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In the distance, someone was repeating his name, like a skipping record, and he mumbled at JARVIS to kill the playback. The words didn’t come out right, in a garbled sort of mess, and there was a copper taste in his mouth. Panic rose up, punctuated by the the muffled beeping of an accelerated heart monitor, and JARVIS inquired after him with polite strain in his digitized voice.

... sir? Sir, I cannot lift the faceplate at the current angle of your body in relation to the ground.

Those words all made perfect sense, just not to Tony.

And certainly not in that order.

“Stark!” came the clear, authoritative command of Cap’s voice and he wanted to answer almost as much as he wanted to breathe outside the confines of his suit.

His proximity alarm triggered and then his equilibrium was struggling to keep up as he was hauled, suit and all, out of the awkward position and tossed like a ragdoll to what he could only hope was the ground. He landed on his back, thankfully, and JARVIS popped up the faceplate to give him a chance to finally breathe. After huge gulps of air and coughing what he assumed was blood, a Cap-shaped shadow entered the startlingly bright field of his vision in the afternoon sunlight.

“You okay?”

“Nngh,” Tony answered with stunning intelligence.

Shall I trigger the release mechanism, sir?” JARVIS inquired.

A booming voice interrupted before he could answer, with: “Friend Tony! Please accept my sincere apologies, for I did not know you had stepped within the reach of Mighty Mjolnir!”

JARVIS seemed to have no qualms talking over Thor. “Sir, the release mechanism is not triggering properly. I shall reroute power from the -

“Stark, you don’t look so good. We need a med evac!” Cap shouted, like they were in the middle of a war zone and not fighting a group of ridiculously outfitted bad guys in the middle of Citi Field.

Somewhere in the distance, the Other Guy roared something - or someone - into submission and some seconds later, Bruce’s voice was added to the cacophony. “Give him some space!”

“Dr. Banner, would you like some pants?” Cap wondered.

“He doesn’t have anything you’ve not seen before,” contributed Barton via the comm, his voice interrupting JARVIS’ reroute sequence in Tony’s right ear.

- power reroute successful, sir,” JARVIS chimed, before the armor opened down the front and practically spit Tony out. He rolled over and laid face-down in the dyed grass, breathing hard and wanting to vomit.

The most rational voice of the group, as usual, belonged to Natasha. “Med evac and retrieval teams just reported wheels up from SHIELD. They’ll be here in five. Thor, will you pluck Hawkeye down from his perch? We’re gonna need you both on handcuffing detail. Cap, why don’t you find something to cover Banner’s shame?”

When everyone - or, at least, everyone who had been unproductive - was in motion again, Tony felt Natasha’s hand on his shoulder. “So, you got hammered into the pitcher’s mound,” she said. “No need to cry about it.”

Tony laughed in spite of himself. His retort, which was meant to be fondly harsh, stopped halfway with: “Fuck...

“Sit up,” Natasha ordered, hauling him with one hand under his arm until he shifted and plopped his butt down in the grass. “Let Banner have a look at you. If you keep your eyes on level, you might not even see his junk.”

When he laughed again, it was only because he knew from experience that Natasha was using her ‘humorous’ tone of voice. He couldn’t quite wring from her sentence what exactly was funny, though.

He cracked one eye open and noticed Bruce crouching in front of him, squinting. “Hi, Bruce.”

Natasha ruffled his hair fondly and wandered off in the direction of Mjolnir noises and Hawkeye complaining about a wedgie.

Bruce smiled. “Hi, Tony. Took quite a fall, huh?”

“Hit my head,” Tony supplied, making a motion with one hand to illustrate, just in case Bruce missed it. Well, he was the Other Guy at the time, so he might have missed it.

Bruce held up his hand and all eight fingers on it, inspiring Tony to laugh in a sharp, alarmed way.

“That bad, huh?”

“I think I’m gonna puke.”

“Cool,” Bruce agreed, in a ridiculously calm voice. “Hey, Widow, what’s the status on the evac?”

Whatever her answer, Tony couldn’t hear it. Everything sort of slid to the left and the next thing he knew, there was a doctor standing over him in SHIELD medical shining a light in his eyes.

“Are you back with us, Mr. Stark?” the doctor asked, taking the light away.

“Where’d I go?” Tony wondered. Again, with the stunning intelligence. If he didn’t put a lid on it, the Avengers might start doubting his genius.

“You lost consciousness. It seems you have a concussion. I’m going to ask you some questions, all right?”

Tony felt like he had the biggest hangover in the world and just grunted his assent.

“Where do you live?”

“In a big ugly building with lots sweaty superheroes.”

Somewhere outside his field of vision, Cap said that he ‘wasn’t wrong’ about that and Tony laughed, high-pitched and a little nervous.

“Mr. Stark,” the doctor said with a stern edge to his voice, attempting to prompt him into being serious. “Who is the president?”

“I don’t like politics.”

The doctor looked a little annoyed.

“What is the year?”

“Fiscally? Atrocious.”

He seemed to be fraying the doctor’s nerves, because suddenly the doctor was ushered aside and Clint entered his field of vision. “You’re asking stupid questions. You have to speak Stark.”

Tony liked the sound of that and grinned.

Clint grinned in return, lopsided, and reached out to put his hand on Tony’s head. It drew and focused Tony’s attention rather well. “Hey, man, how do you mix a Manhattan?”

“Two parts whiskey, one part vermouth, and a dash of bitters.”

Clint looked pleased. “What’s the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?”

“African or European?”

Outside his field of vision, Cap sounded frustrated with his own confusion, but Bruce was laughing.

“Which month always has the hottest Maxim cover model?”

Tony opened his mouth to answer automatically, but his brain didn’t supply anything. He kept grinning and Clint kept grinning, as if anticipating an answer, but after a long moment nothing presented itself. Feeling pressure to respond, Tony took a stab in the dark and supplied, questioningly, “Eh ... June?”

Dude,” Clint said, sounding downright offended. “Lakers or Heat?”

“I ... I don’t - like basketball?”

Cheerleaders, Tony. Jesus.”

Tony looked a little stricken. He wasn’t sure how he was supposed to be answering these questions, what sort of answers Clint might even be looking for, and the longer he went without replying, the more concerned Clint looked.

“Okay, easy one. What’s Cap’s nickname?”

“Come on, Barton!” Cap bemoaned from the other side of the room.

Tony could tell from just Cap’s tone that he was blushing, but he clammed right up, because he had no idea what the correct, Cap-embarrassing answer might be.

Clint raised both eyebrows. “We’ll say it at the same time. On the count of three, okay?”

He counted down slowly and when he got to one, Tony blurted: “Captain Obvious.”

“ - Star Spangled Booty - fuck, Tony!”

Tony was on the verge of a mild panic attack by then. “Son of a bitch. What’s wrong with me?”

The doctor urged Clint to one side and took his penlight to Tony’s eyes again, checking for pupil dilation. “Let’s run a few tests, shall we?”

Several hours and a battery of tests later, he was sent home with a clean bill of health. Or, really, as clean a bill of health as they could give someone whose tests came back without a single sign of a problem, but who seemed to be suffering from some kind of ... personality alteration. The doctor had sat him down to discuss traumatic brain injury and how it was entirely possible that a concussion could cause damage that would alter his personality in oddly specific, Maxim-cover-models-and-cheerleaders ways.

It was a particularly frightening conversation to have, but at least back at the Tower no one walked on eggshells around him or treated him any differently than they normally would and Tony was able to put it out of his apparently scrambled mind. Clint gave him a brown bagged copy of Maxim’s April issue, which was apparently the right answer to his question, but just peeking at it made Tony blush like he was a teenager again. Clint was polite enough not to mention it.

That is, at least, until he headed down to Tony’s workshop unannounced the next day and found Tony pestering JARVIS about Lakers cheerleaders, while popping what was potentially the most inappropriate boner of all time.

Dude,” Clint asserted from the doorway, startling Tony into what could have been a heart attack, given how much of his blood was pooled in his lower half. “Seriously?”

“Seriously,” Tony groaned. JARVIS politely minimized the video playback and Tony put his head down on his desk, swiveling his chair around to hide his shame.

“What did the doctor say?”

“That traumatic brain injury can cause change in personality,” Tony answered, half muffled with his face pressed against the desktop. “But it’s worse than that, Clint.”

Clint was seemingly unbothered by inappropriate hard-ons, because he came around from the door and perched on the edge of Tony’s desk, nudging him until he sat up to hold a proper conversation like grown adults. “How is it worse?”

Tony smiled a tight, helpless sort of smile. “I can’t remember, uh, anything.”

“You remember how to mix a Manhattan and how to quote Monty Python,” Clint pointed out.

“No, fuck!” Tony exclaimed. He was louder than he intended to be and lowered his voice to a murmur as he explained, “I can’t remember, you know, sex. As in, I don’t - I don’t think I’ve ever had any. At all.”

Clint kept on his serious face - the resting face that Natasha made horrible fun of him over - for about fifteen seconds. Then he burst out laughing.


“Sorry, man, just - no, Tony. Seriously. You’ve had sex. You’ve had more sex than the rest of the team combined and, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share.”

Tony remained unconvinced. “You don’t understand. I ... can’t remember ever seeing a woman naked. Or a man, for that matter. I mean, I think ... I think I’m attracted to both?”

Clint looked momentarily surprised, as if he hadn’t been privy to that information prior, but shrugged it off. “Look, I haven’t been around while you got laid, because that’s a little weird? But I’ve seen you pick up enough women to know that, statistically speaking, you’ve had to have had sex at least once.”

“No,” Tony said, rather definitively. “No, look. I was the biggest nerd, okay? I went to MIT at 15. I graduated at the top of my class. I built fucking robots. For fun. How could I have possibly gotten laid? Ever?”

“Stranger things have happened,” Clint pointed out. “I mean, honestly? Nerdy robot building you probably didn’t get laid, sorry. But suit-wearing billionaire industrialist you? You’re getting laid all the time. You could walk into any party in Manhattan and pick up anyone you wanted.”

How?” Tony demanded. He had no idea how he went from building robots to apparently having such huge amounts of sex that it was a widely known fact. There was a disconnect in his brain now. Not a huge, gaping, empty space that made him feel like something was terribly wrong, but the memory equivalent of data fragmentation that caused a video feed to skip seconds ahead: it didn’t ruin the overall video, but it was troubling for someone wanting the whole picture.

Clint looked unimpressed. “I don’t know. You do this ... thing. This charming Tony Stark thing.”

For a moment, Tony’s look turned imploring, but Clint was a lot smarter than anyone tended to give him credit for and he headed Tony off at the pass. “Dude, no. I’m not - this isn’t turning into some weird sitcom where I teach you how to pick-up people.”

Tony jutted out his bottom lip in his best pout.

Or a porno where I teach you how to fuck,” Clint added. “We’re so not down like that, man.”

Clint gave him an awkward pat on the shoulder and left Tony alone in his workshop to contemplate his newfound realization. At the very least, the mention of porn gave Tony the very sound idea to look there for inspiration - to maybe jog his memory - but JARVIS refused to project anything in the workshop and suggested Tony take some time for himself, if he wanted to view any adult material.

Uppity fucking artificial intelligence.

On his way upstairs to take JARVIS’ suggestion to heart, Tony bumped quite literally into Cap and couldn’t manage to escape Cap’s somewhat worried line of questioning without getting roped into an impromptu game of basketball to prove that he was on the mend. Which was weird, because he seriously didn’t like to watch basketball, but one-on-one with Cap was pretty fun. By the time they hit the showers after their game, he had forgotten exactly why he had been headed upstairs to begin with.

Of course, when they actually did hit the showers, he remembered, explicitly, what he intended to do and it took every ounce of willpower to keep yet another inappropriate erection at bay.

At least he could mark seeing a man naked off his list of things he wasn’t sure he’d done or not.

Over the next few weeks, through convoluted use of distraction techniques, Tony managed to put the bulk of his distress out of mind. There were meetings and projects and training exercises to keep him thoroughly preoccupied. Unfortunately, at some point after being caught tenting his pants in his workshop, Tony realized that Clint had taken it upon himself to encourage him into getting laid in the same fashion as birds induced their young to fly: by shoving them forcibly from the nest, as soon as they thought the chicks were ready.

Clint’s shoving included flirtatious suggestion, not so subtle hints, and mild ribbing, until the rest of the team became peripherally aware of Tony’s very unique situation. Most of them, being mature adult humans, chose to ignore the problem. But Thor had few boundaries by Midgardian definition and joined in, apologizing that Tony could not remember his many conquests and giving his future unions blessings in toasts at almost every meal the team shared.

Tony got the feeling that under normal circumstances he might have been okay with that sort of thing. After all, he seemed like the type of guy who had to be open about his sexual exploits, just by virtue of who he was. But after more than a dozen jokes at his expense and several more blessings of future unions than he could take, he began to regress into that 15 year old MIT freshman: reserved and engrossed in his geeky hobby of robotics.

At first, Tony just assumed that Cap ended up loitering outside of his workshop because he was actively running Clint or Thor off from their overzealous attempts to encourage him to go out, hit the town, and make merry in the company of many buxom beauties, as Thor put it. Which was actually quite cool of him, even if Tony didn’t think he needed a bodyguard against immaturity.

It took some time, but after a while, Tony realized that refurbishing salt water damaged robots just, apparently, ticked some boxes for Capsicle. He might have come to be security detail, but he definitely lingered because he was genuinely interested in Tony’s process. By the time Tony began letting him into the workshop with the understanding that he was to look, but not touch, it wasn’t even a kind gesture on Tony’s part, but the desire to share his work with someone who was actually curious about it.

The understanding about looking and not touching was, of course, revised later. Tony just so happened to be up to his elbows in a chassis when his need for a particular size wrench presented itself and Cap just so happened to be on hand and eager to help.

It was revised even further when Cap discovered Tony’s very old DUM-E blueprints unrolled on one workshop table and began sketching in the art pad he brought with him to the workshop. He came up with an artist’s rendering of what the finished - and undamaged - robot must have looked like and, with a little embarrassment on his part, taped it up near Tony’s work space with the caption: Get well soon, DUM-E.

Tony realized, then, that Cap - that Steve - had never met Dummy and began thinking about formal introductions once the bot was back online again.

Which was probably about the time he came to the startling realization that, as great as it was, he couldn’t keep locking himself in his workshop between professional obligations and avenging. He was obscenely productive, but he was contemplating introducing Steve Rogers to his boyhood robotics project, so there was definitely a certain level of societal disconnect going on.

Of course, the only way he could get back to normal was to put an end to the friendly, concerned harassment of his teammates and stow his own embarrassment over the whole ordeal.

So, really, actually, Tony needed to get laid.

“Cap, I need you to pop my cherry.”

It might not have been the most intelligible thing to say.

Especially in the middle of the kitchen.

To Captain America.

Who then proceeded to spittle milk from his Cornflakes all over the sports section of the newspaper.

But, in Tony’s defense, it was well before six in the morning and he hadn’t been to bed yet and there was absolutely no one else around to overhear his rather abrupt request.

Steve still looked around as if there might have been someone else in the kitchen to overhear the demand. Then he stared, incredulously, at him. “Excuse me?

“Pop my cherry,” Tony repeated, slower, enunciating the words and emphasizing the whole enchilada with a very lewd gesture. “Deflower me. Take my virginity.”

“I know what it means!” interrupted Steve, still incredulous, but with the added bonus of blushing about four different shades of red. He stood from the table and reached out to grab Tony’s hands to stop him from gesturing again. “I’m not an idiot, Stark.”

Tony’s eyebrows went up in challenge. “Could have fooled me. You look like you’ve never gotten to first base. Is this going to present a problem for my deflowering?”

“I haven’t agreed to de - to do that!”

“You haven’t let go of my hands, either, Capsicle.”

Steve looked down, realized Tony was right, and immediately dropped both of Tony’s hands as if they’d burned him. “For your information, I’m not some blushing virgin. I just happen to understand a thing or two about decorum. I don’t air my personal business in public.”

Suddenly, Tony’s expression changed. He was the cat who caught the canary. “Nevermind that we’re not in public and can talk about whatever we please, but - are you telling me,” here, he leaned in to speak on a conspiratorial level with Steve, “that you’ve actually had sex before? With another person? To a mutually thrilling conclusion?”

“Stark,” Steve began warningly.

Tony interrupted, grinning broadly, “You can call me Tony. I mean, I figure we can be on a first name basis if you’re going to take my virginity.”

Steve flustered immediately at that. “I’m not - I never said - no, Tony. I’m not doing that.”

Still grinning, though with the edges of it softened considerably, Tony added quietly, imploringly, “You’re the only one I can trust with this, Steve.”

“Why?” Steve demanded. “Because you thought I’d never been with anyone and it wouldn’t be half bad, two guys not knowing what to do together?”

Tony hesitated. His grin faded and his gaze unfocused. He shrugged one shoulder in a casual answer, before actually nodding his agreement. “Pretty much, yeah.”

“So, why do you still trust me with it, knowing I’ve got some experience under my belt?”

His smile returned, gradually, but didn’t blossom into his usual cheeky grin. Instead, Tony wore it almost sweetly. “Because you’re you. How can I not trust you, Cap?”

There were a million reasons not to, no doubt, and Steve seemed on the verge of listing them off one by one until Tony sprung up and smashed their lips together inelegantly. He’d never kissed a guy, at least as far as he knew, and Tony was pretty sure the angle was supposed to be better, somehow, only it wasn’t. But it was all he had to give, this vague idea of what two people coming together should be like, and he just desperately hoped it would be enough.

Steve was still for a long moment, before one arm wound its way around Tony’s waist and held him firm. With just the slight tilt of his head, Steve brought their mouths together perfectly and deepened the kiss, licking past Tony’s scarce defenses and filling him with a thrilling warmth of arousal.

Within two steps, Tony was pressed back against the kitchen counter and Steve was kissing him like he didn’t need oxygen, like all that mattered was drinking in every soft sound Tony found himself making in response to what was, thanks to a mild brain injury, the first time he’d ever really been kissed by someone who meant to take his breath away. The longer Steve kissed him like that, the weaker his knees felt, but Steve’s arm was still around him and Steve pressed their bodies together, until Tony was trapped between the edge of the counter and impressively hard muscles.

Steve’s lips were bright pink and kiss-bruised when he finally pulled away to stare down with something like uncertainty at Tony, who was wearing an expression somewhere between awe and confusion.

“Was that ... ” Steve began.

“Yes,” Tony interrupted. He fisted one hand into the front of Steve’s shirt, which was difficult given how little spare fabric there seemed to be (did they not make shirts in a proper super soldier size?), and tugged impatiently. “Do it again.”

Steve ducked down again, laughing in the small space between their lips. Tony could feel his warm breath, almost taste his amusement and relief. “I can do a lot more than kiss, you know.”

Tony laughed, but it came out sounding nervous and pleased all in a rush, as if he hadn’t quite imagined that kissing could be so overwhelming and he wasn’t sure how he could actually handle anything else.

“That so, Capsicle?”

Steve, at least, seemed to take note. He kissed Tony again, much softer than before, giving him a series of brief, sweet kisses that still managed to take Tony’s breath away. “We can take things slow.”

Tony was pretty sure he’d never taken anything slow in his life. He’d kicked on the thrusters of his Mk II suit before JARVIS had completed the first diagnostic and gotten behind the wheel of his own Formula One car at the Monaco Grand Prix. Even with any and all his sexual experiences summarily excised from his brain, sometimes Tony couldn’t imagine he’d ever actually been that shy virgin he was as an MIT freshman.

Okay, that was just his boosted-by-kissing-Captain-America ego talking. He had totally been a shy virgin as a fifteen year old freshman, but that was the only time in his life ‘shy’ and ‘virgin’ could be used in the same sentence until recently. Right?

“Kind of want to get this over with,” Tony babbled out at the next opportunity he had to use his mouth.

The statement inspired Steve to lean back and look at him, wearing that same expression he had one day some long months ago while he waited for Tony to make the connection between himself and a full-tilt diva God of Mischief. Steve’s eyebrows went up just so and he tilted his chin down to level Tony with his curious expression.

In the face of that look, it only took Tony a spare few seconds to pick up on what he’d said. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

“You didn’t,” Steve agreed. Or teased. God, Captain America was teasing him.

“I didn’t,” defended Tony. “Really. I just - you know - I’m just not a ‘take things slow’ kind of guy. I’m not actually a virgin, I just can’t remember ... anything ... about any of the sex ... I probably at some point had.”

Probably. At some point. Because once one’s memories were locked away in an utterly inaccessible way, it was difficult not to doubt their existence at all. Maybe Tony never had sex and he’d just forgotten that he kept talking himself up to everyone he ever met. Would that be completely out of the realm of possibility? Having managed to get by in life for nearly thirty years without being handed things, Tony was pretty convinced anything was possible.

He could, literally, be that same shy virgin. What he could be forgetting was half of his ego and whatever reason he might have for never going all the way with anyone.

Which, actually, seemed like a lot less to forget than countless sexual experiences with any number of partners.

“I know,” Steve answered, which spared Tony from going off the deep end as his anxiety ramped up. His voice was soft and calm, even as his thumb stroked lightly over the small amount of skin exposed by the way Tony’s shirt rode up in the back. “But you’re the first person I’ve kissed in a while without the threat of German bombs looming overhead. I think I’d like to take my time, for once.”

There was a joke there, Tony knew there was. But instead of presenting itself, all Tony seemed capable of thinking about was wartime romance and slow jazz and air raid sirens, the way Steve looked in his uniform and the sepia tones of old photographs. Someone had fallen in love with Captain Rogers during the war and Captain Rogers had fallen in love with someone who might not have survived into the twenty-first century. A lot of people accused Tony of being unable to empathize with anyone else, but the way his heart squeezed tight in his chest at the thought of Steve waking up so alone suggested otherwise.

And the feeling must have inspired an expression that read as reluctant, because Steve was cupping his cheek and smiling sweetly at him. “Not too slow,” Steve promised. “But if we’re going to do this, I don’t want to just get it over with, Tony.”

Compromise. Tony could be good at compromise. He nodded once and finally let go of the front of Steve’s shirt to reach up and grasp at Steve’s wrist where his hand was cupping Tony’s face. “Neither do I. Not really. Let’s - upstairs?”

Upstairs meant Steve peeling away from Tony and a loss of warmth, but Tony was surprised that Steve’s hand found his own and grasped on tight all the way up to the penthouse suite Tony sometimes managed to get up to when sleep called.

Within moments, they were falling into bed together. Steve’s muscular form pressed Tony down against the mattress and the hard line of Steve’s erection pressed insistently against Tony’s thigh. It was new and only a little alarming, sending another thrilling jolt of warm arousal through him. He bucked his hips up, seeking friction of his own, and was surprised when Steve’s hand settled over his crotch, rubbing him through the fabric of his jeans.

The sound Tony made in the back of his throat was embarrassing and seemed to inspire some amusement in Steve. “Why don’t I help take the edge off a little?”

Tony had no idea what Steve could possibly mean by that, but was pleased when it involved Steve sliding down the length of his body and mouthing at the bulge of his erection through the front of his pants. He made a desperate sound, the layers of fabric between them muting the feeling of Steve’s lips and tongue to something so terribly teasing Tony thought he might die if he didn’t get more.

Steve thumbed open the button of his jeans, pulled down the zip, and peeled his pants and boxers down just enough to get his mouth on Tony’s cock. Steve took Tony all the way, until he was nosing at Tony’s pubic hair and Tony thought he might die again, but this time from the sheer debauchery of the image of Captain America deep-throating him.

As far as Tony knew, it was the first time he’d ever been enveloped in the heat of someone’s mouth and it was perfect, even if he had nothing to compare the feeling to. His hands floundered with uncertainty until Steve guided them to his hair and moaned encouragingly when Tony grasped at it. He bucked his hips once, then found Steve’s large hands framing them, guiding him up to thrust past Steve’s lips again and again, until he was fucking Steve’s mouth with utter abandon.

The suction of Steve’s lips and the grasp of his hands on Tony’s ass wrung an orgasm from him so quickly and completely that Tony couldn’t make a sound until he remembered to breathe again. He collapsed back against the pillows, panting like he’d just run a marathon, and only let out a shuddering moan when Steve pulled off his softening cock to lick him clean.

Fuck, Steve,” Tony exclaimed between deep breaths and soft moans.

“I’d been planning on it,” Steve confided. His voice was deeper, rougher, and Tony couldn’t help the soft whimper that escaped his lips at the picture Steve’s answer painted for him.

Steve trailed kisses up from the jut of Tony’s hip and across his lower abdomen, glancing up through thick lashes to watch as Tony twitched and moaned with oversensitivity. He eventually worked his way up from Tony’s stomach to lean over and kiss him again. It was slow and intense, gently stoking the low-burning fires of Tony’s arousal with the teasing thrust of Steve’s tongue into his mouth, mimicking his intentions. Tony could taste himself in the kiss and it was undeniably erotic.

Despite the hard press of Steve’s erection against Tony’s thigh, he didn’t rush past the kiss or blunder ahead. Instead, he kept it slow and let the intensity gradually build. It wasn’t too slow, just as Steve promised, and as soon as Tony felt a moan building in the back of his throat, Steve touched him again.

His hands, large and warm, slid past the hem of Tony’s shirt and pushed it up, removing it when they broke the kiss for a breath of air. Steve pulled away almost completely, then, and began peeling Tony the rest of the way out of his jeans and boxers, until Tony was completely naked in bed with a fully clothed Steve between his legs.

He could feel himself blushing under Steve’s scrutiny and tried not to watch the way Steve’s eyes raked down his naked body, drinking him in like he was a glass of water in the desert. There was a snarky comment at the forefront of his thought, about Steve having him at a disadvantage by being fully clothed, but just before he gave it voice, Steve peeled out of his own t-shirt and slowly slipped off the foot of the bed to remove his trousers.

It was different from a stolen glance in a locker room shower. Holding Steve’s gaze, intently, while listening to the zipper of his trousers come undone. Letting his eyes travel down the length of Steve’s muscular frame, following the sparse trail of body hair down the center of his abdomen as it disappeared beneath the waistband of his briefs. It was very much different from the parts of Steve he had previously seen.

Though Tony was rife with anticipation to see him completely naked, Steve resolutely kept his briefs in place as he moved around the side of the bed and opened the drawer in Tony’s bedside table. It only occurred to Tony about the time that Captain America was standing next to his bed holding a tube of lubricant that he could have checked his own bedroom for evidence of his sexual activity.

(And, two seconds later, his mind supplied that, from fifteen year old experience, things were a lot better, with one’s own self, with the application of something to ease the way. So, really, Tony couldn’t win this war.)

Except when it came to Steve easing the waistband of his briefs down and, finally, getting blissfully naked in front of him. That was a definite win.

When he climbed back into bed, Tony pushed up on his elbows and reached between them to take Steve’s cock in hand and stroke him, slow and experimental, watching Steve’s face to gauge his reaction. Steve was gorgeous, lips parted and eyes closed, long lashes resting on his cheeks as he moaned softly and gave into the urge to thrust into Tony’s grasp. Tony encouraged him with soft words, his confidence building as Steve responded to his touch, and arched up to kiss him again.

Steve lingered for a long moment, letting Tony touch him, and only moved away to grab a pillow to slide beneath Tony’s hips and settle between Tony’s thighs with a million watt smile that was kind of dazzling.

“Is this okay?” Steve wondered, gently sliding further up, until Tony’s legs were splayed open and draped over either of Steve’s thighs. It was enough to make Tony blush, but he couldn’t deny how very much okay it was.

“More than,” he assured, only a little distracted by watching Steve's hands as he reached for and uncapped the lube.

“And, not to undermine your judgment call, but you’re sure about this?” Steve asked, more directly than Tony thought he would have given him credit for.

When Tony grinned, it was lopsided and cheeky. “Don’t wuss out on me now, Captain.”

Steve laughed, but it wasn’t distracting enough for Tony to miss the gentle caress of slick fingertips along the cleft of his ass as Steve deftly sought out his hole and pressed. For someone as strong as Steve, he could be surprisingly gentle and took his time easing one finger into Tony, working him slowly open until he was breathless and his body was begging for more.

It didn’t feel much like an intrusion until Steve added a second finger and inspired a twitch, a tension of muscle, a soft hiss of breath sucked in through clenched teeth. His free hand was on the inside of Tony’s thigh, stroking and easing him down from the unconscious reaction, offering Tony soothing words about how well he was doing, how gorgeous he looked, how good Steve promised to make him feel. “I’ll wait right here until you’re ready,” Steve promised, which seemed ridiculous, because he had two fingers inside Tony’s ass and still managed to sound like he was waiting in the foyer for Tony to get his forgotten jacket before they headed out to a baseball game.

Tony laughed, thin and high pitched and definitely verging on panic. He laughed until his thighs burned with the stretch of Steve leaning over him, laughed until Steve’s lips were on his and calming him from the edge, plying him gently. “I’ll wait right here,” Steve repeated, when he broke for breath and their lips were millimeters apart, “until you’re ready.” It was a probably the most sincere promise Tony had ever been given in his life.

And it took a little while for Tony to unwind from that panicked edge, for him to relax again, but Steve lingered close and kissed his lips, then his jaw, then lightly down his chest until their position made it impossible for him to bend any further. Then Tony shifted, easing himself down onto Steve’s firm fingers, and exhaled a slow moan.

“Yeah?” Steve asked. It wasn’t quite coherent, not as coherent as anything else he’d said since they came upstairs, and Tony thought he’d never get used to being able to disarm Steve Rogers of his words with such a casual gesture.

“Yeah,” he confirmed and thumped his head back against the pillows when Steve answered by curling his fingers and setting all of Tony’s nerve endings alight with pleasure.

Steve was watching him closely, with a mix of awe and desire that made Tony’s cock jump with renewed enthusiasm. “There?” he asked, as if Tony had a damn clue and smiled encouragingly at the way Tony nodded, cursed, and screwed up his eyes to beg for more, again, please don’t stop.

Tony was so focused on the unique feeling of pleasure pooling in his lower abdomen that he almost missed the burn and stretch of a third finger slipping in alongside the other two. Steve kept working him slowly, gently, urging Tony open and curling his fingers inside to send a thrill of pleasure through him, until Tony was panting and his cock was hard again, leaking where it rested against his stomach, and Tony had to admit: “I’m not too proud to beg.”

“I wouldn’t want you to do that,” was Steve’s quiet, honest answer. It was then that he eased his fingers out and Tony felt utterly bereft for several long seconds until Steve lined up and pressed the head of his cock against Tony’s hole.

The warmth and suggestion of being more intimately connected was enough to inspire Tony to beg, anyway. Steve silenced him with a kiss as he eased inside, not letting Tony’s repeated pleases rush him in any way. Tony eventually broke away from Steve’s lips with a sharp gasp when the hot friction and pressure of being filled was too much to take in silence. He tipped his head back against the pillows, exhaling his gasped breath in a long, shuddering moan. “Steve.”

“Right here,” Steve answered, in that same damnably calm tone of voice. His lips were on Tony’s throat, as if he meant to taste the reverberation of Tony’s pleasure against his skin, and Tony could tell he was smiling.

“Until I’m ready?” Tony wondered. In his mind, there was something about a jacket and baseball and Steve being so pleasantly calm, but it was a string of logic that no longer made sense.

Steve was definitely smiling, then. He nudged his nose against the underside of Tony’s jaw. “Until you’re ready.”

It was a long moment for Tony to actually get ready, for him to moan Steve’s name again in such a way that it sounded needful and unsatisfied, and even then Steve took his time, rocking his hips sparingly until he gained enough momentum for a slow thrust. He was so gentle, so sweet, and Tony was sure then that even with all of his memories intact he would have nothing that could possibly compare to this.

Tony wasn’t quite ready for more, for Steve to take him deeper, but he begged any damn way and got nowhere. He grasped at Steve’s shoulder and left thin red nail marks, adding please and baby and don’t stop to no avail. In the end, it all came down to the desperate way he said Steve’s name again in the small space between them when he actually was ready. That, above all else, inspired Steve to give him what he needed.

Steve grasped at his hip with one hand, adjusted his angle, and his next thrust set Tony’s nerve endings alight with pleasure. “There,” Tony urged. He reached out and grabbed Steve’s forearm, just for something to ground himself with, and rode the next thrust of Steve’s hips. “God, Steve, right there.”

The beautiful thing about Steve was that he needn’t be told twice. He was attentive and thoughtful and, as with most other things, a tactician. He didn’t take Tony quickly or deeply or pound into him until Tony’s body acquiesced with an orgasm. Instead, he found what Tony needed and gave it to him, just as he needed it. And when Tony was right there, teetering on the edge, almost completely lost in the feeling of Steve moving in him, over him, around him, Steve reached between them and closed his hand around Tony’s cock. He slid his thumb over the slick head and let the momentum of his thrusts do the work, tightening his grasp to give Tony something to thrust into, until he was a gasping, moaning mess, coming in the tight space between their bodies.

Steve stilled and kissed him like it was all he wanted in the world. He swallowed up all the noises Tony made, all the need and relief and pleasure, until they both needed to breathe and Steve lowered his head to Tony’s shoulder, panting against his sweat-damp skin.

“Keep going,” Tony urged, his voice rough with overuse. Without lifting his head, Steve complied. He eased his hips back, thrust slowly, and found a gentle rhythm for himself, gasping and moaning against the crook of Tony’s neck. Tony’s name was sweet and desperate on his lips when he finally came.

In the long moments Steve spent relearning to breathe, and perhaps for the first time in a while, there was not a single sarcastic thought in Tony’s mind. There might not have been a single thought at all, not until Steve eased out and tried to pull away, stayed only by Tony’s grasp and needful expression and wordless permission.

Steve smiled, almost something like that tired and grateful smile he shared with Tony after the Battle of Manhattan, and settled back down in the space between Tony’s thighs. Steve was warm and eager, he put his head down on Tony’s shoulder again and let Tony mindlessly rake his fingers through his hair, reassuring Tony softly with, “I’ll wait right here.”