Killer headache? Check.
Bone deep ache in chest? Double check.
Excessive need to pee? Triple check.
Conclusion? Everything sucks.
All in all, Tony had to finally concede that he was, in fact, still alive. In which case, he was going to need some coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. After he finally got around to opening his eyes that was. And taking a piss.
He compromised with himself by mumbling unintelligibly.
"Tony?" Came a voice from next to him.
He turned his head and opened one eye halfway. There sat Steve, watching him with a hopeful look. Even with a headache from hell, he noticed the dark circles under the other man's eyes and how worn down he looked.
"Well don't you just look like shit." Steve shook his head at him.
"Look who's talking. How are you feeling?"
"Like shit run over by a steamroller. What's the damage?" Tony couldn't get his voice to go above a hoarse whisper.
"Again?" Steve sounded worried.
"Oh, don't tell me we've gone over all this before? I hate it when this happens. I'm totally with it now, so just tell me, yeah?"
"You've woken up four times already, and said something similar every time. I guess this is the most coherent you've been yet…"
"And I'm already bored. Story time, let's go!"
Steve huffed a laugh, "You're definitely sounding more yourself. What do you remember?"
He thought about that for a moment before answering, "You, knocking me on my ass. After that, not much except my head was killing me. Still is, in fact. Can I have more drugs yet?"
"The nurses just gave you a dose a little while ago."
"Sweet. So what happened?"
Steve looked down at his hands in his lap, "It's all my fault, I'm so sorry Tony."
"You released a bunch of robots into the streets of New York City? Wow Steve, where have you been hiding that mechanical ingenuity all these years? I'm a little hurt that you never asked me to be your partner in crime." He joked, successfully as Steve's lips twitched upwards slightly.
"No. It's just, I shouldn't have tackled you, I could have pulled you out of the way just as easily. I didn't even pause to see if you were ok afterwards."
"Steve," He flailed an oddly numb hand, reaching for Steve's arm, "You left me cause someone needed your help more than me and you were trusting me to be able to take care of myself, even though I was out of the armor. And I gotta tell you, I'm grateful for that. Granted, you're probably not gonna be doing that again any time soon, but it was nice while it lasted.
"Just tell me what happened, cause there's no way you should be this upset over a knock to the head. Take a deep breath and just pretend you're doing a debriefing with Fury or something."
The Super Soldier reached up to cover the hand Tony had on his arm before doing what he suggested and breathing deeply.
"You hit your head pretty good on the street when I knocked you down. Natasha said she contacted you to make sure you got moving and you managed to get to some cover in an alley. One of the robots must have spotted you and followed, cause they were sticking to the main streets for the most part. Clint hadn't seen you go down that alley, so he didn't know you were down there and he took a shot at it. His first arrow missed and hit you in the chest. It melted through the Arc reactor. Oh God, Tony, it was horrible. And you got acid on your hands from taking the arrow out, and, oh God." Steve buried his face in his hands, shaking. Tony started a mantra of 'It's fine.' and 'It's ok.'s as he stroked the arm he was still touching in reassurance.
"Hey, it's ok. I'm ok." He soothed, smiling softly as Steve finally started calming down. They sat in silence for a few minutes. He was about to start reassuring Steve again when he finally got it together enough to continue.
"You went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital," Steve didn't bother to raise his face from his hands, muffling his voice, "The arrow's acid had started eating through the walls of the reactor's casing. They had to replace the entire thing, not just the reactor itself. Turns out you had a contingency plan in place for that thankfully, you lucky bastard."
Steve sniffed and Tony could swear his eyes were teared up. And he'd called him a bastard. Steve didn't typically swear much off the battlefield. If his current behavior was any indication, it must have been pretty bad to shake Steve like this.
"Hey, it's cool now, I'm still here." Tony comforted, flashing his trademarked grin at him. Steve smiled weakly and shook his head at him.
"Sooooo, Clint missed, huh?" That probably wasn't the best way to break the ice after several minutes of awkward silence between them, if Steve's glare was any indication.
"Don't even joke about that, Tony. He feels horrible enough right now as it is. He knew the robot was going to dodge his first arrow, he just didn't know you were there and would be in the line of fire."
"Easy Cap, I know he didn't hit me on purpose. I even like to think that he wouldn't either, no matter how many times he threatens to shoot me in the ass. But you know me Steve, I'm just trying to make light of a rather traumatic situation here."
"And I hate that you do that."
"Don't we all? But meh, it's either that or crying about it."
A look of… he didn't quite have a name for the emotion that crossed Steve's face (though it could have been described as heartbreak, if you were in touch with your emotions, which Tony definitely was not). Steve's mouth opened to say something, but then the door opened as Bruce poked his head in.
"Hey, good to see you awake." He greeted as he came into the room.
"Sup Bruce." Tony raised his free hand to wave and froze, tilting his head to the side questioningly at the heavy gauze it was wrapped in, "Hey, while Steve's story telling skills are great and all, you wanna just give me the Cliff notes, buddy?"
Steve pouted at that briefly (and it was one of the most adorable things he'd ever seen).
"I'm not a medical doctor, Tony…" Bruce started to say before Tony cut him off.
"Shhhhhhh, just come." Bruce shot Steve an apologetic smile as he stepped up to the foot of the hospital bed.
"You've been in and out of consciousness for the last week and a half. You were suffering from a severe concussion. There's a hairline fracture on the back of your skull from your first fall, and also a pretty nasty gash that had to be stitched up, probably from some broken glass or something in the alley."
Tony reached up towards his head and felt that it was covered with something. He was about to pull it off when Steve's hand curled around his wrist and pulled it away. He was instantly suspicious.
"What's the deal here?" He demanded, narrowing his eyes and glaring at both of them. Steve and Bruce traded a suspect look.
"Nothing. You're wearing a beanie to cushion your head; it's going to take a few weeks for the fracture and laceration to heal." Bruce finally answered. Tony narrowed his eyes even further, looking for signs of dishonesty in his science bro's face. But there was really only one way to know if he was lying or not, so he quickly formulated a plan. He let his arm relax in Steve's grip and just as he expected, he released it. And instant later, he was ripping off the covering on his head.
"NO!" He shouted, indignantly, as he rubbed his fingers gently over his head, "You didn't! Except you did. Why would you do this to me?!"
"Damn what Pepper said, you assholes shaved my head!" His voice cracked halfway through the sentence.
Steve pulled his hand away from his head and gently put the beanie back on, "They had to shave a big patch off in order to stitch you up and it looked ridiculous. Besides, it's just a close buzz, could be worse."
"How could it possibly be worse?!"
"They could have shaved it so you looked like Fury." Steve was smiling widely, "And for the record, the doctors are the ones who actually shaved it, not us."
"Ok, fine, but- I- my haaaaaair." He whined pathetically.
Bruce lightly swatted one of his feet to get his attention, "Shall I continue or do you want to lament over your hair some more?"
"Hey! That's not cool. Whatever, just finish."
"Thank you. Skull fracture and concussion aside, the Arc reactor took a hit from one of Clint's acid arrows-"
"Knew those were a bad idea." He mumbled to himself.
"And it melted through the reactor and parts of the casing. The surgeons replaced the whole thing easily enough, so congratulations on making some easy to follow directions for once. They noted some acid burns on your lungs and esophagus, so breathing and swallowing might be somewhat painful till it heals."
"Really? Haven't noticed any difficulties."
"He just got a morphine injection a little bit ago." Steve interjected.
"That makes sense. Anyways, there are some more minor burns around the reactor and on the hand you used to pull the arrow out with. Your other hand, however, has severe burns on it from where it appears that you were pressing it over the reactor for some reason."
Tony stared down at his swaddled hand again, before saying anything, "What's the chances of me having full dexterity when everything is said and done?"
"There wasn't any damage to the tendons or nerves, the acid mostly just ate through the muscles and some bone in one spot. A little physical therapy after it's all healed up and you'll be fine." Bruce assured him, "I'll go let everyone else know you've returned to the land of the living and get a doctor to come in and check you over."
With a nod to Steve, he headed to the door. After it had clicked shut behind him, Steve and Tony sat in awkward silence once more.
"Sooooooo…" The injured man said slowly.
"God, I'm so sorry Tony." Steve scrubbed a hand over his face as he avoided looking at him.
"You're sorry you for saving my life?"
"What? No, never! But you're hurt real bad and it's all because I saw you in danger and reacted before giving you a chance to, and then everything else happened because of that, and I'm just so, so sorry Tony."
"Steve, shut-up." He said fondly, raising his good, er, better hand to stop Steve from cutting in, "If you hadn't've knocked me down, I'd be in even worse shape right now. I did the math, and we both know it's always right, there was no way I was going to be able to get out of the way of that missile's blast radius on my own. You saved my life, Steve. Everything that happened afterwards, there wasn't anything you could've done to change or prevent it. So stop beating yourself up over things out of your control."
"I could have stayed long enough to realize you weren't ok." Argued Steve, eyes focus wholly on him now.
"There were civilians that needed your help more than me at the time; I fully support the choice you made."
The Super Soldier didn't say anything for a few moments, he just sat and watched him. It was starting to weird him out, but Steve chose that moment to speak.
"Would you like to go on a date with me?"
"There you- wait, what?" He felt his face take on what had to be the most dumbfounded and stupidest look ever.
"W-would you like to go on a- a date with me?" Steve stuttered the question again, expression hopeful and his cheeks turning a lovely shad of pink.
Tony stared slack jawed for a minute, mouth opening and closing several times before he forced out a single word, "Woooooooooow."
Steve's face crumpled slightly, obviously feeling dejected now, "Tony, don't be-"
"No, no, no, no, no," He cut the other man off before he could finish chastising him, "I mean, just wow. How did I not see this coming? I should have seen this coming, shouldn't've I? I just, wow, I feel like a blind idiot right now. You know what? I'm just going to blame it on the head injury, because that's a totally legit excuse, and-"
A calloused hand slid itself over his mouth as Steve chuckled at his rambling, "It's been going on quite awhile before the head injury, Tony."
"There've been several incidences of head injuries though," He protested after knocking the hand off his mouth, "I mean, I can't even make it a day in the workshop without nearly braining myself."
"Perhaps you should just start wearing the Iron Man helmet all the time then." Joked Steve, who was thankfully smiling again.
"But then no one would get to see my beautiful face anymore! Not to mention, how would you kiss me then? Making out with the faceplate seems a little unfair to both of us, wouldn't you say?"
There was a strangled noise from Steve that had him slightly concerned. The Super Soldier sat staring at him with wide eyes and apparently it was his turn to imitate a fish out of water. When it went on for a little too long, He started getting worried. Had he gone a little too far?
"Steve?" He hazarded, earning a sharp click of teeth as Steve snapped his mouth shut and clenched his jaw. And oh crap, he had gotten this whole situation screwed up, hadn't he?
"Damn it. Steve, I'm- I'm sorry. Oh god, I just thought you were- but obviously you weren't. I still have a killer headache and some crazy heartburn, I'm not operating at full capacity here, clearly. Let's just forget I ever said anything, we can just-"
"Tony," Steve's voice was suddenly a lot closer than it had been, "Shut-up." And suddenly his lips were on his.
It was a chaste kiss, just a pressing of lips, but it made his head explode with fireworks. Before he even had a chance to respond though, Steve was pulling away from him. Without a second thought, both of his hands were pressing on the back of his head and forcing his lips back onto his. Letting his hands drop down to wrap around Steve's neck, he broke the kiss and pressed their foreheads together.
"Still very confused, but I like this, a lot." He murmured, letting his eyes slide shut as he tugged on Steve's shoulders to encourage him down onto the bed with him. Hopefully. And it worked, seeing as the larger man began carefully maneuvering him so they could both be comfortable on the bed.
After a few moments, his face was pressed up on a firm, warm surface. Curious as to where he'd ended up, he cracked his eyes open. He found himself looking up at Steve's face from his broad chest. Yes, perfect. Closing his eyes again and snuggling in, he suddenly felt groggy, realizing he was calm enough now to feel that the drugs he'd been given were actually working.
Steve started to lightly trail a hand up and down his back in a pleasant and soothing manner, luring him towards sleep. He cracked open an eye and peered up at him again. The man was watching him with fond but tired eyes.
"While I'm using you as a body pillow, you should sleep." He murmured into his chest.
"Don't worry, I will. Get some rest yourself."
He nestled in a little more, with Steve's arms wrapped around him, and began dozing off. Steve followed suit shortly and Tony finally allowed himself to fall into a deep sleep.
The rest of the Avengers snuck into the room a few minutes later. They look on in approval at the two men curled up with each other on the bed. Natasha stealthily snapped a photo with her phone as Clint softly 'aaaaaw'd' while simultaneously covering Thor's mouth before the Asgardian had the chance to forget about using his indoor voice in the hospital (it'd been an issue with the staff, they were still working on it). They stood watching for a few minutes before Bruce shooed them all out so their teammates could get the rest they needed.