lunenightingale: (Tony Stark)
[personal profile] lunenightingale
Author: Lune Nightingale
Fandom: Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America (Movieverse)
Pairing: Steve Rogers + Tony Stark
Genre: Pre-slash, Soft Angst, Fluff
Rating: PG at the highest
Notes: I'm going with the assumption that Steve and Tony rubbed each other badly at first. So this is rather early in their 'relationship' you could say. Also... LATE gift for Tiff! Happy VERY late birthday.
Warnings: Um... pre-slash? There is nothing to really warn about here.
Disclaimer: I do not own any characters or storyline. They belong to Marvel.
Word Count: 2,999


Just a Little Insomnia



And I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
‘Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn…
Florence and the Machine “Shake it Out”




He spent an entire night without sleeping after the last fight. In those long hours between sunset and when the first hints of the sun kissing the horizon with hints of pink and lighter blue, he’d been on the tablet just reading and watching things. Things about his teammate that had once again… decided to do a kamikaze run into battle like a human shield and likely certain maiming, injury or death.

Steve knew all about the mind of a soldier. He’d watched soldiers run into battle just to escape. Some ran into it for the glory of a war hero. And others did it because it was the only way not to run away. But every time he watched Tony Stark do something ridiculously outrageous on the battlefield, he had a much harder time trying to figure out what exactly the motivation was behind it.

At one point, he thought it was for the glory. Tony was like a one-man stage performance where he tried to play all of the roles either for comedy or drama’s sake. And everyone in SHIELD painted the man that way. It would have been so easy to just accept that. For Steve to think that Tony was just like Howard Stark on stage bragging about his latest genius and newest discovery. Howard Stark was colder.

Subtly cold in ways that most never noticed it. The man worked hard, he was a genius. But he lived for it as well. Lived for the reactions and the bragging rights of being that man that the US and the Army depended on. It literally defined Howard. The man could be the greatest friend in the world with all the capacity to be the greatest ass as well. So… would it be so hard to think that maybe Tony was just a chip off the old block?

Unacceptable. No one should be judged by the sins or attributes of the father. Not even someone as seemingly careless as Tony. Steve wouldn’t settle for it. Not even for all of the differences they had or the arguments on points of view that have played out. The super soldier had to begrudgingly admit two things. One, as a team he had to work it out. And two? Two, he liked that Tony made him stop and think and sometimes even created stronger game plans than him.

Which landed him there in a dark corner of the living room, staring at a tablet having worked from any article about Tony since he was a child to just three years prior. And things were starting to make a little more sense. After the third time of watching that press conference after his stint in Afghanistan, Steve set the tablet against his knee and just stared blankly at the image of Tony sitting on the riser in front of the media.

Tony believed he had something to prove… But not like Howard or any soldiers he’d seen. Tony wanted to prove he was worth a second chance. Not just a chance to live, but also the chance to be worth it and be something that…

Shaking his head fiercely, he shut the tablet off and dropped it on the cushion beside him. Research was all fine until you made the decision. The only decision Steve Rogers was willing to set in stone was that everyone was wrong about Tony Stark. The worst part of that was… nobody cared to realize it.

--+--


The sun hadn’t risen yet when he ended up drifting down to the lab in the basement. He could hear the vibrations on thick soundproof glass while standing outside the glass door. Pressing his lips together, he curled his fingers tighter about the tablet under his arm. Tony made it for him. Clint had mentioned it was just to show off, but when Steve had looked at other computers or tablets, none were as easy for him to adapt to than this one.

Tony had made it with him in mind. But it took him this long to finally sit down and figure him out. Shame on him. Furrowing his brow, he suddenly jumped back at the softly accented voice that disturbed his thoughts. “Captain Rogers, would you like me to announce your presence?”

No matter how used to Jarvis he was, Steve still jumped sometimes when the computer addressed him when he thought he was alone. Smiling a little, he nodded once. “Go ahead, Jarvis.”

The door slid open almost instantly upon his answer and he was fully aware of the fact that Tony hadn’t given permission. And that made him worry. But the sudden out pour of sound made him wince. Where he didn’t have super hearing, there was a heightened sensitivity to it and loud rock music at Tony proportions still made him want to turn and walk away.

No. No backing down.

Stepping inside he glanced around looking for the elusive genius where ever he may be hiding. The gleaming cars lined along the wall almost sparkled in the lights and seemed to glow in outlines of blue from the three dimensional displays all over the room with different schematics on display. It was beautiful. Tony was an artist in his own right.

“Tony?” Calling out, he tried to project over the music only to sigh. Not a chance of being heard.

Drifting over to the Roadster, he reached out hesitantly about to touch the sleek paint finish only to stop when Tony’s head popped up on the other side of the car. The man’s hair was sticking up everywhere and smudges of oil and grease streaked his cheek as well as his forehead only to smear in places on his arms. And for a stunned moment, he was marveling at the lack of ‘nerd’ quality between Howard and Tony.

But the look of surprise on the industrialist’s face mixed with what looked like probably a curse lost in the music smoothly transitioned to something else and the music died. “Didn’t they teach you how to knock in the 40s, Rogers?”

That comment caused the slightest quirk of a smile to pull at the corners of his lips. “They did. But they didn’t account for magical computerized butlers that opened doors when you knocked.”

Tony’s expression flattened as he could almost hear the stamped down rant about AI’s being too smart for their own good and probably a threat in there if he ever did it again. That’s when it stunned Steve. How was he so aware of what the man would do or say? When did he start watching Tony that closely?

“Nice of him to let me know.”

“I did, sir, but you warned me not to turn your music down.”

Steve crossed his arms and lifted a hand to cover the growing grin on his face. They were like an old married couple. Or maybe siblings. Either way, he liked how soft Tony was here in this environment. Not like the crass bull in a china closet that he seemed to be as Iron Man in a battle.

“You. No laughing.” Tony pointed at him as though to silence Steve, but he soon turned back to his work on the engine. “What can I do for you, Cap?”

Watching the brunette slip back into the engine, he slowly stepped around the car to get a better look at him working. Steve never claimed to know how to fix cars, but he at least knew how to maintenance them and motorcycles. Enough to know that Tony was just giving the vehicle a tune up. Which... was strange when he knew how often Tony seemed to do that. Sometimes he figured the man took them apart just so he could put them back together.

“Should you be doing this when you're injured?” Keeping his voice softer, he let his hip rest against the front of the car while bending over the edge to watch.

“I'm fine, mother hen. Did you just come down here to play caretaker?” Tony seemed to do that. Withdraw and run from doctors and people that wanted to help. Even when he flirted with the pretty nurses it always acted as a catalyst to his escapes from the clinic or hospitals.

“Mostly.”

“Least you're honest about it. So what else is it about? I think I have your lecture about self-preservation memorized if that's what you're here for.” And if Steve missed the fact that he barely stopped from saying more? Well... he'd have to be blind.

“Doesn't matter.” And that came out a blatant lie. It did matter. More than he could begin to describe. Slipping the rest of the way around to crouch beside the elder man, he reached out to catch the hem of Tony's shirt to pull it up. The sound of a surprised yelp left the genius before the man nearly yanked away. But he didn't. Steve merely looked up into a narrowed curious gaze before he arched a brow. “Be still. I want to make sure you've not reopened it while being obstinate.”

“Pot, kettle... ring a bell?” The blonde heard the snort of derision in his voice before Tony relaxed.

“I heal faster than you.”

“Right, rub it in Captain Amazing.”

Steve only smiled a little before he verified that Tony wasn't still bleeding from the cut in his side before he made a face. Cracked ribs should make a person rest, but not Tony. Which made the words he was about to say useless. “You know, you should rest.”

“I'll rest when I'm dead, Cap.”

“Steve.”

“Come again?”

Lifting bright blue eyes to Tony's gaze, he didn't look away. Tony seemed to size him up or maybe even search for what the hidden meaning was before he turned back to pulling out some of the spark plugs. “Call me, Steve.”

“Did Coulson ask you to reform me?” Tony's skepticism almost made Steve sigh. The man could be so infuriating with his... lack of self-worth at times.

“No.” The genius once more stopped to level him with a careful look.

“Is this some test or trust building exercise because it's...” The genius looked at his wrist and both brows rose. “Three in the morning. What are you doing up by the way?”

“I was doing some research.” Vague. He kept the answer vague because he wasn't really so sure that Tony would be okay with him digging through things about him. Even if the only things he'd looked at were public knowledge. Steve didn't rely on psych evaluations or files from SHIELD. Tony deserved more than a crash course when he didn't even realize they were sizing him up. Everyone deserved their own chance.

“Uh huh.” Those dark eyes never left him while he tried to think of something more substantial to say. But it seemed it was too late anyway. Tony already drew his own conclusions from... whatever he managed to read in his face. “Shouldn't Fury's golden boy go to bed? It's way past your bed time.”

“I only need four hours at most.” He said it offhandedly, and he didn't miss that look of 'huh' in the genius' eyes. Instead he leaned forward and ran his fingertip over a valve in the engine with a small smile. It was nice to see things that were more what he knew and understood.

“Know anything about cars?” Those dark eyes hadn't left him. And now Tony seemed to be weighing something out in his mind as he watched Steve.

“Enough I guess... but not a lot.” Turning his head back to the elder, he blinked in surprise when a wrench was handed to him.

“Hope you're ready to work then.” Steve caught the slight pull at the corner of those lips as Tony started to smirk. And just when Steve started to smile, Tony was already launching into an explanation of what he was doing while giving him orders on how to do it. Amusement danced in his eyes as he tried to follow along sighing a little as two words came to mind fondly.

Control freak.

--+--


Steve kept his eyes on the window facing east when they eventually moved upstairs to the kitchen. The smell of coffee being made filled his senses and he half closed his eyes. Tony drank it like it was the only thing keeping him alive. Like breathing... and part of him wondered what it would be like to be under that intensity that Tony stared at the coffee machine with... or how he looked at his work without even blinking sometimes.

Turning his head, he didn't let himself look directly at the man... simply let him fill his peripheral vision. It was close to six in the morning now and in the next thirty minutes the sun should come up. And he'd probably have to shower and go straight to a meeting of some sort. Tony still hadn't rested or slept. But at least he let Steve do the more strenuous work on the car. Not... that it was much.

The soft tap of fingers on the counter finally got him to look at Tony directly. He stood there glaring at the coffee maker like it tried to go slower just to upset him. Tense shoulders were set in irritation as fingertips drummed out some erratic beat from one of his rock songs.

Blue eyes traveled down the line of his back, making note of the curl and curve of the man's sides and hips in the tight sleeveless shirt that had likely been white at one time. His brow furrowed a little when he realized something that made him almost laugh. Tony Stark looked more like her than Howard. Doctor Maria Collins-Carbonell. Or now, the late Maria Stark.

It was strange how he missed it. How it never even occurred to him before this moment. But even the way he moved sometimes held more reflections on her than it did on Howard. The woman was as strong willed as Peggy but softer in some ways. Though... for someone that tended to his wounds and the commandos, she was strong, fast-witted, and deflected comments like water off a duck's back. Just like Tony did.

“What?” Steve blinked out of his reverie to realize that he'd been smiling while staring openly at Tony. That smile faded instantly as he sat up in the chair like he was back in the orphanage and the nuns caught him doing something he shouldn't. Tony's brow rose question as he stood there holding the coffee cup like it was liquid gold never looking away.

“I was just... thinking. And...” Struggling for words, he knew that Tony never talked about Howard or Maria. He'd went to great lengths not to mention either of them around him. But the expectant look in those dark eyes made him reconsider. Lying to Tony never felt right. Steve was terrible at it anyway. “You.... you look like Dr. Carbonell.” The words came out quickly and he wanted to instantly disappear into the floor the moment they left his lips.

For a split second, Tony looked surprised. Blinking a few times, it seemed like he was letting that sink in. And from the slight twitches in muscles, Steve had a feeling he was trying not to look at himself to see the similarities as well. The silence in the room got heavier as he waited for a reaction. Tony shifted a little and looked down into his coffee cup as he tried to take that new piece of information however he could.

But just before the genius turned back to the coffee machine, he saw it. That small almost tug of a smile at the corner of his lips. The raven-haired genius ducked his head and refilled his coffee. “That's a new one.”

Breathing finally in relief, he closed his eyes. Running a hand through his blonde hair, he could almost feel the heat rising into his cheeks. He almost jumped back when he heard the sound of a mug being set down in front of him. For a moment he looked down at the mug of coffee stunned noting it was straight black coffee and that Tony's fingers were still curled loosely about the handle.

“You take it black, right?”

Lifting his head, he found out just how close the genius was. Meeting that dark steady gaze, he slowly started to smile when he caught the slight upward curl of the corner of those lips. And soon he was full out smiling at Tony Stark. “Depends... are you going to join me?”

Tony's smile got a little more pronounced before he shrugged his shoulders. “Why not. Not everyday you get an invite for coffee from Captain America....” Steve started to protest hen he caught that smile Tony hid behind his coffee cup. “Steve Rogers... I like him. Not as uptight as that hero guy. Ever notice that?”

Steve laughed. Of all the things... Shaking his head, he lightly kicked Tony's foot under the table. The man so obviously tried not to smile at him as he gave him an innocent look. Shaking his head, he caught the soft light bleeding through the trees just behind Tony through the window. After a few moments, he arched a brow and offered softly. “Good morning, Tony.”

Tony didn't move, simply slid his fingers over the heated ceramic as he seemed to weigh the real meaning behind those words. Finally, he turned his head just a little as though to look at him from the corner of his eyes. “Good morning, Steve.”

It was like starting over. He could deal with that.


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