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there is nothing for me (but to love you)

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“How do you feel about potatoes?”

Tony looks up from the contract in his hands to see Steve sitting across from him at the table, tapping away at his phone.  There’s a nearly-empty coffee cup by his elbow, and a sketchbook opened to a half-finished drawing of Tony’s hands, and Tony realizes that Steve’s been sitting there for the better part of the hour. 

He must have been very engrossed in the contract if he failed to notice the sudden appearance of two-hundred and forty pounds of supersoldier in the room.

“You’re asking about my stance on potatoes?” Tony asks incredulously. 

He can’t help but steal another glance at Steve’s drawing: it’s been five years since Steve came down to his workshop and shyly presented him a stunning portrait of him in the armor, but Tony’s positive that the novelty of being the subject of Steve’s art is never going to wear off.

This time, it’s Steve who looks at him in disbelief. “Why are you looking at me like I’ve suddenly grown another head?”

“You’re asking me about potatoes,” Tony says. “Who starts off a conversation with potatoes?”

“You ask about potatoes when you’re trying to figure out what you’re doing for dinner,” Steve says, rolling his eyes. “Besides, we’ve been talking for the past ten minutes.”

“We have?”

Steve nods, and the corner of his mouth quirks into a small smile. “I thought you were good at multitasking.”

“I am!”

“Yeah, sure,” Steve says, unimpressed.  

“We’re having potatoes for dinner?” Tony asks, changing the topic.

“Maybe.”

“Are we at least going to have some steak?” Tony asks.  “Or chicken, or… I dunno, some sort of protein?  This isn't another one of those 'Seventeen Ways to Eat Potatoes' things, is it? Did you read another one of those Buzzfeed articles again?”

“I don’t know why you all think I have such a fascination with Buzzfeed.”

“You have the website bookmarked.”

“Their articles are very insightful!” Steve protests.

“I don’t think ‘Who Said It’ articles count as intellectual reading.”

“Hey, you can learn a lot about the stupidity of some people from those quizzes.”

“I don’t need a quiz to tell me how stupid people are,” Tony says facetiously. 

“You would say that,” Steve remarks, amused. “So would you rather have the steak or the chicken?”

“Obviously steak,” Tony replies. “Nothing beats a good steak with roasted potatoes.  Oh!  And creamed spinach, of course.”

“Okay.”  Steve abruptly gets up from his seat and gathers his things. “Well, this conversation has been lovely, but I’ve gotta go.”

“Wait, what about dinner?” Tony asks, confused.

“I totally forgot that I have a thing,” Steve says.  It’s such a blatant lie, but Tony’s kind of curious to see where this goes. “Natasha just texted me to remind me about it.”

“You’re getting dinner with Natasha?”

“No, she wants me to help her pick out a new paint color for her room.”

“I can’t believe you’re deserting me just so you guys can figure out which shade of black would make her guns less noticeable,” Tony whines. “You promised me steak and potatoes.”

Steve leans over and kisses the top of his head. “I’ll make it up to you,” he promises before practically running out of the room.

Tony doesn’t even have any time to think about what just transpired because Rhodey chooses that moment to drop in for a surprise visit.

And later, after they’ve each had their fill of pizza and root beer and moved on to screaming obscenities at each other while playing video games, Tony’s completely forgotten about the entire conversation.

~ ~ ~

“I love you,” Tony says when Steve appears in his lab with two cups of coffee and a box of baked goods. “Are these from—”

“Yep.” 

“Did they have any—”

“I bought the last three they had,” Steve informs, plucking a chocolate cupcake out of the box.  

Tony eagerly takes the cupcake  from Steve’s hand and kisses him square on the mouth. “Have I mentioned that I love you?” he says before taking a bite out of the sugary confection.

“A few times, but I wouldn’t mind if you said it again,” Steve replies.

“I love you,” Tony says again. “I’ll love you even more if you give me the rest.”

“You haven’t even finished the first one,” Steve says incredulously, but he starts unpacking the box of goodies anyway. “I still don’t believe your doctors, y’know.”

“Why’s that?”

“There’s no way you’re in perfectly good health with the amount of junk food you consume.” 

“What can I say?” Tony says through a mouthful of chocolate cake. “It’s my superpower.”  Tony can feel Steve watching him unwrap another cupcake, but he can’t find it in himself to care.

“I will never understand your fixation with those things.”  

“They aren’t things, Steven,” Tony states, scandalized. “They’re cupcakes.”

“Okay, so…?”

“’So’ what? They’re delicious.”  

“You know what else is delicious?  An actual cake.”

“They’re not the same.”

Steve frowns. “What’s the difference?”

“The frosting to cake ratio on a cupcake is so much more ideal,” Tony explains, licking chocolate off of his fingers. “Besides, eating a dozen of these makes you feel slightly less guilty than eating a whole cake.”

“You’re very passionate about cupcakes,” Steve observes.

Tony grins.  “Give me a cupcake any day and I’ll be a happy man.”

~

“I thought I’d find you out here.”

Tony welcomes the arms that wrap around his waist.  “What gave me away?” he asks, leaning into the kiss that Steve presses against his temple.

“Well, you weren’t in your lab…”

“Good use of your deductive reasoning skills then,” Tony comments, sprinkling some more flower food onto the soil.  He finds himself spending more and more time in the garden these days.  It was nice to get away from work every now and then.  “What about you make yourself useful?” he says, handing over a spray bottle.

Steve eyes the object wearily. “I don’t have much of a green thumb.”

“I know. That’s why you’re not getting anywhere near these lilies.  You can start misting those houseplants over there.  It would take a lot more than you to kill them.”

“They are beautiful,” Steve says as he watches Tony harvest a few lilies and put them into a vase. “You really outdid yourself this year.”

Tony found himself blushing from the simple compliment. “Jarvis used to plant them at the mansion,” he explains. “He had other flowers too, but lilies were his favorite.  He’d let me help out whenever I was home from school.”

“Sounds nice.”

“Some of my favorite memories were in that greenhouse.  I know it seems silly, but—”

“It’s not silly.”

Tony smiles fondly. “Thanks.  I remember, one year, Jarvis tried planting roses.”

“What happened?” Steve inquires.

“Squirrels,” Tony replies with a chuckle. “No matter what he did, the squirrels would always find a way to eat them.  Ever since then, he swore off roses.  He wouldn’t even let anyone bring them into the house.  To be honest, I’m not a big fan of roses either.”  

“I’m glad I never got you roses then,” Steve says.

“Yeah, because a bunch of celery is so much better.”

“Hey, every florist in Manhattan was closed!” Steve protests. “Is it my fault I got home late from a mission?”

~ ~ ~

“This is nice,” Tony murmurs as he and Steve sway to the music. The band is playing a rendition of Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, and it's a nice distraction from the airheaded party-goers.

Steve laughs. “You’re only saying that because I don’t step on your feet anymore.”

“Yeah, well I’d rather you step on my feet for the rest of my life than dance with anyone else.”  The words leave Tony’s mouth before he can even stop them, and when Steve pauses and takes a step back, he thinks he’s said the wrong thing.

They’ve talked about marriage a few times in passing over the course of the five years they’ve been together, but it’s always been Steve who’s brought it up.

It isn’t like Tony’s opposed to the idea.  In fact, he’s pretty sure that he and Steve are more married than most other couples (what with living together, working together, and saving the world together).   

Tony has absolutely no intention of living the rest of his life without Steve, but recently, the actual topic of marriage seems to cross his mind more and more frequently. 

Even now, as they’re standing in the middle of the dance floor, Tony is hyperaware of Steve’s hand in his, and he idly wonders what it would be like to brush his thumb over Steve’s finger and feel the smooth metal of a ring there.

“Do you like this music?” The question throws Tony off guard, and in an uncharacteristic move, he stumbles and steps on Steve’s toes.

“Do I what?” he asks after falling back into rhythm.

“What do you think of the music?” Steve asks again, effortlessly dipping Tony.  

“It’s nice,” Tony replies when he’s righted up again.  He’s still seriously baffled by the abrupt change in topic, but he presses on anyway: “I used to hate this kind of stuff when I was kid. It reminded me of the dance lessons my mom forced me to take when I was younger.  But I actually like this jazzy, big band stuff a lot now,” he admits.  

“As much as your classic rock?” Steve teases.

Tony scowls, which makes Steve laugh. “Don’t even joke about that.”

“What made you change your mind, then?”

“I dunno,” Tony says noncommittally. “You’re always singing these types of songs, even when you don’t realize it… and whenever I hear them, I think of you.”

Steve pauses mid-step. “It does?” 

Tony isn’t sure why Steve still gets like this: why Steve is always so surprised when Tony reminds him of how much he loves him, like he’s… unworthy of Tony’s affection.  It’s silly because it’s been almost five years, but Tony still hasn’t completely wrapped his head around the fact that Steve’s chosen him of all people.

Tony smiles. “I may be a little biased but anything that reminds me of you is a good thing.”

~ ~ ~

 “You are,” Tony gasps, still coming down from the high of his orgasm, “s—so good at that.”

Steve crawls up Tony’s body and kisses his cheek—an act so innocent Tony almost forgets the very dirty things that Steve had been doing with his mouth just a minute ago. 

“Yeah?” Steve asks. “How good am I exactly?”

Tony rolls his eyes. “Oh, shut up.  You know you’re amazing.”

“Yeah, I know,” Steve says cheekily, “but knowing that I can turn Tony Stark into a helpless, incoherent mess does wonderful things to my ego.”

“Hey!” Tony says indignantly. “I may be a mess, but at least I’m a hot mess.”

“Mm… that you are,” Steve says before capturing Tony’s lips in a kiss.

Tony clutches at Steve like a lifeline: Steve’s kisses are intoxicating, and Tony wants to give him as good as he gets. “I’m very hot,” he murmurs against Steve’s mouth.

Steve hums in agreement, his arousal pressing hotly against Tony’s abdomen. “The hottest.”  

Tony pushes at Steve’s shoulder impatiently, and he moves away long enough to allow Tony to flip them over.

“Think you can go again?” Steve asks as Tony straddles him.

“No,” Tony answers apologetically.  He keens when the head of Steve’s cock catches against his hole, already stretched and slick.  He loves Steve’s ability to multi-task.  “But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy myself,” he adds. 

Steve’s hands hover over Tony’s hips, hesitant to touch him. “I don’t want to hurt you…”

“Don’t be silly, sweetheart.  You could never hurt me.”  Steve visibly relaxes then, so Tony figures he’s said the right thing.  “Just lie back and enjoy the show.”

“Tony, don’t push yoursel—Jesus.” Steve groans as Tony abruptly lowers himself onto Steve’s cock.  His grip on Tony’s hips tightens involuntarily. “You’re amazing.”

“I try.”

“This won’t take long,” Steve warns as Tony begins to move.

“Are you really that close?” Tony asks even though he knows the answer.  There have been multiple instances in which Steve’s orgasmed just from watching Tony come undone.

“Tony… please.” Steve’s hands roam over his chest to his thighs, before settling on Tony’s ass, urging him to move.

Tony loves it when Steve gets desperate.  He’s always a considerate lover—always making sure that Tony comes before he does—and Tony loves it, but Tony also loves driving Steve crazy.  

He works his hips faster, letting Steve’s cock slip out of his hole almost entirely before slamming back down again.  He knows he’ll be sore in the morning, but it’s worth it to see Steve begging for release.

True to his word, Steve doesn’t take long.  After only a couple minutes, Steve grabs Tony’s hips again and fucks into him good and hard a few more times before he’s shouting Tony’s name as his orgasm is punched out him.  

“I love you,” Steve says as Tony slips off of him.

“I love you, too,” he responds, kissing the stupid smile on Steve’s face. “And I love it when you’re like this.”

Steve peers at him through half-lidded eyes. “Like what?” He’s still working on catching his breath, and Tony takes pride in the fact that he can do that to Steve. 

“So relaxed,” Tony explains. “You’re usually always so tense.  Always working.”

“Hm… you’re one to talk,” Steve mumbles.

“Roll over,” Tony instructs, pleased when Steve does so without question.  He reaches for the drawer in the bedside table and takes out a battle of vanilla-scented oil, spreading some on his palms.

Steve groans the moment Tony’s hands make contact with his shoulders. 

“Good?”

“Since when do you ask stupid questions?” Steve asks. “Lower?”

Tony obliges him, and Steve actually whimpers. “I might be able to go again if you keep making noises like that,” Tony comments.  

Steve chuckles. “I can’t help it.  You just have that effect on me.”

“I’m glad.”  Tony continues massaging him in silence for a few minutes before asking: “What do you think of going away?”  

Steve turns his head and looks up at him. “Away?”

“Vacation,” he clarifies. “When was the last time we had any time to ourselves that wasn’t rudely interrupted by a supervillain trying their hand at world domination again?”

Steve looks thoughtful. “Did you have a destination in mind?”

“Not really.  We could go to a cheap motel in the middle of nowhere for all I care.  I just want to be with you.”

“I was thinking of something a little classier than that.”

“Oh?  Like what?”

“We could go to Europe?  Or the islands.  Maybe even somewhere in Asia.”

“What about Venice?” Tony suggests.  The last time he had been there was over thirty years ago with his mother. “We could go in September.  It’s supposed to be really nice that time of year.”

“Venice it is then.”

~ ~ ~

“I thought you said that we were going to a charity auction in Manhattan,” Tony says as the car pulls up to a seaside country club.

“I lied,” Steve replies.  

“You?  Steve Rogers, Captain America, lied?” Tony exclaims, feigning shock. “Is the ending?”

“I’m entitled to a little fib every now and then,” Steve says playfully.  He parks the car and takes the key out of the ignition. “You ready?”

“I don’t really have an answer to that question considering I don’t know what I’m supposed to be ready for,” Tony points out, but he gets out of the car anyway, following Steve around the side of the country club towards the sandy beach. 

Steve toes his shoes off and nonchalantly throws them onto a nearby pile in the sand, as if the mountain of footwear isn’t comprised of Gucci dress shoes and Louboutins. 

“Throwing shoes like this in the sand should be a felony,” Tony mutters, even as he places his own shoes on top of the growing pile.

Steve stretches out his hand. “C’mon, they’re just shoes.”

“Says the man that didn’t even pay for them,” Tony retorts, taking Steve’s hand and letting him be escorted towards the water. “They’re my favorite pair.  You’re lucky I’m a billionaire or else you’d be getting an earful.”

“What a tragedy.”

Tony narrows his eyes. “Y’know, your snark was cute at first, but now it’s just annoying.  I’m supposed to be the snarky one.”

Steve doesn’t bother dignifying Tony with a response, instead continuing to lead Tony past the sand dunes, towards the sound of the crashing waves, until they get to…  

Tony stops in his tracks, surveying the scene in front of him with a puzzled look on his face.  There are rows of white chairs adorned with hundreds of flowers—lilies, his mind supplies.  A string quartet is playing a lovely arrangement of The Way You Look Tonight by the make-shift altar, where a minister is patiently waiting. 

This is definitely not the charity function that Steve had told him they were going to earlier.

“Is this a wedding?” Tony asks, looking back at Steve. “Whose wedding is th—”

In lieu of an actual answer, Steve gets down on one knee, and Tony falls silent. 

Steve is smiling, but beneath that Tony can see the uncertainty in his eyes.  It’s a nervousness that Tony’s only ever seen in him twice before: the first time being the day that Steve first asked him on a date, and the second time only happening a few days after that when they first made love.

“Steve,” Tony says, his voice low enough that the hitch in his breath is almost unnoticeable. “Who’s getting married?”

“Us,” Steve replies.  His hand fumbles in his jacket pocket for a few moments before taking out a sleek gold band.  “If you’ll have me, that is.”

Suddenly, it all makes sense.  All of the strange questions Steve had asked him over the past few months, all of the secret meetings and private phone calls: all of it was in preparation for this day.

Their wedding day.

Tony looks over Steve’s shoulder towards the deck of the country club, where an army of waiters is putting the finishing touches on what looks like a very lavish party: rearranging place settings, touching up the floral center pieces, and assembling what looked like an enormous cupcake tower on one of the tables towards the back.  There’s even a sixteen-piece jazz orchestra setting up on the stage.   

“Sweetheart,” Steve says softly, capturing Tony’s attention again.  

“Steve…”

“For so long, I thought I knew what I wanted,” Steve confesses. “I thought I had it all figured out, but then I met you, and I realized that I didn’t know anything.  I know now that nothing could have prepared me for you—for loving you so much that everything else seems insignificant.  I can’t imagine my life without you in it, so Tony Stark, will you marry me?”

“You are such an asshole.”    

Steve’s smile falters. “Excuse me?”

“You sneaky bastard,” Tony says.  “I can’t believe you managed to hide all of this from me for six months.”

Tony suddenly has a feeling he’s being watched, and momentarily looks over his shoulder to see all of their friends watching them from the sidelines.

How Tony had failed to notice them in the first place, he isn’t exactly sure.  

Steve’s brow furrows in concern. “Honey, are you—”

“Okay?  Of course I’m not okay,” Tony cries, his voice a higher octave than usual.  He knows he sounds hysterical, but he can’t help it. “You just asked me to marry you out of fucking left field!  At a ceremony that’s supposed to take place in half an hour!  I think I have a right to freak out a little.”

 “No.  No, you’re right,” Steve says dejectedly.  He gets to his feet and pockets the ring. “I… This wasn’t fair to you.  I should’ve known this whole thing was a terrible idea. I—”

“Whoa,” Tony said, cutting him off.  “Who said anything about this being a bad idea?”

“Well, you’re not exactly giving me a very positive response here,” Steve replies anxiously.

“I didn’t give you a negative one either,” Tony counters. “Just… Give me a minute.”

Tony desperately tries to make sense of the entire situation: the last thing he had been expecting when he woke up this morning was a proposal, let alone a wedding

Tony takes in his surroundings.  He looks at all of their friends, and at the incredible wedding that Steve’s painstakingly planned for them—for him

He closes his eyes and takes a few deep, calming breaths to try to collect himself. 

“Okay, I’m ready,” Tony says a few moments later, ignoring the way his heart is still hammering in his chest.  

Steve arches a brow. “Okay?”

Tony nods. “Ask me to marry you again.”

“All right.  Tony, will yo—”

“Yes!”

 “Really?”

“Yes, really,” Tony says. “I never expected it to be like this, but honestly, I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”

Steve beams, entirely too pleased with himself. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” Tony repeats, holding his hand out while grinning like an idiot.

Steve barely has enough time to slip the ring on his finger before Tony wraps his arms around his neck and kisses him senseless.    

“I love you,” Tony says in between kisses. “I love you so much.”

Steve brings Tony’s hand to his lips, kissing the gold band on his finger. “I love you, too.”

Tony doesn’t know what he’s done to deserve this compassionate and thoughtful man in his life; he isn’t even sure if he’s really is worthy of the his love.  What Tony does know is that he’s going to spend the rest of his days making Steve as happy as he’s made him.

Steve laces their fingers together. “Is something wrong?”  

“Nope,” Tony says sincerely. “Everything’s perfect.”