The two men were in bed together, as usual. Nothing happened when they were in bed, not even a cuddle, it was a mutual agreement between the two to just be there for one another. Though Tony loved the comfort and touch of another person from time to time, he had to curb his ways when he was around Steve, often forgetting that back then, constant touching was frowned upon. It was a difficult concept to adapt to especially for Tony but he would put up with it for the sake of laying next to his hero in the same bed. It had taken them so long to get where they currently were, in a state of limbo where they weren’t classifying each other as a couple, or referring to the other person as ‘significant other’, not in public anyway but only to one another. Back in Steve’s day they might have called it going steady, but that might’ve been a little after Steve’s time - more around the 50’s. Still, in Tony’s mind Steve would say that, because it just sounded so sweet and naive in a way. It was the period of time where couples were getting to know each other and there would rarely be much physical contact.
Steve was grateful, he knew it was a difficult thing for Tony to overcome and he appreciated it beyond words. They were both quite masculine figures and it was difficult for Steve to imagine them breaking the barriers of masculinity but there was something so soothing about sleeping next to one another, it was comforting and reassuring. No touches were necessary for them to convey their love to one another, just passing glances, the occasional peck when no one was looking accompanied with small shoulder touches that took Steve a while to get used to. Sometimes he would feel patronised when Tony placed his hand on his shoulder but it was only when Tony gave him that look of reassurance that he knew it wasn’t a shallow touch. Steve would do the same, patting Tony on the back after a hard days work which was exactly what the billionaire needed; a pat on the back. Their relationship was more of supporting one another rather than jumping into bed and having sex, far from that, their relationship was deep, complex and had so many levels which they were still trying to figure out at this point.
It was common knowledge that whenever Steve moaned in his sleep, he was dreaming of being back on the battlefield, fighting alongside the commandos and the rest of his platoon. He’d toss and turn making noises with his feet kicking out of the sheets, but tonight it was different. As Tony slept, with his back facing the Captain he felt the bed shake, slowly opening his eyes with annoyance to the strange vibrating feeling. Perhaps he’d turned on the massage function on his bed again without realising, though, last time that happened Steve jumped out of bed and started hitting it with a pillow to make it stop. Surprises weren’t exactly Steve’s cup of tea. He grumbled, trying to figure out what it was until he sat up, rubbing his exhausted face and feeling around the bed for the source of it. His dark eyes slowly widened as he spotted Steve, curled up with his arms around his chest, shaking violently. Tony could even hear the chattering of Steve’s teeth, even though his mouth was closed. He leaned over, just to catch a better glimpse of the soldiers face, only seeing tightly shut eyes and hair messily over the rest of his face. He looked pale, even in the dim light that was shining through the large glass windows of Tony’s bedroom. The colour of his lips seemed to fade too, and Tony instantly tried to wake him, with intense concern echoing in his voice,
“Steve... Steve wake up.” He said, gently placing his hand over Steve’s muscular shoulder, shaking him slightly, “Steve... Come on now, you’re worrying me.”
Steve’s eyes shot open, his pupil was constricted and he continued to shake “T-t-tony...” He murmured.
“Steve... Cap... What is it?” Tony asked as he looked into the shimmering blue eyes of the Captain who still couldn’t stay still, despite the fact that he was awake.
“It’s... c-c-c-cold...” Steve stammered, looking up at Tony who turned the Captain over to face him.
“It’s not cold, Cap...” Tony said with confusion, and the truth was it really wasn’t. It was mid June in the middle of New York City, it wasn’t cold at all. Windy sometimes but far from cold. “Come on...” The billionaire reached for the thick sheets that were at the foot of the bed, wrapping them around Steve in such a considerate manner that he wouldn’t display in front of many of the others. Only Steve was blessed enough to witness such kindness from someone who put on such a selfish exterior, but that was only for Tony’s own protection. It was harder to let people in and show compassion than it was to keep people out. Even Tony Stark had a fragile heart.
Steve’s body was still shaking even though it was wrapped up in the sheets even as he looked up into the warm eyes of his partner.
“Come on.. Cap... Warm up... It’s not cold, you must be dreaming or something.” Tony said with a hint of distress in his voice, “Maybe I should call someone to help...” He said, that very instant Steve’s arms reached out from under the sheets, pulling Tony close to his shaking chest.
“I-ice... Ice....” Steve mumbled, unable to form proper words as he held Tony.
“No, Steve... You’re out of the ice now, it’s okay... You’re out now.” Tony whispered, but he was pretty taken back by Steve suddenly pulling him, his head rested by Steve’s ear and his arms were tightly bound by the arms of the super soldier. It was then clear as to what was happening, Steve must’ve been dreaming he was in the ice again, going through that traumatic experience once and reliving it in his nightmare and watching his entire life disappear before him only to be thrown into new surroundings. He hadn’t really regressed like he was doing, of course he had been put under intensive observation when he was first carved out of the ice but he’d never shown signs of suffering like this. Now there he was, vulnerable, the hero without his mask right in front of Tony. To see someone he loved so much, someone who was strong and held himself with such pride and valour made Tony’s heart ache. Yes he knew Steve was human and would get hurt but such a weakened state made him feel helpless, though as he felt Steve’s grip tighten, the cold steel of his reactor touching Steve’s skin as the sheets slipped just that bit lower, he slowly tried to raise his arms as much as he could. He didn’t know what was possessing him at that time but he just wanted to hold Steve, so gently breaking the grip that the soldier had around him that was constraining his arms, he managed to wrap his arms around the large, partially sheet covered torso.
“I’m here Steve... You’re here too... You’re here with me.” Tony stumbled his own words, after all he was awoken quite abruptly and was still tired. He rubbed his hand over Steve’s chest, feeling his racing heart start to slow down.
The man's words of comfort started to finally get to Steve and he finally snapped out of his daze, though he still felt cold and was mildly trembling, the small touches and words were starting to warm him, especially as he could feel the reassuring buzzing of Tony’s reactor against him. That soothing sound that told him that his lover was there, the man of his heart and dreams who he had endured all that pain for was right next to him.
All this time he had been hesitant to be touched, be held like that but now it was happening and it was a blissful sensation that brought a faint smile to his face. Steve shut his eyes and relaxed, his body warmed again.
“Thank you.. Tony...” He said.
Tony smiled in return, warmly to match the glint in his eyes, “It’s no problem, Cap... Nightmares?”
“Yeah... I... I dreamt I was trapped again... And I lost you” Steve said with deep sadness as he came to his senses.
“Well it’s fine... I’m here now, it was just a stupid dream and look, you’ve stopped shaking... It’s fine.” Tony said, partially to confirm it all to himself.
“You’re here...That’s all I needed.” Steve said with a smile, letting the warmth of Tony’s body flow into his own, his arms wrapped loosely around Tony as he shut his eyes again, Tony did the same but only after he reached for the sheets, tucking himself close to Steve, holding him, protecting him and loving him as they lay together in a warm embrace of calmness, bliss and tranquility.