Steve was fully aware that they were being absolutely sickening, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care.
The Avengers had assembled for one of their unofficial bimonthly team dinners, all of them lined up on either side of the massive table in the common dining area. They ate together most other nights, of course, and it was a rare occurrence that any of them would eat alone. There was always someone in the kitchen cooking something, and it was a unspoken rule that when you cooked, you made extra, because the chances were high that someone would wander in at the smell of food on the stove.
But those meals had fragmented attendance; it could be two team members wolfing down bowls of cold cereal, or it could be five of them huddled around the counter, eating a cake right from the pan it was baked in. It turned out that earth’s mightiest heroes didn’t really take the concept of elegant dining into consideration.
This was different; the whole team crammed into one space, chattering over each other, stuffing their faces, all of them together at the same time. Everyone contributed to the meal, everyone crowding in the kitchen throughout the day to prepare their part of the meal, in massive quantities. A group of that many adults - a few of them superhuman, or not human at all - managed to put away a massive amount of food.
It was probably one of Steve’s favourite things about the future. It was a constant and solid reminder of home, that this was where he belonged. Their lives were chaotic and messy, hectic to the point where sometimes Steve had a little trouble catching his breath. Sure, he wouldn’t want it any other way. He needed the team as much as they needed each other, and as much as the world needed them. But sometimes, when the walls were crumbling down around them yet again, he had to remind himself to breathe.
This, though. Nights like this, where he was surrounded by his team, his family, he was reminded that things turned out pretty damned alright, after all.
Thor and Bruce were sitting at the far end of the table; it seemed like Thor was telling one of his many tales of life in Asgard, judging by the animated gestures that accompanied his words. Carol was talking idly to Rhodey, rolling her eyes in response to the heated debate - it happened so often that Steve didn’t even bother paying attention enough to find out what it was about - that had broken out between Clint and Bucky, mediated by Sam, while Natasha looked on with a faintly amused expression.
And then, Tony. Steve turned to look at him after a long moment of observing the team bicker and laugh amongst themselves, and found Tony already looking at him, a small smile playing on his lips.
Even after all this time, that smile still made his heart squeeze in his chest.
Tony, sitting across from him like always, returning his gaze as he glanced over to meet his eyes like coffee and freshly turned earth, the corners of his lips curled in an easy smile.
The room was alight with laughter and light hearted conversation, the sounds of their voices bright and comforting and warm, and Tony was looking at him like he had all he’d ever need in the world. These were the moments that Steve loved best, his team happy and contented around him, sharing food and teasing each other like the family they were.
And, of course, his ankle hooked around Tony’s, who was unashamedly grinning at him from across the table, his expression soft and happy. It was his favourite look on Tony. There had been far too many times that he’d seen him in pain, something he never wanted to see. This. This was what he wanted; Tony happy and safe and looking at him with that kind of foolish love struck expression that still, after years of being together, made his stomach flip and his heart stutter in his chest.
He might have teased him if he didn’t know he was looking at Tony in the exact same way.
But as things usually went in the tower, the moment was shattered when Steve was right in the middle of running his foot against the back of Tony’s leg, savouring the warmth of skin on skin, when a flying projectile landed right in the middle of the table, embedding into the table in between them.
Both he and Tony startled back and stared at the arrow that had pierced the surface of the table.
Tony just looked at it for a long moment, and then turned to the direction in which the arrow had come from, glowering at the utterly guiltless culprit. Clint was slinging his bow back over his shoulder, smirking wolfishly at them.
“What the fuck Barton?” Tony demanded, narrowing his eyes, just as Steve turned on him with an exasperated “haven’t we talked about weapons at the table?” They had. Multiple times.
Clint shrugged and jabbed an accusing finger at the two of them. “This is a team dinner. Not an orgy. If you wanna gaze at each other like two lovesick idiots, get a room.“
Natasha reached over and cuffed him on the back of the head, to which he made an indignant squawk and rubbed at the spot rather dramatically.
Tony made a petulant noise and glared daggers at Clint. "First of all, we weren’t doing anything. Yet.”
“Tony-” Steve sighed, a feeble reprimand waiting on his tongue, but Tony just waved him off and kept talking.
“And may I remind me that I own this table. And this room. And paid for the food we’re eating?"
“It’s the Avengers tower Tony,” Carol pointed out. Tony turned his semi petulant glare on her. “You can’t keep pulling the ownership card whenever someone does something you don’t like.”
“He shot an arrow through the table.”
“That I did,” Clint said smugly.
Tony just glared. "I’m not upgrading your arrows anymore.”
“You always say that."
"This time I mean it!”
“Hey someone pass the mashed potatoes,” Bucky called out over the din. “Also, Clint’s right. You two are unbelievably sickening."
Natasha elbowed him. "They’re happy, leave them alone."
Tony scowled. "I can gaze lovingly at my boyfriend as much as I please at my table, thank you.”
“Alright. That’s enough.” Steve stood up then, chair scraping against the floor as he shoved it back, and began walking around the table. Tony’s eyes followed him as he moved, their gaze never breaking. Steve asked for his permission with a slight arching of one brow. Tony smirked, seeming to know exactly what he was doing, and answered with a nod of his head, so slight Steve would’ve missed it if he hadn’t been looking.
“Tony and I can stare at each other like idiots as much as we want,” Steve announced, “just like I can do this.” He reached Tony’s side, and curled his hand around the back of Tony’s neck, running his fingers lightly across his skin until his palms were pressed against his cheeks, the faint scratch of stubble a whisper against his skin. He smiled at Tony, and then leaned down, catching his lips in a kiss. As per usual, there was immediate and enthusiastic reciprocation, and Steve let bliss wash over him at the feeling of Tony humming happily against his mouth.
This was of course met with a mingled chorus of cheers, groans and exaggerated retching. It all faded into the background though, as Steve kissed him and kissed him and they melted into each other, taking breath from each other’s lungs.
When they parted, Steve kept his fingers pressed against Tony’s cheeks, his thumbs running lightly over his cheekbones.
Tony was smiling up at him, and Steve drank it in; his mussed hair, the worn out shirt he was wearing that had seen much better days, the smear of grease just below his ear that he’d missed when washing up. He was looking at him with so much warmth and love and Steve just wanted to drown in it.
The team was still jeering at them, but Steve didn’t care. Audience be damned; he could kiss Tony every day, and as long as Tony wanted him to, he’d be happy to oblige.
“Yeah,” Tony murmured, his fingers flexing against the back of his neck, drawing him in close again. “Yes you can.”