Chapter 1: Genius
After they've saved the world (and wow, that feels weird to think, even to himself), Steve doesn't see the others for nearly two weeks. He drives out on his bike. He finds himself a place to stay and some stuff to put in it that he vaguely knows how to work. He tries to listen to the radio but switches off in disgust after about half an hour. It's not so much the music although that's strange enough, it's a combinations of the disc jockeys and the advertisements. It's so blaring.
After two weeks, he figures he ought to check in. After all, he tells himself, Stark might need help managing Banner - that hadn't seemed like the most stable combination. He doesn't need to tell them that - he can just say he's keeping the team in communication. He definitely doesn't need to mention the fact that life is rather dull on his own. He either sticks to things he can handle, which is boring, or he has to venture out into the twenty-first century, which is overwhelming, if he's honest. He hasn't figured out how to find a middle ground yet.
When he gets to the tower, he's expecting chaos, workmen, noise, but actually, it's surprisingly calm seeming. There doesn't seem to be scaffolding or hard hat notices or anything, but work's obviously being done - he can't see any gaping holes in the upper floors, at least from this angle. He presses the entry buzzer and a British accented voice he doesn't recognize says "Good afternoon, Captain Rogers. Please come into the lobby while I check on Mr Stark's availability." Steve is briefly surprised but then realizes there must be cameras in the entryway. He pushes the door open and steps inside.
Inside there is a glossy clean reception area which could belong to an office building, except that there's no actual receptionists desk, just a couple of those glass panel screens, one showing television news and one with what looks like a report on the reconstruction when Steve wanders up to look over. A lot seems to have been done already - it's a particular relief to see that the "floors with structural integrity" statistic is showing 100%.
It's only a couple of minutes before he hears the voice again, still floating out of speakers somewhere. Perhaps it's too much of a trek to expect whoever it is (Tony's PA?) to come downstairs to personally collect every visitor, but Steve finds it a little disorienting to be addressed by someone he can't see. Perhaps it's just the reminder that he must still be on camera. "Captain Rogers," he says, "Mr Stark requests that you join him in his workshop as he is currently unable to leave the maintenance he is performing. If you will step into the elevator, I will convey you to the correct floor."
As the word "elevator" is spoken, the doors of one which had been all but invisible until that point sweep open. "Umm, thanks, Mr.." Steve says, looking around vaguely, uncertain how to address someone he can't see.
"My name is simply Jarvis, Captain Rogers." the voice tells him and he can't quite put a name to the tone of voice.
"OK, well, thanks Jarvis," Steve says and steps into the elevator. It closes its door behind him almost as soon as he's inside and starts to ascend immediately. They carry on past ten levels labeled as "Fabrication" on the chart on the elevator wall and stop on 11, which is the first of the workshop floors. The door opens into a vast open space - there don't seem to be any internal walls between here and the edges of the building. Steve steps out and looks around. There's a row of cars lined up along one wall that he's sorely tempted to go and examine in more detail but he reminds himself that would be rude and looks further into the workshop, trying to see any sign of Tony.
The space is full of all sorts of things - screens, workbenches, wrenches and tools discarded all over the place, strange struts and what looks like jointed arms but there's no sign of anyone that he can see. He clears his throat and wonders if Jarvis has accidently let him out on the wrong floor. There were about 5 workshop floors listed on the elevator, so maybe Tony's upstairs in one of those.
Tony must hear him cough though, because his voice suddenly comes loud and clear from one corner of the workshop. "Hey, Rogers, over here." Steve starts to walk over to where the voice was coming from when Tony says "Will you hold still!" in an irritated tone and so he stops, confused, wondering what he's done wrong. There's a pause and then Tony sighs and stands up from behind one of the counters on the far side of the room. He smiles at Steve. "Not you, idiot. Dummy." One of the articulated arms next to where Tony's standing beeps and actually starts to roll away under its own power, heading towards Steve. He stares at it, amazed as Tony says "Fine, but you have only yourself to blame when those bearings go and you're stuck. Go make yourself useful - Captain America probably needs coffee and I definitely do."
Steve watches as the arm trundles over to the side of the workshop where there's a sink and a coffee maker and the other accoutrements of a mini kitchen. "That's amazing!" he tells Tony. "How many commands does it understand?"
Tony smiles fondly over at it. "Dummy'll try anything. Not necessarily succeed at much, but try anything. Hey, Dummy, there should be some sandwiches in the fridge there. Grab us a couple." He turns to Steve. "What can I do for you, Captain?"
"Steve, please," Steve says absently. "You mean it just understands what you say to it?"
"Well, mostly. The AI in Dummy is rudimentary, very basic. He can follow simple instructions. Mostly," he yells the last part over to where the robot arm is crashing around in the coffee area. "But there's no complex processing power in there and very little awareness. More like a puppy than a person. I would upgrade him but somehow there's always other stuff to be doing."
Steve watches as Dummy manages to plunk two mugs of coffee on a tray with some sandwiches and starts to trundle back over towards them. It's one thing to know that Tony runs a leading technology company, it's another to see the concrete evidence of that rolling round in Tony's lab. "So you fix these guys up yourself?"
"Maintain, design, code, build," Tony confirms. "I mean, I usually get Jarvis to do the basic fabrication stages but everything else I like to get my hands dirty with."
Steve takes the coffee Dummy is poking at him and jumps when the arm beeps in acknowledgement. "You make them think? Will you ever be able to make one think like a person?"
For some reason, this makes Tony snort with laughter. "Jarvis!" he yells. "Are you not on speaking terms with Captain America for some reason!"
"The Captain and I have been perfectly cordial, sir," Jarvis' voice comes over the speakers again. "I was not aware that he was confused as to my status. Apologies, Captain."
"Jarvis is a computer?" Steve asks, almost breathless as light dawns.
"Jarvis is a functional artificial intelligence," Tony corrects. "He's smarter than most people, and the house couldn't run without him, right Jarvis?"
"It would certainly put a significant strain on our systems, sir," Jarvis's voice agrees from the speakers.
"He's doing most of the repair work on the tower," Tony says. "How's that coming along, Jarvis?" There's a note of pride in his voice which is entirely different from the boastful tones Steve was braced for.
"Extremely well, sir, we are ahead of schedule, although we are currently waiting on Ms Potts to sign off several of the interior layout alterations."
Tony grins. "I'll remind her," he promises and turns back to Steve. "So..." he prompts.
Steve gives himself an internal shake, trying to pull himself together. "Sorry," he says, trying to focus. "So you build all this stuff yourself? You created a person?"
Tony gives him an odd look. "Yeah, in a very broad sense, if you want to put it like that. I like to build stuff. You know I built the suits, right?"
Steve suddenly realizes that he's been thinking of Tony as a CEO, top of the tree, a blue sky thinker with a huge R&D division to actually bring his ideas to life. He hadn't thought of Tony as someone who would be just as at home on the shop floor. "No, I..."
Tony's eyebrows look like they're trying to disappear into his hairline. "You didn't read the SHIELD file on me?"
"They briefed me on the suit's capabilities," Steve says, "and I figured anything else wasn't really my business."
Tony looks at him without saying anything for a long moment. "You're unreal," he tells Steve. He points at his chest, where the reactor he wears is glowing a soft blue. "You know what this is?"
"It's a power supply for the suit, isn't it?" Steve asks.
Tony turns away. "Unreal," he repeats. "OK, I never say this but you need to go away and read the file, because I really don't think I can go over all this for you."
Steve can't figure out how he's managed to offend Tony, but clearly he's done something very wrong. "OK," he says. "You and Dr Banner are both well, though?"
"Yes," Tony confirms, still facing away from him, "we're fine." His shoulders are tense, his whole posture stiff.
Steve leaves him to it and goes back to his apartment but he can't sit still for more than five minutes. After that, he calls Fury and requests a copy of the file on Tony. Fury hums and haws about sending sensitive data off base but Steve insists and eventually gets his way. It's couriered over and he sits down with a cup of coffee and starts to read it through.
He has to read it about three times before he absorbs it. It's not easy reading. After he shuts it, he sits staring at the wall for a while, wondering what it takes to build something like the arc reactor in a place like that. No wonder Tony had a hard time trusting Fury. Eventually, he opens up his phone and finds the option to send a message to Tony. "Sorry," he types in carefully. "Thanks for letting me read this. Steve."
He gets one back pretty quickly. "No sweat," Tony has written, which Steve suspects is untrue. "I've read yours. Let's never speak of this again. Tony." It's the first time Steve can remember that they've been on first name terms.
Chapter 2: Billionaire
He leaves it another couple of weeks before he goes to visit the Tower again. Jarvis lets him in and directs him up to the workshop again. It's even more un-nerving to be addressed by a disembodied voice now that he knows that there isn't a body to go with it but he tries not to let it show. He finds Tony underneath one of the cars, doing something to the transmission, apparently with the help of Jarvis. He's more than happy to show off the whole collection of cars to Steve and they go out for a drive which makes Steve all the more determined to get himself a drivers license.
It becomes a regular thing. When he's bored, Steve wanders over to the tower and just hangs out. Sometimes Tony is in the lab with Dr Banner, sometimes he's in the workshop but he always seems happy enough to chat, show off whatever he's working on, which encompasses a ridiculous variety of things. If he's disturbed by the intrusions, he's too polite to say anything, which doesn't sound like Tony at all so Steve doesn't worry about it.
He's still surprised to get a text one afternoon from Tony's number, saying "So, coming over this afternoon for a test drive?" It's the first time Tony has actually invited him to be there, rather than just accepted him turning up and it's a surprisingly warm feeling, even if he has no idea what they're going to drive. He texts back saying "Sure, why not," picks up his coat and heads out of the door.
When he arrives, Jarvis takes him to a level he's never been to before. It's about half way up the tower and labeled "A3" which doesn't tell him much. When the elevator doors open, it's to a neutral looking reception area. "Tony?" he calls, tentatively.
Tony strides in through one of the doors, looking exceedingly pleased with himself. "Hey, Cap!" he greets Steve cheerfully. "Everything's set up. Ready to go?"
"Go where?" Steve asks, confused.
"The gym," Tony says, and waves towards one of the doors. Steve's mystification must show on his face because Tony starts laughing "Don't you read your emails?" he asks.
"No," Steve admits, slightly shamefaced. "I haven't figured out how to get the computer in my apartment to connect up to the SHIELD one so I can open then."
"Well then this is going to be a delightful surprise," Tony says. "You go change into some workout kit. Leave your phone here and I'll set it up to pick your email up for you. Through there for changing and then through the doors at the other end to get into the gym."
The changing rooms have shelves of soft track pants and t-shirts in different sizes so Steve strips off and changes into something comfortable. Luckily, he's already wearing trainers. He looks around the room, wondering why exactly Tony needs all this space given that only three people live here. He pushes open the door at the far end, wondering what on earth he should be expecting to see.
Whatever he was expecting, it's not the view out of the windows occupying the entire wall. He jogs straight over to gawk out at the street below. "Pretty cool, huh," Tony says, coming up behind him. "Plus Jarvis can overlay whatever weather you want so you can suit your mood. Jarvis, snow!" And suddenly there are fat white flakes drifting down onto the people below.
"That's," Steve starts and then can't decide whether to finish the sentence with 'really weird' or 'amazing' so he just says "How are you doing that?"
"Video screens in the windows," Tony says casually, "and a whole lot of code. You can darken them or use them to watch whatever on if you don't fancy the view."
Steve can't imagine ever not fancying the view, so he just says "Jarvis, can I just see it normally please?"
"Certainly, Captain Rogers," Jarvis replies and the afternoon sunlight streams back into the room.
"Conventional," Tony says with a smile. "Come over here, try out this." He's gesturing to the punch bag hanging to one side of the space. "It's made of specially reinforced fabrics and I've redesigned the attachment points so that it should take anything you can throw at it."
Steve raises an eyebrow. "Anything?"
Tony smiles again. "That's what testing is for. Give it a shot and see." He throws Steve a roll of tape to wrap his hands with. "I'm going to see to a few other things and sort you out a half way decent phone. Give Jarvis a shout when you're done, he'll point you to the showers and tell you where to find me."
"There's nothing wrong with my phone, Tony," Steve protests.
"Yeah, there is, you just don't know any better," Tony replies confidently. "Now go hit things I'll catch up with you when you're done."
While he tapes up his hands, Steve looks around the gym. It's incredibly well equipped; there's machines, some of which he doesn't even recognize, free weights, treadmills, mats, a sparring ring, hanging rings. He warms himself up a little on the treadmill - the controls look far too confusing, but as he'd hoped, Jarvis is able to set it up for him. Then he settles himself so that he can see the view and starts to really work on the bag. It takes him a while to get into a rhythm but when he does, he loses himself in it, keeps going until he's aching and just a little breathless.
When he makes it upstairs to what seems to be the living area, he feels better than he has in weeks. He grabs a bottle of water from the bar over to one side and throws himself down on the sofa opposite Tony, who's fiddling around with his phone.
"How's it looking, Jarvis," Tony asks without looking up.
"The fabric is in excellent condition, sir, but the two rear attachment points are showing significant signs of fatigue. I estimate they will sustain only two more sessions at that intensity level before replacement is required."
"Hmmm," Tony says, and then flips the phone shut and looks up. "Not bad for round one." He grins at Steve and tosses the phone over to him. "There you go," he says breezily. "All your old stuff is transferred across, plus you can actually do your email and play games more interesting than Snake on this one. It's waterproof and reasonably impact resilient, although don't try that out the way you did with the bag, please."
"You're giving me a new phone?" Steve asks, confused.
"Yeah, you'll actually probably find one that was made recently easier - it's a misconception to think that the metaphors are easier to pick up on old tech, they're usually just less thought through. Plus if there's any fun to be had in waking up 70 years after you went to sleep, it's got to be playing with shiny new toys, right?"
Steve turns the phone over in his hands. It's sleek and black and he can't see any buttons on it. "Touch the screen or flip the keyboard open to wake it up," Tony prompts helpfully. When Steve touches the screen, the whole front lights up to show a selection of little icons on a stars and stripes background. He pokes the envelope and a list of emails pops up.
"You're on the Avengers mailing list," Tony tells him helpfully, "so most of that stuff is from us. I figured you hadn't replied to the gym one because the scarily complete list of requirements Romanov sent covered everything a person might conceivably put in a gym but if you think of anything else we should include, stick it in."
"Tony, why have you build a gym for the Avengers?" Steve asks, getting to the point that's most baffling him at the moment.
"Hey, we're Earth's mightiest heroes, right? And the facilities at Shield are really mostly for shit. Natasha was bitching to Pepper about it, so I figured we deserve better. Anyway, the only other thing you probably need to know from that list is that the Tower's done so I'm having a housewarming party on Friday, everyone's coming. Be there or miss out."
Steve's kind of nervous about the idea of going to a party organized by Tony Stark. He's seen the news reports about the last one, for one thing. Still, he can catch up with the SHIELD agents and with Pepper there, hopefully Tony won't do anything too crazy. He buys some scotch to take along with him and a bunch of flowers for Pepper and finds himself standing nervously on the sidewalk in the early evening sunshine looking up at the gleaming glass tower.
It's actually a pretty impressive sight. Most of the surrounding buildings are still shrouded in scaffolding, quiet now, waiting for the builders to return to work on Monday, and so Stark Tower stands alone, pristine and shining. He squints up at the landing site at the top and wonders if Tony is up there looking down on him. He still hasn't fixed the name, Steve notices and wonders briefly if it's just possible that Tony's actually becoming slightly less arrogant or if it's just that he hasn't got around to putting the finishing touches in yet.
When he gets upstairs, he realizes that he needn't have worried, because it's a very small gathering. Bruce is sitting back on the sofa, looking relaxed, watching Barton and Romanoff playing some kind of game on the television which in most rooms would take up a whole wall but here is almost in proportion. It's actually kind of hypnotic to watch - they seem to be shooting holes in the walls in order to move around, although Steve can't quite figure out what the objective is. Tony is, predictably, behind the bar and Pepper, who was curled up on the sofa when the doors opened, rises up and comes forward, giving him a quick hug and a peck on the cheek. "Steve," she says brightly, relieving him of the flowers, "these are lovely, thank you!"
Tony looks up and waves him over towards the bar. "Hey, she didn't build it, why is she getting the presents?" he asks.
Steve is never sure how seriously to take Tony when he uses that tone. "She did some of the design," he points out. "Jarvis told me." He puts the scotch on the counter and perches himself on a bar stool.
"Now that's more like it," Tony says with enthusiasm. "What can I get you, Captain?" He gestures to the shelf behind him, which is lined with bottles of all sizes, shapes and colors.
"Just scotch on the rocks would be great," Steve replies.
Tony cocks an eyebrow at him. "You sure? You don't want to try something a bit more adventurous? All alcoholic life is here and you don't even have to worry about how much your liver can take. Have some fun!"
"Tony," Pepper says in warning tones.
"Scotch on the rocks coming right up," Tony says hastily. He puts Steve's newly bought bottle away and fishes on the shelf until he finds an open one, which he puts down on the counter. From underneath the bar, he brings out a tumbler full of ice and a cocktail shaker. "Can I tempt anyone else into something more interesting?"
Steve's done a fair amount of drinking in his time, but it's mostly been amongst soldiers and for most of them, it was an exercise in achieving a state of drunkenness sufficient to forget either what they'd just done or what they were going to do tomorrow as quickly as possible. Functional drinking. The USO girls used to drink champagne after performances and sometimes before, but that was too sweet and he'd never asked for a glass after the first couple of times. He couldn't even name most of the bottles behind Tony's bar, let alone guess what they tasted like, but, he thinks to himself, why not find out? He's helped save the world, he's surely allowed a little unreasonable luxury. "You know what," he tells Tony, "I will have a cocktail. Surprise me."
"Whoa, Rogers," exclaims Clint from the sofa. "There's interesting and then there's crazy risk taking behavior, you know."
"Mixing drinks is an art, Barton," Tony says loftily. He's got a whole selection of bottles on the bar now, which is making Steve a tiny bit nervous, but what the hell, it's not going to poison him, right? "Sweet, sharp or sour," he asks Steve.
Steve shrugs. "Uh, not sweet, I guess," he says and watches as Tony starts measuring spirits into the mixer. When he gets his drink, it's a red tinged and there's an olive in his glass. He looks quizzically at Tony and then takes a sip. There's whiskey in there, he realizes, but the smoky bite is smoothed out by the other ingredients. "Hey, this is good," he says to the room at large. "Did you just make this up?" he asks Tony.
Tony sips his own glass. "Don't sound surprised, Rogers. And no, it's a classic. Any bar around here'll do you one. It's called a Manhattan Dry." He looks over at the others. "Seriously, no one else wants something mixed? I make a great White Russian."
"OK," Natasha agrees with a smile. "Hit me."
It turns into a really relaxed evening, somewhat to Steve's surprise. Natasha and Clint tell funny stories about each other on various Shield missions. Banner tells them about some of the places he's visited while he was travelling. Steve even feels comfortable enough to chip in with some details about what the US was like in his USO days. They order pizza and bicker over the last slice of pepperoni. It's friendly in a way Steve hadn't really realized he'd been missing.
When the pizza boxes have been cleared away, Tony stands up, not unsteady despite having been drinking a selection of things from the bar all evening, and says "Right. Roll up, roll up, ladies, gentlemen and Barton. It's time for the ten cent tour." He ducks away from the first olive stone Clint throws at him, putting himself right in the path of the second. "You're only proving me right," he says with a grin.
Pepper looks at him fondly. "Come and see what we've done with the place," she invites and so they push themselves up and troupe into the elevator.
"So," Tony says, once inside, "these floors are mostly boring and haven't changed anyway." He gestures at the elevator buttons as he indentifies them. "Fabrication for prototypes and stuff, workshops, offices and meeting rooms, R&D. This is where it gets interesting." He pushes the button marked A1.
A1 turns out to be a swimming pool which stretches the whole width of the tower. A2 holds an archery range, shooting gallery and a large selection of different weapons for both which make Clint's eyes light up. A3 is the gym, which Steve has already seen and which gets an approving nod from Natasha. They step out onto A4 and Steve wonders what else Tony can possibly have put into this place. "OK, this is the first of the apartment floors," Tony says and then pauses, leading them into a lounge area which looks not that different from the one upstairs. It's got another bar and a small kitchen area off to one side, another enormous TV. The difference is that in here, it looks like there has been some sort of highly specialized tornado spreading paper and magazines onto every available surface. Tony turns to Bruce and asks "This is OK, right?"
Bruce laughs and says "A little warning next time, Tony, but mi casa es su casa, literally."
"Great," Tony says with a smile and flops down on one of the sofas. He gestures to the rest of them to do the same.
"Just pile up the papers on the table," Bruce tells them. "I wasn't exactly expecting guests this evening."
"So," Tony says when they are all sat down. "As you may have noticed, I have a lot of space here. And I am reliably informed that the helicarrier is full of tight-ass SHIELD agents and has terrible food. And you," he looks at Steve, "are in Brooklyn, which is probably worse. And who knows, we may even have to save the world again one of these days, in which case it would be handy to be in easy reach of each other. So, being a genius, I applied myself to this problem and came up with a solution." He gestures around the room. "I am rechristening this building the Avengers apartment complex. There's a floor for each of you with plenty of space, bedroom, bathrooms, all that jazz, work area, whatever, pretty much like this one, which Bruce has already made himself comfortable in. Feel free to use 'em, don't use 'em, drop in, whatever makes you comfortable."
Pepper smiles at them. "We had to guess at what decor you might like, but obviously anything in these apartments can be changed to suit yourselves. The top floor is going to be a communal area so that we can all enjoy the balcony and Tony has promised me faithfully that he will keep all his machinery out of it and in his workshop." Behind her, Banner shakes his head solemnly. Tony rolls his eyes. Steve finds himself fighting down a laugh.
He looks over at the two SHIELD agents, expecting them to be the tough sell here, but Barton says "Yeah, that sounds good. I could use a bolt hole that's away." Natasha doesn't say anything, but she does smile, which is rare enough that Steve thinks it probably qualifies as a whole hearted endorsement of the idea.
"C'mon," Tony gestures imperiously as he bounces up again, "let's leave this place where papers go to die and go see what Pepper thinks would look cool in the rest of your new homes." They troupe into the elevator but Steve pauses, looking over the messy living room. It's a surprisingly un-Tony-like space for somewhere in the Tower. No tool kit lying around, no coffee cups.
"It's not exactly homelike," Bruce says apologetically and Steve starts, realizing that he is intruding into what is to all intents and purposes, Bruce's private space.
"Sorry," he says, feeling flustered.
"Don't worry about it," Bruce says, and he sounds genuinely relaxed. "I just meant that I'm not here that much - the lab is more me, really. And for an anti-social person, I spend a surprising amount of time upstairs but it is good to have somewhere to come and work undisturbed sometimes." Steve looks around the room again, wanting to ask a question he's not quite sure how to verbalize. "Tony and Pepper aren't sure if you'll want your floor," Bruce tells him, casually. "I mean, I know you've got your place in Brooklyn, right?"
Steve thinks about his flat. About the small shelf of books he's managed to get through so far. About the radio he barely listens to and the computer he hasn't managed to connect to anything. About the sketch books and pencils on the desk. He wonders how many boxes it would all fit into. He thinks about the afternoons he's spent here, working on the cars or watching Tony work on the robots or just hanging out in the lab letting the science talk wash over him, about the evening they've just spent upstairs. He smiles to himself. "Yeah," he agrees, "but, you know, the work out space just doesn't have the view." He pushes the button to call the elevator and catch up to the others.
Chapter 3: Playboy
This, Steve thinks, as he nurses his drink leaning up against the bar, is more like what he expected a Stark party to be like.
It's actually not so much a Stark party as it is an Avengers party. They've been invited to celebrate the re-opening of the Empire State Building and the survival of most of New York City, which given how much of New York City didn't make it seems pretty generous to Steve. Anyway, Fury had been insistent that they turn up and act honored, so here they were. Really, Steve knew he should be out on the floor, talking to people, maybe even dancing but he was feeling a little overwhelmed and frankly, Tony was doing enough of that for both of them.
From the moment they'd stepped inside, Tony had started working the room, glad handing people left, right and centre, doing all the right things. He must have danced with half the women in the room by now and probably kissed about a quarter of them, Steve thought, feeling vaguely disapproving. As he watched, Tony gave his current partner a peck on the cheek and a final twirl before separating himself and heading over towards Steve and the bar.
"Hey, dirty martini, please," he calls to the bar tender and then looks over at Steve. "You want something else."
Steve gestured with his glass of wine, still half full. "No, I'm fine, thank you. Are you not getting one for your lady friend?"
Tony laughed. "Nah! She's gone to find her friends, tell them she danced with the great Tony Stark. I'm taking a breather."
Steve can't help himself. It's not that he means to be judgmental, it's just so strange. In a lot of ways it's the ways people have changed which baffle him the most. "Didn't you come here with Pepper?" he asks.
"Yeah," Tony says, seemingly oblivious to the tone. "She's still around somewhere. She got buttonholed by some woman from the MSF and I think they went to talk funding streams or something."
"So she's going to be fine about all the women you've been dancing with tonight?" Steve asks, letting just a little more sternness creep into the tone.
Tony looks bemused for a minute before he suddenly laughs. "Hey, it's not 'dance with the one who brung you' necessarily any more, OK. Most of these women, they just want to dance, they've heard the reputation. A quick swing, a peck on the cheek and they can go and tell their girlfriends that they danced with the rake and got away with their virtue intact. Hell, half of them talk about their boyfriends while they're dancing. How far it goes is all about how adventurous they're feeling."
"OK," Steve says, still dubious but willing to concede the possibility. "That's fine for you and fine for them but what about Pepper."
"Pepper knows where we stand," Tony says firmly. "And she's pretty much the final authority on that, which she also knows." He takes a slug of his drink and relaxes against the bar. "And anyway, Pepper knows that I wouldn't sleep with them unless she OK'd it. They're not on the list, so she's fine."
"They're not on the list?" Steve feels like every time he gets his feet under him in this conversation, Tony says something that sweeps him out to sea again.
"The list of people I'm allowed to do it with and not have it count as cheating. You didn't have lists in the forties?"
Steve doesn't want to say that he never got far enough with anyone to need a list like that, so he just shakes his head, looking disbelieving. "It sounds like it's just an excuse for you to behave badly," he tells Tony.
At this point, the lady in question appears and starts to make her way towards them. She looks amazing, Steve thinks, slightly wistfully. Beautiful, poised, elegant. He is not exactly jealous of Tony but he wishes he could have something this beautiful to come home to.
"Hey, Pepper, come tell Steve about the 'to-do' list," Tony calls out to her, and Steve can feel himself blushing.
"Tony!" Pepper scolds as she finally makes her way through the crush to the bar. "Stop harassing Steve, it isn't nice."
"Hey, I'm just standing here, enjoying my martini," Tony says innocently. "No harassment, I promise. He's worried about my promiscuous dancing habits."
"That's because Steve is a gentleman," Pepper tells him firmly and then turns to smile at Steve. "He is telling the truth though - I'm really not worried about who he dances with."
Steve shrugs and smiles. "I didn't mean to interfere," he says apologetically.
"No, I like it," she says. "It's nice to feel that you'd look out for me, but I promise it isn't necessary. We're both attracted to a wide range of people and acting on that doesn't actually change the way we feel about each other so why be restrictive?"
"She means I'm too good to keep to herself," Tony smirks and Steve knows he's blushing again.
Pepper laughs and says "Well, I'd love to stay and teach you some manners, Tony, but I know better than to try and I actually came over here to tell you that I'm going to have to step out and make some calls. Some of the funding Andrea is supposed to be channeling into the school re-building has been held up and I need to go yell at some people. I will take that, thank you very much," she says, deftly relieving Tony of his glass, "and I will see you later. Have fun and try to behave."
"How would that be fun?" Tony asks, giving her a quick kiss.
"Yes well, do your best." Suddenly, Pepper gets a look on her face that's pure mischief. "Has he told you that you're on his list, Captain Rogers? Perhaps you can exercise your charm to keep him in line." And having dropped her bombshell, she sashays off into the crowd.
Tony spins round to the bartender. "I will have another dirty martini please, as quickly as possible." He looks sidelong over at Steve. "Sorry, I hope you're not feeling too uncomfortable. Pepper just likes to tease me with the unattainable because she thinks it's cute. I wasn't actually planning for you to find out."
Thirty seconds ago, Steve would have said that he heartily endorsed that plan, but now that it's actually been said he finds that he's not reacting the way he thought he would at all. He's looking at Tony's mobile fingers as they seize on the fresh drink he's being given and wondering what they would feel like on his skin. He's spent something like the last three quarters of an hour watching Tony dance and kiss his way through the crowd of people (a fact which suddenly seems rather more significant to him now) and he realizes he's wondering what it would feel like to be the focus of that attention.
He clears his throat and looks sidelong at Tony. "I'm flattered," he says. "Really." It's hard to believe that Tony is taken with him enough to have said something about it to Pepper; even if it's not a big deal to them, it feels like it should be to Steve. He hadn't even realized that Tony was interested in men, although that's less of a surprise - Tony doesn't seem likely to turn down any experiences.
Tony raises an eyebrow and sips his drink. "Really," he drawls. "Captain America not quite so straight as we have all previously been assuming?"
Steve smiles down into his drink. "Because of course no-one was gay in the forties."
Tony laughs. "Not that, just you. You seem so conventional usually."
"Really," Steve asks, surprised. "I don't think you would have said that if you'd seen me with the Commandos. Conventional was definitely not the word applied by the brass, anyway."
Tony laughs and sips his drink. "Well, well. So, was this all free and easy taking care of each other or did you have someone special?"
"No!" Steve says and it's too quick, he knows. He pauses and takes a sip of his scotch. It's warm on the back of his throat, aroma gliding through his breath. "It wasn't like that," he says.
"So what was it like, Captain Unconventional?" Tony asks, sounding genuinely curious.
"There was someone in particular, but he wasn't interested. He was a ladies’ man." Steve says.
"So you pined," Tony says. Steve looks across, expecting to see Tony smirking, but the smile he sees is more fond than mocking and he finds himself smiling back automatically.
"I didn't have a lot of time for pining," he says. He turns and leans back against the bar, looking around the room at the couples whirling around to the music. It's hot and crowded and loud in here and he wonders what it says about him that there are times he'd rather be back there, with the rest of his squad in the rain and the mess of everything than here in comfort, in peace time, without them. Nothing good, probably.
"You're getting that look in your eye," Tony tells him. "Come on, let's go get some air. You want some fresh air?"
Steve stirs himself, gives a mental shake, trying to lose his abstraction. "Yeah," he agrees, "that would be good." He follows Tony across the floor to a side door and they slip out and into a quiet corridor. A few turns later and the judicious application of a credit card and Tony has let them into the maintenance stairs. As they step out onto the roof, Steve thinks he should probably be disapproving of Tony's casual attitude to locks, but it's too good to be outside for him to feel like scolding. Instead he leans against the parapet, looking out over the city and asks "How did you know how to get up here?"
"JARVIS checked it out before we came over," Tony says, off hand. "I always like to know my exit routes." He leans his hip against the parapet next to Steve, close enough that Steve imagines he can feel Tony's body heat radiating out. It's dark up here, but it's only city dark, dim and gloomy but there's enough light pollution for them to see each other's faces. He watches Tony smile, warm and just a tiny bit mischievous and can't help smiling back. "So," he asks, "are you really telling me you got yourself transformed into a perfectly sculpted super soldier and you still didn't get any play? That's sad, Rogers, very sad. You have no moves."
Tony's standing very close, close enough that Steve can hear him breathing, can see the slight quirk of the eyebrow as Steve turns to face him. "I have moves," he tells Tony firmly and leans in to kiss him.
He'd intended it to be fairly chaste, little more than the brief brushes of the lips that Tony's been giving the ladies of New York high society all evening. Just enough to stop him wondering about what it would feel like. Tony, however obviously has other ideas. He slides a hand up the back of Steve's neck, into his hairline, holding him in position, and without really meaning to, he's opening his mouth, slipping in a little tongue, resting his hands on Tony's hips. Tony's beard rasps against his chin, softer than he would have imagined, feeling strange and perfect at the same time. Tony's fingertips stroke the nape of his neck, rough and strong.
It's not until Tony's other hand glides over the front of his trousers that Steve realizes where this is going. Give him an inch, he thinks ruefully. He leans back, away, and says "Tony," softly, warning, covering the hand with his own and lifting it away.
"C'mon," Tony invites, and he sounds so sure, Steve thinks wistfully, so confident. "Let's do this. The only way this could be more patriotic would be if we were at the top of the Statue of Liberty. Let me blow you, Steve. I bet you taste like apple pie."
He means to say No, he really truly does, but the image of Tony on his knees in front of him is blinding, for a moment. He's all the way hard just from the thought and that's totally going to be his new shower fantasy material. Get a grip, Rogers, he tells himself sternly, and tries to remember all the reasons why this would be a bad idea. "Anyone could come up here," he points out.
Tony smiles, his white teeth gleaming in the low light. "Aside from the fact that I had to pick two locks to get up here, Happy will have positioned himself at the bottom of the last flight of that staircase with the briefcase suit just in case. No-one will see you with your pants down." Steve hesitates, still helplessly drawn by the picture in his mind and Tony says "That wasn't a no, Steve. You want to be blown, I want to blow you. Plus, just think, it'll shut me up, which I know you're dying to do. Let's do this thing."
"You have a girlfriend," Steve says, helplessly, wishing it wasn't true or that he didn't have to say it or something, anything.
"Who would totally endorse me giving you a blow job, I promise," Tony says easily, like it's nothing for him. "You want me to call her? I'll do that, I'll call her." Before Steve can stop him, he's whipped his phone out of his suit pocket with his free hand and pressed one of the buttons, which presumably auto-dials Pepper. "Pep, hi," he says, sounding as relaxed and breezy as if he was just calling to pass the time of day. "You got a minute?" There's a pause and then he says "One minute, I promise. I just need you to talk Captain Self-denying here into letting me suck him off." Another pause. "Sure he does! Ask him." Another pause and he smiles and twists his hand in Steve's grip so that they're clasping wrists. "You're a peach," he says in to the phone and proffers it to Steve. "She wants to talk to you."
Steve dearly wishes he was rude enough to just hang the phone up. He has basically no idea what to say to Pepper right now. He lifts the handset to his ear and says, tentatively, "Hello?"
"Steve, hi," Pepper's warm tones come out of the handset just as clear as if she was standing next to him. "So, it sounds like you're keeping him out of trouble."
"Not so much," Steve admits guiltily.
"This is not trouble, I promise," she says. "This is all good, but I am curious about why you're not saying yes here. Because if you would rather not have sex with Tony, I totally respect that - you have to say so firmly and then he'll back off, but if you're worrying about me, please don't. I promise the idea of Tony sucking your dick is very appealing to me."
The problem with this conversation, Steve thinks, or rather the one of the many problems with this conversation which is currently occupying the main part of his attention, is that now that he is holding Tony's wrist with one hand and the phone with the other he has no way to fend off Tony's other hand, which has moved to rest on his hip, the thumb stroking gently over the bone through the fabric of his pants. Tony has dipped his chin a little and is watching Steve through his lashes. He's smiling, just a little, an upward quirk of the lips. Steve wonders what they would feel like.
"The thing with Tony is," Pepper continues, "he really really likes getting people off, which means that he's done it a lot and got really really good at it. You can't imagine how hard it's going to make him, having your dick in his mouth." Steve blinks, unable to reconcile the words with the Pepper he knows, the friendly, polite, put together business woman. Almost involuntarily, he lets the hand that's holding Tony's wrist drop, braces himself against the parapet behind him. "And he won't even have a hand on himself," Pepper's voice just carries on, honey, soft and smooth, "because he's so focused on you, on what makes you feel good."
Tony's freed hand has moved back to where it had been; he very gently traces the length of Steve's cock through his clothes, uncomfortably tight now, and Steve groans softly. "Pretty please," Tony asks huskily, "with a cherry on top." He smiles wickedly, the double meaning clearly deliberate. "Say yes," Pepper's voice whispers in Steve's ear at the same time and really, he can't quite remember any more why he hasn't yet.
He tries to think back, to trace how he came to be here from idly admiring Tony's physique in the lab, from watching him kiss his way through New York society, from watching his hands making careful adjustments, building intricate machinery, wrapped around the stem of his glass, so assured, but it all seems a blur. Each moment seemed to lead logically to the next but somehow they've bought him to an impossible place, to somewhere he's never quite managed to find with anyone else who quickened his pulse the way Tony and Pepper are because he's never known the way, the route, the words to say but they do. "OK," he says on a breath, soft.
"Fantastic," Tony says, just as soft but twice as certain, a hundred times. He leans forward to kiss Steve again, both his hands between them, opening up the buttons on Steve's pants, tugging down the zip, reaching through the slit in his boxers to wrap his hand around Steve's cock. Steve groans again, the sound almost swallowed up by their kiss and he can feel the curve of Tony's lips under his. "Just relax," Tony says, breaking away to catch Steve's eye. "You'll enjoy this."
He slides down onto his knees, fluid and graceful and it looks just as good as it had in Steve's imagination. He feels Tony's hot breath on his cock, contrasting with the cool night air and then Tony leans forward and licks gently up the length of it, a hot wet stripe, before he closes his lips over the head. Steve lets his head drop forward, feeling the tug and the pressure of it all the way to his balls. "God, Tony," he murmurs, trying not to swear.
"Feels good, doesn't it," comes Pepper's voice from the phone he's forgotten he's holding and he jerks his hand in surprise, nearly dropping it. "Tell me what he looks like, Steve."
Steve isn't entirely sure he can put together a whole sentence at the moment, plus the only word he can think of to describe how Tony looks right now is "obscene" which doesn't seem right for something that feels so incredible. He swallows, hard, and then Tony's tongue is curling around the head of his cock and his other hand is wrapped around the base, starting a gentle rhythm that he's matching with his lips and Steve completely forgets the words he was about to say. He takes a deep breath, trying to remember how his vocal chords work through the haze of sensation. "Amazing," he manages after a second, meaning everything, the sight, the sensation, this whole crazy experience.
"Tell me, Steve," Pepper whispers, soft and seductive. "What he's doing to you."
Even if he could reliably form words, Steve's not sure he could form these words, say these things out loud. He's not even sure there are words for the way this feels.
"You can tell me," she assures him, even though he hasn't spoken. "It's real, Steve, this is really happening. Tell me about it. Make it real for me."
Start with the basics, maybe, Steve thinks to himself. That should be simple enough. "He's stroking me," he says almost whispering, as if someone might hear. It makes him feel exposed all over again to say it out loud but it feels good, too, another thread of excitement. "Low down, not too tight." Tony looks up, realizing Steve is not just talking to him and Steve waggles the phone at him. Tony takes his other hand off Steve's thigh long enough to give a thumbs up and a little wave, which makes Steve snort with sudden, unexpected laughter. "He sends his love," he tells Pepper.
"Nice to be remembered," she says and he can hear the answering smile in her voice. "Where's his other hand, Steve?"
"Leg," Steve replies. "Just balancing." Tony's stopped teasing him with his tongue and is starting to pick up the rhythm. It makes Steve want to push back, speed up, get more, but he holds himself still.
"Keep talking," Pepper prompts him again. "Tell me how his mouth feels, Steve. Is he moving, or teasing you?"
"Moving," Steve says. "Slow. Lips up and down, tiny bit of teeth. Feels so good." He swallows and then starts again. It feels like the more he talks, the more intense the sensations become. He tries to breathe through it, feeling the friction and heat gradually building, pulling at him. "Feel the night air as I slide out, so hot in there, cool out here. Keeps going in a little bit further." He gasps as Tony swirls his tongue around the head.
"I bet you're so polite," Pepper says. "Where are your hands?"
"Phone and wall," Steve says. It's an effort to form words around the gathering pressure. He wants to fling his head back, look at the stars, but he can't bear to look away. He watches Tony shift position slightly, wondering vaguely what he's doing and then suddenly Tony's leaning forward, all the way on to him and swallowing him down. Steve gasps, loud in the night air, and says "Oh God, oh," and he can feel Tony's throat gripping him so tight it's almost too much and then he's coming and he should have warned Tony, should have said something but Tony just backs off, holds him in his mouth, cleans him off with swipes of his tongue which are just on the right side of unbearable. "Oh God," Steve repeats, softly, panting as if he's been running.
Tony tucks him away and stands up, smiling. "I always like it when people call me that," he says and leans in to kiss Steve, wet and messy. He can taste himself on Tony's tongue, salty and not unpleasant. Pepper was right - Tony hasn't touched himself, but Steve can feel his erection between them and wonders how he should reciprocate, what Tony's expecting from him. He's reaches down, brushing his knuckles tentatively over the bulge as they break off the kiss, and Tony hums appreciatively, but says "Wait, don't for a moment, I have an idea. You still on with Pepper?" Steve nods. "OK, pass it over."
It's a little confusing and Steve's not entirely sure if he should be feeling rejected, but of the two of them, Tony's the one who should know what he's doing so he hands over the phone and waits, hands on Tony's hips, just keeping him close. "Pep, you're a genius," Tony tells her, which Steve has to agree with. "You enjoy that?" He pauses. "How much?" He takes the phone away from his mouth for a second and looks at Steve, eyes sparkling. "You're a ladies’ man too, right?" he asks, barely waiting for Steve's answering nod before he's speaking into the phone again. "OK, you back at the tower? Meet you there."
As the phone goes off, Tony leans in for another kiss, slow and smooth, before stepping back, taking one of Steve's hands in his own. "So," he says, coaxing, "moonlight seductions have their charm and all, but you should really try out the delights of a bedroom." He tugs on Steve's hand. "Plus, a gentleman never leaves a lady hanging and you're a gentleman. An officer, even."
Steve just lets that pass him by and tries to get his scrambled brain together. "You mean Miss Potts," he asks tentatively.
"You call her that in bed, you're going to give her a fit of the giggles," Tony warns him. "C'mon, she enjoyed this," gesturing with the phone, "and she'd like to play. Five minutes to get back to the Tower, we'll be back on track. You in?"
"Sure," Steve says, letting Tony tug him towards the door, because why not? His whole life now seems to be about finding himself in new and unimaginable places. The twenty first century, the Avengers, Stark Tower, and now this, something he doesn't even quite have a name for. When he stands still, get's perspective, it's terrifying, dizzying, so he lets Tony tug him into motion. Keep moving, he thinks to himself as they step into the lift. Maybe he doesn't need to understand, just keep his balance.
Chapter 4: Philanthropist
As the two seater pulls up in front of the valet parking and they jump in, Steve finds he can't quite help the feel of nervous anticipation twisting his stomach. He's already in uncharted, unconsidered territory and he's painfully concious that Tony's mapped all of this out years ago. He watches the wind start to ruffle Tony's hair as they get up to speed and wonders how many times Tony's done this before.
Tony looks over at him briefly and smiles before turning back to the road as they corner. "Stop thinking," he says over the noise of the air rushing past. "I've got a plan."
"Oh?" Steve asks, thinking that this is both reassuring and not at the same time.
"Yeah. I'm going to do my patriotic duty to the women of America and show you how to show a lady a good time."
"Really," Steve queries. He gives into temptation and rests his hand on Tony's thigh, high up, and starts stroking with his thumb. He feels the car push forward as Tony's foot goes down harder on the accelerator and smiles. "That's awfully generous of you."
"Yeah, I'm a giver," Tony agrees with a grin. "Watching you two get it on will be purely altruistic on my part."
"You're just going to watch?" Steve asks. He doesn't want to argue Tony out of this plan, exactly, because he hasn't met a woman in this time who he would like to kiss more than Pepper Potts, luminously beautiful, calm and certain, poised but at the same time relaxed. At the same time, though, he remembers how it felt to have Tony's hands on him and he wants that too, wants to give it back and get more, wants to see what Tony would look like with Steve's hands on him.
Tony looks at him, sidelong, and pulls the car around a tight corner. They're going much too fast for the inner city, but roads are quiet and the wind in his hair feels good and Steve doesn't care at all. "How adventurous are you feeling?" Tony asks after a second, turning back to the road.
"I'm a super soldier, right?" Steve says, "I think I can handle a little adventure."
"How do you feel about getting fucked?" Tony asks. They're turning into the garage and pulling up.
Steve swallows. He has no idea what it would feel like, but he's thought about it, wondered, although not with Tony in mind and now there's a whole new set of images in his head. "I've never tried it," he admits, "but we could."
"You've never tried anything," Tony points out, vaulting out of the car and making for the elevator. "Don't feel like you have to eat everything at once. You can have a different course every time you come to the resturant."
Steve gets out of the car and follows a little more slowly. "I'm sorry," he says with a smile, "is this Tony Stark arguing for restraint?"
The doors open in front of them and they both step in. Tony presses the button for his and Pepper's floor and leans back against the wall of the elevator, pushing his hands into his pockets. "I'm mostly hoping not to get into trouble with Pepper for rushing you," he says. "You have no idea how much I would like to fuck you." His eyes are dark, serious, a predatory expression at odds with his relaxed posture.
"OK," Steve says softly, and steps into Tony's space. "Let's do it." He leans forward and Tony meets him half way and Steve is sure he can still taste the ghost of his own orgasm on Tony's tongue.
The break apart as the elevator chimes to let them know they've arrived. Steve pauses, letting Tony take the lead - he feels unsure, not about these people or what he wants to do with them but about the logistics, the pure mechanics of how this will work. Tony must notice his slight hesitation because he turns his head to flash Steve one of his self confident half smiles and says "I said 'don't think'" before grabbing Steve's wrist and towing him into the apartment.
Pepper is reclining on the couch in the living area, still in the dress she was wearing for the party earlier. It's a deep blue, floor length, sequined and iridescent, catching the light as she stands up and moves towards them. The halter neck leaves her arms and shoulders bare as she reaches out, welcoming. She's done something with her hair that keeps it off her face but loose behind her so that her smile is clear, both on her lips and in her eyes.
"Steve," she says, warmth and welcome in her voice but something more too, something that makes it a little huskier than her usual greeting, "I'm so glad you came." She clasps both his hands in hers and smiles up at him, a twinkle in her eye for the flush which comes to his cheeks at the double meaning.
Tony, robbed of Steve's hand, circles behind her, hands on her hips. "Hey," he says in a mock offended tone, "don't I get a hello?"
"You live here, Tony," Pepper reminds him, leaning her head back for a second onto Tony's shoulder before straightening again, "Steve is a guest." She tilts her face up, tugging on Steve's hands gently as she does so, inviting him and he goes where directed, leaning his face down to kiss her.
It's so different to kissing Tony that it's like a whole new experience. Her lips are soft and slim, delicate. Steve traces them with his tongue and she lets go of his hand to slide her own up into his hair, anchoring them as she opens her mouth to let him in. He's half aware of Tony, behind her, leaning into the opening she's left by tilting her head to nibble at her exposed shoulder. His hands move to Pepper's hips, rumbling the fabric, rough with sequins beneath his hands and he lets himself just relax into this extraordinary open warmth.
When he comes up for air, he finds he's meeting Tony's eyes over Pepper's shoulder, Tony's half smile broadened into a grin as if watching Steve kiss his girl is just as good as kissing her himself. "So," Tony says, and then pauses while he fiddles with the clasp of Pepper's dress at the back of her neck. "Why do you choose dresses with terrible catches?" he asks her fondly.
"I like to give you the occasional challenge," Pepper says, smiling, as the fastener comes loose. The whole front of her dress slips forward and off her shoulders, leaving her naked to the waist, with only her hips and Steve's hands resting on them stopping the dress from simply sliding to the floor. Tony reaches around Pepper to cup her breasts. He starts gently rolling one nipple in his fingers, causing Pepper to breathe out a sigh and then hum gently in appreciation.
"C'mon you two," Tony instructs softly, "bed, before we have to pick Pep up and carry her." He starts walking them very gently backwards towards the bedroom, which is open and Steve follows, fascinated by the way Pepper is responding to Tony's hands. He lifts one of his hands tentatively up to stroke his fingers over the soft skin. "Go for it," Tony tells him. "Just be gentle with them - they're sensitive." They've reached the bed now, and Tony steps to the side. Pepper pushes her dress the rest of the way down and sits on the edge in almost the same movement, leaning back on her hands to look up at Steve. The pose pushes her breasts towards him and he reaches out to cup them with his hands and stroke his thumbs gently towards the nipples.
Pepper sighs again, letting her head fall backwards. Steve strokes around the dark aureoles listening in fascination to the way her breath catches as he skates the calluses on his fingertips over the sensitive skin. He lets his fingers skate over the nipples, hard and pointed, and the small appreciative noises Pepper makes go straight to his cock. He can't quite believe he's starting to get hard again already - the way Tony was driving, it must be barely fifteen minutes since he was coming down Tony's throat and that thought just speeds the process up.
He starts with surprise when he feels Tony right behind him; he'd been so engrossed in his encounter with Pepper that he'd forgotten to wonder what Tony was doing, but now there's arms around him, bare and muscular, unbuttoning the studs of his dress shirt. He can feel Tony's cock pushing into him as Tony reaches around him and it's so distracting that he lets one of his hands drop away to hang by his side. "You're too clothed, Steve," Tony says, voice mock stern. He strips the shirt off Steve's shoulders, forcing him to drop his other hand, and Pepper sits up and unbuttons his trousers, pushing them down with his boxers before sliding back on the bed to lay back on the pillows. She looks incredible, totally unselfconscious about being stretched out naked in front of them. Tony gives him a slight push and Steve steps out of his clothes, pulling off his socks as he goes and follows her onto the bed. Tony moves around them until he's on the other side and he looks amazing, dark supple muscle contrasting with Pepper's pale sleek skin. The arc reactor glows gently, standing ever so slightly proud of the skin around it and Steve reaches out almost involuntarily to trace the seam. He still can't quite believe that this is a thing that Tony built and not something magical, some miracle.
Tony smiles and leans forward to kiss Pepper. The motion moves him under Steve's hand and Steve continues it as Tony settles, sliding down the smooth skin of Tony's torso and coming to rest on his hip. He watches Tony and Pepper kiss, fascinated by how beautiful they are together. It's not fierce, not hungry or desperate but there's energy there, heat. Passionate, he thinks, but also practiced. He wonders again how he's going to fit into this, all fumbling and uncertain.
"You're doing it again," Tony tells him, a hint of sternness in his voice but a smile on his lips as he raises his head to look at Steve. "C'mon, I can see we need to keep you busy. Let's start our tour. Pep, you just lie back and think of the stars and stripes."
"Don't tease, Tony," Pepper says, turning herself toward Steve. "Of course Steve's a little nervous." She leans forward, raising herself up a little to kiss him again, her tongue flickering gently over his lips before laying back against the pillows again.
"So," Tony says, tone soft but serious, "let's start at the top and work our way down." He cups one of Pepper's breasts and starts to play with the nipple again. Steve reaches out for the other, tentatively and starts to stroke gently, feeling the contrast between the soft skin and his own rough fingers.
Pepper sighs gently and arches her back, pushing her breasts up into their hands. "Kiss them," she says. Her hand tugs gently on Steve's shoulder, encouraging him to bend forward and he does, a little uncertain but willing to experiment. He presses a couple of soft kisses into the side of her breast and she turns slightly towards him so he takes the hint and lets his lips slid over her nipple, traces the puckered tight skin of her aureole with his tongue. She groans and her hand drops away from his shoulder onto the bed. "Oh yeah," she says, leaning into him, "Steve, that's so good," so he just keeps going, twirling his tongue around the nipple.
"Tiny bit of teeth," he hears Tony urge, and in his peripheral vision he can see Tony leaning forward to kiss Pepper. He kind of wants to see that too so he shifts his position slightly so that he can scrape his teeth over her breast, feeling her breath coming quicker as he tugs the nipple gently, leaning ever so slightly back and up so that he can watch. Tony's still holding her breast, stroking the thumb over it rhythmically; he's propped up on the other arm, hand in her hair, leaning over to kiss her, transforming her gasps into merely whispers. It's strange, but it's also unbelievably hot, watching the way the two of them fit together and Steve thinks he could stay here all night just doing this.
As if he's heard the thought, Tony takes his mouth away from Pepper's and turns his head, looking straight at Steve. "You ready for some below the belt action?" he asks. Steve hesitates for a second, not because he doesn't want to, or even because he's unsure if he should, but just to catch his breath, a gulp of oxygen before diving back down into unfamiliar territory. Pepper hums her assent, lying back on the pillow with her eyes half closed, shifting her hips just slightly against him, against them.
"Let's do this," Steve replies.
"Okay," Tony says, soft and triumphant. He grabs Steve's hand where it's been resting on Pepper's breastbone and interlaces their fingers. "Just relax and go with me," he orders quietly, moving himself down the bed a little. He slides their joined hands down over Pepper's stomach; she sucks in a breath as they skate over the smooth skin, lets it out slowly as Tony pulls them forwards, through the soft hair at her groin and between her parted legs.
"See, the good thing about coming to this fresh," Tony comments almost casually, stroking their fingers over Pepper's inner thigh, "is that you don't have a lot of forties crap to unlearn." He moves their hands back up, urging Steve's fingers to slide through the slick folds. "You gotta take your time with a lady, Rogers, treat her right." Steve looks up to glare at him, but Tony's grinning and Steve relaxes, grins back.
Pepper laughs a little, softly, and squirms, pushing herself onto their combined hands. "There's taking it slow, and then there's just plain teasing, Tony," she says, an echo of her usual stern tones under the huskiness. "Come on."
"Patience," Tony advises, and leans over to suck a kiss onto her hip as he starts to move their hands gently up and down, stroking along her slit. She gasps as they skate over the rise at the top, pushes down toward them again, and Steve slides them back, pressing just a little harder, wanting to see if she'll do it again.
"There you go," Tony says, sounding pleased and lifting his head up. He disentangles his hand. "You keep doing that, slide some fingers in, I'm going to grab a few things." He rolls away from them, over to one of the bedside tables, but Steve doesn't care - he can't stop focusing on Pepper, watching her face as he experiments, sliding his fingers over and around that spot. She's panting just a little, short gasps, pushing her hips up and into his hands.
"Oh, god, Steve, please," she pants as Tony comes back, settles in behind Steve.
"Fingers," Tony repeats, before Steve can wonder what' she's asking for. "Start with one, slip it in, just like you're going to do with your cock in a minute." Steve exhales, hard, suddenly really believing that this is going to happen. He's actually going to... He slides a finger in, starts stroking in and out.
"More," Pepper demands. She's still pushing herself into Steve's hand as he pushes a second finger in beside the first. It's a little tight and so hot and his throat dries a little thinking of what comes next. He shifts a little, wanting to touch himself but needing his other hand to keep him upright.
"C'mere," Tony says, tugging gently at his hips. He pulls Steve up until he's kneeling over Pepper, bent slightly forward, balanced on one arm while the other moves in and out. He realises that if he cups his hand slightly, he can press all the way up and over her sweet spot on each thrust; she's panting again, little hitching breaths that go straight to his cock, moving her hips in counterpoint to his rhythm.
"Okay," Tony says behind him, voice low. He rests a hand on Steve's hip, strokes it lightly down over his ass. "You still want to try this?"
Steve nods, wordlessly. He wants everything, wants to be here with these two, wants to know them the way they know each other, trust each other. He wants to feel connected to them, feel grounded.
"Awesome," Tony says. "I'm going to get you prepped, OK? This is gonna feel a little weird for a minute or so and then hopefully really fantastic." Steve feels Tony's finger, slick and warm, circling around his asshole. He tries to hold still, let it happen. "Relax, Steve," Tony says. "Focus on Pep."
Steve realises that in his distraction, his rhythm of movement inside Pepper has faltered. She's moving herself on his fingers, twisting her hips as she thrusts, watching them with heavy lidded eyes. As their gazes meet, she reaches out, holds onto his upper arm where he's supporting himself over her. "So good, Steve," she murmurs. "Just a little more, stay with me." She starts to move her hips faster, pushing down slightly harder onto his fingers each time and he takes the cue, tries to focus on matching her rhythm, and not on the feeling of Tony pushing a finger into him.
Tony's right, it does feel weird, he feels like he wants to move away and push back at the same time. Tony's finger slides up and down, turning inside him to stroke all over. His other hand is stroking circles on Steve's hip and he can feel Tony's erection just against his thigh, just that little bit hotter. Tony pulls the finger out again, leaving Steve feeling empty and strange and then he's back, this time pushing two in and it feels tight and just a little painful and then Tony pushes just a little bit farther and twists his fingers again and the breath that Steve didn't realise he'd been holding rushes out of him at sensation.
"There you go," Tony says again, sounding smug. "Feeling good yet?"
"Do that again," Steve demands.
"Patience, young Padwan," Tony drawls. Steve pushes back insistently, trying to figure out where exactly Tony had been and Tony snorts. "Or not," he says. "Tell you what, I'll take my cues from you."
For a moment, Steve has no idea what he means and then Pepper grinds back down onto his fingers and as soon as he starts to stroke her again, Tony's doing the same inside him. Every time Tony hits that spot again, it feels like a pulse of energy straight to his cock and he finds himself speeding up, wanting more and more. Pepper is breathing in short, high pitched gasps, which are starting to become a tumble of words, urging them on until she throws her head back and whines; Steve feels her clamp down on his fingers nearly as hard as she's grabbing onto his arm, he can barely move them.
"Slow down a little," Tony advises, "ease off." He suits the action to the word, and Steve tries to follow the gentler rhythm of his fingers, wondering if he should have stopped sooner. "Lucky for us, women don't have to wait between courses," Tony comments. "Pep likes to come before the main event - gets her into the swing of things. Now we're ready to move.
Pepper's hand, which had gone slack, tightens on his arm again, pulling him up. "C'mon, Steve," she whispers, and he goes, bringing his arms up to brace himself on either side of her head, feeling his cock slip between her thighs. She tips her hips up, searching for the right angle and he has to swallow hard as she finds it and he slides inside her.
Tony's behind them, hand on Steve's hip, kneeling up, and Pepper hooks her legs around Steve's to let him spread out a little more as he feels the head of Tony's cock against his asshole. He braces his thighs, trying to relax at the same time, biting his lip as he feels Tony push inside of him. A couple of inches in, Tony pulls back a little bit before pushing further and that rocks Steve inside Pepper and he can't help it, his brain disengages. "Oh fuck," he breathes, "oh yeah," and starts trying to rock himself back and forward between them.
"That's the plan," Tony agrees, sounding breathless. He grabs Steve's other hip and pushes himself further in and that pushes him right over that spot and Steve feels his cock jerk inside Pepper. He simultaneously wants to do this for ever and to come right now.
Pepper reaches up to run her hands through his hair and then pulls him in for a kiss, swallowing his moans as Tony starts to speed up. Steve starts to pick up the rhythm, pushing himself forward as Tony pulls back and then back to meet Tony's thrusts in. Pepper mirrors him, pushing her hips up to meet him, taking him deeper and he can barely remember how to breathe.
He's so tuned in to the movement of the three of them together that he can feel Tony start to lose his place before Tony gasps out "Fuck, I'm gonna".
He doesn't finish the sentence. Steve pushes back hard and tightens his muscles and the rest is lost in a yell and he can feel Tony go inside of him, pulsing and wet.
"God bless America," Tony says after a second, voice unsteady. "You two crazy kids go on without me." He slips out, and Steve feels bereft for a moment, but he doesn't take his hands away, slides one down instead to where Steve and Pepper are joined, then strokes around Steve's thigh. Steve starts to thrust in again, easier now that he doesn't have to balance between the two of them. He can feel himself on the edge, balls tightening, ready to go. Pepper's still panting and writhing underneath him and he leans back a little, adjusting the angle to give himself a little more time. He feels Tony push his hand into the space Steve's left between them, and it only takes a couple more thrusts before he feels Pepper grabbing on to him, gripping his cock with her insides, burying her moan in his neck and he lets go, lets himself come and it feels like he's on fire, burning through him, burning him up until he's spent.
He just lies there for a minute, propped on his elbows so that he won't crush Pepper, trying to get his breath, to process. When he hears Tony's voice again, he's startled, he'd almost forgotten that speech was possible. "C'mon," Tony says, tugging his shoulder gently, "right now you just want to sleep but you'll regret it tomorrow if you don't clean up now." Steve lets himself be rolled over gently and Tony hands him a wash cloth. Pepper pushes herself up, presumably to go and use the bathroom and Steve suddenly wonders what happens now, whether he should offer to go back downstairs to his apartment, leave them in peace. Pepper leans forward to kiss him, stroking his cheek, and smiles. "Relax, Steve," she orders, and stands up.
"So," Tony says lightly as Steve starts to wipe himself off. "You gonna stay over? Round three tomorrow maybe?" The tone is flippant, but Steve looks over to where Tony is lounging on the bed, and there's something in his eyes that makes Steve think that the question is more serious than it sounds. He wonders, for all his light hearted talk of lists and his free and easy reputation, how many people Tony would really bring here now, into his life, his home, his bed. How many people does he trust this close to his heart, illuminating Tony's shadow in the low light? He could go back downstairs, sleep in his own bed and that would be that, no harm, no foul. Don't look back, he tells himself, just keep moving.
"Well," he replies with a smile, "that depends - will you have enough in to feed me breakfast?"
Tony relaxes, flops back on the pillows with a laugh. "I'll get Jarvis to order in extra supplies" he promises easily and Steve relaxes back next to him, figuring that tomorrow will be soon enough to start figuring out where next.