In hindsight, Tony supposes it wasn’t the ideal way to confess. It wasn’t his intention to hurt Steve, not really. But now he can see how his note would be considered hurtful, taken out of context. So much for being a genius.
It all started with a new kid. New kids weren’t usually that big of a deal. Someone moved or had a rough time where they came from, they were shy the first few days, but sooner or later they would find friends and settle in.
So yeah, it was no big deal. People gossiped about a new guy, the girls were all wondering if he was cute, most of the boys were indifferent, some might wonder if he would be an ass but if they did, they didn’t say anything. Tony was just talking to Bruce about the new project coming up. Bruce was his preferred partner in science and biology, they were “Science Bros” as Tony had dubbed them.
Then Steve Rogers promptly entered Tony’s life. And hello~ gorgeous. Tony’s eyes roamed Steve’s form as he shyly introduced himself to the class. He took in sculpted legs, a relatively thin waist, a muscular chest, broad shoulders, a strong jaw, kissable lips, blonde hair, until he finally met a pair of blue eyes. It was then he realized that the blue eyes were staring back.
One’s first reaction to being caught ogling would usually include blushing and hastily looking away. Not Tony, because Tony was nothing if not good at flirting. So he threw Steve a wink and enjoyed his reaction. How cute, Tony mused to himself, he’s probably a virgin too.
Okay, Tony’s intentions might have been less than pure in the start. That was fine though. It was how Tony mostly did things. By spotting, flirting, hitting, ditching, and repeating. The repeat being with a new person of course. It was how Tony rolled and, even if Pepper and Rhodey never approved, it was how he would continue to roll.
But then Steve had to fuck it all up. Steve with his perfect ass, perfect smile, perfect everything! Tony Stark does not fall in love. Tony Stark definitely does not pine like a desperate girl. And Tony Stark has never written, and will never write, a love letter!
At least not until Steve Fucking Rogers. It wasn’t even his idea. It was Clint’s. Of course it was Clint’s, only he could come up with something as stupid as a love letter. But as the days passed, and Tony only found himself falling more for Steve everyday, he couldn’t come up with anything better.
Jesus Christ, he couldn’t even talk to the guy! Every time he tried, his mind would go blank, which was formerly unheard of because Tony never stopped thinking. His tongue would twist and in the end he would utter something idiotic or mean and make a run for it. By now Steve either hated him or thought him to be insane. Neither helped Tony’s case.
So Tony finally caved in and wrote a love letter.
No, that sounded girly. Way too Dear John-ish
No, that sounded impersonal.
That just sounded rude. Tony sighed, this was harder than he imagined. Perhaps he should just write the main part first? In a project you write the body first, then the conclusion and then the introduction.
Tony grinned to himself, he could do this.
This might sound weird, but I’m kinda in love with you
Was that too plain? Perhaps Steve would like it better if it sounded poetic? Chicks dig poetry, maybe Steve does too?
I am mesmerized by your stunning looks and have found myself head over heels for you
Did that sound like he was just interested in his body? He should probably write about his personality too. Tony groaned, but where to start?! Steve was freaking perfect in every way. He was nice to everyone, probably helped old ladies over the street and saved puppies from fires and heroic things like that. Everyone liked Steve, which could be infuriating if it wasn’t so understandable why. But how could Tony express his feeling with words? Tony wasn’t good with words. Tony was good with numbers and logic, things that made sense.
He sighed and crumpled up the paper, tossing it in the trashcan. Stupid Steve, things were so much easier before he came. Sure, Tony’s life wasn’t perfect (like Steve fucking Rogers), but it was manageable. He had a bunch of awesome friends, someone to share his bed with if he wanted and his up-and-coming AI, JARVIS. If only Steve would disappear, then everything could go back to normal.
Tony grinned. He’d had a couple of drinks by now, because no way he was doing this sober, and wasn’t quite thinking straight. But genius had hit him and he found a new piece of paper. Writing down a single sentence in messy scrawl, Tony folded up the note (precisely, because even intoxicated Tony’s hands were steady) and thought nothing more of it.
Next day Tony had deliberately not thought about the note. If he did, he’d just chicken out of it. So he went to school as always, dropping the note on Steve’s desk at break. Because Steve was a good student, who always came to class early, and Tony was slightly hungover and had taken his sweet time to arrive. He wasn’t late, but he barely had time to sit down before the bell rang.
Tony knew Steve wouldn’t find the note before they all came back from lunch. It suited him just fine. As much as he wanted to see Steve’s reaction, he didn’t want any time to reconsider.
However, the reaction he got wasn’t what he’d imagined. He had thought Steve would either be confused, irritated or perhaps just brush it off completely. He hadn’t expected Steve to get up and storm out of the class, ignoring Ms. Hill’s objections.
It only took a moment for Tony to bolt up too, running after Steve. He hadn’t thought it through, none of it. But Tony didn’t think the note, while not exactly sweet, would hurt Steve. Not enough for him to run away. Stupid, he cursed himself, how could he be so stupid. He should’ve never listened to Clint. If he’d just had the guts to tell Steve he liked him from the start, none of this would’ve happened. Now he might have lost his chance, if he ever had one.
It didn’t take long for Tony to find Steve. Everyone was in class, so the hallways were empty. Steve had slumped over in a corner between the lockers, away from classrooms.
Shit. He was crying.
Tony halted, unsure of how to approach Steve. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck! Panic constricted his chest, making his heart race and adrenalin pumped through his system. Even so, Tony slowed down and took a deep breath. He had to do this carefully, do it right.
Steve visibly startled, wide eyes meeting Tony’s before he hung his head again. Wiping the tears hastily, Steve faced Tony with a forced smile. “Hey Tony.”
Tony shuffled awkwardly. He didn’t know what to do, what to say. If it had been Rhodey or Pepper or even Bruce he was sure they would know. But Tony wasn’t them, he didn’t know. Why did feelings have to be so god damn complicated!
“Are you um- no of course not, I just- fuck! I’m sorry Steve.” Tony fumbled with his words. Nevertheless, the apology came out sincere. Steve just looked confused at him.
“What for? It’s not like you did anything.” Shit, Steve didn’t know it was him. How should he tell him? How could he?! Oh yeah, that mean letter that made you run out of class crying was me trying to confess my undying love for you. I didn’t mean to make you cry, I’m just emotionally constipated, forgive me? Yeah, because if that didn’t make him run for the hills, he might take Steve to see some sort of shrink.
“I tried so hard Tony. I thought moving here would make everything better, but apparently not and I don’t know what I did wrong! Is there something wrong with me?” Steve sounded really distressed and Tony had absolutely no idea of what he was talking about or how to fix it. All he could do was latch onto the bit he actually understood.
“Of course there’s nothing wrong with you! But I’m gonna have to be honest with you here Steve, nothing of what you said there made any sort of sense.” Tony winced and mentally cursed himself. There he went again, being rude to Steve. Even he knew that wasn’t how you comforted people.
Steve flashed a bitter smile. “Someone put this on my desk. I guess I sort of overreacted but I just couldn’t handle everything starting again!”
Tony bit his lip nervously, in Steve’s hand was his own hastily scribbled note.
get out of my school
“Steve I don’t-” Tony started, trying to explain himself, to apologize. But Steve cut him off.
“I did everything! I thought things were better after I started working out. I’m sick anymore, isn't small anymore after I hit my growth spurt. I even moved schools to get a new start. I don’t know what to do Tony!” The tears were back and Tony finally figured out what Steve was talking about. He used to be bullied. Shit, Steve thought he was being bullied. By Tony!
“Steve you don’t understand, it’s not.. I wrote that note.”
Tony watched in silent horror as Steve’s face just fell. And dammit, no twenty year old should ever be able to pout without looking ridiculous.
“But.. I thought we were friends.” Tony’s inside just did a flip, because friends? When had that happened? All Tony ever did around Steve was stutter stupid shit and run away from him. Okay, there was that one time Steve entered Tony’s ‘workshop’ (AKA the lab he had hugged for himself) but Tony had just rambled scientific mumbo jumbo Steve didn’t seem to understand.
Fuck, Steve is leaving. Tony instinctively reaches out to grab his wrist. This time he doesn’t waste time overthinking everything. The only thought in his head is to hell with it before he does what he’s been longing to do the whole time. He kisses Steve.
It’s not perfect, the angle is awkward because Tony is short and has to stand on his toes to reach Steve at all. It takes a little while for Steve to ease out of the rigged surprise he had entered and kiss Tony back which, woah! Is completely unexpected, sure he had hoped Steve would participate but more than not he had been expecting him to deck Tony right then and there.
Steve’s hands are big and warm on Tony’s hips and the kiss turns more heated when he leans down and starts nibbling Tony’s lip. It’s the best damn kiss Tony’s ever had and all to soon it’s over. Steve is blinking down at him dazedly but he’s smiling and Steve’s smile could revive the dead and stop wars.
It’s then someone clears their throat behind them and oh yeah, class. Ms. Hill is raising an eyebrow at them, arms crossed, looking unimpressed. “If you two have solved your issues you might be ready to join us again.” It’s not a question.
Steve and Tony exchange a look. So yeah, Tony has some explaining to do, but he’s pretty sure Steve knows how he feels now, it can wait. Tony’s head is full of ways to apologize to Steve, ideas ranging from buying art supplies or building something awesome to some very interesting scenarios that are not suited for a PG 13 rating.