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Bigger Than That

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-#-#-#-

1989

“I get to be Captain America,” the boy said with confidence, adjusting his shield.

“No fair, you always get to be Cap,” the other pointed pushing thick glasses up his nose. Sighing the youth looked at his slightly smaller companion, although they were the same age, he felt so much older than his companion.

“Ok Bruce, you can be Cap this time,” he sighed handing over his shield, watching as hazel eyes lit in happiness behind the thick frames.

Laughing the slightly shorter boy hurried off, "You have to give me a head start Tony!" he yelled. Chuckling Tony went the opposite direction thinking to cleverly cut off his friend. Sneaking through darkened hallways he paused at the sound of raised voices through a half-opened door.

Frowning Tony stopped dead, recognizing his father’s voice raised in anger, a voice he was all too familiar with.

“I don’t want theories Banner I want goddamn results,” the words dripped with venom, Tony recoiling instinctively.

“But the results in the rats are promising,” He recognized the voice of Bruce’s father; Brian.

"That lab, the money…the security….it can all be taken away, Brian."

The tone was threating, low, Tony gulped throat dry, knees weak as he coward almost reflexive.

“I…I, just need more time,” he pleaded, Tony heard the dry, mirthless chuckle that sent chills down his spine.

“There is no more time Banner, you will give me results.”

Tony heard a small shuddering gasp beside him, Bruce had apparently found him instead.
Far wiser than a boy his age should be, Tony, pulled him gently away from the door, helplessly watching as the tears fell from wide eyes.

“Come on now Bruce, you’re Captain America, the Cap is always strong and brave.” Gently he wiped the tears away, the smaller boy giving him a watery smile. Tony returned it, bury down his own feelings of helpless fear and rage.

“ANTHONY!” he heard Howard bellow, knowing what would happen if he made him wait Tony accepted the shield from his friend as he hurried to his father. Head bent Tony hurried to his side a cuff to the back of his head his reward. Howard was not in a good mood.

Sneering his father shook his head, “Trying to be a hero Anthony?” he spat, no doubt referring to his shield.

“Yes Sir,” he responded dutifully.

His father grabbed his arm hard enough to bruise, steering him out of the house, Tony glanced back, see hazel eyes behind thick frames peaking at him. Tony shot him a small smile, faking the confidence he didn’t feel, as he hurried after his father.

-#-#-#-

1995

"Dad, why are we here?" Bruce hurried after his father, trying to keep up as the moved swiftly through the silent hospital corridors. It was late, far too late to be in a hospital.

“We’re here to visit a friend,” his father said absently, eyes darting as they all but ran.

They hurried into a quiet hospital room, Bruce pushing up his glasses as he looked around at the machine filled room curious. A steady beep could be heard and on the bed swathed in bandages, but vaguely recognizable….

”Tony!" Bruce breathed hurrying to the bedside. "What happened?" Bruce asked.

His father busied himself fussing with something near the IV.

“His father tried to kill him,” he said shortly. Bruce gasped, trembling as he gently took his friend hand.

“Will he be ok?” his dad took his time answering, Bruce looked up in time to see his dad syringe in hand. It looked vaguely green in colour.

“What are you-” his dad cut him off with a hiss, “Helping,”

He poked the needle into the IV bag, pressing the plunger, the faintly green liquid emptied.

Completed Dr. Banner quickly disposed of the needle, motioning for his son to follow as the made their way out again. Young Bruce Banner is more than a little uneasy as to what he'd just witnessed.

-#-#-#-

2005

“We go live now to Harlem, where some sort disturbance it in progress.”

Bruce looked up from his papers curiously, as the smiling news anchor cut to a jiggly out of focus footage. Frowning Bruce stood moving closer to the TV, just in time to see something huge a green tackle another equally huge something.

Bruce pulled his glasses off rubbing them vigorously with his shirt before pushing them back on. The footage suddenly came into focus, a large, angry, green man in the middle of the frame.

Bruce Banner found it suddenly difficult to breathe, “Tony…”

-#-#-#-

2008

"We go live now to the press conference in progress where CEO of Stark Industries, Bruce Banner will be addressing the rather mysterious recent events that took place at the Stark Industries building."

Tony turned to the TV curious, his grilled cheese sandwich forgotten. Soft steps brought him closer to the set, brown eyes ringed with green watched curiously as the curly-headed man grinned wirily from behind his glasses.

“The truth is….I am Iron Man.”

The people at the press conference were going nuts, questions were flying, and Tony felt the corner of his lips curl.

"Well, how about that."

-#-#-#-

New York City 2012

“Sir, you have a visitor,” the automated voice cut in across his music. Frowning the man looked up from his suit repairs.

“I do?” he asked pushing his glasses up his nose.

"Agent Coulson and Director Fury are on the way up."

Bruce sighed, what on earth could they possibly want now?

Warily he shrugged on a hoodie, zipping it over the pulsing blue glow in his chest as he headed up to meet his would-be guests in the common area. Bruce had some serious reservations about this confrontation, the last time he'd seen those two it hadn't been pleasant. In addition to dying from palladium poisoning, Fury had dropped the bombshell on him about his father's ‘pet project' and Howard Stark's true involvement with SHIELD.

Crossing his arms across his chest he waited as the elevator dinged, and the pair stepped off.
"Fury, Coulson," he nodded in acknowledgment.

“Banner,” Fury said it his typical deadpan manner, as Coulson nodded that annoying smug smirk on his face.

Sighing Bruce pulled off his glasses cleaning them compulsively, “To what do I owe this security breach?”

Fury had moved to stand before the large window overlooking the city, the New York skyline glittering in the night.

“Do you believe in the impossible?”

Bruce slid his glasses back on, frowning. Coulson handed him a thick black folio, curious he strode to the halo screens. With a deft flip of his wrist, he sent the data skittering across the screens eyes widening as the images appeared. A women with red hair and a bow, back to back with a blond man who looked impassive at the oncoming foe. A big man with a hammer that crackled with lightning, and grainy black and white footage of a man that time forgot.

Bruce blinked in shock…there was no way… he turned to Fury feeling a little off-kilter.

“I didn’t once,” Bruce finally answered Fury softly, “But times change.”

Fury chuckled, “They do indeed, and the times are changing faster than even we thought.”
Bruce looked back to the screens, he saw himself his Iron Man suit as he sped across the sky.

"There is an impossible idea Banner, one that may be our last hope." He turned from the window then to look at him, "Some big and ugly is rearing its head."

Bruce frowned, and Fury continued, "We were hoping to meet it head-on with something big and ugly of our own."

A giant green Hulk roared across his screen, heaving a tank with ease, Bruce looked grim then.

Closing his eyes and heaving a sigh he turned to Fury, “How bad Fury and, don’t bullshit me.”

Fury looked equally grim, “As bad as it gets.”

He silent apologized to Tony, “He’s up North, as far as he can go.” He grinned mirthlessly at Fury then, “He won’t come for you though, hell he won’t come for me either.”

Fury crossed his arms, “Who then?”

Bruce turned to look at the console again pausing the feed, the screen filled with black and white footage; man in a cowl, jaw set and a determined look in his eye.

 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

 

Somewhere in the far North…

 

“Almost there sir,” the piolet called over the roar of the engine.

 

Captain Steven Rogers, frowned, swallowing thickly as the plane dipped. He was not happy to be on a plane headed North so soon after his last trip.  He wasn't even sure he was all the way thawed out. Fury had said they needed him though, for a ‘mission'. Steve scowled then, they hadn't been very forthcoming with the information, just that he needed to go get someone, a someone that they needed.

 

He didn’t even have a name.

           

The plane jolted and Steve gripped the seat as they began a rocky descent to the ground. Clenching his jaw held tight as the wind buffeted them, as they bumped down skittering alarmingly before screeching to a halt.

 

"No problem," the piolet threw him a thumb up, "This is as far as I go, Sir, the rest is up to you." He handed Steve a map and compass, "Wheels up in 24 hours, I'll be ready."

           

Steve accepted the map, offering the man a salute he deplaned, pulling the thick winter jacket around himself. Shouldering his bag, he glanced down at his map, he still had a solid three-hour walk ahead of him into a remote location. He groaned, closing his eyes.

 

 Just who the hell was this guy?

 

-#-#-#-

 

“Take one in the morning and one before bed, and try to stay off the leg until the swelling goes down.” Tony handed the bottle of pills over to the hovering women, before tucking the afghan around the older man on the couch.

 

"Thank you, doctor," she gushed.

 

 "It's nothing," he assured her as he cleaned up his first aid kit. The little old lady fussed as he finished up, "I'll come to check on him in a couple of days, but he should be fine."

           

She had pressed a tin of cookies into his hands before he managed to escape into the waning hours of twilight. Breathing deep Tony started for home, the walk was long but he didn't mind. It was quiet here, tranquil, and peaceful. The last of the day's light was disappearing when he reached his cabin. The tiny structure appearing amidst the deep green of the trees.

 

Something was off.

 

He paused, there were footprints, not his leading to the door, idly he scratched his beard. Carefully he scanned the tree line, delicately scenting the air; nothing.  Whoever it was had come alone. Crouching down he studied the print, it was military issue boot. He felt a cold trickle of fear settle in his belly, with a sad sort of resignation.

 

 He'd always knew someday, someone would come. Ross…maybe Bruce, but it'd been Ross he'd feared the most. He felt an uncomfortable wave of anger move through him. Breathing deeply he reasoned it out, he knew Ross wouldn't go to the bathroom without a platoon of men and Bruce would never wear something so pedestrian as military boots. 

 

"So, who's here?" he mused to himself as he watched the smoke curl from his chimney and a warm light spill from the windows. So innocuous, and yet…

           

Sighing he straightened, setting his jaw and squaring his shoulders. Taking a fortifying breath, he heading towards the door, good sense told him to run, but let it be said that he'd never been accused of that. Slowly, carefully he opened the door quietly, immediately spotting his visitor. He wasn't trying to hide his presence, in fact, he was cooking, something good by the smell of it. Tony entered a little further, closing the door silently. Dark eyes narrowing as he studied the broad back, he was a big guy, blonde, Tony frowned he felt somehow like he knew him…

           

The stranger was humming to the radio, some oldies channel; the only channel they were able to get so far out here. Tony watched him move around the kitchen for a while, and as he did there was an odd sort of feeling in his chest. He should be on guard, yet…he shook his head. Stupid thoughts, he’d been out here alone for far too long.

           

Ready to face whoever it was head on he cleared his throat announcing his presence, watching intently as the man in the kitchen turned to him in surprise. Tony had meant to catch him off, guard, but when he got a good look at the would-be intruders face he was the one taken aback.

 

He knew that face…he’d know it anywhere.

           

“Oh hi, sorry, I let myself in,” that recognizable face was saying but Tony barely heard. He was across the kitchen and before him before common sense kicked in.

 

“You’re…you’re…” he mumbled unable to get the words out, as his tongue felt thick.

 

The handsome face frowned, "Steve Rogers, nice to meet you…"  he held out his hand expectant. Tony grabbed it turning it over in his own callused palms, it felt warm…and all too alive.

 

“You’re real…” he heard himself say, he’d half been expecting some sort of hologram or hallucination. Isolation did strange things to a man.

           

Tony released the hand and stepped back taking him all in, “You’re Captain America?” he finally got out, unable to keep the disbelief from his voice. “Didn’t you die?” he continued on blurted out thoughts as they popped into his head, knowing he was doing a poor ass job at this first meeting.

 

He'd been on his own way to long.

 

The big man chuckled running a hand through already tousled blonde locks he looked rather taken aback, “Not dead…just frozen in time so to speak.”

 

Tony whistled through his teeth there had to be a good story there.

           

Shaking his head Tony realized he was standing awfully close to the man who'd played a starring role in many of his adolescent fantasies during his youth. Taking a breath, he stepped back realizing he was being incredibly rude, "Well Cap, nice to meet you I'm Tony Stark."

 

Tony was curious when the man looked surprised, “Any relation to Howard Stark?”

 

Tony felt his heart constrict, and the unwelcome heat of anger, “Yeah…he was my dad…” turning away to collect himself he turned to his fridge he pulled out a beer offering one to his guest.  Steve accepted and Tony grabbed one for himself.

           

Taking a swig, he eyed the other man, wonder why he’d been surprised by his name, “They didn’t tell you who I was?”

 

A little furrow appeared on Steve’s brow, “No, they haven’t told me much of anything,” he mumbled sounding more than a little frustrated.

 

Tony was growing warier by the moment, "So why are you here then Captain?" he asked thinking he'd already known what the man was going to say.

 

Steve took a swig of his beer, “I was asked…well told, I needed to collect someone living at this location, and bring them back.”

 

Tony sighed he’d figured it was something like that, “Did they say why I was needed?”

 

Steve shook his head, then nodded, then shrugged, Tony couldn’t help the small grin that pulled his lips, he looked beyond annoyed.

 

“So, they dropped you here in the middle of nowhere with no information, save a location and a directive to bring me in?”

 

Tony summarized, shaking his head he grinned interested once more. Turning from his guest he moved to the stove, interested in what the Captain has been cooking. “So, what’s for dinner?”

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve wasn’t sure exactly what he’d been expecting, but it certainly hadn’t been the unassuming man that had walked in. For all the trouble that Fury seemed to be going through to get him, Steve had sort of pictured someone….more?

           

He watched as the compact figure moved around the small kitchen tidying with efficiency. He was a little shorter than himself, little less bulky, but still, well-muscled Steve could tell by the pull of the long sleeve grey shirt he wore. He had thick dark hair, that needed a cut, and a thick beard that obscured most of his face. His eyes though, his eyes had been very unusual…dark brown eyes ringed in green.

           

Dinner had been rather quiet as they ate, the air was heavy and thick with tension. Steve still had no idea why he was here to get Tony Stark, nor why Tony Stark was hiding in the middle of the Northern wilderness, almost a day's walk from civilization.

 

“So…” Steve started as the man spoke, he’d been so lost in his own thoughts he’d missed Tony setting another beer before him and joining him at the table.

 

“Shall I tell you I’m not going now, or wait for you to give your speech and then tell you no?” Tony asked bluntly.

           

Steve couldn’t help it, he grinned, the man was brutally honest he’d give him that. “I don’t really have a speech,” he confessed leaning back in the kitchen chair.

 

Tony sat back as well, a smirk pulling his lips, “So we’re at an impasse,”

 

Steve nodded, “It would appear so.”

 

Tony eyed him silently before leaning forward, unusual eyes flashing with curiosity. “So how did you end up here, in 2012?”

 

Steve shrugged, “Really not much to tell, they found me frozen in a plane, at the bottom of the ocean. They thawed me out, and I woke up here.” Steve left out the part where they’d tried to trick him when he’d woke, and he’d rampaged through SHIELD and Times Square.

           

"Interesting, the super soldier serum must have allowed your body to enter a sort of stasis.. fascinating I’d love to look at your blood.”

 

Steve blinked, thinking that was a rather odd thing for him to say. Steve's face must have shown his confusion because Tony was giving him a wry half-grin, "Right they didn't tell you…" he trailed off before heaving a sigh. "I suppose your curious why exactly you're here, and I'm here?"

 

Steve returned the half grin, and shrugged his shoulders, “The question had crossed my mind.”

 

He was pleased when Tony gave him what seemed to be a genuine smile if a little sad.

 

"I was…I was never good at tech stuff," Tony explained staring hard at his beer bottle. "It was a never-ending source of embarrassment for Howard, the son of the famous inventor, garbage at inventing."

 

He looked up then at Steve expressionless, “Don’t get me wrong, I can hold my own, but…but I wasn’t a genius at it. Not like Bruce.”

 

Steve felt his brow furrow he knew that name, “Bruce Banner? Iron Man?”

 

Tony chuckled, but it was rather hollow, “Yeah…the very same, we grew up together Bruce and I.” The smile was fond then, and Steve felt a pang of kinship, he knew what it was like to not quite measure up to a friend.

 

“I had my own interests,” Tony was explaining again, “More biological then technological, but Bruce was always supportive I was working for Stark Industries in the experimental medical technologies…and when I umm…when I had my ‘accident’ he took over as CEO.”

 

Tony was grinning again taking a swig of his beer, “Who am I kidding? He was running that show long before the paperwork, I never really had much use for Stark Industries.”

 

Steve was silent a moment turning over the information in his head, “So that’s why you’re here, you had an accident?” He couldn’t help but look the other man over, he didn’t see any visible scars. He was well aware though not all wounds were physical.

 

"Yeah, a life-altering one," his smile was rather secretive and more than a little sad.

 

They were silent a long moment then, Steve understanding the situation a little better, but still no clue as to why Fury needed him so badly. He couldn't help it before he could call them back the words were falling from his lips.

 

 “So why do they want you back so bad?”

 

Tony looked him dead in the eye then, and for a brief moment, Steve could have sworn those unusual eyes flashed green.

 

“I’m dangerous.”

 

 

TBC...

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Tony sat staring down at the innocuous-looking file in his hands, the far too handsome blonde super soldier had handed it to him before heading to Tony's spare room to sleep. It would seem, Tony, in typical Tony fashion had managed to kill their conversation, with his cryptic reply. He hadn't meant to, it was just nice to talk to someone who wasn't looking for the nearest exit.

           

Sighing he hung his head, he was really out of practice with people.

 

Shaking his head, he slumped further in his seat, who the hell was he trying to kid? He’d always been bad with people.

 

Curiously he looked at the file again, it was high tech and he knew Bruce had sent it. Moving slowly to the laptop set up on the other side of the room he booted up the older machine waiting and wondering.

           

Idly he turned the folder over and over, his curiosity he was sure would always be his downfall. The machine finished booting and he opened the file, pulling his glasses out of his pocket he pushed them up his nose unusual eyes narrowing as videos, pictures, and endless information began to scroll across the screen.

 

Frowning he rubbed his eyes before looking again, “Well shit…”

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve woke to feel sluggish and cold, the same way he'd had every day since he'd awoke in this new time. Standing he stretched head feeling fuzzy and heavy as he headed for the bathroom a long hike stretching before him. Washing quickly, he headed back to grab his things, the airfield was a way away and if he wanted to make it on time he needed to get going. In short order, he was ready and looking for Tony wishing to thank him before heading out.

 

He would be lying if he said he hadn’t spent a long night thinking about the dark-haired man. There was something about him, something magnetic and indescribable. He’d been the first person in this time who talked to Steve, not Captain America, but Steve. It had been nice to just be himself for a change.

           

"Tony?" he called glancing around the empty living room and kitchen. Frowning he looked around one more time, the area was small and Tony clearly wasn't there. Disappointed he headed to the door, he had hoped to see Tony one more time. Frowning he stepped outside surprised when he spotted a now familiar figure waiting outside, watching the rising sun.

 

 “About time sleepy head we have a long way to walk,” he called cheerfully turning.

           

Steve caught his breath, the man before him different. Gone was the wild beard, he looked handsome with his scruff. Dark hair was shorter, still shaggy, but pulled neatly back in a ponytail. He was grinning, but it didn't quite reach those unusual eyes. He was an incredibly handsome man.  Steve felt a jolt of lust, the first since the ice. He blinked in surprise,

 

“You ok there Cap?”

 

Steve collected himself, “Yeah…yeah…” he shook himself, now was not the time to be thinking about those sorts of things. He joined the man finding his own grin as he pulled his pack on.

 

“What changed your mind?”

 

Tony smiled, that odd sort of sad smile again, “There may be something scarier than me out there.”

 

-#-#-#-

 

The helicopter jolted dropping and Steve felt his stomach drop with it. Reflexively he grabbed the bench.

 

“Steve you ok?” he heard Tony almost at a distance, he turned those eyes were looking at him again, focused and intense. Steve could get lost in those eyes.

 

“Yeah,” he managed a stiff smile, “Still a little nervous with...” he trailed off embarrassed. 

 

Tony made a soft noise of understanding. Steve closed his eyes trying to breathe as the plane jolted again. Suddenly a warm hand was on his, he opened his eyes to look down, Tony offered him an encouraging smile, "I'm not so fond of flying either."

 

Steve squeezed the warm, callused hand as the helicopter dipped again and they landed rather roughly. The plane wound down and Steve breathed out, the hand in his gave a return squeeze and Steve smiled at Tony, “Thanks.”

 

The pair disembarked into chaos, they were on a ship it would appear, a carrier at that. Glancing around Tony let out a low whistle, “Little overwhelming Cap?” he teased lightly.

 

Steve grinned watching the military precision, “No…no this is pretty familiar actually.”

 

Tony chuckled, offering him a smile before an unsmiling blonde man headed their way.

 

“Captain Rogers, Doctor Stark,” he said formally, voice thick with a Russian accent. Steve nodded, and Tony replied in Russian. Stave blinked taken aback, and if the other man was surprised he showed none of it, as he replied in kind before switching back to heavily accented English.

           

“I am Agent Barton, come,” he turned heading inside expecting them to follow. Curious Steve followed along trailing after Tony as they headed to the bridge. Entering the room, he tried not to stare, Tony had been right after all it was a little overwhelming.

           

People were moving briskly and efficient each knowing their job. Suddenly the ground was shuddering breath him, and if Steve didn’t know any better…

 

“Would you look at that, it flies,” Tony huffed duly impressed.

 

Steve wanted to groan, why the hell did everything need to fly nowadays.

 

"All engines operating. SHIELD emergency protocol one nine three-point six in effect. We're at level, sir."

 

“Good, let’s vanish,” Steve raised his eyebrows giving Fury the side eye, it vanished too?

 

Steve glanced to Tony for confirmation but the man was leaning over a rather nervous looking SHIELD agent at a computer.

 

“Gentlemen,” Fury was addressing them then, “Thanks for coming Doctor,” He moved towards Tony, the shorter man straightening to shake his hand.

 

“Steve is very persuasive,” Tony offered him a half smile that didn’t reach his eyes, “How long do you need me for?”

 

“We just need your help locating the Tesseract,” Fury answered.

 

Steve watched the exchange curiously, Tony appeared the very picture of calm, but Fury almost seemed…hesitant talking to Tony.

 

But that couldn’t be right…could it?

“Where are you in the search?” Tony was asking all business. 

 

"We're sweeping every wirelessly accessible camera on the planet." A new voice answered, Steve searched his mind of the name, was it, Coulson?

 

“We will still not find them in time,” Agent Barton spoke, looking at the screen featuring some women with red hair.

 

Tony frowned thoughtfully, "You have to narrow your field. How many spectrometers do you have access to?"

 

Fury cocked his head, “How many are there?”

Steve watched awed as Tony spoke, he had no idea what he was saying, but Steve was impressed. Thinking he as beginning to understand why Fury had wanted him so bad. The man was a genius.

 

“- I’ll rough out a tracking algorithm, basic cluster recognition. At least we can rule out a few places. Got somewhere for me to work?”

 

Fury turned to the stone-faced Agent, “Barton, would you show Doctor Stark to his lab?”

 

The Agent motioned for him to follow, "Come, Doctor, we have all the toys."

 

Steve felt a sudden pang as they moved away, he had felt…safe with Tony, for the first time since the ice. Tony had seemed so genuine to him…so real. He wanted to stay with Tony longer.

 

“Really, do you have the com-meter sixty-four?” Tony looked at the Agent, half smiling and Steve realized that he must be joking.

 

“I do not know,” Agent Barton replied completely deadpan.

 

Tony groaned, “I am too old.”

 

Steve chuckled quietly, he was feeling positively ancient.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Tony sat in the darkened lab, quietly snacking on blueberries as he listened closely to the comlinks of the others out in the field. He'd easily been able to hack in, interested despite himself. He could hear Steve making his grand entrance, and Tony wished desperately he could have been there to see it. How many times had he imagined it as a boy, desperate fantasies about brave Captain America who could save anyone….save him…

 

He shook his head as if it would help rid him of the memories. It would be something to see Steve standing tall, shield in hand…he sighed wistfully. What he wouldn't give to be standing with Steve, shoulder to shoulder…he looked down at his hands sighing, Steve fit that hero mould far better than he ever would. He snorted grinning painfully, hell he'd break that mould in a heartbeat. His other half enjoyed the joke.

           

A sudden static blare of rock music startled him out of his melancholy thoughts, and he grinned recognizing the voice that followed.

 

Your move reindeer games.”

 

Chuckling he chewed at his granola, he’d missed Bruce.

 

“Mister Banner.”

 

“Captain.”

 

Still chuckling Tony tuned them out as he turned back to the board he was working on. Complex algorithms and equations crisscrossing the expanse. The sooner he found this Tesseract the sooner he could go back to his isolation, and his lonely cabin. A shyly grinning Steve popped into his head, Tony suddenly really wasn't sure if he wanted to go back to that far too lonely life at all.

 

TBC....

Chapter Text

 


 

“Get it together Stark, they don’t need you.”

 

Blocking out foolish thoughts, he returned to his work. Not realizing how much time had passed until a commotion in the hallway grabbed his attention. He looked up in time to see a tall, dark-haired man, chained hand and foot being lead past the glass windows.

 

Loki

 

The name came unbidden to his mind as the man turned to look directly at him, smiling far too knowingly as he passed. Tony pulled off his glasses rubbing tired eyes, the man did not feel…right. He felt an uncomfortable ripple move through, something heated and raw, animalistic boiling just below the surface. He shook his head, moving out of the lab and back to the bridge.

           

Spotting Steve and others, he moved to the table unconsciously gravitating closer to Steve as everyone watched the feed, featuring Loki and Fury. The had the dangerous man locked up in a rather large glass enclosure. Tony frowned curious as to why the ship would have such a thing, but his sometimes annoyingly astute mind supplied the answer.

 

It was for him.

 

“It’s an impressive cage. Not built, I think, for me…” the man was all silky voiced and knowing.

 

Fury snorted, "Built for something a lot stronger than you."

 

“Oh, I’ve heard…” Tony found himself unable to look away as the would be God looked into the camera seeming to speak directly to him.

 

“A mindless beast-makes play he’s still a man. How desperate are you that you call such creatures to defend you?”

 

Tony caught his breath closing his eyes and breathing deep, damn it…  he was more than this. They were more than this. Clenching his jaw, he breathed, his other half watching the proceedings curiously. Fury was talking again, Tony desperately reigned himself in, exhaling he met concerned blue eyes. Steve was worried about him, his look was concerned, and for Tony at that moment, that was everything. It had been so long since someone had looked at him with anything but fear. Of course, Tony knew it was only because Steve was blissfully unaware of just what Tony was…but in that single moment…Tony completely lost whatever was left of his heart.

 

That broken organ in his chest, so long forgotten and closed off from the world was feeling again. Despite all of Tony’s walls, he was feeling again. Steve had walked into his cabin and his heart with little effort. He wanted to hit himself, he didn’t believe in love at first sight…but he’d known Steve all his life, had loved him in his youth, and perhaps Tony realized with uncomfortable clarity, he still did.

 

It would not last though, and Tony dreaded it. Seeing the fear in those startlingly clear eyes. Fear of Tony and his other half, fear of what he had become, of what he could do.

           

He tried to send a reassuring smile Steve's way, but it felt weak and thin on his face. On-screen Fury was leaving a smirking Loki, and the monitor turned off.

 

“He really grows on you doesn’t he?” Tony tried to joke, choking down his own fear and trepidation. Hulk was unruffled. 

 

Steve was back to looking resolute, “Loki’s gonna drag this out. What's his play, Thor?" 

 

Tony couldn't help but watch Steve, the hard lines, tight posture, he looked ready to go to battle. He was still wearing his uniform, and Tony was feeling like he was thirteen again. The man was far too handsome and good to be real.

 

“An army, from outer space?” Steve looked doubtful, as Tony drifted back into the conversation. Steve’s tone was even but Tony could almost see the internal struggle. He felt for Steve this was an awful lot to swallow. Even for him…and he turned into a giant green monster when he lost his shit.

 

“So, he’s building another portal. That’s what he needs Selvig for.” Tony mused, he was beginning to connect the dots.

 

Thor, frowned, “Selvig?”

 

“Astrophysicist,” Tony offered in clarification.

 

“Friend,” Thor mumbled.

 

“Loki has them spelled, along with one of best Agent,” Barton cut in gruffly.

 

“So why did Loki let us take him? What’s his plan?” Tony couldn’t help but grin, Steve was a smart cookie. Not just a handsome one, he had a good head on his shoulders.

 

“Loki is straight up bag of cats, you can smell the crazy on him,” Tony muttered rubbing the bridge of his nose. His other self was restless, he would smash this ‘god’.

 

Thor got angry, “Loki is still my brother.”

 

“He killed 80 people in two days…” Clint growled.

 

“Adopted,” Thor clarified quickly.

 

Tony sighed crossing his arms, “I think it has to do with the mechanics. Iridium, why Iridium?”

 

“Stabilizing agent,” a familiar voice called entering. Tony perked up, unable to help the grin that crept across his face.

 

"- Means the portal won't collapse on itself as it did at SHIELD," Bruce was turning to Thor not missing a beat, "No hard feeling, solid swing."

 

“Also means the portal can open as wide as long as he wants.” The genius CEO of SI explained flippantly.

 

Tony frowned, Bruce's words made sense, pondering he vaguely noted Bruce flitting around being Bruce before he was continuing on.

 

"The rest of the raw material Agent Romanov can get anywhere, the only thing she needs is a major power source."

 

“When did you become an expert?” A sour looking woman asked, and Tony racked his brain, Hill? He wasn’t sure.

 

Bruce snorted, “Last night, did no one else do the reading?”

 

“What kind of power?’ Steve prompted.

 

“He’d have to heat the Cube to a hundred and twenty million Kelvin just to break through the Coulomb barrier,” Tony pondered aloud.

 

"Unless Selvig has figured out how to stabilize the Quantum Tunneling effect.”

 

Tony meet familiar brown eyes, “Well if he could, he could achieve heavy-ion fusion at any reactor on the planet.”

 

Bruce grinned wider, “Finally! Someone who speaks English.”

 

Tony chuckled as Steve was all sass, “Is that what happened?”

 

Suddenly Tony was being pulled into a tight embrace, “I missed you,” Bruce said softly and for a moment the mask slipped and they were young boys again. The best of friends arguing about whose turn it was to be Captain America.

 

“Missed you too Brucie,” he returned the quick embrace before they parted, smiles a little melancholy.

 

“Doctor Stark is here to help find the cube, hoping you’d help Banner.” Fury explained, giving Tony the side eye.

 

Tony grinned, “Be glad for the help.”

 

Bruce rolled his eyes, “Like you need it.”

 

“I would like to know more about the magic stick of Loki’s,” Steve spoke up, turning to them.

 

"I want to know how he used it to turn two of the sharpest people I know into his personal flying monkies,” Fury grumbled.

 

“Monkey’s I do not understand-?” Thor frowned looking thoroughly confused.

 

“I do!” Steve all but yelled, Tony grinned at him as Steve looked up at him triumphant, Tony had an almost uncontrollable urge to kiss him right on that sweet smile.  “I got that one.”

 

Bruce had moved on and Tony had seen the eye roll, “Shall we play Doctor?” his tone was teasing, Tony found himself smiling despite himself, he’d really missed Bruce.

 

“After you sir.”

 

They didn’t say anything more until they were in the lab and out of sight of the others.

 

"Glad you came," Bruce confided with a sly grin while giving him a hard poke. "You look good."

 

Tony rubbed his side frowning, “Thanks?”

 

“Living off the grid seems to agree with you, so are you home for good now?” He looked so eager Tony felt bad he’d stayed away so long.

 

"Come back to the Tower, it's got all the toys. Free reign." Bruce looked like that little kid again, begging Tony to stay and play. Tony felt even worse, Bruce had live such a lonely life, his father pursuing an impossible dream. He guessed that was better thought then your father trying to kill you…

 

He shook off those horrible memories, they would do no one any good. Tony gave him a wry smile as he typed away, “Last time I was here I broke Harlem.”

 

Bruce waved airily, “Water under the bridge, the big question is though what made you come back? I’ve been trying to get you back for years.”

 

Tony tried very hard to be nonchalant, but sadly the red flush in his cheeks gave him away.

Bruce laughed manically, “There is no way…after all these years, you still have a thing for Captain America!”

 

Tony cleared his throat, “Just a fan,” he mumbled and Bruce was nudging him knowingly as the doors slide open and their topic of conversation entered.

 

“What?” Steve looked at them hesitantly, as an awkward silence descended with his entrance.

 

Bruce was grinning for all he’s worth, “Reminiscing about the past Cap,” his tone was far more suggestive then Tony cared for, he nudged him hard, Bruce nudged him back.

 

“Come on big man, your tiptoeing you need to strut!” Bruce said cheerily, and Tony felt his cheeks heat again, Steve was looking sweetly confused.

 

“You should focus Mr Banner,” Steve said formally, but Tony could tell he was unsure.

 

Bruce was waving his hand, “Oh I’m focused Cap, very focused and wondering what is going on. Why did Fury call us in? Why now?”

 

Steve frowned, “You think he’s hiding something.”

 

“He’s a spy Cap, THE spy, his secrets have secrets, isn’t that right Tony?”

 

Tony sighed he’d hoped to stay out of this. “No idea…” he mumbled, trying to focus on the screen.

 

“Tony?” Steve was looking at him, curious, and trusting.

 

He sighed, “I think Loki’s playing games, I don’t think Fury is giving us the whole truth, and I have little to no idea what exactly we are up against.”

 

Bruce was nodding in agreement, “And we will know more when I finished breaking into SHEILD security files.”

 

Steve looked wide-eyed, "I'm sorry did you say…"

 

But Bruce carried right on, Tony only half listened, he was mostly watching Steve. The man was too honest and straight forward for his own good, and it was plain to see he was none too pleased with Bruce. Tony grinned secretly to himself, Bruce was all show, he wore it like that armour of his. Tony knew though, he remembered that sweet kid that used to follow him around wide-eyed and despite for attention. Bruce had never stopped seeking that attention.

 

“And you’re all about style, aren’t you?” Steve looked irritated, Bruce looked annoyed.

 

Tony tried to placate, "Are you sure you don't sort of thinking something is off Steve?"

 

Steve looked at him frowning thoughtful, Tony knew he was considering his words. There was a heartbeat of silence before Steve nodded accepting his analysis, “Right, let’s find that cube.” He turned then striding out like a man on a mission.

 

Bruce waited until the door closed before rolling his eyes, “That’s the guy my dad was always trying to make more of?”

 

Tony nodded trying not to sigh like a lovesick teenager, “Yeah…he’s something, isn’t he?”

 

Bruce looked at him assessing, something far too knowing in his eyes.

 

“He’s right about Loki too,” Tony desperately trying to deflect, knowing he was all but wearing his heart on this sleeve.

 

Bruce wasn’t having it, but said nothing, “Loki’s got nothing, it’s going to blow up in his face and I’ll be there to see it.”

 

Tony looked back at his screen a half smile on lips, “I’ll read all about it.”

 

Bruce gave him a very pointed look, “Right…or, you’ll be suiting up with the rest of us.”

 

Tony said nothing, focusing on his work, he had no real answer for that one. Part of him was terrified that he would have to step up…and part of him was eager to.

 

“How did all America Boy react when you told him about you and daddy dearest work?” Bruce was suddenly more serious, his tone soft and hesitant.

 

Tony winced, “I ummm….I didn’t tell him.”

 

He could feel Bruce’s eyes on him, silent and intent.

 

“I couldn’t….he was the first person in so long that wasn’t looking for a way out while they were talking to me.”

 

Bruce sighed, “Tones…”

 

“I know…It won’t stay secret long, but even if it’s just for a little longer.” He sighed, scrubbing a hand through his hair, feeling horribly out of his element.

 

Bruce patted him on the shoulder, “It should have killed you, you know that right.”

 

Tony snorted none too impressed, "So I was saved? For what?"

The other man looked serious for the first time since he'd entered the lab. Brown eyes judging and far too knowing, "I guess we'll find out."

 

TBC.

 

Chapter Text

 

 


 

Steve moved quickly, Tony's words replaying in his mind; the more he thought about it the more Steve realized he was right. Fury needed to be kept at arm's length. He, of all people, should understand that there were always ulterior motives.

 

Clenching his jaw as he pulled open the security doors weaving his way deeper into the carrier. Determined to find out one way or another. All the while trying hard not to think of the shy smile of Tony Stark.

 

-#-#-#-

 

“Banner what are you doing?”

 

Tony looked up curious as Fury swept in, his one visible eye locked on Bruce. 

 

“Was going to ask you the same thing,” Bruce returned, arms crossing across the glow in his chest.

 

“You’re supposed to be locating the Tesseract.”

 

Tony nodded chiming in, “We are, all locked on.”

 

“What’s phase 2?” Bruce cut in suddenly, eyes on the screen before him.

 

Steve choose that moment to make a grand entrance, a futuristic looking gun in his hands. “Using the cube to make weapons.”

 

Fury looked from the stern countenance of Steve to the gun, and back, "Look, Rogers, we need to make sure we cover all our-"

 

Bruce cut in, “You were saying?” He called up blueprints of am ever bigger looking gun on a nearby screen.

 

Tony was curious at first, idly wondering why they would be trying to make these large weapons. He frowned as a tightness settled on his chest, logically he could only reason one thing they’d need modified weapons; him.

 

 His melancholy thoughts were derailed as a sour looking Agent Barton entered with Thor.

"Doctor Stark, would you like to remove yourself from this environment."

 

Tony huffed, suddenly irritated, "I was in the middle of the Arctic I was pretty far removed." He narrowed his eyes, feeling guilty as the man hesitantly took a step back from him, Tony had to hand it to him though, his expression never changed.

 

“Wait why does Tony need to leave?” Steve was frowning as he moved closer to him.

 

Tony felt a wash of gratitude to him, there was a pleasant roll from his other half as well. He decided there and then that if Steve needed him and he was not going anywhere.

 

“I’m not going anywhere,” Tony interjected, firmly, setting his jaw. “I am curious about the weapons though,” he continued.

 

"Because of him," Fury jerked a thumb at Thor, and Tony felt instantly like he could breathe again. It wasn't him, he wasn't the reason for the guns. His relief must have shown on his face because Steve was leaning into him.

 

 “Are you ok Tony?” he asked looking genuinely concerned. 

 

Tony nodded, “Yeah…just…does it seem like things are getting rather heated?”

Tony could feel it; the Hulk could feel it as well. It was an unnatural feeling, one that was coming from outside. The others were arguing, unaware of the atmosphere that was settling on them thick and cloying.

 

Tony tried to breathe, to keep calm, but Bruce was irritating Steve again, and Tony felt that protective surge through him again. "There is no way Captain America is on the threat list!"

 

The voices were rising around him, and there was an angry buzzing in his ears. His other half was uneasy, this felt unreal, unnatural… he was in a room of people who were ready to combust.

 

“We aren’t a team, we’re a disaster waiting to happen,” he muttered shaking his head, he was sweating now. He could feel the beads trickling uncomfortably down his back.

 

“Yeah big man in a suit of armour, take that off what are you?“ Steve looked beyond angry, and that seemed weird too. It was hard to picture Captain America genuinely angry. 

 

Tony couldn’t help but watch the drama unfold. That buzzing was battling with a new sort of heat, Steve was gorgeous in his anger. Tony wiped sweat from his brow, trying to collect himself, he knew what was happening was natural. He grabbed the corner of the table suddenly feeling woozy, the metal bending under his grip and Hulk rippled beneath his skin.

 

“Agent Barton maybe you should escort Doctor Banner out of here…” Fury was looking at him warily, Steve stepped forward steadying him. His touch felt like a brand on his skin and Tony wanted more.

 

"Where Fury? You rented out my room," Tony replied sarcastically while offering Steve a weak smile patting his arm in thanks.

 

Fury was trying to backtrack, "The cell was just-"

Tony waved a hand tiredly, "To kill me I know, truthfully I thought your weapons were for me."

 

“I feel like I’m missing something here,” Steve was looking from him to the others and back.

 

Everyone in the room was suddenly quiet and wary, looking at Tony intently, “It’s ok Fury, you’re not the first, and probably won’t be the last.”  He was getting agitated, and he didn’t understand why. He’d come here well aware of the expectations that they would not hesitate to put him down if they could.

 

“Tony, maybe you should not touch that thing?” Steve pointed at his hand, Tony finally realized he was holding the sceptere they’d taken off Loki. He frowned when had he picked that up?

 

A beep across the room reminded him if his original purpose, and once more brought him back to his faculties.

 

“Is that…” Fury started.

 

Tony moved across the room, “Sorry kids. You don’t get to see my party trick yet.”

 

“Party trick?” Steve looked like he wanted to ask more questions.

 

"Where is the Tesseract?" Thor was asking, Bruce was insisting he could get to it first. Steve was torn, looking at Tony for clarification and trying to stop Bruce from trying to do his lone wolf routine.

 

“You gonna stop me?”

 

“Put on the suit…” Steve growled.

 

Tony wasn’t listening, “Oh shit…” he mumbled seconds before the world exploded around them.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Tony tried to breathe but he knew it was too late, the crushing weight on his spine, and the pain told him he needed the Hulk. He felt that familiar bending and twisting as his body contorted. The almost bone-deep ache that came with his transformation, and he vaguely wondered it would ever stop hurting.

 

There was a worried voice off to his right, “We are ok yes?” that heavy accent …Agent Barton.

           

Tony groaned, shaking his shoulders as he settled in, he felt the Hulk taking command, blinking and looking around hesitant and curious. It had taken him a long time for them to get this far, to gain this marginal equilibrium. Hulk was in the driver's seat, but Tony too was still there and that meant the difference. Mind you they hadn't tried this out under duress…guess he'd find out.

 

They moved to the side, noticing the Agent pinned beneath a large metal something. Snorting in surprise Hulk moved closer to the man, reaching down to lift the heavy wreckage off him.

 

“Doctor Stark, Anthony, you need to fight it. Loki wants this, but we will be ok.”

 

Tony rolled his shoulders, “Fine,” he growled, they were still working on mastering the communication aspect while he was in Hulk form; his other half was a man of few words.

 

Agent Barton wasn’t listening though he was already running away, and Hulk was following, worried, nervous, and a little scared.

 

Hulk never saw him.

 

One minute they were moving along the corridor, the next they were being blindsided. Roaring in surprise Hulk took several more hits before he realized it was Thor.

 

 “Wait,” he tried to grunt out, but Thor was coming again and Hulk gave him a solid blow in an effort to slow him down.

 

“Wait,” he tried again, but Thor didn’t seem to be listening. Hulk was trying to defend, Tony was trying to minimize damage, and both of them were getting irritated with the Norse god. He tried once more to talk, but it sounded more like a roar as they skittered across the base of Helicarrier. Sires were blaring, people were yelling, Tony and Hulk felt overwhelmed, this is always what happened.

 

He sighed internally, he really couldn't blame them, his track record had been poor in the past. Still, he made one more valent effort to try and get Thor to stop, as the man tried to choke him out.

 

"Target acquired. Target acquired." He heard before he saw and groaned, that was all sorts of bad. He felt the bullets ping off him, irritating more so than painful, he threw Thor again, trying to get him out of the line of fire, before rounding on the plane. Roaring his frustration, Tony and Hulk were really regretting following those blue eyes here…

 

The plane outside bumped the wall of the Helicarrier shuddering, the piolet was in trouble. They watched as the hatch blew but the piolet did not eject. Hulk was moving before he thought it through, leaping onto the plane he pulled the piolet out, with little finesse. Watching for the chute to open even as the plane he was on plummeted out of the sky and to the rapidly approaching ground

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve was having a hard time.

 

No, that wasn't really accurate, Steve had been having a hard time ever since he'd woke in this future. He had managed, with the assistance of the irritating Bruce Banner, to get the Helicarrier back in the air, but with the transmission on the death of Coulson, he'd been worried about Tony. 

 

Only apparently he hadn’t needed to be worried at all about the man….

 

He watched the video again, the impossibly big green man, shaggy head turning as he went toe to toe with Thor. The two battling briefly before, he launched off the ship and disappeared into the clear sky.

 

Steve closed his eyes scrubbing a hand through his hair. He knew he’d been trailing behind everyone, it had felt like that since day one. Only now he felt like he hadn’t even been part of the race.

 

Had everyone known about Tony except him?

 

How?” he’d demanded of Banner when he’d first seen the playback of the footage.

 

“He was experimenting with gamma rays, he wasn’t lying Cap he’d had a bad accident. It brought out his other half; Hulk. ”

 

Steve looked down at the footage replying on the screen, having a hard time reconciling the smiling, teasing Tony Stark to the massive green man that had thrown Thor clear across the ship.

 

“But why?” he managed weakly, and

 

Banner chuckled hollowly, “He was trying to be you.”

 

He cycled the footage back to the beginning again watching as Tony…no Hulk he mentally, chased Agent Barton. He winced a little as Thor hit him that had been a solid blow… sighing he went back again thick fingers fumbling on the touch screen, it paused just before the explosion. Curious he played, watching as the floor buckled, and they tumbled through to the lower level.

           

Fascinated blue eyes widened as the Tony he knew contorted and bent, it looked painful, but somehow, he couldn't look away. He watched the transformation, again and again, wondering if it hurt. After the third time, he let the footage play again watching him go to Agent Barton, then follow him out.

 

Steve frowned, followed him? Or chased him?

 

He went back again, he watched closely the footage was a little rough, the explosion had skewed the cameras somewhat. Steve narrowed his eyes. Hulk moved closer to Barton and lifted the debris off him. Barton ran and Hulk followed.

 

“He wasn’t chasing him, he was following…” Steve muttered realization washing through him.

 

He went back again watching with new eyes, Hulk was helped Barton, was following him, Thor started the fight, and from what Steve could see, Hulk was just trying to defend himself. The footage ended as Hulk went out of the Helicarrier.

 

Hulk had been trying to help.  Steve needed to find him, standing he was about to leave but Bruce, Fury, and Hill were entering. He sat back down agitated, he wanted to go after Tony, to make sure he was ok.  But with the look he was getting from Fury, he knew this was far from over.

 


 

 

 

Chapter Text


 

 

Tony woke with a groan, coughing he glanced around at the rather delated looking structure he was in. Shifting he felt cold, unforgiving rock, apparently, he was lying in a pile of rubble, not the worst place he’d ever woken up. Trying to sit up he winced, realizing he was fully nude. Sighing he leaned back on the rocks, of all of the headaches that came with changing into a giant green something this was hands down the most inconvenient part.

 

"You fell out of the sky," a disbelieving voice said nearby.

 

Tony turned to brush the dust off himself, "Did I hurt anyone?" he asked worried, shakily getting to his feet.

 

"No one here scared some pigeons though."

 

“Lucky,” he muttered.

 

The unknown man cocked his head. “Good aim, you were awake.”

 

Tony grinned, “You saw?”

 

The older man was nodding, tossing him some clothing, “Those should fit you now.”

 

Tony smiled at the man thankful as he pulled them on. The jeans were a little too big, and the t-shirt too tight but beggars can't be choosers, "Thanks."

 

“You an alien?” the man was asking.

 

“No sir,” he replied as he moved out of the rubble.

 

His new friend moved to help him down, “So are you a big guy, that gets little, or a little guy that sometimes blows up large?”

 

Tony couldn’t help but chuckle at that, “I’m not sure, at least not yet.”

 

“You got somewhere to go?”

 

Tony sighed, “I got somewhere I need to be…I just hope I’ll do more good than harm.”

 

The man grinned patting his back, “Don’t we all son, don’t we all.”

 

-#-#-#-

 

"How do we do this?" Clint asked stoically as ever.

 

Steve felt a stillness settle on him a rightness. For the first time since he’d woke he was exactly where he needed to be. Standing between humanity and whatever the hell Loki had called down on them. He was going to fight this, and he was going to do it with his team.

 

“As a team,” He echoed his thoughts aloud.

 

“I have unfinished business with Loki,” Thor growled.

 

“Get in line,” an equally irritated voice of the lady archer known as Hawkeye interjected.

 

“Save it, Loki’s gonna keep this fight on us, without him these things may go wild. We got Banner up top we need –“

 

Steve trailed off hearing the whine of a motorbike, turning he couldn't help but smile. A rather filthy, but welcome figure was approaching. Steve caught his breath, pleased he'd come, he'd been worried since he'd fallen out of the Helicarrier. Tony was getting off the bike approaching them looking a little wary.

 

“So, this all seems horrible,” Tony glanced around stuffing his hands in his pockets.

 

Steve looked him over, he seemed tired and dirty but hale and hearty. He tried not to notice how good he looked in that snug shirt. The white material was pulling tight across defined chest muscles, Steve looked away cheeks heating now was not the time…

 

“I have seen worse,” Clint sniffed.

 

“Yeah…Russia is worse,” Tony teased back, Clint smiled for the first time and Steve was a little terrified, beginning to realize why they called him the Black Widow.

 

“We could use something a little worse,” Clint grumbled in that thick accent.

 

“Banner, we got him.”

 

Bruce was in his ear, “Tony’s here?”

 

Steve grinned, “Just like you said.”

 

“Tell him to suit up, I’m bringing the party to you.”

 

A large, horrifying something was coming at them, Steve couldn’t even begin to describe the monstrosity.

 

“This is not a party,” Clint muttered, setting his jaw, and clenching his fists.

Steve watched as Tony walked slowly forward, he was pulling shaggy hair back from his eyes tying it back. Blue eyes watched the slim back as he stopped before them breathing deep.

 

"Tony," he called, waiting for those unusual eyes to look at him, he offered him a half smile, "Be a good time to get dangerous."

 

Tony grinned back at him wide and toothy, “That’s my secret Cap, I’m always dangerous.”

 

-#-#-#-

 

Tony would only remember bits and pieces later.

 

The Hulk was in the driver’s seat and he’d be lying if he said he hasn’t enjoyed it. It was rather freeing, no real worry he was going to hurt people. They could just be, and for once they were doing something worthwhile, something good.

           

He did remember getting a little payback on Thor for the Hellicarrier, and he made his thoughts about Loki clear as he put the man damn near through the floor. The rest of was an adrenaline-fueled blur as they smashed their way through the alien horde. And as the hole closed, he urged Hulk on as they snatched Bruce out of the sky.

           

Cap and Thor were hurrying over, but Bruce wasn't moving. Hulk was restless unable to help, Tony frustrated he couldn't do more than passively watch, Hulk wasn't quite ready to relinquish control. Thor was ripping off Bruce's face mask, revealing the still countenance on the inventor. Steve was kneeling, listening for a heartbeat. Hulk was more vocal he roared in frustration, Tony starting awake.

           

Hulk huffed pleased, Tony to sighed in relief, and both of them watched as Steve looked up at them, dirty, tired, and gorgeous smiling, “We won.”

 

Hulk felt warm, comforted, and beyond protective. Tony knows, just as Hulk knew, their fate was tied to this man.

 

“We’re not finished yet,” Thor looked towards the tower, and Bruce sighed.

 

“And then shawarma?”

 

 -#-#-#-

 

6 months later

 

“Deep breath in,” he encouraged the young man with a smile pressing the stethoscope to his chest listening intently.

 

 “Again,” he said moving the listen, “One more time.”

 

Humming he smiled at the youth, “Good, chest sounds nice and clear, much better than last time.”

 

The teenager grinned at him, “I can run again.”

 

Chuckling he made a few notes on the chart, “Glad to hear it you look fit enough to take on the world.”

 

Closing the chart, he pulled a sucker from his pocket handing it over he turned to the mom, “Everything is just fine.”

 

She dabbed at her eyes, “Thank you Doctor Stark, for everything.”

 

The pair left, and Tony moved to the desk to get the next chart, the clinic wasn’t as full today and that was good. Things were finally slowing down, it had taken a while but a slow day was a good day.

 

“No you don’t,” a hand batted his away as he reached for more case files. Blinking he turned to look at the Charge Nurse.

 

“No?” he echoed.

 

“No way Doctor Stark, you’ve been here over 12 hours you’re done, go home, sleep.” He was about to protest but he was already being herded down the hall.

 

“Ok, ok, I’m going,” he grinned heading to the little closet he used as an office. Shrugging out of his lab coat he pulled on his suit coat once more grabbing his keys and phone he headed out into the humid New York evening waving to the Charge Nurse on the way by. She shooed him off with a smile.

           

He pushed his way through the clinic doors, the hour was late but the city was bustling and Tony was happy to see it. The resiliency of New York was incredible, in the half-year since the ‘Battle of New York' as they were calling it, they had come back with vengeance. Whistling he moved through the semi-busy streets unnoticed. Unlike the Hulk, no one knew who plain old Tony Stark was, and he didn't mind that one bit.

           

On auto piolet, he headed towards the massive tower in the centre of the city, now known to all as ‘Avengers’ tower he hurried using his key card to board the elevator. He hoped there was food, he hadn’t realized how hungry he was until he was headed home. Bruce was good about keeping the place stocked.

 

Humming he stepped off smelling something delicious in the air. Happily assuming Bruce had got take out, he headed for the kitchen calling out to Bruce seconds before he rounded the corner, “Smells great, I’m fami-” the words died in his throat and the air left his lungs in a whoosh; as standing in the kitchen was Steve Rogers.

 

“Hi Tony,” he smiled, looking better than anyone should in the kitchen lights.

 

"Cap," he breathed, "Welcome back," he managed to get out with what he hoped was a welcoming smile. Tony couldn't help but give him the once over, keen eyes making sure he was really there and not some figment in his already crowded head; blue jeans, and a white t-shirt, Jesus the guy was handsome. Hulk gave a sort of purr in his head, he had missed the Captain as well.

           

“Thanks, hungry?” He asked gesturing to the stove, Tony nodded eagerly as his stomach reminded him of his original plan. Tony moved around the kitchen counter to sit on one of the stools, shrugging out of his suit jacket.

 

“Going to be a few more minutes,” Steve said turning back to the stove.

 

“No problem,” Tony murmured watching as he moved around the kitchen. Suddenly recalling a similar scene in his cabin…it seemed like a lifetime ago Cap had come to collect him from his self-imposed exile.

           

“What have you been doing?” Steve was asking as he slid a beer across the counter to him.

 

Tony accepted it with a smile, “Moonlighting at the free clinic a few blocks over, doing some freelance work for Bruce as well.”

 

Steve was grinning, “Explains your clothing choice.”

 

Tony looked down at the scrub top he’d forgotten he was wearing, “Ah, yeah, had a toddler with the flu this morning.”

 

Steve seems genuinely interested, "How long have you been working there?"

 

Suddenly the tension was easing, and the conversation was flowing between them again.

They hadn't spoken since Steve had left, the super soldier had wanted to see America again and Tony had understood. He'd be lying a little though if he didn't admit he'd half hopped Steve would have asked him to come with.

 

Silly fanciful thoughts.

           

 

Tony soon found himself telling Steve the story of how he’d ended up working at the clinic as the man served dinner.

 

"Was an accident actually, a few days after we all parted ways I was headed back to the tower and an older gentleman fell pretty much on top of me. He'd been headed to the clinic and had come over dizzy, I helped him inside and gave the nurse my assessment. They had told me when they were short staffed that day and overwhelmed with those still coming in from the invasion, So I offered to help."

 

He accepted the plate of chicken and vegetable eagerly, “Then they asked me to come in the day after, and the day after that.”

 

Steve chuckled, “Had a job just like that,” Tony returned the grin.

 

“I didn’t know you were a medical doctor.”

 

Tony shrugged, “I have a few doctorates, my speciality is physics, but since my ummm…” he trailed off, they had never really spoken about ‘that’ since Steve had discovered his not so little secret.

 

 “Accident,” Steve encouraged him to finish, Tony let out the breath he didn’t know he’d been holding.

 

“Yeah, since then I’ve been doing a lot of medical work. It’s nice to help, where I can…” he trailed off not wanting to give voice to the truth… it was his atonement.

           

They ate in silence for a few moments, “So how was your tour?” Tony asked trying to break the awkward tension.

 

Steve started telling him about the things he’d seen while he’d been crisscrossing America. Tony ate, listening content as Steve rattled on, he was pretty sure he could listen to Steve all night. Finished eating, Tony on automatically grabbed the dishes and began to tidy up. Steve moved to join him, asking him about some of the more confusing things he'd seen in his travels.

 

“Don’t like cellphones,” he was growling Tony chuckled as he washed dishes and Steve dried.

 

“Yeah, there is something to be said for more human connection,” Tony said turned to hand another dish to the bigger man, just realizing just how close they stood together by the sink. Tony felt rooted to the spot, as those clear blue eyes looked at him so openly, so honest and unafraid.

           

Steve didn't back away, didn't move an inch, and Tony felt himself swaying ever so closer. The air suddenly thick, his pulse racing frantically beneath his skin. Once upon a time, something like this would have had him turning green, but there was none of that here. No fear, no anger…but something hot, and tight. It had been so long since he'd been close to anyone, felt really any sort of connection. Steve had been the first in…well, he couldn't remember how long. No one got close to him, everyone was too afraid to.

           

"Your eyes…they're so unusual," he heard Steve, as they seemed to sway a little closer. Steve was lowering his head, and Tony forgetting his hands were covered in suds tipped his chin upwards.

 

“Tony you here!” Bruce’s voice carried through the kitchen from the common area and the spell was broken.

 

Tony jumped managing to bang Steve on the jaw with the top of his head.

 

“Oh my god, Steve!”

 

The super soldier winced, "No it's ok," he tried to wave it off, but Tony was already checking his chin, tilting it to look into blue eyes checking his pupils.

 

"Tony!" the voice was closer and by the time they turned to the doorway, Bruce was rounding the corner thumbs madly tapping.

 

“Yeah Bruce, here,” he replied gently checking Cap’s chin once more before reluctantly releasing him.

 

The man finally looked up from his phone, and Tony knew right away that somehow Bruce knew…his grin turned rather sly. "Right, meant to tell you, Tony, Steve is back," he pointed at the blonde.

 

Tony sighed, rolling his eyes, “I noticed.”

 

Bruce's phoned pinged and he was clicking away at it, Tony rubbed his temples as they stood awkwardly in the kitchen. "Did you need something, Bruce?"

 

Tony glanced in Steve’s direction.

 

The man looked up blankly, “What?”

 

Steve chuckled, Tony groaned, “You were looking for me for a reason?”

 

“Oh right yeah, I need your help in the lab,” Bruce turned, “Feel free to take your time,” he added voice dipping knowingly.

 

Tony turned to Steve “No rest for the wicked I guess,”

 

 

Steve gave him half grin, “It’s ok I was headed to bed.”

 

Tony nodded turning to follow Bruce, halfway across he turned to back, "Glad your back Steve." Tony would swear he wasn't blushing but still scuttled away, trying hard not to read too much into the soft smile Steve had sent his way.

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Steve didn't know how long he'd been out the alarm woke him from a rather violent nightmare. Gasping and sweat-soaked he sat upright, confused for a couple of heartbeats before realizing where he was, and what he was supposed to be doing.

 

Hurry out of bed he pulled on his uniform following JARVIS directions he hurried to meet the others at the helipad. Hurrying up he spotted Tony already backpack on his shoulder looking like he too had just rolled out of bed.

           

“Suiting up with us?” Steve asked as he joined him.

 

Tony gave him a tired grin, “Hope not, just in case.”

 

“Let’s go!” Bruce yelled hurrying in all flash and metal. He followed Tony up the gangplank, looking around at the sleek looking plane. Tony settled in a chair, and Steve joined him as Bruce piloted them out into the night.

 

Steve felt detached, his nightmare had left him feeling on edge and wrung out, he jiggled his leg fists tight, jaw locked.

 

"You ok Cap?" it took him a few moments to realize that worrying hazel-green eyes were looking at him.

 

“Yeah…yeah," he said shaking his head as if trying to clear it. He offered Tony a smile, "I'm fine," he assured him, but even to his own ears, it rang hollow.

 

Stave hadn’t been in a fight since New York, and the anticipating of conflict made his skin feel tight, he was looking forward to this fight. He breathed deep as the plane dipped and Bruce warned them, they were only seconds away.

 

Steve looked at Tony, the man looked rather calm, Steve envied that. In combat, he often felt…frantic. Taking a deep breath, he stilled his leg waiting for the signal from Bruce.  Iron Man yelled and he was running off the back of the jet and into the fray.

 

-#-#-#-

 

The world made sense when he was fighting, it was simple and straight forward.

 

He lost all sense of time and place as the night melted into day, and the light began to wan again before the fight was through. The last of the enemy feel, and the battle officially ended.

 

“Not so bad tin can,” he huffed as Bruce landed beside him, helmet folding back to reveal the sweaty wincing face of Banner. “Where is Tony?” Steve asked suddenly remembering they’d come with the man. The fight had been tough, but nothing they couldn’t handle, and Steve couldn’t recall seeing big green with them.

 

“Running triage, no doubt,” Bruce jerked a thumb behind them.

 

The fight had been on the outskirts of the city, but there had still been civilians caught in the crossfire.

           

SHIELD was moving in for the clean-up and a curious Steve was moving back through the rubble trying to locate their missing teammate. It didn’t take him long to find Tony, he the calm in the eye of the storm. Methodically he moved around the injured, confident and collected. Steve was somewhat in awe of the man.

 

He moved closer, “Anything I can do to help?” he asked, Tony shot him a quick smile before putting him to work moving the injured to ambulances.

           

By the time, they’d got the last of the wounded squared away it was once again night, he shut the ambulance doors and waved them off, before finding Tony sitting on a curb, filthy and contemplative. Silently he settled beside him, suddenly realized just how tired he was. He jumped when he felt gentle fingers touching his arm.

 

“You’re bleeding,” Tony said quietly.

 

Steve shrugged, “It’s nothing, I heal fast.”

 

Tony hummed but dug around in his first aid kit pulling out the disinfectant. He was silent a moment, watching Tony work quickly and efficiently cleaning his wound.

 

“You’re good,” he said softly, capturing those unusual eyes as they looked up at him. “At helping…” he finished awkwardly.

 

Tony shrugged modestly, "I do what I can. Usually, I do more harm than good."

 

Those eyes looked away with the confession, and Steve felt his heartbreak. He'd looked up Hulk during his time away, he'd seen the footage, read the reports. Everything he'd seen….the Hulk had only been protecting himself, and his fight in Harlem, from Steve's perspective Hulk, had saved them all. 

           

“You’re a hero Tony,” he said softly, “Both of you,” Steve said meaning every word of it.

 

He watched as cheeks heated, and the man was waving away the praise. “No…” he denied.

 

But Steve wasn't having it, "No, you are," he took a strong capable hand in his own, pulling him close, "I believe it…in both of you."

 

Steve was suddenly aware of how close they were, he shifted forward slightly, feeling Tony lean in. His heart was pumping again, and he felt like it’d leap out of his chest. A second later a voice cut through the night.

 

“You guys ready or what?” both men jumped again, as a grinning Bruce appeared. He heard Tony curse under his breath, before heaving a regretful sigh.

 

“Yeah Bruce we’re ready,” Tony called, Steve knew he was red.

 

Sighing he stood pulling Tony to his feet as they moved to join the grinning Bruce.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Tony exhaled the smoke into the clear night sky, he didn't smoke often, Hulk wasn't a fan, but his chest was a jumble of emotions and he needed something…calming. So, he only did it sporadically, not that it did anything to his already fairly radioactive self.

           

Taking one last drag, he consciously butted it out in the receptacle, yawning he ran a hand through dark hair, he'd try to sleep now. It had been a very long day, and while his other half hadn't made an appearance he was still pretty beat from running triage. Moving towards the doors he was halfway across the roof when the burst open ricocheting off the wall. Surprised Tony backed up as a big figure stumbled into the cool darkness. Taken aback, Tony felt his other half perk up weary, but as the unknown person moved forward on stumbling steps he recognized the form; Steve.

           

Concern knitted his brow, Hulk sharing it as they approached. Tony moved slowly, able to hear gasping breaths between chattering teeth.

 

“Steve?” he tried softly, the man giving no indication he’d heard him.

 

“Steve?” he tried again reaching out he placed a gentle hand on the other man’s bare arm; Steve was ice cold.

           

The big man recoiled and hazy blue eyes looked to him without seeing him. Steve was asleep, and Tony felt his heart constrict, Steve was sleepwalking. It was not unusual in trauma victims, and now he felt like an utter fool for not realizing that Steve, a war vet, frozen then unthawed in the future would no doubt suffer from some sort of repercussions.

           

His other self was nudging him to help, and Tony agreed, speaking very softly and calmly, he gently took a big arm his hands felt scalding hot against the icy skin.

 

"You're ok Steve, deep breath it's alright," he assured him. It seemed to be working Steve was turning with him, as Tony guided them back to the door. With no warning Steve was pulling away, yelling something incomprehensible he pushed Tony hard. Surprised he stumbled backwards, back hitting the railing, he was tumbling over before he could regain his balance.

           

Heaving a sigh, he called on the big guy for help, Hulk wouldn’t let him die hitting the sidewalk, but it would hurt like hell. Big green managed to stop their flight, grabbing the ledge, and neatly scaling the building back up to Steve. Hulk was just as worried as he was, in Steve’s state he could just as easily go over himself.

           

Back on the roof, he found Steve huddled and shivering against the wall. Carefully, they approached Tony watching through Hulks eyes. Hulk was cautious, people didn't like it when he touched them, Tony assured him it would be fine. Carefully he reached out a large green hand gently laying it against a heaving shoulder. Steve sounded laboured like breathing was a chore.

           

Gasping, chest heaving, the now smaller man grabbed hold of Hulk like a lifeline. Carefully Tony and Hulk reached out pulling him close, Steve came willingly burying his face against the massive chest and holding on for dear life.

           

Hulk snorted in surprise, Tony admittedly doing the same; no one sought comfort in the Hulk. Almost at a loss on what to do, Tony took the reins picking up Steve gently and rearranging it so he sat with his back to the wall and Steve in his lap. Pressing the freezing man close, he was for once, glad of the heat they threw off. Tony had always run hot before the accident, but afterwards, and especially as the Hulk he was a furnace.

           

Hulk realizing what Steve needed curling around the shivering man, but was still somewhat hesitant. Tony sharing Hulk's confusion, but united in their concern, Steve was almost hyperventilating, breathing sharp and short. Hulk pulled him closer cradling his head against his chest breathing even and slow. Tony hummed his agreement, Hulk even started rocking gently, as if he was a child.

           

It was long tense moments, but the sobbing breaths began to even out. Hulk kept rocking, and the shivering began to ebb. Eventually, Steve went limp in the embrace, but Hulk cradled him a while yet, Steve finally peaceful and still in sleep.

           

It didn't seem like long at all but suddenly dawns light was appearing over the horizon and Tony was urging Hulk up. Huffing, and reluctant he carefully stood with his burden, easily taking the weight. Tony guided them back into the building and to Steve's room, both he and the Hulk chuckling as they accidentally pulled the door clear off the hinges.

 

“Oops,” Hulk growled, baring his teeth in a grin. Tony mentally shrugged, assuring him that Bruce could afford to fix it.

           

With more care then anyone would associate with the Hulk, he settled Steve on the bed, carefully tucking the dishevelled sheets around him. Unnatural green eyes stared down at the slumbering figure, Steve heaving a soft sigh and burrowing further into the pillows. Task completed, they carefully left, propping the door on the frame before making their way down the hall to Tony’s room. He was thankful Bruce had put them on the same floor, even though Tony figured it was a miss guided attempt at matchmaking.

           

They didn’t rip the door off his room and Hulk snorted in surprise opening and closing it a few times curiously. Tony chuckled, Hulk-proof, big green chuckled as they went inside. Mission accomplished, at least in Hulk eyes he ceded the reigns back to Tony. Shirking and twisting back into his unassuming self. Gritting his teeth Tony groaned, straightening in the nude he looked at the remains of his sweats with a sigh, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

           

Yawning he headed for the shower, time to get the day started.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve woke slowly, his head felt muzzy, and his chest ached like he'd been running for days. Groaning he sat up taking a few moments to remember he was in his new room at the tower. Getting out of bed slowly he frowned something was off, he didn't feel like himself.

 

Moving mechanically, he pulled on his workout clothing, before realizing what it was…he wasn’t cold. Frowning he paused, he’d woken up freezing every morning since the ice.

           

Puzzled he turned to head towards the gym when he spotted his door; the thing was completely off its hinges.

 

“What in the world?” he mumbled curious, wondering if perhaps he’d done it by accident. Carefully he moved it to the side, he’d have to apologize to Bruce and see if it could be fixed.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Tony sat in the lab sipping an obscenely large coffee from his tumbler, Hulk had checked out to sleep having been up all night, so it was just Tony with his coffee in the lab this morning going over mind-numbing equations with Bruce. Said man was covered in grease and talking a million miles a minute.

           

“You should switch to decaf Brucie," Tony idly commented taking a swig of the life-giving liquid.

 

“Coffee is far worse than tea,” Bruce snorted.

 

Tony chuckled. “Whatever you say.”

 

“I can’t believe you still drink that much coffee. Thought maybe the caffeine would interfere with your ‘condition’.” Bruce used quotation fingers, giving Tony a hard stare.

 

Laughing Tony turned back to the papers, “Hulk likes the sugary coffees frappuccinos are his favourite,” Tony returned absently.

 

Bruce just blinked at him at a loss, Tony hid his smile in his coffee as he went in for the kill. "Oh, Steve needs his door fixed," Tony said off-handed.

 

“His door?” Bruce looked perplexed.

 

“Yeah, Hulk ripped it off last night…”

 

Bruce’s jaw worked, “Hulk…ripped the door….Steve? As in Captain America?”

 

Tony nodded placidly taking another sip of coffee, “Yup.”

 

Bruce just stared at him and Tony knew he probably had a million questions. Whatever he wanted to say was stalled out as the alarm sounded, “Again?” Bruce sighed heading for his suit.

 

Tony just grunted as he grabbed his travel mug and headed for his bag.

 

Chapter Text

 

 


 

 

It was an all-out battle this time, Steve and Bruce had been joined by the stoic Black Widow and the bubbly Hawkeye. Tony had to admit it was rather entertaining to hear her banter between Barton and Bruce. Apparently, there was some shared history there, and anyone who could take Bruce down a peg a two was ok in his book.

           

Tony was running triage at the rear, helping to get civilians out and away from the main action. He was wearing an earpiece so he could hear what was happening up front but muted on his end so could bark orders at the SHIELD agents helping out.

           

“Priority!” he yelled quickly, and efficiently tightening the tourniquet on a compound fracture. The man moaned and Tony dug for his pain meds, focused on the man before him he was only half listening to the chatter in his ear. Steve was telling them to hush, then nothing until Bruce was blaring out in warning.

 

 “Cap’s down! Cap’s down! Anyone able to reach him?”

 

Tony froze his insides turning to ice water, his own fear echoed by his other half. He was moving as if on auto piolet. Jogging turned to all-out sprint and the last thing he heard was the others unable to reach the downed Captain. With a yell, he turning things over to the Hulk as he sped towards Steve.

 

-#-#-#-

 

They heard the roar first, "What the hell was that?" Hawkeye asked to aver the coms.

 

Bruce turned in the air spotting the big green figure heading their way. “Incoming,” he warned seconds before Hulk was flying past them and planting a mammoth fist into the first machine he came across.

           

“Wow,” Agent Romanov, muttered as Hulk made short work of the robots.  Bruce hovered watching as the mammoth man moved through the enemy like a hot knife through butter, he looked like a man on a mission. Curious Bruce followed in the air as Hulk made a b-line through the chaos right to the downed Captain America.

           

Astonished he watched as the Hulk gently picked up the unconscious man, tucking him close and running him out of the melee.

 

"Well, I'll be damned…" Bruce huffed in surprise, as Hulk disappeared with his burden.

 

“Ummm….what just happened?” Natasha was in his ear, echoing his surprise.

 

“Hulk got to Captain America,” Barton said matter of fact, grunting as the next wave of robots hit.

 

Bruce was about to reply when he was stunned to silence again, the Hulk was returning, “He’s coming back,” Bruce stated the obvious this time, seconds before a lighting strike heralded the arrival of a familiar thunder god.

“Thor is here,” Clint grunted, accent getting thicker.

 

“Well let’s give a Hulk a hand, shall we?” Bruce refocused on the fight as big green brought the fight to them.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Hulk stood heaving and sweaty in the dusty street, the last of the robot has fallen, grunting in satisfaction he grinned baring his teeth. Tony too felt the triumph, they’d hurt Cap, and they’d hurt them back.

 

“Cap,” Hulk growled remembering and then they were moving again, back towards where they’d left him.

           

As they ran Hulk ceded control back to him, unprepared Tony found himself back to his own size mid-run. Stumbling he skidded to a halt as the tattered remains of his clothing slid away leaving him very much nude.

 

“Damit!” he cursed thankful he was alone at the moment. Frantic he cast around quickly for something to throw on, he needed to go check on Steve.

 

"Shit, shit, shit…" he hurried to what looked like had once been a storefront hit with an errant blast during the conflict. He hated to take something but the need was despite. Thankfully there was clothing, he grabbed the first articles he came across; a pair of shorts and a t-shirt barely registering what they were as he pulled them on and was running again.

           

He'd lost his earpiece when he'd transformed earlier so he had no idea where the others were, but he knew where Steve was, and as he cleared the last few abandoned car he spotted the SHIELD agents and first responders busily working.

 

Clearing the barricades, he passed by several surprised looking agents, "Captain Rogers?" he demanded, trying to keep the growl from his voice.

 

“Ummm back of the ambulance,” one Agent hesitantly pointed.

           

Nodding his thanks Tony hurried over, the big blonde was dirty and dishevelled but awake and alert as he sat in the back of the ambulance.

 

“Tony!” he said spotting him, sounding relieved.

 

“Steve,” Tony moved quickly to his side, grabbing his wrist checking his pulse. “How do you feel?”

 

“Fine,” Steve assured him, Tony hummed as he leaned closer, “Going to check your eyes.”

 

Curious blue eyes were looking directly at him, all business Tony studied those summer sky blue eyes his worry beginning to ease as they looked they should.

           

The knot in his chest began to loosen, and the Hulk who’d been watching as well was feeling better.

 

“Am I ok Doc?” Steve was asking softly, and Tony realized he was still holding Steve’s face cupping his cheeks tenderly.

 

"Perfect," Tony said softly, unable to help the relieved grin that crossed his face.

           

Tony suddenly realized just how close they were, inside his head Hulk was nudging him on. Unable to help himself, he looked at those tempting lips. He leaned forward without thinking, close enough to smell Steve, clean sweat, and Old Spice. He thought perhaps Steve was leaning towards him as well.

           

“Doctor Stark?” a yell from outside startled them apart, and Tony knew his cheeks were red.

 

Inside his head, he felt as if the Hulk was throwing up his arms in frustration. “Yeah?” he called, voice shaky.

 

“Sir we have an agent bleeding pretty bad…”

 

Cursing, he offered Steve an apologetic smile, “No rest for the wicked.”

 

He turned then heading out of the ambulance, “Coming!” he yelled heading back out into the fading sun.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve watched him go feeling bereft, he wanted to cuss out whoever had called Tony. Frustrated Steve swung off the gurney and out of the ambulance to see how things were going.

 

“Hey Cap!” A familiar metal figure was landing beside him, “How you feeling?” the helmet peeled back and sweaty Bruce Banner was looking at him.

 

 Steve shrugged, “Fine, do I owe you thanks for getting me out?”

           

 

 

“No, it was the Hulk that got you out,” they were joined by Natasha, bow slung on her shoulder.

 

Steve blinked surprised, “Hulk?”

 

Bruce chuckled, “Yup ran through the mess, scooped you up and got you to safety.”

 

"Then returned to finish the fight," Clint joined them as well looking rather unconcerned by the day-long fight.

 

Steve couldn’t help the smile that crept across his face, “Did he really?”

 

“A good fight companions, shall we feast?” Thor joined them then, and Steve got a solid backslap that made his knees buckle a little.

 

“How are you feeling Captain?”

 

Wincing Steve patted his shoulder, “Just fine.”

           

“Yeah, I could totally eat, let’s get Stark,” Banner cupped his hands. “Hey Doc!” he bellowed across the mess of people hurrying around. Steve turned in time to see a dark head pop up, and the final member of their ragtag group approached. Steve grinning until he got a good look at what the man was wearing.

           

“Is he wearing…” Natasha began, before Clint cracked a smile, “I believe he is.”

 

 Steve was still trying to process what he was seeing. Bruce wasn’t so tactful, he was roaring with laughter.

 

Tony joined with a frown, “What?”

 

“What are you wearing Doctor Stark?” Thor asked head cocking to the side.

 

Tony looked down at himself, dark hair pulled atop his head in a high ponytail. Steve trailed his eyes over the light pink shirt that was two sizes too small Mrs Captain America emblazoned across his chest, and the pair of snug, blue shorts, that were rather short.

 

“Who wears short shorts?” Bruce gasped out, still laughing,

 

Tony looked up cheeks rather pink, "It would be me apparently," he grinned good-naturedly.

 

Steve swallowed thickly, the others were razing him about the rather revealing outfit, but Steve couldn’t take his eyes off the tanned strip of skin that revealed as the snug shirt rode up, or the way the shorts showcased well-muscled legs. He felt the hot roll of lust shoot through him again.

 

“So, you coming or what?” Bruce was asking,

 

Tony rubbed his neck, “I should stay and help out here.”

 

As if summoned a not so dead Coulson, appeared, “I think we got it from here Doctor Stark, all the priority is evacuated, Fury said you’re all stood down.”

 

With that, he left and Tony chuckled looking directly at Steve, "Guess I'm free now."

 

Steve grinned back, suddenly incredibly happy.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Tony stifled a yawn as he headed down the stairs freshly showered and clad in sweats. He could hear the others yelling in the kitchen, and smiled. He was tired out, being Hulk took it out of him he wanted to sleep, but his growling stomach wouldn't sleep until he ate.

           

Pushing his glasses up his nose he strolled into the kitchen the others already fixing plates from the mess of Chinese food Tony had ordered. Tony’s stomach gave another growl, as he made a b line for the food.

 

“Miss the shorts Tones,” Bruce teased, Tony flipped him off as he began heaping food onto his plate.

           

“Hungry Tony?” Tasha teased.

 

"Always," he returned absently as he joined them at the table, his plate comparable to Thor and Steve's. He made sure to sit beside the super soldier, knees close under the table as they ate.

 

Finished the others headed to the common room arguing about what movie to watch, as Tony helped Steve tidy up the mess. Alone they move silently around the kitchen, Tony still idly picking at some of the cartoons as they cleaned up.

           

“I ummm….” Steve started breaking the quiet, Tony stopped his pilfering of beef and broccoli to give him his full attention. “I was….ummm….I mean that is, today in the ambulance….” He trailed off and Tony sucked in a breath, the Hulk who’d been quite and dozy suddenly grew interested, perking up.

           

He looked bashful, rubbing his neck, cheeks pink, “That is I…” he trailed off and Tony held his breath.

 

 Suddenly lips were on his; the kiss was quick, and a little hesitant, Tony didn't really quite get his mind around what was happened before Steve was pulling away red as a tomato. 

 

“I’m sorry,” he gasped before bolting to the living room.

 

Tony couldn’t get the words out. He’d been taken aback, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been kissed… it had been a long since for sure.

           

“Tony hurry up!” came the yell.

 

As if in a trance, he walked into the living room. The others were waiting movie cued up and ready to go. He spotted Steve alone on the couch. Very deliberately he sat beside him… close enough to invade his personal space. He watched Steve out of the corner of his eye, pleased when the man smiled a small smile.

           

Happily, he leaned back against the couch their shoulders touching.  The move was starting the others already debating the finer plot details.  Tony closed his eyes, a small smile stretching his lips.

 

Chapter Text


 

 

Steve didn’t know what had posed to kiss Tony, but he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about him since the fight. If he was honest Tony Stark hadn’t left his mind since he’d seen him standing in the doorway of his cabin unusual eyes intense and a small wry smile on his lips.

           

Tony had even been on his mind as he’d aimlessly wandered the country trying to reconcile himself with this new modern era. On more than one occasion he’d wished Tony had been with him. He’d regretted not asking Tony to come along.

           

Steve was brought out of musings by a heavyweight slid into him, curious he glanced to where Tony was sitting, the smaller man seemed to have fallen asleep.

 

“Doc’s down for the count,” Natasha observed.

 

Bruce chuckled, “Being Hulk takes a lot of energy.”

 

“Hulk is a mighty warrior,” Thor observed.

 

Steve ignored them, as he carefully moved his, Tony, sliding down further, and Steve carefully pillowing his head on his thigh.

 

The others turned back to the movie, but Steve was focused on the warm body closed to him. His fingers itching to run through the still damp locks the man, he looked peaceful in sleep, and Steve was envious, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d had untroubled sleep. Before the ice for sure.

 

He glanced around the room, everyone seemed absorbed with the TV so he took his opening. Very carefully he settled a large hand gently in the man’s hair. Revelling at how easily his hand cupped the man’s skull so easily. It was hard to reconcile this small man with his powerful alter ego. Tony Stark just seemed…bigger.

           

A small smile twitched his lips, he supposed the very same could be said about him pre-and post-serum. His own yawn caught him by surprise, leaning back he relaxed turning his attention to the film, fingers idly carding through soft hair.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Hulk woke first.

 

The breaking bed woke Tony.

 

It wasn’t really waking up, it was more of a realized awareness. A sort of limbo where both he and Hulk shared consciousness. He could feel Hulk was worried, but he couldn’t figure out why. At first, he thought it was an attack but Hulk was moving slowly and carefully into the quiet, dark hallway. Tony vaguely wondered how he'd ended up in his bed when the last thing he'd remembered was sitting on the couch with Steve.

           

Hulk grunted moving towards Steve door, and Tony sharing Hulk’s awareness finally heard the rhythmic pounding coming from within. Hulk was reaching for the door, and Tony was trying to pull back. A sound like that could mean Steve was not in crisis but perhaps had company. Hulk snorted shaking his shaggy head before reaching out and pulling the door clear off the frame again. Tony really hopped Steve wasn’t with anyone at that moment.

 

Hulk didn’t like that thought.

 

Tony admittedly didn’t like it either.

           

His concern was needless however, Steve was alone, and he was standing before one of the bare walls punching it like he would a bag, Tony knew those walls were reinforced. Hulk was looking from Steve to the now blood-smeared wall. Tony didn't even need to urge him to help Hulk was already moving. Carefully he reached out big hands settling on broad shoulders. Steve grunted, without missing a beat he turned punching the solid green wall of muscle. Hulk didn't flinch.

           

“Cap,” Hulk growled, but blue eyes were dazed, Steve was still asleep. Hulk was at a loss, Tony reminded him of last time, and easily Hulk was sweeping the other man up in big arms. Steve struggled for a brief moment, before going limp in the strong arms as Hulk cradled him close.

           

Hulk moved to lean back against the wall, gathering Steve close and rocking him gently. Huffing quietly, he was instinctively pressing Steve close to his heart. Tony watched the proceedings, unable to do more than worry. This is the second time, and the second-time Hulk had taken charge.

           

Scientifically speaking Tony knew he and Hulk were one and the same. Hulk was a physical manifestation of his id. He was a being of emotion, and when he'd had the accident, if he was completely honest for a long time before that as well, his emotional state was one of fear and anger. He'd been scared and mad at his father most of his life, scared about the accident, mad and scared about Ross trying to weaponize him. However, somewhere along the way, he'd began to let go of some of that anger.

           

Sure, he was still angry, and sometimes the emotions got the better of him. The Hulk though was far more intuitive then he was, he related emotionally to the world, something Tony had always struggled to do. He had always wished he was better with his emotions.

           

Steve was slumbering peacefully now, relaxed and pliant. Hulk holding him close through the darkest hours of the night; protected in his arms.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve woke slowly, feeling warm, and rested. Stretching he opened his eyes, frowning when he realized he was on the floor of his bedroom. Confused he moved to sit up his hand coming down on something warm and soft…something that grunted.

           

Surprised Steve reared back realizing he wasn’t alone there was a warm body next to his own; thankfully a familiar one.

 

“Tony?” he asked thoroughly confused.

 

The other man was blinking awake, and Steve realized all Tony was wearing was a pair of torn sweat pants, that barely clung to his hips. Steve looked away trying not to blush.

 

“Ummmm….morning?" Tony offered to look sheepish and Steve found the look rather endearing on him.

 

“Morning,” Steve returned reflexively before frowning once more, “Why are you here?” Tony winced, and Steve kept going, “Why are we on the floor?”

           

Glancing around the room he found another question falling from his lips as he spotted the blood smeared wall, “What happened?!” he knew he was getting worked up, but he was waking up on the floor with a barely clad Tony Stark, and had no recollection of what or how it had come to be.

           

Tony was holding up his hand placating, “It’s not what it looks like, he heard something and came to check on you,” Tony explained calmly.

 

“He?” Steve was lost already.

 

“Hulk,” Tony clarified, “Hulk heard you and came to check on you and we found you punching the wall.” He gestured towards the blood smears on the wall.

 

Steve looked down at his knuckles, they were perfectly fine. "I was hitting the wall?" he asked blankly, straining to remember.

 

Tony nodded slowly, “Yeah,” he said softly.

 

‘I don’t…I don’t remember….” He trailed off suddenly anxious again.

           

Gentle hands were reaching for him, carefully Tony pulled apart his clasped fists. “Why don’t I remember?” He looked into unusual eyes, pleading. Why couldn’t he remember?

 

 

“Steve it’s ok,” Tony was speaking softly, and calmly, as if Steve was some scared kid, and damit if it wasn't working. "Steve, you were sleepwalking again."

 

Steve caught onto one word. “Again?”

 

Tony sighed, he took both his hands in his own, “The last time we had a call, I was up on the roof and you came…” he trailed off.

 

Steve was trying to process this information, he had no recollection of any of this.

 

“Steve,” he looked towards Tony, suddenly feeling outside himself, like everything was happening to someone else. “Steve, when you woke…did they…did they talk to you about PTSD?”

           

Tony’s voice was still soothing and soft, Steve furrowed his brow, he recalled it was in the readings, “Flashbacks, nightmares….” He whispered Tony nodded slowly.

 

“But I don’t feel bad, usually when I wake up I’m cold and my head hurts but today….” He trailed off, realizing perhaps why he was feeling the way he was.

           

“I should go,” Tony mumbled gathering up what was left of his pants.

 

Steve suddenly didn’t want him to leave…Tony was halfway across the room when Steve found his voice.

 

“Dinner!” he exclaimed. Tony paused looking at him curiously, “Ummm did you want to have dinner with me?”

 

Tony returned the shy smile, “Yeah, I would like that.” 

 

-#-#-#-

 

“What’s got you in such a good mood?” Bruce was giving him the side eye across the lab. Tony hummed shrugging, making notes on the calculations Bruce had him going over.

 

“Spill big man what’s going on?” Tony just grinned, “Does it have anything to do with Steve’s door being pulled off the hinges again?”

 

Tony narrowed his eyes as Bruce waggled his eyes suggestively, “No! Well…yes…” he corrected realizing how suggestive that sounded.

 

Bruce was laughing then, “So which is it?”

 

“No it’s not what you think, I just have a date with Steve tonight.”

 

Bruce still looked amused, “Sound’s intriguing where are you going?”

 

 Tony shrugged, "No idea Steve said to meet him at 6." 

 

Still grinned Bruce turned away, “So what happened to the door then?”

 

Tony returned the grin, “Wouldn’t you like to know.”

 

-#-#-#-

 

6 pm sharp found Tony hurrying down the stairs adjusting his suspenders. He'd taken far longer to pick an outfit then he would have liked. He'd changed about three times before settling on the outfit he'd picked; simple grey dress pants, and white dress shirt. He'd forgone the suit coat way too hot. Pulling on a pair of loosely laced sneakers he hurried down to meet his date, both horribly nervous and excited. It had been a long time since he'd been on a date, far longer than he cared to admit.

           

Rounding the corner to the elevator he felt the air leave his lungs all at once as he spotted his date. Steve was waiting, hands in his jeans pockets rocking on his heels. The deep blue dress shirt looked so good stretching across broad shoulders. The blonde head looked to him smiling shyly, “Hey,” he smiled,

 

 Tony returned the grin ‘Hey.”

           

“You look great,” Steve’s cheeks were distinctly pink, and Tony grinned grew wider, “Not so bad yourself.”

 

Chuckling Steve motioned to the elevator, “Shall we?”

 

Tony nodded, “Lead on.”

           

Steve took them to a quiet little mom and pop diner, the food was greasy and delicious, and the beer was cold. They chatted and laughed, long after pie and coffee. The New York evening turned to night, and it was fairly late when they finally left the diner. Tony couldn't remember the last time he'd had such a good time. It was nice to just be for a while, chatting about nothing, in particular, they headed back to the tower, it had been nice…so normal.

           

Even his other half had been quite in mind. He was at loathe to let the night end. There was an almost palpable tension in the air as they rode the elevator up. It buzzed and they stepped off in the common room.

 

“I had a really good time tonight,” Steve was saying softly.

 

Tony grinned, “Me too.” 

 

The quite settled on them and Tony wished he could give voice to all those feeling bubbling around in his chest. He'd always been bad when it came to his emotions, Hulk was suddenly on his periphery nudging gently, "I guess I should head to bed," Tony found himself saying softly, looking for something to fill the silence.

 

Steve nodded, “Yeah, I have work…” he agreed but didn’t make any move to go.

 

Tony couldn’t stop thinking about the kiss they shared in the kitchen, he really wanted to kiss Steve again.

 

“Yeah,” Tony agreed softly. Hulk nudged him harder and Tony rocked forward invading Steve’s space, the taller man seemed to take the initiative and suddenly they were kissing him again.

           

It was chaste, and over far too soon, Steve pulling away quickly, mumbling apologies. Tony decided to takes Hulk advice for once, he reached out grabbing Steve by the front of that obscenely tight dress shirt.

 

 "Not this time," he mumbled before tugging him back again and slanting their mouths together. Tony did care that he had to rock onto his toes or that Hulk was watching with curious intensity, Steve's lips were sweet and warm and that was all that mattered. 

 

He felt Steve wrap strong arms around him, gathering him close, and Tony was melting. It had been so long since he’d felt like this, the warmth and connection of someone. He didn’t want it to end.

           

Head spinning, they parted long moments later, Tony smugly looking over Steve’s dishevelled appearance. Kiss stung lips, and face a little red no doubt from the rasp of Tony’s scruff. Steve was smiling at him, drawing him close to rest their foreheads together.

 

“Wanted to do that for a while,” he confessed.

 

Tony hummed, Hulk purring in his mind as he returned the embrace. “I’m glad you did,” Tony whispered back. The stood longer in the darkened hallways, kissing and murmuring to each other, pressed close, neither wanting to move.

           

“Should we….should we take this to the bedroom?” Steve was asking but his tone was a little hesitant and unsure.

 

Tony, rubbed big arms comfortingly, "If you want, but there's no rush Steve," he kissed his nose the big man grinned. Steve kissed him again, harder, crushing him close.

 

"Thank you," he murmured against his lips, Tony all too happy to continue their heated make-out session.

           

He couldn’t stop touching Steve, caressing big arms, across his broad chest, keeping everything as PG as he dared. He hadn’t been lying to Steve, he was in no rush at all. He’d been fantasizing about Captain America for as long as he could remember.

           

Sometime later they finally headed for their rooms, stopping to kiss every few steps. Steve was enthusiastic, and Tony could help but reciprocate. When they finally reached Tony's door. The night was heading closer to dawn. Tony had to work at the clinic in the AM but he was used to functioning on little sleep.

           

“I should let you sleep,” Steve mumbled kissing him again.

 

Tony chuckled against his lips “I’ll live.”

 

With one last deep kiss, Steve seemed reluctant to pull away, and Tony wanted to ask him to stay.

 

“How long are you working tomorrow?” Steve asked suddenly.

 

Tony grinned, "Should be done by 6 tomorrow."

           

“I’ll pick you up for dinner,” the big man blurted, suddenly ducked his head, “If that ok?”

 

Tony knew he was grinning like a teenager in the throes of his first love, but he couldn’t seem to bring himself to care, “I’d like that.”

 

Steve gave him one last kiss then, “Goodnight Tony,” he whispered.

 

“Goodnight Steve” he returned.

           

Steve finally turned then, heading back to his newly repaired door, and Tony turned heading for his own bed, doubting he’d be able to sleep at all.

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

 

Steve kept glancing from the trainees to the clock, and back again heaving an irritated sigh every time.

 

“Staring at it’s not gonna make it go faster,” Tasha teased him as she landed gracefully, flipping easily from her perch.

 

“I’m not staring,” Steve muttered.

 

The archer rolled her eyes, “And Clint is a comedian.”

 

“I am very humorous,” Clint joined him, expression as deadpan as ever.

 

Tasha rolled her eyes before, turning her curious gaze back to Steve, “What’s your big hurry anyway?”

 

Steve shrugged trying to be casual.

 

“He has a date with Anthony,” Clint supplied.

           

Natasha punched his arm none to gently, “Get out!”

 

Steve winced rubbing his arm.

 

“It is their second date,” Clint added,

 

Steve stared at the stoic spy, how the hell did Clint know

 

“Must be hard though,” Natasha was saying them.

 

Steve sighed, he really didn’t want to ask, “Hard?”

 

Clint explained, casually picking a piece of non-existent lint from his uniform, “With Doctor Stark’s condition.”

 

Steve frowned, “Why would that be a problem?”

 

Natasha eyes him curious, “You’re not worried about him you know….in the middle of….” She trailed off eyebrows waggling suggestively.

           

Steve hadn’t even thought of that, but last night… his thought trailed off and he hoped his cheeks weren’t as red as he thought they were.

 

“Hulk seems to like Steve,” Clint mused. Steve couldn’t believe they were even talking about this.

 

"Yeah, but could you imagine?" Natasha was talking to Clint now, and the man replied in Russian nose wrinkling. She rolled her eyes replying in kind. Steve had a sneaking suspicion they were talking about him and his non-existent sex life.

           

Not that he had a whole lot of experience with relationships before going into the ice. Furtive encounters with both men and women, but nothing to write home about. Admittedly he was an old-fashioned type of guy he wanted a connection with someone not just a roll in the hay. He already felt like had a strong connection to Tony. Secretly he’d been thankful when Tony had been so understanding last night. He’d meant it when he’d invited him to his room, but he’d been a little hesitant, unsure if he’d wanted things to go further or if he just wanted Tony close.

           

“I’m just saying, maybe Steve should be careful,” Natasha said,

 

“Steve is an adult, he knows what he does,” Clint reasoned.

 

Steve sighed, “Yes thank, I think we’ve discussed my life enough for one day thanks.”

           

Frustrated he glanced to the clock again, wanting to yell in frustration when he noted so little time had elapsed, he felt like they’d been standing here forever.

 

“Hawkeye, Widow, Captain,” Coulson was approaching, looking all business.

 

“We have a call.”

 

-#-#-#-

 

"Call it Cap," Bruce was in his ear, and Steve was trying vainly to keep it together. They were somewhere in the Alps, having just finished fighting something, dammed if Steve knew what it had been. Some sort of scientist with genetically engineered snow beasts. About halfway through the fight, a fearsome storm had rolled in. The driving snow and bitingly cold temperatures were taking their toll on Steve.

 

Gritting his teeth to keep from chattering, he called the roll;

 

“Banner?”

 

“Aye Cap.”

 

“Thor?”

 

A bolt of lightning and the man was landing beside him, “Present,”

 

“Barton?”

 

His response was a “Da,” and Steve had no idea what to do with that.

 

“Romanov?”

 

"Circling Cap," she replied sounding cheery, and, why shouldn't she? She got a ride around in the Quinjet.

 

"Anyone seen Hulk?" he asked the others, seconds before an echoing roar drew his attention. It had been clear from the outset of the call that Hulk would be a necessity out here. Tony had just smiled softly jumping off the jet with them into the snow-covered mountains.

           

“Hulk!” Steve tried yelling into the freezing air, the wind whipping him hard and carrying his voice away as he shivered in his suit. The cold was making his movements sluggish and slow, his mind unable but remember. The ice was creeping across him again, and he was absolutely terrified of being left alone in the cold again.

 

“Hulk?” he tried again, trying not to let the fear creep into his tone, but his voice warbled a bit. The roar came again much closer, and Steve strained his eyes the darkness, despite to spot him.

           

"See him?" Bruce landed nearby, and Steve shook his head, trying not to let his teeth chattered audibly.

 

“No,” he answered. He inhaled the freezing air, ready to yell again when suddenly he was there, materializing out of the darkness. A green juggernaut huffing and puffing as he made his way towards them.

 

“Hulk,” Steve breathed as the big man slid to a halt before him, massive chest heaving in exertion, and a terrifying grin on his face.

 

“Cap,” Hulk growled.

 

Steve reached out to pat a massive arm, as he smiled at him wanly,  “Hey big guy.”

           

Reaching up he cupped his ear, “Ready for retrieval Hawkeye.”

 

“Roger that Cap, I’m fifteen minutes out.”

 

Steve bit back the curse, and Bruce sighed, “Cold as hell out here,” he complained.

 

Clint looked casual, “Much like Russian winter,” he muttered unruffled by the freezing temperatures.

 

Thor laughed heartily apparently not bothered by the snow either.

 

Steve tried hard to mask his discomfort, Thor was telling some sort of story about frost giants, and Steve was barely paying attention as he shifted subtlety trying to stay warm. Suddenly there was a warmth pressing into his back and two large arms were planted firmly on either side of him. Hulk was standing over him radiating heat like a blast furnace. Steve looked up grinning as a shaggy head looked down returning the grin.

 

"Thanks," Steve said softly, his trembles stilling. Sighing he leaned back against the broad chest, listening with half an ear to the others. Thor was now regaling them with a more raunchy tale, Clint looked passive as usual, but Bruce was egging him on.

           

It was a few moments later when they heard the whine of the engines and the jet was touching down. Natasha leaned nearby, and they shuffled towards the gangplank. Steve reluctantly moved away from Hulk, giving a big arm a pat. They moved towards the plane and as they did, Hulk began to shrink, skin and bone twisting and shifting in a rather unpleasant way. Steve was amazed, suddenly Tony was back and almost nude. The pants he'd been wearing barely clinging to slender hips. Steve couldn't help but grin as the man cursed holding onto the fabric for dear life.

           

“Ok?” Steve asked as they stepped aboard the plane, Tasha already closing up and preparing for take-off.

 

"All good," Tony answered as he padded over to his bag, quickly slipping on a new pair of sweats. Steve watched curiously as he sat then, leaning back against the hull.

           

Steve joined him, eyes panning across the broad chest of his friend. Unable to help himself, his gazed skittered across well-muscled skin, sprinkled with dark chest hair.

 

“Hot,” Tony said, rolling his head to grin at Steve.

 

The man blinked chuckling, “You must be kidding it’s freezing.”

 

Tony shook his head returning the grin, “Irradiated,” he said.

 

Steve settled beside him shoulder touching. Tony was right, he was incredibly warm, the man seemed to throw off heat. Steve glanced around, the others had moved forward to settle on the chairs, Clint silently taking a seat beside Natasha as the piloted back towards the tower.

           

Steve turned back to Tony as he felt a weight slump into him, Tony looked for all world like he was sleeping despite the plan jittering and bouncing in the snow storm. Steve leaned into him pressing a soft kiss to a sweaty temple. Tony grinned, reaching out a warm hand he curled his fingers in Steve’s.

 

Steve smiled softly, apparently, he wasn't asleep.

-#-#-#-

 

Tony stared at his bed, swaying ever so slightly on his feet. His body ached, his belly was full, and all he wanted to do was stretch out on that down-filled comforter and sleep away the next day. Mind you said sleep would have been better if a certain blonde hair blue eye super soldier was with him, but he'd been hesitant to ask, not wanting to pressure. Steve hadn't asked either. So, they'd parted after dinner, everyone too tired to watch a movie.

           

Hulk was restless in his head, probing and prodding when he should be sleeping. Being Hulk, and switching back and forth took it out of both of them. Tony sighed rubbing his face, feeling his scuff rasp against his fingers.

 

“What?” he finally said aloud realizing he was talking to his other half.

           

Hulk was prodding him to head back out to the hallway, groaning Tony clenched his teeth irritated but going all the same. He followed the other until he stood before Steve’s door. Tony raised his eyebrows, was Hulk trying to tell him something?

 

He shook his head, "I can't," he mumbled turning to leave. Hulk was an insistent buzzing and nudging. Tony groaned, "Fine!" he growled back, instead of knocking he sat down beside the door in the hallway.

           

Hulk wasn’t completely happy but he was at least satisfied, and Tony was irritated. There was a perfectly comfortable bed just down the hallway. Leaning his head back he closed his eyes, he’d just rest here for a few minutes, make Hulk happy, then he’d go to bed.

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Tony woke in the darkened hall, as Steve threw open his door. Startled he was wide awake and alert right away, Steve stumbled into the hallway, taking no notice of Tony from his position on the floor.  Worried he hurried to his feet, Steve was mumbling moving erratically down the hallway. Hulk was up as well prodding him forward, a feeling of worry and concern.

           

Tony moved forward, “Let me try,” he whispered to himself or Hulk he wasn’t sure.

 

He managed to catch up to the fumbling figure just before he reached the common area, gently he reached out laying soft hands on his shoulders. He managed to duck the clumsy right hook that was thrown his way.

           

“Easy, Steve it’s me,” he soothed, not surprised that Steve was ice cold.

 

Damit he should have realized the fight today in the snowstorm would only exacerbate it, Hulk felt like a ball of smug. Tony just grunted as he steered Steve back his room, speaking softly and calmly. He didn't have a lot of experience with sleepwalking, but he did remember that he needed to be calm, touch them little, and try to get them back to bed. 

           

He kept up a steady stream of chatter, “That’s right sweetheart, you’re doing so well,” the endearment slipped out, and Steve calmed, his frenetic movements slowed.

 

Tony frowned, “Careful love, easy now,” Steve made a soft nose following Tony’s lead as he navigated him into the bedroom. Something tugged at his mind, and Tony, ever the scientific mind tried something.

 

“Lay down Steve,” he said gently. The big man hesitated, “Lay down love,” he tried again and Steve went willingly moving into the bed of tousled sheets.

           

Tony couldn't help the stupid smile split his face, "Going to cover you up to love, you're cold," he explained as he pulled the ridiculous number of blankets that Steve had on his bed around him. Steve murmured content and Tony tucked him in, but his big frame continued to shiver. Undecided he stalled by the bedside, debating internally with himself and Hulk. Hulk was saying stay; his head was saying he shouldn't. Reasonably though it would be easier to keep an eye on Steve if he stayed in the bed with him.

           

“Right,” he mumbled moving to the other side and sliding in under the blankets with Steve. Immediately Steve was rolling into him nestle his face into Tony’s chest, wrapping big arms around his middle.

 

Steve gave a small whimper and Tony shushed him, “It’s ok love,” he murmured he ran a hand through soft blonde hair. Tony closed his eyes ignoring the supremely smugly content Hulk in his head.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve woke feeling so deliciously warm and content, he sighed softly burring his face deeper into the warmth in no hurry to move. Usually, he was up and ready to work out but not today. Today he felt like he could sleep all day.

           

A warm hand ran through his hair then and suddenly Steve realized he was not alone. Surprised he looked up, Tony was there smiling at him, looking sleep rumpled and wonderful.

 

“Morning,” he said, that sweet lopsided smile Steve was growing to adore on his face.

 

 Steve returned the grin, “Morning,” he mumbled before a frown knitted his brows. He was sure he’s gone to bed alone last night, he’d wanted to ask Tony to stay but had been unsure. Their relationship was new and fragile, he hadn’t wanted to rush anything.

           

A gentle thumb smoothed his brow, "You were sleepwalking again,”  Tony offered, and Steve felt his cheeks heat embarrassed.

 

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled.

 

Tony snorted, “No reason to be, glad I was able to help.”

 

He pressed a kiss to Steve’s nose, Steve grinned cheeks heating for an entirely different reason.

           

“Hate to break the mood but I’ve had to pee for a while now,” Tony wrinkled his nose and Steve hurried to release him.

 

“I’m sorry!”

 

Tony patted his arm, “Nothing to be sorry for.”

 

Steve watched as he slides out of bed, the shorter man was wearing blue boxer briefs that were hugging him in all the right places, and grey Stark Industries shirt, that was ringed in dark sweat stains.

           

Steve frowned as he disappeared into the on suite, what was wrong with him? He had never slept walked before….at least not that Bucky had ever told him he had. Mind you before the serum he'd had pretty much everything under the sun, but not sleepwalking. So why now?

 

"Penny for your thoughts," Tony stood in the doorway of the bathroom looking far to handsome so early in the morning.

 

“Just trying to reason why,” he mumbled slumping back into bed.

 

“Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die,” Tony returned to the bed joining him, Steve felt a little sad as he just laid down on top of the covers instead of getting back under with him.

 

“Who said that?” Steve asked.

 

“Tennyson.”

 

Steve hummed looking up at the ceiling, “What are you doing today?” he finally asked.

 

Tony lay beside him looking up as well content in the quit, “Dunno, probably get dragged to the lab with Bruce, but I’m off from the clinic for the next few days.”

 

Steve mulled the information around, “Do you want to explore New York with me?”

 

A warm hand slipped into his, “Of course.”

 

-#-#-#-

 

Tony couldn't remember having a better time. They did everything touristy they could think of. Visiting museums, going to shows, eating at places the internet recommend as the best New York had to offer. Once upon a time, Tony would have found this tedious, but his time on the run had given him an appreciation for slowing down a little. The world was a fragile thing.

           

They spent a wonderful three days together, doing all the things couples do. Tony had never been big on PDA, but Steve seemed to crave touch. Steve had said let slip he hadn’t been involved in many relationships, and once he’s realized that it was ok to hold hands, and show affection to another man he hadn’t been able to get enough. Tony didn’t mind, and the Hulk certainly didn’t, and if it made him happy to hold his hand or steal a kiss here and there all the better.

           

Tonight though, Tony had pulled out all the stops, he’d asked Bruce to get him a reservation at a ritzy place. He’d also finally decided to spend some of the money his father had willed to him, he hadn’t touched a dime since the bastard had died. It gave him pleasure now to spend in on Steve, his father was no doubt spinning in his grave.

           

They had both dressed up tonight, Tony trying to be stylish, he was nowhere near Bruce’s level but he thought he managed to throw together an outfit. He’d be lying if he hadn’t been pleased when Steve had loved his Captain America bow tie.

 

The place was quiet and dimly lit, the food and wine were excellent, and as the talked quietly holding hands in the candlelight. Tony thought that this was the happiest he could remember being since his accident. Hell, even before that if he was being honest.

           

 

“I ummm….I wanted to ask you something if that was ok?” Steve suddenly looked serious in the soft light. Tony nodded, wondering what was on his mind, a jumble of potential questions raced across his mind and he steeled himself.

 

“Why umm…that is Bruce had said,” Steve sighed looking vexed.

 

Tony rubbed his knuckles comfortingly, “Bruce said?” he prompted.

           

Steve let out a puff of air, "Bruce had said when you had your ‘accident' you were trying to recreate the super soldier serum." Tony blinked, that was not what he'd been expecting.

 

“Oh yes, yeah, gamma rays.”

 

Steve looked confused so Tony tried to explain in as plain as language as possible, not that he thought Steve couldn’t grasp it but Howard had always tended to talk over people and he’d always found it condescending.

 

"We were trying to replicate what Erskine had done, and I was young, and naïve, full of myself," he gave Steve a grin, "If you can imagine." The blonde soldier chuckled, "I didn't want to wait through the trials, I thought I had the answer and the easiest way to was to try It on myself."

 

He left off the part where he'd wanted nothing more in life than to be like Steve. How he'd hero worshipped him since he'd understood what Captain America was, and how much he'd wished he'd been there to save him from Howard.

           

Steve looked thoughtful for long minutes, “I guess it worked,” he said and Tony couldn’t keep the surprise off his face.

 

“How do you figure?”

 

"Well, Hulk is a ‘superhuman', so successful." Tony chuckled, and Hulk preened.

 

“You’re something else,” he mumbled lifting a big hand to kiss the knuckles.

 

“My turn, why’d you step into that box of Erskine’s?”

 

Steve shrugged modestly, “The offered me a chance to do something, and to be honest I didn’t have a whole lot going for me.”

 

Tony grinned, “I still would have talked to you.”

 

Steve grimaced, “No…no you probably wouldn’t have, I was five foot nothing, and hundred pounds soaking wet. Also had every sort of sickness you can imagine.”

 

Tony waved his free hand, “Ask Bruce to show you pictures of me in school, never meet a bigger nerd them me.”

 

Steve grinned at him, blue eyes reflecting the candlelight. Tony could drown in those eyes.

 

“How come you didn’t tell me?” Steve blurted and Tony was taken aback, Steve looked abashed.

 

 “I’m sorry,” he began and he did look it. Tony squeezed the hand he held gently. He had been anticipating this question, and honestly, he was surprised it’d taken Steve this long to ask it.

 

“No, it’s ok, truthfully it was pure selfishness on my part.” He tried to be nonchalant but it was hard. “It had been a very long time since someone, well anyone hadn’t been scared of me. Ever since the accident people who knew tended to keep their distance. Not that I blame them, I am a raw nerve, no control, just instinct.” He looked down, he knew he was being a little dramatic but it was true.

 

"I was afraid that you'd be afraid of me, and I don't think I could bear that," he confessed, finally giving voice to the words that he'd kept close to his heart.

 

“Tony,” Steve said softly and Tony looked up into his eyes, “I know you would never intentionally hurt me, you or the Hulk.”

 

The words had more of an impact then he’d imagined, even the Hulk was silent and still, and Tony took it as a bit of awe.

 

Steve was moving than standing and tugging him along. Eagerly Tony followed, he honestly believed he would follow Steve anywhere.

 

They headed out into the night, and Tony felt as though there was an air of anticipation? He wasn’t sure if that was the right word, but that was the feeling he was getting. He moved as if he was outside himself as Steve lead back to the tower, pulling him close in the elevator and kissing the breath right out of him. Dazed he vaguely thought that Steve was getting too good at that before he realized they were tumbling into Steve room. The man with the plan was living up to his name, and Tony was very much onboard as Steve shut the door and shrugged out of his suit coat.

           

They didn’t say a word, Steve was kissing him again, fingers fumbling with the buttons on his vest, and Tony eagerly stripped him out of his dress shirt. It was a little frantic getting out of their clothing, but they managed and Steve was tugging him towards the bed. Grinning like a lunatic Tony followed willingly, Steve hit the bed, and Tony was tumbling after him.

 

When the alarm sounded.

They both froze looking up at the same moment, "You have got to be kidding…" Tony groaned poor timing didn't even begin to cover it.

 

Steve sighed pressing a kiss to his cheek he slid off the bed and headed for his suit, Tony sat moodily on the side of the bed staring daggers at nothing. He was pissed, whatever asshole was kicking up trouble…he wasn’t even going to wait and see what was going on. He was headed in guns blazing.

           

"Ready?" Steve was before, cheeks flushed, and lips were swollen. Tony groaned throwing his arms around the man's waist pulling in close and trying not to think about how his face pressed rather intimately to Steve.

 

“Do we have to?” he mumbled, a gloved hand ran through his hair.

 

Steve chuckled somewhere above him, "Yeah we do." Grunting in frustration he allowed Steve to pull him to his feet. He didn't bother pulling on any clothes, he was just going bust out of them anyway.

 

Still pissed he stalked to the door tugging it open he pulled the damn thing clear off the hinges.

 

Steve chucked as Tony sheepishly leaned it back on the frame, "Bruce is going to be mad…he just got that fixed."

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

Tony would be lying if he said he didn’t enjoy watching Hulk level a few thousand robots.

 

The others, save Steve, had been surprised when he’d stepped onto the Quinjet in nothing save a pair of oversized sweats. He's been planning to just go in his underpants but a red-faced Steve had talked him into putting on a pair of pants at least pants. 

           

Normally, Tony would hang back and wait to see if they really needed him out front, but when they’d touched down in the middle of god knows were, with thousands bug looking robots poured from a mountain, he’d had tried hard not to grin. He had been happy to have something to vent his anger on. Hulk had found it all rather amusing, Tony had not.

           

As far as Tony had seen Hulk himself wasn’t really a sexual being, he loved, but the sex part was of no real interest to him. Hence his great amusement over Tony’s internal frustration, but he did enjoy the smashing part. So, they smashed and wrecked their way through the horde.  Often, they would both lose time when they were in battle. Hulk would hyperfocus, and Tony would drift in and out. 

           

They really had no idea what was going on outside of their own destruction of the robots. Occasionally the others would appear, and a few times Hulk was running to help Steve when he’d got into a tight spot. At one point, they'd paused in the fight Steve was looking up at the sweaty, and tired, his face dark with soot from the fire that had been raging for some time. 

           

"Thanks, big guy," he was saying reaching up, and Hulk was leaning down to bump his forehead with Steve's. It was a tender moment amid the chaos, and for that breath, they shared, both Hulk and Tony were at peace.

           

It was short lived though, the fight raged on, and they were back into the fray. Smashing and destroying the small robots. Then larger ones when they started to appear, then some sort of giant one that took all of them to finally bring down.

           

They were roaring triumphantly as the robot lay still, and the sudden silence was deafening. There were no more foes, no fight left, and just like that the Hulk yawning, he was tired. Suddenly Tony found himself back in control and he shrinking and returning to his normal size.

           

Blinking he tried to take a shaky step before his legs gave out and he was sitting hard on the ground. Groaning he lay back on the sun-baked ground, closing his eyes he tried to get a grip on himself again. Coming back to himself was sort of like waking up with a hangover, his mind was muzzy for a bit.

           

“Tony?”

 

The voice seemed a thousand miles away, his body was aching and he was burning up.

"Tony?" the voice was closer and clearer,

 

"Ok," he croaked, god he was thirsty, and starving, his stomach rumbled as if on cue. With more effort than he wanted to give he opened his eyes, Steve was standing over him, head hallowed in the waning sun.

 

“M’okay,” he said slowly, painfully, rolling back to his feet. Steve helped him up and Tony sighed as what remained of the sweats slithered off his body leaving him nude in the darkening twilight.

           

"Here," Steve was passing him his clothes, and moving to position himself behind him, Tony assumed to give him some privacy.

 

“Thanks,” he mumbled pulling on the jeans, and Stark Industries t-shirt. He was going through a lot of them, but Bruce could afford it.

           

Presentable he looked he turned to smile at Steve, his mind finally clearing, he finally registered that, the man was looking at him with something akin to awe. That couldn’t be right, though could it?

           

"Steve?" he asked curiously, suddenly the man was before him, close enough he could see those endless blue eyes, and for one sweet moment, Tony thought he was going to kiss him.

 

“You where…you and Hulk were…” he trailed off cheeks red, and eyes filled with emotion. “I really want to kiss you,” he mumbled.

 

Tony arched a brow, “Why not?”

 

Steve glanced behind him and Tony final realized that they were not alone, the others were hanging back looking just as dusty and tired as Steve, and behind them was a mess of support personal SHIELD agents, military and everything else in between.

           

"Oh…right," Tony nodded with understanding, "We'll put a pin in that for later then." Steve was still looking like he wanted to take him right there and then. Reaching out Tony did take a big hand squeezing it with a smile. Turning they headed back towards the jet, the others coming forward to congratulate him.

 

“Impressive,” Clint was saying as he patted Tony’s back.

 

“Put us all to shame,” Natasha was grinning, leaning on her bow. 

 

“Show-off,” Bruce grinned widely faceplate on his armour flipped up.

 

Nodding he leaned into Steve, “What happened exactly?” He asked, unsure why everyone was throwing him wide eyes looks.

Steve threw an arm around him, “Tony, the Hulk had been fighting for two days straight. You guys barely took a break, I think you saved all of us at least three times each.”

 

Tony felt rather overwhelmed, and the Hulk was out cold missing all the praise he was getting.

 

“Oh,” he said wishing he could be a little more eloquent.

 

Slowly they boarded the jet, the others following, "There's a SHIELD compound nearby we can rest the night before heading home," Natasha was saying as she and Clint moved to the cockpit. Steve was steering Tony to sit with him, chuckling Tony wrapped an arm around the man and Steve slid into him.

           

His stomach chose that moment to vocalize its need for food. Steve huffed a chuckled,

 

“Hungry?”

 

Tony kissed his sweaty temple, “Starving.”

 

-#-#-#-

 

Tony had a plan; eat, shower, and sleep. He was really hoping the latter would be with Steve. Unfortunately, by the time he'd eaten, some of the medical staff had found him. They'd asked if he wouldn't mind looking at a few of the injuries of the agents coming in.

           

Nodding he'd finished up his plate, following them to the medical wing. Where he once again lost track of time, only to be found sometime in the early AM by Coulson who'd shooed him to bed. As he followed the agent Tony suddenly felt all his aches and pains, as well as disappointment. Steve was already long gone to bed, he'd missed his chance, and still hadn't managed that shower.

 

The little wide-eyed SHIELDling showed him his room and all but ran, Tony far too tired to care. Stumbling into the room he’d gone through the motions finally getting that shower, although he was pretty sure he’d fallen asleep standing up under the warm water.

           

Eventually, he was heading for the bed when his sleep-deprived mind reminded him that perhaps there was another place he needed to be. He really, really, really wanted to sleep in a bed. But he was suddenly worried about Steve. History showed that after a fight Steve had a habit of sleepwalking, and he'd be damned if anyone but him would look after Steve in such a venerable state.

           

Muttering and grumbling he grabbed a pillow from the bed and headed to the hallway. He had no idea where Steve’s room was, it was not near him that was for sure, they’d put him all by himself far away from anyone. Tony sighed, he didn’t blame them, they were right to still be wary of him. Hell, he was still wary at times.

           

He moved back into the main part of the base, after wandering for god knows how long, he’d asked the first agent he’d met where the rest of the Avengers were, and he may have been a little peeved. The kid had pointed down a hallway all but trembling. Tony had only felt momentarily bad about it.

           

Still cranky he'd finally managed to locate the others, all of them save him had been put in one area. Finding the room Steve was in he'd plopped down on the floor outside the door. It was hard to get comfy on the linoleum but he'd slept on worse, and at least time he'd remembered a pillow. Sighing he'd curled up, back pressed to the door, he'd know immediately if Steve opened it, and hopefully, he wouldn't get stepped on.

           

Closing his eyes, he tried to relax, the last few sleepless days finally catching up to him.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve couldn’t sleep, he knew he should sleep, despite the serum he felt weary and drained, and his chest ached like no tomorrow. He knew he should sleep, he needed to heal, but he couldn’t; all he could do was think about Tony. Watching the Hulk fight had been like poetry, and Steve was sure the only reason they’d survived was because of him.  And after all that Tony, as tired as he was, headed off to help in medical.

 

Steve closed his eyes, the image of a dirty, tired Tony Stark, barely dressed, looking up at him with a sweet smile appeared in his mind’s eye. Steve knew he’d lost his heart. He was so hopelessly, deeply in love with him it was embarrassing.

           

It had taken every ounce of his will power not to sweep Tony into his arms and pick up where they’d left off before the call had come in. He had hoped they’d at least sleep together but Tony had been whisked away to help in medical and Steve had reluctantly gone to bed alone.

           

Steve wasn't sleeping though. He was too keyed up wanting to see Tony, needed to see him. Standing he was out of bed heading for the door when he paused, he had no idea where Tony was. He figured medical was the place to start, then he'd track him down from there.

           

Plan in mind he strode to the door throwing it open with purpose, only to have a slumbering figure tumble into the room. Shocked he looked down as a sleepy looking Tony struggling to stand.

 

“Steve?” Tony asked carefully, his voice very calm, and measured.

 

“Tony? Why are you sleeping outside my door?”

 

 Tony exhaled, running fingers through his hair sheepishly. “I was umm…..” Steve could see in the dim light he was blushing. “I was worried about you,” he mumbled looking down.

 

 

Steve cocked his head, “Worried?”

 

Tony cleared his throat, "Yeah, after a fight you, well at least you have been sleepwalking."

 

Steve made a soft noise of understanding, “So you wanted to make sure…” he trailed off, realizing Tony was here for him.

 

His heart felt as if it would burst.

 

Reaching out he was gathering Tony close and kissing him for all he was worth. The smaller man didn't hesitate to return the embrace as they picked up where they'd left off. Steve was done waiting he wanted Tony and he wanted him now.

           

Steve tugged him eagerly back towards the bed falling back onto the stiff mattress and pulling Tony down with him. Steve felt Tony chuckle again his lips and returned the smile as they pressed close. Steve was eagerly stripping Tony out of his t-shirt, pushing on his pants, the smaller man giving him a crooked smile as he was stripped to his boxer briefs again.

           

Steve looked his fill, he'd seen Tony naked, he was pretty sure everyone had, came with the territory. But this was different, this was just for Steve. Tony was standing between his legs at the side of the bed. His expression was pure sex.

           

Steve sat up hiding his wince, as he kissed hard, flat planes of muscle, unable to help but nuzzle into the chest hair. He heard Tony chuckling above him, it felt good, good to have to so close. He felt clever fingers on his shirt then, mindlessly lifting his arms to help Tony divest him of his shirt. Completely ignoring the pain and pull of his chest.

 

“Steve!” Tony gasped and it wasn’t a sexy gasp, it was a worried gasp. Tony was pulling away then, turning on lights and gently laying him back on the bed. Steve cursed, he’d been close.

 

“Are you ok?” Tony asked softly, gentle fingers probing the mass of dark bruises that mottled his right side.

 

"Fine, totally, fine," he tried to be nonchalant reaching for Tony again. The man caught his hands kissing his knuckles before he turned back to the bruise. Steve shivered as warm fingers slid down his side, gently easing down the sweats he wore. Steve watched as Tony winced, already knowing the bruise extended down his hip. It was dark and angry, and truthfully it did hurt. He'd be thrown into the mountainside, and then pinned by a robot before Hulk had freed him. He was sure he'd probably broken some ribs but he'd heal, he always did.

           

 

What he wanted through was Tony, but the man hissed in sympathy as he gently probed, “Steve, why didn’t you say something?”

 

He shrugged, “Nothing to do anyway, what’s the point?”

 

Tony hummed, “You do have a point there.”

 

Tony was getting off the bed then and Steve tried hard not to panic. "Where you going?" he sat up too quickly and was unable to hide the wince this time.

 

Tony came back, hands held out placating, ”Easy, just getting some muscle rub,” he pressed a kiss to his temple.

 

He disappeared into the bathroom and reappeared with a tube in his hands, “Strip and lay on your side,” he ordered. Steve sighed, realizing this was not going according to plan wrinkling his nose before he gave in. Stripping to his boxers he lay down on his good side as Tony kneeled beside him.

           

“Not much we can do, but this will at least relax the muscles a bit,” Tony was all business now, he warmed the liquid on his hands as he began to slowly run warm callused palms down his side tenderly. Steve couldn’t help it, he groaned closing his eyes; it was heaven.

 

“Ok?” Tony asked gently, Steve hummed, unable to open his eyes and he sank further into bliss. “That’s ok love you sleep,” he heard Tony mumbled seconds before sleep carried him off.

 

Chapter Text


 

 Steve awoke safe and warm in Tony’s arms to the sound of Doctor Stark being paged back to medical. Tony groaned into his neck nuzzling into the warmth.

 

“No,” He murmured, the page came again, and the voice sounded a little more panicked. “Urgh," Tony was moving away then, and that wonderful warmth was leaving him. Steve turned sleepy-eyed, as he watched Tony pulling on his discarded clothing.

           

“Duty calls,” he offered Steve a smile before coming to gently probe his side, Steve glanced down as well the bruise well faded now.

 

“Feeling better?” he asked, Steve nodded. With a gentle pat a kiss on his brow Tony stood moving to the door, Steve watched as he turned to say something only to be stalled when the page went out again. Sighing he shook his head, “I’m coming,” he looked at Steve “See you later love.”

 

Steve managed to stutter out a goodbye, but he was overwhelmed with the warmth that filled him at the endearment. Flushing, he got up, feeling much better, crediting Tony’s ministrations. Showered and changed he headed out to find something to eat. Locating the cafeteria, he grabbed a tray spotting the others already eating he moved to join them.

 

“They lost Tony?”

 

He sat just as Bruce asked the questions.

 

“Apparently, he was not in his room this morning,” Clint explained.

 

“Oh, so that was the page then,” Natasha was eating with gusto.

 

"Where was he then?" Bruce sounded far too knowing for Steve's liking.

 

“I’m sure we could see on security camera,” Clint mused.

Steve choked on his coffee, Bruce turned to him eyebrow-raising, "Something to add Cap?" coughing and sputtering he shook his head.

 

“No, nothing,” he managed to get out.

 

Bruce looked like he wanted to say more but Tony dropped in front of them tray piled high with breakfast. Pleased Steve grinned, taking in the sight of his boyfriend. He looked every inch a doctor at the moment, he was wearing scrubs, and a lab coat; stethoscope around his neck.

 

“Morning,” he said cheerily to the others grinning.

 

“Doctor,” Bruce said teasingly.

 

Tony grinned back, “Doctor.”

 

“You’re a doctorate as well?” Steve asked.

 

Bruce shrugged, “Technically, I have a couple of doctorates.”

 

They ate then joking and bugging each other until Coulson appeared Fury wanted them back in New York for a full debrief. Steve wanted to punch something, all he wanted was to drag Tony back to bed and finish what they kept starting.

           

It was not to be however as it took the rest of the day to get back, go over the battle again, discuss and dissect until Fury was done with them. Finally, an eternity later, they were being released and given a two week stand down. Unless shit went sideways in a hurry they would not be called in. Steve took it, and with what he hoped was a meaningful look at Tony he slipped out of the board room heading for the exit. He was halfway down the hall when Tony fell in step with him, he glanced at the shorter man out of the corner of his eye, the doctor looked incredibly handsome in dark denim, and the snug blue t-shirt that featured Iron Man.

           

Steve waited until the elevator doors closed before tugging him close, burying his face in his neck and inhaling. He smelled so good, like outdoors after the rain, it was an earthy smell and Steve loved it. Tony returned the embrace, content to stay right where they were. The elevator dinged and they parted grudgingly. There was a car waiting to take them back to tower, Bruce was already headed to the West Coast he had a business to see to, while Tasha and Clint had something to see to in the city.

           

“Just us,” Tony murmured as they hopped into the dark SUV.

 

Steve could hardly believe their luck, empty tower, two weeks off….he could barely contain himself as the silent SHIELD agent drove them home.

 

 It felt forever

 

A warm hand took his and Steve smiled at Tony. The man returned the smile, and it full of promises.

           

The eventually arrived at the tower, and it was a hasty scramble to the elevator. Tony leaned a lean hip next to him in the gleaming meddle surface, “Did you want to watch a movie?”

 

Steve all but growled pulling him close, “Nope.”

           

Tony was laughing then, warm, and genuine; Steve loved the sound. The elevator landed on their floor and he was pulling Tony towards his room. Pausing when he remembered the door was still off. Tony laughed again tugging him further down the hall towards his room. Tumbling inside Steve headed towards the bed pulling Tony along with him. He hesitated then noting the mattress on the ground. Tony shook his head, “Long story.” Steve was curious but right now he had other things on his mind.

           

“Shall we try this again?” Steve was mumbling against his lips.

 

Tony kissed him back, "Third times a charm." It was Steve's turn to laugh, as they quickly shucked off their clothes, kissing and touching as if they could never get enough of each other. They tumbled onto the bed and Tony paused, "Are you sure Steve?"

 

The blonde wanted to groan he’d never wanted anything so much in his life. “Yes, please,” he was getting dammed near to begging.

           

With a deep chuckle, Tony was moving, kissing across his collar bone, Steve shivered the rasp of Tony's stubble felt good on his sensitive skin. He was kissing across his abs, Steve gripping the covers as Tony nipped at his belly button. Groaning Steve arched his hips as Tony slipped his underwear off, and he felt hot kisses trailing lower. He bit his lip, big hands moving on their own accord tangling in shaggy dark hair as Tony licked up his length from root to tip.

           

“Tony!”  he breathed, as the man swallowed him down. Steve groaned, it felt incredible. Tony’s mouth was hot, so incredibly warm. Tony worked him so wonderfully, it had been so long, he groaned.

 

“Tony I…” he trailed off gripped dark hair harder, as Tony managed to swallow him more.

           

Steve felt that tight curl pleasure wind through him, “Tony,” he tried again but it was too late, with one last arch of his hips he was cumming in that warm mouth.  Shuddering with post-orgasmic bliss, he felt Tony crawling back up his body trailing wet kisses as he went.

 

“Ok?” he asked before pressing a kiss to his open mouth. Steve hummed tasting the bitter, musky flavour, moaning faintly when he realized it was him on Tony’s lip.

           

Steve pulled Tony close, mouths and hands exploring, he could feel Tony’s erection pressing into his thigh hard and insistent. The want was building again, he wanted Tony like nothing in his life.

 

“Want you,” he murmured, already stirring at the prospect of Tony taking him, “Please,” he mumbled.

           

Tony kissed him fiercely once more, "You're killing me, love," he mumbled Steve felt him reaching past him fumbling with the drawer at the bedside. Curious Steve glanced over in time to see him get a bottle out. Tony gave him that a crooked grin, "Lube."

 

Steve went red, he knew what that was for. Tony was kissing him again, “You say the word and I’ll stop,” he mumbled kissing his way back down. Steve was feeling warm again, his erection once more eager with anticipation.

 

Tony was pulling away, “Turn over love,’ he mumbled and Steve complied, trusting Tony to look after him. He felt sweet wet kissing trailing down his back, shuddering and groaned, as the lips trailed lower, deft hands messaging his ass.

           

Steve squirmed and sighed, enjoying the attention until suddenly he felt Tony spreading his cheeks, gasping he was about to protest when Tony’s tongue licked a hot strip across his quivering hole and Steve lot his mind.

           

His whole being centred on Tony and his amazing mouth. Tony teased him mercilessly driving him to the edge before he was pulling away, and Steve was all but sobbing. He barely registered two slick fingers sliding into him stretching him with infinite patience.

 

"Tony!" he demanded, and the other man leaned down to kiss his back once more. Removing his finger Steve whined, before hearing the crinkle of a package, turning he reached back, stopping Tony's fumbling.

 

"Do we have too?" he asked breathlessly.

 

Tony groaned, “Nope,” he tossed it away.

           

Steve gave a breathy chuckle and Tony was rolling him on the back with surprising strength before tugging him towards him. Gasping Steve wrapped his legs around Tony arching his back. Hoping Tony was going to end this sweet torture, then he was sliding in and Steve was embarrassingly vocal about how good it felt.

           

Tony bottomed out and paused, Steve whined squeezing him with his thighs. Tony leaned down kissing him for all he was worth, pulling back slightly he grinned against Steve's well-kissed lips. "Hold on honey," he all but growled and he was pulling out and thrusting back powerfully.

           

Steve groaned as the slick sounds of lovemaking filled the room, he wrapped big arms around Tony pulling him close as they rocked together. Vaguely Steve knew he should be embarrassed about the sounds he was making but he could care less at the moment. All there was pleasure and heat. Tony was over him, in him, and he felt like he was burning from the inside out. Groaning he was cumming again, spilling hotly between them, and Tony kept going.

           

Panting Steve twisted his hands in the sheets, “Yes…please, oh yes!” His whole universe was centred on Tony. He wasn’t sure how long they’d been having sex but his lower back had a sweet ache, and there was a sticky mess between them.

          

‘"Steve," Tony was shuddering above him, hips stuttering in their rhythm. Steve reached for him, pulling him close as he kissed him as if his life depends on it. Tony gripped his hips hard enough to bruise, and with a low growl he gave a final thrust, and Steve felt Tony spill in him hotly.

           

With a groan, Tony was collapsing onto him, and Steve welcomed the warm weight. Sighing content he held Tony close, basking in the afterglow. They didn't move for long moments until cooling liquid forced them apart. Tony moved first pressing a kiss to Steve's already sensitive lips he gently moved slipping from him.

           

Steve couldn’t help but wince, he was a little sore but god he felt good. Tony rubbed his thigh soothingly, “Ok?” he asked softly.

 

Steve nodded utterly content, “Very ok,” he murmured leaning up for another kiss.

 

Tony indulged him for long moments before pulling back, "Come, love, let's have a shower." Steve felt a warm shiver run down his spine at the sweet promise in green ringed eyes.

           

Eagerly Steve took Tony’s hand following him into the bathroom.

 

Chapter Text

 

 


 

 

 

Tony hadn’t felt this good in a long time. Whistling he signed off on the chart with a flourish.

 

“Who’s the lucky person?” Lisa the Charge Nurse asked with a knowing grin, “Someone’s caught your eye.”

 

Tony tried to play it off, “Don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 

Snorting she shook her head, “You can deny all you want Doctor Stark, but I know all the symptoms.”

 

Tony gave her a half grin, “All the symptoms of what?”

 

She turned away then, chart in hand, “The symptoms of a man in love.”

 

Tony froze in place, her words found their mark. A man in love…Tony shook his head a slow smile creeping across his face, he'd been in love with Captain America since he was 16. He had to admit though, he only just recently fallen for Steve Rogers.

           

The thought followed him through the rest of his shift in the clinic; he loved Steve. They had been together now for a few months, and he couldn’t be happier. Even his other half was happy. Hulk loved Steve just as much as he did. He was there on those difficult nights when Steve needed him cradling him close when Tony alone could not keep the dark moments at bay. Together they loved him, more than anything.

           

Tony had always been bad with his emotions, poor at expressing them to those around him, poor at recognizing them in himself. He didn't want that to happen this time. Steve was good for him, for them, and he was going to make sure that Steve knew it.

           

Plan of action in mind he’d barely been able to wait until the end of his shift. He was going to do it right, they had been hesitant to give a name to what they were, but Tony was ready to throw caution to the wind. He bid farewell to the staff at the front desk as he headed out.

           

He all but ran to the Tower, he had to see Steve. He couldn’t wait, he needed to talk to him now. He needed to let him know his feelings, Hulk was egging him on, he agreed, it was important to tell people how you felt.

           

Swiping his card, he hopped in the elevator, taking a moment to smooth his collar and right his dishevelled appearance in the shiny surface in the door. Halfway presentable he stepped off on the common floor. 

 

“JARVIS where is Steve?” Tony really hoped that Steve was home, he knew he was supposed to be off early today.

 

“In the gym Sir,” The AI responded and Tony was hurrying back into the elevator.

           

Heading down he heard him before he saw him. The big man was working over the punching bag, and Tony felt his heart swell. Grinning he slowed, moving into Steve’s line of sight.

 

"Tony," Steve breathed, flushed, and a little out of breath.

 

“Hey,” he returned.

 

Steve straightened, catching the bag as it swung back to him. “How was work?” Steve asked.

 

Tony waved a dismissive hand, “It was fine, Steve I want to talk to you about something.”

 

 Steve frowned at him, “Is everything ok?”

 

Tony nodded, then shook his head, ”Steve there is something I need to tell you.”

           

Steve was giving him his full attention now, and Tony tried to swallow down the lump in his throat. Well aware he was wearing his heart on his sleeve, "Steve I-" his words were cut off as the alarm blared.

 

Tony wanted to scream in frustration, “No!”

 

Steve looked resigned, “What was it you wanted to tell me?”

 

Tony sighed shook his head, “It can wait…” he mumbled and Steve nodded.

 

“Ok,” he looked like he wanted to say more, but shook his head taking off for his suit.

           

Tony growled, he hoped to hell he got to smash something.

 

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve tried not to let his frustration show, but really this call was a bit of joke. They did not really need all of them out here, as a matter of fact, Hulk was pretty much handling it himself. Steve knew Tony had been upset about being interrupted, and Hulk seemed to be venting said rage on the large robot that was wobbling its way through central park.

           

“What’s up big green’s bonnet,” Bruce landed beside him, watching as Hulk pulled a metal limb off with a roar. Steve was curious as well, but he tried to play it off with a shrug unsure himself what was going on.

           

“Hulk seemed agitated today,” Clint joined them, materializing out of the darkness without a sound. Steve tried not to jump, Tasha joined them then, dropping out of a tree bow on her back.

 

"What'd you do to him, Stevie?""

 

Steve sputtered incoherently but was saved from answering when Hulk with a triumphant roar pulled the robot down with a resounding crash. Steve couldn't help the smile that crept across his face, the Hulk sure was something.

 

Slinging his shield, he crossed his arms, vaguely hearing the calls of the SHIELD agents as they gathered no doubt preparing for clean-up. Ignoring them, Steve tracked the big figure as Hulk finished with his destruction of the robot turned and leapt towards them. A few minutes later tearing back through the trees, the others calmly waiting for him.

 

Hulk was only a few feet away when Steve’s super hearing heard it, the faint click of a gun. 

 

"NO!" he yelled too late the Hulk was already roaring in confusion a massive hand coming up to clutch at his neck. Hulk only managed three more steps before suddenly he was falling, shirking and shifting.

 

Tony hit the ground hard and didn’t move.

 

Steve lost it.

 

With a roar of his own, he was through the trees after whoever had tranquillized the Hulk. He was more than surprised when it was a group of SHIELD agents, one of them looking horribly guilty. He grabbed the man by the neck lifting him clear of the ground as he demanded to know why he'd shot.

 

The man tried to reply but couldn’t manage around Steve’s grip of his windpipe, the others where quickly explaining he was new and panicked. Angry he released them man letting him tumble to the ground, coughing and clutching his neck. He could hear the others in his ear, they were checking on Tony, assuring him he was breathing, shallow and sharp.

 

Done with SHIELD Steve hurried back to check on his boyfriend, trying to tell himself he wasn’t jealous when he saw Bruce cradling him in his lap.

 

“We better get him to medical,” Tasha was saying.

 

Steve nodded leaning down he gently scooped him up, realizing for the first time just how small and fragile Tony really was. Hulk he was imposing figure to be sure, and as Tony Stark, he seemed to take up just as much space as his alter ego. Holding him close Steve hurried to get in the jet, settling in he felt Tony began to shift in his arms. Thinking he was coming around Steve exhaled relieved. Moving to look at Tony's face his relief was short lived. Tony's eyes opened but they were rolled back so far, Steve could only see the whites of his eyes. "Tony?" Steve said seconds before the man in his arms arched his back beginning to shake.

           

Steve was panicking, “Shit he’s sizing,” Bruce was hurrying over to help and Clint and Natasha made short work of getting them in the air and heading to medical. Steve worked with Bruce to make sure Tony didn’t hurt himself while he convulsed, holding him tenderly as he shuddered.

 

“Come on Tasha!” Bruce yelled, removing his armour.

           

Tony stilled then, and Steve was able to get the heart out of his throat. Bruce was more audible as he exhaled shakily, “Well that was-“ whatever he was going to say was short lived as Tony arched again and this time he screamed.

 

-#-#-#-

 

It hurt, good god it hurt.

 

His whole body felt like it was on fire.

 

 He was so hot, and thirsty, burning up from the inside out. It felt like he was back in the desert, the sun beating down on his skin as he ran from them. The men who would hurt him, imprison him, and force him to be something he didn’t want to be.

           

He sobbed, he didn’t want to run anymore.

 

Another spasm of pain rocketed through him, and he wasn’t in the desert anymore he was in a kitchen. He knew this kitchen, he’d grown up here. His mom had taught him to cook in this kitchen.

 

Mom.

 

His vision distorted and shifted, glittering crystals he couldn’t make still. He was hitting her, he was going to kill her.

 

Sobbing he reached out trying to scream at him, anything to stop him. His legs felt like they were caught in quicksand, his head snapped to the side as the blow landed and he tasted blood again. He fell, to his side, mom was trying to stop him from hitting him. She had a knife…oh god no.

           

Sobbing and pleading, he reached for them, trying to get up to run to her. He felt the knife buried in his collar bone and the pain exploded.

 

No, no, no….

She was so still, so pale….he reached for her.

 

He was back in the test chamber, the too bright, to like room. The gamma rays, oh god why?

 

He screamed once more his body ached so terribly, he could stand no more.

 

Then suddenly there wasn’t.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve tried to still his trembling hands, it had been a hellish 24 hours.

 

The cocktail of chemicals that had hit Tony with, were not only lethal to any human but had also reacted badly with the irritated doctor's system. He's been seizing, and delirious, screaming and crying. It had taken both he and Bruce in the Iron Man suit to hold him down at times as he'd thrashed lost in his own nightmares.

           

The worst though, the worst is when Tony had wept. It had broken Steve’s heart, he’d cradled him close whispering softly, lovingly wishing with all his heart he could take away whatever pain was causing this. Tony finally lay still and pale, and oh so small in the hospital bed.

           

Sighing he closed his eyes, the others hand come sporadically, Bruce the longest worried about his friend. Steve hadn't left his side, worried he would hurt himself in the throes of a nightmare. The doctors could do little for him other than give him fluids to try and flush the chemicals from his system.

 

Fury had stopped by and Steve had torn a strip of him as well. He hadn’t stayed long.

           

Shifting in the uncomfortable hospital chair, Steve reached out taking a warm hand, “Should have just gone to bed instead Tony,” he whispered softly.

 

“My thoughts exactly,” replied a husky, thick voice.

 

Steve squeezed the hand tighter, “Tony?” he asked hesitantly, slowly the man on the bed rolled his head to look at him, eyes open and for the first time since he’d be doused, looked like he was actually seeing Steve.

           

“Hey,” Tony was frowning his voice scratchy and misused.

 

“What happened?” he whispered then, moving his free hand to rub his throat.

 

Steve moved to grab the cup of water nearby, he held it still and Tony gulped some down.

           

“You were hit with a tranquillizer by an overenthusiastic SHIELD agent,” Steve growled, Tony nodded seemingly unphased with the information.

 

“Not the first time I’ve been tranquillized,” Tony grinned at him lopsided.

 

Steve growled, replacing the cup and taking a hand, “You won’t be again,” Steve vowed.

 

Tony gave him the sweetest smile, “Why does my throat hurt?” he whispered, looking as if in pain.

           

“You had an adverse reaction to whatever it was they hit you with.”

 

Tony looked thoughtful, “How so?” he croaked, and Steve started to tremble as he remembered.

 

“You were having seizures….”

 

Sighing Tony looked apologetically, “I’m sorry didn’t mean to scare you. “

 

 Steve snorted, “Not your fault, some trigger-happy newbie,” he mumbled. Tony’s smile was wan and fragile, his eyes fluttered and he looked ready to fall back asleep.

 

Steve was standing then tucking him in, “You should sleep more, you’ll feel better.”

 

Smoothing the sheets Steve felt a warm, surprisingly strong hand grab his arm, “Sleep with me?” 

 

Steve hesitated, he really should let Tony get some sleep. 

 

“Please?” Tony tugged his arm gently.

 

Steve relented, carefully he crawled onto the narrow gurney, pulling Tony gently into his arms.

           

He hadn’t slept since the incident, too worried about Tony. Now having him in his arms, warm and ok he pressed a kiss to dark hair. He felt a soft sigh against his neck, Tony relaxing into him.

 

Steve closed his own eyes, “Don’t scare me like that again,” he murmured drifting off as well.

 

Chapter Text


 

 

Tony shuffled around the kitchen still moving slowly as he filled his travel mug with coffee. Finally feeling more like himself today, it had been two days since the ‘incident’ as Steve was calling it, and it would seem whatever he’d been exposed to had finally worked out his system.  

 

He’d slept most of the second day, Steve never far away, but this morning the blonde had been forced to head into SHIELD grumbling and muttering the whole time. Tony almost felt bad for the kid that had pegged him, when Steve got ahold of him...

 

He didn’t bare the kid any ill will, but then again, he could only remember bits and pieces after he was drugged.

           

“Feeling better Tones?” Bruce entered the kitchen, wearing a dirty tank top, and filthy jeans, curls a wild tangle about his head.

 

“Yeah much, thanks,” he grinned sipping his coffee.

 

The inventor moved to get his tea “Thank goodness you had us worried.”

 

Tony sipped thoughtfully, “I can’t remember at all, just little snippets here and there.”

 

Snorting Bruce turned to him, "I've never seen Steve so scared when you started seizing it took two of us to handle you."

 

Tony winced, “That bad?”

 

Bruce eyed him worried, “The sizing wasn’t bad but….” He trailed off suddenly unsure.

 

Tony took a breath, “But?”

 

Bruce sighed running a dirty hand through dark curls, "The screaming Tony, it was heart-wrenching.”

 

Tony blinked Steve had never told him he’d been screaming, “Oh my god….”

 

Nodding Bruce moved to lay a gentle hand on his shoulders, "He stayed the whole time you know."

 

Tony patted his hand, “Thanks Bruce,” he mumbled.

 

Bruce squeezed gently before releasing him and heading towards the lab, “Rest Tones, work can wait until tomorrow.”

 

Tony snorted, “There’s always work.”

 

The other man just waved disappearing and Tony was alone with his coffee and thoughts. Hulk rolled in his head curiously, and Tony frowned; why hadn't Steve said anything to him?

           

 

Slowly coffee in hand he returned to his room pulling out his Stark pad, “Hey JARVIS is there footage from the hospital when I was brought in?”

 

There was a pause, “There is shall I play it for you?”

 

Nodding he watched curiously as security footage showed Steve hurrying with him down the SHIELD hallways.

 

“Audio?” he asked softly, and JARVIS silently obliged, he had thought Tony had been exaggerating but immediately he heard he was indeed screaming. He winced, rubbing his throat it hurt just hearing it.

           

He was about to turn it off, figuring he’d heard the jist of it when he heard himself screaming out words next.

 

Mom! Oh, god no!”

 

Tony stared at the tablet in his hands, his blood running cold.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve hurried home, he was eager to check on Tony. He’d been feeling better when they’d parted this morning, but he was still worried that he’d relapse. Being so helpless had been hard for him, he wanted to be there any way he could for Tony.

 

“JARVIS where is Tony?”

 

“Common area sir.”

 

“Thanks!”

           

Dancing from foot to foot he all but ran off the elevator heading for the common space,

 

“Tony?” he called confused space was dark and silent.

 

“Here,” came the soft reply from the far side of the room.

 

Trying to mask his worry he followed the voice, spotting the hunched figure at the bar. He paused to turn on the light, over the bar throwing the figure in sharp relief. Tony sat staring at a glass of amber liquid on the counter.

           

“Tony?” he asked softly sitting across from him wondering what was going on.

 

They sat in silence a long while, Steve wondering if he should prod when finally, Tony spoke, soft and hesitant.

 

“He always drank cheap scotch,” Steve froze staring at the dark hair, a wild tangle about the man’s head.

 

“No matter how much money he made, always cheap scotch.”

 

Steve looked at the glass on the table, eyeing it curiously.

 

“It had a smell,“ Tony wrinkled his nose, still staring at the untouched glass. There was a very heavy pause, Steve barely daring to take a breath. Finally, Tony looked at him, those impossible eyes ringed in green.

 

“After he killed my mom, and then he tried to kill me,” Tony said those awful words so matter of fact into the silence. Steve felt all the air in his lungs leave him, he didn’t need to ask who he was he knew; Howard.

           

Tony was taking a shaky breath, Steve wanted to tell him to stop and go on all at once. “He was angry at the world and he took it out on me and mom. One day she’d had enough, she took a knife from the kitchen….” He trailed off eyes closing in pain, his voice broken and soft. Steve felt his own heartbreak, he'd thought he’d known Howard Stark…

           

With trembling hands Steve reached out clasping Tony’s, his mind remembering Tony screaming for his mother in the grips of the drugs in his system.

 

“I’m so sorry,” he knew the words were hollow, nothing he could say would lessen the pain.

           

Tony squeezed his hands in return, “I thought you should know…I wanted to explain why. Bruce had said…." He trailed off voice threatening to break before he cleared his throat and tried again. "He said I was screaming.”

 

Steve nodded slowly squeezing his hand again. He could still hear those horribly broken screams in his head.

           

Steve wanted to say a thousand things, offer Tony reassurance that it would all be ok. The only thing he thought that truly mattered though he found falling from his lips. "I love you," he said, surprised when it sounded so confident.

 

“I love you,” he said again firmly.

 

Tony looked at him, his odd eyes swirling with unspoken emotion, he half grinned then squeezing Steve's hand, "You beat me to it," he said pulling Steve closer to him as he kissed him across the forgotten whiskey glass. “I love you too,” he mumbled against soft lips.

 

Steve grinned kissing him back. Things began to heat and suddenly they were moving away from the bar and the horrible memories towards Steve’s room.

 

They reached the door and Tony was pinning Steve to it as he kissed him within an inch of his life. Steve would be lying if he said he was finding it a turn on as Tony manhandled him.

 

With a growl, Tony pulled away, and Steve feeling a little dazed look at him curiously.

 

“Fine, I'll tell him," Tony snapped.

 

Steve frowned, “Tell me what?" he asked breathlessly.

 

Tony turned to him, as those eyes of his glowed green in the dark hall. “Hulk loves you too.”

           

Steve blinked processing that, before an easy grin spread across his face, “I love Hulk too.”

 

Tony was grinning and kissing him again muttering sweet nothings against his neck. Steve shivered deliciously wrapping his arms around the other man tightly as he leaned back giving Tony better access to his neck.

           

He could feel Tony fumbling with the door, trying to let them in, the door, however, wasn't coopering. Biting back a smile he kissed dark locks as he felt a growl rumble the chest pressed his own. With a shudder, the door was pulled clear off the hinges once more.  

 

They both froze Tony, groaning as his head dropped to rest against Steve’s chest.

           

Steve couldn’t help the laughter that bubbled up, “Bruce is not going to be happy.”

 

-#-#-#-

 

“Again! Really?”

 

Tony looked up from his work as Bruce stormed in looking more irate than usual.

 

“What?” Tony tried to feign innocence.

 

“I’m not fixing it again, you and Cap take your sex games to your room which has reinforced everything.”

 

Tony snorted as he took a swig of his coffee, “The bed wasn’t,” he muttered and Bruce froze.

 

“The bed…” he strutted looking at him in wide-eyed astonishment.

 

Tony contemplated explain that he’d broken it himself, but Bruce had been razing Steve lately so he just grinned.

 

“Didn’t hold up,” he explained innocently.

 

Bruce sat down hard on a stool, he blinked before sighing, “I have nothing to say to that.”

Tony hid his grin in his tumbler, and Bruce sighed running a hand through dark curls.

 

“There are things…” he shook his head giving Tony an inscrutable look, “I’m never sure when you’re joking.”

 

Tony laughed outright then, “Good,”

 

They were quite a while Bruce spinning designs, Tony working through the papers he’d ask him to look at.

 

“He’s been good for you,” Bruce said across the room, and Tony looked up curious. The other man wasn’t looking at him, his eyes focused on the screen. “Steve, that is, he’s been good for you.”

 

Tony smiled, wistfully, “Yeah.”

 

Bruce said nothing more and Tony returned to his papers, content in the quiet companionship.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Tony hurried down the stairs half dressed, “Hurry up Stark,” Tasha yelling as he rounded the corner the others already dressed and waiting for him by the elevator.

 

“I’m coming," he mumbled. Hurrying to join them as he finished tucking in his dress shirt in and pulled up his suspenders. Chuckling Steve moved forward to help him with his bow tie, grinning in thanks Tony shrugged into his vest.

 

“Suspenders?” Clint asked eyebrows raised.

 

Tony gave him a side eye, “Ever Hulk out wearing a belt?”

 

The blonde nodded thoughtfully.

 

“You ready?” Bruce finally looked up from his phone, dark curls haloing his head becomingly, looking impeccable in his tailored suit. Steve finished fussing with the bow tie as Tony smoothed the front of his vest.

 

“Yes, your majesty,” rolling his eyes Bruce called the elevator as they all stepped in.

           

“Been waiting on you forever,” Bruce mumbled.

 

Tony sighed, “Well if you told me we had to go to a gala tonight I would have left the clinic earlier.”

 

Bruce hummed purposely ignoring him as he looked at his phone. Shaking his head Tony felt a warm hand on his, Steve was grinning at him, and Tony didn’t care about anything else.

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve glanced across the room hearing a familiar laugh. His eyes were immediately drawn to the man laughing and chatting with Tasha and Clint. Steve knew he was smiling, Tony had that power over him.  Suddenly Tony was looking at him, those unusual eyes warm, and intelligent and just as mysterious as the day he’d appeared before him in that cottage in the middle of the Northern woods.

           

Steve was spellbound, he found himself moving across the room, standing before the man never once looking away from those captivating eyes. Tony grinned, and Steve found himself taking his hand and giving it a soft squeeze as he leaned close, “My room tonight?” he mumbled, feeling the shiver race through the shorter man.

           

Tony pressed a quick kiss to his cheek, "Better make it mine, Bruce is threating to take your door away completely.”

           

Steve laughed at that, full-throated and deep, "Yes that would be bad."

 

The rest of the night dragged as they were forced to speak to an array of people that Steve had no idea who they were, nor did he really care. It was all a blur, except for those green ringed eyes, Steve would follow those eyes anywhere. All the way back to the Tower.

 

Grinning he pulled Tony off the elevator and towards their rooms not caring the others watched them go with knowing smirks. At that moment, all that mattered was Tony. Glancing back he saw the wry smile Tony was giving him as he allowed himself to be dragged away. Steve didn’t stop until they were in Tony’s bedroom with the door closed and the lights on low.

 

Hungry he watched as Tony shrugged out of his suspenders, dexterous fingers unbuttoning his dress shirt. Steve hurried out of his own clothing, not caring when buttons flew across the room. All he cared about was the lithe figure before him, well-muscled and tawny, Tony stood comfortable in his skin in a way that Steve didn’t think he’d ever be.

 

Stripped to his own boxers he was on him, kissing Tony heatedly as his big hands felt to the trim waste tugging him once again onto the bed. Tony chuckled against his mouth, “You’re bossy,” he teased, and Steve felt him move to kiss his neck. Gasping he ran a big hand through soft dark locks.

 

“Yeah, I am,” he breathed as Tony kissed lower, pausing to lavish attention on Steve’s nipples. The other moaning as he arched his hips.

 

Chuckling Tony kissed lower when Steve stalled him out. Using his strength, he pulled Tony back up and flipped them easily so he was on top. Tony grinned at him arching a brow his hands gently massaged his hip bones. Steve wasn't sure what had got into him tonight, all he knew was he wanted Tony.

 

Wanted everything from him.

           

And he wanted it now.

 

Demanding he pulled Tony’s boxer briefs off all but ripping the material from his body. Tony laughed then, smiling warmly into Steve’s eyes. Steve leaned down to kiss him, reaching for the side table finding the bottle he was looking for as he kissed Tony for all he was worth.

           

Quickly he was coating his own fingers, reaching back quickly pushing them in, unable to help but moan into Tony’s mouth. Tony was kissing him sweetly, hands messaging his hips. Steve was done. He moved to coat Tony’s erection before he was rocking up on his knees and lowering himself onto his boyfriend. Steve hissed at the stretch, Tony was steadying him.

 

“Easy love,” he murmured but Steve was having none of it. Bottoming out he paused, leaning his head against his lover, feeling Tony kiss his temple sweetly as he murmured softly, lovingly.

           

Steve shifted and they both groaned, Tony’s hands tightened on his hips. “You’re going to be the death of me,” the smaller man groaned. Steve grinned widely as he began to move in earnest. Bracing himself on Tony's chest he rolled his hips, moving and shifting until "Tony!" he cried as his back bowed and stars exploded behind her eyes.

           

He lost it a bit then, as he ground against Tony, panting and moaning as he rode him hard. He barely felt Tony holding his hips, he cried again as he felt the familiar, tightness building. Panting he garbled incoherent as he rotated his hips, bouncing for all he was worth, erection bobbing before him.

           

Suddenly there was a warm, strong hand on him, and Tony was jerking him off so perfectly. With an inarticulate cry, he felt the tightness unwind and he was cumming hard spilling hotly across Tony and himself. Beneath him, he felt Tony buck against him, and warm wetness filling him. 

           

With a groan he collapsed forward, panting lightly as strong arms holding him tight. They didn’t move for long minutes, Steve content as gently hands caressed his back. Sighing he nuzzled closer, feeling a low chuckle rumbled against his cheek. “You’re going to feel that late love.” Steve hummed, eyes drifting close, feeling warm and safe.

           

Hovering somewhere between awake and asleep he was jarred out of his stupor by the alarm. Sitting upright quickly he winced as his lower back protested,

 

“Ok love?” Tony was there worried.

 

Steve kissed his furrowed brow, “I’ll be ok,” he murmured pressing a quick kiss to his lips and moving off the bed to grab his uniform, “Time to go.”

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve stared at his feet chest heaving, around him the commotion faded away. He was tired, god he was tired, and he hurt. The dust was settling but the cleanup was just about to start, and Steve just wanted to sleep.

           

The sun was setting again they had been fighting for a full day, and it had not gone well.

           

Nothing they had tried had been successful, his com had cut out only an hour in, and he hadn’t been able to communicate. Hulk had joined them soon after, and it had been a close shave ever since. He took a step forward and his knees buckled, as he pitched forward, Steve braced for impact on the unforgiving concrete only to stop midway. Suddenly he was being lifted into strong arms, and a familiar green face was looking at him tenderly.

 

“Hey big guy,” he managed with a weak smile.

           

Hulk grunted cradling him close, and for the first time since the serum, Steve felt dwarfed.

 

“Sleepy?” Hulk rumbled.

 

Steve nodded, “Just going to close my eyes for a second,” he murmured. He knew she should get helping, there was a lot more to do, but Hulk was so warm and so safe…

 

-#-#-#-

 

Steve woke in unfamiliar surroundings, startled he sat up blinking around in surprise before his mind caught up, he was in Tony’s room, in his bed and….

 

“Steve?” a sleepy mummer had him exhaling.

 

“Yeah.”

 

Tony sat up blinking, “Ok?”

 

Steve nodded, slowly laying back down, “What happened?”

 

Tony yawned laying back down as well, “You fell asleep, Hulk brought you home.”

 

Steve groaned, rubbing his eyes he rolled into Tony. “How long have I been out?” he murmured.

 

He felt a strong warm arm curl around him, “Almost 24 hours, you were pretty black and blue there. Took a hell of beating.”

 

Steve felt his eyes drifting closed again, he was warm and content in the embrace of his lover.

 

“Hmmm,” he murmured, he felt more than heard the chuckle of his lover.

 

“Sleep, I’ll be here when you wake,” he heard say against his temple.

 

“I love you,” Tony whispered and Steve couldn’t help the stupid grin that split his face.

 

“I love you too,” he returned already drifting off.  Steve sighed content, wondering how he’d been so lucky to find love in the arms of a man so kind, and yet so strong.

 

“You keep me safe,” Steve didn’t realize he’d said the words aloud.

 

“Naw that’s Hulk,” Tony returned stroking soft hair.

 

 Steve buried his face against a warm clavicle with a smile. "No, you're bigger than that,’ he returned as sleep claimed him, knowing full well Tony would be there when he woke.

           

Above him in the dark, Tony Stark smiled as he caressed soft hair, happy he’d left his cabin. He didn’t know what the future held for them, but as long as Steve wanted him he would be there for him. Him and his other half.

 

Closing his own eyes, he figured he might as well join both Steve and Hulk in slumber, it had been a hell of a long day.

 

 

End.