Home is where the heart is
It was pouring with rain when Steve arrived outside the tower. Typical. He’d only just showered, and now he probably smelt like wet dog all over again.
Well. It was better than blood and dirt, he figured with a small, exhausted sigh.
The mission had been long and tiring and ultimately worthless. They’d lost anyway- too many people had died for it to be anything worth celebrating. Steve could still see some of their faces if he thought about it too hard- looking at him, pleading with him.
The journey back had been rough on everyone.
He felt tired. Bone-deep weariness that was difficult to shake. It clung to him like the rain did; sticking in his hair, coating his clothes with coldness. He just wanted to curl up and sleep- let the storm pass over his head until he awoke and it had all dissipated again. And more than anything, he wanted Tony.
Tony always helped.
Pushing his card in the door and opening it with a sophisticated swish, Steve slipped through quietly, shaking off his hair as he did so to try and dislodge some of the raindrops. He was wearing a SHIELD uniform after his Cap one had been destroyed, and it felt a little too tight, a little uncomfortable. It obviously hadn’t been designed by someone who knew his body as intimately as Tony did- knew the lines and divots he’d traced with his hands countless times.
God, Steve had missed him.
Coming back home was always nice. Warm. Lovely. It was hard (although not impossible) to feel glum when he knew what was waiting for him upstairs. It was a bit of a gamble as to what exactly he got- whether it be a Norse God or an Archer or all of them at once- but Steve didn’t mind. They were all family to him anyway.
Even if they did piss him off to the ends of the earth some days.
As he wandered into the elevator and pressed his finger against the button up to the penthouse, he heard JARVIS greet him with a soft ‘welcome back, Captain Rogers- the tower has missed you’ and smiled automatically. He loved hearing JARVIS’ voice- it was like the first sign of home. Wherever there was a JARVIS, a Tony wasn’t far behind.
“Who’s about?” Steve asked through a yawn, hoisting his kitbag a little higher on his shoulder.
“Only Mr Barton and Sir, currently- although Barton is down at the archery range in the basement and seems preoccupied, and sir appears to be napping in the living room.”
Steve nodded, feeling the tiny shift that signified they had come to a stop. “Thank you,” he told JARVIS politely.
“You’re very welcome- it is a pleasure to have you back in the building. Sir’s sleeping patterns have become increasingly irregular since your departure, and from my initial scans, so have yours. It will be nice to bring some balance back into the world.”
Steve huffed, and then the doors slipped open with barely a sound and suddenly, he was back on solid ground again. The penthouse floor span out around him- the kitchen somewhere off in the left and the large open-plan living room directly ahead of him- and Steve felt his face split into a content little beam of relief.
He loved coming home. That was his favourite part of missions.
Padding forward, he made his way to the living room. The TV was on, but turned down to an almost silent volume, and the couches appeared empty. Far off to the right, the windows of the tower glistened and tapped with the sound of rain against their panes. It was quiet. Peaceful.
Steve sighed in relief. Much as he loved his friends, he didn’t think he would have been able to handle loudness just then.
He reached the back of the biggest couch and placed a hand over it, spotting the figure curled up against the pillows immediately as he did so. Drenched in a jumper five sizes too big for him, hair a mess and face relaxed peacefully, was Tony. He must have taken a nap whilst waiting for Steve.
It was adorable, and Steve found himself unable to stop smiling. Yeah- coming home. Definitely the best part.
He was quiet as he slipped around the armrest and then slid to his knees in front of Tony’s face, hand slowly rising to stroke softly across Tony’s cheek, into the thick hair. Curled up like that; Tony seemed so small, so vulnerable, and it made a burst of protectiveness and sheer, pure love erupt in Steve’s heart. He found often after particularly trying Ops, that he became a little more attached to Tony, if only for a few days. Those sort of things just… made a guy think. Remember exactly what he had to lose.
In his sleepy haze, Tony instinctively rose up and pressed his face against Steve’s palm, a half-smile forming across his mouth as he hummed happily. Steve’s stomach twisted- and it was almost funny, the fact that Tony could still give him butterflies, all these years in.
Steve kept his hand in Tony’s hair as the man slowly woke; his eyes fluttering open and spotting Steve immediately. Steve just continued to let his fingers play against Tony’s nape, against the adorable curls that looped across the back of his head when it went too long without a cut.
“Steve?” Tony asked sleepily, as his brain finally kicked into gear.
“Yeah, sweetheart, I’m back. Sorry I took so long- you know how it is,” Steve whispered, even though there was no-one there to hear them and barely any other noise in the tower aside from the staccato beat of rain against glass.
Tony paused for a moment, eyes drinking in Steve and his tired face, his wet hair, his badly-fitted clothes. Then he rubbed a sleeved hand over his eye and yawned, the other set of fingers curling softly around the collar of Steve’s jacket. “C’mere, baby,” he muttered, still half-asleep.
“Tony, I’m soaking w-”
“Don’t care. Wanna cuddle. Deal.”
Steve couldn’t help but laugh as Tony tugged him forward, manoeuvred him so that Steve was lying against Tony’s chest with his arms curled loosely around his waist- all while the man was still half asleep. It didn’t even seem as if Tony had properly woken up at all, and that was definitely an indicator as to how little the man had been sleeping since Steve had been away.
Well. He could rectify that later.
Tony’s nose scrunched adorably as Steve’s wet hair touched his chin, and Steve was about to move away, but Tony just made a noise of disapproval and clutched tighter, wrapping his arms stubbornly around Steve’s shoulders and sticking his whole face into the blonde wetness without another complaint. Steve just laughed again. “God, I love you,” he said softly, placing his greeting kiss against the plating of the reactor, “I love you so much.”
Again Tony just hummed and curled himself tighter around Steve. “Missed you so much,” he mumbled, and Steve couldn’t see, but he’d bet their joint fortune that Tony was pouting at that moment.
His hand curled around Tony’s; finger tracing feather-light against the slightly faded gold band Tony wore. “Go back to sleep, darling,” he whispered, shutting his own eyes even as he said it.
One last time, Tony gave his little hum, and then immediately after Steve felt him switch off again, his hands still curled tight around Steve. He was like that, sometimes- unable to sleep even if you fed him horse tranquillisers some days, and out like a light as soon as you said the word on others. Steve preferred the latter- less hassle, after all.
He sighed in contentment, and felt a little bit of the tension drain from his shoulders.
He was home. Tony was there. The couch was warm and the weather was dreadful and they were both there, safe inside, watching the rain from against the panes of glass as it fell quietly around them.
He was home.
Slowly, his eyes fluttered shut, and his breathing levelled with Tony’s.