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The Look of Love

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Steve Rogers should have been ready for anything, honestly he should have. After all, everybody who got within ten feet of Tony Stark could smell the crazy, which, like his ten-sizes-too-big charisma, rolled off him in high-voltage irresistible waves that made most men automatically say "Yes, sir!" and most women squeal like schoolgirls. The man was an organic dynamo, a lightning rod for ideas from the Great Beyond — and the more he got to play mad scientist, the happier he was. 

Which, given his intellectual brilliance and the fortune at his command, was an awful lot. 

Steve knew this full well. He'd suspected it within three and a half seconds of meeting Stark, and after he moved into Stark Tower (if you tried to call it Avengers Tower, Stark would smack you upside the head with whatever tool he happened to be holding in his hand at the moment that forbidden moniker passed your lips), he saw it amply confirmed again and again: there wasn't much that the five foot eight-and-a-half inch industrial magnate wouldn't do to keep himself amused and constantly in trouble. He was chaos on the hoof. He was a tornado. He was a living embodiment of the old curse, "may you live in interesting times". 

This, however, was beyond the pale: coming into the common room to find Stark lounging on the couch, happily watching TV… well, sort of watching TV… well, not really watching TV at all, because he was busy nuzzling the cheek of the man curled up against his left side, his arm curved possessively around the stranger's slim shoulders while he murmured something into the nearer ear with as smug a smile as Steve had ever seen on his perpetually self-satisfied face. 

The sight stopped Steve dead in his tracks, because although he'd become — grudgingly — used to seeing Stark cat around with any number of women since his breakup with Pepper Potts, he'd never seen him bring a guy home before. Consequently he had never thought about what Stark's 'type' might be when it came to other men (not that he thought about such things at all as a rule, but the twenty-first century was full of all kinds of sexual openness that had been unthinkable in his home era, so he'd become accustomed to at least contemplating the possibility of the 'types' in question), and in spite of himself he found himself taking notes: slender, pale, short platinum blond hair cut in a slightly choppy style that suggested an attempt at strict control that hadn't quite worked out, dressed in an elegant grey three-piece suit and white buttoned-down shirt, looking like he would be an inch or so taller than Stark if they were both standing up. Hearing Steve enter the room, he turned to look to his left, and Steve saw that he had intensely blue eyes and lean, sharply contoured features. 

"Good evening, Captain Rogers," the man said politely, with beautifully sculpted lips, a solemn expression — and the voice of JARVIS. 

"Hey, Cap," Tony said casually, sparing the newcomer barely a glance. "Buzz off, would you? We're kind of busy here." 

Steve found that he couldn't move. He was staring at — good God, was it JARVIS? — with his mouth hanging a little open, and —  

"Sir?" The blond man frowned at him, the tiniest tightening of finely drawn eyebrows, and inclined his head in a gesture both concerned and fussy. "Are you feeling well? Your heart rate has increased by six point six percent and your skin temperature is —" 

"He's just overcome by genius," Stark smirked, reaching up with his right hand to curve his fingers around JARVIS's chin, drawing him round to face him again. "Because damn, you are one magnificent work of art." To Steve's utter disbelief he leaned in to press a far-less-than-innocent kiss to those delicately sculpted lips, purring when the — whatever it was — responded with a little sigh, tilting its head in a gesture eloquent of silent surrender. 

Steve, frozen in the doorway, finally managed to get a word out, and the word was: "Urk!" 

Stark didn't seem inclined to hurry on Steve's account. When their lips finally parted he looked up again with a mixture of amusement, impatience, and annoyance.  

"Steve." He scowled and snapped his fingers in the air between them. "Hello? You can blink now." 

"You." He realized that he hadn't blinked, and suddenly it was all he could do, several times in rapid succession. "That's. It's…" 

"A fully functional android, sir," JARVIS supplied helpfully, turning that clear blue gaze to Steve again, "based on Life Model Decoy technology with —" 

"Don't bother," Stark interrupted with a snort. "Steve's got all the technical acumen of your average gerbil." His smile became both fierce and tender as he stroked JARVIS's jawline with his right forefinger, guiding him back around, drawing him a little closer. "Daddy's over here, baby. That's right…" And to Steve, almost as an aside, his brown eyes now holding JARVIS's azure gaze: "His attention management subroutines still need a little work." 

"A robot?"  Steve was actually proud of himself for stringing together a whole sentence. Okay, a short sentence, but it wasn't every day you walked in on your supposedly aggressively heterosexual teammate cuddling and necking with a machine. A male machine, sweet God above! His butler. A thing he had created himself

Stark's smile was nuclear in its smugness. "Gorgeous, isn't he?" He traced JARVIS's lower lip with his thumb, clearly relishing the way those too-bright eyes drifted closed. "Well, you can't have him. He's mine." Stark curved his hand around the back of the android's slender neck and drew him even closer and down a little so he could press a kiss to JARVIS's forehead, and the chaste gentleness of it was perhaps the most shocking thing that Steve had seen thus far. "I made him. You want one, go make your own." 

All the things that were wrong with that statement — heck, with this entire situation — crashed together in the middle of Steve's brain in a massive flaming pile-up… and the worst of it was that second kiss, because lust wasn't all there was to it. Lust was something he understood when it came to Tony Stark. Hell, lust was Stark's default setting, as his third kiss in front of Steve amply proved: slow, melting, burning. 

"Right," Steve managed to choke out, a furious blush burning on his cheeks. He wasn't even sure if they heard him, they appeared so totally absorbed in each other. Turning away to give them their privacy, he found himself reflecting that love sat very strangely on Stark's face… but that it was, perhaps, a look which could find an eventual home there, given time and opportunity — and the kind of patience perhaps only possessed by substances immortal, in which no heart beat and no blood flowed. 

THE END