Steve ran the thought through his head the entire way back to Avengers Tower, while he sat stiffly in his seat and tried not to act conspicuous. If Clint knew, that meant Natasha probably knew, too, since the two of them probably hid less from each other than any two members of the team. Sam was perceptive, and the Hulk was a genius when he let his alter ego Dr. Banner out to play, and Thor might have been behind on human society and culture, but it was likely that any - or all - of them had figured it out by now, as well.
It wasn't that Steve minded, exactly; he wasn't ashamed of what he was doing with Tony, it was just that ... well, even he and Tony hadn't agreed on exactly what it was they were doing, yet. Or even talked much about it, for that matter. They couldn't tell their teammates until they knew themselves, right?
Steve sneaked a glance across the jet at Tony, but Tony looked as casual as he ever did in the armor as he leaned over the co-pilot's seat to chat with Natasha.
Natasha caught Steve looking and raised an eyebrow in his direction; Steve knew better than to look guilty, but he did hurriedly avert his gaze.
When they arrived at the penthouse, Clint and Natasha headed off to take Crossbones and Grim Reaper into SHIELD custody, while Thor and the Hulk took on dinner duties, which just meant they were going to go squabble for fifteen or twenty minutes on the merits of curry versus greasy diner food, before finally letting JARVIS take it upon himself to order the team a few dozen pizzas.
Steve followed Tony down to the garage once the rest of the team had dispersed, and settled himself down at one of Tony's workbenches to wait while Tony got out of the armor.
Once Tony was finished, he ran a hand through his helmet-flattened hair, and glanced down at himself, pulling a face. "Grim Reaper's got really bad taste, and blue is not my color."
"I wouldn't have minded being Grim Reaper," Steve said, picking at the front of Crossbones', well, bone-adorned shirt. "This isn't exactly subtle."
"You needed the full-face mask," Tony said. "Even the Red Skull couldn't miss that patriotic browline of yours."
"Thanks?" Steve said, making it a question. "I think."
Tony grinned, walking over to Steve. "I like the sleeveless look, though. Shows off your arms."
"It's really impractical," Steve complained.
Tony shrugged, sliding his hands up Steve's arms, from wrist to shoulder. "Not really thinking about practicality right now, Cap."
When Tony leaned down and kissed him, Steve tried to respond, but it came out disappointingly halfhearted and Tony pulled back, raising an eyebrow.
"Over the villain role-play already?" he asked.
"Sorry," Steve said. "It's just - these outfits."
"Hmm." Tony situated himself to straddle Steve's lap, knees coming to rest on the bench either side of Steve's thighs. "I don't know, I think we could make it work."
Steve pulled a face. "I'm not sexually attracted to the Grim Reaper, Tony."
Tony stared back at him.
"And," Steve went on seriously, "I certainly hope you're not attracted to Crossbones."
"You are such a spoilsport," Tony said, rolling his eyes. "We even had these dry cleaned before we put them on."
Steve huffed. "Grim Reaper's mask looks like a salad fork."
Tony stared at Steve for several seconds, a strange look on his face - then he laughed.
"Come on," Tony said around his own snickering, "I think we could be generous, and at least give it 'pitchfork' as a comparison. Or trident? Nah, that doesn't explain why Attuma wasn't more into him. Me? Whatever."
Steve, lost somewhere in that ramble between 'pitchfork' and 'whatever,' placed his hands on Tony's waist to steady him, and leaned in for a more enthusiastic kiss than earlier. It was true, he really wasn't into the villain role-play, but that didn't mean there was nothing to be said about how nice it was to have Tony on his lap right now.
Tony made the best noises when Steve touched him, from soft gasps to needy moans, all perfectly timed to let Steve know just how much Tony was enjoying himself. It was all rather well orchestrated, and felt more than slightly false to Steve. Even though by this point he and Tony had graduated to actual bedmates who often slept in the same bed, Tony was still guarded with his sincerity. Steve hadn't been able to figure out yet whether it was difficulty in showing feelings, or fear of them being rejected. Tony was a guy who lived much of his life in the public eye; maybe he had a hard time with intimacy, no matter how many notches he had on his bedpost.
Of course, among other things about Tony, he was a genius, and he caught on after a few seconds that Steve's mind had wandered ... again.
"Steve?" he asked. "If you're not feeling it, I can -"
Steve placed his index finger over Tony's lips, silencing him. "Let's go upstairs?"
"Yeah," Tony answered once Steve's hand left his mouth, though there was still something puzzled in his expression.
Tony led the way to the elevator, and Steve settled in behind him, studying their reflections in the shiny chrome of the elevator doors. Steve put his arms around Tony's waist and drew him in close, resting his chin on Tony's shoulder.
"I'm not interested in Grim Reaper and Crossbones," Steve said, nodding to their reflections. "Just Steve and Tony."
Tony's eyes met Steve's in the reflection, but he quickly looked away. "That's ..." he began, hesitating before he finished, "... flattering, Steve."
The elevator doors opened - Steve silently cursed the elevator for being so efficient - and Tony broke free of Steve's grasp to rush out. Tony hurried through the common area (Hulk and Thor were too distracted debating over what must have been fifty take-out menus spread on the counter in front of them to notice) and Steve jogged after Tony, confused and more than slightly hurt by the aversion.
Steve reached out to grab Tony's elbow once they were in the hallway, and Tony pulled to a reluctant stop. "Hey," Steve said. "What was that about?"
Tony turned and frowned up at him. "No, what was that about?"
"Back there," Tony said. He flung out a hand in a gesture. "In the elevator."
Steve blinked his confusion, and cast a glance around the hallway. There were footsteps coming, maybe Sam on the way to his room, so Steve reached past Tony and opened the door to his own bedroom, ushering Tony inside.
"I think I missed something," Steve said honestly, once he had the door shut behind him.
Tony made another helpless gesture; it didn't go a very long way toward clarifying the issue. "I just," he started, making a frustrated noise. "We do this and it's fun, it's really fun, but then you say something like that and I don't know what to think."
"I'm sorry. I think we've had a misunderstanding," Steve said. He didn't mean it to sound like a question, but he couldn't keep his confusion from showing. He stepped closer to Tony, and tentatively placed his hands on Tony's shoulders. "The point I was trying to make in the elevator is that I know you're Iron Man, just like I'm Captain America ... but when we're together, like this, we can just be Steve and Tony. I can be Steve, making love to Tony. That's what I love about ... this. Us."
Tony had a funny look on his face, one which just intensified as he blurted, "I thought we were just friends with benefits."
Steve dropped his hands from Tony's shoulders; he could feel his own face fall, but he tried to fight it. "Is that what you want?" he asked.
Tony opened his mouth, gestured silently again, and closed his mouth when it seemed no words were forthcoming.
"Because we don't have to be ... more than that," Steve went on.
"Do you want to be more than that?" Tony asked.
Steve shifted his weight from one foot to the other, a little self-conscious. "I think it's pretty obvious that I thought we already were -"
He didn't get any further than that, as Tony closed the space between them, surging forward for a kiss. Steve caught Tony up in his arms and drew him in close, kissing like his life depended on it. His heart was pounding, like it might leap right out of his chest, and yet Steve felt like a huge weight had been lifted, one he didn't even know was there. He knew it couldn't be so easy, that there were still things they had to discuss, to work through, to make this work, but Steve also knew it would be worth it, now that he knew Tony wanted it, too.
Any doubt that might have been in Steve's mind that Tony was simply humoring him was laid to rest by the way Tony kissed him, like Tony was worried Steve might be the one with second thoughts. Steve struggled to slow the kiss, a difficult but not insurmountable task even with Tony's tongue in his mouth, but he didn't fight the way Tony had rucked up the hem of Steve's ill-gotten shirt.
Tony made a protesting sound when Steve pulled away, but he didn't argue the reason why, as Steve yanked the ridiculous shirt over his head and tossed it aside. Helping Tony out of his own outfit was a bit more difficult; it was like the Grim Reaper's costume had been poured on, but Steve was happy to peel Tony out of it.
Steve swept Tony into his arms once they were both undressed, prompting a soft yelp and a laugh from Tony as Steve carried him toward the bed.
"I'll bet Crossbones never treated Grim Reaper this good," Tony joked.
Steve shook his head, tossing Tony down on top of the covers. "I don't think they're a thing," he said. "And if they are a thing, I don't want to think about it." He paused. "In fact, it worries me a little that you keep thinking about it."
"You caught me," Tony said, raising his hands over his head. "Infatuated with the love lives of supervillains, that's my secret shame."
Steve shook his head as he climbed up the foot of the bed after Tony. "Shouldn't you be infatuated with the love lives of superheroes?"
"I thought plain old Tony was only supposed to be worried about plain old Steve," Tony pointed out. "Though I do hear Cap and Iron Man are probably doing it."
Steve laughed, turning his head to kiss the inside of Tony's knee. "And where did you hear that?" he wondered.
"Pretty sure eeeverybody knows that one."
"You think so?"
"Oh, yeah," Tony said. He was quiet for a beat, then he asked, "Does that bother you?"
"No." Steve shook his head, looking up to smile at Tony. "I mean, it sort of did before a few minutes ago," he admitted.
"Oh?" Tony asked, before he broke off, blinking. "Ohhh."
"Yeah." Steve laughed softly. "I don't care if people know, I just wasn't sure where we stood with this."
"I get it." Tony nudged Steve in the side with his knee. "Look, I'm sorry if I left you in suspense. I'm not too good with the whole feelings thing."
"You don't have to apologize to me," Steve said. "I'm just glad we're on the same page now."
"Personally," said Tony, a mischievous grin quirking his lips. "If not professionally."
"I'm sure Cap and Iron Man will figure out some way to work out their differences," Steve answered confidently. He settled more comfortably between Tony's legs, then bent down and kissed him. The conversation had been a little distracting for both of them, and it took a few moments of uninterrupted kissing and touching for the mood to return in full.
By the time Steve broke the kiss to reach for the nightstand drawer, Tony was breathless and eager; Steve felt a little bad about that, considering he wasn't exactly planning on rushing things along. Tony watched intently as Steve got out the bottle of lube, just unfamiliar enough with staying in Steve's room that he was clearly a little thrown off predicting how things might go. Steve liked it that way; Tony was always far too preoccupied with numbers and percentages, and Steve enjoyed getting Tony's mind off things.
Tony gasped when Steve's slick fingers brushed along his cleft, and he brought one of his knees up higher, spreading himself wider when Steve asked whether it was okay. Steve took his time in circling Tony's hole before he began to press a single digit inside of him. Tony responded sweetly, moaning and relaxing instead of tensing against the intrusion, and he took a second finger without any difficulty aside from his own impatience.
"Steve," Tony said, his tone of voice needier than he was likely to admit.
"Hmm?" Steve asked, preoccupied in his own right with working his fingertips deeper, pressing them against Tony's prostate.
Tony's hips jerked off the bed. "Oh, God."
Steve smiled at that, and took up a slow rhythm with his fingers, slowly drawing them out before thrusting back in again, gradually tucking in a third with the first two. Once Steve did that, Tony was half gone already, stretched tight around Steve's fingers and nearly begging for it as he worked his hips back against the touch, fucking himself on Steve's hand.
Someday, Steve wanted to take Tony apart like this, with just the slow and teasing touch of his fingers; he was sure he could make Tony come just from this, given how close Tony was, when Steve hadn't even touched his cock, yet. But Tony had different needs from sex and intimacy, especially after a rough day like today, and Steve knew Tony would appreciate more of a connection, the comfort and closeness of their bodies moving together with Steve inside of him.
Even with that taken into consideration, Tony still whined when Steve's fingers slipped free. He had his hands twisted up in the covers, chest heaving like he had just run a mile. Steve used less care in preparing himself, hastily rolling on a condom and slicking the remaining lube over it.
Tony reached out for Steve as Steve lined himself up and began to press inside; Tony wrapped his arms around Steve's shoulders and took him easily, rocking his own hips up until Steve was all the way inside.
"Fuck, that's amazing, you're amazing," Tony moaned. "Come on, Steve, I need you."
Steve hooked his elbows under Tony's knees to draw his legs up further, and set a steady pace, his hips pounding rhythmically against Tony's ass. Tony lost coherency aside from encouraging words and the occasional demand for more or harder, until he had to reach up and brace his hands against the headboard to keep himself from sliding up against it from the increasingly faster pace of Steve's thrusts. It was harder than Steve had intended when they first came to bed, but he knew he had taken his time and been far gentler than Tony might have wanted, so he was content to let them both get lost in each other for a time.
When Tony came, it was like it surprised him; he spilled hard and messily between them, the shout that escaped his throat unlikely to not have been heard by everyone else in the penthouse at the moment. As Tony went boneless against the bed, twitching with the aftershocks of his orgasm, Steve slowed his pace to a complete standstill, and leaned down to kiss Tony.
Tony stirred after a moment spent catching his breath, and he nudged Steve in the back with his heel. "Keep going," he urged.
"I will," Steve promised, but he let Tony's legs down to the bed and got his arms under Tony's back instead. Steve dragged Tony into his lap as he took up an intensely slow, easy pace, sliding in and lingering there, letting Tony's weight take him deep inside.
Tony moaned and whimpered from oversensitivity, and clamped around Steve like a vise as Steve moved inside of him. Steve knew he wouldn't last long that way, and within a few moments his own climax came like a relief, nearly wrung out of Steve in a slow, sweeping unwind. Steve stifled a noise of his own in response and buried his face in the crook of Tony's neck, while Tony sagged against him, tired and utterly spent.
It was a solid couple of minutes before Steve could convince himself to move, and then it was more out of consideration for Tony's comfort than his own. He lowered Tony back down to the bed and slipped out of him, offering an apologetic kiss when Tony grunted a protest at all the movement.
Steve tossed the condom and grabbed tissues (which Tony never seemed to have on hand!) to clean them both up as best he could, then put the lube away before turning to address the problem of getting his very boneless boyfriend (could he use that word now?) under the covers.
Tony seemed asleep already, with an arm draped frankly a bit dramatically over his eyes, but he broke Steve's concentration by mumbling, "This is why we don't have sex in your room."
Steve blinked. "What?"
"You're too ..." Tony flapped his hand, and let his arm flop onto the pillows over his head. "Fastidious."
"Fastidious," Steve said, and since Tony was awake after all, he nudged him to sit up so that Steve could peel back the covers.
"That's my five dollar word of the day," said Tony, as he wriggled himself beneath the sheets. "You like it?"
"I like it," Steve said, getting under the covers with Tony. "I'm just not sure I buy it."
"Well, five dollars is a lot to you, I'm sure," Tony teased around a yawn. "You're not accounting for inflation."
Steve rolled his eyes, and wound his arms around Tony. "You're ridiculous."
"You love me anyway," Tony said, and he burrowed his face into Steve's shoulder, wrapping himself around Steve like he had far more than just the four limbs. He was fast asleep in an instant, finally worn out after an already tiring day, and seemed unaware of what he'd just said.
Steve just sighed quietly and dropped a kiss to Tony's hair. They could worry about having that conversation later, but Steve did still murmur to himself and the four walls, before joining Tony in sleep: "Yes, I do."