There was no good reason for Tony and Steve to hide their relationship from anyone, let alone their fellow Avengers. Well, at least there wasn't any real reason for them to do so. Tony of course, being his usual overly anxious self, could come up with plenty of reasons why they should hide it.
So that’s how the relationship becomes secret, with Tony spewing out a jumbled train of nervous thoughts right after Steve lips had been pressed against his own.
Much to his surprise- and pathetic delight- Steve seems to agree. Neither has come out to anyone but each other, and for the time being they’d like to keep it that way. A childhood surrounded by homophobic beliefs isn't something one can easily shake.
Little do they know the secret is already out, and they’re too oblivious to realize it.
Tony’s in the communal kitchen when the first incident occurs, exactly one month since him and Steve became a thing.
“Good morning, babe.” He hears from behind him, and the corners of his mouth curve upwards at the sound of that oh so raspy morning voice.
“Morning, Stevie.” He hums in response, fingers drumming against the countertop as he waits for his second cup of coffee to be ready. A strong pair of arms snake around his waist, chin coming to rest atop his shoulder.
“Happy one month.” The other man cooes, pressing a warm kiss right underneath Tony’s jaw line.
Tony’s face breaks into a full on grin, head tilting downwards slightly so he can kiss the top of Steve’s head.
“Mhm, you too.” Tony murmurs, too warm and filled with caffeine to think about anything other than his lover.
He twists around in Steve’s arms so they’re now
nose to nose, lips achingly close together. Steve’s grinning bigger than ever, those crinkles that Tony loves so much etched into the skin next to his eyes. He’s about to close the space between them when he sees it, a flash of red suspiciously close to the color of Natasha’s hair dart around the corner.
In an instant he’s detangled himself from Steve, eyes widening, breaths coming out faster than before.
“Tony?” Steve questions, eyebrows raising slightly. Tony doesn't answer, instead slipping his phone from his back pocket so JARVIS can tell him if anyone else is near- they aren't. It must have been a trick of the light, or maybe he’s made his coffee too strong today. He can’t help the relieved smirk that creeps onto his face..
“I'm just being paranoid, don’t worry.” He lets out a light chuckle, pulling the confused Steve back towards him. Steve’s grinning again, and Tony can feel him holding another one back as the distance between them is closed for real this time.
He really hopes it was just a trick of the light.
The second incident that occurs is most definitely not a trick of the light, and it's by mere luck that Tony holds it together.
It happens in the elevator this time in the dead of night. Tony’s finally decided to turn in for the evening. Rather, Steve has finally sent enough texts begging him to come to bed because he’s lonely and the engineer couldn't help but give in.
He’s on his way up to Steve’s floor when the elevator makes an unexpected stop at the main entrance and none other than Bucky and Sam step in. Their hands are entwined, and so are their lips. It takes them a minute to realize someone else is there.
Tony squeaks awkwardly, panicking too much to come up with his usual sarcastic response to what he just saw.
“Tony? The hell are you doing up so late?” Bucky finally says, breaking the awkward silence. He reaches over to press the button for him and Sam’s floor, stopping short when he sees the button that’s already illuminated. Tony’s heart practically leaps into his throat.
“Uhm, y’know that’s Steve’s floor right?” Bucky asks, eyebrow raising and a smirk forming.
“I-it is?” Tony finally stammers out, deciding in a second of pure genius to act like he’s too tired to function properly. Sam’s smirking now too.
Bucky nods in response, pressing the button for his floor and then Tony’s afterward.
“You might need to get your glasses checked man, either that or you need to sleep.” He teases, snickering when Tony lets out a clearly forced yawn.
“Haven't had any coffee since this afternoon, that’s probably it.” He manages, still avoiding eye contact.
“I’m sure that's it.” Bucky teases, laughing as the elevator opens up to their floor. Tony lets out a nervous laugh, panic starting to fade away as they get off.
“Oh and tell Steve ‘Hi’ for us.” Bucky calls out, turning around with a wicked grin on his face. Tony can hear him and Sam burst into laughter as the doors close again and the elevator heads up to Steve’s floor.
Tony’s praying that joke was just Bucky being an ass as per usual.
The third incident, the last notable one before Steve and Tony finally decide to admit to the growing suspicions they others must have, takes place in the last place he expected it would.
Him and Steve are in Tony’s workshop, tucked into a corner where one of Tony’s desks are. Tony’s sat in his chair, head tilted back and lips quivering. Steve’s kneeling before him, his mouth doing things that should be considered illegal. Tony’s always wondered where Captain America learned this.
“Shit, Steve.” He pants, hand threading through his lover's hair. Steve only emits a pleased hum in response.
Tony isn't expecting his name to be called by someone who isn't Steve a few moments later. JARVIS had been told not to let anyone in the workroom without his consent when Steve’s with him and the AI hasn’t failed him yet, but of course right now is the one time it happens.
Steve tenses, a panicked look crossing his face and he glances up at Tony. Tony motions for him to move underneath his desk, quickly zipping his pants again and trying to control his breathing.
“Tony? You here?” The voice comes again, and Tony scoots his chair closer to the desk, trying not to feel too bad about squishing Steve. Oh boy, is he going to be yelling at that damn A.I later.
Bucky rounds the corner, box in hand. If he notices how out of breath the other is he doesn’t say anything.
“Package came for you. Bruce was heading out so he asked me to bring it down instead.” Bucky grunts, tossing the box onto the desk.
“Th-thanks, Bucky.” Tony forces out, breath hitching when he feels Steve’s hand on his thigh again. Bucky quirks an eyebrow.
“Yeah… Oh, have you seen Steve by the way? Gotta talk to him about something.” Tony can’t keep himself from panicking even more.
“NoIhaven’tseenhim.” He answers way too quickly, kicking Steve when he hears him chuckle quietly from under the desk.
“Ok then… Well, I'll uh, see you around?” Bucky gives him an odd look and turns to head out the door. Tony swears he can see him smirking when he round the corner again.
It’s not until JARVIS has confirmed that Bucky has headed back up the elevator that Tony can relax again.
“Smooth.” Is all Steve says, laughing as he pushes Tony’s chair back and returns to what he had been doing before their interruption.
Tony’s finding it very hard to return to that state of mind himself.
A week later is when they finally decide to come clean. It’s movie night for the Avengers, and Steve’s just come back in the room from ordering Pizza.
He takes a seat next to Tony and the two lock eyes for a moment before Steve turns to everyone else.
“Guys? We have to tell you somthing...” He starts to say, hand inching towards Tony’s.
“You and Tony are dating.” Everyone else says in unison, and Tony nearly faints.
Clearly they hadn’t been doing as well at hiding this as Tony had thought.