Pairings/Characters: Steve/Tony (Pre-Slash)
Summary: Steve and Tony spend a quiet Friday evening together at Avengers' Mansion.
Date Of Completion: December 1, 2007
Date Of Posting: December 1, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Marvel does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1611
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: This story takes place in the early Avengers continuity in the early Sixties. You actually had to get up and change a TV channel instead of using a remote and there were no microwaves to make popcorn! :) The entire series can be found here. This is also my way of saying Happy Birthday to tmelange ! :)
Steve rubbed his face, the silence of Avengers’ Mansion starting to grate on his nerves. Everyone had left for the weekend, carrying their electronics to notify them in case of emergency, but otherwise they had all taken off with plans. He supposed as the newly-elected leader of the team he should set up a schedule of some kind of monitor duty, but if he was honest with himself, he was too tired.
For a man who had slept for nearly twenty years, that was amusing.
Steve ran a gloved hand through his blond hair. The Shield doctors had assured him that the weariness he felt was probably only a reaction to activity again after so long without it, and that gradually his body would adjust and he would experience only normal tired feelings.
He stood up and began peeling his uniform off. Maybe a hot shower would help revive him.
He stepped into the shower five minutes later, the hot water running down his body. A hot shower or bath was one of the few luxuries he indulged in when he got the chance. Back when he had been in the Army, a hot shower was rare indeed when out in the field. He and Bucky had joked about…
He gasped a little at the grief that slammed him, hard and merciless. He carried his grief for Bucky daily in his heart, but there were times when that sorrow reached out and grabbed him in ways that could still surprise him.
His head bowed, the water running over his hair and down his chest and neck. It didn’t wash away the sorrow.
He turned off the faucet and stepped out of the shower, toweling off and walking into his quarters.
“Hey, Cap, I…”
The voice of Tony Stark stuttered to a halt as Tony looked embarrassed for a minute, then he said, “Sorry to interrupt. Didn’t know you’d been in the shower.”
Steve wrapped the towel around his waist, a slight tinge of pink to his skin. Silly, really, since his time in the military had accustomed him to being casually nude in front of other men. Why he felt a twinge of embarrassment was puzzling, but he said, “Don’t worry about it. Has something come up?”
“No.” At Steve’s look of disappointment, Tony laughed. “This house getting to you?”
Steve smiled slightly. “Even Jarvis has gone for the weekend.”
“Yeah.” Tony crossed his arms and leaned against the doorjamb. “I was going to go back to the penthouse, but I thought maybe you’d like to just hang out and watch some TV. I really don’t want to go out and brave the paparazzi that follows industrialist Tony Stark around.”
Amused at Tony speaking in the third person, Steve said, “Sure. Sounds good to me.”
In fact, it sounded great. He didn’t want to be alone for yet another evening with his thoughts of the past.
“Great. I’ll meet you down in the living room, then.”
Steve nodded and removed his towel after Tony had closed the door behind him.
& & & & & &
The living room was comfortable enough, filled with modern postwar furniture and a state-of-the-art TV set. The other living room (it amused Steve that he was residing in a place with two living rooms) was more old-fashioned and contained nothing as pedestrian as a TV set! So it was the first room, and Steve was happy to settle on the couch next to Tony.
“You do like salami and cheese, right?” Tony asked.
“Sounds fine to me. New York delis had all kinds of combinations for sandwiches.”
“Still do,” Tony said with a smile. “Beer or Coke?”
Steve considered. “Coke for now.”
Tony nodded and left for the kitchen. Steve rose and turned on the TV, idly flipping channels. He was always fascinated by the medium. The first TV he had ever seen had been displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair and he had loved it. It had been rare for anyone to own a set before the War, and there had been none produced during it. Now it was so commonplace!
Steve hadn’t realized the passing of time but ten minutes later, still no Tony. Curious, he went to the kitchen, smiling as he entered. Popcorn!
The Jiffy Pop was warming up on the stove, Tony laughing as he saw his friend. “You can’t watch a movie without popcorn. Unfortunately, this takes a little while.”
“A movie? That sounds fine.” Steve watched as the silver covering of the popcorn plate started puffing up. “Why isn’t Tony Stark out on the town on a Friday night?”
Tony shrugged. “I didn’t have a date scheduled, and I’m a little tired, anyway. We’ve been going full throttle both at Stark Industries and here.” Steve nodded. “I just felt like hanging out with good company.” He grinned.
Steve laughed. “Well, I have no objection.”
Once the popcorn was done they went back to the living room, Steve carrying the Cokes. He settled on the couch and Tony went to the TV and found the channel he wanted. He sat next to Steve, leaving plenty of elbow room, and they started eating the warm popcorn while sampling the sandwiches.
The Coke was a favorite drink of Steve’s. It came in the same shape bottles that he remembered, and tasted the same. Coke had been everywhere in the Army, on every base and in every PX, and like a hot dog or hamburger, it was something very American, and American was his job description.
“…and now we take you to our Friday Night Movie, Casablanca…”
“Casablanca! That’s great! I saw it a few years after it came out. It was really good.”
“It’s considered a classic now.”
“Oh, well, I agree.”
Steve felt very comfortable as the theme music for the movie began. There were times when the past didn’t weigh him down, when he wanted to listen to music of the times he remembered or watch a movie made back then. Casablanca was an excellent choice: interesting movie, Bogart and Bergman as the stars, and quality all around.
“You a Bogart fan?” Tony asked.
“Yeah.” Steve munched on popcorn. “I liked him a lot in The Maltese Falcon, and he did some movies with Cagney, too.”
“Ah, Cagney. You ever see Yankee Doodle Dandy?”
“Could be your life story.”
Steve laughed. “I guess wearing a stars-and-stripes costume does that for your image.”
Tony snickered and settled back to concentrate on the film.
Steve felt more relaxed than…well, since he had come back to the world after being in the deep freeze for two decades. This brave new world of the early Sixties intrigued and fascinated him, liking the young President in office right now who inspired people to do their best, the righting of wrongs for people who had suffered unfairly in the past and still did, and the excitement of new adventures like space exploration and the Peace Corps, making people’s lives better.
And yet, he often felt like the proverbial fish-out-of-water. He was a man struggling to fit into a world that had gone full speed since his leaving it, and frustration was often his state of mind as he realized he knew so little of what everyone else took for granted.
Being with the Avengers helped. They were people like him, dedicated to justice, and possessed their own special powers and talents. He regretted that Hawkeye was upset with him for being elected leader of the team, but he knew there was a friend behind all the sarcasm and flippancy. He just had to be patient.
It was easier with Tony. He felt very relaxed around the man who wore the scarlet-and-gold armor that gave him so much power and protection.
He looked at Tony’s profile while the other man watched the movie. A strong man, a man who would watch your back in the field, and could dress in a T-shirt and jeans and eat popcorn, salami-and-cheese sandwiches and drink Coke just as well as champagne and pheasant-under-glass at a fancy party. He’d known men in the Army like that who you wanted to share a foxhole with and party afterward in the streets of Paris.
Steve smiled and returned his attention to the movie: love lost, found, and lost again; people knowing that there was something bigger out there to commit to; intrigue and Nazis and people desperate for freedom, and finally, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
As Rick Blaine walked off with his arm around Louis Renault’s shoulders, Steve felt very mellow and happy.
“Thanks for tonight, Tony. I really enjoyed it.”
“Good. You work hard, Steve, and leading our egotistical bunch can’t be easy.”
“Starting with you?” Steve teased.
Tony smiled. “Maybe.” He ran a hand through his dark hair. “Sometimes even us millionaire industrialists and superheroes need a little down time.”
Steve agreed with that one hundred percent.
“I’m booked all day and night tomorrow, but unless Avengers business comes up, want to watch the football game on Sunday?”
“Football, huh? Lot of new rule changes since 1945?”
“I’ll let you know, but it’s still a basic game of run the football, throw the football, try and stop both.”
Steve laughed. “Okay.” He winked. “It’s a date.”
Tony looked startled, then joined in Steve’s laughter.
They cleaned up and said cheerful goodnights to each other, each going to his own room. Tony decided to stay over instead of returning to his penthouse.
As Steve got ready for bed, he noticed that he was smiling goofily in the bathroom mirror. Well, what of it?
He looked forward to Sunday.