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you’re the universe i’m helpless in

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He lands in some dark, dirty alley, on his back, with a grunt of pain.

“Jesus,” he moans. “I’m getting too fucking old for this.”

He climbs to his feet, rubbing his back. He stumbles out of the alley, running his knuckles over the bond bite on his neck, which throbs insistently.

He finally comes upon two women, chatting on the corner of one of the streets.

“Excuse me?” he calls out.

The girls turn to him and give him identical looks of disdain.

“Yes?” one of them says, with a raised eyebrows that speaks volumes as to how much she doesn’t want to be talking to him. 

In her defence, though, he imagines he doesn’t look like much, with his dirty workshop clothes, messy hair and bond bite in full view.

Vulgar, his mother would have said.

“Where am I?” he demands.

“Brooklyn,” she replies, coldly.

He hates the next question. “What year?”

She eyes him like he’s a complete and utter lunatic. “1938.”

“Shit,” he hisses, and both women gasp, scandalously. He rolls his eyes. “Steve Rogers,” he blurts out. “Do you know him?”

“You mean that rake-thin boy that hangs around Bucky Barnes?” the girl clarifies.

The other girl gets a simpering little lovesick smile on her face at the mere mention of Bucky’s name.

Tony bristles at the insult to his mate. “Yeah, him,” he says, his voice clipped.

“Yes, we know him,” she says, carefully.

“Great, mind telling me where he lives?”

She huffs and exchanges a can you believe it? look with her friend, like she could be doing a thousand other things than giving him directions in this moment.

Yeah, well, you and me both, darling.

“He and Bucky live the next block over. The fourth building, second floor, room 4.”

“Much obliged,” he says, cheerfully, and walks away from them, with a little sway to his hips so their omega sensibilities can be outraged just a little bit more.

You’re fucking right I’m vulgar. Deal with it, bitches.

He makes his way to the next street and to what Tony hopes is Steve’s apartment building. He doesn’t know exactly how this introduction is supposed to go, considering he’s about to meet his mate seventy-four years earlier than Steve will even know he exists, with a very obvious bond bite on his skin and Steve’s thick alpha scent still lingering on his skin.

He climbs the staircase to the second floor and trails down the hallway until he can see the gold 4 bolted to one of the doors. He breathes a sigh of relief and stops just in front of Steve’s apartment, willing himself to muster up the courage to actually knock on his door.

He takes a deep breath and raps his knuckles on the spotty wood, in a rhythm of three.

The door swings open after a few moments, revealing a very young, unlined Bucky Barnes, who leans against the doorway, his eyes going lidded and his smile going lazy when he catches sight of the person on the other side of the door, and Tony’s sweet, heady omega scent.

“Well, hello, there,” Bucky drawls.

Tony imagines the Bucky he knows, the one with long hair and lines and haunted eyes and immediately feels a pang of empathy and sorrow, knowing what the man in front of him will become.

“Hi,” he says, briskly. “Is Steve here?”

Bucky’s face registers his surprise, before he takes a deep breath, his eyes widening as he realises which alpha is responsible for Tony’s bond bite.

“Holy shit!” he exclaims, almost slipping off the door frame. “Steve! Get your arse out here!”

“For fuck’s sake, Bucky, can’t you answer the door without my help?” Steve’s grumpy voice comes from somewhere further off into the apartment.

“You really want to come here, Stevie.”

“What’s going on?” Steve demands, coming to the door.

Tony has to swallow down the loss of composure before he does something embarrassing like face-plant, when he gets his first glimpse of pre-serum Steve Rogers, tiny and hungry and ready to fight the world.

“Who’s this?” Steve asks, eyeing Tony carefully and with weight. Before Tony can even begin to explain who he is, Steve freezes, clearly catching on the same way Bucky did. “How… that’s not possible,” he breathes.

“You dog, Stevie. When’d you hitch yourself to an O?” Bucky crows, throwing an arm over Steve’s shoulders.

Tony gives him a flat, unimpressed look. “That’s presentation-ist,” he declares.

“I didn’t,” Steve snaps, answering Bucky’s question. “Who are you?” he demands, folding his arms over his chest. “Why… how do you have my scent?”

Tony sighs. “Would you believe that I’m your omega from the future?” he offers.

Steve narrows his eyes, reeling up like a wounded animal. “What are you, some kind of loon? Who put you up to this?” he demands, angrily.

Tony pinches the bridge of his nose. “Need more Prozac for this,” he mutters under his breath. “Look, I couldn’t fake this even if I wanted to.” He pulls down the collar of his shirt, exposing his bond bite to their curious gazes, where Steve’s alpha scent is the strongest.

Steve’s eyes widen and his fingers twitch at his sides, like he’d like nothing more than to reach out and run his fingers over the raw, raised patch of skin.

“How is this even possible?” Steve whispers, his voice trembling like he never thought it possible.

Tony feels the answering pang right in his chest. Oh, Steve.

He clears his throat, ignoring the swooping crash in his stomach, the way his pulse throbs painfully.

“Like I said, time travel.”

Bucky narrows his eyes. “You drunk or somethin’?”

Tony snorts. “I wish.” He shakes his head. “I really am from the future. How else would I be your omega, Steve? Unless you’ve been biting all the omegas you damn well please – which I wouldn’t be mad at, of course, just jealous as fuck and pissed you didn’t tell me before – I can’t see what other way this works.”

Steve looks at him like he’s made of everything and nothing at the same time, like he’s holding Steve’s entire being in the palm of his hands.

“Would you, uh,” Steve shakes his head, clearing his throat. “Would you like to come in?”

“Stevie,” Bucky hisses.

“What, Buck? You got some other explanation for this? He’s got my bite, Buck,” Steve says, earnestly. “He’s mine. That’s all that matters t’me.”

“This could be like a con or somethin’,” Bucky points out, shooting Tony a suspicious look.

“How could I have possibly faked the bond bite?” Tony demands. “Or Steve’s scent?”

“I dunno.” Bucky shrugs. “You seem smart. You could’ve figured something out.”

Tony rolls his eyes. “I literally crashed into a dumpster not fifteen minutes ago and I’m fucking forty plus, which means my arthritis is acting up. So, I’m so not in the mood for the conspiracy shit, Barnes. Can I come in or what?”

“Of course,” Steve says, immediately, giving Bucky a warning look, who falls silent. “Come in, Tony.” His voice is gentle.

Tony smiles at him, broadly and with a jaw full of straight, white teeth, slipping past the two of them inside the small, bare apartment.

Oh, Steve, he thinks, eyes scanning over the dull painted walls and ratty furniture and single beds pushed up against the wall in the lone bedroom.

He rounds on them. “It’s perfect,” he says, sweetly.

Steve smiles at him, all shy with red dusting his cheekbones. All he’s missing is the toe of his shoe scuffing the floor with an aw shucks.

“D’you want some food?” he asks, earnestly. “We don’t have much, but I can probably make ya somethin’.”

Tony loves this man so much, in any form. He looks up at him through fine, dark eyelashes. “I’ll be happy with anything you make,” he flirts.

Steve blushes hard, the blood hot in his face. “Yeah, okay. I’ll, uh, make you somethin’.”

Bucky eyes his friend carefully, before snorting. “Wow, what a shmuck. No wonder ya suck with the Os and the dames.”

Tony glares at him. “I don’t know. I think he did well for himself,” he says, tersely.

He’s not going to rehash all the unfortunate self-loathing that came with the press and the public finding out that Anthony Stark, omega rights activist and Merchant of Death, baring his throat for and taking a bite from Steve Rogers, prime alpha stock and Captain fucking America.

Bucky’s eyes widened. “Ah, hell, didn’t mean to offend ya.” He frowns. “Ya know, I don’t think I even know your name?”

“Tony. Tony Stark.”

“Stark?” Steve echoes, returning with a bowl of egg drop soup. “Like the weapons’ guy? Sorry,” he rubs the back of his neck, sheepishly, which heats up well. “We don’t have much.”

Tony softens. “I’m sure I’ll like anything you made for me.”

Steve grins. “I’m glad,” he says, roughly.

Bucky looks between the two of them, before rolling his eyes. “Oh, Lord, I am outta here. Just, uh, don’t fuck on the couch. Or my bed. Or the kitchen table, cause we eat there.”

“Bucky,” Steve hisses, swatting him hard on the chest. “Don’t go talkin’ about my mate like he’s some loose-”

“Oh, I am loose,” Tony cuts in, deliberately. “At least, for Steve, I am. And no promises, Barnes. No promises at all.”

He drags his eyes down Steve’s thin, lithe body, and knows that the core of him, the core that becomes Captain America, doesn’t change, won’t ever change.

Plus, he and Steve have a rule about time travel shenanigans, and letting this Steve inside him, let him fuck him until he’s all loose and shattered and sloppy, well, that wouldn’t be breaking any rules at all.  

Bucky makes a disgusted sound. “Okay, I’m really outta here.” He punches Steve on the arm, lightly enough to not bruise. “Don’t do anythin’ I wouldn’t do.”

Steve snorts. “That’s not exactly settin’ a high bar.”

“Punk,” Bucky says, fondly. “You treat my boy, right, Tony.”

“Will do, Barnes.”

Tony stares at the man as he leaves the apartment and mourns the man that was lost, simultaneously remembering the man that is fondly.

“Sorry about him,” Steve immediately apologises when Bucky closes the door behind him.

“It’s okay. Believe it or not, I’m used to him,” Tony says, dryly.

“‘Cause you’re from the future,” Steve says, carefully.

“Yes.” Tony nods. “And you don’t believe me.”

“I do,” Steve says, quickly. “But it’s just… a little hard t’believe?”

“Fair enough,” Tony says, lightly. “I can only explain so much to you, ‘cause that might change things.”

“No, don’t say anythin’ else,” Steve says, flustered. “I don’t want to… I really don’t want t’ruin what we have, in the future.”

“Steve,” Tony says, carefully. “Just because it’s your future doesn’t mean I don’t feel that way right now.”

“You don’t even know me,” Steve points out.

Tony shrugs. “I always know who Steve Rogers is,” he says, simply, as if that one truth were written into the fabric of the universe.

“I just… I never thought I’d ever get an omega. I’m not really… the sort of alpha that omegas go for,” Steve says, like he’s ashamed.

Tony clenches his fists, immediately wanting to bloody his knuckles on anyone who ever made Steve think he was less, that he wasn’t worth something, wasn’t a good enough alpha, wasn’t worth an omega.

Fucking tools.

“Their loss, my gain.” Tony flutters his eyelashes. “And I’m not really the altruistic sort, so I’m absurdly happy about that?” He places a hand on Steve’s shoulder. “I love you very much, Steve, no matter what year it is and no matter what you look like,” he says, in a firm, no-nonsense tone. “You know what, it’s probably creepy to have some stranger show up at your door one night with your bite and scent all over him and suddenly declare his love for you.” He muses, suddenly

“I appreciate it,” Steve says, quickly, scuffing the toe of his shoe against the floor. “If that isn’t odd.”

“It isn’t, not to me,” Tony says, softly.

Steve grins at him, through fine, pale eyelashes, showing a row of surprisingly straight teeth. He clears his throat, a dusting of red stretching out across his cheekbones.

“Uh, you’re stayin’ here tonight, aren’t ya?”

“If that’s not too much of a trouble,” Tony agrees, sheepishly. “I don’t really have anywhere else to go.”

“Of course, you have to stay here,” Steve says, hotly. “You’re my omega; where else would ya go?” He deflates, staring at what made up his bleak apartment. “It’s not much, I know. But, uh, it’s home.”

“It’s perfect,” Tony insists. “Anywhere where you are is perfect.”

Steve grins at him again, and Tony thinks he falls in love with his alpha all over again.


He’s in the middle of changing in the bedroom when Steve knocks on the door. He hums to himself and walks over, opening the door to let Steve through. Steve opens his mouth and closes it abruptly, blushing hot in the face when he realises that Tony’s naked and content for Steve to stare at him in that state.

In his defence, Steve is still his alpha and he doesn’t exactly seem to mind, if that hot, hungry look in his eyes is anything to go by.

Finally, Steve clears his throat.

“Sorry, sorry, I should’ve realised-”

“You’re fine,” Tony cuts in. A smile plays along his mouth. “I don’t mind at all.”

“It’s disrespectful to ya. Just cause you’re gonna have my bite in the future doesn’t mean ya have to-”

“I have your bite now,” Tony corrects, fingers brushing against the raw skin across the tendon in his neck. “Not in the future. Now.

He looks up at him through fine, dark eyelashes, leaning against the doorframe that has his hip cocking out in a clean arc.

He loves the way Steve’s eyes roll down and go dark.

“And I don’t have to do anything. I do it because I want to.”

Steve flushes. God, that’s looking to be the most adorable sight he’s seen all day (present day Steve’s gotten so used to his flirty innuendo and public dirty talk that it very rarely fazes him enough to get him blushing like a Kewpie doll).

“I’ll, uh, I’ll leave ya alone. Shouldn’t have intruded.”

“You should stay,” Tony blurts out and then resists the unbearable urge to fidget.

Steve’s eyes widen and his expression turns wary. “You, uh, you sure my future self won’t mind or nothin’?”

“Do you? I’m just as much yours as I am his,” Tony reminds him.

“S’not the same thing,” Steve argues. “I’m not the one that put that bite on ya.”

Tony takes a brave step forward. “Well, if that’s all that’s bothering you, why don’t you give it a try?”

Steve lurches back. “What?” he demands, his voice going high and sharp and flustered.

“Bite me,” he challenges.

Steve takes a step back, but his hands shake by his hips like he’s resisting the urge to reach out and touch his omega.

“I can’t,” he says, swallowing hard.

“Why not?”

“Because,” Steve gives him a frustrated noise. “You’re not mine, Tony. You’re not, not really.”

Tony blows out a breath between his teeth. “Steve, honey, it’s my body and I’m telling you that I’m yours. I’m your omega, and I want you to fuck me and bite me and leave me raw.”

Steve licks his thin, lower lip, and he’s clenching his fists so hard that Tony can see the supple, dark lines of his veins in his hand.

Tony leans in, guessing that Steve needs a not-so-subtle push in the right direction.

“Fuck me, alpha,” he purrs, his voice dark and full of promise.

Steve groans, a hurt little noise that makes Tony grow wet with slick.

“You sure?” Steve clarifies.

“Yes, God, fuck, yes.”

Steve surges forward, like the brave warrior he is, and slants his mouth onto Tony, tilting up on his toes. His hand grips Tony’s hips and Tony pulls them back, until he’s toppling onto Steve’s threadbare mattress with Steve on top of him.

Tony can already feel Steve hard, rubbing up against his hip, and it makes him clench his thighs together, the slick running fast and wet.

He’s sure Steve can smell it, hot and heady, and feel it dampening his slacks.

He attacks the buttons on Steve’s shirt, pulling off his suspenders (moments after marvelling at the thought of suspenders, fuck, yeah). He makes for the buttons on Steve’s pants, rolling the waistband enough for him to slip his hand inside and wrap his hand around his solid, heavy cock, sizeable for such a small-made man.

Steve grunts and jerks into his grip.

Tony hushes him. “It’s okay, alpha, I’ll take care of you,” he murmurs, in a low, soothing voice. “Can I take your pants off?” he asks, curiously, through fine, dark eyelashes. “I want you naked and on top of me.”

Steve swallows hard and nods, shakily, the lust bright on his face, but almost tentative, like he still can’t quite believe this is happening to him: Steve Rogers, thin like a beanpole and equally scrawny, with an hot, wet omega in his sheets, who has his bond bite and says he loves him.

“Steve,” Tony says, carefully. “If you’re not okay with this, if you don’t want this, that’s alright too.”

Steve shakes his head. “No, no, I want this,” he says, determinedly.

“You’re sure?”

Tony grins. “Good.”

He rolls down Steve’s slacks until the alpha can toss them onto the floor. He gropes his arse as much as he can, and Steve turns red, kissing Tony’s shoulder again and again. Steve rubs up against Tony, his hard cock leaving wet streaks of pre-come against the curve of his hip.

“Sorry, ah,” Steve gasps.

Tony shushes him. “Don’t be. I love it. I love having your come on me; it’s like you’re marking me,” he says, provocatively.

He leans down, between their bodies, and fists Steve’s cock, his eyes fluttering close.

They’ve never really had a frank discussion about dick sizes and Tony’s never been really curious, content with what he had, but knowing Steve, in this form, short and scrawny and made of bird bones, was hung like a goddamn horse, well, the slick runs a little more insistently now.

“I don’t think I’ve loved your cock more than in this moment,” he teases. “Although, I think I might love it more once it’s inside me.”

Steve just laughs, canting his hips into Tony’s grip. “I hope so.”

“You ready, babe?” he murmurs, teeth nipping at the shell of Steve’s ear.

“Yeah, yes,” Steve clears his throat. “Yes, I am.”

“You’ll tell me if you need to stop,” Tony says in a firm, no-nonsense tone.

Steve turns red, more this time out of humiliation. “I can handle-” he begins, hotly.

Tony covers his mouth his hand. “Don’t be a hero,” he warns. “I’ll like to get through this preferably without you keeling over and hacking up your lungs. It’s a serious turn-off.”

Steve still looks mortified.

“Steve,” Tony sighs. “I love you no matter what you like, no matter how sick you are, and I want to have sex with you, but I also want you to be okay during. I want you to have fun, and you’re not gonna have fun if you’re having an asthma attack.”

Steve nods, looking down at him with awe. He grips his shoulder, layering pale fingers over tan muscle.

“You’re sure you want this with me?” he clarifies.

“I’ve never been surer of anything,” Tony says. “Well, I have, but that doesn’t mean I’m not sure of this. Maybe we should just move on, because I have a tendency to ramble and it might ruin the mood.”

Steve cracks a smile. “Somehow, I doubt that.”

Tony huffs. “You don’t know. You have no clue what could turn you off with me.”

Steve rolls his eyes. He leans down and kisses hickeys onto Tony’s thighs, grinning when Tony squirms and starts whining. He’s so close to where he’s leaking slick that he could reach and lick it up, but he doesn’t, much to Tony’s eternal consternation.

“Steve,” Tony pants. “Come on, alpha, I want you inside me.”

Steve groans, when Tony reaches between them, shuffling down so that he can press the head of Steve’s cock between his thighs and bears down. A cry punches out of him when Steve fills him right to the base, slick running down the length of his cock, without much resistance.

“I didn’t…” Steve takes a deep breath. “I didn’t realise it’d be like this,” he says, awed, shaking from head to foot.

Tony smiles, chewing on his lower lip. “I’m glad – oh, yeah, like that, honey, just like that – you’re enjoying yourself.”

He’s a little bigger than Steve this time around, so he uses his weight to his advantage to switch their positions, bracing himself over Steve, so that he can ride him.

Steve swallows hard, the blood hot in his face, as a slim, painter’s hand grips at Tony’s hip, gently at first like he thinks he needs permission. Tony quickly covers Steve’s hand with his own.

“You can touch me anywhere and anytime you like,” he reassures.

“Are you sure?” Steve asks, quietly.

Tony shrugs. “I’m yours, and you’re mine, right?”

“Only if you’re sure.”

Tony leans down to kiss the uncertainty right off his mouth, until Steve raises his head and leans into the kiss, curling a hand around the nape of Tony’s neck. Slowly, Tony starts to roll his hips down, his hips slanted over Steve’s thin shoulders. The air is thick with their scents and the smell of his slick that turns the sheets underneath them wet, as the bedsprings creak to their rhythm. Steve digs his thumbs into the divots at the base of Tony’s spine, thrusting into him with a wet, obscene noise exaggerated by Tony’s slick.

Tony looks down at him, seeing the way Steve’s eyes bleed black with heat and lust, and digs his teeth into his lower lip, watching as Steve moans with the single act.

“Steve, I love your cock,” he sighs. “I love it inside me. You’re the perfect alpha. You fuck me so good. I dream about you fucking me.”

“Tony,” Steve chokes and with a slice of inventiveness that Tony didn’t think possible, he wraps a small, thin hand around Tony’s cock, where it bobs against his stomach, and gives it a lazy stroke. “Tony, you’re so beautiful. I can’t… I can’t believe you’re mine; I can’t believe you’re lettin' me do this to you, touch you like this. Tony… Tony, how are you real?”

“It’s okay, Steve,” Tony soothes, as a deep, full pressure settles in the pit of his stomach, climbing upwards. “I am very real; this is really happening, and I wouldn’t want it with anyone else.” He touches Steve’s bony cheek. “I am so very yours, Steve Rogers.”

Steve comes hard at those very words, arching and shouting Tony’s name, while gripping his hips. Tony clenches around him and crumples when he comes, not even minutes later, the orgasm rattling through him. He tightens up around Steve’s cock once before giving way and collapsing onto the small mattress, half on top of him.

In truth, the idea of being covered in slick and come and sweat should prompt him to rush for the nearest shower, but he has no intention of pulling away from this tiny bed, cuddled up to an equally tiny Steve Rogers.


He wonders if this is what life would be like if he had been born poor and he’d met Steve when he was much younger, instead of being over forty like he had been in reality.

Then again, he remembers Steve shyly asking him out on a date and bringing a bouquet of pink orchids to a diner he had found on one of his cross-country runs, and decides he still wouldn’t have it another way.

He just hates the idea that this Steve, this Steve who is so sweet and fierce and hurt will go the next seven years thinking he doesn’t get a happy ending when there’s one waiting for him, just not a very conventional one.

He rubs his forehead against Steve’s ribs, where they poke out through the skin, and has the sudden urge to go and make him something to eat, if only to put some meat on his bones.

But he doesn’t think he could leave this bed even if he wanted to. His legs are like jelly.

He doesn’t even realise when he falls asleep, giving into the slow drag of Steve’s fingers in his hair.

When he wakes up, God knows how much long after, to the steady hum of an Ella Fitzgerald song and the scratching of charcoal against paper, he’s resting on Steve’s side, while Steve sits up against the headboard, with a sketchbook propped up against his knees.

Tony rubs his hands across his eyes. He licks his lips and looks across, seeing familiar lines drawn onto the page, and his brow furrows

“Are you…” he shuffles closer, reaching for the sketchbook. “Are you drawing me?” he demands.

“Yes,” Steve says, warily, clearly wondering if he’d breached some invisible boundary.

Tony makes grabby hands. “Let me see,” he says, sternly.

“No,” Steve exclaims, holding the sketchbook close to his chest.

Tony pouts. “Why not?”

“Because, uh, it’s not-wait, Tony!”

Tony grabs it from his hands, turning to the page Steve had been working on. It’s a neat charcoal drawing of himself, lying there on the sheets, one arm pressed against his chest, while the other stretches above his head. He’s on his side, with his bond bite showing, his eyelashes veiling his eyes, his face slack with sleep.

“I’m naked!” he exclaims, delighted.

Steve huffs. “I… made use of artistic licence.”

“Yeah,” Tony snorts. “I’m sure.” He hands Steve back the sketchbook and makes a content noise, striking a pose on top of the mattress, running a hand along the deliberate curve of his hip. “Well…” he looks at him expectantly. “Go on!”

“Tony,” Steve warns.

“What?” Tony blinks, innocently. “Keep going. An artist must never lose focus,” he sighs and tips his head back.

“I’m beginnin' to regret this already,” Steve mutters, putting the charcoal to paper once more.