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The Heavens Tumble, Darling, and I'm—

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Steve wasn’t exactly paying a lot of attention to Stark when they first met; he was a little more focused on the alien— he refused to call him a god— in front of them, who was playing possum and causing general mayhem.  In all honesty, he didn’t even realize what Stark had said until they were all back on the helicarrier.

(And that was another thing: the helicarrier.  There were a lot of things about the future that made Steve angry, it seemed like, but this was definitely one of them.  Who needed a helicarrier?  And for what?  Nothing good, Steve was damned sure certain of that!)

The thing was…

For most of Steve’s life, he’d been certain he was going to meet his soulmate by pissing him off.  (Almost certainly a him, although the occasion of the WACs did cause Steve’s heart to stutter for more reasons than just the look of a girl in uniform.)  He was sure that the conversation would go something like—

“Something something (probably something sassy), Mr. Soulmate.”

Captain,” Capt. Soulmate would correct him.

Because that was all it said:  Just “CAPTAIN”, all caps, no punctuation, in dark block letters that looked simultaneously angry and precise.  So he could be forgiven for assuming that it was a correction for a misapplied form of address; after all, it couldn’t be someone addressing him as Captain, could it?

Aha.

Ahahahaha.

Life was very funny.

But once everybody and their cousin started introducing themselves to Steve with just “Captain,” he found himself thrown into a perpetual state of panic.  He started answering back effusively—

“Captain.”

“Commander Hill, it’s a pleasure to meet you.  I take it you’re in command of the ship?”

He knew perfectly damned well she commanded the ship; he was just trying to stand out.

But when he was on his knees in front of Loki, there wasn’t time for any of that.

“Captain.”

“Mr. Stark.”

On the other hand, surely Stark would say something if he were Steve’s soulmate?  Unless he was in the same boat, himself…

Well, it would all work out.

After all, what were the odds that Tony Stark was his soulmate?

 


 

He’d better hope that Tony Stark wasn’t his soulmate, because if he was, there was an awful lot of grovelling in his future.

 


 

“Captain.”  Mr. Stark was at the counter when Steve walked in, and it was automatic to check himself.  Ever since the wormhole— ever since Steve had been completely, totally, egregiously wrong about his fellow Avenger— Steve had taken pains to be polite to the inventor.  He didn’t feel any better about his conduct, and to be honest, Stark didn’t really seem to appreciate it, but it at least prevented a relapse back to how they were before, so Steve was stubbornly sticking with it.

He’d also made a point of apologizing for his remarks.  Stark hadn’t seemed to appreciate that very much, either.

“Mr. Stark,” Steve said now, returning the greeting as he stripped off his leather jacket.  It was chilly, but not cold, outside, but Steve always found himself feeling the effects of the cold these days, even as he knew that it couldn’t do any real damage to him that the ice and the water hadn’t managed.  He still found he always wanted a jacket for the trip from his apartment up to Stark Tower.

Avengers Tower, now.

He could never manage to remember that…

Stark watched him hang the jacket up, eyes flicking from his chest to his face before he turned back to the coffee pot with a twitch.  “I wish you wouldn’t call me that,” he said through gritted teeth.  

Steve scowled, then remembered, once again, his resolution to play nice.  “Why not?” he asked mildly.  “And what you prefer, instead?”

Stark shrugged, hunching almost defensively over a steaming mug.  “Anything else, okay?  Jesus.  Mr. Stark was my dad.”  His mouth twisted bitterly.

Steve regarded him calmly, and abruptly, like setting a dislocated shoulder, decided to try it another way, instead.  “Okay then, Asshole.  Did you leave me any coffee?”

Stark’s eyes flew open, and he grinned, stepping aside and gesturing with a flourish at the pot.

 


 

“Coming in for extraction.  Brace for impact, Dickhead!”

“Dickhead?   Seriously?”  Steve did, however, brace for impact, raising his arms enough that it was easy to lock them around the armor when Tony came to pick him up at about three miles per hour below mach 1.

“Hey, if you get to call me Asshole, I get to call you Dickhead.”  Tony sent the comment through the comms, not the external speakers of the suit, which meant that their entire team heard it— thanks for that, Stark— and also meant that it was as if Tony was speaking directly into Steve’s ear.  He shivered.

“Are you cold?  Nevermind, you’re always cold.  Don’t worry, we’ll be blowing things up soon, you can toast yourself by the fires.”

 


 

The nice thing about Avengers Tower— okay, one of the nice things— was that there was an open porch on the top floor near the lab Bruce and Tony worked in.  Steve had discovered it one day while waiting for Bruce to finish— the men regularly met up for lunch on Thursdays, which had started as a team-building exercise and continued because they had discovered a mutual love of comic books, and Bruce always picked up a stash on Wednesday evenings— and now, Steve made it a practice to sit out in the sun whenever he could, soaking up rays and, for once, not freezing his toes off.  It was a hot day, today, but that was alright; Steve just took off his shoes and socks, and then also his jacket and button-down shirt.  The hot August sun beat down upon his skin, and Steve lay napping in his sleeveless undershirt and trousers, feeling cozy, and safe, and at peace.

“Sweet Jesus, is that even legal?”  

Steve didn’t even bother to open his eyes.  “It’s private property, Tony, I’m allowed to have my shirt off.  I’m even allowed to have my shirt off in public property these days, it’s completely depraved.”  The lazy satisfaction of the nap was thick in his voice, like warm milk.  He still hadn’t opened his eyes, so he was actually surprised when he heard the camera shutter click.

He sat up, glaring.

Tony didn’t even pretend to be impressed by it.  “What?  If you’re going to lie around like a pinup, I’m going to take a picture for my spank-bank, Captain.”

“I wish you wouldn’t call me that,” Steve spat out before even processing what Tony had actually said.  

For his what?

Steve’s heart pounded like a Polynesian drum band.  He was sure Tony was replying with something appropriately cutting and hilarious, but all he could think was, Would he really actually do… that?  To a picture of me?  

Then again…  

Steve wouldn’t exactly object to a pin-up of Tony, either...

He heard a rushing sound in his ears as he imagined it:  Tony, maybe just wearing a nice pair of denims pants— not even a shirt— posed on his bed.  (Steve had never seen his bed, but was sure it was enormous, and had red satin sheets.  It just seemed like the sort of prop Tony would have.)  One knee would be drawn up, the opposite arm tucked behind his head (for visual balance), and the sharp, challenging expression in his dark, glinting eyes would be so familiar…  

Steve blinked, and banished the mental image forever.

(Or at least until that night.)

“Captain?”  Tony was looking at him in concern.  

Had Tony’s mouth always glistened like that?  Like he’d just been licking his lips, or biting them?

“I wish you wouldn’t call me that,” Steve repeated.  “We’re friends, now.  My name is Steve.”

Low on his hip, far enough down that most pairs of trousers covered it, was a bold black soulmark looking like it was written in Sharpie that said, “CAPTAIN.”  Steve idly reached his right hand down and rubbed it, but of course the ache he had been trying to relieve there had to have been imagined in the first place.

Tony’s eyes tracked his hand down, then flicked back to his face as the engineer swallowed.  “Steve,” he murmured, rolling the word around on his tongue, eyes dark as if he were drinking the finest Cabernet, tasting the name for tannins and hints of oak.  “Right.  I’ll remember that.”

They stared at each other.  

“Thank you,” said Steve.  He felt oddly unsteady, the harsh rays of the sun no longer a comfort, but an attack.  His head throbbed.

“You’re welcome,” said Tony.  He looked troubled, almost yearning.  

They were still staring at each other.

And then, suddenly, they weren’t.  The current between them broke like a wave, in response to some sign Steve neither saw nor heard.  

Tony was dancing in place, and grinning, and not looking at him at all.  “Come on, put your shirt on; we’re late to meet Bruce for lunch.”

 


 

It happened again, a week later.

And again.

Steve was starting to think he was going insane.  Or Tony was.  Or both.

 


 

He broke the week after that.  

He was sitting in the sun again— well, it was a nice day out!— when Tony came up and lingered by the door of the building, lounging against the frame indecently, one arm over his head, the other propped against his hip.  Steve happened to be looking, this time; he’s been using his body to shade a piece of paper, letting the sun beat down on his back and head, and as a consequence was facing the Tower door.  He didn’t appear to be paying attention, scratching at a sketch— a frustrating one, one not quite working out for him— but every once in awhile, he would glance up, and Tony was still standing there.

He only lasted three minutes.

“You just going to stare?” he called.  “Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”

“Tried that; you didn’t like it.”

They were talking quick, the lighthearted banter they both enjoyed so much.  It wasn’t a surprise that Steve managed to say something he shouldn’t have; mostly, it was a surprise that it hadn't happened months ago.

“Yeah?  Well, then you told me what you’d be using it for, maybe I’ve changed my mind.”

Tony sucked in a sharp breath, and Steve went still.  

“Damn,” Steve said.  He pressed his lips together.  “I shouldn’t have said that.”  

He cut his eyes away from Tony, and started packing up his notebook and pencils.  No chance now that he’d be left alone out here to finish drawing, that was for sure.

And then Tony said the last thing Steve would ever have expected:  He said, “Sorry.”

Steve looked up at him in shock.  “Why?” he asked bluntly.  “It’s not your fault.  I’m the one who said it.”  Tony’s face was twisted bitterly, he saw in shock, and his arm had come off of the doorframe.  He was pulling in on himself, as if he were cold on this beautiful summer day.

“I’m the one who made it weird.”  He sounded like he was claiming responsibility, but again, Steve just didn’t think it made sense.

He shook his head and stood, grabbing his bag as he made his way towards the door.  “Tony, you just reacted with shock to my saying something completely inappropriate.  Now, I appreciate the comment that makes about my normal restraint, but—”

“I reacted with a hard-on to you joking around,” Tony countered.  “I’m pretty sure I’m the one being inappropriate, here.”

Steve came even with Tony.  “Excuse me?”

“Jesus, Steve, don’t make me say it again.”  Tony rolled his eyes.

Steve tilted his head to the side, studying Tony’s face— a humiliated expression warred with desire, and a red flush was creeping up his neck— and then, decisively, dropped his bag.  He carefully put his hands on Tony’s shoulders— Tony flinched anyway— and steered them both inside the door, into the shadow where they would be more difficult to observe.

“Not inappropriate,” Steve told him.  His voice came out low, lower than he’d planned, and he tried to turn it into sultry instead.  “Just unexpected.”

His heart was thumping along faster than a cartoon rabbit, and his stomach turned over from nerves, but Steve had never backed down from a challenge, and he wasn’t about to start now.  He’d wanted Tony for ages now, the same way he’d wanted a growth spurt when he was younger:  desperately, but distantly, with the relief that came from the certain knowledge that he was never going to get it.

Steve was making a habit, now, of obtaining the impossible.

“What,” said Tony.

Steve watched his hands as if unconnected to them as they rose and cupped Tony’s face, thumbs running over the scratchy hair of the beard, brushing up and over the softness of his cheeks.

“What,” said Tony.

Steve brushed his thumb over Tony’s mouth.  It caught slightly on Tony’s lower lip— which was a little chapped— and pulled it out of shape, dragging it down, just a little, before it released.  Steve leaned in, breath rushing out over his own lips in a hot, tingling rush.  

Just before he was about to complete the kiss, he paused, looking up.  “This okay?” he asked Tony, privately proud that his voice came out husky and not nervous or eager, both of which would have been true.

Tony blinked in front of him, jaw still slightly slack, and said nothing.  

Steve leaned back again, worried now, and made sure he was looking Tony in the eye.  “Is this okay?” he repeated.

Christ, he’d better hope he hadn’t just almost-assaulted his best friend in this century.  If Tony thought this was a joke— or if Tony wasn’t nearly as interested as it kind of looked like he was— Steve could be in a lot of trouble right now.  Forget that they couldn’t court-martial him for it anymore; he might have just messed up the team , and that would be—

“Yeah,” Tony breathed, staring down at him, and before he could change his mind— before either of them could change their minds— Steve leaned forward and kissed him sweetly.

It was good.  It was— wow, it was probably vastly overdue, but all the sweeter because of that.  Steve felt like he was melting, like sweet chocolate in the summer sun, and he could see the tension leak out of Tony’s shoulders as Tony leaned in, pushing up into the kiss because he was just that little bit shorter than Steve.  

Steve gave a small noise— which was definitely in no way a moan— and nibbled lightly at Tony’s bottom lip; Tony growled, causing Steve’s heart to stutter and his stomach to clench, and hauled him in by the front of his A shirt, licking into him aggressively, pulling them closer and closer together until they were touching from their lips all the way down to their knees.  

Then he shoved Steve away, and Steve went, staggering and blinking in shock and lust.  He looked at Tony doubtfully; Tony had said he could, but if he was getting mad now—

“No no no,” Tony said, seeing the look on his face.  “No, Steve, come on— not like that— I just— I have a bedroom, it locks, we can do this not in the middle of the kitchen—”

Steve swallowed, and picked up his bag, and gestured:  Lead on, MacDuff.  

Tony grabbed him by the front of the shirt to tow him towards the elevator.

 


 

They tumbled out in a flail of limbs, Tony pulling them through his penthouse so quickly that Steve didn’t even really get a chance to see it.  Less than forty seconds after entering the elevator, they were in a bedroom— presumably Tony’s— and Tony was using his body weight to try to pull Steve down on the bed.

Which didn’t work; Steve just stood there and took it.  Tony gave another tug— which also failed to move Steve— and Steve pulled back, lifting Tony up by the grip he had on Steve’s arm, until Tony’s legs were dangling most of a foot off the ground.

Tony blinked and looked down.  “Jesus that’s hot,” he breathed, looking up again with wide eyes and licking his lips.  

Steve smiled, impishly, and tossed him on the bed, before jumping on himself.  The bed had good springs— a titanium-adamantium blend or something, knowing Tony— and he landed with a satisfying bounce.  

Tony was on him immediately, sucking a hickey that would fade before they left the room onto his neck, running hands through his hair, down his neck, across his shoulders... And Steve would have loved to have taken this that slowly, but they were meeting Bruce in less than half an hour, so he ran his own hands, fingers crooked like claws, down Tony’s chest, one on each side and well-skirting the arc reactor— Tony hissed when Steve’s nails scraped over his nipples— until he’d passed over Tony’s stomach and found his way to the buckle of Tony’s belt.  

“Have you done this before?” Tony asked, breathless in Steve’s ear as he bit, lightly, at the lobe.  

Steve laughed, shortly.  He said, “Yes.”

“With a man,” Tony insisted.  He’d moved his hand around now, and it was reaching up under Steve’s shirt, marking out the braille of his abs.

“Pretty much exclusively with men.”  Steve bit down over Tony’s collar-bone, and got a satisfyingly hot exclamation out of Tony as a reward.  He watched Tony’s face, and he could see the moment Tony realized what he’d said.  

It took a while, because Tony was distracted by Steve pulling down his zipper at the time.

“Wait, what?   Really?”

Steve shot him an exasperated look.

“No, but you— really?   I thought—”

“Can we talk about it later?” Steve asked.

He squeezed, and watched Tony’s eyes cross.

“Yeah, later,” Tony agreed, dazedly.  “Good plan.”

“Thanks,” he said, kind of politely.

He bent and took Tony in, and this was familiar, and it was good, it was perfect, sweat and musk and the feel of it, filling his mouth, letting him feel used and useful  for minute.  Tony had a good dick, slightly larger than average in both length and girth although not monstrous by any means, clean, trimmed— Steve had half-expected fancy patterns in his pubic hair, but no, it was just neatly trimmed all around— and cut.  It tasted good, too, in a mild sort of way, and Steve let himself moan and drool his appreciation around it.

“Jesus Christ, Steve,” Tony moaned.  “Jesus, what the hell.  How are you—?”

Steve sucked a little harder, and Tony stopped even that level of coherence, thrusting upward with a compulsive jerk of his hips.  Steve hummed disapprovingly and put his hands on Tony’s hips, feeling the bone through the humble covering of skin and muscle, holding Tony in place.  He bobbed his head, letting Tony touch the back of his throat once, twice, before pulling back to the head and giving another hard suck.  Tony cried out, tried to thrust, and, when he couldn’t, cried out again, louder.

It wasn’t going to take long; Steve could see it, in the arc of Tony’s neck as his head bent backwards, in the desperate way Tony was brushing and pulling at Steve’s hair; he could feel it in the thrashes he was holding back at the hips.  He took a deep breath, opening his throat, and pushed downward, stretching a little to get a better angle, to get more of Tony inside him.  He couldn’t breathe, now, but that was alright, he had the air already, all he had to do was—

He swallowed around him, and then swallowed again, and Tony shouted as the muscles of his throat caressed him.  Steve felt Tony’s hands shift around to the back of his head, pressing hard, and then—

Steve swallowed a final time, then pulled back, letting Tony slip past his lips. Instinctively, he licked his mouth as he raised his head, and was pleased and satisfied to watch Tony’s eyes cross at the sight.

“Holy shit,” Tony said weakly.  “You—”

Steve smiled, brightly, and pressed a kiss on Tony’s cheek before dropping his hands to his belt and unfastening it.  “Mind if I—?”

“Oh, no, please— go ahead,” said Tony, waving a hand at him.  “I’ll even help, as soon as I have functioning brain cells again.”

Steve chuckled, feeling only a tiny bit self-conscious as he pulled himself out through the front of his briefs.  Unlike Tony, Steve wasn’t cut, and there was already a hefty amount of slick wetness by the time he firmed his grip.  

This wasn't going to take long.

Before he'd gotten three strokes in, Tony was sitting up, hands creeping around Steve’s waist and arms before sliding sinuously down to wrap around Steve's hand.  Steve's breath stuttered, and he let Tony take the lead.  He set a brisker pace than Steve usually did— of course he did, as Steve would reflect later; he was Tony Stark,  he did everything fast— and it was shockingly effective.  Within a couple minutes, Steve’s breath was uneven, gasps taking over his chest, and Tony kissed him, hard, shortening his strokes, tightening his grip, and then Steve was coming, messily, mostly on Tony’s pants, his throat tingling from the noise he was making— a growl, he realized as he bit at Tony’s mouth.  Tony whimpered and submitted for a moment before winding a hand into Steve’s hair and tugging him away.

“Come on, big guy.  Come on— we gotta get all cleaned up, we’re meeting Bruce—”

Steve reached out and pulled Tony’s face back to his, kissing him again, forcefully enough to tilt Tony’s head back on his neck a bit, one thumb on each side pressing against Tony’s cheeks.  Tony let him for one long, glorious minute, and then, gently, disengaged.

“We’re gonna talk after Bruce leaves,” Steve said before Tony could get a word out.

“Yes!” Tony agreed instantly.  “Yeah!  Sure!”

Steve nodded.  “Good.”

And then frowned.

“Um.  You might want to change your pants, first.”

 


 

Bruce was already dishing out Indian food when they arrived at the kitchen bickering good-naturedly about Steve’s motorcycle.  He looked up with a smile for Steve, and a raised eyebrow for Tony.  “You changed clothes?” he asked, surprised.  “Why?”

Tony met Steve’s eye for only the briefest of seconds before answering blandly, “Spill— my fault.  Got some... yoghurt on them.”  The pause before “yoghurt” was infinitesimal; just enough to set Steve into a coughing fit.

Bruce did not look less confused.

“Why were you eating yoghurt right before we had lunch...?”

And, really, Steve couldn’t resist.  After all, Tony wasn’t the only one allowed to crack jokes around here...  “Tony’s being nice,” Steve intervened.  “Actually, it was my yoghurt.  I was the one... eating.”

He heard Tony choke back a laugh, and smiled seraphically into Bruce’s puzzled eyes.

Bruce had no reason to doubt him, though:  after all, being post the serum, Steve really did have a big appetite!

 


 

Steve and Tony stayed seated in their chairs as Bruce wandered off, each watching his round-shouldered form amble towards the elevator.  He gave a little wave as he got on, and Steve waved back, pouring another glass of cola with his other hand.  “So.”  He set the bottle of cola on the table, raising his left eyebrow at Tony.

“So,” Tony answered, raising one of his own right back.  “That happened.”

Steve smiled to himself.  “It sure did,” he agreed smugly.

Tony spluttered.  “What— stop that!  That face, right there— that’s not allowed!  What are you—?”

Steve raised the eyebrow again, smirking, and Tony pointed at him accusingly.  

“You’re a fake!”

“I’m a what?”

“A fake!  You pretend to be all holy-roller, goody-two-shoes, butter-wouldn’t-melt, but actually—!”

“When the hell did I pretend that?”

Tony came up short.  “You...  You’re Captain America.”  

He was looking at Steve as if Steve had declared his intention to participate in the Miss Universe contest.  

Steve sighed.  “Okay.  Try this:  Other than putting down the Valkyrie, what is the one thing 'Captain America' is famous for more than anything else?”

“Punching Hitler.”

“I mean of the list of things I actually did?”

“The march,” Tony answered, shrugging.  “The Capture of Azzano, which lead to the Rescue March of over two hundred men.”

“Yeah,” Steve agreed.  “The Capture of Azzano, where I went behind enemy lines, without authorization, after commandeering a civilian aircraft and pilot, disobeying orders, going AWOL, and canceling without notice the performance scheduled that night.  That Capture of Azzano?”

Tony tapped his fingers on the table-top, one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four.

He said, “Good point—”

“Alright then.  So now that we’ve got that out of our system—”

“ — Wanna go on a date?”

Now Steve was the one losing his jaw.  “A date?”

“Dinner, movie, maybe some wine—”

“Me?!”

Tony paused.  “Is that— Do you not—” He shook his head.  “Wait, wait, wait— Why is that a shock?”

“Well, it’s just— you know— Well, I mean—  People don’t usually... ask?  Me?  Not on the kind of thing you’re talking about, anyway.”

Tony nodded slowly.  “Which, just to be clear...”

Steve nodded too, more quickly.  “You’re talking about— I mean, I think what you’re talking about is... Stepping out?  Not just going dancing together or something, this is...”

“Right.”  Tony looked relieved.  “Long-term.”

“Yes!  That!”  Steve pointed to him excitedly, then realized how silly he looked and subsided to drinking his cola instead.

“So— just to clarify, here— you’re saying people don’t... ask you that?  Because I think there are asexuals, monks, and five-day-dead corpses that would love to start dating you, Steve.”

“Nah, not me.   You, maybe—”

“Definitely not.  You may be Captain America, Steve, but trust me when I say that dating me would be the bravest thing you could ever do.”

Steve couldn’t help smiling at the joke.  “Now, that I don’t believe,” he said, amused.  “So, a date?  Really?  You mean it?”

Tony rolled his eyes.  “Why on Earth wouldn’t I mean it?” he demanded, getting out of his chair and heading toward the coffeepot.  “What kind of idiots have you been talking to that were turning this—”  He gestured, flailing, at Steve’s torso.  “— down?”

“They weren’t turning this down,” Steve said, waving his own hand.  “They were turning me down.  There...”

He backtracked.

“Most of my... encounters...  were on leave, anyway— during the War.  And before that...  I wasn’t really the kind of guy anybody would be interested in.”

“Their loss,” Tony said.  “JARVIS, lock down the elevator.”

He set his coffee cup on the edge of the table, then crowded in towards Steve, easing onto his lap with one leg on each side.  Steve smiled quietly, shifting his weight so that Tony had an even surface to sit on.  “I take it we’re not waiting for more dates to keep sleeping together,” he observed.

“Gosh, you’re so observant.”  Tony’s mouth was quick and hot, blowing warm air over Steve’s lips, but when Steve tilted his head up to meet him, Tony pulled away.

Steve chuckled.  “It’s like that, huh?”

He wrapped his arms around Tony, one hand pressing into Tony’s back, the other coming up to cup his jaw, and then, slowly but inevitably, reeled him in, pressing him in until the arc reactor nudged at his own sternum.  Tony came, leaning in again as if to kiss him, but at the last moment ducked aside teasingly, breathing heavy in Steve’s ear, instead, alternating warm air with licks and nibbles until Steve squirmed and bucked underneath him.

“Oh, damn,” Tony murmured, sounding not even a little bit upset, “you can still jump like that with me on your lap?”  His voice was like warm chocolate syrup, pouring over Steve with a shiver down his back as Tony’s hands moved from his abdomen, one on each side at the base of the ribs, smoothly downward.  “What about it I... held you down?”

His hands reached Steve’s waist, fingers and thumbs pressing in hard to hold him, but despite being so turned on he was having trouble accessing English, Steve still bucked hard and kicked out, catching the leg of the table and toppling the chair they were both in backwards.  He curved the hand still at the base of Tony’s neck around the head protectively, but he needn’t have worried; Steve’s own skull was the one to hit the kitchen tile with a sick-sounding crack!

“Oh my God, are you okay?”   Tony’s knees and feet were basically on the ground now, so he eased up, bracing himself over Steve on hands and knees.  

“I’m fine,” Steve groaned, reaching back to feel his head.  No blood, and a small knot but nothing major.  “I’m really fine, just a small whack.  Um.  Sorry,” he added with a sheepish smile.

“No, no sorry, wait, what?  What was that about?”

“It’s just.  Um.”

Tony looked very alarmed, very suddenly.  “Oh, God— Do you not like being held down?”  He looked even more appalled as a subsequent thought occurred to him.  “Is there trauma?!”

“No!  No trauma.  I just— oh, it’s not the ‘held down’ thing, either— it’s just, uh... sensitive?”

“Sensitive?”

“Yeah, my, uh— my soulmark?”  

Steve cringed.  

Maybe Tony hadn’t known he had a soulmark— most folks didn’t, after all, and it wasn’t like it was in a spot Steve had been showing off.

And maybe now he did know, Tony wouldn’t want to date him, after all.

Tony did look pretty blank, pulling back a little.  “You have a soulmark?” he asked, and yep, there it was.

Steve blew out a heavy breath and scooted away from him, too, until there was enough room for him to sit up on the kitchen floor.  “Guess I should have mentioned that, huh?” he asked dully.

“Well, before I went and poked it, yeah, that would have been good,” Tony started, and Steve winced again.

“I’m sorry, I know.  I just wanted—”

“I mean, they’re pretty sensitive.”

Steve blinked.

“Mine is— I mean, I touch it all the time, but I’m stimmy, I touch everything, if I could get away with petting my dick in public I’d do that—”

“Wait— you have one, too?”  Steve felt the smile start again at the corners of his mouth, growing slowly, but definitely there.  

“A dick?  Of course.”

“Tony.”

“Alright, fine,” Tony winced.  “Yes, I have a soulmark, it’s mostly secret, what it says is definitely secret— by the way, good time to mention:  I generally don’t take my shirt off in bed, it’s not personal, don’t take it the wrong way— and I have no idea if I’ve met them or not.”  He smiled thinly.  “Any other questions?”

“Yeah,” Steve answered, “Where is it?”

Tony snorted.  “Here,” he said, pulling Steve’s hand up and placing his fingers on Tony’s chest.  It was right underneath the hard, round shape of the arc reactor, and all of a sudden Steve could understand why they had put the reactor in so high, rather than slipping it in from below, through the abdominal wall:  if the mark had any significant length at all, this would have been the only place to operate without disturbing it.  

“It must be beautiful,” Steve said quietly.  He rubbed his fingers back and forth, lightly, and Tony sucked in a breath that was a half a hair away from being a gasp.  

“It’s damned sensitive,” Tony answered, looking lost.  His eyes were on Steve hand where it rested on his chest, still idly rubbing at the unseen words beneath Tony’s shirt.  “I hated it,” he added, “when they put in the reactor.  I thought, Here’s why it is where it is.  Here’s proof that this was always going to happen, that nothing I could have done would have stopped the inevitable.”  He lifted Steve’s hand away, not angrily.  “So yeah.  That’s a thing.”

“Well,” Steve answered, “I guess we’re a matched pair, then.”  He smiled wryly over at Tony, and Tony, ducking his head, smiled back.

“So, a date then?”  

“Yeah.”  Steve’s fingers were still tingling, and he looked down at them with a bemused smile on his face before, quite deliberately, running them across the boldly-written CAPTAIN on his hip, and shuddering at the intensity of the sensation.

Tony’s eyes darkened, and he licked his hips.  “And... do we need to wait until after the date to get back to—?”

“Definitely not.”  Steve hauled him in with a hand around the back of the neck.

 


 

“Oof!”  Steve bounced a little when he hit the bed, the bedsprings creaking at the sudden impact of his weight.  He stripped off the t-shirt he was wearing and threw it at Tony’s head.  “Come on,” he challenged, and Tony cocked an eyebrow at him and pulled the strap of his own belt until the buckle fell open.  

“You know, I admit, I was surprised to learn that you, of all people, would be open to this— since you have a soulmark.”

“So do you,” Steve pointed out, stretching his arms behind his head in a way which made his pecs stand out proud.  Tony made a noise like, “hrghrgl,” so apparently it still worked.

“I’m depraved,” Tony said, making it sound like profanity in a voice still somewhat stunned by the show Steve was putting it on.  “I don’t count.  You’re different— Jesus!”

Steve had licked a thumb and was running it down his abs.

“Pigeonholing,” Steve said, mock-sadly.  “And here I had heard you were smart.”

“I am smart,” Tony protested feebly.

“Not smarter than that, apparently.”

“And rapidly getting stupider," he agreed.  "Take off your pants.”

Steve ducked his head to hide his pleased smile, and unbuttoned his pants before easing down the zipper.  Then they both lost time as Tony joined him on the bed, all hot hands and hungry mouth and Jesus it should not be legal to do that with your tongue!  

There was a spot, not quite on his stomach but rather just to the side along the ribs, which had always been exquisitely sensitive; it took Tony about five seconds to find it.  Steve tried to counter by running his hand over Tony’s shoulders, but Tony gently took his wrist and pressed it back, up by his head, so that Steve was very much on display in front of him, and that was...

Steve groaned.

“Tony.”

“Yeah,” Tony agreed, mouth drifting upwards, pausing briefly to nip at his left nipple.  “Yeah.  Can I suck you?”

“Yes,” Steve agreed immediately.  Then groaned.  “We should talk about— I’m clean.  I mean, I can’t get anything, and I can’t give anything, and also— not since the ice—”

“Gotcha.”  

“ — So it’s been a while, but not so long I don’t remember what I like—”

“Wait, but— you came out of the ice almost a year ago—”

“ — So you could also fuck me.  If you wanted.”

“Holy shit!”  Tony drew back, just a couple inches, just enough to see Steve’s face.  “Uh... seriously?”

“Yeah.  It used to— I mean, I used to like it— sometimes, anyway.  Back when.”  Steve shrugged, because happy as he was to do this stuff, it was still kind of awkward to talk about it.  “And, you know, I have this hunch— call it a gut instinct— that anything a guy in the 30’s could do, you can do a hell of a lot better.”

“Uh, I mean— okay!   But, um, seriously, can you go more than once?  Because the urge to put my mouth on your dick is pretty overpowering, here...”

Steve laughed, feeling almost dizzy, and gestured downward to where his shorts were tenting outward.  “I’m not stopping you— oh, God!”

Tony had sucked him right through the cotton.  

“Jesus, Tony!  Yes, please— here—”  He hooked his thumbs in the waistband of his briefs and shoved downward; Tony assisted by pulling the front out so it could clear Steve’s (at this point substantial) erection.  As soon as they were off his hips, though, resting just at the top of his thighs so that his balls were pulled slightly forward on top of them, Tony leaned in again, eyes shut in concentration, hands drifting up to tweek Steve’s nipples as he swallowed him down.  Steve gave a wordless whine through his nose and thrust gently, just enough for movement without any danger of choking on Tony’s part, and rested his left hand— gently, gently, so gently, do not shove his head around, Steve! — in Tony’s hair.  His right hand, he ran down his own side, until it rested over the soulmark on his hip, covering it completely.  He ground his own palm into the mark so that sensation sparked out all over his hip, and groaned again, allowing the sound to trail out into whimpers.  

He let Tony go for a few minutes, letting his head loll back on his neck, petting Tony’s hair gently, floating on the pleasure that pooled from the mark and the mouth and Jesus Christ Tony was good at this!  Eventually, though, he shifted his grip down, cupping Tony under the chin to pull him away, bringing him up until Steve could kiss him deeply, thoroughly, chasing the taste of himself around Tony’s mouth until Tony moaned, grinding his own hand into his chest right under the arc reactor, then sliding it down until he could palm himself through the jeans he was for some reason still wearing.  

Steve pulled away and gasped.  “Come on, Tony.  Come on, it’s time, let’s do this—”  He turned, diving to the bed on his stomach— really appreciating those good springs— before propping himself up on his elbows and arching his back enough for the message to be unmistakably clear.  

“You know know I can’t fuck you if you melt my brain with sheer hotness first, right?”  Tony’s hands were belying his words, though, ghosting over the wide muscles of Steve’s shoulders, the rounded firmness of his delts and biceps and traps and then down the spine to the longer, more delicate muscles along the spine, thumbs digging in hard at the top of the glutes, and Steve was moaning, head falling forward on his neck, and he had been right, he had been so right, because Tony Stark was already better than anyone Steve had ever been with and they had only barely gotten started.  

Most of Steve’s previous encounters had been shabby things, one way or another.  They rarely involved anything so fancy as a bed, much less the high-tech lube that Steve could see poking out of the bedside drawer.  And he couldn’t remember the last time someone had taken the kind of care with him that Tony was taking.

“TONY!”

He hadn’t really intended to be that loud, but it was pretty impossible not to be at the same time:  Tony had just licked him.   “Oh my god, oh my god—”  Steve’s briefs were still on, somehow, although they were now pulled down to around his knees, and the fabric of them tightened as Tony put his own knee on top of them while trying to get a better angle.  They snapped entirely when Steve spread his legs without caging the amount of force he used.

“Hmmm,” Tony said, humming directly into Steve’s asshole— Steve groaned, loudly, then broke off into profanity— “Can you hold yourself open for me?”

Steve’s eyes crossed, and he moaned again as Tony licked around his rim; but he reached back with both hands, turning his face sideways as it fell into the pillows, and, taking hold of both cheeks, pulled them aside to hold himself open for Tony.  

“Good,” said Tony, his voice dark and happy.  “Well done.”  

Steve shuddered at the welter of feelings— humiliation, gratitude, arousal— brought on by the praise, then again as he felt one of Tony's fingers against his hole, rubbing, firmly, then circling the rim without quite slipping in.  The slick slide of a hot tongue against him, the teasing pressure of fingers, and the rough tickle of Tony’s beard combined to muddle his head with unbearable stimulation.  

“Toss me the lube?  It’s in the drawer.”

He did.

“Thanks.  Ah, shit— hand back where it was?”  

He reached back again.

Tony bit the ass cheek in question as an appreciative reward, and Steve whined into the pillows, panting.

“God!  You’re so perfect, Steve, how did you get so— perfect?”  He slid in with one finger— the thumb, Steve thought it might be— and probed the rim with his tongue, crooking the thumb and rotating it before sliding it out again.  

“Two?” Steve asked, panting, waiting.

“Yeah, definitely—”  He came back with the two fingers, index and middle this time, twisting and scissoring with them as Steve adjusted to the stretch.  “You know—”  

Tony laughed, sounding almost drunk, and for a moment, Steve pictured him, staring incredulously at what his hands were doing.  

He would have smiled at the mental image, but honestly he was too busy gasping into the pillowcase.

“ — I really would have thought that I would have to talk you through this.  Ease you into it, maybe, somewhere far down the road.  If ever, which, come to think of it— probably not ever.”  Tony pulled back and added another finger, and this time Steve groaned at the stretch, arching his back further to minisculely improve the angle.  “Oh fuck that’s hot.  I’m just saying, you’re kind of blowing my mind, here.”  He leaned in and mouthed around his thrusting fingers, licking a wet line up Steve’s crack before biting again, this time on the left cheek.  

“God, Tony!  Jesus— I’m good!  I’m ready, go, just—”

“Yeah.  Yeah, okay— here, turn over—”

Steve was on his back so fast Tony was left gaping, right leg still curled up to his chest where he had pulled to avoid kicking Tony during his spin, left stretched out flat along the bed.  

“Come on, Tony—”  Steve pulled the left knee up, too, leaving himself leaking and exposed in front of Tony’s gaze; Tony actually— damn! — licked his lips at the sight.  Steve groaned again, reaching down to grasp himself, squeezing himself tightly at the base of his erection to keep from coming too soon.  

And then Tony was there, slicking his cock, pushing inside Steve with a low, punched-sounding noise that went straight to the base of Steve’s spine like a warm kiss.  

Steve’s thighs were shaking, he noticed, where he had them pulled back, and he didn’t think it was from muscle strain.  

He thought it was probably from Tony, actually.  .  

“God, yes.   Move, Tony—”

Tony moved.

He thrust forward in long, sure strokes that felt like being claimed, brushing Steve’s prostate on every second or third stroke, just enough stimulation to drive Steve absolutely nuts without making him climax too quickly.  His pace was faster than Steve would have set— Tony always did everything faster than he would have, Steve sometimes thought— but not punishingly quick, nothing that couldn’t be maintained for long, glorious minutes.  Steve found himself moving in response, hips rising to meet Tony, hands grasping at the sheets, his head pounding back, over and over again, into a pillow that was never made to withstand that kind of punishment, and then into a cloud of goose down, instead.

Steve came first, shouting and spurting into his own fist, his legs pulling back just a smidgen more with the sudden increase of tension before he slumped, hips tilting upwards, into the feather-dusted embrace of the mattress.  Tony followed, speeding and slamming until he came to a rest buried deep, his head slumping down to rest on Steve’s chest.  Steve wound a hand into Tony’s hair and relaxed, eyes drifting shut.

“Fuuuuck,” Tony moaned.  “Jesus, Steve.  What the hell.”

Steve smiled slowly.  “We’re good at that, aren’t we?”

“I may have to give up saving the world,” Tony said, not raising his head from Steve’s chest.  “That would involve leaving this bed, and I’m not sure I’m ever going to be up for that.”

“No, you have to get up; you promised,” Steve said.  He smiled, still giddy over it.  “We’re going on a date, remember?”

“How could I forget?”  Tony leaned up and kissed Steve, slowly, lingeringly, tongue slipping sweetly and possessively into Steve’s mouth.

Eventually, he groaned and pulled back.  “Alright, let’s get you cleaned up,” he said.  His tone was grudging, and Steve couldn’t help but to smile at hearing it.  “I’ve got a washcloth in the other room, I’ll just—”

“Mmm.”

“Are you falling asleep?!”

“Mmmm?”  Steve opened one eye.

“You’re ridiculous.”  Tony kissed him again, strangely tentative, as if he didn’t expect affection from Steve now that the sex was done.  Steve kissed back, trying to make himself warm and inviting enough that Tony would always feel free to kiss him again.  

“Mmm,” Tony hummed happily when he pulled away.  “Tasty. I’ll be right back, okay?”

“Mm.”  Steve held still while Tony pulled out and turned out of bed.  Tony’s pants, which had never been removed, instead hanging around his knees during the— well, during— were kicked off, and Tony padded, clad only on socks and a t-shirt, to the bathroom.  Wincing— there was an ache in his groin that told him he should be doing more flexibility exercises— Steve let his knees unbend and straightened his legs out, stretching long-wise with enough force to arch his hips up towards the ceiling before slumping down and drowsing again.

“Here,” Tony said, coming out of the bathroom a minute later, a cloth in his hand.  “Let me clean that off of you before it dries.”

“Itchy,” Steve agreed, propping himself up on his elbows to watch Tony as he bent over Steve’s stomach.  It allowed him a perfect view of the changes that came over Tony’s face:  wide eyes, dropped jaw, shock, maybe panic?  Horror?  Or possibly even glee; after a certain point, it was hard to read.  “What?”

Tony looked up at him, uncertainty in his face and the tilt of his head, and then back down at Steve’s...  lower body, somewhere; it looked an awful lot like he was staring at Steve’s dick, but that seemed... improbable?  “Tony, what is it?”

Tony’s mouth opened and stayed that way, as if he were badly dubbed like that movie with the angry dinosaur the other week, before the words finally came out.  “Soulmark,” he said.

Steve squashed down a flash of fear.  Tony had known that, already, he’d been aware Steve had a soulmate out there somewhere, he’d asked Steve to go on a date!   “You knew that,” Steve repeated aloud, his voice sounding thready in his own ears.  “You knew I had a— you have one, too!”

Tony shook his head, then met Steve’s eyes.  “No,” he said, “I mean— your soulmark.  The handwriting.”

Steve jerked his own head backwards, taken aback.  “You— do you know who— Tony?!”

“Yeah,” Tony said.  He was full-on smiling, now, a warm thing, affection and joy and a faint hint of possessiveness.  “That’s— it’s mine, actually.”

Steve blinked again.  “It’s all capitals,” he pointed out, heart pounding.  “It’s— if it isn’t, really, I’m not going to be mad, Tony; you don’t have to say you’re my soulmate just so, I don’t know...  I mean—”

Tony held one hand up sharply, and it was close enough to “repulsor position” that Steve obediently stopped talking.  

Tony stripped off his shirt, standing naked, except for his socks, before Steve.

Now that he saw it, Steve kind of knew what Tony had meant.  Sure, it was all capitals; but there was the strong T, the hasty S, the M with the slight disconnect between the first line and the second— the handwriting on Tony’s soulmark was Steve’s.

There wasn’t a doubt in his mind.

“Tony.”  

“Yeah.  It’s, okay, this is a shock.  I mean I don’t mind, it’s not a problem— unless it is a problem.  Damn it!  Is that why you’re crying?”

“Am I crying?” Steve asked, his breath catching on a sob.  “I didn’t realize— Oh god.   Tony?"  

Tony reached forward and wrapped his arms around Steve, head pillowing on top of Steve’s, arms made strong by working with the armor wrapping around Steve’s shoulders.  “It’s okay,” Tony said, his voice taking on a tone as if he were trying to be soothing.  “It’s okay, Steve.  It doesn’t have to— I mean, I’m not sure how much you want to— I just...  It’ll be okay, I promise.  We’ll work out what this means— for us, I mean— I mean, I guess— and we’ll just...  You don’t have to feel obligated, Steve, just as long as you stop crying, please, for the love of god—”

“It’s not bad,” Steve got out, then had to pause as his breath escaped his control again.  He wrestled with it while Tony watched him like a ticking bomb, and then managed, “I just— do you know how long I’ve been alone?”

He got to watch the realization pass over Tony’s face.  The surprise came first, like the first week of spring before winter decided to fight back for one more week.  Then the joy, turning on like a light switch behind Tony’s eyes and beaming outward like sunshine.  Then, finally, the fierceness, as Tony squeezed him in his arms, mouth coming down on a protectively hard kiss against Steve’s temple.   

“No more,” he swore.  “I promise.  Oh my god, Steve, please, no more alone.”

Because, Steve realized, as much as he himself had been hurting, Tony had been hurting just as badly— and for far longer.

“I promise, too,” Steve said, tilting his head up so that Tony, still kneeling above him, could reach his mouth.  “No more alone.  Together.”

Tony only clung more tightly, and Steve shifted his weight so that they both fell backwards against the bed together, wrapped up in each other, tying each other together, a first move towards the future.

 


 

Later, Steve would try to sound unconcerned, despite being very concerned (and, by this point, rather sticky):

“But we’re still going on dates, right?”

   


 

Even more later:  

“I’m still calling you Dickhead on the comms, though.”