Tony knows he’s doing it for a two-fold reason, one he’s an asshole so the thought of provoking Steve is just tempting, like he knows he shouldn’t do it, but doesn’t actually care enough to stop himself when Steve looks so delicious when angry, and two, because Steve is being quiet and trapped in his head again probably visiting one of his favorite bad time places.
But since therapy doesn’t exist to people like Steve, not that Tony should judge but he doesn’t really near pitch the fit does about therapy when it’s just being casually suggested as an option.
Tony supposed Steve can pray to God to find relief from his issues, but he’s not really sure if that would work or not.
It never seemed to work for Tony at least, but if it would work for anyone, it’d be Steve.
Point being there’s a problem, and well, Tony’s never been too good at leaving well enough alone.
The opportunity that presents itself is one of the seasonal variety. Tony hadn’t paid attention too much to the change of seasons beyond the temperature start slip downwards and the leaves started to change colors. So he had filed that away for use, but wasn’t overly strict in observing any holidays beyond what he needed to do out of public responsibility.
Christmas was the worst time of year with how busy it was, too many events and too many people, and much more alcohol than normal to deal with it all so Halloween seemed like a retreat in regards to that.
At least, that’s how Tony had always taken it to be, the parties he threw around that time of year were for himself and caught a lot of flax from the press because of how explicit things got. Sexy Halloween costumes were a thing, and one Tony loved to divulge in.
The thought would have to be pushed back later, as Tony set the stage stopping dramatically, waiting to see if Steve would notice or if he’s just keep walking and he’d have to call out dramatically after him. Given Steve’s secret love of soap operas, his drama senses should tingle.
“Tell me, you’re not getting tired.” Steve sighed, sounding just as unhappy he had the first time Tony had decided to interrupt his day by slowly driving by as he was walking back to the Triskelion and then seemingly for the hell out of it, getting out of his car to join him.
To say that Steve had been skeptical had been an understatement, but Tony wasn’t always at the forefront of his mind so he hadn’t said anything about it, and ignored Tony’s attempts at conversation until finally Tony stopped talking.
Apparently, hoping the silence would last was just asking too much.
“Causalities of the Skeleton War.” Tony pointed inside the small Halloween shop where indeed there was several plastic skeletons around the same length as a man would be.
Steve curled his hands into fists, trying to keep in mind, he liked Tony and that Tony was his friend to just overlook the crass comment with how blithe and casually he had said it. It was just Tony trying to get under his skin again, the best way to win was to ignore him.
Naturally, Tony continued. “This war is just too gruesome for me. The enemy has hung valiant skeleton warriors as trophies in their halls.”
“Just what the hell is wrong with you?” Steve remarked, not caring if his voice was raised or if he looked angry, he understood anger, it was one of his favorite emotions because it was just so easy and simple compared to other ones.
“Well.” Tony gave a weighty shrug. “Lots of things, darling. You’ll have to be more specific.”
“Why do you seem to live only to bother me?”
“Had to find a reason to get up in morning somehow.”
Steve gritted his teeth hard. Tony had to stop saying such things, they made his anger want to retreat and like dangerous things like confusion and hope flicker in his heart instead and he couldn’t have that. “Find another one.”
“I will, if you will.” Tony stared at him, for once looking serious rather his either usually raunchy behavior or his feigned nonchalance.
Suddenly things clicked into place, here Steve thought Tony was just being just his grade A type asshole self, but no he was actually concerned which was worse, a lot worse. Steve gritted his teeth. “I don’t need you to look out for me, aside from on the battlefield.”
“Sure, sure. Anyways, you know Halloween is coming up.”
Steve couldn’t really think too hard on change of topic but took anything at this point. “Yes? I assume you’re going to dress up slutty, again.”
“Well, duh. It just isn’t Halloween if I’m not half naked. You should come this year instead of pretending you’re busy. I mean, aren’t you interested in what I’ll be dressing up as this year?” Tony stepped closer, leaning into Steve’s personally space and lowering his tone as if they were stalking about something graphic.
Steve was, but he would never actually admit to that under threat of torture. “Why don’t you come with me to one of the church events they run Halloween night instead? Might be a change of pace for someone like you.”
“Hm… I will, if you come to the party this year.”
“I’m supposed to take you at your word?”
“What do you want to do sign a contract?” Tony offered, of course it wouldn’t be Tony without also adding. “Kinky.”
Steve had an idea of what Tony was referencing but that hadn’t cross his mind, at least. It seemed too public to have any sort of contract out there, even if it was one of Tony’s lawyers or because it was one Tony’s lawyers with the tendency of people who attacked Tony’s company.
“Nothing like that, I suppose you’ll just have to trust that I won’t respond nicely if you don’t keep your word.”
“Tempting to break that trust when I don’t mind a little pain.”
Tony was still close, still far too close and that look in his eyes was temptation itself. Tony Stark felt like a punishment for all the wrong things he had done in his life, but at the same time, Steve wanted nothing more than to give in.
“I’m going to go on a run.”
“Knock yourself out. I’ll see at the party.” Tony said like it was a foregone conclusion, and Steve hated the fact, it might very well be one.
Naturally, Tony was late to his own party. Steve didn’t know why he expected anything different, the only perk there was about it taking place at Tony’s home is that Steve had a pretty good idea of what bedroom Tony would be in.
To mock him even further there was a little hanging skeleton against the door, only further reminding him of the conversation they had days ago that had brought all of this on.
He knocked, having at least some sense of decency compared to Tony. “I go to the trouble of showing up and you can’t even be on time?”
“Come in, darling.”
That alone sounded like an invitation that wasn’t something he should want, the moral, the right thing would be to leave and curse himself for every thinking such thoughts. However Steve went inside the bedroom instead.
Steve had expected a lot of things, a sexy outfit version of what nurses wore in WWII or maybe even a Cabaret girl. Tony had cross-dressed before for this outfits, and while the thought in itself wasn’t entirely unappealing a man dressed as a woman had to be a little less sinful than a man dressed as a man, right?
But on the other hand, something wouldn’t feel quite right about that either. No matter how Tony dressed, it didn’t change the fact he was a man.
So maybe that’s why it took his breath away when Tony was, for once full dressed and wearing something very, very familiar.
Sometimes it was hard to remember the past, but other times, it was so life-like and vivid it was like he was actually still there.
Steve when he’d been younger had something of an unhealthy reaction to Rudolph Valentino and right now, Tony looked like a dead ringer for a man who had been dead for decades. His look from Blood and Sand, specifically. Steve would know too, with how vigilantly he had been with the man’s career.
He swallowed visibly, remembering that back then especially he had been pointed out why those types of feelings were okay if you were a girl, but not if you were a boy.
“Right, that’s not quite the reaction I was going for. Come on, sweetheart, sit down for me.”
Tony grabbed at his wrist and Steve let himself be pulled along until he was sat down on the bed.
Steve had imagined any context related to Tony and a bed would only end in one way, so this was confusing but not entirely bad. God, maybe Tony had a point with him not being okay, if this was his reaction to what was meant to be a sexy costume.
Tony did look good in the old fashioned suit with how trimmed and well fit it made him look, and it wasn’t a reference that everyone would get, but everyone would stop and look at him for only a moment with how well he pulled it off.
“I liked him a lot when I was a kid.” Steve said, surprising himself with the admission.
“Ah.” Tony made a sound of understanding. “You liked him the wrong way.”
Steve had to laugh. “A very similar situation to one I’m in now.”
“Well, the thing is with me, you can at least you have me.” Tony pointed out, but again not as the innuendo he had expected but instead sounding more comforting than anything. “We can go downstairs, or stay up here, your choice.”
“I rather stay with you.”
“Fine by me. What do you want to do?”
“You do look really nice, it would be a shame to waste all your hard work.” Steve suggested, giving Tony a lascivious look over, for once not being clear not ashamed about what he wanted. He had denied himself too long just on the account of others.
Tonight he was going to get what he wanted.