Not beta read. Not edited. Winter Soldier spoilers, perhaps. Just my feelings in a dumb little puddle here.
The machines beep around him, the sounds have become familiar already and don't disturb him as he slips in and out of consciousness. He doesn't know how long he's been there, but the pain in his body has begun to fade. People come and go. They check his vitals and marvel at how his wounds have healed so quickly. It's the serum, he wants to say, but doesn't. Sam and Nat stop by, but only briefly. There are so many things to take of now.
So many things to worry about.
The thought of his old friend slices through him like a knife. His chest aches far more than any wound a weapon could make. He can't even describe how it felt to see his friend, whom he thought he'd lost seventy years ago, alive and well. Well, alive anyways, Steve thought.
There was some recognition in Bucky's eyes just before he fell from the helicarrier, he knew that. Steve also knew it was Bucky who had pulled him out of the water. It was Bucky who'd left him on the shore. Bucky who had saved his life.
A faint press of fingers against his palm cause Steve's eyes open slowly, warily. The room is dark and it's hard to make out the figure in the chair next to his bed, but Steve doesn't need the light on to know exactly who it is.
"Hey," the voice that greets him is gravelly, and Steve knows it's because the owner is sleep-deprived and worried. The simple notion that Tony Stark could worry about anything makes him smile. "Stop smiling, you asshole."
"I just got shot by my back-from-the-dead best friend and you call me an asshole? That's low, even for you, Tony," Steve teased weakly, but Tony didn't respond. He simply took Steve's hand in both of his and pressed his face against their intertwined fingers. Steve could feel the warmth and wetness of tears and he immediately regretted his joke.
"You scared me," Tony whispered and Steve frowned. Tony Stark didn't get scared.
"I'm sorry, next time I'll try not to get myself almost killed," he offered a half-assed apology and a feeble smile.
Tony nodded and let go of Steve's hand to wipe at his own eyes then, before Steve could respond, Tony was out of his chair and leaning over Steve's hospital bed. He took Steve's face in his hands and gently pressed his lips to his forehead, then lips.
"You should probably try really, really hard," Tony said with the hint of a smile before he leaned in for another kiss.
As he did, the door to the small room opened and before either one of them could blink a tiny body was, quite literally, climbing up the end of Steve's hospital bed.
Tony was quick enough, however, and grabbed Peter before he could do any major damage. Steve was so relieved to see the kid that he couldn't even be mad at Tony for bringing him to a place where people die. Where he might have died here.
Peter didn't speak, he just started indignantly at Tony, who rolled his eyes and chanced a glance at Steve. Steve gave a small nod and held out his hand that wasn't connected to a monitor.
"Okay, okay," Tony grumbled as he set Peter on the edge of Steve's bed. "For the record: Barton was supposed to be watching him," he argued before realizing that he didn't really need to defend himself.
It was something about the way that the little boy effortless folded himself into Steve's embrace. The way his partner pressed his face to the little boy's hair and breathed in deeply. It reminded Tony of the time they'd found Peter. He was so scared and all alone, but Steve had made the boy feel safe. Hell, he made everyone feel safe.
After a moment Peter pulled away and took Steve's face in his tiny hands.
"You okay?" He whispered.
"I'm okay," Steve whispered back and then glanced up at Tony. "I'm okay," he reassured him.
"Good enough for me."
And maybe he was okay. Or would be…eventually.