Steve entered the doorway and had to take a moment to pause, admire the grand lobby and smirk because it was so completely Tony that he had to wonder if he had designed it himself. The ceiling vaulted up high and was held up by columns that were minimalist, yet captivating. There was a pond in the middle with holographic fish and a contemporary-looking fountain that was equal parts organic and mechanical in structure, and every so often, water pelted down from the ceiling into the water, scattering the fish that acted as though they were alive.
He made his way to the receptionist’s desk, but not without passing by the pond with an awed look and wondering if Tony had programmed the holographic fish himself. Promising to ask Tony later, he turned to the girl and gave her a wide smile. As he opened her mouth, though, she cut him off.
“I assume you’re looking for a job?” she asked, giving him an indiscreet once-over and a slight moue at his scruffy appearance. Steve looked down at his attire self-consciously. Yeah, he probably should have put more thought into his attire when he decided to make his first (surprise) visit to Tony at his work place. Especially considering that everyone around him looked sharp and polished in their pressed suits and shiny black shoes. His worn, faded jeans and leather jacket made him stick out like a sore thumb.
“Erm…” he only managed to respond though. He certainly wasn’t looking for a job, but the girl seemed pretty sure of herself.
“Third floor. HR Department. Look for Ms. Betty Platt,” she ordered, handing him an ID and shooing him in the direction of the elevator. He really had no choice but to obey because she was already engaged in a conversation with the person behind him, so he resolved to head up to the third floor to be redirected to Tony’s office. He managed to squeeze himself into the elevator with about twenty other people who seemed mad with frenzy. He only barely managed to squeeze out, ignoring the grunts of annoyance from the people he was shoved against, to exit the elevator onto the HR Department’s floor. There, another receptionist greeted him.
“Hi. I, uh, wanted to know what—“
“ID please,” she cut in boredly, holding out her hand. Steve paused and remembered the ID the girl downstairs gave him then handed it over. “Go down the hall and take a left,” she said before he managed to ask his question again.
“Yes, but—“ he started then paused when she leveled him a look that was equal parts bored and baleful, so he shut himself up and followed her instructions. He found himself in a room that looked a lot like a classroom where several other uncomfortable-looking people sat. “Excuse me,” he tried to ask the person closest the door, but he was only met with a glare, so he shut up once more and sat down with a sigh.
“Good morning, all,” a voice drawled and Steve watched a young lady of about twenty five enter through the door he came through. She was bearing papers and pens and started handing them out. Steve found himself holding a stack of papers labeled “Application Sheet” and “Test Questionnaire A.” “Please take several minutes to fill out the application forms and hand them in along with your resumes and you may start on the screening exam.” Steve raised his hand tentatively.
“Miss... um... Platt? I don’t—“
“If you do not have your resumes with you, you may hand them in at a later date along with other employment requirements,” Betty interrupted purposefully. Steve frowned minutely, but then shrugged and resolved to ask her for directions after completing the applicant information sheet and the test questionnaire.
'Position Applying For' made Steve stop to think. He didn't really know what kinds of jobs were available here. He wrote in 'anything' instead. It wasn't important anyway; he just needed to get out of there and get upstairs. He handed in his completed Application Form and Questionnaire to Betty who took it, looked it over, glanced up once at him and 'hmmm'ed. He fidgeted a bit and opened his mouth to speak.
"Basement 1, Mr... Steve Rogers?" she frowned and looked up at him briefly again. "Any relation?" She gestured vaguely and Steve didn't understand what she meant so he just shrugged. She 'hmmm'ed again, and Steve wondered if his answer was incorrect. "Head to Basement 1 and please look for Mr. Beckett in the mail room. I'll inform him that you'll be arriving." Steve opened his mouth to speak but was elbowed out of the way by another applicant.
At the basement, he found himself seated in front of a burly looking man in a short-sleeved polo and a red necktie. He glanced down at the applicant information sheet and back up at Steve.
“So, Mr. Rogers?” Steve nodded. “Why is it that you think we should hire you as a mail-room clerk at Stark Industries?”
“Erm, I’m really sorry, Mr… Beckett, but I really didn’t come here looking for a job, I actually just wanted—“
“Well, aren’t you one of the lucky ones then?” Mr. Beckett exclaimed with false joviality. “You must have friends in high places, haven’t you?” Steve blinked and shrugged because he didn’t know what to say about that. “Look, kid.” Beckett leaned forward over his desk, practically snarling. “Working as a mail-room clerk for Stark Industries is the financial equivalent of being a manager down at your local McDonald’s. Plus the benefits are better. Half the people in the unemployed line would kill to be in your shoes right now, so I suggest that you do not waste the remarkable chance I am offering you to start right now because one of the sick little bastards that was supposed to start today bailed on me and I have at least three hundred letters that need to be delivered to the building today.” He settled back down against his armchair. “If you’re lucky, you might even have the chance to deliver mail right to Ms. Pepper Potts,” he added as thought that was the deal breaker. Steve had to mentally cringe at the fat man’s look of inappropriate pleasure.
“Err… well, I suppose I should accept then…” he bit out. He could possibly help out the man a little bit, considering the trouble he was in with the missing new clerk. Beckett nodded and waved him away, saying:
“Mr. Gable will help you out with your first rounds.” Steve nodded, shook the man’s hand hesitantly and made his way out of the office. Gable was waiting for him as he stepped out.
Steve later found out that Gable was probably one of the most unpleasant people he had ever had the (dis)pleasure of meeting. He was snotty, derisive and had a superiority complex as wide as the Grand Canyon. He 'assisted' Steve on his first round by publicly ridiculing him for his mistakes and managed to mess up the neat stacks of mail as he gestured widely about how far above Steve’s rank his was. Steve only managed to put the stacks back together but the disarrangement launched Gable into another round of reprimands that he really had no business issuing. Steve frowned at him until he caught sight of a letter for “Mr. Tony Stark.”
“Hey, this one is for Tony—erm… Mr. Stark,” he quickly amended, interrupting Gable. The scrawny boy snatched the letter away, his eyes glazing as he murmured:
“Mr. Stark’s? Oh, well, we must deliver this immediately.” Steve only just managed to stow the mail cart away safely before he was able to follow Gable to the elevator. The other man wrinkled his nose in displeasure as he saw Steve following him, but thankfully refrained from commenting. They arrived at the top floor only to find from one of the secretaries that both Pepper and Tony were at a meeting.
“Oh,” Steve remarked. I suppose my surprise wasn’t well thought out. “May I leave a message?” he asked. The secretary looked surprised and she handed over a memo pad and pen in confusion. Steve quickly scribbled a message and folded it over before handing it to the secretary. “Please make sure Miss Potts or Mr. Stark gets this please?” He flashed her a brilliant smile that worked spectacularly on Tony when he wanted something Tony wasn’t inclined to give. It worked on her, too, it seemed and he nodded before following Gable back down to the mail rooms.
Steve was glad Gable didn’t notice his exchange with the secretary. Instead, the slighter fellow gushed about Tony, practically professing his love for the man to Steve as though he hadn’t spent the last few hours making an enemy out of Steve. The blonde wrinkled his nose at several of Gable’s gushings and resisted the urge to smack him.
When they reached the mail room at the basement-level of the building, Gable announced to everyone how he had been in Tony Stark’s office. Looks of admiration and jealousy passed over their colleagues as they demanded details about ‘how big it was’ ‘how did it look.’ Pride colored Gable’s words and Steve could only roll his eyes and settle into the cubicle given him, carefully sorting the mail.
Another hour passed, when suddenly the mail room was up in arms. Excited chatter filled the small space and even Beckett, the head of their small division, was out of his office and yelling at everyone to calm down while elbowing people out of the way of the door. Steve looked up from his desk, deciding to stay away from the hullabaloo, but interested anyway in the commotion.
He had to grin, though, when he found its source.
In the doorway, surrounded by mail-room clerks and flanked by Pepper and Happy, stood Tony. He craned his neck over the crowd before him, but Steve simply sat back and waited for the other man to find him. Beckett was babbling happily and didn’t seem to notice that Tony was ignoring him and Steve had to wonder how many times Tony had been down here, or had interacted with any of the people here enough to make them act like they were in the presence of a celebrity (which Tony kind of really was). He frowned, though, when he saw several of the secretaries and Gable discreetly pressing themselves against Tony. But then their eyes met and Steve found himself smiling.
Tony pushed his way through the crowd until he stood towering over Steve, smiling in that soft way that was reserved only for him. Steve stole a quick glance at Gable’s envious and gaping look and resisted the childish urge to stick his tongue out.
“Hey,” he greeted instead. “I was hoping you’d get my message.”
“Why are you working in my mail room?” Tony asked. Steve grinned sheepishly.
“Yeah, I’m not too sure myself. I was planning on coming up and maybe stealing you away for some brunch earlier today (he ignored the soft sound of disapproval from Pepper), but then I kind of ended up here,” he gestured around himself. “Your staff is really pushy, by the way.”
“They take their cues from Pep, I’m afraid,” Tony grinned, earning him a small smack from Pepper. “Brunch you say? I think it’s closer to dinner right now, but I’m not complaining. Really.” Steve chuckled and stood up. The movement earned him a once-over from Tony who made a small noise at the back of his throat. “My shirt’s a bit too small on you,” he pointed out, referring to the white tee that clung tightly around Steve’s chest. Steve grinned. “But I’m not complaining. I—“ Tony cut himself off because he darted forward and planted his lips against Steve’s. Their kiss was brief, but what curious silence there was around them turned into shock. “You should have told me you wanted a job. I would have fired Pepper for you.”
“Five is still not a social security number, Tony,” Pepper scoffed. Tony looked thoughtful.
“Happy’s then,” he amended.
“Hey!” Happy protested. Steve laughed and kissed Tony again.
“As if I needed a job. I’ve got a pretty rich boyfriend, you know,” he teased, wrapping his arm around Tony’s waist and leading him towards the door. Tony smacked him in the chest but laughed. Before the exited, though, Steve turned to Beckett. “Oh, boss?” Beckett grunted in question. “Yeah, I quit,” Steve said as he left.