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How We Came To Be Here

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He wasn’t sure how they had ended up here. If there was even a reason, really, or if it was just a product of one of the inevitable futures that Stephen had seen in his forward thinking on Titan. He wondered briefly, afraid to ask, if Stephen had seen this exact moment. He supposed that it didn’t really matter, and that even if the man kissing him at that moment was only doing this out of some obligation to the security of the universe, he wouldn’t let himself be disappointed or let this moment mean any less.

Stephen’s lips were as soft as his beard was scratchy, angled against his own in kind of slanted desperation that tasted like elderberry tea that he had started keeping in the cupboard for him and whiskey bitters that he had promised himself that he would stop drinking. He wrapped his fingers in the curled ends of Stephen’s hair, holding his face close to his own, mouth open against his as his other hand reached behind him to lock the door, lest any of the late-night visitors, including one Spiderman, pick that moment to stop by.

When they finally broke apart, Stephen’s breath was warm against his cheek, heavy and loud in his ear. He leaned his head back slightly, Stephen’s eyes shining in the pale glow of the various gadgets in his room. “Are you sure about this, Tony?”

He lifted his hand to Stephen’s face, letting his thumb trace a scar that lingered on his cheek, even after the weeks they had spent in veritable recovery. He wanted to say no, that he wasn’t sure. To pass on every insecurity he felt in that moment, about his life, about his choices, about his body, about his mind, but he didn’t. “Are you?” He asked instead.

“I would leave if I wasn’t.” Stephen said back softly, but with a smile, raising his gloved hand as if to show off the ring that allowed him to create his portals from place to place. Like the one that had brought him here. Like the ones that, until tonight, had carried him away from here each night after their running conversations would eventually come to and end.

He hesitated, not quite sure what to do next, before he reached a hand out to Stephen’s gloves, pulling the ring off before slowly working the glove from his fingers. He only made it halfway through before Stephen’s mouth was on him again, kissing him hard, open-mouthed and erotic. But the gloved hand vanished from between his own, and he could feel the twinge in his stomach since he knew what why, could feel the insecurities behind the pull away. But he couldn’t stop the kiss either, letting himself be pushed back against the door as he heard the soft woosh of Stephen’s cloak unwrap from his shoulders.

This time, Stephen broke their kiss, going immediately to Tony’s jaw with his lips, sucking bruising kisses there. He wondered vaguely if they would show in the morning. He wondered if anyone would even notice if they did.

He reached for Stephen’s hand again, the glove reaffixed around his long hands. “Can I take these off of you?” He asked, immediately wishing he hadn’t when Stephen’s lips stopped, hovering on the skin above his pulse point on his neck. He pulled back, not looking at Tony, but instead down at his hand before closing his eyes.

“Okay,” He said, and Tony moved carefully. More carefully than he’d ever done anything in his life, it seemed, as he pulled the heavy fabric loose, tucking Stephen’s ring into one of the many pockets on his sorcerer’s belt. Eventually, after what could have been a lifetime of hearing his own breathing, the glove came off in his hand. He lifted his hand to Stephen’s, feeling the tremors that plagued the man’s fingers against his own, letting them shake as Stephen worked to unbend them against, his fingers longer and thinner than Tony’s. He shifted his hand slightly and slid his fingers between Stephen’s, moving their hands down to the side as if they were dancing, pulling them so close together that he could feel the cold weight of Stephen’s artifact between them, pressing against his reactor that he was loathe to take off now.

“Hi,” Stephen said, after he simply looked up at him for a moment, still holding his hand.

“Hi,” Tony said with a smirk, retracting his hand to peel off Stephen’s other glove with equal care, this time pressing a kiss to the inside palm of his hand.

“I---” But whatever Stephen was going to say dissolved in his mouth as pressed soft kisses to the tips of his fingers.

“I think that’s the first time I’ve ever gotten you to stop talking, Doc.”

“Only time.” Stephen replied, actually smiling down at Tony who took the chance to grab two fistfuls of the front of his tunic tabards and pulling him into another kiss, pushing back against him as soon as he responded to move them towards the bed in the middle of the room. He felt now uncovered hands on on clothes, pushing back on his jacket that he shrugged out of between heavy kisses, leaving it on the floor to be another problem for the morning.

He could feel his body finally starting to get fully on board with this as the anxieties, the doubts, the guilt of his life was burned away with a familiar ache. But this didn’t feel like simple desire, not a one-night-stand that would be a culmination of the strange relationship he had developed with Stephen Strange, but instead the start of something much larger than that. He didn’t want Stephen Strange. He needed him.

He felt Stephen stop walking, presumably because the backs of his legs hit the bed, and this third round of kissing finally stopped in heavy pants, Tony leaning forward, head on his shoulder as he reached down to push his hands under the edge of the thick tunic, not exactly sure how to undo it. “How do you get this thing off?” He asked, hiding his uncertainty behind a familiar quip.

“Magic.” Stephen replied, and Tony wanted to laugh until the fabric came undone in his hands, exposing his chest as the fabric untied in the middle.

“Right,” He breathed, but was focusing on Stephen’s body now, rather than the fact that magic had now become a part of nearly every part of his life, including his love life, not a fate he had been anticipating. He pushed Stephen back until the man was leaning against the bed, then sitting on it and moving backwards until Tony could crawl onto the mattress as well, pinning him down with his knees on either side of waist, feeling Stephen’s arousal growing to match his own as he worked the fabric off of his shoulders.

He ran his hands over the expanse of skin there, feeling the muscle tone underneath, the lean build of the man against him, feeling the scarred over remains of cuts and bruises and burns, some of which gave no visible sign. He recalled what Stephen had told him, about his first use of the time stone. How many times had he died to protect the Earth? What kind of scars had those lost lives left behind? The thought burned, and it made his mouth go dry with guilt at the amount of times he had survived instead. He wondered if the numbers were close to the same for the two of them.

“Not gonna magic my shirt off, too?” He looked down into Stephen’s eyes, blinking up at him in the dark, though his own eyes were well adjusted, “I promise I don’t look as bad as you might think.” He winked, meaning to have lightened the mood for not only himself, but the man underneath him at the moment, but instead, Stephen only rolled his lips, pressing them into a thin line.

“I want to take it off myself,” He said, and reached one of his shaking hands up to the first button, hooking his finger into the fabric between buttons for a moment. “I don’t think that’s possible,” He breathed out a laugh, “What a strange thing to miss.”

Tony swallowed, Stephen not looking at him but away as he smiled with anything but humor in his features. Tony closed his eyes, breathing out slowly before he lifted his own fingers and undid the first button with his own fingers. Then the second. Then the third as Stephen watched his skin with rapt attention. He waited on the man to push the fabric off his shoulders, to move them forward, but when his eyes reopened, it was because of the Stephen’s hand on his chest, when his prosthetic used to be, covering the large scar there.

“People think we’re broken,” He said, looking down at the trembling hand on his chest.

“People are incorrect in their assumptions.”

He grinned at that, genuinely grinned as he caught a bit of what had pulled him to Stephen the very first time he had met him. Sharp wit. A bit of an ego. So similar to himself, really. Perhaps that was the reason for all of this.

He slid his hands down Stephen’s chest, all the way down to his belt buckle, which he undid quickly with deft fingers, sliding it through all of its hoops in one quick motion before tossing it aside. He put his hands on Stephen’s thighs then, squeezing them gently over the thin fabric of his trousers before sliding back and standing, working the pants down off of his hips.

“You’re fairly impatient at this part,” Stephen said, leaning back on his elbows, watching as Tony finished undressing him.

“I’ve been uncharacteristically patient, actually.” He replied, tossing the pants and surprisingly plain boxer briefs back where Stephen’s tunic was lying somewhere on the floor. He crawled back onto the bed, a hundred thoughts running through his mind. Most, unfortunately, having to do with death and pain and sickness and vengeance, but those were becoming slowly overtaken by hungrier thoughts like the one possessing him now as he moved between Stephen’s legs, one hand trailing along his thigh as the other massaged the v cut of the man’s hips where his obviously interested erection was stiffening with each massage of Tony’s fingers.

He winked up at Stephen, who’s pupils were blown at the moment, before he leaned down to take him in his mouth, sucking hard to heavy gasp and involuntary jerk of the man beneath him. He stroked him as he worked him over with his mouth, moving his hands and mouth in a slow rhythm. He was almost inclined to pull back, to say something sarcastic as was his typical manner, but he couldn’t do it. Stephen’s hands, though limited at the moment, were twisted slightly in the sheets with pleasure, his eyes closed as Tony took him as deep in his mouth as he could manage. It felt good to make someone else feel this good. To not worry about someone’s life or their wellbeing or their opinion of him and to just make them feel good for a moment.

“Tony,” Stephen breathed, “Stop.” He pulled back immediately, thinking he wanted to stop before he realized that he just hadn't wanted this to wrap up so quickly. He smirked again, standing, feeling his own erection pushing now uncomfortably at his pants.

Stephen didn’t move as he undid his belt and pants, sliding them down in his legs in a joint heap, but he did stand before Tony could push his boxers off of his hips, pressing himself to Tony’s body, his heavy erection trapped between them as he pulled the man into another, deeper kiss, nearly shocking in its intensity, as his hands, stilled by magic (though part of Tony rolled at that thought) slid down his back, pulling his hips tight to Stephen before sliding further down to his ass, cupping it hard as Tony sighed into his mouth.

Then those same fingers were in his waistband, sliding the fabric down his legs and wrapping a hand around Tony’s cock, causing him to break the kiss and press his forehead to Stephen’s shoulder. “How do you want to do this?” Stephen said, his voice barely more than a whisper in Tony’s ear. It was an interesting question. He pressed a kiss to Stephen’s neck, then his clavicle, nuzzling into the skin between them.

“How do you want me?” He asked in return, hoping that was enough of a response, letting out a soft groan as Stephen’s thumb massaged the tip of his cock in slow circles.

“Where I can kiss you.” Was the answer, and he pressed a final kiss to Stephen’s shoulder before he reluctantly stepped away, going to one of his bedside tables, before going back to Stephen pressing those things into one of his hands as he kissed his lips again, Stephen’s tongue diving into his mouth as they moved back towards the bed, Tony falling back onto the mattress, shifting back against the pillows as Stephen moved between his legs, kissing his chest as his fingers, now slick, started to work Tony open.

He twisted a hand into the thick, dark hair, thoroughly messing up the carefully jelled style, just enjoying the sensations of Stephen’s fingers and his mouth working in tandem, resisting the urge to take himself in his hand as those same searching fingers found his prostate, causing his hips to buck up off the bed. He closed his eyes, let himself be thoroughly worked over until his whole body was aching for more, for something almost rough to take the edge off but something slow to rock that same pain away from him. To lose his thoughts in for a while. And then a mouth was on the corner of his lips, and the fingers that had been inside him pressed against his hip for only a moment before he could hear a condom being opened and pulled on. “Are you ready, Tony?’

“Yes,” He breathed, feeling Stephen press against him, sliding into him slowly, wrapping his hands around his shoulder blades at that first gentle thrust. And then they were kissing again, rocking slowly into the bed, Stephen knowing exactly what he needed in that moment. Perhaps he had seen this moment, then, maybe he knew what might finally help heal Tony Stark. Either way, the feeling was incredibly, blissfully light in his chest.

“Touch yourself,” Stephen said to him in a harsh whisper, clearly keeping himself under very stringent control at the moment. Tony slid a hand between them, wrapping it around his own cock in slow strokes, looking down to where Stephen was thrusting slowly, heavily between his thighs, disappearing into his body. He leaned his head back, moaning softly with each thrust that was perfectly timed or that hit perfectly inside his body, closing his eyes as Stephen sucked another love bite over the pulse of his neck, ran his tongue over his chest and nipples as he gradually increased his pace, so deep in Tony’s body that he couldn’t remember at the moment what it felt like when they weren’t joined together.

“Stephen,” He said, knowing full well that the breathlessness of it made it sound far more like a desperate moan.

“Tony,” Was the reply, accompanied by a particularly deep thrust that had him twisting his fingers in Stephen’s hair again, pulling him up for another kiss.

It was as if that moment, mouths pressed together in some haphazard attempt at a kiss that sent them over the edge, Stephen thrusting hard and fast, drawing his hips up into Tony who gasped with pleasure against his mouth with each one, hand moving almost desperately now as he drew closer and closer to orgasm.

He wanted to say more, but words were gone as his brain melted, feeling himself spill over his fingers, onto his and Stephen’s stomach as the man groaned only a few seconds later, pressing his forehead to Tony’s shoulder as he rode his own high back down to Earth, breathing so hard that Tony might have been worried if he could think of anything beyond what he was feeling at that exact moment.

Tony didn’t move much beyond letting his hands grow lax as Steven moved off of him, tying off the condom and tossing Tony a towel off the rack near the bathroom door. When they had cleaned up, Tony leaned back on the pillows, thinking that Stephen would leave again, but the man looked over at him instead.

“Wong is at the Sanctum for the night.” He said softly, looking at the empty space next to Tony, raising his eyebrows.

“Perfect. I feel much safer with Wong protecting the Earth from mystic threats.” Tony said with a wink, patting the bed next to him. He waited on Stephen to grab his clothes of the ground, or his gloves since his hands were shaking again, but he didn’t, instead climbing into bed next to Tony, gloriously naked, his skin soft to the touch.

He turned on his side to face him, neither of them speaking or touching or doing much of anything for a long time, sleep starting to seem inviting for what felt like the first time in a lifetime. He had the hope in his chest that he would not have nightmares tonight. That tonight would be a night of sweet dreams, or no dreams at all, and that he could finally start to sleep off the dark circles under his eyes.

“I love you.” Stephen’s voice broke him out of his daze, and he blinked at him, knowing his face was frowning even though he couldn’t tell exactly what he was feeling in the moment. “I have loved you for a long time, actually.”

He was talking as if he didn’t expect as response. As if the only thing he expected Tony to do was turn back over and go to sleep, leave his words between them and wield them against him, perhaps. Tony wanted to tell him that he’d never do that, that he’d never hurt him like that. He reached between them, where one of Stephen’s trembling hands was on the bed, and intertwined their fingers again, pressing them both to his chest. “I love you, too.” He said instead, and Stephen Strange smiled.

Tony closed his eyes, letting the question of why they had ended up here finally fade from his mind as finally realized that he had an answer.