"How are you feeling?" Steve ran his hand gently along Tony's side. He was spooned up against Steve, spent and limp, eyes closed and breathing still shallow. Steve was propped up on one elbow, surveying Tony's body. There were marks on his skin – not where Steve was touching, but elsewhere. Marks left by Steve, by his hands and actions. Looking at them sent a shiver down Steve's spine, his hands tingled with the physical memory of skin hitting skin, and he shivered with the rush of remembered sound and sensation.
Tony rolled to his back, ignoring what had to be quite a bit of tenderness, and smiled up at Steve. It was a slow smile, languid, and it grew very wide. The impression Steve got was one of a very satisfied cat. "I feel great." He stretched, slowly, and reached up, cupped Steve's neck and pulled him down for a kiss. Steve let it happen, though part of him, still caught in the feeling of being in complete charge of Tony, was fighting it. "You were great," Tony whispered against his lips, and Steve gave in a little more.
"You were good, Tony," he replied. "Very good, in fact." He pulled back enough to look properly at Tony's face, take in the expressions. "I'm proud of you. Who knew you could be so obedient..."
The smile on Tony's face took on a shy quality, but there was a hint of a smirk there, as if it were at odds with itself. "I knew. Though I don't do that for anybody, you know. Captain." The way Tony's eyes flicked down, a hint of demureness, told Steve that he, too, was still caught somewhere half in the role.
"I know." Steve settled on his side and pulled Tony against himself, close, sheltering him from nothing in particular. Tony curled into him, made himself smaller, and slotted himself against Steve like it was magic. It was good; Steve could better keep him warm that way, and keeping Tony warm and comfortable now was important. With a bit of awkward reaching, Steve got hold of a corner of the blanket and pulled that up over them too. He'd read enough about this stuff to know that this was a fragile and sensitive time for Tony, and it was Steve's responsibility to keep him safe now, just as it had been while they were in the midst of the session. For a while, he simply held Tony close and felt him breathe, listened to the soft, almost purring, noises he made. Only when Tony began to shift a little against him did he speak again. "I should get us something to drink. Got any requests?"
"Mm." Tony shrugged. "Nothing particular, but knowing you, you'll insist on something wholesome." There was no bite to the soft tease. "Juice would be nice."
"Not more wholesome than I'm breaking out the milk chocolate with nuts." Steve pressed a soft kiss to a, once again smiling, Tony's forehead. "You just stay here."
"As if I'd dream of leaving when I have a chance of you doing this again," Tony said, grinning up at Steve in a way that was so like his usual self that it was almost jarring after what they'd just shared.
Steve shook the feeling and walked out into the kitchen, focusing again on what he knew Tony needed, whether or not he would acknowledge it. It might be new for Steve, but he had done his research before venturing into the territory of BDSM with Tony. It was all well and good that Tony knew what he wanted, had done it many times before, but that didn't mean that Steve wasn't going to take every precaution needed. Ultimately, what happened during a session was Steve's responsibility. They'd eased into it gently, but now, tonight, it had gone further than ever before, as evidenced by the marks on Tony' skin, and that made Steve hyper aware of the reality of it. Of what could have happened and what might still go wrong if he didn't see to Tony's needs now.
Tony hadn't moved when Steve returned with juice and chocolate, but his eyes were clearer and he looked far more alert and present. He sat up with nothing of the languid slowness from before. "Ow," he muttered, then grinned up at Steve. "You really got me this time."
The comment sent a sudden, unpleasant spike of uncategorized emotion through Steve's system. He pushed it away, because it made no sense, but it lingered anyway, giving him a sense of something being wrong that he couldn't put his finger on or place the real cause of. He sat down next to Tony, offering him a glass, and began to break up the chocolate bar.
"You don't have to feed me," Tony said softly next to him. "I'm fine, Steve."
Steve turned. Tony was closer to him now than he had been before, and while it was good to see he was drinking, there was something strange about him too, about how he was acting now. It felt like it was too fast. After what they'd done, it didn't make sense he'd be that casual about it. Steve wanted to make a half-serious joke about tying him up and feeding him, but that, too, felt wrong. "I can see that," was all he could manage. "I just thought we could share like this." It sounded flat even to him.
"All right." At least Tony accepted the explanation and arranged a few pillows to lean back against. Another wince as he sat back made Steve's stomach turn in sympathy, and he hurried to cover Tony up – just to make sure he was warm enough – before getting into bed next to him with his own glass and the plate filled with chocolate squares. To Steve's relief, Tony grabbed a few right away.
"Mm. We should do this more often if you buy chocolate just for the occasion. This is really good."
Again that odd disconnect, but Steve nodded. "I did do that." Part of him was pleased Tony had noticed, even through this strange feeling.
"Spoiling the sub. Good style, Steve." Tony leaned over and kissed his cheek, and Steve put his arm around him, held him close.
"I try," he said.
"Succeeding, if you ask me." Tony gently disengaged from Steve's embrace. "Sorry. I was leaning on a bruise."
Steve made a face. "No, I'm sorry. I should've thought of that."
"Don't worry about it. I've had far worse, believe me, and I plan to get far worse from you too. Might as well get used to it, Captain." Tony's tone was light and teasing, he was clearly flirting again.
Worse didn't sound too good right now, and Steve didn't even want to tease Tony back. He found himself staring at his hands instead, found himself disliking them for hurting Tony.
"Steve...?" Tony's hand entered Steve's field of vision, closed around his wrist. "What's wrong?"
Steve shook his head. "Nothing." He glanced at Tony, who looked confused and slightly concerned. That was definitely not the idea. "Are you sure you're okay? It wouldn't be the first time you pretended to be fine when you weren't. And I did hit you pretty hard..."
A soft huff of breath and a flash of brief, sharp anger in Tony's eyes were clear signs that Steve had hit a sore spot. "That's unfair, Steve. This isn't the same. And you know I don't do that with you. Not any more. Why is it so hard to believe I'm okay? Do you think that much of yourself? Are you that big and bad a dom that you can't live with me not being a quivering mess because you gave me a spanking?"
The words broke some kind of dam in Steve, and he spoke without thinking or having time to censor himself. "No!" It was sharp, that word. "I want you to be okay, Tony, for heaven's sake! Is it so wrong I want to make sure? I did this to you, me, no-one else, and I need to know you're all right. I hurt you, for crying out loud. Called you names, made you do things no-one should have to do under duress. The very least I can do is take care of you after!"
For a moment, Tony just sat there, gaping. Then his entire demeanor changed, the frown went from anger to mild concern. The plate of chocolate squares tipped and spilled over the blanket when Tony straddled Steve's legs. "Damn it, Steve." His voice was soft now, almost too gentle. "You are not big and bad at all, I should know that." Tony leaned in and kissed Steve, every bit as softly as he spoke. "I am fine, though. But you're clearly not. And I think it's time you told me how you feel."
"I don't know how I feel." Steve wasn't even sure why Tony asked.
"Not good enough." Tony shifted, still straddling Steve's lap, and pulled the blanket up over them again. "If I said that, what would you do?"
Steve smiled softly. "Tell you to be honest. Okay, I'm starting to see where you're going with this." He allowed himself to run his hands up Tony's bent legs to his hips, gripping him firmly. "I feel really, really strange. Out of sync, somehow, like you're on an entirely different wavelength right now and we were so close before."
Tony nodded. "And...?"
"You said a few things before, when I made you angry. I think you should consider them again."
Steve searched Tony's face, but no clues presented themselves. Tony was waiting, that was all, open to listen. So Steve tried. What he'd said before had been blurted to fast that he hadn't processed the words. Now he thought back and gave himself time to feel, to consider the truth in what he'd said.
"I feel bad about hurting you," he said. "That was true. You have to see it from my point."
"I do. Been there, remember?"
Steve nodded. Tony had told him as much, that he wasn't just experienced in subbing, but that he had sometimes been the dom too. "Right. Yes."
"You have nothing to feel guilty about. I asked for it, remember?"
Immediately, something in Steve protested. "I know, but it was still me who interpreted. I did what I wanted. I liked it. So much, Tony, it was fantastic, like being intoxicated."
"Go on." Tony was still looking neutral, but there was a hint of a smile around his mouth and that, more than anything, helped Steve speak.
"It just feels wrong that it was so easy for you. Like it didn't matter or mean as much to you as it did to me. At the same time, I see how you wince and I can see some of the marks I left. I feel so bad for doing that, for wanting to do it again. And I want to, I really do, especially because it's still in me right now. I want to push you down right now, ask you how you dare just sit there and question me..." He shook his head and had to look down, away from those soft, accepting eyes. "God, Tony... I hit a man who couldn't even fight back. Have you got any idea how much that goes against everything I believe in?"
There was silence for a couple of heartbeats. "Yes. I think I do." It felt like their entire history just lay there, between them, a heavy weight on both of them. Until Tony pushed it away by leaning against Steve, once more finding a way to match their bodies to one another, his head on Steve's shoulder and tucked under his chin. "And I think you need to know I'm fine more than I need to be helped." He found one of Steve's hands that had slipped from Tony's hip and pulled it up to his back. "So hold on. Feel me, Steve. I'm okay. I'm not hurt beyond how I like to be, I'm not breaking or going to start crying. I'm not saying I never will, but right now I'm fine. That doesn't mean it wasn't a big deal for me, what we did, because it was. And I want to talk about it, too, but not till I know that you are as fine as I am."
Steve's hands slid up Tony's back, slowly, almost of their own accord. He shut his eyes and felt. The firm softness of Tony's skin, the little bumps of scars that only made him more attractive to Steve, because they were signs he'd lived, fought, and often done it alongside Steve. The hardness of muscles just under that skin. He buried his nose in Tony's hair and inhaled deeply of his scent; slightly dusty and musky, like sweat and sex and love. When Steve's hand reached Tony's hair, he let himself give in to the need to close his hand in it and tug, gently, till Tony raised his head and Steve could kiss him.
Tony hummed softly into the kiss. "See?" he muttered. "Just fine. Still all yours." He slowly pulled away, no faster or firmer than Steve could have stopped him with the touch of a finger. It was clearly very deliberate, and Steve felt like things were starting to fall into place again in his mind. Tony wasn't acting exactly like he did when he was subby right now, but he was signaling that Steve still had something of an upper hand. So Steve let him do as he wanted. The way Tony moved reminded Steve of how he crawled across the bed when ordered to, how he touched Steve when he was allowed to, but it wasn't the same and that was just fine. Steve trusted Tony on this, so he stayed put and watched. Tony moved to straddle Steve again, this time with his back turned. He turned half way, meeting Steve's eyes. "Look at me," he said. "Please, Steve. Take a good look. See what you did. You know it isn't anything to worry about, you're used to seeing injuries. Touch if you want to, I won't mind."
He wanted to touch, with a force that almost scared him. Those colors on Tony's skin, the red and faintly blue, the spots and prints and marks, were all beautiful and enticing. He was at once proud to have made them and appalled at himself for doing it and feeling that way about it. His hand shook when he reached to touch, when he placed the palm of one hand flat against Tony's ass, right where he'd landed the first smack. Tony's skin was warm to the touch, matching the flushed color, a bit of extra hardness under the skin in one spot told of a bruise forming, one that would probably be dark by tomorrow. Steve shuddered. He looked up to see Tony still watching him.
"It's okay to be proud of them," he said. "I am. I'll be looking in the mirror when we wake up. I'll want to see what it looks like. I'll shiver and remember what happened when you made them. That it was you who did it to me, and I'll probably want to find you and try to talk you into bed because I'll be horny as hell from that thought alone." He reached back and took Steve's hand, the one that was already on his ass. "Here..." He brought it around and let Steve feel a slowly growing erection. "Feel that?" Tony's voice was low and husky now. "That's what you do to me, Steve. All I need is to think about what you do to me, and this happens."
Steve grabbed Tony and pulled him back against him, kissed him hard. "I am proud," he said, still holding Tony firmly. "It scares me, but I am. I'm scared of hurting you, I'm worried I'll go too far."
"But right now you know you haven't?"
"Yeah..." Steve nodded, thinking it over once more even as he replied. "Yes. I know. I can see that."
"Good." Tony shifted a little and Steve eased his hold on him to allow it. All Tony did was turn enough to once more get comfortable against Steve and pull the blanket further up. "Then we can start really talking about what happened. What you liked and didn't, what you want to do more of, what I am going to be pestering you to do again... all of that. So next time will be even better." He raised his head and kissed Steve's chin and Steve took the opportunity to catch his lips in a proper kiss. Next time was going to be good – just like this one had been.