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Second Life

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Everyone expects Cap and Wolverine to hate each other on sight if not sooner, given Cap’s initial reaction to Tony Stark. And, indeed, their initial meeting – to coordinate on taking down a particularly unpleasant mutant supervillain – is not what you’d call friendly. Cordial, maybe, for the value of cordial which includes Wolverine.

(“So you’re Captain America.”

“Yes.”

“I’m Canadian.”)

But it turns out that a pair of men who’ve been experimented on by government agencies, with the result of becoming super-soldiers who can’t die, have a lot to talk about. And Wolverine remembers some of the same things Cap does, from way back when Cap was first around. Cap rather enjoys talking to someone who can say, “I was there.”

By the time they’re spending most Saturdays getting drunk (well, drinking, neither of them really gets or stays drunk, so they explore interesting flavors (Cap) or just a lot of beer (Wolverine)) and reminiscing, and Wolverine has helped Cap figure out some of the odder bits of this new century, they are Steve and Logan. The friendship baffles everyone else, but who cares?

*

Steve rather likes country music. It’s suitably melancholy, much of the time, and spends a lot of time talking about the ‘good old days.’ He’s willing to admit that this new century has a lot of good things, but he misses his home, darnit, and sometimes it’s nice to wallow in that.

Then one day he runs across Sugarland’s cover of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” and spends three hours crying.

He doesn’t listen to much country after that.

*

Amusingly enough, being friends with Logan makes it easier for Steve to deal with Tony. Being friends with Logan, after all, means being able to disregard the crude jokes and cigars and penchant for far too much beer, and pay attention to the interesting if violent person under all of that. Dealing with Tony requires disregarding the drunkenness and the womanizing and the attitude and paying attention to the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist underneath, who is, in his own messed-up way, attempting to do the right thing most of the time.

Also, Logan likes Tony, because he always has a lot of alcohol around. Steve drinks for the flavor (and, admittedly, Tony has some very good alcohol around), and Logan drinks for the fun of it, and Tony…well, after the first time he and Logan had a drinking contest and he passed out, he learned better than to try to keep up…but it’s not too long after Steve and Logan really become friends that their weekly meetups start to happen in Stark Tower, on the floor that Tony set aside for Steve.

Tony Stark and Logan who-the-heck-knows are not the friends Steve assumed he would have in the 21st century, when he first woke up, but apparently they’re what he’s got.

*

Steve thinks it’s because of the ice – certainly he didn’t feel like this in what he’s come to think of as his first life – but these days he feels touch-starved. He craves human contact; but how do you say to someone that you just want a hug, or…no. He can’t do it. So he’s grateful for his friends, who sling an arm around his shoulders or clap him on the back. Tony hugs him sometimes, in the throes of creative ecstasy. He’ll fling his arms around Steve and grin up at him, and then jump back and clap Steve on the shoulder and say, “Oh, hey, sorry Cap,” and go off to invent something brilliant.

Steve doesn’t hug back – the hugs are always so surprising that he doesn’t have time to react – but sometimes he thinks about what it would be like to wrap his arms around Tony and just hold on until he finally feels content. Tony would be very surprised, he thinks, and probably start babbling. But he’d cooperate, too, just stay still and hug back until Steve let go. Tony’s good like that.

Logan doesn’t hug – the idea is absurd – but he sprawls, arms over the back of couches and legs spread wide in chairs, and it isn’t hard for Steve to maneuver to be where Logan’s inevitable sprawling will cover. He never objects to the hand on his shoulder or the knee bumping his, and sometimes when he looks like he’s staring into his drink and thinking about the next one, he’s really savoring the feeling of body heat and closeness.

*

Steve thinks about sex a lot. He’s a red-blooded male, and the women of this century dress…decent women of his own century would rather have died than go out in so little. The first time he saw a ‘bikini swimsuit’ he nearly swore out loud. It’s hard not to notice the legs and chests and lovely voluptuousness of women who are showing it off so deliberately.

What surprises him is that he isn’t always thinking about women when he thinks about sex.

It’s apparently normal now. There’s laws allowing men to marry other men, women to marry other women. There’s even a word for it – ‘gay’ means something very different now than it did when Steve first heard it. Mind, there are people railing against the immorality of gayness, but Steve has heard a lot of railing about immorality, and frankly, he died fighting Nazis. Who wanted to destroy the world. Men having sex with men is not even in the same league, and he says as much the first time someone asks him his opinion on homosexuality. What business is it of his who does what to whom in their own homes, as long as everyone wants to be there? They’re not building concentration camps and using Asgardian magic to create superweapons. It’s all good.

But that’s abstract. He’s the guardian of freedom, or some such nonsense, and it’s only right for him to stand up for the little man. Not too long ago, by his own personal timeline, he was the little man. Doesn’t mean he has to be gay himself.

Which is why the dreams featuring men are such a surprise.

*

It’s a bit ironic for a many-decades-old virgin to be best friends with two of the biggest womanizers on the East Coast. Tony turned it down while he was with Pepper, but that fell through – see also Tony is kind of an ass – and now he’s back to sleeping with anything on two legs, it seems like; and Logan is very attractive to women in his rough-hewn sort of way.

So Steve gets used to showing up at Stark Tower for their Saturday drinking fests to see Tony ushering a beautiful woman out the door, both disheveled and in yesterday’s clothing. He gets used to Logan showing up half an hour late and smelling of perfume and sex, with a wide smile on his face.

He is, however, a little surprised the day he arrives at Stark Tower to find Tony ushering a beautiful man out the door. He manages not to look gobsmacked, just wanders in as he usually does and sits down in the middle of the huge decadent couch (bigger than his whole bed used to be, back in his first life), but when Tony comes back from letting his latest bedmate out, he looks uncharacteristically worried.

Steve says, “So what new and terrifying type of alcohol do you have for us today?” Tony has made a hobby out of finding weird and exotic types of booze, so that Steve has something new almost every week. He rather liked jalapeno tequila.

Tony says, “Pizza beer. Should amuse Logan. You’re…ok with this?”

Steve assumes he doesn’t mean the pizza beer. “What you do in your bedroom is your business, Tony.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know what Captain America’s stance is. I want to know if Steve is ok with it.”

Steve considers this for a moment. Then he shrugs. “Since Steve has no personal experience of any type, barring a couple of kisses, Steve doesn’t care who you’re sleeping with.”

Tony’s jaw drops. “Seriously? That’s not just propaganda? Jesus Christ, man, you’re the embodiment of human perfection and you’ve never been laid?”

Which is, of course, when Logan walks in and starts laughing. Steve manages to deflect him with pizza beer, and Tony is just barely tactful enough to drop the subject, though Steve catches him glancing over every so often and muttering, “That’s just wrong, man,” under his breath.

*

That is, of course, not the end of it, though someone – probably Pepper – talks Tony out of his plan to get Steve a dozen hookers of both genders. Steve hears about the aborted plan from Clint, who is laughing about it with Natasha, and takes thirty seconds to say a brief prayer of thanks that Pepper is around even after the messy breakup.

Logan, after his laughing fit, ignores the whole issue of Steve’s virginity or lack thereof, and they drink beer and discuss war and technology and art as they always have.

Steve thinks about it, alone in his flat, sometimes: what would it be like to have someone to share his bed? To kiss someone and know that more than kisses would follow? To touch someone skin-to-skin and learn what made them moan?

But he’s not going to just go out and find a random person, even if he could. Sex should mean something.

…Not that you could prove that by Tony or Logan. But Steve isn’t planning to use them as role models, after all.

*

Natasha is beautiful and terrifying. Pepper is beautiful and equally terrifying in a completely different way which involves more organization and fewer knives. Agent Hill is…Steve doesn’t even know her given name. And it’s awfully hard to talk to women when most of them are mostly interested in Captain America, and none of them have any of the same ways of flirting as the dames of Steve’s first life. Not that they flirted with him, but he’s good at observing.

Steve’s lived this long without sex, he tells himself, he can live a bit longer the same way.

…He could proposition Tony, but that would end badly.

*

It’s Logan’s fault, or his responsibility, or something, Steve thinks groggily the morning after he loses his virginity.

Logan who has enhanced senses, apparently.

Logan who finally got fed up and growled, “If you’re going to spend every Saturday smelling like you want to fuck, fucking well say something and we’ll fuck!”

Which caused Tony to sit up straight in his corner of the couch, staring at Steve with his mouth open, and squeak, “You’re gay?”

“Bisexual, I think, is the word,” Steve replied.

Tony made a soft gobbling noise, followed by squeaking, “You mean I have a chance?” and lunging across the couch to kiss Steve.

Steve was…not expecting a kiss. Which meant that it was messy and a little painful when their teeth knocked together, and then his libido woke up and reminded him that he had been wanting to have sex for quite some time now and there was this newfangled concept of ‘friends with benefits’ anyhow, and Tony was an attractive if rather promiscuous man.

So he kissed back. Not skillfully, perhaps, but with feeling, and Tony made a noise that could only be described as a moan and straddled Steve’s lap. Beside them, Logan laughed aloud, stubbed out his cigar, and said cheerfully, “I’ll just be going, then.”

Steve will never know what possessed him to say, “No, stay.” Apparently it surprised Logan and Tony, too, judging by the completely gobsmacked expressions on both faces, and then Logan laughed again.

“By God, the boy has balls!” he said merrily, and leaned in to take a kiss.

From there, the rest of the evening was a little hazy: skin, and kisses, and body heat; the noises Tony made when Steve pinned him down and kissed him thoroughly; the low growl in Logan’s throat as he demonstrated, on a willing and whimpering Tony, exactly how to prepare a man for penetration – and the same low growl again as he slid strong blunt fingers into Steve; the thin keening in Tony’s throat and the tight warmth of him around Steve’s prick as they both held still, waiting for Logan to finally slide all the way, balls-deep and wonderful, into Steve’s ass.

The joy of being surrounded by warmth and human contact, of making love; Logan’s broad strength behind him and Tony writhing beneath him; the rhythm of movement and the glory of it.

The discovery that his refractory period is very, very short.

Tony demonstrating the finer points of a blow job, and taking great pride in rendering Steve absolutely speechless and limp with pleasure.

Sacking out in the big bed with a warm body on either side of him, finally feeling as though he’d gotten enough touch, enough contact…at least for a little while.

So yes, Steve thinks, waking up the next morning, definitely Logan’s fault. He will have to buy Logan a case or two of really good beer.

*

He draws it, later. What he remembers of it, anyhow: Logan, dark and broad and shadowed, up on his knees, pressed up against Steve’s back with his fingers digging into Steve’s hips. Steve himself, braced against the bed on hands and knees, face washed out by the light of the arc reactor beneath him, head thrown back. Tony, flat on his back, knees bent and feet on the bed to figleaf them all, hands gripping the bars of the headboard so tightly his knuckles are white, staring up into Steve’s face with an expression of lust and wonder.

He keeps the drawing in its own folder. Someday perhaps he’ll show it to Logan and Tony, but not anytime soon.