Title: The Proper Use of Nicknames
Arthor: Reona
Fandom: Avengers (Movie)
Rating: G
Pairing: Steve & Tony; pre-slash
Notes: God, I'm rusty. It's been a while since I've written any fanfiction and writing an ensemble is always hard. I hope I didn't mangle anyone. This fic is unbetaed. All mistakes are mine.

Tony opened his eyes to see his least favorite ceiling. He squinted. He closed his left eye and looked through only his right. He reversed it. He blinked a few times and then looked again. But the ceiling stubbornly staying the ceiling of SHEILD medical. Tony thought back. Then he thought forward. And back again even further. He even tried to think sideways to see if that got him anywhere. But his last memory was still of blowing himself and Bruce up in lab 7. Damn.

"Are you done?"

Tony titled his head down – and, wow, his back hurt, he must have hit the floor *hard* - and couldn't help the grin. "Steve," he greeted happily. The dark haired genius was lying on a narrow hospital bed, left arm in a white cast – that won't last long – and an annoying IV stuck in the back of his right hand. His face also itched. Tony scrunched up his nose and then lifted a hand to scratch.

Steve gently caught his arm and laid it back on the bed. "Don't. The cuts aren't deep but the doctors put some antibiotic cream on them. Try not to scratch at them or you'll get them infected." Steve hesitated for a moment. "Princess."

Tony's eyes widened and then narrowed. Steve could feel his head shrinking down into his shoulders as Tony scanned his face. He was beginning to think he'd overstepped some boundary or completely misjudged things. Steve had thought things were warming up between he and Tony, maybe not best friends but at least not hostile. "Nope," announced Tony, popping the 'p' like a piece of gum. "You do not get to call me that."

"I'm sorry," said Steve, embarrassed. He had misjudged things then. "That was rude of me. I had no right to call you that. It was disrespectful and uncalled… "

"Ugh. Stop," blurted Tony. "Clint calls me 'Princess' because he's making fun of the little rich kid, born with silver spoon in my mouth stereotype. He's not being mean; he's genuinely and good-naturedly playing with me. You're trying to call me 'Princess' because you're an awkward little bunny and are taking your social cues from a person who's personality in no way matches your own, who has the cultural knowledge to understand why calling me 'Princess' is not actually rude but is instead funny, and you are trying to, ick, bond with me in a way that really just makes you uncomfortable, oh overly polite one. Stop. I get that you're trying to smooth things over with me after that truly, epically bad first meeting and argument that may or may not have been perpetuated by Loki's Evil Stick of Evil but you need to just calm down and act normal with me because I don't hate you, despite whatever impression you may have, and seeing you act in ways that are against your nature just pains me. So, stop. Call me whatever you want, Tony would be good, if you have questions, just ask, I promise I won't laugh too much. I think you're just adorable the way you are, so just stop trying to twist yourself into however you think you should be acting and just be yourself." Tony blinked at Steve, the silence holding for a long moment. Then he started to flail his right arm in the air, grabbing for the IV. "Oh my fucking god! What type of happy juice are they pumping me full of? Get it out! Get it out! Before I word vomit any more feelings up!"

Steve jumped from his chair, trying to catch Tony's waving hand. "Tony, stop! You're going to hurt yourself!"

"Get it out! You did not just hear me say all that! Erase it from your mind! Delete! Delete!" shouted Tony. Blood began to trickle down the back of Tony's hand and Steve, in desperation, lunged forward. Tony froze, eyes wide open and staring across the scat inches that separated them as Steve pressed his lips to Tony's mouth.

"Okay, this officially makes Cap Prince Charming!" giggled Clint from the doorway.

Tony's eyes narrowed and Steve jerked back, one hand flying to his mouth. "You bit me!"

Tony glared at him. "Of course I bit you, you sanctimonious…" Steve had no idea what look was on his face, but it made Tony pause. He went a little pale. "Oh, you were serious!" gasped the dark haired man.

Steve frowned. "Of course I was serious. Why would I…" He was cut off as Tony grabbed the collar of his shirt, again he might add, and yanked him down. This kiss was much deeper, as Tony wasn't frozen in place, with a gentle slide of lips and a shy caress of tongue and slight nip of teeth at the end. Steve took a deep breath as Tony released him, leaning heavily against the bed. "Wow." Tony grinned and darted in to place some tiny, quick kisses on Steve's lips. Steve smiled a big goofy smile, which earned him another peck on the cheek.

"Wow, Prince Charming never kissed like that in the movies," complained Clint.

Steve blinked at his teammates. "Um, Prince Charming?" he asked, confused.

"I know Snow White came out in the late 30's. You must have seen it," muttered Tony. He was fiddling with his IV again and Steve reached down to wipe at the trickle of blood Tony's flailing had caused. He pushed the button to call the nurse, ignoring Tony's scowl.

"I saw it but the prince didn't have a name. At least, I don't think he did," answered Steve.

Clint tossed his arms up in the universal score position. "Yeah baby! Disney movie marathon!"

"Thor returns from New Mexico in the morning. We'll start with Snow White then and work our way up in order," said Natasha.

"Ugh, I can feel my blood sugar rising from here," complained Tony. "You know Bambi is going to ruin him, right?"

"I was already in Europe when Bambi came out but I remember reading about it," said Steve. A nurse appeared in the doorway and Steve waved her in with a smile.

"Ruin him," stressed Tony. He shoved his hand in the nurse's face. "Take this out." The nurse opened her mouth. "Out!" The nurse just nodded at that and went about removing the IV.

"Someone is cranky," Clint said.

"I'm allowed. People who have things explode in their faces are allowed to be cranky."

"It's okay, sweetheart," muttered Steve without thinking, rubbing at Tony's good shoulder.

Everyone in the room froze. "If you breathe one word about this to anyone else," snapped Tony, thrusting a finger into the nurse's face again. "I will have the Black Widow disappear you. They will never find the body, I swear to god."

"Yes sir!" squeaked the nurse. She then pushed the box of Band-Aids she was holding at Steve and fled the room.

"Was that really necessary?" sighed Steve, opening the box and gently placing a Band-Aid on the back of Tony's hand.

"Half the helicarrier is going to know that Steve Rogers called Tony Stark 'sweetheart' in the next ten minutes," crowed a gleeful Clint. Natasha gave a tiny, amused smile.

"You know what? You are no longer my knight, Clint. I demote you. Go find Bruce and keep him from freaking out. I suggest lots and lot of dark chocolate. Now, shoo. I don't like you anymore."

"I am hurt. I really am. Now that you've found your Prince Charming, Princess, you don't have a use for your faithful knight. I see how it is." Clint sniffled and threw his nose up in the air. "I know when I'm not wanted." He flounced out of the door.

Natasha gave a low chuckle. "Call for us when medical lets you out, Stark. Broken arms count for injury ice cream." She gave Steve and Tony a nod and left, closing the door behind her.

"Oh god," groaned Tony, hiding his face in his good hand. He was not going to whack himself in the forehead with his cast. Been there, done that.

"I'm sorry," Steve said, uncertain.

"No!" said Tony quickly, dropping his hand. "Do not apologize. I meant it when I said call me whatever you wanted. Clint is just being a dick."

Steve grinned. "Does this mean you don't mind me calling you sweetheart?"

Tony sighed but couldn't quite keep a smile from curling his lips. "I don't mind you calling me sweetheart."

Steve leaned over the bed again, pausing just as his mouth brushed Tony's lips. "Sweetheart," he breathed. Then he pressed their lips together.