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Steve’s alarm clock sounded at 6AM, the super soldier groaning in annoyance as he fought to turn the damn thing off. Once that tedious task of the morning was accomplished, Steve flopped on his belly, his face smashed into the pillow. Tony always teased him, saying that it should be illegal getting up at such an ungodly hour. Yeah, Steve did get up earlier than most, he’d admit it. But that didn’t mean he enjoyed it. He blamed his early to rise schedule on the military, ingrained into his mental wiring.

Even though it took him a while to wake up, Steve did like that the tower was rather quiet, letting him have some time to himself before the hustle and bustle of the day had become overwhelming.

So, after he made himself breakfast, Steve did his normal routine of research and paperwork for the Avengers, getting any legalities in order with Maria and what not. As he headed up from the main floor of Avengers Tower, needing a few papers sent out to Fury, Steve wondered where Tony had been all day. Even on days the genius worked in his lab, he would at least pop up to grab a snack or to clear his head by taking to the sky in his Iron Man suit.

Steve also wished he wouldn’t get so worked up over the man. He’d been trying so hard to be diligent on letting his feelings for Tony subside. If he was honest with himself, he wasn’t doing a good job with it. But he deserved a pat on the back for trying at least.

He went about the rest of the day as well as the next two days trying to keep himself busy, so that he wasn’t left daydreaming about Tony and his charming smile. By the third day without getting a glimpse of the genius, Steve became genuinely worried, though. When he saw Bruce walking out of the communal kitchen, he had to stop the man.

“Hey Bruce,” Steve greeted, when the man turned toward the hall. He unintentionally scared him, the cup of tea Bruce was holding spilling a little when he jerked back in fright. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” Steve rushed out, eyes wide, hoping he didn’t stress Bruce out too much.

“It’s okay, Bruce said softly, taking a few deep breaths. “I’d hope I could manage a few jump scares here and there,” he teased. “So, was there something you needed, Steve?”

“Yes. I was wondering if you had seen Tony around at all?” He asked, scratching the back of his head in a nervous gesture. Why was he nervous? Bruce wasn’t going to know Steve’s hidden feelings for Tony just by asking if he’d seen him. Steve quickly brought his hand down to his side, attempting to act casual.

“No, I actually haven’t,” Bruce replied, sipping at his tea.

“Do you think everything is alright?” Steve inquired, making sure his voice was even and not filled with concern.

“He’s probably on an inventing spree. You know how gets.” Bruce gave him a friendly smile and a pat on the shoulder before he headed back down to his own science lab. Steve thought about what Bruce said, knowing the quiet man was most likely right. Steve really needed to calm down. It was Tony, he was a genius who always had something to work on. Still, it all just seemed off to him. Shaking his head from his thoughts, Steve decided to distract his mind with some strength conditioning exercises. That would help!

Unfortunately, Steve made it a whole twenty minutes down in the gym, punching a heavy bag before he couldn’t take it anymore. He wanted to see Tony, not just because he missed his presence, but because he needed to make sure the man was okay. It wasn’t a big deal, that’s what friends did. But if something was wrong, Steve would be curious to know why Tony hadn’t confided in him about it. He and Tony were close, and whenever something harbored on their shoulders, they would talk to the other about it, knowing that not too many others knew them the way they knew each other.

After a quick shower, Steve dressed in nice dark jeans and a form fitting heather grey t-shirt. He couldn’t deny that he liked to look somewhat dashing when he was around Tony. He figured it was a common notion for anyone with a crush on someone to want to look their best.

Steve created a plate of food for the genius, the lunch consisting of a BLT, cut apple slices and a cup of fresh black coffee. He’d done this friendly gesture many times before, when Tony had a genius streak down in his lab. But now since his feelings had progressed beyond platonic, he was afraid everything he did revealed his true feelings. Steve shook his head, sighing at his idiocy before regaining his composure and descending the elevator that would lead him to Tony’s workshop. Steve also had a backup plan. If things became too awkward between them, or more if Steve became awkward, he would tell Tony they should do some Avenger training with the team as soon as possible.

As he became closer and closer to Tony’s lab floor, Steve attempted to will the hammering in his chest to calm down. Everything would be alright. He’d spent plenty of days just drawing or painting down in Tony’s lab while the brunette worked on things. This would be like any other day.

It was then that the elevator pinged, the doors opening to Tony’s lab, and Steve had the sudden urge to head right back from where he came. No, he wouldn’t let his emotions consume him, he was better than that. He’d give Tony the food and coffee, ask if all was well and remain casual. He could do this.

Taking a breath, he approached the clear glass doors, seeing Tony hunched over a table and writing formulas that appeared on a holographic screen in front of him. The typical, heavy bass of music vibrated slightly through the walls, and seeing Tony at work made Steve smile a little timidly, a blush tinting his cheeks. He did miss spending time with the man.

Steve went to push in his passcode to get inside, only for it to not work. Steve, confused, tried it once more, again not opening the door. “J.A.R.V.I.S?” Steve called, looking up at the ceiling though he knew that wasn’t where the A.I. was.

“Yes, Captain” The A.I. greeted.

“Did my passcode change for the lab? I can’t seem to get inside.

“It is indeed still the same, Captain Rogers. But Sir has restricted your access into the lab.”

“Oh,” Steve said, brows furrowed and his heart sinking. He wasn’t going to deny it, that had hurt more than he wished. He looked back to see Tony, his back still to Steve. “Does anyone else have restricted access?” He then asked.

“It appears you are the only one Sir had given the limitation to,” Steve tried to ignore the sadness that flooded his body then. He wondered if Tony caught him staring at the party the other night. Maybe he figured out Steve’s true affections for him.

Steve was left with a reeling mind, anxiety ringing in his ears. He cleared his throat then, feeling it constrict with emotion. Leaning down, he placed the plate and cup down next to the door. “J.A.R.V.I.S, would you be so kind and let Tony know I placed food and coffee out here for him?”

“Of course, Captain.” Steve nodded as a way of thanks before slowly, and a bit dejectedly heading back upstairs to over analyze all that he’d done to cause Tony to avoid him like this.

Chapter Text

Tony thinking that he just needed time to get over his and Pepper’s break up was the biggest understatement of the year. He also needed a killer cry session. The pain and heartache that had settled within him was almost crippling the morning after the party, the reality of the situation hitting him tenfold. It all just hurt so much. There was a part of him that kept denying it actually happened, that soon enough Pepper would walk back into his penthouse at any moment, her pearly smile glistening, her laughter like a lovebird’s song, filling the rooms. Tony only drank himself into a stupor the day after she ended things, which was pretty impressive in his opinion.

He spent his time in his workshop, using the couch he had down there to sleep on, as well as random snacks he had lying around. Also, his precious coffee maker was ever so loyal to him. Tony did everything he could to distract himself from the world around him, going so far as to limit Steve’s access to his lab. It hurt him to do it though, missing how the guy would hang out to draw and such. But Tony truly needed the space from him for a little while, until he sorted through his damn emotions. Pepper’s words had implanted in his brain, burrowing deep and taking roots there.

He was fiddling with one of the chest plates of the Iron Man suit as he mulled over her thoughts for the eight thousandth time. Tony knew he couldn’t look at Steve without feeling some sort of resentment towards him, and that wouldn’t be fair to the man whatsoever. It wasn’t his fault Pepper tarnished his views of his dear friend. On top of all the nonsensical thoughts about Steve, Tony was still single. He was grateful, truly for Pepper still being his life, still being the friends they’d been for years. It was an adjustment though, not having her as a loving companion. It also sucked that he couldn’t talk to Steve about it. Besides Rhodey, Steve was about the only person Tony actually cared to listen to besides himself.

Staying away from everyone was for the best, Tony’s irrational behavior wasn’t anyone’s doing, especially Steve’s. He’d work everything out within his brain and heart. And once that was sorted, he’d carry on as he normally would, a shit-eating grin plastered on his face and an ego to fill an entire building.

---
By the third day of being a hermit in his lab, Tony was on a near breaking discovery on a formula he’d been trying to figure out and perfect for months. His concentration was halted when J.A.R.V.I.S announced that Steve had come down and left food for him. There was a small squeeze in his heart when the A.I. told him that, knowing Steve was probably confused by the restricted access. Steve was always allowed down there. Tony wouldn’t admit that he preferred the man down there with him, their silence always peaceful, their comfort amongst each other balanced.

Tony swallowed the guilt though, opening the door to see one of his favorite sandwiches, fruit and a glorious cup of coffee. He smiled, knowing how Steve would do this a lot when he meandered down to the lab. One strong arm would be filled with a sketchbook and supplies, the other holding food or a cup of coffee for Tony.

He reminded himself once more that he would see Steve soon enough, when he got his shit together and stifled all of Pepper’s irrational words about his feelings towards the super soldier. Tony yawned then, carrying the plate and mug to a semi clean work station, neglecting that pesky formula for the moment. Biting into the sandwich, Tony groaned in delight at how good it was. Steve and his secret skills, like frying bacon to the perfect crispiness.

“J?” Tony called to the A.I. as he took another bite of his sandwich.

“Sir?”

“What’s Steve up to?” Tony asked, spinning an apple slice on the plate.

“Captain Rogers appears to be in his quarters, reading a novel,” J.A.R.V.I.S said, his voice echoing through the lab. Tony was tempted to have J.A.R.V.I.S bring up the camera feed of Steve’s room, but he refrained. He’d vowed never to nose into anyone’s privacy unless it was an emergency. Tony stood then, his half eaten sandwich in hand. A part of him wanted to go up to Steve’s floor, to tell him thanks for the food, maybe Tony would actually be okay with seeing and talking to Steve. Maybe he was making mountains out of mole hills; it wouldn’t be the first time he had done that.

But, Tony couldn’t will his feet to move, his worries exceeding the yearning to see his friend. So, he plopped back down, thunking his head on the table in defeat.

 

---
It was only a few days after that, that Tony decided it would be best that he actually find a change of scenery, the lab looking more and more like a medieval dungeon with each passing day. He figured fresh air might do him some good.

Taking off in his Iron Man suit, Tony felt a relief wash over him as the blue sky met him, sun shining off the red and gold armor. Though his mask was down, the genius could smell the clean air, or as clean as air could be in New York City. Still, it was rejuvenating, to be out here, nothing but the sky and him, the wind beating against the suit. It was a place where thought left him, and Tony could find a sense of mental freedom.

He weaved about the city, swooping low and flying close to the Hudson River, the water spraying around him. Tony let out a gleeful laugh, taking to the sky and soaring like Icarus, as close to the sun as he could. Here, Tony wasn’t labeled a genius, billionaire, philanthropist…and he guessed now playboy. Here he was just Tony, a guy who liked to tinker.

After the initial high of being one with the sky had died down, Tony felt the pleasant hum of adrenaline roil through his veins while he languidly flew around the city. It was then that his mind fell to Pepper, and how she fit into his life differently now, like an altered puzzle piece. He wondered how she was, he figured she was back from her trip to Japan by now. He missed her. Even though he was used to not seeing her, when he’d be gone on Avenger missions, or when she was back in California doing work at Stark Industries. Circling South, he made his way to Pepper’s new apartment, calling her as he neared.

“Hi, Tony,” Pepper answered, yawning into the speaker.

“Hey, Pep. What you’re tired?” He asked with a chuckle.

“Well, I came in from Japan this morning. Jet lag and the time differences are affecting me,” Pepper explained tiredly.

“Oh, well makes sense. Anyways, you’re about to have some company,” he sing-songed, eyeing the balcony that led to her apartment suite. She didn’t even have time to answer before he hovered over the platform of her balcony, plopping down on it with a metal thud.

Pepper appeared then, opening the glass door with a smile. Lifting his faceplate, Tony greeted her with his own cheeky grin. It was the first time they’d seen each other since the party. And seeing her standing there, her hair unruly from sleep, her eyes puffy from tiredness, she still took his breath away.

“You’re a sight for sore eyes,” he said softly, meaning it entirely. Pepper just laughed it off, bating away the compliment.

“Come on in,” she said, turning and heading inside. Tony removed himself from the suit, letting it stay out on the balcony. “I’m actually glad you stopped,” Pepper started, tossing her hair over a shoulder while she rummaged through a briefcase. “I have the business arrangement from the Japanese affiliates for you to look over.” She handed the file to Tony before heading to her kitchen to brew them both some coffee.

Tony tossed the file on the table and followed suit. “Is that the only reason you’re glad to see me?” He teased, leaning against the counter. She didn’t answer him, her eyes focused on filling her Keurig. Tony frowned at that, deciding to fix his gaze somewhere else. Her apartment was really quite lovely, furnished to the nines. It wasn’t his penthouse, but it would do he guessed. Pepper seemed to have read his mind then, offering the black coffee to him before taking a sip of her own.

“I’m happy here,” she said, leaning a hip against the counter as well. “I’m doing okay,” she reassured him. Tony nodded, taking a gulp of the hot liquid, burning his tongue some.

“I’m glad you’re happy,” he remarked, clearing his throat and peering into his cup. He felt silly being here. Yeah, he wanted to see Pepper, to see her in a new light, as a friend. And yet, there had been something inside him that thought that when they saw each other, there would be a rekindling, a revelation on Pepper’s part, where she would realize that they were the ones for each other, the perfect piece to Tony’s puzzle.

He realized though, that it was mere desperate hope that fueled his actions. And that there was nothing more to be done. Pepper wasn’t coming back.

“Are you okay, though?” She asked him, finally turning to look at him.

“I always am, Pep,” Tony replied with a small twitch of his lip, an attempt at a smile.

“Have you spoken with Steve at all?”

“About what?”

“About your feelings for him,” Pepper said nonchalantly. And a flaming ire rose within Tony then, his sorrow quickly being replaced with annoyance.

“Goddammit, Pepper,” Tony bit out, draining his coffee cup, facing her then. “I don’t have feelings for the guy. Can’t you just let it fucking go?” Tony said, his voice strained as he forced himself not to yell.

“I think you’re blind to your feelings, Tony” Pepper said coolly, placing her mostly full cup on the counter.

“No, I am not blind to my feelings. Maybe you’re the one who is just realizing you dumped me for no reason and are trying to justify it somehow,” Tony barked, his brows furrowed, his eyes becoming a glare.

“Oh, Tony,” Pepper started, folding her arms across her chest. “I ended things because you couldn’t give me your heart. Because you don’t see where your heart truly lies, where it will always lie,” she reiterated from their last conversation. “Don’t you dare try to turn the tables on me.” She stared him down, her blue eyes fierce.

It was Tony who finally looked down, the fight draining from him. “Pepper, I-I’m sor-” Tony began before she cut him off.

“I need to shower and get some things together before I fly out to California,” Pepper said, her voice soft. “Look over those files.” She walked away from him then, toward what Tony assumed was her bedroom. “You know your way out,” she called over her shoulder, disappearing down the hall.

Flying back to Avengers Tower had held much more dismay than when Tony left earlier that day. On the landing pad, Tony tried to as discreetly as he could make his way up to his penthouse, needing sleep or something, though anger boiled inside his gut. Anger at Pepper, himself, and basically everyone around him.

Clicking the elevator, Tony was surprised that it didn’t open up for him right away. He waited a minute, opening up the crinkled file from Pepper that he had to fold up and stuff into a small compartment in his suit. He skimmed it, not absorbing any of the information. The elevator doors slid open finally, and Steve was standing on the other side.

“Oh, hi Tony,” Steve greeted him, an excited smile crossing his face. Tony noticed the man holding some paperwork when he took a step out of the elevator car.

“Hi Steve,” Tony replied, giving a half-hearted smile as he tried to walk past him and into the carriage.

“Wa-wait. I was actually heading to your lab to go over some Avenger reports,” Steve rushed out, turning to follow Tony back into the elevator. Tony stopped him simply with a hand to Steve’s solid chest.

“I’ll look ‘em over,” Tony said, grabbing the paperwork from Steve’s hands, adding to Pepper’s file under his arm. He could barely look Steve in the eye, doing his best not to lash out at the man. His spat with Pepper had him on edge, and Steve didn’t need to get roped into that bullshit. “Thanks, Cap,” Tony murmured, allowing the elevator doors to close, heading up to his penthouse alone.

Chapter Text

Steve was in his room, changing into his uniform. They were called in for a mission, their first one in about six weeks. There was an unknown creature wreaking havoc in Queens. Strapping on his fingerless gloves and securing the shield to his back, Steve headed out to the landing pad where the quinjet was.

Maria was there, in a navy sheath dress, a Stark tablet in hand and waiting for him. “Good morning, Maria,” Steve said, taking the tablet in hand. “Is everyone accounted for?” He asked, looking over the information as they walked toward the aircraft.

“Natasha and Clint are on board, as well as Tony and Thor. Bruce decided to sit this one out. You know how congested environments make him uneasy,” she explained, pausing in front of the open door. “Steve,” she said uncertainly then. “Do you notice anything odd about Tony lately?” She asked, a brow arched. Steve only huffed a laugh. Yeah, he most certainly did notice. The man had been standoffish and blatantly avoiding him for over a month, right after that damn party. It bothered Steve, really bothered him, seeing how Tony’s personality had changed so drastically. Steve had tried over and over to converse with the guy, to pretend that he didn’t notice the change in Tony. And every time he walked down to the man’s lab with a book or sketchbook in hand, only for J.A.R.V.I.S to tell him that Tony didn’t want company, he had pretended to act like it didn’t bother him at all. Steve desperately wanted to believe that they were still the close friends that he thought they were, regardless of Tony’s irritation and distance.

Steve was tired of trying though, and he decided to give up on it. He eventually didn’t try to hang out with Tony in his lab, or ask him to train with the rest of the team. If the genius was too caught up with whatever it was that made him so vile, then so be it. It took him a while, but Steve finally figured that it wasn’t his fault, and there apparently wasn’t anything he could do to help his friend. If Tony eventually came around to being his old self, Steve would still be there for him. But until then, Steve began creating a distance of his own. What made it all worse, though, were those stupid butterflies that fluttered in his chest and belly on the rare occasion that he did see Tony in passing.

“Yeah, he’s been more reserved than usual,” Steve simply said, answering Maria’s question with a shrug of his shoulders, acting like it didn’t matter. He headed into the quinjet then, seeing Clint already in the pilot seat, waiting for orders. Thor and Natasha chatted lightly in the corner while Tony leaned on an elbow, thrumming his fingers on the arm of his chair, brown eyes staring off at nothing in particular.

“Morning everyone,” Steve greeted, opening the screen on his tablet and, with the help from Natasha, projecting the images onto a holographic screen for all to see. “Were headed for Queens,” Steve began, playing the newsfeed of what they were getting into. An image of a large beast that kind of looked like a dragon of the ancient world appeared. It was a live feed, showing the creature terrorizing the borough.

“What the hell is that?” Clint asked, turning to start up the quinjet and head for Queens. Immediately, the rest of the team turned their heads towards Thor, expecting him to answer.

“That is not some creature I’ve battled before,” Thor stated, twirling Mjolnir in a meaty palm.

“Well, this couldn’t be Loki’s doing,” Natasha murmured, and they all nodded, remembering how Thor had told them his brother had been killed on a realm none of them could pronounce.

“Alright, either way, we need to stick to the mission. The residents in this creature’s path are our first priority before anything else,” Steve said, looking to Clint and Natasha. “Stark, analyze its strategy and pattern. Thor, find out its weak spots.” They worked out their tactics and strategy then, settling on one that they had used for similar situations.

Once they were in Queens, the creature was still on a rampage. If Loki was supposedly dead, Steve wondered who could be behind this.

Tony figured out the creature’s pattern. It was heat sensitive, which meant it was drawn to large masses of people. Tony confined it to a two block radius, though, keeping it out of the vicinity of civilians while Thor discovered that the beast had multiple blind spots. Natasha and Steve rallied the citizens they could, bringing them to safety while Clint nestled on a rooftop, shooting the beast with his best ammo arrows.

The mission was going fairly well, though it would have been much easier if they had the Incredible Hulk with them to take down the beast. Thor had been beating the daylights out of the creature, staying in its blind spots before mounting its head and slamming Mjolnir into its cranium, electricity flooding its body. Tony flew around the being too, shooting missiles and exploding rockets at the monster, weakening it with each blast.

The dragon like creature was soon lethargic and dragging, and the team waited for Thor to deliver the final blow to its skull

That was until Steve had missed a family that was right in the line of fire. The heat that ebbed off the civilians’ bodies had been picked up by the beast, and it turned to engulf them. Without a second thought, Steve ran up the beam of a broken crane, leaping into the jaws of the beast, shield held in front of him. Instantaneously, the creature lurched back and away from the family before it snapped its jaws shut, encapsulating Steve within.

“Steve!” he heard Tony yell in the communication devices they wore in their ears. Though it was dank within the monster’s mouth, its breath putrid and heavy, the super solider didn’t hesitate to battle. Steve went for the creature’s jaws, beating it with his shield, breaking its teeth with each hit. When the beast finally opened its mouth once more, eliciting a pained screech, Steve hurdled himself upwards, shield held above his head as he smashed the creatures upper jaw, unhinging it from the mandible. With its jaw hanging loosely, the creature thrusted back, causing Steve to lose his footing. The super soldier fell back, falling fifty stories as he watched the tops of buildings become smaller with each passing moment. He prepared himself for impact before his body was suddenly jarred, and his back hit something that was solid, and metal. Looking down to see two metal arms wrapped around his torso, Steve then turned his head to see the Iron Man faceplate looking at him, cold and calculating.

“Idiot,” Tony huffed, his voice tinny as it filtered through the mask. He lowered them to the ground, holding Steve against his chest a few moments before releasing the blonde from his grasp.

“Gee, thanks, Tony,” Steve said sassily after a moment, trying to ignore the feel of the hard metal of Tony’s suit pressed into the flesh of his back.

“What the hell was that all about, Cap?” Tony shouted, lifting the face plate up to reveal an angry scowl.

“Those civilians were in danger, I had to do something,” Steve started before Thor dropped down, shaking the ground with his landing as well as disrupting his teammates’ inevitable argument.

“The beast has been defeated,” Thor remarked, pointing with Mjolnir behind him, revealing the dead creature, its mouth open, its glossy black eyes lifeless. “If either of you care,” he mumbled. Natasha and Clint arrived shortly after, looking at the slain creature as well.

“You can’t just decide to get eaten by a giant monster,” Tony started their spat up once again, turning his attention back to Steve.

“Will you both save it?” Clint whined, and Natasha nudged him. “Well it’s true, they are always at each other’s throats,” he added, putting away his bow and turning for the quinjet.

“Wrap it up boys, we gotta head to debriefing,” Natasha said then, arms folded across her chest as she turned to follow her fellow spy. Tony glared at Steve, and Steve glowered back, while Thor just stood there, looking at them with an annoyed expression before walking away with a sigh.

After the debriefing, the five Avengers headed back to the tower, Clint and Natasha heading to their quarters while Thor, though battered and bruised, went to the kitchen to eat the entire fridge.

Steve was practically speed walking away from Tony who had been scolding him since they left the debriefing room. Unfortunately, Steve couldn’t avoid the man when they both needed to use the elevator. Tony really should have more than one private elevator for the Avengers’ floors. He’d tried to be calm and collected while Tony’s fiery personality surfaced from the depths, but Steve was fed up with Tony calling him reckless.

“Don’t harp on me about being reckless,” Steve finally snapped, practically punching the elevator controls. He was in desperate need of a shower, his face grimy, his blonde hair a mess, his suit needing some heavy mending done. And Tony, who followed him into the elevator car was equally debauched, though his armor he had left for decontamination wasn’t as heavily damaged.

“I’m totally gonna harp on you!” He yelled, the door closing. Steve just rolled his eyes, shifting his shield from one hand to the other.

“For the hundredth time, Tony, I had to act! I wasn’t gonna let that creature eat those people on the street,” Steve remarked.

“We woulda saved them even if you didn’t catapult yourself into that alien beast’s mouth,” Tony snapped, fiddling with the black under suit he was wearing. “We had a strategy and you went against it because you had to be some big hero or whatever.”

“That’s not true. They were gonna die, Tony. Our strategic plan was null and void at that point. Plus, we just about had the creature down for the count. It barely had any strength left.

“I don’t care about that, Steve,” Tony barked, pressing the stop button on the elevator controls, abruptly halting them mid-way. “I care about you almost dying because of your self-righteousness.”

“I wasn’t being self-righteous,” Steve countered, taking a step closer to Tony, his defenses rising even higher. Tony held his gaze, the man’s brown eyes, usually warm and comforting, now harsh and unwavering.

“Right,” Tony scoffed then, folding his arms across his chest. “It had nothing to do with you trying to prove something, to prove your worth.”

“I had to act. I’m sorry if you can’t understand that,” Steve said, jaw taut.

Tony just shook his head. “You and your hypocrisy.”

“What?” Steve asked, though he easily heard him with his heightened hearing.

“You’d have chewed me out if I’d have done that, had ignored the plan and put my life in danger,” Tony explained.

“I didn’t see it that way. There were other lives at stake. You ignore our tactical plans just to be difficult.” Steve replied. “I knew I would be fine.”

“No you didn’t,” Tony remarked, still glaring daggers at the blonde. Steve turned his body away from Tony then, hitting the button so that the elevator would continue its ascension to his floor. “So you’re gonna ignore me now?” Tony asked bitterly.

“You would know a lot about ignoring, wouldn’t you?” Steve replied calmly, his head held high as the elevator approached his floor.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Tony asked, his voice shrill. Steve didn’t answer him though, continuing to stare straight ahead. “God, you’re so fucking stubborn, Steve.”

“I’m stubborn?” Steve said sharply, turning his head to look at Tony. He took a slow breath to ground himself. “I’m not the stubborn one who has too big of an ego to talk about what’s upsetting him,” Steve finally said, his voice obviously strained. “And I’m also not the one who has been ignoring everyone for over a month now, distancing himself from the people that care about him,” Steve added, unable to keep the hurt from his voice. He really didn’t want to confront Tony about how he’d been acting lately, but Steve couldn’t help it now, not when Tony thought he had the right to berate him for his actions.

Tony didn’t say anything, his shocked expression speaking volumes as it was. The doors opened to Steve’s quarters then, and he exited the elevator, turning to look at the brunette one more time.

“Have a good night, Tony,” he offered, before turning on his heel and disappearing down the hallway. There was a fresh ache of sorrow and disappointment that swirled in Steve’s belly, mixing with the butterflies that perpetually fluttered there when he was with Tony, even while they fought.

Steve high tailed it to his bathroom, quickly stripping from his tattered suit, eager to step into a warm shower. As he lathered up his hair, Steve’s mind was stuck on Tony. He just didn’t know what to do about him anymore. He really needed to preoccupy his mind with other things other than Tony. Thankfully, he had a plethora of paperwork to go over from this mission. It would be just what Steve needed.

Chapter Text

After Tony and Steve had their spat in the elevator, Tony had spent the rest of that day and evening sitting in his penthouse, a glass of scotch constantly in his grip. Only enough to numb his whirring mind, he told himself. Steve’s words had hit him hard, knocking him back to reality. For the past month Tony holed himself up either in his penthouse or lab, emerging from the depths only for random meetings and such. He was doing it so that he wasn’t toxic toward the people he cared about.

He hadn’t realized though, that his quietness and distance was doing exactly what he tried to avoid. It was Steve confronting him in the elevator that popped the bubble Tony was trying to secure himself in. When he saw the sense of hurt and betrayal cross Steve’s face when he called Tony out on his actions, his heart sank. He felt like a total asshole for making Steve feel that way, his close friend and teammate. Tony had tried so hard for his and Pepper’s break up to be just between them, to keep others from getting hurt. And yet, he fucked things up again, hurting Steve in the process.

“There’s a piece of you that already belongs to someone else.”

Pepper’s words swirled around his slightly cloudy brain as he sat on the couch in his penthouse, the moonlight trickling into the room in slanted rays. Tony just shook his head, sipping at his scotch. Pepper didn’t know what she was talking about.

“There’s someone. And he’s been a part of your life much longer than I have.”

She hadn’t been lying when she had said that. Steve, no, Captain America, had been someone he had grown up loving, and looking up to. He was the hero of America, the symbol of what the country stood for. Howard had always talked about this righteous man, the perfect embodiment of America. And for a young Tony, who in his father’s eyes would always walk in Captain America’s shadow, wanted to be exactly like the very first superhero. Because then his father would be proud of him and would love him.

So yeah, Tony had loved Captain America, but certainly not Steve. Especially when he turned out to be nothing like how his father described him. Then again, Tony had come to know Steve, where Howard only knew Captain America, his perfect experiment. He was grateful for that, though. Because though he at first hated Steve for being stubborn, and righteous and a stick in the mud, he had come to appreciate those qualities in him. Howard didn’t know the little things that made Steve who he was. He didn’t know that Steve hummed to himself while he sketched, or how the blush on Steve’s cheeks would flood down his neck when he was embarrassed or caught off guard. And he never knew how Steve’s eyes would light up every time he discovered something new. Howard never knew Steve the way Tony knew him, and Tony wouldn’t have it any other way.

Still, that didn’t mean he loved him romantically. It was a strong bond between friends. Which was why when he saw that beast snap its jaws shut around Steve, his stomach dropped and his chest became tight. He thought he was about to lose someone else near and dear to him. He couldn’t believe Steve had done that. Well, that wasn’t true, the man jumped out of quinjets and planes without parachutes. Yet, Tony felt entirely helpless in that moment, as he hovered in the air, just watching. It was only when Steve was falling that Tony refocused, flying down as fast as he could to catch the man. He wasn’t sure if Steve realized it, but it had been a close one. With the blonde’s weight and momentum, he just about took Tony down with him when he caught him.

With a heavy sigh, Tony looked up at the ceiling, as if it would hold the insight he needed. Putting himself in Steve’ shoes, he could see how his actions would have made Steve feel as if Tony wanted nothing to do with him. Especially because they confided in each other about a lot of things. It would have made anyone feel a sense of self-doubt, even Steve. He needed to make things right with him, to apologize. Not for their argument, because he was still miffed about Steve being reckless. But for making the man feel like Tony didn’t want to be around him and for being so distant. Even if Tony had good intentions for it, that didn’t change how he made Steve feel.

-

The next morning, Tony grumbled as he rolled out of bed, bright and early. He wanted to catch Steve before he set out on his run and what not. Seriously, how could Steve get up so damn early? He didn’t care what the man said about how he is used to it from the military. Anything before 10am should be illegal.

Tony gulped down a cup of coffee before making it to Steve’s floor, knocking lightly on the door. He stood there a moment before knocking once more, his brows furrowed. Could Steve be out already? He checked the time on his watch which read 5:58am. Hey, he was early! Tony heard footsteps then, the door opening to reveal a sleepy-eyed soldier.

“Tony?” Steve questioned, rubbing at his eyes with the heel of a hand. “What- Is everything alright?”

“Morning, Cap,” Tony began, smiling warmly at him, though his eyes were probably dull with tiredness as well. “Nothing’s wrong. I just wanted to swing by before you headed out for the day,” Tony added. Steve just looked at him, eyes squinted, his hair splayed every which way. He looked like an unimpressed kid, woken up early for school. He even had those plaid flannel pajamas, where the shirt buttoned up and had matching bottoms. How could a grown man look so boyish?

“Okaaay,” Steve said finally, bringing Tony out of his quiet observations.

“Oh, so I just wanted to apologize for my behavior these last couple weeks.”

“Month,” Steve clarified with a yawn.

“Right, month. See it hasn’t been the easiest month. Lots of shit has been going on and I’ve been so busy with work,” he babbled on. Maybe he wasn’t as good a liar as he thought. “Can I come in, please? I feel like I’m trying to sell you a vacuum or something.” It took Steve a minute to react before he stepped aside and held the door open for the brunette.

“So what’s the real reason why you have been avoiding everyone?” Steve asked, closing door behind them. Tony locked eyes with Steve, taking a deep breath then.

“Pepper and I broke up,” Tony confessed, his eyes wandering from Steve’s blue ones to stare at the wall behind him.

“What?” Steve asked, shock in his voice. “When did that happen?”

“However long I’ve been avoiding people,” Tony remarked walking over to an armchair and falling into it defeated. “I guess she’s felt it for a while, a disconnect or whatever.” There was no way in hell, that Tony would say it was because Pepper thought he had the hots for Steve. No way.

Steve slowly walked over, sitting on the coffee table in front of Tony. “Tony, I’m-”

“It’s for the best,” Tony said, cutting Steve off and scratching at his beard. “She deserves to be happy. I should be thankful she stuck it out with me this long.” Tony added, looking down at his hands. “I thought she was the one, though,” he whispered, his voice filled with sorrow. 

When the super soldier stayed quiet Tony looked up, seeing pure sincerity in Steve’s cerulean eyes. Tony had missed this, their heart to heart conversations. He could always lay his emotions and feelings out on the table when it came to Steve. He allowed himself to be vulnerable around the guy, because he knew he could confide in Steve, and Steve could always confide in him.

“It’s about the heart connection, emotional bonding.”

He heard Pepper’s words whisper in his brain before he quickly disregarded them. “Tony,” Steve started a bit tentatively, and Tony quickly waved a hand, taking a breath, composing himself. He didn’t want Steve to feel bad for him, he wanted to let Steve know why he acted the way he did…for him to understand.

“Don’t worry, Cap. I’ll be alright. Thanks for listening though,” Tony said. But then Steve was moving in closer to him and Tony felt his heart skip a beat, his nerves rising. Steve placed a hand on his shoulder, giving Tony one of those little smirks he so often fashioned.

“You’re worth more than you think, Tony. It wasn’t your fault, just remember that,” Steve spoke, squeezing his shoulder once before leaning back. It was only then that Tony felt like he could breathe again. He wasn’t sure exactly why he had reacted that way.

“Thanks, Steve,” Tony replied, smiling halfheartedly in return. They were both quiet for a bit as the heat of the morning sun warmed their bodies. “I’m sorry though, really I am, for not telling you sooner,” Tony said, looking out the large windows in the living area. “I didn’t mean to make you feel like you didn’t matter, or that I couldn’t confide in you.”

He heard Steve sigh, and Tony looked to see the man leaning back on the heels of his hands, looking out towards the warm sun as well. He watched how the sunlight washed Steve’s features in a yellow glow, the light hitting the man’s thick eyelashes and creating long wispy shadows against his cheekbones. And how the blonde was sitting caused Tony to notice for the first time, the little freckle on the right side of Steve’s neck.

“I appreciate and accept your apology. Thank you,” Steve said, looking to Tony with a close-lipped smile. And it was then that Tony knew that they would be alright.

“Well I’m glad you do, because I thought, maybe we could hang out and make up for lost time? I mean, I did spend a long time wallowing in my lab,” Tony joked. “Do you have some free time coming up?” He saw Steve ponder a moment before straightening his posture once more.

“I’m almost done with the paperwork from the mission yesterday,” Steve started. His stomach grumbled then and he paused, looking up at Tony who was holding back his smile. Tony cracked first though, one eyebrow quirking up as he laughed. Steve giggled too, his cheeks going red from embarrassment before getting up. “breakfast?” He offered.

-

They ate breakfast together, Steve doing most of the cooking while Tony prepped coffee and put bread in the toaster. “So besides paperwork, do you have anything else going on?” Tony asked while munching on that crispy bacon Steve made so well.

“Unless there is an Avenger mission that surprises us,” Steve started, buttering his toast. “I’m actually rather free for a few days.”

“Awesome. Then we’ll do it,” Tony said with a grin, his brown eyes bright as he looked to Steve.

“Should we have the rest of the team come too?” Steve asked, biting into the toast, crumbs falling onto that ridiculous plaid pajama shirt.

“Nah,” Tony said, leaning back in his chair. “I owe it to you most. Plus, could you imagine all of us trying to agree on one thing?” Tony laughed. Steve chuckled too, looking down at his mostly empty plate.

“You’re not wrong about that,” he agreed. “We’d end up not going anywhere. So, did you have anything in mind then?” Steve inquired.

“I thought I’d leave that up to you. Since it was you I was being the asshole to,” Tony replied, grabbing up his coffee cup.

“Well, don’t feel like you’ve got to win my friendship back, Tony. Because I never stopped being your friend,” Steve said, a quizzical expression on his face as he looked at the brunette.

“I know that, Steve,” Tony said reassuringly. “I just want to do this for you because I appreciate your friendship.

“We could always just hang out here. I don’t mind,” Steve suggested, taking a sip of his own coffee.

“No way,” Tony said with the shake of his head. “It’s gotta be one for the books. And hey, friends go on adventures all the time. I mean, that’s how the movies show it. Like The Goonies, Lord of the Rings, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidFinding Nemo,” Tony trailed off.

“I’m pretty sure I’ve only seen one of those movies,” Steve said, looking up at the ceiling as he thought about it.”

“Well take my word for it, that’s what they all do. So what do you say, Cap?” Tony asked, looking at the blonde hopefully. Steve looked at him, the cheekiest grin spreading across his face then.

“Anything I want, huh?"

-

Out of all the things Tony figured Steve would want to do, fishing didn’t even make the top 20 list. Art or history museum? Sure. A baseball game? Absolutely. But fishing seemed like it came out of nowhere. Since when did Steve like to fish? Were there any places to fish in Brooklyn? Did he have time to fish while in the war? Tony had questions.

He got his answers when they ended up in a fishing shop in western Pennsylvania, and Steve was staring at the fishing poles that lined the one wall in deep and utter confusion. “You’ve never fished before, have you?” He asked Steve, picking up a fisherman’s hat, furnished with colorful lures.

“Nope,” Steve said simply, grabbing up a grey and brown fishing pole.

“I’m curious to know why you chose fishing then,” Tony replied, putting down the hat. “Also, you should take the red and gold pole over there. Much better colors.”

You can take the red and gold pole,” Steve started, inspecting the pole he held in his hand like he knew what would make it a decent pole. “But I’ve always wanted to fish. I don’t know, I would hear people talk about it growing up as well as now. And, it just sounds so nice and calming,” Steve explained, looking to Tony then. “Also, since you touched that hat, now you have to wear it while we fish,” Steve teased.

“That’s never gonna happen, Cap,” Tony said amused. “But, it’s surly going to be entertaining for two men who’ve never fished before try to figure this all out,” Tony laughed, grabbing up that awesome red and gold pole. “What are we even fishing for?”

“Well apparently in this area and season, it’s a good place to catch steelhead,” Steve said, looking pleased with the pole he chose.

“And those are?” Tony asked.

“Um, I think it’s a salmon. No wait, a big trout,” Steve corrected himself, looking proud for his knowledge of fish species. Tony just rolled his eyes and turned toward the counter. “What, I looked it up before we left,” Steve said, following behind him.

At the front desk, an older man with a friendly smile was filling the minnow tank. He kindly showed both Steve and Tony how the fishing poles worked, probably judging them quietly for being so incompetent. Steve watched carefully how to tie the hooks and lures on, and listened intently when the man, who they learned was named Jerry, said what bait they should use depending on the fish they wanted to catch.

So, with two fishing licenses, poles, lures, bobbers, three different baits, waders, and some random supplies piled on the counter, Jerry rang them out.

“You boys aren’t from around here are you?” Jerry asked, scooping up some minnows into a bucket for them.

“How obvious is it?” Tony said, checking a few emails on his phone before they went into the wilderness, where technology probably didn’t exist.

“Given your fancy sunglasses and your New Yorker accent, pretty obvious,” Jerry laughed lightly. “But you both look like those Avenger guys,” he added, looking to Tony, handing him and Steve their bags of goods.

“Well you wouldn’t be wrong,” Tony admitted with an easy smile before he looked into the bag he held and spotted that damn fisherman’s hat tucked in the side of the bag. He frowned at Steve who was still looking at Jerry. He must have felt the brunette’s stare though, because Tony saw the side of his mouth curve into a knowing smirk.

“Well no worries. People are pretty quiet and respectful around here. Nobody should be bothering you,” Jerry said.

“Thank you, sir,” Steve replied, shaking the man’s hand. With that, Jerry told them where the better places for fishing were as well as where there weren’t as many people, and the two men headed out towards the streams.

“Do I really have a New York accent?” Steve asked as they drove their rental truck to a quiet stream.

“Eh, it slips out every once and a while,” Tony said staring out the window while Steve drove. “It’s like you forget that the letter ‘R’ exists sometimes."

-

“So how do you tie that lure on again?” Tony asked, holding a fishing line and silver spooner.

“Maybe if you were paying attention to Jerry instead of being on your phone, you’d know,” Steve said, walking along the creek bed toward Tony. Steve showed him then, handing the furnished pole back to the genius before walking back over to his own spot.

They made their way into the water shortly after, waders hiked up to their waists as they positioned themselves. The water was so clear that Tony could see the multicolored slabs of rock underneath. All that surrounded him were autumnal trees, clear skies, birds chirping, and Steve. Tony watched him a moment, amused at seeing the super soldier wearing red plaid, waders and that absurd fisherman’s hat.

Tony had to admit, the man had charm. He wondered how he wasn’t scooped up yet by some lovely lady. It didn’t really matter, he supposed; Steve didn’t seem to be looking for anyone at the moment anyways.

Steve reeled the pole back behind him slowly, holding down the button at the base. He cast then, only for the line to fall barely two feet in front of him, water splashing all over his waders and chest.

“I may not be an expert on fishing,” Tony chuckled, casting his line perfectly. “But I don’t think that’s how it works.”

“Ha, you’re hysterical,” Steve said, reeling the line back in and attempting once more. This time he was much more successful. “I think I didn’t let go of the button quick enough the first time,” Steve commented as he watched the hook and lure arch into the stream with a gentle plunk.

They spent a while reeling in and casting out, talking quietly, as if speaking any louder would disturb the peace of nature. They shifted between different baits, sometimes putting on a worm or minnow, which Tony still felt bad about. Even though they weren’t catching anything, Tony couldn’t believe the overall calmness he felt by being out in such a tranquil atmosphere. He only itched for his phone a few times, to check in on matters, or to see if for some reason Pepper got in contact with him. She’d only reached out to him for business matters. And Tony wasn’t going to attempt to talk with her about personal life matters. He learned his lesson the last time he tried. He just liked knowing that she was alright. That was something that would never change, no matter what their relationship title was.

“Tony, I think you got a bite!” Steve said excitedly, knocking Tony from his daydream. He looked to see his pole bouncing gently, small ripples expanding around his moving bobber. Tony yanked his pole back quickly, but as he reeled the hook in he could feel no resistance. And when the line arose from the water, Tony had nothing but a hook.

“That damn fish ate my bait,” Tony huffed with a pout. He heard Steve laugh, shutting his mouth quickly when Tony glowered at him, though there was no real malice behind it.

“Sorry, that was funny, though,” Steve said, biting his full bottom lip.

“Hey, at least I had a fish interested in me,” Tony joked. “I bet I’ll get the most fish today,” he challenged, grinning deviously.

“Oh, you’re on,” Steve said, going back to the shore to put on fresh bait. It was mere friendly competition. And Tony was totally going to win.

“I’ll charm them with my good looks,” Tony called as he cast out.

“You mean scare them away?” Steve remarked before returning to the stream.

It was near sunset, the men catching a few small fish here and there as they tallied their numbers. Steve had three and Tony had four. It was a pretty close match, and they were about to call it a night when Steve’s bobber went under with an unexpected force.

“Holy shit, that’s gotta be a big one!” Tony said, walking closer to Steve.

“Yeah, it is!” Steve replied, his expression concentrated as he fought the fish underneath. He reeled it in slowly, letting the fish tire from the fight before reeling a little more. Tony watched as the taut line moved in random patterns as the fish tried to swim away. He thought for a second that the pole was going to snap as it bent practically in half from the force of the fish. Steve truly was strong, his biceps straining against his flannel as he brought the fish closer, but that fish had put up a damn good fight. It was then that the fish’s tail splashed to the surface, its body wiggling about before Steve finally reeled it all the way in, holding it up as it wriggled around.

“That’s gotta be a steelhead, huh?” Tony questioned, eyeing up that gigantic fish. It was a beautiful one, its body filled with colorful lines of greens, pinks and blues.

“Mhmm,” Steve said triumphantly, breathing a little hard, but smiling widely as he looked to Tony. The brunette felt his heart swell at the sight. Part of it was because he was able to give Steve a break from Avenger stuff. But the other part of it was because of how happy the man was. Seeing Steve smiling as he held up his fish, a few blonde strands falling over his forehead under that fishing hat as the sun set behind them brought forth a warmth within his chest.

“Well, best I get this guy back in the water,” Steve said, unhooking the fish.

“Wait,” Tony stopped him before the man put the fish back into the stream. Reaching for his phone in the pocket of his waders, Tony opened the camera. “Say cheese!” Steve did just that, holding the fish up and beaming a pearly smile. Tony snapped the shot, looking at it in approval before putting his phone away. “Told you, this one had to be one for the books.”

“Thanks for this, Tony,” Steve said as they packed up their gear, the sun setting low behind the colorful trees.

“Anytime, Steve,” Tony replied honestly. He thought he wouldn’t enjoy fishing. And maybe he wouldn’t if he wasn’t with Steve, because the guy definitely made it more fun. But it was a calming hobby, like the blonde had said earlier. And he most certainly wanted to do this again, with Steve beside him.

Walking back up to the truck, Tony wrapped an arm around Steve’s shoulders, shaking him lightly. “Alright let’s get some food and then get some sleep.”

Chapter Text

Tony had drove them to a quaint Bed and Breakfast a few miles south from where they were fishing. “I had J.A.R.V.I.S reserve two rooms for us,” Tony said, pulling onto the dirt road that led to the farmhouse style home.

Waiting at the front desk, two small suitcases at their sides, Tony fiddled with a pen laying on the counter. Steve wondered if he was nervous for some reason. Did he think they would be recognized now that they’d be around more folk?

A young man approached the counter then, popping behind it to assist them. “Evening, gents,” He greeted them, smiling so wide that Steve thought his freckled cheeks would crack. “Checking in?”

“Yes,” Tony said, taking off his sunglasses. Steve was secretly happy about that, he hated when Tony wore those tinted glasses inside, because then Steve couldn’t see the man’s striking eyes. “One room under Stark.” Tony said, taking out one of his credit cards.

“And one for Rogers,” Steve added, taking out his own wallet.

“Alright, one moment,” The young man said, turning to his computer.

“What’re you doing? Put that away,” Tony said when Steve was fishing for his lone credit card.

“I can pay for my room just fine, Tony,” he told him, trying to whisper.

“There happens to be a slight error, gentleman,” the concierge said, both Steve and Tony looking at him. “There is only one room available. And it is under Stark and Rogers."

“What?" Steve asked, wide eyed before looking to Tony. “I thought you told J.A.R.V.I.S two rooms.”

“I did tell him that, Steve,” Tony replied calmly. “That’s alright. We will obviously just bunk together.”

“I can go find a motel, Tony,” Steve offered before the man merely shushed him.

“No no, it’s good. We will manage,” Tony remarked, handing the man at the counter his card. “Everything is to go on that. Don’t let him try giving you his card,” Tony said, pointing his thumb back at Steve.

“I’m truly sorry about the computer glitch, Mr. Stark. Thank you for being patient and understanding.”

“Don’t worry about it. I am sure it wasn’t your computer,” Steve heard Tony mumble before thanking the man.

“Also, we have already served dinner, but I will be sure to bring up two meals for you,” the young man added, handing Tony the room key.

-

Walking up to their room which was room number 4, Steve took in all the old woodwork, dark carpeting and multiple black and white photographs that peppered the wallpapered walls. It reminded him of Brooklyn, when he would go with Bucky to his grandma’s house. It was just like this, tastefully dated amongst an evolving culture.

When they entered their room, the interior design was similar to the rest of the home. A lovely Victorian queen bed was nestled in the middle of the farthest wall, deep brown end tables on each side. Steve set his suitcase next to the only window, trimmed in white wood. There was a gentle breeze that swirled the creamy lace curtains languidly, and Steve thought about how romantic this would be if he and Tony were here as a couple rather than friends. Though Steve was grateful for this trip with just the two of them, he cossetted in their closeness, drinking in Tony’s presence after a month of barely seeing him.

Steve looked toward the bed then, imagining Tony laying there with him, curled up in each other’s arms, just talking about things and perhaps giving an occasional kiss.

“Yeah, sorry about the one bed thing.” Tony said, sideling up to him. “I mean, it’s a big enough bed for both of us, I think. But if that would make you uncomfortable I can sleep on the couch there,” he suggested, pointing toward a brown striped couch by the TV,

“Oh, no. I’ll take the couch,” Steve said lightly. In reality, he should be eager to sleep in the same bed as Tony. But that would make it all feel too real, and Steve didn’t want to deal with the disappointment of knowing it was only a one-time thing.

“You sure? I’m shorter than you. The bed might be the better one.”

“Really, I’ve slept on the cold dead earth in the war. The couch will still be like a cloud. Plus, sometimes I am rather restless and move a lot,” Steve admitted. “I don’t want to disturb you if I was in the bed as well.” Sometimes Steve had nightmares of Bucky falling from that train, or of himself going down in the plane. And even more recent missions, like of Tony falling out of the portal during the Chitauri attack.

“Alright,” Tony said, looking at the blonde. Along with Steve’s PTSD and Tony’s anxiety, they both knew about each other being plagued with nightmares. “If you change your mind though, you’re welcome to the bed as well. I promise I am not a bed hog,” he said with a chuckle.

The front desk worker came shortly after they got settled with a tray of food, which the men devoured quickly. Tony had given Steve his apple and bread bun, which Steve really appreciated. His ridiculously fast metabolism could be a curse sometimes.

He also decided to shower first. Tony was taking advantage of having internet connection, getting a few business matters in order. Steve had felt bad for him, Tony just never seemed to get a break. He was constantly demanded, never having time to just live. Steve sighed to himself as he stepped into the shower. And Tony was concerned with him having too much stuff to do. 

Lathering his hair, Steve could hear through the hum of the shower the brunette’s voice, deep and resonating. How nice it would be to have Tony in here with him. Steve imagined they’d wash each other’s hair, Tony’s thick, dark tresses white and soapy in his fingers. They would take turns washing each other’s bodies, their skin taut and slippery. Steve’s hands would glide over Tony’s sinewy muscles as his hands trailed down his back…

No. Steve needed to stop himself there. He could already feel his body responding to his overly vivid imagination. Get it together, Rogers, he yelled to himself. Tony was fresh from a break up with the woman he thought he was going to marry. He needed to respect the man, not fantasize about them together. Quickly turning the water colder, Steve rinsed the soap from his body. Plus, Tony obviously didn’t have feelings for Steve. If he did, wouldn’t his playboy title fall into play now?

Then again, from what he’s found out about Tony’s past reputation, the man had only been with women. And he really couldn’t hold that against Tony, Steve hadn’t been drawn to a man before Tony came into his life. So, to say the least, Steve’s chances were greatly marginalized.

Stepping out of the shower, Steve swaddled a fluffy towel around his waist. He realized then, that he forgot the change of clothes he sat out on the desk in the bedroom. That wasn’t a big deal though, he and Tony have seen each other in their skivvies before, when changing after a mission and the like. As casually as he could, Steve walked out of the bathroom and past Tony on the couch to grab his clothing. He heard the brunette stop mid-sentence on the phone, and Steve turned to see the man staring at him, his cheeks red. Tony’s eyes rose to meet Steve’s, and he quickly looked away.

“Yeah, I’m here,” Tony said into the phone, conversing with whoever he was on the telephone with. Steve hurried back to the bathroom, clothes in hand before closing the door behind him. Well, he never saw Tony react that way around him. Maybe he just caught the genius off guard, surely that’s what it was. Steve wouldn’t humor the idea that it was anything more.

After he was dressed, Steve exited the bathroom to allow the steam to escape. Grabbing the sketchbook in his suitcase, the super soldier headed to the desk to have a seat. He wanted to sketch the creek they were fishing at earlier. Tony got off the phone shortly after, not saying a word, hearing him enter the bathroom then. Maybe he did make the man upset when he walked out in his towel. Steve tried not to take it to heart or think about it too much, he’d done that enough over that month of Tony being distant. He focused on his sketch instead, starting with the beautiful oak and maple trees that lined the far side of the creek.

He was ready to start on sketching the creek itself when his phone rang. Searching for it in the pockets of his jacket, Steve saw that Natasha was attempting to video chat with him.

“Hey, Nat,” Steve greeted her with a smile when her friendly face popped up on the screen.

“Hi, Steve,” she replied, smiling back and waving at him. “How’s yours and Tony’s honeymoon?” She asked, and dammit, did that make his cheeks warm.

“Oh, it’s great!” He replied, moving his phone around the room to show her.

“Steve, you gotta switch the screen, I just saw your face the whole time.”

“Oh, hold on.” He hit the camera swap button and the screen changed to the view of the room.

“It’s a nice room. Is Tony’s next door?”

“Well, no actually. We are both in here. There was a scheduling error,” Steve explained, swapping the camera view back to him.

“Oh, well I am sure you’re not complaining about that,” Natasha winked. And the blush on Steve’s cheeks deepened a shade.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Nat,” Steve said, acting casual.

“Uh huh, sure Steve,” she replied, unconvinced. “I have eyes, you know.” Natasha was always so damn observant, of course she could see Steve’s helpless pining.

He merely sighed. “Do you think he noticed?” He asked in a whisper when he heard the water to the shower shut off. Natasha just shook her head.

“No, he’s oblivious to everything. And you honestly are not that obvious. I can just pick up on things is all.” Steve took a breath of relief when she told him that.

“So was there a particular reason you were calling, Nat?”

“Sam stopped here to tell you that his last lead on Barnes turned up empty,” she said sadly, and Steve couldn’t hide his disappointment.

“Well, it’s not the first time, and I am sure it won’t be the last, unfortunately. And you know as well as anyone that he won’t be found unless he wants to be,” Steve said, remembering how Natasha told him about her history with the Winter Soldier. The red head simply nodded.

“Something will come up, Steve. You’ll find your friend again. I’m sure of it.”

“Thank you, Natasha.” And Steve really meant it, looking at her sincerely.

“Enjoy the rest of your trip, Cap. Tell your other half I said ‘hi,’” she said cheekily, and Steve rolled his eyes good heartedly.

“I will,” he smiled, and with that, they’d said their goodbyes. Looking at his sketch once more, Steve huffed a breath. That last lead had seemed so promising. And yet, they ended up dry.

“You okay, Cap?” He heard Tony ask, interrupting his thoughts.

“Oh, yeah. I didn’t even hear the bathroom door open,” Steve admitted, closing the sketchbook. His mind was too scattered to focus on art anyways. He swiveled the chair around, facing the brunette.

“That was a good shower, I figured they’d run out of hot water,” Tony said, stretching his back, his old t-shirt rising to reveal the tawny, taut skin of his belly. Steve’s eyes were glued there a good minute before he looked to Tony’s face, the man smirking at him.

“See something you like, Steve?” Tony asked, his grin salacious.

“Uh,” Steve said intelligently, his body becoming extremely warm, his shirt collar rather tight. Tony just laughed then, turning away to plop down on the bed.

“I’m just messing with you. Hey, this bed is super comfy. I’m not gonna lie, I’m glad you insisted on the couch,” Tony said, laying amongst the plush white comforter and pillows, stretching out on it like a cat.

In retrospect, it shouldn’t have looked so alluring to Steve. But here he was, swallowing thickly, his hormones taking off.

“Speaking of beds, I think I am gonna hit the hay now.” Steve said, feigning a yawn. He beelined it for the little closet near the door where he found an extra blanket. “I will steal some of your pillows, though,” Steve said, grabbing a few out from under Tony’s head, laughing as we walked back to the couch.

“Whatever, I still have pillows and the mattress,” Tony replied, sitting up then and looking to the super soldier. “Steve?” He heard the brunette call him as he made up his bed on the couch.

“Yeah, Tony?” he asked, fluffing up the pillows.

“You really did have a good time today, right?” Tony queried, the man twisting the sheets of the bed in his hands. Steve watched him, thinking of how he rarely saw Tony so unsure.

“Of course,” Steve assured him, sitting on the couch and unfolding the blanket. “It was nice getting out of the city and do something entirely new,” he said with a smile. Tony smiled too, looking down at his hands. Steve saw the glow of the arc reactor through his shirt, gently lighting his face in a soft, pale blue glow. “But you know what made it really great?” He added.

“What?” Tony asked quietly, looking back up at him.

“Having you here with me,” Steve confessed, looking at the genius through his lashes. Romantic feelings aside, Steve truly cherished their time together. He wanted Tony to know that all of it was perfect, and that he had done more than enough for Steve. Even when it came to friendships, the brunette needed to be reminded that he was indeed good enough. Steve understood why though, not only did Tony have high expectations for himself, but so did the world.

“Thanks, Steve. I’m glad I could share this with you too.” With that, they nestled into their bed and couch, Steve shutting off the floor lamp next to him.

“Good night, Tony,” Steve murmured as his eyes became rather heavy.

“Night, Steve,” Tony whispered.

-

The Chitauri were everywhere, their metallic armor shining in the sunlight, blinding Steve as he tried in every way to fend them off. His vision blurred, colors exploding in his eyes.

The scene changed, and Steve was standing in the snowy mountains, watching Bucky being dragged away by Hydra agents. Steve was running after them; he could feel the freezing cold bite into his uniform. He pursued them as fast as he could, but to no avail could he reach his best friend, who was bleeding profusely from his left arm. He could hear Bucky’s screams echo in his ears. The snow picked up heavily then, and Steve’s vision turned white.

The scene changed once more, Steve watching Tony flying up through the sky, nuke held to his back. Steve could hear his own voice. “‘Stark, you know that’s a one-way trip.’”

Steve woke with a start, his breath uneven, his hair sweat laden. His flannel night shirt was also sweaty, and his hands were shaking. He looked over to see Tony still fast asleep, a tuft of dark hair peeking over the comforter.

Regulating his breathing, Steve quickly stripped out of his top, finding a white t-shirt to throw on. His heart was anxious, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep for a while. So, quietly, Steve padded out of the room, down the stairs and out to the wrap around porch. He didn’t bother with finding a porch swing or a rocking chair to sit on. Steve simply took a seat on the steps, his elbows resting on his knees as he looked upward towards the sky. It was a cloudless night, and the stars were in abundance, much more than New York City. He had always found solace when he looked at the stars, a comfort settling within them then. The breeze was cold and crisp, the perfect combination for autumn. It presented an invigorating chill, pleasantly giving Steve goosebumps.

He had probably been out there for a solid 45 minutes when he heard the front door open, closing with a typical creak. Tony took a seat next to him, saying not a word. And when Steve turned to look at him, the man had Steve’s blanket wrapped around him. Tony looked straight ahead, and Steve took a moment to appreciate his profile, his nose slanting softly until it turned up at the end ever so slightly. His eyes were like liquid pools, big and almost glowing as they captured the light of the moon and stars.

“Wanna talk about it?” Tony finally asked, looking to Steve, entrapping the super soldier’s gaze. Steve only sighed, looking back up at the sky.

“When I was young, I had a hard time sleeping. Whether it was from an asthma attack or fever, I had many restless nights,” Steve said, watching the twinkling stars against the darkest of blue skies. It was like diamonds sprinkled upon black velvet.

“So when there were those nights that I couldn’t seem to sleep, my mom and I would sit on the small bay window in our living room apartment, and we would look up at the stars. Mind you there weren’t as many stars as this,” Steve chuckled lightly. “But there were more stars than there are now in Brooklyn.” He heard Tony laugh at that, the man adjusting the blanket over his shoulders.

Steve remembered his mother, with her arms wrapped around his delicate frame as they watched the stars glimmering in the sky. He remembered her tired eyes from double shifts at the hospital, her light hair braided over a shoulder. Still, she stayed up with him those nights till his asthma subsided or his fever broke, and he was able to sleep once more.

“My mother would tell me about the stars.” Steve said, wistfully. “My favorite tale was of two stars in particular. Those two, right there,” Steve explained, looking to Tony before pointing up and slightly to the left of where they sat. “She told me that those were the souls of two warriors from hundreds of years ago,” Steve said, smiling lightly at the memory. “You see, they were both from rival clans, Brayan was from the East, and Ferris from the West. When there was threat of foreign invaders, though, the men had come together, joining forces and becoming inseparable friends. They fought side by side, protecting all those who were defenseless against the attackers.” Steve looked to Tony who was just watching the blonde intently.

“You see that one there? See how it burns slightly red?” Steve asked the other man, pointing to the star on the left.

“I think so,” Tony replied, squinting at it.

“Well, during the greatest battle the warriors ever fought, Brayan was struck by an arrow when he blocked it from hitting Ferris, the tip lodging close to his heart. Running to his side, Ferris held his dearest friend as he bled out, the battle continuing around them.” Steve stopped then, chuckling. “I’m sorry, you probably have no interest in this.”

“I do, actually,” Tony said quickly. “I wanna know what happens.” When Steve just looked down, staying quiet, Tony gave him a gentle nudge with his elbow.

“Alright,” Steve finally said, smiling then. “When the clans were outnumbered, Ferris didn’t leave Brayan’s side, even when the rest of his men fled. Holding Brayan’s lifeless form, Ferris was killed too by the invader’s leader.”

“Shit, sounds a bit gruesome for a kid’s tale,” Tony commented.

“Have you ever read a Grimm’s fairytale?” Steve inquired, a brow quirked. “This is nothing compared to those. And I wasn’t done. The gods had seen Brayan’s self-sacrifice as well as Ferris’s bravery and strength. And so, they lifted their souls up into the heavens, creating them there. The one burns slightly red for Brayan’s selflessness, and that one burns blue for Ferris’s diligence and valor. Their earthly bodies perished, but their spirits live on in the sky, together.” Steve finished the tale, looking at Tony who had his eyes on the stars still.

“I would have my mom tell me that story as much as possible, until she wanted to change it up. I guess I loved it because, growing up scrawny and an easy target, I would ask myself what would Brayan and Ferris do?” 

“And what would they do?” Tony asked.

“They’d fight back, and stand up, even when it seemed pointless. They’d protect and do what’s right, even when it was easy to just give in,” Steve replied. He felt Tony place a hand on the middle of his back, the warmth of his touch comforting in the cool night air.

“Your mother would be proud to see what you’ve grown to be, a better man than most. Even better than Ferris and Brian.”

“Brayan,” Steve said, laughing lightly.

“Yeah, him,” Tony said, patting Steve’s back before retracting it and holding the blanket close. They stayed on the steps a bit longer, Tony telling Steve the scientific names of the two stars in the story, and the constellation they were a part of.

“I’m gonna head in, Cap,” Tony said, rising up then and shrugging the blanket off his shoulders, only to drape it around the blonde.

“Alright,” Steve said, burrowing into the soft cotton fabric. I’ll be sure not to wake you when I come in,” he added before watching the genius enter the house quietly, so not to wake the other guests.

Steve stayed out there for a little while longer, the anxiety of his nightmare finally dissipated. Tony being out there had helped him, the man’s presence alone always calming. Yeah, Tony was constantly on the go, being pulled every which way with business matters as well as the scrutiny of the public eye. But when he was with Steve, he was always fully attentive, completely focused on him. It was sometimes intimidating for Steve, having 100 percent of Tony’s attention. But it didn’t surprise him either. Tony always did things with all that he had.

Steve felt himself finally tire again, and he went inside, treading softly up the wooden staircase. He went to the couch, only to stare at it. Folding the blanket and laying it on the back of the sofa, Steve looked over to the bed then. Tony told him he could sleep in the bed too, that he didn’t mind sharing it with Steve. He really should just sleep on the couch and let that be the end of it. Steve knew himself well enough to know that he would be sorrowful when tomorrow rolled around, and he would never be able to sleep in the same bed as Tony again. But, the temptation of being so close to Tony was much more overpowering, and Steve relented.

Taking a breath, Steve went to the bed, hesitating there. He looked at Tony, sound asleep, his chest rising and falling gently. And how the moonlight washed over him, Steve had felt a sense of awe and wonderment.

Slowly moving the covers, Steve got into the plush bed, careful not to stir the genius. Pulling the sheets and comforter up around him, Steve made sure to be as far on his side of the bed as he could. He didn’t want to invade Tony’s space at all. And he hoped he didn’t move around too much once he fell asleep.

Laying stock still, Steve stared at the ceiling. He reassured himself that this was fine. Friends did this, and Tony said it would be okay. Turning his head slowly, Steve’s eyes skirted up Tony’s frame before settling upon his face. Tony’s features were relaxed, and he hoped the man was having sweet dreams. Steve could hear the low hum of the arc reactor, that beautiful invention that kept Tony’s heart beating. Steve allowed himself to appreciate this moment, sharing a bed with the man he’d fallen for. Even if the feelings were one sided, Steve could at least have this memory to cherish.

Chapter Text

The workshop was quiet. No loud music filled the room, just the faint whirring of DUM-E as he maneuvered around the random mechanisms and armor that littered the floor space.

Tony sat there, twirling a screwdriver in his grip as he stared at nothing in particular. It had been two weeks since Steve and his mini vacation. And though Tony had other matters to worry about, all he could think about was that trip, and Steve.

Something had stirred within Tony the night he and Steve shared that bedroom. He didn’t mean to react the way he did, when Steve had walked out of the bathroom in just a towel. In Tony’s defense, anybody would be caught off guard if someone was practically nude and sauntering by. Seriously, that white towel was tiny, the owners of that B and B should really consider getting larger ones.

Either way, Tony should have looked away right after. Instead, he watched Steve walk to grab his belongings, the brunette’s eyes taking in the plush curve of his bum underneath that too small of a towel, wet and drawn taut around his hips.

He didn’t stop there like he should have, rather he took in the spread of Steve’s back, and the smooth skin that molded over defined muscles. Tony didn’t understand his actions, it’s not like he hadn’t seen Steve shirtless before, and he paid no mind then. Yet now, he observed every little detail. It was only when Steve had turned back around, meeting Tony’s eyes that the genius remembered himself, focusing back to the conversation he was having on the phone.

Tony had tried to let it go, brushing it off as no big deal. He told himself it was because Pepper’s words were lingering in the back of his mind, about how he had affections towards Steve, nothing more.

When he fell asleep, Tony figured that was the end of everything, him checking out Steve’s physique didn’t amount to anything. Anyone with eyes could see that the man was fit. But then, when he woke up to pee, only to walk back toward the bed and notice Steve was gone, Tony felt his chest tighten. He knew what had happened; Steve had a nightmare, and knowing that the man was outside alone, trying to recover by himself chipped away at Tony’s heart.

Steve told him the story of his mom, and Tony could hear the fondness in his voice when he spoke of her. Steve didn’t mention his mom much, and Tony could understand that. His own mother was his world, and when she died, for a long time the mere thought of it was enough to make him fall apart. Steve’s mother was a saint though, from what Steve had said about her. She not only raised one of the most honorable men in the world, but also she did everything she could to make sure Steve was taken care of and loved, in a world that so often indulges in cruelty.

He was happy to have shared that with Steve, and he could tell the man was feeling a little better afterwards, his nightmare not so fresh on his mind. Tony had gone to bed, expecting that this time, that would be it.

But the fates, or whoever it was, apparently enjoyed torturing him. Because when Tony had been sleeping in the same spot for too long, and he groggily tried to turn over, it was then that he felt a warmth along the one side of his body. Tony opened his eyes, looking down to see Steve, his head resting partially on Tony’s chest, fast asleep. He was at first confused, because Steve was originally sleeping on the couch. But Tony remembered how he made it perfectly clear that Steve was more than welcome to sleep in the bed as well. Tony assumed that the bed might help the soldier sleep more soundly.

The brunette just watched Steve sleeping deeply, his breathing even, and his lashes splayed out against his cheekbones. The faint glow of his arc reactor lit Steve’s face, highlighting the blonde’s chiseled features as he sighed in his sleep, nuzzling closer into Tony’s chest. Tony should have tried to nudge Steve over, or wiggle out from under him so he could lay on his side. But, he didn’t do either. Instead, he carded a hand through Steve’s hair, feeling the softness of it between his fingers. Steve looked so peaceful, his brows relaxed up, the faintest curve of a smile on his pink lips. He couldn’t help but think how handsome Steve was. And that stirring inside Tony was like that of the ocean tide, slowly washing up over his toes, inching closer and closer until he felt like he was drowning.

Tony was pretty sure he knew what that stirring was, as much as he wanted to deny it. It was there, though, and in that moment, with Steve sleeping on him, a hand curled into Tony’s shirt, that the brunette could feel himself falling in love with not Captain America, but Steve Rogers.

And that terrified him.

All because Pepper put that damn bug in his ear. Or rather, she revealed to him an aspect of his life he was oblivious to. Either way, Tony didn’t know what to do with this new information. It just didn’t make sense. For one, Steve was a guy, obviously. And Tony never found another male attractive or romantically interesting…well, until now. And for two, when did being great friends blur into romantic love and affection? If Tony’s life was a cartoon, there would be sparks flying from his head, representing his brain short-circuiting as he tried to understand what the fuck was going on with his life.

Maybe, just maybe, his unwarranted affections for Steve would dissipate, and all would be as it had been once Tony waded through the confusion. Surely, he didn’t love Steve that way. Tony tried to justify the feelings being nothing more than the aftershocks of their deepening emotional connection on the trip. Plus, he was still newly dumped, and there was no way he was over that already.

Tony assured himself this would all pass, and everything would be fine. This was merely just a bump in the road of his pothole filled, ‘roadwork ahead’ life.

-

The weeks went by as they always did, consisting of work, Avenger missions and the occasional movie night with his teammates. Things between him and Steve were absolutely fine, they were great actually. Steve would be in Tony’s lab like always, or Tony would be sure to attend the team’s training sessions every day. Even when during one of their sparring matches, when Steve ended up pinning him to the mat, and straddling his thighs, causing Tony to have rogue, yet very naughty thoughts, he buried them away, knowing that soon these feelings for the super soldier would all just fall away.

But by the fourth week of Tony relying on his feelings to go away, only to consider the idea that they in fact may not go away, Tony felt the panic rise within him once more.

-

A night in late fall, when the beauty of the season had long since withered to dead brown foliage and grey skies, the team nestled closely into the communal living area, having a movie night. Natasha sat cross-legged on the love seat, Clint next to her with his feet on her lap. Bruce sat in a plush recliner while Thor sat in front of him on the floor, a pillow in his lap, and a plethora of candies by his side. This left Steve and Tony on the other couch, and Tony really tried to focus on the film, or basically anything besides the super soldier sitting next to him. He would look at Steve only once and a while, each time finding something even more endearing than the last. Like when there was a jump scare in the film and Steve just about flew the popcorn bowl back when he gasped. Or when he went to eat said popcorn and a few kernels missed his mouth, settling on the hem of his shirt and jeans. Why did Tony think that was cute? If it was anyone else, he’d think they were slobs. But not when it pertained to Steve of course.

It was then Steve shifted in his seat, eyes still glued to the screen as he angled his body more towards Tony. The brunette looked down, seeing how close his left hand was to Steve’s right one. He stared there, wondering what it would feel like to hold another masculine one, but not any other masculine hand, Steve’s hand. He imagined it would be warm and strong, the perfect combination to Tony’s slightly rough and calloused hand.

Only when his fingers grazed one of Steve’s knuckles did he realized he was actually reaching for the man’s hand. Quickly, Tony grabbed one of those abandoned popcorn kernels on Steve’s leg, and popped it into his mouth. Steve moved his eyes away from the television then, looking quizzically at Tony when the brunette had touched him.

“You’re a mess, Cap. Someone’s gotta clean you up,” Tony said off the cuff, pointing to the other puffed up corn pieces that littered Steve’s lap.

“Oh,” Steve said, looking down and picking up the forgotten kernels. Tony’s eyes might have been fooling him in the dark living room, but there looked to be a tint on Steve’s cheeks as well as a look of disappointment. He caught Natasha looking at them, a small smirk on her lips, an eyebrow arched. Tony just looked at her briefly, attempting to act casual. But on the inside, his heart was pounding, as the subdued revelation of his romantic feelings for Steve dropped in his lap like a metal weight.

-

“Alright, what’s up with you man?” Rhodey asked him, taking a bite of his burger.

Tony was in California, meeting up with his right hand man for drinks and lunch.

“There’s nothing up. I’m fine,” Tony replied, munching on a French fry.

“Dude, you’ve been acting so distracted lately. I know your breakup with Pepper was what, three, four months ago? But you gotta keep living life. You know she is.

“It’s not about Pepper.”

“So what else is making you so unfocused?” The other man inquired, taking a sip of his pop. And Tony didn’t really want to talk about his ludicrous feelings for Steve. But maybe if he had someone to talk to and sort it out, things would make more sense.

“I think I’m falling for Steve,” he confessed with a sigh, before there was a spray of Rhodey’s soft drink in his face.

“I-I’m sorry,” Rhodey said, coughing while Tony grimaced and wiped his face with a napkin. “Did you say Steve? Steve Rogers?”

“Mhmm,” Tony replied, leaning back in his seat.

“But, Steve’s a guy.”

“Yeah, I know that,” Tony huffed, sounding annoyed. “Don’t you think I’d notice that detail?”

“Hey, it’s cool. I’m not judging, just surprised is all.”

“You’re telling me,” Tony said. “That’s why Pepper dumped me,” Tony admitted then, holding his friend’s gaze.

“What?”

“She called it off because she believed my heart had already belonged to Steve.”

“Ohhh,” Rhodes said, drawing out the word.

“And at first I thought she was crazy, that she obviously was mistaken,” Tony continued, lowering his voice when more people were nearby. “But these last couple months, I’ve been seeing Steve in a new light, a romantic light, rather than platonic friends. I thought the feelings would go away, that it was just Pepper’s voice echoing in my subconscious. But, Rhodes, it’s been weeks and they haven’t subsided,” Tony said. His friend just looked at him with sympathy. “I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do.” Tony sounded defeated, swirling a fry into his ketchup.

“Well, you know Pepper is always right,” Rhodey said lightly, and Tony huffed a laugh. “Is Steve someone you’d like to, you know, date?” Tony nodded, looking at him with a pout. “Well then, ask him on a date.”

“Are you kidding?” Tony scoffed.

“Why not? If you’re falling for the guy, you’re not gonna get anywhere with you being a love sick puppy,” Rhodey remarked, leaning his elbows on the table.

“The guy is from the 40’s. I mean, I’m not saying he’s a prude or anything. But I’d be shocked if he was gay or bi,” Tony said, as if it was common sense.

“You can’t just assume things, Tones,” he replied.

“Pretty sure I can assume that.” Tony thought about how Steve hadn’t really shown any interest in anybody. And anyone who knew just a smidgen of history on America’s first superhero knew about Steve and Agent Peggy Carter’s virtuous yet tragic love. Besides that, Steve was reserved when it came to his romantic interests, at least when he was with Tony.

“You assumed a few years ago that you would always hate Steve.” Rhodes said, knocking the brunette from his thoughts. “I think you’re just scared.”

“I am not.”

“You’re afraid that you’re going to get rejected. Tony Stark, possibly getting shot down,” Rhodey smirked. Tony only glared at him before throwing a balled up napkin at the other man. “Come on, Tony. Ask him. What’s the worst that could happen?”

“He could say no and avoid me for the rest of his life,” Tony muttered, looking at some of the other guests in the restaurant. “I don’t want to ruin our close friendship by trying to make it something more. I just can’t risk that.”

“Well, you’re gonna be a miserable man, not knowing what could be,” Rhodey stated matter-of-factly. He sighed when Tony just frowned. “Look, it’s a risk, you’re not wrong,” he admitted to the genius, shrugging his shoulders. “But risks have always been an all or nothing deal. Nothing ventured nothing gained and all that.”

Tony thought about Rhodey’s opinion and advice. He of course was right, saying that some risks are worth taking. But Tony didn’t want to go in guns blazing, only to run away with his tail between his legs. He’d find a way to see if Steve was interested in anyone and then go from there. That would be a both risky and safe bet.

-

The next day, Tony harbored away to his lab once more, needing something, anything to keep his mind off of Steve. All these blossoming feelings were nonsensical and absurd, so why weren’t they going away?

It was only a few minutes of tinkering with the metal plates of an Iron Man suit before Tony’s mind wandered to his teammates’ uniforms and all the ways he could enhance them. Natasha could use electric shocks for long distance. Clint always needed enhanced arrows as well as being able to carry more of them during missions. And Steve…Tony’s mind stuttered then. Dammit, the blonde made it into his brain yet again. Well, it was for safety and Avenger purposes, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Tony sighed, rubbing a hand over his face as he plopped down into a chair, grabbing a stylus and tapping it on the table. Steve had a few things in his uniform that could always be improved upon, especially penetration into the fabric. Bringing up Steve’s file on the holographic screen, Tony looked over the man’s full body image, spinning it around to look for variables to improve. Besides his shield, the man didn’t have really any other weapons besides his ridiculous super strength and tactical skills.

With his eyes roaming over the man’s image, Tony eyed Steve’s insane shoulder to hip ratio, remembering how he took note of it when the blonde walked out in his towel at the Bed and Breakfast. He could picture how the muscles shifted under his creamy skin as he grabbed his change of clothes. Tony let out a frustrated noise, swiping the super soldier’s image away.

Standing abruptly, tossing the stylus onto a random work table, Tony walked to the back area of the lab where he had his cars, one of them, a ’67 Ford Mustang needing worked on. This would be the perfect distraction, nothing Captain America related whatsoever.

-

It was about an hour later, when Tony had made progress with some of the underside rust, that he heard J.A.R.V.I.S call him, though he couldn’t hear the A.I. from where he was under the body of the car.

“Can’t hear you, J,” Tony called as he buffed out the rust of the exhaust pipe. The A.I. repeated himself and Tony rolled his eyes, sliding himself on the roller seat from under the car. “I can’t understand you when you mumble like that,” Tony huffed, sitting up only to see Steve looking down at him.

“Hi, Tony,” Steve said smiling, a sketchbook and charcoal pencil in hand.

“Hey, Steve,” Tony replied, moving to his feet, and removing the goggles he had to protect his eyes from any rust flakes.

“Sir, I was saying Captain Rogers was entering. And since you were mumbling under the car, I assumed you said ‘okay’,” J.A.R.V.I.S remarked sassily. Tony just rolled his eyes yet again.

“I thought I could come down here and keep you company while you worked on whatever it is you’re doing,” Steve started, his voice perky, his blue eyes big. And Tony felt the dreaded butterflies break out of their cocoons and fill his gut.

“Uh, well,” Tony said, the butterflies filling up his chest then.

“I-is this a bad time? I can just go,” Steve said, and Tony could physically see the man’s positive presence slowly dying away. Tony could not bear to be the cause of it.

“No, it’s not a bad time at all,” Tony said quickly, grabbing hold of Steve’s bicep when the blonde turned to leave. “Sorry, I’m just tired today, and have a lot on the mind,” Tony added, using every bit of strength to not squeeze his hand around Steve’s bulging muscle.

“Oh, okay,” Steve replied. “Did you want to talk about anything?” Tony just shook his head with a neutral smile.

“That’s alright, Cap. But you’re more than welcome to stay down here. I’ll just be finishing up a few things on this beauty of mine,” Tony said, gesturing towards his car.

“Sure, that’d be great,” Steve replied, turning to grab up a stool so that he could be near him as he worked. Tony caught himself smiling fondly at the man. Steve didn’t say anything while Tony situated himself back on the roller seat, tools and goggles by his side. The blonde was already working on his charcoal drawing, Tony listening to the scratch of the pencil to paper. He gnawed on his bottom lip a few moments, watching the blonde.

“Have you ever been around someone, someone that you saw in a certain light for quite a long time. And then all of a sudden there is a shift, and it’s too late to realize you’ve fallen for them?” Tony asked, his mouth speaking faster than his brain realizing it. Steve stopped drawing then, eyes looking to Tony, his brows furrowed in thought.

“Yes,” Steve said after a while. “Yes I have been in those shoes before.”

“With Peggy?” There was another pause with Steve, his cheeks deepening a shade.

“No, not with her. That moment when she punched a cocky soldier in the face, I knew I had fallen for her,” Steve clarified, laughing lightly then.

“You’ve loved someone else?” Tony asked, curious.

“Of course.”

“Who was it? Did you tell her about your feelings?” Steve just shook his head, looking back down to his sketch, starting up his drawing once more.

“I’m not telling you who it was. But we had connected so well, though things started out rocky. And then, one day, when I saw them, talking and joking with someone, their smile bright and genuine, I felt it. That love I had for Peggy so many years ago had come back.” As Steve told him that, Tony felt a bitter pit turn within him, and he’d known that feeling before; he was jealous.

“Well, do you still have feelings for this person now? Should I play matchmaker and get you two together?” Tony asked. He’d meant for it to sound like a joke, but even to his ears it sounded sharp and cynical. Steve must have not picked up on it, though.

“I guarantee you’ll fail miserably if you tried to set us up,” Steve laughed, looking at Tony with an easy smile. “Why do you ask though? Has someone new come along that you’ve grown fond of?” Steve asked then, and Tony couldn’t even lie to him. He looked up at the blonde and nodded, smiling sheepishly. “Oh, who’s the lucky lady? Steve inquired, smiling, though Tony could see that it didn’t meet his blue eyes. The brunette just brushed the question off. What would be the point of revealing his affections when clearly Steve was infatuated with another?

“What’re you sketching?” Tony asked, changing the subject. If Steve was eyeing someone up, his battle was already lost. Steve looked down, adding a few more strokes of the pencil before closing it.

“Nothing major,” Steve said simply. “So, can I help you at all with your car? I’ve done some maintenance on old cars and bikes in the Army.

“Oh, yeah sure,” Tony said, smiling weakly. He wasn’t over Steve saying he was interested in someone. Not just interested, in love with someone. What was he going to do now? Pine silently? No. Tony Stark did not pine. “She needs her oil changed. Think you can manage that?” Tony forced a chuckle as he got up from the roller seat.

“God, I hope I can handle an oil change,” Steve laughed, grabbing a well-used rag while sifting through the brunette’s tools. He grabbed a regular wrench, as well as an oil filter wrench before grabbing the roller seat and moving it to the front of the car and taking a seat on it. Tony handed him the container to catch the oil.

“Alright, well I’m gonna change the spark plugs then,” Tony replied, moving to the hood of the car, careful not to kick Steve’s legs.

“Okay!” Steve called, sliding under the car while Tony lifted the hood to reveal the engine. The genius too began his work, removing the wires from the ends of the spark plugs, only to grab his socket wrench to loosen them. Tony thought about Steve loving someone else once more. Well, at least he didn’t ask Steve out like Rhodey originally mentioned. Because then, he more than likely wouldn’t be sharing this moment with Steve. The blonde would have shot him down faster than a speeding bullet, only to then avoid Tony like the plague, and this wonderful friendship they had established would be all for naught. Tony couldn’t deny it left him sour, knowing he couldn’t have Steve the way he wished to, but at least he had him as a great friend.

“So, what cars did you work on back in the day?” Tony asked as he cranked a spark plug loose.

“Oh, not too many things, I guess,” he heard Steve say, his voice muffled. “There was a car garage not too far from where I lived in Brooklyn. I’d go there once and a while after school to sketch the cars. All the workers knew me, everyone knew everybody back then,” Steve explained, and Tony could hear the nostalgia in Steve’s voice, the longing of his old life pushing through. “Some of the mechanics would show me basic things. And then Howard taught me about motorcycles, and he showed me how to fix mine up,” Steve added, and Tony’s pleasant moment of sharing ended like a needle getting dragged across a vinyl record.

“Oh,” was all Tony said, and he knew Steve didn’t bring up Howard to upset him on purpose. Though, in the beginning, before they had settled their differences and became friends, Tony was positive Steve brought up happy stories with Howard just to piss Tony off. It always worked too.

“Sorry,” Steve said quickly, realizing Tony’s change in tone, “I didn’t mean to-” There was a clatter then, and a startled sound from underneath the car.

“Steve? You okay?” Tony asked, moving to the side when Steve pushed himself from beneath the car. Tony saw it then; Steve was covered in oil. His one cheek had the filmy dark liquid splattered on it, and his tight navy shirt was absolutely ruined.

“I’m okay,” Steve huffed, using a semi clean spot on the old rag he still held to wipe his cheek and lips before any oil found its way into his mouth.

Once he was done wiping his face the blonde looked at Tony, holding his gaze before they both broke out into giggling fits, Tony clutching his belly and half turning while Steve covered his mouth, his broad shoulders shaking.

“So much for managing an oil change,” Tony breathed, wiping a laughter tear away from the corner of his eye.

“I guess so,” Steve laughed, looking down at his shirt. “I really liked this shirt too,” he added. Tony went to make a comment, but completely lost focus when Steve grabbed the hem of his shirt and hiked it over his head, revealing a firm sculpted chest and cut abs.

He watched the blonde wipe down his torso with the shirt when excess oil had seeped through the fabric and onto his skin. Steve was talking, but Tony didn’t hear him, his eyes pinned on the man’s pectorals. Tony wondered how different they would feel from a female’s, the muscles firm under taut skin and so enticing to caress. Tony’s gaze lingered upon Steve’s nipples then. They were petal pink, and so perky. Tony had this roiling desire to pluck and toy with them with his fingers. He wondered how they’d feel, pebbled and hard as he touched them, wondered how fast they would redden from all his teasing…

“Tony?” Steve asked, jarring the genius back to reality.

“Huh?” Tony answered ever so intelligently, scrubbing a hand at his face and refocusing. “Sorry, I was, thinking about where I had placed my oil can…” Tony lied, turning away from the man, needing to not look at his face, or immaculate body. Tony seriously needed to get a grip on himself, or he was going to be doomed.

“Is this it?” Steve asked, and Tony reluctantly turned to see the oil canister in the super soldier’s grasp. Tony’s eyes typically betrayed him as he immediately looked back to Steve’s bare shoulders and glorious torso. Why the hell was the man still shirtless?! Couldn’t he see Tony’s discomfort?

“Oh yeah, thanks,” Tony remarked, his cheeks flushed, and his pants oddly tight. Oh God. No. Even though he had the romantic feelings for Steve for a while, Tony had never become hard from them. This was not a good sign; he was falling even deeper when he knew he needed to be climbing up. Tony’s inner dialogue was extremely loud, and he felt panic rush into his chest. “You know, Cap, I just remembered I’ve got this thing down in…a meeting in like five minutes. Yeah, I’ll see you later okay?” Tony said, jumbling some form of a sentence together as he headed for the elevator, turning his body away so Steve couldn’t see his blatantly obvious problem.

“What about the car?” Steve called to him.

“Leave it, we’ll work on it later,” he replied. “You can stay down here if you want to sketch or something.” With that, Tony headed up in the elevator, gently banging his head on the cool metal doors of the car, doing his best to ignore the heat that was building deep in his belly. This had to pass, it needed to pass. He needed things to go back to the way they were, where he wasn’t swooning over the super soldier.

The elevator doors opened then, leading out into the living area of his penthouse. Tony didn’t have anywhere to go, or anything to do for that fact. He wandered through the room aimlessly, wondering about his life, the Avengers, and what Pepper was doing right now. He’d seen her only sparsely, for business matters mostly. Tony walked over to the window, the grey skies reflecting his destitute state.

Leaning an arm against the clear glass windows, Tony looked across the multitude of skyscrapers that besieged the city. He felt so lost, his heart pinching when he thought about Steve cuddling close to him back at that Bed and Breakfast, how he thought about how much he would like waking up with Steve by his side every morning. It didn’t make sense to him then, and it didn’t really make sense to him now. But Tony had accepted his feelings for Steve, and it hurt him deeply, knowing that the man’s heart belonged to someone else.

Chapter Text

Steve was left standing there, still holding his soiled shirt as he watched Tony leave. That was a bit strange, he felt. But then again, as Steve thought about it more, he had found Tony to be acting differently the past month or so. It wasn’t that he was being distant or mean whatsoever. But he seemed to be rather capricious, his mind someplace else, like he was constantly mulling something over in his brain. After their conversation today, Steve figured Tony was acting that way because he had found a new love. When Tony admitted that, Steve felt his heart fall to the bottom of his belly, disappointment flooding through his veins.

Sorrowfully, Steve turned back to the car, sitting back down on the roller seat again. He felt foolish for what happened. But he wasn’t paying any mind when he realized he struck the Howard nerve with Tony. Maybe that was why Tony bolted, he was probably pissed at Steve, and he had every right to be. Steve knew better by now not to bring up Howard. It was his fault, and now he wished there was away he could make it up to his friend. Steve was just so preoccupied with wallowing in self-pity underneath that car, thinking about the lucky dame who would soon be the center of Tony’s attention.

He rolled under the car and started changing the oil once more, careful not to make an even bigger mess of things. That would at least help the brunette out a little bit and help get Steve back in his good graces.

Steve finished changing the oil and filter then, still thinking over everything as he scrubbed up any spilled oil as well as cleaned the tools before putting them back into Tony’s toolbox. He meandered over to his sketchbook and pencil, still resting on the stool.

Picking it up, Steve flipped to the picture he had been working on before he helped Tony with his car. It was just a rough image of Tony, leaning against the car, arms folded across his chest, his eyes cast down, a small smiled etched on his face. Steve felt his heart thrumming wildly. Damn, how was he supposed to get over this crush of his?

-

“I thought you needed help with the car, Tony,” Steve said, looking at the dark haired man, who just stood there, leaning against the car, smiling at Steve with that salacious grin of his.

“Nope, I don’t,” Tony said, grabbing Steve by the shirt and pulling him flush against his chest. “Just wanted you down here with me privately,” Tony hummed in Steve’s ear, gently biting at the soft lobe then. Steve’s breath hitched and the next thing he knew, Tony turned them, pinning Steve down against the hood of the car. The brunette leaned against him, their chests pressed against the other, and Steve let out a surprised noise when Tony’s mouth meshed with his, his soft lips roaming over Steve’s ravenously, possessively. Steve was blushing, overwhelmed with Tony’s skilled actions as he tried to keep up with him, allowing the brunette in to taste his tongue.

“Whatever are we gonna do about this, Steve?” Tony asked then, nudging a leg in against Steve’s arousal. Steve moaned and looked to Tony, seeing the genius’s gaze sealed on his face, his beautiful smile radiating…and it was all for Steve.

 

Steve opened his eyes to darkness, alone in his bed. It was overwhelmingly hot in his room and he tossed the sheets off of him. He sat up, only to feel the painful arousal that throbbed under his pajama pants. Steve groaned, annoyed as he fell back against the mattress. That was one vivid dream, everything seemed so real. Steve bit his lip, breathing deeply as he tried with all his might not to shove his hand down his pants and ease the ache. He felt guilty of course for dreaming that, something so intimate of his dear friend. It wasn’t the first time he had these dreams with Tony in them. But they usually weren’t that descriptive.

His flagrant problem underneath his pajama pants wasn’t going away anytime soon though. So, Steve waddled to his bathroom then, standing before the toilet and lowering his pants. Taking hold of his erection, Steve closed his eyes and bit his lip, stroking himself fervently and trying to get it over as quickly as possible so that he didn’t indulge in his fantasies. He tried desperately to not think about the way Tony’s rough hands felt on his body in his dream, or the way the brunette kissed him, causing Steve to elicit sweet and sultry moans…

He really did try.

-

A week later, Steve was off to the makeshift, new S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters Fury had been slowly building after the one infiltrated by Hydra fell. He wanted to talk with Nick about recruiting Sam and Colonel James Rhodes to become Avenger teammates. Steve obviously had witnessed Sam’s fighting tactics as well as his honorable heart. He’d be a perfect addition as The Falcon. And Colonel Rhodes had experience as the Iron Patriot for years and was Tony’s right hand man. He clearly would be a remarkable choice.

Nick of course took it under consideration and agreed with Steve that their skill set were greatly desired and admired. After their meeting, Steve was heading down the hall, buttoning up his winter coat, only to stop when he saw a familiar face heading his way.

“Hello, Captain Rogers,” the brown eyed woman said in greeting.

“Kate?” Steve said, a confused look on his face. No, that wasn’t her name. What did Natasha say it was? “What’re you doing here?” He queried then.

“After the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D last year, I became a member of the CIA, though I still am an ambassador of sorts for the new and improved S.H.I.E.L.D,” she said, giving him a close-lipped smile.

“Oh,” Steve replied. “Well, it’s nice knowing another friendly face that’s on the same side. Someone trustworthy.”

“I guess so,” the blonde woman said, looking up at him. “Speaking of trust, and honesty, I’ll admit my name isn’t Kate,” she chuckled then, extending her hand. “My name is Sharon, Sharon Carter.” Steve went to shake her hand with a warm smile. Her last name struck him then, and he paused their handshake midway.

“Carter?” he asked, a browed raised.

“Mhmm. Peggy Carter is my aunt,” Sharon explained, releasing her hand from his. Steve could see it then, the resemblance. They had the same earnest brown eyes, filled with determination. It took him a moment to say anything, as the past flooded through his memory, like it so often did.

“How is she? I haven’t seen her since before S.H.I.E.L.D fell.”

“She’s had better days,” Sharon admitted, her eyes saddening at the dissolving state her aunt was going through. “She speaks of you often, though. If you’re in the neighborhood, I’m sure she’d be thrilled to see you,” she added, shifting a file under her arm.

“I’ll be sure to do that,” Steve replied with a nod, looking down at his boots.

They were quiet for a moment, a slight awkward silence filling the space between them. Steve felt a little weird about everything, remembering how he found her to be cute back when she was “Kate the nurse”. Now, knowing she was closely related to his lost love, Peggy, just made him unsettled. Like he was the creepy uncle every family had or something.

“Two weeks from now is a military gala. There will be a tribute to Aunt Peggy, and I am going to give a little speech on her role with S.H.I.E.L.D, ya know, before it became corrupted,” she joked. “You should come.” Steve knew what gala she was talking about. He believed he received an invitation as well. He didn’t really want to go before, but knowing that there would be a tribute to Peggy, Steve didn’t want to miss it. He’d already missed 70 years with her. He needed to start making up for it now.

“Sounds good. I’ll be there.”

-

It was early December now, and the Avengers were hosting just a small party after a successful mission of infiltrating a Hydra facility. They were getting closer and closer to finding where Loki’s scepter was, and by the information they had received from this last mission, Steve figured they were close.

Thor was probably the most joyous. Once he had the scepter, he would be able to go back to Asgard and have it deciphered there. The demigod’s voice boomed through the communal area, his laughter deep and hearty, causing even the saddest heart to lighten. He introduced Steve to his love, Jane, a very kind woman with a kind smile, along with her intern Darcy. She had given him a wave, followed by “Sup?” before she had disappeared shortly after to the food table.

Thor had also introduced him to Sif and the Warriors Three, who were just as merry as Thor. When Steve met them, he went to shake their hands, only to be grabbed up into a giant group hug. It took him a few minutes to get his lungs functioning properly afterwards.

With a beer in hand, Steve settled next to the grand Christmas tree that was situated on the one side of the living room. A gentle snow had begun to fall outside, and Steve watched as the flakes caught the moonlight. It was so peaceful, a contrast to the warm, energetic atmosphere inside the tower.

He looked at the white lights that twinkled in the reflection of the glass windows, observing how they twinkled amongst gold and red decorations. Steve laughed softly then, thinking of how something as simple as Iron Man colored decorations could bring his mind back to the brunette. He tried not to let it wear on him, thinking about who had caught Tony’s eye. It obviously wasn’t Steve’s business, and he should be happy for the man, finally trying to find love again after his heart wrenching break up with Ms. Potts. Tony was finally moving on, and Steve really needed to move on as well. His besotted feelings for Tony were never going to be more than that, a one-sided crush. Steve took a swig of his beer, enjoying the slight bitterness and yeasty mellow taste.

“It can be overwhelming.” Steve heard a soothing voice say, and he turned his head to see Tony walk up next to him. “Though Thor was always one to go for the gusto, when it comes to parties.”

“He goes for the gusto with everything he does,” Steve replied with a light laugh as he peered at his other friends across the room. He heard Tony hum in agreement watching the others as well.

“I think Nat and Darcy are going to the kitchen to grab a large decorated cake. Who bought it and why is beyond me,” Tony said, taking a sip of his own drink. Steve could smell the booze. Bourbon, one of the genius’s favorites.

“I hope it’s a cake big enough to feed an army,” Steve murmured, tilting his face to look at Tony once more. He was dressed in a long black shirt, the sleeves pushed up to his elbows, revealing strong forearms. His dark hair was just a tad bit disheveled, and a spicy sandalwood cologne drifted from Tony’s tawny skin to Steve’s nose, the aroma riveting. Steve would never get over how handsome Tony was. That brought Steve to think again about the lucky lady the genius had his sights on now. He inwardly sighed.

It was then they saw the cake being carted in, and it was indeed gigantic.

“Hey, I’ve been meaning to tell you,” Tony started then, grasping Steve by the shoulder. Steve turned his head to see Tony staring at him, their faces remarkably close. So close that Steve could see the individual hairs in Tony’s van dyke beard. “Nick called me today, saying that we are to host a toy drive for the holidays this weekend,” Tony said, and Steve was merely watching Tony’s pink lips moving before he looked into the man’s brown eyes.

“That sounds like a great idea,” Steve remarked once he forced himself to pay attention.

“Yeah, me too. I guess it’s a gesture towards showing the public that the new S.H.I.E.L.D is working hard to restore itself to its early original days. Before Hydra was in the picture anyways. Tony explained, turning his face forward once more.

“Where are they hosting it?”

“Central Park. It should be cold enough for the snow to stick. Plus, we are supposed to be getting a few inches tonight,” Tony said, heading for the dining room when he heard Clint yell that they wouldn’t be getting any cake. “C’mon, Cap, might as well get back into the fray.”

Steve followed right behind him. “You just want to get a piece of cake with a giant flower on it. Don’t you?” Steve asked with a laugh.

“That’s the only acceptable piece of cake in my book,” Tony replied, smiling cheekily. “The more frosting and sugar, the better.”

-

The charity toy drive was absolutely wonderful. Though, Steve was not a fan of having to give a few interviews when the reporters showed up. He left that to Tony and Thor. Each Avenger had a station in Central Park, allowing the kids to partake in special activities. Bruce taught kids how snowflakes were formed, while Tony had been in charge of a snowman building contest. Clint held sled pull races, and Natasha was at the ice skating rink, showing the little ones how to skate figure eights. Thor manned the hot chocolate station, which finally had gone over smoothly once Steve explained that Asgardian liquor could not be added to children’s hot coco.

Steve had the best station in his opinion. He painted little Christmas and other holiday pictures on the kids’ chubby chapped cheeks. Seeing their faces light up when they looked at their painted cheek in the hand held mirror made Steve’s heart swell. They’d hug him goodbye, holding onto their parent’s hand and waving to Steve as they walked away. Steve would give them a soldier’s salute before security let the next child take a seat and picking out the image they wanted done.

He was absolutely thrilled with the turnout of the toy drive. So many children that probably wouldn’t have presents under their tree or a gift to exchange during Hanukkah or Kwanzaa now would have something to cherish. It brought back memories of his childhood Christmases. A small, feeble tree with heirloom ornaments adorning it would be huddled in the corner of their apartment. He would make his mom a handmade present and tuck it under the sharp pine needles. And his beautiful, selfless mother always scrounged up enough money to get him something special, like new drawing pencils or a wooden toy. When Christmas morning came along, Steve would hurry as fast as his sickly body would allow him to the living room to see a brown paper package nestled underneath the tree. Even though he knew other children received multiple gifts, Steve was always so grateful for his lone one. He knew there were families out there who were even less fortunate than him.

-

The team made their way back to Avengers Tower, taking the long way round so that they passed through the private outdoor training yard. Steve and Tony were the last to shuffle through, though Steve didn’t mind that one bit. He clung to every quiet moment he could when it was just him and the brunette.

“That was honestly a great event,” Steve commented, smiling lightly and slipping his hands into his dark navy wool coat.

“It was,” Tony agreed adjusting the red scarf around his neck.

“Who won the snowman competition?”

“The girl who made an Iron Man snowman,” Tony answered, and Steve saw how the man was trying his best not to smirk.

“Wow, how surprising. You and your bias.”

“Hey now, it was very well made,” Tony said defensively. “It was much better built than the squirt who made a Captain America snowman.

“Pff,” Steve derided, smiling as he nudged Tony in the shoulder. “Probably the best of them all.”

They made it to the middle of the yard when a snowball flew out of nowhere, hitting Tony in the back of the head. “What the hell?” he said in surprise, touching the back of his head as small clumps of glistening snow fell from his dark hair.

They both turned around, and Steve tried to figure out where the snowball came from, only to get hit in the chest with one. He heard Clint’s laughter coming from behind a few of the trees that littered the yard for when they trained for different terrain. It was then Clint ran out from his hiding spot, pounding the two men with snowballs.

“Ambush!” Tony yelled when more wet snow was flying at them in opposite directions. Natasha ran across the wall that enclosed the yard, hurling one right at Steve’s face. It was so cold, and yet so invigorating, his senses awakening. He laughed giddily, grabbing a handful of snow and packing it as he ducked behind a tree. He saw Thor running out from behind a training wall, throwing an icy ball at Tony and knocking the brunette flat on his bum.

Soon enough everyone was against each other. Even Bruce emerged behind a tree to whip a snowball at Thor, who miserably attempted to block the blow with Mjolnir.

Steve’s coat was soaked, the dark fabric heavy on him as he dodged a snowball from Clint. He didn’t hear Tony shout “look out!” until it was too late and he careened into the man, both of them tumbling to the snow laden ground.

“Ugh,” he groaned opening his eyes to see that he was indeed laying on top of the brunette.

“Shit, Steve, you’re heavy,” he huffed, pushing his hands against him.

“Sorry!” Steve apologized, rolling off the man so he could breathe.

“It’s okay,” Tony managed to say, looking over at him as they laid side by side. Steve felt the cold wet snow starting to seep its way into his dark jeans, though it was moot as he smiled softly at Tony.

“Warriors down!” he heard Thor say, and Steve just shook his head and laughed as he and Tony sat up, brushing off the snow from their clothes.

“You okay?” Steve asked looking for any bumps on Tony’s head from the collision. Tony waved him away.

“I’m fine, Cap. Fit as a fiddle,” he replied. Steve nodded, and went to get up to join the snow battle once more, only to see a demigod sized ball of snow flying his way. He put his hands up to block it, only for Tony to push him against the ground once more, shielding Steve with his body. It hit Tony’s back, the ball breaking apart as wet snow flew every which around them. Steve was slightly startled, though Tony chuckled to himself.

“I’ve got your back, Ferris,” Tony said with an easy smile, and Steve’s chest flooded with warmth, knowing that Tony had remembered the story he told him those few months ago.

“Thanks, Brayan,” Steve replied as he tried to calm down his racing heart. It shouldn’t have mattered that much to him, but it did. Time seemed to slow, the background chaos and noise sounding so distant as the two men stayed laying on the ground, Tony still hovering over Steve.

Tony’s elbows bracketed Steve’s head, one of his knees between the blonde’s legs. He stared down at Steve, his dewy brown eyes locking with his. Steve couldn’t look away, his azure eyes searching for something, wishing for all the things he wanted to tell Tony could be simply said in his gaze. The snow had begun to fall gently, peppering Steve’s hair and lashes.

“Tony?” Steve asked quietly as the genius kept looking at him, his warm eyes soft. Steve would be the first to admit that he was rather oblivious when it came to people showing interest in him. But the way Tony was watching him now, Steve was sure he’d seen that same expression on Tony’s face before, when he would look at Pepper, a gaze of awe and fondness.

“Who is it that you’ve fallen for?” Steve asked, his cheeks tinting in rouge as he inquired, nerves building within him. He needed to know though. Steve would never entertain the idea before that he was the one Tony’ had been interested in. But now, as their bodies were mostly pressed together, and as Tony pinned his gaze on Steve, the super soldier could feel the shift between them. Something so subtle, like a kiss on the brow of a newborn babe.

Tony smiled faintly, a hand reaching up to brush a snowflake from Steve’s cheek with his thumb. The man’s calloused digit was somehow tender against his warm, blushing skin. He saw Tony open his mouth to speak, only to be interrupted by Natasha scolding her fellow spy in the background.

“Dammit, Clint! What’d you do?!” she yelled, followed by a roar from a raging Hulk. Steve and Tony sprang to their feet, running to the rest of their teammates to try and get a green and angry Bruce into the tower where the Hulk Room was.

Needless to say, that small thread, so weak and fraying as it tied Steve and Tony together in that altering moment, had broken.

-

“I’m kind of nervous about going to this gala,” Steve confessed to Natasha, who straightened the tie of his replica uniform. He still had his old uniform, but even in its impeccably preserved state, natural cotton and wool could only be conserved for so long until the natural fibers broke down.

“You look great, Steve,” Natasha assured him, smoothing out his jacket lapels and adjusting his military decorations. “You know, Tony’s going to be there,” she added then, the one side of her mouth curving into a smirk as she looked at him.

“Really?” Steve said, his voice sounding more elated then he meant to. Though, he didn’t really have to hide anything from Natasha anyways.

“Yes. Colonel Rhodes is being honored tonight. Tony naturally is going there to support him.” The red head took a step back, nodding in approval, before she changed her mind and brushed Steve’s hair a little more towards the side, defining his part.

“Now I’m even more nervous than before,” Steve mumbled bending down a little so she could reach his hair with more ease.

“How come?” And he shrugged. “Steve,” she said in an authoritative tone before standing back, happy with his appearance finally.

“It’s just. He’s Tony,” Steve sighed, going over to sit on his bed. “He flourishes in the spotlight,” Steve remarked. “There are bound to be countless women fighting for his attention, to link their arm with his.”

Natasha walked over to the ben then and took a seat next to him. “Besides, he told me he was interested in somebody new.”

“Oh?” Natasha said, inviting Steve to continue.

“I bet she’s beautiful,” Steve said, a small pout on his lips.

“So, you don’t know who she is?” Natasha asked, and Steve shook his head staring at the wall on the other side of the room. “Since when does Tony Stark have a mystery woman? He never keeps his interests hidden,” Natasha continued. “Have you seen her around the tower?”

“No, I haven’t. But what does it matter, Nat? Tony’s a socialite. He could meet up with her anywhere. It’s probably under wraps because he doesn’t want to be public about it yet,” Steve explained, the irritation surfacing in his voice. “It’s just getting harder and harder to contain my feelings for him.” Steve sighed, slumping his face into his hands as the redhead patted his shoulder.

During that snowball fight, Steve had the fleeting thought that Tony had felt the same way about Steve. The mutual feelings seemed to flow off of each other as they laid there in the snow. The unspoken words had said so much. Steve was waiting for Tony to admit something though, anything that hinted at him having the same romantic feelings for him. But after that Hulk incident, everything went back to the way things were. It must have been the cold getting to Steve’s head.

“You wanna know what I think?” Natasha said after a pause. “From one friend to another, I think you should talk to him. Be honest. You taught me that honesty is best,” she laughed lightly, her bluish green eyes soft. If he’s truly your friend, he won’t slight you for it. Hell, he may even have something to reveal to you too.”

Chapter Text

Every gala event was the same; flashing lights were blinding, fake smiles revealed bleached teeth, and the abhorring small talk was enough to make Tony want to beeline it for the bar every time. He was somewhat used to it all by now, having to attend balls and events like this gave him some form of immunity to the shallow veneer.

After the formalities of shaking hands and giving cheek kisses, Tony excused himself from Rhodey, who was speaking with a military official and headed toward the bar. He really didn’t want to be here. If it weren’t for Rhodey, he’d be back in his penthouse. It was probably good that he was out of the tower, getting some fresh air and seeing other people besides his teammates. Especially Steve.

Last week he had been so close to telling the blonde how he felt. When Steve asked him who he had fallen for, all Tony wanted to do was lean down and kiss the man breathless, letting his actions speak for themselves. And the way Steve asked him, so hopeful and big eyed. If it hadn’t been for Bruce hulking out, Tony was ready to tell Steve the truth, not worrying about the possible ramifications that would have followed suit. How Steve was under him, his cheeks red from the cold, his lips so pink and pouty, Tony had felt his breath leave him as his chest filled with an affectionate assortment of fluttering.

He chickened out after that though, acting like nothing had happened between him and Steve. He’d seen him since then of course, but he never brought up that moment, and neither did Steve. And so, he let it go. It ate away at Tony though, wanting to just tell Steve the truth, and get the weight of it off his shoulders. It was when Steve was down in his workshop a few days after the snowball fight that Tony knew his time with the man was soon to run out.

 

“I’ve been thinking about looking for a place in Brooklyn again,” Steve said casually, bouncing a red, white and blue ball Clint apparently won at an arcade or something. Of course it being decorated in American flag colors, he naturally gave it to the super soldier.

“You have?” Tony asked, looking up from a piece of armor he was monkeying with. He couldn’t deny the hurtful sound in his voice.

“Yeah. I just, I miss it. Ya know?” Steve said, catching the rubber ball in the air and bouncing it off the far wall. “I was thinking of a small place there that I could go to in between missions and meetings. Something to call home, maybe have a room for painting,” Steve trailed on. Tony watched him, seeing the man’s gaze distant as he caught the ball once more.

“I can understand that…I guess,” Tony remarked, looking to the armor once more. “You can always find a home here, though. In the tower I mean.” Steve smiled faintly, looking to Tony.

“I know. But, I was just thinking more toward having some kind of normal life again. If that’s even possible anymore,” Steve explained, and Tony just breathed a light laugh.

“Good luck with that, Cap. Normal is something we all left behind,” Tony said honestly. Being an Avenger wasn’t something that would be categorized as an everyday, normal career.

 

Tony was obviously upset when he saw how adamant Steve was about finding another place. Yeah, he wouldn’t be there all the time, but Tony couldn’t deny he was sad that Steve didn’t find the tower to be worthy of being his home. He knew that even if Steve was gone part of the time, Tony’s feelings for him would not ebb, if anything they would probably heighten. ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’ and the whole bit.

Tony also knew that he couldn’t keep living this way, couldn’t keep on wearing this platonic façade when he was around Steve. So, he decided he would lay everything on the table with the man when he got back from this gala. Even if Steve didn’t reciprocate the same feelings, they’d be able to get through it. He just couldn’t lie to himself anymore. He needed to admit how he truly felt to Steve. Tony wasn’t one to shy away from things before, and he had no plans on doing that now.

Arriving to the bar area of the ballroom, Tony asked the bartender for a glass of scotch, stuffing a fifty-dollar bill into the tip jar while he waited. There was an overhead announcement being made then, stating that a speech would be starting on the north side of the room in roughly fifteen minutes.

Tony turned when his drink was ready, taking a sip as he went to look for Rhodey, only to get snagged up by some guy he apparently met before. Tony put on his own signature fake smile, hearing the obnoxious man, though he wasn’t really listening to him. He nodded when needed, and sipped at his scotch as he looked around the crowd for his friend. It was then that Tony’s eyes settled upon a blonde head of hair and an Eisenhower jacket with matching pants. There was probably only one man who would be sporting a World War Two army uniform at this place, and Tony felt his heart speed up when the man turned to reveal that he was indeed Steve. What was Steve doing here? Tony figured that was a dumb question. It was a military gala after all. Either way, Tony wanted to talk to the man. Maybe he could flat out tell Steve his feelings for him now. At least if the confession didn’t go over well, Steve couldn’t lash out because it was a public setting.

“Yeah, sure sure, I’ll have my people call your people,” Tony remarked to the man who was still talking like his life depended on it. With that, Tony moved through the crowd of black suits and expensive gowns as he headed towards the blonde. He couldn’t help but smile as he neared the man, seeing Steve in a dapper uniform, wearing his medals as he sported his hair in an old-fashioned style was enough to make even Tony’s belly flop with nerves.

That smile on his face fell flat when he saw the man talking to a pretty, young blonde woman, the lady laughing at something Steve had said. Tony stopped dead in his tracks, his glass of booze almost slipping from his grip as he watched the two interact. The woman sipped at her champagne as Steve spoke, and Tony didn’t approve at how close she was to him. Granted, it was a crowded place. Still, Tony didn’t like it. The female checked her phone then, saying something to Steve before patting the man’s arm and walking away.

Tony stood there for a few solid seconds before clearing his throat and finally blinking. He felt the jealousy pit yawn to life as he watched the retreating woman make her way toward the front of the room. Tony went to leave then, needing to find Rhodey and not be in any proximity with Steve before-

“Tony?” He heard Steve call.

Shit.

“Hey, Steve!” Tony said, feigning surprise. “I didn’t know you were going to be here.” He went to take a big gulp of his scotch, only for ice cubes to hit him in the face. Did he really drink all of that that quickly?

“Oh, yeah. Well, I wasn’t planning on coming, but there is going to be a tribute and speech to Peggy.” Steve shrugged and smirked. “Didn’t want to miss something else with her.”

“Gotcha,” Tony said, looking at anything but Steve. He was so close to telling Steve how he felt. But how could he do that when he was schmoozing with that blonde chick. Tony could assume that she was the one who had Steve’s affections. Tony wasn’t blind nor naïve.

“Y-you look rather dashing tonight,” Steve commented then, fixing his Eisenhower jacket. “No smudge of grease in sight.” And there was that adorable easy smile on the man’s plush lips. Tony wanted to wipe the blonde’s smile off with a passionate kiss.

“Well, it takes a lot for me to get dressed up. It’s a rare sight,” Tony remarked nonchalantly. Though the compliment from the super solider made him blush. Tony blamed the alcohol for it. “How’s the apartment search going?”

“Eh, it’s going,” Steve said shrugging. “Haven’t found too many places that piqued my interest. I’ve got plenty of time to find the right space, though.”

There was the sound of a finger tapping on a microphone then, and the two men turned to see the blonde woman Steve was talking to standing on the small stage behind a mahogany podium.

“Oh, it’s time for Peggy’s tribute,” Steve whispered excitedly. “Come on.”

Tony followed him to a row of empty seats, though soon enough there wasn’t an open seat in view. “Good evening, everyone.” The blonde woman said, smiling cutely to the crowd. Tony merely rolled his eyes. Soon, the lady began her speech on Agent Margaret Carter. Tony’s jealousy didn’t dissipate, the green eyed monster stewed and roiled within his gut. Of course the woman was pretty and seemed nice enough, but she wasn’t Tony, so obviously she wasn’t good enough for Steve.

Shortly into the speech, the woman explained how she knew Peggy since she was a baby, that the renowned co-founder of S.H.I.E.L.D was indeed her aunt. “Aunt Peggy would sometimes tuck me in at night and tell me a wild tale from the war,” this Sharon woman said, and parts of the crowd oohed and awed. Tony grimaced and looked to Steve who was smiling from ear to ear, laughing when Sharon described a more comical story Agent Carter had told her. Something about the men playing hot potato with one of the soldier’s favorite bowler hat. None of that mattered to Tony though; Steve had the hots for Peggy’s niece?! Tony wasn’t one to judge, but that just wasn’t right.

“My favorite stories Aunt Peggy told me were her missions with the Howling Commandos and Captain America, whom we have with us here tonight,” Sharon said with a smile, looking to Steve before people began clapping for him. The man of course blushed at the attention and gave a shy wave. Tony wondered how the man got through all those promotional videos and USO shows.

The rest of the speech went on with Sharon talking about Peggy co-founding S.H.I.E.L.D and why they did. Tony tried to pay attention though he practically knew all this information anyways. All he could really do was think about how Steve was sucking face with Peggy’s Goddamned niece.

After the speech and tribute video to Peggy played, Steve and Tony meandered to the side of the room, hanging out by the glass wall as they waited for Sharon. “That was a lovely thing they did for Peggy,” Steve started, placing his hands in his pockets as he searched the crowd.

“Yeah. It was,” Tony mumbled, texting Rhodey to see where he hell he ran off too. His honorary ceremony thing was coming up soon. Also, Tony needed an excuse to get away from Steve and his squeeze as soon as possible.

“It’s wonderful to see all she accomplished during a time where it was even harder for women to hold authoritative roles.” Tony could hear Steve’s voice sounding morose, and Tony just huffed an irritated sigh.

“Well, at least you have the next best thing, right?” Tony commented then, putting his phone away.

“Pardon?” Steve asked, an eyebrow arched.

“Couldn’t make a life with darling Peggy, so you’ve settled on her niece,” Tony said as if it was obvious, his voice slightly laced with displeasure. “Sharon, she’s the girl you’ve been swooning over the past few months.” It was then that Sharon sidled up next to the two men as Tony continued. “It’s okay, you’re just going down the bloodline. I don’t know if Peggy would approve but-”

“What?!” Both Steve and Sharon shouted, voices shrill. Tony stopped talking then, looking at the girl as she side stepped away from Steve a few feet, clearly weirded out.

“Oh, I guess you hadn’t told her yet,” Tony added.

“I’m not. She isn’t who-” Steve was trying to form a coherent sentence, his eyes owlish and pleading as he looked to Sharon.

“Look, Steve. I’m sorry if I made things unclear. I mean, you are charming, and when Aunt Peggy told me stories about you I did find you dreamy…” She trailed off, looking to Tony with big eyes before she looked back to Steve. “I’m going to head home now, I think. I’ll see you around HQ, Steve,” Sharon forced a smile before practically bolting through the crowd.

Tony blinked a few times, looking at her disappear into the multitude of people before swallowing nervously. Well that was awkward. “I guess you hadn’t confessed your love to her yet. At least you found out this way, rather than asking her out,” Tony joked, trying to lighten the mood. He looked back to Steve though and stopped laughing. The man glared at him, and his face had gotten so red, Tony thought he was going to combust right where he stood, nothing but a pile of ash in his place.

“You know, Cap, I think I just heard Rhodey call me. So I’m gonna go…” Tony started, turning as he spoke so he could high tail it outta there. He didn’t get far before the blonde grabbed ahold of his wrist and pulled him through the crowd. A few people looked at them, indiscernible expressions crossing their faces as they went.

Steve took them to an empty hallway, opening the first unlocked door and shoving both of them inside. It was dark and cramped, and it took Steve a moment to find the light switch. Once he did, the yellow glowing bulb hummed above them, revealing that they were in fact in a janitorial closet.

“Well, this is quite the turn of events,” Tony said, a box with plastic gloves spilling from the top nudged against his face.

“What the hell was that all about, Stark?” Steve barked.

“What? Sorry, I didn’t realize you hadn’t asked her out yet,” Tony said in defense, trying to ignore the fact that his and Steve’s chest were brushing against the other. He backed up a mere inch before his back hit a broom.

“Tony, I’m not in love with her” Steve whispered harshly, moving his arms animatedly and hitting a mop head in the process.

“…What?” Was all he said in response, Steve’s words slowly sinking in.

“I said, I’m not in love with Sharon. I-I don’t like her that way. At one point, when she was undercover as my neighbor, I found her intriguing then. But most certainly not now,” Steve explained, his voice annoyed.

“Oh.” Tony looked away then, pursing his lips together and pretending to be interested in the information on one of the cleaning solution boxes.

“Yeah, ‘oh’,” Steve said. “You wanna know who it is I’ve fallen for?” He asked then, his tone sharp. And Tony looked back to meet the blonde’s gaze once more. His blue eyes were soft then, almost innocently. Tony didn’t say anything, just continued to stare at Steve.

You, Tony. I’ve fallen in love with you,” Steve confessed. Tony could actually feel his chest tighten to the point he thought it would burst when he heard those words. “And I can’t explain it, why you’ve created these feelings I thought had died within me when I had gone under those 70 years ago,” Steve paused, taking a breath. “I’ve felt this way about you for a long time, Tony. And I’m sorry if it makes you uncomfortable or weirded out by it. But there it is,” Steve added, spreading his hands. “Take it with what you will.” Tony was lacking in the verbal department, everything Steve saying settling inside his brain.

Both men were startled when the door to the maintenance closet opened to reveal an elderly gentleman with slicked back grey hair and dressed in a blue janitor’s uniform. “Oh, I’m sorry. Am I interrupting something?” The man asked, looking rather confused. “I just need that cloth broom behind you, son,” he continued, pointing to Tony.

“Sorry, sir. We were just leaving,” Steve apologized coolly, eyeing Tony before slipping out of the closet and walking away. The brunette watched him go, blindly grabbing the broom and handing it to the older man.

“A lover’s quarrel is never an easy on,” the janitor said, adjusting his glasses and putting the broom into his rolling cart. “Best go get back in his good graces.” Tony exhaled loudly, moving out of the closet and closing the door.

He was the one Steve was interested in this whole time? Tony pinched the bridge of his nose, feeling a headache coming on. Fuck.

 

Chapter Text

Steve left the gala in a hurry, keeping is head down, avoiding eye contact so that he could leave the building uninterrupted. He went back to the tower, only to change into more casual attire and head back out, catching the subway train. Though it was late, the train car was still rather full, people working third shift or students who had been studying late. Steve saw a man with a bag filled with toys, a stuffed bear peeking out of the top. Christmas was right around the corner, he figured there were still some last minute shopping to get done.

Leaving the subway station, Steve found himself walking his old streets of Brooklyn, seeing all that was new and what had stayed the same. He’d visited the borough a few times since he had awoken in the new century, remembering the past. He was still looking for a place here, for when there was down time between missions. He knew it would be hard now, since he and Tony were co-leaders of the Avengers. It’d probably be best that he was at the tower and readily available.

But he missed Brooklyn, missed that sense of home. And hell, maybe Tony would want him gone now that he knew how Steve really felt for him. He guessed he couldn’t blame the man, but Steve had to be honest with him, just like Natasha had said. Granted, he wanted to reveal his feelings with less anger and frustration, but Tony’s actions and words were out in left field. He had been shocked that the genius believed it was Sharon he was interested in. Steve was pretty sure he was acting platonic with the woman. But clearly Sharon was just as confused as him. He needed to talk with her soon and explain himself, or at least explain that Tony was speaking out of his ass.

Steve knew he was going to have to speak with Tony also, and hear what the brunette had to say about everything. He just didn’t feel like dealing with it tonight.

The super soldier continued to stroll down memory lane, popping his coat collar up when a frigid wind whipped around him. He passed through his old neighborhood, and he stopped in front of the apartment he had grown up in with his mother. It most certainly was worse for wears. But he could see passing shadows through the curtains of the windows. Steve hoped a happy family was inhabiting the space he once called home.

-

The days had come and gone, and soon enough, it was Christmas Eve, the city still bustling with merriment and festive decorations. Steve was in his quarters, wrapping the last of the small gifts he got for his teammates. Religious opinions aside, all of them agreed that exchanging gifts Christmas morning would be a nice gesture towards the normal life they wished they had, or used to have.

So on Christmas morning, Steve was already up and making hot chocolate as the team filed in, eyes heavy, their movements sluggish. Steve wished them a Merry Christmas and a good morning, handing each of them a mug of the warm comforting drink, topped with whipped cream. Everyone had arrived, save for Tony.

Sitting by the tree with their mugs, they waited a little longer until J.A.R.V.I.S informed them that Tony wasn’t in the tower at all. Steve felt a dull ache fill within him, and he couldn’t help but think it was because of him. Why would Tony want to be around him now that he knew the truth about Steve’s affections. They began to exchange their gifts. Though Tony was absent, the genius still had all his gifts waiting under the tree with the rest of the team’s.

The joy that hummed through the room as Thor, Clint, Natasha, and Bruce opened their gifts from each other was energizing. And though he was sad that Tony decided to not join in, Steve was truly elated. They were all rather surprised to find out that Bruce crocheted, each of them getting a warm blanket.

“It’s a rather calming hobby once you get the hang of it,” Bruce explained while opening a gift from Thor.

Steve handed out Tony’s presents to his fellow Avengers. He didn’t see one for him, and that surely did sting. Steve had hoped that even though their feelings weren’t mutual, they’d still be close friends. Wishful thinking, he guessed.

“You seemed to have missed something,” Thor’s voice called, knocking Steve from his maudlin thinking. Steve looked back under the tree to see a cream envelope, his name scrawled out in Tony’s writing. He swallowed thickly, nerves heaping inside him. Steve was also shocked to think that the brunette had stationary laying around before wondering what the letter had read. Probably something along the lines of Tony wanting nothing to do with Steve.

The super soldier could feel his teammates’ eyes on him, mostly curious since none of them knew that had happened between him and Tony, not even Natasha. Taking up the envelope in hand, Steve could feel a weight to it. Something else was inside. Opening the envelope seal, Steve took the letter our, slowly unfolding the trifold sheet and revealing a small note.

 

Steve, please come to the address below around 7pm tonight. See you then.

            -Tony

 

Underneath Tony’s handwriting was the address, and Steve saw that that it was in Brooklyn. He tilted the envelope then, a bronze key falling into his palm. Studying it for only a moment, Steve looked up and saw the rest of his team quickly turn their gaze away, grabbing up their gifts and crumpling up the torn wrapping paper.

Steve joined in, keeping quiet as they piled the paper, ribbon and tape into a black bag. The blonde mulled over Tony’s letter in his mind, finding it to be rather inconspicuous. It made him nervous, for he didn’t know what to expect when he met up with the man later that day.

-

When 7pm rolled around, Steve took the subway to Brooklyn once more, finding the apartment complex that was listed on Tony’s letter. He quirked an eyebrow, pushing open the glass door and making his way into the lobby.

Stepping inside, Steve felt his mouth drop. It was the fanciest lobby he had ever been to in Brooklyn. He couldn’t imagine what the apartments themselves looked like. Steve pondered if this was Tony’s not so subtle hint that Steve needed to get out of the Tower and find a new place to live permanently. The genius knew that he was indeed looking for a place to stay at once and a while.

Begrudgingly, Steve took the stairs to the floor and room that was indicated on Tony’s instructions. Jiggling the key into the lock of the specified door, Steve slowly opened it and walked inside the room. He turned on the light switch to reveal a luxury suit apartment. Closing the door, Steve merely stood there for a few minutes, taking in all the fine details of the space. Quite frankly, Steve thought it was breathtaking.

Shrugging off his coat, the blonde hung it neatly over the back of a chair in the nearby kitchen area and finally got his legs to cooperate. It wasn’t long before he was searching through the other rooms of the apartment, seeing the clean cut lines of a modern interior design.

He’d only made it through half of the space when he entered a large, spacious room, practically knocking him off his feet. It was an art studio, bigger than anything he’d ever dreamed. A whole wall was nothing but glass French windows, giving a cottage like feel to the modern apartment. It would let in a wonderful amount of natural light during the day time, though now it let in the beautiful rays of the moon and stars. An easel was placed in front of the window, a large canvas resting upon it.

With his mouth parted in astonishment, Steve circled the room, taking in all the different supplies that peppered the space. A multitude of pre-stretched canvases were in one corner of the room, along with all the supplies needed to stretch canvas oneself. Steve then found himself looking at a glass case that held hundreds of paints, all categorized by color and paint type. The super soldier saw the row filled with oil paints, a medium he had been wanting to try out for a long time. Next to that were an assortment of paint brushes, palette knives, sponges and painter’s palettes. Steve fingered the tan soft bristles of one of the brushes, the texture like silk. In the center of the room was an angled table with drawers along the side. Shuffling through the drawers, Steve found sketchbooks upon sketchbooks of different kinds of paper, from tanned sheets to textured watercolor paper. And in the front drawer laid drawing pencils, charcoals and pastels ready to be used.

Steve thought he forgot to breathe, inhaling sharply when he heard approaching footsteps behind him. He turned abruptly, seeing Tony leaning in against the threshold of the doorway.

“Merry Christmas, Steve,” Tony said, giving him a small smile. Steve looked at him, trying to find the right words to say.

“This is my Christmas gift?” Steve asked incredulously. Tony nodded, rolling up the sleeves of his button down. “I-I can’t accept this, Tony,” he remarked, his voice leery. “It’s too much.” Steve straightened his own shirt, smoothing out the dark navy fabric and feeling fidgety with Tony’s piercing gaze on him.

“Are you really refusing a Christmas present?” Tony asked lightly, taking a step into the room then. “I wanted you to have this.” Steve looked behind him at all the wonderful art supplies and studio space. It was a lovely, generous gift, something almost too good to be true. Steve’s mind flooded to his earlier thoughts, that Tony had found him a place so that Steve could get the hell out of the Tower and as far away from the genius as possible. It made his heart feel like lead. That must be what this was. Tony most likely didn’t want to hurt Steve’s feelings, and so he found this apartment as a “Christmas gift”, a passive aggressive notion for Steve to start packing.

“You didn’t have to find me an apartment, Tony,” Steve said then, turning to face the man who was still on the opposite side of the room. “I know you don’t want me around anymore, what with me revealing how I really feel about you and all,” he continued. “You didn’t have to push me out the door though, and say it was gift. I was going to get out of your hair soon enough,” Steve finished, his voice cracking with emotion.

“Steve,” Tony said, taking a few steps forward, only for the blonde to raise a hand, shushing the brunette and stilling him.

“I can find my own apartment. Save your money on all of this. I’ll be sure to move out by the end of the week,” Steve remarked, starting for the door. He tried to brush past Tony, only for the man to block him, grabbing his hand.

“Would you just shut it for one damn second?” Tony asked, his voice soft, no anger in his tone. Steve looked at him with a surprised expression before drifting his gaze down to where their fingers intertwined. “That’s not why I got you this apartment and art studio,” Tony said, letting go of him then. He took hold of Steve’s chin and titled it so he met his eyes. “I did it because I knew you wanted a bigger art space. And because-” he saw Tony swallow thickly, his big doe eyes unwavering. “I’ve fallen in love with you too, Steve. And God, how I don’t want to see you move out of the Tower. Not one bit,” Tony confessed, his voice sounding a little shaky.

“What did you say?” Steve asked weakly. His ears must have been deceiving him. Tony smirked, still cupping his chin.

“I love you, Steve Rogers,” he said a little louder than before. “And like you had said the other day; I have no clue how it happened. But you have found your way into every cell of my being. You have become all that my heart beats for,” Tony added. So Steve’s ears weren’t tricking him. Tony loved him back, had gotten him this studio as a gift, not to kick him out. “I know you wanted to be back in Brooklyn as much as possible. It isn’t too far from the Tower, either. So, I thought you could come here whenever to work or get away for a while.”

Tony drifted his hand from Steve’s chin to his cheek, and the super soldier leaned into his touch, closing his eyes and breathing lightly. The man’s touch was so warm. He was overwhelmed with a sudden joyous emotion, knowing that Tony mirrored his affections. They could have this, a relationship that was more than just friendship and teammates. Opening his eyes, Steve held Tony’s gaze that was filled with an uncanny adoration.

“If you really don’t want this apartment, you don’t have to accept it,” Tony crooned. “But would you accept me, Steve? If our affections match, and you feel as strongly about me as I do you, do you think we could have this?” Tony asked, gesturing a hand between him and the blonde.

Steve didn’t waste any time smiling a boyish grin and nodding, a small giggle escaping him. He just couldn’t believe this was actually happening. Finally, Steve could have the love he desired for so long.

Tentatively, Steve leaned forward, feeling his nose brush along Tony’s. He was close enough that he could smell the man’s faint cologne, and feel the warmth of his body. Steve held himself there, waiting for any sign that would say Tony was uncomfortable. The man didn’t though, and so, Steve moved in more, until his lips gently grazed the brunette’s own soft mouth. The kiss sent a wave of bliss through Steve, his heart revving up like an engine. Closing his eyes, he could hear Tony sigh, and before Steve pulled away, Tony began to move his lips over the blonde’s, smiling against Steve’s mouth and wrapping his arms around his shoulders.

Steve had never felt anything quite like this before. Even when he and Peggy kissed, it wasn’t the same as this, what he was doing with Tony now. Everything about their kiss was tender and sweet, affectionate sighs or a soft moan escaping them as they focused on each other.

With one last nip to Steve’s bottom lip, he felt Tony move back, causing Steve to open his eyes and take a few regulating breaths. Tony literally took his breath away, and he could feel his cheeks and neck rather flushed. He couldn’t help but grin hard, watching as Tony did the same.

“Did that just make things official, then?” Tony asked, smiling still as he slid his hands to Steve’s narrow waist. “Shall we assume the rolls of boyfriends now?” Steve trailed a hand to Tony’s chest, resting it on the curve of his pectoral, the other sliding up to card his fingers in the hair at the nape of the brunette’s neck.

“I think we shall,” Steve remarked, smiling coyly. “Never thought we’d have boyfriends, huh?” And Tony chuckled, shaking his head.

“Never in a million years, Cap,” he said honestly. “But I’ve never been happier and eager about it,” he added, flicking his eyes down to Steve’s lips. He pulled Steve closer and pressed his lips to the blonde’s once more, drinking the man in like a parched man finding water. Feeling Tony’s mouth on his, the man’s rough hands caressing small circles in his lower back, and his facial hair scratching at his chin all felt just so good. Steve likened it to the feeling of falling asleep after a long grueling day. Kissing Tony was like looking at an old picture book, reminiscing on memories past. Loving Tony was feeling safe and protected, like a shroud that allowed Steve to finally let down his walls, where he could be vulnerable. With Tony, as his tongue sought entrance into Steve’s mouth and as he held him closely, Steve could simply be himself.

The blonde gasped against Tony’s intoxicating lips when he felt the brunette reach down and squeeze his bum. Pulling away, he looked at Tony who was grinning mischievously. “Sorry, I’ve been wanting to do that for a while,” he said low, resting his forehead against the super soldier’s. Steve giggled innocently, pushing his rump back into Tony’s grasp.

“And now you have the freedom to do that whenever you like,” Steve remarked, grinning at him lovingly.

He brushed a hand through Tony’s dark, satiny hair, as he admired the small laugh lines that formed around the brunette’s glistening eyes as he smiled sweetly. “Will you accept this art studio and apartment, then?” Tony whispered, his voice dulcet. “Come here whenever your creative juices are flowing, or you need to get away. You really deserve this.” Tony took a step back, walking over to the nook area where a lush blue couch sat next to a mini fridge and coffee station. “And if you need a coffee break, you can put your feet up and relax,” the genius offered. “I thought that maybe I could come and even visit while you work sometimes, turn the tables for once,” Tony laughed.

Steve chuckled too, walking over to the area as well. “You’re just gonna come and make use of the coffee maker,” Steve teased.

“Guilty as charged,” Tony plopped down on the couch and Steve quickly followed, pressing his side against Tony’s. The brunette took the blonde’s hand in his, capturing Steve’s cerulean eyes with his deep amber gaze. “Can I ask you something though, Steve?”

“Anything.”

“The days you’re here working on art or what not,” Tony started, brushing his thumb over Steve’s knuckles. “Would you come back to the tower at night? I know you don’t see it as home, but… I really like having you close,” Tony admitted a little sheepishly.

“Yes. Of course, Tony,” Steve said, his voice strong. Tony beamed at that, and to affirm his promise, Steve claimed the man’s rosy lips once more, kissing the brunette headily.

Steve had been yearning, and searching for that feeling of home, thinking that Brooklyn would provide it. But being with Tony was exactly what Steve was looking for, where everything fell into place, the cogs and gears working in tandem. Steve’s soul and spirit had been like unstable molecules, constantly vibrating, wanting to break out and find that balance. But as he sat with Tony, their sighs soft and their kisses languid, Steve felt his soul become filled with an overall calm, everything seeming to make sense. And as his spirit fluttered within him, Steve knew that he found his new home with Tony.

Chapter Text

Tony had been down in his lab, working on an algorithm with Bruce when he received a text from Pepper, asking him to look over some files she was emailing him, and he replied a short, friendly answer. They didn’t talk as much as they used to, though they were much friendlier to each other unlike when they first broke up. But they were friends once more, and Pepper told him that she was dating someone new, and the brunette was genuinely happy for her.

He went to put his phone back in his pocket before stopping himself. Tony instead decided to scroll through his camera roll, and found a picture of him and Steve, the blonde giving a childish smile and blushing while Tony pressed a kiss to the man’s cheek. It was a few weeks since they started dating, and he already was acting like a love struck teenager and taking selfies.

Tony sent that picture to Pepper with the caption, “You were right, as always. I really do love him.”

-

It was late February now, around two months since Steve and Tony had assumed the roles of boyfriends. When Steve thought about it all, it still baffled his mind, like this was all just an amazing dream. But then, Steve would see Tony, wrap his arms around the smaller man and kiss him sweetly. It was those quiet moments that reminded him that he and Tony as a couple wasn’t a dream at all, but a wonderful reality.

Steve hummed lightly to himself as he sat in his art studio in Brooklyn, working at his easel. He was practicing with his oil paints, dabbling in the wet on wet technique. The windows to the room were foggy as the cold air outside kissed the glass, the sky black save for a few pale grey wispy clouds.

Steve’s phone chirped beside him as he added a few more strokes to the canvas. He had been painting a small still life, something simple as he tested the waters of the new art medium. Steve checked his phone then, seeing a text from Tony, asking him what he wanted to eat for their date night in. Steve had a craving for Italian, and so he let his boyfriend know, as well as tell him he’d be back to the Tower soon.

Cleaning up his brushes and painting area, Steve couldn’t help but smile to himself, thinking about spending alone time with his love. Since they began their relationship, they hadn’t had the chance to spend a lot of quality time together, their missions becoming more frequent. But Avenger responsibilities had died down a bit finally, so Steve and Tony decided to make up for lost time and cherish a quiet evening together.

Making his way back to the tower, Steve went straight to Tony’s penthouse, eager to see the man. He found the genius spreading the carry out containers on the table in the living room. The movie list on the TV already up and waiting for them to pic from.

“Hey, handsome,” Steve greeted, taking off his gloves, coat and scarf before giving Tony a peck on the cheek.

“Hey yourself,” Tony replied, patting the couch cushion next to him as he sat down. “How are your art projects coming along?”

“Pretty good, “Steve said, opening his container, the smell of garlic wafting in the air.

“Oh yeah? You’re painting a picture of me, right?” Tony jested, grabbing his own meal.

“Like I need to boost your ego even more with an art piece dedicated to you?” Steve laughed, taking a bite of his eggplant parmesan.

“I could put it right in the entranceway of the Tower,” Tony suggested, grinning cheekily.

They continued their chatter as they consumed their meals, Steve asking about Tony’s day and what meetings he had attended.

Once they finished and cleared the table, the two men curled up on the couch, cuddling while they sipped on a sweet red wine. It was Tony’s turn to pick the movie, and he’d settled on Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Steve hadn’t seen any of them yet, but it was on his to watch list.

They watched the film in mostly silence, sometimes one of the men whispering a comment or two. Steve had an arm wrapped around Tony’s arm, the brunette’s head resting against Steve’s shoulder as the scene play on the gigantic screen. Everything was pleasant and sweet, until Steve felt one of Tony’s hands casually drift to this upper leg, resting it there, only to caress his thigh slowly. It was a gesture that shouldn’t have been a big deal, but the warmth of Tony’s hand was seeping into Steve’s denim covered leg. And soon enough, Steve was heightened to everything that was Tony, the soft noises of his breathing, the press of his cheek on Steve’s shoulder.

He wasn’t going to deny that this was all unexpected, though Steve could admit that he wasn’t surprised. For as long as they’d been together, Steve and Tony hadn’t made love. They had been so busy as of late that they barely had time to talk and maybe kiss, let alone anything else. Also, Steve felt that both he and Tony were apprehensive about taking their relationship to the next level. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to, before things got too hectic, they’d shared enough heated kisses for Steve to know that both he and Tony reacted similarly to their touches. But the whole man on man romance was new for them both. And hell, sex in general was new to Steve.

But how they were now, having Tony comfortably warm against him, Steve could feel a need begin to blossom deep within his belly.

“Steve, you alright?” He heard Tony ask then. “You look like you’re in pain.” Steve was staring blankly at the screen as he focused on his body’s reactions. He turned to see how Tony was looking up at him from where his head had been resting on Steve’s shoulder, his brown eyes liquid pools as the light from the TV screen reflected in them. Steve could see the concern written on his boyfriend’s expression. “What’s wrong, hon?”

“N-nothing. I’m fine,” Steve said, his breathing a little winded.

“It sounds like your asthma just emerged from the depths,” Tony commented, and he shifted his hand off of Steve’s inner thigh, only to accidentally hit Steve’s groin in the process. The super soldier let out a small gasp, and he could feel his swelling erection start to become a bit painful.

“Oh,” Tony said when he looked down and saw Steve’s problem. “Well, hello there,” Tony giggled, causing Steve to scowl at him.

“I’ll be okay, just don’t touch me for a minute,” Steve tried to joke, though he sounded more whiney than anything.

“And why would I want to stop touching you?” Tony challenged, smirking darkly and reaching back up to rub Steve’s arousal.

“Ah, Tony,” Steve breathed, his head falling back against the cushion of the sofa.

“Mmm, I like hearing you say my name all desperate and flustered, babe,” Tony remarked, and the next Steve felt was the man’s mouth on his, almost crashing their lips together as he captured every one of Steve’s moans.

The movie was long forgotten at this point, and when Tony said, “mute,” the sound vanished, leaving nothing but the men’s sultry sighs. Tony pulled away and asked Steve if this was still alright. Steve answered him by grabbing a handful of the brunette’s shirt and pulling him back for another breathless kiss.

The blonde fell back against the length of the couch, pulling Tony with him as they continued to kiss passionately. Steve could feel Tony continue to caress at his hardened penis, and he most certainly wanted to reciprocate the act, having Tony experience that sweet friction as well.

Reaching his own hand down, Steve palmed and teased the growing bulge in Tony’s jeans, the brunette groaning as he rocked into Steve’s touch, wanting more. Steve indulged him a little while longer, watching the brunette’s expression twist with pleasure. God, Tony was gorgeous, his eyes closed, his dark lashes thick as his mouth parted in ecstasy, breathing heavy.

Steve finally dropped his hand, pulling Tony against him and kissing his ruby mouth. The super soldier licked at the seam of his love’s lips until he was accepted in, and he darted his tongue into Tony’s warm mouth, tasting his tongue and teeth.

“Mmm,” Steve moaned as he licked into the genius’s mouth once more, reveling in the sweet taste on Tony’s tongue.

It was Tony who finally pulled away, resting his forehead on Steve’s, catching his breath. “Holy shit, Steve. You’re so fucking lovely,” Tony breathed, a small chuckle escaping him as he drifted a hand into Steve’s hair.

Steve closed his eyes and smiled boyishly, nuzzling into his boyfriend’s touch. He could feel where their chests and hips pressed together, could feel their hardened lengths rubbing through their jeans.

“We can stop now, if you want,” Tony said, lessening the pressure on Steve’s arousal.

“No, Tony. I-I don’t want us to stop,” Steve admitted, holding Tony’s gaze, seeing the man’s pupils dilated. Steve figured his looked the same.

“Good, me neither,” Tony responded, his voice low, licking his bottom lip before leaning down and kissing Steve ravenously. Steve felt the other man’s hand tighten in his hair, and the super soldier let out a rushed breath, his hands securing around Tony’s waist. “We should take this to the bedroom, wouldn’t you say?” Tony said between voracious kisses as he started to grind down against Steve’s thigh. Steve merely whimpered in agreement, overwhelmed by feeling Tony’s body roll against him in languorous waves as he continued to kiss the blonde. Tony just felt so good, his lean, muscular body moving skillfully against Steve’s own.

When he eventually gained some train of thought, Steve sat them both up before lifting Tony in his arms protectively, a hand under the man’s bum, the other around his defined shoulders. The brunette on instinct wrapped his legs around Steve’s small waist, his own arms securing around the back of the blonde’s neck before Tony leaned in to claim his love’s lips again. Steve had never wanted this so much in his life, he felt, wanting for him and Tony to consummate the love they had for each other.

Heading into his boyfriend’s bedroom, Tony still in his arms, kissing him gently, Steve laid them both on the luxurious cream colored comforter. The lights of the room turned on then, illuminating everything in a soft, warm glow. They giggled, kissing softly as Steve hovered over Tony, one hand holding the back of the brunette’s head, and Tony traced tender touches over the curvature of Steve’s solid biceps. Their embrace was warm and sweet while they kissed, the air in the room thickening the longer they went. Steve started to pant as he suckled at the deep pink pillows of Tony’s lips, nipping at the corners in between breaths.

Tony had been so pliant as they played around, allowing Steve to move them how he wanted. But then, like a bear awaking from a winter’s nap, Tony sprang to life, grabbing Steve and clinging to him, holding the blonde possessively.

Sitting them up, Tony practically sat in Steve’s lap as he toyed with the hem of his boyfriend’s shirt. In no time at all, Tony hiked the cotton fabric over Steve’s head, discarding it to the floor, allowing himself to take in his fill of Steve’s naked torso.

Steve felt his cheeks flush as Tony’s gaze drifted up and down his body. They obviously had seen each other half clothed before, when training and what not. But now there was desire and an invitation to look, to caress. There was self-doubt that began to creep its way into Steve’s thoughts, the black negativity slithering inside his mind and spreading. Tony had been so used to a woman’s body, but if he would end up changing his mind now? Seeing how Steve was built much differently.

“Any second thoughts?” Tony asked him, the brunette’s hands wandering up and down the musculature of Steve’s broad back. Tony could see the blonde had been retracting into his thoughts. “We don’t have to-”

“No, no I want this. Want you Tony,” Steve assured him with a soft smile. And Tony smiled too, massaging small circles into Steve’s lower back.

“What’re you thinking, then?” He inquired softly, knowing something was off regardless. Steve merely took a breath, feeling his boyfriend’s touch bring him comfort.

“This is new, for both of us,” Steve started, looking down a moment. “But I’ve never been with anyone. Ever,” Steve continued, looking back to Tony blushingly.

“Never?” Tony asked, his voice sounding surprised. “Not even with Peggy?” Steve shook his head.

“We managed a kiss, and that was it before, well,” Steve trailed off, and Tony nodded, knowing what Steve was trying to say. “It’s just, I want this to be great. Want us to have this together,” Steve said, voice small. “I guess my nerves are getting the better of me is all.”

“I can understand why you’re nervous, Steve,” the genius said then, bringing his hands to the blonde’s sides, resting them there. “And if it is any consolation, I am a little nervous, too.” Steve looked at him disbelievingly. “I know, shocking,” Tony joked before his tone became serious. Cradling Steve cheek with a masculine hand, Tony pressed a kiss to his boyfriend’s forehead. “We’re gonna figure this all out together, okay?” Tony said gently, looking at Steve. “It might be a little rocky at first. But we’re two grown men. I think we will be able to manage,” he pressed another kiss to the blonde’s temple, breathing lightly. “Plus, it’s gonna be a hell of a lot of fun as we go.” He leaned back and waggled his eyebrows comically, making Steve grin and chuckle.

“It will be,” he agreed, nestling his cheek in against Tony’s and holding him close. “You’re amazing,” he whispered, and he meant it entirely. Tony was one of the best things in his life, and he’d be sure to remind the man of it every single day.

They stayed like that briefly, Tony still in Steve’s lap, their arms warped around each other, relishing in their loving touches. Steve started things up again though, his hands finding their way down to the hem of Tony’s shirt, his fingers slipping underneath to trail light touches up Tony’s taut back. He pulled the fabric over the brunette’s head, leaving him bare chested as well, the cool glow of the arc reactor illuminating their frames.

Steve traced his hands over Tony’s shoulders, and over his clavicle before slowly drifting the pads of his fingers over his chest. The brunette humming in delight when Steve brushed his nails over the ruddy, pebbled flesh of his nipples. Steve smirked, flicking his gaze to Tony’s and continuing to drift his hands down, sliding his palms along the tawny skin of the man’s lean stomach before hitting the belt and waistband of the genius’s dark wash jeans.

“You’re beautiful, Tony,” Steve breathed, a look of awe on his face, as his eyes glided back up to rest on Tony’s arc reactor. He could hear its faint hum and Steve tentatively placed a hand on it, watching Tony’s expression to make sure he was alright with him touching it.

“It’s okay, go ahead,” Tony said with a close mouthed smile. And so, Steve did, his other hand coming up to cup around the metal casing that held the reactor in place. The metal rim was somehow cool to the touch, the arc reactor faintly warm. Steve never paid much attention to this circular reactor, but knowing it was what kept his love alive, made Steve think that it was the most precious thing. Leaning in, Steve pressed a quick kiss to the face of the reactor before trailing open mouthed kisses up his boyfriend’s neck and under his chiseled jaw. He felt Tony’s breath quicken, a soft moan escaping him when Steve’s teeth scraped against his dark cropped beard.

With an arm wrapped around Steve’s back, his fingers digging into his creamy skin, Tony took hold of the blonde’s chin, lifting it so that he could kiss the man heatedly, pushing back until Steve fell in against the mattress.

Steve had lost himself to the sensuous touches of his lover, until he felt Tony’s nimble fingers unlatching the belt, only to then unfasten the button of his jeans. Tony pulled away from the super soldier’s kiss bitten lips to focus on the task at hand. Steve looked down as well, watching the man pull the metal zipper down slowly and over the curve of his erection. The sight alone was explicit, seeing Tony half naked and stripping Steve out of his own clothing.

“Lift your hips for me, beloved,” Tony whispered, grabbing hold of the blonde’s waistline. Steve abided, angling his hips up so that Tony slid his pants down with ease. Steve also kicked his socks off, helping the man out some and leaving him in nothing but his grey briefs. Tony traced a finger on the underside of Steve’s foot, tickling him there.

“To-hohony!” Steve giggled, retracting his foot. Tony chuckled too, crawling back up to his boyfriend, his hands caressing up his body as he went. Steve sighed at the man’s touch, his breath catching when Tony’s tongue rasped against the pink bud of a nipple. “O-oh,” Steve moaned sweetly, closing his eyes as he threaded his fingers into his lover’s hair. The wet warmth of Tony’s mouth sent pleasant shivers up Steve’s spine, the scratch of the genius’s dark facial hair an exquisite sensation. Steve never knew how amazingly sensitive his nipples were, but God, he didn’t want Tony to stop.

Tony teased him with little bites to his nipples and muscular pecs before finally kissing up Steve’s neck and to his lips. Steve smiled up at the brunette when Tony hovered over him, feeling so blissed out in that moment. “Since you haven’t been with anyone,” Tony started, licking Steve’s plump bottom lip, his one hand caressing at the blonde’s side, feeling the dips and peaks of his serratus anterior muscles. Steve shook his head, leaning up to nip at his beloved’s lips. “You’ve never experienced a blow job, then?” He grinned cheekily.

“Nope.” Steve beamed a toothy grin.

“I think you need to have your first one. And I’m gonna be the one to give it to you,” Tony remarked. “How would you like that?” Steve thought about it, and the vision of Tony between his legs, his mouth wrapped around his heavy erection caused him to groan, eyes closing.

“I feel good about it,” Steve huffed out, his arms wrapping tightly around the brunette. He opened his eyes to see Tony staring down at him, a faint curve of a smile on his lips. And Steve held his gaze, his blue eyes large, pupils blown.

With one last kiss, Tony nosed his way down Steve’s body until he kneeled off the bed, grabbing Steve’s legs and pulling him to the edge of the bed. There was a part of him that couldn’t believe this was actually happening. But when the blonde sat up, only to see Tony kneeling on the floor looking up at him with a devilish smile, it all brought Steve back to the present.

“I may not have ever had a blow job, but you never gave one before,” Steve said slyly as Tony slid his hands up Steve’s muscular thighs and to the elastic waistband of his underwear.

“That might be,” Tony replied, leaning in and mouthing at Steve’s hard length underneath the fabric, Steve’s surprised gasp spurring him on. “But I do know how amazing they feel. Think I can give it a go,” he murmured before kissing the head of his boyfriend’s arousal.

“Oh my,” Steve huffed out as Tony continued to tease him. The blonde saw the wet spot from his precome dampen the cotton fabric, along with Tony’s saliva. The friction felt like heated lust though his veins, everything maximized because it was Tony, the man he was in love with.

Steve’s thought left him when Tony pulled down his underwear, just enough to free up his erection that was well engorged, the white precome bubbling. Steve sighed at the relief from the pressure that the briefs were subjecting him to. His length twitched though in excitement as Tony took in the sight of it.

“Wow, a cock that’s prettier than mine,” Tony commented, a finger tracing the underside of it, causing Steve’s hips to buck. He was overly sensitive at this point, wanting to come desperately.

“Tony,” Steve breathed, his tone sounding needy.

“It’s not fair how pretty your penis is, Steve,” he added, nuzzling close and breathing against the mushroom shaped head. Steve was beyond flustered with want and frustration from Tony’s teasing. He was tempted to just pull his underwear back up and give himself release on his own. But then Tony’s mouth was on him and the super soldier immediately clutched at Tony’s silky hair, his body bowing at the overwhelming sensation of the genius’s warm and wet mouth gliding over his erection.

“Oh my God,” Steve cried, his eyes shut tight as he felt everything out. Tony pulled off then, nibbling at the leaking tip before taking Steve in once more. He opened his eyes when he heard his love gag, and Tony stilled his hips with a strong grip. Steve had been so beside himself he hadn’t realized he had been thrusting into Tony’s wet heat.

“Sorry,” Steve apologized in more of a whimper. He didn’t mean to do that to the man and make him choke. Tony merely hummed around him in response, the vibration resonating through Steve like that of a cello string. “Ah!” Steve groaned, his brows knitting up as the coil in his belly neared its breaking point. He felt Tony’s fingernails dig into the flesh where Steve’s lower back met his bum, the sweet bite of pain enhancing all that Tony was doing to him. His boyfriend was bobbing up and down on his length, his movements becoming faster and faster while pressing his fingers deeper into his back.

Everything came to a beautiful end when Steve looked down to see Tony staring up at him, his tongue licking a stripe up the underside of the engorged vein before engulfing Steve once more. Steve could see Tony’s lips red and stretched around him, glistening from saliva and precome. It was the sight of his handsome boyfriend, and the pleasurable pain from the man’s nails that threw Steve over the edge, his orgasm practically blindsiding him as he came in Tony’s mouth. He felt the man swallow around him, drinking down the white ropes of come like it was no big deal.

The blonde’s vision had briefly left him, his sight returning to see Tony standing, smiling proudly as he held Steve’s slumping frame up.

“You enjoy that?” Tony asked, his voice a little raspy.

“Mhmm,” Steve mumbled, resting his cheek on Tony’s chest, his muscles and bones feeling like jelly.

“Good, and I really liked doing that to you,” he said, combing his fingers into Steve’s damp hair.

Steve took a few moments to find his composure, his body gaining its feeling once more. He pressed a kiss to Tony’s chest before bringing his hands up to start undoing the man’s belt and zipper.

“You’re extremely overdressed right now,” Steve commented, chuckling lightly as he pushed the thick denim down over the curve of Tony’s rump before the clothing fell to the floor. Tony stepped out of the garment, kicking them to the side. Steve saw how the man’s penis strained against his maroon boxers. Steve felt his own penis jerk to attention once more. Soon enough, he’d be fully erect again.

“Damn, Steve. You’re getting hard already?” Tony asked, eyeing his swelling length.

“Umm, yes. I react much quicker now from the serum,” he admitted, looking up at his love bashfully.

“I guess so,” Tony replied. “We can have so much fun with that,” he added with a wink, and the blonde grinned at the prospect of what that could mean.

Slipping his own underwear off from where they pooled around his upper thighs, Steve scooted back up the bed. He watched Tony as he did so, spreading his legs as an invitation. He felt his cheeks flush, feeling vulnerable as he exposed him to his boyfriend. He heard Tony let out a strangled moan as he took in the sight of Steve, his second erection of the night aching and leaking on his belly, his opening clenching in want.

Steve smiled and did grabby hands at the brunette until he obliged, climbing into bed and working his way up to the blonde with a predator’s gaze. He scooped Steve into his arms, laying them both on their sides as they held each other close.

“God, that was so fucking hot,” Tony breathed, leaning into kiss his boyfriend. Steve giggled, sighing into the brunette’s mouth as their tongues caressed against each other.

“Tony,” Steve said, trailing heated kisses down the genius’s jawline and to his ear. “Would you take me?” he asked, his breath warm against Tony’s earlobe. “Want to feel you deep inside me,” he whispered, thumbing at the waistline of his boyfriend’s boxers. Steve leaned back to capture Tony’s gaze then. “Only if you are okay with it,” he added, not wanting Tony to feel obligated on Steve’s part. “I know it’s a new thing for both of us if you don’t want to. And I can always test my own blow job skills on you,” he said with a small chuckle.

Tony’s one hand that was wrapped around Steve’s back began its way down, till it rested upon the swell of the blonde’s luscious rump. “I would love nothing more than to take you, love,” Tony said, smiling sweetly, his hand massaging the skin of Steve’s behind, causing the super soldier to hum at the bliss of it. He had always liked when Tony gave his ass attention during their kissing spells in the past, and Tony knew just how much Steve liked it. The brunette always made Steve feel so wonderful and lovely, as if he was something sacred. Even when Steve’s self-doubt crept in, whether it was about Avengers matters or personal things, the man would give the insight Steve needed to find his inner peace.

“C’mere,” Tony mumbled, bringing Steve even closer to him. His other hand cupped the super soldier’s jaw, his thumb sliding over Steve’s plump bottom lip. “This part of sex may be new for us, but I think we know the gist of it,” Tony started. “But if anything is off to you, please tell me.”

“I will,” Steve offered, his hands slipping under the fabric of Tony’s underwear, his fingers digging into the meat of each cheek before helping the brunette wiggle out of them. He threw them to the floor with the rest of their garments. “Besides, I have been doing some research on it, and-”

“You’ve been doing research on anal sex?” Tony asked, cutting him off.

“Yes.”

“Steve, my love, you and your innocent façade will be the end of me,” Tony commented, his voice a bit strangled. Steve couldn’t help but snicker, appreciating how hot and bothered he could get his boyfriend.

“Well, I figured we needed a little education on it,” he defended. “For me at least.” Steve obviously knew how sex worked, he didn’t live under a rock back in the 40s. He just wanted to be up to speed with all the terminology and such.

“Fair enough. Though I am curious to know what your search history looks like.” Tony joked, rolling them over so Steve was on his back. “On a semiserious note. I know we are both clean,” Tony said, opening his bedside table drawer and grabbing out an unused lube. Steve didn’t miss taking in his fill of his boyfriend’s cock, appreciating how it was slightly tanner than Steve’s own, curving beautifully and dripping with precome. He also realized that though Tony’s penis was a little shorter than his, the brunette’s was thicker around, which meant Steve would be filled and stretched wonderfully by his boyfriend’s arousal.

“Look at you, all prepared,” Steve teased, watching Tony open up the packaging.

“You bet I am. Figured we’d be getting to this part of our relationship soon enough. Might as well always be ready,” Tony remarked, nestling himself between the super soldier’s legs.

Steve’s chest swirled with anticipation. Yeah, he was a little nervous too, like with any new experience. But he was with Tony, and knew that everything would be alright. It was that thought that gave him an overall calm.

He heard the cap of the lube pop open, and saw Tony squirt a large amount of the gel on his hand and fingers. Steve spread his legs wider for the man so that he could have easier access to him, his eyes locking with Tony’s then.

“Gorgeous,” Tony whispered. “You’re just so perfect.” And Steve, through all his heated lust and arousal blushed at the compliment. Steve reached a hand up to guide Tony down against him, loving the feel of the arc reactor against his own chest.

“You’re perfect too, Tony,” Steve responded, kissing his boyfriend lightly, his lips like soft pillows. “You are,” he reiterated, smiling against the brunette’s mouth. “Everything about you. From this,” Steve tapped a finger at Tony’s temple. “To that,” and he reached his hand between them to touch the arc reactor. “You’re everything to me.” Steve needed the genius to know that, even if he had said it to the man in some way, shape or form before. Steve wanted Tony to be proud of himself, for remembering all that he had accomplished so far, and that he didn’t need Howard’s approval to do it.

Tony looked at Steve with glistening eyes while the blonde spoke, knew what Steve was silently telling him. “Thank you,” Tony whispered, brushing his nose gently against Steve’s, closing his eyes.

They took a few breaths together, steadying themselves. Tony moved back then, pressing a little kiss to Steve’s nose. “I truly do love you,” he said, sitting back and nudging himself between Steve’s legs once more. He used the hand that wasn’t coated in lube to spread the blonde’s legs, pushing his one knee to his chest. “Can you hold your leg up for me, babe?” Tony asked, and Steve hooked an arm around his knee, keeping it up so that he remained wide open for the brunette.

The super soldier bit his lip when he felt the pad of Tony’s fingertip trace around his entrance, massaging the ring of muscle there. He felt a strong resistance when Tony attempted to push his finger into him, his opening tight and burning already.

“Steve, you’ve gotta relax, baby,” Steve nodded, closing his eyes and taking deep, steady breaths to calm his body. Tony massaged the fingers of his free hand into Steve’s thigh, the act soothing him, and reminding the blonde that Tony was right there with him. He could feel his tense muscles release some, his body melting into the comforter. He opened his eyes to see Tony watching him, a hint of concern in his expression.

“You okay?” He asked Steve. “If you’re having second thoughts, we can-”

“No,” Steve said. “I’m good now. Let’s try again.” Steve pushed his ass down, searching for Tony’s fingers once more. Tony got the message, and he massaged at Steve’s rim tenderly, the muscle much more pliant now. Steve felt the man’s calloused finger slowly slip inside him, the burn from the stretch unquestionable. It was uncomfortable at first, Steve wasn’t going to deny that. But as Tony gently pushed and pulled his digit in and out of him, soon enough Steve’s hole began to flutter loose, the friction lessening. Tony added a second finger, the stretch even more intense than before. The pain had subsided though, the drag of his boyfriend’s fingers in his channel a pleasant spark that flashed through his veins. He wanted more of that, and when Tony slid a third finger into his body, the super soldier out right moaned at the pleasure, his brows knitting up as he continued to look at Tony, who’s gaze would move from Steve’s eyes to his entrance, focusing on the task of prepping him.

“Feels pretty good, huh?” Tony murmured as he listened to Steve’s blissful pants and sighs. “I can’t believe how snug you are, love,” he added, leaning back some to see how Steve’s rim hugged around his three fingers, excess lube seeping out.

“Uhn, T-Tony. Need you,” Steve said in a whine, his voice a higher pitch than usual. All of his boyfriend’s talk about how his body looked, along with his continuous stretching of his entrance, Steve thought he was going to lose it. His cock was weeping with precome, the mess pooling in the dips of his abdominal muscles. Steve wanted to touch himself terribly, but also didn’t want to climax until Tony was buried deep inside him. The super soldier knew he wouldn’t last long if Tony kept fingering him with such fluidic and mesmerizing movements.

“Kinda wish I could keep you like this, though,” Tony whispered, his eyes gleaming with mischief.” You’re so compliant and stunning this way. Steve imagined how he looked in that moment, desperate and lust driven, wriggling under Tony’s sensuous touch, hungry for more.

“D-don’t you even think about it, Stark,” Steve warned breathily, trying to sound authoritative, but failing miserably.

“Are you trying to use a Captain America tone with me now, love?” Tony hooked his fingers inside him, tugging at his loose rim, wet and throbbing with need, causing Steve to gasp, his breath ragged, hole clenching around Tony’s lithe digits.

“Tony, please,” he begged, his arms falling to his sides, hands grasping at the fabric, bunching it up in his fists as he pushed down on his love’s fingers, wanting to be consumed by the man. Tony tantalized him a little longer, swirling his fingers in circular motions, spreading them wide inside the blonde and eliciting sweet moans from him.

Steve’s legs fell open even more, his body already exhausted as Tony finally pulled his fingers out of him, only to slick up his own aching erection. Steve lifted his head and watched him, Tony’s breath hitching at his own touch. Steve could only assume that Tony too was ready to fall apart.

Tony inched closer then, lining up his cock with Steve’s opening as the blonde brought his knees up, splaying them open as they rested close to his chest.

“Ready,” Tony asked, sounding winded as Steve felt the head of the genius’s arousal nudge against him.

“Y-yes,” Steve replied, wiggling his bum to feel more of Tony. Without another word, Tony slowly pushed in, the man groaning low as he watched what he was doing. Steve panted as the brunette went, the man stretching him even further with his length. It was a beautiful sensation of pleasure and pain until he felt Tony’s testicles press against his behind.

They both took a minute to adjust, Tony leaning down, grasping the sheet on either side of Steve’s head before kissing the blonde rather sloppily. The men moaned into each other’s mouth, lips roaming over the other, tongues a warm, wet glide. It was after a few heavy moments that the stretch and burn turned into sweet friction, and all Steve wanted was for Tony to start moving.

“God,” Tony breathed, trying to get a reign on himself, the tight heat of Steve’s body overwhelmingly electrifying. “You feel so good, Steve. Never felt anything quite like this,” he said honestly, and Steve felt a bubble of pride rise inside him, knowing Tony was enjoying this just as much as him.

Me neither,” Steve bit out, shifting his hips and holding onto Tony’s biceps. “Move, Tony,” he added, his gaze beseeching. They started off slow, Tony falling into a gentle rhythm that Steve easily was able to rock in sync with, pushing his rump down urgently, wanting Tony’s strokes to fill him completely.

The blonde observed how Tony’s face twisted in pleasure, his breath warm on Steve’s cheek as he panted and softly moaned with each pulse of his hips. The angle of Tony’s thrusts sent a wave of ecstasy through the super soldier’s body, his hard cock drooling and jerking between the men’s bellies.

“Yes, oh God,” Steve whimpered as his entrance clenched around the man’s large erection, the sudden tight drag pushing Steve even closer to the edge.

“Like that, Steve?” Tony grunted, picking up his speed some as he rammed harder into his lover. “Like being fucked?” Tony said, voice gruff. Steve moaned at the man’s dirty words.

“Mhmm,” the blonde answered, digging his dull nails into Tony’s taut flesh as he lost himself in the moment of their love making.

“Fuck me harder, baby,” Steve said, hooking his legs around Tony’s lower back, a heel pressing in there to urge the man on. The genius practically growled low, doing exactly what Steve requested. He angled his hips up and began to pound into his boyfriend relentlessly, Tony’s mouth finding its way to the crook of Steve’s neck, sucking at the skin till the blood vessels broke. The moans that left Steve were absolutely obscene when Tony changed his angle. When Tony bucked into Steve, he hit an extremely sensitive spot inside him, sending pleasure up through his body. It was a sensation he never knew existed, and Steve figured that it was his prostate Tony was hitting now with the tip of his cock. See, research is helpful. The bliss that washed over Steve was like waves of the ocean, gently swaying him until the water consumed his entire being.

Through the primal yearning of desire and hormones, Steve didn’t neglect how beautiful this was between him and Tony. As Tony rocked into him, biting at Steve’s neck hard and moaning sweetly. And as Steve whimpered Tony’s name and pressed his cheek in against the brunette’s shoulder, his grip on the man’s upper arms probably painful, Steve felt their souls unite, as their bodies became one entity.

“Yes. Ehn, right there, Tony,” Steve said breathlessly, Tony brushing that sweet spot deep inside him continuously. The large bed slammed against the wall from Tony’s force as he indulged the blonde with deep sensuous strokes. With the brunette’s name rolling off Steve’s tongue, he came for the second time that night, his release shooting up his torso, sprinkling upon his pecs and even his clavicle. The ecstasy that trickled to every fiber of his being left Steve floating, like his body had transcended. Slowly, through the foggy cloud of his orgasm, he felt things still, and Steve opened his eyes to see Tony breathing deep, his eyes closed in what seemed like concentration.

“Tony?” Steve said, his voice gravelly. He tried to adjust himself, only to feel the genius still fully hard inside him. The brunette hissed at the movement, opening his eyes and pressing a whisper of a kiss to his love. “Wh-what’re you-” Steve started to ask, only to make a surprised noise when Tony pulled out of him quickly and flipped them so that the brunette was on his back and Steve was on top of him. Steve eyed the man quizzically, hands resting on Tony’s chest.

“Ride me,” Tony said, his hands gripping Steve’s waist tight. “Want to watch you bouncing on me,” he added, guiding Steve back until his ass brushed Tony’s sensitive and dripping cock.

Steve was getting hard yet again, and he wanted his boyfriend to partake in the pleasure he already had experienced twice, and craving it still. So, Steve got himself into position, eyes never straying from Tony’s as he seated himself onto the genius’s arousal. Tony shut his eyes and inhaled sharply once Steve was all the way down, the brunette planting his feet into the mattress for leverage, toes curling in desire. Even though Tony had worked him rather loose by this point, Steve still felt like could be torn apart by how big and hot the other man was inside him.

It was Steve who began their cadence once again, shifting his hips and clenching his thighs as he lifted himself up, only to slide back down onto the man he loved.

“Oh, fuck,” Tony huffed, his eyes jerking open, staring at Steve wide eyed while the blonde continued to ride him, just the way the brunette wanted him to. Tony began to buck his hips, lurching into Steve with that same driven passion. The blonde sighed, allowing his head to fall back as he felt everything anew, the pain ripe from being over sensitive. His swelling erection slapped against his belly, sprinkling his abs with more glistening precome, mixing with his dried release from earlier.

Steve rode his love a little longer before he laid against Tony, a hand cupping his cheek as he kissed him hungrily. Tony let out a frustrated whine, thrusting shallowly into Steve then, unable to get deep inside him with how Steve was laying on him.

The super soldier snickered into the genius’s mouth, moving his ass forward more, being a terrible tease as he made it so that his rump was just out of reach of Tony’s cock. He nibbled at Tony’s bottom lip, pulling at it between his teeth.

“I’m the luckiest guy in the world, Tony,” Steve said, nuzzling his cheek against Tony’s, the man’s facial hair rubbing wonderfully along his jawline. Tony’s frantic thrusts settled finally, the man humming happily, holding Steve close to him. “Can’t wait to feel you come inside me,” he added, tone husky.

Before Tony could respond to him though, Steve lifted off him, settling himself back fully on the man’s erection, working himself back into a rhythmic canter. The super soldier moaned dirtily, his hands tracing over his own thighs, up his belly and to his chest, pinching his pert nipples, rolling the sensitive, pale pink buds between his fingers. The genius let out a strangled gasp as he took in the sight of Steve touching himself intimately. Tony dropped his head back against the plush pillows, digging his fingers into Steve’s muscular thighs.

“Let me,” Tony bit out, reaching up and caressing his hands over Steve’s firm pectorals as he started to roll his hips up into his lover with renewed fervor. Steve was beside himself with absolute euphoria while he bounced on Tony’s cock, the swollen head nudging at his prostate. He held himself upright, keeping his hands on Tony’s sweat laden chest.

“Uhn, yes,” Steve uttered like a mantra, as the heated coil in his stomach wound itself taut.

“Steve, I-I’m so close,” Tony whined, flicking at the blonde’s nipples and seeing the perky flesh redden under his rough touches. Steve lurched into his boyfriend’s touch, craving more. The blonde breathed heavily, the air absurdly thick as he panted, mouth agape while he watched his love caress him with skilled hands. He really wanted to see Tony come undone, to see his handsome features as his orgasm washed over him.

Steve adjusted his hips, rocking onto Tony’s cock while tightening his hole around the other man, surprising the genius with an intensified drag of friction. “Come on, Tony. Let yourself go for me,” Steve said, his voice cutting off, only to moan explicitly as Tony hit that bundle of nerves with his leaking length. His boyfriend then sat up, bracketing Steve between his torso and bent knees, holding him in place as his pulsing hips started to lose their cadence, Tony’s groans becoming even more desperate the faster he fucked the blonde.

They kissed messily, Steve tugging at the back of Tony’s damp hair, their orgasms upon them. Steve’s head fell against Tony’s shoulder, and he kneaded his teeth into it, his body on the right side of pain from being overstimulated. He wanted this though, wanted Tony to take all that he could of the blonde, pounding into Steve diligently, ravaging his loose, wet hole and claiming the man as Tony’s. The noises leaving Steve were spent sex sounds, his voice wrecked, body limp.

It was with that thought, as they held each other with an undeniable love and protection that Steve’s orgasm crashed into him, his body lifting up enough so that the head of Tony’s cock caught on his sloppy rim. He slammed back down, his body clamping snug around his beloved, the brunette crying out as his orgasm hit him as well. Tony’s seed spilled within Steve, the warm white release coating his insides. Steve’s body was vibrating with sensitivity and exhaustion, but none of that mattered while he observed the genius’s beautiful face as an abundance of euphoric ecstasy spread through his entire body.

Tony’s eyes were shut tight as he continued to pulse his hips into Steve till there was nothing left. The super soldier darted his tongue into Tony’s open mouth, inhaling the man’s sharp moans until Tony began to kiss him back, their chests heaving against each other.

Slowly they fell to the mattress, kissing tiredly, Tony’s softening penis still inside Steve. He wasn’t ready to lose that contact with the brunette just yet, and so Steve didn’t pull away. He traced random patterns along Tony’s back, pulling away from the man’s lips to take some deeper breaths.

Steve’s eyes had been closed briefly, and when he opened them, he saw his love watching him, his dewy brown eyes captivating. That look alone was enough to make Steve catch his breath, even after all they had done.

The couple stayed quiet, their hands caressing sweaty, flushed skin, breathing the same air as they smiled sleepily. Tony eventually slipped himself free from his boyfriend, and Steve let out a small whimper, his hole winking, wanting to have something to clench around. The blonde reached for Tony’s hand, guiding it to his entrance. It took the genius a moment to understand what Steve wanted until his finger slipped inside his wet opening and the super soldier sighed sweetly, his muscles quivering around the lithe digit. Tony continued to stroke inside his love, feeling Steve melt against his chest. Tony was the one to find his voice first, petting Steve’s hair then with his free hand. “I’m never going to get over seeing you this way, Steve,” he breathed, massaging the blonde’s stretched, glistening rim.

“Wish we could be like this all the time,” Steve said softly, his entrance relaxing some from Tony’s gentle caresses. “Love having this between us, Tony,” he confessed, looking up at him. The brunette smiled, a soft chuckle on his lips.

“Me too, babe. Me too,” Tony said, his voice filled with bliss. He slowly pulled his finger free from Steve’s backside and wrapped his arms around the man’s broad back. “You aren’t the luckiest guy in the world,” Tony started, referring to Steve’s earlier statement. “I am the luckiest guy in the world,” he continued, his eyes looking Steve over. “Because I have you, Steve, and I’m never gonna let you go,” he grinned, burying his head underneath the blonde’s chin.

“You’ll always have me,” Steve remarked, kissing the top of Tony’s head. “And I’m never letting you go, either. Not in this life, or the next.” Tony hummed against his skin, kissing a pectoral before picking his head up to look at Steve. “Also, I think we need a shower,” Steve added, laughing lightly.

“That sounds like a lot of energy,” Tony pouted.

“Yes, but I’m a mess,” Steve countered, pulling back to point to his torso. “And that’s not even mentioning my ass,” he grinned.

“Fiiiiine,” Tony sighed, and slowly they made it to Tony’s ornate bathroom, a large white porcelain tub beckoning them. Steve could feel himself practically waddling, his bum absolutely sore as Tony’s seed and the excessive amount of lube slid down the backs of his thighs. Yep, a bath was a must.

With bubbles billowing in the perfectly warm water, Steve and Tony settled inside it, Tony in front of Steve, his chest pressed to the smaller man’s back. He wrapped his arms around Tony’s middle, securing the man in his embrace.

“This is so wonderful,” Tony whispered, and Steve placed a soft kiss to the back of his boyfriend’s neck in response, resting his cheek there. They then took turns washing each other, Steve maneuvering around to face his love before gently massaging his fingers into Tony’s scalp, the shampoo creating white soapy peaks in his hair.

He giggled as he took a handful of the white suds and blew them at Tony, the bubbles softly hitting him in the face. Tony laughed too, wiping his face clean before plopping some bubbles on the end of Steve’s nose.

Soon enough it was Tony’s turn to wash Steve, wiping what remained of the dried mess on his belly. He was careful as he drifted the wash cloth down over his bum and entrance too. Steve was wonderfully aching, and he knew even with his faster healing, the bite of pain would last till tomorrow. Even the love bite on his neck would be a faint bruise. He enjoyed that though, knowing Tony marked him in such a way. The soreness in his backside and the marks upon his skin would be a lovely memory of this precious night.

Once they were all clean, the pair readied for bed, Steve slipping into a pair of Tony’s underwear that were a bit too small, his bum cheeks peeking out. It would just have to do, though, he didn’t have any spare clothing in Tony’s bedroom.

“Gotta say, Steve. You can wear my clothes whenever you want,” Tony commented, squeezing the blonde’s rump and chuckling low. Steve laughed too, leaning in to peck Tony on the nose.

“Nice try. I’m bringing a spare outfit up here,” Steve responded, grabbing up the soiled comforter and tossing it into Tony’s hamper. “And you can have clothes in my room for when you stay in my quarters,” Steve winked.

“I am one hundred percent on board with that,” Tony beamed. The brunette helped Steve put on a fresh, thick grey comforter then, something perfect for them to cuddle under during the frigid winter night.

Sliding into the bed, Steve could feel himself immediately sink into the softest mattress ever. He had only slept in Tony’s bed once, when the brunette had an awful fever a few weeks back. Steve didn’t leave his boyfriend’s side, sleeping next to the man and being there for whenever Tony needed anything.

Steve felt the bed dip slightly when Tony got in too, and the brunette tossed the covers over them, though Steve stuck a leg out. “I over heat easily,” he explained when Tony quirked a brow at him.

“Fair enough,” Tony said before pulling Steve close, his chest against the super soldier’s back. Steve breathed lightly, feeling fully content.

“I love you,” Steve said softly, burrowing as close to his love as he could. Tony shifted a little, leaning up to hover over Steve. The genius dipped his head and meshed his lips with Steve’s tenderly. The blonde hummed in delight, breathing deeply while they kissed. Tony pulled away after a few moments, smiling fondly at Steve who grinned boyishly right back up at the brunette.

“And I love you, Steve. And that is never going to change,” Tony replied, his gaze affectionate.

Lacing his one hand with Tony’s, Steve placed an open mouthed kiss to the man’s knuckles. There was no smidge of doubt in his mind that Tony didn’t mean his words. Because Steve also knew his affection for the genius would never waver.

“Nor will my love ever ebb for you, Tony,” Steve assured him, and Tony smiled brightly at that, giving one last kiss to Steve’s hair before he laid back on the bed. The super soldier turned to lay his head on Tony’s shoulder, his uncovered leg hooking over Tony’s covered ones.

“J, hit the light, would ya?” Tony mumbled, and the light in the bedroom faded out then. Steve could feel his boyfriend’s body slacken under him.

“Sleep well, Tony,” Steve whispered, laying a hand on one of Tony’s pecs.

“Good night, Steve,” the brunette remarked, his hand resting on Steve’s shoulder, the other hand resting above his head.

It was silent then, and Steve heard the other man’s breathing deepening as he fell into a peaceful slumber. He watched the brunette briefly in the dark shadows of the room, the glow of his arc reactor muted by the heavy sheets.

Though he was also extremely sleepy, his body drained from all they’d done together, Steve couldn’t help but think how incredibly blessed he was. Never had he thought that he and Tony would be together this way, intimately holding one another and sharing a bed as boyfriends.

Steve always wanted to find his sense of belonging. And he thought he’d find it in the army, thought he would have found it with Peggy after the war. He surely didn’t think he would have found it when he woke up in a foreign century, his old life ripe in his mind though it was decades away.

But he found his belonging when Tony strolled into his life, a man of the future, always seeing the possibilities. So many things could have kept them apart. Steve could have landed Red Skull’s plane safely, seeing them win the war and starting a no doubt wonderful life with Peggy. Or Tony could have never made it out of those caves in the Middle East, the shrapnel eating right through his heart. The genius could have been killed before his escape, never becoming Iron Man.

And yet, here they were.

It was as if they were fated by the stars, destined to be together no matter the odds that fought against them. They were like the warriors in his mother’s story, Brayan and Ferris, always together in the constellation above.

As sleep began to claim him, Steve nestled even closer to Tony, the man’s heartbeat comforting. Steve found himself thankful for all the chain of events he had once thought as unfair atrocities. For they had led him and Tony together, and Steve wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

 

FIN

Chapter Text

Their first kiss! Look how sweet they are! The art is created by Kelslk-art on tumblr. Check her out! I think she is taking commissions still, and in the words of Donna Meagle, "Treat Yo' Self!!"
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Chapter Text

Steve and Tony cuddling after their first time making love, and Steve is wearing Tony's undies, which are too small for him XD

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