Tony couldn’t help but smile, pleased to see that Steve liked what he was seeing. He kind of wanted to impress him, one way or another. Pepper stepped out and coughed. “I need to excuse myself now, I’m heading home. Tony if you need anything just call me, have fun”, she said smiling and started walking away.
“Shall we go in?” Tony asked, standing in front of Steve and blocking his view. The jock looked at the dark haired boy, “Sure thing.” He said, though he really was intimidated and nervous to enter such a big house, he’d never been in such a building before, a monumental structure that just screamed modern fashion. He cautiously walked in, trying not to step or knock into anything else.
The millionaire was walking in front of Steve, still not intending to hide his satisfaction to see the captain was feeling intimidated for once. He stopped in front of the stairs that were leading toward the basement and turned around. “We have everything we need downstairs. It was built to be a basement, but father let me modify it… So it’s now my workshop, I just spend most of my time there”, Tony explained almost proudly, starting to walk slowly, waiting for Steve to follow him.
“Wow… Okay…” He said, to be honest he was at a loss for words. Trying to think of what to say or do next but this was all foreign ground to him so as he walked down the stairs; he looked around with immense curiosity.
“Chill out Rogers”, Tony laughed, looking at Steve. He stopped right in front of the big metallic door and quickly entered a password, the door opening with a loud noise. “Come on in”, he said, holding the door for him. This was his area, just like Steve’s was the gym. The workshop had scattered pieces of equipment around, a couple of computers and as the rumours had it, a small collection of automobiles.
Steve looked around in awe, his eyes lighting up as he saw all the different gadgets, “This place looks amazing… And it’s all yours?”
“Yes, all of them. To be fair I made some of these myself”, Tony replied, walking up to a small box shaped object. “This is a prototype, but when I finish working, it will be amazing”, he said, patting the small box.
“What is it supposed to be?” Steve asked, his tone lowered with curiosity.
“It’s supposed be… think of it as a robot, it’s simpler. Creating artificial intelligence is more difficult than I thought it could be. He’s going to help me around when I finish him”, Tony said affectionately.
“No way… That’s pretty awesome if you do it get to work. What’ll his name be?” He asked with a head tilt, fascinated, but with a warm feeling to see Tony talking so passionately about his own work.
“Didn’t really put some thought in it… But I played around with names, how does Jarvis sound to you?” Tony asked, patting the box for one last time and putting it back on the desk.
“Sounds like a good sturdy name for a robot.” Steve said with a gentle smile, “Sort of butler-esque.”
“To be fair, I did name him after an old… Butler of ours”, Tony shifted nervously, remembering what he told Steve the other day about his family and butlers.
“Well, it’d make a nice tribute to him.” Steve said with a nod, his eyes distracted by all the other things in the lab that seemed so new and innovative.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought about too”. He turned his look at the taller boy, seeing him so excited and amazed with everything in his workshop had cheered him up. “So, did you think of anything interesting to do for our project?”
“Uh yeah, I was thinking we’d do a chemical reaction test or something - let me just get the notes, unless you can think of something better.” He pulled his bag off his shoulder and began to rummage through the papers to find the messy notes that he had made earlier.
“I’ll take a look at your notes and maybe we can come up with something else as we go”, Tony said, switching on one of the computers.
“I’m not good at this stuff, as you’ve seen, but I was thinking we could do a study on corrosion. It seems sort of interesting; how we can corrode metal and stuff like that with micro-bacteria, well, that’s what I read anyway. I was going to pick Gamma radiation to study but Bruce already took out all the books on that.” He explained, trying to make sense of his messy handwriting, after all, it was written with his less dominant hand.
“That won’t be hard to do and it’s quite interesting, good one Rogers”, Tony said, without lifting his eyes from the screen. “We already have everything we need in here to start, we can test run a simulation here and see how to properly do it ourselves”, he finished saying, getting the notes from Steve and starting to read them.
“Yeah, thanks Stark. I guess we can work on it now, maybe do a test experiment or something.” He said, trying not to look too in awe as he noticed that Tony did indeed have all of the chemicals that they needed for the experiment. It was just like a professional lab, and the fact that Tony had said that he had built most of it himself was an admirable thing.
“Come here, have a look at that.” Tony offered, stepping away from the screen so Steve could look for himself. “That’s how it’s supposed to be done, do you get it now? It’s not hard to understand when you watch it; the nasty part is reading about it and trying to picture it. I can make you a copy of this program if it’s going to help you with classes”. He was being too nice to Steve, he wanted him to relax and not be stressed about being there.
“S-sure… I don’t really have a… computer. But I’ll use the ones in the library.” He said with a nod, he was surprised that Tony was being so nice considering how he was before he left for his last class, but it all seemed so formal; it was strictly business and they were just focused on getting their work done.
“You don’t? Do you want one?” Tony asked. He should have figured this out himself, judging from the state of Steve’s flat, having a computer would be luxury for him.
“W-wait what? A computer? They’re expensive, Stark, I couldn’t ask for one of those. Besides, I don’t really know how to use them properly…”
“I don’t think that would be problem for me, Rogers”, Tony said raising an eyebrow. He wasn’t showing off, he was just telling the truth. “It’s not as hard as you think it is. I can teach you a couple of things”
“I guess, but I’m pretty tight with my bills and stuff, probably why I don’t have a TV…”
“If you have a computer, you don’t really need a TV, you can watch everything online or something .And you can keep in contact with your friends and stuff.”, Tony said, placing the notes down and looking back at him.
“I prefer talking to my friends in person, I don’t know… I just prefer it like that.” He said with a shrug.
“Whatever you want Rogers”, Tony said shaking his shoulders. “It’s just easier sometimes.”
“I guess so but being face to face with someone’s a different experience, it’s more… personal.” He tried to explain.
“On the other hand, you can avoid unnecessary contact”, he said, placing some pieces of equipment in front of them, always looking at his screen for guidance.
“How do you know it’s unnecessary unless you find out? You can’t judge people by words on a screen, Stark.”
Tony raised his shoulders again. “I just trust my instinct and first impressions I guess?”
“You’ve got to get to know people, I know I had you pegged differently when I first met you.” He said, looking into Tony’s eyes.
“Really now? How did you see me then, if I’m allowed to ask?” Tony said narrowing his eyes and crossing his arms.
“You know exactly how, I’ve said it to you before, mainly shallow but yeah… You haven’t done anything in particular to prove me wrong but seeing you get hurt after what I’d called you, well, it showed me that you do have some sort of soul.” It was difficult for the jock to explain without sounding offensive, and he didn’t really want to get into another argument with Tony, especially since he was in his house. He wanted to remain mild mannered and polite.
“Some sort of soul? That’s an odd way to describe someone, most people use the word heart, bit again, whatever fits your taste”, Tony said, his eyes back on the screen. “Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t hurt or anything, you must have misunderstood me”. He didn’t want Steve to stay with the impression that he was sensitive or emotional.
“You seemed hurt…” the blond said with a shrug, giving Tony a subtly confident look, he was pretty sure that he was hurt by that comment.
“No, I wasn’t hurt”, Tony insisted, looking back into his eyes, ready to defend himself if he had to.
“So what if I called you it again?” He asked, looking down at Tony and raising his chin slightly.
“Why would you though? You just want to go back to insulting each other again?” Tony gritted.
“Surely it wouldn’t hurt then, if I said it so technically it wouldn’t be an insult.” He was trying to out-do Tony, but in a calm manner.
“Do it tough guy”, Tony challenged him, confident that Steve would back off.
“But I thought we agreed to be civil, I don’t want to breach any contracts now.” He said with a small smirk.
“Then why do you offer to say it again in first place? I just want you to know that I’m tougher than you think I am”, Tony said, looking down at the screen again.
“Really now?” He asked with an eyebrow raise, but perhaps he was getting too confident, after all he didn’t want to seem rude.
“Yes, Rogers, really. But you don’t want to see that”, Tony replied. Steve was trying to do the same thing he tried to do when he visited his place. And he pretty much nailed it.
“Right…” He didn’t realise that his eyes rolled when he had said that and he looked down, keeping his hand in his pocket.
Next Chapter: [Chapter 30]