“Package for you,” Clint said when Steve walked in the room. He nudged a flat rate USPS shipping box across the table with the tip of an arrow. Steve checked the label, nodded, and tucked it under his arm. Clint’s eyes followed him curiously, but Steve ignored him and continued to the counter. He poured a cup of coffee, splashed milk into the mug, and swirled it around with a chopstick.
Tony stumbled in behind him and tapped Steve’s package in a quick trio of beats just as Steve set the chopstick aside.
“Whatcha got?” Tony asked, snagging the cup out of Steve’s hand and taking a sip. He made a pleased sound and shifted as if to hand it back, but Steve already had his own cup out. He poured it, left it black, and moved away from the counter while Tony made happy noises into his favorite mug. It hadn’t taken Steve long to figure out how to make Tony’s coffee, but Tony still seemed to think he was stealing Steve’s every morning.
“Cap’s got a secret, huh?” Tony commented as Steve moved away. Steve was surprised that Tony was coherent enough to realize he hadn’t answered the question so early in the morning with only half a cup of caffeine under his belt.
“Just art supplies,” Steve answered. “Colored pencils.”
“You must have an art store in your room by now.”
Steve smiled. “Just about.”
He nodded to Natasha as he passed her in the hall and continued back to his room. He did love his art supplies – sometimes he felt guilty for the sheer amount of things he had in his art case: raw pigments that were so rare and beautiful he could barely bring himself to use them; paint of every medium in such magnificent colors, India ink, creamy sheets of Bristol and watercolor paper, sketch books where he could fill an entire page with a drawing without worrying about wasting paper. The only way he could assuage the guilt in his gut was to donate five times the amount he spent on his own supplies to charitable art programs. The packages of children’s drawings he received in thanks was enough to brighten even his worst days.
He set his cup down on his desk and tore the package open. A cylinder of colored pencils fell out, covered in so much bubblewrap that he probably could have played catch with it without damaging the contents. He pulled away all the unnecessary packaging and used a pen to get the last ring of tape off the tube.
Steve felt guilty lying to his team, but he couldn’t help the smile as he pulled a small roll of paper out from among the colored pencils. He opened his center drawer and curled his hand around the frame, rolling his fingers until he got a grip on the slender wand. 11.5” with a dragon heartstring core – it thrummed faintly against his skin like the greeting of an old friend as he curled his fingers around it. Steve drew the tip of the wand over the slip of paper and watched as it resolved into a ticket:
Admission for one to the Quidditch World Cup in twelve days. The ticket contained the location and time of his portkey, and the lot number for his tent.
The stands were packed. Steve didn’t like crowds in general, but he would make an exception for two things: baseball and Quidditch. He hadn’t been to a baseball game since before the Ice, and he hadn’t been to a Quidditch match since his mother was still alive. He let the crowd jostle and carry him up the stairs, unconcerned with being recognized for the first time since he’d woken up in a SHIELD facility. The Wizarding World couldn’t care less about Captain America, and he was enjoying the anonymity.
A pair of young boys rushed past him with omnioculars and paper bags of Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes, green top hats with glowing leprechauns dancing on the brims. Steve smiled and stepped aside for their mother. She gave him a harried smile as she huffed after the boys, her husband calling up to her. Steve could still remember the first Quidditch match his mom had taken him to – things in the Muggle world had been so different in his time, but walking into the Quidditch stands was just the same. The Wizarding world was slow to change, and it felt exactly the same as it had when he was a boy. The mother chasing after the kids might as well have been his mother chasing after him and Bucky. His head swam with his mother’s voice in his ear – Don’t run, Stevie!- and he had to lean against the railing to keep his balance.
Steve felt a hand on his back and hunched automatically away from it.
“Hey, you okay?” someone asked from behind him, shouting over the general tumult of the crowd.
“Yes,” Steve said hurriedly. He sucked in a breath and peeled himself away from the rail without turning to look at the man, though something about his voice made Steve’s shoulders itch.
His seat was at the top of the stands, and he put his head down and got his legs to work. Bucky’d had a shoulder under his arm most of the way up the first time, and Ma had been forced to charm his clothing to help him up the rest of the way. Walking the hundreds of steps on his own kept him grounded. He all but spilled onto the top floor and reflexively checked his ticket for his seat number, though he knew it by heart. The wedge of seats was already filled with excited spectators pointing as the American cheer squad whooshed by overhead doing tricks on their brooms. Steve stepped away from the stairwell and up to the rail to watch, his cheeks aching with the force of his smile
“Can’t say I object to following you up the last three miles of stairs,” the same man from before commented as he crested the last stair a few moments behind Steve, breathless with the exertion.
Steve finally turned to look. His heart stuttered in his chest and they both froze.
They stared in awkward silence for several long seconds. Two witches with their faces painted in scarlet and white, and their hair dyed lapis blue with silver stars dancing in the curls pushed past them. They giggled their way to their seats, casting glances back at Steve and Tony where they stood gaping at each other. Steve raked his eyes over Tony’s unfamiliar clothing – a knit sweater over a dark shirt and a pair of faded jeans. Steve knew from frequent appreciation that jeans made up most of Tony’s wardrobe, but he didn’t think he’d ever seen the other man in any sweater that didn’t have a zipper and a hood attached. Tony seemed to be giving him the same treatment and Steve was suddenly very conscious of the modest set of robes he’d purchased just for the event, just to feel that slight connection to his mother.
Steve’s eyebrows drew together. “You hate magic!” he declared finally.
“I hate that I can’t explain magic,” Tony corrected. He shifted uncomfortably. It was maybe the only time Steve had ever seen him visibly off-footed. Normally when he was caught off guard, he responded with sarcasm and smiles. Tony finally stepped up next to him at the railing. “My mother was a witch,” he confessed. “I’m not. Obviously not a witch. I mean, I’m not magical. Dad wasn’t.” Rolling his eyes, he added, “Obviously.”
He turned to watch the cheer squad, his jaw tight and eyes distant. Steve wondered what that had been like for Tony growing up. He couldn’t imagine someone like Tony not wanting to be able to do what a wizard could do. Suddenly all his technological marvels that seemed to imitate magic made sense.
“Both my parents,” Steve said. He hesitated, but Tony had probably already figured it out. “I am,” he added with a shrug. “I’m not strong in magic, and I never went to school. But I know a little.” It was a minor miracle he’d even made it through Muggle school – attending a wizarding school would have been out of the question, if he’d been healthy. He just didn’t have enough magic to make it worthwhile.
“Figures,” Tony said with a snort. He leaned over Steve’s arm to look at his ticket. “Sitting next to each other, too. Awful lot of coincidences.”
“I didn’t know,” Steve hurried to say. “I had no idea.” If he’d known, he would have invited Tony to go with him – he’d been trying to come up with an excuse to get Tony out of the tower for weeks after a trio of bank robbers wielding Chitauri tech had derailed the ball game they’d planned three months before.
“I believe you.” Tony laughed at himself, shaking his head. “We’re at a ball game where the players fly on broomsticks and the kids eat candy that makes steam come out of their ears. Weirder things have happened.”
Tony pushed away from the rail, so he didn’t see the cheerwitch coming up behind him. Steve opened his mouth to warn him, but she tossed a red globe at Tony’s back before Steve could get a breath in. Tony dove forward with battle-trained reflexes, reaching for his right wrist. Steve caught him around both arms while the crowd cheered and laughed. He could feel Tony’s arms flexing, fingers flickering in a familiar pattern.
“You’re not under attack!” Steve screamed over the clamor, trying to stop him from calling the armor. Tony stiffened in his arms for several seconds and then pushed away. He looked down at himself and groaned – his clothing had started to glow pink. Before Steve’s eyes, the glow intensified and developed golden sparkles that quickly turned into tiny fireworks.
“Damnit,” Tony said with an annoyed huff as the tiny fireworks exploded upwards until it looked like he was on fire, the glow extending several dozen feet in the air like targeting smoke.
Laughing, Steve looked up. The golden sparks rearranged themselves to read Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! In cheesy pink letters. Tony glared at him, but Steve just shook his head. “It’s not going away,” he said, holding his hands up helplessly.
“I’ll kiss you!” one of the blue-haired ladies shouted. Her friend shoved at her and she stumbled out of her seat to the good-natured cheering of the surrounding spectators.
Steve didn’t make a conscious decision. He saw the blue-haired girl stepping over her neighbors’ knees, took in Tony’s expression and the way it had shifted from annoyed to resigned. He’d plastered a fake smile as he’d turned to face her, his charmed clothing glowing brighter and brighter with each passing second. Steve reached out just as the girl freed herself from the seats and grabbed Tony’s wrist. He yanked hard so Tony crashed into his chest, and caught the man’s chin in one hand. Startled, Tony lost his balance and Steve’s lips ended up in his beard. Tony stumbled forward a step to regain his balance, unintentionally pushing Steve into the railing with hundreds of feet between him and the ground. Steve caught him around the waist and dragged his mouth over Tony’s cheek so their lips met.
The pink glow exploded between them, visible even through his closed eyelids. When he opened his eyes again, they were both covered head-to-toe in pink glitter. The blue-haired girl stared at them in something between shock and giddy pleasure while Tony sucked in a breath and held it, his eyes wide on Steve’s face.
“Sorry, ma’am,” Steve said breathlessly, aware of Tony’s heart beating against his chest, “He’s taken.”
“I could do worse than to lose to Captain America,” she said with a wink and hearty laugh, and then turned around to make her way back to her giggling friend.
“I’m taken?” Tony asked, ignoring the rest of the crowd.
“Uh,” Steve answered intelligently. “Yes? If you want to be.”
Tony measured him up, his face covered in pink and gold glitter that reflected in his eyes and made them glow. Steve realized that he still had his hands around Tony’s waist, but he couldn’t make himself pull them away. Despite Tony’s unreadable expression, Steve’s fingers flexed and pulled Tony tighter to his chest.
“Okay,” Tony said after a maddeningly long pause. He gave Steve a bemused look. “I’m not sure what’s happening, but okay.”
Steve thought he must have been dreaming, but managed to choke out, “Okay?”
“Okay – I’m taken.” His smile was radiant and real. It was the most beautiful thing Steve had seen in a very long time.
Feeling dizzy for an entirely different reason, Steve leaned back down and kissed him again. He heard the titters and laughter of the crowd, but he ignored them entirely for the sake of the taste of butterbeer on Tony’s tongue and the scent of the wind in his hair. Steve felt another impact between his shoulders and they both stumbled away from the rail as more sparks erupted around them.
Laughing, Tony yanked him down and kissed him soundly on the mouth. “We better come up with a good cover story for the pink glitter,” he said when he pulled back.
“Supervillain with a glitter gun?” Steve suggested.
“Clint’ll probably buy that at least.” He yanked Steve to their seats as the cheersquad looped around to make another pass over the field, flying in a close formation so one of the girls could dance across her teammates’ bristles.
They ended up seated next to the blue-haired girls, who promised in a brief exchange not to reveal their identities – though Steve privately suspected that the witches and wizards around them would care. Tony still complimented their hair and makeup, and sat still so they could charm his sweater into spelling out Taken in red, white, and blue ribbons that winked and sparkled. Steve slid his arm behind Tony’s shoulders and felt a surge of warmth when Tony just leaned into him until the players came out and they were all on their feet anyway.
High on victory and filled with too much sugar, Steve leaned on Tony’s shoulders as they wound their way through the field back to the tents. They were waylaid three times by mobs of celebrating fans, and not one of them even blinked an eye when Tony shouted Steve’s identity and suggested that they paint him teal, get him a torch, and rebrand him Captain Liberty. Steve didn’t bother to protest until one of the celebrants looked intrigued by the idea and started fumbling around in his robes for his wand. Steve dragged Tony away, getting them lost in the crowd before the inebriated wizard could find his wand and do something permanent that would be even harder to explain than the pink glitter.
Sparks and fireworks flew off at regular intervals, exploding into screeching eagles and bursting into a mishmash jumble of songs – some that Steve recognized, and some that must have been new pieces the wizard bands of America had put in the seventy years that he slept. Tony gave up trying to get him transfigured after Steve dragged him up into a sloppy kiss full of heat and promise. When they separated, Tony fell back on his heels and just stared up at Steve with an expression of cautious wonder that made him look younger. Steve laced their hands together and led him through the twisting maze of tents, dodging groups of celebrants and fending off no less than six offers of a pillow in a witch’s tent.
“Tell me this is one of the ridiculous bigger on the inside tents,” Tony demanded when they finally made it the back of the field. Steve’s lot was bordered on two sides by a low stone wall, and far enough away from the stadium that it was almost quiet. His little pup tent stood barely three feet tall at its highest point and stretched less than six feet from end to end.
Not answering, Steve dropped to his knees and crawled into the tent. He stood up and waited for Tony to follow, swelling with undeserved pride when Tony made an appreciative noise. “Magic is the most… It makes me so mad,” he confessed, dropping onto his ass on the Turkish carpet. The tent was modest as far as wizarding spaces went – just the bedroom blocked off from the kitchen and living room by a heavy curtain – but it was nicer than some of the apartments Steve had lived in growing up, and it was stocked with food and warm blankets. That was all that Steve had been looking for when he’d bought it, but seeing Tony in the middle of it made it feel all the more luxurious.
“Well?” Tony asked finally, leaning back on his hands to look up at Steve with his head cocked and one eyebrow lifted.
“Well…?” Steve prompted. He sat down next to Tony and waited for an explanation, though his imagination came up with a few instant responses.
“Are you going to show me some magic?”
Steve laughed. He felt his cheeks growing warm, but he still asked, “Depends on what kind of magic you mean.”
“The kind with your wand,” Tony answered with a suggestive leer and a full body wiggle that did not quite manage ‘sexy.’
“This is going to be a thing now, isn’t it?”
Grinning, Tony replied, “Yep.” He popped the ‘p’ and gave Steve a very self-satisfied look. Steve leaned forward to kiss it off his face.
“I really mean it though,” Tony said when they pulled away. “I want to see what you can do.”
Steve groaned. “I’m out of practice.”
“Seventy years out of practice. And even then I wasn’t very good at it!”
“Well,” Tony observed sagely, “There was bound to be something you aren’t good at. I think my heart will survive the shock.”
Steve kept up the weak protest for several minutes, but finally pulled his wand out. He ran it through his fingers nervously and was grateful when Tony didn’t make a single comment, though he did have to put a hand over his mouth to stifle the laughter. Sucking in a slow breath, Steve drew a glowing heart in the air, and then made it dance. It was silly and stupid, but Tony watched with rapt attention as Steve coaxed the shape into a rough likeness of himself with the shield and added a poor representation of Iron Man with boot jets blazing. Tony reached forward as if to touch the little figures, so Steve lowered them gently to his palm and made them walk.
He’d never been good at anything that required raw power to work, but this had been his one realm of success – charms, things that relied more on imagination and finesse than strength. As he warmed up, the figures took on more life and moved more, Iron Man bowing to Captain America from the waist, and the pair of them dancing across Tony’s palm and up his wrist.
Tony’s eyes transferred slowly from the glowing figures to Steve’s face, but Steve managed to keep his concentration up until he rolled onto his knees and dropped his arms over Steve’s shoulders. Line of sight lost, Steve felt the spell slip away. He wrapped his arms around Tony’s waist and buried his face in the soft sweater.
“I always wished I could do that,” Tony confessed very softly into Steve’s hair.
“You can – you do. I’ve seen you with your holoprojectors, and what you’ve done with Jarvis – Iron Man… this…” Steve set a hand over the arc reactor. He couldn’t feel it through the sweater, but he knew it was there, imagined that he could hear the faint hum of it keeping Tony’s heart beating, keeping him warm and safe, and there in Steve’s arms.
“It’s not the same.”
“It is to me,” Steve persisted.
Tony huffed out a breath and then curled down to kiss him again, apparently done with the conversation. Steve let it go, stretching up into Tony’s lips and enjoying the unhurried softness of the contact.
After several minutes of quiet punctuated only by the sounds of their breath, Tony announced, “But I can show you the magic I can do with my wand.”
Choking on a laugh, Steve almost collapsed to the floor, and would have if it weren’t for Tony’s grip on his shoulders. “So bad,” he moaned. “Terrible.”
“Tell me that in the morning,” Tony suggested rakishly, letting Steve fold to the floor and shifting to straddle his hips, “If I ever let you out of the bed.”