"Look, all I'm saying is that I didn't die for my country and spend seventy years unconscious just to put up with 98% humidity," Steve said, and Tony rolled his eyes. "The bleacher tickets for tomorrow's game are nice but I'm willing to give up bleachers for the Stark Industries skybox with air conditioning."
"Of all the brilliant modern inventions to embrace, the one, the only one you don't gripe about is central air, and then you complain all summer long every time we have to go outside," he said. "You're such a diva."
"Steva," Bruce said, setting down the cooler he'd been carrying since Happy dropped them off at the edge of Central Park. Tony high-fived him. Steve looked cranky.
"But we could be inside," Steve whined. "Where it's climate-controlled."
"Who taught you to say climate control?" Bruce asked. Tony began unpacking telescoping poles and strange mechanisms from his backpack. "Make yourself useful, start unpacking the picnic."
"Cliiiiimate Controooool," Steve repeated, rolling it around in his mouth as he spread out a blanket. "I spent so many Augusts putting up with the smell of New York in August. And now humanity with its chlorofluorocarbons and dedication to every single individual person owning a car has made it unbearable to be outdoors. Ever. The only consolation is air conditioning."
"You own a motorcycle," Clint pointed out, spreading a second blanket nearby. Natasha busied herself uncorking a wine bottle. "And central air creates exhaust, you know."
"That's not what JARVIS said when I asked him about Stark Tower's climate control, and the bike is a hybrid," Steve said, putting his hands on his hips. "What are we doing out here, anyway? There's no fireworks until tomorrow."
"Science," Bruce informed him, as he and Tony assembled their mechanism. He took something that looked like a glass bottle full of blue liquid out of the cooler, then took a few beers out as well, tossing one to Steve.
"I'm spending the entire day inside tomorrow," Steve announced, seating himself obstinately on the blanket. "It's my birthday, I'm staying in the air conditioning."
"Uh huh," Tony replied absently. "Bruce, help me calibrate."
Nearby, Natasha opened a large parasol and sat underneath it. Clint took off his shirt, displaying an epic farmer's tan. Thor had befriended a dog (this happened a lot with Thor) and was playing fetch. Sam rummaged in the picnic basket and threw Steve a packet wrapped in waxed paper.
"Eat a sandwich and stop whining," he said.
"Better do it now, you won't want to in a few minutes," Natasha added.
"What happens in a few minutes?" Steve asked, unwrapping the sandwich and wiping the sweat off his forehead with his arm. "Jesus Mary and Joseph it's hot out."
"We got you a birthday present early," Tony said, settling in next to him. He leaned over without even asking and took a bite of the sandwich still held in Steve's hand. "I taste malt. Clint, is this your egg salad?"
"Yes it is," Clint said, settling back on his elbows. "And yes, I left the pickles out just for you."
"Clint loves me best," Tony told Steve.
"Clint knows who his sugar daddy is," Clint said.
"Y'all are crazy, the pickles are the best part," Sam said. Clint passed him a packet labeled SAM - PICKLES and Sam threw up his arms in a triumphant V.
"Bruce, we ready?" Tony asked.
Bruce presented Steve with a small remote-control box with a single button on it.
"Is it special fireworks?" Steve asked, perking up a little at the thought, even if his perfect hair was still wilting in the heat.
"Better," Bruce said.
"Happy birthday," Tony told him. Steve pushed the button.
A bright blue jet of light shot straight up into the sky, bursting in a brilliant rainbow just at the edge of visibility. White arcs crackled around it, and the sky began, miraculously, to darken.
"What on Earth..." Steve shaded his eyes, staring up, as the sun was blotted from view.
Something fell to the ground with a wet splat a few feet away. Natasha scooted back under her parasol. A raindrop landed on Steve's nose.
The rain began to fall in earnest within seconds; about half the people in Central Park ran wildly for cover, and the other half laughed and started dancing in the rain. Sam put on the ugliest wide-brimmed hat any of them had ever seen. Steve stared upwards, mouth ajar, and a brilliant smile blossomed over his fast-dampening face.
"You got me a rainstorm?" he asked Tony, who had opened another umbrella and was doing rapid calculations on a StarkPad underneath it.
"Should lower the temperature tomorrow by fifteen percent, the humidity by at least seventy," he said. Bruce leaned over his shoulder and pointed at something. "Ah. Thanks. Eighty." He looked up at Steve with a grin as Bruce went to shelter under Natasha's parasol (and partly under Sam's hat).
"Perfect weather for my birthday," Steve said, awed.
"Perfect weather for a baseball game were we sit on the bleachers like peasants," Tony agreed. Steve leaned over, cupped his chin in one hand, and kissed him, tasting like rain and egg salad.
"Happy birthday, whiner," Tony said, when Steve was done. Steve scooted over under the umbrella, tugging Tony up against him, getting his shirt wet. "Sorry I couldn't stick a bow on it but I'm pretty bad at wrapping presents anyway."
"You literally broke the laws of nature for my birthday," Steve said. "I'd be appalled but this feels amazing," he added, waggling his feet in the rain.
"It was mainly an excuse to get your shirt wet," Tony said. Steve pressed his nose to Tony's temple, then obligingly kissed him again when Tony turned his head and tilted his face up. "I'm a genius but I'm very shallow."
"Mmhm," Steve agreed. He took another sip of his beer and watched the rain fall from the shelter of the umbrella. "You know if the city finds out you're responsible for the freak rainstorm they'll either arrest you or give you a medal."
"Wouldn't be the first time they had to choose something like that," Tony said. "So you like it, huh?"
"Yes, Tony," Steve said with a grin, resting his chin on the crown of Tony's head, enjoying the smell of wet grass and the prospect of low humidity in July. "I love it."