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Tony really hadn’t expected inviting the Avengers of all people to move in with him to be as easy as it was. 

 

He didn’t mean to insult anyone, but, well, they were all very highly strung characters to say the least. The mark on Tony’s record of ‘doesn’t play well with others’ really meant nothing in the long run, because such a statement was relative and Tony was surrounded with people just as bad if not worse than him. 

 

Which was why it surprised him how pain free the entire experience was. Very few hitches. The occasional knife thrown sure and the constant bumping into other people equally as defensive at unspeakable hours of the night for similar, extremely personal reasons. Tony personally liked to believe that that brought everyone together, no matter how humiliating it was the first time he stumbled into Romanov while he still had sticky tear tracks on his cheeks, frantically scanning the room for a non-existent enemy. 

 

Despite all of them having absolutely no chance of making it work on paper, they managed it somehow. Movie nights, dinner nights, team drills. Practice made perfect, and they were all practicing at liking each other.

 

It was going well. Especially because they were 4 months in and no one had broken the Tower Rules.

 


 

“Ok guys!” Tony clapped his hands, rocking back and forth on his heels “I’m sure none of you were raised in a barn.” He dragged an appraising eye over Steve and Clint. “Well. Most of us weren’t and if we were I’m sure they were very clean barns.”

 

He ignored the glare from Barton and following anxiety.

 

“Ok. So, Tower rules. First of all, you can always go to JARVIS. That’s not so much of a rule as it is a fact. If you need anything he can probably look it up and fix it for you, and definitely better than me. Just remember, 21st century, clear history exists for a reason, don’t leave your porn open on your account because I will see it.” He winked at Rogers, ignoring the subsequent spluttering “Don’t try to break into my workshop. Otherwise I don’t care, you’ll be let in if I want you in. Number 3, don’t physically hurt anyone in the Tower deliberately, obviously excluding consented training sessions and the event of a super evil break in. I trust we can all play nice, but if any of you try to start a superpowered brawling match I will sic JARVIS on you. Number 4, don’t try to fuck with JARVIS. Ever.” He said, tone turning serious. Continuing with the same tone, he carried on “And don’t replace my coffee with tea. Ever. All other practical jokes go.” 

 

Everyone showed some sense of amusement at that, with Bruce even chuckling slightly.

 

“No seriously, don’t replace it.”

 


 

Tony was shattered. Fucking exhausted. Spent. Beat. Drained. Out of synonyms. 

 

A 31 hour long workshop binge had ended with numerous new developments both in SI tech and Avengers weapons. It has also ended with Tony so fundamentally tired that the only thing successfully motivating him to move was the idea of hot, hot coffee slipping down his throat. 

 

A quick check with JARVIS confirmed the devastating hunch that there was no such miraculous liquid in the ‘shop anymore.

 

Tony groaned, face squished against the floor. He could just… let his eyes….. Slip……….

 

No!

 

He shot back up with a gasp, oil smeared hands rubbing at his gritty eyes.

 

“JARVIS was I out.” He demanded.

 

“Just for 3 minutes Sir.” JARVIS said, practically dripping with disapproval.

 

Tony sagged, the tension leaving him. The adrenaline faded, and the overwhelming urge to drop unconscious regardless of his location or responsibilities returned tenfold, but he really needed to eat something, actually shower and sort out some documents because Pepper needed him tomorrow for some business thing or the other and he had pinky swore he would make it. 

 

He dragged himself up off the floor, blearily making his way into the elevator. He would get coffee, and then everything would come into focus and he could actually get his shit done. He yawned, leaning against the blissfully cool wall of the elevator, heavy eyelids dragged lower with each blink.

 

“Tony!” Someone called, and he pulled them open again.

 

Steve was looking at him, frowning from the entrance to the elevator. Tony frowned back at him, too sleepy to register Steve’s aptly named ‘mother hen’ look. Tony stayed frowning, squinting his eyes. He was… he was doing something, what was he doing?

 

He blinked, and Steve was next to him, holding his arm and clearly about to say something. Tony tugged his arm back noncommitedly, the lightbulb dimly flickering to life in his head.

 

“Mmmm… coffee.” He breathed out. Steve frowned at him again. Stupid frowning face. 

 

“Tony I really don’t think-” 

 

“Coffee.” He cut across, a kind of childlike determination in his voice as he began moving unshakably towards the kitchen, a bit more life breathed into him as he smelled the delicious aroma of those magical energy giving beans. He followed the smell with his nose in the air and eyes mostly closed, like a bloodhound on a scent.

 

Steve followed behind limply, seemingly unsure of what to do.  

 

Tony reached the counter, the table nearby filled with bemused Avengers that he paid no mind to, and made a beeline to the coffee machine.

 

“Tony! We were worried man, thought you’d died and I was gonna have to sell my body for money. A lot of money.” Clint joked. 

 

Tony grunted in response, forehead flush against the marble countertop, hand blindly groping for the coffee machine.

 

“Hey Tony, do you really think that coffee is the right thing to have right now?” Bruce questioned gently. 

 

Tony didn’t dignify that with an answer, just looking at him with what he hoped was disbelief, but the effect was probably dampened by his traitorous falling eyelids. 

 

He turned back to the coffee machine, finally managing to jam a triumphant finger into the start programme, JARVIS beginning to brew what he knew to be the perfect cup of coffee. He started salivating, head landing with a satisfying thud on the counter as he slowly slid down it. 

 

“Ohhhhkay Tony lets get you up.” Tony all but whined at the insistent hands lifting him up ineffectively batting away the hands that were moving him away from his coffee. 

 

All too soon he found himself seated in one of the wooden chairs at the ‘team table’ as it had come to be called, much to Tony’s displeasure. A table made of solid pine worth over $2000 deserved a much better name. Crusher, maybe, he mulled over in his head. 

 

A finger prodded him in the face, and he let out a surprised squeak, turning to glower at Clint, who was grinning next to him.

 

“Oh I am never going to let this go, JARVIS you’ve got this on recording right?”

 

“Always do Mr Barton.”

 

Clint paused, going slightly pale.

 

“Oh wait that’s- hey Tony your weird murder robot baby hasn’t got his creepy little eyes in my bedroom has he, cause people would pay good money for that.”

 

Tony tried to push away Clint’s poking and pushing hands, lowering his head to rest on the solid surface of the table.

 

“Leave him alone Clint for God's sake.” A voice came.

 

Fingers carded through his greasy hair and he hummed in pleasure as the roots were moved away from the position they’d been in for days, the ache pleasant as the fingers probed gently at his scalp. 

 

“You need to get out of your workshop more хуй” Natasha said, oddly fondly.

 

Tony hummed, unable to think through the sleep malignantly invading his head again.

 

That was, until the coffee machine pinged and suddenly he was much more awake and upright, hopeful eyes scouting around for his nectar of the gods.

 

Coffee!! He needed to be ready for Pepper.

 

“Coffee.” he gasped, mentally running through all the things he had to get done before he could crawl into bed and pass the fuck out.

 

He missed the looks his teammates were exchanging as he yet again scrubbed a dirty fist against his gritty eyelids in an attempt to force them open for longer. 

 

“Sure Tony,” Bruce said slowly, looking over to Steve and Natasha, who both nodded. “Why don’t you have this one hm? Freshly brewed.” He smiled at him sympathetically.

 

“I love you.” Tony said desperately, staring intensely into Bruce’s eyes while his hands reached out towards the mug like he was offering a sacrifice to God.

 

“I love you” He repeated, insistent.

 

Bruce turned away, blushing, but he pushed the mug into Tony’s hands all the same. Clint snorted somewhere in the background, but Tony didn’t care. He only had eyes for the steaming mug in front of him. He caressed it with his hands, wrapping around its sides and reveling in the soothing warmth emanating from the porcelain. Wide, loving eyes stared into the dark liquid.

 

“Coffee.” He breathed reverently, lifting it up to his lips and taking a huge gulp. 

 

Immediately, the wrong taste flooded his mouth, but it was too late - it was already slipping hot and fast down his throat. He belatedly lifted a hand up to his throat, as if to somehow force it back up, but it was already too late. He stared dumbly at the cup, adrenaline beginning to bubble up through his chest as he registered the devastatingly familiar taste. Green tea. He looked up at Bruce disbelievingly, still trying to process. Betrayal soured his mouth. There were 4 rules.

 

His chest was starting to tighten up. Panic flooded in, his eyes widening, brain switching on properly. He needed to get away now before they saw, no one was meant to see. Weakness, he needed to, he needed to leave. 

 

He stumbled up from his chair, already feeling the uncomfortable thickness of his airway. He swallowed, once, twice, three times. 

 

Everyone’s eyes were on him. They were gonna know, how, how easy it was to hurt him. 

 

“I’m gonna, I’m gonna… go.” He said, the final word pushed out between tightening breaths. He stumbled away from the table towards the elevator, ignoring the confused voices behind him. He pushed forwards on weak legs, forcing air through his open mouth. He tripped at the entrance to the elevator, legs nearly going out from underneath him. He made it in, turning around to see Steve standing in the hall hesitantly, his face turning to horror as his eyes reached Tony’s face and he began running towards the lift, calling out behind him, just a second too slow. The doors shut, and Tony let himself fall down to the floor, resisting the urge to scramble at his throat. He ran frantic fingers around his wrist, jabbing at the place where the EpiBand should be. Designed by him, once press would inject the Epinephrine he needed and meds so it didn’t completely fry his heart. His EpiBand-

 

The EpiBand that he left in the penthouse when he began delving into the Chevy. He closed his eyes, deliberately not breathing faster despite the fear clogging his system. 

 

“Sir, DUM-E is accessing the EpiPen now.” JARVIS’ voice came over the speakers, deadly serious.

 

Tony wheezed, in out, in out. DUM-E might not make it in time. The elevator doors opened to reveal the workshop floor.

 

He dragged himself out of the elevator with his hands, steadfastly not allowing himself to draw lines between this and the Stane situation, fingernails scratching at the floor. 

 

His stomach rolled, suddenly turning, and he retched on air, eyes spotting with black, a kind of primal panic filling him as his stubby fingernails clawed at his throat, trying to get enough air in. The retching stopped, Tony having a horrible moment of clarity that if he had eaten anything in the past 24 hours he would have just choked on his own puke and been dead already. He reached an arm out to keep moving, just to realize he couldn’t.

 

Still could die then. Would die.

 

He felt hysteric, black dots filling his vision, skin hot and itchy, as his outstretched hand fell to the floor with a dull thump. He was going to die. From tea. The ugly noises of his wheezing breathing, shallower and shallower, echoed against the walls as he felt his eyes slip closed, lungs burning.

 

He faintly heard a pounding noise and yelling, too busy weakly pressing at his throat to truly take notice, and then something stabbed him in the thigh, hard. He had just enough time to think, wow, DUM-E was shockingly good at EpiPen injections, before the blackness either took over his vision or his eyelids finally gave up the ghost.

 


 

Steve absolutely pelted it down the stairs. He had no idea what was going on with Tony, but his face had been bright red, swollen and so full of panic that Steve had felt shot with it like a bullet from across the room. Tony’s petrified eyes had met his, and then the doors had closed, Steve’s fists pounding uselessly against them.

 

“Something’s wrong with Tony!” He had called behind him, voice panicked. Equally confused and panicked responses had come back but Steve hadn’t stuck around - he’d been practically flying down the stairs before the words had even properly left his mouth.

 

His ears were filled with the pounding of his heart and the slapping of his soles only just smacking into every fourth step. What could have happened, poisoning, an attack?

 

Steve skidded to the bottom of the footwell of another flight, nearly flinging himself down again before he clocked the number: 70, Tony’s workshop.

 

Heart in his mouth and panting like crazy, he flung the door open, unflinching as it careened off the hinges. He didn't know what he had been expecting to see but somehow what greeted him was worse. Tony was lying on the floor, one hand outstretched as though he was trying to crawl, a horrible rattling noise emanating from his throat, which he was clawing at weakly with the other hand, blood beginning to speckle at the delicate skin. Steve froze in horror, at a complete loss for what to do.

 

“Go to the workshop.” JARVIS’ voice came, twice its usual speed. Steve startled into action, sprinting in and looking around wildly as though he could pick out the solution with his eyes alone.

 

“Left, second drawer.” JARVIS interjected tensely.

 

Steve ran over, immediately beginning tugging at it desperately.

 

“You need to-” JARVIS began, but Steve was already lifting the drawers over his head, slamming into the ground with his full weight. The hinges burst, and the drawer came tumbling open.

 

JARVIS didn’t miss a beat. “Orange pen.”

 

Steve hesitated, looking at it doubtfully. A pen? Could JARVIS be wrong? It was just a robot after all?

 

“Mr Rogers please .” JARVIS said, and the terror in the plea resolved Steve’s nerves. He grabbed the pen, turning around breathlessly.

 

“What next?” he asked.

 

“Outside to Sir,” Steve was already running back to kneel beside Tony, whose chest had gone frighteningly still.

 

“You need to-”

“Oh my god Steve.” He heard behind him, and turned, hands fluttering uselessly around Tony’s body- Tony. Tony.

 

Natasha stood in the door to the stairwell, hand half raised to her mouth, eyes wide. Steve watched as her eyes tracked down to the pen nearly crushed in his grip, and the realization that spread across her face.

 

“Give it here.” she gasped, hand reaching to Steve’s. Steve blinked, having hardly seen her move down to sit next to him. He relinquished it to her, and she hurried over to Tony’s legs, ripping his sweats open at the thigh with ease. She expertly arranged it over his leg, pressing down hard and clicking something on the top, muttering under her breath.

 

“Red to the thigh blue to the sky, red to the thigh blue to the sky, come on Tony-”

 

Steve heard more voices arrive behind him, but his eyes remained glued to Tony’s prone form, sick dread filling him, all the memories he’d made with the genius they’d all come to appreciate cycling his head.

 

Tony let out one more wheezy, rattling breath, and stilled.

 

Steve didn’t breathe. This could be it.

 

And then Tony breathed in again, that bit less labored, head lolling to the side. 

 

Steve breathed out his own sigh of relief, sitting back on his heels 

 

“We need to get him to a hospital now, I don’t know how much of the epinephrine induced tachycardia he can handle with the low blood pressure and arc reactor already.” Natasha said urgently, and Steve turned to look at her, confused, only to realize she was directing her words, only about 3 of which Steve understood, at a pale faced Bruce and a solemn looking Clint stood in the doorway. 

 

“What the hell,” he breathed, “was that.”

 


 

When Tony next managed to peel his eyes open there was a deeply irritating rapid beeping by his left ear. He tossed his head impatiently, muttering.

 

His head is unbearably fuzzy, his mouth bone dry. He suddenly realizes he’s not in the last place he remembers being, and shoots upright. He turns to his right, feeling rather than seeing his hair stuck up at all ends. He’s met with the sight of Steve, shocked eyes looking back at him. 

 

“I-” his mouth moving alerts him to the cannula wedged up his nose, and he scrunches his lip up.

 

He yanks it out with one uncoordinated fist, and Steve begins stuttering.

 

“Coffee.” he says stubbornly, glaring daggers at Steve, who quietly presses a button. He feels his eyes drooping again, and he leans back into what he now recognises is hospital pillows. He’s not happy about that, at all, but still he sinks back in, satisfied that he’s got his point across. He’s drifting into sleep, and then there’s someone fiddling with his hand and he drops into unconsciousness like a step off a ledge. 

 


 

Tony had woken up several times since he collapsed, the most distressing being in the ambulance when he would spontaneously arise and start fighting off the medical professionals, alternating between babbling incoherently about how he needed to healthy and apologizing over and over again, sobbing to the EMT’s at several points while they tried to get his heart to slow down and Steve held his hand in a death grip. At one point Tony had turned to him and repeated pleas to not remove him from the Avengers. amid ramblings involving mechanics, JARVIS and a significant amount of words that Steve couldn’t even make out.

 

In comparison, Tony’s moments of consciousness when they were in hospital and he was hopped up on pain meds and sedation were much more benign, even funny. At the very least they didn’t make his chest hurt like the sobbing, scared Tony did. 

 

He had a hefty dose of morphine in his system, they’d damaged ribs doing CPR when he went into ventricular fibrillation. Steve had learnt a lot of new words over the last few hours.

 

Still, Tony was stubborn, and kept waking up through all of it. The first time he’d aroused, he’d simply tried to pull himself up, failed, and then murmured something about being dumb and Epi, then dropped right back off again. The next time he’d needed an extra dose of sedation because he tried to roll off the bed, deliriously stating that he was a worm, which got Clint removed from the room because he was laughing too hard. By the 6th time Steve had gotten the routine down, soothe Tony, call the nurse, watch him get drugged again. The others had left for coffee, but Steve had declined to follow, opting to stay behind. 

 

That was when Tony shot upright, none of the usual frenzied tossing and turning that usually precipitated his waking moments. 

 

He looked straightforward for a moment, before turning his head to face Steve. Steve, disconcerted, just stared back at him in slight shock. His hair was all over the place, sticking up wildly, and his cheeks were sleep flushed. Were it not so creepy Steve might have actually found the scene endearing, even cute.

 

Tony started to speak, scrunching up his nose like a rabbit in confusion.

 

Steve couldn’t help but smile softly as Tony went cross eyed trying to look at the cannula. 

 

Then Tony’s uncoordinated hand came up to grasp and tug at the nasal cannula, pulling it out, and Steve’s smile fell off his face, spluttering, and almost reaching a hand out to put it back on. 

 

Tony turned to look at him, and the display could still be cute. Maybe. 

 

Instead Tony’s eyes bore into his with an intensity becoming of a battlefield.

 

“Coffee.” he uttered, and Steve’s hand came slowly round to press the call button, disconcerted.

 

Could Tony… sense coffee? While unconscious? He scanned the man, who was looking at him in the same way a seagull looks at someone with chips. He sincerely hoped Tony wasn’t going to try to scratch his eye out for a cup of the stuff.

 

Fortunately for him, Tony shot him one last glare and seemed to deflate into the pillows, letting out a pleased little sigh. He snuffled into the pillow, dark hair falling softly over his eyes. Steve reached out to grab his hand again, but the nurse had arrived and was injecting yet another sedative into Tony’s IV. 

 

Steve sighed, reaching past to clutch at Tony’s fingers. Tony’s face went from smooth to slack, drooling on the pillow slightly, and Steve’s mouth quirked.

 

The door opened, the smell of fresh coffee wafting in, and Steve snapped his head around to watch Tony apprehensively. The man gave one snort, turning slightly and then stilled. Steve breathed out a sigh of relief. He was safe.

 


 

When Tony woke up, most of his body either ached or itched. He groaned, reaching a hand over to his ribs, his questioning fingers meeting bandages.

 

“No c’mon Tony, don’t do that.” A tired voice murmured, a warm hand clasping around his own and pulling it away gently. He turned, shocked, to look at the owner of the hand with wide eyes. Steve sighed at him, Natasha watching on sternly from the corner. “You can’t have coffee Tony.” He said exhaustedly.

 

“Why the fuck would I want coffee?” he said, baffled. He knew he could be a bit of a coffee fiend but his first thought upon waking up in a strange place where Steve Rogers thought normal behavior was holding his hand like a teenage lover wasn’t I wonder where the french roast is in this joint. 

 

Steve straightened up, actually looking at him, surprised. 

 

“Nat! I think he’s actually awake!” He called, and Tony scrunched up his nose.

 

“What else would I be?” He said, offended.

 

Steve turned back to him, clearly amused. Tony frowned, he didn’t like it when jokes didn’t include him.

 

“Oh, you have no idea.” He said, smiling. 

 

Tony had no time to feel anxious about what that could possibly mean, because then nurses and the rest of the team were crowding around his bed and he was left blinking, slightly dazed.

 

“Hello Mr Stark.” The nurse said. “I think we can let you stay awake, but I need you to promise to try and stay still, we want to be careful of your ribs.”

“Uh, yeah, sure.” He said dumbly, trying to take in his surroundings. 

 

“Oh my god, sleeping beauty arises!” Clint called, bounding over to his bedside. “Dude I have so many videos you have no idea-”

 

“Clint. Not now.” Bruce said pointedly. “Excuse me, could we have a moment?” He said pleasantly to the nurses, but there was something sharp in his tone. 

 

The nurses all filed out, and Tony swallowed dryly as the team gathered at the foot of the bed, all frowning at him. The fragmented memories of last night came filtering in, gasping, running, the EpiPen, the coffee that wasn’t coffee. He really hoped that the vague images of crying in an ambulance didn’t actually happen. 

 

Heat rose up his cheeks, and he swallowed again, wincing at how dry his mouth was. Bruce wordlessly passed him a glass of water, and he downed nearly the whole cup, grimacing as it was tainted with the taste of his mouth, which was less than great. 

 

“Tony,” Natasha began, tone dangerously sweet “why didn’t you tell us you had a deadly allergy?” 

 

The rest of him looked at him expectantly, so certain he was in the wrong, that they deserved that information. Anger rose through his chest despite the muffling of the drugs.

 

“There were 4 rules .” He retorted. “Only 4. One of you ignored it.”

 

They stared back at him blankly.

 

“Oh God, the tea.” Bruce said, sinking heavily into the nearby chair.

 

“I said ,” Tony said petulantly, irrationally upset that they hadn’t listened. “I said never to swap my coffee!”

 

“We thought you were joking man, what the fuck. Why wouldn’t you tell us about the allergy?” Clint said.

 

“I said it seriously!” Tony defended “I told you, why didn’t you listen.”

“Oh god I’m so sorry Tony, I didn’t even think about it, I just wanted you to get some sleep, I was so worried.” Bruce said, voice wobbling slightly. “I can’t believe I nearly killed someone again and I wasn’t even Hulk.” he whispered, and Tony softened immediately.

 

“Hey, you didn’t really, you didn’t really know, just… listen to my rules ok? I really don’t have many I want people to follow.” He comforted awkwardly.

 

“You’re right.” Steve said. “You laid down a boundary, we shouldn’t have ignored that, even if we didn’t think you were really serious. I’m really sorry Tony.” he said, and his eyes were so remorseful he couldn’t help but feel bad. 

 

“It’s alright.” He said uncomfortably.

 

“Except it’s not ok.” Natasha interjected. “Tony, regardless of whether you asked us not to swap your drinks, we should have known you were allergic. It’s dangerous, what if someone attacked you, poisoned you. You would have died.”

 

Tony shifted in the bed uncomfortably.

 

“And don’t think I didn’t notice the heart murmur. We need to know these things so we can look out for you.”

 

“Wait, I’m not off the team?” He blurted out, lifting a hand belatedly to cover his mouth. Stupid fucking tongues loosening drugs.

 

He inspected the bed intensely, picking at the sheet with his fingers, unwilling to look up and face the music.

 

Clint laughed humourlessly.

 

Tony looked up then, confused. Clint was looking at him with disbelief clear on his face.

 

“Dude, are you serious? I’m literally deaf.”

 

Tony looked at him, to the rest of the team, who looked just as confused as he felt. Even Natasha was scruinising him like a particularly confusing puzzle. 

 

“But… I’m a liability.” He said dumbly, lacking the confidence he always thought it with.

 

“What? Tony, no, you’re- no.” Bruce said, looking at him with something sad dawning in his eyes.

 

Tony scrubbed his own eyes with his fists, breathing heavily. This and the meds and the- it was a lot, and he was tired, and confused.

 

A single tear wound down his face and he froze for a second, heart rate picking up on the monitor. He reached up a hand to quickly wipe it away, but more liquid continued spilling down his cheeks. He hated morphine. 

 

He was so convinced he was going to lose this. All of them. The best thing he’d ever dared to feel included in.

 

He took a breath in, and to his absolute horror it was audibly shuddery. He shrank, trying to curl in on himself, absolutely mortified. 

 

“Aw shit Tones.” Clint said sadly, and then he was clambering onto the bed, limb wedging in next to him.

 

Tony couldn’t help but squeak at the sudden intrusion, still trying to will himself into dissolving into the bed so he didn’t have to face this.

 

Clint settled next to him, and shifted slightly.

 

Steve’s voice came in, hesitantly. “Tony we would, we would never kick you off the team, I don’t know why you would think… never, ok? You’re a valuable asset, and we, we like you being around ok?”

Clint chuckled wryly. “Turns out genius billionaire playboy philanthropists grow on you, but by the time you realize that you’re in too deep and you forget to actually tell them that.” He smiled self-deprecatingly.

 

“And then you find yourself wishing you could redo a report.” Natasha said quietly. 

 

Tony turned to look at her in shock, suddenly uncaring of the tears still dripping lethargically down his face.

 

“I’m… sorry Tony. I was wrong, you’re- well you’re a very good actor.” She said, quirking her lips up before her face fell into something resembling regret.

 

“If you weren’t on the team I wouldn’t be. I would leave.” Bruce said sincerely, catching Tony’s eyes.

 

Tony breathed in again, shuddery, overwhelmed. 

 

“Now move your juicy ass over man, just because we love you doesn’t mean you get the whole bed.”

 

Tony laughed wetly, grateful for the reprieve from seriousness and emotions.

 

“It’s my bed.” He protested noncommittal, already shifting over to give Clint more room. In turn, Clint shifted onto his side and draped his arms carefully over Tony’s torso, looking up at his face with fluttering eyelashes.

 

“We put you here so we get a stake.” He said, faux sweetly. Tony started laughing, so hard his ribs jolted slightly, tear tracks still drying on his face.

 

“Clint!”

 

“Way too soon man, way too soon.”

 

Tony breathed out, clutching a hand to his side. He looked around at everyone’s sincere faces, worry still marring the lighter atmosphere.

 

“I’m allergic to catechins.” He breathed out, and it felt much more momentous than what it really was. 

 

“They’re in herbal teas, but not coffee.”

 

Everyone else seemed to notice the heaviness of the statement, and Bruce scribbled down the word, but they all just kept smiling, gathered around his bed, with Clint snuffling irritatingly at his neck.

 

Hey, things were still easier than he thought. 

 

Better than he thought.

 


 

 

“Hey Tony I have got some hilarious videos-”

 

 “Clint!”