This is my first story at all in a long, long time, and my first Avengers story ever. I hope you enjoy it.


Steve Rogers stood in the doorframe, his eyes tracking Tony as he paced on the balcony. It was 4 AM and the rest of Stark Tower was quiet, and from the 80th floor, even the city of New York seemed to be sleeping. Steve found that he didn't need to sleep much these days, and when he did he was easily awakened by what used to be inaudible noises. Noises like the footfalls of a man on the next floor up.

He watched for a few moments silently. Moonlight made Tony's shadow stretch into his cavernous bedroom and it bent and swayed, rose and fell with the movement from outside.

Steve finally took a few long strides across the bedroom.

"Tony," he said quietly. Stark jumped, turning towards him with wild eyes.

"Jesus Christ, Cap!" He clutched at his chest, the arc reactor glowing blue around his fingers. "What the hell?"

Steve shrugged, trying to be unintimidating. For his first few weeks in the tower, he wouldn't have believed that Tony could be intimidated by anything. Stark swaggered around like he owned the place, like his name was plastered in lights in the New York skyline. In battle he faced any number of terrifying creatures, many ten times his size, without much more than a quip or a movie reference that Steve couldn't comprehend. Still, after settling down into his own space, Steve began to notice more about Tony. He saw him working in his lab, laboring long after his body should have given out. He heard him speaking quietly to Jarvis, and wondered if that computer was the only true friend the man had. He heard bottles smashing sometimes, and screamed curses.

They got along well enough. The tower was large enough that Steve and Tony only met if they wanted to, and they had gotten into the habit of eating together sometimes, having a night cap, even watching television on occasion. They argued more often than not and often went without seeing each other for days at a time, but they'd entered into something like a friendship. Bruce often stopped by to collaborate with Tony, and Clint and Natasha came every so often to say hello and catch up. Even Thor had once slammed into the balcony of the tower, and he and Tony drank and sang and laughed all into the night. But mostly it was Steve and Tony.

"Tony," Steve said quietly. "I don't mean to intrude. Sorry if I scared you."

Tony was too startled and tired to laugh it off, so he just stood staring at Steve.

"I, uh… I heard you up here. Just wondering what you're doing up."

"It's none of your damn business," Tony snapped, and turned away to look out at the city.

Steve frowned. "I'm just trying to be a friend here, Tony, calm down."

"I don't need a friend," Tony said, but it was in a quiet, desolate voice. They stood for a few moments, Steve staring at Tony's back, Tony staring down the 80 stories to the streets of New York.

"I… I dream." Tony began, not moving. "I dream about Afghanistan. About the men there. And the caves."

Steve stayed silent. He had read about Tony's capture and escape and seen video of the press conference right after. Tony had looked battered and sounded more vulnerable than Steve had ever heard him. He was morbidly curious about it, but never broached the subject.

"I wake up, and it's dark. I've got the glow from this," He tapped his reactor, "But it doesn't help. I remember the first time, the car battery, the wires, the pain. I feel like…" He turned then, and looked Steve in the eye. "I feel like I'm drowning all over again."

Steve nodded slowly. He raised an arm and settled it lightly on Tony's shoulder. "I have dreams like that. Of battle, and… and lost friends." He'd never told anyone, but it seemed safe, almost dreamlike on this balcony.

Tony looked straight into his eyes for a moment and Steve felt a jolt of some feeling deep in his chest.

"Not so different after all, are we Cap?" Tony said with a wan smile.

Steve reacted automatically. "Don't call me that."

Tony frowned and backed up, letting Steve's hand drop off his shoulder.

"Steve," the soldier said quietly. "Call me Steve. I'm not always him. The captain. Sometimes I'm just Steve."

With a flourish, Tony turned and walked back into his bedroom. "Well, Steve, feel free to call me Iron Man anytime. We should probably be getting back to sleep now, hmm?"

Steve looked after him, feeling a strange sense of discontent at the other man's return to flippancy. Tony sat on his bed and Steve kept his eyes on him until they wandered down and caught on his arc reactor.

"Wanna see it?" Tony asked with a small smile. Steve flicked his eyes up quickly, embarrassed. "No really, I don't mind." Tony slid his shirt off, letting the soft light of the reactor fill the room. Steve slowly walked towards him until he was standing right in front of him. He dropped to a knee silently and looked at the glowing heart in front of him. Steve swallowed and looked back up into Tony's eyes.

"Does it hurt? Can you feel it in there?"

Tony looked back at him seriously. "It doesn't hurt. It's kind of warm… feels comfortable. Cozy."

Steve reached out a hand and traced along the edge of the reactor. It did release warmth, and Steve pressed the back of his palm against it. Tony closed his eyes. Steve kept staring at it, lightly touching its ridges and leaning in closer for a better look. He finally traced his finger along Tony's skin where it met the device. His fingers tingled pleasantly. He felt strange, disconnected, and it felt like time was standing still, just he and Tony and this pale blue light in all the world. Tony released a puff of breath and Steve sat back, eyes wide.

"Tony, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get so –"

The other man opened his eyes again and grabbed Steve's ruffled hair, pulling him up to meet his lips. Steve's wide eyes looked at Tony's closed ones, and before he could react at all Tony had pulled away slightly.

"Steve," he murmured, eyes closed. His forehead was knitted together with something like fear. Steve felt something clench in his heart and he buried his fingers in Tony's hair, pulling him down and crushing their lips together.