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What a Glorious Feeling, I'm Happy Again

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With one final punch from Captain America’s fist the last of the bots went down and SHIELD was already arriving on the scene for clean-up when Thor held Mjölnir high above his head and roared in victory as a bolt of lightning lit up the night’s sky. 

Tony flipped up his face plate automatically now that the danger was gone, but closed it just as quickly when he felt the drops of rain hitting his skin. When he looked over and saw Natasha’s wet hair clinging to her face and Clint’s uniform drenched and looking very uncomfortable, Tony was grateful for the suit that protected him from all the elements. At least he was always warm and dry, on top of being safe. 

“Alright,” Steve called out, clearly satisfied that the job was done. “Everyone back to the jet.” 

Clint and Natasha were already running before Steve had even finished his sentence, closely followed by Bruce, who had shrunk back to his original size and was now shirtless. He kind of looked like a drowned cat, Tony thought. He felt a pang of sympathy for him. 

Tony was about to lift off when he looked back at Steve, a little bit surprised to see that he wasn’t moving. Steve’s face was tilted up, cowl pushed back and eyes closed, catching raindrops as they rolled over his skin. His breathing seemed deep. The shield was hanging loosely on his arm, and Tony couldn’t quite understand why Steve didn’t use it as a makeshift umbrella over his head. The uniform was always clinging to Steve’s body - it was hard not to notice - and Tony knew for a fact that it was water and fire resistant, but that didn’t stop the slush of water pushing down Steve’s hair or dripping down his face over his neck, disappearing under his collar. 

“Cap!” Tony called out; if there was a slight gravelly element to his voice it was merely the result of the battle and certainly not the drop of water that rolled thickly over Steve’s throat just as he swallowed, making it change course slightly.

A deafening thunder croaked through the air, followed by another flash of light, illuminating Steve’s face as he opened his eyes and looked over at Tony. Drops of water were clumping Steve’s ridiculously long eyelashes together and Tony was grateful that his armour hid the way he swallowed through the lump in his throat. 

“I’m coming,” Steve said just loud enough for Tony to hear but still made no indication of moving, besides tilting his head back for another second and taking a deep breath. 

“We’re in the middle of a thunderstorm and you wanna stop and feel the rain?” Tony asked, incredulous. 

A small smile washed over Steve’s face before he finally took off in a trot. “I’m coming.” 

***

As Tony stepped into the living room he could immediately feel the draft coming from the open sliding window. 

“Just because I’m a billionaire we don’t have to waste energy, guys!” Tony called out to nobody in particular - the room was empty anyway - and made his way towards the window. His hand was already resting on the latch to close it when he saw Steve standing out on the balcony, his back turned towards the building, unmoving. 

Raindrops drizzled down sporadically, staining Steve’s shirt a dark grey. He must have just run his hands through his hair because it stuck out, unruly, wet. Steve’s arms were hanging down beside his body, fingers slightly spread, beads of water collecting on the tips before dropping down on the terrace floor. It was when Tony’s gaze followed one of the drops tumbling down and splashing open on the tiles that he noticed the bare feet sticking out from under Steve’s damp jeans cuffs. 

Tony knew that Steve must have heard him coming, yet he showed no sign that he knew he wasn’t alone anymore. Tony didn’t want to interrupt the quiet calm and satisfaction that Steve seemed to find in this moment. 

He knew that he should probably walk away, leave Steve in whatever this was… and yet somehow he couldn’t. He was fascinated by the way Steve seemed to welcome the rain, the way he seemed to revel in the touch of the water on his skin. Not to mention the absolute beauty that Steve radiated as he stood there, completely immersed in his own world. 

Tony didn’t know how long he had been standing there, staring as the muscles in Steve’s back expanded every time he took a breath; staring at the way the rain shaped his hair, staring - maybe a little jealous - as the drops had the privilege of caressing Steve’s skin, when Steve finally spoke.

“Care to join me?” 

It took a fraction of a second for Tony to come back to reality and realize that Steve was talking to him, and he was almost reluctant to disturb the quiet by answering. 

“Do I look crazy to you?” Tony asked, but his voice was soft and Steve turned to face him with a smile. 

“All the things you have done and this is crazy to you?” he asked, a hand coming up to wipe the wet strands of hair off his forehead. 

“Why would I choose not to stay comfortably dry?” Tony reasoned, “Getting wet, having to dry off, change clothes, it’s such a hassle.”

“No, no,” Steve said, shaking his head, “You can't think about all that. That’s stuff for later.” 

“I’m always thinking ten steps ahead, Cap,” Tony said with a smirk, from the safe and dry shelter of the large terrace window. 

“But then how do you ever just enjoy the moment?” Steve asked and he sounded so sincere it actually made Tony’s foot twitch to take a step forward, “Just be there, and not think about anything else that may come. Just… be .” 

“I find that particularly difficult to do in this line of work,” Tony admitted, his eyes dropping to the floor. 

“We’re not working now,” Steve countered and as Tony looked back up, he was met with a warm smile, free of any judgement. “When was the last time you didn’t have a hundred thoughts running through your head at the same time, Tony?” 

Tony snorted. He didn’t need to answer, surely Steve already knew. 

“Is that why you do it?” Tony asked, genuinely curious as he tilted his head a little bit. “Standing out in the rain? Catching a cold?” 

Steve smirked as he raised an eyebrow, as if to remind Tony that he can’t. Not anymore. 

“Come on,” Steve said, so quietly and unassuming that Tony took a step forward, onto the wet terrace before he even realized it. Tony tried not to think too much about the power he knew Steve held over him, instead trying to let the thoughts wash away from him as the first drops of rain hit his face. He still hated the thought of having to dry off later though. 

“When I was a kid…” Steve said when Tony came to stand beside him, both staring out at the city in front of them, “I wasn’t allowed outside when it rained, or snowed, or even if it was too cold out. My mom... she worried about me a lot.” 

Steve had never spoken about his mother, or any of his family before. Everything Tony knew about Steve’s past was second-hand information. His father, the media, the museum, SHIELD. He felt an overpowering gratitude to hear Steve open up and share something about his family, unprompted. 

“From what I’ve heard, she had reason to,” Tony offered, carefully. 

“Oh yeah,” Steve answered with a wistful smile, “I was sick all the time and not just the little stuff… My mom was constantly afraid of losing me.” 

Tony didn’t want to think about how easily Steve could have died back then, how much it would have changed the war, the world, the Stark family. He’d have no idea what his own life would have been like if it hadn’t been shaped by Steve’s existence in it. All he knew was that he never wanted to find out what such a life would be. 

“So the slightest drop in temperature and I’d be grounded,” Steve continued, streaks of raindrops tracing lines over his face. “And rain… there was no way. I’d sneak looks outside through the window, but when she’d catch me she’d take me back by the fire, throw an extra blanket on me.” Steve snorted as he seemed to recall the memory. “The window had a draft,” he added as an afterthought, as if he suddenly realized that Tony might not grasp the concept of non-insulated house or a drafty window. 

“Can’t imagine that was a very riveting time,” Tony said, wrapping his arms around his wettening sweater, trying to stave off the slight chill that was coming over him. 

“It wasn’t all bad,” Steve said, fingers flexing as if he tried to catch the raindrops. “My mom would keep me company whenever she could, when she wasn’t working. And Bucky… Bucky would come over whenever I was home sick or wasn’t allowed outside. But whenever he went back home, I’d watch him run through the rain, splashing his feet in puddles and I’d wonder how it would make me feel…” 

“How does it make you feel now?” Tony asked as he looked up at Steve, still staring out into the distance.

“Alive,” the answer came instantaneous, along with a blinding smile on Steve’s face that seemed to warm Tony up from the inside. He couldn’t help but mirror the smile. “Invincible,” Steve added, looking over at Tony. 

“Okay,” Tony said, nodding to himself, “Okay, that’s a valid reason.” 

“Glad you approve,” Steve snorted, amused. “Just out of curiosity, what wouldn’t have been a valid reason?”  

“I don’t know,” Tony shrugged. He sniffed as he waved his hand out, “Some crap from a romantic comedy where the protagonists kiss in the rain because it looks aesthetically pleasing but really they’re just cold and wet and miserable and are regretting every single second of it.” 

Steve barked out a small laugh, turning his body entirely towards Tony now. “Ever the romantic,” he said eyeing Tony up and down, and as Tony shivered he didn’t know if it was because of the cold or the look Steve just gave him. “You’re miserable, huh?” Steve asked, sympathetically.

“I’m human ,” Tony answered pointedly. 

“So am I,” Steve said quickly, his eyebrows knitting together in a frown. 

“I know,” Tony rushed out, his hand reaching out to touch Steve but stilling somewhere halfway through the motion, “I didn’t mean…” It was a stupid thing to say. Tony knew that no matter how much the serum had enhanced Steve, he was still very much human. He knew how important that fact was to Steve, that he was still Steve Rogers first and foremost, and only then Captain America. 

“I do think it’s romantic though,” Steve said, and when Tony was brought out of his reverie, he was met by Steve’s eyes piercing into his. It was like the atmosphere turned on a dime and Tony had no idea how it happened. But suddenly they were standing closer together than before, so close that Tony was almost sure that if he squinted, he could see his own reflection in the drops of rain slowly making their way down Steve’s face. 

“Of course you would,” Tony breathed out, willing his heart to stop pounding in his chest because he was afraid Steve might hear it. 

“You kissed a lot of protagonists in the rain to know you’d regret it?” Steve asked, his eyes flickering down towards Tony’s lips real quick, making his intentions very clear. Yet Tony still had a hard time believing it. 

“I…” Tony stammered, his tongue darting out briefly over his already wet bottom lip. “No.” 

The edge of Steve’s lips curled up into a smile, before saying, “Now what kind of scientist doesn’t gather conclusive data before making statements like that?” 

Tony didn’t know how he did it, but every time he blinked and opened his eyes again, Steve seemed to be standing even more impossibly close. 

“My mistake,” Tony whispered, and then Steve closed the final inch between them and his lips felt wet and cool against Tony’s. 

Tony had to tilt his head up a tiny bit, but he realized that he didn’t really mind, because then Steve’s hand came up to cup his jaw and Steve’s mouth was opening against his, a tongue tentatively darting out to test the waters, and Tony threw his arms around Steve’s frame and pulled him close. 

There was a groan reverberating in their throats, and everything was wet and slippery, but Steve’s mouth slowly but steadily turned warm, heating Tony up from the inside. Steve kissed like he did everything else, with precision and perfection and Tony reveled in every touch.

As much as Tony hated to be wrong, maybe kissing in the rain wasn’t so bad after all? He couldn’t stop his body from shivering against Steve’s though and he let out a sound that was embarrassingly close to a whimper when Steve pulled back just enough to break the kiss and look at Tony. 

“Wet and cold and miserable?” Steve asked softly, both hands coming up to brush Tony’s drenched hair back. 

“Wet and cold, yes,” Tony breathed out in a shudder, fingers clutching at Steve’s shirt. “But not miserable,” he added with a smile, “And certainly not regretting anything.” 

“Good,” Steve beamed, pressing down another kiss on Tony’s lips. 

Tony pushed his entire body against Steve’s, trying to chase some of the warmth. 

“You know what I think might be more your thing?” Steve asked, breaking the kiss with a loud smack. There was a twinkle in his eyes that told Tony he was going to love this. 

“What?” Tony asked, a smirk already forming on his face. 

“Kissing in a hot shower,” Steve said, disentangling himself from Tony to grab his hand and pull him towards the open slide window. 

“God yes,” Tony let out in relief, eagerly following Steve inside. 

***

Fin