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An Honest Living

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“Tony?”

“Yeah?”

“I’ve been thinking.”

“About?”

“About what you said a few days ago.”

“I said a lot of things a few days ago,” Tony mumbled into his pillow. He’d been just about asleep when Steve spoke up, and he snuggled back against his boyfriend, hoping the other man would get the hint and let him go to sleep. “If it’s about the body armor, I told you, I need to work on making it cheaper. It still costs too much for Uncle Sam to buy it. And if it’s about the battle suit, no, you cannot try it yet and no, you are not going to be the test pilot.”

“No, no,” Steve said quickly. “It’s not about that.”

“Then what?”

“I, um, I just wanted to say that I’ve thought about it and I wouldn’t mind, uh, trying a third.”

A third? A third what? Tony rolled over slightly to inform his lover that he wasn’t a mind reader and had no idea what he was talking about when….

Oh. Oh. A few days ago he had casually suggested that he and Steve invite someone else into their bed. Steve hadn’t exactly shot the idea down immediately, but his lackluster response had seemed to shelve that plan rather effectively.

He did roll over then, so fast that Steve actually moved back in surprise. “Wait, you’re serious?”

Nodding, Steve slid up against Tony. A thick, well-muscled arm skimmed over his abdomen, moving up until it began to play with Tony’s nipple. “Yeah,” he breathed, mouthing over the skin of Tony’s shoulder. “I am.”

It was the little bit of hesitancy that came through to Tony, over the agreement. “Why do I sense a ‘but’ in there?”

Steve pushed himself up and moved over until he was settled between Tony’s legs. Keeping himself propped up on his arms, he leaned down until he could kiss him. “You know I love you, right?”

He pressed a kiss to Tony’s jaw and then kept moving down. “Everything about you.” His lips were on Tony’s throat now. “Your mind.” His chest, lips ghosting over the nipple he wasn’t already playing with, sucking and nibbling. “Your body.”

“My money?” Tony supplied helpfully, gasping as Steve worked his way down.

“That’s nice,” Steve laughed, “but I’d love you without it.”

“Liar.” A gentle bite just below his navel. “About that ‘but?’”

“But…” Steve drawled, nuzzling at Tony’s cock, which was definitely taking an interest. “I kind of had something in mind.”

“Name it,” Tony said as Steve started to lick at his cock.

“Whoever we get, I want…I want it to be someone I can….” He trailed off, pulling away slightly and ducking his head. The signs of his embarrassment were clear, rarer these days—due in no small part to Tony—but still clear. Tony half sat up, reaching down to stroke Steve’s cheek.

“What is it, babe? Don’t be embarrassed. Tell me.”

Steve looked up, wide, earnest blue eyes staring at him. “I want it to be someone I don’t have to hold back with,” he said in a rush. “Someone I don’t have to be afraid of hurting.”

The words rose instantly to Tony’s lips, ready to be spoken—you don’t have to be afraid of hurting me—but he didn’t say them. Instead, he took a good long look at his lover, who’s resumed sucking on his cock like it was going out of style, still looking at him with those soulful blue eyes.

Steve was…hell, Tony had to be honest. He knew he was attractive, but Steve was 6’2” and 240 pounds of American perfection. Blond hair, blue eyes, and a body so well sculpted he was like the work of a Renaissance master. Two hours in the gym every day kept him in peak physical condition, and more than just having a good-looking body, he knew how to use it, knew the strength he could call upon, and exulted in pushing himself to the limit.

And that strength extended everywhere, even here in their bedroom. Tony knew Steve held back, that he didn’t use all his strength, even when he wanted nothing more than to just throw Tony onto the bed and fuck him into the mattress. They’d done that a few times, and as enjoyable as it had been, Tony had been sore for days afterward. He wasn’t as young as Steve, had never been as well-built as him, and as much as he loved Steve, he also loved to be able to sit through a board meeting comfortably and not having to worry about making sure he kept his sleeves rolled down until the bruises faded.

Tony hated denying Steve things, hated that he couldn’t just let Steve go to town, so this? Finding someone Steve could be like that with? Yeah, he could do that.

“I think that can be arranged.”

Steve pulled off just long enough to move up and kiss Tony messily. “Thank you,” he breathed and then shimmied back down Tony’s body to swallow him down once more.

~*~

The next day, in his office, Tony fished a small business card out of his wallet. It was very plain, completely white on both sides except for a number, printed in small, glossy black ink in a bottom corner. At one time, it had been programmed into his phone, but after Steve had moved in, Tony deleted it, not expecting to ever need it again.

But he’d kept the card.

He dialed quickly, tucking the card back into his wallet. It would go back into his safe in his workshop when he got home.

The call was answered on the second ring. “Turan Consulting Services,” a pleasant female voice said.

“Hi, yeah, I’d like to make an appointment.”

“Very good, sir. Do you already have an account with us?”

“Yeah,” he answered, and rattled off a string of numbers. He knew the routine. The almost inaudible sound of the keyboard clicking as the woman entered the account number drifted across the phone.

“All right, Mr. Stark, I’ve found your file. Let me transfer you to one of our consultants and they’ll get you taken care of. Have a good day.”

“Thanks.”

The line clicked, rang only once more before it was picked up again. “Good morning, Mister Stark,” another pleasant female voice said. “I see you haven’t used our services in a while and we’re very glad to have you back. How can we help you today?”

“Okay, here’s the thing, I have a kind of specific request.”

“Well, let’s start with the basics first. I’m sure we have something to meet your needs.”

“I hope so,” he muttered. “All right, so I want a guy.”

“Male, very good. Age range?”

“Um…not jailbait, not older than me.”

A quiet laugh drifted across the line. “Eighteen to thirty-five, then?”

“Yeah, that’d be great.”

“Any preference for looks, build or talent?”

“Yes, for build. Listen, I know you cater to a lot of tastes, but I’m looking for someone I don’t have to be careful with.”

“Could you be a bit more specific, sir? That could mean a lot of things.”

Tony sighed and raked a hand through his hair. It was one thing to agree to this with his lover in bed, another to describe it to some faceless woman over a phone.

“Someone I can get rough with, who isn’t going to mind a few bruises.”

There was a long pause, long enough that Tony wondered if he’d crossed some sort of line and was going to get his account closed. He hoped to Christ not. This was the safest, easiest route, and he didn’t want to risk Steve without the sort of assurances he could get from Turan.

“If I may be clear, Mr. Stark, you’re looking for a male companion, young, healthy, and capable of handling more physically taxing activities that may leave visible marks and bruising?”

“Yes?” That, in fact, sounded exactly like what he was looking for.

“We do have that, but I’m going to need to transfer you one more time. Please stay on the line.”

The line clicked again before he could even say okay, and he was left looking out his office window, wondering what was going on. He’d never been transferred more than once before, didn’t even know there was another level to be transferred to.

“Mr. Stark, hello.” Tony nearly dropped the phone in shock at the male voice. Again, something else he’d never encountered before.

“Hi,” he said, a touch of asperity in his voice. “Are you going to help me?”

“I hope so,” the man said warmly. “I’m speaking with you now because what you’ve requested is a bit more involved than what our clients usually ask for.”

“But you do have it?”

“Oh, indeed we do. In fact, we have an entire protocol for it. Right now, I have someone very specific in mind who should meet your needs perfectly. I’m looking at your information at the moment. Is your fax number still the same?”

“Yes.”

“Good. I’ll fax over the required information and let you have a chance to look it over. I suggest you take your time with it, so there are no surprises. We’ll also need an updated health form from you.”

“Yeah, that’s not a problem. Oh, there’s going to be someone else, as well.”

“Are they already a client?”

“No, he’s not.”

“All right. In that case, first I’ll send over the standard NDA for him to sign, and he’ll need to submit a health form as well. That will have to be back before we can proceed any further.”

“All right, send the stuff over. I’ll get it taken care of.”

“Very good. When you’re all set, simply fax the forms back to this number.” He recited it quickly, and Tony caught that only the last number of the extension was different. That wouldn’t be difficult to remember.

“Okay, got it.”

“Excellent. If you need to reach me for any reason, I am including my private line with the paperwork. Thank you, Mr. Stark, for calling Turan again. We’ve missed having you as a client. Have a good day.”

“You, too.”

Tony hung up and deleted the call from his phone’s history. His printer beeped softy from across the room and began spitting out pages. That was…quick. He waited until the machine was done, slipped the surprisingly thick packet of paper into a manila envelope and sealed it, and then locked that in his briefcase. He would go over them at home and get Steve to sign the NDA. The health forms could be signed off by his doctor tomorrow.

Humming to himself, Tony hurried out of the office and down to his car parked out front.

~*~

Steve sat cross-legged on the bed, the envelope and papers Tony had given him spread out around him. He gazed at them, wide-eyed. “Tony, this is....”

“Hm?” Tony looked up when Steve just trailed off. “This is what?”

“This is prostitution!”

“Uh...yeah. A bit more paperwork than picking someone up off the street, but way less hassle in the long run, trust me.”

Steve set down the paper in his hand. “You didn’t tell me you were going to do it this way.”

For a brief moment, Tony closed his eyes and silently cursed the relatively upright moral fiber of his lover. In hindsight, he probably should have given a little more warning than just tossing the packet at him. “Steve, listen,” he said, setting his drink down on the dresser. “Where did you expect me to find someone?”

“I thought you had someone in mind,” Steve muttered, cheeks going red.

Tony eased himself onto the bed, mindful not to rumple any of the papers. “Never mind that even I would be hard-pressed to come up with someone for you to let loose with, do you really want me bringing someone in with us that you’re gonna have to see at public events and charity dinners? I mean, I can try to find someone that way if you want me to, but I thought you’d be more comfortable not having to worry about running into this guy during social situations.”

Steve didn’t answer for a moment, lips pursed in thought. Then he gave a little shrug. “You’re not wrong. I just...I just didn’t imagine sleeping with a...a prostitute.” He said the last word in an embarrassed rush, and Tony could help but grin.

“Yes, a prostitute,” he repeated. “A hooker. A rentboy. A whore,” he continued, enjoying the way the flush kept growing and creeping down Steve’s neck.

Tony!”

Unable to help himself, Tony laughed. “You gotta lighten up, babe. Is it the illegality of it that bothers you? Or your preconceived notions about it? Or the words themselves?”

“I dunno,” Steve mumbled. “I always thought that prostitution was wrong, you know? That people wouldn’t do it if they had another choice.”

“Oh, God.” Tony rolled his eyes. “Okay, first of all, let me assure you right now that there’s a world of difference between the companions you find at Turan and the two dollar hookers you find on the corner turning tricks. These people,” he pointed to the papers, “get paid a lot of money. They’re there because they want to be. They’re not forced to do anything they don’t want to, and Turan takes a lot of precautions to make sure everyone is safe and happy. That’s why there’s so much paperwork.”

Steve nodded slowly. “I suppose.” He looked back down at the papers and then rubbed his face. “It’s just going take me a bit to get used to it. Can I sleep on it?”

“Sure. Take all the time you need.” He gathered the papers up, stacked them by tapping them on his thigh, and then slid the whole thing onto the bedside table.

“I’m sorry,” Steve said miserably when he turned back. “I know you wanted this, but I didn’t think it was going to be so complicated.”

“Hey, hey, don’t worry about it. C’mere.” He reached out, tugging Steve over so he could kiss him. “You can still change your mind. I want a lot of things, but I’d rather have you. If you’re not comfortable with it, tell me to jump off a bridge. I might pout a little, but I’ll get over it.”

Steve smiled against his lips. “No, I still want to. Just got to wrap my head around having to fill out a ream of forms to do so.”

“There’s my boy,” Tony grinned, laying down and pulling Steve with him.

Later on, sitting up in bed, tapping away on a tablet while Steve curled around him, Steve asked, “Hey, did you have to fill out all those papers when you joined?”

“Yeah,” Tony said absently. “More, actually, because I offered them a prototype medical device to check for STDs within two hours of exposure.”

Steve snorted. “Trust the great Tony Stark to use his mind to create a quicker way to check for STDs.”

“Hey, I’ll have you know that the sexual health of sex workers is a concern near and dear to my heart.”

“Of course it is.”

“Don’t mock me for it, Captain Rogers. Once I’d had the devices tested for two years at Turan, I started offering them at discount rates to South Africa and other places with high at-risk populations. Off the books, of course, but no one complained.”

That quieted Steve for a few minutes before he gently stroked the skin over his hip. “You’re a good guy. I don’t know why you don’t want people to know that.”

“Because then they don’t hound me all the time for handouts. Why did you want to know about the paperwork, anyway?”

“Oh, only because I was impressed that you actually did it. I mean, Pepper has to practically chain herself to you to get your signature. Somehow, though, I can’t imagine her hassling you about these.”

“Punk,” Tony muttered fondly and then squawked at the tablet was pulled out of his hands. “Give that back.”

“No. Now come to bed.”

“I am in bed!”

“I mean your mind, Tony. Enough work, come on.”

Grumbling, Tony made one last grab for the tablet, but Steve easily held it out of his reach while he shut it off and set it aside. Turning, Steve quickly pinned him to the mattress. “Come to bed, Tony.”

“Oh, well, if that’s what you mean you should have just said so. I’m quite happy to comply with reasonable orders.”

“Shut up, Tony.”

“Yes, sir.”

~*~

The next morning, sitting on the main workstation of Tony’s lab, was a neat stack of paperwork, filled out in Steve’s meticulous print. Tony grinned, slipped the stack into his briefcase, and went to work.

~*~

“Jesus, Tony. Is this for real?”

For once, Tony didn’t have a snappy comeback for his lover. He was just as stunned as his partner, he just showed it less visibly. “Yeah, pretty sure it is.”

“This is—! I mean, have you ever had a contract like this?”

“No.” Tony shook his head. “It’s usually pretty damn simple, just marking off times, maybe transportation. Never anything like this.”

“This” was the contract Turan had faxed over once Steve’s paperwork had been sent. Tony had glanced at the cover sheet with the guy’s picture and basic physical information—and, okay, he was built like a brick shithouse—and then sat down with Steve to go over the terms of hiring the companion Tony wanted. The length had seemed a little long at a glance, but they hadn’t been expecting the very specific terms laid out and it had stunned both of them.

The companion operated with a minimum length contract of eighteen hours, and in that eighteen hours he had to be provided with one break for food, two for liquids, and two for the restroom, with no more than six hours between any two of them. Restraint positions could not be held for more than eight hours, unless previously specified and agreed upon by all parties, and approved by Turan. Not cuts or bruises to the face. No injuries that scarred. Injuries serious enough to require stitches, or that resulted in fractured or broken bones, would result in instant termination of Turan services and revocation of membership, unless said injuries were the result of an accident.

“They can’t...they can’t seriously think this is necessary, can they?”

Tony smiled grimly. Clearly, he was going to have to introduce Steve to what “alternate lifestyles” actually were, outside of just knowing what the terms meant. “Generally, lists like this are made because what they list has already happened.”

Steve swallowed audibly. “God, Tony, I don’t want to hurt the guy.”

“Then don’t.” Tony looked up, reached across to table to tap the back of Steve’s hand. “They put stuff like this to keep the guy safe, okay? If he’s their...heavy hitter, so to speak, then he can handle whatever you dish out. You just wanna get a little physical and that’s cool. If they didn’t expect that and weren’t prepared for it, we wouldn’t be reading this right now.”

Steve looked back down at the terms. “How could someone actually want that? Want to hurt the person they’re with?”

Yeah, definitely going to have to expand Steve’s education a little bit. “Pain isn’t always a bad thing, babe.” Steve looked up, shocked, and Tony gripped his hand gently. “I’m not suggesting we do that. Just saying that’s how some people get their rocks off. They enjoy it. And I promise you, if the guy didn’t want this, we wouldn’t even get the option.”

“If you’re sure....”

“Positive. Look, we’ll take good care of him, all right? We’ll return him healthy and whole and properly satisfied. And if you get to flex your muscles a bit and he goes back with a few bruises, well, that’s what we’re paying him for. It’ll be fine. Trust me.”

Steve frowned at the paper and then nodded. “All right.” He picked up the pen. “All right.” He wrote his name neatly down in a box and then turned paper around to face Tony, who took the proffered pen and scrawled his own signature.

“Great. So...Saturday? We’ll keep him six-to-twelve, minimum hours for right now?”

“Yeah, that sounds good.”

“All right, I’ll get this sent.” Tony stood up and went around to table to kiss Steve. “You won’t regret this, I promise.”

~*~

“You wanted to see me?” Eric didn’t bother to knock, just pushed open the door to Coulson’s office and slouched into one of the chairs set across from the wide mahogany desk.

Coulson raised an eyebrow at the insouciant attitude and held Eric’s gaze for a long moment before running his eyes slowly over him, taking in his appearance. Damp blond hair pulled into a short ponytail at his neck, gray t-shirt, and combat pants and boots. Coulson frowned. “If I had a client in here, do you think that’s acceptable attire to greet them in?”

Eric snorted. “They don’t give a flying fuck what my clothes look like and we both know it. They’re not hiring me for my wardrobe.”

“Be that as it may, that still isn’t appropriate for when you’re on this floor.”

“Whatever. I’ll wear a tie next time.” It wasn’t like Eric had been planning on coming up from downstairs anyway. He’d just come in to hit the gym for a few hours and had just stepped out of the shower when Maria told him that Coulson wanted to see him when he was dressed.

“You have a locker with a dress shirt, dress pants, and dress shoes. If you are setting foot on this floor, I expect you to be wearing them. Am I clear?” Coulson’s tone was clipped.

“Crystal,” Eric snapped back. “Now what did you want?”

Coulson took a deep breath and slid a tablet across the table at him. “You have two new clients. Take a look.”

Two? That was unusual. Eric picked up the tablet and opened the single file displayed. It only took a moment for him to realize what he was sees and he sucked in a sharp breath, eyes going wide. He jerked his head up to look at Coulson. “This is— ”

“Anthony Stark, yes.”

“I didn’t think Stark was into anything that would require me.”

Coulson smiled, briefly. “I believe the request may be for the benefit of his current partner.” Eric opened the second picture in the file and quickly read over the short bio. Steve Rogers, former Army Captain, tall and well-built, only slightly smaller than Eric himself. Good-looking, too. Eric tilted his head in consideration. Not the usual type who hired him. Oh, there were some big guys who liked to get rough, but most of his clients were looking to make themselves feel better by manhandling someone much larger than them. Stark, he could see. On his own he would be a pretty attractive client, but combined with Rogers? Eric smiled. This could be enjoyable, if a bit more physically taxing than normal.

Out of habit, he checked the contract and his smile fell. “Minimum hours? Seriously?”

Coulson shrugged. “You know as well as I that the terms can be a little...rigorous for some clients. I have a feeling this is probably something in the nature of a test run, though. Win them over.”

“And if it isn’t, I’m out of commission for probably a week with only a minimum paycheck to show for it.”

“Mr. Stark is a very generous tipper. Even if that’s the case, and he doesn’t choose to rehire you, it’ll be worth your time.”

Eric stared at the contract a moment longer and then pulled the stylus out of the tablet and scrawled his name on the contract. Then he slid the tablet back across the desk to Coulson.

“Excellent. You’ll be dropped up at 6:00 PM on Saturday and picked up at 12:00 noon on Sunday.”

“Yes, sir!” Eric saluted sarcastically. “Do I have to wear my pretty clothes?”

“No,” Coulson said. “Mr. Stark might as well see what he’ll actually be getting if he puts you on retainer. Just don’t be sloppy.”

“I’m never sloppy,” Eric muttered and heaved himself out of the chair. “That gives me a couple days to myself then. See ya.”

And without a backward glance, he left the office.