Tony woke up slowly, mostly aware, at first, that he was warm, that he was resting on something firm, but comfortable, and most of all, that it felt really good. He felt so warm and contented that it seemed like a shame to open his eyes, but the longer he lay there, the more his brain started to run—first he thought of the upgrades to the armor he’d left in his workshop when he’d come up here with Steve, then the pile of paperwork on his desk, the adaptations to the green energy engines he’d been working on, an algae battery, and tweaks to the repulsors. The flatscreen TV in the rec room, he’d wanted to change the wiring in there, and—and before he knew it, he was awake, with no hope of getting back to sleep. He sighed, let the pleasant lassitude slide away from him. Around the same time, it struck him that he didn’t remember going to bed? He blinked his eyes open, still trying to process that thought.
A warm, broad, familiar hand, callused and strong, settled onto his forehead, brushed back into his hair. “Hi there,” Steve’s voice came, soft and affectionate.
“Mmph,” Tony said, articulately. He tried to work moisture back into his mouth, blinked sleep out of his eyes. “Hi.” He smiled up at Steve, upside down, tilted his head back over Steve’s thigh—oh, strong, warm, flexing just a little under his head, that was it, that was what he’d been resting on, wow—to smile up at him. God, that was amazing. Steve’s thighs made the greatest pillow. Big and strong, firm muscle, plush enough to be a comforting surface to rest on. They were perfect. Steve was perfect. Tony was the luckiest man alive.
Steve slid his hand backward, into Tony’s hair, stroked it gently backward, fingers scratching gently along his scalp. Tony blinked, fighting a pleasured sigh at how good that felt. He was on the sofa, in the—the living room downstairs? How had he fallen asleep there? That was—how had he done that? That was embarrassing. He hadn’t meant to. “I fell asleep?” he said, and it came out as a question despite himself.
“Yeah,” Steve said, smiling a little. His thumb rubbed a circle against Tony’s temple, and Tony sighed at the feeling, let his eyes flutter closed despite every reason he had not to. “You fell asleep. I didn’t see any reason to wake you.”
“How about so I didn’t embarrass myself?” Tony muttered, but there wasn’t any heat behind it, and he knew it.
“No one in here but us,” Steve said, smiling a little. He slid the backs of his fingers down, along Tony’s cheek, and Tony felt his cheeks warm up a little, a smile start to tug softly the corner of his lips. “Nothing embarrassing about getting some shut-eye, Shellhead. You needed it.”
“I didn’t need it,” Tony said, even though his body betrayed him at that exact moment by trying to stretch his mouth in a yawn. He bit his lip against it. “I—could have just gone to sleep earlier than usual later tonight. Or something.”
Steve raised his eyebrows, still smiling a bit, rubbing his fingers gently against Tony’s scratchy cheek, and making him feel even warmer in the face. “Is that supposed to be a suggestion I’m going to actually believe you might follow through on?” he asked.
Tony frowned up at him. “Hey,” he said. “You could—you could at least pretend to believe me. Isn’t that what a, a boyfriend is supposed to do?”
Steve laughed. “Not this one,” he said. The expression, the laugh, his smile, lit up his whole face, Tony thought distractedly, mind still vague and sleep-mazed, like it made him glow somehow, eyes bright and shining, and face carefree and boyish, so bright to Tony’s sleepy eyes he almost couldn’t focus on him. “When have I ever done that, huh, Stark?”
“Well,” Tony admitted, trying to get one arm under him and push himself up on his elbows, “never.” The motion pulled tight on the sore muscles of his shoulders and back, and he tried to keep back a groan. Steve ran his hand up along Tony’s back, planted it just beneath his shoulder blades, and Tony realized that Steve was fully prepared to hold him up with that hand, even as he dug the heel of his hand into the sore muscles.
“Stiffened up, huh?” Steve said. He rolled his hand, gentle and firm, and this time the groan that nearly escaped Tony was one of pleasure. He turned his head, let his cheek slide against Steve’s other hand, the one against his face, the warm callused roughness of it, gentle and firm, let his eyes flutter a little in pleasure at the warmth and steadiness in Steve's touch.
“Guess so,” he said. He didn’t say that the bruises from the fight had been a little sore even before Steve had coaxed him out of the workshop. It wasn’t a big deal, after all. He was only a little banged up. He’d scanned himself before he got out of the armor, and it didn’t even warrant a checkup, really. It was just bruises, a few sore and strained muscles. Nothing at all in the scheme of things.
“Here,” Steve said, wrapped his arm around him and hauled him upward. “Let me try to work some of that out for you.”
“You don’t have to,” Tony said. He blinked, still trying to get his mind to focus, and batted ineffectually at the incredible strength and steadiness of the arm Steve had around his shoulders. Steve didn’t falter, had Tony sitting upright in another second.
“I’d like to,” Steve said, wrapping his broad, warm hand around the back of Tony’s neck and squeezing gently, leaning in so that his nose skimmed through Tony’s hair before he pressed a firm kiss to Tony’s temple. Tony felt himself smile, his lips curling up at the edges, and his face felt warm. He turned his face, let their lips brush, tilting his chin up to angle their mouths together. Steve made a pleased noise, slid his hand up into Tony’s hair, so warm and heavy at the back of his neck, and Tony could feel his smile growing, going even softer against Steve’s lips. He let his eyes slide closed. After a moment, when the kiss didn’t ease off, just growing warmer and softer as their lips shifted and slipped gently against each other’s, Tony pulled his legs up and under him, shifted around so he could lean into Steve more solidly, resting his hands on his shoulders, then sliding them up to rest soft against his neck. Steve made another soft noise, and his hands pressed against Tony’s shoulders, rubbed gently in his hair, sending prickles of pleasure through Tony’s veins that made him practically shiver even as Steve drew him in toward his chest. Tony threw his leg over Steve’s, pulled himself into his lap. He could feel Steve, warm and firm, radiating heat and strength, pressed against him, all along his body, even as he felt the familiar stretch in his hips that came from straddling Steve, pressing his knees against his sides.
Steve made another noise and tugged Tony in closer, hand kneading and massaging at the back of his head, and Tony felt it as he had to shift his weight to get closer, legs having to splay out just that little bit more to press himself into him fully. He slid his hands around the back of Steve’s neck, feeling the warm smoothness of his skin, and leaned even further into the kiss, pulling away just long enough to suck in a breath before he went back to it.
They kissed for a long time, and despite the warmth it stayed soft and slow, until Tony pulled away, breathless, and let his head settle onto Steve’s shoulder. Steve made a soft, contented rough hum of a noise and nosed into Tony’s hair, kissed his temple again, his hands moving to rub up and down Tony’s back, firm and strong, kneading at the sore muscles. His thumb ran down along the line of Tony’s spine, pressing in just enough, and Tony had to bite back a shuddering groan. It felt—well, it felt really good.
“See?” Steve murmured, a low rumble against Tony’s ear. He set both thumbs at either side of Tony’s spine and brought them down, digging in with firm pressure.
“See what?” Tony managed to mumble against the cloth of Steve’s shirt. He curled his own fingers in against the back of Steve’s neck, into the soft hair at the nape of his neck. He was still a little breathless from the kiss, and—damn.
He didn’t raise his head to see, but he thought Steve was smiling when he spoke again. “Feels good, doesn’t it?” He dug his thumbs, then the heels of his hands, in against Tony’s back, and Tony couldn’t keep back the groan that time.
“Yeah,” he managed to get out. “Ugh. Yeah, it—it really kind of does, Winghead.”
Steve chuckled, warm breath against Tony’s ear and along down his neck, chest moving with it beneath Tony’s weight. “Just kind of?” he asked, but his big warm hands didn’t stop their movements over Tony’s back.
“Okay,” Tony admitted. “Really good. God, you’re so good at that, cupcake.”
“Big hands,” Steve said.
“Not just that,” Tony breathed, groaning again as Steve found a sore spot and started working at it. “You know how to use ‘em, honey.”
Steve laughed. “I’ll take that,” he said. “You really are stiff, you know.”
Tony sighed into his shoulder, knew he was smiling like an idiot. “And you really don’t have to do that,” he said quietly.
“I really want to,” Steve said simply, easily, and the pure easiness of it took Tony’s breath away. He closed his eyes and let himself lean into the warm skin of Steve’s neck. When he finally managed to take in another deep breath, it was warm and smelled of Steve, clean and fresh after the shower he’d taken earlier, the sweet, clean smell of his hair and skin, just a whiff of soap alongside the scent of Steve, masculine and butter-warm and sweet as sunshine. He let his breath out, let his forehead rest against the curve of Steve’s neck, and Steve made a pleased nose, kissed his ear, and started to rub his back, working up from the dip of his back, hands huge and warm and heavy as he worked on him.
Tony knew he was being indulgent. He should slide out of Steve’s lap, should—should do something, he had plenty of work to do, and the rest of the team could come in at any time. And here he was, literally sitting in Steve’s lap, legs spread apart so they were curved loose around Steve’s waist, knees softly resting against his sides, and face resting on his shoulder, they could at least do this in private, talk about your blatantly tactless and embarrassing PDA—but Steve’s hands felt so, so good on his back, and the stiff sore tightness was rapidly leaving his shoulders, until they almost felt loose, like muscles again instead of the rigid iron bands they’d been since they’d got back after the fight.
After a long moment he finally got himself to raise his head, leaned over to buss a simple kiss across Steve’s lips. Steve’s hands stilled on his back, rubbing in gentle circles, and he sighed, left another quick kiss against his lips. “Maybe we should move this up to a bedroom?” he suggested. He knew he should do something else instead, but—well, he’d already fixed the damage to the shoulder joints of the armor from the fight, and he couldn’t think of any more paperwork or details he had to look over for Stark before tomorrow—he’d finished most of that before the fight, hoping he might have an evening with Steve, and, well, if this was what Steve wanted to do … .
“Mmm,” Steve said. Tony felt him smile against his lips, and he turned his head to brush a kiss against Tony’s lips in return. “That might not be a bad idea.”
Tony smiled, brought his hands up to brush them back through Steve’s hair, caressing his cheek, the line of his jaw, with his thumb. “I’d like you all to myself for a while,” he admitted, and his voice came out low, husky.
Steve’s cheeks flushed a little, and his grin was bright in response. “Yeah,” he said, soft and low. “That sounds good, doesn’t it?”
“It really does,” Tony admitted.
Steve touched his lips to Tony’s again, gentle and easy. “Then that’s what we’ll do,” he told him, smile going a little warmer.
“Sure thing, buster,” Tony said. He slid off Steve’s lap, sighing and wincing as his muscles pulled and his back cracked a bit, stretched to get the worst of the kinks out, wincing as he could hear how creaky he’d gotten, the loud pops of his shoulders, and held out his hand to Steve even as he sat up and started to reach for Tony. Steve shifted his movement mid-motion, grinned up at Tony even as he caught his hand, his broad callused thumb running warm along Tony’s palm, and brought it to his lips to brush them across Tony’s knuckles.
His breath was warm, and it made something in Tony’s chest flutter and leap wildly into his throat. “You charmer,” he said, on a breathless laugh, and Steve’s eyes crinkled up with his smile.
“You bring it out in me,” he said, seizing on Tony’s hand and letting Tony help pull him to his feet. Steve tugged on his hand, pulled Steve forward and into his arms despite his sore shoulders, and Steve helped him out, coming willingly and curling his arms around Tony’s waist. He stole another kiss from Tony’s lips, and Tony smiled into it, pulling Steve’s hand even closer and leaning into him, sliding his own hand up along Steve’s firm waist, along the cloth of his shirt, feeling the warm strength and solidity of Steve’s body bleeding through it.
“Oh yeah?” he murmured against Steve’s lips.
“Oh yeah,” Steve replied, just as soft and low, still smiling. “You sure do.”
The kiss lasted a moment longer, warm and soft, before Tony murmured, “I’m flattered.” The back of his neck felt warm, his cheeks, down into his chest, heady and a little dizzy. Steve’s hands were so warm and strong, resting flat against the small of his back. He knew he was smiling like an idiot as he pulled back, could see it reflected in the way Steve’s smile softened and he leaned forward to press his lips to Tony’s cheekbone, brought his hand up to rub his thumb along the line of Tony’s beard, against his cheek. Tony felt even warmer. “C’mon, babe,” he murmured.
“Yeah,” Steve said, soft and warm, in a way that sent that warm climbing down Tony’s spine, too. “Let’s go to bed.”
“Sofa,” Tony reminded him as they started out of the room and toward the elevator, Steve’s arm settled around his waist, hand warm at his side. “Sofa in the bedroom.” He leaned against Steve a little, because he could, Steve would let him, and bit back a yawn. “Not going to sleep quite yet.”
He could hear Steve’s smile in his voice as he kissed Tony’s hair, above his ear. “You sure?” he said.
“You promised me a backrub,” Tony reminded him, and tilted his head back to smile up at him. “You going back on that now, Rogers?”
“No way, no how, Stark,” Steve said, grinning.
“You just want to get me into bed,” Tony said, as they stepped into the elevator, and Steve slid his other arm around Tony as soon as the doors dinged closed. Tony laid his head on Steve’s shoulder and sighed, letting his arms go around Steve in return, slipping down over his waist.
“You caught me,” Steve whispered in his ear. He slid his hands under Tony’s shirt and rubbed warm, broad circles on his back, making him shiver and press his face further into Steve’s neck. Tony left a kiss on the base of Steve’s collarbone, letting his mouth go slow and wet.
“Ahhh,” he groaned against Steve’s skin, as Steve moved his hands up, gentle and sure. “That feels so good, sugar.”
“Mmm,” Steve hummed. “Sure does.”
“Mmm,” Tony agreed, and let himself close his eyes against Steve’s neck, soaking in the warmth of him, his freshly showered, warm, clean smell, the broad solidity of him against Tony’s body, steady under his weight, the gentle heat of his hands on Tony’s bare skin, rubbing in soothing circles. “You’ll have to let me do something nice for you,” he mumbled, curling his hands in against the small of Steve’s back, rubbing his thumbs in little circles through his shirt. “Maybe—” he bit back another yawn. “Maybe tomorrow morning.”
“Sounds good,” Steve said, low, into Tony’s hair, low enough that Tony could feel the rumble of his voice in his chest.
“S’ry I’m so tired,” Tony let out, yawning against Steve’s neck, following the words with soft, wet kisses along the base of his neck, the curve of his shoulder, as a further apology.
“No need to apologize,” Steve said, still circling his hands slowly over Tony’s bare skin. “You’ve been burning the candle at both ends for a while now. Has to catch up with you sometime.”
Tony made a frustrated noise, discontented with that idea, with his own weakness, no matter how accepting Steve seemed of it, but he was feeling too good to really argue. “Don’t see why,” he muttered into Steve’s neck, all the same. “Excelsior. Harder, faster, better, stronger.”
“Hey, I miss seeing you in our bed sometimes, too,” Steve said, with some humor, and kissed his temple.
Tony felt an instinctive flash of guilt, and he was still turning over a reply to that when the elevator dinged, and Steve tugged at him to move, big hands gentle but insistent, still warm on his back. Tony had keyed them into his bedroom and let the door shut behind him before his brain was working enough for him to say, “I’m sorry about that, too—if you were lonely or—I don’t spend enough time with you.”
“Hey,” Steve said. “Stop that.” He nudged Tony toward the sofa with one hand on the small of his back, stopping when Tony’s knees ran into it, and he stumbled, then easily catching him and pushing him down. Tony let himself relax onto the firm, soft surface, sighed as his sore back sank pleasantly into the cushion behind him. Much to Tony’s surprise, Steve then pushed back the glass coffee table and got down on his knees in front of him, one hand on each of Tony’s thighs as he leaned in and pressed a soft kiss into Tony’s mouth, warm and steady and sweet, smooth and soft as he mouthed gently over his lips, into his mouth, then pulled away. Tony groaned and swayed forward, but Steve just set his hands at his hips, stroking gently with his thumbs along the fabric of Tony’s loose exercise pants, then moving up to slip beneath his shirt again and stroke gently at his skin just above the waistband. “Don’t want you feeling guilty,” he said, low and easy. His hands slid up, curved around to curl in against Tony’s back. “I’m the one gone often enough. Just want you to remember how nice it is to get to see you, too.”
Tony sighed, felt his face twisting a little, still trying to try to fight through the fog in his mind to respond. “That’s why I’m sorry,” he said. “We were going to have a night in, spend some time together, but I’m just …” he waved a hand, trying to encapsulate how disappointing he was, how out of it. “Out for the count. So.”
“Hey, I’m beat, too,” Steve said. He took Tony’s chin in his hand, turned his face back, and kissed him on the mouth again, incredibly gently, firm, but so soft, his wind-roughened lips the slightest rasp against Tony’s, his mouth warm and sweet. Tony sighed, couldn’t help the way his eyes fluttered closed, especially as Steve brought both hands back up along Tony’s jaw, skimmed them back into Tony’s hair.
“No, you’re not,” he protested as Steve pulled away for a breath that feathered warm over Tony’s own lips. “You’re never tired, not like this. The serum makes it so that—”
Steve laughed a little, and pressed a kiss to the corner of Tony’s mouth. “I still get brain tired,” he said. “It was a rough one today. All I want right now is to sit here, with you, maybe watch a movie. Make some snacks, if you want. And give you that backrub.”
“That sounds good,” Tony admitted with a wry smile, opening his eyes. Steve was right there, smiling at him, and Tony had to admit, he did look tired. His eyes were tired, tiredness in the way his forehead wrinkled, the set of his jaw, even the soft curve of his smile. He knew that. He knew better than that. He knew how tired Steve got sometimes, body or not, serum or not. He reached out, rubbed gently at the little line between Steve’s brows with his thumb, then leaned forward to press a kiss to the side of his head. “Yeah,” he breathed. “Let’s do that, then. We were going to watch Cosmos, right? The new one? Still want to?”
Steve smiled at that, brushed a kiss along Tony’s jaw, his arms shifting around him, curling around him for a quick squeeze. “You bet I do,” he said, and Tony couldn’t help but smile back, his heart aching tight and soft and liquid at the same time in his chest at the smile on his face.
“If I fall asleep …” he started.
“It’s no big deal,” Steve finished. “What do you want for snacks?”
“I don’t know,” Tony said. He was too tired to think of anything. “Whatever you want, big guy.”
“There’s still some of that salsa with strawberries in the fridge,” Steve said. “You liked that, right?”
“Oh, God, yes,” Tony said. Jarvis had really outdone himself with that stuff. Tony thought he could probably eat a metric ton of it in one sitting.
“You got it, mister,” Steve said, smiling, squeezed Tony’s hips as he brought his hands back around him, and got to his feet. Tony reached for the remote as he left, clicked the tv to on, and used the voice commands he’d programmed a long time ago to bring Cosmos up on the screen, paused and waiting for Steve. They’d been invaluable when he was hurt or incapacitated before, and even if he was just a little sore right now, he was feeling too comfortable and zoned out to want to get up.
Steve came back with the salsa in a bowl on a large plate, half of it covered in regular salted corn chips, the other with tortilla chips covered in cinnamon sugar. Tony groaned when he saw them. “You’re spoiling me, honeybunch,” he said. Steve grinned, sat down beside him, dipped one of the sweet chips in the salsa and held it to Tony’s lips. Tony took the offered bite, ate the rest of the chip as Steve fed it to him, and knew his eyes rolled back in his head as the flavor exploded on his tongue, all spicy sweet. “God,” he said, as soon as he swallowed. “Am I drooling? I’m going to get fat. What are you going to do if I get too fat to fit in the suit, huh?”
“You get plenty of exercise,” Steve said, stuffing a big salty chip covered in the salsa into his mouth. “Television: play.” He leaned back, dropped an arm around Tony’s shoulders. “I can always help with that,” he murmured in Tony’s ear, and there was a chuckle in his voice.
Tony bit his own lip on a laugh. “You are so goddamn naughty,” he said. “How did I ever think you were innocent? You are such a rogue, you—”
Steve broke out laughing and kissed him. His lips tasted like salt and strawberries and spice. “I like exercising with you,” he said, and his hand slid up under Tony’s shirt, fingers dancing in a teasing pattern over his side. Tony had no idea how Steve could deliver innuendo so straight, sounding so innocent he might have been talking about stretching exercises or a yoga workshop.
“Oh, yeah?” Tony asked him as he nipped and sucked at Tony’s lips, making him groan and arch up into him, wrap his arms around Steve’s shoulders. “You do, huh? You have a dirty mind, studmuffin.”
“Hey, I never said anything about that kind of thing,” Steve said, and slipped his tongue into Tony’s mouth.
When he pulled away, Tony was gasping and breathless, mind reeling, and Steve himself looked a little flushed. Tony reached up, brushed the back of his fingers over Steve’s cheek without even thinking, and Steve grinned and turned his head as he caught Tony’s hand and pressed a kiss to it. Tony let out his breath, surprised and feeling his heart squeeze again, and Steve rubbed his thumb across the back of Tony’s knuckles and let go.
“We should—we should watch the show,” Tony said, barely hearing his own words as he stared into Steve’s eyes, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s voice a vague echo in the background.
“Yeah,” Steve said, softly. He smiled again, leaned in, and brushed another soft kiss against Tony’s lips. It made his eyes flutter, something in him go lax and loose under it, easy and relaxed. He thought he might be smiling too, soft and dopey. “Lie down in my lap,” Steve said, “and I’ll give you that massage. For real, this time.”
“You really don’t have to, you know,” Tony started.
“I know,” Steve said. “Lap, Stark. C’mon, get a move on.”
Tony shook his head at him, but gave in, leaning forward with a groan as it jostled his still sore muscles and straightening out his legs on the sofa, letting his upper body drape over Steve’s strong, muscled thighs so he could pillow his head on his own arms. “This what you wanted?” he sighed out, turning his head so he could see the television screen.
“That’s it,” Steve said. A moment later, his hand came down, nudging a pillow into Tony’s face. Tony took it, tucked it between his head and his arms, and sighed at how comfortable it felt even before Steve got started on his back. He had to bite back an embarrassing noise as Steve’s hands dug in, the way the tension in his back quivered, tightened, only to release. He massaged all the way down Tony’s back, deep and firm, then back up, until Tony was groaning, unable to help it, then rubbed his hands back down in warm circles, over the soft fabric of Tony’s old t-shirt, then dipped his hands under it and pushed it up, his hands sliding under it, warm and rough with calluses against Tony’s bare skin. Tony sighed. Damn, that felt even better. He owed Steve something so nice for this … . He could feel his thoughts unwinding, softening, slipping away. It was rare for him to feel this relaxed.
Steve dug his thumbs in along Tony’s spine and he heard himself gasp, light and soft. Space swirled on the screen in front of him, nebulae and stars. Tony felt good just listening to the simple explanation of stellar phenomena. “That’s it,” Steve murmured. “Now you’re loosening up.”
“Thank you, honey,” Tony mumbled. “Feels so good.”
“That’s the idea,” Steve told him. “I’m glad it feels good.” He rubbed his hand down Tony’s back, the heel of it against his spine, then went back to his careful massage.
“Not like your hands on me could ever feel anything but good,” Tony added with wry humor. He was pretty far gone on Steve. Just Steve touching his wrist sent a jolt of pleasure through him these days.
“I try,” Steve said. He ground the heel of his hand down into the small of Tony’s back, and Tony groaned again.
“Try too hard and I might just keel over from pleasure one day,” he told him.
Steve laughed. “I hope not,” he said, running his palms back up Tony’s back. “That’s really not the intended result.”
“Hmm,” Tony hummed. “Well, then, be careful. Use your powers for good, Rogers.”
Steve laughed, reached up and tousled Tony’s hair, then stroked his fingers through it gently. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to the top of Tony’s head, and Tony felt warm. “Will do, Stark,” he breathed.
“I’m not so sure about that,” Tony mumbled into the pillow, grinning like an idiot as he kept his eyes on the TV. “Can I get your word?”
“Cross my heart,” Steve said, then reached for more of the chips and fed Tony another one. His hand came up and skimmed softly along Tony’s jaw after Tony ate it, and Tony swallowed, felt a soft, warm pleasure expanding inside his chest. Steve kissed the top of Tony’s ear, and he sighed, happily.
“You’ve got about a million years to stop, though,” he said when he was done swallowing, and it came out sleepy, loopy sounding, soft and warm.
“Roger that,” Steve said, kissed his cheek, and slid his hands back under Tony’s shirt to rub up along his spine again.