So this is short, I just wanted to finish it with a little heart-to-heart. The sequel won't be out for a while, I have to figure out a plot that sounds believable, but I do plan on finishing this adventure. So, anyway, as my last disclaimer, anything that sounds familiary, total coincidence!
The soft, warm light woke Steve. It was a nice feeling to wake up to, the warmth, the softness of the bed, and the quiet murmur of voices at his bedside. Wait, what?
People at a bedside meant someone was hurt, was he hurt? He didn't feel hurt, but that wasn't a surprise, he usually never stayed hurt for long. So why were there people in his room? Was he even in his room? Steve searched through a jumble of memories, trying to distinguish what had happen… oh!
Steve opened his eyes, jumping when he saw Thor's face inches from his own. He yelped and nearly collided his head with the shaggy blonde's above him.
"Don't do that!" Steve said as he brought his racing heart back to some normal sort of rhythm.
"I am sorry Captain. I was merely checking to see if you had woken."
"Yeah, okay, fine." Steve looked at the two other occupants of the room, Natasha and Clint, his eyes narrowed when he noticed that Bruce wasn't there. "Where's Tony?" he demanded.
"Easy there Cap, Tony's fine. It was you who gave us the scare this time." Clint laid his hand on Steve's shoulder and gently pushed him back down to the raised bed.
"I don't care." Steve said, but he allowed himself to sag as he gratefully accepted a glass of water from Natasha, "Where's Tony?" He demanded again.
"He's down the hall signing his release papers." Natasha said, "His wounds were superficial, he'll be in a wheelchair again because he broke his right leg."
"It's really hilarious Cap, last time Tony checked out the left side of his body was injured, this time it's his right side! Stark's really getting a kick out of that." Clint sat on the end of Steve's bed, tossing a pen between his hands, "And the great thing is, is that we don't have to hear him complain about it!"
Steve frowned, "Why?"
"Tony was strangled." Natasha said, "it caused some damage, doctors say he shouldn't talk for a week."
"I'm really excited! I can't wait to have a conversation with him." Clint said beaming.
"I wouldn't get my hopes up about that." Bruce walked into the room, he smiled when he saw Steve, "Good to see you awake Steve." He turned back to Clint, 'Tony knows sign language, and Morse Code. I have a funny feeling that we will be begging the doctor to let him speak after two days."
"Tony knows sign language?" Steve asked.
"Yeah, in four languages."
"Oh, is he alright?"
"Physically he was pretty beaten up. He has a compound fracture in his right leg, those are usually the easiest to heal so that should be fine, his throat is swollen and sore so again he won't be able to talk, he also received several lacerations to his arms and hands." Bruce said as he took off his glasses and ran his hand through his hair.
"Don't forget about his shoulder." Clint said.
Bruce nodded, "Right, Tony said he flew into the coffee table." Bruce looked to Steve for confirmation.
Searching through the scattered memories he nodded, "Yeah, I think his cane exploded, sent us all flying."
"Tony built a repulsor into the cane" Bruce said as way of explanation, "Anyway, the coffee table shattered and a piece of glass pierced his right shoulder, so he's in a sling again, but only for a week this time." Bruce shook his head, "and mentally he seems to be taking it pretty well, but this is Tony we are talking about and usually what we see on the outside isn't the same on the inside."
"Can I see him?" Bruce eyed Steve before he grabbed his chart.
"S.H.E.I.L.D. had to bring in their own doctors in for you – Pepper refused to have either of you taken back to a S.H.E.I.L.D. base – but they said because of your body's ability to heal so quickly you should be alright to leave as soon as you like," Steve looked down at his bare chest, taking in his injuries for the first time, there were fresh scars on his chest and bicep, they already looked weeks old. Steve looked back up at Bruce as he continued, "but, I would suggest getting some sleep, you lost a lot of blood and even for you that has its side effects."
Steve shook his head, "I'm not tired." Bruce smiled
"I'll believe that when you can keep your eyes open for more than thirty seconds. Get some rest Steve." Bruce put the medical chart back and turned back to the door, "I'm going to go check on Tony, I'll let him know you're awake."
Steve watched him leave before shifting his eyes to the others in the in the room, Natasha sat down in the chair next to the bed and picked up a magazine to flip through, her feet kicked up next to Steve's thigh as she settled down and relaxed – or at least she appeared to. Clint stayed where he was at the foot of his bed still twirling the pen between his fingers. Thor continued to stand directly next to Steve his arms crossed and his eyes occasionally flicking across the room. A sudden wave of affection struck Steve, the way the three sat there, giving the air of relaxation –or in Thor's case not at all – as they watched over him. He smiled.
"You don't need to stay." He said.
Clint glanced up, "Yeah, and have Hulk throw one of Tony's precious cars at us if something happens to you, not going to happen."
"Don't be stupid," Natasha said without looking up, "He wouldn't throw a car at you, a tank maybe, but not a car."
"That's very comforting thank you." Clint replied dryly.
"That's what I'm here for." She said with a shrug.
Steve smiled as his eyes fell closed, taking comfort in the fact that his team was watching him.
When next he woke it was to a much quieter and emptier room. It wasn't surprising, there is only so long a group of people can sit and watch a snoring super soldier, just that they had been there for a little while was enough. And it was nice, to be alone and to be able to think.
To bad the universe had other plans.
Something metallic crashed to the floor causing Steve to jump and nearly leap out of bed. Looking around wildly before his frantic gaze caught hold of the one responsible.
Tony sat in a wheelchair by the hospital bed, a metal tray that must have once held the plate of food that now rested on the floor by the garbage. Steve blinked, somewhat surprised that he hadn't noticed that Tony had been in the room, Tony usually gave off an air of arrogance that demanded attention. For him to be so silent was innerving.
A quick scan of Tony confirmed everything Bruce had told Steve earlier. Tony's leg was in a cast that reached up to his knee, it was supported at a comfortable angle by a leg rest attached to the wheelchair. His right arm was in a sling, hiding the bandages on his right forearm, the mirroring bandages on his left forearm contrasted with the dark gray of his t-shirt. But it was the dark purple bruise marring his throat that held Steve's attention. It was ugly, extending across the entire length of his neck with an assortment of blues and purples crisscrossing with blacks, the shape of two sets of fingers distinguishable at the outer edges of the bruise.
Tony was watching him, an eyebrow quirked and a smirk on his face. Steve looked away, only feeling slightly embarrassed. His eye caught the food and the tray on the floor, he gazed back up at Tony.
"Did you do that on purpose?" Tony just looked at him by way of answer.
"You should pick that up." Tony glanced down at his body and then back up to Steve, "Never mind."
Silence fell between them, it unnerved Steve, and he didn't know why. He studied Tony again, who seemed indifferent about the scrutiny as he fiddled around with what looked suspiciously like the thermometer the nurses used to check infants temperatures. They sat like that for five more minutes before Steve realized what was bothering him.
Tony was quiet, Tony was never quiet, even when he was working. When he wasn't talking or muttering to himself he usually hummed some unrecognizable tune, and when that failed he attempted to cause permanent damage to his eardrums with pulsing music. Having Tony sit down and work without making a sound made Steve want to hurl something at him just to get him to speak.
A finger snapped in his face causing him to jump. Tony was watching him again, a look of annoyance on his face as he glared at Steve. Steve blinked, "What?"
Tony rolled his eyes before his fingers and hands started moving again, As hard as it is for you to keep your eyes off my handsome body, I would appreciate it if you would at least pay attention to my hands so I can attempt to have a conversation. His hands went back to their resting places, one in his lap and the other in the sling.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to… wait how did you know I knew sign language?" Tony rolled his eyes.
Sounded like something you would know, being the all-American you are, probably learned Morse code just for the military too.
Steve blinked before shaking his head, "No, well I mean yes, but only for Morse code. There was this girl growing up, she was deaf, besides Bucky she was the only one who ever really talked to me." Steve said so with a shrug.
Tony shrugged his shoulders as if to say same difference, he went back to his fiddling. Steve watched him again, but he could only take the silence for so long, "How are you feeling?"
Tony glanced up, I would be better if everyone would stop asking me that. But since you seem genuinely concerned I look worse than I feel. You on the other hand look just as handsome as ever.
Steve wondered if it was physically possible for silence to sound sarcastic.
"I'm fine, I heal quickly, it doesn't even hurt anymore." Tony's hands moved, Steve blinked, not recognizing the sign, "What?"
Rolling his eyes Tony spelled out a word, B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T.
A beat of silence, then "They actually have a sign for that?"
Tony smirked, They do now.
Settling himself back into the wheelchair Tony kicked up his unbroken leg .up onto the bed, wincing when it pulled at his older injury.
"How's your leg?" Tony glanced up at him.
Broken Cap, isn't it obvious?
Steve shook his head, "No, not that leg, your other leg."
Hurts, the guy used it as his personal kicking block, Banner says it will be sore for a while. But no damage was done, praise the lord for small favors.
Steve sat in silence, his eyes never leaving Tony. He drank in the pallor of Tony's cheeks, the ugly bruises that marred his skin, the subtle wince he gave every time he shifted his left leg. Guilt caused Steve to look away only to look back out of the corner of his eye – drinking in the pain that Tony was obviously in – knowing he had every right to feel guilt for Tony's condition.
"Steve," Steve winced, Tony's voice sounded harsh, scratchy, and painful, "this isn't your fault."
"You shouldn't be talking Tony. And yes, this is my fault, I was supposed to be watching you to make sure nothing happened. Instead I was shot, again, and you were hurt again." Tony opened his mouth to speak, but Steve cut him off, "This is twice this has happened Tony, you were hurt because I couldn't protect you. I'm sorry."
"The serum is supposed to make me stronger, and I am stronger– "
"–but not strong enough to walk away from a bullet and protect the people I care for–"
Steve jumped and turned to Tony. Tony was grimacing in pain and rubbing at his throat, a cough tore from his esophagus and grated passed his lips, three more followed. Sitting there Steve watched as Tony swallowed thickly as he accepted the glass of water Steve had passed him.
"You shouldn't be talking Tony." Steve said softly watching the billionaire drink greedy mouthfuls of water.
Tony just glared back up at him, but when he responded it was with his hands, Only if you stop acting like a self-righteous jack ass! You may be blonde with blue eyes Rogers, but you're no god! We got one, we don't need two.
Tony slammed his hand down on the rolling table by the bed cutting off Steve's protest, No! This isn't your fault, it was my security system, and my AI that got overridden. It was also my big ass mouth that got us into trouble in the first place, that man was there to kill me, you were just along for the ride. Tony paused for two seconds to shake out his cramped hands, If you hadn't been there, if Bruce hadn't had you stay behind, I would be dead Steve. Don't start blaming yourself for this, because it wasn't your fault.
Steve looked away, his eyes landing on the window, staring at the blue sky. Funny, he felt like rain and gloomy clouds fit the mood better, it would be the perfect excuse for Steve to hide away in the gym if that was so. Maybe he could sneak into the hospital PT room, they had some exercise equipment right?
Something poked his shoulder, turning Steve set his eyes on the calmed engineer. Tony looked him in the eye before, I don't blame you for this Steve, and neither does anyone else. It was a lax in security that is going to be fixed as soon as we get home. Steve watched the pair of hands fall back into the lap, We good?
His mouth opened and closed three times before he had the courage to look Tony in the eye before giving a nod, "Yeah, we're good."
"Good!" Steve jumped when he heard Clint's voice come from the ceiling. The archer was watching them from an open air vent, his head resting on his propped arm, "My arm is falling asleep."
"Then get out." Natasha appeared from the shadows cast around the room by the bathroom door, Steve blinked, he hadn't seen her there.
"Wait, I want a picture!" Pepper came in, phone in hand smiling, Rhodey, Bruce and Thor were behind her; Clint gave a lopsided smile as he posed for Pepper's photo, choosing different poses each time the camera clicked.
Steve stared at them in disbelief before turning to a smirking Tony, "Were they listening the whole time?"
Tony smiled, See, having private conversations eavesdropped upon is annoying!