just some soft and kinda angsty rhodeytony on Tony’s birthday. this was gonna be a lot longer and I had like, a plan to expand, but I fell asleep on it last night and it’s,,,just not happening. it’s not really what I wanted but what the hell, the mcu isn’t exactly what I wanted either. also I’m ignoring that Tony was twenty one because I completely forgot about timelines when writing, but so did CACW so~
James Rhodes was quiet as he entered his shared apartment, not willing to wake his young roommate. Tony’s sleep pattern had been destroyed after the accident, and had only just begun to settle back down. Quickly checking the digital clock in the hallway, Jim winced. He’d hoped to be home earlier than twenty past eleven.
He closed the door and slipped off his trainers almost silently, before creeping into the kitchen and placing the now-cold bag of takeout on the counter. He stood in the darkness of the room, feeling his shoulders slump as a wave of exhaustion hit him. Jim had been running on fumes this entire semester – not just because of the huge workload his professors had piled on top of him, but also from Tony’s nightmares that the genius would wake up screaming from. Not that Jim blamed Tony, of course not. He just wished that the both of them could get a bit more sleep. Which hopefully, Tony was currently doing.
No such luck, as the kitchen light flicked on. Jim sighed as he spotted Tony in the doorway. The kid was adorably rumpled- his hair a disheveled mess, blanket wrapped around his shoulders in a manner that Jim liked to call the Tony-burrito. But his eyes were lined with red and bruised with dark bags, and the boy looked bone-weary.
“Rhodey?” Tony slurred, scrubbing his hand over his undoubtedly painful eyes.
“Yeah Tones, it’s me.” Jim began to unpack the cold Chow-Mein and Kung Pao Chicken to go in the microwave. Tony dragged himself onto the breakfast stools, pulling himself and his blanket up.
“Why-” Tony started, then was interrupted by a huge yawn. “Why’re you so late?”
Truthfully, Jim had been preparing for tomorrow. He had picked up his Mom and old Mr Jarvis from the airport, and settled them in the nearest hotel to the MIT campus. Tomorrow, Tony would get the surprise of seeing the only two parental figures he had left. It was the least Jim could do for Tony’s eighteenth birthday.
“Fact checking, forgot the time. You know how stingy Callaghan gets this time of the year.” He lied easily. It used to happen all the time, in their first two years. While Jim had gradually lessened the amount of time he spent away from Tony recently, it had been an often enough occurrence that Tony would buy it.
The microwave dinged, and Jim plated up their dinner, giving Tony his food and settling him on the closest bed before flicking the TV on, and settling himself down beside the boy. Jim hadn’t eaten since lunch, and just began to shovel food into his mouth. In contrast Tony just picked at his meal without much enthusiasm, as some crappy Hammer Horror played out onscreen.
By the time the clock hit 00:00, Tony had snuggled himself under Jim’s arms, looking half ready to fall asleep, and Jim wasn’t much better.
“Happy birthday, Tones.”
Jim smiled softly as Tony cuddled closer, and hummed softly. He was determined to give Tony a good eighteenth, even if his parents weren’t there.