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Whatever It Takes

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His hands were shaking, both of their hands were. Tony buried his face in Steve’s chest, clinging to the fabric on his back so tight he thought the shirt would rip. Steve’s held him so close he could hardly breathe. Tony could feel the soldier’s shaky breath on his neck, the trembles coursing through his body.

It was the night, the last night, before they would move into action. The plan wasn’t great. It took days of trial and error and deliberation to come up with it, and longer still to create the necessary components. It wasn’t optimistic in the slightest, and chances of survival were low for all involved. It was, for lack of a better word, a last ditch effort. There had to be some way to put the world right again. The people who were gone were missed every day, the physical and psychological effects of The Decimation as it had been named were too numerous. No one knew how to move on, no one was willing. Why should people move on? It wasn’t fair.

It was the Avengers’ job to fix it. Some hated them for being unable to prevent it in the first place. The weight of expectation was heavy on everyone’s shoulders, but this was what they were meant for, right? This was their whole mission, from the start, even if none had known it back then. They owed it to those who were gone to try now, at any cost. Even if…things didn’t turn out well in the end.

They stood in the dark of Tony’s room, having said goodnight to the others a few minutes ago. It was late, around two in the morning. Everyone had wrapped themselves up in last minute preparations, all together in one room. Someone had suggested watching a movie, but the laughs in response were half-hearted. It was clear everyone couldn’t believe today had come. The possibility of death was an occupational hazard, and had been for the last five (or more in some cases) years, but none of those missions could have been classified as suicide missions. There was always a way out, a light at the tunnel. This time…there wasn’t. Or if there was, it was a very long tunnel, the light at the end a pin prick. Dispersing tonight had been painful, not a genuine smile in sight. No one questioned Steve and Tony staying together. No one mustered a joke or a chide. It was difficult to pretend that things were normal, that the stakes weren’t incredibly high. The fact that it could have been their last “goodnight”s to each other ever was lost on no one. What was left to say? Tony had never been the kind for speeches, and this time not even Steve could find the right words.

There was silence now, no conversation feeling right. What could you say? What should you say, knowing the next few hours could be your last? Tony had always known it would come to this, had told himself over the years that he was okay with it. But now, he wasn’t ready. He had just gotten Steve back. Everything always came back to Steve for him. It had been a long, hard journey, and his emotions had no shortage of fluxes, but he would always want Steve, would always need him. Making up and getting him back just to lose him shortly after seemed too cruel, and he was no stranger to cruelty. The brunet exhaled slowly, attempting to keep it from becoming a sob.

“It’s gonna be fine,” he choked out. “We’re gonna be fine.”

The way Steve’s grip tightened told him neither believed it.

“If we’re not?” the blond replied. The tone of his voice left a pang in Tony’s heart. He sounded so defeated, so apprehensive. It wasn’t his Captain America voice, it was just Steve. He was a super soldier, but at the end of the day, he was no different than anyone else: a man with doubts and fears. Tony bit his lip, attempting to find a response. Usually he was the pessimistic one, not Steve.

“Then…” he struggled to find words. Tony sighed, exasperated. He drew back. “Hold me. Just hold me now,” the brunet said, sliding his hands back to grab Steve’s from their place at the small of his back. He held tightly, pulling the man over to the bed. Steve followed without hesitation, maybe glad to be led for once. The sheets were soft, softer than usual, or maybe Tony’s senses were just heightened, his brain’s attempt to memorize everything before it could get ripped away. He sunk into the mattress, pulling Steve on top of him, linking his arms around the soldier’s neck. He closed his eyes, drinking in the warmth of the super soldier, the familiar weight against his ribs. Steve inhaled, hands gripping the brunet’s hips.

“Tony… I—“

“I know,” the scientist interrupted. “I know.” His hands framed Steve’s face, barely visible in the dark, shaky fingers glossing over the familiar ridges. “Me too.” His heart beat uncomfortably against his chest. There was no need to complete the sentence. The words were said so many times in the past, before this whole mess began. Saying them out loud now just felt like a goodbye, and Tony wasn’t ready for that.

“Can I kiss you?” Steve’s voice was soft, pleading, almost hoarse with emotion. It shocked Tony. They’d shared kisses since his return, had held each other close, had shared a bed, and Tony had never protested. The fact he had asked permission now told of his state of mind, that he was unsure of everything. Tony wondered if there was a little more to the question, but naturally the answer was yes.

“Of course,” he breathed, leaning up until he found Steve’s lips. From the moment of contact, he knew this kiss was different. There was urgency, pleading. This kiss was a prayer, a reluctance to let go, a desire to stay frozen in time. He was utterly absorbed in it, pushing himself upward into the blond’s grasp. Steve’s hands were still shaking, sliding down Tony’s arms. Breaking for air seemed out of the question, as if every second apart was lost time. Maybe it was. Tony grabbed Steve’s hands, held them tightly between his own. He’d never seen the blond so shaken. Steve had always been his rock, always been the strong one. To see the soldier like this only emphasized the stakes, the nagging voice in the back of his mind that told him “this is it.”

“Steve,” the brunet said softly. He paused, and the silence of the room around them was overwhelming. “Make love to me.”

It felt strange saying those words again. They hadn’t been together intimately since before the team fell apart. Two years was a long time, but Tony had never stopped longing for Steve’s touch, and vice versa. The last few days, well… There hadn’t really been time for it. First Tony’s wounds and the fact that they weren’t really sure where they stood, then keeping it all on the down low from the team, and not to mention personal anxiety. He hadn’t been sure they would ever return to this point, or if they should, but that didn’t matter anymore. If this was it, truly, they should make the most of it. Steve evidently felt the same way, because he captured Tony’s lips once more, arms wrapped around him and drawing him impossibly close. The blond kissed down the column of his neck, to where his bare skin met his shirt, leaving a trail of heat that made Tony exhale contentedly, a hand running over the smooth sheets below him.

Tony reached down Steve’s back, gathering the fabric there and pulling up, making it clear he wanted it gone. Steve pressed a kiss to his lips before drawing back, tugging his shirt over his head and off. He dropped the garment to their side, pausing as the scientist’s hands explored his broad chest. Steve grabbed one of those hands, placing a kiss to each fingertip, memorizing the sensation. Steve’s hands moved to Tony’s hips, pulling up his shirt. Tony arched his back and then sat forward, letting the blond pull his shirt off.

The brunet’s chest was littered with scars, most familiar to Steve, but a few that weren’t. The most startling one was the largest, from the wound Thanos had given him. Steve had seen it before, had almost froze in shock after he brought Tony to the medical bay and seen it get fixed up, but looking at it now made it seem even worse, if that were possible. He covered it with the palm of his hand, willing away the thought of Tony receiving it. Steve was glad he hadn’t been there. Seeing Tony getting hurt like that would’ve broken his resolve. It would have left him seeing nothing but red and unable to think. Even now the fury that he felt at the thought of Thanos was overwhelming. Any semblance of plan would’ve been ruined, and he would’ve done anything to retaliate. Yes, it was good that he hadn’t been there. The fact that he hadn’t been there wasn’t great either though. If Tony hadn’t been so strong, it could’ve meant the end of his life, and Steve would’ve never had the chance to apologize, to reconcile, to be here right now. He could envision Tony, brave Tony, dying on some alien planet, alone and in pain, bleeding out. He wondered if Tony would have thought of him, in his last moments. Perhaps he would have resented him for being unable to come to his rescue, or he would have been glad at his absence. After all, the blond had ruined things so spectacularly for them, and the team in general. Maybe Tony would have cursed him in his last moments. Steve thought all sorts of horrible things, there in silence with Tony’s scars faintly visible in the dim room.

He was swept up in the fantasy, locked in his thoughts, but the sensation of the brunet’s hand covering his own brought him back. Back to earth, back to Tony.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for—“

“Shh,” Tony interrupted. “Just stop. I don’t—I don’t wanna…” he paused, taking a breath. “It’s fine. We’re fine. Everything’s fine,” he muttered, attempting to convince himself as much as the blond. Steve managed a nod, and Tony leaned up, brushing his lips against the corner of the soldier’s mouth. A shudder ran through Steve. He gathered Tony in his arms, settling him in his lap.

“Touch me,” the brunet demanded, feverishly placing kisses along Steve’s jaw, hands finding purchase in the hair at the nape of his neck. He rocked forward in the blond’s lap, as if to emphasize his request. Steve groaned, grasping Tony by the hips, moving against him and creating friction. He was glad he had worn sweatpants instead of jeans, making each sensation more keenly felt. They rocked together, holding tightly. It didn’t take long to get worked up. Steve had always been easily brought to attention and it had been a long time for Tony. He was desperate for distraction, and this was the best distraction. A particular slide sent chills up his spine, and he buried his face in the crook of Steve’s neck, letting out a soft moan.

“Tony…” Steve’s voice was a plea. His hands slid down the scientist’s back, settling at the waistband of his pants.

“Yes,” was the reply. “Yes. I need— let go, I need these off.” Tony exhaled softly, falling back against the pillows as Steve released him. Tony tugged at his pants with urgency, lifting his ass off the mattress to pull them off. Steve did the rest, catching one of his legs in his hand, the annoying pants dropped somewhere behind him. He placed kisses to the brunet’s thigh, grazed the skin with his teeth, moving closer and closer to his target. Tony was already shaking a little, his heart beating quickly in his chest. Steve had a way of striking his nerves, every touch making him too warm. Steve leaned forward, lowering Tony’s leg and instead running his hands northward, pulling off his underwear. The brunet exhaled gratefully, his erection free, his cock feeling heavy and sensitive. Steve must have gone slower than the scientist wanted, because Tony wasted no time sitting up and tugging at his pants. Another garment gone, and his briefs gone next.

“God, Tony…” Steve muttered, grasping his partner’s ass. Even in the dark, the outline of Tony’s body was enough to drive him mad. He was so beautiful, muscles toned but not overwhelming, the curve of his hips enticing. Their lips met again, insistent, heated. Tony’s blood ran hot, anxiety mixing with desire. He wrapped his arms around Steve’s shoulders, pushing him back against the bed, a whine leaving his lips. Steve exhaled through his nose, pulling Tony flush against him, dick sliding against the other’s, already dripping pre-cum. The sensation left him shutting his eyes, trying to remain composed. “Do you have—“

“Yeah,” the brunet replied. He brushed some hair out of his face. “Yes, let me just…” He slid off of Steve’s chest and leaned over the bed, reaching into the nightstand and pulling out a bottle of lube. The location hadn’t changed since the last time they had lain together, and the familiarity of the situation was comforting.

“No condom?” Steve inquired, blue eyes settling on the small bottle. He sat up.

Tony shook his head. “Not tonight. I don’t—I don’t even have any right now.” He pressed the bottle into Steve’s hands, who drew the brunet into his lap once more.

Steve rolled the bottle between his hands, warming it up. “Come here,” he said quietly, grazing his teeth against Tony’s collarbone. The smaller man groaned. He took the bottle from Steve and flipped up the cap, pouring a generous amount onto the soldier’s waiting palm. Tony got up on his knees, running his fingers through Steve’s hair. He paused, pressing a slow kiss to Steve’s forehead. A frown formed on his face, barely visible in the dark. Steve caught it though.

“Do you…do you think…” Tony began, tone filled with concern. It was obvious whatever he was about to ask was about the future. Tony had always been filled with doubts, always looking ahead, trying to anticipate the next attack or bout of heartbreak. They called him ‘The Futurist’ for a reason. He was always one step ahead, considering consequences and alternate paths. Steve wasn’t like that. Steve took things one step at a time, preferring to handle things as they came along. He had trouble seeing the big picture sometimes, while Tony’s picture could cover a skyscraper. It was natural that his mind would draw him forward now, at the final stretch of the journey that began with an alien invasion in New York. However, now wasn’t the time for that. Now was the time to live in the present, to stop looking to the stars and to look at what was in front of him: mainly Steve.

The blond cut him off with the entrance of an index finger. “I don’t want to think about any of that. I just…want to think about you…” He began moving in and out slowly, placing kisses to Tony’s jaw, drinking in the soft gasps he received as the brunet adjusted. Steve pulled out, circling the rim, teasing, before going back in. He inhaled, eyes closed, willing his mind to memorize Tony’s scent, the feel of his arms around him, comfortable weight against his shoulders. It was wonderful, after so long, to be here with him like this. He had doubted he would ever have the privilege again. Tony was at his most vulnerable like this: no armor, no technology, no charming lies or mask. He was earnest, inhibitions lost, and the blond loved it. Steve worked his partner until he was writhing, pliant and sufficiently distracted, fingers finding his lover’s prostate with practiced ease. Two fingers were in past the knuckle, pulled in and out in time to Tony’s focused movements, his forehead against the blond’s shoulder.

“Steve—“ he shuddered. “Please, I need…” his voice was a whisper, breath heavy. Tony tugged at the blond’s large hand, pulling his digits out, brows knit at the sudden emptiness. His fingers weren’t enough though. Tony needed more. The blond laid back against the bed, fingers trembling.

“Yeah,” came the response. Steve grabbed his dick, twitching with excitement and leaking from the head. He knew an invitation when he heard one, and gladly accepted this one, lining himself up with Tony’s entrance. He hardly had time to prepare himself before the brunet sank down, fingers curling around Steve’s broad shoulders. It had been so long, too long, and maybe he rushed a little, the stretch burning, but all the same satisfying. It was perfect.

Two years he had gone without Steve’s cock, filling him up, making him feel good. Tony thought of endless nights trying to pleasure himself, wrapped up in one of Steve’s shirts, a toy between his legs and trying to pretend the soldier was there. Nothing ever compared to the real thing, the shape and size of his dick just a little overwhelming, too much and not enough at the same time. He thought of the pleasure turning into sobs, the emptiness he felt each time coming down and realizing the blond wasn’t there, and might never be again. The handsome face captured in old photographs never compared to the real thing, and Tony would sit for hours begging his memory for a vivid vision. He would sit there, thinking of the past, of blue eye meeting his, filled with admiration. It had never been enough. No one fit him the way Steve did, no one knew what he liked the way Steve did. No one knew him like Steve did. Tony hadn’t even bothered searching for different partners in that time. His heart was too far gone, and so was his body. Steve had ruined the thought of bedding anyone else.

Things hadn’t been much different on Steve’s end. There were moments when he was so filled with need, so overcome with the desire to have Tony in his arms that he had to relieve himself, the memories of those lips against his and the wonderful sounds of his hazy begging filling his ears. Steve would stroke himself, hard and fast, trying to imagine he was fucking Tony instead. He would lie awake late at night, the space next to him empty, whether it was the cold ground or a shitty motel bed. He couldn’t feel the ground, or the scratchy sheets around him. He could only feel the absence of Tony. Steve had missed the scientist’s warmth, the dulcet tones of his voice as he spoke words only for Steve to hear. The years without those deep brown eyes staring into his own were miserable. The memory of those eyes tear-filled and surrounded by bruises, some he had inflicted, was worse. It was nothing short of painful to Steve, thinking he had ruined their relationship forever. He was overcome with fear now, the idea of tomorrow terrifying. Steve wasn’t sure what the morning would bring, or if he would ever get the chance to have Tony in his arms again.

He almost choked as heat enveloped his cock, the nails digging into his shoulders sending a shock through his system. Tony’s tight hole gave him more pleasure than his own hands ever could. God, it was good. Every time felt like the first time, like that night in the tower. He couldn’t help but thrust up, earning a small yelp from his partner. Steve’s face was already flushed, and he bit his lip, attempting to focus his mind. It was too easy to come undone before they had really begun. “Jesus…” he muttered, sheets beneath him twisted in a fist.

Tony usually liked to be below Steve, on his back or his stomach, ass in the air. The exception of course was when they couldn’t wait until the bedroom, instead fucking against the wall or a counter or wherever else. Steve thought of days filled with desire, at the start of their relationship, when neither could get enough. He thought of how hot Tony was, opened up on his thick cock, begging for more. The fact that he was on top spoke to his desire to escape, his desperation to forget the future and to assume some semblance of control in his life. Control was something both sorely lacked, especially now, when their barely rebuilt life was about to come crashing down. Steve didn’t have a preference of position, deeming any ounce of time fucking Tony to be perfect already. He was unbelievably good, and Steve knew it wasn’t just from his colorful sexual history. There was something so unique to the experience of being with Tony, something that he craved more often than not. His dick throbbed, aching for attention. Tony was glad to give it, as he seated himself on Steve’s lap fully, slowly rocking back and forth, a groan slipping from his lips as he was utterly filled.  

“Ugh, God…”He uncurled Steve’s fingers from the sheets, intertwining them with his own, head tilted back.

“Steve… you’re too much…”He rocked forward, lifting himself up a bit and coming back down, the slide of the blond’s length inside scratching an itch that hadn’t been satisfied in far too long. It was addictive. Tony couldn’t believe how long he had gone without this, how long he craved this. Being here now was wonderful. It was a long time coming; he just hoped it wouldn’t be the last time. He moved up again, higher this time, thighs shaking a little as he raised himself.

“Move,” he begged. “I…”

That was all the permission Steve needed, and he exhaled a moan, thrusting his hips upward, deeper and deeper into the brunet’s tight hole. It was intoxicating. He untangled their hands, gripping Tony’s hips for stability, helping to lift and pull him back down on his waiting cock repeatedly. The blond moaned, pace quickening, chasing the delicious friction and slide against Tony’s walls. The smaller man’s fingers found purchase on his chest, using leverage to help their motion, sliding so far up the column of Steve’s length that he almost unseated himself, a desperate moan leaving his lips as he was dragged back down. Steve found Tony’s prostate without much trouble, muscle memory leading him on. The rising keening of Tony’s voice told him he had struck gold.

“Ah—ahh! Steve…” It was music to his ears, and his performance spoke to his enthusiasm. He loved this. He loved Tony, the way he felt, the way he sounded, everything about him. The thought that he may never feel this way again gave him urgency.

Steve sat up, adjusting his position. He grunted, pulling Tony down on his dick, the sound of contacting skin heavy on his ears. The whine that escaped Tony’s lips was louder. He wondered briefly if they were being too loud, but as their tumbles went, this wasn’t the loudest. Steve found he didn’t care either way. He had Tony, for the first time in so long, and was going to make the most of it. He wrapped his arms around the brunet, drawing him closer, fucking with desperation.

Tony linked his arms around Steve’s neck, muscles weakening with pleasure. He placed kisses to the blond’s lips between words. “Jesus—I just—yes, oh, shit, I—you…”

Steve drank it all in, muttering encouragements. “I got you—I—I… so gorgeous, fuck—Tony—that’s it…”

“So good, so good Steve,” Tony gasped, head falling against his lover’s shoulder. “I—I can’t believe—I lived without you.”

 “Never again,” the blond replied, brushing against his prostate for emphasis. “I’m never—n-never gonna…god…” He couldn’t choke the words out, but Tony knew. He always understood.

“I know, I know--oh,” he said sweetly, the end drawn out as another wave of pleasure struck him. “Please—please don’t hurt me again.” Tony could’ve kept it in. He could have left those words unspoken, but Steve needed to hear them. You don’t have permission to die, his mind added.

“I—I’m so sorry,” Steve groaned, heart pounding with emotion. “So sorry baby, for everything.” He rolled his hips, deeper, craving more. Faster. Their movements were frantic, matching the promises falling from their lips. Steve was almost as vocal as Tony, telling just how much he enjoyed it, just how important this moment was to him. The tightening of his muscles told him he was close, the heat in his groin pooling way too fast, too hard. His grasp on Tony’s hips grew stronger, an effort to hold on, to drag it out. It may have been too tight, but Tony didn’t complain. He was along for the ride, encouraging Steve to do more.

Tony was dying, in the best way possible. He felt so alive, so full, mind going a mile a minute. His skin was burning and something deep in his core begging for release, release which he hadn’t had in so long. He needed it, depended on it, and only Steve could give it to him. He wanted more, the stimulation finally succeeding in pulling him away from his fearful thoughts, every bit of his consciousness devoted to Steve. His heart hurt, his muscles were shaking. Only Steve could pull him apart like this, wonderful Steve. Tony couldn’t believe he had ever survived separation, had ever hated the man. This was how he wanted to spend every moment of the rest of his life, wrapped in the blond’s arms and feeling good all over. It was not enough, and too much. He sounded awful to his own ears, like a lovesick whore, loud and desperate. Maybe he was. He couldn’t hold on any longer, barely responding to the blond’s apology.

“M-me too! I’m so...s-s-so…” Tony’s back arched, head falling back. A long, drawn out moan left his lips, and he shuddered, hips jerking forward as he came between the blond and himself. He saw stars, fingers barely able to hold on as chills ran through him, the mounting tension in his core releasing in waves.

Steve continued thrusting through his orgasm, the brunet’s soulful moan making his teeth clench. He would never forget that sound. It was enough to drive him over the edge, burying himself to the hilt in the brunet’s clenching walls, cock pumping cum deep and long into his partner. The groan that left his lips was just short of animalistic, feeling more satisfaction than he had in the last few years. He rode it out, involuntary shallow thrusts accompanying each stream of cum, until he was spent, breathing heavily and crashing back to earth.

Tony was practically putty, Steve’s arms the only thing supporting him. Steve exhaled in relief, laying Tony back on the bed. Steve’s dick was still in him, and Tony attempted to wrap his legs around Steve’s waist, unwilling to let go, but his muscles were too relaxed to do so. Steve understood. He remained inside, glad for the intimacy and keeping cum plugged up as to not stain the sheets more than they already had.

“God…” the scientist breathed, pushing sweat-slicked hair from his eyes. His heart was still pounding and his breathing quick. Steve leaned down, a slow, passionate kiss pressed to Tony’s lips.

Tony managed to lift his arms, framing the handsome blond’s face. A lump formed in his throat, the fear of losing Steve stronger than ever. What would tomorrow bring? Would they be safe, at the end of the day? Would the world be set right again? What was the price they would have to pay? Maybe it was selfish, to think of his own happiness in this situation, but he couldn’t help it. Tony’s heart had been broken so many times. He didn’t think he could afford one more break. Separation was one thing, especially when it was partly his fault, but death… He couldn’t imagine never feeling this way again, never seeing those strong blue eyes looking back at him. He was reminded of the vision given to him years ago, the vision so frightening and destructive that it had skewed his judgment since. The fear of disappointing anyone now, especially Steve, was too much.

“I love you…” he said softly. Tony closed his eyes, willing away tears. He had said it, out loud, for the first time in ages, and it felt so good.

“I love you too,” Steve replied, voice a whisper. “I love you so much.” A sniffle told Tony that he was equally frightened. Tony couldn’t decide if it was a comfort or made him more scared. He brushed a tear from the blond’s warm cheek.

“Promise me,” the scientist began. “Whatever happens tomorrow, you won’t—you won’t…”

“I’ll always come back to you, Tony. I—I need you. I never thought I’d need you this much, but I do. You won’t leave me and—and I won’t leave you. Whatever it takes,” the soldier replied. Tony nodded, pulling him closer.

He closed his eyes, convincing himself. “Whatever it takes.”