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Modern Rituals

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“Eat that, it’ll put hair on your chest,” Steve heard often enough as a kid. If only it had worked! Spinach or oatmeal or liver or whatever healthful food that was supposed to put hair on his chest never did accomplish the task, and he barely had chest on his chest, either.

It didn’t help that he barely needed to shave his face. He felt very young, watching Bucky scrape all that stubble when he could barely grow a football mustache (ten on each side.)

The morning after getting the serum, before the events of the day had a chance to come back to haunt him, Steve swung his feet to the floor in his temporary quarters and trudged sleepily to the bathroom to shave. The torso in the mirror was about a mile wider than the one he was used to, but there still wasn’t any hair on it. In fact, the serum hadn’t changed that anywhere. He still had a thatch of blond on his head and the same long lashes and the modest dark patch around his privates, but he supposed he looked pretty manly otherwise. There were other fellows in the army who weren’t hairy-chested either, but Steve couldn’t help thinking some hair there, like Bucky had, would make him feel more like a grown man.

He examined his new body more closely and realized that really, hair was a silly thing to worry about.


The first male bare chest Steve sees in the present, beside billboards and commercials for underwear (and they must have paid that David Beckham fellow a lot) is Bruce Banner’s. Now Bruce? Has a hairy chest, but Clint's is smooth like his own, Steve notices one afternoon in the shower. It’s not that he’s looking, exactly -- it’s just a glance. But his eye catches again as Clint grabs a razor on his shelf and runs it through a path of soapy lather on his chest. He taps the razor against the shelf after rinsing it and tilts his head backward under the spray to rinse.

“What?” Clint asks, and Steve realizes that he’s been staring at his very naked teammate.

“Nothing. I just…” Steve pauses. “I mean, you shave your chest?”

Clint raises one shoulder in a half-shrug and turns off the spray. “Usually I wax it, but there were just a couple of strays.”

Steve steps out of the shower and grabs a towel too, and they both wander to the sink counter with their dopp bags. “Wax it? What do you…”

“You know -- hot wax, spread it all over with a plastic butter knife sorta thing, press down some cloth, and rrrrrip!” Clint snorts at the horrified expression on Steve’s face.


“It’s faster than shaving, and it lasts longer, since it pulls the hair out by the roots, so-”

“No, I mean, why on earth would you pull out your chest hair?”

Clint shrugs as he pokes something from a tube into his scalp, making little spiky peaks with it. “It’s the fashion these days. And I like the way it looks. It feels smooth. Also, sex.”

“Sex?” Steve pauses with his comb aloft.

“Yeah. Coulson likes it. I’m waxed everywhere. Back, sack, and crack, they call it. There is nothing like being totally smooth in all the places that, well, you know. The places. The sensitivity's cranked way up.”

“You put hot wax…” Steve trails off, chagrined, because even though his mind went right to the “sex” part, hot wax, down there?

“Nope, Phil does it. He has mad waxing skills. Plus, I can’t actually reach and see at the same time without a little effort. You miss some,” Clint explains, losing the towel and patting powder on his privates, which Steve can't help glancing at now.

“Oh,” Steve replies faintly. Clint’s...boyfriend does this. His mind really shouldn’t be going where it's wandering now. He might need to head back into the shower and turn the temperature down. Way down.

“You should try it, Cap. I’m getting a manscape downstairs soon. I’m pretty sure Phil wouldn’t mind doing you too.” Clint winks at him via the mirror.

“Uh,” Steve says.


He’s in his room playing with pastels several days later when his phone goes off, and Steve sees a message from Clint.

Just got waxed. Come up and Phil will do u 2 if u want. We have all the stuff out.

Steve drops the phone on the desk like it’s hot. He’ll just ignore that. Except he never ignores texts unless he’s asleep, and it might seem rude. He moves to type no thank you, Clint with his thumbs but they form the letters OK, coming instead.

Maybe he’s a little curious.

Clint opens the door to his suite wearing a thin robe, and Steve follows him in to find Coulson sitting on the edge of their bed, a folded towel in his hand. He’s fully dressed, at least, in dark pants and a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

“I uh...Clint said,” Steve manages, and Clint grabs Steve’s arm and guides him over to the bed.

“Give Cap a naughty wax, Phil. You wanna try it, right?”

Steve pauses, but Coulson looks at him patiently, not like he thinks this is really, really odd. “I…”

Coulson smiles. “They do this at spas too, if you want to go to a professional. I mean, if my doing the honors is too embarrassing.”

“Tasha goes to Bliss to get her snatch waxed,” Clint says, and shrugs at his boss’ look. “What? It’s no secret. Her Brazilian wax appointment punch card is stuck on the team fridge.”

“The wording, Barton,” Coulson sighs, and Steve stifles a snicker and turns it into a cough, wondering if Natasha would smack Clint for saying “snatch.” Maybe. She indulges Clint, lets him get away with a lot, though.

“Does everyone do this these days?”

“Nope,” Coulson says. “Just some. I don’t, myself. I just…”

“You just like it on other people,” Clint snickers. “The metrosexual look."

"Huh. That sounds like someone who has sex with a whole city," Steve says, and just then, Phil and Clint meet eyes and say in unison: "Tony Stark."

Steve's still laughing at that when Clint elbows him. "Come on, drop your pants. It takes fifteen minutes, tops.”

Steve takes a deep breath and decides to go for it, as they say. It’s just hair-- it’ll grow back. And he has a high pain tolerance, so even hot wax probably won’t even hurt that much. And after all, if the Widow does it, and Clint... He kicks off his shoes and unbuckles and unzips his khakis, and taking a deep breath, he loops his thumbs into those and his boxer briefs and drops trou. He perches on the bed and Clint helpfully yanks his pants off his legs. “Uh, thanks,” Steve says, as Clint tosses them on a nearby chair. “Do I just…”

“Back first,” Coulson says, and Steve nods agreeably and pulls his t-shirt over his head.

“I don’t think I really have any hair on my back.”

Clint grins at Coulson's face. “Close your mouth, boss. Uh, Steve, we'll have to start lower.”

“Huh?” Steve says, then colors. “Oh.”

“All fours, buddy,” Clint directs, and Steve shrugs. It’s probably too late to back out now without seeming like a prude, and he gets enough needling from Tony about being old-fashioned. Well, not today. He’s standing there in the buff, and has a reputation for bravery to maintain, after all. He kneels on the bed and tries not to laugh as one of them parts his cheeks. It tickles. “You’re not very hairy,” Clint says.

“Just lucky, I guess,” Steve says. “I’m a pretty lucky guy.” and he hears Coulson laugh.

“You are indeed blessed,” he agrees drily, slicking some kind of oil over Steve’s crack, “so the wax won’t stick to you, just the hair,” and pulls the skin taut. Steve braces himself for a butter knife full of hot wax, but instead it’s a soft spatula thing and the wax is only pleasantly warm. Very pleasantly. Which isn’t doing anything to stop his swelling dick from giving an inquisitive twitch. That isn’t supposed to happen, Steve’s pretty sure. He bites his lip and tries to think about something disgusting, settling on roadkill. Some cloth follows, and Coulson presses on it, smoothing it down several times.

“Wax on, wax off. Ready, Captain?” he asks a moment later, Steve nods and braces himself again, gritting his teeth to prepare for agony, and Coulson bears down and rips.

It wasn’t that bad at all. “Hmm,” Steve says, and Clint gives him a light sock on the arm. “Ow!” he says, rubbing at his bicep with an exaggerated fake grimace.

“Ow?” Coulson asks, quickly pressing a cool hand to the skin he’d just abused. "I'm sorry. I tried to be careful."

“He was humoring me,” Clint replies, and Steve shoots him a small smile. “Cap’s a tough guy.” And sure, he goes to battle. A little hair ripped out of the old asscrack is nothin'. Steve manages not to flinch at the rest, and then Coulson applies something cool and soothing.

“Aloe vera gel,” he says. “Also good for sunburns. And strangely, it’s edible.” It feels nice. “Well, you survived that part, so turn over,” Coulson tells him.

“Sack time!” Clint says, and then laughs at Steve’s expression.

“Glad you’re enjoying yourself, Hawkeye,” Steve jokes, mock-grumpily.

“Oh, I am,” Clint smirks. “I got to go first.”

Steve rolls his eyes and stretches out on his back on the plush towel, legs bent, feet on the bed. Coulson lifts his balls and holds them up with one hand while delicately painting warm wax just underneath, and okay, Steve thinks, roadkill, roadkill, roadkill, roadkill, roadkill..

“That’s normal you know,” Clint assures him, the bed dipping when he sits down next to Steve. “Everybody gets a boner at the House of Wax.” He tilts his head toward Coulson, who clears his throat, rips off the strip of linen without warning and presses on the smooth skin with cool fingers.

Steve bites down a whimper. That didn’t hurt’s just, well, it’s extra sensitive there, apparently. He suspects the balls will be just awful but Coulson really should do this for a living, because he pulls the flesh taut in an expert sort of fashion and works very fast. One small bit does make him wince again, and Clint grips Steve’s hand in a soul handshake, lets him squeeze.

“Done?” Steve manages. He’s hard enough by now to pound nails. There’s a trace bit of hair at the base of his cock trailing beneath, and Coulson takes care of that quickly, as Clint natters about using some kind of loofah sponge in the shower and the importance of liberal powder when going commando waxed since sticky nads are unbearable in the summer. Steve lifts his head as Coulson grabs for the aloe vera and works it into his balls first. Then he can’t hold in a gasp at the sure hand on his dick, or the sight of it either, and Coulson slows and meets his eyes.

Clint squeezes Steve’s hand. “All finished, man, unless you want a happy ending? You do, right?”

Steve breathes, shallow and stuttery. “Are you, is that...I thought that was…” Coulson’s hand -- he supposes he should really think of him as Phil -- hesitates, then slowly his thumb slides over the head of Steve’s cock, slippery with pre-come -- “...after, ah, massages.”

“Phil’s a very good handler,” Clint says, and Phil gives Steve’s dick a brief, pleased squeeze when he nods at him, Clint communicating something complicated in return to Phil with his eyes.

Steve has to shut his own then, because wow, does that feel good having someone else’s hand on him, stroking just right, for the first time since a young and earnest USO girl in 1943 who was almost as inexperienced as Steve was, not that he didn’t enjoy that either. He doesn’t think this can get better, but suddenly, it does, because there’s Phil’s mouth swallowing him down, and it’s hot and wet, and he doesn’t think he’ll last more than sixty seconds. Phil shifts to Steve’s left and he takes his free hand, winds it around Phil’s nape and down inside his collar just as he sucks Steve in even deeper and hums around him.

It's just incredible. Until Clint takes the hand Steve isn’t squeezing to death, moves it between his legs and presses skilled fingers to the newly-smooth bit of skin behind his balls, hard, and that’s it. Fireworks go off. Grenades. Maybe a neutron bomb. Whatever it is, Steve'll deal with it later.

“Oh god, oh god, oh my god,” he hears himself groan, back arching.

He gasps, still bucking helplessly, as Clint kisses his knuckles, Phil swallows, and Steve’s pretty sure he blacks out for at least a couple of minutes. When he recovers enough to open his eyes again, Phil and Clint are kissing above him, Phil’s hand wrapping Clint’s jaw, and that’s certainly a nice sight. There's a kiss for him too after that, from both of them, but it's gentle and sweet rather than urgent, and Steve’s very glad he hasn’t come between them. Except well, literally.

Steve senses then that it's time for him to go. He thinks he'll head back to his own suite, grab a cold bottle of beer, strip down again, and slip his baby-smooth self between soft sheets. The Dodgers (shh, he can pretend they're still his Dodgers) are playing the Reds, and JARVIS can get him the game on the radio. This is a wonderful plan.


He shuts the door behind him, but pauses in the hall at the sound of their voices.

“Clint, he’s going to think we planned this,” Phil chides. “Smooth.”

“I kind of did. Not plan, I mean. Hope. That actually…something like that would happen,” says Clint. “Hey, sue me. I didn’t think he’d actually show up, though.”

“Yeah. Well, wow,” Steve hears Phil say. “That was...really something. But good handler? Really? That was a terrible, terrible line, Clint.”

“True enough, though,” Clint insists.

Steve shakes his head with a smile. He really can’t argue with that. At all.