@goodsouldier: ’ you got a little somethin’ … ’ brushes his thumb against tony’s cheek.
He’s rambling, because that is the one consistent thing no matter what’s happening in his life. When Tony Stark goes quiet, there’s something deathly wrong, and even when there’s something deathly wrong, he still usually doesn’t go quiet. So, just having risen from the depths of his workshop, it’s no surprise that he’s dragged Steve into a conversation about the latest ideas he’s come up to incorporate into the captain’s shield.
Tony is obsessed with protecting the people he cares about.
It should be expected at this point.
“So I was thinking about installing a tiny set of hidden repulsors along the inside edge, right?” His eyes are bright, if shadowed just a little by dark circles because he’s been trying to perfect this for about thirty hours. He probably should have asked Steve if the man would even let him make the modifications, but when had he not jumped the gun on designing things? Besides, it had been fun, a great little intellectual exercise that had maaaaaybe blown up a little just a few times, leaving little ashy marks on his hands and face. That was part of the fun too.
Try. Try again. Try better.
“Imagine we’re up on… a cliff, a floating island, hell, even a regular island because you’ve got the ocean around you, maybe even outer space, who knows! You’re somewhere that you throw your shield and it goes off in some direction that it can’t bounce back to you. Now this could be user error — not criticism, we all make mistakes! — or it being thrown off course by an opponent, or anything else. Then we’d have to use the superpowered electromagnet to get it back, which takes time, right? But with built in repulsors, there’s essentially a quick retrieve function. You just throw it like this —” the mechanic gesticulates eagerly while talking, “— and if it’s heading out of the area of easy return —”
Tony might have talked right over Steve’s voice, unintrusive as it was, but his words cut off as a thumb swept over his cheek. He goes a little wide-eyed and oddly still at the gesture, brain running a hundred miles an hour before it catches up with him again. It’s only then that Tony’s lips twitch upwards. Steve must have spotted the smudges from propulsion circuit attempt #2.
“Uh, yeah, look, I promise it doesn’t blow up any more okay? I wouldn’t give you something that would hurt you, no matter how well you’d heal from it.” Like me. Fuck! No. See? This is why you shouldn’t think about these things, Tony. Focus on your work like a good little scientist. There’s plenty left to do. “So what do you think? Want to try the mod? It’s an insert, so I can always take it back out if you don’t like it.”
He’d been minutes away from sending a search party down to the workshop. He would have gone down himself but after a couple of visits in the morning he was starting to feel like a mother hen, and having been on the other side of people fretting too hard over him he knows that sometimes hovering can do more harm than good. His solution ? Well, he’s got a whole building full of their friends at his disposal that he can hint at to go have a look themselves at how Tony was holding up, especially during these prolonged stints in the workshop that Steve was now beginning to realise was more commonplace than anomaly. He’s saved from the trouble of figuring out how to ask Natasha about Tony without being too obvious, ( the game’s up, really, he shouldn’t bother so much about keeping up pretences ) when the devil himself appears.
Of course, Steve doesn’t get the chance to get in a ‘ how are you ? ’ or ‘ do you want to order dinner together ? ’ before Tony is launching into his spiel. It was the shield, again, and it looks like this time Steve doesn’t even have the opportunity to politely decline whatever modification Tony has come up with because it was apparently already in the works. It also looks like half the works had exploded and ended up on Tony’s face.
Steve knows Tony dumbs down a lot of the technical jargon for him - he can keep up with a lot of things, but not Tony’s level of genius - and he’s appreciative. Though Steve’s also appreciative of Tony speaking a mile a minute all tech and smarts … for less professional reasons. He’s halfway distracted — by Tony’s persistence on the shield modifications, by his insistence on protecting Steve further when Steve feels perfectly well protected wrapped up in his 200 and something pounds of hulking muscle, and by how, frankly, hot, the whole dishevelled, dirty mechanic aesthetic looks on Tony. Though the implication that he’d had something explode in his face to get that way certainly puts a dampener on things.
‘ I know. ’ Steve smiles, amused that Tony would think that would be the reason Steve would say no to the idea, despite having literally volunteered to be a lab rat, and despite his many insistences that he prefers just keeping the shield old school because it’s worked well for him that way for all this time. Maybe he’s also a little glad that Tony seems to have moved on from his momentary lapse in self control and not addressed the fact that Steve’s thumb had just brushed his cheek in a very non-teammate-like manner, and that Steve was now trying to hide the fact that he was awkwardly cleaning his thumb off with the side of his forefinger. ‘ I’ll give it a whirl, ’ he agrees. He’s not opposed to new ideas. At least, ones that he’s aligned on. But then he adds firmly, ‘ Tomorrow. You’ve been down there for a day and a half. You missed lunch, and probably four other mealtimes. Let’s get dinner and … probably a shower. ’ He means because of Tony’s state of smudginess. ‘ For you, that is. Not us. I mean, I just showered. So … I don’t need one. ’