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Doubt the Stars

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“Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.”

― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

"--appears they were actually in the service of someone else, something greater. I didn't get the time to go through what I found more thoroughly, but-- shit!"

Something flashed brightly on the screen and then it went abruptly blank. Everyone suddenly stopped what they were doing and stared up at it in silence. Then everyone burst back into movement, even louder than before as they all began shouting at each other.

Steve turned around and stared up at Fury on his perch.

"Get it back up!" Steve shouted. Fury just looked at him for a moment before he turned his attention to the agents nearest him. Steve turned back around and spoke into his earpiece, staring at the blank screen. "Iron Man. Bucky. Hawkeye! Can any of you hear me?"

Someone coughed.

"Remind me not to do that again," Tony's voice croaked out. Steve felt himself sag in relief. At least they had audio. He gripped the metal railing with one hand to keep himself steady.

"What's going on up there?" he asked. Through the comm link someone groaned.

"Fuck, Stark." Clint, that was Clint. Steve took a deep breath. "Hurry up, we've got to get out of here. I already sent Brand and Gyrich to the shuttle bay. Where's-- Barnes. Barnes! Shit, he's out. Looks like something clipped him pretty hard."

"Go ahead. Grab the kid, take him with you," Tony said. Then he hissed. "I've got to finish this."

"Finish what? Avengers! Report!" Steve snapped. They ignored him.

"Like hell I'm leaving without you," Clint said. There was the sound of rustling, and low moaning. "This place is going to blow any second now!"

"If I don't get this finished this whole trip will have been for nothing," Tony retorted. He grunted, as though he was lifting something heavy. "Go. I'll finish here and catch up. Just get him to the other shuttle and get out of here."

"Hawkeye, you have my permission to bodily drag Iron Man out--"

"It's no good, Captain," one of the techs interrupted, looking up from her screen with an apologetic wince. "We've got audio, but they can't hear us anymore. We're working on video, but we might not even get that."

It was supposed to be a simple side mission. Fly up to the Peak, the S.W.O.R.D. home base, and retrieve any and all information they could from the captured Chitauri ship. Tony and Bruce had been foaming at the mouth to get their hands on the tech. The ships that had crashed during Loki's attempted takeover had taken on too much damage for anything to be removed safely. With the discovery of the last ship held in orbit around the earth, dead in the water but still largely intact, S.H.I.E.L.D. had recruited their two genius superheroes to retrieve anything they could get out of it.

Except there had been a sudden biological attack down in Georgia that called for Bruce's immediate expertise and Clint had been drafted in his stead.

They'd sent Bucky along to watch and learn. It should have been a cakewalk, something easy to cut his teeth. And then it had all gone to shit.

Steve closed his eyes so he wouldn't have to stare at the giant, empty screen. The wound in his shoulder from the spear he'd taken two days ago still ached. It was the primary reason Steve wasn’t on that station himself.

Fuck. He was going to lose Bucky again. After finally getting a piece of his old life back after all this time, stuck in a strange new world, Steve was going to lose his best friend all over again.

Not even an hour after the shuttle had landed Tony had been waist deep in the main console of the ship. He'd been in the middle of a spiel about how the brain-link through the Chitauri might have worked when he'd triggered what he later called an 'anti-theft device' that caused the ship's engines to detonate.

The explosion had taken out most of the ship and part of the space station.

Agent Brand had ordered the immediate evacuation of the Peak. Most of the crew had gotten out fine, save a few broken limbs and bruises. The two agents on the Chitauri ship with Tony, however, had been ripped apart in the explosion.

Only the Iron Man armour had kept Tony alive and able to survive the space jump from the exploding ship back to the Peak.

Bucky, Clint, and Agents Brand and Gyrich had remained on the space station waiting for Tony to make it back with the information. After he arrived, Tony had immediately begun to upload everything he'd gotten from the ship to the Peak's main console. It had taken far longer than he'd hoped, though. In the process of trying to relay it all back to the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier he'd been working against the clock. It was obvious that the damage the station had taken was too great when, after bypassing one too many circuits, the console overheated, sparked, and then blew a chunk of the control panel apart, cutting the video feed.

"You better be right behind me, Shellhead," Clint growled. Tony laughed and the sound of his frantic typing could be heard through his earpiece.

"Trust me, I can think of a good four thousand other places I'd like to be when this place goes. Make sure you clear the blast zone. Give yourself a large gap, the fireworks are going to be impressive."

"Iron Man..." Clint trailed off and Steve clenched his jaw. "There's only one shuttle left."

"And I'm in a flying suit of armour that can handle space. What, you think I didn't upgrade after I went through the portal? I already sailed through the void once today. It's fine, Hawkeye. Just grab the kid and go. I promise, I can make it back on my own."

"Tony--" Clint was interrupted by a small explosion.

"Damnit, Clint, get the hell out!"

There was no answer, only the sound of Tony's rough panting and the occasional curse. Steve grabbed the railing with his other hand and hung his head.

This was just like him. Tony might've loudly boasted his own genius from time to time and displayed a cavalier attitude to the world, but deep down Steve knew that Tony shared the same damned heroic streak that made him drive a plane into the icecaps. It was what drove Tony to ride a missile into outer space in what could only be called a suicide mission, to give the rest of them a fighting chance.

After their first mission it didn’t take long for them to fall into bed together. Tony had been smarting from his breakup with Pepper and Steve had been lost in a new world he didn't understand. When it was done, they had fallen asleep in a messy tangle of limbs, but when they woke up they'd yelled at each other, fought like schoolchildren, ended up fucking again (right up against Tony's dresser) and then they'd sworn to never do it again.

Steve might have used the words "biggest mistake of my life," and Tony might've countered with "temporary insanity," but within two weeks they were back in Tony’s room, shouting at each other that it couldn’t happen again while angrily throwing their clothes back on.

It happened again.

And again and again, and so on and so forth, ad nauseum, until one day Tony opened his mouth to fling what could only be another barb at Steve and he suddenly snapped it shut, clenching his jaw hard. Steve countered by shoving his feet in his socks silently, and somehow they'd come to a silent agreement to continue, but to never, ever talk about it.

Nothing good came when they tried to talk.

It stayed like that for a while. They'd work together on whatever mission S.H.I.E.L.D. sent them on, and then after everything was over and the dust had settled they would go back to the tower and screw like animals. They got along great outside the bedroom when there was a crisis that could be solved with fists and technology, and even at the tower, where Steve had eventually ended up taking a room. They didn't talk about the nights they wound up in each other’s rooms, kept on with business as usual, and every now and then Tony would be seen at a charity event with a different woman on his arm.

Steve would counter by taking that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent ("Thirteen," she'd said with a wink when they were introduced.) out to a baseball game, or to grab lunch. He wasn't interested in her, not really, even though her hair was like spun gold and her laugh was open and infectious. By all rights he probably should have been, but the spark just wasn't there. It had been a year and Steve still didn't know what her name was. It didn’t mean anything to him, the same way he was sure those women didn’t mean anything to Tony.

If the other Avengers knew what was happening none of them commented on it.

Over time, it had gotten to a point where the fights came less frequently, the angry barbs gradually turning into teasing comments, and the beginnings of an actual friendship were being built.

That had stayed the status quo right up until three months ago, when Steve's best friend had been returned to him from the dead.

Steve had been ecstatic. That first month, while Bucky remained unconscious, he spent so much time in the S.H.I.E.L.D. medical facility he might as well have moved in. The staff had become so accustomed to seeing Steve sleeping uncomfortably in the plastic chair next to Bucky’s bed they'd brought in a cot for him.

He only returned to the tower to shower and change clothes, usually at odd hours of the day. Not once had he run into Tony, and he hadn't bothered to wonder why. Tony worked through the night into the wee morning light most days, so Steve never questioned it.

When Bucky finally woke, Steve didn't go back to the tower for three days. He was torn between wanting to hover over Bucky's bedside or hover in the CCTV room, watching him without the burden of Bucky being able to see, but not understand, the anguish in his eyes.

Steve had blinked at him when Tony stuck his head inside the hospital room one day when Bucky was sleeping. He remembered Tony asking a few pointed questions about Bucky's health before chucking a sandwich at his face. Steve only caught it thanks to his serum-enhanced senses, too distracted later to do anything more than pick at the bread listlessly.

The next time he'd seen Tony had been weeks later when Bucky, slowly regaining his memory and getting back into training, had forcibly kicked Steve out. Steve had been coming out of the shower in the gym, Tony had been going in, and something made him reach out and grab Tony's arm when he passed by.

That was the last time they fucked, Tony's hands gripping Steve's hips tight as he pushed him against the wall under the spray, Steve's face pressed against the tiles. Afterwards Steve slumped to the floor and Tony ruffled his hair and made a snarky comment about Steve leaving him for a younger, hotter model.

Steve felt the metal bar he was gripping warp under his hands and his shoulder protested vehemently at him.

He remembered with shame the way he had snapped at Tony, angry at him, angry at the glacial pace of Bucky's recovery, angry at himself for not being able to save his friend in the first place, angry at everything. He had pushed Tony's offered hand away, reminding him that they weren't actually together. He'd walked out of the shower on shaky legs and had gotten into his pants before he realized Tony had gone silent behind him.

He'd ignored the soft "Steve" he heard over the spray, just tugged on his shirt and left.

That was four days ago. Then there was the museum robbery that landed Steve in the infirmary with a spear through his shoulder. When he’d woken up he'd asked for Tony, but was informed that Tony and Bruce were already locked up with this entire Chitauri ship debacle.

The next day Bruce was in Atlanta and Tony, Clint and Bucky were at the Peak.

"Okay, we're leaving. Iron Man, why don't I see you behind me?"

"Finishing up right now, is that okay, mother?"

"Tony, you've got about two minutes." Clint sounded harried. Steve lifted his face and stared at nothing. "The explosions are getting close to the control room."

"Aaaaand, sent. Okay, fuck, calm down Hawkass. I'm going."

"Sir! We're receiving the data now," one of the techs called up to Fury. Steve held his breath as the screen flickered to life. He stood and stared, along with the rest of the crew of the helicarrier, as a portion of the Peak exploded.

"Tony!" Clint's voice rang out. A groan came over the line and a second later, "Barton?" Bucky's voice chimed in, groggy but there. Steve breathed a sigh of relief.

One down, one to go. Come on, Tony, Steve thought, willing him to respond. Where are you?

"Good to have you back, Barnes," Clint drawled, tension still in his voice. "Iron Man?"

"Is that...?" Bucky asked, and Steve stared at the monitor and swallowed.

Holy shit... Barton breathed. The whole damned station was exploding, the fire bursting through the structure in huge chunks, consuming the Peak from the bottom up.

Why wasn't Tony answering?

Fury whirled toward the technician and pointed his finger at the screen. "Where is that feed coming from?" Fury demanded.

"It's the shuttle," the same technician who'd spoken to Steve earlier replied. She was typing something quickly into her console. Steve looked over his shoulder and up at Fury. He was staring at the screen with a fierce glare. "It's relaying everything it's picking up."

"Why aren’t the other evac shuttles sending back data?" Fury asked, and Steve turned back around, ignoring them as he continued to listen to his radio.

"Yeah. It's going to hit the top any second now. Damnit, Stark, you fucking martyr," Clint said through a growl.

"That's not very nice, honey," Tony's voice rasped through. Steve suddenly felt light- headed with relief. "After everything I've done for you. See if I ever make you new toys for that archaic weapon of yours ever again."

"Iron Man! What the hell are you waiting for, blast a hole through the damn wall and fly out," Clint ordered.

"I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."

"What the fuck? This isn't the time, Stark! Quote later, fly now."

"It's the suit. It's taken too much damage. It won't be able to handle the vacuum. There's one last thing I could try, but I can't guarantee I won't end up stuck inside a planet on the outer edges of the Milky Way, so..." There was a long pause in which Tony's words sank in, and Steve watched as the feed grew blurry in front of him. "Tell Pepper and Rhodey... tell them I couldn't have done it without them. Can you do that for me?"

Steve blinked and the feed went clear again. He felt something hot run down his face.

"And Steve? What should I tell him?" Clint asked quietly. There was a short intake of breath, but Steve couldn't tell who it was from.

"Tell Steve--" Tony's voice got strangled for a moment before he cleared his throat, "nothing. Don't tell him anything. There's nothing I could say that he would want to hear, anyway."

"Bullshit," Bucky piped in angrily. "I know that's not true."

"Hey, kid. Glad to hear you're conscious. Take care of my team for me, will you?"

"You knocked me out, you sonuvabitch!" Bucky growled.

"For your own good. You just got back. Can't go dying now. You haven't even watched Star Wars, yet."

"You fucking geek." Clint laughed unhappily. "Tony, we're coming back for you."

"Don't you dare. You've cleared the blast zone. And you said yourself, the upper floors are about to blow. Take care of yourself, Clint. So long, and thanks for all the fish."

Steve felt his throat constrict. He'd mentioned in passing to Tony his love of reading and one night he'd gone back to his room and found those novels, dogeared and yellowed, on his bedside table. He'd burned through them in a month.

"Seriously, Tony. You're such a fucking geek. I don't even know why we're friends."

"Don't be like that, baby. You know--" Tony was cut off abruptly, and then there was silence. Thick, heavy silence, hanging over the room like a shroud. Steve breathed in but he couldn’t get enough air. His lungs burned, tight and constricted, his fingers curled in white-knuckled fists around the rail as he and the rest of the crew watched the last of the space station burst apart in a fiery explosion.

"Iron Man.” Clint waited a few seconds. “Iron Man! Tony, do you copy?"

There was nothing.

Every person in the room went still as they watched chunks of debris fly through the air, Clint's harried voice carrying through the air clearly.

"Iron Man, do you copy?" Clint demanded shakily.

"It's no good, Barton," Bucky answered quietly. "He's gone."

Steve turned away, yanking the radio out of his ear. He placed it calmly on a nearby console as he walked out of the room.

This bag was a good one. He'd been in the gym beating the snot out of it for the past two hours, had broken a sweat and torn through the skin on his knuckles, but the bag hadn't so much as ripped.

Steve had gone through nine bags before Tony had interrupted his systematic destruction of bag ten. He'd hung this one up and told Steve to 'go to town' with a challenging smirk on his face.

That was over a year ago. So far this one hadn't let him down.

Steve flexed his hands before he delivered another punishing round of blows to the reinforced bag. It swung on its chain but didn't break.

One week.

It'd been one week since Tony... since the Peak had exploded. Clint had checked in at the helicarrier with Fury immediately after and then disappeared. Natasha had remained scarce the whole week, ducking her head in on him twice. Bruce was still in Atlanta, but he'd called, and then emailed when Steve didn't pick up, and now he was silent.

Steve thought that maybe Bruce was spying on him somehow through JARVIS, but he had no way of being sure.

Bucky had been by Steve's side through everything and, mercifully, hadn't said anything about the situation, not even when Steve had quietly asked for his help boxing up most of his things when he'd decided to leave the tower. The night before he'd decided to go, Steve had rolled over in his sleep and stuck his hands under his pillow. They'd hit something hard, and Steve roused himself long enough to pull a socket wrench out from under the bedclothes.

Bucky had raised his eyebrows when he walked into Steve's room and saw the tool embedded in the wall, but he kept quiet. Between the both of them it took less than an hour.

Steve turned quickly and delivered a roundhouse kick that made the bag swing wildly.

Pepper Potts had taken control of Tony's company. She'd stopped by that morning to deliver a box of things he'd left behind to Steve's newly rented apartment in the Bronx, a flimsy excuse for her to try, for the third time, to convince Steve to move back into the tower. All it took was one look inside the box, long enough for Steve to recognize a shirt he very clearly remembered wearing last inside Tony's bedroom, for Steve to politely decline.

He'd conceded by agreeing to not be a stranger. Steve had even made a point to stop and see her on his way to the gym, just so she would know he'd taken her words to heart, but he wasn't ready to go back to his old room.

He wasn't sure if he ever would be. Just walking down the hallway from the elevator to the gym caused Steve to see flashes of Tony leaning here, snapping at Bruce with a wet towel over there. He didn't need to add fuel to the Tony-shaped fire by walking into the bedroom where Tony had done... all sorts of other things.

Steve slammed his open palm into the bag and then clutched at it, closing his eyes and breathing deep.

"Getting tired?"

Steve whipped his head up and caught Bucky standing in the open doorway, leaning on the frame with his arms crossed.

"What're you doing here?" Steve asked. Bucky's face was an unreadable mask.

"We tried calling but your phone's off. You weren't at your apartment, so..." Bucky spread his hands out. "I figured you'd be in here trying to destroy something."

"Bucky," Steve started, but he stopped abruptly. "We?"

"Fury sent me to collect you. You're needed back at headquarters."

"Avengers assemble." Steve sighed and began to unwrap his hands. "Any idea what's going on?"

"We're going on a field trip. Colorado."

"I asked what was going on, not where we're going," Steve snapped. Bucky gave him a sardonic look and it made Steve deflate. "Sorry. I've just been..." Steve waved a hand vaguely, the stray bits of unraveled tape flying behind like streamers. He yanked at them.

Bucky nodded. "I get it." He took a few steps into the room and toyed with the bag while Steve walked over to the bench and rooted through his gym bag. "Nice bag. Romanoff told me you used to go through twenty of these a week."

"Tony made it," Steve said shortly. He wiped at his face and neck with a towel and looked up. "I need to go back to my place and change."

"Isn't there a closet somewhere a few floors up that still has a bunch of your clothes inside of it? I'm pretty positive I made you leave behind that purple monstrosity."

"It's a sweater, Bucky. Geez." Steve scowled. He liked that sweater. Tony had given it to him as a joke, because it was bright and slightly fuzzy, but it was soft and warm and the last time he'd worn it Tony's eyes had sparkled with mischief.

"I'm assuming there's a shower here somewhere, too." Steve tried not to be offended as Bucky sniffed at him and grimaced.

"Yeah, but I can't--" Steve looked at the floor and gripped the towel in his hands. He swallowed and forced the words out. "I'm not ready."

"You're going to have to go in there sometime."

"If you say there's no time like the present, so help me, Buck, I will slug you," Steve growled without any real heat. Bucky scoffed and let the bag go, coming round to stand next to Steve. He clapped him on the shoulder and gave him a rough shake.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Bucky asked tentatively. Steve shook his head. For a week, he’d tried, but the words always dried up in his throat. Bucky let out a gusty sigh of relief. "Thank god."

Steve chuckled softly, then dropped the towel back in the bag.

"C'mon, I'll be right there with you."

Steve shook his head, but he got to his feet anyway.

Since waking up, hell, since before he'd woken up, Steve had come to accept certain... oddities of the world in which he was living. Men who looked like devils roamed the earth seeking destruction and domination, other men who had anger management issues could turn into giant green rage monsters, and demigods actually existed. Steve could accept these things because he was one of those very oddities himself.

So being told, point-blank, that there was life on other planets wasn't exactly a shock. After all, hello, the Chitauri. Yeah, Steve had witnessed that firsthand.

Being told, point-blank, about life on other planets, and a government-funded program dedicated to learning about said aliens, by one of those aliens (this one with a gold slave tattoo embedded into his forehead), was something else.

Nick Fury had smirked at Steve and Bucky when they'd shown up at the base and then said something into his earpiece. Seconds later a man in a suit and another man, the one with the gold stamp on his forehead, appeared before him in a burst of bright light.

Steve had flinched and taken a reflexive step back. When he'd looked to his left Bucky had been staring at them with wide eyes.

Twenty minutes later Steve was standing before a giant ring with symbols engraved on it, staring at a shimmering blue wall of what looked like water. The man in the suit ("Please, call me Richard," he'd said cordially as he pumped Steve's hand, "it's just such an honor, Captain.") was standing next to him, speaking in a soothing voice, but all Steve could hear was what was coming through the earpiece they'd given him.

"--can’t believe you would use my calculations and my drive on your tin suit without my permission! You don't know what could've gone wrong--"

"--you can’t expect me not to have looked into it. And honestly, at the time? It didn't matter, I was dead anyway--"

"--any idea just how lucky you were that I was at Midway. You popping up out of thin air next to me while I happened to be out manually calibrating the station the way you did, nearly gave me a heart attack. I have a very delicate constitution, you know--"

"--trust me, I'm feeling plenty--"

The men speaking in his ear walked through the wall of water, ribbing each other as casually as you please, and Steve caught his breath.

"--lucky, thank you, and you really believe I couldn't do those calculations in my sleep? Don't you forget, Meredith, I was the one they originally tapped to be a part of this program, you know. Who do you think helped build-- Oh. Hey."

Steve stared.

Tony stared.

The room went silent. Well, with the exception of the man standing next to Tony, who seemed to still be trying to get Tony to understand just how lucky he was that he "didn't end up inside of a planet, you idiot, and then there wouldn't even have been a body to bury."

Next to him Bucky coughed.

Meredith, the man next to Tony, seemed to realized he didn't have Tony's attention anymore, that he was too busy staring at Steve, and he looked back and forth between them quickly, as though he was watching a tennis match.

"You're alive," Steve breathed. Tony gave him a sort of lopsided smile and a half wave.

"Yeah. Um. Surprise? Look, I'm sure you've heard the recording, maybe even read the transcripts, but to be fair I did say there was something else I could try, just I wasn't sure I wouldn't end up inside--"

Steve launched himself forward and into Tony's arms -- Tony’s arms, thank you god, Steve thought wildly -- and flush against his body, wrapping his arms around that broad back and pressing their mouths together hungrily.

"--of a, mmm, planet," Tony said into Steve's mouth. Steve cradled his head in one hand, threading his fingers into the hair at the back of Tony's head, and pressed another kiss to Tony's lips. He felt more than saw Tony smile. "Hi."

Steve tilted his head forward until it rested against Tony's. He opened his eyes and Tony was right there, smiling and staring back at him, his hands a comforting weight against Steve's hips and so very, very alive.

"Hi," he said quietly. He smiled back, suddenly unable to control his mouth. "You're alive," he said again.

The man standing next to them huffed and Steve was reminded that, yes, they were in a room full of other people.

"Oh god, stop already,” came the same whining voice Steve had heard over his borrowed earpiece. “Honestly. It's guys like them that encourage guys like you to go off and do things like, like the things you do!"

Steve turned his head and saw Meredith pointing at another man, one with military insignia on his lapel and a haircut that was definitely not regulation.

He turned his attention back to Tony when he felt his hands drop, and he took a step back. Right into Bucky, who was eyeing Tony up and down.

"Stark," he said. Tony nodded at him and Bucky rolled his eyes and held out his hand. "Thanks for saving my life." He waited until Tony clasped his hand in his before continuing. "Told you I smelled bullshit."

Tony laughed and gave Bucky a slap on the shoulder.

"You're good people, Barnes."

"You too. But what you did--"

"Was a serious breach of national security, why is nobody listening to me? Not even national security! Global security! If he managed to get his hands on my wormhole drive, how long do you honestly think it’s going to be before--"

The guy's rant continued, and the other guy with the messy hair and the alien with the tattoo chimed in occasionally, but Steve didn't care. Tony was alive and staring at him with bright eyes that were a little too tired behind hair that was a little too long, and Steve just kissed him in front of a room full of military personnel and an alien and his best friend and Steve didn't care.

Tony took a step forward, sidled right up to Steve's side and wrapped an arm around his waist. Steve's hand immediately came up to rest between Tony's shoulder blades.

"Can we get out of here? I landed somewhere in the outer edges of the Milky Way and I've been under quarantine for the past four days and the Canadian Wonder confiscated my damaged suit. Granted, it was too messed up for him to get much out of, but still. My suit." Tony turned his big, brown eyes up at Steve. "I had a really bad week, okay? I'd like to go home."

Steve looked around at the servicemen who were standing at attention. The other two guys, Meredith the Canadian Wonder and Messy Haired Military Guy, were still bickering at each other. Gold Tattoo Alien was listening to them intently, and Call-Me-Richard was cleaning his glasses, pointedly not looking at them.

Bucky was staring at Steve and Tony with his hands deep in his pockets, a shit-eating grin on his face.

Steve turned back to Tony.

Things between them were still rocky. He knew this. It's not like Steve expected there to be some kind of miraculously-back-from-the-dead clause written into their relationship that would make everything suddenly okay, especially when it wasn't even a relationship to begin with. But Tony's hand was tight on his hip and he was listing into Steve's side, and it didn't matter where they'd left off because Tony was alive.

"Yeah," he said slowly. Tony's eyes closed as he laid his head on Steve's shoulder. "Yeah, we can do that."

They were somewhere between the helicarrier and the tower when Tony lifted his head from Steve's shoulder and blinked down at it.

"Are you... wearing the sweater I gave you? The one that everyone makes fun of you for?"

Steve felt his face heat up and tugged his sunglasses down off of his head.

"You are. You totally are." There was a beat of silence where Steve could feel Tony being smug. “You really did miss me, huh?”

Steve chanced sneaking a look to the right behind the safety of his shades and caught Tony's massive grin. He looked back through the window of the car and didn't fight back a small smile when one of Tony's hands landed on his knee.

They still had a lot to talk about, but Steve had a feeling that things were going to be okay.