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How We Love (A Collection of Drabbles)

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Steve’s job is by no means an easy one.  Protecting the security of the free world isn’t exactly a 9 to 5 job, and as rewarding as it can be at the end of the day, it’s a constant weight on Steve’s shoulders.  

On particularly stressful days, Steve likes to go downstairs to Tony’s workshop. 

Some days, Tony will be so immersed in his work that the only acknowledgement Steve will get is a ‘hello’ and (maybe) a quick peck on the cheek before the genius is back to coding or wiring or… whatever it is he does.  But Steve just sprawls on top of the worn leather couch in the corner of the room and listens to the sounds of the workshop until they lull him to sleep, like the steady hum of the machinery in the background, or the subtle beeping coming from Dummy’s charging station. 

His favorite sound, however, is Tony’s running dialogue as he works: the way he mutters numbers and equations under his breath, the excited tone in his voice when he figures out a solution, the occasional curse when something doesn’t go quite the way he planned.  Steve especially loves listening to Tony’s conversations with JARVIS and his bots—Steve loves how little the man has to say to get his point across to his companions. 

In the workshop, Tony is always in his element.  It’s where Tony gets his best ideas, and where Tony creates his most brilliant inventions. 

The workshop is where Steve sees Tony at his happiest, and his most somber.  It’s where Tony feels the most accomplished, but at times, dejected.  It’s where Tony can be the most vulnerable—the most open and raw.  The workshop is made up of the innermost workings of Tony’s mind.

It’s where they throw popcorn at each other while watching old movies, and where Tony teaches Steve about the inner-workings of his armor.

The workshop is where Steve finds Tony after their latest fights to reprimand him for his recklessness, before noticing the bruises on Tony’s body and kissing them better. 

The workshop is where they fell in love, and Steve wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Today’s mission had been a relative success, but there were still some casualties—six, to be precise, and Steve thinks it’s six too many.  He takes the elevator down to Tony’s workshop, keys in his personal code, and trudges through the sliding glass door. 

Tony’s situated at his work bench, fine tuning something in one of the gauntlets of the Mark XLV.  His hair is in disarray, there’s a band-aid on cheek, and a dark smudge on his right arm.  The man looks up and peers at Steve through his safety goggles (which are so scratched that Steve’s surprised the man can see through them at all anymore) and he smiles.  Knowing the smile is directed at him—reserved for him--makes Steve feel lighter than air, like all of the tension was never there.

Tony puts his soldering iron down, strips off his gloves and goggles, and makes his way over to Steve.  He wraps his arms around the blond’s torso, and Steve buries his face into the crook of Tony’s neck, inhaling the scent of metal and a hint of ivory soap.

“Bad day?” Tony murmurs, rubbing Steve’s back.

Steve nods. 

Tony moves away to place a kiss on Steve’s forehead before taking his hand and leading him to the couch—it’s a much more worn now than it was when Steve first started venturing into Tony’s space.  

Tony pulls Steve down and situates them so Steve’s head is resting on his lap.

“Wanna talk about it?” Tony asks, carding his fingers through Steve’s hair. Steve’s gotten into the habit of leaving it a little longer—Tony had mentioned once or twice how much he liked it that way.  

Steve shakes his head.

Tony’s fingers pause momentarily. “Do you want me to talk about something else, then?”

Steve closes his eyes and exhales. “Tell me about your day.”

So Tony talks about what he did after Steve left for work.  He talks about what he had for breakfast (oatmeal and berries), and an article in a scientific magazine that he, Bruce and Hank had gotten into a heated debate over.  He talks about his plans for a new suit of armor, the upgrades he made to the quinjet, and the forty-five minutes he spent on his hands and knees picking up the hundreds of nuts and bolts that Dummy dropped on the floor.

Tony talks about how much he thought of Steve throughout the day (all day) and how much he misses him when they’re apart (a lot).  Tony talks about how much he looks forward to having Steve in his arms at the end of every day.

Steve doesn’t know when he falls asleep, but he when he wakes, the workshop is dark.  Tony’s on top of him, their bodies a tangled mess of limbs, and Steve can feel Tony’s steady breathing against his collar bone.

“Go back t’sleep,” Tony mumbles, burying his face into Steve’s neck.

Steve does.