Loki and Steve were standing outside the marquee that Odin and Frigga had set up in their large back garden. It would seem the County Club had been unavailable and Loki was relieved, as this was better, more personal. Frigga had keep true to her word and from the outside it looked beautiful and tastefully done. Rather than a formal dinner, there was a hog roast and buffet. There were tables and chairs scattered around a large dance floor where a DJ was setting up on a raised platform.
The guests had already arrived, in fact Loki and Steve were the only ones missing. There would only be about forty people attending, mostly their family and close friends, although Odin had considered it prudent to invite the higher level managers of the company. Loki would after all be working with these people in the future and events like this were good in a close-knit business as theirs.
Loki and Steve had been in hiding pretty much since they got back from Italy, hoping that their family that were still in the dark wouldn’t find out until the planned announcement, (Steve and Loki had no idea what was happening there but were going with the flow.) the first day or two had been easy, claiming jet lag, but Steve had had a devil of a time in work, as Nat and Clint seemed to be everywhere. He had taken the precaution of removing his wedding band, but he still thought Nat would read his mind or something.
Still, tonight was the night and they would soon know how long it would take for them to be forgiven.
Steve smoothed away none existent creases on his tux, trying to think of a way to put off going in for another minute.
“Okay, tell me again why we did something so stupid? We are going to die, they will kill me.” Steve asked.
Loki, dressed in a matching tux, could see his husband’s hands shaking. He had wondered once what really scared him and now he knew that it was three women, none of whom came up to his shoulder. He took hold of Steve's chin and forced him to look up at him.
“We wanted this to be just us, no one else involved. Now the longer we stay here, the harder it will be. After all you’ve been married a fortnight, imagine what they’ll be like if you waited a month to tell them.”
Steve went a little paler at that idea and seemed to steel himself. “Right, okay let’s get this over with.” Loki began to turn away but Steve stopped him. “I love you.”
Loki smiled. “I love you too and it will be fine, I promise.”
Steve smiled, knowing Loki was right. Even if they were annoyed, the girls would understand and forgive, they were family after all. Taking Loki’s hand, the couple stepped in the marquee.
The second they entered, Loki and Steve were swamped by the girls. Loki was handed Módi, whom he hadn’t seen in nearly month. He was surprised how much his nephew had grown, the five month old was clearly happy to see his uncle and grabbed a fist full of the closest thing he could get, being Loki’s jacket and made happy little sounds to himself. After smothering the boy with attention, Loki handed him to Steve who did the same.
The group exchanged hellos and demands for details on their trip which they were happy to give. The couple had once more hidden their wedding bands, knowing that this would be the last time. It was Jane that asked the question that was hanging in the air.
“So, what do you think this is all about. I know that Frigga and Odin like to entertain, but it’s never this formal or this crowded. They even asked Erik to come up from New Mexico and I’ve even seen Phil and his new guy. Hardly people I though they knew well enough. But Sif, Hogun and Volstagg aren’t here, just Fandral. Any idea, you two?”
"Maria and Nick are here too." Nat put in, hugging Steve.
How Steve managed not to look embarrassed, both amazed and impressed Loki.
“We been out of the county, remember. We came back to the invitation same as you.” Loki answered smoothly. It wasn’t a lie, but not the whole truth either.
Jane accepted it anyway and took Módi back, getting ready to hand him over to the babysitter for the evening. They were staying at the house tonight, so Jane was happy for one of Frigga's old friends to watch him for a couple of hours. He normally stayed with someone in the family but they were all going to be at the party.
Steve and Loki managed to extract themselves after a few minutes, planning to find Bucky, Frigga or Odin to get the plan of what was going to happen when they got waylaid by Phil, holding the hand a slightly shorter man, with dark curly hair.
Phil grabbed Steve in a one-armed hug. “Steve. I haven’t seen you ages and I gotta say, I’m surprised to be invited here, the girls say it wasn’t one of them that suggested it.”
Steve smiled at his friend. “Hey Phil. No I can’t honestly say I’m not sure how you got invited, but I’m glad you’re here. Now, you never met Loki. Loki, this is Phil, Phil, Loki.”
Loki reached out his hand. “I’m glad I’m finally getting to meet you. Steve has told me a lot about you.” When Phil raised an eyebrow, he continued. “Yes, even that. I just want to say thank you. I’m not sure what would have happened if you hadn’t called the girls.”
It was clear that the four of them knew what Loki was taking about and Phil simply nodded. “I’m being rude. Steve, Loki this is my boyfriend Leo Fitz. Leo, this is Steve and Loki.”
“It’s nice to meet you both. Phil filled me in on you and it was certainly interesting.” The younger man replied, his soft Scottish accent coming through. “How long have you been together?”
“Nearly two and half years.” Steve answered, smiling.
“Wow. you’ll be thinking of tying the knot soon right?” Leo asked.
Steve couldn’t stop himself looking at the floor and Phil’s eyes went wide. “Steve?” He asked. “What have you done?”
Before it could get any further, Bucky began coughing loudly into a microphone to attract everyone’s attention from the raised platform. He was dressed is his uniform, which surprised Steve, given that he had sworn he would never wear it again. The sleeve of his left arm was cut and sawn to the correct length, but other than that, it looked the same as when he had received his first purple heart.
“Ladies and Gentlemen. For those of you who know me, well they know I don’t do stuff like this and would rather be at the bar watching some other mug do this.”
A laugh sounded around the room. There were a few murmurs of confusion over why he of all people was making a speech and Loki could see that the girls and Thor were exchanging very odd looks.
“Okay, a couple of things to start. I’ll be making a toast at the end so as the waiters come around make sure you grab a glass of bubbly. Jane, I’ve got some juice for you if you prefer (She was still feeding the baby and tended to avoid alcohol.) Second thing, I expect everyone to leave here keeping all the body parts they started with. The reason will become clear soon enough and I want to say that what has happened has happened, it was what was wanted and wishes should be respected.”
Loki grabbed two drinks from the waiter and him and Steve shared a look as he gave him his, knowing now what was going on and they were both cringing a little on the inside.
“Right then, I suppose I should say that I feel very proud to be doing this and lucky to actually be alive to see it. As most of you will know, I was MIA until recently and it’s not be easy for those around me. I’m a jackass at the best of times, but I know I’ve put my family though the ringer and none more than Steve.”
Steve knew that the people who knew him would be looking at him but he refused to meet anyone eyes. He hated being the center of attention, but then this was what the party was about.
“This guy has been my brother since I found him getting the crap beaten out of him by one bully or other. Not that he didn’t put up a fight, but he was a skinny short punk then. Not that you could tell from the size of him now. I bet that bully’s glad he’s not around now.”
There was another laugh around the room. The girls seemed to relax, clearly guessing that this would be to thank them of standing by him.
“Anyway, he’s always been there for me, particularly when we met Jane and Darcy and then later Natasha. We both loved them more than anything, but we really needed to put up a united front sometimes. I still worried about him and when I headed off to the Army, and I was glad that he had his girls around him. He however, was still alone. Then just when I was starting think I was going to have to come back and kick his ass into gear, Jane got married and Steve met Loki.”
Loki was sure that more eyes were focusing them and he could tell that Phil standing next to him had worked out where Bucky was going as he was grinning widely. He snuck a look to Frigga who was starting to cry a little.
“So, when I meet this guy, I can tell straight away that Steve is in deep. Took me a little while to figure Loki out, but I got there. I knew that he was the real deal and I’ve been proved right ever since and I was pleased to add him to my family as another brother along with Thor. Not that Steve helped himself. I have it on good authority that 'Stupid' nearly nose-dived at the first hurdle, but Loki stuck with him and his family are very glad he did. These two have had a rough road, but each challenge has made them stronger. They’ve have been each other’s rock during each trial and we are hoping the worse is behind them. These two truly belong together and deserve to be happy and they have taken a massive step forward to their happy ever after. I ask you now to raise your glasses to Steve and Loki and present them to you as the newly married Mr. and Mr. Borson-Rogers.”
After the mandatory click of Champagne flutes, the room was so silent that you could have heard a pin drop. The pair couldn’t dare look at anyone, but they did slip their wedding bands on to their fingers where they belonged. Then, slowly, the sound of clapping filled the room. Not the nervous clapping, but genuine happy for you clapping, getting louder until it was almost deafening. Loki finally let out the breath he was hold and caught hold of Steve’s hand in his.
“Well, Steve, you never cease to amaze me.” Phil said smiling. “Congratulations and now we’re off as you have incoming. Good luck, my boy, call me if you survive.”
Phil and Leo seemed to vanish into thin air as Loki and Steve were pounced on from several directions at once. Handshakes and heart-felt wishes were being given on all sides, many from people Steve didn’t even know. It was a good five minutes before the crowd around the boys cleared enough so they could see the unreadable faces of the girls watching them.
Steve’s hand was aching from the number of times it had been grabbed and he was glad when he was finally left alone. Then he felt a numbing pain shooting down his arm and heard, in a very familiar voice.
“What the hell, Steve? You and Loki got married.” Nat yelled. Clint was waiting by her side, seemingly on standby to give Steve time is escape.
Steve glanced around for Loki who was talking to Fandral, who was clapping him on the back for getting his man. Steve could see he wasn’t getting help from there and looked sheepish. “Ummmm yes.”
Nat face was still blank. “When?” She demanded.
“Two weeks ago. We had a civil ceremony before we left for Italy.” Steve replied.
The was a long pause, then Nat jumped forward and wrapped her arms around Steve kissing his cheek. Seconds later, the arms of Jane and Darcy joined hers.
“Took you long enough.” Jane said, when they finally let him breathe again. “But why didn’t you tell us, it would have been nice to have been there.”
Loki, seeing that is wasn’t as bad as Steve had feared, came over. He stood behind Steve and wrapped his arms around his waist, his chin resting on his shoulder. “We don’t like the fuss and let's be honest Jane, would you have left us to it, really?”
It was Jane’s turn to look sheepish. Loki was of course right. She would have loved nothing more than to plan her brother’s wedding and would more than likely railroaded him it to things he didn’t want.
“This is the way we wanted it. The only ones who knew were Frigga, Odin and Bucky, and only him because he sort of pushed us into it.” Steve explained.
“Well, you weren’t going to do it off your own back, you always needed a prod to get you going.” Bucky said, also noting that it was safe to approach.
“That was a wholly embarrassing speech, thank you ever so much, Jerk.” Steve glared, without meaning it.
“Your welcome, Punk. Now I want food and I'm more than willing to play the wounded War Hero to get to the front, anyone joining me?” He replied lightly.
Everyone seemed to agree that this was a good idea and began to follow, but Loki noticed that Darcy headed off on her own after pushing Ian to follow the others. He managed to catch Steve’s eye, nodding in the direction she went. Steve got his drift and followed her outside.
Steve found Darcy sitting alone on a bench a little way from the marquee. He sat down next to her and saw she didn’t look to happy.
“Hey Darc, what’s up? You always love a party.” Steve asked gently.
Darcy wiped a tear from her eyes. “I’m fine, it’s a wedding or close to it, people always cry.”
Steve wasn’t convinced. “You never shed one tear at Jane’s wedding and she has been your best friend since year dot. Come on love, talk to me.”
She turned to look at him then and Steve knew that he had mucked up. “Liked you talked to me, Steve. You tell me everything. I know I bug you for most of it but you've never dug your heels in with me like you have with Nat or Jane. And towards the end, those last few weeks in the house when it was just the two of us. I guess you don’t trust me as much I thought you did.”
Steve could have kicked himself. It was true that Darcy was his confidante, simply because she wouldn’t let up until she knew everything. It had become habit to tell her everything and they'd gotten closer with Jane moving out and Nat spending a lot of her evenings at Clint’s. So, he got why she would be a little hurt over him sneaking off to get married.
He wrapped his arms around her. “I’m sorry, Darcy. I guess I got so wrapped up in Loki and getting married, I didn’t think, but it’s just we needed to do something that was just us. Everything since we met has involved the family, even buying our first home together. That doesn’t mean we don’t want you around or that we don’t trust you, it means that we all need to be selfish every now and then.”
Darcy understood already, but it was reassuring to have Steve say it out loud. She squeezed him close before pulling back and wiping her eyes again. “I’m okay, really, but you owe me and you will be front and center in my wedding when Ian proposes.”
Steve grimaced but nodded, knowing as always he could never say no to her. Taking her hand, he led her back inside.
Steve found Loki getting his ear chewed off by Thor and could help taking his turn to grin. Thor seemed to be the only one who wasn’t happy over Steve and Loki's wedding.
“But Loki, why would you run away? Would it have been that bad to have us there to see you two getting married?” Thor moaned.
Loki rolled his eyes, clearly having already explained himself once already. “Thor, it wasn’t about you or the girls. Just once we wanted this to be about us, just us.”
“You're selfish, Loki, that’s the top and bottom of it. You don’t care about anyone else’s feelings but your own. Mom would have loved to see you married and I should have been your best man.” Thor snapped back.
The grin left Steve’s face and he started forward, but a hand rested on his arm, holding him back. He turned to see Frigga, a knowing smile on her face.
“Don’t interfere. I have always found that they are better when they work it out between them.” She whispered.
“For your information, mom and dad were both there and agreed with our decision. I’m sorry you couldn’t be best man and if wanting my wedding my way is selfish, then guilty as charged, but I will not apologize for that.” Loki sighed, tired of the argument. “Come on, Thor, enough. Mom wouldn’t want us fighting.”
Having had his say, Thor seemed to have calmed down and even chuckled a little. “You think she’d be surprised. But you're right, if she found out how I've been tonight, she would give me a clout. I’m sorry, okay.”
Steve shook his head. These two spent half their time arguing and yet they always ended up okay. He knew Frigga was right, better to let them be and deal with their relationship in their own way.
The rest of the evening went off without a hitch and while a lot of the guests, including Phil and Leo had headed off, the family were still enjoying themselves. All of them were crashing at the house, so they were happy to see in the wee hours.
The music had moved towards the slow dances, but Loki and Steve were standing off to the side, taking a break.
Bucky seemed to pop up from nowhere. “Come on, it’s the last dance before they pack up and we want the happy couple on the floor. Call it the alternative to the wedding dance.”
Steve sighed. “Do we have too? I’ve had a bit too much to drink here.”
Bucky smiled. “No chance. We picked this one just for you. Something to remind you of your first dance.”
The air was filling with soft piano notes and Loki took Steve’s hand, recognizing the song. He was fond of the Artist, having heard him first while he was traveling. He led them to the floor, which the rest of the couples vacated. He pulled Steve in close, his husband’s head resting on his shoulder as his arms fell to his hips. They swayed gently in time to the music, the image of marital bliss.
“It's five past dreams, I should be home asleep,
But I just want to keep this moment alive, it's just you and I,
And I can't deny that I've had too much to drink tonight,
But everybody's gone, and we're still going strong,
Thinking of bed, dancing instead, you're lovely in red;
And we are moving cheek to cheek, and I know that I'm with
The only one who makes it right, it's in your eyes, and your smile,
And the way you look tonight;
It's five past dreams, the world is waking up, just like I should
Have done a long time ago, maybe I'm slow, I just didn't know,
That the saviour of my heart is right here, in my arms, you are
The one who makes it right, with your eyes, and your smile,
And the way you look tonight;
And I know that I'm with the only one who makes it right,
It's in your eyes, and your smile, and the way you look tonight,
With your eyes, and the way you look tonight.
As the music faded in to the back ground, Steve lifted his head and kissed Loki. “I love you, Mr Borson-Rogers.”
Loki smiled and replied. “I love you, too, Mr Borson-Rogers.”