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Sex Lies and Newsprint

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The holiday season is a time of forgiveness, a time of sentimentality, and that certainly seems to be the case in New York City where playboy billionaire Tony Stark has started up his on-again, off-again sexcapades with sizzling hot ex-BFF Tiberius Stone.

The two haven't been seen together in public since the very, very dramatic break-up of Tony's engagement to mutual friend Rumiko Fujikawa three years ago, a break-up Tiberius took full credit for. But the estrangement was never serious, according to Ty. And when Tony and Ty hooked up at a holiday celebration this past weekend, sparks were flying.

"We've always had a lot of chemistry, Tony and I," Tiberius told the Superhuman Star in an exclusive interview. "We were never really on the outs, though I think he was kind of embarrassed about the whole Rumiko thing. But that was a long time ago."

The old friends meet up regularly when their business interests take them to the same city. And apparently Tony even takes time out of Avengers business for booty calls!

Stony fans shouldn't fret, though, there's no trouble in that paradise. According to Tiberius: "It's just sex, honestly. As long as Tony still comes running when Cap snaps his fingers, he doesn't care."


Tony Stark was not used to being this bored at a party.

He was a professional partier, after all. He'd been shmoozing since he was in grade school, learning how to press the flesh and charm the party-goers at his parents' side. He could fake enthusiasm better than a car salesman desperate for a commission. And he was never, ever at loose ends for insincere conversation.

He supposed there was nothing stopping him from enjoying the party a little more. The string quartet was lovely and after more than an hour of playing had not yet been forced to start repeating their selection of Christmas music. The catering was superb, a fact Tony greatly appreciated, since by the time he'd allowed Pepper to drag him out of the workshop and more or less stuff him into the shower, it had been far too late to eat.

But the decorations were hideous. It was like a rich guy with no taste had gone completely off the ropes in the Christmas aisle at a Walmart. There were blinking colored lights draped more or less everywhere, and there was a singing Santa Claus gyrating his hips on the mantle. Part of Tony wanted to twitch every time someone got close enough to set it off and part of him wanted to see if he could smuggle it out under his coat and get out of having to shop for Clint. It wasn't even Thanksgiving yet, which made everything worse. Tony didn't know if there were any specific rules about when one was allowed to decorate, but he was pretty sure that if he tried to hang fairy lights everywhere before Pepper got her traditional Thanksgiving Family Dinner, she'd beat him down with a cornucopia. Jarvis would probably just flat-out murder him.

All of which was bad enough, but the company was dreadful, too. Board members, investors... other people Tony suspected he was supposed to know but didn't. Parties thrown by business associates were usually terrible, but this was bordering on torture.

Steve's company would make it far more bearable – Steve's company made very nearly anything bearable of course, except possibly those reality shows Peter was always watching – but Steve had been kidnapped immediately after they arrived by a group of gray-haired men bent on reliving America's glory days. Tony caught a glimpse of him occasionally, nodding politely and gesturing with his water glass, probably lecturing them on the corruption of American values and why they should be donating more to charity. Tony couldn't help the little smile that played across his lips at the thought. He had been inviting Steve to SI charity dinners for years for a reason.

“You look like you're thinking of something pleasant,” a warm voice spoke suddenly, almost directly into his ear.

Tony startled, but someone thrust a champagne flute at him and he caught it on instinct. He blinked at it, almost warily, until he realized it was full of sparkling cider.

Tiberius Stone lifted his own glass of cider, fidgeting slightly at Tony's side. “Peace offering?”

“Peace offering?” Tony repeated, and that was apparently close enough to acceptance for Ty, who took it as an invitation to lean against the wall beside Tony.

“You looked bored,” Tiberius said by way of explanation. “God knows I am, so I figured, what the hell. Be bored together.” He took a sip of cider, then made a face. “Okay, that does not taste like apples.”

Tony tried a quick taste, just enough to wet his tongue. “White grapes.”

Ty gave him a sideways look. “Okay. You know, it never even occurred to me that there was more than one kind of cider. I have learned something this evening.”

Every muscle in Tony's body felt tense. “I'm glad it was edifying for you, Tiberius. Feel free to fuck off any time now.”

Tiberius sighed and slumped against the wall. “Would apologizing even do me any good here?”

“Do you even know what this so-called apology would be for?” Tony ask. He scanned the room, trying to pick Steve out of the crowd without making it obvious.

“You have to let me explain about Rumiko.”

“She was my fiancee. I loved her more than I had ever loved anyone and you fucked her while I was on a business trip.” He crossed his arms over his chest, the still-full champagne flute held in the tips of his fingers. “Explain that to me. I dare you.”

Tiberius made a face, then took a dip sip of the cider, clearly wishing it was something stronger. “She was wrong for you. You have to know that, Tone. You do know that, I can see it in your eyes. She was bright and vibrant and being chained up waiting for you to come out of the lab and notice her again was weighing her down. She was already losing interest, starting to drift and when you starting becoming so involved with the Avengers, stopped going to galas and premiers – it was only a matter of time, Tony. I thought – hell, who knows. I thought if it wasn't me it would just be some other guy and maybe I could show you what was going to happen before you had to pay for a messy divorce.”

“So you slept with Rumiko to help me out? That's the story now?”

“That was always the story!” Tiberius glanced around and made a visible effort to lower his voice. “You just never let me explain. You caught us that night and just cut me out of your life without a word. And I respected that, didn't I? Three years, Tony and I never bothered you once.”

The sad thing was, Tony could see it. Rumiko hadn't been a good fit – Ty might have been a drunk and a dumbass, but she had been neither. Whatever had prompted her to go to Ty's bed, loneliness or anger or – well, it hadn't been alcohol making her decisions for her. And looking back, Tony could easily see it happening just the way Tiberius described: Rumiko slowly realizing she'd hitched her wagon to a loser and looking for a way out. Tiberius, a drunken dumbass who was still more observant than Tony and had actually seen the end coming.

Something like melancholy settled in Tony's chest. He didn't think about Rumiko a lot anymore. There had been others since her: the thing with Pepper, which had ended better than he'd had any reason to hope, a handful of one-night-stands and casual relationships with Carol and Natasha and Thor – friends-with-benefits more than romance. And Steve of course. There was Steve now (there had always been Steve). But Rumiko had been different. Rumiko was the only person who had – for some brief, fleeting moment – actually wanted to spend the rest of her life with Tony. But not for long, apparently. And not without regret.

“You've had your chance to explain,” Tony said tiredly. “Does it make you feel better?”

“I didn't do it to hurt you,” Tiberius said, which was probably true. Ty never tried to hurt anyone.

“You went straight to the press,” Tony reminded him, and the years-old knot of betrayal was cold and heavy in his stomach. “Did you do that to protect me, too?”

“The tabloids make that shit up all the time, Tony. We both know that. How many of your new friends have been quoted saying things you'd have thought they'd never say about you?”

Tony took a sip of cider and licked his lips. The cider settled the uneasy feeling in his stomach a little and he dragged his eyes away from the crowd of bored and boring party-goers. “You don't get to pull shit like that again. I don't care how drunk you were or how noble your intentions might have been.”

“I won't. I promise.”

“You're still a jackass,” Tony said.

“I've been told that before.” Ty smiled at him, hesitant but hopeful. “By you, actually.”

“Can't imagine why,” Tony said and just like that, three years of tension and distance snapped.

“Here,” Ty said, reaching for Tony's glass. He fumbled it a little, got their fingers tangled together as he tried to take the glass before Tony had let go. “Let me just – I'll refill these and be right back, okay? Don't go anywhere.”

Tony watched, slightly bemused, as Ty maneuvered his way through the crowd in search of a waiter. He hadn't – that was so far down on the list of things he might have expected to happen. His chest felt oddly tight and his fingers itched slightly, like he was meant to be doing something he couldn't remember. Almost of their own volition, his eyes cut away from Ty and scanned the rest of the room, searching out Steve. For a guy who was a head and shoulders taller than most of the other people in the room, Steve was damn good at blending into the crowd.

Happy Hogan caught Tony's eye and made his way across the room to stand at his boss's side. “The Captain's been dragged off by a half-dozen investors and is holding court in the den, congratulating them quite eloquently on approving your latest philanthropic endeavor.”

“Which they haven't, and don't intend to do,” Tony remarked.

“They will by the end of the night. I never realized Captain America was such a manipulative bastard, but he's shaming them into it, sure enough.” Happy nodded in what could only be interpreted as an approving manner.

“He's in the den, you said?” Tony considered going to find him. Watching Steve browbeat his investors sounded like a lot more fun than anything else going on at this party.

“I think it's a den. A library? I don't know every room in this house looks alike. Old books, uncomfortable furniture, no television.” Happy sounded especially disgruntled by that one.

Tony grinned at him. “Missing the game tonight? It was suppose to be your night off, you know. I think the baby bodyguards could have kept me in line tonight without their old man watching over them.”

The look Happy gave him spoke eloquently on a number of subjects, not the least of them Tony's ability to be kept in line by anyone. “They're a good team. But they haven't figured out you're full of shit yet. And if you ditch your guards one more time and end up gallivanting around the city Pepper will end me.”

“I'm a super-hero,” Tony said to the ceiling because telling Happy and Pepper – and, for that matter, Rhodey and Jarvis and the board of directors – never seemed to take. “I have an indestructible suit of armor that shoots repulsor beams out of the hands and can fly. Where is this impression that I'm helpless coming from?”

“Well, Cap would be there, I'm sure,” Happy said, like Tony hadn't even spoken. “He's as good at ten of my guys, even if he won't carry a gun. But he humors you too much. So probably best to just keep an eye on you.” Happy made a sound not unlike a disgruntled dog. “My team's been sucking anyway. Maybe it's for the best that I don't have to watch them blow it in real time.”

“Yes,” Tony agreed, rolling his eyes at the ceiling, because really, he got no respect, not even from his own employees. “What sport is in season now, anyway?”

Happy didn't deign to respond to that, but Tony knew he'd find the flatscreen in his office magically tuned to ESPN a lot in the coming weeks. “Did you want me to let the Captain know you were looking for him?” One of his hands hovered over the earpiece he wore; a single tap would activate an open comm channel that any SI security personnel present would be able to hear. “I can have his guy slip him a message.”

“You've got security on Steve?”

“Captain Rogers always has a guard assigned to his personal security when he attends an SI function or if the two of you are out together,” Happy said.

Tony hadn't known that, actually, but it was a good idea. All he needed was one of his enemies taking a shot at him in his civilian life and – no. “Thank you, Happy. That's good thinking. I should have thought of it myself.” A thought occurred to him. “Did you do that for my exes?”

“Not regularly,” Happy said carefully. He eyed Tony briefly, before sweeping his gaze over the room. “If someone was with you, then of course your security team would extend to them in an emergency.”

But Steve warranted his own bodyguard. Either Happy thought Steve's presence made things even more dangerous – Tony always felt safer with Steve around, honestly, so probably not – or his people liked Steve enough to extend him the courtesy and protection.

Or they thought he liked Steve enough.

They weren't wrong.

“Well, regardless, it's a good idea. Thank you, Happy, I -” He caught sight of Tiberius returning through the crowd and felt inexplicably disappointed. That probably wasn't fair – Ty was trying, after all and Tony had been complaining of boredom just a little while ago. Anyway, as much as Tony considered Happy a friend, he was here in a professional capacity and it wasn't right for Tony to distract him while he was working just to entertain himself. “Happy. You remember Tiberius Stone, don't you?”

Happy looked at him like he was speaking gibberish for a moment, and it probably did seem a strange non sequitur. Tony nodded in Ty's direction and he blinked a little to see Happy's expression slip into something close to violent fury before smoothing over into a professional mask of indifference. “I do, boss. If you'll forgive me,” he said, nodding to Tony and ignoring Tiberius entirely, “I should get back to my post before the boys think it's all right to goof off.”

Tony was still blinking at his back when Ty slid into Happy's place and offered Tony a full glass. “Ah, that face I recognize. Good old Happy Hogan – though I don't recall him ever looking very happy to see me. Your employees never did like me much.”

“You were a bad influence,” Tony said automatically, echoing something Pepper had told him dozens of times over the years. He closed his fingers around the stem of the flute and couldn't help but think of the way her voice used to sound whenever the subject came up. How fucking tired she used to seem back them.

“Come on,” Ty said. He tugged on Tony's wrist and his fingers felt familiar as they curled around Tony's skin even if he squeezed a little too tight. “Let's go sit down. I'm tired of holding up the wall.”

The crowd got considerably less dense as Ty led Tony away from the main room. Whoever's house this was – Tony really ought to pay more attention when Pepper told him these things – it rivaled Stark Manor for space and grandeur, although whoever decorated the place needed to be dragged out into the street and shot. Happy had been right about that much. Nothing but oppressive dark paneling and uncomfortable chairs as far as the eye could see. And landscapes. Lots of really ugly landscapes. Tony's taste in portraits ran a bit to the fanboy-ish side, he could admit it, but that was why he let Pepper decorate anywhere that normal people might see.

Ty led him across an enormous echoing foyer, into a small den that smelt like no one had so much as opened the door in years. Tony flexed his fingers, his wrist twisting slightly in Ty's grip, but the other man didn't seem to notice. “It's really good to see you again, Tony.” He set his glass down on end table and turned, sliding both arms around Tony's waist. “I really hoped I'd get this chance.”

“Ty,” Tony said warily, and then Tiberius was kissing him. It was – too rough, for a friendly kiss and too deep. Ty's teeth bit at Tony's bottom lip and his fingers were digging into Tony's back like Ty was trying to push under his skin. He tasted like scotch.

He tasted wrong. Felt wrong.

He pulled back, pressed his free hand flat against Ty's chest and pushed. “What the hell? We're on speaking terms for five minutes and you think this is okay?”

Tiberius laughed. “Oh come on. I've seen you beg like a whore with your boardmembers in the next room. You're a sure thing, Stark.”

Tony's own voice echoed in his head from months earlier: "I'm a sure thing, Steve. For you, I am. I'll always be.” It made it easier for him to put some steel in his voice. “Not for you. Those times are over, Ty. They have been for years.”

“Oh, come on. You're always up for a good time.” His gaze wandered lower. “You're always up for me. Or you used to be, anyway.”

Tony caught Ty's hand before it could drift any lower. “It's been a long time, and I'm here with someone.”

“Yeah, Captain Oblivious out there. I saw how with you he was when he ditched you the second he walked through the door and didn't so much as glance in your direction for the rest of the night. I bet he doesn't even know you're gone. Would he even care if he did? Would your captain care if he caught us together? Or would he just be relieved?” Tiberius rolled his eyes. “Come on, Tony. Even you aren't that fucking blind. Whatever thrill Soldier Boy was getting out of you, it has long passed. It's like watching you with Rumiko all over again. It's goddamn embarrassing.”

Tony took a step back, some cold emotion curling in his belly. He couldn't decide what it was, exactly, but it tasted like lead in the back of his mouth. “That's enough. This isn't the same.”

Tiberius exhaled sharply. “Of course it is. Jesus. Tony, I've known you for how long? I know you, okay? And you're so far gone on this guy that you can't even see he's just using you.”

“Don't,” Tony said sharply enough that Ty actually paused. “You might know me, but you don't know him. Steve's a better person than that, so just don't.”

“Hey.” Ty cupped Tony's chin in one hand, his nails digging into the skin. “Listen. I'm just looking out for you. Like before.”

“When you fucked my girlfriend and threw away our friendship?” Tony snapped.

I explained that!” Ty shouted. “Why do you make it impossible to be your friend, Tony? I'm trying here, all right? But you make it so goddamn impossible to be there for you. It's why Rumiko got tired of you and it's why Pepper left you and it's why Rhodes is never around anymore-”

“Don't,” Tony said.

“Let me prove it to you,” Ty said. “Like I did before. Maybe when I've got GI Joe bent over a table you'll understand-”

“Enough.” Tony said sharply. Something like panic was crawling up his throat, bile rising at the images that flashed through his mind. Steve wouldn't, and he clung to that. Even if Ty would, Steve wouldn't. Even if Ty was right, Steve wouldn't. “This was a terrible fucking idea.”

“You know I'm right.” Ty's voice was soft, sympathetic. “It was never going to work with him, was it? He's too much like Rumiko. This beautiful, decent guy, so full of potential. No one blames you for wanting to be a part of that, Tony, but you have to be honest with yourself. You're just dragging him down. How long till he realizes that for himself? If he hasn't already? Do you really want him to be with you out of pity? Because he can't figure out how to dump you without causing a scene? Do you really want to wonder, every time he fucks you, if he even really wants it?”

Tony pinched the bridge of his nose. “I don't want to talk about this with you, Ty.” He turned his back to Ty, trying to put something between them and took a deep breath. He remembered the flute of cider, still in his hand and he started to take a sip.

Champagne. Tiberius had given him alcohol.

Of course he had.

Tony closed his eyes and breathed.

“Tony.” Tiberius pressed up against his back. “Let me do this for you. You know I'll always love you. You don't have to give up anything for me. I'll never ask you to change the way he has.”

“He never asked me to change,” Tony said quietly. “He just believed I could.”

There was movement in the doorway, and he looked up to see Steve lingering just inside the room.

“Tony,” Steve said. His smile was easy, but his eyes were sharp and hard. “I was looking for you.”

“Eventually,” Tiberius said under his breath, resting his chin on Tony's shoulder.

Tony shook him off and stepped away, setting the champagne down beside Tiberius' drink. “Sorry, Steve. Ty and I were just going over old times. You do remember Ty, don't you?”

“I can't say I do,” Steve said, and it was perfect, the one way to really burn someone like Ty. Make him unimportant. Make him powerless. “One of your college buddies?”

Tony gave him a tired smile. “Not exactly.”

Tiberius slid an arm around Tony's waist, possessively tight. “We go back a long way, Cap. Tony and I have a very intimate friendship.”

“Ty,” Tony said quietly. “You can go.”

It seemed to shock Ty into stillness, but Tony didn't so much as glance at him. “And you don't need to come back.” He met Steve's gaze and held it as years of friendship flashed before his eyes. “Ever.”

Tiberius pulled away like Tony had burned him. “You don't have to put on a show for the Captain, Tony. I'm sure he knows what you're like by now.”

“He does, I think.” Tony shook his head to ward of Steve's sudden flare of temper. “But I'm not sure you do, anymore. And I really think you need to go.”

Tiberius snatched one of the champagne flutes off the end table and tossed it back. “You never know what's good for you,” he said in a low voice. “You never have. When you ruin this like you ruin everything else, I won't be there to pick up the pieces for you.”

There was something in Tony's chest, something sick and heavy and aching, but it wasn't anything like regret. “I can handle that,” he said, and it was probably even true.

Steve stepped aside as Tiberius strode past and shut the door quietly behind him. “Tony?”

"Sorry about that," he said. He offered Steve a smile that felt exhausted and - judging by the look in Steve's eyes – looked even worse.

"Not your fault," Steve said. They paused there for a moment, just watching each other. “I – Happy told me that you might want some back up. You looked-”

“I can imagine how I looked,” Tony said.

“If I intruded,” Steve started to day, but he seemed to change his mind halfway through. “I'm not sorry I interrupted. I heard some of what he said to you.”

"Yeah, no. It's all right. Your timing was pretty good, actually. I don't think I ever realized what a little shit Tiberius can be.” He leaned against the back of a truly hideous leather loveseat. He felt tired, suddenly, like just being around Ty had been draining him. "Probably because in the past I'd have been phenomenally drunk. That definitely messes with your perspective."

"I didn't like the way he was acting," Steve said flatly. He leaned against the wall opposite Tony and crossed his arms over his chest, the material of his suit straining just a little at the shoulders. The corners of his mouth turned down. "He shouldn't put his hands on anyone like that, it isn't right."

"Yeah, well. He probably didn't expect me to say no," Tony said with a tired sigh. "I don't know if I ever did, before. Not that he seemed to care much."

"Sounds like a swell guy," Steve said sourly.

"He's a prince," Tony acknowledged. "My taste in friends is a lot better these days." He offered Steve a half-smile and was rewarded with a full grin in return. "I am sorry you had to see that, though. I didn't want you to get the wrong idea or anything."

"I don't think there's any wrong idea to be had. He was increasingly hostile and he had his hands all over you. If he's still out there when we go back out, we should ask Security to keep an eye on him. He might try to bother someone who's not as capable of taking care of themselves as you are."

Tony felt a little twinge of disappointment, which was ridiculous because even he was emotionally mature enough to know that Steve's attitude was incredibly healthy. "You're not the jealous type," he said. "I've noticed that before."

"I don't think jealousy accomplishes anything," Steve said. "I'm human, so I feel it sometimes, but..." he trailed off. "You were worried I'd be jealous of Tiberius Stone?"

"Not worried, exactly." Tony absolutely did not think that it might have been nice – just a little – if Steve had been. You know. In a thoroughly mature and healthy sort of way. Ty's words were still fresh in his memory, telling him that Steve wasn't jealous because Steve didn't care and even Tony knew that was just fucked up.

"Tony." Steve sounded amused and he stepped into Tony's personal space. "There is no reason on this planet why I would be jealous of Tiberius Stone." He cupped Tony's face in one hand and rubbed his thumb against Tony's bottom lip. "He is an angry, bitter man who is only just beginning to realize everything he's wasted in his life. And I am here with you." He kissed Tony lightly.

"You are way too nice." Tony grinned against Steve's mouth. "You're sure you're not even a little jealous?"

"I'm a little angry," Steve admitted. "I want him to treat you with respect. But not jealous. He's out there, wishing he was in here with you. I'm here with you, not wanting to be anywhere else. There's not a damn thing I'd envy Tiberius Stone. If anything, I feel a little sorry for him." He reached over and locked the door.

Tony licked his lips.

Steve gave Tony a thoughtful look as he came closer. "Definitely not jealous," he said as he pushed Tony's jacket off his shoulders and let it fall to the floor. "But if he touches you like he was again – if he talks to you like that again – I'll make sure he can't.”

Tony chuckled, surprised to realize he was shaking a little as Steve began undoing the buttons on his shirt one by one. "Are we having sex in someone's den while my asshole ex is outside?"

"I admit, the ex was not part of my plans," Steve confessed. He pushed Tony's shirt open and slid his hands across Tony's chest.

"You planned this?"

"Well, I know you hate these parties." Steve bent his head and ran his tongue over the arc reactor's casing.

Tony combed his fingers through Steve's hair as Steve lapped at the rough skin around the arc reactor's edges. "So you planned semi-public sex? Oh, God I love you so much right now."

Steve blew slightly on the wet skin and Tony shivered. "Check my pants," he said, before ducking his head to suckle at one of Tony's nipples.

Resisting the urge to slide to the floor in a boneless heap was harder than it should have been, but Tony just clenched his fingers in Steve's hair and held him closer against Tony's chest. He slid his free hand inside the waistband of Steve's pants and slid downward to palm Steve's cock through his boxers. "Found it," he teased, pressing down.

Steve groaned and bit down on Tony's chest, teeth digging into the muscle just hard enough to hurt a little. He humped into Tony's grip a little and Tony rewarded him with a quick stroke of his fingers over the length of him.

"Pocket," Steve said, running his tongue over the flesh he's just abused. He pressed one of his hands over Tony's and held him there as he rocked his hips into their joined touch. "Check my pocket."

"Oh, well you should have been more specific." Tony groped for Steve's pockets with his free hand, loving the way Steve thrust almost helplessly against him as Tony stroked over his stomach and stole into his pocket. "What are you hiding in here, hmm?" He arched his back as Steve groaned against his chest. "Is this – Oh, my God." His fingers closed over foil and plastic and he laughed. "Oh god. Did you bring lube and condoms to a Christmas party? Captain America brought lube and condoms to a Christmas party."

Steve pressed both of their hands against his erection and rolled his hips. "Captain America believes in being prepared," he said, lifting his head to cover Tony's mouth in a deep kiss. He leaned his weight against Tony, pushing him back against the wall, trapping their hands between their bodies. "And I knew I'd never be able to spend an entire night with you and not want to have you." He squeezed Tony's hand, then released him. "Undress for me."

Tony kept his grip in Steve's hair, didn't let him pull away too far. "Don't take this the wrong way or anything, but I am so glad you turned out to be a huge slut."

Steve looked at him from beneath his lashes, and the flush that stained his cheeks had nothing to do with embarrassment. "Only for you. I mean it, Tony. Now get your clothes off before I can't wait anymore."

Whether it was the words, or the tone of Steve's voice as he said them, every syllable went straight to Tony's cock and made him instantly, almost painfully, hard. He tugged at his tie, letting it drop to the floor. Knowing that they'd both be rumbled and wrinkled when they returned to the party, letting everyone know what they'd been up to, just made him harder. He pulled at his shirt, tugging it out of his pants and yanking it off his arms as he watched Steve strip with a single-minded efficiency.

"Look at you," he said as he shrugged out of the shirt, dropping it on top of his blazer. Steve was stepping out of his slacks, thigh muscles tensing and easing with each step, his stomach muscles tense with arousal. His cock was deep red and already leaking. Tony licked his lips and tore off his belt. "Come here, Steve." The sound that came out of Steve's mouth sounded like a growl and Tony grinned, bared his teeth and felt something needy uncurl in his chest.

Steve cupped Tony's face in one hand, thumb stroking along the curve of his jaw. "You're still dressed."

"I don't need to be naked for this," Tony said, and he dropped to his knees.

He took Steve in fast, took the bitter-salt taste of him as deep as he could. Steve was hot, his pulse pounding against Tony's tongue. Both of Steve's hands grabbed at his head, but the hold was careful, not trying to control Tony's movements at all. Tony rewarded him with a quick suck, then pulled back enough to let all but the head slide free. He suckled at the head, looking up to see Steve watching him through hooded eyes. Steve, gentle, sweet Steve, really got off on watching Tony suck him. Christ, life was good sometimes. He took Steve in again, as deep as he could, and swallowed. He tasted ejaculate as Steve struggled for control, his hands cradling Tony's head, his breath coming in harsher and shorter puffs.

"It won't take much," Steve warned him, his thighs flexing under Tony's hands as Steve resisted the instinct to move. Tony swallowed again and grinned when Steve's hands tightened in his hair and tugged. "Tony. Please, I want you naked."

He reluctantly released Steve, pressed an open-mouthed kiss to Steve's hip as he waited for Steve to let go of the grip he had on Tony's hair. Instead Steve dropped to his knees in front of Tony and pulled him up in to a kiss, hard and demanding, his tongue pushing between Tony's lips. Steve shuddered at the taste of himself in Tony's mouth, but just pulled him closer, kissed him harder for a long minute, before he let go. He tugged on Tony's hair, slid his fingers across the scalp in an apologetic rub. "Get on your back."

Tony said something blasphemous and scrambled to obey. He fumbled with the buttons on his pants, pushing them down his hips. Steve pulled them the rest of the way off, tugging Tony's shoes off his feet and tossing the whole tangled mass to the side. He took Tony by the hips, his hands fitting over the curve of bone perfectly, like they were made to fit there, and hauled Tony across the floor till he was flat on his back, legs spread to accommodate Steve between them. Steve slid his hands down to stroke Tony's inner thighs, dragged his nails over the softer skin there, then ducked his head to kiss the thin red lines he'd left behind. "Condom," he said, trailing quick, hard kisses down Tony's leg. He nosed against the skin of Tony's belly, pressed his face into the crease between leg and groin, and took a deep breath.

The foil square was on the floor a few inches away, where Tony had dropped it in his haste to undress. He scrabbled for it, stretching to avoid having to pull away from Steve's touch – he didn't think he could have even if he'd wanted, Steve's hands were bruising tight on his thighs – and groaned when his fingers closed around the square foil. He grabbed the thin tube of lube beside it and shoved them both at Steve.

Steve took them both, pressed a kiss against the side of Tony's dick that had him scrabbling at the carpet and ripped the foil package open. He had the condom on in seconds – it was almost ridiculous, the things that made Tony's blood hot these days, but the idea of Steve Rogers being so practiced with a condom, god – and tore open the lube.

"Okay?" he asked, sliding a hand between Tony's thighs. He pressed one slick finger against the opening to Tony's body and pushed, just enough to drive a whine out of Tony. "Can I?"

"Yes," he said, because Steve would wait for an answer if he didn't. "Yes, you can, you always can, now stop asking me stupid questions and fuck me."

Steve laughed, a fond sound that made Tony's toes curl against the carpet. "And here I thought I was the one who couldn't wait."

"I always want you," Tony admitted breathlessly. He licked his lips and bit back a grin. Not jealous, was he? "I spent all night wishing it was your hands on me, not Ty's-" He arched his back with a strangled scream as Steve drove into him with two slick fingers, pushing in to the knuckle. "God-"

"I'm not going to let him touch you again," Steve said. He dragged his fingers out of Tony's body only to shove in again, fucking him with his hand while Tony writhed. "I don't care if he's your oldest friend-" Steve twisted his fingers inside him, stroked against him from the inside and Tony lifted his hips, tried to shove against that touch, drive him deeper, "-he shouldn't treat you badly. No one should treat you badly. I won't let anyone do that to you." He pulled his hand away and rose up to kneel over Tony, hands lifting Tony's thighs to wrap around his waist as he positioned himself. He pressed forward and Tony let his eyes fall shut as Steve's cock slid inside of him in one slow thrust, until Steve was buried in Tony's body. Tony tightened his legs around Steve's waist as Steve stilled, giving them both a second to adjust.

"Kiss me," Steve said and Tony opened his eyes to find him leaning in close. "Tony-"

Tony surged up, curled his hands around Steve's neck and kissed him deep as Steve began to move in long strokes, pulling most of the way out before sliding back in. Tony lifted his hips into each thrust. Steve shifted his knees, drove in deep, hard and Tony couldn't stop himself from crying out. "Steve," he panted, curling his fingers tighter into Steve's hair, letting his legs fall to the side, trying to spread himself open just a little wider, take Steve just a little deeper.

Steve gripped Tony's thighs, dug his fingers into Tony's skin as he held him open. "I'm not going to let him touch you," Steve said, breath a rough pant against Tony's mouth as Steve kissed him again. "I'm not going to let anyone touch you ever again. No one," he said and Tony sucked in air and dug his fingers into Steve's neck as he felt orgasm build in every nerve ending and muscle. "No one ever gets to see you like this again."

Climax swept through him and Tony arched his back, gasped into Steve's mouth, swallowed his panting breaths as his body shuddered and clenched around Steve's cock. Steve fucked him through it, his thrusts never faltering, the same long, hard glide dragging the aftershocks out as Tony gradually came down from the high. He keened something in the back of his throat, a high-pitched, needy sound and his body bore down on Steve without any conscious direction on his part.

Steve stroked the inside of his thigh with one finger, still holding Tony open wide. "Is this okay?" he asked. He leaned into the next thrust, put a little more weight behind it and Tony swallowed a cry as Steve slammed into his prostate. "Are you hurting?"

"No." Yes, but it was just the sting of friction from a well-delivered fucking, the ache of being filled so thoroughly, the lingering tenderness of orgasm. It didn't hurt so much as make him feel everything. His cock was still twitching and Tony was pretty sure that if Steve kept this up long enough he'd be hard again soon, ready to come a second time when Steve finally let go. "I want – please. Steve."

"Tell me." Steve leaned down again, his weight pushing Tony's legs up against his chest, splitting him open. He lapped at Tony's mouth, kissed him, dragged in breath after breath as Tony panted beneath him. "What do you want, Tony? Tell me. I want to hear it."

"I want you," Tony felt wrung out, like the words were buried somewhere in his chest and Steve was forcing them out of him with every thrust. "I want – Steve. Can I?"

"Tell me," Steve commanded him in a low voice. He lowered one of Tony's legs to his waist and wrapped his hand around Tony's cock instead. He stroked slowly, a strangely gentle counterpoint to the rough, steady snap of his hips. "It can be anything, I won't mind. Tell me. I want to hear."

Jesus. Jesus. Tony wanted everything, hadn't Steve figured that out yet? "I want to tape us," Tony said. He slid his hand between their bodies, splayed his fingers around Steve's cock and felt Steve slide into him. "I want to watch you take me. I want to see everything I miss when you make me crazy. I want to see this," he pressed a finger inside himself, hissed at the burn. He rubbed against Steve's cock and felt the way Steve's whole body seemed to jerk against him. "God, I want to watch you fuck me, Steve."

Steve bit down on Tony's shoulder, dug in just shy of breaking the skin, like he was trying to hold onto his control. It hurt just enough to clear Tony's head a little, made him ache deep in his stomach as the bite mark pulsed with a low heat. "Yeah," Steve said. "Yes, we can." He dragged his tongue over the mark, kissed it almost in apology. "That. We can do that. God, Tony, the things that come out of your mouth. Tell me more."

"I want to fuck you," Tony said, pitching his voice low, letting his need show, all the desire he had for this man bleeding out of him in words. "I want to lay you out with your pants around your knees and fuck you so hard you come all over yourself. Your tux, your shirt – I want to make you come so hard you're covered in it and there's no fucking way we go back out there without every single one of them knowing what I did to you. I want you to fuck me," he said, he pulled his hand away from Steve's cock, pressed it against the trembling muscles in Steve's lower belly. "I want you to take all that super-soldier stamina of yours and fuck me until I'd raw and aching, until you make me scream every time you move. I want you to wreck me until I can't fucking walk, until you're the only thing I can feel. I want to feel you come inside of me, I want that heat, Steve, I've never wanted anything more than I want you." He arched his back, wrapped his free leg around Steve's waist and shoved back against every increasingly forceful push of Steve's cock inside of him. "I want you to lose the condom next time so I can feel your come running down my leg. I want you to kiss me where the paparazzi can see it and I want your legs wrapped around my waist. I want to kiss you until you can't breathe and I really, really want Tiberius fucking Stone to be sitting outside that door listening to you fuck me and knowing that I'm yours, I'm never going to be anything but yours and he's never going to have me again."

Steve grabbed his hips with both hands and slammed into him, all pretense of control gone as he surged forward and crushed their mouths together. Tony slid his hands through Steve's hair and held him there, ignoring the rough burn of the carpet against his shoulders and back as Steve fucked him hard enough to make him slide across the floor.

"I want you," Tony said against Steve's mouth. "Want you, just you. Do I have it, Steve, do I have what I want?"

Steve made a choked, almost pained sound, his fingers digging into the skin at Tony's hip hard enough to bruise as he bucked, as he rutted, base and desperate and perfect, all control gone as he slid into Tony deep enough to make him bite his lip against a scream and held himself there as he came.

Tony smoothed his hands over Steve's back, pressed his fingers against the bumps of Steve's spine, kissed him again and again while Steve collapsed against him, his hips still jerking slightly, still trying to get further inside. "God, you're beautiful."

"The things that come out of your mouth," Steve said again, his voice rough. "Jesus, Tony." He stroked Tony's hip and thigh with a hand that was still shaking as he eased away onto his side, tugging Tony with him. "Sometimes I don't think I even need to touch you. Just let you start talking and that'll do it for me."

"But the touching is good anyway, right?"

Steve caught Tony's chin with one hand, licked his way inside Tony's mouth. He was still breathing too hard for anything deep, but he repeated it again and again. "It's good. I want to touch you again."

"How many condoms did you bring?" Tony demanded, poking a finger against Steve's ribs.

"How many do you think we'll need?" Steve wrapped one of his hands around Tony's aching dick, rough callouses exciting every inch of over-sensitized skin as he began to jerk Tony off. “You said you wanted me to lose them next time. We could – I like that idea.”

Tony touched Steve's wrist, just a brush of his fingers against Steve's skin, but it was enough to still his movements. Tony licked his lips and caught the back of Steve's head, urged him up to meet his gaze. “You're sure? I wasn't trying to push you into anything.”

“It's been six months. That's hardly rushing things, Tony.” Steve brushed his lips against Tony's temple. “There's no one else. And you obviously want to. So, yeah. I'm sure. I can't think of anything I wouldn't try at least once, if you wanted me to.”

Tony laughed, a kind of breathless exhalation that felt like disbelief and relief all at once. So this was what it felt like to open a present and get exactly what you wanted.“You realize you just captured my imagination. Oh, God, Steve, the kinky things I've been wanting to do to you. Can we start now? Right now. You don't have anywhere to be, right?”

"We should probably return to the party at some point before it's over." He sounded incredibly disappointed by the thought and Tony laughed.

"Pepper said I had to put in an appearance, she didn't say I had to close it out. We can leave whenever you want." He rocked against Steve's grip, felt the slow, lazy curl of orgasm building in his muscles again. "But it looks like you have your hands full, so we'll wait till you're done."

Steve shuffled them around until he was on his back, Tony sprawled against his chest, Steve's hand trapped between them. "Come on." He pressed his mouth to Tony's ear, swept his tongue over the shell as he urged Tony to thrust against him. "Come for me. I've got you. Let go. I'm going to get you cleaned up and take you home. I'm going to put you to bed." He tightened his grip a little, pulled Tony closer to the edge. "I'm going to take you to bed, Tony. And we can get started on that list you gave me. Just keep going until we've checked off every single one." He ran his free hand over the curve of Tony's ass and pressed two fingers against the entrance to Tony's body, sliding inside with little resistance. "Except the one about Stone," he said as he twisted his fingers inside, found Tony's prostate and pressed. "He doesn't get to listen, look, touch you ever again."

Tony buried his face against Steve's shoulder and clenched his teeth against a cry they'd hear all the way back to the ballroom as he came all over Steve's hand and groin. He couldn't swallow the protest as Steve pulled his fingers free, but Steve quieted him with a slow kiss.

"But you're totally not jealous," Tony managed. He felt strung out and boneless, content to lay there with Steve's heart beating beneath his and Steve's hand still curled around his dick. His life was awesome.

"There's not a man or woman in the world I should envy," Steve said against Tony's ear. "Although as soon as we walk out of this room, I'm pretty sure quite a few of them will envy me."

Steve wasn't the one the other guests would be envying, but Tony knew better than to disabuse him of his obvious delusion. Sometimes it wasn't in his best interest to win an argument.

Steve dragged in a deep breath, his heartbeat slowly evening beneath Tony's ear. “We should get dressed.”

That sounded terribly ambitious considering Tony's bones had all been turned to rubber. “Okay,” he agreed and absolutely did not move. Steve's breath was ruffling his hair with each exhalation. Moving seemed highly over-rated.

“Tony.” Steve sounded amused more than reproachful. He was already starting to get his breath back. Tony wanted to make him breathless all over again. Make him stay that way. “Tony, someone could walk in – we can't be the only couple that decided to sneak away from the party.”

The door was locked. Those hypothetical couples could get a room somewhere else. Tony rubbed his cheek against Steve's chest and let his eyes drift shut.

Steve's free hand cupped Tony's hip. “We should get up.”

Too much work. Getting up would inevitably lead to getting dressed and that sounded like a frankly terrible idea. “I'm good here,” Tony said.

“Well, I'm getting crushed.”

Tony cracked one eye open and tilted his head to glare up at Steve. “Did you just call me fat? Because it sounded like you just called me fat.” He contemplated pinching, but it seemed like a lot of effort. He'd have to move his arm and everything. Maybe biting would serve to get his point across.

Steve rolled over, holding them tightly together as he settled them on their sides. “You're perfect,” Steve said, pressing a wet, lazy kiss against Tony's mouth. “But heavy. And this carpet is not nearly as comfortable as it was ten minutes ago.”

It was kind of scratchy, now Tony had time to think about it. He gave some brief thought to moving to the terribly uncomfortable-looking loveseat, but Steve was running one big hand up and down the length of Tony's spine and all other thoughts were immediately discarded as unimportant. He tucked his face against the curve of Steve's throat and breathed him in for a long moment while his heart rate evened out and sweat and semen cooled on their skin.

“I want to ask you a question,” Steve said in a low voice. “But maybe it's none of my business.”

Tony slid an arm around Steve's waist so they were holding each other and deliberately tangled their legs together. “You can ask,” he said evenly. “If it's something I don't want to talk about, or something I can't talk about, I'll let you know. But you,” he stumbled over the word for a moment, “you, Steve, you can ask me anything. Anything.”

Steve pulled back just an inch, enough that he could look at Tony, enough that the light from the arc reactor gleamed in his eyes. “Did he treat you like that when you were together?”

“I don't know.” The words came out almost before Tony could think about them, and he scrambled to find better ones as Steve tensed and started to draw back. “No. Stop. Don't – don't leave. I honestly don't know. Steve.”

“I'm not leaving.” Steve stilled, one hand still stroking up and down Tony's spine. “I'm not, Tony. I promise. I would like to understand, though. When you say you don't know-”

“I don't know,” Tony said. “I – look, I'm not trying to be all – but I wasn't the same person then that I am now. Not – and the guy I was before the armor, before Afghanistan. He was someone else again. You know? And Tiberius, he and those guys were best friends. They were two fucking peas in a pod. They got drunk together and they got laid together and they were terrible human beings together. I don't remember that I ever had a complaint with the way he treated me. But, Steve, that guy – the guy I was back then.” Tony swallowed and tried a self-deprecating smile on for size, just to see if it would fit. From the way Steve looked at him, all blue eyes and worried half-frown, Tony suspected it didn't. “He fucking hated himself.”

Steve's face went tight. “Tony-”

“No,” Tony said. “Don't. I don't – look, you have no idea how much you changed my life, Steve. How much you changed me. Pepper and Rhodey and the other Avengers, all of them are – better than I probably deserve after the kind of life I lived, but you were a goddamn miracle. Okay? The messed-up pile of neurosis you see before you today is a well-adjusted paragon compared to the guy I was when I was with Ty. Did he treat me badly? Probably, looking back. Did I notice or even care at the time? Not at all. So. I don't know.” He pushed himself up, braced on one arm to look down at Steve. “I think – as surprised as I was when the whole thing with Rumiko came out, I think I probably shouldn't have been. If that answers your question.”

“It does. Thank you,” Steve said solemnly. “Can I ask you for a favor?”

“Only if you kiss me first,” Tony said and tried to hide the relief when Steve reached up and gave him a wide smile and a deliberately sloppy kiss. “Oh, ew. Yes, fine, what's your favor?”

“He's your-” Steve's mouth twisted into an expression of distaste. “Well, he's not your friend. Your associate, your ex. I don't know him as well as you do. But if he ever talks to you again like he did tonight, will you tell me?”

“Are you going to beat him up for me?”

“That's the least of what I'd do for you,” Steve said, and Tony sucked in a deep breath at the sudden light in Steve's eyes. “But mostly I want to make sure you know how wrong he is.”

“I'll do you one better. I think whatever lingering affection I might have had for Ty has been effectively burned out after tonight.” Tony placed his hand over the center of Steve's chest and splayed his fingers over the smooth expanse of skin and muscle in a deliberate imitation of the way Steve sometimes touched the arc reactor. “I won't listen to him talk about you that way.”

“The man you are today, the man you made yourself, there's no one I love or admire more. And the man you were. I love him too.”

“Well, you have deplorable taste,” Tony said, focusing very hard on his hand as he flexed his fingers against Steve's skin. “Everyone knows that.”

Steve laughed a little and folded both his arms under his head as he stretched. “Says the man dating a nonagenarian.”

“Hey,” Tony objected. “I'll have you know that they made shit to last in the old days.” He cast a deliberate glance toward Steve's groin, where he was half-hard and slowly lengthening under Tony's gaze. “I could make a truly tasteless joke about old man sex, or I could help you out with that. Your call.”

Steve chuckled. “God help me, I almost want to hear the joke.” He cupped the side of Tony's face in one hand and ran his thumb over Tony's mouth. “I have mentioned, haven't I, that I love the things that come out of your mouth?”

“Yeah?” Tony couldn't help the – probably truly lecherous – grin that curved the corners of his mouth. Steve was already turning bright red. “How do you feel about things going into my-”

Someone knocked on the door.

“Oh, you've got to be shitting me,” Tony groused as Steve scrambled to his feet. “Do not tell me he was really standing out there the whole time. I will riot. I'll riot, Steve.”

“He better not have,” Steve said in a dark tone. He was already stalking toward the door while Tony was getting up off the floor.

“Wait! Steve!” Tony grabbed their shirts off the floor and tossed Steve his. “Clothes, remember? I refuse to be held responsible for what I'll do to Ty if he tries to get an eyeful.”

Steve yanked on his shirt and left it unbuttoned so he could step into his boxers and his thoroughly wrinkled slacks. He paused only long enough to let Tony pull on his pants before he unlocked the door and pulled it open with a rough yank that promised no good for the person on the other side.

Happy Hogan offered them a raised eyebrow and a nod. “Hey, boss. Cap. Sorry to interrupt.”

The fight went out of Steve so suddenly that it almost gave Tony a crick in his neck to watch. “Happy! I – that is – I'm sorry, were you looking for Tony?”

Tony crossed his arms over his chest, ignoring his relative state of undress. Happy had seen worse. Hell, Happy had cleaned up after worse. “I'm busy, Happy, go away.”

“Tony,” Steve scolded him. But his cheeks were flushing bright pink and he rubbed a hand over the back of his head. “Sorry, Happy. What did you-” he broke off halfway through the sentence and stared at something over Happy's shoulder. “Is that- Happy. What's going on here?”

Tony sidled around Steve so he could poke his head out the door. “Oh, Happy,” he said, almost gleefully delighted. “Tell me you tased him. Please. I'll give you a raise. Did he flop around like a fish?”

Tiberius Stone was sitting mostly upright against a marble column in the foyer several yards away, slumped over on himself a bit, and visibly unconscious. He may have been drooling a little, it was hard to tell. Two of Tony's semi-regular bodyguards were keeping an eye on him. One appeared to be taking a picture with his cell phone, which Tony supposed was in poor form, but somehow couldn't bring himself to care. “Happy, I love you. Marry me.”

“No,” Happy and Steve chorused in unison. Steve blushed an even brighter red when Happy and Tony both gave him amused looks. He cleared his throat. “Happy, you didn't, did you?”

“Nah, unfortunately.” Happy waved a dismissive hand in Tiberius's general direction. “He was mostly passed out on the floor when I found him. There's a champagne glass on the floor over there, so I figure he just had too much to drink.”

“Champagne,” Steve said. “I thought he grabbed your glass on the way out.”

“Ty didn't care for the cider,” Tony said carefully.

Steve made a sound Tony couldn't quite interpret. “He seemed... perfectly sober. Not thirty minutes ago. Until he drank out of your glass.”

Tony deliberately kept his body language casual, because Steve had gone just a little too still, and Happy was giving Tony that look that always made him want to buy the guy a puppy. “You remember when I said you could ask me anything? But I might not want to talk about it?”

Steve nodded once, sharply. “I'll ask again. Fair warning.”

“Later,” Tony compromised. “Happy, did he do anything after you found him?”

The bodyguard shrugged. “He kept muttering things I wasn't terribly interested in making out, but when I tried to get him on his feet and back to the party so his people could deal with him, he took a swing at me.”

“He didn't hit you?” Steve demanded and Tony gave him an approving smile.

“He barely managed to make a fist. I thought, well- Hardly the first time I've seen Stone too drunk to sit upright.” He gave Tony a quick glance, then turned to survey the scene. “Anyway, I called the boys in to deal with him and he puked on Seeley. We kind of lost interest in getting him home after that and I just sent one of the boys to collect his handler.” They all three studied Tiberius for a moment, suddenly very aware of the odor in the air. “Anyway, figured I'd give you a chance to clear out before his people showed up, just in case.”

“Good call, Happy. Thanks.” Tony ran a hand through his hair. “We've got a minute or two?”

“Not much more. I may have told them to go get Seeley cleaned up before they dealt with Stone's people, but that won't take long.”

It only took a minute to finish pulling themselves together, and a minute longer to clean up behind themselves – watching Steve have a spike of panic over what to do with the condom was hysterical and worth almost all the crap the rest of the evening had included – and Happy gave the room a careful once-over while one of his team hustled Steve and Tony out a side entrance to where one of the cars was idling, just waiting for them to be ready.

It had gotten bitterly cold in the few hours since they'd arrived at the party, and Tony slid into the car with a sigh of relief, only too happy to slump against Steve's side and enjoy the warm air. The driver must have left the heater running while he waited. “I'm giving Happy a raise.”

“Sounds like a good call.”

Maybe it was the warm air, or the reassuring feel of Steve's shoulder beneath his cheek, or just post-sex exhaustion, but he was already half-asleep. “You should come to dinner.”

“Tonight?” Steve asked. He had one of Tony's hands in both of his resting on his lap. “It's a little late.”

“No.” Tony didn't bother opening his eyes, but he tightened his grip on Steve's hands. “For Thanksgiving. We haven't talked about plans, and if you have somewhere else you want to be, I mean, I don't mind, it's no big deal, but. We do something. Every year. Me and Jarvis and Pepper and Happy. Rhodey, when he can get the day off - which he usually can, apparently the Air Force considers keeping me happy to be part of his actual job description. I abuse that, Steve. I abuse it badly.”

“You want me to have Thanksgiving with your family?” Steve asked in a soft voice.

Tony opened his eyes then, watched Steve's fingers stroke the back of his hand, listened to the sound of traffic as they made their way home. The arc reactor was dulled by his shirt and jacket, but the street lights lit the interior of the car in brief bursts of yellow and white. He wondered what he would see if he looked at Steve's face. “Yeah. That's pretty much what I was doing my best to avoid saying outright.”

He felt the kiss Steve pressed against the top of his head. “Of course I'll come, Tony. Nothing would make me happier.”

“Okay.” He let his eyes slide closed. "You sure you weren't even a little jealous?" he asked.

Steve squeezed his hand. “No,” he said. “A little smug maybe.”

Tony kept his eyes shut, trying to figure out what, if anything, he was supposed to say to that – the ridiculous idea that Steve should be the smug one in this relationship – when his phone went off several times in a row. He dug around the inside pocket of his coat until he could pull it out, only to see a series of messages from Happy. “Huh.”

“What is it?” Steve sounded like he was bracing for bad news, which Tony couldn't really blame him for after the evening they'd had.

“Yeah, so, apparently the room Ty and I were talking in was wired.”

“Wired,” Steve repeated.

“Yeah. You know. Cameras. Um. Jury-rigged?” Tony thought about looking up, but Steve's hands were still gentle. “Happy says it looks like someone positioned a couple of video cameras in the room and set them to record automatically when there was movement. So. You know. That probably explains why Ty was working so hard to get my pants off. Fortunately there's no wireless signal and they weren't hooked up to anything. That would have been embarrassing.”

“He – video cameras?” Steve repeated. He squeezed Tony's hand. “Wait. That – the room we were- Tony.”

Tony risked tipping his head back to see Steve's horrified expression. “Guess we can cross the sex tape off our to-do list, huh?”

“Oh, God.” Steve let his head drop back against the back of the seat. “That's – I can't – If I ever see Stone again I'll – What did Happy do with the cameras?”

“He's bringing them home. I can properly destroy the footage in the morning. He's sweeping the room for more just in case.”

“Please do.” Steve's face was pale, his jaw clenched. “We should do something about Stone.”

“Anything we do just gives him more ammo. The only way to hurt a guy like Tiberius is to make him powerless. Refuse to let him hurt you.”

Steve sighed. “Can you take your own advice?”

“I'm learning how.” Tony turned his face into Steve's shoulder. “Bear with me.”

“I can do that.”

They sat in silence for a long few city blocks, while Tony texted Happy back and Steve wrapped an arm around his shoulders.



Steve's voice was tight, a little strangled. “Before you destroy the footage, we could-?”

“Oh hell yes.”