Actions

Work Header

"Pickle"

Work Text:

It had started, as these things often did, with a woman.

“Get away from him!” Natasha screams as she barrels into Thor, crashing him headfirst into the icy tundra below.

Steve runs to check on Iron Man, who had suffered a direct hit from Mjolnir. Helping him to his feet, he shouts over the comms, “Natasha needs backup! Go! Keep him off balance! We can’t give him a chance to summon up the lightening!”

When Tony manages to stand on his own, Steve asks him, “Natasha this violent back home, Tony?”

“Only when I ask her nicely.”

 


 

A month later, Tony and Natasha tumble into bed with her holding him down, manhandling him into position, turning him on as she dominates his body.

And Tony is happy, incredibly so. For the first time in a long time, he forgets the cancer, Thor’s descent into madness, Banner’s execution, Steve’s murder of the Barton family, and the subsequent fracture of the Ultimates. He hears a commotion outside that Natasha implores him to ignore.

“Shh. Would you relax?” she whispers, her breath just ghosting over his.

“Oh no,” he replies coyly. They need to suit up and contact Fury. With so many of their number missing or incarcerated, it’s only them and Jan now.

She reaches under a pillow, pulling out a gun and holding it to his head, “Oh yes.”

Jarvis wanders in then, carrying a breakfast tray with the omelet and champagne Tony had asked him to prepare, prattling on in his trademark sarcastic wit as he is wont to do. “Master Tony, I’m afraid we didn’t have any ostrich eggs for breakfast, but I managed to find a quail’s egg and a rather good magnifying glass–”

Natasha puts a bullet between his eyes.

Tony tears up, still in disbelief this is happening. “Jarvis?”

She swings the gun back, pressing the hot muzzle against his temple. “Thanks for the laughs, comrade.”

 


 

It’s over.

Having been exposed as a double agent, Natasha is dead, killed by Hawkeye in revenge for her role in the deaths of his entire family.

Tony stands in his expansive office, looking out over the city as he cries to Pepper, “It’s Natasha. She broke my stupid heart.” He pounds the floor-to-ceiling window, forehead leaning against his arm, tears wetting the expensive fabric of his sleeves. “You know how little I usually care… dumping Christina by e-mail, Britney by skywriting, and breaking poor Jennifer’s heart just two weeks after what’s-his-name walked out… But Natasha was different. She could drink like a fish and was up for doing things I’d never even seen in the year I took off just to browse the internet.”

Tony had truly thought he had found the one in Natasha, someone who could keep up with him, the other half of his kinky soul. He continues, “She was like me with magnificent breasts and, as you know, that’s always been one of my ultimate fantasies. I fear, my dear, that I shall never–”

But then he spots her: the perfect rebound. Dispensing orders to his indispensible personal assistant – Never underestimate the healing power of a blonde, Miss Potts – he quickly sets about burying his sorrows over his ex-fiancé in the voluptuous bosom of an attractive stranger during a month-long retreat to his private mountain chalet.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Brunettes, blondes, redheads… his home is a revolving door of single-use sexual partners. He invites them back to his penthouse suite, fucks or is fucked by them, and they’re gone by morning, their names often fading from memory long before the bruises on his skin or the ache in his ass (if it had been that type of night).

Sometimes, he never even learns their names.

Like… Mateo? Maximo? It was definitely an M-something. The beast of a man, large and muscular with olive skin and slicked-up artfully-tousled dark hair, has him pinned to his couch. Tony had picked him up at a club sometime after his seventh or tenth drink and suggested they go somewhere private to get to know each other better, though with how drunk he is, it had probably come out as gibberish, but his intent was made clear when he had dragged Miles out the door and into a cab, directing them to Stark Tower.

“Ya know who I am,” he had slurred as he leaned heavily against Matias, drooling on the popped collar of the other man’s shirt. “Take me ‘ome.”

And that’s how he ended up on his couch, under Marco, his pants pulled down to his ankles and hanging off one leg and the man’s beefy hand wrapped around his neck.

“Squeesh ‘arder,” Tony mumbles, and the digits tighten, but it’s still not enough. “What’re you, a pussy?”

That does it.

The fingers press hard against his windpipe, constricting his breathing to practically nothing as the man squeezes, perhaps even in real anger with how Maverick is bearing down using two hands now. Tony reflexively claws at the other man’s wrists, but he’s floating, the feeling almost euphoric while he’s being crushed. He’s also painfully hard, his dick straining between the press of their bodies as Tony spasms and ruts against him.

Suddenly, Marcus is off him, both his hands and body entirely. Tony gasps in great lungfuls of sweet air, choking and sputtering, even as his partner’s abrupt absence leaves him feeling strangely bereft.

Then he hears it: a crunch, a groan, incoherent yelling. Still dizzy, disoriented, Tony props himself up by his elbows and just as quickly falls back onto the couch cushions, but he’s seen enough.

“The hell ya doin’?” he croaks, his voice raspy from his damaged throat. He massages it, feeling the beginnings of bruises and rubbing hard to revel in the dull pain.

Steve pauses, his bloodied fist pulled back in mid-swing as he holds Tony’s assailant up by the other clenched in his ruined shirt. The man is sporting two shiners, a broken nose and split lip. Two teeth have already cracked and fallen to the floor, blood pouring down his face and staining the Persian rug. Tony’s most recent paramour may have been pretty once, but he’ll need a lot of time and possibly a little plastic surgery to restore his looks after tonight.

Fuck; that means Tony will have to tell Pepper to cut Milo a check for medical expenses and a little extra for his trouble. She probably needs his real name for that, too. She’s going to be so disappointed in him, maybe even make that scrunched-up face that gives her premature lines in her forehead. It’s such a shame: Pretty woman like her, aging before her time due to Tony’s antics.

She deserves a raise.

To cover the botox she’ll inevitably need working for him.

And adding insult to injury, Tony is still hard. This night is quickly devolving into a clusterfuck but without any actual fucking. In short: a complete and utter disaster with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

“This man attacked you,” Steve states the obvious, his voice hard as he stares down his opponent, daring him to try something, to force Steve’s hand and make him put him down.

Tony sighs audibly, both hands messily scrubbing at his slack face. He wants to scream, if only his throat didn’t hurt so much. “I ash- asked ‘im to. Fuck, Steeb. I mean… can’t a man get ‘is rocks off without Cap’n Cockblock gettin’ in the way?”

“He was choking you.”

“Ever heard’a breathplay?” Tony counters, already knowing the answer. There’s no way Mr. 1940’s-Apple-Pie-Tightest-of-Tight-Assholes has ever considered the darker pleasures of–

“You’re way too drunk to consent to anything, much less something that dangerous. Do you even have a safe word or a nonverbal safe sign if it goes too far?”

Huh… guess you learn something new every day.

“Thought so,” but Steve lets Mason go, dropping him to the floor. “Get the hell out before I put your head through a wall,” he warns him.

Cradling his broken face, the man scurries away towards the elevator, leaving Tony and Steve alone.

There’s a beat of silence, then: “Let’s get you to bed, Tony.” He pulls Tony’s pants up but fails to re-fasten them, not with Tony slapping away his hands.

“Nuh uh. Ya owe me one orgasm, ash-hole,” Tony slurs. He tries to sit up but misses a handhold in his too soft cushions, his arms flailing as his liquor-limped fingers fail to grasp anything at all. He finally crosses his arms rather petulantly, ultimately deciding that he didn’t really want to move after all.

“You’re drunk,” Steve repeats, slipping an arm under Tony’s upper back and behind his knees to lift him up as they head towards Tony’s private elevator leading up to his living quarters. Tony looks around in confusion; somehow he and Marlon had ended up on the Avengers common area and not his private floor, which explains Steve’s intervention.

All is not lost yet. He gives Steve what he thinks is a coy smile. His semi-anonymous lover may be gone, but Steve’s still here, and dick is dick, so… “I can make it worth yer while, Cap’n Han-some.”

It doesn’t work. Steve barely acknowledges him, his jaw tightening fractionally. Tony frowns, rejection being a novel (and decidedly terrible) experience for him. Maybe his face isn’t right; he can’t quite feel his lips, so he doesn’t know if they are making the right shapes. Steve’s lips are awfully nice-looking though, so he tips up his head and presses his own to them, trying to correct the shape of his mouth using Steve’s as a template.

Steve freezes, turning away to break their kiss. “Stop that. You do not know what you are doing.”

“Oh, I know plenty. Want’a lesson, Cap? I can suck ya off better’an any o’ yer dames in the good ol’ days, or if that ain’t what yer after, my ass is nice an’ tight. Why don’t chu take it fer a spin, yeah?” Tony babbles, his eyes not quite focused on anything in particular. When the other man doesn’t immediately take him up on his offer, he mumbles, “Don’t knock it ‘til ya try it.”

Steve ignores him, entering the elevator and jostling him a bit to punch the button leading up to the penthouse suite.

Of course, that doesn’t stop Tony from talking. He is incapable of silence, even when he can barely manage coherence. “You ever try’a ash-hole? Is’a same, guy or gal, ya know.”

The elevator pings and opens into his private foyer. Steve heads towards his bedroom, still the picture of stoic resignation.

“Seriously though, have you fucked a man a’fore?” Tony continues, his head lolling to the side. “S’pose not, bein’ from the forties an’ so straight-laced. Prob’ly had sex with yer best gal through a hole in a sheet.”

Steve dumps him onto his bed, and Tony lands with a soft oof!

“Christ, don’t you ever shut up?” Steve says, completely exasperated.

Tony reaches out to caress the firm bulge in Steve’s pants with the back of his hand. Steve jumps back in surprise, but Tony simply chuckles. “Maybe not so straight after all.”

Steve sounds positively homicidal. “You should sleep on your side so you don’t drown in your own vomit.” Then he roughly rolls Tony into the correct position facing away from him.

Tony promptly flips onto his back to look blurrily up at the approximate location of Steve’s face. “You want’a stay an’ make sure I don’t die?”

“No.” Steve pushes him back onto his side. “Now stop squirming.”

“S’okay if I die. Dyin’ already, ya know. Two years. Two months. Tonight. Same diff’rence,” Tony mumbles, sad and subdued.

“…Fine, but if you try anything, I will murder you myself.” Steve strips off his own clothing, leaving his underclothes on and slipping under the sheets, not bothering to tuck in Tony or even throw a blanket on top of him. If he gets cold, he gets cold.

“Shleepover!”

“Shut up and go to sleep.”

 


 

It’s one of those mornings that makes Tony swear off drinking forever.

So, the kind that makes a liar out of him.

He smacks his lips, his mouth full of fetid cotton and head pounding with every sound dialed up to eleven. Tony’s entire body aches, but especially his throat. His eyelids flutter open, vision swimming before sharpening into too-bright focus. Of course, the visual feedback worsens his headache, so he squeezes them shut and groans. And then there’s the smell, sour and rancid.

Fuck, someone had vomited in his bed.

Carefully, he cracks open a crusty eye. Yep, that’s his own vomit, a conjecture confirmed by the distasteful flavor coating the interior of his mouth. He had thrown up all over his pillow and sheets. Excellent.

But then he notices a void in the circle of sick just as he registers the sound of his shower.

Fuck, he had company last night.

And he threw up on them.

He scrubs his face with his palms, his fingers crawling up to run through his hair, and sighs. This is going to be awkward. He’s supposed to be the Tony Stark: infamous playboy and notoriously generous lover; never one to call back, but the single night is ostensibly worth the temporary limp and limo ride of shame.

And he threw up on them.

He hears his anonymous hook-up cut the water in his shower, giving Tony approximately three to six minutes before they emerge, unsatisfied and supremely disappointed. He supposes he should at least change, but any movement on his part adds an entirely new dimension to his throbbing headache and inspires fresh waves of pain in muscles he always forgot he had between hangovers.

He hears the door slide open, so he angles his head to greet his one-time lover only to find–

“Steve?” He shoots up to a sitting position, only to fall back into his bed, hissing in pain.

The situation is much worse than he had imagined. A random person from the club is one thing – forgetting this ever happened being much easier if he never has to see the other party again – but Steve “Captain America” Rogers is his team leader, who he associates with on a regular basis. Not to mention, he lives with the man now, at least temporarily, ever since Steve and Jan broke up, and he had to move out of their shared Manhattan apartment. When Tony had offered him a place to crash, he had never imagined this as a possible outcome. It is an unmitigated disaster. The whole point of an anonymous hookup is that they stay anonymous and out of his life once he’s done with them. How could he be so stupid? How could this even hap–

Wait a minute. Isn’t Cap straight?

“You’re alive,” Steve deadpans. He doesn’t have to sound so disappointed.

“Yeah…” Tony groans, sitting up gingerly to peer over at the other man, dressed in yesterday’s crumpled pants with a towel casually draped around his neck, carrying his ruined undershirt balled up in one hand. “Tell me we didn’t–”

“We didn’t,” he confirms, all too quickly.

Thank God for small miracles.

“Then why are you here?”

“Don’t you remember?”

Slumping forward to prop his head up by an elbow resting on his thigh, Tony closes his eyes and massages his temple. “It’s a little fuzzy, so why don’t you refresh my memory?”

“You came home very drunk last night with a stranger who tried to choke you out,” Steve begins, and so far, that part makes sense to Tony, considering the state of his neck. Sometimes, he likes his ‘dates’ to get a little handsy with his throat; it is quite the high. “I thought he was attacking you, so I fought him off then tried to put you to bed. You insisted I stay, and I didn’t want you to drown in your own vomit in the middle of the night, so I obliged,” he continues, sounding unnecessarily judgmental to Tony’s ear. “You’re welcome, by the way.”

“Thanks, and sorry about the…” Tony waves at the shirt in Steve’s hand, still too mortified to give voice to the deed.

“Yeah, well, it’s nothing that won’t come out in the wash, but Tony, you may want to consider slowing down.”

“Well, not all of us have near-immortality or whatever your deal is,” he points out, his tone acerbic. “Life’s too short to live slow, darling.”

 


 

Later that same morning, after he has showered and called in maid service, Tony calls out to his new manservant, “I fancy some bacon-wrapped figs and an old-fashioned on this fine morning, Jarvis.”

“His name isn’t Jarvis,” Steve points out. He’s reading the morning paper, having long finished his cereal. “It’s William – don’t be rude – and should you really be drinking again?”

“Pay no heed to the Philistine. He knows nothing of the delights of an old-fashioned paired with smoky bacon,” Tony remarks lightly as he slides into his seat at the table. He doesn’t usually get into the hard liquors until afternoon, but it’s a special occasion, being a lazy Sunday after all. If he also happened to imbibe early on the other six days of the week… well, every day is a special occasion when you have so few of them left.

“Right away, sir,” William replies, pulling out the bacon.

Tony frowns, a touch petulantly. “What? No sassy backtalk, no witty repartee about my slave-driving ways? What has gotten into you today, Jarvis? Are you not feeling well?”

“Um… I will have your breakfast right away, Master Tony, before you pull out the whip again?” Not-Jarvis tries, but the effort falls flat.

“You should stop sexually-harassing your employees,” Steve supplies, rather unhelpfully, as he turns a page. The paper makes a crisp crinkling snap when he fluffs it out.

Tony sighs. “Just make my drink first. Take your time on the figs.”

 


 

Overall, Steve isn’t a bad houseguest. He keeps the guest room clean, washes his own dishes, and gives Tony his much-needed space, choosing to listen to his records or the odd baseball game on the radio, read, or draw in his ever-present sketchbook on his spare time.

Tony could do without the (sometimes-not-so-quiet) condemnation of his life choices though.

“Natalie is a lovely woman,” Steve tells him the following week while Tony is busy optimizing the Iron Man suit. He’s down to a twenty-man crew for maintenance and deployment, but he knows he can automate more of the processes to slim it down even further.

Tony pauses, his fingers hovering over his keyboard as he searches his memory for a Natalie and comes up empty. “Who?”

Steve raises an eyebrow at that, his mouth forming a hard thin line. “The woman you had over just last night. I met her this morning. She is a kindergarten teacher who loves gardening and does Judo three times a week. She’s working on her next belt,” he explains before suggesting, “You should call her.”

Pass.

“If you like her so much, you should call her. Far be it for me to stand in the way of true love.” Tony isn’t sure if there’s a 1945 version of the bro code, but if Steve is asking permission, then he has it. Tony wouldn’t even recognize her if Steve wanted to bring her around for a romp in the sack, reducing any awkwardness. For him, that is, and isn’t that what’s truly important?

“…You are a cad.”

Tony shrugs. “Never pretended to be anything else, darling.”

 


 

Tony is throwing a little get-together, inviting the remaining Ultimates over for dinner. With Natasha dead, Hank locked up, and Bruce still on the run after his botched execution, it’s a rather somber affair. Thor is still apologetic about the whole Loki fiasco, assuring the rest of them that his brother is spending his days locked in an inescapable Asgardian prison cell. Jan and Steve are surprisingly civil. Tony almost wishes he could be on half as good terms with his exes, but then he remembers most of his exes were never good company anyway, and his most recent is Natasha, the one responsible for much of their turmoil. Remembering her is a surefire way to kill his mood. He supposes it would be easy for Jan and Steve to get along. Both of them are smart; neither is crazy; and they still have to work together.

And then there’s Barton. He is quiet for most of the evening, depressed over the deaths of his wife and all three of their children. He has been living in the barracks of the rebuilt Triskelion, unable to step back into his family home. Merely looking at the kitchen reminds him of Callum shot right in front of him, his eyes wide and terrified with an exit wound clean between them.

“You should just move in here,” Tony tells him, calling Jarvis to pour him another glass along with refills for his guests. “Hell, Steve already lives here. I have the space, and it’s more homey than a renovated government facility. In fact, everyone who wants is invited to stay. I can write off my place as a business expense, and it will cut down on time needed to assemble.”

Barton accepts, as does Thor, but only when he’s not in Asgard. Jan keeps her Manhattan apartment, which… the whole reason Steve moved in to the Tower was to give her space, so that makes sense.

Afterwards, when Jan and Thor have left and Barton has gone back to the barracks to pack, Steve approaches Tony.

“That was a real nice thing you did there, opening up your home to all of us,” he says warmly, sitting down on the seat next to him.

“Yeah, well… it’s nothing. Jarvis just has to prepare more guest rooms, purchase more food, and make arrangements for more maid service,” Tony says, unused to gratitude from the man. “I’m sure he can handle it.”

“…You know his name is not actually Jarvis, right?”

Tony takes another gulp from his glass. “Look, I pay him very well,” he says, suddenly, inexplicably annoyed. “The work isn’t particularly hard. If I want to call him Jarvis, I’m sure he doesn’t mind.”

Tony was never meant to outlive Jarvis; he was never meant to outlive anyone, not with his terminal diagnosis, but life is funny like that. One minute, you’re improvising an ostrich-egg omelet with a wisecrack about magnifying quail eggs, and the next you have a bullet in your brain. Blink out of existence, just like that. No rhyme or reason to it at all.

Steve is quiet, thoughtful. “I’m not dying, you know–”

“Everyone’s dying, darling, but some of us are on the express train,” Tony quips, he drains his glass and reaches over to pull the half-full bottle closer, topping himself off.

Steve eyes the wine but says nothing about Tony’s over-indulgence. “Well… that’s fair, and though I can’t relate to how quickly it’s coming for you – which must be scary I’m sure – I do know a thing or two about losing the people I love. You don’t get used to it. It’s terrible and some days, you can’t remember how to breathe. It’s crushing every time you think about it–”

“Is this your idea of a pep talk, Cap? Because you’re usually much better at these.”

“It will continue to hurt every time you think about it,” he repeats, probably for emphasis, “but over time, you will think about it less and less. It’s still painful, yes, but it takes up a little less of the day with every day that passes, so in a sense, it does get a little easier with time.”

Tony is silent for a beat before admitting, “I asked him to, you know,” he swirls the wine and watches the legs fall gracefully down the crystal sides. “I asked him to bring us breakfast in bed. If I hadn’t or if I had just been a little quicker with activating Natasha’s nanites, I could have saved him. He didn’t have to die.”

“It wasn’t your fault, Tony.”

It was, of course it was, but– “You know, when you say it, I can almost believe that.”

“Because it’s true. It wasn’t your fault,” Steve repeats. “It was never your fault.”

Tony brings the glass to his lips and drinks. He isn’t sure if the warmth spreading over his chest is from Steve’s belief in his innocence or the alcohol – probably both – but it’s a nice sentiment, coming from someone like Steve.

 


 

Things become more complicated after that.

Tony doesn’t often get Biblical, but living with Steve Rogers is to know what it was like for Eve in the Garden of Eden. Not whatever her relationship was with Adam – she was formed from a piece of him so that makes him like her creepy dad, right? – but to look at that goddamn apple every day and wonder what it would be like to take a bite.

Steve is in Tony’s home gym, working over a reinforced punching bag, specifically designed for superhumans. Tony is cycling behind him, facing away from him but watching in a full-wall mirror as the muscles in that perfect ass clench and relax with every strike.

Tony is dying, not blind. Steve is attractive: tall and muscular but not outrageously so in a showy way. He has a leading man’s face topped by blonde hair always in a perfectly slicked coif. And then there are his eyes: clear blue and so self-assured. Tony wonders what they’d do if he dropped to his knees and took Steve’s stupidly-perfect dick into his mouth – would they widen in surprise or become fiery with lust?

Really, it’s a crying shame Steve is as straight as the proverbial stick lodged up that perfect apple-shaped ass.

 


 

Tony may not be able to ever have Steve, but David is blonde and vaguely Steve-shaped with his same square jaw. Of course, the face framed by that jaw isn’t quite right, the voice is all wrong, and the hands on his hips are trembling and uncertain. But he’s a better approximation than the last two, and as long as he shuts up and the room is sufficiently dim, Tony can pretend.

“You like that, baby?” David groans as he thrusts, pushing deep into Tony at a decent rhythm.

“Shh, darling,” Tony breathes out, gently reminding him of the rules of this little encounter, “No talking, remember?”

 


 

Tony wakes the following morning, and David is gone. He figures that’s for the best. It’s always harder to maintain the illusion in the brilliant light of day while sober, and what would his houseguests, especially real Steve, think if they saw his latest hook-up? As they say: once is chance, twice a coincidence, but third is a pattern. Tony will have to branch out. Diversify. Maybe a brunette next time? One with Steve’s eyes, of course, so Tony can approximate the look Steve would make when Tony sucks his dick.

Unfortunately, David isn’t quite as gone as he had initially hoped.

“I have to say, I’m a big fan, Mr. Captain America, sir,” David is telling Steve over a breakfast muffin as Tony stands frozen in the doorway. “People are always saying we look alike, you know. I even got my hair cut like your’s. Took your picture from the paper straight to the barber and told him it was exactly what I wanted.”

Steve takes a glance at his hair, noting the length and liberal use of product.  “Military Regulation Cut, circa 1945?”

So Tony had picked up a Captain America fan boy. Wonderful.

“You’re funny. Anyone ever tell you that?” David gushes, and Tony hopes the cancer takes him in the next five seconds. “Say, how much can you bench?”

“Twelve hundred.”

“That’s amazing. I’m still at 350, you know, but I’m only a mere mortal, so…” he shrugs. “I know this is kind of weird, but would it be cool if I got your autograph? The guys at the gym aren’t going to believe this one,” David says before finally noticing his host. Tony resolutely enters the dining area, having made the executive decision to not be embarrassed. “Oh hey, babe. I didn’t know you lived with Captain America. Do all the Ultimates live here?”

“No, just Steve and Hawkeye, but he’s probably still sleeping,” because Barton sleeps in on Saturdays like a normal person. “Sometimes Thor, when he’s on-world,” Tony replies stiffly. He needs David gone, preferably an hour ago, but beggars can’t be choosers.

“And the twins?”

“They come and go…” he says distractedly before segueing into the meat of the matter. “So, um… it’s been great, but I have to get back to work – Utimates business, you understand – I can call you a limo…”

“No need for the song and dance, man. Last night was fun, but I get it. You’re busy,” David waves him off. “Captain, it’s been an honor,” he salutes him, “And Tony, give me a call, okay?”

Of course Tony nods his agreement because he is a liar who hates when confrontation pollutes his romantic endeavors.

In short order, Tony calls for a private car, and David leaves, so it’s just Tony, Steve, and the awkward silence between them. Again.

“So… David seems nice,” Steve begins, rather diplomatically.

Tony is not in the mood. “Don’t you get started on that again. If I want to fuck my way through half of New York’s scene without any repeats, then that’s my prerogative.”

“I wasn’t going to say that,” he hedges, “But I was going to point out that he looks mighty familiar.”

“Don’t flatter yourself,” Tony scoffs. “He looks nothing like you.”

“I didn’t say he looked like me, but I see you have noticed the similarities between us,” Steve comments, and Tony realizes he’s been caught. “Third look-alike this week in fact.”

Fuck. Well, there’s no point denying the obvious.

“Is that a problem, Steve?” Tony challenges him, already bristling at the other man’s outdated homophobia. This is proof right here that nothing can ever happen between them. He grabs an apple from the central fruit basket, forgoing anything more substantial. “It’s not 1945 anymore. If two men want to spend a little quality time together, that isn’t license for you to kick their teeth in.” He takes a bite, chewing obnoxiously.

“Oh, I am well aware of the social changes of the last sixty years, but I was going to suggest that instead of screwing your way through a string of copies, why don’t you try out the real thing?”

Tony’s brain short-circuits. “…Pardon?” He can’t possibly be suggesting…

“You heard me.”

“But… but you’re from the forties,” Tony protests, completely flabbergasted. “What about Gail? Jan?”

Steve lifts a brow at that. “And what about Natasha and Natalie?” he counters. “You think your generation invented switch-hitters? People have always been people, Tony.”

“Okay, fair point, but back to your original suggestion: You’re saying you want to… with me?”

“Why not? You are an attractive man, and you clearly have a type,” Steve gives him a slow once-over, obviously finding him acceptable, perhaps even alluring. “So, I think you and I should have a go. What do you say?”

Tony should plan it out. If this is his only shot with Steve, then he wants to make it good. Memorable. Rose petals on the bed and the extra-special bottle of wine, the one he had been holding off drinking for a special occasion, like when they discover the cure for cancer or he has an especially good hair day. Or maybe he’ll take Steve on a last-minute trip to the Villa North Island in Seychelles, have Pepper call ahead to book his regular lodgings.

Instead, he opens his mouth and says, “I’m not doing anything right now.”

Steve gives him a look and shrugs. “Alright.”

They’re already riding the elevator up to his penthouse suite by the time Tony remembers. His bedroom is in shambles: sheets unmade and probably covered in dried body fluids from his most-recent encounter with his third Steve doppelganger, ripped condom wrappers and different lube bottles – flavored and non – strewn about, some probably open and leaking on the hardwood, not to mention his room has not had time to properly air out.

The elevator pings, opening to his floor. “On second thought, maybe we should go to your room.”

Steve looks perplexed. “But we’re already here, Tony.”

And really, how can Tony argue with that logic?

So instead, Tony tips up his chin to capture Steve’s lips in a kiss, and Steve freezes. Tony thinks perhaps he’s being too forward, but then the man melts, returning his fervor even as his technique remains awkward and stilted. Tony leads Steve to the couch, pushing him down before planting one knee on either side and crawling onto his lap, grinding his ass against the other man’s clothed erection and making a mental note to have Jarvis call in the upholstery cleaners later.

But Steve doesn’t even try to undress him, nor does he make any effort to undress himself, only pushing Tony back towards his knees so he can unpop his fly and pull out his uncut dick like he’s at a public urinal, which… okay, maybe he sort of is, considering how much Tony gets around. It hasn’t even been a full day since what’s-his-name was having his turn, but Tony is way too shameless to feel bad about it… much. He’s here to have a good time, not feel self-conscious about whether he stacks up to the paragon of virtue that is Steve “surprisingly slutty” Rogers.

Tony’s lube is in the bedroom, and he doesn’t carry any on his person, so he slides off Steve’s lab entirely, knocks the man’s knees apart, and inserts himself between them, grasping his dick to lick a stripe up the underside. Steve sucks in a breath, twisting his fingers in Tony’s hair but not applying any downward pressure as Tony presses wet kisses up his shaft, tongue messily massaging his dick before swirling around the seam under the head while pumping firmly with one hand. When he swallows it down, taking his dick as deep as he can go and stroking the base, he looks up at Steve to see his eyes have gone half-lidded, his breathing quickened, and damn, now Tony knows exactly what Steve looks like when he’s getting a blowjob. He files that away into his mental spank bank for later, and returns to pleasuring Steve, his hands massaging his inner thighs and reaching under his shirt to glance the trembling muscles of his stomach, venturing even further upward to tease his nipples erect.

Steve is making muffled little noises as he bites his lip against his groans, and Tony wonders why he’s holding back. So he bobs his head, sliding up and down Steve’s shaft, taking him a touch further with each stroke until he’s hitting the back of his throat, his lips stretched over Steve’s girth and nose buried in his light curls, tearing a full-throated moan from the other man.

“Tony…” he murmurs, a full-body shudder wracking through him. “Tony, Tony… I– I’m coming.”

Tony doesn’t pull off, allowing Steve to cum in his mouth, swallowing the viscous fluid and pulling off with a smack to lick the head for the remainder. Steve watches him, running his fingers in Tony’s hair before slipping down to cup his chin fondly. Tony figures that is the end of it, but then Steve pulls him up.

“Your turn,” he says before he places Tony on the couch and unzips his pants to pull out his dick, already hard from earlier proceedings.

Steve takes his own place between Tony’s thighs, sucking and licking at his erection like a man drowning, gently cradling Tony’s balls and lightly massaging his erogenous zones as he takes him to the root, displaying a complete lack of gag reflex. Tony finds it both extremely arousing and very surprising considering how bad of a kisser Steve had been, but he’s not about to complain, and between Steve’s performance and how worked up Tony is from before, he doesn’t last long. Steve pulls out a handkerchief, discretely spitting into it, but Tony doesn’t hold it against him.

“So… I’m going to go back downstairs. See you later, Tony,” Steve says as he readjusts his pants, tucks in his shirt, and heads out, not even sparing Tony a backwards glance. Tony tries not to feel disappointed. It’s more than he expected, but he has always been greedy, selfish. He wonders what could have been if only they had real lube on hand, but that is a question for another day; for now, he is bewildered but sated.

He thinks that’s it, his one and only encounter with Steve.

Only it keeps happening.

 


 

The next time it happens, Tony had ordered in Chinese for the three of them.

“All I’m saying is that if it came down to a bare-knuckle brawl between the three of us, you and I would be dead, but I could probably take you out first,” Barton says, snapping his chopsticks at Tony.

That doesn’t seem right. “Well, considering I have Iron Man…”

“I’m saying no armor, no fancy gizmos. Just you and me in the Octagon, stripped down and given – I don’t know – bludgeons or something,” Barton insists, hooking a thumb at Steve. “Steve would totally kill me in the next round with his bare hands even if they handed me my bow, but I could take you out. No sweat.”

A smile tugs at the corner of Tony’s mouth. He may be the least physically adept of the three of them, but he’s no slouch, especially not when you factor in intelligence. Yet, people always think it’s brute strength that determines the victor in such contests. “You think you can out-think me?”

Barton shrugs. “If we had to do calculus to determine who lives, you’d beat me hands down. Cap, too. But I’ve got the muscle memory, the training and situational awareness to put you down in an old-fashioned, low-tech, fight-to-the-death ring match.” He stuffs some fried rice into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully.

“I wouldn’t kill either of you,” Steve interjects. “I would suggest we band together to fight our way out.”

Barton shakes his head. “That wouldn’t work in this scenario. We’d lose.”

“Then we’d do that together, too.”

Tony nods. “I’m with Cap on this one.”

Barton retires early, but Steve stays up with Tony, offering to help him polish his defensive technique in hand-to-hand combat should he ever find himself without his suit. They can strip down and duke it out, he suggests.

Upstairs.

On Tony’s private floor.

Predictably, Tony ends up pinned to his bed, his pants pulled down to his knees and Steve’s simply unbuttoned as before with his dick pulled through the front flap of his underwear. Tony blindly roots through his nightstand to pull out an assortment of half-empty bottles of lubes for the man to select from. Steve picks whatever is closest, squirting out a dollop into his hand, rubbing it warm and then sliding a thick finger into Tony’s ass to slick up the way before coating his erection as well. Their fucking is quick and hurried, with Steve jerking Tony off when he’s close, bringing him to release just as he finishes in Tony’s ass. It’s swift and rough, his thrusts imbued with an almost military-like efficiency. Afterwards, Steve slips out and gives Tony a quick peck to his temple.

“That was… it was real swell, Tony,” Steve says, setting his clothing to rights.

Tony rolls over onto his back. His shirt is ruined, covered in his own spend while Steve’s leaks out of him to stain the sheets below. “I’d offer you a cigarette, but smoking isn’t one of my vices. You up for a nightcap, Cap?”

“No, I think I’ll pass. Liquor doesn’t do much for me these days,” Steve replies, having finished buttoning up his pants to look over at him. “You should consider slowing down yourself.”

Tony pulls up his own pants. “Why darling, if I slow down now, I won’t drink my way through my stock by the time of my untimely death,” he explains flippantly, playing off the severity of his prognosis with a wave of his hand. “And what a tragedy that would be.”

Steve is silent for a beat, then: “Is there anything that can be done?”

“Considering it’s inoperable, not much. Three years left, tops, and not all of them good years, you know. Seizures, memory loss, personality change… I figure that is probably the worst part, worse than the actual dying. By the time the Grim Reaper makes his way to my doorstep, I’ll be nigh unrecognizable. Maybe you all will be ready to see me go then.” He’s been living with this knowledge for over two years already and has long accepted it with a bottle of wine to wash away the bitterness of a life unlived, potential unrealized. A good wine always made the truth easier to swallow.

“They’re coming up with new treatments every day, maybe…”

“Maybe they will, or maybe they won’t, and I’ll never get to taste the really good stuff if I hold out for a cure. Or maybe Iron Man will go down in a blaze of glory tomorrow, and the tumor won’t even be the thing that kills me,” Tony points out. “That’s just life, Cap. No guarantees. I want to feel good in the now, in the short time I have left…” he cants his head towards the wet bar. “So, nightcap?”

“No, it will only be wasted on me,” Steve reiterates his refusal. “You have a good night, Tony. I’ll see you in the morning.” And with that, he leaves.

Tony lies there for a moment longer before he gets up, pulls off his pants entirely then heads towards the shower for a rinse, feeling used and a bit cheap.

 


 

The fifth time it happens, Tony grasps Steve’s wrist before he can escape.

“What’s the rush, soldier? Why don’t you stay?” he asks, keeping his demeanor nonchalant as he suggests, “Spend the night?”

Steve looks perplexed, as if it never even occurred to him that such a thing could be an option. “You want me to spend the night?” he repeats, his tone uncertain.

“Yes?”

Steve barely hesitates before replying, “Alright. I um… I usually sleep in my underwear if that’s alright with you.”

“What a coincidence. I usually sleep in my birthday suit, so if one of us is going to be self-conscious, it shouldn’t be the supersoldier with the perfect body.”

“Don’t sell yourself short, Tony.”

“Oh I know I’m pretty fantastic, but it’s hard to beat perfection,” Tony says, pulling back the covers in invitation. “Now, get in here before I freeze.”

Steve obliges, shrugging off his clothes and settling in next to Tony who cuddles in close.

“You’re so warm,” Tony mumbles. “Like my very own personal space heater or electric blanket, but without the fire hazard.”

Steve wraps his arms around Tony, encapsulating him in his body heat. “Is– is this okay?”

“Mm. You act like you’ve never shared a bed before.”

“I have, just… not with a man before,” Steve admits. “At least not after we’ve fucked. It wasn’t… this wasn’t a thing. It was war, you know. You took comfort where you could get it, when you could get it, but you can’t expect too much, else you’d be disappointed.”

Tony can imagine how it was back in Steve’s day, those furtive encounters in the dark, discrete and transient by necessity, followed by what was likely deep shame after the act. Still, it didn’t stack up with what he knew about Steve. “What about Gail?”

“She understood. Was okay if it was another man rather than another woman, you know?” Steve explains. “In that line of work, tomorrow was never guaranteed, and… she made allowances. That’s something you can relate to, right?”

And Tony does. All too well. So, he just holds him tighter, protecting him against the memories of more uncertain days, comforting him even as Steve returns the gesture.

They fall asleep tangled together, keeping each other warm.

 


 

It’s Friday night approximately two weeks after he started having sex with Steve. Steve has a prior engagement, a night at the lodge spent in the company of Bucky and Gail along with all his eighty-something-year-old friends – his contemporaries, Tony has to remind himself. Because despite his looks, Steve is a dinosaur, and Tony isn’t. Sure, the man had invited him along, but Tony doesn’t take well to pity-invitations. Besides, he’s young, and there are still so many new people yet to experience. Steve had only nodded and told him to have a good time. If he seemed a bit put-out, that was probably Tony’s imagination.

So, he had picked up someone, a man with large hands and a soft smile, but Tony is just not into it, and when he fails to take the man home despite all signals that such a proposal would be welcome, Tony simply pays off their tab, makes his excuses, and leaves.

As he sits at home, alone with a bottle of red on a Friday night for the first time in ages, Tony realizes he has a problem, a giant Captain-America-sized problem. He wants Steve – that smart, kind, stubborn, wonderful asshole of a man – and not just on a physical level. Tony could handle physical attraction alone, but this situation is so much worse. He actually cares about the man, likes him for more than his muscles and perfect teeth…

In short, Tony is so fucked.

 


 

The worst part about love romantic infatuation, Tony decides, is that it’s often asymmetrical, and if you’re unlucky enough to end up on side that cares more, then you’re shit out of luck.

“How was your night?” Steve asks when he comes home promptly at ten, much too early for Tony to pretend he had someone over that Steve had just missed.

“Oh, you know… couldn’t find anyone interesting,” he replies, rather lamely. He’s still about two drinks short of poor judgment so he isn’t in danger of declaring his love lust with feelings for Steve or anything mortifying like that.

Steve raises a brow at that. “No one, huh?”

“No one that can really manhandle me like you can.”

And that’s how Tony ends up hovering three feet in the air pressed against Steve’s bedroom door, lifted bodily by his thighs spread over Steve’s forearms so the man can bounce him on his cock like Tony weighs nothing at all.

 


 

Steve and Tony are able to keep their arrangement a secret from the others until a near-death experience during a mission has Steve following Tony into the Quinjet bathroom, where he carefully checks him over. Tony insists he’s fine; even shallow nonthreatening facial cuts bleed profusely, a fact Steve is well-aware of, but still. Once Steve staunches the blood flow and realizes Tony is right, he kisses him, gently palming the man’s growing erection through his dark skin-tight undersuit.

Barton, of course, has to ruin everything. “Hey, no fucking in the bathroom!” He pounds on the metal hatch. “We all have to share the one!”

And when the door slides open and Steve’s uniform is slightly askew while Tony’s leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. Barton looks upon them, slackjawed. “You know, I was actually kidding about the whole fucking-in-the-bathroom thing, but are you two–”

“Save it, Barton,” Tony says, pushing Steve out and closing the door behind him. He actually did have to use the restroom for its intended purpose.

Which left Steve and Barton outside, standing awkwardly across from each other.

“So. You and Stark…”

Steve crosses his arms and leans against the hull. “Yeah, you got something to say about it?”

Barton shakes his head. “No, but if you’re trying to fuck your way through the Ultimates, you should know I’m straight.”

“That’s not as funny as you think it is.”

“I’m being completely serious,” he insists. “You might be able to get Thor. I’m pretty sure Asgardian sexuality is pretty fluid. I’m also not too sure where Banner is or if he or the Hulk swing that way, but at any rate, you’re going to end up a couple notches short of a full set, depending on if Hank counts.”

“He doesn’t, and I’m not.”

 


 

And so Tony and Steve fall into a comfortable rhythm of casual sex interspersed with the development of a real friendship. It’s not enough, but it’s all they have, all they’ll ever be, and Tony just has to make his peace with that. With his prognosis, it would be selfish to push for more, and Tony is done being selfish, at least when it comes to Steve.

 


 

“Hey Tony… so, I was looking up stuff on the Internet,” Steve tells him one day.

Tony graces him with a small smile. “You stopped looking everything up in encyclopedias at the library? Finally! Welcome to the twenty-first century.”

“Well, I found this thing called the Google, right?” Steve continues.

The Google? This was going to be good.

“And you can apparently find stuff about anyone there, so I looked you up–” Shit! “–and I saw–”

“Steve. I can explain,” Tony interrupts. “It was the late eighties, and everyone with unlimited funds got really, really into blow–”

Steve looks confused. “Is that what they call leather culture these days?”

“…What?”

“I found this blue film you made a while back where your partner bound and gagged you,” he explains, in a tone that is much too casual considering the subject matter.

“Oh. That. Um…” Tony waffles, scratching his chin. “Well, many famous people have sex tapes. They’re fun to make, but when they get out, it’s hard to contain the spread, and–”

“You don’t have to explain your past to me, Tony, but um… I used to see some of the leather magazines back before the war, and I’ve always been curious, so I did a little reading into the subculture, the rules and such, but I’ve never had a partner who would be open to that sort of thing. So… I was wondering if maybe you’d like to try it with me?” And damn does Steve sound hopeful.

A little bubble of panic rises up in Tony’s chest. He used to do bondage, enjoyed it immensely even, but that had been before his abduction in Guatemala when the ropes and gags and restraints of that kind of play became all too real, before the Red Devil had murdered his cousin Morgan when Tony refused to cooperate, before Tony killed them all and rescued the other hostages to became a veritable hermit, withdrawing from public life entirely for two years. Sure, he still liked it rough from time-to-time and would even request it from trusted partners – Natasha being the last he had engaged in that sort of thing with, and look how well that turned out – but never tied down, not anymore.

Still, he looks at Steve’s wide eyes, his open face so happy to have finally found someone with which to share a long-desired sexual fantasy, and he finds he can’t say no.

“Alright, darling. What do you have in mind?”

 


 

In Steve’s bedroom, Tony tries to smile as he peers at the toys the man had accumulated: Ropes, padded restraints to hold him spread-eagled to the bed, silk blindfolds, a ball-gag, paddles and anal plugs of various sizes. Though not the most hardcore BDSM fanatic Tony has ever met or played with (not even close), the man is far kinkier than Tony had ever realized.

“What are your limits? Anywhere I can’t touch you?” Steve asks, a bit sheepish. “I saw a little of your tape, but it felt strange watching you without your knowledge, so I unplugged the computer and haven’t turned it on since.”

Seems excessive. “You could have just X-ed out of the tab, you know.”

“I could have what now?”

“Nevermind,” Tony waves him off. “All this looks fine,” he says with more conviction than he feels, staring at the coil of rope especially. The Red Devil had used rope to bind him all those years ago, had made him watch as they–

“Safe word?”

“Pickle,” Tony replies with no hesitation.

“And if I use the gag… we should have a safe sign as well, something you can do to tell me to stop. I’ve been looking at some resources, and they suggest tapping out or a bell you can hold–”

“Tapping out is fine. Three taps, I’m out, okay?” he proposes, his mind numb. “Or a fingersnap like this,” he loudly snaps his middle and thumb together. “Gives me options.”

“Good thinking, Tony,” Steve says. “We’ll check to make sure you can do both when you’re bound.”

They don’t start with the rope, fortunately. While familiar with knot types in general being the goddamn Boy Scout he is, Steve is inexperienced with the art of rope bondage, specifically how to wrap up a sub for an extended period of time to make it pleasurable for them without causing nerve damage or cutting off vital blood supply to various extremities. He isn’t comfortable performing that on Tony just yet, much to his partner’s relief. So, it’s down to the padded restraints, which aren’t nearly as bad. Tony takes a deep breath.

He can do this. For Steve.

“As for the scene… a couple websites have suggested something called the Interrogation for beginners,” Steve says, and doesn’t that just get Tony’s heart rate up. “Basically, I tie you up, ask you personal questions, punish you if you don’t reply or I pretend not to like the answer, culminating in me fucking the truth out of you. Is that something you would be interested in?”

When Tony doesn’t answer, Steve continues, “…Or we can try something else.”

“No, no that’s fine. Great. Just… no breathplay,” he says. “I don’t like people choking me when I’m restrained.”

Steve looks relieved that that is Tony’s only reservation. “Alright, sweetheart,” he says, and Tony’s heart soars at the nickname. “I’m not a big fan of the whole choking thing, either. I want this to be fun for both of us.”

Tony can do this.

“So… any questions that are off limits? Anything you really don’t want me to know?”

Don’t ask about Guatemala.

“No, I’m an open book,” Tony says instead. “Ask me anything, but nothing that would upset you for real if I answer truthfully in a way you don’t like.”

“There are no wrong answers, Tony, not really, even if I pretend otherwise,” Steve says, securing the cuffs to the bed, tugging on each to ensure strength of the hold. “Now… Face up? Face down? Your choice,” he offers.

“Face down.” Tony is not sure whether it will be better or worse for him to look at Steve, but it will probably be better for Steve if he can’t see Tony’s face at certain intervals.

“Anything specific you want out of this experience?”

To stay calm would be nice.

“Let’s just try it out. See how it goes.”

Tick off this box and then never again.

 


 

They start off slow, Steve being unused to this sort of play session. After tying Tony up and blindfolding him, propping his ass in the air through creative use of pillows and cushions, and checking to make sure he can safe sign if need be, Steve asks Tony’s name, his age, where he’s from, and Tony answers truthfully, earning a reach-around for a couple strokes with every response, his dick rousing despite his heightened wariness, maybe even because of it.

“Have you ever done any drugs?”

“Tons,” Tony replies honestly, and Steve slaps his ass, causing him to cry out in surprise. The blindfold heightens everything, keeping Tony on edge.

“Wrong answer,” he whispers, firmly massaging the red handprint so Tony feels the burn.

Tony hisses at the contact. “You want the truth or not?”

Another slap for sass. “The truth does not shield you from consequences,” Steve informs him before continuing with the interrogation. “Who was your first crush?”

“Captain America.”

There’s a pause, followed by yet another slap. “Flattery will get you nowhere.”

“It’s not flattery when it’s the truth,” Tony protests. This isn’t so bad. It’s just Steve asking him a series of progressively personal questions. He can do this.

Steve leans over his back, pressing his clothed dick against the valley of Tony’s ass as he reaches around to stroke Tony’s cock. His breath is hot against the shell of his ear as he murmurs darkly, “How many people have you fucked?”

“I don’t know. Thousands? It’s not like I keep a goddamn spreadsheet,” and he braces for a punishment that doesn’t come.

“And how many people have fucked you?” Steve asks instead, slipping a slick thumb into Tony’s ass, pumping it in and out lazily. The rim stretches around the digit, squeezing tight and pulling away puffy as Steve works it in and out.

“High fifties, maybe?” Tony estimates. He experimented a little with getting pegged by women at first, but he didn’t truly get into receptive anal sex with men until after Howard died, and even now, he is probably a solid two on the Kinsey scale with his preference leaning more towards women. Steve withdraws his thumb, replacing it with two fingers in Tony’s ass and thrusting with more purpose. Tony bites his lip against a moan.

“How often do you masturbate?”

“Every other day, sometimes more,” Tony stutters out, pulling against his restraints as he arches into Steve.

“What did you think about the last time you masturbated?”

A threesome with two copies of himself, one of them a female version getting double-teamed by himself and a male clone before the other pulled out and positioned himself behind–

“Nope,” Tony replies. “Not answering that.” He jumps as Steve pulls out and lands a smattering of smacks on his tender ass, inspiring a pained shout from Tony as his restraints go taut.

“Tell me,” he orders.

“No!”

There’s something large and blunt at his hole, pressing against the puffed rim but not breeching. Yet. Tony tries to grind his pelvis deeper into the cushions, away from Steve’s prodding cockhead, put he can only go so far, tied up as he is.

“Tell me,” Steve pushes forward incrementally, the tip barely dipping in before pulling back. “Cooperate or face the consequences.”

Cooperate, Mr. Stark, the man in a red beret had ordered him. There are guns pointed at him and Morgan, but he knows doing so will spell the deaths of countless innocents.

“Cooperate,” Steve repeats, and the smack he delivers to Tony’s bottom sounds like the crack of a gunshot.

Morgan lies dead at his feet, Tony unable to speak.

We only need you, the man had said. The others are disposable.

Only now it’s Jarvis with a bullet hole between his eyes.

Tony, would you please stop blubbering about Jarvis, Natasha had criticized him in the wake of his death – his murder. He was an irritating old queen who walked through the wrong door at the wrong time. These things happen, darling.

Pickle, Tony thinks but doesn’t say. He can handle this. He has to. He won’t disappoint Steve by freaking out now. He concentrates on the feel of the air conditioning, a sensory reminder he is not trapped in the sweltering heat of Guatemala, and the smell is of his home, not the rank body odor and stinking fear of himself and his fellow hostages, but most importantly of all, the hands on his body belong to Steve Rogers.

“Threesome. With myself,” Tony admits. “Two of me actually.”

That gives Steve pause. “Oddly enough, that does seem like something you’d get off thinking about,” he allows, before his tone goes low and dark. “Such a narcissistic little slut,” he palms his Tony’s ass. “The only one good enough for Tony Stark is a second Tony Stark, huh?” He spreads the cheeks as Tony sucks in a breath. “But not even that is sufficient, though. You need a third copy to truly satisfy you, to fill you up right.”

“Steve–”

“Shut up, whore!” Steve slaps his ass yet again, his hand staying on his cheek, gripping and squeezing mercilessly. “I don’t care what you want. Your ass belongs to me, and I’m going to wreck your hole, fill you overflowing with my cum, ruin you for anyone else.”

“Nngh,” Tony manages when Steve massages his bruised flesh. “Steve, I’m sorry…”

“Didn’t I tell you to shut up?” Steve’s hands leave him but return near his head to strap a penis-shaped ballgag into his mouth, forcing his lips apart and open. Tony makes urgent noises as he drools around the gag, unable to swallow.

“That’s better,” Steve says, covering Tony’s body with his own. One hand weaves around to position itself under Tony’s, allowing him to tap out, while the other guides his dick to press against Tony’s entrance. “You’re mine, Tony,” and he snaps his hips forward, sheathing himself inside.

Tony grunts, renewing his struggle against his restraints as Steve thrusts into him, slower at first but gearing up to a demanding pace. “Stop struggling,” he orders harshly. “It’ll go easier on you if you cooperate.”

There had been a gun pressed to the back of his head. Cooperate, and we will let you live, Mr. Stark.

It hadn’t even been the last time.

Is that the only reason I’m still alive? To help you make a funds transfer, he had asked Natasha as she led him downstairs by gunpoint after murdering Jarvis.

No, because I find cancer-ridden drunks who smell of chemotherapy drugs attractive, she had replied with unnecessary sarcasm. Now get a move on, Stark.

Tony can barely breathe. He pulls harder at his bindings, trying to buck off the man above him, his own body thrumming with adrenaline, urging him to flee, but he can’t run, can’t even move really. The body above him is much too strong, pushing him down, forcing him to take it, and Tony is weak weak weak. He can’t remember what his safe signs are, doesn’t even know he has any. All he knows is that he’s trapped and blind and muffled, and there’s something moving in and out of him, someone punishing his body because he won’t cooperate.

So he escapes, lets the man have his meat while Tony goes elsewhere, experiencing the proceedings from somewhere above, somewhere detached, where the events, the feelings and sensations, can’t touch him. He crawls into the cocoon of his mind and is safe.

When he comes back to himself, the gag is gone, as are the restraints. Steve is holding him, chanting his name softly as he strokes his face.

“…Steve?”

“Tony? Oh thank God, Tony! What happened? You- you just went limp and wouldn’t respond to me anymore,” he says, the fear and worry clear on his face. “I thought – I don’t know – I thought I killed you, maybe cut off your air supply or something.”

“No… no, it wasn’t anything like that,” Tony says, his mind still fuzzy.

“Here,” Steve presents a bottle of water, tipping it into Tony’s mouth, allowing him to drink slowly. “I also got an assortment of snacks. I didn’t know what you’d like, so… there’s those breakfast bars you have sometimes or bananas? Blueberries?” he offers before passing some of the blueberries into Tony’s mouth, one at a time.

Afterwards, Steve gently lays him out, cradling him from the front. “You scared me, sweetheart. Do you want to talk about what happened?”

“No, not really,” Tony replies, but when Steve frowns, he reconsiders. “Maybe later.”

“Alright… later,” Steve agrees.

 


 

“What happened, sweetheart?” Steve had asked again, after he had bathed Tony and wrapped him in a white fluffy towel. He’s kissing the bruises across his wrists which had darkened to a red-purple.

“Later darling. I’ll tell you later.”

 


 

Unfortunately, Tony can’t put it off forever. So when Steve asks a third time the following afternoon over a bowl of macaroni and cheese Steve had prepared, Tony sighs, putting aside his dinner to explain.

He tells Steve about his captivity in Guatemala, how the guerrilla militia known as the Red Devil had hijacked their flight and murdered his cousin and business partner, Morgan Stark, when Tony refused to build weapons for them. He tells him how he had build a prototype of the Iron Man armor to decimate them all and escape, saving the lives of the other passengers, and finally, how the experience had made him reclusive. He shied away from the limelight for two years before he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and he decided to make the most of the time he had left, returning to public life as the superhero, Iron Man.

Steve is quiet after, thoughtful as he picks at the remainder of his lunch. “So… if ropes and being bound make you so nervous, why did you agree to it?”

Because you wanted to.

“I used to enjoy it, and it’s been a couple years, so I thought maybe I was over it,” Tony lies instead.

“You shouldn’t have let… you should have told me!” Steve explodes, suddenly angry. “You should have tapped out!”

Tony’s anger rises with Steve’s own. “What’s the big deal? It’s over. Done with!”

Steve leans in, his voice going low and deadly. “You don’t get it, do you? I felt you leave your body, Tony. You went limp, and I thought it was part of the act, but then you didn’t respond when I squeezed your hand. You were too still, too quiet, and I thought– I thought the worst had happened,” he says. “I thought the thing I can’t live with had happened.”

Tony doesn’t know what to say to that, except: “Steve… I’m fine; it’s okay.”

You didn’t kill me.

“No, it’s not okay. I’m not stupid; you knew you weren’t ‘over’ Guatemala,” Steve accuses him, and Tony can’t deny it; Steve can already see it in his face. “If you don’t feel free to express your limits, if I can’t trust you to say no to me, then how can I ever trust your yes,” he says, his tone almost sorrowful. “I can’t continue doing this– this thing with you, Tony.”

He can’t possibly mean… “Steve–”

“It’s over.”

 


 

Breakups are the worst, but they’re a special kind of terrible for the party being dumped. It rarely happens to Tony, but fortunately, he has a foolproof scheme for getting over these anomalies, these times when he cares more than he should and it ends before he’s ready to move on. It involves burying himself in so much pussy and dick that he forgets he ever had a heart that could break in the first place.

“Oh Darling, I’m afraid we must make a short detour to the kitchen for more olives. I simply can’t mix the perfect dirty martini without them,” Tony effuses to the tall blonde woman on his arm as the elevator pings open on the Avengers floor below his own.

Steve and Barton are at the kitchen table, each digging into their own personal pint of ice cream. They fall silent when they see Tony and his date for the night. Tony enters the pantry, extracting a can of green olives, while Steve pointedly looks into his carton and Barton openly stares.

The woman returns his gaze, canting her head to the side as if the change in position would jog her memory. “Hey, aren’t you–”

“Got it!” Tony calls out. “Gentleman, you must excuse us.”

He then escorts his lady of the evening back to the elevator.

“Was that Captain America and Hawkeye?” she finally asks him.

“Yes, but you know what’s more interesting than my houseguests? The view from my bedroom. Floor-to-ceiling windows, darling. Best view in the City.”

 


 

Steve moves out the next morning, before Tony wakes, before he can even arrange a car to take what’s-her-name home.

“Oh yeah, he packed up and moved back into the barracks at the Triskelion,” Barton tells him. “I think he’s planning to move back to Brooklyn. Traffic sucks, but home’s home, you know.” He shrugs, digging into half a grapefruit.

But he didn’t even say goodbye, Tony thinks but doesn’t say, lest it come out childish. He readjusts his silk robe, pulling at the soft fabric, and doesn’t remark on the news at all.

“That’s it? No commentary. Just going to let him go, just like that, huh?” Barton presses, carefully examining Tony’s poker face for a crack in the façade, for any hint that the news bothers him at least a little. “Well, it’s not like you’re never going to see him again. He’ll be back.”

“I suppose so. He didn’t quit the Ultimates,” Tony notes, taking a sip of his morning champagne.

“Yeah, there’s that, too, but what I meant was Thor stays here when he’s on-world, right? If Steve is going to seduce the man, it will be hard to tempt him when he’s living in the slums. He’ll probably crash here after the raunchy, thunder-inducing, earth-shaking sex,” Clint surmises, completely nonchalant whereas Tony is dumbstruck, his heart clenching in a way that never boded well. “By the way, the Tower’s up to code, yeah? I wouldn’t want my cause of death to be building collapse due to thunder-sex.”

“…What?” Tony finally manages, clearing his throat. “So Steve and Thor… Is that what he said?”

“No, but it’s only a matter of time. First Jan, then you, maybe he’ll even angle for a threesome with the twins – two birds, one stone – because you know that relationship has a certain incest-y vibe. Anyways, Steve’s going down the list,” Barton tosses his rind in the open trash with unerring precision, “but don’t worry, Tony. I already told him it’s not happening between me and him.”

“I’m not worried,” Tony says through gritted teeth.

“Okay, because it looks like you moved on just fine, and it wouldn’t be fair to get pissy over Steve doing the same.”

 


 

The next time Tony sees Steve, it’s shortly before they head into a brawl against a small army of Ultron android duplicates fashioned after the Ultimates using their DNA.

Steve acknowledges him first, “Iron Man.”

Ouch, using his Ultimates name after everything they shared…

“Captain,” Tony says, returning the volley.

Steve frowns, clearly already ticked off, even before Tony’s arrival. “It’s good to see you can still squeeze us into your busy social calendar.”

“Yeah well, that’s the hero gig. Show up when you’re needed,” he replies stiffly before flying off to join the fray. He would rather pummel a hundred robots than face Steve right now.

Predictably, Tony and Steve’s doppelgangers fight in sync while their flesh-and-blood counterparts do not.

“Three-o-clock,” Tony yells out to Steve who is covering Thor, as Tony blasts into Barton 2.0, pushing him into Jan’s clone to try to take them both out, but Jan’s clone rallies, flipping around to hit him hard in his side.

Steve blocks the incoming Iron Clone, but is summarily attacked by the Captain America-bot as they batter him from two sides. Tony boomerangs back, tackling his doppelganger while Steve deals with his own. He returns to cover Steve’s six, Thor having taken the battle against his clone further east.

“Took you long enough,” Steve grumbles.

“I warned you about the other Iron Man!” Tony shouts defensively, blasting the other Captain America who takes cover behind his shield and dips around to outmaneuver his attacks.

Steve attacks Iron Clone, fighting him in a way Tony worries he might have wanted to rain down on the real deal, tearing his mask off to drive his fist inside and rip out the electronic interior.

Yikes.

 


 

After the fight, the others disperse, likely fleeing the negative energy wafting off their team leader and lead benefactor. For his part, Steve is still on edge, purposely picking a fight with Tony now that the primary threat has passed.

“Your form is sloppy, and you could have really hurt Thor out there,” he nitpicks.

Tony thinks that’s unlikely considering Thor is an actual God of Thunder. “Right, I could have hurt Thor, the man who manipulates lightning like it’s nothing. He would have been hurt by my energy beams.”

Steve never took well to Tony’s particular brand of sarcasm.

“Yes!”

Tony scoffs. “We fought Thor before, and my armor’s weaponry barely made a dent. Admit it! You’re just mad that I got within breathing distance of your new boytoy.”

Steve’s face is red with anger. “My what!”

“You heard me!”

“Okay, for one, nothing is going on between me and Thor, and two, even if there was, it would be my business. You don’t get a say, not anymore,” he scolds him. “And as long as we’re on the topic, why do you get to go out and whore yourself out, while I have to stay home, waiting for you to be done with trying to drink and fuck yourself to an early grave!”

“You know what? Go fuck yourself, Steve!”

“Jesus Christ, Tony. Do you even use protection when you’re picking up random people for semi-anonymous sex?”

Tony does, but that’s not the point when he’s talking to Captain Hypocrite, so he raises a brow. “Did we?”

“That’s different! I can’t catch or spread anything, you idiot! And besides, while we were fucking, you were the only one,” Steve rages, and… Tony had suspected as much, though it was nice to have some confirmation. “But you aren’t immune like me. What if you catch syphilis or that new-fangled venereal disease, the one that kills you? What then?”

“Why does that even matter? The cancer will kill me first.”

“Stop using the cancer as an excuse to act like a dick!”

Tony looks at Steve, angry, breathing hard, and he says the first thing that comes to mind, the only thing that has a chance of ending this before either of them says something they really can’t take back.

“Pickle.”

Steve blinks. “Did you just…” he shuts his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose. “No, Tony. You don’t get to do that. You cannot safe-word out of an argument. It isn’t a- a blanket get-out-of-jail-free card for any and all situations.”

“And why not?”

“We’re not even fucking right now,” he points out, exasperated.

“You’re being unreasonable, have been since before Attack of the Clones, and I just want to cut through all the bullshit. So… Pickle,” Tony repeats, advancing on Steve, getting in his space. “Tell me why you’re really upset. Respect our safe word, and be honest with me for once in your goddamn life.”

Steve’s face twitches, and Tony thinks he might storm off or continue to rage at him for clearly unrelated offenses, but when Steve finally speaks, he’s calmer, more collected, even as the fury bleeds into his words. “You really want to know?” he says, crossing his arms. “I’m still angry that you couldn’t trust me with the truth that you don’t do bondage anymore, and that that dishonesty ended what had been a really good thing.”

Now they’re getting somewhere.

Tony absently scratches the scalp on the side of his head. As long as they are being honest with each other... “Well, I felt I couldn’t tell you, because I’ve already done the whole bound-and-gagged thing before with someone else, and you just seemed so excited–”

“You don’t have to justify shit to me,” Steve cuts him off angrily. “I don’t care if you did it a hundred times before with a hundred different partners. If you had said you weren’t comfortable with it, or it wasn’t your thing anymore, or hell, that you just didn’t want to do it with me without disclosing a reason, then that would have been the end of it. But you didn’t, and you let me…” he inhales sharply and rubs his face, unwilling to clarify further.

“I didn’t want to disappoint you–”

“Well, you did! You disappointed me by lying!” he barks out.

Tony narrows his eyes and opens his mouth, prepared to argue the point, just as Steve steps back a moment to take a steadying breath and rephrase his statement. “Look… that came out wrong. You want to know why I’m really angry? It’s because I made you feel like you couldn’t say no to ideas likely to trigger you, and because I have to look at your stupid goddamn face every other day – on the news, in print, in person – and it reminds me that I hurt you so deeply, I can barely look at myself some mornings. Because I got off on it, and you… You should have told me. What did I do that made you feel like you couldn’t?”

Tony sighs. “Steve, it’s not anything you did. It’s… Well, you know me. Countless failed relationships, and Natasha wasn’t even my first engagement,” he looks away. “With that many disappointments, you think I care about anyone anymore? Sex might as well be a step above a handshake at this point, but with you – You’re maddening, you know that? You’re a stubborn, self-righteous prick with way too many Bing Crosby records and a weird aversion to digital anything–”

“There’s nothing like the sound of a real record,” Steve interjects.

“Like anyone can hear the difference!”

“I can!”

“Yeah, you can hear the quality degrading over time,” Tony scoffs, rolling his eyes until they settle on a seat just to the left of Steve. “Anyways, despite your terrible hipster taste in everything, I still can’t get enough of you, because you’re also smart and conscientious and very, very strong. Christ, you can pick me up like I’m nothing, which is insanely hot,” he rolls his head, nervously rubbing the back of his neck. “I guess what I’m trying to say is that I… care about you more than I should, more than you care about me, anyway.”

“I didn’t know you felt that way.”

Tony crosses his arms. “Yeah well, it’s not your problem, but it is what it is, and I’ll just have to accept that we can never be anything more than what we were, even if only for a little while.”

Steve is pensive for a moment before asking, “What are you doing this Saturday?”

“Huh?”

“This Saturday around seven. What are you doing?”

He can’t possibly–

But he does. “Because there’s this place I’ve been meaning to check out. It’s this little Italian joint that’s been around since 1914. I want to see if the sauce tastes the same as I remember it.”

Tony squints his eyes at the other man in disbelief. “Are you– are you asking me on a date?”

“It could be a date, or it could be two friends who are hungry and curious,” Steve says, tone carefully neutral. “Your call.”

“I don’t want to go on a pity date with you. This is not the Make-a-Wish Foundation.” The last thing he wants is for Steve to date him because he feels sorry for him.

Instead, Steve looks annoyed. “Pity nothing. You’re Tony Stark: genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist,” he lists off. “I’m just a kid from Brooklyn. So, do you want to eat some pasta with me or not?”

“…It’s a date.”

“Pick you up at seven. I’ll even bring an extra helmet,” he offers, looking unaccountably pleased with himself.

“Are you going to invite me up to your place after?” Tony half-jokes. He wouldn’t say no to Steve… well, he will if he doesn’t want what’s on offer, but it’s nice to know that his refusal won’t jeopardize what they have, that Steve will respect his limits no matter the reason.

Steve simply smiles. “We don’t have to, you know. Not every interaction between us has to end in sex.”

“Now, isn’t that a novel idea, darling? I think you may have hit your head a bit harder than I feared.”

“I’m serious,” he says resolutely. “I like you. I like spending time with you, even when our clothes stay on.”

Tony doesn’t know what to say about that, so he doesn’t say anything at all, but when Steve interlaces his fingers with Tony’s, he doesn’t pull away, lightly squeezing the digits between his own.

“Are you two done yet?” Barton calls out before opening the back hatch. He pauses, clocking their intertwined hands immediately. “Huh, still trying to land Stark? I thought for sure you would have moved on to Thor by now.”

Steve pinches the bridge of his nose between closed eyes with his free hand. “We’re really going to have to have a talk about boundaries.”

“Hey, I’m not the one eye-fucking a team member where everyone can see,” Barton says. “And then having very very loud, very passionate foreplay in the cockpit of the Quinjet while the rest of us poor saps wait out your lover’s quarrel in the cargo hold,” he holds out a stick. “We had to draw straws to see who would check on you two. Guess who drew the short straw.”

“There was no foreplay. We just had a disagreement,” Steve corrects him.

“Have you met Stark? Arguments are his version of foreplay.”

Steve cants his head to the side. “…Fair,” he concedes.

“Hey,” Tony bats his shoulder, “Aren’t you supposed to defend my honor or some old-fashioned chivalrous bullshit like that?”

“Don’t you start up again,” Barton interjects. “I’m still here. Not kink-shaming, but I haven’t consented to being involved in your weird-ass roleplaying, even as a voyeur.”

“He’s right, darling,” Tony says, turning to Steve. “Let’s save it for the bedroom.”

“Still right here,” he reminds them once again.

Tony ignores him, tipping his chin up to capture Steve’s lips in a chaste kiss.

“Aaaand, that’s my cue to leave.”

The future is still uncertain, and it’s anyone’s guess what the next day, the next month or year will bring, but for now, Tony will nurture this delicate, nebulous, wonderfully-undefined thing with Steve, entwining his future with the man beside him and taking every day as it comes.