Playing Doctor

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

The Extremis was incredible technology, but it did have limitations. Although it had given Tony a healing factor, his whole body ached like a sonofabitch for about two days after the injury had been repaired.

It didn't matter what the injury was or where it was, the resulting discomfort was all encompassing, which led Tony to believe that it was the result of resources being drawn off of healthy systems to repair damaged ones. It made sense, but it was a pain in the ass. And the neck. And everywhere else.

He'd worked through the pain before--both Iron Man 'work' and Stark Enterprises work--without ever revealing that he was hurting, but if he didn't have to, he wasn't going to, and this morning he didn't have to. Instead, Tony turned his face into his pillow and tried to pretend he'd never woken up. It didn't hurt as much if he didn't move...

The bed shifted and a hand came to rest, lightly, on Tony's arm. "I know you're awake," Steve said, but his voice was quiet, as if he wasn't sure.

"If you leave me alone," Tony muttered into the pillow, "maybe I can manage to not be awake anymore."

The hand on his arm slid up to his shoulder and started kneading gently. "If you're awake, I can give you a massage."

Tony groaned softly, the ache in his shoulder easing a little under Steve's touch. "You know it'll only start hurting again in an hour or two." Tony didn't know why the massage helped at all, but he suspected it was endorphins. Steve's hands moving over his body, the press of his thighs against Tony's when he straddled Tony to get better leverage on the muscles of his back...why was he arguing, again?

"Does that mean you don't enjoy it?" Steve asked. Tony could hear him smiling. He knew exactly how much Tony enjoyed it.

Tony carefully rolled from his side onto his stomach. "Go ahead and play nurse if you want."

Steve tugged the blankets down; there was a pause and the rustle of clothing being removed before Steve climbed onto the bed with him and got into position. "I thought we were playing doctor," Steve teased, laying his fingers on the base of Tony's neck and rubbing the muscles in the back of his neck with his thumbs.

Tony moaned softly as some of the pain receded. "After," he promised, smiling into the pillow.