Chapter 1: Natasha
The light in the living room was soft, providing just illumination for Natasha to read her book. Tony was on the sofa next to her, tiredly tapping away at his tablet. The genius had been awake for over 52 hours at that point, working hard to fix some deficiencies in Clint’s bow. The marksman was sitting across from the pair, watching TV when he wasn’t answering Tony’s questions about design and functionality of the new bow.
Natasha was so absorbed in her book that she failed to notice the quiet that had settled over the room. There was still the soft background noise coming from the TV, but the excited chatter between the duo had ceased.
That’s why she was thoroughly confused when she felt a weight settle onto her shoulder. When she glanced to the side, Natasha was even more confused when a head of dark, wild hair obstructed her view and tickled her nose. Shifting her weight, she tried to nudge the slumbering engineer off of her shoulder, but Tony just snuggled closer.
A quiet snicker drew her attention away from the cuddling annoyance latched onto her arm. Glaring at Clint, she raised a brow in an arch that said ‘help me now or I will kill you later.’
“Oh come on, Tash, you know how he gets once he’s found someone to latch onto. There is no way I’ll be able to pry him off, so just deal.”
Natasha intensified her glower, attempting to harm Clint by death-glare alone. Unfortunately, Clint had been on the receiving end of so many of those looks that he was basically immune to them. Basically.
“He hasn’t slept in like two days. Let the man sleep,” Clint said as he hopped to his feet and made a hasty retreat. Natasha stared after him, disbelieving that her supposed ‘partner’ had left her to this…torture.
Tony sleep-mumbled something and curled in tighter to Natasha’s side, seeking the warmth her smaller body offered. And although she would never admit it, even under threat of death, Natasha found she didn’t mind all that much being Tony Stark’s teddy bear. Would never admit that Tony was almost tolerable in this state- exhausted, quiet, and cuddly.
And when Tony sighed his contentment, Natasha just rolled her eyes and turned back to her book, successfully hiding the small smile that played at the corners of her mouth.
Because really, she couldn’t let the cameras or Jarvis see her in such a state. Tony would never let her forget it. And then, because the man could be an insufferable annoyance when he put his mind to it, Natasha would be forced to kill him. So it was for the good of the team, really, that Natasha kept the small, soft smile all to herself.
Chapter 2: Bruce
Bruce can’t really remember the last time someone felt comfortable enough to just fall asleep on top of him like Tony was doing now. Can’t really remember someone feeling safe enough to let down their guard like this. But Tony had always been an exception to pretty much every rule Bruce had ever known, so maybe he shouldn’t be all that surprised.
The two had been resting on the cot shoved into the corner of the lab, discussing the results of one of their experiments on a plastic polymer. There was a tablet resting in Bruce’s lap, a cup of coffee nestled in Tony’s hands. Tony had been trying to stay awake, consuming coffee at what was sure to be an unhealthy rate, until the experiment had come to completion. But apparently, tiredness had won out.
Smiling indulgently at the man leaning against his side, Bruce reached out to pull the coffee mug from Tony’s slack hands. Fingers now empty, Tony frowned tiredly, hands moving restlessly until he found something to latch onto. Apparently Bruce’s arm was just perfect for latching onto.
Resting his head back against the wall, Bruce just enjoyed this quiet moment with his friend. He promised to do everything in his power to make sure Tony always felt safe enough in his presence to let his guard down like this.
A few hours later, Steve tip-toed into the lab, smiling warmly when he found the brilliant pair of scientists sleeping next to each other, Tony’s head tucked in under Bruce’s chin, his fingers clasped around the kind doctor.
Chapter 3: Thor
Not really sure this counts as cuddling but *shrugs* oh well...
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Thor looked worriedly down at the Man of Iron in his arms.
The team had been searching tirelessly for Tony ever since he had somehow been transported away from the fight. Everyone had seen Tony flung back through the magical gate, shocked when the genius had just disappeared.
Thor knew it was a transport-gate, but Fury had been unwilling to risk letting the god just follow Tony through. The Director did not want to risk losing another from the team. After four hours of no progress, the tension and worry had become too much for the team.
They had been hoping Tony would find his way back, flying back to headquarters and ready to snark and sass at Fury. Since that had not happened, they had hoped Tony would at least find a way to communicate with them, but no word had come from the lost genius.
Finally, Thor had convinced Steve to let him follow after their lost comrade. With the Captain’s approval, Thor had stepped through the gate and ended up almost barreling over a de-suited and unconscious Tony Stark.
Tony’s body had been in rough shape, bruises and cuts marking his body. Worried for his teammate’s health, Thor had quickly gathered Tony into his arms and taken to the sky.
Halfway through the flight Tony roused from his sleep. Blinking sluggishly up at the God of Thunder, Tony whimpered when he shifted in Thor’s arms and accidentally prodded at some of the bruises.
“Do not worry, my friend. I shall have us back at the headquarters of SHIELD before you can say Mjolnir! You must rest and preserve your strength in the meantime,” Thor proclaimed earnestly.
Tony smiled tiredly up at Thor, nodding slowly before letting his head rest heavily against Thor’s heavily muscles chest. “Yeah, okay, big guy,” Tony said softly, more than content to fall back asleep, safe in Thor’s arms.
Too tired to finish now XD ...rest of the chpts will go up tomorrow.
Chapter 4: Steve
“Well,” Director Fury started as he gave Steve a sympathetic look. He very much believed that Steve was suffering greatly under this hardship. “The good news is that Dr. Banner and Thor believe the spell will wear off within a day or two.”
Steve nodded his head, shifting the body in his arms to rest more of Tony’s weight on his hip. He might be a super-soldier, but even Steve’s muscles were getting a little tired after carrying Tony around for 12 hours without being able to set him down.
The team had been fighting a split off organization from Hydra that combined technology with magic. Their new weapon was supposed to fry a person’s brain to mush…thank god they were not as smart as they thought they were, because what the weapon did end up doing was revert Tony’s mind to that of a five year old. A very grumpy, very sleepy, very much in awe of Captain America, five year old. Natasha had thought it extremely amusing that Tony really had become the ‘man-child’ she always accused him of being.
As soon as Jarvis had released Tony from his armor, the man had latched onto the only person he even remotely recognized. Even if all recognition of Steve were from stories he had heard about his childhood hero. Steve had been shocked when Tony came hurtling towards him, throwing his still full size body at Steve with a force that had made Steve take a step or two back just to regain his balance.
And now, many hours later, Steve was still holding onto his charge, not able to set Tony down for even a second without the man being sent into a panic-attack.
Steve felt Tony wiggle in his hold, arms synching tighter around his neck. A warmth spread through Steve, liking the fact that he was needed by Tony. The genius was self-reliant to a fault, always trying to do everything on his own. Tony was adjusting to being part of a team, but he still had trouble asking his teammates for help.
So now, in his child-like state of mind, when he had no qualms about proclaiming what he wanted, which was Steve as a cuddle-buddy, and more than willing to take it…well, Steve found it kind of nice.
Holding Tony just a little bit tighter, Steve felt he should appreciate this closeness while it was freely offered. “That’s alright, Director,” Steve said as he looked down at the sleeping Tony in his arms. “I think I can handle it.”
Chapter 5: Clint
Clint blinked his eyes open slowly, letting his eyes adjust to the influx of sunlight from the large windows of the living room. He could tell it was still early morning, the sun just rising in the sky, and he had no idea why he would be awake now. Last night had been a very late night for the archer.
The previous night had been team movie night, but it had really turned into a movie marathon. Tony and Clint had convinced the team to sit through all three extended-scenes addition Lord of the Rings movies. They wanted the team prepared for when The Hobbit came out.
The marathon had started off well enough, the team taking small breaks to order pizza or make popcorn. By the end of the second movie, people were starting to get tired. Steve and Bruce had made it twenty minutes into the final movie before calling it a night and heading out to their rooms. Natasha had snuck away sometime after that. Thor had fallen asleep in his spot, low rumbling snores being drowned out by the sounds of battle from the movie. Clint thought he was going to make it, but he too had fallen asleep before the movie finished.
But that had been well into the night and Clint knew he could not have been asleep for more than four hours…so what had awoken him? A soft click drew his attention to the corner of the room.
Natasha was standing a few feet away, camera in hand, and was snapping pictures of him. “Aw shucks, Tash, didn’t realize you wanted to immortalize my beauty. Make sure you’re getting my good side, kay?” Clint teased, voice a little gruff from sleep.
His partner rolled her eyes, but did indeed snap another picture. “I am very much offended on SHIELD’s behalf for your utter lack of observational skills."
Frowning at his partner, Clint turned to look down the length of his body and cocked his head to the side when he found Tony laying on top of him. Ah, so that's why his blanket felt heavier than normal. Tony had his arms looped around Clint's waist, head resting on Clint's stomach. Clint just shrugged his shoulders before turning back to Natasha with a grin.
“He’s like my personal blanket,” Clint said as he snuggled further into the comfortable couch. “Nice and toasty warm.”
Natasha huffed out a quiet laugh, snapping one more picture before turning around. “Guess I’ll leave you boys to it then.”
Clint just closed his eyes and tried to fall back asleep, more than secure in his masculinity to admit that he enjoyed a cuddle-session every once in a while. Besides, he could just shoot anyone that tried to make fun of him for it.
He was cold, his body shivering in an attempt to get warm but there was not warmth forthcoming. He didn’t like the cold. Avoided it whenever he could. Too many bad memories associated with the cold. Too many wounds that were still to fresh in his mind to just ignore.
His body shifted, unconsciously seeking out anything that would make the cold go away, stave off the nightmares that were sure to come if he didn’t get away from the cold. He felt something brush up against his arm. Hot. Warmth. Comfort. Safety.
Flinging his arms out, he pulled the warmth closer, holding it tightly. The warmth tried to move away and he whined in protest, securing his grasp around the warmth. The warmth struggled for another moment before going lax, letting itself be pulled into his body.
Steve let out a sigh of happiness.
Tony frowned at the waning fire in front of him, huffing out a breath of annoyance when he realized it wasn’t going to stay alive much longer. He still couldn’t believe that Steve was forcing the team to do this stupid survival training out here in the middle-of-freaking-nowhere. They were all split up into pairs, tasked with just surviving a week in the wilderness without any supplies save a bottle of water. Thor and Bruce were probably fine; They both had experience with this sort of thing. If anyone ever doubted Clint and Natasha would be able to handle this, then they clearly didn't know anything about the pair. And while Steve might be doing just fine, Tony was not made for this sort of camping trip.
There was a cold, biting chill in the air. The ground was hard and rocky. He hadn’t had a decent meal or coffee in five days…all in all, Tony was not enjoying this little 'camping trip,' at all.
Hearing Steve shuffling around, Tony turned to watch his survival-partner. The super-soldier was shivering, his arms curled around his body in an attempt to save some warmth, but it didn’t seem to be working. When Steve let out a small whimper, Tony cringed, realizing that the man might be suffering from a nightmare. PTSD was a bitch, he knew.
Shuffling closer, Tony reached out to try and wake up his partner. As soon as his hand settled onto Steve’s arm, the man lashed out to capture Tony’s wrist and tugged him forward.
Tony crashed into Steve, body and limbs askew as Steve gathered Tony into his arms. Tony tried pulling away but Steve let out a small whine that caused Tony to wince in sympathetic pain. Giving up on gaining his freedom, Tony settled into Steve’s arms and let the man hold him close.
“Fine, I’ll be your teddy bear,” Tony mused as he idly traced patterns on Steve’s arm. “But only this once, Cuddle Monster.” Steve’s only response was to let out a small sigh and tighten his hold on Tony.
wow, I have no idea why I felt the need to write this story, but I like how it turned out regardless. It was fun :D