Some post-Afghanistan TonyRhodey: After getting rescued from the desert, Tony refuses any sort of medical care/exam, partly bc he wants to keep the arc reactor secret but mostly bc he doesn't want any more strangers touching him. He lets Rhodey help him clean up & bandage some of his cuts & get a sling for his hurt arm, but that's about it. He also refuses the comfy (for a military plane) cot he's offered & gets his 1st bit of safe, real sleep in 3 months curled up in a chair, leaning on Rhodey.
While in the helicopter, Rhodey inspects Tony, checking him to see the kinds of injuries that need to be cleaned up, whether anything has been sprained or broken. He can’t stop his eyes from going back to the glowing device in Tony’s chest, but decides to save the questions for later. After looking Tony over, Rhodey tells him that he’ll get one of his men to clean up his injuries.
Tony refuses. He doesn’t want anyone but Rhodey touching him.
Rhodey insists, tells Tony that he needs to get his injuries looked at and cleaned up by the professionals. “I can’t do this for you, Tones. I don’t have enough medical knowledge and I don’t want to hurt you.”
But Tony’s adamant about not letting anyone see his injuries, especially not when he can still feel the heat of the Afghan desert.
“I only trust you,” he tells Rhodey.
So once they land back at the Air Force base, Rhodey helps Tony out of the chopper and shuffles him into his room, and for the first time in what feels like forever, Rhodey and Tony are finally together again, alone.
Rhodey grabs a pair of scissors and cuts Tony’s tank to get it off of him, and he finally sees the mess Tony’s chest has become, and the circle of light shining right before his eyes.
“What is this? What happened?”
“Miniaturized arc reactor. There’s shrapnel. Dangerously close to my heart. This keeps it from killing me.”
Rhodey does his best to patch Tony up. He grabs the medical supplies he has stored in the room and goes over every inch of Tony’s body, checking him over, cleaning his wounds and bandaging him up. They both know that the best thing to do is to get someone else – someone who’s medically qualified – to do this. But Tony’s not ready for that just yet, not ready to have strangers poking and prodding at him. So this is good enough for now. One step at a time.
When Rhodey’s finished, he tells Tony, “You probably need a shower.”
Tony, exhausted but finally feeling safe for the first time in three months, shakes his head. “No. Later,” he says. “Right now I just need sleep. And I need you.”
Rhodey takes Tony’s hand and guides him over to the bed, curls up behind him, and holds him close as Tony’s breath slowly evens out and he drops off to sleep.