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“You missed the parade,” Steve says from his point near the high window. He’s dressed in his fighting uniform, the one Tony made for him ages ago, redesigning the old one because Steve said he needed a change. A change indeed; if only Tony had noticed then.

Tony snorts. “I was busy, you know how it goes, interrogations to attend, prison food to munch.”

“You could dine with me,” Steve says. He nods at the soldiers at Tony’s sides, and they both bow and leave without a word. Tony doesn’t try to dash after them. His wrists are cuffed; he wouldn’t make it to the door even if they weren’t.

Steve’s abilities never used to be scary, before.

“No, Steve, I don’t think I could,” Tony says. Steve approaches him with the key to the handcuffs ready. He takes Tony’s hands in his, touching Tony’s fingers gently, as if he didn’t threaten to snap them just yesterday. Steve’s skin is warm and his touch remains familiar and Tony doesn’t want to look at him.

“There,” Steve says, opening the cuffs.

Tony rubs at his wrists. “So what’s the occasion?” he says.

Steve puts his arm around Tony’s shoulders and steers him to the window. It’s late, the sky is dark. Tony tries not to shiver at Steve’s proximity.

Fireworks start in the next moment, loud and amazing, full of rich colours and extravagant patterns.

“Isn’t that a waste of public money?” Tony asks. “I thought Hydra was above that.”

Steve smiles thinly. “People need entertainment every now and then.”

“Ah.” Tony turns away from the display. Steve’s face, coloured by the fireworks outside, looks different. Alien.

Right, because he’s not Steve.

“Happy birthday,” Tony says, because what other day can it be?

Something almost soft shows in Steve’s face before his cold mask snaps back on. It’s less than a second, but it gives Tony an idea.

There’s one battlefield he’s better at than Steve.

He steps closer into Steve’s space, presses himself into Steve’s body, and kisses him, deep, without hesitation, none of the dread he feels. It’s just touch, he tells himself, it’s nothing, and he licks into Steve’s mouth and grinds his hips into Steve’s.

Steve’s supposed to recoil. Give Tony some victory, at least.

Steve kisses him back, though, his hands immediately going to Tony’s waist and neck, pulling him closer still.

Tony didn’t plan for this.

“Oh, Tony,” Steve says, “You waited for this longer than me.”

Tony’s cheeks burn, but he meets Steve’s gaze straight on. “I thought you didn’t wait for it at all.”

“I’m not weak like him,” Steve says. “Destroying himself because he was so afraid of touching you.”

He walks Tony back, leaving him no choice but to move if he doesn’t want to fall. Tony memorised the plan of the room the first time he’s been here, and now he knows exactly where Steve’s pushing him to go: the big bed at the far wall.

“It is a good birthday,” Steve says, working his fingers under Tony’s t-shirt and pulling it off with one smooth movement. He spreads his hand over the RT. “So fragile,” he says.

“Break it, then,” Tony taunts.

“Oh, no,” Steve says. “Not that one.” He moves his fingers to Tony’s left, stopping right over Tony’s heart, and digs them in, briefly.

Tony shudders.

This isn’t Steve and Tony wants to run and he’s scared of what will happen if he tries.

But he can act still, and so he tries to open Steve’s costume, locating the hidden zippers easily, he’s made it, for fuck’s sake—

“Eager, aren’t we,” Steve says, stilling Tony’s hands, and he reaches to push Tony’s trousers down.

Tony freezes for a moment, standing there naked in front of a fully dressed Steve.

“Perfect,” Steve says, and Tony can’t answer—

Steve pushes him the last few steps, until the backs of Tony’s knees hit the edge of the mattress. He sits down; what else can he do?

Steve looks down on him for a few long moments, and then nods to himself. He undresses quickly, in efficient, soldier moves, and doesn’t look any less intimidating out of his uniform. He’s all strong muscles. His body, not his shield, is his best weapon.

Tony had looked at him so many times throughout the years, wondering what it’d be like to get to undress him; he never in his worst nightmares had foreseen this.

He wants Steve, not this lie.

Steve climbs on the bed next to him, and all his movements are slow and languid and relaxed, like this is normal, like it’s good, like it’s not—

He kisses Tony again, running his hand over Tony’s body, pushes him to lie down next to Steve. Tony’s muscles tense, and he has half a mind to fight, but Steve just presses down stronger.

Tony can’t fight him.

It’s what he wants, he lies to himself, and Steve licks down his neck and sucks on his pulse point, his hands infinitely gentle over Tony’s hips. Tony can’t do it.

“Didn’t you say it was him who’d be gentle,” he snarls, and Steve stills for a second and then sits up, pins Tony down with his gaze.

“Do you want it to hurt, Tony?” he asks, almost curious, and Tony doesn’t answer.

Steve just huffs a laugh and reaches behind Tony, probes with his finger as if he intends to slip it in dry—

Tony chokes. “No,” he says, and he hates himself for every word but Steve won’t stop at this point and Tony, Tony just wants to make it easier, “Please don’t hurt me.”

Steve smiles, cold and terrifying.

“Thought so,” he says, and runs his hand over Tony’s cock lightly.

Tony wants to cry.

Steve’s still smiling as he stretches over Tony, giving him a chance to look at Steve’s stomach from close up, reaches for his table and comes back with a bottle of lube.

So at least he intends to do it quickly, without any sort of fucking foreplay. Good. Tony’s not sure if he could’ve dealt with it if Steve kept on being nice and attentive and loving.

But Steve just puts the lube on his fingers, and slowly, very slowly pushes just one finger in.

“Okay?” he asks, like he cares.

But it is okay, and so Tony nods, and he should’ve just told Steve to hurt him. Maybe then it would be over already, Steve would’ve taken and discarded him.

Steve kisses him, again, so softly that Tony wants to melt into him, wants to give in and stay—

Ah.

Tony thought this was his battlefield, but clearly it’s Steve’s, too.

Steve pushes another finger inside of him, and it almost doesn’t hurt at all. He waits a bit before moving, and kisses Tony the whole time. He takes his time to prepare Tony, never impatient, always careful: the perfect considerate lover.

Tony thinks he’d love it, with Steve. He’d love anything with Steve. He thinks he’s crying, but it feels like his body doesn’t belong to him and it’s hard to tell.

Steve’s free hand strokes Tony’s cock now and then, and Tony’s getting hard against himself.

It’s not Steve, is the point, except it is. Tony’s overwhelmed.

Steve lines himself up, finally, and he slides in, stops, and looks at Tony’s face.

“Is it what you wanted?” Tony asks.

“Is it what you didn’t?” Steve asks and starts moving in Tony. He really isn’t hurting him, physically, which might be the worst thing. Tony doesn’t have any excuse, now. It’s all his fault. All of it, not just this, but the United States, the world—Tony should’ve known. He should’ve been better, from the beginning.

Steve hits his prostate and Tony moans and hates himself more.

“Isn’t it a shame you never did this with the man who loved you?” Steve asks. “He really did, Tony.”

Tony closes his eyes, like that could make him stop hearing, and Steve slides in and out in a steady rhythm, not very hard, but deep. Tony crosses his legs behind Steve’s back almost involuntarily, and Steve rewards him with another slow kiss.

This is all wrong.

Tears are running down his face, and Steve wipes at his cheek.

“You could just join me,” he says, fucking Tony again and again. “You don’t have to fight with yourself. You know I’m right.”

Never,” Tony lets out.

Steve transforms. He pins Tony’s wrists to the matters and looks down at him. “You will join me,” he repeats.

Tony can’t answer. Steve starts fucking him faster, harder, his hands over Tony’s wrists like manacles.

Tony bites on his mouth against a shout or a moan or both. It hurts, now; Steve’s strong and bigger than Tony and no longer careful.

Tony deserves it all.

Steve comes, buried into Tony, and for a moment he stops moving, his face pressed into Tony’s neck. Tony thinks that’s it, he’s free—free, as if he had any freedom here—but then Steve reaches for Tony’s cock and strokes him just a few times. It sends Tony over the edge too, and he hates Steve for doing it to him and himself for—for everything, really.

“I won’t ask you again,” Steve says, finally sliding out of Tony.

Tony wants to laugh at him. “You will,” he just says. “I’ll never agree, and you’ll keep asking until the end of the time. Funny, Steve—I’d always thought it’d be me doing the asking.”

Steve recoils, as if that got to him. “You said you’d always listen to me,” Steve says after a moment, wiping himself off with a bed sheet. Tony doesn’t move. He’s not sure he could. “I’ll let you remember that.”

He must be feeling generous, because he puts the other end of the sheet over Tony’s body.

“Never,” Tony says, “never,” until Steve finally doesn’t reply.