When Tony woke, he noticed two things.
First, he was warm. Abnormally warm, and there was a weight resting against the curve of his hip, anchoring him down into the softness of his bed. Thick, warm blankets were tucked tightly over his shoulders, and warmth radiated around him like a protective cocoon.
The second thing he noticed that was the comforting warmth was coming from a person, and he was, in fact, not alone.
When his mind caught up with him and he realized that he had a person curled around him, a firm, strong arm tight around his waist, his eyes snapped open, and he felt his heart stutter in his chest.
The reaction had little to do with the fact that he was not alone in his bed, and more with the fact that the person who currently had him wrapped tightly in his arms was a certain Steve Rogers.
Tony willed his heart to slow down, but instead it stubbornly sped up, clattering against his ribcage. Granted, he didn't wake up often with super soldiers snuggling against him, so he figured he was probably excused for panicking a little bit.
He was in bed with Steve.
The night before came back to him in fragmented pieces; him, battle weary and battered, accidentally falling asleep against Steve's shoulder as “Friends” played in the background (surprisingly, one of Steve's instant favourite things about the future), waking with the feeling of soft, slightly chapped lips brushing a kiss across his forehead and gentle hands carding through his hair. His heart sped up as he remembered Steve's surprised face as he turned his face up towards him, suddenly powerless to finally know how it felt to have those lips against his own.
Their first kiss was tender and brief, with Tony straining up to reach Steve's mouth and one of Steve's hands curled over his cheek, his thumb stroking steadily against the crest of his cheekbone.
Steve had pulled away all too soon, but Tony remembered not being bothered by it because when he drew back, it was to gaze down at Tony with those clear blue eyes with the kind of affection that made Tony worry that he was dreaming. It wouldn't have been the first time he'd dreamt something to this tune.
Now he was laying in Steve's bed. He blinked awake in the soft morning sunlight, the only sound in the room was Steve's soft breaths. He'd been carried up to Steve's room the night before, not long after Tony had admitted that even though he wasn't in the mood for sex (his state of tiredness made his mouth admit things without his permission), he didn't want to leave Steve. He'd been carried up bridal style, and since it was Steve, he hardly cared at all. He was tired and in pain from being tossed around like a sack of potatoes during their latest Monster of the Week fiasco, and he was completely powerless against Steve's gentleness.
That didn't make it any less world jarring to realize he was currently being cuddled by Captain America.
Tony's breath hissed in through his nose as he sucked in more air, trying to regulate his heartbeat and racing thoughts. This didn't feel real.
He needed to face Steve, to look at his face to make himself believe that this was real.
Another breath, gathering courage deep in his gut, he willed himself to carefully roll over and come to settle facing Steve, still in the circle of his arms.
Steve's face was just visible in the glow of the early morning light, his hair falling across his forehead and his face relaxed in sleep. He almost seemed to look younger while asleep, his face smooth and almost childlike in his slumber. The faint line that had etched itself into his forehead more often than Tony liked, was nonexistent; something that gave Tony inexplicable relief.
Tony couldn't help it. The first thought that came to his mind was beautiful.
Not the first time he'd thought that in relation to Steve, but the first time he'd ever thought that after waking up next to him.
Something about the soft peacefulness in Steve's face made Tony brazen. Some inexplicable force grasped his hand, and without thinking he was reaching out, placing his fingers against Steve's cheek.
His heart nearly stopped when Steve emitted a sleepy noise at the contact and nuzzled into the palm of his hand. A tiny smile flickered across his lips as he shifted in the bed, his face fitting perfectly into Tony's hand.
Just in that moment, the blankets shifted and Tony nearly choked on his tongue when he saw what Steve had chosen to wear to bed.
An Iron Man shirt. Steve Rogers slept with Tony's Iron Man helmet tackily plastered across his chest. A shirt Tony had bought Steve as a joke last Christmas, one he never expected to actually see on his teammate's body.
"What the fuck?"
Tony didn't even realize he'd spoken until Steve's eyes snapped open with a flash of blue and he sat up suddenly, his body tense and alert as he assessed the room urgently.
"What? What is it? What happened?" Steve's voice was crackly with sleep, and Tony spared only one moment to internally fawn over how cute it was before jabbing a finger accusingly in Steve's direction.
"What happened is that you sleep with my face on your chest," Tony said, eyes narrowed. "It was a gag gift, Steve. You know you don't have to wear it right?"
Steve blinked at him for a long moment, the faint panic melting into confusion, then into sheepish understanding. He shrugged and then flopped back onto the bed with a heavy sigh, burying his face into Tony's neck and tossing an arm over his chest.
"I just pulled on the first shirt I saw," Steve groaned, the sound buzzing softly against Tony's neck, sending shivers down Tony's spine. "And I like it."
Tony grunted. "Is this a regular thing? Sleeping in your teammate's merchandise?"
Steve laughed quietly. "Sometimes. Something wrong with that?"
Tony shrugged. "I was just surprised to, you know, see my face on your body with no explanation."
"Well," Steve drawled, "technically it's your helmet, not your face."
Tony flicked Steve's ear, which just earned him another laugh.
"Though," Steve continued slowly, "I do have one with your face on it."
"You are. You do not own a shirt with my face on the front."
Steve shook his head. "Nope. Clint gave it to me."
Tony considered this. "Okay, you might not lying."
"I'm not," Steve agreed, mumbling around a yawn.
Tony squirmed, trying to sit up. "Okay, prove it. I want to see it. I'll believe it when I see it with my own two eyes and even then I might require secondary evidence. Eye witnesses, perhaps."
Just as Tony was about to scoot off the bed, he was stopped by a pair of arms tightening around his waist, pulling him back into the circle of warmth that just seemed to perpetually exist around Steve.
"No," Steve said, drawing out the word so it had far too many O's than necessary, his voice muffled by the fabric of Tony's shirt. "Stay here with me. Shirt later."
"I'm starting to think this means you're lying."
Steve shook his head. "Uh uh. Just don't wan' you to get up yet."
After a moment that Tony took to soak in the feeling of so much affection from Steve, he obliged and laid back down. Grumbling, he shuffled in close to Steve, who immediately retook his place with his face pressed into the crook of his neck. "Fine. Who knew, Steve Rogers is an octopus. I should tell the tabloids."
"It's okay," Steve mumbled, yawning again. His mouth stretched wide right against Tony's skin, who felt the warmth of his breath against his flesh. "I'm only an octopus for cute mechanics, though," he continued.
To cover up the heat that spread to his cheeks immediately at that comment, Tony cleared his throat and casually started stroking his fingers through Steve's hair. "An octopus, a shameless flirt, not a morning person, and wears ridiculous superhero merch unironically," Tony murmured, voice tinged with faux shame.
"All true," Steve agreed, his voice thickening with sleepiness. Tony was certain he would drift off at any moment.
"You think the world is ready for this version of Captain America?"
Steve didn't answer at first, just nuzzled in closer to Tony's neck, pressing his lips briefly against the ridge of Tony's collarbone.
Tony thought that maybe he'd like to wake up this way every morning for forever.
Finally, Steve answered, his voice so quiet it was almost a whisper; "Don't care. I'd wear your merchandise every day if it made you smile."
With that, Steve's breaths evened out, leaving Tony there with his head full of Steve's soft, genuine voice and his fingers still stroking his hair.
In a complete role reversal, Tony turned his face and kissed the top of Steve's head. He let his lips linger there for a moment as he just soaked in the moment.
"You’re a dangerous man, Rogers," he whispered, the words falling on unhearing ears.
As true as the statement was, after tasting this, he was certain that he didn't have an ounce of the strength in him that it would take to run away.