Tony looks up from his cereal when Steve speaks, even though Steve has already been speaking for five minutes off and on and Tony has been far more interested in searching for a D in his Alphabits because he is so close to getting the word WALDO on his spoon and snapchatting it to Bruce. It’s a thing they do. Where’s Waldo? Fucking everywhere.
Anyway, the ‘huh’ gets his attention because Steve sounds genuinely stumped.
“What is it?” Tony asks, looking at the fancy card stock the Captain holds in one hand and the back of a photograph he holds in the other.
“Someone invited us to their wedding. I think as a couple?”
“Who’s getting hitched?” Tony asks. His mind flicks through the couples in their social sphere, but apart from Thor and Jane no one is even close to matrimony, and those two aren’t engaged.
“That’s the thing-- we don’t know them. There’s a note written along the side,” Steve says. He hands the invite and picture across the table.
Steve and Tony,
This is a long-shot, I know. You don’t know us, and you’ve never met us. We’ve been engaged for three years now and my partner Jacody’s parents won’t acknowledge the wedding so they aren’t coming. Anyway, he is seriously your biggest fan. He likes you equally, and he’s a huge dork, so if he wears Avengers pajamas it’s always his Iron Man shirt and his Captain America shorts, or vice versa. I’d have enclosed a picture of the pajamas, but I do actually want him to marry me and all, so I threw in a picture of us at a barbecue instead.
I know this is just a complete shot in the dark, but I’m sending you this invitation anyway, because he deserves a happy day even if his family is a bunch of jackasses.
Could you come?
I swear this isn’t some ploy for an expensive gift or a photo op or anything. You don’t even need to bring a gift or RSVP or anything at all. I won’t say a word and if you’re there, you’re there.
Thanks so much for reading this. If you’re reading this. And thank you for existing and giving hope to an awful lot of people, even if you aren’t. Reading this. Shit, I’d scratch all that out but this is our last good invitation.
Hope to see you soon!
“Huh,” Tony agrees.
The picture is of two young men, probably mid-twenties, looking happy and carefree as they cuddle close for the picture. “You know, why not?” Tony says.
“You don’t mind they invited us as a couple?”
“It’s bound to happen,” Tony dismisses. “Maybe if you’d stop grabbing my boob in public the internet would stop assuming we’re the Mayors of Pound Town.”
That gets a Cheerio flicked at his face that manages to hit Tony right between the eyes.
“What? Would you rather I say people think you’re riding the bologna pony?” Tony asks. “Porking? Poking? Knocking boots? I know you aren’t a prude, Cap. Jarvis sends me your internet history.”
“I do no such thing, Captain Rogers,” Jarvis pipes in.
“Traitor,” Tony says. “Anyway, yeah. Let’s do it. Let’s make someone’s big day.”
Two weeks pass, and Cap only lands them in the paper once with his enthusiastic grabbing habit, and Tony’s pretty sure that one was on purpose. Especially since Clint was right there, ripe for the groping, and Steve somehow manages to lean across him to whisper to Tony, and in the process his hand goes whoops and there they are on TMZ again.
The drive to a small town outside of Hartford is a lively one. Thankfully it’s an evening wedding so Tony’d been able to sleep in and he’s got energy to spare as he speeds down the road in one of his favorite cars, subjecting Steve to a serious lesson in 80s rock. And for his part, Steve’s a good sport, singing along with the few songs he knows and never once commenting on Tony’s outright assault on the legal speed limit.
They arrive at a gorgeous barn, located within an arboretum, and Tony parks along the edge of the treeline. They’re embarrassingly early, but that’s what Tony gets for driving like they’re running a few hours late.
“Do you think we could go meet the grooms?” Steve asks. “Or is that overstepping?”
“We could just do the normal thing and ask them,” Tony says. “J, can you look up his number?”
“Done, sir,” Jarvis answers, through the radio.
“Send the kid who invited us a text. Tell him Steve and I are out here off to the side, and if he wants, we’d be glad to meet him and his fiance. Or we can wait till after. Sup to him.”
“Sending text now, sir.”
There is no text reply, but all of about 30 seconds later a side door flings open and five young men and an equally young woman spill out. They’re all looking around excitedly and then someone spots Tony’s car and the wedding party comes racing toward them.
“I guess that’s our answer,” Tony says. Without really thinking he reaches over and squeezes Steve’s hand. “You ready for this?”
The smile Steve gives him makes him look hardly older than the group heading across the field. It’s been a long time since Tony’s seen Steve look so carefree. Maybe never.
“Nah, let’s just leave,” Steve says. “I think I saw a McDonalds a few miles back. We could get dinner. Call it a night?”
“Ass,” Tony replies, though he’s smiling now, too.
“Takes one to know one,” Steve says. Then winks as he opens his door and steps out of the car, leaving Tony behind.
Tony takes a second to wonder what in hell just happened then exits the car just as the small crowd reaches them. They are breathless and ecstatically happy.
“Holy shit, Jacody’s going to flip,” a young man says, shoving the groom forward.
“I can’t believe you came,” the groom says. “I’m David-- I mean I guess you know I’m David. I just can’t believe you’re here.”
There are tears in his eyes and Tony always feels awkward when that happens, but Steve just steps right in and hugs him.
“We appreciated the invitation,” Steve says. “Your letter meant a lot to me.”
“Anyone who wears Iron Man pajamas is good in my book,” Tony adds.
“We don’t want to take the spotlight,” Steve adds. “So if you’d rather us walk in late and keep it more low key, we can do that. This is your big day.”
“Noooooo,” David says. “Oh god, no. If you could come inside and meet Jacody, that’d be amazing. I know he’s happy-- it’s just hard without his family.”
Steve nods. “It’s not quite the same, but I do have an idea about how it feels to celebrate the big days alone. We’d love to meet him.”
“Okay, Max can show you to where Jacody’s getting ready. Thank you so much. Oh-- and everyone in the wedding party knew I invited you and like I really didn’t think you’d show, but I made them all promise if you did show that there wouldn’t be any pictures until the reception. If you can stay. I just figured maybe that would slow down any reporters or anything.”
“Thank you,” Steve says. “That’s really up to you, but you’re right, unfortunately. Wherever we go a media circus follows.”
“We’re fine with anything,” David assures him. “I just still can’t believe you’re here. I feel like this is a dream.”
“We get that a lot,” Tony says. “It helps to take a couple of deep breaths. Pinch yourself. We aren’t going anywhere.”
David does pinch himself, which makes his friends laugh. After that the groom and most of his party go back in the door where they’d snuck out. Max leads them around to the other side, to an identical door and pushes through it. They walk down a short hall and stop in front of a door. Max knocks out a shave and a haircut pattern and after a moment of shuffling it swings open.
“I’ve got two visitors for Jacody,” Max says brightly.
The young man who greets them looks slightly confused then turns his head to look up at Steve and Tony.
“Oh my god,” he whispers. “Come in-- Jacody! You’ve got visitors!”
Tony and Steve walk inside when the kid at the door steps aside, just as a young man starts to rise from a sofa. He’s wearing a tux that matches David’s, and while he looks happy there’s a tenseness about him. At least until he spots Steve and Tony and then his eyes widen and his mouth moves into a O shape and then he’s just crying. Happy tears, at least.
“Your husband-to-be invited us,” Steve says. “I hope that’s alright?”
The young man nods, unable to make words happen, and one of his wedding party gives him a shove forward and Steve extends a hand. Jacody takes it and shakes it and then when he lets go he starts jumping around like a contestant on The Price is Right.
It’s a fun forty minutes before the wedding starts.
Tony has been to a ridiculous amount of weddings in his day; this is one of the best. He and Steve sneak into the back of the church just as the Groom’s walk in, so all eyes are up front. That keeps anyone from taking notice of them until after the ceremony, and by then, they’ve already done what they’d come to accomplish: made the world a little brighter for two kids in love.
The reception is in a giant gazebo a short walk from the barn, and Tony and Steve stay for the party and share champagne and pose for pictures. They’ve brought a card as a gift, with a sizeable giftcard inside. Steve tucks it in discreetly with the other cards, not wanting any recognition for their generosity.
The paparazzi arrive about an hour in, but the gazebo doors lock, and no one seems to mind all the flashes from the other side of the glass. Yeah, a gutsy member of the press or two slip in, but they don’t put up a fuss when they’re asked to leave. All in all, it’s the best Tony could have hoped for.
They dance, too, each taking a turn with one groom or the other. There are aunts and cousins, and several wedding party members also hoping for a chance to dance with an Avenger, and it’s three hours in, after cake, a double corsage toss, and the electric slide, that Tony ends up without a partner.
Steve steps up beside him and pauses.
“May I have this dance?”
And here’s the thing. People all over the world might picture Steve as a boy scout but Tony knows better. So the impeccable manners being pointed in his direction make Tony tilt his head slightly in question.
“Never thought you’d ask,” Tony says.
“Then you don’t know me as well as you think you do,” Steve says. There’s something about his smile that fills Tony with warmth.
There’s about a second that passes while they try to figure out whose hands are going to be where, but Tony ends up saying fuck it and puts his hands up around Steve’s neck. So many flashes go off outside the glass gazebo that it looks like lightning for a second. And then something magical happens because without being asked, and without any coordinated instructions, the wedding guests surround them, putting up a human barrier between them and the cameras outside.
Human decency at its best.
“I’m glad we came,” Steve says. “This is nice.”
The hands on Tony’s hips tighten slightly and Tony nods.
“S’been a good day,” Tony agrees.
“We should do this more often,” Steve says.
“Dance?” Tony asks.
“Date,” Steve says. “It’s not exactly mattress polo but we’ll get there.”
Tony’s leans in, close enough that only Steve will hear.
“Are you propositioning me, Captain?”
“Absolutely,” Steve says. “Is that a problem?”
“Nope,” Tony says, pulling back to get a better look at Steve’s expression. “No problem at all.”