I don't own anything. Buffy is not owned by me. Nor is anything owned by Marvel, especially not the Avengers. It is owned by rich, talented people. I'm a nobody. Please don't sue me. A Family Barbecue
They'd tried for over a year to have a get together, but the Watcher's Council and the Avengers both kept very busy, and no matter what they did the plans always seemed to fall through. Whether it was a violent labor strike among fyarl demons in South America Thanksgiving weekend, or Tony pissing off the world's most notorious terrorist around Christmas, no holiday plans survived their busy lives. It wasn't until the Fourth of July, more than a year after they began dating, that Buffy's friends finally had a chance to meet Steve.
Buffy was nervous, desperately wanting everything to work out, and so she flitted about, hovering at the edges of conversations, a tray of finger foods in hand and an anxious expression on her face. Steve's friends were generally either concerned about her strange behavior or simply bemused, while the Scoobies had seen her in Perfect Dinner mode, and were just glad she wasn't cooking the food. That task fell to the menfolk, led by Steve with Xander's assistance.
Buffy didn't calm down until Dawn finally took pity on her and pulled her aside. “Sis, you're crazy, you know that?”
“Huh?” Buffy asked, looking down at herself, as though expecting to be wearing a straightjacket.
Dawn rolled her eyes. “Everything's going fine. Nobody's freaking 'cept you.”
“I just... I need this to be perfect,” Buffy said.
Dawn snorted. “Nothings perfect. Let's just hope Xander doesn't drink too many of those beers and starts telling everyone Slayer stories. He's like a soccer mom bragging about his little girls... with more dismemberment.”
“Should I take his beer away?” Buffy asked, chewing her lip thoughtfully.
Dawn huffed and knew she had to take one for the team. The things she did for her sister. “Look, come meet my boyfriend.”
Buffy immediately focused in on Dawn with terrifying intensity. “Boyfriend? Since when do you have a boyfriend? You live here in New York. How come I'm the last one hearing about this boyfriend?”
“'Cause I knew you'd be all with the crazy?” Dawn said, leading her sister over to the boy she'd arrived with. “Crazier, anyway. Buffy, this is my boyfriend, Peter. Peter, this is Buffy. Please don't kill him.”
“No promises,” Buffy said through a fake smile. Peter gulped.
* * *
Steve flipped the burgers contentedly. His life was busy, but almost perfect. He was finally meeting his girlfriend's family, and they were almost as colorful as her stories had painted them. Xander and Giles were with him and Clint at the grill, mostly standing around and drinking beer. Tony and Pepper were talking with Willow and her girlfriend, Bruce and Natasha were sitting inside with Faith, and Buffy, Dawn, and Dawn's date, Peter, were talking. He smiled, knowing even without seeing Peter's nervous posture that Buffy was grilling him harder than he was the burgers.
Peter wasn't the only boyfriend being interrogated and threatened. Upon meeting Willow she'd threatened to turn him into a toad, and while normally it would've sounded ridiculous, he knew he had to take her seriously. Xander had leveled a one eyed glare and gone with a straightforward threat against his life. When Steve sent Xander and Clint inside for more food, Giles cleared his throat.
“I believe this is the occasion in which I am expected to threaten you about what would happen if you hurt Buffy,” Giles said, his voice quiet but intense.
“I believe so, sir,” Steve said.
“Good,” Giles said. “Then we can assume I've already done so. If I believed you would hurt her, you would not be around to have this conversation, anyway.”
The silence hung thick in the air for a moment, before Steve cleared his throat. “Actually, there's something I've been meaning to ask you...”
* * *
Pepper eventually took pity on Dawn's boyfriend and dragged Buffy away from him. Buffy and Pepper had become good friends over the past year, as they double dated with their boyfriends fairly often. Buffy had also been chosen to help Pepper deal with her sudden abilities from the Extremis procedure, and the two had become very close.
“Everyone seems nice,” Pepper said.
“Don't let them fool you,” Buffy said. “'Specially not my sister.”
Pepper led Buffy over to where Tony was talking to Willow. Buffy listened to the conversation about something boring and technical for about ten seconds before finding a small space to interrupt. “Hey! How's the party. Hors d'oeuvre?”
“So, Buffy, I'm gonna steal your friend here,” Tony said.
“I'm don't think Pepper or Kennedy would like that,” Buffy said. “Or Willow, for that matter.”
“What?” Tony said. “No, I'm taken. You don't wanna know what Pepper would do to me if I cheated on her. Let's just say, not pretty. No, I mean, I need her brain in my lab.”
“Just her brain?” Kennedy asked.
“Well, if she wants,” Tony said. “There was this guy with a thing for brains in jars... I dunno, seems kinda messy.”
“Sorry,” Willow said. “My brain and I are all one package. No separating. And- and no going off with strange geniuses. Besides... my job needs me.”
“Your job?” Tony asked, smirking. “Don't you work with Buffy? I'm sure inventing things to improve the world is a little more important than collecting old books. Plus, six figures. High six figures. Bet your book club can't compete with that.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. Ever since she met the Avengers while fighting off a small demon invasion, they'd all known what she was and what she did. Everyone already gave her enough trouble about her inability to keep a secret identity, so she'd neglected to mention that fact to her friends.
“No, its really important,” Willow said. “...Did you say six figures...”
“High six figures,” Tony said. “Pepper, give her a contract.”
* * *
When the food was served, Xander grabbed Buffy and dragged her away from the group. “Steve.”
“Yes...” Buffy said warily.
“Well, upsides, definitely human,” Xander said. “Grills a mean burger, too. Seems polite. Handsome. You were right about the abs by the way.”
“Getting weird, Xan,” Buffy said.
“Anyway, glad to see you're dating someone normal for a change,” Xander said.
“Right... normal...” Buffy muttered, looking away. “So when's the last time you went on a real date? Without some slayage at the end.”
“Hey, I've been busy,” Xander said defensively. “Besides, I've been on a few non-demony dates. They just didn't end well, either.”
“Maybe I could set you up with someone,” Buffy mused.
“Oh no,” Xander said. “No, no, no, no, no. And again, no. I don't care if you are in that happy coupley place where you wanna setup all your friends. I can find my own dates, thank you very much. And I don't have to find a girl to be happy. I'm self-actualized.”
“Have you been watching Dr. Phil again?” Buffy asked suspiciously.
“Hey, someone's gotta make sure he doesn't spread some evil demon message,” Xander defended. “This month was my turn. Stupid no killing pacifist demons policy.”
“Hey, look on the bright side,” Buffy said. “He could go on a rampage and you could finish him off.”
“So I saw you meeting with the guy Dawnie dragged along,” Xander said. “Anyone I should be threatening?”
“Oh, yeah,” Buffy said, glaring at him across the room. The young man seemed to notice despite his back being turned, looking around warily until he saw her. “New boyfriend. A photographer.”
“Hello, Buffy,” Giles said as he walked up to the conspiring friends. “You've outdone yourself, my dear.”
“Hey,” Buffy said, smiling at him. “So what'd you think of Steve?”
“He- he seemed like a very nice young man,” Giles said. “Very polite.”
“I think that's Giles speak for he likes him,” Xander mock whispered, ignoring Giles' glare.
“Yes, well,” Giles muttered. “How serious is this relationship?”
Buffy bit her lip. “Well... I think we're pretty serious. We've been together for a while, and... I really like him. Like, really like. I... I love him. Usually by now any normal guy would be long gone, and everyone else I've dated would be a bit flammable for a cookout.”
“Hey, I've said it before and I'll say it again,” Xander said. “I much prefer the Riley-esque, Captain America type over the broody evil dead type.”
Buffy was still laughing when Willow came over to join them. “We having a Scooby reunion and no one told me?”
“Just lettin' the Buffster know what we think of her date,” Xander said.
“Oh!” Willow said. “We like him don't we? I kinda like him. In a totally not interested that way, but happy for Buffy kinda way.”
“We like him,” Xander agreed. “So, what's for dessert?”
* * *
When Buffy went inside to get the dessert, she found Faith sitting at the counter surrounded by empty beer cans. She looked up at Buffy and gave nod before taking another deep drink. “This beer's piss.”
“Not gonna ask why you drank all of it then,” Buffy said.
Faith shrugged. “Piss's better than no beer.”
Buffy huffed and gathered the dessert, stopping near the door when Faith spoke again. “Your boy toy's alright. Shoulda known you'd be datin' a superhero.”
Buffy looked back, raising an eyebrow, but Faith was already immersed in another beer, and she decided to leave the other Slayer be. The years since Sunnydale had taught her that the best way to keep the peace between her and Faith was to not provoke each other. Besides, as many differences as they had, she was glad Steve had the other Chosen Slayer's approval.
* * *
The fireworks exploded overhead, flowers and stars of light and sound filling the night sky. Buffy had a tired smile on her face, satisfied but exhausted from the stress of the cookout. It became brighter when Steve joined her, looking up contentedly as well.
“Your friends are interesting,” he said tactfully.
Buffy chuckled. “Hey, no green rage monsters or whatever Tony is, but we get by.”
Steve turned to look at her for a moment. “I've been meaning to ask you something, but the timing never seemed right.”
“Yeah, baddies have a way of getting all interrupty at the worst second.”
Steve smiled, before dropping down on one knee, holding out a hand as he did. Buffy's eyes opened wide in shock and she could hear her heart skip a beat before pounding faster and faster. Everything else faded away besides her, Steve, and the ring he was holding in his hand. “Buffy, will you do me the honor of being my wife?”
Before Buffy could say anything an explosion sounded nearby. Both of them looked towards the sound, knowing instantly that it wasn't fireworks. The screams and a loud roar a moment later only confirmed what they already knew. “It never fails,” Steve said.
Before he could move Buffy grabbed the diamond ring, stuck it on her finger, and then grabbed him by the shoulders, hauling him off of the ground and into a desperate kiss. “Yes,” Buffy said. “Now lets go teach 'em not to interrupt us.” Author's Notes
People have been asking me for a sequel to the Captain America Type for a while, but I'm not sure I'm satisfied with this story. When I wrote the other one, I was not only deeply immersed in writing Buffy fics, but I'd just watched most of the Marvel movies and the animated series. When I wrote Steve and Tony, I could hear their voices in my head. This effort doesn't seem quite as good on either front. Still, I made promises about trying to write this, and I don't want to go back on them, even if the result is less than I'd hoped for.