"Where the fuck is he? He said he'd be here by now and I don't like to be kept waiting." Steve looked down at his watch. It was half past twelve. Bucky stood at his side, the soft snow falling beside them, as they stood, hidden in the shadows.
"I don't know what made you believe he'd show up on time. He drinks so much, it's hard to believe he's even conscious. I'm surprised he can still tell time. Fuck, do they even have any whiskey to sell," asked Bucky, his hands in his pocket. On the small of his back sat a handgun, concealed under his jacket. Without needing to touch, he knew Steve had a gun in his shoulder holster.
Steve preferred to keep things simple. He was all business. This is a business deal, or so, he kept telling himself as the minutes passed.
"Bucky, shut the fuck up. The man's a genius, drunk or not."
"Oh! No need to get so defensive, Captain. I know you have the hots for him." Bucky pulled out a cigar and, out of courtesy, offered one to Steve, who took one look at it and curtly nodded his head, declining the offer. Bucky shrugged and took a puff as he flexed his metal hand. Steve turned to look at him. His eyes were as cold as the December air that surrounded them. He didn't say a word.
Moments later, they heard the sound of footsteps echoing on the pavement. Steve knew it could only be Tony. No one else would've been out at this time in this kind of weather.
Tony, despite his many addictions – booze, women, and cards – carried himself, as did men of his social class with pomp and circumstance. He was elegant, a quick talker, and an even faster thinker. His brilliance left others wondering when they'd been left behind long after he was gone. His charisma was contagious. You couldn't help but want to be in his presence.
"I see you brought company," said Tony meeting Steve's eyes and grinning at Bucky, whose guarded expression betrayed nothing. He pulled a flask from his coat pocket. "If you don't mind –"
Steve grabbed Tony's wrist. It was smooth, one fluid motion. "Actually, I do. Bucky, would you leave us? I've some matters I want to discuss... In private." Bucky nodded and eyed Steve curiously before walking back to the car stationed a few blocks away.
"Okay Rogers, spill," said Tony without preamble.
What happened next surprised him.
One moment he was standing in the middle of an alleyway in some dingy part of Brooklyn as snow fell on him. The brisk December air chilling his cheeks. Next thing he knew, Tony was being pinned to the brick wall behind him, Steve's teeth grazing his neck. "I have a plan."
Tony could barely muster a breathy "OK" before Steve took a bite. He could feel the bruise forming. Steve cupped his face. "I don't like the way that pretty motherfucker looks at you." Tony knew he was referring to Peter, leader of the Guardians, the new mob in town, but he wanted to hear it from Steve. It gave him a cold sort of satisfaction to know that Steve cared enough that this got under his skin.
"Have you fucked him yet?" Steve pulled away and met Tony's cerulean eyes.
Tony pushed him off him. "No, I haven't. You can't believe the rumors." He looked down, deliberately not meeting Steve’s eyes, in an attempt to hide how hurt he felt.
Steve pulled him in and pressed a soft kiss to his neck. "I haven't forgotten what I promised you. We'll get her and we'll get your brother. I'll be damned if I let that asshole get away with this. Now, this jerk comes into town thinking he can call the shots." He continued to play with Tony's hair as they stood, transfixed, momentarily forgetting that this wasn't their life, that men like them didn't get to be happy, and surely not with each other.
"I thought you said you had a plan," said Tony, his head in the crook of Steve's neck.
"I do. We're going to get married." Tony stared at him incredulously. He suppressed his laughter. “You’re serious?”
Steve looked at him and responded earnestly, “Of course. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Well, for starters, the woman I was going to marry tried to kill me. Turns out she was working not for you, but for my brother, so you’ll understand if I’m a little wary of getting married,” said Tony involuntarily reaching for his flask before Steve’s hand wrapped over his.
Steve took a deep breath, “I don’t say this often, so you better remember this: I’m sorry I sent her to you, but I couldn’t know what would happen. She was –” he sighed again, still holding Tony’s hand in his, over his heart. “She was a good spy. She was just supposed to seduce you; I couldn’t know you’d fall in love or that she’d double-cross us and side with your brother.”
“Yeah, well, we both lost that battle. I would appreciate if we didn’t talk about my ex while you groped me, though,” said Tony slightly exasperated. He was still pinned against the wall. Steve’s massive figure looming over him and peppering his face with kisses as he held him tightly.
“Fine. Perhaps we should get going,” reasoned Steve. The snow was falling faster now. His cheeks burned from the cold and he knew Tony couldn’t be comfortable.
"Your place or mine? I brought a car," said Tony, jingling his keys in front of him. Clever bastard, thought Steve to himself but he approved of the foresight.
"You have a place in Brooklyn," asked Steve, disbelievingly.
"Why is that so hard to believe?"
"You fucking hate Brooklyn," scoffed Steve.
"Hate the sin, love the sinner, darling. Unless you’re willing to going back to Manhattan at this hour," responded Tony coyly.
"Bucky's right: you're making me soft." Steve took the keys from his hand and replaced them with his fingers, kissing Tony's knuckles. “I’m pretty sure I did the opposite of that, but I have no problem starting over when we get inside.”
“You’re relentless,” snickered Steve.
“I don’t see how that’s a problem,” responded Tony flashing his best smile.
They started walking toward Tony's car, a few blocks away. The snow was still falling heavily all around them and their footsteps were wet as they moved. "So, how exactly are we going to get married?"
Steve followed closely behind Tony, who was leading the way, his hand on the small of his back. “We'll let Peggy figure that out.” Moments later, he pulled Tony aside and whispered in his ear, "I'm going to fuck you until your throat's too sore to beg."
Steve didn’t have to look to know Tony was smirking. They continued walking down deserted streets until they reached Tony's black Ford.
"I love it when you whisper sweet little nothings in my ear, darling," responded Tony as Steve pulled him in and pressed his lips to his. Despite being outside, late at night, and in the snow, Steve didn't hold back. Leaning against the passenger side door, he kissed him, savoring each moment. Passionately exploring his mouth with his tongue. His swollen lips sporting bite marks from Tony, who tried to suppress a groan.
“We should probably get inside before someone catches us.” Steve quickly surveyed their surroundings. They were in the industrial part of Brooklyn and on a snowy December night, he knew there wouldn’t be anyone watching, but it wasn’t worth the risk. He nodded in agreement, as Tony unlocked the passenger side door. “Captain, after you.”
"How much longer before I can undress you?" His voice rougher than the asphalt on which they drove. His hands gripped Tony's knees.
"Darling, you can undress me whenever you like, but I prefer to be warm." He shifted his gaze from the empty road just long enough to flash him a smile that was much too sheepish to have come from Tony. He could only think of Tony, face down on the bed, beads of sweat pooling around his forehead, his hands griping the sheets, as he thrust into him. He could feel his body clench around him, the feel of his skin underneath his fingers. We’re almost there. Patience.
Steve kept his hands to himself on the elevator as Tony discussed mundane matters with the bellhop.
At first, Steve couldn’t understand how two men raised in the same household differed so much. Over time, it was apparent that Howard had preferred Arno, the more abrasive of the two brothers. However, Maria was the brains behind the operation. She ran the crime syndicate, while her husband made his fortune in steel, and she had always had a soft spot for Tony, which Arno wasted no time in exploiting.
Steve would never forget that night.
“Steve, I –” He collapsed; falling to his knees, he started crying. In between deep gulps of air, he muttered, “She murdered my parents. I – I went to visit them and – and she sat there, their blood on her dress as she – she wiped her blade clean.”
Steve looked at Bucky, who walked over to Tony. He kneeled next to him, putting his metal hand on his shoulder, “Tony, do you know who sent her?”
At that moment, Peggy came crashing in, screaming, “Steve! Steve! Arno Stark had his parents murdered!” Bucky shot her a look and she quickly covered her mouth in horror when she realized who was kneeling on the floor, crying. “Oh God, Tony!”
By all rights, Tony should hate him. Steve had, albeit unknowingly, sent Natasha his way. Not only would she break his heart, but also, she’d betray him. She publicly broke off their engagement and spread rumors about him. Weeks later, it was revealed that Arno had hired an assassin to kill his parents so that he could inherit the business, leaving Tony in the dust. It wasn’t clear whether Arno knew Natasha was the assassin but it didn’t matter, the damage was done: Tony had caught her in the act and for that, he could never forgive her.
They were at a gala. The Metropolitan Museum of Art held one annually and they had both graciously accepted their invitations. Trepidation crept up Steve’s spine when he saw Tony chatting with a tall, blonde woman, a glass of whiskey in his hand. It had been a few months since that scene in his office whereupon Tony had collapsed on the floor after finding his parents, murdered in cold blood. Steve didn’t know how to act around Tony. They had had a complicated relationship before, but now, it seemed like they would never be able to move past the bloodshed.
Steve should’ve known better. Tony was a better man.
“Steve! This is Carol.” Steve took her hand in his and kissed her knuckles lightly, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, ma’am.” She eyed Tony and the two exchanged silent words. “I’ll leave you two gentlemen to it. Goodnight, Captain,” she quipped as she strode across the room. “She’s quite a woman.”
“That she is.” Tony took a sip of his whiskey and looked at Steve as he licked his lips. His expression changed when he saw that Steve looked crestfallen.
“Steve, you couldn’t have known,” said Tony reassuringly.
I should be the one reassuring you. “Yes, but I sent her to spy on you,” admitted Steve.
“But I knew that. What? You think I didn’t know. I knew she was a spy and I still… I just… I never thought it would end this way.” He rubbed his temples, the glass of whiskey still in his hand, its contents threatening to spill. “C’mon Tony, don’t beat yourself up over this.” He took the drink out of Tony’s hand and motioned for him to follow. Steve placed the drink on the nearest table as he and Tony walked out, unnoticed.
Steve never would've suspected what happened next. Tony pinned him against the wall. “If you wanted me, why didn’t you come to me yourself?”
“I didn’t think you’d want me,” said Steve as Tony pulled him in for a kiss, their lips pressing together.
Tony pulled back and eyed him, in disbelief. “Have you looked in the mirror? Why wouldn’t I want you?”
“I don’t know… I couldn’t be sure…”
“Spill it, Rogers,” said Tony as his hands moved along Steve’s body, delighting in the opportunity to touch him.
“Can I take you home and fuck you?”
Tony laughed, “Oh, that would be my pleasure.”
Steve could still hear Tony’s muffled passionate screams into the pillow, as his sweat-slicked body quivered in anticipation. He had leaned over, his hand resting on the bed, as he kissed his shoulder. He could still taste the salt. He had pushed his hair to the side and breathy, had whispered, “You’re so beautiful like this, when you’re falling apart.”
Steve’s thoughts shifted back to the present. Arno wouldn’t have noticed the bellhop. Tony knew the man’s name and talked to him as if they were friends. Perhaps, at first, Steve would’ve dismissed this as just part of Tony’s charm, but now, he knew that wasn’t true. Tony genuinely cared for people. You’re in the wrong business. Caring for people in our line of work is a weakness. Yet, he couldn’t help but feel a tinge of envy.
They reached the landing of the penthouse. Just as he closed the door, Steve pulled Tony’s coat off. “Undress, now.”
“Aw, but that’s no fun."
“Tony,” said Steve, frustrated, “you made me wait for you. Bucky and I stood in the snow for over half an hour. You are in no position to make any sort of demands. I just need to know your safeword.” He eyed Tony, his pupils dilated. Only a thin ring of blue remained where once pools swam. He moved toward Tony, who didn’t hesitate and did as he was told.
“Italy.” Steve eyed him curiously. “You don’t get to ask, just go with it.”
“Why do I always end up tied up?” He was breathing erratically. His hands were pinned above his head and tied with rope to the headboard. A red blindfold covered his eyes. His skin glistened with sweat. Steve cupped his cheek and pressed a kiss to his swollen lips. “If you want it to stop, you know what to say. Are you okay?” Steve looked at him worriedly.
Tony leaned into his touch, whimpering. “Don’t… Don't stop."
Steve wrapped his arms around Tony’s neck and whispered, “You’re so beautiful when you whimper.” He bit down on the soft skin just below his collarbone. Tony’s hands clenched up and he moaned into Steve’s hair, slick with sweat. Steve lowered himself onto him, wrapping his legs around his waist. Tony bit down on his shoulder. He must be close, thought Steve to himself. He steadied himself with one hand on Tony’s waist; he moved the other to brush the hair from his face. “Not yet.”
Steve continued to tease him until he felt himself getting close. He gripped himself tightly, stroking up and down in quick, successive motions until he came. He could feel his body tightening. It was only a matter of time before Tony came too.
Steve didn’t care that he was dripping on the sheets. He untied Tony and massaged his wrists. Tony wrapped his arms around his neck and murmured, “I missed you.” Steve wrapped one hand around his waist and pulled him close, with the other, he pulled the blindfold off. It took Tony a second to acclimate to the pre-dawn light that filtered in through the window.
Steve cleaned them up and changed the sheets. He put Tony, who was seconds away from falling asleep despite his protests, to bed before getting in beside him. "Goodnight," he said as he kissed his shoulder one last time before turning on his back, his arms under his head. He took a deep breath. Does he know I love him? Does he know this isn’t pretend, that this is the only way I can protect him?