Steve/Tony High School AU, where assumed-unrequited crushes who have hardly spoken a word to each other are paired together to 'parent' one of those hyper realistic baby dolls
Tony leans to the right.
He leans to the left, and turns to Steve. “I swear to god, his eyes are following me.”
"Her eyes," Steve corrects him, continuing to leaf through a book titled ‘TEENAGE PARENTING AND YOU’ that the school is probably banned from actually shelving, since their school is still rocking the whole ‘abstinence’ gig, which, in Tony’s well-informed and thoroughly de-virginised opinion, harms a lot more than it helps.
Tony makes a face at the baby- not one of those, ‘aw, cutie, lemme poke my tongue out at you so you’ll laugh,’ but more of a confused grimace. “Right. Her,” he says, and turns back to Steve, who seems hellbent on ignoring Tony until this assignment is over. “Isn’t it a liiiittle too early to be pushing gender roles?”
A page turns. “She can figure out her gender roles later, Tony. Like after she can pronounce those words.”
Tony nods, like they aren’t discussing the hypothetical future of their shitty assignment, which is never going to grow into anything except a huge pain in their asses.
Not that Tony’s complaining. Much. Yes, he’s been dubbed to take care of a plastic hellspawn, but that means he has to take care of it with his co-parent, Steve Rogers, who up until today’s lesson, hasn’t said more than two words to Tony. Tony has a vague memory of Steve saying, “Excuse me,” one time in freshman year as he ducked past Tony, but other than that, this is the longest conversation they’ve had, and the first half had been about baby wipes and whether or not they’d need them.
Tony sneaks another glance at Steve, who is reading the parenting book like it’s the ninth wonder of the world. Tony’s grown adept at sneaking glances at Steve, but never while he’s close enough for Tony to breathe on. Even for Tony, this might be reaching creeper levels.
"You know," Tony says, trying to sound cool and casual and not like he’s holding a plastic baby by its foot, "You might actually have to make eye contact with me at some point, Steve."
"What, I know that," Steve replies, but it’s another few seconds before he tears his eyes reluctantly from the book. He meets Tony’s eyes, and Tony has this stupid second where the only thing Tony can think of is, holy shit, blue.
Tony tries for a smile, twinkling his fingers. “Hi.”
"Hi," Steve says, and his face contorts as he sees how Tony’s holding the baby. As in, how it’s dangling by its foot from Tony’s index finger and thumb. "What the heck are you doing," he yelps, and takes the baby from Tony, holding it like- like- well, like people should hold babies. Maybe. Tony hasn’t been around many.
"It’s a fake baby," Tony says, dropping the hand that had been holding it. "We can’t get ratted out to social services."
"Doesn’t mean you hold it like it’s a piece of trash," Steve mutters, looking about as comfortable holding the baby as Tony was, which- huh.
"It’s a FAKE BABY," Tony repeats. "Hey, Steve?"
"Do you know how to care for an infant?"
Steve waves his free hand towards the parenting book, which is lying on the table, spread to the page he was on. “Why do you think I’m reading that? I haven’t been around babies since I was one.”
Steve sighs loudly. “So we’re in the same boat?”
"Looks like," Tony says, eyeing the parenting book, which advises him in bold text not to throw the baby in a pool. Grade-A father he isn’t, but he thinks he picked up on that little tidbit.
Steve drums his fingers on the baby’s head before remembering it’s a baby’s head, albeit a fake one, and stopping. “So,” he says, and clears his throat. “Should, I mean, we have to be around it all the time. Whose house should we- I mean, my mom would say yes. If you wanted to stay over.”
Tony’s house is definitely bigger, assuming from Steve’s clothes and meagre lunches that he brings. Plus, Tony’s house is bigger than everybody’s house. But for some reason, the idea of bringing Steve and their plastic child back to all those empty rooms and his even emptier parents- if they aren’t out of the country- sounds less appealing to him than taking care of a fake kid for twelve weeks.
"We can go to yours," Tony says, and Steve’s nod is weirdly tight. "I’ll have to get my stuff and come over after school."
"Cool," Steve says, and nods again. His fingers have started drumming again, making the baby’s head bounce. "Uh, do you want to come before dinner, or-"
"After is fine."
"Cool," Steve says again, and his fingers continue to tap on the plastic of the baby’s scalp.
Tony skims a few lines of the parenting book, leaning closer to Steve as he does it. “Hey.”
"Should we, y’know," Tony says, and motions towards the baby. "Name it? Because I can’t keep calling it Hellspawn in my head."
"I don’t think Mr. Coulson would approve," Steve says, dry as fuck and enough to make Tony bark a laugh. This makes Steve duck his head, a small smile forming, and shit, he’s going to fail this grade, he’s going to set the baby on fire while he’s too busy staring at Steve.
Tony motions again, to where he swears to god the baby is tracking his actions. “So. Jane Doe?”
"I know a Jane," Steve shakes his head. "It’d be strange."
"How about Hermionie?"
Another laugh from Tony. “Seriously?”
Steve shrugs. “Hermionie is a good role model.”
"That she is, but I think it’d get her mocked by all the other fake babies," Tony says, casting his gaze around to all the other poor saps who have been delegated to do this assignment. Clint and Natasha look just as at sea, with both of them sitting as far away from the baby as possible without having it fall off the desk. Pepper and Rhodey, of course, look like they’ve already got their kid’s college applications filled out eighteen years in advance.
"How about," Tony says, and pauses. A name isn’t that hard. People name their kids all the time. Just pick a generic name and stick with it. "Sarah," Tony suggests. He has a cousin named Sarah, and she seems stable enough, even with the stint at rehab.
Steve’s drumming fingers still. “That’s my mom’s name.”
"Oh." Damnit. Back to the drawing board. "Okay, what about-"
"No, Sarah’s good."
Tony looks at him, eyebrows raised slightly. “Okay. Sarah it is, then,” he says, and leans back in his chair to evaluate the tiny plastic face they’re in charge of. “Sarah Hellspawn.”
"Coulson will fail us just on those grounds."
"Sarah Stark-Rogers, then."
"Why not Rogers-Stark?"
"Everyone knows Stark, no-one knows Rogers."
Steve adjusts the baby on his knee so she isn’t falling off as much. “She looks more like a Rogers-Stark to me.”
The weird thing is, Tony is fighting off a grin.
It’s going to be a long twelve weeks.