The first thing Tony noticed about Steve was his massive chest. When they butted heads on the Helicarrier after meeting under rather unfortunate circumstances, Tony found himself pressed against his muscular body as they stood threateningly close to one another, almost nose to nose. Despite his bitter rage, he couldn't help but analyze the firm chest before him as well as the heat that emanated from it in the very back of his mind. Though, at the time, it was the last thing that mattered.

After the attack on Manhattan, The Avengers went their separate ways, and he went back to live in Malibu with Pepper. Everything was going so well; Tony was building suits at a speed he'd never known before. His relationship with Pepper seemed stronger than ever. It was them against the world, and he couldn't have been happier.

Well, that wasn't entirely true. He struggled to sleep at times, his thoughts filling with darkness, becoming inescapable nightmares. Having Pepper with him to wake him up or calm him down helped, but it was difficult. The more nightmares he had, the less he slept, the more he tinkered and built. Admittedly, he became a bit obsessed with his inventions, but even knowing that, he couldn't stop.

There was also the whole 'terrorist on the loose, blowing up the incredibly nice Malibu house' problem, as much as Tony hated to think about it. He'd lost so much work, and even half of his cars were done for. Nothing was the same after the Mandarin's attacks; not his home, not his relationship with Pepper.

Instead of rebuilding his house in Malibu, he and Pepper moved to what was now dubbed the 'Avengers' tower in New York. Tony got to work on setting up floors that specifically met each Avenger's need, and even a communal floor with a kitchen, living room, and extra bedrooms. He didn't think they'd need the communal floor necessarily, but it'd sounded good in his head at the time.

Once the construction was finished, he invited his (sort of) teammates to move in. Surprisingly, Steve was the first to agree to it, graciously thanking Tony for his hospitality. Clint and Natasha were the next two to move in, though they were both hesitant and wary of their new surroundings. Thor being in Asgard left Bruce as the last Avenger on Earth to come to the tower. He'd visited briefly after the attack on Manhattan, but that didn't mean he was willing to move in right from the get go. Being the solitary person that he was, Bruce was afraid that putting himself around people all the time would endanger them, and that was the last thing he wanted.

Like on the Helicarrier, it took time for everyone to get used to living together, even though having separate personal floors gave them plenty of space. Almost a month of them living under one roof allowed them to get used to each other and get settled in. Tony wasn't sure he'd ever been more content, actually. He got to play in R&D with Bruce, he worked out and tested the strength of his Iron Man suits with Steve, and he played poker with Natasha and Clint, who he'd affectionately dubbed the terrible twosome. Everything was going so smoothly, except there was something he was neglecting to notice; that was, the absence of a certain someone.

By the time Tony realized he was spending more and more time with his new housemates and less with Pepper, it was too late.

It was a relatively quiet evening that quickly faded into night. Tony finished upgrading his current suit and had even had time to begin working on blueprints for the gauntlet upgrades Natasha had been nagging him about. Well, she only asked for them once, but every time he saw her, she would give him a look, a dark glint in her eye, and he knew better than to argue with that.

He closed up the lab at around 11pm, not as late as he was expecting. Maybe for once, he would be able to sleep, satisfied with the progress he'd made on his work. Though that was highly unlikely to help keep away his nightmares, it was a nice thought. Little did he know that nightmares were the least of his problems.

Tony rode the private elevator up to his and Pepper's floor, humming pleasantly to himself. When the elevator dinged and the doors opened, he leisurely made his way across the empty living area toward the bedroom. He had just reached the bedroom door when it swung open, nearly smacking him in the face.

Pepper startled from inside the room, taking a step back. "Oh, Tony—Jesus, you scared me," she spoke with a sigh, hand clutched against her racing heart.

"Yeah, well, I guess I'll have to warn you next time and have JARVIS tell you when I'm coming to bed, huh?" Tony replied with a snort, good-humored. He moved to step past Pepper into their room, freezing mid-step at the sight of several suitcases stacked on the floor beside their bed. Ice seemed to run through his bones, chilling him to his core. His heart panged, the beats becoming a roaring white noise in his ears. His good mood evaporated in a moment, and his feet glued him to where he stood in the doorway of the bedroom. She never told me she was going on a business trip. That's funny… she never takes so many bags. Maybe it's an extended vacatio-

"I.." Pepper bit her lip, rocking back on the heels of her feet."I wasn't expecting you to be up so early tonight."

A sudden fury rushed over Tony and he could feel his hands fold into fists. "I told you I wasn't going to be too late tonight. I know I get really into my work, but I try to be punctual. You've got to believe me- I do try." His tone quickly turned bitter from there, expressing his feelings of betrayal. "So, expecting me not to get in until after midnight, or not at all, you thought it was a perfect time to—what, pack up and leave without a word? What the hell is going on, Pep?"

She tucked a lock of ginger hair behind her ear before steeling herself and putting up a stone-cold façade. "If you must know, yes, that's exactly what I was going to do."

Hurt was visible on his face through the crease between his eyebrows and the twitch at the corner of his lips. Whywas a word which hung heavily in the air between them, and meaning to explain, Pepper hardly paused before speaking again.

"I'm tired, Tony. I'm tired, and I miss you. Before you say it, I'm talking about the way you used to be, when your world didn't revolve around the suits, or the Avengers. And okay, maybe I am selfish, wanting you all to myself—" she ignored the 'you're not selfish' Tony murmured under his breath, "—the point is, nothing's been the same since the Chitauri invasion. I thought we'd be fine, but let's face it, we're not."

At that, Tony scoffed, causing Pepper's face to scrunch up unattractively.

"Don't give me that, Tony. You know as well as I do that we have nothing left here. Whatever we had was lost when you sent that nuke into space, o-or when half of your Malibu house was blown to bits. You can't fix what isn't there." For the first time, Pepper took a break from her speech, if only to take in a deep breath. "That's why. I'm sorry, Tony. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but staying here, alone, in this tower is hurting me. I wish there was another way, but there isn't. I'm moving back to California and keeping up my CEO work from there. I'll still have to fly to New York for Board of Directors meetings, ones which you will be attending whether you like it or not, so I'll have time to visit. But as for staying here permanently, as your girlfriend, I can't. I'll always be your friend, but I can't be something more."

Tony leaned against the door frame, his eyes trained on the carpet beneath his feet. He listened to the silence, feeling Pepper's heavy gaze bearing down on the top of his head. Well damn, what was he supposed to say to that? "You know, you'll never be just a friend. You're one of the brightest people I know, Pepper. I can't believe you've put up with the crap I've given you all these years. Thanks for that, I guess."

Tony looked up in time to see her give him a look of sorrow, attached to what he hated the most; pity. As grown up as he wanted to be about the matter, the mixture of Pepper's gaze and her quiet 'Oh, Tony…' was too much to handle. His began to back up sluggishly, dragging himself against the wall as if he wasn't able to hold his body up. For once, it was too much, too much. His mind was overloading, his body beginning to shake. He needed to get away, away from Pepper, away from them. He needed alcohol. And so he fled back down to his lab, locking the room down without second thought. He didn't go back up to their hisroom that night. He didn't leave his lab at all the next day, his teammates informed of the situation thanks to JARVIS, knowing it was better to let him be for awhile.

The months following Pepper's departure were harsh on Tony. He slept less, drank more, and barely left his lab to eat. He'd grab whatever food he had in his mini fridge in the lab, and on rare occasions ordering food to be delivered outside the lab door.

The rest of the Avengers weren't content to just stand by and watch Tony work himself to death. Natasha insisted that they drag him out and hide his alcohol, and Bruce agreed with her. Clint wasn't really sure what they should do, he just knew that leaving Tony to his own devices for so long was a bad idea. It was Steve who finally started stepping in.

He recognized the way Tony was acting, as it was similar to how he was after first being thawed from the ice. He'd isolated himself as best he could and allowed the past to consume him. He understood him in that way, so it was only natural that he wanted to help.

Steve didn't invade Tony's personal space or interrupt his work, he simply brought him food on a regular basis and would sit in the lab for around a half an hour at a time, just watching the man eat mindlessly as he worked. He did the same thing every day, sometimes visiting up to three times. He got little response from Tony for doing so, but he didn't blame him.

And though Tony didn't seem to care for or react to his presence, Steve was affecting him in ways he would've never dreamed of.

-X-X-X-

It had been exactly 3 months since Pepper left when Tony subconsciously made a decision. He was drunk out of his mind and probably had the worst breath imaginable; beer infused with whiskey was a deadly combination when it came to smell, which made it a good thing that he was usually alone and not talking to anyone (AKA breathing his nasty breath in people's faces). For some reason, he wanted to get out of the lab for once. In fact, there was a certain person he wanted to see. That 'certain person' was the one who selflessly brought him food day after day, the one who wasted his time sitting and watching Tony just to spend time with him.

Steve… "…JARVIS... what time 'zit? Where's Steve?" he mumbled, barely managing to form proper sentences thanks to his tolerance levels.

'The current time is 2am and Captain Rogers appears to be in the gym,' JARVIS replied crispy, the sound of his voice sparking a sharp ache in Tony's head.

Tony knew better than to ask why he wasn't sleeping. The man hit the ice in the 40's and woke up in a whole new century, of coursehe had trouble sleeping, constantly haunted by his past no matter how much time went by. And if on that particular night Steve was losing time in the gym after having unpleasant dreams, that meant that he'd be beating a punching bag within an inch of its metaphorical life, which also meant that he'd be sweating up a storm, and his already tight white shirt would stick to his chest and define every detail of every muscle.

The temptation being too much for his drunken mind, Tony stumbled to the elevator near the lab entrance, punching in the number for the gym floor. He had to wait just seconds for the elevator doors to peel apart, exposing the gym before him. For a minute, everything seemed quiet, until a consistent 'thump thump thump' began reverberating around the room.

Yup, he was there.

Walking was almost like a dream, his eyes, unable to focus, creating an imaginary haze that obscured his vision. When Steve came into his line of sight, it was all he could've pictured in his head, except 10 times better. The man was dressed in the sweats he normally wore to work out, his hands wrapped to protect his knuckles from friction burn and impact. His white shirt was indeed damp around his neck line, the material clinging to his chest and shoulders as he swung his fists at the bag forcefully. Tony could do nothing but stand and stare, rocking back on his feet in time with the motions of Steve's right arm. Back, forth, back, forth. Flex, flex, flex, hot damn look at those biceps and triceps, completely unreal.

Unfortunately, his free viewing ended sooner than he would've liked, Steve feeling the heavy weight of his gaze. He startled, swinging around to face Tony who was at that point standing only about two feet from him. He turned away from the punching bag, giving Tony his complete attention, surprised and concerned.

"…Tony? What are you doing here?" he asked, taking a careful step towards him.

Instead of responding to the question, he fell forward into Steve's chest, grabbing him just beneath his armpits to hold him in place as he shoved his nose in between the man's pecs. He hummed happily, inhaling the musky aroma emanating from Steve's warm body.

Steve stood stock still, his face growing slightly red in a way that wasn't from overexertion. "Tony..?! Are you drunk?" he choked out, not sure what to make of the situation.

Tony went on as if he hadn't said a word, nuzzling his chest. "Man, Steve, I love your tits. I could probably motorboat these things for hours," he said dreamily, a look of longing passing across his face.

"Yeah, you're definitely drunk alright," Steve muttered, trying to ignore the way his ears burned from embarrassment. He cautiously reached out and placed his hands on Tony's shoulders, pushing him back gently to put distance between them. Tony was obviously displeased, grumbling under his breath and giving Steve the evil eye.

"Look," Steve murmured, "let's get you to bed, ok? Doesn't sleep sound good?"

"Why Steven, that sounds like an invitation if I've ever heard one, and trust me, I've heard plenty in my time."

Tony and his suggestive eyebrow wiggle was ignored. Steve led him to the elevator without another word, promptly tuning out his inappropriate comments.

Tony hardly noticed that he'd been taken to the communal floor rather than his personal one, distracted by Steve's presence and the hand still resting on his shoulder. It was a big hand, too, nice and beefy. Jesus, as if he could be blamed for being distracted, the man was a beast.

The hand left his shoulder soon enough and he immediately opened his mouth to complain but was hushed before he could utter a word. For a moment, his attention wandered from Steve, becoming aware of his surroundings. They had reached his bedroom on that floor and were standing beside his large, plush bed. Looking at it and thinking about how comfortable it was made Tony realize just how tired it was and how long it'd been since he slept in an actual bed.

Since Pepper left, he rarely went up to his own floor, and refused to go into the bedroom. He'd moved most of his necessities to his room on the communal floor, ready to stay there if need be. If Tony were more sober, he would've thought about the fact that even though he hadn't told anyone about moving his things, Steve knew he wouldn't want to stay on his own floor.

Giving into his sudden desire for sleep, Tony flopped down carelessly on the bed. He felt Steve adjust the blankets and pull them around him, acknowledging him with a quiet sigh. The last thing he saw before fading into sleep was Steve's figure watching him from the doorway.

-X-X-X-

Waking up with a screaming headache due to a terrible hangover was bad. Remembering everything that went on before going to bed was worse. A lot worse.

"Kill me now, JARVIS," he groaned pitifully into his pillow.

'That is ill-advised, Sir.'

"Ill-advised my ass. Ugh. Did I really rub my face all over Roger's chest last night?"

'My records indicate that you did indeed—'

"Rhetorical question, Jarv'," Tony grumbled, his mood as sour as his tone. He slowly got around to sitting up, his movements sluggish. When he finally did, the glass of water and aspirin sitting on his nightstand caught his eye. "Well isn't he thoughtful."

Tony downed the pills and water, making a face after doing so. "Today is going to suck. What should I do?"

His AI was silent, as if thinking of a proper answer. 'Well if it's any consolation, Sir, it is nearly 3:30 in the afternoon; most of the day has already gone by. And perhaps it would be best to lay low at the moment if you want to avoid confrontation.'

"What about 'don't ask, don't tell'? I won't bring it up unless he does. Maybe he'll conveniently forget that last night even happened."

'The chances of Captain Rogers forgetting the events that occurred last night are—'

"Ok, you're done, mute. Remind me to rework some of your coding when I don't feel like I'm about to implode," Tony growled ill-temperedly, considering for a moment whether or not to slam his head into a wall repeatedly in hopes of making the throbbing go away. The pillow beside him was much softer and he welcomed the coolness as he fell face first into it. Maybe he wouldn't get up at all that day.

Much to Tony's disbelief, Steve didn't bring up the ordeal the next morning when he finally dragged himself out of his room to get something to eat. He simply greeted him like he usually did, as if nothing happened. From the looks they gave each other, though, it was clear that they both knew and remembered.

Tony would've liked to put it behind him and move on with his life, but the problem was that he didn't seek Steve out only once. It happened again, and again.

The second time it happened was different from the first. Tony inquired about Steve's whereabouts, finding out that he was in the kitchen. Steve was sitting on a stool at the kitchen table reading a book when bare arms wrapped around his midsection, another body pressing up against his own. It wasn't until hands groped his chest carelessly that he yelped and jumped from his seat. Like before, he turned down Tony's advances and led him to bed.

The next few times it happened, Steve always took him to bed, sometimes having to forcibly push him under the covers until Tony grew too tired to resist and fell asleep. The more he put Tony to bed, the more he was met with resistance.

On his 5th time tugging the sheets over Tony's slumped form, something new happened. A hand shot out, grabbing his arm just as he was about to pull away and leave the room. His eyes traced their way up the bed to Tony's face, searching for an explanation. Tony's eyes were both shut, as if he was sleeping, but his shallow breathing told Steve otherwise.

"Don't go. Stay. Please."

The only words out of his mouth had Steve biting his tongue, heart jumping into his throat. The desperation in his voice hurt and Steve couldn't help himself. He detached the hand from his arm despite Tony's quiet protest before climbing onto the bed beside him. His action was met with shocked silence, and it was several heartbeats before the bed moved, Tony rolling over and curling himself protectively over Steve's chest. The brunet was lulled to sleep in moments by the steady beating of Steve's heart.

Watching the man curled around him, Steve's only thought was Oh, I'm in trouble.

-X-X-X-

Everyone has a breaking point, and it didn't take long for Steve to reach his. He could handle the vulgar comments. He could handle the hands grabbing greedily at his chest, even. What he could not handle was something completely different, something he wasn't prepared for.

By that point, he was used to Tony's drunken antics, having suffered through them for weeks. So when he walked into the living room at 10 PM, Steve set his book down expectantly, ready for anything…or so he thought. His eyes followed the man as he stepped towards the couch Steve was laying on.

Tony paused at the side of the couch, his brows furrowing, a concentrated look appearing on his face, as if he was making a tough decision. He made up his mind relatively quickly, sprawling on top of Steve on his back, stretching his limbs luxuriously as he did so. Steve nearly choked on his tongue as Tony's tailbone purposely dug right into his crotch. He moaned ashamedly, unable to suppress the noise expressing his arousal.

Shit, what is he doing? Steve felt his face flush, panic spreading across his chest. They couldn't do this, Tony was drunk. He probably didn't even want that. He was surprised however when he opened his mouth to confront the man that Tony pressed one side of his face into Steve's chest and murmured, "Damn, you make a nice pillow," as if nothing had happened.

"U-uh, Tony..?" Brain officially broken, half of it going down south where Steve was half hard in his pants, surrounded by a comfortably firm butt. He squirmed in attempt to rid of the delicious pressure before it became too big of a problem. "Tony—"

But he didn't seem to notice, completely lax on top of Steve. "Tell me a story," he ordered softly.

Steve stopped thinking on about the unwelcome attention going on below his belt, bewildered by Tony's slurred statement. "A story? I don't have a story, or at least I can't think of anything off the top of my head..."

"No, jus' read your book aloud."

He was about to argue, but thought better of it, knowing that Tony was nothing if not stubborn. Sighing, he grabbed his book from where he'd set it down on the floor and began to read from the last line he had seen.

"'There is nothing like first-hand evidence,' he remarked; 'as a matter of fact, my mind is entirely made up upon the case, but still we may as well learn all that is to be learned.'

'You amaze me, Holmes,' said I. 'Surely you are not as sure as you pretend to be…'"

It was to the eloquently written tale of Sherlock Holmes that Tony fell asleep, his body lying limp on top of Steve. It was almost intimate, the way the two of their bodies fed off one another for warmth and comfort. Of all things, it was that intimacy which broke down a barrier Steve had put up, allowing him to say that he was without a doubt smitten with the man.

Boy, I really am in trouble, he thought, brushing his hand across Tony's cheek before resting his chin against the top of his head and attempting to continue reading his book.

-X-X-X-

"Tony, we need to talk."

At the sound of Steve's voice and the sternness in his tone, Tony felt every muscle in his body tense up. Shit. It was not that he hadn't been expecting a confrontation for days now, but he still wished it wasn't necessary and wanted to avoid it as long as possible. Unfortunately, Steve's words were a wake-up call, one that shook Tony to the bone. You're out of time.

He carefully set his tablet down on the table beside him without turning around to face the man, holding onto that last bit of hope he had that Steve would just go away, or that the conversation they were about to have wouldn't leave both of them in pieces. Losing Pepper was difficult enough, but Steve… Tony had grown so used to the man's presence, his styled blond hair, his startlingly bright smile, his kind and welcoming personality... without him, well, Tony would be lost, as much as he hated to admit to himself. He somehow always found himself attached to a person, internally clinging onto them as if they were a life preserver and he was surrounded by a deep and hungry sea that wanted to swallow him whole. For the longest time, he couldn't survive without Pepper, and while he still couldn't, it was mostly Steve who he relied heavily on and cared a lot about now. He wasn't ready to give up everything they had.

With a deep breath, he forced himself to turn around and face the man behind him. He was standing with his arms crossed, weight favoring one leg, hip cocked at an angle. His facial expression contradicted his posture, as he looked more confused and troubled than frustrated or angry. That was interesting.

"Tony," Steve spoke again, this time able to meet his gaze. "What are you—what are wedoing?"

He was thrown off by the question, his brows furrowed in confusion. "What do you mean 'what are we doing'? You're gonna have to be a little more specific, Cap."

Steve made an unhappy noise and switched his weight to his other foot. "You know what I'm talking about. The getting drunk, wandering around to find me, the lewd comments about my chest—any of this sound familiar?"

Tony licked his lips nervously, the urge to run washing over him. "I-huh. I guess I might've done that a few times. Don't worry big guy, I didn't mean anything by it. Alcohol is terrible like that—"

"If it's so terrible, why do you drown yourself in it?" Steve cut him off, taking steps towards the brunet.

Ouch. That had been a low blow, and they both knew it. Tony had always struggled to control his drinking, and Pepper's absence from his life had really thrown him off course. It was just so easy to rid himself of his problems by drinking them away.

Instead of snapping at Steve, Tony played off the comment with a fake smile. "Sorry if I offended your delicate sensibilities," Tony assured him, "It won't happen again."

Steve stopped when he was not even a foot away from Tony, backing him up against his lab table. He reached his hand out and grasped Tony's shoulder, squeezing it gently. "I'm not mad, Tony. I…I don't mind, actually. The question is: do you? – mind, that is?"

"I…" Tony hesitated, his throat going dry, causing his voice to become rough. Steve didn't care? That was a good thing, right? He didn't mind that Tony's subconscious always brought him to Steve and made him cling to the man. In fact, looking into those baby blues, Tony was surprised to find raw emotion and vulnerability. Oh. Oh.

So he felt it, too.

A choked, animalistic cry came from the back of Tony's throat, and he stepped forward, closing the space left between him and Steve. One of his hands pressed up against his chest while the other grabbed the collar of his shirt, yanking Steve down in order to mash their mouths together in a sloppy kiss. Steve's hands found their way to Tony's sides and came to rest just above his hips, thumbs massaging the bones they found there.

The hand Tony had on Steve's collar slid down to his chest next to his other hand as he slowly drew back from the kiss. Watching Steve's face was like a punch to his gut; he looked so hopeful and lost at the same time.

This isn't a good idea, Tony's mind tried to tell him, but for once, he ignored that part of him. Instead, he leaned forward, pressing his forehead in between his hands on that broad chest. "Jesus. Why didn't you tell me sooner? I thought I was kind of alone in this, that you were humoring me."

Steve chuckled softly, a noise that caused Tony's heart to flutter. "All those times, and you thought I was just humoring you? No, Tony. I did it because I care, maybe a little too much. More than a man should care about his friend."

"Hey, I'm the one that's been trying to get into your pants for forever," Tony shot back with a casual shrug. He immediately felt Steve tense beneath him before relaxing. After a few moments of silence, a kiss was pressed to the top of his head, followed by a whisper, words lost in his ear. "What was that?"

"You can, you know," Steve bent down to whisper, his breath tickling Tony's ear.

Tony counted to three in his head before he dared to ask. "I can what?"

Steve pushed his hips against Tony's, and he went cross eyed for a moment. It was enough of an indication of what Steve meant. Tony ground back, focusing on the hitch of Steve's breath and the pitch of his voice as he tried to stay quiet. That just wouldn't do.

Tony reached around, grabbing Steve's ass in his hands, ready to blow his mind, when the man stopped him. "What?" he growled impatiently, heat of the moment overtaking his common sense and ridding of any patience he'd ever had.

"Bed," Steve panted, voice revealing how desperate he was.

Oh yeah, a bed, he could work with that.

-X-X-X-

Time seemed to speed up, the world blurring around them as they were little more than a mess of sweaty limbs. The movements between them were frantic, too much, not enough. Steve found himself letting go for once as Tony surrounded him, inside and out. The sensations of their bodies sliding against each other, the push and pull of being breached in a way that left his jaw to drop, it was all too much.

Above him, Tony wasn't doing much better. The heat and tightness of Steve's body made his head spin, every thrust into him making them both gasp. The feeling was addicting, and the more he pushed in, wilder Tony grew. He was erratic as it was, rocking into Steve hard enough that the bed moved with them, creaking in protest. He could care less about the bed, though; he could always buy a new one.

"Ah, Tony-!" Steve's sharp cry sounded over the erotic noises that filled the room. His hands gripped Tony's head, fingers tangling in his dark hair, and Tony knew exactly what he wanted. He dove down, locking their lips together in a kiss or rather, a battle of tongues. Steve whined through his teeth, fingers scratching from his scalp down to his shoulders, the heels of his feet digging into Tony's lower back to get him to move faster.

"…so fucking hot…" Tony hissed, his mouth latching onto the side of his neck and ravaging the already marked skin. His hips sped up, the power of his thrusts pushing Steve up the bed. The man held onto him as best he could, puddy in Tony's arms.

At a particularly shallow thrust, Steve was electrified, his toes curling, back arching off the bed. "Oh, son of a—" he gasped, words cut off by a moan. If anything surprised Tony, it was that Steve actually turned out to be loud, emitting noises Tony didn't think were possible for him to make. It fascinated him and turned him on like crazy.

He sat up abruptly, Steve watching his movements through half-lidded eyes. Tony looked down at the mess he'd made, noting every hickey and bite mark, admiring Steve's sweat-slick muscles, and the impressively beautiful cock resting against his stomach. Tony knew he was indulging himself, but he couldn't help it, leaning over to worry the sensitive skin above Steve's nipple, his hand reaching down and grabbing his neglected cock.

It was too much for Steve and he came, his vision whiting out, ears ringing. His insides clenched around Tony, causing him to double over, thrusting on one last time before following Steve and losing himself. It was utter bliss.

-X-X-X-

It took a lot for Steve to convince Tony that they should try dating. He understood why he was reluctant, but was determined to get Tony to agree, knowing just the man truly wanted it despite his fears. He caved eventually, playing it off as though it were a bother. 'Fiiiine, if you insist,' he'd huffed, which had only caused Steve to roll his eyes fondly.

What Steve did not know (but could've guessed) was that Tony was ecstatic. After he left to go work out in the gym, Tony willingly called Pepper for the first time since their break up and excitedly told her the news.

'Wow, that's great, Tony. I'm happy for you'

"No, Pep, you don't understand. I was right all this time, he isperfect."

'I don't doubt that—'

"-God, his nipples are so fucking perky when he's horny though—"

'—uh, Tony, I don't want to know tha—'

"It was like heaven, you should have been there. Well, no, you probably shouldn't have because that would not have gone over well with Steve, but still."

The other line was silent for a moment before Pepper audibly sighed. 'I'm glad you're happy, Tony. He'll be really good for you, I know he will.'

Tony's excitement dulled, and he grew wistful. "Just like you were, huh? He is, though. He takes care of me even when I don't take care of myself. He's put up with more crap from me in the span of a few months than anyone else has in years. He never left, though, and he never got mad."

'Tony…' Pepper said softly, he could hear the smile in her voice, picturing her perfect beauty in his head.

"Seriously though, Pepper, have you seen the man's pecs? You could bounce quarters off those things like no tomorrow. He's like a Greek sculpture."

She laughed at his fixation, a light-hearted laugh that made his heart ache. 'So I've heard. You better keep an eye on him before someone tries to wheel him off to a museum.'

"See, you get me. Maybe I should put the tower under lockdown just to ensure no one gets in…"

'Tony Stark, don't you dare. You know that'd make the news, and the last thing I want is to be drawn into your bad press while I have a lot of work to do as it is.'Her tone went from playful to firm in seconds, and Tony knew she was deadly serious even if he wasn't.

"Geez, alright, relax. I won't lock the tower down. I might, however, have to hogtie me a super soldier and lock him in my room."

'You have fun with that.' Pepper replied, the finality in her tone ending that subject of conversation. 'Look, Tony, I have to get back to work. I've got an appointment in 10 minutes and I've got to go; waiting any longer will make me late.'

Tony frowned, knowing he must look like a pouting child that couldn't get his way. "But, Pepperrrrr—"

'No buts, mister, not even Steve's,' she cut him off sternly. 'I'll be in town next week, so if you want, we can talk more then. If you plan on talking to me though, just know that you'll be taking me out to dinner with your new boyfriend and we're going to have a nice evening. And I'm going to give him a good talking to that he might not enjoy.'

Yikes, Tony grimaced at the thought of Pepper threatening Steve with her stilettos. That would be a sight to see. "I'll make sure my schedule is open, then."

'Tony, I'm the one who makes your schedule.'

"…Right. Will that be all, Miss Potts?"

'You were the one who calledme.'

"Well you're no fun."

'Bye, Tony.'

The phone clicked, line going dead. Tony took his cell away from his ear, watching it as the screen went black. For the first time in a long time, he felt light, as if tons of weight had lifted off his chest. He had a great man as his partner, he got his old friend back, and everyone was safe. Without lying through his teeth or without a glass of whiskey in his hand, Tony could confidently say for the first time in his life that he was fine.

He was happy.