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They establish pretty early on that Steve isn’t comfortable going any further than making out.

Tony takes the news easier than Steve does: Tony nods and opens his mouth to ask if Steve wants tacos for dinner instead of souvlaki, and Steve growls and flops on the bed, scowling at the ceiling.

Tony shuts up about takeout and lies down next to him. “Uh. You good?”

“I am so. Sexually. FRUSTRATED,” Steve grits, crossing his arms over his chest.

He watches Tony bite his lip against a grin. “Well, we can take care of that later.”

“Could take care of it now,” Steve mutters, though it’s fruitless. He’s expecting the next words.

“Yeah,” Tony allows, “but you wouldn’t enjoy it.”

“…I might.”

Tony props his face up on his elbow so he’s looking down at Steve. “You literally just explained how you get all nervous and freaked out and lost in your head and everything becomes awkward and terrible. And trust me, it’s very noticeable. And Steve, one thing in common about everyone I’ve slept with? I’ve made sure they enjoyed it, and if they didn’t, I stopped and asked them how to get them enjoying it. So it turns out you need some more time, so what?”

Steve turns his head to stare at him, his eyes turning calculating and determined, like they do when he’s forming a risky plan. “What if we get it over with and then I try and enjoy it? If I do it once, my body will know what to expect so I won’t be nervous and awful.”

“You weren’t awful.”

Steve’s stare turns into a glare. It had been going well, he admits, but only up until Steve started taking off Tony’s shirt. Then, even though he had Tony’s bare back under his fingers and Tony’s pleased sounds in his mouth, all he could think about was how Tony’s knee was digging into his leg and how uncomfortable his neck was in this position and how a sudden knot of anxiety was thrumming behind his breastbone.

Out of nowhere, Steve had been jolted back into his own head and nothing was enjoyable even when he had been floating on a cloud five seconds ago. After that, he kept kissing Tony for about a minute, managed to get Tony’s shirt half-off before Tony leaned back and asked Steve what was wrong.

“Fine. You were marginally awful after you stopped enjoying it.” Tony sighs. “But to be fair, you were wonderful before that happened. And you haven’t done any of this before and you have the- nerves thing. About it. And thanks for implying I’d go along with you suffering through sex with me.”

Steve arches an eyebrow. “I’m sure I wouldn’t suffer.”

“Maybe, but you wouldn’t enjoy it.”

“We don’t know that!”

“Steve.” Tony waits until Steve is meeting his eyes before continuing, “You just said you should ‘get it over with.’ That’s not a good way to go into sex.”

Steve rubs a hand against his forehead. It’s warm against his even warmer head. “I just- I’m so-”

“Mm.” Tony shuffles down to rest his head on Steve’s chest. “Sounds frustrating, babe.”

‘Frustrating’ would be putting it mildly. It’s been months and months since he started fantasizing about doing these things with Tony, waking up from dreams gasping and hard, pretending not to notice it when Tony stretched and his shirt rode up. He’s been wanting this for so long, and now he has it in his reach, he’s choking.

“I’m 26,” Steve says. “And I have very serious feelings about you, I’m attracted to you so much. I want to- to have sex with you! A lot! I want to do sex things with you! Why can’t my brain let me do sex things with you!”

Tony’s mouth keeps twitching as he holds down his smile. “That sounds very hard.”

“Aw, shuddup,” Steve says, slapping him lightly in the back of his head.

Tony shakes with laughter against his chest. “That wasn’t a euphemism!”

“Uh-huh.”

“It wasn’t.” Tony leans up, puts his hands on either side of Steve’s head. “Look. We’ll work up to it, okay? But for now, we’ll stick to kissing. Maybe some over-the-clothes fondling.”

Steve groans, shoves an elbow over his face. “Jesus. I’m so sorry about this. I feel like an overdramatic teenager.”

“I’d be okay with over-the-clothes fondling with you for the rest of my life if it meant you were here with me,” Tony says. His fingers tap on Steve’s arm, pinching at his elbow. “Hey, you wanna go watch me work? Dummy’s missed you these past few days. Or we could go watch a movie, Nat said that new one by-”

Steve cuts him off, letting his arm drop from his face and lunging up to press his mouth to Tony’s. It’s not the best kiss, but it softens after Steve lessens the pressure and Tony puts a hand on Steve’s face, stroking a thumb down his cheek.

“Or we could make out for a while,” Steve says after they part for air, sticking close enough that his lips skim Tony’s when he talks.

Tony smiles. Steve feels it. “Don’t try anything. I have my eye on you, Rogers.”

Steve laughs, a soft breath of air ghosted across Tony’s chin before he kisses him again, his hand coming around to cup the back of Tony’s head.

He’s stroking the hairs on Tony’s nape when Tony breaks the kiss to say, “Just so I know, how far have you gone? So I know when to back off.”

Steve squints at him. “What do you mean? This is how far I’ve gone.”

“So, kissing.”

“Kissing,” Steve nods. “Now French kissing, apparently.”

Tony’s head drops to Steve’s collarbone. “Why is that attractive to me. I just introduced you to French kissing. You have as much experience as a middle schooler, oh my god. Sorry,” he adds when he lifts his head and sees Steve staring at him with raised eyebrows. “Really sorry. Was that offensive?”

“Little bit,” Steve admits.

“Sorry,” Tony says again. “I’m just- a little over my head, here.”

“You and me both.”

Tony kisses him sweetly, a chaste press of lips. “Don’t take offence, but I’m a little worried I’m going to emotionally scar you by accident if I put my hand in the wrong place, so if you seem not into it for more than two seconds, I’m going to roll off you like you’re on fire.”

“Please don’t. ‘N it’s gonna take a bit longer than that to get fully into it.”

“’Course,” Tony says, then cocks his head. “How’s that, by the way? Feels good? Comfortable?”

“Yeah, it’s-” Steve pauses, trying to sift through the feeling, to find words that fit. “It’s, I don’t know. Feels kind of hazy, but in a good way? Like- nothing exists outside this room. Makes me not think that much. Gets everything all warm.”

“Good.” Tony’s lips quirk. His eyes are soft as he looks down at him. “That’s how it’s supposed to feel. Some nerves are normal, but if it ever gets out of that warm, hazy place then we stop, okay?”

Tony’s smiling and Steve wants to kiss it into a grin, so he does. They have to pause for Tony to get the grin under control, since it’s kind of hard to kiss with one, but then Steve is dragging him down again.

Even if Steve’s freaked out by anything further, he’s decided that kissing is very nice. He likes kissing, and he’s sure that when he gets his head sorted he’s going to like sex even better, but for now, he likes kissing. He likes kissing a lot, likes kissing Tony a lot.

His previous couple of kisses were admittedly nice, too, but he never got much time to enjoy them- the longest kiss he’s had before Tony was that nurse who, embarrassingly, he can’t remember the name of now.

Both Peggy and Natasha’s kisses lasted approximately three seconds each, so Steve never got past the blind shock of being kissed in time to actually enjoy it.

With Miss-Whatsername’s kiss, he had just long enough to start accessing that hot, swimmy part of his mind that accompanies kissing before they both jerked apart on Peggy’s arrival. That was Steve’s first inkling that he did, in fact, like kissing.

Now that he gets to do quite a bit of it, he’s decided that he likes it a lot.

Tony hums against his lips, his tongue brushing Steve’s, and Steve corrects himself hazily: he loves kissing. Kissing is great and Tony is great and everything is good and warm and fuzzy inside his head.

Tony’s still leaning over him, holding himself up with his arms, so Steve decides to change that by pulling the rest of Tony on top of him, wrapping his arms around Tony’s torso.

The weight of Tony on him is pleasant in the best way, pressing Steve down into the bed slightly. He can almost hear Tony filing that away for later, that Steve’s okay with this, that he likes this, that this isn’t too far.

Steve runs his hands up Tony’s upper arms, squeezing slightly. They’re solid under his palms, chords of muscle under his fingers. Tony might not be as fit as Steve, but he’s still in shape, and Steve’s admired his arms in tank tops too long not to get his hands on them.

He smooths a hand down Tony’s back, feeling his muscles bunching, fingers following the dip of his spine. He’s hardly paying attention, too focused on Tony’s mouth and his tongue and the occasional bites Tony gives his lower lip, too focused on Tony’s warm body under his hands, but in retrospect, he should’ve been expecting to reach Tony’s ass.

It’s a nice ass. Steve’s always thought so, even before he was proper friends with Tony. It’s a nice ass, and Steve’s thought regularly about doing things to it, up to and including touching it. Which he’s doing. Touching Tony’s ass.

Which isn’t a big deal, because they’re both consenting adults and Steve has been aching with want for the past- 26 years, probably- and Tony has a tragically fantastic ass and Steve’s wanted to touch it for months.

 He gets in one squeeze before his brain fires back online, informing him that this is very new territory and what is he even doing with his hands or his mouth, how do these things work, where is he supposed to put his teeth/nose/arms while this is happening, how do people do this, why do people do this, people are weird, who even came up with the concept of-

Tony pulls away gently, and Steve groans in protest.

“No, I’m fine, get back here-”

“Hand off my ass, Cap,” Tony says. He bumps his nose against Steve’s cheek. “Sticking to kissing, remember?”

“We were kissing,” Steve protests. “And- and over-the-clothes fondling! It was over the clothes!”

Tony hisses air through his teeth. “Yeahhhh, we might need to re-think that one.”

“Tony.”

“Maybe over-the-clothes fondling, but only above the waist.”

Steve sighs, letting his head drop back into the pillows. “When we work up to having sex, we are going to have so much of it to make up for lost time. This is killing me.”

“One step at a time,” Tony says, and bends to press a distracted kiss to Steve’s neck.

Steve goes shock-still as heat shoots through him. Oh, wow. Shit.

When Steve freezes, Tony does the same, eyes almost comically wide. “Shit, did I just fuck up? I’m so sorry, cross that out, won’t happen again-”

“Again,” Steve croaks, and Tony cuts himself off.

“Um. What?”

“My neck. Again.” Steve swallows. “Yeah, again, definitely. Do the thing.”

Tony eyes him carefully, then he’s lowering his head to press a slow kiss into Steve’s neck.

Steve whimpers. It’s a small, barely-there noise, but it’s there.

“Holy shit,” Tony says. The motion grazes air over the spot he just kissed, and Steve’s breath hitches in his throat. He digs his hands into Tony’s hair.

Tony kisses his neck again, open-mouthed this time, sucking lightly. It makes warmth bloom in the depths of Steve’s gut, spooling over his insides.

“Mmmmyeahhh,” Steve hears himself say, breathy and ridiculous. He can’t bring himself to care when Tony’s mouth is still on his neck, all sweet suction and heat. “Keep doin’ that.”

Tony does. He manages to leave several impressive hickeys on Steve’s neck before Steve starts unconsciously rubbing off against Tony’s hip. This is followed by Tony going rigid, Steve rapidly realizing he’s rubbing his dick against Tony’s hip, and both of them drawing back to apologize profusely.

Steve can’t get out of his head after that, so they stop.

“That was depressing,” Steve says.

“But illuminating,” Tony says. “Hey, we found out you have a neck kink! That’s one step further to being comfortable with these things.”

Steve grunts. “Guess so.” He’s sitting hunched, pissed off, pillow across his lap as he waits for his erection to subside.

“Want to play chess,” Tony suggests after a few moments pass and Steve doesn’t look like he’s getting less angry anytime soon.

I want to have sex,” Steve says.  Loudly. “But apparently I can’t, ‘cause my brain hates me.”

Tony hums. “You could talk to your therapist.”

“I’m not-” Steve looks at him, appalled. “I’m not talking to Maureen about this!”

“Got any other bright ideas?”

Steve sighs. “Just- keep kissing, I guess.”

“Not a hardship, is it?”

Steve allows himself a smile. “No. I do like kissing you. I like it a lot. But you know what else I’d like?”

“Is it sex?”

“It is sex.”

“You know, if I didn’t know any better, I’d start thinking you wanted me for my body.”

Steve laughs at that, leaning sideways to press a kiss to his cheek, then his mouth.

Tony pretends to pout, but then he’s knocking their shoulders together. “Hey, you sure you don’t want to play chess? Because if we start kissing again I’m going to get really distracted by your boner and I don’t know if I can handle that right now.”

“I could go for chess,” Steve admits. “But kissing later? If you want?”

“I don’t know,” Tony says. “You might still be hard. Chess is a sexy sport.”

“Chess isn’t a sport, Tony.”

“How dare you.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Just because you were the MIT champion-”

“Four years running.”

“-four years running, that doesn’t mean I’m going to consider chess a sport.”

“I’m wounded. You wound me, Rogers.”

“Aw,” Steve grins. “I’m sure I can kiss it better.”