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Everybody Needs A Sous Chef

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Steve didn’t know what he had done wrong. He’d followed the recipe exactly. Sure, maybe he hadn’t been able to find the measuring cups, but he had a pretty good sense of space, so he’s sure it had been pretty close. And yeah, maybe he’d spilled the milk and gotten a bit too much in the bowl, but that couldn’t have made too much of a difference. No, it must have been the stove’s fault. After all, he didn’t really know what the temperature of the pan was when it was just sitting there. And Tony might have taken parts from the stove for his experiments. Anything could have been wrong with it. There was no way Steve could have done it better.

“Steve, what did you do the kitchen?”

He turned, eyes wide, a faint redness reaching the back of his neck, “It was like this when I found it?”

Natasha’s face did not shift, save for a single eyebrow rising to her hairline.

“Ok, so I might have had a bit of trouble finding things. How was I supposed to know the baking powder was in the pantry?”

The other eyebrow joined the first. “You could have asked.”

Steve’s shoulders slumped. “I just, I wanted to do this by myself.”

Her expression softened minutely. “Steve, there’s no shame in needing someone for back-up.” She stepped into the kitchen, somehow avoiding all the splashes of flour and milk splattered on the floor. She glanced at the recipe lying open on the counter. “Well, Tony does like pancakes.”

“What? They’re not for – how do you do that?” The blush spread to his ears.

One shoulder lifted. “Please, Steve, the only one who doesn’t know is Tony.”

Steve’s shoulders dropped even more. “I’m sure he does, he just doesn’t want to hurt my feelings by saying anything. I mean, if all of you guys know, I must have been pretty obvious, right?”

“Trust me, if he knew, he would be out of the lab a lot more.” Natasha brushed away his confused stare. “Anyways, do you want any help?”

“I guess I do need it,” Steve sighed, then smiled timidly. “Thanks, Tasha.”

“Anything for the cause.”

Steve ended up mostly watching her do the work. She did explain what she was doing, but it all pretty much flew over his head.

“And we flip it when the bubbles start to pop at the surface. Do you want to try it?”

“Just one, I don’t want to ruin them.”

Steve stepped toward the stove, picked up the stainless steel bowl filled with batter, and scooped with the ladle. He let it fall onto the pan, and sighed. It was nothing like the perfect circles Natasha had been shelling out. It looked more like a… lopsided turtle egg. Natasha nudged him when it was time to flip. Now it just looked weirder.

“Alright, I think that’s enough for me.” He handed the ladle back to her.

“We’re almost done anyways. Why not spread a little butter on those?”

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Tony looked up when the door to the lab slid open. More precisely, when that heavenly smell reached him through all the grease.

“Steve! Come look at this! I was just working on your uniform, trying to get some more protection while keeping the movement, when I realized that – wait, are those for me?” His eyes zeroed in on the platter in Steve’s hands.

“Um, yeah,” and why was Steve blushing? “I just thought it might be good for you to get out of the lab, or to at least have some company and food, so here.”

Steve put the platter on the work bench closest to him, and looked ready to flee, but Tony put a hand on his arm before he could.

“Steve, did you make these?”

“Well, Natasha did most of the work, all I did was burn some things. That’s the only one I flipped.” He pointed it out. “I was just going to head back up so…”

Tony blinked. “Wait, uh, why don’t you stay with me? We can try these out together.”

“Sure, I guess, I mean, I’d love to.” Steve blushed again.

Tony tugged on Steve’s arm to pull him down, the platter of pancakes between them. He leaned over, and Steve froze as his hand brushed his cheek. “You had a bit of flour.” And now Tony was blushing. “Also, that pancake is definitely my favourite.”