title: such fragile moments we share
couples: steve/tony, clint/nat, dracy/bucky, pepper/tony.
dedication: to steph.

notes: every fandom needs a high school au so pfft.


Tony Stark is nine years old when he meets Steven Rogers. It's the middle of summer and Tony's secluded in his room playing Galaga, when his mother waltzes in and announces that they're going to say hello to their new neighbours. Tony huffs, saves his game, turns his TV off and trudges down the stairs and out of the house.

His mutters of "this is stupid", "they're probably old" and "who would even move here anyway?" die on his tongue when he comes face to face with a skinny boy, bright blonde hair and even brighter blue eyes.

His mom bends down and plants a hand on his shoulder. "Tony, this is Steven. Steven, this is my son Anthony."

Steve walks up to him and sticks out his hand like the gentlemen he is, who cares that he's nine, his mother taught him manners. "Call me Steve" and he smiles, dimples and pearly white teeth and Tony's found his new best friend, Rhodey can suck it. Tony grins, shakes his hand and says "Only if you call me Tony".

Steve's mother tells them they can go play in the backyard and just like that, Steve and Tony are running away from their parents and into the rose garden that takes up most of the backyard. Steve picks up a baseball from the ground and tosses it to Tony. The rest of the afternoon is spent tossing the ball back and forth, getting to know each other, a weird game of 20 questions. Steve tells Tony about living in Brooklyn and how his father passed away a few years back, prompting their move from the big bustling city to the small town of Salem.

They talk about comic books, video games, music, TV shows and movies. They both love science fiction and argue Kirk over Picard, Tony stands by Kirk because hello, the dude's a bad ass and he kicks major butt while Steve stands by Picard. Steve's a sports fan but he loves baseball the most, Tony's always loved Hockey and no matter how American he is, he thinks that the Montreal Canadian's are the best team in the league. Tony tells Steve that he loves building robots and when Steve asks him if his robots look like Dalek's, it's set in stone that Steve is his best friend forever. When Tony tells him so, Steve's cheeks turn pink but he nods and Tony's so happy that he hugs him.

By the time their parents call them in for dinner, it's dark and the stars are high and bright in the sky.

"Hey Tony, do you want to hang out tomorrow?"

"Hell yeah, you should come over and we can watch Doctor Who! I have all the seasons." Tony says rocking back and forth on the balls on his feet, smile bright and wide.

"That sounds like fun. See you tomorrow Tony!"

"Bye Steve!" Tony says and then he's running back home to tell his mom and dad about his new best friend.

-x-

Steve and Tony never get to go to elementary school together because Steve's in the public system while Tony has to go to a stupid private school with a dumb looking uniform. By the end of Grade 8, Tony's on his knee's begging his parents to enrol him into the high school that Steve is going to. It takes a few weeks to break them but all the begging, crying and slammed doors are worth it when he sees Steve's reaction to the news.

Steve's going through some kind of miracle growth spurt because the once gangly kid who suffered from asthma and got sick way too easily has now turned into an almost 6 foot giant. He's a few inches taller than Tony and he's got muscles coming out of nowhere. Steve can pick him up like he weighs nothing and it's making Tony's stomach do summersaults. And yeah, maybe Tony's feelings towards his best friend aren't exactly platonic but fuck if he's going to ruin their friendship with his feelings. He'll just pine quietly and enjoy Steve's arms wrapped around him, how warm he always seems to be and that he smells ridiculously good.

He's so fucked.

-x-

At first, it was just Tony and Steve. Then towards the end of summer Tony introduced Steve to his best buddy Rhodes. Needless to say, they hit it off. A few months into the school year and Steve was introducing Tony and Rhodes to his new friend from school, James "Call me Bucky" Barnes. Bucky was loud and hyper, cracking out dirty jokes and could charm all the mom's into giving him extra cookies. They stuck together and became a band of misfits.

So when Tony announced that he was going to public high school with Steve and Bucky, Rhodey followed him. Because hello, they're best friend and no way is Rhodey going to get Tony get away that easily.

Tony meets Bruce Banner on the first day of school. They're both taking AP Science with a very young Mr. Xavier -the guy looks fresh out of University but he's super enthusiastic about everything and anything science which is good. If Tony had to sit there and pay attention to some old curmudgeon drone on about science, he would have killed himself- and they just click. By the end of class Tony dubs them "science bros" and Bruce just laughs and laughs, but he nods his head and fists bumps Tony.

By lunch time, five other people are sitting with Tony and his band of misfits.

Bruce brings a red head named Natasha Romanoff, who swears in Russian and scares the crap outta Tony. Tony thinks she's a spy and the fact that she carries around well hidden knives and knows every style of fighting just furthers Tony's theory.

Next to Tasha is her boyfriend Clint, a championship archer who moved around a lot before finally settling down in New York with his mom and his older brother Barney. Clint is originally from Iowa which causes Tony to spazz out and ramble with the man about Captain Kirk for hours. Besides being a Star Trek fan, Clint and Tony have a lot in common, especially when it comes to their tastes in music.

Thor Odinson looks like a genuine god and speaks like he's acting in a Shakespearian play. But the dude is funny as hell and super friendly. Even though the guy's big and intimidating, he couldn't hurt a fly and he always seems to be helping those who need it, whether it's with homework or someone's getting picked out.

Loki Laufeyson is Thor's adopted brother and has a wicked sense of humour and a posh British accent. He and Tony become frienemies easily enough, pulling pranks on the student population and getting into prank wars every other week. The rest of the group do not even go near them when they're in that mindset. Only returning when the dust has cleared, Tony and Loki once again back on speaking terms.

They're a gang of misfits and trouble makers, earning them many trips to Principle Fury's office but Tony loves them.

But that butterfly feeling in his stomach has now turned into an ache and his heart beats out a staccato rhythm whenever he's around Steve. So Tony grins and bares, plastering on that Stark smile and burying that feeling down, down, down where no one can see.

-x-

Tony meets Virginia "Pepper" Potts beginning of Sophomore year and is immediately smitten. He woes her with roses and chocolates and one time, a very nice pair of Jimmy Cho heels. She always blushes but when he breaks out the shoes, she finally caves and accepts his offer to go on a date. He takes her out to the fanciest sushi place in town and they hit it off. By the end of the night, he has a girlfriend and he's grinning so much his face hurts. And if he still has that stupid ache in his chest months later, he's absolutely sure it'll go away... eventually.

Pepper tastes like cherries and smells like vanilla. She has a whip lash attitude and a smirk that could cut steel. She keeps Tony on his toes and always keeps him guessing. On their fifth month anniversary, they have sex for the first time and it's weird and awkward and also kinda perfect in every way. Everything is going perfectly.

That's when everything crashes and burns.

Pepper calls him in the middle of the afternoon and asks if he can meet her at Five Guys. Tony agrees because fuck yeah, burgers and getting to see his girlfriend. He puts down the smouldering iron and hammer and runs upstairs to wash the grease and oil off of his arms and face. He puts on a clean t shirt, a clean pair of jean shorts, laces up his black Chucks and is out the door and on his scooter in under twenty minutes.

Pepper's waiting for him outside the restaurant in a white tank top, jean shorts and lace up sandals. She looks beautiful and Tony tells her so, planting a kiss on her cheek. She smiles but the glint isn't there in her eyes and Tony starts to dread what's going to happen but he smiles and holds the door open for her. They order their food and make small talk while they wait. When the bag arrives, Tony picks up and they head outside and grab a table. They eat in silence and Tony has a feeling he knows what's going on, what's going to happen next, but he keeps his mouth shut and eats his meal, no matter how awkward this whole thing is.

He's proven right when Pepper wipes her mouth, laces her hands together on top of the table and says "Tony, we need to talk".

It feels like a sucker punch to the gut, but fuckin' hell, he knew this was coming, knew it for weeks but it fucking hurts. He mumbles out a "yeah", focusing all his attention on Pepper.

"What are we doing Tony?" she asks with a s sad smile on her face.

"We're enjoying being together? Enjoying being in a romantic relationship?" Tony says trying to hold on while the world crumbles down around him.

"I have been enjoying my time with you Tony, I really have. But these last few months, I've hardly seen you, heard from you. We've been growing apart for a while Tony, you can't tell me I'm the only one who's noticed." Pepper says looking at him straight in the eyes, daring him to deny what she's just said.

"We have, I'm not denying that but fuck. Can't we give this a little more time?" Tony asks pleading her not to give up, on them, on this. He can fucking fix this, he's a Stark, he can build robots and computers from scratch. He can fix this.

"We did Tony, eight months. And they were the best eight months of my life but what I felt for you isn't there anymore. And I think you feel the same way too" Pepper says, eyes filling with unshed tears, voice cracking.

"Pepper. Don't, please." he begs, trying to grab her hand but she's already standing up, purse in hand. She leans down and kisses his cheek. "Good bye Tony." she whispers and walks away.

Tony doesn't know how long he sits there frozen, Pepper's good bye playing over and over again in his head. When he finally snaps out of it -how ever long later- he's running towards his scooter and racing back home.

Turning onto his street, he sees Steve laying on the grass reading "The Hobbit" and jesus, Tony cannot deal with Steve right now, too many conflicting emotions that he cannot handle at this moment. Steve sees him and he sits up waving at him but Tony's tugging his helmet off and throwing it onto the grass, running towards the front door. He throws the door open, slams it shut, grabbing a bottle of scotch from the kitchen and he runs upstairs to his room. He falls to the floor and kicks his bedroom door shut, scootching back so he's sitting with his back against the door.

He hasn't even uncapped the bottle and he can hear Steve running up the stairs. Steve's pounding on the door yelling "Tony" and "what's wrong" and "let me in". He takes a swig of the 30 year old scotch, enjoying the taste and the slow burn it inflicts down his throat as he swallows.

He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and yells "go away Steve! Just leave me alone". He takes another swig and lays his head against the door. He doesn't know how long he sits there, back against the door, drinking his sorrows away but it must be a while because the next thing out of Steve's mouth has him getting up off the floor and flinging the door wide open.

"Tony, if you don't open the door right now, I'm calling your parents." he says it so calmly and Tony wants to punch him because there's no fucking way Steve's going to call his parents just because he has a broken heart. He flings the door open and reveal Steve, standing there with his phone in hand and his heart fucking aches for him, son of a bitch.

"My parents are in Tokyo on business, don't you fucking dare." Tony grinds out glaring at Steve.

"Well what the fuck Tony!?" Steve yells stuffing his phone back into his pocket. Tony turns around and falls face first into his bed before rolling over and curling around one of his pillows.

"Just shut up Steve. I'm fine, you can leave now". No, no, he is not fine, he is the opposite of fine but he'd feel better if the love of his crazy fucking life would just go away and let him angst in peace, thank you very much. But Steve's not leaving, he's just standing there with his arms crossed, looking down at him, concern written all over his face.

"No Tony! You are not fine and I am not leaving until you tell me what's wrong!" Steve yells, red face and clearly pissed off. Tony sighs and rolls over to face Steve. "Pepper dumped me." he whispers, eyes starring at the floor, the wall, the glow in the dark stars on his ceiling, anywhere but Steve.

"Shit." Steve whispers. He walks over to the bed and lifts Tony's legs up so he can sit with his back pressed against the wall, laying Tony's legs across his lap. Tony rolls over onto his back and looks up at the galaxy spread across his ceiling.

"Yeah, hence the storming and drinking and general douchenss. And you want to know the fucked up thing about this whole cluster fuck? I'm not even that sad about it! I knew it was coming, knew it for weeks now. I just didn't know it was going to happen so soon." he whispers the last part, blinking back tears because he's not going to cry, not right now and not in front of Steve.

"Crap, I'm so sorry Tony. Pepper's an idiot for letting you go. You're one of the coolest guys in the world. You're insanely smart, you're funny, you're crazy, you're a total catch. And if Pepper can't see that, it's her loss." Steve says looking at Tony with a small smile on his face. Tony's heart is beating out of his chest and there's that feeling again, that ache in his chest that he can't seem to get rid of. Pepper just dumped him a few hours ago and all Tony wants to do is kiss the living daylights out of him. She was smart for dumping his ass because he would have just ended up hurting her further on down the road.

"Do you want me to call the gang? We can eat junk food and watch B movies?" Steve asks waving his cell phone in the air.

"No. Can I just do all that stuff with you?" Tony asks turning around so he can lay his head in Steve's lap.

"We can do that Tony." Steve says right his hand through Tony's chestnut hair.

"Thanks for chasing after me Steve." Tony says looking up at his best friend.

"You're my best friend Tony. Of course I was going to run after you, you really freaked me out." Steve says looking down at Tony, concern once again gracing his face.

"I'll be okay. Just give me a few weeks and a couple pints of ice cream, I'll be fine." Tony says looking up at Steve, trying to show him that he's be okay, this is emotional downpour would be over soon. Somehow, Steve understands him because he's nodding and smiling.

"Okay. But if you ever need someone to ask too or just to watch a movie with, call me." Steve says giving Tony that stern look that says he means business.

Tony nods his head and gets up and off his bed, holding out a hand to Steve, "Okay. Now, you said something about junk food and B movies?" he asks grinning at Steve.

Steve grins and grabs his hand, letting himself be pulled off the bed by Tony. Still keeping his hold on Tony, he drags the boy out of his room and down the stairs. "Come on. I know you have Doritos stashed around here somewhere."

Tony spends the rest of the day and night with Steve. They eat chips, candy, drink too much soda and eat pepperoni pizza for dinner. They fall asleep halfway through "My Name is Bruce", Tony's body curled into Steve's chest, Steve's arm wrapped around him.

-x-

Natasha shows up at his house two weeks before school with a bottle of quality vodka in her hand.

"You really are Russian" he says moving aside to let her walk into his house.

"Hardy har har Stark," he says, lips turned up up a little "your parents home?"

"Not for another few days. Come on in." Tony says shutting the door behind her when Natasha steps inside. She bends down and unlaces her combat boots, toeing them off when they're loose enough.

"You got shot glasses?" Natasha asks holding up the bottle.

"Of course. Follow moi" he says and walks towards his father's office. Opening the door, the steps inside and walks towards the globe bar that sits in the far corner. Lifting up Northern Hemisphere, he grabs two shot glasses and leaves the room. Natasha just a few steps behind him.

"Is the kitchen okay? We can go into the basement or my room or whatever. Totally up to you" Tony asks standing in the middle of the living room.

"Kitchen's good. Come on, you can shit to discuss" Natasha says walking into the kitchen and towards is counter island. She sits down on one of the high chairs, unscrewing the cap. Tony slides over both shot glasses and sits down in front of her. She pours them each a shot and holds hers up.

"Salute" she cheers

"Salute" he cheers and they both down their shots. The vodka burns its way down his throat but it tastes fucking fantastic.

"How you holding up?" she asks and pours them each another shot.

"Pretty good considering. Steve's been coming over a lot. Bruce, Bucky and your boyfriend come around every few days. Thor and Loki called me a few days ago to check up on me. They'll be home on Friday, by the way" Tony says and downs his shot.

"They're enjoying Norway?" Tasha asks refilling their glasses.

"Seems like it. Thor was drunk when he called," Tony says laughing at his God like friend. He doesn't think he'll ever forgot that phone call. "How was Moscow?" Tony asks and downs his shot.

She swallows her shot and sets her glass down. "It was fun. Saw the sights, visited family, cooked a lot with my babushka. She gave me this the day I left" Nat says tapping the bottle.

"Your grand ma has good taste" Tony says holding up his glass.

"That she does" she says clinking their glasses together, downing their shots and slamming the glasses down onto the table.

"So Tasha, my red haired friend. I know you're not just here to check up on me. Clint's probably told you all about this whole shebang. What's up?" Tony says smirking at the ever so sly girl in front of him. Natasha was a smart girl, smarter then all of them in fact. She has the whole group wrapped around her finger, she could play them all and they'd never know what'd hit them. He'd really like to know how Clint survived three years and counting with the master mind that is Natasha Romanoff.

Nat smirks and refills their glasses. "You're getting better Tony, good for you. But yes I'm not just here to check up on you."

"I have a feeling that this conversation must be had somewhat sober," Tony says getting down from his seat and walking towards the fridge. "I've got some left over pizza"

"Pizza sounds good Tones"

"I hate it when you call me that" he mumbles bringing the pizza box to the island. Sitting back down, he opens up the box, grabs a slice and pushes the box towards Nat.

"Come on, spill it" Tony says taking a bite of his cold pizza.

"When are you going to tell Steve that you're madly in love with him?" Natasha asks with a completely straight face. The only hint of amusement is given away by the glint in her eyes.

Tony almost chokes on his pizza. "What the fuck!?" Tony screams trying very hard to stop the deep flush from reaching his face. He's failing, really fucking failing.

"I'm not an idiot Stark. I've seen the way you look at him. It's the same look I have around Clint when I know no one's looking" Natasha says the last part quietly, eyes downcast, finger running over the edge of her shot glass. But the look is gone in a second and replaced with fierce determination.

"I'm not saying you march over to his house right now and declare your feelings. You just got out of a relationship and I know you don't want Steve to just be some rebound, no matter how much you love him. But you need to tell him, whether it's in a few months or on graduation day. You shouldn't have to walk around hiding your feelings. Tell him Tony" she says with a small smile gracing her face, eyes bright and shinning.

Tony's heart is beating really fucking fast, his face heating up. Because if Tasha knows, then who else knows his biggest secret. Yes, the group has always know that Tony was bi, but they don't know about Steve. But now here's Natasha telling him that she knows and that he needs to do something about it.

"Who else knows?" he crocks out, not meeting Natasha's eyes.

"Right now, just me and Rhodey. Your secret's safe with us Tony, we're not going to tell anyone." Natasha says refilling his glass and sliding it over.

"Thanks Tasha" he says looking up at his very scary but ever so wonderful best friend.

"You are very welcome Tony" she says patting his arm.

He knows he's going to have to talk to Rhodey about this soon. But he can't right now because the asshole is at cadets in Washington, DC and they have very strict rules about cell phones. He's not at all surprised that she was the first one to figure it out. Natasha can read between the lines, she can see the lies and truths in someone just by hearing what they're not saying, by reading their body language. It's fucking scary but kinda awesome at the same time. She's never joking when he flat out says she should work for the CIA or DOD or Secret Service.

But right now it's all a little too much to handle. So he changes the topic and Nat let's him.

"Bruce finally asked out Betty Ross" he says munching on his pizza.

"No shit. It's about fucking time. He's had a crush on her since what, middle school?" she guesses taking a bite of her pizza.

"Yeah. He took her out to dinner, held the door open, pulled out her chair, paid for the meal. Very gentlemen-ly"

"Good for him. One of us should have a normal relationship"

"Amen to that sister"

"You did not just say that!" she says laughing at her idiotic friend.

"Roll with it. Just roll with it" he says with a smile.

The rest of the afternoon is spent drinking, eating and catching Natasha up on everything she missed while she was in Russia. By the time she leaves, the bottle of vodka is empty but somehow she's stone cold sober and that's all kinds of incredible. Before she's out the door, she pulls him into a tight hug and while he's surprised, he wraps his arms around her and hugs back.

"Tell him Tony. I have a feeling you'll enjoy the end result" she says opening the front door.

"I will Nat, don't worry." 'I'm worrying enough for the both of us.' he thinks has he watches Natasha walk back home.

-x-

Two weeks into Junior year, Steve's approached by Scott Summer's, captain of the high school's baseball team, The Avengers! Their mascot is this giant green rage monster called The Hulk. It's always been a tradition that for the first few weeks of school, the gang would get together after school and play soccer, football or baseball on the school's sports field. It's no shock to any of them that Steve's been asked, he's a natural sports playing. It's a shock that it's taken this long.

Steve says he'll think about it, which is fucking ridiculous, or Tony thinks so any ways. Steve is an amazing player and could easily defeat any of their school's players, he's that fucking talented. Scott may be a dick and a smart ass sometimes but he's a good captain and he knows what he's doing. He's the main reason why their school stands any chance of winning. So Tony takes it upon himself to badger and pester Steve until he says yes.

It only takes two days. Tony's pretty fucking proud of that.

-x-

Steve sails through tryouts and makes co captain by the end of two weeks. To celebrate, Steve's mom invites over the whole gang for burgers on the barbecue and her famous apple pie.

"That was awesome apple pie Mrs. Rogers" Tony says patting his stomach in complete bliss.

"Thank for Tony. There's two pieces left over for your parents. Now, all of you go and wash up. Then you can plays video games or watch movies or whatever. Shoo" Mrs. Rogers says, waving her hands at the kids sitting at her kitchen table.

Steve slides to his mother's side and kisses her cheek. "Thanks mom. Do you want me to stay and help you clean up?" he asks.

His mother bats him on the arm with the dish towel and chuckles. "Go hang out with your friends Steven. I'll be fine" she says and everyone listens, making their way towards the basement door. Steve and Tony walking behind everyone else.

"Tony, can I steal you for a few minutes" Mrs. Rogers asks as she pills up the desert dishes. Steve shoots him a "what the hell" look but Tony just shrugs him off.

"I'll be down in a few minutes. Go, start the fun without me." Tony says reassuring Steve with a smile. Steve nods his head and walks downstairs, shutting the door behind him.

Tony turns around and walks back into the kitchen, picking up the desert dishes and bringing them to the sink.

"You wash and I'll dry" Mrs. Rogers says and they get to work. Tony washes the plates and forks once by one, handing them to Steve's mom to dry off and put away.

"So Tony, when do you plan on asking my son out?" she asks, hiding a wide grin and bright eyes with her cooper tresses.

Thrown completely off guard by the question, Tony drops the dish he was washing into the sick, tiny drops of water splashing his shirt. "Am I that obvious!?" he asks leaning against the countertop. First Natasha and Rhodey, then Bruce cornered him about this a week ago and now Steve's mom. Oh he is so totally screwed.

"Tony, if I didn't know you as well as I do, I wouldn't have guessed in a million years. But I watched you grow up and I know what someone looks like when they're in love" she says softly, putting down a plate, turning to look at what she considers her second son.

Tony sucks in a shuddering breath and breaths out. "Does Steve know?" he asks starring at the linoleum floors. If Steve knows, he's fucked. If Steve knows, he's running back home toute a fucking suite. Because if Steve knows and he hasn't done or said anything, that's just so bad and awful and Tony cannot face Steve if that's what's going on.

"Tony, look at me love," Mrs. Rogers says, finger under his chin, lifting his head up so he's face to face with her. "Steve doesn't know. You've done a fantastic job at masking your emotions. But Tony, you don't have too. You want to know why?" she asks and he can't help by nod his head slowly.

"Because, Anthony Edward Stark, Steve feels the same way about you, you silly old boy" she says with a blinding smile.

And holy shit, if that isn't a suck punch to the gut. Steve fucking Rogers; his best friend and long time crush, quite possibly loves him. Tony suppresses the urge to scream and dance around the kitchen so instead he just grins like a fucking kid who got everything they wanted for Christmas. Mrs. Rogers is smiling right back at him with such fondness, it leaves Tony awestruck.

"So what do I do? I mean Nat, Rhodey and Bruce have talked to me about this and now you're telling me that Steve likes me too and wow I think I might be having a panic attack" Tony says clenching and unclenching his fists, breathing in and out, in and out. When he sets himself right, his hands are back in the sick, washing the remaining dishes.

Mrs. Rogers turns around and takes the wet dishes that Tony hands her. "Ask him out! Plan something like taking him out to dinner or the movies or whatever it is you kids do this days. Or maybe do something spontaneous, I know that's more your style. But just do something and tell him how you feel. I can promise you'll like what Steve has to stay" she says smiling at him.

Okay, Tony can do that. Tony can do spontaneous and crazy and unpredictable. But maybe not right now because this is seriously a lot to handle in just one night. But he's going to do it, especially now that he knows that this isn't a one way street. And that thought is making his stomach do flip flops. Feels like Cirque Du Soleil in there.

"How long Mrs. Rogers? How long has Steve liked me that way?" he asks pulling the plug out of the sink, watching the water swirl, swirl into the drain.

"Oh, I'm not going to tell you that Tony. You'll have to find that out on your own" she says holding out the dish towel so he can dry his prune-y hands. This is certainly a lot of information to take in, in just one night. But he's glad that Mrs. Rogers told him. This is quite possibly the best night of Tony's life.

"Thanks for telling me Mrs. Rogers" Tony says wrapping his arms around the woman who came to be a second mother to him over the years. She wraps her arms around him and squeezes, planting a kiss on his head.

"Tony, if there was one person I'd want my Steve to be with, it would be you. So you're very welcome," she says telling go of Tony and stepped back, a warm and loving smile gracing her freckled covered face. "Now go hang out with your friends, I've kept you here long enough" she says swatting him with the wet dish towel.

Tony throws his hands up in mock surrender and makes his way out of the kitchen. He opens the basement doors and walks down the stairs, planting himself on the second to last step. Natasha is sitting next to him, Clint sitting in between her legs with his head resting on her knee. Nat turns her head and looks at him, eye brow raised in question. Tony just smiles at her and drops his head into her shoulder.

"I'll tell you later" he whispers and she nods her head. They stay down in the basement for a few hours watching movies and playing different video games. When the time strikes midnight, Mrs Rogers is herding the gang out of her basement and into the living room, watching moms and dads pick up their kids.

Nat and Tony are the last to leave, bidding good bye to Steve and his mom. They walk in the middle of the road, side by side, Nat's arms looped through Tony's. Natasha only leaves a few houses away so Tony walks her home, giving them a chance to talk.

"So, since we're a safe distance away from Steve's house, what did you and Mrs Rogers talk about?" Natasha asks, combat boots kicking up gravel.

"What you and I walked about a few weeks ago" Tony says and continues to walk down the road. He's dragged back, almost tripping over when he realizes that Nat's stopped dead in her tracks. Tony turns around to face her, taking in the shocked expression on her face.

"No fucking way! She talked to you about asking her son out!" she exclaims.

"Yeah, it seems that you, Rhodey and Bruce aren't the only people who can read me" Tony says rubbing the back of his neck, eyes focused on his beat up Chucks.

"What did she say! What else did you guys talk about? You were upstairs with her for a while" she asks pulling him along the road.

"Well, she gave me her blessing which was a big deal. She said that if there was one person she's want her son to be with, it'd be me." Tony says remembering back to their conversation.

"Wow. That's um, that's a big deal Tony. You're not getting cold feet?" Natasha asks looking up at Tony, eyes conveying seriousness in a way that Tony's never seen.

"No. No, quite the opposite actually. Because she told me something else," Tony hints with a shit eating grin on his face. Nat stops walking and turns to face Tony, who's rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet. It's kind of freaking her out, which does not happen very often. "She told me that Steve feels the same way" Tony says in one rush of breath, shit eating grin still wide across his face.

"Say that again?" she asks getting real close to him, fuck personal space and person bubbles or whatever right now because she needs to hear that again.

"Steve feels the same fucking way!" Tony screams and this time he really does dance, right in the middle of the fucking road at half past midnight. Thank god they live in the middle of nowhere.

Natasha sits down on the gravel road and watched Tony dance his ass off, letting him enjoy the moment. Thankfully this confession has lit a fire under Stark's ass, which means that her two dumb ass friends may end up together sooner than she originally thought. When Tony's finished his little inner party, he holds out his hand to Natasha and she grabs it, letting Tony pull her up.

"Well, that is very good news. Do you have any plan set on how you're going to ask him out or confess or what?" Natasha asks walking up her winding drive way.

"I thought about it while we were downstairs. I'm going to do it after Steve's first baseball game" Tony says stopping at Nat's front door.

"In front of all of those people? Well, we'll all be there to see you two dumb asses finally get together" she says pulling her keys out of her pocket.

"I'm going to ignore that comment. See you tomorrow Tasha" Tony says throwing his hand up in the air and waving, making his way down the driveway.

"Hey Tony!" she calls out and Tony spins around, eyebrow raised in question. "Mrs. Rogers was right you know. No one deserves Steve more than you do" she says with a honest to god smile on her face. Later on, Tony will wish he'd had the sense to take his phone out of his pocket and take a picture of this moment but right now he's just took fucking stunned.

"Tha- thanks Na. Good night!" Tony stutters, spinng around and running down the driveway.

"Night Tony" she whispers watching him go.

-x-

It's mid October and it's the first official game of the season. Tony and his hang of misfits have been hanging out on the bleachers after school to watching most of Steve's practices. They've all seen how well the team is playing this year and Tony's positive it's all thanks to Scott and Steve. Their coach, Mr Lehnsherr -who also teaches would History and may be in a relationship with Mr Xavier, Darkholme still won't spills the beans about her brother- truly believes that his team stands a chance of winning the championships this year.

The gang's sitting on the bottle row the bleachers, wrapped up in heavy jackets, hats and scarves. Their faces have been painted with the teams' symbol thanks to Loki and Darcy. The Avengers' first team to beat are the Red Skulls, a baseball team from Albany and last years championship winners. Both teams are out for blood and the game is fucking brutal.

The diamond looks like a battlefield. Patches of grass have been ripped up, plumes of dirt are hovering in the air and both teams look like they just participated in their first Fight Club meeting. Steve's got a cut lip, his hands are red raw from sliding and once he takes the uniform off, Tony's sure he's covered in bruises. The whole teams taking a beating and they're all probably covered in bruises. But no matter how injured the look, the whole teams continues to play, Mr Lehnsherr looking insanely proud of his boys. Tony can't believe they're only half way through the game.

"Stark" Loki says dropping down next to him, holding out a small bag of Doritos.

"Thanks" Tony says taking the bag of chips, ripping it open.

"After the game's over and everyone's rushing the team, are you finally got to get some balls and confess your feelings to Rogers?" Loki asks with an innocent look on his face. Tony barely manages not to choke.

"You know too!" he says mortified, whipping his head to look at the trickster.

"We all know Tony" Darcy says popping her head in between Loki and Tony. She's been hanging around Natasha too much, Tony almost feel out of his seat. Tony looks around at all of his friends and they're all smiling or grinning or smirking at him, nodding their heads and Tony just wants to curl into a ball and die. No, he's not being melodramatic, thank you very much.

"So, after the game huh," Bucky says wrapping his arm around Darcy, who snuggles closer into his side and when the fuck did that happen? "About time you dorks got your heads outta your asses."

"Yeah, thanks. Now I'm even more nervous. And when the fuck did you guys get together!?" Tony says pointing at Darcy and Bucky.

"The Night we had that party at Steve's house. Keep up Tony" Bucky says plating a kiss on Darcy's lips.

"Tony, you'll be fine. Steve's crazy about you, you're crazy about him. It's all good." Clint says over his girlfriends shoulder.

"Tony, we've been talking about this for weeks. If you don't tell Steve, I am going to have Thor drag you onto the field and I will tell Steve myself" Natasha says glaring at him. Tony looks over at Thor and the guy's nodding in agreement.

"You and Steve deserve happiness my friend. You will do fine" Thor says smiling at him. Tony looks around at all of his friends, his gang of misfits who have stood beside him through everything, his friends who all have smiles on their faces and Tony can't help the smile that spreads across his face. God, he fucking loves these guys.

"Okay, I can do this. Thanks for the pep talk guys" Tony says turning around and facing the field, watching Steve and the team take their places. Just another hour and he'll be emotionally puking his guts out. He can do this.

Rhodey bumps his shoulder against Tony's, "Has there ever been anything that Tony Stark couldn't do?" he asks, cocky smile on his face. Tony shakes his head, eye focused on his Chucks. "Exactly. At the end of the game, you and Rogers will be playing tonsil hockey and we'll be glad this whole things over while at the same time, wishing we had brain bleach." Rhodey says laughing at the mortified look on Tony's face.

-x-

They're down to the ninth inning and all the bases are loaded. The Avengers only need three points to win and advance into the second round. Steve's up to bat, Johnny Storm's on third, Ben Grimm's on second and Wade Wilson on first. All Steve needs to do is hit a home run or hit it hard enough that Johnny, Ben and Warren can make it past home. Victor Von Doom -seriously who the fuck names their kid that?- is up to pitch. He signals the catcher then makes his move. He lifts up his right leg, pulls his arm back and lets the ball fly. The ball zooms and zoom and Steve's swinging the bat forward and it connects with a crack. The home fans are standing up in their seats, breaths held in as they watch the ball fly and fly and fly right out of the fucking field.

Steve drops the bat and he's running. Johnny zooms past home plate. Ben runs past third and slides home. Wade hits second, zooms past third and then he's running through the home plate. Steve's running through first, second, third and then he's sliding home with the chants of this name and cheers ringing in his ears.

The moment Steve hits home plate, Tony's running down the metal stairs and onto the field. He can hear his friends running down the stairs, cheering him on but he pushes that away, focusing on Steve; who's covered in sweat and dirt and blood. Steve; who is grinning at him, who's walking towards him, dropping his helmet onto the grass. Then Steve is picking him up and Tony's arms are wrapped behind his neck, legs wrapped around his waist.

The next thing he knows, Steve's lips are crashing against his and Tony's kissing him right back and it's wet and desperate and it's fucking perfect. Their lips are moving against each other and Tony's hands are grasping the back end of Steve's hair, pulling him closer. He can hear Steve moan against his lips, feel the vibrations and it's just the hottest thing Tony's ever seen. Tony runs his tongue against Steve's bottom lip, then Steve's lips are parting letting Tony's tongue in and the kiss just transforms into breath and teeth, tongues and heat. Tony knows damn well he's moaning but how could he not when's Steve's kissing him likethat.

But it's a well known fact that people need to breathe so he pulls back, eyes opening to take in Steve's flushed cheeks, his half lidded eyes and the smile that's blooming across his face. Tony can feel the flush of his cheeks and he's grinning ear to ear. He can hear his friends in the background, cheering and laughing but all of his attention is on Steve; the guy he's been in love with since middle school.

"How long Tony?" Steve asks, forehead pressed against his, lips barely and inch apart.

"Middle school. I have been head over heels in love with you since fucking middle school" Tony confesses starring into Steve's baby blue eyes.

Steve is lifting his head and kissing him again but this time it's slow and sweet and completely perfect. "We're idiots, my god" Steve says against his lips, eyes focused on Tony.

Tony hums in agreement, "I've been hearing that a lot lately" he says unwrapping his legs from Steve's torso. His feet touch the ground but he keeps is arms wrapped behind Steve's neck, Steve's arms wrapped around his waist.

"I love you too Tony," Steve says and Tony's smiling, his eyes watering and he can feel tears streaming down his face but Steve's hands are cradling his face, wiping the tears away. "Come on, I think this night calls for a celebration" he says holding his hand out.

Tony lets go of his hold on Steve and threads his fingers through Steve's. Tony turns around and there are his friends, smiling and grinning and Nat's smirking like the sassy pants she is but he can tell that she's happy for them. And there's his mom and Mrs Rogers, standing behind their group of friends with smiles on their faces, camera's in hand.

"I think we have a few things to celebrate tonight. How do burger's sound? My threat" Maria asks her sons group of friends.

"That sounds awesome mom, thanks."

"You're welcome love. Now, those of you with cars, meet is at Five Guys on Main. Those of you without cars, Sarah and I will take you over so split yourselves up. Come on" she says and then his mom and Mrs Rogers are walking towards the parking lot, his mob of friends following close behind.

Steve and Tony walk behind them hand in hand, sides brushing against each other and Tony feels happy, truly happy. It's the best feeling he's ever had and when he looks up at Steve, he knows Steve feels the same way. Steve squeezes his hand and pulls him towards him, towards a future that Tony can't see, one that isn't planned and set in stone but he's okay with that. Because Steve fucking loves him too and that's all that matters.

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Le Fin.