One of the most frustrating things about Steve Rogers is that for such a ‘hands on’ guy, he’s not being very hands on.
When he fights his hands are everywhere, from shield to suit to fist, he pulls and pushes and destroys and conquers in a flash of red and blue. His hands are all over his enemies, brute strength and power, and over his team mates too, helpful and protecting.
When Steve tinkers along with Tony in the lab his hands are on everything. Pliers and parts and wires and everything Tony touches. He wants to learn everything and Tony is all too happy to teach, especially with such a remarkably enthusiastic student. Steve mirrors all of Tony’s actions, every fine intricate detail to every sweeping motion – Steve touches it all.
When Steve’s in the gym his hands are barely visible. Pressing ridiculous weights at ridiculous speeds they fly above his chest and back again, gripping the metal so tight Tony’s surprised it holds beneath his strength. But that’s nothing compared to when he boxes, flying fists of raw power upper cutting the punch bag right up off its chains, muscles flexing and glowing with sweat as they drive each punch forward until Steve’s hands are just a blur.
When Steve fucks Tony, those hands that are so eager to do everything else are nowhere to be seen. Sometimes Tony feels them, feels the mattress dip where he’s fisting the sheets above his head or feels his bruising fingertips pressing in to Tony’s thigh as he holds him up against the wall, driving in so hard Tony swears he’s going to put them both through it.
But other than to hold a position, Steve doesn’t touch Tony and Tony hates it. Not that he hates Steve fucking him, God, he never could. Steve is all weight and muscle and accuracy that reduces Tony to a quivering mess every single time. He always makes sure Tony’s there with him, trapped between their stomachs and over sensitised with the rub of sweat and muscle. There was even a particularly mind blowing blow job late one evening when Steve found Tony in the kitchen on the way back from the gym. The workout mustn’t have been the release Steve was looking for, so he pressed Tony against the fridge and sank to his knees, undoing Tony with his mouth, lips wrapped tight and tongue wet and hot. His hands stayed pressed to the fridge, even after Tony sank to the floor, spent and panting.
It’s not like there have been any grand declarations of love but it’s also not like Steve just wanted a fuck buddy. He seems to love being in Tony’s company, seeks him out whenever he can to talk about life and missions and how he’s catching up on the last seventy years. And it’s not like he just throws Tony down when he wants sex. He gets a deep glow in his eye that sparks even brighter when he drops his gaze to Tony’s mouth. Tony’s gotten pretty good at reading the signs, so he’ll move in for the kill and kiss Steve, open his mouth and his shirt and do all the work until Steve’s hands find purchase on whatever’s around. Anything that isn’t Tony.
“Hey, fellas, we got trouble heading our way,” Tony informs as he zips between buildings. There’s a small army of rogue bots flying low, right in to the path of the rest of the team.
Turns out some trio of highly intelligent bored nerds figured themselves the next big bad of the city and have actually managed to build some half decent bots but for all the wrong reasons. Now there are a dozen bots doing their best to wreck a large section of down town New York.
“You know, just once I’d like to hear some good news from you,” Black Widow drawls as she unholsters and reloads both hand guns.
Tony barrel rolls to the right, narrowly missing a shot from one of the bots that ends up careening off in to a thankfully empty office building. Tony replies with his own blast, more out of annoyance than anything else, and the bot explodes in the air like a firework.
“Well, did you know I’m twice as pretty as I was last week?” he says in all seriousness.
Widow drops to her knees and fires off a couple of shots as another bot flies low overhead. It disables the thing long enough for Hulk to catch it and smash it in to the ground with a delighted roar of triumph.
“Twice? Is that all?” she laughs, sprinting back to her feet.
In his suit, Tony shrugs. “It’s been a slow week.”
“Iron Man, Hawkeye, Thor,” Steve interjects, “I want you guys up high keeping the bots contained. Funnel them down in to this street and we go at them with heavy fire.”
“You got it, Cap,” Tony nods, speeding off over the bots just as Thor grabs Hawkeye by the arm and hurls them both in to the air.
Between them they take out the rest of the bots with a certain degree of ease. Tony captures the last one just as it heads for Hawkeye, holding it in place just long enough for it to receive an arrow to the head before throwing it aside to explode.
Soon the abandoned street is silent once more, and from their various stances the team glance around in almost disbelief. Tony lands maybe fifty feet from his team. Thor drops Hawkeye next to Widow as Tony glances around; scanning for any signs they missed one. There’s nothing.
“All clear down there?” Steve asks, not tucking his shield away just yet. Tony can almost see his face from this far back.
“All clear, Cap,” he nods.
“Sir,” JARVIS interrupts, sounding hurried. “I’m detecting traces of explosive components in the area.”
“JARVIS, full scan. Everybody, we need to evacuate – now!”
Steve’s cut off by the blast of a bomb in the building on Tony’s right.
Everything’s bright, way too bright as the HUD in Tony’s helmet flicker white. The force of the blast sends Tony flying back like he’s being pulled by a magnetic force from the buildings behind. He barely feels the blast, just warmth and then burning heat as he soars through two windows before coming to a crunching stop against solid stone. And then everything is dark.
When Tony comes to its all too much. Everything is noise and flickering lights. There’s red, lots of red light as the suit struggles to power itself back up. There’s too much noise, screaming alarms and shouting and crumbling as the world tries to settle again.
“Tony! Tony, my friend,” Thor gets to him first, crouching over him with his hammer raised high. “Are you injured?” Tony tries to reply but his words come out a gurgled groan.
“Tony!” It’s Steve. He appears quickly by Thor’s side, practically bustling the God out of the way to get to Tony. His face is stiff with concern and he rakes his eyes up and down the suit, searching for major injury. “Are you alright? Talk to me!”
He rips off Tony’s face plate and the sunlight comes rushing in. Tony winces and blinks hard against it.
“Steve,” he groans, moving his arms and legs just so that he can be sure they’re all still there.
“Don’t move,” Steve commands, “Just stay still,” he adds, voice softening to a near whisper. He reaches out to press his fingers against Tony’s cheek. They’re warm with sweat and soft even through the dirt and grime of fighting. Tony wants to press up in to it, wants the heel of Steve’s palm pressing in to his face but right now it hurts to think.
Steve says something, but the words get swallowed with the darkness as Tony slowly slips back in to it.
When Tony wakes again, he’s in the infirmary back at the tower. He initially thinks he might have been out for days, but he’s still dressed in the jeans and t-shirt he’d put on under the suit this morning. He can feel dried sweat and dirt on his skin and the ache in his chest still feels new. He lets his limbs twitch and stretch, another check that everything is still intact. It is.
There’s a pulse monitor clipped to his index finger and a blood pressure cuff around his bicep, but other than that there are no other tubes and wires sticking out of him. There’s no mask over his mouth and nothing up his nose to help him breathe. He sucks in a loud breath just to make sure.
A few seconds later a SHIELD doctor appears, marching quickly to the bed when he sees Tony is awake. Agent Hill follows closely behind.
“You’re awake,” she smiles, paying no attention to the doctor who busies himself checking Tony’s vitals. “Welcome back.”
“How long was I out?” Tony asks, voice hoarse and cracking. Without missing a beat Hill pours a glass of water and brings it to his face, sliding the straw between his chapped lips.
“Just a few hours. It wasn’t an overly large explosion. We think it was meant to be much bigger but they’re obviously amateurs, thankfully. We traced the trackers in the bots to their homing location. They’re in SHIELD custody now. The rest of the team are debriefing with Fury.”
“Everything looks fine here,” the doctor says. Tony had completely forgotten he was even here. He rips off the pressure cuff and pulls away the clip on Tony’s finger. “There’ll be bruising and you might feel a little woozy for a while, but you’ve sustained no serious injuries, thanks to the suit.”
As if ‘mind reader’ is the latest skill on her résumé, Hill refills the cup and pushes the straw back to Tony’s mouth. “The suit’s in your lab. JARVIS is taking care of the repairs as we speak and the Stark Rescue and Rebuild crew are already clearing the blast site.”
Tony swallows hard against his last gulp of water. “Thank you, Agent Hill. You’re a real gem.”
She smiles and nods. “Happy to help, Mr. Stark.”
As she leaves, Steve passes in to the infirmary. He gives a polite smile to Agent Hill and they exchange quiet words that Tony strains to hear. Steve’s still fully suited, even his shield is clipped snugly in place against his shoulders. His face and hands are clean but his hair is tousled and he looks tired.
When his eyes meet Tony’s they fill with both concern and relief, an expression Tony is certain only Captain America could pull off. It’s a look Tony would expect, but what he doesn’t expect is for Steve to grab his hand between both of his when he gets to Tony’s bedside. He says nothing for a while, and the silence starts to make Tony feel uncomfortable.
“Uh, hey…” Tony says. “How are you?”
Steve laughs breathily, sliding one of his hands down Tony’s arm in a soft tickling trail.
“You scared the hell out of me back there.”
Tony pulls himself a little more upright, wincing as his aching muscles protest. “I’m fine. Just a few bumps and bruises. You didn’t think an iddy biddy bomb was going to get rid of me, did you?”
Steve’s face falls, like the very memory pains him. “I mean it, Tony. When that bomb went off, I thought I’d lost you.”
Tony wraps his fingers around Steve’s wrist. “You didn’t. I’m still here, still part of the team.”
Steve shakes his head. “No – I thought I had lost you. And when you were hurt, it was more important than anything else to get to you, more important than the bots or the mission or,” he stops to huff and squeezes Tony’s arm, eyes dropping from Tony’s to the bed. “I’d tried so hard to not, to stop myself from…and then I thought you were gone and I’d never be able to, that we’d never…”
And suddenly, Tony understands completely. Steve, ever the perfect soldier, the born leader, he was trying not to compromise the missions or SHIELD or the team, or either of them for that matter. He was holding back, trying to guard that last piece of himself knowing that if he didn’t, there would be no return. Steve Rogers was trying desperately not to fall in love.
Tony’s mouth goes dry. “And now?” he asks, and though he’s sure he knows the answer he’s afraid of the question all the same.
Steve takes Tony’s face gently between his hands, tilting his head back, thumbs stroking just along his cheek bones. He leans in to press a soft kiss and murmur against Tony’s lips, “Now I’m never letting you go.”
When Steve gets to Tony’s room that night, Tony’s sat on the edge of the bed, just a small table lamp and the arc reactor lighting the space between them. Steve closes the door and Tony doesn’t see him cross, just feels his hands on his shoulders as he ushers Tony gently up the bed.
Kneeling between Tony’s out stretched legs, Steve’s hands cup his face as he places a peck against his mouth before his fingers slide to Tony’s neck, skirting across his shoulder blades and biceps. It’s like he’s mapping Tony out, feeling every inch of skin he was so afraid to touch before and claiming it as his own. Tony lets him, sits willing and able beneath Steve’s touch, skin warming and chilling as his fingers arrive and drift like a ghost.
Tony reaches up and buries his fingers in to Steve’s hair, curling them around dirty blonde locks. He pulls Steve’s mouth to his and kisses him, hard and slow. Steve’s hands never still, they stroke down Tony’s sides and across his thighs, fingers hooking beneath the hem of his vest. He pulls it off in one fluid motion, breaking the kiss for a fraction of a second before devouring Tony’s mouth again.
Usually they move much quicker than this. Steve still has their clothes off with Tony barely noticing the motion, but this time Steve stops to touch each new slice of skin that’s revealed and all Tony can do is lie there and let him, occasionally pulling Steve back down in to a hungry kiss.
When there’s the familiar slick coolness smearing against his inner thigh, Tony’s breath hitches. He used to do this himself, quick and messy just to get Steve close, but this time Steve presses his fingers in to Tony, groaning like he’s adjusting to it too. Tony’s eyes snap shut but he quickly opens them again, he wants to see Steve’s face, wants to his eyes shine against the blue light as he arches his fingers up and back, up and back. Steve’s watching him intently, watching the way Tony gasps and moves and presses down on to him.
Tony reaches down to Steve’s wrist and pulls him away, sighing against the motion. He hooks his heels around the backs of Steve’s thighs and pulls him closer. He needs him now.
The sensation of Steve filling him completely is all too familiar, but when Steve grabs the back of Tony’s knee and pushes his thigh closer to his chest, Tony’s whole world unravels.
“Steve,” he breathes, and it’s the first word to be spoken since he entered the room. Steve looks up, searching Tony’s face questioningly. Tony presses his hand atop of Steve’s where it still rests on his leg and presses their fingers together. Steve gets it. He leans over Tony and kisses him, much softer than the kisses before.
“Don’t worry,” he says. “I won’t let go.”
And he doesn’t. He keeps both of their hands firmly against Tony’s body as he rocks in to him, fingers tightening every time Tony arches up. Tony’s arm starts to ache, battered muscles protesting and burning against the strain but there’s no way he’s letting go.
Steve’s the first to lose it, for the first time since this whole thing began. Tony’s mind was too focused on Steve’s hands on his skin than his own cock pressed between sweat and heaving muscle, but when Steve comes, eyes closed and mouth slack, every molecule of his body feels it and his dick is suddenly aching with want. He’s about to reach down but Steve gets there first, letting Tony’s leg slide down before long strong fingers wrap tightly around Tony and begin a frantic, torturous rhythm.
Tony doesn’t last long and soon his blunt nails are digging in to Steve’s shoulders, body arching and seizing as he chants Steve’s name like a prayer and comes between them both.
Lay side by side and partially cleaned up on the corners of the now discarded comforter, Tony turns to watch Steve smile sleepily against the light of the arc reactor. Steve’s hand finds Tony’s in the mess of sheets and holds it tightly, lacing their fingers together. Tony smiles back and closes his eyes, welcoming the darkness.
And through that night, and the one after that and the one after that, Steve doesn’t let go.