The first time Steve woke up to Tony in his bed with him, he was rather surprised. Not so much because he had gone to sleep alone and now had a companion, but rather because the only time Steve saw Tony actually sleep in the few weeks since Tony invited them all to stay in the mansion was when the man passed out in the lab and Steve carried him to an actual bed.
Tony lay next to Steve in the somewhat oversized bed with his face squished into the pillow, mouth open just enough to let out a trail of drool, and blanket pooled around his waist – one leg entirely exposed and one arm dangling limp over the edge of the mattress. Steve didn’t dare wake him, Tony likely wandered into the wrong room accidentally, and any sleep he got was greatly needed.
Plus, he looked ridiculously adorable.
From beneath Tony, streams of soft blue light escaped the reactor thrumming steadily in his chest. They accented the features of Tony’s face and Steve found himself staring for longer than necessary. In the weeks Steve had seen and interacted with Tony, he had never seen the man so relaxed and at peace. Asleep, Tony wasn’t putting on a charming act for a camera, or stressing over upgrades for Clint’s bow and his own suit. Asleep, Tony was merely Tony; vulnerable and exposed.
Steve found the sight beautiful and calming.
He reached over and moved strands of Tony’s hair from his face with the tips of his rough fingertips grazing Tony’s skin. The man reacted to the touch by nuzzling further into Steve’s pillow and squeezed the fabric of the pillowcase into his hand. Steve smiled and pulled the blanket to Tony’s shoulders to keep him warm, then turned the other way and went back to sleep.
The second time Steve woke to find Tony in his bed was a few days after the first. He had no idea when the man had joined him, or why, but enjoyed it more than he knew he should.
This time, Tony was half on top of Steve. He was using the soldier’s chest as a pillow rather than the actual piece of bedding that went neglected at the head of the bed. One of Tony’s arms was slung loose over Steve’s body, fingers curled over Steve’s hip. Tony’s body was pressed close against Steve with one leg resting between the blonde’s.
Like this, Steve could feel the gentle push of Tony’s chest against his own with every breath the man took. They were slow and long, void of any distress. Steve could also feel the faint vibrations that the reactor created as it spun around. The sensation brought comfort to Steve, knowing Tony was alive and well.
He put an arm around Tony to hold him close and closed his eyes. Steve would savor the moment because in the morning when he woke again, Tony would be gone.
The third time Steve woke up with Tony in his bed, Tony was awake. He was sitting there, bent over his tablet and whispering to himself about equations and formulas Steve didn’t attempt to understand. Tony’s legs were folded beneath him to cradle his tablet in his lap as he tapped away at the screen.
Steve watched Tony with one eye cracked open for a while, not moving so as not to alert Tony he was awake in fear of having Tony leave. Whatever kept bringing Tony to his room during the night was something Steve was grateful for, and didn’t want to change that. He liked having Tony close like this, even if he could never admit his admiration for his friend and teammate. A trivial sacrifice, really.
Tony played with his tablet for what seemed like an eternity before softly sighing and setting it aside. “Status report, Jarvis,” Tony whispered to his AI while rubbing roughly at his face. A sure sign of exhaustion.
“Vital signs are all within normal parameters, sir. No signs of distress indicated,” the AI quietly replied overhead. “Might I suggest you get some rest as well, now?”
“How long do I have until dawn?” Tony asked.
“Approximately three hours and forty-nine minutes.”
Tony looked over at Steve and the man quickly shut his eye. Fortunately, Tony didn’t seem to notice. “Wake me in three hours,” Tony instructed Jarvis with a yawn as he uncurled his body and lay down. “I don’t want Steve realizing I’m here.”
“Understood,” Jarvis said softly. “Good night, sir.”
The mattress barely moved as Tony made himself comfortable beside Steve. After a few minutes, the soldier opened his eye again only to find nothing but complete darkness and the back of Tony’s head.
When Steve woke up for the fourth time in the middle of the night and found Tony in his bed, he was relieved. It had been almost a week since the man had slept with Steve, and even if he always left before the sun came up, Steve loved having him there. But if he told Tony that, the man may never sleep with Steve again.
And Steve didn’t want to risk that chance.
Tony was asleep and quiet, lying on his back with one arm draped across his face. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, leaving his chest and the reactor completely exposed. The light filled the room, not bright enough to be too overbearing, but strong enough to illuminate objects and chase away most of the shadows.
Steve took the opportunity to study Tony. Or rather, stare at Tony. The man wasn’t as muscular as Steve or even Clint, but he did have definition at his stomach and along his arms. His chest was neither hairy nor bare, rather somewhere perfectly in between. All of Tony’s neck and jaw was neatly shaved expect the area of his signature goatee that was barely visible beneath his arm.
Tony smelled of a strange cross between oil, sweat, and cologne that Steve found enjoyable. It wasn’t a strong odor, though Steve half wished that it was a tad greater than it was. That way even when Tony was gone, Steve would still have confirmation that he had been there.
The Starkpad rested against his side between their bodies where it likely slid from his stomach when he passed out atop the covers. Steve carefully pried it from Tony’s hand, pausing as the man muttered something into his elbow before turning to his side and curling up. With a sigh, Steve set the device on the nightstand and pulled the blanket over Tony so the man wouldn’t catch cold.
Steve barely thought before he put his arm over Tony’s waist and pulled him back against his chest; burying his face in Tony’s hair to go back to sleep. Tony settled easily in Steve’s grip and relaxed back, but Steve was already too far gone to notice.
The fifth time Steve woke up to Tony in his bed, Tony was awake again. The soldier opened one eye to find a soft brown one staring right back at him from mere centimeters away. Realizing he was awake, Tony quickly sat up and moved away, stammering out a response. “Oh, you’re awake. I didn’t – I’m not – I’m just –“
“Wait.” Steve reached over and took hold of Tony’s wrist before he could get too far. “You always leave.”
Tony stopped, giving Steve a confused look. “What?”
Steve opened his other eye and looked up at Tony with a frown. “You always leave before morning. You’ve slept with me a few times, but you’re always gone when I wake up in the morning.”
Tony’s face shifted to a different, almost embarrassed expression. “Oh,” he muttered. “I didn’t – I didn’t think you knew. That I was here.”
Steve gently pulled on Tony’s wrist until the man sat back down on the bed. “Why do you always leave?”
“I didn’t want you to freak out about having someone in bed with you,” Tony answered with a half shrug.
“Why come at all then if you’re just going to leave?”
Tony’s free hand came up, rubbing at the back of his neck. Nervous habit. “You, uh, have nightmares. A lot. Really bad ones. Jarvis picks up when they’re happening and tells me so I come check on you.” He shrugged again. “The first few weeks I would sit here with you until they went away, but one night I accidentally fell asleep. It became kind of easier to sleep here a bit than go all the way back to my room.”
Steve blinked slowly. Nightmares? He didn’t recall any. “Jarvis also said you slept better if I stayed,” Tony admitted quietly. “But that could just be him being a jerk. He may be AI, but he’s got an attitude.”
“Then why do you always leave?” Steve asked again.
“Because where - when,” he corrected, “-you’re from, two guys in bed is a bad thing. I didn’t want to upset you so I had Jarvis wake me before you’d get up, hoping you would never find out…”
Steve squeezed Tony’s wrist. “Id’ rather wake up to you here than to an empty bed.”
That startled Tony some. “What?”
Steve smiled and pulled at Tony more. “I like waking up to you,” he said. “And Jarvis is right – I sleep better when you’re here.”
“No ‘buts’,” Steve interrupted. “Lie down and sleep with me.” He let go of Tony and folded the blanket back, patting the space of mattress between them. “Stay, and let me wake up to you in the morning.”
Tony stared at him with an uncertain and hesitant face, looking between Steve and the offered part of the bed. “Are you…sure?”
Steve nodded with a yawn. “You need sleep, I need sleep, you’re already here in bed with me – may as well sleep together.”
That earned Steve a small smile. Practically a smirk. “Well, if you insist,” Tony said in the tone of cocky teasing that Steve was oh so familiar with. Oh so in love with. He lay down facing Steve, tucking one arm beneath the pillow and resting his head on his other hand.
Steve covered Tony with the blanket and rested his arm over the man’s body. They stared at each other a while before Tony’s eyes finally started to droop. “Jarvis,” he mumbled sleepily, “Wake me in the morning,-“ Steve’s stomach dropped, “-when Steve’s awake.”
“Understood, sir,” the AI replied in a tone one may consider to be incredibly happy. Excited, maybe.
Steve grinned and pressed his forehead against Tony’s, eyes closing. “See you in the morning,” he whispered.
Tony hummed, snuggling up to Steve and passing right out.