You’ve never been good at sleeping on your own. Luckily all of the Avengers are good cuddlers, and Peter Quill isn’t good at keeping secrets.
A/N: language; a little bit of a Peter Quill x reader but nothing major; this is all just fluff
You’ve never been overly fond of loneliness. For the first three years of your life you were being grown in a test tube. Then, of course, the thirteen years after that were all spent locked up in a very dark room. And when you were about sixteen you were sent to scavenge around a lot of iffy dimensions. For years. Alone. Surrounded by monsters and the cold.
Of course, now you’re fine. Ever since Scott found you in that horrid shit hole of a dimension and pulled you out. Ever since you had moved into the Avengers Compound; which was something you never thought you’d be saying as a former Hydra agent.
It was new and strange. Being in a place that was so warm without even trying. Being surrounded by people that share your fear of the dark and so there are night lights in every room in the base. Let’s face it: there’s nothing more hilariously ironic than walking into the room of the Winter Soldier himself and seeing a night light. Realizing that the famous killer-of-men is turned into a shivering mess by something as trivial as the dark doesn’t really make you very hopeful for your own outcome.
You don’t really need to go to any other dimensions anymore. As that was the sole reason you were made, you half expected to be depressed that you had no real purpose. But you aren’t. You like being a little lazy. You like sitting in a meeting and pretending to offer up your services even though you realize that no random Shield mission is going to send you through to a different dimension.
It seems as though maybe you’ll get a chance at a pleasant life after all. Except for one small issue.
“She doesn’t sleep.” Tony points his spoon at you. “At all. I walk out of the lab, and she’s talking to Bruce about transporting water molecules though the holes in dimensions. I walk into the lab, and she’s building a matter deconstructor. There’s no off button on her!”
“You’re just mad because I was right about the decay rate of calcium during particle shifting.”
“Those bone samples were corrupted and you know it.”
“Hey. Egg heads. Can you two cool it already?” Sam groans. “Seriously. Why does nobody stop them? It’s too early in the morning for this shit.”
Steve turns to look at you from his spot by the stove. “Are you getting enough sleep, Y/N?.”
“Yeah.” You nod. “Of course I am. How else would I be so highly functioning?”
“Highly functioning? Yesterday you spent eight hours on the couch watching Top Chef.” Natasha smirks.
“And my research is one step closer to completion because of it.” You grin. “I’m fine, guys. Don’t you think that if I didn’t get any sleep, you’d notice?”
“I mean, you are drinking coffee.”
“If I were trying to heal insomnia with caffeine I’d look less like me and more like Barnes.” You glance over at him. “No offense.”
“None taken. Pour me another cup, Steve.” He rubs his eyes and holds out his mug.
“Bucky is a very radical example of a possibly less-advanced issue.” Natasha shrugs. “He’s a mess.”
“I prefer the term disaster guru.” He grins.
“Unless gurus live in sheds and look like raccoons, you are not a guru.”
“Excuse me, Steve would like us to please refrain from insulting his husband at the breakfast table.” Tony clinks his mug with his spoon.
“No, Steve would like you all to shut up and eat your breakfast so that he can go for his morning jog.” He pours Bucky more coffee.
“Y’know, that’s very rude. Unprofessional even. I’m usurping your role as team mascot. I’ll pull off the tight blue jumpsuit better than you anyways. I have the figure for it.”
“Yes, you are quite an ass.”
“Steve said ass!”
You roll your eyes and smirk down at your coffee while they continue to bicker. Eventually everyone starts to finish their food and leave to get started with their daily routines, but you and Steve stay put.
“You can tell me if you’re having trouble.” He says nonchalantly over his newspaper. “I’m not Tony.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Just that for someone who deals with so many problems, he’s bad at knowing what to say when others have them.”
You sigh. “I mean, sure my sleep patterns are different, but they aren’t anything new.”
“So there have been issues?”
“I wouldn’t call them issues.” You stand up and go to the fridge to pour some orange juice. “It’s just…I was made in a lab. The first three years of my life I was just a sleeping meat sack floating in a giant glass tube. Then I was tossed in a hole in the ground until I was sixteen. Sleeping was rough then too. And then when I started reality jumping, I dunno…it messed with the way that time works in my head. I can’t really explain it. But now I just don’t sleep all that much.”
“No. I don’t even get tired because my brain got all wonky. I mean, I can sleep. But I remember sleep just being so difficult and terrifying, so…why would I do it?”
“Sleep isn’t normally like that. It’s nice enough here.”
“Yeah. Tell that to when you and Bucky wake up in the middle of the night screaming.”
Steve looks down at his paper.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean that in a mean way. But…if you could live perfectly normal without sleep, wouldn’t you? To never get tired and not have to deal with the nightmares anymore?”
He didn’t answer.
“Exactly. I know Bucky would. He hates the taste of coffee. He only drinks it in an attempt to get what I have. A functioning life without sleep.”
“But would you tell me if the lack of sleep was getting to you?”
“Probably not. But you’ll just have to trust me.” You shrug. “I’m fine, Steve. I was on my own for a long time before I came here. I can handle a sleep schedule.”
“Alright. But if it ever starts getting to you-.”
“I’ll consider telling you before I decide not to. Yes, of course.”
Steve looks deadpan at you as Bucky walks in.
“Hey, Barnes.” You grin up at him. “You’re back soon. Did you miss the love of your life that much?”
“Who said Steve is the love of my life?”
“Steve? I was talking about me.” You take a sip of your drink. “Rude ass.”
“I just didn’t realize that we were being open about our hot new love affair, dear.” He kisses your cheek and walks over to Rogers.
“I’ll pretend not to be offended.” Steve chuckles.
“It’s not you, baby. Y/N is just the one dame for me.”
“I’ve been bested it seems.”
You smile as Bucky leans down and presses a kiss to Steve’s lips.
“Really? While I’m right here?” You roll your eyes playfully.
“That’s what you get for falling in love with a gay man.” Steve looks up at Bucky. “Ready to go for a run?”
“Yeah. You done in here?”
“Yep.” He stands. “I’ll see you later, Y/N.”
“You look like shit.”
You glare up at Quill and frown.
“Seriously. Are you alright?” He sits across from you. “You’re pale and grey.”
“Has anyone ever told you that you know exactly how to talk to a lady?”
“Stop avoiding the question.”
You sigh. “I’m fine. Just had a rough night.”
You groan at him.
“We’re gonna be here till the end of the month. I’ve got plenty of time to sit here and bother you if you don’t answer.”
“I’ve met you like twice.”
“Don’t pull that shit. Last time we saw each other you saved my life and we got stuck in an escape pod together for like twelve hours. We had to establish a pee corner. I think we’re close enough for you to tell me why you had a bad night.”
You frown. “Just normal stuff.”
“I’m having trouble sleeping.”
“Sleeping?” He scrunches his nose. “Weren’t you the one who kept insisting you don’t sleep when we were stuck in the aforementioned pod?”
“Yeah, well, all this time I’m spending not moving around dimensions is starting to reset my biological clock.”
“I think it has something to do with how quickly my neurons fire while I transport, but I haven’t put in the proper research to confirm or deny that theory.”
He nods some more.
“Is this making any sense to you?”
“Y’know what, let’s just say for a second that it’s not.” Peter clears his throat. “How would you explain it to me then?”
“Okay. Hold on. Its alright. Listen, I might not get all this fancy neuron stuff, but I do know a thing or two about having trouble sleeping.” Peter holds up his hands. “What part is giving you the trouble? Falling asleep or staying asleep?”
“Falling asleep.” You look away in embarrassment.
“Alright. How come?”
“I dunno.” You wrap your arms around yourself. “I don’t like the dark. And I spent too long being alone…and sleep is just so…”
“Dark and alone?”
You look up at him. “Yeah.”
“So, the dark part is easy. Just keep a light on. There’s no shame in having a night light.”
“And the alone part?”
“Get a sleeping buddy.”
“If you haven’t noticed, I am single.”
“I said sleeping buddy. Not fuck buddy.”
“Who on Earth do you expect me to ask to climb into bed with me?”
“I don’t know, Y/N. But if your sleep immunity thing is wearing off, then you need rest. It’s a necessity. Y’know, like in the Jungle Book.”
“The Jungle Book?”
“Yeah. Remember, when Baloo starts singing about the bear necessities?”
“Please tell me you aren’t comparing this very difficult time in my life to a song in a children’s movie.”
“Sleeping is a bear necessity, Y/N. And you are a malfunctioning bear. Like Yogi. You’re Yogi Bear.”
“Y’know what? Keep talking. At this rate I’ll hit myself over the head with a plate and then maybe I’ll get some rest.”
“Are you sure you can handle it, Tony?”
“At the risk of sounding arrogant; I did discover clean energy. I think I can do a few repairs on the Milano.”
“Point taken.” Steve turns into the kitchen. “So can you get it done by the end of the month?”
Sam is halfway through a sandwich when Steve notices him at the kitchen table.
“Wilson. Have you seen Quill anywhere?”
“I think him and Y/N are watching a movie in the lounge.”
“Him and Y/N?” Tony grins. “Ooh la la.”
“Calm down, hot shot.” Sam rolls his eyes. “I’m pretty sure no one can fall in love with Quill after they have to watch him pee in a potted plant.”
“When did that happen?”
“When they soldered themselves into that escape pod.”
Steve rolls his eyes. “I’ll go get him.”
He leaves the kitchen and walks down the hall to the lounge.
Steve frowns as he gets to the open door. “Did you just shush me?”
“Yes. Come in.”
He turns into the large living room and freezes.
“You’re gonna wake her.”
Steve gawks. Y/N. No nonsense and no questions Y/N, who constantly defends her sleep schedule, is laying on Quill’s lap, lightly snoring.
“How in the hell did you get her to fall asleep?”
“She said that she can’t sleep when she’s alone. So I put on a movie and told her to just take a nap while I’m here.” Quill lightly shrugs as he runs his hand slowly through your hair. “She went out like a light.”
Tony calls out to Steve from down the hall. “Rogers! Where’d you go? Did you find Quill?”
He and Sam frown and pile into the room behind Steve.
“Holy crap. She’s sleeping?”
“Quill says she only sleeps when there’s someone else in the room.”
“Probably because she spent all that time alone in a Hydra cell.” Steve frowns.
“She could have asked for company sooner.” Sam crosses his arms.
“Y/N? No way. She’d never admit to wanted someone to cuddle.” Tony snorts. “For someone who hates being alone she’d freak out if people knew she hates being alone.”
“I can’t believe she even told you she was tired.” Steve stares at Quill.
“She wasn’t thrilled about it. But she knew I wouldn’t leave her alone until she said something.” Quill looked down at you. “Listen guys, I don’t mind if you’re in here, but if she finds out you saw this, she’d lose her mind, so just make sure you leave before she wakes up.”
“Hey man, it’s all good. We’ll head out now.” Sam slowly walks backwards. “Just let her sleep.”
It was the strangest thing. Ever since you had fallen asleep with your head on Quill’s lap, everyone had stopped asking you about your sleep schedule. You assumed it was because Peter let it slip that you passed out like a light, but you gave him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe someone just walked by and saw.
And every single time you sat down somewhere, another Avenger would appear to sit with you. In the lounge. After a mission on the Quinjet. In the home theater Tony had built on the eighth floor. Every time you ended up getting a little sleepy, someone was there for you to “accidentally” fall asleep on. Before the Guardians went back into space, even Rocket managed to curl up on your chest at some point during a movie so that you could sleep.
You would have made a stink about how many people had now seen you sleep, if it weren’t for the fact that none of them said a word about it.
You’d be watching Titanic with Thor, you’d pass out on his lap, and when you woke up he’d talk about how he liked the movie and then get up to find a snack. No comment on how he pulled a blanket over you after you had fallen asleep, or how he had rested a hand on your shoulder the whole time to make sure you knew you weren’t alone even when you were unconscious.
Or you would be flying back from a mission and Sam would discreetly pull you into his side and turn on the auxiliary engine in his wings. The fans blew the excess heat out of the pack and kept you warm, and eventually you’d fall asleep on his shoulder. When you got back to the compound, he’d tap you awake and stand up before telling you to grab some supplies from the hanger like it had never happened.
Then there was the time that you were stuck in a press conference with Shuri and T’Challa for nine hours. Wakanda had some logistics to figure out and you were put on bodyguard duty with the Dora Milaje. Once it was over, Shuri went to bed and you and T’Challa busted out some wine. You ended up falling asleep with him on the couch, and he didn’t seem to mind. He knew well enough to not mention it the next day, but you were pretty sure that the Dora took photos.
At some point of course you put two and two together and realized that Peter must have told someone about what you said on the couch. But it was Quill. You doubted there was any ill intention behind it. There probably wasn’t any intention at all.
“I learned something new from my research. I think that every dimension moves a little differently because of obvious changes in time and space, and the reason that I’m able to travel through them is because I was built so that my body can adapt to each one quickly. I’m not sure yet how my body generates enough power to move to each, but I was right about the changes in my neurons in each reality.”
Peter stares at you for a moment, before nodding. “Sure, sure.”
You smirk up at the screen. “You didn’t get any of that, did you?”
“I got it, I got it. Hydra made you out of silly putty so that you can squeeze into different reality cookie cutters.”
You laugh. “You’re a dumbass even over the phone, I see.”
“Hey. Untrue. Would a dumbass have such good taste in music?”
You roll your eyes. “So, when are you all going to visit again?”
“Probably in a few months. Things are kind of slow up here. Without Thanos there’s less to do. And Rocket really liked Brooklyn.”
“Good. I’ve got to punch you for telling the other Avengers about our neuron talk.”
Peter freezes, and for a second you think the video actually cut out.
“Damn it. Did this thing break again?”
“No. No. Just,” He sighs. “are you mad?”
“I thought I’d be, and I think at first a was a little, but…sleeping’s been nice, so…” You shrugged. “We’re good.”
He’s silent for a moment.
“I didn’t tell them. I mean, not on purpose. Steve, Sam, and Tony walked in while you were sleeping and wouldn’t stop asking how I did it.”
“I assumed you hadn’t done it to overshare. Again, it’s fine. I probably would have ended up causing a lot of shit if I didn’t start being healthy, so I can’t really get too made at you.”
“Well, at least we know how to get you to sleep if we get trapped in another escape pod.”
“I think that will be the least of our worries.”