The billionaire groaned into the crook of his arm from where it was acting as a pillow. He was lying on his stomach, limbs splayed out this way and that, and he was comfortable in a way he hadn't been for quite some time. Well, whenever he was trying to sleep, anyway.
He grumbled, irritated, and curled up with his back to the voice. Stupid voice. How dare it try and wake him up. He had been having a really good dream, you know. Sweet, glorious algebra, he's so sorry for abandoning you…
Then that voice decided it would be a fabulous idea to poke him directly between his shoulder blades, and he lurched up with an undignified squawk, flailing wildly. He managed to fall off the surface he'd been sleeping on to slam into the ground beneath him, and he winced, rolling over onto his back. Rubbing the gunk from his eyes, nearly slapping himself with how uncoordinated his still-tired limbs were, and squinted blearily up at the smiling curly-haired bundle of science that had woken him up in the first place.
He turned that squint into a glare that wasn't as harsh as he wanted it to be. "What the fuck," he deadpanned, voice hoarse with sleep, still trying to process the situation in his memory banks. He remembered nearly passing out on his experiment, seeing Bruce collapse on the couch, stumbling over to cuddle…
Oh, yeah, he'd spooned him, hadn't he?
The physicist's calm smile turned into a reminiscent smirk, and he held out a hand that Tony grudgingly took. The man hauled him to his feet, and the billionaire stumbled to keep his balance, still rubbing at his eyes. "You fell asleep on me," Bruce told him, tone playful, and Tony felt proud of the fact that Bruce could sound playful now, and not just guarded. "Literally. I had to wiggle out from under you. You're quite clingy when you sleep."
"Yeah, well…" But he didn't explain further, too busy wobbling towards the doors that led to the elevator to bother talking about his snugglebug tendencies. He knew he got affectionate when he slept; it was one of the reasons he had a body pillow in his room. Of course, those things didn't wake up when he squeezed the ever-loving fuck out of it, but still. "I require coffee, Bruce. You will bring me coffee, or you will bring me death."
"That's not the way the quote goes, Tony," Bruce said lightly, but followed all the same, if the footsteps he could hear behind him said anything about it.
"Quote, schmote – you woke me up, we're getting coffee," Tony demanded, and yeah, he sounded childish, but who cared? Bruce certainly didn't care; hell, he could be just as childish when he wanted to, so there.
Bruce chuckled, and locked his arm with his at the elbow to lead him along so his knees wouldn't fail on him. The rest of his body didn't seem to comprehend the fact that he was awake yet, so it was still trying to get back to sleep. He'd teach it a thing or two about not listening to him.
"Alright, Tony," Bruce said, "We'll get you your coffee."
"Damn straight you will," he grumbled, leaning on the physicist more than he probably should have. Not that either of them cared.
No, was Tony's immediate thought. Fuck you. Leave me alone. Not that that ever seemed to work. So instead, he just grunted and burrowed further inside the nest of blankets and pillows he was tucked in.
The person just sighed, and Tony hoped against his better judgment that they were getting irritated and would leave him to his lonesome.
Not the case.
In fact, it was so far from the case that Tony couldn't help but feel betrayed by the world as a whole because of it.
The person fucking dumped him out of where he was cozily bundled onto an equally soft surface, and Tony landed with a yelp, trying to stick his hands out to cushion his fall, but the warm blankets still wrapped in a cocoon around him prevented that. The person who had caused it snickered, and Tony huffed, wiggling in his attempts to roll over to see who had the gall to laugh at Tony Stark. He couldn't move, not really, but that didn't stop him from squirming wildly anyway.
The team's resident archer stared back at him, smirking and holding his hands on his hips in that 'greater than thou' way he did after he won a Mario Kart competition. Except last Tony had checked, they hadn't been in the middle of a Mario Kart competition, so Tony had no idea why he looked like that or where he even was. The billionaire had to wriggle around on his back to get at least some kind of awareness of his current situation, and he was nearly blinded by the harsh bright sunlight beaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows on the other side of the room. He hissed, blinking rapidly to clear his vision and hunching under the blankets still cocooned around him to hide. Clint just snickered again, the bastard.
Tony huffed, annoyed. "Ha ha, Barton. Mind telling me what I'm doing in your hell of a suite?"
"Sunlight isn't hell, Stark, you've just been asleep too long," he responded with a grin, "Besides, you were the one who crawled your way in here last night."
Tony's brow furrowed. "Really?" He thought back, rifling through his vast memory bank in an attempt to pinpoint just what he'd done last night. He vaguely recalled tinkering with the new Quinjet schematics, harping at Bruce a little, then stumbling into the elevator and passing out in a hammock that smelt really, really nice. Huh. Well then. "Oh yeah." He shot him a glare. "You spooned me."
"You didn't argue, did you?" Clint told him, and lightly kicked his still blanket-covered thigh. "Now get up; Steve's making breakfast, and we have to get there before Thor does if we want any of it."
Tony rolled his eyes, struggling to free himself from his binds until he finally rolled out of them and onto the pile of pillows Clint had set up to cushion his fall. "He makes enough either way, idiot."
"We're down to our last carton of eggs."
"What?! Since when?!"
Tony groaned into the pillow his head was cushioned on. He was trying to go to sleep, for once in his life, and he was going to give a piece of his mind to whoever thought it would be a good idea to interrupt that.
"I have brought sustenance."
Well, he might let them off with a light scolding…
With a grunt, Tony rolled over onto his back, eyeing the giant blond Asgardian puppy that stood at his bedside with confusion. That confusion lessened when he saw the heap of Burger King bags clutched in his arms. It was obvious Thor had come bearing gifts in an attempt to rectify something he's done, and whether he'd broken the entertainment system again or had forgotten to take the wrapper off a pair of PopTarts before putting them in the toaster, Tony wasn't sure. The poor thunder god was accident prone, even he could tell that.
"Hey, big guy," he greeted pleasantly, and motioned to the empty plastic chair he was standing in front of. "Sit down, stay a while. Hand over the grub while you're at it." He made grabby hands for the bags the blond was holding.
Thor knitted his brow, puzzled at the Midgardian expression, but collapsed onto the chair, ignoring the painful squeak it gave out under his weight. He held out a bag to Tony, which he took gratefully, reaching inside to pull out a Whopper and a large box of fries. He was half-certain his mouth had started to water at the smell of food and grease. "Oh, Thor, buddy, I love you," he said, unwrapping the paper from the burger and taking a large bite. He practically moaned at the taste, and yeah, it was unhealthy, but anything tasted like heaven compared to SHIELD Medical food.
The god gave him a small smile, and set the other bags in his lap to eat out of his own box of fries. He was still eerily silent, since his boisterous personality usually made him heard from up to three stories away. Something was up. Tony swallowed his mouthful and picked up the empty bag to wipe the grease from his goatee, before giving Thor a look. "What's up with you? Did someone eat all the PopTarts again?"
Thor shook his head. "I…" He looked away. "… would like to apologize."
Tony quirked an eyebrow. "You break something?"
Thor looked at him, confused. "You do not remember?"
Tony shrugged. "Coulson briefed me on the basics. I don't know why you think I'm upset, but…"
"But I have ruined your armor," Thor said sadly, "You should not be so quick to dismiss–"
"Thor," Tony cut in, "Relax." Thor quieted, listening with rapt attention, and Tony stifled a chuckle. "Yeah, you kind of destroyed it, but I do have others. Coulson told me the rest of the team picked up all the pieces, too, so I should be able to scrounge up something after I get out of here. Okay? Don't beat yourself up over it."
The god fidgeted, looking away again. He looked less tense, but he still had something eating at him. Tony held back a sigh. "What else?"
Thor ate a few more fries before he spoke next. "I… may have broken the microwave."
Tony ignored the monotone of Agent Coulson in order to continue stretching his arms above his head. The stiff muscles popped, and he let out a relieved sigh as the tension was released from them. He shook them out, leaning back on his elbows to look at Coulson upside-down, grinning as the man gave him a blank look.
"Agent Coulson," he began, "What a pleasure! So happy to see you, after you not being here for your babysitting duty. My, my, and I thought you were supposed to be the responsible one. For shame."
"I was here, Stark, you were merely incapacitated when I was present," Coulson told him, moving forward and tapping his forehead sharply before sitting in the currently unoccupied visitors' chair.
Tony made a face, sitting up properly and turning to give the agent a dirty look, rubbing at the sore spot on his forehead. "Now that was uncalled for."
Coulson shrugged in response, shuffling the papers he held and whipping a pen from the inside of his suit jacket. So that's where he gets them! a small part of Tony's brain rejoiced, but he stayed quiet in lieu of eyeing the papers curiously.
He was only curious for a few seconds before Coulson handed over the papers and the pen, pointing to the dotted lines he could see. "Release papers."
Tony smirked gleefully, and began signing the papers with flourish. "Finally."
If he saw the smaller smile on Coulson's face afterwards, neither of them mentioned it.
Tony groaned into the soft leather cushions beneath his face, pushing himself up slowly to squint and glare in the general direction of wherever the voice had come from.
Someone cupped his cheek from the side, and he flinched back in surprise, floundering against the back of the sofa. He frantically rubbed at his eyes to remove the crust and blinked them open, only to see Natasha staring back at him with a half-amused look on her face. Her hands were even on her hips, and if he knew anything about Natasha, that was bad news.
Tony felt his blood run cold, and he subconsciously curled in on himself. "Oh, god, what did I do?"
"You didn't do anything, Stark. For once," the redhead told him, and did she sound fond? Oh god, did he break her? He broke her, didn't he? "However, I do need you to get up." That was so not a good sign.
"I – er –" Tony averted his eyes. "Yeah, see, about that, whatever it is I don't really think I can wedge dying in my schedule today–"
"I'm not going to kill you," Natasha explained, "Or maim you, or stab you, or dismember you, or beat you until you're purple."
Tony stared at her, and he was certain the anxiety on his face was obvious, despite the just-rising sun beyond the living area's windows. "See, now, look, you saying you're not going to do that makes me absolutely certain that you're going to do that–"
"Stark," she interrupted, and Tony bit his tongue in case she decided to shut him up herself. "Relax." Then she bent down to look him in the eye, and her eyes were more inquisitive than piercing this time, and it made him feel at least slightly more at ease. It was Natasha they were talking about, though, so he just gave her a look. "You are exhausted. You will drink what I make you, and then you will go back to sleep."
She stood back up to her full-height, and grabbed his wrist, tugging him up to his feet to pull him along to the kitchen nook at the edge of the room. Tony wanted to drag his feet, but refrained from doing so in case she decided to use one of the many knives in the kitchen to carry out her threats. She then sat him down on one of the stools at the island and turned back to the counter to gather together the necessary materials to cook… whatever it was she was cooking.
Tony furrowed his eyebrows in confusion at her back. "Wait, why are you here again? Are you paying me back for something that I can't remember I did?" He put on a knowing expression, and smirked at her. "Oh, come on, you can tell me, I promise I won't spill."
He could practically see the eye-roll from the Russian before she said, "Something like that." and continued stirring the pot of milk and melting chocolate over the stove, adding in spoonfuls of honey every few turns.
Tony made muffled noises into the pillow under his head as he slowly came back to the land of the living, breathing in the faint scent of vanilla and soap from the pristine pillowcase before the rest of his body decided to wake up. It really didn't want to wake up, but something had caught his subconscious attention, and if it wasn't the end of the world or coffee he was going to flip his shit.
Sighing heavily, he rolled over, kicking at the covers wrapped around his legs like a cocoon, but they stuck like glue. He squeezed his eyes shut further, running a hand over his face and slapping his cheeks lightly to wake himself further before daring to blink them open. The light in the bedroom was dim enough that it didn't hurt his oversensitive eyes, even though the bedroom was decidedly not his, if the cream colored walls and well-polished wooden furniture said anything about it. He pushed half-heartedly at the covers that had managed to trap his legs like a vice, eying the ajar door opposite the mattress curiously. He could smell the faint scent of frying bacon and sizzling pancakes emanating from the next room over, and his stomach rumbled gratefully at the thought of food after its near 24-hours of straight caffeine and energy bars in the workshop.
Mere seconds later, where Tony kept trying to remove his legs from the blankets to get to the food he so desperately craved, Steve's head popped in from where the door was still ajar, smiling in that overly-kind American way he did. "You're awake." He sounded pleasantly surprised, and moved past the door to help him escape his binds.
Tony raised an eyebrow at him, and snorted at the "Kiss the Captain" red-white-and-blue apron he was wearing (a birthday gift from Tony himself, in return for the Iron Man hoodie Steve had gotten him for his own birthday, because there was nothing like cheesy gifts to establish a friendship), but allowed the blond to help him. "Uh, yeah, that would be why my eyes are open." Steve just rolled his eyes and continued tugging at the sheets. He was soon free, and he sat up to stretch his back, sighing in relief at the pops of released tension in the muscles. He rolled his shoulders, hauling himself up off the bed to pad after Steve back into the kitchen of his suite, shaking himself awake while he walked.
And oh, yeah, Steve had made pancakes and bacon. He was a saint, Tony knew it. His stomach grumbled once again without his consent, and neither of them mentioned it, even though Tony could tell Steve was grinning to himself.
"So, Capsicle, what brings me to your lovely abode?" he asked the man instead, settling himself in one of the chairs at the round wooden table in the middle of Steve's tiny homey kitchen to watch him work. "Did I finally manage to convince you to take that invitation for a day on the town?" He waggled his eyebrows suggestively at the soldier's back, resting his cheek in his palm.
Steve just snorted, flipping the pancakes onto a plate. They were fairly big and golden brown, and looked just as delicious as they smelled. Tony felt his mouth start to water in spite of itself. "Believe it or not, no," he began, "I had gotten up last night because I'd woken up earlier than usual, and had gone down to the communal kitchen to get some more oatmeal, because I was out up here. Then you stumbled in looking for more coffee, and you looked exhausted, so I brought you up here and we fell back asleep."
Tony tutted, and told him, "Y'know, if anyone else had told me that they'd brought me to bed just to sleep, I would've laughed in their face. But you're Steve, so that's probably the only thing you'd ever be bringing me to bed for."
Steve chuckled, and turned to set a full plate of food and a glass of orange juice in front of him. Tony made a face at the lack of coffee, but ignored that in favor of looking at the plate like it was a gift from god. It was piled high with syrup-soaked pancakes and dripping butter, three strips of bacon on the side, and Tony almost groaned as the smell hit him. He grappled for his fork and knife and dug in like a starved man, and Steve slid into the seat next to him with his even more highly piled plate.
Tony felt an arm slip around his shoulders, and he was pulled close into Steve's side for a mere second, where the blond pressed a kiss to his no doubt disgustingly greasy hair. Then he was released and Steve dug into his own plate, ignoring Tony's inquisitively scandalized look with precision. "Y'know, you shouldn't be so quick to judge," Steve mused, giving him a small smile, even though his eyes were sparkling with mischief. "What with me being a 'pure and innocent mind from the forties' and all."
The first time he woke up, he didn't want to.
Groaning, the genius in question tried to block out the worried voice in favor of keeping his eyes closed. According to his body, however, he needed to be awake right now, which totally wasn't fair, because dammit he was tired.
Then his stomach growled as loud as it possibly could, and he scowled at the stifled snort that received. Blinking awake took effort, and the bright lights of the hospital room he was clearly stuck in made his head spin and his hunger disappear in lieu of nausea. He groaned again, turning toward the source of the voice, where the person decided to humor him and ran his fingers through his knotted hair. It felt like heaven, and he buried his face in the pillow at the feel of it, ignoring how the bruise on his cheek throbbed at the action.
"Tony, you need to get up," the voice told him kindly.
Tony just mumbled out a swear or four. "Noooo," he whined, dragging out the 'oh' as long as he could. His throat was screaming at him, but he had to explain to the voice that he didn't want to wake up yet. He was just so exhausted…
"'M tired," he pouted, "Don' wan' get up."
"You have to," the voice told him, "I have food."
His stomach put up a vicious fight at the thought of eating, so he groaned again. "No food," he grunted, "Sleep. Tired. Please?" He even sniffled to make his argument as potent as possible.
Luckily, the voice sighed in agreement. "Alright. But I'll be here if you wake up again, okay?"
"'Kay," he mumbled, and nuzzled back into the pillow. He fell back asleep almost instantly.
The second time he woke up, it was to a guilty looking Bruce Banner picking up the cooling bowl of Steve's cure-all chicken soup from the bedside table.
Tony eyed him curiously, ignoring the pain blossoming across his chest when he realized he was off the meds, and put a hand over his stomach when it rumbled happily at the scent of the freshly made food. Bruce chuckled, stirring it mindlessly, too lost in thought to pay attention to anything else. Tony gave him a look. "Bruce." His voice was raspy with disuse, so he cleared his dry throat in an attempt to make it sound less like he'd swallowed gravel. "Bruce."
"Hm?" The physicist looked up from his lap, eyes clearing. "Oh." He gave him a small smile that didn't reach his eyes. "Sorry." He set the bowl back on the tabletop, moving forward and helping set the pillows up so he could lean against them before he picked the soup up again.
"I don't need you to feed me, you know," Tony told him, although his frightfully weak voice belied how obvious the lie was. His limbs felt like dead weights, and even though he would never admit it, he would definitely need help being fed. He was just glad Clint wasn't around to snark at him when he couldn't snark back.
Bruce's smile became slightly more genuine as he raised himself to sit on the edge of the rock-solid mattress, measuring out a spoonful. "I know."
"Fucking – go away, JARVIS, I'm busy," Tony stated to the AI, rolling onto his stomach and burying his face into the flat, stained pillow under his head in an attempt to get back to his fabulous dream. Algebra had decided to get together with science again, and the equations they were making together were so, so beautiful…
"Sir, you need to wake up."
"I said go away, JARVIS," he said again, tugging the rough blanket tighter around him.
There was a whir and a click, and he was poked hard in the small of his back. With a yelp, he startled himself into a sitting position, rubbing frantically at his eyes to get rid of any lingering drowsiness before glaring at Dummy, who sat perfectly innocent beside the cot. "Dummy, you little shit," he said fondly, still a little irritated over being woken up. He threw the blanket at him, which only succeeded in making him twirl around happily, beeping pleasantly despite not being able to see. Tony shook his head at the 'bot, swinging his legs over the side of the cot and stretching his arms high above his head. Rolling his neck and bending his back, he asked the AI, "So why did you wake me up again? Was there an alarm?"
"You would have heard the alarm, sir," JARVIS told him, the underlying current of amusement painfully clear. "You have a nine o'clock appointment with Miss Potts today. It is currently 7:45."
Tony sighed, running his hand over his face and scrubbing at the grime he found there like he'd be able to wipe it off. "Damn. That means I have to take a shower, doesn't it." It was more of a statement than a question. Dummy clicked in the way he did that Tony knew meant he was laughing, and he slapped the blanket on over his arm lightly to quiet him.
"It would be wise, sir."
"Don't get smart with me, JARVIS."
"Tony, come on, you gotta get up."
"Five more minutes," he mumbled, nuzzling happily into the warm lump he was half-laying on. The thing under his cheek bobbed up and down as it chuckled, and someone rubbed their thumb into his shoulder, digging into the coiled tendon there and pushing uncomfortably until it released and Tony groaned at the relief that spread from that one action. "Oh, god, do that again," he begged.
"Maybe if you get up," another voice joined in, and the bed they were on dipped under the weight of that person no doubt climbing on. "Come on, Tony, Nat's actually cooking something. She doesn't cook. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing here, no backsies, so you" – a poke to his side, where he yelped and tried to squirm away – "need" – a poke to the small of his back, and he may or may not have let out an undignified squawk at it, flailing as the person he was laying on curled his overly-muscular arms around him to prevent him from leaving – "to" – another poke to his side, and Tony flinched away when it tickled – "get" – another to his armpit, and Tony had to bite his tongue to keep from laughing – "up!" A final poke to both of his hips, and Tony writhed away from the treacherous hands as much as he could when he was being held hostage.
He wriggled onto his back, glaring fiercely up at Clint, who looked disgustingly pleased with his handiwork, and Bruce, who was grinning behind his hand, if the amusement sparkling in his eyes had anything to say about it. He elbowed Steve in the gut from where he was being held, and the soldier merely huffed, pressing a quick kiss to his temple before sitting up.
"Do you remember what happened?" the blond asked him.
Tony gave him a confused look. "When?"
"When you fell asleep, genius," Clint snorted, "Loki turned Times Square into Candyland, you went after him, he blasted you with knock-out gas or something – ring any bells?"
Tony furrowed his brow in thought, then let out an, "Oh," when the memories came flooding back. "Uh, yeah, I think so. He was pretty chill about the whole thing."
"He was after we picked him up, too," Bruce retold, "Then he said something about 'making sure you were at your best for battle'. I'm assuming that meant you haven't been sleeping as much as you've said you have." He and Clint gave him equally frustrated and concerned looks, and Clint even went for the Disappointed Parent look and crossed his arms.
Tony seemed to shrink back into Steve's arms at the sight of it. He averted his eyes. "Well, I mean…"
Steve slipped his hand over his mouth, stifling his next few excuses easily, and Tony tried to glare at him to no avail. He was tempted to lick his palm, but refrained, considering it wouldn't do anything anyway.
"So," Steve spoke for all of them, "Breakfast, yes? We can talk about this later, when all of us are ready. Okay?"
Bruce agreed far more easily than Clint, who just rolled his eyes and swept to his feet. "Carry him so he doesn't make a break for the 'shop," the archer told Steve, exiting the room with all the grandeur of a saint. Bruce shook his head at him before following him out.
Tony, meanwhile, remained gobsmacked at Clint's blatant betrayal. "Traitor!" he yelled out the still open door once Steve had removed his hand, and grappled at the sheets when he stood, his arms still locked around him in an embrace that would have been cozy if Steve hadn't been following Clint's order. "Steve, you ass, I am outraged, this is an outrage–!"
"I love you, too, Tony."