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It isn’t as if he didn’t see where this was all going. Tony knows that he can be a little…obtuse at times when it comes to personal relationships, but Jesus Christ it takes two to tango and this dance has been playing out for more than a year.

He can count on one hand the number of actual relationships that have lasted this long, much less the tentative circling he and the good doctor have been engaged in since things un-fucked themselves after Thanos. Stephen keeps looking at Tony in that way of his; the one that never fails to make Tony shiver because he’s never been looked at quite like that. It’s fierce and it’s longing and it’s hungry and maybe Tony is reading things all wrong, but he also desperately hopes that he isn’t. He has wanted to know what that look means for an entire year, but…

Fear isn’t the right word. Fear implies something rational, like how he flinches every time Rogers moves too quickly in his vicinity, even though they’ve both been trying so hard to make the re-assembled team work. That sort of reaction makes sense for obvious reasons, now that Stephen has spent the last year reminding Tony at every turn that he is not broken for being wary. That he can take his time healing and shouldn’t push himself too hard no matter what anyone else says.

In fact, Stephen has made this entire year bearable. He makes Tony feel safe and heard and valued like no one has before and Tony knows he sounds pathetic but he thinks that maybe, just maybe, the sorcerer could make him believe in magic again. Not the kind that Strange wields so skillfully already, but the deeper kind. The one that still terrifies him even as he grows more and more used to portals and spells and Cloaks of Levitation.

So yeah, he saw where it could be headed, but he can say with absolute certainty he didn’t expect the decidedly gentle way Stephen is touching him.

Normally he’d protest the fact that things finally boiled over after a charity event, because it reminds him of another life, before…everything, really. Stephen, as usual, is an exception. They sat across the room from each other, basking in the quiet patter of rain against the glass after the raucous noise of the night.

Tony was sure he looked as desperate as he felt, already half hard and making shameless come-fuck-me eyes at Strange. Stephen had approached him where he sat on the couch slowly, cautiously, his eyes never leaving Tony’s, and when he was close enough, Tony had spread his legs to invite him closer. To be fair, he’d challenge anyone with the sorcerer’s full attention on them not to do the same.

“Anthony,” he murmured, and then there were trembling fingers holding his face reverently, brushing carefully over eyelids and cheeks until he followed them with his lips just as tentatively.

Tony could barely breathe, so Stephen drew back, waiting for him to choke down some air before he kissed the corner of Tony’s mouth. He eased them into a fuller kiss, enticing Tony to open for him. The engineer couldn’t help the way his own hands shook when he placed them over Stephen’s and pulled him closer to straddle him on the couch.

Now, the breathy whimper from Stephen as their clothed cocks brush against each other has Tony tilting his head back against the couch, trying to calm down so that he doesn’t embarrass himself too soon.

He moans when the sorcerer takes that as an invitation to bite softly at his neck, pressing kisses into the skin of his throat. He runs his nose along the edge of Tony’s jaw, lets Tony feel the way his breath quickens when he undoes the knot of Stephen’s tie and slips it off to place it on the coffee table. His voice is low and deep and powerful as he starts a slow roll of their hips, eyes fluttering closed when Tony pulls him in tight.

Fuck, Tony.” He shudders and drops his forehead to Tony’s shoulder. “Why did we wait so long to do this?”

Tony laughs at the petulant expression on the other’s face, but it bleeds into a moan when Stephen narrows his eyes and magics away their clothes. “Oh my god, Houdini, that is the best trick ever. I fucking love magic.”

Stephen smirks and leans back, pulling Tony with him until the engineer is settled atop him. “Told you I’d make a believer out of you,” he says cheekily.

“Consider me a born-again magician.” After all, Tony fully intends on worshiping the beautiful body pressed against him. “Now, kindly portal us to the bed, darling, that I might prove my devotion.”

A wicked smile and a shake of Stephen’s head is the only warning Tony gets before he finds himself on his back laying along the couch. Stephen summons some kind of slick from thin air, and Tony is definitely going to catch flies with the way his mouth drops open at the sight of the most powerful sorcerer in existence reaching behind himself to open himself up.

“I’m afraid I can’t wait that long. Next–ah! Next time, perhaps, I’ll have enough self control to push you into a mattress and have my way with you,” he pants, fingers on the hand gripping Tony’s thigh spasming. “But right now I need you to put your cock in me and fuck me until I scream. Right here. Think you can do that?”

“You are a freaky, freaky man, Strange,” he manages through the lump in his throat.

“Is it working for you?” Stephen’s expression is a blend of fondness and adoration and still somehow smug as all hell. His hair has long been disrupted from its perfection, a particularly unruly lock falling against his forehead and Tony is so turned on he thinks he might just pass out.

“God, yes,” he breathes, and drags Stephen down for a long, messy kiss while his fingers finish what the sorcerer started. He rubs along Stephen’s entrance, bites at the long, pale throat being offered to him when Stephen gasps and pushes back, begging for more than a tease.

“Please, Tony,” he pleads softly, wraps his arms around Tony’s neck to run his fingers weakly through his hair. He touches their foreheads together, and chokes on a breath when the engineer pushes two fingers inside the heat of him. Tony doesn’t waste time, pressing in deep to find his prostate and make him writhe. “Yes, yes, like that, right there, oh fuck!”

He thinks about flipping Stephen over and using his mouth, wants to get Stephen wet and open and fucking back onto his tongue, but then he wouldn’t be able to see the blush spreading down his chest or the way he can’t help but rut against the firmness of Tony’s body while his fingers methodically take him apart.

He doesn’t know how long they spend like that, Stephen panting against his shoulder as he works him open. The rain is steadily beating against the window and he loses himself in the way the moonlight makes Stephen look like some kind of fae creature; ethereal and dangerous in equal measure. Their stomachs are slick with precome by the time Stephen has relaxed enough to take him.

“You gonna ride me, sweetheart?” He has to grip himself hard when Stephen doesn’t even bother speaking, just nods, eyes hazy with pleasure and lets Tony push him back up. He braces his scarred, beautiful hands against Tony’s mangled chest and for the first time in far, far too long, Tony doesn’t feel quite so broken. Stephen trusts him to keep him steady, to be strong enough to hold him up and make him feel good.

He can’t remember the last time he felt this seen, this heard, this loved. With Pepper, sex had been short and hurried at the end. Between their busy schedules and Tony’s refusal to fully disconnect from the emergency line in case Iron Man was needed, it was no wonder, but it had still hurt whenever she told him she didn’t have time for him. He understood and tried to keep his pining to himself, but it didn’t make it sting any less.

And with Steve, their relationship had been tempestuous and their time in the bedroom certainly matched. Tony never felt like he could explore, always just trying to keep up with whatever pace Rogers set and hoping it was enough. Rogers wasn’t a selfish lover by any means, but Tony had always been a tactile person and Steve just…wasn’t.

Once, after one of their more intense fights (and the subsequent make-up sex that had Tony screaming into the pillow), Tony had reached out for Steve, needing the reassurance that they were okay, that he hadn’t ruined things beyond repair, and Rogers had brushed his arms off, saying he needed to shower. Tony had tried to compromise, asked for just a minute or two. Steve told him to cuddle a pillow if he didn’t feel like being an adult, said that they had more important things to do than laze in bed all day.

Hindsight was a bitch.

The way he’s being held now though…he can feel old wounds finally beginning to close.

Stephen touches the scars and the nano housing with such soft caresses and sighs in pleasure when Tony spreads him open and lowers him onto his cock. He feels sucker punched with how tight the other is, greedy hole clenching around him. He lifts Stephen back up, brings him down again and this time he doesn’t stop until the sorcerer is pressed flush against him. Stephen doesn’t move beyond that, lets Tony take his time, whispers breathlessly how full he feels, how deep inside him Tony is, how badly he’s wanted this.

Tony keeps him there until he feels the last of the tension ease from the doctor’s body. He traces his fingers along where they’re connected until Stephen sobs and begs him to move, to fuck him hard, to do whatever he wants with him, and only then does Tony begin a slow rhythm, gripping Stephen’s hips tight enough to bruise, but keeping his thrusts gentle, each one just shy of its mark.

It drives Stephen wild, the sorcerer trying futilely to meet his thrusts, only to be held back by the strength of Tony’s grip around his waist. “Why do you torture me like this?” He groans, and leans down to trade quick, biting kisses that turn into deep, slow ones.

His tongue mimics the languid way Tony is taking his body until Tony rolls them over. Stephen make a frustrated noise when Tony’s cock slips from his hole, only to cry out when Tony immediately pushes back in, gets his arms under the backs of Stephen’s knees and holds him open, completely at his mercy. This time, his pace is fast and hard and deep, and Stephen surrenders himself to it, is making delicious little sounds. Tony can feel each one coiling low in his belly.

Fevered, silver-grey eyes watch, mesmerized, as Tony disappears into his body over and over. The slick sounds of their lovemaking mingle with the rolling thunder outside.

He slows again when he feels the burning reach a crescendo, wanting to draw the sensations out. He enjoys watching Stephen try to catch his breath while still speared on his cock. Small tremors move through his lover’s body, barely concealed power beneath the skin of this stunning being that Tony cannot quite believe is real. He nibbles lightly at the sorcerer’s neck, laps up the taste of salt he finds there, moves his hips just enough to keep Strange on edge and waiting.

He can feel Stephen’s contented hum under his lips and his breathing finally begin to even out again. His eyes flutter open and Tony can see everything in them, understands how vulnerable Stephen is letting himself be, wants to cradle that trust close to him and protect it with his life. He hopes his own convey how terribly in love he is, even if it’s too soon to say it aloud.

“Are you going to keep me here, then, like this?” God, Strange’s voice is a low purr and Tony shivers. “Take me to the edge over and over until I can think of nothing but how good it will feel when you come inside me?”

“Fuck, Stephen, I could. Could do this for hours if you asked me to. Would you even want that?” He’s certain he can’t deliver on that promise tonight, not when he’s waited so long and has Stephen’s eyes on him like that, but hell if he won’t try if that’s what Stephen wants from him.

The doctor moans and arches his back, both of them shouting when Tony is pulled a little bit deeper.

“Not tonight. I want you like this; above me, over me, and I want to feel you every time I so much as breathe tomorrow.”

“Oh my god, you can’t say stuff like that if you don’t want me to finish right this second,” Tony groans. He drives the point home with a particularly hard thrust and gets a hand around Stephen to stroke in time with the movements of his body.

Ah!” Stephen grips at his biceps with trembling hands and throws his head back, pleasure-laden voice murmuring a litany of filth.

“Fuck, Tony, need you to fill me. Want to fall asleep with you, want to wake up aching and sore and have you hold me down and slide right back into me. Please, Tony, you feel so good.”

For a moment, Tony swears he can see the universe in its entirety through the rain outside his sprawling window; watches in awe when complex, glowing runes scrawl across Stephen’s skin as he gives in and spills over the hand on his cock. There is a resonance in Stephen’s voice as he cries out and the engineer feels like his entire being is being ignited by the exquisite display of power.

The tightening of his body around Tony’s is too much, and he’s thrown over the edge with Stephen’s name on his lips. He comes hard enough that little spots of darkness dance in the corner of his vision before he frees Stephen’s long legs and collapses–exhausted and satiated–against his chest.

They’re both panting, wrung out and gasping. Tony watches the sorcerer come down from wherever he went, the heavy rise and fall of his chest soothing. Stephen is here and breathing and his to protect.

His to talk and argue and laugh with.

His to love…

“You’re making me blush, looking at me like that,” the sorcerer murmurs sleepily, blissful lassitude spreading through his limbs. He grins, wraps his legs around Tony, and pulls his softening cock in deeper. They both shudder from over-stimulation, and Tony has a wild moment where he thinks about asking Stephen to stick them in a time loop just so they can do this over and over and never be tired. He decides he resents the natural laws for being absolutely no fun.

“Welcome to my year long struggle, Doc. You’ve been eye-fucking me this whole time and you’re only making good on it now? I’ll look at you as mushily as I want,” Tony laughs.

“I never thought you would want this with me,” Stephen admits quietly, closes his eyes when Tony finally slips out of him and reminds himself that he is not twenty anymore. Countless possible futures, but so few where they managed to have enough time, however brief, before Thanos brought about their end. It hadn’t stopped him from wanting more and more with every version of Tony he met and lost. “And I’ve never been so glad to be wrong.”

“I think the academic world might need to re-think its definition of genius,” Tony quips. “Clearly it doesn’t matter how many doctorates we have, we’re still really fucking stupid.” Stephen’s laughter is infectious, and he presses his cheek against his chest to savor the sound of it.

Eventually, Stephen does portal them to Tony’s room. He doesn’t hesitate when Tony asks him to stay. Wong is watching the Sanctum tonight anyways, and they both know they won’t be able to do this as often as they would like. Stephen pulls him in close, rolls them onto their sides with Tony’s back to his front. He kisses Tony’s neck, soothes the beginnings of a bruise where he’d gotten over-zealous, and idly traces his fingers along the edges of the nano compartment.

They talk quietly until they can’t stay awake anymore, lulled by the rain and the warmth of their proximity.

In the early hours of the morning, Stephen will wake to a mouth on his cock and have Tony on all fours by the time the sun is fully up. They’ll linger as they dress, unable to keep their hands from seeking the other out. When Stephen can’t be away from the Sanctum any longer, Tony will suddenly cancel his plans and follow the sorcerer into a world of magic that he’ll inevitably want to understand better. It will be the beginning of a life together.

All of this across an infinite number of future mornings, now that time has been restored to them.

For now, though, they sleep.