“Come on,” Tony insists, and Pepper quickly hushes him, looking around their corner of the library to make sure Tony hasn’t bothered anyone — which she knows is a lost cause, but she can’t help but feel responsible for her loud-mouthed best friend, whatever his reputation may be.
“Tony, we’re in a library. Could you be any louder?”
Normally he’d take that as a challenge, but instead he leans across the table and shuts the book she has open in front of her, putting on his most pathetic face.
“Come on, Pep, I can’t go alone.”
“Why not?” she asks, pursing her lips and pulling the book out from under his hand, dusting it off like he’s contaminated it.
“Because I’ll look pathetic!”
“And standing in the library begging me to go with you isn’t at all pathetic. Of course not.”
He throws his hands up in the air with a groan and flops down in the chair across from her, balancing it up on its back legs as he stares at the ceiling.
“It’s quidditch. You love quidditch. Don’t you love quidditch?”
She sighs. “As much as you know I’d love to be your safety blanket and go watch your boyfriend’s quidditch match with you, I have to study, Tony. You know, that thing you never do that everyone else does?”
He looks up at her and honest-to-god pouts, like a two year old whose toy broom has been taken away, and sits up.
“Fine, then,” he says firmly. “I don’t need you to come with me. I’ll take...” He looks around the library for a long moment, desperately looking for another familiar face, anyone less resistant than Pepper, before his gaze finally settles two tables away. “Reed. I’ll take Reed,” and seriously? he thinks to himself, silently cursing his fate. It just had to be Reed.
“What?” Reed says, looking up at them from the heavy tome he’s been skimming, half-dazed.
Tony jumps out of his seat and marches over to Reed’s table, grabbing him by the back of his robes and hoisting him up.
“Come on, buddy,” he snarls, more to Pepper than to Reed. “Let’s go watch some quidditch.”
“You should come to my match this weekend.”
They’re three weeks into this… whatever they’re doing, and Steve tossed the words out so carelessly that Tony didn’t even hear them, too caught up in his arithmancy project to really take notice.
“Tony?” Steve nudged Tony foot with his own, finally causing the black-haired boy to look up.
“I said you should come to my – the match this weekend. Hufflepuff vs. Slytherin.” The smile Steve gave him was shy, but still full of the honey-like sweetness that makes it so singularly Steve. Tony was completely blind-sided by the way his stomach flipped. Steve… wanted him to go to his match? In public? Steve wanted Tony to… watch him play quidditch? Were they... was that something he should do?
“Uh. Yeah. I mean, if I get the time. Sure.”
“Right, I mean if you’re busy or anything…”
“No. I just mean. Yeah. Sounds fun.” Tony gave a quick, reassuring smile before ducking back into his homework, but for some reason the answers that usually come so easily for him just weren’t there. He had no idea what to do.
When they get outside, it’s raining. And of course it’s raining, Tony thinks. The universe is really and truly out to fuck him completely before the day is done. But then again, when isn’t it?
A bolt of lightening rips through the sky and Reed, holding his robes over his head to keep himself dry with one arm, heavy book still tucked under the other, asks, “Is it safe to let them play in this kind of weather?”
Tony rolls his eyes. “Apparently, though I’d never be caught dead dealing with a storm like this.”
Reed looks at him, an eyebrow raised, and says, “Well you’re out here now, aren’t you?”
“Extenuating circumstances,” he grumbles in reply, crossing his arms over his chest. “God, how far is the quidditch pitch?”
Reed shrugs. “I haven’t been down there since flying lessons first year. I assume we’re just expected to follow the mob.”
“I’m a leader, not a follower, Reed.”
“But how can you lead us if you don’t know where to go? …Tony? Why are you walking away from me?”
Following the mob turns out to be a pretty good idea, and soon Tony finds himself seated in the bannered stands of the Hogwarts quidditch pitch, and wow this is really high up in the air isn’t it? Another crack of lightning hits and Tony can feel the slightest bit of worry creep into his stomach. He knows the math, if one of those bolts hits Steve…
“Oh hey look, they’re flying out!”
Tony’s breath catches as he sees Steve in his yellow quidditch robes, looking every inch the team captain he’s supposed to be. He does a quick handshake with Maria Hill, the Slytherin captain, before heading off to the goal posts, and then the game begins.
Tony knows the rules of quidditch, at least in passing, so it must be the way Steve fills out his robes, hovering in front of the goal posts, that is to blame for the reason he has no clue what’s going on. He does know that Steve has saved a couple of goals already only a few minutes into the match, and also that wow, okay, Steve is flexible.
“Aaaaand another goal for Hufflepuff!” the announcer calls, and Tony looks over and recognizes him as Peter Parker, a third year in his house who he sees goofing off in the common room a lot. “A great shot by third year Danny Rand — this is his first year on the team, along with beater and fellow third year Luke Cage, and what a team they make. Many were skeptical at first when they heard Rogers had put two third years on the team, but that decision seems to be paying off. Maybe if Luke could hit the books like he hits a bludger, he wouldn’t need to copy my potions homework all the time! Not that that’s a thing that happens ever… don’t worry Professor McCoy!”
“So why the sudden interest in quidditch?” Reed asks, sitting back a little, eyes darting around like he’s trying to keep track of all the players at once.
“What, I can’t just like quidditch?” Tony snaps, irritated that anything is taking his attention away from Steve at all, and damnit, just as he looks over to Reed to complain, the crowd roars and when he looks back to the pitch Steve is holding the quaffle above his head victoriously yet again, the sleeves of his robes plastered against the defined muscles in his arms as he tosses the ball to Sam Wilson, and Tony’s forgotten what the question was...
“You spend quidditch matches in the library, even when Ravenclaw is playing,” Reed comments, and right, that’s what they were talking about.
“There’s nothing wrong with a change of pace, Reed. Maybe I just wanted to get your nose out of a book for an afternoon, thought it might do you some good.”
Reed shoots him a skeptical look. “Come on, Tony, what are you hiding?”
Tony crosses his arms, but gives in, grumbling, “Steve asked me to come...” and Reed’s skeptical look turns into a full blown grin.
“Oh, this is too good,” he says, laughing. “So the rumors are true, then?”
“Since when do you pay attention to rumors?” Tony nearly shouts, and then adds, “and... what rumors?”
“TEN MORE POINTS TO HUFFLEPUFF! BADGER BADGER MUSHROOM! Oh no, sorry that was a muggle reference,” Parker yells over the din of the crowd, and Tony can’t quite make out Reed’s response, so instead he folds his arms tighter over his chest and frowns, looking back out onto the pitch to find Steve.
They score three more goals before Johnny Storm manages to get the quaffle past Steve for Slytherin’s first ten points of the match, and while he flies a victory lap over the stadium, blowing kisses to the crowd and sending a suggestive wink in the direction of Professor Grey, Steve just stretches out his arms, his face resolute.
It must have knocked him off his game, Tony suddenly realizes after Slytherin manages fifty more points in quick succession. Danny has the quaffle now, and passes it to Sam, but Johnny intercepts it, shooting down the pitch at breakneck speed, and all Tony can do is yell, “Come on, Steve!” at the tops of his lungs.
Steve catches it, passing it quickly off to Sam, and Tony lets out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. Maybe he’s learning to appreciate sports after all.
And then, suddenly, everyone around him is gasping, turning towards the other end of the field, and he’s not sure what’s going on because the quaffle is still on Hufflepuff’s side of the pitch and... Well, then he sees it: Natasha Romanov and Sue Storm, neck in neck, racing upwards, arms outstretched, and then everyone around him is erupting in cheers as Parker yells, “ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY POINTS, AND THE GAME, TO HUFFLEPUFF! SUE STORM HAS CAUGHT THE SNITCH!”
“He won… they won…” Tony mumbles for a second, suddenly so overcome with pride that he can feel it bursting out of his chest. He’s not given more than a second to contemplate this though, as soon the rest of the students are running out of their seats and down the stairs.
Tony follows the rush of students down to the field, the hard thumps of a hundred pairs of boots down the wooden stairwells drowning out the sound of thunder from up above. The team is waiting for them down there, their uniforms already spotted with mud and grass from victory tackles onto the ground. A wave of yellow descends upon them, and immediately the team is caught up in the mob. Sue is waving the snitch proudly in the air, Luke is swinging his bat around and nearly taking of the heads of a couple first- years, and Steve…
Tony takes one look at Steve - wet hair plastered against his forehead, face flushed in the cold, smile so bright it makes him forget they’re in the middle of a storm. He sees the pats on the back and the kisses on the cheek from friends and admirers, and he stops moving, stops breathing. What was he expecting, exactly? Some sort of victory kiss? For Steve to pick him up and swing him around like this was some sort of muggle movie? No. This thing between them is still too new, too fragile to let out in the open, and Tony isn’t about to risk everything by hanging off Steve’s shoulder like some sort of lapdog. He glances up at Steve again, who is caught up in the hugs and the cheers, and he makes the decision to walk away.
“Aren’t you going to go say hi?” asks Reed, and Tony shakes his head.
“You know, I don’t want to interrupt their celebration or anything. I’ll talk to Steve later or something…” and Reed, Reed fucking Richards, rolls his eyes.
“No offense Tony, but I had better things to do than come out here just to watch a quidditch match.”
“Don’t worry,” Tony replies, turning his eyes away from Steve and his fans, “I don’t think I’ll be going to another one.”
He takes one step back inside, then two, and then he hears it.
“-ny! Tony! Hey, wait!”
A hand grabs Tony’s arm and then he’s spun around, and smushed into a very wet chest. Steve smells like sweat and wet cotton, which if anything should make Tony feel sick to his stomach, but he finds himself restraining from burrowing into Steve’s embrace, from searching for the source of warmth under his clothes.
“I’m so happy you came!” Steve murmurs, and Tony shrugs.
“Well, you know, you said I should so…” Tony scuffs his shoot lightly against the ground.
“I just didn’t think…” Steve breaks off and Tony mentally kicks himself. Stupid. He’s so stupid. Steve never meant for him to come to this thing at all.
“I was just going to leave,” Tony says, begs, because he needs to get out of here. “I didn’t want to interrupt you or anything…”
“You weren’t even going to say hi?” Steve pushes him back, looks at him dead on, and his eyes are so blue that Tony is sure the rain outside is just in his imagination. How could there be clouds in the sky when Steve has eyes like that?
“I didn’t think you’d want me to,” the words come out so small, and Tony can feel the cracks in the glass forming. He ignores the wounded look on Steve’s face, fights the impulse to wipe the hair off his forehead and run his fingers through it. “You looked busy, and—”
Steve’s lips are warm and soft, a stark contrast to the rough chill of his fingers against Tony’s cheek. Tony’s eyes go wide for just a second, but then he finds himself sighing against the crush of Steve’s mouth, reaching up to thread his fingers through Steve’s damp hair and return the kiss full force. Steve normally kisses like he has nothing to prove, but this time there’s urgency to it, a point that he has to make in the scrape of his teeth and the flick of his tongue. He wraps himself around Tony like a promise he can never break, and Tony takes and takes and takes. There’s a wolfwhistle and some catcalls in the background, along with the flash of a muggle camera that Tony knows belongs to Parker and silently vows to end him for, but if Steve’s not going to stop kissing him then Tony sure as hell isn’t going to make him.
Eventually they do break apart though, because there’s only so far you can go without just having full on sex in public.
“I’ve been wanting to do that since the moment Sue caught the snitch,” Steve breathes as he rests his forehead against Tony’s.
“I’ve been wanting to do that since I saw you walk outside in your uniform,” Tony laughs and though Steve blushes his smile is downright devious.
“Hey lovebirds,” It’s Luke, and if a 3rd year used that tone of voice with Tony he would have made lovebirds fly out of his ears, but Steve just smiles and clutches Tony tighter, “there’s a victory party in the Hufflepuff common room, in case you decide you want to put the tonsil play on hold for a while.”
“Am I even allowed in?”
“I think we’ll make an except for certain snarky Ravenclaws tonight.”
“Nepotism is a good look on you Steve.”
It becomes a tradition then, for Steve to kiss Tony at the end of a game. Win or lose, rain or shine, as soon as Steve Rogers is off his broom he is making his way through the crowd to deliver the sweetest kiss you ever saw on Tony Stark’s mouth, and no one ever gets in his way. Even after his last game in his 7th year, Steve had managed to kiss Tony like he had just won the World Cup, instead of losing the school cup. Only Tony could feel the single tear against his cheek, or the way Steve’s body had a slight shake to it, but then he was fine and congratulating Carol on a hard-earned victory.
And the photographic evidence of the start of that tradition that Peter Parker lords over their heads seems like it will never go away.
Five years out of Hogwarts and Tony doesn’t even realized how much he missed those kisses until Steve comes over to him at the end of a pick-up game at one of those dumb, boring Ministry picnics.
“It’s tradition, remember?” is all he says before swooping in and capturing Tony’s lips like a prize. He tastes just the same, like fresh air and butterbeer and Tony resolves to make Steve play quidditch more often.