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Tony's house is exactly what Steve used to imagine a spaceship would look like. Honestly, it's what he still imagines one to look like, despite seeing photographs of the Apollo 11 and having gone to The New York Hall of Science with Tony. Endless windows and white surfaces, everything clean and curved and no sharp edges. Jarvis gives him a walking tour of the house when Pepper is at work and Tony is locked away in his workshop. It's a strange experience at first, this disembodied voice following him around the rooms, “This entire wing was remodelled in 2010 after Mr Stark destroyed the windows and floor”, “The artwork in this room has a total value of over a million dollars”, but he learns to get used to Jarvis's steady, and steadying, presence.

Steve never had much of an interest in going to California before Tony and Pepper practically packed his bags and took him to Malibu. Sure, he loved going to the movies whenever he could scrounge up enough money for the local movie theatre, but Hollywood was never a draw; he knew that it was all wooden sets and painted backdrops. Steve wanted to go to Chicago or Sherwood Forest or Saturn. Mostly Saturn, though.

When Pepper came to the tower, though, he knew that Tony was going to go back to California, at least for a little while, and he was glad. The idea that Tony and Pepper might split up just... made him feel really bad, where a few months beforehand he'd been so jealous of Pepper, even if he wouldn't let himself acknowledge that. He wasn't exactly sure what the two of them kissing him meant, though. He'd gone to bed soon after – alone, following a whispered conversation between Tony and Pepper – and wasn't exactly sure what was going to happen the next morning. Nobody had been drunk, which was a plus, but they were engaged, for God's sake! What the hell did he think was going to happen?

He mostly expected Tony's flirting and innuendo the next day, and managed to get his 'you can't say that in front of ladies' impulse under control. What he didn't expect was a couple of days later Tony asking him to come to Malibu with them when they left for the mansion on the weekend.

“You don't have anything else to do,” Tony had said flippantly, and Pepper had squeezed Steve's arm and said, “What he means is that maybe you could use a change of scenery, but only if you'd like to.”

There wasn't much he could say except 'yes'.


The thing is, their lives go on around him, and at first he feels a little surplus to requirements. They don't ignore him by any means, but they've got this routine, this flow; they move around each other with ease, and he... doesn't. Pepper gets up at six, and showers while Tony's down in the workshop. He comes back up in time to eat breakfast with her, and they go through the day's headlines, their plans for the day, then she kisses him – and she kisses Steve, too, which he's not quite sure how to respond to – and leaves for work.

After that, Tony sticks all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and heads back downstairs. Usually he asks Steve to join him, and Steve normally – read: always – follows him down.

It's not bad; it's a hell of a lot better than the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility he was at, and even preferable to the tower, because here he can indulge the embarrassing depths of his crush without being teased about it. In fact, Tony gets all smiley when Steve acts like an idiot, and doesn't calls him on it. He doesn't even push it when Steve gets skittish about how far he's comfortable taking things. And that's the problem, he's still so uncomfortable about everything. He has his own room and they don't push him on that either, but neither do they tone down their activities; like having loud, wall-thumping sex that usually culminate in Steve jerking off to the rhythm of Tony shouting Pepper's name. He's pretty sure they're showing off for his benefit, but he's still not quite able to take the next step. It's only been a week and a half, and Pepper says, in her quiet, to the point way, that things develop at their own rate. “You don't even want to know how long it took me and Tony to get our acts together.”

Still, it doesn't do much in the way of helping him feel less like someone with morals seventy years out of date.

“Hey, do you want to do something today?” Pepper asks him, two weeks in. It's Sunday, and he's sketching the view of the ocean from the lounge's vast window. As simple a thing as it is, it's taking him a while to get the hang of; there was never a call to draw landscapes like these in Brooklyn. He flips his sketchbook closed and looks up at her. She's wearing jeans and a grey sweater; it's very likely the first time he's seen her in casual clothes (save for her workout gear, which still makes him blush to think about). She even works weekends, normally.

“Sure. Don't think I've ever seen you in civvies before.”

“All work and no play...” She smiles mischievously. “Tony's absorbed in his own head, he's not going to come up for air for a good thirty six hours, so I was thinking that we could go out and do something. I get the impression that Tony hasn't really been showing you all that LA has to offer.”

Steve shrugs. “He's been busy with his... stuff.”

She arches an eyebrow at this. “Come on.”

Pepper's car isn't as terrifying as Tony's, but the way it seems to anticipate everything he wants to do is still a little worrying. The seat adjusts itself to accommodate his body when he sits down, the seatbelt secures itself around him, the window rolls itself down when he moves his hand over the button. After a little while, he just folds his hands in his lap and tries not to touch anything.

“Jarvis,” Pepper says, “please turn off all the car's extra functions.”

“Of course, Ms. Potts. I should have taken Captain Rogers into account early.”

“Is he mocking me?” Steve asks.

She reaches over and pats him on the knee. “Only a little. Do you have anywhere in particular that you want to go?”

He shifts a little and looks over at her; she has a slight smile on face as she slowly removes her hand. “The only places I know in LA are the Hollywood Bowl and... the Hollywood sign.”

“Let's start off slow,” she says. “You need new clothes.”

He looks down at his khakis and white t-shirt. “What's wrong with my clothes?”

“How many white t-shirts do you own?”

“About five?”

“And how many have you ripped in the last month?”

“Yeah, okay, you've got a point.”

She glances over him and smiles. “Maybe we'll even get you something with buttons.”

“Whoa, Pepper, I thought you said we were going slow,” he replies, and is disproportionately pleased by the laughter that this gets from her.

She takes him to a mall that is huge and a little intimidating, but still less so than the prospect of going to Tony's tailor, which was what Tony suggested last time the subject of Steve's sparse wardrobe was brought up.

“So what do you like?” she asks, indicating to the rows and rows of shirts and slacks.

“The prices,” he says, checking the tag on the nearest shirt. Two shirts for $25; that sounds pretty good for this century. “The last store I went into was Tiffany's with Thor. It was terrifying.”

She starts browsing through a rack, waving him to come over and look. “What was Thor doing at Tiffany's?” she asks, pulling the exact same face that Steve had when Thor suggested it.

“He saw the movie, and he wanted to buy something for Jane. He broke several things, I had to put it on the charge card Tony gave me.”

“Ah,” she says, pulling a plaid shirt out and holding it up against him. “So that's what that was. This would look nice on you.”

“I like plaid,” he agrees.

Trying on clothes is apparently a lot harder than it used to be, because nothing fits right, despite the fact that the shirts are supposedly his size. Life was so much easier when he wore Bucky's old, old hand-me-downs and army uniforms.

“Welcome to the future,” Pepper says from outside the changing room door.

“This is not what Buck Rogers promised us,” he mutters.

“To be fair,” Pepper says, pulling the curtain back and stepping in. Steve jumps and holds the shirt in his hands up to his chest. “That was set in the 2400s. Really?” she adds, nodding to his flimsy shield.

He clears his throat and puts it down. “Sorry.”

She holds up a new shirt, and he lets her help him put it on. “I think we've already discussed this, Steve, you don't need to apologise all the time.” She straightens the shirt and tries to button it up. It reaches, but it's an extremely snug fit. “Although you could apologise for having such broad shoulders, you aren't making this any easier on yourself.”

In the end she buys him four new shirts, which seems a little excessive and he tries to argue with her about it – which draws amused glances from fellow shoppers – but she just says, quietly, that Tony has yet to win an argument with her, so does Steve really think he's going to? The woman on the paying on the till next to them smiles when he shuts his mouth and digs his hands into his pockets.

“If I'd had savings in the bank, I'd be rich now,” he mutters.

She takes the bag from the shop assistant and gives it to him. “You didn't have any savings?” she asks as she waves him out of the store.

“Me and Bucky could barely afford to eat, and my mom's money got all used up when she was sick. I did manage to save fifteen dollars once, but then I got a really bad bout of sinusitis and all the money went on doctors' visits.”

Pepper nods and slips her oversized sunglasses as when they get back outside. She looks like a movie star, he thinks. “Well, you have savings now.”


“Sometimes Tony does things without telling me,” she says. “But, in his defence, it was the money that Howard had earmarked to search for you.”

“Howard kept searching for me? But Tony didn't even know that I was real.” He knew Howard had looked for him at first, had found the Tesseract, but it was S.H.I.E.L.D. who found him in the ice, Stark Industries weren't involved at all. The first thing Tony had said when he saw him was, 'if you guys are dealing in childhood fantasies now, I want a pony'.

“Yes, well,” Pepper begins. Her lips thin out. “Tony wasn't always made aware of what was going on.”

Pepper says things like this sometimes, and Steve doesn't know what they mean. Tony doesn't comment on them either, but he gets that carefully blank look in his eyes that suggests that he knows exactly what she means. So far, Steve hasn't asked about it; his mother always told him it wasn't polite to pry into other people's business.

“Do you need any more art supplies?” she asks, after they've taken a few more steps in silence.

“No, Tony bought me everything I could ever need.”

“He has a habit of doing that,” she says, and falls quiet again.

A little further down the street, there's a second hand bookstore with two metal trolleys of battered books and video tapes outside. Steve stops next to an older man to thumb through some of the cracked spines, reading unfamiliar titles.

“Betamax,” Pepper says after he's browsed for a moment. “Been a while since I've seen these.”

“I've never seen them,” Steve says, and the guy next to him mutters, young people!. Pepper laughs and links her arm through his.

“Do you want to go in?” she asks, the edges of her mouth curving up.

“Yeah,” he says, “if you don't mind.”

Inside the store is tiny, tiny enough that he's worried he's going to break something if he turns around too fast, comics on shelves and in white boxes on one side, and a couple of rows of books on the other, everything haphazardly stacked in something approximating alphabetical order. He drifts towards the science fiction section while Pepper looks at the comics.

The books are pretty old – though still after his time – with the same kinds of hokey covers that pulps had when he was a kid. He recognises some of authors from those magazines: Heinlein, Bester, Asimov, Doc Smith, Hubbard, and he has this strange feeling of pride, of hey, you guys made it.

Except Hubbard. That was weird.

He flicks through a couple of books; they're a bit bloodier than he remembers things being, but it's nothing compared to the stuff Tony watches on a daily basis. (By the time Tony had yelled 'cover thine virgin eyes!' it was too late.)

“Hey.” Pepper touches his arm, and he looks up from reading about a guy stranded on a spaceship to see her holding up an old issue of Captain America. “You fight the war on drugs in this one,” she says.

“Oh God, why?” he says.

“Because kids should 'just say no'. That was a big thing when I was a teenager.”

“I didn't,” he mutters, putting down the book and taking the comic from her. The art's not so bad – a little uninspiring, but at least it isn't weirdly photorealistic – but the writing is pretty crummy. At one point he goes from being dressed in his civvies one minute, to being in his full uniform the next, like he's Superman or something. And like most of the Captain America comics he's read so far, he's kind of a self-righteous jerk.

Also, there are random drug dealing aliens.

“Why are there aliens?” he asks.

“I think the better question is why aren't there more aliens,” she replies, looking at the books he was browsing. “You like Asimov? Next time you have a spare three hours, you should ask Tony about him. He has every book Asimov published, and some he didn't.”

“I used to read his short stories in the pulps. I sort of... knew him?”

She blinks. “I assume that since I haven't heard a girlish scream reverberate around the country, you haven't told Tony that.”

“Uh, no. I mean, I wasn't friends with him or anything, but his parents owned a candy store in Brooklyn and I used to go in sometimes, if I had enough money. He was a couple of years younger than me, though, plus I lived in an orphanage, so... yeah,” he finishes, giving in to the urge to shift nervously and glance back down at the books.

“Well, that settles it, then,” she says, and picks up the copy of The Gods Themselves he'd been looking at earlier. “I'm buying you this. And also that,” she adds, grabbing The Stars, My Destination from where he'd put it down before. Then she pulls the comic from his hands, and says, “and this.”

“I thought you said that Tony has all of Asimov's books?”

“He does, but they're all first editions and no one's allowed to touch them.”

“Well, okay, but...” he starts, following her through the narrow rows towards the register.

“Ten dollars won't bankrupt me,” she says breezily.

“I know it won't, but...” he tries again, and she turns to him, stopping him at the end of a row.

“Okay, is this an emasculation thing or just a general anxiety about owing people thing?”

He frowns and she looks at him with that 'well, I'm waiting' expression on her face. “General anxiety,” he says.

“Well,” she says, and taps him on the chest with the books in her hand, “you're a celebrity now, you have to get used to people giving you things. Think of this as a welcome home present.”

“And the shirts?”

“Just doing my civic duty. If you aren't appropriately dressed, you'll get mobbed. If you like, I'll buy myself a disgustingly expensive pair of shoes next.”

He bites the inside of his mouth and smiles. “Yeah,” he says, “okay, deal.”

“Thought so,” she says, and gives him one more tap on the chest before turning around.


“I don't know how you can even walk in those things,” he says later, while Pepper scrutinises her feet in the mirror. The shoes are ridiculously expensive, and she's already decided to buy two other pairs, but she's also rejected many more and she examines each one in minute detail, casting aside anything that isn't exactly what she's looking for.

“I can run in them, too,” she says, and turns to look at herself from the side. Frankly, they make her ass look fantastic, though as soon as the thought crosses his mind, he feels his cheeks begin to warm.

He clears his throat quietly and focuses on the shoes. They're red pumps, like the kinds that Peggy used to wear, only much, much higher; they're very in, Pepper says.

“You could not run in those,” he says, “I don't believe that for a second.”

“Oh, really?” she says, hands on her hips, looking down at where he's sitting. Her voice has that inflection to it, the way Peggy's used to when she was telling him off for something, humour mixed with irritation. Pepper doesn't look a thing like Peggy, she's taller, skinnier, different coloured hair, different facial structure, but God, sometimes...

“I'm going to buy these shoes just so that I can race you in them,” she adds, pulling him from his thoughts.

“Challenge accepted,” he replies, ignoring the blush that feels like it's all over his body now, warming the back of his neck and the palms of his hands.


Their last stop is the Museum of Contemporary Art, but by the time they get there, it's closing for the day, so they end up in a café down the street, drinking coffees with ridiculous names.

“Sorry, I should have realised it'd be closed, I go there often enough,” Pepper says, long fingers wrapped around her mug as she sips her coffee. They're sitting outside, Pepper safely under a parasol and away from the low afternoon sun, cars passing by every few seconds. He itches to draw her, this whole contradictory scene of concrete and pollution and delicate hands, but he doesn't even have a pen.

“It's fine, I was hungry anyway.” He squints against the sun as a truck rumbles past them; Pepper has already promised to buy him sunglasses. “So, you go there a lot?” he says, because it's the only thing that he can think to say.

“Whenever I get some free time. Which, between the company and Tony, isn't as much as I'd like.” She sighs. “I minored in Art History at university, it's nice to get back to my roots, sometimes.”

That makes sense: the walls of both Tony's houses are covered in art, some by artists that Steve recognises and some that he doesn't. And Tony doesn't exactly seem like the kind of guy who appreciates the differences between French Surrealism and American Synchromism, for instance.

“What did you major in?”

“Accounting.” When he pulls a face, she sits forward and says, “Hey, it was the sensible option!” but she's smiling.

“No, it's just... You're an accountant?”

She 'hm's under her breath and sits back. “By education, but I haven't officially worked as one for over a decade, so I can't really claim the title. I don't see why you're so surprised.”

He shrugs. “I just thought all accountants where mean old men with thinning hair.” That'd been his experience, at least, when his Mom had died and there'd been estate taxes to deal with.

“Well, you're living in a whole new world now, Steve.”

“That's what people keep telling me,” he says, and starts to pick at the edge of his syrup soaked pastry.

('You eat like child,' Pepper had noted, 'you're practically as bad as Tony'.

'I need a lot of calories,' he'd said, picking up a second pastry, 'and sugar.')

“You're an artist, aren't you?” she asks, although clearly it's not a question.

“I draw,” he says.

“Tony says you're really good.”

“I thought you said that Tony has no taste.”

She braces her feet on the edge of his chair, the toes of her boots pressing lightly into his thigh. “Don't use my words against me, it isn't polite.”

“Sorry. I'm... okay, but nothing special.”

The lines around her mouth purse together as she regards him. “I don't think there's any way in which you could be referred to as 'nothing special'.”

“Well,” he says, and breaks off a piece of his pastry that flakes under his fingertips, “the Pratt Institute turned me down for a scholarship, so...”

“They turned Captain America down?” she says, lowering her voice and widening her eyes.

“I wasn't Cap back then,” he replies, “just a street kid.” He pauses and she frowns at him – not angrily, but just sort of sadly – and then he says, “It wasn't like university was ever on the cards. I managed to get through high school, which was more than most of my friends did, but I was always an average student, and it wasn't like I was ever going to be able to afford the fees. Even if I had got a scholarship, it wouldn't have covered everything I needed. Half the kids from the orphanage joined a gang, the other half enlisted. You get kicked out at eighteen, barely able to read, what else are you supposed to do?”

“Is that the first time you tried to enlist?”

He shakes his head. “I didn't want to be a soldier, I just felt like it was the right thing to do when we joined the war.”

“So, what did you want to do?”

He shifts a little, away from the toes of her boots, then back again. He hasn't talked about this in... in a long time, whichever way you look at it (his concept of time is so twisted up now he hardly knows how to talk about the past). The S.H.I.E.L.D. psychiatrist asked him all these sorts of questions, but he answered in only the vaguest of terms. Fury grilled him on his military training, but didn't ask him a thing about his personal life, and made it abundantly clear that he didn't expect Steve to tell him anything private. And Tony... well, Tony always backs off before anything too sensitive comes up.

“Um,” he says, and rubs at his face, “I wanted to... write comic books. Well, draw them, I never could find anyone who could write worth a damn.”

Everyone he's ever told that to – except Bucky, of course, who'd beat people up for looking cross-eyed at Steve – laughed about it, or at the very least swiftly changed the subject. Pepper, though, she just smiles and says, “You knew Isaac.”

“I think history would have gone a lot differently if that had happened.”

“I don't know,” Pepper says, “Tony would still fanboy all over you.”

He shrugs and she lets it go, returning to her coffee for a couple of minutes before saying, “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure,” he says. His fingers are beginning to stick together from the syrup.

She glances to either side of them before going on. “You don't have to answer this, but... how long have you known you were bisexual?”

“Oh,” he says. That was not the question he was expecting. “About... seventy years.” At her amused glare, he amends, “About fifteen years, chronologically for me.”

“What made you realise?” she asks, then, “I'm sorry, we don't have to talk about this.”

“No, it's... it's fine.” He's never been able to talk to anyone about this, even Bucky, which was ironic considering... “When I was twelve, I met Bucky for the first time, and I felt kind of funny around him, but I didn't really understand why until a couple of years later. There wasn't really a term for it, though, and I guess I was just relieved that I did like girls too, even if the feeling was never mutual.”

“Was he the only guy you liked?”

“The only real guy, yeah. Kind of hard to like guys who terrorised me for a living. I crushed on some movie stars though.”

“Oh yeah?” she says, and leans in. “Who?” The way she says it makes him flush, not with embarrassment – or not only with embarrassment – but with something like contentment. She makes it feel so easy to talk about, and he knows that it kind of is these days, but still, no one wants to talk about Captain America's sexual proclivities, or even think that he has any.

He leans in too. “The big ones were Clark Gable and Cary Grant, but mostly Cary Grant. People used to say that there was something funny going on with him and Randolph Scott and, I don't know, it made me feel better, because he was such a ladies man, too.”

“Sounds like you have a type,” she says.

“Dark-haired assholes?” he says, then laughs, ducking his head; he hadn't actually meant to say that out loud.

She presses her foot into his thigh. “I wasn't going to say...”

“I really liked Katharine Hepburn, too,” he continues, feeling himself blush further. Watching Bringing Up Baby, Holiday, and The Philadelphia Story for the first times were interesting experiences.

“Because...?” she prompts.

“Well, she was... tall and elegant and, uh, sort of dominating.”

“Sounds like you have a type,” Pepper repeats and holds his gaze.

“Yeah,” he says quietly.


Tony resurfaces from his workshop two days later, on Tuesday morning, shuffling into the kitchen while Steve is having breakfast. He eyes Steve briefly while he grapples with the coffee maker.

What are you wearing?” he says.

Steve looks down at his plaid shirt and tries to give it an inconspicuous sniff. “It's clean.”

“Whether it's clean or not is neither here nor there. It's horrible.”

Steve frowns. “Pepper bought it for me.”

“Pepper?” Tony repeats, then shouts, “Pepper, come here!”

She's fixing her earrings when she comes into the room, the bottom of her blouse half untucked from her skirt. “Oh, the Kraken has risen, I see.”

Tony waves vaguely in Steve's direction. “You do know that he's Captain America, not Captain Canada, right?”

She sighs. “What are you talking about?”

“He looks like a lumberjack!”

“He likes plaid,” she says, then looks harder at Tony. “Have you been hunched over your work bench for the last three days?”

“I dunno,” Tony mutters, and now that Steve thinks of it, he is sort of hunched over, his shoulders rounded forward.

“You'll get a hump if you're not careful,” she says, and points to one of the kitchen stools. “Sit.”

He abandons the coffee with a longing look and sits. Pepper stands behind him and he winces when she grips his shoulders. “Jesus,” she says, working her fingers into his muscles. “I'll have to book you an appointment with the chiropractor if this gets any worse.”

“Sexy chiropractor?” he asks, beginning to straighten up a little.

“Old man who smells like licorice.”

“Oh,” Tony says, and winces some more when Pepper pulls back on his shoulders and then starts to dig her fingers in lower on his back. “Oh, that's uh... Huh. Mm...” His eyes slide shut and Steve can see him beginning to loosen up, remembers what Pepper's hands felt like on him.

Tony's lips part a little, head leaning back against her chest. He's making little noises, increasingly appreciative, as Pepper works out the tension in his back, and even from across the kitchen island, Steve feels like he can feel the effects, too.

“Just, uh, ah--” Tony's mumbling. “Right there, oh God, yeah, really dig in, ohhh, just...” His words are pretty reminiscent of what Steve's been hearing through the wall over the past few days, but he's pretty sure Tony's too far gone to be doing it on purpose. Pepper, on the other hand...

She leans down and says into Tony's ear, “Right here?”

“Yeah, yeah, good, that's so good, just keep...” he trails off into whiny little noises that are making Steve's feet tingle, Tony's mouth slack and his head pressed back against her. “Oh, God,” he groans, just this side of ragged, and seems to lean his entire weight against her.

She smacks him lightly on the shoulder. “Tony?”

“Mm?” he hums, and she runs her hand into his hair. He moans a little. The tingling in Steve's feet – and other places – is damn near unbearable.

“Go to bed,” she says.

“Mm, 'kay,” he mumbles, and sways a little when he gets up. Pepper waits until he's gone before turning to Steve.

“Well, I should get to work.”

“Uh huh,” he says, staring at her. She walks around the island and leans down to kiss him, the same as she's done every morning, except that Steve's hand comes up and holds the back of her neck, all on its own, it seems like. She hums against his mouth, and he opens it, just a little, which escalates matters somewhat.

It's probably not the best kiss she's had, nowhere near it, but it's pretty damn good, and he's half out of his seat, the edge of the island digging into his stomach, his erection pressing against the flat side of it. He's not even embarrassed. Not in the moment, anyway.

Eventually – it feels like he's had his hand placed carefully on the back of his neck forever – she pulls back. “I should go to work,” she says again.

“Yeah,” he breathes, sitting back down heavily. He waits what he thinks is a reasonable amount of time before going to the bathroom and locking himself in.


Despite the fact that Tony's house is like a living museum of every technological advancement from the fifties onwards, there's not actually a lot for Steve to do when he's alone. He reads the books in the library that look interesting, but Tony mostly has engineering and chemistry tomes, and when Steve opened one, he understood, on average, three words per sentence. The illustrations were technically brilliant, but made zero sense to him.

Tony's virtual film library is a better option, and under Jarvis's guidance he looks through it.

“Based on the movies you have previously enjoyed, you may like Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope,” Jarvis says.

Steve reads the description on the giant, cinema grade, television screen. He recalls a heated conversation about 'remastered editions' between Tony and Clint. Bruce even got involved; it was the first thing him and Tony ever agreed on, and they shunned Clint for a week afterwards. “I don't think Tony would want me to watch this without him, he seemed kind of excited about showing it to me.”

“You may be right about that, Captain. Perhaps Forbidden Planet?”

He watches the movie and feels the same sort of excitement about Robby the Robot that he did when he saw Metropolis for the first time, which is ridiculous because he's living in a world where there are robots far more advanced than that in most houses these days, and he's been talking to a near-sentient AI all morning.

“Studies suggest that nostalgia is a powerful emotion,” Jarvis comments, “and the 1950s are close enough to your childhood to incite these sorts of feelings.”

Then he recommends Lost in Space, and Steve watches the first eight episodes in a row before Jarvis cues up Star Trek. Steve thinks that he would have enjoyed the sixties.

Once it becomes obvious that he's probably just going to watch TV all day, he gets up to make a bowl popcorn. Or, rather, Jarvis tells him where the bag of popcorn is, tells him which machine to put it into, then remotely operates it for him.

“I really am living in the future,” he says.

“Indeed, sir,” Jarvis replies. There's a ding, and he adds, “Your corn has now popped.”

He gets his sketchbook out and scratches at it while he watches Sulu sword fight, his fingers greasy from butter and leaving smudges around the edges of the page. He covers it with doodles: swords and spaceships, shoes and dark-haired guys that move clean shaven to moustache to goatee, plaid shirts and detailed red hair. He wonders what Jarvis would look like if he was a human – he gets as far as a lanky man with a pencil moustache before he realises he's drawing a cross between Errol Flynn and Falsworth.

“Captain,” Jarvis says after Steve turns over to a clean page. “There is a phone call.”

“Oh, um. Take a message?”

“It is for you,” Jarvis says and pauses the TV.

“Oh, uh, how do I... answer it?” he asks, setting his sketchbook down to look around for a phone.

“I can route the call through the speaker system, but if you would prefer, there is a handset in the drawer of the table directly to your left.”

“I'll use the handset, thanks,” he says and leans down to the table next to the sofa to get it. He looks at the phone for a moment, reading the buttons, before hitting the green one.

“Well done, sir,” Jarvis says.

“Thank you,” he says as the person on the line says, 'Captain?'.

“Agent Coulson? Hi, sorry, I was talking to Jarvis.”

“Of course,” Coulson says. “I just wanted to check in with you.”

“You mean the director wants to make sure I'm not going to do something stupid,” he says, and when Coulson's silent for long enough to make clear that he's ignoring that little aside, he continues, “I'm fine. It's a nice time of year to be in California.”

“Mm, and what have you been doing?” Faintly, Steve can hear the sounds of a keyboard being tapped. He imagines his file is open on Coulson's computer, with the fresh comment: 'displays evasiveness'.

“Well, I bought new clothes and some books a couple of days ago, and now I'm watching the bad half of Captain Kirk fight with the good half.”

There's a barely audible sigh on the line. “I see that Mr Stark has been taking your cultural re-education extremely seriously.”

“Tony's asleep.”

“I see,” Coulson repeats. “But you're getting on with him?”

“Yes. With all due respect, Agent, what are you getting at?”

“Nothing, Captain. Enjoy Star Trek. I was always partial to Spock, myself.”

I'll bet, Steve thinks. “Have a good day, Agent,” he says.

“Same to you, Captain.”

Steve's next drawing is of a scowling Coulson tapping his fingers impatiently on a straight line meant to represent a desk. He's fairly certain that that call was about finding out exactly what's going on with him, Tony, and Pepper, because he fast came to the conclusion that Coulson is omniscient and possibly psychic. Doubtless S.H.I.E.L.D. don't want him getting into anything that could blow up all over the media, especially considering how terrible he is in front of the camera, but goddamnit, he's tired of being treated like a child. A two hundred pound child proficient in several styles of martial arts, but a child nonetheless.

“Is Tony still asleep?” he asks Jarvis. If anyone would listen to a rant about S.H.I.E.L.D., it'd be Tony.

“He is. Shall I wake him?”

“Oh, no, it's not important.”

“Very well. Might I recommend The Twilight Zone next?”

When Pepper comes home a little after eight, he almost doesn't realise she's back, he's so engrossed in the television.


“Huh? Oh! Jarvis, pause.” The screen freezes on the creepiest doll he's ever seen, and he turns to look at her over the back of the couch. “Hi.”

“Hello,” she says, barely suppressing a smile. She gestures at the television. “Catching up?”

“Yeah, but I think I've reached my saturation point for today.”

“Just in time,” she says. “Would you like me to microwave something for you?”

“I'll do that,” he says, getting up and stretching out his sore muscle. Pepper's eyes follow his movements. “You sit down.”

“You don't have to,” she says, slipping her shoes off. By the looks of it, she isn't going to put up much of a fight, though.

“Hey, you're letting me live in your house, it's the least I can do.”

She sits down on the arm of the couch. “You know it isn't like that, Steve.”

He shrugs. “I need to learn how to use all the fancy new equipment anyway.”

He makes soup because it's fast and it's a step up from all the microwaveable food he's tried so far. It was neat at first, making near-instantaneous food, but the glamour wore off once he'd eaten it.

Pepper's reading through a folder when he comes back, her hair pulled back in a loose knot, a pair of glasses balanced on the end of her nose. Like always, he wishes he could draw her exactly like this; he can never capture these moments the way he wants to from memory.

“Food's up,” he says, setting her bowl down carefully on the coffee table, and sits down beside her, a respectful couple of inches between them.

She pushes her glasses into her hair and picks up the bowl. “Wow, this smells great.”

“I used to volunteer at a soup kitchen, I got pretty good at making it.” The local soup kitchen had kept him fed through some of the roughest times before his mother died; once he was old enough, he felt like it was his duty to give something back. “Bucky said I'd make someone a great housewife one day.”

She rolls her eyes and tries a spoonful. “This is really good, thank you.”

“No problem.”

She taps her spoon against the side of the bowl a couple of times thoughtfully, and says, “You talk about Bucky a lot.”

“Yeah,” he agrees. “He was the only person I had for a... for a long time.”

She nods. “I get that, believe me. And I know that you miss him, I understand that. I just worry sometimes. There is such a thing as transference.”

“Yeah,” he says, “the psychiatrist explained that to me.” He sets his bowl down and sighs. “And I know everyone's worried about me. I worry about me, sometimes, but I just want to... do something, I don't want to keep second guessing myself over everything that I think and feel. Frankly, it sucks.”

She rests her hand on his leg. “I think you're politely telling me to shut up. Very politely,” she adds.

“No, I-- I'm not.” He shares a smile with her. “I just want to do something, without all my baggage coming along for the ride.”

“So I'll trust you to know what you want, and I'll stop fussing,” she says, like it's that easy. And maybe it is. Maybe you just have to choose what you want and trust that it'll work out.

He didn't actually think that he could like Pepper any more than he already did.


They chat idly for a little while longer, before Tony shuffles into the room, a solid twelve hours sleep under his belt.

“You're still wearing that shirt?” he says with an air of disdain.

He's squinty and rumpled from sleep, and Steve says, “Why don't you take it off me?”, the words spilling out of his mouth before he has time to examine them.

Tony blinks, glances at Pepper, closes one eye and regards Steve, and finally says, “Hell yeah, I'll undress you.” He takes two long strides to where Steve is sitting, and, with his fingers bunched up in the front of Steve's shirt, pulls him up.

His kisses are thorough. Very, very thorough. The hand that's not twisted into Steve's shirt is in his hair, on his neck, then on his back, pulling him in as close as possible. In return, Steve rests his hands on Tony's shoulders and holds on. After a moment, Tony's running his palm along Steve's chest – Tony was unbuttoning his shirt one handed, Steve realises, which is pretty impressive considering there isn't even an inch of space between them – and breaks the kiss.

“Are you seriously wearing an undershirt under this thing?” he asks against Steve's cheek, fingernails scratching across ribbed cotton.

“Sorry,” he replies.

“You don't sound very sorry,” Tony mutters, and Steve bites his lip to keep from laughing as Tony begins to tug the bottoms of his shirt and undershirt out of his pants.

“Let me help,” Pepper says from behind him, and then her long fingers are curled around his hips.

Steve's head swims for a minute, and he presses his nose against Tony's cheek to ground himself before saying, “Upstairs.”

Tony leans back. “Upstairs?” he repeats, and then a sly look creeps onto his face. “Hey, yeah, upstairs,” he says, and he takes Steve by the hand to drag him there. “Come along, Ms. Potts!”

In their bedroom, with Tony's huge bed and the wrap around window that makes Steve feels like an exhibitionist, they make quick work of his shirt and undershirt. Tony hums to himself as he traces the lines of Steve's chest with his fingers; the bed bounces and dips as Pepper gets on the other side.

“What do you want to do?” Tony asks him, tilting his head. He looks almost as lost in the moment as Steve feels.

“I don't mind. Anything.”

Tony's eyes flash. “Are you saying, Captain, that I can do whatever I like with you?”

“Yeah,” Steve breathes, even as he wonders just what the hell 'whatever I like' might entail. Tony smiles, though, and nudges him closer to the centre of the bed.

“Let's start things off slow,” he says, and presses his hand against Steve's groin. Steve groans and lets himself fall back onto his elbows. “I see we have a winner,” Tony says softly.

Slowly, too slowly, he works at Steve's belt buckle, and after two painfully long minutes of teasing, Steve rolls his hips up against Tony's hands.

“Aye aye, Captain,” Tony says with a grin, and has Steve's zipper down in a second. His hand dips under Steve's boxers and gives him one long stroke that makes his toes curl.

“Never been jerked off by a hand that isn't your own, huh?” Tony says. He repositions himself, putting one knee between Steve's legs to hover over him. “And if I may say so, you have an excellent dick.”

Steve can't even imagine how red he's going, but he still rocks his hips into Tony's hand and earns himself a soft laugh. “Just get on with it,” he says, opening his eyes long enough to throw a half hearted glare at Tony.

“You've been spending far too much time with me,” Tony says, as he moves his hand faster. He's right, though, Steve never has had any sort of sexual encounter, not even someone else's hand down his pants. The nuns at the orphanage had some choice words to say on the matter, and although Bucky quickly disabused him of any such thoughts, it still didn't seem right to ask a girl to do that, not when none of them were interested in him anyway. And then there was the war, and he'd wanted to lead by example, and even though he suspected that some of his men might have been gay, he wasn't attracted to any of them and he didn't want to bring that into a working relationship.

This is way better than whatever he used to imagine, though. Tony's fingers are cold and rough and smooth, and it shouldn't feel so good but he knows exactly what he's doing and exactly how to mess with Steve just enough to get him to edge.

“Hm,” Tony says after a little while, and Steve forces himself to open his eyes. “Not that I don't appreciate your adorable rosy cheeks, but I normally get bigger results by now. My wrist is actually kind of starting to hurt.”

“I- oh.” Steve blinks rapidly. “The serum increased my stamina.”

“It made you a six two blond god, and gave you a super dick?” Tony shakes his head and his hand slows, which is kind of like torture, and Steve has to work very hard at not squirming. “I hate you.”

“Sorry,” he says, pushing himself back up.

“How do you even manage to masturbate?”

He shrugs. “I have strong wrists?”

The bed bounces a little, and Steve looks over his shoulder to see Pepper shuffling towards them.

“Hi, remember me?” she says.

“Yeah, I remember you,” Tony says, and leans over to kiss her, his chest flush to Steve's. Steve can't help but groan. “Steve definitely remembers you.”

“Good,” she says, “because I have an idea.” The bed dips more as she moves in closer, until she's right behind Steve, her front pressed his back, her breasts. “How's this?” she asks, and wraps one arm around his chest, the other drifting down to join Tony's. Steve pushes back against her as her slim fingers lace through Tony's around his erection.

“That's... that's good, yeah, yeah, okay.”

“I don't know, you don't seem that into it,” Tony says around a smile, but his gaze is dark and serious, and Steve feels his pulse go faster just looking at him. “Are you sure you like this?” he continues, and twists his hand just so.

Steve swallows a moan and leans forward, gracelessly pressing his mouth against Tony's and pushing his hand through Tony's hair. Tony mumbles something against him and swiftly takes over the kiss, sucking on his bottom lip until Steve wraps his other hand around Tony's hip and digs his fingers in.

He's settling into the rhythm of the push and pull of Tony and Pepper when something starts tickling his neck, followed by a warm and wet pressure against the shell of his ear that he belatedly realises is Pepper's mouth. He takes a shuddery breath and buries his face against Tony's neck, hips twitching erratically until he finally, finally feels himself snap.

“There you go, there you go,” Tony murmurs, working him through every last moment of his orgasm. “Was that good for you?” he says.

Steve hums something, blinking his eyes open. “That was... yeah...” he mumbles, watching as Tony leans over to the night stand to grab a box of tissues. There's a wet patch on the front of his t-shirt that matches the drying come on Steve's chest. “Oh, sorry,” he says, watching dumbly as Tony starts cleaning him up. “I didn't think about...”

“Don't ever be sorry for that,” he says, and tucks Steve back into his pants, eyes flickering to his face, a wide grin curving his mouth. Something flutters in Steve's stomach, and he has this sudden, wild thought: I love you. He hasn't even known Tony for six months yet, it's a ridiculous thing to think, but it's in there now, pounding in his blood, warming his face.

Tony throws the tissues at the bin, misses, and shrugs to himself. “Now, if you don't mind, I'm gonna have sex with Pepper.”

“Oh, okay,” he says and shifts to get up as Tony pounces on Pepper, pinning her to the bed with a laugh.

“You should stay,” Tony says, glancing over his shoulder. “I mean, you could stay.”

Steve frowns and looks at Pepper. “I don't...” he starts and quickly trails off.

“You could,” she repeats, pushing at his leg with her foot.

“Okay,” he says, sitting back down.

“Okay,” Tony echoes, then looks back at Pepper, ducking his head to kiss her as she starts to work his t-shirt up. The reactor throws an even brighter blue glow on her chest; Steve's never seen it without a barrier of cloth and he turns his head to one side to look at it in profile.

Tony's pants come down pretty fast, along with Pepper's shirt and skirt, leaving her in her underwear and stockings and Tony completely naked. Steve watches the way they move, their hips flush, hands in hair; they seem to fit together perfectly, and he feels a wave of arousal hit him at the thought of that.

While he's stuck on this, Pepper flips Tony over, sitting up to kneel over him. He grins, crossing his arms over his head; Steve stares at the way the muscles in his arms stretch and flex, and Tony winks and flexes them some more when he sees Steve looking.

“Like what you see?” he asks.

Steve's gaze drops lower, to his chest, where there are small bruises and bite marks along his collarbone. “What're those?”

Tony glances down, then at Pepper. “Pep's a biter,” he says, and reaches up to flick the clasp of her bra, letting it drop to his stomach.

Pepper clicks her tongue. “Tony likes to pretend he's a masochist, but this is as far as he'll go.”

There are other marks on his chest, though, more permanent ones, little pink and white scars fanned out around the reactor. It's not the first time Steve's scars like those. He's seen what shrapnel can do, and so close to the heart like that...

“Hey,” Pepper says, and touches his face, turning it towards her, her other hand splayed out over Tony's stomach. She widens her eyes, briefly, pointedly, and says, “You want to help out?”

Oh,” Tony says, shifting under Pepper, and Steve can't help but notice his erection pressing into her leg. He also can't help but notice that her breasts are very close to him right now. “I like this plan very much.”

“I'm sure,” she says, letting go of Steve to work her underwear down. He blushes and looks back at Tony, which doesn't help because Tony just wiggles his eyebrows at him and beckons him closer.

“What do you want me to do?”

Tony raises his shoulders. “I don't know, whatever,” he says, oddly sincere.

“I can do whatever I want to you?” Steve asks, raising his eyebrows.

Tony grins with all his teeth, and Steve suddenly feels brave, feels the him that gets up and puts the suit on settle in next to the him that still doesn't know how hard is too hard to grip something and so is as gentle as he can possibly be with everything. He reaches over and kisses Tony on the neck, trails down until he gets to marks Pepper left on him, and fits his mouth over one.

Tony moves a little, his breathing getting louder and more strained sounding until he's outright moaning, digging his hand into Steve's hair. “That, that's...” he stammers, hand tightening in Steve's hair. There's something incredibly gratifying about the way he's shuddering, and Steve can feel himself begin to get hard again just from feeling him squirm. “Hey, hey, you should,” Tony mumbles, words slurring together a little, and pulls harder on Steve's hair.

Steve lifts his head. Tony looks... he doesn't know even know; his lips are dry and parted, his eyes are dark, there's a faint sheen of sweat covering his face, his cheeks are pink. He looks drunk and high and happy and about ten years younger.

He looks around to where Tony is looking, at Pepper riding him, the faint spread of freckles over her chest and arms, her hair falling in her face, her breasts... He's seen naked women before, he took life drawing classes, drew the female body exactly in proportion, walked into more than a couple of liaisons that took place in the back rooms of small European pubs. It was nothing like this, though, not with her looking at him, the way she's moving, slow and steady, fingers curled around Tony's waist.

Steve rolls over onto his back next to Tony and watches as she leans down and presses her mouth to the reactor, sucking along the edge of it while Tony reaches up and behind himself with one hand to grip the bed's headboard, the other hand sliding down between their bodies. Steve watches as she curls into Tony, her movements getting more and more jerky until she stills completely, making one tiny muffled sound against Tony's skin. Tony holds onto the headboard for a couple of minutes longer, his eyelashes fluttering. He's so quiet, so unlike what Steve's imagined, at length, based on what he's heard through the walls and on every encounter he's ever witnessed.

Eventually Pepper slides off him, rolls to the side to get off the bed. “I'll be back in a minute.”

“Hate to see you leave, love to watch you go,” Tony calls to her back, which she ignores entirely, slipping into the bathroom and turning the light on. Tony turns his attention to Steve, looks at him through half-lidded eyes. “Hey,” he says, his voice low.

Steve squirms, rubbing the soles of his feet on the soft cotton blankets on the bed, which just makes him squirm even more. “Hey,” he replies.

“Hey,” Tony says again, and his eyes drop lower. “Are you--” He raises an eyebrow and pushes himself up onto his elbows with some effort. “Are you seriously hard again? What are you, fourteen?”


Tony shakes his head, gaze still on Steve's erection. “No, it's... yeah. Impressive. Making me look a little bad here, honestly, but I guess that's par for the course, so...” He frowns, bobbing his head seemingly to himself before he sits up and twists around so that he's facing Steve. He's surprisingly fast. Steve tries to follow him up, but Tony's hand on his fly stops him.

“What are you doing?” he asks.

Tony narrows his eyes in thought, looking at the bulge in Steve's pants. “I'm gonna give you a blow job,” he says, and glances up. “I'd fuck you, but I'm old and nothing's happening down here-” he waves vaguely at his flaccid cock, “-for a good couple of hours. I'd say you'll know what it's like one day, but... you probably won't.” He purses his lips. “I mean, only if you want to. Do you want to?” he finishes, and looks at Steve very, very carefully.

Steve tries to say something, but finds that his mouth has gone dry. He licks his lips and tries again. “Yeah, I'd-- yeah.”

“Okay,” Tony says, and crawls over to straddle Steve's legs. “We should, uh, we should probably wait for Pepper.”

Steve nods, not sure that he can trust himself to say anything right now. The weight of Tony's thighs against his legs goes some way to grounding him, but the thought of Tony's mouth on him makes him shiver and flush all over at the same time. It feels like an age before Pepper comes back into the bedroom, clad in a robe, and takes in the scene calmly.

“What's this?” she asks.

“Impromptu blow job,” Tony says, locking his eyes on her, and even though Steve's starting to feel a little delirious, he still catches what seems to be an entire conversation going on in that look.

“Well, don't keep him waiting, then,” Pepper says and sits back down on the bed. Steve feels every bounce and shift.

Tony grins, unbuttons and unzips Steve one-handed, the belt already hanging open from before. “Okay,” he says, tugging Steve's pants and boxers down a little. “I haven't done this in a while. Not to a guy, anyway,” he adds, “so I don't know how good it'll be.”

“I don't--” Steve groans as Tony grasps the base of his cock. “--don't have anything to compare it to.”

“Smartass,” Tony mutters.

“I learnt from the--” he grits out and then almost kicks Tony in the side when Tony sucks him all the way down without warning, his leg spasming with the sensation. “--oh God, fuck.”

Tony smacks him on the hip, gives him the thumbs up, and then, somehow, seems to take him even deeper. Steve can actually feel the head of his cock hit the back of Tony's throat.

“He has no gag reflex,” Pepper says, as if she read his mind.

“Uh huh,” he replies, his voice strained. He tilts his head back into the pillow. “I can-- tell,” he manages to groan out.

Tony traces the length of Steve's dick with the tip of his tongue, one hand cupping his balls, and Steve remembers, suddenly, the first time Bucky had got a blow job from a girl after prom; afterwards he'd said, red faced and sweaty to a shyly interested Steve, that 'yeah, it was okay, kind of funny though'. Maybe Bucky had been lying to make Steve feel better about the unlikelihood that he would ever find out for himself, or maybe Tony is just really, really good at this, but this? This is incredible.

He says something to this effect out loud, and the vibrations of Tony's laugh settle on Steve's skin like an electric shock. His whole body feels hypersensitive, of the gentle rub of the sheets beneath him, of the sweat collecting in his hairline, of Tony's mouth and hands and knees and the hair on his legs. That's the serum, he thinks, upped his tolerance for pain but made him capable of being hyper aware of everything around him. He tamps down on it most of the time, outside of the battlefield, because it makes him nervous and jumpy and then he makes other people nervous and jumpy, but this, it turns out, is a really excellent use of that ability.

Fingers trace their way along his lower lip and he follows them thoughtlessly, sucking a knuckle into his mouth before slowly opening his eyes. Pepper is sitting over him, eyes bright and colour high on her cheeks. Her thumb is pressing lightly on the underside of his chin, moving gently from side to side, and it takes a little while for him to realise that he's sucking on her fingers.

He lets go slowly and she smiles, reaching up to push his hair back from his face. “You look like a mess,” she says, and her voice has a rough quality to it that makes his toes curl. “You're normally so tidy.”

“You too,” he manages, proud that he's able to say that much. Tony seems to take it as his cue to double down, pulling back almost completely before bobbing his head down again. Steve bends his knees, plants his feet firmly on the mattress to stop himself from jerking his hips.

“Hey,” Pepper says softly, and leans down until her hair falls like a curtain around his face. She brushes her lips over his, and it's almost too much, all the different sensations hitting him at once. She kisses him very, very gently, and he whines, reaching up to twist his fingers in all that red hair. He doesn't return the kiss so much as just presses his mouth to hers. She cups one of her hands over his cheek and he just...

He just comes, hard and with no warning and maybe he is fourteen and somewhere in the back of his mind he hopes hopes hopes that he's not going to pull her hair out, he's holding on so tight. It rolls through him in waves, Tony drawing out aftershocks with his teeth and his tongue, and Steve almost pushes him away, caught between oh God, stop and oh God, don't stop, but he falls on the side of don't stop, and eventually it peters out, leaving his skin tingling.

Tony clears his throat and wipes his mouth on the back of his hand almost primly. “Well,” he says.

“Sorry,” Steve says, hoarse. “I didn't... know that was going to happen.”

Tony tilts his head, smirking a little.

“I mean, so-- so soon. Quick,” he stammers out, suddenly aware that the blanket his stuck to his back. “Sorry,” he repeats.

Tony's smirk dissolves into a softer smile. “I made you come so hard that you didn't see it coming? Pun intended, by the way.”

Steve feels whatever vague sense of anxiety he had ebb away. “Yeah.”

Tony places his hands on either side of Steve and leans over him. “That is the best thing I've ever heard,” he says and gives him a peck on the mouth. “Wow, you are a mess.”

“Mm-hm,” Steve mumbles.

“Okay, come on,” Tony says, and pulls Steve up by the arm. “This is gonna get really gross if we don't strip off the top cover.”

Steve lets Tony pull him up and scoots to the side of the bed while Tony and Pepper take the blanket off and rearrange the sheets. When they're done, he lies back down and stares lazily at the ceiling. He's fairly sure he should be feeling horribly awkward right around now, but he doesn't, he just feels relaxed and happy and sleepy.

Tony shakes him by the shoulder. “Hey, you still with us?”

Steve rolls his head towards him. “Yep,” he says and smiles. Even to him it feels goofy.

Tony narrows his eyes. “Are you... okay?”

“Yeah?” he glances at Pepper, who's shed her robe and has the sheets collected around her waist. Her hand is resting on Tony's leg. “Don't I look okay?”

“You look drunk and fucked out,” Tony says, eyes flickering over Steve's face, as if to gauge his reaction. Steve's too relaxed to anything more than raise his eyebrows a little. “I just thought that since we sort of threw you in the deep end, I should make sure you're not having some kind of bisexual panic,” he continues.

“I'm not panicking.”

Tony rubs at his ear. “I see that. Losing your 1940s virginity in a threesome is kind of a big deal, though...” The look on his face suggests that he's not going to let this go.

“I'm pretty good at adapting to things,” Steve says and rubs a hand over his face. “Tony, stop freaking out.”

Tony tilts his chin up. “I'm not freaking out.”

“Yes, you are,” Steve replies.

“Yes, you are,” Pepper echoes.

“I'm just trying to be a responsible sexual partner, God,” Tony says, and crosses his arms over his chest.

“Stop being responsible,” Steve says. “That's a order, from your commanding officer.”

“Oh my God, technically both of you are my bosses.” Tony's mouth twists. “That is really hot.” He flops down next to Steve, arms still crossed over his chest. Pepper follows suit, settling herself against him. “Okay, look, I just don't want want shit to get awkward in the morning.”

Steve rolls over onto his side and rests his cheek on his hand. “Well, things were more awkward for me when I was constantly imagining what this would be like.”

“You were constantly imagining this?” Tony repeats.

“Well, not this exactly, but yeah.”

“What did you imagine exactly?” Tony asks, and Pepper taps him on the chest.

“Focus,” she says.

“How can I focus, there's so much going!” He rolls his shoulders, wraps an arm around Pepper and kisses her on the top of the head. “Okay, so... Okay.”

Steve stays quiet while Tony narrows his eyes in thought. Pepper shakes her head and presses her face into his collarbone. They share a look and suddenly he wants to kiss her, so he leans over Tony and does just that.

“So,” Tony says when Steve settles back on his side. “Do you wanna go steady with us?”

Steve smiles. “You know, that wasn't really a thing when I was a kid.” Tony huffs, and Steve laughs, pressing his face into the pillow. “But yeah.”

“Cool,” Tony says.