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Sotto Voce

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Tony bobs his head between the parted folds of the uniform's pants. He’s on his knees, hands itching to pull Steve's fly open wider, dying to strip the other man out of the uniform and run his hands all over Steve’s hardened body.

The first time that Tony did this, though, Steve made it crystal clear that that wasn't in the cards. Tony has to be content with the one little strip of flesh.

It's a good one, though.

He pulls back to run his lips over the head of Steve’s cock, laving at the underside with his tongue, before taking as much of him down the throat as is easy. The tip of his nose can almost touch the taut muscle of Steve's belly, where the golden trail of hair turns steadily coarser. Then Tony pushes himself further, fighting down his gag reflex, till his nose is buried in the dusting of hair, immersed in Steve’s earthy musk.

Tony feels leather gloves bunch in his black hair, impatient, urging Tony on. Tony ignores them. He enjoys wringing little sounds of frustration from Steve’s throat, and he’s found that languidly sucking Steve’s cock is a surefire way to elicit them. Despite appearances, this is as much for Tony as it is Steve. He never touches himself while Steve is present, but Tony is hard beneath the suit and the memories of sucking Steve off in uniform always make for excellent masturbatory material.

“Tony.” Steve's voice is hoarse and commanding. That's one of the other unspoken conditions about their little arrangement.

Mouth only. Tony’s mouth. No more skin than is strictly necessary. Maintain the utmost secrecy. And Steve always gets to call the shots—he sets the boundaries.

Though Tony certainly enjoys testing those limits.

Tony runs his tongue along the underside of Steve’s shaft, but he doesn’t move. This is part of the game. Steve, Tony has learned, will take a backseat in seeing to his pleasure, unless Tony is difficult, coaxing Steve to admit what he wants, even if it will never be in words.

There’s no doubt in Tony’s mind that Steve is ashamed of this thing between them, tip-toeing a fine line between what he clearly likes—decent head, even if it’s from a man—and what he thinks he should want—a nice girl to take home to Mom and Dad.

Tony doesn't have any illusions that there’s anything special about him in this equation of Steve’s (well, except maybe what he can do with his tongue). Natasha had his number there: drunk, cancer-ridden, faint eau de Chemo.

But that’s okay. Better to give than to receive. And he’s good at giving things away, even the things he shouldn’t, the things he should keep close and guard—

He doesn't need anything in return.

Frankly, after all he’s been through, he’s not sure Steve has anything left to give, apart from whatever this is.

“Tony.” Steve’s at the tipping point. It won’t be much longer. And Tony just wants to make him scream for it.

He pulls off of Steve slowly, presses a kiss to the tip, and then takes Steve down his throat again, as though they have all the time in the world.

Tony hears a low, gutteral growl from Steve, and the hands on his head pull at his hair, forcing Tony back off Steve’s cock. It hurts; Steve’s not holding back all of his strength. Worth it, though. Tony loves it when Steve finally decides to participate.

Briefly, the tip of Steve’s cock rests heavy on Tony’s lower lip. Then Steve’s hips thrust him back into Tony’s mouth and the leather gloves tug Tony’s head to meet the jerking motion. Under the suit, Tony swells, painfully hard now. The back of his throat burns, and he struggles not to choke as Steve fucks his mouth.

It is one thing to give, entirely another to get Steve to take.

He hears another rumbling growl from Steve. The rhythm of his hips becomes brutal, and there's no way he does this with his nice girls, no way Steve pushes them like this. Tony finally does gag, unable to keep up. He coughs around Steve and his hands scrabble against the leather of the uniform’s pants.

Steve lets him up for a gasp of air, watching as Tony rolls his jaw.

Then Tony licks his swollen lips and Steve takes that as cue to guide Tony back down, the closest he gets to insistent and needy. God , Tony thinks, how Steve would hate to hear himself in the same thought as needy.

Tony closes his eyes and his fingers curl around the bunched fabric at Steve's waist. His throat and tongue work around Steve as he opens himself up again to the renewed penetration. Steve’s pace is nearly as demanding and Tony just focuses on taking it, lost between the ache of his jaw, the wet sounds of Steve sliding between his lips, and the soft scratch of his beard scraping against the teeth of Steve’s fly.

It’s not long before Tony gets his reward. Steve’s thrusts become erratic, he lets out a stifled moan. Then the hands in Tony’s hair tighten, curling into something that half-resembles tenderness.

Steve’s thighs tremble and then the cock in Tony’s mouth pulses, viscous, salty cum filling his mouth. Tony swallows the evidence, rocking back on his heels and wiping his mouth with the back of one hand. Like clockwork, Steve promptly pulls away, turning his back to tuck himself back inside the folds of his uniform. Tony hears a zipper and a deep breath taken in through the nose.

Now comes the worst part.

So Tony does what he always does to cope with unpleasant situations. He goes to the bar to make himself a drink. Something simple, he decides, a martini.

“I can't keep doing this,” Steve voice is a low rumble. When Tony turns to glance at him, he sees that Steve still has his back to him, looking out the window.

“In six months, it probably won’t be an issue,” Tony replies, more acid in his voice than intended. He quickly pulls the cork on the first gin bottle he finds and dumps it into the glass without measuring. Close enough. He gives the drink a cursory swirl to stir and frowns at the reflection of himself in one of the stainless steel cocktail shakers. Even in the distorted curve of the metal, he can see the circles beneath his eyes.

“That’s low, Tony.”

“Just the facts,” Tony says, turning around and finishing the martini off with an olive. “Why?”

“You know why.”

“No I don't, darling.” Tony tosses back half the martini in one go. “Has your girlfriend finally come back? Has she gotten a divorce?”

Steve’s jaw clenches, and Tony feels dirty for poking at an exposed vein, even if it is why this started to begin with. They’d both been hurt badly. And if they’d sought to release a bit of the tension with one another, who was to judge?

“Maybe I just can't stand the smell of liquor on all my clothes.”

That hits close to home, so close to Natasha's words that Tony’s chest aches. “What, you think people are starting to suspect?”

Steve bristles, and Tony knows he's hit pay dirt. “Steve, you live in my house. Everything might as well smell like a bar here. Hell, I might as well switch the water taps out for vodka.”

And then, because he’s rich enough to consider it, Tony holds up his glass and ponders. “I wonder how practical it would be to take a bath in a martini.”

Steve is still on edge, still angry about Tony's comment. He clearly wants to go hit something. “Maybe we should go on patrol.”

But Tony doesn't feel like letting him out of this one so easily. “You need to loosen up. Have a drink. And stop thinking about another man's wife.”

The words are cold and cruel, and Tony doesn't mean them. They tumble out of his mouth, like the snapping of a rubber band pulled too tight.

He opens his mouth again, possibly to apologize, but he never gets the chance. That’s when the sky goes dark and he hears the roar of the water slamming into the mansion.

#

Tony is luckier than Steve. The suit engages the helmet, and even though he’s knocked off of his feet, it keeps him from blacking out. He grabs Steve and when they finally make it above the waterline, which is mind bogglingly high, he breathes a silent sigh of relief when Steve begins to splutter.

For a moment Tony thinks they’ll take point together in mobilizing the Ultimates. But then Steve begins to slip. His grip on Tony falters as he loses consciousness, and Tony is terrified that he’ll fall. So Tony hoists Steve’s knees up over his other arm, cradling him against the suit. He immediately reroutes to the Triskelion.

Steve comes to again, briefly, when they’re two hundred yards out.  

“Stark” his voice is weak, but horrified, and he wriggles in Tony’s arms. “Don’t carry me in there like a fucking bride.”

Tony gives this half a moment’s consideration before Steve faints again. He decides that discretion is the better part of valor and keeps Steve right where he is as he rockets through the glass, using an armored knee to take most of the impact.

It’s not like there’s anyone but the startled security officer to see, anyway.

#

Jan’s death hits them all hard, but Steve more than most. He doesn’t handle losing people well.

Tony thinks that maybe he should talk to Steve, that maybe now their arrangement might evolve into something more than sex, with actual words and feelings. But whenever he sees the crease of Steve’s brow, somehow Tony always finds an excuse to stay tight-lipped, or a reason to be elsewhere.

He’s a coward.

But even if he wasn’t, Steve is so standoffish now that they’re never in a room alone together. Steve is present for Ultimate’s business, but little else, and even then he’s withdrawn.

Things stay that way for a month—and might have stayed that way indefinitely—but then Steve seeks Tony out, to lay into him personally.

#

Tony is in the sitting room, feet propped up on the coffee table, wearing nothing but a purple bathrobe. He’s sipping a morning cocktail, tablet in hand, looking at his recent biopsy results. Recommendations for a new round of chemo catch his eye, and his stomach sinks at the prospect; the bitters of the Old Fashioned are just a little more pronounced on his tongue.

He sees words like weight-loss and hair-loss and he pets at his beard protectively.

Maybe he just won’t go through with it. It’s vain—Tony will certainly cop to being such—but if he’s going to die anyway, he’d rather do it on his terms, and the thought of losing his beloved goatee is abhorrent.

Tony is understandably preoccupied, so the sound of the door doesn’t immediately draw his attention.

The cheap newsprint that gets slapped down on the coffee table next to his feet does.

It’s some tabloid, it’s journalistic worth and reputation implicit in its nature. A still from grainy security cam footage is splashed across its front page with none other than Tony cradling Steve against the armor.

“Well that’s got to constitute a security breach,” Tony says, skimming the print before looking up to see Steve livid.

“Thought I made myself clear.”

That’s what has him upset?

“You weren’t fit to issue orders, darling.”

Steve’s nostrils flare at the pet name. “Don’t darling me. They all think we’re fucking.”

Tony snorts, because a tabloid is hardly everyone . But what he says is, “Well, they’re not wrong.”

To predictable effect. Steve’s hands curl into fists. For a moment he thinks Steve might actually hit him. Instead he snatches up the paper. “That’s not what we do.”

“Really.” It’s not a question. “What do you call it then?”

He sees a muscle in Steve’s neck constrict, but he doesn’t reply. Steve turns to leave, and once he’s gone, Tony senses that this chapter between them will be over—a maddening subcutaneous itch that can never be scratched.

He glances at the darkened tablet in his hands. For all he has enjoyed testing the boundaries of Steve’s limits, if this is the end, it would be such a shame to go out on a sour note.

“It was nice, whatever it was, while it lasted,” he says, even though that’s half lie. He would have offered up so much more to Steve if Steve had been able to return the favor.

It stops Steve in his tracks, and Tony can see his fingers curled, white knuckled on the paper.

He thinks that maybe this means it doesn’t have to be over. “They’re just rumors, Steve.” Tony says. “Utterly unsubstantiated ones.”

Steve half turns, his blue eyes boring through Tony. Maybe that’s the real rub here. Maybe the fact that they’re just rumors has hit on something deeper. So frustrated, so lonely, Tony thinks, gazing back.

And hungry.

Maybe hungry enough to stop denying himself what’s been right in front of him, to give Tony another piece of himself.

Tony crooks one leg. The robe shifts with the movement, just barely covering him. “Though I can’t say that I’d be sorry if we lived up to all that lurid speculation.”

And he waits, the banquet table offered up, meager meal though Tony may be. But this is how it always plays out between them. It’s up to Steve to decide.

“You can keep the uniform on,” Tony adds, a sly smile hiding the bitterness he feels when Steve still hesitates.

But finally—finally— it has the effect he wants. He sees the tip of Steve’s tongue wet his lips before they press together in resolve.

#

Tony sprawls face first on his silky sheets, surrounded by half a dozen pillows, his ass in the air, pressed to Steve’s groin. The other man has himself in hand, rubbing his cock against the slicked cleft of Tony's ass. A glance over his shoulder tells Tony that Steve still looks like he might call this off at any moment, but Tony’s convinced that in a few minutes all lingering doubts will be gone.

He still has the purple robe on, firmly knotted around his waist, but it’s been pushed up to give Steve access. True to form, Steve is still mostly clothed. His small concession is that the pants of his uniform have been pushed down, clinging to his thighs, but baring his ass.

Honestly, this is all such a huge step forward for Steve that Tony’s impressed.

Tony winces as Steve breaches him, stretching Tony wide, and all but ignoring the weak resistance the ring of muscle gives. It stings and Steve’s cock drags inside him because Tony hasn’t prepared himself enough. What can he say? He was excited...and a little afraid Steve would change his mind given too much time.

“God,” the word comes out as half moan from Steve's lips and his hands settle on Tony’s hips in a firm, possessive grip. For a moment he stays stock still, reveling in the tightness, then makes short little thrusts, testing the waters.

“Fuck,” Tony balls his fists into the sheets and groans into one arm, still adjusting to Steve's size. “ Fuck,” he repeats as he feels Steve swell further inside of him, and realizes the other man wasn't even fully hard when he pushed inside Tony.

Unconsciously, Tony spreads his legs wider at the thought, and Steve takes that as a cue to start in earnest, sliding halfway out before bucking hard into Tony's body. It doesn't take long for him to fall into the same demanding pace that he used on Tony's throat.

Tony rocks into his thrusts, looking for just the right angle. It’s enough that Tony isn’t going to push Steve away and go for more lube—though he probably should. But it isn’t enough to get him past half mast; for that, he’d need a hand.

He decides to hell with Steve's proclivities, and snakes a hand beneath the robe to palm himself.

Steve must be watching, because as Tony begins to jerk himself, Steve bends forward over his back, still rutting into Tony. “Is this what you wanted all along?”

What an unfair question.

Tony presses his cheek to the sheets, eyes clamped shut, and works himself harder. “Yes,” he says in a breathy exhale.

Let Steve think it's just about the sex. That's all there is for now. Tony can face the rest of that question another day.

Steve straightens up, a broad hand coming to rest across Tony's shoulders, pinning him to the bed, even though Tony wouldn't move for all the world. He matches the movement of his hand to the beat of Steve burying himself inside Tony, and lets his cock weep all over his fist.

He knows Steve is close when the thighs bumping into his start their characteristic tremble—when Steve's cock lingers inside of him for just a bit longer at the apex of each thrust. And then Steve's finally pushing over the edge, digging deep into Tony and letting himself spill.

And at first Tony thinks that’s it as Steve's cock retreats, leaving a warm, wet trail of semen that drips down Tony's balls. He thinks he might be able to come from that sensation alone, though that doesn't still the hand on his cock.

“You haven't gotten off yet,” Steve observes, in what must be a first.

Tony nearly sobs in ecstasy as he cracks an eye open and sees Steve stroking himself, still hard, and lining himself back up. God bless science and the super soldier serum.

Tony is sore from the first ride, but most of Steve's load is still inside him, and it helps lubricate the reentry. Tony expects Steve to resume his rough pounding, but today Steve seems to be full of surprises. In a play straight out of Tony's book, he seats himself balls deep in Tony and refuses to do more than twist his hips in small, barely satisfying circles.

Tony's hand stutters on his cock. “Didn’t know you could be such a tease, Rogers.”

Steve thrusts into him hard once, then runs his fingers over Tony's ass. “You want to come or not, Stark?”

Oh god.

In response, Tony rolls his hips, impaling himself on Steve. He pumps himself with his hand, but it's not enough, and they both know it.

“How do you want it, Tony?”

He knows how Tony wants it, how they both like it. He wants to hear Tony say it, and the realization makes Tony's cock twitch.

“Want it hard,” he grits out, sliding along Steve's cock.

“How hard?”

“Want you to fuck me into the mattress. Please."

The begging is what finally undoes Steve's resolve. He pushes Tony's hips down to the sheets, uses his thighs to spread Tony wider, and does just that.

#

Steve is fast asleep beside Tony. He's nice like this, the hard lines of his face softened by dreams and the moonlight.

Tony is sticky with their cum, inside and out. He should go clean himself up, and yet there's a little voice in the back of his head that says, stay, mesmerized by Steve like this.

For all the liberties and all the touch that Steve's allowed him today, it isn't really everything that Tony hoped for.

His eyes linger on Steve's pale lips, longing to touch them, to feel them on his skin. He never thought in all his wildest dreams that they'd get to where they did today. Given enough time, maybe they could make it farther. Maybe..

On the bedside table, Tony’s phone buzzes, a blue-white glow lighting up a spot in the darkened room. He fumbles for it and looks at the message. It's a confirmation for his next oncology appointment.

Hello, reality. It was nice to escape you for a day.

Tony sets the phone down and glances back at Steve. He's shifted in the bed, but he's still fast asleep.

Steve's never been good at losing people. He doesn't know how to let go.

Six months, tops, is what the doctors have given Tony.

Maybe what Tony wants is unfair. Maybe it's for the best if this is all Steve ever lets Tony have of himself.

Maybe this is more than he should have ever had.

He lets his eyes wander over Steve a few moments more, then gets up to go rinse himself off, pulling the bedroom door—as well as something deep inside—shut behind him.