At first, Steve didn't get along well with the twenty-first century. Director Fury had insisted on setting him up with some sort of "Re-acclimation Program" and he hated that. He hated relying on others to teach him how to exist in this time. He'd relied on others for most of his life, whether it was his mother looking after him one of the many times he was bedridden or Bucky standing up for him; he had been so dependent before he’d had the serum. He’d agreed to the experiment because he wanted other people to be able to rely on him for once. He wanted to be depended upon, to be helpful. But for the first three months after he woke up from the ice, he was forced to ask for help. He learned quickly, but seeing the adoration of children replaced with laughter as he struggled with the turnstiles in the subway made him feel so lost.
Everyone laughed at him. Or smiled knowingly. Even after he learned to use a computer, a cell phone, to navigate the cultural changes that occurred during the sixty years he missed, it was obvious he wasn’t native to it. Every smile, every laugh, every movie-worthy moment of comic relief stemming from his discomfort made him feel smaller than ever, but he would never tell anyone that. They didn’t mean any harm, and who was he to deny them their laughs?
But there is one person, and one person alone, that Steve truly doesn’t mind getting laughter from: Tony. To Tony, everything is a joke. Everyone is slow with gadgets, and Steve is no different. He is the butt of just as many jokes as Natasha and Clint, and many fewer than Director Fury.
So when Tony first kisses him, he takes it seriously. It happens out of nowhere and the only reason Steve doesn’t deck him out of principle is that his stomach drops and his heart pounds when their mouths meet, and he can’t stop his head from spinning long enough to launch a decent right hook.
But two shocking internet searches and a ridiculous heart-to-heart with Pepper Potts later, he realizes that homosexuality isn’t considered an abomination to most people anymore, and that there’s no reason he can’t reconcile his upbringing, his pounding heart, and his God.
Their working relationships shifts as Tony quickly sees Steve’s competence in strategy and leadership and turns the reigns over to him so the team doesn’t get its ass blown up. Tony’s plans did tend to have a slightly higher risk factor. He calls them “creative”, but privately agrees with Steve’s term “insane”.
They hold each other up when their mouths meet as they stand on the front steps to Steve's apartment building, tongues searching and Tony using his teaching skills on a man who has never danced before. They continue to rely on each other when Steve's mouth drops to Tony's neck to suck at the sensitive spot under his jaw, but then they allow first the front door, then the stairwell wall, and finally Steve's couch to hold them up in the minutes that follow.
And when Steve wakes up first, turns to see the beautiful human being sleeping next to him, and the proceeds to get up and nearly wreck that ridiculous coffee maker in a desperate attempt to obtain caffeine so that Tony has to come down to fix it, it’s ok.
It’s ok to rely on Tony, because Tony relies on him.