Tony wakes up to the cold touch of bare toes on his ankle. He has somehow managed to yet again miss Steve getting up and pottering about, like he tends to in the morning, always up too early to be decent (or human, really, but Tony has come to terms with the fact that Steve is kind of nauseatingly perfect in a very Steve way). Steve usually crawls carefully out of bed, eight times out of ten managing to lure Tony into a false sense of security where he just rolls over in the warm spot left by his huge frame and dozes off again. (Unless it's a training morning, at which time Steve wakes him up with a long, slow kiss, often their first and last of the day until the evening.)
Steve is kind of hilarious in the mornings, which is one reason why Tony likes to catch him trying to sneak out as often as he can. (The other is decidedly less pure.) Steve is like an overgrown puppy when he first wakes up, fumbling and stumbling and narrowly avoiding stubbing his toes on the furniture, arms windmilling wildly and teeth gritted against yelping and waking Tony up. For someone so graceful in the water, Steve is a bit helpless on dry land when he doesn't have a purpose (getting to the bathroom at five thirty a.m. doesn't qualify). He gets better the more he wakes up; by the time he's found the coffee and made a pan of scrambled eggs, all traces of the early morning fuzziness melt away into thin air.
(The softness remains, however. This is a secret between them that Tony cherishes more than he knows how to express. He has never been the best at feelings, and since meeting Steve he's had more of those than he knows what to do with. The way Steve looks at him when he first sees him in the morning, all soft and fond and always, always faintly surprised Tony's still there, never fails to send Tony's heart beating faster.)
Steve snuggles stealthily to his back now, sneaking a careful arm around his chest and relaxing into him when Tony makes sure not to stir. Tony smiles to himself when he feels Steve's lips touch the back of his neck, softly, sweetly, so much emotion into a simple gesture, even without Tony having to see his face. He doesn't tense when Tony moves his hand, linking their fingers together, and Tony can feel his mouth curve into a smile against his skin.
"Morning," Steve murmurs, nosing at the short hair his face is pressed to. He inhales, and Tony can't stop himself from shaking with silent laughter.
"Are you sniffing me again?" he manages.
Silence, which is as good as the admission that follows. "You smell good," Steve says sheepishly. "You always smell good."
"You're biased," Tony says, but he can't hide how pleased he is. It's not that Steve is ever stinty with his compliments or affection, but Tony is always surprised that he merits them enough for Steve to actually voice them.
They linger together like that, warm, content to just lie pressed against each other, golden light from the half-closed blinds striping the sheets and the walls, nowhere to be, a lazy Sunday stretching before them like the finest toffee, rich and decadent. Steve stirs against him, smooth skin sliding against Tony's shoulders, the back of his thighs, and Tony feels his cock stirring languidly, a slow, burning, delicious sensation in the pit of his stomach. Tony's a fan of sex, any and all kinds, but he thinks this is his favourite, Steve pushing slowly inside him, no need for extra prep, not when Tony's still loose and wet and sticky from last night, when they'd fallen into bed together, throwing clothes every-which-way, Tony's desperation to feel Steve inside him catching them both, setting them on fire.
Well, okay, so that's Tony's favourite kind of sex, too. In fact, in the interest of specificity, any sex that involves Steve in any way is sex that Tony will love even when he's dead.
Tony arches his back, hoping to tempt Steve to get on with it now, aching sweetly for the fullness he knows is coming, when the lock on the front door to their penthouse catches, and both their heads come shooting up.
"Did you--" Steve starts, but Tony shakes his head pre-emptively.
"We didn't forget something, did we?" Steve wonders, but it's rhetorical. It's useless asking Tony about things like that; that's what he keeps Jarvis around for (mostly).
Steve throws the covers back, intent on seeing who it is (very, very few people have a key to their place, along with no compunction to use it)--but then the question resolves itself neatly when Bucky's messy hair pops through the bedroom door, eyes squeezed tightly shut.
"You two decent?" he asks warily, almost drowned out by Tony's frustrated "Barnes!"
"The fuck are you doing here?" Tony demands, flopping down on his back while Steve settles beside him again, tugging the sheet over his hips.
Bucky opens his eyes cautiously, grinning when he sees them covered. Would serve him damn right if one of these days Tony lets him walk in on them full-out fucking. Though the way Bucky's eyes travel over them sometimes...
"Carter and I decided to come 'round and see if you guys wanted to go out for breakfast," Bucky announces.
"There are so many things wrong with that sentence that I don't even know where to start," Tony groans.
"You forgotten to use that space shuttle computer that passes for a phone of yours?" Steve grumbles, and Tony has to breathe extra-slow for a long moment because the spike of pure happiness can be a bit overwhelming at times. Knowing Steve relishes their alone time as much as he does... Well, it's not something Tony will ever take for granted.
"Why call when I can embarrass the two of you instead?" Bucky smirks, coming to lean indolently against the foot of the bed; and oh, that little shit. Looks to Tony he's forgotten whom he's speaking to.
For someone like Tony, who has trained to twist and shift through the space around him since he was practically in the cradle, this is child's play. Before Bucky knows what's happening, Tony folds himself in two, grabs hold of Bucky's wrist and drags him down with him, tumbling him on top of the covers and throwing a leg over his knees, trapping him between him and Steve. He wriggles down until he can pillow his head on Bucky's twitching stomach and goes limp, arm slumped across Bucky's hips, hand resting on Steve's shin. Not for too long, because it's the work of a moment for Steve to roll over, arms around Bucky's shoulders, chin resting on top of Bucky's head. Both Steve and Tony exhale contentedly; Bucky, pinned between the two of them, huffs out a sigh that manages to, rather impressively, convey irritation, and resignation, and reluctant fondness.
"How many times do I have to tell the two of you, I'm not having sex with you, no matter how hot for me you are," he drawls. "And was that really necessary?"
"Yep," Tony says cheerfully, only barely resisting the urge to bite his hip just to hear him yelp. "Remember, it was your bright idea to barge into our flat and accost us in bed."
Bucky's mouth opens and closes a few times, clearly wanting to contest Tony's point, but in the end he settles on, "'Flat'? You gone native now?"
"When in Rome," Tony shrugs, because he isn't admitting that Steve delights in 'going native', as Barnes called it, and, well, Tony happens to like indulging him. London has been good to them. It's no hardship to adopt a few things.
On the other side of Bucky, Steve's head lifts. "Did you say 'we'?" he queries.
"He did," Peggy says, amused, as she leans on the door and watches her best friends cuddle her husband.
"Hi, Peggy," Steve says happily, giving her his trademark boyish grin that still makes hearts melt left and right, despite the fact it's been two years since he and Tony came out as a thing.
"Hey yourself," she says, cut-glass tones making the room somehow cosy, soft around them.
"How's my nephew?" Steve asks, eyes drifting to the enormous bump under her dress.
"Hungry," she says, arching her eyebrows.
Tony personally thinks it's absolutely hilarious, the way Steve and Bucky's heads lift at that, like a pair of meercats sniffing the air.
"What do you fancy? We can make pancakes, or we could go to St Ali's for a cooked breakfast, or--"
"If you let my husband up, you could both start by taking advantage of the opportunity to get decent," she points out. "Honestly, I can't take the three of you anywhere."
Tony eyes the identical sheepish grins on Steve and Bucky's faces, and doesn't think he has ever loved any other three people this damn much. He doesn't know what he did to deserve this little makeshift family of his, but all he can do is be pathetically grateful for it.
Eventually, they let Bucky disentangle, and Steve chases Tony into the shower to the echo of Bucky's "If you're not out in ten minutes, I'm sending Carter in after you," which is one thing Tony doesn't want to risk. Consequently they take what amounts to one of their 'pre-training' showers, five minutes with give or take a few seconds. Tony throws on an old The Clash t-shirt that Steve and he had found in a thrift shop in Soho, and a pair of worn blue jeans. With his messy hair and dark glasses no one would recognise him as Tony Stark. Steve puts on a t-shirt, too, a great success in Tony's eyes since it wasn't too long ago when you wouldn't have been able to surgically separate Steve from his shirts and chinos. Still, he may have been wearing jeans, but that ass in denim is practically soft core pornography. Tony almost trips as he shoves his feet into trainers because he can't stop staring.
Steve looks shyly pleased, like he always does when Tony gets distracted by his many charms, like he still can't believe that Tony thinks he's the bee's knees (those Brits, so charming). Tony has adopted a policy of letting Steve proceed at his own pace. It works beautifully, in that neither Steve nor Tony get frustrated with each other when it takes a little while to get used to an idea, especially when it comes to their relationship.
They amble into the kitchen, shoulders nudging together, hands brushing. Peggy is at the sink, washing the leftover dishes from yesterday morning and their glasses from last night's late Chinese-take-out-plus-beer. Bucky is leaning on the counter next to her, a dish towel in his hands, drying for her and keeping her company.
"Peggy, what are you doing?" Steve demands, rushing forward and hovering like the mother hen he always turns into around Peggy. "You shouldn't be--"
"I'm pregnant, Rogers, not an invalid," Peggy says, warning clear in her voice. This is not the first time they've had this conversation, but Steve--well, he has a tendency to overreact when there are things he can't do anything to help out with.
At Peggy's side, Bucky is making the universal 'shut the fuck up now' signal of the tips of his fingers sliding across his throat. Steve, grudgingly, subsides, which is probably the wisest thing he could have done.
"You still shouldn't be washing our dirty dishes," he mutters, looking upset.
Peggy shrugs sheepishly, hands soapy, handing Bucky the last plate. "I get restless. I need to channel all that excess energy somewhere, now that I can't do my usual training regimen."
Tony shares a look with Peggy and takes Steve's elbow, steering him to the breakfast table. "Let the woman do our washing-up if she wants to, Rogers, gees. You've told her to feel at home here how many times?"
"Not the point," Steve grumbles, looking guilty, because god forbid that a woman wants to wash her own dishes in Steve's 'women shouldn't be made to feel like their job is to stay in the kitchen, and I'll punch anyone who tries to say any different right in the pie-hole' household.
"Barnes, pass the orange juice from the fridge?" Tony says, going for distraction while he puts the coffee on. Bucky puts away the plate and turns, making his way to the fridge with a very slight, very distinct limp in his step. Tony stops with the spoon of coffee grounds halfway to the machine and stares, mouth hanging open. Bucky takes the juice from the fridge, turns around and stops in his tracks, too, pinned in place by Tony's wide-eyed glare.
"Barnes, you didn't. You fucking did not, not after that whole song and dance about how straight you are, how could you do this to--"
Tony's eyes track the way Bucky darts Peggy a quick look, the amused quirk in the corner of Peggy's lips, the way she slides her tongue over the bottom one and Barnes' eyes darken. It is then that it occurs to Tony that there are more than one ways to get fucked.
"--Oh," he trails off lamely, followed, cleverly, by "Oh. Peggy, you minx, hit it." He strides over and holds up his fist. After a moment, Peggy, looking mightily smug, bumps his knuckles with hers.
"Is someone going to tell me what's going on?" Steve asks mildly, now that it's clear that there won't be a punch-up in their kitchen.
Tony looks at him and lifts both eyebrows, tilting his head at Bucky, who has a faint pink tinge over his cheekbones but who looks thrilled with his lot in life. Well, Tony would be too if he was in Bucky's place and had a wife like that.
"Steve, baby," Tony pleads. "Not even you can be this oblivious. You know that walk. You've seen me do it almost every morning, and you've done it yourself often enough."
Steve binks, watches Bucky strut closer, and his face erupts in a fiery blush. "Oh," he says, catching on. Peggy looks delighted; Tony's sure they've made her morning.
"If you're done speculating on my sex life," she purrs, and that's the flimsiest reprimand that Tony has ever heard. He can't say he blames her; the last time he tapped the ass currently warming the chair at the table, he'd been as smug as a whole herd of cats in a cream factory.
They do, eventually, go to breakfast, where Bucky shows them the 4D ultrasound snapshots of James Jr, and Steve, showcasing his usual tendency to overthink everything that has to do with the people he cares about, starts telling them about the schools he's been researching.
Tony insists on paying, ostensibly to make amends for Steve's overzealousness, but also because he just likes to, likes treating them. It's not like he could ever repay them for what they have done for him: given him a home, friends, welcomed him into their little group, become his family on par with Pepper and Jarvis and Rhodey.
His wallet falls open as he's reaching inside for the cash, and he becomes acutely aware of the sudden absence of noise where their chatter had filled the air. He looks up, only to find them looking down at his wallet, the picture tucked inside the see-through flap, a smaller version of the exquisitely framed snapshot that sits in pride of place on the mantelpiece in their living room.
It's the afternoon of Bucky and Peggy's wedding, a perfect summer day in the gardens of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, lush greenery abounding, clear blue skies, on-demand sunshine, a day blessed with every delight. The four of them have their arms around each other's shoulders, grinning at the camera like they have just won life's lottery, young and bright and happy, hair a little mussed from the many hours of celebration, Steve in his Maid of Honour dove-gray smocking and Tony in classic Best Man tuxedo, Bucky in his wedding coat, Peggy in a pristine white skirt suit, little pillbox hat long lost to the revelry. They cling on to each other like they'll never let go, Bucky next to Tony next to Peggy next to Steve, so much joy that Tony honestly doesn't know what to do with himself every time he looks at that photograph.
He smiles sheepishly now, gently flips his wallet closed, meets their eyes. It should be impossible to cram so much fondness in so few people, but the three of them somehow manage, and Tony doesn't think he looks far behind.
"Has Steve told you about the around-the-world swimming tour he plans to take James on when he turns eighteen?" Tony says, as much to break the strangely amiable silence as to see their faces. They don't disappoint him; "Oh, dear God," Peggy says, half-amused, half-despairing, while Bucky drops his head onto his arms and groans, loudly. Steve is flushed and grinning, looking stupidly proud of himself.
"I'm not going to be the only one taking him, am I," Steve reminds him -- and this is Tony's life now, twenty-year plans and nephews-cum-godsons and friends that won't let him crawl back into himself, keep the world at a distance. He's part of this now, their lives intertwined for better or worse, and god knows that this is where he intends to stay.