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“Are we friends, Cap?”

It wasn't exactly a question Steve had been prepared to hear at five in the morning, from Tony who seemed to just be getting off to bed.

Being friends required work, like any other type of relationship, and there were different levels of friendship. Sure Steve wouldn't say Tony is his best friend in the universe, that position was currently taken by Nat and Thor collectively.  

But their relationship was also different from Steve’s relationship with Nat and Thor.

Closer to the relationship he once had with Bucky, but not quite the same.

Sure Tony and Steve went out places, hung out around the tower, had mini lessons on the twenty first century, and shared odd secrets at odd times of the day.

It had potential to be that close loving friendship, but both of them had their communication difficulties.

Steve wasn't very forthcoming about his personal life or lack of it at this point. Sure they had collectively told stories about their childhoods, and one Howard Stark. Which Tony had major dad issues, but that is what they bonded over on some points.

Bitching and moaning about Howard Stark.

Steve patted the spot on the couch next to him in a silent offering of comfort. If that was what Stark needed.

Tony took the spot eagerly, his body twitched slightly, and he bit his lower lip. He looked over to Steve with an expectant expression.

Steve curled his toes, leaned back into the arm of the couch, rested the back of his head against the palm of his hand, and released a sigh. “We are friends.”

Tony’s body dropped with the corners of his mouth. “You know, Rogers,” began Tony, “I don't think you've been very forthcoming about your past.”

Steve stiffened and scratched at his scalp. “Why do you say that?”

Tony tilted his head to the side and scooted closer. “One. You never said you dated Bucky Barnes.”

“You never asked,” said Steve.

“I clearly remember asking about girls you dated,” groused Tony.

Steve shifted and smirked. “Bucky wasn't a girl.”

“Technicalities,” huffed Tony. “Two. You make me look like an ass sometimes.”

Steve shrugged. “What can I tell you, Tony? Sometimes you are an ass, and I just don't bother correcting you.”

“Did you do that with Bucky?” Tony raised a brow and scooted oh so closer.

Steve laughed. “Let's just say one time he was trying to get a date with this doll, and gave her the wrong name. Called himself Montgomery . I teased him about it all night.”

Tony joined in the laughter. After it died down he said, “Three. I sometimes feel like you're holding something back. What is it?”

Steve’s mouth pulled down into a frown. “There are some things I'm just not ready to talk about, Tony. No matter the level of friendship.”

“Did Barnes know what you are hiding from me?” asked Tony with a small glare.

Steve’s cheeks heated up. “Yes, but that is because we were childhood friends.”

“Best friends?”

Steve pulled his brows downward and pressed his lips together in thought. Bucky had been his best friend, but a term had been invented to describe the relationship he had with Bucky… “I think the term nowadays would be QP, but yeah, best friends.”