A Bridge Crossed

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Steve still wasn't sure quite how he got into this situation.

At the time, all the individual steps along the way had seemed to make sense. He'd been feeling terribly isolated and alone, and Thor had been aching over his exile from Asgard. It had been easy to accept comfort and companionship from, as Thor had put it, a fellow warrior. Someone who understood that sometimes you just needed a little heat and life to set yourself apart from the pain and loss.

And no matter how uncertain Steve was about the situation when Thor brought Tony into the bedroom where Steve was waiting, Tony was too obviously emotionally wounded for Steve to even consider rejecting him by insisting that one of them leave. At the end of the night, Steve and Thor cradled a sleeping Tony between their bodies and Steve knew that he'd never be able to turn the man away. He needed so much, but he wouldn't stop giving pieces of his heart and soul away.

So even on the nights when Thor couldn't be with them, Steve and Tony crawled into bed together. More than that. When Thor was there they usually went straight to bed, but right from the beginning Steve and Tony tended to ease into things slowly. Sometimes so slowly that they never quite got to the sex, instead simply falling asleep in each other's arms.

And the longer it went on, the more Steve enjoyed those moments before they hit the sheets, until one day he caught Tony's eye as they followed Thor into the bedroom and knew that something had to change.

But how were they supposed to tell Thor? He'd been the one to reach out, to both of them. Steve loved him, if not quite as deeply as he'd come to love Tony, and the thought of hurting him made Steve feel almost physically ill. At the same time, he was beginning to feel almost guilty no matter who he was going to bed with, and that wasn't good for any of them.

It all made sense, but Steve still managed to feel confused, stretched out in bed with a friend on one side of him and a lover on the other.

"Something weighs heavily on thy mind, my friend," Thor said, propping himself up and looking down again.

Steve's stomach twisted. It looked like the time was now. He pushed himself into a sitting position and glanced over at Tony. He was fast asleep. They'd worn him out again, it seemed. Steve sighed and turned back to Thor. "Yes. I... This," Steve waved a hand at the three of them, "was always supposed to be about friendship. Comfort."

Thor gave him a long look. "But it has become more for you."

Steve wanted desperately to look down at his hands. He made himself meet Thor's gaze instead. "With Tony," he said quietly, apologetically.

"Ah, Captain," Thor said, reaching out and placing a hand on Steve's shoulder. A friendly gesture, not an intimate one. "Feel no regret for this. You have much love to give, and he has such need of it."

Steve's throat felt tight. "I don't want to leave you alone," he managed.

"You shall both still be my brothers," Thor said. "I have known deeper loneliness in my time, and I shall know it again. Such is the life of an immortal."

That didn't exactly make Steve feel better, but he couldn't argue the point. "Please, come to us if you need us."

Thor smiled. "Always." Then he rose from the bed--Steve's, this time--and gathered his clothes, and left.

Steve watched the door after he'd gone, feeling something very much like grief.

Beside him, Tony stirred. "Why're you sitting up?" he murmured, a hand reaching up to tug on Steve's arm, urging him to lay down.

Steve resisted for the moment. "I spoke to Thor."

Now Tony sat up next to Steve and leaned into his side. "I thought we were going to have that conversation together." Steve just shrugged. Tony snorted softly and muttered, "Over-protective." He put an arm around Steve's waist. "How is he?"

"He seemed fine." But then, Steve wasn't always the best judge of these things.

After a moment Tony lay down again, drawing Steve with him, and they turned toward each other and curled in close. "I love you," Tony whispered.

It was the first time he'd said it.