Sleeping It Off
Manhattan, New York City, NY, USA
The fighting was done, and Thor had taken Loki to a secure room in the Stark Tower in order to give them all a small break.
After the defeated demi-god was imprisoned and Fury had given his blessing that they could all rest – as if they didn’t already know they had earned one – the team dispersed to do just that.
Most of them were ready to fall asleep on their feet, but none more than Tony Stark. Bruce had a theory that his suit was the only thing that kept him standing through it all, and once it was off and the sweaty, battered man was free to fall, he did just that.
How he ended up sitting on the edge of Tony’s bed in the dark room was a mystery to him.
The others were restless, he could tell, still wired from the battle even though their bodies yearned for rest, and his own head… It felt like the other guy was coming out, and he kept walking the halls until he found Tony’s room, so here he was, the sensation finally gone, feeling quite peaceful.
Tony was already asleep, the blue shimmer of the arc reactor in his chest casting him in an odd light, highlighting his cheeks and the dark lashes resting heavily against them.
Bruce heard footsteps and looked up, finding Steve at the door. He was still in uniform, or what was left of it.
“I imagined he talks even in his sleep,” Steve noted, but the edge was long gone.
“He almost died,” Bruce replied, as if that explained everything. How his hand was suddenly resting beside Tony’s head on the pillow, his fingers touching his hair, he couldn’t explain. It just happened.
“You saved him,” Steve said with the slightest nod of his head, as if complimenting him on his success in doing so.
“The other guy did.” But somewhere in the back of his mind… it had been his choice. His push that made the other guy take the leap, reach up and catch Iron Man before he was smashed into the ground.
“Thor was going to save him,” Steve noted, “at least I think so.”
“He wasn’t doing it fast enough.” Bruce could make a crack at that, no problem. He had seen Thor briefly as he rushed up, the majority of his – the other guy’s – attention on the sky and the falling figure growing bigger and bigger…
Heavier footsteps came down the hall, and the dirtied, scowling face of Thor emerged. “Loki will do us harm no more,” he announced.
Briefly Bruce wondered if he had killed him, for all that Loki had done to him in this short time, but some ties were stronger than that. He didn’t have those ties, not really, but this man from another world… he seemed to care for their enemy, even when his trust was violated time and time again.
“Get some rest,” Steve told him.
Thor nodded and looked into Tony’s bedroom. “Are we running out of rooms?” he asked then, looking at Bruce and Tony.
“I just wanted to make sure he was okay,” Bruce hurried to say, to explain his presence in their host’s room. It made sense, and didn’t sound as creepy as it otherwise may have.
Thor nodded again. “I bid you goodnight,” he said then, and walked away, his red cape tattered and stained, but still making him look quite… out of place. So many things were out of place in Bruce’s life, though; a man wearing a red cape wasn’t even the oddest thing.
“You should get some rest, too,” Steve turned back to him.
“I will, once I calm down.” He was calm, sitting here, after the nervousness of being caught was gone.
Beside him on the bed, Tony twitched, then turned towards him. It wasn’t that he was reaching out for anything, but he ended up quite close, one arm thrown over Bruce’s lap, then curling lightly to hold onto it. He looked so different while he slept – most people did, of course, but Tony Stark was usually all about being seen and heard, and right now, he was the most peaceful thing on earth.
Steve made a sound, but when Bruce looked up at him, his expression was the same one he had worn before. If it had changed, he had missed it, but the sound suggested that may well have happened. It felt like Steve was trying to come up with something to say, to keep himself there, but the words didn’t come. “Just remember to rest,” he noted then and left.
Bruce’s eyes followed him even when he couldn’t actually see him, tracing his steps through the wall, imagining him walking down the hall, looking for an empty, un-demolished bedroom or something to lie down on. Most likely he would be found on a couch somewhere, to be the first up and running to help his team to do… whatever needed to be done.
Speaking of empty beds…
He knew he couldn’t just spend the entire night sitting here, Tony sort of using him as a pillow. Looking for an excuse, although he knew he shouldn’t, he looked down again, and Tony’s face stirred a bit and his eyes opened, dark and hidden in the lack of light. He saw Bruce, he was sure of that; no way he wouldn’t notice he wasn’t alone in his bed.
Tony said nothing. He just blinked a couple times, very slow, then scooted closer on the bed and closed his eyes again, his breaths slow and deep, signaling he was asleep once more.
Bruce brushed his hair with his fingers, no idea why, kind of smiled to himself, and decided he would sit here a bit longer, until he was too tired to stay awake – which was why he eventually jerked, waking up, and it was much closer to morning. He had slid down on the bed a bit, to a more comfortable position, he guessed.
Tony was no longer in bed, but the way the sheets had been tucked over him suggested that the man had not taken offense at the intrusion of his personal space. Not that Bruce thought Tony really took offense at very many things that happened in his bed.
Since it was still early, he decided he could nap another hour since he had the bed to himself – and if Tony came back… well, it was a big bed, and it was close to morning anyway, so Bruce could just give it back to him.
It was J.A.R.V.I.S. who woke him, though, announcing that breakfast was ready and that the plan to go out for Shawarma afterwards was still in effect.