Tony had been thinking about it for a while. It was a big decision for sure, but he felt that he was ready for the next step. It was weird how much had changed in the past couple of years.
Before he met Steve, he barely thought he could take care of himself. Yet here he was, eight years in, wondering how to bring up the "I want a kid" conversation with his husband. He could even pinpoint the moment he started thinking about raising a child with Steve. They were babysitting Avery, Sam and Bucky's kid. Tony had come in from the kitchen to call them for dinner, and had been treated to the sight of Steve playing cars with her, resulting in a big tickle fight. He had always known Steve was good with kids, but this kind of really cemented that fact.
He was meant to call them, honestly, but he kind of got lost in the sheer domesticity of the scene, and was suddenly hit by a wave of need for the same thing. He imagined a little boy, adorable and energetic. Someone he could teach to change the world for the better, someone Steve could teach to paint the world in brighter colours. He leaned against the doorframe, and hoped this scene would be more commonplace in his and Steve's life pretty soon.
Little did he know, Steve was thinking the exact same thing.
Steve never thought he'd find the one.
His other half, the one who understood him completely. Who loved him unconditionally. Sure his friends were amazing, but having a partner was different. Sam and Bucky never did anything that made Steve feel like a third wheel, but seeing the easy relationships they had made Steve ache for something similar. He wanted to find that one person who knows you inside out. That person that accepts you, flaws and all, and loves you for it.
Steve had been on his usual run, when he decided to deviate from his regular route, and explore another part of the city. It's weird how a passive decision can change the course of your life. If he hadn't decided to change his route, he never would have spotted that quirky little cafe, tucked away behind a few maple trees. If he hadn't spotted the cafe, he would never have made the split-second decision to go inside, and would have never met Tony.
He certainly wouldn't be here, eight years later, wondering how to bring up the "I want a kid" conversation with his husband.
Most days, he gets home from work earlier than Tony, since he is an art teacher, and usually leaves by 4:30, depending on whether he's running any clubs or has meetings. Tony doesn't doesn't leave work until 6 if they're lucky, but it's 7 realistically.
Like always, he gets home and changes out of his suit and into something comfier. He likes to get all his grading done before he starts dinner, so that after, he and Tony can relax in front of the TV. It's his favourite time of the day; neither of them are paying attention to whatever's on, not really, but it's the intimacy that's important. They're simply existing in each other's presence.
He gets out the grading for the day, sitting down at the kitchen table with a sigh. It's the middle of finals week, so he has a lot of final projects to grade and get through. It takes longer than usual to get through the pile, but it's not really much of a surprise. Having more grading than usual and being distracted because of The Conversation is not a good combination, but he gets there eventually.
He tidies everything away with a sigh, still completely preoccupied. He knows Tony has reservations about becoming a father, thanks to his own experiences, but in Steve's humble opinion, he has nothing to worry about. He's seen how Tony interacts with Avery, and he knows Tony is going to be a great dad.
He switches on the radio as he scrolls through his phone, trying to look for a good recipe. He ends up settling for lemon, asparagus and chicken pasta, and hums along to the song as he pulls out the ingredients. He just grilling the chicken when he hears the front door open, smiling as it means Tony’s home.
Tony enters the kitchen and immediately walks over to Steve, wrapping him in a hug from behind, even though he's at least a head and shoulders shorter than him. Tony rests his head between Steve's shoulder blades, before speaking, words slightly muffled.
"What's for dinner? It smells amazing amore mio."
"Lemon, asparagus and chicken pasta," he replies, to which Tony hums contently. "Why don't you go and change doll? Then we can eat, I'm almost done."
Tony grumbles slightly, obviously comfy, but pulls away. "Fine. But I'm doing this because I'm hungry, not because you told me to."
Steve laughs, used to Tony's supposed stubbornness, and Tony pecks his cheek, before going to get changed.
Tony emerges just as Steve is plating up, and just about collapses into the chair, causing Steve to raise his eyebrows in concern.
"You okay there doll?" He asks worriedly.
"Uh huh. Just tired," Tony replies with a yawn. "Anyways, there's something I wanted to talk to you about."
"Really? Me too," Steve says. "But you go first."
"No, it's fine you go first."
"Okay how about we go at the same time?" Steve suggests, heart racing. He is really going to do this.
Tony's heart is racing just as fast. What if Steve just bursts out laughing because he thought Tony would be a terrible parent?
"Three, two, one.."
"I want a kid."
"I want a kid."
Both of their eyes widen, and Tony laughs incredulously.
"Really?" Tony asks, sounding more nervous than Steve's ever heard him, including the time that Tony asked Steve on a date.
Steve grabs Tony's hand, his bigger hand engulfing Tony's much smaller one.
"Of course, doll. I want to start a family with you. I'm excited to become a dad with you."
"So we're really doing this?" Tony asks, tears in his eyes.
"We're really doing this," Steve confirms, squeezing Tony's hand.
Tony beams, and they finish dinner quickly. They know the process takes a while, through helping Sam and Bucky to adopt Avery, and they don't want to waste any time.
They make their way to their bedroom, deciding to get comfortable before they start their application. Tony brings out his tablet, immediately clicking on the adoption agency list website.
"Been planning for this huh?" Steve teases, nudging Tony, who to his surprise, blushes.
"Maybe?" Steve only just manages to hold in his coo, instead choosing to lean into Tony.
Their closest adoption agency is the New York City Administration for Children's Services, so they contact the agency, and the receptionist who answers is extremely helpful, explaining that they need to attend an orientation, after which they can submit an application to be able to adopt. They end up booking an orientation for the next weekend, and they can safely say that they're excited.
The week passes in a blur for Tony and Steve, both of them too excited at the prospect of adopting, unable to focus well on anything else.
The day of the orientation dawns bright and early, and it's a massive learning curve for the two of them. They learn a lot, and it makes them want to adopt even more.
Over the next couple of weeks, they complete their thirty hours of foster training, as well as their medical clearance and background checks. It takes a while to schedule a home study, it seems like none of their schedules are lining up. It’s frustrating - especially since they’ve been wanting this for so long, but they learn to live with it. After what seems like an eternity - but in reality it’s about nine days - they finally have a home study scheduled.
You’d think that Steve would be the one to go completely overboard, but when it comes down to it, it’s Tony who goes so far overboard he’s in the middle of the sea. He vacuums every inch of the house, dusts every surface, rearranges the shelves about a dozen times. Steve manages to calm him down after Tony rearranges the bookshelf from colour order to alphabetical order and back again, but even that takes considerable effort.
The days tick by, and the home study draws closer, and they manage to lose themselves in work, but it remains in the back of their minds, popping up every so often.
“Tony,” Steve whispers, shaking his husband gently. It’s their home study today. He’s been up for a while, having not been able to sleep. Tony finally seems to be having a good night’s sleep - the past couple of days have been tough. It seems that whilst they are incredibly excited to be going through this process, it’s bringing back some memories too. Tony’s had more than his fair share of nightmares; with Howard featuring in every one. Because of this, Steve tries to let him sleep for as long as possible, especially since he finally seems to be having good dreams, taking into consideration the small smile that graces his face.
“Hnnngg,” Tony grumbles, turning over and pulling the duvet closer.
“Time to wake up darling,” Steve says, smiling at his husband’s antics.
“It’s our home study today,” Steve points out, causing Tony’s eyes to fly open.
“Oh my gods what time is it?” he says frantically, getting out of bed.
“Calm down sweetheart, it’s only 8 in the morning. The assessor isn’t due for another 2 hours.”
“Mkay, let me shower first then,” he says sleepily, stretching.
“I already showered, it’s all yours. I’m gonna get started on breakfast.”
Tony smiles as Steve kisses his forehead, and Steve heads for the kitchen, whilst Tony heads into the ensuite.
It’s been a tradition for years for them to have pancakes on Saturdays, and because of it, both Steve and Tony could probably make them with their eyes closed. It doesn’t take long for Steve to make enough for them both, and he smiles at the fact that soon, he’ll be making enough for three. He can’t wait to introduce their child to their family traditions, and to start new ones too.
The word family makes Steve smile even harder as he flips the last pancake onto Tony’s plate.
A few minutes later, Tony walks in, hair wet from the shower. His eyes light up at the pancakes. He grabs the maple syrup, pretty much drowning his pancakes in syrup, causing Steve to roll his eyes fondly.
“So you ready?” Tony asks, mouth full of pancakes.
“I should be asking you. You’re the one that’s been frantically cleaning the house for the past week. I’m pretty sure you could eat off of the floor at this point,” Steve teases, and Tony rolls his eyes.
“Is it bad that I’m nervous?” Tony says hesitantly, not meeting Steve’s eyes.
“Oh doll, no. It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous. In fact, I’d be worried if you weren’t. I’m nervous too. It’s a big change. Besides, being nervous just shows you care.” Steve says comfortingly.
Tony nods, and they both get up, picking up the dishes and glasses. They make light work of the dishes, and head to the living room, deciding to try and relax before the assessor arrives.
Tony curls up against Steve, almost like a cat, and Steve occupies himself by running his hand through Tony’s hair. They spend a while like that, but then the peace is interrupted by the doorbell, and Tony shoots up.
They both rush to the front door, and Steve opens it, struggling slightly with the keys.
They open the door to reveal a tall, slender man, with a smile that instantly puts them both at ease.
“Hi! I’m Callum, I’m the social worker that’s been assigned to you? I’ll be doing your home study today!”
“Hi, Callum! Of course, come on in!” Steve waves him inside. They lead him to the living room, where they all take a seat.
“Would you like anything to drink before we start Callum? Tea? Coffee?” Tony asks.
“Yeah, I’ll have a tea, please. Milk and one sugar please.” Callum replies.
Tony quickly makes the tea, bringing it back, and handing it to Callum, who takes it with a grateful smile.
“Okay, so we have some questions to go through, just about your lifestyles and background, and then I can take a tour around your house,” he explains.
Steve and Tony nod, slightly nervous, but they know they have nothing to hide. It’s going to be fine.
The next hour is basically Callum peppering Steve and Tony with questions, ranging from what they do for a living to their social circle. They then show Callum around the house, starting with the kitchen and garden, then showing the bedrooms and office space. It’s hard to tell what Callum is thinking, and it makes Steve and Tony nervous that they can’t tell whether it’s a good thing or bad thing that Callum is writing down a lot on his clipboard.
They make their way back to the living room, where Callum asks if they have any last questions; before they wrap up.
"Just one," Tony says. "Is there anything we need to be concerned about in terms of our application?"
"I don't think so," Callum responds. "You guys are in good shape, there don't seem to be any glaring issues. And everything looks to be going well with Sam and Bucky's kid, so there's nothing to be worried about."
Then the, for lack of a better word, interrogation, is finally over, and they see Callum out with a smile and wave. They close the door and sigh with relief. A home study really shouldn't have been as terrifying as it was.
Steve and Tony stay in each other's arms for a while before moving on to get on with their day. Callum had said they won't be receiving any answers for at least a week. There's no point thinking over it, they might as well keep moving, as discouraging as it was.
They're at the weekly Rogers-Barnes get together when they get the call. They're all sitting on the sofa a tangle of limbs apart from Avery, who's preoccupied with watching Moana on the TV.
Tony's phone rings loudly, startling them all, and Tony has to look for the phone. He finds it eventually, and answers it on speaker.
"Hello, am I speaking to Mr Stark-Rogers?"
"Yes you are. Who is this?" Tony replies, slightly confused.
"This is Callum, your social worker? I did your home study just over a week ago?"
Tony scrambles up, looking wide-eyed at Steve, who looks just as apprehensive.
"Yes of course. Sorry about that Callum, didn't recognise your voice for a second there!" Tony jokes, but Steve can see the nervousness.
"No problem! I'm just calling about your adoption case file. Congratulations, you've been approved for adoption!" Callum says brightly.
The whole household bursts into cheers, even Avery, who clearly doesn't know why they are cheering.
"So what does this mean for our case?" Steve manages to get out.
"So you'll get another call from me when someone comes through matching your requirements," Callum explains. "We don't know how long that'll be, so don't be too disheartened if you don't get a call within the next couple of days."
"Alright, thank you so much for your help Callum," Steve says sincerely, and Tony repeats the sentiment.
"No problem. Bye for now!"
Steve and Tony collapse on the sofa, where they're met with hugs from Sam and Bucky.
"Congratulations!" Sam says, looking at the couple. "I know how tough these past few months have been for you. But you've been approved!"
"It just seems surreal," Steve admits. "We've wanted this for so long."
Bucky smiles. "And now it's here! This calls for a celebration!"
"Party?" Avery asks sweetly, only just joining in the conversation now that Moana is over.
“That’s right sweetpea! How about we order pizza huh?” Sam asked, bringing Avery onto his lap.
She nods enthusiastically. “Can Aunty Nat and Aunty Pep come over too?” She asks, to which Tony snorts. Avery is the only person that has Natasha wrapped around her finger, but that might be about to change, now that they’ve been approved.
Half an hour later, Natasha and Pepper have made it over, flowers and wine in tow. The pizza arrives not long after them, and the evening is spent eating greasy food and just catching up. A feeling of happiness and comfort settles over the household; it’s always nice to spend time with the people you love.
It’s coming up to the summer holidays for Steve, and with the sheer amount of grading, catch-up sessions and meetings, he almost doesn’t have time to worry about the adoption.
But a couple of weeks later, they're in bed. It's 11pm, and neither of them can sleep. Both of them would usually be well asleep by now, with the sheer amount of work and responsibilities they have, but today, their brains just don't seem to want to shut off.
"Hey honey," Tony says quietly.
"What's up doll," he replies, voice just as soft.
"Why don't you think we've got a call back yet?"
Steve's heart stutters. He'd been thinking pretty much the same thing, but he hadn't wanted to voice it out loud. It would make it real, as if they were putting it out in the universe.
"What if we never get a call back?" Tony seems close to tears, and Steve's heart pretty much breaks.
"Oh kitten, no. We've come so far. We've been approved for adoption. We just need to be patient. I'm sure the perfect person is just waiting for us. They'll call us soon."
As if Steve manifested it somehow, Tony's phone blares, disrupting the quiet atmosphere. They look at each other in surprise; that was quick. Tony rushes to pick up his phone and confirms to Steve that it's Callum.
"Hi Callum! You're on speakerphone," Tony says cheerfully, despite being slightly upset just moments before.
"Perfect. I'm so sorry to call you guys so late."
"It's not a big deal; we were awake anyway."
"Right so, we've just had someone come in matching your requirements."
Steve breathes in sharply, eyes widening.
"We wouldn't normally call so late, but this case is a bit of a unique one. The child's mother died during childbirth due to some unforeseen complications, and she was a single mother. We looked through her files and she doesn't have any living relatives. Do you think you could come in tomorrow to see if the child is a good fit for you? Bearing in mind, this is a newborn child."
Steve and Tony don't even need to say anything to each other to make their decision. They glance at each other, eyes shining, and Steve speaks up.
"Of course we'll be there first thing in the morning, Callum. What time should we be there?"
"Is seven o' clock alright with you? Usually, we don't have anyone come in until nine, but I think it would be better for the baby to meet you guys before the rush."
"No problem, thanks for calling Callum!"
"Alright, see you guys tomorrow!"
Tony hangs up, looking at Steve with a dazed expression.
"We're having a baby!"
"We're having a baby!”
They throw their arms around each other in pure excitement, laughing slightly as they pull back.
“See I told you we’d get a call,” Steve smiles, poking Tony in the shoulder.
“Yeah, yeah you were right,” Tony says, rolling his eyes.
“We should probably get some sleep. We have to be up pretty early tomorrow.”
“I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep.” Tony admits.
“Me neither. But we should at least try. We don’t want to be dead on our feet when we meet the baby.”
“Mmm you’re right,” Tony says, stifling a yawn. “Good night vita mia.”