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“Hiya, Cap!” Tony greets casually.

Steve has never been so glad to see him, but he is way too irritated to let this one slide.  It must show on his face because Tony’s smile immediately falters.

“You can save the lecture, Steve.  I’m perfectly fine.”  He crosses his arms over his chest and winces when he hits a particular sensitive part of his chest.

Steve's glare intensifies the smallest amount.  “You’re in a hospital with a mild concussion, three cracked ribs, and a broken collarbone.  You are not fine.”

“C’mon, Cap—”

“When are you going to stop pulling stuff like this, Tony?” Steve demands.  If it comes off as yelling, he doesn’t mean it.  Really, he doesn’t.  Tony just always knows how to make Steve frustrated. 

“When you stop getting yourself in danger,” Tony replied pointedly.  

Steve’s expression softens a little, but his voice is still in Captain-America-mode.  “I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself, Tony.”

“You aren’t invincible, Cap.”

“Maybe not, but—”

“You always worry about everyone else.  Why can’t it be the other way around for once?”

“Listen, Tony—”

No, Steve.  Listen to me.”

Steve shuts his mouth and looks at Tony patiently, wordlessly telling him to go on.

“I know I’m not much without the suit… physically,” he added before Steve could protest.  “I admit that you probably could’ve handled yourself, and mixing me into that situation wasn’t one of my best moves, but I… I can’t help it, Steve.  I can’t risk losing you.”  The ‘again’ was left unspoken.


“Wait, I’m not finished.  Before you berate me anymore for my actions, I just want to say that I’m sorry for two things: the first for not following orders, and the second…”

Steve’s eyebrows furrow in confusion.

“God damnit, I…” Tony buries his face in his hands, “All right, this really shouldn’t be that hard.  I’ve said much more embarrassing things in the many moments of weakness that you’ve caught me in; why can’t I…” He throws his hands up in frustration before directing his gaze back at Steve.  “Look, I just… I just want to apologize for any future instances in which I may risk my own life to save you because I’m selfish enough to let you live in a world without me if it means not having to live in a world without you.”

Steve freezes, any further reprimanding he had planned immediately thrown out the window.

“I… I did it once already, Steve.”  The statement is barely audible, but the undertones are almost too heavy for the cramped hospital room.

Steve sighs and sits on the edge of the hospital bed, mindful of the wires and IV’s.  “What makes you think I would fare any better without you?” he asks, lacing his fingers through Tony’s.

“You’re Captain America.”  

“What’s that even supposed to mean?”

“You can do anything," he says like it's the most obvious thing in the world.  "I’m just an alcoholic playboy with daddy issues that didn’t even work for his fortune.  I don’t understand what any of you see in me and why you try to convince me otherwise, because I’m not as good as any of you believe I am, and the sooner you all realize that—mmf!” Tony is cut off when Steve claps a hand over his mouth to shut him up.

“First of all, I know that you haven’t had a drink in over five years.  Second, if you really are still holding that playboy image, then I think we’ve got a couple more issues to talk about.” 

Tony rolls his eyes.

“Third, how can you say that you’re undeserving of what you have?”

Tony glares and makes a sound of protest.

“All right, you may not have said it, but that’s what you meant.”  Steve retracts his hand.  “Tony, you graduated from MIT when you were nineteen.  You built your first Iron Man suit out of scraps in a cave.  You’ve made Stark Industries the leader in clean energy, and I’ve seen you re-build your company from the ground up when you were suddenly left with nothing, and you somehow manage to make it even better than before."


"Most importantly, you’ve managed to always give us outcasts a place to call home.”

Tony shakes his head, the faintest of smiles on his lips. “How the hell do you do that?”

“I’m Captain America.  I can do anything,” Steve replies, making Tony laugh.

“I’m still not off the hook, am I?”

“Of course not,” Steve says half-heartedly, “You pull one more stunt like that and I’m benching you.”

Tony gapes.  “You can’t be serious?!”

“Maybe you’ll finally learn to listen to me.”

“But where’s the fun in that?” Tony whines. “Our whole relationship revolves around me going against everything you say, and then you punishing me afterwards for being the naughty boy that I am.”

A blush creeps up on Steve’s face but he still manages to smile.  “You’re an idiot.”

“An idiot that you managed to fall in love with,” Tony says, placing his hand behind Steve’s neck, “so that kind of makes you an idiot too, huh?”

“I guess so,” the blonde says before Tony claims his lips with his own.  

“Mm, yes.  Good,” the genius breathes when they separate, “We’re two idiots in love.  Since that’s sorted out,” Tony throws the covers off of his body, “would you mind helping me get out of this shit hole, and back in our bed at the mansion?”

The frown is back on Steve’s face in a millisecond. “You need rest.” 

“I’m fine, Steve.  Now, let’s go.  Chop, chop.  I promise I’ll stay in bed and rest and do whatever you say.”

Tony takes Steve’s reluctant “fine” as a victory and kisses the man again.

“Seriously, though.  I’ll do whatever you want.  I believe I’m still due for a punishment for my earlier actions,” Tony whispers into his ear suggestively.  If he notices Steve’s shiver and sudden intake of breath, he doesn’t say anything.

“…I’ll get the car.”