Steve Rogers is quite possibly the most twisted, corrupted, genuinely evil guy Tony has ever had the pleasure to meet.
And by ‘evil’ he doesn’t just mean wearing shirts so tight they should be illegal, pulling off moves on the dance floor that make Tony swear he can literally see the pure sin rolling off the man’s skin and flirting relentlessly with Tony, even though he already has a boyfriend. An unfairly hot, sarcastic boyfriend who looks far too good in leather jackets to be left unsupervised, damn it.
No, Tony means the literal evil as well. Because naturally the first person he falls for after his breakup with Pepper just had to be a demon. Really, Tony doesn’t even know why Rhodey was surprised when he’d confessed his crush--not that he had to, with the way it had been weighing on his mind Rhodey must have felt it from miles away. If anything it’s a miracle that this is the first time Tony has fallen for one. His luck was bound to run out eventually.
“Hey there, butterfly,” Steve’s husky voice interrupts, successfully bringing Tony’s internal self-berating to a crashing halt.
He glares up at the other man--and it’s so incredibly
hot irritating, the way Steve’s at least a head taller than him and looks like he could break Tony in half with his pinky (he couldn’t), how is this even fair?--though going by the smug expression he gets in return, it does little to hide his burning cheeks. The traitors.
“Will you stop with that stupid nickname?” Tony hisses between clenched teeth. He tries not to feel bad when Steve sends him a mock-hurt look in return, and the fact that he fails is even more irritating than the ridiculously
handsome annoying demon in front of him.
“You don’t like it?” Steve theatrically places a hand over his heart, blue eyes wide and sad and--this is so not fair.
“I do!” Darcy non-helpfully chimes in from Tony’s right. “Of course I’d like it even more if you’d let Tony actually do his job, not that I can fault him for admiring the view.” She winks good-naturedly at Steve who throws his head back and laughs. A full body laugh that’s so pure, Tony can feel himself getting light-headed.
Has he mentioned the not fair part?
Steve reaches over then, and even though Tony sees the hand coming, he’s still in no way prepared for those fingers to gently caress his cheek, nor for the shudders running down his spine that simple touch causes.
“Why butterfly?” Tony asks in spite of himself. He’s not even sure how he manages to form proper words, but he’s proud of it all the same. Because this is progress. He still can’t seem to avert his gaze from Steve’s but--baby steps.
Steve shrugs, eyes flickering down
definitely not towards Tony’s lips for a second, before looking back up again. “Dunno,” he mutters, lets the challenging smirk on his lips soften into a smile that does absolutely not steal Tony’s breath away. “Guess I just like the idea of you with wings. Bet they’d look real pretty on you too.” His thumb draws an invisible line across Tony’s cheekbone, strokes over his bottom lip so gently he barely feels the touch at all.
Tony draws in a startled breath, although he isn’t even sure why he’s surprised. Of course Steve knows, must have known from the moment they first met, same as Tony did. There’s no hiding what either of them are after all. Still. It’s the first time he’s bothered to acknowledge Tony’s race and it feels--significant, somehow.
“Besides,” Steve continues,
unexpectedly finally withdrawing his hand. “You said you didn’t like being called darling. Or sweetheart. Or-”
“Honey, pumpkin, sugar, love, sunshine,” Barton, one of Tony’s regulars interrupts drily from his barstool a couple of feet away. “You really need to get this shit figured out, kids, cause this drama’s getting old.”
“Ignore him,” Darcy yells from the opposite of the bar. “He’s got a bet with Tasha running and is a sore loser!”
Barton splutters in denial. Steve chuckles warmly. Tony just prays for the earth to swallow him whole.
He squints his eyes shut for a moment, desperately wants to pretend he hasn’t heard Steve’s inquiry, but then Steve says his name again, low and serious, and he ends up looking up against his better judgement.
“If it really bothers you, I’ll drop it,” Steve says with so much sincerity that Tony really can’t be blamed for the fluttering sensation in his stomach.
“I don’t-” Tony trails off, the words crumbling and scattering right on the tip of his tongue. He gestures awkwardly, helplessly, and would have succeeded in breaking two bottles of expensive rum if it weren’t for Steve’s quick reflexes.
It’s just so terribly unfair, Tony thinks despairingly, that Steve is so perfect. And he hates himself for thinking it, because Steve is taken, no matter how much he may like to joke around and like to play his flirting up. He is not serious, that's just how Steve is. None of it is real. Tony knows that. He’s known it ever since he’s first seen Steve with Bucky, seen the two of them together.
Because the two of them are--made for each other. And for all his grace, that’s something Tony just can’t measure up to, doesn’t even want to. They are too good together. They deserve to be happy. That doesn't make watching them from the sidelines any easier.
“I just think it would be better if you just- called me by my name,” Tony mumbles, and hates how small he sounds while saying it. “You already have a boyfriend, you know?”
“Trust me, he knows,” a very familiar voice speaks up right behind him, causing Tony to let out a startled squeak he’ll deny to his ascending day. He would have probably stumbled and broken something too, if not for the arm suddenly but securely wrapped around his waist.
Bucky--because of course it’s Bucky, he loves sneaking up on Tony like this, shamelessly uses the fact that Tony can’t sense him the way he can sense Steve to his advantage--laughs, a warm puff of breath against the sensitive skin on Tony’s neck.
“Hello, doll,” Bucky purrs, cheekily kisses Tony’s cheek. Which doesn’t cause Tony’s poor heart to give out for a moment or two, that would just be pathetic. “Stevie jealous again he still doesn’t have a nickname for you?”
“I’m not jealous,” Steve pouts. The tip of his ears are turning red though, the closes to a blush Tony has ever seen on the demon. The fact that Bucky can get Steve to do it with such ease is just further proof how of how well the two of them fit together.
Now if only Tony’s stupid heart would get that message.
“Liar,” Bucky smirks, then leans over to pull Steve in for a kiss. It’s a little awkward because he is still attached to Tony’s back and refuses to let go, but somehow the two of them manage.
hot breathtaking not good at all fine, that’s totally fine, he’s just going to give them a little room and privacy, and also Darcy would probably appreciate his help, really, he should just-
“Where do you think you’re going?” Bucky asks, a little breathless and a lot like he wants to do some very non-PG rated things to Steve right here, behind the bar. Which is so not a helpful thought.
He tightens his grip even more and Tony’s reasonable reply dies right in the back of his throat when he meets Bucky’s eyes, the bright grey darkened by lust and the pupils blown wide, the way he usually looks after kissing Steve, focused entirely on Tony now and--Tony is not equipped to deal with this.
He’s hyper aware of the way Bucky’s body is wrapped around him, warm and stable and comforting, the tips of his fingers absently caressing a strip of bare skin on Tony’s side, where his work-shirt has ridden up. And it’s not Tony’s fault that Bucky looks so good like this, staring down at him like having Tony in his arms is all he ever wanted, eyes alight and smile so painfully genuine that Tony wants to kiss him, to grab a hold of him and never let go. And he would, he absolutely would. He’s not shy, no matter what Rhodey says. He just knows when he isn’t wanted.
Like when the guy he wants, the guys he wants, happen to be in a fulfilled relationship with each other, for example.
Oh god, Steve.
The thought is like a splash of ice cold water that causes Tony to jerk back, both mentally and physically. He’s fantasising about making out with Bucky with Steve right there. That in itself is bad, just proves that angels are no better than any other race with the whole sinning thing, but Steve is a demon. There’s no way he doesn’t know. God, he has to feel it, even, has to feel Tony’s desire and- and how come Tony always messes things up like this?
He doesn’t look at Steve--can’t bear to look at him--just puts his hands on Bucky’s
firm chest and pushes until he’s got some distance between them. Until it feels like he can breathe again, even though the memory of Bucky’s touch, Bucky’s smell, Bucky lingers.
“Y-you can’t be b-back here,” Tony stutters, shakes his head in hopes it will help clear his thoughts. He should have thought of that right from the start, but it hadn’t occurred to him until right now. “This is f-for employ-yers only.” It’s also a terribly obvious excuse.
The stuttering isn’t new exactly, Tony tends to have trouble with proper pronunciation whenever he’s nervous. That doesn’t make it any less humiliating though, especially in front of the two men
he lov whose opinion he cares about. Tony hunches his shoulders, even as his hands curl themselves into fists at his side.
“Tony?” Bucky asks, and he sounds so worried Tony wants to cry. “Doll? What’s wrong?”
And god, this is what Tony always does, isn’t it? He takes the genuine friendship two sweet, kind guys are freely offering him for granted and just keeps getting greedier and greedier, feeding off their honest care and interest. Reads to much into every little word, every joke, every affectionate gesture, he just takes and takes and doesn’t stop. He’s like a- a leech, sucking them dry so slowly even he doesn’t notice until it’s too late. Until he’s taken too much and not given enough, and nothing can be fixed anymore--
Someone’s saying Tony’s name but he isn’t listening, and the sound gets drowned out in the noise of his panicked thoughts anyways. He can’t--go on like this. He’ll have to step back, before he ruins Steve’s and Bucky’s happiness for good, before he does something unforgivable.
There’s a hand reaching for him. Tony only notices the movement out of his peripheral vision but with the panic, the fear, the You ruin everything you touch! so close to the surface, it’s no wonder that he reflexively flinches away. It is only when the hand freezes that Tony realises what he’s done, realises that no rational explanation can ever make up for this.
Because he flinched away from Bucky’s metal hand. The same hand that Bucky used to be--and still is, on occasion--so horribly self-conscious about. The one it has taken Tony weeks to convince Bucky he adores--it’s an absolutely fascinating piece of creation. And now that he’s finally gotten so far that Bucky reaches out to him with it, Tony just has to throw that trust back into his face.
He’s a terrible person. Worse, Tony is a terrible angel. He doesn’t deserve to be one. Forget the grace, all he ever seems to do is break and break and break.
“Alright, that’s enough!” Darcy’s sharp voice cuts through the haze in Tony’s mind. “I don’t know what is going on here but it stops now.”
Her hand is a comforting weight on Tony’s shoulder, and when he finally manages to turn his head towards her, she’s glaring at Steve and Bucky like she just watched them attempt to drown a puppy. And no, that’s not--she’s not supposed to be angry at them, it’s him who deserves to get yelled at--
Darcy doesn’t seem to agree though, if the way she’s folding her arms in front of her chest is anything to go by. That’s her one-more-word-and-you’ll-be-wishing-I’d-have-called-security-on-your-sorry-ass pose that shows she means business.
“I’m done watching you mess around like this!” she spits, the sound enough for Tony--who’s been reaching out to pull her back--to freeze in his spot. Only a suicidal idiot would draw Darcy’s attention when she’s in a mood like this.
“What-” Steve tries to ask, because clearly he falls under the aforementioned category, but the icy glare it earns him wisely makes him reconsider.
“You,” Darcy hisses, the noise reminiscent of an offended cat, and jams her finger into his chest with a stabbing motion. “Need to show your cards or fucking pass! I haven’t tolerated this stupidity for the past month to see my best friend get hurt!“
Correction: Now Tony would like the earth to open up and swallow him whole. How long had Darcy known? And Barton and all the others? How obvious had his pathetic crush been all this time?
“I’m serious, Rogers,” Darcy continues. “Man up or get out!” She raises a single hand towards the exit, the motion freakishly elegant, and smiles the most terrifying smile Tony has ever seen.
He doesn’t blame Steve and Bucky, all bewilderment and deep frowns, for backing off. He doesn’t.
They look back a couple of times on the way to the door, but Darcy doesn’t stop glaring and Tony--Tony wants them to stay desperately, he really does, but he can’t get the words out. Not with all the mistakes he just made, all the endless ways in which he has screwed up. Not with his stupid heart stubbornly clinging to two men it can’t have. He can’t. But that doesn’t stop him from wishing, hoping, yearning--
They leave. Of course they do. Tony doesn’t know why he expected anything less. Doesn’t know what he has been waiting for.
He shrugs off Darcy’s soft words. Blinks away the stupid tears. Pretends his heart isn’t breaking a little more with every night Steve and Bucky don’t come back. He’s only got himself to blame, after all.
It’s for the best, Tony tries to tell himself, and hopes his useless heart will get the message soon.