We’re still here.
Someone who stands their ground no matter what.
Hearing, “Hey, Stark,” called down the halls isn’t Tony’s idea of an ideal Monday, but he’ll have to make do.
He turns, eyeroll prepared and waiting, slouch at the ready, books held tight in both hands lest they get knocked out of them, but the only thing that happens is Steve Rogers stopping in front of him with his hands in his pockets.
"Uh," Tony says. "Hi?"
"Hi," Steve says, and if Tony hadn’t been going here for the past three years, he’d swear Steve was nervous. The pocketed hands come out, rest on his hips for a second before going straight back to the pockets like Steve doesn’t know what the royal hell he’s doing with his hands. “Hi,” he says again, and Tony squints suspiciously.
"Yeah, we’ve covered that," he says slowly, and Steve ducks his head and hunches his shoulders, and Tony is officially out of his depth.
Steve Rogers isn’t smart, per-se, but he sure as hell isn’t dumb, so Tony doesn’t think he’s here to try to bum test answers off of him, but he doesn’t know why Steve would be here otherwise.
Even with the whole bad-boy image, he’s not the bullying type, Steve Rogers, even if he does beat the crap out of anyone who messes with his friends- the only people Tony has seen him raise his fists to are people who moved for him or his people first.
Or that one kid, Justin Hammer, who insulted Steve’s mother, but Tony assumes that was justified. Even if it wasn’t, Tony would rather watch Justin get his ass handed to him than go to class any day.
"Um," Steve says finally, after Tony has stared expectantly at him for long enough that Steve has started rocking back and forth on his heels. "Uh, I was wondering if, uh."
Tony stares some more as Steve squirms like he’d rather be taunting a crocodile with live bait than be standing here. Was he paid to prank Tony, or is this a bet? Did the hair oil finally soak into Steve’s brain? Is this the work of Bucky fucking Barnes, who has had a weird rivalry thing with Tony since the day they met on the first day of freshman year?
Steve says, “Uh,” again, and yes, it’s definitely a blush, that is most certainly a blush working its way up his cheeks, and Tony has no idea what is going on.
"We’ve also covered that," Tony tells him. "Done the whole ‘uh’ thing. And the ‘um’ thing. Anything else you want to add, Rogers?"
This puts him off, it seems. Or, at least, Steve bites his lip like he regrets everything leading up to this moment and blushes even harder. Tony’s seen the guy whale on some kid who tried to touch Natasha’s ass just before Natasha took over and knocked the kid’s teeth out, but now those hands are fumbling at the hem of his pockets like an eighth grader asking their crush out on a date.
"You’ve seen my motorcycle," Steve blurts finally, and Tony blinks. "I saw you looking at it in the parking lot once or twice."
"Yeah," he says, confused. "It’s a thing of beauty, Rogers. Thank god you take such good care of it, because if you didn’t I’d probably look down at you every time you walk past in the halls. Not that I could. Look down at you, I mean. I’d probably have to get a chair and THEN look down at you, but- yeah." Tony swallows. Fuck. "I’ve seen your motorcycle," he finishes lamely.
"Do you wanna take it for a spin sometime," Steve asks, not a mumble but not much else, fingers picking at his pockets, and okay, what?
"Why." Tony thinks it’s a sensible question, giving that the only time they’ve talked is when Steve asks if Tony’s okay after someone tries to beat him up, and that one time when Tony helped Steve with his algebra homework last year. That, combined with Tony creeping on Steve’s motorbike and occasionally the guy who rides it, doesn’t add up to a friendly invitation to ride his vehicle around.
Steve shrugs jerkily. “I dunno.” Mumble, mumble, mumble. “I- you were looking at it, and I know you like machinery, and I’ve seen you around, you look like you could use a friend?”
He phrases it like a question, still blushing furiously, and Tony- Tony has no idea whether or not he should be insulted. He hangs out with Pepper and Rhodey, sure, but they’re both in college and they don’t do it around campus, so he’s sure it looks like he’s pretty much alone to Steve. Which he is, but whatever.
Then Steve blows his brains by continuing, “And you’re cute,” and Tony makes some sort of noise like bwah?
"I’m," Tony says, and Steve shrugs again and then a third time, all leather jacket and slicked hair and somehow adorable with both of them.
"I like your glasses," Steve says feebly, and Tony wants to laugh and laugh, because, seriously, what? “And you- I thought we could go on a ride. On my bike.”
"You want to take me for a ride on your motorcycle," Tony repeats, slow so he can process it as he’s saying it, "because you think my glasses are cute. And you think I need a friend."
More squirming. “Yes and no,” Steve says.
The bell rings then, and students start to move around them, jostling and shoving, and Tony isn’t alone but he fucking feels like it most of the time, and the only time anyone’s ever told him his glasses are cute is jokingly, and he’s been staring at Steve from a distance ever since freshman year-
"Meet me in the parking lot after school," Tony tells him, and has enough time to see the relieved smile that is too sweet to match Steve’s outfit, before they’re both lost in the crowd.