Tony can handle being interrupted in the middle of an important project. He can handle realizing there’s no coffee left. He can handle ridiculous politicians. And the media. And crazy fans. All this on top of saving the world from vengeful demi-gods, killer robots, giant ants, and whatnot.
What he can’t handle is seeing someone he loves get hurt. He doesn’t want to think of all the times he failed his loved ones. Pepper. Rhodey. Happy. JARVIS. Too many.
And now here he is pressing shaky hands to Steve’s chest, mentally willingly the blood to stop seeping through his fingers, while the man is clenching his teeth in pain. They were fine five minutes ago. The mission was simple: Get in. Clear out the baddies. Get the stolen tech. Get out.
It was supposed to be simple, but Tony’s beginning to think that maybe they’ll never catch a “simple” break in their lifetime, mission or not.
And he had only turned away from a second. A second!
Next thing he knows, a bang sounds off and Steve is stumbling into him and then crumbling to the floor, blood racing from a small wound on his chest. Tony doesn’t think. He reacts. Arm up, a beam of pale-blue light later, and the shooter isn’t standing anymore. Tony doesn’t care if the guy lives or dies. Right now, all attention is on Steve.
He’s out of the suit and on the ground as quickly as FRIDAY can open it. He presses his hands to Steve’s chest, flinching at the gasp that escapes Steve’s lips, and demands FRIDAY call for a medic team and for one of the other Avengers to find them.
Tony tries to not freak out as Steve’s eyes flutter while the man fights to stay conscious.
“At least it’s not you this time,” Steve manages to choke out, a thin line of blood escapes the corner of his mouth and runs down his jawline.
A bitter laugh falls from Tony’s lips. “God, Steve. Just shut up.”
Steve cracks a grin despite it appearing that he can barely breathe.
“ETA, FRIDAY?” Tony calls when Steve coughs and specks of blood fly.
“Three minutes,” FRIDAY replies.
“It’s y-your turn to pick a p-place to eat, you know?”
Tony’s eyes sting with tears threatening to fall. “Like that matters right now,” he whispers.
Steve doesn’t get the opportunity to reply because the area is immediately flooded with medical personnel and Avengers. Tony allows himself to be pushed away and turns down the offer for help. Bruce, wearing only a robe, kneels next to Tony and checks over himself despite Tony’s protests.
“Steve would be upset if he found out you didn’t let someone check you out,” is the only thing Bruce says.
Tony doesn’t reply. Instead, he gazes at the large pool of blood left behind after Steve was taken away. There’s just too much.
“He’ll be okay, Tony. He’ll come back from this.”
“He’s a supersoldier, but that doesn’t mean he’s invincible.”
“Be careful,” Clint calls from a few feet away. “You’re starting to sound like Cap.”
It’s meant to lighten the mood, but Tony doesn’t react. Clint doesn’t push. And Tony doesn’t remember getting up. He doesn’t remember being led away from the scene or making it onto the Helicarrier. He doesn’t remember changing into his pajamas.
He doesn’t remember falling asleep, but he remembers Steve’s bloody lips.
When he wakes up, it’s too a voice speaking softly about art?
“ - and I couldn’t find the charcoal pencils you bought me so I improvised and used grease. I hope you don’t mind. DUM-E didn’t. He was rather enthusiastic about help.”
There’s a chuckle.
A very familiar chuckle.
Tony’s eyes snap open and he shoots to a seating position. Sitting next to his bed, in a tank top with a sketch pad and tentative smile, is a living Steve Rogers. There’s some faded bruising around his temple and his skin hasn’t fully returned to its natural glow, but Steve looks much more alive than before.
“What are you doing out of bed?” Tony asks quickly.
“Well,” Steve starts as he scratches at his cheek, sheepish smile in place, “I woke up and no one was around. I feel much better and I went looking for you and you weren’t in your workshop so FRIDAY told be where you were. I found one of my sketch pads and decided to draw until you woke up.”
“You should be resting, Steve! You lost a lot of blood!” You shouldn’t have come looking for me.
Steve shakes his head. “Supersoldier, remember?”
“Uh, no. If I can’t use the excuse of ‘having the suit’ then you sure as hell can’t use ‘supersoldier’ to get out of this.”
He gets a head shake in return. “I’m okay, Tony. I mean, it was a close call. We’ve all had close calls.”
Tony just looks at him in disbelief. “I thought you were dead, Steve. Or going to be. There was,” Tony swallows, suddenly feeling anxious, “so much blood. Too much.”
Steve’s smile vanishes and he now looks distressed. He reaches forward and grabs Tony’s hand, eyes looking straight into Tony’s.
“I’m okay, Tony. I really am.”
Tony looks down at his hand before his shoulders slump and he sags against his pillows. Steve, good ol’ Steve, is trying to reassure him. It’s not supposed to be like this. Instead of saying this, Tony turns his hands over and Steve immediately entwined their hands.
“I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to you,” Tony says finally.
“The feeling is mutual.” Steve strokes his thumb over the back of Tony’s hand in a soothing fashion.
Tony’s eyes drop to their hands. He sees a faded scar on his ring finger from a time he was messing around his open wires without wearing safety gloves and got shocked. He was lucky to not lose the finger.
His gaze falls to Steve’s thumb and he turns his hand to look at the back of Steve’s hand, to look at the bare ring finger.
It’s not the first time he’s thought about it. Almost everyone has said they argue like an “old married couple,” that they’re too “domesticated” around each other. They had jokingly called each other “husband” before and used varying terms of endearment.
“You know I love you, right?” Tony asks.
“Of course,” Steve replies with a bright grin, face lighting up in happiness. “I love you just as much.”
“Good because we’re getting married today. Or tomorrow. Gotta’ call Pepper and work some things out. And Rhodey since he’ll be best man and all.”
Steve’s happy expression turns to confusion, then shock, and then he’s laughing. “That’s the worse proposal ever, Tony.”
Tony finds himself grinning. “I don’t hear a ‘no’ from you.”
Steve shakes his head, smile turning almost shy. “Of course there won’t be a ‘no’ but you could ask properly.”
Tony squeezes his hand. “Marry me?”
They lean towards each other at the same time and seal the proposal with a kiss.
I love how Hisoka is COMPLETELY absent in the Chimera Ant arc and you think “Hey, wow, we might actually get through an arc without this pedo clown popping up!”
But no. He is LITERALLY in one of the last scenes in the last episode of the arc. Just sitting there gazing over the city. Pondering life. And I love how Illumi acknowledges the fact that he has been totally MIA.
Illumi: I know you don’t watch the news or anything but while you were off finding Chrollo or something, there were these killer ants and it was pretty crazy tbh.
Illumi: Yeah it was wild. btdubs, Killua and Gon are probably gonna die.
Hisoka : *stands up and strikes a pose* no unripe fruits are gonna die on my watch
The man who punched the self checkouts because they weren't scanning fast enough
The man who swore up one side of a barn and down the other that it was illegal to check ID before we would return his item
The person who went to get their headlights changed in Auto Parts and forgot that his weed was stashed there
The woman who paid for $40 in plants with nickles and dimes. At closing.
The woman whose cart I latched onto to prevent her from stealing a $600 vacuum and almost dragged me outside
The person who returned a microwave with a roast chicken inside, that somehow ended up in the warehouse for months before anyone realized what the smell was (Okay I wasn't really here for this but I heard the stories)
The person who walked into the store, took a tent from our sports section, then walked out the back receiving doors
The man who came into the store and cussed out the Sports manager because she wasn't speaking French
The man who managed to steal not one, but two chainsaws in the span of 2 months
The woman who threatened to have us all fired for asking her to leave her backpack at the front
The woman who tried to get me to let her children have the gum they'd taken off the shelf, opened, and eaten, for free because she didn't have any change
The old man who bought $60 in ant killer and spent the entire transaction muttering about how 'they were all going to pay'
It took me literally two seconds and Sebastian Stan’s stupid terrible heartbreaking face to make me lose it for Bucky all over again. You poor, abused angel baby. You didn’t ask for any of this and they made you the very thing you hated and I’ll be damned if you didn’t fight them every inch of the way. And now you just want it to STOP.
His eyes were begging to be let off the horror ride from the very first moment his mask came off. They still are.
Okay, this isn’t my picture (because for maybe the first time ever, I saw something awesome without my phone on me) but I just came across one of these enormous ants. I thought it was a small cockroach, actually. It was about an inch and a half long and as wide as my pinky finger. It was moving really fast and it was neon red. I saw it skittering across the ground behind the building where I work at the Lab, and a guy saw me bending over it and told me that they’re called “cow killer” ants and their sting hurts worse than a wasp. I backed away pretty quickly.
He also told me that they are an invasive species, brought here on the railroad ties from the south during the construction of the Long Island Railroad. He glanced at my flip-flops and said, “That’s a queen ant, there. Be careful with those sandals. Wouldn’t want her to getcha.”
YIKES. Long Island really is just full of bug horrors around every corner.