The worst part of being injured, Phil has decided, is the recovery process.
Physical therapy leaves him exhausted in a way he hasn’t been since boot camp, and the muscles in his chest and shoulders are one big, aching knot. He will gladly get stabbed by a dozen magic spears and die a happy man if it means he never has to see another resistance band for the rest of his life.
He’s trying to find the least objectionable position on the couch, when Captain Rogers comes into the common area carrying a basket of laundry.
“Oh. Oh, I’m sorry,” Rogers stammers. “I didn’t…. I thought that….”
Phil sighs. “I thought everyone was gone, too.”
“I was just doing some laundry. Don’t suppose you’d mind a little company?” He hefts the basket and smiles that patented Captain America smile that is somehow both abashed and beaming and makes Phil feel like a fumbling teenage boy with a crush on the quarterback.
He reminds himself that he is, in fact, an adult, a highly trained professional, and an agent of SHIELD and replies calmly, “Not at all, Captain. I’d be delighted.”
He shifts to make room on the couch and gives an involuntary hiss of pain as his overtaxed muscles express their displeasure. Immediately, Rogers is beside him, laying a steadying hand gently on his shoulder.
“Easy there, soldier.”
At some point in the aftermath of saving the world, Rogers had decided that Phil was one of his people, his soldiers, his Avengers and had taken to acting accordingly. Phil smiles wryly to mask the overwhelming awe that stirs in him. “Must’ve overdone it in the gym.”
“I’ll say,” Rogers agrees, frowning. “You’re knotted up tighter than a kid’s shoelaces.” He presses his thumb into the spot right above the shoulder blade, and Phil gasps. The look Rogers gives him is almost apologetic. Almost. “Want me to try and work that out for you?”
“You… don’t have to do that,” Phil says because Captain America, his childhood idol and the star of every last one of his teenage fantasies, did not just offer to give him a back rub.
Rogers just smiles that hero’s smile and settles in next to him, setting his big hands on Phils shoulders. “It’d be my pleasure. Really,” he insists. “If you don’t mind?”
In his time with SHIELD, Phil has learned that, alongside all the strange horrors in the universe, there are, occassionally, wonderful moments of unexpected peace.
“I suppose not. Thank you.”
Rogers’s fingers are sure and strong, zeroing in on the hard knots of of pain and soothing them away. Slowly, inch by inch, Phil relaxes into the touch and lets his captain take care of him.