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A Late-Night Snack, and Other Good Ideas

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It’s a little after two in the morning, and Steve is in the kitchen for a necessary snack. He’s achieved said snack, and is in the middle of enjoying it with the understated glee that comes from satisfying a late-night pang, when he smells it.

A faint, sweet waft in the air – distinct and unmistakable and utterly imperceptible to everyone save himself.

Steve sighs and resumes chewing his sandwich, albeit now with grim resignation.

Tony’s up late again in his workshop, either creating something revolutionary or tinkering with things that need no tinkering whatsoever. Steve, though only partially awake, successfully recalls that Tony was also up late last night but not the night before that, which means that Steve has another two or three days of this before it goes away. Until the next cycle.

Steve has to remind himself that he shouldn’t be annoyed. Though there are many things that are annoying about Tony, the fact that his heats are more intense that most people Steve’s known is not at all Tony’s fault and shouldn’t be held against him. Also not Tony’s fault is that Steve’s olfactory senses are, like his other senses, heightened by the serum.

This was less of a problem when they lived in the tower. Something about the air circulation, or the layout of the floors and position of Tony’s workshop and quarters, meant that Steve rarely caught Tony’s heat scent, and even when he did, it was easier to stay out of the way.

The compound offers less escape. It has fewer floors, and less distractions if he leaves the main building, especially at this night hour. The first time Steve had to sit through Tony’s heat in the compound, he’d slept at a quiet corner the roof, and the next day bailed entirely on a flimsy excuse of having to be in the city for a few days.

Not for the first time, Steve wonders why on earth Tony just doesn’t take care of it. God knows the man has the means and the inclination, yet he lets his heat linger on and on when pretty much all omegas Steve’s known deal with it at the first signs. Not to mention that the couple of times Tony got his heat while they were on away missions, he did deal with it, quickly and with an efficiency that even Natasha couldn’t complain about.

Steve looks at his empty hands, dismayed to find that he’s finished his sandwich. Worse yet, he’s still annoyed. He could bail tomorrow, but although Sam covered him the first time without question, it’s unfair to ask that of him again without explanation.

Footsteps jar Steve from his thoughts. He hadn’t bothered turning on the lights – he could see well enough without them – be he switches the closest one on now, making Wanda jump.

“Oh,” Wanda says, hand on her chest. She flushes, almost guiltily, but then her expression clears. “Wait. You smell it, too, don’t you?”

“You’re kidding me,” Steve says. “Heat scent?”

“It’s not yours, that’s for sure.” Wanda moves past him to the shelves, grabbing her favorite tea. “I thought I was imagining it, but it seems I’m still learning the ways that I’ve been changed.”

Steve presses a hand to his temple. “I’ll see to it.”

“Oh.” Wanda looks at him, startled. “I don’t mean to ‘cause trouble. I understand things are done differently here.”

“It’s not you,” Steve says drily. “Don’t worry. Turn the light off when you go.”

“All right,” Wanda says, quiet and only a little confused as Steve marches off for the inevitable confrontation.

On the one hand, there is relief in having Wanda as an excuse. On the other hand, it feels petty to use Wanda as an excuse when Steve’s been wanting to do this since the time he’d bought a whole range of scented candles in the hopes of keeping Tony’s scent out of his room, and all the smells mixed together gave him the worst migraine he’d had since coming out of the ice.

But each step that Steve takes down the hallway and up the flight of stairs to Tony’s workshop, the heat scent grows and Steve’s reluctance fades. This may be inappropriate but it’s also necessary, and if they could get through the Ultron fiasco just fine, they can definitely get through an awkward acknowledgement of biological necessities and personal comfort levels.

At the workshop doors, Steve looks up. “FRIDAY?”

Sure thing, Captain Rogers.”

The doors slide open, giving Steve a full blast of an omega in heat. Thick and syrupy, the scent seems to soak straight into Steve’s pores, making his skin tingle. Steve resists the urge to take a deep breath, for that would do the opposite of help, and marches in with as much focus as he can muster.

“Tony—”

Steve skids to a halt when DUM-E rolls into his path, blocking his way. Tony’s at the farther side of the workshop, beyond the cluster of benches and in orchestrating a crowd of blue projections.

“Back up, DUM-E,” Tony calls out. “I did let him in.”

DUM-E whirrs and draws away, allowing Steve to move deeper into the workshop.

“What’s the emergency?” Tony asks.

“Not an emergency, it’s…” Steve pauses, letting the accumulated irritation of the two dozen or so heats he’d had to endure wash over him. “Why do you let your heats run long?”

Tony raises an eyebrow. “That’s kinda private, wouldn’t you say?”

“Less private than you think.”

It takes a few seconds for that to sink in. When it does, Tony’s face goes slack in surprise.

“You can smell me?” Tony waves the projections away, leaving him standing alone and wide-eyed in the empty floor. He doesn’t look like he’s in heat – there’s none of that rosy flush and obvious sweating – but that’s at odds with a fresh pulse of warm want that steeps into Steve’s skin. “From outside the workshop?”

“Yep.”

“Even with the filters and the…” Tony trails off. “Of course you can. Makes sense. This whole time?”

“Even back at the tower.”

“Well smack me sideways and call me a banana. Why didn’t you say something?”

Steve sighs. “Because it’s rude, Tony.”

“To me? You care about being rude to me?”

“This is different,” Steve insists.

“Is it?”

“You know it is! I wouldn’t—” Steve stiffens when DUM-E beeps and raises its extinguisher arm. “I’m sorry. I won’t raise my voice.”

“Oh my god, this is amazing.” Tony brings his hands together in a gleeful clap. “You’re actually backing down, holy shit. I should’ve been in heat when we first met.”

Steve rolls his eyes. “You would’ve been even more insufferable.”

“True, but you wouldn’t have done anything about it.”

Steve opens his mouth and shuts it again. Tony laughs, which should add on to Steve’s list of grievances for the night, but funnily enough Steve finds himself relaxing, even smiling a little. He’d rather expected Tony to feel upset or threatened (even after a few years working together, Steve still on occasion hits Tony’s buttons without meaning to) yet right now he seems utterly at ease with Steve’s presence, his scent free of sour discomfort.

Social norms have changed in the twenty-first century, but cycles seem to still be highly personal, and in many ways even more so than it had been during wartime stress. Steve’s always read Tony as being very private on this front as well, much the same way that Tony holds a great deal close to his chest, no matter how irreverently he acts or how tasteless his jokes can be.

There is trust in Tony’s ease, too. At least, Steve chooses to read trust in Tony’s allowing an alpha into his workshop while he’s in heat, though Tony probably has at least half a dozen failsafes lying around to protect himself should the need arise, DUM-E only being the most obvious one.

“Geez, relax a little,” Tony says. “I’m getting tired just looking at you.”

“I’ll pass,” Steve says, standing exactly where he is. “And it’s not just me. Wanda can detect your heat, too.”

“Oh.” Tony grimaces. “Okay, that’s awkward.”

“Wanda smelling you is awkward, but my smelling you isn’t?”

“Jury’s still out if Wanda’s thinking about killing me in my sleep, so yes, that is very awkward.” Before Steve can protest on that point, Tony adds, “You smelling my heat is just hilarious.”

It’s late and Steve can sense the start of another headache, so he decides to let that one go. “I’m glad to be a source of amusement. But would you at least consider dealing with it now? We’d appreciate it.”

“Hmm,” Tony says. “Do you do that a lot?”

“Do what?”

“Your arms.”

Steve freezes. His arms are partially crossed, and it’s only at Tony’s comment that he realizes that his fingers are curled and his fingernails are cutting short, shallow scratches in skin. Steve unfolds his arms, forcing them straight by his sides, and refuses to be embarrassed.

“Sometimes,” Steve admits. “At night, usually.”

“See, and this is why you should’ve said something.”

“It’s fine!” Steve puts his hands up when DUM-E beeps another warning. Calmer, he says, “It’s fine. It’s just a small irritation. I can deal with it.”

“Story of your life, eh.”

“Tony.”

“I’m just saying,” Tony says. “DUM-E, stand down. Go guard the door if it bothers you so much. Thanks. Steve?”

“What?” Steve says.

“I let my heats run long because I work well when I’m frustrated.” Tony shrugs at Steve’s disbelieving face. “I know it’s supposed to be the opposite, and sometimes it is, but most of the time I’m pretty good at channeling that frustration. It’s like working in that danger zone as the bomb’s ticking down to zero and your brain’s forced to think clearly. If I push it really long I can get an insane number of hours of productivity in a row.”

“Ah.” Steve nods. “Sounds about as healthy as pulling all-nighters on nothing but caffeine and energy drinks.”

“I live for your judgement,” Tony says solemnly.

Steve shakes his head. “Whatever you do with your cycles is your business, but you don’t even smell that happy when you do finally get off.”

Tony’s mouth falls open. “You can smell that?”

“Now I remember why I’ve never told anyone this before.”

“Don’t feel bad about sharing. I just told you that I do some of my best work while I’m riding the heatwave. Your latest suit included, by the way.”

“I can’t believe you’re trying to make this more uncomfortable than it already is.”

I’m making this uncomfortable? I’m not the one who waltzed in here with that.” Tony opens one hand in a vague downward gesture.

Steve doesn’t need to look down to know that his drawstring pants are doing a poor job of hiding his erection. A whiff of regular heat is easily ignored, but Tony’s lengthy ones have become so routine that Steve’s gotten into an equally persistent routine of ignoring his sympathy hard-ons.

If this were anyone else, Steve would’ve been mortified at even considering stepping into the room as them. But this is Tony, so Steve just says, “Have you never seen one before?”

Tony tilts sideways, laughing. “Holy shit. I wasn’t sure if you even knew it was there. How can you walk with that?”

“I’m Captain America?” Steve ventures.

Tony barks a laugh, and his scent – Jesus – pulses again, forcing Steve to back up another step.

“You’re one to talk,” Steve says. “You just told me that you work during your heats.”

“That’s different. I ride it out. You’re suppressing yourself. Do you just enjoy bottling everything up?”

“I—” Steve can see the retreat point for what it is, and decides that there’s no shame in taking it. Another day, another time, he’d be happy to debate with Tony the difference between suppression and politely ignoring the inconvenient, but there is danger here. Tony’s ease is no longer a net positive, and Tony’s casual acknowledgement of Steve’s arousal has flicked on that switch in Steve’s brain that’s forcing him to acknowledge his arousal.

Which is very much there, a steady pressure held at bay for now but is gathering its forces for an impending assault. Tony is attractive, he’s always been attractive, it’s a fact of the universe, but it’s usually not a problem because if Steve were the sort of person to be distracted by beautiful people then he’d never get anything done. But there are times like now when Tony seems to warp reality around him, like a charismatic tuning fork that draws in all of Steve’s senses due Tony, who could stand to be a little guiltier about it.

Even as Steve thinks that thought he knows that it’s wrong, because Tony can’t help but be what he is. It’s on Steve to draw the line even if Tony acts as if there isn’t one. Because.

“Good night,” Steve says stiffly.

“Really?” Tony says, surprised.

“Yes, it’s technically morning, but it’s still the night and—”

“No,” Tony huffs in exasperation. “I mean… Look, when FRIDAY said you were asking for entry, I figured it had to be for one of three reasons. One, you had no idea I’m in heat and wanted to yell at me about something. Two, you knew I’m heat and wanted to yell at me to do something about it. Three, you knew I’m heat and wanted to yell at me to do… well. You.”

“That makes no sense,” Steve says. “You didn’t even know I could smell you from outside.”

“You’ve memorized all our cycles,” Tony points out. “And birthdays, anniversaries, and our family’s birthdays and anniversaries—”

“I get the point,” Steve snaps. “But that’s not… Shouldn’t you be more on guard, then?”

“You wouldn’t jump me,” Tony scoffs.

“I could have.”

“But you wouldn’t.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Buddy,” Tony says patiently, “you’re so hard your dick is threatening to declare its independence. But that’s only making you angry. Not at me – at yourself.”

“No,” Steve says, as calmly as he can. “You’re wrong.”

“Uh-uh, sure. And I’m wrong about you not wanting to get some of this.” Tony opens his arms, while Steve’s mouth falls open in shock. “Oh come on, you said you wanted me to deal with my heat, right? I thought you were offering.”

“I was not,” Steve hisses.

“Really? That’s a waste. I mean, I’m leaking and you’re raring to go, it just seems logical. Oh.” Tony sobers up, his teasing smile disappearing. “Oh shit, I’m sorry, I thought you were okay with—”

“I was in the army, Tony,” Steve says. “I think I understand the necessity of heat sex more than you do.”

“Then what’s the problem? It’s not because it’s me, is it? No, it can’t be me.”

“It’s you,” Steve says flatly.

“Wow, screw you, too.”

“You’ll make it weird. Hell, you’re making it weird right now, and I know better than to give you more ammunition to use against me in front of other people.”

“Hey.” For the first time since Steve stepped into the workshop, Tony frowns. His scent curdles, pungent and unhappy. “I wouldn’t do that. I’ve never done that, and I know you’ve never heard me say one word about anyone who’s helped me through a heat. I bet you don’t even know anyone I’ve been with, who I wasn’t dating at the time.”

This is true, because it folds into the sides of Tony that he keeps tucked away and hidden. Steve had never considered that he could be folded into that, too, as if he were a close friend and conspirator. Sure, he and Tony had managed to get the friend part worked out (eventually) but he’d never have guessed that Tony would be open to this.

The anger dissipates a little, leaving Steve sheepish and touched.

“Sorry, that was unfair of me,” Steve says.

“Nah,” Tony says, waving it off. “It was a fair assumption.”

“You can’t even let me apologize in peace?”

“It’s the principle of it.”

Steve sighs. “Do you want me to knot you or not?”

“You just said you weren’t offering,” Tony says. “I mean, I get if being around me makes you woozy in the head, but I’m not a fan of mixed signals.”

“Fair enough.” Steve turns and starts to walk. “Good night, Tony.”

“Oh I see—”

Steve makes it a few feet before a fresh wave of scent hits him. He staggers, knees weak and hands just barely catching the edge of a nearby bench before the rest of him hits the floor. Steve gasps for breath but that just makes it worse, each lungful saturated with the richness of Tony.

It’s with a great deal of effort that Steve scrabbles up to his feet. When he looks across the room, he sees that Tony has… changed.

A few seconds ago there had been few physical signs of Tony’s heat. Tony can’t control what leaks through his pores, but apparently he could control pretty much everything else. All he’d tamped down is now let loose – his eyes are glassy, a pink flush rises up his neck, and his lips are parted in a smile as he pants for air.

Steve is floored. He knows very well that Tony’s got willpower and stubbornness to fill the Avengers Tower, but he’d never thought those traits possible to be used for this. Steve’s brain, addled as it is by the pheromone-thick air, supplies a word: masochistic. But that doesn’t seem accurate either. Tony’s not denying himself what his body wants; it’s more than he knows his body so well that he can steer its urges to its best potential.

Is it even appropriate to admire a person for being able to do this? Steve figures it must be admiration, because it has him transfixed and drinking in the details of Tony’s body, which Tony so obviously wants Steve to appreciate.

Tony’s a specimen, of course, this isn’t new. What is new is the welcome in his body language, the way he holds him limbs loose and relaxed and ready. A shiver tingles up Steve’s spine at the shameless, easy presentation of a man in heat and waiting.

“I’m.” Steve coughs, clearing his throat. “I’m offering.”

“Cool,” Tony replies. “I accept.”

For a second nothing happens, beyond the two of them staring at each other from opposite sides of the room. Then Steve moves, all two-hundred pounds of super soldier at full speed, and Tony scrambles, shoes squeaking on the floor.

“Oh no,” Tony flails, laughing. “Oh no oh no—”

One obstacle multiplies to two then three as Tony races behind a bench, then around a mound of Iron Man-esque bits and pieces. Steve leaps, changes direction, and catches Tony around the waist just as he tries to double-back. Tony whoops in surprise when his feet leave the floor, Steve hauling him with ease as he searches for a place to land.

“Rogers, you fiend,” Tony breathes.

If Tony’s scent is overwhelming across the room, it’s worse still when close enough to touch him. Tony has no leverage when being carried like this, but he still manages to rub up against Steve, rolling his shoulders and elbows to catch any part of Steve he can reach. The scent of his arousal is thickening, too – inching closer to the need and desperation that marks the apex of the heat. Steve’s cock throbs in commiseration.

“On that bench,” Tony says.

Steve turns, Tony still locked in his arms. “Not the floor?”

“Yep. Hard to starboard, Cap.”

Steve moves as directed, and spends a moment or two appreciating Tony’s core strength under his arms. “You got condoms over there?”

“Sure, but what do you say ‘bout doing me bare?”

“Kinda messy.”

“Feels good, though. My implant’s working fine, and you can’t catch anything.”

“All right.” Steve sets Tony on his feet, but shoves him at the bench before he can get his bearings. Tony inhales sharply but stays where he is, knees knocking the side of the bench even as he reaches down to open his pants.

Steve doesn’t get sick anymore, but he remembers (vividly) what a fever feels like. This is similar, heat prickling his skin and making his fingers clumsy as pushes his drawstring pants down. Air on his cock makes it twitch, but Steve ignores it, focusing instead on Tony’s unveiling. Tony’s elegant hands are doing the magic trick of the ages, dragging his pants down to reveal one goddamned glorious ass.

“Yep,” Steve says, for no reason whatsoever. He slides one hand into the crevice between Tony’s thighs, the journey made easy by sweat and – Jesus – slick. How on earth was Tony capable of conversation while this was going on? He’s overheated, his hole soft and ready under Steve’s thumb.

“Oh boy,” Tony mumbles, his tongue suddenly too thick. He makes a sharp, shocked sound when Steve gets two fingers right on in, and slumps forward, sprawling boneless on the worktop.

Steve peels off his shirt and folds it into a square. It takes some urging, but he manages to push the shirt between Tony’s face and the wooden surface underneath. That done, Steve puts one hand on the back of Tony’s neck to hold him still, while Steve takes his cock with his other hand to guide it forward.

There should be some preamble but Tony’s too far gone, well into the second day of an elongated heat. Steve bites back an automatic reprimand – no point blaming Tony for something he’d engineered on purpose – and pushes into the whorl of muscle. It’s so easy it’s almost ridiculous, Tony’s body opening up like Steve’s size means nothing.

Okay, maybe it’s not entirely nothing, judging from the sounds Tony’s making. He’s damn near wheezing, and his thighs are tense, the cords of muscles straining. His scent wavers, relief mixing in with the need, until Tony’s body catches up and realizes that the one long push isn’t enough.

“Holy fuck how deep are you,” Tony breathes. “You all in? Oh my god I’m full.”

Steve scrutinizes the side of Tony’s face, how his eyes are half-lidded and unseeing, his mouth slack. Tony’s practically plastered to the worktop, his face pressed firm against Steve’s shirt, which is amassing a small collection of drool.

“I’m moving now.” Steve makes a few shallow thrusts, testing the give of the slick. Tony grunts, his channel tightening briefly, and then they’re in business.

Tony feels incredible. He sheaths Steve’s dick so nicely, snug and tight and perfect, and it is with great fortitude that Steve shakes off the fog in his head and fucks him in earnest.

Steve moves almost by muscle memory, despite their never having done this before. When they’re this close, Steve can catch every shift in Tony’s scent – microchanges in the pulse from Tony’s body that tells Steve what’s working and what’s not. Slow down, speed up, roll his hips just so, get as deep as he can. Tony’s an open book like this, his slick copious enough that there’s almost enough to drip down Steve’s balls.

If it feels this good to Steve, he can’t imagine what it’s like for Tony. The guy’s beyond speech, garbling nonsense and whining and scratching weakly at the wood grain. Tony’s gone over to the full of his heat, the itch inside only soothed by the urging of Steve’s cock.

Steve has the stray thought that this should feel more surreal. He’d never given a thought to fucking Tony, let alone fucking him through his heat, let alone fucking him through his heat in an unplanned late-night rendezvous. But now that it’s actually happening it feels natural, even sensible. Tony needs it good and Steve can give it to him good, so why not?

Tony comes first with a hoarse, stuttering cry. Steve’s hand on the back of his neck keeps Tony from jerking too hard, so mostly he just shudders in the narrow space allowed him between Steve’s body and the bench. Steve pets him through it, his free hand moving in gentle circles over his back.

At long last the spasming tightness around Steve’s shaft eases up. Tony’s breathing calms, and the air clears a little. Steve takes a few deep breaths, and then leans in to sniff at Tony’s neck, just behind his ear.

“You okay?” Steve asks quietly.

“Mmm,” Tony says, low and pleased.

Steve pulls out some and peers down at the flush between Tony’s very shapely butt. Very carefully, Steve probes a finger at the opening stretched taut around his dick, backing off when a new rush of slick comes forth.

“Hey where’s your knot?” Tony raises his head, trying to look over his shoulder. “Didn’t you tie off?”

“Let’s do one more,” Steve says.

“You’re kidding me.”

“You’re still, um. Wet.” Steve leans in again, this time pressing his face to the base of Tony’s head and breathing deeply. “See, this is what I mean. You get off, but there’s still… I don’t know, it’s not enough.”

“Well, yes, obviously,” Tony says irritably. “There’s no knot.”

It could be that, or it could be something else – perhaps a side-effect of Tony’s prolonging his heats, or some subconscious remnant from his break-up with Pepper. Steve hardly has the right to voice any of this aloud, so he nuzzles Tony instead, rubbing his nose against the line where skin borders Tony’s sweat-damp hair.

“I’ll keep going if you want.” Steve trails his fingers along Tony’s thighs, letting Tony follow their movement and call it off if need be. Steve’s goal this time is Tony’s front, and he cups Tony’s partially-softened cock gently. He gets a hiss for that, so Steve moves up to Tony’s stomach, which is also sweat damp but firm, and very nice to touch.

Tony wriggles a little, confusion marring his scent. Steve slows his movements, watchful, until Tony says, “Hey, help me get my shirt off.”

They work together, pulling Tony’s band tee up and off, and then there’s miles more skin for Steve to touch. He is golden and contoured all over, with moles and sunspots dotting the canvas. There are a handful of scars, too, though Steve knows there are more on the front than the back. Steve smooths his palms over as much as he can reach, following the curves of relaxed muscle, and marvels (as he does every once in a while) at how much of a regular guy Tony is underneath everything, and just how hard he pushes himself to keep up with the rest of them.

Not that Tony would ever admit that; no more than Steve would admit that he has limits as of his own.

“Oh,” Tony sighs.

Steve’s nostrils flare, catching the whiff of renewed arousal. Tony’s warming up again, his heat recognizing and reviving itself for a second wave. It’s certainly not a chill that has Tony’s fingers trembling against the worktop.

“I’ve made a terrible mistake,” Tony whispers. When Steve stiffens, Tony says, “That doesn’t mean stop.”

So Steve goes slow, taking the pace of a marathon instead of a sprint. His dick stays inside Tony but he barely thrusts at all, allowing Tony to enjoy everything else – Steve’s hands on him, Steve’s knees rubbing the back of Tony’s legs, Steve’s forehead rubbing the back of Tony’s shoulders. The marking makes Tony relax, so Steve takes the extra step of wrapping his arms around Tony’s torso, raising him off the worktop in a semi-hug.

Steve feels the edges of Tony’s surgery scars – Tony’s heart beating rapidly beneath – and stays away from the epicenter, just to be safe.

It goes on for a while. Steve has no complaints, relishing the gradual change of Tony’s scent as his enjoyment ramps up. Sweat eventually makes it trickier to hold on but Steve manages, one arm locked solidly around Tony’s torso as Tony whimpers and clenches impatiently around Steve’s cock.

It’s really nice. Not the kind of bonding Steve would’ve thought for them, but Tony’s sexy and incredibly responsive, and Steve would be lying if he said that he wasn’t looking forward to coming inside him.

As it approaches, Tony stops swearing and muttering instructions. There are other signs to be read: his smell, his impatient wriggling, and the subtle give of his slick-loose hole. Timing it right, Steve carefully sets Tony back onto the worktop and snaps his hips – once, twice, a third time, and that’s all it takes. Tony sobs, loud and shocked, though the sound quickly thins into softer semi-hysterical laughter.

This time, Steve gives in as well. He closes his eyes and lets himself feels all of it: Tony under him, around him, in his lungs. Steve feels himself growl through his orgasm, but he can’t hear it for the roaring pulse in his ears. He drives himself as far inside Tony as he can go, and sighs when his knot locks in.

Steve coasts on it for as long as he can, and then slowly unfolds himself, straightening up and exhaling slowly. He has the bizarre urge to clap – good job, team – but settles for rubbing Tony’s hip comfortingly.

For a long time there’s just their breathing, and the faint concerned chirps of DUM-E and U who are still standing guard at the door.

At long last Tony says, “I am not going to be able to walk tomorrow.”

“Good, then you can catch up on your sleep,” Steve says.

“Tricksy,” Tony says with a laugh. “I see right through you.”

“In a manner of speaking.” Steve wipes a hand across his forehead, getting the sweat out of his eyes. “Is it okay if we sit down?”

Tony flails a hand to his left. “Should be a stool there. Is it there?”

“Yeah, got it.” Steve reaches out with his foot, hooking the stool and drawing it closer. The seat itself has to be lowered and Steve’s pants set as a protective layer on it, before Steve gets on the slightly tricky business of sitting down while Tony’s tied to him.

Steve moves carefully, one arm wrapped around Tony’s middle to hold him steady and balanced. Everything seems in order, so Steve exhales and stretches his legs out in front of him, only to freeze when Tony goes rigid, his inner muscles pulsing tight around Steve’s knot.

“Did that hurt? I can…” Steve trails off, nostrils flaring. “Oh. Okay.”

Tony’s orgasm is shorter this time, thank goodness. Once he’s done, Tony lets out a long, very hearty, very pleased exhale, and reaches down to pat Steve’s hand where it’s resting on his stomach.

“Yeah.” Tony stretches his neck left and right. “You okay back there? You mind if I work?”

“I’m fine,” Steve says. “And sure, go ahead.”

“FRIDAY,” Tony says, cracking his knuckles. “Pull up the specs on the stage two-scale repulsors. The ones I was working on… yesterday? Or the day before that.”

Brushing them off for you, boss.

Steve settles down, watching quietly while Tony pulls up a screen and starts rattling off commands. Steve shouldn’t approve his getting back to work when it should be close to three by now, but Tony sounds different. His words are calm and crisp and clear, as though it’s the middle of day and caffeine’s had little role to play in his clarity of mind. Tony’s heat scent lingers in the air but it’s no longer fresh; when Steve presses his nose to Tony’s shoulder, the skin is clean and close to his base scent. A quick rinse and he’d be good to walk outdoors and not have heads turn his way at all.

It’s just biology and biological compatibility, so Steve knows he has little reason to feel proud of himself for this. He feels proud anyway, and smiles against Tony’s shoulder, where he can’t see.

“Hey,” Tony says, jabbing him with an elbow. “You need a drink? There’s room service.”

“I’m fine, don’t worry about it.” Steve closes his eyes. “Just do your thing.”

“If you’re sure.”

Steve’s mind drifts. Tony and FRIDAY’s chatter washes over him, more noise than words, and surprisingly soothing. The headache is long gone, burned out in the exertion, and Steve thinks he could probably fall asleep sitting up if he really wanted to. After all, Tony makes for an excellent pillow, warm and solid and cozy. It’s interesting how he still smells so good even out of heat – his scent may not be new, but Steve’s never had cause to know it this close before.

“Uh, Steve.”

Steve jolts, blinking rapidly. “Yeah.”

“You’re easing up.” Tony sounds amused, as though he’s been trying to get Steve’s attention for some time. Steve might’ve actually dozed off for a few minutes there. “Time to get this deadweight off you.”

“You’re not deadweight.” Steve holds Tony’s hips steady as Tony extricates himself, Steve’s come dripping free as he pulls off. Tony’s opening is red and very obviously sore, so Steve grabs his shirt from the bench and presses it against Tony’s hole as soon as he’s free.

“That’s gonna be a mess,” Tony observes.

“I’ll bill you.” Steve holds the shirt there until Tony gets on his feet, only wobbling a little. “Need help to the shower?”

“No,” Tony says. “Okay, yes. Just this once.”

Steve used to think it extravagant that Tony had shower facilities attached to his workshop, when his personal quarters were literally just one floor down. Knowing now that Tony works through his heats, it all makes sense, and is perfectly reasonable. There’s a shower and separate bath, towels, change of clothes, heat-clear air fresheners – all the necessities.

“That’s for the sex toys,” Tony says, when he sees Steve looking curiously at an unmarked box underneath the towel rack. “How I usually get off.”

“Oh.” Steve literally just had sex with Tony, who is currently buck naked, so there’s no reason at all for Steve to suddenly picture Tony satiating his heat on an artificial knot. “That’s a big box.”

“I like to have options.” Tony gets a hand on the lip of the bathtub, and shoos Steve to the shower. “You use that. I’m going to take my time.”

Steve eyes the tub warily, though he knows FRIDAY’ll make sure Tony doesn’t fall asleep in it. “All right.”

“Go make fun of my range of soaps.” Tony makes a face as slowly climbs into the tub. He won’t accept any more help at this point, so Steve hangs back. “Take some of my clothes, too. Spares on the shelves there.”

“Your clothes?” Steve echoes.

“You’re used to wearing shirts too small for you, right?” Tony grins at him, and Steve finds himself smiling back. “And, uh… Thanks.”

“No problem,” Steve says. “Any time.”

Tony’s face seems to go weird a little, but then he’s turning away, poking at the taps to fill the tub. Tony mutters something under his breath and music starts playing – an acoustic variation of Tony’s usual melodramatic rock – making any further conversation unnecessary. That’s fine, because Steve’s busy himself, figuring out the shower and keeping an eye on Tony to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself.

By the time Steve’s done and dressed, Tony’s up to his neck in suds and not going anywhere. Steve taps the bathroom door before he leaves, and Tony nods – an acknowledgement and a goodnight – after which Steve makes the long trek back to his room.

Once there, Steve takes off Tony’s spare shirt and pants, both of which were threatening to cut off his circulation, and falls asleep almost as soon as he hits the pillow. He wakes up a few hours later, too used to his routine of a morning run, and has to take a few seconds to recall why certain muscles are twinging. Also, somewhere in the few hours of sleep, he’d rolled over to mash his face on Tony’s shirt, breathing it in.

Chapter Text

Not much changes, afterward. There are missions, navigating bureaucratic bullshit, and figuring out the new dynamics of having Wanda, Vision, Sam and Rhodey on the team, all of which they were already doing before.

Tony’s still Tony. Brilliant and passionate and exasperating, but although his jabs at Steve never let up, he does not once refer or allude to that night in the workshop. Before, this might have made Steve proud, knowing that Tony had that line and could resist the temptation to cross it. But he knows now that that would’ve been the wrong way to look at it.

Tony was and is blasé about some of his sex partners, but there are others – not just Pepper – who come under that big ‘ol No Entry portions of Tony’s personal history. Steve used to think of those parts of Tony as a minefield, filled with topics Steve knows to steer clear of: Howard and Maria, Afghanistan, Tony’s earliest days at MIT. It hadn’t occurred to Steve that there would be other, seemingly less dangerous things in there, such as the intimacy of shared experiences between friends.

It takes some getting used to.

Steve has long accepted that he’d never fully or truly know Tony. That was the purview of others, and Steve’s place in the world was as his teammate and friend.

At least, that had been Steve’s place in the world, until Tony invited him in. Sure, it was barely an inch into the door that Tony keeps locked up, but still. It’s new and unexpected, and it has Steve thinking about other parts of Tony that he doesn’t know of but could maybe one day learn. Or earn.

But that’s no way to think about another person. There isn’t some secret Tony scorecard that Steve needs to follow, and even if there was, Steve isn’t arrogant enough to think himself entitled to it. Tony is just Tony, frustrating and wonderful, sometimes predictable and sometimes incomprehensible.

So Steve stays content with this tiny little piece of additional trust, a memory of an encounter meant for no one but the two of them. Well, it was mainly meant for Tony, who’d needed his relief, but Steve had enjoyed himself, too. It’s good. That’s fine.

It’s fine.

There’s everything else in their lives to deal with, so Steve busies himself dealing with it.

If he also finds himself counting down the days to Tony’s next heat, that’s no one’s business but his own.

Two days before, Steve keeps a watchful eye on Tony, now that he’s aware of Tony’s ability to keep the symptoms under wraps. On day zero, Steve sniffs the air a little more carefully, a little more thoroughly. That’s just being a good friend, and ready to step up whenever he’s needed.

But day zero leads into day one, day two, and then a whole week. There’s nothing, not even the slightest hint of summer spice, while Tony himself goes about his merry way as he usually does. (They even manage a side trip to Sokovia for clean-up, and there’s no team blowout whatsoever.) Maybe Tony’s done what Steve suggested that he do, i.e. take care of his heat at the first sign of it,  instead of letting it run long.

Hah! Tony doing what he’s told? Unlikely.

Far more plausible is that Tony’s done some massive filter upgrades, which are enough to elude the detection of both supersoldier and magic-induced senses. There’s no way for Steve to be sure of this, though, so he lets it pass and stops thinking about the matter entirely.

Mostly.

Well, it’s not like Steve can force his brain to forget numbers once he’s got them memorized. The calendar in his head is what it is, for better or worse, so it’s only reasonable that the same countdown happens all over again the following month.

During which there’s the same lack of any sign of Tony heading into heat, be it before and after day zero.

It’s fine.

Really, it’s fine.

In fact, Steve should be ashamed of himself for getting fixated on someone’s cycle like this. As if there aren’t other more important things to be thinking about, like investigating possible Bruce/Hulk sightings, doing PR to get people more used to Vision and his abilities, and developing the planet-wide protection compromise he’d agreed to with Tony. There’s a lot of work be done, and they’re the ones to do it.

Hence, Steve should do his best to avoid all thought of inappropriate matters that have nothing to do with him.

He even thinks he’s doing a decent job of it, until the day Tony that corners him.

 

 

 

 

It’s been two months and eight days since the workshop incident. Sam and Rhodey are away on a USAF-adjacent mission, Wanda and Natasha are outside the compound on a mysterious road trip, and Vision is somewhere communing with the internet. Steve’s spent most of his morning working out, and afterward headed up to the upper terrace for a late morning snack and to catch up on the news.

It’s here that Tony finds him. Not that Steve thinks that Tony’s looking for him, specifically, because all of them like spending time on the terrace enjoying its views.

Steve murmurs a good morning, eyes never leaving his tablet. There’s a faint scrape somewhere off to his right as Tony pulls a chair over and sits down.

“I have to ask,” Tony says. “Do you really not know you’re doing that?”

The words prod a memory. Steve pauses his reading, and winces when he notices the small pink lines on his left forearm, where he’d been absent-mindedly picking at the skin.

“You do that in uniform, too,” Tony says, casual as anything. “Not often, but you do.”

“A habit,” Steve says.

“You did it last month, too. But only for a short while, during the flight out to Sokovia.” Tony presses on, with all the self-preservation that he’s known for, “Started doing it again a few days ago.”

“I’m sorry that it bothers you,” Steve says. “I’ll try not to.”

“You know what I think?”

“You’re going to tell me no matter what I say.”

“Steve.” Tony can sound commanding when he wants to. Steve’s heard him do it at press conferences, on TED talks, and with mission bystanders, but it’s always in demanding the attention of a crowd that isn’t already in thrall of him. He rarely uses that voice among Avengers, and never with Steve, until now.

Steve is unprepared for how his body reacts. It’s as if there’s rubber band somewhere near his navel that just got snapped, hard, and the resulting vibrations are making their way through his limbs down to his fingers and toes.

It is with great effort that Steve manages to meet Tony’s eyes, in which there is a glint to match his voice.

“What?” Steve says.

“I missed my last two heats,” Tony says. “Checked my implant, did some digging. Turns out that can happen if you get fucked really, really well.”

“Oh.” Steve tries his best not to feel pleased. “That’s interesting.”

“Isn’t it? Something to do with the hormone balance, like the body becomes convinced that that has to have kicked off the baby-making machine, even if it didn’t.” Tony scoots closer, pulling the chair with him, and peers at Steve’s tablet. This gives Steve a couple of seconds to study Tony’s face, thinking idly that the sunlight really brings out his eyes, along with the fascinating angles of his nose and mouth. “You doing anything today, Rogers?”

“Waiting for Rhodey and Sam to check in,” Steve says.

Tony purses his lips, eyes crinkling. “Sounds pretty packed.”

Steve’s about to ask what he’s getting at, but then Tony leans in, moving with purpose towards Steve’s neck. Steve jerks back, making the chair underneath him screech hard.

“Uh,” Steve says.

Tony retreats. He’s frowning, but seems more confused than offended. “Surely you saw that coming?”

“You’re not…” Steve takes a deep whiff just to be sure, but Tony merely smells warm, clean and content. “You’re not in heat.”

“I… know?”

“Then you don’t…” Steve doesn’t like the feeling as though he’s on shaky ground, especially when Tony’s scowling at him like that. “You don’t need it.”

“True.” Tony slouches back in the chair, insouciant and now out of reach. “There’s only one person displaying psychosomatic behavior here and it’s not me.”

Steve stands up sharply. His face burns hot, and he’d rather not have Tony point that out either. Steve marches back into the building in a strategic retreat, only to realize that he’d left his tablet outside. Even so, not even the possibility of Tony rifling through the unprotected device is enough to make him turn back.

Except, Tony’s followed him into the building. He’s keeping pace in a half-jog, circling him in such a way that makes it clear where DUM-E gets it from.

“Seriously, Steve?” Tony says. “What happened to courage and valor, all that?”

“I’ve got things to do,” Steve says.

“Yeah, you said.” Tony gets in Steve’s way just as he’s about to reach the elevator. A hand on Steve’s chest shouldn’t be enough to stop him, but because it’s Tony’s hand – firm, confident, unafraid – Steve comes to an unsettled halt. “Steve Rogers running away from an argument is the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, so you better start talking right now.”

“You don’t need to do me any favors, all right?” Steve says, glowering. “I helped you, but that’s it, you don’t owe me anything.”

“If I thought I would owe you anything I wouldn’t have accepted your offer in the first place,” Tony says slowly.

“That’s—” Good, in the sense that Steve would never ever want Tony to feel obligated, but bad in the sense that it derails a great deal else.

Tony reaches out, taking hold of Steve’s left hand. Steve half-heartedly tries to yank it back, but Tony smacks his knuckles, just hard enough to make his point. Tony folds the cuff up, revealing to the world the faint scratches that are still too new to have healed over. Steve averts his gaze.

“It’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” Tony says. “Bodies are weird. Human beings are weird.”

“It’s not like a heat at all,” Steve says through gritted teeth. “It’s not a need.”

“No, but it’s a want,” Tony says, rolling his eyes. “I do know the difference, Steve. Why does this piss you off?”

“I’m not …” Steve trails off, swallowing. 

“Is it because it’s me?” Tony drops Steve’s hands and backs up, his mouth thinning into a hard line. “It’s me. Again. You’re clearly interested in something, but because my oven’s not set to preheat, you can’t use that as an excuse. Fine. I get it.”

That’s not it, but Steve’s brain is in too much of a jumble to pinpoint what it is. Tony’s mad now, too, though not the kind of mad that ends with them shouting at each other. This is Tony gone quiet and icy, and uninterested in engaging any further. Steve opens his mouth to apologize, but he doesn’t know what to apologize for, aside from the being the reason that Tony’s turning away, jaw clenched and hands shoved deep into his pockets.

Steve can usually think quickly in a crisis but right now he’s at a loss. His chest is tight, his stomach’s churning, and his feet feel stuck to the ground, unable to move. He can only watch Tony walk away, one step after another, while Steve realizes that whatever tentative, tiny little piece of Tony he’d gained by accident is going to be the most he’ll ever have, no matter what else he does or what else happens in the future.

This mistake is all Steve’s. He’d been sniffing around like a goddamned bloodhound when a one-time encounter (even one between friends) promised nothing else. Steve’s the one who had to go and pin hopes on an encore, but only an encore within very specific limits he hadn’t realized he’d placed on himself. Meanwhile, Tony saw beyond that.

A sharp inhale makes Steve look up.

Tony’s halfway across the room, but he’s turned around and is staring at Steve. His eyes are wide, stunned, and his nostrils flare as he sniffs the air.

Steve starts, neck going warm as he realizes what he’s done. Well, not him, but his body, which is once again betraying him by letting out the sour stink of distress, which even Tony can pick it up.

“Wow,” Tony says quietly.

“No,” Steve blurts out. “Tony.”

Tony’s face hardens. But instead of resuming his exit, Tony marches back, right until he’s up in Steve’s face and glaring. “Do not make this weird. I’m going to hug you.”

Steve swallows, and stares at the far wall while Tony puts his arms around him.

Based on what people have told him (Natasha and Sam, mostly) these days Steve’s scent doesn’t vary much between two extremes: the calming base that puts most people at ease, and the spike of territorial aggression when he’s in fight mode. It’s usually one or the other, which has suited Steve just fine, but of course his body would decide to change it up at the worse possible moment.

Tony is very warm, and holding him very firmly. Tony’s facial hair scratches a little where he’s tucked his face against Steve’s neck. He should smell frustrated and angry – and he did, a few moments ago – but he doesn’t anymore. Instead he smells welcoming. At ease. As if he’s exactly where he wants to be.

God, Steve thinks, this is wonderful.

Steve turns his head, nose brushing the skin near Tony’s ear to scent him more clearly. Steve’s hands move almost of their own accord, sliding around Tony’s torso to feel the shape of his back with its planes of strong, solid muscle. Tony hums, pleased, so Steve tightens his hold, even as it pings that annoying little flicker at the back of his brain that ponders: how often does Steve get to be touched like this? And wouldn’t it be nice to get touched like this more often? By Tony, even?

But that bumps up against the recognition that that’s just a want, and Steve doesn’t want things. That might be arrogance and belief in self-sufficiency speaking, but it’s also because wanting things leads to wanting to keep things, and the universe is rather particular about not letting Steve hold on to anything for very long. This is fine – really, it’s fine – because the universe doesn’t owe Steve anything, and the scales of fairness and justice are a function of people choosing to do what’s right, and not anything inherent to the universe itself.

This is what it comes down to, isn’t it? Wanting something from Tony but not wanting it at the same time, because Steve made his peace with living in the here and now, on the condition that he lived only in the here and now, and no further.

Tony’s touching him. His hands have migrated up Steve’s back, fingertips rubbing circles on Steve’s neck. He’s marking Steve, his touch tentative but calming.

It’s working.

Steve realizes that he’s relaxing, slowly but surely. Tony can tell, too, so his strokes grow bolder, stronger. His hands go into Steve’s hair, massaging his scalp.

The urge to kiss Tony arrives unbidden. The longing pulses hot and steady through Steve’s veins, finally nudging his head to turn just a little bit more, lips settling at the jut of Tony’s cheekbones. Tony responds by turning his head, close enough that Steve can tell by scent alone how close Tony’s lips are.

It’s Steve who completes the movement, finding Tony’s mouth and bearing down. Tony huffs, surprised, but the edges of his lips curl into a smile. The kiss is sweet and undemanding, Tony’s mouth wet and warm.

Maybe Steve can have this for a little while. Surely that’s all right.

They kiss, and kiss, and kiss some more. Steve learns the shape and taste of Tony’s mouth, the press of Tony’s body held close, the soft sighs of contentment that seem so at odds with Tony’s usual loudness. Tony’s scent is different, too; he smells light and almost floral with lazy pleasure, which is a far cry from the urgent caramel sweetness of his heat.

All of these details are important, and not only because they are evidence of Tony’s enjoying himself. They are important because Steve enjoys them.

“Hey,” Tony says, the words almost a caress against Steve’s chin. “You wanna cuddle?”

“Cuddle?” Steve echoes.

“This, but lying down.” Tony’s smile is lopsided and charming. It makes Steve’s breath catch, for here it is, a glimpse of Tony he’d never seen before. “If you wanna. My knees are getting a little tired, is all.”

“All right,” Steve says.

Tony squints at him. “You sure?”

“Damn it, Tony, yes.” Steve flushes when Tony just grins. “I’m sure.”

A couple of times during the walk over, Steve thinks that ‘cuddle’ could be a euphemism, because Tony loves those, be they obvious or obscure. But no, once they’re in Steve’s room and Tony’s had the place set up to his liking (i.e. the windows tinted down some, and the TV switched on to a comfortable volume) they get down to literal cuddling.

In this case, it involves pillows propped up on the bed, Steve half-lying down on them, and Tony tucked against him. It’s cozy and good and seems to have no purpose other than to just be. Oh, there’s still kissing, languid and open-mouthed, but any arousal from there feels less important. Tony’s still marking Steve, too – he urges Steve to roll his sleeves up, which allows Tony to run his fingers all over Steve’s hands, wrists and forearms.

There’s small talk in between, too, for Tony pauses every so often to comment about the daytime talk show that’s playing. To be honest, Steve’s only half-listening, but luckily Tony doesn’t seem to mind.

After a while of this, Steve manages to withdraw some of his attention from the maddening patterns Tony’s drawing on the back of his hands, and says, “Are you still mad at me?”

“Do I look like I’m mad at you?” Tony replies.

“Don’t know. Can’t predict the grudges you keep.”

“All my grudges against you, you’ll know for sure that they exist.”

“Hey,” Steve says, without rancor.

“No, I’m not mad. Whatever you’ve got going on, that’s… whatever.” Tony shrugs. “You alphas get so intense. I’m just enjoying the fact that in this case it’s truly, honestly, not me that’s the issue.”

Steve smiles ruefully. “Not gonna lord it over me?”

“Eventually, sure.” Tony means that as a friendly jab, but Steve gets caught on the specific wording: eventually. Which means more of this. Tony keeps talking, as if he hasn’t just turned Steve’s world on its axis, “You don’t have to tell me. I mean, if you want to, sure. But it’s your business.”

Steve figures that he’s smart sometimes. Or, at least, that he has moments of being less than completely boneheaded.

Hence, Steve knows – and he knows that Tony knows – that this isn’t within the normal parameters of their friendship. There are definitely friends out there who’re fine with this type of closeness, but the kind of friends that he and Tony are don’t do this. Heat sex is its own category, a quirk of biology that commands a certain level of trust. This is outside that, and it’s not the kind of dangerous that Steve’s used to throwing himself into headfirst.

Tony’s past may be what it is, but he’s never done casual the entire time that Steve’s known him. Even if he was still looking for that kind of arrangement in his partners, he wouldn’t be looking for that with Steve. That may have been possible in their earlier days, when they were still figuring out the Avengers and weren’t entirely sure if they could be friends. But they work too well now, the rhythm between them and in the group well-established and comfortable, even if it’s still occasionally explosive. Casual for the sake of casual would’ve been asking for trouble.

Tony must have thought through all of this before he’d come to see Steve today. Steve may just be processing this right now but Tony, who noticed Steve’s scratching a while ago and figured out what it meant, got there first. He came to Steve anyway.

“Tony.” Steve waits until Tony tilts his head, and then leans over to kiss him. This time Steve presses in, coaxing Tony’s mouth open and pushing him into the pillow. Tony rolls with it because of course he does, draping a hand on the back of Steve’s neck to keep him close.

The little finger touches are not enough now. There needs to be more, so Steve gets his hands on the skin where Tony’s shirt has ridden up, grabbing greedily. Tony lets out a barely audible whimper, just as the smell of his wetness tickles Steve’s nose.

Not wet for the heat, though. Wet for Steve.

“Let me.” Tony shows off his dexterity by reaching down and opening Steve’s pants one-handed. “Just want to get reacquainted.”

Steve exhales when Tony touches his dick, pulling it out. “You’ve seen it.”

“Not when it’s all the way hard. You were using it at the time, if you recall.” Tony’s hand is calloused and careful, testing Steve’s length. It’s a little dry, so Tony opens his own pants and reaches behind himself, collecting some of his slick. Once Tony’s hand is lubed up, he brings it back to Steve’s shaft and pumps firmly.

This is a kind of marking, too, which is exciting to think about. Steve stays half-draped on top of Tony, nuzzling his face and neck, while Tony brings him to full hardness. Tony has such clever fingers, finding all the sensitive spots and teasing the head until Steve thinks he might be leaking as much as Tony is.

“Wait,” Steve says. “I, uh…”

“What?” Tony sounds distantly preoccupied, as if he’s elbows deep in an engine instead of jacking Steve off. “I’m not a mind-reader, Steve.”

“Would you mind…” Steve sighs and puts a hand on Tony’s ass. “Maybe?”

Tony makes an unimpressed face. “You have literally fucked me into a hat trick. You can’t even say that you want to be inside me?”

Steve squares his shoulders. “Tony, I would like to be inside you.”

“There’s that gentleman I’ve heard so much about,” Tony says, nodding. “C’mon, move.”

They shed their clothes, and this time Steve takes his time to look at Tony fully naked – really look – and understand what this means. Tony has a well-defined shoulders and torso, which leads down to a taut waist and delicious v of his hips. The skin at the center of his chest is pale, the knots of scar tissue almost invisible if one weren’t looking for them. The overall result is a Tony who is beautiful, and Steve’s reasonably sure that he will soon memorize enough every joint and muscle and birthmark there is on him. For now, though, he’s caught by Tony’s expression of pure focus.

Tony gets Steve flat on his back and then climbs on top of him, narrowed gaze on Steve’s cock that’s jutting out near vertical. Tony licks his thumb, as if to turn a page of a book, and primly takes hold of Steve’s erection.

Steve’s seen Tony at work before, when he’s in the thrall of some new discovery or creation. This is similar to that, except that his focal point on Steve, and he means to get down to business.

“Seems bigger when it’s inside, to be honest,” Tony says.

“An optical illusion?” Steve says.

“Sorry, not meant as insult.” Tony lifts his himself up and guides the head of Steve’s dick along his perineum and back. Steve swears he can feel Tony’s slick on his glans as Tony moves it against his opening. “It’s very nice.”

“Thanks.” Steve gasps when Tony sinks down on him – tight, wet, hot. “This is pretty nice, too.”

“I try,” Tony says modestly. He rolls his hips and adjusts his thighs in making himself comfortable, and takes no notice of Steve’s faint groans of distress. The muscle of Tony’s hole rests snug at the base of Steve’s cock, squeezing every so often just to torment him.

“Oh boy,” Steve says.

“Ready?” Tony says cheerfully.

Then Tony fucks him. There’s no other way to call it that feels more appropriate, for Steve is being ridden hard and fast by a very determined, very enthusiastic Tony who isn’t distracted by a heat fever. Tony is a strong guy, and using the leverage of one hand on the mattress plays Steve body like one his machines, getting the whole bed rocking and Steve barely able to catch his breath.

Pleasure courses through Steve’s body in quick, steady pulses – following the beat that must be playing in Tony’s head all the way down to his hips. If it were merely the squeeze of Tony’s ass working him it might even be tolerable, but Tony’s mouth is on Steve, too, biting gently over his pecs and mouthing his nipples. It seems almost unfair to go from lazy kisses to this, but Steve’s not going to protest. In fact, if he could speak right now he might even make a joke about how this could be what his shield feels like when it’s bounced around at the whims of a mad person.

Steve comes alarmingly fast. He tries to stave it off, but Tony must smell his intentions because his sets his teeth on Steve’s nipple, nibbling just hard enough to send a lightning shock up Steve’s spine. Steve spills deep into Tony, his dick throbbing with the strain of it.

Post-orgasm recovery involves Steve lying with limbs splayed out, sweaty and gulping for breath, while Tony looks on. Tony’s hard and leaking but doesn’t smell anywhere close to completion. If anything, there’s the air of control about him, almost like what he’d had in the workshop before he gave his heat free rein. Steve also realizes that although his knot popped, it’s resting just outside Tony’s opening. That can only have been deliberate, by Tony’s pulling off before they tied down.

It’s then that Tony’s agenda is crystal clear.

“This is revenge, isn’t it?” Steve croaks.

“Maybe.” Tony tilts his head. “Partially. You can get hard again, right?”

“Just give me a minute.”

Tony mimes looking at watch. “Counting down from… now.”

“Hey!” Steve laughs, bouncing on the mattress and almost dislodging Tony from his mount. “Why couldn’t you have come by before I had my workout?”

“Because this is more interesting. Also, I had to get Vision out of the way to be safe.” Tony smooths his palms on Steve’s stomach, petting him. Tony’s just so damned pleased with himself, which in this case Steve can’t even fault him for. Happiness is such a fucking good look on him, it’s just… wow. What a beautiful man.

Then, for a second, the doubt resurfaces. This is going to change things in ways Steve knows he can’t foresee. More than that, Steve is going to fall hard, because that’s what he does. It’s already starting.

“Look,” Tony says suddenly, brushing a wayward forelock out of his eyes. “I don’t know where this is headed. This is not where I expected to be ten, twenty years ago. Hell, when Howard used to tell us that he had to spend another Christmas playing Where in the World is Captain America, I did not and could not imagine that I’d one day know exactly where Captain America is, which is getting his dick sat on. By me. Okay? It’s a trip. It’s trippy.”

“Thanks.” When Tony’s eyebrows go up, Steve adds, “I needed to hear that. I’d prefer it if I weren’t the only one feeling like they’re flying blind right now.”

“I just fake it well,” Tony says.

“Don’t do that with me,” Steve says. “Faking it. Please?”

“Fine,” Tony says with an exaggerated huff. “Since you asked.”

“Okay.” Steve rubs his hands on Tony’s knees, which are settled just a little higher than Steve’s waist. Tony makes a face at the obvious marking, but hums approvingly at the touch. Steve nods and says, “I’m good now. One more?”

“This isn’t a restaurant, Steve.”

Tony grinds down anyway, and Steve gasps at the pressure against his knot. A few more of seconds of that and Steve can feel his dick perking up, which is a hell of a strange sensation when its already inside another person.

Following that, Steve becomes aware of a new thrum in his body – not arousal, exactly, but a similar sense of expectation. Logically, he knows that it’s a mix of hormones, smells and textures coming together in a cocktail of chemical compatibility, highlighted now by Tony’s languid circling of his hips in Steve’s lap. But it feels like some unseen pieces of the universe slotting into place because he and Tony are here doing this, almost like a cosmic: at last.

Tony tilts his head coyly, and presses his tongue to the corner of his mouth.

“Next time you get your heat, you better watch out,” Steve says.

“Reduced to threats now, Rogers?” Tony reaches down between his legs, and brushes his fingers on Steve’s knot. That mere touch punches the breath out of Steve, but then Tony squeezes.

Steve’s so hard it hurts. Instinct has him trying to push up as far as can but Tony’s right there, holding onto his knot and massaging it. Though maybe ‘torture’ is better than ‘massage’ for what Tony’s doing to him, his grip sure and sensual and never quite the same each time he presses around the thick ring of muscle. Each squeeze seems like it’ll be the one to get him shooting off, but it’s not quite there yet.

How Tony can do this and ride Steve at the same time? Who knows. Maybe that’s why he’s the genius.

Steve breathes deep, the rise and fall of his chest in sync with Tony’s movements on top of him. Tony’s thighs are thick, corded muscle under Steve’s hands – solid and very nice to hold on to, which is good because Steve’s very close to clinging on for dear life. Tony’s relentless in milking him, rubbing his wetness onto Steve’s knot and teasing it with the pressure of a tie that won’t take.

Steve needs to come inside Tony. He needs to mark him from the inside out; a fair trade for Tony’s spilling slick all the way down his shaft. It’s a primal thought made real, and it’s with growing urgency that Steve shoves up, as deep as Tony will let him.

There’s a faint whoop somewhere above, Tony trying to hold on as Steve effectively bounces him up and down. Tony’s full weight on Steve’s hips every time he shoves up feels surprisingly good, finding pressure points Steve hadn’t anticipated. Then there’s the feeling of being inside Tony, where Steve thinks he can almost trace the silken heat all along his cock right up to the head, clenching and expanding every time Steve moves. Should be impossible, but there it is.

When his orgasm hits, Steve feels his lips peel back, baring his teeth for a snarl that can’t quite find its voice. The pleasure rolls on and on, buoyed by the sudden tangy scent of Tony achieving his own bliss right there with hm.

It’s amazing, to say the least.

In the aftermath, Steve winces when Tony pull off him with a faint squelching noise and flops over next to him. They lie there staring at the ceiling, while in the background canned laughter reasserts itself in the ambient noise. Steve wonders how reinforced their rooms are against noise bleed, and if it’ll be safe to assume that Tony will take care of it before the rest of the team returns home.

“That,” Steve says.

“Yep.” Tony flings a hand out, letting it land with a smack in the middle of Steve’s chest. “Totally agree.”

Steve starts to close his eyes, only to be jolted when Tony rolls away. Steve’s hand darts out automatically, grabbing Tony’s wrist.

Tony freezes with one foot off the bed, and looks from Steve to the hand on his wrist and back. “Uh. I’m just going to the bathroom.”

“Oh.” Steve sheepishly lets go. “Of course.”

Tony shakes his head, his smile fond. “Join me, you brute. You’re filthy.”

I’m filthy.” Steve follows Tony into the bathroom, the vantage point from which he can enjoy the view of his semen splattered and trailing down the insides of Tony’s thighs. “Right.”

They clean up; Tony more efficiently than Steve, who’s feeling ambivalent about showering despite the various bodily fluids. Tony washes off first since Steve’s shower isn’t big enough for two, but once Tony’s done he practically shoves Steve in after him, rolling his eyes when Steve scowls at nothing in particular.

Once Steve’s done, he steps out and wipes himself down with a towel. Tony stands there, arms crossed and waiting until Steve puts the towel aside. Then Tony reaches out, taking hold of Steve’s arms in each hand, and rubs firmly to restore some of his scentmarks.

Steve relaxes.

“This is doing tremendous things to my ego,” Tony points out.

“Happy to take the blame for that.” Steve subtly scents the air, and is pleased to find that despite the shower, he’d done enough of a good job that Tony still smells of him.

“Okay, so.” Tony leads them out of the bathroom, uncaring of his nakedness, not that Steve’s complaining. “I need to lie down for a while, but I’m going to be hungry in about half an hour.”

“I can get you something,” Steve says.

“Or we could go out.”

“Or that. Sure.” Tony beams at him, and Steve’s chest feels ridiculously full.

They shove as much of the soiled sheets aside as they can, following which Tony climbs back on the mattress, making himself comfortable on a pyramid of Steve’s pillows. Meanwhile, Steve stays at the side of the bed, considering his options.

Tony isn’t wearing a stitch of clothing and has the glow of a good fuck, yet there’s nothing overtly sexual about the way he’s stretched out on Steve’s bed. He’s just resting, relaxed and half-watching the TV, with no need to be anywhere else doing anything else. It’s mundane and easy and wonderfully presumptuous, and Steve wants to hold him.

Steve realizes with a start that he can.

He sits down, shimmying closer until he’s right up to Tony’s side, and Tony looks at him, questioning. Tony must see something in Steve’s face because he leans forward a little, allowing Steve to put his arms around him. Steve presses his face to Tony’s bicep, nuzzling the skin and basking in the tickle of the fine hairs there.

“Tony,” Steve says.

“Yeah.”

“Just wanted to ask… You’re not only doing this because you like my dick, right?”

“Steve,” Tony says patiently. “If I were only interested in your dick, I’d make one for myself.”

It’s not the most romantic statement in the world, but damn if it doesn’t have Steve’s face splitting into a smile. Tony may not be what Steve thought he’d have for himself – if anyone at all – but he thinks that it’s going to be just fine. Or if not, that they’ll make it fine, because they’re stubborn bastards who get to be stubborn together. There may be great mysteries in the person of Tony Stark, but it’s going to be a blast figuring them out, as it’ll be the other way round with Tony all up in his business as if he belongs there (which he does).

Tony inhales sharply. When Steve looks up, he finds that Tony’s frowning at him. Tony says, “You’re stupidly handsome when you smile like that. It’s awful. I can’t stand it.”

So Steve hauls himself up and presses his lips to Tony’s, who kisses him back. It’s short a kiss, a little marker of things to come, and when Steve pulls back Tony’s watching him contemplatively. Then Steve tucks down to mash his face on Tony’s chest, breathing him in.