Guuuyyys. Guys, I should be sslleeppiinngg! But no. I just had to write down this little IronPanther idea I had. “It’ll be just a little drabble.” I said. 1,048 words later, here we are. It’s almost 3am, and I haven’t written fic in what seems like forever. Forgive the rust and possible mistakes. I’ll proofread it again, when I don’t have to be up in 3 hours.
Tony opened his eyes. Blinking sleepily, he lay there; waiting to see whether he’d fall back asleep or figure out what woke him. He’d only surrendered to sleep a short while ago, no more than two hours, judging by the predawn light just starting to filter through the windows of his room. Coming off of a 72 hour inventing spree, he was really hoping to catch more than a measly two hours of sleep.
At least I wasn’t woken up by a nightmare. He thought sleepily. Something for which he was very grateful. Small mercy though it was.
Rolling over he stared at the wall; allowing the problem to niggle at his subconscious. For a while he drifted like that, half asleep, half awake until his mind finally told him why he was awake. The bed was empty. Well, he was laying in the bed, so it wasn’t empty, empty, but the bed’s other occupant was missing. Now a bit more awake, he braced himself on one arm, and leaned over placing a hand on the empty space beside him. The covers aren’t even warm anymore.
“In the living room, sir.”
“Thanks, baby girl.”
Staggering out of bed, and cursing himself for not getting to bed sooner, the aftermath of inventing binges weren’t as easy as they used to be, he shuffled his way down the hall. Between the new SI tablet release, the press releases following the activation of the second Arc Reactor, and dealing with all the fall out of the “Civil War”, there hardly seemed to be enough hours in the day for everything that needed doing.
‘And it’s not like I’m getting any younger.’ He thought wryly.
Tiredly he pushed away those thoughts, because if he started thinking about all the work he had to do there was no way he was getting back to sleep tonight. Or was it this morning? Didn’t matter. All he wanted to do was collect his lover and return to sleep. Hopefully, it was that simple.
Finally reaching the end of the hall, he shuffled into the living room. Covering a yawn with one hand, he tiredly scanned the room for his lover. The weak predawn light was a great help to his efforts, as otherwise the room would have been completely dark, no other light illuminating the room.
'T’challa. Bed. Sleep.’ His mind chanted.
“Beloved?” A voice queried in the quiet of the room.
Ah. There. His eyes finally drifted to rest on his lover, sitting in an armchair near the windows, half hidden in shadows. T’challa was sitting with his elbows on his knees, chin resting on interlocked fingers, an unusually severe expression on his face as he gazed out at the Manhattan skyline. While T’challa was normally a very stoic man in public, in private he was much more free with his emotions. Less stern, and a bit of a dork to be honest. It was humbling to learn that there were parts of his lover only he was allowed to see. Not even his sister was as privvy to all of his thoughts, though she was definitely a very close second on the list of people allowed to see the Inner Workings of T’challa. It was one of the reasons their relationship worked so well. They knew how to balance each other , and look past the public image to the private self hiding underneath.
Though he wasn’t a king, Tony had been in the public eye for as long as he could remember, so he understood the need for masks to hide your true self from the public, because people would take and take and take until there was nothing left. Though sometime not even masks were enough to protect you from the fickle opinions of the public. But, Tony got it. He understood the pressure his lover was under and did his best to lighten the load as much as possible. Even if it meant indulging T’challa’s horrible tastes in music. Though, no one would ever believe Avril Levinge was one of the man’s favorite artists. At least she wasn’t that bad.
“Hey kitty cat.” Tony mumbled, making his way across the room until he could fall into his lovers lap. T’challa gladly made room for him, sighing and happily wrapping his arms around the engineer. Tony for his part just let his head fall back to rest against a broad shoulder and closed his eyes with a hum of pleasure.
After a moment T’challa broke the silence. “Did I wake you?” He asked softly.
“More like the lack of you woke me.” Was the mumbled answer.
“I apologize,” came the immediate guilt laced response. “I… I could sleep no longer, so I came out here. But you had just retired to sleep. Come let us get you back into bed.”
In those few sentences Tony heard everything that had not been spoken. There were few things that could keep T’challa from sleep, and only two that his love would be so hesitant to speak of. But only one of those things would drive the man from his bed and render him unable to fall back asleep. Nightmares were a bitch.
Sighing softly, Tony gently brushed his lips against T’challa’s jaw. “Nah. I’m perfectly comfortable where I am. I could probably fall back asleep right here.”
T’challa gave a soft chuckle, barely more than a gust of air. What had he done to deserve such a lover? He was endlessly grateful to have someone who understood. Who didn’t push, or try to convince him to talk before he was ready. Someone who was simply there if he needed to talk, but also willing to just be silent support if he didn’t.
“Alright beloved. Sweet dreams.” Tony simply gave a sleepy hum in acknowledgement.
Slowly Tony drifted off to sleep, lulled into slumber by T’challa steady breathing. T’challa dropped a soft kiss to the inventor’s hair as he pulled his lover impossibly closer. These were the moments he cherished most; when it was just the two of them. He felt an almost overwhelming surge of love for the man in his arms.
As T’challa turned his gaze back to the rapidly lightening skyline, he prayed this peace would last.