“S-sorry sir…” He was star struck as he stood in front of Howard Stark. Yes, he had met him before but not in these sorts of circumstances, at least back then he was prepared.
“Steve Rogers? What are you doing here?” He asked,
“I… I was supposed to be working with Tony on a project… and…”
“Project? Let’s see this project; I’ve been hearing so much noise from my lab, so this must be good.” He said, clapping his hands together in anticipation.
Steve nervously looked over his shoulder and into Tony’s room, not knowing what to do or what to say at this point. “Father”, Tony greeted him looking back at both Steve and Howard. “Steve was about to leave now, we’re finished for today”, he managed to say.
“Nonsense! I want to see what you’ve been shouting about.” He said, Steve took a couple of steps back so that he was on the ground again, edging nervously back into the lab as Howard followed him with such an air of authority about him.
Tony shifted nervously and brought up to the screen what he showed Steve earlier. “Um… Steve had the idea of studying corrosion, and experimenting with metal”, he started saying, looking a bit nervously back at the blond. This was a strange turn of events, and he wouldn’t let his father know what truly happened.
“So how did it go? What did you accomplish?” He asked,
“N-not much, just well… We did some research… and maybe thought that it was best to uh… terminate our partnership.” Steve said, “Sir.” He added,
“Why’s that? Steve, you are the schools best student and Tony… I expect you to be top of your class, so this partnership should work quite well and generate the best results. You two work for the next couple of hours and I expect to see results when I return down here later.” He said sternly, walking back up to his own lab. He was a busy man, and whether he would return or not was questionable, but he clearly had other more important matters to attend to, especially after his phone began to ring just as he left.
“Right”, Tony muttered as his father was walking outside. “I guess we’re stuck in this”, he said clenching his fists. He couldn’t disobey his father’s wish, as he was transferred to the school only to get Stark Industries further involved in the partnership and now Steve couldn’t back off either, seeing that he was quite well known himself. “What’s the plan for now?” he asked, gritting his teeth.
“Guess we have to do it.” He said, sitting on a stool and taking his bag off his shoulder as he spoke in a serious and deep tone.
Tony sighed and brought back the equipment he pushed away earlier and started getting some small bottles and metal pieces out. “Make yourself useful and sit closer, at least you can take a look into the microscope while I put the things under it”, he said, not bothering to look in his direction.
“Fine…” Steve replied as he moved closer to Tony, sitting next to him as he watched the boy set up. He felt awkward to say the least.
Tony pushed the microscope closer to Steve and placed a piece of metal under it, picking a small bottle and pouring some of the liquid on the piece. A foul smell and some smoke emerged from it. “Quick, take a look”, Tony rushed Steve.
Steve did as he was told, looking down the microscope, “I hardly see anything… Oh wait… It’s changing, sorta…”
“Could you be a bit more specific?” Tony asked annoyed attempting to make notes.
“Well it’s all… moving and…. I guess that’s bacteria right and it’s starting to wear away at the metal and go an orangey colour…” He tried to explain with an unsure tone.
“Right…” Tony muttered, putting the now half burnt piece away and replacing it with a different one. “Shall I move on now?”
“Yeah you look and I’ll take notes.” He said, reaching for his book.
Tony gave him a look and pulled the microscope to his side, taking another bottle in his hand. “Do you mind pouring it for me?” he said, his other hand steadily holding on the scope.
Steve took the bottle carefully with his good hand, lowering it down as carefully as he could to pour it as desired, he didn’t want to mess up but he didn’t even know what sort of chemicals he was dealing with, so he tried to be as cautious as possible.
“Hmm… Note this down, there’s no particular reaction with this, except that change in colour, it could be due to the different chemical compositions…” Tony muttered, mostly to himself.
Steve wrote down exactly what Tony had said in his messy left-hand writing, “you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure”, Tony growled back. “Do you see anything different?”
“Let me look then.” He said, lightly pushing Tony away from the scope and peering through, “Well, it seems to be eating away at the material very slowly… Maybe it’s a delayed reaction.”
“Okay then, write that down too”. Tony wasn’t exactly cautious with his words, the pressure he was feeling after having to do this with Steve was too much for him to concentrate on the project itself.
“I will, gosh Tony, calm down…”
Next Chapter: [Chapter 32]