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Some Kind of Madness

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Steve likes to walk the halls of Stark Tower. It’s not something he does every night—at least, not anymore—but he finds it comforting to make the rounds and check that everything’s okay.

He realizes he could accomplish the same thing with one simple question to JARVIS, but Steve doesn’t want to be told; he wants to know. It doesn’t even matter that he’s not actually accomplishing much since he can’t check inside each person’s apartment. His heart insists that every little bit helps.

Not that any of the others need Steve to look in on them. He’s fully aware that they’re all more than capable of taking care of themselves and then some. He still remembers how Natasha had been standing at her door that first night, one hand casually hanging by her side, gun almost completely hidden by her thigh. They’d exchanged pleasantries, neither of them commenting on the faint rasp of a weapon being holstered from within the dark apartment, and he’d bid her goodnight soon after, glad that she had backup if necessary and grateful that she hadn’t asked Steve what he was doing.

At the moment, her door is closed, and Steve feels guilty for how relieved that makes him. Frequently, she’ll invite him inside for tea, and while he enjoys her company—hers and Clint’s as well when he’s there—he’s not in a social mood tonight, feels pensive and quiet and small somehow, all of his emotions pulled in tight.

Luckily, he doesn’t have to worry about meeting up with anyone else. Neither Bruce nor Tony seem to know about his habit of guarding the borders of their home; or perhaps it’s just that their schedules have never coincided, because he knows they both tend to stay up late in their labs—or in Tony’s case, occasionally out partying. Steve doesn’t understand how Tony manages to accomplish so much in twenty-four hours, but Tony stuffs each day full, always working on something—hands and mouth constantly moving—or running from one place to another so he can work on something else.

For a while, Steve had wondered if the arc reactor was the reason behind Tony’s seemingly endless energy, because if it’s capable of powering the suit, what kind of changes had it wrought on Tony? Pepper, however, had informed him that Tony had always preferred to do twenty different things at once and had actually calmed down a lot in the past few years. Steve doesn’t understand how that’s possible, but he’ll take her word for it.

It’d made him curious about what Tony was like when he was younger, though. Had he been a louder, more manic version of how he is now? Had he been sarcastic and flippant then too, or had life sharpened his hard edges?

Of course, Steve’s been fascinated about lots of things about Tony—everything about Tony really—for quite a while now, so that curiosity had come as no surprise.

He lets out a quick huff of air and checks that all the windows are secure and that nothing unusual is going on outside. The nicest thing about living in the tallest skyscraper in the city is that he doesn’t have to worry about someone breaching their defenses by ziplining down from a nearby building (he’s seen all the Mission Impossible movies, and while Clint and Natasha tend to laugh at them a lot, it’s frightening how often they don’t), but it does make them more vulnerable to attacks from the air. When he’s finally satisfied that everything’s in order, he walks up the stairwell past his floor to Bruce’s.

It’s not as if he and Tony don’t get along, because they do. Ever since Steve came back to New York, they’ve not clicked exactly, but the camaraderie is there, and Tony treats him the same way he does any of the others really.

Well, except for Bruce. Tony seems particularly fond of Bruce, although, of course, that’s to be expected. They have a lot in common, more so than they have to any of the rest of them.

Even if Steve had known Tony’s father, not that Tony’s pulled him aside to talk about that at all.

He mentally shakes his head at himself and finishes reconnoitering Bruce’s floor before heading for Tony’s.

It’s not Tony’s fault that Steve’s harboring a . . . well, a crush, he supposes, for lack of a better word, even if it fails to encompass everything he feels. It’s not even Steve’s fault, because truthfully, if he’d had any kind of say in the matter, he wouldn’t have chosen Tony to fall in love with. Tony’s too mercurial, too absorbed in himself and his inventions, and it’d be one thing if Steve had been blind to Tony’s faults, but he’s not. He looks at Tony with his eyes wide open.

It also means, however, that Steve sees the good things about Tony, the traits he hides so skillfully out in the open that no one gives him much credit for them. When Tony’s in the news, the press always talks about Tony’s philandering ways, his extravagant lifestyle and his irreverence for authority, as if his work as Iron Man is secondary to his larger-than-life personality. They take for granted his generosity, his heroism and hatred of injustice; they treat his intelligence as if it’s an everyday matter, and maybe for them it is. Maybe if Steve had grown up in a world with Tony Stark in it, he’d be jaded as well. He doubts it though.

“Steve?”

He comes to a halt and stares at Tony who’s leaning against the wall next to his door and staring back at him in confusion, and okay, that is unexpected.

“I was just . . .” Patrolling because I couldn’t sleep and it makes me feel better to guard the Tower against any potential enemies? Thinking about you? Wishing you loved me? There’s really no good way to finish that sentence, so he doesn’t and asks instead, “What are you doing out here?”

Tony lets out a dry laugh and lets his head thunk against the wall. “That is the question, isn’t it? But what is the answer?”

Something in the way that Tony’s standing—or rather, leaning—against the wall makes him ask, “Tony, are you drunk?”

“Drunk, schmunk,” Tony says, waving his hand negligently in the air. “I am resting,” he says, the words careful and deliberately spaced, and oh yeah, he’s drunk.

“Well, wouldn’t you rather be resting in your own bed?” Steve asks, coming up to stand closer than is probably good for his current state of mind. He’s not sure how much Tony’s had to drink, however, and he doesn’t want to risk him falling and hurting himself.

Tony hums thoughtfully as if he’s actually debating the answer to that question, and Steve’s stupid heart starts beating a little faster at the soft, hazy look in his eyes.

That’s not for you, he reminds himself. He’s not thinking about you.

“C’mon,” Steve says, his voice a little quieter than it’d been a few seconds ago. “Let’s get you to bed.”

“Okay,” Tony says, agreeably enough, and pushes off the wall, legs wobbling slightly. Steve raises his hands to steady him, but Tony finds his balance without help, so he drops them again.

Which is when Tony tips face-first onto Steve’s chest.

He grunts slightly—a little bit in surprise, a little bit because of the feel of Tony pressed against him—and grabs Tony by his upper arms.

“Are you alright?”

“I’m good,” Tony says, his voice muffled, hands clutching at his hips. He rubs against Steve’s chest, a long, luxurious sweep, and murmurs, “Mmm, Steve, I love your tits.”

Steve’s fingers go slack, and he’s so startled that he nearly lets Tony crumple to the ground.

But he manages to catch him. Just in time.

-----

By the next morning Steve still hasn’t figured out what to say to Tony. Should he say something to Tony? Should he wait for Tony to say something to him? Is there anything to say?

He tries to picture it—“So you know how you said you liked my-my—that word that you used last night?”—and ends up wincing. There are just too many ways for that to go wrong.

He’s never heard that—well, not for men anyway. Not that it matters really what Tony calls them, even if Steve himself would’ve chosen a different adjective. Like “pectorals” maybe; or just “chest.” Chest is a good word. Steve’s definitely not embarrassed by what Tony had said.

Alright, he’s a little embarrassed.

But it’s fine. In the overall scheme of things, how Tony refers to them is less important than the fact that he mentioned them at all. At any rate, Tony had been pretty drunk last night, giggling and offering to build Steve a new motorcycle—a better one with rocket launchers and everything—as thanks for putting him to bed, and there’s a strong likelihood that he won’t remember.

What if he does, though? Does Steve even want him to remember?

He’s not sure.

Not that he hasn’t been searching for some kind of opening with Tony, some way to get Tony to see him as more than a fellow Avenger, more than the angry, lost soldier he’d been before. He’s just not positive that this is that opening he wants.

He loves Tony. He wants Tony to love him back. Considering the nature of what Tony had said, he’s not getting the feeling that that’s the case right now, and Steve doesn’t want to be a one-night stand. He doesn’t want Tony to avoid him for days afterwards while Tony moves on to someone else, especially when it leaves Steve in exactly the same place he started out in, lonely and loving Tony with no hope of having his feelings returned. Except to make things even worse, knowing exactly what he isn’t allowed to have.

So he doesn’t know if he should broach the subject with Tony, or if he even wants Tony to bring it up with him. He just wants . . .

He just wants too much, is all.

-----

It’s late in the afternoon before Tony finally wanders into the common area. He looks mostly recovered from the night before, and he nods at Steve in greeting before grabbing something from the counter—“JARVIS, what did I tell you about letting me leave stuff lying around?”—and heading back out.

That’s . . . that’s it? That’s all Steve gets? Just a nod? That’s what he’s been waiting for all day?

He nearly gets up to go after Tony, but the realization that he has no idea what he hopes to accomplish keeps him on his seat. Is he going to demand Tony have a discussion about last night? Insist that he repeat himself now that he’s not drunk? Tony obviously doesn’t remember what happened, or if he does, he has no intention of acknowledging it, so forcing a confrontation isn’t going to achieve anything. Furthermore, hadn’t a part of Steve hoped Tony would forget?

Perhaps it’s better this way. Tony had been intoxicated, and Steve shouldn’t hold him accountable for anything he’d said. Tony probably hadn’t even been serious. From watching him, Steve knows that Tony flirts constantly but never seems invested in whether or not it leads to anything, and maybe that’s the point. Maybe what it comes down to is that the reason Tony had forgotten the whole incident was because, to him, it had been completely forgettable.

-----

It’s been three days, three days of Tony not being around, of thinking about missed chances, and of wishing he’d done it all differently.

Considering how little sleep he’s gotten the past few nights, Steve should be exhausted. And he is. Just not enough to actually fall asleep.

He sighs and gets out of bed.

Each of their apartments has its own kitchen, but everyone tends to gravitate towards the communal one. He doesn’t know the motivation behind it for the rest of them—although the fact that the refrigerator is always stocked and there are frequently baked goods out on the counter might have something to do with it—but Steve likes being near the people in his life, likes the clutter and noise, and it’s comforting to head there now, even when no one else will be around.

His fingers are on the light switch when he realizes he’s not alone.

He hesitates briefly before deciding Tony must have a reason for sitting in the dark and makes his way over, the arc reactor a dim beacon against the couch. Tony’s sprawled across, mostly upright although it looks like he’d been losing the battle with gravity; even as Steve watches, Tony slides to the side a little bit more.

Steve reaches down to take a tumbler out of his hand before it can spill. It’s mostly full, but when he checks the bottle on the coffee table, it’s mostly empty, and that can’t be good.

“Tony?”

He blinks sluggishly up at Steve.

“Tony, what are you doing?” he asks, setting the glass on the table and squatting down so he’s closer to eye-level with Tony.

Waiiiiiiiiiting,” Tony says before yawning and running his hand over face, and Steve wonders if he’d been sleeping.

“Waiting for what?”

Tony’s eyebrows wrinkle as he frowns up at him. “For you,” he says, like the answer is obvious.

Tony moves slowly enough that Steve has all the time in the world to keep him from grabbing his shirt and dragging him onto the couch with him. There’s no excuse for why he doesn’t. None at all.

“You’re very drunk,” Steve says, and it comes out too quiet to his own ears, strangled almost, like it’s a struggle to get the words out, the space between them heavy with the weight of all the things unsaid.

“Yes,” Tony agrees and tugs, Steve’s shirt still bunched up in his hand.

As much as Steve wants to give in—and he does, his arms weak and wobbly and halfway to folding—he forces himself to dig his fingers into the couch cushions and lock his elbows, maintaining the last small distance that separates them. He’s supremely conscious of the fact that he’s lying on top of Tony, of the press of his stomach and hips, of the heat that threatens to burn right through him. But Tony’s just admitted he’s not exactly in his right mind. Which means none of this is real.

“Tony, I don’t think—”

“Don’t tell me no,” Tony says, soft and pleading. He lets go of Steve’s shirt in order to run both hands across Steve’s collarbones, down his ribs to his waist. “Not here too.”

“What?” he asks, trying to sound normal. “What do you mean, ‘not here too?’”

Tony doesn’t answer, his palms coming up achingly slowly, grazing his stomach and sliding up to Steve’s chest until they’re resting over his nipples, and Steve flinches but doesn’t pull away.

Tony’s eyes flicker from one hand to the other and then back again, fingers moving restlessly, and Steve can feel his cheeks getting hot. He’s grateful that Tony’s not looking at his face, because he knows he’s not capable of hiding much.

Is this—yes, Tony’s drunk, but—is this alright as long as he doesn’t let it go too far? As long as Tony’s the one touching him and not the other way around?

“You have the most amazing tits,” Tony sighs, hands squeezing gently, and Steve shivers, at what Tony said or what Tony’s doing, he doesn’t know.

The first time Tony had referred to them that way, he’d been drunk, and the words had slurred together, and Steve had been completely taken off-guard. This time, Tony’s still drunk, and the words are still fuzzy around the edges, but Steve’s not startled at all. He’s gotten more than used to the idea that Tony apparently harbors some appreciation for his chest, even if it’s only there when he’s not sober. It had bothered him a little in the beginning. But he’s spent days thinking about Tony nuzzling his chest and the murmur of his voice, has touched himself more than once to the memory of it, ashamed but excruciatingly turned on. Tony can call them whatever he wants as long as he keeps touching him, and Steve can even admit to himself that there’s a small part of him that’s come to enjoy what Tony says.

“They’re just so perfect, round and firm, and I just want to bury my face in between them and live there forever.”

Definitely good that Tony’s not looking at him. Steve knows he's beet red, and he doesn’t know how to respond, or even if there is an appropriate response. Thank you? I’m glad you like them? Yours are quite nice too?

“The only problem is that then I wouldn’t be able to see your nipples, and what the hell is wrong with me that I haven’t seen your nipples yet?”

Steve doesn’t get the chance to ask why Tony thinks he would have seen them or why he’d even want to before all thoughts of questioning Tony about anything go right out the window. He’s always known that Tony has clever hands, and he’s given indisputable proof as Tony starts playing with his nipples, rubbing and plucking and pinching until Steve’s breath is coming in gasps and it’s all he can do to stay up on his arms.

He’d known that women’s nipples were an erogenous zone, but he’d always assumed men’s were there because they had to be and not for anything else. Tony apparently still loves to prove him wrong.

“Shit, you’re gorgeous,” Tony groans, pressing hard enough to elicit a whimper from Steve’s throat. “I’ve got to—can you—oh, screw it,” he says and jerks Steve’s shirt, first down and then up like he doesn’t remember which way it’s supposed to go, the fabric ripping with the rush of his impatience, and there is nothing about it that should make Steve shudder, but he does all the same.

He worries for a second that undressing is crossing a line and that this is where it needs to end. But men take their shirts off all the time. In public no less. And his shirt is technically still on. Surely they’ve got time yet.

“Oh, fuck me, even your nipples are perfect,” Tony rasps, the words happy, greedy. He wraps one arm around Steve’s waist, yanking him down as Tony scrunches up until he can put his mouth on him, and that’s—that’s really—

Steve squirms, his breath coming in short, rapid stutters, his arms trembling, and he doesn’t think he can hold them up much longer. Tony chooses that moment to suck harder, the line of his arm hitching Steve closer, and Steve knows he can’t.

“It should be illegal to make noises like that,” Tony says, and he’s not one to talk; Tony sounds hoarse, strained, like he can’t contain himself a second longer, and Steve can empathize because Tony sounds exactly how he feels.

“Fuck,” Tony gasps, “fuck, oh fuck,” and he twists and turns, shoving at Steve and rolling them in a jumble of limbs and elbows until Tony’s on top. Steve’s shirt is pushed up to his armpits, and the way Tony stares down at him—reckless and crazy and hungry—makes him realize that he’s not going to stop Tony. It’s too late. He wants this too much. It’d been too late the moment he’d walked to the couch.

“I want to titty-fuck you so bad,” Tony says, and Steve moans and arches up just as the light turns on.

“Oh fuck, my eyes!” Clint says, turning his head away and using his hand to block his view. “I didn’t need to see that!”

Both he and Tony flinch at the sudden interruption, and Steve scrambles up, nearly tumbling Tony off the couch in the process.

“Shit, Stark, you own the entire building! Can’t you find a damn room—” Clint freezes, staring at Steve.

Steve looks back as calmly as he can, although he can feel the flush in his cheeks. He isn’t ashamed of his feelings for Tony, but he has never been so glad to see a person wearing earphones—head buds? earbuds?—in his entire life.

“No fucking midnight snack is worth this shit,” Clint says and walks right back out the door.

There’s an awkward silence after he’s gone, and Steve doesn’t know if Tony is even looking at him because he’s staring down at the cushions. He finally breaks it by saying, “I’m sorry.”

He’s to blame for Clint walking in on them. Tony may be drunk, but Steve can’t say the same. He had just wanted Tony so much that he hadn’t thought about the consequences.

“I shouldn’t have—are you alright?”

Tony’s expression is a combination of bewilderment and dawning horror, and he looks like he might be getting ready to be sick.

“Tony?” he asks, reaching out, but Tony flinches, and he lets his hands fall.

“I’m not . . . I thought this was . . .”

Tony kind of hunches into the couch.

“This isn’t a dream?” Tony asks faintly.

“What?” Steve asks, and he literally has no idea what else to say.

Tony huddles even lower, covering his eyes with his hand. “The other night, I . . . and it was . . . you don’t know, it was the best dream, and I thought . . .”

“Tony?”

“A few nights ago, I . . . I dreamed about you, about . . .” Tony makes a circular motion in front of his face like he’s—oh. “It was so damn realistic,” he says weakly.

“But why would you—?” Steve tries to make sense of the situation, although honestly, it’s not working. “Why would you think this was a dream?”

“Why wouldn’t I think it was a dream?”

Tony pushes himself off the couch, but his movements are so clumsy that it takes him three tries before he finally manages to stand.

“This wasn’t the first time you showed up in one of my—” He looks guiltily at Steve then away again before saying, “Besides, that was the plan. I’d been trying for days to recreate the same set of circumstances as that night. Nothing had worked, but I finally had the brilliant idea of coming down here in order to be closer to the source, and then voila!” he says, clapping his hands. “There you were! Of course I had to be dreaming. Instead of being all offended by my very existence, you came closer, you let me pull you down on top of me and—oh shit, I said you had amazing tits,” he says, staggering. “I told Captain America he had amazing tits.”

“Tony, it doesn’t matter—”

“I know it doesn’t matter to you, Steve! But all of this—every fucking second—it all matters to me!” Tony says, thumping his hand against the arc reactor. “Do you think this is how I wanted to—that I was ever going to tell you? Can you even possibly imagine what it’s like to want someone who can barely tolerate you?”

“What do you mean?” Steve asks, because Tony can’t be saying what he thinks he’s saying. Because it would break Steve’s heart if Tony is saying what it sounds like he’s saying.

“And yes, things have gotten better. Yes, we’ve finally started to see some progress in moving past the grunts as a form of communication stage, and I am thrilled, okay, I am ecstatic that we’re inching along and that one day maybe we’ll even be friends. But it’s not what I want,” Tony says, shoulders slumping, hands falling by his sides. “Even though I know I’m never going to get it. I wasn’t ever going to risk what I could have for a damn pipe dream, but I was selfish and wanted the dream for as long as—”

“I never said you couldn’t have it,” Steve says hoarsely, and he’s standing too, just steps away from Tony, and it’s all he can do not to reach out for what is somehow miraculously his.

Tony’s head snaps up. “What?”

“Why do you think I let you say and do all of those things, Tony? You aren’t the only one who’s hoped for something different.”

“But you’ve never—not once—”

“I didn’t think you cared.”

“I care,” Tony says, voice breaking, his face worn down so there’s not a single mask in place.

“So do I,” Steve says, taking those final steps, because he can’t not. He want to kiss Tony, wants to pretend Clint never showed up and go from there, but they’ve already made all sort of mistakes, and it’s time they did more than rush forward blindly. So he hugs Tony instead, so hard that he imagines he can hear his bones creak, but Tony holds on just as tightly and seems in no hurry to let go.

It’s a long time later that he asks, “How much have you had to drink?”, partly because Tony kind of smells like the tent where the men had set up a makeshift distillery under the officers’ blind eye, and partly to keep him from thinking of how good Tony feels and how his body is still thrumming with desire.

“Too much.” Tony lets out a huff of laughter and moves away. “Not enough,” he says under his breath.

“Tony,” Steve starts to say, but haven’t they already said enough for right now? So he finishes with, “Let’s get you to bed.”

He asks, “Do you need any help?” once they’re standing in front of Tony’s door. It’s odd to think that he’d been almost in this exact situation a few days ago, that he’d gone from being so certain that Tony wasn’t interested to wildly hopeful to depressed to cautiously optimistic in such a short period of time. He’d be more confident if Tony weren’t being so quiet, but maybe that’s to be expected all things considered. It’s a lot to take in, especially for Tony who’s tired and still somewhat drunk.

He wishes Tony would at least touch him, though. They haven’t so much as brushed fingertips since the hug, and he’s not sure if that’s on purpose or not.

“No, I’m fine.”

Steve eyes him doubtfully, but it’s obvious Tony wants him gone, and while Tony lists a little when he walks, it’s not so bad that he needs Steve to hover.

“If you’re sure—”

“I am.”

“Well, alright. I’ll . . . I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Yes,” Tony says, and Steve relaxes slightly because it sounds like a promise.

“Okay. Goodnight, Tony.”

“’Night, Steve.”

He hesitates for a few seconds longer before finally giving him a smile that hopefully looks much less uncomfortable than it feels and then walking toward the stairs. It’s always seemed strange to him to take the elevator when he only lives a few floors down, and the stairwell door is closing behind him when he hears Tony say, “JARVIS, am I awake?”

He puts out a hand to keep the door partially open.

“Yes, Sir, indeed you are.”

“Are you sure? Never mind. Okay then,” Tony says, sighing. “Okay.”

Steve lets the door click shut.

-----

He doesn’t know what to expect the next day, how he’s supposed to act or what Tony is going to do, but he can’t stop the anticipation from building with each second that goes by.

Unlike the last time, Tony comes in almost immediately after him—like he’d just been waiting for Steve to arrive to make an appearance. He’s still wearing the same clothes from yesterday and looks like he didn’t slept a wink, but his hands are rock steady as he pours himself coffee.

“So about last night,” Tony says after they’ve exchanged good mornings and Steve has offered to make him something to eat and they’ve sat in uneasy silence while the bacon cooks.

“I meant every word I said,” Steve tells him, unwilling to beat around the bush or leave any room for doubt. He wants Tony to know how he feels.

“Really?” Tony asks dubiously, although he's starting to smile. “Because I may or may not have had JARVIS play back our conversation a few dozen times last night, and believe me when I say I can quote things back to you verbatim.”

“Every word,” he confirms, relief welling up, and he can tell that he’s beaming ridiculously at Tony, but so what? What’s wrong with letting Tony know how happy he is?

They don’t stop kissing until Clint and Natasha show up and Clint says, “Oh, come on. What the hell is with you people? Is this a fetish? Because you need to warn a guy if it’s a fetish. You let the bacon burn and everything.”

-----

Steve has never been the type to rush into the physical side of a relationship, sex always being less important than the feelings involved.

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t think about it, however, and with Tony, he finds himself thinking about it all too often. It’s impossible not to since he gets hard whenever Tony looks at him for too long—and Tony looks at him a lot—and because of what Tony had already said he wanted to do to him. Steve had needed to search online to make sure Tony meant what he thought he meant—he did—and the images have stayed with him.

He’s not shocked by the things he’s seen. He’d been in the army after all, and the other men had talked all the time. He’d learned more about what two people—or three or four—could get up to in the first week of boot camp than he’d known in the first twenty years of his life. He doubt’s there’s anything Tony could say or do that would utterly scandalize him, and he’s never been one to judge a person based on what they did or did not want, assuming it’s safe and consensual.

He thinks about what it’d be like more and more whenever he and Tony find a secluded corner (thankfully, no one has walked in on them again, mostly because Steve has requested JARVIS give them advance warning rather than due to any restraint they’ve shown themselves). Truth be told, he’s become more than a little fixated on the idea of Tony’s weight pinning him down, on how Tony’s thighs would clench against his sides while Tony moves over him, on the heat and the friction and Tony’s eyes on him all the while.

The problem, however, is that Tony seems perfectly content with kissing and light petting, and while Steve enjoys that, very much so, he’s desperately eager for more.

Considering how frequently Steve’s seen Tony with gorgeous women and men, he would’ve thought that Tony would be the one trying to move things along, but Tony apparently has endless wells of patience when he wants to. Steve just doesn’t understand why he wants to about this.

It gets to the point that he’s falling sleep almost every night with memories of Tony’s fingers blazing a trail across his skin and waking up the next morning seeking the warmth of Tony’s mouth on his nipples, his cock so hard that it only takes a few strokes to finish what his body has started without him, and he knows he can’t keep going on this way.

“Don’t stop,” he tells Tony that afternoon in between kisses, the two of them lying on Tony’s bed, still fully clothed. “I don’t want to stop.”

Tony lifts his head, lips shiny and slightly swollen, and says, “Don’t stop? As in, don’t stop kiss—?”

“As in don’t stop,” Steve says, squeezing Tony’s arms significantly, “not until I tell you to.”

“Really?” Tony sounds surprised but hopeful. “’Cause I thought, what with you being from the forties and all, that you’d want to wait . . .”

“Tony,” he says in exasperation, because that’s the reason Tony’s barely touched him? “It wasn’t the seventeen forties. People had sex before marriage. I have had sex without ever being married, I would like more sex right now, please, and I will hurt you if you stop.”

“Oooh, kinky,” Tony says, but he looks delighted, and his next kiss is filled with purpose.

A part of Steve wants to shake him. It’s been almost a month since they declared themselves, and he’s been taking things slowly because Tony’s been taking things slowly, and it’s left him so keyed up that even Nick has commented on how tense he’s been lately. The larger part, however, just wants to fall in love with Tony even more because of what Tony’s patience says about his feelings for Steve, and he thinks this is what life is always going to be like with Tony, frustration and greater joy and loving him so much that it hurts.

“Do you want me to stop?” Tony asks tentatively, his fingers hovering over the bottom of Steve’s shirt.

“No,” Steve says, taking it off himself.

“What about now?” Tony says, rubbing and flicking Steve’s nipples until he thinks he’s going to go insane.

Tony,” he gasps, shuddering as Tony pinches down.

“Now?” Tony whispers as he strokes Steve’s cock, his mouth bare inches away.

Shut up,” he groans, hips jerking helplessly, and Tony laughs before doing just that.

No matter how much he’s envisioned things happening differently, he isn’t disappointed when Tony gets out the tube of lubricant and slides the first finger into him—how can he be when it feels like this, odd and intense and so, so good—but he does say, “I thought you wanted . . .”

Tony glances up, distracted, eyes already starting to drift back down.

“That night in the living room,” Steve insists, legs tensing and relaxing, falling open shamelessly to give Tony more room. “You said that you wanted to—” He breaks off, trying to stifle the sound that wants to escape as Tony adds another finger, pushing in deep.

“Oh, you remember that?” Tony asks, looking sheepish. “Of course you do; what am I saying? There was only one drunk person in the room, and that person was me. Don’t worry about it. I thought I was dreaming at the time, and why wouldn’t I say that if I were dreaming, because look at you, but still.”

“But I wanted—” His breath catches as Tony does something particularly nice, and it takes a few seconds for him to remember what he was going to say, his mind blanking as Tony gets a steady rhythm going.

“What do you want, Steve?” Tony murmurs, nipping at his thigh before adding a third finger, twisting and curling with each plunge.

Steve can’t respond, can barely think, but he sees the moment when Tony finally understands, the expression on his face a revelation.

Oh,” Tony breathes, licking his lips and swallowing loudly. “Ohhh.” Tony’s eyes dart from what his hand is doing to Steve’s chest and back, again and again, before he finally issues a pained whimper that would be funny in any other situation.

“Don’t say things like that to me,” he tells Steve, even though Steve hasn’t said a word. “It’s like offering food to a lion at the zoo: I may look calm and docile, but given the chance, I will eat you up.”

“So do it,” Steve says, and he wonders if Tony can hear the challenge and desire in his voice as well as he can. He makes a pained noise as Tony pulls free, leaving him throbbing and empty, and he can’t get Tony above him fast enough.

“I will,” Tony promises, biting at his jaw, his neck as if he really does plan on devouring him, and Steve arches into the slight pain, groans when Tony pushes in. “Next time. Fuck, definitely next time, baby.”

Steve shudders at the pet name, at the feel of Tony filling him until it’s almost too much, and he grabs a handful of Tony’s hair, dragging his head in for another kiss.

“You’ll let me, won’t you?” Tony pants minutes later when Steve eventually has to let go, unable to coordinate breathing and kissing anymore, pleasure making him clumsy as Tony seems to take over every part of him, his blood pulsing in time with each careful, overwhelming thrust.

“Let me climb on top of you? Pour oil over your tits until you’re soaking wet and ready? Will you push them together for me? Make it nice and tight so I can’t help but come all over you?” he says, and Steve whines, fingers digging into Tony’s back, his hips, desire running like a sickness through him, each word out of Tony’s mouth fanning the fever that much higher.

“Yeah. You will,” Tony says, his voice in tatters, and he shoves Steve’s knees over his shoulders, the new position making him cry out as Tony drives in harder and harder, orgasm building in his gut, immense and unstoppable.

He nearly sobs in gratitude when Tony wraps his hand around him, and he rocks into it, fucking himself on Tony’s cock because it’s the only thing that makes it bearable.

“Will you play with your nipples while I fuck you?” Tony breathes into his ear, his free hand reaching out to put action to words, twisting and tugging, and Steve makes a stunned, wounded sound as he comes, shaking so hard that he wonders how he’s ever going to recover. Tony moans, picking up speed, rough and almost too much, but it drags Steve’s orgasm out forever, spurts of come still coating his stomach long after he feels completely drained.

“Can I stop now?” Tony asks raggedly, head hanging down but not enough to hide the twitch of his lips, and Steve groans and covers Tony’s face with his hand.

Tony lies on his chest afterwards, chin resting on his fist, and says, “So that went well,” a trace of smugness in his voice, as if they wouldn’t still be in the hand-holding stage if he’d had his way.

“I’m glad you think so,” is all Steve says, however, and he strokes the damp threads of Tony’s hair back carefully.

Tony grins like he knows exactly what he’s thinking and presses small kiss to Steve’s shoulder, to his jaw, his cheek.

“You know, I’ve been wondering . . .” Tony says, and Steve eyes him suspiciously, amusement warring with trepidation.

“Don’t think I’m not appreciative of how incredibly accommodating you’ve been to all of my little kinks and idiosyncrasies. Because I am. Extremely so. I would hand out medals and erect monuments—” he nudges his thigh against Steve’s spent cock which twitches embarrassingly, “—on your behalf.”

“Tony—”

“But what about you? Is there anything in particular you’d like to try?” Tony bites his lower lip, letting it slide out from under his teeth. “It’ll be a hardship, but I’m pretty sure I can think of ways for you to convince me.”

“I have what I want,” Steve says, and he tugs Tony closer until he can press his face to his neck.

“Well, sure,” Tony says, and he can hear the softness in his voice. “But you could have what you wanted with chocolate syrup, say. Or some—”

He kisses Tony then, just because he wants to, because he can. Because it hadn’t been that long ago that he’d thought he’d never get the chance. He knows they’ll end up coming back to this topic of conversation, and he doesn’t mind, looks forward to Tony wheedling every secret out of him in fact. But for right now, he just wants to enjoy the moment, the two of them together with Tony in his arms.