“I know you didn’t have breakfast,” Steve says chidingly. “Come on, come to lunch with me. This will still be there when you get back.”
Tony huffs at him. “And food will still be there when I’m done.”
“Oh, no, no you don’t. You’re making those puppy eyes at me, aren’t you, I can feel them. Not looking, I know what happens if I do. Who ever knew Captain America could be so underhanded, am I right or am I right? Just–”
Tony’s babbling is mercifully cut short by the sharp blare of an alarm that indicates an Avengers priority alert. Steve darts from the workshop for his costume and his shield, and Tony drops his tools and says, “Talk to me, Jarvis.”
“Doombots appear to be invading Long Island, sir.”
“Aw, fuck, again? Gimme my armor.”
“It would appear so, sir,” Jarvis confirms as the armor fastens itself around Tony, who pulls a face and opens his comm link just as Steve rounds the corner back into the room.
“Doombots on Long Island, somebody remember to piss off Bruce before we go. ETA ten minutes, Cap and I will see you there.” Tony wraps an arm around Steve and jets them up into the open air, mentally tuning out the chatter from the rest of the team as they prepare to follow.
“Lunch after this?” Steve asks, and Tony rolls his eyes behind the mask with a chuckle.
“Yes, all right, fine. Jesus, you’re persistent.”
“Just really hungry,” Steve replies. Tony squeezes him a little.
“After the doombots, I promise. Sorry, Steve, I didn’t realize.”
“Not a problem.”
“SHIELD will handle the rest of the cleanup, and– shit, Cap, are you okay?”
Tony snaps his head in Steve’s direction to see him swaying a little on his feet, leaning heavily on a broken robot.
“Fine,” Steve grits out tersely, “I just need to get back.”
“I’ll take you.” Tony grabs hold and lifts off, moving as fast as he can while carrying an unprotected passenger. He keeps an arm around Steve once they’re inside, and Steve yanks back his cowl and leans into Tony.
“You wanna tell me what’s really going on?”
“I need food. And to lie down. That first,” Steve says a little faintly, so Tony shepherds him up the stairs and to his bedroom, then begins stripping off the armor once Steve has collapsed on the bed with a grateful sigh.
“Seriously, all this is about food?”
“My blood sugar got too low,” Steve murmurs, closing his eyes. “It makes me all... dizzy, and weak. Nauseated. Shaky, sometimes.
“Shit, now I really feel bad about lunch.”
“We wouldn’t have had a chance to get there before the alert, anyway,” Steve replies. “Can you do me a favor and get me something to eat? I can’t exactly– moving is really uncomfortable at the moment.” He makes a face.
“Sure. Uh, what would you like?”
“Do we have crackers? That’ll settle my stomach, if we do. And, um. A sandwich, and some juice.”
“Okay.” Tony bends over and presses a kiss to Steve’s forehead, careful not to jostle him, then slips out of the room. He doesn’t find any crackers, but he fixes Steve a turkey sandwich and pours some of Natasha’s orange juice into a glass for him.
“No crackers, I’m afraid,” Tony says, setting the food down on the nightstand and pulling a chair up next to the bed. “I did, however, risk life and limb stealing some of Natasha’s juice for you.”
“I’ll protect you from her,” Steve replies with a faint smile, and pushes himself upright to drink. Tony watches him and he slowly starts working on the sandwich with small, slow bites– careful. He moves his head as little as possible.
“Does this happen a lot?”
“Not a lot.” Steve swallows. “I try to be careful, but stuff happens sometimes. The serum really changed my metabolism.”
Tony makes a noise of agreement. “I know you usually eat a lot, but I never really gave it much thought.”
“Mm, well. My metabolism runs about four times faster than a normal person’s. With my activity levels and size, that means I need about fourteen thousand calories a day just to stay where I am.”
“Jesus, Steve,” Tony says. “That’s insane.”
“I know. It’s what the SHIELD doctors told me, though. Bruce agrees.”
“No wonder you’re always on my case about eating. I don’t get sick when I don’t, though.”
“Lucky you.” Steve lies back again. “I’ll be okay once the sugar hits my system. I guess it’s a small price for the rest of it.”
“Guess so.” Tony hesitates, unsure. He’s not used to this, to taking care of other people. Least of all Steve, who always takes care of everyone else. “Is there anything else you need me to do?”
“Just sit with me a while? I mean, if you don’t have to go.”
“I don’t have to go.” Tony reaches out and clasps Steve’s hand loosely in his, and Steve opens his eyes to smile up at him.
Tony nods, swallows past a traitorous lump in his throat. “Anytime,” he says, and means it.