An ordinary bride would be upset if this happened at her wedding, Pepper thinks, taking handfuls of cool, smooth silk and lifting her skirt so she can climb the stairs to the little gazebo serving as Tony's dressing room. Steve stands on the top step, just outside the doorway. His mouth twists in a wry smile and he offers her a hand, which she accepts, his palm warm and reassuring folded around hers. "Rhodey's inside trying to help." He gives her a lingering once-over that makes her smile and says, warm, "You look stunning, Pepper."
"Stop ogling my bride, Rogers!" Tony yells from inside, his voice high and strained and Steve's cheeks dimple as he tries to hold back a grin, his eyes crinkling at the corners.
"I'm just getting my offer in early," Steve calls. "Didn't you say she was going to come to her senses?"
"Oh—honestly," Pepper says, feeling a surge of exasperation and fondness in equal measures.
Inside, Tony moans, "Oh god," and Rhodey shouts, "God damn it, Cap, I almost had him!"
Steve points, still failing to hide his amusement, and says, "I'll be over there if you need me to carry him to the altar."
"Thank you," Pepper says wryly.
He smiles and steps away, allowing Pepper to take his place and she moves to stand against the gazebo wall, leaning toward the doorway slightly to call, "Tony?"
There's a loud series of thumps and Rhodey says, "OW, DAMMIT, TONY."
Then, after a pause thick with anxiety, Tony says, "...Pepper?"
"Yes, Tony," she says. "I'm coming in."
She starts to push through the sheer white fabric fluttering in the doorway and Tony shouts, "NO! Potts are you crazy? I can't see you, that's bad luck, holy hell, are you trying to sabotage this—"
"You don't even believe in luck," Pepper replies, exasperated.
"—because that's a good way to screw this up from the start and we're already working our way uphill," Tony barrels on without taking a breath. "Just because I don't believe in it doesn't mean it can't ruin this—this whole thing we're trying."
"You mean marriage?" Rhodey drawls.
"Yes, yes, that, a thing which I am, like, destined to be not good at, oh fuck. Pepper, are you really going to run off with Steve because y'know, I wouldn't blame you, I kinda want to run off with the guy myself—"
"Tony," Pepper cuts in, using her most effective please-stop-talking voice and Tony's mouth snaps shut.
She hears him swallow and then he says, small and terrified, "Yeah, Pep?"
"I am not running off with Steve. We are getting married today, unless you've changed your mind?" She doesn't mean for the last part to come out as a question, but it does, nevertheless.
Tony isn't the only one feeling a little jittery and uncertain.
"What?" Tony says, and he sounds aghast. "No, of course I haven't."
Pepper smiles and says, "Then everything's okay. I am going to need you to come out of the gazebo, though. Steve has offered to carry you," she adds helpfully.
Rhodey snorts and Tony grumbles uncharitably, "That asshole."
"I'll see you at the altar?" Pepper asks.
There's a hesitant pause and Pepper has to close her eyes and breathe. It's just nerves, she reminds herself.
"You're sure, Pep?" Tony says quietly. "You're sure you want to chain yourself to me and all my—what the—Pepper no!"
Pepper rolls her eyes as Tony throws up his hands to shield himself from her head, poking through the curtain. "Calm down, you're not supposed to see me in the dress, Tony. You can't, can you?"
"No," he admits, peeking through his fingers. Then he sighs and lets them drop. "Okay, if this bombs, I'm blaming you."
"Blame away," Pepper says magnanimously. "But I doubt you'll get your chance." She pauses, taking a moment to soak in how he looks in the tuxedo, then says, "Come here."
"You wanna elope?" Tony says hopefully, sliding over and slipping his hands into his pockets. "We could hop a plane to Vegas, give some lucky flight the gossip of a lifetime—"
"I did not spend two years planning this wedding so we could elope ten minutes before the ceremony."
"—yeah, no, of course not, I was only kidding—"
Pepper reaches one hand through the curtain and catches him by one lapel, tugging him forward and pressing her mouth to his.
Tony talks against her mouth, muffled for a moment before he finally falls quiet, leaning into her.
When she pulls back, it takes a moment for Tony's eyes to reopen and she brushes her fingers along his jaw, relishing the softened lines of his face.
His eyes roam over her face, his fingers curling around the ones on her jaw and he nods. "I'll see you at the altar."
Pepper smiles. "I can't wait."