The first time Steve takes something of Tony’s, it’s an accident.
“Where are my blueberries?” Tony demands as he rifles around in the refrigerator.
Steve freezes, his fork hanging in midair and holding his next bite of blueberry waffle.
“Um,” is all Steve says, and Tony whirls. Tony’s gaze darts to Steve, to Steve’s fork, then to the last bit of blue-speckled waffle that remains on Steve’s plate. Tony hits Steve with an accusing glare. “You didn’t put your name on them!” Steve defends, because he had double-checked.
Stark Tower is more spacious than Steve is accustomed to, but the Avengers still manage to make it feel small. He doesn’t know if that’s more of Tony and Thor’s big personalities, Clint and Natasha’s ability to be both everywhere and nowhere, or Steve’s own issues in trying to find his footing, but somehow even with all the roominess in Stark Tower they still can step on each other’s toes.
“You used them all?” Tony asks. “And didn’t even save me a waffle? Was there a food eating competition or something?”
“No,” Steve answers, because there had been eating competitions between Thor and Clint and sometimes himself. “There weren’t that many,” he tries to explain. He knows he eats a lot compared to a non-enhanced human - Tony had even shown him a graph of it once - but he isn’t the kind of person who would’ve tried to eat Tony’s food on purpose without at least asking permission.
“And you decided to take the last! Search and seizures are a no-go here, Cap. Must have a warrant, must pass go before collecting your two hundred dollars.”
“Well, next time you should mark your food,” he says, straightening his shoulders. Tony shares equal blame if he isn’t going to follow the rule that if it’s not labeled then it’s fair game. Steve pops the last bite of the waffle into his mouth and then gets up to put his plate in the dishwasher.
“Well next time save me a waffle!” Tony calls out to his back.
The second time Steve steals something of Tony’s, it’s spontaneous.
Weekly movie nights have become tradition if they’re home from Avenging or missioning or traveling. The spots that they sit in have been settled since the beginning.
Thor sprawls across the floor in whatever pose he feels like that night. Natasha and Clint settle into the two-seater sofa and fight over snacks the entire time. Bruce and Steve share the couch, comfortably spreading out with their own bowls of popcorn while Tony occupies the armchair in a variety of ways, only some of which could be called ‘sitting.’
Tony is late, despite JARVIS saying that he’d set several alarms for his creator to make sure Tony could make it on time. This is the first movie night in a month that all of them could make it, with Thor visiting Jane and first Clint, then Natasha and Steve getting called out on missions. But tonight Tony is late, and his overly fluffed armchair that does not fit with the rest of the sleek decor is empty.
Steve sits in the armchair.
The rest of the Avengers give him raised eyebrows but say nothing. Steve stuffs a handful of his popcorn into his mouth as JARVIS rolls curated previews to give a more movie theater feel (and to help them pick out new movie choices) and waits.
The lights are dimmed, the movie just starting, when Tony strolls in. He almost sits right on top of Steve, until he leaps up when he realizes there’s someone in his seat.
“What are you doing?” Tony hisses.
Thor shushes him from where he lays on his stomach with his head propped up on his hands.
“Sitting,” Steve whispers back. “Go find your own seat.”
“This is my seat!”
Steve rolls his eyes, over-exaggerating so that Tony can be sure to see it even in the dark. “They’re all your seats, I know. Whatever, just be quiet.”
“So help me, Rogers, I will write my name on everything in this Tower!” Tony threatens. He huffs and crosses his arms.
For a moment, Steve fears that he’s miscalculated and that his seat-switching is going to make Tony walk away from movie night entirely. But with a final glare at Steve, Tony simply whirls and sits down on the couch with Bruce.
“Popcorn?” Bruce offers, extending his bowl over.
Tony grabs a handful and eats it as sullenly as someone can manage to be sullen while popping popcorn into their mouth. He glares at Steve whenever he looks away from the movie, and Steve pretends not to notice while he tries not to smirk.
The third time that Steve takes something of Tony’s, it’s intentional.
There’s something about being able to get under Tony’s skin that settles Steve. Billionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist, Iron Man - how does a kid from Brooklyn, even one called Captain America, compare to that? Tony Stark always has a quip, a comment, a smirk for reporters, for Fury, for Coulson, for anyone and everything and even for Steve when they’re on the battlefield.
But it’s Tony who makes snide jokes about blueberries whenever Steve makes breakfast, all while making sure there’s always a stash - one with Tony’s name on them, one without. It’s Tony who shows up at movie nights on time, sometimes early, to make sure to guard his spot from Steve. It’s Tony who goes off on crazy, outrageous tangents as he dances around and accuses Steve of other heinous deeds like leaving one cracker in the box (Clint) or leaving the toilet seat up (Natasha, for unknown reasons) or not looking both ways before he crosses the street (Steve and every other New Yorker).
It’s Tony who manages to get under Steve’s skin, in turn, but that has less to do with Tony’s attempts at retaliation - hiding all of Steve’s socks, really? - and more that Steve finds himself craving the attention that comes with getting a rise out of Tony.
Steve’s Ma would slap him upside the head for this. She taught him better.
Steve does it anyway.
“Don’t make me put on the suit,” Tony threatens.
“Put on the suit and see how that works out for you.” Steve grips the mainframe of the couch and holds on, refusing to budge when Tony tries to roll him off. The couch in the workshop is stained, lumpy, and faded, and Steve gets an up close and personal view. He grimaces at the idea that Tony sleeps down here more than his own bed.
He gets it, kind of - the beds now are huge compared to what he’s slept on since before the ice, and he’s filled the space with pillows to feel less alone. That Tony would find a smaller space to sleep in isn’t a terrible idea, and now it’s one that Steve wants to copy. That Steve sleeping on the workshop couch irritates Tony because ‘I bought you the best mattress anyone in the world can possibly have, Steve, why are you sleeping on my couch’ is, of course, only a small benefit.
“Get off my bed, Steve,” Tony growls. He stomps over to one of the tables and grabs a gauntlet, slipping it onto his arm.
Steve settles deeper into the cushions. “It’s a couch, not a bed. Figured a genius like you would’ve figured that out by now.”
Tony powers up the gauntlet, but Steve doesn’t even flinch. Instead, he raises his eyebrows in challenge.
Tony discharges, the blast flying just above the couch and Steve’s head. Something shatters, and Steve snorts.
“Quite the power play,” he taunts.
“You’re an asshole,” Tony spits and crosses his arms in a huff. “You take my food, my spot, now my bed ? You’re nothing but a thief in patriotic pants.”
Maybe Steve could’ve picked a better spot to make his last stand for Tony’s affections. Occupying the workshop couch had many strategic merits, though - prime location to Tony, transport lines of resources via DUM-E, and a fortified station that Steve could sleep on.
And, for better or worse, Steve has gained Tony’s attention.
“You keep telling me you have great taste, and I wasn’t supposed to be curious?” Steve asks. He keeps an eye on the suit, just to make sure that JARVIS isn’t going to take control and knock Steve out of it on Tony’s orders.
Tony glares at him. “The bed in the penthouse is much nicer. Go steal that one.”
Steve pretends to think about it. “Too big. This one is just right.”
“For me ,” Tony argues. “Not for super soldiers!”
“How do you know?” Steve asks and before he can second-guess himself he reaches out and yanks Tony onto the couch. Steve presses himself against the back of the couch so that Tony had some space, but it’s not a lot. “See,” Steve says, trying not to breathe too hard, “isn’t that just right?”
Tony gapes, blinking at Steve. “Are - are you flirting with me?”
Tony doesn’t sound happy about that. Steve lets go of Tony and tries to push himself back but there isn’t anymore space on the couch.
“Have you been flirting with me?”
Tony props his head up on his hand and stares down at Steve, a grin twitching at his mouth. “Wow. That might be some of the worst flirting that I’ve ever seen.”
Steve flushes darker. “Can’t be that terrible,” he mumbles. “You’re still here.”
Tony laughs, so hard that he almost falls backwards off the couch. Steve grabs him and steadies him, and then suddenly Tony is closer than ever.
Tony grins wide, his eyes sparkling. “Do you steal all the pretty girl’s blueberries as an introduction?”
“If it works,” Steve says, giving Tony a half-shrug. He smiles, a tentative one, because Tony hasn’t tried to roll back off the couch yet or even remove Steve’s grip around his waist.
“Guess you got some game after all,” Tony teases.
“That mean you’ll go to dinner with me?” Steve asks, his heart thumping in his chest.
Tony grins. “As long as you promise to not steal the food off my plate, I’m there.”
Next Friday at seven o’clock, Steve doesn’t have to steal any of Tony’s food because Tony freely offers it on his fork. Steve doesn’t back down from the challenge, though - not when Tony looks at him like that - and so, face red, he leans over and lets Tony feed him the bite.
“Don’t I have the best taste?” Tony teases as he gives Steve a heated look.