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Expectations

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“Blow,” Tony said, thrusting the dice he was holding in front of Steve’s face.

Steve stared at the dice and glanced around at all of the people staring at him. He felt a flush creep up his neck and dropped his gaze to the craps table. “I’m not a dame—er, a woman, Tony.”

“Of course not,” Tony said, rattling the dice under Steve’s nose. “But you are the luckiest person I know and more importantly you’re the prettiest person here.”

The crowd of drunken high rollers and socialites dissolved into laughter at Tony’s words, the attention making Steve’s cheeks burn. He shoved Tony’s hand out of his face and turned sharply, pushing his way through the crowd. He was done with this. He’d wanted to get away from SHIELD for the weekend but this was not what he’d had in mind.

Steve heard Tony call after him but he didn’t turn around. He was almost to the elevator when he felt a hand on his arm, yanking him around. His adrenaline spiked at the contact and he clenched his fist.

“What’s your problem?” Tony asked. He slid his hand suggestively up Steve’s arm. “I said you were the prettiest one of all.”

Steve shook Tony’s hand off, barely holding in a growl. “Stop it.”

“Stop what?” Tony asked.

“This isn’t you,” Steve said. He stepped into the elevator.

“This is Tony Stark,” Tony said, waving his hand at himself. “What you see is what you get.”

Steve rolled his eyes. “I much prefer the Tony who keeps me company at all hours of the night when I can't sleep.” He pressed the button that led to the penthouse suite.

Tony grabbed the closing doors and held them open. “This is Vegas. You didn’t really expect to spend the weekend playing chess and discussing the last seventy years of pop culture, did you?”

“No, but I didn’t expect the strippers on the airplane either,” Steve muttered.

“You weren’t complaining when Candy gave you that lap dance,” Tony pointed out. He cocked his head to the side and considered Steve. “Which might have been because you were about to have a heart attack.” He waved his hand. “But that’s beside the point. This is the Tony Stark people expect, so it’s the Tony Stark they get.”

“Well it’s not the Tony Stark I expect.” Steve leaned forward and pushed Tony’s hand away from the elevator door. “If that Tony shows up I’ll be in our rooms.”

There was an indescribable, almost pained, expression on Tony’s face as the doors closed, but Steve shook his head, refusing to think about it. Tony had been nothing but a jackass since they’d gotten onto the plane. Of course, Tony being a jackass wasn’t new but the combination of lots of booze and an audience seemed to push him to whole new levels.

Steve sighed as he let himself into the penthouse suite and collapsed back onto the couch. Tony was a hard man to know, but over the last month Steve had thought that he’d started to figure him out. They had gotten off to a shaky start, but long sleepless nights spent sketching in Tony’s lab or playing chess and chatting had made them close, or at least he’d thought it had.

Steve rubbed tiredly at his eyes. Fury and Natasha had warned him about Tony’s instability but he was pretty sure that even though he’d only known Tony for a month, he knew him better than they did. Sure Tony could be brash and rude, but he’d also spent an entire week carefully modifying Steve’s armor after a particularly nasty fight had exposed it’s weakness to acid attacks. Tony was as dedicated as they came; he just had the unfortunate habit of living up to other people’s expectations, or in tonight’s case down to.

Of course, none of that explained the flirting. Tonight wasn’t the first time Tony had flirted with him but doing it in front of all those people had put him on the spot. He wasn’t used to the casual approach to sex and sexuality in this time period and to have Tony treat him the same way he had treated his stewardesses—er, flight attendants—was embarrassing.

Steve heard the door open and sat up in time to catch the brochure Tony threw at him. He glanced at it. “Hoover Dam?”

Tony walked over to the bar and poured himself a glass of bourbon. “It’s an amazing feat of engineering. Stark Industries was involved with it before the war broke out and weapons manufacturing took over everything.” Tony paused and swirled the bourbon around in his glass. “I hear it’s pretty impressive, if a bit outdated.” He tapped his chest where the arc reactor was glowing brightly. “But what isn’t outdated next to cold fusion?”

“Tony, is there a point to this?” Steve asked.

Tony sipped his bourbon. “I thought you might like to go see it tomorrow.”

Steve leaned forward and grinned at Tony. “You mean instead of spending another long day watching you gamble away your money?”

“I might have won if you’d just blown on the dice,” Tony muttered.

Steve waved his hand dismissively . “I would love to go to see the dam. They were working on it when I was a kid. It was a pretty big deal in all the papers.”

“You’re practically bouncing with excitement,” Tony said, sitting down in the chair across from Steve. “And yet you’re completely unimpressed with my arc reactors, which when it comes to energy production, are so much more impressive.”

“But they don’t look as impressive,” Steve said.

Tony held his glass against his forehead, an exaggerated look of pain on his face. “It really is true that no one recognizes genius when they see it.”

“Oh I recognize it,” Steve said, laughing. “But you’re patting yourself on the back enough for the both of us.”

Tony grinned at him, a bright and unguarded smile. “How about a game of chess?”

Steve smiled at Tony, knowing this was as close to an apology as he was going to get, and looked around. “Do we have a board?”

“Do we have a board?” Tony scoffed. “Oh, ye of little faith.”

Tony took a small device out of his pocket and typed on it for a moment before setting it down on the coffee table. He touched it one more time and suddenly a chessboard appeared. Steve recognized it as a holograph like the ones Tony used in his lab, but even so, he stared at it in awe. He didn’t know if he would ever stop being awestruck by the modern technology that Tony used so casually.

Tony took another sip of his bourbon. “You start.”

Steve nodded and studied the board. He carefully moved a pawn, the piece moving as easily as the marble pieces he was used to, and settled back to watch Tony.

Steve was a good strategist, he’d had a lot of experience after all, but he still rarely managed to beat Tony. Tony thought so many moves ahead that it was hard for Steve to keep up, but he wasn’t ever going to stop trying. After all, someone had to give Tony a challenge.