Tony stepped up to the bar and held up two fingers. "Two Stark Specials."
While he waited he turned to the side so he could keep an eye on Steve who was, bless his heart, trying to join him but had gotten tagged by that senator from somewhere out west.
He was persistent, Tony would give him that, but Steve really wasn't interested in spending three hours of a parade in July sitting in a horse drawn wagon next to a 19 year old pioneer princess or whatever it was.
"Stark Special, huh?" a voice from behind asked him. “Sounds like a drink to try.”
He turned and gave her a quick scan. Pretty, but not reality TV ostentatious. She was stirring her swizzle stick in a glass now down to ice and traces of what was scotch if his nose didn't lie—and when it came to alcohol it didn't usually.
"You should keep enjoying the Glenlivet," he said with a nod at her glass. He turned and indicated to the bartender to refill her glass. "It's a great blend."
That and the Stark Special wasn’t a drink that could be ordered by anyone but the Tower residents. There was no reason to pretend to drink alcohol if everyone knew it was actually apple juice and Sprite.
She accepted her fresh glass as it was set on the bar next to Tony's drinks.
He thought about meeting Steve, if only to deliver the overly sugared and virginal concoction that he drank these days. It wasn't nearly what he wanted, but he wasn't going to break his streak for one party. Besides, Steve was drinking it in solidarity with him and that was the kind of sweet he couldn't disparage.
There was that bit of temptation to go offer it to Steve right now just so the senator could see it and draw the intended conclusions and make that face he always made. That was definitely worth the walk over, Tony decided.
"Thank you for the drink," the woman said, just as he reached for the glasses.
"What? Oh, yeah, sure." He flashed her his media grin, that little bit of smirk at the corner of his mouth. "There's no point in an open bar if no one's enjoying the good stuff." He winked and she laughed and toasted him with her glass.
He turned to make sure Steve hadn't moved and frowned. The senator had been given the slip, but there was no towering blond head weaving through the masses. Dammit, who had waylaid him now?
He sensed movement from over his right shoulder and turned his head just as she said quietly, "He ducked into the hallway by the palm tree with the nymphs under it. And given who followed him, I'd say your duties as wingman are officially discharged." She reached for the nearer glass in his hand and he deftly slipped out of her reach and turned in one smooth move to face her.
He hid his annoyance under his smile and said, "I know I can fly—and don't feel bad, a lot of people make this mistake—but they're, well, according to my less technologically savvy teammates, 'jet boots'. I'm not the wingman type. You're thinking of Sam Wilson. He's got actual wings and, in a supreme twist of irony, is apparently an incredible wingman in the more social sense."
She laughed, tipping back on her stool a little and he hoped she wasn't going to fall over because his hands were full and he didn't want to smell like apples for the rest of the night.
"While I'm sure Mr. Wilson has his finer points, I don't see him here." She looked him up and down as if to reaffirm that it was very convenient that he was instead.
Long practice kept Tony from sighing aloud. "Look, I don't even know your name—"
"Rachel," she said smoothly, with a smile. "Lundgren. I'm with Doxent Technologies."
"That is so incredibly special. I'm sure they're very lucky to have you in… whatever capacity—but if you know who I am and you know who he is, then I'm pretty sure you probably also know that we are not just roommates in the ‘superheroes that all live in the same Tower that, coincidentally, bears our team logo’ sense. You know, that big, ugly building with the ridiculously large A on it?"
She shrugged one shoulder and stuck the swizzle stick in her mouth, teasing the end of it with her tongue.
For the love of god.
"Yeah," she said with a small laugh and looked around the ballroom that was, of course, inside the Tower, "I think I've seen it." She slid off her stool and again moved to take one of the drinks. When Tony moved it out of the way she gave up. He refused to step back, though.
Her head tilted as she gave a tiny sigh and said, "Look, I'm not asking for a promise ring or a keycard for the elevator or even your private phone number. But you obviously don't limit yourself on what kinds of partners you like and it's just one little tumble in the sack. No muss, no fuss, a mutual orgasm or two and we go our separate ways."
Her lips curved up even higher and she said, "Hell, if you wanna invite tall, blond, and patriotic to join us I won't say no to that either." She winked. "Think the two of us together can wear down that super stamina?"
Tony blinked, and then blinked again. He didn't even know where to start. Well, except for the obvious assumption about how being bisexual apparently left him on the market, despite a steady, stable relationship of seven months.
"Hey, sorry I'm late," Steve said, a column of solid warmth at Tony's back. He hooked his chin over Tony's shoulder and slid one hand around his waist and up until it covered the arc reactor. Not that anyone could see it, but Tony could feel the gentle drum of his fingers along his ribs.
It was oddly centering and Tony took in a breath, then let it out and turned to brush a kiss on Steve's cheek.
"Hey, Captain, my Captain." Not really subtle, but Rachel here seemed to need the extra emphasis. "So are you gonna escort the prairie princess to her log cabin this year?"
Steve snorted and turned, his nose rubbing along Tony's jaw by less accident than one might think. "I don't think it's a log cabin, and no. Not this year either. Who's this?" he asked, all charm and polish and the SI PR department's fondest fantasy.
Not that they didn't know he could be even worse than Tony, but he was more often better too, so the average worked in his favor.
Plus he was Steve. Tony was pretty sure even HYDRA liked him, they just, you know, liked world domination more.
"This is Rachel," Tony obligingly introduced. She held out a hand, smiling, but had to switch when Steve offered his left, leaving his right over Tony's heart and its glowing protection.
"She's with Doxent Technologies," he continued, "and she offered to join with me in an attempt to overwhelm your 'super stamina'," he finished with a waggle of his eyebrows.
Steve's expression hardened and he straightened up, though Tony knew her proposition wasn't a surprise. Steve only got this handsy and claim-staking when someone tested that claim. Plus: super hearing.
"Ma'am," Steve said, and Tony sucked his bottom lip into his mouth to bite it as a distraction from the way a shiver crawled up his spine at that voice. God, he was so gone for this man.
"Call me Rachel," she said, though her smile was cracking a bit.
"Ma'am," Steve repeated. "I know there have been a lot of changes in the way adults interact since I was a teenager back in the thirties, but I'm pretty sure it's still rude to speculate about a stranger's sexual capabilities or proclivities. Other than that, it's a flattering offer and we're not interested. I hope you have a lovely evening," he finished with a nod.
Steve had a real gift for telling people to fuck off in the most polite ways possible. It was definitely up there on Tony's list of favorite things about him.
He leaned back against Steve's chest, grinning, and toasted Rachel Lundgren of Doxent Technologies with his drink. "Ma'am," he couldn't help saying.
Her cheeks flushed a dull red through her makeup and she took her half empty glass and left, cutting through the crowd until she vanished in the throng.
Steve freed Tony's hand of the second drink and tossed it back like it was actually the liquor it was pretending to be. He drained Tony's too and then turned and headed for the dance floor, still basically wrapped around Tony. Once they arrived, he smoothly spun Tony around without ever completely letting go. One hand stayed on his chest, the other on his waist, though those long fingers of his had a way of straying down to the curve of Tony's ass now and again.
"I should probably be more offended by that whole thing," Tony said, head bent so he could nose at Steve's lapel. The hand on his waist flexed, and he grinned and looked up from beneath his lashes. "But to be honest, I'm just not feeling it."
Steve's jaw flexed as he stared out over the crowd, possibly at Ms. Lundgren wherever she was, and then he looked down. The corner of his mouth twitched and he blew out a long breath through his nose. "I think I am for the both of us," he admitted, as much chagrin as still potent possessiveness.
"I know, and I'm not offended by that either."
Steve snorted and ducked his head to rest his forehead against Tony's as they swayed for a few minutes. Tony wanted to say a lot of things, but he knew Steve just needed to collect himself and tuck all those messy feelings back into the box in his head.
Most of them anyway.
The hand on Tony's chest finally came off, relocating to his jaw to tilt his head up for a kiss. Nothing that Pepper or the PR squad would have reason to object to tomorrow, but also not something any observers could mistake as casual or entirely chaste either.
Tony hummed and went with the flow, matching Steve's intensity and perfectly happy to remind his partner that he wasn't the only one who could feel a little possessive.
When it ended, Tony pulled back and smiled at Steve. "Feeling better?" he asked. Steve nodded and let out one final gusty breath that took the tension in his shoulders with it.
"Yeah. Thanks," he said, resettling his hands on Tony's waist and resuming their dance, such as it was.
"Oh, honey," Tony said, grin full of teeth. "You are very welcome."
Steve laughed and from there the night returned to the usual schmoozing and chatting as they made the rounds and did their duty.
And if Steve's hands never quite left Tony for the duration, well. There were certainly worse fates.