This story is a collab done by myself and Dark sides cookie (she's on AO3). We really hope you like it. When we met, we decided to try our hand at writing together. it went rather well, we think, and this is the result. It was a lot of fun to write.
Redrawing the Lines of Love
By Mrs. Tony Stark and Jaspers Dark Angel
Tony was tired. He had been up for the better part of three days and while that was normal for him most days, dealing with the issues shield had caused to his hardware wasn't. He'd been trying to fix the "software updates" their tech flunkies had installed on his jet. It had taken him and Jarvis a long time but they had managed it. He just needed Steve to record voice commands.
He wanted to get everything on the jet taken care of before he crashed for a few days, he knew he would likely sleep for a day or two when he finally gave in and let sleep take over so he was in a hurry.
It was only 7am and he knew he would catch hell from Clint for waking him and Steve but he really didn't care. He had no issues undermining that relationship. He secretly hated that Clint had somehow managed to snag Steve. But there was only one person other than Tony that knew about the hatred he felt toward Clint.
The problem really was that Tony was in love with Steve and Clint was standing in his way. He liked Clint as a person, on a base level he and Clint could get along really well. He could have seen them having a great friendship, if it weren't for the fact that they were both in love with the same damn super soldier.
Without thinking, Tony let himself into the apartment that Steve and Clint shared. It had been Steve's which Clint had moved into a few months ago. Tony had gotten used to just walking in, he wasn't going to change that just because Barton got a bit uppity.
The sounds from the bedroom made him pause. He knew those sounds all too well. Lifting his hand to the door, he let it rest there. He wasn't about to interrupt Steve and Clint when they were-
"Oh, fuck!" Clint grunted out. "I love your mouth!"
Tony's fingers curled as he closed his eyes, his heart bursting into pieces. It wasn't as though he didn't know that the two of them... Why wouldn't they? He knew they did, but hearing it was enough to make his stomach turn. He had been in love with Steve for forever, and he'd only known Clint a few years. Why was he so lucky to have his heart and be in his bed?
Pulling his hand back, Tony shook his head and turned to leave. He would not be that guy, the guy that listened at the door of the man he loved, with another man. He had reached the end of the small apartment in no time, thankful that he could no longer hear the sounds of the two in the bedroom. The elevator doors slid opened before he had a chance to press the button. Whatever he had expected to see in the elevator, it had not been Steve, in his Captain America costume.
"Steve?" Steve raised his head, startled at the sound of his name. The tiredness evident on his face. It was a look Tony knew too well. One that probably matched his own. It was the look of a man that had not been to sleep in at least a day, maybe longer. Come to think of it, he wasn't even sure when the last time he had seen Steve was.
"But...I heard sounds; I thought you and Clint...Didn't want to disturb the two of you." Tony trailed off at the look on Steve's face. Before he could do anything, Steve was out of the elevator and down the hall. Tony following somewhat far behind. He knew what was coming and while a small part of him was doing a happy dance that Clint was about to get a beating,but he wasn't relishing in the fact that the man he loved was also having his heart broken.
Even if Steve's heart was going to receive the hardest blow, Tony inwardly smiled, knowing he was the one who would be there to pick up the shattered pieces. He would show Steve what it would be like to truly be loved, but all in good time. He knew he was getting a bit ahead of himself here, Steve hadn't even caught Clint in his adulterous act, and Tony was already thinking about the way Steve felt in his arms, and how good it would be to comfort him until he would be able to get past it and move on. Then the two of them would have their time. Tony had waited this long. He could wait a while longer.
The loud, smashing sound brought Tony out of his thoughts and back to reality. The scene before him, whatever he had thought he was going to see, was not what met his eyes. Clint had his boxers on, searching for something else to throw on and- Tony's eyes about bulged right out of his head.
"Storm? What in the-"
He turned to look at Steve. This was his show. Tony took a step back, trying to hide a snicker with a bit of a cough. He probably shouldn't be getting as much pleasure out of this as he was, but this was better than anything Tony could have imagined. He knew Steve was upset, that he was hurting, but he couldn't help but revel in the perfectness of this moment. It was like something out of a movie.
Clint froze. This had been going on for a few months now, and they hadn't been caught. Yet here both Steve and Tony were standing in the doorway, Clint and Johnny literally caught with their pants down. Clint could use the proverbial "This isn't what it looks like" or he could simply go for the "I'm sorry, Steve! I'm so very sorry!" Neither of them were Clint's style. Instead, he remained silent.
"I... uh..." Johnny Storm stammered. "I think I should... Yeah, I'm just gonna leave." Johnny made to leave but the firm hand on his bicep stops him. Before he has a chance to say anything to the giant of a man holding his arm in a rather vice like grip, he was flung through the air. Johnny felt something break but was unsure if it was the wall or his spine. Being manhandled by Captain America had not been on his list of things to do that day, nor any day really.
Steve crossed the room in three long strides. His hand was back on Johnny, holding him against the wall. As he was pinned there by the superhuman soldier, Johnny tried to take himself out of the situation. He was not usually one to get his ass handed to him. He was a lover, not a fighter, but if it actually came down to blows, he was usually the one dealing them out. Granted, he was only pinned to the wall, and not in a very pleasing way, but he had to distance himself even for the moment. It would be so easy to go supernova on the good Captain, but Tony would not be pleased if he torched the tower, or for that matter Captain America.
"You're not going anywhere." The super soldier growled out. The bright blue eyes blazed fire and for a moment, Johnny wondered if Steve was going to be the one bursting into flames. The man was angry, and Johnny knew he had every right to be.
Johnny ran over his list of things to do for the day. One: Fuck Clint. Two: Sneak out without Rogers knowing. Three:... Yep, nowhere on that list did he have jotted down "Get thrown into the wall and pinned by a very pissed off Captain Wonderful." Nope. Definitely not in his plans, so how in the world did he find himself in that very predicament. Not that he couldn't get out of it, but Jesus, his grip was about ready to choke him right out of his musings.
Clint came over, placing his hand on Steve's spandex-covered arm, shaking his head. "Let him go, Steve. This is between you and me. Just let him go."
Steve kept his ice-blue gaze seared on the Human Torch. "Was between you and me, but then you had to bring him into our bed!"
"Ok, ok, now," Tony spoke up, walking fully into the room. "Let's all take a deep breath here, we'll go up to my place and have a drink and talk this over."
"I don't want to have a drink," Steve growled, "and I don't want to talk." What he wanted was to reduce the man in front of him to a pile of ashes. If his eyes could have done the job, he would have at it, but unfortunately, the man was capable of doing that to himself without permanent consequences, and besides, Steve was too decent of a person to do that kind of harm, even if the scumbag deserved it.
Steve knew his anger was misplaced, it should be Clint in his grasp, Clint had done this to them, but Steve had enough control left in him to know going after Clint was a bad idea.
Tony held up his hands. "Alright. I'll just..." He looked over at the bed, deciding against sitting where Hawkeye and the Human Torch had just been copulating. If he thought the idea of Steve and Clint in that bed was enough to make his stomach flip, the idea of Johnny and Clint was a whole other somersault in his gut. He opted for the bench at the foot of the bed instead. "I'll just..." The only thing missing now was a bucket of popcorn.
The room remained silent for a while, and even with the events of the morning, Tony found himself nodding off. Steve and Clint weren't looking at each other, both of their attention was on the slightly crumpled form of the less sexy Steve lookalike. Even Tony could see the strong almost twin like resemblance to the pair. Maybe that had been why Clint went for Storm? If Tony were into substitutes, he might do the same, but there was no substitute for Steve, not for him anyway.
"Why?" The silence of the room was broken by a single sad word. Steve had released Johnny from his grip, letting the prone man stand, dust himself off and if Johnny knew what was good for him, tuck tail and run!
Clint stood at Steve's side. "Look at me, Steve."
"I can't." He wasn't looking at anything or anyone now. The wall to the side of Johnny Storm's head held no interest for the man, but it was better than looking at any of them. If he looked at Tony, he knew he'd break down, but just him being in the room was enough of a strength for him. He needed Tony's silent strength right now. Silence wasn't a strong suit of Tony's, but at least he was silent in this rare moment He was here, that's all Steve needed.
"Can we please be alone?" Clint didn't want to air out their issues with anyone else around. This was for them to work out and didn't need anyone else around to add their two bits.
Steve took a step back letting the smaller carbon copy of himself leave. Johnny remained. He didn't want this to go bad for Clint. Sure, he had never admitted to the man that he was in love with him, he wasn't even sure what marksman felt for him, but he surely didn't want him to be on the receiving end of Captain America's nodded at Johnny, letting him know in one action that it would be ok. Not saying another word, he quickly gathered up the rest of his clothes and bolted for the door.
Clint knew Tony was still sitting there watching the two of them, but for some odd reason, he wasn't even saying a word. He wanted Steve to tell him to leave, but he was sure he wouldn't. Clint wordlessly conceded to his presence, asking for his earlier appeal.
"Will you please look at me, Steve?"
Steve turned to face the man who had so unceremoniously broken his heart and practically did a little dance on it all in the span of a few seconds. He had been exhausted coming home from dealing with the shit S.H.I.E.L.D had thrown at him, he had wanted to strip off his stars and stripes and curl up next to the warmth of the man he loved. He had been looking forward to a lazy day spent in bed with Clint, the pair of them tangled in each others embrace in every way imaginable. However, what he had come home to had torn his heart out. Waking up from a 70 year sleep and finding all the people he had ever known dead had been less painful than finding Clint with Storm. He had, in the past few months had his suspicions about Clint's faithfulness but he had no proof and had elected to ignore Clint's odd, somewhat distant behavior. Perhaps this was his penance for always being away.
"Why? I don't feel like looking at the man I have loved so completely just so he can tell me why he tore out my heart and did the Mexican Hat Dance on it. No thank you, Barton."
Tony couldn't help but guffaw at Steve's adept use of the analogy. Sometimes Steve surprised him with what he did and what he didn't know. Then again, who knows how long that analogy could have been in play. For all Tony knew, they could have been using it back in Steve's heyday. Steve shot a glance at Tony, one that pleaded with him to stay quiet. He really did not want to have to ask him to go, but if he didn't stay quiet like he surprisingly was, he would have to ask him to leave.
Clint did his best to forget the egotistical overgrown child sitting in the bedroom and focused on the man in front of him, the man he loved, the man he had wronged. "I am not going to stand around making excuses, Steve. I have none to make."
"Then what did you want to talk about?" Steve was losing his patience. "If there's nothing to say, this conversation was over before it began."
"I love you, Steve-"
"Love?" Steve snapped at the man, coming face to face with him, staring him eye-to-eye. "If this is what you call love, I don't want anything to do with it."
"You're always gone. I can't tell you how many nights I laid alone in OUR bed while you were out being The First Avenger. Johnny understood! He was there when you weren't."
Steve felt as though he had been slapped across the face. He had gone to Storm because he hadn't been there for him. Steve couldn't say how much that hurt on so many levels. Why in the world was Johnny Storm so fantastic when it was Steve who was supposed to be the one Clint turned to? "So you fucked him because you couldn't fuck me?" It was a little coarser than Steve was used to being, but the gloves were off. He may not want to hit the man right now, but he wasn't going to stand back and be made a mockery of.
"It wasn't about sex, Steve. I wanted you, all of you. I wanted your time, your heart, all of it. But you were always gone and when you weren't gone physically, it was like your head was a million miles away."
Steve's head hung in shame. He knew Clint was right, there had been so much going on at S.H.I.E.L.D that he couldn't talk about, not even with Clint. It hurt him, to know that his job had helped facilitate this.
Tony wasn't sure he wanted to hear any of this. No, he knew he didn't. He wanted to escape, but he forced himself to stay where he was. A part of him knew that Steve wanted him here, that he needed him here, so he remained, unable to pull his gaze from the ignominious exchange in front of him.
"You had my heart Clint. And the rest...You know I cannot talk about what I'm working on. You of all people should be able to understand the level of secrecy that goes into some of the missions we go on. I wanted to talk to you about them, do you have any idea how badly I wanted to tell you what was going on? It's a mind fuck, I'll tell you that. Nothing I ever expected to deal with. And in our line of work, that should say something. But that doesn't excuse what you did. You brought someone else into our bed. You! Not me, whatever I did to hurt you, is nothing, NOTHING compared to what you have done." Steve couldn't stop talking everything he wanted to say just spilled out.
"We could have worked through your issues with me. But what you did, there is no working out, there's no fixing this. Not anymore." Steve blinked back the tears that had started to blur his vision as he talked.
"You don't mean that Steve," Clint said, his calm stoic demeanor slipping. "You can't mean that. I love you. We can work this out."
"I don't want to. You and me, it's over." Steve said turning to leave. He was tired, beyond tired, but he was not going to sleep in that bed. Tony's hand was on his shoulder before he got further than the common room of what used to be his and Clint's place.
"Where are you going to go, big guy?" Tony didn't want to have to worry about Steve any more than he already did. It had taken him months to pull the hard-headed super soldier out of the clutches of S.H.I.E.L.D where he had been living and he was damned if he was going to allow that place to swallow him back up.
"I still have a bed at..."
"Don't you dare say it. Barton will be out on his ass with everything he owns before I let you go back to that shithole they called a room. You deserve better than that. Besides, you aren't getting rid of me that easy. How about we go up to my floor. I'm in desperate need of sleep and by the looks of things, so are you. I have a nice large bed; you won't even know I'm in it." Tony's words hurt him. Just the thought of having Steve in his bed and not being able to snuggle into the blond hurt. But Steve was in need of a friend and that was what Tony would be. Tony had been ignoring, fighting and pretty much pretending his feelings for Steve were anything but friendly, and he would continue doing that even if it killed him. Steve nodded and shrugged Tony's hand off, reaching the elevator. Tony turned back to see Barton standing in the doorway of what used to be his and Steve's bedroom, his eyes were red and his cheeks tear stained. Tony was angry with Clint for what he had done, but he knew he wasn't nearly as angry as he should have been.
If he and Steve could salvage at least a working relationship after what had happened, Tony would consider it a win, but he wasn't going to be putting Barton or Storm on any public enemy lists. At least not just yet anyway.
"I recommend that by the time Steve comes back, all your stuff is moved out. I'm not kicking you out of the Tower, your apartment is waiting for you. I just think it's time you move back there." Tony didn't stop to see if Clint acknowledged his words. He was too focused on the blond at the elevator.
Clint stood at the door, watching the two men walk away. His heart breaking into a million pieces. He knew this was his fault that he had brought this on himself by getting in bed with Johnny but he had been so lonely. He knew Steve was busy with work, Natasha was helping him on some super secret mission that even Clint didn't have clearance for. It had been hard not asking questions, not being allowed the answers he so badly wanted. With both Steve and Natasha gone all the time, he had no one to turn to. It had been for that reason that he had found comfort in Johnny.
He hadn't meant for anything to happen. Johnny was a friend of his; they had been friends for years. Ever since S.H.I.E.L.D had sent him in as eyes and ears for them on the Fantastic Four. He and Johnny and he had found an easy friendship, but even back then, there was no denying there was an attraction. Clint had been with someone else at the time and had ignored it. It had been easy to do, he had been in love.
It had been a few years since he had seen the Fantastic Four, having been on assignment so often. The night he met back up with Johnny had been one of the more lonely nights. Steve had been gone with Natasha for almost a month, he hadn't heard anything from the two of them since they had left and Clint was worried. He knew missions could go south very easily. He had gotten himself into a few of those missions and been the cause of more than a few taking a dive. He was rash and headstrong, it was a character flaw. He had been on his way down to Tony's lab to see if Jarvis could track Steve or Natasha when he had spotted Storm coming out of the lab.
For a second he had thought it was Steve, there was no denying the two looked alike. It was freaky really, but it had given him hope. The crushing feeling when he had realized who it was had been overwhelming. It had taken all he had in him to remain standing. Johnny had seen Clint and had come to his aid, not realizing that he was part of the cause.
They had sat up and talked for hours. Clint only hinting at the issues he was having with Steve, mostly they talked about other things like why Johnny was coming out of Tony's lab. (Clint hadn't realized they were friends though, with how alike Johnny and Tony were, it shouldn't have been all that shocking), Johnny told him about Sue and Reed, how their marriage was going. Ben had finally gotten married to Alicia. Clint had to smile at that, Alicia was amazing and Ben deserved happiness. Doctor Doom was still causing issues and Johnny was still the playboy waiting to find the right person.
Their relationship hadn't started out as sexual, it had for a while just been two friends hanging out. He wasn't sure when or how it changed but it had. And now, Clint had lost everything. Steve wouldn't take him back, that he was sure of it. Johnny...Well, he wasn't sure what was salvageable there. Johnny had this ability to laugh things off, pretend nothing happened but being thrown into a wall by a super soldier wasn't something to laugh off. It was a big deal. Johnny was probably hurt, Steve hadn't been exactly gentle. He'd find out after he was done extricating himself from Steve's life.
Moving out of Steve's apartment had been easy; he only had a duffel bag of possessions. Keeping to himself from crossing paths with Steve was going to be harder.
The elevator ride up to Tony's floor was agonizingly painful. Tony was only two floors above Steve but it felt like an eternity. He shouldn't have stayed, he shouldn't have heard that conversation. It was something private that Steve and Clint should have handled without Tony in the room, but he had been unable to leave. He felt awful for Steve, he didn't like seeing the guy he loved hurt the way he was. Steve looked broken; the dead look in his eyes was back. It wasn't something he had seen on Steve's face in at least a year. He hated to admit it, but it had been Steve's relationship with Clint that had helped take away the dead look.
When the elevator doors slid open Tony got off but wasn't followed by Steve.
"Steve?" Tony said, walking back to the still man. Steve didn't respond, but followed as Tony pulled him out of the elevator and down the hall. Once inside his room, Tony wasn't sure what to do. Steve needed a shower, but the man was in no condition to handle that task and Tony wasn't sure he was either. Instead, he led the man to the end of the bed. The uniform was easy to remove and Tony had it on the floor in no time.
Tony left to get something from the bathroom while Steve remained seated at the edge of the bed. He wasn't able to make his body do anything. He was hurt, beyond hurt. Clint had taken his heart and torn it from his chest. He had been so stupid to think that he deserved happiness, that he could have love. History had shown him that love was not in the cards for him, he should have known better.
He had thought he found love with Peggy but the world had taken him from her, just as it had once taken Bucky. But he had dared to hope that this time it would be different. That maybe Clint would be the one. Maybe the whole reason the world had intervened with Peggy, taken Bucky, was that there was someone else out there that had needed him just as badly as he needed them. But no, that wasn't it. The world had stepped in again and told Steve what he already knew. That he wasn't worth it, he didn't get to be happy. He was nothing more than a weapon for the world to play with. There only to take blow after blow and still get up. Steve was tired of it. He didn't want to be a pawn in the worlds game. He didn't know what he wanted anymore, but the way his life was going, wasn't at all the way he planned.
Tony stared at himself in the mirror as he ran the washcloth under the water in the sink. He hadn't expected the day to go like this. Sleep had been on his list, but right now, the only thing that mattered was his best friend who was nothing but an empty shell. Tony was usually a selfish man; he wouldn't argue that fact with anyone. "Volatile, self-obsessed, and doesn't play with others." That had been the assessment of him prior to what he had done when Loki was in New York, and even though it was still pretty much accurate, it wasn't true when it came to his friends, and especially not when it came to the man he loved.
Wringing the washcloth out so it wasn't dripping with water, he took a deep breath and returned to the bedroom. His friend looked so lost. He wanted to be able to make Steve forget all about Clint, but he knew that wasn't what was needed right now. What Steve needed was a friend, and Tony could do that for him. He'd been doing it for years now, and he wasn't about to stop, especially when he needed him most.
Something soft and wet touched his cheek and Steve blinked. Tony was wiping his face off with a washcloth. Closing his eyes, he tried to let his body relax. It would take a whole lot more than this, but at least he knew Tony was there for him. He hadn't needed to stay around downstairs, but he had, and if he hadn't, Steve wouldn't be here right now. It had been Tony's silent presence that had allowed Steve to keep his head. He had remained calm and strong, because Tony was on his side. He had never needed his best friend more than he needed him now, and somehow Tony knew that. Tony always knew exactly what he needed.
Tony usually had some witting remark for any given situation, something to alleviate and amuse, but right now, he knew it wasn't the time. Steve needed time to get his bearings. He needed silence. And even though that was one tall order for the Man of Iron, he would give it to him. There wasn't anything he wouldn't do for the man he loved.
He let the washcloth move down over his neck, cleaning the circumference gently before moving the warm cloth down over the super soldier's well-defined pectoral muscles. Biting his lip, he focused on why he was doing this and not how it was making him feel. He had to keep that part of him in check for his friend. Nothing mattered right now except for making sure Steve was all right, and that did not involve jumping directly into bed with him. Tony loved Steve, and what he didn't want was to become a rebound anything. He wouldn't do that to his best friend.
"Th...Thank you, Tony." Steve finally spoke after the longest silence Tony was sure he'd ever had to endure. His voice was a little coarse, as though he'd been crying. With all the emotions running through him, he was honestly surprised he hadn't broken down, but as tired as he was and the weight of it all still pushing him down into his darkness, he knew it was still possible.
"Don't you thank me. You'd do the same for me."
There wasn't anything either wouldn't do for the other, and they both knew it. It was something that they both took comfort in from the other. The early days of their friendship had been a little rocky to say the least. Steve was adjusting to life in the 21st century and his presence opened a completely new vat of daddy issues for Tony, but over time, they had learned to put aside their issues, and have become closer than either imagined. Tony had helped Steve acclimate to this new world he found himself in better than anyone could have, and Steve had given Tony insights into his father he never imagined possible. It was kismet, but still they had not managed to be where Tony hoped they would have been right now. Tony had been the one to help Steve come to terms with his desire for the opposite sex.
Being from the 1940s, Steve had had some issues grasping the concept of free love. In his day, being attracted to a person of the same sex was considered an illness, cause for dismissal in the military and a one-way ticket to a loony bin. But the 21st century had seen a reason to change that. Tony had hoped that Steve's new knowledge of the gay pride movement would help them get a relationship started. Tony had never considered that Steve would be attracted to someone else.
Instead, Steve had started a relationship with Clint. Why Clint, he would never ask. He had never been one to let the green monster of jealousy slip from his cool exterior, and he wouldn't over Clint. Tony instead stood by and watched his friend's happiness. That didn't mean he didn't wish he was the one who warmed Steve's heart and his bed, he just never would have told anyone, especially not Steve.
"I'm tired," Steve barely spoke again. He didn't know how much more he could take. He was a super soldier, but he was still human. He could only go on adrenaline for so long, and it had been snatched away from him when he had found his lover in bed with another man. Yes, he had not caught them in the act, but he hadn't needed to. What he had walked in on had been bad enough.
Nodding, Tony tossed the washcloth toward the bathroom. He hadn't cared where it landed. He wasn't leaving Steve's side. "Come on." He wrapped his arm around Captain America's bare back and pulled him to a stand. He was a heavy man on a good day. Right now, he was ten tons of bricks. "Up we go!"
Walking with him slowly around the bed, he leaned over and pulled the covers down, helping his subdued friend down to the 1500 thread count sheets. As he pulled away, Steve's hand shot up to grab hold of Tony's tricep.
"I'm not." Tony's heart felt a jolt and it wasn't from the arc reactor either. To hear Steve beg of him not to go made butterflies flitter in his stomach. "I'm just going to get ready for bed myself."
Steve released his hold on Tony's arm and Tony stood, undoing his pants and discarding them and doing the same with his shirt. Walking around to the other side of the bed, he slipped under the covers with his best friend, pulling him into his arms. God, what it would be like to go to bed with him every night in his arms like this.
Steve instantly turned into Tony's arms, thankful for his strength. He needed this. He needed the comfort of his best friend to get him through this. He had not wanted to be alone and he knew Tony wouldn't let him be. He let his fingers run over the arc reactor and it surprisingly brought a smile to his lips. He had no words, no rhyme or reason as to why it made him smile, but he was glad it did. Closing his eyes, he left his head resting on Tony's chest, his hand gently laying over the arc reactor, he succumbed to everything that was weighing him down.
Tony woke hours later, Steve was still sound asleep. The big man had moved away from Tony and was curled in on himself. It tore at Tony's arc to see someone so large reduce themselves to something so small. If he hadn't had something he needed to do, he would have stayed in bed and watched Steve sleep, hold him tight and coax the worry out, help the slumbering man relax. But there was something, or rather someone he needed to see.
The shower had been fast and he had dressed quietly, not wanting to wake the sleeping beauty that lay in his bed. He really could get used to the sight of Steve wrapped up in his sheets.
Elevator doors slid open revealing a hallway full of bright light, yellow walls and wood flooring. The Baxter building hadn't changed all that much over the years. Reed had never really cared about style. World'sdumbestsmartguy.
"STORM!" Tony shouted, stepping out.
"Tony?" Sue asked coming from around the corner. The ding of the elevator had alerted her to a visitor.
"Where is that brother of yours Sue? We need to talk." Tony was trying to keep his cool, he was only slightly mad at Johnny, but the part of him that loved Steve was raging inside and if he didn't get that in check, Bruce wasn't the only one who would be known for Hulking out.
"I haven't seen him. He didn't come home last night, which lately hasn't been that unusual." Tony growled. He knew why Johnny hadn't been home.
"Do you have any idea where he would be?" Sue shrugged and a sound of footsteps caught Tony's attention.
"I'm here." Johnny stood beside Sue, blue eyes meeting Tony head on. "So I guess we're doing this are we? Should have known it would be you."
Tony turned calmly to Sue. Folding his hands in front of him in a Zen-like gesture. "Sue, would you mind terribly giving us a moment alone?" Yes, this was her house, but Tony wanted to talk to the flyboy alone.
Sue looked between the two of them and slowly took a step back. "Sure. Try not to break anything, huh? I really hate having to rebuild every time two of you decide to play 'my superpowers are better than your superpowers.' It's getting really old."
With that, she left them alone and Johnny stood in front of him. He didn't feel guilty about what he had done, not really, and he wasn't going to pretend he was, not even for Tony. He knew Tony's true feelings, so right now; Johnny knew that he had to be celebrating, even if he was here to kick his ass for hurting his precious captain.
"I'm not sorry, Tony; I'm not going to apologize." Tony had expected as much. He didn't know what had been going through Johnny's head when he jumped into bed with another man's boyfriend, but he knew Johnny well enough to know that he wouldn't make excuses. He would own up to his actions and unless they had caused some kind of catastrophe, he would stand behind them.
"I didn't figure you were. I know you well enough to know you don't do anything you don't actually want to do. My question is why?"
Of course, Tony would ask that question. The worst part was that the question held more than just a simple cut and dry answer. The answer to the question held not just Tony and Steve's hearts but his as well. How much was he willing to reveal was the real question?
"I can't believe you of all people have to ask, Tony. You're the one who's been pining over the big lug for longer than he's even been in this century!"
Tony took a step closer to Johnny. "Whatever my feelings are for Steve are nobody's business but my own."
"Buddy, you should have thought about that before you started blubbering about how much you loved the geriatric!" Johnny stepped closer to him, lowering his voice in case anyone happened to be eavesdropping. "Better be careful with him, Starky Boy. He may be a super soldier, but I'm sure you wouldn't want to send him into cardiac arrest!"
Tony's eyes grew wide and he saw red. Johnny hadn't even seen it coming. He should have, but he was too wrapped up in his cocky attitude to notice Tony's fist before it collided with his face, sending him stumbling back ward and grabbing at his now busted nose.
"You might wanna get that fixed. No man is gonna want your busted ass face going down on their junk when you're looking like Mötley Crüe."
If Johnny hadn't just been pummeled in the nose, blood dripping everywhere and his eyes blurred with the tears of pain, he would have been repaying the favor. No one in the Fantastic Four knew about Johnny's homosexual escapades, and he didn't think they needed to. Not just yet. He wasn't even sure what his next step was now that Clint's relationship with Steve was over, but he wasn't anywhere near ready to come out of that proverbial closet.
"This isn't a game, Johnny! You broke up a relationship. You hurt two people with your actions. Yeah, I'm in love with Steve, have been for a long damn time, but that didn't mean I wanted this. You didn't do this for me. You did this for you, and I want to know why."
"Don't give me that shit, Stark! This is just as much Clint and Steve's fault as it is mine." Their voices were getting louder as they talked, Johnny was getting angry. It wasn't all his fault. He hadn't wanted this to happen. Steve had been a thorn in his side for a while, but the guy had never done anything directly to affect him. He had not set out to cause all this pain, but that was what had happened. He hadn't really thought out how all of it would end and if he had, he would have figured out that this was the only way it could play out. He knew Clint wouldn't walk away from Steve, even if Steve had been the one to cheat. Clint was so blinded by the good Captain that he couldn't see what was right in front of him. He had never been able to see Johnny as more than a friend.
"That's beside the point, Storm. You had an agenda here, and I'm not leaving until I find out your MO."
"My nose is fucking Niagara Falls! Don't I at least get a moment to -"
Tony stepped forward, staring the other man dead in the eye. Even though they were the same shape and hue as Steve's, Tony was probably the only one who knew that looking into Steve's eyes was completely different. Tony loved staring into those eyes. Johnny's, while very similar, were absent a light that Steve's held.
"You will tell me what I want to know, or your nose, won't be the only thing broken and bleeding." Tony's voice wasn't raised. Johnny's shouting had been enough to alert the whole building to their fight. Tony's voice was low, calm and smooth, and held just enough venom to get his point across.
Johnny was dreading this, he had to come clean but the words didn't want to form. "I can't Tony. Don't make me do this." His voice held a kind of pleading he wasn't used to. He didn't want to see the knowing look in Tony's eyes. The one that said all too plainly that he understood exactly what Johnny was saying. Instead he turned and walked away. He needed to clean up the blood that was still pouring from his nose. Of course Tony followed him.
"You're not getting off that easy. I want to hear you say it. Say it Johnny. Why did you go after Clint? Why did you break him and Steve up?" Tony was gloating. He really was. The small admission that had been hidden in Johnny's pleading had been all he had needed to know exactly why he had gone after Clint. But he wanted to hear Johnny admit it.
"Because, damn it! Because I love him." Johnny snapped, turning to face Tony. "Because I'm in love with Clint, Tony." Johnny's voice lacked the venom and anger it had held. He sounded defeated. "I've loved him for years, and all he'll ever see me as is a friend. I'm sure you can understand that." Tony probably understood it better than anyone did, but he had to admit he hadn't seen that coming. Johnny was a playboy, not someone he would have expected to slow down and fall in love. However, people had said the same about him, and he had proven them wrong while he and Pepper had been together. He had gone back to his playboy ways when they had ended, of course but he had remained faithful to her while they were together.
The admission shocked Johnny as much as it had appeared to shock Tony. He hadn't expected to say that, let alone sound so damn desperate, but it was the truth. He had fallen in love with Clint when they had first met. Johnny hadn't expected to ever fall in love, let alone with another guy, but he had. He had, like Tony, accepted the fact that he and Clint would never be anything more than friends. Then Clint went and fell for his fucking doppelganger and Johnny couldn't help it, he was mad. What did Steve Rogers have that he didn't? Everyone had thought he was so perfect, but he wasn't.
"You didn't have to do THIS Johnny! You could have talked to me or someone." Johnny rolled his eyes.
"When did you turn into such a pussy Stark? I don't talk about my feelings."
"Yeah, it's so much easier to bury the pain and pretend it doesn't exist. But I know that pain. The pain of seeing them, happy and staring into each others eyes as if they are the only two people on the planet."
"The feelings you get in your gut that makes you want to puke and cry and smash things all at the same time." Johnny added as he tilted head back to stem the flow of blood from his nose.
"Yeah, that too. But where are you now? Clint and Steve are both a little broken. Do you think Clint will come looking for you? No, he's going to wallow in self-pity and then I don't know what he's going to do. But If I were you, I wouldn't sit here and wait for him, cuz he's not coming. You can go to him, maybe salvage something, if only your friendship, but I'd do it now if I were you."
Johnny knew Tony was right, if he had any chance of saving his and Clint's relationship, whatever it was, needed to be done fast.
"I'd love to stay and deal with all of this..." Tony waved a hand at Johnny, "But I have to get back. Steve is going to be up soon, if he's not already and I'm expecting a serious break down coming."He left the little man cleaning up his own mess and let himself out of the Baxter Building. He'd been gone too long, and he hoped he'd be back by the time Steve woke up.
Steve turned in bed, expecting to wrap his arms around Clint but found the bed empty. When he opened his eyes, he found that not only was he not in his own bed, but in Tony's. Everything came flooding back to him. Coming home off the mission he and Natasha had been working on, finding Tony coming out of his apartment, bursting in on... Closing his eyes, he curled into the pillow he had pulled into his gut, spooning and almost ripping it to shreds at the same time.
He thought he had everything with Clint. He thought the two of them were actually happy. But Clint hadn't been happy, at least not for a while. Who knows how long, but it had been all the endless, confidential missions S.H.I.E.L.D. had been sending him on that had torn the two of them apart. And now he was laying alone, in his best friend's bed no less, empty and more than literally alone.
Pushing himself out of the bed, he found his Captain America uniform in a pile in the middle of the floor. He had to get out of here. He needed to take a shower and just get out. Picking up the pooled spandex, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He felt like sinking into the floor. All of the pain he was feeling before he had gone to sleep was piling in on him again. It wasn't just losing Clint. It was Bucky. Peggy. Waking up in this world that he'd had to adjust to, and finding he wouldn't have been able to do it without Tony.
But Tony wasn't here. He was gone. He was probably down in the lab and he didn't want to disturb him. Leaving the bedroom and Tony's penthouse, taking the elevator back down to his apartment. He let his arm rest against the elevator door and his head rest on his arm. As the elevator sank, so did his heart. He had no idea how he was going to face that apartment now that he and Clint were no longer together. Yes, it had been Steve's long before Clint moved in with him, but he'd been with him long enough that it had become their place.
The elevator bell chimed and Steve stood up as the door opened. Taking a trepidatious step into the room and freezing. The door closed behind him and he stood there. The place was quiet. Not that neither him nor Clint ever made that much noise, but it was too quiet for him.
He could tell Clint was gone. Little things were missing, a picture here and there, his boots by the door, the quiver of arrows that was so often left where anyone could trip over them, all gone. What was left of Steve's heart plummeted as he entered their...his bedroom. Clint's pillow was missing; the drawers that held his clothing hung open and empty.
Walking over to the dresser, his fingers lightly brushing against the outside of one of the drawers. Closing his eyes, he let a pained moan escape his mouth. Swallowing hard, he gripped at the drawer, pulling it from its place in the dresser and tossing it across the room. He grabbed the dresser itself next and threw it down to the ground, reveling in the crack of splintered wood. Breathing deeply, he turned to see himself in the mirror through the bathroom and slammed the bathroom door shut. The walls shook with the force of his anger.
The bed was the next to become the target of his anger. Pulling the entire mattress off the frame, he tossed it as well, the sheets torn to shreds on his hands. He started tossing everything he could get his hands on. But it didn't matter what he threw, what he broke, it wasn't making him feel better. He just wanted the pain to go away. Tears were dripping down his face as he howled in anger, ripping the room apart. He now knew what his friend Dr. Banner felt like when he let the rage inside himself go. He couldn't say he liked it, but he understood now.
Tony walked into his penthouse. For some reason, he could feel Steve wasn't there. Finding his bedroom empty confirmed it. One of the many pillows on his bed was reduced to a pile of cotton and feathers. Inhaling deeply, Tony left his room the way he found it and headed downstairs. Steve wouldn't have gone far.
He walked into Steve's apartment to a more eerie silence than one he'd known before. He headed back toward the bedroom and found the bed itself stacked against the entry. Crouching down, he stuck his head between the bed and the doorframe.
He didn't answer, but Tony knew he was there. Crouching down even more, he held onto the bed as he slipped into the room. The room looked as though it had been hit by a perfect storm, but Tony knew it had only been the manifestations of a broken heart. And then Tony saw him. The sight in front of him made his heart ache. Walking slowly over to him, he crouched down beside him. Lifting a hand to Steve's bare knee, he bit his lip and swallowed hard.
Steve had been crying. That didn't surprise him. But the dried blood on his hands and forearms was enough to make him want to die himself. He never wanted to see his best friend like this. Yes, both of them had been in worse shape from battles, but seeing him like this and knowing the reason why he was like this, it tore him apart inside.
"It's over, Tony." Steve's voice was still sad, still heavily strained.
"I know, buddy. I know."
Steve looked up at his best friend. "I didn't even see it coming, Tony. I thought we were happy. I thought everything was better than..." He shook his head. "I was wrong. I'm always wrong, about everything. Always."
"No, you're not, Steve. You've just had a momentary setback. That's all."
Tony was wrong, this was not a momentary setback, this was how his life went.
"Why Tony? Why does it all fall apart? It feels like everything I touch, I break. I don't belong in this time and I can't go back to my time. I thought...I thought he was the one. I wanted him to be the one. I've lost so much, so many people. I don't seem to be able to hold onto anyone."
"Hey," Tony said, pulling Steve's face to the side to look him straight in the eyes. "You've still got me. I know it's not much, but you'll always have me."
Even despite what had happened, Tony's words made Steve's heart swell. It wasn't nothing, to be told by Tony Stark that you could count on him as your friend.
"I just want things to be easy, ya know? I feel like I've been fighting my whole life and I'm just done. I had to fight for what I needed in the 40s, before the serum, and after, all I did was fight. I wake up and I'm right back where I left off. Fighting some bad guy who wants to destroy the world. I don't want to fight anymore Tony. I can't do it."
"Who says you have to? How about we get out of here? We can go to my house in Malibu, all the way on the other side of the country. I'll take my suit, that way we can get back to New York, should the Avengers need us, but other than that, we just relax, fix cars, you can draw or whatever it is you artist types do. No one to bother us, we just forget that anything outside of the confines of my house exist."
Steve couldn't think of anything better than getting away from all this right now. Usually, he'd tell Tony that they couldn't leave, that it wasn't a good time. But right now he wasn't about to argue with him. It seemed like the best idea, and Tony really was the only one he even wanted to be around. He couldn't face anyone, especially Clint, after what had happened, and he was glad Tony knew what he needed. Tony always knew what he needed. And he was grateful for that, always, but never more so than this time.
Tony set them both down on the balcony and stepped away from Steve to disengage his suit. The titanium alloy unfolded from his body and converted into a pod before flying inside the house to put itself away. Tony turned toward Steve, giving him a quick smile. "Hungry?" He let his eyebrows do a little dance as he walked into the house with his best friend. "Make yourself at home. Seriously. You know the way we do things around here."
It wasn't as though Tony was a stickler about schedules and doing what you should be doing, In fact, it was the exact opposite. But here they didn't have to worry about missions from S.H.I.E.L.D. or him having to go into the office. They were truly going to take some time to themselves and Tony wasn't going to let anything get in their way.
Tony stepped into the kitchen and quickly put together something for them to eat. When Steve was feeling up to it, he'd take him out to Alligra Ristorante or Beaurivage. There were several places that Tony preferred here in Malibu, even over most places back in New York, but he thought they could start out with something simple before hitting the really nice places.
They sat down and ate, talking about anything but work, Clint or anything back in New York. Tony got Steve to tell him about one of his exploits before he had been frozen. Steve had many stories to tell but had been a bit reluctant. He had never been able to turn Tony down when he asked for anything, and that still held true.
Steve told a tale about Tony's father Howard. Steve knew Tony had his daddy issues, but he always managed to paint him in a light that Tony was not familiar with. The Howard Steve had known had been very different from the Howard Tony had grown up with. He had heard stories about Stark senior that made his stomach turn and he often wondered what had happened to Howard to make him so cold to his son. But Steve wanted Tony to understand that Howard wasn't always the cold-hearted person he had believed him to be.
The stories he told of Howard flying in enemy infested air space, in the attempt to help Steve save hundreds of men, was having the desired effect. Steve could see Tony appreciating his father in a whole new way. Steve was glad he could do that for him. Tony deserved to know his father, not just the faults he had grown up seeing, but the good side to Howard as well. Tony had always done so much for him; the least he could do is pay him back in some infinitesimal way.
Steve was content to be in Tony's presence, he had a calming effect on him that he hadn't ever noticed. It wasn't painful to sit in silence and do nothing, when Tony was next to him. He found he enjoyed sitting in Tony's workshop drawing while he tinkered with whatever state of the art new gadget he was working on.
Tony took the time to explain the high tech software that had invaded the 21st century. He never got frustrated with Steve for not understanding something and it was nice not to be made to feel stupid. They had had the same kind of friendship in New York, but it was different somehow. He no longer had anyone else filling up his time. His work with S.H.I.E.L.D had been put on hold after Tony had in no uncertain terms told Fury to go fuck himself. Fury had been threatening to send some agents down to retrieve them but the threat of Iron Man going rogue on the agents caused Fury to back off. Perhaps word of what had happened between him and Clint had reached Fury, but he hadn't put up much of a fight after his talk with Tony.
Steve was grateful to have Tony as a friend, the problem was, at some point in his learning new things, forgetting about Clint and hanging out with Tony, Steve's feelings toward the genius had started to shift.
They had been in California for the better part of a month; it had been easier for Tony to switch from New York to California. Stark Industries was based out of the west coast state, it had also made Pepper's job easier, so everything worked out for Tony.
Steve however was starting to feel a little worn out. At first, the idea of getting away had been great, even going with Tony seemed like a good idea. He didn't count on his feelings for his best friend to morph, to change into something that was better left alone. He wasn't sure when it happened, but the day he realized it, he had nearly caused himself to have a panic attack.
He had been sitting on his bed, going through his sketchbook. The first few pages had been of Clint, he had had trouble letting go, but he figured the mourning period would last until he did. The easiest way to let go was to draw his pain, walk down the sorrow-filled memory lane and erase what plagued his mind. He and Clint had had some really good times, but towards the end of the relationship, all it had been was fighting or worse, silence.
It hadn't taken him as long as he expected to let Clint go. Sure, he was still angry about the way it had happened, but he couldn't blame Clint or even Johnny for what had happened. They had, each of them, caused the break up. Not a single party had clean hands, and for Steve's part, he was sorry, but he wasn't going to dwell anymore. Clint and he would move past it and eventually they would be able to work together, maybe even be friends. Johnny Storm meant nothing to Steve in the grand scheme of life and so Steve didn't put much thought into him. He hoped that Clint and him would be happy, if they managed to salvage anything after what had happened.
Looking through his sketchbook had helped him come to grips with the end of his relationship. What he had not expected was to discover something his brain had been hiding from him for so long. The pages of the books had been filled with drawings, he couldn't quite remember drawing. A picture of a hand in the corner of a random page, an eye that didn't fit with the scene, lips, a jaw sometimes a neckline. Nothing complete but all out of place in pictures.
Steve knew who he had been drawing and it had shocked him. He had looked through most of the completed sketchbooks, they had been some of the only things he had packed before he and Tony had left the tower. But there in black and white, in sketchbook after sketchbook, were random little drawings of Tony. It had taken him sometime to figure out what it all meant. Why in a picture of Clint slumbering peacefully on the couch after a hard day of avenging was there a sketch of lips that were clearly not Clint's? Why had he been drawing Tony?
It hadn't been until he was down in Tony's workshop watching the man take apart a brand new car, yelling at U and Dummy that it had clicked. He had feelings for Tony, not just friendly feelings either, ones that could destroy everything he had worked so hard for with Tony.
Their initial start had been rocky and it had taken some hard work on both of their parts to break down the walls the other had put up. Steve wasn't prepared to lose Tony because his emotions couldn't be kept in check.
Tony was content to spend his time down in the lab. He had never really shared a space with someone before but he found that he enjoyed Steve's company. He had worried at first that he would get sick of the man, but he found that for as large as Steve was he hardly took up any room. The couch had needed to be exchanged for something larger after the first time both of them had fallen asleep on it together, but that hadn't been a big deal. He had even made Steve his own space in a corner of the room.
Steve was always down there with him. Tony was used to working on the cars as a distraction and had often times found himself stalling in his work just so that he could watch the artist draw. He would catch himself thinking about how good Steve looked sitting across the room from him doodling on his sketchpad. And he had needed to find a way to curb those thoughts. They spent every waking moment together, but Tony couldn't help wanting more. They didn't always fall asleep in the lab and when they actually managed to get out of the lab, they both had their own rooms. He enjoyed his time with Steve but Tony was finding that it wasn't enough anymore.
Tony wanted to hold Steve in his arms all night long, but that wasn't the only thing he wanted. He wanted Steve to love him, like he loved Steve. Like Steve had loved Clint. He wanted to wake up next to him every morning. To be the reason the man smiled. He had wanted so much more for so long, but he had to settle for the times they had found themselves on the couch, snuggled into each other. He wasn't going to get everything he wanted so he would have to be happy with what he could get.
The days passed by in haze of new tech designs, unnecessary rebuilds of brand new cars and sketches drawn on acid free paper. It was not the way Tony had expected his life to play out, but it wasn't unpleasant. He like the pace his life had taken with Steve. He wanted it to be permanent, but they would need to go back to New York soon. He could only put Fury off for so long before the bastard made good on his promise to send an entire agency of assassins to bring his two most valuable players back.
He hadn't heard much from the other side of the country. He hadn't expected to hear from Clint or Johnny, and Natasha was on assignment, dealing with whatever her and Steve had been working on. Tony felt bad leaving her to deal with the issue on her own, but Steve was more important to him than anyone else was, so his guilt was easily swept aside. Bruce was off in some third world country and Thor was tagging along. Theirs was a relationship Tony didn't dare ask about.
He considered calling Johnny to see if he and Clint had figured their shit out but he had been sidetracked by one of Steve's sketchbooks. Steve never left his sketches where Tony could see them and he had never felt the need to ask to look at them. He had figured if Steve had wanted him to see them, he would show them to him.
The only reason the book had caught his eye was because it had been left open. He had been searching for a pencil (an odd thing for someone so adept with computers to need, but sometimes he liked to hand write his ideas before entering the design into the computer) and had gone over to grab one of Steve's hundreds of pencils.
The picture had stolen Tony's breath. It was a drawing of himself, a day he remembered well, they had been sightseeing along the PCH in Tony's convertible. Steve had loved the view off the coast so much he had made Tony stop at one of the lookout points so that he could draw what he saw. Tony had sat on the wall looking out into the vast blue sky marveling at how amazing the view really was while Steve had drawn it. They had spent hours in that one spot before Steve was happy that he had gotten every detail.
The picture before him was not what he had expected. Yes, the viewpoint was there, but it was a backdrop for the person that sat looking out. Steve had drawn him. Had spent so much of the hours that day on him not the view, the rock wall of coast, the ocean that lapped at the sand below the road, him. Daring to look, Tony flipped through the pages of the book. Every single one of the pages was filled with images of him.
To say the images astounded him was an understatement. It wasn't the subject of the sketches, but the passion in the stokes of the pencil. Tony knew he should chock it up to all the time they had been spending together, but every single page of the book was nothing but him. Closing his eyes, he dared to hope. Could this actually mean what he had hoped for so long? Was his best friend actually in love with him too?
Steve's heart had been broken, but maybe he had moved passed it. Maybe he was ready to move on, if his book of drawings -with nothing more than Tony as the page's subjects- was an indication, maybe he already had. He wasn't dwelling on the past anymore. Tony knew he had been acting a little cheerier, but he dismissed it, or rather went with it without question. It was good to see that light back in his best friend's eyes again. It had been gone for so long, and now that it was back, he hoped it would never leave again.
Steve had forgotten where he had laid his book. He was in panic mode. If Tony were to find that book, all the sketches in there of him, he'd die. He hadn't expected it to be so completely filled with nothing other than him, but that's what it was, and he wasn't ashamed of it, far from, he just couldn't let his best friend see how much he had fixated on him. He would get the wrong idea and then everything they had worked toward, everything that meant so much to either of them, would be down the drain.
He had searched through all the drawers in his room and his bathroom, all the likely and unlikely places he would have set it down, but he had not been able to find it. A thought suddenly occurred to him. He had been down in the lab drawing when Tony had decided they needed to leave right then and there. He was hungry and needed to have a burger from none other than Bob's Big Boy, a drive in no traffic that would take at least an hour. In traffic, it could take over three. So Tony had raced them out of the workshop, not even allowing for clean up. Steve must have left the book down there.
Coming downstairs into the lab, he felt his heart clench in his chest when he saw that Tony wasn't at the car he'd been working on. Instead, he was sitting on the armrest of the couch, feet propped up on the cushion and the sketchbook in his hands, staring at one of the pages intently. OhGod, no, Steve silently lamented to himself as he fell back against the doorframe. Hearing a noise, Tony looked up. His face was blank, but his eyes held an emotion that Steve couldn't place. He didn't look angry but, Steve's heart sunk in his chest.
"Look, Tony. I can explain." Actually, he didn't know where to start except for with the truth. but He couldn't compromise their relationship just because he had fallen in love with the man. So how could he explain it away without telling him the truth? Tony didn't move. He didn't make any indication that he was going to say or do anything but wait until Steve did.
Steve had never expected to have to explain his sketches. He had never intended to show them to anyone, least of all Tony. He was in no way ashamed of his art, but it was something private, something for him to cherish and look back on, not something to try to explain away. He didn't want to have this conversation. He did not want to lie to Tony about what the drawings meant, but he didn't want to tell him the truth either. He had no idea how to get out of this. Tony was looking at him, his eyes slightly wide, unasked questions etched behind them. Steve moved forward, trying to find the words to explain and yet not explain all at the same time.
Tony stood from the couch and met Steve halfway, the sketchbook still in his hands, open to a simple picture of Tony sleeping at his desk. Steve remembered that day well too. Tony had been trying to figure out a better way to fly with Steve, it had been a long process involving countless test flights with Steve clinging helplessly to Tony, praying to any deity he could think of that he didn't end up like a bug on a windshield. They had finally figured out that they needed hand molds on the armor and a flap that unfolded from the boot of the Iron Man suit so Steve could stand and not feel like he was going to fall.
They had come back to the workshop and crashed hard. Tony had been the first to fall asleep, and before Steve had let himself succumb to sleep, he had drawn Tony. Hair messed from the suit helmet, still in his under suit, diagrams and blueprints stuck to the side of his face. Dark circles from lack of sleep and a soft smile on his face. He had looked so peaceful and beautiful and Steve had needed to capture it. The drawing had been his favorite of all. It had showcased exactly how he felt. There was no way to explain that picture without lying. Steve wasn't going to lie. He had been found out; the only thing left now was damage control.
"Tony, I..." But nothing else came out; he really didn't know what to say. He opened his mouth to say something and closed it again.
Tony closed the gap between them; the look in his eyes wasn't angry or worried. If Steve could classify it, he would say the look was full of determination. Before he could respond, the hand that didn't hold the sketchbook reached out and wrapped around Steve's neck, pulling him closer as Tony lurched up on his tiptoes. Their lips met and Steve relaxed. Tony didn't need Steve's words to tell him what he felt, not that he wouldn't mind hearing it, but his eyes and tone of voice said it all. He was in love with him, after all this time, just as Tony had hoped for.
The kiss was neither demanding nor passive. They each gave as much into the kiss as the other did. Their lips molded together in a way that told the other how they felt. As strong as Steve was, he felt weak in the knees, kissing his best friend so passionately. He had never felt anything so pure and wonderful in his entire life. His heart was pounding in his chest, and this time not out of panic. It was now pounding out of anticipation, out of desire, out of love.
Steve's hand gripped at the black shirt Tony was wearing, needing more, opening his mouth to gain access to the smaller man, reveling in the feel of their tongues battling for dominance. He wanted to drown in him, but they both needed to breathe and slowly pulled apart. Only their lips parted from the other, Tony stayed at his elevated stance, arm wrapped around Steve's neck. Steve's hands rested at Tony's hips, hands curled into the fabric of his shirt, foreheads resting against each other, deep breaths being shared between them. Their eyes were closed. Neither knew what to say next. The silence stretched between them, but it wasn't awkward, it was peaceful. Steve felt truly happy for the first time in a long time, there was so much going through his head, so many thoughts and emotions, Steve could not wrap his head around anything. Tony broke the silence.
"I love you, Steve. I have loved you for so long, so deeply, so completely. I can't even begin to put how I feel into words."
Steve's heart was floating. He had been so afraid that what he was feeling for Tony would ruin their friendship, but here he was confessing his love to him. He no longer felt nervous. Tony had always been so reassuring and comforting, Steve's anxiety over Tony finding out simply melted away.
"I love you, too. I'm sorry it took me so long to realize it. But I do love you, Tony."
Tony felt as though he could fly– without his suit. He couldn't say how long he had waited to hear those words come from Steve's mouth. Now that they had, he wanted more. He wanted to hear them every day. He wanted to be the man who stood by his side day in and day out and was his in every way. But what he really wanted was to make love to Steve.
He had wanted this for so long, and being able to hold him in his arms and not be able to really hold him had been torturing him. Tony sank back down, the balls of his heels hitting the floor, and looked at the book in his hands.
"This is my favorite picture. You know why?" Steve shook his head, it was his favorite too, but he couldn't fathom why Tony liked it.
"Because I like the way you see me. So many people see me as a playboy, and I'm not saying I'm not...wasn't, but that's really all they see. Or they see my money. They never bother looking around the walls to see the real me. You see me, you know me, the real me and still you can make me look like this." He said, holding up the book, the picture of Tony at his desk sleeping, on display.
"You are perfect, in all your faults, Tony. They make you who you are. They make you the man I love." Steve was serious. He hadn't wanted someone perfect, there was no such thing. Tony had lived his life without fear or worries and that was something Steve admired. Tony made no excuses for who he was and what he did, he simply did them. Steve loved everything about him, from his reckless behavior to his desire to save people. He loved Tony's insecurities and his arrogance and his unwavering belief in what was right. Tony was a good man, even if he didn't always believe it.
Smiling, Tony took the book and closed it, laying it down on the table beside them, he looked up at Steve. Lifting his hand, he let his fingers run through his Captain's hair and down the side of his face. Unable to hold back, Tony pulled Steve down to him, pressing his lips back to Steve's. Their bodies melded against each other as they fervently tried pulling the other as close as they could. But nothing would be close enough for either of them. Steve opened his mouth to allow Tony entrance; it was something he had not experienced. Tony tasted like coffee and Steve found the flavor suited him.
Steve was as eager as Tony was. He wanted to feel Tony's skin against his own. He wanted to feel his hands move over every inch of his body. Pulling Tony's shirt, he lifted it up and over his head, breaking the kiss for just a second, and tossed the shirt aside. Tony gasped against Steve's mouth when he felt his best friend's hands against his bare chest.
"Oh, Jesus!" If that's what his hands, felt like touching him there, Tony could not wait to feel his hands on other parts of his body.
Steve's hands slid up his chest, gripping at Tony's pecs, his thumbs grazing over the edge of the arc reactor. "I need you, Tony."
Inhaling deeply, filled with passion and desire for his best friend, Tony pulled at Steve's shirt, letting it fly wherever it went. Wrapping his arms around Steve's neck, he pulled him back to him, letting his lips crash against his, their bare chests pressing together. Steve was taken aback mentally by the consummate contrast of Tony's skin and the arc reactor pressing against his own flesh, hot skin and cold metal. Tony swallowed the moan that Steve let escape, driving his zeal to an even greater capacity than before.
Tony turned the Captain around and pushed him toward the couch. He could have bent him over the table or pushed him against the wall, but Tony knew Steve needed something more intimate than a standing fuck. He would have taken him up to the bed, but there wasn't time for that. They had to have each other now. Tony hadn't been with anyone since before what had happened between Steve and Clint, and that was odd for him. He had never gone that long without fucking someone. But this would be different. He'd only been with one other person he was in love with, and he knew he was far more in love with Steve.
Stopping at the couch, Tony broke the kiss to watch Steve's face as he undid his pants, pushing them down and off his hips. They dropped to a pile at his feet, he did the same with his boxer briefs, and Steve stepped out of them. Smirking, Tony dropped to his knees in front of him, his eyes widening when he saw how large Steve actually was. Tony had fantasized about this several times, about what Steve would look like, how he'd feel, how he'd taste, but he never imagined he'd be this large.
Reaching up, he took hold of Captain America's cock, licking a stripe from base to tip; he then slipped his lips over the tip. He knew there was no way he was going to be able to take the entire thing in his mouth, but he was going to do his best to please Steve. Steve was firm, smooth and silky in his mouth and tasted a little like salt.
Feelings of his best friend taking his cock into his mouth just about made Steve lose it all. Grabbing onto Tony's shoulders, Steve pulled out of Tony's mouth and took a deep breath before sitting down.
"There's no way I can stand while you do that."
Tony slid his hands up Steve's rock-hard thighs. "By all means, make yourself comfortable." Winking at him, Tony slid a hand around Steve's shaft again and lowered his mouth back onto it. Moaning at having Steve back in his mouth, he moved his mouth taking in as much as he could. Tony smiled to himself feeling Steve shudder under his touch. Steve's hips bucked slightly into Tony's mouth and he placed a firm hand on Steve's hip to prevent his movements. He loved that he was making him feel this good. That was all that mattered, making Steve feel as good as he possibly could. In turn, he knew that would make him feel incredible.
Steve groaned out, gripping hard at Tony's shoulders. He had never been so turned on in his life, and with as much sexual frustration he'd had built up over the years, that was saying a lot. He wanted to feel Tony's tight ass wrapped around him, but he wanted to feel Tony's cock buried deep in his ass even more. He wanted Tony to claim him, to make him his own.
"I need you, Tony. I need you now! I've got to feel you inside me!" Steve panted, writhing under Tony's touch.
It made Tony groan to hear Steve say that. Steve was breathless with need and he wanted Tony. He was such a proper man in social settings, but to hear him talk like that made him want him even more. Sliding his mouth off Steve's cock, he nodded. "Yes, Captain! Don't move!" Quickly, Tony stepped away from him only for a moment to snatch a bottle of lube he kept tucked away just in case before coming immediately back to the awaiting Captain. "Always prepared."
Steve smirked up at him, never doubting that Tony wouldn't be prepared for anything. A part of him wondered if he carried some in his armor somewhere. He wouldn't be surprised. Thoughts of the two of them stopping mid flight for a quickie made his cock tense up as he watched Tony stroke his own cock before moving to spread Steve's legs. Inhaling deeply, Steve opened himself more to Tony as he poured some lube on his eager hole.
Slowly Tony inserted a finger, it had been awhile since Steve had been intimate with anyone, he wouldn't need as much stretching but he would need some. Tony's finger was slowly thrust in and out a slight twist of his finger and he hit Steve's prostate. The sensation sent a white-hot coil of want down Steve's spine, settling in his belly. A second finger was added and Steve was left panting, pushing himself down onto Tony's fingers.
"Jesus, Tony! Fuck me now! I need your dick in me now!"
"Your wish is my command." Tony tossed the bottle aside and grabbed his cock, he was painfully hard, the sensation of his own hand nearly had him cuming. Placing the head of his cock at Steve's entrance, he let it slide between his cheeks for a moment before slowly pushing into him. Steve was tight and warm around Tony.
Steve's mouth dropped open, gasping as he felt Tony's length slide into his tight depths. "Fuck yes, Tony! Oh, fuck!"
Tony smiled, there was something about hearing Captain America curse that was so pleasing, leaning more into Steve, he push deeper into him, feeling the tight ring of muscles give way until he was fully seated in Steve. He could feel Steve's hard cock pressed between both of their taut torsos. Groaning, he pulled out and pushed hard into Steve, turning his head slightly to bring his lips to Steve's neck, nibbling lightly before sliding his lips down to the exposed collarbone, biting and sucking a little more, marking Steve as his. The marks would heal fast but they would remain for a few hours and that pleased Tony.
Steve groaned out, reaching forward and wrapping his arms around Tony and pulled Tony down flat against his chest, the change in angle made Steve groan louder. The motions of Tony's thrusts and the sliding of Tony's torso along his chest, stroked Steve's cock pressed between their bodies. Closing his eyes, he held tighter onto Tony, never wanting it to end. He could feel the coil in his stomach start to break, wanting to explode. He wanted to feel Tony cum inside him, and he wanted so much more.
Tony increased his thrusts with each passing second. He couldn't hold back. It felt too fucking good. The slide his cock thrusting inside Steve's ass was far better than he had ever imagined it to be. He felt Steve's balls start to tighten beneath his abs and knew that Steve was about to cum. That knowledge drove him to push harder, snapping his hips faster; he drove deeper and deeper into Steve's ass.
Steve released, sending hot strands of white cum streaming out onto their stomachs still rubbing together as Tony continued to push into him. The warmth of the cum and the clench of Steve's ass was all Tony needed, and he came inside Steve. Stars erupted in his sight, even with his eyes shut. Collapsing onto Steve, Tony smiled, breathing hard into Steve's neck. The smell of Steve, the scent of their culmination, brought a smile to his face as he relaxed content to stay where he was, wrapped in Steve's arms, buried deep in his beautiful ass.
Steve held him closely, enjoying the feeling of Tony throbbing inside of him. He smiled himself, inhaling Tony deep into his senses. Nothing had ever felt like that in his life. He knew this was something he was would never wanting to give up. He loved Tony with all his heart, and he know Tony felt the same way, there was no way he was ever going to let him go. Tony was everything to him and he knew he would always be.
Pulling slowly from him, Tony shifted so the two of them could lay down on the couch together. Curling into the super soldier's body, Tony rested there with him, happier than he could ever remember being, happier than he could ever imagine himself being. "Perfect," he muttered into Steve's chiseled chest. Smiling, he lifted his head, looking up his best friend who had just become his lover. "Next time you'll get a nice dinner first."
"Is that your way of asking me out, Stark?" Steve asked, more than a hint of sarcasm in his tone.
Tony quickly lifted his eyebrows a few times, nodding his head. "Oh yeah. Nothing but the best for my guy."
The sound of that, the acknowledgment of being his, made Steve smile. "I am yours, Tony, and I always will be. I love you."
Tony was never one for the mushy stuff, but he loved hearing those words from him. "Always." Smiling, he stretched up, pressing his lips gently to Steve's. The kiss lingered for a moment before Tony whispered against Steve's lips. "I love you."
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