By the time Tony got turned into a cat, the Meowstro had already worked his way through a bevy of Avengers Agents over the course of a week, so they knew he’d be fine from the get go, and JARVIS just flew him back to the jet.
What they didn’t expect was that he would be bright, ridiculously plush white mainecoon.
Once they got home, Steve asked JARVIS to open the armor and ask Tony to come out. Tumbling out of his cosy nest in the armor’s torso, he flowed down the armors legs and sat on the grating to look up at Steve. His fur was thick, at least doubling his size, and he was already enormous; three feet from nose to tail, if he was an inch. And he had a mane; thick and sweeping back from his face to fluff out into a riotous frame for his leonine face.
He had tufts on his ears.
Steve swallowed and nodded. “Alright, Iron Man?”
Tony made a sound like ‘mvrrp’ and picked up a paw to swipe right to left.
“He dismisses your question, Captain.” JARVIS translated. It did look a bit like one of the hologram commands Tony used more frequently. “I believe we can take the gesture to mean ‘I am fine’?”
“It’ll do. You want a lift, Tony?”
Apparently not. The disdain on his face was only strengthened by his current predicament and he swished down the ramp in a cloud of affront. The other active Avengers trailed after him, visibly trying not to grin, and Steve didn’t bother; Tony wouldn’t mind.
They all filtered into the freight elevator and Tony reared up to press the button for his suite, glaring around the small room before sitting and daring them to touch the controls. Clint tried, maybe not noticing the glare, and Tony hissed; apparently they were hanging out at Tony’s place.
“JARVIS, have we got any food Tony can eat?” Steve asked quietly. Tony’s left ear swiveled to him, but he continued his staring contest with Barton.
“We do. None of the pre-prepared foods we have available are suitable, but we do have some sashimi grade fish and meat in the freezer.”
“Great. Thanks, J.”
Tony led the way to his big living room (not the smaller, darker, space he’d retreat to in the evenings, the one with the fantastic view) and sat decisively on the couch. Clint and Nat joined him like it was any other day, and Bruce leaned over the coffee table.
“I’m going to expand the keyboard for you, how big are your paws?”
Tony showed Bruce a very impressive paw.
“Dude, you’re staring,” Sam said, nudging Steve with an elbow.
Steve twitched out of it, “Yeah, sorry. He’s so white. And big.”
“How are you all surprised by this? He’s always been white, larger than life and surrounded by a cloud of his own issues,” Sam deadpanned.
Steve smothered a grin in his hand, rubbing his face. “C’mon, lets make some food.”
“Sure. J, what’re we doing?”
The avengers looked different through cat’s eyes; Clint was a thrumming bundle of tension; Tony assumed he was picking up a smell, because the impression was stronger when Tony sniffed at his fingers. The urge was to nip at them, too, but Tony resisted in favor of stepping up onto his leg with his front legs –I’m not feeling you up, Clint, buddy, I swear– and sniffing at his very confused face. Huh. Clint was his.
The cat, his animal brain, wanted to uh. Rub his face all over Clint’s.
Well, that wasn’t that new, Tony wanted to put his name on all of them all the time. Maybe not his face, though… His fingers would do.
Tony hooked his paw around Clint’s wrist and rubbed his cheek over Clint’s knuckles. Heh.
He could get used to this, the sense of ownership was immediate and powerful and reaaaaal satisfying. He shook his fur down and –he was shedding, joy– pounced over Clint’s lap to try the same with Natasha. She liked cats, right?
She was more relaxed than Clint, already, and held her palm out to him. That felt very inviting, so he rubbed his whole head over her palm and wrist. The same sensation of mine and good swamped him and he started purring which, wow, felt amazing.
He settled down with all his feet tucked under his body, which was so lovely and warm his throat swelled with the volume of the purrs his chest was making without- without his permission. He agreed with it though, he wasn’t going to try and make it stop. That would be ridiculous.
Nat looked down at her hand, wriggled her fingers, then reached down and brushed her knuckles from the back of his head to the base of his tail. Now that was better than any thrice-certified, super delux hot-rocks Taiwanese massage he’d ever had.
And then she did it again, with her whole palm.
He may have lost time there for a second, because next he knew, Steve was setting down a long, rectangular platter. Tony looked up, Nat’s hand still on his back and made eye contact. His usual endearments and thanks came out as a long blink and a throbbing rumble.
The plate contained an artfully arranged platter of sashimi and rare game meats slivered into little fans. Clint and Natasha got plates piled up with spaghetti and meatballs that smelled…very interestingly different to what he was expecting.
Steve was still standing there awkwardly, though Sam had found a seat already, and Bruce was bringing his own plate in, bee-lining for the open space next to him. Tony squished up next to Natasha, opening the space between him and Clint for Steve, and paped the cushion pointedly. Here. Now. Please.
Steve settled in, with a smile and Tony blinked at him again, before settling into a comfortable eating position. This seemed to involve a crouch on his front paws, and a lot of tail curling, but was very comfortable.
While he had no idea what cats had to eat, he was sure JARVIS would, so he tucked in.
The unseasoned beef tartar had a particular extra satisfaction to it with this tongue and the barely-cooked chicken was a delicacy. The tuna steak, small and in three delicate slices, was delicious beyond all reason, so he saved the third slice for last while he finished dealing with a piece of salmon that had been rolled into a flower.
He meant to say: ‘Steve, you are ridiculous and I love you, this is wonderful’ but it came out as a combination of purring and twitching his large back end to rest heavily against Steve’s leg.
This was acceptable.
He finished his last slice of tuna sashimi and licked his jaw automatically. He definitely didn’t get all traces of fish and meat off though, so he rubbed his face on a napkin someone had thoughtfully left on his knee. Steve hadn’t finished eating though, so Tony hopped down for a postprandial stretch. His legs were amazingly springy, which helped greatly with his next maneuver.
Sam and Bruce needed to be his as well.
He sprung easily up onto Sam’s legs, stepping delicately on the muscled parts, and not the tender ones. No claws, too, which was harder.
“Hey Tony. Y’all right?” Sam asked.
Nodding felt very weird.
“What can I do for you?”
Tony tapped his wrist and Sam offered his knuckles; he’d obviously seen cats before. Tony rubbed them thoroughly and found himself rolling over his own head, right onto Sam’s stomach. Tony was immediately embarrassed, but Sam laughed and scooped him up on his forearms and Tony settled against his chest, much more comfortable.
“You’re a softie, Stark, I knew it.”
Tony took the opportunity to rub his cheek on Sam’s beard. Hah.
“Yeah, yeah, go drool on someone else, Cat of the Year.”
Tony rolled back to his feet as Sam let him down, and padded across to Bruce to give him the same treatment.
“Don’t forget to drink water, okay, Tony? I can get you a glass if you like?”
Tony didn’t, not right now, and stretched up to put his paws on Bruce’s shoulders. His glasses got the same treatment as Sam’s facial hair, and when they went skew-if and Bruce took them off, Tony pap-ed him on the head with a paw.
That just left Steve, who had finished his mammoth portion by now anyway.
Tony bounced down off Bruce and then back up, onto the coffee table, to queue a film about something banal using the expandey keyboard. Steve’s lap was available and appealing and he didn’t hesitate to curl up on it and thoroughly mark Steve's pants, shirt and face in addition to his knuckles.