled captain. However, in the past Tony had been a big fan of Captain America and had extensive collection of memorabilia of which he kept hidden in one of the rooms within the Stark mansion. That was his past; once his hero was in front of him things were different. He had to leave his childhood hero behind and see him as who he was, his new team mate, an ally. But it was difficult to since all the Captain seemed to do was re-enact stories from his childhood which he would silently sit back and admire, even enjoy as though he was in a living comic book.
Throughout their missions Tony’s admiration had only grown to an extent that he himself questioned, it was more than just an admiration; it was an infatuation of the purest kind. He was inspired by the American dream that Steve would prattle on about, he was exhilarated by the extreme plans the Captain would pitch and even more invigorated by the sense of camaraderie the Captain exuded.
When the news that the Captain was found in ice had broken, Tony had started building a robot. At the time he wasn’t sure what he was building, but what it turned out to be surprised even the creator himself or sculptor as he so preferred to be called. Of course he was excited when his hero was about to come to life, but what if his hero didn’t meet his expectations? He had better do something to compensate, so instead he created a robot and attempted to make it look as life-like as he could. He had to make it perfect, and even as the Captain was introduced to him and Tony found himself falling deeper in a pit of love and emotions which he had no control over, he had to find a way to express his love. But there was no way he was going to just tell the Captain like that, as stated previously, he would much rather find a way to convey it when the time was right. The timing had to be perfect, but in all honesty he didn’t know what he was feeling. Yes, it was love, but love of the unrequited category was one of the most painful experiences he could ever dream of. And thus, he kept his heart and emotions to himself to protect himself. There must be a way that he could show his affection, he needed to do tests and scenarios.
Spending more time with Steve meant that he had a better grasp on his mind and the way that it worked, it was old fashioned, genuine and the super soldier had a heart of gold. After each mission he would return to his lab to unwind and work on the same robot he had been working on for months, but he wouldn’t let anyone see it, not even Pepper or Happy was allowed near this particular creation of his. Robots could never be as real as people, but he tried to program all of the different aspects of Steve’s personality within it, fixing it up until he had the metal frame built, then onto the internal circuits, then building the shell. The shell was one of the hardest parts considering how Steve’s physique seemed so fluid when he moved, it was difficult to install such movements within a robot. But it was Tony Stark, so of course, after many recalibrations he managed to do it. He managed to build a robot that had the extreme muscle definition and tone of Steve Rogers. Once he had created a small microchip containing all of the data that he had collected from missions when analysing Steve’s personality, as well as hacking the SHIELD database for extra information on his past (which he himself delved into and read over with intense concentration, not wanting to miss out on any single detail) he added it all to the chip which he placed within the head of the robot with much care. Never before had he spent so long on a single entity.
The face was the most difficult part of the robot. The lips had to be a light cherry red, not too dark but not too faint either with a heart shape when they were closed. His jaw had to be square and strong, with a small indent in the middle. It was like carving a sculpture and when Tony was focused on it, he couldn’t tear his eyes away for one second. He couldn’t even blink; it all had to be perfect. Then came the time where he had to carve the nose from a small piece of steel and weld it to the face of the robot. He pulled it over to his desk and leaned over, looking through his goggles as he managed to mould the perfect cast for it. It had to be straight and sharp at the tip with nostrils that were small. He’d notice that they’d only flare if Steve was angry and he didn’t want his robot to have that sort of emotion. He wanted it to be the more gentle side of Steve, the noble side that he saw more of when they weren’t in missions, rather in mission briefings. There was a small round section just at the tip, it wasn’t completely round but his nose wasn’t a giant triangle, it was special. Though along the bridge there was an extremely subtle bump which Tony didn’t fail to include. He attached it to the face of the robot with the most precision and care. Steve’s ears always slightly protruded, they had a very complicated helix along with a lobe that had to be soft, which he had to paint with a small red tone too. Tony had always noticed whenever Steve was swamped with women he would become uncomfortable; his cheeks would glow a baby pink and the tip of his ears would turn red. Trying to encompass that feature proved difficult, but in the end nothing was too difficult for Tony Stark, in fact he loved a challenge. He had to make sure the cheek bones were high but not too defined, that was the thing about Steve, nothing in his face was really extreme; asides from his jaw shape and pearly white smile with perfectly straightened teeth that gleamed whenever he would smile. Whenever Steve did smile Tony would make a ‘ping’ noise in his head, just like the toothpaste commercials.
The eyes were the aspect that he cared the most about, giving him long eyelashes that fluttered when they opened. Then the iris which had to be a sapphire blue with different shades closer to the pupil. There was so much detail involved but it had to convey the right emotion. Steve’s eyes were always filled with a certain liveliness and passion which he had to get right. Once he placed the eyes in and coloured the skin, along with the rest of the robot, giving it a perfect posture he had to then install a voice. During missions his suits would pick up commands from Steve which he recorded and then converted into a voice chip, placing it into the robot and testing it out by making him say set phrases. As much as Tony would take his work very seriously he couldn’t help but joke around when it came to making Steve say phrases such as “I’m a ballerina.” To which he would snort. Spending so much time on one thing could drive a man insane; he had to find some way to keep his sanity and sense of humour.
Steve was leaving for a prolonged amount of time on a mission which gave Tony more time to work on his new creation and focus as much as he could on getting it finished. It was his new project and as difficult as it was he was thoroughly enjoying making it and painting every small detail, every small scar on it. He even created a replica outfit for it; it was Steve’s traditional outfit just as he would wear in the comic books. Tony even sprayed the robot with the faint smell of apple pie crust that Steve always had – he always smelled fresh and sweet. Finally after months of work it was done. Tony stand opposite it and just look at it from head to toe, straightening out any creases there could possibly be and making sure it was perfect. It was as close as he could get but as he spoke to it, there was something missing. Life. True life. It was somewhat disappointing overall; he had spent so long on something that just seemed to lack lustre and as much as he tried to include it, it still seemed to have that spark missing. He couldn’t truly replicate Steve Rogers but for now this would have to do. This was his own personal Steve. His own local hero and role model which he could sit and admire in his own time, but there was no way he would show Steve. It would be far too traumatic for the soldier to see a replica of himself.
“Steve... I have something to tell you...”
“What is it, Tony?” The robot would reply, tilting his head just as Steve would.
“I...” He would pause, this was as hard as it would be in real life, “I love you.” He said with his eyes tightly shut before stopping to look up at the robot and watch it. It never replied. It would just stand there with a serious expression. “Well?”
“What is the problem Tony...?” The robot asked, it was glitching. It wouldn’t answer the one question that he had in his head, how Steve would really react if he was told. With all of the scenarios and data that he had input, it still failed to calculate the possible outcomes. Tony’s eyes would fill with pain and he would scowl, walking out angrily or pacing around his workshop. As unrealistic as it would be, he had to programme in something, something to make him feel better.
“I love you Steve...” He said again after inputting the new programme.
“I love you too, Tony.” The robot replied, smiling softly, his eyes flickering with a gentle light.
Tony would smile. He would have never thought that he would be in love, after all love was just a series of chemical reactions but he was sure that he felt it. It could be the pheromones or the way that he held Steve in his mind, despite what he did, but he would classify this feeling as love. He reached over and hugged the robot only to feel the touch of cold steel in return, for now that was all he had to comfort him. It wasn’t the same. It was empty. He had made the robot say that he loved him in return but in reality, that would never happen, not in Tony’s mind. He reached up and touched his palm, caressing the well defined features that he had made and yet his heart echoed with an emptiness that couldn’t be filled, even with synthetic affection. He sighed with defeat and returned to his room.
After most hard working days he’d return to the robot and say the same thing, “I love you.” To get an “I love you too” in return. At least that partially filled the void, but not completely. After Pepper had found her way into the lab she was just about to stumble across his Steve-bot, before he quickly blocked her. It was then that he decided a new security measure had to be put in place; he put the robot into a sleep mode. The only way it could be woken up was with a small kiss from Tony. It had to be a gentle press of the lips, filled with affection, just as he would have done the day that Steve was found from the ice. All that time he would watch Steve rest, just wishing he could feel the gentle collision of their lips. Whenever he needed to confess his love, a small kiss, then the confession and then he would return the robot to sleep. That was his only use for it. At least he got the emotions out of his system and at least the robot wouldn’t shun or push him away. He named the robot ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
Steve had returned from a long, tiring mission but his shield had broken. He was in desperate need of a new one and as Tony was always the man to turn to when he needed his weapons replaced, he walked into the lab of the billionaire. That was the thing about Tony, he trusted Steve enough to give him most of the codes to his arsenal, the keyword there was most; of course there were rooms he would kept locked up and to himself and they mainly contained his suits. Tony’s suits were like his children and he wouldn’t even trust Steve with them. He scoped the room, looking everywhere for Tony and calling his name. Alas, he couldn’t find the genius anywhere so he decided to walk around and wait for him. He was bound to return to his workshop some time or another; he spent more time in the work shop than he did in his own bedroom.
Whilst he was waiting Steve walked up to a room that was blocked off and looked at the keypad, there was no harm in being curious. He shrugged and typed in a couple of dates, first Tony’s birthday, then Pepper’s and finally after a long-shot, his own. That seemed to do it, the door opened and he blinked. “Why would Tony use my birthday?” He asked himself, he was just messing around and yet that seemed to work. As he walked inside he spotted the robot, his eyes widening as he walked toward it. It was like looking into a mirror, everything about it was identical to him. Synthetic blonde hair that was styled perfectly into neat curtains, long feathery eyelashes and even the skin felt real as he touched it but it seemed to lack warmth which confirmed to Steve that it was a robot and not a clone, after all Tony wasn’t into genetics, he couldn’t have made a clone. He looked at it, examining it from head to toe and seeing the vintage outfit that Tony had given it, but what confused him the most was the motive behind creating such a thing. Of course it was scary seeing himself as a robot but it was obvious that Tony had spent so long creating it and making everything including the minute details. He looked at it and then saw the title that it was given – Sleeping beauty. Steve chuckled to himself, “Really Tony?” He questioned. His eyes then drifted over to the blueprints, seeing all of the calibrations that Tony had made as well as all the work that was put into it. He had been making this for months and it was right under his nose. Steve noticed that it required a kiss to awaken, which explained the name. Hesitantly, he kissed the robot. His curiosity was getting the better of him as he watched the robots eyes flutter open,
“Tony... You feel different today... is anything the matter?” The robot said in Steve’s voice which startled the super soldier even more. It made him take a couple of steps back and even blink as he heard it. One thing Tony hadn’t installed was a voice recognition system so even if Steve spoke to it, it couldn’t tell the difference between him and Tony, and yet it still sensed something was different which was truly fascinating for a robot.
“No no... I’m... Fine.” Steve said, stuttering as he spoke, it was still a new concept for him to be talking to a robot, yet alone an exact replica of himself.
“Tony...” The robot said, sitting up properly and putting a hand on Steve’s shoulder which truth be told, creeped him out further. He felt how strong the grasp was and how heavy his hand was, which was probably due to the fact that he was metal but still, it was scary for a man who was so behind on such technological advances and no matter how long he spent with Tony, things like this would still scare him.
“W-what is it...?” Steve asked, trying to keep his cool.
“You haven’t said it yet...” The robot replied.
“I love you.” The robot said with a gentle smile. Steve’s eyes widened as he heard it and his mouth opened. That’s why Tony had created the robot; to provide him with the affection that Steve was providing.
“Do I... Usually say that?” Steve asked with a puzzled look, awaiting an answer as he felt his heart fluttering.
“Every day.” The robot said quite proudly.
The truth was Steve had feelings for Tony too but had never confessed them. They were quite conflicting and did tear him apart but never in a million years had he ever thought that Tony would feel the same way. He had made a robot to confess his love to,
“Is that why you were made?” Steve confirmed.
The robot paused, “Yes.” It answered after a while of trying to calculate a proper answer.
Steve nodded and placed his hand under his chin in thought. It was quite endearing how Tony had made this, but it was sad at the same time, if he thought that he couldn’t really confess his love to Steve so he had to say it to a robot instead and make do. No, that would not do at all, especially since Steve felt the same way about the billionaire; of course they had their fights but they would always resolve them over time. They had conflicting personalities but as they say, opposites attract but they had each other’s backs and helped each other despite their differences and opinions. Either way, there was an admiration that he had for someone that could be so smart and walk with such swagger, he seemed sociable too and wanted to change his company from the reputation that his father had initially created. Tony was a good guy deep in his heart and this really proved that he did have a heart, especially if he needed his affection to be returned somehow. He sat down on the edge of the desk, stopping to think and then checking his watch. Maybe Tony had returned to his room to rest, it was late after all. He had to let Tony know that the feeling was mutual and he wouldn’t sit back here and let all this happen.
Slowly but surely, Steve pulled himself away from the robot that sat there, watching Steve leave before returning to its sleep. He had to take gentle steps up the staircase, trailing his un-gloved hand along the banister as he kept his eyes lowered in thought. It was always difficult to admit feelings that had built up over such a long time, especially since Tony was another man, an unconventional one that Steve had to adapt to.
He slowly opened the door that was already open slightly, peering in to see Tony was already asleep, curled up in the sheets like a kitten in a king sized bed. His face was covered partially and his hair was a mess already. He must’ve had a long day, so long that he couldn’t even come into the work shop, he was even still in his shirt and loosened tie which showed that he had come straight from the Stark Industries office.
Steve couldn’t help but smile at the sight before him and he moved over to sit by the bed, he leaned close to Tony’s ear and whispered, “I love you too...” as soft as he could.
Tony twitched, feeling the warm breath against his ear, “S-steve-bot... uh... Sleeping beauty...?” He groaned in a groggy tone, squinting as he opened his tired eyes that burned from exhaustion.
“Nope...” Steve said with a smile so wide that his dimples began to show.
“I didn’t... add those to your face.” Tony said as he tiredly raised his arms and felt Steve’s dimples.
“Shhh...” Steve said, placing his index finger to Tony’s lips as he felt the man’s arm retreat under the sheets again. Tony in return, made a soft muffling sound as Steve placed himself over Tony, hugging him tightly. The instant Tony felt the warmth around him his eyes opened again in shock, this was Steve. This wasn’t his robot. This was Steve Rogers hugging him and confessing his love to him. He could feel his heart pound, so much in fact that his reactor made a soft buzzing noise. Steve smiled even more, his hand drifting over the reactor that was visible through Tony’s white shirt, tapping it lightly before his fingertips once more returned to Tony’s face, along his lips and caressed the side of his face. Steve leaned down and kissed Tony’s lips gently, just as Tony would do to the robot before shutting his own eyes, hugging his body close to Tony’s and keeping him warm.
“Good night, sweet prince.” He said tenderly.