Steve doesn’t notice it at first, mainly because he’s too busy adjusting, too busy learning the world again, too busy. And even then, it’s only a mental note that Tony is just an inch shorter than him, that when their eyes meet, Steve doesn’t have to look up anymore, but just slightly down. Tony mocks and pushes and is genuinely a handful, but he still helps with all he can and that, more than anything, endears him to Steve.
However, Steve’s initial note seems to be false as Tony shuffles into the kitchen. He looks like one of those film zombies Clint showed him, eyes bruised and arc reactor actually available for viewing. He makes his way to the coffee machine, bumping his shoulder against Steve’s arm as he passes, and that’s when Steve realizes.
“You’re so little!” he says without thinking. Tony blinks at him, bleary and not quite focused just yet, and Steve thanks whatever deity for making Tony’s brain run on caffeine alone.
“I believe I should be offended, but coffee,” Tony says, turning back to the coffee machine. Steve inches forward, and realizes he is a good head taller than Tony. And that if he really wanted to, he could put his chin on the mop of Tony’s hair, wrap his arms around his chest, and be perfectly comfortable.
The thought makes him flush and he doesn’t notice when Tony turns around and bumps into him. Steve has to look down and Tony has to look up and it’s ridiculous how appealing that is, how Tony fits comfortably against his body, face tilted as if for a kiss and Steve hastily steps back. Tony watches him, eyes narrowed, as he takes his first sip of coffee.
His eyes widen as his brain finally kicks in. “You called me little!”
“I didn’t mean anything by it!” Steve says, hands up. Tony glares and curls his fingers around his coffee.
“I’m not little, how dare you say I’m little, I’m perfectly normal sized for a perfectly normal sized human being, and maybe I wear lifts so I won’t feel so dwarfed by all of you but it has nothing to do with the fact that I think I’m short, but everything to do with the fact that all of you are obviously some type of tall breed of human that hasn’t been secreted away yet. Not my problem. Stop looking at me like that.” Tony takes another gulp of coffee, shoulders hunched defensively, and Steve wants to step close again.
He cautiously does.
Tony watches him, one eyebrow raised, until Steve is practically standing with his chest against Tony’s coffee cup, and it is then that Tony looks up to meet his eyes. It’s something Steve never thought he would find this attractive.
Shaking his head, Steve taps Tony on the forehead and says, “I like you little,” and Tony sputters, mouth opening to retort. Steve turns on his heel and leaves the kitchen, mainly because he’s trying not to laugh, but also because he has this strange urge to gather Tony up in his arms, and it’s both terrifying and a little exhilarating. He hasn’t felt like this since Bucky, and even then it was abnormal because – well, 40’s. But he’s reminded again that this time period is much more lenient, much more open. And well, this could become interesting.