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Benefit-Cost Analysis

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Sometimes, Tony didn’t think Extremis was worth it.

The cost was high — he'd lost the Malibu house, all of his old suits, his favorite cars, his already crumbling relationship with Pepper, and had once again been almost tortured to death — and the payout was five cc's of technovirus floating through his veins. Extremis allowed him to live and gave him power over technology he'd never dreamed of, but with all his losses, Tony wondered if it was a fair trade.

But then he ran into Steve.

It was a typical superhero deal. Monsters rose from the sea to crawl over the Statue of Liberty and terrorize tourists, Tony went out to stop them. Only, when he arrived, Captain America was already there, throwing around his ridiculous shield.

Tony opened a link to Cap's communicator. "Hey, Cap, I see you're doing product placement for Spanx's new leather line and, me - yow, it is doing wonders for your ass."

Cap didn't even pause in dealing damage to their spiny enemies. "Iron Man. Glad to see you're alright. Neutralize the things crawling up her dress."

"Defend Lady Liberty's honor, got it." Tony said. He let himself be lost in the song of battle; ignoring the data feeds flowing into his mind in favor of the whine of his reactors and the ping of Cap's shield.

They fought in tandem, Tony blasting oversized anemones down to Cap and Cap punting them into the water. Tony found himself grinning from the sheer joy of it, and after the last creature had been returned to the sea, he dropped next to Cap and retracted his faceplate.

"Nice job," Tony said, "I expect you'll be hearing from football recruiters any moment now."

Cap shrugged. "I doubt I'd pass the drug tests." He looked at Tony for a moment, letting his eyes drop down over Tony's form, and his mouth quirked. Interesting.

Tony leaned in, conspiratorially. "Me, either."

Cap's disapproval was thwarted by a flood of grateful tourists, and Tony met them with a bright smile before closing his face plate. He made his voice louder with Extremis and addressed them. "Hey, it's our pleasure to rescue you, but if you want an autograph or to file a complaint, get in touch with Nick Fury. Now, if you'll excuse us." On a whim, Tony held his hand out to Cap and lowered his voice. "Want a ride?"

Cap looked over the crowd toward the bay, where there was no sign of the SHIELD vessel that had undoubtedly brought him to Liberty Island. "Sure," he said, and put his arm over Tony's shoulder. Tony didn't give him a chance to change his mind. He wrapped his arm around Cap's waist and rocketed into the air, leaving the roar of the crowd behind them.

Tony decided to drop Cap off at the Helicarrier, mainly because he wanted to rub his knowledge of the Helicarrier's position in Fury's face. It was only halfway across the Atlantic, he could get there in no time at all...except that Cap was completely unprotected from the biting wind and low oxygen content of the atmosphere.

"How you holding up, old man," Tony asked, turning back toward New York. Cap answered — Tony felt the movement of his diaphragm and the vibration of his voice through the armor, but even with Extremis he didn't know what Cap had said. He turned to see Cap's face.

Cap was grinning at Tony like a fool. "This is great!" Cap yelled, and suddenly, Tony was grinning back.

"Let me know if you can't take it," Tony said, and Cap just laughed. "I mean it," Tony said, banking sharply, and Cap nodded.

Tony flew, flew like he'd never flown before. Instead of pressing the limits of the new suit, he pressed the limits of Cap's body. They flew loop de loops and barrel rolls, straight up and straight back down. Extremis monitored Cap's breathing and heart rate and put it into Tony's mind like it was Tony's own, only a slight arrhythmia between the beats.

He felt Cap's heat against the armor. He knew it was simulated by Extremis — Cap wasn't actually touching him directly, after all — but he felt Cap's every shift, every muscle as though there was nothing between them. Tony's body responded, and his armor changed shape around his groin to give him room to grow.

Tony ignored every call, text, and email; and although he couldn't hear what Cap was saying, he felt him dismiss a few calls of his own. Finally, the sky grew dark, and Tony turned back to New York City.

They landed on top of Stark Tower, and Tony walked down his extraction platform out of rote rather than need as the armor flew away from him. "Cap, you should stay for dinner. I don't know that I can rival one of Dad's parties on such short notice, but we can at least have some champagne for a job well done." He turned, and Cap was standing still at the top of the ramp, gaping. "What?"

"Huh?" Cap said, and Tony was surprised. Cap had met him blow for blow in verbal sparring before; maybe the G forces had gone to his brain.

"Do you want to eat dinner with me?" Tony asked, slowly.

Cap blushed, glancing down Tony's body like it pained him, and said, "Sure."

Tony looked down, kicked himself for forgetting about his golden underarmor and the erection he was sporting. He started to absorb the underarmor, and then kicked himself again for deciding not to wear boxers underneath it. He shrugged and flashed a grin at Cap as he left himself in tented, golden shorts. "Gilding the lily, unfortunately."

"It's a neat trick," Cap said. His glance downward was definitely appreciative this time, and Tony was delighted.

He led Cap down the ramp to his penthouse, where JARVIS had dinner ready in the form of a well-timed pizza delivery. Tony excused himself to put on clothing before they ate. Cap devoured half the pizza before Tony finished a second slice, and Tony pushed the rest of the box toward Cap. "Go for it, slugger," he said, and went to find a bottle of champagne.

He poured them both a glass, then reclined at the side of the table opposite Cap and raised his glass. "To keeping sea urchins in the sea."

"To a good partner," Cap said, raising his. Tony nodded, and they drank.

Cap didn't even put his glass down before saying, "Flying was unbelievable. Your armor..." He shook his head and whistled.

Tony tried not to smile too much. "You like it?"

"It was like a dream," Cap said, "One of those crazy dreams you wake up knowing will never come true." He was looking straight at Tony, full of impossible earnesty.

Tony was talking before he even knew what he was saying. "You know, they say dreams about flying are actually about sex." Cap blushed again, and glanced away. Tony smiled to himself, and then Cap looked back at him, full force.

"You know," Cap said, "The future was kind of disappointing."

Tony raised his eyebrows at the change of subject, and then furrowed them at the insult. "What'd you expect? World peace?"

Cap shook his head and smiled. "It'd be nice, but no. I thought we'd have flying cars and robots. People living on the moon. That sort of thing."

"You wanna live on the moon, Cap, I can make that happen," Tony said, and he could. He planned it in a moment: an arc reactor to power the lunar station, regular shipments of supplies from Stark Industries —

"I don't want to live on the moon, Tony," Cap said. "I meant — "

"You know, you've never called me Tony before," Tony said. "I thought we were code names only."

"Keeps down confusion on the field," Cap said.

"We're not on the field now." Tony looked at Cap, who was smiling and relaxed instead of stern and drawn tight. "So I can call you Steve."

Cap extended his hand and Tony took it. "Good to meet you, Tony," Steve said, squeezing his hand a little too firmly. Tony generally didn't shake hands, but when he did, he won the pissing contest over who had the tighter grip, and he started to tighten his hand around Steve's before he remembered: Captain America, super soldier.

"Likewise, Steve." Tony tried to pull his hand back, but Steve held it, palm up, in his own.

"You don't know you're doing it," Steve said. "Look."

Tony looked, and his hand was gold. "Shit," he said, and willed it back into his body. It took longer than he expected, but the underarmor melted away.

Steve still didn't release his hand. "What I was saying is I thought the future was, excuse my French, shit."

"And I thought you were trying to sweet talk me," Tony said.

"I thought that until I saw the Iron Man," Steve continued, as if Tony hadn't spoken. "The Iron Man was more than what I dreamed of, it's amazing."

"It really is," Tony said, leaning forward. No one ever wanted to talk about how incredibly awesome the Iron Man was, except maybe tech blogs and Wired magazine, and now that he had Extremis, even he doubted he should give interviews anymore. "Steve, from here out, this is between you and me."

Steve looked puzzled, and then he dropped Tony's hand and looked away. "Maybe it's not for me, then."

Tony stared at him for a moment, then at his hand. "You were trying to sweet talk me."

Steve shrugged. "I was told it was alright. Men can be with men, now, and you were..." he cleared his throat. "You were excited about flying."

Thankfully, Tony's mouth moved before his brain again. "Excited about flying with you, soldier." He leaned across the table and grabbed the edges of Steve's cowl. Steve met him, one sweet closed mouth kiss, and then pulled back, putting his hand on Tony's chest.

"You said this had to be between us, and I can't promise that," Steve said.

"No, no, no, this — " Tony gestured between them, " — is not what I meant. Believe me when I say I will brag to everyone who will listen about banging Captain America."

"You haven't banged me yet," Steve said, a hint of a smile on his face, and Tony couldn't take it any longer.

"Matter of time." Tony lunged forward, and now Steve didn't move away. He met Tony hungrily, mouth already open and eager, his hand at Tony's hip where Tony's shirt was rucked up from leaning over the table. Tony put his knee up onto the table, hoping to clamber over it without parting from Steve’s mouth, and Steve seemed to read his mind. He pulled Tony across the table and into his lap, not a bit shy about the bulge beneath his Captain America uniform.

Tony ground himself against it, a little surprised at his own reaction time. It seemed Extremis had worked its technological rejuvenation everywhere. He could come like this, he thought, but he didn’t want to. He wanted to come sometime after he’d at least seen Steve naked. He tried to wriggle his fingers underneath Steve’s shirt, but all that earned him was Steve bucking under him and laughing breathlessly into his mouth.

“The super soldier is ticklish,” Tony said. “Well, that wasn’t in your file.”

Steve grinned at him, boyishly. “Government secret.” Tony wriggled his fingers again, and Steve grabbed at them. “Don’t.”

“Then take off your shirt,” Tony said.

“You say that like it’s easy.” Steve patted Tony’s side, and Tony scooted back as Steve opened a hidden zipper, revealing his blue body armor. “Maybe if you’d share how you make your armor disappear.”

“Extremis,” Tony said.

Steve raised an eyebrow and, more importantly, pulled off the top of his uniform. The body armor was still there, but Tony could, and did, remove it. He whistled and touched Steve’s perfect abs.

Steve grinned and pulled at Tony’s shirt. “What’s that?”

Completely distracted by the way Steve’s muscles rippled with motion, Tony ducked out of his shirt and said, “A virus. It remade my body after...” Tony wasn’t able to explain the Mandarin, even though he knew Steve, of all people, would understand.

Fortunately, Steve did understand. “After what happened in California.”

“Right,” Tony said, “It also gave me mental links to technology, so I can put the armor away remotely and do this.” He turned the lights down, just a little, enough for mood but not enough to impede him from seeing Steve.

“Wow,” Steve said. “And the gold?”

“It’s my underarmor.” Tony let it cover his arm. “Lets me interface with the suit, keeps me warm, absorbs impact.”

Steve touched Tony’s arm, and Tony kissed him again. Their chests met, skin to skin except for the arc reactor. Steve groaned, shifting under Tony restlessly, seeking friction, and Tony was happy to provide. He ground his hips down, earning a sharp, wordless cry.

“Pants off,” Tony said, leaning back to work open his fly. Steve grabbed his wrist.

“Can we...” Steve began, and then bit his lip. He didn’t blush, possibly because his color was already high.

“We can do whatever you want, handsome,” Tony said.

“Can we go to bed?” Steve said, voice low.

“We can most definitely do that, yes,” Tony said. He scrambled to his feet and pulled Steve up with him; something that would have been quite the feat before Extremis and now was simple. He led the way to his bedroom, Steve’s hand still wrapped around his wrist, thumb running circles from the sensitive skin to the edge of the underarmor, which was sensitive in a different way.

Tony hadn’t really considered sensations from the Extremis modifications in any way but practical necessities for battle. He’d felt pain from the armor when it was impacted, just to keep him aware of the need to favor the injured area, but this, just Steve’s touch on his wrist, was incredibly good.

He kicked the bedroom door shut behind them, and pressed Steve back toward the bed. “How do you get those pants off?” Tony asked, and Steve laughed.

“Not very smoothly,” Steve said, and released Tony’s wrist. Tony cradled it to himself as Steve worked off his boots, then hopped on one foot at a time to shimmy out of his pants.

“No joke,” Tony replied, realizing with awe that Captain America didn’t wear underwear. “Have you considered adding a fly?”

“The SHIELD armorer said that would decrease structural integrity,” Steve said, sitting down on the edge of the bed, trying to work the leather away from his legs.

“And underwear?”

“It was discouraged,” Steve said, looking up at Tony and grinning as he finally yanked the pants completely off.

Tony looked him over appreciatively, letting his gaze rest on the good-sized, uncut dick now resting against Steve’s navel. “I’m not complaining.”

Steve reached for Tony’s waist and pulled him close. Tony assumed he was going for his fly, and he was surprised when Steve instead nuzzled the arc reactor. The underarmor came rushing over his chest before Tony was able to remember that the arc reactor was part of his body now, as much a part of him as his heart itself. It couldn’t be removed, not anymore.

And even if it could, would Steve hurt him? Steve, who was now rubbing his cheek against Tony’s golden chest? “You really like this, don’t you?” Tony asked.

“It’s amazing,” Steve said. “It responds like it’s just part of your body.”

“It is,” Tony said, pulling the sheath back inside him, and Steve followed it with his mouth as it disappeared back into the ports Extremis had programmed into Tony’s skin, finally sucking at the port itself. Tony’s knees went weak at the unfamiliar sensation. “Steve, shit, what are you doing,” he said.

“I want you,” Steve said, wrapping his arms around Tony’s waist and pulling him down to the bed. “I’ve wanted you since I first saw a picture of the Iron Man, since we fought the first time, Tony.”

“Hold up,” Tony said, struggling to sit up on Steve’s lap. “So you demanding that I put on the suit?”

Steve blanched.

“‘We’ll go a few rounds’?” Tony added.

“I’m sorry,” Steve said, looking at the arc reactor, then up to Tony’s face.

“Don’t apologize, you’re in good company,” Tony said. “You can’t think the armor’s any sexier than I do. I’ll put it on right now if you want.”

Steve’s eyes lit up, and Tony stood to strip off his pants. He’d never had sex in the suit before, despite begging and cajoling and about fifteen pairs of Louis Vuitton heels for bribery. And here was Captain America, completely hot for it. He encased himself in the underarmor and opened the bedroom door for his suit, already waiting outside the door.

He stalked back toward the bed while the suit assembled itself around him. Steve stared at him, mouth slack with lust, legs falling open for Tony to crawl between. Tony willed the gloves away from his hands to prevent repulsor accidents, and ran his hands up Steve’s sides. The bed creaked beneath them, and Steve’s breath was already coming in ragged gasps.

Steve wrapped an arm around Iron Man’s waist and kissed the faceplate. The sensations were different as they were filtered through metal and sheath, completely different than skin against skin and mouth to mouth, but it was still pure pleasure. Extremis told him, exactly, the ninety eight point nine degrees fahrenheit of Steve’s mouth, three point six pounds per square inch of pressure from his tongue and teeth, and eight point two inches of dick rubbing off on his thigh.

It also reminded him of his own two hundred fifty pounds of man and machine crushing Steve to the bed. Tony tried to get up, but Steve pulled him closer, kissed the side of Tony’s helmet, and whispered, “I can take it. Just let me — “ Steve said, reaching down to put his dick between Tony’s legs.

Tony brought them together, reappropriating some of Iron Man’s lubricant to smooth Steve’s way. Steve tossed his head back, his eyes squeezed shut as he thrust between Tony’s thighs. “Tony,” he gasped, and warmth splashed against the armor.

“Jesus Christ, Steve,” Tony said, quietly, and rolled his hips. Steve groaned, legs opening wider, and Tony rutted against him. Layers of pleasure overwhelmed him — the underarmor against his skin, the armor sensing his erection on one side and Steve’s hips on the other, the camera feeds of the room giving him every angle of Steve underneath the Iron Man — and he came almost before he knew he was close. He stilled, thankful that his labored breathing and the shaking in his limbs were hidden.

Steve opened his eyes and looked up at him. “I’m sorry, Tony. Could you feel anything at all?”

“Jesus Christ, Steve,” Tony said again, and retracted the faceplate to meet Steve’s eyes. “You’re so amazing, so goddamn perfect.”

“Then come on,” Steve said, thrusting up, and Tony bit back a yelp at the contact against his oversensitive dick.

“I did,” Tony said.

Steve shook his head and tried to push Tony up. “You don’t need to humor me.”

“No, really,” Tony said, his face heating. “Really.”

“Show me,” Steve said.

Tony closed his eyes and let Iron Man fly apart, leaving him a naked, shivering mess. Steve didn’t hesitate to manhandle Tony onto his back and lave him clean with his tongue.

He worked his way up Tony’s chest and paused at the arc reactor. He looked up at Tony and asked, “Does it hurt?”

Tony shook his head. “Not at all.”

“Can I touch it? I’m sorry, I should have asked before.”

“Knock yourself out,” Tony said, and after a moment’s pause, he added, “I’m yours.”

Steve smiled and kissed the reactor, put his ear against it. “SHIELD’s file on you says this keeps your heart going.”

“Yeah,” Tony said. “Although that is a gross oversimplification.”

“This,” Steve said, kissing the reactor again, “this is what I thought the future would be.”

Tony shrugged. “Pacemakers have been around for awhile.”

Steve bit his nipple and Tony jumped. “You — you and Iron Man, together — you’re what I wanted.”

“You want him back?” Tony asked.

“Next time,” Steve said, laying his head on Tony’s chest and flopping a heavy arm over Tony’s waist.

Tony considered that, before Extremis, “next time” would have required at least forty-eight hours wait. Now, though — he gave an experimental thrust against Steve’s abdomen and grinned — it seemed next time would only be a quick nap away.

His worry about Extremis’s costs faded. Two billion dollars in damages was a drop in the bucket when compared to satisfying Captain America’s cyborg fetish. Steve let out a soft snore, and Tony kissed the top of his head. Definitely worth it.