Tony's got mistletoe in one hand, a roll of duct tape in the other, and a pair of scissors between his teeth. He is set. Okay, so he could maybe use a third hand here, but he is basically set.
Also he's about twenty feet in the air.
Avengers Tower is going to be festive if it kills him.
He likes Christmas well enough, but it seems especially important that this year -- the first year for the new team, the first year they've been in the tower and not the mansion -- nobody feels lacking. They'd spent years in the mansion together, and it had been comfortable. Cozy. There'd been enough room for the tree, with presents for everyone, from everyone, spilling out from under the branches, filling the room. They'd had candles in every window. The years when Christmas and Chanukkah ran very close together had been the best; when the Maximoffs had been on the team, they'd had a menorah, and everything had always been so bright, and Tony'd always looked around the room, filled with his team, his friends, and thought we all belong here.
Avengers Tower may be a shining masterpiece of modern architecture, but it doesn't really feel like home yet. Not like the mansion did.
Which is why he's hovering at the ceiling in his jet boots, putting mistletoe up.
One of the downsides of the ultra-modern open floor plan is that the communal living area doesn't really have a lot of doors, per se. Tony's made an executive decision that the brickwork walls on either side of the space with the couches are enough like a doorway to count, for the purposes of mistletoe. He's been slowly working his way across the invisible demarcation of the ceiling for about five minutes. Unroll duct tape, get scissors, cut tape, affix mistletoe. Repeat.
"Hi," Steve says, from twenty feet below him.
"Mmph," says Tony, because his hands are full and he's holding the scissors in his mouth. Maybe he should have rethought this.
Ten seconds later he's taped the scissors to the ceiling. At least his mouth is empty now. He looks down; Steve's not in his uniform. He's wearing a nice dark sweater. Not one of the holiday monstrosities Tony keeps giving him. He looks... really good, actually. But he's Steve. That's pretty much a given with him.
"Hi, Steve," Tony says, finally. "You like the decor?"
Steve glances back at the doorway he'd walked through, which has already been completely bedecked in mistletoe courtesy of Peter -- the mistletoe has been webbed to the doorframe very, very thoroughly. Then he cranes his neck to look at the picture above the couches; when they'd moved in, it had been a picture of Steve in combat, the scale mail on his uniform gleaming bright. It's still a picture of Steve -- because never let it be said that Tony does not have his decorating quirks -- but it's from three Christmases ago, the year the Avengers had what was possibly the most epic snowball fight in human history. In the photo Steve's wearing a Santa hat, slightly askew. His nose is red from the cold and there's snow melting on the shoulders of his tacky Christmas sweater as he grins at Tony, who's taking the picture.
Steve raises an eyebrow. "It's very... seasonal."
"Glad you think so," Tony says, and he sticks a few more pieces of mistletoe to the ceiling, using the tape that's already up there, as Steve leans against the brickwork, looking up at him.
"You're really determined to keep that up there, aren't you? That'll stay stuck."
"That's the point," Tony says. "The coupled folks will appreciate it. At this rate we can all be full of holiday cheer and thinly-veiled excuses for kissing until probably July. Then it'll be time for your birthday. Even more holiday cheer."
Steve grins. "Right. Of course."
"I want this to be the team's home, you know." He feels a little awkward saying it, the words too earnest, too honest in his mouth; it's a little embarrassing. It's the kind of thing Steve would say. He always says what he means, heart on his sleeve. And it's not like Tony isn't just as emotional, but he feels like he shouldn't be so open about it somehow.
"I know," Steve says, and his voice is soft. "But, you know, we already know you care about us. This is our home. And you don't have to-- to go to extremes, unless you really want to. We-- we already feel loved."
Tony wobbles a little, boots dipping in the air as he puts up the last of the mistletoe. It is about love, really. He just... he hadn't wanted to say it. Like saying it would make it real, would mean that it could be taken away. Fate brought them together, Steve said, that day on the helicarrier, and he wants to hold them all together for as long as he can. His team. His and Steve's.
He's done with the mistletoe, and slowly he lands, dropping straight down onto the floor. Steve, still leaning against the edge of the brick wall, smiles at him, just a little, almost shy. The smile twitches at the corner of his mouth. Let me tell you about happiness, his face says.
"Well," Tony says, and the words choke his throat because it's not like he can actually talk about his feelings, "I'm just glad you-- you all feel like that, then."
"We do. We-- I really do," Steve says, and there's a note there in his voice Tony hasn't heard before, something warm and inviting.
When Tony begins to take a step away, to get to the box of decorations, Steve reaches out, catches his arm, and looks up. Significantly.
"Tony," he says. "We're under the mistletoe, you know."
Steve's never gone in for any of the kissing games, not really, and for half a second Tony wonders when Steve's going to back off, how he's going to get himself out of this. Then he realizes that Steve has been standing there, under the line of mistletoe, this entire time Tony was putting it up. Waiting for him to come down. Waiting to do this.
His eyes are wide and curious, his lips parted, and Tony can't look away. He never wants to look away. His breath is warm, and when their lips meet Steve is kissing him, slow and soft and sweet. His arms are wrapped around Tony, cradling him gently, like Tony is something infinitely precious.
They pause, in between kisses, gathering themselves, and Tony feels like his world is realigning. This is what they are to each other. If the team is fated, if the new Avengers are fated, then this is what fate has brought him. They were always coming here.
Steve kisses him once more, lightly, tasting him just the tiniest bit. There's a promise there, a hint of things to come.
"So," Steve says, standing back a little but still holding him, "what else are you putting up?" Like he isn't standing here, like he hasn't just kissed Tony for the first time in their lives. Like they're still the same people, but with added kissing. And he smiles.
"Uh," Tony says. He's a genius. He's an idiot. "Um. I. Uh. Whatever's in the box. Lights? I think there's a few strings of lights."
"I'll help with the lights," Steve offers. "And then I'll kiss you again, if you'd like."
"I'd like that," Tony says. "I'd like that a lot."
Steve's arms are still around him and there's a bright joyful warmth somewhere beneath Tony's breastbone, and he knows that this is where he belongs.