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We reveal ourselves when we are least like ourselves

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His back is starting to ache.  That’s where he feels it first, and it half surprises him, even though his legs are beginning to strain, too.  Sweat is breaking out on his hairline.  He swallows, breathes out through it, not letting his arms drop or his legs waver.  Don’t look down to see if your legs are wavering.

Tony hasn’t been back for a while.  Steve tries not to think about that.  Keeps his legs up, stretched apart, his belly curved, his arms above his head.  He’s supposed to hold this position until Tony comes back, tells him he can move.  It’s difficult.  That’s the point.  Steve doesn’t want it to be easy.  That’s why Tony does this.  Pushes him, because Steve wants him to, would beg him to, if he had to.  (But Tony doesn’t often make him beg.)

Are his legs wobbling?  It’s so hard to tell.  They burn, pins and needles.  It’s amazing how challenging this can be, even with the super serum.  Steve feels strange, floating and dizzy, his mind oddly blank aside from his focus on the position of his arms and legs, the tingling pull and burn of his muscles.  He concentrates on his breathing, in, out, in, out, and it sounds loud in his ears.

Time passes, he doesn’t know how long, and he’s really sweating now, drops of it sliding back down into his hair, even as he shakes his head, blinks to keep his eyes free of it.  He has to deepen his breathing, expand his chest, and he doesn’t know if his ankles are dipping, swaying, but he hasn’t felt them touch the floor.  When he first hears soft footsteps coming toward him, he doesn’t quite dare to believe it until Tony steps into his field of vision.

He’s dressed in slacks, a collared shirt and tie, with the sleeves rolled up.  It’s that burgundy silk shirt Steve likes so much on him, and he’s wearing leather dress shoes. Steve turns his head to see one of them close beside him, fine black leather, and finds himself focusing on that, on the shape and texture of it.  He swallows.  He himself is naked and sweaty, with no energy to spare on how completely exposed he is while he concentrates on his position, keeping his legs and arms up, his back arched.  “Sir,” he manages after a moment.  His voice sounds oddly scratchy, thick.

Tony touches him, thumb down the sensitive arch of his foot, and Steve shudders all over, barely manages not to jerk at the touch with a deep breath and an effort of will.  Tony curls his fingers around his ankle and rubs at the sensitive skin just behind the knob of bone at the joint, and Steve is really shaking now, until Tony just rests his hand there, gently cupping his heel.  “Legs together,” he says after a moment, almost offhanded, his voice cool, and Steve drags in a breath and hurries to obey.  It surprises him how difficult it seems.  Sweat drips down the crease of his thighs.  How is he sweating so hard?  His feet are still up off the ground.  Aren’t they?  He feels like they are.  Tony’s palm is still cupped around his heel.  He would have mentioned it if Steve’s feet had dipped, he knows he would have.

“You’re doing well,” Tony says, and Steve looks up at him hopefully.  Is he?  That’s good, that’s … he wants to do well.  “You can handle something a little more difficult, right?” Tony continues, and Steve lets his breath out in ragged, desperate huff of air; he can’t help it.  But he swallows, squares his shoulders and nods.

“That’s right,” Tony murmurs, “you can take more for me.  That’s good.”  He kneels down by Steve’s shoulder and reaches out, traces his fingers over Steve’s shoulder, along his neck and down his chest to brush over his nipple.  Steve jerks at the sudden teasing sensation of Tony’s callused thumb brushing over the sensitive skin, but manages to hold himself steady.  “Good boy,” Tony says.

Steve’s eyes slide half closed, heavy with the praise, though he knows something more difficult is coming.  Tony’s touch against his skin sends heat, little sparks, trembling through him—it makes it harder to concentrate, makes him wants to arch up against his hand, though he holds himself still all the same.  Tony reaches down, still stroking Steve’s chest with his other hand, and runs his fingers through Steve’s sweat-damp hair, stroking it back off his forehead before he fists his hand in it and tugs, not hard enough to hurt, but enough to jar his shoulders, his neck.  Steve feels a frisson run down his whole body and concentrates on staying still, feeling his muscles twitch.

Tony brings his other hand up and runs his fingers, then his thumb, over Steve’s lips, making them feel warm and sensitized, prickling.  He rubs his thumb back and forth for long moments, and Steve’s legs are trembling by the time he slips his fingers into Steve’s mouth.  He holds them there, carefully, in the warmth and wetness of his mouth, and looks up at Tony.

“Suck,” Tony commands evenly, and so he does, flicking his tongue hesitantly against the pads, curling it around them.  Tony sighs, and his eyelashes flicker, and Steve feel a deep warmth suffusing through him.  Tony starts thrusting his fingers back and forth after a moment, stroking them over his tongue, exploring his mouth, in and out, in and out, stroking back further, until Steve is straining to suck and keep breathing without gagging.  He wonders if Tony is going to make him gag on them, and shudders all over, shivering, not sure if he wants him to or not.

After a moment, when Tony’s fingers are slick and Steve’s lips feel wet with saliva, Tony pulls his fingers out and smears them over Steve’s mouth, leaving it even wetter, sloppy.  “Are you ready for more than that?” he asks, and then he’s standing, unzipping his slacks and pulling his underwear—serviceable, black, expensive—down just enough to tuck the elastic under his cock, leaving it jutting proud and flushed from between his thighs and the neat dark triangle of pubic hair Steve can see there.  Steve swallows, and then Tony is kneeling down over him, knees beside his shoulders, and his cock is right there and he can’t seem to look away from the flushed length, the slick, rosy tip.  “Open up,” Tony says, his voice still cool, even and low, and Steve parts his lips and opens his mouth obediently.

Tony slides just the head of his cock between them, and Steve closes his lips around it and sucks tentatively, fluttering his tongue just under the head and trying to ignore the ache building in his shoulders, in his thighs and calves.  The taste of Tony’s cock is musky and intimate, and Steve concentrates on that, suckling at the head, pressing his lips close and firm around him and working them back and forth.  Tony reaches down after a moment, slides his hand around the back of Steve’s neck, his other hand still tight in his hair, and Steve feels helpless, utterly immobilized.  His cock jerks, he can’t help it, and he gives a short little broken noise he can’t keep back as he sucks Tony’s cock with even more energy, dedicating himself entirely to the task, Tony’s hand so warm at the back of his neck.

It only lasts a few brief moments before Tony pulls back, moves off of him, and Steve almost whimpers, has to bite the inside of his lip to keep it back.  His arms are trembling even more, and for a terrifying moment he feels like he has dropped his feet, a dizzying wash of vertigo—but no, he’s holding steady, he’s still doing well.

Tony is looking down at him, blue eyes alight with a mixture of emotions Steve can’t quite parse, but affection is surely one of them.  “Shh,” he says, even though Steve hadn’t let the words escape that so badly want to.  He shifts back, off of Steve, and tucks his cock back into his underwear.  Steve wants to protest, but he knows that’s not his place at a time like this.  Tony doesn’t zip himself back up, though, and Steve focuses in on that despite himself, the zipper gleaming against black cotton, the bulge of Tony’s erect cock behind the fabric.

Tony shifts down to Steve’s legs, then takes both his ankles in his hands and tilts down to press a kiss to the sensitive skin just behind the knob of bone at his ankle, and Steve twitches, gasps, struggles not to move.  “You can put your arms down now,” Tony says, “but careful, don’t drop your feet.”

Steve moves, carefully, curling his arms in as he brings them down by increments, and he has to concentrate, hard, not to let his legs drop as well, along with them.  An ache shoots through his shoulders as he does, and he pushes out his breath on a shaky exhale.  He almost can’t believe it burns like that, the throb of overstretched muscles, and it … it feels good.  He sighs at it, pleasantly, even as he struggles to keep his feet up, lets his arms rest at his sides.

Tony lets him struggle to keep them up, focusing on just that and the overextended burn in his arms, for several more moments, silently holding Steve’s ankles, but not firmly enough to help support them.  After another moment, he rubs his thumb against Steve’s skin and says, “All right, feet down now.”  He pushes Steve’s legs up until he bends his knees, then puts them down so the soles of his feet are flat against the floor.  Steve realizes he’s trembling, even as he starts to feel the throbbing ache in his legs, too.

Tony reaches up, pets his fingers through Steve’s sweaty hair again, and then tugs on it.  “Up,” he says again.  “Kneel.  Hop to it, soldier, hands behind your back.”

Tony keeps his fingers tight at the back of Steve’s head as he moves to struggle up, five pinpoints of pressure firm against his neck and skull.  Steve moves to obey immediately, taking a deep breath and tucking his legs under him despite the ache that flares into pain when he does, the way his body feels tired and heavy and clumsy like rubber.  He pushes himself up, using just his feet against the floor and the leverage from the angle of his body to pull himself into a sitting position, then links his hands behind his back, gripping his own elbows with his fingers, and takes a deep breath, still dizzy, his head floating, swimming, and his body a tired, hazy, pleasant ache.  His dogtags slide on their chain around his neck as he moves, thump back against his chest with a strangely heavy weight.  He tucks his feet under his behind as neatly as he can and looks up at Tony, wondering what he’ll say next.

Tony raises one eyebrow at him.  “Well?” he says.  “Get on with it.”  He gestures at his cock, one imperious sweep of his hand, like it should be obvious.  Steve knows that Tony didn’t tell him to move his hands, so he shouldn’t.  But should he … he looks up at Tony uncertainly for a moment, then takes a deep breath and leans forward to press his lips to Tony’s cock through the fabric.  It jerks, and he can feel the warmth of it through Tony’s briefs.  He takes a deep breath, then moves up to try to catch his teeth in the elastic and pull it down.  He’s clumsy with exertion, with exhaustion, and it takes him a moment and several tries, his nose knocking into Tony’s hip and stomach and the elastic snapping against his lip.  Tony says nothing, but his hand stays where it is, gripping Steve’s hair at the back of his neck.

Finally, Steve manages to pull Tony’s briefs down with just his teeth and lips and tuck the band of them beneath his balls like Tony had done before.  He feels clumsy and foolish, and his cheeks are hot with embarrassment over his fumbling.  He gives Tony a brief look just to be certain that’s all right, and Tony just nods at him, so he gets to it, opening his mouth, taking care to cover his teeth with his lips, and settling it over the tip.  He hopes he’ll be allowed to bring Tony off this time.  He presses closer, sucking more eagerly, doing his best, stroking his tongue down the sides and bringing Tony’s length further into his mouth to suck, searching out his most sensitive places.  He ducks down after a moment to lick wetly at Tony’s balls, opening his mouth to mouth at them and not paying any attention to how Tony’s cock smears precome over his forehead and cheek as he does, before he returns to suck Tony’s saliva-wet cock back into his mouth. 

He loses himself in the sensations of it, the rhythm, in pleasing Tony, the thrumming heat of the cock in his mouth, searing against his tongue, the rhythm of Tony’s heartbeat, and doesn’t care that he’s a little short of breath from exertion and trying to fit Tony’s cock back into his throat.  Eventually his nose is pressed into the short dark hair covering Tony’s groin, and he stays there for long moments, swallowing carefully around the hot length down his throat before his vision starts to blur and tunnel.  He’s not sure if Tony pulls him back with the hand in his hair or its Steve who moves back of his own accord, but he licks around the head and goes back to sucking gently but eagerly at it.  He knows he’s a bit clumsy, no expert at sucking cock, but he’s by no means bad at it, either, and he likes the way it feels when he does it to Tony, the slide over his tongue and back into his throat, the little grunts and groans and moans that Tony can’t keep back.  Tony is so sensual and unrestrained, even when he’s in charge, and the way his eyelashes flutter and his back arches is amazing to watch, makes Steve’s fingers itch for a pencil to capture the curve of his back, the passion written in it and the way his shirt drapes to half hide, half accentuate the arch, the cling of dress slacks to the narrow planes of his hips, the curve of his rear, at the same time his hands ache to touch him, to hold him close, to curl his hands against the dip of his back, the slim line of his hips.  He does neither, just sucks in air through his nose and slides his mouth further down onto Tony’s cock.  Tony moans loudly, full voiced, and pulls on his hair, and just the sound of Tony’s pleasure makes Steve’s cock throb eagerly and pleasure spread through him, warm.  He looks up at him and revels in the way Tony’s head is tilted back, the pleasure-flush on his cheeks, the dark weight of his eyelashes where they arc against his cheekbones.  Tony’s fingers tighten in his hair and pull him closer, and Steve leans into the hold, lets his mouth slide over Tony’s cock until it’s nudging the back of his throat again.  He moans, quietly and throatily, to let Tony know that he likes it, that that’s good, and Tony blinks.  His eyes flutter open again and he looks down at him, considering, and then he’s tugging Steve’s head back, pushing it back down.

Steve moans, happily, and closes his eyes, letting Tony use his mouth, sucking with careful precision, as best as he can, as Tony pulls and pushes him—just because Tony is in control, Tony is using him, doesn’t give him a free pass not to put effort into it.  It’s not long before Tony’s hips jerk forward, increasing the pace, so that Steve has to put even more effort into moving with him, still trying to use his tongue and lips with some sort of skill—and then, not long after that, Tony comes with a stuttered moan, hand clenching tight in his hair.  Steve holds still, swallows and swallows and sucks at Tony’s cock as Tony trembles through the aftershocks, not fighting the hand in his hair and caressing all of Tony’s cock that he can reach with his lips and tongue until finally Tony’s fingers loosen, relaxing and stroking down through his hair, and Steve is free to clean Tony’s softening cock carefully with his tongue.  He wipes his cheek along it to get up some of the saliva he’s left, and Tony sucks in his breath.

“Good work, soldier,” Tony finally says, his voice breathless and uneven.

“Thank you, sir,” Steve murmurs.  His voice is rough, cracks over the words.  He looks up at Tony, who grins at him.

“At ease,” Tony says, and Steve sighs, gratefully drops his hands into his lap.  Tony kneels in front of him, puts both hands on the sides of his neck and kisses him, gently, then more eagerly, drawing his mouth slowly into a kiss that feels loving and passionate and … and romantic, really, soft and slow and thorough.  Steve gasps, leans into it, falls into it, to be honest, and Tony just kisses him like that for long moments, before he pulls away.  “Your lips are so puffy,” he says, and presses another gentle kiss to the bottom one, follows it up with a long, slow lick.  “All bruised.  You look like someone just did a hell of a number on you.”

“You did,” Steve points out, and grins as Tony pulls Steve’s head to his shoulder, strokes one hand through his hair.

“Good?” Tony asks.  His other arm goes around Steve’s back, settles at his waist, pulling him close and holding tight, and Steve sighs and lets himself nestle into Tony, settle into his warmth and muscular body, slightly smaller but still steady and warm and strong, so strong.

“So good,” he sighs.

“You didn’t need me to hit you more?  Or work you harder?  I could have smacked you around a little more, or kept you bent over longer—”

“Tony,” Steve says, burrowing his face in against Tony’s neck so that he can feel his own breath leaving Tony’s skin damp just above the collar of his shirt, “it was fine.  It was wonderful.  Shh.”

Tony gives a low, rueful laugh. “Okay,” he says, and presses his lips in a gentle kiss to Steve’s forehead.  “Okay.  You want to come at all, big guy?”

“Can I?” Steve murmurs, his arms naturally moving up, around Tony’s waist.

“If you want to?  Of course,” Tony says.  “Lie on your back, sugarpie.”

It’s hard to force himself to let go—Steve wants to stay there, nestled close with his arms around Tony, tucked in against the warmth of his body, almost more than he wants to come—but he pries himself away eventually and lies down on his back, his knees slightly bent and his legs spread.  “Like this?” he asks, tilting his head to look up at Tony.

“Yes, like that, that’s perfect,” comes Tony’s quick response, and he skims his hand down over Steve’s chest, exploring with his palm flat and fingers splayed, strokes the flat muscles of his belly for long moments until Steve is gasping and trying not to twitch his hips, before he curls his hand around Steve’s cock and squeezes gently.  It’s like a shockwave travels through him to have friction and pressure there after so long, and Steve gasps, can’t help the jerk of his hips.  “You’re so beautiful like this,” Tony says, “so gorgeous.  Incredible, Steve, just like that.”  He rubs at his hip with one hand, pushing him back down, and then smiles at him before he bends down and closes his mouth around Steve.  Steve isn’t sure if he closes his eyes, but he does know his vision goes white for a moment, and he gasps, his back arching; he usually has more control than this but it all seems to have vanished, and Tony’s mouth is so wet and tight and warmly slick around him, his tongue teasing and clever over Steve’s length, and—Tony does know what he’s doing when it comes to giving a blowjob, far better than Steve does, and Steve can’t think, he gasps again, his mouth open, and feels like his mind is fuzzing out from the pleasure.  Tony cups his balls with one hand and squeezes and does something with his tongue, gives Steve a long sucking pull with his mouth, and Steve comes, he can’t help it, pleasure cresting in the back of his head, crashing and swooping through his body.  Tony swallows, and the feeling of that makes Steve shudder pleasantly.  Tony pulls back, slowly, rubbing his hands over Steve’s hips, and then straightens up again.  “Good?” he says.

“Ahh,” Steve manages after a moment.  He smiles at him, and knows how dopey and stupid it must look.  “Yes, Tony, so good.”

Tony moves up to sit by his head and takes his hand, interlaces their fingers and squeezes lightly, then holds it against his cheek for a moment so that Steve can feel the brush of his facial hair against his skin.  “Of course,” he says then, with a smirk, “it’s me,” and Steve can’t help laughing.  He smiles at Tony, and Tony smiles back and leans in to kiss him, bracing one hand over Steve’s shoulder, still holding Steve’s hand in his.