“What's going on?” Steve asks when he follows the directions in the 'Assemble!' text to one of the labs near the top of the tower and finds the rest of the team already gathered.
“Stimulation experiment,” Tony says briskly. “No touching.”
Natasha pats a space by her hip on the workbench she's perched on, with Clint on her other side and Thor in a chair beside him. Steve favors them all with a sociable smile as he accepts Natasha's invitation and hops up beside her.
“Well, now,” Tony continues, his voice pitched low and rich. “Looks like the gang's all here. You want me to start again at the beginning or just pick up where I left off?”
“Keep going,” Bruce says, a little breathless, from where he's crouched on the padded mat in the center of the room.
“Right. Where was I? Ah yes.” Tony swivels a little on his ergonomic kneeling stool, rocking back and forth between Bruce and the rest of them. “So there you are, on your back with your legs in the air and your wrists cuffed to the chains of the sling, completely exposed and at our mercy. This is going to happen, no doubt about that. We're all going to get a crack at fucking your pretty ass. The only question at this point is who goes first.”
Steve feels the tips of his ears heating up, listening to the little whimper Tony's words pull from Bruce, then frowns. He remembers reading that the ringing noise one gets after exposure to loud sounds results from trauma to cells inside the ear and is a sign and symptom of hearing loss. He wonders if a similar principle applies to senses of disbelief or humiliation. Could the vaguely dizzy hum that followed Steve for several weeks after waking up in this new century have been the stunned swan song of some overwhelmed fragment of brain that left him numb to further shock? Because he's fairly certain that he should find his current situation stranger than he does. He's still surprised, of course, and a little embarrassed, to find himself sitting with two highly trained assassins and an extraterrestrial who lends his name to a weekday while one of the world's greatest scientific minds purrs seductively to another about how they're all going to take turns fucking his ass while the latter flogs the log in the middle of a pristine laboratory, bathed in sunlight from the wall of windows overlooking midtown, but not nearly as much as he'd have anticipated had someone told him about it one-stroke-sixty-eight year(s) earlier.
“Wait, how—” Steve says, turning to Natasha while Tony goes on describing the eagerness with which they are all waiting to 'tap' Bruce's hypothetically vulnerable, up-turned rump. “I mean, you don't have a . . .”
Natasha snorts and pats Steve affectionately on the knee, while Clint doubles over snickering. “Dude. She's got, like, fifteen.”
“That you know of.” Natasha smiles and mimes pulling something up her thighs and buckling it around her hips.
“Have you seriously not seen anybody wearing a strap-on before?” Clint asks. “No, I don't believe you. You're just saying that so that one of us'll go 'oh, sweetie, we must show you.' You keep doing that, and I . . .”
“Hey, groundlings!” Tony snaps. “Task at hand.” He rolls his eyes and turns back to Bruce.
“Some people,” he says, and Steve can't help barking a laugh, which Tony magnanimously ignores. “I'm sure you'd get a kick out of watching us fight for first dibs on opening up that tight little ass, but you also know that'd just slow things down and leave you hanging, aching, desperate for someone to just touch you, take you, stick something in you. We could draw straws, I suppose, but then you might end up with Thor going first, and while I'd respect you for leaping straight into the deep end, it might leave the rest of the party . . . somewhat lackluster.” Tony grins and Bruce laughs, breathlessly. “No, the logical thing to do is for us to queue up in order of ascending size, girth specifically. That way there's an element of ongoing challenge, more fun for us and you. 'Course that leaves Natasha at an unfair advantage—”
“That never happens,” Bruce huffs, and Tony smirks.
“—because from the sounds of things she could keep coming back for seconds, cutting in line wherever she pleases, but we'll figure out some way around that. Just have to keep her sufficiently distracted.”
Natasha grins and so does Steve, while Clint frowns and mutters, “Damnit, now I'm hungry.”
Tony hums and tiptoes his kneeling chair towards Bruce, dropping the volume of his voice but not so much that the four Avengers watching from the sidelines can't still pick up every word. “With that minor strategic hiccup out of the way . . . You know, I'm just a little embarrassed to admit that this means I'm probably going first, unless Natasha's feeling unusually kind and brings some kind of mini-pickle training tool, but that's okay. I'll get over it. Means I don't have to wait as long, which is nice because you know patience is not exactly my strong suit.”
“Tony,” Bruce says, in a tone that sounds to Steve like 'get to the point.'
“Right, so, say it is me who gets the privilege of opening you up first. I'll use good lube, don't worry about that, but I think I might want to tongue you first. Tease you and all these other clowns who are champing at the bit, drooling with anticipation as they watch me spread your cheeks and make you squirm. Then fingers, slowly, one at a time until you beg me for another. Funny, isn't it, how much easier it is to be patient when somebody else isn't? Tell me you don't find that too.” Bruce whines and Tony cocks his head. “You know, I think maybe we ought to practice this now. Can you do that, Bruce? Can you beg for me?”
Bruce whines again and grits his teeth, his face contorting as he pushes out the word, “Please.”
“'Please Tony' what?”
From this angle Steve can't quite tell what's going on with the arm Bruce has reaching underneath him, curving around the outside of his hip. If he had to speculate, though, he'd guess that Bruce has already got at least two fingers and probably more working on stretching himself open before he stutters, “Please, Tony, can I have another f-fing-ger . . .” but that doesn't stop him from gasping when Tony brightly chirps “Okay!”
“Are you taking notes?” Steve hisses to Thor, as unobtrusively as he can, when he catches him scribbling in a pocket notebook in a script Steve doesn't understand.
“Aye,” Thor whispers back without looking. “Our friend Tony has a great gift with language, and I am taking this opportunity to make a study of his technique.”
“Huh.” Steve blinks. “Would you mind sharing the translation when we're done?”
Thor chuckles like a jet engine and Tony spins around to look at them accusingly. “You two. Stay on topic. Constructive comments only, please.”
Steve arches an eyebrow. “I thought praise of your skills was always on-topic.”
“Ordinarily yes, but today we're here for Bruce.”
“I'm,” Bruce pants, “good.”
“Oh, sweetheart,” Tony says. “That is a criminal understatement, but thank you for the reassurance.” He turns back to Bruce with a doting smile. “You know, if you keep saying cute things like that, I might not be able hold off the way I wanted to. I might get impatient, say 'to hell with warm-up' and just plow right into you. Bareback, of course, like we talked about.” He raises his voice to draw the audience back into the conversation. “Bruce and I were talking this over earlier and I figured, I mean, we can add more lube if we need to, but otherwise once we get started we've got a self-replenishing system here, or near enough, if each of us, er, sluices the channel for the next person. Where physically possible, that is.” He nods over his shoulder at Natasha, who purses her lips in consideration while Thor hums approvingly. Clint raises one eyebrow, the first sign he's given in several minutes that he's even paying attention, and that looks like agreement, or at least affirmation that the proposal is strategically sound.
Steve's eyes go wide when Tony continues, “You're going to leave such a snail trail when we're done with you, with all that superhero soup oozing and dripping down your legs and all over the floor,” because it was one thing to understand what Tony or anyone else was talking about when they used euphemisms like that, but quite another to hear them all piled up so colorfully and creatively. “Eww,” Steve murmurs in a tone that he knows sounds more impressed than perturbed, as he pictures the scene Tony described.
“Doesn't matter if you come, either,” Tony says. “Well, I mean, it matters, because as scrump-hungry fuckmobs go we are a pretty considerate lot, but it doesn't move up to top priority until all the rest of us have gotten off on you at least once. You could blow your load in the first five seconds and we wouldn't stop until we'd all exacted satisfaction, or you could strain to the last man knowing that you don't get your turn until we get ours.”
“Still hungry,” Clint mutters. “I'm gonna go make some popcorn.”
He starts to push off from the workbench but Natasha stops him with a hand on his shoulder. “Wait.”
Clint settles, frowning, although he really does look more annoyed at Natasha for denying him popcorn than uncomfortable with his role as audience member for Bruce Banner's guided masturbation. The feeling that this should be odd shivers through Steve again, dissipating back into mild embarrassment, curiosity, and a kind of low and lazy arousal that Steve feels no urgent need to do anything about.
Natasha nods towards Bruce, who grunts and curls his shoulders, his sweat-damp hair falling forward and obscuring his face. Steve can tell by the tremors building in his thighs that Bruce is getting close to coming—Steve has seen that enough times to know it—and judging by the way he growls admiringly, so can Tony.
“Probably going to be a little marked up, too. You know that, right?” Tony slides another increment closer to Bruce, stopping right at the edge of the mat. “I mean, we all know Tasha's a biter, and Clint sometimes hangs on a little hard. Thor and Steve, well, they try their best to be gentle, but with them it doesn't take much. And me, I'm having a hard time not chewing the fuck out of you right now, so I think it's fair to assume that you're going to walk away with some interesting dental impressions when we do this for real.”
Steve jolts a little at 'when we do this for real', and then frowns because why should he believe that actually acting out this scenario, which Steve had assumed was meant to be purely hypothetical, would be any weirder, or more intimate, or more dangerous than what they're doing now? Every time that the team has ended up in any kind of group sex situation before now—and, really, when did this become Steve's life, that he would be capable of even thinking of a sentence like that?—Bruce has stuck to the margins as much as possible, and kept his physical interaction with the other Avengers to a relative minimum. He's less hesitant about touching now than he was a year ago, but he still shies away from tight embraces, caresses anywhere in the region of his throat, and attempts to touch his ass or genitals except when he's otherwise calm and free of distractions, and he still always excuses himself before he comes, preferring to get himself off at a distance from the other participants, with eyes full of hunger and a clear escape route.
Bruce's thoughts are apparently running along parallel paths to Steve's, because he moans and shakes his head. “What if I—what—” His shoulders are shaking now, too, another sign Steve remembers but not as a good one. He tenses, prepared to launch off the bench to drag Tony out of the way, shove him out of the room and then—what? Probably sprint down the hallway right along with him shouting for JARVIS to activate containment protocols, because Steve's not foolish enough to think he can face down the Hulk when the change is uninvited, not here, not even with the rest of the team by his side. He didn't even bring his shield.
But Tony, it seems, already has the situation well in hand. “Hey, look at me,” he says softly, and then a little firmer, “Bruce. Eyes front.”
Bruce's hands have moved to his thighs, fingers splayed, and he's taking deep, slow breaths, but when he looks up at Tony his eyes, though wide and nervous, are brown as usual.
“Good,” Tony breathes, “that's good, you're doing good. 'What if the Other Guy shows up', you mean? Is that what you wanted to ask?”
Bruce flinches and nods.
“Well, that's a fair question. I haven't currently got any slings set up that would support him comfortably or cuffs that would hold his wrists, but I could probably build some, with time. Or we could just keep things going on the floor, that's a nice low-tech solution.” He's still speaking soft and soothing. Bruce frowns at first but slowly starts to relax his face as Tony continues.
“I've told you before that I don't find it-you-him, your not-always-better half, a turn-off, right? You've heard me when I've said that? I get that maybe you don't feel sexy like that; you're feeling bloated, whatever, but believe it or not you are still sexy to me. And . . .” Tony slides off his stool to sit with legs bent on the floor, so that he's looking up at Bruce, rather than down, but he keeps his body angled so that the others can keep an eye on both of them, “I get that even Thor's mighty pants-hammer might not be much of an interesting diversion for you, in that condition, but, well, there are always other things we can try.”
It takes Steve a moment to work out what Tony means by that, even as he helpfully demonstrates by knocking his right fist loosely against his left palm a couple of times to draw Bruce's attention and then slowly pushing his grouped fingers through the ring of his left thumb and fingertips until they're circling his right wrist. Bruce, being a genius, deciphers the message a little faster, and when he does his narrowed eyes widen again.
“Seriously?” he asks.
“Seriously,” Tony replies, smiling. “And that's an open offer, by the way. No hue or saturation requirements, although it'll probably take more working up to when you're peachy.”
“I don't—Tony,” Bruce huffs a sigh and takes hold of Tony's hand, raising it to his lips. He kisses the ball of Tony's thumb and Tony's fingers curl to stroke his cheek.
“Weren't we just in the middle of something?” Tony asks, gently. He puts his free hand on Bruce's bare thigh and Bruce sucks a breath but does not pull away, even when he slides that hand against the grain of hair right up to Bruce's hip. His fingers trace the ridge of Bruce's hipbone and then skim across his belly and Bruce not only lets him but leans back on his heels, allowing him better access.
Tony grins and cups Bruce's face while he reaches for his cock, which, although it had gone flaccid in the wake of the scare, rises obligingly in his hand. Tony hums and thumbs his corona as he rolls his hand around the swelling shaft, teasing and exploring with his skilled and sensitive fingers. The angle is too awkward to get any kind of rhythmic stroking going, so Tony shifts around to kneel up behind Bruce and switches hands, reaching around his body to jerk his cock with one hand while the other brushes through his hair. Tony leans in to kiss Bruce's cheek and the lobe of his ear, and Bruce shuts his eyes and whimpers.
“That's it,” Natasha breathes, and Steve, who'd become so engrossed in the scene unfolding on the floor that he'd almost forgotten there was anybody else in the room, looks over to find her staring intently at Bruce's cringing, desperate face.
“Yeah,” Steve murmurs, catching on. “Yeah, come on.”
“That's it, big guy,” Clint contributes, on the heels of Thor's rumbling, “Magnificent.”
They all four keep up a steady stream of verbal encouragement, a mix of specific compliments and inane standbys slowly ramping up in volume and intensity, until with a final “Fucking beautiful” from Tony mumbled right into the skin of his temple Bruce comes, jerking in Tony's arms and spilling over his hand. Tony wraps his other arm across Bruce's chest and squeezes him, nuzzling into his shoulder, until Bruce has finished shaking, before he looks up at his audience and grins.
“Great workshop, everybody,” Tony says, as Bruce opens his eyes, blinking against the sunlight, and nods at them in breathless gratitude. He leans forward far enough to look Bruce in the eye before he says, to him and to everyone else, “I do hope you'll join us again on opening night.”