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The Forever-Nighter

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Tony sees him, and stops mid-complaint.

He’s tall and blond, and the word “muscular” seems inadequate to describe the complete package standing across the gym from him. He’s lifting two ludicrously heavy-looking weights while chatting easily with friends, the flex of his biceps almost hypnotic as he curls the weights into and then away from his chest. He’s got a white tank top on, but it has to be a loan or something because it’s clearly the wrong size and Tony couldn’t be any more grateful. He can almost see the man’s abs, the hard, definite lines as his stomach rises and falls with his breathing. There’s three people in what seems to be his squad, all equally gorgeous and equally fit in their own various ways, but it’s the blond Tony can’t tear his eyes from. It’s his musculature, sure, but there’s something else there too, something much more intoxicating. It’s something cheesy and stupid, like his eyes, or his smile, or how when he laughs at something the woman next to him says the sound makes Tony’s mouth go dry and his heart pick up and—

“Tony!” It’s definitely not the first time Rhodey has said his name, but this time it’s accompanied by a punch to the shoulder. Tony jerks his gaze away from big blond and gorgeous, returns his attention to his friend. “C’mon, faking a heart attack isn’t going to get you out of this.”

“I’m not faking a heart attack,” Tony disagrees, which, if he was thinking more clearly, the smart move would’ve been to just let Rhodey think that’s what happened.

Now, Rhodey’s swiveling his head around looking for the cause of Tony’s abrupt and extended silence. “Then what made you stop bitching at me mid-sentence?”

“Because!” Tony says a little too loudly, trying to distract Rhodey before he can see Hot Blond Guy and tease Tony about it for the rest of their lives. “I thought of an entirely better reason not to work out, and I was stunned by my own brilliant logic.”

“Sure.” Rhodey snorts, but stops looking. “And what ‘brilliant’ reason is that?”

“That…” Tony tries to draw up a reason. Surprisingly, he fails.

He’s had nothing but good reasons crowding around in his head for the past hour—after Rhodey informed him that it’s been too long since Tony had a good workout and that his streak of laziness is ending today—but he suddenly finds himself left with an insane thought: maybe working out wouldn’t be totally terrible. Hot Blond Guy certainly seems like the type who works out a lot, he probably even has a schedule. If Tony started coming here a lot, he could maybe figure that schedule out. Accidentally, of course, by chance and in a totally non-creepy way. Maybe they could wind up next to each other on the machines sometime, or something. Maybe they’d talk. Maybe they’d talk all the way back to the locker rooms, where there are probably showers…

“That I think we should work out,” Tony blurts before he can think better of it. “I think we should work out all the time, actually. I mean, really, three a week? I’m not that out of shape, honey bear, let’s really go all in on this, yeah? Like, five times a week, or six, I could do six—”

“I thought working out was ‘masochism at its finest’?” Rhodey raises a dubious eyebrow at him.

“Who says I’m not a little bit of a masochist?” Tony says, and it’s not even really a lie. Lusting after the Greek god of gyms at his age and level of comparative fitness is probably—definitely—more than a little bit masochistic; there’s only one way this trip into delusion ends, but at least it’s got a nice view.

“You went from breaking my car to try and escape doing this once—”

“I didn’t break it, I just removed a little, itty bitty, totally necessary piece, I can put it right back after we finish—”

“—to suggesting we go five times a week? Who the hell are you and what have you done with Tony?”

“My health isn’t a joke, platypus, you should really take it more seriously.”

“That’s my line!”

“What? No, I don’t think so.”

“I said it three times on our way over!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’ve always been deeply concerned with my physical wellbeing.”

“Whatever.” Rhodey rolls his eyes, puts a hand on Tony’s back to push him forward past reception and into the gym proper. “If this is some kind of reverse psychology, it’s not gonna work. We’re working out today if I have to put you on those machines myself.”

“So pushy,” Tony complains. “I’m going, aren’t I?”

“You are…” Rhodey stops a little as he seems to realize Tony really is walking forward on his own. He narrows his eyes. “Why?”

“What’ve I done to deserve such suspicion, angelcake?” Tony puts a hand over his heart in mock hurt. Rhodey opens his mouth immediately, and Tony changes his mind for the sake of his ego. “Okay, don’t answer that.”

“Uh huh.” Rhodey still looks wary. “Well, lets see how long that holds up on once we get you a treadmill.”

“Treadmill?” Tony inches a little closer to the weights section. “See, I was thinking we’d start with the weights, you know, get all pumped up.”

Rhodey gives him a measured look. “If you’re serious about this that’s great, but the last time you worked out with me there were girls wearing leg warmers walking around. If you want it to stick, you gotta wade in, not dive in.”

“That…admittedly makes some sense,” Tony admits. Still, he can’t help thinking about the last time the elevators at work got busted and he had to take the stairs up to his office. It took three flights for him to be out of breath. He’s pretty sure he isn’t going to look like a track star on that thing. “But maybe we could just start with smaller weights?”

“Nah, c’mon. Treadmill’s a great starter, you can go as easy as you want,” Rhodey insists, guiding him over to the treadmills.

Tony glances over his shoulder at Blonde Guy. He’s still going at it with dumbbells larger than Tony’s head. He’s not sweating like a pig or anything, but his skin’s got a gorgeous sheen to it now that suggests he’s putting in more effort than he appears to be. God, that’s hot. The guy with the prosthetic arm next to him leans into Hot Blond Guy, tells him something. Hot Blond Guy lifts his head, makes direct eye contact with Tony.

Tony quickly turns away. Shit. Hot Blond Guy might actually watch him now, and he’s pretty sure he’s going to make an utter fool of himself.

“You know what, I changed my mind, exercise is for masochistic tools with nothing better to do than torture themselves for sport, I’ll see you tomorrow at lunch, I found this great Thai place the other day—”

Rhodey grabs him by the back of his shirt before he can make his disappearance. “Nice try. Come on, tap into whatever motivation you had a second ago and give this a shot.”

Tony fights the impulse to look at Hot Blond Guy again. It’s a near thing. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I must’ve had a seizure—”

“Was that what you were pretending to do?” Rhodey snorts. “That’s your worst excuse yet. Now get on the treadmill.”

“I feel like you can’t actually make me work out—”

“Wanna bet?” Rhodey leans in like he’s going to pick Tony up and physically move him, so Tony quickly dodges and hops on the torture machine.

“You’re a terrible friend.”

“I’m an amazing friend, and you’ll thank me later.” Rhodey pauses, then admits, “Probably much, much later, but I’m prepared to wait. Now hit start and get moving.”

Tony presses start, and so begins the worst hours of his life.

Alright, it’s twenty minutes, but it feels like hours. Maybe years. Rhodey keeps telling him not to check the time, that it’ll go by faster if he doesn’t, but there’s nothing else to do and he suddenly hates everything on his iPod and the only thing playing on the stupid TV above him is cooking shows, which make him think of how hungry he is, and how everything he eats later is just going to counteract his twenty minutes of jogging anyway. He tries very hard not to look at Hot Blond Guy either, but again, there’s nothing else to do, so he mostly alternates between checking the time and checking out Hot Blond Guy. He gets caught once or twice—six times—but he looks away before he can catch Hot Blond Guy’s reaction.

Fourteen minutes in, Hot Blond Guy goes to put his weights back. They’re the heaviest so they belong on the bottom shelf, which apparently means Hot Blond Guy has to bend over to replace them.

His shorts stretch tightly over his ass, and Tony slips on the treadmill.

He grabs at the side bars and Rhodey catches his arm before he can fall, but there’s still a loud thunk as his shin hits the side and he’s one hundred percent sure everyone in the world just saw it happen. He doesn’t need to look to know that Hot Blond Guy did; he recognizes the stifled laugh.

“Kill me,” Tony mutters to Rhodey, who’s looking over his shoulder instead of at him.

“So that’s what got into you.” Rhodey realizes belatedly with a snort of laughter. “C’mon, it wasn’t that bad. You’ve only got six minutes left, you can do it.”

“I’m never entering this building again.”

“Yes, you are.” Rhodey doesn’t miss a beat, the bastard. “Three times a week, that’s the deal. Though, I bet blondie over there comes here a hell of a lot more…”

“Shut up,” Tony says, but it’s without heat. Mostly because he’s too exhausted and embarrassed and fucking done to even feign irritation, much less feel it. “We’re finding a time he doesn’t come.”

“You sure you want to?” Rhodey glances over his shoulder. “He’s looking at you.”

“Then stop looking at him, jesus!” Tony exclaims. Rhodey shoots the guy a friendly wave instead. Tony groans. “I hate you. You’re literally the worst person, how could you do this to me?”

“Oh relax, he waved back. He seems friendly, you should go talk to him.”

“How about I don’t do that, and you get me the hell out of here?”

Rhodey laughs, but allows him to leave.

He doesn’t, however, allow Tony to quit.

Rhodey doesn’t hold him to his insane declaration of six days a week, but he does make him do at least three. Tony tries to get them going at strange times so they don’t run into Hot Blond Guy and he doesn’t have to relive his mortification, but it never seems to work. The guy basically lives at the gym. Tony sees him every time, and each is somehow worse than the last; Hot Blond Guy recognizes him, waves cheekily when he sees Tony entering the building and smirks whenever he catches Tony looking, which remains embarrassingly often, no matter what Tony does to try and stop himself. He tries masturbating before going; it only makes things profoundly worse.

This goes on for three weeks. Tony graduates from twenty minutes on the treadmill to thirty and threatens to move to another country at least as often, but he keeps at it. At the beginning of week four, Rhodey decides Tony’s not suffering enough and adds weight lifting to their repertoire. He—wisely, Tony supposes—doesn’t actually tell Tony that until they’re there and have finished their treadmill time.

“I’m sorry, did I miss the part where you suddenly fucking hate me?” Tony can’t help gaping at him a little. “I can’t go over there, Hot Blond Guy’s over there!”

“Calm down, it’s a big area, I’m sure he’ll hardly notice you,” Rhodey says, but there’s a grin itching at his features that shows he knows full well that’s not true.

“How about we leave, take a breather, and come back in like…six hours?” Tony can’t help a glance over at Hot Blond Guy. He’s not looking at the moment, thankfully. His back is turned and Tony can see the ridge of his spine where it sticks to his sweat-soaked shirt. Tony watches, fascinated, the twist of that line as Hot Blond Guy turns and—oh shit, looks directly at him. This time, Tony’s gaze sticks long enough to see the sliver of an amused smile begin to curve before he tears it away again. “Or years, how about we come back in six years? Or we could work out in another state, get some use out of the jet, I know how you love the jet—”

“I hate the jet, and I’m not flying to another state to work out. We’ve talked about this, there’s gonna be attractive people in any gym we go to, it comes with gym territory.” Rhodey elbows him a little, teasing as they make their way to the weight area. “And since when does the great Tony Stark care what anyone thinks of him, huh?”

“Fuck off, I don’t care what he thinks,” Tony mutters.

“Sure you don’t.” Rhodey just chuckles, not buying it for a second. “You know you’re going to have to interact with him eventually, right? There aren’t many people who would find three weeks of staring cute, but he sure seems to. Roll with that while he still finds it ‘cute’ and not ‘creepy’.”

“I’m pretty sure I passed that line, oh, three weeks ago or so.”

“The way he keeps grinning to himself every time you turn your back?” Rhodey snorts. “You’re definitely still in cute territory.”

“Not sure how that’s better,” Tony mutters. Cute’s for puppies and babies and—

Oh god, this is mortifying. Hot Blond Guy turns as Tony and Rhodey enter the weight lifting area for the first time, and he examines Tony with something like curiosity. Tony tries to hold his gaze, but Hot Blond Guy’s smirk turns to a more genuine sort of smile, almost welcoming, and Tony can’t quite manage it.  

At least Rhodey’s right that it’s a fairly large area. Their presence is definitely noticed, but Tony isn’t stuck right up next to the guy or anything. For viewing purposes that would certainly be an upgrade, but it might be a tad awkward considering how many times Tony’s been caught staring at this point. Rhodey passes him a dumbbell for each hand; they look kind of pathetic, especially considering what Hot Blond Guy and his crew lift on a regular basis. There’s a little variation, but all of them use dumbbells at least five times what Tony’s got.

“Give me something bigger,” Tony whisper-hisses at Rhodey, careful not to be overheard.

“What, you wanna sprain something? We’re wading, not diving, remember?”

“Rhodey, Jim, James, buddy, these might as well—”

“No.”

“—be pink and sparkly compared to those guys’, I—”

“Yeah, and ‘those guys’ have obviously worked for years to get to that point, Tony, this—”

“—can’t just sit over here with my baby weights and—”

“—isn’t something you can just do in a week or two because you’ve got a crush to—”

“—not be completely emasculated, fuck you, it’s not a crush, it’s a completely—”

“—impress, okay, everyone starts somewhere, it’s not like they don’t remember being—”

“—legitimate adult attraction for—”

“—in less than perfect shape, so—”

“—completely legitimate adult reasons.”

“—suck it up and start curling.”

They finish their whisper-hissed arguments the same time, ending in a stare-off that Rhodey, the bastard, wins. Tony grunts at him defiantly but starts curling the stupid baby weights like he’s seen on TV.

He doesn’t actually forget Hot Blond Guy’s there, but he manages not to stare quite as much as before. He’s pretty sure it’d be slightly creepier from so close up. He focuses solely on the exercises instead, and on trying to look as cool as is possible with the world’s smallest weights. He gets through barely two before he’s startled nearly out of his skin by the appearance of big blond and gorgeous right in front of him.

“Your form is terrible.”

“Uh.” Oh god, he’s even bigger in person. “Sorry?”

“Your form.” Hot Blond Guy gestures to the hand that’s currently holding the dumbbell. “It’s terrible.”

“He’s right,” Rhodey tells him unhelpfully.

“Thanks,” Tony grits out to Rhodey.

“I can help you, if you’d like.” Hot Blond Guy continues, a smirk slipping over his features. “Or I can head back over to my section and you can stare a little longer?”

“No, that, uh. Won’t be necessary.” Tony clears his throat awkwardly, hates himself more than a little. “So how do I…?”

“Here.” Hot Blond Guy leans entirely too close into his space, brushes his hand over Tony’s and lingers there a beat before speaking again. “You have to keep your elbows aligned with your hips, let your arm hang down.” Tony complies. Hot Blond Guy pushes up on the back of Tony’s palm, helps him lift the weight straight up. “You want your forearm in a straight line while you lift, keep it even with your elbow so the pressure hits the right muscles. You’re also swinging your body to help you lift, and you don’t want to do that.”

“Swinging my body?”

Hot Blond Guy takes the dumbbell from Tony, then lifts it while arching his back exaggeratedly. It’s almost comical to watch considering he lifts it about as easily as anyone else might lift a flower. “Like that. You want to stay standing as straight as possible while lifting, or you’ll put strain your back.”

“Was that an old man joke?” Tony side-eyes him. Hot Blond Guy laughs.

“Not unless you’re a lot older than you look. Lifting…” He glances down at the weight, stifles another laugh. He’s kind of a jerk; Tony might be in love. “Ten pounds isn’t going to put a whole lot of strain on your back unless you’re pushing a hundred.”

“Not a hundred. Just forty-two,” Tony admits, because he feels strangely, counter-intuitively obliged to point out that he’s definitely older than Hot Blond Guy. Probably not by as much as it feels, but still by a fairly solid margin.

“Thirty-six,” Hot Blond Guy tells him in turn, and that’s actually older than Tony was expecting. He feels ever-so-slightly less creepy. Hot Blond Guy’s little smirk makes a comeback. “You gonna ask me my name now, or would you rather hear my blood type first?”

“Blood type is pretty important, I wouldn’t want to do anything out of order.”

“Steve Rogers.” Hot Blond Guy—Hot Blond Steve—extends his hand with a grin. “Type O.”

“Tony Stark.” Tony shakes his hand, tries and fails not to be impressed by Steve’s grip. “No fucking idea.”

“James Rhodes, if anyone’s interested,” Rhodey throws out, then glances at Tony. “And you’re AB negative.”

“College best friend.” Tony jerks his thumb at Rhodey, fills in the blank. Then, because Steve’s nearness is clearly doing something to his brain cells, he adds, “Not my boyfriend, if you were curious.”

Rhodey chokes on a laugh. Steve just smiles, tilting his head a little at Tony.

“I kinda was.”

There’s silence for a minute, so Tony blurts out the first thing he can think of to get Steve to keep standing this close to him. “Can you teach me how to deadlift?”

Yeah, he hates himself. Steve just laughs.

“Sure.” Steve places his hand on Tony’s shoulder, leans around him to ask Rhodey, “Mind if I steal your friend for a little while?”

“Hell, keep him.” Rhodey grins back. Tony manages to stop thinking about Steve’s hand touching his shoulder—god, the guy has big hands, warm hands—long enough to shoot Rhodey a scowl. “Maybe I’ll be able to get a real workout in while he’s gone.”

You’re a terrible person, Tony mouths at Rhodey from behind Steve’s back. Rhodey just snorts at him and goes back to his weights.

“So…” Tony draws it out as Steve leads him to the deadweight area, trying to think of something to say that doesn’t sound stupid or creepy. Can I touch your muscles probably falls into both categories. “Noticed you’ve got a little accent there. Brooklyn, right?”

“Born and bred.” Steve grins over his shoulder at Tony. “And let me guess, you’re a Manhattanite?”

“That obvious, huh?”

Steve laughs. “Your workout gear looks like it cost more than my rent.”

“That’s how it is, I get it.” Tony bumps his elbow, teases, “You’re taking me under your wing cause you want some new gear, then.”

“Oh, definitely.” Steve nods immediately. He turns a little, enough to give Tony an entirely indecent look, the kind that doesn’t belong anywhere near a public place. “I’d do just about anything to get my hands on a new pair of Nikes.”

“That so,” Tony croaks. He shifts a little, glances to the side as the possibilities of that statement run rampant through his mind. His pants are way too tight to be thinking about this right now. Steve just makes an amused, cryptic humming sort of noise.

This guy’s going to kill him, and Tony’s going to love every minute.

They flirt all through the deadlifts, which helpfully takes Tony’s mind off how completely pathetic the amount of weight he’s lifting is. Steve’s definitely a smartass but he also seems kind, teasing Tony about a lot but not once about the amount he’s lifting. When Tony makes a blithe comment about it, Steve insists everyone starts somewhere and that Tony would never have believed what he looked like just five years ago.

Tony’s muscles are kind of screaming at him by the end of the deadlifts, but Steve seems very touchy when he’s showing Tony how to do things, so Tony asks him how to do pretty much every other weight exercise he can think of. Steve’s friends wander over halfway through to tell Steve they’re finished and give Tony an interesting assortment of looks—curious, assessing, knowing—before saying they’re hitting the road and that they’ll see him later. The one with the prosthetic arm—Bucky, Tony knows now—elbows Steve and whispers something to him before going. Tony would be dying of curiosity if he weren’t currently dying of muscle exertion.

By the end he’s completely drained and must look like a puddle of sweat. Steve has more energy now, if anything, and looks basically perfect. Tony would be embarrassed about the comparison if he wasn’t busy being completely smitten. He’s trying to figure out if pretending he magically forgot everything and needs to be taught it again will work when Steve claps him on the back.

“You know, I could keep coaching you in the future, if you want,” Steve offers. Tony has a brief moment of horror where he wonders if this was all a setup by the gym to get him to buy a training package or something, but then he sees something interesting in Steve’s expression. He’s not blushing, or if he is Tony can’t tell the difference between that and the exertion, but there’s something about the way Steve’s gaze has gone a bit evasive and how his smile’s got this little quirk to it, and it occurs to Tony that Steve seems nervous.Smart-mouthed, smug, smirky-flirty Rogers is nervous. “Unless your friend wants to, I know I kind of stole you for a while there.”

“Did you think he was kidding when he said keep me?” Tony grins, encouraged by Steve’s nerves. “You know he snuck out and ditched me here over half an hour ago, right?”

Tony has the goodbye text to prove it, though he doesn’t show Steve. The part where Rhodey encourages him to ‘climb that like a tree’ is probably a little too forward.

“Oh.” Steve’s grin turns a little abashed. “I didn’t notice, actually. Is that…?”

“That would be a yes,” Tony says, probably a little too quickly. Steve’s responding smile is worth it though.

“Alright.” They stand there smiling at each other like complete idiots for way too long, before Steve seems to realize something. “Wait, ditched you? He wasn’t your ride, was he?”

“I don’t come if he doesn’t physically throw me in the car, so…” Tony drawls. “Yeah. He was kind of my ride. But I can call a—”

“I could give you a ride,” Steve blurts. Tony can’t help grinning.

“Or you could give me a ride,” he agrees.

“Great,” Steve enthuses. He glances at the locker room. “Wait here while I grab my keys?”

“Right, I was gonna take off with the other guy I’ve been staring at for the past three weeks,” Tony says before he can think about what a terrible idea that is. He freezes in horror at what he just said, waits for Steve to inevitably begin backing away slowly—it’s probably pretty obvious what Tony had been doing, still, they hadn’t exactly addressed it—but instead the idiot just grins.

“Is that what you were doing?” Steve says, amused, because it’s really not at all a question.

“Go get your damn keys,” Tony mutters, embarrassed now. Steve’s still grinning to himself, but he obligingly drops the subject and heads to the locker room.

The car ride home is awkward for about point six seconds, until Tony realizes Steve still has a real, genuine cassette player, and then they pretty much don’t stop talking for rest of the ride. Tony would’ve intentionally gotten them lost anyway to steal the time with Steve, but he doesn’t have to; he’s immediately and effortlessly distracted, and thus completely forgets that he’s supposed to be the one giving directions. The fifteen minute car ride turns into almost an hour. Tony wonders if Steve realizes that. He probably does, if the amused smile he turns on Tony as they finally pull up next to his apartment complex is any indication.

“Sure we got the right place this time?” Steve teases.

“Pretty sure, yeah.” Tony glances up at the building, sees the large USE THE GODDAMN DOOR, YOU’RE NOT SPIDER-MAN sign Rhodey made after the fifth time Tony climbed up the fire escape and rolled in through the window while drunk. “Kinda hard to miss the sign.”

“Of course that’s yours.” Steve rolls his eyes, and it’s easy, fond, like they’ve known each other years instead of a day. Three weeks, if staring counts, but after half a day of knowing Steve, Tony knows watching from a distance couldn’t ever have compared to knowing the guy.

Anyone else, and Tony would’ve glibly invited them up without a second thought. Sure, he’d been a little stumbly around Steve at first—who could blame him, it wasn’t like he could’ve ever envisioned someone like Steve actually flirting back with him—but he’d found his footing pretty quick, and they’d had a good time. There was definitely what Rhodey would call a “vibe”, and Tony wasn’t an idiot. He knew Steve was at least a little into him and would likely say yes. He also knew that when he invited people up to his apartment within half a day of knowing them, they tended to be gone by sunrise.

“So I’ll see you tomorrow?” Tony opens his door as he says it, starts sliding out before he can do anything crazy, like lean across the divider and kiss Steve stupid.

“Oh, uh,” Steve sounds a little subdued, surprised maybe, then he kicks it up. “Yeah, definitely. Got a time in mind?”

They wind up agreeing on a schedule and swapping numbers just in case, then Tony waves as Steve drives off. Suddenly exhausted, he plans on high-tailing it up to his apartment and sleeping until approximately an hour before he has to be at the gym tomorrow—ugh, who works out on a Saturday, anyway?—but instead when he opens the door, Rhodey all but assaults him.

“Three hours? Where the hell have you been, banging him in the locker room?”

“No,” Tony protests, affronted. “Ew, I would never.”

Rhodey rolls his eyes. “Sorry, how exactly would that be worse than the time you almost got arrested for doing it in a public swimming pool?”

“Okay, first of all, I was talked to, not ‘almost arrested’, and second, who actually still says ‘doing it’? Are you in middle school?”

“Focus, Tony.” Rhodey takes him by the shoulders. “You’ve been gone for three hours with Hot Blonde Guy. Where did you go and did you at least get his phone number after? Because he seemed genuinely interested in you, you should—”

“Okay, I’m starting to get insulted here, I didn’t slink off and bang the guy in a back alley—”

“How is ‘bang’ better than ‘do it’?”

“I can’t even talk to you about this.” Tony tries to brush past him, knowing full well Rhodey will pull him back. He does.

“No, come on, like hell you’re leaving me hanging like that,” Rhodey insists. “How did it go, really?”

“It was—was—” Tony casts around for descriptors that don’t make him sound the smitten teenage girl he kind of feels like right now. Who knew stomach butterflies were a real thing? “Great.”

“Great,” Rhodey repeats flatly. “Shopping trips can be ‘great’, Tony, I was kind of hoping for a little more detail.”

“We flirted, he showed me how to do a bunch of different exercises—yeah, I’m gonna need all the ice we have, by the way, my body is essentially a gigantic bruise right now—then he drove me home, because you so helpfully abandoned me there.”

“That’s exactly why I left and you know it.” Rhodey brushes him off, but does head for the fridge. He calls over his shoulder, “And?”

“And…that’s it, he drove me home.” Tony shrugs, drops onto the couch. God, everything hurts. “We exchanged numbers at the curb, I’m meeting him tomorrow at noon for another workout.”

“A workout, or a ‘workout’?” Rhodey wags his eyebrows, cheesy as ever.

“First one.”

“You really made no moves whatsoever?”

“I don’t know why that’s so hard to believe.”

“You actually like this guy,” Rhodey marvels a little, returning with the ice packs.

“Shut up.”

“No, seriously. You didn’t even try to kiss him at the curb, nothing?”

“Nope,” Tony pops the p, catching the ice packs as Rhodey tosses them and pressing them to a couple muscles. He’ll have to rotate, Steve wasn’t kidding around; he’d hit what felt like every muscle group in Tony’s body at one point or another. “Plus side of taking it slow, I might actually be able to get in shape before I have sex with him.”

Rhodey laughs, dropping next to him on the couch. “That’s one way to look at it. Though, I really don’t think he cares.”

“Eh.” Tony makes a vague, noncommittal noise. Steve doesn’t seem the mean or picky type, but that doesn’t mean he’d love having someone significantly…softer, in bed with him.

“Oh, come on.” Rhodey pokes his side. Tony winces; crunches were hell. Rhodey makes a sympathetic face in apology, but continues, “You’re a little out of shape, but it’s not like you’re a walking marshmallow, Tones. Anyone with eyes could see he was into you today, and if he does have some weird-ass fitness requirement for sex then fuck him.” Rhodey pauses, rethinks what exactly he just said. “Or, not. What I mean is that he can go to hell.”

“Nice catch.”

“You get my point.”

“I do,” Tony admits. Still, he can’t help wondering; maybe Steve’s got some weird thing for picking up people with potential. Maybe Tony’s only acceptable so long as he keeps training, gets better.

“Don’t do that,” Rhodey warns, far too good at reading his expressions.

“Shut up, I’m not doing anything.” Tony smacks him with one of the couch pillows.

“You’re overthinking.” Rhodey catches it and shoves it back at him. “Don’t do that. I’m serious, that guy is definitely into you, and you’re obviously into him. Just keep it simple, see where it goes. You got his number, right?”

“Yeah, just in case—”

Rhodey snorts. “‘In case’ my ass, text the man.”

“But—”

“I’ll take your ice packs back, don’t think I won’t.”

“Fine.” Tony groans, like he hasn’t been itching to do so since pretty much the second Steve drove away.

Thus begins what’s pretty much the greatest month of Tony’s life.

Steve doesn’t seem to have the same slow setting Rhodey does, but he doesn’t overwork Tony either and always listens when Tony says he needs a breather. Tony could definitely do without the lifestyle overhaul, he was much happier eating donuts and not giving a shit, but he’d meet Steve in a dumpster five times a week if that’s where Steve was willing to meet him, so on the whole it’s fine. Much better is the fact that they’re texting regularly—or, as Rhodey puts it, ‘insanely codependently’—and Steve picks him up for the gym most days because he’s ‘in the neighborhood’. It’s definitely a lie; Steve lives in Brooklyn and Tony finds it hard to believe he has business in Manhattan five days a week around the time they work out, but Tony’s certainly not complaining.

They’ve gotten to know each other really well, and Tony’s starting to think he might have a shot after all. Well, he knows Steve would sleep with him, probably would’ve a while ago, but they’re friends by all accounts now and Steve seems to actually like him as a person. If he didn’t, their drives would probably be a lot shorter and their text messages not nearly as long. Tony thinks if he keeps this up, he has a genuine chance at convincing Steve to try a date with him.

Early in month two, Steve hangs back awkwardly while they’re getting ready to leave the locker room. He does this weird, nervous glance-around motion; from Tony, to the door, to his locker, then back again.

“What’s up?” Tony asks when it seems Steve’s just going to fidget until he does. Steve straightens, sucks in a breath.

“So, the water’s out at my apartment. Bucky forgot to pay the bill again, even though I reminded him fifty—but that’s not, uh. The point. Point is, unless I want to be a sweaty mess all day, I have to shower here.” Tony’s not really seeing a problem here, Steve looks gorgeous all sweat-slicked and roughed up, but he supposes he can understand how Steve might not want to stay like that forever. Then Steve steps forward, very close, and Tony stops thinking about anything that isn’t the way Steve’s looking at him, hopeful and promising. “I was kinda thinking maybe we both could.”

Tony stands perfectly still, staring at Steve for a minute and trying to remind himself of the Very Important Thoughts he had at one point about waiting and going slow and not falling into something too fast like he always does and regretting it when Steve doesn’t stick around. On the one hand, he knows if he can keep building this connection they’ve got he has a real shot at maybe convincing Steve to give him a chance. On the other hand…Steve. In a shower. One that it sounds like Tony has an invitation to.

Standing and staring probably isn’t the best response, because Steve’s gone from sweetly optimistic to the most awkward human being alive; he’s rubbing at the back of his neck, shifting around, looking anywhere but at Tony.

“Or not,” he says eventually when Tony can’t bring himself to open his mouth.

He wants to, every fiber of his being is screaming at him to, but he thinks about how it’ll feel when Steve stops texting him after. When they fall out of contact and stop working out together and eventually stop seeing each other around at all. It’s only been a month, but he likes Steve, maybe more than likes Steve, and losing him is the very last thing Tony wants. He’s not going to give it all up just because he can’t keep it in his pants a little longer.

“I actually didn’t really work out that hard today,” Tony says, sniffs his shirt. God that reeks, bad idea. He lies, “Yeah, I don’t really need a shower, so. But don’t mind me, I can wait.”

“Right.” Steve nods, but still won’t quite make eye contact. “I’ll just—be back.”

“Great,” Tony says, because he’s an idiot.

Steve gathers his towel and turns down the hall that leads to the showers. Once he’s gone, Tony leans against the locker with a sigh. It’s going to be worth it, he reminds himself, it’ll all be—

“Did I do something?” Steve blurts as he barrels back around the corner, not stopping to so much as breathe, much less let Tony answer the question, before continuing determinedly. “Because you seemed—it seemed like you liked me, maybe, or at least the muscles, you were always staring at the muscles and then I thought we were getting along really well but the more you got to know me the less you even did that, I bent over like ten times today and you didn’t even blush, and the first time I did that you tripped on a treadmill!”

“Steve, I—” Tony’s not even sure what it is he has to say to that, but Steve isn’t letting him get another word in anyway.

“And I’m not trying to push, if you’re not interested that’s fine, it is, I just—” He makes a noise of frustration. “I really thought you were. Did I do something to change your mind, is it just…you liked me before you got to know me, do you like the muscles and not me, or—”

Tony can’t actually listen to another word of the bullshit that’s coming out of Steve’s mouth right now, so he takes two quick steps forward and pulls Steve in by the front of his shirt. The moment Tony’s lips touch his Steve goes lax, makes a pliant sort of noise into Tony’s mouth. His hands come up to bracket Tony’s waist, warm and gentle until Tony bites at his lip, then Steve’s pushing him up against the lockers, all but scooping Tony up in his arms and clutching at him like he doesn’t ever want to let go.

“So that’s literally the stupidest thought ever,” Tony tells him after, a little breathless.

“What is?” Steve just blinks, gratifyingly breathless as well.

“Me.” Tony thumbs at Steve’s chin, tips it down a little. “Not liking you. Not wanting you.”

“But you stopped…” Steve can’t seem to figure out how to phrase it.

“Staring at you like a creeper?” Tony finishes, grinning a little. “Yeah, Steve, because I got to know you. Which isn’t to say the muscles aren’t still nice.” He runs his hand over Steve’s bicep, because he can now and he’s wanted to for what feels like a hundred years. Christ, it’s even harder than he thought. “But I prefer you. I’d take you over the muscles any day of the week, so yeah, they lost a little of their luster when I could either stare dumbly at them or pay attention to you. Though admittedly I definitely still do both sometimes, just so we’re clear.”

“Just so we’re clear,” Steve echoes, a smile finally dawning on his face again. Tony leans up, steals a taste.

“I wanted to keep you,” he admits when they part. Then, backtracks and rephrases, “In a non-creepy way, I just mean—every time I go fast with someone, I wake up and they’re gone and that’s fine, I don’t have anything against one-nighters, but…I didn’t want that, this time. Not with you. I wanted a forever-nighter, or a—oh god, that’s really cheesy, pretend I didn’t say that, I didn’t mean it like—”

Steve kisses him before he can clarify himself, and Tony figures maybe that’s for the best. At least until Steve pulls away to tease him.

“A forever-nighter, huh?” Tony opens his mouth to tell Steve to shut up, but Steve’s smile goes soft, considering. “I’m game to try if you are.”

“You are?” Tony says before he can help it.

“What did you think I wanted?”

“I…don’t know,” Tony lies, because he’s really not anywhere near Steve’s league and he’d been pretty sure Steve was only interested in a vague, I-could-give-that-a-try sense, but he’s sure not telling Steve that. “Not that. Yet, I mean. I thought I’d be able to convince you to give it a shot eventually, but—”

“Eventually?” Steve stares at him a little, shakes his head with a laugh. “And to think I was waiting on you. If I’d kept waiting, how long were you planning on taking?”

“I don’t know! I didn’t want to be even weirder than I’d already been, you’re half my age—”

“I am not—”

“—and about a hundred thousand times hotter—”

“You—are incredibly—attractive,” Steve punctuates his words with deliberate kisses, and Tony’s not inclined to believe him but Steve angles his hips a little and Tony can feel Steve’s growing erection press against his hip; alright, maybe he’s not doing so bad for himself after all.

“I haven’t even touched you, how—”

“I was thinking about how since we’re on the same page now…” Steve’s hands slide down, under Tony’s shirt a little. “We could maybe take that shower after all.”

“Definitely,” Tony says, entirely too fast, but Steve’s beaming as he starts tugging Tony along by the hem of his shirt. They turn down the hall towards the showers, and because Tony’s a masochist, he can’t help adding, “But I mean, you do understand the concept of ‘out of my league’, right? I’m not crazy here—”

“I flirted with you all the time!”

“Maybe you like to flirt with creeps who stare at you in the gym, I don’t know!”

“I don’t flirt with creeps who stare at me in the gym,” Steve disagrees, tossing a indulgent smile at Tony over his shoulder. “I flirt with dorks who trip on the treadmill and blush whenever I smile at them.”

“I tripped once, and I don’t blush—”

“Honestly, I talked to you first, I gave you a ride home, I gave you my number…how many signs did you want?”

“A literal one with ‘hey Tony ask me out sometime’ would’ve been nice.”

“I’ll have to work on that.” Steve laughs, comes to a stop in front of one of the showers. It’s got a privacy door, which is nice, though it’s a miracle no one’s come in yet as it is and anyone paying attention is still probably going to hear them. Tony really couldn’t care less.

Especially because Steve’s decided that now is the right moment to strip off his shirt.

The difference between how Steve affects him with his shirt on and how Steve affects him with his shirt off is somehow much, much greater than Tony could’ve imagined, and he can’t remember for the life of him why he didn’t invite Steve home weeks ago. The first day he saw him in the gym, even.

“We’re back to the staring?” Steve teases, entirely unselfconscious. He was in the military, Tony remembers, he’s probably used to it. Not to mention, what the hell does a guy like that have to be self-conscious about?

And just like that, Tony’s others worries begin to creep back up on him.

“You can’t just spring that—” Tony gestures vaguely at Steve’s general chest region. “—on a guy and not expect a reaction. Jesus, what the hell is your shoulder to waist ratio, anyway? You look like a Dorito.”

“A sexy Dorito, I’d hope,” Steve jokes, but there’s nerves in there too, and Tony can’t even begin to understand how or why.

“Yeah, Steve, you’re kind of the single sexiest Dorito I know. Happy?”

“Kinda.” Steve grins, then drops his pants.

Tony very steadily does not look, meets Steve’s eyes instead. “Get in the shower.”

This’ll all be better with—with water, and mist, and if they’re close together so Steve won’t have as much space to look at Tony or compare them and realize how laughably, pathetically short Tony comes up in that comparison.

“What was that?” Steve pretends not to hear him right, kicks off his pants and sidles closer instead. He tilts his head as he puts on the most ridiculous innocent puppy face Tony’s ever seen. It’s more than a little adorable, and for a minute Tony kind of forgets about the rest of it. “I didn’t quite hear you.”

“Sure you didn’t.” Tony can’t help a smile, flicks his chest. “I said get in the shower, Rogers.”

“Wouldn’t wanna start without you,” Steve disagrees. “Gotta conserve water, and all.”

Alright, so he’s being stupid. It’s not like he hasn’t been with pretty people before, gorgeous people, stunning people; he’s never cared before, and neither have they. It doesn’t matter, he looks fine, it doesn’t fucking matter. He reaches to strip off his shirt, but his gaze dips as he does and he sees Steve’s goddamn abs— “I really think you should get in first.”

Steve’s brow dips in confusion. “Why?”

“I just…” Tony rubs a hand over his face. Honesty is probably something that should happen right now. “I’m not super eager, for the whole…” He waves a hand vaguely between them, trying to symbolize the physical comparison of their bodies. Steve misinterprets him drastically.

“Tony, God, if you didn’t want to why didn’t you say something?” Steve grabs his pants, makes to put them back on. “That wouldn’t—doesn’t—change how I feel about you, we don’t have to—”

“Nope, not what I meant, hard stop.” Tony yanks Steve’s pants out his hands. “If you put your pants back on before I get the chance to unspeakable things to you, I might actually cry. Do you want me to cry?”

“No.” A funny, unsure little smile flickers over Steve’s face, like he’s not sure if he’s allowed to laugh or not. “Okay, so you…do want to?”

“I very, very much want to,” Tony clarifies, then sighs. “I just meant…we look pretty different, Steve. You’ve got the whole Greek god thing going for you, and I’m about a hundred and ten percent sure you could bench press me, meanwhile I lift twenty pound dumbbells that might as well have Hello Kitty stickers on them. I just don’t want you to be...”

Disappointed, he thinks but doesn’t say.

Steve’s got both arms around him in the space of a second, hugging him so tight Tony forgets he should probably finish that sentence some better way. Steve buries his face in Tony’s neck, and after a beat he presses a kiss there. He draws back only enough to bring his hands up, cup Tony’s face and bring their foreheads together.

“You are perfect,” Steve enunciates clearly and firmly. “Exactly the way you are.”

Tony can’t help himself. “Now who’s being cheesy?”

“Me,” Steve agrees without missing a beat. “Tony, I’ve been spending my free time working out for years, I like it. You came here because a friend dragged you, and you hate it.”

“I don’t hate—”

Steve interrupts him with a kiss. As interruptions go, it’s pretty effective. “You do. And I’m pretty aware now that you wouldn’t still be doing this if it wasn’t a way to see me, which, I’m grateful, but you don’t have to. I’m not under any delusions that you’re some budding fitness nut, Tony. I know who you are, and I like who you are. You could look like a donut for all I care.”

“If I stop coming here so often, I just might,” Tony jokes.

“Fine by me,” Steve agrees simply, kissing him again, soft and slow this time.

They move back towards the shower, not breaking away for any longer than is strictly necessary for Tony to get his clothes off. Steve helps, a little, but mostly he pushes things up or down and then lingers on the skin underneath, running his fingers along Tony’s stomach—he might, maaaybe have an ab or two forming, but even after a month of crunches they’ve so far remained stubbornly dormant—and over his thighs as Steve pulls him closer and murmurs terribly sappy things in his ear.

He draws the line at beautiful, Tony, so beautiful because it’s getting pretty much impossible to hide how he’s blushing now, and that’s unacceptable. He turns so Steve can’t see the red burning his cheeks, opens the door to the shower instead. Steve just follows him in, arms coming around Tony from behind while Steve lays kisses down the back of his neck.

“Okay, we get it, I’m not a complete human disaster,” Tony says, because joking is  easier than thank you and much more acceptable than oops I think I’m kind of falling in love with you.

Steve nips at his ear and squeezes the arm he’s got around Tony’s waist, pulling them closer together. He can feel Steve hard against him, and he’s expecting more sentimental mush when Steve’s breath ghosts warm over his ear. “Now I didn’t say that, did I?”

Tony can’t help it, he laughs. “Jerk.”

Steve just hums, amused and happy. Tony elbows him, wrestles around in Steve’s arms to give him a proper kiss, push him back against the wall of the shower. Steve grunts when he hits it—a pain grunt, not a fun grunt—and then freezing cold water cascades down on them.

“Holy shit,” Tony yelps.

“Okay, bad idea,” Steve agrees.

They dash out of the spray together, to the two opposing, tiny little corners of the stall that aren’t currently drenched. They stand there, shivering and looking at each other for a minute, until they both start laughing at the same time.

Tony grins at him. “So is shower sex a thing for you, is that something I should be aware of? Because to be honest with you, I’m not a fan so far.”

“It went a hell of a lot smoother in my head, that’s for sure. I…” Steve drew it out a moment, before admitting, “Haven’t actually done this before. The in-a-shower part, I mean.”

Tony can’t help it, he laughs. He laughs so hard he has to bend forward a little, getting caught in the spray again until he sputters and leans back. “So you haven’t ever done this before, but you thought that in public and for your first time with a new person would be the perfect place to try it out?”

“I don’t know!” Steve shrugs defensively, but then he seems to see how Tony’s grinning and realizes Tony’s laughing with him, not at him. “I guess I just—I kept waiting for you to invite me up one day, or out sometime, and you never did, and I’ve never really been the patient type, so…this was here, we were here…”

Tony places a hand over his heart. “How utterly romantic.”

“Shut up.” Steve kicks his heel.

“Make me,” Tony taunts confidently, assuming the arctic spray will keep Steve from being able to follow through.

Steve glances at the showerhead for a second, then seems to come a conclusion something like fuck it and crosses the spray to kiss Tony quiet anyway. He crowds Tony into his corner, trying to fit them both in there, but the only thing he really manages to do is rub them together and that’s—that’s definitely something. It’d be a lot better if Steve wasn’t soaked and shivering though.

“Why is it still so damn c-cold?” Steve demands, though it comes out a bit like a whine.

“If you’re really set on this shower thing,” Tony tells him, reaching up to brush the dripping hair from Steve’s eyes. “I just so happen to own one. I know, crazy, but maybe you might prefer—”

“Let’s get the hell out of here,” Steve agrees immediately.

They don’t come up for air again until the weekend’s over. Tony would apologize for making Steve miss his workouts, but he’s pretty sure they’re doing alright on that front. The only reason they come up at all is because Steve belatedly realizes that he’s missed Sunday dinner, which is apparently A Big Thing in his family. They go on a three hour hunt for Steve’s phone—okay, they hunt for half an hour, get distracted making out, then find it in the couch when it starts digging into Tony’s back—and discover Steve has forty-seven missed calls. It occurs to Tony he should probably also check his phone at some point. He has no missed calls, but he does have a picture message from Rhodey of him and Steve naked and passed out on the couch. It’s captioned ‘nice’. There’s a follow-up text about Rhodey crashing at Carol’s place until Steve is gone and Tony buys them a new couch. He had been kind of wondering where his roommate had gone.

“Good news, turns out Rhodey’s alive after all,” Tony tells Steve. “Crashing at his girlfriend’s for now, and really, I think we did them a favor. He should’ve moved in there months ago.”

“That’s good,” Steve says, but it’s automatic. He’s still listening to his messages, his face going whiter with each one.

“You okay there?” Tony touches his elbow, and Steve nods quickly.

“My mom thinks I’m dead in a ditch and I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to tell her.” Tony opens his mouth and Steve shoots him a look. “Without using the phrase ‘weekend sex marathon’.”

Tony clicks his tongue. “And there go all my ideas.”

“That’s what I thought.” Steve glances at him, an amused smile on his face until the next message starts to play. Then it drops.

“You should go see her,” Tony says. Though he may want to fix that little frown by dragging Steve back into bed, he knows their weekend has to end sometime. Besides, Steve’s mom is crazy important to him; he’s not going to feel better until he fixes things.

“Yeah.” Steve sighs, takes his phone from his ear. He fiddles with it for a moment, turning it over in his hands before glancing at Tony. “So, I certainly won’t be using the phrase ‘weekend sex marathon’, but, uh. I do tell her most things.”

“You gonna tell her what I showed you Saturday morning?” Tony grins. Steve colors, but it’s more pleasure at the memory than embarrassment. Yeah, he knows exactly what Tony’s referring to.

“Some things aren’t meant to be shared,” Steve admits.

“I don’t know, I had a lot more fun sharing it with you than I would’ve had all by myself,” Tony jokes.

“Some thing are just for us, then,” Steve corrects, smile softening. “And that’s…kind of what I wanted to ask you about, actually.”

“If this is a super-belated morning after talk, I’m gonna need about eight more cups of coffee first.”

“Hey.” Steve takes his hand, squeezes. “Thought we talked about that. Shooting for the forever-nighter, right?”

“I still can’t believe I said that out loud.” Tony groans a little for show, but if it got him here…well, he’d say a lot worse.

Strange thing is, Tony kind of believes they could manage it. A ‘forever-nighter’, or at least a hopefully-very-long-time-nighter. They’ve only known each other a little while, and yet…it doesn’t feel like it. Not at all. And for all their jokes of a ‘weekend sex marathon’, there’d been a lot of lounging around, a lot of teasing each other and eating takeout on the couch and watching terrible movies, talking long past when the credits finished rolling. He hasn’t felt a connection like this before with anyone, and it’s as thrilling as it is daunting.

“So is there a…word, you prefer?” Steve’s playing with Tony’s fingers a little now, flexing, running his thumb over the knuckles. It’s a nervous gesture, Tony knows. “Continuing beyond the weekend sex marathon, that is?”

“My preferred title is Satan Prince of Darkness, but since we’re in a relationship now I’ll allow a simple ‘your highness’.”

“Hilarious.” Steve rolls his eyes, but it has the desired effect; he loosens up, smiles. “I can tell my mom I was with my boyfriend, then.”

“Yeah, you goof,” Tony tells him, affectionate, pulling Steve along by their linked hands into a kiss. He lingers, other hand stroking along Steve’s cheek. “Tell her whatever makes you happy.”

“So about you, then,” Steve says, and it’s sweet, but it’s also so incredibly sappy.

“I’m dating a marshmallow,” Tony sighs, acts put upon.

“Don’t pretend you don’t love it.” Steve just laughs, cuddling into him and kissing down his neck.

“You’re going to get us distracted again,” Tony warns, eyes fluttering shut anyway as Steve’s arms wrap around him and lift.

“I’ve been missing three days.” Steve shrugs as he carries Tony back to bed. “I can be missing an hour more.”

“We keep this up, I might be able to quit the gym after all.” Tony grins as Steve lays him on the bed, crawls on top of him. They kiss for a long moment, until it seems to occur to Steve what Tony said.

“You can quit anytime you want, Tony.” Steve looks a little confused. “I don’t care, you know that.”

“Well, yeah.” Tony reaches up, runs his palm over Steve’s cheek to draw him back into a kiss. “But if you haven’t noticed, I kinda like seeing you.”

Steve huffs a laugh. “You really are hopeless, you know that? I ought to make you that sign after all—”

“Sign?”

“Hey Tony.” Steve drops down so he’s propped up only by his elbows, face very close to Tony’s as he smiles and spells it out for him, “Ask me out sometime.”

“Oh.” Tony remember now, colors a little. “Well, obviously we’ll be doing that too, I just—it was nice, the whole…five times a week, seeing you regularly, thing.”

“You can see me as many times a week as you want.” It’s clearly supposed to be teasing, but it’s undercut by the soft expression on Steve’s face. “And you don’t have to torture yourself for it, either. If you liked working out together that’d be one thing, but you don’t, so…don’t.” Steve bends forward, presses a kiss under Tony’s collarbone, just above his heart. “I mean, it’s good for you, so no promises that Rhodey and I won’t team up and drag you along every once in a while, but. Don’t do something you hate just to see me, okay? I’m easy, you can see me whenever you want.”

“Easy, huh?” Tony grins and gropes Steve, focusing on the innuendo because it’s easier to deal with than the grateful, pleased emotions swirling around in him like a brewing tornado. “Never would’ve guessed, Rogers.”

Steve huffs a laugh and lets Tony distract him. He sees through Tony, more than most, and he’s only gotten better at it over their weekend together. He knows Tony got the message. They kiss and they roll and Tony’s busy getting Steve’s pants back off when Steve leans up on his elbows.

“Why don’t you pick me up?”

Tony stops what he’s doing, rakes his gaze over Steve.

“You mean like you did this morning?” Tony’s not lacking in experience by any measure, but Steve’s the first partner who’s been able to hold him up through the entire act. It was something they’d explored in depth, and something Tony’s entirely sure he’s not capable of reciprocating. “Would if I could, but, I mean—”

“No.” Steve laughs, sits up and pulls Tony into a kiss. There’s something exciting in the kiss, promising. “We’re absolutely doing that again sometime, but no. I meant from gym. You want to see me regularly, that’s a pretty good way. We can get lunch, or go hang out someplace…whatever we want.”

Tony leans into the hand Steve’s got cupping his cheek, presses a kiss to his palm. “Has anyone ever told you it’s kind of disgusting how perfect you are?”

“Just you.” Steve grins. “Repeatedly.”

“I’m good for you, then,” Tony decides. “Someone’s gotta cut that ego of yours down, Rogers, it’s a real problem.”

“Well, you’re half right, at least.” Steve drops his hand and wraps his arms around Tony’s waist, tugging him back into his lap. “You’re definitely good for me.”

“Everyone needs a good old-fashioned weekend sex marathon every once in a while,” Tony agrees. “Good for the health.”

“Sure, Tony.” Steve just smiles, draws him into a kiss. “That’s why.”