Steve knew how long he’d been here, almost a year, and the guards had grown comfortable enough with him to give him a sheaf of paper and soft graphite sticks to draw with. He drew cartoons, much as he had back in the war - his first one - and scattered dots among the pictures to mark guard shifts, scheduled maintenance crews, who visited and when. He hadn’t found a way out yet, but being lazy would only mean he never would.
They only let him out of his cell two hours of twenty-four, and never without rigid, reinforced steel manacles on his arms and ankles. Trust only went so far.
And he was never allowed to meet the other prisoners.
“Bet you never thought we’d meet like this?” For the first time since he’d been brought to the Raft, there was someone else in the other exercise ‘yard’ - a long padded cell with a light wall that imitated normal sunlight. There were yoga balls, and enough room to jog, but no weights or furniture of any sort.
“I didn’t think we’d meet all,” Steve shuffled over to the high impact transparent poly-whatever that separated the two of them. Tony wasn’t restrained, though he was wearing the same bright orange biodegradable paper jumpsuits every prisoner was given. The angles of his face were sharper than ever, sleeplessness stark in his eyes, and he wore a broad electronic collar - the kind designed to suppress various sorts of powers - around his neck. That was odd, Tony had no powers. “Testing out your security systems?”
“Sure,” Tony’s staccato voice was both sharper and hoarser than usual. “If by testing you mean imprisoned in my own fucking property !” His voice rose to a shout as he glared at the security camera. He kicked the barrier between them and Steve stepped prudently back, not that it made a difference as the guards rushed in, stun guns out and ready.
He saw Tony four days later, again in exercise yard, looking even more wretched. “Why are they letting us see each other?”
Tony’s eyes narrowed. “Depression and self harm do a lot to remind people that technically , the Raft is supposed to follow the Geneva conventions.”
Steve looked Tony over more closely, there might be a bandage under the sleeves of his coverall. He flexed his hands, but really - there wasn’t a thing he could do - and the watchful anger in Tony’s eyes suggested comforting words wouldn't be welcome. Or needed. “Why are you here?”
“One too many times bending the rules,” Tony shrugged. “One too many ‘adjustments’ to the Accords - now all underage gifted are to be separated from their parents and sent to rehabilitation boarding schools. Taught to suppress, not adjust, to their abilities.”
“You can’t be surprised -”
“Don’t say I told you so,” Tony snapped, jaw clenching.
“If I do,” Steve couldn’t hold back the thread of anger in his voice. “I think I deserve to.”
Tony looked away, unable to hold Steve’s gaze. “Yeah, okay, I guess I deserve that. But only once.”
Steve raised his brows.
“Maybe twice,” Tony muttered. He paced restlessly along the barrier separating them and Steve followed. “Y’know, I wanted them to paint these communal spaces pink. It lowers reduces aggression - lowers testosterone.” He had his hands clasped behind his back, fingers fidgeting. The walls in the yard, and most of the Raft, were stark white, or flat grey.
“Only in the west, and if you were born after 1950,” Steve countered, watching Tony’s body as much as listening to his words. He didn’t think this was a ruse and he didn’t believe that Tony would do that to him anyway, despite what had gone on between them. “When I was a kid, pink was for boys, blue for girls. And, I’m pretty sure Natasha wouldn’t care what color the walls were if she were here.”
He watched closely but there was nothing in Tony’s glance or the tap of his fingers to suggest that Natasha was here. She was still free then and Steve was glad. He stretched his fingers, but couldn’t really shift his hands or wrists much - the restraints he wore held his hands about eight inches apart, designed in such a way that he couldn’t get leverage to even try and break them. The ones on his legs were similar, with a hinge to allow him to waddle slowly along. It was as humiliating as it was uncomfortable.
- get - this - off Tony went on in morse code. - call - suit - and - get - fuck - out
- collar - ? Steve replied.
- yes -
- how - ?
Tony gave him a frustrated look. “Yeah, well, these walls are going to drive me nuts if I have to stare at them too long.”
It wasn’t easy to hold a conversation but they managed. Sometimes walking the barrier - two beta fish sharing a tank but Steve swore he wouldn’t be shaking his tail at Tony any time soon - sometimes sitting on the yoga balls face to face, separated only by the hyper strong polymer Tony had invented to thwart people just like them.
Tony had his head pressed to the barrier between them, and Steve had rarely seen him so desolate. “You know, I can’t stand most people - but this is driving me crazy. Crazier. There’s nothing to do!” Little puffs of condensation briefly bloomed on the plastic as he spoke.
Steve thumped his fists gently against the plastic, but there was no way to reach through to Tony. He had to find a way. They were running out of time. “We’ll figure something out.”
Prisoners, even on the Raft, were allowed legal representation and Steve’s skilled but useless lawyer visited him every two weeks. She had nothing really to report, was forbidden by the Accords to even reveal that he was a prisoner to the general public, but Steve finally had a use for her.
“Tony and I need to spend time together.” He felt his face go red, for a number of reasons - lying just one. He liked Roshana, and she’d been turning over every pebble to try and find a way to get him out, or even just an actual trial, since he’d been imprisoned. Now he was using her.
“You know that’s not possible.”
“I know that it’s legally allowed,” Steve countered. “We’re - we’re married. Legally, and the Supreme Court has upheld same-sex marriage so the federal government has to comply. Denying partners reasonable conjugal visits violates international law. Considering we’re imprisoned in the same place requesting time ... together isn’t unreasonable.”
“Together.” Roshana echoed blankly.
“Yes,” Steve managed. “Together.”
He leaned closer, bound wrists dangling between his knees and lowered his voice. Just because he didn’t like it, didn’t mean he didn’t know how to manipulate someone’s trust. “Tony isn’t doing well here. The isolation, the lack of projects, he gets bored easily. I - I need to -” Steve stumbled to a halt, unable to carry on with intimacies he certainly didn’t have with Tony Stark. Roshana took his awkwardness for a lover’s worry, her face softening in sympathy.
“I’ll see what I can do,” she said. “I’ll talk to his lawyer, we’ll make a case for you two. I promise.”
She made good. Probably with the help of Tony’s legal team. Two very expensive, very influential lawyers with political connections worked wonders, even on the Raft. Such wonders as were available anyway. Steve had no doubt they were being watched, which forced them both to continue the ruse.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t that difficult. “Hey,” Steve put his arms around Tony, unsurprised by the tension or the way Tony turned his shoulder to Steve’s chest to keep some distance, disliking the thinness under his paper prison suit. “Come here.”
“I hate this,” Tony mumbled, ducking his head against Steve’s shoulder. His fingers scrabbled along Steve’s waist, tapping out apologies in Morse. - last - minute - thought - it - be - handy - sorry -
“I know,” Steve replied. “When we get out of here we’ll sit down and have a talk.”
Because it would take more than Morse code for Tony to make sense of why he thought filing a false marriage license between the two of them was a good idea. And more time than they had now.
“Let’s ... lie down.” Steve managed. It was the best way to provide some privacy (hidden between their bodies) and maintain the fiction that they were married, with all that implied. Lovers, for one. The narrow bed forced them to press close together, letting Steve feel Tony’s tension and the fact the man was ... really, kinda small - light boned and not as tall as he seemed. It reminded Steve of himself, before the serum, when it wasn’t the ‘size of the kid in the fight, but the fight in the kid - Bucky used to say, when he was patching Steve up after yet another losing battle. Bucky was safe, at least, if not well . It was the man lying next to him Steve worried about right now.
“Our lawyers are a couple of romantics,” Tony squirmed, trying to find space that wasn’t there.
-my-suit-is-here- Tony went on. -collar-off-call-it-
-where-here-? Steve wondered. It would be the height of stupidity for anyone to keep Tony’s suit anywhere in range of the man himself. Maybe they could get to it physically, surely Tony had manual back-up access?
Tony grimaced, then sighed, breath warm on Steve’s neck. He was feeling kind of warm, in general. -inside-me-bones-nano-tech-
“What - ?”
Tony squirmed sharply and cut off Steve’s out of context words with a hard, rather desperate kiss. That was unexpected and the sharp, hot pang that raced through him even more so. He panted sharply against Tony’s mouth and hoped that the other man didn’t feel his hardening cock. Of course, they were wearing paper pajamas and when Tony pulled back with a awkward smirk, Steve knew his hope was futile.
“Well,” Tony said clearly for the benefit of any watchers. And maybe for himself too. “Hello, honey, I’m home.”
“Oh shut up,” Steve murmured, running his hands down Tony’s sides - eyes on the collar around his neck and ignored the way touching Tony made him feel. A couple of indicator lights glowed green, it had a glassy section that was running some kind of abbreviated data that he was sure Tony would understand, if he could see it. Tony twitched and squirmed, making Steve tighten his grip to hold him quiet.
He cupped Tony’s neck in what he hoped looked like affection, fingers running over the collar. It was smooth, as warm as Tony was - this close Steve could see the flush run over Tony’s skin and his rapid blinking, which made Steve blush hot. - this-was-your-idea-!-
-three-sections-each-own-electronic-code-changes-every-4-hours- Tony put his hands under Steve’s shirt to tap out his answers on his chest.
Isolation did weird things to people. Steve’s cock, hard and aching, was just one of those weird things. They were barely friends anymore, never been anything more, and they were plotting an escape from an inescapable prison, not ... not whatever his body thought was going on. That was a ploy. Steve breathed slowly and tried to convince his dick that.
“Okay,” Steve murmured, he didn’t need to hear the entire scientific explanation. “How are we gonna work this out?”
It was ridiculous to be grateful - when Tony shifted - to discover he was hard too, his erection riding against Steve’s thigh before Tony found a less obvious place to put himself. It only made Steve harder, though, to realize Tony was ... equally confused by the situation. He certainly deserved it, considering it was his back-up plan that got them into this situation. Of course, it also got them a better chance to escape than Steve had been able to find in the year he’d been here alone. Staring into Tony’s eyes, Steve couldn’t resist shifting himself, just a bit, so that his thigh was pressed just a little too close, in the wrong way, and nudging against Tony’s cock.
They were given weekly conjugal visits, which were frustrating in every sense of the word. They couldn’t figure out a way to disable the collar and whenever the guards came to take Tony back to his cell, Steve couldn’t sleep and was left uncomfortably aroused.
“I need to bring you flowers or something,” Tony quipped as he was deposited by their guards for their next, legally mandated, visit.
“Why?” Steve asked warily, looking up from his seat on the padded floor of his cell. Tony’s quips could range from genuinely funny to obscene to occasionally cruel. He was used to it from before their imprisonment, but with nothing to distract either of them from boredom, his comments got pretty sharp. Neither of them had brought up their fight - the fight. Prison didn’t seem the place for it.
“Anniversary,” Tony quipped, slouching down next to Steve and slinging an arm over his shoulder. They were used to the ruse now, Steve leaned into Tony. “Whatcha doin?”
Steve tipped his paper to show his sketch, from memory, of Sam in flight amid some skyscrapers. Tony was lazily interested for a moment, then Steve felt his whole body tense and he rubbed a finger over Steve’s sketch, smudging the soft graphite shadows. “That’s really nice. Should I be jealous?”
Against Steve’s neck, Tony’s finger beat out an urgent tattoo. -what-is-it-?-the-pencil-
“Well, Sam doesn't ruin my graphite sketches.” Steve replied. A little awkward but surely passable. “So maybe.”
Tony twitched. “Let’s go to bed and celebrate our anniversary.”
They tumbled hurriedly into bed, Steve sharply aware that their eagerness must look very different to whoever was watching. His body evidently thought the same thing, because he was so hard he hurt and Tony’s face was a frustrated red. Even the awareness that the Raft’s security must be watching didn’t calm him down. Steve clenched his hands on Tony’s biceps and determinedly thought of anything besides their very mutual, very unsettling arousal.
“We need to -” Tony’s breathing was sharp and urgent. “ Do something about this. It’s stupid not to. We’re married after all and it’s distracting.”
“Yeah,” Steve muttered, all of his frustration settling in his aching cock. “Married.” Tony slung a leg over Steve’s hip and rolled so that Tony was on top of him, hard dick pressed against Steve’s hip - hot enough to feel through their stupid coveralls. What the heck was he supposed to do about that? With his pulse pounding in his temples and Tony’s flushed face inches from his own, all angles and urgency and impatience, Steve could think of a lot of things. Refusing to break eye contact, Steve ran his hands along Tony’s sides, to his ass (not exactly well padded), and rocked them together.
Tony’s eyes flew wide in surprise, pupils wide and dark. “Pretty forward for a guy from the 40s.”
“Not everyone was a bigot, even in the 1940s,” Steve said, breathing hard. “And I figure you bought me dinner ....”
Tony’s mouth curved, somewhere between regretful and wicked. He spread his legs over Steve, fitting them snugly together and now - god - now , Steve’s dick was nestled beside Tony’s. Their paper overalls rustled as Steve thrust up. “Shawarma.”
“I’m pretty sure Natasha paid for that.”
Tony just breathed heavily, finally giving up on their unspoken staring contest to bury his hot face against Steve’s neck. Steve groaned at the feel of Tony rocking against him, hands tightening on his ass to get him to move, and thrust against Steve’s body, to work his cock against Steve’s. His heart pounded, fast and thundering, and Tony had his teeth hard on Steve’s throat. Then Tony’s tongue was slick and hot and sliding over his pulse, and Steve couldn’t hold back a short cry, his hips surged up to grind against Tony as he pulled him close. His cock throbbed, trapped tight between them, Tony made some small noise then Steve felt him come, cock pulsing. That dragged a ragged groan out of Steve’s throat, and the brilliant rush of his own orgasm, good - stupidly good - with Tony there, on top of him, gasping and trembling in his arms.
“Okay, well -”
“Don’t say anything Tony,” Steve interrupted. “Not - not right now.” False or not, ridiculous or not, he just wanted to ... to wallow in the moment. Let himself feel the relief and the warm weight of Tony’s body, someone to touch and hold after months of isolation. And, even after everything, he trusted Tony, even though circumstances proved he shouldn't.
Two minutes later, Tony was snoring softly into Steve’s neck. They didn’t get any planning done that visit.
Even so, Steve saved as much of his pencils as he could, doing enough drawing to convince the staff he needed the graphite sticks and saving pieces of them in a small envelope he folded from one of his sketch papers.
grind-it-small-to-dust- Tony had his head on Steve’s shoulder, watching him draw and tapping out code at the small of Steve’s back where his hand rested. It made Steve twitch.
They hadn’t had sex again, or talked about it, or gotten into bed together again, ruse or not. Steve was pretty sure he was glad of that, even if there were moments, late at night, when he remembered the harshness of Tony’s breath and the way he shuddered in Steve’s arms when he came.
can-do- Steve tapped out on the edge of the paper. Why-?-
graphite-is-conductive- Tony tapped in reply. Steve stopped him about two sentences in. It would take weeks for Tony to explain the science and Steve didn’t care right now.
“Let’s go to bed.”
“What?” Steve said stupidly.
“C’mon,” Tony leaned close, mouth smiling but eyes serious. “Let’s give security a show.”
Steve was already getting hard when they climbed into his narrow bed, dragging the flimsy paper sheet up to give them a fake sense of modesty. There was no way to fit together without making clear how enthusiastic his libido was, especially when Tony flicked a tongue over his lower lip, avoiding Steve’s gaze. He tucked his face against Steve’s throat, grunting when Steve drew his fingers through Tony’s hair (to keep up the facade).
“Okay,” Tony murmured, lips so close Steve was feeling as much as hearing his words, the delicate touch stirred up Steve’s desire relentlessly. He tried to push it aside, he knew why Tony was doing it. Steve had no doubt security had keyed up the volume to make sure they weren’t doing ... exactly what they were doing. “You’ve got to grind that graphite to a powder and get it into the gap where the collar meets. It’ll short the system long enough for me to access my suit.”
“No gap,” Steve breathed, squirming in a hopeless attempt to get some space without looking like he was trying to get away from his supposed husband. Figures Tony would find another way to drive him up the wall.
Tony gripped Steve’s hips, stilling him. “You’ll have to make one.” He bit Steve’s throat again, at that same damn spot.
“Christ, Tony -!”
Tony gripped a fistful of Steve’s hair. “Just go with it, baby.” His voice was harsh with strain and warning.
Steve was done . He tightened his grip on Tony’s hips and rolled so he was pressing the other man into the crappy mattress, Tony was panting noisily, eyes wide and dark and challenging. Steve kissed him hard. Might as well go the whole way. Tony bit him again, making Steve groan and bite that snarky mouth, grinding down, pressing his cock against the angles and urgency Tony’s body.
“Don’t make me come in my damn coveralls,” Tony tore his mouth away, gasping. “I had to do the walk of shame back to my cell last time.”
“Fine,” Steve growled, lifting just enough to get his hand between them and pop the fasteners on his own coveralls. Tony did the same for his.
They got enough bare skin to touch and it was ... it was still somewhere between good and really weird. The line of Tony’s cock was hot and sleek and pressed against Steve’s belly. He got his own between Tony’s thighs, groaning when he pressed his legs together to give Steve something to drive into.
“Fuck, Tony,” Steve groaned, dropping his head against Tony’s shoulder. He rocked, cock clasped in the private heat between Tony’s legs, rubbing against his balls and the soft skin of his thighs.
“Maybe next time,” Tony hissed. His hands roamed over Steve’s shoulders and back, squeezing, dragging fingernails over his skin. “C’mon, c’mon, Steve. Give me a hand off, at least.”
Bracing himself on an elbow, Steve got a hand between them and wrapped it around Tony’s cock. The shaft throbbed hot in his fingers, trailing pre-come, and Tony let out a high pitched sound, bitten off, when Steve swiped a thumb over the crown, catching up that moisture and making good use of it. He jacked Tony in time with the awkward roll of his hips and, strange or not, he was going to come pretty quick.
It was Tony’s face that did it; flushed and tense, eyes closed and mouth half-open, lips wet. That and his sudden, shuddering jerk, a strangled gasp, and the spurt of come over Steve’s hand. Squeezing his eyes shut, Steve eased Tony through his climax, tensing to drive one more time down, down between Tony’s tight thighs like he was fucking him and he was done, rushing into orgasm, strangling back a cry of his own.
Sprawled over Tony’s body, Steve listened to his racing heart. “Okay,” he managed to mumble finally, stroking his fingers down Tony’s cheek to run over the restraining collar. He found a hair-thin line by touch, it was invisible to the eye. “I got you.”
By next visit, Steve had hoarded as much graphite as he could and, placing them between two sheets of paper, he ground it into powder. He had no real place to hide it so just left the paper in plain sight, shuffled between the rest of his sketches. So long as no one moved anything, it wasn’t noticeable. Next visit had to be their last.
“Missed you,” Steve said when Tony was urged into his cell. He met Tony for a dry kiss and dropped down to sit by his pile of paper. Tony joined him, drumming his fingers restlessly on his knees - no code, just impatience.
“Never could wait to see me, huh?” Tony’s eyes were bright with hope.
“You got it,” Steve shuffled his papers carefully, leaning forward, nodding at Tony to do the same. It gave them a narrow blind spot in the surveillance camera. “Look what I’ve been working on.”
He’d drawn a nude, and left it fairly obviously on top in hopes it would discourage the guards.
“I’m flattered,” Tony sounded faintly non-plussed, and much more excited when Steve shuffled the paper to reveal the pile of dust he’d created, captured in a fold of paper.
“Not sure it’s my best work,” Steve said, “but it’s what I’ve got to work with here.”
“Looks perfect to me,” Tony replied. He gave Steve a sliver of a nod, picking up the paper
“Thanks,” Steve said, reaching out to cup a hand around Tony’s neck. Now was the time. Leaning in, he took a second grip with his other hand, trying to make it look as natural as possible. With a hiss, Steve torqued the collar as hard as he could - red lights immediately flared and Tony stiffened, eyes going wide in pained shock.
“Go!” Tony snapped when Steve met his gaze. “Dammit, don’t stop!” His voice rose to a shout, sweat breaking on his temples and Steve didn’t feel any give in the collar at all as sirens blared and a heavy security door slammed down over the front of his cell.
“They’ll gas us next,” Steve ground out, straining against the immovable collar. Tony was panting through clenched teeth, tears streaking down his face. There was the faintest sense of movement. “Now!”
Tony scooped up the paper and dumped all over the collar between Steve’s hands. Dust puffed up in a silvery cloud, turning black on Tony’s face and Steve’s sweating hands. Tony groaned.
“Did it work?” Steve shouted, gas was pouring into his cell, thick and bitter tasting. Tony’s eyes flew open in wild triumph and he shoved Steve back.
For a fraction of a moment, Steve saw something - a faint shimmer, so brief he was sure he’d imagined it. Until Tony’s suit flowed into existence, wrapping around the other man like liquid, hardening into the familiar red and gold suit of Iron Man. Light, hot and brilliant, sprang from Tony’s palms to shatter the front of the cell.
Steve leapt up to do his part for their escape, staggering as the gas tried to drag him down. Serum immunity or not, the gas had been designed (probaby by Tony) specifically for him. He went to one knee, then back up, swaying, only to have Iron Man sweep an arm around his waist and haul him close.
“C’mon princess,” Tony’s voice rang out, sending a stunning charge down the hallway to bowl over a cluster of rather terrified guards. He rose to fly, taking Steve with him. “Rescue time.”
“We’re getting a divorce after this,” Steve grunted, snagging a gun from the floor as they sped for whatever exit strategy Tony had planned.
“Did I mention the pre-nup? I probably should have.”