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country road, take me home

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It’s the 21st century and Tony is driving a 1986 Chevy pickup down some awfully-paved road in the middle of Absolute Nowhere, Indiana — for the last several miles he’s seen nothing but cornfields and blue skies, John Denver belting some tunes out of the crackling radio, with a bag of spare clothes sitting in the passenger seat.

He’s got no phone. No tracker. No watch, no suit. Just him and a bag filled with paint-splattered jeans and worn flannel.

Tony sings along, one arm hanging out the window. He relaxes.

It’s not a cottage but it’s not exactly a house, either. It’s four rooms — the entryway slash living room, a bedroom, one bathroom with shoddy plumbing, and a kitchenette. The backyard is a mess of wildflowers and weeds and wasp nests, the old picnic table pretty much overwhelmed by greenery. Tony stares at the front steps with their peeling paint fondly.

It’s ugly. It’s really, objectively, very ugly — the paneling is a faded green, with faded yellow window shutters and glass almost opaque with dust. He’s thankful for the box of cleaning supplies he knows is stashed under the cabinet in the kitchen.

Tony kills the engine, grabs his bag, and heads inside. A thick plume of dust greets him and he spends the next several hours cleaning — opening ancient windows, airing the place out, cleaning tabletops and gagging as he tosses out rancid-smelling refrigerator items. Within several hours the place smells clean, lived-in, and he collapses onto the couch and closes his eyes in a doze.

Neither of them lived in Indiana. To them, it’s a nobody state — the one near Illinois and Ohio, with fields of vegetation and nothingness. Maybe that’s why Tony agreed so readily when Steve slid his StarkPad over, a page open showing a dilapidated little shack for sale. Maybe that’s why Tony bought it so quickly, why he had sentimental furniture items shipped to it, why he had both of them keys made.

Maybe that’s why Tony placed a bit of his heart, the bit solely reserved for Steve, into this homely little thing.

On the third day, after unloading groceries from a town too far away, Tony hears a car pull up and stop outside. He doesn’t pause; keeps pulling items out.

Four loafs of bread — check. Two dozen eggs — check. Cream cheese, crackers, deli meats, Cool Ranch Doritos, a 24-pack of water bottles —


Steve fucking Rogers — check.

(They meet in the middle. Tony stares at Steve, flares his nostrils, feels an insurmountable rage but he can’t stop himself from moving forward, from yanking Steve’s head into a kiss, and it’s a battle — it’s a fucking fight, their mouths gnashing together, teeth clinking, until one of them whimpers and then it’s apologetic, it’s, it’s fucking sweet, is what it is, and Tony knows, then, that it’s him who’s making the pained noises, and Steve is lowering them to the ground and they’re rutting and they’re grinding and Steve is gasping into Tony’s neck, “I love you, I love you, fuck, Tony, I’m s — I love you,” and Tony’s coming in his pants like some teenager, and then they lay there, panting, and Tony’s not quite sure how to proceed but Steve lifts his head and kisses him so sweetly and kisses down his neck and his chest and his belly and cleans him with his mouth, sucks him down, all the while murmuring I love you.)

Steve cooks breakfast.

Tony drinks shitty coffee and eats slightly-runny eggs and shovels soggy toast into his mouth, rambles about absolutely fucking nothing while Steve listens, while he smiles, while he offers input and criticism and twists his face in that infuriating manner that gets right under Tony’s skin.

Later, they cuddle on the couch and watch reruns of their favorite shows, watch a movie or two; Steve complains so much about the horror films they binge that Tony wrestles the StarkPad out of his grasp and puts some disgusting romcom on. Steve watches intently. Tony pretends to not find it adorable as fuck.

They don’t fuck.

They make love.

Tony grew up thinking there was no difference between the two — you fuck, you make love. It’s the same thing with two different identifiers. Badabing, badaboom.

But that night Tony arches ‘neath Steve and gasps, almost sobs with the force of his pleasure, as Steve worships him from top to bottom, sucks lingering marks into his skin and fucks into him so good Tony’s going to be feeling it for weeks. All the while Steve thrusts into him while maintaining eye contact and it’s almost too much, the intensity — Tony’s never been laid so bare before, but he is, now, throws his head back and moans and thrusts up and lets Steve take him so readily and it’s fucking ruining him.

Tony drives the shitty ’86 Chevy into Indianapolis. He hops into a plane, ignores every question directed his way, and stares out the window of his private jet as they head towards Miami.

No one has to know, he thinks. No one other than them deserves to know, he thinks.