Birthday Cake

Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing you recognize.

Warnings: This is slash of the HPxSR variety so, don't read if you do not enjoy. On shot in Taking Chances universe.

Enjoy.

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. Birthday Cake

"Do you think this looks right?"

Looking over to the left, Steve watched as Tony stepped back to lock at the—glob, on the counter. Tilting his head sideways and squinting slightly, he nodded. "Yes." Tony proceeded to smack him on the head.

Glaring, he pushed the blonde Avenger away and pouted as he looked at the dough that was meant to be used for the cake. Not just any cake either. Harry's Birthday Cake. With capitals and everything.

I mean sure, he could always buy the most amazing cake on the face of the planet and everything. But it just wouldn't be the same.

Sneaking a look sideways, Tony sulked.

It wasn't fair. How was he supposed to compete with the blonde? Tall, handsome, and, apparently, a good cook. Sure he was a playboy, billionaire, genius, philanthropist but he still. Couldn't. Cook.

At all.

It was incredibly frustrating. Much more so when he was planning a surprise party for his best friend and could not even manage the cake. Everything was being made by Steve, Pepper, Rhodey, and himself. He had been given the simple task of making appetizers at first.

He failed miserably.

Seriously, he had never tasted anything quite so—so. Given the epic fail that had turned out to be, he had been delegated to putting together some tiny crackers with cut slices of ham, cheese, and something else he couldn't name. He had made them, sure. They just looked, well. They were something alright.

Finally, Pepper had taken pity on him after a while and delegated him to making punch. Which he then proceeded to spike. Heavily.

Apparently, that was not Pepper Approved™.

So, the only thing he actually knew how to do (mix drinks) had been delegated to someone else. Leaving him with his current predicament.

Meanwhile, pretty boy had just finished making stuffed mushrooms, sautéed vegetables with rice pilaf, bread crusted chicken breast, chicken stuffed with cheddar and asparagus. As if that wasn't enough food, he had then decided to make incredibly smelling alfredo sauce vegetable lasagna.

Was this guy serious?

Tony sighed as he smashed his hand into the cake dough as instructed.

"Tony, is that...dough?"

He looked down at the funny, dough looking thing. Yes, yes it was. Raising an eyebrow in response, Pepper sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "Tony, it's...it's supposed to be batter."

He blinked.

"There's a difference?"

The look he got in response was answer enough.

"Why couldn't you just order a catering company to make everything? I assure you everything would have been made delicious and in a timely manner!"

Tony was silent as Pepper returned to the living room/dining room in his office at Stark Tower to continue with decorations and set up. He startled minutely when Cap spoke. "She had a point you know." Tony thought of not responding to that at all for a minute and re-attempt to make some batter.

"I know. I just...for my birthday, he made me this amazing three-tiered piece of heaven that just—" Steve turned to face him fully, "He made that for me. Himself. I haven't... had that since my mother passed. I mean, it wasn't the same but he cared enough to make me a cake, and brownies, and little cheese ball things, and just a home cooked meal. Even chefs don't make it that good. It's just—different."

Tony looked back down at the dough and poked it a few times scolding himself for saying so much. He may trust the man with his life when needed but that didn't mean he lik— "Here, let me show you how." Tony looked at the blonde man not showing the surprise he felt.

"I don't need help." Not your anyway.

"Stark, Tony. Look, I've seen you sulk and mope after each try at making something. Receiving a bit of help, not even asking for it, won't kill you. So just take what I'm offering."

"What? No comments on being better than me at something?"

"Oh, I'm better than you at many things. But trust me, you just need to catch up."

"Catch up? With—"

"We need to get started on this so it will be ready to be pulled out and iced before Harry gets here. Now, do you want my help or not?"

There was an awkward silence for a minute before Tony turned and went back to poking his dough. Steve sighed and went back to checking the lasagna. He turned when he heard the sound of something hitting the floor. Looking over at Tony, he saw him standing by the trash bin.

Tony walked over to his work area and put the ingredients into a neat line in order by size. "Well?" He said as he looked at Steve with a raised eyebrow, haughtiness in every line of his body.

Steve smiled slightly at the show and walked over, "Now, the first step is..."

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By the time Harry made it to his usual Friday Night dinner with Tony, he was completely taken by surprise as he saw his friends and a few others invited to celebrate his day.

The cake was cooled and iced to perfection, as Tony treated the decorating much as he would his designs. He took great pride in the design and took all the teasing lightly. Especially the ribbing he got about the design on the cake.

You guessed it, Iron Man.

Seeing as everyone present was in the know and Nick couldn't scold him like a child, Tony decided to indulge his vanity some.

Tony made his way into the kitchen with a glass of champagne as the guests were winding down and drinking some coffee before they headed home for those driving home and those who were staying still drinking.

He thought of the day and made a note to have the chef teach him some tricks on the stove. You never know what you might need. Arms wound around his chest and pulled him into a fierce hug. The small, heartfelt 'Thank You' he felt more than heard as his face lit up with a smile he reserved for a very few people. Harry being one of the few.

He turned in the arms that held him and hugged his friend tighter, "Happy Birthday Love. May you live many, many more years to come."

Harry squeezed him a little harder as he said that, thinking of something he still ought to tell both of the men in his life and Pepper. He would do it soon, when he was ready. By now he knew they would never leave him; they would accept him and not be angry for him keeping this secret for so long.

"Thank you for the cake. It was amazing! I hear you made it all on your own!"

Tony was preened slightly but felt a small twitch of discomfort. He squashed it and reminded himself he did all the heavy lifting. Really. Sighing he said, "Cap helped, you know. I made dough instead of batter." He looked into laughing green eyes waiting for teasing of a different kind.

Harry just laughed and pecked him on the cheek. He wound his arm into Tony's and led him back to the party, "You did all the heavy lifting, I know. Steve told me." Tony's left eye twitched slightly.

"I see."

Harry eyed him for a moment before rolling his eyes, "Oh, stop it! You have nothing to be jealous of. Genius remember?" Tony grumbled good natured. He laughed and poked him as he danced away in search of Steve, "Besides, I can still remember when Steve burned water!" Tony's jaw dropped.

That wasn't some type of natural Captain America given power?

Wait. Burned? "Burned water? What does that mean?" Could someone actually burn water? His lips twitched before he broke into laughter. He had never burned water! Smirking he stalked towards the small group formed by Steve, Natasha, and Thor.

Good, Pepper had stolen Harry away from Steve.

He turned to Steve with a bright smile. "So, did you guys know it is actually possible to burn water when cooking?"

Decorations for party: $456

Ingredients for food: $234

Alcohol:$$$$

The look on Steve's face when he asked that question?

Priceless.

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.The end.

Well, that was random. Hope you enjoyed that and yes, I know. Tony is OCC. But I mean, really, it's and AU. Things will be different and this keeps in line with this mini-series of sorts. Thank you for all the continued support and please review.

Best,

CotF