“What are you wearing to the gala?”
Steve almost dropped the kale and spinach smoothie he’d been contemplating for the past few minutes. He hadn’t heard Tony come in at all.
He looked down at himself, even though he'd just came back from running and knew he was only wearing threadbare sweatpants and a shirt that might’ve once belonged to Bruce given the too-tight fit and the print proclaiming This is my favorite TEA shirt.
“I was going to wear my dress uniform like last year,” he said. At Tony’s incredulous look, he added, “Got new shoes, though.”
“You’re the face of the Avengers and you’re wearing your old army uniform to the anniversary of the final battle?” Tony paused but Steve didn’t think he was waiting for a response. “I'm taking you to my tailor.”
“I don’t want a suit. And who the hell is saying that I'm the - ”
“I wasn't asking,” Tony interrupted.
There was a long pause. Tony stared. Steve stared back. It reminded him of the silent standoffs he and Tony used to get into back when they were just starting out as a team, which was weirdly funny and almost made him laugh. Tony didn’t seem amused.
Steve didn’t understand why this gala was so important to Tony. All it did was waste insane amounts of money that could pour into relief efforts and remind them of what they’ve let happen in the first place. He hadn’t cared for the celebration last year and he sure as hell didn’t care for it now. By the looks of it, it was turning out to be a yearly thing. Steve felt tired to the bone.
He knew, however, from experience when it was no use arguing with Tony. Eventually he relented, if only to save himself the oncoming headache. “Fine, but I'm paying myself.”
“I don't think you can afford it, actually,” Tony replied with a sly smile.
Steve was long past the time where comments like this made him bristle. It was just Tony being his usual insolent self. This time he was even right. Steve could barely afford the rent for a tiny apartment in the city, let alone the probably outrageously expensive suit Tony was imagining right now.
Tony was already turning away from him and tapping away at his phone. In the end, there was nothing to be done but to follow him. It wasn't like Steve had anything to do lately apart from running around New York and alternately getting applauded for and yelled at for the Avenger's actions against Thanos.
Steve loved helping people, but the constant scrutiny was wearing him down.
Fury didn't even want them to help with the rebuilding, so Steve had mostly sat back and stayed quiet. Helped whenever and wherever he could, went on a few minor missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. Tony, on the other hand, had spent endless hours in meetings and press conferences, answering the same questions over and over again.
If Steve was honest, he had been glad for the reprieve, even if it made him feel guilty. After all, Tony had Morgan and Pepper to think of and Steve had, well, no one. In the end, Tony's relationship didn’t survive the post-war mayhem, though by all accounts, he and Pepper had parted amicably enough.
By the time Steve changed and appeared in the garage, Tony was already sitting in a sleek black sports car. Steve was just squeezing himself in the ridiculously tiny car when Tony spoke again. “He’s upstate, though. Hope you don’t have anything else planned for today.”
“Actually, getting out of the city would be pretty nice,” Steve said. “That is, if you don’t have anything else to do.”
“I always got something else to do, Cap. But I’m here now.”
Steve didn’t know what to say to that so he turned away to fiddle with his seat belt and hoped that Tony wouldn’t notice.
They managed to weave out of Manhattan surprisingly fast for a Tuesday morning and were headed down the back roads in no time. While Steve never really warmed up to living upstate, he did always enjoy the scenic ride from and back to New York. It had been a while since he’d been out of the city, an even longer while since he’d been anywhere with Tony.
He had assumed that Tony would want to rebuild the compound back in Esopus, but somehow, they all ended up back at the tower. Steve thought about moving back to Brooklyn from time to time, but, in truth, felt strangely reluctant to leave the tower and the rest of the Avengers clearly felt the same, if the increasing amount of team dinners was any indication. To Steve’s surprise, Tony had even let Bucky and Sam stay, though they left for D.C. a while ago.
He turned to look at Tony, who was uncharacteristically quiet. He was turning gray along the temple, now that he’d stopped dyeing his hair, and there were deep lines around his eyes, but he still looked as handsome as ever. The raised scars from the impact of the stones stood out vividly against the tanned skin of his throat. Steve's eyes followed their path down Tony's shirt.
Something that would probably never change about Tony, however, was his driving. They were at least 30 mph above the speed limit. Better that way, though, since the silence in the car was quickly turning uncomfortable. Any camaraderie they might have rebuilt while fighting Thanos felt so far away.
In the end, Steve blurted out “What are you wearing?” for lack of a better thing to say.
“How forward of you, Steven. If you must know, right now I’m wearing a very nice - ”
“For the gala,” Steve interrupted before Tony could make things more awkward than they already were.
“Andy is making me wear red,” Tony said, surprisingly quick to stop with the mocking. The old Tony would’ve milked this situation for all it’s worth.
“Thought that's your color.”
“It is my color, thank you. Would’ve preferred a simple black suit, though, but you can’t argue with Andy. He’ll ruin your life,” Tony said and turned a mischievous grin in Steve’s direction. “Just watch, he’s going to put you in pink and you’ll like it.”
“I think I’ll stick with black,” Steve replied.
“Oh, c'mon. What about some color? And by color, I don't mean dark gray which is what you mean by color.” He pursed his lips. “I’m thinking salmon.”
“For lunch?” Steve didn’t need to see Tony's eyes to know that he was rolling them. He had to laugh. Already, the atmosphere in the car felt lighter. They might never get back what they had built in those few months living together before it all went to shit, but maybe it wasn’t ruined forever.
“Hats off to the men that can pull off pink but that's not me,” Steve went on.
Tony hummed noncommittally and turned his attention back to the road. They reached their destination soon enough, which turned out to be a neat little store in Cold Spring, NY. Tony informed him that he had found it while they still lived in the old compound.
The actual fitting turned out to be quite fun. Andy, a jovial man in his late 60s with an impressive mustache, did indeed make him try salmon but in the end, they settled for a very nice navy three-piece suit. He also got what Andy called a “weekend casual” in beige and way too many dress shirts in garish colors which he was assured “go well with his basic suit jackets”. Steve guessed Andy actually meant boring when he said that.
An assistant was measuring him for his dress shirt and despairing at the way he was bursting out of the sample shirt, when Tony finally spoke up. “He also needs a classic black tux.”
It was the first thing he had said since sitting down. He hadn’t looked up from his phone once, not even to look at Steve’s ass, which Andy assured him looked great in his suit without prompting.
Steve knew that Tony had looked at his body in the past, though he never really understood why. He used to fervently wish that Tony would stop, even though, logically, he knew that Tony would never act on it. He had been with Pepper for as long as Steve had known him and even when he hadn’t been, he had a never-ending stream of beautiful actresses and models flitting around him.
Maybe Tony had just enjoyed looking out of distant appreciation. Maybe he had wanted Steve to feel out of place and uncomfortable, as if Steve hadn’t felt this way by merely existing in this new century. Or maybe -
Steve had once, guiltily, googled “Tony Stark's sexuality” and then closed the tab straight away when Google spit out results for “Tony Stark gay sex tape”. He had never looked again, let alone outright asked anyone.
Then Ultron and Siberia had happened and it hadn’t mattered anymore. They stopped talking to each other, trusting each other. Maybe they never did. Steve’s guilt still kept him awake at night, even when Tony insisted that they were long past any hurt.
It didn't feel like they were past anything, but if Tony wanted to ignore what had happened, so would Steve. He was self-aware enough to know that he preferred it that way.
When Andy and his assistant disappeared in the back, Tony abruptly put down his phone and sidled up to Steve with a determined glint in his eye. Steve was fiddling with the cuffs of his dress shirt, so he wasn't at all prepared for Tony to reach up and put his hand on Steve’s throat.
Well, on the collar of his dress shirt, presumably to feel the fabric, but Steve felt the heat of Tony’s touch like he was being touched on his bare skin.
“Very nice,” Tony murmured absentmindedly. Steve opened his mouth to reply, but no words came out. Instead, he just stood there dumbly, while Tony touched him freely, unconsciously, as if they hadn't evaded touching each other for years.
Tony’s hand continued travelling along Steve’s front, narrowly avoiding his nipples, which were suddenly hard under the starched material of the dress shirt. His hand ended up square over Steve’s heart, where he wiggled his fingers contemplatively.
Steve was about to put an end to whatever this was, when Tony himself stepped away. His hands disappeared in the pockets of his jeans. The smirk playing around his lips didn’t bode well for Steve.
“With a matching red pocket square,” Tony said finally, his gaze lingering on Steve’s chest, “so that everybody knows you’re my kept man.”
“That’s hilarious,” Steve replied, once he felt calm enough to talk, and turned away before Tony could see his cheeks turn red. Luckily, Andy reappeared with his tuxedo jacket just then and saved Steve from further embarrassment.
The rest of the fitting went by without a hitch and soon they were free to go. Steve was loath to head home already, now that he had come out of the city for the first time in months, and Tony evidently felt the same, if the way he meandered silently along, while Steve looked at the display windows, was any indication.
It was unbearably hot, but neither of them was particularly bothered. Anything was better than the oppressive August heat in the city. After a while, Tony steered him toward a small restaurant. Steve could always eat, so they headed in.
The restaurant, it turned out, specialized in Greek cuisine and was “pretty authentic”, according to Tony, so they ordered a little bit of everything off the menu. Tony also got a small carafe of the house wine, which was unexpectedly bitter and numbed Steve’s tongue.
When the food arrived, Steve spoke up again. “Listen, Tony, I know you’ve got plenty on your plate, so thank you for taking the time to do all this for me, it’s really not necessary - ”
“Not this again.” Tony rolled his eyes and nudged Steve’s legs under the table. “Just enjoy it, eh?”
“I am enjoying myself,” Steve replied honestly. Alcohol did nothing for him, but in this tiny restaurant with good food and surprisingly good company, Steve felt relaxed for the first time in a long time.
“As am I,” Tony said. “If I'd known that you are so easy to please, I would have brought you here ages ago.”
“Still not interested in being your kept man, Tony. But thanks for the offer.” Now that there was a table separating them, Steve could almost joke about it.
He didn't even know why he had brought it up again, but Tony only raised his eyebrows and did something inexplicable with his mouth, which was somehow answer enough. It made Steve laugh. He went back to eating his food.
“Not interested in lazing around while I work and pay for everything, got it. Though, that has pretty much been our relationship since the day we’ve met. But what is it that actually you want to do?” Tony asked.
“I’m still employed by S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“I thought you’d want to move away after giving up your shield. Maybe give civilian life a try. College, or something. But you’re still here.”
“Well,” Steve began, and then didn’t know what to say. He forced himself to drink some of the bitter wine to get his thoughts in order. “This is my home” and then, for some reason, “everyone I love is here.”
And wasn’t that the truth? Tony was gazing intently at him.
“College sounds nice. But I’d feel silly sitting around with young people,” Steve continued when it became apparent that Tony wouldn’t answer.
“You could do evening classes at a community college. Plenty of old people do that. I’ll have Friday look into it and load some information on your tablet,” Tony said.
“In New York, though?” Tony prodded.
“Why do I get the feeling that you’re trying to get rid of me?” Steve deadpanned.
Tony fidgeted with his napkin. “Just figured you might want a new start somewhere else. D.C. maybe.”
“I’m happy here.”
Tony abandoned the now shredded napkin in front of him and fumbled for his glasses. He seemed nervous, though, for the life of him, Steve couldn't figure out why.
“Right, you’ve got Morgan to think of. Who else will watch really boring documentaries with her?” Tony replied.
“Nothing boring about watching bees build a nest. Did you know they actually have a highly sophisticated type of language? They waggle dance to communicate with each other. That’s crazy.”
“My 7-year-old might have mentioned it once or twice. Very fascinating indeed. Ready to go?”
The drive home was oddly comfortable. Tony had opened the windows and put on a slow jazz number instead of his usual loud rock music. The muggy heat of the day had largely dissipated and left a pleasant warmth in its wake. It made Steve drowsy and unguarded. “I had a really good time today. Thanks for inviting me.”
“Me too, Cap. Been a while since I’ve been anywhere non-work related, with anybody non-work related, so thank you.” He paused. “Though, I suppose you’re work-related too.”
“I’d like to be your friend,” Steve replied, which sounded so juvenile and needy and made him want to jump out of the moving car.
“Sure, we’ll be friends, Cap,” Tony laughed.
His fingers beat an irregular rhythm against the steering wheel, but it wasn't a nervous gesture. It was a perfectly pleasant moment, which is why Steve had to go and ruin it by blurting out, “I actually would like to kiss you.”
He clamped his mouth shut, but it was too late. Tony was eerily quiet beside him. Even his hands were still on the steering wheel, when Steve chanced a glance at them. He couldn’t bear to look up at Tony’s face, after what he had admitted.
Distantly, he felt Tony slow down the car. When he had managed enough courage to look up, Tony had parked them at the side of the road and was staring straight at him.
“Why would you say that?” Tony asked quietly.
“It's how I feel, I guess,” Steve replied and then turned his head to stare at the gnarled trunk of a towering northern red oak that Tony had parked precariously close to.
“You guess? What the hell do you mean, you guess?!” Tony whisper-yelled in a truly high-pitched voice, which would’ve been funny in any other situation.
Steve had no answer for either of them, so he did the only thing that came to mind, which was apparently to grab Tony by the jaw. Tony’s eyes widened comically.
Steve stammered out, “Can I, I mean-”
Evidently, Tony took pity on him because he took hold of Steve’s neck and smashed their mouths together. There was nothing tentative about the kiss. Tony immediately opened his mouth and sought out Steve’s tongue with his. His hands were gripping Steve’s nape tightly, as if he was afraid Steve would move away.
Steve wasn't planning on going anywhere anytime soon, now that he had Tony in his arms. Up close, Tony smelled like lemon and spice. His skin was unimaginably soft, where it was cradled possessively by Steve’s hands. Steve wanted to crawl inside him and never leave.
“Get in the backseat,” he ground out when Tony let up from his mouth.
“You’re giving me whiplash with all that back and forth between shy and cocky,” Tony replied, but he scrambled to the backseat with no objection.
He already had his jacket off and was working on the buttons of his shirt by the time Steve had folded himself in the narrow space next to him. Tony’s hands immediately went to the hem of Steve’s shirt, brushing Steve's stomach and making goosebumps rise on his skin. When Steve didn’t protest, he flung the sweater off in the direction of the front seat and tugged Steve close again.
His hands were trembling slightly, Steve noted gratifyingly, when they went up to touch Steve’s sternum.
“Couldn’t take my eyes off of you earlier,” Tony murmured, tracing the sensitive skin under Steve’s right pec. “I felt like a creep.”
“I like it,” Steve lowered his eyes, “when you look at me. I wanted you to.” His ears were burning, but he sat back and let Tony look. His nipples were so hard already, just from the heat of Tony’s gaze and his light explorations.
“I know you did,” Tony said, and drew Steve close again to resume kissing him. Steve's eyes squeezed shut, feeling caught. Impulsively, he grabbed hold of Tony’s hips and hauled him into his lap.
“Oh, is that how it is?” Tony leered.
Steve wordlessly squeezed his hips and dragged him closer so that they were pressed together from chest to hip. Their mouths met again in a sloppy, wet kiss. He could feel Tony hard through their clothes. He was, too, had been pretty much since the moment Tony’s tongue had touched his.
His hands went to Tony’s soft stomach. He felt the sudden urge to bite into it. Later, he thought. If this wasn’t just a bout of temporary insanity and Tony wanted to do it again, Steve would lay him out on a bed somewhere and kiss him everywhere.
“Yeah?” he asked, nonsensically, while scratching through the sparse hair below Tony’s navel but Tony seemed to have understood him perfectly, if the pointed bite to his neck was any indication.
He made quick work of Tony’s fly and slipped his hand inside. And then, God, he finally had Tony’s cock in his hand. It felt hot and smooth to the touch, exactly how Steve had imagined it in the few guilty moments he had allowed himself.
Tony’s hands had migrated from his chest to his biceps, but now he slipped one down to Steve’s thighs and, without preamble, fitted it around Steve’s cock through the flimsy material of his pants. Steve’s moan tore out of him louder than he intended.
“Oh, this is delicious,” Tony said in between kisses. “This the first time anybody touched you like that?”
“Shut up,” Steve replied. It wasn’t, but he didn’t want to get into it right now.
Things happened when you were on the run from your former teammates and almost every single government on this planet. The desperate hand job he had exchanged with a man at a gas station in Germany was hardly worth the mention.
He took Tony’s cock out of his underwear and began stroking it roughly to stop this train of thought.
“Jesus,” Tony ground out. His nails were biting into the meat of Steve’s thighs.
Steve’s grip was probably a tad too tight and dry, but Tony didn’t seem to mind. He was mouthing mindlessly against Steve’s throat. His hands were back on Steve's chest, squeezing almost painfully.
Steve hummed, “Like this?” Tony's cock felt so good in Steve's hand, so soft and silky, and Steve spent an inordinate amount of time tracing the thick vein that ran along the curved side. His mouth watered at the thought of licking it.
“Next time, I’ll spread you out on a bed and suck you until you’re begging me to stop,” he continued, over the sound of Tony’s labored breathing.
“Cap, you’re killing me,” Tony wheezed.
“You got any lube around here?”
When Tony shook his head, Steve leaned back and spit on his cock.
“Wow,” Tony muttered, “you are a little freaky, aren't you?”
Steve ignored him and went back to his ministrations. Feeling bold, Steve let his left hand travel down to cup Tony’s balls and, when Tony moaned appreciatively, further down to trail over his hole. He hadn’t ever done this to anyone but himself, but the thought that Tony might let him -
Tony bit his collarbone and abruptly came. Steve looked down at his hand, which was now covered with the evidence of Tony’s pleasure.
“Well,” he began, and then there was a long pause. “I guess you liked it?”
Tony’s hand came up and tweaked Steve’s nipple. “Don’t be sassy.”
“But you liked it?” Steve asked tentatively. “Some other time, could I - ?” he started, but then lost the courage. Tony’s dark eyes were boring into him.
“Oh yes,” Tony whispered, after what felt like an eternity, “I love anal. Both giving and receiving,” he grinned, clearly enjoying Steve’s embarrassment. He nudged Steve under the chin so that Steve couldn’t evade his eyes.
“I wonder,” he continued, his hand having moved down to rest lightly on Steve’s throat, “if you'd let me spread you out on my bed. If you’d let me do anything I want to you.” He pressed a kiss to Steve’s chin. “I think you would.”
Steve shivered. “Yes,” he admitted, “anything you want, Tony.” He tugged Tony back in for a quick kiss to stop himself from talking.
“That’s a dangerous thing to promise to a man like me,” Tony grinned when Steve eased off, “but I’ll take it! Right now, though, I want you right here.”
He removed himself smoothly from Steve’s lap and pushed Steve down so that he was laying down flat on the seat. Or as flat as possible in a car that was clearly not meant for such activities. Once he was satisfied with Steve’s position, Tony went straight for Steve’s fly and unceremoniously shoved his pants down to his thighs. And then he was just staring.
“Uncut. What a treat,” he said eventually.
“Tony!” Steve fought the urge to cover himself.
“What? I thought we established that we both really enjoy objectifying you,” Tony said and then proceeded to waggle his eyebrows for good measure. “Or doesn’t that extend to when you’re naked?”
“I liked you better when you were mindless and non-verbal with pleasure.”
Tony slapped his flank. “I'll show you mindless with pleasure!” he said, indignant, and then promptly bent down and put his mouth on Steve’s cock. Steve arched up against him. He didn’t know where to put his hands. Eventually, he set them on Tony’s neck to brush against the soft hair on his nape.
The deep scars on his throat glinted in the low light of the car. Without thinking, Steve trailed his fingers over them. They were a lot softer than they looked. Tony looked up sharply.
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to…,” he trailed off, embarrassed.
But Tony only smiled quizzically and returned his attention back to Steve’s cock. He seemed particularly fascinated by the loose skin around the head and spent an excessive amount of time teasing and licking it before taking Steve’s cock slowly down his throat.
Steve knew he wasn’t small, but Tony seemed to do his level best to fit him in his mouth. There was so much spit and precum running down his cock and smeared around his mouth, but Tony didn’t seem to mind.
What he didn’t get to reach with his mouth, he touched and stroked with his wet hand. His grip was looser than Steve usually liked for himself, but the thought alone, that Tony would want to touch him like that, was enough to get Steve closer to the edge.
Tony's other hand squeezed any part of Steve’s body that was within reach. Predictably, it ended up back on Steve’s chest, where he kneaded distractedly at Steve’s sensitive skin. Steve didn’t think Tony was even aware he was doing it.
Steve trailed his fingers along Tony’s stubbled jaw and then, impulsively, cupped his cheeks to feel the shape of his cock. At the touch, Tony let Steve’s cock slip out of his mouth and turned his head to suck two of Steve’s fingers in his mouth.
Steve groaned. It shouldn't be possible, but the sight of Tony sucking on his fingers was somehow more erotic than that of his gorgeous mouth full of cock. His lips were so plump and glistening, it drove Steve wild. He hauled Tony up by the neck to kiss those lips.
They spent a long time just kissing and breathing each other in, but eventually Tony put his hand back on Steve’s cock and resumed lazily touching him. The earlier urgency was gone. Steve held him close and left lazy kisses on Tony’s throat.
“Love your smell,” he murmured into Tony's neck and then, because they were already in too deep, so why the hell not, “Wanted this for so long.”
“Me too,” Tony gasped. His hand on Steve’s cock sped up. “God, Steve, I can’t believe I get to have you like this. Never letting you go again.”
Steve couldn’t hold back his moans as he got closer and closer to his peak. In the end, it was Tony’s choked “Come for me, Steve, come on” that drove Steve over the edge. He came with a loud cry, body arching against Tony’s.
When he came to, Tony was lying on his heaving chest and staring up at him thoughtfully. His beard was scratching pleasantly against Steve’s sensitive skin with each breath.
“I guess...you liked it?” Tony fluttered his eyelashes at him.
“Har har,” Steve said, rolling his eyes, but he brought his hands up and around to hug Tony close. He was loath to stop with the touching now that the sex was over. When Tony determinedly curled in closer, Steve had to hide a smile in his hair. Eventually it got too sticky and cramped in the backseat, so they disentangled and moved back to the front.
“This was fun,” Tony said, when they were mostly put back together and back on the road. His face was neutral except for the tiny hint of anxiety Tony didn’t think Steve knew him well enough to see.
“Agreed,” he replied, feeling weirdly pleased. Maybe it was mean, but he wanted to see Tony struggle a little. Steve had been feeling rattled the whole day, he deserved a little reward.
“So what now?” Tony asked, probably going for flippant, but it came out jittery instead.
“I don’t know about you, but I’d really like to do this again,” Steve said, smiling. “I’ve been promised to be spread out on a bed and ravished, or something. Or was that all talk?”
“Right, yes, that’s definitely going to happen - ”
He felt a rush of sudden affection for the man sitting beside him. He extended a hand and placed it on Tony's neck. “Might even let you take me out to dinner and buy me shiny things, who knows. I am kind of enjoying being a kept man.”
“Cap, don’t play with my feelings like that. I’ve been wanting to shower you with shiny things the moment we met. Well, maybe not the moment we met, you were pretty annoying. Also, rude, but - ”
Steve smiled and settled against the seat, listening to Tony chatter. They were going to be just fine.