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A More Perfect Union

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"What are you doing, Tony?"

It had been a hell of a day already. The country -- his country -- was falling apart, and the team had just gotten back from Wyoming, fighting Thor's son Modi, who'd used the Mind Gem to assemble an army. And now Tony was-- Tony was--

Steve's head was pounding, and he hoped like hell this wasn't some leftover hallucination from the Mind Gem.

"Well, it's not a blowjob, darling," Tony said, with a grin. "This isn't really the best position. I'd rather be on both knees for that."

Tony was down on one knee, and he was taking a small box out of his pocket.

Steve wondered if Tony was insane. Scratch that, he knew Tony was insane; Tony talked to his own brain tumor. Maybe it was getting worse.

And okay, sure, it wasn't like he and Tony hadn't had something going, off and on, whenever they were both single. Steve was no stranger to making do -- he'd been in a war, after all -- and they hadn't really talked much about it, and he'd been certain that Tony had rolled right out of bed with him and then gone on to whichever lucky lady he'd chosen. It hadn't been serious. And, sure, maybe Steve had wanted more, maybe he'd imagined it a little, what it would be like if Tony came home to him, but it hadn't been serious for Tony.

Tony opened the box. A ring rested within.

Maybe it had been more serious than Steve had thought.

"Captain," Tony began, haltingly, and somehow the fact that Tony was nervous made the whole thing hit home, because for God's sake he'd been there when Tony had prevented the New Republic of Texas from nuking New York City with seconds to spare, and Tony had been utterly calm then. Steve started to feel weak in the knees. "Mr. President."

"I have a name, Tony," he said, and he was amazed that any words were coming out of his mouth at all.

"Steve," Tony said, and there was a flash of a smile, that Tony Stark charm. "I had this whole speech planned. It was going to be about how you rejected the whole vice-president thing so I was offering myself up as first lady. I was going to tell you it was a shame for you to be the second unmarried president. You'd have hated it. You'd have made that face. Yeah, that face, that one right there. I just-- I thought it was going to be sort of funny, asking, but it's really not, at all." He looked about as shocked as Steve felt.

"Oh," Steve said, faintly. "You want me to marry you for political reasons?"

Marry you. He'd said it.

"Yeah, that was why I didn't go with that speech." Tony's mouth twisted. "Here's the other version. I don't know what the hell's going to happen. The world is a wreck. DC is a smoking crater. The country is in pieces. I'm probably dying. And pretty much everyone I've ever loved has tried to kill me. You... haven't. And I just thought-- I thought you were the one good thing in my life. And maybe, if I asked, you'd let me have more of you."

"Your relationship standards are astoundingly low," Steve said, gruffly, and he thought about Tony dying, Tony dead. He thought about the time Tony had left. About what it might be like to wake up next to him every day. "You... you love me?"

Tony smiled weakly. "Yes, darling."

The ring gleamed between Tony's fingers.

This time, Steve thought, he wouldn't wait until the war was over to get married, the way he had promised to marry Gail. He wouldn't have to worry about missing his chance. He wouldn't have to come back to Tony, because Tony was already at his side. Right here.

Marry me. Tony's mouth shaped the words.

"Come here," Steve said, and his voice was rough. "Come up here and kiss me."

Tony's mouth on his was sweet, without the bitter tang of alcohol, and God oh God, Tony was actually sober for this.

"Yes," he whispered, against Tony's mouth. "Yes. Please."

Tony slid the ring onto his finger.