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Force Majeure

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Tony was sitting on the couch in his robe, drinking something out of a tumbler. He raised an eyebrow at Steve.

"Late visit," he said.

Steve had waited until Fury had been gone a full half-hour before knocking. As he'd expected, Tony was well on the way to drunkenness, and he didn't look particularly cheerful about it.

"Drink?" he asked, and Steve nodded. "Unlike you." He made his way to the table the whisky sat on and Steve stepped forward, caught his wrists.

"I don't actually want a drink."

"Ah, you wanted my hands instead. That makes perfect sense, I'm sure." Tony's sideways glance and small smile were flirtatious. He'd used to look at Steve like that a lot; when he'd stopped, that'd been Steve's first clue something was wrong.

Steve held his wrists, didn't let go when Tony tugged gently. It took more effort than he'd thought it would to kiss Tony, and even then he only managed to drop a dry kiss on Tony's cheekbone, up near his hairline.

"Well, hello there." Tony's eyes lit, surprise and pleasure, and Steve was able to kiss his mouth this time, a kiss that Tony quickly took control of. Steve let Tony break his grip, run a hand over his back and put the other in his hair, moulding Steve against him, tongue slipping into his mouth. Steve had spent more than a little time considering what Tony's kisses would be like, but now he had something else in mind; he grabbed Tony's ass in his hands and squeezed, deliberately rough. Tony tensed against him almost imperceptibly; if Steve hadn't been looking, he might not have noticed.

"I want you," he said quietly, ignoring the flush that he knew was showing. Tony looked away, looked back, a bright smile.

"Well, Steve, I appreciate the enthusiasm and all, but really, rushing into this kind of thing with a team-mate is a bit on the irresponsible side..." his voice trailed off and Steve could almost see his brain whirring into gear as he took in Steve's expression.

"So it's got nothing to do with you still being sore from Fury?" Steve said, and Tony's face flickered through surprise and dismay before settling on amusement.

"Really, Steve, do you expect me to kiss and tell? About a military man, too?"

"Humour me. Make it hypothetical, if you want. If you were... kissing Fury, it would be... something you both wanted?" Tony's mask was firmly in place, now, a teasing smile.


"Yes," he said. "Stop seeing Fury. I want you." Tony's grin twisted into something unpleasant, and he stepped away from Steve, poured himself another drink. Not the slightest tremor in his hands.

"I'm a man who can't be tied down, you know that."

"And all the tech and resources that you've been giving to Fury after his visits to you are what, love-gifts? Your version of diamond necklaces and sports cars?"

"You've got to treat a classy guy like that right, Steve."

"He comes here and you two... amuse yourselves, and then Fury walks away with a lot of toys. There's some pretty obvious conclusions there."

"Fury's a big boy. He knows what he's doing. Now, it's rather late, so..." Tony's voice was full of assurance now, bleak amusement on his face. Steve had him convinced that he was chasing down the wrong path.

"Fine." Steve stood, took a step towards the door, turned back. "Nothing to do with hacking me open and cutting the Serum out of me, then." Steve didn't bother looking at his face; he watched Tony's knuckles turn white on the glass, counted the seconds until Tony's quick brain came up with a response.

None came. Tony took a precise step back and sat down in an armchair.

"How much do you know?" he said, and Steve shrugged, felt a flare of satisfaction at forcing Tony to fold his hand.

"Know, or guessed?" Tony made an extravagant gesture, and downed his drink. "Well, then, Fury wants me back for... more invasive tests. I've seen some of the project proposals, and I certainly don't like the look of them."

"I told Fury it was stupid. Killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. Not that it would actually kill you, probably. Most of them."

"But he didn't listen. And he was going to... annex? Draft? Just disappear me?" Tony nodded. "And you're buying him off? That doesn't seem... I'm irreplaceable."

"It's more like renting. He gets to knock down my influence, gets all my best toys, and when he's bled me dry, you'll still be there for him to take."

"But why - why was he - " Ridiculously, Steve was blushing again. The sex had been his second clue to this. He couldn't quite accept Tony had lost interest in him so swiftly, and when he found out about Fury, Steve had been unable to believe it. He'd dug and dug until he'd found a truth he could believe. He didn't want to believe it, still, but...

"The sex? Pretty standard power play, Steve, don't look so shocked. It's easy to make a man feel small when he's sucking your dick. And it meant I wouldn't be likely to tell you about it, and if you did get an idea, you'd be more likely to think... badly of me." Tony wrinkled his nose. "Or maybe he just gets off on it. I don't know."

"I can't believe he - " Steve stopped. "Every time I think I know the worst of him - " he stopped. Tony was smiling at him, the amused crook of his mouth he got when Steve disapproved of sex and violence at the movies.

"Oh, don't worry about that. I've done worse things than roll over for Fury." Tony shrugged one shoulder. "The issue is, how are we going to keep him from taking possession of you once I run out of money?"

"Run out of money nothing. You're stopping this as of today," Steve said, and Tony shook his head.

"Right, and then one day SHIELD just up and take you away. They did it once before. And if you think I'm breaking into a SHIELD facility to rescue you, you're very much mistaken." Tony scowled at him, and Steve crouched down and rested his hands on Tony's knees.

"Am I?" he said, and Tony sighed.

"Oh, shut up." He hung his head. "I suppose... we can implant a tracker somewhere on you that you can activate yourself. If we can get you out, and prove SHIELD took you..."

"Pretty damaging."

"Be great leverage." Tony stared into the distance, plans almost visibly revolving behind his blank eyes. Steve slid his hands up Tony's thighs, just a couple of inches, and Tony looked down at him.

"So... why didn't you tell me?"

"Oh sure. Steve, the Government wants to do horrendous medical experiments on you, let me inject some nanotechnology into you."

"I would have believed you," said Steve, and Tony made a face. "I'd have said no to the nanotechnology, but I would have believed you."

"Yeah." Tony dropped his head further, and Steve put a hand under his chin, made him look up. "Hi."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Tony looked up, then sideways. Steve waited.

"You were - upset after the last incident with Fury's little project."

"You did all this to avoid me getting upset?"

"It wasn't just Fury this time. Even he wouldn't come after Captain America without approval."

"So..." Steve scowled. "Christ, the Government? The President?" The empty ache of disgust was getting familiar, now. Tony's hands cupped his face, tried to smooth the frown away.

"The next war will be a genetic one," he said with gentle mockery.

"But you don't believe that?"

"Not enough to let them dissect you." Steve put a hand to his cheek and kissed him, soft, and Tony sighed and shut his eyes. "You meant that, then?"

"Yeah. I meant it about - wanting you." It was much easier to say than he expected. Tony put an arm round his neck, rested their foreheads together.

"I think we can come to some arrangement," he said, and his smile widened at Steve's snort.