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No, This One's Mine

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Tony slammed the hammer down harder than necessary. It wasn't that he wasn't glad Bucky was back, it was just...he wasn't glad Bucky was back. And it bothered him that he was bothered by Bucky. The man he was in love with, the man he had been with for a year, had his best friend returned to him and all Tony could think about was himself.

How jealous he was of the way Steve looked at Bucky.

The hammer banged.

How much he coveted the time Steve now spent with Bucky.

The metal reverberated.

How worried he was Steve was going to pass him over.

The hammer fell from his hand.

Tony braced himself against the workbench and tried to work his thoughts out. Bucky had only been back for a month and Tony was already losing it. Steve had never said anything about wanting to be with Bucky back in the forties, but the way he looked at him made Tony wonder if he wanted to now. Steve said he loved Tony, said it every day, and Tony knew he wasn't one to lie, so why couldn't he stop worrying?

It had been nerve racking when he'd first realized he wanted Steve and it had taken him six months to work up the courage to ask him out. Steve was, incredible. He was a good person, genuine, caring, no vices, and Tony was a fucking mess. He'd stopped drinking when he and Steve had gotten together and he went to meetings when Pepper told him to, but it didn't feel like enough. He didn't feel like enough.

After Bucky had returned Steve and Tony spent less time alone together. When they planned to see a movie, Steve invited Bucky along. When they went out grocery shopping, Steve invited Bucky along. Tony hated it. He wanted to do those things with Steve alone. Why did he have to invite Bucky? Couldn't they do things together while Tony was working in the lab?

Tony had started spending more time working in there to give Steve more time with Bucky. His hope was that if Steve had enough one on one time with his friend, he would stop inviting him along to Tony's one on one time with Steve. No such luck. And last week, Steve had canceled plans with Tony to go do something with Bucky; something he wouldn't tell Tony about. All his answers had been cagey and evasive. Which wasn't worrisome at all, no siree. Tony had definitely not spent the entire night tossing and turning, worrying about it.

Before that, Tony had just been upset about his private time with his boyfriend getting cut short. After that, he had been worried about it getting cut altogether.

Fuck it. He wasn't getting any work done here, might as well go up and see if he could find Steve. When they were together it was like nothing was wrong and Tony forgot all the things he was worried about, but apart, all the fear flooded back into his head. And right now those fears were starting to overwhelm him.

He went upstairs and found Steve in the kitchen.

"Hey there," Steve said as he took Tony in his arms and kissed him hello. Yeah, that was what Tony had been looking for. This was definitely better than destroying his tools and sanity in the lab.

"Hello yourself," Tony replied when they finally came up for air.

"I was thinking that we could go out today, have a picnic in the park," Steve still had his arms wrapped around Tony.

"What time?" Tony asked, excited that Steve had made no mention of Bucky coming along. Picnics in the park had always seemed like something only other people did, not him, but Steve loved that stuff so Tony went along with it. And Tony actually liked being seen out with Steve though he would never admit it. It made him feel better having other people see that someone as good as Steve would deign to be with him. He had issues, but he also had Steve, so it was alright.

"You go shower and get dressed and I'll meet you back here in half an hour," Steve told him.

"Sounds good to me."

Tony kissed Steve again, reluctant to let go.

"Meet back here in half an hour," Tony recited when he finally went to go shower.

He left and Steve set out making sandwiches for their picnic.

"Jarvis, where is the mayonnaise?" Steve said as he moved around the contents of the fridge.

"We ran out," Bucky answered instead. "I finished the last of it this morning. But I did put it on the shopping list."

Steve took his head out of the fridge, "Good job, we'll get you house trained after all."

"Hey, I resent that. I'm perfectly domestic."

"Is that why you're eating sugar with a spoon?"

"Yes. I could be eating it with my finger but I'm using a spoon. Like a grown up."

"Something no one would ever mistake you for."

Bucky stuck his tongue out at Steve; who just raised an eyebrow as Bucky proved him right.

"So are you ready to go?" Bucky asked, putting the sugar away.

"Yep, Tony's in the shower. Once he's done we're headed out."

"Um Steve, you and I are supposed to go out now. Remember?"

"We are? We are," Steve slapped his forehead. "Damn, I forgot and made plans with Tony."

"Just tell him you already have plans with me and you can take him out for dinner later."

"I hate canceling on him. I know he doesn't like it."

"No one likes it, but if we don't go now you're gonna have to wait for it even longer. Wouldn't that be worse?"

Steve sighed and finished the mayonnaise-free sandwich he was making, "Yeah, that would be worse. I'll go let him know. I wish I hadn't forgotten; he's going to be upset," Steve sighed. Tony had been out of sorts lately, Steve didn't want to make things even worse.

"Good luck Steve," Bucky saluted as Steve went to find Tony in their shower.

~

While Steve walked he thought back to a conversation he had with Bucky nine days ago.

"Steve," Bucky called as Steve walked passed the living room.

"Yeah?"

"There's something I need to talk to you about, come here." Bucky patted the seat beside himself on the couch.

Steve walked over, wondering what Bucky wanted to talk about, "What is it?"

"Well," Bucky started slowly, "I haven't been here that long and I don't get all the things that people do nowadays, but why do you keep inviting me on your dates with Tony?"

"I don't bring you on our dinner dates," Steve said, confused.

Bucky clapped him on the shoulder. "Not the dinner dates, the other times. When the three of us go out together it seems like it should just be you and Tony out together. It's not that I don't love spending time with you, but if it were me I would rather go out with my girl alone. Not that I think Tony's your girl. He's your guy and that's fine by me.

Steve hadn't thought about it like that before. "I wanted you two to get to know each other. I thought it would be nice for the three of us to go out together. Do you think Tony minded?" Was that why Tony had been upset lately? It made sense, Tony didn't always take well to new people.

"Probably. I know it would have annoyed me if my girl brought some other man out with us. So I don't think you should bring me on your dates with Tony anymore."

"Of course. I'll stop. I just never thought of it like that. I only wanted to spend time with you."

"And I want to spend time with you too. But maybe we can do it somewhere other than on your dates with Tony."

"That's probably a good idea."

~

Now that Steve thought about it he hadn't actually talked to Tony about all the things he had discussed with Bucky. He had stopped inviting Bucky along with them but never told Tony why he had been there in the first place. Maybe Tony was still upset about it? They could talk about it tonight.

"Tony, where are you?" Steve called as he entered their bedroom. He moved toward the bathroom, the water was still running.

"Tony?"

"In here babe," Tony poked his head out of the shower. "Care to join me?" he waggled his eyebrows flirtatiously.

Steve's hands were pulling up his shirt before he remembered that this was not the reason he came in here. Down boy.

"Actually Tony," Steve said apologetically as he walked to the shower. "I forgot that I already made plans with Bucky and I can't rearrange them."

Tony's face fell.

"I wish I could. But I can't. I'm sorry Tony. How about we go out for dinner instead?" Steve looked at Tony and knew he was unhappy about the change in plans even though he was trying to hide it.

"That's fine honey. I'll see you when you get back." Tony wanted to hide in the shower so Steve wouldn't see how hurt he was. He didn't begrudge Steve his friends; just Bucky, he definitely begrudged him Bucky. It wasn't like he thought Steve should be with him every minute of every day, even Tony knew that would drive them both insane, but he had really been looking forward to the picnic and then Steve canceled to go somewhere with Bucky instead.

He'd done that last week too. They had been going to see a matinee when Steve had suddenly remembered plans with Bucky. He hadn't been able to change those either and Tony had been left hanging. Logically, Tony knew Steve and Bucky had been friends for years, but it felt like Steve was ditching him for someone he'd just met. Someone he obviously liked better if he was canceling on his boyfriend for him.

"Really Tony, I want to go with you. I just have something I have to do now. Sorry," he leaned in and kissed Tony goodbye.

"See you tonight," Tony said, and then retreated into the shower. So instead of bringing Bucky on their dates, he and Bucky were just having them without him. Tony tried to push that thought away.

It was fine. Steve had just forgotten about some previous plans, again. He wasn't deliberately picking Bucky over Tony. It was fine. Fine. Fine. Fine.

~

"So Steve how do you feel?"

"Nervous."

"You'll be fine. Don't worry."

"Yes, but what if he finds out?"

"He won't find out. Tony doesn't have a clue, okay? Stop worrying so much."

Steve and Bucky were walking down the sidewalk and Steve was minutely freaking out.

"Look," Bucky said, "If you're so worried about Tony getting wind of what's going on, just ask him tonight at dinner."

"Tonight? Tonight is, tonight is, soon. Too soon," Steve ran a hand over the back of his neck.

"The sooner the better if you don't want him to suspect. You are going to ask eventually right?"

"Right."

"Since you're going to do it anyway, might as well do it tonight."

"That is a good point. You're right. Tonight is the night," Steve still didn't feel completely sure. He didn't know if he was ready to ask tonight. He wanted it to be just right, but he also wanted to get it over with. As nervous as he was about asking he didn't know how long he could wait to hear Tony's answer.

Bucky held open the door to the shop they had just arrived at. They walked in and went to the counter.

"Hello, I'm here to pick up a ring, under the name Rogers," Steve told the man behind the counter.

"Yes Mr. Rogers, we have it ready for you. I'll get it."

The man walked away and Steve leaned nervously against the counter. Bucky looked over the rings under the glass before turning to look at Steve.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong. Everything's fine."

"Sure Steve, now I believe you. Seriously, what's wrong?"

"It's just that Tony's been a bit off lately and I'm not sure why. What if he's not sure about us anymore? What if he says no?" Steve looked up at Bucky, needing the reassurance of his best friend. Recently, Tony had been spending more time in the lab, away from Steve. He was quiet, when normally garrulous. He was irritated, when normally agreeable. Steve didn't understand. What had changed?

"Well I don't know Tony that well so I can't say whether his behavior's changed lately or not, but I do know one thing Steve. That boy loves you. He's nuts over you. Everyone can see it when he looks at you. Maybe something's upset him recently, maybe not. I don't know. But I do know, that when you take him out to dinner, and when you ask him to marry you, he is going to say yes."

Steve nodded. That was what he needed to hear.

"Thanks Bucky. You're right."

"Naturally."

The salesman came back and presented a small box to Steve. "Your ring, sir."

"Thank you," Steve took the box and opened it. The ring nestled lightly on a bed of gold velvet. It wasn't the usual color but he knew Tony would like it. "It's just how I wanted it," Steve said as he showed the ring to Bucky. They'd come together last week to pick a ring out and it looked the same as it had when he'd chosen it.

Bucky clapped him on the back. "Alright. Let's take the ring, go home, and plan what you're going to do tonight."

"Good idea," Steve agreed. He still had no idea how he was going to pop the question to Tony. Thank goodness he had his best friend here to help him.

Steve put the ring is in his pocket and paid. Then he and Bucky left and walked back to the tower.

~

Tony had been telling himself to get out of the shower for the last half hour with no luck. He kept imagining Steve and Bucky out, laughing together, laughing at him, and he hated it.

Get a grip.

They're just friends.

He loves you.

They're just friends.

It's only natural they want to spend time together. He thought he'd never see Bucky again.

They're just friends.

Tony finally turned off the water and stepped out into the bathroom. He had moped long enough.

Tony got dressed and went to work in the lab. Steve and Bucky weren't back yet and he needed something to occupy him while he waited for their return. When he went back up two hours later he found Steve and Bucky sitting on the living room couch and talking.

"Hi honey," Tony said as he walked over and planted a lingering kiss on Steve. See Bucky, this one's mine, go get your own.

"Hi Tony, do you still want to go out to dinner?"

"Of course. I'll go get changed," hopefully you won't change your mind by the time I get back, Tony thought.

Tony walked out and Steve turned back to Bucky.

"I'm going to do it at dinner."

"That's my boy Steve. You're gonna ask, he's gonna say yes, you'll celebrate. It'll be great. Don't worry so much."

"You're right, I know. I just want to hear it. Hear him actually agree to marry me." Steve buried his head in his hands and tried to breath slowly. Bucky rubbed his back.

"It will be great when you do hear it. I promise."

"Thanks. I better go get changed. I don't want to propose in jeans and a t-shirt."

"Tony won't care."

"I will."

"If it'll make you feel better go on," Bucky waved him out of the room and turned on the tv.

Thirty minutes and ten outfits later Steve was ready to go. He met Tony at the garage.

"Where to?" Tony asked as he opened Steve's door.

"The Italian place we went to last month."

"Their rolls are incredible," Tony said, salivating at the thought.

"I know." Steve knew Tony loved that place. He wanted to ask somewhere he was sure Tony would enjoy.

They drove in silence which was a bit unusual. Steve was worried about how he was going to propose. Should he do it at the beginning or the end of the meal? Kneeling or sitting? He didn't know yet. He wasn't going to put the ring in food, he knew that. He was just going to leave it in the box and show it to Tony. But when? If he waited till the end he would be nervous through dinner and might not be able to eat. But if he asked right away they might both be too excited to eat and that would make going out pointless. The end, he would wait till the end and let Tony enjoy his dinner. That was his decision.

Tony on the other hand was worried about how he was going to hang onto Steve. He had been glowing, sitting on the couch with Bucky, eyes lit up, wide smile on his face. Whatever they had been talking about obviously made Steve happy. Tony had to figure out how to get that sort of look directed at himself instead of Bucky. He gripped the wheel tighter, he wasn't letting Steve go without a fight.

Once at the restaurant the maitre'd seated them at a private table away from the prying eyes of the other patrons.

"What are you going to order?" Steve asked Tony. Be cool, he told himself, Tony doesn't suspect anything. Try and act natural. He and Tony were seated in a booth together. Steve scooted away a bit, not wanting Tony to feel the ring in his pocket.

Look at that, Tony thought, even when we're alone he moving away from you. He doesn't even want to sit too close to you at a dinner where no one can see you.

Fuck that, maybe he just felt like moving. It probably has nothing to do with you. Tony moved closer to Steve. Steve moved further away from Tony. Or not...

"The specials look good." Steve was trying to fill the awkward silence. He could tell from his face that something was up with Tony but he didn't know what. This evening had to be wonderful but so far it was tanking.

"Great," Tony said dejectedly, "that's what I'll have." He didn't care what food he ordered. He just wanted to know if this was going to be his last meal with Steve. Earlier he ditched him for Bucky, now he was moving away when Tony tried to get close, none of that spelled an evening going in Tony's favor.

The waiter came and Steve ordered for the two of them. Once the menus were gone he didn't know what to do with his hands. He put them on his lap. Then he moved them to the table. Then he finally grabbed one of Tony's hands. Holding hands, that was good. Yeah, he would just keep holding Tony hand. And talking, there should be talking. Talking about what? Steve didn't have a clue.

They had done this many times before and usually conversation wasn't a problem, but Steve was so preoccupied with how he was going to pop the question later, his mind was drawing a blank on what to say right now. Tony too was being oddly quiet.

"Is everything alright?" Steve asked. "You seem down."

This is the moment. Ask him what he had to do earlier with Bucky. There's probably a perfectly reasonable explanation as to where they went and why he canceled on you. Just ask. It's fine, just ask.

"Do you think it will rain tomorrow?" Don't ask that. Tony mentally slapped himself. He didn't want to talk about the weather, he wanted to know what was up with Steve and Bucky.

"Not that I've heard." Why are we talking about the weather? Tony hates small talk. What's going on here?

"Oh, I guess I heard wrong then." Change topic. Change topic now. "Where did you and Bucky go today?"

Steve started to sweat. Keep calm, keep calm, he doesn't know anything. "The park." Sort of. I think there's a park somewhere near the jewelry store.

He's lying. That's his lying face. What the hell is going on? "Are you seeing Bucky?" Abort! Abort!

"What?!"

"No. That wasn't what I meant to ask."

"How could you think I'd be cheating on you??"

"I don't, I swear I don't. That just sort of slipped out."

"It had to have been on your mind if it just 'slipped out'."

"Yes, it's crossed my mind but really I don't think you would cheat on me. I just don't understand why you keep canceling on me to go out with Bucky. Then I ask where you've been and you lie to my face. Something is obviously going on and I would like to know what."

"That's why you've been so upset lately."

"I have not."

"Yes you have, don't try to deny it."

"Okay fine, I've been upset. But I don't want to be. Bucky is your friend and I'm glad you have him back. Really I am. I'm just...you two have so much history, and he seems a much better fit for you than I do. I was just worried that you would see that too and pick him instead. I love you Steve, I want to be with you."

Fight for you man, Tony told himself. This was his moment to show Steve why he was better off with Tony.

"I'm rich. Not that I think you can be bought, just that I can provide a good life for you. Even though you have all that backpay and can actually do that yourself. Also, I stopped drinking. I've been totally sober the entire time we've been together and that's not changing. I make you laugh. I do things you like to do, even if I hate them. Like going to art galleries, seriously I hate those, but you love them and I love you, so I go. That should count for something. I buy the foods you like, I even learned a recipe. I can't actually make it, but I know it. And I-"

Steve cut off Tony's increasingly frantic babble with a kiss. He didn't care if Tony felt the ring or not. His boyfriend, the man he wanted to marry, had thought he'd been stepping out on him and that wasn't gonna fly. Steve kissed Tony so long the food had arrived by the time they broke apart.

Tony was panting and Steve was ready to find a private room and finish what he'd started.

"Well that was," Tony got his breath back, "unexpected."

"I'm not seeing Bucky. I will never want to be with Bucky. I love you. I only want you." He leaned his forehead against Tony's. "I'm sorry you were worried. I was so excited to have Bucky back I didn't think about how you might feel about me spending so much time with another man."

"No, I'm the one who should be sorry. He's your friend, and I trust you completely. I was just being insecure. You are free to spend as much time with your friends as you want without your boyfriend jumping to conclusions." Tony kissed Steve again. "I should have just told you what was bothering me. I don't mind you hanging out with him. I just don't like him coming with us when I want to be alone with you, or our plans being canceled so you can spend time with him."

"It won't happen again."

"Where did you go today? I know it wasn't the park. Whatever it is, it's fine, just tell me the truth."

"This really isn't how I planned this going. But it's going to be great anyway."

"What is?"

"This." Steve slid out of the booth and pulled Tony toward him. Once on the ground he knelt before Tony and pulled out the ring.

"Tony," Steve began nervously. "I love you. I know I should be giving some romantic speech about all your wonderful qualities but that would take too long and I really want to hear your answer, so here's the short version. You are incredible. I adore you. There will never be anyone else but you. Will you marry me?"

Tony was surprised he didn't topple out of the booth in shock. Steve just proposed. Steve. Proposed. Steve wanted to marry him. Him. Beautiful, smart, wonderful, not lusting after Bucky after all so Bucky could suck it, Steve, who was now staring at him waiting for an answer. Oh shit, Tony had to answer.

"Hell yes," Tony finally shouted as he jumped Steve who quickly put the ring on his finger. They were still making out on the floor when their waiter came to check on them.

"Umm, sirs, the other patrons are staring. Perhaps you would like to return to your booth?" he asked timidly.

"Oh yes, of course," Steve said. He had forgotten where they were, so relieved that Tony had said yes. There were still things to talk about later, how Tony could have thought there was something between himself and Bucky, how Steve could have been so unaware of how his relationship with Bucky was affecting Tony, but for now, Steve was going to enjoy this moment.

Steve got up and pulled Tony to his feet. Tony looked at the table and realized he had no appetite. Sitting through dinner was an unappetizing prospect compared to going home with Steve, right now.

"Pack the food up, we're taking it home."

"Tony we haven't eaten anything."

"We can eat after we finish celebrating, at home."

Steve changed his mind right away. "Good point, let's go."

The waiter had hurriedly pack the untouched food and handed it to Steve who wasn't paying the slightest attention to him. Tony dug some bills out and threw them on the table. Whatever they were he was sure it would cover the food. Then he and Steve sprinted out to the car.

There would be time for talking later but for now, it was time they went home and reveled in their engagement. Tony still had all the same insecurities; getting engaged didn't magically wipe them away, but now he would do a better job of voicing them instead of letting them fester in silence. He smiled at Steve as they got out of the car, knowing he would always have someone who loved him and would reassure him when he worried about their relationship.

Now secure in Steve's love for him, Tony was glad Bucky had come back after all.