I actually think this is really sweet, and I’m once again willing to sacrifice my sleep before a stressful day to write this prompt. I hope you enjoy it!
James stretches his arms high over his head, feeling the muscles in his shoulders and back pulling up in a satisfying way. He’s been sitting hunched over his desk for the better part of the day – and judging by the darkness outside, the better part of the evening.
“I’m done,” he declares, shutting his book and pushing it away from him. “What about you?”
His roommate isn’t answering, eyes still scanning the page.
James kicks his chair. “Hey, Stark. You still with me?”
“What?” Tony Stark – the Tony Stark, son of Howard Stark, already a lot richer than James will ever – looks up, blinking once.
Has James been pretty disappointed when he found out his college roommate is going to be a fifteen-year-old kid?
Is Tony way too arrogant for his young age and doesn’t know when to simply shut up?
Is he also a genius and makes their classes so much more fun and interesting whenever he talks back to their teachers?
Does James feel weirdly responsible for looking after this kid with these big glasses who is clearly putting up a brave front because he’s Tony Stark, he already had a reputation to uphold before he was even born, who obviously thinks he has to be the best at everything or else he’ll lose his value, who does stupid stuff (like getting drunk) to make people laugh, because it’s better to have people laugh with him instead of about him?
Unfortunately, that is also a yes.
Not that James will ever tell him that. They’ve known each other for a little about a month now, and James knows their time together is limited. With his brain, Tony is going to graduate before him and then he’s off to his father’s company, forgetting all about the guy who he shared a room with for a few years.
“How can you even still look at that page?” he asks, taking a peek at what Tony is reading. All he sees are complicated equations, and James immediately decides he doesn’t want to put in the effort of figuring out what it is. “Isn’t it past your bedtime already?”
“You should leave the jokes to people who are actually funny,” Tony says, turning back to his book.
James raises an eyebrow. “Oh, yeah? And who would that be?”
“Me, of course.”
“Did you pay people to tell you that or where does that false believe come from?” Tony doesn’t move his head, he just flips him off. James chuckles at that, getting out of his chair and grabbing his jacket. “How about some food? I’m starving, and I bet you’re, too.”
It’s a true testament to how hungry Tony must be, because he actually does look away from his book. “I’m not in the mood to cook.”
Tony is never in the mood to cook. Mostly because Tony can’t cook. James isn’t sure if that’s a skill he’s able to teach him.
“Neither am I, but luckily, there are places like Burger King. A cheese burger sounds pretty good right now.” He pauses. “Or, like, five. So, you in?”
For the first time since James entered his designated room and found one particular teenager standing there, James sees some kind of hesitation on Tony’s face.
“What? You don’t like cheese burgers or something?”
“What do you mean?”
“I never head them.”
James blinks once. Twice. Three times.
Then another three times.
And once more for good measure.
Tony is still staring at him, almost nervously playing with the paper from his book.
“You… never had a cheese burger?” Tony shakes his head. “Why? How?”
Ah, of course. One of the first things James learned about Tony was that Howard Stark was the reason for a lot of things. Immediately, James his overcome with a sort of pity for the kid (not that he would ever say that, because if there’s one thing Tony doesn’t like, it’s to be pitied). The more he gets to know Tony, the more he realizes that he’s definitely not the person he pretends to be.
James is very well aware that he doesn’t have the power to change that.
However, he does have the power to change one thing.
“Get dressed,” he says, throwing Tony’s jacket at him, hitting him square in the face. “We’re going out.”
“To get cheese burgers, of course. The next Burger King isn’t too far from here.” Ignoring the look on Tony’s face that is half disbelieve and half wonder, James grabs his wallet. “C’mon, I’m paying. Only this time, however. After that, you’ll be paying as a thank you that I introduced you to that greasy culinary master piece.”
Tony tries to pretends to be absolutely annoyed by him, but James can see the beginning of a smirk on his face. Besides, he actually got up and put on his jacket, stepping away from his precious book. James counts that as a clear win. “And what if I don’t even like cheese burgers?”
“Impossible. I know you, you’ll love them.”
“We’ll see about that, Rhodey.”
“You are aware that that isn’t actually my name, right?”
“It is now?”
About an hour later, Tony bites into his first cheese burger and after devouring it with less than seven bites, already reaching for the second one, he declares that they’re going to have cheese burgers every single day.