It was snowing. Not just a little flurry, but full-on shit-stop-putting-so-much-salt-on-your-food-cos-we-need-every-last-bit-for-the-ice kind of snow. Which wouldn’t be that unusual, really, in the middle of December.
That is, if they weren’t currently in Malibu, California.
Tony sighed, turning away from the window. “Hey Steve,” he called.
“Mm?” Steve didn’t look up from the pot he was stirring, focused hard on the task at hand.
He was cooking them an early dinner - only fair since Tony was the one who’d flown them over here. Besides, Tony wasn’t allowed near a stove anymore after the great Spaghetti Debacle a few months ago. Bruce still hulked out at the sight of uncooked pasta.
Tony walked over to Steve and stood behind him for a second, just drinking in the sight of him. There was a small bead of sweat dripping down the side of his face, his cheeks slightly flushed from the steam rising up from the pot. The short sleeves to his plain white t-shirt allowed Tony an unobstructed view of his sculpted arms, the muscles contracting as he pushed the spoon round and round.
“Take a picture, it lasts longer.”
Tony smirked, stepping forward and resting his chin on Steve’s shoulder. He wrapped his arms around Steve’s waist. “I can think of several pictures I’d like to take,” he murmured, lips close to Steve’s ear.
Steve snorted but Tony didn’t miss the way his ears suddenly colored to match the ruddiness of his cheeks. He let the spoon rest against the side of the pot and turned in Tony’s arms, careful not to touch the hot surface. “Did you want something?”
Tony’s smirk turned into a grin, all teeth and unsavory intent. “You know what I want.”
“What happened to your big plans to woo me?” Steve’s eyebrow arched up. “Wasn’t that the point of flying us out here? Romantic picnic in the park and all that?”
Tony blinked, grin falling off his face. “Oh right. That’s what I came over here to tell you. I think we’re going to have to cancel the park.”
Steve’s other eyebrow rose to match the first. Tony took one arm off Steve to gesture in the direction of the floor-to-ceiling windows. Steve obligingly turned. “What the-“
He stepped out of Tony’s embrace for a closer look. Tony followed behind, body tingling slightly at the loss of contact.
His jaw fell open when he reached the window, coming to stand behind Steve. The snow had piled up at least three feet in the two minutes he’d looked away and it was coming down in buckets now. As in, it actually looked like somebody was sitting up in the sky and pouring heaping buckets of snow on the ground. Tony tilted his head up to check that Thor wasn’t up there playing some weird Asgardian prank on them.
Nope, the sky was free of large alien gods. It was hard to see much in the blur of white but he was pretty sure Thor’s luscious blond hair would stand out in the mess.
Tony finally tore his gaze away when the snow reached higher than his eye-level. He turned to ask Steve what he thought was going on but the words dried up as he caught sight of the other man. He was standing stock-still, ostensibly looking out the window but his gaze was unfocused, eyes seeing something beyond the wall of white in front of them. His jaw was working furiously, muscles there jumping.
Tony tentatively reached an arm up, bringing it to rest on Steve’s shoulder. “You alright?” he asked quietly.
Steve blinked, shaking his head slightly as if to knock out whatever was running through his head. He swiveled his head, a humorless smile pasted on his face. “Yeah. It just-” He waved his hand at the glass. “-brings back bad memories, is all.”
“Oh.” Right. Capsicle.
“So this is sort of unusual isn’t it?” Steve said lightly, letting Tony’s hand fall off his shoulder as he moved back towards the kitchen. Tony stuck his hands in his pocket and glanced back out at the view, selfishly glad Steve had changed the subject. He had enough trouble dealing with his own issues. There was an absurdly high chance that anything he said to try to help would just make things worse.
The snow had nearly reached the top of the window now and Tony abruptly noticed that Jarvis had brought the overheads up to compensate for the lack of sunlight. “Unusual is one way to put it.” He spun on his heel and sauntered back towards the other man. “I’m thinking some kind of villainous plot is at play here.”
Steve let go off the carrot he’d begun slicing, no doubt in an attempt to distract himself. Judging by the pallor of the knuckles wrapped around the knife it wasn’t working too well. He looked up at Tony. “You think we should check it out?”
Tony sighed. “Yeah, we probably should.” There went his vacation.
“So there’s a tiny snafu.”
Steve’s brows drew together. Despite the situation, Tony couldn’t help but admire the man in his full regalia. He miiiight have a bit of a costume kink.
“Huh?” Tony jumped, fantasizing brought to a screeching halt when Steve poked him. In the face, since that was the only spot uncovered by titanium alloy.
“You were saying?”
“Oh, right.” Tony bit his lip. Steve was not going to like this. “Apparently we’re snowed in.”
“Yup. Doors, windows, even my retracting skylight...all barricaded by lots and lots of icy white crap.”
Steve’s mouth moved wordlessly.
“I know right? I built a house in California precisely so I wouldn’t have to deal with this crap. Well that and to get as far away from my childhood home as possible but still. This is grossly unfair and I just-“
Tony stuttered, thrown off right in the middle of a good whine. Steve was looking up at the ceiling, his fists clenched. “I- what?”
Steve titled his head back down to face Tony. “Blast it,” he repeated. “I’m sure your repulsors can cut through it.”
Tony glanced upwards, thinking about the giant hole in his ceiling and the mess it would cause. The snow was the perfect excuse for them to cut themselves off from the outside world, just be with each other like he’d wanted when he’d suggested this getaway.
Then he looked back down at Steve, meeting the other man’s eyes. Steve’s gaze was steady but his pupils were large, pitch black drowning out the icy blue.
Tony sighed. “Fine.” He aimed one arm up, angled so that the roof didn’t collapse directly above them. “I needed to redecorate anyway.”
“Magic,” Tony grumbled, flipping his faceplate up. “I fucking hate magic.” He’d been speeding towards downtown L.A., arm wrapped around Captain America, when they’d been knocked right out of the air, the Santa Monica mountains coming up to greet them fast.
He rolled over onto his side, the armor creaking ominously with the motion. Thank fucking god it had stopped coming down at least. Struggling to his feet, he raked his eyes over his surroundings, searching for the blue leather he knew and loved.
“Steve?” he called.
Tony spun around as quickly as the metal suit allowed, relief washing over him like a bucket of snow. Steve was trudging towards him, the deep drifts barely slowing him down.
Tony took a step forward to meet him and squawked when his leg sunk deep into the snow, forcing him to quickly bend his other leg. Steve chuckled as he reached him.
“Need a hand?”
Tony resolutely ignored the outstretched arm and pushed forward with his bent leg. He abruptly found himself with a face full of snow. “I fucking hate magic,” Tony repeated, voice muffled by the ground.
He flopped over onto his back and found Steve bending over him with his cowl pushed back, a worried expression on his face.
“You can’t fly?”
Tony huffed, his breath blowing out in a small cloud. “Nope. Apparently my suit doesn’t respond well to mystical zaps from staffs of doom.”
Steve straightened up, brow still creased in concern. “No injuries though?” Tony shook his head. “Okay, well it seems like SHIELD’s got it under control,” he said, palms coming up as if to confirm the thought. “They called in to say they’d caught the guy. Doesn’t sound like he really knew what he was doing. I think he just wanted a white Christmas.”
Tony rolled his head slightly, bringing Steve into full view. “He knew enough for me.” He made no move to get back to his feet. Getting back down to street level was going to be torturous. “Anyway SHIELD can send us a pickup?”
Steve shook his head. “Not for awhile. They’ve only got a skeleton crew out here so they’re pretty swamped. Guess we should start walking.”
“Unless...” Steve started.
Tony brought his head up slightly, peering up at Cap hopefully. “What, you got an alternative? You don’t have a snowmobile hidden in that suit do you? ‘Cos let me tell you, it doesn’t even seem like you could fit a cellphone in there and Starkphones are tiny.”
“No, it’s-” Steve’s mouth twitched. “You’re not going to like it...”
“You know, this isn’t exactly what I meant when I said I wanted you to ride me,” Tony yelled, the words whipped away by the wind.
Steve whooped, digging his shield into the snow briefly so they swung left. They were shooting down the hill, Steve perched on Tony’s back as he slid face-down through the snow. Tony was insanely grateful that Clint wasn’t here to witness this. He didn’t think time as a human sled was something Barton would easily forget.
They slalomed their way down, Steve using his shield to maneuver around trees with their tips just sticking out of the deep snow. As the terrain began to flatten out, Steve pushed up, catapulting into the air and turning a somersault before landing neatly ahead. He stood straight, grinning like a gymnast who’d just nailed the gold medal until Tony went careening into him, flipping over. Steve went down like a bowling pin, a yelp of surprise escaping his mouth as their limbs tangled.
He lifted himself off slightly, body stretched out over Tony’s. Tony flipped his faceplate up, eyes wide.
Steve looked down at him. “You know,” he said, a grin stretching across his face, “that isn’t what I meant when I said I wanted you to sweep me off my feet.”
Tony rolled his eyes with a huff and slammed his faceplate back down. He really needed a vacation.
They stood side-by-side in the living room, Steve with his arms crossed and Tony with his mouth and eyes in matching O’s. The snow was melting fast and the water level was already up to their ankle. Tony winced as another chunk of ceiling crashed to the ground, sending icy water splashing.
“Maybeeeee,” he said, turning to the bigger man, “we should get a hotel.”
It took them over an hour to get to the nearest hotel. Los Angeles could handle earthquakes, sharks, and celebrities on a bender but snow was a little beyond its reach.
Steve pounced on him as soon as they’d shut the room door, forcing him back towards the bed with his mouth firmly latched on to Tony’s, only breaking the kiss to pull their shirts over their heads. Tony was a little disappointed that Steve had changed out of his costume before leaving the house but the smell of leather and sweat still clung to him.
Tony’s legs hit the bed and he fell backwards, Steve bending over him to chase his tongue. Tony could feel Steve’s hard-on pressing against his, and he scrabbled upwards, hands trying desperately to shed the clothing that remained between them. He opened Steve’s pants and pushed them down as far as he could, movements limited by the large body pressing into him and the mouth licking at his neck. At Tony’s moan of protest, Steve abruptly lifted his head, pressing his hands into the bed to propel himself back up. He quickly pushed his pants off the rest of the way and stepped out of them. Tony groaned as Steve leaned over to undo his pants, the discovery that Steve had gone commando shooting straight to his groin.
Steve pulled off Tony’s pants and boxers with one swift tug while Tony scrambled backwards, pushing himself further up the bed. The super-soldier dropped the clothing and climbed back onto the bed, determined, it seemed, to spend as little time as possible with any distance between them. Tony gasped as Steve’s large body covered his and they rubbed against each other, the skin-to-skin contact setting Tony’s senses afire. Steve mouth descended onto his once again, his tongue swirling manically as he moved his hips, friction building. Tony reached one hand between them, wrapping his fingers around them both as Steve continued his frenzied thrusting, never leaving more than an inch of space between the line of their bodies.
Steve dragged his lips down the side of Tony’s neck, nipping at his collarbone as Tony’s fingers dug into his back. “Tony,” he mumbled desperately into his skin. “It’s- you’re- so good.” He pushed his forehead into Tony’s chest. “So warm.”
It ended as quickly as it started, Steve exploding first as he moved back up to capture his lips once more. Tony came almost immediately after, moaning loudly into Steve’s mouth. Steve collapsed, listing slightly to the side so as not to crush the man beneath him.
After a moment, Tony half-heartedly stretched an arm out to tug the duvet over them, letting it drop messily across their waists. They shifted, Tony sliding his arm around Steve’s shoulders and resting his palm at the base of his neck as Steve lay his head high on Tony’s chest, just above the arc reactor.
As their breathing evened out, Steve’s fingers came up to the blue light, idly tracing patterns over the glass. Tony watched the absent motion, Steve’s words from moments ago finally sinking in now that the haze of lust had faded. Maybe Steve wasn’t as alright as he’d let on.
Who was he kidding, it had been obvious that Steve hadn’t handled the entire day too well at all. The threat of being snowed in had affected him in a way that Tony hadn’t seen since those first days they’d met, when the only smile from Steve had come from knowing a member of his team hadn’t died.
He stared at the back of Steve’s head, heart clenching painfully as he recalled the way Steve’s eyes had shone a little too bright today, his laughter ringing too loud in Tony’s ears.
“You know,” he said softly, forcing casual into every syllable, “I still don’t do too well with water.”
Steve’s hand stilled. Tony’s fingers, at the base of Steve’s neck, followed suit. He hadn’t even realized he’d been mimicking the motion, drawing his own patterns on Steve’s clammy skin. He moved his hand further up, letting it rest in the captain’s feathery hair.
“Showers are fine. But I don’t take baths anymore.” He started to run his fingers through the other man’s hair, the strands slightly damp with sweat. Steve remained motionless.
“There was one time, a long while ago, I think you were away on some publicity mission or something. Clint pushed me in the pool.” Tony could feel Steve’s breaths grow shallower, like he was afraid even the simple rise and fall of his chest would break something in the fragile air. “He didn’t know, of course. Only Natasha had seen my whole file at that point.” Tony continued stroking through Cap’s hair, the small motion almost meditative. “It wasn’t even the deep end. Just three feet of water. If I’d stood, it would have barely come to my waist. But I’d gone in sideways and I couldn’t orient myself. Couldn’t see anything but that cave in Afghanistan. Couldn’t hear anything but the men yelling at me in languages I didn’t understand, poking me with weapons I’d built.” His hands stilled for a second, the words casting images too vivid in his head. He blinked, focusing on the blond head in front of him so he wouldn’t fall back there, wouldn’t drown again in guilt and pain and fear. The head rose slightly with his chest as he took a deep breath, his fingers beginning their motion again. “Luckily Natasha came in then. Clint thought I was just being an ass and hadn’t moved to help but Natasha put two and two together. She jumped in and pulled me out of it. In every sense of the word.”
There was a beat of stillness. Then Steve rolled his head slightly and pressed a kiss to Tony’s chest, lips lingering for a moment before he let his head fall back again.
They lay in silence for awhile, Tony’s hand still carding through the hair.
“I get cold sometimes.” Tony’s eyes flickered open. It had been quiet for so long he’d thought Steve had fallen asleep. “It could be a hundred degrees outside, sun scorching overhead, and I still feel it. A chill in my bones, deep, all the way down to the core of me.
“Going into the ice...it was...” He exhaled silently, breath ghosting over Tony’s skin. “It’s something that I’m always going to have. I mean, I died. I died and came back to life and everything I ever had, everyone I ever knew, was gone. Just like that.”
Tony held his breath, swallowing down the meaningless reassurances that were aching to bubble out of him.
Steve pushed upwards, moving his head until it was pillowed on Tony’s arm. Tony turned his head so that they were face-to-face, their noses a hair apart. “But you...” He tilted forward slightly, pressing his forehead against Tony’s. “You chase the cold away.” Steve slid his hand up Tony’s skin to cup his face. His eyes were bright, the blue a reflection of the ice that filled his mind. “I think that maybe, as long as I have you, I could be okay.”
Unable to resist any longer, Tony lifted his chin and gently pressed his lips against Steve’s, the soft touch an effort to convey thoughts and emotions he couldn’t articulate. He pulled back slowly and let his lips curve up as Steve’s eyes fluttered back open, their gazes meeting once again. “I guess you’re stuck with me for a long time then.” His half-smile grew to a wicked smirk. “I just hope you know what you’re getting into.”
Steve grinned in return. “Oh believe me,” he said, abruptly rolling them so that his body once again hovered over Tony’s, “I do.”