There was a hottie waiting with Tony.
Seriously. Tony prided himself on being a connoisseur of people’s looks, even though his standards weren’t very high, but damn. This guy was smoking, and provided a very good distraction from the otherwise crippling boredom of waiting outside the lacrosse locker rooms for Rhodey. Tony was leaning against the wall, the static cold of brick leeching its way under his jacket and making him shift a bit. The guy, cleverly avoiding the cold brick, was sitting on a bench facing Tony, his pen scribbling in a notebook.
“Hey,” Tony said. The guy gave him a brief look, but continued – doodling, or whatever he was doing. Certainly nothing as fun as what he could be doing, namely Tony.
Which, Tony would settle for the guy just talking to him first. Looking at him, Tony had no idea why he weren’t at lacrosse practice too – he’d fit right in, with those wide shoulders and everything and wow, who’d been keeping him from Tony?
Still shamelessly studying the guy, Tony mentally bemoaned not hanging out with Rhodey more if he were somehow connected to this guy. It wasn’t like he didn’t hang out with Rhodey a lot already, but there was a reason lacrosse practice had been happening for over three weeks and this was the first time Tony had to wait for him during it. Now he definitely had an incentive to do it more, if this was his company.
“Hey,” Tony tried again.
The guy seemed to stifle a sigh. “Hi,” he replied, giving Tony a short but not overly hostile glance. A small step for him, but a giant leap for Tony’s chances in getting laid. Or something. That kind of got away from him.
“What’re you doing?” he asked, motioning briefly to the notebook.
“Nothing,” the guy replied, short. Oh, come on. Tony’d worked with less, but he wasn’t picking for a fight here. He shrugged and went to turn away, but the smallest smile quirked the guy’s mouth, and Tony abruptly turned back around – he wasn’t giving up that easily. Give him an inch and he took a mile, and that was Tony’s life motto.
“I can see you’re doing something,” Tony said. “Are you drawing?”
“No,” the guy replied, too quickly.
Tony was gleeful. “Are you drawing me? Don’t worry, I wouldn’t be able to resist either. Actually, fun fact, I once commissioned a painting of myself just so someone would stare at me for hours. Well, no, I didn’t. But I could have. I was considering it. The painting would’ve been so handsome,” Tony said wistfully. “I could’ve hung it up above my bed and everything.” The guy gave him a look. “Okay, that would’ve been a touch too narcissistic, though. You’d hang it above your bed, wouldn’t you?” Tony asked, batting his eyelashes.
“A painting of myself?”
“No, a painting of me,” Tony said. “Although I certainly wouldn’t have said no to a painting of you, handsome.”
The guy blinked, his baby blues stunning Tony all over again, and his lips quirked like he didn’t know whether to smile or not. Tony didn’t get a punch in the face, so he took that as a green light. “Anyway,” he continued, “where are you from?”
The guy’s lips twitched into a smile at that, and Tony high-fived himself, if a little confused as to why. “Brooklyn,” he said.
“Brooklyn?” Tony was surprised. “I didn’t know they made things like you in Brooklyn.” He tried to remember what other people he knew from Brooklyn, but could only vaguely recall some scrappy kid and a girl he’d met at a party one time.
“Apparently they do,” the guy said, and okay, Tony could get behind this. A side of snark with his order of extra hot was always appreciated.
“Brooklyn’s alright,” Tony offered vaguely. “Have you – are you new?”
“No,” the guy. “No, I’ve gone here a while.”
“Oh, really,” Tony said, leaning forward. He took note of how the guy didn’t lean back - much, anyway. “How the hell did I miss you?”
The guy shrugged. “Guess you just did.”
“Well,” Tony said cheerfully. “I’d introduce myself, but…”
“No, I know who you are,” the guy said.
“Good,” Tony said happily, because it was. “Who’re you waiting for?”
“Uhm, James,” the guy said.
“Funny, me too.” The guy wasn’t waiting for Rhodey – he sure as hell hoped he wasn’t waiting for Rhodey, or Rhodey would have a lot of explaining to do – so it had to be Barnes, which Tony could vaguely recall being called James. Or Jared? No, probably James. “So hey, are you busy later?”
“Am I – what?” the guy almost stammered, which made Tony frown. It took two to flirt, and he hadn’t thought he was being delusional about the mutual interest here – at least, not until that point. Looking the guy over, though, Tony could see that he was more tense than he should be, but not so closed off Tony dropped the idea completely – contrary to popular belief, Pepper, Tony could take a hint. Usually.
“Yeah, you know. Coffe or,” Tony made air quotes, “’coffee’. I’m up for either. Hoping for the latter, but…“ his words drifted off slightly and he looked at the guy, who still seemed a bit shellshocked and – was he blushing? Tony had to have him, honestly.
“I, uh, I—”
“Tony!” That was Rhodey, exiting the locker rooms with his bag slung over his shoulder. Next to him was Barnes, wet hair flopping unattractively on his forehead – good for him, Tony thought maybe a little too viciously. Barnes and he hadn’t always seen eye to eye, and Tony took his petty victories where he could find them. Barnes raised a hand, and the guy raised a hand back.
Hey, Tony was right, it was Barnes.
Wait, what? Steve?
Tony looked at the guy, mentally going over all the other Steves he knew. Steve his Spanish tutor that had gotten fired for sleeping with him, Steve the emo barista at Starbucks – no, no, all of those were wrong, until he remembered a scrappy Steve Rogers from Brooklyn that used to wait with him outside the locker rooms.
Motherfucker, Tony thought, and then repeated him out loud. The guy was now giving him a sheepish half-smile. “Steve, you—of course you’re that Steve, you, what, why didn’t you tell me?” Tony was aware that he was whining, a little bit, but he’d just treated a guy he’d actually known for a while as a complete stranger and then hit on him.
Oh God, and Steve Rogers had helped him sober up that one time at Charles’s, Tony’d just treated a guy who’d had to clean vomit off his shoes because of him as a complete stranger and then hit on him.
“Wow,” Rhodey commented as he came closer. “Not bad, Steve,” he said over his shoulder, “I don’t ever think I’ve seen him like this.” He waved a hand in front of Tony’s face, and Tony batted it away, giving him an annoyed look. “I’d ask what you did, but I kind of don’t want to know.”
“He didn’t do anything,” Tony grumbled. Barnes had come to a stop beside Steve, who’d risen from his spot on the bench and was giving him a half-armed hug. Rude.
“Well, let’s get going, then,” Rhodey said, not so subtly pushing at Tony when he continued glaring at Steve and Barnes, hugging like old friends. Which they were, Tony now knew. The world was being completely unfair to him right now, how was he supposed to know Steve was going to turn out like that? “Tones, c’mon, Pepper will be waiting.”
“Okay, okay,” Tony said, and shouted back at Steve, “hey you, coffee’s still happening, even if you are a lying liar who lies!”
“At least I don’t just forget who people are,” Steve shouted back, he and Barnes already walking in the other direction.
“Most people don’t go from looking like that to looking like that,” and Tony had to stop and put his hands around his mouth to make sure Steve heard him. “It’s completely unfair!”
Steve shrugged, but Tony could see his smile even from sixty feet away.
“Coffee!” Tony shouted again, and it looked like Steve might be nodding. Oh well, he’d take it. He turned back to Rhodey, who was looking at him with raised eyebrows. “Oh, don’t even start,” he said. “If you say anything I’ll start a rumor you slept with a dude.”
“Nothing wrong with that,” Rhodey sing-songed, but he just punched Tony in the shoulder – which hurt a bit more than it should have, Rhodey could be so passive-aggressive – and opened the door to Tony’s car. “You drive, I want to savor this moment.”
Tony made a face at him, and drove extra fast to Dunkin’ Donuts, where Pepper was waiting. If Rhodey was looking a bit faint around the edges when he exited, it definitely wasn’t Tony’s fault.