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Coefficient of Friction

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Steve sighs and closes his eyes, settling his hands on his hips and hanging his head. He knows he's been doing what can only be called pacing, and probably included a hefty dose of scowling, but he can't seem to stop. It's been building for a while, and now it's itching right under his skin, reminding him that his window of opportunity is fast fading. He has a decision to make, a plan to follow through with and now's the time.

It's a strange feeling, being this uncertain. Every time he looks towards the door, doubt assails him. It taunts his eagerness, his gaucherie and arrogance in making such a proposition. It mocks him in a cadence that sounds a lot like Tony and he wavers, uncertainty leading to caution and then retreat.

But when he turns, marches back into his apartment towards the big windows with the sparkling lights in the shadows, he can't help but think about how long it's taken to find this empty a space in Tony's schedule. Can't help when his eyes inevitably land on the sketchpad sitting open on his table with the drawing of Clint and Tony leaning sated and naked against the wall.

So, you like it rough…

Committing it to paper hasn't eased its weight in his mind like he'd hoped it would. It's done the opposite, really, focusing the moment so that Tony's flicker of surprise and longing at Clint's offer to sometime again be what he needs despite their incompatibility and… well. It's etched in his mind now and on paper besides, inescapable.

Just like the look of resignation on Tony's face when Clint had rescinded his offer.

He hates it. Knowing Tony needs something he isn't getting when Steve could… he's right here and damned if he's going to let one of his people suffer if there's something he can do about it. Especially when he… well, Tony's not the only one with needs and-

He laughs at himself, shaking his head at the sound.

It doesn't even make sense that he'd hesitate. He storms Nazi strongholds alone in a stage costume. Fights aliens set on taking over the world. Talking to Tony, even if the man laughs him out of the tower, is certainly within his reach. Personal fears, he tells himself sternly as he pats his pockets to verify contents for about the seventh time, aren't a worthy enough cause for him to fail to attempt to make Tony's life better. If there's an action he can take, he's going to do it, and god almighty does he want to-

Freshly determined, Steve closes the over-paced distance to the door to his apartments. The hinges groan just a little with the force of his yank and the sound of it makes him wince and pause to take a calming breath because that… he's not going to let it stop him now that he's finally started moving, but that is actually a legitimate reason to hesitate. Now is definitely not the time to lose control, because what he has planned is definitely going to be testing some limits.

He takes a steadying breath and draws himself up tight and tall as he shuts the door after him with a careful click. Discipline. Marching. That he can do. He executes a crisp right turn and makes for the elevator, counting his paces to an eight-count out of habit. It might be foolish but it gets him down the hallway, so he'll take it. He's gotten everything lined up, all he has to do is follow his damned plan. Of course, as a veteran soldier, he should know by now about the folly in making plans. He makes it all of the length of the hallway before it veers off course.

The elevator doors slide open before he can touch the button and then Tony's there, right in front of him stepping out into the dim hall with his usual coiled purpose. He steps back sharply as Tony jerks to a halt, eyes snapping up from his phone in surprise, then softening quickly in amusement.

"Just the man with a plan I was mysteriously encouraged to come see," Tony says, stepping back into the car as his eyes narrow. He's dressed in his workshop attire; thin sweats, a tank top through which the arc reactor glows, and not much else beyond a speculative expression. "Apparently in error. You've got your determined face on. Going down, Captain?"

Steve ignores the innuendo and steps into the car, not turning to face front as the doors close behind him. He makes his face do something else and forces himself to relax, to settle into the moment now that things are rolling.

Tony's eyebrows go up and he glances at the control panel, eyes narrowing slightly in consideration as Jarvis takes them - without having to be told, which Tony will notice - to where Steve had discussed with him as the ideal location to start the conversation.

Steve's a little surprised and also pleased that the A.I. apparently also thinks this is a good-enough plan to nudge them both into it, not just accommodate his requests. That's a hell of a good sign, considering how intensely Jarvis guards Tony's best interests. He drops his chin over a smile, slipping his hands in his pockets so he won't slip into parade rest and accidentally loom.

"Actually, I was coming to talk to you."

Tony's jaw tenses almost immediately, eyes snapping back to Steve's. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Everything is fine," Steve replies quickly and honestly, though that's maybe not entirely true. "Might even be a good thing."

Tony seems to accept the words at face value, some of the tension slipping from his shoulders as he shifts his weight back slightly as he considers.

"But it's something you didn't or couldn't talk to me about at breakfast or in the workshop," he states. It's not a question.

"Yes," Steve says anyway. Now that it's happening, he feels a curl of anticipation like before a battle, but better. Deeper and more pleasant. Like any challenge it may be messy and he might still fumble but it's a hell of a lot more desirable an outcome he's fighting towards tonight. "It's personal. I didn't want to drop it on you in public or if you were in the middle of something."

Clint and Tony might have been fine with their showy quarantine stunt, but for him, for Steve, sex is something intensely private in action, especially between men. Maybe it's a foolish holdover from the past, but right now that is just how he's wired. He can't have this conversation just anywhere.

The elevator slows and then the doors open to Tony's penthouse, to his personal floor. The man in question doesn't spend much time here, but Jarvis had suggested, and Steve had agreed, that Tony might take it best on his home turf.

And it'll be an awfully convenient location if everything goes swimmingly.

He steps out into the foyer, not going further than the empty little space around the elevator column in case this doesn't go well and he needs to make a strategic retreat. Tony follows him, eyes bright and sharply speculative, curiosity apparent in the slant of his shoulders.

He takes a moment to collect himself after the elevator doors close and the empty penthouse is their only company, taking comfort in the familiar yet private environment.

"It's pretty simple," Steve says, turning to face him, stepping just a little bit too close, bridging right into personal space without being too aggressive. Yet.

Tony's eyes are dark, pupils expanding as he reflexively glances at Steve's mouth. It's nice to see, though he's had plenty of past examples of Tony's appreciation for his appearance.

"It's a suggestion. You don't have to make up your mind now, and I won't be hurt if you say no. Though I'd like to request that you keep a lid on any mocking on this one."

He can see the ideas turning over in Tony's eyes, possibilities being formed and assigned probabilities as fast as anything. He doesn't doubt Tony's got an inkling now, but his face doesn't give away any hint of his reaction.

"Okay. I'm listening," Tony says, voice low and serious but also warm. Open. Encouraging. He's leaning closer, just a little into Steve's space, accepting and returning the intimacy. It's a show of respect and trust that he now knows means a lot more from Tony than most people and something warm and humming turns over in his chest. As much as they still bicker, they've come a hell of a long way as friends. It settles any last vestiges of his internal debate completely.

It's a risk, but he thinks it's worth it. Steve nods, takes a breath, then says evenly, "I want to fuck you. I want to fuck you the way you need to be fucked. I heard what you said, with Clint and I'd like to be-"

"Yes," Tony interjects, the word clipped, eyes flashing. "God, yes. Anything and everything else you were planning to suggest along those lines, yes. I'm not kidding-"

Well then. When it comes right down to it, he's never been one to hesitate.

He cuts the distance between them, wraps a hand around the back of Tony's head so that when their mouths meet the kiss is hard, bruising. Instead of bending down to meet him, he lifts with his palm so that Tony is forced up onto his toes to make up the scant inches of difference in their heights, exaggerated by Steve's boots and Tony's customary in-house barefootedness.

Tony's arm goes around his neck, hauling them together harder as his tongue pushes into his mouth. It's just as hot and wet and bright as he's imagined, tingling as their chemistry combines. Tony's breath is uneven, pulling at the gaps between their lips in fits as Tony strains up on his toes to reach him, like respiration is an afterthought not worth attending in the slightest. Tony's fingers scratch at the curve of his neck, at the strip of smooth skin in the small of his back sliding under the hem of his tee, wrenching a sound from him against his will. It's something desperate even though they're only just starting. They've always been a volatile combination, ready to spark, and maybe this has always been the reason.

It's almost enough to let that make his intent clear, to tell Tony in the simplest silent terms what else is along the lines he's suggesting and accept the blanket permission. Almost. But he has to make sure there's understanding between them. There's too much at stake for them, for everyone if there isn't. If this goes badly, even if it goes perfectly there are potential consequences. His pulse is singing in his ears as he moves to pull back to make sure his intent is made explicit.

He doesn't make it far at all.

Tony bites hard at his lip and a wild rush of need hits Steve, molten and scattering through his body. Words forgotten again, his other hand goes for Tony's hip and he guides them backwards till he's got Tony hemmed in against the wall. It's not enough to lean, to press. He hitches him up the extra inches, pins him, hands hard where they connect. It's not gentle; there's audible sound to accompany the impact Tony's body makes against the surface.

The sound of pain Tony makes is enough to have him pulling back a little, but Tony just groans into his mouth in protest. He grabs at Steve for it, pulls at him like he can get him even closer. Steve slots their bodies together, drags their hips rough and dirty with Tony trapped between him and the wall. Steve presses in and feels his fingers tremble with the tension needed to restrain himself from actively bruising the flesh beneath them unasked. He'd seen the way Tony had impaled himself on Clint, the way he'd moaned when driven to the edge with force, but there are gradations to this. There's a well of force in him and one of need in Tony, neither of which he truly knows the depth of.

He yanks his head back enough to growl, "How rough-"

"Rough. Rough," Tony grinds out, teeth finding Steve's lip and raking sharp along delicate flesh.

It's almost enough to break the skin and Steve returns the favor with a bite of his own at Tony's jaw that actually does. The sound Tony makes as Steve licks away the beading sanguine droplets is shocked and desperate and Steve feels suddenly lightheaded at the rush from it. He drags his thumb through the mark and then his hand slides lower as Tony tips his head back on a moan as Steve's lips brush wet kisses down his neck.

His fingers drag slow and searching over the frangible skin of Tony's throat, deceptively gentle in their restraint. But words of encouragement spill from Tony's lips and violence wrenches free in little tremors, flinches that go tight and strong in steady increments till Tony's breath goes thin and then disappears. A test for both of them of the single word that's been exchanged defining the boundary of this. He holds it just a moment, then watches his fingers release, watches a ragged breath hiss through Tony's lips. Finally he looks up to meet his gaze.

"More," Tony demands.

And Tony's eyes are burning with need, his teeth bared in a feral grin as his fingers rake claw-like down Steve's sides.

"Bed," Steve decides, and Tony makes a sound half in protest half in agreement but it's irrelevant because that's where Steve's taking him. After all, that is part of the point of doing this here and not ambushing him in the workshop or any random corner. He plants a hand under Tony's ass and lifts and Tony goes up, using a jumbled combination of appendages to climb him and cling even though Steve has him easily in hand regardless.

Steve pushes them away from the wall with his free hand, then wraps it up around Tony's back and curls it hard into his hair. Tony writhes against him and finds his mouth again, all sharp teeth and impatience, pulling the skin till it tears and leaves fresh copper in their mouths. When Tony lifts his head his eyes are alight with devilish appreciation, tracing the evidence of his efforts. Steve bares his teeth in response, yanks the hand in Tony's hair and drags his head back to expose his throat. There's already shadows forming on the vital column, but Steve can only set his teeth to it again and bite harder, bruise deeper over corded muscle. As Steve asserts himself, Tony writhes against him, driving his erection against Steve's belly shamelessly.

"Fuck," Tony says as Steve bites him again, shaking against him. "Fuck!"

Despite the way his cock is chafing against the heavy fabric of his trousers, Steve forces himself to not do it again, not to pin Tony against the wall. Instead he focuses on getting them the last few steps down the hall and into the open bedroom door. Jarvis has lit it for them, a spotlight over the rumpled white rectangle in the center of the space, the rest of the room dark, the windows shaded from the outside world.

When they're at the foot of it he pries Tony from him and tosses him the rest of the distance to the bed to free up his hands for the sake of efficiency - also to give himself a break from the intensity that is Tony moving against him. Tony hits the rumpled sheets with a huff of breath that nearly resembles a laugh. Rolling awkwardly back up to his knees in the fluffy comforter he starts dragging his tank-top over his head. Steve takes just a moment to savor the bared skin, the silvered scars and the beauty of the arc reactor, then prizes a packet of lube from his pocket as he marches after him.

"Nah, good stuff," Tony counter-bids when he sees what Steve's got, flapping a hand at the offering as he drops his shirt in favor of rolling over to his bedside table.

Steve drops it obligingly and strips his own shirt over his head instead. His tags clatter against his sternum as he tears at his belt and fly, but he abandons the task half-done as Tony bends over to dig around in the cabinet, swearing under his breath when he doesn't find what he's after immediately. His ass is magnificent in the thin sweats, so much more a combination of sinuous curves and dramatic swells than Steve's own more straightforward lines, but Steve is abruptly aware of how unacceptable the cloth barrier is between his eyes and the sight of Tony's bare ass he knows from experience is knee-weakening. He drops to his knees on the bed behind Tony and reaches for his waistband himself.

Tony makes a startled sound as his pants are stripped down unceremoniously and pulled right off his body, sending him careening forward, shoulder smacking against the headboard as he overbalances. He groans when Steve hauls his hips back up to get him on his knees and spreads his backside with hard hands, exposing his hole to the air.

Steve's mouth waters, and after a moment of reverence, he draws his saliva together and spits on the bared pucker. He smears the slick with a rough pass of his thumb and then presses inwards impatiently as Tony makes a ragged sound.

"Jesus, here, just-"

Tony twists, then fumbles the recovered bottle into Steve's hand, wobbling precariously on the awkward corner of the bed Steve has crowded him into. Steve's enhanced reflexes make it easy to catch the bottle and keep Tony steady without even pulling back. He just pushes his thumb deeper even as he upends the bottle over his hand and gives them more to work with.

Tony isn't virgin tight. He's clearly stretched himself sometime in the not-too-distant past, though whether for a toy or for someone's cock, he doesn't know. He knows which he wants it to be, in the dark, possessive pit of his belly, but he doesn't ask because it's none of his business. Instead he just takes it for the gift it is and tosses the lube aside to drag his half-opened pants and briefs down to free his erection.

It falls heavy and thick against the curve of Tony's ass and elicits an appreciative moan from both of them.

"I swear to god, Steve, if you don't shove that thing in me right now I'm going to -"

Steve brings the flat of his palm down on Tony's ass, hard. The crack is loud and the startled moan from Tony is louder. Before he can get distracted by doing it again, Steve hauls him bodily over just enough that he can shove one of Tony's thighs up and pin him facedown on the bed without braining him on the furniture. With sloppy swipe of lube over himself, he angles the head of his dick down to line up with Tony's half-stretched hole and starts to push.

Tony squirms beneath him, a litany of curses tumbling from his lips, speech broken by panting whimpers as his fists scratch at tangled sheets and Steve splits him open with his cock. He's pinned, taking everything Steve's giving him because he has no other choice.

He can't let go fully, can't risk his full strength with anyone who isn't superhuman, but this… knowing Tony can handle a lot more than most, knowing Tony needs more than gentle restraint, it's darkly exciting. It's… freeing. Here with Tony he can allow himself all the visceral, human things he's pushed aside, tempered to the virtue of his values. He's always going to be just a man, not a paragon, no matter how much he strives to be. He has so much frustration built up, sexual and otherwise and shoving Tony where he wants him, gripping hard enough to bruise and getting moans in exchange… it fills him with a wild sense of relief and unbridled lust. Maybe it should scare him, that it's slipping his hold, but right now all he wants is more, an echo of Tony's demand reverberating through him.

Tony's body resists him, but he's so hard and slick and his weight leaning in far outmatches the little band of half-stretched muscle. Tony grunts in pain when the head of Steve's cock fully breaches him, but his back is arching into the flinch, his thighs sprawling even wider under them.

Steve doesn't pause for either of them to get their bearings, drawing back while Tony's body clings to his in a slick glide, then shoving back in hard so that he's forced to take the rest. He savor's Tony's cry as he bottoms out. Then does it again.

Lust is a living thing in him, burning through him and coiling rough and careless through his core. It claws at him, prods and pries up his control the same way Tony does. Tony's fingers rake at the hand Steve has pinning him at the back of his neck, but it's not even a protest. It's a demand for more, for sensation as Tony's feet press and drag along the canvas of Steve's trousers that still cover him from his thighs down. He can feel the way the sheets catch and strain against the rough soles of his boots and it feels sinful, willful and blatant in its transgression in the same way it does to nudge Tony's knees wider and thrust deeper without regard for anything at all.

He doesn't speak, though his tongue flexes against his teeth over impulsive demands of give me more and take it at the mildest and such a whore and I could break you at the more brutally raw. They well up in him unbidden and wild, pushing up from the darkest part of him that he locks away. He doesn't say them, but the slap of his hips against Tony's backside is soft punctuation for harsh words written with the rhythmic thrust of his form.

Tony speaks in flinches and shudders, in choked breaths that get forced from him by the press of Steve's body. He begs in straining fingers, in the way his body tightens around the intrusion, in the way he struggles between stubbornly trying to meet Steve thrust for thrust and bouts of frustrated surrender to the demands on his person. His throat is tight and humming with need as he writhes and searches for friction against the sheets, and he finally breaks into a sob of protest when Steve just grabs his hips with both hands and pins him flat to the bed with the whole of his bodyweight, refusing him even that.

"Mine," Steve snarls and snaps his hips into his hole like it's his only purpose. He's not sure whether he means Tony's orgasm or something more but it rips something messy and wet free in his chest when Tony hisses, "Yes," and goes completely pliant under him.

He's sweating with the combined effort of balancing his body on his hands and thrusting his hips like it's the last thing he'll ever do. Sweating enough that he can feel it trickling down his temple, pooling at the dimples in the small of his back, making his toes hot and moist in the stifling leather of the boots. But it's nothing compared to the heat wrapped around his cock, the friction of Tony's body. It's a fire in him, hot enough to burn away the cold completely for the first time in…

He trembles, falters as he crashes into it, into the pure heat of it all. He falls forward, his whole body wanting to spill into the warmth until there's nothing left.

And it's not enough. Even spilling himself inside Tony's body isn't enough to satisfy the rumbling need inside him. It drags him down, demands that he get closer still. He curls tight around Tony, spreads his legs either side Tony's thighs to lock around and force his boots under Tony's shins. He gets an arm under his shoulder, spans the palm across Tony's throat and boxes him in between the muscles of his arms curled around his torso. With a little nudge, he gets Tony's hips back enough to reach down and lay claim to one more part of him, hot and throbbing under his palm. Tony sobs out a wordless plea, enveloped by him, speared by him and surrendered to his strength.

Steve rolls his hips slow, drags his still-hard cock around inside Tony's body, savors the shudder that follows it. When Steve strokes his hand with the next roll of his hips, Tony's fingers clasp hard around his forearm but they make no demands either way, just cling. Steve's not here to be cruel, though. Far from it, in fact. He strokes firm and steady, twisting in counterpoint to the grind of his hips. He burrows his face against the curve of Tony's neck and shoulder in an almost humid intimacy as he tightens the grip around his throat, just a little, just to connect in again to the sensation of that pressure.

He feels Tony's orgasm approaching in the contraction of muscle around him, pulsing tighter and faster in response to the drag and grind he gives in return. He feels it, and he wants it, wants to command it from him. He uses his body, his mouth and hands to bring him right to the edge of it. "That's it," he whispers into the skin behind Tony's ear as he rides into him and quickens his fist and tosses him over the cliff. He can't help but moan when Tony gasps thin against the pressure on his throat and locks up, going tight from head to toe as he shakes under Steve's hold, cock pulsing in his fist and spilling hot and wet over his fingers. He can feel how long and deep the pleasure runs and Steve fucks him through it, thrusts deepening briefly in a smaller, smoother wave as his own second orgasm wells up in response, finally satiated.

Gently Steve eases his hold, taking all his weight back and giving Tony back freedom of his limbs. Tony shifts to his side beneath him, head flopping down on the edge of a wayward pillow as he breathes low and fast through the comedown. Steve feels wet and soft and warmly messy as he slides from Tony's body. It feels like in one combination or another, every part of him is touched with sweat or come or lube. He sits back on his heels and closes his eyes, savors the total warmth and feeling of weightless relief that settles soft around him like a blanket.

He tips his head back and draws in deep, soft breaths, hand loose and upturned on his thighs, empty of any burden. It's good, so good to be this truly warmed up through to the core, to have pried open the cold hard edges of the dark inside him and burned it all up rather than locking it away. For a while, anyway.

But the air is temperate around them and now that they've stopped exerting themselves, sweat cools on his brow and his cock protests the chilly air on come-slick and vulnerable flesh. He opens his eyes to reach down and pull his clothing back up to some semblance of order-

And freezes.

Tony's staring up at him, eyes dark and shadowed under brows drawn low. His face is pensive, perhaps wary and that would worry Steve if he'd had the time to process it, if his attention weren't wrenched lower to take in the full scope of the damage he's wrought. The rush of horror that comes is worse than any bucket of ice down his back and he goes snap-still, pulse rocketing up, eyes charting every purpling bruise, every pink smear of blood and come, every slash of parallel lines red against pale skin. The outline of his teeth is livid on Tony's jaw, smeared crimson along the sharp line of it.

"Whoa, whoa, none of that," Tony rasps, eyes widening as he shoves himself awkwardly upright. He half-falls half climbs towards Steve, catches at his wrists and aborts the reflexive movement to retreat, holds him where he's been kneeling. "No, no, no, shhhh."

Belatedly, Steve realizes he's breathing in too-sharp gasps, chest tight in a way it's not been for years.

"Okay, yeah, that's what I was worried about," Tony mutters to himself as he shifts his hands to rub up Steve's biceps, palms warm on the cooling sweat. He squeezes and tries to pull Steve up the bed but fails because Steve's body has locked up too much to be moved by fucked-out hands.

"Come on, Rogers, work with me a little here," Tony says, voice low and going a little cajoling as he tugs again, though without any force to speak of this time, just a nudge. "Lie down for me here and catch your breath."

Steve gives his head a shake, forces himself to take a deep breath he knows his lungs can handle.

"Sorry," he says, going with Tony this time when the man pulls on him again, drawing him up the bed and guiding him down into the hollow where the sheets have been pulled back.

"It's not entirely unexpected," Tony says, sounding a little penitent as he pulls up the blankets behind Steve, settling them against his back. "I pushed you a bit."

Steve turns an incredulous look on him but it's not a joke. Nor is the way Tony's bruised skin looks even closer.

"I'm fine," Tony says firmly, taking Steve's chin with his hand and drawing his eyes back, having clearly noticed the path his eyes have taken. Steve studies his eyes for any dissembling and he studies Steve's eyes right back with nothing but honesty. "You did exactly what I asked you for."

"Did I?" Steve hears himself say. His voice sounds smaller than it should.

"My consent was very, thoroughly, enthusiastic," Tony agrees as he releases his face and then shifts over and starts tugging at the laces on Steve's boots, getting them undone with ease Steve would've attributed to a soldier, not a civilian. It's oddly humorous and he has to swallow an inappropriate laugh. "As in if I weren't so thoroughly well-fucked to the point of not caring, I'd be worried about magic interference here because this was like you read my mind and conjured one of my favorite fantasies to life and then some."

As Steve watches his boots get pried off, he tracks his memory back over the sparse words they'd exchanged throughout the evening. Enthusiastic? Well. Nothing Tony had said can be construed otherwise. Even with the damage, Yes and Rough and More are hard to argue with.

"Okay," he says and means it, feeling the harsh edge of worry suddenly slip away from him, leaving him feeling a little hollow but mostly… content. Also, very tired.

Tony laughs under his breath as the second boot goes tumbling off the bed with a thump. He shakes his head over a wry grin but doesn't share the joke when Steve makes an inquisitive face, just peels off Steve's socks for him. Then Steve's gently tucked back into his shorts before his trousers are shimmied down his thighs and then discarded too.

"Jarvis, baby, cool the diva lighting would you?" Tony says as he sprawls back up next to Steve, groaning softly and completely comfortable in his nudity. The spotlight effect dims and the city lights beyond the windows fade into visibility giving the room a soft glow that's still bright enough that the arc reactor doesn't stand out like a flashlight. Tony's eyes are so dark in the low light, but they are soft at the edges as Tony pulls the sheets up over them both.

"Listen, I don't know what your plans were, whether you want to stay tonight or not. I don't have any expectations either way about it, we'll do whatever you want. But do me a favor and hang out till I'm sure you're okay. Can you do that for me, Steve?" Tony asks, his voice low and warm and clearly pitched to be kind.

Like he really, truly cares about Steve. Even after all the fights, all the stupid jostling for position. Even after this. Tony hasn't pressed close but he does lay next to Steve like he'd be amenable, and Steve's reaching for him before he's even thought it through. He stops himself, hand hovering between them under the sheet, and Tony rolls his eyes when he sees it. Grabs Steve's wrist and pulls them together, gets the hand around his waist till they're embracing each other loosely.

"Cuddles and Rough Sex are not orthogonal constructs, Captain," Tony says, looking just as contented as he feels, body bearing no sign of the perpetual tension he usually caries around with him everywhere. His fingers are tracing a tiny, soothing path along his side.

"Okay," Steve says again and then pulls him close. The warmth of his body, relaxed and steady against him is soothing, settling. It feels good, so damned good and he leans into it, their limbs tangling together easily. It keeps the chill at bay. Goes all the way down to his bones. After a moment's hesitation, he finds Tony's mouth with his, kisses him as gently as he can manage.

"Thank you," he says when he pulls back.

Tony stares at him, eyes dark and soft. "Okay how are you even real?"

"Shhh, sleep now," Steve says, because his eyes are drifting closed despite himself. It's so peaceful in his head now.

He feels the soft rumble of Tony's chuckle through his ribs and maybe some more word sounds but he ignores them. He just smiles and lets the warmth carry him away.