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Freezer Burn

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Tony's breath came in harsh white clouds as he trudged through the twenty-millionth mile of snow that day. Or maybe it as the second mile of snow. Or first. It felt like a Sisyphean eternity of snow, was all Tony knew: the white wonderland surrounding him as far as the eye could see. Keeping him prisoner. Tugging down at his expensive snow shoes, falling onto his crisp red coat, getting caught in his hair and eyelashes...

Tony watched as his breath clouded beneath his nostrils. Winter was a miserable time of year. Why was he spending even one day of it in New York, when he had homes all of the world. Like in Malibu. And Fiji.

Several yards ahead of him, Steve laughed as he slipped and fell, poof of snow bursting up around him. Carol Danvers flew into the crater Steve had just made, snowball firmly in her right glove. Some very un-Captain American-y shrieks of terror arose from the mess as Tony slowly stomped his way closer. 

"I hate you two," Tony announced, stopping just outside the circle of destruction the two blondes had created in the freshly-fallen snow.

Carol grinned and sat up, knees on either side of Steve's waist. Steve propped himself up onto his elbows, pushing his Iron Man knit beanie out of his eyes.

"What's wrong, Tony?" Carol teased. "Can't handle a little cold?"

With a growl Tony kicked at the snow with his foot, sending it flying in their direction. Carol shrieked, Steve laughed, as they both raised their arms to shield themselves from the assault.

"That's why I hate you two," Tony pointed out. He nodded at the circle of wet grass they were now lying on. Carol snorted and rolled her eyes, while Steve looked around curiously, like he was just noticing the effect. "You both run ten degrees too damn warm. You melt the snow before it even hits you."

Floating out of their patch of grass, Carol settled down on the snow next to Tony. The snow beneath her boots started to turn to sludge. Steve frowned as he pushed himself upright, brushing errant snowflakes--drops of water, more like--off his blue coat. He stepped carefully out of the patch of grass and onto the snow with Tony. 

"I don't run ten degrees hotter," Steve protested as he crunched through the snow. When he stopped in front of Tony he peered down. The snow wasn't turning to sludge beneath his feet like it was Carol's--not yet, anyway. "See?" 

Tony rolled his eyes as he bent to pick up a handful of snow. "Okay, so Carol runs eighteen degrees hot, you run two degrees hot, I was averaging it out," he conceded. 

"I don't-"

"Watch." Tony lifted his handful of snow to his mouth and blew it lightly in Steve's face. 

Steve snuffed and started to shake his head like an upset puppy, but Tony stopped him with a hand to his chin. "Watch."

The snowflakes that touched his skin melted instantly. The snowflakes caught in his eyelashes and eyebrows a half second later. Steve blinked, eyes crossing slightly as he tried to watch.

"Isn't that normal?"

Sighing, Tony sprinkled some snow onto his own face. The things he did to be right. He held out his arms in a "ta-da!" gesture as the snowflakes caught in his eyelashes stayed snowflakes for far, far longer than Steve's had. Steve looked faintly shocked.

"Now look down at your feet," Tony told Steve. 

He looked down. The snow beneath his feet was slowly turning to sludge, just like it had beneath Carol. 

"I can't believe you didn't know this," Tony grumbled, folding his arms tight against his chest.

"Oh, don't use being a lowly human as an excuse, you big baby," Carol chided him. She grinned as she picked up another patch of snow to pack into a snowball. "After all, there are other humans who enjoy the snow just fine. And don't melt it around them." With that she flew off across the park racing to her destination. Tony watched as she found it, hurling her snowball at the back of Wanda's head. He watched Wanda shriek and run all of two steps before Carol caught her and tackled her to the ground. They didn't come up for a while.

"She's not even technically a human!" Tony shouted after Carol, hands cupped over his mouth. He sighed and dropped them, opting to return his arms to their rightful place conserving what little body-heat he had left against his chest.

"Come here." 

Tony had almost forgotten Steve was there, until he was enveloped in his own personal furnace. Steve actually opened his coat and tucked Tony inside it, chin resting on his shoulder and arms wrapped tight around Tony's chest. Tony leaned back into the warmth for a few seconds before he grumbled: "Oh, sure: this isn't emasculating."

"You wanted to be warm, didn't you?" Steve asked.

"I want to be inside, is what I want to be," Tony corrected him.

"I'm just making things fair. Now you're warm like me."

Tony glanced down at the snow beneath them. He could see patches of grass. "Now we're both standing in a near-freezing puddle of water."

A quick peck to the cheek silenced most of Tony's objections. Most of them.

"What do you say to a deal?" Steve asked. Tony could feel his chest rumble with every word, pressed as tight as it was to Tony's back. It felt pretty nice--though it would feel a hell of a lot nicer indoors. In a bed. With all the wonders of modern heating technology.

"What kind of deal?" Tony grumbled, feigning reluctance. Steve's deals were actually usually weighted pretty heavily in Tony's favor. Mostly because Steve was so easy to please and Tony was... less.

"You stay out here another fifteen minutes. Participate in a little snow-fun. Snowball fight, or building a snow man, or something. Then we have Happy pick us up and I'll spend the rest of the day curled up on the couch with you."

Tony hummed, considering the offer. Even though he was absolutely going to take it.

Steve took his silence to be reluctance, so he sweetened the pot: "I'll even make you hot cocoa. My hot cocoa."

"The real stuff?" Tony asked, totally sold.

"The real stuff," Steve agreed.

Sighing, Tony pushed himself away from Steve's really, really, wonderfully warm embrace. He stuck a finger out at him. "Fine. Fifteen minutes. But if you or that other brat Captain tries to shove snow places snow should not be shoved, like any patch of my skin, I'm out."

Steve considered this for a moment, eyes drifting to the side. They focused suddenly, and he smiled. "No promises."

Tony, not ready for a battle with master-strategist Captain America, realized too slowly that Steve was clearly looking at something over his shoulder. Tony barely had time to get out a desperate shout as he was ambushed from behind, half-melted snow shoved under his coat and down his back.

"I'm kicking you both off the team!" he cried, dancing around as he tried to shake the snow out of his shirt. Carol whooped as she scooped Steve up under his arms, flying him a hundred yards away from the wrath of Tony Stark.

Last of the snow melted or shook out, Tony clenched his fists as he glared down his boyfriend--ex fucking boyfriend, screw this, they were broken up until Steve made it up to him with blowjobs and general hotness. He glanced around the park, eyes narrowing.

Fine, they wanted a snowball fight? Then they should have never started one with world-class weapons' designer Tony Stark. They thought they had started a simple little snowball battle with him. Well, Starks didn't fight battles. They ended wars. They ushered in new epochs. Steve and Carol would be begging for the end by the time Steve's fifteen minutes were up.

Tony Stark pulled out his StarkPhone.

Eight minutes later, Steve was apologizing to a police chief and entire fire department as he rubbed the back of his head. His cheeks were flushed red not with cold but embarrassment, as the snow in Central Park slowly drifted back down to the ground, settling around them. Tony squirmed, trying to adjust his ass into a more comfortable spot on the tree limb he was currently perched on. Would someone just get him down already?

Carol floated up to him, arms crossed. Tony pointed a finger at her. "You started it."

"And you ended it," Carol agreed. She was frowning. All judgmental, like she wouldn't have weaponized the entirety of the snow in Central Park if she knew how. Total hypocrite.

"Damn right I did," Tony grumbled. He checked his phone. "So, it's only been nine minutes, but I think this counts as the end of mine and Steve's deal. Could you get me down?"

Carol raised her eyebrows and floated away, maintaining eye contact with Tony the whole time. He growled and flicked her off. "You would have done the same!" he accused. 

"I'm not making you my cocoa."

Tony glanced down to see Steve standing under the tree, arms crossed. Tony smiled weakly at him. "You said I had to play with you guys for fifteen minutes. I played."

"You decimated."

"No I think I destroyed more than one-tenth of the snow in Central Park..." Tony mused, glancing around.

Steve was tapping his foot. With arms' crossed. Tony sighed. "I accept you rescinding the offer of hot cocoa in light of my... actions." My super genius actions. "But can you at least get me down? I don't feel like freezing to death in a tree in the middle of New York City. This is not how Iron Man dies."

Sighing heavily, Steve stepped forward another foot or two, arms held out. "Okay. Go."

Tony looked down. "Um, no?"

Steve shook his arms. "Tony, I can't fly. Jump, and I'll catch you."

Tony knew Steve would. But still... "It's pretty high up here. Can't you get Carol-"

Carol whizzed by with Wanda scooped firmly up in her arms. Wanda threw a snowball at Tony, which of course hit him square in the face, as she passed. Tony slumped against the tree limb in a fit of sadness.

"Tony, please. Jump and we can go home."

"If you don't catch me I'm breaking up with you forever," Tony whined.

"I'll catch you," Steve promised.

Sliding down the branch, Tony ungainly half-fell, half-slid his way into open air. Steve caught him, of course, with only the slightest "oomph!" of exertion. Tony pouted up at that gorgeous chiseled face.

"Winter is terrible," he complained.

Setting Tony on his feet, Steve started walking with him across the park. "I know you hate it. How about after New Years we take a vacation somewhere you want to go? Somewhere warm."

Tony gasped. "Whoa whoa whoa, hold the phone: Steve Rogers wants to take a vacation? Impossible. You're clearly a Skrull."

Steve winced, and so did Tony, a little, but Steve recovered quick enough and just smiled. "Well, you're right. I love the city so by default we're always doing something I want to do since we live here. You, you love New York too, but..."

"But I'm a cosmopolitan, world-traveler sort of guy," Tony finished for him. He grinned. "Where haven't you been?"

"Well I've been to California," Steve reminded him. "But other than that... just about anywhere you can list I'm sure I haven't seen it."

City names danced in Tony's head as he was overwhelmed with possibilities. Fiji, the Caribbean, the Philippines, Hawaii, Brazil, Australia, India, Wakanda- no wait Steve had been there. South Africa! 

"I'll tell you where tomorrow," Tony promised him. "You get three vetoes."

"Three? I must have been good this year," Steve mumbled, smile quirking at his lips. 

They trudged through the snow--or what was left of it after Tony had done his thing--in silence for a moment, heading for the street. Tony glanced at the cabal of firefighters they passed, many of them unsubtley trying to get one last look at Steve.

"You know, you could have gone home with half those firefighters. You see them?" Tony pointed out, because he couldn't leave well enough alone.

In spite of Tony's best attempts at sabotaging the moment, Steve's gloved hand slipped into Tony's and squeezed tight. "You know I'll always go home with you," Steve told him. He didn't even glance over at the firefighters. Tony grunted and kept walking, focusing on not falling on his ass on the slippery sidewalk. "And I'll still make you my hot cocoa," Steve grumbled, like he didn't want to admit it.

Tony sighed and swayed against Steve, leaning into his superhuman warmth. "What did I ever do to deserve you?" he mused, only half-sarcastic.

Steve replied back as serious as he always was: "Saved the world. A lot."

Tony flushed. "Oh, well. I guess when you put it that way."

Happy was waiting for them at the curb, just like he said he would be. Tony immediately cuddled against Steve in the back seat, even though the car was nicely heated already. Steve certainly didn't seem to mind. And he didn't mind later, when they were home and Tony had an electric blanket over them both, hot cocoa gripped firmly in both hands.