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Not fate.

Tony wouldn’t call it fate. Fate is mythology, anyway; it’s a fairytale that weaker men cling to to give sense to their senseless lives. Nothing in Tony’s life has ever happened because of any divine plan, and Tony sure as hell doesn’t believe in God. There’s no otherworldly hand guiding anyone’s actions. There’s no deeper reason why any given thing happens.

At most, he will say it’s...coincidence.

That’s what leads him to Peter Parker.

He’s been on the run from Hydra for only twelve hours. It brings him to his thirty-second consecutive hour awake. The last stop was eight hours ago at a huge industrial gas station alongside the highway in Pennsylvania, where he ditched the first car, the one he’d stolen in New York. Now as he eats up the road along the western most part of Illinois, the low fuel light comes on again. This time, it swims in his vision: two glowing gas cans and then one again.

He has to face facts that stopping for sleep is a necessity.

He’s more than five hundred miles away from The Epicenter. Hydra has no conceivable way of knowing which direction he’s going, not when he switched cars twice and has paid for gas in cash. But Tony knows that such details wouldn’t have stood between him and a mark. There may have been no better hitman at Hydra—but there had been some just as good. The key to staying alive lies in never letting his guard down, which makes sleep difficult to say the least.

A sign comes up reading that the next fuel and food exit lies a handful of miles away tucked among the corn and bean fields. Not good for resting, even though it has a motel—for sleep, he’ll have to go to a bigger city, find their local Walmart, pick a secluded spot to park in and cover himself up in the backseat. No cash trading hands, no security cameras to catch his face, no real risk—but at least at this tiny town called Stopover, he’ll be able to get some caffeine to hold him over another thirty or forty miles.

Tony pulls off into the sleepiest little two-stoplight town he’s ever seen. It’s lucky that the stoplights aren’t just hanging on wires, but Tony knows that in the flat lands of the Midwest, the high winds might be likely to carry a light like that away. The sky hints at lightening, which bathes the whole town in a strange blue film, but when he pulls up to the gas station, he discovers that it won’t open until six in the morning. The clock on his dashboard flirts with five AM, which has him groaning. Fuck, he can’t catch a break. Fuck little Podunk towns in the Midwest. Fuck Hydra.

Something moves in the darkness outside his car.

He’s trained well enough that there’s no paralyzing fear, no heart-in-throat moment. His gun sits holstered between the driver’s seat and the center console. In a moment, he has it in his hand, steel cooler than his body but not his head. In a moment though, he untenses. It’s just some girl—a young woman really—walking. Judging by the nametag she has pinned to her shirt, she’s headed to work somewhere.

And what kind of businesses might be open this early in a town as small as this one? Tony waits until the girl is out of sight before starting his car and turning around to follow her, and sure enough, she leads him to the promised land.

STOPOVER CAFE needs a new sign, because like everything else in this little town, it’s faded and old and its better days have seen better days. But the tiny neon sign in the window that reads OPEN 24/7 works just fine, a glowing beacon, brighter than the star that led the three wise-men to Bethlehem and to baby Jesus Himself. Through the large windows (that need a good washing if anybody’s asking him), he sees the girl hanging up her light jacket and tying her hair back into a ponytail, getting ready to start her morning shift.

She’s got a customer: Tony. He switches his gun from the car holster to the concealed-carry on his hip, grabs cash from the glovebox, pulls his hat down low over his brow and steps out into the Midwestern morning.

It’s no Starbucks. The counters are clean but warped from years of being wiped down. The booths look outdated, like something he’d seen in an 80’s sitcom, but the soft lighting overhead gives the place a homey feel. Not that Tony is looking for a home. What he’s looking for is a good cup of coffee, and maybe one of the delicious pastries he sees inside the glass counter. He approaches the girl (who is sitting at the counter like a customer herself now, with a paperback book out in front of her). She blinks up at him, sleepily.

Tony turns on the charm on instinct. “Good morning,” he says warmly. “Are you taking orders?”

Another blink. She turns toward the back of the cafe and shouts, “Peter, you’ve got a customer.” Then she says to him, “Sorry mister, my shift doesn’t start for another ten minutes.”

“Thanks for your help,” Tony says dryly. He drums his fingers on the countertop while he waits for Peter. He wouldn’t be surprised if the other employee had fallen asleep back there on a giant bag of coffee beans. If he was tired before, this whole fucking place makes Tony feel even more tired. How the hell anyone actually works in this place (even despite the rousing smell of coffee) beats him.

A door opens, a soft voice announcing, “Sorry, sorry, so sorry for your wait—”

And then there is Peter. He’s Podunk pretty. Young, probably fresh out of high school, maybe waiting to go away to college once the fall semesters start. Face clear and pale, hair wild and dark, eyes the color of the coffee Tony’s craving, ones that widen when they take a look at the man waiting at the counter. His lips are thin but well-shaped, jaw cut, and when he flushes pink at the sight of Tony, the older man can’t help but be charmed. At least while he drinks his coffee, he’ll have something pretty to look at.

“Hi there, honey,” Tony says, grinning broadly. “I’m looking for the strongest cup of coffee you can legally brew me.”

“I—of course! Coming right up, sir,” Peter stammers. The whole time he’s pouring (offering Tony things like creamer and sugar which he doesn’t much care for), the kid can’t take his eyes off of Tony for longer than a moment. Unbidden, Tony thinks this kid would make for a terrible hitman.

When Tony finally has his coffee (in a to-go cup), he lets the cup warm his hands and eyes the kid up and down. His face is generically pretty enough, but the body is certainly something special: trim but with muscles that do more than just hint at the physique underneath. Maybe he was the star quarterback of the local football team. The thought makes mirth bubble up inside Tony.

“Do you—would you—I mean,” Peter clears his throat. “Can I get you anything else?”

Tony’s stomach does feel a little hollow. What could it hurt? But when he glances up at the menu board, it’s mostly faded from existence. Or maybe it’s just swimming under his exhausted gaze. He asks, “One of those pastries, for starters. But that won’t hold me over for long. Do you have any specials?”

The girl at the counter beside them (who has been a silent spectator to their soap-opera drama) groans loud enough to make him jump. She slams her book shut and stands, tying her hair back. Rolling her eyes at their faces, she waves an impatient hand to shoo them away while she clocks in. Three minutes early, as far as Tony can tell.

Peter is flushed from the roots of his hair down to his collarbones. He looks at Tony from under long, soot-dark eyelashes. “Yessir,” he says. “We have specials. Follow me.”

It’s only a testament to Tony’s exhaustion that he does as the kid says, leaving his coffee behind at the counter. He does his best not to let his feet shuffle as the kid takes him to the back of the cafe (obviously where food is made, though all appliances are off and cool and quiet). When Peter opens a door that clearly leads outside, it isn’t until it’s closing behind them that Tony thinks maybe he is a fine enough assassin after all—or maybe Tony is just an easy fucking mark.

“Are you trying to kill me?” Tony asks. It’s all rather threatening, but the kid still looks as innocent as a rose, and about as lethal as one too with the way he wrings his hands.

He gives a soft little laugh. Then he drops to his knees in the asphalt.

“My mouth is fifty,” Peter says, sitting on his heels like the most obedient boy Tony’s ever seen, downright angelic in the streetlight that streams gold light in from the street. One of his hands reaches out and presses itself to Tony’s thigh, just above his knee and moving due north. “That includes tip. Condoms are necessary.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“I have my own, don’t worry,” Peter says. Without preamble, he leans forward and nuzzles against the crotch of Tony’s jeans, humming. Tony feels paralyzed for once, cock soft but jerking in interest where Peter presses his cheek against it. Fuck, the kid looks so pretty with his eyes closed, lashes resting on his cheeks. Against his better judgement, Tony nudges his legs further apart.

Peter reaches up to unzip Tony’s jeans and Tony barely manages to stop him before he’s got a hand on Tony’s gun (literally, no dirty metaphors here, even though Tony’s cock is certainly hard enough and has been considered a weapon to some, though it was used on them willingly and with pleasure). If the kid weren’t so naive, fingers tentative, Tony might have thought that he was going for the gun. When he pulls it out of the holster and sees the young face go pale with fright, he knows it wasn’t intended.

“For self-protection when I’m on the road,” Tony says, honestly. Underneath his light jacket, he’s got one empty shoulder holster, and he tucks the safteyed gun there for safekeeping.

“Wow,” Peter breathes. Then he leans forward, fingers downright scrabbling to get Tony’s cock free from its jean confines. It’s more than half hard now, impressive enough for the kid to mutter another, wow, under his breath. His tongue comes out, a flash of dark pink in the light, and Tony’s eyes fall shut in preemptive ecstasy, feeling the phantom warmth and wetness. The kid whines, mouth clicking shut. He leans forward instead and rubs his soft cheek against the side of Tony’s aching cock. “Wanna suck you like this,” he says, grumpily. “But that’s against the rules.”

He reaches into his apron and pulls out a condom. Tony pets at his hair while Peter tears it open and rolls it down Tony’s cock. Then he wastes no time, mouth opening in a tiny sound of want as he leans forward and laps at the head. The condom only dulls the sensation a little, and Peter’s obvious skill and enjoyment more than makes up for it. Tony struggles to keep his eyes open as he watches the kid lave his tongue along the shaft, one thin hand reaching underneath to cup Tony’s balls.

“God, you’re big,” Peter mutters, maybe more to himself than Tony, stroking the older man’s ego as deftly as he strokes his cock. Then he’s taking a long, deep breath and taking Tony into his mouth as far as he can, the warmth and pressure driving a groan from Tony’s lungs. Fuck, it’s been so long since Tony buried himself into a lover, even since he’s taken himself in hand. Being on the run from the most notorious underworld organization in North America isn’t conducive to a rousing libido. But the wet, obscene noises that come as Peter fucks his own mouth with Tony’s cock have the man’s balls aching to release.

“Jesus,” Tony whispers, one hand tangling in those curls, just resting there.

Peter reaches up with both hands to grab Tony’s hips and pull him forward until Tony chokes him with his cock. The sound is awful, a gag that makes him wince in sympathy even as the pressure around the sensitive head of his cock increases, making him see stars. Peter pulls back long enough to whine, high and needy, before doing it again and again. He lifts his hand to encourage Tony’s own to pull at his curls, to jerk him back and forth.

The other hand reaches down to palm at his own cock encased in his khaki work pants. The kid is hard, for Christ’s sake.

“You like this?” Tony asks, breathless. In the light from the streetlamp, he sees the sheen of tears on the kid’s cheeks. He sees the way his eyes roll back at the question, garbling something inarticulate around the cock in his mouth. Tony pulls him off and asks again, “Do you like this?”

“Yes, daddy,” Peter says, voice cracking. There is no doubt about the sincerity of it, the way his eyes look fevered with his longing. “Please don’t stop, please.”

Tony groans, letting his head fall back to rest against the brick of the cafe’s building behind him. He shakes his head. “Daddy won’t stop you, fuck, he can’t. Go on, kid.”

Peter takes Tony in again, deeper, swallowing again and again to try to keep himself from gagging. Tony breathes out a moan, his one free hand clenching tight into a fist as he fights to keep some kind of control, to not blow his load after a handful of minutes. As the first human contact he’s had in months that wasn’t with someone he planned to kill, Tony wanted to savor every moment of it.

Unfortunately, the kid seems determined to suck the cum straight from Tony’s balls. He’s pulling out all the stops, letting one thumb press up behind Tony’s balls to make him unsteady on his feet, knees trembling. One free slim hand works the few inches of cock that Peter can’t swallow, though he sometimes draws his hand away so that he can try. Tony loves a determined spirit.

“Fuck kid,” Tony says, voice a low rumble. A car drives by, and maybe they are too far in the alley to be seen, but maybe they aren’t, and that shouldn’t have him on the edge but it does. He lets his blunt nails scratch at the younger man’s scalp, and the garbled groan around his cock has him gasping. “I’m going to cum. Are you going to be a good boy and take it? Go on, baby, show me what a well-trained cocksucker you are.”

Peter whines, the hand between his own legs rubbing furiously, and Tony suspects by the way the kid chokes, throat spasming, that he actually cums first, cums just from sucking Tony off and jerking himself off through his jeans. After his own orgasm, Peter seems to melt, jaw going even more lax, throat opening up for the last bit of Tony’s cock. With a jolt that feels like lightning shooting up his legs, Tony cums harder than he has in years. He shakes with it, trying to catch his breath—

The same car drives by again, slower.

Before thinking, Tony unholsters his gun, pressing Peter from sight to make him a more difficult target but the car just continues on. He can’t even be sure it was the same car; with a place this small, it’s likely that tiny rundown Toyotas are all anyone can afford. When he glances down at where Peter’s head is pressed flush against Tony’s abs, the kid is looking up at him with wide, dark eyes.

“Daddy is dangerous, huh?” Peter says, voice wrecked.

Tony holsters his gun. He’s going to pointedly ignore both the question and the half-hearted jerk his cock gave at that dirty little name. Tony takes off the condom, pulls his pants back up and stumbles to the nearby dumpster (what a lovely place for a foray this was) to chuck it away. His head swims, eyes throbbing. He hasn’t ever been this tired before, and now that his distraction has ended, he feels it all the more: a burning in his eyes that almost brings him to tears.

“Are you okay?” Peter asks, putting a hand on Tony’s shoulder.

“Fine,” lies Tony.

“I—sir, I really do hate to nag, but. It’s fifty dollars. You know what? Never mind, it was on the house, okay?”

Tony reaches for his wallet, but his hands shake so badly that he can’t even open it.

“Drugs?” Peter asks, sounding appropriately sympathetic.

“Tired,” Tony admits. “I haven’t slept in—I’ve lost count. Look, I need to sit down for a minute, okay? I’m just going to sit right here.”

Tony collapses into the grime of the alley. He belongs there, really. He doesn’t feel bad about his work for Hydra, but he’s certainly making an embarrassing spectacle of himself here now. If any of his old colleagues came along, they could clip him in a heartbeat. What happened to being careful?

“You’re shaking like a leaf,” Peter says. “Do you want me to take you to the motel? We have one here in town.”

Tony shakes his head. “No—no. I’m going to drive a while more before I sleep.”

“No offense,” Peter says, sounding like he means full offense, “But you’re in no condition to drive. Like, at all. Why don’t you just give up?”

“What?” Tony mumbles, blinking hard. Peter’s face swims in front of him.

“I said why don’t you just give up and let Hydra get you?” Peter says. He jerks a thumb towards the brick wall of the cafe which extends endlessly in every direction further than Tony’s eyes can see. “They’re inside right now. They ordered the daily special.”

Tony jerks awake. He gets the briefest glimpse of an unfamiliar, spackled ceiling before shutting his eyes again. He works to keep his breaths even and take in what parts of his surroundings that he can. There are voices, but just ones from the television that is somewhere in front of him. Otherwise, he can’t detect any person in the room. Not Peter, nor Hydra. The surface he’s laying on is a bed, though not a very comfortable one. His shoes are off, as is his holster, but he’s otherwise dressed and unhindered.

After a full minute of no status changes, Tony lets himself open his eyes again. He peers around at the blandest motel room he’s ever seen: cream cracking walls, carpet without any underlayment to soften it against his socked feet when he puts them on the floor. Beside him on the nightstand is his holster and gun. The television plays a soft local news station. In the corner of the screen, it says that it’s 10PM.

He puts on his holster first, then searches the room for bugs and other surveillance. There’s nothing. The only thing of interest is the note he finds on the stand beside where his gun rested, written in a fast scrawl.

Room is $39 a day in your name. Paid cash. Don’t be mad! Go to sleep.—PP

Tony rubs at his forehead. He can’t put many pieces together between the blowjob and the motel. Vaguely he remembers flashes of Peter under his arm holding up most of Tony’s weight with his impressive physique. He hopes to God he hadn’t really tugged at the kid’s belt loops trying to pull him into bed with him. Holding up a hand in the empty room, he makes a vow to himself to never stay awake for more than twenty-four hours at a time, because holy fuck. Nothing like a night with an (underage? Christ, he hopes not) barista prostitute to humble him. Best assassin Hydra had to offer indeed. The kid could have capped him a dozen times over.

But he hadn’t.

He’d taken off Tony’s gun but left it within arms reach.

Hell, he’d taken off Tony’s shoes, and why? So that he’d be comfortable? Something stirs uncomfortably in his chest. It feels like affection, which...isn’t smart, but isn’t so dumb either. If there was anybody he’d take a shine to, a no-name barista in a no-name town is probably the safest option. When Tony leaves, the kid will barely be a blip on the radar. He’s probably already forgotten Tony’s name.

Tony showers and then goes to the front desk. He has no belongings on him, save for what he’s wearing. He checks out, giving back his room key, and he has no plans to come back. The only thing that keeps him from peeling out of town is his stomach (absolutely aching by now, because yesterday’s special at the cafe wasn’t quite what he’d been expecting). The smartest choice would be to get on the highway and book it an exit or two away, find a McDonalds or a gas station and eat while he drove.

But today, Tony’s fucking up in a cornucopia of ways.

He goes back to the cafe. There is more business tonight than there was at five in the morning. The woman working is older than the girl last night was (a looker maybe, if Tony was into women, not that it matters). She’s nicer than the girl last night at least, and invites Tony to sit at the counter and pours him a glass of water. Turns out there is a menu that doesn’t involve sex acts, though Tony is still cautious when he orders a full breakfast.

The kid bringing out the food is Peter. He flushes under Tony’s gaze as he lays out the plates: eggs, toast, sausage. The woman leans against the counter further down and chats with a heavy-set gentleman, which leaves Peter to clear his throat and ask, looking through his lashes, if everything looks okay?

“Looks great,” Tony says, staring at the way Peter’s biceps pull at the sleeves of his polo shirt. “Thanks, honey.”

“Do you—” Peter clears his throat. “Do you want the special, sir?”

Tony licks his lips. Last night awakened his libido, and now all he can think about is getting the chance to experience Peter’s talents when fully conscious. Even now, he feels himself stir in his pants looking at how shy and embarrassed Peter is. Tony loves that fucking innocent act.

“I’m absolutely interested,” Tony says. His voice drops low, and he lets it, loves the way the kid’s eyes go half-lidded with it, gaze locked on Tony’s mouth. “But I haven’t eaten in even longer than I hadn’t slept. Rain check? Does your shift end soon?”

“I’ll be here,” Peter says, grinning. When he smiles, his face exudes a carefree, boyish charm—

“Fuck,” Tony says. “How old are you?”

Peter rolls his eyes a little. “Old enough. We have to be to work here, since we serve beer.”

Frankly, the business’s alcohol practices are the least of Tony’s ethical concerns, but considering he’s a fucking ex-hitman with a list of bad deeds longer than this town is large, Tony figures that he can turn a blind eye to it.

For the next twenty minutes or so, Peter keeps him company save for the breaks he uses to serve other customers. By the time Tony has cleared his plate, he’s learned a lot about Peter: the kid’s favorite color (red), his favorite book (Angela’s Ashes, heavy), the kid’s family (all dead), and his career aspirations (“I don’t know. Maybe college?”). He struggles to remember what had been so average about the kid last night, because here with his eyes rested and feeling more content than he has in—too long to name—Peter is downright beautiful. Quick as a whip too, when he’s not stuttering and flushing at Tony’s every innuendo.

A man sits down next to Tony, accidentally brushing elbows. When he turns to apologize, it dies in his throat.

Bucky Barnes has cut his hair. Underneath it, he’s remarkably pretty with his cut jaw and his eyes that (even though they are dead, so dead and empty) are a pale blue. He is a much, much worse choice for Tony to be soft on. Because Bucky works for Hydra.

He and Bucky sit rigid, side by side, staring at the window that leads back into the kitchen. There’s a man back there today wearing a hairnet and manning the grill, the rhythmic scrape of the spatula loud enough to be heard over the blood rushing in Tony’s ears.

“Took you long enough,” Tony says at last. He’s never been good at silence. With a steady hand, he reaches out and grabs his coffee mug to take a sip. Barnes doesn’t even flinch. “Coming in to talk to a mark? That’s not your style.”

“Was gonna just cause a gas leak and blow the place up,” Bucky admits baldly, his voice rough with disuse. Tony isn’t so unaffected that the hairs on his arms don’t stand on end, because he knows Bucky’s work. He knows it. He’s seen it: entire families left for dead. Cars run off the road. Bucky likes to make it look like an accident.

“Why didn’t you?”

“‘m hoping you’ll come back with me.

“I hate to disappoint. You know me. I’m a people pleaser,” Tony rambles, watching the chef flip a burger for some teenagers who had walked in before Bucky. “But I’m not going back to someplace where I had to lick the boots of every asshole in charge. I don’t want to live like that anymore.”

“Guess you won’t live at all,” Bucky says solemnly.

Then Peter is there, eyes flickering between the two men. Tony doesn’t believe in fate, no, but he does believe in Murphy’s law: if something can go wrong, it will. That’s the only plausible explanation for why he would encounter the most deadly man he knows in this cafe with this boy who Tony’s become fond of.

The kid smiles but it dims considerably at the drawn, pale expression on both men’s faces. He’d have to be willfully ignorant to ignore the tension. The kid swallows and asks, “Hi, sir. Can I get you anything?”

“Please,” Tony says, soft and gentle and not at all to Peter. “Please, don't.”

“You think I won’t kill him?” Bucky asks. “I’ll kill everybody in this place.”

Peter’s face goes stark white. His hand holding the half-empty coffee pot trembles so much that he has to reach out and put it down on the counter. He does so slowly, because he’s a smart kid. He can’t see the weapons Bucky is packing, but the lethality of this dark man is hard to miss, even when he looks dashing and all-American with his hair shorn close to his head.

Tony turns for the first time, taking his gaze off of Peter. Bucky turns his own head minutely, eyes gliding like ghosts until they meet Tony’s own.

“You came in here for a reason, didn’t you? Something more than taking me back alive; you knew I wouldn’t come with you,” Tony guesses. In his benefit, Tony is a very good guesser. “You don’t want to kill everyone in here. You don’t want to kill me either. You’re looking for any reason to let me live, aren’t you Barnes? You’re hoping I’ll talk you out of this. Risky, because if I don’t, then we will both die here, along with everyone else who gets caught in our crossfire.

“But! You’re lucky. I’m lucky. We’re all lucky. Oprah’s handing out lives today instead of cars. You already did all the work for me by coming in here in the first place. Because now you have the best of all to let me live, and do you know what that is?”

Bucky stares. He’s a man of few words.

“Self-preservation. I know if you decide to kill me, I won’t get out of here alive. But it won’t matter because I’ll take you with me. It’s as simple as that. No matter what else happens, no matter who else gets killed, I will take you with me, do you understand? So what’s it going to be, Barnes? Either we both live, or we both die. I know which option I prefer. I know it.”

“I know which one prefer,” Peter offers.

Bucky still doesn’t speak. He reaches out (slow) with a gloved hand to take Tony’s coffee mug and finish it off. He stares into its empty depths for a moment that lasts a thousand of Tony’s frantic heartbeats if lasts ten. Tony thinks that maybe—and it’s a big maybe—the guy is actually thinking over what the ex-hitman said.

Wordlessly, Peter reaches out and pours more coffee in the cup.

It must be Tony’s imagination, but Barnes’s lips twitch in a way that might be expressing mirth. Really, he’s got the face of a brick wall. To be more fair, Tony might get more information out of the bricks than he’s likely to with Barnes.

Barnes takes another long drink and then pushes the mug away. Without a word, he pushes away from the counter and walks out the door in his weird swaggering gate.

Tony comes down slow, shaking as the adrenalin leaves his body, all the sounds of the cafe rushing back in like a television taken off of mute. Death had done more than brush against them; it had had a cup of coffee with them. And while Tony had talked himself out of many of the stickiest situations, but he’d never dreamed that something as futile as words would make it through Barnes’s exterior.

Across from him, Peter looks to be on the verge of passing out. His face has crossed from green to white, lips bloodless from fear. He licks his lips and asks, “What—what was that?

Tony’s got no fucking clue where to begin. He shouldn’t even say a word more to this kid. If he cared about Peter at all, he would pay for his meal and drive away and never even glance in the rearview mirror. But looking at Peter’s wide, glassy eyes, his mouth moves without his will. “A friend?”


“Colleague? Ex....colleague…”

Peter reaches out with one shaking hand to clutch at the warped countertop and use it to support himself. Behind the counter, his little knees must be shaking, and Tony doesn’t blame him. But then Peter shocks the fucking hell out of him, because after swallowing hard, the kid says: “I’m not going to lie right now, okay? I’m really hard. Like, really hard.”

Tony blinks.


Tony puts a fifty down on the counter at Stopover’s motel. Beside him, Peter won’t stop bouncing on his toes, holding his hoodie in front of his lap.

The guy who checked him out of his room an hour ago raises his eyebrows but makes Tony his change.


It’s a miracle they make it into the room. As soon as they do, Peter wrenches off his work apron and pulls his polo-shirt off over the top of his head—thanks to the buttons being done up like he’s some kind of rube, it gets stuck around his neck, but that just gives Tony an opportunity to eye the abs on this fucking kid (the kind of abs those bodice-rippers his mom used to keep in her bedside table would have described as ‘washboard’). Then the kid finally wrangles himself out of his shirt, and half his flush is surely from embarrassment, but at least he’s getting color back into his face.

“Did we almost die back there?” The kid asks. His voice is an octave higher than usual. He plasters one hand against Tony’s pounding heart and then drags it down, down, down to his belt buckle. It takes him three times as long to undo it thanks to his shaking fingers.

“We almost fucking died,” Tony says. He feels a little hysterical now himself, like the kid’s terror and relief has rubbed off. “I honestly don’t know how to convey to you the number of ways and the ease with which that man could have killed us both and probably everyone within a three block radius.”

“I was so fucking scared,” Peter groans, tears in his lashes, leaning forward to rub his cheek against Tony’s clothed cock. The motel’s peephole digs into Tony’s scalp, but he’s not willing to move an inch, not when Peter opens his mouth to leave obscene kisses that wet the denim. This is how addictions begin, he thinks. One time has him hooked on this kid, on this kid’s mouth, on the glassy look in the kid’s eyes as he drags the belt from Tony’s pant loops, feeds the tip back through the buckle and creates a makeshift leash for himself that he ducks his head into, letting the leather length of it dangle down his chest like a tie.

“I was scared too,” Tony admits.

“You looked so stone-faced, fuck,” Peter mutters. “Without you there, I probably would have pissed myself. But daddy had things under control, didn’t he?”

Tony snorts. He uses one trembling hand to pet at the kid’s hair. His mouth is so dry it hurts to swallow. “Sure, kid. Whatever helps you sleep at night.”

When Peter goes for the button on Tony’s pants, Tony presses his hands away—his concealed holster holds the gun flush between the waistband of his jeans and his abs. Basic gun safety says that it’s not safe to let Peter’s hands go wandering over it. Jerking up his shirt, he sees the way the kid’s eyes get wide at the sight of the smoke colored steel. After the kind of afternoon they’ve had, he wouldn’t put it past Peter to call things off right then and there. Gently, he removes the gun from his holster, keeping it aimed away from both of them, mindful of trigger discipline.

All that goes out the window when—with all the careful curiosity of a young boy reaching out to put his hand in a lion’s gaping maw—Peter wraps his fingers around Tony’s wrist and coaxes it forward, forward. Everything wise in Tony revolts when the gun is pointing at Peter’s. The first lesson of owning a gun is to never point it at someone that you don’t intend to kill. But then Peter’s mouth opens, a flash of pink tongue as he leans in to wrap his mouth around the barrel of the gun. His eyes close, the picture of ecstasy as he fellates the steel.

“You know how many people I’ve killed with this gun?” Tony asks under his breath. Something dark (and more than a little sexual) blossoms inside him coming to fruition, and it wraps its tendrils around the two of them. Truthfully, he hasn’t killed anyone with this gun—Tony doesn’t hold on to evidence, thanks—but Peter doesn’t know that, doesn’t care to know that, doesn’t want to know it. His eyes roll, a soft little noise leaving his open mouth. “You like that, don’t you? Does that get you off baby boy? Knowing that daddy’s dangerous?”

Peter grins when Tony plays along, resting his neat white teeth against the barrel.

“If you think you’re sucking me off again, you’ve got another thing coming,” Tony growls. He carefully removes the gun from Peter’s mouth, lifts it to his own and runs his tongue along the wet metal. Pointing the barrel at the bed, he says firmly: “Undress.”

Tony sits the gun on the nightstand where it is in reach. He’s not entirely convinced that Barnes won’t come back for them. Sitting on the bed, Peter kicks off his shoes with adolescent exuberance, but when he stands, he’s suddenly shy, fiddling with the button on his jeans and giving Tony glances like he’d like the other man to turn around.

“Changing your mind?” Tony asks.

“No,” Peter says. “Just—don’t make fun of me or anything.”

Tony is preparing himself to see something hilarious, maybe two cocks instead of one (which would actually be more alarming than hilarious), or something that a younger man might be ashamed of. Maybe Peter is small, maybe he’s cut or uncut (like it matters to Tony)—but then Peter takes a deep breath and holds it in his lungs while he wiggles his khakis down. He’s wearing panties, a pale blue, sensible cotton that has little lace panels where his hipbones lie. His cock can’t be more than a handful, but it strains against the front of the cotton, precum turning the fabric a stormy blue where his head rests.

The juxtaposition between Peter’s hard, masculine physique combined with the femininity of the panties has Tony’s head spinning. He reaches out with one hand to brace himself against the motel wall, cock throbbing painfully where it’s still confined in his jeans.

“I’m—” Tony has to stop and clear his throat. “I’m really glad you left those on, because I’m going to love taking them off of you.”

Peter’s eyes grow wide even as he flushes happily, his hands falling more naturally at his sides.

“You don’t mind?” Peter asks.

“I’ve seen a lot of things that I’d be glad to forget,” Tony says. “But this is one thing I hope always to remember. On the bed.”

Peter might belong on silk, but he looks downright at home on the cotton bedspread, his own pale skin glowing against the gray. His abs tense and relax while Tony prowls around the bed feeling like a caged tiger, taking the kid in from every angle. A methodical mind builds and destroys a dozen plans that he wants to see come to fruition. The only limitation is time (because it builds and builds in his mind how long he has remained in this one town, far too long if Barnes managed to catch him so quickly, and there will be others, yes, always others, vultures looking to pick his bones clean).

Time, and—

“Hope to God you’ve got lube and a condom, kid,” Tony says.

“A condom, yeah. It’s lubed.”

Tony frowns. No doubt the kid gets his condoms at a local general store, probably blushing like tomato while he purchases them from a cashier that’s been to his every birthday party. Cheap condoms barely have enough lube to help slip into a self-lubricating channel; getting into Peter’s ass will be hopeless. He won’t even try—unless they make a little lube of their own.

Rucking his shirt up and off, he asks, “How’s your refractory period?”

Peter’s eyes go glazed, taking in Tony’s firm chest, the mass of tangled scar tissue in the center of his sternum (“Trust me, kid. You don’t want to know”), the dark hair, the abs he works hard to maintain. Fuck, it does wonders for his ego to see this kid’s panties jump just at the sight of him. Licking his lips, Peter says, “I’m nineteen. I can go again in fifteen minutes.”

“That’s advantageous.”

Tony grabs Peter’s ankles. They’re petite enough that his broad hand encircles it as he pulls the yelping kid to the edge of the bed, his pale legs dangling off the edge. Peter smells like coffee, the scent has saturated his clothes right down to the pretty cotton panties that Tony buries his face in just to the side of the straining cock. The younger man makes a gutteral noise that fills up the room, fills up all the space in Tony’s head until he wants to hear nothing else.

He lets the tip of his nose draw a line up from the bottom of the bulge where Peter’s balls are up the line of his hard cock, half his mouth lifting in a smirk when the simple touch makes it jerk. He opens his mouth and blows a gust of hot air against the fabric and Peter whines, toes digging into the carpet where they just barely reach the floor.

“Are you sensitive, kid?” Tony asks. He scrapes his teeth over the lace that encases the pale hipbones and Peter jumps, fingers twisting in the bedsheets.

Ye-es,” Peter moans.

Tony pays ample attention to the cut abs, traces the peaks and valleys with his tongue, plays some fucked game of tic tac toe by sucking dark bruises into each one until the dark stain of precum on Peter’s underwear has doubled in size. For all the whining he does, the kid is very well behaved: his hands stay firm on the sheets and he doesn’t ask for a single thing more than what Tony gives him. Maybe he knows that Tony wants to hear him beg, just to tell him no.

 When he reaches the pale, flat nipples, he wastes no time before taking one into his mouth. That’s the last that Peter can take, his hands coming up from the bedspread to thread into Tony’s hair and hold him in place while he lathers his tongue over one growing peak. Peter slurs a litany of pleas and praises, oh fuck Tony, please don’t stop daddy, tease me, torture me, do whatever you want with me just don’t stop please

That’s easy direction to work with. One of Tony’s hands takes its time teasing Peter’s neglected nipple, dragging circles around it, running the calloused pad of his thumb over the sensitive tip just to feel how Peter’s hips cant up, desperate for friction that Tony maintains distance to withhold. He drags the ridge of his open teeth across the nipple wet and sensitive from his mouth’s attention and Peter keens. After several long minutes, the young man abandons his hold on Tony’s hair and clutches at his own, his hips constantly working against some phantom body.

All of it, but he never complains and he never asks for more.

“You’re such a good boy,” Tony mutters, ducking down to bite a bruise under the kid’s peck.

Peter positively melts at the praise. “Thank you,” he breathes, his lashes wet. “Good enough to take your cock, daddy?”

“You’re too good for my cock, baby,” Tony admits. “But you can bet daddy’s going to give it to you anyway.”

He shifts down until he’s hovering over Peter’s panties again, watching the cock strain against the fabric. The stain of precum is obscene now, thinning the fabric until the curved head of Peter’s cock is visible. Leaning down, Tony drags his tongue over it, tasting the bitter taste of precum. Peter’s low oath goes straight to Tony’s own cock. If his forearm wasn’t pressed over Peter’s flat navel, the kid might have thrust that clothed cock right down the older man’s throat for the way he bucks, desperate for more contact.

When Tony takes those sky-blue panties between his teeth, working them down the narrow hips, Peter’s toes curl and his legs shiver and shake, nearly kneeing Tony in the sternum (which is a very delicate spot for him to be kneed).

“Stay still,” Tony says, hardening his voice. The kid goes still and pliant save for his open panting mouth—which is missing out, Tony thinks. “Here, suck on these.”

He presses his first two fingers into Peter’s mouth. Without shame, Peter sucks at the digits, tracing his tongue between the seam, drool dripping down the knuckles. Tony lets him suck far longer than he has to, because the picture is so damn pretty. While he works, Tony slips the panties off the last few inches of leg and presses his thumb into that wet scrap of fabric, taking in the sight of Peter naked. He’s artful. How did Tony ever look at this kid and not see him for what he was?

“Are you a virgin, Pete?” Tony asks. Peter wraps his thin fingers around Tony’s wrist and coaxes his hand deeper, deeper into Peter’s mouth until the knuckles are pressed just behind his teeth, the fingertips down his throat which swallows, swallows, but takes it like a fucking champ. His own mouth feels obscenely dry. “That’s—that’s very good, but it doesn’t answer my question.”

Removing his fingers, Tony lets the kid gasp, “No, daddy. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” Tony says. “How could you know to wait for me? I’m going to finger you open some, alright? Yes or no?”

“Please,” Peter moans prettily. The flush on his skin can’t possibly be from embarrassment anymore, even as the pink tint reaches his nipples.

Tony holds up the panties. “You make too much noise, and I’ll stuff that pretty mouth with them. Daddy can’t have a noise complaint, understand? If someone were to call the cops, I’d be in the makings of a John Wick film.”

“I can be quiet,” Peter promises. His face darkens more. “But—if you want to stuff my mouth with them anyway, you can. Whatever you want, daddy.”

Tony groans. “You’re perfect kid. Just keep doing what I say and let me know if you don’t want something or if it hurts, got it?”

With a gentle coaxing touch, Tony urges Peter’s legs up to bend until his feet are flat on the bed. He makes Peter take his cock and balls into one hand, gathering them up and away from his hole so Tony has decent vantage of the entrance his fingers circle. Don’t you dare use that hand to get off, either, Tony growls as he breaches Peter’s hole with a single finger. That hand is doing daddy’s work for him, you’re not to use it for your own naughty devices.

Inside, the kid is tight. He might not be a virgin, but it’s obviously been a while as he struggles to relax, the muscles inside him clenching and unclenching at the intrusion. He takes his time, eager to have the freedom to pound Peter as he pleases later, which means taking his time now and massaging the inner walls, being careful not to pay too much attention to the younger man’s prostate (he’s leaking enough as it is, but Tony isn’t ready to collect their lube for the main act, yet).

Peter takes Tony’s directions about being quiet to heart. When one hand isn’t pressed flush against his mouth, it’s clenched in a tight fist pressed against his sternum while the kid breathes out begs and thank yous and pleases. How sweet he is, to thank without even being prompted. He’s truly the diamond in the dirt of this nowhere-town. The absolute delight Tony feels when he spots the thin-fingered hand clutching tightly around the base of his erection as he struggles not to cum—it makes his chest tight with pleasure. All this time, the pressure in his own cock builds, aching from neglect. It will be the sweetest reward for the first touch to be Peter’s tight, silken walls as he sinks balls deep inside him.

“I have to have you, kid,” Tony says through his teeth. Peter’s muscles have relaxed around his fingers, but there’s still a decent difference between the width of two of his fingers and the width of his sizeable cock. They’ll need plenty of lubrication.

Peter reads his mind, whining a questioning, “Lube?”

“Need you to cum for me,” Tony says. He works his fingers with more purpose, being less careful to give minimal affection to Peter’s prostate. With every firm graze, the kid’s eyes roll, his jaw dropping and legs shaking in preemptive ecstasy. “Can you do that, baby boy? Can you cum for daddy?”

“Yessir,” Peter cries. “Just a little more, please, please—

“Calm down, sweet thing, there’s no rush,” Tony says. “I’d keep you here all night, if I felt inclined. Don’t fight for it, just let it happen tothere you go, relax for me, just like that.”

He sits up so that he has a free hand he can use to coax Peter’s own away from his cock and balls. Gently taken the well-groomed sac into his hand, he feels how tight and heavy the younger man’s balls are, desperate for a release. Had he gone home last night after blowing Tony and jerked off again? Was all this just from their terrifying ordeal at the diner, the brush with danger and death? Time for analyzation has passed, so he takes Peter’s smaller cock into his hand and begins to leisurely jerk it off.

Peter shouts. On a whim, Tony takes his fingers from inside the young man and reaches for the leather strap of the belt that dangles down his bare chest. Wrapping a loop around the palm of his hand, he pulls it until it tightens against the thin, straining neck, and then pulls just a little more. Peter’s mouth drops, his face turning redder from lack of oxygen, but the way his eyes roll say that he’s into it, so into it—

“Wanna breathe, baby boy?” Tony pants. Peter shakes his head. Then he nods. “Then you’d better cum for me. Come on, sweet thing, give it to me, your heads getting heavy isn’t it? Need a nice big breath? Don’t think I won’t jerk your little cock to cumming when you’re unconscious and let you miss the orgasm—”

Peter cums, silent from the breath that’s been stolen from him (even then, his mouth forms the words thank you, thank you, thank you). His back arches into a nimble bow, his arms and legs spasming as his cock spurts pearlescent cum all the way up to his nipples. At the peak of it, Tony loosens the belt, lets the rush of oxygen take Peter higher than he had already climbed. He works Peter’s cock through it, wringing every last drop.

When he begins to whine and shift his hips away from oversensitivity, Tony stops and drops a hand dripping with cum and wipes it through the cum streaking the defined abs. Eyes closed, Peter just shivers, content and trusting to let Tony do as he will. When he brings the wet fingers down between Peter’s legs, he just shifts them wider to give the master more room to work.

And work he does; Tony works in a third finger, the rim pink and already abused, stretched around the thick fingers that he tenderly works in and out. By the time the muscles have relaxed, Peter’s cock—though nowhere near hard—is noticeably fuller than it was, coaxed back into interest by Tony’s fingers. By then, Tony’s nearly gone mad with it: the lack of pressure on his cock, the wet suck of Peter’s ass as it tries to keep from letting him go, the warmth and tight heat that he knows will either cradle his cock or strangle the life out of it in the best way. There’s only one way to find out.

“Stay still for me,” Tony murmurs, leaving the bed long enough to rifle through Peter’s work apron for the condom he keeps there. He sheds the last few bits of his clothes, taking in a shuddering breath at the way the freedom of his cock both helps and builds the ache growing in his balls. After rolling on the condom, he presses a palm flush to the shuddering abs, still wet with cum. Taking himself in hand is an exercise in torture (and Tony knows torture). Then he asks, “How do you want me?”

“Like this? Please?” Peter asks, widening his legs so Tony’s broad hips can fit between them. A pillow under him cants those hips up in the best way, and it’s a home he hasn’t known in too long to name, the most inviting cradle he wants to bury himself and his cock in. Peter breathes, “Go slow daddy, you’re big.”

Tony snorts, taking steps on his knees until he’s flush against the kid and docking the head of his cock against that hot, inviting hole. “Don’t flatter me, kid,” he says. He’s jesting though; Tony kind of likes it.

Pressing in, the muscles open for him, the warmest welcome. Peter’s still tight, nearly to painfulness, but the look on the kid’s face is anything but pained. His eyes are open but unseeing, staring up at the motel room’s ceiling. His mouth is open and slack, thin lips parted in an endless exhalation of ecstasy. A groan comes from his chest that sounds more like a purr, and the kid hitches his legs around Tony’s waist coaxing him further inside.

Sweat beads on Tony’s forehead and the nape of his neck. He grits his teeth, trying to maintain the slow, even press of his hips. His cock demands more, demands that he treat the kid like the perfect little fleshlight he is—only he isn’t. And Tony knows that if he isn’t careful, he could seriously injure this sweet, surprising young man.

Those aren’t the memories he wants to take with him when he goes.

Those aren’t the memories he wants to leave Peter with.

Sudden emotions leave his chest feeling tight, like the scar tissue in the center goes deeper than skin. And it does. It does.

Tony leans down, bracketing the kid with his arms, and captures his mouth in a searing kiss. It’s their first, but it doesn’t feel that way. They kiss like old lovers, like it’s the thousandth kiss and there will be a thousand more, slow and burning and deep enough to taste the coffee Peter must have been sipping on the job. This is why he left Hydra, he thinks. Because this wasn’t there. He sips at the kid’s mouth like it’s the fountain of youth, and when he pulls away, he feels full of renewed life.

Peter’s cock is hard between them. When he thrusts in, Tony makes sure to take long moments to grind it between their abs, feeling Peter’s cum smear against his own skin, feeling marked down to his very bones. He chances a deeper, harder thrust and when the kid’s eyes roll enthusiastically, he closes his own and lets himself fuck into the most pleasure he’s felt in years. The pleasure crests too quickly for his liking, but that’s what he gets for keeping himself on the edge for so long. His balls tighten in imminent release, so he stops, abdomen pressed flush to Peter’s hips, and reaches out to jerk the younger man off.

Oh God,” Peter says, voice high and edging towards hysterical. His hands fist the bedsheets again, though his ankles tighten, refusing to let Tony move away. “Daddy, I’m close.”

“Whenever you can, baby boy,” Tony pants. “Wanna feel your tight ass squeeze the life outta my cock, understand? Nod for me—yes, good, good, fuck—

Reaching out, he grabs the pair of pale panties and stuffs them softly into the kid’s open mouth just before he begins to shriek. Tony stays still through Peter’s orgasm besides the tiny jerking thrusts his hips can’t help give, feeling the muscles around him clench and release rhythmically. There isn’t as much cum, but Peter looks more devastated, mouth lax around the blue underwear. Before Peter can reach oversensitivity, Tony lets himself thrust again, chasing the heat just there behind his cock, desperate to snap and burst—when he cums, he feels like it drains all the energy out of him, filling the condom as he leans forward to groan into the space between the kid’s neck and shoulder.

Peter pulls the panties from his mouth. “Fuck,” he gasps. “We’ve got to do that again as soon as you can.”

Reality hits. Who he is, what he is (was), who he is on the run from. There is no Venn diagram of his life and Peter’s life, because their lives never cross, never overlap. There are no similarities, none, zero, zip, and to drag this young man into what is sure to be an international mess as Tony works to flee the country is—he can’t fucking do that. Not to those gentle brown eyes. Not to the kid who took off his shoes, left his gun on the table. Not to the kid who left the light on for him.

“I can’t,” Tony says. His cock isn’t even fully soft yet, when he’s slipping it out of Peter. “I have to keep moving kid. Barnes isn’t the only one on my tail.”

Peter sits up, frowning. Cum is drying on his stomach, so Tony walks to the bathroom where he throws away the condom and grabs a washrag. They clean themselves off in tense, contemplative silence. It’s been too easy, Tony knows that, he knows there’s a struggle coming.

“Let me come with you,” Peter asks.

“Come on, Pete,” Tony mutters, stepping into his jeans. The denim feels unforgiving where Peter’s skin was so soft and warm. “You know I can’t do that.”

“Why not?” Peter asks, squaring his chin. “I’ve got no family. Not here, not anywhere. It’s not like I’m exactly swimming in prospects. It’s not like I’m at a job that will miss me.”

Tony sighs. The kid looks downright determined, eyes blazing. Swallowing, Tony says, “Fine, kid. Fine. But we have to be quick about it. Go home and pack a bag, anything you can’t live without. You’ve got thirty minutes before I peel out of this parking lot, and if you aren’t here, I’m leaving you behind, got it?”

Peter brightens, looking nineteen years and younger with all his youthful exuberance. He dresses in record time, presses a searing kiss to Tony’s mouth (and Tony doesn’t want to let go, doesn’t want the kiss to end) before disappearing out the motel door and into the darkness.

He is gone all of five minutes when Tony finds himself in his car, checked out of the motel. Glancing towards the direction Peter had gone off in, there is no sign of him. Just a tiny dark Midwestern street, empty. The guilt threatens to choke him as he starts the ignition and pulls out of the lot. It must be his imagination that the gas pedal feels harder to push than before, like the car itself doesn’t want to pull away from Peter.

Ten miles have gone by before he notices the little box on the floor of the passenger side. Heart pounding, he hits the breaks and pulls over along the side of the highway, throwing on his hazard lights. The cars that fly by are so close and so fast that they shake the tiny car, but Tony isn’t afraid. He’s been closer to death than even this. With shaking hands, he reaches down to pull the box onto his lap and open it.

It’s the pastries from the diner. A little note done in pencil is tucked beside them, slightly stained with jelly. In case you don’t come back, the note reads. Thanks, daddy xo P.

Tony performs an unauthorized U-Turn. He rolls the window down so he can breathe deeply of the Midwestern air, trying to calm his anxious, rolling stomach. By the time he reaches the exit for Stopover, he is able to roll the window up. He pulls back into the motel parking lot, and not five minutes later Peter appears, a duffle bag slung over his shoulder. The way his face lights up shows that there was a part of him that expected Tony not to be there. A part of him that would have been right.

“You’re late,” Tony says as Peter slips into the passenger seat.

“Am not,” Peter says, turning to shift his duffle bag into the back. Tony doesn’t start moving until he clicks his seatbelt into place. “Oh, hey,” Peter says joyfully. “Those pastries! Gosh, I love those. You haven’t tried them yet? Hm. I’m stealing one, okay?”

“Whatever you want, kid,” Tony says.

It’s not fate. Tony still believes that. To call what happened in Stopover fate would be to shirk the responsibility of it. Meeting Peter, taking Peter—it was selfish. It was stupid. But God, it was choice, and that means that good or bad, he’s ready to know that it’s in his hands and done by his hands.

Tony wouldn’t have it any other way.