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You make me feel brand new

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Tony and Steve watch the last car drive away from their wedding reception.

The law banning same-sex marriage had just been abolished, and Tony has friends with enough influence to allow them a semi-formal ceremony, resembling a proper wedding even if it can’t be labeled as such, here in New York City.

It hadn’t been a big ceremony, with only their closest friends and Avengers teammates there, so they only have to gather a few things and settle a couple of others before they’re allowed to leave as well.

Soft music is still playing in the background, and it just lulls them both into a content, motionless adagio before they have to move and go home.

Steve brings his right arm around Tony’s waist and pulls him closer. He’s leaning on the open doorway, the night wind soothing their tuxedoed bodies with fresh air. Tony feels warm and happy right there at Steve’s side, as though his life couldn’t get better than this.

Steve is his husband now, and Tony knows he’s living on stolen time, but it’s the first day of said stolen time, so he feels even more justified than usual to turn his head a little and nuzzle Steve’s neck, before kissing it softly. Steve sighs a little at the touch and holds him closer still, tilting his head just so. Tony can feel the smile on the other man’s face as he gives him a soft, barely-there kiss.

Muffled piano notes mark the beginning of the new song, and Tony recognizes it after a couple of seconds. He smiles, heart warming up, and he’s filled with the sudden impulse to go along with the feeling and not squash it down, just this once.

He deserves some happiness at least on his wedding day, doesn’t he?

In all the years he’s known Steve, he’s never once thought he could be worthy of the other man – the amazing, splendid person that is now his husband. He didn’t think he was worthy of him back when Steve first kissed him. He didn’t think it when Steve fought alongside him, defended him and protected him. He didn’t think it when Steve first said he loved him.

He didn’t think it when Steve got on his knee and honest-to-god asked him to spend the rest of their lives together, because life – especially for them – was too unpredictable and risky not to live every single minute like their last.

He didn’t think he was worthy of Captain America’s love, but that was okay. It is okay.

The important thing had never been Tony’s happiness. He knows he has issues – who even knows how many – and being happy had always felt more like a dream rather than a real possibility. No, it’s always been about the perfect, idealistic, pure person that somehow chose to love the broken mess he is. It’s always been about Steve.

Steve chose to love him, and all Tony can do is never let him regret it.

All Tony can do is try to become a better person day after day, moment after moment. He never wants that sparkle in Steve’s eyes, the one he gets when he’s looking at Tony, to disappear. He never wants to crush Steve’s expectations or hurt his feelings, he never wants Steve to second-guess himself.

When Steve proposed to him, Tony had to go against all his rational thoughts telling him to say no – because, no matter how impossibly much he loved Steve, he couldn’t possibly deny him the chance of finding a person more worthy than he is of Steve’s love.

But then he saw Steve’s face, his earnest expression, his eyes bright with love and desire and burning hope, and Tony just couldn’t bring himself to crush all that.

So, he allowed himself to be selfish once again – nothing new there – and said yes.

Besides, saying no would only mean Tony didn’t believe in them enough to give it a proper chance, or, even worse, that he didn’t love Steve as much as Steve loved him.

And today has been the happiest day of his life, so he goes all-in.

“Mr. Stark, may I have this dance?”

For a second, Steve doesn’t turn. Then he does, eyes glimmering with affection, love and a tiny speck of amusement. He meets Tony’s eyes as he squeezes him just so. “It would be my pleasure, Mr. Rogers.”

Tony smiles like the whole galaxy (and a couple of other planets, too) just beamed at him. Tony’s world did, at least.

There’s something warm and addicting about being called “Mr. Rogers.” He knows it can’t possibly last, so he wants to hear it over and over again while he can. After all, those will be his happiest, albeit most painful memories, when Steve inevitably leaves him.

Tony and Steve move closer to the free space at the center of the room. They hadn’t danced much during the evening: they had opened the first dance according to tradition, but there hadn’t been much room for more than a slow dance, so they had settled on just sitting and sometimes greeting the guests and chatting with them.

 

Only you
Cared when I needed a friend
Believed in me through thick and thin
This song is for you
Filled with gratitude and love

 

Steve places his arm around Tony’s waist and holds him tight as they begin to sway a little at Hucknall’s lines. Tony smiles – all he does is smile, smilesmilesmile, and he can’t even bring himself to stop, because he can’t really imagine a more perfect day. It’s so much more than he has ever deserved, and he just lives it moment after moment. 

Steve smiles too, and Tony’s world lights up that bit more just like that.

Tony doesn’t try to dance properly. He’s perfectly content with wobbling a little to the soft, muffled words of the song. It’s talking about how the love of his life makes the singer feel brand new, and Tony would become the world’s best vocalist just to sing it to Steve the way he deserves.

He remembers not liking this song, neither the original version nor the following, more popular covers, like this one. He remembers thinking that each and every person is perfectly capable of making a name for themselves without help from anyone else, and that nobody was supposed to have as much power over another person’s life as the song seemed to imply. Loving someone to that point had to be dangerous, unhealthy.

As with many things in his life, he was wrong.

Tony closes his eyes and rests his head on Steve’s chest. He deeply inhales the scent so unique to his husband and feels at home.

He knows that when it’s over, his heart – or what’s left of his heart anyway – will collapse and burn down and become dust, but in that moment he feels impossibly lucky to be the one Steve chose to love.

God, if you’re out there, please let it last forever.

 

My love
Whenever I was insecure
You built me up and made me sure
You gave my pride back to me

 

Steve brings both his arms around him and hugs him like he’s holding on for dear life. Tony’s breath hitches just so, and at that Steve squeezes him tighter and Tony feels his bones ache. He brings his own arms around Steve and reciprocates the hold, clinging to him while trying to take him close, closer to his heart.

Tony may not deserve Steve, but Steve deserves to be loved, and Tony can do that. He can love him and he does love him, so much his heart and mind hurt, so he murmurs, “I love you.”

Steve breathes in and caresses his back lightly, holding him tight. He’s still swaying with Tony, the song playing in the background. Then he says, “I love you too, Tony.”

No matter how many times Steve says those words, they never fail to make Tony’s heart miss a beat. He will never be able to recover when it’s all over, but it’s okay. He was never supposed to, he knew that from the first day.

Then Steve goes on. “I love you so much that I’m sure my heart is going to burst someday.” Tony is already shaking his head, but Steve just shushes him. “No, it’s true. You make me feel brand new, Tony. I’m old, I’m ancient, and yet you never make me feel like that. You make me feel alive.”

Tony doesn’t really get how that is his doing, so he just stays quiet.

Steve loosens his grip but barely moves away, just so he can look at Tony in the eye. He lifts his chin with one hand, and Tony has no power to resist – he never does. He looks into Steve’s limpid eyes and almost crumbles under their intensity.

“You’re brilliant, Tony. You’re probably one of the smartest scientists I know, you embody the future, and yet you never make me feel less than you.” Tony wants to protest, wants to look away from Steve’s eyes, but he can’t. “It drives me crazy when you leave me behind, when you keep secrets from me. I’m always hard on you, and I’m sorry about that, but it’s just because I expect so much from you. And in the end you always listen, you always fill me in. You always make sure to bring me with you, you always reserve a place for me just next to you. I will never keep up with you, but you do it anyway, you never make me feel left behind.”

Tony is breathless. “You would manage perfectly without me,” is all he can think to say.

Steve shakes his head and squeezes him a bit tighter with the arm that’s still around him. “No, I wouldn’t. And I wouldn’t care to, either. You make me want to know all those things. You make me want to keep up. You, Tony. And I love you,” he says.

Tony closes his eyes, leans closer and kisses him. Steve sighs and kisses him back, the hand that was holding his chin now tangling up in his hair. Tony moans softly into his mouth, melting against Steve’s chest. This is his personal addiction, it has been for a few years now, and he never wants to go back. Please, let it last forever.

“I love you like a mad man, Tony,” Steve whispers on his mouth. Tony kisses him again, this time opening his mouth and licking his bottom lip. He lets Steve take control of the kiss as their tongues meet, and Tony leans even closer, bringing his hands to Steve’s hair. He’s growing hard in his pants and suddenly staying there any longer seems like an absurd idea. He wants to get to the mansion, now.

Steve licks and nips at his mouth as the kiss slows down, and yeah, Tony’s new addiction is sweeter than alcohol ever was for him. Tony chases Steve’s lips with his own for a little while, then whispers, “God, Steve. Want to get out of here?”

He feels Steve smile and hug him tighter once again. “Yes, in a moment.” A beat, then, “Thank you for making me the happiest man on this Earth.”

Tony shakes his head, burying his face into the crook of Steve’s neck. “Thank you,” he murmurs, and he tries to put into those two words all the meaning he can, because really. He is the lucky one, not the other way around.

Steve just sighs a little. “You still have no idea how you make me feel, what you do to me.” It’s not a question, so Tony doesn’t answer. “It’s okay,” Steve continues. “I have a lifetime to prove it to you, day after day, until I make sure you understand that. Even if that’s the last thing I ever do.”

Tony shivers a little.

If Steve doesn’t stop talking about forever, he might start to believe it.