Steve wakes up to sunlight, to brilliant golden rays of brightness, and to Tony’s mouth on his skin. He is warm and soft and solid in Steve’s arms, and he tangles their legs together so that Steve has no choice but to pull him closer and hold him tighter.
“Good morning,” Steve whispers, when his brain starts functioning and Tony settles long enough for him to find words.
It’s nice to wake up like this, looking into brown eyes and feeling Tony’s breath ghosting along his neck. Tony is beautiful, all golden skin and dark, messy hair, and Steve can’t help but reach down and run a thumb along one of his cheekbones. Tony curls into the touch, eyelashes fluttering, and Steve pulls him closer into his chest until he can tilt his head down and smell the sandalwood in Tony’s hair, the cleanness of his skin.
“I love you,” Steve says against his temple like a prayer, a benediction, a plea, “I love you, so much.”
Tony sighs against him, and Steve can feel the way his breath tickles his collarbones. He squirms out of Steve’s arms and looks up at him with a half-smile on his face, his features turned up in happiness, his eyes dancing playfully. Tony is the best like this, curious and warm and loved. Since they began their relationship, Steve has always aspired to make him that way. So far, it’s going well, he thinks.
“Ti amo, ” Tony answers, voice rough and ragged and sleepy. He does that, sometimes, when he’s feeling particularly carefree. He’ll look up at Steve with something akin to reverence and the words come out, smooth and sleek like the way they should. Steve doesn’t remember anything sounding that good in French – but he had learned French from soldiers stumbling over vowels and verbs, and Tony had learned Italian from his mother, from Maria reading bedtime stories in the wee hours of the morning and from lullabies sung in wispy tones as he drifted off to sleep. Maybe the language, Steve thinks, or maybe it’s the person speaking it.
Bed is warm and Steve doesn’t want to leave, so he kisses Tony on the forehead and presses their lips together softly and gently. Tony kisses back fervently, and when he pulls away to breathe, he runs his fingertips along the curve of Steve’s lips, lingering on the corners.
“Amo le tue labbra, ” Tony says, and Steve doesn’t know what that means, but he likes the way it sounds. He kisses Tony again, and when they part, he cards a hand through Tony’s hair. It’s even messier now, sticking up in all the wrong directions, but it is soft between Steve’s fingers, so he carries on.
“Teach me something,” Steve asks, quietly and softly, a smile creeping onto his face. Tony’s fingers trail up his sides and give him goose bumps, before his arms tighten around Steve and keep him close, “Show me how to say something.”
Tony considers this for a while, and Steve wonders if he is going to say no, or if he’s just looking for the right thing to say. Eventually, Tony smiles back at him and brings his hand back to Steve’s mouth.
“Labbra. ” Tony says, tapping his finger on the front of Steve’s mouth gently. Steve’s grin widens.
“Labbra, ” he repeats, stumbling over the word and frankly missing the accent altogether, but Tony doesn’t even flinch. Instead, the corners of his eyes crinkle and he shifts, pushing Steve onto his back and swinging his legs over so that he’s straddling his hips. Tony bends down and kisses him, worrying Steve’s bottom lip with his teeth for the briefest of seconds.
He trails his mouth down to Steve’s neck, leaving open mouthed kisses against the skin, scraping his teeth along the junction between Steve’s throat and his jawline until he draws a sigh out of Steve’s lungs.
“Collo, ” Tony whispers triumphantly, leaning down again to kiss Steve’s neck one last time, “il collo. ”
Steve brings his hands to rest on Tony’s hips, fingers digging into the flesh there, hard enough to feel but not enough to leave bruises. He looks up at Tony through his eyelashes.
“Collo,” he murmurs, better than the first time, but no comparison to Tony’s flawless pronunciation.
He feels Tony shift upwards, then the ghosting of his lips over his eyelids.
“Occhio, ” Tony says, and his voice is just a breath. Steve’s stomach flips, and somewhere in the pit of his belly he can feel a fluttering that only Tony brings out in him. He smiles, eyes closed, as Tony kisses his other eyelid. His lips are soft and warm.
Tony doesn’t give him time to repeat, instead linking their fingers together tightly enough that Steve can feel the beat of his pulse through his palm.
“La mano, ” he says, playful now as Steve’s eyes flicker back open, and wiggles his fingers, “Dita. ”
Tony brings their linked fingers up to his mouth and kisses the back of Steve’s palm, and Steve watches as his eyes close. Light casts shadows in the hollows of Tony’s face, black patches under illuminated cheeks, and he looks like an angel basking in the sun. Steve curls his free hand around Tony’s shoulders and hauls him down so that they’re face to face. He cups Tony’s face in his hand and strokes his skin with his thumb.
Sometimes, Tony will look at him with bewilderment plain on his face and say that he has no idea how he ended up here, how he got so lucky. Steve doesn’t like that kind of talk, especially from someone like Tony, someone who has such a big heart and who is so brave and kind and clever. But now, in the light of the morning, with this beautiful person looking down at him, Steve can’t help but ask himself the same question.
Tony places a hand over Steve’s chest, then leans down so that their bodies touch. Steve can feel his heart beating against his chest, the cold of the arc reactor’s casing against his skin, and Tony leans down again to kiss him, slow, languid movements that make heat pool low in Steve’s belly. He tangles his fingers in Tony’s hair.
“Cuore, ” Tony whispers against his lips when they break for air, his nose still pushed into Steve’s cheek and their foreheads still pressed together, “Grande cuore.”
Steve doesn’t know what that means, but Tony kisses him again and he forgets, coherent thought dripping away from him the way ice melts on in the summer – slow, but steady, inevitably. Tony looks back at him with reverence, veneration, with awe, and a moan slips from between his lips as Steve nips at the spot behind his ear.
“Ti amo,” Tony breathes, the words dying on his lips as Steve rolls him over and pushes him back against the pillows, “Ti amo, tesoro.”