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Hero Worship

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In retrospect, Tony didn't exactly react as best he could've.

Shouting 'who the fuck are you?' and kicking Steve out of the bed wasn't really a good response in any situation, but to be fair, he'd been genuinely concerned that someone had snuck into bed with him in the middle of the night, so the silent treatment Steve was giving him now was frankly not deserved.

"Come on, Steve!" Tony pounded on the door again. "How was I supposed to react?"



"You didn't feel like you, okay? I was concerned. I am concerned."

If anything, his worry had increased exponentially since Steve had taken off out of room and into the bathroom, locking the door behind him. And he'd been pretty worried in the first place, considering waking up with someone about a hundred and fifty pounds lighter and two feet shorter than the person he'd gone to bed with was not exactly normal operating procedure. Maybe when he was young, but he'd been in a committed relationship for a damn long time now, married as of fucking yesterday—yeah, okay, he was admittedly still crazy giddy about that—so waking up with strangers was definitely not a thing anymore.

They were in a different bed, obviously—at a gorgeous hotel in Belize that was treating them fantastically—but Tony was far too used to waking up with Steve's bulky warmth curled around him not to notice something different. Steve had a certain…solidity to him that Tony was used to, something that had been distinctly lacking from the feather-light arm around him this morning.

Tony hadn't gotten a particularly good look, Steve had bolted damn fast, but it was pretty clear that Steve's body had gone through some changes overnight. Far as Tony could tell…well. He had a picture in the shop, hidden in his desk drawer because Steve hated it, of Steve back in training camp. It was black and white and a little faded around the edges, but it was one of Tony's favorite pictures of Steve. He was thin as hell, nearly gaunt, but decked out in soldier gear and so fiercely determined, so ready to give as much as he could.

The Steve he'd woken up with looked exactly like the Steve in that picture.

"I thought you were someone else, that's all. How was I supposed to know what happened? People don't usually change body types in the middle of the night, y'know!"

"I'm sorry," Steve's muffled, miserable answer came through the door.

"Don't be sorry," Tony relented immediately, "It's fine, honey, you're fine. Let's just figure this out together okay? Open the door."

"Tony, I need—I need a few minutes, okay?"


"Please," Steve's answer was curt, with a desperate note to it Tony didn't like in the least.

"Fine." Tony threw up his hands, sitting with his back to the door. "Wallow in there all alone. It's not like your husband could maybe help or anything."


"You think I don't know what you're going to do? You're going sit in there and mope about weighing a little less and not towering over me as much as usual. Whatever. You want to mope, I say you should let me in there so I can hold you in the meantime and counter every wrong thought going through your head while you do it, but whatever, shut me out, that works too."

"I'm not trying to—"

"Yeah, you are." Tony shut down his protest. "Like I don't know you better than anyone? Come on, Steve. Don't insult me. I know every shitty thought going through your head right now. You think I give a damn."

"I'm not exactly the man you married right now, Tony," Steve muttered.

"You're exactly the man I married." Tony snorted. "A stubborn idiot."

"Thanks." Tony could all but hear the eye roll.

"You are! You're hiding out in the bathroom because you're a little smaller for the time being? Come on, Steve, are you kidding me with this?"

"You don't understand—"

"I wanted to stand on an apple box yesterday, I think I can relate—"

"It's not about my height," Steve snapped, "It's—I'mI haven't looked like this in decades. You've never—I'm different. I'm not 'smaller', Tony, I'm unhealthy and malnourished and I'm pretty sure I'm asthmatic again and it's just, it's not pretty."

"I really, really don't give a damn."

"Can you just give me a little time to wrap my head around this?"

"Yeah, whatever," Tony grunted, letting his head fall back so it hit the door in a show of petulance, intoning, "Not exactly how I pictured the morning of our honeymoon, sweetheart."

"And you think wanted this?" One pitch higher and Steve's voice would've been a shriek.

"I'm not talking about your body." Tony rolled his eyes. "I meant that I was picturing lazy morning sex, not talking my new husband down off the sink."

"I'm not on the sink."

"You know what I mean."

"What do you want me to do, magically decide to change back?"

"I'm not asking you to change back, I'm asking you to come out of the bathroom—"


"What do you mean, 'no'?"

"I mean no!"

"Look, this insecurity thing? Steve, baby, it's ridiculous. I couldn't give a fuck what you look like, but I'll tell you one thing, I didn't sign on for this teenage girl 'my body's too this, my body's too that' bullshit—"

"I'm four feet tall and ninety pounds for the first time in decades, I'm allowed to feel a little weird about it, Tony!"

"Okay, so you're not the physical peak of perfection anymore—whatever. I'm literally the single least muscled member of the team and you married me, didn't you?"

"That's different."

"It's really not."

"At least you still look like the person I fell in love with—"

"What, so when I start putting on some pudge you're gonna dump me?"


"Cause it's inevitable, you're way too good a cook, you've been steadily reducing the like two abs I had on a good day to one, and one ab isn't even an ab, it's a nice word for a flabby belly—"


"—and really, I'm only going to get flabbier, or maybe you'll call it quits when I start sprouting wrinkles and losing my hair—"

"Of course not! That's not what I—!"

"No, it's not what you meant, and I know that, because we've been over this—you don't give a shit if I'm not always the gorgeous specimen I am today, so why are you so damn surprised that I don't either? I'm started to get a little insulted here, honey."

"It's not—Tony, I know you wouldn't. But that doesn't mean—this is my goddamn honeymoon, you think I want you to see me like this right now?"

"It's my honeymoon too, and you know what I was thinking? I was thinking we'd have some nice, lazy morning sex, grab brunch at that fruit and crepes stand around the corner I saw you eyeballing yesterday, then go snorkeling off the world's second-largest barrier reef. Or parasailing, if you're not in a swimming mood. Or we could even head up to the ruins you saw in the brochure, though I was thinking we might get up early and hit those tomorrow morning—point being, I don't know about you, but no part of my honeymoon plan is dependent on you being able to bench press me."


"Sweetheart, please, trust me—you're gorgeous to me, whatever size and shape you choose to be for the day."

"I didn't choose to—!"

"It was just a joke, relax—"

"Could we maybe not joke about this? Could we please just try and figure out why I look like a damn teenager again?"

"Eesh, that's gonna get me some odd looks—"

"Damn it, Tony—"

"Sorry, sorry! Right, well, I'm going to need to actually see you to make any sort of judgment calls here, magic v science and all that."

"I'm not coming out."

"Oh, come on, Steve—"

"I refuse to look like this on my damn honeymoon and that's final. Call Thor, ask if him if his jerk of a brother had anything to—"

"Fuck." Tony interrupted with a curse, letting his head fall back against the door with a loud groan.

"What?" Steve sounded like he'd moved towards the door. "Tony? Are you okay? What is it?"

"This is my fault."


"Remember what I said?"

"We've had a bit of a busy weekend, you're going to have to be a little more specific—"

"To Loki, when he showed up at the wedding?"

"You told him to leave."

"Right. But remember how I said it?"

"Something along the lines of 'can't I get one fucking day for just me and Steve, none of this crazy superhero crap, is that so much to ask'?"


"…I'm not following."

"Lovely as the serum is, honey, I think it falls under the 'crazy superhero crap' category," Tony pointed out gently. Steve didn't respond. Tony made it a little clearer. "I think this is our wedding present from the Norse god of crazy."

More silence. Then a muffled, "Fuck."

"Yeah. Sorry. Upside, I asked for a day, so hey, it's not permanent. Probably. You'll be back to yourself in no time. So why don't you come out, and we'll—"

"I don't want anyone to see me, Tony."

"Okay, sweetheart. Okay." Who the hell had convinced Steve that he wasn't just as gorgeous without muscles, anyway? It's not like the serum rearranged his face. How self-depreciative Steve was being was starting to make Tony angry; not with Steve, of course, but with the general idea of his husband sitting alone in some hotel bathroom thinking that he wasn't absolutely perfect the way he was, any way he was. "You don't want anyone to see you, that's fine. We'll lounge here for the day. I can worship you like you deserve for a couple hours, we'll order some room service, I'll even let you watch that stupid hospital show you like later if you'll let me eat my lunch off your stomach. Sounds good, yeah?"

"Tony…" Steve's voice sounded horribly small. Tony hated it. "I meant you, too. I don't want you to see me. Like this."

"Why the hell not?"

"I don't want…you shouldn't have to pretend—"

"Jesus Christ you are fucking hopeless right now—you know what, fine, stay put. I'm making a call."

"What? Who're you calling?"

Tony didn't answer, just got up and went looking for his cell phone. He found it under the bed, and he flipped through his contacts until he found who he was looking for. He dialed and pressed the phone to his ear while he went about trying to find some pants.

"Good Morn, Anthony. Why are you calling? You should be with your beloved."

"Believe me buddy, I'm trying. Listen, Thor, I need a favor here—can you put me through to that brother of yours?"

"He does not have a cellular phone."

"Yeah, that's what I thought." Tony shrugged into his boxers. "But you've got ways of talking to him, don't you? Some…I don't know, summoning ritual? What do Norse gods use to communicate? Please don't tell me I have to go kill a pig or anything."

"Kill a what?" Steve sounded concerned.

"Come out here and find out!" Tony called back Steve, switching the phone to his other ear so he could keep talking while he wiggled into last night's pants. "Or maybe you can just send Loki my way somehow? I need him to hit me with a truth spell. Are truth spells a thing?"

"Hit you with a what?" Steve demanded, clearly pressing his ear to the door.

"Nothing!" Tony shouted at Steve, then asked Thor, "Is something like that possible?"

"Tis a simple spell. He could do it when we were young."

"Good. How soon can he—?"

"Nothing is ever good enough for you mortals, is it?"

Tony spun around to see Loki lounging on the hotel bed with a sneer.

"Is that Loki?" Steve demanded. Tony ignored him.

"Thanks, Thor." He hung up on Thor, and faced Loki. "Okay, first of all, I didn't ask for anything the first time around. And second, no, it's not good enough if it means I spend my honeymoon alone while my husband mopes in the bathroom—"

"I am not moping—" Steve called.

"Nobody asked you, Steve!" Tony shouted back, "And third, let's face it, you owe me. You crashed my wedding, come on, you may not be from Earth but you've got to know that's not cool."

"You amuse me, Stark." Loki gave a little smirk. "What use have you for a truth spell?"

"I could tell him he's gorgeous all day and he won't believe me. Let me prove it."

"You make it sound so simple." Loki scoffed. "And if in your heart you do not believe?"

"I don't speak cryptic Norse." Tony rolled his eyes. "What's your point?"

"It means if you see him and do not find him aesthetically pleasing, you will be unable to lie to him." Loki gave a dry chuckle. "What then?"

"There is no 'what then'. He's gorgeous. Period."

"You have not yet seen him."

"I don't need to."

"I don't believe that's quite how attraction works."

"I'm in love, it doesn't matter what he looks like."

"And if you're wrong?"

"Which one of us is happily married to the love of their life again?" Tony snorted. "I think I know a little more about this than you do, Salazar."

"Did you just make a Harry Potter reference?" Steve questioned.

"If you would come out of that damn bathroom, I would kiss you so hard for getting that right now." Tony called back.

"You have some nerve," Loki mused, "Summoning for me. Demanding I waste more of my gifts on you. I am not your personal spellcaster, Stark."

"Fair enough." Tony shrugged evenly, challenging, "Do it for the sake of chaos, then; you think I'll dig my own grave with it? Go ahead. Let me."

Loki stood, narrowing his eyes at Tony. Tony didn't flinch. He'd gambled more for stupider reasons.

"The spell is about personal truth," Loki said at last, "Not literal. If you believe it, you can say it; if you don't, you can't. Fairly simple, even for you. It should last an hour, since I don't feel like expending further effort on your behalf and you've been troublesome enough for one lifetime. Don't call for me with your petty problems again."

Loki tapped two fingers to Tony's mouth. A green spark played over them, wiggling through Tony's lips and down his throat. He coughed at the sensation—strangely minty, not to mention damn ticklish—and when he looked up again, Loki was gone.

"Tony?" Steve called. "Is he…?"

"He's gone, and I've officially been truth-spelled." Tony walked back over to the bathroom door, leaning against it with a smile, not that Steve could see. "Got any questions for me, darling?"

"Do you still have that picture of me pre-serum I told you to throw away?"

"What—I—" Tony hadn't expected that one. "Yes."

"Where is it?"

"You're cheat—it'sinmydeskdrawerintheshop—cheating, stop cheating, don't ask about that, ask about how gorgeous you are—"

"I want to make sure. When's the last time you wanted to take a drink?"

"What the fuck is wrong with—twodaysago—you, stop asking about—"

"Two days—Tony, why?"

"—these things, ask—Ithoughtyou'dleaveme—about—"

"You thought I'd what? Why on earth would you think something like that?"

"I don't deserve you and I thought you'd get cold feet and realize it before the wedding and leave me and I was scared and I wanted to drink but I didn't because you wouldn't want me to and fuck you this is not why I asked to be truth-spelled you asshole, I did it so you'd come out of the damn bathroom! Now will you get out here already so I can tell you honestly and sincerely how perfect you are to me and you can believe me and we can get to the sexy part of this honeymoon? I had plans, y'know. Very detailed, very sexy plans." There was a long moment, then a small click, and the door opened. Tony gave a sigh of relief, and a muttered, "Fucking finally."

Steve stepped out with a reluctant, bitter look on his face, and Tony took him in. He hadn't worn anything to bed—at least, not by the time Tony had finished stripping him out of it last night—but for the first time in years, he looked self-conscious about it. Hell, Steve hadn't even looked this nervous thefirst time Tony had seen him naked. The first night they'd spent together had been a rapid, eager blur of stripping and sweat and skin, and after that, well, superheroes lives were certainly never boring. They'd seen each other naked a hell of a lot of ways and for a surprising variety of reasons; Tony was pretty sure they were the first people to have sex in a radiation decontamination shower. Nudity between them was a lot of things—fun, primarily—but hesitant had never been one of them.

He was turning away a bit, trying to cover himself without covering himself, clearly aware of how ridiculous the idea of shielding himself from his husband was but unable to stop from doing it anyway. The lack of curved muscle made him look more angular, bony, though he definitely wasn't as thin as he'd been in the picture. He didn't even look particularly malnourished, just younger, gawkier. Almost like a teenager, though that probably had more to do with how he carried himself than anything else. He was clearly unsure, a look Tony wasn't used to seeing on him, and Tony wondered how much of his usual poise was the serum and how much came from the confidence Steve had found in himself because of it.

His face, though; his face was all Steve. Tony could map the contours of that face in his sleep. He knew the slope of Steve's nose, the curve of his lips; he'd even once drunkenly come up with the mathematical equation for the angle of his jaw because, come on, even for a superhero, a jaw like that was freaking ridiculous. He wasn't surprised in the least to find out that part was all Steve. His favorite parts always had been.

His fearless courage in the face of battle, his charming awkwardness in the face of the media. His interminable sense of honor and justice, that somehow applied equally to supervillains and sneaky boyfriends who tried to choose the team movie two weeks in a row. His dogged, self-sacrificingly reckless need to put himself in the line of fire for others, no matter how many times he shouted Tony's ear off about doing the same thing. The pitch his voice hit when he whined for Tony to just leave him behind for whatever gala they were expected at that night. His fastidious need for cleanliness in his quarter's that somehow didn't apply to remembering to put the cap on his damn toothpaste. The way he could work a StarkPad like he'd been born with one in his hand, but still called websites "the google" and "the youtube".

None of that had gone anywhere; he was still Steve.

The same eyes Tony had looked into as he promised forever were darting to the carpet now, apparently unwilling to voice the question he had to be dying to ask. Fine. Who said Tony couldn't play nice?

"You're gorgeous, baby." Steve's eyes flickered up immediately, clearly—wrongly—surprised that Tony had been able to say it. Tony stepped closer. "You heard me. Objectively speaking, sure, you're not the most attractive guy in America anymore—so what? I don't care, and you're a hell of a lot more vain than I ever suspected if you do."

"I'm not—"

"Shh. Listen." Tony tapped his own lips. "You. Are. Perfect. Look at that, truth spell and all. You're still beautiful to me because you're still my Steve, my husband, and that's all that matters to me. I love you; I don't ever want you to think for a minute that I care about anything else."

Steve was quiet a moment, before he steeled himself and looked at Tony firmly, determination written in his every feature.

"Which do you prefer?"

"I prefer you," Tony answered earnestly and honestly, stepping forward again to take Steve in his arms, press a kiss to his cheek. "Whatever size and shape you come in."


"No. No more protests. C'mere." Tony tugged him along.

He'd planned on taking Steve back to bed, but changed his mind when he caught sight of the full-length mirror hanging on the closet door. He hauled Steve over to it, stopping him in front of it and moving behind him, closing his arms firmly around Steve's waist so he wouldn't bolt again.

"What're you doing?" Steve turned his head to glance back at Tony, avoiding looking directly at the mirror as Tony had thought he might.

"Shush." Tony kissed his shoulder. "Just look."

"At what?"

"Take a wild guess."


"Humor me."

Steve gave a frustrated, pissy sort of sigh, but complied. Tony watched his gaze carefully, watched the way Steve gave himself a cursory glance at best, watched and took note of everywhere Steve's self-conscious gaze lingered. His collarbones, the concave of his stomach, the jut of his hips; his manhood seemed to be unaffected by the serum one way or another, thankfully, since that would go into a whole other psychological masculinity-issues bomb Tony would have to spend hours diffusing. Simple body issues, now that he could handle. Might even have a little fun doing it.

"What're you smirking for?" Steve muttered.

"Just planning all the wickedly dirty things I'm going to do to prove how beautiful you are," Tony answered. Steve started to roll his eyes, then stopped, a little crinkle of confusion appearing along his forehead when he realized Tony had to be being honest.

"You're not being sarcastic."

"Nope." Tony kissed just under his ear. "Truth spell. Anything else you want to ask?"

"You're asking me?" Steve looked surprised, but not quite as shocked as he might've been a year or two ago.

"I trust you more than anyone, honey." Tony pressed a kiss to the back of his neck, then rested his chin over Steve's shoulder. "There's nothing I'm uncomfortable with you knowing about me."

"Nothing?" Steve was only teasing, it was more of a rhetorical question, but Tony found himself compelled to answer.

"Well, spare a few horribly sentimental plans for our future, where I've stashed your Christmas present, those sorts of things."

"I feel like I should be abusing it," Steve admitted, a thoughtful look on his face, "But I'd like to think there's nothing I need to abuse it for."

"Good," Tony murmured, "Now tell me something you love about your body."

"What?" The tips of Steve's ears went pink—which Tony knew, of course, because he'd been watching for it.

"I said." Tony pressed more kisses along Steve's neck. "Tell me something you love about your body."

"I—Tony, don't make this a thing, let's just—"

"Move away from the mirror?" Tony dragged his fingertips lightly over the concave of Steve's stomach, up and under the more pronounced jut of his rubs. "Turn out the lights, get under the covers, do it in the dark like fugitives?"

"That's a bit dramatic—" Steve wiggled uncomfortably.

"But it's what you want, isn't it? To hide your gorgeous body, even from me? When all I want to do is worship you like you deserve?" Tony sucked a mark along the back of Steve's neck, dipping his hand lower until he found a place to hold along the curve of Steve's hip. He rocked into him from behind, rubbing his jean-clad erection against Steve, slow and undemanding. "That's just not right."

"You're being ridiculous." The blush had moved from Steve's ears to flare across his cheeks.

"I'm the only—" He wanted to say 'sane person in the room', but the truth spell didn't quite like the phrasing. He settled on, "What's ridiculous is that you're getting self-conscious when the only person in the room who doesn't seem to realize how handsome you are is you."

Steve started to open his mouth, then shut it. He bit his lip to hold back a laugh that bordered on a giggle. Tony grinned in triumph, pressing more kisses along his shoulder.


"Nothing, I just…" Steve paused, shot Tony the first real smile he'd seen from his husband all morning. It was the most beautiful sight he'd seen in weeks. He wanted to say so, but the memory of Steve at their wedding in military dress, beaming at Tony like nothing on earth could ever make him happier, stopped him. "I was going to ask you if really meant that. But obviously you did."

"Obviously." Tony tugged Steve tighter against him, resting his chin on his shoulder again. "Come on, honey. One thing."

Steve sighed, but it was less bitter this time and more reluctantly amused.

"I like my hands."

"You love your hands," Tony corrected.

"I love my hands." Steve rolled his eyes. Tony released one arm from around Steve's waist, satisfied he wasn't going to flee, and interlocked their fingers.

"I'm not surprised." Tony brought Steve's hand to his lips, kissed his knuckles. "You have artist's hands. With or without the serum. Without it your fingers look longer, though, more slender, and they're like velvet to touch, smooth and soft. So fluid when you move, too; cracking alien skulls or balancing a pencil or skimming over my skin, you're always sure with your hands. I love that about you."

"You love that I'm capable."

"I love that you're steady." Tony continued speaking as if he hadn't stopped. "And that with one, firm touch—a hand on my shoulder, a catch of my wrist—you can steady me, too. You could be light as a feather and still do it; it's not about physicality, it's about presence."

"I don't have much presence at the moment."

"You have plenty of presence. You're just not using it." Tony caught Steve's eyes in the mirror, and smirked. "Now let's see how you like it."

"How I like wha—I swear, don't you even think abo—Tony!" Tony ignored him completely, hoisting a squirming Steve into his arms. And yeah, okay, he wasn't twenty-five anymore and it made his knees twinge a bit in protest, but it was totally worth it. "Goddamn it, Tony!"

"What was that you said to me when you came into the workshop the other day and so rudely threw me over your shoulder like a sack of potatoes?" Tony mused, "Oh, that's right: 'I'll stop manhandling you when you start being reasonable'."

"It was the night before our wedding!" Steve sputtered, "I didn't want you falling asleep at the alter!"

"And I don't want you running off into the bathroom again."

"I won't—"

"That's right you won't." Tony dropped him on the bed, crawling on after him. "Because I'm not letting you out of bed until I've thoroughly made my point."

"And what is your p-point, exactly?" Steve sighed resignedly, though his breath stuttered as Tony bent to suck sharply on one of his nipples.

"Fishing for compliments, are we darling?" Tony released him with a pop and made an exaggerated show of licking his lips before leaning up and catching Steve's own. "My point is that you should quit your bitching."

"Excuse me—" Steve tried to shove him off and sit up, but Tony just laid down on him, resting his chin on Steve's chest.

"Baby. Look at me."

"You're being utterly ridiculous."

"It's my honeymoon, I'm allowed to be a little love-high. Not to mention, jokingly and over-the-top is the only way to say any of this without sounding too much like the utter sap you've turned me into." Tony took Steve's hand, linked their fingers. Steve stilled, watching him silently. "Six feet and two hundred pounds or four and ninety, Steve, honey, you're my hero. I aspired to be you from minute one—not just Captain America, not just the image, but the man, the fearless, tenacious man behind the mask. I dreamed of having your courage, your spirit, your heart. And yeah, okay, I'm not a saint, I appreciate the muscles, but they have never been what I saw in you. They have never been what made you a hero, made you my hero. You did that all on your own, Steve. So yeah, my point is that you should quit your bitching, because you're my husband, not some musclehead in a patriotic catsuit."

Steve was silent for a long moment, solely and entirely absorbed in watching him. Then,

"If I—if it was permanent." Steve began softly, blue eyes troubled and sincere, the look of a man who didn't want to ask something but couldn't find peace in his head until he did. "If I stayed like this, forever. Would you…?"

"Love you?" Tony kissed him, deceptively chaste. "Stay with you?" He pressed another further down, buried in the hollow of Steve's neck like a secret to be held between them. "I." A nip at the line of his throat, close to reprimand. "Am your husband." A trail of kisses across his collarbone. "I'll love you my whole life." Back up, along his throat again. "In sickness and in health." Just under his jaw, butterfly soft. "In good times and in bad." A nibble of his ear. "In joy and in sorrow." Then he slanted their lips together again, hard and fierce until Steve was utterly breathless in the best of ways. "Idiot."

There was another beat where Steve just watched him, raw and exposed, a heartbreaking look in his eyes as he absorbed how strongly Tony meant what he said, then he was arching upward and crushing his lips to Tony's with a fervor Tony had been starting to sorely miss.

"There you are." Tony grinned, but Steve caught his lips again before he could say much else.

He worked those lovely hands of his at Tony's zipper, tugging at the hem in a quite familiar non-verbal sign. Tony lifted his hips and Steve helped him wiggle out of his pants, never breaking the kiss for more than a moment, even as he chucked the pants on the floor. It was rough, it was tongues and heat and teeth, sharp and heady and so fucking Steve that Tony couldn't help feeling like a cat basking in the sun, comfortable and exactly where he belonged.

Tony let his hands roam, touching Steve everywhere he could manage, lingering where he'd seen Steve linger in the mirror. He scraped his nails over the arc of Steve's hips, caressed along the lines of his ribcage, splayed his palms possessively over the warmth of Steve's belly. Steve's hands were equally wild, never still for long, gripping his arms, cupping his face, tugging his hair. Steve was always like that though; they had sex so frequently it was probably knocking years off Tony's life, but each and every time, Steve was the same combination of eager with a touch of reverence, like he couldn't believe this was actually his life. Tony kind of understood the feeling.

Steve made a soft, familiar keening noise against his lips, Steve-ese for come on, sweetheart, please, and Tony stuttered his hips up, rubbed them together a little harder, his own response for soon, honey. They could talk plenty during sex, but it wasn't really necessary anymore, hadn't been in a while, and the non-verbal cues were useful when they didn't quite want to release the other's lips just yet.

Tony eventually gave in and pulled away first. He trailed his lips down Steve's chest, slow and unhurried, licking and kissing and biting every inch of skin he could. He scraped his teeth over the bump of Steve's hipbone, partially because he remembered it as a place Steve's gaze had lingered in the mirror, mostly because the whine it never failed to draw from Steve made Tony feel like a teenager about to come in his pants.

Lacking Tony's mouth to keep him quiet, all sorts of lovely sounds spilled from Steve's lips. He was still working on dirty talk, couldn't quite manage it yet without the proper cue cards, but touch the man once and he let out an unholy litany of noises, a symphony of urgency and pleasure Tony knew by heart and could conduct at will. Sex anywhere even close to public was hopeless—Steve was impossible to keep silent, bar Tony's mouth or an actual gag—but it was a small price and one Tony would pay every time.

Tony sucked Steve down a little while, just enough to bring him to full attention, while he fumbled a hand at the side table. He was eventually forced to acknowledge that the lube bottle was not going to magically appear in his hand, that he would actually have to use his eyes, and he released Steve with a wet, sticky pop.

"What did we do with the lube?" Tony frowned at the empty table.

"Didn't you put it back on the table?" Steve asked breathlessly, propping himself up on his elbows.

"I thought you put it back on the table."

"Is it still in the bed?" Steve patted a hand on the sheets beside them, feeling for a lump.

"It's a big bottle, I'm pretty sure we would've felt it." Tony crawled off Steve to glance at the hotel floor, then leaned over the bed enough to see if it rolled underneath.

"Is it in your pants?"

"Wouldn't fit."

"Under a clothes pile somewhere?"

"Possible." Tony rolled out of bed reluctantly, sifting through the various clothes they'd strewn across the floor the night before. "Nada. Think we can order some from room service?"


"Babe, we're in the honeymoon suite, I think they know what we're up to."

"Do not order lube from room service."

"Fine. Did you bring any ex—"

"Got it!" Steve crowed suddenly, digging something out from between the bed and headboard, holding up the familiar purple bottle like he'd won a challenge.

"And the prize goes to…" Tony declared in a mock announcer's voice, falling back into bed and rolling on top of Steve again, showering him with kisses, little ones, all over his face. "…the most gorgeous husband alive!"

"You're so ridiculous." Steve laughed easily, his tone blisteringly happy and affectionate, his gaze utterly besotted. For the millionth time in the last few days, Tony thought he was the luckiest man in the world.

"You're the best thing that's ever happened to me." Tony told him softly, earnestly, the words plucked right from that strangely warm, excessively squishy, too sentimental place in his heart that had 'reserved for Steve' written all over it. "You make me ridiculous. You make me a lot of things."

Steve pulled him into a terrifyingly fragile kiss, hands curling around Tony's arms to tug him closer.

"Like you're not the best thing ever to happen to me too?" Steve murmured back, not parting far, still close enough to rest their foreheads together as he spoke. "I'd—to keep you, Tony…God. There aren't words. I'd stay like this, for you. If I had to chose between the serum and you, I'd choose you. In a heartbeat."

"It'd take you that long to make up your mind?" Tony grinned. Steve smacked his chest.

"What, you're the only one allowed to get sentimental today?" Steve rolled his eyes.

"Damn straight." Tony kissed him, hard. "Tomorrow can be your turn, if you're good."

"Just good?" Steve mused, "And what if I'm fantastic? What do I get then?"

"My undying love and devotion?"

"Nah, I already have that," Steve told him cheekily. Tony kissed him again, because it was impossible to be in any sort of proximity to Steve and not give him a kiss every once in a while. He'd long stopped bothering to fight the impulse.

"You do," Tony promised, the truth spell attributing a certain gravity to his words, and they kissed again, dirty and with teeth.

The spark of arousal returned as it always did, immediately and intensely, like a shot of adrenaline right to the veins. It was probably what had kept them together so long—they could laugh in bed just as easily as they could be serious, could be slow and sweet as easily as rough and demanding, could switch things up, could be sentimental one moment and on fire the next. Their moods were mercurial, but they followed each other in them, like magnets, irresistible and inseparable.

Back on task and with lube handy, it wasn't long before he had Steve writhing under his fingers. He opened him up, took him apart slow and steady and yes, okay, part of it was because he was a merciless tease, but the other part was that Steve no longer had the refractory period of a juiced-up supersoldier—Tony wanted this to last.

He kissed Steve's stomach, his free hand tracing circles along Steve's hip, down his thigh, back up. Steve whined, low and impatient, rubbing himself off a bit against Tony's shoulder; Tony pressed his hand down firmly, and Steve let out a gasp that was part pleasure, part realization.

"Hm?" Tony lifted his head enough to arch an eyebrow at Steve in question.

"I—I can bruise." Steve stuttered, eyes wide on Tony liked he'd discovered the secret of the universe. "Tony, I can bruise!"

Then he was grabbing Tony and dragging him up, pulling and tugging until he was settled against him, and Tony was distracted from his previous mission of preparation by what was possibly the fiercest kiss of his life. Easily top fi—Tony couldn't help a moan as Steve bit down on his lip nearly hard enough to draw blood—definitely top three. He slid his tongue against Tony's like he was launching an invasion, then pulled back just as suddenly, looked him dead in the eyes. His pupils were blown wide, his lips red and slick, and his voice was low and utterly wrecked as he demanded,

"Mark me."

Tony came. He'd probably be more embarrassed about that, if he wasn't busy collapsing onto Steve's chest, gasping hard through the burst of color and sensation that had slammed into him out of absolutely nowhere. It was like getting mugged, only with Steve and orgasms. So, a million times better and completely unrelated except by the utter shock value—Tony hadn't come thatprematurely since he was seventeen. Okay, they were naked and about five minutes from having sex, so not that prematurely, but still. Goddamn.

"That was unexpected," Steve mused.

"You're fucking telling me," Tony panted, "I just got mugged by my dick."

"I don't think that's a phrase."

"I'm making it one, because that is exactly what happened here." Tony gave a gusty exhale.

"Are you…?" Done?

"Nah, I'm good, I'm good." Tony craned his neck up for a quick kiss. "Few minutes, baby. In the meantime, I get the inkling there was something you wanted me to explore…"

He dropped from Steve's lips to his neck, giving an experimental nip. Steve arched up, reacting to the simple touch immediately and enthusiastically, and Tony gave a crooked smile. Steve loved the idea of marking, always had—it was his possessive side coming out to play. He'd been cautious about it at first, hesitant to leave anything behind without explicit consent, but these days anything Tony could hide with a dress shirt and pants was considered fair game. In terms of giving, Steve best liked fingerprint bruises, usually pressed into the soft bits just above Tony's hips; for days afterward, Tony could catch him placing his fingertips over the marks, feather-soft, not pressing or making them hurt, just reassuring himself they were still there.

In terms of receiving, anything Tony left on Steve was gone by the morning—not that they hadn't tried. Oh, how they'd tried. Tony had sucked killer hickeys into Steve's neck and chest and hips and anywhere else they thought to try, monstrosities that should've last weeks but had been gone in the space of a few hours. Steve had been horribly put out.

But, now.

Admittedly, Tony may have gotten a little carried away. But to be fair…to be fair, there was no fair. The sounds Steve was making were too perfect, too blissful and sated for Tony to stop, not until he'd pretty much mauled Steve's neck and there was no possible way they were leaving the hotel room. Not until Steve turned back into a super-healer, unless he didn't, in which case they would probably be stuck here for weeks since no mere mortal was getting rid of the purple-splotched hickey-Picasso Tony had bestowed upon Steve's neck, but with Steve gasping into his shoulder and rutting helplessly against his hip and chanting Tony's name like the most beautiful prayer Tony found himself physically incapable of caring.

Yeah, Tony was ready to go again.

"Baby," Tony murmured into the abused skin of Steve's neck, and Steve nodded hurriedly.

"I know," he panted, "Please, need—need you—"

Tony grabbed one of the pillows, hoisting Steve up enough to slide it under the small of his back. Steve settled his arms around Tony's neck to pull him back in, and Tony blindly but expertly managed to snag the lube again. He re-slicked his fingers before working them back in, taking pleasure in the satisfied whimper that slipped from Steve's lips to his as he did. Steve was still fairly ready from before, and it was only a moment or two before Tony was lubing himself instead of fingers, before he was wrapping his hands around Steve's thighs with a teasing squeeze.

"Think you're still flexible enough to—?" Tony started to murmur, and Steve, reading his mind as easily as always, swung his legs up onto Tony's shoulders in response before Tony could even finish his sentence. Tony stuttered out a strained, impossibly aroused exhale. "Jesus H. Christ."

"You gonna go on and fold me in half, or what?" Steve taunted, the barest hint of Brooklyn seeping through, and that's it, that's all she wrote, there was no one in the world that would expect him to maintain any form sanity after that, much less control.

Tony snapped his hips forward, sinking into Steve in one long, heated push, using his hands to keep Steve's thighs up and his mouth to suck another mark along Steve's collarbone just to drive him a little more wild. He looked so wrecked like that, so perfectly, completely wrecked, lanky and gangly and bent in goddamn half, his neck a delicious, mauled mess, his mouth agape in an endless stream of unholy, damn near inhuman noise, most of it babbled nonsense and at least half just Tony Tony Tony on repeat.

A few moments and Steve was coming, much faster than usual—which, hey, good, because Tony's pride was wounded enough from earlier and frankly wasn't going to allow him to come again until Steve did—and he arched up as he did, pulling Tony against him to share the pleasure with a rough, sloppy kiss. Tony indulged, let the snap of his hips slow to a rolling, languid sort of rhythm as they kissed, the slow burn of it just as breathtaking when it finally overtook him too.

Tony collapsed against Steve when he'd finished, not quite on top of him—Tony weighed more than him, at the moment—but wiggling into a cuddly sort of halfway that let him wrap an arm around Steve's waist and bury his nose in Steve's neck like he always did. Steve was a bit of a freak about how much he liked his showers—understandable, considering the kinds of long, warm, exorbitant showers he liked now weren't a luxury he'd been able to afford until this century—but it meant that most of the time he didn't have much of a scent, just fresh soap, maybe a hint of old leather. It was nice, but Tony liked it best when Steve smelled dirty, fresh from a battle or a round of another kind, like sweat and sex and him.

"I love you," Steve murmured, nuzzling the words into Tony's hair, his fingers splaying out along Tony's spine. Tony gave a contented hum. "So much, sweetheart."

"I love you too, honey."

A beat of comfortable, sated silence.



"Do you think after we clean up, we could go get those crepes?"

"You just want to show off your neck." Tony gave a fond little snort, though he was careful not to let on how impossibly glad he was that he'd truly managed to work any inane body-consciousness out of Steve's system.

"…it didn't sound silly until you said it out loud." A hint of pink colored Steve's ears, and Tony smacked a kiss on the one nearest to him.

"It's not silly," Tony decided, "Of course we can go show off. You're going to scare the locals though, they'll think I abused you."

"These are clearly lovebites."

"I don't know…" Tony mused, craning his head up for a better look, "You haven't seen a mirror. I may have gotten a little carried away."

"Good." Steve kissed the top of his head.

It took them close to an hour before they finally left—Steve had yet to find a shower too small to drag Tony into, not that Tony would ever dream of complaining—and they were on their way out when they were stopped by the Hispanic man from the suite across the hall. They'd bumped into him yesterday; quite literally, since Tony had been too busy distracting Steve with kisses to let him see where he was going.

"Hola," Tony offered congenially, in a good mood, waving a hand as they passed.

The man responded with a glare and a rather harsh line of Spanish Tony didn't understand a word of. He knew business languages, languages of places he had factories in, French, Italian, Japanese—not Spanish. Maybe once they got back to the States he should try and pick it up after all.

"Uh. That's all…" Tony whooshed a hand over his head. "Totally beyond me. No hablo."

The man didn't move out of their way, just rattled off another angry few lines, glaring at the marks on Steve's neck like they'd personally offended him. Maybe they did? But he'd seemed perfectly nice when Steve had nearly knocked him down the stairs yesterday, and considering they'd been making out at the time it seemed unlikely he was a homophobe. Tony raised an eyebrow at Steve, who he knew didn't speak much Spanish either, but was better at picking up languages naturally than he was.

"I think he's mad…"

"Thank god I have you here, I don't know how I would've figured that out." Tony snorted.

"Well, if you wouldn't interrupt me." Steve shot him a look. "I was going to say I think he's mad because he thinks I'm not the guy who carried you to bed last night. I'm pretty sure he called you a slut."

"How is that the one word you recognize?"

"It's not the only word I—"

Then the angry Spanish guy was in his face again, spouting more words Tony didn't understand, pointing an accusatory finger at Steve's hickeys.

"Okay, okay, let's take it down a notch there, hombre." Tony held up his hands in the international sign of peace. "Look, there's been a misunderstanding, un…uh…shit. Malentido? Un malentido."

"¿No tienes vergüenza?" the man demanded, "¿O respeto por la persona que amas? Y he aquí que dicen que habías cambiado, Stark."

"Wait, that was my name, you know my name?" Tony frowned. "Are you a pissy fan or something?"

"My name too now." Steve gave a little smile at the thought, rubbing a thumb over his wedding band.

"Oh!" Tony grabbed Steve's hand, waved it at the guy as proof. "Casado! We're married, we—fuck, how do you say 'we' in—"

"Nosotros," Steve filled in.

"Nosotros casado," Tony repeated.

"I think there's supposed to be a verb in there," Steve pondered.

"The only verb I know in Spanish is 'get fucked', and somehow, I don't think that's gonna be helpful right now."

"¿Este es…este es el mismo hombre?" The man peered at Steve inquisitively, examining his face more closely, then promptly stepped back, equal parts mortified and confused. "Ay, mierda! Mierda, lo siento, yo—mira, me han dejado en mi noche de bodas y es lo peor que me ha pasado nunca, solo pensé, quiero decir, que no parece que pudiera levantar t—oye, sabes qué, no es problema mío. Lo siento, os dejaré tranquilos. No vais a, no sé, presentar una demanda por acoso o algo así, ¿verdad?"

"Uh." Tony froze. The guy was backing away, looking apologetic as hell, though he seemed to be waiting on an answer for his last question. Tony tried to remember how to say 'it's all good, now go away, I'm trying to have a honeymoon here jackass' in Spanish. "Todos bueno?"

"Gracias, de nuevo, lo siento." Then he was gone, scampering off into his own hotel room and slamming the door. Steve blinked after him widely, and Tony just took his hand to tug him along.

"Don't worry, crepe-stand-guy didn't see us yesterday, he'll throw a spatula at me for mauling you, not cheating on you."

"Tony." Steve rolled his eyes fondly.

"Relax." Tony kissed his cheek. "My hero will protect me."