After Loki's attack on New York City, Thor and Captain America began to live in Stark Tower. Most of the team had gone their separate ways after the attack, but Captain America and Thor had come back. Steve needed a place to stay, but he didn't like SHEILD quarters. Thor could have stayed in Asgard, but he wanted to live in the realm he has sworn to protect. Hence, he needed a place to crash. Tony had provided Cap and Thor a home because Tony had learned to like their company, and Pepper was away more often than Tony would have liked.
At first the three of them had fought. Mostly about noise level and "WHO ATE MY POPTARTS!" But, they had eventually figured out how to live with each other. Tonight was a quiet night, with the three of them hanging out in the kitchen/living area, all in comfortable, non-uniform clothes.
The god of thunder looked up from the book he was reading at the Kitchen table to give the genius, millionaire, playboy philanthropist attention.
Tony Stark was standing in front of the couch that Captain Steve Rogers was laying on. He held a glass full of whiskey in one hand. "Come over here!" Tony whispered with a big kid-at-Christmas-morning grin on his face.
Thor raised his eyebrows. "Why?" he asked warily.
"Just come over here!"
Thor stood up and walked to stand next to Tony. Tony pointed to the couch and whispered, "Look at him! He's so cute! Like a puppy! You know what a puppy is, right?"
Thor had to chuckle at the sight of a sleeping Captain Rogers. He just looked so, not serious. He was face was relaxed, mouth slightly open. One arm was dangling off the couch, the other hand on top of a book lying on his chest, which rose and fell steadily. "I know what a puppy is," said Thor. "And Captain Rogers is certainly, what was the word you used, cute as one."
Suddenly, Steve twitched in his sleep, a quick contraction of eyebrows and nose. Tony and Thor turned to each other, and put a hand to their mouths to stifle their giggles.
Then Steve turned on his side, book falling to the floor with a thump. He let out a small sigh before shifting a bit to get comfortable.
It became harder for Tony and Thor to quietly. They were both bent double, little snorts coming out their nose.
"Oh my god, I'm getting a picture!" Tony whispered as soon as he had controlled himself. He set his glass down on a nearby table.
Thor only trusted himself to nod, as he was still laughing.
"Hold on, one sec, be back with a camera." Tony walked out of room, only stopping to look at Captain Rogers again and start quietly laughing again.
Thor took a deep breath and sat down in a nearby armchair, no longer chuckling, but still smiling.
Captain Rogers suddenly pulled his legs closer to his chest, and his expression became a little less serene. Then Rogers let out a whimper and he twitched a bit, Thor wondered if the Captain was having a nightmare. But the God of Thunder did nothing, figuring that Cap wouldn't want to be disturbed.
Thor did worry when Cap let out a louder whimper and pulled himself into a tight ball. Thor stood up and walked to The Captain's side.
"Captain Rogers," Thor said, crouching down. He touched Rogers' shoulder, but Rogers just turned onto his other side, letting out an even louder whimper. Thor retracted hid hand, then slowly moved it back towards Rogers.
Rogers let out a few heavy breaths. "No, Bucky. You can't. You already…" he said hoarsely. Thor grabbed Roger's shoulder and shook it. "Wake up! Wake up, Captain!"
Then The Captain's eyes opened, and he sat up, looking around in a panic, making sure that he was safe in Stark Tower.
"All is well." Thor took Roger's hand. "You had a nightmare."
Steve looked at Thor. Tears were in his eyes, about to spill over. "I, I…"
"Hush now." Thor moved to sit next to the Captain.
Rogers gulped and broke Thor's hold on him, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. "I'm sorry, I'll return to my room."
Steve ignored Thor, walking towards the doorway. When he reached it, he collided into Tony.
Tony froze, gripping the small black camera tightly in one hand. The captain's eyes were slightly red and widened like a caught animal. Something in Tony's brain shut off. He had seen Captain Rogers wistful or apprehensive, but never this sad and frightened. Tony didn't like it. Captain America was not supposed to look like this. He was supposed to be stoic and strong and someone for people to lean on.
But Tony smiled and said. "Well, well, who kissed you awake Sleeping Beauty?"
The Captain just shook his head. "No. No kisses, please let me through."
"Tell you what, if you tell why you look like you saw babies dying in a fiery pit, I'll let you through."
"It was nothing." Obviously lying. Not making eye contact with Tony, turning red around the cheeks.
"Ah," said Tony. "Right."
But Thor interrupted Rogers. "The Captain had a nightmare."
"I see." Tony put an arm around Rogers. "Come on, Mon captiane. Bourbon is an excellent nightmare cure."
"I can't get drunk," said Rogers, shrugging off Tony's arm.
"Even if you could, I doubt that drinking would solve anything." Thor held out his hand. "Come. Talk."
Steve glanced back and forth between Tony and Thor. "I don't think that's a good idea."
Tony snorted. "Why not?"
"Because…" Captain America suddenly scowled and raised his voice. "I just don't want to okay!"
"Hey!" Tony snapped. "You're not the only one who's gone through this kind of thing! I have nightmares too!"
Thor blinked rapidly, and Steve took a step back in astonishment. Was Tony Stark opening up to them? Tony realized what he had just said, and grabbed his glass, taking a big swig to calm his brain.
"I sometimes flashback to when I was in Afghanistan," Tony explained further after was done with the glass. "I won't go into the details, but." Tony gulped. "It's not fun, and I hate talking about it."
"Tony…" Steve's face had melted into an expression of concern. "Are you alright?"
Tony grinned. "Yeah. Turns out talking does help. Pepper is my go to shrink mostly, that's why I pay her the big bucks."
"Why are you telling me this?" asked Steve.
Tony grimaced. "Cause…" he sighed. "God, I feel corny saying this, but I guess I want you to know that it's okay and you're not alone in this."
Oh shit, Steve looked like he was about to cry. "Thank you."
Thor walked up to Steve and pulled him into a hug. "Indeed, you are not alone," said Thor. "You are my brother in arms, and I will not see you suffer in any way."
Great, now Steve was sobbing, head buried into Thor's shoulder, hugging him back with all his might.
Tony considered quipping it was probably a good thing Steve had turn to Thor for comfort because only Thor and The Hulk probably could have withstood a bear hug from Cap. And Hulk wasn't much one to hug it out. But instead Tony moved to stand next to Steve and patted his shoulder.
Steve looked up and the words came flowing out of his mouth. "I went to help clean up the city after the battle. They put me moving rocks, because I'm strong. I kept finding bodies under the rubble, crushed. Sometimes I would find someone who was just trapped and still alive, but more often than not…" Steve shook his head. "I've seen dead civilians before, during the war. But, I can't handle this. Then I have nightmares, and it's not strangers underneath the rocks. It's people that I knew, before, before, the ice." Steve hiccupped and whispered. "I'm sorry, I don't want to burden you."
Tony tapped Steve. "Hey." Steve turned. "Don't make me say it again. It's okay, and you're not alone."
"Stark is right," said Thor. "Many of the strongest warriors in Asgard are haunted by battle in their dreams. You have nothing to be sorry for."
"Come on, let's sit down." Tony sauntered over to the behind the couch, and pulled down the back. "This is better. More spacious." He plopped down on it and patted the space next to him. "Come on!"
Thor didn't hesitate to lay down, but Steve was a bit more shy.
Tony rolled his eyes. "Come on, Rogers. We don't bite."
Steve took a step forward, stopped again, then finally joined Thor and Tony.
"Tell us about the people you knew, before the ice," said Thor.
"I think what Thor means is tell us what they were like, what you thought of them." Tony shifted closer to Steve. "Celebrate them, the good things."
"If we're going to celebrate, we're going to need a drink."
Steve was definitely kidding, but Tony sat up. "You're right!" He stood up and walked over to the liquor cabinet.
"Tony! I was joking!" protested Steve. "I can't get-"
"Yeah, yeah, I know, can't get drunk." Tony opened the cabinet and gave it a once over. "You know, I think beer is better for this occasion."
"You consume much alcohol," Thor observed. "When I see you, you are either working or have a glass in your hand."
"That's not true." Tony shut the cabinet forcefully. "I don't drink when I'm asleep. Besides, when did this become about me? I want to talk about Steve."
Steve and Thor looked at each other. "Well," began Steve dryly. "I think the end of the world is upon us. Tony Stark trying to shift the attention of everyone in the room away from himself."
"Indeed, this is a most felicitous occasion," Thor replied, grinning. "I think we shall hold a feast and dance all night."
"Ha. Ha. You guys are so funny," Tony said. He made his way over to the refrigerator.
Before he could open it, Steve said, "Tony, please don't. Not tonight."
Tony hesitated, hand gripping the refrigerator handle. "Fine, alright. Whatever." He let go, and went back to the couch. "What was that about talking the people Steve loved?"
That got a smile out of Steve. They lost track of time listening to Steve talk about his best friend Bucky and their adventures before and during the war and how Bucky always had Steve's back. He talked about his mother, but there was less detail here since Steve had lost her and couldn't remember much. But he knew that she tried her best and that he wanted to be someone she could be proud of. Tony was excepting to start hurting when Steve started talking about Tony's father, but the charming Howard Stark who loved life that Steve described was worlds away from the strict disciplinarian that Tony had remembered. A bitter thought rose in Tony's mind. "If Steve hadn't met my dad or if Steve hadn't disappeared, would things between me and my old man have been better?" But Tony ignored that idea. A wise lion had once said not to speculate on what might have happened.
Erkisine. The Howling Commandos. Colonel Phillips. The Girls on the USO Tour. Steve went through all of them. Their personalities, what they had shared with Steve and how they made Steve into the mad he was now.
He especially talked about Peggy Carter.
Beautiful Peggy who had taught Steve that he was more than what people thought he was. That he wasn't a lab rat or a dancing monkey, but a person. A person who could change things. He mentioned that one of his few comforts going down into the ice was knowing that Peggy loved him like he loved her.
Eventually, Steve had run out of things to say. He slowly drifted back to sleep, using Thor's arm as a pillow.
The three of them lay there for awhile, Thor stroking Steve's hair, Tony resting his head on Steve's shoulder. Tony made a mental note to put pillows in the living room tomorrow.
Thor broke the silence. "You said that Pepper was your shrink."
"What is that? Is it like a counselor?"
Tony nodded. "Yeah. I tell her about all my bad feelings, and she helps me work them out without destroying myself."
"Does she know how much you drink?"
Tony blushed. "No. She thinks I've cut down." Tony's blush intensified at Thor's Stare of Disapproval. "Why do you ask?"
Thor looked back at Steve, frowning with concern. "I am wondering if he should see a counselor."
Tony shrugged. "Yeah, he probably should. But what he's experienced no one can truly understand."
Thor chuckled. "Does anyone truly understand the pain of others?"
Tony rolled his eyes. "What I meant was, there's not a specialist dealing with, 'I've been stuck in ice for seventy years and everything I know and love is gone.'"
"I see. I will speak with the Captain when he awakes. Perhaps he will think seeing someone is for the best."
Tony shrugged. "Maybe. So. They have shrinks on Asgard?"
"Aye." Thor paused. "But, it seems that they are not as needed on Asgard as they are here."
"How do you mean?"
"Very rarely does an Asgardian die," explained Thor. "Actions have fewer consequences there. The scars of battle are lighter. Even when we fight the frost giants, they are seldom slain by our hand, for they heal quickly."
"Sounds wonderful," said Tony.
Thor shook his head. "Mortality has its advantages. Human society is easier to improve and transform. You use your time better because you are more aware that life is not forever."
"I think I'd rather have immortality."
Thor sighed. "I did not understand how sacred life was and why protecting it was a responsibility, not a privilege until I came to Midgard."
"Oh. Well. That's great. I guess."
There was silence for a while; the only sound was Steve's steady breathing. Eventually, Tony also fell asleep.
Thor smoothed down Steve's now very mussed hair, sleep coming upon him as well.