If Tony made it out of this alive, he was going to kill Nick Fury. If he didn't, he was going to haunt Fury until he got his ass killed. Then keeping haunting him in the afterlife.
Damn Fury. He was the idiot who convinced Pepper, who in turn convinced him, and Steve to go on this idiotic mission.
"It's an easy mission…think of it as a romantic getaway, but with a tiny bit of work... we could spend some time alone together, we haven't had any time really alone... there won't even be any fighting."
Yeah right. As soon as they arrived, the Fatah, some terrorist organization Tony didn't care about, spotted them and decided to chase them away. With a freaking tank. Steve had been dodging get blown to pieces by a freaking bazooka, where do they get these weapons, he rolled right into the tank's pathway. And while Tony watched, too far away to do anything, it rolled right over Steve. He'd been able to use the shield to protect his chest and neck, but his head had been left defenseless.
He still hasn't woken up yet...
Tony remembered seeing red then and tearing the tank up with his hands. Then blowing it up with three missiles. Needless to say, he was pissed. And when Steve didn't get up like he always did, Tony rushed to his partner's side. He was unconscious, but there wasn't a wound Tony could see. So good/bad news came into play. As it always freaking did.
Steve's been limiting my swearing. Gotta tell him to stop. If he ever wakes up...
But in his haste to save his partner, he'd forgotten the fight going on around him. The freaking bazooka fired again and Tony was caught in the explosion. Steve wasn't hurt but Tony's suit had 'fizzled out' (basically the explosion knocked some very important wires loose) and he landed so graceful it wasn't on his right ankle. He could hear the sharp 'crack', and felt unbelievable pain shoot up his leg. In panic, Tony had picked up Steve's hugely muscular body and ran until his adrenaline wore off and he collapsed. The communications in his suit had been damaged in the explosion so he had to rely on Sleeping Beauty to radio for help.
He always looked cute while he slept but this is just wrong...
Damn Fury! Again! Tony hoped his eye patch would smack him the face! And he hoped it hurt! A lot!
Coming back to reality, or maybe consciousness Tony couldn't be sure, he glanced down at Steve. The super solider still showed no signs of waking.
"Come on Steven. Wake up. For me?" Tony asked but his pleas fell on deaf ears.
And it was, of course, Fury's fault it started raining. Tony groaned aloud because there was nothing else he could do. The forest was miles away, they had no shelter, the large cliff face they were leaning against was steep and sheer, and there wasn't a way to start a fire. And the rain was freezing cold. Which just proved Fury's involvement, in Tony's head. The man's demeanor was nothing but freezing. Dread was filling Tony up quickly. There was no shelter and, although Steve was protectively cradled up against Tony's side, the life support system wouldn't work for the both of them. In a matter of minutes, Steve was effectively soaked, uniform and all. Steve started shaking, and Tony could hear Steve's teeth chattering. Then Tony had an idea. Tony placed Steve's shield over his head and leaned against it. It was incredibly uncomfortable but he dealt with it because it kept his lovely boyfriend's head and chest dry.
Tony wished he were here with Barton. The man was some fun, anyway. He'd run his mouth off, get into a stupid squabble with Tony, and refuse to speak to him ever again. Barton would then start a new conversation less than two minutes later.
And if he were here with Barton, Steve would be looking for him. Steve would never stop looking. Not until he found Tony alive. Not dead. Never dead. Steve always promised him he'd bring him back alive. The absolute devotion Steve seemed to radiate was one of his best qualities, or at least Tony thought so.
Hours went by. If you look up the definition of the phrase 'this sucks', you 'd see a man in an iron suit, holding his boyfriend close to his chest with a shield behind their heads, giving them a little shelter from a downpour. And maybe the phrase 'I blame Fury'. Tony started doing anything to pass the time. He counted to one hundred by threes, after trying it twice he gave up and cheated, he recited the periodic table, then again backwards, he named every constellation he knew, and he told Steve every story his father had told him about Steve himself.
But eventually the stories ran out and silence fell over the two heroes. The only sound was their breathing, which had synched (if the situation hadn't been so serious Tony would've made a rather snarky remark), and the rain.
"Come on Steve. I need you with me." Tony voiced for the umpteenth time.
"T'ny?" Came a quiet and weak voice.
"Steve? Steve! Are you with me?" Tony said frantically.
"Think so. I'm so cold." Steve whispered, opening his eyes a fraction.
"I know. I know. But I need you to radio SHIELD. They can make us warmer." Tony urged.
Steve raised his head a little and frowned. "There's no radio."
Tony's blood ran cold. He knew what was going on. Hypothermia. The chattering of his teeth had slowed while was unconscious. Steve's mind was going back to the forties. And there was nothing Tony could do to stop it.
"Steve? The radio is in your ear. The earpiece? I'll teach you how to use it." Tony said, and walked Steve through radioing for help.
After a very shaky and uncertain distress call had been sent out, Tony breathed a little easier.
"Don't worry Steve. The other Avenger's will hear us, get off their lazy asses, and we'll be roasting chestnuts in no time." Tony reassured his boyfriend, who stared at him in confusion.
"Other what?" Steve asked.
"The Avengers. Our team. For about a year now." Tony said, trying to press the memory.
"Who?" Asked Steve, still confused.
"Do you remember Agent Nick Fury?" The very man who was responsible for this entire mess...
"Black? Eye patch?" Steve asked.
"That's him." Tony breathed a sigh of relief.
"Vaguely." Steve murmured.
"Okay. He'll be coming with some friends, okay? Just hang on." Tony tried for a smile but it didn't quite make it.
"Mr. St'rk?" Steve asked his voice considerably smaller and slower.
"Yeah, Steve?" Tony answered immediately.
"Where are we? Why am I so cold?" Steve asked.
The adrenaline flowing through Tony's veins had just turned to ice.
"The mission? Remember? We were sent to investigate some terrorist militia or whatever, and they kind of ran you over with a tank? I then blew it up? Do you remember any of that?" Tony asked, hoping his voice held back the panic he was feeling.
"It's all right Howard. They'll come looking. You'll get back to that dame of yours. I promise." Steve whispered, his voice mucking up the words he was trying to speak.
At least he recognizes me. Somewhat.
Not knowing what else to do, Tony played along. "I'm sure of that. I can't wait for you to meet her. You'd love her."
Tony was glad it was raining. It masked the single tear sliding down Tony's face. It had been years since Tony had even mentioned his mother. But his boyfriend was slipping away and he found he didn't give a damn.
"I can't feel my legs." Steve's voice was barely audible.
Tony was also fighting numbness, and losing. Badly. The life support was trying it's best but the freezing water was transferring it's temperature to the metal of the armor and he was losing his fingertips and toes. The weight of the shield had proved to be too much for Tony's aching body and it dropped beside him. Steve didn't even notice as it rolled over him. He prayed to every god he could think of that Barton, Banner, Romanoff, or Hell even Fury would come save them. Steve lapsed into practical silence, except for occasionally mumbling some incoherent words, which usually consisted of 'Bucky'. Tony prattled on about nothing at all, the invention of the cell phone, television, some of his better childhood memories, and even how beautiful Tony thought Steve was. But nothing did much to change Steve's current state.
Then, all of a sudden, Tony felt Steve go slack against him.
Adrenaline gave Tony sudden strength and he shook Steve, shouted at him, even got in one slap, but it did nothing. Steve was thoroughly and effectively unconscious.
"No! No, Steve! I am not going to lose you! Don't you dare die on me! Please Steve! Steven! Please! Oh God, please! I love you Steve! I've never loved anyone the way I love you! Please! Come back to me!" Tony shouted, breaking down into tears.
He'd never told Steve he loved him. Whenever Steve said it, Tony would grin and respond with an 'I know'. But he would never say it back. And now it was too late. He sobbed for hours, it seemed, but nothing could rouse the super solider.
After that, his memory blurred together. Tony remembered scared voices, someone trying to pull Steve away from him. He remembered fighting to stay with his boyfriend, trying to protect him. But he also remembered the cold pinch of a hypodermic needle and the feeling of falling down, down, down into blackness...
"I hope he wakes up soon. I'm getting bored." Clint Barton's voice echoed loudly in Tony's head.
Tony felt good. Warm. And his ankle barely throbbed at all. Steve will be- STEVE!
Tony's eyes flew open in shock and he struggled to get control of his flailing limbs.
"Dude! Calm down! You're safe here dude. You're at SHIELD." Clint reassured him, but barely calming him down.
"Steve. Where is he?" Tony asked. WTH? Is that really my voice? It sounds like an old, dead record.
"He's okay too. He's been up for about a day, waiting for you. That was smart, using the shield as an umbrella of sorts. It kept you both alive. Well, that and your suit and Cap's blood." Barton laughed a little.
Tony's heart slowed down. Steve was safe. Right now, that was all that mattered.
"Can I see him?" Tony croaked out.
"Well, I'm not sure about that. But let me tell you, Steve really wants to see you. He's tried sneaking out, like, three times. Got caught all three times. He had to be sedated. Twice. Not that that did anything." This time Tony laughed along with Barton.
Barton left for maybe a minute. Barely three seconds passed before Tony was in a bone- crushing, loving yet desperate hug.
"Oh God Tony! Are you all right? I was so scared when they told me you had hypothermia! I know the suit kept you dry, well drier, and everything, but machines can freeze and the arc reactors a machine and ump-"
Tony cut Steve's worried ramblings off with a kiss. Steve instantly responded, kissing back fiercely. Everything they both wanted to say was communicated through the kiss. They pulled back when Tony was dizzy from the lack of air.
"I'm all right Steve." Tony reiterated, grinning wickedly at his lover.
It looked as if a physical weight had been lifted from Steve's shoulders.
"What about you? You got the worst of it." Tony said.
"Not really. All they had to do was give me a blanket and my body did the rest." Steve dismissed.
Typical Steve. But Tony hoped that never changed. Ever. It was just too cute.
"Barton!" A shrill voice shouted. "I didn't say you could let him out!"
Barton and Steve flinched.
A middle aged (but on the higher side of the spectrum) woman marched into the room with a murderous look on her face.
"Captain Rogers, if you are not in bed in the next two minutes I am going to report this as an escape attempt to Agent Fury!" She shrieked, obviously pissed.
"I've taught you well." Tony whispered. Steve grinned.
"Ma'am with all due respect, he's a super solider." Barton protested.
She whirled on him. "I don't care if he's God! He needs to be rest- ing."
When the nice doctor looked back, she found Steve underneath Tony's covers, nestled into the crook of Tony's neck, with his arms wrapped lovingly around Tony's waist, resting quietly.
"I don't believe it." Her mouth dropped open in shock.
Tony put a finger to his lips, grinning wickedly.
"We should let them get some rest. Doctor's orders, ya know." Barton said with a straight face.
The doc threw her hands up in a sign of utter defeat and quietly stormed off. Barton then mirrored Tony's grin, and dimmed the lights.
"You should get some sleep, Tony." Barton slipped out of the room.
"I love you Tony." Steve mumbled through Tony.
"I love you too Steve." Tony whispered back, noting the exhaustion tinting his super soldier's voice. He would never admit it but he was exhausted. And even though Steve had a super fast healing rate, it caused his body to need sleep more.
Tony felt Steve's grip microscopically tighten.
Steve snorted. "If I'd have known I just had to almost freeze in order to get you to say you love me, I would've locked myself in the freezer weeks ago."
"I'm ordering you to go sleep."
"Yes, sir. I'd salute you but I'm comfortable."
"That, and you'd probably hit me in the face."
"Good night Tony."
Tony didn't answer that. He didn't need to. Steve had slipped underneath sleep's black waves.
Another reason the great and witty Tony Stark did not snark a sarcastic comment back? It only took minutes before Tony sank beneath the back waves as well.