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Warm Shoulder

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Steve sat on the curb of the sidewalk, legs stretched out into the street. Police cars had closed off two lanes of traffic, with blue-clad officers directing cars around it all. Keeping pressure on his shoulder with his good hand, Steve waited for the EMTs to finish with the civilians. Floodlights kept the place brighter than day, even though the sun had gone down hours before. Shocked civilians and news vans took care of cluttering the rest of the space, combining with New York traffic to create a barrage of noise that bounced off the inside of his skull. The cracked and brittle remains of the vampire who'd attacked him were safely stuffed down a manhole, but he wanted to keep an eye on it. The police were under the impression that some idiot had tried to rob a jewelry store, and run when they realized Captain America was there.

He hadn't even had a chance to buy the damned ring.

"Sir?" one of the medics called from a nearby ambulance, without pausing her work. Her shoulders drooped with exhaustion, but her hands were steady as she sorted out supplies. "Are you doing okay?"

"Fine," Steve answered, for what seemed like the hundredth time that night. When they'd arrived, he'd told them very firmly that he didn't need to be seen to immediately. Being who he was, they'd believed him. Fifteen minutes later, Steve started wishing he hadn't been so stubborn.

Morbid curiosity had him lift the wad of bandages from his shoulder and peek under. "Damn it," he muttered, pressing them back. They were close to being soaked through, and his head had started spinning. Bloodloss was something he'd dealt with before, especially living with Tony, and he knew the signs. He told himself that it wouldn't have been so bad if Tony hadn't taken a bite out of him earlier that night, but something about it nagged at him. Even twice in a night, it shouldn't have been that bad.

Prickles crept up his arms and back. He wished he'd kept his shirt on, but it had been ruined, and the medics would take it off anyway. Warm as the summer night was, it wasn't enough.

"So, a guy's gotta watch the news to know when his roommate is being held by cops, huh?" Good leather shoes scuffed against the sidewalk as Tony sat down beside him. "I came as soon as Pepper gave me the news." Tony's shoulder was blazing hot through his silk shirt, full of the warmth he'd stolen from Steve earlier that night. The tan Tony used to sport was long gone, leaving only his naturally olive complexion to give him color. Under the floodlight he was even paler, looking more like the older vampires they'd seen.

"We're not exactly roommates." Still, Steve let himself lean against Tony's shoulder, just a bit. The news crews wouldn't catch it, probably, and it felt good to have someone to lean on. He kept his eyes forward; if he turned his head, he and Tony would be kissably close, and he wasn't going to risk it with so many cameras on hand. "Thanks for coming."

"Where else would I be?" Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Tony's head dip towards his shoulder, nostrils flaring. "How bad is it?"

"I'm fine," Steve insisted. Every time the lightbars on the police cars flashed, new shots of pain spiked through his eyeballs. There was no way in Hell he was going to admit that to Tony. "It's just a bullet wound."

"Don't lie to me," Tony snapped. "I can smell you—you smell like food. Easy prey." He wrapped his hand over Steve's and tried to pull the bandage from the wound.

It was unexpectedly hard to fight him. After a moment Steve gave up rather than lose. "It's just a damned bullet, Tony."

"And you're Captain America, blah, blah, blah. Humor a dead man, will you, darling?" Tony's touch was surprisingly gentle as he inspected the hole. It was a clean wound, without any shrapnel or broken bones, but Tony's fingers slid along his collarbone and rolled his shoulder joint anyway. "I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure that the shoulder will be fine, but you are going into shock. You're clammy and your pupils aren't dilating properly."

"Is there anything else you'd like to say that I already know?"

"Happy is on his way with a car. You'll be more comfortable at home, with one of SHIELD's doctors to look at you and a soft bed." Tony pressed Steve's handful of bandages back against the wound. "And maybe a warm body or two. I know this lovely young lady..."

Steve laughed and let himself sag against Tony's shoulder more. His head was still light, but having Tony there seemed to ease everything. He'd go back for a ring later. "No young ladies. Just you."

After a beat, Tony smiled, the sharp edges of his teeth barely peeking out. "Funny. I was hoping you'd say that."