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Next I go to Seven Gates (each step less a mystery)

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1.

Steve spends three days with contract specialists at SHIELD, going over notes Tony had made to the contracts he’d signed -- the amount of money these contracts are worth is absolutely staggering, and Steve reminds himself ruefully that whatever else happens he probably doesn’t actually have to barter for contracts with his body. New contracts are printed with Tony’s stipulations added, and both the Army and SHIELD spend two days doing nothing but pestering Steve for ideas. They haven’t missed the fact that most of the things Tony had signed had been things Steve had suggested in the first place.

It sends Steve into a three day, deeply analytical study of the conflicts in the Middle East. He had known most of it already, but only in general terms. He’s put in touch with Colonels on battlefields, Warrant Officers, the people who really know what they need and what they want and the occasional thing that they’d do anything for. Steve is familiar enough with war to be able to guess most of what might work, but the terrain is different, and the guerrilla fighting style that seems to prevail requires a rethink of what might work and how.

He has no idea when he might see Tony again. He thinks that either Tony or Fury will call. But he’s decided that if it doesn’t happen in the next few days, Steve is going to make the call himself, with full understanding of what he’s doing and why.

He jerks off every night, sometimes just once before crashing into sleep, sometimes as many times as his body will let him, figuring out how to finger himself -- not anything close to as good as Tony doing it -- and he thinks, the whole time, he remembers, he imagines -- probably also not close to as good as what Tony could imagine -- until he collapses, shuddering with raw pleasure and exhaustion, and waits for his knees to be steady enough to clean himself up.

Then he gets up again and spends the day trying to convey the kinds of things he thinks will be effective in the field to people that don’t have any idea of what it’s like to be in the field.

2.

When he can’t stand it another day, he snags a sketch pad and makes his way down into the city, where he walks until he finds a cafe with a view he likes, and just spends the day putting what he sees with his eyes down on paper. Even then, his attention flags toward early afternoon, and he finds himself outlining a drawing of Tony with heavy eyes and the bare suggestion of a smile. Just seeing it makes his body respond, and he closes the sketch pad without finishing it.

He buys three hot dogs from a vendor, wanders around a little more until he’s got his bearings, and then sets off toward home.

His phone rings in his pocket while he’s still a few blocks away. Steve considers not answering it. He can’t get used to the way people talk on their phones in public. It seems unbearably rude. But he checks to see who’s calling, because it could be important.

It’s Tony. Honestly, if it had been anyone else, Steve probably would have waited until he was home and called them back. But.

Instead he ducks into a less populous side-street and answers, “Steve Rogers speaking.”

“I was at your apartment, today,” Tony says without preamble. “Good lighting, a decent place. A little old fashioned in the decorating department, but I can see how you might like the clean lines of it.”

“It came decorated,” Steve says. He’s torn between asking how Tony had gotten into Steve’s apartment and asking why he had felt the need to do so. Before he can, Tony continues.

“Of course, there was no you in it, so that kind of defeated most of the purpose.” That’s either sweet or utterly self-involved. Steve thinks that Tony might actually have the ability to be both at the same time.

“Why did you visit?” Steve asks calmly, though he’s actually a little alarmed. There isn’t anything in the apartment that would give him away, except for the shield, of course. Steve had insisted. And though the shield is in a concealed lined safe in the floor of the bedroom all the way under the bed, he doesn’t doubt that if Tony had been looking for something specifically, he would have found it, and would have likely made short work of the security involved.

“I wanted to see where you lived,” Tony says. “I wanted to see if you were home.” He sounds like he’s ticking things off on his fingers. “I wanted to take you out to dinner. I wanted to offer you an executive suite in the tower, if you wanted it. But mostly I wanted to fuck you.”

Steve is surprised into a chuckle. “I don’t want an executive suite in the tower,” he says, smiling.

“Ah, but you don’t mention how you feel about dinner and fucking.” Tony sounds triumphant. Steve can hear him grinning.

“I just ate dinner,” Steve says. “Are you still at my apartment?”

“No,” Tony says, sounding just a little bit disappointed. “Is that a deal breaker? Because I’m pretty sure I can get back there in half an hour, forty minutes tops.”

“What are you doing now?” Steve asks, suspicious.

“Oh, I. There’s a thing. A charity thing. I’ll write them a huge check; they won’t miss me at all.” Now Tony sounds a little whiney, and Steve has to bite back another chuckle.

“No,” Steve says. “I only know Miss Potts by reputation, but I don’t want to get on her bad side before I even meet her. But I’ve got some paperwork for you. Some contracts, but some of it’s just ideas that I had that I need your scientific background to really work through.”

“You’ve got all the Army and SHIELD scientists to ping ideas off of,” Tony says, but he sounds pleased anyway.

“And I have,” Steve says. “But I don’t think they’re getting me. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t quite grasp the jargon, or if it’s because they have a very limited understanding of what war is actually like.” He pauses, then softens his tone. “I think you’d be better.”

“And then you’ll let me take you to dinner?” Tony asks expectantly.

Steve feels himself flushing. “Yes. Then you can take me to dinner. What time do you want me?”

There is a long pause that Steve can only speculate about.

When Tony finally answers, his voice is low. “I’ll clear my afternoon. Eat an early lunch. Show up at 1:30.”

Steve’s belly dips at receiving such explicit instructions, but he keeps his breathing steady.

The truth is, he can’t wait to see Tony again. Even more truthful, he’s fiercely hopeful that Tony is still interested in their half-engineered agreement. Tony sounds like it, what with the visit to Steve’s apartment and the tone of his voice, but he tries to keep his expectations low.

Nobody has to tell him that Tony Stark can be fickle.

It doesn’t change the fact that he craves Tony’s touch, even after having it just that once, and he doesn’t see any reason not to take what Tony is offering as long as Steve doesn’t forget exactly what that is.

“I’ll be there,” Steve says.

“Bring a suit,” Tony says.

“I don’t have a suit,” Steve replies. “I’ve got four dress uniforms, three pair of jeans, four t-shirts, and six pair of socks and underwear. I’m supposed to be getting some BDU’s, but they haven’t come in yet.”

Tony huffs. “Are you home yet?”

“Close by,” Steve says.

“Great, keep walking north past your apartment, take the first left onto Calento, and go into the shop three doors down. Ask for Oldham, and tell him to put it on my account. Tell him I’m going classic black, and to give you something dashing.” Tony’s voice is abruptly tinny, which Steve suspects means he’s texting on his phone while he has Steve on speaker.

He’s gotten better with the phone, even without Tony’s tutelage. There’s a girl that frequents the same coffee shop that gives him morning lessons in exchange for coffee. Steve is kind of proud of his own bartering abilities in that particular case.

“No, never mind, already done. He’s expecting you, and he’s kind of cranky, so you might want to hurry.”

“You don’t have to...” Steve tries to say, but Tony interrupts.

“And we’re here, no more time to talk, don’t avoid your appointment or I’ll just send someone to your place for measurements, in which case I’ll make sure you end up with a baker’s dozen suits, plus a tuxedo. Don’t argue, I’ll just keep making it worse.”

Steve sighs. “All right. I’ll go straight there. Have fun at the charity thing.”

Tony grumbles something Steve doesn’t quite catch, and then adds, “I’d rather be at dinner with you.”

It catches Steve by surprise. Not, ‘I’d rather be fucking you,’ but ‘I’d rather be at dinner with you.’

Of course, it probably all functions as one continuous act in Tony’s mind. Still, Steve smiles. “Yeah, well, I don’t want you to buy me a suit, either, so we can’t always get what we want.”

Tony hmphs. “Tomorrow,” Tony says. “Eat lightly, at least an hour before you show up.”

“Okay,” Steve says, no real idea of why, but willing to humor Tony. “Goodnight, Tony.”

He hangs up first. He suspects that Tony either gets bored of conversations and hangs up on people, or lingers on the line so that he’s sure he hangs up last.

3.

Tony hadn’t arranged for one or even two suits. He’d arranged for five. They measure Steve in every conceivable way, fit him from the rack -- Mister Oldham seems unhappy about that, but Steve tries to explain that it’s an emergency -- and then pin him up so expeditiously that Steve is a little worried about bleeding on his new suit.

“Tomorrow morning,” Oldham tells Steve as he urges Steve toward the door. “We deliver the ‘emergency’ suit.” He fills the word with disdain. “The others, bespoke. No argue!” He holds up a finger in front of Steve’s face, and Steve closes his mouth. “Mister Stark left instructions. The rest will deliver in a few days.”

“Okay,” Steve says, because he’s honestly not sure what else to say. Clearly this guy is all the way on Tony’s team; it seems unlikely that Steve is going to be able to talk him out of it.

Oldham pats his cheek. “You nice boy. Maybe keep Mister Stark behaving.”

Steve blinks, and by the time he has, Oldham has disappeared back into his shop.

Steve snorts. He doesn’t anticipate having any control at all over Tony Stark behaving.

Steve runs early the next morning, unable to stay asleep with what he can’t really deny are nerves. He circles across midtown and through Central Park, and he gets back at a little after nine. There’s a young man waiting outside his door with a garment bag and one of those computer driven signature receiving boxes. Steve can’t tell if he’s been waiting long or not; his expression seems to indicate that it’s all the same to him.

Steve signs for his suit, and, because he doesn’t know about these things any more, asks, “Do I tip you? I’m sorry, I don’t get a lot of stuff delivered, and I’m not sure of the etiquette.”

The young man smiles. “Not delivery drivers, unless they’re bringing food; usually bellhops, always stylists, bartenders, wait-staff, cab drivers, and hotel maids. There might be a few other oddities here and there, but that’s a good rule of thumb. When in doubt, though, tip. At the worst, employees that aren’t allowed tips siphon them into a communal fund to put together fun activities.”

Steve hands him twenty bucks anyway. “It’s worth it to get a primer,” he tells the young man, who laughs and pockets the money.

“My college fund thanks you,” he tells Steve with a jaunty salute, and swings around to the stairs, headed down.

Steve lets himself into the apartment, hangs the suit without looking into the bag, and then takes a shower long enough and hot enough to leave him pink-skinned and relaxed. He makes himself a sandwich at a little after eleven and eats it with a glass of lemonade, and doesn’t realize that he’s trying not to think about what may or may not happen with Tony today until he finds himself facing the closet, trying to decide if he ought to wear the suit, or wear his uniform and bring the suit along.

Steve has a list. It was mostly scribbled down on the back of an envelope from Steve’s electric bill on the night he’d come home from Stark Tower with a sore ass and still sporting at least a partial erection. Most of them are things he definitely wants. A few of them, added later, when he’d had some distance, had to do with what he might want that didn’t necessarily include sex. Not that some of them couldn’t. Just that they weren’t necessarily about sex.

The list isn’t really in any kind of exact order, and Steve hasn’t made any effort to rearrange it, in the same way that he hasn’t made any effort to research the books and computer sites that Tony had offered.

It was about Tony’s face, when he’d said that he wouldn’t mind teaching Steve. That the idea had its charm. A thing that Steve can picture Tony saying carelessly, laughingly, but which hadn’t been like that at all. It had been more like Tony offering Steve something that Tony had been surprised to realize that he might want, too.

Part of Steve’s decision is based on the simple fact that being in Tony’s power had been good, even when he hadn’t known why. Maybe even especially when he hadn’t known why. Maybe, if he’s truthful, even if he still can’t pinpoint why. It’s good for him. That’s what he knows, and that’s enough for him to know.

The rest is based on a kind of intuitive understanding of the kind of man Tony is, something pieced together from their encounter, but also through his file and his public image. Which is to say, Steve suspects that the teaching might slow Tony down enough for Steve to keep up with him. That there is a difference between wanting someone with a specific skill set, and wanting to help a man define a certain skill set.

Maybe that is more... more personal to Steve than it would ever be to Tony, but he isn’t willing to change his mind because of that. There are obviously things Steve doesn’t know and cannot guess -- Alternative Lifestyles, one of Tony’s book suggestions had been titled -- and Steve is clearly at least passingly interested in some of them. Whether it’s personal for Tony or not, it’s personal for Steve, and he wants Tony to be the one to help him explore those parts of himself. Tony is experienced at this, and a genius. And the idea of asking anyone else.... Steve can never risk it.

Someday someone is going to connect Captain America to Steve Rogers again, and the possibility of exposure makes any other method absolutely unacceptable.

Tony is his only resource for this. And, Steve has to admit, is the only resource he wants.

Steve knows that’s a dangerous way to feel.

He shakes his head. Never mind that, now. He opens the garment bag and looks inside. The suit is dark blue, with a shimmery kind of texture to the fabric. It includes a tie and a pocket square that match -- both of much lighter blue -- and the shirt is cream colored. Steve is a little relieved. He hadn’t really been worried that Tony would pick out something outlandish for him, but it’s hard to guess what Tony is going to do. He zips the bag back up; he’ll take it with him. He thinks it’s better to dress consistently when he visits Tony’s office, and since he’s nominally there as a liaison, the uniform is the way to go.

He dresses, hands on automatic, aware of his cock not-quite hard in his uniform pants, but not quite soft, either. He soothes himself with buttons and clasps. He’d made sure to have his ribbons corrected so they aren’t posthumus, at least, but there are still too many of them for Steve’s comfort.

He still has half an hour before he even needs to leave, and he scoops up the sketch pad, turning it to the unfinished picture of Tony, and does some filling in, shading, lightening his face a little in a way that makes his eyes all the darker. He tucks it into his desk drawer and locks it, not quite sure why, but trusting enough in instinct to do it anyway.

4.

There is a blonde behind the desk when Steve shows up this time. She smiles -- more bright and friendly than possessive, and Steve can’t help being a little relieved -- and says, “Captain Rogers, I presume?”

Steve nods and fishes out his I.D. She glances carelessly at it, and then passes him a slim, slick keycard. “You’ve been approved for all levels of the tower. This card specifically will allow you to use Mister Stark’s private elevator.” She gestures to it; it’s half hidden behind her desk and a potted plant. “It’s also a key card for some of the high security areas. Some of them it won’t work on.” She shoots him a grin. “Mister Stark doesn’t want anyone wandering into dangerous areas without intent.” She glances down at her desk. “You’re his only appointment for the rest of the day, which means I can leave as soon as you feel confident that you know where you’re going. Is there something I can help with?”

“Is Tony in his office?” Steve asks, not liking the idea of wandering around the tower searching for him.

“He is expecting you there,” she tells him, and eyes the briefcase in Steve’s hand. “Looks like a long night. Make him order something in if you can’t distract him enough to take a break for real food.”

Steve smiles. “I’ll see if I can keep him on task as much as possible.”

She smiles, with dimples. “We all do what we can,” she says sympathetically.

Steve can tell she’s ready to go home, and likes her better for her easy manner and sweet smile, which seems to do nothing but wish Steve well.

Since she’d pointed out the elevator, Steve decides to try it out. He figures out how to swipe the card, and the doors immediately open. He pushes the button for the 85th floor and the door slides closed again at once. It’s small, though not claustrophobic, and smells strongly of Tony inside. Steve shifts his collar and tries to pretend the scent doesn’t firm him up in his pants.

This elevator is extremely fast, at least compared to the other one. He arrives on the 85th floor at least thirty seconds faster this time. The hall it opens on is nothing like the plain, gravity ridden corridor from the other elevator.

This one has soft music playing, some kind of jazz that Steve can almost recognize, and there are tables with plants and benches and a mini-wet bar between two wingback chairs. The door to Tony’s office is different, too. He shouldn’t be surprised. Though Tony’s office had been enormous, it couldn’t have been big enough to fill more than half the floor. A second, more private office makes sense.

This door is merely carved maple, and Steve knocks on it softly. He’s sure JARVIS will announce his presence if he’s not loud enough.

A moment later, the door swings open, and Tony stands smirking at Steve. He’s holding a glass, which he immediately shoves into Steve’s hand at the same time that he relieves Steve of the suit and hangs it on the garment rack. Steve sips at a warm, smoky bourbon, and makes a sound of approval that makes Tony spin and beam at him.

Tony makes no bones about looking Steve over this time, though he hadn’t actually been subtle the last time, either. This is different though. This is the look you give someone when you expect something to come of it. Steve smiles a little bashfully, but lets Tony tug him by the arm into a wood panelled room with a smaller version of Tony’s other desk, another something-computer-like up against one wall, and four doors leading into areas that Steve can’t clearly see. There’s a couch up against one wall -- one that looks long enough for even Steve to stretch out on -- and Tony is sans jacket, his sleeves rolled up over his forearms.

“Just, can you give me a minute?” he asks, brow a little furrowed.

“Of course,” Steve says, and watches with real interest as Tony goes back to the computer-thing and begins manipulating it with his fingertips, brushing aside little light displays that look like charts and machines, pulling apart whole devices to apparently look inside at the component pieces, and then tapping almost silently at a blue, see-through keyboard that’s built into the corner at an angle. Steve knows it’s holographic technology, but he’s never actually seen it. He thinks it’s beautiful.

“Break it down all three ways, JARVIS,” Tony says. “I want to see how the heat resistance and fuel tolerance stacks up.”

“Yes, sir. Would you like a report this evening?” Steve could be wrong, but JARVIS sounds just a tad sly about the question.

“Ingrate,” Tony mutters. “I’ll ask you for it when I want it. Or if I don’t, remind me before noon tomorrow.”

“Indeed, Sir,” Jarvis says. “Shall I initiate a blackout?”

Tony looks at Steve. Steve keeps his face neutral, but is pretty sure he ruins it by blushing faintly. “Yes. Three hours, keyed to your name. Reservations?”

“Already handled, plus or minus one point five hours acceptable at your convenience.”

“Thanks, JARVIS,” Tony says, looking abruptly a little tired.

“It is always a pleasure, Sir,” JARVIS says, sounding much more sincere this time.

“I’d tell you never to build your own AI,” Tony says, “but first of all, you wouldn’t even know where to start, and second of all, I’m not sure how I’d get anything done without him.”

“So he is an AI?” Steve asks. He’s read the reports, but the reports don’t seem to agree.

Tony looks at him sharply. “Do I have to worry about you reporting this back to the Army or SHIELD?”

Steve doesn’t bother to pretend not to be hurt. “Blackout information is blacked out. It’s between you and me, and it’s no one else’s business.”

Tony relaxes. He has a half a glass of what looks like might be a gin and tonic, which he knocks back.

“What do you think?” he asks. “Contracts first, or put them off until last.”

“If we don’t do them first, I think it’s possible you’ll be too drunk to do them last.”

“Spoilsport,” Tony says, but he gives Steve another thorough examination. “Do something for me?”

“Yes,” Steve says immediately.

He sees Tony pause a little at his lack of hesitation, but it barely lasts a moment. Tony grabs a large, plush cushion from the couch and plops it onto the floor next to the chair in front of Tony’s super hologram computer. “Get undressed. Sit with me while we go over these so that I can touch you anytime I want to.”

Steve strips down with military efficiency -- aware of Tony watching him, and a little embarrassed, but not enough to stop him. He waits for Tony to settle in the chair, and then brings the briefcase over and settles himself onto the cushion, which is soft and wide and pretty comfortable. Tony runs his fingers through Steve’s hair, once, as though to see if he can get away with it, and then takes the briefcase and keys it open.

For a long time, Tony just scans the contents, brow a little furrowed in focus. He drops a hand down to stroke across Steve’s chest and neck occasionally, but Steve thinks it’s more a comfort thing than a sex thing. Eventually, Tony sighs. “When do you think they’ll get it that even if they keep sending the same drafts again and again, I’m not going to accidentally mess up and sign any of them?” He sounds tired.

Steve eases the papers out of his hands, stacks the extraordinarily unlikely ones off to one side, and then spreads the other dozen or so across Tony’s desk, leaning up to do so, his naked thigh brushing against Tony’s pants, enough of a touch to bring Steve’s nudity strongly to the front of his mind. As if he knows it, Tony strokes a hand down his back and turns his face toward Steve’s neck, though he doesn’t do anything but breathe against Steve’s throat for a few seconds. Just that is enough to make Steve feel breathless.

“Pen?” Steve asks.

Tony produces one seemingly from nowhere and presents it to Steve.

“These are mostly good. The problems creep in where they try to push the purpose of the designs past what they’re meant for. I saw it when they were writing them up, but I don’t actually get my hands on them until they’re ready for you, so I couldn’t mess with them.” He flips through and circles clauses, footnotes, unclear verbiage, and blatant bullshit. Tony’s right hand roves lightly over the planes of his back, stopping just short of his ass; Steve tries to concentrate on the task at hand, but he’s already hard. “The problem is, they want to sneak weapons concessions into everything. It’s like they think we can’t read,” Steve says irritably. Tony chuckles, his hand loosely curled around the back of Steve’s neck; Steve resists the urge to lean into the warmth of Tony’s body. Instead he says, “With all of this taken out, these are viable field survival tools.” He’s aware of Tony watching him do the same to most of the others, cutting them down to their basic forms, and he’s sure Tony knows all this, could probably cut them down faster, but isn’t sure he’ll bother to put in the work to correct it if Steve doesn’t make the attempt.

“Hmm,” Tony says. “Okay, I accept the possibilities. Research and Development, at least, though no promises until I can build and control some working models.” He tips his head at Steve. “And the big one that you don’t want me to look at yet?”

“That’s not it at all,” Steve says softly, honestly. “I want you to look at it most of all. But I want your full attention. I want to know you’re listening. This is... my design. Not the engineering, but the point behind it. You don’t have to approve it; I understand you have limits. But listen.”

Tony tips forward beside him, his arm pressed against Steve’s, his fingertips are resting against the inside of Steve’s wrist; it’s a little maddening. “It looks like a helicopter,” Tony says neutrally. He tips the pages a little and says, “Yellowjacket. Did you name that?”

Steve blushes, but doesn’t answer. “It is a helicopter, Tony. But listen.” And Steve takes him through it thought by thought. It’s not a combat bird. It doesn’t even have armaments; it can’t take more than a smattering of enemy fire without crumbling in the air. But that’s not what it’s for. “The problem is guerilla warfare,” Steve explains. “Our enemies are fighting on their home ground from positions of safety, and we’re out there on the plains, targets for anyone who’s looking for a target. Sometimes a whole unit of ground troops can be ambushed by less than four enemy troops. Individuals, I mean. Just four. If an air troop transport goes down, things get ugly especially fast. Another troop class transport, ground or air, can’t cover distances fast enough, aren’t quick enough to dodge incoming fire, don’t have medical supplies other than the most basic. The chance of rescue by a force of friendlies is less than the chance of rescue by nearby natives that consider themselves neutral in the conflict. Those are real statistics; I can show you the numbers. These,” Steve says, and pulls out the engineering pages of the presentation; their hands brush when Steve passes them over and want seems to arch throughout Steve at Tony’s careless touch. Tony isn’t even looking at him, and Steve has never felt more naked. “These are direct rescue vessels,” He manages, dragging his hand away from Tony’s. “They’re light weight and faster than any other helicopter in the theatre. They’re classified small troop transport, so just big enough to pick up a party of six to eight wounded, but they’re fast. Simulations suggest they could be on the ground with all survivors loaded within less than two minutes if they’re close. But even distance rescues are possible. The Yellowjackets aren’t burdened down with weaponry and armor at all. They can cover a huge amount of distance in a fraction of the time it would take for ground or air support to pull off a rescue. And if we send in a Blackhawk or a Chinook at the same time, there’s a good chance that an enemy force would focus on that, and the Yellowjackets could be loaded and out of range before air support would even have to engage.”

“A single antiballistic missile would atomize it,” Tony says, but he’s looking at Steve seriously, not like he’s just kicking down Steve’s house of cards. His hand has moved up to cup Steve’s neck loosely again; Steve wants to loosen the muscles of his neck and let Tony’s hand support him. Instead he forces himself a little straighter where he’s kneeling (kneeling at Tony’s feet, his mind seems compelled to remind him, which doesn’t help at all) and takes a steadying breath.

“But you’ve already signed up to work on shielding for air support that would add stealth modifications to existing carriers.” Tony looks dubious. “I know. It’s not perfect. But any pilot on the ground that might have a chance at a rescue mission would take it in a heartbeat. I know. This gives them a chance. These birds will fly like a sparrow among a flight of fat-bellied crows. And routine troop movements on the ground, or even air troops that get shot down in the desert... it’s not because someone is out practicing his target shooting; at least, not most of the time. It’s because the opposition doesn’t want them any closer. If we can send more troops out with a more reliable method of potential rescue, we can cut down on the areas that need to be searched, at least somewhat. It’s different, I know. We can’t expect to find one enemy base and be done. But every one we find narrows down the list.”

Tony has been silent for most of Steve’s speech. He glances at Tony, who is watching him. He doesn’t say anything at first, but Tony’s gaze ticks down his body thoughtfully, hanging for a long moment on Steve’s erection. Steve’s face heats, but he ignores it as much as he can. This is too important for Tony’s undeniable appeal to distract Steve. At least, not any more than kneeling naked at Tony’s feet already distracts him.

“You know Stark Industries doesn’t actually make helicopters, right?” Tony says, but he looks... focused. Like he’s thinking more about what’s in his head than about what he’s saying.

“Stark Industries doesn’t make military grade helicopters,” Steve corrects. “But you have at least two manufacturing facilities that make other, smaller helicopters for private and commercial use. You have the means to make helicopters.”

Tony blinks at him, though he looks more impressed than surprised. “Why would you know that?”

“Because I researched it when I had the idea for the Yellowjackets,” Steve says honestly. “Because I knew that weapons were absolutely out of the question, and I suspected armed and armored helicopters probably were, too, but this is not a military helicopter. This is a rescue helicopter that is merely going to be utilized by the military. The design itself would work as well for any number of Federal or Police agencies as rescue helicopters. Hell, medical transport helicopters are slow compared to these. You could market these to the Coast Guard, Tony. I’m not an engineer, but most of the guys that helped with the designs say that it’s better than what’s currently in use even on government levels.”

Tony regards him seriously for a long moment.

“Why?”

“Our people are dying on the ground because we can’t get to them. I had friends that died that way. I almost died that way. I was so lucky it counts as miraculous. This could change that.” It’s not a lie; it’s not even an evasion really. The fact that it had been a different time, a different war, doesn’t change that.

Tony watches him for another handful of seconds with hooded eyes.

Then he says, “JARVIS.”

“Sir?”

“Scan these documents into the Stark mainframe. Include the systems notated to improve stealth for military aircraft I’m already working on. Pull them apart for me. I want to see if it can be done better. I want to keep the flight speed and maneuverability of the craft, but find some way to bolster its integrity.” He pauses. “Correction: direct documents to Captain Roger’s secure server.”

“Yes, Sir,” JARVIS says placidly.

“Blackout, JARVIS,” Tony says.

He turns to Steve again. Steve doesn’t know what to say. He sits still and watches Tony until Tony tugs him bodily closer, the pillow scooting across the floor, and tucks Steve’s cheek up against his thigh.

Steve is glad to be there even as he’s afraid of the questions Tony will almost certainly ask about his near-death experience. But Tony doesn’t ask.

5.

“You didn’t even ask me why I wanted you to undress,” Tony says after several silent seconds.

It’s not phrased like a question, but Steve understands that it is one, if Steve wants to answer it. “You told me why,” Steve says. “You said you wanted to be able to touch me any time you wanted.”

“And that was okay with you?” Tony asks, looking genuinely curious. The look erases some of the weariness from his face.

“Yes,” Steve says honestly. And then, a little less certainly, “It seemed like a comfort to you. I don’t mind being a source of comfort to you.”

Tony shifts a little, looking down at Steve thoughtfully. “What do you mind?”

Steve shifts uncomfortably, but says, “I don’t know.”

“How much of what I suggested did you actually read?” Tony wants to know. His expression is strictly neutral now, and Steve doesn’t especially like the way it looks on Tony.

“I didn’t read any of it,” he says, staring at his knees. Tony doesn’t speak for long enough that Steve offers a little plaintively, “You said you’d teach me.” He still can’t quite manage to meet Tony’s eyes, but he tips his chin up a little anyway.

“Do you even have any idea of what you like?” Tony asks, sliding a finger under Steve’s chin to make him meet Tony’s eyes.

“I liked what happened last time,” Steve says, flushing. “I like this.”

“This?” Tony asks.

“I like being... here. At your feet.”

Tony lets out a harsh breath. “That’s not exactly a lot to go on, Captain,” he says, though he’s still got a loose hand around the back of Steve’s neck, along with the one tipping up his chin. The effect is enough to still Steve, make him feel a little pinned in place. He would be lying if he pretended he doesn’t like the way it feels. “Even less when you don’t know what I like and don’t like. I don’t think you realize how easily I could shape you into something designed specifically for my own personal amusement.”

Steve has actually considered this, and isn’t worried. He doesn’t think Tony would actually maliciously do it, first of all, but secondly, he doesn’t mind the idea of being designed specifically for Tony. He doesn’t say anything, and Tony blows out an impatient breath. Steve sighs a little and admits, “I understand that that’s probably going to happen no matter what, given your experience and my lack. If we’re going to have sex regularly, it only makes sense. But I don’t think you’ll ignore things that I might like just because you don’t feel strongly about them.”

“All right,” Tony says quietly, watching Steve with interest. “I think you might be granting me a larger degree of trust than I necessarily merit, but what the hell. Tell me this. Why don’t you want to find out on your own, read it for yourself?”

Steve has never been a good liar. He’s good at being devious on occasion, and he kind of wants to use it in this instance. It’s... a little embarrassing. But. He also thinks there’s no way to get what he wants out of this without being honest about what that is. Deception would defeat the purpose.

“The last time....” Steve pauses and frowns. “It was good. It was all really good. But the beginning of it was the idea of being... not controlled, but not in control either.” He glances at Tony, trying to see if Tony’s getting what he’s saying, but Tony is still watching him expectantly. “When I decided to let you... just, do. Whatever. That was. That made it.” Steve doesn’t know the right word, but Tony saves him this time.

“Okay, I see,” Tony says, and runs his fingers through Steve’s hair. “I get what you mean. Just. Give me a minute to think here.”

Steve waits. Tony’s thigh is warm and he smells amazing. Steve refuses to let himself be worried.

Eventually, Tony says, “There are things, definitions, that becoming familiar with would help you make decisions about the things I want to do to you. Do you understand? Without that baseline knowledge, you’re going to have to do that a lot. Just let me do whatever, I mean. It’s statistically unlikely that doing it like that will always work out for you.”

“If I don’t like it, I’ll tell you to stop,” Steve says, which seems to be the obvious solution.

Tony’s eyes crinkle a little as he smiles. “What if you realize that you like telling me to stop even when you don’t actually want me to stop?”

Steve opens his mouth -- he doesn’t anticipate that being a problem -- and then stops and really thinks about it. He thinks about it generally. In the sense that he might say it by accident, because he clearly babbles sometimes. Then he thinks about it specifically. What might Tony do that Steve would ask him to stop, even if he doesn’t want Tony to stop?

He’s no stranger to rape fantasy, and he’s experienced them from both perspectives. It hadn’t... well, no, of course it hadn’t occurred to him, but his cock is slicking up his thigh with precome, and he can imagine clearly the point Tony is trying to make.

Tony says, “What you need is a safeword. It should be something you wouldn’t say during sex under any circumstances, and it should be something we can both remember.” Tony pauses. His gaze is dark on Steve again. “Sometimes I’ll want to gag you,” he says without apology. “When I do that, we’ll work out a way for you to tap out if things get out of control.”

Steve thinks about being gagged and can’t quite get his head around it. He can only picture it as a wad of cloth stuffed into his mouth, with maybe another tied around his head to keep it in place, and it doesn’t really provide a thrill. He’s not totally against it. He’s willing to let Tony do it to him if Tony likes it, and if Steve decides he hates it, he’ll tap out. That part he understands. “So,” he says eventually. “I need a safeword in case something happens I don’t like.”

It isn’t quite a question, but Tony nods anyway. “Before we can do anything else.” He’s staring at Steve as though he knows everything Steve has been thinking. “We’re going to have a brief discussion about what it all means--” Steve opens his mouth to object, and Tony holds up a finger. Steve considers that motion, and the way that his cock responds to it, and closes his mouth. “Only in the most general sense,” Tony says. “I get...” He pauses and gazes at Steve, and Steve understands that Tony does not get why, but is willing to take Steve at his word, and Steve feels himself relaxing a little. “Maybe I don’t, but I accept what you want, or don’t want in this case, but at least a little information is necessary. Like your safeword. We’ll set that up, I’ll tell you some things, and then...” he pauses again. “I’m going to run you through your paces,” he says finally. His voice is rough enough that Steve’s cock responds.

He turns further toward Steve, finger still nudged up under his chin. “The loosest definition of what we’re doing is just consensual kink. It’s a really broad definition that can stretch anywhere from a bit of rough sex to whips and chains and bloodplay.” He’s watching Steve’s face as he explains. Steve listens intently, but refuses to be cowed by the idea of whips and chains. He doesn’t think he wants that, but it’s clear that he doesn’t know a lot of what he actually wants, so he’s not ruling anything out. Not even bloodplay. Whatever that is.

“There are an array of acronyms I could explain, maybe even should explain, but I’ll settle for the pair that most affects the two of us right now. Right now, at this very moment, we’re interacting on a sub/dom basis. That means that one partner is submissive to the needs of the dominant partner.” Steve blushes, but doesn’t open his mouth. “I like this area a lot. There’s a lot of room for imagination, at the same time that it can be as simple as a situation in which I’m stressed or tired or cranky, and can drag a submissive off to bed to work over until I feel better.” Tony’s still watching his face. Steve is trying to remain neutral. “But a lot of the categories overlap. So there are a lot of things that we might do that fall into the submissive/dominant range, but fit better under other labels. When that happens, I’m going to want to explain where things fit. Are you getting me?”

Steve is trying hard not to imagine what it might be like for Tony to drag him to bed and work him over until Tony feels better. Something about that, the phrasing of it, is lodged hotly at the pit of Steve’s belly. He manages a “Yes,” but he can feel that his face is on fire.

Tony says nothing for almost a minute, and then, gently, says, “This is where you negotiate for what makes you comfortable.”

“I want to see you naked,” Steve blurts. His face burns, but he doesn’t look away from Tony. “I want to be able to touch you.”

Tony stares at him, a little narrow-eyed. “That’s what you want to negotiate for?” he asks finally. “Nothing you want to avoid or ease into or maybe skip entirely?”

Steve bites his lip. “I want to do the things you want to do. I want to find out if I like them, too. I don’t want to rule any of it out because I’m not sure how I feel about it or because I just don’t have the experience to recognize it.”

“So you’re comfortable in the submissive role?” Tony asked, his eyes gleaming.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” Steve asks. “You’re clearly the one who already knows how to do everything.”

“That wouldn’t actually stop a lot of people,” Tony says wryly, but he’s still watching Steve with gleaming eyes, and his expression is distantly amused, but laced faintly with what looks like avarice to Steve. Steve likes that look even as he can feel it heating his face.

“I’m not a lot of people,” he says. “And if there was something you showed me that I wanted to try on you, I’d say something.”

“There are some things I don’t let anyone do to me,” Tony says frankly, now looking a little wary. “It’s nothing personal.”

Steve thinks it is, but doesn’t say so. He thinks this is already personal to some degree, and like anything that is, sometimes that changes what a person is willing to do. What he actually says is, “I wouldn’t want to do anything to you that you think you won’t like.”

Tony looks at him knowingly, probably aware of what Steve is thinking without saying, but it doesn’t bother Steve. If you decide to have sex with a genius, he guesses you have to expect him to be able to figure you out sometimes.

“Do you have a safeword in mind?” Tony asks. He’s still tipping Steve’s face up with one hand, but the other has fallen away from the back of Steve’s neck and is balled into a white-knuckled fist resting on his thigh. He’s sitting very still, but Steve can almost feel him thrumming with energy.

“No,” Steve says uncertainly. He wants to ask what Tony is planning at the same time that he doesn’t want to know. He wonders if this kind of duality is the norm.

“How about quark? It’s short, easy to remember, and I can’t imagine ever using it in a conversation with you.” There’s a hint of a sneer in Tony’s voice when he says it that makes it sting a little. Then something passes over Tony’s face -- it’s quick, and Steve can’t be sure, but he thinks it’s regret -- and Tony says, quietly, “You can still opt out of this, Steve.”

Tony hasn’t ever used Steve’s first name before. He tries to come up with some sort of response, but Tony is talking again before he gets the chance.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. We can just fuck. You can just let me boss you around a little. It doesn’t have to get as... complex as I could make it.” Tony’s face and voice are both very serious. “You don’t know how complex that really is.”

Steve waits until he’s sure Tony is done talking, and then says, “How many times are you going to fuck me--” His face blazes, and he ignores it. “--if I just let you boss me around a little?”

Tony leans back in his chair, momentarily obviously surprised. Steve thinks it’s an interesting look on his face, if only because it’s unusual.

“You don’t know,” Steve says. “But probably not that many. You can boss anyone around a little.” Tony’s expression folds into something a little sharp edged, but he’s regarding Steve with interest, with focus. “I want to do things I don’t know about. I want you to do them to me. I don’t care that I’ll eventually be more or less... sexually programmed to enjoy what you enjoy. I don’t have a lot of options, Tony. I can’t go out and find someone else to teach me. The security is a nightmare, and the subject is one I never want to discuss with the U.S. Army or SHIELD. I trust your discretion, not for you, because you probably don’t care who knows things about you, but for me. I can’t risk anyone but you.”

Tony actually smirks a little. “So, are you saying that you’re taking advantage of me, Captain?”

“I’m telling you that you are the only one I will let take advantage of me,” Steve says with as much dignity as he can muster. “If you don’t want to, or can’t, we can fuck until you lose interest. If that’s the case, let me know now, because I’m going to need to think a little to back away from... the possibilities, I guess. To accept that I can’t ever know.”

Tony regards him seriously. “You’ve given this a lot of thought.” His tone is even, but he still manages to sound as though he’s faintly surprised.

Steve resists the urge to shake him. “Of course I have,” he says exasperatedly. “Why would that surprise you?”

“Because you didn’t do the reading,” Tony says bluntly.

“Because my ignorance, in this case, is part of the attraction. That doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it. Tony.” Steve stops to sigh. “The fact that you think I haven’t thought it through probably says more about you and the people you do this with than it does about me.”

“You were a virgin,” Tony notes, as though for the record.

“But I wasn’t an idiot!” Steve says. “At no point was I unaware of what I was allowing. The fact that I was a virgin is probably less significant to this situation than the fact that I’m also a tactical expert and well above average at strategy. You were willing to bribe me, but we both know that’s only what it looked like, not what actually happened. I allowed that illusion because I needed you to be willing to work with me and because you’re attractive and made me an offer that physically affected me. If the idea of what you wanted hadn’t done it for me, I would have tried another approach. But it did, and it was the idea of it. It was that it would be like being taken advantage of, without actually being taken advantage of.” He gives that a moment, and then adds, “Tony,” keeping his voice low and unthreatening. “I’m an expert at hand to hand combat.” He taps at a ribbon that has four bars pinned to it. “You literally can’t make me do anything I don’t want to do.”

Tony considers Steve’s ribbons. “So, you did, in fact, take advantage of me,” Tony says a little condescendingly, but he’s smiling.

“Did you get what you wanted?” Steve asks.

“Oh, yes,” Tony says, the smile turning a little smirky.

“Then at best, neither of us took advantage, and at worst, we both did.” Steve leans a little, so that his chest is touching Tony’s knee. Tony watches him, hawk-like, but doesn’t pull away. “My security clearance is so high that I have access to all of the information the government has collectively compiled regarding the Iron Man technology.” Tony opens his mouth, but Steve doesn’t pause. “That is not a threat. It is a fact, and I’m mentioning it for a specific reason. You have it in your head that I’m... decorative, as far as my position as liaison goes. I’m trying to tell you that I’m not. I’m not as important as you are, but I’m important, and at no time can it come out that I experimented with kinky homosexual sex. It would be a catastrophe, and I know you can’t see quite how, but I’m asking you to believe me because I haven’t lied to you about anything, not what I want, not what the government wants, not anything. Based on that, you are my only option for this. If you weren’t, I don’t think that would matter. I want you because of the way you treated me, and I have a hard time believing that I’m going to find your exact blend of... mannerisms anywhere else, even if I did try. I need you to tell me that I can have this, or tell me that I can’t. If it’s a no, I can handle that, Tony. But I need a firm answer.”

Tony presses his knee more firmly against Steve’s chest -- Steve wants to let his neck go loose and press his forehead to Tony’s thigh, but doesn’t. “I will absolutely give you an answer, if you’ll answer a question for me first. As honestly as you possibly can.” Tony’s tone is deeply serious.

“Of course I will,” Steve says, because of course he will.

“What you said,” Tony begins. “What you said when I told you what to say wasn’t what I... had scripted, for lack of a better word. I expected you to repeat what I told you to say more or less verbatim, but you didn’t.”

“No,” Steve agrees, cocking his head a little. He’s not sure why it’s significant, but he’s curious to know why Tony thinks it is.

“Was that for me, or for you?” Tony asks. Steve blinks uncertainly, and Tony expounds, “I said: ‘Tell me that you want me to use your ass until I’m done with it, tell me you’ll take it all for me, tell me you want to feel me come inside you.’ But what you said was: ‘Fuck me, fuck me, fuck my cherry ass. Do it until I can’t take anymore, use me, do it harder, make me take it, come inside me while I’m helpless and can’t stop you.’” Tony’s voice is almost without inflection, but his gaze is impossible to look away from, even though Steve’s face feels like it’s on fire. “The question is, did you say what you thought I wanted to hear, or did you say what you meant?”

Steve would like to hedge a little, and can’t bring himself to do it. He resigns himself to continuing to blush for the immediate future, and tells Tony, “Both. I wanted to say the things you wanted me to say, and I did. But I wanted to say other things, too. So it all got mixed together.”

“So you intended to repeat what I wanted you to say, and when you opened your mouth, you didn’t. You didn’t know what you were saying. You were just saying what was right at the top of your mind. Yes?” Tony’s gaze is like bullets now.

“Yes,” Steve says, blushing, wishing he didn’t have the mixture of his coloration and his hair-trigger blush reflex. He can’t quite keep himself from asking, “Why is that important?”

Tony tips Steve’s chin up a little further, thumb sliding down the slope of his jaw. “Because it means you were responding to my needs at the same time that you were articulating your own. It means that you were feeling submissive enough to me to deliberately hit all the high points that I asked for, but that you were also strong enough to exhibit things that you wanted for yourself. All without having any idea of what being in submissive headspace really means at all.”

Tony smiles at him, maybe the warmest of the smiles Steve has seen from him. It makes his eyes so bright that they seem almost amber. Something twists and turns over in Steve’s chest, and his cock rises back up to full mast. Tony’s answer is plain on his face. Steve waits for it anyway, because he really does need a firm verbal answer. “I’ll want more of your time than I’ve gotten so far,” Tony says. Steve recognizes that as a warning and a request, and merely nods. “You will tell me at once if we ever start to do something you hate or really fear.” Tony waits for Steve to nod again. “Some fear is good. You like it like that. But if it feels bad or wrong, you don’t keep doing it because you think I want it. I don’t want anything that makes you feel that way. I cannot stress this point enough, Captain. You will never decide to suffer through something.”

“Okay,” Steve says, and puts his hand on Tony’s thigh. “Okay, Tony. I get it. Some fear is good, some pain is probably good, some... things that you say that make me feel...” He has to pause and grope for a word that conveys what he’s trying to say, aware of Tony watching him frankly the whole time. “Dirty,” he finally decides. “Those things are okay. But if I am in physical or mental distress, if I feel ‘bad,’ I will tell you as soon as I become aware of it. Okay?”

“Okay,” Tony says. “Your safeword is quark. You’ll remember?”

“I don’t forget things,” Steve says. “I’ll remember.”

“If you use it, we both stop what we’re doing and break down the situation to see where it went wrong so that we don’t make the same mistakes repeatedly.”

“Okay,” Steve agrees, and wonders if there is much more to the lecture. He shifts around a little and bumps his cock up against Tony’s calf.

Tony snorts. “Under those conditions, I would be happy to teach you everything you want to know about kinky gay sex.”

Steve blushes, and says, “Can you teach me how to control my blush reflex?”

“If I could, I wouldn’t,” Tony says, smirking. “Every time you blush is so hot that I worry I’m losing brain cells. It makes you practically irresistible.”

Predictably, Steve continues to blush. He wishes he could think of a good tactic for making this into sex now. His relative ignorance couldn’t possibly be more embarrassing than his hot face.

6.

“So, you want to see me naked,” Tony says, sounding amused, and Steve’s head snaps up so hard his teeth graze the tip of his tongue.

“Yes?” Steve says cautiously, and Tony is giving him a patient smile.

“You’ll have to get off my leg,” Tony points out in a reasonable tone, and Steve scoots back on his cushion so hard that he accidentally scoots about six feet away. Tony doesn’t laugh, which proves that he’s kinder than he wants anyone to know about.

He just stands up and casually begins to strip, tie, shoes and socks, shirt buttons. Steve realizes he’s holding his breath, and then doesn’t try to make himself stop as Tony’s shirt falls away. He’s wearing a sleeveless white undershirt, but Steve can see the blue-white glow of the arc reactor through the fabric. Tony pulls it off over his head and drops it carelessly, but he’s watching Steve’s face now, interested, maybe slightly wary. Steve takes in the wiry musculature of his chest and stomach, the scarring around the device that keeps Tony alive, the unexpectedly deep curve of his biceps, and finally has to gasp in a breath. Tony relaxes slightly, and unbuttons his slacks. He drops those as carelessly on the floor, and then he’s stepping out of his silky looking boxer briefs. He’s perfectly proportioned, muscular, and Steve can’t think why he’s surprised. He’d seen the semi-nudes in his briefing packet, but those had been from before the arc reactor. Tony had been well built, but not like this. Now, of course, he has the Iron Man armor, which for all that it’s mostly machine driven, is still a suit of metal armor that must be heavy as hell.

Tony’s cock is erect and enticing, dark red and Steve doesn’t have a lot of experience with cocks, but Tony seems on the large end of the scale. Of course, Tony had put that in Steve’s ass, so maybe his evaluation is skewed.

“I also said I wanted to touch you,” Steve says hoarsely, glancing away from Tony’s cock to Tony’s face, which is still mildly amused.

“You did,” Tony agrees, and turns on his heel, and Steve is suddenly ultra-aware of an ass as being part of someones sex appeal. Tony’s is taut and muscular and kind of mesmerizing as he walks to the couch against the wall and then flops down along the length of it, interrupting Steve’s view. Steve swallows hard and moves to get his feet under him. “No,” Tony says, not sharply, but maybe a little impatiently. Steve looks at him, at a loss. “Crawl,” Tony says.

Steve is too surprised even to blush for a moment. He actually has to do a kind of mental replay of the last few seconds, and yes. Tony had definitely said ‘crawl.’ Steve’s face heats, but he shifts forward onto his hands and knees and crawls, though he keeps his head up, eyes fixed on Tony’s. He suspects this is a little counter to the order, but he does it anyway.

“That’s the least submissive crawling I’ve ever seen. You look like a leopard or something. I half expect you to leap the rest of the way and maul me,” Tony drawls languidly. He doesn’t sound like he minds Steve’s lack of submissive crawling. Steve edges up to the side of the couch, hands flexing and twitching. Tony watches him curiously, and after fifteen seconds or so, asks, “So you feel like you can crawl any way you want to, but you have to wait for permission to touch me?”

Steve realizes that that’s exactly how he feels and just nods.

Tony looks like he’s storing that away for later consideration. “You can touch me,” is all he says.

Steve is paralyzed for a moment with simple indecision. He’d wanted to touch Tony. It hadn’t occurred to him to plan on how to do it or where to start. His cock seems like the logical place, but Steve doesn’t want to be forward. Then he gives himself a mental shake. It doesn’t get more forward than this. He can start anywhere and it doesn’t matter. It’s foreplay, no matter what.

He starts at the top.

Well, he starts by swinging himself up onto the couch to straddle Tony, who looks surprised but doesn’t object, and then he runs his hands through Tony’s hair. It’s coarse and thick, ticklish against his palms. Tony’s eyebrows are sleeker, the arches perfect angles, and his cheekbones are high and sharp. His goatee is smooth in one direction, rough in the other. Steve tentatively traces the line of his upper lip, and Tony parts his lips slightly, as though in permission. He’s watching Steve intently, but his eyes are dark like they had been that first day, and Steve has to breathe in deliberately steady to keep his breath from stuttering a little at the way they look. He pulls his attention away from them and back to Tony’s upper lip, which is a soft bow. His lower lip is fuller, soft, and Steve presses his thumb against it and remembers Tony kissing him the last time, just the once, and not until the very end. He wonders how it would feel to kiss his mouth now. He wonders if that’s something they’ll do, or if it’s not part of having sex this way. He’s busy enough wondering about it that he’s caught out unexpectedly when Tony’s tongue slides out and curls around the side of his thumb.

This time no amount of deliberate breathing will keep the hitch out of Steve’s breath. He glances at Tony’s eyes -- dark, heavy with some kind of challenge -- and then Tony slides his mouth open wider and deftly maneuvers Steve’s thumb inside. Tony’s lips curl in a pink ‘o’ around it -- Steve can’t even breathe -- and then his tongue is curling around Steve’s thumb and his cheeks hollow as he sucks. Steve’s cock jerks so hard he feels it at the root, the heavy sway, and it’s like there is a line of nerves that travel directly between Steve’s thumb and his groin. Steve husks out a sound that might have been a moan if he hadn’t been so breathless. Tony sucks again, hard and obviously deliberate, and Steve feels it in his balls. When Tony releases his thumb, Steve is so desperately turned on that he barely has the wherewithal to pull it back, and finds that he can’t quite stop himself from slicking it along Tony’s lower lip, so that it shines wetly. Tony is smiling at him, that hint of challenge still in his eyes, just enough to make Steve try to pull himself together.

Of course this was going to be interactive. He can’t imagine why he thought it might have been otherwise.

He doesn’t realize how sideways the idea has knocked him until Tony says, “Breathe, Captain,” and Steve takes a deep, shuddering breath that significantly reduces the tightness in his chest. He does it again, and then one more time -- aware of Tony watching him, and is both aroused and embarrassed that it had taken so little to do this to Steve -- and then he presses one hand to Tony’s throat. Tony hitches out a little breath, but his expression doesn’t change. Steve’s hand is large enough to almost wrap around the column of Tony’s neck from one side to the other. He doesn’t press, touches just enough to let him feel Tony’s pulse, which is fast. He slides his fingers down to Tony’s right collarbone and traces it with his thumb. He brings his left hand into play, doing the same to Tony’s left collarbone, and then he’s wrapping his hands around Tony’s upper arms. Tony flexes a little -- possibly on purpose, Steve can’t tell, and doesn’t look up at Tony’s face to try and figure it out. He gets too distracted with Tony’s face. It’s good, though, the slight flex that bunches Tony’s biceps in Steve’s hands. Steve breathes out a little unsteadily. Tony’s muscles are utilitarian and rock hard. The result of hard work, often repeated. Steve wants to lick the curve of Tony’s biceps and press his lips to the silky skin at the interior bend of his elbow.

He draws his hands away and risks a glance at Tony’s face. His lips are still parted, and he’s watching Steve with open desire that twists in the pit of his stomach. He tries to keep his cock away from Tony’s body, but thinks he’s probably dripping precome onto Tony anyway. He wants to check that he isn’t, but he’s afraid to know if he is. He forces his eyes down to Tony’s chest and brushes his fingertips lightly over Tony’s small, dark nipples. Tony inhales audibly, and Steve squeezes his eyes shut for a moment. Then he’s tracing the planes of Tony’s pectorals, sliding his thumbs down across the hard lines of muscle, feeling the scars around the arc reactor sliding along his fingertips.

“Can I,” Steve begins, and then pauses at how hoarse and needful his voice sounds. He looks at Tony, who arches a brow. “Will it hurt it?” Steve asks. He lets a hand hover over the arc reactor. “If I touch it?”

“No,” Tony says, a little slowly. “You won’t hurt it. But don’t feel obligated to touch it. I won’t hold it against you if it’s a little too weird for you.”

Steve laughs, surprised into it, and both of Tony’s brows arch this time. “You think the arc reactor is the weird part?” he asks, still half-smiling, and Tony’s face settles into intensity again.

“It doesn’t bother you at all?” Tony asks, tone curious, but as intense as his face.

“I think it’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen,” Steve says honestly. “It’s proof that you’re you.”

Tony’s expression flickers, still intense, but Steve isn’t sure what it means. But Tony says, “You can touch it any way you want to. You can’t hurt it.” He cocks his head up, though, as if he wants to see what Steve will really do.

At first Steve merely lets the hand that is hovering over it come to rest gently on top of it. The glow zigzags out from between Steve’s fingers, something Steve finds satisfying without being able to say why. The metal embedded in Tony’s chest is as warm as the rest of his body, but the device fitted into the metal is cooler. More importantly, Steve can feel it working. Not a buzz or a hum -- it seems to be completely silent -- but as a faint pulling sensation. “Is it,” Steve wonders without quite realizing he’s asking aloud, “a magnet? Something... it feels like it pulls, a little.”

Tony’s voice is openly surprised this time. “It is. An electromagnet powered by the arc reactor. You can feel the pull of it?”

Steve looks up. “Just... really faintly. Like the way you feel static in the air sometimes.”

“It’s not even strong enough to affect your dogtags,” Tony says, and grabs Steve’s dogtags and tugs at them deliberately. “You shouldn’t be able to feel it by touch at all.”

Steve suspects the serum in his blood, but just shakes his head.

“I have a cluster of shrapnel in my chest that’s headed for my heart. The arc reactor powers an electromagnet that keeps the shrapnel from moving around.”

Steve’s heart starts to pound. “That’s not in your file,” he says hoarsely.

“For which I’m grateful,” Tony says. He catches Steve’s hand atop the arc reactor and squeezes it gently. “Don’t panic,” Tony says. “I’m not in any danger. The arc reactor is doing its job.”

“Does it hurt?” Steve asks, apparently helpless to keep his mouth shut even when he recognizes that he’d probably be better off not interrogating Tony about his homemade life support system.

“No.” Tony looks at him seriously. “Weird now?”

Steve blinks. “No,” he says at once. “Still the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. Just. A little scared of hurting it with the context in place.”

Tony smiles, the corners of his eyes crinkling. “Apart from deliberately taking some heavy object to it, you can’t hurt it. Even then, you probably couldn’t hurt it. It’s made from the strongest stuff in the world. You’re far more likely to hurt any other part of me than you are the arc reactor. After all, you can probably bench press me for about a week before you got tired.” He squeezes Steve’s hand again. “Really. I’m a genius engineer. You could drive a car over the arc reactor without hurting it. The same can’t be said of the rest of me. You can do anything you want to it.”

The tension eases out of Steve gradually as the logic of Tony’s explanation sifts through his fears. Of course the arc reactor is virtually indestructible. Tony had known when he had made it that it was going to have to keep him alive. And, Iron Man. Of course.

“Sorry,” Steve says, hanging his head a little.

Tony presses Steve’s palm against the arc reactor more firmly. “Don’t be. Just believe me, and act accordingly,” Tony says simply.

Steve nods, shuffles the arc reactor’s primary function to the back of his mind, and concentrates on it instead as part of Tony’s body. The device isn’t quite flush with Tony’s chest. It sticks out a little, less than a quarter inch. Steve traces the rim of it and wonders if it’s medically necessary or if it’s so the reactor can seat into the suit. He suspects it’s the latter, and that goes a long way toward allowing him to let go of his concern. Of course, Tony wouldn’t hesitate to design the thing in his body so that it interfaced with the suit, regardless of aesthetics. The ridges of the scars, clearly emergency surgery done in less than ideal circumstances, are thick and white, just a few still pink, but old scarring. Years old. Tony’s breathing goes a little uneven as Steve traces them with his fingers, and Steve knows that scars are sometimes numb to sensation and sometimes extremely sensitive. He’d like to put his mouth to Tony’s chest and find out which of them are which, but he doesn’t ask.

Maybe next time he’ll think to negotiate for putting his mouth on Tony’s body.

This time, he satisfies himself with his hands, eventually dragging them down to Tony’s well-muscled stomach. Tony’s navel is a soft dip that Steve’s thumb drags across. His hipbones are beautiful, framing the expanse of muscle that leads down to his groin. Steve presses the heels of his palms against them and curls his fingers around Tony’s hips. He feels a little dizzy at how his hands fit there, and at how easy it would be to leave his hands there, pinning Tony, and dip down to trace Tony’s cock with his lips.

His breath goes a little uneven, and he looks at Tony. Tony is watching, tipped up a little on his elbows now. “Losing your nerve?” Tony asks, faintly mocking, that little gleam of challenge in his eyes again.

Steve doesn’t answer. He just wraps a hand around Tony’s cock lightly, feeling the silky skin and the weight of it, feeling how hot it is and how hard it feels in his palm. He runs his thumb around the flare of the glans, and Tony rumbles a low sound that makes Steve’s cock jerk at the same time that it makes him tighten his grasp on Tony’s cock. Steve gives it a long stroke without thought, just wanting to feel it in his hand, how familiar it is while being completely foreign at the same time. The angle is different, but the weight familiar; the heat seems more intense, but the big vein throbbing at the base is the same. Tony doesn’t moan, but he breathes harshly and his hips cant slightly, as though to change the angle. Steve, without quite grasping why, merely brings his fist down to the base of Tony’s cock and holds it there. Tony, as though expecting it, works his hips up in several smooth, practiced thrusts. Steve watches Tony’s cock move through his own fist with a dazed kind of disbelief, sees the skin of Tony’s cock go more deeply red, watches moisture bead at the slit. His mouth waters at the sight, and he hears himself breathing as if from a distance, short, sharp breaths, and his cock is aching. He wants more, and isn’t sure how to ask for it. He’s opening his mouth to do it anyway, to say something, when Tony goes still. Steve, without thinking about it, moves his hand, tightens his fist.

“No,” Tony says sharply, and Steve freezes, belly twisting, and looks at Tony’s face. Tony is gorgeously flushed, his mouth wet as he breathes roughly, his eyes dark and hungry. “Let go,” he says, except it’s more than that, it’s an order, and Steve desperately wants to make Tony come, desperately doesn’t want to lose the feel of Tony, hot and ready in his fist, but Tony’s tone crackles at him like Steve’s whole body is an exposed nerve.

He lets go slowly, forcing his hand to behave itself, and there is a slick place at the webbing between thumb and forefinger. He isn’t even aware of thinking as he moves his hand up toward his mouth, and barely recalls himself before doing something he’s never done before. His hand hovers there and he finds himself looking at Tony helplessly for guidance or permission, he doesn’t know.

“Go ahead,” Tony says, voice a low, edged thing, and Steve can’t look away from his face as he brings his hand up and licks at the place that’s wet from Tony’s cock. The flavor is sharp and a little bitter. Tony closes his eyes briefly, and Steve makes a helpless sound at having affected Tony. His whole body tenses into a shudder, and the head of his cock briefly makes contact with Tony’s thigh. Steve’s eyes want to sag shut at the heat of Tony’s skin against his cock, but he recoils instead, bringing his knees up to make sure not to do it again. Tony watches him for a few seconds, his face almost impassive, but for the dark and feral thing Steve can see behind his eyes.

“You know my left thigh is already soaked where you’ve been dripping on it, Captain,” Tony says matter of factly.

Steve throws a helpless glance downward, and yes, Tony’s thigh is wet it several places. Steve’s face flames with humiliation, but another of those full body shudders wrack him at the sight of his precome slicking up Tony’s skin. “Do you always leak so much?” Tony asks him. Then, with that slight sneer again, adds, “You’re as wet as a girl.”

Steve’s face somehow grows even hotter. “I, it’s always. I’m sorry.” Then, because he can’t quite help it, he whispers hoarsely, “I’m not a girl.”

“No, that much is clear,” Tony says, and reaches down and catches Steve’s cock in his hand. Steve tenses so hard that it hurts a little, and only barely manages to keep from coming. As it is, his cock jerks in Tony’s hand, and Steve is sure he’s leaking all over it. He tries to pull back, humiliated and fearful that he still might come in Tony’s hand, but Tony tightens his grip. Steve lets out a low, pleading moan. “But you do get as wet as a girl,” Tony says, as though he’s unaware of how close Steve is to shooting or doesn’t care. Tony’s wrist twists a little, his palm sliding briefly across the head of his cock, and Steve’s head rocks back. When Tony closes his hand around Steve’s cock again, his whole palm is slick with what can only be Steve’s precome.

Steve can feel his heart pounding in his chest and his blood rushing in his ears.

“I’ve never seen a man get so wet.” Tony’s voice is almost conversational.

“Sorry,” Steve whispers, throat tight, cock aching. He doesn’t know what to do.

“Don’t be,” Tony says, not quite reassuringly, but simply, as if it’s only a matter of him saying so to make it so. “I wonder how much I’d have to do to you to make you leak enough so that you could take my cock on nothing but your own precome.”

Steve... he whites out for a moment, or something. His cock feels like it’s going to explode. He actually feels his cock leaking against Tony’s fingers, and Tony shifts his grip again, shoving Steve perilously close to the edge of orgasm, and then lets go of Steve’s cock entirely. Steve manages to pry his eyes open to look down; Tony is wiping his slick palm against his already wet thigh.

“Do you know what frottage is?” Tony asks, dragging Steve’s dazed eyes back up to Tony’s face. Steve shakes his head, desperate and confused. “I”m going to rearrange you,” Tony tells him. “Just move where I push.”

It would never have occurred to Steve to do anything else. Tony’s hands press against the tops of Steve’s shoulders, and Steve moves backward obediently. He presses one palm against Steve’s left knee, shoving it between the knee and the cushion to do it, and Steve lifts his leg. Tony slides his right leg off the side of the couch and lets Steve’s knee go even as he’s shifting a little toward the middle of the couch.

Tony’s cock is directly beneath Steve’s chin, still beautiful and flushed. There’s a wet smear of precome on Tony’s belly that Steve can’t possibly be responsible for. Steve wants to lick it off, but Tony’s hands are on his arms, pulling him up again.

“Leave your knees where they are,” Tony tells him, and Steve obediently, through with utter bafflement, moves up Tony’s body with just his hands so that he’s stretched out along the line of Tony’s body in a way that would be precarious if Steve wasn’t in possession of superhuman balance and reflexes. “Do you want to come?” Tony asks him throatily.

“Yes,” Steve says at once.

“Good. Do exactly what I say,” Tony murmurs.

“Yes,” Steve says again.

“Take your weight on your elbows,” Tony tells him.

Steve drops down to his elbows, and immediately makes a choked sound of surprise. The whole length of his cock is resting against the hard width of Tony’s thigh, slick with Steve’s precome, warm and solid.

“Good,” Tony tells him. “You can rub yourself against my thigh until you come.”

Steve’s face burns and his closes his eyes against a prickle that he’s terrified might be tears. He wants to object.... No. He wants to want to object. He’s shocked and humiliated at the idea, but his whole body is shivering, skin prickling heat, and he’s also desperately aroused at this... being put into this situation, this position, at being told that he can rut against Tony’s leg like a dog. And this is part of the reason it has to be Tony.

He isn’t sure what kind of sound he makes, but he eases his knees down until the pressure between Tony’s thigh and Steve’s belly is enough to make Steve’s cock jerk and throb, and rolls his hips experimentally.

The sheer relief of the blaze of pleasure that results is so great and Steve’s neck goes loose and his head drops forward, forehead coming to rest against Tony’s chest. Tony merely shifts so that Steve is resting on his skin rather than against the metal of the arc reactor, and slips his fingers through Steve’s slightly sweaty hair. “Don’t dawdle, Captain,” he murmurs, a weirdly gentle threat. Steve breathes heavily against Tony’s chest for another handful of seconds and then shifts his hips a little.

Any movement at all is amazing, but Steve wants to do things right, and maybe there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it, but there has to be a best way to do it. He rolls his hips again, angling his hips forward as far as he can, and moans at the hot pressure of slick skin, the friction arcing along his cock and his spine at the same time, and it takes only two or three thrusts for him to understand that it isn’t going to matter. It’s all good, however he arches or presses, it all feels over-heated and harsh and electric at the same time, and he shifts just enough to get as much leverage as he can achieve in this position and just shoves up against Tony’s hot skin, whining a little with his face pressed up against Tony’s chest. Tony’s thigh flexes against Steve’s cock at the next press of his hips, and Steve almost wails with pleasure, his hands clenched into fists, his eyes jammed shut, sweat prickling at the small of his back, and Tony tugs at his hair enough to make Steve gasp and jerk his hips involuntarily. He breathes out a helpless little moan, his hips stuttering for a few seconds, and there isn’t enough air between his body and Tony’s, everything is hot and thick and Steve’s outside of his own control, his hips rocking and jerking against Tony’s thigh, his cock wet and hard as diamonds, his biceps and thighs shuddering to maintain the position.

Then Tony is saying, “Five seconds, Captain,” in a sharp, demanding voice, and Steve doesn’t need the five seconds, just, apparently, the voice, because he’s trembling and coming and moaning open-mouthed against Tony’s chest, his whole body a tight and jerking expanse of nerves as he shoots between them and Tony says, “Good, that’s perfect, look at you writhe, my God you’re gorgeous. I’m going to fuck you in less than ten minutes, and you’re going to get hard and come for that, too, whether you think you can or not.” Steve has barely started to recover his mental focus when Tony presses him upward -- Steve groans and forces himself up and back on unsteady limbs -- and says, “There’s nothing to be done about the couch; I’ll have to call in professionals. But you’ll clean up the mess you left on me.”

Steve blinks for a seconds, thinks that maybe one of the other doors has a bathroom with washcloths in it, and tries to get his feet up under him.

Tony jerks him back down so harshly that Steve nearly crumples on top of him again, then shoves at Steve’s shoulders until Steve is backing down the couch. Tony stops when Steve’s face is more or less level with Tony’s cock -- still hard -- and for a moment, Steve thinks Tony means that he should get him off. He tips his head down, not sure how, but willing to try. Tony catches him by the hair just before Steve’s lips brush the crown.

“As much as I appreciate the sentiment,” Tony drawls, “I was referring to the mess you left on my thigh.” His hands are fairly gentle this time as he directs Steve’s face further down by the hand he still has in Steve’s hair. Steve hovers there, looking at the slick, wet mess on Tony’s thigh, with absolutely no idea of how to clean it up.

Tony is unusually silent, and Steve is just looking, trying to process. When it comes to him, he’s almost as embarrassed that it took him so long as he is at the idea of what he’s supposed to do.

He tips his face slightly and shifts down and licks a wet stripe along the top of Tony’s thigh. His own come tastes much like Tony’s precome, only stronger, maybe slightly less bitter. He’s prickling a little with humiliation, but it’s a much more focused version of what he’d felt while rubbing off against Tony, and is actually almost a good thing, weirdly soothing. It makes his face warm and he’s ultra-aware of Tony watching him do this, but mostly it feels like a low buzz of arousal centered almost entirely in his mind. He pauses for a moment, to think about that, to integrate it or something, but Tony murmurs, “Don’t stop,” his voice so low and rough that Steve responds automatically in every sense. He laps moisture off of Tony’s skin, he glances up enough to see Tony’s watching him hungrily, and his cock twitches against his thigh.

Steve pulls back when he’s done as much as he thinks he can do, licking his lips, and glancing up to see what Tony’s face can tell him.

Tony says, “That hardly bothered you at all,” and crooks two fingers at Steve. Steve moves up the couch obediently. “Not like fucking up against my leg did. You were so worked up about that I expected you to come after about fifteen seconds. Why didn’t you?”

“I think,” Steve says, and tries not to look at the way that Tony is looking at his mouth. “I mean. You didn’t say to. And.” Steve’s face heats. “You didn’t talk as much, during. The. Your.” Steve shrugs a little helplessly. “You say things that make me.”

“Hmm,” Tony says, but he looks pleased. “Get off.”

Steve slides over the side of the couch and onto the floor.

“I read your list,” Tony says out of nowhere, and Steve just looks at him for a moment, completely boggled. Tony is sitting now, his erect cock poking him in the belly. He still looks flushed and terribly distracting, and Steve blames that on why he doesn’t immediately grasp what Tony is talking about. “No contracts involved in sexual negotiations,” Tony says. “Learn to suck my cock. See me naked. Touch me everywhere. Fuck you in an actual bed.”

Tony doesn’t rattle the rest of it off, thank God. Steve isn’t exactly horrified that Tony had seen it -- there’s nothing on it that he’s ashamed of, exactly -- but feels suddenly shy and stupidly ignorant.

“You draw?” is all Tony asks, though.

Steve nods. There is a lump in his throat that is so thick he’s afraid to answer.

“Are you any good?” Tony wants to know.

“I was going to art school when...” Steve says, and then waves a hand.

Tony nods thoughtfully. “And why you?” Tony asks, and Steve feels his face heat. He’d been kind of hoping Tony would ignore that item on the list. Tony gazes at him, oddly concerned. “Why you shouldn’t even be a question,” he says. “Seriously, have you looked at you?” Steve just looks at him. “I know you were a little turned around last time, but did you hear what you said? The sounds that you made while I fucked you?”

Tony drops down to his knees and closes the distance between them, settling so that he’s knee-to-knee with Steve. “And I can’t even begin to tell you what it looks like to watch my cock stretching open your ass, Captain. Or the look on your face when you come. And that you came back, after that....” Tony lets that sentence trail off. He touches Steve’s face gently, two fingertips stroking across Steve’s cheekbone. “And you’re so sweet and eager,” Tony says a little harshly, though his fingertips are still gentle on Steve’s face. “I’m going to strip you down, piece by piece, see how eager you really are. See if you stay so sweet. Find out all the things that make you hot and humiliated and needy and helpless.”

Tony’s face is dark, greed and desire. His expression is enough to terrify and exhilarate Steve in equal parts, and his cock fills in response even as Tony’s soft, not-quite-threatening voice gives him chills.

“I want you to stay right here, facing the couch,” Tony tells him firmly. “I’m going to get some things, and I want you to stay exactly where you are until I come back. Do you understand?”

Steve nods, mouth dry.

Tony cocks his head a little. “No. I don’t think so. When I ask you for something or tell you to do something, you say yes, sir. Do you understand, Captain?”

“Yes, sir,” Steve rasps out. He feels himself straightening even as he says it, automatic, ingrained, and Tony chuckles a little, but he stands and recovers the drink Steve had left sitting on the edge of Tony’s computer table and gives it to Steve. Steve downs it in one swallow and Tony takes the tumbler back.

“Water?” Tony asks.

“Please, sir,” Steve says gratefully. Tony chuckles again, but strides naked and graceful around the bar and bends to get a bottle out of the refrigerator tucked behind it. He opens it and hands it to Steve, who drinks thirstily, and then gives it back. Tony takes a couple of swallows himself, and then caps the bottle and sits it on the bar.

“Don’t move, Captain,” Tony reminds him.

“Yes, sir,” Steve agrees. While Tony is gone, Steve considers the idea of calling Tony sir, and can’t decide whether it’s hot or just weird. It feels wrong, somehow, like Steve is twisting the fabric of his military training, but that there is definitely some kind of arousal response in the pit of his belly, though it’s fairly mild. He hopes that it doesn’t affect him with all the other people he has to call ‘sir.’

He’s blushing again by the time Tony comes back. Tony notes this with a faintly arched brow, but doesn’t ask any questions about it. He’s carrying a pair of leather bracelets linked together with chain. Some kind of handcuffs, Steve understands, cock twitching. He puts them on the couch and then sits something else next to it. Steve looks at it, tipping his head a little in thought. It’s a piece of rubber or leather, Steve isn’t sure, black and shaped more or less like a cock. A little wider and flatter. It’s attached to another piece of what Steve is pretty sure is leather this time -- there is some stitching on the side he can see -- and attached to that piece are two long, leather straps. He considers the shape and where that means the thing might be meant to go, but then he can’t figure out the straps.

“I like choices,” Tony says, after watching Steve just look for more than a minute. “The fact that you have a list, even if it isn’t a very long one, means that you like choices, too.” He sinks down to one knee and turns Steve’s face so that he’s looking at Tony. When he doesn’t move his hand away, Steve sort of helplessly presses his cheek into Tony’s palm. Tony runs a thumb along his lips, and Steve opens immediately and eagerly, desire knotting in the cradle between his hipbones. Tony obligingly slips his thumb into Steve’s mouth and Steve tastes sweat and a little bourbon, a little flavor of his own precome, leather. He curls his tongue as Tony had, and Tony’s eyes drop to half-mast. Steve sucks in a little breath at the sight, and then sucks carefully, hollowing his cheeks. His tongue trips around the edges of Tony’s thumb, tracking calluses and tiny scars, and Steve’s eyes want to slip closed.

“That’s so good,” Tony murmurs. “You should see how you look. Harder than that.”

Steve sucks harder and Tony actually makes a short, abrupt little noise that might have been a bitten off moan. Steve exhales harshly, but Tony pulls his thumb free, pausing to smear Steve’s saliva across his cheek. Steve flushes, but is so hot all over that he can hardly tell.

“Choices,” Tony repeats. He stops, and Steve realizes he’s waiting for a response.

“Yes, sir,” Steve agrees, even though he’s not sure what he’s agreeing to at this point. It doesn’t matter. He wants to agree to whatever Tony wants him to agree to.

“You want to learn to suck my cock?” Tony asks.

Steve’s breath hitches. “Yes, sir.” His eyes drop down to Tony’s cock helplessly. He’s still hard; Steve can see the tip glistening a little, not wet like Steve gets wet, but definitely wet with arousal. His mouth waters at the idea of tasting it directly from the source.

“And I said I was going to fuck you within ten minutes,” Tony says.

And Steve had almost forgotten that. “Yes, sir,” he says. He isn’t sure whether to be dismayed or ecstatic. As far as choices went, it looked like a win to him either way.

“I’m going to fuck you, Captain,” Tony says flatly. “The question is, whether or not I’ll teach you to suck me after I do.” He picks up the cuffs. “I’m going to bend you over the couch and shove my cock into your ass.” Steve shudders. “I want to know whether or not you’ll be wearing these while I do it.”

Steve doesn’t have to think. The cuffs don’t scare him in any but the most basic of senses. The idea of having his hands rendered useless is across-the-board erotic. The humiliation that springs to life at the back of his mind is the same kind that he’d felt when he’d licked his come off of Tony’s thigh, the kind that feels like his brain is prickling with arousal at the same rate that his body is.

“Yes, sir,” he agrees, and Tony smiles a little at him, sharpish, but pleased. He puts the cuffs down and picks up the other thing.

“Any idea at all what this is?” Tony asks.

“No, sir,” Steve says. Then, because he feels like he has to, adds, “I thought it might be some kind of... thing to go inside me, but I can’t see what the straps would be for.”

Tony’s expression goes briefly gentle and he surprises Steve completely when he leans in and presses a short, warm kiss to his lips. He leans back again before Steve can do anything about it, and Steve is actually opening his mouth to ask if he could please do that again when Tony takes advantage of his open mouth to slip the vaguely cock-like part into Steve’s mouth. Steve feels his eyes widen. His skin breaks out into a fine sweat, all at once and everywhere, so that it prickles madly for several seconds, while Steve just blinks. He is rapidly re-evaluating his attitude toward gags.

Tony presses the leather part up against Steve’s lips and then draws the straps back on either side of Steve face. He tugs gently and Steve’s head tips back.

“But it’s not as simple as that,” Tony tells him in a confidential tone. Steve tries to bite down on the rubber in his mouth, and can’t quite manage it. It’s too long for him to get a grip on. “Remember that if you decide this is okay, and then it turns out not to be, you can tap out.”

Steve glances at the handcuffs and wonders how that would work.

Tony, following his gaze, says, “Can you snap your fingers?” Steve snaps the fingers of both hands. “Good. And if you can’t do that for some reason, you can clap you hands together. The cuffs will leave your hands close enough. Do you understand, Captain?”

Steve pauses, obviously unable to say ‘yes, sir’ and finally just nods.

“Okay, that’s good. Now, the gag. I don’t keep a lot of toys in my office. If I did, I might have started you out on something simpler.” Tony looks a little ruminative, but then returns his attention to Steve’s face. He runs the fingertips of his free hand around the leather pressed against Steve’s lips. “Then again, maybe I wouldn’t have. You’ve been a pretty quick study so far. Relax a little. I’m going to show you something.”

Steve relaxes as much as he can, which isn’t much. He’s so turned on he’s surprised he can do anything but fall on top of Tony and rub off against his thigh again. Of course, Tony wouldn’t let him. Which only turns him on more.

Then Tony is tugging at the leather straps behind Steve’s head, a fierce little jerk, and the gag slides deeper into Steve’s mouth, past his tongue, and nudges up against the back of his throat. He makes a surprised choking sound, and it’s only chance that he’s looking at Tony’s face when he does it.

Tony’s eyes glitter so fiercely at the noise that Steve’s whole body wants to sway toward Tony, as though Tony is magnetically charged.

“It’s meant to do that,” Tony tells him, meeting Steve’s eyes. “It’s supposed to keep you quiet, and when I jerk on the straps, it lengthens a little to make you choke.” He pauses. “I like the sound,” he says candidly. “But I didn’t want something that was a choking hazard when used as a regular gag. So I made this. It can be either. I can use the straps to keep it in place. I don’t have to choke you with it. Do you understand?”

Steve nods slowly.

“If you want to suck my cock, you’ll take the cuffs and the gag while I fuck you. But whether I choke you or not is up to you.” His voice is completely neutral. He tugs the gag out of Steve’s mouth and just holds it in one hand. “And if you don’t want any of the trappings, I’ll still fuck you. But you’ll have to keep wondering what cocksucking would be like.”

“I’ll take everything,” Steve says. Tony looks at him sharply, a little surprise, but mostly impatient. “Sir,” Steve adds hurriedly. “I’m sorry. I meant that you can use all of it, however you want to, sir.”

“Do you want to suck my cock that badly, or would you have taken it anyway?” Tony asks, as though genuinely curious.

Steve blushes. “I would have taken it all anyway. Your face....” He’s not sure how to finish that sentence, so he doesn’t.

“You won’t even be able to see my face, Captain,” Tony reminds him sharply.

“It doesn’t matter,” Steve says softly. “I’ll still know.”

Tony shoves him forward in response, roughly enough that Steve’s knees burn against the carpet, and being bent over the edge of the couch isn’t much different than being bent over Tony’s desk had been. Tony pushes Steve’s knees further apart, and sets a hand in the middle of his back that immediately makes Steve feel loose and easy. Tony hums, and then he’s reaching around and pressing the tip of the gag against Steve’s lips. Steve opens his mouth and takes it. “Don’t spit it out,” Tony says. “There’s nothing holding it in until I’ve got the reins in my hands.” Steve clamps his teeth around the edge as well as he can, considering the size and shape. It feels unsteady, but he’s determined.

Tony pulls his arms behind him, positioning them sideways, forearm to forearm running across the middle of his back. Steve is a little surprised, but he hardly thinks of it while it’s happening. The feel of the leather closing, snug and cool, around each of his wrists, is too distracting.

“Snap,” Tony says, and Steve does. “Clap,” Tony says, and Steve has to twist his arms up toward his spine, but finds he can do that, too. “Don’t forget,” Tony says firmly. “The gag is supposed to make you feel and sound a little bit like you’re choking, not actually choke you. If you can’t breathe, don’t hesitate to tap out.”

Tony sounds amazingly, erotically breathless even as he’s saying it, however, and the head of Steve’s cock is sort of sliding against the front of the couch, tipped down and probably making a mess just from the way Tony’s voice sounds.

“Good,” Tony breathes out, his hand stroking along Steve’s back. “Perfect.” Steve feels him gathering up the straps, but he just holds them in his fist, which is resting between Steve’s shoulder blades. Steve doesn’t know why Tony’s hand there has such a profoundly grounding effect on him, and he doesn’t care that much. It’s enough to know that it does, and that Tony apparently knows that.

Either the lubricant had already been opened at some point, or Steve just misses the click of the lid opening, as Tony’s fingers are slick already when they slide between the cheeks of Steve’s ass. Steve shudders and tries to will his body to relax, but he’s humming with arousal already, and he thinks it’s been too long since his last orgasm for his body to still be relaxed and easy. Even when fingering himself, Steve had noticed how quickly he tightened up again after he came. Tony’s fingertips circle his hole and press gently, but don’t enter. “Have you been jerking off, since last week?” Tony murmurs, one finger pressing intently. Steve can’t answer, but that doesn’t stop Tony from talking. “I know you have. I’ve never had anyone so responsive on my cock, Captain. Seasoned professionals could take lessons from you on responsiveness.” Tony presses harder, and his finger slips inside. Steve huffs out a long breath through his nose as Tony slowly presses into him. “Still so tight. I may have to make you something.” He strokes his finger into Steve slowly; Steve struggles not to rock his hips to try and rub his cock against the couch. “I’m an engineering genius, you know. I’m betting I could design a toy to keep your pretty ass nice and ready for my cock.” Steve’s breath catches -- he can suddenly imagine something, not details because he just doesn’t have the knowledge, but something not unlike the gag in shape, something to use on himself before he sees Tony, and the whole idea makes him shudder. He makes a noise that is mostly smothered by the gag; he isn’t even sure what it would have been.

Tony slides another slick finger around his hole and then inside quickly, nothing as patient as he’d been before. Steve bites back a little sound of pain -- it burns when Tony shoves it in, burns harder when he presses them both in together -- but the gag turns that meaningless as well. “At some point you’re going to be well-used often enough that I won’t have to prep you at all,” Tony says, and twists his wrists, jabbing his fingertips toward the place that Steve himself can only sometimes find, the one that makes his back arch and electrifies his whole body. Steve moans and Tony jerks at the straps, pulling Steve’s head back and forcing Steve to struggle not to choke on the gag as it bumps against the back of his throat. Tony eases off after only a moment, but his fingers press and push again, and he says, “Yes, that’s perfect. Take my fingers like you’re going to take my cock. Take it while I make you choke.” Tony’s voice is almost a growl, and Steve shudders, the burn of Tony’s fingers finally fading into pure pleasure.

He rocks experimentally back against Tony’s fingers -- Tony hadn’t said to be still this time -- and Tony drags them partway out. Steve eases back into position, and Tony slides them back inside, slicker now, and Steve knows not to move. “You take what I give you,” Tony says, and presses a third finger into Steve. It burns again, but Steve doesn’t move. “If I want you to fuck yourself on my fingers, I’ll tell you so.”

Steve’s face flames, but he can’t deny that that had been what he was trying to do. Tony makes everything sound so filthy.

Tony fucks him with three fingers, spreading them wide before pressing them together and thrusting them in and out like a cock, angled to make Steve want to beg and moan, and then drags back on the straps of the gag as soon as Steve does moan. The noise that emerges, the sound of it, helpless and choked off, crackles unexpectedly at the base of Steve’s spine, and he shudders even as Tony is still dragging the gag back into his throat, even as Steve is still struggling not to choke on it. Heat washes through his whole body as his throat starts to feel a little raw, and Tony says, “Yeah, that’s it, choke on it for me,” and shoves his fingers into Steve’s ass fast and hard. Steve can’t quite keep still, he’s desperately over-heated, his head buzzing with the white-noise of arousal, the choking only spurring it on, and he wants Tony’s cock helplessly, wants to feel it inside him while the gag slowly cuts off his air.

Tony loosens the straps abruptly, and Steve groans, and that twists at his balls, the sound of himself so muted, forced quiet, that he groans again, and feels tears trickling from the corners of his eyes.

“God, yes,” Tony murmurs, and draws his fingers out of Steve. He reaches forward to wipe them on the couch, and then is pressing against Steve’s hole. “Perfectly still, Captain, perfectly still,” he murmurs and presses in hard and all at once. Steve cries out, pain and pleasure in roughly equal measures, and Tony’s response is to draw back and shove in again, this time dragging at the straps of the gag at the same time. Steve makes helpless noises, first diminished by the gag and then strangled altogether as he chokes on it, and Steve’s cock aches and throbs. “Take it,” Tony bites out, loosening the straps, and then wraps one hand around Steve’s hip and pounds into him fiercely. “So tight, I swear I’m going to fix that, find out what it takes to keep you easy, you want to be easy, don’t you, Captain? An ass like yours should be easy for a man’s cock.”

Steve gasps and gasps, and Tony continues to pound him, and Tony hasn’t said he can come but Steve is starting to think he isn’t going to be able to help it. He whines desperately, and Tony jerks to a stop. Steve shivers, his hands twisting restlessly behind his back. “You want to come?” Tony asks, and waits, this time, so Steve cautiously nods. “Can you do it while I choke you?”

Steve flushes, because he’s pretty sure he can’t help but do it while Tony chokes him, but he just nods carefully anyway.

“Let me see it then,” Tony snarls, his hips snapping forward and dragging across that spot inside Steve roughly. Steve’s head falls back and Tony pulls the straps, and Steve lets out choking, shattered moans and Tony fucks him so hard that Steve can barely recover from one stroke to the next. He’s arched so tensely that he feels like he might fly apart, the stretch of Tony’s cock pounding into him, the feel of the leather around the wrists, the way his own pleasure and pain sounds are twisted into something that he hardly recognizes, but that still make him gasp and pant dizzily for breath behind the gag. Tony pulls the straps harder, jerking Steve’s head as far back as it can go, and Steve is merely trembling and choking, his throat working around the rubber pressed against it, tears streaming from his eyes, and Tony says, “Yeah, come on, take it in your ass and your throat, do this for me, I want it like this,” and Steve does, his vision going a little gray as his body shakes, his orgasm so hard he wants to curl up around it, it feels like dying, it’s so good, so hard that he barely realizes when Tony loosens the straps and he sucks in a huge, helpless breath, his balls clenching, his whole body hot, and he’s vaguely aware when Tony slips the gag out of his mouth, but only enough so that he can drop his face down against the couch and gasp roughly and moan hoarsely and try to wipe the tears away against the suede or whatever it is the couch is made of.

His heartbeat is so loud he’s sure Tony must be able to hear it, and he isn’t sure how long he kneels there, dazed and undone. Tony’s hand between his shoulder blades is the first thing he feels, and then Tony talking, as though in mid-sentence, “--that was perfect, beautiful, I can’t believe how fucking gorgeous you are, and every time I think I know, you get better.” Tony is stroking up and down one side of Steve’s ribs, petting him. “I can’t wait to show you, Captain, there’s so much more I want to see you take, and you’re going to take everything, you’ll be spectacular.” Tony’s voice is barely a murmur. Steve zones on it for a few seconds before he realizes that Tony’s cock is still buried in his body, still hard, none of that feeling from before when Tony had come inside him, everything hot and slick and wet.

He shudders for a moment, and thinks he might actually cry at the idea that he hadn’t been good enough, that he must have done it wrong, that Tony didn’t come, that Steve didn’t make him come.

“Don’t,” Tony says abruptly, voice a little louder, but still even, still gentle. “Stay with me, Captain, we’re not done yet.”

“You...” Steve grates out, a little appalled and a little turned on at how wrecked his voice sounds. “You didn’t. What did I do? I’m sorry, Tony, what...?”

The hand in the middle of Steve’s back rubs in small, soothing circles. “You didn’t do anything. You were perfect. You did exactly what I told you to do. I didn’t come because you want to learn to suck my cock, and there wouldn’t be much in it for you if I was already spent, Captain.”

Steve has to process that for a moment, and then goes loose all at once. He feels again like he might be near tears, and forces himself to breathe deeply and evenly until it passes.

Behind him, Tony eases backward and out of him. Steve feels immediately bereft. Tony presses his hand firmly between Steve’s shoulder blades. “Do you want to sit up?” Tony asks.

“Yes,” Steve says, though he isn’t at all sure that he wants to sit up. “Sir,” he adds exhaustedly.

Tony slides a hand under his chest and helps him upright. Steve tries to keep his face turned away, but Tony is having none of it. He catches Steves chin and looks at him. “You look fucking amazing,” he says. “You choked until you cried, didn’t you?”

Steve nods dumbly, feeling... uncertain.

“I could look at you like this all day,” Tony says, and there’s just no way to doubt him. His tone is just too intense. “I could jerk off just looking at you right now and be happy. I’m going to make you cry every chance I get. It’s too fucking beautiful, all that strength, crying under my hands.”

Steve’s mouth falls open a little, but the fire that Tony seems to have control of in the pit of his belly is stirring again, and he would have never thought of it as something beautiful, but he should know better. He’s an artist.

Tony’s hand is still on his chest. He gives Steve a long look, and says, “I’m going to go get something to clean us up.” He catches Steve’s gaze carefully, and Steve can see some of that care from last time, the aftercare part, where Tony had tipped their foreheads together and stroked Steve’s hair until he’d settled. “Are you okay here for two minutes?”

“Yes, sir,” he says, and is glad to be able to mean it.

Tony is gone for less than a minute. He comes back with a warm wet cloth and wipes Steve’s face, first, and then cleans up his cock, belly, and thighs. “I can’t believe what a mess you make,” Tony murmurs, but he doesn’t actually sound bothered. More amused than anything.

Tony smells faintly of fresh soap -- Steve suspects he knows why; even he isn’t completely ignorant -- and he doesn’t unhook the cuffs. Steve isn’t sure if that’s an oversight or deliberate. He isn’t sure what he wants it to be. His eyes are still feeling raw from crying, the back of his throat raw from choking, his ass raw from being fucked, his mind raw with want. More want than he thinks he should have, after everything.

In spite of all of that, Steve feels almost completely relaxed. His body is a low hum, warmly pliant regardless of the places that still ache a little. He feels like he could roll over and sleep right now, curled up on the floor of Tony’s office, his hands still bound behind his back.

Tony has tossed the washcloth away, and is just looking at Steve now. His cock is still hard, but he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry. “How do you feel?” he asks, after time has spooled comfortably away for a while.

“Good,” Steve says, and is surprised at how he sounds. His voice is hoarse, but also slightly indistinct, like he’s just awakened, or as though he could get drunk.

Tony smiles a little, corners of his eyes crinkling -- it’s mostly endearing because it doesn’t happen that often; smiles that reach his eyes are rare for Tony, Steve understands -- “You look like it. They call it subspace,” Tony tells him.

“Oh,” Steve says, not really understanding, but too easy in his mind to worry about it. Then he remembers, and adds, “Sir.”

“Yeah,” Tony says. “About that. Are you attached to it?” Steve blinks, and Tony adds, “Does saying it make you cringe and shudder?”

Something about his voice makes Steve shudder a little, but he just shakes his head. “It’s fine. I don’t mind.”

“But you don’t really need it, either,” Tony says. “Right?” Steve nods. “Good, then we’ll let that go. I was mostly working out whether or not you had a strong military kink. If you don’t, then I’m just as happy with Tony.”

Steve thinks his answering smile is probably a little foolish, but he can’t help it. He doesn’t mind calling Tony sir. But he likes just calling him Tony better.

“Are you tired?” Tony asks, eyes measuring on Steve.

“Not exactly,” Steve says, and then isn’t sure how to explain.

Tony doesn’t look like he needs an explanation though. “Just nice and loose?”

“Like... the world is slow motion,” Steve says inadequately, but Tony looks pleased.

“Good. It’s supposed to feel like that. Come here.”

Steve knee walks to Tony, who is leaning with his ass on the edge of his desk. He looks fairly relaxed, too. He smells even more strongly of soap. Steve leans into the scent without any real conscious decision to do so, and ends up with his cheek pressed against Tony’s hip, his face turned toward Tony’s cock, which also smells of musk and sweat this close. Tony doesn’t make any move at all to stop him, though he brushes his fingers through Steve’s hair. Steve merely leans there for a few seconds, and then tips his face forward enough to be able to feel the smooth, silky skin of Tony’s cock against his lips.

He hears himself exhale harshly, but it doesn’t seem important.

Tony says, “You can touch me however you want.”

“With my mouth?” Steve asks, though it’s probably pointless to ask, since his lips are brushing up against Tony’s cock with every word.

“Your hands are still cuffed behind your back, Steve,” Tony says, amused and gentle. Steve only barely registers the tone. His brain hangs up on Tony using his first name. He wants to ask why he doesn’t, usually. And also why he does, when he does. He’s distracted when Tony reaches down and grips his own cock at the base, tipping it away from his body a little further. “Knock yourself out,” Tony murmurs.

Steve glances up at his face, sees that Tony’s eyes are still dark with want, but that he looks almost equally curious, and then looks back down at Tony’s cock.

The only time this had happened to Steve, his neck had immediately gone limp, and he hadn’t seen any of it. He isn’t sure where to start, so goes for the tip, which is a little slick with precome. He swipes it away with the flat of his tongue. It seems like it shouldn’t taste so familiar, since he’s only tasted it once before, and it had only been a damp smear. His mouth waters, though, so he must like the taste, or. Not necessarily, though. His mouth has watered at the idea of sucking Tony’s cock before. He thinks that’s probably what it is. The way his cock stirs makes him think he’s right.

Steve is so overwhelmed by it that he has to stop for a moment, just let it sink in. He doesn’t realize he’s rubbing his cheek up against Tony’s erection -- the skin of his cock is sleek and hot, an unbearable comfort somehow -- until Tony murmurs, “Shh, you’re okay. Just...” He grasps Steve’s shoulders and presses until Steve’s back is straight, and he’s only seeing Tony’s cock, instead of touching it. He wants to lean in -- he can feel his body shifting to do it, anything to be closer -- but Tony grasps the base of his cock -- Tony’s hand wrapped around his own cock should not be so erotic -- and tips it down. “Open,” Tony demands, and Steve doesn’t even have to think. His mouth drops open, and Tony is sliding his cock inside, just the hot, firm expanse of the head, but Steve chokes out a little groan of want. “Your mouth is wet,” Tony says, like it’s just a statement, but his voice is low and a little rough. He draws back slightly, and then presses in, his cock sliding across Steve’s tongue. “Dying for it, aren’t you?” He strokes a hand through the back of Steve’s hair and Steve shudders. “Just do what I say,” Tony murmurs, and Steve trembles, anticipation and nerves and fear.

He looks up at Tony through his lashes, and Tony is watching him already. He’s flushed -- faintly, because Tony’s skin doesn’t show a blush the way Steve’s does -- all the way down to the arc reactor. “Now that’s pretty,” he says, sliding a fingertip along Steve’s lower lip. “Close your mouth and suck.” Steve goes hot and does as he’s told, holding just the head of Tony’s cock in his mouth and sucking around the weight and width of it. Tony exhales harshly, and rocks his hips gently. “Just keep doing that,” he directs, and Steve does, careful as Tony presses more and more of his length into Steve’s mouth. “Use your tongue,” Tony bites out. “Around the head. Watch your teeth, Captain.”

Steve circles his tongue cautiously around the head of Tony’s cock and heat flares in his belly at the way it jumps in his mouth. He breathes out hard through his nose, and tries to lean in, but Tony holds him back. Steve would object, but he’s in no position to do so. Or maybe he wouldn’t object. Tony is rocking carefully into his mouth, only a few inches, but being made so emphatically still makes it all... It roils in Steve’s gut, that Tony is, he’s fucking Steve as surely as he had been with Steve bent over his desk or the couch, he’s using Steve’s mouth like that, and sweat prickles across Steve’s whole body at how he is helpless to do anything but take what Tony gives him (even though he isn’t, except that he is).

This is what you want,” Tony says, low and certain. “I’ll teach you to really suck cock, to make it nice and wet and slow for me, and you’ll like that, too, but this is what you really want, isn’t it? Your hot mouth just a wet, sweet place for me to fuck my cock into.” His fingers tighten in Steve’s hair; Steve lets out a low, humiliated sound, but he feels hot all over, his mind a haze of recognition and desire. “How hard do you want it?” Tony doesn’t pause for the answer Steve couldn’t give anyway. “I’m betting hard. I’m betting you’re just as willing to choke on my cock as you were the gag.” He presses in deeper; Steve struggles to use his tongue and be careful with his teeth, but those things are far away. He’s far more aware of how wide Tony’s cock is, the way that he can taste precome every moment, the way that Tony’s hand is his hair hurts and feels amazing at the same time. “Lucky for you, this is going to be short and sweet,” Tony says. He cups his hand around the bottom of Steve’s jaw. “Loosen this up. Just open right up for me, Captain.”

Steve doesn’t know what Tony specifically means, but he relaxes his jaw as much as he can, and Tony slips another couple of inches inside at once. He lets out a soft whoosh of air, and Steve answers it with a small, wanting moan. “Good, that’s good,” Tony breathes heavily. “Just like that, and I’m going to take your mouth, you’re going to let me have my fucking way with you, are you ready?”

Steve can’t, of course, answer, but he moans and swipes his tongue along the shaft of Tony’s cock, and then Tony is pressing in a little more roughly and a lot more deeply, and when the head of his cock hits the back of Steve’s throat, Steve’s balls tighten fiercely, and he groans out a noise that makes Tony’s hips stutter. He pulls back slightly, the weight of his cock heavy on Steve’s tongue, and just says, “God, you’re going to be good at this, Captain. In a week I’ll be fucking all the way into your throat, you’re going to fucking love it.”

Then he’s fucking Steve’s mouth with short, harsh thrusts, bruising Steve’s lips and bumping against the back of his throat on every third or fourth thrust; every time it happens, Steve jolts, physically enthralled; in his head, things just go bright for an instant, and Steve is desperate for it every time it happens. He moans while Tony fucks his mouth, but when he pushes hard against the back of Steve’s throat, he merely goes taut and trembling. “Just a little longer,” Tony says. His voice is a wreck; it goes straight to Steve’s cock. “Just going to give you...” Tony says, and pulls back, and then he thrusts back in just once, but hard and deep, so that Steve is not only choking on the head of his cock, but is trying in vain to swallow around it, as though it might clear his airway, his brain a white hot pulse while Tony chants, “Yes, yeah, swallow, good, I’m going to come and you’re going to swallow, Captain, I’m going to feed you my come and you’re going to take it all,” and when he pulls back slightly, Steve barely gets in a breath before his mouth is flooded with come, salty and bitter and so good Steve feels it like a fire under his skin. Steve tightens his mouth on Tony’s cock reflexively, fixed on the instruction to swallow, he doesn’t want it to drip out, and Tony is shuddering and Steve swallows it down (feeling proud, like it’s an accomplishment since it’s only his first time), both of Tony’s hands in Steve’s hair now, making tiny, abortive thrusts into his mouth. “Perfect, just like that, you’re so good for me,” Tony pants heatedly.

Steve shudders, flexing his hands behind his back, and when Tony pulls out, finally, Steve can only breathe harshly, gulping in air. Tony pulls him forward so Steve’s forehead is pressed to his belly, and Steve’s whole body flares with something good, satisfaction and warmth and the need still pulsing in his groin, so that he goes almost limp against Tony, wanting to hear it again, that he’s good, that he’s perfect.

Steve isn’t sure how long it lasts. Time seems beyond his grasp. At some point, Tony presses him back so that he’s sitting on his heels and reaches around him to remove the cuffs. Once his hands are free, Steve doesn’t know what to do with them, so lets them just sit at his sides while Tony tosses the cuffs carelessly out of the way without looking. His eyes are busy with Steve. “Christ, your refractory period,” Tony says. It comes out amused and aroused at once. He reaches out a hand and strokes Steve’s cock once. Then he raises that hand to his mouth and licks away precome, and Steve understands completely why Tony had closed his eyes when Steve had done it himself. It feels like he can feel his pulse pounding in his cock, watching Tony’s pink tongue wipe away traces of Steve’s precome from his hand.

“You want to come? Tony asks him.

Steve opens his mouth to say of course he wants to come, is Tony blind? and then closes it again. Tony has asked him lots of things, has told him to do other things, has changed how they do things sometimes. If Tony is asking the question, there’s probably a reason for it. So, instead, he says, “Is there a reason why I wouldn’t want to come?”

“There are a few,” Tony says. “Some people like orgasm denial. Some people like being directed as to when they’re allowed to come. Some people find it easier to stay in subspace if they don’t have to worry about getting off at the end.”

Steve doesn’t know how he feels about any of those things. His body is primed for orgasm, but he still feels... content. He’s loose and easy, he can still taste Tony’s come on his tongue, his mind is still a pleasant haze of satisfaction and accomplishment, and, he realizes, he doesn’t think that will necessarily be better if he does come. He isn’t sure it would be worse, either, but he’s curious.

“I don’t know,” he says finally.

Tony arches both brows, looking both amused and intrigued. “Want to find out?”

Steve can’t keep back his smile. “You tell me,” he says and can hear himself how genuinely he means it.

Tony’s smile becomes wicked. “I think I will.”

7.

Dinner is a luxurious disaster.

Tony takes him to a place Steve has never heard of, small and opulent. The food is good and the bourbon is better, but Steve doesn’t enjoy either of them as much as he enjoys watching Tony.

When he orders, when he eats, the way the glass of red wine he’s holding filters light to make his hand briefly ruby red. When he talks with his hands, when he smiles his sharp public smile.

Steve’s cock is still hard. Tony had given it half an hour to settle, but then had sabotaged it by pulling Steve with him into the shower and washing him from toe to crown while Steve gasped at being handled and leaned into Tony with alarming frequency. Half an hour into dinner, Steve is fairly sure it isn’t going to abate, and can’t bring himself to care.

He eats what’s put in front of him -- he’s ravenous, metabolism, sexual antics, metabolism -- and he drinks when he’s thirsty, but he’s still distant in his mind, some deep and soothing place that he’s loathe to attempt to leave.

Tony talks, and Steve tries to keep up, but mostly he murmurs agreement or amusement. He can’t seem to call up anything conversationally, though he knows there are things he wants to talk with Tony about, both professionally and personally. He just can’t, now. The back of his throat still feels a little raw. His jaw and his ass both ache distantly. His cock rubs against the fabric of the well-fitted suit he’s wearing and his cheeks heat every time it’s firm enough to cause a ripple of pleasure.

They don’t order dessert.

Tony manages to get them out of the restaurant without Steve having to talk to anyone -- though several people seem to want to talk to Tony -- and once they’re in the back of Tony’s car, Tony laughs until moisture gathers at the corners of his eyes.

“We can never take you out in public like this again,” he tells Steve earnestly. “It’s like you’re stoned out of your mind.”

“Is that what it’s like?” Steve wonders, but Tony doesn’t answer. He gives directions to the driver to Steve’s apartment instead. A very small part of Steve wants to object. That part imagines the pleasure of falling asleep next to Tony and waking to find out if Tony is mussed and heat-flushed, with pillow creases pressed into one cheek, or if he’s as elegant as he seems to remain even during sex. Instead of saying any of that, Steve says, “My uniform.”

“I’ll have it cleaned and delivered. The briefcase I’ll deliver to Fury myself. I’m meeting with him tomorrow anyway.” It’s precise, almost disinterested, but Tony’s face is nothing like that. He’s watching Steve with eyes blown dark, lips slightly parted. He leans forward abruptly, as though to speak, but doesn’t actually say anything for several long seconds. He’s almost close enough for Steve to feel his breath, a little fast. Then: “I can’t get away tomorrow; there’s too much going on. I moved half my schedule today there when I invited you. How do you feel about seeing me outside of business hours?”

“I don’t have business hours,” Steve says. “It’s my job to be available when you have time for me.”

Tony’s breath hitches a little and Steve’s cock twitches. Tony just says, “Saturday evening, then. Eat first; I never have food. Then come to the tower. You’ll have to use the private elevator to get to the penthouse. I’ll have JARVIS key it to respond to your voice.”

“Okay, Tony,” Steve agrees, and watches curiously as Tony stays where he is, perched on the edge of his seat, leaning across so that he’s infringing slightly on Steve’s space. The urge to lean into him is strong. As though Tony knows it, he presses a hand to Steve’s knee.

“Until then, don’t jerk off. I want to know how long this lasts.” He gives Steve a serious look. “If things start going wrong in your head, I want you to call me.”

Steve doesn’t know what that means, exactly, but he thinks Tony would be more explicit if he thought it might be something Steve wouldn’t recognize. He says, “Okay, Tony,” and Tony lets out a little groan.

“You’re an impossible temptation right now,” he says, now with a little frustration in his voice. “Normally I wouldn’t try to resist, but it would be bad for both of us if I took you back to the tower. I’m almost positive I wouldn’t let you leave.”

Heat stirs in Steve’s belly, but he doesn’t argue. Tony isn’t wrong. It wouldn’t look good. “Okay, Tony,” Steve says.

Tony’s hand tightens on his knee. “Stop saying that. Jerking you off in the back of this car would be almost as bad.” Steve looks at him, and Tony sighs and rolls one shoulder in a shrug. “Maybe not, but I still want to know how long this lasts for you. So do this for me.”

“I will,” Steve says easily. Then, without quite meaning to, he says, “I like it. It’s good.”

“It’s supposed to be,” Tony says, but now he sounds pained. “I wish I could stay. Next time, no dinner. We just hang out wherever we happen to be until you’re polysyllabic again.” He gives Steve an odd look, sort of absently fond. “I didn’t know it would take you so hard.”

“I’m okay. I’m just....” Steve trails off because he has no idea how to describe what he is. He’s just good. He’s just very, very good.

“I know what you are,” Tony says quietly. “Just remember what I said; if it starts to go south on you, call me. No matter when.”

“Okay, Tony,” Steve says, and Tony sighs and closes his eyes. He shifts back to his own seat deliberately, leaving Steve’s side of the car feeling deserted. “Thank you for dinner,” Steve says.

Tony laughs. “Really? That’s what you want to thank me for?”

“No,” Steve says, and Tony nods.

“You’re welcome. Any time.” Steve’s skin prickles warmly at Tony’s sharp little smile.

It’s only another couple of minutes before they get to Steve’s apartment. Tony opens the door for Steve to duck out, and then, to Steve’s mild surprise, follows him out. Steve looks a question at him.

“What did I tell you to do?” Tony asks.

“Call you if it gets bad,” Steve says.

“And before that?” Steve blinks, cheeks heating a little, which Tony regards with something that looks like satisfaction. “I want to hear you say it.”

“I’m not allowed to jerk off until I see you,” Steve says. His cheeks are still warm, but the heat of the idea of needing Tony’s permission to touch himself is just as present in his brain and in the pit of his belly.

“Good,” Tony says heatedly. “Go on. I want to make sure you get inside okay. Goodnight, Captain.”

“Goodnight,” Steve says reluctantly, but he turns and goes into the building, climbs the stairs, unlocks his door. He turns on the light in the living room. From his window, he can see Tony looking up at him for a long moment, and then Tony climbs into the big car and it crawls away.

Steve feels very slightly abandoned -- he guesses that isn’t that strange -- but otherwise he still feels good. He’d be better if Tony were here, but he’s okay.

He changes out of the suit, hanging it carefully, and into a t-shirt and paint-smeared jeans.

He doesn’t know if he’ll paint tonight, but he feels good, feels open to it, so he sits cross legged in front of his easel for a while, aware of the throb of arousal between his thighs, but not precisely worried about it.

Eventually he fumbles through the paints and comes away with every shade of blue he has, plus white, knows what he’s going to paint, understands that he’s compromised (certainly now, if he hadn’t been already), and doesn’t care.