Technically, it’s not even a coffeeshop. Technically, it’s a second-rate cafe that has a vending machine, why does a cafe need a vending machine, it’s a cafe, buy the food from the desk, people, god.
Tony is still lamenting the purpose of having a vending machine in a tragically shitty coffeeshop when some Adonis-like dude in a staff shirt comes over and bends down. To where Tony is half-sitting, half-sprawling on the floor.
Because Tony Stark, CEO of Stark Industries, multi-billionaire who has a very important meeting in twenty minutes, has his hand stuck in a vending machine. And he did it sober.
"Hey," Adonis-guy says, sounding too understanding for someone who is talking to a dude with his hand stuck in a vending machine. "Do you need some help?"
Tony manages to tear his eyes away from the guy’s nipples, which are peaking through his shirt. God bless the staff uniform and the gauzy material. “No, thanks,” he says, making eye contact at last, and wow, okay. Eyes. Wow. Very- blue.
"I’m good," Tony tries again. He attempts shrugging, but half of his right arm is incapacitated at the moment. "Really, I called my assistant, she’ll be here in ten minutes, don’t worry about it, go back to your work."
He tugs fruitlessly at his stuck arm again, and the guy- Steve, his nametag says- gives him a quick once-over.
"No offence," Steve says slowly, "but you look-"
"Like the sort of guy who can buy this place and doesn’t need to resort to sticking his hand up a vending machine?"
Steve pauses, but nods.
"For your information, I can. Buy this place. I don’t think it would put much of a dent in my bank account."
"Okay," Steve says, like, fair enough. He squats further and then he’s sitting next to him, and Tony blinks. Okay. Sure. He can go with this.
"If you can buy us out," Steve continues, and points to where Tony’s arm vanishes into the slot. "What’s with you lying on the floor in a cafe with your arm stuck in a vending machine?"
Tony wrinkles his nose. “I paid two bucks for a chocolate bar. I refuse to be rebuffed by a crappy machine that I could build better with my eyes closed. When I get home, I’m building the best fucking vending machine,” he says, and then turns to the thing that is currently holding him hostage. “Hear that, asshole? I’m going to put you to shame. You’ll be nothing compared to what SI is going to start putting out. I’ll have you in the dump within the month.”
"Please stop talking to the vending machine," Steve says, but there’s a hint of a smile. Huh.
Tony grumbles, but turns away from it, back to Steve. “You don’t have to stay here,” he tells him. He waves his free hand at the shop, which has a couple of customers milling around, eating crappy food and sitting on rickety chairs. God, this place really is a piece of shit. Tony feels sorry Steve has to spend his time here. “Seriously, I’m good. Pep’s bringing the fire department. Go help customers.”
"Sam’s taking care of it," Steve says, hooking his thumb over his shoulder towards the counter where a guy is humming enthusiastically and nodding in time with the beat and looking like he’s having the time of his life making coffee. Steve settles in, moving closer to Tony and pressing his back against the glass of the vending machine.
"Why’d you even come in here," Steve asks. "Guy like you, expensive suit, shoes that’d cost me a month’s rent- can’t you, I don’t know, book out a restaurant?"
"Yes," Tony says without hesitation. "Any restaurant, anywhere. But this was here, and I wanted my damn chocolate bar. First thing after I get out of here, I’m going to slip the fireman a fifty to accidentally break the glass and I’m going to get my fucking chocolate bar out of this machine."
"I believe you," Steve says honestly.
Tony looks at him for a while before saying, “Seriously. You can go. I’ll be fine here, you guys have a map on the ceiling, I’ll name all the states, it’ll be like second grade all over again.”
Steve shrugs. His shoulders are nice, Tony notes. Big and weirdly fluid. “It’s my break,” he says, and holds out a hand. “I’m Steve.”
"Tony," Tony says, not used to introducing himself when he’s in America. Most people, international or not, know him from somewhere, TV, Youtube or otherwise. "Stark."
"I’m aware," Steve says dryly, and that drags a laugh out of Tony.
He asks why Steve works in a place like this, and Steve shrugs again and says it pays the bills, and he does what he can to help his mom. This somehow turns into a ten-minute conversation that scrapes almost uncomfortably deep, and Tony finds himself telling Steve about DUM-E as he waits to be rescued from getting his dumb self stuck in a vending machine.
Steve is grinning by the time Tony starts describing his moron robot’s workshop habits, waving his free hand about for all he’s worth, and he’s laughing by the time Pepper Potts marches in, livid, followed by a bemused-looking fireman.
"Mr. Stark," the fireman says.
"My hero," Tony replies, fluttering his eyelashes for effect. "Get me out of here, Ms. Potts will shiv me if I’m late to yet another meeting."
"That she will," Pepper says in a scary calm voice, and Steve starts easing himself up.
"I should get back to work," he says, and Tony is about to let him, ignoring Pepper’s questioning look, when Tony blurts, "Hey, wait," and Steve turns back.
"We should see each other again," Tony says after a second of floundering. Not his best line, but Steve shrugs and smiles and says, "You know where I’ll be," and goes back to serving bad food to cheap customers.
Tony comes back the next day and hands over several hundred dollar notes to Steve, who balks when he sees them.
"For smashing up your vending machine," Tony tells him. "That was way, way too much effort for one chocolate bar."
Steve snorts. “How’s your arm?”
"Free as a bird," Tony tells him, and leans on the counter. "Hey, when’s your next break? I could tell you about the line of non-shitty vending machines I’m making."
Steve’s grin makes Tony less regretful he spent half an hour on the floor of this dump with his arm shoved up a vending machine in want of a two-dollar chocolate bar.