twentysomething: (tony no)
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Title: Honey, I Can See The Stars

Fandom: Avengers/Marvel

Pairing: Tony Stark/Steve Rogers big gay superheroes

Summary: "The most he'd ever cared about anything remotely related was his uniform, which, beyond the stylistic, was pretty necessary. But now his suit comes from a lab far more advanced than the basement of a Brooklyn antique shop, and the only decision he really gets to make is if his pants are too tight. (They were, but he doesn't really think they changed them. He doesn't know why, but he thinks that might have been on purpose.) That being said, he doesn't know what he's done to deserve the double take Tony gives him as he walks in the room."

Length: 11,700 wordish (what I what)

Warnings: Super self indulgent and a secret love letter to New York.

Notes: So, as you may have noticed, I haven't posted anything since July- I'd like to say it was because I was working on some secret huge project, but really, it was just a tremendous case of writer's block in combination with lack of inspiration. And a whopping dose of grad school. But yeah, I managed to write something, whoo. Thanks to [personal profile] rageprufrock, [personal profile] thehoyden, [personal profile] merelyn and [personal profile] isweedan for being awesome and letting me flail at them over it, and send them bits and basically, yes. This started out as sort of a fun thinglet for Pru and the Hoyden about Tony taking Steve to his tailor and well. About 8000 extra words happened. Also, without the judicious application of Beyonce's 4, this never could have happened.

Steve doesn't really pay attention to what he wears beyond it- reasonably- fitting. The most he'd ever cared about anything remotely related was his uniform, which, beyond the stylistic, was pretty necessary. But now his suit comes from a lab far more advanced than the basement of a Brooklyn antique shop, and the only decision he really gets to make is if his pants are too tight. (They were, but he doesn't really think they changed them. He doesn't know why, but he thinks that might have been on purpose.) That being said, he doesn't know what he's done to deserve the double take Tony gives him as he walks in the room.

"Okay, I'm taking you to my tailor." Tony pronounces seriously, staring at Steve over a pair of red-tinted sunglasses. Steve looks down, adjusting his t-shirt, which was, admittedly maybe a little threadbare. He'd borrowed the jeans from Thor, who had, Steve thought, borrowed them from Jane, who had borrowed them from a previous flame.

"Okay?" Steve echoed. After all, Tony was a well dressed kind of guy, outside of the workshop, at least. Steve was used to being issued all his clothing, but this wasn't wartime- he could wear whatever he wanted when he wasn't in uniform... even if he didn't know what to wear.

"I hope you're wearing some decent undies," Tony says, already tapping at his "smart phone", even if Steve didn't know what was so smart about them. (He'd been in line behind a woman hissing profanity at her iPhone for five minutes at the coffee shop. As far as Steve could tell, most people just used them to send grammatically incorrect messages and to ignore each other in restaurants.)

"Or some indecent ones. I know you guys were the Howling Commandos," Tony goes on. "I'd be fine with it, but Andre has delicate sensibilities." Steve can feel the tips of his ears turning red.

"I'm wearing underwear," he finally says, because he just doesn't know what he'd say to the rest of that. Tony flicks a darting glance at Steve.

"Hm. But not shoes, which, the long list of things that I'm not allowed to do includes giving America's Favorite Son tetanus. Or any other communicable disease. Fury yelled until Coulson made me sign something legally binding." Tony waves a pair of high tops at Steve.

"We're going right now?" Steve asks, but he's already putting on the shoes. He worries that maybe he's too conditioned to following orders. Tony tosses a sweater in his face.

"Put that on, you can't go out like that," Tony tells him. Steve wonders why everyone is always saying that to him.

New York is crisp and beautiful in autumn and other than Tony's car- which goes too fast between the cabs (that look all wrong)- there's a moment driving through Little Italy where it feels like nothing's changed at all. Tony just snorts and says, "If you're good, I'll take you to Ferrara and I'll buy you a hot chocolate," which is when Steve realizes his face is practically pressed up against the window.

"Oh, that's not-" Steve starts but like most of the time when he's with Tony, goes with the flow.

Roughly twenty minutes after Steve had met Tony, maybe three weeks after he'd come to, Steve had mentioned he was living in SHIELD HQ, which Clint and Natasha seemed to do between missions. Tony had stared at Steve, aghast, before offering to buy Steve an apartment. He'd been halfway to a realtor's office before Agent Coulson had intercepted them. Steve's starting to feel bad about the number of times Agent Coulson has had to track him- and Tony- down to stop them from doing something. He doesn't have the best track record with saying no to Tony's ideas. (He had managed to turn down the apartment the third time Tony had tried.)

Tony zips to a stop and heads straight for an inconspicuous storefront, unlike most of the ones they pass, where he can hear throbbing bass sneaking out of doors opening and closing. They slip in- well, as much as a man of Steve's size can slip anywhere. The interior is aesthetically dim and cool, simple racks of somber suits sparsely lining the walls.

A precisely groomed head sticks out from behind a curtain to snap, "Appointment only, please-" before breaking off into a delighted smile. "Tony! Oh, please tell me this is for me."

"Sadly, he's property of the U.S. Government," Tony says. "Good to see you, Andre." Andre steps out from behind the curtain and holds Tony at arm's length.

"I swear to god, if you don't stop going to that SoCal bitch, I will cut you," Andre tells Tony with a narrow-eyed glare. Tony just laughs.

"Honestly, what did Tom ever do to you?" Tony asks. Andre sniffs. Steve's head is whipping back and forth like a tennis ball.

"He gets James Bond, I get you," Andre huffs. "That was the deal."

"Anyway, this is my friend Steve," Tony redirects. Andre turns an even more speculative eye on him than before, which Steve hadn't really thought was possible. He doesn't think the President judged him this much.

"I've met all your friends. This is not a friend," Andre says, even as he heads for one of the racks.

"Andre, I really don't know what you're implying," Tony says cheerfully. Tony had used exactly the same tone of voice when Colonel Fury had asked him why The Hulk had trashed his office.

Andre laughs.

It hadn't worked on Fury, either.

"Also, please tell me he doesn't want any of your iridescent monstrosities." Andre calls as he fetches a basket that looks exactly like one Steve's mother had had. Tony pouts, but he shakes his head.

"Steve is a classy guy." Tony says. Andre stares at Steve.

"Baby, what are you doing with him, then?" Andre asks him. Steve opens his mouth to defend Tony but Andre just waves a hand. "That was rhetorical, I've seen him with his pants off."

Steve thinks his entire face is tomato red.

"Jessica! Chloe!" Andre calls and two virtually identical willowy women appear from the back. "This is your Christmas bonus. Can you please take Mr. Stark's friend's measurements?"

"No touching under the clothes!" Tony yells, from where he's settling on a dark leather couch, already absorbed in his phone.

"We need accurate measurements," says either Jessica or Chloe.

"And that means take off your pants." says the other.

"And shirt."

"I know Fury had you sit through a sexual harassment seminar. If it's a no-no touch, you just say," Tony tells him.

Unlike Tony Stark, Steve Rogers has never had any woman who wasn't a medical professional touch him this much. He's not really sure what a "no-no touch" means, but he feels like someone should be buying someone dinner after all of this.

Andre brings over several suits and accidentally takes Steve's inseam measurement again.

"Hands," Tony says, even though he doesn't appear to have looked away from his phone the whole time.

"C'mon," Andre whines, but he's waving hangers in Steve's face. "Alright, gorgeous, what'll you have first, do ask and do tell."

Steve instinctively reaches for a deep olive green that's almost black, but stops and thinks.

He thinks he sees Tony smile from the corner of his eye when he reaches for a medium gray, but when he looks again, Tony's eyes are still fixed on the phone.

Steve can't imagine what he'd need four suits for, but Andre and his team do the gray, a black, a deep blue and darker gray with a pinstripe. Which is still before the tuxedo- which Steve does try to protest, because where would he ever wear a tuxedo, but Tony just pouts and says something about charity balls and no man left behind and Steve is fitted for a tuxedo. Steve assumes they're done, but instead, out comes a parade of jeans and casual button downs.

"But I have jeans," Steve tries.

"Those things are jeggings," Tony tells him solemnly, and Steve really doesn't know why he bothered to come if he was just going to stare at his phone.

"What are-" Steve starts before Andre swats his foot from where he's marking something with chalk.

"We don't say the "J" word in here," Andre says.

Steve is disproportionately exhausted for having stood still in his underwear for three hours, when he's crouched in a muddy ditch in the rain for five hours straight without so much as a twinge. Andre pronounces him done and hands him his old clothes in a bag and some of the new button downs.

"You're not allowed to wear these again," Andre tells him solemnly, running his hands down Steve's chest to smooth out the pale blue button down. "These will do to get you home." Andre slips a belt through the loops, even though Steve tells him he could do that himself.

"We're a full service establishment," Chloe (or at least the one Steve thinks is Chloe) says, face totally blank.

"I'll send one of the girls with all the ready to wear things in a day or so, but you'll have to come back in to make sure the suits are perfect." Andre explains, even as Jessica (probably Jessica) hands Tony a bill. Steve only sees half of it, and even though he has back hazard combat pay that accrued interest for 70 years, he feels a little faint.

Tony just takes the bill and subtracts 2,000 dollars with a line note of "Wandering Hands Fee" and slips it back across. Andre glances at it, but shrugs philosophically with a grin.

"Can I trust you to buy him underwear, or should I just use my imagination?" Andre asks and Steve is hot, itchy red from ears to nose again. Tony gives him a look that Steve thinks is from the Nick Fury Collection.

Steve doesn't know whether they're done or not, but Tony just drags him down a side street and it's just warm enough that Steve answers "outside" when the host asks them where they'd prefer to sit. The menu is full of fairly intelligible Italian and Steve endeavors to forget how much money Tony just spent on Steve's clothes with every mouthful of spicy arrabbiata covered sausage. He doesn't know why it's sitting so oddly with him, even as he listens to Tony talk about motorcycles- something that would normally take up all of Steve's attention. He's pretty sure Tony's footing the bill for the lightweight body armor that's on the latest version of his uniform, and that doesn't bug Steve.

"Um, thanks," Steve tries when Tony pauses for air. Tony blinks.

"For what?" Tony asks, completely derailed. Steve doesn't get any further than "for the clo-" before Tony waves him off.

"No, stop. Anyway, I called whats-his-face from American Chopper, and he said if the drive shaft is lifted in the frame-"

The rest of the night is like any other where Tony comes and liberates him from the SHIELD offices- they demolish an improbable amount of food, or well, Steve does and Tony watches, and then, as good as his word, Tony takes them to Ferrara. They get Steve's hot chocolate and two cannolis to go, wandering back over cobblestones toward where Tony parked the car.

Tony drops Steve off, after making fun of Agent Coulson for "waiting up to make sure Clause V is still intact." Steve asks Agent Coulson what "Clause V" is, but he just looks up at Steve sadly and shakes his head.

Steve checks his e-mail when he gets back to his room- Clint had told him none of that stuff was ever important, but Steve feels better checking it. He feels both vindicated and a little anxious when he sees the first one in his inbox is from Ms. Potts. Steve has only met her twice- the first for less than a minute as she had swept in through the doors, gone into the lab where no one else had dared disturb Tony for nearly a day, spent maybe five minutes inside and come out with a long sigh. She'd given Steve an evaluating look that made him wonder if he'd washed behind his ears well enough, told him Tony was sleeping and left. The second time, he'd walked in on her and Natasha having coffee- he'd been ready to walk back out, but they'd motioned him in, settling him with a cup of coffee and she proceeded talk to him for an hour about Gauguin. It had been one of the first times Steve had felt himself since... waking up.

The subject just says "Re: Today" and Steve clicks on it even before the little preview sentence is there.

He doesn't know what to do about you. You might just have to let him buy you things for a while before he figures out that he doesn't have to try to buy your affections.

There's a brief "P." above a formal signature reading "Virginia Potts, CEO Stark Industries" above lines of incomprehensible ways to contact her.

Steve stares at it, totally dumbfounded. He knows he should respond before he goes to bed, but he doesn't know what to say. Ms. Potts probably knows Tony better than anybody. He doesn't know how to act around her, really, because, in addition to being a woman- which Steve still isn't really great with- she's beautiful and perfectly composed and he thinks someone said she and Tony had been together but Steve doesn't know whether that's gossip or truth. Steve barely has a handle on how to act around Tony, let alone Ms. Potts. He sort of feels like she's letting him into a confidence he appreciates, but doesn't know he's earned yet.

But Steve knows he likes Tony and he certainly knows that Ms. Potts must, too. Steve doesn't know why a lot of people don't seem to like Tony- well, maybe he does- but Steve sort of thinks a lot of people don't look past what Tony says to what Tony does.

It takes him a while- firstly, to think of what to say and secondly, to type it out. The keyboard doesn't make any sense.

Ms. Potts,

Thank you for your advice about Tony. I value his friendship a lot. I will try

Steve sighs.

Ms. Potts,

Thank you for your advice about Tony. I value his friendship a lot. Let me know if you have any other advice. I don't want to upset him.

Yours Sincerely and Thanks Again,

Cpt. Steven Rogers

Steve goes to bed, but he doesn't get to sleep for a while.

When he wakes up, there are two e-mails about building security and one from Ms. Potts.

I think you'll do just fine.

And call me Pepper.

Steve doesn't know why he has a sudden sense of foreboding, but it's not made any better by the way Natasha waggles her eyebrows at him as Steve nurses his first cup of joe.

"Nice outfit," she leers at him. Steve hadn't really known a woman could leer like that. "You look a lot less like an Atlantic City stripper."

"Tony bought it for me," Steve says and the moment it leaves his mouth he knows it was the wrong thing to have said. Natasha's perfect eyebrows fly into her perfect hairline. She pulls her phone out immediately. From the unholy expression on her face, Steve doesn't want to know who she's texting.

Agent Coulson walks into the room a few minutes later.

"You said he was decked out like a kept woman," Coulson says accusingly.

Steve decides it's time to go to the gym.

Tony appears roughly four hours later after Jessica (most likely) had already dropped off a bunch of clothes and stared Steve down until he'd promised he'd go hang them up. Steve is reading something that Thor recommended- "Not bad prose for Midgardian mortal!"- but it's slow going. He's not sure why everyone keeps singing.

"I brought you sustenance," Tony says, waving the paper bag in his hand. "They didn't have the tres leche, which is a travesty, but I got you the creme brulee and the peanut butter and jelly one." The jelly doughnut is square, which is strange, but it's delicious and so sweet his teeth hurt. Before he can get up himself, Tony pours him a large glass of milk.

"Thanks," Steve returns automatically, with a smile. Tony grins back, even if there's something a little strange about it.

"You eat like a child, there's jam all over your face," Tony tosses a napkin at Steve.

Steve's feeling good and "Says the man with crumbs in his beard," falls out of his mouth, natural and without thought, even as he throws a napkin at Tony's face.

"I do not," Tony shoots back, mock-indignant and brushing at his face like a squirrel. Steve laughs and Clint pokes his head in the door.

"Oh my god, this looks like a Folgers commercial," he says and immediately pulls his head back out.

Steve is about to ask what exactly a Folgers commercial entails, when Clint sticks his head back in.

"Wait," Clint darts in, takes the last doughnut and darts back out.

"You're a dick, Barton," Tony yells after him. Natasha breezes in, pouring herself a cup of coffee.

"He's just jealous. You don't buy the rest of us presents." she says. Tony eyeballs her. Steve knows they have some sort of vaguely antagonistic history, but Natasha just smiles sugar sweet at Tony.

"That's because you are very mean to me. Now Barton has revealed himself to be a thief. Steve is the only one who deserves any presents." Tony tells her sternly. Natasha sips at her coffee with one skeptical eyebrow.

"If you change your mind, I want a new garrote," she says. Tony laughs in her face.

"I'm not going to buy you anything you could use to kill me," Tony explains. Natasha rolls her eyes.

"Tony, what could you give me I couldn't use to kill you?" she points out. Tony scowls, because that's most likely true.

"And that's why you don't get any presents." Tony crosses his arms over his chest.

Steve can't help but laugh.

Chloe(?) comes to get him a few days later in an anonymous black town car and the suits fit impeccably, but Andre still takes a long time to check everything. It gives Steve a chance to adjust to what he's seeing in the mirror.

His suits don't look like Tony's sleek, effortlessly handsome suits- the ones that look like they cost way too much money for Tony to shove the shirtsleeves up and drop the jacket on the couch, the way he always does- or even the suits he sees Agent Coulson or the other SHIELD agents wear. They're not exactly like what he remembers, either, though. Then again, neither he nor Bucky ever had anything this nice, and the only man he'd known to wear anything of that quality was- well- Howard. And, with no offense meant to Howard- Howard who was dead, Steve had to remember that- but Howard's style had been awfully... flashy.

But Steve looks in the mirror and he doesn't see a soldier, he sees a man- well-dressed and a little serious, but decent, trustworthy. Someone you can depend on.

He thinks he looks a little like his father.

Steve thanks Andre, who just puts his number in Steve's phone, and hands Steve a card- "for when Tony deletes my number out of your phone." Steve takes a garment bag full of clothes with him, wandering through SoHo, feeling wistful and just a little, well, off. His phone buzzes in his pocket just as he's turning the corner onto Prince St, nearly getting bowled over by a swarm of people getting off the subway.

"Hello?" Steve tries, over a crowd of NYU students headed into- Lord, a women's undergarment store.

"Where are you, Fury won't let me track you by the GPS in your phone anymore, it's really annoying." Tony says, by way of greeting. "Pepper made me get some interns or something so I had them try to hack Fury's hack, but they're all terrible." Tony pauses. "Oh, stop looking at me like that and get better at bypassing government programming."

"What?" Steve asks, because none of that made any sense.

"No, I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to Cory," Tony says. "Where are you?"

"Uh, Prince and Broadway?" Steve answers, hopelessly in the way as he tries to juggle the bag and his phone as he tries to at least get up against the building.

"Go to Houston and Mercer, we're getting burgers." Tony instructs him, and without even thinking about it, Steve turns left and heads north.

"ETA?" Steve asks, dodging through clumps of sidewalk traffic. He warily eyes the two shirtless men outside the clothing store on the corner. One winks at him and Steve wonders what those men even do there.

"Go in, have a drink, maybe they make milkshakes, I don't remember," Tony says. "B and B."

They don't have milkshakes, but Steve orders a beer out a vague sense of obligation. Tony gets there about a beer later- which is actually earlier than expected.

"Sorry, I had to hold Cory's hand through re-hacking your phone," Tony says, slipping onto the stool next to Steve's at the bar.

"What if I leave my phone at home?" Steve asks, for the form of the thing. Tony furrows his brows.

"You're not allowed to. Don't make me put a pet tracking chip in you." Tony frowns. "That's if Fury hasn't already done it." Steve laughs, but he's not certain, actually. He tends to set off metal detectors, and he's starting to think it's not his dog tags.

Tony orders seemingly everything and eats all of it, which is good, because Steve has noticed that Tony drinks everything and eats nothing and Steve feels obscurely better seeing Tony eat. There's also something grotesquely charming about watching Tony gesticulate with a polenta fry, trying to explain something called "Doogie Howser, M.D."

"You would like him, he's very civic minded," Tony tells him. Steve rolls his eyes.

"What do I have to do to convince everyone I'm not actually a boy scout?" Steve asks, semi-rhetorically. The dim lighting makes Tony's face difficult to read, but he breaks out in an easy grin in a moment.

"Well, I have a list, but pretty much all of it's in direct violation of my contract with SHIELD and about 90% is probably illegal to start with." Tony makes a mock-contemplative face. "And the other 10% is only legal because no one's tried to do it yet." Steve laughs.

"Okay, what's on the still-legal list?" Steve prompts Tony, because this ought to be good.

"Let's see... you're not allergic to anything, are you- no, of course not," Tony answers himself before Steve can say "not anymore." There's an intense moment of scrutiny- and Steve doesn't think many things that don't have at least ten types of circuitry get this much of Tony's attention- which is a little flattering, but mostly unnerving.

"Mmm, no, I think I need to think on it a little longer," Tony finally says.

Steve feels unaccountably disappointed.

"Uh, well, when you've got a plan, let me know," Steve tries, his voice coming out a little rusty and strange. Tony raises his eyebrows, but he nods.

Tony pays the bill- again- because "you hardly ate anything, which is unnatural, you eat like a horse with a tapeworm-" and the two of them spill out, amicably bickering into the cold, breezy night.

"Fine, you pay next time, when you can convince Fury to give you a debit card," Tony cedes and Steve abruptly remembers he has about 50 bucks worth of- apparently- petty cash on him.

"Huh," Steve mutters.

He broaches the subject to Natasha the next morning while she's sharpening her knives. Clint says it makes him "fucking nervous, Rogers," but Steve finds it oddly soothing.

"So, if I need money," Steve starts and Natasha flicks her eyes up to his.

"Sugar daddy cut you off?" she asks. Steve's face, neck and ears feel hot.

"What, I- I need a debit card? For my money?" he tries. Natasha snorts.

"Try Coulson." she advises.

Agent Coulson stares at Steve suspiciously for a good while before he just sighs and waves Steve off. The small plastic card he gets later that day says "Steven G Rogers" under "Bank of America". He sort of thinks this is Coulson's way of making a joke. He keeps staring at it- expiration 10/15, which seems insane- and suddenly finds himself at a loss as to what to buy, anyway.

So he finds himself wandering over to Rockefeller Center, through the perpetual crowds into the MoMA. He almost walks past it, because it doesn't look anything like he remembers. Then again, Steve remembers the Picasso retrospective in '39, staring up at Guernica and thinking about that morning's headline- Russia getting expelled from the League of Nations. He does ask a docent where it is, but she tells him they gave it back to Spain in the 80s. Instead, he wanders through the 19th century gallery, smiling encouragingly at a girl with her sketchbook, staring frustratedly at a Matisse. He respectfully stands in the back of the clumps of people gathered around The Starry Night and The Persistence of Memory, remembering at the last second that he's too tall to see over. Steve's just stepping on to the escalator up when his phone buzzes- thankfully silently- in his pocket.

"Yes, Tony?" he asks, in the relative clamor of the exterior hallway.

"C'mon, you can't play hooky all day in the museum," Tony whines.

"I'm starting to regret carrying my phone with me everywhere," Steve jokes. "Is there something I'm supposed to be doing?" Steve tries to keep the annoyance out of his voice- it's not Tony's fault that Steve's essentially been benched.

"Saving me from Fury?" Tony suggests. Steve heads back down and out into the courtyard.

"What did you do to make him angry?" Steve asks, settling on a bench.

"I'm making you a jet," Tony says and Steve is flabbergasted. "Well, I mean, you'll have to let Clint and Natasha in it, and Banner, if he promises to behave, but I felt bad that Thor and I could fly and you couldn't."

The phone buzzes in his hand and he glances at it just long enough to see Check the schematics for stripper poles- P before bringing it back to his ear.

"-so, then he caved and said I was paying for it, but whatever, it'll be awesome. Do you know how to fly a plane?" Tony rattles on at a fast clip.

"I crashed a plane, once," Steve offers, still completely baffled by the entire conversation. Tony snorts.

"Forgot about that. Well, I would have to teach you how, anyway." Tony sighs, but he sounds pleased. "I'll have to build a flight simulator, though, the one for the Wii is shit." Steve strongly suspects that he's going to come home to a scene of mechanical carnage.

When he does come home an hour or two later, having watched a film in the museum that was all mythology and frozen landscapes, Steve still feels a little chilled, his scarf wrapped tightly around his throat, even though it's not that cold out. But by the time Tony has grabbed his hand to drag him down the hall to what was probably a supply closet, now retrofitted with giant display monitors and three cannibalized electronic gaming platforms- in addition to a couple of computers- Steve feels warm down to his toes again.

"And really, I still need to-" Tony trails off into an indecipherable string of steps and excited grins, all of which boil down to the same thing- that Tony's a genius, yes, that he's fantastic and unbelievable, of course, but really, that Tony is a good guy.

"You're great," falls out of Steve's mouth, and it's not like he wasn't thinking it, but "this is great" was probably a more appropriate response. Tony looks completely thrown for a moment before he starts fiddling with a bunch of circuit boards.

"Well, you haven't see the plane yet," Tony demurs. Steve shrugs, feeling somehow let off the hook.

"You wouldn't let me down," Steve says, without any hesitation. Tony huffs a strange little laugh.

"I'm certainly going to try not to," Tony returns bluntly and he looks so serious that Steve can't help but nudge his shoulder with his own, gently.

"You won't," Steve promises.

Tony is strangely skittish the rest of the night, a little manic as he orders them pizza and challenges Thor to a box apiece, 10 minutes to eat the whole thing, crusts and all- which, Steve could have told Tony he was losing that one.

"I think I'm dying," Tony says, rubbing his stomach as they slump on the couch, arguably watching the news. Thor laughs, loudly, which is saying something, because pretty much everything Thor does is loud. Steve has a momentary flash of what it would have been like to take Thor to the museum with him this afternoon and is torn between laughing and crying.

"You fought valiantly, my friend, but it was a foolish errand to wrestle with me on this score!" Thor booms. Tony smiles, a little more naturally.

"I'm big on lost causes," Tony says. It echoes around in Steve's mind hours later, after Tony's left and Steve's put himself to bed. Steve sighs, rolls over onto his side and firmly tells his body to go to sleep.

Steve wakes up the next morning, weirdly out of sorts. He knows he dreamed, but he doesn't remember what- all he's left with is the vague impression that it was upsetting for some reason. He's sitting in the kitchen, nursing a cup of coffee, when Clint pokes his head in.

"Whoa, you look like crap," he says cheerfully. "I mean, crap for a guy who always looks better than everyone else, though." Steve smiles, wryly.

"You sure know how to compliment a guy," Steve shoots back. Clint slips in and pours himself a cup.

"Rough night with Smitten Man?" Clint asks. Steve's eyebrows fly up.

"What?" he tries, because he's found if he plays up the confused-frozen-hero-icon card, people usually cut him some slack. Clint just snorts.

"Stark was in here this morning acting like someone was shoving bamboo under his fingernails and high-tailed it out to LA like his ass was on fire." Clint says slowly.

"Oh my god, Clint, throw some more similes in there." Natasha says, sharply, pouring herself the last of the coffee. Steve doesn't think it's polite to speculate, but he thinks if Clint and Natasha stopped trying to pretend they didn't like each other, they'd be happier.

"You got anything else, babe?" Clint zips back, saccharine. "Captain Heartbreaker over here sent Stark scurrying." Natasha scowls at Clint even as Steve feels sort of like the bottom of his stomach is falling out.

"Nice alliteration." Natasha sniffs. "Out." Clint bristles, but Natasha jabs him somewhere, almost invisibly, like a snake and Clint goes off swearing and limping.

"So, did-" Steve starts, feeling guilty and strange and so confused.

"Clint's an idiot," Natasha begins warmly. "I'm on your side. That being said, what in god's name did you say to Tony?" Steve throws his hands up in the air.

"Nothing! I said nothing-" Steve cries, and then revises. "Well, no, but- I told him he was great!" Natasha just sighs, and pats Steve's hand.

"Oh, honey," she says and Steve knows he's FUBAR. "I'd let Pepper yell at him until he comes back, and then you can kiss and make up. It's not your fault that Tony's an idiot." Steve frowns automatically, loyally, before what she said sinks in and his face turns bright, splotchy red.

"Wait, no, he's- we're not-" Steve knows that that's fine now, and he's certainly never had a problem with it- stranger things happen in war- but. "It's not like that." Natasha raises a single eyebrow, getting up and picking up her coffee.

"Are you sure about that?" she asks gently, walking out.

Steve gets up, empties his mug in the sink before rinsing it out and sticks it in the dish rack. He swaps into the generic sweatsuit he was issued by SHIELD and goes for a run in the Park.

He leaves his cell phone on his dresser.


There are 4 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
azurelunatic: "Fangirl": <user name="azurelunatic"> and a folding fan.  (fangirl)
posted by [personal profile] azurelunatic at 05:09pm on 11/10/2011
Andre brings over several suits and accidentally takes Steve's inseam measurement again.

OH GOD *dying* :D :D :D
twentysomething: (tony no)
posted by [personal profile] twentysomething at 02:57am on 13/10/2011
:D Just sayin'. Honest mistake. Could happen to anyone with the opportunity to have their hands in Steve's crotch.
posted by (anonymous) at 03:24am on 27/01/2012
I'd venrtue that this article has saved me more time than any other.
posted by [identity profile] at 12:50am on 27/10/2011
Oh god! I am so busy flailing over Steve's opinion of SoHo. That is my work neighborhood and B&B has become my go to burger place and oh how I hate those shirtless lifeguards at Holister because of all the stupid tourists standing around taking photos with them while I am just trying to get to the F.


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