There was a persistent beeping noise Tony was sure was not his alarm- he didn't even have an alarm. Jarivs was his alarm. So what the hell was that noise? He opened his eyes to a dimly lit hospital room, unusually absent of any flowers or stuffed bears. He couldn't remember what landed him in the hospital, no matter how hard he tried, and no one was around to tell him. He didn't exactly want to call a nurse. And anyways, he felt perfectly fine. Nothing ached. No stabbing pain. He stood up from the bed to assess the damage. There wasn't anything wrong with him. That's when he noticed the body on the bed he had just vacated.
"Oh, fuck me." It was his own body. Which was very beaten up and had a huge hole in his side. The arc reactor was still there, so that was reassuring. His vital signs were good, so he wasn't dead. So why the hell is he having this... this out of body experience? Is that what they called it? Was he in limbo or whatever the fuck it's called? How long has he been here, exactly?
All these questions and he can't even ask them. Probably. 'Now that I think about it, I haven't actualy tried talking to anyone,' he considers as starts walking toward the door. A nurse is walking down the hall when he steps out.
"Hey!" He tries. Nothing. Not even a flinch of surprise. He starts walking toward the nurse. "Hey, buddy." He tries tapping on the guy's shoulder, but his hand just went through him. Fuck if that wasn't creepy. "Okay, well obviously that didn't work. What now? Come on, Stark, you're supposed to be a genius." His genius has nothing.
"Okay, what if I... trying laying back down in my body?" He asks himself dubiously. Nothing. No special reattachment of his- what? soul? to his body. Honestly, he didn't even believe in this shit. So what the fuck was happening? Oh, maybe the villain he'd been fighting released some sort of gas that got past the filtration system in his suit and now he was hallucinating! That had to be it. This is all just a bad trip. It had to be. There's no other explaination. Well, unless Reed fucked up again. Which might actually be more probable than the gas thing, now that he thinks about it. Fucking Reed.
He shakes his head as he starts to explore the rest of the building. It looks different than a regular hospital. More secure, and, as he looks out a window to find a forest, more secluded. There were a lot of people with guns. And- there it is. The SHIELD emblem. Great. 'Just what I fucking need. SHIELD's access to my unconscious body.'
He walked past a few rooms and saw someone in the same outfit as him standing over a bed. He figured it was good bet that this person was in the same boat as him.
"Hey," he called as he stepped into the room. The girl didn't turn around. 'Probably thinks I'm not talking to her,' he reasons. So he goes up and stands next to her.
"Hello?" She startles. Then she just stares at him. "Hi, you can hear me, right?" Still no answer.
"Right, well I'm assuming that you can. Since your body is right there. And you're also standing here." Still nothing. "Wow, okay. And people say I'm rude. Whatever. Well, since you're just going to stare at me, I'm going to leave. Good luck with all this," he makes a wide gesture. She stares. 'Okay, weird. Waste of my time,' he thinks as he walks out.
"Okay, that didn't work. God, I miss Jarvis. He has the answer to everything. Maybe I can find another little ghost buddy in here somewhere." So he wanders for he doesn't even know how long muttering to himself. "Excuse me?" At first he ignores it. There is no one in this place that can see or hear him except for that girl who just stared at him. But then there's a hand on his shoulder and he's spinning around, ready to fight.
"Oh, jeez. I'm sorry. I didn't mean t'frighten ya." There stood a tall, buff, adorable blond man. He was blushing and ducking his head with a cute little smile. 'Well, hot damn. Maybe being half dead isn't so bad after all,' Tony thought.
Tony smiled back. "Nah, it's fine. I just figured no one could be talking to me, as no one can actually see me. And plus, I don't have a heart condition at the moment, so there's that." He's not sure why he doesn't have the arc reactor. Maybe it has something to do with all of his other injuries disappearing, as well? It's actually kind of disconcerting and he panicked when he first noticed it was gone.
"Oh. Is that why you're here? Your heart condition?" The man asks.
"I don't think so. I don't really remember what landed me in here, but I saw my body and it was pretty bangd up. I'm guessing that has something to do with it. What about you? I'm Tony, by the way."
"Steve. I don't remember much either. It's just flashes. I might have been in a plane?" His faced turned confused, his brow scrunching adorably. Honestly, Tony didn't know how a man with such a buff, sexy body could be adorable, but this guy was pulling it off.
Tony frowned in sympathy. "That sucks. Any idea how long you've been here in limbo?" The man tilted his head, considering the question.
"I don't know. I kind of lost track. Maybe a few months?" Tony's eyebrows rose in surprise. 'Fuck, if this guy couldn't figure it out in a few months, I'm probably stuck this way until I die. Then again, he's not a genius like me. Well, probably.'
"Damn, I think I've only been like this for like a day. Do you know who you were before you woke up like this?"
The man gives him a sheepish look as he says, "I do, but I'd prefer to leave that behind for now. I just want a break from it all. I want someone to know me without any outside factors influencing their thoughts of me."
"No, no. I completely agree. I just want to be myself for once. And besides, what are the chance we'll see each other again after this?" Tony replies.
"Exactly. I'm glad you understand. So for now, I'm just Steve."
"And I'm just Tony. Nice to meet you, Steve." He gave Steve a genuine smile. It's nice to finally be able to breathe. No masks. No obligations. No 'Tony Stark: Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist' persona to keep. He can honsestly be himself without judgement. This half dead thing is going to be like a vacation.
Steve returned his smile. "Nice to meet you, too, Tony."
The ended up wandering until they found an empty lobby where they could sit and talk (And really, why is there a lobby in a SHIELD hospital? Not like anyone can visit). Not that they could feel discomfort. Tony wasn't even cold and all they were given to wear as patients was a thin pair of light blue pants and a thin short sleeve shirt to match. And Steve really filled it out. Like, wow. Sometimes Tony would get distracted by Steve's arms, or his thighs, or his butt. But then he'd get distracted by his deep blue eyes or his beautiful smile. And that's how Tony knows he's fucked. The only company he has is this beautiful man, who apparently also has a beautiful fucking heart, until he either dies or gets better. And he knows he gets attached easily. He doesn't show it, because people take advantage of that. And he doesn't like people to know how much they've hurt him when they either leave or betray him. So yeah, Tony's fucked. He knows he'll probably fall for Steve, and then he'll never see him again. But he finally has the opportunity to make a friend who actually knows who he really is. A friend that will actually like him for him, not his fame or money. So he stays.
"So who is Tony? I want to know all about you, whatever you want to tell me." Steve starts off.
"How about we play a kind of twenty questions, but just go until we're tired or there's nothing left to say? We don't have to answer any question that makes us uncomfortable." Tony suggests with a tilt of the head. Steve agrees.
"Okay, I guess I'll go first. Hmm... What's your favorite color?"
Steve raises an eyebrow. "Really? That's your first question?"
"I thought this was a judgement-free zone. I'm feeling pretty attacked right now," Tony joked. "I just decided to start with something... lighter? I guess. I didn't want to dive right into the deep stuff. But by all means, if you have a better question, go right ahead." He smirked as Steve rolled his eyes.
"Fine, fine. My favorite color is purple. You?"
"While I'm a big fan of red and gold, my favorite color is green." His suit just wouldn't look as cool green, sadly. Oooh, maybe a green and white would look good? Or green and silver? He'd have to test them when he got back to the land of the living. For personal use, obviously. He can't go changing his colors. The world would be devastated.
"Green is a pretty good color. My turn. What are your hobbies?" Tony considers if this question would hint at his identity, but decided there could be a lot of Tonys in the world who like engineering.
"I like building things. Tinkering. Working on cars and machines. That kind of thing."
"I've always appreciated cars. I had a motorcycle that I loved back in the day. I used to work on it a little. I like to draw and paint more than anything, though."
"Yeah? Maybe you can draw me sometime?" That got him a small smile from Steve. "I would like that."
Tony learned all he possibly could about Steve. Some of the stuff had an idea stirring in the back of his mind. Some of it seemed familiar. But he shut it down immediately. Identities didn't matter here. And he's pretty sure Steve didn't have any idea who Tony Stark was, anyway. Which was a relief and kind of surprising.
He learned that Steve is 24 years old and can't cook at all. He couldn't pick a favorite movie, or a book. "There are just too many to choose from." He's from Brooklyn (explains the accent). He doesn't listen to much music, but what he does listen to is from like the 30s and 40s. His favorite food is french toast. He's only been to 6 countries outside of the US. Never seen the Grand Canyon.
He's already one of the best friends Tony has ever had.