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It was a commonly held belief that Steve Rogers had gotten smarter after he'd been injected with the serum, and technically that was true. Steve had been no slouch before the serum, however, and more importantly, he had been adaptable before the serum. All the brains and planning in the world meant no difference if they couldn't be applied to the task at hand. Adaptability was key. Thankfully, you couldn't be a scrawny little runt on the streets of Brooklyn, struggling to scrape together enough money to attend art school and provide for an ailing mother—or, in the end, enough money to attend art school and half the recruiting offices in the northeastern United States—and be anything but adaptable. Now, that adaptability paired with intelligence, strategy, and lightning-quick reflexes made Steve a true force to be reckoned with.

Adaptability had carried him through the shock of waking up seventy years in the future, alone but never, not even almost, forgotten. Adaptability had helped him learn to live with his new teammates, even when Storm accidentally knocked the power out of the entire tower or Tony Stark's coffee maker talked to him. Adaptability had helped him lead the team to victory over countless opponents. And now, he was sure, adaptability would get him through this.

The thing of it was, in his day, he was relatively sure that the rules of this dating thing were different. He hadn't exactly had a lot of experience with dating back then, but still. Things had made sense then. When he looked at Tony Stark now, his heart started to beat madly and his face felt hot and nothing made sense.

Steve didn't know what to do with this information. He knew that this was the future now, or at least a very different present, and you couldn't just ask a guy if he'd like to get a malt sometime maybe. And even in a world where everything was different, Tony Stark was unique. It was as if someone had taken everything new and foreign and fast-paced and slightly intimidating and rolled them up into one very idiosyncratic man, who also happened to be smart and interesting and handsome and very, very experienced. No, a plan of action was required.

The key to adaptability, Steve had learned, was gathering and interpreting information. The first step to any strategy was getting intelligence. What he needed was a good how-to on modern romance. This, unfortunately, was easier said than done. His first inclination had been to observe modern romances to see how things should be done, but he had learned very quickly through watching television on Tony's ridiculously large television that he did not want a relationship like most of those. He didn't want to play games, and get into love triangles, or fight and break up every other week. If he was being entirely honest with himself, he wanted something much more resembling “forever”, and he wanted Tony to want that, too. The relationships he saw like that, however, were frankly even more frightening, and seemed to include blood pacts and stalking and far too much sparkling.

It occurred to him, after a week or so of watching daytime tv, that he should possibly try looking at less sensationalistic relationships. Abandoning the tv (but not quickly enough to avoid the inevitable teasing when Jan looked through the recently watched shows list and saw Twilight), he took to the internet. When Tony had first given Steve a worryingly small box called a laptop and introduced him to the internet, he'd told him that he could find anything he needed to know on it, and more besides.

Steve quickly learned that this was a bit of an understatement. As soon as he hesitatingly typed in “how to date” in the search bar, he was bombarded with a torrent of information.

Finally, Steve was forced to conclude that, as embarrassing as the concept seemed, he was probably going to need to ask someone for advice. He needed to find someone who was familiar enough with the modern world to know how to operate in situations like this, and someone who was familiar enough with him to know how to explain it—hopefully without laughing. It was with some startlement that he realized that he just so happened to know an expert.




“You want to know what?” Tony asked him, eyes wide over the rim of his coffee cup. Steve had caught him (or, well, ambushed him, really) during one of his irregular trips up to the kitchen for sustenance, and once Tony was settled at the table with a sandwich and a mugful of steaming hot battery acid, had explained his predicament.

Steve swallowed and forced himself to hold Tony's gaze even as his cheeks began to heat. “I want to know—um, how do people woo each other nowadays?” He was stumbling over his words now, which was unlike him, but it was difficult to concentrate when Tony was still looking at him like that with eyes wide and dark and hazed with exhaustion and something else that Steve couldn't quite name. Tony had never looked at him like that when he'd asked any of his other questions about the modern world.

A small small finally cracked the odd expression on Tony's face. “'Woo'? Did you really just say 'woo', Steve?” He took a sip of his coffee and raised an eyebrow and suddenly the whole thing seemed very absurd.

And yes, now he was definitely blushing. “Or date. Um. I don't know.”

Tony put down his mug. “Why Steve,” he teased, “Have you been hiding a crush from us?”

“No!” Steve exclaimed, and Tony blinked at him. “No,” he repeated. “It's not like that. I haven't been—I haven't been trying to hide anything from anyone.”

Something flickered over Tony's face, but he quickly schooled his expression and took another bite of his sandwich. “So there is someone. Do I know her?”

Steve shook his head, wincing internally at the lie. Still, he could see a thousand ways this could go wrong if Tony started watching their teammates for any signs of burgeoning romance.

“Okay.” Tony looked into his cup musingly. “Okay. So what's she like? Does she rescue puppies for a living, or is it orphans? Just how many verses of The Star Spangled Banner does she know?”

“Tony...” Tony just grinned at him winningly. Steve shook his head. “I'm serious about this.”

The smile fell off Tony's face and he nodded, his expression approximating grave. He pushed away his plate and let his attention settle fully on Steve. “Okay, Steve. But it is an important question. What's she like? I can't give you advice on how to win her heart if I don't know what kind of a person she is,” he said.

Steve swallowed. That made sense. He thought about the best way to answer that. “A smart person.” That was safe. “Really smart, but not in a really inaccessible way. I never feel stupid when we're together. Just really...warm and happy and relaxed, I guess. Like I can really be myself.” He paused. “Selfless, always puts others first. Big on charity and helping others. Sometimes kind of extravagant and over the top, but that's okay, really, because it's kind of endearing.” He halted. That was starting to get a little specific. Finally, a little shyly, he added, “My best friend.”

Tony was silent for a moment, lips tight. “She sounds...she sounds really great, Steve.” He was quiet a moment longer, before he nodded, seemingly to himself, and flashed Steve a grin. “Don't worry, I'll definitely help you win her over.”

Steve let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding, relief sweeping over him. “Thank you, Tony, really.”

Tony just waved the thanks aside, picking up his coffee again. “So the first rule of wooing, as you might put it, is making the other person feel special.”


Tony nodded. “Yeah. I mean, the first rule of dating is that you have to be able to be friends before you can become more-than-friends, but it sounds like you've got that part down. So that takes us to the point where you need to get the other person to realize that you like them as more than just a friend. They're special to you.”

Steve frowned. “How do I do that?”

“Well, that's different for everyone,” Tony said with a shrug. “You've got the go-to techniques, you know, dinner, movies, flowers and/or chocolates, but you need to tailor those to the person you're trying to attract. Prove that you know her well and are willing to put a lot of effort into making her happy. You've gotta make her feel special.”

Steve nodded slowly. That made sense. A personalized gift always meant more than a stock one, and he wanted this to mean the world to Tony. Besides, he was good at adapting—how hard it be to adjust those romantic ideas so they suited Tony?

Steve gathered up his courage and brushed aside the butterflies in his stomach, then took one of Tony's hands in his and squeezed. “Thanks, Tony. You're amazing.”

Tony just gave him a lopsided grin. “No problem, Cap. And don't worry about it. I'm sure you'll do fine. You're a great guy. Any girl would be lucky to get you.”

Steve felt his heart pound a little painfully.




“Dinner, movies, flowers and/or chocolates...”

Steve pondered Tony's words. Those options seemed a bit cliché, perhaps, but some things became traditional for a reason. Besides, Tony had said to tailor them to the person he wanted. Things were only clichéd if they were thrown around willy-nilly without regard for context. He would make them special.

Dinner seemed like a good place to start. He and Tony ate together all the time, so it wouldn't be a huge leap from picnics in the park and burgers after a good fight to...what, exactly? He couldn't just take Tony out to a nice restaurant somewhere. Tony went to restaurants a thousand times nicer than he could afford (or even manage to find, honestly) with his investors all the time, not to mention the very glamorous women he sometimes took out on dates. Besides, if they went out to eat at one of those restaurants, Tony would have to be “on” the whole time. He'd noticed before the thread of alertness that Tony would show when they were both out in public outside of their uniforms. Everyone knew Tony Stark, everyone paid attention to everything Tony Stark said, and Tony had the tabloids to prove it. Steve didn't want Tony to need to worry about anything but them when they had their romantic dinner.

Something private, then. But what? Something intimate, something personal... Maybe he could try cooking something? He considered that for a moment, and then quickly amended it to cooking something simple.

Maybe Jarvis could tell him what Tony liked.




Two days and some mildly burned fingers later, Steve had a pot of pasta carbonara that, while it wouldn't win any awards, was more than edible. Jarvis, after an odd look or two, had divulged that this had been a favorite of Tony's when he was younger, and the internet had been much more helpful with pasta than it had been with dating tips.

The only problem was Tony, who had spent most of the time since their conversation holed up in his workshop, working on armor upgrades, some new tablet for Stark Industries, and god only knew what else. He'd barely surfaced for air, even when Steve had made tentative overtures his way. Steve really would have preferred to have had their romantic meal somewhere other than in the bowels of Stark Tower, hunched over bits of machinery, but at this point, he was starting to think that he didn't have a lot of room to be choosy.

Steve spooned pasta onto two plates, careful to keep it looking nice and neat and appetizing, and grabbed a couple sodas from the fridge, then made his way down to Tony's lab. Thankfully, the door opened when he said his clearance code—at this rate, he hadn't been sure even that would get it open. “Tony?” he asked, raising his voice a bit to be heard over the cacophonous music that assaulted his ears as soon as the door swished open.

After a short pause, the music silenced and Tony poked his head up out of a machine that looked like something right out of a horror movie. He squinted at Steve through his goggles before pushing them up off his nose and onto his forehead. “Steve? What are you doing down here?”

Steve shrugged, and was instantly grateful for the serum. Never before would he have been able to balance two plates of hot food as well as drinks and then shrug. “I haven't seen you in a few days,” he said slightly cautiously, “I thought we could have dinner together.”

Tony blinked at him for a moment, obviously calculating in his head how long he'd been down there and coming up with “too long”. He pushed himself away from the worktable and sauntered over to one that was relatively more clear, swiping aside a few stray scraps of metal to make it cleaner. “Sure thing. Bring it over here.” He eyed the plates as Steve got closer. “What have you got there?”

“Carbonara. Is that okay?” Steve told himself that he was absolutely not holding his breath while Tony gazed down at the plates, a little shaken up by Steve's adventure down the stairs, but not much worse for the wear. He had a peculiar look on his face, and opened his mouth to say something before closing it again. “What is it, Tony? If you don't like it, I can go get something else.”

“No, no.” Tony shook his head, as if clearing it. “I just wasn't expecting it. Carbonara was something I used to like a lot as a kid. It was—once when my father was out of town, Jarvis got sick and my mother and I were left to her own devices. Carbonara was one of the few things she knew how to make well. She said her mother had made it for her when she was a kid, too. After that, I asked Jarvis to make it all the time. I haven't had it since—not since the accident. When my parents—you know.” He looked away, suddenly awkward.

Steve's throat felt dry enough that he didn't quite trust his voice, so he just nodded. Why on earth had Jarvis recommended a dish like this? He'd wanted to make a happy memory with Tony, not bring up sad ones. “I can—I can make something else, Tony, it's no big deal. I didn't realize...”

Tony's eyes snapped from the pasta up to Steve's face. “You made this, Steve?”

Steve's gaze skittered away from Tony's. “Well, yeah. I don't think it's anywhere near as good as your mother's or anything, but...”

“No,” Tony said, taking a plate from Steve's hands and settling it on the table. “No, it's perfect. Thank you.”

And the look Tony gave him then, warm and a little wondering, made him mark a little victory in his mental handbook. Maybe step one had been a success.




A couple days later, Steve almost got skewered by a supervillain, some punk who didn't seem to realize fighting a team with both Storm and Thor at its disposal with electricity was a bad idea. In Steve's defense, when Tony had flown overhead, sparks dancing along his armor and making it gleam rather than smoke, he'd temporarily lost his breath. And in the end, the guy had missed anyway.

Later, after the man had been tied up with rubber cables and deposited into the care of the NYPD, Tony approached him. “You okay, Cap? You seemed kind of out of it there in the middle of that fight,” he said. Steve couldn't tell much about his intonation through the armor's helmet, but he had a feeling that voice would sound worried if it could.

“I'm okay, Tony. I just got distracted.” 'Compliments,' he remembered belatedly, and then gave Tony a little smile. “When the sparks slid off your armor, you looked really beautiful.”

“Oh really?” Tony asked, and Steve wished that he could see his face. “Yeah, the armor is pretty amazing. I just upgraded it to resist electricity a little better after Thor accidentally fried me last week. That guy's sparks didn't stand a chance.”

Steve looked at him blankly for a minute, wondering if maybe Tony's expression was totally different under his faceplate and maybe he hadn't just completely missed that compliment. But no, of course Tony would take that as a compliment about the armor. Tony was always too ready to admit that the armor was awesome. Steve sighed. “Yeah.”

Tony didn't say anything for a moment, and it would have been awkward if Steve wasn't used to the way the cold, smooth armor would go motionless when Tony was thinking. “So how is it going with that girl? Have you managed to win her heart yet?”

Though Steve had only moments before been thinking uncharitable thoughts toward Tony's faceplate, he was suddenly very thankful for his own mask, which probably covered at least part of the blush. “Um, no.”

“What, really?” Tony's head cocked to the side. “I wouldn't have thought anyone would be able to resist you for this long.”

Steve ducked his head. “Tony,” he started warningly. He didn't need to be teased right now.

“Well, what are you thinking about doing next? Maybe I can help out.”

Steve hesitated. He thought that right about now would be good to give something like flowers, or chocolates, but he just couldn't see himself giving something like those to Tony. “Well... What do you do when the person you like doesn't like flowers or chocolate?” he asked, avoiding Tony's gaze.

The armor clanked quietly as Tony shrugged. “It doesn't have to be flowers or chocolate. As I said, you need to tailor these things to the person you're trying to 'woo'. The point of it is getting them something small that they wouldn't think about getting themselves. Something kind of useless and fluffy, but that would make them smile. It's just something little to let them know you were thinking of them.”

“That shouldn't be hard,” Steve said, before he could catch himself, “I think about them all the time.”

Tony made a strangled noise in the armor that might have been a laugh. “Oh my god, Cap, sometimes I think you need a warning label.”




It was with that in mind that Steve came home with a little package a few days later. It wasn't anything big. He had just been at an open air market with Jan that day and someone had been selling these little bags of artisan coffees and he'd thought 'Tony might like that.' And that was really as deep as his thought process had gotten until he had the bag in his hands and he was approaching Tony, who was sitting in the living room halfheartedly reading paperwork. What had seemed like a nice thought a few hours ago now seemed utterly trivial. Tony was one of the richest men in the world. He probably had much nicer coffee than anything Steve could get for him. Steve barely even knew how to work Tony's coffee maker. Why had he thought this was a good idea? Maybe he should just take it back upstairs and pretend this whole thing had never happened.

But by then, Tony had noticed him, had looked up with that fond smile that Steve was relatively sure he only used on him (or maybe it was just the now-I-have-an-excuse-to-take-a-break smile), and then Steve wouldn't have been able to look away if he'd tried. “Um. Hi.”

“Hi.” Tony patted the couch next to him, and Steve obediently came to sit down in the proffered spot. “What've you got there?”

Steve blinked and then noticed the bag sitting in his lap. Oh. Right. That smile just got to him sometimes. “Oh, I just—Jan and I were out earlier today and there was this man who was selling coffees and they smelled really good. I thought you might like some.”

“Huh.” And Steve was about to maybe explain or babble some more, but then Tony was reaching into his lap for the bag and suddenly he wasn't able to think about much of anything. “I don't think I've ever had this kind before.”

Vainly, Steve tried to get his brain to reboot. “Really?”

Tony 'hmm'ed next to him, turning the bag over in his hands. “Yeah,” he said, and Steve couldn't help but watch the way the corners of his eyes crinkled when he smiled at him. “Thanks.”

Maybe it was because of the way his brain was still frantically trying to restart in the face of the pleased, surprised smile that Tony was giving him, but Steve said, without thinking, “Would you like to watch a movie with me tonight?”

Tony blinked at him in surprise before the corners of his mouth turned down. Steve mourned that smile. “I wish I could, but I have to do a thing tonight. A fundraiser for something, I think. Probably. That sounds like the sort of thing Pepper makes me do.”

Steve looked away as disappointment filled his gut. “Oh. Um, well, that's okay, it was just a thought,” he said, trying to sound casual. From the look on Tony's face, he was maybe failing a little bit.

Tony chewed his lower lip as he thought. “I don't think I'm doing anything tomorrow night, though,” he said, and Steve's heart sat up and took notice. “Maybe we could watch something then?”

“Sure,” Steve said, still aiming for that feigned casualness. Maybe he succeeded. Maybe he didn't. Either way, Tony patted Steve's knee as he went back to his paperwork, and that was about as far as his thought process could get.




Steve was still sitting there hours later, absently watching tv and enjoying the mild butterflies in his stomach, when Tony came back downstairs on his way out the door. He was dressed in perfectly-tailored formal wear, black and white and all clean lines, and his hair was styled to look like it hadn't been. He was fiddling with his cufflinks and mumbling to himself, very obviously going over a mental checklist of things to remember for the evening, and he was absolutely gorgeous. Steve only realized he was staring when Tony glanced up and noticed him there, caught his eye and grinned. Steve grasped for words while Tony raised one fine eyebrow at him, and finally came up with “Wow, you look sharp.”

“Thanks. Pepper picked the suit. Said it would get the old ladies all hot and bothered.” Tony winked and Steve's stomach did a backflip. It took him a moment to realize that, once again, his compliment had been neatly sidestepped. He opened his mouth to say something, to clarify maybe, that the suit was lovely, but that Tony would look gorgeous even in a flour sack, but Tony had already started walking again and only paused when he was almost out of sight to say, “Good night, Steve. See you tomorrow night.”

Steve opened his mouth, then closed it again, sagging back onto the couch. Tony wasn't stupid. He knew he wasn't. So why was he making this so difficult? The dinner could maybe be excused as a meal between friends, and the coffee, too, could be friendly. But Steve had complimented his appearance now twice as well, and had asked him to watch a movie with him. Tony was familiar enough with flirting that he couldn't be this obtuse, could he?

'Maybe,' a dark voice in the back of Steve's mind said, 'Maybe he knows exactly what you're doing and he just doesn't want to hurt your feelings by turning you down.' But Steve shied away from that idea, not quite willing to accept it as a possibility yet.

Tomorrow, he decided, he was going to be more blatant. Tony would have to know exactly what his intentions were.




The DVD Steve had found had listed itself as sci-fi, which meant that Tony was going to spend the entire movie complaining about a blatant lack of scientific accuracy and Steve wasn't going to understand any of it. To some, this may have sounded like a terrible evening, but Steve knew from experience that it was much more fun to watch an irate Tony, with eyes flashing and hands fluttering, tear into a movie than to actually watch one sometimes. Besides, despite the grumbling, Steve knew that sci-fi was Tony's favorite genre. During the quiet moments when none of the fictional scientists had recently said anything he could rip apart, Steve could see the gears grinding behind Tony's eyes. Science fiction may have been just that—fiction—but it gave Tony ideas.

Steve had just gotten the movie set up and was feeling rather pleased with himself for getting through Tony's ridiculously complicated entertainment system unscathed when Tony walked in wearing a ratty t-shirt and soft jeans and collapsed on the sofa next to him. For just a moment, Steve looked at those dark circles under Tony's eyes, and then he considered their evening plans. “You look tired,” he said carefully.

“Yeah,” Tony said, giving him a thin smile, “It's been a long few days with SI. It's no problem, though, really. It'll be nice to relax for a little while.”

Maybe if Tony was feeling stressed about work, that was why he hadn't seemed to notice any of Steve's overtures. Maybe Steve just needed to be a bit more obvious about it. Steve let hope build up a little inside him, and then, before he could talk himself out of it, wrapped an arm around Tony's waist.

Tony stiffened for a moment, and Steve's heart gave a little flutter of dismay, but then he melted against Steve's side and tucked his head against Steve's shoulder with a sigh. “Sorry. A million things just keep popping up. I promise not to fall asleep on you.”

Privately, Steve thought he wouldn't mind that very much. Outwardly, though, he just said, “Don't worry about it, Tony. We can always finish the movie later if you do.”

Tony gave a tired chuckle against his shoulder. “What are we watching, anyway?”

“The new Transformers movie,” Steve replied.

Tony groaned and turned his nose in against Steve's skin. “Oh god, that schlock? Those writers couldn't tell an actuator from an alpaca.”

Steve laughed and felt Tony's answering smile against his shoulder. “And that is exactly why you like it. Don't lie to me, Tony, I know it's true.”

Tony grumbled something that might have been a reply, and Steve counted that as a win.

They stayed there like that, massive explosions filling in the expanding gaps in their conversation, until the main character had a touching scene with his girlfriend (hadn't he had a different one in the last movie?) when she reassured him, and Tony turned his head slightly so he could speak semi-coherently. “Shouldn't you be watching this with that girl you're after?”

Steve felt his grip tighten slightly around Tony's waist and forced himself to relax. “I'd rather watch it with you,” he answered carefully.

Tony was still for a moment, then gave a half-shrug. “Yeah, you never get to watch the good movies when you're on a date.”

Frankly, Steve wasn't sure he'd call this a good movie—“mindless” was pushing it. It felt good, though, with Tony curled up at his side being generally warm and soft and relaxed despite slurring out disparaging remarks every time a scientist spouted another slew of jargon. Steve had no complaints. “Never?”

“Nope,” Tony said, shaking his head. “She always wants to see some gooey chick flick or a drama that will put you right to sleep.”

“What about what you want to see?” Steve asked, ignoring the part about the chick flicks for now. He knew for a fact that Tony had been suspiciously bright eyed at the end of that movie Jan had wanted to watch last week.

Tony shrugged again. “That doesn't matter. You always let the person you're wooing choose when you're on a date.”

Steve adjusted himself so he could look down at Tony. “But what about when they're wooing you?”

Tony's mouth screwed up in a confused frown. “Why would they do that?”

And that, Steve realized, was it. That was why Tony hadn't realized what he was trying to do, no matter how blatantly Steve did it. No one had ever done these things for him before. For all that he was the expert on seducing, no one had ever tried to seduce Tony before, not seriously. They'd tried to seduce his money, or his power, or even his body—but no one had angled for the real Tony before. The real Tony wasn't the suave front he put up at those charity galas, or the charming smirk he flashed at news cameras. He was difficult and strange and utterly confusing. He stayed up until four in the morning and grouched well past noon. He babbled about things most normal people couldn't even pronounce until he'd had about a gallon of coffee, at which point he babbled about things most experts couldn't pronounce. He was prickly and arrogant and demanding, and he was everything Steve had ever wanted. Tony deserved to be fawned over and courted just like anyone else, and Steve found himself wanting to do just that, and thoroughly.

He looked down at Tony, his features awash in flickering day-glo colors from the screen, and suddenly knew that he needed to take the plunge, that for better or for worse, the third time would be the charm. “Gosh, you're gorgeous.”

Tony froze against him. There was nowhere to go, no way to misinterpret that remark. He pulled away from Steve's shoulder, but didn't try to escape his grip, instead seemed just to want to be able to look Steve in the face. The red mark against Tony's cheek where the seam of Steve's shirt had dug into his skin paired with the frantically searching look in Tony's eyes should have been hilarious, should have been utterly absurd, but Steve just found it endearing. He wanted to kiss the crease between Tony's eyes, down that silly red mark and to his lips, wanted to kiss him again and again. Maybe it was time Tony knew that. His thoughts, however, were interrupted when Tony croaked out, “What?”

Steve shrugged. It all seemed so simple now. “I think you're gorgeous.”

Tony shook his head as if he couldn't get his head around that statement. “What are you talking about? I look like a bum right now,” he said, gesturing down at his ratty clothing. “I don't think I've slept in almost two days.”

Steve frowned at that because that, that just wasn't healthy. But still. First thing's first. “That doesn't matter. I like you better like this. You look great in a suit, but you look more like yourself when you're like this, when it's just you and me. I like that.”

Tony opened his mouth, but didn't seem to know where to go from there, so Steve pressed on. “I like watching movies with you even when you complain and I like eating lunch with you even in your workshop, because that's you. I don't care if other people don't like that sort of thing. That's you, and you're amazing. You're funny and smart and caring and I feel like I'm at home when I'm with you,” he said, not really sure where these words were coming from but unable to stop them from coming out.

Tony's eyes, which had been narrowed in confusion, went wide with sudden understanding. “Like you can really be yourself,” he finished.

Steve swallowed, knowing he'd been caught out. “Because you're my best friend.”

Tony shook his head, his expression far away as he put together the pieces. “God, you—did you seriously ask me for advice on how to seduce me?” he asked incredulously.

Steve shrugged a little. “I didn't know how to get your attention. Things are different now.”

Tony looked at him like he'd come from another planet. “Steve, you didn't need to get my attention. You didn't need to—to woo me. You could have just said something.”

“Yes, I did,” Steve argued. “You deserve to be wooed. You deserve that kind of consideration.” Then he stopped, processing what Tony had just said. “Wait, you mean--”

“You could have said anything and I would have dated you,” Tony confirmed, sounding slightly dazed as he looked over Steve's face. “God, I thought you were in love with some mystery woman.”

“No, just you,” Steve responded. Tony's eyes widened again and Steve realized what he'd just said. He closed his mouth resolutely, even as he blushed, refusing to take that back or explain himself. He'd said exactly what he needed to say.

After a moment, Tony let out a shaky breath, then reached over to take the hand Steve had wrapped around his hip. “So...Friday?”

The grin that spread across Steve's face was goofy enough to have made him feel silly if Tony hadn't been returning it with one of his own. “Yeah, okay.”

They grinned at each other for possibly another full minute before another explosion knocked them out of their trance. Steve darted a glance over at the tv, and when he looked back, Tony's grin had softened to something fond. He sat back against Steve's arm again and pressed his face against his shoulder in what might have been a kiss. He breathed in, inhaling his scent, then turned his head so he could see the film.

It wasn't until Tony's breathing had steadied in the soft rhythm of sleep that Steve pulled him close and pressed a gentle kiss to his hair, then grimaced at the sweat and other, more unidentifiable substances, he felt against his lips. Maybe this hadn't been exactly what he'd been expecting when he'd woken up, but hey. Steve was adaptable.