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Got You Under My Skin

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Steve still wasn’t entirely sure why he’d come. He’d been invited by Tony in person, of course (in passing, when he’d invited the whole team to come “celebrate how his moderate brilliance and a fair share of ridiculous luck had kept him alive another year,” and then again, when Tony had said to him, personally, that he’d like him to come, when they’d been alone for a minute after a debrief), so he’d been surprised to receive an invitation, too—on nice letterhead, a hard copy.  In the mail. And all of that. And the man was a teammate. So, team bonding, maybe, or—Steve had no idea.  But the invitation had surprised him, and so here he was, at Tony Stark’s birthday party.


He wasn’t even sure how old Tony was going to be.


The liquor was free-flowing, of course, the whole do in some kind of fancy conference space at Stark Industries that Steve was pretty sure was meant to make you feel like you were walking on air (and it kind of worked, he’d spent a good few minutes just looking down after he’d first arrived, seeing the whole atrium of the building below him), and full of people, the kind of pretty, glamorous women and glitzy men that Steve had always figured Tony spent his time with.  It was all a little dizzying—he’d never been great at small talk anyway, at . . . mingling, and he felt like it had gotten even harder since he’d been unfrozen.  There was just nothing to talk about.  What would he have said?  Talked about his missions?  Whatever parts of them weren’t classified to hell and back?  That would sure go over well.  So he ended up lamely talking about the weather, or whatever his conversation partner brought up.  Which was usually awkward.  He tried as hard as he could to avoid the subject of politics.  There were other people Steve knew there, of course, but they were desperately outnumbered.  And he wasn’t sure what he’d have talked to them about, either.


He ended up standing by various windows and nursing drinks that had absolutely no capacity to get him drunk—he didn’t even like the taste of alcohol that much—and turning down various drunk, giggling women who asked him to dance, since that kind of bobbing up and down together wasn’t what he’d have called dancing.  He talked dutifully to anyone who came his way and made an effort not to glower too much (he wasn’t sure why, but he felt like he should at least act like he was having a decent time, even if he wasn’t really), but that was all. He’d worn his service uniform, and he kept finding himself tugging on it, not sure if he was overdressed or not. There didn’t seem to be a real consensus on the formality of the thing.


Tony himself was in rare form.  In and out, back and forth and all over, Steve thought he’d talked to every guest, just about, and whatever he said always seemed to make them smile or laugh.  However he did that.  Based on his own experience with the man, Steve figured broad smiles, constant chattering, and crude jokes, but that surely didn’t work on everyone.  But Tony had his own special brand of charisma, Steve could admit that.  The man also flirted with just about everyone.  Without much discrimination.  He was always, well, like that, but that night it was like he’d turned it up a notch, so that every time he smiled at you, it felt like he was making some kind of . . . proposition.  He looked sharp, at least, in a suit that fit him perfectly and was cut in some kind of new fashion, his hair artfully tousled and his eyes bright and laughing, and Steve thought he was probably only a little bit drunk.


He flirted with Steve, too.  He came over to check on him only minutes after he’d arrived—even after beaming at him at the door, smile bright and surprised—came over and smiled and thanked him like he really was honestly pleased he’d come, his hand a little too low on Steve’s arm, and his smile startlingly warm and personal, like, for whatever reason, he honestly meant it, and it really did mean something to him that Steve had shown up, his eyes so big and bright and vivid-soft that it was hard to believe that he was just blowing smoke. He dropped his voice low and husky and caressing, kept his eyes fixed on Steve, kept touching him, always an arm around his shoulder or a hand on his arm or even the small of his back, like Steve was his dame or something.  And he kept coming back, checking on him—pulling him away from the windows and introducing him to new people.  He actually did introduce Steve to a few interesting folks—a military engineer who kept Steve engaged in conversation for almost fifteen minutes before being pulled away by some supermodel, and an intimidatingly beautiful woman who talked with him about vinyl records and where you could buy them these days.  Steve figured Tony didn’t want anyone standing around holding up the walls, but it was more than a little surprising that he actually found anyone Steve wanted to talk to at all.


And whenever the conversation petered out, it seemed like Tony would show up again only a few minutes after Steve wandered back to stare out the windows, and put his hand on his arm again and gaze into Steve’s eyes and lean in too close so that his breath feathered over Steve’s ear and made him shiver, even as he pulled him along to see someone else, or try some of the food (which was good, Steve could admit that, a lot better than SHIELD rations or catering), or see some new toy of his, or pour him a new drink. And Tony just got more and more flirty as the night wore on—his hands lingering and sliding, not anywhere they shouldn’t, really, but much longer than they should have to be neighborly, complimenting Steve’s eyes of all things. He startled Steve into laughing, a few times, which surprised Steve, too, and made him re-evaluate the drink in his hand.  He did almost feel like he was drunk, warm and dizzy and a little loose, a strange buzz in his head, but he didn’t think it was from the alcohol.  It felt a little pathetic, a little . . . stupid, to admit it was from the crush of people, the party atmosphere, the attention, Tony’s warm smile and bright eyes and laughing mouth and the touch of his body against Steve’s, the whiffs he got of his cologne, so Steve told himself he hadn’t eaten enough and set about working his way through Tony’s catering.  He tried not to eat so much it would be rude, but it was awfully good food.  And he had been hungry. Tony kept pulling him away from the food, but at least he didn’t seem to mind the amount of it Steve realized he’d eaten, a little guiltily.  And he did offer him more, pushing new plates into his hands. “You’ll like this,” he said at one point, picking up some sort of, well, it was a pastry, or a tart, a thing, and shocked Steve by holding it to his lips.  “Try it.”


Steve just stared at him for a moment before realizing that Tony meant for him to take a bite while he was holding it there and not hand it to him.  He gave it, and Tony, a pointed look, but Tony just grinned and raised his eyebrows at him, and Steve felt heat rising in his cheeks.  Eventually he opened his mouth and took the bite, feeling his face heat even more as Tony’s fingertips brushed his lips, and Tony beamed.


“That wasn’t so hard, was it?” he asked, and popped the rest of it in his own mouth.


Steve swallowed, because Tony had—and his mouth, and. His lips were. Tony swallowed the food and glanced at Steve, tilting his head to one side, then reached out and brushed his thumb against Steve’s lips.  Steve almost bit off his tongue.  Tony’s thumb was callused, hard and scarred with work, despite his manicured nails.


“Crumbs,” Tony said, and Steve wasn’t quite sure he believed him for a second, even as Tony winked.  “Got to keep you looking spick and span and military for your adoring public, don’t we?” he asked, and Steve scowled.


“There’s the Cap I know and I love,” Tony said, eyes oddly warm and soft on Steve’s face for someone who was being scowled at like that, and then someone tugged him away again, and Steve was left with the pastry tart things.


They were good.  He ended up eating about five more before he really thought about what he was doing.  He made certain to wipe his mouth himself this time.


He tried not to ponder if Tony was really flirting with him.  Well, of course he was. He flirted with everyone, all the time.  But really flirting with him.  So of course the thought refused to be pushed out of his head. It wouldn’t leave him alone, no matter how hard he tried to squash it, run it out, and otherwise smash it into pieces.


Why did he even care if Tony was flirting with him?


Tony was one of his only friends.  Steve didn’t even know if he liked him, not really, but they’d become friends somehow. Almost despite Steve himself. Tony was just always there. Over the top and funny and flirty and sophisticated in that strangely casual I have too much money way and glamorous and ridiculously intelligent and arrogant and . . . just too much, all the time.


He had nice eyes, too.  And a nice . . . rear.


Hell. What was Steve doing thinking about that?


You can’t get arrested for it anymore, suggested a sly voice from the back of his head. Not like you could ever get arrested for thinking.


Steve told it to shut up.


So of course it came back later, as he was standing by the windows again.


Tony wouldn’t mind, it told him.  You’ve seen how he is, with both men and women. You know he takes them all to bed. Flirting didn’t mean anything, Steve told it.  You know he does more than flirt, it suggested.


He told it he knew no such thing, but the thought wouldn’t go away.  Why was Tony flirting with him, anyway, he wondered.  Like this, today, in particular, but really . . . at all, ever. Why did he flirt with Steve so much?  Was it just something he did with everyone?  Was it how he knew to be friendly?  Was he making fun of him, knowing, or thinking, that Steve would never act on it?


Steve didn’t like that idea, that Tony might be making fun of him.  Even though he made fun of Steve all the time, that would have felt more . . . mocking, more personal, than the other ways, the ways Tony made fun of everyone. He’d used to think Tony was making fun of him constantly, really making fun of him, and resented him for it, but he’d come to realize since then that Tony was just like that. He didn’t mean anything by it, and he didn’t mean it personally, it was just . . . in fun.  But flirting with Steve like . . . that, if it was a joke, it wouldn’t feel just like Tony’s typical friendly teasing, or even the typical flirting.  And Steve didn’t like the thought that the flirting might be just to mock him. That Tony just thought it was a laugh, to tease the boring old man.


He tossed back the rest of his drink, then frowned at the taste.  What was he even doing here, anyway, he wondered.  But then, it wasn’t like he had anywhere else to be. 


He sighed and leaned back against the glass behind him.


And it wasn’t . . . that bad.  He wasn’t in a hurry to rush off and never come back, or anything.  He sighed, swirled the dregs of the liquor in his glass, then set it down and crossed his arms.


Tony really liked Thor, anyway, he told himself, and tried not to acknowledge how bitter it sounded.  Thor was his favorite.


Hell, was he really going to be that petty?


He wasn’t, he told himself.  He was going to . . . think about something else.


Tony was back, inside of ten minutes. “Looking good, Captain,” he said, leaning in with one hand on Steve’s shoulder, far too close to his face. He had long, thick, curling eyelashes, Steve thought.  Pretty eyes. Like a woman’s, all doe-eyed and soft, when he wanted them to be, but also bright, quick with intelligence. Clever.  Like his mouth.  That was really inappropriate.  “You standing over here like a gorgeous military statue really does wonders for the place.  Very classy.  Maybe I should pay you to stand around and look wonderful at every party I throw.” That warm feeling was back, expanding, almost fluttering, in his stomach with Tony’s warm breath almost at his ear.


“I don’t think most of the parties you throw are my sort of scene,” Steve said.  He sounded a little stiff even to his own ears.


Tony laughed.  “And, oh, let’s be honest, most of them aren’t classy at all,” he said, smiling crookedly. “But it wouldn’t be terrible to get out more, would it?  Maybe we should have more parties.”


“The team?” Steve asked, a little uncertainly. He tried to imagine it.


Tony’s eyes crinkled up, but he looked down. “Yeah, I know,” he said, and it was a little too quick.  “It was just a thought.  It’s not really our thing.  We’re more . . . save the world, heroes for the ages, that kind of thing, aren’t we?”


“When we can even manage that,” Steve said. But it hadn’t been . . . a terrible thought, either.  He wasn’t sure how to say that.  So he didn’t.  “Um,” he blurted. “How old are you, anyway?”


“Thirty,” Tony said, promptly.


Steve blinked.  It was young.  Younger than he’d have thought.


Tony grinned.  “I know,” he said.  He picked up Steve’s glass and finished the rest of the booze, ran his lips along the edge.  Steve could see his tongue as he pressed it against the glass. “Milestones and all that. Any advice for me from the elder generation?”


“Don’t get frozen in an iceberg,” Steve said. He frowned.  “Also, you drink too much.”


Tony smiled.  “I do,” he said.  “I have a terrible alcohol imbalance to rectify.  Maybe I want to see the future, though, ever think of that?”


Steve considered.  “Well,” he said, “the thing about drinking too much stands.”


“Is that advice from my team leader?” Tony asked, eyes laughing.


“It’s advice from me,” Steve said.  It wasn’t just that he disapproved, though he did—Tony was still competent enough on the field.  But Tony seemed to rely on it, and that just didn’t seem right. He shouldn’t have to. But it was more than that—Steve didn’t want him to have to.  Whatever that meant.  “It’s not . . . it’s not good.”


Tony looked at the glass in his hand, and his eyes did something strange, his mouth quirked a little.  “Yeah,” he said.  “It probably isn’t.”


“We could do more,” Steve said.  “With the team.  I’ll think about it.”


Tony blinked.  “Huh,” he said.  “Well, I do declare, I never thought I’d see the day.”


“What?” Steve said, trying not to sound defensive. He thought he’d pretty much failed.


“Captain America taking my advice under consideration,” Tony said, and laughed, though it was warm, and a little odd-sounding, and he looked away, off to the side, as he did it.  “As heroic as you look standing over here ornamenting the windows, darling, I do want everyone to enjoy this party, and that means you, too.” He slid his arm more solidly around Steve’s shoulders, and Steve noticed he put the glass back down on the table as he leaned in even closer and led him away.  “And there’s someone else I wanted you to meet, over here.”


Steve thought about saying that Tony could stay and talk, but it was his party.  He knew he had people to talk to.  Friends.  Pretty women he would probably sleep with later.  Anyway.  The point was. Tony knew plenty of people. He wouldn’t want to waste time talking to Steve.


The person he wanted Steve to talk to was another beautiful woman (of course, Steve thought, Tony only seemed to know beautiful women) who was incredibly interested in military history.  Steve got into a detailed discussion of tactics in Africa during the Great War with her, and before he knew it it seemed like the party was starting to break up.  The woman left (her name was Susan), promising to email him a link to her blog.  Steve thought he could probably figure it out once he clicked on it.


Steve thought about leaving, too, but again, he didn’t have anyplace to rush off to.  Anywhere else to go.  Really. He figured he’d stay. Maybe talk to Tony a little bit. It was his thirtieth birthday, after all.  He wondered if he should have gotten him something.  But what did you buy a man like him, anyway?


It was probably still a little rude not to bring anything at all.  But then, most of the other guests hadn’t, either, so Steve supposed it was all right.


Maybe if he got him alone for a while, he could confront him.  About the flirting. And the touching. And the soft, heavy-lidded eyes. And the husky, tender voice . . . and all of it.  It was okay, to ask, right?  Now. So.  He would ask.


“Cap!” Tony said, smiling at him again, that bright, brilliant, almost startlingly compelling smile, and Steve almost wanted to say that he could call him Steve, before he swallowed it, Tony was going on, anyway, turning toward the woman on his arm, “before you go, this is one of the main administrators for Stark Industries.  She’s the real power around here.  Steve, Ms. Arbogast, operations management, otherwise known as central missions control, or the gravitational center of my life. Bambi, this is Captain Steve Rogers, living legend.”


Ms. . . . Bambi? . . . Arbogast was a heavyset older woman who looked like she meant business, and who, shocking Steve, wasn’t particularly attractive.  He thought she probably knew exactly what she was doing and liked her immediately.  “Ma’am,” he said, and shook her hand.


“Aren’t you quite the sight,” she said, smiling, “uniform and everything.  If Tony here gives you too much trouble don’t hesitate to drop by my desk. I don’t pretend to keep him in line, I just make his life miserable if he doesn’t turn in his paperwork, but we’ll see what we can do.”


Steve couldn’t help but smile.  “I think I can handle Iron Man, ma’am,” he said. Tony waggled his eyebrows at him and Steve gave him a look, which made Tony snicker like he was trying not to really laugh.


“No one handles me,” Tony said.  “They enjoy my presence.  Isn’t that right, Bambi?”


“Some times more than others,” she said, and Steve smiled a little more, because wasn’t that the truth.


“Well, it was good to meet you, Captain Rogers,” she said.  “I was just on my way out.  By Monday, Tony.”


“Yes, yes, I hear and obey,” Tony said. “Jarvis!” he said, waving at the man near the door, who Steve was close to one hundred percent sure was not named that.  “You’re driving Bambi home, right?”


“Yes, Mr. Stark,” the man said, taking Ms. Arbogast’s arm.


“Captain Rogers,” she said.  “Don't let him take any liberties now.”


“I am aghast that you would insinuate such a thing,” Tony said, laughing.  “And especially that he wouldn’t enjoy any efforts I made in the taking liberties vein, as you put it.”


Steve felt himself turning red and bit down on his tongue.  Mrs. Arbogast and Not-Jarvis the butler were already headed for the door. Steve told himself firmly not to blush, willing the heat to go down, that it was just more of Tony’s flirting, it didn’t mean anything, but he was going to—ask him if it did, wasn’t he, and why would she have said that unless Tony might actually—unless it was just a joke but—he took a deep breath.


“Of course,” Tony said, “I would only take any such liberties if you were amenable to them.”  He looked at Steve a moment, then said, a little more softly. “Are you all right, Cap? You look a little . . . red.”


Steve, Steve thought, and then, aw, hell. It really was a trial to have such fair, easily flushed skin.  It’d been causing him trouble his whole damn life.


“Fine,” he gritted out.  “I’m just fine.”


“Are you on your way out?” Tony asked, apparently deciding not to pursue how obviously not fine Steve was.  Steve was grateful for that much, at least.


“I wasn’t thinking I’d leave just yet,” Steve said. He took a deep breath, blew it out.  There. He felt calmer.


“Oh,” Tony said, and smiled.  “Really?”


“No,” Steve said, grumpy and sarcastic. “I’m pulling your leg.”


Tony just laughed.  “I just wanted to say again,” he said, looking back over his shoulder to Steve as he crossed the room, starting stacking wrapping paper from what few presents he’d gotten and tying them in neat bundles with ribbon, “that I really am glad you came.”


“Really?” Steve asked, and shook his head at himself, repeating the same thing he’d just been smart-assed with Tony for saying. “I stood by the wall and frowned at people.  Can’t have been the most interesting guest.”


“You were fine,” Tony said, smiling back at him. “I hope you had a good time. Or that it wasn’t too unbearable, I guess.”


Steve surprised himself when he said, “No, I did. Have a good time.” He considered. Had he?  He still felt warm, and a little . . . not quite giddy, but maybe a little.  Like there were champagne bubbles still caught in his throat, or something. Warm, without the drunkenness part of it.  He thought he might have actually had fun.  Not that he had much intention of telling Tony that.  “Or at least, more than I expected to.”


“Well,” Tony laughed, “that’s all I can ask, isn’t it?”


“You don’t seem to care much about what you can ask, anyway,” Steve observed. “You just ask it.”


“Ask and you shall receive, they say,” Tony said lightly.  “The worst that can happen is that someone turns you down.  And usually I just go and do whatever it was anyway.”


“And you might get lucky?” Steve asked in his driest tone.


“Ha,” Tony said, and stacked the packets of wrapping paper on the table, turning around to face Steve.  “Something like that.  But not exactly like that.  If someone turns you down that way, it’s because you didn’t measure up. Best you can do then is shrug it off and move on.”  He shrugged, slid his hands into his pockets.  “Besides, I’m not exactly failing to meet quota in that department.” He tilted his head a little, again, looking at Steve.  “What’s up, Cap?” he asked.


There was clearly never going to be a better time for it, but now that it came down to the wire, Steve found it difficult to get the words out.  He swallowed.


Come on, Rogers, he told himself.  Don’t be a pansy.  Man up, soldier.  He took a breath.  Most everyone was gone now.  The room was deserted, except for them.  He really had no excuse to weasel out of it now.


“I’d be happy to show you a good time,” Tony said, smiling a little obscurely, Steve thought, as if to himself, but still with that warm, knowing look, affectionate and oddly fond, “any time you want.”


 Well. Steve thought. That was an opening, if he’d ever seen one. Even if Tony didn’t meant it that way. He wasn’t sure how he meant it. “You serious about that?” he forced out of a dry throat.


Tony blinked, straightened up a little, took a step forward, his eyes intent on Steve now, and his hands out of his pockets. “I could be,” he said.


“Could be?” Steve demanded.  “What kind of wishy-washy answer is that? C’mon, Stark, you planning to back that up at all or aren’t you?”


“That would depend,” Tony said, and he stopped just in front of Steve, close enough that Steve, almost instinctively, took a step back that put him against the wall.  Tony braced an arm on the wall and looked evenly into Steve’s face.


“On what?” Steve asked, crossing his arms.


“On what you wanted,” Tony said.  He reached up, touched his fingers, very gently, barely a touch at all, to Steve’s jaw.  “What you asked me for.”  He shifted his eyes down, dropping his hand to Steve’s arm, skimming it over the length of it until Steve automatically loosened his posture, let his arms fall to his sides, and Tony stepped in a little closer.  His body felt very, very warm against Steve’s now, even through their clothes.


“And if I asked?” Steve managed, and Tony brushed his fingers against Steve’s chin, back along his jaw again, smiled a little, still looking down.


“Then I would back it up,” he said, leaning in so his breath feathered hot over Steve’s throat, along his cheek, before he pulled back. “But you’re going to have to ask, darling,” he said, a slight smile curving his lips for the first time since he’d started toward Steve.


Steve swallowed.  Tony would, he found himself thinking.  He would make this difficult.  Of course he would.  “You’ve been flirting with me all night,” he started. “In my day, we called a man like that a tease.”


Tony’s eyes widened, and then he laughed. “Is that so?” he asked. “Are you sure that wasn’t a woman? And a cock-tease?”


“That’s crude, Stark,” Steve said.  “Does it make much difference?”


“Maybe not,” Tony murmured, his eyes still focused on Steve, sharp with interest.  “Does it?”


“Do you have the balls to follow through and kiss me?” Steve asked, losing patience. “I guess we’ll find out then.”


Tony shrugged.  “Not unless I’m convinced you really want me to,” he said, lashes hooding his eyes slightly, though they were still bright, aware and with that softness to them.  “We’ll just find you a nice lady, if you want.  How about that?”  He stepped forward, dropped one arm around Steve’s shoulders again, that smile back on his lips, though it looked a little strange, a little crooked.  “There were so many amazing women here, Steve,” he said.  “Okay, so most of them already left, we should really have tried to set you up earlier, but I’ve got phone numbers.  It wouldn’t be hard.  A lot of people love their country, wouldn’t mind licking a flagpole or two, and—or we could look for a guy, you’re pretty much a leatherman’s wet dream with an added side of red, white and blue—”  He gave Steve a long, sideways up and down look that made him feel hot, was already scrolling through his phone, digging it out of his pocket.


“Jesus,” Steve said, jerked away and put his hand over Tony’s on the phone, stilling it, and then mentally apologized to the man upstairs.  “Tony,” he said. “I’m talking to you.”


“Well, yes,” Tony said.  “But I’m very available to you.  And safe.  And you shouldn’t have to settle for safe, if you want to hook up, I mean, I’d be more than happy to, but—”


“Really?” Steve asked, feeling like a drowning man seizing on an offered rope as he fell on that piece of information. “You would?  Be happy to?”


Tony’s hand stilled, and then he slowly swiped his thumb over his phone, turning it off and stowing it in his pocket again. “Yes,” he said, and took a slow, deep breath.  “I would be.”


“Would you?” Steve demanded.  He swallowed, took another deep breath and felt heat surge up into his face, and the instinctive jitters that went along with talking about this, even now, despite himself.  “Goddamn it, Tony, are you a fairy or aren’t you? Am I making a fool of myself here, or not?  Put a fella out of his misery already.”


Tony made a face, took a step back, and Steve was immediately, frustratingly aware that he’d once again said the wrong thing.  “I didn’t mean it like,” he said, and swallowed.  “Not like that, it’s just—”


Tony just looked at him a moment, then took a step forward, took the collar of Steve’s jacket in his fingers, rubbing them along it, then took a firmer grip and leaned in a little, eyes searching Steve’s as he did, like he half expected him to jerk away, or sock him in the mouth, and Steve felt a sickening lurch in his stomach, because was that what Tony was thinking this was about, then?  Calling him out so Steve could punish him for going with other men? Because that was—that wasn’t how things were at all, and he guessed it might have sounded like . . . in his day, a big guy like Steve, towering over a man and shouting about him being a—about liking men—would have been a precursor to handing that guy a knuckle sandwich, and that if the guy was lucky.


“We call what I am bisexual now, darling,” Tony said, breath warm on Steve’s skin again, and then brushed a very soft kiss along his jawline that had Steve’s breath freezing in his throat, a hot tingle washing all the way through him.


“Oh,” Steve managed.  His hands came up, and he wanted to settle them at Tony’s waist, but he wasn’t certain what to do with them.


“Swings both ways,” Tony explained. “Bi.”  He put one hand back on the wall behind Steve’s head, tilted his eyes up to look at him.  “Is that what you are?” he murmured.


His eyes seemed to hold Steve pinned in place, and for a moment he couldn’t breathe with the intensity of that look. “I guess,” he said. He swallowed again, but, well, it was true.  He wasn’t going to be a coward about it now.  “If that’s what you call it—yeah, I am.”


Tony smiled a little.  “Well, that’s good to know,” he said breathily, moving in again so that Steve could feel the brush of his facial hair against his cheek even before Tony brushed soft, warm lips along his cheekbone.  Tony curled his hand around the back of Steve’s neck, those warm, strong, callused fingers, and stroked lightly, and Steve choked on a gasp even as his hand settled there.  “I never thought I even had a chance with you,” Tony said, still looking up at him, just a little bit sideways, now, and from very close, eyes half-hidden at the angle, “or I’d have tried the direct approach a long time ago.”


“I guess that was what all the flirting was about,” Steve muttered, and Tony smiled.


“The flirting was more because I couldn’t help myself,” Tony said.  “And you didn’t seem to mind too much—more than you minded me in general, anyway—so I figured, well, why the hell not?”


Steve frowned, and Tony sighed a little, turned his face into Steve’s neck so that his breath was caught, warm against his skin, when he exhaled.  “Tell me what you want, Steve, darling,” he said.  “Tell me you want this.  Please.” His other hand slid down over Steve’s chest, stroked over his side, against his uniform jacket. “And I’ll give it to you. Whatever you want. But you need to tell me. I’m not going to do anything you don’t want.”


Steve swallowed, but Tony had said it again and again, made it perfectly clear, that nothing was going anywhere if he didn’t say things.  Out loud. And clearly.  “I want you,” he said, “to take me to bed with you.” He abruptly felt dizzy, more dizzy than he felt doing one-handed handstands.  He managed to put his hands down, one at Tony’s back, the other at his waist.  Tony felt sturdy, muscular, and very warm beneath them.


Tony huffed out a breath of what sounded like relief against his neck, and raised his head, smiling at Steve again. “That,” he said, “was precisely what I’d hoped you’d say.”  He smiled a little bit more.  “Though we could have started with a kiss,” he said, raising his eyebrows as he let that hand on Steve’s neck come back to cup the side of it, opening a few of the buttons of Steve’s uniform jacket with the other hand to slip it under Steve’s uniform jacket and rub his thumb against the shirt underneath.  Steve could feel that touch through the fabric, against his skin, very warm, and felt that tingling heat sweep through him again.


“I thought that was implied,” he said, because why the hell wouldn’t it be?


Tony chuckled.  “Oh,” he said.  “It’s a package deal, I see.  Well, I wouldn’t want to short you, now would I?”  He tilted his hand up, settled it against Steve’s jaw, tilting it down slightly, and moved in again to brush a soft, very light (far too light) kiss along Steve’s lips.  Steve felt a wash of disappointment, because that was it?—and frowned, settling his hands on either side of Tony’s waist and pulling him in, but Tony was already parting his lips, coming back in for another pass, this time sweeping his tongue gently over Steve’s bottom lip, wet and hot and a slick, quick slide.


That was better.


Steve slid his arms around Tony’s waist, both of them, taking pleasure in the slim firmness of him under his touch, the slender shape of Tony’s hips, and brought him in close against him, settling into the kiss as Tony licked in between Steve’s lips and he opened his mouth, leaned into it.  Tony slid one leg between both of Steve’s and flattened his hand against his shirt, above the waist of his trousers, the thumb of the other hand, the one at Steve’s neck, brushing along his jaw.  Steve kept his eyes open, wanting to see, flashes of Tony’s olive skin, the dark length of his eyelashes, the tousled tumble of his hair.  Tony’s eyes were heavy-lidded, half-closed.  The shape of him was very male against Steve, hard, hot body and strong thigh between his legs, narrow waist and hips and broader shoulders and the way his facial hair felt against Steve’s skin, and Steve liked that.  Liked the way he kissed, too, now that he’d gotten around to actually doing it, all hot, clever tongue and all-encompassing focus, soft and dirty-sweet at the same time. Tony’s fingers brushed along his jaw, fell back to his collar and dipped inside to rub gently at Steve’s neck, along the fabric.  Steve sighed, happily.  That was nice. He hadn’t been kissed in a long time, and never this expertly, and not by a man, and—he leaned in a little more, trying to participate, though it was hard to add anything to the way Tony kissed. But Steve wanted it, didn’t want it to stop, and he figured he should make that perfectly clear.


They kissed for a long time, only coming up for air for brief moments before going back to it.  Steve’s hands ended up in Tony’s hair, somehow, sinking into that soft dark tangle, which wasn’t so artfully mussed anymore as an actual curling jumble between Steve’s fingers, Tony’s thigh starting to edge up every now and again to rub teasingly up against Steve’s hard-on, making him gasp desperately into the kiss, breath hot between their mouths, the kisses still soft and wet.  Steve had a few brief, desperate snatches of thought that he could probably come just like this, and it would be humiliating, and he really, really didn’t want it to be like that, not in front of Tony Stark of all people, but the kisses were so hard to pull away from, and distracting, that he kept losing the train of thought, Tony’s soft, searching lips kissing it right out of his head. He ended up with his arms around Tony’s shoulders, feeling flushed all over and very warm, not quite panting (not yet), when they finally pulled away from each other.  His lips felt puffy and hot and wet and entirely kiss-swollen, and he touched them half-wonderingly with his tongue. It had been a long time. Tony was panting, he noticed with a touch of pride, long, heavy breaths, and his eyes looked a little glazed.  Steve moved his hand down, brushed at Tony’s cheek a little with a thumb, followed the line of his beard downward.  His lips were flushed and wet and swollen, too. Tony blinked, eyelashes flickering.


Big blue eyes, Steve thought with some fondness.


“Well, then,” Tony said.  “That was . . . that was something else.” He gripped Steve’s collar again, curling his thumb down around it.  “I don’t suppose you’d care to take this somewhere more private, darling?”


Steve looked around them, noticing that while they were kissing, the lights had come down so that the windows around them were opaque.  That was . . . that was handy.  That had been thinking, on Tony’s part, he didn’t doubt, though when he’d managed it, Steve had no idea. He was suddenly very glad they’d waited until everyone else had cleared out of the room, and that no one had forgotten their cellular phone or scarf or remembered something they felt like they urgently had to tell Tony, or anything like that.  He didn’t like the thought of having to explain this.


“Yes,” Steve said.  “That—that would be good.”


“After all,” Tony said, pulling away just a bit and giving Steve a look from under his eyelashes as he straightened his jacket and his tie, “hard to take you to bed without a bed in sight, isn’t it?”


Steve had to admit that was true.  He found himself swallowing again.  Tony’s eyes moved downward, seemed to linger on the bulge tenting Steve’s uniform trousers, at his groin.  Steve felt his lips part in response, pressed the heel of his hand down against his erection, and Tony wet his lips, his eyes darkening.


“Right,” he said.  “Bedroom it is, my dear.”  He held out one hand with a flourish.  Steve surprised himself when he actually took it. It seemed almost childish, but then Tony’s hard, work-scarred palm squeezed his, pulling him forward, away from the wall, and Steve didn’t care anymore.  Tony brought it up to his lips, and kissed it, gallant as a knight in the pictures, and Steve chuckled out loud, despite himself. Tony winked and dropped his hand with another squeeze.  “Elevators,” he said, with a gesture to the other side of the room, “are that way. I’ll lead the way, the floor plan’s a bit confusing, even when you’ve been around the place.” He raised his eyebrows. “Can you walk okay with—”


“I’ll manage,” Steve said shortly.  “Start walking.”


“I’m just saying, it’s very noticeable, must be hard to—” Tony started again.


“Start walking, Iron Man,” Steve said.


Tony laughed and started off, pivoting on the heel of one foot.


He gave Steve a sort of rambling tour of the building as they walked, not similar at all to the one he’d given him ages ago when he’d first shown them all around—this one mostly seemed to be any interesting detail that popped into his head.  But, well, it was interesting enough, and Steve was happy to listen to anything to distract him from the desire racing through him, making his heart pound, the anxiety that still hadn’t quieted.  He didn’t want to think about it too much, or what he was about to do, and Tony’s quick, rambling words were just the ticket.  He thought Tony might be a little nervous, too. That was oddly reassuring, in itself.


They settled into the elevator, and it closed behind them.  They just stood there for a minute, and then Steve moved, settled one hand onto the glass wall behind Tony.  Tony looked up at him and smiled, raised his hands to skim them up Steve’s chest, curl them loosely around his neck.  “Hello there, soldier,” he said.  He was breathing a little fast, a little hard.


“Hello,” Steve said.  He felt a bit awkward, and tried to conceal it by curving his arm in to brace his forearm against the glass, reach down to brush his thumb against Tony’s jaw again, over his cheek.  “Is this the pace you usually take things?”


Tony raised his eyebrows.  “That depends,” he said.  “What about you?”


“Usually I at least bother with flowers first,” Steve said.  “But you seem like more of a champagne kind of man, and we already talked about the drinking.”


“Or a bottle of scotch,” Tony said cheerfully, apparently not bothered that no such thing would be forthcoming.  Well, Steve reflected, why should he be, he was rich as Croesus anyhow; he could buy whatever scotch he wanted.


Steve moved his fingers down, tucked them under Tony’s chin, tilted his head up so he could lean down and kiss him. Tony’s mouth softened under it, falling open for Steve’s tongue.  Steve pressed his advantage, kissing him more firmly, hot and insistent, and Tony responded with enthusiasm, pushing back against him as Steve deepened the kiss.  Tony’s body was entirely enclosed by Steve’s like this, warmly pressed against him, his head tilted back against the glass and Steve heavy over and around him, and with his arms draped around Steve’s neck, their bodies were lined up, tight together. Steve could feel his erection against Tony’s where their hips pressed together, the heat and want coiled in the other man’s body, but the kiss remained slow, passionate but thorough. He let his fingers shift to cupping the side of Tony’s jaw, his thumb settle at the base of Tony’s throat, in the hollow there.  His pulse was pounding, jumping, beneath Steve’s touch, but he didn’t so much as twitch at the intimate touch.  He tasted like champagne and frosting and something electric and metallic, with a searing tang to it.  Birthday boy, Steve thought with some amusement.  Tony slid one leg forward, upward, linked his ankle over Steve’s, pressed up and in against him.


The elevator dinged.


“Dang, that thing is fast,” Steve gasped, pulling away.


“Well, usually,” Tony drawled, rubbing at his bottom lip with one thumb as he straightened up, “I don’t like waiting for things. Of course, that all changes when the waiting is so . . . very pleasant.”  He was gasping, panting, a little again, Steve noticed with some satisfaction.  Steve straightened his tie, pulled his uniform jacket back down at his waist, straightening it.


“I suppose we can pick it back up easy enough,” he said.  “After you, Mr. Stark.” He offered Tony his hand.


To his pleasure, Tony took it, smiling at him, then squeezed his arm, letting Steve hand him through the door before he followed him into Tony’s penthouse.


Once they were there, though, the nerves started settling in again with a vengeance, twisting in the pit of his stomach, crawling up into the back of his neck.  He couldn’t quite believe he’d asked Tony (Tony of all people, he’s your teammate, Rogers—so was Janet, he told that part of himself, and swallowed, hard, against it) to bring him up here and . . . and bed him.


He also didn’t think he regretted it. At all.  It was just . . . he was stupidly, horribly nervous, all of a sudden, even more than he had been downstairs, and his palms were sweating, and he had to keep telling himself that he wasn’t breaking any laws. Which was stupid; he knew better than that, but there it was.  Somehow being in Tony’s actual living space, and then his bedroom, was different than it had been in the elevator, or downstairs.


He took a deep breath and set his jaw, squared his shoulders.  He was going to do this.  There were no two ways about it.  Even if he had been having second thoughts, there was no way he was going to turn tail and run now, like a coward who couldn’t and wouldn’t back up what he’d already said, wouldn’t finish what he’d set out to do.


But he wasn’t having second thoughts. He wanted Tony just as badly as he had before, still, couldn’t hardly tear his eyes away, like now that he had permission to look and touch he couldn’t stop, couldn’t stop wanting to. Tony’s dark hair where it curled just a little over his collar, the line of his back, the curve of his rear end and how closely the seat of his slacks hugged it, the easy way he moved, the sound of his voice, rough and husky now, but low in that charming, polished drawl, the way he gestured for Steve to follow him, until they were standing in Tony’s actual bedroom, and Tony turned to look back at him, already shrugging out of his jacket and loosening his tie.  “Can I get you anything before we get started?” he asked. “I’m happy to take requests.”


Steve swallowed again, tried to settle himself, push the nerves down and away.  He shook his head.


“Glass of water?” Tony asked.  His eyes were bright, intense, fixed on Steve with a sort of warm intent that made Steve shiver.  Tony took off his cufflinks and set them on the table, following them with the tie.


“No,” Steve said.  “Thanks.  I’m good. Let’s just . . . get to it.” He reached up for his own tie.


“No, no, darling,” Tony said, and his hands were pulling Steve’s tie out of his hands, loosening it, a moment later. He was standing very close to him again, his body warm against Steve’s and the top buttons of his shirt undone, so that Steve could see the skin of his throat, down to his collarbones. “Let me,” Tony said, eyes flicking up to Steve’s for a moment.  “Please.”


Steve bit his lip, but let his hands fall, settling them on Tony’s waist again, just to have something to do with them. This time, with Tony in his shirtsleeves, he could feel the warmth of his skin even more clearly, the rhythm of his breathing.  “All right,” he said.  “Yeah.” He had to swallow again when Tony’s fingers brushed at his throat, pulling his tie away, set about undoing his buttons.


“You do look fantastic in this uniform, of course,” Tony said, smiling up at him before dropping his eyes to his hands again as they undid buttons down Steve’s chest, “but I’ve had plenty of time to appreciate it tonight.  And I want to feel you.”


Steve swallowed hard, at how Tony just . . . said things, like that.  He couldn’t imagine saying something like that, out loud.  It wasn’t that he didn’t, want to, he’d hardly be there right then if that were true, but Tony didn’t seem to have that filter, or sense of embarrassment, or any of it. Steve had often found himself very disapproving of that, but right now . . . he just wondered what that would be like.


Tony’s words were making him feel warm, and a little dizzy, and desirable, and normally he wouldn’t have wanted to, but just then he would have liked to have been able to think of something nice to say, for Tony, that would make him feel the same way.  Steve didn’t know what to do with that desire, but there it was.


Tony reached his belt, unfastened it, then finished with his uniform jacket, leaning forward and pushing it back off Steve’s shoulders. Steve moved his arms back to let him get it off—Tony’s breath was so warm as he leaned in and it brushed over Steve’s cheek again, his jaw.  “And you feel wonderful,” he murmured, set the jacket on the table, too, then reached up, started on Steve’s shirt buttons, smiling up at him.


Steve felt himself blush.  “So do you,” he said, all at once, and then stood there, surprised at himself and a little wrong-footed, throat thick with awkwardness.


Tony just smiled, though, with that little widening of his eyes that made him look both surprised and pleased.  “Do I?” he purred.  “Good.”


Steve lifted his hands, started to work on his own buttons, just to cover that he didn’t know what to do with himself now, but Tony reached up, covered his hands with his and pushed them aside, gently. “You can do mine,” he murmured in that low, throaty voice, pulling Steve’s hands toward him, and Steve swallowed again, but let Tony settle them onto his sides, then curled his fingers into the fabric and pulled Tony’s shirt up, out of his trousers, before dropping them to get his belt.  Tony’s belt buckle felt very heavy in his fingers.  He rubbed his thumb over it a little before he slid it free, and Tony let a little gasp of air escape him, rocked up just very slightly into the touch, even as he continued unbuttoning Steve’s shirt. His fingers worked quickly at their task, even if he did stop to slide his hands down over Steve’s chest through his shirt, making him shiver at their warmth.  It was hard to focus on anything but Tony’s touches, but Steve wanted to see Tony out of his shirt, too.


“How many layers are you wearing,” Tony murmured after a while, helping Steve shrug out of his shirt so he was just left in his undershirt and uniform pants.  And his boots, which felt a little odd.  Steve shrugged.  Tony wasn’t wearing an undershirt, though, that was perfectly clear. His skin was warm, plush and almost soft beneath Steve’s fingertips, not like the skin at his hands with its hard calluses.  Tony let Steve take his time, run his palms down over his chest after he pushed the shirt back off his shoulders, let it slither back and off over his arms before he caught it in one hand and tossed it onto the table, too.  Steve smiled a little, at that.  It wasn’t a bad move.


“I didn’t exactly realize there’d be a need to undress,” he said, and Tony chuckled.


“At one of my parties?” he said.  “I must be slipping.”  He winked at Steve, as if to show him he was joking, then slid down his fly and stepped out of his own pants, entirely unselfconscious, like he stripped down in front of Steve every day of his life.  Steve had to swallow.  Tony’s skin was smooth and golden, and he was hardly wearing underwear, a little red scrap of a thing that barely clung to the rounded curves of his behind and did absolutely nothing to conceal the shape of his hard cock. Steve swallowed, blinked, Tony smiled at him, that knowing curve to his lips, and skimmed his palm down over his own hip, tugging the band of that underwear down beneath his hipbone, with his thumb, stretching the silky red fabric even further.  “Like it, big guy?” he murmured.


“That’s,” Steve said, and swallowed, again, then determined not to seem old-fashioned—he was just . . . surprised—said, “It’s very flattering.” Which was true. It was very, very true.


The wide genuineness of Tony’s smile surprised him. He actually did look flattered. Steve felt a little warm, that he’d pleased him so much, with just that.  “Well,” Tony said, with a laugh, “I do try to accentuate my best features.”


“Now you’re just being crude,” Steve told him. “You’re a real good-looking guy. They’re all your best features.”


Tony smiled a little more.  “Or maybe I’m just fishing for compliments,” he said, “you think of that?”


“Don’t mind handing out a few,” Steve said, honestly, “if it’s the truth.”  He pulled off his dogtags and set them on the table.


“Hmm,” Tony said, but his smile widened a little more. He surprised Steve by kneeling in front of him (which made the muscles in his lean back work distractingly, dark head brushing very close to the crotch of Steve’s trousers) and reaching for his boot.


“Er,” Steve said hastily, “you don’t have to . . . .”


“Let me,” Tony just said, curling his hands around Steve’s calf so that he could feel the warmth of them even through the leather of the boot.


Steve swallowed.  “All right,” he said, a little roughly, he thought. Tony grinned up at him and started unfastening his laces.  Steve always knotted them, tied them tightly, but Tony seemed to have no trouble undoing them at all, got them loose almost ridiculously fast and moved onto the other foot.  It was . . . something, to see mouthy, arrogant Tony Stark kneeling in front of him like that, almost completely nude, like it was nothing to him.


Maybe it wasn’t, Steve thought.  He was so incredibly self-assured about things . . . like this.  He let Tony tug one boot off, then the other, until he was standing in his stocking feet.


“You have enviable balance,” Tony said, straightening up, gracefully enough himself, in Steve’s opinion, the line of his body as sinuous as a cat’s.


Steve shrugged.  “Part of the deal,” he said.  It wasn’t like he’d been born that way.  He bent down, pulled off his socks, stuck them down in his boots and lined them up by the bed, then took a breath and stripped out of his trousers, too, feeling his cheeks heat as he did, even though he wasn’t even looking at Tony.  He knew he was there, and that was what did it.  And then he was standing there in his undershirt and briefs, and he could feel his cheeks just burning.  He curled his fingers in the fabric of his undershirt, bunching it up, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to pull it off over his head. He swallowed.  This felt so strange.  His stomach fluttered stupidly.  Hell, what was he doing?  He was stripping down in front of Tony, he was planning to sleep with him in that bed, right there, and—was this a good idea?  Wouldn’t it impact the team?


If it has any impact on your relationship with Iron Man, it can only be positive, that voice in the back of his head informed him.


It was probably right, but he didn’t appreciate the sarcasm.


It was just that—it was so different from stripping down in the lockers.  He’d never really been one to take off his clothes slow, with the intent to tease.


“I think you’re over-thinking it a little, darling,” came Tony’s voice, intruding into his thoughts, and Steve’s head jerked up. He swallowed.  Tony took a step forward, moved one hand up, slowly, as if giving Steve plenty of time to back away, before he laid it on Steve’s side. It seemed to tingle and burn against his bare skin, and Steve felt a little dizzy.  Tony smiled at him.  “Let me?” he murmured, skimming his fingers up over Steve’s skin, toward the hem of the shirt in his hands.  He stepped forward, until his body was brushing right up against Steve’s hard cock, and he swallowed, tilted his head back, at the way that felt against the sensitive skin, even through the fabric, the slight pressure and scratch, the wash of pleasure.  His jaw tightened.  “It’s not supposed to be torture, my dear,” Tony said on a slight laugh, pressing in closer to him.  “Here.” He tugged the undershirt up, and Steve raised his arms obediently, then brought them down through the armholes to get it off, ducking his head.


This time it was Tony’s fingers under his chin. He didn’t tilt Steve’s head up, just skimmed them along his jawline, then leaned in, tilted his own head down to touch their lips together.


Steve sucked in his breath, squeezed his eyes shut, and concentrated on the feeling of Tony’s lips on his, then opened his eyes again and leaned in, fastening their mouths together with vigor, with determination. Tony made a startled noise that turned appreciative, his hand going to the back of Steve’s neck and curving around it, holding on.  Steve dropped his hand down along Tony’s hip to slide his fingers under the band of that ridiculous underwear, curling his fingers around it.  Tony’s lips parted.  “Mmm,” he said against Steve’s lips.  The kiss went hotter, deeper, just for a moment.  Tony pressed forward against him.  Steve pulled a little more on that underwear, making Tony twist and roll his hips up against him, then dropped his other hand to settle it on Tony’s backside, feeling the round curve of the muscle, the line of the thin silky underwear against warm, firm flesh under his palm. He pulled him closer. Tony gasped, arched up against him, tilted his head back.  Steve felt a heady thrill work its way through him, heat uncoiling in his belly. He skimmed his hand up along Tony’s rear, into and along the dip of his spine, feeling the solid heat of his muscles working under his hand, the compact leanness of his body. Their cocks felt very hot and hard against each other, even with the flimsy shield of their underwear still in the way.  Steve knew he could lift Tony with just the one arm, but he wasn’t sure how that would go over. He just squeezed him closer, instead, careful to keep his strength firmly under control.


Tony moved, dropping Steve’s undershirt onto the table, then moving his other hand up, pressing it against the side of Steve’s jaw and arching up further into the kiss.  Steve felt the heat wash up into his head.  Tony stepped forward into him, hands moving soft at Steve’s nape and jaw, barely nudging him back, but Steve let him. He figured one way or the other, they were ending up on the bed.  He let Tony push him down onto it, but didn’t let go, pulled him down over him as he went, and Tony let him, braced himself with his knees on the bed, leaning down on one elbow as he pulled away from the kiss and smiled down at him, other arm out, palm flat against the bed on Steve’s other side.  He brushed the backs of his fingers against Steve’s face.  “So,” he said. “Here we are.  How do you want me?”


Steve sucked in his breath, choked on it in his throat. Somehow, he thought, he hadn’t realized that he was going to have to say it.  Out loud.  Again. But of course he would, it wasn’t as if Tony would just . . . know, and there were.  They had . . . options.


“Steve?” Tony said, after a moment, tracing his fingers down over Steve’s throat, then his brows creased, and he frowned a bit. “Darling, are you all right?”


Steve scowled.  “I told you already,” he said, and it was true. He had.  He’d already said what he wanted, what he really wanted.  It didn’t seem fair that he’d have to say it twice.  But he supposed it hadn’t been clear. 


“Well, yes, you said you wanted me to take you to bed,” Tony said, smiling a little, “but I was thinking  a little more in terms of the specifics . . . .”


“No,” Steve muttered.  He took a deep breath.  “I said I wanted you to bed me.”  Well, maybe he hadn’t said it exactly like that, but that . . . wasn’t the point.


Tony’s mouth tilted sideways slightly, a considering not-quite a frown.  Steve didn’t know if he was going to take issue with his wording not being accurate, or if maybe still he didn’t understand what he meant.  “You mean, top?” Tony said after a moment, slowly and a bit hesitantly.


“I mean fuck me,” Steve growled.


Tony ducked his head, huffed out a breath of laughter. When he lifted his head, he was smiling ruefully, but his eyes were bright, and still affectionate. “That’s certainly one way to ask,” he said, then touched his fingertips to Steve’s lips when he blushed and would have tried to speak, feeling the slow crawl of humiliation up along his neck, into his face.  “No, you’re perfectly lovely,” Tony continued, smiling more widely now. “I’d be happy to.” He dipped down and pressed his lips to Steve’s gently, the kiss warm and damp, hot with breath as Steve’s lips parted beneath it.


“You would?” Steve murmured against Tony’s lips, hardly daring to believe it for a moment, somehow.  His throat felt a little thick again, a little raw. He let his hands slide to rest at Tony’s waist, against the narrow lines of his hips. He took a deep breath, but Tony had slept with so many people, surely he wouldn’t, couldn’t, be surprised or judge him for this; he was hardly one to talk.


“Of course,” Tony purred, rolling his hips down against Steve’s so that his body blanketed his, warm and solid. Pleasure washed up over Steve, tingling hotly.  “Whatever you’d like.”


He swallowed, tried to clear his throat for speech. “I mean,” he said. “Would you—enjoy that. Is that something you’d . . . like.”


Tony’s face softened a bit, some way or another, before he dipped his head, pressed his lips against Steve’s jaw, then down, along his throat.  “Very much,” he murmured.  “Is that what you want most out of this, here?  Are you sure?”


“I’m sure,” Steve said shortly.  He wanted it so badly he felt hot all over, stomach twisting needily, until he felt dizzy, with vertigo, almost like he was going to fall right through the bed.  He didn’t know why this was affecting him so strongly—staring up at Tony, feeling his warmth all along his body, on top of him, his weight so very present against Steve—but he had no idea what else to say, just that he desperately wanted . . . wanted whatever Tony would offer him, but especially, if he would just . . . Steve had never even thought about asking someone for that anything like that before.  It had been so long since he’d touched anyone like this in the first place, and Tony’s lips were so warm on his throat, over his pulse—Steve squeezed his eyes shut, tilted his head back against the bed, panting for breath.


“Well, then,” Tony murmured, words vibrating against Steve’s throat, “if you’re sure.  Let me get the lube.”  He finished with a kiss to the hollow of Steve’s throat and pulled back, and Steve knew he should just let him get up, but he couldn’t help himself from tightening his fingers on his hips all the same.  Tony smiled down at him, settled his hands over Steve’s on his hips and squeezed. “Be right back, handsome, promise,” he said, and Steve sighed, but let his hands slide away as Tony slid back, got to his feet.  He just lay there himself, content to watch Tony move with that easy, self-assured grace he had, the play of muscle under the olive expanse of his skin, and tried to catch his breath, get hold of himself somehow.  Tony opened a drawer, pulled out a bottle, and Steve swallowed.


“Do you want me to use a condom?” Tony asked. “It’s up to you. I swear on the integrity of all my repulsor designs that I’m clean, but I hear you can’t get diseases anyway, so . . . decision’s yours.”


“It’s not like you’re going to leave a bun in my oven,” Steve said with a scowl.  “What’s the point?”


Tony laughed.  “Maybe you don’t like the idea of the clean-up?” he suggested. “Personal preference?”


Steve shrugged.  “No,” he said.  “I’d rather . . . without.”


“Your wish is my command,” Tony said, and brought the bottle over to the bed, setting it down, then leaning in and smiling at him, trailing his fingers over Steve’s hips, down along his thighs.  “Shall I get these for you?” he asked, hooking his fingers in the waistband of Steve’s briefs.


Steve wordlessly lifted his hips, letting Tony pull them downward so that his cock sprang free.  It was so furiously hard and red already, springing up against his stomach, that he flushed, but Tony seemed unfazed, just tossed his briefs onto the table behind them and then straightened a bit, hooked his thumbs under the band of his own underwear.  Tony grinned, raising his eyebrows at Steve, and he could feel himself going even hotter, down into his chest, before Tony bent, tugged his underwear down over his hips, and stepped out of it, tossing it after Steve’s onto the table. Steve swallowed. Tony’s cock was well-proportioned, smaller than Steve’s own and slightly darker but just as flushed and hard at this point, dark pubic hair shaved and trimmed as neatly as the hair everywhere else on his body was sculpted.  Steve wondered how much time he put into all that. Maybe he had a robot to do it for him.  He wouldn’t put it past him.


“Are you going to get on with it?” he asked. “Or are you just going to fool around?”


Tony grinned.  “Now, that’s what I expected from you in bed,” he said, settling back onto his knees over Steve’s legs and skimming his hands lightly up over Steve’s biceps, making him shiver.  “Going to give me orders, Cap?” he murmured, leaning in again, so apparently heedless of how that pushed his behind up, the seductively curved dip of his back, that Steve was certain he was doing it on purpose.


“Not if you get going,” he admitted. He didn’t want to, but he knew himself and his responses to Tony well enough that he knew he’d end up snapping terse commands and pulling him in bodily if Tony made him wait too long. “I’d rather . . . .” but that seemed like too much to say, and he didn’t even know what it was. Wait and see what you’re going to do?  Let you take charge of me?


Something like that, anyway.


Tony raised his eyebrows at him, but when Steve didn’t finish, he just scooted in a little more and touched their lips together, lightly, in a slow, gently clinging kiss, letting their lips brush over each other, touch and slide and press close again.  “Feel free to touch,” he murmured, sliding his hands back down to Steve’s wrists and curling his strong, quick fingers around them, tugging them up to settle them back on his own hips.  He felt good, that soft, warm, invitingly velvet skin under Steve’s fingers, and he found himself moving his hands along Tony’s sides, up over his back and then back down, smoothing them over the enticingly full curves of his rump and along his thighs, and Tony shivered and sighed against Steve’s lips, which sent a heady feeling of power through him, a thrill. He stroked his fingers down over the sensitive skin at the inside of Tony’s muscled thighs, squeezed a little, and gloried in the way Tony gasped, moaned just slightly, and shifted back into the touch.  A moment later, Tony was touching him again, too, caressing his shoulders, moving his hands down over his chest, and Steve felt that heat flooding through him, rising up into his head and spreading out all over his body.  He’d never really thought about his chest being so sensitive to touch before, but Tony’s fingers felt like they lit trails of sensation across his skin.  He touched his thumbs to Steve’s nipples, circled the pink sensitive flesh, and Steve gasped again, feeling his cheeks flame with heat, because he’d always been sensitive there, and he’d been afraid it was . . . unmanly, never touched himself there when he took matters into his own hands.  It felt shocking to have Tony touch him there so easily, eyes fixed on his face with intensity as if looking for his reaction.


He didn’t say anything about it, though Steve was certain he’d noticed, not least because he kept circling his thumbs there, in that spot, running them back and forth, until Steve’s nipples felt more sensitive than ever, and when he looked down on a heave of breath he saw that they were poking up, hardening beneath the touches as if eager for more of the attention. He squeezed his eyes shut, but then Tony bent and fastened his mouth over one of them and his eyes flew open again on a noise of surprise.  He couldn’t help himself from staring down at Tony, seeing his lips tight against his chest, hair falling into his eyes, and then Tony flicked his tongue against the tightly pebbled peak of that nipple and Steve gave a noise of surprised pleasure, couldn’t keep it back.  Tony circled his tongue, sucked a little, and Steve groaned, felt his hands tighten against Tony’s skin.  Tony glanced up at him, smiled a little without unfastening his lips from Steve’s nipple, and brought the other hand up to roll the other one between his fingers.  Steve groaned, gasped heavily, feeling hot, pleasure he didn’t know what to do with sparking and thudding in his chest.


After a few moments, Tony switched, fastening his lips over Steve’s other nipple and flicking with his tongue, and Steve sucked in his breath at the contrast between that warm wet heat over one nipple and the air cold against the saliva-wet skin of the other, before Tony’s fingers came up to tease over that one, too, sensation bright and intense on the newly sensitized skin.  Steve moaned, shocked at the sound as it escaped his own lips, but unable to keep it back. It felt so good.


He wasn’t actually sure how long Tony spent teasing his nipples mercilessly with his tongue and fingers, just that he was practically writhing under him when he finished, panting and trying not to cry out or mumble Tony’s name or babble anything else incoherent, the pleasure hot and intense like fireworks inside him, behind his eyes.  He knew he was arching his back, clutching at Tony’s back and sides, and it was all he could do to make certain his grip wasn’t too hard or too tight through the sensations of it, the pleasure on top of pleasure until it was so much against hyper-sensitive flesh that it was almost pain, sharp-edged and sinking deeply into him, making him squirm at the same time it settled heavy and hot in his gut.  He felt incredible, lightheaded, his head swimming. That knowledge that he could come like this, and the humiliation that came along with it, was building in his head again, his cock heavy and hard and aching between his legs, and he just—he panted, trying to keep a hold on himself somehow.


“Please,” he managed after a moment. “Tony.  Please.”  He gasped heavily, trying to think of what to say, something that would make Tony . . . . “More.”


“Hmm?” Tony asked, raising his head, then sat back a bit, skimming his hands down over Steve’s sides, his stomach, making him shiver and pant all over again.


“More,” he said again, desperate and gruff and he hoped he didn’t sound as pleading as he thought he did, but . . . “Please.”


“Of course,” Tony said in that warm purr of a voice again.  “Hmm.” He leaned in, took Steve’s wrists in his hands again and squeezed, brushing another kiss against Steve’s lips, then his cheek, and smiling against his skin when Steve flushed. “I think,” he said, dragging Steve’s hands up, and Steve cooperated, running his palms over Tony’s skin as Tony tugged them slowly upward over his sides to his shoulders, “that you should put your hands under the pillow for a while,” he pushed Steve’s hands down against the sheet to either side of Steve’s head and squeezed his wrists. Steve could have easily broken any hold Tony had on him, but instead he just looked up at him, trying to catch his breath and process that.


“Under . . .” he started.


Tony pulled one of the pillows down, slid it under Steve’s head, and he lifted his neck belatedly to allow him to settle it there, then obediently slid his hands beneath the soft cotton of the pillowcase. “The pillow, yes, that’s it,” Tony said.  “Just like that. Comfy?”


Steve nodded, a bit bemused, but it was comfortable. The softness of the pillow felt good over his hands, cotton-soft where it pressed down on them, but still . . . there.


“Good,” Tony said.  “Leave them there, darling.”  It was as warm and playful as his voice had been most of the rest of the time, but there was still something in it that felt like a command. Steve swallowed thickly, heat prickling down his spine, leaping in his stomach.


He nodded again.


Tony smiled down at him.  “Just look at you,” he said, trailing his fingertips down over Steve’s chest.  “Gorgeous.  You’re absolutely incredible.  I’m sure you know that, but . . .” he swirled his fingertip around one still hard, pebbled, wet nipple, and Steve gasped again, “but it bears repeating. You stay there, sweetheart. Let me show you a good time.”


Steve nodded.  “I’d like that,” he managed to murmur, hoarsely. “But . . . but what about you?”


Tony smiled.  “Darling,” he said, sweeping his fingers across Steve’s belly and making him tremble with gooseflesh, “I’m going to enjoy every second of this.”


“All right,” Steve said, and swallowed, lifted his chin.  “Then,” he said. “Please.  Show me.”


Tony smiled a little more, warm and delighted, as if secretly, personally pleased.  “You are wonderful,” he said.


Steve flushed, frowned.


“No, you are,” Tony said.  “I love it.  Everything about your reactions—you’re something else, Cap.” He leaned forward and kissed Steve’s shoulder.  “Don’t change a thing.”


Steve frowned a little more.  There were plenty of things he could stand to see about changing, as far as he was concerned.  For one, he hadn’t always been . . . nice to Tony, he thought. And that wasn’t the best way to approach things like this.  “I’d like to keep trying,” he said, “to improve.”


Tony smiled and shrugged.  “All right, all right,” he said, “I have to say, that’s fair enough.  And in line with my own personal philosophy, so there you go, I applaud you.  But do know that I don’t see any need for improvements.”


Steve shrugged, pushed his head a bit further back into the pillow.  “And it’s Steve,” he said.


“Hmm?” Tony asked, skimming his hands back down over Steve’s sides and making Steve shiver all over again.


“Call me Steve,” he said quietly, and looked down. Tony’s hands slowed, lingered on his hipbones, rubbed there slowly, gently.


“Steve,” Tony said, in a similarly quiet tone. “All right.”  He slid his hands down over Steve’s thighs, and Steve swallowed, shivered and spread them apart.  He felt very warm, dizzy again, felt a strong sense of vertigo when he looked at Tony, when he knelt between his legs. “This is going to be great,” Tony said, and smiled, “And if I do anything you aren’t loving—not just liking, loving, Steve—let me know, and we’ll move onto something else, because I want this to be phenomenal for you. You got that?”


Steve felt himself blush.  He couldn’t imagine Tony going too far wrong there; he knew perfectly well everything so far hadn’t been too exciting or complicated and it had been spectacular as far as he was concerned.  But he nodded, because Tony had asked, and said, “Got it,” trying to make his voice strong and certain.


Tony smiled.  “Good,” he said, and he brought his hand up between Steve’s legs, cupped it against his balls and rolled it up.  Steve knew he made a sound that time, it punched out of him, a desperate gasp, and then Tony was leaning down, settling his mouth over Steve’s cock, and he almost cried out, his hands clenching desperately in the pillow with that hot, wet heat as Tony sank down over him, taking him almost to the hilt, his throat even tighter around him than his mouth, and Steve almost moaned, because it was too much, so much, and he was—and then Tony was pulling back, sucking at the head before pulled off, winking at him.  And then he poured lube onto his hand from the bottle and closed his hand around the base of Steve’s cock and he just moaned, because that felt—it wasn’t his mouth, no, but Tony’s hard, strong, intelligent hands, firm and solid around his cock, felt incredible, too, and there was pleasure hot and heavy all through Steve’s body.  “I could have started with the lube, yeah,” Tony said, as if Steve had brought it up, as if he was thinking about that, “but I wanted to taste you myself, first.”


Steve groaned at that.  It whimpered a bit pathetically in his throat and he barely cared.


“It’s all right about the scotch,” Tony continued, and dragged his hand up along Steve’s cock, his voice dropping low and husky, “you taste much better anyway.”


“Wh-what a relief,” Steve managed, even though his head was swimming with dizzying pleasure from the touch of Tony’s hand on his cock. “That’s a lot more economical.”


Tony choked, and Steve looked up at the sound to see him laughing helplessly.  “Oh, good God,” he said after a moment of almost soundless hilarity, his hand stilling.  He wiped his eyes with the other hand.  “Yes. Yes, it would be.” He took a deep breath. “I should probably give you some godawful line about being drunk on the taste of you,” he said, “but I think I’ll refrain.”


“Thank goodness for that,” Steve said. “That’s something I’d rather not imagine.”  He twitched his hips a little, desperate for Tony to move his hand again.


“It does have something of a capacity for mental scarring when you really think about it,” Tony allowed, moving his hand again. Steve sighed, let himself arch up into it this time, reveling in the smooth glide of pressure, the warm callused hardness of Tony’s hand.  “So many of our popular love metaphors do.  God, you’re beautiful.”


“That’s m-much better,” Steve managed.


Tony smiled.  “Does that feel good?” he murmured, and Steve groaned helplessly, breathlessly.


“Fishing for compliments again,” he got out.


“I can’t help myself,” Tony laughed. “Terrible habit.” He opened the bottle of lube again, poured some onto his fingers, getting some on Steve’s thigh when it dripped over them in the process, and then skimmed them up between Steve’s legs, gently fingering his balls, teasing, then pressing in behind them. The pleasure that sent arching through Steve surprised him, made him grunt in surprise and jerk up into it. Tony rubbed his fingers there, firm and insistent, and Steve barely heard himself gasping, pushed back against that despite himself.  Tony teased him that way for a while longer before he was reaching back with his fingers, still rubbing Steve there with his thumb, and tracing them around Steve’s hole. Steve gasped, clenched up, couldn’t help himself, but Tony just kept circling them there, hand still strong and constant on Steve’s cock, sending waves of pleasure through him that he couldn’t help rolling his hips up into.  “That all feel good?” Tony murmured.


Steve couldn’t speak; he just nodded, as vehemently as he could think to.  Good? Was Tony kidding? Good barely started to cover it.


“It’s going to get even better,” Tony said, “I promise. Relax a little.” Steve took a breath, tried to obey, blew it out.  “That’s it,” Tony said, still stroking his cock, slowing his hand down slightly. Steve found himself matching his breathing to Tony’s pace automatically.  It felt strange to have Tony’s slippery-slick fingers rubbing gently at the entry to his body, slow circles, even with Tony’s hand on his cock sending those waves of pleasure cascading through him, or maybe because of it. He’d never touched himself there, either, not really.  He’d just—he’d wanted but he hadn’t—his fingers clenched in the pillow again.


“Easy,” Tony said.  “You’re going to love this.”


Steve thought that was very true.  No matter what Tony did, really, but Tony seemed to also know exactly what he was doing, and that was—that was also pretty. Pretty arousing. “Yeah,” he mumbled, and let his head tilt back into the pillow, took a few breaths looking at the ceiling. He was relaxing into it now, he thought, even the intimate touch, Tony’s thumb still pressing gently in between his cock and the rest of Tony’s fingers, the pleasure from Tony’s slow, gentle strokes.


“There we go,” Tony said, and his finger circled once more, then pushed in against him.  “Just like that,” he said.  And then his finger was pressing in, and in, and Steve almost choked on his own gasp.  It felt strange, so intimate his cheeks flushed hot automatically, but also . . . good, being invaded like that, that warm touch inside him.  He hoped he didn’t whimper.  He thought he might have.  “You’re just fine,” Tony said.  “Spread your knees a little, though.  There, perfect.” He laughed a little. “You are very hot and tight inside, darling.”  Steve bit his lip.  “Don’t worry,” Tony said, and Steve looked up to see him giving him that teasing, mischievous look again.  “I have strong hands.”


Steve wasn’t sure what to make of that, but he smiled hesitantly back anyway, and then Tony moved his finger, stroking him inside, and he bit his lip, tried not to cry out.  Tony’s eyes sharpened on him a little, but he said nothing, just continued to move his finger inside him, circling, then in and out.


“There you go, you’re starting to loosen up a little,” he murmured after a few moments had passed.  Steve’s head was spinning, and he didn’t know whether to focus on the slick hot touch of that finger inside him or the hand on his cock. He felt like he’d been turned inside out.  His breath sounded very loud in his own ears, panting heavily.  “Let’s see if I can find . . .” Tony continued. “Where is it, honey, though you have absolutely no idea, I’m sure . . . .”  Steve had no idea what Tony was talking about, that was true enough, but then his finger pressed in against something inside him that made everything fracture into pleasure, like he’d fallen through a window into it, bright shards all around him.  He had no idea if he’d cried out or not until he heard his own voice, hoarse and trembling, felt himself jerk up, into the touch, the pleasure, he wasn’t sure.  “All right,” Tony said, as if from a very, very long way away.  “There we are, and . . . you’re sensitive there, too, aren’t you? You’re very sensitive, all over, aren’t you, Steve?  There. Yeah.  I’ve got you.”  A hand on his hip, now, instead of his cock, stroking gently. He was being gentle, Steve thought, but he was also swirling the tip of his finger over that place inside him, and Steve felt like he was about to break apart from the teasing, the intensity of that pleasure.  He knocked his head back against the bed again, moaned, knew his legs were trembling, his fists tight in the pillow.  At least Tony wasn’t taking it too easy on him, that was—


Tony pulled his finger back slightly, and Steve gasped. “I,” he managed. “I.  What.  What . . . .”


“It’s called your prostate,” Tony said. “It happens to feel very good when stimulated, though better for some men than for others. I can’t quite come from it being stimulated alone, unless I am very, very into the experience and having quite a vivid fantasy.  But I bet you could.  Couldn’t you?”


Tony’s finger was still resting inside him. Steve felt more aware of himself there than he ever had before, felt himself slick inside, tight around that finger, muscles tense, and tried to relax.  “I’m almost there already,” he admitted, voice low, and tried to swallow his shame at that.


“I thought you might be, you lucky dog,” Tony said. “I wish I had that kind of sensitivity.  You’re gorgeous. Come whenever you get there. You’ll get hard for me again, won’t you, sweetheart?  It seems like the sort of thing . . . .”


Steve bit the inside of his lip, tried not to scowl, and nodded.  It had been a headache, since the serum, spilling into his own hand once barely enough to take the edge off some nights.  With Tony right there in front of him, he didn’t think he’d have any difficulty getting hard again right away at all.


“I’m so insanely jealous,” Tony said with a grin. “Seriously, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get over this.  It seems so unfair.  Ah, well, such is life. I do get to watch, after all.”


Steve felt himself flush.  “You’re ridiculous,” he muttered.


“Well, yes,” Tony said.  “But I’m also a very jealous man right now. How are you feeling other than that?  Inside? Not sore at all?”


“You’re not gonna hurt me,” Steve said.


“I certainly hope not,” Tony said.  “But still.  Feeling good?”


“Yes,” Steve said, and swallowed.  He felt . . . open.  It was only one finger, but he felt stretched for it, slick and tender around it, already.


Tony raised his eyebrows.  “All right, then,” was all he said, though. He curled his finger back in, and Steve gasped, arched up again, an ah of pleasure leaving his lips.  “All right,” Tony said, smiling.


Steve felt himself flush, but then Tony dipped his head, kissed his knee, and he was distracted from his embarrassment. Tony was so affectionate. Steve wondered if he were always this . . . sweet, this warmly tender, with his lovers.  It made sense.  No wonder he was such a popular bed partner, then.


The thought stung a little.  Steve supposed he wanted it to be special. Just for him.


He guessed that was stupid.


Tony worked his finger in and out of him, stroking gently, falling into a rhythm of strokes to that place inside of Steve that made him gasp and pleasure shoot through him like jolts of electricity. He felt hot and shivery, slick and wanting inside, more open and raw than he’d ever felt during sex. He wasn’t sure what he’d expected this to be like—intrusive, spread wide and speared open, hot inside, he’d thought it would be warm, maybe a bit uncomfortable, and he’d wanted to be, to be taken.  But he hadn’t imagined anything quite like this.


When Tony pulled his finger entirely out of him, Steve surprised himself by moaning a little at the loss, but Tony just kissed his knee again, further up his thigh, pouring more lube onto his fingers before pressing two of them back to Steve’s entrance.  They sank into him surprisingly easily, and Steve’s breath hitched on a gasp.  He could feel himself very wet, there, smeared slippery and messy with the lubricant Tony was working into him as he pushed those two fingers inside. He trembled.  Two fingers felt much bigger than one had, but he knew he could take it.  His body wasn’t even resisting Tony that much—he let his legs fall open, and Tony pushed them deep inside him without much resistance.  Steve ached, more from want than from pain, around them. He sighed, let his breath out.


This was much better than he’d imagined, honestly.


“There, that’s better, loosening up a little for me,” Tony said, kissing Steve’s thigh still, lips traveling back and forth, up to his knee and back down, in a way that made the softness of his facial hair rub along Steve’s skin, made him shiver slightly, because it felt good. “That’s the way.” He pushed his fingers further in, curled them to rub them against that spot inside Steve, and he gave a low gasping cry, because God—Tony started a rhythm, a press up and in against that spot, stroking away back out, a twist of his hand in as he spread Steve wider, and he felt himself loosen and stretch, felt the slickness inside him, felt worked open and needing even as the pleasure got brighter and brighter and bigger and bigger and his cock ached and jumped between his legs.  When he came, it almost surprised him, the pleasure inside going warmer and warmer, until it washed over him, he slipped under it, everything going white and bright.  He felt like he was floating, and the warm spray of his come up over his chest, the splash of a bit of it against his own cheek, was a little startling, but not enough to make him leave that floating cloud of pleasure behind.  He was barely aware of anything for long minutes, other than that.  He was gasping heavily, he realized.  He was vaguely aware of Tony reaching up, wiping Steve’s cheek clean, smiling at him, and he smiled back.


“God, you’re beautiful like that,” Tony said, “all relaxed and gorgeous,” and Steve felt his cheeks heat, his smile go a little shy, but he didn’t look away this time.


“So’re you,” he said.  “Thank you.”


Tony smiled crookedly.  “Oh, darling,” he said.  “It really is my pleasure.”  He leaned forward, his fingers still resting inside Steve’s body, but he shifted without moving his hand until he could press his lips against Steve’s, and Steve opened his mouth into the kiss.


“It was actually mine,” he pointed out, against Tony’s lips, and Tony grinned, then slid his tongue hotly over Steve’s bottom lip, kissing his way coaxingly into Steve’s mouth, and Steve forgot it in order to kiss back, welcoming Tony in.  They kissed for a long while, and then Tony started moving his fingers inside of Steve again without pulling away from the kiss, swirling and pressing, and Steve gasped, let his legs splay apart a little more, felt like he was going soft underneath Tony, everything easy and fuzzy and warm, his head lolling back against the pillow as Tony slid his other hand beneath the back of his neck, holding him, turning his head into the kiss.  It felt so good.  He never felt this good.  It felt wonderful. 


Everything seemed very light in Tony’s bedroom, bright with the evening sunlight, all of a sudden.  Tony’s fingers felt big and very warm inside him, stroking Steve open and needy so that those flashes of pleasure lit up inside him, Tony’s mouth warm and soft and deep against his, the kiss slow and yet not at all simple.  Steve was very aware of his own soft, easy breaths, whenever Tony pulled back enough to let him take one, the tingling sensitized feeling of his lips.  He wasn’t sure how long it lasted.  Eventually Tony lowered his head gently back to the pillow, framed his face on one side with that hand, and said, “Hey, gorgeous guy, you still there?”


Steve nodded.  Cleared his throat.  His voice sounded scratchy, croaky and very rough.  “I’m here,” he said.


“Yeah, there you are,” Tony said, smiling, and Steve thought that he’d never really been aware of the softness in Tony’s smiles before all this, hidden in the quirk of his lips, the crinkle of the skin around his eyes.  You missed it if you concentrated on the flashy insouciance of the expression itself, the bright focus of his eyes.  “How was that?  Good? See, I told you it’d be great. And we’re so not done. I’m not done with you yet at all.”


“Good,” Steve said, and smiled up at him. “I’m not done.”


Tony grinned.  “There,” he said, “that’s what I like to hear.  That’s what I thought.”


“I do feel really good, Tony,” Steve said, honestly. “Thank you.”


“Sweetheart,” was all Tony said, lips quirking a little ruefully, and he smiled, brushed his thumb against Steve’s cheek.


Steve brought his knees up a little more, flushing as he exposed himself like that but not really caring as much as he might have before.  “What next?” he asked.


“Hmm,” Tony said.  “We do have some options.”  He pulled his fingers out of Steve, and he scowled at Tony, who just grinned and poured more lube onto his hand.  “Relax, hon,” he said, and pushed three fingers into him this time.  Steve felt it, the stretch, gasped and arched up, but it wasn’t uncomfortable, just insistent.  He felt even more tender beneath Tony’s fingers than he had before, but it was an eager, wanting tenderness.  “You are so good,” Tony gasped, and Steve looked up at him for an explanation. “Take my fingers so well,” Tony added, squeezed Steve’s shoulder with his other hand.  “You were so tight, but now you’re relaxed, you’re good, you’re so good.  This is going to be great, I promise.”


“Tony, it already is good,” Steve told him, shaking his head as Tony’s fingers curled inside him, pressed him open, that pleasure shivering through him again.


Tony grinned.  “Well, then it’s going to be better,” he said.  “Why stop there?  I have it on good authority that the best orgasms can help give you solutions to problems that have eluded humankind for years, can inspire new theories of spacetime, or quantum physics.”


“Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen for me,” Steve said.  “But you let me know.”


“Aww,” Tony said, and actually pouted at him. “You never know.”


“Just feeling good is enough for me,” Steve said. Even that felt like too much to expect most times, not physically, so much, that part was fine, but as good as he felt now?  Hell no. And now Tony wanted him to shoot higher?


“We need to do something about your standards,” Tony said. He stroked his fingers slowly along the inside of Steve’s body, twisted them and then spread them out, and Steve felt himself stretch around them, gasped, chest heaving.  Yes, that felt good.  It felt real good.  “And your expectations.”


Steve shrugged when he could breathe again. “Feel free,” he said.


“A challenge?” Tony asked, but he was smiling, and it was very warm again.


“Yeah,” Steve said, “if you have the—guts—oh—” His words broke off on a moan, as Tony pressed those fingers back into him again.  Tony smiled.


“I’d like to think I do,” he said.  “You’re so responsive to fingering, darling, I’m jealous all over again.”  He pulled his fingers out of Steve, then touched them gently to Steve’s hot, worked open hole, making him shiver.  “I think you’re ready.  What do you think?”


Steve groaned.  “Jesus,” he said.  “Stop tormenting a man and get it done.”


“You have such a romantic turn of phrase, my dear,” Tony laughed, but he reached for the lube and slicked his hand with it, rubbed it down over his cock.  The action made him groan, and for the first time Steve noticed that Tony’s cheeks were flushed as well, just slightly red over his olive-toned skin, his cock blood-dark and what had to be achingly hard between his legs.


“I made you wait,” Steve said.  “I’m sorry.”


Tony shook his head, brushed hair back off his forehead with one forearm and smiled.  “No, no, no,” he said.  “You didn’t make me do anything.  Like I said, I enjoyed every moment of it.  And I’ll enjoy this, too.  Very much.”


“Well,” Steve allowed.  “All right.”  He smiled up at Tony, allowing that to go.  “You’d be the one to know, anyway.”


“Indeed I would,” Tony said with a laugh. He leaned down over Steve, still holding his own cock with one hand, and held out the other hand toward Steve.  “You can move your hands,” he said, and for the first time since they’d first started this, Steve’s mind went back to his hands that he’d kept under the pillow, to the fact that he was just keeping them there out of obedience to Tony, and he shifted them out from under it. Tony immediately laced their fingers and squeezed.  “Move your leg up a bit, handsome,” he murmured, and Steve did, and Tony moved in against him, until their thighs were flush against each other, hot and a little damp and sweaty, and more than a little slick from the lube that had gotten everywhere. A moment later Steve felt a warmer, blunter pressure at his entrance than Tony’s fingers had been, pushing in. His body resisted Tony for a moment, that hot, hard insistent stretch, and then gave way beneath it, stretching wide to accommodate him, and Steve felt dizzy and open, his head swam, his breath hitching in his chest, tight and hot.  Tony felt so huge to him that Steve was abruptly glad that he wasn’t actually any bigger than average.  He was certain he could have taken it, but this was close enough to overwhelming; he didn’t need to go any closer right now. Tony stilled, when he was just inside, and Steve felt slick and stretched and open and empty.


“Don’t stop,” he bit out, lifted one leg to curl his knee at Tony’s back and tug him forward.  “Keep going.”


“Breathe, darling,” Tony said.  “And it’s a deal.”


Steve took a deep breath, blew it out, felt something inside him relax, unknot in his stomach, and Tony pushed in further, sliding in, and Steve felt stretched and even more tender and open inside, but it didn’t hurt, the pressure just filling him up, and he threw his head back, gasped for air, heard himself moaning.  His cheeks felt hot.  Tony was very warm inside him.  He felt very warm, like he’d never be cold again.  Tony kept pushing forward, and forward, and Steve was focusing on the feeling of it, of being filled up, opened up for Tony’s cock, the pleasure-edge of the ache of his body’s accommodation of that hardness, that he was surprised when Tony stopped, and he realized he was in him as far as he could go. He gasped, and his hands flailed up instinctively, grasping for Tony’s shoulders, and Tony just ducked his head and leaned in, making it easier for Steve to grip his shoulder, throw his other arm around his back and hold tightly, panting.  Tony slid one arm around him in return, reached down, slid one hand under Steve’s thigh to hold him there, kissed the side of his neck.  “Easy, darling,” he murmured.  “Shhh.”


“I’m all right,” Steve said, but his voice was so husky, so breathy and rough that he didn’t sound all right.  “I’m fine,” he said.


“I know,” Tony said, “that’s not the point. Shhh.”  His lips skimmed over Steve’s neck, lingering on the pulse point, working gently at his jaw.  Steve breathed into his shoulder, letting his breathing calm. He was in such a vulnerable position—leg pushed out wide, held up, resting on his lower back for Tony to have the angle to sink his cock into him like that—penetrated, off-balance, and open, and it felt wonderful.  Steve panted a little against Tony’s skin.


“Don’t stop,” he got out.


“All right,” Tony said.  “I won’t.”  He brushed another soft kiss against Steve’s jaw, then pulled out, moving back just enough to slide out of Steve but not all the way, then pushed back in.  Steve gasped, surprised at the pleasure, even when it wasn’t as directly on that spot inside him as it had been with Tony’s fingers.  The pressure and heat and fullness of it more than made up for that. “Do you want it hard?” Tony murmured against his ear, and now he was panting, Steve could hear it thick and heavy in his voice, “or do you want it slow and easy, like this? Either one, just tell me, just let me know.”


Steve wasn’t even sure if he could take it slow and gradual, after all that.  The desire had tightened and heated up inside him again, and Tony was hot and hard and in him, deep inside, and he just wanted—he felt like he would snap, pulled too thin, if Tony dragged it out.


“Hard,” he grunted.


Tony rubbed at his thigh, kissed his jaw again. “You’re sure?” he murmured.


Yes,” Steve said.  “Tony—”


“Shh, I’ve got it,” Tony said.  “I’ve got you.”  He shifted his arm around Steve’s shoulders, against his thigh, and moved back, pulling out of him again.  This time he snapped his hips forward again, plunging into him, and it felt like he went so deep that Steve could feel him all the way through his body.  He gasped, groaned, and Tony rocked back out of him and slammed in again.  It burned a little, ached in the best way possible, but he felt open for it, ready.  It was just . . . intense, the fullness of it, the heat inside him.


Tony’s hand gripped more tightly at the back of his neck, and Steve let his forehead rest on Tony’s shoulder, panted into his chest, as Tony fell into a rhythm, thrusting into him hard and fast, harder and faster, and that heat ratcheted up and up, twisting him up in it until he felt hot all over, and shaking, pleasure flashing behind his eyes, so intense he didn’t even feel it as pleasure, just sensation, too bright, almost too much for pleasure, Tony a fiercely demanding force within his body.  And it was perfect.  It felt perfect.  Steve wanted this, this openness beneath Tony, being held open, thrust into and pounded open and slick and wet and wide and used by Tony fast and hard for his own pleasure and God it felt incredible, he was so deep inside and Steve felt so filled up with him.  He hung on, gasped into Tony’s shoulder, let it happen, had just enough thought to hope that Tony was enjoying this, too, that it was as intense for him as it was for Steve.  His arms were tight around Steve, palm hard against his thigh, and his mouth was eager and wet on Steve’s neck, his jaw, behind his ear, panting as he murmured soft hot words against his neck, sloppy over the consonants and his breath shaking through them.  Steve wondered what he felt like, inside, for Tony.  Probably different from a woman, soft and wet and welcoming.   Hot and tight, Tony had said.  But Steve had never felt so loose and slick and open.  He tried to clench down around Tony, hoping that would make it good, and Tony gave a noise, flung his head back and gasped out a sound, groaning.


That sent a heady thrill through Steve, coiling in his stomach with hot eagerness, and he pressed closer, rocking back onto Tony’s cock as best he could, feeling each thrust jolt through him as his rear snapped back against Tony’s hips, meeting him halfway through, pushing his forehead closer to his shoulder.  Tony was gasping now, regularly, his head hanging down with each stroke into Steve, and it surprised Steve, how good it felt knowing he had put that pleasure there, that he was pleasing him, that power over him.  He worked himself inside, clenched tight, and that sent tight, aching, heady pleasure spiraling up inside him, too.


He had no idea how long it lasted; he felt hot and liquid and weak and wet, panting, heaving for breath, and fierce, strong, ferocious.  When he finally came, it was with a choked, half triumphant cry, digging his fingers into Tony’s back, grasping tightly and dragging him close, rocking himself back and forth instinctively over Tony’s cock, milking out the last of it. Tony murmured something, was brushing Steve’s hair back off his forehead, kissing his temple, voice low and warm in his ear, but Steve barely heard it.  The pleasure was drawing out over him, peaking high and unceasing, until it felt as if there was too much of it to stay in his body, and he pressed his face into Tony’s neck and let go, let it sweep through him and carry him along in its wake.  Tony’s hand came up, stroking his cock, and the heat and pleasure sharpened, brightened into something even hotter and more intense, overflowing, spilling out of his body, and Steve cried out as Tony stroked the last of his orgasm out of him, until Steve was left panting into his neck, his muscles watery all through and gasping desperately for breath, his breath damp and his eyes oddly moist against Tony’s skin.


“I’m going to keep going,” Tony murmured. “Is that all right? Steve—Steve.  I’m going to keep going, gorgeous.”


Steve nodded.  He wanted that.  He wanted Tony to come inside him.  He didn’t want him to stop.  He wanted Tony to fuck him when he was just like this, wrung out and shaking.


“I’m going to bounce you on my cock,” Tony said, and Steve moaned, pushed up obediently, rocking forward, until he was straddling Tony’s legs, knees splayed wide and loose, helping Tony as he curled his hand around the curve of Steve’s behind, nudged him up and then back down. “That’s right,” Tony breathed hotly, voice passionate and rough, “that’s right, that’s so good, you’re so so good, you’re perfect, now squeeze down, that’s it, just like you did before, squeeze down around me, just like that, God, fuck, amazing.  Steve.  Amazing.”


How could he talk so much, Steve wondered. How could he be talking so much now of all times. Steve wasn’t even sure his mouth remembered how to form words.  He felt soft and hot and aching inside, even as he tightened himself around Tony’s cock, clenched his muscles, rocked himself up and down over him, and Tony gasped and choked, his breath stuttering.  Finally he gave a warm, hoarse cry, soft and wet, and Steve felt him pulse inside him, against him, knew he was coming.  He wrapped his arms tight around his shoulders and hung on. Tony seemed to come for a long time, and Steve reveled in it as he rose up and down on top of him, rode it out slowly, rocking over him with soft shifts of his hips.


They stayed like that for a long time, after, too, arms wrapped around each other, Tony gasping into Steve’s hair, against his ear.  He still felt very warm inside Steve.  Things shifted, softened around him, floating, the light dim and fading into evening. Steve pressed a kiss to the pulse in Tony’s neck.  He felt warm and wonderful.  His eyes felt heavy, slid half-closed, and he didn’t try to force them open again.


Tony sighed, pulled back.  “Beautiful, darling,” he said, “that was spectacular, you were incredible.  Are incredible.”


Steve was already shaking his head, but Tony didn’t take no for an answer.  “No,” he said. “No arguments, all right? You are.”  He stroked one hand down over Steve’s back, then back up.  “Here,” he said. “Lie back.”  He helped Steve lower himself down to his elbows, then onto his back, all without pulling out of him, and Steve sighed, lay back against the bed, letting his eyes slip nearly closed again, sighed a little more, at the loss, when Tony did move back, pull out of him, but let him go. His head still felt fuzzy, floating. Through the soft, gentle haze of it, Steve wondered how wet and slick he looked now, how open, and swallowed against the twist of self-conscious heat in his stomach.  He almost moved one hand down to feel himself, there, but that was—it was too much.  He couldn't. 


Tony leaned in, kissed his mouth, gently, the side of his jaw, then straightened.  “I’ll be right back, handsome,” he said softly, and Steve nodded, hazily watching him move as he got up and picked up the bottle he’d used, opening the drawer again and pulling out a packet he opened to draw out some wipes. He wiped his hands and the bottle and threw the wipe in the small waste bin, then came back with a few more, one of which he smoothed down over Steve’s chest, efficiently, but slow enough to feel sensuous all the same.  Steve sighed, because the wipe was cool but felt nice, good, against how hot he was, and Tony’s touch was pleasurable.  He let Tony push on his thighs to spread them, rolling them open further with some effort, not bothering to give him any help, and run another wipe down over his cock, down over the sensitized skin of his rear, the hot, tender entrance to his body.  Tony rubbed gently, taking care and, Steve thought, teasing him just a little, then slid the same one over his own cock, cleaning himself much more quickly than he had Steve, and balled the wipes up, tossed them in the wastebasket as well.


Steve sighed.  It was good to feel clean.  His muscles felt wrung out, loose and still oddly watery. He blew his breath out, slow and easy.  He didn’t feel much like moving.  No concern seemed particularly pressing.  He didn’t see any reason why he should have to.  Unless Tony wanted him to go.  Did Tony want him to go?  He didn’t seem to.


Tony sat back on his heels, opened his mouth, then closed it again.  He tilted his head to one side as he looked down at Steve, then reached down with one hand, stroked it over Steve’s knee, slow and gentle, exploring, rubbing his thumb along one side of it.  His eyes had that oddly soft look in them again, the one that felt like it should be warm on Steve’s skin when it fell on him.  Steve let his eyes slip mostly closed, slid one arm back under his neck.


“You look awfully relaxed,” Tony said.


“Mmm,” Steve grunted in agreement.  He smiled at the thought.  He felt relaxed.  He felt very . . . warm, toward Tony, too.  It was a good feeling, and he wasn’t in any hurry to chase it away.  Tony didn’t seem in any hurry to have him leave, and he was glad.


Tony smiled back; Steve noticed from under his own eyelashes where his eyes were half-closed.  “Good,” he said.  “Then you just lie there and relax.”


Steve was planning on it.  “Thank you,” he murmured.  It seemed the polite thing to say.  This was Tony’s bed, after all, and Tony was the one who had made him feel as wonderful as he did now, and Tony was letting him stay.


“No need to thank me,” Tony said, stroking Steve’s thigh with his thumb now, not looking away.  “You’re welcome to stay as long as you’d like.”


Steve nodded, glad for Tony’s hospitality. It felt so strange to be comfortable with Tony’s hand draped over his thigh like that, but it felt good there, too good for Steve to want it gone.  He wondered if he could just fall asleep, here in Tony’s bed, and Tony wouldn’t mind.  He wondered if he should ask to spend the night, but Tony had just said he could stay as long as he wanted.


He didn’t feel like asking, either. That felt so . . . formal. Serious.  He wasn’t certain what he was doing here, but that felt . . . .


Tony patted his thigh and got up, moving in to kiss him gently on the mouth before he stepped away from the bed again. Steve felt the loss of his presence, but he wasn’t about to call him back.  Instead, he let himself relax into that floating, easy feeling again, watching the light as it came in through Tony’s windows.


Tony came back after a while.  Steve felt like he might be half-asleep. His body felt so warm and content, somehow light but still heavy with pleasure, like it was hard to move. Tony pulled the blankets up over him, brushed his hair back from his forehead and kissed him there. Steve smiled at that, and then Tony got back into the bed, and, almost hesitantly, which was strange from him, Steve thought, curled one arm over Steve’s shoulders, pressing his lips into Steve’s hair in another kiss.  Affectionate, Steve thought again, smiling, and relaxed, pleasure washing through him at the sensation, at Tony’s closeness, not the hot, intense, immediate pleasure of desire, but a simple, warm sort of glow. “Is this all right?” Tony asked in a low voice.


“Mmm,” Steve said, and nodded.  It felt good, to have Tony there, his body warm and lithe and very solid against Steve’s back.  He stroked his hand over Steve’s shoulder, left more kisses in his hair, down the side of his neck, and Steve let his eyes slip nearly closed again, reveling in it.  It felt so strange, being lavished with this kind of attention.  Tony’s lips were soft against his skin, his hand hard with callus a counterpoint to that softness, and he was touching Steve so warmly, really affectionately.  Steve felt like he should be worrying more about this, that he should be trying to figure it out, asking himself why he’d done it, any of it, but right now it felt like those sorts of thoughts were far away, and it was hard to worry about them at all.


He had never realized, he thought, how Tony would be, or he would have pursued this earlier.  He wondered if Tony felt anything for him, or if this was just a good time, a roll in the hay.  But he was trailing soft, sweet kisses over the breadth of Steve’s shoulder, rubbing one hand over Steve’s chest like he would hold him forever if he could and not grow tired of it.  Maybe, Steve thought, Tony just really enjoyed this, the cuddling, but . . . you didn’t hold and touch someone you didn’t care for at all.  Did you?


He decided he wasn’t going to think about it. Tony had said he could stay.  He was going to stay, not go home to his own hard, lonely bed that smelled of nothing but him and laundry soap and stare at the ceiling.  He felt like he could easily fall asleep like this. He wanted to fall asleep like this.  It would . . . well, if nothing else it would make for a nice change.


He rolled over onto his side, and Tony blinked at him, started to smile, looking a bit surprised.  Steve smiled back, leaned in, and brushed a brief kiss to Tony’s lips, daring it.  He let his hand settle onto Tony’s side, resting it there, against his back, the skin of it warm and smooth beneath his hand, letting himself feel the shape of him.


Tony smiled, wide and sweet, lashes fluttering downward, and leaned into the kiss.  It was exactly the sort of thing Steve had been hoping for.  And Tony kissed so well.  He kissed so, so well.  Steve let his arm settle a little further around him, curling around his back.


When they pulled apart, Steve’s lips were wet and tingling all over again.  He let his head drop down to Tony’s shoulder and sighed.  He didn’t move his hand.  He was happy with it where it was.


“Steve?” Tony said, and Steve grunted but didn’t move. “Are you . . . are you happy, darling?” he said, after a moment.


Yes, Steve thought.  He was.  “’m good,” he said.  He didn’t think he could hold a long conversation, though, if Tony wanted to talk. It wasn't that he would have minded Tony talking, he just seemed to slide away from following it, back into how good he felt, at the moment.


Besides, Tony tended to . . . chatter. And sometimes it was hard for Steve to follow at the best of times.


But Tony didn’t start talking.  He swallowed, Steve felt it, where his face was pressed into his shoulder, against his skin, and kissed Steve’s ear, then settled his cheek against his hair.  He didn’t speak again, just rubbed the back of Steve’s neck with one hand. Steve sighed, blowing out his breath again, and pulled Tony a little closer.  It would be very easy to fall asleep like this, yes, he thought. Tony was stroking his fingers through Steve’s hair, now.  It was soothing, felt . . . good.


He closed his eyes.  He could hear Tony’s heart beating, a little fast, his breathing a little unsettled.  He curved his fingers in a little more against his back, brought him in closer, settling his hand there, against his skin, and rested his cheek against Tony’s shoulder.  He smelled good, like champagne and metal and cologne and sweat and sex, and a little bit of the citrus-clean scent of the sanitary wipes.  They lay there for a long time.  Tony’s breathing evened out, and his shoulders and back relaxed. Steve could feel himself falling asleep and didn’t bother to fight it.


His last thought before he really slipped off was to hope Tony would still be there when he woke up.  It had been a long time since he’d been in bed with someone, and he’d have liked not to wake up alone, for a change.


When Steve did wake up, he had no idea where he was. The sheets were too soft, the bed too comfortable.  Nothing smelled like his apartment, but clean and oddly like metal and ozone and the cool smell of open spaces made mostly of glass and metal, like the Triskelion, but with something more personal overlaying it, a personal scent he recognized. Tony’s.  Though Steve still wasn’t certain what exactly that scent was made up of, it was all around him.


He opened his eyes and found immediately that it was still dark, which startled him until he realized that the windows were opaque, blacked out.  Tony was lying sprawled next to him in bed, mouth open, one arm curled limply over Steve’s hip, fast asleep, black hair tousled into a spectacular mess. Steve looked around for a clock, found a digital one set into the headboard of the bed that said it was seven thirty a.m.  He’d slept late, he realized, ridiculously late for him.


Tony was next to him in bed.  Steve looked down at him, the dim shape of him in the dark room, blankets pulled up to his waist, obscuring the curve of his body where he’d curled into Steve’s, and laid one hand deliberately on his back, stroked his thumb a little there, feeling the soft velvetiness of his skin, the warmth of him.  It was strange to see him so still and quiet.


Steve swallowed.  He wondered if it would be all right if he used Tony’s shower. He usually ran in the morning, but he figured he couldn’t exactly go running through the building. There might be an exercise room, though.  But he didn’t know where it was.


He’d . . . last night.  That had been reckless.  Very reckless.  And probably a bad idea, and—he stroked his palm up the line of Tony’s back and over his shoulder.  His skin was so soft, for a man, smooth and warm and touchable.  He hadn’t seemed very sick lately.  Steve thought he’d been doing better.  He hoped so.  It seemed like such a waste, for him to die like that.  Wasting away—nothing about Tony was meant for it. Not that anyone was. But his skin felt healthy and alive, elastic under Steve’s fingers, and he hadn’t tasted like drugs when they kissed. Steve was glad of that.


He still couldn’t believe he’d slept with him. He touched his fingers to the back of Tony’s neck, let them curl through his unruly hair, just a little. God, why had he done that?


And he wanted to do it again.


Steve brought his hand away, ran both hands back through his own hair, working the taste of the morning out of his mouth as he swallowed.  Not right this second, of course, he wasn’t quite that insatiable, but—sometime soon. That was the truth of it. And Tony . . . he didn’t have any idea what Tony thought about any of this.  Did he often do this?  Go to bed with people?  Well, probably not teammates.  Though Steve thought he might have with Thor.  Was this just another morning for him?  What would he expect?


Would he even want to go to bed with Steve again? Maybe he’d . . . he’d scratched that itch now.  Steve swallowed miserably.  He was certain he hadn’t been that good.  He’d just lain back like a hunk of meat and . . . Tony had said . . . sweet, wonderful things, but surely he’d just been being kind.  And Steve was nice to look at, at least, thanks to the serum, so there was . . . that.  But Tony knew so many beautiful, glamorous people.  His ability to bend metal with his hands didn’t exactly make Steve a better bed partner.  And he knew he was clumsy and awkward and fumbling at this, knew it with painful certainty.  Even more so with this sort of sex than any other, he was sure, and . . . he sighed, clasped his hands in front of him, looked down at them.


What had he expected?  He didn’t even know how he felt.  Or what he’d wanted.  It had been so good . . . waking up like this, with Tony’s warm presence, his breathing beside him . . . .  Steve didn’t think he’d ever get used to it, it was so unfamiliar, but he might have liked to.  He figured he wouldn’t examine that too close.  Just in case.  Hoping for things just made it hurt when they didn’t happen.


Jesus, why had he done this.  Stupid, opening himself up for it.  But he’d wanted, so badly, to know.  What it felt like, and—he felt his face on fire with heat.  To know if he really did like it with men as much as he thought he did, and.  Well, he had.  Liked it. Even more than he’d expected. He wasn’t sure how much of that was Tony, though.  It seemed like Tony was . . . was hard to beat in that department.


Steve buried his face in his hands. Now he’d want it even more. Now he’d know, what it felt like, what Tony felt like, and—


He pushed himself up, got out of bed. He’d just do some of the more stationary parts of his usual morning workout in the other part of the suite so as not to wake Tony, and then he’d shower.  He doubted Tony would mind him using it so much; he had before, after a battle.  And maybe . . . he’d decide what to do after that once he was done, he told himself.


But even while he did sit-ups and push-ups, his thoughts felt like they were stuck on loop, circling and circling around. It wasn’t even just the sex that he was fixating on.  That had been—that had been nice, but it wasn’t as if he’d forgotten how to touch himself when he really needed it.  Or like he needed it all the time, Steve thought, feeling that furious burning in his cheeks again.  He really didn’t.  He might want it a lot . . . he wasn’t sure how that compared with others.  But he controlled how much he touched himself. He did.  But it wasn’t that, not really.  It was the . . . being with someone else. Being touched by someone else. Like that, so intimately. Tony’s fingers inside of Steve. Even more intimate touches. So deep inside him, leaving his mark on him, in him, the soft, open spread of it, the wanting and the ache. To feel . . . full. Filled up with someone else. That—it still felt like it was turning his stomach inside out to think of it.  Steve wondered if Tony liked it that way, liked it like that, or if he liked . . . other things, other ways, better.


But it was the rest of it, too.  Taking him up here.  Kissing his knuckles and laughing with him.  Holding him after, curled up in bed—kissing his ears. No one else had ever done that. His ears, of all things. Who did?  But Tony had.  Steve felt raw and vulnerable all over, like he’d been made new, every bit of him sensitive.


He hadn’t really been that desperate for a fuck, had he?


He huffed out his breath, stalked back into the other room, trying to quiet his steps in the bedroom so as not to wake Tony, who had sprawled out over his bed, both arms tight around a pillow he was pressing his face into, and went for the shower.  Tony’s shower was a huge, walk-in one, separate from the bath, which was also huge, and ridiculous, and in Steve’s mind was beginning to approach the line between bathtub and swimming pool.  Steve couldn’t quite remember which knob did what at first, and managed to spray himself with both unpleasantly cold and unpleasantly hot water before he got it started.  He felt stupid, and scowled as he soaped himself up.  Nobody needed that many knobs and dials and numbers and things that lit up in the shower.  He certainly didn’t need to know the exact temperature of the water, or the degree of pressure, while he was standing under it, as two readouts on the wall were informing him.


The shampoo Tony used had a spicy sandalwood and lime sort of scent to it, and it smelled expensive.  It was strange to get out of the shower, after shaving and everything, dry off and realize that he smelled a little like Tony, the fresh expensive scent that clung to his skin.


Steve sighed, looking at his face in the mirror as the steam on it began to clear.  He was scowling.  He was pink with the heat and scrubbed clean and he still felt like he was tingling all over, thrumming a little with the touches from the night before—but you couldn’t see any of that in the mirror.  In the mirror he looked exactly like what he was—a bad-tempered, boring old fossil with a young man’s face and body and nothing else.  Tony could have anyone.  Interesting, clever, sophisticated people flocked around him, and those were the kind of people that he liked, whatever Steve might think about shallow, flighty, spoiled dilettantes.  People who could make Tony laugh, and laugh with him. Who could keep up with him not just mentally, but with his jokes and flip comments and constant references. What did Steve have to offer? If Tony liked big blonds, there were plenty of others.  Hell, there was Thor and even Hawkeye, on the team already.  Tony was just playing around.  He was . . . he was playful.  He liked his fun.  And he had been so kind, nothing but good to Steve. He hadn’t had to be gentle and generous, and patient, and hold him like he meant something afterwards.


God, he must have thought Steve was so stupid, clinging to a one-night stand like they were going to be sweethearts after. But he hadn’t said a word. Maybe because they were friends, and teammates.  Or maybe because Tony was kind and generous and treated all his partners like this, made them feel this . . . special.  Was Steve really going to sell him short by imagining it was because of some sort of closeness between them?  He knew Tony was soft-hearted, willing, eager with his affections. Steve was certain he’d have been as warm and generous with any lover.


He sighed, finished cleaning up after himself, and started back into the bedroom to pick up his clothes with no real idea of what he’d do afterwards.  Wait for Tony to wake up or go home, he supposed.  Those were his real options.  He had already made up his mind to stay and wait—he wasn’t going to run away like he was ashamed of it, like he wasn’t going to stay and face his decisions and make something of them, or like he was too much of a coward to face Tony—when he stepped into the bedroom and realized Tony was already awake. The windows were clear again, and morning sunlight was pouring in.


Steve felt a sudden, stupid pang.  He’d so badly wanted not to wake up alone, himself, it had been so good, waking up, and finding Tony there—but he’d left Tony to wake up alone.  He hoped he hadn’t minded.  Maybe he preferred it that way.  But . . . .


Tony looked up as he came in from where he was standing, wearing boxers and a robe over them and staring out the window. “There you are,” he said, and the welcome in his voice, the warm softness of the smile that accompanied it, made Steve flush.  “I heard the shower running.  I’m glad you stuck around, I wanted a chance to say good morning.”


Steve was suddenly very aware he was just wearing a towel wrapped loosely around his hips.  “My clothes,” he said. “Can I—”


“Of course,” Tony said, and took a step back, letting Steve pass by him easily.


“Good morning,” Steve said belatedly, as he passed him, realizing that he should have, that that had been a little short, and Tony smiled, beamed at him.


“Good morning, sweetheart,” he said, and Steve felt himself blush, hotly, all the way into his ears, it stopped him in the middle of the room, and then Tony leaned in, kissed him, light and sweet. He tasted like tonic water, of all things, lips soft and a little damp.  Steve felt very warm.  Tony kissed him gently, but deeply, with that same tenderness that had been in his kisses before.  Steve was a little too flustered to do more to kiss back other than opening his mouth for him, leaning into it.  Tony made a pleased sound, draped his arms around Steve’s shoulders, letting one skim down warm over his back, and Steve’s hands lifted instinctively, but then he wasn’t quite sure what to do with them again so they just hovered there for the few moments before Tony was sliding his hands down over Steve’s shoulders and back and pulling gently away.


“I,” he said, “good morning,” and then he felt stupid, because he’d already said that, but Tony was running his tongue over his bottom lip, pink and wet and—his eyes were very bright and blue where they were veiled by those long, soot-black lashes, his hair curling distractingly onto his forehead.


Tony smiled, and his eyes crinkled up and his face softened all over and it stole Steve’s breath, snatched it right out of his lungs like he had asthma all over again.  He swallowed thickly and looked away, searching for his clothes.


“Is it?” Tony asked, as Steve moved away. “A good morning? For you, I mean.”


Steve blinked.  “I—” he said.  “What?” He picked up his dogtags, settled them back on over his head.


“Has it been good so far?” Tony asked. When Steve looked back up at him, his face was hard to read.


Steve had no idea how to respond.  He just stared at Tony for a moment. He swallowed, felt his throat thicken, started to feel hot in the face, uncomfortable and foolish. He pulled on his briefs, feeling himself flush all down his back and over his rump as he dropped the towel and bent to do it, knowing he still wasn't answering, and giving Tony a show at the same time.  He pulled on his undershirt and sat down heavily on the bed.


It had been, it had been wonderful, felt wonderful, waking up here, in Tony’s bed, with Tony, but he didn’t know how to say that, and that horrible anxious feeling, that he’d done everything wrong, was churning in his stomach again, clawing at him, overwhelming now.


“Steve?” Tony’s voice, as if from far away. “What is it—darling?” He stepped forward, Steve thought, and wrenched his head up in a panic.


“Yes,” he blurted.  “You have a—very expensive shower.  It’s completely unnecessary.”


Tony stopped in mid-step, hand outreached as if he were going to rest it on Steve’s shoulder but hadn’t quite reached it yet. He looked at Steve quizzically. “Is that a compliment, or a lifestyle critique?” he asked with a bit of a laugh.


“Both,” Steve said, and swallowed.  “I’m sorry,” he said, finally.  Best to just be honest, not try to be something he wasn’t.  “I’m not any good at this.  I don’t know what I’m doing.  I can’t . . . talk around it, or be coy, or suave.  And I won’t be.”


“Believe me,” Tony said, with another touch of a laugh, but his eyes were warm, and there was affection in it, “the last thing I expected from you was coyness.”


Steve flushed.  “You don’t have to rub it in,” he muttered.


“It’s not a bad thing,” Tony murmured, and now he did touch his shoulder.  “I like it, anyway.”


 Oh. Maybe he did. Maybe he was surrounded by a lot of coyness, and doubletalk, and innuendo, and got tired of it, like Steve did. Well, probably not quite like Steve did, but . . . that was a thought.


“This doesn’t have to be anything you don’t want it to be,” Tony was saying, his eyes bright, oddly earnest, sincere, for him. It changed his face, Steve thought.  He was always handsome, but now he looked . . . like someone Steve might be able to understand. To touch.  “It doesn’t have to mean anything you don’t want it to.”


Steve looked up at him and swallowed. “What if I don’t know what I want?” he asked.


Tony shrugged.  “Then you don’t know,” he said, and smiled a little more. “You can have anything you want,” he said.


“Don’t say things you don’t mean,” Steve said, abruptly stung.  He pulled away, swallowed again, against an aching throat, and jammed his arms across his chest. It seemed cruel, suddenly, and his chest hurt.


Tony blinked, frowned.  “Why on earth wouldn’t I mean that?” he said.


Steve looked up at him and scowled. “Why would you?” he demanded, and abruptly it was too much, he felt his face tightening, his jaw wobble, and he pushed his hands back over his face, into his hair, to hide it.


“Steve—” Tony sounded like he was completely at a loss. Steve didn’t feel like helping him out.  He was on the verge of completely humiliating himself as it was.  He took a deep, shaking breath, forced all of it back, set his jaw, and raised his head again.  He wasn’t quite seeing straight, his vision felt glassy and blurred, but Tony had no way of knowing that.


It took him by surprise when Tony knelt in front of him, moving forward until his warm body was pressed up against Steve’s knees. He took Steve’s wrists in his hands, rubbed lightly against the pulse points on the insides of them, the softer skin there.  His hard, rough thumbs felt very warm against Steve’s wrists.  Steve let out a low, shaking, shuddering breath. “I don’t know what you want,” Tony said, low-voiced and simple, “but why don’t you tell me?”


Steve shrugged.  “I thought you . . .” he sighed.  “You have so many . . . conquests,” he said.


Tony’s face was priceless—his mouth quirked a little ruefully, his eyes wide, if not surprised.  “I am rather available,” he agreed. “But Steve—is this what you thought this was about?  One of my ‘conquests?’”


“Isn’t it?” Steve got out in a low voice through a tight throat.


“I’m a little insulted,” Tony said, though his voice was soft and easy and he didn’t sound it, “that you’d think I’d risk my position on the Ultimates for a quick, one-time fuck.  I thought I was giving you something you wanted.”


Steve’s ears burned, mortified.  “You slept with me because I’m your captain?” he choked out in horror.  He’d thought—he’d thought Tony had liked him.  At least that much, he’d had, but—


Tony sighed, dropped his head a little, then looked at him through his eyelashes, ruefully, as if inviting him to share in the awkwardness rather than closing him out.  “That came out wrong, didn’t it?” he said.  “Not like that, Steve.  Of—of course not.  But because you’re my friend, and you seemed like you wanted something.  Something good, something I could give you. Taking pleasure in each other isn’t wrong, you know.  And I didn’t think you’d want anything more than that.  But I enjoyed . . . pleasing you.  I wanted to.”  He made a face.  “And now I sound like an idiot, so if you could put me out of my misery any time I’d take it as a personal favor, gorgeous.”


“You don’t want me,” Steve muttered.


Tony raised his eyebrows, making another rather enquiring face at him.  “What does a man have to do to convince you, precisely?” he asked.  “Perform the seven carnal labors of Hercules?”


Steve flushed.  “Not . . . like that,” he said, then looked down again. Hell, he sounded pathetic. Like he was playing hard to get, or whining about not getting enough attention.  “It’s all right,” he added.  “I know I’m not really your type.”


“My type?” Tony asked, eyebrows arching even further.  “Good lord, do I even want to ask what that’s supposed to be?”


Steve swallowed.  “Glamorous, and sophisticated,” he said.  “Someone who can—can make you laugh. And smile.”  You should have someone to make you smile, he thought with a wistful, miserable ache somewhere in the vicinity of his chest.


Tony’s face did something strange, tightened up and smoothed out and smiled a little but in a way that trembled, and then he leaned forward, and touched his lips to Steve’s.  “You make me smile, darling,” he murmured, soft and intimate, breath warm over Steve’s lips, and he was smiling, now, really smiling.


Steve let out a thick breath that wrenched, trembling in his throat, and leaned forward into the kiss, clumsy, so that his mouth ended up bumping, sliding, against Tony’s, until he turned his head and tilted their lips together more properly.  “Tony,” he said.  “I—” He felt his hands coming up again, let them curl into the sides of Tony’s robe, closed his eyes, and kissed him, as hard as he wanted to, open-mouthed and feeling, let himself tug Tony into it.  The way Tony opened his mouth, breathlessly, leaned into it, let Steve take control of the kiss, deepen it, gasped and swayed forward, was pretty gratifying for Steve’s ego. Steve curled one arm around his shoulders, let himself bring him in close, let his fingers cup the back of Tony’s neck and pull.  His mouth was so soft and open beneath Steve’s now, and Steve could feel how breathless Tony had gone.  Steve put his other hand on Tony’s waist, let it settle flat against the curve of his back. It was searing and hot and passionate and when Steve pulled away, they were both gasping.


Tony let his head sag forward, his forehead pressing to Steve’s cheek.  “I really do hope this is all a lead up to you wanting to see me ever again,” he said, and his voice sounded just a little shaky, “because if this is all going to end up as some kind of elaborate tease, or you decide you don’t still like me in the morning after all, I think I might just scream.  Steve—please, tell me what you want. I’ll give it to you, I promise.”


Steve took a deep breath, considered, trying to calm his own racing heart, even out his own breathing as he blew it back out. “I want to take you to dinner,” he finally blurted.  “And a show, do people still do that?  Could we do that?”


“Oh, thank God,” Tony said, with a laugh, and then laid his head down on Steve’s shoulder.  His arms went around Steve’s waist, and he pressed in close between Steve’s knees. “And you even want to—to go out? With me?”  He peered up at Steve through his eyelashes again, looking a little uncertain, but he was smiling.  “People will talk, you know how they are.  And I’m a fella, as I think you might say. You don’t have to pull out all the stops, if you don’t want.”  He ran his fingers down Steve’s back, warm and dragging, leaned in, let his voice go warm and husky, still smiling.  “You can have whatever you want without that.”


Steve frowned.  “I’m gonna treat you right,” he said.  “It’s your business who you . . . lie down with if you’re both having fun and enjoying it, but Tony, don’t you do that. Don’t go to bed with people who don’t treat you right.”


Tony blinked, but didn’t move his head from Steve’s shoulder.  After a moment, he skimmed one hand up over his chest.  “Treat me right, hmm?” he purred.  “I think I like the sound of that.”


“Well, you should,” Steve said.  “And Tony,” he tilted his head so he could look down at him and tried a smile.  “I want to take you out. You hear me?”


Tony smiled, but it was a wide, real smile, Steve thought.  “Whatever you want, lovely,” he said, his hand sliding over, running down Steve’s side.


“You do . . . want this,” Steve said, swallowing a little.  “I mean . . . you do? You’re not just trying to . . . I don’t want your pity,” he finished stiffly, and he hadn’t wanted to say that, it wasn’t what he’d wanted to say, but he didn’t know how else to say it.


Tony laughed a little, his eyes closing for a moment. “Steve,” he said, “darling, I don’t think you’re the one most people would see as the pity fuck in this scenario.”


Steve scowled, and found himself tightening his hand in Tony’s hair, squeezing the back of his neck with his palm more tightly. “God,” he said. “Tony.  You do . . . want this?”


Tony smiled, still without moving his head, and his eyes opened again, almost dreamily.  “Oh, yes, I want it,” he said.  “I keep wondering if I’ve actually woken up yet.”


Steve flushed brightly, felt himself doing it. The idea that Tony might want him that much, that he’d think that he was still dreaming—“Oh,” he said stupidly.


Tony squeezed him around the middle, nestled in close, still smiling at him.  “Yes,” he said.  “Here I am, worrying about taking advantage of you, being selfish, because I wanted you so badly I couldn’t imagine you’d actually somehow want to be in my bed.  I almost checked to see if the booze had been drugged by some supervillain when you started flirting back last night.”


“Well,” Steve said blankly, “that’s probably always a good idea anyway.”  Though he doubted such a thing would have affected him; drugs usually didn’t.


Tony rolled his head inward, pressed his face into Steve’s shoulder.  “You’re so warm,” he murmured.  His arms curled a little more around Steve’s waist, around his back.  “I’m so glad you want to stay.  I’ll check the booze for you any time.”


“Hmph,” Steve said.  But they were only just barely talking about going out together. He thought he’d leave the topic of liquor, and Tony’s far too frequent consumption of it, for later. He did curve his fingers into Tony’s hair, soft and curling against his fingers, heavy and thick, stroked them down over the back of his neck.  They stayed like that for a minute.  Tony’s breathing was very warm against his shoulder, his head a soft, heavy weight.  Steve thought he liked it like this, having Tony’s arms around him, the way he pressed so easily into his shoulder, against his chest, the feeling of his hair against his neck, against Steve’s fingers.


“You had never been with a man before?” Tony said, after a moment, a little hesitant, for him, quiet over the words.


Steve startled a little, surprised. “No,” he finally said. He didn’t know what else to say.  He hesitated, but . . . the hell with it. “Was it that bad?”


“My goodness, no,” Tony said, and looked up at Steve again, his eyes crinkling in that rueful sort of smile.  “Whatever gave you the idea that it was bad?”


Steve shrugged, swallowing.  “I just lay there,” he said, finally, giving voice to those earlier worries.  “I didn’t do much of anything for you.  And I . . .”


“Shh,” Tony said.  “I enjoy doing things for my partners, handsome, it’s something I’m into.  Very into.  It was amazing.  You were wonderful, and passionate, and seeing you lost in pleasure was incredible, easily the best part of my whole month.  You felt sublime, and that thing you do, with clenching your muscles inside,” he gently dragged one hand from the small of Steve’s back down along the curve of his rear, tugging just slightly at his underwear as he did, and Steve went bright hot red all over, he felt it, “it’s really unfair that a virgin would be so very good at it, though I suppose it’s all part of having such amazing muscular control, isn’t it? It’s not to do with how good it was; it’s that you didn’t seem to know what to expect.  At all, really.”


“I didn’t,” Steve said. “And I’m not a virgin.” He felt like Tony should know that already.  He’d been around for Steve and Janet, after all.


“Penetrative virgin?” Tony tried, screwing up his nose and grinning.  “I don’t think you’d appreciate the term ass virgin.”


“Don't be disgusting,” Steve said.


“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” Tony said with a laugh. He sobered after a moment, though, looked up at Steve.  “So why me?” he asked, then smiled again, but this time it didn’t look real, too light and brittle.  “You can say it’s because I’m a man-whore, I pride myself on it, you know.”


“That is not why,” Steve said, then frowned. It kind of was. That term was just . . . and he didn’t like how forced that smile looked on Tony’s face. “All right, it was partly . . . that you have a lot of partners.  But you seem to enjoy . . . it, and—”


“You can say enjoy sex,” Tony said. “I do.”


“I know you do,” Steve said, and blushed, then let his lips meet Tony’s.  “You’re beautiful,” he said, and swallowed.


To his surprise, Tony flushed, a slow, deep red as Steve pulled back.  “Well,” he muttered.  “I do try. I.  Thank you?”


“Mmm,” Steve said, gratified by that blush. At least it matched his own, so he didn’t feel quite as alone.  “That’s why, I suppose.  You’re attractive. And I like you a . . . I like you. And I trust you. And I thought that even if you laughed at me, you’d take me to bed.”


Tony’s face tightened at that.  “Steve,” he said.  “No, I—I’d never laugh at you.  Not like that.  Not for that.”


Steve shrugged.  “Well, I didn't know that,” he said practically. “But I knew you wouldn’t . . . rat me out, at least.”


“Never,” Tony murmured.  “And now—I’m sorry, but—” he made a self-deprecating face “—you were worried, worrying, about that, and now you want to take me out to dinner in front of God and country?  And the press?”


“It’s different when it’s your own choice,” Steve said, and smiled, reached down and rubbed his thumb over Tony’s cheek.


“Is that so?” Tony murmured, but he smiled and nuzzled into Steve’s touch, rubbing his face against his palm almost like a big house cat, so Steve didn’t mind.


“It is,” he said, and then he sighed. “I never,” he said, and stopped. “I would never have had a chance with a man like you anyway,” he said.  “Even if I’d tried.”


Tony shrugged a little, but he was smiling, and pressed a kiss to Steve’s palm.  “Well, then they wouldn’t have known what they’d been missing,” he said. “Even if you’d tried?” he added a moment later, more softly, his eyes still on Steve.


“I didn’t want to lose my chance to serve my country,” Steve said.  His throat felt thick, the words stiff.  “It was worth it.  Even if I could never look at men again.  It wasn’t like . . . I had any intention of doing anything, before.”  And it had been.  More than worth it.  Even if it had been hard.  But he’d had Gail.  She had made everything all right, since there hadn’t been any reason to look at anyone else.


But then he hadn’t had that reason for it to be okay, that he didn’t ever look, anymore.  And he still hadn’t looked.  And then . . . .


Tony pressed another kiss to Steve’s palm, soft and tender.  “Well,” he said. “I know you’re not always particularly impressed with time’s relentless march, but we have improved in some areas.  It’s an age of exploration.”  He laughed. “And no one’s going to say you can’t be Captain America for having the bad taste to take me of all people out to dinner.”


Steve frowned.  Maybe people would think he did have bad taste, but he didn’t care about that.  It was strange to think about that, people thinking Tony was a bad choice for him, when he’d been so certain Tony wouldn’t even want him, that he couldn’t even compete.


“I choose the place,” Steve said, and touched Tony’s nose with his thumb, then his lips, his chin.  “And I pay.  At least the first time.”  Tony blinked, started to smile that wry, crooked smile at him, but Steve shook his head at him. “Humor me.”


“All right,” Tony said.  “I suppose I can restrain myself from spoiling you desperately for one night.”


Steve made a face, and Tony laughed.


“No promises,” Tony said.


Steve smiled.  The spoiling . . . he didn’t know about that.  But being cared about enough that someone wanted to spoil him . . . that was something.  It was hard to feel properly annoyed about it.


Tony smiled back, the smile widening, like he was just starting to believe it.  He raised his head, put both hands on Steve’s shoulders.  He just looked at him for a moment, smiling, and it was Steve’s turn to look at him a bit curiously.  Tony looked pleased.  Steve liked that.  “I’m happy you came,” Tony said, finally, still smiling that wide, soft sort of smile, not quite silly, but a little too broad for seriousness.


Steve reached up, closed his hands over Tony’s, not thinking about it too much.  “Came to the party?” he said.  “We . . . did a bit more than that.”


“I know,” Tony said.  “I mean, just . . .” he smiled a little, self-deprecating. “Wow.”


Steve smiled.  It was such a very . . . unsophisticated thing to say, though Tony carried it off.  He squeezed Tony’s hands lightly.  They felt very warm under his.  He still couldn’t say why he’d come, even, though he didn’t regret it.  He didn’t regret a single second of it. He was glad, too. “So you’re . . . glad?” he said, and hated how shy he had sounded.


Tony laughed a little, and leaned in, let his head rest against Steve’s again, forehead against his cheek.  “Very glad,” he said.  “Yes.  I’m honestly a little giddy, I think, if I say anything egregiously stupid try not to hold it against me.”


Steve felt himself starting to blush again. Again. It was so frustrating. But Tony was so close, and warm, and he could smell the scent of him from up close, and he’d said . . . . “But you do this kind of thing all the time,” Steve pointed out.


“Not so much the second date, after the proverbial legs have been spread,” Tony said, brutally honest, over a laugh, sitting back on his heels.  He stayed there, just looking up at Steve, and Steve swallowed.


“You’re not going to scare me off now,” he told him.


Tony shrugged.  “It’s true,” he said.  “Though I suppose we technically haven’t had a first date.” He smiled, rueful and bright. “Still plenty of time to come to your senses.”


“Stop that,” Steve said.  He leaned forward, put his hands on either side of Tony’s face, tilted it up toward him.  Tony’s eyes were wide and a little searching.  Steve sighed.  “I don’t know if I’ve been clear,” he said.  “I want to go with you.  I’m not the sort to jerk a man’s chain.”


Tony ducked his head, pressed kisses to Steve’s fingers, the base of his palm.  “We’ll try it and see what happens,” he said.


“Yeah,” Steve said, with a smile, trying to be reassuring, though it felt a bit odd on his face, and ran one hand back through Tony’s hair.  Tony sighed, and his eyes slipped mostly closed.  Steve noticed that, kept stroking his hair for a few moments, enjoying the soft, silky heaviness, the way it curled against his fingers.  “I don’t give up easily,” he said, after a moment, because he felt like he needed to say something else, like it needed more. It was strange, how reassuring this felt.  Like Tony really did want him.  Wasn’t just putting it on. That he was nervous too . . . maybe Steve should have felt guilty for that, but it was nice, not to be alone in it.  To be standing in the same place.  “Can I stay for a while longer?” he found himself asking.


“Yes,” Tony said instantly.  His eyes opened, and he smiled again. “Please do.  I’ll get us some breakfast.  Would you like that?”


“Do you eat breakfast?” Steve asked, smiling a little. He brushed unruly curls back behind Tony’s ear.  Tony grinned.


“I would with you, darling,” he said. “Are you more of an eggs and bacon type, salad, avocado smoothies and yogurt, pancakes, croissants and coffee?”


“You have all those options?” Steve asked, a bit taken aback.  He looked around.


“I will, after I call someone,” Tony said cheerfully.


“You know people who do takeout for breakfast?” Steve asked.


“I know someone who does pretty much anything,” Tony said.  “Well, maybe not anything, but you have to go a little further into the bizarre and unlikely than that before my resources are tapped out.  Please tell me you want coffee, at least.”


“I want orange juice,” Steve said.  “But you can have coffee.”


“Thank you,” Tony said, grinning.  He got to his feet, easily, and then hesitated, bent down and dropped a kiss onto Steve’s lips.  Steve reached up, curled his hands around his hips this time, leaning into it.  “If you don’t tell me, I’ll just get one of everything I can think of,” Tony murmured. His fingers found their way back into Steve’s hair.


“We can’t have that,” Steve mumbled back against Tony’s bottom lip, before sliding their mouths together again. “Eggs and bacon. Fried.  Over easy.”


“Cholesterol, darling,” Tony said into the kiss.


“You’re one to talk about eating healthy,” Steve said, and squeezed Tony’s waist.


“Hmm, touché,” Tony said.  He pulled away from the kiss slightly, reeled back a bit, grinning.  “All right,” he said, breathless and smiling.  His eyes were bright.  “I’m going to go. I’m going to go call that in.”


“All right,” Steve said, smiling a little because Tony was smiling, and because he was grinning like that and looked breathless and excited and almost flustered, and it was endearing.  “You go do that.”


“Yeah,” Tony said, breathlessly rough and a little husky the way his voice had gone a lot over the past day or so.  Steve was starting to realize it wasn’t necessarily an attempt at seduction.  “I will.”  He trotted into the other room, and then Steve heard his voice, rising and falling, as he no doubt made the order he’d been talking about.


He lay back on the bed and smiled at the sunlight on the ceiling.  He felt very . . . warm, bright, a little lightheaded, that dizzy feeling from the night before, only even lighter, looser—it was strange, but it wasn’t a bad feeling, either. Normally he would have forced himself to get up, to do something, to be in control of himself, not lying around on someone else’s bed, lazing in the sun even though it was already almost eight thirty in the morning.


He didn’t get up.  He slid one arm back behind his head and stayed right where he was.