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helpless (like a kitten in a tree)

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At the moment, Tony Stark is Very Unhappy.

And really, that’s a complete and utter shame because he’s in bed, with Steve, and there had been really interesting developments occurring in their whole is-this-a-relationship-or-do-we-just-like-to-yell-and-then-kiss Thing that they had going on and honestly, no one should be allowed to be unhappy this close to a Steve Rogers clad only in his underwear, and this whole situation is just cruel and unusual. Criminal, really.

Tony makes a mental note to ask JARVIS to check just how many clauses of the Geneva Convention are being violated in this particular moment in time.

They’re in Steve’s room in the Tower, curled up on his still-made bed, with a trail of most of their clothes leading from the doorway to the center of the room. Tony had just been discovering some very valuable information about the sensitivity of the ridges of Steve’s hipbones when Steve’s eyes went wide and he sat bolt upright.

“Tony, did you leave the door open?” Steve’s eyes dart to the entrance to his room, the door hanging slightly ajar, apparently forgotten in favor of more, ahem, pressing matters.

“Guess so, why?” Tony is having a hard time putting two-and-two together, because Steve is still in his underwear in his general vicinity, and that made higher order cognitive function a greater effort than usual. “No one else is home.”

At that, Steve wriggles his way past Tony, swinging his feet off the bed to stand. Immediately, he drops to one knee, sticks his head underneath the mattress, and calls out, “Liberty?”

Tony is, at this point, fairly certain that he’s dreaming. And shit, how exhausted had he been that his subconscious couldn’t even formulate a sex dream properly?

He’s pulled from his thoughts when Steve straightens up again, a crestfallen look on his face. “She’s not here.”

“Who?”

“Liberty!”

Who?” This was not the way Tony had envisioned spending his first Naked Afternoon with Steve. (And you better believe he had envisioned it. Often.)

“The kitten, Tony. The kitten Thor gave me. He thought I could use a companion, I guess. ‘A suitable animal comrade’ he called it.”

“You have a kitten?” Naked Afternoons with Steve takes a backseat to this new revelation. “And you keep it in your bedroom?”

“She’s shy, okay? I was worried that you guys might upset her. I mean, come on, two assassins, a God of Thunder, a gamma-mutated scientist, and an antisocial genius aren’t exactly the kind of people who take kindly to small, furry, defenseless things.”

“Touché.”

“And, really, Tony, I’m worried. Maybe she snuck out? We have to find her before she gets into trouble!” At that, Steve turns tail, a blush riding high on his cheekbones as he ducks out the door, snapping his fingers and calling out the kitten’s name.

How had Tony managed to fall for a man who was the literal embodiment of “aw-shucks”? Tony’s fairly sure this exact lost-kitten plot-line featured in at least one episode of Lassie per season, and if he really is dreaming, Tony is definitely having a conversation with someone because what the actual fuck.

Tony counts backwards from five in his head, and he’s only gotten to three when a scarlet Steve Rogers returns, slams the door behind him, and bends down to retrieve his trousers. He looks up at Tony, and Tony could swear the whites of his eyes were blushing, a hot flush searing from his hairline down to his navel.

“Back so soon, Cap?”

Steve couldn’t even form a sentence; the blush appeared to be cutting off his air supply.

“No worries, like I said, no one’s home. And really, I was not going to deprive myself of the once-in-a-lifetime experience of watching Captain America rescue a kitten in his underwear. It would be one for the newsreels.”

Tony’s pretty sure his smug grin is going to stick on his face, but he couldn’t budge it if he tried. Honestly, the fact that Steve could get so worked up about a kitten that he, Paragon of Modesty, would run amok around the tower in naught but his briefs? Heart-attack adorable. And Tony seemed to be finding most of what Steve did these days adorable. And that was not a word Tony tended to use often. Or ever.

He’d deny it, vehemently, even under oath or threat of dismemberment, but Tony is growing fond of this man. The kind of man who could strip him down, throw him onto his bed, and literally thirty seconds later be tutt-tutting over a lost kitten.

Tony Stark is a total goner.

Steve seems to regain enough composure after redressing himself to squeak out, “Tony.”

Rising off the bed, Tony crosses to Steve and lifts a hand to rest on his shoulder, giving it a quick squeeze.

“Let’s go find that kitten, Cap. I bet there are quite a few feline-friendly hiding places nearby.”