Prompt: Stony, animal transformation
I realized about halfway through writing this that you probably meant a spell or something but I wrote shifters instead and I really liked what I had so I kept going. Sorry it’s a lot crackier than you were probably expecting; you can blame @maguna-stxrk for that
As always, everything I write is also available on ao3
The first time Tony met Steve Rogers, he was both delighted and irritated. Delighted because hey! Captain America is another cat shifter! And that means that Howard was wrong and Tony is, in fact, like Captain America (in some ways at least; in others, that remains to be proven).
“I won’t do it.”
And irritated because Captain America is another cat shifter.
“You can’t make me.”
Tony knows that there are cat shifters out there who are perfectly friendly and like being around other cats. He is not one of them. There are multiple reasons why he and Steve clashed on the helicarrier and only one of them is Loki’s staff. Tony’s breed is highly territorial and everything in his tower is his and he doesn’t want another cat in there rubbing up against his stuff. But there Fury is, insisting that the entire team move into the tower.
“I don’t want them there,” Tony says flatly. That’s not entirely true. He doesn’t really want any of them there but he’s willing to put up with them. The only one he really truly genuinely doesn’t want there is Steve.
It’s probably a good thing none of the rest of the team is here to hear him complaining about them. But, well, they should know better than to expect friendliness out of him. He’s not friendly. He’s majestic and aloof and not in the mood to have anyone else around to see him when he’s not being majestic and aloof.
Fury eyes him. Tony doesn’t know what kind of shifter he is—he keeps that kind of paperwork on actual paper, ew—but he wouldn’t be surprised if it’s something sneaky and devious like Fury himself (probably a snake. Tony hates snakes).
“Stark, the ways I could make you do what I want—”
“—are all against the Geneva Convention,” Tony finishes smoothly. In his reflection on the table, he realizes that the tuft of hair behind his ear isn’t lying flat. He licks the back of his hand and reaches up to smooth the hairs back down.
“We are running out of options—”
“Well, that sounds like a you problem.”
Tony shuts up. Sighs. Glances through the window of the conference room where he can see Clint leaning against the wall, stuck in partial shift since Loki and the invasion. His golden tail is tucked between his legs, his ears are drooped, and he flinches like a kicked puppy (not an inaccurate description) every time someone walks by.
“How bad is it?” he asks.
“People don’t want him on the helicarrier,” Fury says. “He makes them nervous. His pack bonds were broken when Loki took him, and with Coulson—well.”
Yeah, that. Dog shifters like Clint rely on pack bonds, even those formed between non-dogs. Tony’s always been more of a loner so he can’t really imagine what Clint is going through but judging by the way Clint looks, he can guess it isn’t easy.
“They’ve all been briefed on what it’s like living with a cat, even Rogers, and they know about your idiosyncrasies in particular.”
And that’s the crux of the matter. “I don’t want him there,” Tony says quietly.
“He’s not the same breed—”
“But he’s got the same instincts!” He sighs frustratedly and almost runs his hand through his hair before he realizes how much that’ll mess up his hairstyle. His tail lashes agitatedly behind him, instincts urging him to claw, to bite, to protect his home from the invader. “Why can’t it just be Clint?”
“Because where Clint goes, Natasha goes. Besides, Clint needs the pack bonds, which means he needs the whole team.”
Tony hisses, crosses his arms, pouts. “Fine,” he says eventually. “But I don’t like it.”
And then, before Fury can feel too smug in his victory, he keeps aggressive eye contact and knocks Fury’s water glass off the table, darting away before he can hear more than the bellow of rage.
“I don’t want you here,” Tony says, ears laced back irritably. It’s the first time he’s come across Steve in the tower so far and of course the man (well, actually he’s shifted into his cat form right now) is lying in Tony’s favorite sunbeam. The nerve of some people.
The single eye that Tony can see slits open and stares at him for a long moment. In the next moment, a ripple comes over the cat and then Steve has partially shifted back, stretching lazily as he yawns. “Okay, Tony,” he agrees.
“You’re in my sunbeam.”
“I want you out of it.”
“But it’s such a nice sunbeam.”
“We could share it.”
Tony lets out an offended yowl. They can’t share it. That would defeat the purpose of it being his. Steve stares at him for a long moment and then stretches again, muscles rippling in interesting ways that make Tony want to knead them for—no. No kneading. No accepting the interloper.
“Come on, Tony. It’s sunny and I want to nap. We can share the sunbeam,” Steve says around another yawn before flopping over onto his side, still mostly human. Tony wants to bite his tail. But… he does want a nap. And this is favorite sunbeam. And he shouldn’t have to find another one since there’s no way Steve will be leaving this one (sadly Tony has not yet figured out the right strength the armor needs to move him).
He carefully lays down, putting several inches of space between him and Steve. Almost immediately, he can feel the effects of the warm sun on him, pulling him under into a light doze. It’s not enough to fall asleep entirely, not when he can still feel Steve at his front but then Steve starts to purr and oh, that’s kind of nice. He hesitantly lets out an answering purr of his own. Steve’s rumble grows louder and almost without meaning to, Tony finds his hands kneading the ground contentedly.
But that won’t stand. It can’t stand. He conceded ground on the sunbeam because it and Steve were warm and that was clearly a mistake because now Steve is standing in the kitchen, drinking coffee from Tony’s favorite coffeepot out of Tony’s favorite mug as he talks to Natasha.
And this injustice cannot stand!
“Mine,” he hisses, fingers shifting into extended claws, ready to tear into Steve for daring to drink from what clearly belongs to Tony.
At his hiss, Natasha’s skin ripples until she’s scaly and blending in with the cabinets. Smart of her to stay out of his way. Few things are worse than a territorial cat and even someone as lethal as Natasha would hesitate to face him when he’s like this, even though Steve gives her an amused look and says, “Really?”
Steve takes another sip out of the mug. Tony’s hiss turns into a full-throated growl. “Tony, you have to learn to share.”
“Yes, you do.”
“Yeah, you said that.” Steve doesn’t sound very impressed. Or even particularly intimidated, damn it.
“It’s my mug, it’s my favorite mug, you have to give it back,” Tony says, eyes tracking the mug as Steve lifts it to his lips again—wow, they looked kind of pink and pretty in the morning—no, focus. “Give it.”
“Alright,” Steve says agreeably and holds the mug out. “Here you go.”
Tony’s tail lashes and he hisses again. “You know I don’t like to be handed things.”
“Oh right,” Steve says, sounding remarkably unconcerned. “Too bad then. Guess you’re not getting your mug back.” He takes another sip from the mug—Tony’s mug.
“No,” Tony whines, drawing the word out so that it has at least eight additional syllables. He flops over onto the kitchen table, rolling around mostly so that he’s treating this situation with the hysteria it deserves but also so that he can scent mark the table, which currently smells of the rest of the team and not like him.
“Tony, stop being overdramatic,” Natasha orders, apparently deciding that she doesn’t need to blend in with the background anymore. “Steve, stop being a shit and give him back his mug.”
“No,” they both say petulantly.
She pulls out one of the many, many knives she keeps on her person. Tony hurriedly rolls off the table. Steve quickly puts the mug down and pulls out another one. Immediately, Tony darts to his mug—all his, no one else’s—and cradles it to his chest.
“That’s better,” Natasha says smugly and stalks out of the kitchen.
Tony waits until she’s gone and Steve has filled his new mug. Then, as Steve busies himself with cooking his breakfast, he slowly, cautiously reaches out and bats Steve’s mug off the counter. He gleefully sprints out of the kitchen to the sound of Steve’s outraged yowls, clutching his own mug close.
“Clint says you’ve been working too long,” Steve says, surprising Tony so much all the fur on his tail stands straight up.
“Fuck,” he spits. “I have a heart condition, you know.”
“Yeah,” Steve agrees like the asshole cat he is. “But I don’t think I’m going to give you a heart attack just by sneaking up on you. Not my fault you were in a zone.”
Tony grumbles wordlessly under his breath. It’s true that he’s been in a zone for the last couple hours or so, something that he achieves only through kneading or inventing, but that’s no reason for Clint to be concerned.
“Why do you care if Clint says I’ve been working too long?” he asks. Steve picks up one of his screwdrivers and spins it between his fingers before setting it back down. Tony immediately picks it up as well and rubs his cheek on it to cover it in his scent again. Steve shoots him a mischievous grin and promptly moves further away to do the same thing to a different screwdriver. Tony resigns himself to losing another couple of hours to scent marking everything once Steve is gone.
“I don’t,” Steve says, now rubbing up against one of the armors (and no, Tony is not thinking about how good Steve looks like that). “I thought we were doing a great job of ignoring each other. But he says it’s been more than twenty-four hours, which means it’s time for a break.”
Tony winces. Okay, yeah, he can ignore pretty much everyone except for Pepper. She’s important.
“So you’re… what, here to drag me upstairs for dinner?”
Steve shakes his head and holds up a bag in his hand. “Thought I’d offer to split a bag of catnip with you.”
“Huh,” Tony says out loud. He eyes it suspiciously. “It’s not laced with anything else, is it? You’re not going to take me to knock me out and take me to Medical.”
“Just pure catnip.” Steve opens the bag and Tony’s eyes dilate at the intoxicating scent. “Why, do you need to go to Medical?”
Tony thinks of the two cracked ribs he suffered during the battle yesterday that he’d wrapped himself. “Nope,” he says blithely. Steve’s eyes narrow but he doesn’t argue. “Are you going to judge me for straight up eating it?”
“Are you going to judge me for doing the same?”
“Fair,” he says and holds out a hand for the bag. Steve upends it and dumps half in Tony’s hand, watching without judgment as Tony stuffs half of it into his mouth.
And when Tony comes back from his catnip-induced high to finds himself fully shifted, Steve’s own shifted form wrapped so tightly around him that his short tabby fur is mingling with Tony’s longer white fur, there’s no judgment there either, just Steve purring and purring and purring.
“Why do you do it?” Tony quietly asks Steve one night. Some animated movie is playing on the screen but Tony doesn’t think anyone is actually paying attention to it. The rest of the team is busy sleeping together in a cuddle pile in their shifted forms, Clint’s golden retriever spooned by Thor’s panda, Bruce’s owl perched on top of Clint with his head tucked under his wing. He can’t spot Natasha’s chameleon but he can smell her so he knows she’s there somewhere. He and Steve are sitting apart from the rest of the team, studiously ignoring them. It had surprised him when Steve hadn’t gotten down there to join them—tabbies tend to be more social than other cats—and instead chosen to curl up next to him on the couch in his partial shift, but to his shock, he isn’t complaining about it.
Idly, Steve twines his tail around Tony’s twitching one and purrs, relaxing him until he’s a puddle on the couch. “Nat said it was a good way to get your attention.”
“What, picking a fight with me?”
“Tony.” Steve gives him a long look and then leans over to lick his ear. It should make Tony stiffen, run away, groom over that one spot until he no longer smells of Steve anymore. It doesn’t. It just makes his ear flick curiously. “I never wanted to fight with you.”
Suddenly, Tony’s brain is sifting through every interaction he and Steve have ever had, looking at them in a new light. Okay, and yeah, now that he’s thinking about it, he can see that this has all been Steve’s clumsy, well-intended attempt at courting him. And maybe he’s never really thought about Steve like that before but he’s thinking now and what he’s thinking is that when Steve isn’t stealing his things and laying in his favorite sunbeam, he actually really likes Steve.
“You’re not very good at this,” he informs Steve.
“Yeah, I’m getting that impression.”
“Natasha gave you bad advice.”
“I’m pretty sure she did it on purpose to stir up trouble.”
“She’s worse than either of us,” Tony agrees. “Now, hold still.”
“Wha—” He leans over Steve and licks at his ear, carefully grooming him. Steve purrs beneath him, eyes half-closed with pleasure. Tony’s own eyes drift shut as his heart beats a rhythm to the tune of mine, mine, mine.
“Hey, babe,” Tony says, coming up behind Steve. He drapes himself across Steve’s shoulders like the affectionate cat he is, giving a very sharp grin to the young socialite who has been holding onto Steve’s hand for the last minute. Doesn’t she know that that’s Tony’s? “I was wondering where you got off to.”
“Hey, sweetheart,” Steve replies, relaxing now that Tony is here. “Got stopped by Miss—I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name.”
Tony knows Steve well enough to know that that’s absolutely not the case. He’s just saying it to irritate her. But she doesn’t know that, especially because none of them are allowed to be in partial shift for tonight’s gala—Fury’s orders—and Steve’s shifter form is a closely guarded secret. So she doesn’t know that Steve’s just following his instincts as a cat. Tony does though, and he smothers his laugh in Steve’s shoulder.
“Whithers,” the girl says, irritation bleeding into her tone.
“Pleasure,” Tony says, making no attempt to hide the fact that he thinks it’s the opposite. He twines himself around Steve so that he can reach his lips for a quick kiss. “If you don’t mind, I have to borrow Steve here. Although, I really don’t care even if you do mind. See, he’s mine and I don’t really like it when people touch what’s mine.”
And then, before her face can do much more than register shock, he bats her champagne glass out of her hand.
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Hi!!! First of all, I am like🥺 such a fan of everything you write! And so I saw that you’re taking prompts and thought I’d try my luck. So, if you’re inspired of course, maybe you would do “I’m not leaving” or “I’m glad you’re here” (or literally any prompt from that list bc they’re all just🥺🥺) for Steve/Tony? Oh, and as a fellow Swiftie, I hope you’re ready for the Fearless re-release tomorrow !!!🤯 bc I’m looking forward to crying my way through this weekend🥲🥰🥺💖💞
hi!!! thank you so much, and I’m so sorry this took so long! but i also managed to put both prompts into it so hopefully that makes up for it lol. also the fearless re-recordings are so insanely good and the vault songs are god tier!!
Tony has a vision in his mind for the day he graduates from college. It’s been there since he was just a kid and the furthest ahead he could imagine for himself was that day. At the time it seemed like a hundred years away, and it carried an allure of freedom that was nearly unfathomable back then.
He always thought Ana and Jarvis would be there, sitting next to his mom. Howard came and went from the vision, because sometimes Tony would dream that it would be the day he was finally proud of him and sometimes he would be out of Tony’s life completely by then. When Steve comes into his life in middle school, new to California from Brooklyn, he gets added to that vision, too.
The reality ends up disappointing.
It’s been a few months since Jarvis passed, a couple of years since his parents died, and even longer since Ana’s death, but it hurts a little more today. All of the empty seats make Tony’s chest ache. Steve’s absence makes it even worse, even if he understands it. It’s not the first time the army made him miss something big, and Tony knows it won’t be the last. At least he’d been apologetic on the phone. A little sad, even, which made Tony feel worse for it.
After the ceremony ends, Rhodey slings his arm around his shoulder and Pepper walks on his other side.
“Just once I wish they’d pick someone actually good to speak at these things,” Rhodey complains. “That was so cheesy.”
“You mean you aren’t excited for the first day of the rest of our lives?” Pepper teases.
Tony laughs, “I thought the real low point was that joke he tried to make in the middle. Not too inspiring to imply that our degrees are essentially useless.”
“No, I love knowing that I’ve wasted the last four years.”
Rhodey hums, “Also wish he was a little more wrong about that.”
Rhodey’s family starts to call his name, waving enthusiastically from where the large group of them is huddled together. Pepper’s parents stand with them, looking so clearly like the odd ones out that it makes Tony grin.
“I see your families are getting along just fine,” Tony says, watching Pepper’s mom bounce one of Rhodey’s cousins in her arms.
“They’ve joined forces to nag us to death about getting married,” Pepper sighs, but there’s a fond smile on her face that betrays her.
“Trying to get you to set a date?”
Rhodey grins, “Trying to get me to propose, actually.”
“You proposed last month,” Tony frowns and looks down at her left hand, which is surprisingly bare. “I didn’t hallucinate that, did I?”
Pepper pulls her necklace out from where it was hidden beneath her collar. The ring sits on a delicate silver chain, diamond glittering in the sunlight for just a moment before she tucks it away again. She puts her index finger to her lips to tell him to keep it quiet, and Tony laughs.
“What did your innocent families do to deserve this?”
“There are no innocents in our families,” Rhodey says seriously. “We’re just buying ourselves some time until nagging me into proposing turns into everybody trying to plan our wedding for us.”
“My mother has terrible taste,” Pepper adds.
Waving from their families has turned into walking their way, and Tony gets sucked into the fold along with the two of them. He means to slip away after a few minutes, but no one lets that happen. Rhodey’s mom hugs him tightly and tells him he needs to eat more, followed immediately by how proud she is, and his cheeks turn pink under her attention. Somehow she wrangles him into joining them for the celebration dinner, but he can’t say that he minds much when he’s sitting with all of them. The laughter and stories take his mind off the melancholy feeling that’s been following him around lately, and it isn’t until he’s back in his quiet apartment much later in the day that he thinks about it again.
His hand twists into the chain around his neck, dog tags clinking together. They’re the first ones Steve got, back when he was newly enlisted after high school, and the letters are worn down beneath Tony’s thumb as he traces the shape of Steve’s name. He remembers that first time Steve put them around his neck and told him to keep them safe while he was gone. It was a promise to come back, and on the worst nights they’re both a comfort and a curse.
Leaning back against the closed door, he looks at the messy room in front of him. Finals week left him with little time for anything other than studying, and that coupled with his existing propensity for disorder, it looks a bit like a smaller tornado crossed through the apartment. Mugs stained with brown rings on the inside litter the coffee table, accompanied by pages of notes, pens, and uncapped highlighters. The blanket has fallen into a crumpled pile on the floor, and Tony is contemplating if he has the will to clean it all up when there’s a knock right behind his head.
He assumes it’s Rhodey and Pepper, here to decompress after finally untangling themselves from their families, and he turns around to open the door with a light-hearted remark already on his lips. Whatever it was leaves his mind immediately at what he finds instead.
“Hey, baby,” Steve smiles. “I’m sorry I’m late.”
Tony means to say something in return, but all that he actually manages is a choked out sob. He doesn’t fully realize he’s crying until Steve’s hands are on his cheeks to brush away the tears.
“Don’t cry, sweetheart,” Steve murmurs, and Tony clutches at every part of him that he can reach. He grips the rough fabric of the fatigues, clings to his arms and shoulders and back, and he can’t possibly get close enough.
“You’re here,” Tony whispers when he eventually finds his breath again. “You’re here, you’re actually here.”
Steve’s hand strokes through his hair, and his other hand is holding on to Tony just as tight as Tony is holding on to him. “I’m here, baby.”
He isn’t sure how long they stand there like that, swaying slightly as they hang on to each other, but it must be quite a long while before he can let go again. Even then, though, he doesn’t let Steve go very far. They fall onto the couch in one tangled mess of limbs. Tony puts his chin on Steve’s chest to look at him, and Steve looks back with a soft smile that almost makes him want to cry again. There’s a small, faded scratch on Steve’s cheek that wasn’t there before, and Tony reaches out to trace it with the tip of his finger.
“I’m glad you’re here,” Tony says quietly, like if he speaks any louder, the lovely little bubble they’re in will break.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be here earlier,” Steve says again. “I really tried, but -”
Tony interrupts him with a shake of his head, “It’s okay. You’re here now.”
“I’ll be here for a while, I promise.”
Tony smiles, but there’s a dull, familiar ache in his chest at the thought that it will eventually come to end anyway. “How long do I have you for?”
Instead of answering, Steve shuffles a bit beneath him, hand worming its way into his pocket. He pulls out a folded paper and hands it to Tony, expression unreadable. Tony sits up a little to read it, and by the time he’s finished reading every single line to make sure it’s real, his hand is shaking.
“You - you’re - discharged?” Tony stammers out. “You’re done?”
Steve nods, grin slowly forming as he watches Tony process it. “Was sort of hoping that might make up for missing the ceremony this morning.”
Tony laughs, light and carefree in a way that he hasn’t felt in four years. He kisses Steve with everything he has, paper crinkling between them, and between one kiss and the next, Steve reassures, “I’m not leaving, sweetheart. Never leaving again.”
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