Steve is too busy watching the TV behind the bar to notice a man sit down next to Bucky in a hoodie.
He can’t hear much over the usual Friday night din of the bar, and the quality is far from stellar, but between the static he’s able to make out something about Tony Stark releasing another green energy product and some corporation is pissed at him for it.
“Mm-hmm,” Steve says, still eyeing the screen. On it, Tony Stark walks across a stage as people cheer. Steve’s about to look over at Bucky and respond properly, but there’s a close-up of Tony’s face and Steve gets distracted again.
After Steve makes a louder ‘mm-hmm’ noise, Bucky nudges him in the ribs.
Steve swats at him. “Shit, what was that for?”
On the other side of him, Sam snorts into his beer. He exchanges a look with Bucky over Steve’s head. It isn’t hard, considering Steve comes up to their shoulders on a good day.
“Just checking you’re paying attention,” Sam tells him. “Now you can go back to ogling Stark on the TV.”
Beside Bucky, a man twitches. It’s a barely-there thing, his fingers tightening around his scotch glass the bartender just handed him.
Steve takes a mouthful of beer. “I’m not ogling.”
“Oh, sorry.” Sam nods. He corrects himself: “Staring intently.”
“Ha, ha,” Steve says, and it’s punctured by Bucky’s honest laughter. Even distantly annoyed, Steve glances over at Bucky to see the tail-end of the laugh. Since coming back from the Army, Bucky laughing hasn’t been a common thing, but tonight is turning out to be a good night for him.
To test the waters, Steve rocks sideways to butt their shoulders together. Bucky mirrors it absently: muscle memory at its finest.
“You should see the guy after a few more beers,” Bucky says to Sam. Then he goes into a falsetto that makes Steve cringe. In all their years, it’s never meant anything good. “Oh, Buck, he’s so handsome. Buck, he’s so smart. Sometimes when he needs a pick-me-up he watches Youtube videos of Stark giving speeches about green energy.”
“I’m just- proud of what he’s doing,” Steve says around the neck of his beer. He puts it down after a small swallow. He doesn’t want to prove Bucky right- he has hazy memories of slinging an arm around Bucky’s shoulder and slurring things that sound a lot like the things Bucky said in his Steve Falsetto. “He’s come really far.”
“Now he’s gonna get into his personal journey,” Bucky stage-whispers to a grinning Sam.
Steve shoves his shoulder a little harder this time. “You can’t deny it’s inspiring! He’s come so- aw, shut up,” he says when they both start sniggering.
“Stark’s on his freebie list for all time,” Bucky says.
Sam raises his eyebrows. “Freebie list?”
Bucky’s in the middle of a sip of beer. He has to pause to swallow, so he says it in unison with Steve: “Off that Friends episode.”
“Wow,” Sam says dryly. “That cleared it up. It’s not like it ran for eight seasons.”
“Ten,” Bucky corrects.
Steve talks over him: “It’s a list of celebrities you can sleep with and your partner can’t get mad about it. Which is stupid. And I’d only need a freebie list if I actually had a partner, and I doubt that’s gonna happen anytime soon.”
He says most of it into the neck of his beer bottle, hunching over the bar and letting the glass slur his speech as he presses the cool bottle to his mouth.
Bucky thumps his shoulder, with his hand this time. “People are idiots, Stevie.”
“Don’t call me Stevie.”
“Stevie,” Bucky continues, and ignores it when Steve kicks his ankle. “One day you’re gonna find someone who will love you right. And accept your massive crush on Tony Stark.”
“It’s not a crush. I- he’s-” Steve starts peeling the label off his bottle, shredding it with his fingernails.
“Right,” Bucky says. “If it was a crush, you wouldn’t refuse to watch his sex tapes online.”
“THEY WERE POSTED WITHOUT HIS CONSENT,” Steve says, with the voice of a man who has explained it more times than he’d like.
“So? ‘S not like you know the guy.”
“Quit kicking me.”
“Stop bein’ a creep,” Steve shoots back. For a moment he thinks he’s gone too far and ruined what could’ve been a perfectly good night for Bucky’s mental state, but then Bucky’s mouth is twitching into a smile.
Bucky shrugs. “Yeah, fair ‘nuff. I’d be creeped out if that happened to me, even if the people watching it were in China and I’d never meet ‘em.”
“Is it weird how everyone in this bar is so used to Steve yelling ‘consent’ that no-one even looks up anymore,” Sam says.
Both Steve and Bucky laugh.
“You should’ve seen him a few years ago,” Bucky says. “He used to come in here and challenge fellas who wouldn’t leave ladies alone. Got beat up a lot.”
Sam hums. “Isn’t that how we met?”
“When I stitched you up. You said there was a guy who wouldn’t leave a girl alone.”
“Oh. No, that was at a protest.”
“You gotta stop getting beat up, kid,” Bucky says.
Steve opens his mouth to tell Bucky he hasn’t been punched in a record-breaking eight months (also please stop calling Steve ‘kid’ when Bucky knows full well he’s only three months older than Steve) when the TV catches his gaze and holds it with a picture of Tony Stark walking down the street in a tank top and jeans.
Bucky starts laughing again when he sees what Steve’s looking at. “Not a crush, o-kay.”
“Shuddup,” Steve says, still watching the screen.
“He’s aged really well,” Sam notes.
Bucky says, “All that clean living, I guess,” and his grin grows when Steve shoves him. “Stevie, just admit you want to bang Stark like a screen door in a hurricane.”
Beside Bucky, the man in a hoodie is muffling laughter. Steve tries to ignore him, it’s bad enough that his friends are making fun of him, he’d rather not hear a stranger do it.
“He’s inspirational,” Steve says instead.
“Steve,” Bucky says, tone all cut-the-bullshit.
Steve drains the rest of his beer to avoid saying anything.
The man in the hoodie climbs off the chair and onto his feet.
Steve continues peeling the label.
Hoodie-guy moves towards Bucky, then steps around him.
Sam says, “Um,” in a worryingly high-pitched voice Steve has only heard him make once before when he cut his hand open making sandwiches last year.
Both Steve and Bucky ignore him.
Bucky nudges Steve in the shoulder with his chin, a sign they should probably cut him off after he finishes the drink in his hand. “Steve. Stevie-Steve-Steve. Steeee-”
Hoodie-guy stops in front of Steve just as he snaps, “FINE, I want to bang him like a screen door in a hurricane, could we drop it now?”
“UM,” Sam says, loud enough that they both turn to look at him. He’s wide-eyed as he jerks his head meaningfully, gestures getting looser and more pointed as they continue not to get it.
Steve stares at him. This is why Sam is never picked for a partner when they all play Charades.
There’s a tap on his shoulder, and Steve turns to see Hoodie-guy smiling. Steve opens his mouth to say do you need something when he realizes why the man’s face is so familiar.
“Hi,” says Tony Stark.
Steve blurts the first thing he thinks. “Fuck.”
“Maybe later,” Tony says, and Steve chokes on his own tongue more than a little bit. “I heard my name a few times. Thought I might come over.”
“Oh,” Steve says. His mouth is suddenly desert-dry. “I. How much did you hear?”
“Not enough,” Tony says. “I must admit, it’s a welcome change to overhear people say good things about me.”
It’s been around five seconds of silence when Steve realizes he’s supposed to say something. “You’re welcome,” he tries. He’s expecting it when Tony laughs.
“I should be telling you that. You just turned my shitty night around.”
Steve is trying to find something to say that isn’t good, you deserve non-shitty nights, when Tony steps closer, too close, and all of Steve’s words dry up in his throat.
“Can I return the favour?”
Steve’s throat clicks. Christ.
“Sure,” he manages.
Tony takes Steve’s wrist. “Gentlemen,” he says to Sam and Bucky.
Sam gives Steve another wide-eyed look, this time with a hint of a smile. Steve tries to smile back, but he’s sure he mostly just looks shellshocked.
“Treat him right, Stark,” Bucky says. Steve can’t think of a way to kick him without Tony noticing, so he doesn’t.
Tony blinks. “Will do,” he says, and rubs a thumb over Steve’s wrist. “Coming?”
“Don’t, Buck,” Steve says on automatic as Bucky opens his mouth to make the obligatory dirty joke. To Tony, he says, “Lead the way.”
“Stevie, right,” Tony says as they get in his car. His face is straight but Steve can tell he’s teasing. Or, he hopes he’s teasing.
“Steve,” he says.
“So I can’t call you Stevie?”
Breathe. He’s just a man. A man who you’ve been having sex dreams about since you were 19. “I would advise against it.”
Tony tips his head towards him. “Steve, then.”
“Nice to meet you.” Steve holds out a hand.
After a moment, Tony shakes it. “And you already know my name.”
Steve shrugs. “Still didn’t introduce yourself.”
“I didn’t need to.”
“It’s the polite thing to do,” Steve says, voice hardly audible over the mess of his thoughts, most of which are screaming WHAT ARE YOU DOING HOLY SHIT YOU IDIOT.
But Tony just laughs like Steve surprised him. In a good way, even. “You care about being polite?”
“Mmm. See, I thought I heard your friend say you get beat up a lot for standing up for people.”
Steve shrugs again. “There’s a point where politeness stops being so important. If I gotta be rude to do the right thing, then so be it.”
Tony cocks his head at him, considering. “You’re a weird guy, Steve,” he says, and then he’s leaning towards the screen separating them from the front seats. He taps on it, and it rolls down.
“Hey, Boss,” the driver says, eyes flickering over to Steve, but only for a second. “Your place?”
“You got it.”
The windows roll up and the backseat suddenly seems small. Granted, it’s bigger than any backseat Steve’s been in in his life, but Tony’s presence seems to eat up most of the space.
“Hey,” Steve says. “Can I ask where you live? I have a job in Brooklyn I need to be at tomorrow.”
“Manhattan,” Tony says. It takes him a second, and he sounds more distant than before.
It hits Steve that what he said must’ve sounded a lot like I have to get up early tomorrow. Shit.
“So, you’re probably wondering what Tony Stark is doing in that bar,” Tony says, breaking Steve out of trying to find a way to say sorry without sounding desperate.
“No, I mean THAT bar.”
“Ah,” Steve says. He fingers the seat material. It’s softer than his duvet. “Yeah, it’s- I wouldn’t think it was your style. But it’s gotta be annoying getting recognized all the time, right? I figure your thinking of it was that anyone who thought it was you would then just think, nah, he wouldn’t be in here, why would he when he could be in- in- I don’t know any expensive bar names.”
When he looks over at Tony, he’s giving Steve that odd look again. “What?”
“I don’t know what to make of you,” Tony admits. Then: “I can take you to an expensive bar if you want.”
“Uh. No, thanks. Water’s the only thing I should be drinking if I don’t want a headache tomorrow morning.”
“What do you do?”
“I’m a storyboard artist for a line of comics.”
“Yeah? Anything I’d know?”
Tony’s eyes brighten. “You work for Marvels?”
“Yeah, do you like it?”
“Depends. What’re you working on now?”
“Right now? The last comic for the Hawkeye line.”
“Oh, god.” Tony shifts in his seat so his knees are touching Steve’s. He’s wearing sweatpants. “Steve. You have to tell me what happens.”
“Can’t,” Steve says. “It’s in my contract.”
Tony stares into his eyes. “I will give you a thousand dollars right now if you tell me what happens.”
“I will blow you right this second.”
Steve chokes on a laugh. “It comes out early next year, you can wait until then.”
“I’m seriously considering calling them right now and offering them obscene amounts of money for them to change the contract,” Tony admits. “Steve can’t tell anyone about what happens in the comics. Except for Tony Stark.”
“I don’t think they’d go for that.”
“Worth a shot,” Tony says.
Steve’s phone vibrates in his pocket. Then when he ignores it, it vibrates three more times.
“Sorry,” Steve says, but Tony waves it off. Steve sighs when he sees several messages, all from Bucky and Sam. Or, one from Sam and several more from Bucky. Sam’s says youre lucky we were there no one would believe you otherwise. stay safe ok.
In order, Bucky’s texts say:
HOLY SHIT!!!!! HOLY SHIIIIIIT. STEVIE STEVE STEVE
ONLY IN NEW YORK. FUCKING HELL. WE SHOULD SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT CELEBRITIES IN BARS MORE OFTEN. HOLY SHIT STEVE
WEAR A CONDOM OR MAKE SURE HE WEARS ONE, YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE HE’S BEEN
“I’m clean,” Tony says.
Steve startles, clicking the screen off. “Quit lookin’ over my shoulder.”
Tony grins. “Wow, you are truly Brooklyn-bred. It’s cute,” he says when Steve starts to scowl. “Anyway. I’m clean.”
“Always a plus,” Tony says. His knee presses steadily into Steve’s. “I can bring up a form if you don’t believe me. About being clean. Signed by a health professional and everything.”
“I believe you,” Steve says, frowning slightly.
Tony relaxes from a tenseness Steve didn’t notice until now. He wonders how many people have assumed the worst from Tony to make him surprised when someone doesn’t.
Steve can’t help the small mutter of, “Shit,” that falls out when he steps out of Tony’s car. He blows out a breath, hands on his hips.
“It’s not that big,” Tony says.
“It’s a mansion,” Steve says. “It’s a literal mansion.”
“Well. Yeah. But it’s not that big, mansion-wise.”
“Oh, mansion-wise. I’m sorry, Mr. Mansion Man, I didn’t realise that it wasn’t that big when compared with other literal mansions.”
Tony is laughing when Steve finishes. “I’m drunk,” Steve sighs. “Sorry.”
“It’s cute,” Tony repeats. He calls, “Thanks, Hap,” over his shoulder. Then puts a hand on the small of Steve’s back and starts walking him up the driveway.
“This driveway is bigger than my house growing up,” Steve says. “I mean- length-wise.”
“There’s going to be a bathroom in there that’s bigger than my apartment, isn’t there.”
“Christ.” Steve leans into Tony because he’s drunk, Tony’s warm and because he can. “Hey,” he says as they step inside. “You aren’t just doing this just because I said nice things about you, right?”
Tony pauses in shucking his hoodie. Something flickers across his face, fast enough that Steve doesn’t catch it. “It might be a factor,” he says, and takes off his hoodie to reveal a worn AC/DC shirt. He steps up and up until he has Steve backed into a wall.
“But mostly, you’re sweet and funny and stubborn and stupidly hot,” he says, breath ghosting across Steve’s mouth. He rubs his lips over it, not quite a kiss.
Steve grips his waist, then makes his fingers loosen. “You’ve got strange preferences.”
“My preferences are fine,” Tony says, and kisses him. It’s warm and liquor-wet, Tony’s hands in his hair, sliding over his shoulders, his chest.
Steve hasn’t been kissed in a while, so he lets himself get lost in that for a while. But then his head starts swimming in a bad way and he has to pull back. “Could I have some water?”
“Hm?” Tony’s eyes are glazed, but snap back in focus when he blinks. “Sure. Kitchen’s this way.”
They start down a hallway, and Steve bumps Tony’s hand with his. He does it a couple more times when Tony fails to get it.
“Really,” Tony says.
Steve fixes him with a look, one eyebrow raised. “What? I like holdin’ hands.”
“Weird,” Tony says under his breath, but links their fingers together.
“You’re the one with the weird preferences,” Steve says, and squeezes his hand.
It takes a second, but Tony squeezes back.
As it turns out, Tony doesn’t just have a tap. Instead, he has an icemaking machine, complete with various different versions of ice.
“No-one needs this,” Steve says as he angles his glass under ‘crushed ice.’ He pushes the button, pushes a little too hard and gets crushed ice on the floor. “Shit.”
“It’s fine,” Tony says, and nudges it under the fridge with his shoe.
Steve looks down at them, a smile growing. “You have Hawkeye shoes?”
“What? Oh, yeah.” Tony taps one against the ground. “Hawkeye shoes.”
“I storyboarded that scene.”
“Yeah? It was a good scene.”
Steve drinks his water in gulps, taking a long breath when the glass is empty. He rinses it and puts it on the bench.
“Why rinse it?”
“You rinsed it.”
“Because that’s what you do with dishes?”
Tony crosses his arms. “It was rinsed before you rinsed it. It had water in it.”
“No, it had my mouth prints all over it.”
“How terrible for the glass,” Tony says, and leans in to kiss a grinning Steve.
They’re stumbling to the bedroom, Steve’s shirt lost somewhere in the kitchen and Tony struggling to get his Hawkeye shoes off when Steve asks how many rooms there are.
Tony continues trying to take his shoe off with the opposite foot in between kisses. “No idea,” he says.
“Haven’t you-” Steve pauses to kiss Tony’s neck, eliciting a pleased hum. “Counted them? When you went in them?”
“Haven’t been in all the rooms.”
Steve jerks out of the kiss. “You haven’t been in all the rooms in your house?”
“Mansion. And nope,” Tony says, slurred against Steve’s shoulder. He lifts his head when Steve doesn’t continue kissing his neck. “Steve?”
Counting the rooms would probably go smoother if they stop making out on a different surface in each room, but Steve likes their way more. There’s more kissing in it, and kissing Tony is the most fun he’s had in a long time.
Also, there’s a lot of things to be found in the rooms, some of which is even new to Tony.
The pool, for instance.
“Of course you have a pool,” Steve says. “Of course you have a pool that you didn’t realize was in your house.”
“Mansion,” Tony corrects, and they grin at each other.
Steve says, “So. We gonna try this out, too?”
Tony sighs, long and loud. “A wet, naked Steve? Gee, I don’t know.”
“Who says I’ll be naked?”
“My mansion, my rules.”
“Yeah? What about you?”
“What about me?”
“Do I get a wet, naked Tony?”
Tony’s expression flickers for the second time that night, but then he’s grinning again. Something about that grin bothers Steve- it’s like the smiles he was giving Steve at the start of the night.
“Sure,” Tony says. He’s undoing the string of his sweatpants when Steve comes over and puts his hands over Tony’s.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
“I want to.” He takes a hand out from under Steve’s to wipe it across his own face. “I just. There’s a, uh.”
Tony clears his throat, eyes on the tiles around their feet. “Did you hear about what happened to me in 2008?”
Oh, Steve thinks. He remembers, all right. It was back when he thought Tony was just hot instead of inspiring, before Tony came back and started revolutionizing things.
He says, “I did,” and keeps his voice steady.
“Yeah. Uh. There are scars. And something else. They might put you off.”
Tony huffs a laugh. His hands come up hesitantly, checking Steve’s face before he pulls his shirt off and drops it on the tiles.
Steve makes a noise, he knows he does, a small one in the back of his throat. He chokes it off before it can turn into anything else. “What is it?”
“Lets’ say it’s a fancy pacemaker,” Tony says with a thin smile.
“A blue, shining pacemaker that juts out of your chest?”
“A very fancy pacemaker. One of a kind.” Tony’s smile cuts off when Steve lifts his hand to touch it and Steve instantly drops his hand.
“It’s fine.” Another flimsy smile. “Enough to send you running for the hills yet?”
He doesn’t just mean the pacemaker, Steve knows. There are scars, white and puckered, obviously years old. They’re mapped out across Tony’s chest, thick near the pacemaker and then turning to tendrils the more they span out.
“Gonna have to do better than that,” Steve says, quiet but firm. Because he knows his touch isn’t welcome on the scars, he reaches down to take Tony’s hand, squeezing tightly.
This time, Tony’s laugh is more than a little uneven. “I’ve mentioned you’re weird, right? That’s a thing I’ve said?”
“You’ve mentioned it.”
“Good. Because you are.” Tony looks past Steve, towards the pool. “Hey, also. Don’t push me under or anything, okay? Really. Please.”
“Okay,” Tony says. He takes a big, jagged breath. “So, pool! Naked pool time. Get those jeans off. What’s your last name?”
“Of course it is. Get those jeans off, Rogers.”
The water, when Steve jumps in, is warm enough to be pleasant, but not enough to be uncomfortable. It’s lit from the walls, staining Steve’s eyelids with it when he closes them to swim.
He breaks the surface just as Tony slides in, treading water.
“Is that okay to be in the pool,” Steve asks.
Tony rolls his eyes. “As the man who made it, I’m offended you’d think I’d do it with such a design flaw.”
“You made it?” Steve swims closer, pushing his wet hair away from his eyes.
“Like I’d put anything in my body that I didn’t make. And yes, in answer to that question you’re trying so hard not to ask.”
“I didn’t say anything,” Steve says. He reaches out to skim a few fingers over Tony’s cheek. Since Tony hasn’t ducked under yet, it leaves streaks of water on Tony’s face. He leans in to press the taste of chlorine into Tony’s lips.
They end up playing tag, of all things. It’s just as fun as Steve remembers it being as a kid, but that might just be the company.
At one point Steve dives and turns to look over at Tony from underwater. It’s blurry and the chlorine stings his eyes, but Steve gets stuck staring at the glow of the pacemaker filtering through the water. He can’t think of anything to compare it to no matter how hard he tries.
“That’s cheating,” Tony says when he surfaces. His hair is only wet because Steve ran a hand through it earlier.
“I’m kind of tired,” Steve tells him. “Could we stop tagging and keep exploring?”
“Sure,” Tony says. “I’m pretty sure we’ve covered at least half of the rooms.”
“It’s a mansion, Steve.”
When Steve gets out of the pool, he goes over to his pants and sighs. “I don’t even remember where my shirt is.”
“Kitchen,” Tony reminds him.
“You have five hundred kitchens.”
“Slight exaggeration. What are you doing?”
Steve stops where he has one foot in a pant leg. It’s hard going, due to the water. “Putting pants on?”
“Because exploring requires pants, Tony.”
Tony leans against the wall, unabashedly bare. “Says who?”
“We can air-dry,” Tony says. When Steve gives him a dubious look, he continues: “No-one’s going to see you but me, Steve. Oh, and JARVIS.”
“My AI,” Tony says casually. “JARVIS, say hi to Steve.”
Steve moves to start covering up and jumps when a voice comes from the ceiling.
“Hello, Mr. Rogers.”
“…How does the AI know my name?”
“He heard you when you told me.”
“He’s spying on us?”
“He monitors the house.” Tony pauses. “So essentially, yes. He sees everything. What,” he says when Steve stares at him with wide eyes.
“I’m- I don’t know if I’m comfortable walking around a house- mansion- with an AI watching me the whole time. Shit, he can see us now, can’t he. He can see my dick.”
“It’s a very nice dick.”
“Thanks,” Steve says, because he might be stuck between hysterical laughter and extreme embarrassment, but his mother raised him right. “Okay. Okay. I’m gonna at least put jeans on.”
Tony shrugs. “Fair enough.”
He watches Steve as he pulls on jeans, sans boxers, gaze roving all over Steve’s body as he moves. “Are you blushing?”
“An AI saw me naked,” Steve hisses as he yanks his jeans the rest of the way up his wet legs. It’s an uphill struggle. “He saw me- doing stuff with you.”
Tony pushes off the wall. “He saw us making out. Some minor ass-grabbing. He’s seen worse, and he won’t judge you. Will you, J?”
“Of course not, Sirs.”
Tony makes a face at JARVIS calling them both Sir, but waves it off. “If it makes you feel better, I’ll have him turn off the cameras in every room we go into. How’s that?”
Tony nods. “J, you get that?”
“Commencing blackout,” JARVIS says, and then falls silent.
Steve glances towards the ceiling. “He can’t see us?”
“Nope.” Tony looks more than a little nervous about that, though he’s hiding it well. Steve wouldn’t be able to tell if it wasn’t for the tightness of Tony’s shoulders, the clench of his jaw.
“We can turn it back on,” Steve says slowly. “If you want. I have jeans on, it’s fine. I trust you not to post everything to the internet.”
Tony barks a laugh. “No, it’s fine. I get it. You don’t want a robot butler monitoring your dick.”
“Thanks, Tony.” Steve rubs a hand through his wet hair, trying to shake it dry. “So, you made an AI.”
“Don’t tell anyone.”
“Okay,” Tony says, and it sounds like I trust you. “On with exploring? I think I have a bowling alley somewhere, but I’ve never been able to find it.”
They never find the bowling alley, but they do find Tony’s workshop, and Steve spends about half an hour marvelling over Dummy and You and everything else Tony has made, even if he doesn’t get what half of them do.
It’s around three in the morning when Steve looks over at Tony and realizes the reason he’s stopped talking about his inventions is because he’s asleep, sprawled across the length of couch that Steve isn’t sitting on.
Dummy rolls over again, ball in his claw. Steve takes it and sets it on the table next to the couch, petting Dummy when he lets out a sad whine.
“Sorry, buddy,” Steve whispers. “Game’s over for the night.”
He covers Tony up with a blanket that You brings over, fitting a pillow under his head. These are both easy to get- Tony did mention he slept down here sometimes.
Then Steve has to go hunting upstairs for a blanket for himself, and after glancing through a few rooms he settles with a massively oversized beach towel. It’s his height two times over.
Tony’s still sleeping when he returns to the workshop. Steve drapes the towel over himself and leans his head on Tony’s shoulder.
A phone is ringing.
Steve reaches out to his nightstand to make it shut the hell up, groaning when his hand gropes empty air.
He forces his eyes open. For a moment he panics, flails upwards- what the hell is this place, am I on a spaceship, why are there robots oh god- but then he spots Tony standing in front of him and remembers.
“Hi,” Tony says. He’s holding Steve’s phone out to him, and he’s wearing clothes, though not the clothes from last night.
“Hi,” Steve says, and takes the phone. It’s Peggy.
“You were supposed to be at work an hour ago. Did you get arrested again?”
“What? I-” Steve winces when he brings his phone away from his ear to check the time. “Shit. I’m real sorry, I’ll be in- soon. Might take a while, I’m not in Brooklyn.”
“Well, where are you?”
“Uh.” Steve looks up at Tony. “Manhattan.”
“Why the bloody hell are you in…” Peggy trails off. “Oh, Christ. Don’t tell me those snapchats last night were real.”
“From Sam and Bucky.” Peggy’s voice is starting to get a smile in it. “The drunk, blurry ones about how you got picked up by Tony Stark at a bar.”
“They might be.”
Peggy makes a noise he didn’t know she could make. “You-? With Tony Stark- oh my god. Was it good? Of course it was good, it’s Tony Stark. You have to tell me everything.”
“We didn’t- do that,” Steve says. Tony’s expression is indecipherable in front of him.
“Then what did you do?”
“Played pool tag?”
“...Are you high, Steve?”
“When have you ever seen me high,” Steve says. “Look, I’ll be in as soon as I can.”
“Not good enough.”
“Bye, Pegs,” Steve says. She’s still protesting when he hangs up. “Hi,” he says again to Tony.
Tony continues to stand, switching from foot to foot. He isn’t wearing shoes, and his socks have kittens where each individual toe is. Steve wants to take a hundred pictures and look at them all the damn time.
“So I found your clothes,” Tony says. “But they’re not in a state to be showing up to work in them, so I got you some more clothes.”
“Uh. Thanks, but I don’t think I’ll fit your wardrobe.”
“What? No, I ordered you in some new clothes. You can keep the old ones. Obviously.” Tony hands Steve a bag from a store he’s passed a few times but has never gone into, given that the clothes are more expensive than his rent. Steve doesn’t know if he wants to look inside, and he hopes like hell Tony’s taken off the price tags.
“And there’s a car outside to take you to work, whenever you’re ready,” Tony says. He hasn’t looked at Steve since he gave him the phone. “There’s a shower up the stairs, and I ordered breakfast, probably too much breakfast since I didn’t know what you liked-”
Tony reels in a breath and keeps going. “And I’m sorry about the, uh. About falling asleep. It must have been disappointing-”
“I wasn’t disappointed,” Steve stops him. Because Tony looks like he’s going to keep babbling until his lungs give out, he stands up and puts a hand over Tony’s mouth. “I wasn’t disappointed,” he repeats. “Tony, that was the least disappointing night I’ve had in my life. And not because of the- mansion and the indoor pool and the famous person kissing me. I liked getting to know you. I like you, not just the guy on the TV who I think is hot.”
He feels like an idiot as soon as it comes out of his mouth. It’s- definitely not the best way to say it, he figures, but he’s hungover and kind of cold and very confused.
Tony stares at him. He mumbles something against Steve’s palm.
“Sorry.” Steve drops his hand. “What?”
“And inspiring,” Tony says. His hands clench in his pockets; Steve can see their outlines. “At the bar, you said I was inspiring.”
Tony nods, short and jerky. “I’ve never had someone spend the night and didn’t sleep with them.”
Honestly, Steve doesn’t know how to respond to that. “Okay,” he says, at a loss of what else he can say. “Do you want- we could do it again sometime? If you wanted?”
Tony’s eyes narrow. He tilts his head. He looks like an adorable cockatoo, especially with his bedhead sticking up like it is. Steve kind of wants to line his walls with pictures of it.
“Like a date?”
“Like a date.”
“Huh,” Tony says. “Do we get to have sex on this date?”
Steve nearly trips over the word, he says it so fast. “Absolutely.”
“Good,” Tony says. He wavers. “I mean, I’d still say yes if there wasn’t. Any sex. Still a yes.”
Steve can’t keep his smile down. God, he feels like a grade schooler again. “I’ll give you my number? We can arrange something?”
“Yeah. Yes. Good,” Tony repeats. “My phone’s- somewhere, I don’t actually know, we went into a lot of rooms last night, but just say it out loud and JARVIS will store it for when I actually find my phone. Or, when JARVIS finds my phone and tells me where to go.”
Steve says his number to the ceiling.
“He doesn’t live in the ceiling, you know.”
“His voice comes from the ceiling, so I’ll talk to the ceiling,” Steve says. Then: “I should shower.”
“Right.” Tony rocks on the balls of his feet. “And I definitely shouldn’t join you. Because you’d be even more late.”
“Right,” Steve agrees, knowing his chest is most likely blotchy from being stared at like he is now. He clears his throat. “But we could make out really quickly.”
“So quick,” Tony says, and drags him in.
They have sex in the shower. Steve has no regrets. Tony sends Steve away with a new state of the art Stark phone to give to his boss as an apology.
Steve gets a text in the elevator up to his offices. It’s from an unknown number, and gets him grinning for most of the day.
It reads: How’s Tuesday at eight?