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The first time something happened between Steve and Thor, it was after a tough battle. The team had been scrambling to work together, to keep their heads about them, and it had very nearly ended in several civilian casualties.

It had been a bad day.

“Movie night. One hour.” Tony snapped as the team stumbled through the doors of the common area. “ Mandatory . Today was awful and we all need to reboot.”

“Sure thing, Stark.” Natasha agreed wearily, and looped her arms over Clint's neck. “Carry me.”

“I gotcha babe.” He picked her up easily and sent Tony a smile. “We will be back after a shower. Can I order pizza?”

“Whatever you want, bud.” Tony said instantly, and reached for Bucky's hand. “Shower for us too, soldier.”

“Sure thing, sweet thing.” Bucky drawled, and kissed Tony gently. “Cap, you want to pick a movie? We will be back in a few minutes.”

“Nobody likes the movies I pick out.” Steve argued good naturedly and Bucky made a face.

“Yeah. Me either. Thor's out too, he takes forever to decide.”

“Damn you guys.” Sam rolled his eyes and dropped his wing pack on the floor. “ will pick a movie. You guys go shower.”

He clapped Steve on the shoulder as he passed on his way to the movie room. “Take a load off Cap. You look tense.”

“Yeah.” Steve smiled, or at least he did until Sam left, then he let his shield drop with a thunk and sat heavily on the couch.

It was hard some days.

Hard to pretend like everything was okay all the time. Hard to pretend like he knew what to do with himself if he wasn't fighting. A soldier who couldn't fit into a world not at war.

It seemed to be getting worse lately, this feeling of not belonging. He didn't know why , and he didn't know how to make it stop, so he just sat on the couch with his head in his hands and waited to be called down to watch another movie full of references he didn't really understand and didn't really care about.

Bucky, of course, didn't understand them either, but he had Tony on his lap explaining things in a quiet voice in between kisses. It was adorable in a

borderline disgusting way.

Almost six months ago Bucky had stood up at the breakfast table and in typical, charming Bucky style, had announced that he would love nothing more than to take Tony out for a date, because he figured it would be rude to stare this much without at least buying him dinner.

Tony had blushed and stammered and then had just walked over and kissed Bucky square on the lips.

Bucky had swooped him up and carried him out of the room and they hadn't left the bedroom for the rest of the day.

Steve had been so happ y for his best friend, and at the same time, the saddest he'd been in a long time, because after finally getting Bucky back, Bucky just went and found someone else.

And Steve didn't have anyone.

*******************

Tony had reinforced the punching bags in the gym to withstand even Bucky's metal arm, so Steve knew he could pummel it all night without the seams splitting or the chains snapping. So Steve worked it hard, until sweat was dripping into his eyes and his shirt was sticking to his body, until his shoulders were starting to ache and he had punched through his gloves. And then he kept going, until his knuckles were bloody and bruised.

“Steven.” A concerned voice broke his concentration and Steve jerked around in surprise.

“Oh. Thor.” He started to wipe his hand across his face, but grimaced when he saw the blood, and Thor tossed him a towel. “What are you doing down here? Movie over?”

“Yes. Everyone was asking where you were.”

“Romantic comedies aren't my thing.” He explained with a shrug and a smile. “Thought I could get in a little more of a workout before bed instead.”

“Does it help?” Thor asked, tilting his head and Steve let himself look for a minute at all those muscles and that long blond hair.

Thor was...interesting in a way that he hadn't noticed with anyone else in a long time, and for the last several weeks thoughts of the demi god had filtered in and out of his mind. Steve always chased them away but they were getting harder and harder to ignore.

“Does what help?” He finally asked, and did he imagine it, or did Thor’s eyes light up a little when he caught Steve staring?

“Does this help to quiet your mind? Coming down here and trying your hardest to destroy a practice bag?”

“I don't know what you--”

“You know what I mean.” Thor left the wall and sauntered towards him. “I've seen the way you look in the heat of battle. You crave it, excel at it. And when the fighting is done you still need something to bring you down. Something to slow the blood rushing through you. Some bridge between battle and civility.”

“Oh.” Steve tossed the towel aside. “Yeah, I suppose I do. You're the same?”

“When we return from battle in Asgard, even just tournaments, we feast.” Thor smiled, remembering. “We feast and we drink and we laugh and yell and dance. To be so quiet after a fight is not natural. Not for men. Not for warriors . We need something to silence the noise in our heads. Drink is always the first choice.”

“I could handle a drink.” Steve admitted. “Except nothing gets me drunk, so it's a waste of my time to even try. Gave up years ago. If alcohol doesn't work on me, might as well just drink a water, right?”

“I have some Asgardian mead.” Thor said with a grin and Steve raised an eyebrow. “If it can get me drunk, surely it will do the same for you. Come up to my quarters, we can share a drink there. Toast to a successful fight.”

“Yeah.” Steve actually smiled. “That sounds good. Let me shower and--”

“No need.” Thor waved his hand in the air. “We are warriors , Steven. We do not need to be pretty and perfumed to be around each other. Come now.” He turned and left, giant strides carrying him out of the gym and halfway up the stairs before Steve caught up.

They didn't say anything else until Thor had pushed open the door to his huge suite. The only room in the compound with a fireplace, his living room was well lit and warm , and Steve was glad he'd stayed in his workout clothes instead of changing like he'd planned.

Thor retrieved the mead from his room and poured them each a generous share, motioning to the sofa and they both sat, sinking into the plush cushions, their knees knocking together.

“Slowly.” Thor warned with a twinkle in his eye, handing Steve a glass. “Cheers.”

Their glasses clinked together and Steve took a cautious sip, exclaiming in surprise at the rich thick flavor, taking a bigger drink and closing his eyes as the alcohol traveled down his throat, sitting warm in his stomach.

“Good?” Thor asked, and Steve relaxed back into the sofa, letting his head drop back.

 Good .”

They sat in silence for a few minutes, just sipping at the mead, then started talking about the battle. Quiet stories turned to louder stories and exclamations of “you definitely did not do that single handedly!” and it wasn't until Steve stood up to get some more drink that he realized he was even tipsy.

“Oh!” His knees gave out and Thor grabbed him before he slumped to the floor, laughing at him.

“Easy, Steven.”

“I'm drunk!” For whatever reason, that was completely hysterical, and Steve dissolved into helpless giggles. “I've never been drunk in my life! This is the craziest thing! Oh my god, I can't even walk! Thor I can't even walk !”

“You are quite the lightweight.” Thor said with a grin.

“I beg your pardon!” Steve tried to sound offended. “I weigh over 200 pounds! There is nothing light about me!”

The ridiculousness of his statement hit him hard, and he cracked up again, sliding off the couch and onto the floor. Thor's booming laugh joined his and they laughed until Steve was holding his sides, gasping for air, and Thor happily refilled his glass when Steve motioned for more.

“Bottoms up!” Steve cheered and Thor clinked their glasses together loudly before draining his. “Whoa.” Steve looked up at him from the floor. “I bet I could do that too.”

“Take it slow, now.” Thor chuckled. “I've been drinking this for hundreds of years.”

“Whatever.” Steve rolled his eyes comically wide. “I'm Captain America. I can take a shot!” He dropped his head back and pounded the glass of mead, wiping his mouth dramatically when he finished.

“Another!” He yelled and threw his glass at the wall. Thor absolutely roared with laughter and threw his glass as well.

“Another!!”

But this time Thor stood up to get the mead, swaying just barely on his feet, and took a drink right from the bottle. He offered it to Steve with a raised eyebrow and Steve got to his knees and just opened his mouth wide.

Thor started laughing at him again and Steve punched his leg lightly. “Stop laughing and give me some!”

Thor carefully poured some into his mouth and Steve swallowed, smacking his lips loudly.

“You know--” even his words were starting to slur a little. “If Tony walked in right now he would have something embarrassing to say about how bad this looks.”

“I'm more concerned about how good it feels .” Thor countered, and took another long drink.

“Feels good.” Steve said quietly. “Feels like the first time I've relaxed in months.”

“You have been unhappy.” Thor observed.

“Lonely.” Steve confessed. “Feel like I don't really fit in with the team. Everybody has somebody except me.”

He was saying more than he should, the alcohol loosening his tongue, and his face burned in embarrassment as the words spilled out.

“I understand.” Thor said simply. “I too, am a warrior without a real war. Considered larger than life, and feel as if I do not fit in. I had the Lady Jane for a time, but she could not handle my life, the demands that being a Prince of Asgard and a god placed on my shoulders. You are the same.”

“But so is Bucky.” Steve argued. “And he and Tony--”

“Bucky is not the same.” Thor shook his head. “He was a different boy than you when you were children, a different type of soldier. You were frozen but he was woken and saw the world as it changed, even if just for the duration of his missions. In reality he has been in the world far longer than you, even if it is only recently he is Bucky again and not the Winter Soldier.”

“I guess.” Fairly surprised by how much Thor observed, but too tipsy to dive into it, Steve shrugged. “Well, either way I'm relaxed now so--”

“Then have another drink and keep relaxing with me.” Thor tilted the bottle down again with a suggestive leer and Steve laughed, opening up again and trying hard it to let anything spill.

But this time when he went to lick his lips, Thor bent down and kissed him for a long moment, his lips warm and soft, tongue slipping and twisting to taste every corner of Steve's mouth, before pulling away.

“Oh. You kissed me.” They broke apart and Steve stared up at him. “You kissed me.”

“I should apologize?” Thor asked hesitantly.

“Definitely don't apologize.” Steve was already climbing the couch to get closer, stopping just shy of Thor's lips.

“Um, another?”

“Another.” Thor agreed softly.

 

******

The Next Morning

******

Steve took a long drink of scalding hot coffee and closed his eyes against the pounding in his head.

He'd never had a hangover before.

Finally understood why everyone else was always cranky the morning after a party.

Thor walked into the kitchen, took one look at his expression and laughed softly. “How are you this morning, Steven?”

“Awful.” Steve took a smaller, careful sip of his drink. “Just awful.”

He watched Thor cautiously over the rim of his cup as the big blonde started grabbing random ingredients from the fridge and spice rack and mixing them together in a bowl.

He had woken up in Thor's bed early this morning, head pounding and mouth dry.

Thor had been passed out on the little sofa, looking uncomfortable as hell, still fully dressed. A quick check and oh thank god Steve was still dressed too. All he remembered was drinking, laughing a lot and Thor oh then Thor had kissed him. And Steve had kissed him back . And Thor had helped him to bed and then---

“Drink this.” Thor handed him a half full glass. “It will help.”

“Thanks.” Steve tipped his head back and chugged it, nearly gagging at the taste. “Well that was--”

“A sure fire way to be rid of a headache.” Thor lifted his own glass in a salute and pounded it just as fast. He rinsed both cups and turned to leave.

“Hey. Hey wait.” Steve said and Thor paused at the door. “Um, thank you. For last night. For helping me relax. I didn't realize I needed to unwind and--”

“Aren't we friends, Steven?” Thor asked and Steve swallowed hard.

“Well, sure.”

“Then no thanks is necessary. Anytime you need a drink and someone to talk with--” Thor let the sentence trail off with an easy shrug.

“And the--battle rush? When I need to come down or quiet my mind? Steve asked uncertainly. “Or when I'm lonely? What about then?”

Thor looked at him for a long moment, letting his blue eyes drop slowly over Steve's frame.

Then he took two big steps into the kitchen and framed Steve's face with his hands. “Human courting customs seem indirect and confusing to me, so I will just say this: I have found that the best cure for the rush of battle, is a warm bed and a lover spread out beneath me.”

Thor’s eyes darkened to a stormy blue. “The best cure for loneliness is a beautiful body above me. The fastest way to ease my mind is to be in the arms of someone I care for. I would enjoy you in all of those situations.”

Holy shit. Steve couldn't even reply, just stared, and Thor ran his thumb over Steve's bottom lip thoughtfully.

“I very much enjoyed hearing you laugh last night, and very much enjoyed our brief kiss. It would please me if you wanted to repeat our night together, it would please me if you wanted me to drive away your lonely, if you would allow me to ease your mind.”

“I--I think I'd like that.” Steve stammered. “For… the lonely. And laughing and--and--”

“Excellent.” Thor leaned down and brushed their lips together in the barest of kisses. “I want you, Steven.”

His voice dropped lower and a shudder ran through Steve. “It took every bit of my self control to let you sleep in peace in my bed all night. Don't keep me waiting.”

Then he was gone, headed back out to do whatever it was he did with his days.

Steve had to grab the counter to hold himself up because his knees had almost given out. Had to bite his tongue to avoid calling back for Thor and asking for another.

Hopefully, there would be time for that again, later.