1965-08-20 - This and That
Summary: Steve and Tony catch up over coffee.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
tony steve-rogers 

Tony is in a suit, and he looks damn fine in it, too. Having an Italian tailor has its perks. He steps into the kitchen to pour himself a cup of coffee. Finding the pot empty, he sets about putting it on. He's humming under his breath, reasonably able to carry a tune. He might even be sober, the way he's moving clearly and with purpose.

Steve can hear the rustling around in the kitchen long before he reaches it. Hmm…that sounds like the coffee pot being set to brew again. He's not long back from a half-day spent at SHIELD reviewing important files with important people and other important stuff — but no action was seen beyond him having to dodge a spitball shot at him from somewhere in the bullpen. From whom? It was never discovered. For now, the spitballer lives on…and probably collects money from a betting pool.

In a standard grey button-down and charcoal-grey slacks, he looks the part of the office worker rather than the defrosted Capsicle. "Tony," he says by way of greeting as he enters the room. "Dressed to the nines. You off to a convention then?" The fridge is set to be raided, apparently. Mmm, calories. Maybe there's a muffin left over from the double dozen-pack boxes that he bought…yesterday.

"Just got back," Tony says. "Wanted to stop in here before heading home just in case anything interesting was going on." He glances over, and his brows raise a bit. "You seem to have fallen out of your workout clothes and into something the rest of us schlubs might wear." Yeah, as if he wears anything less than three-digit silk.

The coffee he sets to brewing is fairly strong. He didn't learn his caffeine habits in the trenches, but learning them in the lab isn't that much different. Whatever it takes to stay awake. "How've you been holding down the fort?"

Ah-hah, success: a banana chocolate-chip muffin, be still his super-soldier heart. Steve emerges from stooping into the fridge with aforementioned muffin in-hand and glances over at Tony, wearing a friendly if close-lipped little smile.

"Sometimes, the work dictates that I suit up in something other than the stars and stripes," he says firstly. "There's been nothing much to hold down," he adds with a sigh. Still, he frowns as he walks past Tony, as if considering something. "Nothing much at SHIELD either…save for these weird little blips on the radio. We had an agent apparently intercept some garbled message overseas, but nothing came of it. That's why I'm concerned. Normally, SHIELD can make heads and tails of a five-second recording…though it was also filled with static, from what the report read. Maybe I'm just…jumping at ghosts," he mutters as he sits down at the kitchen table to peel at the muffin's wrapper.

"Isn't this what we strive for?" Tony asks. "Nothing to fight because there's nothing out there?" He passes his mug under the spigot as the coffee brews, catching it in his cup rather than the pot. He wants his coffee now, damn it. "Of course, I'm not that much of an optimist to think this is it and we can hang up our suits."

He pauses, then passes his newly filled cup to Steve. He's capable of selflessness once in awhile. He grabs another cup to catch the coffee drip with. "I'd prefer to know what they're doing. Preferrably before it hits us."

"Yep. Proactive rather than reactive," Steve agrees quietly even as he takes the offered cup. "Thanks." He sets the mug aside to continue working off the oil-laden paper cup from the muffin's bottom. "Evil's always out there. Maybe it's resting for now or gathering its forces or…" The blond laughs to himself and rubs at his forehead briefly. "That sounds melodramatic."

Once the wrapper's all off, he contents himself with a bite that removes a chunk from the muffin's volume. Mmm. Those chocolate chips and how they melt. A sip of coffee… This is the good life. "Buck would say that I'm starting at shadows," he then murmurs once his mouth is clear.

Tony tilts his head curiously. "What do you do when there isn't a fight?" he asks. "I just assume you work out, then work out some more, and maybe give lectures at boy scout conventions. Do you do anything to relax?" He leans against the counter and takes a drink of his coffee. Ah, that's the stuff. He buys good coffee for this house.

"I ask, because all you've ever done is fight. I start wondering do you know anything else? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you're bucking for a fight or that you'll start one where there doesn't need to be. I'm just wondering what the eternal soldier and a war profiteer know what to do with themselves in peacetime."

Steve isn't glowering, but there's the sense of thunderclouds on the horizon. He looks at Tony out of the corner of his eye before apparently deciding that this is an old horse he's not going to kick further.

"I had hobbies before I was a soldier, Tony. Everyone does, from the boot camp entrants to the generals. I sketch." He picks out a little chocolate chip specifically from the golden fluff of muffin. "I've been told once or twice that I could take up as an illustrator, but…sitting still that long," and he laughs. "It's a good outlet after you've finished dealing with whatever's on your plate for the day."

Tony spreads his hands, coffee cup in one of them. "I don't feel entirely refuted," he says. "I just want to make sure you're okay. If you enjoy sketching at the end of a long day of doing whatever else, who am I to say anything about it?" Still, he doesn't seem all that convinced.

"I don't like golf," he admits. "It's like a nice walk in the park ruined by a little white ball. I always feel like I should be doing something else. You know what I mean?" He takes a drink of his coffee. "Anyway, I'm sure we'll be responding to something soon enough. Enjoy the downtime while you've got it."

Steve watches the other man as he chews on another huge bit of muffin. He's just shy of chipmunk-cheeked and, ergo, not beyond proper manners. The contents of the coffee cup dwindle before he replies again.

"I never liked golf either. I kept breaking the clubs every time I played…or overshooting. Have you ever wrapped a club around a tree limb?" He can't help the smile, even as he tries to save face during his story. "I was invited by one of the captains of the local reserve to join him and a few friends on the golf course. I lose a ball in the high grass and there I am, pulling back for the swing. I chip it out, but on the follow-through, literally bend the club around the tree limb above my head. Tony. I hate golf," he amends with a shrug.

Tony smiles in response to Steve's smile. "Like I said, a perfectly nice walk in the park ruined by a little white ball. But a lot of deals get made on the golf course. There's more meetings there than a board room. So I work on my backswing and I've gotten good enough at it to know when to win and when to artfully lose. Can't stand the game, but I'm good at it."

His smile lingers at the mental image of Steve on a golf course. "It's my hobby, but I don't like it. The drinking, the parties and women. They're hobbies, but I don't care. When I think about what it is I do like, it's working."

Steve's smile fades as he looks away and down at his coffee cup. "At least you've got the guise of the game for work. I should find another hobby though, you're right. Buck says the same. God only know what it would be… It's plain unfair to take up any form of competitive athletics. I suppose I could take up competition shooting, get better at my form. Someone mentioned taking up pottery, but…" and he sucks in air through his teeth, taking a moment to scratch at the nape of his neck. "Sounds like sitting still to me."

"You should be able to find something to do that feeds your nature," Tony says. "That's what I'm saying about working. I already do what I was designed to do. I don't need to chase a little white ball to relax. I need to be figuring out how the world works. It's okay to do what you love."

Tony studies Steve. "Maybe for you, it's helping people. In soup kitchens if not wielding a shield. Mentor a kid, bring hot meals to vets." Quickly, he adds, "I'm not saying you don't do enough or what you have to do. I'm just spit-balling. Or? If you're happy as you are? Tell Bucky to buzz off."

"I think I could tell Buck to go jump in a lake and still find him asking me what I hobby I intend to pick up." Steve chuckles softly to himself before sipping at his coffee again. "I'll figure something out." It's sounds like something he's said to his oldest friend a hundred times over and again, resigned in a way.

His blue eyes flick to Tony again. "What was the convention about?"

Tony smiles crookedly and says, "Probably. He's almost as stubborn as you are." He shrugs and says, "If you're happy, then I'm happy. Although I think if I played golf with you, I'd actually enjoy it. I doubt we'd make it to eighteen holes." But oh, would Tony laugh.

With a wave of his hand, he says, "Swords to plowshares, that kind of thing. There are a few companies thinking ahead of how to market their military tech after the inevitable war it'll be used in. Rather forward thinking, if macabre. I did a lot of nodding and smiling. Pictures were taken. The usual."

"You come to any conclusions about what they had to offer?" Steve asks before polishing off his muffin. Always a shame, seeing crumbs on his plate. He licks his finger and begins to dot them up, one by one, while holding the coffee mug off to one side. It seems he raised the cup, thinking to sip, but it takes mild concentration to pick at the smidgeons of chocolate chip. Must not waste.

Tony takes another drink of his coffee. Slowly but surely, the taste of convention center dregs are being washed away by the good stuff. "The usual conclusion," he says. "Nothing I can do better on my own. They're years behind on medical tech, and we weren't even trying." What, it's not bragging if it's the truth, right?

"A lot of the ideas bounced around are automotive. Faster, better cars. I'm a fan. Most of the conversations devolved into the cool ways we're figuring out how to kill each other, not what happens after." He pulls a face. So not his world anymore.

Steve nods after finishing his cup of coffee entirely. He sets the empty mug on the table beside the equally-empty plate and sighs, contented at least calorically-speaking in the near future.

"Military tech is difficult to apply beyond its basic uses sometimes," the blond agrees. "Automotive though, huh? I can support that. They've made strides since the old Jeeps used in WWII, much less what was knocking around the streets in the 1920s. I'd be particularly interested in any developments with the motorcycle." Indeed, his blue eyes seem to light up a touch at the thought.

Tony points to Steve and says, "The first I hear anything, I'll tell you. The future is coming, though, Rogers. New breakthroughs in chemistry are paving the way — pardon the pun — for new road material and tires. Everything down to paint jobs are getting revolutionized. Fuel injection, catalytic conversion, all of it. I almost want to build an engine just to get my hands on all that stuff."

Tony sighs wistfully. "This is a hell of a time to be alive," he says. "And I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

The Captain appears to get an almost…cheeky look about him.

"Tony," he begins after shifting in his chair to better face the man. "If I…asked for you a favor, from one man to another, inventor to…hobby cyclist…" He can't help the grin. "If you built for me an engine that would fit a restored Harley, one with enough kick that I could leave Buck eating my tire-rubber in a race… I'd be in your debt." He lifts a hand and sets it down again.

Tony raises his coffee cup to Steve and says, "For you, my friend, I'll do it. Just do me a favor and try to save the world next time it needs it. I'll consider us even." There's a sparkle in his eyes. He gets to build an engine! And that engine will be state of the art, top of the line. His grin is almost boyish. "In fact, I might change into something more comfortable and get started on that. You'll have your bike in no time."

That last sentence is enough to set Steve to leaning back in surprise.

"Er, I asked for just an engine, Tony. A whole bike?" he asks for clarification. Not as if he'd stop the man from tinkering and creating some modern masterpiece, but…no use getting one's hopes up either.

"How are you going to ride an engine?" Tony asks. "Do you have the Harley you want me to retrofit? If not, I can pick one up." Like it's no more of a hassle than picking up a couple extra Pepsis at the store. He studies Steve for a moment, then says, "You'll want a classic look. You're a classic guy." He finishes his coffee, then sets the cup in the sink. "Give me a week. I'll throw something together for you."

Steve has his mouth open to reply in terms of the Harley — he does — but then there goes the inventor setting a timeline and apparently deciding upon the fact that Captain America needs a whole new bike. Oh, but the glee in the blond's face, it's equal parts boyish and unholy. Poor Bucky. He won't even know what hit him when he's tasting the exhaust of this motorcycle.

"Classic, yes. 1940s, if you can manage it." Turns out he's got a favorite era, what a surprise. "A week it is — and all that for saving the world next time it's necessary? You drive a hard bargain, Tony," Steve jokes in true good humor.

Tony inclines his head and says, "I'm tough but fair." He winks. "And sure, I can give you a classic 1940s motorcycle, so perfect for you you'd think it was made special." He leans against the counter, and he wears a broad smile. This stuff? This is what gets Tony excited. This is his hobbby.

"Maybe you could will your old one to Barnes," he suggests. "Give the guy a fighting chance." That gleam in his eyes is humorous. Poor Bucky.

That's enough to make Steve laugh. It's a rare sound, but it's bright, like opening a window into sunshine.

"Will the old girl to Buck? No. No, she's been through enough owners. I'm her last. I won't put her out to pasture. I figure I'll make good use of the newer model and on those days when I feel like touring rather than laying down rubber, I'll bring her out again. She won't be forgotten."

"That's good," Tony says. "I try to pay attention to all my cars, even if it's just keeping them glossy and ready to go. They each have a place. Some are more fit for some things than others, but I love them all." He could be talking about his children for how fond he sounds.

Tony clasps his hands together. "This is great. I needed a pickmeup after that long trip home." And now he looks energized, ready to take on the world, or at least put together an engine.

"Glad I can give you something to do," replies Steve good-naturedly. He then rises to his feet and returns to the coffee pot for more. He yawns even as he pours himself another full mug of the steaming and aromatic brew. "Whatever blend this is, Tony, it's great. Much better than the stuff we used to make on the front lines. …worlds better," he amends after taking a sip, heedless of scalding his tongue.

"It's imported," Tony says. "Then again, one way or another, so is all coffee. Nothing but the best for my men. And women, and assorted whatever." He gestures vaguely. "It's a weird little family we've got, but I like taking care of it. Even Santa's little helper. Man, things have been peaceful since he scampered off to the North Pole." He shakes his head. "Still, I hope Barnes isn't gone too long. He'll need his arm looked at."

The blond nods. "It has been quiet without him rattling about. No one to tell me to stop eating all the muffins before he can have one," Steve says quietly with a fond little smile. "I'm sure he'll have stories to tell about the visit. I hope he hasn't gotten too enebriated. I remember one time when Thor — you know him, Prince of Asgard? Over at the Embassy?" He then continues. "He brought some of the liquor that his people brew and…" He shrugs with coffee mug in hand. "I haven't felt a punch like that in a long time."

"I hear those Asgardians know how to drink," Tony says. "Never tried any of the stuff, myself. I fear my liver is that of a mere mortal." He lays a hand over said liver. "I just hope Barnes can hold his own over there. He's representing the good old United States of America on foreign soil. We can't have them thinking we're a bunch of lightweights." Apparently, the Elf's drinking capacity doesn't count. Barnes is American!

"I assume the Asgardians would not make a broad-sweeping assumption like that…and especially not on the capability to hold one's liquor." Steve sets aside the coffee cup and then opens the fridge again. Hmm…what else to nibble on. Ooh, an apple. He snags it and takes a bite out of it as he closes the door yet again.

"You believe the best in people," Tony says. "I'm a realist. Don't worry, I'll quiz him when he gets back. I'm sure he's doing fine. He seems to have inherited some of the same stamina and metabolic burn that you have." He watches the snagging of an apple with a small smile. "See, you're metabolizing even now. That's good. He'd better be doing the same, wherever he is."

Steve tosses the apple out of idle need and catches it, all without watching a second of the fruit's rise and fall. Those super-serum-boosted reflexes really are at play at all times, including that metabolism being discussed.

"He always had the ability to make the best out of his situation, including food. He'll be fine," the blond agrees.

Tony watches the apple's rise and fall. "Yeah, he's a survivor. Weird to think about him being on some other planet, or in some other dimension, however that works. I'm still a little iffy on the astrophysics of it all. And here you're stuck babysitting. How are the whippersnappers anyway?" He glances toward the stairs. He's caught a rare glimpse every now and again, but not lately.

Steve follows his gaze and there drains away the natural lightness in his face.

"Quiet…which I can't complain about. I think they miss Buck. He's…like a big brother to them, in a way. I bring them up food, but they've never been ones to talk to me. I understand." He shrugs. "I'm an outlier in their world."

"Yeah, the one I saw bolted like a cat when I walked in the room," Tony says, seeming unruffled by it. He's got the luxury of not being all that close to the situation. "Can't blame them, I suppose. They've had hard lives. Don't worry, if you keep feeding them, they'll start to see you as someone safe. I think. I'll level with you, I have no idea. There's no playbook for these guys."

Steve shakes his head slowly, partly to himself. "There isn't any playbook. They broke the mould when they were made. I'd know what to do with Buck, but…the boys?" Another shrug and he seems defeated by the set of his jaw.

"You're doing right by them, Cap," Tony says as he watches Steve. "They got dealt a bad hand. A really bad hand. You've gotten them somewhere to stay where they're safe, food to eat, a place to regroup. Because of you, these boys have their best fighting chance. They need time, and you've given them a place to take it. Now we wait, and that's the worst part."

"Never been one to wait…" Not that it's a new sentiment coming from the Captain — ask Bucky for stories about how the lunatic went charging towards the tanks instead of flanking or even momentarily retreating from them. "But still. You're right. Patience is the key." He takes another bite of the apple and chews thoughtfully. "He'd better get back soon. I don't know if they can stomach another round of my oatmeal. I'm not the best chef," Steve admits.

"Yeah, why did they have to take the chef guy with them?" Tony says. He shakes his head. Just when he was getting used to tasty leftovers made by one of New York's best chefs. "You're doing great," he says. He checks his watch and winces. "I should make a few calls before I disappear downstairs. I'll be in touch about the bike, yeah? You'll love it."

Steve gives the inventor a friendly smile. "Take your time, Tony. I know you said a week, but your business comes first. I still have Bessie in the meanwhile. She's old but reliable." He takes up his mug of coffee again and makes his way back to the kitchen table. Reaching across it to snag the daily newspaper, he works at unfolding it. "Good luck with your calls." Seems the Captain still has to catch up on the happenings of the city around him today.

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