A/N: Hi, guys! It's been awhile since I've posted anything here because I've been in the middle of writing some longer, multi-chaptered fills over on avengerkink. And I really wanted to get a bunch of work done on them before I posted anything. But since this one is now in the editing stage, I'm going to start posting. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: As this is an avengerkink prompt fill, I can only claim credit for my interpretation of the prompt. The general plot was part of the prompt and I just expanded on it.
For most of Tony's life, he had been obsessed with whatever was faster and more exciting than what everybody else was doing. There were fast cars, fast women, and now that he had his Iron Man suit, he could even fly fast.
Pepper, bless her heart and soul, had certainly tried to slow him down. But even she couldn't keep up with the constant danger, the explosions, the weekly near-death incidents. He didn't blame her when she decided to step back and stay with the company instead of him.
It was better to stick with one-night stands, quickly falling into bed and then leaving just as quickly the next morning.
But with Steve, everything was different.
He and Steve had started off on the wrong foot, but after the incident on the helicarrier, Steve had apologized and put in the effort to get to know Tony and befriend him. He had even stopped down in the lab a few times to see how Tony was doing, listening attentively as Tony described things that were probably way, way, way over Steve's head.
And Tony had gotten to appreciate Steve's company. It was nice to have a guest in the lab who seemed genuinely interested and impressed by Tony's work. But, of course, there were the rare times when he had to be completely focused on a sensitive bit of equipment and couldn't really stop and explain everything for Steve's benefit.
Tony had just started diagnostics on the armor when the lab doors slid open and Jarvis announced Steve's entry.
"Sorry, Cap. I'm going to be working for awhile. No time to talk now."
Steve smiled and patted his sketchbook. "Your lab is full of interesting things I can draw. I'll keep myself busy. "
Well, whatever. If Steve wanted to be bored for the next couple hours, that was his problem.
A few hours later, Tony came out of his inventing fugue enough to realize that his energy needed a top up. He reached for his coffee mug and was surprised when his hands curled around a burger wrapper instead. But he wasn't complaining. Being awesome tended to work up an appetite.
He took a bite and sighed happily. It was just the way he liked it.
A quick glance back confirmed that Steve was still sitting on the couch, sketching. So, he was the burger fairy.
Steve glanced up and smiled. "How's the burger?"
"This is from that little place on Main, isn't it?"
Steve nodded. "Jack's Grill."
"Ah, that place is my favorite."
Tony blinked in surprise. "You do?"
Steve smiled. "Jarvis told me." He patted Tony's shoulder before heading back out the door. "Enjoy your burger, Tony. I worry about you when you're down here all day without eating."
Tony sat in stunned surprise for a few minutes. This couldn't possibly be real life. This sort of thing just didn't happen to him.
"Jarvis, did Cap just-"
"Yes, sir. Captain Rogers brought you back a burger from Jack's Grill."
"And you told him to go to Jack's Grill." It was a bad day when his AI started scheming about ways to get him to eat more.
"He asked me what you like to eat," Jarvis said. Tony might have been hallucinating, but it sounded like there was a note of pride in his voice.
Well, whatever. It was nice of Steve to bring him something to eat, but it was probably just his way of showing friendly concern after yesterday's rough battle. It wasn't going to last.
But the next afternoon, Steve was back in the lab with two containers of take-out Chinese from Tony's favorite Chinese place. "You can eat whenever you're free to take a break," Steve assured him. "But I just went out for lunch and thought I'd bring you something back while I was at it."
Tony regarded Steve suspiciously as he settled back down on the couch. Steve rarely ate fast food. Sure, he'd eat just about anything right after a battle when everyone was too exhausted to move, let alone think about cooking. But normally, he ate protein bars, cereal that looked like cardboard, and green smoothies that looked uncomfortably like the sludge he used to drink when he had palladium poisoning.
The point was, Steve would never just happen to go out for Chinese food, especially to Tony's favorite Chinese place. He could sense Jarvis' influence again.
But, just this once, he'd go along with his AI's evil plot. Having lunch with Steve was pretty harmless.
Over the next week, Steve stopped by Tony's lab with lunch every single day. It was always good food, always from places Tony was fond of. Steve insisted that it was no trouble at all, that he was happy to do it, that he enjoyed sharing lunch with him. Which had to be a lie because Tony was usually terrible company. He had a tendency to fiddle with his phone while he talked to people, and he worked while eating. But since Steve was clearly making an effort to be nice to Tony instead of lecturing him for his poor eating habits, he tried to give Steve his undivided attention when they were eating together.
Tony was beginning to really look forward to Steve's visits. It was surprisingly nice to have regular human contact, something Tony never thought he'd admit. And Steve was happy to listen to him talk about anything and everything.
"You're the best source of information on the modern world," Steve explained. "If I need any help, I can depend on you." And he fixed Tony with one of his fabulously earnest smiles that was almost impossible to disagree with.
So maybe he liked having Steve in his lab a little more than just because he brought him food. Hell, the food was just a bonus. So when Steve showed up with tacos, Tony didn't really mind. He didn't have a favorite taco place. He had gotten a little too used to all the good taco places in Malibu. Nothing in New York tasted quite the same.
But Tony took a bite and his eyes lit up. "Oh my god, where did you get these?" he demanded. "I thought all the Mexican places here were crap."
"They are," Steve said. "I had to make these myself."
Tony's eyes widened. "You? You made these? I didn't know you could cook."
Steve smiled. "Of course I can. Mother always told me the easiest way to a man's heart was through his stomach. I learned from the best."
Tony froze. "You're cooking for me because, because..."
He laughed nervously. "I don't really have a heart you know. Just ask Pepper. I'm sure it's a waste of your time."
"It will never be a waste of my time," Steve said firmly. He reached across the makeshift table and took Tony's hand in his.
Tony swallowed and stared at their intertwined fingers. This sort of thing just didn't happen to him.
Steve released his hand. "So, what would you like me to bring tomorrow?"
"Surprise me," Tony said. His hand still felt warm from where Steve had touched him.
The next afternoon, Steve poked his head into the lab wearing a dark blazer over a button-up shirt, which was pretty much the most dressed up Tony had ever seen him.
"You want to get out of the house for a little while?"
Tony looked down at his grease-stained tank top. "Not like this, I don't."
Steve smiled. "Go and get changed. I'll wait."
Tony took a nice long shower, which gave him plenty of time to think about what was happening. Steve might be taking him out on a date. No, scratch that. Steve was definitely taking him out on a date.
"Jarvis," Tony said. "Did you put him up to this?"
"I did nothing of the sort, sir. Far be it from me to meddle in your romantic affairs. But, I would suggest that you stop procrastinating and return downstairs. It would be impolite to keep Captain Rogers waiting."
Tony waggled his finger at the ceiling. "You better not be blackmailing him. I know desperate times lead to desperate measures, but you do not have to buy me a boyfriend. Got that?"
"As I've said before, sir, I have done nothing of the sort. Captain Rogers is acting of his own volition."
Huh. It would have been easier to accept his AI was secretly plotting.
When Tony eventually meandered back down the stairs, he was half-hoping that it was all a dream and that Steve was calmly waiting for him down in the lab with homemade chicken noodle soup or curry from the little shop two blocks away.
Because he could handle eating lunch with a teammate, even an overly friendly one. Dating, not so much. He had been on a grand total of three dates in his life, all with Pepper. So, he really, really didn't know what he was doing. And fucking things up with Steve would mean an end to all the lunch dates and the wonderful conversations and the silent companionship.
Tony didn't think he could handle that.
But when he got downstairs, Steve was sitting on the couch in his blazer and slacks. So, this was real. All too real.
Steve rose, a teasing grin on his face. "Ah, so there is a man under all that grease and sweat." He nodded, giving Tony a quick once-over. "You clean up pretty nice."
Tony coughed. "I guess. So, where are we going?"
"We can go wherever you like," Steve said. "But, if you have no particular preference, I know a nice restaurant with a great view of Central Park."
"Lead the way," Tony said. "You're the expert."
Steve held out his hand and Tony reached out instinctively. Hand-holding was always something other people did, but it felt natural walking side by side with Steve. He had no idea where they were going, but with Steve's hand wrapped around his, it didn't matter. He trusted Steve to take him someplace good.
Once they'd settled into their booth at the restaurant, Tony quirked an eyebrow. "So, what is this all about? Getting tired of my lab?"
Steve shrugged. "You told me to surprise you."
"Ah. Well, I am definitely surprised."
"A good kind of surprise, I hope."
Tony looked down, realizing their hands were still intertwined atop the table. "So far," he said. Holding hands was the awesomest thing in the world. Or maybe it was just because Steve's hands were so big and warm. He didn't think he could ever feel cold again as long as he could convince Steve to keep coming down to the workshop and-
His head jerked up as he felt Steve's foot gently nudge his.
"Sorry," Steve said. "But Antonio wants to know if we're ready to order."
Right. They were out in public. Fantasy land would have to wait.
He cleared his throat. "Steve's the expert here. I'll have whatever he recommends."
Steve smiled and squeezed his hand. "You'd probably prefer the orange-ginger scallops. They're really good."
Yep, that sounded delicious. Steve knew him pretty well. It was a little scary.
The waiter nodded and tucked their menus back under his arm. "Anything to drink while you wait?"
"He likes coffee," Steve said. "As strong as you can make it, extra sweetener, and hazelnut coffee creamer, if you have it."
And Steve even knew how he liked his coffee. This was really scary.
The scallops were just as delicious as Steve had promised. "Good choice," Tony said approvingly. "I'm glad I listened to you for once."
"Oh, just about everything on the menu is delicious," Steve assured him. "You'd probably like the five-spice chicken, too. We can do that next time."
Next time. Now, that was what Tony liked to hear.
"The spicy shrimp is also pretty good," Steve continued. "But, the scallops are probably still my favorite."
"You must come here a lot," Tony said.
Steve nodded. "I like the view." He gestured to the window. "All the vibrant plant life right outside. It's great for sketching. And the food is great, too, of course. Although," his eyes sparkled mischievously as he leaned across the table, "I'm sure I can copy just about everything on the menu. I've been testing my own scallop recipe. Natasha and Clint tell me it's pretty close to the real thing."
"You've been making those two food?" Tony said with mock indignation. "I thought you were my own personal chef."
Steve shrugged. "They have a habit of popping up whenever I start cooking. I'm not quick enough to catch them before they get a taste."
"Well, we'll see about that," Tony said. "Next time you make your version, I demand a taste."
"Absolutely," Steve said. "Probably Tuesday."
"Looking forward to it."
"So am I." Steve grinned. "Tony Stark's personal chef. It's a very noteworthy position. I'll try my best to live up to the title."
Tony swatted him with a napkin. Steve swatted him back.
In the ensuing napkin fight, Tony somehow missed that Steve had grabbed the check and paid for their meals.
"You know I'm not hurting for money, right?" Tony said.
"Neither am I," Steve said. "Relax, Tony. Just let me take care of you for once."
Tony blinked at him. "You can't possibly be real."
Steve slung an arm around his shoulders. "This feel real enough?"
Well, the weight of Steve's arm certainly felt real. But still, this was not the sort of thing that happened to him. Who liked looking after people anyway? Pepper always complained about having to babysit him in the lab to make sure he got paperwork done. But here was Steve talking like he enjoyed that sort of thing.
"You're weird," Tony said.
"So are you. We make a great pair, don't we? Two weirdos walking down the street together."
Oh god. Steve was going to give him a heart attack.
Steve escorted him all the way back to the lab. "So, that was fun, right? Getting a little fresh air and sunshine didn't kill you?"
Tony rolled his eyes. "Very funny."
Steve smiled. "I had a great time, Tony. We'll definitely have to do that again sometime. Well, I'll let you get back to work."
Tony was reluctant to let go of Steve's hand, but he forced himself to take a step back towards his machines. "Yeah, see you tomorrow."
Tony watched until the elevator door slid shut before he sprawled across Steve's couch. Yep, it was Steve's couch now. He wasn't ever going to think about it as anything but Steve's couch. Steve had been sitting on it so often it even started to smell like him.
"Judging by the size of your smile, I suspect your date went better than you expected," Jarvis said.
"Oh, shut up."
"It is good to see you happy, sir."
"You like Steve, don't you?"
"I approve of anyone who makes you happy. And since he appears to make you happy, yes, I do like him."
Tony nodded. "I like him, too. He's a good man."