Actions

Work Header

I'm Your Nickelodeon

Chapter Text

Drop a nickel in, give me a try,
turn my crank, I'm your kinda guy.
You'll want to catch my number again and again;
I'm your nickelodeon.

"I'm sorry Captain Rogers," said Jarvis, sounding like he meant it, "but Sir has instructed me to say that he is busy working."

"He's organizing a socket set," Steve growled, pointing through the glass wall. "I can see him right there."

Jarvis went on, unruffled. "And as Sir is not to be disturbed, I am to hold all his calls and messages, including and especially, visitors."

Steve sighed, and rubbed at his face with one hand, the toe of his boot rattling an untouched take away bag. "And is he instructing you to hold his meals as well?" It wasn't fair, he knew; Jarvis was as close to human as a machine could be, but he really couldn't do what his creator expressly forbade him to do, which meant that when Tony was being utterly, pig-headedly stupid about something that was completely trivial and meant nothing whatsoever, Jarvis had no choice but to be his enabler.

"I have informed Sir of your previous food deliveries," Jarvis replied, a little chillier now. "He has preferred to consume chlorophyll and protein powder shakes instead."

'*Because he doesn't have to look DUM-E in the eye and try not to blush while he's drinking his grass-clippings and whey.*' But Steve kept that thought behind his teeth – he'd offended Jarvis enough already. Instead he gave another sigh, glanced at Tony – or the half of him that was now sticking out from under the roadster, anyway – and bent to collect some of the bags and dishes. "Jarvis could you let Tony know that I'm here and I'd like to talk to him at least?"

"I'm afraid that's not possible, Captain."

Steve looked up, surprised to find Jarvis that uncooperative, but then he noted the proliferation of dirty cups, the chaos of tools all scattered within arm's reach, the bots all moping in their charging stations, and he had to smile. "He muted you in the workshop, didn't he?"

"I have override capacity in case of emergencies..." Steve knew he didn't imagine the hopeful, canny note that crept into Jarvis' voice then. And he was tempted. Technically he could claim that clearing the air after the awkward moment they'd had back on the Helicarrier was of genuine importance for the team's function. He could also invoke the ghost of SHIELD Medical, and the minor head wound Tony had taken in that battle, but never got checked out properly. He could even invoke the post-mission debriefing that Tony had missed when he bolted out of the locker room showers, leapt back into his armor and ran for home at top speed. But none of those were actual emergencies, and Steve didn't like the idea of getting Jarvis into trouble over what still amounted to nothing.

So instead, he just took up the pile of dishes and headed back to the elevator. "No, it's nothing like that," he said as the doors slid open. "It's just... well, did he tell you about what happened at all? After the battle, I mean?"

"He did not, Captain," Jarvis replied, and now he sounded frankly curious. "Though his reactive behavior leads me to believe that whatever public embarrassment happened on the Helicarrier, it did not involve the press, Ms. Potts, SHEILD regulations, the World Security Council, or an argument with yourself."

Steve chuckled and shook his head. "Nope, I wouldn't call that an argument by any stretch." The elevator opened on the team's shared kitchen, sink already running, trash compactor bumped open in blatant invitation.

"I walked in on him masturbating in the shower," Steve said once he'd made sure the room was empty of any other Avengers.

Jarvis was silent for a long moment. Then, once Steve had finished scraping the dishes and moved to the sink, he asked, "And... was that all?"

"Yeah," Steve answered, half amused, half perplexed. "He must've been distracted when I came in and started up my own shower, because he didn't notice I was there till, um... afterward." He put the dishes into the machine and dried his hands, trying not to blush at the memory. "And I didn't notice what he was doin' until he started getting a little... um... enthusiastic about it."

"Ah."

Steve rubbed his neck, glad he didn't need to go into any details. "Yeah. 'Ah'. I know the team likes to joke, but I was in the Army for Pete's sake! A thousand or more fellas in camp all sharing the same showers; a half a dozen enlisted men to a tent, and it took higher rank than mine to rate your own place. Out in the field, there was even less privacy. So I've seen and heard worse and weirder than one man enjoying the company of his own right hand. I never let it bother me before, and it sure didn't bother me last night... or this morning, I guess it was." He sighed and turned to lean on the counter. "But Tony's..." he waved a hand in the general direction of the Workshop/foxhole/hermit cave, "And he won't even give me the chance to tell him that it's just not a big deal."

"What's not a big deal?" Clint breezed into the room at full stride, bold as brass in purple boxers and a t-shirt with a shooting target printed in a rather ill-advised spot over the belly.

"Jacking off after a battle," Steve sighed. Clint could be relentless when he thought someone was being evasive. "Sometimes you just need to dump some excess adrenaline, right?" He pointedly blocked Clint's grab for the coffeemaker, pulled a mug from the cupboard, and poured it full for him. "I'm sure we all do it."

"Sure," Clint shrugged, reaching over the full mug to take the carafe anyway. "Sometimes I rub one out before going into the field, just to take the edge off, you know?" He took a slug straight from the pot, and grinned at Steve's reproachful glare.

"You know someone else might want some of that," Steve said, folding his arms over his chest.

"Not anymore they don't," Natasha said, gliding in to take up the mug Steve had poured, and propping her hip against the counter, so close Steve could smell the spicy scent of her sweat beneath her workout gear. "Is there a reason we're talking about sex in the kitchen?"

"Well, we're actually talking about Tony in his workshop," Steve corrected, because there was a difference between having seen it all, and recounting the gory details to his teammates later, and despite being a soldier, he still liked to think of himself as a gentleman. "I doubt much sex happens there. What?" he asked as Clint snorted coffee through his nose and Natasha snickered. "You've got to be kidding, the state he keeps that place in? It'd hardly be safe, let alone sanitary!"

"I believe the term 'sanitary' is rarely applicable when one is discussing Sir's sexual proclivities, Captain Rogers," Jarvis put in primly as Clint coughed harder and ducked away from Steve's attempts to slap his back.

"And 'safe' is arguable too," Natasha agreed. "Look at his You Tube tag."

Steve winced and shook his head. "No thanks. Once was enough."

"In Sir's defense, approximately 73% of those videos are significantly altered, if not outright fakes," Jarvis put in loyally. "And of the remainder, 89% are clips taken from the victory party of the United States' Soccer Team at the Summer Olympics of-"

"My point!" Steve cut in hastily. "The one I was making here, was that if Tony Stark can get up to that kind of thing without a flinch, and leave comments on the posters' websites critiquing their editing style, then there's no goddamned reason why he should go all bashful over a little masturbation!" It was only when the ringing silence descended afterward, and he found both Clint and Natasha staring at him with raised eyebrows that Steve realized he'd been shouting.

And there went his blush again, damn it. He grabbed an apple from the bowl on the counter, and bit it before his darned mouth could get him into any more trouble.

"I had just been consulting with Captain Rogers as to the best way to open a dialogue on the subject, given Sir's current state of-"

"Mania?" Natasha supplied, arch and sweet.

"Up-fuckery?" Clint offered at the same moment.

"Guys..."

"Self-absorption? Obsessive avoidance?"

"Epic fucking tantrum?"

"Seriously, it's not-"

"What's Tony done now?" Asked Bruce from the doorway, pale and weary in his pajamas, his pillow-crazed hair still streaked with plaster dust from the battle of the night before.

"Well aside from ditching the debriefing as well as the medical check after the fight last night, I'm not sure," Clint said cheerfully, offering the half-full carafe to Bruce. "We're wringing the story out of Cap now, but it apparently involves masturbation."

"Huh," Bruce replied, and took a long, thoughtful slug of coffee from the carafe. Then he cut a glance Steve's way. "Just Tony masturbating or..."

Steve groaned and put his hand over his face. "Yes!," he said through his teeth. "Tony was jacking off in the shower. I saw him, he saw me, and he's been hiding in his workshop for something like eighteen hours now, with Jarvis locked out, his phone turned off, and all the override codes disabled, and it's utterly ridiculous, because he's a goddamn adult, and so am I, and I don't damn well care what he does with his own privates! Damn it!"

And he was shouting again. Wonderful. Steve bit the apple and chewed savagely, glaring at the digital readout on the stove, and trying not to see how his team were giving each other significant looks behind his back.

"Yeah, so less than convinced about the not-caring part, Cap," Clint observed as Bruce handed him back the carafe.

"Oh, for Pete's sake-"

"What Clint is failing to say," Natasha cut short Steve's attempt to storm out of the kitchen with a small, solid hand on his elbow, "is that maybe the problem is that you don't care about it."

He took a bracing breath. "Tony's always complaining that I'm too judgmental," he said, level and calm and utterly, completely rational. "And now he's mad at me because he wanted me to condemn him?"

"Whoosh..." said Clint, and sliced a hand through the air over his head.

"He doesn't want you to condemn him, Steve," Bruce said, coming near to pat his other arm with grubby hands. "From the sound of it, he didn't particularly expect you to be watching him get off at all. But I do think he was hoping that you would care."

Steve stared at him, waiting. He knew how this kind of thing went; first the setup, (he looked at Clint, who was staring back with obvious impatience, but no particular malice,) then the reeling in, lining the patsy up just right, (Natasha was watching him with frank, expectant eyes, not a tickle of amusement curling her lips,) and then, with perfect timing, the punchline. (Bruce's eyes were gently hopeful, faintly pleading, and his smile was nothing but kindness.)

Steve closed his eyes after counting twenty heartbeats, and blew out a breath he probably shouldn't have been holding. "You think he has a crush on me." He didn't bother making it a question. Apparently it wasn't one to anybody else.

"Ding ding ding!" Clint cried, clapping his hands. "Give that man the giant fluffy unicorn!"

"Clint..." The synchronicity of Natasha and Bruce saying it in precise unison and identical warning tones might have been eerie, if Steve hadn't been more interested in hiding behind his palm again.

"What? The penny's dropped!" Clint bounded over the counter with a showman's grin, keeping well out Steve's reach as he went to the bar and began to rummage for tequila. "The curse of UST is broken, the Man Pain banished, the sleepers awake, and I say this calls for a fucking celebration now: who wants pizza and margarita shooters?"

"Nobody does pizza with margarita shooters, and we are NOT watching Farscape, Barton," Bruce said following the archer into the lounge and dropping into the easy chair.

"I vote for drag queens," Natasha put in, hopping off the countertop without letting go of Steve's arm, and drawing him to the sofa. "Jarvis, we have something good with drag queens in it, right?"

"I believe I have just the thing, Agent Romanov," Jarvis replied as the television flickered to life and the video menu scrolled quickly by. And Steve, who always knew how to pick his battles, even if sometimes he threw that knowledge out with the bathwater, settled back into the sofa, accepted a coke and a bowl of popcorn, and allowed himself to be temporarily distracted.

"So am I supposed to know who this Wong Foo fella is?" he asked as the opening credits began to play.

~*~

"There is a delivery for you, Sir." Jarvis' voice was gentle and his tone low, but it still startled Tony bolt upright over his workbench, wide eyed, half-hard and with a name on his lips.

"Ste - ill holding calls," he yelped, flinching as a steel washer fell off his cheek and chimed on the floor. "And packages. Front desk, Jarvis. Tell them to sign for me." He adjusted himself carefully and wished yet again that he'd grabbed sweatpants instead of jeans when he'd come down here (calmly, rationally, and without any chicken-shit evasion whatsoever, thank you,) three days ago. The zipper was beginning to chafe.

"I'm sorry Sir, but the courier is from Ms. Potts, and says he has instructions to put it into no one's hands but your own. He's outside the workshop now."

"Wait, what?" Tony dropped his hand from his crotch and turned to look. Sure enough, there was a bike messenger in spandex, tats, and a soul patch, peering through the glass with way much curiosity for someone who made a living with his thighs. He was going to have a serious talk with that woman about her damned security breaches, Tony decided as he scrubbed at his face, dislodging two screws and a bit of wire that had apparently got stuck to his cheek while he was sleeping (not passed out, sleeping. And NOT dreaming mortifyingly hot things about his big blond inappropriate attachment problem either, thanks.)

Tony grabbed his mug, hoping the cold, dark liquid inside it was coffee, or at least was caffeinated. "Tell Pepper that I-"

"Ms. Potts is en route to Madrid at present," Jarvis interrupted, no distant shred of mercy to be found in his tone. "Her phone is turned off, but it appears she has recorded an automated response to any calls from you..."

"Well that's just-"

Jarvis played the message, volume loud enough to drown his complaint. "Tony damn it, I told you I don't have time to run Stark International, and field Avengers business too!" Tony flinched again as Pepper's most ironclad annoyed-voice filled his workshop with echoes. "This is your problem, and I expect you to handle it. Now man up and sign Jacob's invoice because this conference in Madrid stands to get us a solid foothold in the EU, and if you make me leave early to come home and clean up even twelve percent of your superhero drama, I will personally take pleasure in making sure you regret it."

"I regret it already," Tony mumbled to his palms as Pepper's rant cut abruptly off into ringing silence. He took a drink of the cold, greasy coffee, and had to spit out another screw that had been lurking in the bottom of the cup. But hey -- it did wonders for that pesky erection he'd been trying to ignore out of existence since it had gotten him in trouble on Monday.

The workshop intercom buzzed. "Um, so are you gonna sign for this, or what?" The kid called in the tone of one who didn't care much about his tips. "I got other deliveries to make today."

Tony glared at him. "Captain Rogers can sign for it," he said, waving vaguely upwards. "Jarvis will show you to-"

"The Captain is not in the tower at present," Jarvis cut in.

"Doesn't matter," the kid said. "I don't get you to sign for it, I can't let anybody take it anyhow."

"You're gonna try and play keep-away with Captain America?" Tony grinned, all double-dog dare. "This, I gotta see."

"Whatever dude," he said, dropping the little package back into his bag with an iconic eyeroll. And as immediately appealing as it would be to let the problem just go away on its own, there was Pep's wrath to consider, as well as the bigger problem of his own curiosity. 'Avengers business' could mean anything in Pepper language, from insurance paperwork to death threats from a new big bad, and if he let Jacob the Bike Messenger walk away with them, Tony knew he'd be chasing the little creep down in the street to get them back.

"All right," he sighed, getting his feet under him in a scramble of socket wrench heads. "Jarvis, buzz the little visigoth in."

"This way please, Mr. Jensen," Jarvis said, and unlocked the door.

"Dude," the kid flinched, "where'd that... There's nobody else-"

"The computer is your friend, trust the computer, " Tony interrupted, sweeping aside a jumble of carburetor components, a disassembled toaster, three repulsor gauntlets and a pile of shop-vac attachments. "There. Put it down right there. No, not on that crate, Jesus, can't you see the explosives warning? Put it here. Yeah, and the clipboard too. Just put it down and don't touch anything. Fine, now just..." he ignored the kid's white-eyed rubbernecking, scribbled on the receipt, and shoved the clipboard back into his hands. "Look, I don't have any cash on me," he said as he grabbed the small package with one hand and chivvied the kid back out into the hallway with the other, "So just tell Jarvis what your PayPal is, and he'll see about your tip, okay? Great."

"You want me to give your household Skynet my banking data," Jacob the Bike Messenger replied with an entirely unjustified eyebrow. "Yeah, cause there's no way that could possibly go wrong. Later, Mr. Hughes. Been a pleasure." Tellingly, the sarcastic little shit headed for the stairs instead of the elevator, but Tony figured if he was dumb enough to insult both him and his AI and still imagine that neither of them could get to him anywhere in the building, then he deserved the best payback Jarvis' programming parameters allowed.

Which was quite a lot, when Pepper and Cap weren't around, actually.

Feeling strangely comforted by the encounter, Tony turned his attention to the problem at hand. The package offered no clues at all; brown paper wrapped, Pepper's corporate address hand-written in blue felt-tip pen, half covered by the computer printed correction the courier agency slapped onto it. Tony knew the thing wouldn't have made it past the sniffers in the lobby if it contained anything dangerous, but it still seemed to sit heavy, potent and ominous in his hand. Like whatever the box contained, be it threat, plan, design, virus, or manifesto, could change the whole world...

"Oh for fuck's sake," he grumbled to himself and clawed the damned thing open. A thumbdrive fell out of the remnants, clattering shiny and blue on the grease stained floor, and Tony said it again. "Oh, for fuck's sake! Seriously? What, do villains not understand the meaning of the word 'genius' anymore?"

But even as he spoke, Tony pulled out one of his isolation tablets and keyed it on. Whatever surprises the sender had loaded onto the mysterious 'Avengers Business' thumb drive, it wouldn't be going any farther than the screen in Tony's hands, no matter how aggressive its payload.

There were two files on the thing, and after running his heaviest diagnostics and malware scrubbers over them, they still refused to reveal themselves as anything other than what they seemed; a video file, and a bare-bones viewer. Which meant it could be fan mail. Or an extortion attempt. Or a manifesto. Or... oh hell, a challenge to honorable single combat with rubber chickens at fifty paces. There was only one way to find out, really. He picked at the coding for a few minutes, and uptweaked the viewer's resolution capacity and buffering, because there was only so much patience he had on the tail end of a three-day creation binge. Then he settled back and punched 'play.'

The video started with a black screen, thudding, rhythmic impacts in a space that rang with echoes, and the chuff of heavy breathing so close, so loud it practically felt damp on Tony's cheek. (Though that could have been the sweaty welts where the screws had been stuck, too.) Tony had just about decided to write the whole thing off for a very elaborate uptick on the old 'heavy breathing crank call' when the screen went from black, to a blur of colors that gradually congealed into shape and movement...

And became Cap, flushed and gorgeous and gleaming with sweat as he ran up the Tower's central staircase. The camera appeared to be the main security web, zoomed in tight and panning lightly in place to follow him around the rising spiral, and damn, was that ever some fine picture quality going on there.

Tony sat back in his chair and propped the tablet on a broken repulsor boot. Cap was dressed for his morning jog, sweatpants clinging to his hips, his tight, wet shirt clinging to him everywhere else, and even from two floors down, the camera could catch the happy gleam in those blue eyes as he pushed himself up to the -- Tony peered, then whistled through his teeth – 73rd floor.

"Damn, Cap," he murmured, "You got something against elevators?"

Then, as if in response, Steve's voice cut over the ambient sound of his ascent, measured and even, clearly recorded later. "You're not the only one who laughs at me for this, Tony. People don't realize it, but I hear their comments when I run on the street, or when I use the gymnasium at SHIELD." He chuckled, and Tony squirmed in his seat a little. "I've heard all the speculations about it; displaced aggression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, self-medicating the PTSD everyone assumes I must be hiding. One of the head shrinkers at Shield even asked if I was afraid the serum would fail me if I stopped exercising every day..."

Steve's tone was light, rich with amusement, but also layered with something more, something that snuck through Tony' half-panicked realization that Steve had jumped through some pretty goddamned elaborate hoops to get Tony watching this, and that could very well turn out to be a worse thing than the 'We Should Talk' he'd been sure was coming from the moment he lit out of the Helicarrier on Monday. There was a subtle, sneaky kind of dare in that familiar voice, and it kept Tony's hand neatly away from the 'stop' button despite his wariness.

"Fact is, I just love how it feels; to push my body and feel it respond." On the screen, Steve had stopped at the top landing and bent over, hands braced on his knees, his broad back working and flexing with each breath as if great, invisible wings were anchored there. "I love feeling my blood rise, my muscles working smooth, my heart pounding and pounding never skipping a beat."

He bent further then, straightened his knees, and slapped both palms on the cement either side of his running shoes. The wet nylon shirt tugged up over flushed skin, and through that skin Tony could see the bones of Steve's lower spine ridged out like pearls beneath the thick bed of muscle. "Best of all, I love the air filling my lungs all the way down over and over again, and never stitching up on me..." Then he swung upright again, and those thick-corded arms came up, fingers lacing over his head as Steve tipped back and gave the watching camera a blue-eyed double-dog-dare of a grin. "Only one thing feels better than that."

And then he bent backwards from the waist -- just arched out long and strong and fucking improbable over empty space, so that there was no fucking way Tony could miss the goddamned erection that was tenting out the front of those sweatpants. Especially when, without straightening up, Steve brought both his hands down and goddamn well rubbed the monster right through the cloth!

"Jesus..." Tony wheezed, mesmerized as Steve's fingers made the length and girth all too clear for a couple strokes. Then the Steve on the screen stood upright again – all rippling abs and flexing thighs, and dear sweet mother of chrome but that man was a work of art. Tony realized that his own prick was very eagerly interested in the proceedings, and also being quietly strangled in the pinch of his jeans. "Jesus, fuck!" he growled, wrenching open his flies to grasp after some relief.

"Too bad you didn't put any cameras in the showers, Tony," Steve said – no, he fucking purred. "We coulda talked about how much I like that other thing too. Fun to watch, yeah, but more fun in practice, isn't it?" He shot the stairwell camera a jaunty salute and reached for the door, and there the picture froze, warped, and scrambled abruptly into static.

Tony was on his feet in a second, typing fast and futile commands into the tablet, but it was no good. The video, once played, had eaten itself in a spiteful flurry of code that there was simply no way Captain Analog had written. That was more Romanov's style, though Tony's beleaguered dignity groaned and writhed at the idea of her being in on the utter heat-death of his self-respect where not-crushing-on-his-straight-teammate was concerned. Then again, maybe Rogers wasn't quite so straight as all that. Maybe. Probably. Tony really needed to see that video again to decide.

But it was no good; the video file and even its player were corrupted beyond rescue now – a useless ooze of ones and zeroes, sloshing about the thumbdrive and firewalled tablet like so much melted Popsicle. And damned if Tony wouldn't still have stolen a lick, if he thought no one would see.

"Fine," he decided, kicking his chair away. "Fine. It is on, old man. Jarvis!"

"Sir?"

"First, I want it known that I am choosing to overlook your obvious complicity in this little setup."

"Magnanimous as ever, Sir."

"Damn straight. Second, where the fuck is Steve right goddamned now?"

"Captain Rogers does not appear to be in the Tower at present, Sir," Jarvis answered, his voice shaded over with just that much coy amusement as Tony scowled. "But from the itinerary he had discussed before leaving with Agents Romanov and Barton, I surmise he will return in approximately fourty minutes, allowing for traffic." The workshop door disengaged its locks with a pointed click. "Might I recommend a shower in the meantime?"

Tony laughed, too punchy, too giddy, too horny with glee to keep it in. "You sayin' I stink, J?" He sassed, tucking his turgid prick out of harm's way and tugging his t shirt low enough to hide his still-opened fly.

"Lacking a nose, Sir, I would not presume. However the filtration system data does suggest that the workshop atmosphere has known fresher days."

"Right," he grinned back. "Well, send a message to Ms. Interfering Potts; tell her I'm activating The Avengers Exception, and also challenging her co-conspirator to a duel."

"I can already imagine her shock, Sir." Any drier, and Jarvis' voice would have cracked.

"Psht. It's her own fault for plotting against me with Captain Sasspants," he replied, his brain already swirling with possibilities, his belly still pooling with lust. "She should be glad I'm not sending her documentation. Now activate the security cameras in the master bathroom for me, and route all those feeds directly to my tablet. I feel a burst of creativity coming on..."

~*~

Two days later, Steve looked up from his newspaper and coffee to see Tony sauntering into the kitchen like nothing had ever happened. Like he'd never even noticed the video Steve had made for him, which Steve would have known he'd watched even if Jarvis hadn't ratted Tony out, purely on the evidence of the video of Tony's shower that he'd found playing on his apartment television when he and Clint and Natasha had got back from their meeting with Fury. An endless loop of soap and skin and slick, shiny, very naked Tony playing over and over and over again, but always cutting short of the... end.

Which, Steve had to admit, was probably fair play. Natasha had been amused, at least, and she'd left him on his own to figure out how to get the darned thing to quit playing so he could get some sleep, too. Jarvis had been helpful there, at least.

"Morning Cap," Tony said, all easy cheer as he breezed through to the coffeemaker and poured himself a cup. "Sleep okay?" So they were going for 'Cleared Air, Nothing To Discuss Here' then. Which Steve could definitely do -- he'd had plenty of practice at that with Bucky and his girlfriends back in the day. And it sure put paid to the team's silly idea that Tony was carrying any sort of torch -- that reply video had been all dare, without a single trace of genuine invitation. Exactly the sort of thing someone would send when he didn't want to give the other fella the last word.

Which was fine, really; Steve could do the 'Friends Who Give Each Other a Hard Time' thing too -- probably better for the team that way too, when you got right down to it. But he'd never been one to give the other fella the last word either, had he? A reply in kind was practically required of him at this point.

"Yeah. Haven't slept so well since I was frozen," Steve smirked and turned the page, pretending not to notice Tony choking on his first sip. "You doing okay?"

"Yep!" he chirped back, perhaps trying just a little harder than normal. "Ship shape and Bristol fashion, and all that jazz. Why, shouldn't I be?"

Steve nodded and took another drink. "Oh, sure, it's just you know, last I saw of you, you were looking a little..." he waved a hand, pursed his lips as if he was searching for a polite way of saying it, but secretly he was just drawing out the impish grin that was lighting up in Tony's eyes. "Hard-pressed..."

Sure enough, Tony belted out a laugh, and his grin turned straight into a leer. "Oh, I've been pressed harder," he purred. "Why, I didn't shock you, did I?"

His cheeks were heating up, and so Steve let a smile slip shyly out of cover. "Maybe a little."

And that made Tony outright crow. "What, didn't folks get up to those kinds of shenanigans back in the day?" he asked, right-footed and confident at last.

Steve almost felt sorry for him. Almost. "No, we did that kind of thing and more," he answered, finishing his coffee and folding up his paper, "It's just in my day we knew better than to use soap for it."

He stood, tucked his paper under his arm, and clapped a sympathetic hand on Tony's shoulder. "I gotta say, even with the serum's healing factor, I wouldn't wanna get that much shower gel in a place that sensitive." He leaned close to murmur, close enough to feel the pulse of heat rising into Tony's cheek, to smell the product he's slicked into his hair, to put out his tongue, if he'd chosen to, and sneak a taste of the sweat just popping out on Tony's temple. "You must be itching like crazy now."

He gave himself precisely one second to enjoy the stunned look that flitted across Tony's face, the convulsive swallow, the blink of disbelief. Then Steve gave the genius a bracing shoulder slap, and heading back to his own apartment, an idea for his own video reply already forming up nicely in his mind.

The last word was one thing, but Steve knew Tony well enough to realize that their merry little war was far from over. His enhanced hearing gave him one final gift however – encouragement, appreciation, or maybe fair warning in the form of Tony's low, breathy murmur as the elevator doors closed between them.

"Oh Captain, you have no idea..."