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One of the most effective ways to get to know someone, and that’s if you really want to know someone, is this: live with them. As in sharing one living space, sleeping under the same roof, using the same coffee machine every day.  

It’s taken Tony approximately eleven days to gain that experience—not exactly one of his masterstrokes—but to be fair, he’s never lived with roommates before, let alone a hand-picked selection of superheroes. Good things come to those who wait and all that, and this is one of the good things, because now Tony knows that virtually nothing—not even seeing someone naked or knowing the face they make when they come—is as intimate as sharing a home with another human being. Or relatively human being in his case.

Not a day goes by where Tony doesn’t observe another tiny little quirk about his roommates. That’s how he knows that Thor is still struggling with the stove and pretending he actually likes his daily dose of burnt, solely because he doesn’t want to ask for help (again). Or that Natasha sneaks into Bruce’s quarters when she thinks nobody’s watching.  

Or that Steve can’t sleep.

Like, not really. Not the way he’s supposed to.  

Sure, he’s got the serum and all, but even a dose of super soldier in a bottle doesn’t cure the very human need for sleep, which means he actually does sleep.  

Sometimes.  

If the power naps in between briefings and reports and training sessions count as actual sleep, that is. Steve says they do. Tony says they don’t, and that’s one of the very rare instances where he’s not disagreeing with Steve because it’s what they do, but because he knows he’s right.

Steve knows it, too. And that’s exactly the crux of the matter, because knowing Tony is right is one thing, but admitting to it? Quite another. For now, Tony can’t do much besides be Steve’s pillow for all those times he dozes off during the evening news or give him A Look when he jolts awake from another one of his supposedly “perfectly sufficient” naps. The thing is, Tony wants to be more than that. And because he’s extra and narcissistic and what have you, he’d prefer being Steve’s very own personal sandman. Not the Flint Marko type, God beware, but the sleep-sand-dispensing, dream-building, nice type of sandman.

Where Tony has been told he’s a formidable pain in the ass when it comes to the things he wants in most cases, Captain America is not one of them. While Tony is more than willing to meet half-way, there’s this center line even Tony won’t cross as long as he’s not asked to. Which means that in the end, Tony’s hands are tied until Steve stops being a hero for one second and admits it’s okay to accept help. And not just anybody’s help, but Tony’s.  

Maybe it’s this ridiculous and totally atypical helper complex he seems to be in the process of developing that has him working in the living area as opposed to his workshop tonight. Tony might just happen to know that Steve usually ends up in the kitchen at some point during a sleepless night, be it for a cup of coffee (yeah, great night cap, Cap) or a snack of some sort (Twinkies, because guilty pleasures of the forties).  

It’s exactly 2:15 in the morning when Tony hears Steve coming down the hallway. One might wonder how Tony knows it’s Steve, since for all his genius brilliance, he has yet to learn how to look around corners. The answer to that question is easy: it’s the living together thing.

Among the many traits Tony has learned about the people around him is how they walk. It’s a highly useful piece of information, that. Just imagine there’s someone you don’t want to see (Fury) or someone you don’t want to see you, because you might have, dunno, eaten the last of their favorite donuts (Clint). Natasha, for example, walks just like she works—precise, fast, silent. Thor is the opposite, his steps are confident and unapologetic, whereas Bruce is always cautious and controlled, as if his green friend might pop any second if he’s not.  

Cap is . . . different. Which is lame as far as descriptions go, but it’s just really, really hard to come up with something that fits. Even for Tony, who counts himself among the most eloquent people in, well, the world. Maybe that’s saying something about him, because it’s always Steve who ends up getting him to a point where he’s this oddly at a loss for words. Which sounds totally corny, even in Tony’s head. Steve would probably like that. Not that Tony’s someone who would be familiar with Steve’s preferences to confirm the theory, but he’s always pegged Steve as the classic romantic kinda guy. Someone who holds doors open, gives awfully nice back rubs, gets up extra early to bring two mugs of freshly brewed coffee to bed—the whole shebang.

He waves his hand through the air as if that would actually shoo the thought away and voilà, Steve’s steps outside offer a wonderfully imperfect distraction. And that makes him think again. Steve’s walk is military, sure, definitely proud, yes, but also something else, something like . . . soft? It doesn’t sound right, and yet it’s weirdly accurate. If the way somebody walks gives any indication of their personality, it does say a lot about Steve, that’s for damn sure. Not that anyone who’d ever been up close and personal with Steve would describe him as soft, but Tony knows better. He’s looked beneath the surface of stoic heroism and heart-breaking selflessness, beneath the patriot and leader, which is why he’s, probably, the only one who gets to say Steve does have his soft moments. It happens when he feels safe enough to let his guard down, when he trusts. Needless to say, that’s not a common occurrence, but still. There are those moments.  

Tony counts Steve’s steps in his head for reasons he doesn’t know himself—one, two, three more. He’s close now, very close—four, five—and then the door slides open. It’s funny how it’s 2:22 by now, dead of night, and yet Captain America unleashes his usual magic on the room as if it’s not only Tony there to see it. As if it’s nothing. The infuriating thing is, it is nothing, at least to Steve, because he doesn’t even do it on purpose. It just happens, naturally.  

Tony is very familiar with the sentiment, he’s Tony Stark, it’s just that Steve’s got that special air of good around him that makes people do the proverbial stop and stare, whereas Tony . . . not so much. Not that he minds, he’s always been the cool, aloof sorta guy, so he can understand why Steve has his usual effect on him, too. Case in point: right now.  

Or maybe it’s just that Steve’s not wearing a shirt, which yeah, on second thought, makes a lot more sense.  

“Wow, hi,” Tony says. “Fancy meeting you here, Cap.”  

Steve jolts a little. It’s really only noticeable in the close-to-undetectable twitch in his shoulder, but because Steve’s reflexes are honed to perfection, he bounces back within 0.02 seconds flat. It’s a short victory on Tony’s part, but a victory nonetheless. And he should really stop getting a kick out of all the times he manages to catch Steve off guard.

“Tony.” Steve gives a stiff nod as if Tony’s someone he’s required to keep up appearances with. At least until he realizes Tony’s anything but, and visibly relaxes, the tension bleeding out of the ever-present stiff line that’s supposed to be his spine. “Yeah, fancy that.”  

Tony is not watching the play of muscles beneath bare skin when Steve walks over to the fridge, he’s merely sneaking peeks, polite peeks. If he had a say in who gets medals of honors, he’d nominate himself for one. Another one, whatever. The point is he deserves it, for resisting the urge to do the look, it’s Captain America, let’s stare and swoon routine anyone else in his position would resort to.  

The self-imposed no-staring rule lasts all of two minutes, because then Steve turns around to talk and it would be beyond rude not to look at him while he does. That’s one, called being polite and two, a prerequisite when it’s America’s wildly popular golden boy you’re talking to.  

Only that looking at Steve comes with a wide array of very effective distractions. The most glaring one being that he’s not wearing a shirt. General consensus is that Steve’s the epitome of the American beefcake. As in the muscled version of the dreamboat, and nope, that’s not a joke. Tony’s read all about it in several semi-reputable magazines. There must be some truth to that, otherwise there’d be no reasonable explanation as to why it’s so hard not to look whenever Steve’s around. And now that Tony is looking, it borders on damn near impossible not to imagine what it would be like to touch all those dips and curves, to run his nails over every inch of pale, flawless skin just begging to be marked, to touch and feel and taste (taste being the operative word) if all of Steve’s body is that superior—

“Tony? You okay?”  

Tony snaps out of it and meets Steve’s eyes, and wow, Steve’s eyes, talk about distracting. That blue is ridiculous. Maybe that’s something that’s enhanced by the serum too, but Tony doesn’t think there’s a universe in which he’ll get lucky enough to use that as an excuse. He ends up blinking some three odd times before he’s able to form a sentence that doesn’t consist of “fuck me” or any other ludicrous variation of it.  

“Huh? Sorry, I was . . . thinking. About . . . something,” he says.

About how you’re too damn beefcake-y to be around me at two something in the morning.  

Steve nods to the projections that are spread out on the table. “What are you doing?”  

What Tony wants to say is that right now, he’s very much thinking about doing Steve, funny you should ask. It’s common knowledge that the art of holding back is not exactly Tony’s strong suit, which is why it takes insane amounts of effort to do it. That, and literally biting his lip.

“Just working on a little something for Nat,” he says.

Steve hums thoughtfully and unwraps a Twinkie. Tony knows he should look away, should focus on the new tech gadgets he’s designing for Natasha or just stare into space for God’s sake, but he can’t resist temptation. And that’s temptation alright, watching Steve’s lush lips wrap around a phallic-shaped cake complete with creamy white filling that sticks to the corners of his mouth.  

Tony sucks in a sharp breath and shifts in his seat. By now, he’s seriously starting to question what the hell he’d been thinking, coming here in the middle of the night. Here, where Steve is. Without a shirt.

“It’s your insomnia, isn’t it?” he asks. “It’s bothering you again.”  

Steve looks as if he’s been caught red-handed, which technically, he has. Somebody ought to record how adorable he looks trying to gloss that over with a deliberate mouthful of Twinkie, maybe on VHS. Definitely VHS, Steve would love (hate) that.

“I’m fine, just . . . got a lot on my mind right now.”  

“What’s that?” Tony asks.  

“Hm?”  

“What is on your mind right now?”  

“Oh, you know . . .” Steve looks at him, really looks at him, and Tony, in turn, is trying really hard not to read anything into it. “Training, battles. The living situation and how everyone’s handling it.”  

One moment, Tony resolves not to get closer under any circumstances because, well, danger, and in the next, he’s crossing the kitchen and standing in front of Steve. Who’s only dressed in a snug pair of stupidly cute plaid pajama pants and now close enough to smell, to touch. Tony shoves the thought away and focuses on the little remnant of Twinkie cream just off the center of Steve’s bottom lip, and yeah okay, granted—contrary to popular belief, Tony apparently doesn’t always have the best ideas.  

“What about you? How are you handling it?” Tony asks. It’s a miracle he hasn’t stumbled over his own words, considering Steve’s pretty pink tongue has picked mid-sentence to take care of the remaining cream.   

“Surprisingly good. It’s great having everyone together in one place, in case of—”  

Steve’s breath hitches when Tony takes a step closer.

“—of emergencies?” Tony supplies.

“Yes,” Steve says. It’s breathless. Gorgeous. “Emergencies.”

Tony watches himself lift his hand, and then his palm is on Steve’s chest and there’s warm, smooth skin beneath his fingertips. And since he has already gone this far and about a split second left before Steve regains his wits and goes all what the hell, Tony, he lets himself feel it. All of it, from the subtle twitch of muscle against his hand over skin that’s just on the good side of too warm to the lovely goosebumps rising on Steve’s skin. There’s also the positively scrumptious little gasp he makes when Tony’s thumb catches on his nipple.

Steve makes a soft noise that sounds almost like a moan, and then, “Tony.”  

How he manages to stop, Tony will never know, but he drops his hand and forces his body to back the fuck off.  

“Sorry,” Tony says. “You had crumbs on your . . .” Beautiful pecs? “. . . there.”  

“Crumbs? Really?” Steve doesn’t believe him. Fine, that’s to be expected, but even this painfully obvious white lie is better than the actual truth, so he just rolls with it.

“Yeah, crumbs. From your midnight snack, which by the way, is a total guilty pleasure of yours,” Tony says and tilts his head up to give Steve a pointed look. “In fact, there are a few more crumbs right here.”

There’s this voice inside Tony’s head that’s saying abort mission on a loop. It sounds suspiciously like J.A.R.V.I.S. now that he thinks about it, which usually means it’s the kind of advice Tony had better heed. This time though, he makes the conscious decision to ignore it, because he’s touching Steve. And Steve doesn’t . . . he doesn’t even do anything, like, for example, resist. Or tell Tony off. Would hardly be the first time.

But no, none of that. He’s just standing there, leaned against the kitchen counter as if Tony running his hands all over him is something they’re doing everyday. That’s what it looks like at first glance, anyway, because at second (and even third), Steve is doing something. It’s just not resisting, and definitely not telling Tony off. Instead, he’s leaning in, with eyes so blue and expectant and this sweet little touch of provocative, as if he’s daring Tony to go the next step, take it further, make it more. As if this right here—this look—isn’t all that’s required to turn Tony’s world on its axis.

In all honesty, the fact that Tony moves one hand up to Steve’s neck where he can bury his fingers in his hair is all Steve’s fault, because Steve keeps looking at him with those ocean eyes of his, cheeks pink and every puff of air out of those ridiculously kissable lips breaking on his own. It’s heady, too heady, because now Tony can’t be blamed for whatever happens next, for wanting more. The kind of more that entails finding out what kind of kisser Steve is, what he feels like on Tony’s lips.

They’re so close too, so close that just another inch would suffice. And Steve is so . . . he’s so . . .

Perfect. Right. Because this is Steve. Captain America, Cap, which means this is a very, very bad idea.

Somewhere inside Tony’s Steve-infused mind must be a sliver of reason left, because Tony drops his hand. Or more like, he would have dropped his hand, if it weren’t for Steve, who’s catching it mid-air and placing it back on his chest, smack dab in the middle of it.

He licks his lips as he gazes down at Tony, and Tony recognizes that look. It’s heat and awe and surrender. It’s want.

“Are you sure you got all the crumbs?” Steve asks, voice low and husky. “I think you’ve missed some . . . right here.”

He guides Tony’s hand down the length of his upper body, all the way to his sublime abs and the smooth skin beneath it, and closes his eyes while he’s doing it, as if every second of Tony touching him is worth being memorized. Up until now, Tony has thought that when it comes to the bedroom, he’s seen it all—been there, done that—but this? This is different. There are no defenses, no cop-outs, no escapes. This is real. Scarily, amazingly real.    

And there it is, Tony’s chance. Steve’s willing to take this further and Tony’s just dying to comply, but the doubts decide to stick around. Maybe Steve is just swept up in the moment. Tony’s known to be an expert in sweeping up people like that. So, he gives him another chance to come to his unparalleled senses and back out, right now, when they can still pretend none of this ever happened.  

He’s about to be reasonable and put distance between Steve and himself, but then Steve curls his large hands around Tony’s waist and lifts him, right off the ground, to sit him down on the kitchen counter. He doesn’t have to spread Tony’s legs though, because when it’s Steve, Tony’s apparently doing that by default and all on his own. Steve, ever-efficient, steps right into the vee of his legs, and now it’s Tony who gasps. Aside from the numerous fittings for Steve’s uniform they’ve done in the workshop, they’ve never been this close to each other, because this right here, this is unmasked intent. It’s new and unsettling and so, so good. Dangerously good.

“Tony.” Steve doesn’t say anything else, but he drops his head on Tony’s shoulder, his hands splayed on the counter to either side of his thighs as though he doesn’t quite know where to head next now that he’s taken them down this road.

Tony doesn’t put his hands on Steve again, for it seems too much like he’s still stuck in between should and want, but he also can’t not touch him, so he props his head against Steve’s and closes his eyes. Feeling his soft hair against his cheek, breathing him in. Trying not to get lost in the moment, and shit, getting lost in the moment. For all he knows, this could be all he’s ever going to have.

“Tony, I . . . God, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” Steve says quietly, his lips moving against the side of Tony’s neck while he speaks, soft and warm and achingly seductive. “It’s just . . . I think about you. It’s all I ever do.”

And then Steve’s arms come around Tony and he’s holding him so tight that it’s hard to breathe, and Tony loves it, loves every dizzying second of it.

Before he knows it, his fingers are in Steve’s hair and he’s tugging him back gently, just enough to get a clear view of his face. And maybe he shouldn’t have, because Steve is flushed and his eyes are this incredible blend of hazy and sharp and okay, wow, now he’s licking his lips, but even with all the drop-dead gorgeousness that’s Captain America between his legs, Tony has questions. “I suppose that’s the reason why you’ve gone out of your way to avoid me lately?”

Steve’s eyes drop, but Tony nudges his face back up with a finger under that strong chin. There they are, those pretty blues.

“I was trying to do the right thing, which is not going after you. We work together, Tony, we’re a team. I’m not supposed to . . . to want you like this, but I just don’t know how not to. Tell me. Please.”

He looks at him as if Tony is the one with all the answers. That’s fair, usually, he is, but not when it comes to Steve and desires and the one generally applicable way to nip them in the bud. Because even when Steve’s right about them being a team and how important it is to keep things professional in order for said team to work, Tony is neither responsible nor selfless enough to strike Steve off his “Not-So-Secret Crush” list.

Tony takes a deep breath, then opens his eyes and looks into Steve’s. If Steve expects a step-by-step explanation on how to turn off attraction, he can think again. Even if there was such a thing and Tony was well-versed in the art of it, he’d refuse to make it that easy for Steve. Just because; because Steve comes close to what Tony would label the best thing in his life, and he can’t give that up. Isn’t that fair? He’s sacrificed so much for all and sundry, isn’t he allowed to keep this little piece of good to himself?

Tony leans in a tiny bit more. They are so close that their lips brush when Tony says, “Tough luck, Cap. You’re the only one I’d never tell.”

Steve sighs and touches his forehead to Tony’s, hands coming up to cup his face, and he’s doing this thing Tony loves, where he’s brushing his thumbs over Tony’s cheekbones.

“Good,” Steve says. There’s a smile in his voice, so Tony can’t help but pull back a little to convince himself it’s really there, because Steve’s smiles. You want breathtaking? Look no further than Steve Rogers on a good day.

“Good? How is not getting what you want good?” Tony asks, eyes wanting to flutter shut so bad when Steve looks at him like that, like there’s only Tony, only the two of them, and no consequences to speak of. 

“It is when I’m tired of fighting this,” Steve says.

It’s a universal fact that Tony’s imagination knows practically no bounds, but nothing—nothing—he’s ever cooked up about Steve and Steve’s lips and Steve’s lips on his is better than the reality. It’s familiar and irresistible, like stepping into the suit and feeling the iron wrap around his body. Like a repulsor shortage 20,000 feet up in the air and the subsequent nosedive, only that now he knows there’s someone down there to catch him. And God, how good does it feel to be caught by Steve, whose arms are wrapped around Tony so damn tight, whose waist is just perfect for Tony’s legs to cling onto.

Steve is impatient and wild, his tongue opening up Tony’s mouth with little finesse, but a whole lot of zeal. It so makes up for the teeth marks Steve is leaving all across his lips, and oh, Tony knows where this is headed when Steve presses in and he feels him hot and hard against the inside of his thigh. Or where this could be headed, because this is only just starting and Tony swears he used to be familiar with the concept of taking it slow at some point. Steve, apparently, is not, because he’s not keeping a lid on the kissing, the touching, the quiet ah’s and quieter mh’s—especially not when Tony’s control slips and his own noises start coming, all the embarrassing little moans and sighs and whispers of Steve.

God, Steve, we . . . we should probably—”

“—change places?” Steve asks, voice rough. “Brilliant idea.”

Not that this is what Tony meant to say, but he forgets why he cares when Steve gets a good hold of his ass and hoists him into his arms as if he weighs nothing at all. And then Tony has to hold onto those broad shoulders if he doesn’t want to fall. The fact that his crotch is now rubbing against Steve in a way that gets him like, all the way hard, can’t really be avoided when he’s all but sitting on him like that. It’s the only type of collateral damage Tony’s fine with.

He looks down at Steve and bites his lip when it sinks in that he’s carrying him without so much as breaking a sweat, without even taking those beautiful eyes off of him as he navigates the hallway to his room as if they’ve done this a dozen times before.

Steve opens the door one-handed, then kicks it shut with his foot. All it takes for Tony to get used to being wrapped around Steve are the few moments from the kitchen to Steve’s room, and he thinks that, hey, he wouldn’t mind staying like this for a little longer. Among all the fantastic skills Steve has under his belt, he’s apparently also a mind reader, because when he reaches the end of the bed, he doesn’t put Tony down. No, he remains standing, hands full with Tony, and looks up at him with a smile that’s a little nervous and a whole lotta adoring.

“What do I have to do to get another kiss?” he asks, so adorably, genuinely coy that Tony’s heart might just thump right out of his chest.

Tony tightens his legs around Steve without meaning to, his hands sliding around those broad shoulders as he considers the question. “Your pants. They gotta go. I mean, don’t get me wrong, they look stupidly cute on you, but I’d really like to ogle these thighs of yours, because . . . Yeah. Because.”

Tony trails off on a dreamy sigh. He’s not even embarrassed by it, because come on, he’s pretty sure loving Steve’s thighs is an actual thing around here.

Steve laughs and moves in to nuzzle the side of Tony’s neck before breathing a soft kiss into the soft spot below Tony’s ear. He turns around and takes a seat on the bed, securing Tony in his lap as if he’s just waiting for him to up and leave. As if.

Lips at Tony’s ear, he says, “That’s not exactly fair though, is it? I’m already down one shirt, whereas you . . .” he catches the neckline of Tony’s shirt between his teeth and tugs, “are very much overdressed.”

Jesus Christ. The way Tony sees it, there are two options. Either, Steve is not as innocent as everyone, including Tony, thinks he is. Or, he’s just a goddamn natural, which stunner, just figures. Whatever it is, Tony considers himself beyond lucky to be on the receiving end of Steve’s secret sexiness. Geez, that ought to be an officially approved acronym.

He rolls his hips against Steve and relishes the moan he makes and the way his hands squeeze Tony’s ass in response, a perfect counter reaction. Talk about responsive.

Tony reaches back and brings Steve’s hands to the hem of his shirt. “How about you take care of that for me, Cap? Since that’s such a skillful pair of hands you have there.”

“I’d love to, actually. Not sure no is in my repertoire of answers tonight.”

Tony shivers. Steve indulging Tony’s every whim? The meaning of the word luck clearly needs to be redefined, because this is it.

They’re looking at each other when Steve lets those ever-warm, big hands slide under Tony’s shirt—at least until Steve moves them up to Tony’s chest and thumbs at the arc reactor, because then, Tony can’t keep them from fluttering shut on a groan. While still connected to it in a not exactly non-pivotal way, the arc reactor is supposed to be foreign, mechanical. Inhuman. It’s not supposed to be a part of him that makes him physically feel things (especially not these spikes of arousal, goddammit), but if it isn’t, why does it feel so good when Steve touches it?

Tony’s oversized band tee is pooling around Steve’s wrists as he continues his way up, inch after delicious inch, and then he takes it off entirely and Tony becomes acutely aware of all the additional bare skin for Steve to explore. And explore, he does. His blue eyes blink up at him from beneath thick, tanned lashes as he puts his lips to Tony’s chest, kissing one part skin, one part arc reactor. And Tony, well . . . Tony fucking whimpers and squeezes around Steve like a vice, because Christ, what Steve does to him. It’s not fair, how Tony can’t help but react to every little thing he does, every little inch he touches. It’s like he’s hardwired to crave everything of Steve on everything of himself, only to go supernova when he gets it. It’s a beautiful dilemma.

Steve’s tracing the glowing triangle on his chest while he looks up at Tony, as if he’s gauging his every reaction, drawing him out.

“Is this okay?” he asks.

Steve is asking him if this is okay, as if there’s anything he could touch that isn’t, and Tony adores him for it. He twines his fingers with Steve’s and splays their hands across the arc reactor, letting its warmth permeate them both.

“Yes,” Tony whispers, meeting Steve’s gaze. “You know, I used to hate being dependent on that thing. Knowing one tiny little dropout could kill me.”

Steve hums thoughtfully and then presses his lips to their joined hands. “It’s what keeps you alive. Which means I like it.” Tony swallows while Steve leans in to inspect the arc reactor more closely. “It’s extraordinary.” Then he looks up into Tony’s eyes. “And so is anyone who can build it. Which makes . . . one. You.”

Tony’s usually considering himself too smooth to blush, but he’s blushing now, when Steve says things like that with this solemn look in his eye, as if it’s some God-given fact.

“You’re blushing,” Steve says, complete with winning grin and all, and there’s a second where Tony curses Steve’s heightened perception, because now he can see how vulnerable he truly is. How . . . exposed. There’s nothing to hide behind. It’s scary, but in a good way, because if there’s anyone Tony can imagine being this intimate with, it’s Steve. So maybe, this is what’s meant to happen. Maybe this is the one big finally Tony’s never quite dared wanting for himself.

“Well,” Tony says at last, “You try not to blush when someone calls you extraordinary despite your many, many flaws.”

It’s a split second thing, Steve flipping them over so Tony’s tucked under him with zero chance of escape, pressed into the mattress by two hundred and twenty pounds of solid superhero. And Tony is chuckling, because wow, dreams? Seems like they do come true.

Steve’s thumb is tracing Tony’s bottom lip, his eyes burning the hottest shade of blue in what little light the arc reactor is shedding on them.

“Nobody is perfect, Tony, but trust me, you?" Steve chuckles, as if he can’t quite believe what he’s about to say, “You come pretty damn close. And that’s every flaw considered.”

“Wow, Steve,” Tony breathes, “I can’t believe you just pulled that line on me and that I liked it. Just . . . how gone on you am I?”

Steve laughs, and then he’s kissing Tony again—soft and slow and toe-curlingly perfect.

“Don’t tell me Tony Stark is susceptible to flattery? Shocker.”

“One of my many aforementioned flaws,” Tony says lightly.

“If I may,” Steve whispers against Tony’s lips, “Any mean to make you blush, I don’t consider a flaw. Happens too rarely for that.”

It’s got to be the power of suggestion, or maybe the power of Steve, because there Tony goes, blushing again. So, the most sensible thing to do is wrap his arms around Steve’s neck and pull him down to where he can catch his lips in a kiss. The sort of kiss that shuts him right up.

Tony’s hands start to wander halfway through it, from Steve’s neck down the smooth, flawless planes of his back, every muscle rippling when Tony’s fingers brush over it. He feels the soft material of Steve’s pants against his fingertips and gives them an impatient tug. Steve breaks the kiss for a nanosecond to ask, “You still want those gone?”

“Yes,” Tony says, not even trying to hide the miserably suppressed longing in that one word. “And the boxers, too. In case you’re wearing any.”

Steve smirks, and who knew downright mischievous was such a good look on him?

“Just how do you know I’m not?”

Tony’s mouth actually falls open. It was supposed to be a joke, and now look at that.

“Wait,” he says slowly, “you’re telling me you’re going commando under those PJs? Are you serious?”

Steve shrugs. “I mean, who knows? Maybe I sleep in the nude and just threw those on before coming up? Luckily for you, there’s an easy way to find out.”

Steve takes Tony’s hand and slowly, carefully, guides it down between his legs, giving him enough time to back out. But Tony doesn’t need an out, especially not when he can’t remember the last time he’s wanted anything as much as he wants Steve Rogers right now.

Tony gasps when his hand meets Steve’s length, hot and throbbing and so big through his pajamas. He doesn’t need more incentive after that, just hooks his fingers under the waistband of Steve’s pants and yanks them down. He gets until mid-thigh, where Steve—bless him—takes care of the rest.

Captain America, Steve, is on top of Tony, completely and utterly naked. Tony doesn’t know how he’s still managing to stay conscious at this point.

“Wow,” he says. “Just . . . Wow, Steve. I know you hear that all the time, but shit, you’re really, really gorgeous.”

If Tony’s not mistaken, and he could be considering Steve’s dick just twitched at the compliment and his brain might have had a very brief short because of it, it’s Steve who’s blushing now. It’s one of the views that instantly makes ‘Steve’s Greatest Hits’ list, and that one’s reserved for the best of the best.

“Fuck, Tony,” he says, and it makes Tony tingle all over, because Steve only ever curses when he means it. “I want you. God, I want you so much.”

Tony swallows, and then frees his legs from under Steve to wrap them back around his waist, where they belong.

“Glad to hear we’re on the same page. Now take my pants off, please. I want to be naked with you.” It comes out quiet and breathless, and that’s because for all his nonchalance, this is still Steve right here in bed with him, sans clothes. Ergo, Tony has the right to be a teeny, tiny bit nervous.

Steve flicks his tongue against Tony’s nipple as he pops the button on his jeans. Tony’s hips come off the bed and he’s moaning; moaning as if this is the first time somebody is touching him.

“Oh, oh,” he says, “Do that again?” And because he’s too far gone to think about revealing a major weakness of his, he adds, “That’s kind of a really good spot for me. Spots, plural.”

“I bet you never knew about my thing for those, did you?” Steve says before he’s circling Tony’s nipple with the tip of his tongue. He’s so careful with it, so reverent. It feels just as good as Steve looks doing it.

“Your thing for my nipples? Tell me everything.”

Steve nods and kisses Tony’s nipple while he’s still smiling, which makes for a truly stunning sight. Then he replaces his lips with his fingers, which are every bit as adept.

“There are those times when they delineate through your tank top,” Steve says, pinching lightly as if to recreate the image, “and then there are those times where you just lift your shirt and tuck it under your chin to fuss with the arc reactor, and they’re right there, on full display. While I’m sitting across from you, having breakfast.”

That’s where Steve twists both of Tony’s nipples, as if to reprimand him. And Tony only pushes his chest further into Steve’s touch, about lost to the crescendo of more, more, more thrumming through his body.

“Well, I—ah!—guess I can be a bit of a tease sometimes,” Tony concedes, “So, does this mean you like my nipples with your morning cereal?”

He would’ve fluttered his eyelashes and wiggled his brows for good measure, but then Steve growls. He actually growls, and it’s so. Fucking. Hot. He wraps his hand around Tony’s jeans and rips them clear off, boxers and all. Where Tony’s thought the primal, possessive growling was hot, this takes hot to a whole new level. Nobody’s ever made Tony feel this wanted before, this desirable. Like there’s not even enough time to undo a fly and get off a pair of jeans the regular way.

Steve kisses his way down Tony’s body, a trail of wet, hot licks and softer-than-silk lips that ought to leave marks on his skin with how good it feels, before he stops an agonizing inch away from Tony’s cock.

“So, what’s the plan?” Steve asks. His lips are wet and swollen and there’s the single-minded purpose in his eyes that never fails to make Tony shiver, no matter if they’re about to jump off the Quinjet or roll naked through the sheets together. The sight is almost enough to distract him away from answering Steve’s question.

“The plan? Well, the plan is . . .” And this is where Tony trails off. Who asks for a plan when it comes to sex? Right. Probably someone who’s never had sex.

Tony sits up so fast that Steve’s face gets mashed into his stomach and his cock bumps into the underside of his chin (which, ugh, nice). Tony’s heart breaks a little when he witnesses Steve’s expression morph from unambiguous arousal to unambiguous concern.

“Is something wrong?” is the next question out of his mouth. “Did I—”

“Steve. Baby.” Okay, nope. Now’s not the time to dwell on how natural that felt, calling Steve baby outside the privacy of his mind. “Before we do this, there’s something we should talk about.”

Steve sits back on his heels, but that’s too much distance for Tony, so he makes freaking grabby hands (at Captain America) and is only satisfied when he’s back to straddling Steve’s lap and they’re seeing eye to eye.

Tony makes a point to ignore the way their cocks rub against each other between them or how Steve’s lightly dusted, bare thighs feel against his just as bare ass, and gives Steve great credit for doing the same. Biting that lush bottom lip, however, he does. As well as the lip licking right after, which should be declared a weapon in and of itself.

“So . . . what did you want to talk about?” Steve asks. “I don’t mean to be impatient, but . . . well, I am getting kinda impatient here.”

Where Steve’s patience is wearing thin, Tony’s is non-existent. But that doesn’t change the fact that this right here, this conversation, needs to be had.

“Well, I was wondering . . . how new are you to this?”

“New? What do you mean?”

And because Tony’s Tony, blunt to a fault, he asks, “I mean, is this is your first time since 1943?”

Steve blinks—once, twice—then blushes and looks away. “No.”

Tony takes Steve’s face between his hands and makes Steve look at him. “Steve Rogers, are you lying to me right now?”

“No,” he says again. “It’s not my first time since 1943.”

Tony thinks. “O-kay. Do I get another question?”

Because now, Tony has to know. If he isn’t about to be Steve’s first in the new age, it must’ve been someone else. Someone Tony knows, most likely. And geez, where is all of this even coming from? He tries to make himself believe that’s curiosity burning in his chest, even when he damn well knows it’s something else; something he can’t put a label on, because he’ll be damned before he’s getting jealous over Steve (and admit to getting jealous over Steve).

Steve’s the first to crack under the intangible no-touching-while-we’re-having-this-conversation rule when he leans in to press a trail of soft, open-mouthed kisses down Tony’s neck. He’s mouthing at the slant of his collarbone at the same time as he runs his palms up Tony’s sides, then down until they settle on the curve of Tony’s cheeks. His ass cheeks. That’s a good excuse for almost being sidetracked, again. It’s as if he’s trying to touch all reason out of Tony, something that works a little too well for comfort. And while Steve is a man of many talents, Tony’s got a serious case of tenacity going for him. “Is this your first time since July 4th, 1918?”

That earns Tony a smile. It’s small and shy and incredibly endearing, as well as enough confirmation for Tony to know he’s hit home.

“Gee,” Steve says on a sigh. “Why do I have to fall for the genius?”

“Because you obviously have great taste, but that’s beside the point here,” Tony says. “Steve, I—I don’t think I . . . I mean, I’m not sure if I’m the right one to . . . to . . . ”

“Be my first?” Steve whispers.

Tony nods. He’s surely not lacking in the self-confidence department, but this . . . this feels huge, and Steve deserves somebody good. Somebody who’s as good as him, or comes at least close. Not that Tony isn’t good sometimes, but Steve deserves better. More. Everything.

“Tony,” Steve says quietly. His lips whisper over the jut of Tony’s cheekbone, fingers sliding into his hair, and it’s really all Tony can do not to give in, to damn this sudden flare of good conscience to hell and take what he so desperately wants to be his.

“And here I thought that was my decision,” Steve says, lips nuzzling the corner of Tony’s mouth. “Because if it is, I want it to be you, Tony. I’ll always want it to be you.”

What is Tony supposed to say to that? No?

He presses Steve into the mattress and kisses him because he doesn’t know how not to. Tony is not sure he’s worthy of this much trust, but just the fact that Steve’s so implicitly offering it, to him, makes his heart soar and his head spin. It’s so much like flying, even when he’s grounded right here under Steve. Or maybe just because of it.

Tony moans when Steve’s hands settle on his waist, thumbs a lovely pressure on his hips. “I feel like,” Tony tries while he’s mouthing along Steve’s jawline, “I should say no. You know, because I am me and you are you, and I won’t say that this doesn’t feel right, because it does—at least to me—but because you could do so much better. Probably.”

Steve flips them around, so it’s Tony who finds himself pressed into the mattress. The imminent arousal has tapered off a while ago, but all that’s needed to make it ratchet back up with a vengeance is Steve between his legs.

“Better than you?” Steve whispers into Tony’s neck. “Now I know you’re not serious.”

“Ah, fuck, Jesus . . . I know that’s hard to believe, but—ah, Steve—I am actually serious.”

Steve is sparing no effort to get Tony to shut up. Nope, now he’s making a show of trailing the pads of his fingers down Tony’s chest, his stomach, the smattering of hair below his navel that leads to . . . mh, God. Yep, he’s doing it, he’s wrapping his large hand around Tony and stroking him to full hardness, which takes what? Around three point four pitiful seconds?

What can he say, he is trying, very hard, to talk some sense into Steve here, who’s apparently absolutely wild about giving his virginity to Tony Stark.

“I’m actually serious, too,” Steve says, his eyes never leaving Tony’s, not even when they keep fluttering shut every time Steve twists his hand on the upstroke. “I want this, Tony. I want you. Please. If nothing else, let me have this.”

There are so many things to consider before this can happen. There is, for example, discussing where it leaves them once tonight is over. How they move on from this, since it’s probably supposed to be a one off, even when it feels like anything but. What they are to each other after they have done one of those pesky little things that can’t be undone.

Yeah, there are about one million things that ought to be talked out before. Before Tony arches into Steve’s touch. Before he wraps his legs around Steve’s waist, before he reaches for Steve’s cock to return the favor.

The only problem is, Steve’s made it clear that he wants Tony. And Tony wants Steve, has wanted him for so long that it hurts. He’s with Steve on this, because he, too, is tired of fighting. So tired of denying himself what every piece of him is craving, of burying what refuses to stay down where it can’t reach him.

He flips them over and straddles Steve’s lap, hands splayed on his sweat-slick chest (which looks every bit as good as he’d always thought it would). “Please tell me you keep lube around here.”

Steve’s eyes light up like a Christmas tree. His hands hold onto Tony’s thighs just a little too rough, as if he’s afraid Tony might change his mind and walk out on him after all.

“I have Vaseline,” Steve breathes.

“Vaseline,” Tony echoes with a smirk on his lips, “Lube of the 1900s. Gotcha. Give it here.”

And Tony almost laughs, because of course. Using good ol’ Vaseline instead of a fancy, strawberry-scented, super-duper orgasmic lube of the twenty-first century is such a Steve thing. All that’s missing is Steve asking if Tony’s okay with bottoming, and solemnly offering himself in case he’s not.

“Are you okay with bottoming? I don’t want to just assume. I can bottom, too, if you prefer that.”

Yeah, okay. Right. Whoever doubted Steve Rogers is tantamount to all that’s right and good in the world should hear that.

“I’m very okay with bottoming when it’s you topping.”

Watching Steve scramble for his nightstand and the jar of Vaseline in it might just be the cutest thing Tony’s ever seen. The smile is still on his lips when Steve, flushed and gorgeous and so eager, offers the jar to Tony. Tony dips his fingers in until they’re covered nice and good, then takes Steve’s hand and smears most of the Vaseline over it until his long, pretty fingers are slick and glistening.

Then he closes his eyes and feels—feels Steve’s accelerated breathing, his fingers as they touch the small of his back on his way down to Tony’s ass. He bites back a gasp when Steve’s fingers slip in between his cheeks, brushing his opening a millisecond later.

Just this, and Tony feels like proving all those scientists wrong who think that spontaneous self-combustion isn’t a thing.

Steve circles his entrance with the pad of his finger. Then he’s gently pressing against it.

“Okay?” he whispers.

“Okay,” Tony whispers back.

He pushes in and Tony moans. Before he knows it, he’s rocking back on Steve’s hand, craving more of him, anything he’s willing to give.

Steve’s unoccupied hand is caressing Tony everywhere he can reach, his thigh, his hip, the length of his arm. Tony’s so turned on that he’s leaking precome on Steve’s abs, but he can’t be bothered to care when Steve slips a second finger inside and crooks it in that perfect angle that makes him brush Tony’s prostate right off the bat. For all the strength simmering underneath that gorgeous skin of his, he’s nothing but soft and sweet and gentle—so gentle for someone who’s got superhuman pumping through his veins. It makes Tony feel as if he matters, as if he’s delicate and precious. As if he’s worthy of being worshipped like Steve is worshipping him.  

“Fuck,” Tony groans. “How is there nothing you’re not good at?”

Steve has the audacity to smile his drop-dead gorgeous smile and do the thing with his fingers again, bringing Tony down on top of him with an ungraceful plunge and a drawn-out moan. But does that make him stop? No. It does not.

“It’s you,” Steve whispers into Tony’s ear before he gives the lobe a playful tug with his teeth, “and every single time I’ve pictured myself doing this with you. That, and a few long nights spent on very extensive research.”

So Tony’s not the only one who’s having fantasies. That’s . . . unexpected. It’s one thing to have wet dreams starring Captain America, but another to have Captain America return the favor.

“Give me another finger,” he says, voice almost unrecognizable under the abundance of urgency and need. “Come on, I want to feel you.”

There’s the sweet burn Tony knows and welcomes when Steve complies, the tight stretch that’s almost too much to bear, and Tony relishes it, because it’s just the foretaste that makes his mouth water for the main course. He rocks back on Steve’s hand, fucking himself open on his fingers and sliding off long before he’s loose enough, because the fact that it’s Steve under him means he can only wait so long.

“Tony,” Steve breathes, eyes glazed over and lips parted. “You’re beautiful.”

Tony’s smiling when he kisses Steve. “You want beautiful? Just wait until you get inside me.”

Now Steve’s smiling, too, so soft and reverent that it makes Tony’s toes curl and his heart go off in a way he can’t blame the arc reactor for. He takes a deep breath and sits up, chest wet where it’s been pressed to Steve’s. He reaches back and takes Steve’s cock in hand, which is hot and heavy and so incredibly hard, and guides it between his cheeks. Steve holds his breath, fingers digging into Tony’s hips. Tony loves to tease, and the bedroom is no exception. He moves Steve’s wet cock back and forth over his slick entrance, just slow enough for the tip to catch on his rim every now and then.

“Tony,” Steve all but whines, “Please . . .”

And there it is again with the patience, because even where he’s meant to tease until Steve’s begging, Tony can’t resist letting him slip in just a couple inches, just enough for them both to feel it, and then he’s riding the crown of Steve’s thick length and trying not to be the one who’s doing the begging.

“Oh, Jesus Christ,” Tony curses when he takes a bit more, “You’re huge.”

“S-sorry,” Steve stammers. Only he would apologize for being well-stocked. “Does it hurt? Do you want me to—?”

“Stay still and give me a few moments to adjust? Yes, that would be great, thank you.”

Steve makes it his mission not to move a muscle. It’s really only his eyes that keep track of every little thing Tony does. Tony bites his lip as he goes all out, sinking down on Steve and not stopping until he bottoms out with a low moan. The second Steve’s all the way in, Tony feels like coming. Just from the sheer beauty that is Steve inside him, filling him to the brim, forcing him open until he feels like splintering to pieces. When he opens his eyes, his nails are just done leaving red scratches all over Steve’s chest.

“Sorry, couldn’t help myself.” He laughs, momentarily overwhelmed by the moment, by this. “It’s because you feel . . . fuck, you feel incredible. So good, Steve, so fucking good.”

Steve catches Tony’s hands in his before he can move them away to avoid further damage.

“Don’t,” he says softly. “I know they’ll heal too fast, but I like seeing you do that. For however long it lasts.”

Tony runs his thumb over Steve’s supple bottom lip. “I do, too.”

Steve groans loudly when Tony tests the waters by rolling his hips. He feels unbelievably stuffed, stretched open and just on the good side of too full. He takes a few more deep breaths, and then begins riding Steve in earnest. He’s hyperaware of his surroundings, from the beads of sweat trickling down the back of his neck, to the way Steve’s thighs flex whenever Tony takes him in all the way. There’s concentration etched into his gorgeous features, blond hair sticking to his forehead, lips kissed red and swollen.

“Tony, Tony, Tony,” he chants. “You . . . You’re amazing, so good. Oh god, I’m gonna—I’m gonna—”

Tony groans in response. Words keep evading him at this point. It’s now that he understands what Bruce meant by feeling like a raw nerve, because everything’s reduced to sensation and he’s helpless not to take the brunt of it all. Steve’s hands are everywhere, digging into his thighs, wrapping around his neck to pull him in for a sloppy kiss, holding onto his hips to take control of their rhythm when Tony can’t.

Tony’s legs start aching with exertion, but he keeps going. He’s so close, soclose, to coming untouched all over those fucking exquisite abs—

—And then Steve does his mind reader thing again, because he flips them over, wraps Tony’s legs around himself and pins his hands to the mattress, all in one fell swoop.

“Fuck, that was hot,” Tony gasps.

“I gotta at least try to keep up with you,” Steve says, smiling what Tony has labeled the ‘People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive’ smile. There’s the ‘go, team’ smile, too, as well as the ‘hi, Tony’ smile and the ‘I understood that reference’ smile, in case anyone was wondering.  

“Well, throwing me around is a good start. I really like that,” Tony pants. It’s about then that he really, really craves Steve’s lips back on his.

“And I really like when you let me,” Steve gasps in between one particularly hard thrust and the next.

Tony slings his arms around Steve’s neck and pulls him into a kiss that’s all tongues and teeth, all sloppy, all perfect. This is how he wants to come, with Steve kissing him as if it’s the first and last time he gets to do it.

One more thrust, one more kiss, and he does. He comes first and it’s sublime. There’s warmth filling him from the roots of his hair to the tips of his toes. His body goes blissfully lax under Steve, all he can manage is to keep kissing him, to keep holding on as pleasure crosses the line to overstimulation, which is a whole new kind of high. Steve’s chasing his release like a man on a mission, all gorgeous persistence and white knuckles. Maybe now’s the time to test the theory whether Steve’s really as much of a romantic as Tony thinks he is. It turns out that yes, he is, because when Tony curls his hand around the back of his neck and brings him in for a kiss that’s as sweet as sugar, Steve shivers and moans like no tomorrow.  

So Tony takes it a step further and bites Steve’s bottom lip, and that’s what does it. Steve comes with their hands tangled together, Tony’s name on his lips and Tony falling in love with the sound of it.

 


 

It’s hours and a brightening sky later when Tony wakes up, really wakes up, because whatever magical spell they’d been under? It’s broken and he’s supposed to get up and go back to his quarters, do his thing. Move on. He could ask Steve for morning sex and Steve would say yes, but that’s only putting off the inevitable. For all their pillow talk earlier, they never made any promises. And that’s okay. It’s fine.

“Steve?” he whispers into the dim light of the room.

Tony’s tucked into the crook of Steve’s neck, who is wrapped around him without an inch to spare, legs tangled together and one heavy arm thrown around his middle. Tony notes that Steve looks prettier than ever when he’s freshly fucked and passed out from it.

“Steve, wake up,” Tony tries again, this time emphasizing his point by gently shaking Steve’s shoulder.

Tony doesn’t want to sneak out in secret when Steve’s still asleep, like he’s done with so many of his one night stands in the past. Even when this might not be more than that, it feels like it. It feels like so much more. But the sudden streak of feelings and mush and not-wanting-this-to-be-over-yet is a problem for future Tony to deal with.

“Steve!” Tony really didn’t plan on resorting to it, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so he twists Steve’s nipple and barely stifles his laugh when those blue eyes fly open on a very adorable, very un-Captain-America-like shriek.

“Good morning,” Tony says with all the innocence he can muster.

Steve’s eyes lose their sleepy haze and then they’re focusing on Tony. It’s safe to say Tony will never get over that particular shade of blue, especially not when it’s zeroed in on Tony like it is now.

“Why don’t you ever do that when I’m awake?” Steve is all smiles. Tony thinks he could be a morning person if Steve’s smiles are among the first things he sees upon waking up. Lazy smile with a dash of mischief and a bedhead to die for, to be exact. That’s something else Tony can add to his list of Memories Never To Be Forgotten, waking up in Steve’s arms and seeing him be this beautifully stripped version of himself for Tony to see, where he’s bare in every sense of the word.

“Because,” Tony says, “we’re usually not alone when we’re awake and uh, Steve, does this mean you want me to twist your nipples in front of the team? How kinky of you. I’m scandalized. And turned on.”

Steve is shaking with laughter, which sounds lovely and feels even better when it’s rippling across Tony’s side, where Steve’s pressed against him.

“Glad to see you’re as diverting as ever,” he huffs. When he pulls Tony close and kisses him—the too soft, too reverent sort of kiss that makes Tony think he could be so much more than a one off for a sleepless night—it’s the first time that it hurts. Damn, Tony really doesn’t want this to be over yet.

“I’m going to ignore the very obvious air quotes in there and just thank you, Steve,” he says seriously, and because Tony apparently has a knack for being reckless and hurting himself in the process, he kisses Steve back.

One kiss turns into two, then three, then a dozen. They’re going from lazy and sweet to hungry and frantic, hands grappling for bare skin, eyes fluttering shut on quiet moans and soft pants.

Tony rolls on top of Steve, pinning him to the mattress. Steve tests his hold, meeting no leeway. His eyes are alight with a lovely, playful sparkle.

“This all you got?” Tony asks as he watches Steve trying to twist his wrists out of Tony’s grasp.

Steve smirks. “Look who still got enough energy to be cocky. And here I thought I’d successfully tired you out for a change.”

The real cocky reply Tony’s got on the tip of his tongue never makes it out when Steve hooks an ankle around Tony’s calf and pulls his legs out from under him. Tony falls with a—yeah, okay, let’s be honest—with a squeal, and Steve takes advantage of the moment to flip them over. He puts his full, utterly glorious body weight on Tony, who hadn’t been aware he had a strength kink, but there it is. He tries pushing up against Steve, but when Captain America means business, even Tony doesn’t stand much of a chance.

“Okay, time out,” Steve says.

Tony wiggles under him, earning a mock-scolding glare from Steve. “Do you think you can be good for a minute? I’m trying to say something here.”

And of course, Tony can. It turns out he can do anything when Steve’s the one who’s asking. “The floor is yours, Cap.”

“Much obliged,” he murmurs. Tony watches as Steve’s cheerful smile gets infinitesimally smaller, until it’s making room for his okay, playtime’s over expression.

“Thank you, Tony. For doing this for me. With me.”

It’s with such sincerity that even when Steve releases Tony’s pinned wrists to cup Tony’s face instead, Tony is too stunned to move.

“S-sure,” he breathes. “The pleasure was all mine.” Trust me.

Steve smiles down at him, fingertip tracing Tony’s goatee. “If I wanted to kiss you right now, would you let me?”

Tony’s heart is pounding. Just how is someone like Steve Rogers allowed to say something like that? There ought to be some law against being too . . . too . . . hell, too good.

“That depends,” he says, though it sounds weak even to his own ears. “Do you want to?”

Steve doesn’t even tease by holding out on him.

“Yes,” he says, leaning in slowly. “I really, really want to.”

Instead of a proper reply, Tony closes the last bit of distance between them and touches his lips to Steve’s. It stays just beneath the desperate line this time. Instead, it’s a little too soft, a tad too final, so much that Tony finds himself thinking that this is it, this is their goodbye. Oh, he wants to be ready for it so bad, even when he knows he’s not. He’s so not ready to say goodbye to Steve, to this, whatever this is.

It feels like an out-of-body experience when Tony kisses Steve a last time before he pushes away. His body’s hurting in a way that’s got only little to do with being well-used as he crouches down to pick up his clothes and get dressed. Looking at Steve always comes with a certain element of stunning, but right now, it’s tripled in intensity. And Tony can’t—can’t look, can’t see how stunning turns into overpowering.  

Tony’s at the door when he hears his name, quiet and strained. He turns around, wishing, praying, Steve will say something to keep him from walking through this door. To make him stay.

But Steve only looks at him, lips opening and closing, his features caught in a mixture of please don’t go and it’s okay, this is how it’s supposed to be that looks as pained as Tony feels.

“See you around, Cap,” Tony says, the thank you he’s meant to add dying in his throat for reasons that are most certainly not the tears gathering in his eyes.

And Tony walks, down the hallway, so fast that it’s just shy of running. He’s trying so hard to make himself believe he’s more composed than he really is, trying to fight down the whirlwind in his head and the squeezing around his heart. And the tears. Damn, those tears, they just won’t stop their stupid gathering.

He rounds the corner and almost heaves a relieved sigh when his workshop comes into view. His hand is reaching out for the keypad, but before his fingers can touch it, someone grabs his shoulder and turns him around to pin him up against the wall.

“Tony,” Steve says, and are those tears in his eyes, too? “Stay,” his voice breaks off, so he says it again, “Stay with me. Please.”

“Steve, I don’t know if that’s . . .” Oh, shove it, Stark. Steve’s the one who’s voiced what he couldn’t, and he wants to stay, wants it so much. He’s not going to tell him all the reasons why he shouldn’t, not now that they have come to this point. “People will talk.”

“I don’t care. All I care about is not having to watch you walk out on me without knowing that it’s okay to carry you off to my room whenever I want to.”

Tony smiles. Then he pulls Steve in by the waistband of his pajama pants. “So, it’s the carrying off you’re after, huh?”

Steve laughs and grabs Tony’s waist, the weight and feel of his hands already imprinted on Tony’s skin.

“It’s part of it, yes,” Steve says, “but mostly, it’s because I might have just gotten hooked on first times with you. And as far as I know, there are a lot more of those to be had.”

Game, set and match. Tony’s gone, so irrevocably gone on this guy. He’s also blushing like a sweet tomato in the Italian summer sun and his heart is beating so hard that he’s sure Steve can feel it with the way Tony’s chest is pressed to his.

“Yes,” he whispers, looking up into Steve’s eyes. “I mean, I’d have to do some calculations, run a couple tests, but off the top of my head? I’d say millions. Millions more.”

“Go out with me?” Steve whispers back. “Today?”

“Important question in advance: do you kiss on the first date?”

A wide, genuine smile spreads over Steve’s lips. And that’s it, that’s Steve Rogers on a good day—a very good one even—because it’s blinding. It’s more breathtaking than ever. “I do with you. Since we’ve already established that I suck at resisting you.”

“And thank fuck for that,” Tony sighs against Steve’s lips before he kisses him. “I’d love to go out with you. Make that another first for us.”

“We should probably start making a list,” Steve says. “What are my chances of getting you to help with that?”

“Depends on what you’re planning to use as payment. My time’s basically unaffordable.”

Steve makes his pensive face for a moment. “How about you sit on my lap while you’re at it?”

He’s dead serious, and that’s really all that’s required to close the deal. “Jesus, now that’s not fair. How could I ever refuse that lap of yours?”

It’s playfully smug when Steve says, “You couldn’t.”

Ha! That’s it. Steve is reading his mind, because how else would he know that his lap has quite recently been promoted to Tony’s favorite place in the whole building?

“Okay,” Tony sighs. “Turns out my time’s affordable after all. For you, that is. Where do I sign?”

Steve smiles as he kisses Tony back, obviously wanting more kissing and less talking. Much more kissing. And that’s a good thing, because now, Tony doesn’t even have to make up an excuse for why he can’t. Now, he can.