“This is nice,” Steve said, looking out at the ocean.
Tony hummed in agreement, the distant sound of waves crashing on the rocky shore below almost drowning it out. “We haven’t had a real vacation in over a year.”
Steve felt Tony tighten his hold around his waist and nuzzle his neck. Malibu was certainly warmer than New York, but it was still December, and since Tony’s house was right on the water, it was a lot chillier than usual. However, Steve was long used to Tony using him as a personal space heater.
He looked down at the man in his arms. “Has it really been that long?”
“Yeah, but let’s not dwell on that,” Tony murmured. “Let’s just focus on this week.”
Steve couldn’t argue with that. He should be glad that he had Tony all to himself for the next five days. “You’re right. No work; free of distractions and supervillains.” He kissed Tony’s temple and Tony made a sound of contentment.
“Speaking of work, what did you tell the team?” Tony asked. Steve only arrived in California earlier that evening, but Tony left New York two days before him in order to avoid suspicion from the rest of their teammates.
“I told them Fury sent me on a special ops mission. Top secret stuff,” Steve said with a playful wink.
Tony huffed a laugh. “You could tell those guys anything and they’d believe it.”
“A terrible privilege, I know.” Steve turned his body so he could get a better look at his companion. The movement made the quilt that was draped around them ride up, exposing Steve’s feet to the cool air, but he ignored it. “And what about you?”
“What about me?”
“Is Pepper okay with you taking a week off work?”
Tony looked at him in disbelief. “Are you kidding? She practically forced me to take a vacation; said I was spending too much time at the office.”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“Anyway, she thinks I’m in Tahiti, surrounded by tall, leggy blondes and drinking virgin pina coladas.” Tony shifted in Steve’s arms so he could straddle his lap instead, the thin quilt previously covering them fell to a heap on the ground. “Little does she know,” Tony said, looking down at Steve with a playful smirk on his lips.
Steve slid his hands down Tony’s sides until they finally settled on his hips. He was a little disappointed that Tony was no longer enveloped in his arms, but he had to admit that the lounge chair they were on was a lot more comfortable without two fully grown men lying on it. “I think I’ve just been insulted.”
Tony shook his head. “No, you see, I’m the one surrounding the tall, leggy blond right n—oh,” he gasped when Steve rolled his hips. Tony glared at the innocent look Steve gave him. “How you manage to fool anyone with that innocent boy scout façade—”
“It got you, didn’t it?” Steve countered, rolling his hips again and pleased to find his lover just as aroused as he was. His fingers slipped under the material of Tony’s shirt, sending a shiver down the man’s spine.
“I suppose it did.”
Steve remembered how careful Tony had been in the beginning of their relationship: always second-guessing what he said, and never pushing Steve into doing… well, anything. Steve supposed it made sense: neither of them had a particularly good track record with dating, and the last thing either of them wanted to do was ruin their friendship.
Despite the initial apprehension, Steve found the transition from ‘just friends’ to ‘lovers’ to be a lot easier than originally anticipated. It seemed that a near-disastrous mission followed by adrenaline-fueled ‘thank-God-you’re-alive-sex’ was all they need to turn their three-year friendship into something more. (Well, that, and a few weeks of stolen kisses in the hallways, a series of not-dates, and more nights spent together than not).
Steve realized (after the third time they slept together), that apart from the sex, it was like they were dating all along.
It was no wonder the rest of the team called them ‘mom’ and ‘dad.’
Tony gently ran his fingers through Steve’s hair. “What are you thinking about?”
“You,” Steve responded without hesitation.
“What about me?”
Steve wasn’t sure if it was the moonlight playing tricks, but he was almost positive that Tony was blushing. “How much I love you,” he said. “How incredibly lucky I am to have you.”
Tony ducked his head, and Steve definitely knew that his suspicions were correct. He would never admit how much pride he took in being the only person to make the Tony Stark blush.
“Tony,” Steve said, softly. “Sweetheart, look at me.”
Tony looked up, his cheeks still slightly red. “You’re wrong, you know.”
Steve furrowed his brow. “What do you mean?”
“I’m the lucky one,” Tony corrected before capturing Steve’s lips in a kiss.
Steve immediately kissed back, but tried to keep He pulled the other man closer so he was flush against him, their cocks rubbing against each other through the fabric of their clothes.
Tony ground their hips together, and Steve bit down on his lip to keep from crying out from the jolt of pleasure. “Tell me what you want,” Tony said, fingers working at the button of Steve’s jeans. “I wanna hear you.”
“Tony, I—fuck,” Steve keened when he felt Tony wrap his fingers around his length.
“Tell me,” the other man urged, setting a slow but steady pace with his hand. “It’s just us. There’s no one around to hear us,” he added. He pressed a kiss to the side of Steve’s mouth. “It’s just us,” he repeated. “Just you and me.”
“I—I want…” Steve breathed out, reeling for words. He still couldn’t believe how easy it was for Tony to turn him into an incoherent mess. “Tony, I want—”
“What do you want?” Tony murmured against Steve’s lips.
“You,” Steve replied. He shoved Tony’s sweatpants down just far enough to grasp his cock. “I want you, Tony,” he said, spreading the precome at the tip. “Just you. All of you.”
“You have me,” Tony whimpered. “You’ve always had me, love.”
Steve flipped them over in one fluid motion—settling himself between Tony’s legs and supporting his weight on one arm before spitting into his free hand and taking hold of both of their cocks. Steve began to thrust into his fist, and Tony threw back his head at the incredible friction.
“Tony,” Steve grunted. It was taking every ounce of self-control in his body to keep up the languid pace he set. “Darling, let me see you.”
“Steve, honey,” Tony whined, but he complied anyway. “I’m really—Oh, god, Steve—” His hands desperately clutched Steve’s shoulders, nails digging hard enough through the material of Steve’s shirt to leave marks.
Steve cut him off with a kiss, swallowing whatever else Tony had wanted to say. He was already so close, but he sped up his movements anyway, determined to make Tony come first. They still had plenty of time to do this properly; a whole five days to take his time coaxing out the sweet sounds from Tony’s lips as he sank into him.
Steve would never cease to being amazed by how easy it was to lose himself in the other man. The softest of kisses could make his head spin—the lightest of touches enough to drive him over the edge.
Feeling slightly dizzy from the lack of oxygen, Steve broke apart from the kiss. “Tony,” he started, pressing their foreheads together.
“Steve, please,” Tony begged. One of his hands moved from Steve’s shoulder to his wrist, holding on tight.
“I know,” Steve murmured, kissing Tony’s jaw. “I love you. I know.” Without further warning, he twisted his wrist, and Tony cried out in release. Steve would never get tired of watching Tony come: the look of pure ecstasy on his lover’s face forever engrained in his mind. Steve thrust forward a few more times before tumbling over the edge himself.
They lay there for a few moments, catching their breath, before Tony tangled his fingers in Steve’s hair. “I love you too, beloved,” Tony murmured against his lips before kissing him lazily.
As cliché as it sounded, Steve could’ve sworn he felt his heart skip a beat at the endearment.
“You’re right. It really is a lot better when we don’t have to worry about waking up the others,” Steve joked when they parted, earning him a chuckle from the other man. He blindly reached for the quilt on the ground and wiped off the mess on his hand and Tony’s stomach. Steve laid back down once they were both decent, his chest pressed to Tony’s back.
Tony sighed blissfully when Steve draped an arm around his waist. “I wish every day could be like this.”
“Me, too,” Steve agreed. Between Tony’s company, Steve’s missions with SHIELD, local supervillains, and bi-annual alien invasions, it was hard for him and Tony to find any time together. It was even harder to do anything without telling everyone else about the nature of their relationship.
And given how nosy their teammates were, Steve was surprised they had been able to keep it a secret for so long.
But while the reasons for keeping their relationship under wraps may have held water two years ago, Steve wasn’t sure if they were even relevant anymore.
Steve was happy. He was the happiest he had ever been in his life. He couldn’t recall anything that brought as much happiness into his life as spending time with Tony did. Steve knew that what he and Tony had was special, and he would be happy with whatever Tony decided to give him… but if Steve were being completely honest, there was still a small part of him that wanted to share it with the world.
Steve had a fleeting thought of what his life would have been like if Tony hadn’t been there when he woke up from the ice, and trampled it as quickly as it had materialized.
He wanted to tell someone—anyone—how much Tony meant to him, how much he loved him. He wanted to shout it from the rooftops; wanted to be able to kiss him without worrying about other people walking into the room. Steve was certain that he’d never feel the same about anyone else.
“Why can’t it?” Steve asked.
Tony shot upright, twisting out of Steve’s hold to look at him. “What?”
“Why can’t it?” Steve repeated.
“Steve, you know why—What are you saying?” The look Tony sent his way was one of genuine concern and confusion.
Steve didn’t know what it was exactly that provoked him to utter his next sentence. Maybe it was something in the salty California breeze? Or maybe it was the full moon above them, but Steve did know one thing: “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Because he did. He realized, lying there with Tony in his arms, that there was nowhere else he’d rather be; no one else he’d rather be with.
Tony’s eyes widened in shock. “No,” he said, jerking away from Steve’s reach. He abruptly stood up and took a step back. “You don’t—you don’t want to marry me, Steve.”
Steve frowned. “I think I of all people would know what I want, and what I want is to be with you.”
Tony stubbornly shook his head. “Steve, you can’t marry me. Let’s just… let’s forget this conversation ever happened,” he said, slowly backing away towards the house. “I uh, I’ll leave in the morning. I have a lot to do anyway. You can stay here for a few days; you deserve a vacation.”
“Wh—what?!” Steve sputtered, scrambling to get up from the chair to follow the other man into the house. “You… Why are you leaving?”
Tony stopped in his tracks and turned towards him. “You want to get married, and I don’t,” he stated. “I don’t have any business being here.”
“You’re breaking up with me,” Steve said, his voice flat despite the numbness in his chest.
Tony bit his bottom lip, something he always when delivering particularly bad news, “Look, I think it would be for the best. I mean, it was bound to happen sooner or later, right?” he said, refusing to look him in the eye.
“You thought…” Steve trailed off. He didn’t know what to say. Just five minutes ago, Tony was saying sweet nothings into his ear and calling him ‘beloved,’ and now he was saying that he had seen their break-up as inevitable?
“You can’t honestly tell me you thought this would last,” Tony said. And what killed Steve was that Tony didn’t sound bitter or self-deprecating. He just sounded tired, as if the subject wasn’t even worth discussing. He couldn’t believe Tony was so convinced that they wouldn’t make it; he thought he had made his intentions clear from the beginning.
Steve took a tentative step forward, but Tony moved back as well, and seeing him back away hurt. “I love you,” Steve said quietly. If he knew this is what the conversation would evolve into, he never would have brought the subject up.
Tony sighed. “I know you do.”
“Then I don’t see what the problem is,” Steve countered. “Do you not want everyone to know? Because that’s fine, really. I know you want to protect me, and I get it. I shouldn’t have brought it up. But I don’t see why we need to end this—”
“It’s not going to work, Steve,” Tony interjected. “And if keeping this a secret didn’t bother you, you never would have brought this up in the first place!”
“I only brought it up because I love you! Yes, it would be nice if we could just tell everyone about us, but just being with you is so much more important than that.”
Tony looked at him skeptically. “You still want to get married.”
“I don’t need—”
“But you still want to!” Tony countered. “You still want to, and I can’t give you that.”
“We love each other,” Steve said, desperation evident in his tone. “Isn’t that enough reason to stay together?”
“Steve, you don’t understand—”
“What?” Steve snapped. “What is it then? What are you telling me that I apparently cannot comprehend?”
“It can’t happen. I can’t give you the forever you’re looking for.” Tony said, pained. “Don’t you see? There’s no way for it to be like this forever.”
“Why not?!” Steve didn’t he’d ever felt pain like this; to hear Tony say those things. “Tony, please, just tell me—”
“Because I’ll leave you!” Tony yelled.
Steve shook his head in disbelief. “No, you won’t.”
“I will, Steve—”
“You just told me you love me—”
“And I do,” Tony said with conviction. “God knows I do.”
“Then why would you ever leave me?” Steve asked, demanding an explanation.
Tony sighed dejectedly. “Steve, I’m not the healthiest person around, and I never really have been. Considering everything I’ve put my body through over the years, it’s a wonder I’m alive and talking to you now,” he stated. “You have the serum, and while we can’t prove any specifics right now, it’s obvious you’re going to be living a hell of a lot longer than I am.”
Steve opened his mouth to speak, but Tony put his hand up, willing for him to listen.
“Look, I… I’ve been there. More or less. I told you before that, if I had the chance, I probably would’ve married Rumiko, but then she died and… I obviously don’t know how that would have turned out, but I don’t want you to have to go through that. I can’t promise you a forever, because it won’t happen.
Tony drew a deep, shuddering breath. “I was selfish, okay? I was stupid and selfish. When we first got together, I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I’ve loved you for years, and for it to finally be happening was just too good to be true. I knew it couldn’t last, because you deserve so much more than me,” he explained. “I’ve just been hoping that you’d eventually have enough sense to finally leave me so I wouldn’t have to do it.”
“You mean you’d rather me hurt you than the other way around?” Steve clarified, and the other man said nothing. “Tony, why do you always try to find ways to punish yourself?”
“I’m merely seeing things as they are,” Tony said, resolutely. “I haven’t been doing anything except delaying… this.”
“Tony,” Steve took both of Tony’s hands in his. “Tony, I love you. I know the possibilities of my… my future,” he said, a little remorseful. “Neither of us know what the future holds for us, but I know that I want you, okay? Just you.”
“But how could you want me?” Tony choked out, and Steve wrapped his arms around him. “How could you want someone like me?”
“How could I not?” Steve said softly. “Tony, you gave me a home and made me feel like I actually belonged. You’ve put up with me, laughed with me, and fought with me.” Steve pulled back to look him in the eye. “You’re my best friend and the love of my life, and I want to be with you for as possible.”
“I don’t want to leave you,” Tony whispered. “I can’t even bear to think—”
“You won’t,” Steve said, determinedly. He cupped Tony’s cheek. “You won’t. I’ll always have you, and you’ll always have me, because I love you.”
“And I love you,” Tony replied before kissing him tenderly. “I love you. I’m sorry.”
“No, I should be sorry,” Steve said. “I shouldn’t have brought it up—”
“No, you’re right.”
Steve looked at him questioningly. “What?”
“I…I think… No, I do. Want to,” Tony said, a faint blush on his cheeks again. “Marry you, that is.”
Steve couldn’t fight back the stupid grin on his face if he tried. “You do?”
Tony smiled back. “I do.”
"You know, I never actually asked you, right?" he teased.
Tony rolled his eyes. "Just shut up and kiss me.