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Epiphany

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Tony wandered back into the living room after showing the Sentry--Bob--where he'd be staying and found Steve standing, staring out the floor to ceiling windows at the city spread out below them. He'd taken the time to change out of his uniform, as had Tony, but he didn't exactly look relaxed. Tony joined him, their shoulders not quite brushing together, and waited.

"Do you ever wish for that?" Steve asked quietly, as if not to wake the other occupants of the tower.

Tony could have told him that the rooms were all far too well constructed and insulated for the sound to carry, but he was pretty sure that wasn't the point of the hush. "For what?"

"A fresh start," Steve said. "For the world to forget you."

It was easy to see the appeal of the idea, but... "No." Tony stared out at the city, too, and wondered if maybe they would prefer to forget him. "I've made a lot of mistakes. I've hurt people. But I have to believe that on the whole, the world is better off for my influence and that removing that influence would diminish it, even if only marginally. Because if wiping away any evidence that I ever existed would be an improvement..." Tony trailed off, but the sentence finished itself silently: Then what's the point of getting up in the morning? You can find forgetfulness in the bottom of a bottle...sometimes.

Steve's words were almost confessional: "I have."

Tony's head whipped around and he fixed his gaze on Steve, who steadfastly continued to look out at the city. "Wished for the world to forget you?" he asked, startled. "Why? Everyone loves you."

"Because everyone loves me. Or, well, Captain America," Steve said. "Because there's a huge weight of expectation attached to that name. Because people who have never met me have very specific ideas of what sort of person I am...or should be...or have to be."

"I didn't realize." Tony frowned. He should have. Steve was his friend.

Steve smiled a little. "Don't start thinking it's some terrible burden, Tony. I'm honored to embody those ideals. They're a huge part of who I am. Just...every now and then I think about how things would be different if no one was watching. If no one expected me to Captain America all the time."

"Do I--"

"No," Steve assured him. "You never have. It's one of the reasons I love you."

Tony grinned. "Careful," he said lightly, "who you love is one of those things the people might have issues with."

Steve turned and met his gaze then, his expression serious. "I know."

Tony blinked. "I was joking."

"I wasn't."

Tony couldn't think what to say. He just stared at Steve, waiting for the punch line. Or to wake up.

Steve's solemn expression slowly grew amused. Here it came. "Don't tell me you didn't know that already," he said.

Not a punch line. "I-- No, I didn't," Tony managed finally. Jesus. Steve was in love with him? Steve was in love with him. Steve was in love with him. And Steve had ideals to embody. "So if the feeling was mutual, would you do anything about it? Or would it be impossible? For the good of the team and all that."

It was Steve's turn to stare. "Is the feeling mutual?"

"That's not an answer," Tony said, composing his expression into the best poker face he had. "Would you?"

Steve's eyes moved over Tony's face for a moment, as if searching for the answer to his question there. Maybe he was. He looked back out at the city and pressed his lips together for a moment. A decision being made. Then he turned back to Tony and met his eyes steadily. "Yes. I would do something about it, if the feeling was mutual."

Tony's heart was pounding. He waited a long moment, waiting for the slightest suggestion of doubt to contaminate Steve's expression. It didn't. Raising his hand, Tony let his fingers rest on Steve's cheek for a moment. Then he leaned in and brought their lips together, his eyes sliding half-closed, leaving him to savor the warmth of Steve's mouth on his. The kiss was slow, each of them lingering in the moment.

A hot touch, an increase of pressure and Tony found his mouth opening, the kiss deepening. Steve's hand curled around the back of his neck, holding him there, as if Tony was going to go anywhere right now. The longing that he'd locked away was free now and it spread through his body, a fierce, sharp ache. Tony put all of that feeling into the kiss and almost moaned when Steve drank it all in and returned heat and a steadily growing flush of pleasure.

When they finally parted Tony paused for a moment, his eyes still closed, breathing raggedly. Steve tilted his head forward a little, resting his forehead against Tony's. Tony opened his eyes at the touch. Steve was smiling, his eyes dancing. "So I guess the feeling's mutual, then?"

Tony laughed a little. "Yes."

Steve dropped his hand from the curve of Tony's neck and rested it on his hip instead. "Can we move this away from the floor to ceiling windows and to somewhere with a bed?"

"If you're worried someone will see us," Tony said, "I promise I checked the lines of sight very carefully before I added those to the design. And the glass can be polarized."

Steve's smile deepened. "You're the pragmatist, Tony. I just don't want to feel like I'm on display when I make love."

"Oh." Tony lips quirked up sheepishly. "Come here, then," he said, taking Steve's hand in his and leading him to his bedroom.

"Of course you have a king size bed," Steve murmured, almost to himself.

Tony grinned at him. "You're going to appreciate all that space in a second."

"That sounds like a promise," Steve said, using their joined hands to pull Tony back into an embrace. His other around went around Tony's waist, hand sliding under his shirt to palm the small of his back.

The heat of that touch seemed to sink through Tony's body. He pressed closer, feeling his own growing arousal matched by Steve's. The sensation made him catch his breath for a moment. "It is a promise," he responded, his voice going low and a little rough without really intending it to.

Steve slid his hand up Tony's back, the material of Tony's shirt bunching up at his wrist. He let go of Tony's hand to take another fistful of the shirt and pulled it off over Tony's head, tossing it aside. "I expect people to keep their promises," he said. His gaze slid over Tony, bright with an unfamiliar intensity, and his hands returned to Tony's shoulders, caressing bare skin, sliding down his back, tracing the lines of his shoulder blades.

Tony couldn't help but be grateful that the Extremis had erased all evidence of the many interventions-some of them quite crude-that had kept his heart beating. He'd always been able to ease his lovers past the knotted, heavy scars, and even the mechanical heart. But this was Steve, and Tony didn't want even a moment of that awkwardness.

Raising his eyes back to Tony's, Steve smiled sheepishly. "I know they're gone," he said, confusing Tony for a moment. "I've seen that they're gone...but I still picture you with the scars."

Oh. Tony swallowed a suspicious tightness in his throat. "You'll get used to it."

Steve's smiled softened, his hands trailing up and down the line of Tony's spine. "I hope so."

Tony had to force himself to focus and pull Steve's t-shirt off over his head, too. The cloth fell from his fingers, forgotten, as he drank in the sight of Steve's naked chest, the sharp, defined lines of his pecs, the dusting of pale hairs, the peaked nipples... His hand hovered for a moment before he let it come to rest on the warm skin over Steve's heart. God, he wanted it all.

"You've seen me shirtless before," Steve commented, curiously.

"I was never allowed to touch before," Tony said. "God, I love this," he went on, sliding his hand over to caress the slope of Steve's side, where his broad chest narrowed to his waist. "Strength is carved into even the parts of you that ought to be ordinary." Tony's voice was truly hoarse now, but he didn't care. There was the ridge of Steve's collarbone...Tony bent his head and ran his tongue along the hard line of it, his hands curling around Steve's hip and shoulder to steady himself. He found the point of the collarbone, tongue curling around it for a moment before sliding into the hollow of Steve's throat.

"Tony," Steve said, voice choked. His fingers slid into Tony's hair. "Tony. Pants."

"Mmmmm." Tony lifted his head. "Good idea." His hands went to the button of Steve's jeans, slipping it loose and drawing down the zipper with quick, definite motions. Tony pushed Steve's jeans and boxers off at the same time, letting them pool around his feet.

"I meant your pants," Steve said, smiling. He stepped out the puddle of clothing around his ankles and kicked it aside.

Tony smirked as he stepped up close to Steve again. "And here I thought you might not want this," he curled his hand around Steve's cock, smirking more at the sharp intake of breath, "so tightly constrained."

Steve didn't answer, just sucked in a breath and fumbled at Tony's belt and button and zipper, stripping him out of the last of his clothing urgently. Tony barely had time to kick his pants and boxers away before Steve pulled him into a tight embrace. Their mouths came together, open and hungry, and it was all Tony could do to keep a host of embarrassingly desperate noises from escaping his throat.

Steve's body against his was familiar and strange all at the same time. They'd sparred together, fought together, fought against each other. Tony knew the strength of Steve's hands and the curve of his thigh, but those hands had never slipped down past his waist and cupped his ass before and that thigh had never pressed between Tony's legs to rub over his rigid, aching cock.

Tony couldn't help it: he moaned deeply, breaking the kiss, and leaned into the touch of Steve's thigh, grinding against him. He couldn't stop. He knew they needed to move, just a couple of steps, over to the bed, but he couldn't bring himself to pull away, not with Steve's hands on his ass, fingers flexing and kneading and, oh God, brushing so close, so close... "Steve," Tony forced out huskily. "Steve. We need to move to the bed."

Steve hummed softly, a sound of agreement, but didn't move, just nuzzled into the line of Tony's jaw. Tony framed Steve's face in his hands and kissed him, deeply but briefly. "Steve," he repeated. "I want you on the bed now."

"Okay," Steve said, focusing a little. "Bed is good."

They kicked down the comforter together and stretched out on the sheets. There was a momentary pause as their eyes met across the pillow for the first time and then Tony slid across the last inches of space and fitted his body to Steve's. Warm skin, hard body, and...Tony shifted slightly and groaned a little in satisfaction as Steve's cock brushed against his. "God, you feel good," he muttered, arching his back as he rocked his hips against Steve's.

"I'm not the only one." Steve leaned against Tony, rolling him onto his back and following him over, leaning down to kiss him again and again, soft kisses that left their lips clinging together.

Steve was bracing himself on one arm, but he was still heavy. Something about that weight--not too heavy, just enough to feel it--stirred a hot, sweet satisfaction to life in the pit of Tony's stomach. Tony undulated beneath Steve just to feel him pressing Tony down. "I like this," he murmured, running his hands up Steve's sides, fingers following the curves and lines of muscle. "I like you on top."

"Just on top?" Steve asked. "Or," he paused, sliding one hand up Tony's thigh and brushing his ass, "on top?" A light blush dusted his cheeks at those words, but his gaze was steady.

Tony had a vision of Steve sliding into him, head thrown back, face painted with ecstasy, and groaned, his own cock aching with need. "Both," Tony said roughly, shifting his legs to let Steve settle between them. Tony ground up against Steve, the friction sending shocks of pleasure coursing through his veins. "Definitely both."

"Oh, good," Steve said, heartfelt, and Tony would have laughed if it weren't for what came next. "Because I...," Steve paused, the faint blush darkening, "I really want to be inside you." He licked his lips, the motion mesmerizing Tony for a moment. His voice dropped almost to a whisper as he went on. "I've thought about it so many times. What it would be like to...take you like that. To hold you while you come apart around me."

Tony stared at Steve for a moment, then surged up and kissed him urgently, tongue sliding deep into Steve's mouth and drawing his back. Hot, slick caresses, hungry and rough and Tony wanted more, he wanted everything, he wanted Steve. When he finally tore himself away from kissing Steve all he could manage to gasp out was, "Top drawer."

Steve immediately reached for the nightstand and jerked the top drawer open, pulling it almost off the runners. He had the bottle out in moments, spilling lube all over the bed in his rush to slick up his fingers, but Tony didn't care. He just pulled up one knee to give Steve space. Steve had to kneel back, taking away his weight, but the eager slide of his finger into Tony's body more than made up for it.

Catching his breath for a moment, Tony let it out in a long moan as Steve slowly stretched him. "More," Tony demanded hoarsely, eyes clenched shut, head pressed back into the bed. "More."

"I don't want to hurt you," Steve said. His voice was thick with desire, but no less earnest for that.

Tony laughed breathlessly. "You couldn't hurt me. Not like this. Ah, God, yes!" he cried out as Steve used a second finger to open him further.

"Look at you," Steve said intensely. "God, just look at you."

"Can't," Tony said. He started to smirk, but Steve crooked his fingers and a sudden spike of ecstasy wiped the expression from his face. Still, he managed to gasp out, "We'll...get a mirror...later, if you want."

"You're still far too coherent," Steve commented. He twisted his fingers and Tony groaned and clenched his hands in the sheets.

"Me?" Tony demanded. "You're the one still--oh, Christ, do that again." Steve complied and for a moment Tony could only moan as waves of sensation flooded his body. "Still speaking in complete sentences," he finished when he finally got his breath back. "For God's sake, Steve, fuck me already!"

"Just making sure you're ready for me." Steve's fingers slipped from Tony's body as he spoke.

Tony opened his eyes and watched Steve eagerly as Steve slicked his cock. "You worry too much."

Steve leaned down and kissed Tony deeply. "Ready?"

"More than ready," Tony said, hooking one leg around Steve's waist.

Steve's gaze held Tony's, bright and intense. "I love you," he said quietly, and breached Tony's body, sliding inside with a slow burn of sensation and leaving Tony unable to do anything but cry out in pleasure and need.

Steve moved slowly, but the sensation was still almost overwhelming. Tony couldn't remember ever feeling like this, so full, so carefully opened and taken at the same time. But of course it was different. It was Steve.

"Tony," Steve said, voice rough and shaky. Their bodies pressed tightly together.

"Steve," Tony acknowledged. His voice was no better. He could feel it teetering on the edge of breaking. Tony felt like he was on the edge of breaking, and that made him think of coming apart in Steve's arms, and then he had to scramble for control before he came too soon.

"You okay?" Steve managed.

Tony had to gather himself for a minute before he could speak. "I'm good," he said finally. Better than good. Perfect. God, Steve was buried inside him, his voice shaking with need and Tony wanted this to last forever, but his body was screaming for more, please God, more, he needed Steve to move, to fuck him, to take him, please, please and Tony didn't even realize he was begging aloud until Steve answered with, "Yes, God, yes, Tony."

They moved together, Tony reaching up to grip the headboard to brace himself as Steve pulled back, his cock sliding from Tony's body almost too quickly and tearing a moan of need from Tony's throat. His arms tensed, bracing himself, and Steve drove back inside, hard and fast. Tony shouted in wordless pleasure, hips bucking up to meet Steve. "More," Tony demanded.

"Yes," Steve answered fiercely. His hands curled tightly around Tony's hips and held him steady as he thrust inside Tony again and again.

Tony moaned deeply, heels digging into Steve's back as he urged him on, arms straining to hold himself to take the full force of Steve's thrusts. His nerves seemed to light up with sensation, inundating Tony until he felt overwhelmed with pleasure. The hot slide of Steve into his body, the aching stretch of being filled by him, the shuddering friction of his withdrawal, it was almost too good.

"Tony," Steve moaned, the flush coloring his face one of pure pleasure now, embarrassment forgotten in the heat of the moment. "You feel so good. So tight. God, I've wanted you like this. Just like this."

"You have me," Tony said, a shudder running through his body. "Steve. You have me." Tony's voice broke on the words and his body trembled and Steve thrust home again and Tony was coming, shaking uncontrollably as he cried out his completion.

Steve never stopped moving, though he slowed a little. His movements drew out Tony's climax until Tony could only moan helplessly, utterly wrung out.

"So beautiful," Steve murmured. "Tony." He buried himself inside Tony, muscles clenched tightly, and groaned deeply as he came.

Tony eased Steve down onto the bed beside him and for a while they just lay there together, catching their breath. Stretched out on his bed, his body aching from being with Steve, feeling the heaviness of satiation stealing through him, Tony tried to burn every part of this moment into his memory.

"I'm still going to be here in the morning," Steve said quietly.

"I know," Tony replied. "But I don't get so many perfect moments that I can just let one go by without making sure I can remember it later."

"I'll see what I can do about providing a few more of those," Steve said. He was smiling, but Tony knew a promise when he heard Steve make one.

Steve kept his promises.

Tony smiled.

--End--