It started on a Wednesday, which was typical, because Wednesdays were Rhodey’s least favourite day. Everything bad happened on a Wednesday. On that particular morning, he woke up to cold Chinese on the counter, day-old coffee in the coffeemaker and no sign of his roommate.
He’d last seen Tony around eight o’clock the night before, when he’d popped into the campus lab on his way home to ask if he should order enough Chinese for him too. Tony had given him a distracted affirmative, telling him that Chinese sounded awesome, and that he had about half an hour of work left and then he’d be heading home too. Rhodey had known he should have waited, made sure Tony actually wrapped things up, but it had been cold and rainy, and he’d had a pair of sweatpants and a baseball game calling to him at home.
But if Tony’s bed was empty now, then he’d absolutely pulled another all-nighter at the lab. Had probably got caught up in an idea and hadn’t even realized how much time had passed.
And sure, it wasn’t technically Rhodey’s responsibility -- Tony was even a legal adult now, old enough to vote, and drink if they hadn’t just increased the age limit (as he wouldn’t stop complaining about), and take care of himself. But Rhodey’d been looking out for the twerp since he had shown up at MIT with braces and two-inch thick glasses and that ridiculously terrible haircut, and he wasn’t about to stop now. So he headed back to his bedroom, giving his still-warm bed a last, longing look as he got dressed for the trudge back to campus. He should have just enough time to collect Tony and get him home before he had to make his own way to class.
Tony, just as he’d suspected, was about twelve coffees in, wild-eyed and a little manic over his new idea. Rhodey had faked interest (it was too early in the morning to follow what Tony was even saying) and it hadn’t been as difficult as he’d expected to herd Tony out the door. The sky had cleared overnight, but the wind was cold, and Rhodey shoved his hands in his pockets as they shuffled towards home, kicking at dead leaves and yawning while Tony continued raving, gesticulating wildly to express points that went entirely over Rhodey’s head.
They were cutting through the park when Tony stopped talking mid-sentence. Rhodey turned to look at him only to find Tony staring at the bushes with wide eyes.
“What?” he managed to ask before Tony shushed him and then dropped to all fours, peering into the bushes in question. Rhodey considered kicking him in the ass (it’s what a good best friend would do) and then got distracted by said ass. Tony was filling out more, no longer the short, skinny teenager that Rhodey had first met. Well, he was still short — Rhodey would lord those two-and-three-eighths-inches over him until the day he died — but not as short. And apparently he’d started doing squats at some point, because that ass was nice . Rhodey should tell him sometime, that he was looking good.
Which was when he realized that it was butt o’clock in the morning and he was standing in a cold park ogling his best friend’s ass. He needed more sleep.
“Tony,” he grumbled. It was definitely not a whine. “Come on, man. I’m freezing my ass off out here. What are you even doing?”
“Shhh,” Tony insisted, voice low and just above a whisper. “I thought I saw—,” He cut himself off with a noise that could almost be considered a squeal. “There, look. Hi baby,” he added, voice shifting into a soft coo. “Hello, aren’t you just beautiful?”
Rhodey stared at him wide-eyed, wondering if he had finally lost it, before following Tony’s gaze. He didn’t see it at first, the lighting in the shade of the trees too dim, but then he noticed the pair of big, yellow eyes blinking out at them. Tony continued cooing, rubbing his fingers together in a way that was apparently supposed to be tempting, and Rhodey rolled his eyes.
“Tones, come on. It’s just a cat. Leave it.”
“I think it’s a baby,” Tony hummed, ignoring him entirely. “Come on, sweetheart. Look at you, aren’t you so pretty?”
He continued talking to it until slowly the small black form crawled out from the shrubs. It craned its neck out to sniff at Tony’s fingers and then darted back, not quite as far as before.
“Oh no, it’s okay,” Tony soothed. “I’m not going to hurt you. Come on out, it’s okay.”
Rhodey kicked at Tony’s ankle. “Come on, let’s go home. It’s a black cat. It’s bad luck, and you’ve got enough of that already.”
Tony shot him a look over his shoulder. “I happen to like black cats, okay?”
“That’s your white guilt talking,” Rhodey informed him, getting a soft huff of laughter in return. “Tony. I’m going to be late for class.”
“So go,” Tony told him. “I just want to see if it has a collar or something. I promise, I remember where our apartment is.”
Rhodey considered staying, but they were close to home, and he’d never been a cat person; he really didn’t want to be late to class because of some stray. It wasn’t like it was hurt or anything, it was fine , it was just Tony being Tony. And while most of Tony’s manic energy looked to have worn off, he still seemed alert enough that he probably wouldn’t just conk out and fall asleep right there in the park.
“Fine,” Rhodey huffed out. “Don’t spend all day here, yeah? Go and get some sleep.”
Tony waved him off still murmuring sweet nothings to the cat, and Rhodey set off for home, jogging now because he really was going to be late.
He’d mostly forgotten about it by the time he was heading back to the apartment that evening. It was midterm season, and he was exhausted. His attention span for anything that wasn’t studying was pretty much zero. He’d swung by the lab on his way out, to make sure Tony was fed and watered, but to his surprise, he wasn’t there. Still, he’d pulled a lot of all nighters in the past couple weeks; he’d probably gone home, crashed, and hadn’t pulled himself out of bed yet. Consistent sleep hours wasn’t a concept that Tony Stark was familiar with.
When he walked into their apartment, though, the lights were on and the whole place smelled like his favourite kind of pizza. “Aw yes,” he moaned to himself, dropping his bag and jacket right to the floor and beelining for the kitchen. He groaned loudly as he shoved half a slice in his mouth at once, favour bursting on his tongue. “This is so good,” he mumbled. “Tony?” he called, grabbing a couple more slices to take with him.
He followed the sound of his voice into the living room. “Have I told you lately that you’re my favourite?”
Tony was sitting on the floor, fiddling with a cardboard box. “Uhh, not lately,” he admitted. “But that’s good to know.”
There was something off about the way he said it, eyes not quite meeting Rhodey’s and Rhodey stilled, slowly lowering the pizza to the table. “Tony…?”
Tony beamed at him a minute and then, clearly realizing that Rhodey wasn’t buying it, he reached into the box to hold up something small and black. “Surprise!”
Rhodey stared for a minute, not fully comprehending what he was looking at until the black lump mewed at him. “Oh no,” he said, sitting down heavily on the couch. “Oh no. I knew I shouldn’t have left you there.”
“His name is Michael,” Tony informed him, like Rhodey hadn’t said anything.
“ Michael ?”
“Yeah! Like Myers? Cause he’s a black cat, and it’s almost Halloween?”
“Oh my god,” Rhodey muttered, shaking his head. “Tony we can’t keep a cat.”
“Rhodey, come on,” Tony pleaded. “He’s just a baby, look at how tiny he is. He won’t last outside once it gets much colder. And look how friendly he is!”
Rhodey had to admit, the cat did seem to like Tony. He was stomping all over his lap, tiny frame stretching, digging his nails into Tony’s thighs and kneading in the process. Rhodey could hear the faint rumblings of what promised to be an impressive purr too. And Tony looked so thrilled, his attention back on the cat as he scratched behind his ear and the cat almost melted and then proceeded to somersault off his lap in delight. Rhodey fought back a fond smile before Tony could see it and know he’d won.
“Michael, huh?” he asked instead, trying not to cave when Tony turned the puppy dog eyes on him.
He moved closer, squatting down to look at him more closely. Michael blinked curious eyes at Rhodey, and, following Tony’s movements from earlier, he held out his fingers. Michael stepped across Tony’s lap to get closer, and then —
“Motherfucker!” Rhodey tipped back on his ass, startling the cat into hiding under the couch, but he wasn’t much paying attention to that. He shook out his hand and frowned at the large scratch that had appeared under his knuckles. Blood was welling from it, and it stung like a bitch, and he sucked at the skin, trying to soothe the pain.
Grumbling, he got to his feet, heading for the bathroom to clean it off. “That cat’s a menace, Tones,” he informed him.
The cat stayed.
Really, Rhodey should have known it was a lost cause. He could never resist those puppy dog eyes of Tony’s, and he’d had them out in full force when he’d been pleading Michael’s case. So he probably shouldn’t have been so surprised when he got up the next morning to find Tony sprawled across the length of the couch, still fully dressed and snoring loudly, Michael a small black lump on his stomach.
At least he’d slept.
Rhodey eyed him a minute. Tony’s face was softened in sleep, the faint crinkles around his eyes disappearing, along with slightly manic expression he often wore. He looked downright peaceful, calm and content, lips curling up into a faint smile, soft and plush and tempting. It was a good look for him. His shirt had ridden up a little, exposing sharp hipbones and his soft, pale stomach, and Rhodey was struck by the urge to press a kiss against his skin. Which -- what the fuck .
As if sensing Rhodey’s less-than-savoury thoughts, Michael opened one yellow eye and a low growl started deep in his chest. Rhodey held his hands up, taking a couple steps back. “Okay, okay,” he said. “I don’t know either.”
He headed for the kitchen and got a pot of coffee started, downing a full cup himself before he headed back into the living room. Michael’s eyes were firmly closed again, and Rhodey flicked Tony’s ear, hard. His eyes slid open, and he blinked up at Rhodey.
(Tony had the uncanny ability to go from dead asleep to wide awake without moving a single muscle in his body. Rhodey didn’t like to think about how and why he might have developed that particular skill.)
“Your cat is growling at me.”
“He is not,” Tony protested automatically, relaxing now that he knew where he was. He stretched out on the couch further, one hand scratching at Michael’s neck, and the cat nuzzled into it. “He’s purring.”
“He hates me,” Rhodey informed him, watching as Tony struggled to sit up without dislodging the cat. He looked ridiculous, flailing at the back of the couch, and Rhodey didn’t bother to hide the way he was laughing at him. Tony gave him a dirty look, and Rhodey made a face at him in return before taking pity and passing him a mug of coffee. Tony moaned appreciatively, shoving his face in the steam before taking a huge gulp.
“Mmm,” he mumbled into the cup, blinking sweetly at Rhodey over the rim. “God, I love you, baby.”
Feeling suddenly hot all over, Rhodey headed over to the thermostat to see if Tony had messed with the settings again, boosting it up to his preferred temperature of ninety million degrees. “Don’t change the subject,” Rhodey told him, frowning when he found it set normally. “You gave him a warm spot for the night, but he can’t stay. If you don’t want to put him back outside, then we can take him to the shelter.”
“The shelter??” Tony gasped audibly, and Rhodey rolled his eyes when he looked over to find Tony covering Michael’s ears. “We can’t take him to a shelter. Black cats are the least adoptable of all cats. They’ll end up putting him down!”
Rhodey wrinkled his nose at him, rubbing at the cut Michael had left on his hand. It itched like crazy. “How do you even know that?”
“And if they do adopt him,” Tony continued, as if he hadn’t even spoken, “Who knows what’ll happen to him. It’s almost Halloween, honeybear. Do you know what kind of weird things people do to black cats on Halloween?”
“Pretty sure that’s an urban legend,” Rhodey grumbled. Then he made the mistake of looking at Tony, who was staring at him with hopeful eyes.
“ Please Rhodey?” he asked softly, in a voice that made Rhodey melt and shiver at the same time. He sighed; he’d already lost and he knew it.
When he made it home that night, Tony was gone, back at the lab to work on his final project, but a litter box and food and water dishes had magically appeared in the apartment, along with about fifty thousand cat toys and six different beds. Rhodey felt like shit, exhausted and shivery, and just shook his head. He had about three hours worth of studying to do for his final midterm the next day, and couldn’t care enough to even look for where the damn cat was holed up. There was food and water in his dish. He’d come out if he was hungry.
Of course, when he dragged himself to bed hours later, it was to find Michael sound asleep in the centre of his bed. Rhodey hesitated a moment, considering. He thought about trying to climb into the bed anyway, but no sooner had the thought crossed his mind than Michael started growling again, his eyes not even open.
“Fuck it,” Rhodey declared. The last thing he wanted was to wake up with his eyes clawed out; he needed them for his test tomorrow. So he shuffled into Tony’s room instead, crawling under his blankets. He was asleep almost before he hit the pillow, but retained just enough consciousness to notice how the sheets smelled like Tony. Taking a deep breath and snuggling in deeper, he drifted off.
It was still dark when something pulled him back into consciousness. He blinked blearily a few times, eyes burning and taking too long to adjust to the dim light. It took him a long moment to realize it was Tony who had woken him up, standing over him with an arched brow and a crooked grin. “Whatcha doin, Buttercup?”
Rhodey grunted and rolled over, hugging Tony’s pillow tighter. “Mmph. Cat,” he managed to say. There was a moment of silence as Tony deciphered that, long enough for Rhodey to almost fall asleep again, and then Tony was pushing gently at his shoulder.
“C’mon, Rhodeybear. Budge up, huh?”
Rhodey was too tired to even think twice when Tony crawled into bed beside him. And when he snuggled up close to Rhodey’s side, he just pressed right back into him.
Rhodey was pretty sure he was half dead by the time he made it home the next day. There was a storm rolling in, the air cold and windy, and he’d just missed the rain that was now lashing at their windows. He dropped his bag inside the door and then blinked when he found Tony sitting on the couch. He was scribbling equations on a notepad, tongue sticking out as he frowned in concentration, and Rhodey had the brief thought that he was adorable, followed by the thought that he’d really like to feel that tongue on his body.
Which was when Tony looked up, beaming at the sight of him. “Hey honeybear! How was the midterm?”
Rhodey blinked, shaking his head like he could Etch-a-Sketch the weird thoughts out of his brain, and flopped onto the couch beside Tony. He misjudged where he sat, ending up a little too close, but was too tired to be bothered shifting over. He leaned into Tony’s side instead, letting him keep him upright. “You remembered?” he asked, scratching at his hand again. Tony could barely remember to eat most days, Rhodey certainly didn’t expect him to remember his schedule.
But Tony just huffed out a laugh. “Of course I remembered. Did it go okay?”
Rhodey shrugged. “Don’t even know,” he admitted. “Just glad it’s done.”
Tony laughed again. “I ordered celebratory Chinese.” He bumped his shoulder against Rhodey’s, turning his head to grin at him. “Figured I owed you payback from Tuesday.”
“You’re the best,” Rhodey told him, making no move to stand up. He found himself lulled by the steady in and out of Tony’s breathing, where his side was pressed into Rhodey’s. A minute later, Tony’s left hand came up, scratching at the short hair on the back of his scalp before rubbing at his neck. Rhodey shuddered at the feeling.
“You want a nap first?” Tony asked, voice amused but pitched soft and low as he rubbed the tension away.
“Yeah,” Rhodey sighed, still making no move to stand up. He kind of wanted to stay here forever.
He really had intended to go to his own bed to sleep, but the next thing he knew he was waking up, stretched out on the couch. It took him a second to get his bearings, to realize that there was a fleece blanket draped over him, that his head was half pillowed on Tony’s thigh, and that long fingers were still scratching absently over his scalp, sending pleasant shivers up his spine. He shifted, looking up at Tony, who grinned down at him when he realized Rhodey was awake.
“Oh hey,” he teased, eyes sparkling. “It lives!”
And there was something wrong with Rhodey, because all he could do was stare at Tony’s lips, and think about how much he wanted him to lean down and kiss him. Tony met his eyes, when he didn’t answer, chewing at his lower lip, and for a minute Rhodey thought he really was going to lean down and do exactly that.
Which was when Michael came flying out of nowhere, bouncing off the back of the couch and onto Rhodey’s stomach, startling a yelp out of him. The cat’s nails dug into his stomach in response, and Rhodey jerked in pain, nearly smacking his head against Tony’s chin in the process. By the time Michael had untangled himself, and Rhodey had stopped flailing long enough to manage to sit upright, Tony was bent in half laughing at the noise that Rhodey had made. Rhodey shoved him, and Tony shoved him back. There was no awkwardness, no hint of the moment that had passed between him, and Rhodey told himself that it hadn’t happened at all, had just been his imagination playing tricks on him, a symptom of his nap hangover.
“That cat’s evil,” he told Tony, though he made no further mention of getting rid of him.
Tony beamed at him. “I think he likes you,” he teased, still giggling. He pressed a sloppy kiss to Rhodey’s cheek, making him swat at Tony’s face, and then he shoved Rhodey off the couch. “Go get your Chinese, I left it in the oven so it would be warm for you.” He reached over to the side table, holding up a video cassette with a gleeful expression. “I got beer and every slasher film I could find. You and me? Were gonna spend the entire weekend holed up in here, getting drunk and making fun of dumb teenagers. Real life can wait until Monday.” Tony beamed at him, and something in Rhodey’s stomach fluttered at the sight.
“You are a dumb teenager,” he told Tony, because it was expected of him. He couldn’t help grinning back at him though, because that sounded like everything he wanted right now.
He brought extra food when he came back, knowing that Tony would steal half of Rhodey’s off his plate. Tony already had a movie queued up and Rhodey flopped onto the far end of the couch, depositing his feet into Tony’s lap. Tony made a show of poking at the hole in his big toe, grumbling about how his feet smelled, but his hand settled comfortably over Rhodey’s ankles as he leaned back to watch the movie, occasionally reaching over to steal spare ribs and baby corn from Rhodey. Eventually Michael came to join them, shoving himself between Rhodey’s feet and Tony’s stomach and curling into a little ball. Rhodey eyed him suspiciously, concerned for his toes, but Michael seemed to go right to sleep. He was purring, and the rumbling sensation against his foot was oddly soothing.
But by the time Tony had shoved his feet away to get up and pop in the next movie, Rhodey was sniffling, eyes feeling blurry again. He leaned back against the couch, letting his eyes fall closed as he listened to Tony pad into the kitchen, feeding Michael and opening the fridge. He jolted when something icy cold pressed against his side, and looked up to see Tony smirking at him, beer in hand.
“Thanks,” he mumbled, taking it and knocking back a large swallow. Tony’s brow furrowed as he settled back on the couch beside him.
“You okay?” he asked.
Rhodey shrugged. “Think I’m coming down with something,” he grumped. “Figures, just when I finished midterms.”
Tony scrunched his nose at him sympathetically. “Could be worse?” he offered. “At least you didn’t get sick during midterms.” He grabbed Rhodey’s legs, hauling them back into his lap, and Rhodey arched an eyebrow at him. “What?” he asked defensively, although he was laughing. “You’re warm!”
Rhodey didn’t bother pointing out the blanket draped across the back of the couch.
He spent the next movie alternating between dozing and bitching about how much he hated being sick. It didn’t feel like a normal cold, no sore throat, no irritating itch, just a sniffly nose and burning eyes, but it was still enough to make him cranky. He knew he was probably being really irritating, but Tony didn’t complain, just laughed at him and made sympathetic noises in turn, occasionally rubbing his thumb over Rhodey’s ankle bone when his complaints got particularly pathetic.
Sick or not, fair was fair, so when the second movie was over, Rhodey hauled his sorry ass off the couch to grab the next round of beer. He picked up a bag of chips while he was out there, and was headed back into the living room when Michael came out of nowhere, winding his way through Rhodey’s feet. Trying not to step on him, Rhodey lost his balance. He managed to catch himself before he face planted, but dropped one of the bottles of beer. It didn’t break, at least, but the beer spilled all over the floor, and Rhodey stared at it forlornly.
“Come on,” he whined. Tony was snickering -- although he moved to grab a towel and throw it on the mess -- and Rhodey glared at him. “Stop laughing,” he protested, “This is your fault. Your cat cursed me.”
This just made Tony laugh harder. “What??” he asked, tossing the wet towel in the sink. He sprayed cleaner on the floor and let it sit, dropping back onto the couch in favour of wiping it down. “What do you mean the cat cursed you?”
“Hey, I’m serious,” Rhodey told him, pointing at him before rubbing at his watery eyes with the back of his hand. “He’s evil, and he cursed me! I’ve got cat scratch fever. He showed up here, and all of a sudden I’m sniffling and my eyes are burning. This fucking cut won’t heal--,”
“It’s been two days, honeybear.”
Rhodey glared at him, scratching at his hand and moving to wipe up the cleaning solution before the floor got all sticky. “Cursed,” he repeated, scrubbing at the floor. Tony was laughing behind him. “I’m tired, I’m stupid, I’m uncoordinated. My head hurts, my hand’s itchy, and I keep having these crazy thoughts about how I should kiss my roommate.”
He didn’t even realize what he’d said at first, but Tony’s laughter stopped, going suddenly quiet. Rhodey played back what he’d said, and felt his heart stop. That was definitely not something he had planned on sharing. There wasn’t a sound from Tony though, and not knowing what he was thinking right now was killing Rhodey. Drawing in a deep breath, he forced himself to stand up and look at Tony.
Tony was staring back at him, lips parted and eyes wide. He ducked his head and licked his lips before peering back up at Rhodey.
“That… That’s not crazy,” he said, voice quiet, soft. Hopeful.
Rhodey stared at him for a moment, trying to process what had just happened. And of course, because it was Tony, he immediately panicked.
“I mean, unless you meant a different roommate,” he added quickly with a tense laugh. “In which case forget I said anything. The cat, or the person you’re hiding in the closet. Do we have a secret third roommate? Are you renting out my room when I pull all nighters at the lab?”
He was rambling, couldn’t get stopped, and Rhodey had no idea how he hadn’t realized until right now how much he loved this man. Figuring ‘fuck it’ he stepped forward, pulled Tony to his feet, cupped his face in his hands, and kissed him. Tony had been mid sentence, and he cut himself off with a startled noise, eyes still open. His lips were warm and dry against Rhodey’s, but he wasn’t kissing him back. Rhodey was just beginning to wonder if he’d misread everything when Tony abruptly got with the program. With a startled noise he was surging forward, pressing against Rhodey and kissing him in return. Rhodey couldn’t help grinning against his lips, laughing a little, but then Tony was sliding his tongue along his lips, hand shifting to curl around his neck, and shit, he was good at this. Rhodey moaned into his mouth, hands sliding down to grip at Tony’s waist, and then, because he could now, lower still. He squeezed his ass, using his grip to yank Tony right up against him. Tony made another surprised noise at that, breaking the kiss with a delighted giggle.
“Um.” He looked at Rhodey with a pleased smile and flushed cheeks. “Hi.”
Rhodey beamed at him. “Hi,” he said back. He couldn’t resist giving Tony’s ass another squeeze, grinning wide at the little squeak he made in response. Tony wrinkled his nose at him but he was grinning too, his hands still curled around Rhodey’s neck.
“That was… That was good,” Tony said, licking his lips as he looked at Rhodey. “Right?”
“Good?” Rhodey repeated incredulously. He darted forward, giving Tony another quick kiss. “Fuck Tones, you’re a good kisser. Guess all those those dates you’ve been going on have paid off, huh?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Shut up,” he mumbled.
Rhodey arched an eyebrow at him. “Make me.”
So Tony did.
They ended up sprawled across the couch, Rhodey on his back, Tony half draped on top of him, legs tangled together as they made out lazily. It was a tight fit, and Rhodey had one foot on the floor, but it was more than worth it. Tony’s hands were under his t-shirt, running over his chest, and Rhodey was teasing over Tony’s back, just above the waist of his jeans. It was good, slow and easy, instantly in sync with each other the way they’d always been. They were rocking against each other occasionally, but there was no real urge to take things any further yet.
Rhodey pulled away to catch his breath, and Tony immediately shifted to kiss his neck instead. Rhodey grinned up at the ceiling, shivering when Tony’s teeth scraped over just the right spot. He shifted his hand to comb through Tony’s soft curls and felt him smile against his skin.
“I’ve been thinking about it too,” Tony admitted, voice muffled. He lifted his head, grinning at Rhodey with heavy eyes. “Kissing my roommate, I mean.”
“Yeah?” Rhodey rubbed the back of his neck. “You mean me, or the one hiding in the closet?”
Tony rolled his eyes at him. “Been thinking about other things too,” he added.
Rhodey rocked his hips pointedly up against him. “God, I hope so.”
“Shut up,” Tony protested, although he was laughing. “I’m trying to be serious here. I know I’ve got a reputation…”
“Oh, for being the king of one-night stands? That reputation?”
Tony pouted at him, and Rhodey couldn’t resist kissing it away. “Sorry,” he whispered against his lips. “Sorry, go on.”
“I just… I wanted you to know that this wasn’t that. I mean, obviously it’s that too, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Not just sex, just… This.” He was getting flustered, nose turning pink in a blush, and Rhodey had to kiss it away.
“Are you trying to ask me out?”
“Something like that,” Tony admitted, eyes wide and hopeful. Rhodey thought about how many times Tony had broken up with someone after a weekend, every time he’d told him that he just wasn’t meant for relationships, and warmth pooled low in his stomach. He curled his hand around the back of Tony’s neck, pulling him down for another long, needy kiss.
Which was when there was a sudden high pitched meow. Michael jumped down onto Tony’s back, giving Rhodey a dirty look, and Rhodey promptly sneezed three times in a row, just managing to turn his head before he sneezed directly in Tony’s face. The sound startled Michael, who scampered off again, and Rhodey leaned his head back against the arm rest with a groan as his eyes watered again.
“See?” he huffed. “Ugh, I hate being sick. Oh shit!” HIs eyes went wide as he realized they’d been making out for the better part of the past half hour, and he brushed his fingers through Tony’s hair again. “Baby, I’m gonna get you sick too.”
To his surprise, Tony burst out laughing, turning his head to kiss Rhodey’s palm. “Oh god honey, I love you,” he told him, not even flinching from the words. “You’re not sick, you doofus. You’ve got allergies.”
Rhodey stared at him blankly. “... What?”
Tony grinned at him. “You got allergies. To the cat,” he added. “Think about it. The watery eyes, the sniffles, the sneezing. It’s an allergy.” His face fell a little. “Guess we can’t keep Michael after all.”
Rhodey shook his head. “That doesn’t make any sense. We had a cat, when I was a kid. He didn’t like me, but I wasn’t allergic.”
Tony considered this. “Some dander allergies disappear after exposure,” he offered. “Allergic at first, but after a couple weeks, your body’ll adjust.”
Rhodey squinted at him. “How do you know that?”
He got a shrug in return. “I don’t know. Read it in a book once. Does this mean we can keep Michael?”
“Yeah,” Rhodey admitted, mostly because he’d do anything to make Tony smile. He sniffled again. “I hope you’re prepared for how gross I’ll be for the next few weeks though.”
Tony grinned, hopping off the couch, laughing at that distraught sound that Rhodey made at the loss of his body weight. “Hold that thought, handsome.”
Rhodey rolled his head on the armrest, watching as he jammed his feet into his sneakers and grabbed the first jacket he could find, which happened to be Rhodey’s. “Wait, where are you going?”
Tony waggled his eyebrows at him. “Twenty-four hour pharmacy three blocks away. Gonna grab some allergy pills so we can make out in the meantime.” He winked and was out the door without another word. Rhodey stretched out on the couch, grinning up at the ceiling a little giddily. God, he really loved that man.
Michael appeared from nowhere, curled up on Rhodey’s stomach, and went to sleep.