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It's been a long day

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There are bad days when you are a superhero.

Days where nothing goes right, where lives are lost, where damage is done, where they barely make it out alive.

Today has been such a day.

It was, with one word, disastrous. While killer robots are nothing new, the ones today were particularly nasty and deadly; and Tony doesn’t want to think about what could have happened, doesn’t want to think about the “what if’s” of this mission.

He simply curls up on the couch, both emotionally and physically exhausted.

He’s not alone for long.

One after another, the rest of the Avengers sneak into the spacious living room, all equally looking tired, wan and miserable. Natasha drops onto the couch, occupying the spot right next to Tony and he wordlessly lifts an arm, lets her cuddle closer until her head comes to rest against his shoulder.

Thor, Bruce and Clint pile up to their feet; the archer and the doctor each curled into Thor’s warm body in an attempt to seek comfort. Out of seemingly nowhere, Bruce pulls up a bunch of blankets and they all reach for one, eager for the consolation they provide.

Tony is tempted to close his eyes and maybe sleep for a bit; but there’s still one person missing and he knows he couldn’t nap without Steve by his side even if he tried.

Sure enough, his lover appears in the door as soon as he thinks that. Steve looks even more tense than the rest of them and there’s tension in his shoulders, a tightness around his eyes that tells Tony that he’s barely holding himself together, but not ready to fall apart in front of the team. They will have time to talk about the events of today later.

Somewhere in private.

For now, all Tony does is to hold out a hand and wait until Steve is close enough to take it.

It’s fascinating, really; a touch as simple as his hand in Steve’s is enough to almost soothe the emotional whirlwind that makes Tony’s chest feel tight. He squeezes once, reassuringly and a moment later, Steve’s warm against his other side.

The blond drapes one arm around Tony’s shoulder, pulling him closer and pressing his nose into the soft, brown curls. He feels a lot calmer now, with his team in front of his eyes and safe, alive – and with Tony in his arms. Briefly, Steve runs his fingers over Natasha’s shoulder before he cups the back of Tony’s neck and rubs circles into the warm skin.

He can feel his lover shiver and despite all odds, Steve feels his lips curve upwards into a soft smile.

Yes, today was bad and it was too close for comfort. But what matters right now is that they all made it out. They’re banged up and it will take a bit to recover, but Steve knows they can pull through.

He leans forward a little more, forehead resting against Tony’s neck. Steve really can’t keep in his smile when he hears Tony chuckle and soon after, a hand comes up to ruffle his hair.

“You’re a big puppy”, the brunet whispers fondly. His voice is too rough to fool Steve into believing the casual tone of it and so he simply presses closer, resting his other arm on top of his lover’s chest.

The reassuring steady beat of Tony’s heart under his fingertips, the comfortable warmth and the knowledge that his whole team is here… all that slowly lulls Steve to sleep, completely at ease.