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Keeping Company

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“So. Ninja Turtles or Star Wars?”

“I guess Star Wars, because I don’t know what a Ninja Turtle is.”

“Could be worse. I don’t know what little girls are into these days at all. I can shack up with Raphael and Donatello versus some corporation’s attempt at enforcing gender roles via toy lines.”

Steve didn’t answer as he pulled down the bedspread on the twin bed to the right of the doorway into Clint’s son’s room. A cartoony Yoda looked back from different angles, his eyebrows silently judging.

Tony dropped down onto his own bed, the one to the left of the door. Ever since he started to regularly wake up from unconsciousness either in his suit or in medical bays, he’d gotten less picky about the mattresses he slept on, and Barton Junior’s extra bed would suffice. It was more comfortable than his workbench, at any rate. He was more worried about Steve even fitting in the other bed, considering his height and the width of his shoulders.

But Steve had slept in far worse places, too, and no doubt appreciated having any bed at all.

It was just strange having cartoon characters watching their every move. The walls were no better, with Pixar and Dreamworks posters practically wallpapering the room, along with dinosaurs and airplane models taking up all available space on the desk and dresser.

It was really more Barton’s choice for his roommate that was grating on Tony’s nerves a little, like pushing the two alphas together was Barton’s way of telling them to get over their issues with each other. He’d much rather have Bruce in the bed across from him, or even Natasha, though he was afraid if he snored she’d open up another hole for him to breath through.

Instead he had Steve, who was sitting on the edge of the bed with his elbows on his thighs and his hands dangling between his knees, looking exhausted and forlorn and simply out of it.

The sight brought out certain urges in Tony, and protective was only one of them. There was no way that Barton could know about his little crush on Steve, but between the shared room and the world’s smallest undershirt he’d given Steve to sleep in, Tony was starting to suspect he hadn’t been as good at hiding it as he’d thought.

It was just that Steve was of course young and gorgeous and built like a Ken doll only better (hopefully from only the waist up, not the waist down), and earnest and sweet and had that stubborn temper that got Tony’s blood boiling in so many different ways. Add into all of it the mystery and darkness Steve was clearly hiding, and Tony might as well be scribbling Steve’s name over and over in his notebook.

“I’m just gonna. Um. Brush my teeth.” Steve shrugged his shoulders in acknowledgement, and Tony fled to the bathroom. He used one of the unopened extra toothbrushes that the Barton brood seemed to keep on hand for some reason--this reason--and completed the rest of his ablutions as quickly as possible so he didn’t hog the room. And maybe the basket of tub toys that hung from a hook in the shower unnerved him for some reason. He just didn’t need more reminders that he was in the home of his teammate, whom he didn’t even know had a home or a family until a few hours ago.

Clint was vulnerable.

When he got back to the bedroom, Steve hadn’t moved, so Tony talked just to hear some noise. “I hope your bed is comfortable. If not, we can switch, turtles or no. I can explain to you who they are if that would make you feel better. Pretty big phenomenon in the nineties, and there’s a revitalization now. Like with everything else, it seems. Too many sequels and remakes and not enough original stuff. And why bother, right? The third in a series can almost never live up to the other two parts. Either the first is great or the second is great, and the third is just thrown together to make some money. And why give the Turtles to Michael Bay? Who thought that would be a good idea? How much of people’s childhoods does he get to destroy? I mean, not my childhood, but--”

“Stark.” Tony shut up, but only because Steve had finally spoken. Usually being called ‘Stark’ pushed his buttons to the point of him mounting a massive counter argument to whatever the person was about to say. “I don’t care about the turtles. Or Michael Bay.” He sighed, sounding exhausted and far older than he appeared, like he was actually ninety and change. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

Tony took advantage of Steve’s absence to change into borrowed pajamas, and he was going to make a point to Barton about purple and why did he have so much of it, really. The t-shirt and flannel pants were a little loose, which he was sure was Barton trying to make yet another point, but he couldn’t figure out if he was trying to tell Tony he was small or give him an excuse to sleep naked.

He’d probably go with naked if Steve weren’t going to be a few feet away.

When Steve got back they both went right to sleep, even though Tony didn’t think he’d really have much success at it. Too much swirling through his mind, from Ultron to his vision of the death of his teammates, the surface of the Earth burned black due to his negligence, pools of red forming from countless tributaries that were all his doing.

But then he was jolted awake at some point in the night, and opened his eyes to a room that was too dark, much too dark, lit only by what peeked through his t-shirt and a glow-in-the-dark stegosaurus that sat on the dresser. He’d gotten used to the city lights and the city sounds--

The sound. That’s what had woken him up. Something was rattling, and it took him far too long to realize it was Steve’s bed. He rolled over to get a better look, and the whole thing was shaking--

No, it was Steve who was shaking, and not shaking but shivering.

Tony was up in a flash; he’d known Steve had had nightmares before--who in their little group didn’t?--but hadn’t thought about what the nightmarescape from the witch might gift Steve upon sleep. They should have talked about it, but Steve had looked so resigned, and Tony hadn’t wanted to talk about anything at all either. Nothing real.

But now Steve was shivering like he’d just crawled out of Hudson Bay, and the bed frame jittered against the wall. Tony didn’t hesitate to strip off his shirt and climb in behind Steve, who was curled up as much as the narrow bed allowed, facing the wall. The cold was only in Steve’s head, but that didn’t mean actual body heat wouldn’t make it go away.

The brief flash of light caused by the removal of his shirt was immediately swallowed by the expanse of Steve’s back, the arc reactor pressing against the white cotton shirt Steve was wearing. Tony pulled the blanket up around them as best he could, then started stroking along Steve’s body, trying to create any sort of friction he could, anything to get Steve warm again.

Under different circumstances he’d revel in having Steve pressed up against him, heat and sweat as they moved together. But right now all he could focus on was getting Steve to relax, and not letting him tip Tony backwards off the bed.

He murmured deep in his throat anything that came to mind that might help, careful not to be too loud and possibly wake Steve. “Shh, relax. You’re okay, Steve. You’re not in the ice, you’re not alone. You’re okay.” He kept up the litany until the shivers started to subside, until Tony was slick with sweat and instead of rattling Tony could hear the shuddering breaths as Steve cried in his sleep. “Jesus, Steve. What did she do to you?”

Tony kept up his ministrations until Steve was finally still and quiet, then simply wrapped his arm around him and held on tight. He wanted to be there in case Steve had another nightmare; it was the least he could do for a teammate in pain.

~*~

When Tony woke again, it was past dawn but not exceptionally bright out yet. It meant neither of them had woken again, and that maybe they could face the new day with a better perspective.

Which was easier said than done considering there was no way he could extricate himself from the world’s tiniest bed and most intimate cuddle without waking Steve, which was obviously the last thing he wanted to do. It was one thing to help calm a guy through a nightmare, but another thing entire to wake up spooning with a guy you didn’t even like all that much.

Maybe if he was careful, he’d get out of this without a black eye.

Peeling himself away only made it more clear how damn warm he was, between the flannel pants, the downy bedspread, and the human space heater that was Steve. The cool air against his skin caused goosebumps, and a tiny jolt of interest from his cock, which he’d been ignoring all night because the reality of Steve’s need and comfort was more important than the fantasy of being pressed against such a gorgeous man.

Just about when he thought he’d make it, that he’d be able to slip back to his own bed like a thief in the night, the muscular bulk that was six-feet plus of Super Soldier rolled over, an arm shooting out to catch Tony before he fell to the floor. Steve slid back toward the wall and pulled Tony with him, his grip relaxing when it was evident he wouldn’t be a victim of gravity.

Tony pulled back as well as he could to look Steve in the eye, and tried not to look at the tear tracks. There was a perturbing mix of resigned wisdom and youthful angst in the blue eyes looking back at him, Steve’s dual nature warring within him.

Preparing to be hit, Tony winced as he tried to explain what he was doing in Steve’s bed. “Steve… I can explain. You were having a nightmare, and--“

“Shut up.” Tony did, mouth hanging open as Steve’s big hand cupped the side of his face. He was expecting those fingers to cause some damage, and was surprised when instead of hurting him, Steve surged the inches between them to press his mouth against his. His aim was off but Tony quickly turned his head enough to meet him properly, his right hand sliding down Steve’s side until he got a grip on his hip.

Steve eventually pulled back, the angst in his eyes replaced by hope. Tony, however, was extremely confused. “What was that for? Not that I’m complaining.” Confused, yes, complaining, never.

“I don’t want to be alone.”

“I don’t think you’ve ever been less alone in your life, considering there’s about six spare inches before I fall to the floor.”

Steve shook his head, blonde hair shaking. “I don’t mean right now. I mean… If you saw what I did, experienced what I have… You don’t know what it’s like to be truly alone. To have no one around you, or even when you do knowing no one can understand.”

Tony thought back to his vision, of everyone dead around them as Steve took his last breath, Tony on a pile of corpses. But being the last he knew was Steve’s reality..

“Natasha once asked me if I’ve even kissed anyone since 1945, and I lied. I was afraid to admit I’ve never been close enough to anyone since Peggy to want to kiss them. I didn’t even want to admit it to myself, that after coming out of the ice, and fighting an alien invasion, and working for SHIELD and then what’s left of it, the only person I’ve wanted to kiss is an arrogant genius who teases me and fights with me nonstop.”

Tony was an ass.

“But when all of your true vulnerabilities and fears are laid out, it makes it a lot easier to take the risk and kiss someone even if you aren’t as close as you’d like to be. Maybe they’ll even kiss you back, and maybe they’ll be there for you when you’re facing those vulnerabilities and those fears. It’s better than being alone.”

Steve’s eyes were bright, like he was holding back more emotion than he could handle at that point in time, and it would take a stronger man than Tony to walk away from that. He pressed close against Steve, to feel his warmth and strength and most importantly of all his heartbeat, as he said, “I don’t want to be alone, either.” There were surely more words to say, but they would have to come later.

Tony led their second set of kisses, using the wall to his advantage to press Steve in place and hold him there, let Tony take control. He slid one leg up to pry Steve’s open, slotting them together for some leverage to rock in tandem. That didn’t last long before Steve used his left hand to lift Tony up and roll him onto his back, Steve lining himself up and over him to take control on his own terms.

If they had a physical relationship that continued past this room, it was going to be quite interesting.

He could feel Steve’s erection through their pants, and if Tony’s own discomfort was any indication, Steve also wanted the shed the pants and feel skin. As if Steve could read his mind, he stripped off his own pajama pants and then Tony’s, and Tony didn’t even mind not being able to see Steve in all his glory because he could feel him against him, hard and slick.

Here Steve finally faltered, and Tony opened his eyes to see Steve flushed and aroused and back to being confused. “I don’t want to--”

“Anything you want. I don’t know about you but just your hands on me will be enough right now.” If the kid hadn’t kissed anyone since 1945, odds were low he’d had sex with anyone since 1945 (or, jeez, at all, knowing him), and Tony didn’t have the energy for anything fancy anyway.

“Okay.” Steve shifted his weight to get a better angle to jack them both off, and Tony raised his hips to wrap his knees over Steve’s thighs. The first touches of Steve’s hand were uncertain, but then he got used to it and pumped harder. Tony pressed one hand back against the wall to keep himself from sliding into it, and the other he snaked down to wrap around Steve’s shaft where his own hand wasn’t quite reaching. As Tony rocked his hips into it more, so did Steve, until he wasn’t sure which was getting him off faster, Steve’s hand or the weight of his body pressing down into Tony.

He tried to postpone his orgasm, he really did, but there wasn’t much he could do when presented with Steve jacking him and thrusting against him, and listening to Steve’s own little breaths of enjoyment. “Steve, I’m--” was all he could get out before grunting and coming all over Steve’s hand, making the soldier’s hand slide against him even more until it was way too much and he had to push him away.

Tony allowed himself a moment to enjoy the endorphin rush before focusing his attention back on Steve, who was jerking himself off at a much faster pace than Tony thought he’d be able to handle on his own cock. He wasn’t ready for just how much Steve ejaculated when he was climaxing, which he did with very little fanfare other than a long exhale, like he was used to having to be quiet.

And, fuck, they were in Barton’s house, and anyone could have heard them--and shit, they were in the kid’s bed, how perverted was that--

“Stop thinking.” Tony focused his attention back on Steve, who looked deliciously wrecked with his pink cheeks, sweaty hair, and too-small t-shirt that really should have been taken off of him by now. “Let’s just enjoy this.”

“Oh, I am. I am and I will.” Because he wasn’t going to let Steve get cold feet, and make this a one time thing. Oh no. This was going to happen again. Because Tony wasn’t going to let another good thing in his life slip through his fingers.

Steve lay back down again as Tony unhooked his knees, and he hoped Barton didn’t want any of their clothes back considering they were now sweaty and Steve’s shirt was soaking up the come that had splashed onto Tony’s chest. Steve cupped his palm around Tony’s face again, tilting it so he could see into his eyes. “Thank you.”

“Any time.”

“No.” Steve was dead serious. “Thank you.” For so much more than the sex, obviously. For helping him through the nightmare. For being there when he woke up. For saying that he wouldn’t let Steve be alone, as if that would be a hardship for someone just as lonely.

Not wanting to ruin the moment, but knowing he had to say something before either of them grew too attached, Tony said quietly, “I’m not the kind of guy to settle down in a farm house, 2.6 kids and a picket fence and a dog.”

Already drifting back asleep, Steve murmured, “Me either. Time for that later, or not.”

Tony didn’t want to question whether the 'or not' meant they wouldn’t have that perfect bucolic life together, or if it meant they wouldn’t have time to find out. He’d rather succumb to sleep again with Steve by his side, a truce between them to talk things through in greater detail later.

Right now he just wanted to enjoy himself and forget what was happening around them.

It would be easier without Yoda and his judgmental eyebrows.