by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

"Tony?" Steve said, stepping up beside Tony where he stood peering into a high-powered microscope. "You asked for me?"

"Just finishing one last check," Tony said, distracted. Steve tilted his head to see what Tony was examining, but all he could pick out was a ring made of what looked like ordinary blue-gray steel.

Tony pulled back from the microscope and reached out, picking up the ring. He cradled it in the hollow of his palm, staring down at it contemplatively. Eventually he turned and held the ring out to Steve.

Steve carefully lifted it between thumb and forefinger and realized immediately that, whatever it was, it wasn't ordinary steel. It was a little warm, and it occasionally caught the light strangely. He could almost swear there was a pattern etched into it. "What is it?"

"A transmitter, mostly," Tony said. "It's a direct line into my head, via the Extremis. So that you can always get through to me."

Steve looked from the ring to Tony. "Isn't that dangerous?"

Tony dropped his eyes and started tidying up his work bench. "Yes. Very."

Steve studied Tony intently. Then he slid the ring onto his left ring finger.

It fit perfectly.