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Song for Song (with pasta)

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Tony made Steve listen to what he called “classic rock” even though all of the songs were from at least twenty years after Steve had crashed. Bruce gave Steve jazz and classical and pop music from the 80s and 90s. Natasha introduced him to current music of all genres, everything from Blake Shelton to Lady Gaga to Maroon 5. Clint brought old school country and more current bands like Mumford & Sons and Radiohead.

In return, though, Steve gave them all Glenn Miller, Ella Fitzgerald, and Cole Porter, big band and swing music that he remembered hearing what was just a few years ago for him but was more than fifty years ago for everyone else. One day, Tony unearthed a record player and some old albums his father had stashed in his study and gave everything to Steve with no more thought than giving away a stick of gum.

“You know, JARVIS can play these songs too,” Tony said one night when he found Steve in the kitchen with the record player on the bar and the makings of what looked like really excellent pasta on the counters.

“I know,” Steve replied.

“I have offered to find any music Captain Rogers might desire, but he declined,” JARVIS said.

“Or we can get Darcy to load up some music on an iPod or something,” Tony added.

“I like the record player,” Steve said with a shrug.

“Whatever floats your boat,” Tony replied. He settled onto a stool at the bar and tapped the surface in front of him, activating one of the screens that seemed to be a part of every flat surface in the Tower.

“Anything interesting?” Steve asked, stirring the sauce he was working on.

“Not unless you’re interested in aerodynamics and repulsor technology,” Tony replied absently.

Steve watched as Tony tapped the surface again before he raised his hand, palm down. “I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that,” he said as a scale model of the Iron Man suit rose from the counter under Tony’s palm.

“JARVIS, run these numbers for me,” Tony said.

“Would you like me to simulate the results as well, sir?”

“Yeah, let Cap see them,” Tony replied.

The tiny Iron Man suit lifted off and promptly went cartwheeling across the kitchen before it vanished when it hit the door of the refrigerator. Steve burst out laughing.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought would happen,” Tony said, sighing, turning back to the screen. “Hey, run a full diagnostic on the flight system. Something hasn’t been right since I tangoed with that nuke.”

“I will run the tests again, sir,” JARVIS replied.

“Anything we need to know about?” Steve asked.

“Hmm? No,” Tony said, looking up at him. “The repulsors aren’t responding as fast as I’d like.”

“Well, you did get thrown through a few buildings.”

“I also managed to make it to a different dimension, but multi-dimensional physics or whatever isn’t my area. That’s more Bruce’s and Jane Foster’s thing. Well, the radiation would be Bruce. The portal is Jane’s, though.”

“What about Thor?” Steve suggested, draining a pot of noodles.

“What about him?”

“Well, he’s the only one of us who’s actually lived in a different dimension and can travel between them.”

“But that’ll probably require a trip to Asgard and/or getting very, very drunk,” Tony replied, and then grinned. “So, record player. Vintage.”

“You would know,” Steve said with a smile.

“But why a record player? It’s clunky.”

“I like it,” Steve replied, his expression guarded.

“So that’s why you’re in the kitchen at midnight making pasta and listening to, who, Artie Shaw?” Tony asked, peering over at the record. Steve made a little noise of agreement. “Not that you’re disturbing anyone, but why?” Steve looked over at Tony, then down at the stove. There really wasn’t anything left for him to do to the food, it was ready, but he made a production of cleaning anyway. Tony was unusually silent behind him.

“My mother used to cook to music,” Steve finally said, setting a plate and fork in front of Tony. “My father got her a record player for their anniversary one year, and she’d use it when she was cooking.” He smiled as he took his own plate and sat at the bar beside Tony. “She couldn’t really sing, but it was fun, and it made her happy. She always said that food cooked to music tasted better. But no matter what was on the record player, it never really improved her meatloaf.”

Tony grinned. “Well, if it all results in pasta at midnight, I can’t complain,” he said. They were silent for a moment, but Tony couldn’t stay quiet. “Your sleeping habits are almost as bad as mine,” he said around a mouthful of noodles.

“Says the man who’s been up for three days,” Steve replied after he’d swallowed.

“I got four hours of sleep yesterday,” Tony said, pointing at Steve with his fork.

“Well, you’ve been in your workshop for three days, anyway. I think Bruce was going to give you another 12 hours before he went in and got you himself,” Steve said in what Tony had named his “Captain Voice.”

“Aw, Cap, I’m hurt, you weren’t going to come for me?” Tony asked, feigning hurt.

“I was going to give you 18 hours and then drag you bodily from the workshop after Bruce had failed,” Steve replied. Tony grinned.

“I would have sicced Dummy on you,” Tony said. Steve couldn’t resist Dummy.

“And half an hour after that, I was going to send Natasha,” Steve continued, ignoring the fact that Tony had spoken.

“You wouldn’t,” Tony replied, horrified.

“Try me,” Steve said, completely serious, and then he grinned.

“I don’t think I want to. You are a sneaky bastard,” Tony said. Steve grinned wider. “You are!”

“I have to be to keep you guys in line,” Steve replied. “Not to mention talk to the press, keep Fury updated, keep Coulson updated, make sure everyone at least eats if not sleeps...” he trailed off and rubbed a hand over his face.

“And that’s why you’re in charge, Cap,” Tony said. Steve, his mouth full, just shrugged and nodded in agreement. They lapsed into silence as they ate, the scratchy music from the record player echoing around the kitchen.

“Dad used to play this kind of music in his workshop,” Tony said, breaking the silence. Steve looked up, surprised, but Tony was staring at his plate. “The jukebox was his; it’s still got some of his records in it. I turn it on every once in a while for something different.” He put his fork down on his plate with a soft clink.

“I figured your father would be more into rock music like you are,” Steve said tentatively.

Tony shook his head. “‘Damn long haired hippies,’ he used to call them,” he replied. “After that, it was just ‘racket.’” He looked up at Steve.

Steve gave him a small smile. “It’s not all bad. I like The Who.”

“You would,” Tony said, his smile interrupted by a jaw-cracking yawn. “Well, sleep for me, in an actual bed. Tomorrow, though, you are going to learn who The Clash are.”

Steve made a face, but nodded. “During sparring practice?” he asked.

“Sure thing,” Tony said, waving a hand as he walked away. “Gonna blow your mind, Cap.”

Steve shook his head as Tony left. Gathering up the dishes, he made a mental note to look up The Clash and figure out the next piece of music he was going to force Tony to listen to.

After all, turnabout was fair play.