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Mad Mother Hen

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“I had no idea I could do that,” Tony says, blood creeping into his mustache from his nose.

Steve gives him an incredulous look. “I don't think this qualifies as doing, Tony. You nearly got yourself killed.”

“Yeah, but I didn't,” Tony says brightly and then hisses as Steve presses him down into the couch. “Ow, watch it, I think my bruises have bruises.”

“Yeah, that's what happens when you get tumbled around like a load of laundry.”

The cowl of Steve's uniform is hanging down his back, gracing Tony with the sexiest helmet-hair on the planet. He watches intently as Steve turns around and complements it with a look at his magnificent ass. With a contented sigh, Tony sits back.

He does ache though. Steve had a point when he said he'd done an impression of a load of laundry. His gut and the wound in his calf are the worst offenders, but it's hardly his fault the Monster of the Week had managed to pierce the armor and then nearly collapse the stomach plating.

Luckily four barrel rolls had been enough to dislodge it—with the unfortunate side effect of momentarily causing him to black out and start spurting blood from his nose. Details.

Apparently the brief drop toward the ground before JARVIS took over had spooked Steve a little, because he's been right next to Tony ever since.

When he returns, medkit in hand, his face has taken on the pinched expression he gets when he's about to start in on somebody. Tony sighs. Sighs, and then soaks up the sight of the vacuum-sealed blue under armor Steve's peeled himself down to. “Hel- lo , Nurse.”

Steve frowns at him.

“What?” Tony says, faux-innocent. “Are you not going to patch me up?”

“This isn't funny, Tony,” Steve says sharply and sets the first aid kit down on the coffee table with a crack.

“Who's laughing?”

Steve glares at him some more. “Arms up.”

Tony sighs again. Mother-hen Steve is out in force. Which is a riot, because he never stops bitching when their roles are reversed. Steve can't stand to be taken care of. Tony, on the other hand, loves a little TLC.

“Ow,” he says, when Steve catches his nose in the neck of his under armor shirt as he pulls it off.

Sorry.” Steve's mouth is a thin pressed line. He folds the shirt, because he has respect for things and Tony watches him do it with a fond, fuzzy sort of feeling in his chest. When it's formed into a neat little gray and black square, he sets it aside and says, “Careful of your leg. Hips.”

Point three seconds after he lifts his ass off the sofa cushions, Tony realizes just how bruised his abs are. “Oh, fuck—” he spits and starts to drop back down, but one of Steve's broad hands cups his waist and holds him there.

Steve clucks and tugs his Iron Man sweats down. Annnnd, hey, look at that, today was a commando day.

When Steve lets him back down onto the couch, Tony winces and pants, “Oops?”

Steve rolls his eyes, but his thumb caresses the jut of Tony's hipbone before he finishes pulling the sweats off.

“Ow, holy hell,” Tony complains. “Don't make me move again.”

“I'm pretty sure you'll get hypothermia if we try to ice all of these, Tony, jeez,” Steve says, setting the pants (also folded neatly) on top of the shirt. The little furrow digs in between his eyebrows as he surveys Tony's body.

It's not Tony's favorite response to his nudity.

How could you be so stupid?” he bursts.

Oh, don't give me that,” Tony grumbles. “You jump out of aircraft without a parachute.”

Steve turns red, but the insolent expression on his face doesn't falter. “You've got to be more careful, Tony,” he says, like he hasn't even spoken. His hands are gentle as he lifts Tony's injured leg into his lap though. Which is why Tony isn't particularly incensed by Steve's wild hypocrisy. He's scolding because he cares and there's not a whole hell of a lot either of them can do about the level of danger without calling it quits and neither of them are about to do that. It leaves them at a stalemate. It's a shitty place to be, but they've made their choices, and this is how they make their peace.

“I will try to be more careful next time the MoW tries to eat me,” he vows, and then hisses and jerks as Steve prods at the edges of the gouge in his leg.

His mouth twists unhappily. “I need to clean this out.”

Tony grabs one of the throw pillows—a green gag one with a picture of the Hulk's snarling face, eyes framed with hipster glasses—and hugs it to his chest. “Let's get it done then.”

Steve digs a bottle of saline solution out of the kit and tucks a towel between Tony's leg and his own thigh. He uses the saline to flush out the wound, then dabs it dry. Careful fingers inspect it, making sure there's no debris lodged in the deeper portions and Tony squeezes the pillow, biting his lips to hold his tongue.

“Okay, it looks clean,” Steve says. “I'm gonna give you the local now.”

Tony grits his teeth. This is the worst part, fuck.

The needle goes in more than once and less than a thousand times. Tony's not sure how many, because he drags the pillow up over his face, trying hard not to twitch in Steve's grip, and cusses like a goddamned sailor.

“All right,” Steve says, “that's it, I'm done.”

He caps the needle and sets it aside to be thrown into a biohazard bin later before shifting to sit next to Tony on the couch, using one arm to tuck him up against his side.

“Oh, god, I hate that,” Tony says into his shoulder as Steve kisses the top of his head.

“It's no picnic,” Steve agrees. He runs his hand up and down Tony's arm in slow strokes and Tony relaxes, the ache in his leg gradually fading. “I'm glad you're okay,” he says eventually, breathing it against Tony's temple like a painful secret. “It scared me, to see you fall like that. Like—”

Steve's voice closes up around the rest, but Tony knows what he was going to say.

“I'm dandy, honey, don't you worry. I just pulled one too many Gs and sucked all the blood out of my head too fast. JARVIS had my back.” Tony cups his face and kisses the slight sandpaper roughness of Steve's end-of-day jaw. Steve doesn't say anything, just nods and squeezes his fingers.

After another few minutes, he reluctantly extracts himself from Tony's hold and sits forward to prod at the wound. “How's it feel?”

“Doesn't,” Tony says cheerfully.

Steve kisses him again. “Then let's get you stitched up.”

Tony's long over being grossed out by minor injuries. He probably gets way more into watching Steve treat them than is safe, sane or healthy. But what's he supposed to do when Steve bends over and starts stitching, lips pursed so that his unnaturally full lower lip appears even more lush. His stitches are neat and precise and he works with such easy confidence that Tony can't help staring.

The tiny scissors he uses to snip the thread make his hands look huge. And Tony loves his hands.

His fingers smooth on antiseptic ointment, which he covers carefully with a layer of gauze. Then he wraps Tony's leg and fastens the bandage in place. “There,” he says, hand curling around Tony's ankle and squeezing.

“Why, Doctor, you cheeky minx.”

Steve grins even though it doesn't look like he wants to. “So I got a promotion?”

“Sure did,” Tony says. “I'm granting you your doctorate in Dangerously Sexy.”

Steve laughs and cracks a couple of ice packs, depositing them on Tony's most badly bruised spots. Then he worms his way up next to him again.

Tony hates being injured, but, god, does he love being taken care of.