Hello~ I know I promised I would update like 2 days ago (for those who read 'I am Iron Man'), but I kind of forgot I had a Softball tournament all weekend, so you can imagine why I didn't have the time to write. I believe this story may be coming to an end soon- maybe another chapter or two, but I don't want it to drag on.

I say that like it hasn't already, but you get what I mean.

I'll finish 'I am Iron Man' before I start posting anything else, but I do have a few other fics in the making.

One is a High School AU, and I know a lot of people don't read AU, but it's incredibly fun to write, so I did. The other one I'm not entirely sure about. I have quite a bit of it done but I'm not sure if I like it yet. Maybe I'll post a snippet of it and you guys can let me know if you'd actually read it, before I finish the entire thing.

Comment your thoughts, also comment any prompts you'd maybe like me to write. I need ideas!

You can also tweet me prompts, I guess? Not a very 'traditional' method, but whatever floats your boat. Tumblr works, too, but for some reason my ask box keeps disappearing; I'm working on it.

TWITTER: air_brushed

TUMBLR: -airbrushed-

When Steve walked into the communal living room, he can honestly say that he was a bit surprised to see Tony actually following the Doctor's orders. He sat curled up on the couch, a book in hand- which is also slightly surprising, given that it's a physical copy, and he's… well, Tony. An afghan blanket is thrown across his lap, the pattern zigzagged with red and gold, and he has a mug of coffee on the side table to his left.

He looks so incredibly cozy and serene and Steve could almost swear his heart skipped a beat.

Maybe two.

"Hey," he speaks gently, doing his best not to startle the genius and disrupt the comfortable atmosphere of the room.

Tony looks up from his book, his lips curling into the slightest of smiles as he marks his page and closes the cover, "Oh, hey Steve."

He takes that as his invitation to continue the conversation and steps further into the room. He sits on the couch, close to the brunette but not enough to make him uncomfortable, and nods at the book in his lap, "What're you reading?"

Tony blinks and follows Steve's eyes to the book. He shrugs and flips it in his hands to show the soldier the cover, "Something called 'The Sociopath Next Door.'"

Steve furrows his brow and leans forward to inspect the cover. He raises an eyebrow at the genius, who shrugs in response.

"Found it in Natasha's room," he explains.

"Ah," Steve chuckles, shaking his head.

At least it makes sense.

Tony laughs a little too, and Steve may or may not get butterflies in his stomach at the sound. It's a rare one, after all, and when it happens, it always brightens his day.

"Yeah," Tony nods at the book, "but did you know that 1 in every 25 Americans are actually sociopaths? Because, well, I probably did but I never really gave it too much thought."

Steve hums in curiosity and takes the book from the genius' lap, "Well, I guess this Martha Stout woman has."

"Guess so," he chuckles again, and Steve's chest flutters at the sound.

"So," the soldier drawls, holding the book out to Tony. When he hesitates, Steve suddenly remembers the billionaire's issue with being handed things and sets it on his lap instead. "How are you feeling?"

Tony gives him a grateful smile for the gesture, and reaches for his coffee before responding, "Better. Side's healing up, plus Bruce is hooking me up with the good drugs, so I'll be up and running in no time. Good as new."

"That's good to hear," Steve replies honestly, kicking his feet up on the coffee table in front of him, "but I'm honestly a little surprised you're not trying everything in your power to escape to the shop."

"Ha, yeah; believe me I'd love nothing more right now," he shakes his head and looks longingly towards the elevator. "Unfortunately, for some reason I thought it was a good idea to give Pepper and Rhodey pass codes to lock me out of the labs, and before Rhodey left he may have used them."

"Remind me to get those later," Steve teases, and Tony gives him a playful shove.

"In your dreams, Captain Spangles."

"If I may, Captain Rogers," JARVIS butts in from above, "Since I am not under any restrictions by Sir, I would be happy to help you create such a code."

"Hey! No, Jarvis, I did not program you to take Steve's side!" Tony points an incredulous finger at his A.I's closest sensor.

"Of course not, Sir, however, you did program me to look after your well being and do what I feel is best for you."

"Nope! I forbid you to conspire against me with Captain America! No way," he shakes his head, crossing his arms over his chest and pouting.

"As you wish, Sir"

"I do wish, Jarvis," Tony responds and sips from his mug, which, upon further inspection, Steve notices says 'Trust me, I'm an Engineer. Let's just assume I'm never wrong.'

"Nice mug," he comments, and Tony snorts in laughter.

"Why thank you. Katniss gave it to me when I got home," he explains, a hint of amusement in his tone.

Steve grins and shakes his head, "Suppose I should've guessed that much."

"So…" Tony drawls, tapping his fingers against the ceramic cup, "when's Goldilocks taking Loki back to Asgard?" His voice is almost small- rather, as small as a Stark's voice can get- and he sounds a bit unsure.

Steve figures that's a pretty normal reaction though. He was mind controlled by the God of Lies himself, and control of his armor- something he swore to use only to help people- was taken from him as well. Now he's (temporarily) forbidden from the only place where he truly feels like himself after a week of being stuck in the hospital- possibly his least favorite place in the world besides Afghanistan.

"Don't worry about him," Steve reassures him, "He should be going back tomorrow morning."

He's almost positive it does nothing to calm the genius's nerves, but it was worth a try.

"What about Amora and Skurge?"

"Natasha and Barton are following up on some potential leads as to their location. We'll wrap this up in no time."

Tony nods, taking a sip of his coffee. He seems pretty satisfied with that answer, at least for now, but Steve can't help but notice how unusually reserved Tony is being. He's been rather quiet (at least, for him) since he's come home, aside from poker night and Rhodey's brief visit. Every now and then he'll get this really far-away look in his eyes- and Steve's not even sure he knows he's doing it.

It's probably nothing, he knows that, but it's disconcerting to see him so distant and a bit over cautious of everything and everyone around him.

The silence is back, and now Steve is left with the task of either finding something to do with his hands or finding something to talk about. He's considering just getting up and leaving Tony to his book and his coffee, when suddenly there's a bit of weight added to his shoulder and he can feel puffs of warm breath on his neck that sends shivers up his spine.

He turns his head ever so slightly, and can't help the smile that tugs at his lips at the sight.

At some point in the midst of their silence, Tony had drifted off, and listed to the side. The billionaire was now plastered against Steve, fast asleep on his shoulder. He found he didn't mind it, not at all, actually.

Steve grabbed for the red and gold afghan, tugging it higher up so that it hangs from Tony's shoulders, and even tugging a portion of it onto his own lap. Tony needs the sleep, Steve doesn't have the heart to move him to a more comfortable position and risk waking him up, and he could use a nap himself.

That's all it is, he tells himself, but another part of his brain is screaming at him that no, it's really not.

When Tony woke up, he was surprised and relieved to find out that it wasn't because of a nightmare for the first time in a long time. He was warm, almost too warm, but he didn't care. He was tired and he didn't want to open his eyes just yet, and whatever it is he's laying on is far too comfortable to be real, right?

But then the thing moves, and he decides that it's much more real than he originally anticipated, because apparently said thing is alive.

Tony allows his heart to ache for a split second when he thinks that the last person he'd slept next to was Pepper, but that can't be right, because Pepper left him.

Pepper is gone and she's not coming back, not in the way he had always wanted her to. It doesn't bother him as much anymore, but occasionally he'll feel a pang of guilt for her constant care for him, only for him to fail her and their relationship. He doesn't blame her- never has- and besides, it's not like he never sees her.

But that doesn't answer the question.

Who the hell is he sleeping on?

He shifts, groaning at the painful tugging in his side but ignoring it for the most part. He blinks his eyes open, reaching up with his good hand to rub away the bleariness. When he focuses again and looks up for the answer to his question, his heart skips once, twice, then begins to pound a mile a minute.


Oh, god.

He didn't try anything with Steve, did he? He doesn't remember doing anything like that, but it wouldn't be the first time he'd forgotten a warm body from the night before. Then again, they both have their clothes on, they're on the communal couch, and upon further inspection it's really only about 6 PM.

His genius mind concludes that he didn't sleep with Captain America, so that's… that's a good thing, right?


He shakes his head, mentally scolding himself for even considering something like that. Steve is his teammate- his friend, for god's sake!

Alright, back to the problem.

He shifts as much as he can without waking Steve, mostly because he does not want to have that conversation, and also because Steve could use an extra hour or two of shut eye.

However, shifting with enough stealth so as not to wake up Captain America proves to be a lot more difficult than he thought. He's just about ready to wriggle out from beneath the Steve's arm, -and wow, that's something he never thought would happen- when there it is again; that painful tugging in his right side.

"Ffff-" he starts only to stop himself by biting his bottom lip. He hisses out a breath instead, glancing down at his right to make sure he didn't tear his stitches.

Nope; no blood.


"Fucking hell," he groans as he reluctantly looks up to meet Steve's eyes.

Steve's… tired, blinking eyes and disheveled hair.

He yawns once, then blinks again, all while Tony just stares; waiting for realization to hit, but also appreciating the view.

"What… what're you doing here?" The blonde asks, furrowing his brow before finally taking in the situation at hand- Tony, draped over Steve like he's some kind of body pillow, and Steve, with his arm wrapped around the billionaire's back as if to keep him from sliding off the edge of the couch.

Then suddenly he recoils, yanking his arm free, and what do you know- Tony does just that.

He lands on his back, and while it's not a long drop, it still jostles his wounds and irritates the heavy bruising on his right shoulder.

"Oh god, Tony I'm sorry-" Steve begins as he sits up to peer over the side of the couch, but Tony shakes his head and holds up a hand, clenching his teeth as he waits for the pain to subside.

"No… nope. All good- see?" He breathes out as he sits up. It takes a bit of effort, but eventually he gets there and leans himself up against the coffee table. He shuffles uncomfortably when he realizes he's sitting on something. Reaching behind him, he pulls out a book- The Sociopath Next Door- and scoffs at it as he tosses it aside.

Right, now he remembers.

Apparently Steve does, too, because when he spots the book he awkwardly clears his throat and stammers out another apology.

Tony cuts him off again, of course he does, because he's the one who fell asleep on the soldier, and, if he's being honest, he hasn't slept that well in years.

When silence falls between them, Tony almost considers just leaning back against the table and taking a nap, because considering the time his inner clock suggests it is, he's not quite ready for another dose of painkillers and knowing Bruce, he won't get them early.

But then Steve stands up and offers a hand, which Tony takes because his ass is starting to feel numb, and pulls him to his feet. He's a bit wobbly on his good leg- and his bad leg… well, it's his bad leg as of now- but Steve steadies him, so it's all okay.

"So… Chinese?" The blonde asks, sheepishly rubbing the back of his neck.

And Tony thinks it's adorable, how could he not? He nods, offering a- dare he say it- shy smile himself, and nods.

He supposes he could get used to this.