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Like a Cruel Mistress Woos

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***

 

May 12

 

Steve texted Hansen while he waited for the plane back to Minneapolis to finish its take off routine.

 

You busy tomorrow night?

 

I don't know might be washing my hair

 

Funny guy.  I’ll make it worth your while.

 

Tell me more baby

 

Can I talk you into dinner at my place?

After a pause, he added:

Came out to the Avengers.

 

!?!!?!! Good for you!  How'd it go?

 

They were great. Thor was a little confused, but it’ll be okay.

Have dinner with me tomorrow & I'll tell you about it.

 

I see what you're doing

pretty sneaky there

 

Who me?

Nah; just stubborn.

I’ll be done at the VA at 6:00; probably at my place by 6:30.

 

Twist my arm a little

 

You into that?

 

Could be

Depends on the guy doing the twisting

 

I do like a challenge.

 

Something we have in common

 

Is that right?  Good to know.

I thought you might teach me to make those polenta nests with the egg in the middle.  I liked those a lot.

 

Not exactly what I meant by a challenge but I could be talked into it.  For dinner though?

 

Why not?

 

No reason I guess

I'll send you a grocery list

See you tomorrow

 

I'm looking forward to it.

 

Me too.  Been thinking about you, Brooklyn

 

Yeah. Same here.

 

***

May 13th

 

By the time Steve pulled up in the alley behind his apartment, it was more like six-forty.  Hansen and Dan were sitting in the backyard chatting while Dan grilled sausage and sweet peppers.  Steve walked over and inhaled deeply.

“Those polenta things are really more of a breakfast food,” he told Hansen. “Maybe we should invite ourselves to share Dan’s dinner.”

Dan smiled.

“You’re welcome to,” he said.  “I have a couple extra burgers I could throw on the grill.”

Hansen shook his head.

“Thanks, Dan, but you haven’t seen him eat,” he said.  “A couple burgers aren’t gonna cut it.” He stood, facing Steve, and tugged on Steve’s belt loops until their bodies were aligned.  “Besides, I’m kinda looking forward to a private dinner.”  He smiled, sly and sultry.  “Hello, Brooklyn.”

He couldn’t believe he was dating this guy.  Steve better learn fast if he wanted to hold his own.

“Hey,” he replied hoarsely.

Steve leaned in for a kiss he intended to be mostly chaste, since Hansen’s nephew was sitting about a yard away.  That wasn’t what Hansen had in mind.  His hands slipped from Steve’s belt loops along his hips and into the back pockets of Steve’s jeans, firmly pulling Steve’s hips even closer to his.  He coaxed Steve’s mouth open with his own, and Steve couldn’t remember why he’d thought it was a good idea to hold back.  He dropped the bag of groceries he was carrying, wrapped his arms around Hansen, and did what he did best:  jumped in.

He’d always been a fast learner, and even more so after the serum. He did his best to entice Hansen’s kiss deeper; and if Steve was panting with desire, Hansen’s low growl suggested he was feeling the same.  Steve’s hands—one centered on Hansen’s back, one lower, at the dip in his spine—tightened.

“Oh my God, get a room,” Dan interjected.  “Hey, I know—how about you take it to Steve’s place before you’re charged with indecent conduct?”

Hansen broke their kiss to leer playfully at Dan, but he didn’t step back or move his hands off Steve’s ass.  Steve could feel himself blushing.  He couldn’t believe he’d forgotten Dan was right there.

“Yeah, I’d hate to shock my pure, innocent nephew,” Hansen chuckled. “Remind me how many times I’ve bailed you out of jail again?”

“So I got an M.I.P. or two,” Dan said.  “You’re corrupting a national icon."

“The way I remember it, it was disorderly conduct, misdemeanor property damage, and at least three M.I.P.s,” Hansen replied.  “But we’ll take our gay kissing upstairs if it’s giving you the vapors.”

“It’s more what if the neighbors decide to be nosy, but I am feeling a little traumatized,” Dan told him.  “You were groping Captain America’s ass right in front of my young and impressionable eyes!”

Steve’s face was burning now.  He wasn’t as mortified as he’d been when Tony caught him with Jeff, but the longer the conversation went on, the worse it got.  At this rate, it would get that bad pretty soon.  He picked up his bag of groceries and took Hansen’s hand, tugging him towards the stairs to the garage apartment.

“Stop antagonizing my landlord,” he told Hansen.  “Sorry, Dan.  Have a good evening.”

“Night, Steve,” Dan replied.  “You know I’m just teasing, right?  But some of the neighbors have a pretty good view into the yard from their second floors.  I don’t think anybody’s going to be offended you’re kissing, but if somebody recognizes you… You might want to be careful.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Steve said.  “Some Peeping Tom’s stealth video posted on YouTube isn’t how I want to come out.”

“You’re lucky he’s a nice guy,” Hansen told Dan.  “I’m tempted to see what it would take to drive you inside.”

“Whatever,” Dan said.  “You’re all talk and you know it.”

Hansen grinned and shrugged.

“So I got carried away,” he said.  “Can you blame me?”  Steve pulled harder on his hand and started towards his place.  Hansen allowed himself to be tugged along.

“Good night, Uncle Carmine,” Dan said.

“Night, Dan,” Hansen called back.  “Love you.”

“Love you too, you old lech,” Dan replied.  Hansen laughed and followed Steve up the stairs to his apartment.

The minute the door shut behind them, he stepped into Steve’s space and had his hands on Steve’s hips again.

“That was okay, right?” he asked.  “We didn’t embarrass you too bad?  Dan and I don’t pull our punches much.”

“I’ll survive,” Steve replied with a quirk of his lips.  He set his groceries on the counter and slid his own hands onto Hansen’s hips and closing the space between them. “How hungry are you?” he asked. “I was thinking maybe you could corrupt me a little more before dinner.”

“I could be persuaded,” Hansen said.  He slid his hands back to cup Steve’s ass.  Steve arched his back, pushing into Hansen’s hands, and Hansen groaned. “C’mere, you.”

Steve lowered his head for another of Hansen’s seductive kisses, sinking in, immersing himself in the movements of their mouths…until the sunlight streaming through his windows grew dark and thunder rolled out of nowhere.  Steve pulled away and frowned out the window at the roiling gray clouds.

“We’re not expecting bad weather, are we?” he asked.  Hansen shook his head.

“I don’t know where the hell this came from,” he said.

“I might have an idea,” Steve said.  “Wait here, okay?”

Hansen raised an eyebrow.

“Well now I’m curious,” he said.  “You’re being evasively mysterious, Brooklyn.”

“Could be nothing,” Steve said.  He opened the door and peered out into the sudden storm.  “But.”  He looked back at Hansen, giving him half a shrug.  “Could be Thor.”

Hansen shook his head.

“Your life is unreal,” he said.  “I’ll get started on dinner.  If there’s some kind of emergency, tell me before you go anywhere?”

“Of course,” Steve said.  He didn’t think it was an emergency, though.  Tony or Natasha would have contacted him directly if he was needed for Avenger business.  They wouldn’t have sent Thor.

But he was ninety-five percent sure this was Thor; and if it was, he was a little worried about why he was here.  It was the middle of the night in London, and the last thing he and Thor had talked about was Steve’s sexuality.

Thor had said it would be fine, but maybe he had decided it was a problem after all.

A moment later, lightning struck right in the center of Dan’s yard. The accompanying thunder was deafening.  Steve winced. Dan seemed proud of his tiny lawn.  He wasn’t going to be keen on having one of Thor’s patterns burned into it.

“Jesus Christ,” Hansen said.  He peered past Steve into the rapidly dissipating rain.  “That was right here!”

Steve nodded.  “Thor.” As the clouds rolled away, he sighed and went down the steps to learn the reason for his friend’s unexpected visit to Minneapolis.

Steve hoped they were still friends, anyway.

Thor was waiting for him by the pines at the base of the stairs. His face was solemn.

“Captain,” he said.  “I would speak with you, if I may.”

Steve nodded.  “Come on up.”

Thor followed him up the steps.  He stood in the doorway and surveyed Steve’s apartment slowly until he saw Hansen.  Frowning slightly, Thor stepped into the room without looking away from him. His gaze wasn’t quite a glare, but it didn’t falter.

Thor was usually friendlier.  Steve took a deep breath and shut the door behind them.

“Thor, this is my friend Hansen,” he said.  “Hansen, Thor.”

Thor nodded crisply. 

“Nice to meet you,” Hansen said automatically.  He seemed stunned.

Well, Thor was a stunning kind of guy.

Steve turned to him expectantly.

“May we speak in private?” Thor asked.

“Sure,” Steve said.  “Hansen, do you mind going over to Dan’s for a while?”

“Not a problem,” Hansen replied.  He stepped close to Steve, and added in a low voice, “You okay with this?  I can stay if you need me to.”

Steve let the corner of his lip quirk.

“Gonna protect me from the big guy with a hammer?” he murmured. “Go on.  Not sure what this is about, but it’ll be fine.”

Hansen chuckled softly and turned to Thor, extending his hand to shake.  He flinched when Thor took it in his own hand.  Steve winced in sympathy.  Usually Thor remembered to moderate his strength, but it seemed like today he was distracted.

“I am pleased to meet you as well, son of Han,” Thor said.

Hansen pulled his hand away and covertly shook it.

“I like the armor,” he said.  “It’s a good look on you.  Not everybody could pull that off.”  He smirked over his shoulder at Steve. “You ever tried it on for size? I wouldn’t mind seeing that.”

Steve rolled his eyes.

“Get outta here,” he said.  “Go steal some of Dan’s dinner.”

“I’m gonna pick up something for the both of us,” Hansen replied. “I think tonight’s cooking lesson’s a wash.  We’ll do it another time, okay?  I’ll harass Dan until you let me know you’re ready for me to come back.”  With one last grin, he left.

Steve awkwardly waved Thor over to the sofa.  Thor followed him but didn’t sit down when Steve did. Instead he stood facing Steve, a deep frown on his face.

Damn.  He hoped Thor had questions, not problems.

“I’m listening,” Steve said.

“I spoke with my Lady Jane,” Thor told him.  “Of what you revealed to me yesterday.”

“Wait,” Steve said.  “About me specifically?  Or about bisexuality in general?”

“We spoke of both,” Thor replied.  “Of you, and of what you told me concerning finding men as well as women pleasing.”

“Thor—“ Steve began heatedly, then he paused. He took a deep breath and reined in his temper.  He couldn’t get angry at Thor about telling Doctor Foster.  Thor had said same sex attraction wasn’t accepted on Asgard. Human bisexuality was a new idea to him, and Steve had shocked him when he had come out to him. He’d reacted well, considering. Steve hadn’t asked Thor to keep it to himself, either—that was on him, not Thor.

He was fixing that mistake right now.

“This isn’t the kind of thing you talk about with people unless you’re sure they already know it,” he told Thor. “Please don’t tell anyone else. It’s not a secret, exactly; but it’s personal, and I want to be able to tell people in my own way and my own time.  Very few people know this about me.  Barnes doesn’t know yet, and I don’t want him to find out from somebody else.  And the public reaction, the media—it’s likely to be big.  I don’t want it all over the newsstands and TV and internet before I’m ready for that.”

Thor began to pace.

“Forgive me for having offended thusly,” he said. “I assure you, my Lady Jane is discreet.  She will not gossip regarding what she has learned, but I will speak to her of your desire for secrecy.”  He turned to grimace apologetically at Steve.  “I fear the Lady Darcy was also present for our conversation.  On my return to London, I will express to her the importance of telling no one else.”

Steve sighed and ran a frustrated hand through his hair.

“Thanks,” he said.  “That’s the best we can do, I guess.”  He paused to watch as Thor began to pace again.  “You want to sit down and talk about what’s bothering you?  It’s two-thirty in the morning in London.  You didn’t come all this way to tell me you’d outed me to Doctor Foster and her friend.”

Thor sighed heavily.

“Sometimes my brain turns, and my body must move to keep pace. I am…I find I am in turmoil.”

“About what we talked about yesterday,” Steve said grimly.

“Yes.”  Thor stopped walking and scrubbed his face with his hands.  “Captain.  Steven.” He stepped closer. “What you said: both, you said. You said you desired both, that the forms of men as well as women were lovely to your eye.” Hesitantly, he sat on the sofa next to Steve and continued.

“I thought, ‘how is such a thing possible?’  This is the question I took to my Lady Jane. I have been thinking on it.”  He seemed uncertain.  It was a strange look on Thor, who was always so confident and assured.

“And then I thought, what would two men do, should they share a bed?”  He looked intently at Steve.  “I cannot stop thinking about it.”

“Mostly the same as a man and a woman, I guess,” Steve said. “You don’t have to have all the—the opposite parts—to make your partner feel good.”

Thor closed his eyes for a moment.  When he opened them…

Steve’s breath caught and that shock ran through him.

Thor—

He didn’t.  He couldn’t, could he?

“I want that,” Thor said.  “It is ever running in my mind.  I cannot stop thinking of you, naked, with another man.   I cannot stop thinking of what I would do to you if I—of how I would touch you.”

Steve stuttered.  “Thor—“

Thor closed the distance between them and grasped Steve’s nape with one of his large hands, pulling Steve close to him, so close their foreheads touched.

“I would touch you,” he said, his voice breaking. “I would strip off your garments and seek pleasure in the coming together of our bodies.”

Steve whimpered.  “Doctor Foster—“ he tried.

“This is what I told her,” Thor said.  “I told her I did not understand:  I love her well and desire her deeply, that I had no wish to cleave to another; and yet—“  His hand tightened on Steve’s nape, and he tilted his head slightly, tracing his nose along Steve’s cheekbone in a soft caress that felt like a static shock.  “I also hunger for you.  The more I think on it, so grows my hunger.”

“She didn’t slap you for it?” Steve asked.  His breathing was fast and shallow, his heart racing. He should pull away.

But.

Thor.  Honorable, proud, fearless Thor; prince of Asgard, his ally and friend…

How was he supposed to resist Thor?

Thor laughed at Steve's question.

“It is a reasonable fear,” he told Steve.  “She has done so before, angered that I came to your planet only to battle the Chitauri and capture Loki, and did not see her then; and that much time passed before I returned to her.  But her reaction to this confession was most unlike that one.”

“Yeah?” Steve breathed.  Thor shifted, and his lips moved gently against Steve’s temple.

“She said I had to 'hit that,’” he murmured. “She said she would pay to see the two of us together.”  He exhaled slightly as he chuckled.  It tingled along his nerves like each of Steve’s hairs were standing on end.

“She was most enthusiastic.  She will want only that I tell her what transpires between us. The Lady Darcy mentioned pictures, but I do not believe my Lady Jane will insist.”

Thor pulled back enough to catch Steve’s gaze.  “I remain promised to her.  She is my love, and I do not seek another. But you are my friend, brave and true; a better man than any other I have met, and most comely. I want you, and I think it not misguided to hope you hunger as I do.”

He leaned in slowly.  Steve knew he should stop him, but…

Hansen had said Steve should date other people.  He’d said that Steve had skipped a lot of steps between sharing a kiss with somebody and committing to an exclusive relationship with that person.  That he felt like he was taking something from Steve.

When it had been some faceless “somebody else” Hansen had thought Steve should try, he hadn’t wanted that at all.  But this wasn’t an anonymous hook up and it wasn’t meaningless. This was Thor.

He knew what the super soldier serum had given him.  He knew what people saw when they looked at him. He was the pinnacle of humanity. He wasn’t vain about it. It was the serum, and he’d done nothing to earn it.

But Thor—his handsome face, his perfectly muscled body, his charismatic bearing…Thor was so far beyond mere human perfection—

And Steve didn’t love him the way he loved Peggy or Bucky or the way he was coming to love Hansen, but as a trusted brother-in-arms…

He tilted his head and surged forward to meet Thor halfway.

Thor’s kiss was different from Hansen’s. Hansen was gentle, slow, and skilled. He seduced Steve until Steve couldn’t resist. Thor—

Thor wasn’t gentle.  Thor consumed him.  Not deliberately or domineeringly; but he was a prince of Asgard, and he kissed like one.  He accepted Steve’s surrender as if it were his due.

And Steve:  he wasn’t the kind of guy who sat back and surrendered, but he wasn’t the most experienced guy in the world.  He’d gained some confidence with Hansen, though; and he did his best to apply some of what he’d learned.  When Steve’s tongue flicked against his, Thor inhaled sharply and it felt like a spark.  Thor’s beard prickled his palms softly as Steve held his face, a gentle hum beneath his hands. Heat flared between them, fast like lightning.  Steve wanted to pour himself into the blaze and see how hot it could grow.

The thought of Hansen held him back.

Hansen had said Steve should date other people, but this wasn’t that; and whatever this was, he wasn’t going to do it while his boyfriend sat waiting in his nephew’s apartment.  As electrifying as the heat between him and Thor was—beyond their friendship, that was all Thor offered him. Thor’s heart already belonged to Jane Foster.

He wasn’t going to mess things up with Hansen just because he lusted for a friend, no matter how handsome and admirable a friend it was.  No matter how good it was between them.

He pulled away with a gasp.

“We can’t,” he said.  “Hansen—I invited him for dinner.  He was here on a date.”  He closed his eyes and took a slow, deliberate breath before opening his eyes again and looking at Thor directly.  “I’m flattered, and I guess you can tell that I want you, too.  But…”

Thor smiled.

“Do not apologize,” he said.  “I descended on you in a flurry, so lustful have I been, without thinking that I would interrupt your plans.  I will leave you and return to London.” He took Steve’s hand in his, caressing it with his thumb, little sparks of sensation.  “Only consider:  perhaps, when next you go to New York, if we might meet again. There is something between us worth exploring, I think.”  He smiled seductively and began to raise Steve’s hand to his lips.

“Thor, if you kiss my hand, I’ll sock you,” Steve said dryly. He shook his head. “For now, that's it.  I gotta let you go.”

Thor nodded.  Smiling fondly, he lifted his hand to Steve’s face, but halted before he touched him. He gripped Steve’s shoulder firmly instead, and left.

Steve stared at the wall for a minute before shaking himself and pulling out his phone.

 

That was interesting. Still at Dan’s?

 

Yeah—is everything okay? Thor gone?

Want me to come over?

 

Yes—please tell me you have dinner.

 

Said I’d get it, didn’t I?

 

Good.  I’m starving.

He paused.

You’re not gonna believe what Thor wanted.

 

Hansen knocked briefly at the door as he let himself in.

“So what did he want?” he asked.  “You said he was confused when you came out to him—did he have a problem with it?”

He set the takeout on the table and found plates and silverware in the cupboards while Steve took a couple beers out of the refrigerator for them.  He sat across from Steve and opened his beer while he waited for Steve to answer.

“No,” Steve said.  “Sort of the opposite.”  He served himself from one of the takeout containers—looked like Thai—and took a bite.  “Not bad.” He bit his lip. “He talked to his girl about me being bi.  Came back and said he had permission to have his way with me, as long as he took pictures to show her afterwards.”  Steve sighed. “I sent him back to London.”

“Sweet Jesus fucking Christ, tell me you said yes to the pictures,” Hansen said.  “You—and him—together?  That…” He shook his head. “That’s mind-blowingly hot. That’s—Christ. I don’t have the words for how hot that is.”

Steve pointed his beer at Hansen.

“That—and her—that is not the reaction I would expect,” he said.  “Not even from you, and three days ago you told me I should date around.”

 “Brooklyn, some things are so damn beautiful, it’s a crime to stand in their way,” Hansen said.  “That’s where I file you-on-Thor action.  Holy Christ.  For the record, even if we were exclusive, I’d tell you to go for it.”  He smirked.  “I’d really like to watch.”

“That’s not happening,” Steve said.

“But maybe pictures,” he persisted.

“It really doesn’t bother you,” Steve said.

Hansen shook his head.  “Nope.  And if I were you, I’d sure as hell jump at the chance.”

Sometimes the future was surreal. Steve took a long swig of his beer.

“You’d do it, huh?” he asked.

Hansen smiled wickedly and with his finger traced a slow, sensual path from Steve’s temple down along his jaw to his mouth, where he gently coaxed Steve’s lips to part, allowing Hansen’s finger in. Steve held his breath. He closed his mouth around Hansen’s finger, tentatively touching it with the tip of his tongue. Hansen withdrew his finger, now warm and wet, to trace Steve’s lips.

“I don’t know,” Steve whispered.

“Whatever you want to do, Brooklyn,” he said. “Whatever you want is fine by me. Just don’t forget the pictures.”