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Kittens and Rings

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Steve knew that the big day was getting closer when Tony suddenly went into genius overdrive mode. The armored avenger took to locking himself in his garage more than usual, shouting for Pepper either up the stairs or through the intercom system, and suddenly telling Jarvis to bar Steve from the garage under penalty of letting Clint bedazzle Cap’s shield. Tony all but disappeared into his garage for a week and Steve just serenely smiled. It seemed that Tony had finally decided it was time to pop the question to Steve.

Towards the end of the sixth day of Tony’s manic residence in his garage, Steve was rummaging in the kitchen for ingredients to make dinner. Thor walked into the kitchen and Steve smiled and greeted the demigod.

“I am surprised, Steve, that you are not more worried about Tony’s behavior. He has been down there a long time.”

Steve chuckled. “It’s nothing to worry about, Thor. Tony’s building something for me.”

Thor propped one hip against the counter and regarded his teammate. “What is he building?”

Steve chewed his lower lip for a moment before speaking. “If I tell you, will you promise to keep it quiet?”

Thor leaned forward, a conspiratorial grin appearing on his face as he nodded.

“A few months ago, I found a design for a ring – an engagement ring – on one of Tony’s workbenches when I came back from a mission. I’m almost certain that’s what he’s building down there this week.”

The demigod’s grin turned radiant and he clapped his hands. “Ah! You know of Tony’s plans already! Does this mean you’ll say yes?”

Steve startled. “You – know?”

Thor nodded. “Tony showed the rest of us the design last week and asked for our advice on how to propose. He seemed quite nervous but quite excited.”

“Well, that’s – I should have guessed he’d cover all his bases before doing this,” Steve said with a soft smile. He looked up at Thor. “What did you think of it?”

The Asgardian smiled. “I think it’s a perfect ring and you two will be very happy.” He turned serious and said, “Now, tell me. Long hair or short hair? Do you have a preference for color?”

Steve blinked. “What?”

“Kittens, Steve, kittens.”

“I’m not following.”

Thor chuckled. “It is a custom on Asgard for newly wed couples to receive a kitten as a sign of fidelity and luck. So,” he leaned forward, “what kind of kitten would you prefer?”

Steve raised an eyebrow. “I’m impartial, as long as it doesn’t have Asgardian superpowers or something. God knows we have enough superpowered beings running around this Tower for a lifetime.”

The demigod grinned and gripped Steve’s shoulder. “I am truly happy for you, friend. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to consult Clint about a kitten.”

He began to walk away and Steve called out, “Talk to Bruce! He would know what kind of cat Tony would actually put up with. Clint will just tell you to get something obnoxious to annoy him.”

 

Two nights later, Steve was boxing in the Tower’s gym when Tony came in. The armored avenger looked nervous, fidgeting, and casting his gaze everywhere but on Steve. Placing a hand on the bag to still its movement, Steve smiled at him. His partner looked like he hadn’t slept in days – which he probably hadn’t – and his hair was standing on end, giving him the air of a mad scientist.

“What’s up, Tony?”

More fidgeting. “D-dinner. Erm, I mean, if you want?”

Steve chuckled. “Sure. Tonight?”

“No, tomorrow morning in Paris,” Tony sassed before smiling.

He shoved a hand through his messy hair and looked sheepish. “Sorry. I’m a little – well, anyway. Dinner in like an hour? On the rooftop? With me?”

“No, I would have thought it would be in the lobby with Fury,” Steve said, brushing metal shavings off Tony’s shoulder and smiling.

He kissed Tony lightly on the lips. “Of course I’ll join you for dinner. I’ll grab a shower and pull something on.”

“Tie. Suit. The dark gray one I bought you last year,” Tony specified, a small eye twitch beginning to develop.

Steve leaned over, pressing a thumb gently to the twitching muscle and kissing Tony softly until some of the tension drained out of Tony’s shoulders. “I’ll go clean up and wear that suit then. Relax, love, it’s just dinner.”

He knew exactly why Tony was asking him to do dinner on the rooftop and Steve wasn’t going to lie, it was just a little bit fun watching Tony’s eye twitch return in the flash of a eye as Tony let out a half-mad laugh and turned to walk out, still cackling as if he really had gone mad. Steve grinned as Jarvis spoke.

“Sir, I would not advise antagonizing Mr. Stark. He has not sleep in two days and has more than once threatened to set Dum-E after my servers with a fire extinguisher.”

Steve choked on his water. “Oh, God, Tony really is worked up about this.” He smiled as he left the gym and headed for their shared suite. “I’m sure he was just kidding, Jarvis. Tony loves you too much to do that to you.”

 

Half an hour later, Steve had showered and shaved and then dressed in the dark grey, well-tailored suit Tony had bought for him the previous year as a “Happy You’re No Longer Frozen In Ice Day!” present. He finished knotting the tie in the mirror and turned once, admired the lines of the material; he had to give Tony credit, the man had incredible fashion taste.

“Sir, Mr. Stark is awaiting your arrival on the rooftop. He seems quite anxious.”

Steve chuckled. “Tell him to take a couple of deep breaths, Jarvis. I’m on my way up there.”

He left the large suite he shared with Tony and took the elevator to the rooftop. He stepped outside through the glass doors that Tony had once gone flying out of thanks to Thor’s brother. The glittering lights of New York City were spread out just beyond the edge of the rooftop as if Tony had thrown a handful of jewels off the balcony and scattered them as a backdrop to their dinner. The sounds of the large city were muted this far above the towering buildings and the air was crisp but not too chilled. Steve spotted Tony standing by a small table lit with candles and that flickered red, white, blue, and gold – their colors.

Tony ceased his fidgeting for a moment as he extended a hand to Steve and smiling when Steve took it.

“You kept me waiting a long time,” he said.

Steve grinned. “Tony, if you make a crack about keeping you waiting for seventy years again, I will pull a Loki and throw you off the balcony myself.”

Tony’s eyes went wide for a second until he saw the soft glimmer of humor in Steve’s blue eyes and relaxed a little.

“Fine,” Tony said, leading Steve to the table and pulling a chair out for him. “You kept me waiting for – sixty-nine years.” He held up two hands in defense, laughing. “You never said anything about a different number of years, Steve!”

Steve leaned across the table and kissed Tony, laughing into the smaller man’s lips.

“The public would never believe me if I told them just how dorky your sense of humor really is,” Steve said with a grin as he picked up his fork.

“Would they believe you if you said you were marrying me?”

Steve dropped his fork, a little startled by how quickly Tony had gotten to the point. Then again, Tony was never one for beating around the bush.

Tony stilled his hands, staring at Steve. “I had this whole speech planned. I was going to do dinner first and then tell you how much I love you and why and – well, screw it.” He got up and came around the small table to Steve, kneeling down in front of him. “I love you, Steve. You make me want to be a better person, but accept my flaws when even I can’t do that. You love me for me, not the suits or the money or the rest of it, but just the scarred and sometimes fragile human who still dreams of Afghanistan in the night.”

Steve cupped Tony’s cheek, rubbing a thumb gently across the skin there. “I love you too, Tony. You hold me in the night when it feels like I’m still in the ice. You made the transition easier and gave me an anchor. I’ve never loved anyone the way I love you.”

Tony craned his neck up and kissed Steve tenderly, one hand slipping inside his jacket. When he pulled back, a small, black velvet ring box was in his hand and he looked up at Steve with a small, nervous smile.

“Steve Rogers,” he took a deep breath, “will you – I mean, if you want to, no pressure or anything – marry me?”

In that moment, Steve swore his heart stopped beating as a grin appeared on his face. He had known this was coming for months, since he had found the ring design in Tony’s lab. Now, staring down at the actual ring, glowing softly in the dark, a steady blue in the dark, Steve couldn’t help but feel surprised as if he had never known it was coming. A large smile spread across his face as he nodded, kissing Tony.

“Yes, yes, I love you. I will. Yes.

Tony slid the ring on his finger, the cool metal fitting perfectly on Steve’s ring finger, before pulling the soldier to his feet to tackle him and kiss him more properly. Steve’s arm slid around his partner, holding him tightly, feeling giddy at the prospect that Tony had finally come to terms with his fear of commitment and moved past it.

A shout from the glass doors caught their attention and the men pulled apart, hands intertwined. Clint, Thor, Bruce, Natasha, Bucky, and Coulson all came rushing forward.

“Jarvis? I thought I said no interruptions!” Tony said.

“Sir, I tried, but Agent Coulson overrode my security protocols.”

Steve couldn’t help but laugh at the murderous look Tony shot the SHIELD agent, who just smiled serenely. The Avengers surrounded them, exclaiming over the ring, hugging the two men, and squabbling over who would be the best man for each superhero. Steve couldn’t have asked for a better family.

Tony shrieked just then.

“Thor, what the hell is that?!”

Thor held up both hands, a tiny kitten sitting in them and completely dwarfed by the Asgardian’s large hands. The kitten was a tuxedo with perfect markings and a small fine line of white hairs down his nose, as if he had tried to have a white nose but failed. His gold eyes blinked serenely up at Tony.

“Many tidings of luck and fidelity!” Thor said joyfully, handing the kitten to the shocked Tony.

“I – but – no pets,” he spluttered. “Strict Tower rule – only one.”

The kitten purred and batted at the soft glow of the arc reactor beneath Tony’s dress shirt before scrambling up his arm to perch on his shoulder and nuzzle his hair.

“Okay, he can stay. But he’s not allowed in my lab!”

“Sure, Stark,” Clint drawled. “I give it a week before you have a suit designed for that cat.”

Steve shared a smile with Tony as he gently rubbed the kitten’s ears before leaning over to press a kiss to Tony’s lips. The rest of the night was spent with the Avengers as they played with the kitten and celebrated the engagement. That night, Tony and Steve tumbled into bed together, exhausted and happy, before making love. They fell asleep in one another’s arms, Steve protecting Tony from dreams of Afghanistan and Tony protecting Steve from dreams of the ice, as they always would do.