Tony Stark would be the first to admit he wasn't the most observant of people. Except that wasn't true at all. Not that he was the most observant, because he really wasn't, but the part about him being the first to admit it. He leaves the pointing out of his characters flaws to Pepper.
He didn't always catch on when someone was upset about him, or someone was acting strange, or someone was going behind your back, turning your company against you. But every now and then he had a good day, and he started noticing things like how Steve tended to glance at the clock, and soon after he and Coulson would exchange a nod and a few minutes later, neither would be around.
It was enough to pique his interest, and he often wondered why were the two disappearing together so often, where were they going to and what did they do once they were there?
Try as he might, Tony could not help but suspect it was gay sex.
Still, he had to know for sure. Natasha gave him strange looks when he asked her what was going on and made some distance. Clint pondered Tony's bribe briefly, then decided it wasn't worth it to get involved in finding out.
So Tony had to go through with it alone, and through trial and error, one or two bugs, and nine-hundred dollars in bribes, he found himself one Thursday afternoon in a darkened corner of the Hellicarier, watching Coulson enter a room, and ten minutes later, Spangles folloing him in.
Tony waited fifteen seconds before he left the corner, and by the time he got to the door, it was twenty five. Twenty five seconds was enough time, Tony thought, for them to start kissing, but not enough for Coulson to strip down to his Captain America thong.
"Aha!" Tony exclaimed as he swung the door open dramatically, and then, after a beat, he muttered lowly,
"What the fuck is this?"
Coulson's lips are chapped, and at the moment they happen to be wrapped around a supple…. Pale…. cigarette.
The flame from a Zippo in Steve's hands flutters just beneath the tip, not lighting it yet, as Steve, his own cigarettes already lit and lodged in the corner of his mouth, was distracted by Tony's intrusion. The room they're in is mostly bare, and there's a window open, that Fury thinks is the only one of its kind aboard.
"What are you doing here?" Steve asked in annoyance.
"What are you…. Doing…. In here?" Tony asked in return, indignantly.
"I'm having a cigarette. What are you doing in here?"
"I'm catching you in the act…"
"What?" Steve asked, his patience wearing thing, as he raised the Zippo to light Coulson's cigarette, then flicked it shut and dropped it into his pocket. He took a drag and exhaled a moment later out of his nostrils.
"I'm here, because…. I wanted to asked you… Questions about…. Guadalcanal."
Aside from not being always the most perceptive, Tony is also not always the best at thinking on his feet. Steve took a drag, took the cigarette out of his mouth and exhaled.
"It was before my time." Steve said, though it was clear he didn't buy it. Beside him, Coulson fidgeted uncomfortably, and Tony was sure that he hadn't taken a single drag yet.
"What a shame." Tony said and scratched his chin, "So you smoke, huh?"
"Yes, I do, and look, I know everything you'll tell me."
"Yeah, I know they kill, but I think if I can survive seventy years on ice, I can handle a pack every three days."
"I don't think I can argue with that."
Coulson took the cigarettes out of his mouth and held it at an angle, so its smoke didn't blow directly at his jacket, and cleared his throat.
"The Hellicarier is supposed to be a smoke-free environment, Mr. Stark. We would appreciate it if we could keep this between just the three of us."
Steve nodded as he raised the cigarette to his lips and puffed.
"You want to shirk Fury's regulations?" Tony asked, mock-scandalized, "Okay, just this once."
A brief revile on a bugle rang out, and Steve fished his phone out of his pocket to view his incoming text.
"I'm wanted topside." Steve said as he flicked his cigarette out of the window, "Sorry to bail on you, Phil."
"Anything serious?" Tony asked, "Do I have to come along too?"
"No, I have to brief those Army Rang-"
"Nevermind. You lost me at 'brief'."
Steve slipped past Tony on his way out, bidding both men a farewell. Once they were alone, Tony smirked at Coulson, who took a moment before he awkwardly stuck his hand out the window and threw his cigarette away.
"You're not a super-soldier, Coulson."
"True, but I do get stabbed by omnicidal space gods, so it's not like that'll be the thing that kills me."
"Uh-huh. You didn't take a single drag. Not one."
"Well, you showed up… and…"
"And Cap wasn't looking so you didn't smoke, and when he left, you decided you didn't want to smoke after all."
Coulson hung his head wordlessly, and Tony chuckled.
"Phil, do you smoke just so you can hang out with Cap? So that Cap will think you're cool?"
Coulson left the room without a word, and Tony shook his head as he followed him, and muttered,