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In the Early Dawn

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“Gotta say, I really didn't peg you as the family man kinda guy,” Tony hummed, accepting the pair of pyjamas Clint handed over the couch to him.

“Well, that was sort of the point,” Clint replied. “The less people know about them, the safer they are.”

“That's got to be a hard way to live.”

Clint just shrugged at him. “You find someone you love more than you love yourself, you do anything to protect them, even if that means protecting them from yourself every once in a while.”

“Hmm,” Tony nodded. “How did Mrs. Barton handle the whole Loki mind control stuff?”

“Better than I did,” Clint told him honestly, and then crossed the room to grab a few extra pillows and blankets out of a cupboard. “I didn't want to go near the kids for a while, in case he was still in my head somehow. It was... not a good time for me, or them.”

“But you're doing better now.”

“It doesn't go away. The fear, the guilt, it's all still there. You just... learn to live with it, I guess,” Clint sighed, handing the blankets and pillows over. “You're sharing a bed with Cap, by the way.”

“You know, I've got a pretty good, non-SHIELD issued therapist if you -” Tony paused, realising what Clint had just said. “Wait, I'm what?”

“Laura's orders,” Clint smiled ruefully. “We don't have enough room for everyone to have a bed to themselves, so you've got to double up.”

“I'd rather double up with Bruce than -” Tony sighed and rolled his eyes. “But, of course, he's shacking up with Natasha, isn't he?”

“Even you figured it out?” Clint whined. “How did I miss the fact that they're getting it on? Natasha is my best friend!”

“I don't think they're actually getting it on yet,” Tony shrugged, heading for the door. “If I know Bruce, and I do, the poor guy will be cock-blocking himself as we speak.” Holding his little pile of stuff up in thanks, he added, “Tell your lady it's her fault if you find me strangled to death in the morning.”

“I'll bury you next to my old favourite cow.”


“Can we please be grown ups about this?” were the first words out of Steve's mouth when Tony slipped into the spare bedroom they would be sharing.

“You mean you don't want to build a blanket fort, have pillow fights, and talk about boys?” Tony replied, dropping his pile of blankets and pillows onto the end of the bed. “I'm not the one in my tighty whities, Cap.”

It was true. Tony assumed that none of Clint's clothes had fit him, so Steve had stripped down to a wife beater and his underwear to sleep in. The guy's muscles had muscles; how were the two of them supposed to sleep in a single bed?

You know what?” he sighed, picking a pillow up and tossing it onto the ground. “It's fine. I'll sleep on the floor and you can -”

Tony, don't,” Steve shook his head, and then seemed to realise how quickly he'd replied. His cheeks spattered a pale pink as he glanced down at the ground. “I just... if you want to, of course. It's not the first time I've slept in close quarters with another man, after all.”

Tony bit back a childish “oooooohhhhh” and instead settled on a respectfully inquisitive look, not wanting to rock the proverbial boat of a friendship they seemed to be toeing around. Steve shrugged.

I had a friend back before the ice,” he murmured. “It used to be cold in our apartment; we could only afford one bed. It's fine, is what I'm saying. We can manage, right?”

O...kay,” Tony agreed, dragging the word out as he tilted his head to the side.

Snatching up Clint's borrowed pyjamas, he turned away from Steve and began to undress, feeling strangely exposed like he never really did while taking his clothes off. He heard the sheets rustle behind him and realised Steve must have been getting into bed; with a final tug, he tied the drawstring at the front of the pyjama pants and stretched a little, seeing how everything felt. The t-shirt was a little tight across the chest and the pants were a little long in the leg, but not too bad overall.

Turning back to the bed, he tried not to stare too long at the way Steve's hair stuck out against the pillow like he was a little boy, and instead moved forwards. After a moment of hesitation, he scooped his pillow up off the floor and slid into the bed. It was a tight squeeze; after a moment of awkward shuffling, they both realised the only way they would be remotely comfortable would be for Steve to spoon up against Tony's back.

Sorry,” Steve muttered against the back of Tony's neck, “I need to get my arm -”

Go for it,” Tony replied, shifting his own arm so Steve could wrap his around him. “It's fine, just – there you go.”

Sighing almost instantaneously, they settled against each other properly. Steve was tense against Tony; he awkwardly patted the arm wrapped around his waist to prove that there was really no harm done.

Relax, Cap,” he murmured, trying for light and friendly. “When was the last time you slept? We need everyone at their best tomorrow so we can figure this mess out.”

I know,” Steve whispered, his breath ghosting over the back of Tony's neck again. “I just... fuck, I -”

Language,” Tony replied automatically, and got a pinch in the side for his cheek. Rubbing the sore point, he added, softer, “It was the girl, right? The Maximoff kid? You've been quiet ever since; what... what did she show you?”

He felt Steve sigh against the back of his neck and couldn't help but shiver a little bit this time. Seemingly unconsciously, Steve pulled him a little closer and held his hand resting against where the arc reactor used to be. Not sure what was happening, but unwilling to move and ruin the moment, Tony held still.

She...” Steve let out another shaky breath. “Nothing, I... nothing. Just... what I left behind. Who I left behind.”

Tony, of course, had heard about the tragic love story between Captain America and Peggy Carter. Hell, most of it he had heard from the woman herself, growing up. Aunt Peggy had loved Steve, it was clear, and Tony was willing to bet everything that Steve's vision had been of her, too.

She used to tell me stories,” he murmured, and felt Steve tense up again behind him. Unable to stand it, he slowly rolled over and resettled himself on his other side, face inches away from Steve's. “She lived a full life.”

I know,” Steve nodded, closing his eyes as pain flitted across his face. “I saw her recently. She... yeah, she lived a good life.”

You just wish you had been there with her?” Tony asked, and the way Steve's bottom lip trembled for a moment told him all he needed to know.

I didn't have a choice,” Steve croaked, “and most of the time I'm fine with that. She was happy, and I'm... I'm useful, still. The vision just...”

Threw you for a loop?” Tony offered, and then, with a gentle hand, reached up and brushed a hand down the side of Steve's face. “Yeah, I get that.”

Steve glanced directly at Tony, but didn't ask him to move his hand. If anything, he leaned into the contact, eyes wide as if he didn't know what he was doing. Tony went to move his hand away again, unsure of the signals he was getting, but before he could Steve reached up and covered Tony's hand with his own, keeping it on his cheek.

I...” Tony swallowed heavily, mouth suddenly very dry. “Okay, tell me if I'm reading this wrong...”

Tipping his head forwards a little, he caught Steve's lips in a gentle, achingly chaste kiss. Steve let out a startled little breath, but then seemed to get his bearings and kissed back sweetly. Smiling against his lips, Tony gave him one last kiss and then pulled away just enough to speak.

That was okay, right?” he asked for confirmation, and Steve gave a slightly breathless, wordless nod. “Gonna need actual words, Caparoo.”

Yes, it's... yes, please,” Steve nodded again, leaning in for another kiss. “And never call me Caparoo again.”

Tony laughed against Steve's lips as he leaned back in for more kisses. This time, when they came together, Steve was fully involved, opening his mouth and adding a bit of tongue to the mix, which Tony was only too happy about. Just as he was really starting to get into it and letting his mind wander to where this could possibly be heading -

Wait,” Steve mumbled, pulling his face away a little bit. His pupils were huge when Tony got a good look at them. “Wait, wait, I... Pepper. What about Pepper?”

And with a single question, the moment was ruined. With a weary sigh, Tony rolled onto his back. He couldn't get too far away from Steve, because there was barely enough room as it was, but he had enough space to just take a moment to clear his head.

She...” he let out a long sigh. “She left me months ago.”

She...” Steve seemed a little stunned and shifted forwards, wrapping a cautious arm across Tony's chest. “Is that why she wasn't at the party?”

Well, she, she actually did have to run my company,” he replied softly, taking comfort from the warmth of Steve's embrace. “But she's doing it from Malibu right now. After she found out I had built more suits, that I was getting a little screwy again, she... yeah. I don't blame her.”

Steve sighed. “So all that talk with Thor, that was -”

All completely true,” Tony shrugged. “Pepper is amazing. She just isn't my girlfriend anymore.”

I'm sorry,” Steve whispered.

Not your fault.”

They laid in silence for a few moments, Steve stroking a gentle thumb across Tony's side almost unconsciously. It was truly dark outside now; darker than it ever got in New York. If Steve weren't there with him, Tony wasn't so sure he wouldn't be reminded of the dark vastness of the wormhole by now.

You know,” Steve murmured eventually, face dangerously close to Tony's cheek, “I think this is the most honest we've been with each other in... ever.”

Tony huffed out a soft laugh and then rolled again, back onto his side so he could just about make out the blue of Steve's eyes right in front of him. “Feels weird, right?”

It feels... nice,” Steve replied honestly, their noses brushing as he spoke. “I feel like I know you a lot better now.”

Most would say that's not a good thing.”

Being close to you?” Steve asked, frowning. “Those people are idiots.”

Tony's heart fluttered in his chest. Fuck , what were they doing? Weren't there rules against fraternisation, or something? Hadn't -

When Steve breached the tiny gap and kissed him again, Tony immediately fell against him and let it happen. For a guy who had spent more time in ice than out of it, Steve was a very good kisser, else he was just a very fast learner, because Tony found himself leaning in, craving more, within seconds. He managed to get a thigh between Steve's legs, felt the hardness there, and rolled his hips lazily against him to prove the feeling was mutual. Steve made a startled, pleased noise, and Tony couldn't help but grin into his mouth, feeling his whole body beginning to come alive.

I need – can I touch you?” Steve grunted, breathless, as Tony chased his lips for more kisses.

It would be my pleasure,” Tony replied, and laughed when Steve rolled his eyes at him. “What? That's a classic joke.”

It's a terrible joke,” Steve told him, busy running his hands under Tony's shirt and hiking it up around his armpits, though not completely off. “And you need to be quiet. There are kids in the house.”

You mean I'm not allowed to let the whole house know I'm fooling around with Captain America?” Tony grinned, letting out a startled, pleasured gasp when Steve brushed over his nipples. “Fuck, okay, keep doing that.”

But instead of complying, Steve shifted as far away as he could. Whining confusedly, Tony reached out to try and pull him back. Instead, Steve basically scooped him up, Tony having to bite back a squeal in the process, and placed him more securely on the centre of the bed. He then, in an act of boldness Tony hadn't been expecting, slung a leg over Tony's thighs and leaned over him to return to the kissing.

Okay, wow, hey, this is happening,” Tony gasped against his lips, squirming when Steve ran his thumbs over his nipples again. “This is happening, right?”

I'd say so,” Steve smirked, and then rolled his still clothed erection against Tony's. They had to muffle their moans against each other's lips.

With renewed fervour, Tony tugged at the bottom of Steve's wife beater until he got with the programme and lifted his arms. Tony pulled the under-shirt off and threw it somewhere into the darkness of the room, and then immediately ran his hands up Steve's smooth, naked sides. He took a moment to lean up and kiss his way as far down Steve's chest as he could possibly bend, and then kissed his way back up again, delighting in the little noises Steve was making. Sitting up and wrapping an arm around Steve's waist for support, Tony nuzzled into his neck and left biting kiss after biting kiss on the juncture of his jaw, knowing it would probably have healed by morning.

Tony,” Steve panted softly, making aborted little thrusting motions in Tony's lap. “What are we – come on -”

I don't know about you,” Tony hummed against Steve's ear, indulging himself by taking the lobe between his teeth for a few seconds just to feel Steve jerk against him, “but I think we're both definitely wearing too many clothes.”

Agreed,” Steve nodded, but it took him a moment to move away from Tony long enough to strip the rest of his clothes off.

Tony found himself staring for a moment as Steve wrestled his boxers off, just appreciating how truly beautiful he was. He'd always thought so in a passive sort of way, but now he was consciously thinking about it, he doubted he'd ever be able to have another innocent thought with Steve in the same room again.

Pants off, Stark,” Steve grinned without even looking at him. Tony rolled his eyes and did what he was told, tugging his shirt and pants off.

So bossy,” he muttered with a smirk, gladly accepting Steve back into his arms when he climbed back on the bed, now completely naked. “This is much better.”

Steve silenced him with yet another kiss, situating himself between Tony's legs so their erections rubbed together. Tony groaned, head falling back onto the pillow, and Steve nibbled playfully on his jaw as he continued to roll his hips languidly.

Fuck,” Tony gasped, cock tingling with the exquisite pressure Steve was applying. “Fuuuuu -”

Steve physically covered his mouth for a moment to keep him quiet, and if anything, that just ramped Tony's arousal up all the more. Managing to spit into his hand and then get it between them, Tony wrapped his slick fingers around their cocks and let Steve continue to thrust up into the tight circle he had made. They were both panting, Tony noisily though his nose and Steve in great wheezes, eyes squeezed shut as he took his pleasure.

“Can't believe,” Tony grunted, shifting his hips to move along with Steve's thrusts, “I've not had your dick in my mouth yet. Can you get it up again after this, or am I going to have to wait until morning -?”

Steve let out a strangled cry, clamping his mouth shut halfway through when he remembered the weren't alone in the house, and came with a muffled groan across Tony's hand and stomach. Tony watched, vaguely aware that his balls were tightening in preparation of his own orgasm, as Steve's eyes rolled into the back of his head and his eyelashes fluttered, shuddering through his last few thrusts.

“Shit,” Tony whispered, breath leaving him like he had been punched as he, too, came across his hand and stomach.

They continued to pant and gasp in the aftermath, giving each other loopy grins. Steve's arms gave out after a moment, but he managed to drop himself onto his side beside Tony rather than right on top of him.

“A+,” Tony managed, groping around until he found the blankets and pulled them up over them. “Would definitely bang again.”

Steve hummed against his cheek, pressing a surprisingly chaste kiss to the sweaty skin there. Then, letting out a soft, satisfied sigh, he reached out and pulled Tony towards him, wrapping his arms around him.

“How did I know you'd be a cuddler?”

“Shh,” Steve mumbled, letting his head fall against Tony's chest. “Sleep now. Make fun of me later.”

“We're going to get sticky if we don't clean up,” Tony reasoned, but Steve just shook his head.

“Can't make noise. Kids are sleeping.”

“Trust me, after that little display, if they're not already awake they aren't going to be until morning,” Tony huffed, but Steve just snuggled him closer and refused to let go. “Well, on your head be it, then.”

He sort of understood why Steve didn't want to move. Aside from the luring pull of sleep, they probably wouldn't be able to do this again any time soon, if at all. Tomorrow morning, things would return to normal. They'd fall back into their roles as team leaders and start planning how to effectively take out Ultron. God forbid, but by the time they were through, one, if not both of them could be dead.

“Just know,” Tony whispered into the dark, feeling the need to say it outright at least once, “that whatever happens, I... I only ever wanted what was best. I didn't think -”

Steve cut him off with a gentle kiss, and Tony sighed into his mouth.

“I know,” Steve murmured, nestling back against Tony's shoulder again. “Now go to sleep.”

“Yes, boss,” Tony grinned.