Steve turned to smile automatically at the latest person Nick Fury was introducing him to. And then the smile dropped as the near likeness of Howard appeared before him.
“And this is Tony Stark,” Fury practically hissed, glaring at Ho- Tony.
“Are you related to Howard?” Steve asked as he held out his hand, because he had to know. He couldn’t not know, not with what most would consider a ghost, but that which Steve found so much more real than anything he’d seen yet, right there.
The man, Tony, looked at the hand, and then back up at Steve without holding out his own. “My father,” he said shortly, before turning to Fury. “The jet you ordered is on standby, though I’m afraid the team must have misread the instructions for the coloring.”
Fury’s eyebrow twitched. “Stark…”
Tony shrugged. “I’m sure you won’t mind a bright red and gold jet, would you? I hear that color theme is in this year. Wonder why?” And then, with a wave and not even another glance at Steve, he was gone.
And Steve was intrigued.
The next time Steve met Tony, the man was encased in a suit of armor and suddenly he understood what the red and gold crack was referring to.
The large thing terrorizing Times Square had been grappling with the Norse God, Thor, when Steve had jumped into the fray. With one swipe of its arm, Steve had found himself flying backwards, the air rushing past him in the promise of a painful landing.
He hit something hard, but much sooner than he would have expected from the height he was at. Then the landing moved and the sound of soft jets reached Steve’s hearing and he looked over his shoulder to find that some sort of robotic humanoid had caught him.
“Why hello there, Cap,” the metal suit said and though the voice was slightly distorted, it was still unmistakable.
Of course, Iron Man.
Steve stopped Tony as he started to lower them to the ground. “Launch me at the back of its head.”
Tony had, without question. And without even being told what Steve was planning, he’d even followed through, blasting at the monster thing’s other side with a bright laser as Steve wrenched his shield through the back of its neck.
In the end, it was a flaming arrow through one of the thing’s eyes that finally made it fall, but Steve and Tony had worked together as easily as Steve and Bucky ever had.
That thought was enough to have Steve going for alcohol that could no longer get him drunk. Then again, he thought that he would soon learn that Tony Stark was nothing if not a man who defied normality.
The third time Steve met Tony, it was a Tony that was unsteady on his feet, possibly drunk, and definitely horny.
“Captain,” Tony said, only the barest hint of a slur in his voice. His eyes drifted up and down Steve’s body, lewd in their sudden appraisal of his sweat-soaked shirt and workout pants. “Looking good there.”
Steve shrugged. “I like the gym,” he said plainly as Tony stepped forward and lifted a hand as if to touch him.
Then he slouched against the wall, looking suddenly weak in the knees. Steve approached him, tapping him on his shoulder, only to have Tony collapse completely.
Shaking his head, too used to dealing with comrades who’d drunk just a bit too much at the bars, knowing Steve would always get them back to their bunks, he adjusted himself and lifted Tony up.
He didn’t know where the man’s room was, so he wandered to the main lounge area and placed the unconscious man on the couch, checking his pulse to make sure it was steady and then brushing fingers over the glowing machine in his chest.
“You’re going to have a hell of a hangover in the morning,” Steve told those closed eyes. He left easily.
After the third time Steve found an excuse to make his way to Tony’s lab, he figured he was being pretty obvious. Tony, even by the seventh time, didn’t seem to notice.
JARVIS, the voice in the air, or in the technology as it were, always made sure to greet him with a diagnosis of Tony’s current state and Steve quickly learned that he had an ally in the AI.
Step by step, Steve worked his way into being a constant in Tony’s life. As Captain America and Iron Man, they were an unbeatable team, but as Steve and Tony they were still awkward, jilted in their conversation.
Steve figured it was only a matter of time until the point of no return.
It was nearly two months after that very first hello when it finally happened. The Avengers had just finished a meeting with Fury and Steve and Tony had ended up alone as the others broke off to their various activities. Walking down the hall towards the living quarters, Tony had stopped suddenly and turned on Steve.
“Am I ever going to get to see you smile at me?” Tony asked, obviously frustrated. “I’m not a bad person.” At Steve’s eyebrow, he amended, “I’m not a good person per-say, but I’m not bad.”
And this, this was something Steve hadn’t expected but after it had been said he realized that it was exactly the problem. Obviously somewhere along the ways Tony had seen Steve’s disappointment and his irritation and turned it into anger at Tony, when in reality Steve had ached so hard to help the lost soul who’d called to him from minute one.
But he couldn’t say it like that. With Tony, there were only a couple of ways to go about it.
“You had me at hello.” Steve smiled, and then smiled wider as Tony’s eyes widened. “You lost me at the leer.”
“Oh,” Tony said.
Steve shrugged. “It may have upset my delicate sensibilities.”
Tony stared, and then slowly he began to laugh. “Fury has you pegged all wrong, doesn’t he?”
Steve blinked, trying to look innocent. “Who, me?”
“Fooling SHIELD, Golden Boy?” Tony chortled. “You know, that might even be too sexy for me to handle.”
“Oh, I doubt it,” Steve said. “You can handle me all you want.”
Tony froze. “Really?”
“Yes, Tony,” Steve sighed, bringing his hand to wrap around the back of Tony’s neck and hauling him closer. “Just one thing-”
Tony kissed him, sloppy, almost needy, like he couldn’t really believe it. Steve let him lead for a moment and then took control back and turned the kiss a bit more gentle, and a whole lot hotter. Tony whined against him, hands grabbing at his shirt.
“Wait,” Steve said, pulling back.
“Yes, yes, whatever it is,” Tony said. “Whatever you want… you want to wait, I can wait. We can get married, I’ll never fuck anyone else again, just keep with the kissing, okay? Come on, your fucking gorgeous, you have the ethics of a saint, you’re Captain America-”
“Don’t call me Captain,” Steve said.
“Huh?” Tony blinked. “That’s it?”
“Yeah,” Steve nodded. “That’s it.” He paused. “If you want to get married before we have sex, I can do that too.”
“Oh no,” Tony shook his head vehemently. “Sex now, now is good. Your room’s just there down the hall, right? Let’s go check it out.”
Steve stifled a laugh before he didn’t think Tony would appreciate it and then bent down, swooped Tony up, and began to walk steadily towards his quarters.
“This is payback for all the times I carry you on missions, right?” Tony complained, though not actually trying to move out of Steve’s arms. “Just because you can’t fly doesn’t mean you can just pick me up whenever you want to.”
“Sure, Tony,” Steve agreed, unwillingly to remind the man that he’d, more than once, had to carry Tony when he was drunk, hurt, or otherwise incapacitated.
By Tony’s sigh, he knew exactly what Steve was thinking. “You know,” he said softly as Steve finally reached his room and lowered Tony back to his feet. “You had me before you even said a word.”
“Hmm?” Steve asked, pulling at Tony’s shirt. The man slipped out of it easily.
“You were just standing there,” Tony continued. “Smiling and shaking hands with all of those agents and wannabe heroes and then you turned to me with that same goddamn smile… and like every single one of them I just-”
“Tony,” Steve interrupted. “It’s okay.”
Tony looked at him with wide eyes and then his shoulder relaxed and he gave Steve a smile that stole his breath. “Okay,” he agreed.
“Okay,” Steve repeated. “Let’s try this again.” He held out his hand. “My name is Steve.”
“Hello, Steve,” Tony said, shaking his hand in a firm grip. “I’m Tony. I don’t suppose you're in for a quick fuck?”
“No,” Steve shook his head. “Nothing about us will be quick.”
Tony’s pupils dilated and he swallowed dryly. “Hell ye-”
Steve kissed him, because he figured that was the fastest way to shut Tony up. And then continued to kiss him, because he could, because he wanted to, because Tony wanted to, because it was, more than fast planes and flashing signs and colored movies, absolutely real.