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Waterloo, History Lessons Sequel Part 2

Because you couldn't just fit in one entry, could you?  It was probably just over the limit too.  *grumbles*

* * *

Steve woke up the next morning, pleasantly surprised to find himself nightmare-free. They didn't happen every night, but if Steve had been a betting man, he'd have bet on nightmares after the mess last night. Steve wasn't too inclined to dwell on the ice so long as he had his own personal heater draped over him and drooling against his shoulder though.

He could have sworn they'd both been sitting when they'd fallen asleep last night. He couldn't say he was too put-out with the current arrangement, not if Tony was going to cuddle closer when Steve shifted for a more comfortable position. Sadly, he didn't think he was going to get his right leg to wake up any time soon, considering Tony's hip was cutting off the circulation, but that was a price he was willing to pay.

Replaying last night through his mind, Steve decided it hadn't been half bad. Despite Steve's screw-ups, he knew Tony had enjoyed the date, Eighth Doctor and all. Tony obviously wasn't adverse to Steve's advances, though he doubted Tony had really considered Steve as potential in the past. And that was less of a reflection on Steve and more on the fact that despite what those tabloid rags said, Tony was one of the most faithful and committed men to his girl that Steve had ever met. If Steve were honest with himself, he found that trait extremely appealing despite the current problems it created.

His first date. Not how he imagined it would go, and it could have gone a bit smoother, but Steve had enjoyed it. He smiled faintly, hoping the next one wouldn't be nearly as rocky.

It really came down to Tony now. It was his choice if he wanted to continue this, and no amount of Steve's words would change that. It wasn't cowardly for Tony to cut his losses now after he'd just recently been burned, no matter how Steve felt his chest tighten at the thought. Tony was still hurting, and Steve couldn't really find it in him to blame the genius if that was what he wanted.

He started to run his hand through Tony's sleep-tussled hair, marveling at how soft it was as it sifted through his fingers. Tony hadn't bothered with styling it after his shower last night (or more likely he'd forgotten while trying to come up with an apology), and Steve was more charmed by it than he thought he would be. He wondered if it would be worth the look he'd get from Tony if he ever suggested keeping it like this every so often. Provided Tony said yes to dating him.

Steve sighed as his thoughts circled back, and he resolved to push them away for now and enjoy the moment. Maybe the worst was still to come, but he wasn't going to allow that to diminish this moment. He'd learned that lesson from the war.

Steve hadn't bothered counting the minutes, but it was a while before Tony woke up. He smiled fondly as Tony blinked at him groggily, pushing up into Steve's hand like a cat starved for attention. Steve debated reworking his Iron-kitty drawing with this expression. "Morning," Steve said, his own voice still a little rough from sleep.

"Steve?" Tony asked, his brain slowly rebooting. Steve could almost see the little circle cursor that meant the computer was working behind Tony's eyes. It was rather more endearing on Tony than on his tablet.

"Hey," Steve greeted, kissing the top of Tony's head. He felt the stiffness overtake Tony's body and stilled immediately. "Do you want me to stop?" he asked, bracing himself for an answer.

Tony relaxed, melting back against Steve with a forced air. "No."

"Tony," Steve replied warningly.

"No, that wasn't... Just... I mean it. Didn't expect it," Tony said with all the elegance of a man who hadn't had his coffee.

"Alright," Steve said, taking it at face value for now. He didn't push for more, knowing Tony wasn't really awake yet. "If you want breakfast, you have to let me get up."

Tony made a displeased noise in the back of his throat and inched up his Steve pillow until he could burrow against Steve's neck. Steve suppressed a shiver as he felt Tony breathe slow and lazily. "I'll take that as a no," Steve said a little breathlessly. Sadly, Tony was already dozing again rather than playing with Steve's neck. And he'd called Steve a tease.

The thought made Steve chuckle, which he tried to quieten at Tony's whine of protest. For someone who hated actually going to sleep, Tony seemed surprisingly determined to stay that way. He couldn't really blame Tony, he supposed. Nightmares were a common occurrence for both of them, and a night without them was too precious to waste.

He rubbed small circles with his thumb on Tony's back, resolutely ignoring how Tony was still cutting off the circulation in his leg. It wouldn't hurt him in the long run and Steve was feeling too lazy to move the loveable idiot off.

Not long after, Steve heard the door open and he looked over. Coulson was standing there, taking in the scene with raised eyebrows. Steve met the expression with his own raised eyebrows. There was a long moment where Steve waited for more of a reaction to know how to deal with this situation. He didn't think Coulson would have a problem, but...

Finally Coulson sighed. He walked over to the couch and leaned against it, a soft smile quirking his lips as he glanced down at Tony. Steve relaxed a little at the sight, smiling back. "Take care of him, Captain," Coulson said.

"If he'll let me," Steve replied, wondering at what sort of relationship existed between Tony and Coulson. All they seemed to do was banter back and forth with a mix of jest and half-serious threats, but occasionally Steve would walk in on them smiling at each other, and Tony had been very upset after the agent's death. Coulson clearly had a soft spot for the Iron Avenger when no one else was looking. Steve had been trying to figure them out ever since Tony had invited Coulson to watch CATS with them, but he'd had no luck so far. Honestly, Steve didn't know if that had been a blessing or a curse for Coulson, who kept fidgeting the whole time and sending covert glances at Steve and his new set of Captain America trading cards. Tony had looked far too amused.

"Tell him 'At Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender'," Coulson said dryly, and Steve couldn't help but think he was missing something. He knew who Napoleon was and what the significance Waterloo was, but he had no idea what reference Coulson was trying to make. "And take care of yourself as well. The team needs both of you."

Steve nodded, for once hearing Coulson's concern for the both of them in between the lines. It was a good feeling, and Steve wondered how long it had taken him to see it. At least he was seeing it now, instead of still being stuck in the past grieving. He had a certain lazy human blanket to thank for that, along with the rest of the team.

"Speaking of history, that's why I'm here," Coulson said, with a glint in his eyes that belonged more to Clint on a prank mission than on Coulson who still secretly 'fanboyed' (Clint's words, but probably the best description of it that Steve had heard) over Steve when he thought Steve wasn't paying attention. "Director Fury has decided that your grasp on history needs to be confirmed. You're to show up at eleven hundred hours next Tuesday for a test."

Steve groaned, lifting his head up just to bang it back down on the couch. It didn't help, because the couch was too soft. Tony grumbled sleepily, snuggling further against his neck, and Steve felt completely justified with glaring at Coulson.

Coulson was too professional to smirk, but he might as well have been. "I'll see you then, Captain. I'll warn the others off the living room for a while longer."

With Coulson gone and an imminent history test looming on the horizon, Steve wasn't able to enjoy the moment as much as he had before. He wondered if he should enlist Tony's help with 'studying'. He'd get nothing done, but it would be a lot more fun. Besides, it wasn't like he didn't have a near eidetic memory when it came to studying anyway. He'd been pretty smart before the serum, but he'd admit that he found that little side effect pretty useful.

It was a good thirty minutes before Tony stirred again, blinking sleepily up at him. "Steve?"

Steve chuckled, thoughts of history forgotten. "Good morning again. Would you like breakfast this time?"

"You're still here," Tony said his eyes drooping slightly.

Steve was reminded of that first night watching Doctor Who, when Tony had thought he was a fever induced-hallucination. Maybe this was just a sleepy Tony thing. If so, Steve could get used to reassuring Tony every morning. The way Tony blinked at him was rather endearing too. "I am. But if you let me up, I could get you coffee."

That got Tony's attention. "Coffee?" He reluctantly sat up, and Steve wondered if he'd ever have that warmth again.

That thought was quickly replaced with Ow as Tony finally moved off his leg and the blood started flowing again. Pins and needles didn't even begin to cover the feeling. It would be gone quickly enough and, sure, he'd known it was coming, but next time he would consider shifting Tony sooner.

Still limping slightly, Steve ruffled Tony's hair before heading to the kitchen. It was empty, but Steve checked the clock on the microwave to find that it was later than he'd expected. Apparently he and Tony had slept in. Starting the coffee machine, Steve debated his choices. Eggs or pancakes?

Tony wandered in as Steve was breaking the eggs over the pan, looking more awake and extremely grateful when Steve pushed over a mug of coffee. He drank the coffee, watching as Steve cooked in silence. It was a comfortable silence though, and Steve started humming softly as he scrambled the eggs. It was an old song, but one Steve liked, and a glance at the arc reactor made some of the lyrics pretty apt. What is this light that shines when you enter like a star in the night, and what's to prevent her from destroying my sight, if you center all of it on me...

It was 'gooey and romantic' (as Tony said last night), but at the moment Steve didn't care.

"About last night..." Tony started, interrupting his thoughts.

Steve stopped humming at the ominous phrase, poking absently at the eggs. He didn't let his shoulders tense up, but he thought Tony knew anyway. "Yeah?" Steve asked, bracing himself for an answer.

"It was... It was good," Tony said. Steve looked over to see Tony was staring at his coffee. He wasn't hunched over it, like he was going to tell Steve bad news, but he wasn't making eye contact either. "I... It was really good."

"But?" Steve prompted, smiling sadly.

Tony shook his head. "There's no but. Good job on your first date. It was... you'd say 'swell' right? See? I'm even trying to put it in old man vernacular."

"Thanks," Steve replied. He waited for the other shoe to drop.

"I'm still not sure if this is a good idea," Tony said quietly.

Still not a no, Steve reminded himself. "And I still say it'll be worth it."

Tony looked up, brown eyes searching his. Steve didn't know what Tony was looking for, but he knew what he wanted. His shield was a symbol of what he fought for, but his real shields, the mental ones, had kept him firmly rooted in the ice for a long time after he'd woken up. Now he dropped them, and it left him raw and terrified, but he wanted this to work. It would be worth it. They were worth a chance.

Tony sighed, shaking his head with a rueful smile. "If I can't take Captain America's word for it, whose can I trust?" he asked.

Steve felt a goofy grin spreading across his face, so wide that it hurt just a little. "Steve Rogers'," he replied, wanting nothing more than to lean over the counter and steal a kiss. "You can trust Steve Rogers. He's a sure bet."

"Steve Rogers it is then," Tony said. His return smile was a little shaky, but all Steve could think of was how proud he was that Tony was willing to take this chance.

Then Tony took a sip of his coffee and ruined the moment. "You're burning the eggs, by the way."

Steve turned back to the eggs with a dismayed sound, scrambling to see if they were salvageable. They were not. Though Steve hated to see food wasted, even he had to admit defeat with the blackened mess his inattention had created. He scrapped the eggs into the trash can, grabbing more eggs from the fridge as Tony laughed.

"Are you taking pictures?" Steve asked, resisting the urge to strangle the man he'd just convinced to step out with him. It'd just make all that effort wasted, he reminded himself as another flash went off.

"Proof I'm not the only one who burns eggs!" Tony said gleefully.

This time, Steve paid attention to the food. He also made pancakes, just to prove that he could actually multitask while cooking. When he had enough for both of them, he slid the perfectly scrambled eggs and a stack of pancakes onto plates and set one down in front of the ingrate who kept smirking. "Not burnt this time," Steve said.

"Nope," Tony agreed, shoveling a forkful into his mouth. "It's very good. Bravo for Captain America. He's returned triumphant from defeating those fowl eggs and- Hey!"

Steve was not the least bit remorseful for flicking Tony's nose after that pun. "Speaking of defeat, Coulson said to tell you Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo?"

Tony paused in devouring the pancakes, nonplussed. "What?"

"Search me," Steve said with a small shrug. "He came in to tell me about Fury's history test they want me to take, saw you sleeping on top of me, and when I mentioned you were still considering things, he said..." What was the phrase Coulson had used? It'd been slightly stilted, with odd grammar. "At Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender."

At this, Tony recognized whatever it was Steve had missed, and groaned loudly. "This is revenge for me replacing his taser with a vibrator, isn't it? Bastard can't take a joke. My life is not a goddamned Abba song."

"O...kay," Steve said, drawing out the word and wondering if he wanted to know.

Then Tony got that glint in his eye, like he's just gotten the cream, when he looked over to see Steve's expression. "This will be for your own education, Cap. Obviously, we haven't gone in-depth enough in the 70's if you still don't know Abba. And if Abba isn't on that history test, it's a crappy history test, so we have to get you up to date ASAP. And since he made the reference, Coulson must watch it with us. And he's not allowed to touch my booze when Pierce Brosnan starts singing."

Steve decided this was one of those times where it was better to smile and nod, hoping that whatever it was, it wasn't as bad as Tony made it out to be. Not being able to get drunk had its downsides.

They chatted as they ate, Tony leaning against Steve and Steve using his foot to trace Tony's ankles. It was nice, the physical affection that Tony didn't always allow. Intimate without being too much. He wondered how much of it was for his benefit, before deciding it didn't matter so long as Tony was willing to give it.

"So you survived your first real date," Tony said with a small smile. Steve could see the pride he'd felt earlier reflected back at him, and a warmth spread through his body. "How's it feel?"

"Good," Steve said, looking down at his fork as he twirled the bit of pancake in the maple syrup to soak as much of it up as he could. "A little... I wish I could have had this chance with Peggy, so a little sad, but... I'm glad that I now have this chance with you. Thank you, Tony."

"Steve..." Tony said, linking their fingers together. Then he sighed, shaking his head. "Maybe Coulson did have a point with that song. Fine, I surrender. I can't win against you, and I'm not sure I should even try."

Steve smiled at their joined hands, bringing them up to press his lips against Tony's knuckles. He looked up into those brilliant brown eyes as he did, then shyly leaned in for a chaste brush against Tony's mouth. "Thank you," he repeated as he leaned back.

"This whole thing will be impossible, you know," Tony said, a very faint blush settling about his cheeks. "It will explode in our faces."

"It's not impossible, just highly unlikely," Steve quoted with a grin. "And you know what they say. No boom today..."

"Boom tomorrow," Tony finished with him. "There's always a boom tomorrow."

They both started laughing. Steve had a home to return to, a family to love, and a very important date to commit to memory. Making history together was much better than learning about it. And as Tony leaned in to steal some of the egg from Steve's plate, Steve decided he didn't mind being in the future so long as it was Tony who was with him.

~FINI~

Memory:  And there you have it.  This is really the end, so don't hold out hope for any more of History Lessons verse.  The sequel was written mostly because the prompt asked for them falling in love and I've always felt a bit guilty over it.  Now you've got your slash, which means it's time for you to run along and comment like the grateful slashers you are.  I'm still not sure if I shouldn't just run back to my own little corner of gen fandom.

The song Steve hums is Cole Porter's "Looking at You".   Also, you should really be listening to both "Waterloo" and "Take a Chance on Me" while reading this fic.  And all the other Abba songs.  ALL OF THE ABBA SONGS.  Just saying.  XD

Quotes of the fic:

"You're impossible."
"I'm not impossible.  Just highly unlikely."
-The Doctor and Donna Noble, Doctor Who

"No boom today, boom tomorrow.  There's always a boom tomorrow.  What?  Somebody's gotta have some damned perspective around here.  Boom.  Sooner or later, BOOM!"
-Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5