Music filtered through the kitchen as they finished up their preparations for dinner, Steve putting away the ingredients while Tony shut the oven door on their casserole. Steve, closing the fridge behind him, felt Tony tug at his hand. “Dance with me,” Tony said, grinning.
The music came to life from JARVIS' speakers, an up-tempo beat that sounded vaguely familiar to Steve, like the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of the modern era. Tony smiled wide as he tugged Steve into his arms then twirled him back out. With their hands together, they swung their arms back and forth and Tony put on a cheesy expression until Steve started to laugh, then he twirled him again. Steve, wanting to give as good as he got, wrapped an arm around Tony’s back and dipped him over his arm making Tony full on giggle. As soon as he was straightened back up he was doing the same to Steve, pressing a kiss on Steve’s mouth when he was back on his feet.
They swayed together for a few more beats until Steve grabbed Tony around the wrist and spun him by the arm into his chest, pressing a kiss against Tony’s toothy smile, before twirling him back out quickly. Tony laughed, stumbled back, and landed all wrong, violently twisting his ankle.
Tony's face crumpled with pain as he hopped to a stop, hissing air between his teeth. Steve immediately stepped forward but Tony brought up his hand to stop his advancement.
“Tony, are you--?” Steve stopped short, gut twisting, because Tony’s brow was furrowed and his jaw was clenched, like he was trying to suppress a pained groan.
“It’s fine,” Tony assured him, lifting his foot and rolling his ankle in the air, only to wince again and hover it over the floor.
“It’s not,” Steve insisted. “You’re hurt.”
"Just a little strain. I'm not as young as I once was." He shot Steve a cheeky smile, but it was pain-edged, and Steve's heart ached in his chest.
"I hurt you," he breathed. He was always so careful to reel in his strength with Tony, but he hadn't even been thinking about it, just goofing around. "I should have been gentler, slower."
Tony's expression flashed with exasperation, and he sighed. "Babe. It wasn't you. I just stepped wrong." He tried to put his foot down again, but winced and stumbled to the side with a hiss. Steve jolted forward and caught him under the elbow.
"That doesn't seem little. You can't stand on it."
Tony sighed again. He hooked his arm around Steve's neck. "Alright. Take me to the couch. Let's have a look."
Steve scooped him up, one arm under his back and one under his knees. He held him tightly against his chest so his bad ankle wouldn't swing and jolt against the other as he crossed the apartment. He set Tony down on the sofa, and hovered nervously while Tony rolled his pant leg up.
It didn't look too bad, neither red nor swollen, but when Tony ran his fingers over the jut of the ankle bone, he winced again.
"What if it's broken?" Steve dropped to a crouch by Tony's legs and landed one hand on his knee. How could he face the emergency room with a broken Tony in his arms? And all his fault, too?
"It's not broken."
"You're not an x-ray, Tony."
Tony huffed, rolled his eyes, then gestured towards the ceiling. "J? Is it broken?"
There was a brief pause, then JARVIS cut in. "There do not appear to be any broken bones, sir. Though you have suffered a mild strain. I would recommend ice, elevation, and ibuprofen, as well as using it gently for the next twenty-four hours or so."
"See!" Tony and Steve both said at the same time.
"It's really hurt!" Steve insisted.
"But not badly!"
Now it was Steve's turn to huff. He slumped against the couch, eyes drawn down from Tony's face to his ankle. It was starting to swell now, only a tiny bit, but he could see it. And it didn't really matter that Tony wasn't bothered, didn't think it mattered, because it mattered to Steve. He never wanted to be the cause of Tony's pain, just like Tony would only ever want to be the cause of Steve's good pain. This wasn't good pain, even if it was only a little bit of it. He wanted to apologize again, but didn't think Tony would take that well.
Then a warm hand landed on the top of his head and firm fingers stroked through his hair. "You're really bothered, aren't you?" Tony asked softly.
Steve nodded. "Sorry…"
"Don't be sorry, love. I understand." Tony petted him a while longer. "Do you want to make it up to me?" There was an edge to Tony's voice that thrilled Steve.
Tony quirked an eyebrow.
"Yes, Tony." Steve swallowed heavily.
"Well, then. I'll need an ice pack, a pillow, and two Advil. We'll start with that."
"Okay." Steve scrambled to his feet and dashed across the apartment. He took an extra pillow off the armchair in their bedroom and the bottle of Advil out of the bathroom. Back in the kitchen, he took an ice pack out of the freezer and wrapped it in a clean tea towel and filled a glass with water. Arms full, he returned to Tony's side.
Tony held out a hand and Steve shook two pills into it. Tony tossed them back and held his hand out again. Steve handed him the water.
While he swallowed the ibuprofen, Steve curled his fingers around Tony's ankle as gently as he could. It was hot to the touch and a little more swollen. He tucked the pillow under his knee to lift the whole leg up, then took the flexible ice pack and worked it to make sure it was soft all over. He cupped it around the joint. Tony groaned and leaned back on the couch. "Shit, that feels good."
Steve could feel it too, soft floatiness starting to leak in and fog up his mind. He leaned in and pressed a kiss to Tony's knee, and Tony's fingers landed in his hair again. "JARVIS, set a timer for ten minutes," Steve said.
"Blanket too. Ice is going to make me cold," Tony said, an edge in his voice that made Steve smile. This was as much a scene for Tony as it was anything else, even if he was only indulging Steve's need to assuage his guilt about hurting him.
"Yes, Tony," Steve said, tipping his head back to smile at him and finding Tony already looking down at him, expression softer than Steve expected.
Steve left the ice on Tony's ankle and grabbed a blanket and another pillow from a nearby chair. He put the pillow behind Tony's back, tucked the blanket around him, then squished himself in, lifting Tony's legs as gently as he could so he could set them back down in his lap, still elevated by the pillow. Steve curled his fingers back around the ice pack to hold it in place, his other hand stroking up and down Tony's thigh. "Feeling better?"
Tony laughed softly, his eyes crinkling adorably at the corners. He shook his head at Steve, still smiling. "Yeah… you?"
Steve shrugged. "I guess so."
"Still a little guilty?" Tony teased.
"A little." But really, Steve was feeling better. The injury wasn't as bad as he'd first thought, and it was pretty silly to blame himself for a freak accident. It always felt good to take care of Tony, though, and he'd snatch every opportunity he had to pamper him a little. And besides all of that, Tony telling him what to do was making him feel soft and hazy in the best possible way.
Tony folded his arms behind his head and fluttered his eyelashes. "You know…"
"Mhm?" Steve blinked over at him, smiling.
"There's something else you could do to make me feel better." Tony bit his lip and shifted his hips on the couch cushion enticingly.
Steve's smile widened, and on his next pass, he let his hand drift up a little higher. "Yes, Tony."