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seal upon your arm

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Things change, after Loki. It's not until Phil's recovered, found out what Fury did, resigned, punched Fury in the face, and had his resignation rejected that Steve comes to him; he shuffles his feet and stumbles over his words but he carries that light in his eyes, the one that says he'll never give up, even when it's impossible.

It's very, very far from impossible.

Phil settles in, expecting it to be a long haul from dinners together to sex, but Steve's more than ready by date four, and Phil does not argue for one single second. Steve is a virgin their first time, tense and eager and scared, but after that, he fucks with the true enthusiasm of someone who's just discovered what sex is like- good sex, Phil likes to think. Steve likes sex before bed; he likes morning sex; he likes sex in the middle of the night; Phil is still planning his revenge on Stark for telling Steve that 'afternoon delight' was something people said unironically.

Phil is so sore and so happy. It's not the fulfillment of his lifelong dreams, because he never dreamed this big; he never imagined he was good enough to be where he is now. His heart regularly feels ready to burst, in a way that has nothing and everything to do with the scar on his chest.

Things change again, when Steve finds it. Phil's been careful about the tattoo as much as he can, putting sunblock on it on the rare occasions he doesn't wear a suit jacket, having it touched up when the white starts to fade. He's had to pretend to be ashamed of it before, blame it on alcohol or bad decisions, but it was carefully considered, lovingly drawn, and Phil couldn't be more proud. The shield's always been there to remind him, to tell him to hope.

He wishes he could have seen the look on Steve's face when he saw it for the first time. As it was, he was getting undressed, his shirt only halfway down his arms; he only heard Steve say, "Wow," low and reverent, before Steve spun him around and kissed him, harder than he'd ever done it before. Phil hadn't even known how he would take it, whether it would be too strange, make Steve feel like he was using Phil or Phil was using him, but the way Steve dragged him into bed left no room for doubt on his opinion.

Phil's lying on his side right now, Steve wrapped around him, his chest to Phil's back, Steve thrusting into him over and over again. He's mouthing Phil's shoulder, sucking, biting gently- when Phil finds bruises, they're never on the tattoo itself, ringing it instead. He never seems to be able to keep away from it; even when they're face to face his fingers find it, tracing the rings.

Phil's not worried about it, because he's getting close, pushing into Steve's hand, pushing back against him. He tilts his head, pulling Steve in so he can kiss him. "Say it," Steve says quietly, plaintively. "Please say it, Phil."

"All yours," Phil says, because there isn't a doubt, not a single one. "Just yours."

Steve sighs, moving deeper inside of him, moving his hand faster on Phil's cock. Phil's getting there, building up, working for it, needing it. Then Steve bites down, sucking on Phil's skin, right next to the tattoo, making his own mark, and it's all blending, what he gave Steve, what Steve gave him. He's close, so close, and then he's there, shuddering as he comes, so glad it's Steve there beside him, Steve clutching him to his chest, Steve who's never let him go yet and is never, ever going to.

Afterwards, they're lying there, and Steve is kissing him, slow and wet, like he always does after they've just made love. It's nice, soothing, nothing like the people Phil's been with before, escape artists and narcoleptics and chain smokers. Then again, Steve is nothing like the people Phil's been with before, in so many, many ways, and Phil couldn't be happier.

Steve pulls back, smiling softly at him. He runs his thumb along the edge of the tattoo; Phil can feel a bite mark that'll probably bruise later, but that's more than okay. "You were mine before I ever even knew you," he says, and those words are big, so frightening, making Phil feel like he's been caught flat-footed, found out. From anyone else's lips, they'd be mocking, smug, but from Steve's they're reverent and earnest, with a touch of wonder.

"I was," Phil says, because it's always been true. "I am."

Steve smiles brightly, so pleased, and Phil doesn't deserve it, doesn't deserve any of it.

But he's not going to give a single bit of it back.