Ack! Sorry for the wait- classes took over life for a bit there. Good news is, you have an update, and I have to admit, I really love this chapter.


Steve groaned and glared angrily at the rays of sunlight peeking through his blinds. He let out a hacking cough and collapsed back into bed, groaning again for good measure. He heard a whine come from the end of his bed where his dog was curled into the blankets and opened one bleary eye to look at the clock. It was almost noon!

He sat bolt upright, immediately regretting it when his sinuses protested. Steve patted his golden on the head "Sorry buddy, I've been ignoring you." He received a soft lick to his palm in response.

He downed a couple of advil with a long drink of water and got changed into some old sweats before heading out into the chilly morning, dog in tow. The fresh air helped to clear his head but he felt his grudge against the sun was completely warranted for the time being.

Steve was just settling down on his old, squashy couch, blanket around his shoulders and tea in hand, when the buzzer for his apartment went off. His dog barked at the unfamiliar noise and sat up from his spot on the floor, looking at his owner with his head tilted quizzically.

"I wonder who it is?" Steve muttered, padding over to the intercom he had so rarely used.

He pressed the button, "Can I help you?"

A familiar drawl sounded on the other end, "Let me in, would ya? It's freezing out here, jeeze."

Steve grinned from ear to ear, pressing the button to allow access to the building. Then he looked around, realizing the state of his apartment, not to mention the ratty old sweater he was wearing which held an embarrassing number of holes. He quickly tore it off, his hair in disarray, and tossed it into his bedroom without caring where it landed. He dashed across the room to the couch in front of his small television, where he had paused 'The Breakfast Club' only a few minutes into the film, thanking God he hadn't decided on his guilty pleasure 'Dirty Dancing' instead.

He swept the mess of kleenexes into a garbage bin and ran over to the kitchen to wash his hands, his dog excitedly following his heels, tail wagging frantically.

"Easy, boy," Steve patted him on the head and told him to stay before throwing on a baseball shirt just as a chorus of knocks sounded on the door. His dog was at his heels again, too excited to stay still, trying to nose his way in front of Steve to get to the door first. "Hey, hey, easy now," He held his collar steady before opening the door.

He was greeted with the very pleasing sight of Tony, who looked outrageously handsome in a pair of red-tinted glasses and a sleek jacket, his hair an elegantly styled mess.

Tony looked him up and down, "Hey gorgeous." He gave Steve a peck on the cheek that had him totally flustered, while Tony squeezed by him into the apartment.

He set a bag down on the nearest surface and knelt on the ground, his hand out, "Well, who's this guy? I didn't know you had a dog."

"Had him for about a year now. His name's Thor." He let go of the collar, his whining dog leaping joyously forward to plant wet kisses all over Tony's face, who laughed and put his hands out, trying to stop the onslaught of slobber.

Steve scratched the back of his head, "Sorry, Tony, he's not usually this...friendly with people he doesn't know."

But Tony was paying no attention, cooing at the dog, "Who's a handsome dog? You are! Yes you are!" Thor's tail was thunking into the door with every excited wag of his tail, basking in the attention from this new, friendly stranger.

Tony looked up at him, a grin on his face "No offense Steve, but 'Thor'? What kind of a dog name is that?"

Steve chuckled, "Yeah, I know, I thought the same thing when I got him. He was already used to the name, and it kind of suits him, oddly enough."

Tony stood up, brushing off his pants, "Oh, did you adopt him, then?"

Steve nodded, "I guess you could say that," and he followed Tony to his small kitchenette.

The other man was opening the bag he had carried in, and a delicious scent filled the space. "I figured that cold would still be pestering you, so I made a stop on the way over. No minestrone today, but I got you some good old chicken noodle and some potato leek." He eyed Steve's face, misreading his surprised expression, and he kept talking, "Yeah, you probably don't feel much like the second one right now, it's Geraldine's fault that I got it, really. She said there was bacon in it. And who can resist bacon? I certainly can't. Do you like bacon? Because if you don't, I don't know if this 'thing' we have going is gonna work out. It's a real deal-breaker, Steve."

Steve brushed behind Tony, and leaned over his shoulder, shushing him quietly, his mouth close to the other man's ear. "Thanks, Tony. That was really thoughtful of you." He saw Tony's throat bob accompanied by a faint rise in colour on his cheeks, and Steve felt a small thrill of satisfaction that he could get Tony riled up with hardly any effort on his part. Maybe they were playing on equal ground after all.

Tony leaned back into Steve's touch briefly before a small whine sounded at their feet. They looked down to see Thor, licking his jowls and giving them pathetically huge begging eyes. Steve sighed and walked around the counter to pick a squeaky toy off the ground. "C'mon, Thor. C'mon buddy. Don't you want your hammer? Come and get it!"

Thor gave a half whine, half bark of assent and jumped to his feet, his paws slipping and sliding across the linoleum floor before he found the momentum to run after Steve and his precious toy. Steve stood by a doggy bed in the corner, waving the hammer tauntingly above his dog, who was jumping, trying to grab the toy that was so aggravatingly out of reach. Steve finally let Thor snag it, before he played a short game of tug of war, letting the dog win when he began to growl. Thor gave the toy a few good squeaks with his jaw before he plonked down on his bed, curling protectively around the hammer with his back facing the room.

Steve chuckled and walked back over to the kitchenette, "He'll probably be resentful of me for the rest of the day, but at least he'll be quiet now."

Tony's eyes were dancing with laughter, "I think I might be in love with your dog, Steve."

Steve grinned, 'it's kind of hard not to be."

Tony opened his mouth to say something else, but then he saw the paused TV screen over Steve's shoulder and exclaimed: "No way, the Brat Pack?! You're a John Hughes fan, aren't you?" He gave Steve a devilish grin before clapping his hands together, "Okay, we're totally doing this." He grabbed a container of soup and then proceeded to make himself comfortable on Steve's couch, patting the space beside him. And how could Steve possibly resist that?

He picked up two spoons and his chicken noodle soup before settling down next to Tony, their thighs brushing comfortably.

Steve tried to pay attention to the movie, he really did, but just having the other man so close was thoroughly distracting. Every brush of his leg against Tony's felt electric, and the man smelled incredible. It should be illegal to smell that good. It didn't help that Tony, who had now finished his soup, placed his arm over the back of the couch behind Steve's head, seeming perfectly at ease with their proximity while Steve reveled at being so close to the other man. And even though they weren't actually touching, Steve could feel the heat and electricity radiating off of Tony, setting his nerve-endings on fire. He gave a small, involuntary shudder and Tony, mistaking it for Steve being cold, procured the blanket Steve had been using earlier for the same purpose. Tony carefully wrapped it around them before moving up against him, pressing comfortably into Steve's shoulder as though they did this every day.

How could Tony be so calm and casual? They were cuddling, for pete's sake! It was all Steve could do to keep his hammering heart from drowning out the movie.

So, while the Breakfast Club snuck around their high school and narrowly avoided Principal Vernon at every turn, Steve remained distracted by Tony's close presence, taking it in as though it were a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And all too soon the movie was over. Tony was humming the lyrics to "Don't you forget about me" under his breath, probably unconsciously, and never before had Steve felt so overpowered by the need to savagely cuddle and squeeze something into a puddle of liquid cuteness. I was an alarming thought.

Tony rubbed the side of his face slightly on Steve's shoulder and mumbled, "mmm, I don't feel like moving."

Steve responded by wrapping his arm securely around Tony, holding him tight against his side, and Tony hummed his approval.

Sometime during the movie, Thor had sauntered over to the couch, tail low and head down as though asking for their forgiveness for his earlier display. Currently, he was curled beside Tony's feet, but he looked up, ears perking when Steve turned off the TV, leaving the apartment in silence.

Tony rubbed one of his socked feet on Thor's side and smiled. "I always wanted a dog growing up. How'd you get him?"

Steve stared at his dog, suddenly stupidly envious of the caresses he was receiving. He cleared his throat, "He was uh...he was donated to me. He was trained to be a service dog, but when he didn't pass the test, he was donated to the Veterans group I'm a member of and he instantly took to me."

Tony gazed up at him from where he was leaning against Steve's side, "I don't blame him."

Time seemed to freeze as they looked at one another, Tony's vision flicking between Steve's eyes and his lips. Steve was sure a steady blush was creeping its was across his entire body, and his mouth suddenly felt dry and numb.

Tony finally broke their eye contact, throwing his hands up in the air dramatically and exclaiming "Fuck it! I've had my flu shot."

And he practically dived onto Steve, sealing their lips together in a searing kiss. Steve immediately sought out the other man's warmth, hugging their bodies tightly together until he had a lapful of Tony, who gave a muffled moan of approval and practically melted into him. Tony's fingers were at the base of Steve's skull, alternately massaging and running through the hair on his nape, as he deepened the kiss and Steve lost himself to the sensations. He became almost painfully aroused embarrassingly fast, but if the hard heat pressing into his hip was anything to go by, Tony was in a similar state. Steve let his hands roam over Tony's back, fingers seeking out the grooves of bone and muscle he had been covetously drawing only a day earlier.

But it was that thought that brought his hands to a halt, and had him leaning back into the couch, breathing out hotly over Tony's mouth. "God," he had to swallow to stop his voice from wavering, "God, Tony. I want you." He placed his palm tenderly over Tony's cheek and looked the man in his darkened, lust-blown eyes. "I want you so badly...but," he swallowed again, hating himself a little bit, "we're going a little too fast for me. I'm sorry."

Tony huffed out a small chuckle, waving off his apology, "I did kind of maul your face." He guiltily wiped a bit of wayward saliva off of Steve's chin with his sleeve and looked into his eyes, more serious. "It's okay though. I didn't really take you for a guy that would speed things along. You're more of a take-things-slow kinda guy. "

Steve sighed. "Right now, I'm wishing I wasn't that guy."

Tony grinned, "Well, that guy can still kiss me, right? Kissing isn't going to fast is it?"

Steve pretended to think about it, "I think he could be coerced."

Tony leaned in, kissing him softly, breathing slowly out of his nose. Then he murmured against Steve's lips, "And what would he say to a little of this?" Tony demonstrated with a slow swipe of his tongue against Steve's mouth.

Steve had a harder time pretending to think about that one.