The first time it happened, they'd been on the ground fighting hand-to-hand. Some idiot had been nostalgic for his childhood and tried to recreate the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Of course, instead of wisecracking pizza-eating good guys, what he got were six-foot tall rabid turtles with a hunger for humans.
Tony's job was to keep an eye out from above and shepherd them all into a small area so the others could pick them off one-by-one. He got a little occupied with one trying to bite his helmet off and thus completely missed the group breaking away across the rooftops.
“Iron Man!” he heard Steve yell.
He wrenched the demon turtle off his head and spitefully flung it as far as he could, bowling it into four others. Spinning around in the air, he spotted Captain America gesturing at him from the ground.
"Give me a lift," Cap shouted, pointing at the escaping turtles.
"Sonuvabitch," Tony exclaimed under his breath. He darted down towards his leader and grabbed his outstretched hand, dangling Steve off the end as he rose up again.
"Damn you're heavy," Tony whined, taking off towards their quarry. He quickly caught up to them and dropped Steve right on top of the leader of the pack.
"Tony," Steve said into his comm as Tony took off back to the main fight. Tony could hear his grunts and the sound of his shield battering turtle flesh. "Did you just call me fat?"
The second time was when Tony decided they really needed a jet. A big one with lots of roaring engines (that would go quiet in stealth mode, of course).
They'd been having a Lord of the Rings marathon when the call came in. Apparently the statue of Abraham Lincoln in D.C. had gotten bored of just sitting around and decided to tour the city. Or something like that. Tony usually stopped listening once he heard 'giant statue on the loose'.
"We don't have time for Fury to send us transport," Steve said.
"I will be most pleased to ferry our Shield brethren," Thor boomed.
"Hulk jump," he roared.
"Well I guess that just leaves you and me," Tony said, turning to Steve. "Hold on tight, princess."
Steve rolled his eyes and hooked an arm around Tony's shoulder as Tony wrapped an arm around his waist. "Avengers Assemble!"
Tony tries not to think too hard about the third time. It was a little embarrassing (okay, a lot embarrassing) and he don't know what had possessed him to agree.
"Okay, so I'm gonna fly flat and you're going to sit on my back? Like I'm your magic carpet?" Tony asked.
"Yup," Steve said.
It was the butt, Tony decided. Thinking of Steve's butt in any way distracted Tony from making good decisions. And this was his butt riding on Tony's back (through his armor, but still. Tony would take what he could get).
"Fine," Tony sighed, "but if Clint starts singing A Whole New World I'm replacing all his arrows with dildos."
The fourth is the one Tony will remember as the day his heart went on the world's quickest and most violent rollercoaster.
"Shit shit shit," Tony muttered as he put everything he had into the thrusters. "Come on, come on!"
He caught Steve and pulled up just in time, his boots skimming the water's surface.
"What the hell did you think you were doing?!" he yelled, anger seeping through the suit's modulator as he flew them both back up to the Helicarrier. "I can't believe you just grabbed him and jumped like that."
"Got the job done didn't I?" Steve replied casually. "Besides," he said, fidgeting in Tony's bridal hold, "I knew you'd catch me."
Tony gaped. For once in his life, he was speechless.
The fifth is the one that changed his life forever.
"Hey Tony?" Steve said quietly. They were sitting on the roof, just the two of them, a couple of beers, and New York's finest pizza. Steve couldn't get drunk of course but he still enjoyed the bitter flavor.
"Hmm?" Tony was leaning back on his elbows enjoying the view (of both the sky and Steve's strong back but nobody had to know that). He felt almost content.
"Can we go flying?" Steve asked, turning his head to look over his shoulder at the smaller man.
Tony sat up, careful not to topple the bottle in his hand.
"What?" Tony said intelligently.
"I want to know what it feels like to fly just to fly. No crazy supervillains, no death-defying leaps. Just fly. You know?"
Tony thought about the heady rush he got every time he took to the air, the sheer joy that filled his veins as he swooped through the clouds, finally untethered and completely free.
“Yeah,” he murmured. “I do.”
Tony called up the armor while Steve put on an extra layer. Even his serum-enhanced body would find the bitter headwinds a trouble.
“Okay so how are we doing this?” Steve asked, looking out at the city as he tugged at his sweater.
“Like this,” Tony said right before he grabbed Steve from behind and took off into the night sky.
Steve whooped as they shot up towards the clouds, the buildings shrinking quickly beneath them. Tony was a tad disappointed - a small part of him had been hoping to hear Captain America scream like a little girl. But then Steve let out a delighted laugh, a deep, joyous sound that went straight through Tony’s gut, and he forgave him his lack of squealing.
Tony dipped and swerved, feeling a little like the robot out of Wall-E. He performed all his best maneuvers, or at least, the ones he could while clinging on to a two-hundred pound pile of muscle mass. Steve didn’t hold back on his excited exclamations through any of it.
Finally, Tony stopped, sure the manic motion would be getting even the supersoldier’s stomach rolling. He hovered high over the Hudson, his arms the only thing between Steve and a painful plunge into the icy waters. The New York skyline stretched before them, millions of lights twinkling like someone had spilled glitter on a black canvas.
Tony raised his faceplate. The soft whoosh sounded like a roar in the quiet night air. “How’re you doing there Cap?” Tony asked.
“I’m...this...” Steve stuttered, “...that was amazing, Tony,” he finished reverently. “I just...” He squirmed slightly. “Hang on.” He brought one arm up behind Tony’s neck and spun himself around before Tony even realized what he was doing.
“There,” he said, “that’s better.” He grinned down at Tony, leaving his arm resting on the metallic shoulder. He was so close that Tony could feel the words ghosting over his skin, leaving his face tingling in their wake. “Thank you,” Steve breathed.
“Any...” He coughed slightly, clearing the dust from his throat. “Any time.” Hell, if it meant putting that the brilliant light in Steve’s eyes, Tony would become his personal flying monkey.
Steve’s grin softened to a fond smile. “You know,” he said, his free arm coming up to rest on Tony’s other shoulder, “I may just take you up on that.” And then he leaned down and kissed him.
Tony had never been in so much pain in his entire life, and that was definitely saying something. He tried feebly to move any part of his body but the building that had collapsed on top of him was putting a bit of a damper on that.
“JARVIS?” he said hopefully. Nope. Apparently whatever magic Loki had cast on him had done it’s job thoroughly. He groaned.
He was drifting back into unconsciousness when he heard the voices. It sounded like they were yelling his name. He blinked, trying to focus his spinning head. Yep, definitely calling his name.
“Here,” he rasped out. He swallowed hard and tried again. “I’m here!”
The voices grew louder. Satisfied he’d caught their attention, he closed his eyes.
The next thing he knew, his helmet had been pulled off his head. Light flooded through his eyelids, forcing him back to consciousness. He moaned quietly as the awareness brought pain with it.
“Tony?” Steve. That was Steve’s voice. Only something was wrong with it. “Tony, wake up!” Strangled, that’s what it sounded like. Like Steve was fighting to choke out each word. “Tony, please, god, please wake up!” Tony felt big hands on his face, familiar callouses scratching at his cheeks.
“Cap, we’ve gotta get him out of here. There’s a med team waiting up the block.” That was a girl. Pepper? No that couldn’t be right. Pepper was in Malibu, running his company.
“I’ve got him.” That was Steve again. His Steve. The hands left his face and suddenly Tony felt his body rising. With a bit of a struggle, he forced his eyes open, only to be met with a lot of blue.
“Tony?!” Out of the corner of his eye, Tony could see Steve’s face, caked in dirt and what seemed to be blood. “Oh thank god!” Tony rotated his head slightly, trying to figure out what the hell was happening. The small movement sparked pain all up and down his spine and he let out a soft cry. “Don’t try and move, you’re seriously injured. We’re getting you some help.”
As the sharp agony from his small motion dulled back to the general ache he was feeling all over, Tony gained a little more awareness. “Are you carrying me bridal-style?” he asked, trying his hardest to make his weak voice sound incredulous.
Steve huffed out a small laugh, the movement of his chest rocking Tony slightly. Tony choked back a gasp of pain.
“Well, you did it to me first,” Steve said, his grip tightening around the damaged armor.
Tony squinted up at his lover’s face. There were trails running down his cheeks, spots where the dirt and blood had been cleaned away. “Yeah, well at least I wasn’t crying when I did it.”
Steve choked out another laugh. It sounded suspiciously like a sob. “No, you’re right.” He leaned down and gently kissed Tony’s forehead. “Next time, I’ll leave the carrying to you.”