Disclaimer: All rights belong to Marvel, I'm just borrowing the characters for a little love fest.
Story: Something is missing in Steve's life, unsure what, he finds himself looking in all the wrong places when he should be looking right in front of him.
Author's Note: An updated, freshly beta'd chap! I'm re-reading this one and I am a fan not going to lie! Thank you ravingbeauty once again doing a fantastic job!
Part 1 – Online Dating
Something was missing.
Since he had been pulled from the ice, there had been a dull throb in his chest. At first Steve thought it was just shock – after all, dying in 1944 only to wake up in 2012 would take it out of anyone.
But he'd had no time to dwell on the ache. He'd had a job to do, leading the greatest assembly of superheroes the world had ever seen.
Unfortunately that was easier said than done.
Somehow, though, they had muddled through and saved the world. And in the process Steve Rogers had managed to find himself a place in this new world.
Yet that indefinable something was still missing…
Sighing, he looked down at the drawing in his lap. It showed a young woman and a man he assumed was her boyfriend, walking hand in hand through the park. He had seen them this morning as he jogged by, his fantastic memory able to recall the image to perfection, right down to the way they had lovingly looked at one another.
"Rather world weary sigh, Cap," Natasha commented from her position curled in the large chair, her book held before her eyes.
Blue eyes moved from his sketch to look at her. "I guess," he mumbled.
"Anything you want to talk about?" the assassin asked, still not looking up.
He paused, uncomfortable with the idea of sharing his thoughts with the woman. He'd read her file and was more than a little leery of someone so astute. Added to that, Captain America was supposed to be perfect. He didn't have problems and didn't need anyone; he was a leader among heroes.
Steve Rogers, on the other hand, was a mess.
"I know what it is," a new voice piped up. Snack in hand, Clint entered from the kitchen, grinning as he continued, "Cap needs to get laid."
Steve gaped at him, mouth falling open as he recognized the terminology. Stark, his go-to for translation purposes, had explained the expression to him.
"I… no, I…" spluttering and incoherent, Steve couldn't seem to voice his thoughts.
Laughing, the archer jumped over the back of the couch and landed beside him, "I'm kidding, man. But honestly, you should get out there, meet someone. Granted, being the significant other of an Avenger is a little difficult, but a few dates won't kill you."
Steve blinked – he did have a point there. Maybe that was the emptiness he felt so acutely; maybe that's what was missing. Frowning in thought, Steve furrowed his brow. "I, uhhh… I guess. But I'm not sure how…" he confessed.
"Online dating," Natasha stated definitively, books set aside now that there was something far more interesting going on.
"What?" Steve looked at her, perplexed. He knew what online was, but was unsure what the whole phrase meant.
"Oh, that's brilliant," Clint joined in. "Where's your laptop, Cap?"
Curious, Steve pointed to the chunky machine that sported his colours. It had been custom-made for him by Tony after he'd broken the fourth one SHIELD had issued him. Sometimes it was difficult to control his strength and after the last incident Steve had dreaded telling the tech department he needed another one. Instead, he'd found the rather flashy machine waiting for him the next day.
Clint opened it eagerly, snorting, "Looks like a Fisher Price toy."
Steve made a note to ask Tony what that comment meant. He glanced down at his computer, wondering what was wrong with it. As far as he could tell, it was perfect. The keys were bigger to accommodate his large hands, the case was thick enough that when he dropped it nothing cracked or broke off… and even better than that, it was easy to use. Everything he needed was already set up – all he had to do was click and type.
Steve watched as Clint opened the little picture he knew was the internet. Steve liked the internet; he found it amazing that people today had that sort of information so readily available. He could learn anything in a heartbeat, see anything he wanted; it was enough to make his head spin.
"So, online dating… Should we use Plenty of Fish? E-harmony? Lava life? Match?" Clint clicked through the various sites as he spoke. Pictures of women flashed up on the screen, appearing as his quick fingers typed.
The blond was past trying to follow what was happening. "What is this?" he asked, curious despite himself.
"A lot of people meet on the internet these days. They e-mail and sometimes chat before meeting for a date," Natasha offered as she moved to lean over Clint's shoulder and watch.
"You meet women to date?" Steve asked, perplexed. "What about bumping into someone or being at a dance hall…" he trailed off at the vacant stares he was getting.
"No, I think we'll set you up with an online dating profile," Natasha stated, her tone ending the discussion. With no small amount of trepidation, Steve listened and watched with growing dread as they signed him up to meet women.
Humming in annoyance, Tony backed away from his latest project and idly scratched his chin as sharp eyes studied the machine.
Running a grease-stained hand through already ruffled hair and sighed. Something, somewhere wasn't tracking properly; he just needed to figure out where his calculations were off. Reaching out, he snagged the shake off his desk and sipped idly as he re-ran the equations in his head.
Goddamn Banner and his annoying requests to recalibrate his equipment – the man had all but shamed him into modifying his already cutting edge technology.
The sound of the door opening had Tony glancing up, eager for whatever distraction he was about to be provided. He already knew who it was – Steve Rogers, the only person he'd given an access code.
Living with the others at the Tower had definitely taken some getting used to; he always made a great show of being annoyed by their presence. Truth be told, though, Tony was thankful to be surrounded by people he knew he could trust.
Now he was never alone.
When Pepper had left him, Tony had found solace in the chaos and confusion of the house. He could still remember wandering to the kitchen in a daze…
Pepper had said goodbye and left to give him space and time. She promised to stay on to run the company, but his heart was breaking painfully. He'd been on his way to get a bottle of something, anything, as long as it was strong enough to deaden the pain. But he had paused en route, hearing the commotion in the kitchen.
He had stopped in the doorway, leaning against the frame as his red-rimmed eyes took in the chaotic scene. Thor was yelling at Clint, Steve between them, trying to placate the pair. Dinner was apparently coming, but the blond demi-God was hungry at that moment, and Clint would be damned if he was going to let Thor get some before him. Steve accidently elbowed Thor, sending everything into a tailspin, forcing Bruce and Natasha to intervene.
The genius stood unnoticed by the others, just watching, feeling like an outsider. The room was full of noise, laughter, and life. There were no promises of tomorrow for any of them, just the now. And the now was a bunch of misfits fighting over spaghetti.
Suddenly that bottle of scotch wasn't so appealing. He wanted this high. Stepping forward, he cleared his throat nosily, causing the others to freeze as he plastered a scowl on his face, "What are you doing to my kitchen?" Then they were off again, dragging the man into the mix.
"What's up, Cap?" Tony asked as the man entered the room with his laptop and sketchbook tucked under one arm. The super soldier had a dazed look about him as he settled into one the chairs. Tony arched a dark brow at the other man, "Watching The Walking Dead with Clint again?" He was going to have words with the moron about scaring America's Golden Boy.
Shaking his blond head, Steve looked at the other man, "No, no… Clint and Natasha, they set me up with something about online dating."
That took Tony aback. He blinked quickly to mask his surprise, "You looking for a date? Should have asked, Cap. I know lots of lovely ladies." The dark haired man ignored the strange feeling in his stomach and chest, writing it off as overwork.
Steve blushed, "I don't really understand, myself."
Chuckling, Tony turned to his holo screens, "JARVIS, call up the Cap's dating profile, will you?" He had to confess he was rather curious.
Seconds later the profile popped up, showing a picture of Steve seated on his motorcycle, smiling happily at the camera. It was a picture Tony had taken just after presenting Steve with the vintage bike as a gift. Quick, dark eyes skimmed over the profile as Tony bit his lip to stop himself from chuckling. Under the "about me" section they had listed "old fashioned values." Good grief.
Scrolling down, Tony blinked at the counter at the bottom of the page. "When did you set this up?" he asked.
The big guy shrugged, "About half an hour ago, I guess."
Tony whistled, "Well, you've got over 200 hits already." At the confused look he explained, "Over 200 interested ladies have looked at this. Have you gotten any e-mails yet?"
Shrugging, Steve glanced at his laptop, "I don't know."
"Only one way to find out," Tony said as he joined him at the table. They booted up the machine and opened the Cap's e-mail, shocked to see he had fifteen new messages.
"Wow…" Tony muttered. Scratch that – on second thought, Tony had no idea why he was so surprised. Steve had great looks, a fantastic body, and a personality that screamed boy next door. He was the American dream; any girl would be pleased to have him. So why was he angry that so many women were interested in the blond man?
Steve was surprised as well and delicately clicked on the first message:
Hey cutie luv the pic! Let's hook up!
"Anyone who fails to form coherent English sentences should be a definite no," Tony supplied, deleting the message.
The next one had them both blinking. Tony whistled, impressed, while Steve just choked on his own spit. "Nice rack," the genius commented, reading the message under the picture of a woman's naked chest. Frowning, he glanced back at the profile still sitting on his own screen. "Apparently Barton set your status to 'interested in anything'."
Steve sighed, looking away. "I am so confused," he said miserably.
The inventor glanced at Steve, suddenly feeling bad for the poor guy. It seemed like harmless fun, but if it was upsetting him… "Do you want me to delete it? I can, no fuss," he offered as he deleted more e-mails that were looking for a hook up.
Steve looked at him from under long lashes, "I… I'm not sure… I think it'd be nice to go on a date. I never really had a chance in my time."
The soft confession went right to Tony's shrapnel-riddled heart. "Here, how about this one," he offered. "She would like to meet you for dinner." Tony turned the screen, showing Steve a picture of a cute, petite brunette sitting with her golden lab.
Perking up a bit, the man looked at the wholesome picture, "You think?"
Tony smiled, "What can it hurt, really? Here, you invite her for dinner tomorrow and I'll fix your profile." He passed the laptop over and headed back to his own screen.
After some deliberation Tony changed Steve's status to "dating." He thought seriously about setting it to "looking for relationship;" after all, Steve was the type to be in it for the long haul. Yet something stopped him – the thought of Steve being in a committed relationship was too much. Tony's mind rebelled and he felt like punching something.
Pushing away his frustration, he turned towards the big blond and chalked up his odd feelings to being overly tired.
"Would you relax? You're even making me nervous," Tony teased. Steve was currently doing laps around the lab as DUM-E followed along behind, clutching a glass of scotch in his claw.
"Sorry," Steve said as he finally sat, accepting the glass and downing it in one go. "That's nice," he commented with a smack of his lips.
"Should be," Tony said from the floor, where he was carefully tinkering with the inside of his chest piece. "It's from a three-hundred dollar bottle of twenty year-old single malt."
Steve looked at the glass in shock before setting it back in DUM-E's outstretched claw.
Tony glanced up at the super soldier; he looked nervous, but most definitely excited. "So what's her name and where are you going?" the dark haired man asked.
"Melanie," Steve replied leaning on one hand. "We're meeting at that nice restaurant two blocks away."
Tony nodded and went back to his work, trying not to notice how nice Steve looked in his black slacks and blue button up shirt, "Steve, I'm sure it won't necessary… but just in case, give me a call if you need anything."
Surprised, the big man looked across the room; the inventor was still focused on his work, but his tone was serious and honest.
"What do you mean?" Steve asked, frowning. Worried now, he got to his feet.
"Nothing, never mind." Tony smiled at him. "Shouldn't you get going?"
Checking his watch Steve nodded, "You're right. Thanks, Tony, I'll see you later."
Giving his friend a wave, Tony went back to his work, telling himself that it was definitely not jealously flaring in his belly.