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Morning Light

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When he was fighting in WWII, Steve learned that every day he woke up was a good day. His wars now weren’t any different. Stranger, more superpowered heroes and villains, more aliens, more morally grey fights, but still wars to protect people and keep them safe. And every day he wore up was a still good day.

Waking up these days was even better knowing that he was going to wake up next to Tony.

The day before had been one of those common fights against the newest supervillain off to prove how villainous he was by taking on the Avengers. Steve got scratched and dented leading his team through taking the guy down. Tony fussed at him when he refused to be looked at by a paramedic until the rest of the team was taken care of, civilians safe and sound, and the cleanup of the city streets underway.

Steve rubbed his eyes and swung his feet off the bed. He felt good enough for a short run this morning despite yesterday’s bruises. Not a long one, just a 10 mile run through Central Park. He’d be back before Tony even started considering getting up.

He stood up and Tony moved immediately into the warm empty spot. He was wrapped up in the covers, eyes closed tight in sleep. Steve smiled as he looked down at his partner. He’d prefer boyfriend, but Tony scoffed at that, saying they were both too old for that. But neither had found a better title for their relationship.

In the bathroom, Steve unwrapped the bandages on his arms and shoulders. The deep cuts were already healed over and would be gone by the evening. Tony worried far too much about him. Sam would say that it was because Tony was afraid of losing him after all they had been through. Steve preferred not to think about what had happened two years ago. Bad choices, terrible consequences, and they all had barely made it through to the daylight on the other side.

Steve waved to the guards in the lobby of the Stark Tower on his way out. It wasn’t far to the park from the tower. Steve running was a common sight in this part of the city. No one bothered to look up or rubberneck as Captain America sprinted past.

Central Park was full of early morning joggers in their workout clothes and ubiquitous StarkPods. Tony pushed him to use one. But Steve liked peace and quiet when he ran. He’d grown up with the sounds and rhythm of the city. Hearing the noise reminded him that he was alive and well. He’d had years of silence in the ice.

He nodded at fellow runners as he passed them. Usually he put in 20 miles when he had nothing planned. But he’d prefer to spend his day off with Tony, and he begrudged the hour he’d take running. A half-hour sounded reasonable and maybe he would pick up bagels on the way home.

If anyone told him last year that today he would be living in relative domestic bliss with Tony, he would have laughed at them. So much had gone bad between him and Tony, starting with the mind wipe and incursions. The road back to them being friends had been bleak, full of roadblocks and not at certain, much less lovers.

Remembering, he could see Tony in his new silver armor. They were angry men, tortured by what they had lost, but Tony had stood by him at the end when it counted. That had stopped Steve in his tracks.

That was it, enough to break through the wall between them. They worked together to stop the incursions and fix the time stream. It worked. He didn’t know why Tony just being there changed his mind. Steve thought at first that Tony had only wanted to buy time to try his latest ideas. But he had been as lost without Steve as Steve had been without him.

Steve rounded the last turn in his run and headed to the bakery. He didn’t mind the wait as he breathed in the warm scents of coffee, warm bread and cinnamon. Maybe he wouldn’t order only bagels this morning …

“Good morning, Steve,” said Maria, the cheerful older woman who owned the shop with her husband. “So what do you want today?”

Steve hemmed and hawed. “Maybe just one of everything?”

He watched her pack a box of their best pastries with a few extra, and then she charged only for a dozen pastries. Tony always teased him that Steve was Maria’s favorite. Steve insisted on paying full price.

“No,” Maria laughed, pushing away Steve’s hand. “I haven’t see Tony in a few weeks.”

“He’s been traveling for business.”

“Tell him Maria asked about him.” She put the box into a bag and handed it over to Steve. Winking at him, she teased, “When are you going to make an honest man out of him?”

Steve laughed it off. “See you later.”

He picked up coffee and a paper from the coffee shop a couple of doors down from the bakery. He headed back to the tower while the city came sluggishly to life around him.

Stopped by a traffic light, Steve’s thoughts wandered to Tony curled up in the sheets in their bedroom. Tony had clung to him all night long as if he let go, Steve would disappear. To be honest, he did the same if Tony got injured, or had nightmares, or had a bad day.

He was lucky to have Tony in his life. He couldn’t imagine losing him again. There were no guarantees in their line of work.

In the elevator on the way up to the penthouse, the thought flashed across his mind that he could ask Tony to marry him.

When the elevator car stopped at their floor, the doubt settled in. Everyone knew that they were living together and that they were a couple. A couple forged tight and strong through war, pain, loss. No need for a ring or piece of paper to make a bond like that official.

Tony was still asleep, his black hair peeking out from under the covers. Steve leaned against the doorway, watching him. He could imagine Tony standing at the altar in his best suit among all their friends waiting for him. He see the glint of light on his ring on Tony’s finger.

His heart clenched at the thought. Maybe he wanted that. Maybe he wanted that a lot.

He carefully sat down on the bed, but he still woke Tony up.

“Coffee?” Tony asked in a sleep-blurred voice.

Putting the box and coffee on the bed, Steve bent over and kissed the top of Tony’s head. “Yeah. Coffee. And breakfast.”

Tony stirred and slowly propped himself up, his sharp blue eyes full of love. He reached out to grab the proffered cup.

“Glad to see me or the coffee?” Steve teased. He ran a hand through Tony’s thick black hair.

“Not sure. Need to wake up first.”

Steve swung his legs up on the bed and scooted up to lean against the headboard. Tony immediately laid his head on Steve’s shoulder. Steve opened the box and looked for a bearclaw. “Maria says hello.”

“That’s nice.”

“She wanted to know when I’m going to make an honest man out of you.”

Tony snorted. He drank his coffee. Steve offered him a bite of the bearclaw. Then Tony looked thoughtful. “Well, when are you?”

“When am I what?” Steve asked. He was scanning the Bugle’s front page.

“Making an honest man out of me.” Tony yawned. He snuggled further into Steve’s side.

Steve’s heart skipped a beat. “Would you?”

“What?”

“Would you want to marry me?”

Tony stretched. “Only if you put into the wedding vows that you bring me coffee in bed every day.”

Steve put an arm around Tony’s shoulders. “If you want.” He squeezed. “But seriously, would you marry me?”

No response. Steve could feel Tony tighten up. His blood ran cold. He was so certain about Tony, trusted him so much, even after the horrible stuff that went down last year.

“I would be doing you a favor taking you off the market,” Tony said. “You’ve been a bachelor for longer than some countries have existed.” He entwined his hand in Steve’s.

“Is that your answer?”

Tony looked up at him with a smile. “I’ve been hoping you’d ask for a long time. Yes.”

Steve smiled broadly and kissed Tony, trying to show him how much he loved him.

Breaking off the kiss, Tony teased, “The things I do to get breakfast in bed.”