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How We Met

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Tony turned to look in the mirrored back wall of the elevator, tugging his sleeves under his jacket until they were crisp and smoothing a few wayward hairs into place. As the elevator climbed, he took his phone out and reviewed the info in the app: Royal Hotel, room 809, name is Sam.

His final preening complete, he turned, just in time for the elevator doors to open, and exited. At the end of the hall was 809. He knocked. The door was opened by a man in a suit with a somewhat sardonic smile and a built-in eye roll. Tony liked him immediately. “Sam?” he asked, holding out a hand. “I’m Tony.”

Sam took the hand and shook it, drawing Tony in and closing the door behind him. “Hi, Tony. Thanks for coming.” He sounded somewhat resigned, like he was gearing up for something unpleasant. Now that he was inside, Tony saw that there was another man in the room - tall, dirty blonde, delightfully broad, and looking at Tony in surprise.

“Tony - Steve, Steve - Tony.” Sam gestured between them.

“Who?” Steve asked, his surprise darkening into a suspicious frown. Tony made to introduce himself, but halted his progress across the room as Sam pulled Steve into private conversation.

“He’s your date,” Sam hissed. That was interesting. The name on the e-transfer had definitely been Sam, but he was handing Tony off to his friend? Tony strained to hear while attempting to look politely disinterested.

“My date? Who is he?”

Sam shrugged. “I don’t know. I hired him from that place Clint mentioned the other day.”

“Hired? What do you mea- Are you kidding me?” Steve’s voice took on an edge. “That place Clint was joking about?”

“Steve.”

“You hired me a prosti-” Steve cut off, eyes flicking over to Tony, who was leaning against the wall as casually as possible. He tried to school his expression into something less than the amused smirk it threatened to be. His own gaze stayed glued to his phone, pretending to be absorbed with something of vital importance, while he watched the argument with his peripheral vision. Maybe Steve would refuse to take him and he’d get to go home early. Wouldn’t matter; he still got paid.

“I hired you a date,” Sam clarified. “Because you need one for this, and you didn’t even try to get one on your own.”

“Sam…” Steve ran a hand through his hair, sending the smooth strands wild again. His voice lowered further, but Tony could still make out his hissed words. “He’s a guy.”

Sam’s eyebrow cocked, and Tony held back a laugh. “Tell me I’m wrong,” Sam said, no nonsense.

Steve’s eyes shifted to Tony again, and he could feel the gaze brush over him. Steve sighed. “You’re not wrong. But -”

“No buts. Take the kid to the party. You need someone on your arm. Prove to yourself that no one will give a shit if you show up with a guy so that someday, when you meet someone you like, you won’t be too crippled by fear to ask them yourself. This is a practice run, Steve.” Sam clapped him on the arm and walked out, giving Tony a little nod as he passed.

Finally alone, Tony tucked his phone in his pocket and crossed the room, offering his hand to Steve to shake. “Tony.”

Steve blushed bright red, but took it. “Uh, Steve.”

Tony gave Steve his most encouraging smile. “Don’t worry, Steve. People do this kind of thing all the time. It’ll be great, I promise. You get all the benefits of having someone pretty on your arm, without having to worry about if your date is having a good time.” Tony winked.

Steve’s jaw set as if he was about to face the guillotine rather than a high-society party. “Right.”

“Good.” It appeared that Tony would have to be the one taking charge tonight. By his bearing, Steve was the kind of person that would be more comfortable on the frontlines, than in a tux, but this was Tony’s speciality, and he certainly didn’t mind taking the steering wheel. “Ready to go?”

Steve gestured awkwardly at a small velvet box lying on the bed next to his empty garment bag. “Just those.” He tugged at his french cuffs and frowned.

“Let me.” Tony snatched up the box and popped out the cuff links, tiny American flags, then pulled Steve’s wrist towards him, deftly folding the cuffs into place and pinning them closed. He could feel the discomfort radiating off the man, so he focused on breathing calmly, a little more obviously than usual. After a moment, he heard Steve begin to copy the rhythm unconsciously. “So where are we headed tonight?”

Steve shrugged, shaking out his sleeves and straightening his jacket when Tony released his cuffs. “Just an awards ceremony.”

“Sounds fun.” Tony stepped forward, solidly into Steve’s space, and reached up to straighten his tie. His fingers brushed Steve’s throat and those careful breaths halted. “Hey, Steve?”

“What?”

“Relax.” Steve’s frown deepened, but his breathing started up again, and his shoulders shifted down, a little further away from his ears. Tony smiled encouragingly, finished with Steve’s tie, and stepped back. “Good?”

“Alright.” Steve grabbed his wallet off the table by the door and led the way out of the room. “They’re - uh - they’re sending a car.” Steve said as they stepped into the elevator.

“Swanky.”

Steve shrugged again, and Tony held back a sigh. Showing this guy a good time was going to be like pulling teeth. Sam and his date, a tiny, smiling girl with dark hair and shockingly pretty eyes, met them outside. Sam shot Steve a significant look which, Tony was amused to see, Steve ignored.

Steve was a statue in the back of the car for the entire drive to the event hall. There wasn’t much in the way of press out front, but there was a red carpet leading up to the vast front door, and a few photographers hovered around the edges. Steve’s entire body rippled with tension. Tony wrapped his fingers around Steve’s forearm and gave a squeeze, then as the car rolled to a stop, reached over and pushed open the door before Steve could change his mind.

“Let’s go, gorgeous,” Tony whispered, urging Steve out of his seat.

Steve stood and, to Tony’s surprise, shifted his hand up so Tony’s slid down from his wrist to his hand, and held it tightly. Looking for all the world like he was on his way to be court marshalled, Steve pulled Tony along, up the red carpet without a pause or smile for the reporters, and through the front doors.

The large ballroom had been filled with cloth-covered tables, waiters in tuxes, and people. Steve made a beeline for one of those groups of people, Sam and his date trailing far behind as they stopped to say some hellos. Steve introduced Tony to everyone at the table in a rush - Bucky, Clint, Clint’s wife Laura - then sat down with a sigh next to the one he’d called Bucky.

“Dude,” Bucky said, and Steve nodded.

Tony slipped into the seat next to Steve, marked “Guest”. Their table was near the front and had a gold-embossed sign on it it that said “Reserved” with several of the seats marked as “Guest of Honour” including the one with Steve’s name attached to it.

Tony leaned over to whisper in Steve’s ear, not failing to notice the way Steve shifted closer into his space to meet him. “When you said this was an awards ceremony you failed to mention that it was in your honour.”

Steve shrugged, and his cheeks turned delightfully pink. “It’s not a big deal.”

Tony grinned. This guy was adorable. “So what did you do?”

Steve muttered something, then Bucky spoke to his left, and he turned away, cutting off the end of his sentence. Steve seemed to be taking the, “don’t worry about showing me a good time,” line seriously. Tony was left with Sam and his date, and Clint and Laura next to them. Sam’s date turned politely to Tony. “So, how do you know Steve?” she asked.

Tony watched as all the blood drained out of Sam’s face, and he heard the conversation between Bucky and Steve snap off. Tony took his time, making a show of getting settled and enjoying the tension radiating off of Sam and Steve’s bodies. Sam opened his mouth to say something but Tony got there first.

“Coffee shop.” He shot Steve a smile, and a wink. “He was too adorable, I couldn’t help but ask him out. I suggested a movie, but he said he needed a date for this shindig, so here we are!”

Sam and Steve let out a shared breath, while Sam’s date nodded appreciatively. “Very bold,” she winked. “Good for you.”

“How did you and Sam meet?”

She launched into a story - that Tony would absolutely be stealing for use with another client - and Tony fell into party mode. They were served a five-star dinner, Steve received an award - which turned out to be for a veteran’s aid charity he had started with the others at the table, Peggy’s Promise. Tony felt a twinge of discomfort at the realization that he was at a table of vets - Clint, Bucky, and Steve had all served together and met Sam at the VA when they got back - but it subsided as quickly as it had risen up.

Tony chatted with the table, chatted with the politicians and lobbyists who swarmed up to make nice with Steve, and chatted with Steve. He put him at ease whenever he could, and whisked him away for a private conversation whenever Steve’s shoulders twitched to tight. Steve started to soften to Tony, even shooting him a glance a few times when he was clearly feeling stuck in an unpleasant conversation.

“Want some air?” Tony asked, swooping in between Steve and a large, red-faced man who was shaking his hand a little too enthusiastically. “I could use some air.” He turned to the man. “Sorry to steal him away.” Tony shot him his most sympathetic smile, and the man nodded and released them. Tony bustled Steve out to the side steps where a few partygoers had gathered to smoke or chat in the setting sun. “You alright?”

Steve looked at him in surprise. “Uh, yeah. It’s just - a lot. I’m not - this is all new for me.”

Tony patted his shoulder, giving it a squeeze after and feeling him relax a tiny amount. “You’re doing great, soldier.”

A soft smile blew across Steve’s face. “You’re - uh - you’re really good at that. That people stuff.”

Tony dismissed it with a handwave. “Been doing it all my life. It’s nothing. You can let me know if you need an out, though. I can do tired or sick or grumpy or, hey, desperately horny -” Tony waggled his eyebrows, and Steve shot him a look. “- depending on how quickly you want to leave, and how jealous you want your friends to be.” Tony smirked and straightened Steve’s tie again, brushing his knuckles against his throat.

“Ah, okay. Well, um, good to know, I guess.” Steve shuffled in place. “I could use another drink…”

Tony slipped his arm into Steve’s and gripped his elbow encouragingly. “Lead on.”

Steve relaxed more and more as the night went on. Tony wasn’t sure if it was the application of alcohol, the reassurance that Tony could help him bail if he wanted to go, or the increasing distance from Steve’s stint on stage, but by the time people started drifting out of the ballroom, Steve was verging on comfortable. Tony hung off his arm attractively and continued to act as point guard, deflecting people that made Steve’s hand clench against his side and making space for the conversations that Steve leaned into.

Tony told a young man in a crisp suit that he had met Steve on the subway, an older woman with a scary smile that Steve had caught Tony’s umbrella when it had flown away, and a tall, heavily made up young woman who leaned too far into Steve’s space that they had met grinding at Manhattan’s premiere gay club. Steve actually burst out laughing as the woman walked off with a sneer and haughty swing of her slim hips.

“How do you come up with so many of those on the spot?” he asked, grinning over at Tony.

“Just creative I guess. Or I steal them.” He smiled back.

Steve wouldn’t dance, but he stayed through dessert, and Tony was pleasantly fed and watered by the end of the night. Sam and his date wanted to stay, but Steve admitted he was done, so he and Tony took the fancy car Steve had been provided with by themselves. Steve piled in, stumbling a little and pulling Tony in awkwardly after him. He was glowing, a smile lighting up his whole face, and Tony couldn’t help but grin back. “Have a good time?”

Steve looked surprised. “I did, actually. You were incredible.”

“Me? You’re the one who got an award!”

Steve shrugged it off, blushing prettily. “I can’t believe how good you were with all those people. Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me just yet,” Tony purred, shifting across the seat to crawl into Steve’s lap, throwing one leg over until he straddled Steve’s thighs. Steve’s eyes snapped to Tony’s face and he opened his mouth, apparently at a loss for words. Tony tucked even tighter against him and felt Steve’s body respond to their closeness. Tony ducked down until his lips were softly brushing against Steve’s as he spoke. “Just tell me what you like.”

“I -” Steve swallowed. His hands hovered over Tony’s thighs without touching. “I don’t think we should do this.”

“Okay. It’s up to you, big guy.” Tony shifted his hips back and grinned at Steve’s sharp intake of breath. “But I’m paid up for the night so you can do whatever you want with me.” Steve’s frown deepened, and Tony realized his mistake. “Hey, look. We’re just two guys that had a great night, right? Yeah, I was hired to be your date, but I had a good time, okay? And if you want to invite me in for a drink when we get back to your place, that’s totally up to you. If you like me. I’m just saying - I’ll say yes.” Tony wasn’t sure why he was pushing for it. Usually if a client wanted to pay his nightly rate and not shed any clothing then Tony was all for it. He liked sex, he liked making people feel good, but there was something to be said for getting home early and banging around his apartment in ratty old boxers instead.

But he liked Steve, and he had had a good time tonight, and Steve seemed like the kind of guy who was desperately in need of a good blow job. He was endlessly tense. Tony figured it had been a while for him, and he was surprised to find that he was looking forward to watching Steve Rogers lose a bit of control.

The other thing that surprised Tony was his own suggestion that they take things back to Steve’s place. Tony was the master of the backseat blowjob and was personally responsible for most of New York Limo Service’s detailing costs. It was quick, simple, safe, and avoided the awkwardness of navigating someone’s home. Besides, more often than not, his clients had people waiting at home. The backseat blowjob was a classic, but instead Tony had suggested that Steve take him home, without a thought.

Steve was clearly deeply conflicted, so Tony settled for sitting next to him, curved into the shape of his body, head rested on his shoulder. Steve’s tension released bit by bit as they drove. They ventured into the depths of Brooklyn, and Tony found himself distracted by the city rolling past outside the window.

Finally, they pulled to a halt outside a row of pristine brownstones. Steve didn’t move, his eyes fixed on some random point on the leather in front of him.

“Steve?” Tony prodded gently. Steve’s eyes snapped to his, and his hand clenched against his thigh. Tony could feel his fingers move where his own leg was pressed up against them.

“Would you -” Steve swallowed, his eyes flickering down to Tony’s mouth. “Come in for a - a drink?”

Tony smiled, gentle, encouraging. “Of course.”

He expected Steve to relax at that, but he didn’t. If anything he wound tighter. Steve called a thank you to their driver then pushed out of the car. Tony crawled out after him, huddling close to his back, waiting for him to lead the way.

Steve’s home was lightly furnished but beautifully maintained. Tony instantly felt dirty the second he set foot inside. Despite always cleaning up carefully before jobs, he automatically checked his fingers for motor grease before he touched anything. The front hall broke into an open plan living/dining space on the right, and a set of steep stairs on the left. At the end of the hall the kitchen joined onto the dining room at the back of the house. The floors were perfect, original hardwood, and the walls were complimentary shades of teal and turquoise. The dark grey couch had two perfectly positioned orange cushions perched at either end.

“Wow,” Tony couldn’t help but say.

Steve turned, some of his inner turmoil clearing in the face of his confusion. “What?”

“Oh I just - you have a really nice place. It’s so… clean.” All of Tony’s suave left him in an instant as he shuffled uncertainly in the hallway. He was good at this - he was sure of it - but this wasn’t going the way it usually went. If he made it as far as a client's home at the end of the date, they were usually sucking too much face for him to notice the decor. But Steve’s face was too far away to suck, disappearing down the hall towards the kitchen.

“Uh, I guess.” The back of Steve’s shoulders shrugged. Tony scrambled to follow him, then trotted back to kick his shoes off next to Steve’s. He headed back for the kitchen and nearly ran into Steve’s ass where he’d stopped next to a cabinet of glasses. There were bottles of dark amber on the top shelf. “I hired a decorator when I first moved here. I don’t really notice that kind of thing.”

“Well, it’s a nice place.” Tony rammed his hands in his pockets, wondering if maybe his cool was in there somewhere.

Steve pulled down a bottle then eyed Tony speculatively. “Please tell me you’re old enough to drink.”

Tony cocked an eyebrow. “I’m twenty-three.”

Steve didn’t move.

“Okay, I’m twenty-one, but I practised at being twenty-one for a few years before so I might as well be twenty-three.”

To his surprise, Steve laughed. He poured two drinks and held one out to Tony. Tony watched the dark liquid touch Steve’s lips and his purpose here came back in a heated rush. Steve had invited him in, he clearly wanted this, but he was going to be too reserved to go for it himself. Steve’s eyebrows ticked up when Tony knocked back his whole drink in one go, then his eyes widened as Tony set the glass down and stepped up into his space. With one finger hooked lightly in Steve’s waistband, Tony pressed them chest to chest and flicked his eyes up to Steve, peering at him coyly from under his lashes. He sucked the edge of his bottom lip between his teeth, and Steve’s breath caught.

“So now that we’ve had our drink…” Tony let his voice drop low and husky, tilting his hipbone forward ever so slightly until it pressed against the inside of Steve’s thigh.

Steve wobbled in Tony’s direction, eyes fixed on the lip still clutched between his teeth, then huffed out a sigh and took an unsteady step backwards, away from Tony. He set his drink down on the kitchen counter and stared at it.

“Do you want me to go?” Tony asked lightly, not advancing again.

Steve opened his mouth, and Tony could see a “yes” hanging there between his lips, but then he stumbled forward, back into Tony’s space and then some, drowning the word against Tony’s mouth. Tony moaned into the kiss, parting his lips and slotting Steve’s between them, hot and wet and eager. For all that this was a job, he was instantly hard, straining in his pants, and couldn’t tamp down the thrill of relief that Steve hadn’t sent him home. Steve’s hands flitted over his hips, his back, to his neck where they cupped Tony’s face between them and pulled the kiss even deeper. Less hesitant, Tony grabbed a handful of Steve’s shirt, tugging it up out of his belt until he could slide his fingers under, between the tight cotton of Steve’s undershirt and his - holy shit.

“My god,” Tony whimpered. “No one has the right to have abs that incredible.”

Steve huffed a self-conscious laugh out of his nose. His thumb brushed over Tony’s cheek. Tony figured Steve was unlikely to take this to the next level if left to his own devices, so he slipped his own jacket off and tossed it over one of the stools by the breakfast bar. One slow button at a time, he worked his way down his white dress shirt, Steve’s eyes following his path helplessly.

When he got halfway down, Steve gave in to temptation and dropped his mouth to Tony’s neck, nipping his way across Tony’s collar bone. Tony rushed through the rest of his shirt, then let Steve pull off his undershirt and stroke his flat palms over Tony’s chest. Clothes kept hitting the floor, and Tony realized he hadn’t actually asked Steve what he wanted.

“Steve?” He ground his hips forward and thrilled at the pressure of Steve’s arousal against his leg. “Steve.”

“Hmm?” Steve was apparently too occupied by the soft skin under Tony’s jaw to reply with real words.

“Can I suck you off?” Tony asked, falling back on his go-to. Steve felt wild and uncertain in Tony’s arms, ready to bolt at a moment’s notice, and Tony didn’t think he’d be up for anything more adventurous than that.

“Oh god,” Steve hissed out, hands clenching on Tony’s sides. “Yes please.” The words sounded like they’d been squeezed out of his chest like the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube. Tony slipped his hand in his pocket and palmed a condom before letting his open pants fall to the ground. He usually wasn’t quite so naked for a blowjob, but Steve was eyeing him with such open hunger that he couldn’t resist preening a little under the gaze.

“Should we take this somewhere?” Tony asked, and Steve grabbed both his arms and guided him to the stairs.

They lost Steve’s pants in the hallway, the clang of his belt hitting the floor making them both jump, then laugh into each others mouths. The stairs were a challenge, but Steve’s room had a big, beautiful bed in it, and Tony wasted no time pushing Steve down to sit on the edge. His cock was rock hard and leaking, and his eyes were begging for it. “Tony…”

“I’ve got you, gorgeous, just relax.” Tony stroked his hands up Steve’s neck and furrowed them briefly in Steve’s hair until he huffed out a breath and relaxed a little. Tony scraped his nails gently down Steve’s chest as he fell to his knees. Steve’s legs widened of their own accord, inviting Tony between them, and he snugged up close, letting his chest brush against Steve’s cock as he sucked a light bruise just beneath his ribs. Steve’s hips bucked forward at the contact, and he moaned.

Tony mouthed his way down Steve’s chest while he ripped open the condom. He stroked his fist loosely over Steve’s cock, loving the way it leapt into his touch and throbbed impossibly harder. He started the condom with his hands, then followed it with his mouth, drawing out the downward slide as slowly as he could, until his fist hit the curls at the base of Steve’s cock, and Tony’s lips hit his fist. He sucked as he drew back, still slowly. Steve’s breath was going wild above him, little whimpering moans leaking out between them - Tony had been right; it had clearly been a while.

Working up enough spit and getting into the rhythm, Tony eased himself lower and lower with every smooth slide, eventually abandoning his hand entirely and pushing forward until his nose hit Steve’s stomach, and Steve’s cock hit the back of his throat. He swallowed.

“Holy shit,” Steve gasped out. His leg started shaking next to Tony, and when Tony backed off next, he urged Steve back on the bed, climbing up after him. He settled between Steve’s splayed legs, and sucked him down again, deep and fast. Steve kept himself propped up on his elbows, watching Tony take him in with wide eyes and a slack jaw. Tony blinking up languidly at him from under his lashes. He moaned and found that what was usually a little show had slipped out on its own.

Steve looked so far gone, so open, so grateful, that Tony found his own cock was painfully hard where it rubbed against Steve calf. He usually only got off if his client wanted to jack him off - which was usually pretty shitty and took a herculean effort to satisfy their egos - or if they miraculously fucked him the way he liked. Since eighty percent of the time it was a blow job anyway, Tony found he was usually sketching out blueprints in his head by the time it was over.

But Steve was holyshit-hot, and Tony was naked, and Steve’s wide blue eyes were fixed on him like he was unbelievably enticing, but also utterly terrifying, and Tony was hard as fuck and verging into desperate territory.

He held off on touching himself, letting his hips kick forward enough that he could rut against the soft sheets between Steve’s legs, but he was so caught in the heat and desire and intensity of the moment that he barely noticed Steve’s leg start to shake again, or the hand that drifted into his hair and caught there.

“Oh fuck - I’m - ugh,” Steve stammered out, and Tony caught up, realizing Steve was about three seconds from coming. He sucked hard and slid all the way down, unsurprised when Steve’s palm on his head pressed down, then relaxed, a silent plea for him to stay there while he pulsed into the condom with a rough cry. Tony swallowed around the head of his cock as he came, wishing for the first time in his history as an escort that there wasn’t a barrier between them. Steve probably tasted fantastic. When he pulled up, lips swollen and spit dribbling down his chin, Steve had both hands fisted in the sheets and an awed look on his face.

His mouth seemed stuck open, so Tony crawled up his body and kissed it closed. The movement brushed Tony’s desperate cock against the soft skin on the inside of Steve’ thigh and he groaned, breaking the kiss to bite his lip and will his body to calm down.

“Are you -?” Steve asked breathless. “Can I see?”

Tony groaned again at Steve’s nervous eagerness and crawled up further until he was straddling Steve’s hips, Steve’s spent cock pressing against Tony’s ass and making his mind go wild with possibilities. Tony took his cock in his hand and stroked, rolling his hips with the movement. Steve was strong and solid and warm beneath him. Steve’s hands slid up Tony’s thighs, settling at the creases of his hips, thumbs stroking in time with his hand. Tony braced himself with a hand on Steve’s shoulder, all thoughts of pleasing his client and this being a job banished in the face of Steve’s tongue darting out to brush over his bottom lip.

“Do you want -?” Tony managed to choke out. Steve’s eyes snapped to his and yes, he did want. Badly. “Fuck.” Tony wanted to shove his cock in Steve’s mouth desperately, but he settled for hooking his thumb over Steve’s bottom lip and coming hard over his chest, covering Steve’s perfect pecs with a hot splash of come. Steve sucked in a sharp breath, eyes fixed on Tony’s cock, still pulsing in his hand.

“Holy shit,” Steve breathed out. Tony tipped over, sliding off of Steve’s chest and slumping onto the sheets. For a long time, all he could think was blank white noise. Slowly, his brain began to come back online, reminding him that he needed to get his clothes and get out of there. That had been one of his best times with a client, but Steve was still a client, and if he hung around too long, he’d fall asleep.

Steve already looked three quarters of the way there, so Tony cleaned him up with a kleenex from the night stand, whispered, “Goodnight, hot stuff,” and rolled off the bed. Steve’s hand found Tony’s wrist and tightened. He blinked up at Tony, clearing the sex-haze from his eyes. He opened his mouth, giving a little tug on Tony’s wrist, and Tony braced himself for being asked to stay, but Steve snapped it shut again and released his hold.

“There’s a key on the sideboard. You can just push it through the mailslot,” Steve managed to get out, words slurred.

Tony grinned. “Alright.” Recklessly, he bent down and kissed Steve one last time, hard and hot. Steve arched into it.

Tony left Steve drifting into sleep, a happy, sated smile ghosting across his lips, and picked his way downstairs. He collected all the clothes then sorted through them, leaving Steve’s in a pile at the foot of the stairs, and pulling on his own. The key was indeed on the sideboard and Tony rolled it around in his hands for a moment, then stepped towards the door, pulling his shoes on as he went. At the door knob, he stopped. Steve’s phone was sitting on the sideboard too and it crossed Tony’s mind that Steve hadn’t been the one to hire him, and he might not know how to get in touch if he wanted to see Tony again. And Tony certainly wouldn’t mind it if he did.

So he picked up Steve’s phone and swiped it open - no passcode - then installed the app for the Heroes for Hire Escort Service. He added his own profile to the list of favourites and left it open to that page, his own cocky smile grinning out from the screen. He returned the phone to the side board and pushed through the door, locking up behind him and shoving the key through the mailslot.

**

Tony stretched, his arm flailing off the mattress and knocking over what sounded, and felt, worryingly like a partially full coffee mug. He stared up at the vaulted ceiling above him, the midday light scattering through the stained glass windows into a kaleidoscope of colours, dancing over his bed. And into his tired eyes. There were downsides to this apartment, and that was one of them. Luckily, Tony could sleep through an earthquake - and had - so a little lack of curtains wasn’t too big of an issue.

He half sat up, yawning and rolling his ankles out. He was sideways on his bed - floor mattress - his feet stretched out on the hardwood, his sheets wild. The alarm clock that perched on the pew by his head said it was 2:00 and Tony had to assume by the light that that was 2 in the afternoon - though he wouldn’t put it past himself to sleep right through until the next morning.

He stood up and padded down the aisle towards the bathroom. Tony’s apartment wasn’t so much a church conversion, as it was a church. A developer had bought it, hoping to turn it into condos, but there had been a problem with the permits, or the funding, or something and they’d fucked off, leaving the half torn up church sitting with no one in it. The woman who bought it had rented it out to Tony as is, and “as is” was pretty interesting. There was a kitchen at the back, designed for Sunday School snacks and Pancake Breakfasts. The bathrooms were rows of stalls, the last of which Tony had converted into a shower. There was no bedroom so he dumped his mattress on the altar, next to the front row of pews that he’d left in lieu of chairs, and called it a day.

The rest of the floor space was what made this place so appealing. Tony had unscrewed all the other rows of pews and pushed them up against the walls, leaving a vast, open floor to use as he pleased. As he pleased, for the most part, was building. Robots, engines, computer systems - anything and everything he could get his hands on.

It was bright, and the noise echoed horribly through the vast ceiling, and on Sundays, if he forgot to lock up, inevitably some tourist would come pushing through the door looking for a nice morning service. Instead, they’d find Tony covered in gears, smoking a joint in nothing but his Star Wars boxers. But for all its failings, it had space, and it was his and that was what mattered most.

After a quick shower, Tony pulled on ratty jeans and a t-shirt that smelled like it had probably been washed at least once that month, and sat amongst his work, whistling, with a smile on his face. He pretty much spent all his time either building, or escorting.

The next week went by in a blur of gears and suits. Tony had a few dates with regular clients, some of which ended in sex, some didn’t. Wednesday and Thursday he had nothing, so he cranked his music and dove into his projects with renewed intensity.

On Friday night, his music cut out sharply, silence ringing through the rafters then filled by a loud chirp, then another. The song came back on. Tony had no one who would text him besides Heroes for Hire so he knew it was a job, probably for this weekend. He sat up, popping his back loudly, and realized that the sun had disappeared sometime while he was working - it was already evening. He walked over to his phone, shaking feeling back into his numb leg as he moved, and saw 2 messages from the service. They were both for tonight so he’d have to choose one and reject the other. He hated having to do that - it felt like a waste of good money to say no.

The first was from a regular - Ty - at a client dinner where he needed a plus one to bat his eyes distractingly and make Ty look strong and desirable. It would almost certainly end with Tony getting his face fucked in the backseat of Ty’s car and a healthy tip.

The second was, to his immense surprise, from Steve. It didn’t say what the event was, but Steve had checked off formal for what to wear. Tony only hesitated for a moment before rejecting Ty. He was a regular and it wasn’t the first time Tony had had to say no - he’d find someone else and be back to Tony for the next time. Steve, though... Tony hadn’t expected him to get in touch at all, let alone so soon. If he said no this time, he was sure he’d never hear from him again, and Tony liked him. He’d be a good client to hook and keep. Tony tapped accept, watched the money appear in his account, then tossed his phone onto his mattress. He sniffed at his shirt and frowned - time for a full workshop removal process.

After a vigorous scrubbing, Tony climbed up the ladder he had hooked over one of the window ledges and up to a series of hooks where he hung his clothes. He used to keep them hooked over the decorative wood curls around the altar, but he’d learned his lesson on that one after a deeply modified fire extinguisher had exploded and doused everything he owned in foam, hours before a work date. He grabbed one of his two tuxes and climbed back down, tugging open the garment bag before he hit the last rung.

An hour later, he was clean and impeccably dressed, his hair slicked back, and with just the right amount of stubble. If he’d put the barest hint of mascara on his dark lashes so they popped a little stronger as he looked up through them from between a client’s knees, well that was no one’s business but his own.

He took a cab to Steve’s brownstone, hopping up the steps with an unusual eagerness, and knocked. There was a wild thumping, then silence, then a few moments later, the door wrenched open. Steve was in his tux, but with the jacket off and the shirt half-wild out of his open pants. Tony grinned. “Hey, gorgeous.”

He expected Steve to tense again at the sight of him, but instead he relaxed, his whole body softening. “Hi, Tony.”

Steve gestured him in, then turned into the living room. On the coffee table he’d laid out his belt, tie, jacket, and a small jewellry box - different from the last one. Steve snatched up his belt and half-jogged into the kitchen, shoving it through the loops of his pants as he moved. “So where are we heading tonight?” Tony called after him, picking up Steve’s tie and looping it around his own neck.

Steve reappeared with a piece of toast sticking out his mouth. “Dinner,” he said around the toast. “Same award thing, but small dinner for recipients.”

Tony laughed. “Why are you eating then?”

Steve blushed beautifully. “I get hungry when I’m nervous,” he grumbled, disappearing back into the kitchen.

Tony grinned to himself as he finished tying Steve’s tie around his own neck. He followed him into the kitchen where Steve was typing furiously on his phone. Tony managed to get the tie between the phone and Steve’s face, and over the toast, settling it around Steve’s neck. Steve finished his toast, and his text, and dropped his eyes to Tony, cheeks colouring. Tony kept his eyes fixed on Steve’s while he slowly worked the knot tighter, tucking it under Steve’s collar.

He could tell Steve wasn’t breathing, but Tony didn’t back off, pushing a little closer instead. He usually made it his goal to keep his clients as comfortable as possible, but he had a feeling that Steve enjoyed being made to feel a little uncomfortable so Tony pushed the boundaries and got his reward: Steve’s throat bobbing, his slight, unconscious lean in.

“We going to be late?” Tony asked, letting a little suggestion leach into his voice. If they weren’t… he had ideas for how they might fill the time.

But Steve jumped back with a muffled curse and ran for his jacket. Tony helped him with his cufflinks again - tiny easels this time - and five minutes later they were outside and in the car. This was a private event - no red carpet - so Steve had called a cab and Tony lamented the lack of space for teasing in the back seat. Still, he ignored his seatbelt in favour of pressing up against Steve’s side for the ride over. Instead of tense, this time Steve sunk into the touch, throwing an arm over the back of the seat behind Tony’s shoulders.

“I’ll be honest,” Tony said, shooting Steve a look. “I didn’t think I was going to hear from you again.”

Steve opened and closed his mouth a couple of times. Then sighed. “Yeah, honestly, I didn’t think I was going to either.” Tony tried not to be bothered by that. It would have been nice to think that Steve had spent the week wanting to see him again. “Tonight - It’s going to be a lot of the same people. I thought - you know - continuity.. Or something.”

Ah. So the only reason Steve had called him again was so he wouldn’t show up a week later with someone new and look like some manslut. The knowledge settled in Tony’s gut in a way that made him frown and squirm. He shouldn’t care - he really shouldn’t care. Money was money. But he was starting to wish he’d gone for Ty’s hair pulling and emasculating comments over this.

Still, Tony had a job to do, and he wasn’t going to underperform just because Steve hadn’t spent their time apart pining or something. He snapped on his game face and was charming and beautiful and affectionate at dinner.

When a middle-aged woman from the awards committee leaned in and asked him how he knew Steve, he told a complicated tale of evenings at the MOMA, judging by Steve’s bookcase and cufflinks that he was into art. Steve was deep in conversation with another award recipient on his left, or rather deep in nodding encouragingly and looking like he wanted to stab his fish fork in his eye, but he clearly had one ear focused on Tony’s tall tale and a few times his lips twitched up in amusement. When the woman was satisfied by his story, Tony leaned over to rescue Steve, pulling the man’s attention to himself instead. He could feel Steve’s sigh of relief against his side.

It was an early night - no drinks and dancing, just coffee and cheesecake - so it was barely eleven when they climbed back into a cab. Steve huffed out a long breath and leaned back against the headrest, closing his eyes. Tony chuckled, then curled up against him and loosened Steve’s tie. “You did good, soldier.”

A smile ghosted across Steve’s face. “Well, I survived, anyway. You were amazing again, of course.”

The praise flickered in Tony’s belly, but he stamped it down. Steve only wanted continuity - he didn’t want Tony. He wondered if this time he could get by with a back of the cab handjob instead of going into Steve’s place. He slipped his palm over Steve’s thigh, but fingers wrapped around his wrist, stilling him. Steve shot him an odd, twisted look, and Tony pulled back, shifted away a little, back towards his own seat. The fun of seducing Steve last time had evaporated. He would wait, see what Steve wanted, and when they were done he could go home and collapse onto his lumpy mattress in his haven of toys and likely never see this man again.

When they pulled up in front of Steve’s place, Tony made to shift towards the door, but Steve leaned forward and spoke to the driver. “This should get my friend home too.” He handed a couple of bills to the driver and opened the door when the driver nodded. “Goodnight, Tony.”

Steve’s voice was warm, but his words were firm. Tony opened his mouth to say, “What the hell?” Then realized how crazy that sounded. He loved an early night - getting paid the same for half as much work was always best - but this didn’t feel like relief, it felt like rejection. Had Steve not enjoyed last time? He sure seemed like he had. Tony tried desperately not to pout. Steve was staring at him with these wide, uncertain eyes and Tony wondered if he was supposed to push again, if that was the game. But Steve knew now - knew he only had to ask and Tony would be in there with him in a second, sucking down his whiskey, among other things.

Steve didn't ask this time, however, and he didn’t look like he wanted to be convinced. He reached over and gave Tony’s a hand a squeeze, repeated his, “Goodnight, Tony,” then disappeared through his front door. Tony stared after him as the taxi pulled away, only looking away when the driver asked for his address.

He plowed through the heavy wood doors of The Church, kicking his shoes off and making a beeline for the bed. He dumped his clothes in a heap on the last pew - they needed to be washed anyway - and fell face first onto the mattress. He was bone-deep tired and full of cheesecake; he figured he’d be out like a light any minute.

But sleep wouldn’t come. It wasn’t that late, sure, but he usually paid little attention to the clock anyway, conking out whenever sleep hit him. And he was tired, so he should sleep. But instead, he lay there, squirming around but unable to get comfortable. A throb between his legs brought his attention rapidly south. His hips twitched forward of their own accord, rubbing his hardening dick against the soft of the sheets.

Okay, yeah, that was it, that was the thing. He’d been all geared up for something sexy with Steve and when it hadn’t happened, his body had been the last to get the memo. Tony didn’t always get off with his clients, but he had last time with Steve and at least one part of him was clearly expecting to again.

He rolled onto his back and snaked a hand down between his legs. He stroked his cock, and remembered the look on Steve’s face as he’d painted his chest with come, the way his lips had wrapped around Tony’s thumb. Steve had wanted Tony to come on his face, in his mouth, and god he had wanted to. He came hard, spilling over his fist, eyes squeezed shut with an image of Steve begging him to come playing on repeat in his mind.