Even a broken clock is right twice a day. ― Stephen Hunt.
“It’s getting colder here, don’t you think so?” Howard muttered under his breath, rubbing his gloved hands together to provide more warmth. Both of them were alone, outside the headquarter building and it had started to snow this morning. It was Howard who suggested that they head out for a short walk. Steve chuckled softly, inwardly wanting to tell the scientist that he should get inside the building if he couldn’t stand the cold. However, he settled down by wrapping his own red scarf around Howard’s neck.
The shorter man raised an eyebrow, titling his head up to meet Steve’s eyes. Steve chuckled again.
“I love snow.” Steve commented and Howard rolled his eyes.
“Really, Cap? I bet you can’t even shiver, being human perfection and all.” Howard snorted, causing Steve to grin. Steve turned around to look at their surroundings. There were only trees and the place was quiet, due to the fact that it was quite far away from headquarters.
“Come on, Howard, I’m your human perfection.” Steve grinned as he nudged the shorter man’s ribs playfully. Howard huffed and looked away; the flushes on his cheeks were too dark. Steve hoped that they were from embarrassment but maybe they were because of the cold, so he kept quiet on that. What he didn’t expect was Howard to suddenly turn to face him and pulled him down by his collar so that they meet eye to eye.
Steve’s blue eyes were wide when Howard leaned forward, touching their foreheads together, an action that was uncharacteristic of him. Howard’s eyes were looking downwards, at anything but Steve’s and he pressed them closer, chest to chest, causing the blond’s breath to catch slightly.
There was a comfortable silence for a moment; Steve with his body still and his hands hanging at his sides, Howard with his hands tightly gripping Steve’s jacket front that covered his military uniform and his eyes half lidded. Steve could smell him; a scent that is uniquely Howard, fresh mint and a little hint of coffee as well.
“I actually want to stay like this forever.” Howard broke the hush and Steve’s heart softened. He smiled and leaned down slightly to press a kiss against Howard’s left temple, his fingers tracing the sides of Howard’s waist before they gently grabbed them to pull him even closer. Howard let out a small sigh, causing Steve to gently walk him backwards until his back pressed against a tree.
“It’s just a mission; I promise I’ll be back before you know it.”
He heard Howard snort and Steve contemplated whether he should assure him further. However, Howard beat him to it by looking up into his eyes.
“Promises, promises, promises.” Howard chanted and Steve felt his heart ache a little bit. He shook his head quietly and leaned until their lips almost met.
“Trust me, Howard… because if you don’t, who will?”
Howard didn’t say anything but his eyes were bright, looking straight through Steve’s and Steve thought that maybe he had died a little bit inside and he was happy, as long as Howard was the one, the only one that rips him apart. Then, slowly Howard closed his eyes and Steve could feel his warm breath against his own lips.
“You have everything of me on that, Steve.”
Steve chuckled and Howard followed and suddenly Steve was yelling and Howard was laughing like mad.
“Howard!” Steve yelled, pulling away from the shorter man to shake out the snow Howard had managed to put inside his jacket. Howard was still laughing when Steve finished taking off his jacket.
“Oh, come on, Mr. I-Love-Snow! It’s just a little bit of snow!” Howard teased him and Steve gritted his teeth, divided between laughing and taking revenge.
“Okay, that’s it, Stark, I’m going to show you how to fight like a real man!”
When Steve stooped down to grab some snow, Howard’s eyes widened and he quickly ran away. Laughing, Steve chased after him and succeeded to pull him back by his own scarf. Howard stumbled back into his arms and he stuffed the snow inside his lover’s jacket, enjoying the screams and curses he got in return.
Yes, Steve decided that he could live like this forever.
“It’s fucking cold here, Cap.” Steve turned to look at Tony as the younger man approached him, a glass of wine in his hand and he was wrapped up against the cold. The blond grinned, shaking his head. They were standing on an open balcony, situated at the higher level of the Avengers’ tower.
Tony snorted and went to stand beside him. Steve inwardly shivered when déjà vu ran over him and maybe one day, or perhaps never, one day he can actually manage to look at Tony as Tony, not as his late father, as Steve’s late lover.
“Yeah, why the hell did I ask in the first place? You kinda lived in snow for seventy years.” The scientist remarked before he took a small sip of his drink. Steve chuckled at that and refused when Tony offered him his drink.
“I actually love snow.”
“Tony, is it okay for me to ask something?”
Tony turned to look at him and raised an eyebrow. Steve’s eyes softened at that familiar gesture before he looked at the red scarf Tony wrapped around his neck.
“Do you think snow is equivalent to loneliness?”
Silence came between them for a while, with Tony’s eyes wide, staring at him. Steve thought that maybe he did get the sentiment of the question but then Tony gave his famous smirk and downed his drink in one shot.
“Cap, you really are getting old at heart regardless of your young appearance.”
Steve couldn’t help but to laugh a little. Tony just grinned and both of them stared outside the balcony, where snow was falling with the wind and the sky was cloudy and everything looked beautiful even though the weather was gloomy.
Steve almost wished that he could live this day forever.
Then, it was Tony that broke him out from his reverie.
“But I guess, snow is associated with coldness… and coldness always means loneliness.” Tony muttered, his hand twirling his empty glass, his eyes distant. Steve gave him another glance before he looked up at the sky again.
“Really? Then I guess I’m just like snow.” Steve replied almost nonchalantly. He saw Tony looking at him from the corner of his eye and Steve looked back. Their eyes met and Steve thought he imagined the younger man’s cheeks darkened by a blush. However, Tony just huffed and took off his red scarf, handing it to Steve who took it with a confused expression on his face.
“If you’re cold, use this. I hate cold.” Tony said, his eyes looking at anywhere but him and Steve tightened his clutch on the awfully familiar red scarf.
When Tony left to go back to his lab, Steve looked down at the scarf in his hand, smiled softly and looked up at the sky.
Maybe Howard had given him that forever after all.