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Mornings Most of All (Truth or Consequences remix)

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It takes them time to get back to the Mansion, showered off and dressed again. Steve lingers in the shower, soaping and rinsing and soaping again. He washes his entire body half a dozen times and makes himself pay extra attention to his private parts, stretching back his foreskin and cleaning underneath it, forcing back the memory of Tony's skin against his own and the tight, hot squeeze he'd felt when he finally sank inside.

He emerges from the stall and promptly covers himself with a towel. He reaches reluctantly for the crusty, rumpled clothes he was wearing when it happened, half-afraid to even touch them lest the spell overtake him again. It doesn't, and he drops them hastily into the laundry hamper in his room before pulling out a fresh set of clothing.

The others are all waiting in the lounge when he arrives, except for Tony, but only Clint and Natasha will meet his gaze—Bruce is sitting on the couch, leaning forward on his knees and with his eyes fixed resolutely at the floor, while Thor stands over by the window, staring at the sky and pulling distractedly at his lower lip.

“Has he . . .?” Steve asks, gesturing in the direction of Tony's quarters and looking from SHIELD agent to SHIELD agent. Clint stares back from his perch on the back of the couch, his face stony—like a soldier, like a killer—and Natasha, crouched on a chair with her knees to her chest, shakes her head.

Steve bites his lip, wondering what he can possibly do to fix this, but is spared from having to make that decision by the sound of Tony's bare feet padding down the corridor towards them. Steve can just see him out of the corner of his eye where he stops, hovering, at the threshold of the room.

For a long time no one speaks. Steve can feel Tony looking at him, the force of his attention hot on Steve's face like wash from a flamethrower until he has to look back, but when he does Tony immediately glances away, his face a practiced, casual mask. He stretches leisurely, working the kinks out of his back. “Pizza?”

“Tony,” Steve says, and a flicker crosses Tony's face, the beginning of a look of raw vulnerability that Steve would not have recognized before today, when he saw its full manifestation. He knows that knowledge is not worth the betrayal it cost to achieve it.

“What?” Tony blinks innocently, the subtler armor that he carries beneath his skin locked firmly into place. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m starving. Apparently involuntary orgies really work up an appetite.”

Steve's stomach twists. “Tony! You can’t just—”

Tony sighs, looking disappointed and resigned. “What?” he asks.

“We had sex,” Clint says, bluntly. “Collectively.”

Tony hums. “Not really collectively. More like you guys with me.”

Steve makes a strangled noise, shutting his eyes tight against the tumult of memories that sets off (Tony surrounded on all sides, sandwiched between Thor and Natasha, his body still twisted towards Clint, who grunted and thrust into his mouth). “You didn’t—” Steve says, “you didn’t want—”

Tony shows no sign of listening to Steve, staring instead at Bruce's down-turned face with a look of total fascination, much like the one he'd worn a few hours earlier while he was jerking him off. Steve shakes his head and presses on.

“You weren’t—wasn't there anything you could have done before it got—”

Tony must be listening after all because he whips his head around, emitting a noise like an angry goat as he moves. Steve's mouth slams shut and he blinks, belatedly recognizing the sound as a game show buzzer like the one on Truth or Consequences, signalling that Steve has said something incorrect. He's not the only one startled, either—Bruce's head has snapped up and Clint is staring wide-eyed at Tony, and Steve can't see Thor but he's sure he's paying attention now too. Only Natasha appears unruffled.

“Wrong answer,” Tony says, his tone suspiciously light. “Right?” he asks the others, looking from face to face for confirmation, but they all stare back silently. “A rape is never the fault of the person who gets raped, no matter who or where she is, how drunk or sober, or what he's wearing. I mean, isn't that what all those marches are about?”

Steve’s whole body moves with the flinch and he can feel his throat closing off. There it is, the word he's been trying harder than anything not to even think, and now that it's out there's no hiding from it. Steve raped Tony. Steve is a rapist.

Tony keeps talking—“That is what you're implying, right? That you forced yourselves on me, that you took something from me without my consent, that's the model you're using? Because if so, let's wipe the lipstick off the pig and call that what it is. And for the record, no, I don't think there's anything I could have done even if it was my responsibility. I wasn’t wearing the suit. Without it I'm lucky if I can take one of you down in a fight; what the hell do you think I'm going to do with five?”—but Steve hardly hears him over the roar in his ears. His gorge rises as he realizes—either Schmidt was right, and Steve left his morality behind when he accepted the serum, or Dr. Erskine was wrong, and Steve was never a good man to begin with. When he took Tony (arms wrapped tight around him to keep him in place as Steve breached him, crying out when he collected himself and plunged in deeper), he proved himself the worst sort of bully, unworthy of the strength he wasted abusing others for his own selfish pleasure.

“I don't—oh, fuck my life,” Tony sighs, “I've just made Captain America cry.”

Tony shuffles forward into the room, putting himself right in front of Steve, and hunches down a bit so that he can look up into Steve's ducked face. Steve sniffs and tries to turn away—he's not crying, yet, but it's a pretty near thing—but Tony follows him as he moves, chasing eye contact until he catches it.

“That's not what happened, okay? That's what I'm trying to tell you. You didn't rape me,” he pauses to look around the room, “none of you did.”

The thing had started glowing, Steve remembers, and nevermind whatever protocols were supposed to keep them safe, he'd been scared. Without thinking he'd surged forward, towards Tony and that horrible light, but towards, away from, it didn't appear to make any difference because they were all caught by it, all five of them. It felt to Steve like a wave washed over him, a tingling chill that blossomed into heat and he'd stopped in his tracks, nostrils flaring, all his senses trained on Tony. He'd seen the alarm on Tony's face when he looked around at his teammates, seen that terror and concern give way to resignation as he swallowed and turned towards them, meeting the hands that took hold of him without resistance. Not that it would have dissuaded Steve, enthralled as he was in that moment, if Tony had resisted, because resistance didn't matter: he would have Tony, and nothing in the world could stop him. The outcome was so certain, so inevitable, that he didn't even need to hurry or chase the others away from his rightful prize; they could take their time, cooperating rather than competing, and everyone would get their piece.

Steve feels like a monster. He catches himself leaning in toward Tony, looking anxiously up at him once again, and hurriedly takes a step back. “Tony.”

Tony retreats too, three short steps backwards across the floor, and he waves a hand dismissively. “As proud as I am that you’ve got the hang of my first name . . . let it go. You're off the hook, okay? I don't feel raped, or at least I don't think this is what raped feels like, so don't even worry about it. I’m fine. A good time was had by all, stop being weird.”

“I don't—”

“Or at least, stop being weird on my behalf. If you want to freak out, that’s fine. I can clear out for a while, go back to Malibu or whatever if any of you need more space.” Tony looks at the floor and Steve feels a fresh rush of guilt over bringing this poison into Tony's living space and driving him out of his own home. “But if you’re worried about me, there’s no need.”

“If we harmed you in any way,” Thor begins from over Steve's shoulder, and Steve closes his eyes (their positions reversed, Steve off to the side panting and blinking away stars and the giddy, breathless way that Tony laughed when Thor took his place, the whimper when he slid inside, opening him up even farther than Steve had). Tony grunts and interrupts him before he can say anything else.

“It was sex, all right?”

Steve looks up, bewildered and lost for words, and sees Clint chewing on his lip, his tight and clouded face a sharp contrast from the one he'd worn before (pained and helpless, his mouth open in a perfect O while his hands pawed at Tony's face and shoulders, holding his head steady while Tony swallowed down his cock). He has to look away.

Tony opens his eyes, exasperation wearing in his voice. “I have a documented history of liking sex. And I’ve actually had sex that was way more ill-advised than this, and where I was way less aware of what the hell was going on. Read the tabloids some time. It was sex.”

“But with us,” Steve points out. “You should be able to trust that we won’t—”

“Steve, for crying out—on the long list of things which have fucked me up, starting with a family history of alcoholism and my father the emotionally-stunted war-hero, and running all the way through to waking up in a cave in the desert wired up to a car battery and then having this thing literally plucked out of my chest in my own house—do you think this competes? You think it even makes the top twenty? Sex—intense, messy, amazing sex—with five gorgeous people who, fine, don’t always like me that much but didn’t seem actively out to get me, while under the happy influence of magic that made everything just a little shinier…” Tony throws up his hands, pleading for release (begging, shaking, gasping to recover the breath driven out of him when Steve's thrusts knocked him hard against Natasha, her legs wrapped around both of them and her hands braced on Tony's arms as she worked herself up and down on his cock, “Please, god, Steve,”) . “I’m sorry if you’re sorry, okay, and if you want me to get out of your hair I will, no questions. But I was doing absolutely fine up until we started this conversation.”

Tony.” Steve closes the distance between them again. His fingers twitch towards Tony’s arm, but he doesn’t touch. “I hurt you.”

Tony follows Steve's gesture down to the fresh red bruises seeping out from beneath his clothes. He shrugs, clearly aiming for casual but looking uncomfortable as his skin shivers inside his shirt. “Yeah, so? Some people happen to like that kind of thing—I like that kind of thing,” he amends when Steve continues to stare at him miserably. “Seriously, that's not a problem. I have no complaints about execution, for any of you, y'all are all more than sexually proficient. Gold stars for everyone. And I mean, we're all clean, right? So there's nothing to worry about. Marks'll fade, no harm done.”

“But you didn't want—”

“And you didn't know.” Tony says, sidling away from Steve's hovering hand. “Right? You were caught up, under a spell, you had no control over what you were doing. Whatever did or didn't happen back there, none of the five of you were at fault. I really wish you wouldn't fret over it.”

“But,” Steve objects, struggling to stay grounded in the present moment, anchored by obligation from floating off into worry that the clear-eyed determination that had driven him to hold Tony down and spear him with his dick was no different, after all, from the pig-headed obstinacy that wouldn't let him take no for an answer back when he'd got it in his head to enlist, despite fearing that he'd erred far beyond his ability to make amends.

Tony sighs and looks to Thor. “You're our resident expert on magic these days, or close enough. Do you know—was there any way to know that thing was booby-trapped, or to predict what it was going to do to us when I picked it up?”

Thor frowns and shakes his head.

“You're sure? And there was nothing any one of us could have done to disrupt the spell once it got started?”

“Not that I know of.”

“There, you see?” Tony turns and heads for his quarters, flicking a hand over his shoulder. “It was all a wacky, unforeseeable accident for which none of us should be held accountable. Quit playing the blame game.”

“Tony,” Steve whimpers, a sound his throat remembers precisely how to make, but any further recollection on that score is shattered by the way Tony flinches, folding in on himself, and wheels back around, his hands raised in front of his face as if to ward off a blow.

“Would you stop fucking saying that! I just raped the fucking lot of you, stop saying my fucking name like you're afraid I'm going to . . .”

The silence stretches on long enough that Steve can feel his open mouth go dry. It doesn't seem like anyone else is going to end it, so: “What?” he asks, his voice the faintest whisper.

“I did it,” Tony says. “I pushed the button, I started it. It's my fault.” He looks up, avoiding Steve's eyes. “That's what you're all thinking, isn't it? The rest of you, the ones who don't take personal responsibility for the daily well-being of the entire goddamn planet?” He searches each of the others' faces in turn and Steve follows his attention, taking in Thor's stung bewilderment, Bruce's look of devastation edging into numbness, the way Clint's jaw clenches and his nostrils flare, and Natasha's face as schooled as Steve's ever seen it while her shoulders tremble almost imperceptibly with tension. Finally Tony looks at Steve and winces hard before turning his face away again. He paces as he talks, his eyes on the floor, the walls, the ceiling, anywhere but on his teammates.

“Well, what if you're right? I don't know how we're ever going to find out, but what if, what if that wasn't just some random spontaneous gangbang spell waiting for any old idiot to trigger it? What if I did that—what if that was my fucked-up backwards genie wish lashing out to make you all want me because I wanted you, hmm? What if?” He steals a flickering glance at Thor and Natasha, then at Clint and Bruce, then redoubles the frenzy of his vacillation. “Because I wanted that, I did, I do, I want—so what if my wanting made this happen? What if I did ask for it, and that stupid tchotchke took my safe little bottled-up desire and twisted it, made it something evil, taking away your control, taking away your consent . . .”

Tony stops in front of Steve, his face lowered and his shoulders slumped. He laughs miserably. “So you see, class, there's no point blaming yourselves for raping me, when it's really just as likely that I raped you. I spiked your drinks, okay, I did it. And these—”Tony starts hitting himself, his closed fist slamming into his bicep (Natasha's small, strong fingers digging hard into the muscle), his hip (Steve's hand crushing, vice-like, while he lost himself in Tony's heat, his trembling presence, whispering desperate inanities into his ear), his wrist (Bruce's white-knuckled grip on Tony's arm, guiding his spit-slicked pumping fist, ready to break the circuit if the stimulation became too much), his thighs (Thor's massive hands wrapping almost halfway around them as he lined up his cock with Tony's asshole, already stretched and slippery after Steve had his way with him), and shoulders (Steve tasted blood when he closed his mouth and sucked on the stuttering red welts Clint's nails had scraped over the muscled slope of Tony's neck, and he bit down hard to draw out more of it), all the marks Steve knows they inflicted on his helplessly pliant body, before coming to rest on his collarbone, just above his heart—“are the reminders that I get to carry around for the next two weeks or however long it takes just to make extra sure I can't forget that—as if there was any chance that I ever would.”

Tony's arm drops to hang at his side, and Steve takes a step towards him, straining even his sensitive hearing to make out the words that Tony is muttering, and aware that the others are all out of their seats now too and closing in behind him.

“It's just, before, when you were all around me looking so fucking hungry—I told myself not to question it, even though I knew it was wrong, because when was I ever going to get that chance again? I'm either too smart to ask or too chickenshit, probably both. I took what I could get but that wasn't fair, because I took it from you, and I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry—”

Steve bleats, and Tony's head shoots up, staring at Steve in undisguised horror because one of them has obviously taken complete leave of his senses, and Steve frowns and shakes his head apologetically. Tony evidently doesn't understand, distracted and intimidated by the five people once again starting to crowd around him, but he holds his ground and doesn't jump too dramatically when Steve reaches out to lay two fingertips on top of the bruise at Tony's collar, the first bruise, the one Thor drew up with his lips when the edges of the world blurred and everything made sense, when Tony had bared his throat and sighed as the five of them advanced.

“Wrong answer,” he says, and Tony shudders. “I can't speak for anybody else, but . . .”

Steve licks his lips and slides his fingers around the side of Tony's neck to cup the back of his head, drawing him in to a kiss, brief and daring. When it's done he rests his forehead against Tony's and holds on as he murmurs, “I wanted you, too.”