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no one else i'd rather fall in love with.

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Steve and Tony were best friends.

Sorry, the bestest of friends.

And they have been since elementary school.

Ever since Steve and Tony met, they’ve never been separated. Never.

It all started simple, your typical meet-cute for children. An ordinary day on the second day of first grade in the play yard. Tony Stark was very shy, he was never encouraged to socialize with others. The only friend he had at the time was his butler, Jarvis.

But his timidness soon became a whisper in the wind the moment Steve Rogers stepped into his life.

“Whatcha gonna do about it, Stark? My dad told me that you’re nothing but a spoiled little brat because your daddy is rich. And he also told me you’d probably be useless if it weren’t for your family name”

Tony felt tears well up in his eyes as he looked down at the ground and his light-up sneakers.

“Hey! Back off! No one likes bullies, Tiberius!”

He heard an ‘oof’ and then a thud. The same voice came closer and put a hand on his shoulder, “Are you okay?”

The little heir looked up to the stranger and saw the kindest pair of eyes and warmest smile he had ever seen. The boy had ruffled dirty blond hair and was a little bit smaller, but he knew instantly that his heart was 20 times bigger than anyone on this planet.

“I-I’m okay. Thanks for standing up for me”

“No problem! My Ma says there’s no room on this Earth for bullies. I’m Steve,” the blond -Steve- stuck his hand out for Tony to shake.

“Hi Steve, I’m Tony. Tony Stark!”

And with that introduction, neither Steve nor Tony would ever feel alone again.

 

As the years went by, they both took care of each other in little ways. Steve continued to stand up to Tiberius and Tony reciprocated the gesture by helping him with homework.

Tony would often ask Jarvis to drop Steve off on their way home so that the asthmatic little boy wouldn’t have to walk so far. To return the favour, Steve sometimes gave him the comic books he finished reading because he knew Howard didn’t allow “unnecessary disruptions” to his studies.

“What do you have for lunch, Steve?” Tony asked as he sat down next to him.

“Ma packed me leftover mac n’ cheese from last night. What about you?”

“Jarvis made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Oh! And I also asked him to pack one for you,”

Tony knew how skinny Steve was and he wanted to make sure he stayed healthy. “You didn’t have to do that Tony,”

“It’s no problem. You gave me the Aquaman comic book I’ve been dying to read so it’s only right”

Steve blushed, “Thank you”

“Of course, that’s what best friends are for!”

They were ninety-eight and ninety-nine.

***

“No talking in the library”

“No eating in the library”

“No drinks in the library”

“Psst. Steve!”

“Steve!”

“STEVE!” he whisper-yelled. The high school senior across from him glared as he looked up,
“What, Tony?”

The brunet leaned across the table, “Do you think the librarian will notice if I chug this entire can of Redbull?”

Steve’s eyes went wide and the sudden appearance of the extra-large Redbull in Tony’s hands. He quickly snatched it away, causing Tony to stick his bottom lip out and pout.

“Tony, no”

“You’re no fun, Stevie. Come onnnn, break the rules once in a while”

“I can’t believe I’ve put up for you for ten years”

Tony smirked, knowing that Steve’s comments only strengthened their bond. “Yeah, but we swore to be best friends forever in second grade, remember? No backsies”

The blond rolled his eyes without verbal retaliation and returned to his work. Tony followed to do the same.

He was reading from the textbook in front of him, trying to make notes. This had nothing to do with his day courses but hey, studying university year 3 calculus for fun as a senior counted as entertainment to Tony Stark.

They sat in comfortable silence for 10 minutes, with Tony feeling Steve stealing glances once in a while. Out of the corner of his eye, he could occasionally see the blond looking up from his work and staring at him for seconds at a time.

At one point, he caught his eye. “Why do you keep looking at me? Whatcha workin’ on?”

Steve pulled his notebook closer towards him, “It’s nothing, I’m just working on my art portfolio. What are you doing?”

“Deflecting the question I see. Very interesting Mr. Rogers. Well you see, my fa- Howard is a constant pain in my ass so I’ve decided to study university calculus for fun to spite him”

“Language, Tony, and why do you still care what that jerk thinks?” Steve knew that the relationship between the heir and his father was rocky, he hated Howard just as much as Tony did. He could always feel the pain he caused, whether Tony decided to share about it or not.

“I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. What I’m more interested about is the mysterious activity you’re hiding in that notebook of yours,”

“You’ll have to wait and see”

“But I want to know nowww”

Steve chuckled lightly, beginning to put his notebook back in his bag. “Nope. Patience, Tones. You’ll find out soon I promise”

“That’s what you said when I asked you how you got so jacked over summer during freshman year! I still don’t know and I was with you the entire time!”

They spent that entire summer together (like they always do), glued side by side, but somehow Tony never noticed Steve developing a build. It wasn’t until they returned to school and all the girls were suddenly asking “Where’s Steve?” and “Who’s your new friend Tony?”. Then he realized that Steve changed dramatically.

“I’ll tell you later. Why don’t you pack up and let’s go get dinner, it’s getting late. What do you want to eat?” Steve asked.

Tony looked up at the ceiling, “Hmm I’m really in the mood for pizza tonight”

“Really? We had pizza last night, are you not sick of it?”

“Steven Grant Rogers. How could you say something so offensive? Surely you of all people know that I am a proud Italian. I could never be sick of pizza!” Tony exasperated.

“Tones. Your family comes from England”

“Okay yeah, whatever. So pizza?”

Steve rolled his eyes once again and brushed his hand through his hair. He always loved Tony’s wit and humour, it balanced their friendship.

“Hang on Steve, we can’t leave yet you have a wild strand of hair let me fix that for you,” he stood up and leaned his entire torso over the table, not breaking his trance with Steve’s forehead. He raised one hand and brushed the stray hair away carefully, flicking his eyes down to Steve’s face.

Both of them held their breaths in close proximity but in the end, this was just platonic.

Steve cleared his throat weakly, “Thanks, I’m gonna go start the car”

Tony nodded and retreated to his side of the table. The two boys began to clear their workspace and Steve left first, doing as he said.

When Tony was doing one final check of their area, he noticed that one of Steve’s notebooks was on the ground. It must have fallen out when he was packing.

Cautiously, he picked it up and contemplated for a bit before deciding to take a peek at his drawings. Tony knew that Steve was a talented artist but he never really saw any of his work. He flipped through the pages quickly and nothing particular caught his eye until near the end.

“Oh,” he gasped.

There were pages and pages of doodles. Doodles of Tony. He meticulously scanned each drawing, noticing the little things Steve included.

How his smile was drawn very detailed and bright, or how he always showed a glimmer in his eyes. The soft curves of his face showed his true side and not the hard exterior he displays for the world to see. Every little detail in these nonchalant doodles was drawn so beautifully.

Steve was able to capture the real Tony.

The brunet felt his heart skip a beat but thought nothing of it. He just knew that he was super grateful to have such a talented best friend that saw him for who he was and not who he pretended to be.

 

And following the aftermath of his revelation, Tony didn’t return Steve’s notebook to him. Sure, he was frantically looking for it in the car but Tony reassured him that it would show up somewhere.

So the next day at school, Tony made sure to be earlier than Steve and slip his notebook into his locker. He would never know.

Tony waited by his locker and after a few moments of overthinking, he saw Steve turn the corner.

“Oh. My. God.”

“Don’t laugh!” Steve replied. He knew that Tony was reacting to his new haircut, which wasn’t bad, but Tony preferred his old hair. Steve did too.

“My Ma wanted to give me a haircut so I let her. You know how I get with my mom!”

Tony stood on his tippy-toes to try and ruffle his best friend’s hair, giggling as he stepped back to see the results. “You look like you belong in a country club where all they do is drink scotch and play golf”

Steve groaned, which only made Tony laugh harder. “Y-your hair really looks like it came out of a cartoon sitcom”

“Tony come on, it’s not that bad,”

The shorter boy doubled over in laughter, “You’re right it’s not, but- but-”

“Hey Stark!” Tiberius. The booming voice from down the hall cut Tony’s laughter short and made the pair roll their eyes. They turned around to the raven-haired menace walk towards them with his posse.

“Anything we can do for you?” Tony said.

“Yeah, just wanted to ask. How’s your daddy doing? Heard his company’s losing quite a lot of money after that scandal. Probably doesn’t matter to you though, right? You’re still a spoiled little bitch”

The heir opened his mouth to respond but before he could, Steve stepped up to the bully. “Oh grow up Tiberius. You’ve been making the same comments since first grade. I honestly thought you’d be more creative but I guess when you’re dumb it’s hard”

The bully’s expression fell and he uncrossed his arms.

“What? Defeated so easily after I pointed out the obvious truth? No snarky comment? Just leave us alone man”

Everyone in the hall stopped to hear what Steve was saying, but no one could believe it. He was often known as the goody-two-shoes and no one dared to stand up to Tiberius.

Tiberius rolled his eyes and seethed, “Whatever man. You’re lucky you have your boyfriend to protect you, Stark. He’s not gonna be around forever and when that day comes, I’m gonna get you”

His group promptly left after their interaction but Tony had to get his last word in, “He’s not my boyfriend! And fuck you!”

The brunet hated how inferior Tiberius could make him feel sometimes, even though he’s been working on his confidence and self-esteem. Of course, he could only thank Steve for that. He was the one that supported and encouraged Tony no matter what.

Then, the bell rang, signifying the start of first period: English class together.

“Let’s go Tony, you know how annoying Ms. Cunningham gets when we’re late”

“Yeah. Thanks for sticking up for me, you know, again. And sorry for making fun of your hair, you know I think you’re great even though you look like Sid from ice age”

Steve laughed and put his arm around Tony’s shoulder, pulling them away from the lockers. “Yeah, yeah. Say what you want. I’ll always protect you, you’re my best friend”

And that much was true.

***

The rest of the week went similarly: Steve and Tony glued to each other, lots of laughs and fun, and the occasional pestering from Tiberius.

In fact, this was how they spent the majority of their life. But they wouldn’t have it any other way. Ever since the beginning, they’ve never laughed so hard or written a sad song.

Because life together was just Steve and Tony. Tony and Steve.

The genius and the artist.

Cut to the weekend where you guessed it, the pair were hanging out once again. Except the only difference was the change in setting: at Tony’s house.

This was a normal tradition, every weekend they took turns hanging out at each other’s house and they always, always slept over.

“Finally! The weekend. I’m so excited to just eat and watch a movie. Ms. Cunningham was so annoying this week” Tony shouted as the pair walked through the front door. He tossed his bag and jacket carelessly down the corridor and made his way with Steve trailing behind.

“She wasn’t that bad. I mean if you had Norman in your class, you would probably act like a bitch sometimes too”

Tony turned on his heel and gasped dramatically, “Steve! Did you just swear?! My precious, sweet, angelic best friend? I’m telling Sarah”

Steve placed his backpack on the couch and scratched the back of his head.

“Sorry, it’s been a long week. Let’s make something to eat and we can go watch a movie in your room”

“Of course, anything for you my dear, dear, dear friend whom I cherish very deeply”

“...Tony I know you know it’s my turn to pick the movie”

“But Steve!” he whined. The taller boy shot him a look.

“Okay fine whatever we’ll discuss this later, let me go change into something more comfortable. Be right back!” he said, singing the last part. Tony skipped to the stairs and hurried up, while Steve waited for him at the base. It didn’t take long for the brunet to change and when he did he practically sprinted.

“I’m coming! Let’s go make some food and get the weekend starte-”

His sentence was cut short when he tripped over his own feet and began to tumble down the flight of stairs. He yelped and Steve’s eyes went wide at the sight of Tony falling down.

“OH MY GOSH TONY”

Luckily, before he could make a hard impact with the ground, Steve caught him in his arms. The shorter boy was slouched and the blond held him up by his arms. It took a moment for Tony to fully process what was happening and when he did, he looked up at his best friend who held him up.

Tony scanned Steve’s face who had a worried look before grinning widely. “You caught me!”
He moved his arms out of Steve’s grip and flung them around his neck in a hug.

“My hero”

The blond let out a breath of relief, realizing that Tony wasn’t hurt in any way. He hugged him back carefully and let his chin rest on the short boy’s shoulder, closing his eyes in the comfort that Tony was okay.

“Of course I caught you. I’ll always save you, Tones”

Tony felt his heart flutter a bit like it did every time he heard his nickname come out of Steve’s mouth. He pulled away from the hug and patted himself off and also patted Steve off a little bit too.

“Okay let’s go make something to eat. How ‘bout we reheat some of the leftover pizza from this week”

“Really? Pizza again?”

“Hey! ...We’ve discussed this. Now are you coming or not? Ooo I’m also gonna make some pasta, I’m kinda hungry”

The two boys made their way into the kitchen and started to do their own thing, Steve plating the pizza to put into the oven and Tony getting all the ingredients for a simple alfredo pasta. They worked together in harmony. They didn’t even need to say anything for the other person to know exactly what they needed.

It was perfect bliss.

“Thank God I changed out of my school clothes,” Steve turned around to see Tony wiping sauce off his shirt. He snickered. “Wouldn’t want to ruin the Armani, amirite?”

Tony continued preparing the pasta and Steve came up behind him, suddenly wrapping his arms around his best friend to put an apron on him.

“Here, this should help a little”

The shorter boy’s breath hitched in his throat at the sudden action and stopped to lift his arms up, allowing Steve to put the apron on. He was lucky that he was behind him, because Tony’s face was flushed with a deep crimson colour.

Steve’s chest was practically touching Tony’s back as he tied the strings and his chin almost resting on Tony’s shoulder.

“U-uh thanks Steve, I’m okay now”

“Great! I’ll go back to working on the pizza”

“Yeah. Uhm, you go do that”

Tony swallowed the lump in his throat and continued his cooking after Steve stepped away.

God when did it get so hot?

 

Preparing the pizza, pasta and a bowl of popcorn didn’t take them too long and soon enough they were getting comfy in Tony’s room on his bed, underneath some blankets in front of the ridiculously big TV.

“We’re watching Mean Girls right?”

“Tony, it's my turn to pick the movie! And we’ve already watched Angry Women like 12 times if you wanna pick, pick something else”

“I told you, it’s Mean Girls

“Furious Females”

“Mean Girls”

“Resentful Ladies”

“Mean Girls”

“Bitter Bitc-”

Tony pointed a warning finger at Steve’s throat, “Don’t you finish that sentence Steven Grant Rogers”

The blond rolled his eyes and smiled, “Okay, Anthony Edward Stark. Since you like empowering feminist films starring blonde women, I’ll meet you in the middle. Legally Blonde”

“Deal” Tony stuck out a hand for Steve to shake and they both laughed when they shook on it. Tony immediately put the movie on the TV and turned off the lights, with only the bright LEDs from the screen illuminating the room.

Sun’s up, it’s a little after twelve” Steve sang quietly. The heir always loved hearing Steve sing, it was one of the many things he was so talented at. The most important talent was being Tony’s best friend of course.

The movie began playing and Tony couldn’t focus, he was too busy fixated on Steve’s reaction and how he laughed at every stupid joke or made fun of the protagonist’s two best friends. He loved the way Steve smiled whenever something good happened or frowned when something went wrong.

“You know Tony,” Steve interrupted out of the blue, halfway through the movie.

“Hm?”

“You really remind me of Elle. You’re both incredibly stubborn, and kind of ignorant sometimes. But in the end, you turn out to be smarter than everyone in the room and you just want to do what’s right. You care so, so, so much about everyone but people can rarely see that. And you don’t mind, because you just try your best. That’s one of the many things I admire”

Tony didn’t respond. He was too busy catching his breath and chasing his heart that practically pounded out of his chest.

Oh no. His brain said.

But his heart said, oh yes.

He spent the rest of the movie going through a million thoughts and glancing over at Steve once in a while. And before he knew it, the movie ended happily ever after like they always do.

Every movie they watched had a happy ending.

“Tony you have something on your mouth let me get a tissue for you,” he said, turning away from Tony to reach for the tissue box.

He turned back around but when he did, he was met with warmth on his lips. Tony was kissing him.

And it was the sweetest of kisses: simple, chaste, and soft. There was no movement at all, just Tony pressing his lips against Steve’s but it was so full of everything that needed to be said.

They pulled back away slowly and Tony’s eyes were wide with fear. Scared that he ruined ten years of friendship.

“What was that for?” Steve said quietly, he had a small smile on his face.

“Nothing, I just realized that I am completely and utterly in love with you and I think I have been for a really long time. Please don’t be mad! I get it if you don’t feel the same way but maybe you can forget about it and we can-”

Steve cut him off with another kiss except this time was full of need and want. He cupped Tony’s cheek ever so gently, brushing his cheekbone with the pad of his thumb. He pulled back and let out a shaky exhale.

“You’re such a dork. I’m in love with you too, you’re my best friend in the entire world” he whispered

“Oh thank God, I thought you were gonna say that we can’t be friends anymore”

“Tony, look at me” Steve placed his other hand on the side of Tony’s cheek and cradled his face, tilting it up so that they could see each other a little better through the dark lighting.

“There is no one else I’d rather fall in love with. It’s you. It’s always been you”

“You’re a sap, but I guess that’s why I fell in love with you in the first place”

After their soft exchange of words, Tony surged up slightly to press his lips against Steve’s one more time. When he pulled back to rest his forehead against the blond’s, he closed his eyes and smiled.

“Can we go to sleep now? I’m really tired”

“Definitely,” Steve replied. He lifted the blankets a little bit so that they could adjust their position together. Tony shifted and found himself wrapped up in Steve’s big arms, his face buried in his chest. Cuddling wasn’t a foreign concept to them but this time was different.

The blond placed a gentle kiss in Tony’s hair before they both drifted off into sleep, dreaming of each other: together.