missin somebody a lot but not wanting to seem clingy
Here’s the thing:
Tony’s been flirting since he was old enough to correct his teacher on college-grade physics, which is to say twelve-ish. He had been horrible at it and people had laughed at him, but he persevered and made an image and by the time he was sixteen he had thought he was pretty good at it. Over the years, ‘pretty good’ turned into ‘second nature.’
Tony Stark can flirt while he’s distracted, can flirt while he’s coughing blood or vomit in between words, can flirt while he isn’t meaning to flirt but does it anyway because it’s so automatic to him. Sometimes it’s fun, a game he plays, but that mostly faded away a decade or two ago. Mostly it’s just- there, easy as breathing and just as instilled into him.
The point is, he can flirt. He can flirt your pants off, literally.
Except, he realizes when he’s forty-ish and glancing at Pepper across his workshop as she lectures him- when he starts having actual feelings for people, he forgets how to breathe sometimes and all knowledge of flirting goes out the window. It’s sad, really, that he only finds this out when he’s forty, but it’s also sad because he splutters and tries feebly to regain any sense of aloofness and fails at both.
It’s pathetic. It’s eight kinds of un-Stark-ish. And more importantly, it’s embarrassing as hell, and after Tony breaks up with Pepper he expects he won’t have to go through it again.
Then Steve happens, and Tony really, really doesn’t want to go into it, because it’s just as embarrassing and stupid, but somehow he ends up one and a half years into a friendship with Steve Rogers and hasn’t fucked it up yet and isn’t entirely sure how he managed it.
But he did- somehow- and Tony sort of wants to ride the guy into the sunset, but he’s cool with eating pancakes out of the pan with him at 11 PM when neither of them can sleep. Which is a big indicator to how incredibly screwed he is, wow.
And Tony is- Tony isn’t even attractive right now, he’s been submerged in his workshop for two days straight, he’s slept about eight hours in that whole time, he has grease stains where his skin should be.
So he has no idea what the hell is happening when Tony says, pancake in hand, “Shit, this is hot,” and Steve replies, “It’s not the only thing,” and looks at him from under his eyelashes.
Tony freezes, pancake halfway to his mouth. Then he hisses and drops it back into the pan, because, seriously, hot. He side-eyes Steve, who is still looking at him like that, all sultry and kind of nervous.
They’re standing close together, Tony realizes. If Tony leaned to his right a few inches, they’d be kissing.
Tony should probably say something. If Steve was a model at a party, they’d already be heading to his bedroom. But it’s Steve, who is losing the sultry look and is leaning decidedly towards nervous, and fuck, Tony needs to say something now.
"Thanks, you too."
Steve stares as Tony struggles not to start slamming his own head into the bench. You too?
"Um," Steve says, and Tony hurries on.
"I mean, you too. You’re hot. Also." He waves a hand at Steve, who is still staring, apparently just as confused as Tony is.
"I’m… glad we got that out of the way," Steve says slowly. "The fact we’re both hot."
"Mm-hm," Tony says, voice a little too high, biting into a scolding pancake out of lack of things to do with his hands. Or his mouth. Shit, he should be kissing Steve. He should’ve kissed him, and he can’t kiss him now because he’s chewing a dastardly hot pancake.
He chews faster to get rid of the pancake quicker, which makes Steve raise his eyebrows, and Tony realizes how weird it must look and forces himself to chew slower.
God. Tony is a disgrace. He’s going to crawl back into his workshop and never come out after he pries himself from this conversation.
"Um," Steve says again, scratching the back of his neck. He slouches, and then straightens again. What. "I, sorry. I thought- sorry," he says, and turns, and nope, Tony isn’t having that.
Swallowing the last of the pancake and burning his oesophagus in the process, he grabs Steve’s shoulder. “Wait.”
Steve faces him again, two-parts nervous and one-part hopeful and all parts confused as fuck.
"I was," Tony says, and his mouth betrays him. "I can’t, I can’t flirt with people if I like them?" He’s making this expression where half of his cheek twists up and probably makes him look like he has a fishhook caught in his lip. What is he doing, Jesus. Someone kill him now, right here in this kitchen.
"It’s- my brain goes kablooey, it’s terrible," Tony continues, and he did just say kablooey, the word exited his mouth, and he is done for. And he is STILL TALKING. "It’s really, tragically embarrassing, please don’t tell the others, they’ll tease me forever. It’ll be on my gravestone."
"You can’t flirt with people you like," Steve repeats, face doing all sorts of things. Tony thinks he sees some fucked up combination of pity and amusement and pure exasperation. "Really, Tony?"
"It’s a thing. Shut up."
"You could shut me up," Steve suggests, leaning forwards, eyes doing that thing again, and oh, Tony could work with this.
He starts to say something and is incredibly glad when Steve’s mouth on his cuts him off.
Whenever Tony has a class that were with Mr. Rogers the period before, they tend to stink up the place due to how much teenagers can sweat, but they’re also smiling.
Mr. Rogers is new, but he’s made a big impact in the couple of months that he’s been at the school. Kids don’t come out of gym looking like they want to die anymore, at least. Some of the kids that Tony least expects it from- the quiet kids, the kids with asthma, the kids who put no effort into participating whatsoever, come into Tony’s class holding their chins up.
About three months after Mr. Rogers starts teaching, Tony offhandly asks one of his students what’s up with his classes.
The kid beams. “Mr. Rogers is awesomesauce,” she chirps, and Tony wonders when he started feeling fond instead of exasperated about the kids he teaches.
i should’ve just dropped chemistry at the start of this year
Ben Whishaw Alphabet: BAFTAs
Jenna Coleman photographed by Lara Jade (2013)
So, do you know his brother Dean Winchester died in St. Louis
…and was suspected of murder?