Tony had thought that becoming a college professor meant that he essentially had given up on his career. Turns out, he was wrong. His classroom was huge, seats lined up like an arena in front of his desk, a giant whiteboard covering most of the wall. The first time he had stepped into the classroom, all doubts had just kind of faded away. The smell of old books had still been in the air, window cleaner and something that he couldn’t even describe. The right wall had several windows, showing the courtyard and the trees. He could almost see the students sitting under them, letting the sunlight shine on their books, earphones playing some trendy music. It was weird how Tony immediately liked it.
The dean had told him that the room was basically his, and if he wanted something changed they could get it done. Tony definitely didn’t think that it was standard procedure, that maybe they were just happy to have a physics teacher that would actually draw in a crowd for once. Pepper had been in charge of Stark Industries for several years now, and it hadn’t really taken long before Tony had become bored. He wasn’t exactly the guy to spend his free time playing golf or picking up new hobbies. Maybe he had lost some credit in the world of fame, not as much of an insane scientist to spice up the red carpets. Still, the nerds of the world seemed to have some sort of crush on him that they just couldn’t let go of. He was an idol to them, someone that they could strive to become. College would be a breeze.
Tony ran a hand over the old chestnut desk and looked around the room once again. This would be his new future.
Steve was pissed. A month into the semester and nearly half of his students had dropped his class for no apparent reason. He was actually more than a little pissed - people took his history class just because of him. They couldn’t give one fuck about history. Natasha listened to him moan and complain about his missing students.
“Tony Stark is teaching at the same time as you. Your students will probably come back when they get bored of physics.
“ What?” Steve looked up at her. “Stark is teaching? ”
“How could you possibly have missed this? Didn’t you used to have a huge cru-”
“That bastard.” Said Steve, angry. “He’s stealing all my students!”
“He’s a good teacher,” Natasha shrugged.
“Did you go to his class?” Steve asked, and Natasha shrugged once again.
“I was curious. People kept talking about how amazing he was, and I wanted to know for sure.”
“ Traitor ,” said Steve with venom in his voice. “How interesting can physics possibly be?”
Steve decided to check the class out one day. It was an afternoon class and Steve was free and had nothing better to do - he wasn’t actually interested. Just wanted to know what all the buzz was about, that’s all. Of course, he was late. The class was in a completely different building that Steve had been to once, and the classroom seemed to be nowhere to be found. Just as he was about to give up, Tony came from around a corner and ran straight into Steve. Steve fell to the floor and Tony dropped some papers.
“Shit.” he cursed. “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay.” Steve said. “I mean, a little bit douchey to not look where you’re going, but you know.” He said, and Tony let out a small chuckle. He reached out a hand to help Steve up, and then started to gather the papers that he had dropped.
“I’m Tony,” Tony said.
“Yeah, I figured.” Steve said, “I’m Steve. I have no idea where anything in this building is.”
“I noticed, you looked a little bit lost there. Need help finding something?”
“Uh, your classroom actually. People keep dropping out of my history class to go to yours instead. I got curious after a while.”
“Really?” Tony frowned. “People are more interested in me than they are in history. I’m shocked.”
“Hey, history is awesome. And they’re not having a class about you, it’s physics.”
“My extreme fame probably helps a little,” Tony smirked.
“Such a douche,” Steve smiled.
“Time for class though, I guess.” Tony said, and they started walking towards the classroom. Steve dropped to the absolute back of the room, while Tony opened his laptop to set up a presentation.
Steve hated that it was a good class. Somehow Tony managed to make Steve interested in the subject. Tony made his students laugh, and clearly made an effort to remember who they were, kept inside jokes and explained things well in order to keep the confusion minimal - and he mostly succeeded. Steve hated it. He waited until the students had walked out from the classroom - after asking Tony endless questions about anything other than the class. He was smiling in joy, and didn’t seem annoyed even when the question got a little bit personal. He was a master of sneaking himself out of answering the question without the person even noticing. Years of practice , Steve thought to himself. Being in the spotlight had to have made Tony a master of these things.
“So,” Tony said once they were alone. “Thoughts?” There was a look in his eyes, like he was fully prepared for Steve’s praise.
“I hate it.” Steve said with a flat voice, and saw the budding smile on Tony’s face fall. “You’re a really good teacher, and I fully understand why people keep dropping history.”
“Aha,” Tony’s smile grew right back, “So I’m the best teacher you’ve ever had then?”
“I didn’t say that,” Steve replied.
“You didn’t not say that,” Tony smirked and Steve really wanted to hate him.
“How was school today?” Bruce asked Tony when he walked into the apartment. Bruce had his nose buried in a book, the TV playing some news report in the background on a low volume.
“I wish you wouldn’t say that every time I come over.” Tony groaned.
“Are your classes still all full?”
“I have a waitlist.” Tony replied. “Why are people so interested in fucking physics all of a sudden?”
“I think it might have something to do with the fact that you are teaching the class.”
“Hm, really?” Tony asked sarcastically. “It feels like half of the people are just there to hear me speak. Most of the students who actually want to learn something can’t because they’ve been waitlisted.”
“That sucks.” Bruce said, completely uninterested.
“Apparently a bunch of people are dropping history, too.” Tony sighed. “This tiny fucking kid told me when I bumped into him on my way to class.”
“Can’t believe people aren’t interested in history.” Bruce said and met Tony’s eyes for the first time since he had walked in.
“That’s exactly what I said.” Tony mumbled. “He seemed so mad about it too.”
“Maybe he has the hots for the teacher.” Bruce suggested. “Would suck if the class got cancelled just because people are dropping it like that.”
“Not everyone is in love with their teacher, you know,” Tony rolled his eyes.
“Tell that to my boyfriend.” Bruce smirked. Because yeah, that’s how he had met Clint. The stupid kid had spotted Bruce during his last semester, and had immediately signed up for biochem. He had flirted like crazy during office hours after class, and their entire relationship had been an insane waiting game over how long it would take Clint to fail the class so that they could finally hook up. He ended up not failing, and Bruce had complained about it for the entire year. Once Clint had graduated the two of them had basically jumped into the nearest empty room to hook up, before Clint could even return his robe.
“Fuck off,” said Tony. “I bet the history teacher is like, a hundred years old. He’s probably only a professor because he has lived through it.”
“You’re so petty.” Bruce groaned.
“You know, dating a student is a little bit creepy.” Tony said after about half a second of silence. Sure, Clint wasn’t a student anymore , and the two of them were only separated by a few years in age.
“Oh come on, now you’re just trying to start an argument.” Bruce said, and Tony groaned loudly and frustratingly.
“I have nothing else to do! All my lessons are planned and I have no other interests. I’m bored."
“You’re an idiot,” Bruce shut his book and walked away to the kitchen. “Call Pepper if you wanna get yelled at,”
“Bruce, she’ll murder me.” Tony grumbled, mostly to himself but Bruce chuckled from the kitchen.
“So, how was it?” Natasha asked Steve.
“Jesus christ, how do you do that?” She’d walked into his office, silent as a fucking assassin. “Come on, you have to admit he’s a good teacher,”
“He is. And he’s going to end up stealing all of my students.” Steve groaned. “I hate that he’s nice, too.”
“What do you mean?”
“At the end of the class he just stood there? Answering questions from students who clearly were only there because he’s Tony Stark , and not because they actually care about physics.”
“It’s like Barton all over again,” Natasha sighed.
“He did eventually become interested in biochem, you know.” Steve said, and Natasha just gave him A Look.
“Yeah, I bet he’s gonna make a real career out of it.” She snorted.
“Tony shouldn’t be good at teaching, though. He should be terrible at it.”
“What, just because the papers have constantly said that he’s a piece of shit? We all know better than to trust gossip like that.”
“I wish you weren’t a good person.”
“We both know that it’s better for the world if I’m nice,” Natasha smirked, and Steve didn’t doubt her for a second. In another life she would’ve probably ended up being in charge of the mafia.
Steve wasn’t in his class the next week, and Tony didn’t want to know why he was a little bit sad. So what, a student who decided to crash his class didn’t show up? It’s not like he was really shocked. Steve wasn’t exactly the only student who had done so. Tony’s classes running along pretty smoothly, even though he sometimes had to dumb things down to make sure that everyone was keeping up with him. He did have a tendency to drift off subject, but he had started to catch himself before he got too far into a story. The students seemed to like him, and even though a pretty neat chunk had dropped his class since last week, Tony couldn’t really be too upset about it - he wasn’t exactly losing the geniuses of the school, mainly just the more creative students who had gotten curious.
He did, however bump into Steve in the late afternoon as he was walking out of the teachers lounge, and Tony was about to walk in.
“You’re, uh, here?” Tony said, curiously. He wasn’t sure if students were allowed in there, and if he should yell at Steve. He was pretty sure Steve shouldn’t be hanging with teachers.
“Yeah, I know I’m not supposed to be in today, but Natasha needed me to help something.”
“Really? She’s having some sort of Russian emergency?”
“Ha ha.” Steve said with a flat voice. “She wanted me to look over her lesson plan. Some of her students from last year had complained that she went way too fast, and they couldn’t keep up. She wanted me to make sure that it made sense.”
“I had no idea you were allowed to help with that,” Tony said with a frown.
“If course I can,” Steve smiled. “Every teacher needs help at some point, right? Plus, who’s gonna stop Natasha from doing anything ever?”
“That’s true, she is absolutely terrifying.” Tony agreed.
“She’s a pretty good friend to have lying around. Like a get-out-of-jail card when you fuck something up.”
“I guess that’s true.” Tony said. “Always good to have someone around that can hike up your grade when you need it, right?”
“I guess so,” Steve smiled, but he looked a little bit confused.
“I didn’t see you in class today, by the way.” Tony added right before Steve was going to walk away, and immediately regretting the way he sounded like a clingy teacher - which he was pretty sure wasn’t even a real thing.
“Yeah, I had some papers to look over, I also remembered that physics isn’t exactly my thing.”
“Oh.” Tony was disappointed in a way that he didn’t want to think about.
“Some people have returned to my history class though, and they keep trying to quote you in arguments. And also, people have started trying to argue in a class about history.”
“Well, then I’ve succeeded in making history interesting,”
“No,” Steve smiled. “You’ve succeeded in making me like physics even less.”
“Hope I didn’t make you hate the teacher,” Tony smirked.
“Impossible,” Steve said before walking off, and the smile on Tony’s face lasted until Bruce asked what the fuck was wrong with him and Tony realized he didn’t have a good answer.
The thing is that everything would’ve been okay if they just didn’t keep fucking bumping into each other. Tony had definitely had inappropriate crushes before, but this one took the rule-breaking getting suspended cake. He had turned his life around, was trying to be some sort of respected person, had broken up with his stupid youth that had been full of mistakes that were very similar to this one. But Steve kept dropping in during office hours. Asked Tony if he was still liking teaching, tell some boring stories about history and whatever the fuck sort of shenanigans that Natasha had been up to in her class. So far Tony had heard about three students dropping tears because of her, but he had to admit that her teaching was effective. Most of her students could probably survive in Russia after one semester, and would be fluent after the second one. By this point though, Tony had definitely realized that Steve didn’t have a crush on his creepy teacher, but that he was just a giant fucking nerd.
Bruce mocked Tony whenever he could, and Tony couldn’t really even blame him - he had been teasing Bruce for months, and this was just payback.
Steve flirted, too, and it was painfully subtle to the point that Tony could almost pretend that it was just in his head. Almost . Steve also asked questions about the things he kept on his office desk, the small robot prototypes and ‘the fancy blue lightbulb’, as Steve had called it. Tony had figured out that Steve was probably an art major - sometimes the clothes he wore would have tiny spots of paint, barely noticeable unless you were some sort of creep like Tony. He’d smile when Tony said something weird in an attempt to make him laugh, and never stopped Tony from talking when he drifted off subject and went on a rant about the aerodynamics of whatever. Tony hated him, and hated himself even more because he didn’t really hate Steve. It was all complicated.
“I don’t think he like-likes me.” Steve told Natasha over a cup of tea in his office. It was way after hours and he was stuck grading essay, sighing loudly whenever he had to read through ones that was obviously bullshitted together at the last minute.
“What?” Natasha said, completely distracted. She was going through assignments from her own class, and occasionally made smug comments over how her students were actually putting effort into their work. Steve didn’t really dare to add that they risked getting yelled at by an angry Russian if they didn’t spend hours slaving over assignments, but it was something that was pretty much unspoken.
“Tony,” Steve said, and frowned. “We’ve been talking a lot lately, and I don’t know if I’m just really shit at flirting or if he’s just very oblivious but-”
“Oh please, Tony Stark could definitely spot someone hitting on him for miles .”
“Thanks, it really comforts me knowing that he definitely knows that I’m hitting on him, but he just can’t be fucked to tell me that he’s not interesting.”
“What can I say, nobody wants to fuck a history teacher,” Natasha shrugged and grabbed the red pen from Steve’s desk and started making aggressive notes. “And I’m not trying to comfort you.”
“Thank god, because you were doing a pretty shit job.” Natasha rolled her eyes.
Steve couldn’t stop thinking about it though, because at times it really seemed as if Tony was interested, there’d be some look in his eyes and a smile growing on his face before it abruptly stopped, as if Tony was keeping it from ever becoming fully formed. It was weird, but Steve had just assumed that Tony was like that in real life. The idea of him just being a massive jerkbag was becoming - annoyingly - more and more likely, and Steve fucking loathed it.
“You know he’s gay, right?” Clint said one day, walking into Tony’s empty classroom, casual as ever.
“Why are you here?” Tony asked, a question that wasn't too unusual for him to say to Clint.
“I’m trying to lure Bruce out for lunch - it’s impossible, by the way.” Clint shrugged loosely. “But you know that right?”
“That Bruce is gay? That he’s way too much of a workaholic? Yes Clint, I know that.” Tony rolled his eyes and turned around to wipe off the messy text on the whiteboard.
“No,” Clint rolled his eyes too, and leaned up against a desk. “Steve.”
“Why would I want, or ever need , to know that?” Tony asked with furrowed brows.
“Because you have a crush on him, maybe?” Clint suggested.
“Tony, please. Anyone could spot your giant boner for him from miles away.” And Tony froze a little bit because jesus he actually liked his job and wanted to keep it, thank you very much,”
“I mean, he’s at least bi. He and Sam dated for a bit last year,” Clint shrugged, casual as ever.”
“Wait, Wilson the psychology teacher?” Tony frowned. He had only met the guy a few times, but he always seemed to have enough energy for everyone in the entire school, and if Tony had to guess a million times he would’ve never thought he was a psych teacher. Him and Steve though? They probably worked pretty well together, which made Tony a little bit bitter to think about, but how the hell didn’t Sam get fired right on the spot?
“I’m not entirely sure why they broke up, but they’re still pretty good friends.”
"Is that allowed?” Tony asked Clint after taking a few second to think about it.
“Of course it is,” Clint frowned, “I mean, some people were all like, why the fuck but eventually they came around.” Tony stared at him.
“Why are you being so weird about this?” Clint squinted his eyes at Tony, as if he was trying to read his mind - and he was probably doing a pretty shit job at it. It felt as if they were having two entirely different conversations.
“It’s a little bit weird. You and Bruce didn’t dare to make a move on each other until you had graduated.”
“Tony, he would’ve gotten fired for sure.” Clint deadpanned, and Tony understood roughly nothing. “Whatever. Just make a fucking move already, asshole.”
So, the entire ‘Steve having a bit of a hard-on for teachers’ thing had been on Tony’s mind for days. He had suddenly started to notice Steve’s every move, how he leaned forward in conversations to show that he really was interested in whatever he was saying, eyes shining whenever he happened to bump into Tony during the day. It was awful, and terrible and Tony hated it.
The bad part of Tony’s brain kept thinking that if it was really that obvious and nobody had called him out on it yet, how terrible would it be for Tony to just lean into it? The rational part of Tony, however, was telling him to stay as far away as possible, and possibly move to another country and change his identity and Tony just ended up somewhere in between - he kept talking to Steve, like the massive idiot he was, as if he knew nothing at all.
One day, Steve was in Tony’s classroom after he’d had the last class of the day - because of course Steve knew where Tony was at what time, because Tony hated himself. Steve was sitting on the table that the true nerds tended to sit by - it had the best view of the board, and was optimal for both seeing and hearing Tony. He was watching Tony clean off the board yet again, asking random question about what all the numbers actually meant, and pretended to be genuinely interested in the tangent that Tony went off on about magnetism and Einstein - Steve was definitely not keeping up with Tony’s rushed words. And then he asked Tony out. Specifically,
“Hey, there’s a pizza place a few blocks away from school, if you feel like grabbing dinner with me.”
“Uh, yeah, I guess. I just have some things I need to finish up here,” Tony had smiled at Steve, and gone to gather some papers when he seemed happy with the cleanliness of the board.
“I mean, kinda like a date?” Steve had smiled nervously, his entire body looking like the definition of fight-or-flight, but that wasn’t exactly unusual.
“What the fuck? What’s actually wrong with you?” Had been Tony’s exact words when what Steve had said sunk in. “No, I don’t- that’s fucking… I can’t do that? Why would you think that I would?” Because maybe Steve would’ve just suggested a quick one-night stand, because that’s usually what people requested from Tony - a number of students had already asked him, but a pretty hefty majority of them had just done it as a joke. At least, Tony hoped. He gathered his breath, mind and concentration away from full blown insanity.
“No. I don’t want to go on a date with you.”
“I just thought-” Steve started to say,
“Well, you were wrong.” Tony interrupted.
“Sorry, I guess.” Steve mumbled, silent in shame. He walked out of the room with a slumped posture, and with silent steps.
It took a full ten minutes for Tony to gather himself enough to focus on anything other than his raging panic and internal screaming. And maybe a few just to suppress the glimmer of regret.
Bruce, for once, was actually sympathetic, and Clint was confused but he stayed out of the way so it didn’t really matter. Having a terrible attraction to some forbidden person had been pretty sweet when he didn’t actually think that said person would ever make a move, but now that entire thing was blown to shit. Bruce had brought him ice cream, and Clint had suggested they should watch Dirty Dancing because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? Bruce had sighed loudly and Clint had snickered and walked into their bedroom to do something that Tony probably didn’t want to know.
They ended up watching Star Wars instead. Tony hadn’t been head over heels in love with the guy or anything. He’d get over it.
“So,” Natasha said, and Steve wanted to punch her a little bit, even though it wasn’t really her fault.
“Why must you encourage me to make decisions that will just fill me with regret?” Steve asked her.
“I guess it didn’t go too well?” Natasha asked. Steve had had a few hours to calm down a little bit, and clearly now he was all relaxed, pacing back and forth in Natasha’s apartment as she was casually flipping through a book.
“He pretty much implied that he would rather jump off a cliff.”
“Come on, I’m sure that he didn’t-”
“He literally asked what the fuck was wrong with me.”
“Ouch,” Natasha said with as much sympathy that she could muster, which was a surprising impressive amount. “That’s a dick move.”
“You know what’s the worst though? I actually thought that he was better than that. That teaching had made him a little bit of a better person, or that he just wasn’t the person to yell at a guy for asking him out. But fuck me, I was wrong.” Steve slumped down in the couch next to Natasha, and she threw part of her blanket over him.
“Should I talk to him?” She said as she slammed her book shut at sat it down next to her.
“Oh my god, no.”
“Why?” Natasha asked with genuine confusion.
“It’d be like asking my mom to yell at someone for not inviting me to their 6th birthday party.”
“Except the party is in his pants.”
“I hate you so much.” Steve told her with a blank stare, and Natasha sighed loudly and leaned back in the couch.
“Hey, Steve.” She said after a few seconds of silence.
“Yeah,” Steve said, knowing that whatever she said would probably end up annoyingly sympathetic.
“Tony is really goddamn stupid,” she said and rested her head on his shoulder.
“Yeah,” Steve sighed, and wanted to hate the other man.
Tony spent the entire Friday complaining loudly to the point where Bruce refused to let him back in his apartment, which left Tony all alone in his giant house for the weekend. Still, it was nice to see his workshop again, and locking himself in the loud room and hurting his hands on metal for a few - or like, 30 - hours could probably heal all his wounds, except for the ones that the workshopping caused. The music rang loudly in his head, blocking any thoughts except for the ones about the project ahead of him. Dum-E and U had both been moved to the apartment, and it was the first time ever that Tony missed having them fuck up his projects. He wanted someone to complain at, even if they were just emotionless bots.
Jarvis alerted him when the thought that Tony had been awake for too long, and Tony did a pretty damn good job of ignoring him. He canceled his Monday classes, letting Bruce cover them, because he usually had his Mondays off and Tony was still a little pissed about being locked out. Clint helped Tony feel sad once he had let him back into the apartment, but eventually got bored.
“Why are you so mad about him asking you out? I thought you liked him.”
“Because it’s not allowed. ” Tony said with a ‘duh’ tone.
“Dude, we’re not in the 1920’s anymore, the gay thing isn’t exactly an issue. What, you’re worried that some gossip magazine will found out and make it into a huge thing? I honestly thought you cared less than that.”
“It’s not the gay thing,” Tony sighed. “Plus, I’m think they already know that I’m so sexually fluid that I’m basically a puddle. Pretty sure I made that obvious during my I’ll-fuck-everyone-who-wants-to phase in my mid-twenties.”
“Very true.” Clint nodded, “So. You now have no excuse for why the fuck you completely shut him down like that.” Tony looked at him with disgust.
“I’m not going to date a student.” Tony said, and Clint looked confused as ever. “Look, I know the reputation that I have gotten across my many years of being alive, but I still have some morals lying around, and I draw the line here. Sure, he’s not my student, but I’m pretty sure it’s still very much frowned upon. If that would get out, I would get fucking murdered by everyone. Pepper would yell at me for days, Rhodey would probably murder me a little bit. Jarvis would definitely yell at me as if I had broken the law - which I’m pretty sure it’s at least against the school rules, so he wouldn’t be wrong,”
Clint blinked at Tony a few times before bursting into laugh.
“What the fuck?” He managed to get out, actual tears forming in the corners of his eyes. He snorted and laughed even more, saw Tony’s confused expression and practically screamed of joy.
“I can only ask you the same thing,” Tony said when Clint had calmed down a very little bit.
“Dude, he’s not a student, oh my god.” Clint wiped away a few tears, and then burst out laughing again when he saw Tony’s face. “He’s a history teacher - I can’t believe Bruce didn’t tell you.”
“What, he knew?”
“I fucking hope he didn’t, otherwise you’re gonna murder him.”
“I’m gonna do it anyway.” Tony said stiffly, because he at least wanted someone to die for this. Worst case scenario, it would have to be himself.
“Oh fuck,” Clint said, and then continued laughing.
Steve’s spent the entire weekend being sad, and Natasha complained loudly, but let him be as depressing as he wanted to be. He had planned on either apologizing or yelling at Tony for being an asshole, but of course he wasn’t there on the Monday. Even his students had noticed the massive crushes that they - and Steve - had thought that the pair had on each other, and tried luring information out of Steve. He didn’t break, even thought he wanted to turn the entire class into an impromptu therapy session where they could discuss why the popular boys never liked him.
He was supposed to spend the afternoon grading papers - and also thinking about how he should probably make his classes write less papers, because it was a bitch to read and grade them all - but instead he was slumped at his desk, his head resting on the cold wood. A careful knocking on the door caused him to look up, and there stood Clint. Steve had never really talked to him a lot, definitely not enough to warrant a visit. He had been in Steve’s history class last year, and Steve had pretty much written him off as the jock who had a crush on a teacher, for some goddamn reason. Steve had talked to Bruce exactly one time, and it had just been a quick ‘hi’ ‘hello’ in the middle of a corridor before both of them had ran off to get to their classes in time.
“What are you doing here?” Steve asked Clint.
“Wow, I feel truly welcomed.” Clint said sarcastically. “I’m here because Tony is a jerk, and I’m amazed that he has managed to survive this far in life without getting stabbed in the neck. And the both of you are idiots.”
“What?” Steve was thoroughly confused - and a little bit insulted - and Clint sighed as if it was all obvious.
“Tony thought you were a student, because you are tiny.” He said, and Steve felt like laughing, and it must’ve shown on his face. “Trust me, I laughed for about ten minutes when he told me, and he didn’t find it nearly as amusing.” Clint smiled.
“It’s pretty fucking hilarious though,” Steve admitted.
“Oh yeah, it’s my favorite thing that has happened all year,” Clint admitted proudly, and he couldn’t stop smiling.
“So, he doesn’t actually hate me?” Steve asked him.
“He has such a crush on you and I hate it so much. We literally had to lock him out of the apartment this weekend because all he did was complain about you and how ‘you ruined things’ because apparently he likes pretending he had no feelings.”
“That doesn’t sound healthy.”
“I mean,” Clint shrugged. “It’s healthier than how he normally handles things. He threw the toaster out of the window when it burnt his toast once. And then he set it on fire so that it would know what it felt like to burn.”
“That feels like something a crazy person would do. And also a little bit off-topic.” Steve frowned, and put ‘never burn food around Tony’ on his mental list of things to remember.
“Whatever. I’m just here to tell you that Tony’s a fool, but I also want him to be happy.” Clint rolled his eyes,
“Aw, you care.” Steve cooed.
“Oh, this is 100% selfish. I can’t have him moaning about the apartment complaining about the fact that he has feelings. It messes up my game.” Steve blinked at him. “My sex game.”
“I hate you a little bit.” Steve said blankly.
“Me too!” Clint smiled. “I’m going to leave, and you can do whatever with the information that this conversation has given you.” Clint started to walk back out of the room, when Steve added a vague
“Thank you,” and Clint replied with
“Ice cream gets expensive after a while - trust me. I’m very selfish. And don’t ever tell him I was here!”
Tony really wanted to avoid Steve for the rest of his life, because Tony was an idiot and he didn’t deal with things, like, at all. Clint forced him out of the apartment though, so he didn’t exactly have a choice. Whatever embarrassment he felt he just had to get over.
The first thing he did when he got to the break room was grab a cup of coffee with an insane amount of sugar in it, because why the fuck not, it’s his life and he can do whatever he wants to do. Natasha walked into the room and up to the coffee maker a few seconds after him, and practically glared him to death.
“You’re a dick.” She said while she waited for her coffee.
“I know.” Tony agreed and took a sip of coffee.
“Good.” She glared at him for good measure before walking off again, disappearing faster than she had appeared.
He didn’t see Steve until lunch, and the hours up until then was practically torture. His students could probably tell that he was distracted, because he was worse at staying on subject than usual, and he got called out a few times extra about it. Exactly one person asked what was wrong with him, and another one asked what the fuck had gone down between him and Steve, and Tony was grateful that people at least didn’t know the details of the matter. He wanted to take this shit to his grave, if possible.
But during lunch he lurked around until he could find Steve’s office - and was amazed that it actually existed, because he sure as hell didn’t expect it. Steve looked at him with wide eyes when he walked in, and then tried concealing a laugh.
“Who told you?” Tony groaned and sat down in the chair across from Steve.
“Told me what?” Steve said with a huge smile on his face.
“Okay, I can’t be the only one to have made this mistake, right?” Tony asked and tried hiding his face in the palms of his hands.
“Weirdly enough, you’re the only one thus far.”
“Did you really just use the word ‘thus’?” Tony looked up at Steve, “That’s so gross.”
“Shut up.” Steve smiled, and they let some silence rest between them for a few seconds.
“So, you thought I was a student, huh?”
“Please can we never talk about it again ever.” Tony groaned, but there was no way that Steve would ever let that go, judging by the fucking giant grin on his face.
“It’s okay. I still like you - even though you pretty much called me crazy for doing so.”
“Why do you like me? I’m literally an idiot.”
“I’m in it for the money.” Steve deadpanned, before adding “And you’re pretty cute, especially when you’re being an idiot. And hey, at least now I know that your morals pointing in the right directions.”
“I’m pretty sure that if you had just asked me for a casual hookup, I would’ve just done it. My morals are all wobbly. They’re like a labyrinth. Occasionally I get it right, but mostly I’m just like, complaining over the fact that I forgot to bring a map.”
“Weird analogy, but I’ll accept it.” Steve smirked.
“That’s all I can ask.”
Steve kissed softly, and Tony was okay with everything he had to give until Steve practically started laughing straight into his mouth.
“Oh come on, it can’t be that funny.” Tony complained, while Steve said that yes, it really could be.
The first thing Steve did when he walked into Bruce’s apartment for the first time was to repeat Tony’s embarrassment, and smile smugly when Tony protested with a dude, you have got to stop telling everyone .