Finally finished this guys. If there are any errors I apologize, but it's almost 2 in the morning and I got lazy with my editing. Thanks for your continued support, I love you all! Reviews are also loved. I don't own Avengers.
"You look happier," Bruce said as Tony entered the lab, whistling despite his slight limp. "The samples Cap gathered are over there." He gestured at a lab table towards the back.
"Bruce, I have a serious question to ask you," Tony said, practically trapping Bruce against the lab table.
"Ask away," Bruce said. He prodded Tony's arm until he moved it back a little ways. "I did some tests on the samples Steve brought in. It's not an element I've seen before, which isn't surprising given that it's from another planet."
"The monster is not the important thing right now, Bruce, I'll get to it later," Tony said, crowding the man's space until he had his undivided attention.
Bruce raised an eyebrow at him. "The thing that ripped your armor apart isn't important?"
"Not in the grand scheme of things no," Tony said. "Look, you're getting me distracted, so just shut up and listen. Steve likes me."
Bruce blinked at him a few times and turned back to his work, flipping through some pages. "Okay, tell me something the entire team doesn't know. Tony, I really think you need to look at this-"
"I just said the monster isn't important," Tony said, shoving the papers away and hopping up on the table, leaning down in front of Bruce. "What do you mean the entire team already knew?"
Bruce gave a small 'I-can't-believe-I'm-humoring-you' smile, an almost exact copy of the expression Pepper gave him. "Steve isn't that great at hiding his emotions, it's probably what made it so hard for him to get the girl when he was younger. He gives you those side long glances and blushes all the time, and most girls want to be wooed."
"He did woo me," Tony said. "Bruce, your logic isn't making any sense."
"Clearly," Bruce said with an eye-roll. "Look, you aren't a girl, and you're also oblivious to anyone who pays attention to you-"
"That's because people are always paying attention to me, I just assumed it was a natural thing," Tony said.
Bruce sighed, rubbing his eyes for a moment before straightening his glasses. "So the reason you didn't notice that Steve has been making puppy eyes at you since we got rid of Loki is because you assume everyone looks at you like that?"
"Well see, when you put it that way it sounds bad-"
"No matter what way you put it, it sounds bad, Tony, honestly," Bruce said. "Anyways, what's your question? You haven't really asked anything."
"Oh right, well what do I do about Steve? Because I mean me and relationships don't work out and Steve is a good upstanding gentleman and I'm going to ruin him," Tony said, looking down at his hands.
"Ah." Bruce reached around Tony to start flipping through the papers again. "All true statements. But Steve already knows about all your flaws and if he likes you anyways then...well you're good." He shrugged. "You're stuck with him."
"But I'm going to ruin him," Tony said.
"Are you though?" Bruce asked. "What makes you so sure of that?"
"Uh, let's look at my other relationships. Ah, Pepper and...yeah that's it," Tony said. "Literally, all I've had before that is one night stands, granted they were with intelligent, lovely women. I can't do relationships."
"It's Steve, maybe he'll make you...better."
"I don't think that's possible," Tony said with a frown.
"Tony, stop running away from good things because you think you don't deserve it. Yes, you made mistakes but that doesn't mean you deserve to live alone without any friends or someone to care about you," Bruce said, glaring up at him. "Understand?"
Tony's eyes widened in surprise. "Bruce that...was the most I've ever heard you talk at once."
"Maybe that will tell you I'm serious," Bruce said. "Now, go talk to Steve if you aren't going to be productive."
"Yeah, yeah," Tony said, mulling over his words. "I...thanks Bruce." He'd been saying that a lot lately, but...it was for a good reason. He knew that much for sure.
Tony found Steve on the tower roof, sketchpad in hand but with nothing drawn on it. "Hey."
"Well this is a surprise," Steve said as Tony sat down beside him, their feet dangling over the edge.
"Yeah well, I'm full of surprises," Tony said. "And what, can't I sit on my own roof?"
Steve shook his head, grinning. "That's not what I meant. I meant...that I thought you'd be avoiding me for longer."
Tony wrinkled his nose with a frown. "That predictable am I?"
"Just a bit. But it's fine, I like being surprised," Steve said, nudging him gently.
"Yeah, yeah, what're you drawing up here anyways?" Tony asked.
"Haven't decided yet," Steve admitted. "But you can uh, look if you want."
He was flushing along his neck as he handed Tony the sketchbook, and Tony handled the book almost reverently, as if he was afraid it would suddenly break in half. Which was ridiculous but he knew from their talks that Steve didn't share his drawings with just anyone.
"You sure?" Tony asked.
"Yeah," Steve said.
Tony almost wanted to throw the sketchbook back at him, demand what he was doing, demand if he understood what this meant. But instead he closed it all the way then flipped the top cover. It was a sketch, from what he assumed was memory, of Bucky talking to some girl at a diner table. The next few pictures were of still life, plants, cars, rooms. He paused at the last ones, sure that they were rooms of Steve's old house.
A small bedroom, modest, a dresser, small nightstand, and a bed that looked a little lopsided, the covers rumpled. So unlike the Steve Rogers he knew now, who's bed was always meticulously made. He spent a decent amount of time on each of them, Steve making short comments on a few, but mostly, they were silent. And then...then he reached the more recent pictures.
Him and Bruce hunched over something in the lab, a bit of color added to this one. Natasha tossing grapes at Clint to catch in his mouth, Clint peeking over the edge of the ceiling tile as he emerged from hanging around in the vents, Thor tossing the chessboard across the room with a twitch of a smile on Bruce's lips.
"These are...gorgeous," Tony said, flipping the page once more.
Steve was silent as he looked. It was him, lying on the bed with the sheets tangled around his waist. His shirt was off, the only color on the page being the arc reactor glowing at the center. A hand lay just beneath it, a thumb brushing the edge, but the sketch faded into nothing when it reached the unknown figure's elbow.
"I'm sorry, maybe it's...offensive," Steve said quietly.
"No it..." It was the first time the arc reactor looked...beautiful instead of ugly and defective. Steve hadn't skipped over his scars, no those were still there, marring the edges of the reactor but somehow he had managed to make it look natural and powerful instead of weak.
He closed the sketchbook, setting it aside as he looked at Steve. Words were struggling to make themselves known but he couldn't get his mind to function long enough to actually make them heard. So instead he caught Steve's lips with his own, a surprisingly chaste kiss given his track record. He hoped it sufficed as a thank you, that Steve could figure out what was going on in his head so he wouldn't have to find a way to voice it.
Steve's hand came up to rest gently at the base of his neck, tracing over his hairline as he deepened the kiss, keeping it slow. Something was struggling in his chest, wanting to break free but coming out as a half moan, half sob against Steve's lips.
Alarmed, Steve moved back, hands sliding up to cup Tony's face even as he ducked his head. Why were his eyes burning? He wasn't crying was he? He didn't...Steve's fingers brushed up under his eyes, a bit of liquid coming away on his fingertips.
"I don't know what..." Tony began, but Steve hushed him by sliding his lips over his own once more.
When he pulled back again, he was smiling, a soft, barely there kind of smile that made his stomach flutter in a way he didn't quite recognize. "It's okay Tony. I understand. Sometimes things get a bit...overwhelming."
He wasn't crying anymore, but the fact that he had shed any tears was a bit embarrassing. "But I...I don't cry, Steve, it's weird."
Steve gave a soft chuckle, pulling Tony forward in a hug. "Maybe it's weird because you haven't done it in awhile. It's not normal to try and hold things in that long."
Tony had a snarky retort, but he swallowed it and accepted Steve's hug, resting his chin on the man's shoulder. It was weird, crying and then being hugged, two things he didn't get much of. So he let Steve hold him, realizing for the first time that he actually liked being held. The times Steve had spent the night with him, yeah he had liked being held but that was because of the arc reactor. This was just...enjoying someone else touching him in a way that didn't promise pleasure, at least not of the carnal variety.
Strangely, that made it all the better.
"We should go inside," Steve said, pulling back a bit but letting his hands roam over Tony's shoulders anyways.
"Yeah, I have to go back down to the lab anyways," Tony said.
"Avoiding me?" Steve asked, only half joking.
"No. Not...I'm not going to avoid you, not anymore," Tony said, glancing to the side with a clenching of his jaw. "I can't do that to you."
"Promise?" Steve's knuckles brushed over his jaw, scratching at the scruff for a moment.
"Yeah, promise," Tony said, the words somehow easier to say than they ever had been before. "I'll...see you tonight?"
"It's a date," Steve said with a wide smile.
God he was so perfect with that expression; it made Tony's heart ache in an entirely good way. This was his now, and he wasn't going to be ashamed of it. Bruce was right. It was okay to be happy, he deserved to be happy, no matter what some people thought.
"I think we need to do another movie marathon," Tony said as he handed his plate to Steve.
Steve and he had caught dinner together, a homemade breakfast for dinner. Clint and Natasha were on a mission, due back late that night, and Thor had taken Jane on a date. Bruce had popped up to grab a few sausage links before disappearing into the lab again, swearing he was close to figuring out something Tony didn't bother listening to.
"Don't kids watch movies so they have an excuse to make out, Tony?" Steve asked, hiding his smile by ducking his head.
Tony hopped up on the counter, trying to look affronted. "Why would you ever accuse me of that?"
Steve flicked water off his hands and then slid his hands up Tony's neck to cup his face. "Perhaps because you have the reputation of being quite the seducer." He gave him a small kiss, smiling shyly at him. "Which I'm totally okay with of course."
Tony took a deep shuddering breath, resisting the urge to leap off the counter and ravage Steve's mouth. "I'm still offended that you think that's the only thing on my mind when I'm trying to bring you up to date on culture."
"Hm, then I expect I won't be getting any kisses from you later," Steve said, turning back to the dishes.
"Is that a challenge?" Tony asked. He jumped down from his place on the counter. "I think it is. And I think I'm going to win it too."
"Sure you are Tony," Steve said, patting his shoulder as he walked by.
Tony, true to his word, stayed on the opposite side of the couch as they watched movies, the Terminator series this time. Personally, Tony thought the movies were kind of bad, but Steve seemed to enjoy them, even if he got confused a few times.
He was actually amused by the way Steve would slide closer, try to put an arm around him only to have Tony casually knock it away and lean against the opposite arm rest, crooking an eyebrow up at the super soldier. Steve looked just like a kicked puppy when he did that, but Tony wasn't about to lose, not when his reputation was on the line. He wasn't going to go down as the guy who couldn't keep his hands to himself.
When the last movie ended, Tony got up and stretched, flashing Steve a smile. "Well that was good. I'm off to bed. Alone. I win."
Steve's eyes narrowed, and Tony had a brief moment to question if perhaps he shouldn't have said anything, before he was swept up in a tight embrace with Steve's tongue thoroughly plundering his mouth. This was alright too, this was more than okay.
Tony wasn't sure where he got the idea that Steve was pure and he was going to ruin him. There was no way Steve would be able to kiss that well without some prior experience. He groaned softly as a large hand came to rest at his hip, jerking him a bit closer as Steve's other hand trailed back and forth at the hem of his shirt, ghosting over the bit of bare skin he found.
"For the record," Tony said between kisses. "I did not instigate this. I still won."
"Of course," Steve said, pulling away to press his lips to Tony's neck, adding a light bite here and there as he slipped his hand up underneath his shirt.
"Really? This isn't the first thing I want to see when I get back from a mission," Clint said, his voice breaking them both apart like startled rabbits.
"Took long enough," Natasha said with an eye-roll as she yanked the fridge open. "What do you want Clint?"
"Sugar," Clint said, leaning against the island and holding his hand out. "So you guys fuck yet?"
"Here is your super sugary drink," Natasha said, shoving a can of pop into his hand and pulling out a bottle of water for herself.
"Uh, we haven't yet," Tony said.
"You can't talk about...that with them," Steve said, flushing.
"Come off it, soldier boy, people aren't as shy as you were about this stuff," Clint said. "And for the record, I don't believe that for a moment Tony. That's not like you."
"Ah, because the freaking bird knows all about me, huh?" Tony asked.
"He doesn't but I do," Natasha said with a shrug.
"Is it that hard to believe that I won't just hop into bed with people?" Tony asked, feeling a bit irritated by the thought, more than he should've been.
"A bit, yeah," Clint admitted with a shrug of his own.
"Yeah thanks," Tony said, giving them both a sneering twitch of his lips before exiting the room. He wasn't in the mood to have people shoving his failures in his face.
He threw his shirt across the room as he got ready for bed, heading into the bathroom to change his bandages. Things like this were generally quick affairs. Rip off old bandage, clean, put on new. He got as far as cleaning before he looked up and saw the damage in the mirror, really saw it for the first time. It had been a close call. He and Jarvis had already run a check on the reactor, several times actually, to make sure it was all working properly. Still, it was hard to look at it.
He bit his lip and looked down, grabbing for the bandages only to have them pulled out of his reach.
"How about I take care of that?" Steve asked quietly.
He moved to stand behind Tony, wrapping the bandage carefully over the scratches that started at the middle of his ribcage. It was a silent affair for the most part, until Steve reached the reactor at least.
"You know, this is really beautiful, Tony," Steve said, securing the bandage just beneath it. The action made Tony's breath catch for a moment. That Steve knew he didn't want it bound meant a lot more to him than he cared to admit.
"What's so beautiful about a bunch of scars and a clunky piece of metal in my chest?" Tony asked, looking up and frowning at his reflection.
"It keeps you alive doesn't it?" Steve moved his hand up to trace the outer edges. "Scars are reminders of what mistakes not to make, beautiful and powerful reminders. How could they be ugly?"
"Because people died as a result," Tony replied. "Because thousands of innocent people died for my mistakes."
Steve sighed against his neck, hand moving to cover the reactor completely. "But look at what you've accomplished. You made it better. You changed the way your company worked, you're going to give the world a new energy source. Why do you keep seeking redemption when you've already done more than enough?"
"Because I've never been enough."
He pulled away from Steve then, moving to exit the bathroom only to have Steve grab his wrist and drag him back, both his hands moving to squeeze Tony's shoulders.
"Tony, you are more than enough for me, and for the people you've saved," Steve said firmly, not letting Tony look away. "You have your faults but so do I. That doesn't mean you're a failure. You're fine just the way you are, and anyone who disagrees with that doesn't know you."
"Steve..." Tony didn't have a response. How did you respond to someone that praised you when you spent your whole life being 'not good enough'?
"I know I'm right on this one, Tony, believe," Steve said. "You're a good person. I don't think you sleep around like that anymore, you aren't selfish, and you have the biggest heart out of everyone here."
Tony shook his head, unable to stop the displeasure from showing on his face. "Really? Because those words aren't usually applied to me. I'm quite a selfish brat, actually, thank you."
"That's a lie and you know it. A selfish man wouldn't fly a nuclear bomb into space just to save a city. A selfish man wouldn't build a suit to right the wrongs of his business partner, and a selfish man certainly wouldn't fight his best friend to stop him from manufacturing more weapons. You, Tony Stark, are anything but selfish," Steve said firmly, shaking Tony a bit as if it would help engrain his words.
Tony looked down, staring at the glowing light. Steve trailed his hand down from his shoulder to lightly trace the edge of it again, drawing a shudder forth from the shorter.
"It's beautiful Tony." Steve ducked down, kissing his neck, his shoulder, sliding down until he could place a soft kiss at the center of the light. "Okay? And so are you."
"I need sometime to think," Tony said quietly as Steve straightened.
"Of course," Steve said. "Do you want me to stay here tonight? Later?"
"You can stay, now," Tony said, giving him a small smile. "Just, let me think without saying anything."
Steve smiled back and kissed him once on the lips. "I can do that."
They didn't speak to each other for the rest of the night. Steve just laid beside him and ran his fingers up and down Tony's bare torso, from his neck to the waistline of his cotton pajama pants. It was more soothing than Tony would admit. He wasn't used to such casual touching, and he was surprised that it felt so nice, so calming. Before long, he had been pulled down into sleep, the last sound reaching his ears being Steve asking Jarvis to turn off the lights.
"Figured out what the alien claw thing was made out of," Tony said, hopping up on the table Bruce was working on, successfully scattering his papers. It had taken him a few weeks but by the time the cuts were healed, he had figured out the alien's secret.
"Could you not do that every time you want to talk to me?" Bruce asked, shaking his head as he pushed his glasses up.
"How else would I get your attention?" Tony asked. "You get as absorbed in your work as I do. Anyways. I accepted what you said. And I wanted to tell you that you're right. Also, what I was saying before, about the claw. Totally a foreign element, similar to diamond which explains why it cut through the suit."
Bruce folded his arms across his chest, taking a step back as he contemplated what Tony was saying. "I'm sorry, I'm not sure what to talk about first, the fact that you admitted I'm right or that you figured out what that element was."
Tony flapped a hand dismissively. "Neither are important I just thought you should know."
"But you discovered a foreign element. Shouldn't you be more excited?"
"I already have Jarvis figuring out a way to recreate it," Tony said. "Going to try a suit made with some trace amounts of it and see what happens. I already geeked out about it Bruce."
"Ah, of course," Bruce said, rolling his eyes. "So are you and Steve together now or what?"
"Yes. I am in a committed relationship, stop the presses," Tony said, nudging Bruce's hip with his foot. "I just hope I don't mess it up again."
"You won't," Bruce said, moving to grab a few papers and shuffle through them. "Really. You won't. Poisonous to think like that in the first place."
"How are you so sure of that when I'm not?" Tony asked, smiling despite his words.
"Because I'm not biased against you," Bruce said with a smile of his own. "So you going to take Steve our on a date or something?"
Tony winced at that. "I don't know how not to spend a ton of money on stuff like that. And he would hate it if I spent a ton of money on him."
"Oh the woes of being a rich boy," Bruce said. "Why don't you cook him something? He's made you some homemade meals right? It's a nice thing to do, personal."
"I...could do that," Tony mused with a thoughtful frown. "You're a smart guy, Bruce."
"Yes, I've been told. Are you going to be coming to me often for relationship advice, because that's kind of pathetic given my track record," Bruce said with a small smile.
"Oh, you make a good point," Tony said. He jumped down from the counter and clapped Bruce on the shoulder. "You'll find someone too."
Bruce rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah, go try and remember how to cook food so you don't upset the poor guy's stomach."
"This is really sweet, Tony, thanks," Steve said, smiling up at him as he set the plate down. It was that shy smile, the one that meant he really was touched and wasn't quite sure what to say.
The meal was spaghetti, one of the few recipes Tony had managed to find from his mother's old cookbook. There weren't many things from her around, but he had kept a small box of things from her. Pictures, some legal documents, and random junk. Everything about it was homemade, except for the noodles, but slaving over making sauce from scratch was time consuming as it was.
"Yeah well, I wanted to do something that you'd appreciate," Tony said, sitting down across from him.
They were sitting at the one dining table they had in the tower, for 'team-bonding nights' where they all sat together and ate bad take-out food. Except the rest of the team was gone and he and Steve could be alone to talk and do whatever they wanted.
"The sauce is different," Steve mused after he took a bite. "What brand?"
"I uh, made it. From scratch," Tony said, hunching over his plate. "Old family recipe or whatever."
There was a clink as Steve set his fork down on his plate, and when Tony dared to look up, Steve was looking at him with his head tilted and a smile on his face that made Tony feel wonderful and horrible things all at once.
"Thanks, Tony. It must've taken some time to find it," Steve said.
"Not really, was in a box of...stuff I have," Tony said, looking back down at his plate. "From my mom." He shoved a forkful of food into his mouth before he could say anything stupid.
"Well she must've been a lovely cook."
"Don't remember," Tony said. It was a lie, but Steve didn't know that. He had a few memories of his mother, some of them being her cooking back when he was really small, standing beside her leg and begging for a taste. They were some of the happiest memories of his childhood, and they often ended up being eclipsed by the darker ones.
"Sorry I know you don't like talking about that sort of thing," Steve said. "So how did you manage to empty out the tower?"
"Bribed Bruce into going out drinking with everyone. They couldn't resist such a rare event," Tony said with a grin.
Steve laughed, shaking his head. "Poor Bruce. You two seem to be...close. Bruce doesn't really talk to any of us but you two spend all your time together down in the lab."
Tony looked down, trying to stifle his smile. "Is this jealousy, Steve? You know you could come down in the lab with us."
Steve rolled his eyes. "I wouldn't understand a single word you two said and you know it."
"You could sketch down there," Tony said. "Machines are beautiful, in their own way, and with your attention to detail, I'm sure it'd be really nice to look at."
"You really think that?" Steve asked, frowning thoughtfully.
"I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it, and that's something you know," Tony said with a nod.
"I don't know, it's just weird to hear," Steve said. "I never did get to art school you know. There are a lot better artists out there than me."
"Doesn't mean the stuff you do isn't good," Tony said, scraping the last bit of food off his plate. In the time it had taken him to go through one, Steve had cleared his way through three, and was patting his stomach in satisfaction.
"Thanks, Tony. It means a lot to hear you say that," he said.
Tony smiled, getting to his feet and grabbing all the plates to dump in the sink. Steve came up behind him, resting his chin on Tony's shoulder as the other began to wash the dishes, winding his arms around his waist.
"You know it's hard to concentrate when you keep doing that," Tony said as Steve began to nibble at his neck. "People say I'm the one always thinking about sex."
"Nah, you have too many equations running up there," Steve said with a chuckle, kissing his temple. "Leave some room there for me?"
"There's always room for you," Tony said. "You're more important than any of...that stuff." He frowned down at what he was doing, realizing what he said was as good as a love confession. He didn't want to use that word yet, that word meant...too much to him.
"You keep saying stuff like that, makes me want to kiss you all the more," Steve said. "I know it's hard letting people get close, Tony, but I'm not leaving your side, no matter what, alright?"
Tony pulled the plug out, letting the water drain away. "Yeah, I know. Same. You're stuck with me."
"Could be stuck with worse," Steve said, turning him around so he could look him in the eyes. "Could be a lot worse. You're too good for me."
Tony rolled his eyes, not wanting to believe what Steve was saying.
"Hey, I mean it," Steve said, cupping his cheek with one hand. "I really like you Tony. You're amazing."
"You sure you want to swell my ego even more?"
"I think you could use a confidence boost," Steve said, his voice hushed as he shifted closer, almost pinning Tony to the counter. "Your room?"
"You're not wasting time, are you?" Tony asked with a soft laugh, reaching up to slip his arms around Steve's neck and giving him a kiss.
"I'm a patient man, Tony Stark, but I've been wanting to take you to bed for too long a time to wait much longer," Steve said, smiling. "Unless, you're not ready?"
"Oh I'm ready, trust me," Tony said with a grin of his own.
"I'll be waiting for you then," Steve said, pulling away. "Meet you there."
"Yeah, sure," Tony said.
As soon as Steve was out of sight, he bounded back to his room at an almost embarrassing speed. Usually he didn't care so much about things like cleaning up, but he brushed his teeth and washed his face because somehow, maybe, that was helping him relax. When he emerged from the bathroom, Steve was already on his bed, flipping through some of Tony's notes.
"You know, this doesn't make a lick of sense," Steve said, looking up at him.
Tony pulled the notes out of his hand and threw them on the ground, straddling the other's waist. "This might be the only time I say this, but I don't care about the science stuff right now."
Steve crooked an eyebrow up at him. "Well don't I feel special?"
Tony smiled down at him and then moved closer so they could kiss, wiggling down onto Steve's lap until he got a soft moan for his troubles. Steve's hands roamed along his back, finally slipping down and then pushing up the fabric of his shirt to run warm hands along his spine.
"Mmm..." Tony murmured, arching into the touch and sitting back when the other moved to remove the shirt completely.
"Roll over," Steve urged, mouthing at his neck.
Tony obeyed, rolling onto his back and pulling Steve down on top of him, gasping at the feel of the solid weight settling over him, safe and protective, as it always was. "Shirt off." He slid his lips over Steve's for a brief moment, dipping in for a taste before throwing the man's white t-shirt to the floor to join his own.
"No one's ever allowed to call you innocent again," he murmured teasingly against Steve's neck.
"No, of course not," Steve said, ducking his head to kiss him once more. "I'm going to get us cleaned up."
"Yeah, you do that," Tony said, flopping onto his back as Steve got up and got a washcloth from the bathroom.
It was weird, being taken care of in such a way, but weird in a good way. Tony liked ceding the control over to someone else, someone he could trust with his life for a change. Literally, he had to trust Steve with his life if he let the man play so much with the reactor. He flushed a bit at how pleasurable it had been. Definitely an odd kink but not something worth fighting.
Steve slipped under the covers beside him again once he was done, wrapping his arm tight around Tony and putting his hand back over the reactor. "Thank you Tony, for letting me...get to know you like this. Letting me love you and...everything."
Tony frowned at the words, not used to hearing the words 'love' and 'you' next to each other, and actually have them mean something. And he knew Steve wouldn't say it if he didn't mean it. "I can't say that you know." He wished it were different but he couldn't say something like that.
"I know, I wasn't asking you to," Steve said quietly, kissing his cheek. "But you need to know I love you. Now go to sleep. I'll be right here."
"Yeah...I know you will," Tony said. He snuggled into Steve's embrace. At least with Steve's arms around him, holding him close and protecting him, he knew he'd be safe from anything.
That was enough for now.