Once again endless thanks to my darling Into-Your-Gravity for basically making this chapter possible and helping me push through some serious writers' block.
We both sincerely apologize for the embarrassing amount of time this update has taken. Thank you so much to all the amazing people who kept reading and kept waiting and kept hoping we would come back to it. Your faith in us was really the motivation we needed to get this done.
Also, neither of us own The Avengers (though we wish we did).
Chapter 4: In Which Steve is Totally Not Jealous
It was early in the morning when Steve stumbled into the Tower after his early morning jog around Central Park.
The air outside was cool and crisp, and it helped Steve clear his mind. Though he had been "awake" (a term he preferred over Toni's "defrosted") for a while, he still found the world around him to be a bit much sometimes. Those moments were usually few and far between, but the added media presence around Stark Tower (the fallout from Johnny and Toni hooking up on the balcony) was enough to drive any of the resident heroes crazy.
It was nice to get away from it all for a while, Steve mused, as he leant against the walls of the elevator and took a long pull from his water bottle.
It had been a few days since Johnny and Toni had gotten together, and the happy couple was a regular fixture of Stark Tower.
Steve couldn't pinpoint the feeling in the pit of his stomach that was bothering him. Something about seeing Toni and Johnny together made him feel uneasy. Steve wouldn't call it jealousy, exactly; he was happy that Toni found a somewhat pleasant gentleman.
Johnny was certainly an attractive fellow, (Steve couldn't deny that). He didn't think Johnny was a bad person, just not the most responsible. Toni needed someone a little more...serious.
The elevator came to a stop at the penthouse and Steve walked out and took another sip from his water bottle. Due to his impeccable timing, he managed to walk in on Johnny and Toni, who were… otherwise occupied.
The duo in question were tangled up on the couch, kissing enthusiastically. Steve doubted either of them noticed that he was in the room.
Steve felt his face heat up, quickly turning red, and he choked on his water, coughing rather loudly. He turned around, his back to the busy couple, embarrassed. Their state of undress was something he didn't particularly want to see.
Thor showed up almost immediately, holding his hammer and ready to attack. His expression turned from concern to confusion when he saw Steve.
"My comrade Steve!" exclaimed Thor as he rushed over to thump Steve on the back.
"I was worried something ill had befallen you!" He continued, his confusion at Steve's present state evident.
"No, I just-" Steve sputtered, trailing off as he gestured helplessly to the general area where Toni and Johnny were engaged in their rather passionate activity.
Thor paused for a moment, turning to take in the scene in front of him.
He frowned in further confusion. "I did not know it was acceptable to engage in such amorous affection in public places." Thor announced loudly.
Evidently that caught the duo's attention, as Toni stopped her exploration of Johnny's mouth and finally looked up.
"It's really not" she said to Thor, paying (almost) no attention to Johnny kissing down her neck rather insistently. "We just got-"
"Carried away." Johnny supplied helpfully, pausing his perusal of Toni's neck. "And if you don't mind-"
"We'd like to continue getting carried away." Toni finished for him, smirking at Thor and Steve's (rather nice, she would admit) behind.
"They're already finishing each other's sentences." Steve muttered to Thor as both of them escaped to the kitchen.
Steve immediately strode to the other end of the kitchen and busied himself with the Coffeemaker, turning his back on Thor's probing (and uncomfortably wise) look.
Thor, for his part, remained silent, waiting until Steve had finished with his perusal of the coffee mugs and turned back around to face him.
He gave Steve a considering glance. "Does that upset you brother Steve?" Thor asked gently, his tone sympathetic.
Steve set his mug down on the table with a sharp thud.
"Why do keep thinking I'm upset by Toni and Johnny?" Steve asked, mildly frustrated.
"I'm happy for her, really. She deserves to be happy." He continued, ignoring both the nagging feeling he got whenever he thought about the couple and Thor's disbelieving expression.
Thor shook his head at Steve's words.
"Denial is the greatest hindrance to true love, my friend." He returned, his tone both sympathetic and chastising.
(Steve felt uncomfortably like a clueless puppy).
A small crease appeared between Steve eyebrows as he contemplated Thor's words, not fully understanding the implications.
"What are you suggesting?" He asked the Thunderer, confusion still splashed across his face.
Thor huffed out a breath. "I'm only stating that which I have observed. Your feelings for lady Stark are quite evident."
Steve shook his head, and an odd feeling settled in the pit of his stomach.
"I don't- I haven't thought about Toni in that way." He insisted, but he was unable to meet Thor's eyes.
When he finally found the courage to do so, he found Thor's glance to be simultaneously sympathetic and perceptive.
"Do not lie to yourself, Captain. I trust you are intelligent enough to know when you are deceiving yourself."
Having said that, Thor left the kitchen, leaving Steve to his thoughts.
Toni stumbled into the kitchen a while after Thor left, giving Steve a sunny smile and a cheery "Good Morning!"
Steve looked up from his coffee and returned the sentiment before hastily looking down again.
"Where's Johnny?" He inquired politely as he brought the steaming mug up to his lips.
Toni glanced over from where she was rummaging around in the cupboard.
"Urgent Superhero business, I think" She replied, her delight at finding what she was looking for evident in her voice.
Toni held the red and gold mug aloft in victory for a moment before turning to the Coffeemaker and pouring herself a cup.
"Richards texted, asking him to come to the Baxter Building." She continued, sparing another glance over at Steve. "It must have been something important, because he left pretty quickly."
Steve nodded, keeping his focus on the coffee cup.
Toni gave him a considering glance as she finally turned back around.
"Is your coffee really more interesting than me, Cap?" She questioned, one eyebrow raised as she took a sip of her coffee (black, always black).
Steve blushed lightly as he looked up at her.
"I- I mean- It's just" He stammered out before Toni cut him off.
"Just what, Mon Capitan?" She demanded teasingly, one corner of her mouth lifted in her signature smirk.
Toni was, simply put, stunning. There was just something about the way that the early morning sunlight caught on her thick black hair and regal features that made Steve wish for a sketchbook to capture the moment.
He found himself speechless, unable to reply.
Thankfully, Clint chose that moment to drop in from the ceiling, sparing Steve from having to answer.
Clint gave Toni a rakish grin, before pointing out what Steve was too polite to mention.
"Your clothes, Stark. Or more accurately, your lack thereof."
Toni blinked at him before finally looking down at herself, apparently not having notices that she wore nothing more than her underwear.
"But by all means continue being semi-naked," Clint smirked at her suggestively. "The view is pretty damn great."
Toni looked up at the Archer with a smirk, ready to return with a sassy comment of her own, but she was distracted by a very shirtless Steve (which she did not mind at all) holding out his shirt to her.
Deciding to spare the poor Captain, Toni took the shirt from him and pulled it on, sticking her tongue out at Clint.
"Thanks, Cap." She smiled at him gratefully.
Toni thought that the gesture was honestly pretty sweet. The good Captain's sense of chivalry (though a bit outdated) was adorable.
On impulse, Toni rose up onto her toes and pressed a kiss to Steve's cheek before heading down to her lab, coffee in hand.
Clint perched himself on top of the fridge, watching Steve's cheeks turn steadily redder as he blushed.
As he felt his face cool down, Steve turned to face the Archer. He immediately wished he hadn't, as the look on Clint's face was eerily reminiscent of the one Thor had given him earlier.
Steve had no doubt that the other man had something similar to say, but he didn't particularly want to have that conversation again.
"Not a word." Steve ground out, cutting Clint off before he could voice his opinion.
Clint raised his hands defensively. "The Nile isn't just a river, Cap."
A/N: And that is it for Chapter 4! Review and let us know what you think!
We promise to update sooner and not keep you guys waiting for so long, but thank you for sticking with us!
Chapter 5: In which sh*t goes down and drama ensues.