Work Header

Paved by Generations

Work Text:

“Your shoot looks good.”

“What shoot?” Steve asks, looking up from his book and nudging Tony with his foot. They’re at opposite ends of the couch in their bedroom enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon, and Steve cherishes these moments. The afternoon light plays across Tony’s face when he looks up, and Steve can’t hide the smile that crosses his face at the sight.

“Your GQ shoot,” Tony says, flicking the holoscreen up so Steve can see. “You look very... all American.”

Steve’s brow furrows as he looks at the shoot. They’d dressed him up in a deep blue suit, a stark white shirt with the first few buttons undone, and the hairstylist had fussed with his hair until it fell the way she wanted it. He doesn’t look like himself, and he wonders if Tony is right, if people only see him as an all American man. Steve sighs, slumping back against the arm of the couch a little. “I hate that,” he says when Tony raises an questioning eyebrow at him. “I’m not that.”

“Not what? Honey, you gotta help me out here,” Tony says. “Not a mind reader.”

“All American,” Steve says with a huff. “It’s like everyone forgets about my parents.” Putting his book down on the floor, Steve swings his legs round to the ground and sits up. “If they meant all American as what I think it should mean, then that would be one thing, but they don’t.” Rubbing his hand over his face, Steve shakes his head. “It doesn’t matter, I’m being—”

“It does,” Tony interrupts, pressing his toes against Steve’s thigh. “If it matters to you, it matters.”

Looking up, Steve glances over at Tony and smiles. “You have to say that,” he says. “Given everything.”

“Yes, I’m well known for agreeing with you when I don’t have to,” Tony says. He shifts on the couch until he’s sitting next to Steve, one hand resting between Steve’s shoulder blades. “Steve, we can change the shoot if you don’t like it. Just say the word and we’ll re-do it, get this one pulled.”

“It’s not the shoot,” Steve says. “Not really, it’s—” he breaks off and runs a hand through his hair. “You know, after seventy years in the ice I thought maybe I’d wake up to a more tolerant society, but people still think there’s some kind of American ideal, and they think I’m it because of the way I look. They don’t realise my parents were Irish, that Ma had her accent until the day she died. No one ever asks about her.”

Tony kisses Steve’s temple. “I’m sorry,” he says softly. “Tell me how to fix this for you.”

“You’re doing pretty good already,” Steve says, offering Tony a small smile. “I guess it feels strange sometimes, everyone knows so much about me, but there’s this side of me no one ever asks about.” Steve takes a moment before he shrugs awkwardly. “I don’t even know anything about that part of me.”

“Your Ma never said anything?”

“Not that I remember,” Steve says. “I know she had a sister who didn’t come over with her, but that’s it. I wish I knew more.”

“Do you want to? Know more, I mean.”

Steve pauses before he nods. “Yeah,” he says eventually. “I do.”

“Then we’ll find out more,” Tony says easily. “We can even go back to where your Ma came from, if you want.”

There’s a sudden lump in Steve’s throat and he stares at the floor. “Tony—”

“If you want,” Tony says, his chin resting on Steve’s shoulder. “Only if you want.”

“I do,” Steve says, his eyes prickling with unshed tears. “I really do. Shit, Tony, I—” Steve breaks off and laughs wetly. “Sorry, I don’t—”

“Hey,” Tony says, climbing onto Steve’s lap, knees either side of Steve’s thighs. “Anything for you. You know that.”

Instinctively wrapping his arms around Tony’s waist, Steve smiles up at him. “Thank you,” he says. “We can leave the shoot as it is, it’s okay. But maybe—” Steve hesitates. “I think I’d like to do something for kids of immigrants.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know,” Steve says with a low laugh. “I haven’t thought that far ahead.”

Tony hums, his fingers stroking along Steve’s shoulders. “I’ll ask some people,” he says. “We’ll figure it out. SI already has specific scholarship funds targeted to immigrant kids, but—”

“You do?”

“Mom set it up,” Tony says with a gentle smile, the smile he always gets when he talks about his mom. “She found it hard, living here without her family, and she wanted to help people. The scholarship funds were a part of it, but she also did outreach with the kids the money went to, tried to find ways for them to fit in.”

Steve furrows his brow. “I could do that,” he says slowly. “I’d need help from people with more experience than me, but I’d like to do that.”

“Then we’ll get you doing it,” Tony says, his fingers tugging at the ends of Steve’s hair. “Whatever you want.”

“You—” Steve cuts himself off, unable to find the words for what he wants to say. Running his hands up Tony’s back instead, Steve cups the back of Tony’s head and draws him down into a kiss, the feel of Tony’s mouth against his grounding him. He indulges in it, Tony all around him invading his senses and soothing his twisted up feelings. When Tony pulls back, Steve chases him, grabbing another kiss before he laughs softly, his hands settled on Tony’s lower back. “I got lucky with you,” he says quietly, meeting Tony’s eyes. “You know that?”

“You can get lucky in another way if you know what I mean,” Tony says, wriggling a little on Steve’s lap, and Steve just holds onto him tighter.

“Maybe later,” Steve says, resting his head against Tony’s chest, smiling when his hearing picks up the sound of the arc reactor. “Can we just stay like this for a while?”

“Yeah,” Tony says, his fingers running through Steve’s hair. “As long as you want.”