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Under Duress

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“Can I suck your cock, daddy?”

Tony quirked a brow down at Steve Rogers, Captain America, kneeling naked at his feet on the floor of Tony's lab. He almost laughed. “If you insist.”

Steve grinned up at him. It didn’t look quite right, not quite like Steve. The only real indication that there was something different was in his eyes. They were cold, grey, dead. He was smiling as he undid Tony’s pants though and reverently pulled out his cock. He looked up at Tony through his lashes and except for his eyes, Tony would have believed this was real.

“Jarvis, put ‘blindfold’ on the shopping list, would you?”

“Of course, sir.”

His hand was soft at the base of Tony’s cock. He twisted his wrist a little before licking a thick stripe up to the head. He moaned. Tony could not help but bring a hand down and card it through Steve’s hair.

“Is this okay, daddy?”

“It’s perfect, baby.”

He smiled once more and started to suck Tony’s cock in earnest, humming around the thick flesh in his mouth. His head bobbed up and down and after a moment Tony took his face and pulled him off.


“I gotta get some work done. I don’t have time to make you come too, baby.”

“Sorry, daddy.”

“Don’t be, baby, mea culpa. Terrible time management skills.”

“It’s my fault. I just want to make you happy.”

“What are we going to do?”

Programmed worry clouded Steve’s dead, grey eyes. His face made the expression genuine, but it wasn’t like it was during the day. The worry Steve wore when he accidentally spilled a glass of milk or was hearing about a new operation from Maria Hill looked almost like this. But his eyes were clear then, blue. The way they were supposed to be. They were different now.

“Please, daddy,” Steve whispered. “Anything.”

Correction; the programming made Steve whisper. He inched closer to Tony, hands on his knee, fisting absently at the fabric of Tony’s pants. That was an offshoot of the programming, but Tony decided to let it stay. It was cute. Steve was trying to touch Tony’s bare skin, but didn’t want to rip off Tony’s pants and settled in this happy, helpless medium. He wasn’t aware he was doing it.

“Please, please…”

The programming made Steve enjoy calling Tony ‘Daddy.’ There was an endorphin spike every time it happened. At first, that had been written into the coding, but Steve learned to do it on his own. His brain adapted well to the software and sometimes it was hard to tell where Steve started and where the programming ended. Tony wondered if maybe that was just a self defense mechanism.

“Can I? Please? I want to make you happy.”

That was the programming too. A tricky little protocol that was subsurface compared to the other things. The first rule Steve had to follow was ‘Make Tony happy.’ 

Tony sighed, “Jarvis, initiate the new protocol we were working on.” Steve blinked once, twice, and then stood up, walked over to the storage locker and typed in the code to open it. Tony went back to reading his report as Steve walked back to him and knelt down at his feet once more. With one hand and his mouth he started working Tony over again. His mouth was hot and warm, perfect on Tony’s cock.

His other hand was working a toy in and out of his ass, and he was getting loud, moaning and sloppy as he came close to coming.

Steve wouldn’t come before Tony though. Even without the programming Tony would bet Steve was too polite for that sort of thing.

Tony was getting close and fisted a hand into Steve’s hair and jerked up hard and fast, making Steve gag around him. He came in Steve’s mouth easily, before sighing and leaning back down against his chair, pushing Steve away, almost under the desk. Steve didn’t notice. He was frantically stroking his cock with one hand and pushing the toy almost violently into his ass. He was close, uncoordinated and unpracticed.

Being a virgin would do that, desperate to please, desperate to feel anything even if it hurt. Virgins lacked finesse and with the way things were going Steve was a virgin every night he came into Tony’s lab. He always got a little sloppy and needy when he was close. He didn’t know any better, and Tony liked him this way.

“You know what would make me happy?” Tony asked.

Steve froze, eyes wide, staring up at him, waiting.

“I don’t want you to come tonight.”

“Okay, daddy.”

“Lie down, touch yourself, turn on the vibrator on your toy, but don’t come.”

“Yes, daddy.”

Steve did as he was told. Hard enough to cut diamonds. He would come if Tony breathed on him the right way.

But the programming wouldn’t let him. It had to be frustrating.

Steve started making small, breathy noises, almost whimpers, as he continued to stroke his cock, touch his nipples, arch his back and thrust his hips, clenching around the plug.

“You’re so pretty, baby.”

Tony went back to work, the soft soundtrack of Steve struggling quiet enough that it wasn’t distracting. A few more hours passed when Tony finally decided he was ready to turn in for the night. He stood up, yawning and looked down at Steve. He was sweaty and his eyes were glazed over with lust. He hadn’t come. Tony decided not to let him tonight.

“Time for bed, baby. Clean yourself up, get dressed, go back to your room, go to sleep, forget.”

Steve did as he was told. Tony watched as he took out the plug and washed it in the utility sink wordlessly, eerily. He put on the sweatpants and t-shirt he had gone to sleep in and started to leave the lab.

“Hang on.”

Steve turned around and smiled at him, grey eyes looking sallow in the light of the computers.

“Say my name.”


“Good night, Steve.”

He pulled up the security feed and watched as Steve walked out of the lab, through the halls and elevators and back to his floor. He crawled into the bed he shared with Sam Wilson and curled up in a ball, pressing his face deep into the pillow. Sam reached for him without waking up, their hands touching on the bed, but not holding on — they were soldiers, they needed their hands free in case of an emergency. Tony heard Steve let out a contented sigh and the life-sign monitor connected to the neural inhibitor that pressed against his skull under his skin showed him quickly entering REM sleep once more, just like he had been when Tony programmed him out of bed in the first place.


Steve flinched awake at the feeling of a hand on his shoulder.

“Woah, hey. It’s alright. Just me. Didn’t mean to scare you,” Sam said softly into the quiet morning. Steve relaxed and settled back down into the bed with a groan. “I think you were having a nightmare.”

“Sorry.” Steve gave him a small smile, feeling guilty.

“Don’t be. Happens to the best of us.” Sam leaned down, and pressed his lips to Steve’s and Steve sighed, moving easily against his body. “What were you dreaming about? Do you want to talk about it?”

“I—“ Steve paused, biting his lip, tasting Sam against his skin. He tried to recall the dream; he couldn’t move, he thought. Maybe it was about when he had crashed the plane, when he froze. But it wasn’t clear. He was doing something, but he didn’t want to, but Steve couldn’t remember what it was.


“Must not have been that bad. I don’t remember it.”

It was Thai food movie Friday. Steve was sitting with Sam on a couch only half watching the movie — there was something about teenagers, a middle aged man, a video recording of a plastic bag. He was more focused on the way that Sam whispered little things into his ears that made him hold back a laugh, made him feel the warmth of Sam’s skin. He felt a second pair of eyes on him and looked across the room to see Tony staring in his direction. Steve blushed, and Tony smirked before turning back to the video.

Steve didn’t dwell on it. Sam’s hand was on the inside of his thigh and it made Steve shiver.

When the movie was over, Steve slipped away, taking Sam’s hand as they walked out from the common area lounge. He was still giddy from the stupid jokes Sam was cracking throughout the whole movie, inappropriate and funny and ridiculous. He couldn’t help but smile when he met Sam’s eyes in the dark hallway. They were alone, and it had been too long. A fit of excitement pulled at him and he pressed Sam against the wall, and kissed him. He was kissing Sam, it was perfect, Sam was warm and Steve smiled into his skin and felt warm too.

He was happy. He was so happy.

That night Tony decided to try out some of the old tech Howard had been developing with Obadiah years ago. Tony never did anything with it as an adult, and then he swore off making weapons.

Steve was lying down on the floor of the lab, naked and whimpering, squirming a little. The new tech was bright against Steve’s pale skin, chrome and with a red glow inside the core. 

It looked good against Steve’s thigh, right where Sam’s hand had been.

“Jarvis, talk to me.”

“He is experiencing high levels of pain. It would appear that the Leech prototype is still functioning.”

“You wouldn’t know it. He should be screaming.”

“His speech inhibitors are active, sir. He cannot speak.”

“Better leave it like that. Don’t want anyone to hear.”

“Of course, sir.”

A sheen of sweat broke out on Steve’s brow and Tony cracked his knuckles, rolled his wrists, before getting up from his desk and moving down to sit next to him on the floor. He put his hand on Steve’s chest, right where his arc reactor would sit if their positions were reversed.

“You’re gorgeous, you know that?” he whispered to Steve. Steve blinked up at him, meeting his eye, shaking, quiet. “I like you like this.”

Of course, Steve did not respond. His eyes were glazed and grey and wrong, and Tony reached up and pushed his eyelids closed to keep from seeing it.

He leaned down and brought his lips to Steve’s ear. “You know why we’re doing this, don’t you? You let him touch you. You let him touch what was mine. This is the only way you’re going to learn. He touched your thigh. My thigh. I own you. You let him. So I have to hurt you. You understand, right?”

“Shall I turn the speech on now, sir?” Jarvis asked.

“Go ahead, J.”

Steve kept his mouth closed for a few more moments, swallowing and trembling. It was taking long enough that Tony leaned down and pressed a few buttons on the Leech on Steve’s thigh, increasing the power. Steve whimpered loudly then, body tensing.

“Say what I want to hear and I’ll turn it off.”

Steve swallowed once more, tears now falling from the corners of his eyes, and Tony loved Jarvis in that moment because it was just gorgeous and he knew the AI had let it happen.

“I—I’m—“ Steve said softly, voice raspy with pain. “I’m sorry, d-daddy…”

“So, like never?”

Steve leaned against the counter and tried not to snort at the incredulous look on Clint’s face.


“But you’re sleeping with Sam.”

“We sleep— we don’t… you know.”

We don’t have sex. We don’t need to have sex yet. He’s willing to wait. He’ll wait for me. Sam said he’d wait for as long as I need. Steve bowed his head, hiding his smile biting his lip, a blush that had nothing to do with embarrassment rising on his cheeks. He was happy. 

“But why? You died and came back to life, dude. If that happened to me I’d be banging like every day was my last.”

“I can vouch for that,” Bucky murmured under his breath. Steve bumped his shoulder and they shared a small grin. Buck was happy too, and Steve often found himself wondering when the other shoe would drop.

“I always wanted to wait. Then I realized I liked guys, and in my head that meant I’d be waiting forever. I wake up in 2012 and people are fighting for men to marry other men, women to marry women. I waited this long. I figured I’d do it right. Then I met Sam, you know?”

“I really, really don’t.”

Steve was going to respond but Bucky handed him the sandwich he had been making and Tony walked into the communal kitchen. A thrill of something passed through Steve, gone as quickly as it came. He blinked and leaned up against Bucky to hide his unease as Clint started talking once more.

“Stark, did you know Steve was a virgin?”

Tony just snorted, heading towards the coffee pot.

“What a waste.” Tony said after a long gulp of coffee.

“Yeah, he’s waiting until marriage.”

“That’s a fucking farce.”

Steve frowned, scoffing. “Come on, Tony. Lighten up. Pepper mad at you again?”

Tony met his eye and smirked, and again that thrum of something shook Steve. But it left instantly once more. Steve shook his head, took a bite of his sandwich and tried to brush off how unsettled he felt.

“I bet it’ll happen before you get hitched.”

“Oh yeah?”


Tony walked off with his coffee and Steve could not take his eyes away until he left the kitchen, could not let him out of his sight in case…

The feeling was gone again.

Afterwards, Steve was sitting on the couch with Sam. Sam’s lips were on his and Steve sighed and tried to press closer. Sam’s hand moved down his side and stroked Steve’s leg.

A shudder passed through Steve, jerking him away from Sam. His heart was racing, his breath coming fast in his throat. Sam’s hands were off him instantly.

“Steve? What’s wrong?”

Steve blinked, staring at Sam. “I don’t know.”

It took a long time for his heart to stop pounding. He held Sam’s hand but didn’t let him touch him again.

The first few days of experiments weren’t sexual. Tony had been too excited at what he had accomplished to think about that. The first prototype of the neural inhibitor had been large and clunky, sitting on Steve’s head like a helmet. But if Tony was good at anything it was streamlining. All that was left now was the implant he had put in at the base of Steve’s skull — small, inconspicuous; a gorgeous piece of work if Tony said so himself. With Steve’s healing, there wasn’t even a scar. On the off chance that Steve touched the back of his head under his hair in just the right place he might have felt it protruding out a centimeter or two, but the odds of that were slim.

The programming made Steve avoid touching the back of his head just in case.

Steve had put the first one on willingly. He had been visiting Tony in the lab and smirked and asked what the gizmo Tony had left in plain sight for Steve to see was. After that it was easy. Tony would have been impressed with how well it worked, but he was Tony Stark; he knew it would work.

Again, the first few days weren’t sexual: Walk two steps forward, walk three steps back, touch your nose, say the following phrases; ‘The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog’ was first. ‘Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consecteteur adipiscing elit, sed do…’ was next, a whole paragraph of faux-Latin filler text. Tony watched and made note of anything that seemed off.

“Jarvis,” Tony had asked then. “How’s he doing?”

“Elevated heart rate, heightened brain activity, adrenaline and cortisol present.”

Steve had been holding completely still. His eyes were grey.

“Well, you know, fix that.”

Steve’s body slumped a little where he stood. It was a small movement, the tension leaving his shoulders, his neck. Tony glanced over at the computer console and saw Jarvis was messing around with Steve’s mental receptors, increasing oxytocin and endorphin production mostly.

“Do we have enough data, J?”

“I believe so, sir.”

“Good. Make him forget this happened.”

Steve had taken off the prototype and blinked at Tony, shaking his head. “I don’t think it works.” He smiled and put the thing back down on the table.

“Guess it needs some tweaking,” Tony had replied.

The medical implications alone were innumerable, he had thought to himself as he cut open the back of Steve’s head to put the implant in a few nights later. Steve was not moving as the scalpel went through his skin. An afterthought occurred to Tony as he wiped away the blood and he asked if Jarvis could make Steve not feel what he was doing. Turned out Jarvis could. This could completely replace anesthesia. Looking at the data Tony guessed that after a few more tweaks into the software, he could control heart-rate, metabolism, organ function.

He could stop cancer growth if he fiddled with it enough.

“Can we start writing some subroutines, J? Something a little more recreational?”

“I’ll prepare a folder.”

When the was active, Steve could not say Tony’s name. Steve’s strength was diminished. He would forget what had happened after every session.

But Tony was most proud of the personality change. It had taken a little tweaking, but all Steve wanted to do was make Tony happy. Steve was programmed to make Tony happy.

It was fun. And this was the first time one of his projects loved to suck his cock too, so that was a bonus.

Steve moved his mouth down Sam’s neck, pushing his shirt up and moving steadily down.

Sam yelped when Steve cupped the bulge between his legs. “Steve, what’re you doing?” Steve was inches away from Sam’s cock through his pants, his mouth was watering. “Not that I mind, but I thought you wanted to wait.” Steve didn’t respond. He flinched when Sam touched his face. “What are you doing, man?”

Steve blinked. “I— I don’t know.”

In retrospect, using the suit was a little overkill — it’s not like Steve could get away with the programming in place — but something in Tony liked the look of the metal against Steve’s skin. Something Tony controlled holding something else he controlled, working together for Tony’s benefit. He watched where Steve stood, naked, back flush against the Ironman suit prototype. One metal arm was wrapped tight around Steve’s chest while the other’s hand flitted over Steve’s sides, his chest, brushing against his nipples while Steve squirmed. The helmet was pressing into Steve’s face, a terrible, cold imitation of intimacy.

Tony loved it.

He was happy just to watch as Steve’s oversensitive body sent spikes of data through the computer consoles. He was hard and needy and couldn’t get his hands free from where they were pinned between his back and the suit.

“You look good like this,” Tony murmured, stepping in front of Steve. He could almost feel the heat coming off of Steve’s bare chest through the fabric of his shirt. 

Tony waved his hand and one of the gauntlets from a new suit flew towards him, fitting onto his hand. He chuckled at Steve and put his fingers into Steve’s mouth, the metal clinking against his teeth.


Steve did as he was told, eyes fluttering closed. A whimper passed around Tony’s fingers, and Tony reached out and felt the other gauntlet attach around his free hand. He brought it down and started to stroke Steve’s cock. Steve bucked and writhed against the arms of the prototype suit behind him.

The metal glove on Tony’s hand made it impossible to know how hard or soft he was really being, but Tony did not particularly mind. He brought his spit wet fingers down to Steve’s hole and pressed two in at once. Steve gasped and lurched.

“Daddy, please…”

“No need to ask twice, baby.”

He never thought fucking Steve while his suit held the super soldier still would feel so good, but it did. The suit, guided by Jarvis, took one of Steve’s legs and bent it up to his chest, making more room for Tony to press in, to trap Steve further. He moved the prototype’s free arm up to Steve’s neck and Jarvis took the hint and had the metal hand squeeze down. Steve could breathe, but barely. He was gasping and panting by Tony’s ear as Tony fucked him hard and fast, stroking Steve’s cock with the metal glove.

Tony came, biting down on Steve’s lip hard enough to draw blood, he could taste it on his tongue.

Steve’s skin was flushed, his lips pink, and blood was welling at the side of his mouth. His eyes were closed, so there was none of the distracting grey in his eye. Tony wished he could take a photograph before he remembered he could. He pulled his phone from his pocket, stepping back to do up his pants once more and took a picture.

“J, make a note. Next suit oughta be a little closer to blood red…” he murmured as he pulled away, leaving Steve panting and squirming against the suit.

“Of course, sir.”

The fight could have been handled by a S.W.A.T. team. Hell, Tony thought a decent police precinct could have taken care of this stupid kid with his stupid robots. Tony flew around, annoyed, and noticed Steve had gotten cornered by some of the robots. He flung his shield but it only drew more to him. He watched for just a moment, admiring. Steve moved gorgeously. He gave every hit his all, he never was taught to temper his punches, nor should he. That he was Tony’s made it all the more sweet.

“Sir, I detect an explosive device on one of the targets coming towards Captain Rogers.”

A little light blinked on Tony’s HUD and he watched as it moved closer and closer to Steve. One of the robots had smacked Steve’s shield away and Steve was trying to punch out another. Tony zoomed ahead just in time to pin Steve up to a wall and shield him from the concussive blast of the explosion.

Everything fell silent.

Except someone was whimpering.

“Is Steve hit?” Maria Hill’s voice sounded over the radio. “His bio-monitor is spiking all over the place.”

“Steve?” Sam asked, voice crackling over the sound of fast-moving air. “Steve?”

“I have him,” Tony said finally. “I don’t know what’s wrong.”

Tony took a step back and saw Steve curled up against the wall. His eyes were staring ahead and he was breathing fast and shallow. He didn’t even see Tony. He didn’t see anything. He slid down to the floor.

“What happened?” Sam was behind him, landing down amidst the rubble of the destroyed robots. “Tony, what happened?!”

“I don’t know. There was an explosion and then he was like this.”

“Okay, it’s a flashback. Explosion must’ve triggered it.” Sam was explaining it to himself more than Tony at that point He didn’t wait for Tony to respond, already reverting back to whatever it was he did when he worked at the VA. Tony rolled his eyes because it wasn’t like anyone could see it through the helmet anyway. Tony couldn’t watch as Sam tried to get Steve back to reality. He comm’ed for a med team to arrive at their location and flew off, pretending to make sure the threat was neutralized.

“Jarvis,” he said activating the private line. “Steve’s implant holding up okay?”

“Yes sir, all systems operational. I am gathering data concerning this most recent panic attack, but there appears to be no breach in the memory functions. He still does not know.”


“So, what’s it like?”

Tony had not considered asking before. He had been tinkering on arrows for Barton when the thought occurred to him. The arrow had an explosive deep within its core which would have worked perfectly except it was pressing against a small copper wire connected to the propulsion system that shorted the fuse.

“Oh, you don’t like that inside you, do you?” he had murmured to the arrow. “Trying one thing and doing another I bet. Let’s let daddy fix that.”

Now Steve was laid out on his work table, the cold metal against his naked skin, his hands cuffed to the steel legs. Tony had gotten a new suit prototype to hold Steve down against the table, for aesthetics more than anything else. This suit had a little bit of Captain America blue. It looked good. 

“What’s it like, Steve? Being like this? Having me in your head?” Trying one thing and doing another?

Steve squirmed; the plug inside of him was average, leaning towards a little large, but all the readings said the line of code Tony had added to the programming was making the already hypersensitive super soldier even more affected than if it had been vibrating at full power. He gasped loudly when Tony ran a hand over his abdomen lightly, his hard, dripping cock twitching.

“Answer me, Steve.”

“What? I don’t—“

“Tell me. What’s it like? With the programming I’ve given you.”

Steve’s dead eyes glanced between Tony and the prototype suit as best he could. He blinked up at the ceiling.

“It’s like being in a room.”

Tony blinked, looking down at Steve, sweating and squirming. Steve’s eyes almost looked like there was emotion behind them once more.

“Tell me more.”

“It’s like being in a room with glass walls.” Steve groaned when Tony brushed over his cock with a light finger. “Daddy, please.”


“I’m pounding on the walls. I’m screaming. I keep trying to scream.”

“What are you screaming?”

“Daddy please.”

“I bet that’s not true.”

“I can’t say it. The thing— it won’t let me. You won’t let me say it.”

“That’s right. You say what I want you to say.” Tony ran his fingernails down Steve’s sides and Steve sobbed a little. “What’s your favorite part? What makes you okay to be in that little glass room of yours?”

“When it’s over. When I’m walking back to my room. I know I won’t remember when I wake up. I don’t want to remember.”

“Say my name.”


“Do you remember when you’re back here? Or is it new each time?”

“I remember. It all comes back. Each time. Like a nightmare”

“That sounds so scary, huh baby?” Tony toyed with one of Steve’s nipples absentmindedly and Steve screamed then; a garbled daddy please. “What else scares you?”

“The suits. You use the suit to keep me down. I don’t— that’s why I froze, during the fight— I was scared and I didn’t know—”

Tony typed some a few words into his console next to the table and the suit holding Steve down shifted. Metal hands moved over Steve’s chest and Steve gasped and arched up into it. He considered bringing his other suits over, having them pull Steve to the ground, forcing him to take their fingers, their hands, their mounted weaponry inside of Steve — Tony shivered at the thought. Would it be overkill to attach some sort of phallus? Make Steve swallow down hydraulic fluid in lieu of come? He meandered around and decided to put a pin in that thought.

“What’s the worst part? Out of all of this, baby, what’s the worst?”

“When you have sex with me…”

Tony paused. Steve was writhing against the table, mouth hanging open, eyes unseeing, staring at the ceiling.

“Why?” Tony could hear the anger in his voice, he made no move to temper it.

“Daddy… please…”

“No… no…” Tony wasn’t so stupid as to not know what Steve really wanted to say.

“Tell me why.”

Steve shook his head a little. His whole body was shaking actually. He was staring up at the ceiling, and he wasn’t seeing anything, but he looked scared then. He blinked once, twice. A tear fell from his dead, grey eye and Tony knew it wasn’t programming that made it happen.

“Tell me why.”

“It was supposed to be Sam…”

If asked later on, Tony would say that that upset him a little, but that was an understatement. He had never understood the phrase ‘seeing red’ before, but there it was, right in front of his eyes.

He wanted Steve to burn.

He dug his nails into Steve’s stomach and Steve cried out again before Tony started to undo his belt, shoving one of Steve’s legs out to the side of the table. He yanked out the thick plug and Tony could barely make out the sound of it clattering against the floor where he threw it over Steve’s shout. He pushed in, hard and fast. The warmth inside of Steve was intoxicating, nauseating. He wanted more, more. Reaching up he yanked Steve’s hair, feeling some of the strands pull from his scalp. He bit down hard on Steve’s chest, and Steve screamed out once more.

“Daddy… please…”

“No… stop…”

It didn’t last terribly long. The way Steve shook under him left Tony reeling, intoxicated.

“Jarvis,” Tony panted when he finished. “Turn down the physical restrictions by 40%, maintaining strength suppressant, and turn off stimulus entirely. Speech restrictions still active though.”

“Very well, sir.”

He watched as the bars on the screen nearby shifted to match his specifications, as he pulled himself off of Steve, tucking his cock back in his pants. He should have made Steve clean it with his tongue, but he was still angry. It was a low simmering thing by now, but it was still there, under the surface of his skin.

Watching Steve after Jarvis reprogrammed him almost made him feel better. The change was sudden but subtle. He realized he had some control over his body again. He jerked his hands in the cuffs weakly. His eyes were clearer. With a wave of his hand, Tony sent off the prototype suit back to its charging station.

Steve was crying. Real tears this time, and Tony wanted to lick them off of his face as he watched the man jerk and pull at the cuffs weakly, fruitlessly. He stepped around the table and ran a hand through Steve’s hair, pushing his head to face him. Steve met his eye for only an instant before looking away.

“Say my name.”

He shook his head, he jerked more on the cuffs.

“Steve. Make me happy. Say my name.”

“Please…” His face was wet, his body trembling on the table.

“Say it.”

His eyes squeezed shut. A small sound fell from his lips, not quite a sob but close.

“His heart rate is extremely elevated, sir,” Jarvis’s voice said above them.

“No shit, J.”

His hand tightened in Steve’s hair. “Say it, and this will all be over.”

No. It wouldn’t. They both knew that by now.

“Please…” he whispered now.

“It will. I promise, baby. It’ll make daddy so happy, and then you can go and forget. That’s your favorite part, right?”

Steve nodded. He bit his lip and his eyes fluttered open. They were almost blue now, almost clear.

“D-daddy… please…” Tony smirked down at him. He leaned down and licked the salty tears off of Steve’s face, and Steve shuddered. “Please… please…”

“You’re mine. I made you mine. You’re never going to leave this lab. You may walk out and pretend you’re fine with your boyfriend, but you’ll always come back here, you’ll never leave.”

Horror was the only word that came to Tony’s mind as he tried to figure out the expression on Steve’s face. Perhaps a little resignation as well, and that was more important to him. Like a good program, Steve was learning his place, even if it was something subconscious. It felt like a good place to stop for the night.

“Jarvis, finish this up. Get him out of here. Make him forget.”

He stepped back, cracked his neck and meandered to his computer to the sound of Steve slipping off the table, cleaning himself off and putting his clothes back on.

“Sir, I recommend informing the subject he has successfully completed his subroutine protocols. The program is not performing within ideal parameters.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. Confirmation is needed for subroutine A-03.”

Make Tony happy.

“Well, we’ll have to try again another time for that I think. Get him out of here.”

“Of course sir.”


Steve stood at the doorway, holding his arms tight to his body, pale and shaky.

“Jarvis, I thought—“

“I am working on counteracting the subroutine now, sir.”

Steve jerked a little where he stood, half trying to take a step towards Tony and half trying to walk out of the room. His body was piano-wire tight and his face a wash of conflicting expressions.

Tony finally spoke, sighing and wiping his face, “You want me to be happy, you’ll listen to Jarvis. Get out.”

Like a string being cut, Steve lurched back and out the door and was gone into the night.

“Jarvis, send me the data on that little interaction tomorrow, would you? I’m going to bed.”

Clint knew Steve had been sleepwalking because James had known Steve had been sleepwalking. Bucky and Steve were best friends which made Clint a best friend by proxy. Clint and James two of them were light sleepers at the best of times, so when they started sleeping together it was usually only two-three hours tops before one of them woke in a cold sweat and the other would be pulled from sleep a moment later, feeling the shift in the room before being fully conscious.

Every few nights they would watch as Steve silently moved through the building, passing them where they sat in the common area trying to pretend they weren’t as fucked up as they actually were. He never acknowledged James and Clint. James had tried getting his attention the first few times, but after a while they just decided to let it go. Clint decided they should let it go. James was still recovering, he had more important things to be worrying about.

Actually, Clint decided that James should let it go. Didn’t mean Clint had to.

He was a fucking spy. He might have been a human catastrophe, but that was part of his charm, and it never really got in the way of his job, so Clint started to keep an eye on Steve.

Clint approached it like a surveillance report. Clint approached a lot of things that way. It helped him detach, keep his emotions out of it. If he didn’t, those emotions would run wild, like when he was young.


-3:22am; subject is sleepwalking, third time this week.

unresponsive to outside stimulus.


Steve was just ‘subject’ now. That was the only way to keep detached. Clint had done it with plenty of people he had known before. This was easier.


-9:01am; subject reacts badly to contact on back of neck, is unaware of reaction.

subject is losing sleep, most notable in dark circles under eyes.


Steve never had dark circles under his eyes; they had gone on a four day mission and Steve had, at most, a twenty minute cat-nap the whole time and there were no dark circles then.


-2:47am; subject sleepwalking, unresponsive to stimulus.


A few more weeks passed like this. Subject kept sleepwalking. Subject flinches. Subject has panic attack during a mission. Subject recoils from significant other more than once. Significant other notices, consistently tries not to react. Subject and significant other have inevitable fight that Clint knew had been coming.

“What is going on with you, Steve?” Sam asked. Clint was hiding by the doorway of the kitchen with James. It was awkward. 

“I don’t know!” Steve said back.


-3:07pm; subject and significant other argue. subject unaware of things significant other noticed.

-3:08pm; subject extremely agitated.


“I don’t remember!” Steve cried out. His voice sounded wet. It was hard to listen to. He sounded scared.

“How can you not remember?” Sam wasn’t yelling, but his quiet voice was much much worse.


-3:09pm; significant other believes subject is unfaithful.

significant other knows that this is a stretch, that much is obvious, but in light of evidence can reach no other conclusion.


“Is that something you really have to ask?” James said, stepping into the light. “How someone can do something and not remember? It’s like you don’t even know us.”

Clint stepped up behind him. They all fell silent.


-3:09pm; subject agitated, subject blinking rapidly, unable to make eye contact, subject pale, making the dark circles under his eyes look even darker, like ink splotches on paper, like bruises.

-3:10pm; WS and significant other discuss.

contact with Jarvis initiated for security footage.

-3:11pm; subject does not speak.

subject watches security footage of himself during sleep walking episodes.


“Can we see what he’s been doing in the lab?” James asked.

“Mr. Stark keeps all lab security footage private. You would have to request his permission to view it. Shall I request it on your behalf?”


-3:24pm; subject is scared.


“No,” Sam says, staring at Steve. “Not yet, Jarvis.”


-3:24pm; subject continues to watch security footage


“Wait, can you play that one again?” James said.

Steve was— subject was shaking.

He turned back to the screen and watched Jarvis replay the last bit of footage. It was dated almost three months previously. Clint watched as Steve on the video screen walked out of Tony’s lab at 4:26am. There was something on his head; almost a helmet. He had never seen anything like it.

“Whoops. Hang on big guy.” Tony came out of the lab after Steve and reached for the helmet. “Can’t have you walking off with that.”

“Sorry, daddy.”


-3:46pm; subject’s breath hitches.


Clint was staring at Steve then whose gaze was fixed on the screen. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the Tony on the projection turn Steve around, and push some hair up off of the back of Steve’s head.

“This is healing nicely. You won’t even have a scar, baby.”


-3:46pm; subject’s hand shakes as he reaches to the back of his neck.

subject’s eyes widen.

subject screams.


“Get it out! God, there’s something there, there’s something there! GET IT OUT!”


-3:47pm; subject is screaming.

WS and significant other try to calm him down.

-3:48pm; subject is begging significant other to cut out something from his skull.

subject is screaming, crying.


Just a whole lot of screaming, sir. Clint could imagine himself saying that to Coulson post-mission. Sam was trying to stay calm, James was yelling at Steve to calm down and Steve could not screaming.


-3:49pm; against observer’s suggestion, WS takes out knife from god knows where and pushes Steve over and—

“Jesus Christ, what are you doing?” Clint said, staring at the knife in James’s hand.

“Help me, Clint! For god’s sake, help me!”

Clint found himself pushing Steve down by the shoulders, pressing his chest into the table while James held his head. James handed Clint the knife. His hand was surprisingly steady as he reached for the back of Steve’s head and felt something pressing up from underneath the skin.

“Get it out, please get it out,” Steve whimpered beneath him.

“You gotta stop shaking, big guy.” Steve only sniffled in reply, body going tense as he tried and failed to stop trembling.

Clint pressed the tip of the blade against Steve’s skin and winced as Steve gasped beneath him as it broke through. Red blood dripped from the gash as Clint gingerly pressed his fingers into the opening, pushing apart the skin from his flesh with the knife.

It wasn’t that big. Nearly flat, two inches wide at most. Metal, gleaming even with under Steve’s blood. Definitely Stark tech. Clint felt sick.


-3:51pm; observer removes implant from subject.

subject tenses, collapses on table.

subject isn’t moving.

subject stares at nothing, breathing rapidly.


“Steve, what’s happening? Steve? Talk to me!” Sam was kneeling in front of where Steve still was lying on the table. “Steve, please… it’s okay, you’re alright. It’s out. You wanted it out.”

Sam reached forward and just barely touched Steve on the check. Steve flinched then, violently throwing himself back, away from Sam, James and Clint.

“Please, please, don’t touch me, god, please don’t touch me.”


-3:53pm; subject is scared. subject is so fucking scared.

significant other is crying silently, kneeling in front of subject, trying to calm him down.


“Talk to me, Steve. Please…”

Steve’s eyes were wet and glassy. Steve was shaking. He finally opened his mouth, he finally whispered, “It was supposed to be you…”

“What, Steve? What was supposed to be me?”


-3:54pm; subject remembers now. He remembers everything.

-4:07pm; end observation. Observer compromised.


“Jesus fucking Christ,” James murmured next to Clint. Clint couldn’t help but agree. They were standing there watching Steve break down, bleeding, flinching away from Sam’s touch, almost unable to imagine the horror of what Steve had been through.