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What Are Friends For?

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Hour four comes and goes, and Captain America’s erection shows no sign of abating.

It would be hilarious, but for the fact that Steve is clearly in pain. He’s hunched up in the corner of Reed’s lab with his head buried in his arms, trying to hide the wet spot across his crotch and the crimson stain on his cheeks.

All of the treatments for run-of-the-mill priapism have failed to coax Steve down, so while Reed is no medical doctor, they’ve turned to him as a last resort. Because while the serum may make judging doses for Steve harder, Tony suspects it isn’t the real culprit here.

“And the symptoms started shortly after you got back from space?” Reed asks clinically.

“He mentioned he felt dizzy as we landed. He asked me to take the controls.” Tony says, running the math in his head. They landed well before dawn, and it’s mid-morning now. “That was…seven hours ago, more or less.”

“So it started three hours after you touched down. How many times have you brought yourself to ejaculation since then?” Reed asks Steve.

Steve doesn’t answer immediately. But this is a question Tony can’t answer for him. So Tony waits and tries to tamp down his curiosity.

When Steve finally answers, his voice is hoarse. “Eight times, maybe nine.”

Holy—Tony stops his mind from going any further, forcing himself to concentrate on the way Reed’s fingers fly across the keyboard, making a note of it in a medical file he’s compiling.

“And that’s unusual? What’s baseline for the serum?”

There is unbridled misery in Steve’s voice at the questions. “Three.”

Reed has pulled up a map now, or rather, a star chart. A familiar green planet hovers in the air, projected into a hologram by the computer. “Did you happen to come into close contact with any of the locals on your trip?”

“Yes, why?” Tony asks.

“Captain Rogers has elevated levels of interferon and reverse transcriptase in his blood, which leads me to suspect a retrovirus.” Reed pauses in thought, tapping a finger against his lower lip. Then he opens another file and a silhouette of one of the amphibious looking aliens materializes in the air, replacing the planet. “Were you aware your new friends have to return home every five years to mate? That they are reported to have no relief until they do so?”

Tony blinks. “It didn’t come up.”

“It’s quite fascinating. If there’s a connection between the virus and the migratory spawning behavior, it could mean that the population’s entire reproductive system is dependent on—”

Spawning.” Tony repeats, stopping Reed before he can go full grant paper pitch on him. “Like salmon?”

“Salmon aren’t the only species of fish to migrate to the environment where they were born. Certain eels—”

“Maybe that’s the problem,” Tony interrupts again because he really has no desire for Steve to be linked with anything eel related in his mind. “Maybe he’s not home.”

Reed scratches at his chin. “But I thought he was born in New York.”

“He was born in Brooklyn. We’re in Manhattan.”

“Well, I don’t have any other leads,” Reed says. “It may be worth investigating. I really doubt it’s just an issue of location, though,” he warns.

Tony nods and turns his attention back to Steve. As gently as possible, Tony says, “Steve, do you want me to call Sharon or...?” He mentally runs through a list of Steve’s exes, wondering who else he can contact.

“No,” Steve looks up at them, shame-faced but still stubborn to the core. “I don’t want anyone else to know about this.”

It seems they will be undertaking this through trial and error then. Tony briefly mourns the prospect of starting his weekend early and pulls out his phone, hunting for decent accommodations in Brooklyn.


Tony checks them into a hotel, two rooms side-by-side, and makes small talk with the woman at the front desk, chatting about sightseeing around New York for the weekend. Steve, meanwhile, busies himself with getting the luggage, sun-glasses and ball cap firmly in place, suitcases conveniently carried at hip height.

The elevator ride up is quiet. And once they reach their rooms, Steve fumbles with his key card.

“You’ll let me know if you need anything, right?” Tony asks.

Steve just nods and disappears inside. Tony hears the dull clunk of a lock being engaged and busies himself with settling into his own room. He drops his empty suitcase on the floor and goes to the interior door that leads between the rooms, unlatching the hook. This way Steve has easy access if their plan fails and they need to regroup.

And then Tony is left to wait.

He tries not to listen for soft noises from the other room—tries not to think of what Steve—one of his best friends—is doing on the other side of that door.

The man is bound and determined to solve this problem by himself, and Tony can’t exactly blame him. So, despite Reed’s warnings that that may not be possible, he’s letting Steve try again on his own, hoping that location, location, location is the missing key to the problem. Tony has found rooms as close as he can to the tenement building Steve described living in with his parents. Doing more is out of his hands for the moment, he knows that, but the engineer in him finds it hard to let a problem simmer. It’s in Tony’s nature to keep poking at problems.

Tony’s never really contemplated Steve like this before though, never had him preoccupy his thoughts so completely. Until this point, Steve and sex have been completely incongruous. Steve is handsome, yes—Tony will be the first to point out how beautiful his azure eyes are—but he’s practically a national symbol. National symbols don’t have sex.

Unless, apparently, an alien virus completely debauches them.   

It feels ugly and low, in a way, to be so…aroused—Tony finally lets himself use the word—at Steve’s predicament. But, God help him, there’s something about Steve desperate for sexual release that makes Tony’s blood run hot.

He imagines Steve leaning in close, whispering in his ear, begging to fuck Tony. Or begging Tony to fuck him. Tony can’t decide which one makes his heart race faster.

And then, of course, he feels guilty. Steve is in pain, obviously uncomfortable with the whole thing, and medically in very real trouble.

Tony bites his lip and tries to clear his head. And when he fails, he decides to preoccupy himself with making coffee. There’s a mirror hanging over the little table, and as Tony opens a bag of grounds, he finds he can’t even look himself in the eyes.

He is just beginning to poke at the little single cup maker’s interface when he hears a sob through the wall.

“Steve?” He goes to the door and knocks. After a few moments of no response, Tony tries the door, and to his surprise it swings open.

Tony stays frozen on the spot for a good several seconds after that.

Steve is sprawled on the bed, a towel beneath him, two fingers worked inside of himself (that hastily get pulled out). He’s got streaks of cum drying on his chest, and his face is turned away from Tony, pressed into his other hand.

His reddened erection is still proudly standing tall.

Tony thinks his cheeks are probably the same color.

“No luck, I see,” Tony says as nonchalantly as possible. Which means there’s only one more thing they can do. Time to start calling exes. “Where’s your phone?”

When Steve doesn’t offer any response, Tony circles round the bed, crouching down on his heels till he’s face to face with Steve. Through the thick fingers he can see that Steve has gone beet red too, and he’s got glistening tear tracks on his cheeks.

“Steve,” Tony says, distressed to find how upset Steve is.

He doesn't think it's from the pain. While Tony has teared up a few times from injuries, Steve is the sort who goes quiet and still when pain finally crosses his high threshold. No, this is affecting him on an emotional level. And yeah, if it were Tony in Steve’s place, he would probably be acutely embarrassed. But this is hitting Steve harder than that.

Now Tony feels even worse, fantasizing about Steve while he's been over here suffering.

“It’s no good—I can’t even—“ he bites down on his lower lip, “It hurts.”

Tony lets his eyes slip to Steve’s cock. It’s looks chafed—raw and angry—and, yes, that certainly would hurt.

Well, that explains what Steve was doing with his fingers earlier.

It also means that if partner is an essential part of the equation, like Reed warned, Sharon may not be the best choice for getting Steve out of this one. Well, unless she’s into pegging. Talk about awkward conversations to have with an ex.

Which, Tony assumes—his stomach flips anxiously at the prospect—means it’s a best friend’s duty to step up to the plate.

“Whatever you need, you have it,” Tony says in a low, sincere voice. He really hopes he doesn’t sound too eager for Steve’s liking.

Because they both know what he means.

Steve cracks open a blue eye between his fingers. For a moment he just stares at Tony, and Tony sees the muscles in his neck constrict. “I couldn’t ask that of you.”

No, he could, he just won’t. “That’s why I’m offering, Steve. This is just…friends with benefits taken to a new level.” He smiles and hopes it looks reassuring.

It absolutely has nothing to do with the shameful fantasies he had earlier. Or, maybe it does in part, he reluctantly admits to himself—it certainly doesn’t hurt Tony’s willingness. But Steve is in trouble. And Tony really would do anything for Steve. And that is ultimately the reason behind his offer. He’d never dare make it otherwise.

“Only if you’re sure,” Steve says.

By way of answer, Tony seizes the bottle of lube from the side table and sits at the foot of the bed next to Steve’s feet. After a moment’s hesitation—his fingers curling and uncurling—Tony leans in and lays a hand on Steve’s bare thigh. And then Tony just stares for a moment, trying to work his head around the fact that this is indeed happening, because it all feels utterly surreal—God, his muscles feel like granite.

Which is a silly thought. It’s not like Tony hasn’t felt them before when they grapple and spar. But this time when he touches Steve he gets to linger, to drink in the feel of him.

Steve doesn’t flinch at his touch. And when Tony finally works up the courage to trail his fingers over the soft inner skin of Steve’s thigh, just shy of his straining groin, Steve spreads his legs wider and lets out a soft, involuntary sound from the back of his throat.

It’s a good thing Tony’s sitting; he feels his knees go weak.

Steve is already slick, but Tony snaps the bottle of lube open and coats his fingers liberally, wanting to make this as painless as possible.

Steve very pointedly isn’t looking at him. He’s doing what Tony did earlier: staring at the ceiling, jaw clenched. His head is thrown back in the pillows, throat exposed and vulnerable, and Tony feels himself begin to harden as he thinks about what it would be like to kiss Steve there.

He files it away for later. With any luck, they’ll be able to go home as soon as he gets Steve off. Then Tony can lock himself in his room and work through Steve’s rise to prominence in his dirty thoughts.

As Tony brushes a finger over Steve’s opening, he feels the body beneath him stiffen. Tony doesn’t push, just leaves his finger there so that Steve can feel the gentle pressure. In turn, he feels the way Steve twitches, alternating between clenched and relaxed

“You good?” Tony asks when the cycle errs toward relaxed.

The rise and fall of Steve’s chest is a little more pronounced. It’s a few moments more before Steve looks down, taking in the sight of Tony with his hand between his legs, swallows, and nods.

Slowly, Tony breaches Steve with one finger, letting him get used to the feel of someone else down there. The going is easy and Steve’s muscles don’t fight him. Good. It’s entirely possible Tony would come out of this with a broken finger if they did.

Steve is loose, thanks to his earlier ministrations, and Tony finds he can quickly fall into a rhythmic movement. As he does, his world narrows down to just Steve: the way his face has twisted up, the way his breathing now comes in jumps and starts. His fingers probe gently, searching for the spot that will make Steve squirm.

He knows he’s found it when Steve whimpers, his hips lifting off the bed. Tony adds a second finger and Steve’s cock twitches obscenely. Taking that for encouragement, Tony works his fingers into Steve with more vigor.

Either Steve is far gone, or he likes this a lot more than his initial reticence would have had Tony believe. It’s not long before Tony coaxes a dribble of precum from Steve’s cock. Shortly after that, Steve’s balls draw up. The deep groan is the last warning sign Tony gets before Steve comes in earnest. He clenches tightly on Tony’s fingers and semen runs down his untouched cock with each twitch.

When the orgasm has faded and Steve relaxes enough that Tony can move his hand again, Tony promptly pulls his fingers out of Steve and sits back on the far edge of the bed, patiently waiting.

The silence is horrible between them. But Tony has no idea what to say, and Steve has his lower lip firmly in his teeth. He slides his legs down, settling down into the cotton sheets, but after a few minutes, it becomes clear that his cock is stubbornly refusing to follow suit.

Which is really not good.

Their eyes meet and beneath the shame Tony sees frustration and worry. At this point Steve is doing an awful job of hiding it. It’s wearing him thin, and Tony still doesn’t know how to make it better.

So Tony retreats to his room, fishes out his phone, and dials Reed. It only rings twice before he hears a cool, matter-of-fact voice on the other end of the line. “How is he?”

“Not good. America’s finest is still in danger of gangrene.”

“Actually, it may be worse than that.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I’m looking at listed causes of deaths, and failure to mate is a disturbingly high statistic. In males, the spike in adrenaline and testosterone concentrations is dangerously high.”

“Okay,” Tony takes a deep breath and tries not to panic. “Then walk me through plan C. Couple’s therapy didn’t work either.”

“Really.” It’s not a question so much as a statement of disbelief. “Was it penetrative?”

Tony presses the back of a wrist to his forehead. He can’t believe he’s having this conversation with Reed. “Yes, I’d say so.” Tony is pretty sure that that is a fair description of what he just did with his fingers. He can still feel how tightly Steve clenched around them when he came.

“Tell Steve and Sharon to get rid of any condoms,” Reed says. “Apparently it’s important that it’s—”

“I get the picture.” Oh boy does he ever. ”Thanks, Reed.”

Tony ends the call, tapping the phone against his mouth as he squeezes his eyes shut.

He can do this. Well, if Steve’s willing to go there, anyway.

It’s just sex.

Sex brought on by desperate circumstances, granted.

Is it still taking advantage if it’s in the name of the greater good?

Tony squares his shoulders, reminds himself that Steve could just swallow his pride and call someone else, and heads back into the other room.

Steve is visibly tired, and as Tony re-enters his head lolls on the pillow, blue eyes studying him. It looks like whatever the virus is doing to Steve, it’s getting worse, and that worries Tony. “What did he say?”

Tony decides not to sugarcoat. “That unprotected sex may be the only way to keep you from dying.”

On any other day, Steve surely would have rolled his eyes at Tony and said, “Ha ha.” But today being what it is, he just lies there, lips parted slightly, eyes half-lidded, his chest rising and falling like plunging breakers on the beach.

“Okay,” says Steve.


“Do it,” Steve spreads his legs in open invitation. “Please.

At the please Tony forgets how to breathe. Steve’s begging. And oh God, it’s just as filthy and hot as Tony imagined. And he really can’t dwell on that, or he’s never going to be able to look Steve in the face again.

His fingers move in rote instinct to his belt before freezing.

Steve has seen Tony naked dozens of times whenever villains denude him of the armor. He shouldn’t be shy about taking off his pants in front of Steve, but as Tony starts unbuckling, he suddenly feels acutely self-conscious. And it just gets worse as he slips his trousers and underwear from his hips and takes himself in hand, stroking his half-hard length.

To a degree, the awkwardness actually makes it easier. This certainly never figured into Tony’s fantasies.

If Steve finds it odd, then he doesn’t give any indication. He does watch Tony with hooded eyes. But the only reaction Tony catches is the tip of Steve’s tongue darting over his lower lip.

Despite his misgivings, it doesn’t take long before Tony is hard in earnest, and his balls tighten in anticipation as he sinks one knee down on the mattress, taking each of Steve’s knees in a hand and coaxing him to open up his legs further. Steve does, and Tony brings their bodies close. His cock rubs against Steve’s slick ass, drawing out a soft gasp and a low moan from Steve. Then Tony feels Steve begin to writhe beneath him, trying to grind against his length.

Tony puts his hands on the wriggling hips, because if this is going to work, he has to be inside Steve.

“Oh God, don’t make me wait any longer,” Steve sobs.

It honestly never occurred to Tony that he might be tormenting Steve by drawing things out. He just thought it would be easier if they didn’t rush things. (It’s certainly easier for Tony.) Steve’s fingers dig into Tony’s shoulders, telling him that that really isn’t the case. So Tony puts a broad hand on the hard junction between Steve’s thigh and ass, steadying himself mentally and physically as he lines his cock up and pushes in.

Even with their earlier forays, Steve is tight and hot, and it’s so good for Tony—he wants it to be good for Steve too. Which is why, despite Steve’s soft, impatient noises, Tony is deliberate in his entry.

He’s about halfway into his slow penetration when Steve wrap his legs around Tony’s waist and pulls himself upward, taking the rest of Tony in one greedy motion. This time it's Tony’s turn to gasp and Steve lets out a hoarse grunt.

“Oh yes,” Steve hisses, an edge in his voice erasing the tired, aching desperation from earlier.

Maybe it’s habit, maybe it’s the new tone in Steve’s voice—Tony leans over Steve, weight resting on his arms, and his head dips as though to kiss him. At the last second Tony catches himself and he closes his eyes, hands balling into fists in the sheets as he starts to move his hips in short little snaps.

You’re doing this for him—to save him, he reminds himself. Try not to enjoy it too much.

Oh, but it’s hard not to. His thrusts begin to lengthen as Steve adjusts around him, becoming more comfortable with the weight and size of Tony’s cock. Between them, Steve’s cock is stiff, red, and it bobs each time Tony sinks himself deep inside Steve.

Steve is moving his hips too, using the way his knees are folded around Tony’s waist to meet the thrusts. Then all of a sudden his back arches, and he starts panting. “Tony—Tony—I need more.”

Tony swallows, sparing a wistful thought that maybe a cock ring would have been a good investment. He’s worried he’s going to finish first, and that if he does, Steve won’t. If that happens, then they’re going to have to wait at least a thirty minutes. And that is going to be one long, awkward silence.

Tony steels himself as Steve shifts, knees braced on either side of Tony’s elbows now. Steve’s hands also move, coming to rest just above the cleft of Tony’s ass, urging him on. In answer, Tony drives himself as hard as he dares into Steve. He’s rewarded with a shuddering groan.

But even that’s not enough. Tony looks down, and he sees Steve’s blue eyes are clouded and unfocused, as though the virus is winning and he’s slipping away.

For one terrifying moment, Tony stills, thinking he’s losing Steve.

And then Steve flips them. He puts both hands on the headboard and grinds himself down on Tony.

It’s at this point that Tony realizes that from here on out, he’s just here for the ride. He has one job, and that’s to keep himself hard so Steve can fuck himself on Tony’s cock. Steve slides up and down him, rocking the bed as the wet sounds of skin against skin fill the room. Steve’s chest glistens, and even covered with sweat and cum he’s beautiful.

And wow, Tony really hopes he didn’t say that out loud. Though from the hazy, lust addled look in Steve’s eyes, Tony could probably say anything and have it go in one ear and out the other. Steve is completely lost in the act, completely devoid of all his usual reservation.

And that thought really isn’t helping Tony stay this side of orgasm.

Tony bites down on the inside of his cheek, squeezes his eyes shut, and tries to hold out—tries not to focus on how wonderful it feels to be inside Steve, tries not to hang on the every little pant and moan Steve’s making as he drives Tony down into the mattress—tries not to revel in the feel of Steve’s skin on his where they’re joined.

This is a losing battle.

“Steve,” Tony whimpers. “I can’t—”

“I’m close.” Steve grunts, followed by a hedonistic, “Oooh…”

Tony tries. But he opens his eyes and he’s practically eye level with Steve’s erection. The visual, coupled with that one drawn out word, is Tony’s undoing. His hands grip onto Steve’s thighs and he feels himself tense, and the next thing he knows, he’s spilling himself inside of Steve.

His cum makes Steve slicker, and it streaks his cock as Steve continues to use Tony like his own personal toy. Not that Tony’s objecting. Besides, they’re on the clock now; he’ll only get softer by the second.

Steve rolls his hips, bringing himself up so high that Tony nearly slips out, throws his head back and groans as he lets gravity help him seat Tony deep inside himself once, twice—

This time when Steve comes it splatters across Tony, landing on his chest and cheek. He thinks Steve might have even managed to get some in his hair, and the orgasm lasts several seconds longer than Tony’s expecting based on the first. He’s not sure which is closer to baseline for the serum, but Steve slumps, brow resting against the bed’s headboard, and he seems different—the frantic edge gone, replaced by a softness that Tony can’t quite find a word for.

Tony realizes belatedly that at this point it’s probably polite to extricate himself. He moves his hips and his soft cock slides free of Steve. Which takes care of step one. He also removes his hands from Steve’s thighs, wiping at the cum on his chest with a thumb.

When Steve doesn’t move, keeping Tony neatly pinned in place, he looks up.

And oh joy! Steve is quickly sinking to half-mast. Definitely a good sign. They can breathe a sigh of relief.

Deep down, though, there’s a tiny bit of Tony that’s sad it’s all over.

He tries his best to ignore it.

“Crisis averted, I guess,” Tony says cheerily.

Seeming to come back to himself, Steve blinks. His throat constricts and he rolls off of Tony, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. “Thank you,” he says, back to Tony, voice hoarse and broken and entirely too vulnerable.

“Hey, what are friends for?” Tony says and promptly feels like an idiot for spouting something that sounds straight out of an afterschool special.

Steve makes a funny sort of strangled noise that Tony can’t make heads or tails of. At a loss, Tony runs the hand that isn’t completely covered in cum through his hair.

“I should probably call Reed, let him know…”

“Yeah,” Steve agrees, and there’s something in his voice that sounds a lot like sadness, which is further puzzling.

Embarrassment Tony understands, but not this. Maybe Steve just needs space to decompress from the virus, though. Tony gets up, casting one last look at Steve’s back before heading to the other room for his phone.

He picks up the mobile and catches a look at himself in the mirror again: hair mussed, a flush on his skin. He can smell Steve on him, and something warm and giddy tingles in his stomach at the thought.

But it’s over now. It’s done, and they’ll just go back to their normal lives now. Right?

He thinks of that first moment, walking in on Steve and the thrill of seeing him splayed out naked on the bed. Then he thinks of the way Steve looked down at him, just now, after the frenzy cleared from his eyes. Tony struggles to place the emotion he saw again, and again he fails.

When Tony finally sends Reed a text—because he’s not sure he can handle a full conversation at this exact moment—it’s simple and to the point. Resolved.

It doesn’t take long before his phone buzzes with Reed’s reply. There are cases of it recurring. Tell him to monitor it for the next three days.

Steve really isn’t going to like that.

But what can he do? Tony puts the phone down and goes forth to intrude on Steve’s personal space once more.

Or he would. Only Steve isn’t there. Light spills from the open bathroom door, and Tony hears the sounds of running water. The shower steam is already making the room feel muggy.

“Steve?” He asks tentatively.

For an agonizing few seconds there’s no answer. “Does Reed have more bad news?” Steve asks, a shudder practically audible in his deep voice.

Tony’s wants to apologize, but he’s just the message bearer.

“It might come back.”

He hears the water turn off, and the patter of wet feet on tile. Tony tries not to think too much about how Steve is probably standing on the other side of that wall, naked. Which is ridiculous. Honestly. They’ve just had sex.

So when Steve emerges, a white towel wrapped around his waist, Tony really shouldn’t be surprised, or flustered, or feel a blush creeping up his face.

But he does.

The words slip off Tony’s tongue without thought. “Whatever you need, Steve.” It’s a promise he’ll stand by.

Steve’s eyebrows knit together, and he looks at the floor. His voice drops to almost a whisper. “What if it’s something I want?


Oh, shit. Tony feels like an ass.

He just assumed that Steve had been going along out of sheer necessity. He never in his wildest dreams thought it was possible Steve might actually like it.

“I would say that’s serendipitous.”

Steve looks up at him, eyes wide like he doesn’t believe what he just heard.

Tony lets a relieved grin steal across his lips. “We have the rooms all weekend. Shame to let them go to waste.”

“Mmm,” Steve makes a small, pleased noise of agreement, wrapping an arm around Tony’s waist, drawing him close.

In answer Tony brushes his lips against Steve’s, a teasing kiss that quickly deepens.

Oh yes, he thinks. It’s going to be a very nice weekend after all.