Tony Stark has a total of twenty-six scars on his body.
Steve should know- he’s taken his time exploring, circling his tongue around Tony’s navel, scraping around the shell of his ear, the thick cords of his thighs.
He’s counted them, individually, when Tony had been dead to the world after 58 hours of being down in the workshop after a particularly taxing battle that had cost them
12,93 too many casualties.
He knows the length, the shape, the placement- he often rubs a thumb over an old burn on the base of Tony’s neck when they’re doing something, and Tony always leans into him.
Steve’s kissed the scars, teased them with his teeth, followed them with his fingers like a map, like Tony is aged asphalt and yellow lines and can take him anywhere, anywhere he’s ever wanted, while they’re lying on the bed on a Sunday when the world doesn’t need saving.
Steve knows the scars, he has them catalogued in his head, he can reach out and loop an arm around Tony and know which one he’s closest to. He knows them, knows the slow drag of them under his tongue, the ribbed, faded lines under his palm.
The main ones, the ones on Tony’s chest, are kind of hard to miss. That’s sort of why Tony doesn’t take his shirt off in public anymore (and yes, it had happened more than the usual person ends up shirtless, go screw yourself).
Those scars are why Tony puts off taking his shirt when he and Steve first start dating.
Not that Tony had called it ‘dating’ for a while-for the first few weeks he had sort of sidestepped around it, saying ‘this is my-’ and using words like ‘close friend’ and finally just ‘Steve’- this is my Steve, and Steve had gotten a bigger buzz out of that than all of the champagne he had drank that evening- until finally he had tripped up and said ‘boyfriend’ and then had basically froze up for six seconds while a few people had stared.
Of course, when Tony Stark freezes up, people start noticing, and Tony had just stood there with his mouth half-open and his eyes wide while everyone had started turning to him.
Then Steve (figuring half the room was already looking so he might as well give them something to look at) had crossed the room, span Tony around, dipped him, and had kissed him hard on the mouth.
A chorus of wolf-whistles (mostly Natasha) and surprised clapping had broken out, and Tony had been red-faced and mostly incoherent when Steve had pulled back.
Clint had said, I think you broke him, and Tony had pulled the finger at him as a reflex. Steve had huffed out a laugh, and Tony had laughed with him, his smile getting too loose and on the wrong side of wobbly.
Anyway, the scars-
Tony had avoided it for a good two months- taking his shirt off, he means. He had always directed Steve’s hands elsewhere, which, granted, had resulted in some very satisfying handjobs, blowjobs, even some rimming, which Tony had been particularly surprised by (but not displeased, because Steve does his fucking research), but after a while, Steve just decides to bite the bullet.
“I want to see you.”
Tony doesn’t even pause in unbuttoning Steve’s pants. “You are seeing me. Right here, Cap. Unless I’ve suddenly gone invisible, which still wouldn’t pass as the worst thing that’s happened to me this week, that fucking balloon monster’s goo took me three showers to get ou-”
“Tony.” Steve catches Tony’s hand, which is in the middle of reaching down to do something very, very nice to the head of Steve’s cock, but Steve forces himself to continue. “I want to see all of you.”
His free hand goes to the corner of Tony’s shirt and stays there- a tank top, rough to the touch, one of the ones Tony always wears when he’s down in the workshop.
Tony stops, his hands going still. “Uh.”
He sits back slightly; licks his lips. “Are you sure?”
“If you are.”
Tony snorts. “Oh, my god, don’t give me that. I’m not a 15-year-old girl getting ready for her first time, I have done this before-”
“We’ll stop if you’re not comfortable with-”
Tony full-on laughs at that. “You- oh, god.” He raises a hand to his eyes, chuckling. “You have no idea how ironic that- fuck. Fine, let’s get naked.”
He tries to make it funny, wriggling teasingly out of his pants, biting a laugh out of Steve, and then both of their pants are gone, and Steve’s top, and they’re both completely naked except for Tony’s shirt, and Tony’s eyes sort of drop to the floor.
“It’s- it’s not-” Tony stops, swallows, tries again. “It’s not really- it’s not nice, Steve. There’s a lot of damage t-”
Steve hand comes up to push slightly against the arc rector through his shirt, and Tony’s breath catches.
Steve watches Tony’s face carefully. “Is this okay?”
Tony sucks a shaky breath. “What? Oh, yeah. Yeah, this is- good. Just, uh. Shirt off now?”
“Shirt off now,” Steve agrees, half-laughing. He grips the fabric and tugs, the shirt sliding up Tony’s chest and over his shoulders, then his head, and he tosses the shirt in a pile with the rest of the clothes- well, most of them, anyway. He’s sort of lost track of his socks at some point.
Tony opens his mouth like he’s going to say something, and then he just shuts up and clenches his jaw, his eyes trained somewhere above Steve’s head.
Finally, when the silence gets too much- about four seconds, Tony’s never had good patience, sue him- Tony flexes his hands. “So, are you just going to stand there and stare, or-”
Steve says, “Wow.”
Tony stutters a laugh. “Um. Thank you? I mean, it’s pretty shiny, s-”
Steve says, “You’re amazing,” and then he’s leaning in, kissing Tony in that light, sweet way that never fails to make Tony as lightheaded as he had been the first time, and Tony’s hands go up to cup Steve’s head as a reflex.
Steve’s head, which is inexplicably moving down.
Tony starts to say something about impromptu blowjobs, but his breath is punched out of him as Steve splays a hand over the arc reactor again, but this time the edges of his hand touch Tony’s bare chest.
Tony manages to pull in a lungful of air, then another- he’s breathing shallowly, because Steve’s too good to be true and he’s looking at the arc reactor like it’s the most gorgeous thing he’s ever seen, like Tony’s the most gorgeous thing he’s ever seen, like he’s precious.
Tony can’t speak, doesn’t want to, doesn’t want to know what he’d say other than oh as Steve kisses his way around where metal blends into the skin, down the sloping scars, the ugly ones, the ones that are a blunt white and stretch out and away.
Steve’s kissing him, trailing his lips over the metal, over the scars, over the weight that doesn’t seem that heavy when Steve’s touching it, and Tony feels like his knees are going to give out.
He’s not even paying attention to his breathing now, he could be fucking hyperventilating for all he cares, and Steve stands again, stooping to kiss him, one hand idly stroking the edges of the arc reactor.
Tony’s hands go up to crush him closer, and that’s when he realizes he’s shaking- he’s trembling, all over, he’s practically vibrating, with one arm locked around Steve’s shoulders to hold him up.
Steve leans back slightly, his free hand on Tony’s cheek. “You okay?”
Tony makes a soft, needy noise, feeling too heavy, too full, wanting Steve like he once wanted a bottle of vodka, wants to put him to his lips and drink him down.
He says, “I-” and then just gives up, because he’s horrible at this, always has been, so he just grabs Steve and pulls him down, his shaking fingers locking in his hair.
And Steve kisses him, his hand steadying him, because gets it, he always does.
They don’t fuck, they don’t even do anything after that, they just tangle around each other and fall asleep with Tony’s head in the crook of Steve’s neck, and wow, Tony’s way too far gone.
“We should go somewhere.”
Everyone looks up- they always seem to gravitate around the table in the mornings, Bruce, Natasha and Tony towards the coffee, Clint towards the Lucky Charms, and Steve and Thor towards the toaster.
Clint’s cheeks bulge with Lucky Charms, but he manages, “Guu whar.”
Which Steve wisely translates to go where, and taps his fork against the side of his plate. “I don’t know, somewhere. I’ve never actually seen much of America, if you don’t count the shows in the 40s, which I don’t, because all I ever saw was the back of a stage.”
Tony starts humming Star Spangled Man, and Steve bats him on the arm with his fork. “Don’t. That song still haunts me in my nightmares. I just-” he shrugs. “I thought it’d be nice to do a team thing without having to clean up New York afterwards. Something non life-threatening and… I don’t know, normal.”
“Because we’re totally the average American family,” Natasha deadpans, her hand curling around her frankly terrifyingly strong brew, because apparently Russians like coffee to taste like rocket fuel.
Bruce stretches as he reaches for the newspaper. “I think it’d be nice. Impossible, but nice. I haven’t seen much of America, either. And we could actually drive places and see things- sorry, Tony, no offence, but jets get a bit boring after a while.”
Tony shrugs. “None taken.”
Thor pounds his hand down on the table- Tony lifts his cup up and Clint lifts his bowl; they’ve both had many spilled breakfasts after unplanned Thor-age. “I agree with my shieldbrother. We should go on a quest.”
Clint blinks at Thor for a second before putting his bowl back down. “And while we’re off touring for the world’s largest ball of string, we’re going to casually ignore the whole ‘New York burning down in flames’ thing, right?”
“It’s like Fury said.” Steve starts cutting into his toast again- because he cuts his toast, what the fuck- “We’re not the only superhero team in the world.”
“Aye.” Thor nods. “We could call the X-Men to guard our fair city while we’re away.”
Tony hmmm’s thoughtfully. “Like house-sitting.”
He stretches, cat-like, and slides himself off of the bench. “Okay, I’m in. Roadtrip, guys?”
Clint shovels yet another spoon into his mouth. “Whurr wood we guu?”
Bruce says, “I haven’t seen the world’s largest ball of string.”
Natasha eyes him pityingly. “We’re not going to see the world’s largest ball of string. It’s not that big, anyway.”
Thor frowns. “What is string?”
“You’re telling me you’ve been here for almost two years and don’t know what string is.” Tony sighs, raising a hand to rub at his eyes. “It’s- it’s a thing, it’s like- twine? Fuck, I don’t know-” he drops his hand. “Are we going or not?”
Natasha makes a face. “To see the world’s largest ball of string?”
“Nope.” Tony eyes Steve’s knife, the one he’s using to cut his toast, and doesn’t even feel annoyed- he would if it was someone else, because seriously, just pick it up and eat it like any sane person- “To see the world’s largest corn cobb. Or something. Any of the ‘world’s largest things’ that are in America, I don’t really care.”
Clint opens his mouth, and Tony says, “Clint, if you make a dick joke, I swear to god.”
Steve grins. “So. Roadtrip?”
Tony rolls his eyes fondly, trying not to smile, because the guy cuts his toast, damnit. “Roadtrip.”