These are the moments Steve cherishes, the moments he would love to just freeze in time and stay within forever. It’s the early morning wherein the light filters through the slowly brightening window and a lone bird hops perkily out along the balcony, releasing a sweet song from the base of its diaphragm. Steve watches the small sparrow absently for a while, fingers tracing a languid pattern across his partner’s warm skin.
Tony hasn’t stirred at the light touch ghosting over his collarbone, his neck, his upper arm. He’s deep within the comforting embrace of sleep, chest rising and falling evenly even as the faint blue glow from the arc reactor shifts patterns across his splayed arm. Steve feels him shift minutely, legs moving from within the tangled embrace at the foot of their bed. He helpfully removes his own limb from the mess they’ve created and chuckles softly as, automatically and as if on cue, Tony’s foot hooks around his calf and drags it back to the position it had initially been in. He then makes a soft noise in the back of his throat and stills once more. Steve smiles softly, brushing a hand lightly across Tony’s cheek. Tony is completely different when held within the universe of sleep, a mere shadow of who he was when awake and when he was throwing his arms around like a master actor upon his stage.
When asleep, Tony’s façade fades away to reveal the boyish innocence still hidden underneath his brash exterior forged out of sarcasm, biting humour and flashy smiles. All of the Avengers have seen Tony when he’s just woken up, slightly slow and unable to process why there are strange superheroes in his kitchen at ten in the morning. Bruce and Clint can’t get over how sweet it is and Thor just hugs Tony a lot because it’s about the only time everyone can actually embrace the billionaire and not expect a sudden stiffness in his muscles at the contact. Pretty much all the time, everyone will get a hug back.
Clint moans about how Steve gets Tony-hugs all the time.
Steve admits they’re really nice, really warm and really affectionate when he feels like it.
Tony is also quite grumpy in the mornings which Steve finds incredibly – hell there’s no other word – cute. He pouts and burrito’s himself in the covers and just generally tries to stay in bed for as long as he can before Steve tackles him out of the warmth, sometimes with the promise of a shower if he’s up in ten. At the moment however, he’s utterly still and sprawled over the bed whilst simultaneously tangled up with his boyfriend. Five o’clock shadow has started to make its appearance down the sides of his cheeks and underneath his chin and Steve knows he’ll moan and groan about it but secretly, Steve finds it pretty attractive.
Tony looks so peaceful, so calm when he sleeps that sometimes Steve hates to wake him up for business meetings and other boring, work related things. There are days wherein he’d just like to stay in bed with his partner, curl around him and bury his nose in his hair and just fall asleep once more, pretending that they didn’t have to do anything that day. Sometimes, when this actually occurs it's followed by whining from Tony, and then perhaps, sleepy sex.
Steve isn’t quite sure why but he finds this take upon lovemaking the most intimate – Tony is only half awake but he’s compliant and wanting and utterly limp. Steve wonders whether he knows how badly the keening noises Tony makes when he’s close to tipping over the precipice makes Steve’s heart ache with both love and arousal. The way his back arches and his head tips back even as his toes curl makes Steve just want to stop so he can sketch out the sinuous lines of his boyfriends body. (As Steve thinks about it, it sounds a tad creepy but Tony’s really all curves and gentle edges and a lot like a Muse to Steve's artistic side)
Afterwards Tony will somehow stay awake to just talk with Steve and allow small, gentle kisses to be peppered around his face and neck as he drifts away once more.
And then sometimes-
Steve twitched minutely, blinking to bring himself out of his daze. He looked down to see one, deep brown eye gazing up at him drowsily. He smiles, reaching out to run a finger down Tony’s cheek, feeling the contrast of his beard and then light stubble under his skin.
“I can hear you thinking. It’s making me exhausted.” Tony muttered, moving forwards so he could push his face against Steve’s collarbone. Steve smiled, bringing an arm around Tony’s back and closing his eyes.
“Just sleep.” he whispered, dropping a kiss to Tony’s wild hair, even as he felt a ghost of a response brush past his collarbone. Steve smiled, hearing Tony’s breathing even out and feeling it beneath his hands. This was the man he’d fallen in love with, despite their differences. This was the man he’d willingly die for; willingly go into the line of fire for.
Their lives are hectic, incongruent messes that make no sense whatsoever and sometimes Steve wishes he could just take Tony away to a small town and set up the ‘American Dream’ home with a white picket fence and Golden Retriever.
But Tony's a famous billionaire and they’re both superheroes so he can’t really do that.
So the mornings are what he loves the most, the times when neither he nor Tony are worked up or stressed out and when the can just relax and bask in the soft light of the sunrise.
And so these are the moments he cherishes the most.