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How Captain America Says "I'm Sorry"

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“I’m really, really sorry, Tony.”

Tony rubbed at his temple, where he could feel a vein start to throb. He’d been hearing those words often lately. There was learning curve and then there was just…

“Let me see it.”

Steve passed him the ruined tablet, his broad shoulders cowed guiltily. It was obvious he’d attempted to use pencil on the screen and, when that failed, had used indelible marker instead. Tony rubbed at a line with the flat of his thumb, but the pencil had scratched the actual surface.

“You said it was for drawing,” Steve muttered, but his jaw set. Clearly he’d prepared himself to take whatever punishment was going to be meted out; no attempt to wiggle out of responsibility. It was so like him that Tony just laughed. He tossed the tablet on the table, where it landed with an unhappy clatter.

“It’s my fault. I should know better than to get you a $10,000 piece of tech and not explain it to you. C’mere, cupcake.” Tony spun his chair around to face him, held out a hand in invitation.

Steve was still getting used to Tony’s varied (yet uniformly mortifying) choice of nicknames, but he was quick enough to lean down and accept a kiss—rough, quick, with the inevitable scrape of stubble and the drag of Tony’s teeth against his lip. It left him vulnerable to the slap on his ass, back stiffening in irritation as Tony spun back around to his desk.

“I need to finish this project. But you can make it up to me later, maybe I’ll find a way to get a new screen on there for you.” Tony turned his head and waggled his eyebrows, but Steve just rolled his eyes and tried to pretend he wasn’t blushing.

“I’ll see you later, Tony.”

+

Like many eccentrics, Tony slept in bursts rather than consistent patterns: two hours here, five there, a micronap behind his sunglasses at yet another utterly boring Avengers meeting. This time, he was actually in bed—or rather, on the bed, in jeans and a thermal shirt and his bare feet because he hadn’t quite been able to muster enough energy to crawl under the covers—with the windows dimmed to create an artificial night despite the afternoon hour.

Deeply asleep, he didn’t feel the sensation at first, not until it became almost rhythmic.

Tony wiggled his toes. The sensation came again, unmistakable, curling a strange pressure in the pit of his gut. Clearly Steven was less of a prude than he thought (oh, he didn’t think it, at least not most times, not until Steve was saying “Tony, no” because he wanted a little quick action at the start of the day), because he was licking Tony’s big toe.

“Perv,” Tony muttered, trying to drag a pillow over his head, but the licking persisted; when Tony waggled his toes and tried to drag them away, it followed him. “Let me sleep, Steve, you’re always on me to sleep more and when I try to sleep more you—”

“Sorry, were you talking to me?”

The voice was coming from the direction of the door. Not the foot of the bed.

Tony jerked upright, and found himself staring into a pair of beady brown eyes.

“Steven. Steven, what is this. Steven explain yourself. …it’s wagging. Steve, it’s wagging.”

Steve walked over to the side of the bed and scooped up the puppy. It was a ball of fluff with big triangle ears and a round, dumpy butt.

“It’s a corgi. They wag. All dogs wag, in fact, unless that’s changed?”

Tony rubbed sleep from his eyes.

“Why is there a dog molesting my feet?”

Steve grinned, and Tony could tell this was all going downhill. He set the puppy down on Tony’s chest, where it promptly flopped before trying to chew the arc reactor through his shirt.

“Because you said to make it up to you, so I went to get you donuts and the grocery store next to the donut place was holding an adoption event and this one was actually escaping when I walked by and— Don’t give me that look.”

Tony gave him that look.

“I think we should name her Donut.”

“I think you’re a crime against humanity, Steve. I think you should have stuck with an actual donut. And I hope she eats your shoes first.” But Tony still reached out and rumpled the velvety ears, and let the tiny teeth gnaw on his finger, before reaching out to drag Steve down beside him.

“So, she can stay?”

“Only if there are no accidents in the house. Steve, I’m serious about this, I don’t do doo-doo.”

The blonde grinned and rested a hand on Tony’s chest.

“So, does that mean you forgive me for wrecking the tablet?”

“Absolutely not,” said Tony, burying his face close to Steve’s armpit and going right back to sleep.