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Hold me, kiss me, never leave me

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Steve was prowling again. Tony would have found it funny, if he hadn’t been stuck in the lab for eight hours in a row. Usually, Tony didn’t mind a long binge in the lab. Usually, Steve was the one who fussed over Tony being in there for too long and urged him on about the importance of getting enough vitamin D. Though, he was pretty sure Steve had been trolling him when he found a case full of supplement bottles in his tool box.

This Steve was a little different, a roomba scuttled past them, and Steve pounced on it, a growl rumbling in the back of his throat. He was wearing the remains of his Captain America uniform, and Tony wanted to personally give Doom a earful for ruining the latest upgrades. Tony could make Steve another one, a better one. But it wasn't about that, it was a matter of testing. What was the point of giving Steve a hundred and eighty two applications if his suit got ruined before he got to test them all out?

Steve was still snarling at the roomba. Tony slinked over beside him and rested an elbow on his shoulder. The effect was instantaneous. Steve curled into Tony, nuzzling at his neck in open affection. His tongue darted out to lick fondly at Tony’s face. Steve's expression was lax and innocent, and Tony was certain that his own heated cheeks could go a round with the Sun.

Stupid Doom and his stupid inventions.

“C’mon Buddy, I’m sure you’ve shown the roomba who’s the boss around here, how about we go..” Tony’s eyes darted to the elevator, and Steve caught the glance. His own eyes narrowed and he rumbled a warning from the back of his throat. “Alright, alright,” Tony acquiesced. “We’re not going into the depths of unknown dangers, which is this case is apparently anywhere outside the lab, huh?”

Steve huffed, and then he leaned over and picked Tony up by the back of his thighs. Tony yelped, a sound he would deny making later, and then wrapped his arms around Steve to keep himself from losing balance and cracking his skull open on the hard floor. Steve seemed pleased by this, going by how he leaned into Tony’s space and rubbed his nose against Tony’s. After eight hours of this Tony thought he would have become desensitized to touchy-feely business, but he wasn’t.

“Okay, not to break the-” Tony waved towards Steve with one hand, “-whole thing you have going on. But I can walk you know. Pretty good at it, really. I can fly too. I'm sure I’ve flown around the whole city. A couple of cities in a night, iif it's a wild one.”

Steve ignored Tony, or Tony thought he was ignoring him. It was possible that Steve had no clue what Tony was rambling on about. But Tony was scared to think that Steve was trapped in there somewhere, unable to express himself however he wanted to. He was pretty sure that if Steve had been his normal self, he wouldn’t be lugging Tony around like a sack of potatoes, about now.

Steve walked them over to the couch, and then dropped Tony on it unceremoniously. “What the hell Steve!” Tony complained, rubbing his butt to soothe the sudden impact. And then Steve had the audacity to snap at Tony, like Tony was the one who was acting like an unruly child. He grabbed his shield from the table where he had kept it earlier and sat himself down on the floor beside Tony. Once the shield was propped on his knees, he promptly turned to Tony and butted his head into Tony’s chest.

Tony was pretty sure he was out of his depth from the moment he'd been left alone with Steve in the lab. Tony was going to kill Doom the next time he saw him. The mission had been going well. Tony had been planning on taking Steve for lunch to that new burger place once they were done. Except Doom had sprayed Steve in the face with some kind of gas, and the next thing Tony knew he was being tackled, Iron man armor and all, by Steve, and hoisted away from the crowd.

Sure, it all boiled down to Steve and him cozying it up in Tony’s lab, but Tony still wasn’t sure whether this enforced cuddle time was consensual or not. Steve had been silent since the whole thing started, and Tony could admit he was starting to worry. Steve grumbled unintelligibly at Tony, and then burrowed his head under Tony’s palm.

Oh, did he..?

Slowly Tony began to card his fingers through Steve’s hair, his nails scraping the back of Steve’s ears. Steve legitimately purred in delight, and then clambered up so he was partially curled up in Tony’s lap.

Tony, in the deepest recess of his mind, admitted that it felt kind of nice to be able to pet Steve like this with no reservations. Steve was blinking up at Tony, his eyes lidded sleepily.

“Hey Tony, I think Hank’s managed to figure out a cure.”

Steve was out of his lap and on the floor in a matter of seconds. He stood on all fours, with his lower body raised, growling threateningly at Jan who just looked between him and Tony with an open mouth.

“Steve, hey Steve it’s okay,” Tony tried to soothe, but Steve was having none of it. He bodily pushed Tony back to the couch, still managing to be gentle as possible. His shield wasn’t poised to attack, but he held it towards Jan in warning nonetheless.

Tony knew Steve was going to be mortified about this when he got back to himself. He wondered if it would be better if Cap forgot all about this experience. “Thanks Jan, I’ve got it from here. Can you send the antidote down here when it’s ready? I’ll have Dum-E on standby at the door to collect it.”

Jan nodded at him, looking mischievously curious. But Tony wasn’t in the mood to sate her ear for gossip. He asked Jarvis to shut the door and took Steve’s hand tugging him to the space beside Tony on the couch. What worried Tony the most was that Steve’s concern for him seemed so genuine, like he really thought something was going to happen to Tony if he didn’t constantly keep an eye on him. Even now, as he pushed his body towards Tony, giving him tiny affectionate licks under his chin (that Tony was just going to pretend wasn’t happening) he had one careful eye on the door.

Tony rubbed his palm down Steve’s back, only a little hesitatingly.“It’ll be okay Cap. We’ll get you back to normal soon enough.” He swallowed down years of feelings as Steve gave him a wide, full teeth smile of complete trust.

"Ah dammit!" Tony allowed himself to risk it by dropping a quick kiss to Steve's forehead. 

Yeah, Steve would be okay, but Tony wasn’t sure if he could say the same for himself.