Chapter 1: Night One
“This is it,” Natasha announced as she led both Steve and Tony into the attic bedroom.
Both men looked around quietly for a short moment.
“This is a broom closet,” Tony commented.
“Tony,” Steve chided.
“It is, isn’t it? It’s a broom closet with a bed in it.” He turned to Natasha. “Hey, where’s his bed?”
Natasha smiled a little, her amusement clear. “You’ll be sharing the space—“
“No,” Tony immediately protested. “Can’t he sleep in, y’know, the other closet?”
“Mrs. Stein was a former SHIELD liaison and is helping us out. This place is a near-perfect location to base our operations for this mission – this very precarious, potentially catastrophic mission. In other words, don’t—“
“Don’t complain,” Steve finished, nodding. “We won’t. This space is more than enough. We’ll make it work.”
“Have fun, boys,” Natasha replied, and left the room, closing the door behind her.
“You say we won’t complain,” Tony remarked. “But the bed is literally all that fits in this room.”
“There’s a desk,” Steve corrected, peeking into the only other door in the room. “And look – our own bathroom.”
Tony pushed past Steve to the bathroom door. “Our own bathroom. That’s great. Oh—Look at this.” He looked Steve straight in the eyes as he attempted to open the door all the way, but it knocked into the bedframe. For good measure, he closed and opened the door a few more times, making a loud knocking sound every time it hit the frame. “That’s a feature, I’m sure. Living in luxury.”
“You can’t expect everyone to live at your standards,” Steve replied dismissively, trying to hide that he found Tony’s frustration a little amusing.
“Of course not.” Tony lifted the mattress up, peeked under, scrunched his face in disgust, and dropped it back down. “But this place isn’t even habitable. Look—“ He pointed to the corner. “Mold.”
“We’ll be fine. You know, when I was young—“
“You were poor. I know, and frankly, I don’t care. Are there any hotels nearby—“
“You’ll offend Mrs. Stein.”
Tony snorted. “Mrs. Stein,” he repeated. “Did she seem odd to you? Like, she was throwing all sorts of weird looks my way and—“
“Just focus on the mission. The sooner we finish, the sooner you get back to your silk sheets.”
Tony sighed and tossed his bag on the bed. “If I don’t die here first. I call the spot next to the window. If I don’t have access to fresh air—“ Tony paused. “Do you snore? You seem like you would.”
Steve raised his brow. “Huh. I’m not really sure. I’ve never had anyone complain to me about it.”
Steve shifted past him and placed his bag down. “This’ll be good. A bonding experience.”
“You’ll have to forgive my pessimism while I’m eyeballing about four spiders in the room, two of which seem poisonous—What are you doing?”
Steve stopped in the middle of taking his shirt off. “I’m going to turn in.”
“Please don’t tell me you sleep naked.”
Steve sighed, shook his head, and undressed down to his undershirt and trunks. He pulled up the blanket on the bed, but Tony stopped him.
“Wait. If you get in first, then I have to crawl over you. Let me go first.”
Steve sighed. “This is going to be a long week.”
When Steve woke, he yawned and stretched, forgetting where he was as he accidentally whapped Tony right in the face.
Tony shot up, yelling something explicit as he grabbed onto his nose.
“I—Sorry,” Steve apologized. “I should... get some ice for that.”
Tony just looked at him, narrowed his half-awake eyes, hissed something unintelligible, and laid himself back down, turning away.
Steve sighed and slid out of bed. The sun was just beginning to rise. Now would be a good time for a run.
Chapter 2: Night Two
By the end of the second day, Steve had gotten used to Tony’s constant glare. It turned out that he nearly broke his teammate’s nose earlier that morning, and while he felt bad for the first half of the day and apologized profusely, Tony wasn’t having any of it. The other Avengers got a great laugh out of it all though.
“You know, something’s wrong when I’m facing more danger in here than actually doing my job,” Tony grumbled, voice stuffy as he undressed.
“I told you I was sorry,” Steve replied, more irritated than anything at the daylong cold shoulder he’d been receiving. “What more do you want?”
“How about the experience of not fearing for my life while I’m sleeping?”
“I’ll remember you’re there this time. I promise.”
Tony gave Steve a good long glare and then crawled into the bed.
Steve exhaled, and followed suit.
It took Steve longer to fall asleep that night. Tony had conked out quickly, and because of his injury was breathing more loudly through his mouth.
He turned away from Tony and closed his eyes, nodding off into sleep.
Steve woke up again sometime during the night, feeling like something was off. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but it almost seemed like he was being... watched. He turned over to check on Tony and—
He immediately had to clap a hand over his mouth to prevent the yelp that wanted to come out as his heart started pounding in his chest.
He liked to think he didn’t get scared or startled often, but turning over to see Tony’s face just inches away from his, eyes open and staring into his own... Well, it sent Steve’s heart racing, and not in a good way.
He exhaled through his nose, trying to calm himself down as he turned to face the ceiling. He thought at first that this was Tony’s vengeance for his nose – a purposeful attempt to cause Steve to jump out of his skin – but there was no movement from the other man. There was no laugh, nor any taunting. Nothing.
Steve took a deep breath and turned his head back to face Tony’s. His eyes were half open and almost glazed over... it was weird. They seemed to stare straight through him.
There were a lot of ways he could describe Tony Stark, but ‘goddamn creepy’ was not one he really thought applied until now.
Steve moved the hand still resting on his mouth to his forehead and tried not to laugh. “He sleeps with his eyes open,” he whispered to himself subconsciously, smiling. It was strangely endearing.
He waved his hand in front of Tony’s face. Nothing.
His expression was so... lifeless. Scary, even.
He checked that Tony was breathing for good measure – he was – and then rolled back over, away from the face.
He really wasn’t sure how much sleep he was going to get that night.
When Tony woke up, he decided he’d still be mad at Steve about his nose. The Captain was in the bathroom brushing his teeth, and Tony prepared his best glare. Unfortunately, when Steve came out, as soon as he saw Tony’s face, he broke out into this stupid, dopey grin.
“What?” Tony asked, annoyed he didn’t get the reaction he wanted.
Steve just laughed a little to himself and began sorting through his bag. “Nothing. I just woke up in a good mood.”
Chapter 3: Night Three
It wasn’t until the third night that Tony truly realized how much he hated sleeping with Steve. Really hated it.
He discovered quickly that the captain slept like a rock. Not a pebble, not a stone, but more akin to a fucking boulder.
Instead of staying on his fucking side of the bed, like he’d done the previous two nights – minus the nose break incident – for some reason, Steve completely splayed himself out this time.
At the moment, he had one leg hooked around Tony’s right leg, and his arm was flailed out above Tony’s head.
The arm wasn’t as much of a problem, but the leg... Well, Steve had somehow managed to get his right leg wrapped over and under Tony’s own, and no matter how much he pulled and shifted, he couldn’t get the weird vice grip loose. Steve was applying just enough pressure that Tony was starting to lose feeling. Great.
“Cap,” he tried for what seemed like the millionth time. “Steve.”
Nothing. He thought about what kind of thing would be most likely to wake Steve up.
“Hey Cap, do you hear that? Someone’s rights were just compromised. Listen, freedom is in peril.”
He sighed. “Cap, Hydra’s here. They want to interview your death grip leg.”
He blew on Steve’s face, and finally, that earned a reaction. Not the one he’d hoped, though. Steve mumbled something unintelligible in his sleep and shifted, pulling himself closer to Tony and wrapping him in his arms.
“You know,” Tony spoke to Steve’s chest. “I hate you.”
He sighed and resigned himself to his fate. This wasn’t really the... worst thing in the world. Steve’s body was warmer than the goddamn paper-thin blanket they were given, and he could comfortably rest his head on Steve’s arm. As a bonus, the leg had been moved too, so now Tony’s imprisoned limb had been set free. He tucked his head in a little closer to Steve – thinking fuck it, why not – and finally, nodded off back to sleep.
“Get up!” Clint shouted, bursting in, startling both Steve and Tony awake. “Up! Up! We have to gooooo—What the hell?”
Steve’s eyes blinked open as he attempted to register what was happening around him.
“Whatever,” Clint continued. “Just come on. Found our target; we have to go.” He heard his teammate close the door with an added, “Now, lovebirds!”
“Tony,” Steve murmured groggily. “We have to get up—“
As he blinked a few times, he looked around and realized what exactly Clint’s strange reaction was all about. He wondered when exactly he’d wrapped himself around Tony last night. It was something he hadn’t done in years – certainly not since he was young and shared a bed with Bucky, long before the serum.
He might have been a little embarrassed – after all, his bedmate probably didn’t engage in this cuddling willingly – but that feeling was quelled when a slight breeze passed through Tony’s open window and his arm tickled with a wet, cold sensation.
That morning, he learned Tony Stark was a slobberer.
He smiled. Despite the fact that he had a pool of spit on his arm, he felt like he was learning about this unseen, human side of Tony that he’d never seen before. This was an experience he kind of wanted to hold on to.
“Cap! Stark!” a voice shouted from downstairs. “You ready?”
Oh. He’d forgotten for a moment about the mission.
Tony startled awake at the voice and shot up in the bed, half-awake. “Wha...t?”
“They found the target,” Steve informed him, removing his leg from where it was wrapped around Tony’s. “We gotta go.”
Tony shook his head back and forth in an attempt to wake himself up. Steve just watched, enjoying himself. “What?” Tony asked suspiciously.
“Nothing,” Steve replied. “Did you sleep well?”
Tony stuck his nose up and tried his glare again. “Yeah, despite all your grabby-grabby. Did not consent, by the way. Pretty sure that’s assaul—”
“You have drool all over your face,” Steve interrupted with a little smirk.
Tony snorted. “No, I don—“ He stopped suddenly as he brought his hand to his face and felt the wetness. “Shit,” he muttered, wiping his face as he looked down at the puddle on Steve’s arm. “Yikes. Call it even?”
“Sure,” Steve responded, examining Tony’s eyes as they looked back into his.
Tony appeared to start feeling a little uncomfortable as his eyes darted around the room. “Don’t we... don’t we have a mission or something?”
Steve’s eyes widened and he hopped out of bed, Tony following quickly. Any semblance of a moment they were having was gone, but that didn’t stop Steve from mentally chiding himself. He’d forgotten about the mission twice now and... he might just be falling for Tony.
Chapter 4: Night Four
“Come on, old man,” Tony ushered, helping hold Steve up as they entered the bedroom. He walked forward slowly, bringing his limping teammate along with him and, not for the first time, cursing this cramped room. “Step-by-step.”
Steve pulled at him to stop. “Hold on.” The captain put his empty hand over his bandaged and wounded stomach and grimaced.
“Almost there, c’mon.” Just had to get him to the bed.
Steve, sweating and in pain, shook his head. “Just a short break.”
“We’re right here,” Tony urged. “C’mon. You did the stairs. This part should be easy.”
Steve nodded and slowly stepped forward. “Yeah, well maybe I shouldn’t have done the stairs.”
“I agree. They offered you the bed downstairs but, no, you wanted to—“
As Steve sat down, he let out a small yelp.
He met eyes then with Tony, who asked quietly, “You okay?”
Steve nodded. “Just give me a day,” he answered as he slowly laid down, wincing at every wrong movement. “I’ll be fine.”
“Need anything? Water? Painkillers?”
“I’m fine,” Steve insisted. “But thank you. That’s kind.”
Tony scrunched his nose as he sat down and helped Steve out of his shirt. He wasn’t sure what had gotten into the super soldier in the past few days, but he was acting strange. Where he’d normally opt for an opportunity to make a smart-alecky jab at Tony, instead he’d been just so nauseatingly sweet. He wasn’t sure why and he wasn’t sure he wanted to. It was weird and it made his heartbeat speed up and frankly, Tony wasn’t sure how to deal.
“Tony,” Steve addressed, forcing him out of his thoughts. “Sorry about today.”
“Which part?” he responded quickly. “The part where you force-cuddled me at one in the morning or the part where Clint saw it and now the whole team’s laughing at our expense?” That’s right. Keep it cool. Keep distanced. Even he had to admit, it was a little hard to stay nonchalant while he was helping Steve remove his pants for the night.
Steve chuckled lightly, but Tony didn’t miss the pain behind each body movement. “Well, that... I am sorry for, but what I mean is...” He took a breath. “I was distracted today. This mission was a failure because I didn’t have my head in the game—“
“Not sure what part of ‘practically taking the force of a battering ram to your stomach and ribs to save your teammate’s life’ is distracted,” Tony commented, pulling the blanket over Steve. “But hey, that’s just my opinion.”
“It should never have happened. I was preoccupied with... thoughts... and I...” Steve exhaled, done talking.
“With what?” Tony asked, attempting to appear indifferent and hide his curiosity.
“It doesn’t matter,” Steve replied, wincing as he shifted to make himself more comfortable. “My distraction failed the team.”
“Well,” Tony exhaled, undressing. “’The team’ disagrees.” He carefully crawled over Steve to his side of the bed. “Get some rest. Try not to roll around.”
Steve looked at him for a long moment. “Okay. Goodnight, Tony.”
If anyone had suggested Tony woke himself up every few hours to check on Steve, he would have vehemently denied it. Those same people might have insinuated that he made sure to get up and get Steve some water and a cool towel to make sure he stayed hydrated and kept the fever down, but they’d be completely wrong. He’d never fret over his teammate.
That would be totally unlike him.
And he’d certainly never brush Steve’s sweat-clumped hair back with his fingers or hold his hand to let Steve know he was there when he seemed to be in particularly bad pain. He wouldn’t do that – just like he’d never press his lips gently to Steve’s forehead and tell him it wasn’t his fault.
He sighed as he laid himself down in the bed, leaning his head gently on Steve’s shoulder and intertwining their fingers.
He was so in over his head.
Tony awoke to a piercing pain in his wrist. “Ow, ow, ow, Cap, what the hell are you—“ In the little moonlight through the window he could see the pained expression on Steve’s face.
“To—“ Steve began, but then sounded out a painful cough.
Tony quickly hopped over Steve and pulled the chain to the ceiling lamp. The captain’s face was red as hell, and his sweating had gotten worse. Obvious fever. Steve moved a hand to his ribs and Tony pulled down the blanket to reveal Steve’s chest with a large spot of deep red bruising it. Internal bleeding.
“Shit. Okay, hold on.” He went to the door and shouted, “Barton!” and then returned to Steve’s side. “Think you can walk down the stairs?”
Steve nodded and slowly began to sit up.
“Hold on to me. There we go. There we go. Let’s go.”
Chapter 5: Night Five
“Go,” Clint pressured, standing in the doorway. “C’mon, go.”
Tony protested. “I should be with him.”
“C’mon, the medical care out here in the middle of nowhere barely makes the cut. I can help—“
“You need sleep. We all do. Sam’s keeping an eye on him right now. He’ll call us if anything changes.”
He hesitated, but shook his head. “Get some sleep.” As he stepped out, he added, “And before you try anything, this door locks from the outside.”
Tony threw his phone on the bed in frustration. “God, could this house get any more creepy?”
He didn’t really sleep that night.
Chapter 6: Night Six
Without Steve, the bed was surprisingly cold.
Chapter 7: Night Seven
“What are you doing here?” Tony asked as he entered the room.
Steve looked up from the book he was reading on the bed and smiled. “It’s good to see you too, Tony.”
“No, I—“ Tony bit his lip, struggling for the right words. He hated when that happened. “No one told me they released you.”
Steve cocked his head to the side a little. “Well, they didn’t... really. I just told them I was leaving and before you give me that look, I’m fine. The bleeding’s stopped.”
“It was looking dicey for a little while there. I was already preparing the eulogy.”
Steve put down his book, sat up, and put his feet on the floor. “You’d given up on me that quick?” he asked, smiling.
There it was, that goddamn smile again. “That quick,” Tony confirmed. “We wrapped up the mission.”
“So I’ve heard. Good work.”
“We head out tomorrow. Only one more night in this godforsaken house.”
“I don’t think it was that bad.”
“Really?” Tony asked in disbelief. “What, about any of this, was in any way not ‘bad?’”
Steve went quiet.
“I... got to share a bed with you,” Steve finally answered, his cheeks earning back a little of that red hue. He opened his mouth, and then closed it, appearing unsure of what to say next.
Tony also wasn’t sure. It wasn’t often he got tongue-tied, but Steve sure knew how to bring it out in him.
After a brief moment of awkward silence, they both spoke at once. Steve started with, “I should’ve told you this before, but I—“ but Tony spoke over him, “I kissed you.”
Steve just stared at him.
“While you were out of it,” he admitted. “Right here... on the head.” He tapped his forehead. “I realize it was probably pretty out of line, but in my defense, you cuddled me pretty hard the other night.“ He waited, but Steve was quiet, thinking. “What were you going to say?”
Steve looked down at his knees. “I was going to tell you that... you sleep with your eyes open.”
“I—Oh.” Well. That didn’t go in the direction Tony was expecting. “Do I really?”
Steve looked up at him and nodded. “Sometimes. It’s... not easy to look at. Thought I’d warn you.”
“Uh, thanks, I guess.” Tony inwardly cursed himself. He should not have talked about the kiss. Steve was completely ignoring it, obviously, so he definitely wasn’t interested, and now Tony was standing here looking like a dumbass.
“I don’t remember it. Your kiss,” Steve admitted, and then paused. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. It’s while you were hurt. In and out of consciousness and all that. Don’t worry about my feelings—”
“It’s not that,” Steve interrupted, and his gaze wandered off again. “What I mean is... I’m sorry I missed it.” He took a breath. “Can we do it again?”
Tony stood there, stunned for just a moment before a grin slipped its way onto his face. “Yeah, I think so.” He carefully straddled Steve’s lap and wrapped his arms around Steve’s head. Then he moved in for the kiss, and it just felt so right – Steve’s lips against his. It was comfortable. He could get used to this. “I could kiss you all night long.”