Despite the overwhelming urge to get out of the shower post-fucking-haste, Tony forces himself to take his time getting clean, taking a few moments with both the anticipation and his thoughts. It could all have gone so terribly, awfully wrong today, and he is not going to take it for granted that it didn't. He's not only aware that he's the luckiest bastard in the world, but he also knows that part of it is down to how he's surrounded by some of the best people that humankind has to offer.

When he climbs out of the shower and pads into his room, his towel wrapped around his hips, he stops short in the doorway because the best of the best people has managed to sneak into his penthouse without him noticing, and is lounging on his bed wearing nothing but a pair of sweatpants. He's leaning back on Tony's pillows with an arm thrown behind his head and a tablet in his other hand, looking as comfortable as Tony as ever seen him. Warmth blooms in Tony's chest because it's here with Tony, in Tony's room that Steve finally looks at home.

"Security breach," Tony says, leaning on the doorjamb and sending a quirked smile in Steve's direction. He could go over straight away, but he wants to enjoy the view for a little longer.

Eyes fixed on the tablet, Steve just shrugs slightly without looking up. "It's not really security if all I have to do is ask Jarvis to let me in."

"You're ganging up on me," Tony states. "I object."

"I can leave if you want," Steve says, but he doesn't bother to move or even look up.

"Yeah, like that's happening," Tony says and pushes himself off the doorframe and saunters over to the bed. When he gets close enough so that his thighs nudge the edge of the mattress, Steve finally looks up. His eyes go slightly wide and Tony hears the momentary stall in his breathing before he lets it out through his nose.

"So, the tactical genius sneaks into my room when I'm showering and then looks shocked when I'm naked?"

"Not shocked," Steve says, and Tony notices how his eyes flick to the arc reactor momentarily but then move on, wandering across his bare stomach to the jut of his hipbones above the edge of the towel. "Just appreciating."

The words and his smile are warm, but Tony notices his whole body is very still and he's not made any move to put the tablet down. He considers waiting it out, forcing Steve to make the first move, but decides against it. Firstly because it might be construed as cruel to push Steve like that when Tony knows he has issues, and secondly waiting it out means he has to hold back on Steve-touching.

"So," Tony says conversationally, clambering onto the bed to kneel next to Steve's hip, taking the tablet from his hands and putting it on the nightstand. He lists sideways so his waist presses against Steve's thigh. "How long did it take you to come to terms with being gay?"

Steve blinks at him. "First, why are you assuming that it took any length of time for me to come to terms with liking men, and second, are we really having this conversation right now?"

"Maybe not," Tony muses, and reaches out and takes Steve's hand, pulling it towards him. "I think I was just trying to make a point."

Very slowly – and deliberately, Tony thinks as his pulse surges – Steve licks his lower lip, looking at his fingers, curled around Tony's. "Point taken," he murmurs and he uncurls his fingers from Tony's stretching them out so they brush against the skin of Tony's stomach. He stays like that for a long moment, the barest of contact between them, and then his hand presses forwards, palm sliding onto Tony's hip.

"Atta boy, Captain," Tony murmurs and Steve huffs out a laugh.

"Shut up," he replies, and pulls Tony in, lifting his chin and kissing him gently.

It's so easy for Tony to allow himself to be pulled close, stretching out next to Steve as they kiss, heart thudding as his bare chest brushes Steve's. He feels rather than hears Steve groan, a low rumble of sound, and then Steve's mouth leaves his and slowly works down Tony's neck, warm and wet and glorious. Humming in approval, Tony slides his hands over Steve's shoulders, pressing his palms firmly against heated skin. He can feel the shift of muscle as Steve moves, pressing closer and closer as he kisses along Tony's collarbone.

"Come here," Tony murmurs, dragging his hands up to Steve's shoulders again. Steve capitulates easily, shifting up and lifting his chin to kiss Tony's mouth again. They kiss slowly, leisurely, breathing steadily growing heavier and more ragged.

Even though the urgency from earlier has gone, there's no doubting what Steve wants as he moves slowly and deliberately, sliding one leg over Tony's. He plants a hand on the bed next to Tony's shoulder and shifts over, still kissing Tony as he clambers on-top of him, pinning him down to the bed with over two hundred and fifty pounds of super-soldier muscle in the best possible way.

"Okay?" he pants against Tony's mouth, before nudging his chin up with his nose so he can press his mouth to Tony's neck again, his forearms on the pillow either side of Tony's head. "Too heavy?"

"Nope," Tony replies immediately, and his breath catches as Steve presses a sucking open mouthed kiss to his pulse point. "Jesus Christ you're good at this."

"I don't really know what I'm doing," Steve muses, mouthing his way across Tony's shoulder. "Pretty much making it up as I go along."

Tony snorts with breathless laughter, tipping his head back and letting his eyes drift shut. "And I heard you were a master strategist. Did the Captain America PR team lie to me again?"

The warm mouth abruptly pulls back from where it had been licking a hot path into the dip between his collar bones. He cracks an eye open, put out, to see Steve looking down at him, expression equally unimpressed.

"You really want me going about sex with you like I would a Hydra raid?"

Tony grimaces. "No?"

"No," Steve agrees, and slowly lowers his head again, lips brushing Tony's in a slow, open kiss. He hums in the back of his throat, sounding satisfied and content. Unable to help himself, Tony reaches up and runs his hand across Steve's shoulders, across his biceps and then slowly up and down his forearms.

He feels Steve's fingers curl around, slipping into his hair. Steve kisses him again, licking his way into his mouth. Tony slides his hands back down Steve's arms to his shoulders, breath catching in his throat as Steve's hips shift against his. God, he's not taken sex so slowly in ever; all open-mouthed kisses and slow hands over warm skin, lazy rolling limbs and gripping hands.

"So," Steve says against his mouth. "You ever done this with a man?"

Tony hooks a foot around his calf. "None of your damn business," he says with a raised eyebrow, challenge clear in his expression.

"Hilarious," Steve says, completely deadpan, though his lips twitch before he schools his face into something resembling disappointment, complete with a sigh. "Well if neither of us know what we're doing, maybe-"

Tony doesn't let him finish. In one movement, he surges forwards and manages to roll Steve onto his back. Steve grunts in surprise and lands heavily on his back, and Tony grins down at him, more smug than he should let on.

"I got this. You just lie back and think of America," he says, hiding the grin in Steve's neck.

"Oh, fuck off," Steve says, exasperated, and then Tony is laughing as he kisses Steve again, and Steve starts to laugh too and it's ridiculous, really, but Tony can't find it in himself to care.

He manhandles Steve onto his front, straddling his thighs and dragging his hands down the glorious expanse of muscle shifting in Steve's shoulders as he arches and twists, no longer laughing but groaning into the pillow in a way that makes Tony fucking crazy. Kissing down Steve's back, breathing into the dip at the base of Steve's spine just above his ass, Tony can't help but think about Steve's words. If he doesn't know what he's doing that's a pretty strong hint that he's never done this before, but then he never denied the whole him-and-Bucky thing-

And then Steve groans again and shifts his hips back towards Tony and Tony suddenly doesn't care if he's never done this or done it a thousand times. He curls the fingers of one hand around Steve's hip, presses him down into the mattress with the other, bites lightly at the swell of Steve's ass through his sweatpants and hears him bite out another curse.

He debates for a moment exactly what Steve might let him get away with, but then Steve is rolling back onto his back in an easy sinuous motion, reaching down to haul Tony up on top of him. Tony manages to catch himself just before he head-butts Steve in the face, hands pressed into the pillows either side of Steve's head. Before he can even open his mouth to speak, Steve is hooking a leg up around his hip and kissing him hard enough to leave him breathless, arms hooked under Tony's and hands gripping at his back.

Back to frantic it is, Tony thinks as he kisses Steve back, hot and open mouthed. He blindly reaches down with one hand to grab at Steve's thigh, and as he does Steve rolls his hips into Tony's and Tony can feel how hard he is, erection pressing into the crease between his thigh and groin.

"Sweatpants," he manages to say against Steve's mouth, the words muffled. "Off. Now."

Steve lets go of him and hastens to comply, demonstrating his multitasking capabilities in the best way possible as he pushes down his sweatpants and drags Tony's towel from around his hips. Both offending articles are hurriedly kicked out of the bottom of the bed and Tony looks down and he swears that his brain literally breaks. Oh god, if he can never work out another piece of coding again he'll know to blame it single-handedly on the vision that is Steve Rogers in all his sweaty naked glory. Jesus - he's never going to be able to leave the god damn tower with Steve ever again because he now know exactly what Steve looks like under his clothes and he's not going to be able to look at him without thinking of this moment.

And it's only half down to Steve's glorious body, Tony admits to himself as he finds himself nose to nose with him, mouth hovering just above Steve's in the best kind of tease, moving back just enough every time Steve tries to catch his mouth. Steve's breathing is uneven and warm against Tony's mouth, and hitches beautifully when Tony slides a hand down his body and take's Steve's dick in hand, curling his fingers loosely around him.

"Shit," Steve says, voice thick, and Tony smiles against his mouth.

"Language, Captain Curse-words," he says, and Steve scowls.

"Will you shut up and get on with it."

"I will," he promises, and he slides his hand up Steve's dick, presses his thumb to the head and feels Steve's hips jerk. "As soon as I know what you want me to be getting on with."

Steve groans as Tony toys with his head of his dick, teasing it between his fingers. "Stop treating me like some sort of damn virgin," he manages to say, though his voice is catching in the best possible way, struggling to get the words out evenly.

"I'm being considerate," Tony shoots back.

"Consider the fact I was ready to have sex on the kitchen counter," Steve says, sounding strained. "Tony."

Lowering his head, Tony bites gently at Steve's collarbones, soothing the faint mark left with his tongue. "I just want to be clear-"

Steve makes a noise like a growl, shoves Tony back with his hands on his shoulders, then lies back and spreads his legs. Spreads his fucking legs. Tony's brain promptly turns off all over again and Steve is staring at him defiantly and his cheeks are going a blotchy pink and he's just lying there with his feet on the mattress and his thighs as far apart as they'll probably go. Fuck, when Steve Rogers goes for something, he fucking well goes for it.

"Clear enough?" he demands, and Tony finds himself nodding.

"Yep, twenty-twenty clear," he breathes, and shoves Steve's hands off his shoulders and leans back in to catch his mouth, kissing the breath from his lungs. He pulls back, leaving Steve looking dazed, and Tony grins and takes advantage of Steve's momentary incapacitation to reach over and snag the lube out of his dresser. It's a good job he's not a super-villain really, if he can take out Captain America's full mental faculties with nothing more than foreplay.

A hand skates up his side, touch feather light, and he shivers, moving back to kneel between Steve's thighs, still spread from his earlier show. Leaning over, he presses a kiss to Steve's chest and feels strong fingers thread into his hair, and when he looks up Steve is smiling breathlessly down at him, mouth slightly open and eyes dark and hungry. He could make a smug comment here, tell Steve he's in for the ride of his life, but he doesn't. He's still so hyperaware of the emotions flying around after his fuck-up today, and he's not going to do anything which will cheapen the moment or make Steve think he doesn't mean this. He leans down further, presses another kiss to Steve's stomach, feels the muscles jump as they tense and relax. He kisses lower and lower and he can feel Steve trembling, his fingers flexing involuntarily in Tony's hair. Well, if he's that responsive just from Tony's mouth on his abs, he's in for a fucking treat in the next ten seconds.

The cry that Steve lets out when Tony abruptly leans down and licks a wide sloppy stripe up his shaft is one of the best thing's Tony's ever heard. He does it again and Steve grunts, deep in his chest, fingers gripping tighter onto Tony's hair, and then gasps when Tony closes his mouth around the head of his dick, sucking gently.

"Fuck," Steve bites out, and one hand leaves Tony's hair and Tony looks up to see he's thrown his forearm over his eyes, head tipped back into the pillow. Tony chooses to assume that it's because the sight and the sensations are too much to handle. Fine by me, Tony thinks as he reaches for the lube and flicks the cap off. There's about to be a whole new level of sensation to deal with, after all.

The noise Steve makes when Tony slides a finger into him is a groan that sounds oddly relieved. Tony presses a kiss to the head of his dick and slowly crawls up Steve's prone form, hand still playing between Steve's legs as he bites against the underside of his jaw.

"Alright?" he murmurs, and Steve nods sharply, breathing harshly through his nose. He doesn't move his arm away from his eyes, though, and again Tony wishes he knew if Steve had done this before or not. It's not like he'd be inconsiderate if Steve had done it before, but still. Some frame of reference would be comforting, because frankly he has a lot riding on Steve enjoying this.

"There you go," he whispers as he slips another finger into Steve's clinging heat, feeling Steve's body jerk against his. "God, you're gorgeous like this." He twists his fingers and Steve's whole body surges against his, shifting like he can't decide if he wants to move away from Tony's fingers or press down against them.

He pulls his fingers free and blindly feels his way across the covers again as he searches for the lube. One of Steve's thighs creeps up around his waist again and they're kissing like they'll never get another chance. Tony hurriedly slicks himself up and then he's got a hand on Steve's leg and one on his own dick as he shifts his hips forwards, guiding himself into Steve's body.

Steve shudders beneath him, and Tony legs go of his leg and reaches up taking Steve's hands in his and pressing them down into the pillows either side of his head. He kisses along Steve's jaw as he rolls his hips forwards, once, twice, groaning as Steve's body gives way, the tension turning loose and easy. Steve lies back and allows Tony to take control, and Tony swears that that's almost as much of a turn on as the actual sex.

It's warm and deep, and Tony's actually beginning to really see the appeal in slow, close sex like this when Steve grunts, lifting his heel up to press firmly into the small of Tony's back, and Tony's had enough sex in his lifetime to pick up on the wordless request. He lifts his torso up, still pressing down on Steve's hands with his own, and abandons the deep rolling motions in favour of short, sharp thrusts that send Steve absolutely wild. He cries out and rocks his hips up into each thrust, and Tony is losing control of his breathing as he fucks into Steve harder and harder. Steve is holding back, Tony knows, but he can't resist for ever, and sure enough Steve gives in and wrests one hand free from Tony's grip to reach down and take himself in hand. Tony leans back and watches Steve press a palm the length of his dick, thumb pressed to the head, not stroking but simply applying pressure in all the right places.

"Go on," Tony coaxes breathlessly, biting Steve's lower lip and Steve's whole body goes tense and each breath is a gasp and Tony is sure this is the hardest he's ever dared fuck anyone and god, Steve is grabbing at every bit of Tony he can get his hands on. Tony grabs the wandering hands and shoves them back into the pillows and he thrusts forwards and finally Steve is coming, moaning obscenely and clenching his eyes tightly shut.

Tony fucks him through it, pressing his cheek to Steve's and hearing the harsh rasp of Steve's breathing in his ear, and shaking hands slide up his back and Steve pressing a trembling kiss to Tony's earlobe and he's done, coming with a gasp and grinding his hips forwards in tight desperate circles, whole body shaking.

When he can feel all of his extremities again, he's aware he's sprawled out on top of Steve, completely deadweight. Seeing as Steve is a super-solider, it probably doesn't bother him at all, but still. Sexual etiquette dictates you at least try and not pass out whilst squashing someone. Muscles protesting, he groans and pulls back and out of Steve, not missing the strangled gasp Steve makes as he does, and then rolls over, flopping onto his back. His shoulder brushes Steve's, a glorious drag of warm sweaty skin against skin, a wonderful contrast to the cool of the untouched sheets beneath his back.

Panting, Tony looks over at Steve. Steve's eyes are already on him, head turned to the side and chest heaving as he tries to get his breath back.

"Sort my life out," Tony manages to say. "Check."

Steve chuckles breathlessly, throwing an arm up over his head, wiping his forehead on his forearm. "I don't think that's what Clint had in mind."

Tony swats at Steve's side with the back of his hand. "Puh-lease," he says. "He's a big boy, he knows what we would have opted for instead of talking about feelings."

Rolling over, Steve props himself up on an elbow and splays his free hand over Tony's stomach. He doesn't speak straight away though, instead allowing them several long minutes to relax and get their breath back. His thumb strokes against Tony's navel and Tony lets his eyes drift shut, content to let the touch and the peace and quiet soothe him.

Finally, Steve breaks the silence, leaning over to gently kiss Tony before pulling back. "We didn't do so bad with the talking," he says. Tony lets his eyes wander over Steve's chest and down his body, feeling a shiver go through him as he looks. His eyes flick back up to Steve's face and he catches his serious expression, knowing that there's something he wants to say.

"Go on, Rogers, before you hurt yourself," he says, and Steve just looks at him flatly. Funny how that statement would have been enough to cause a horrendous argument a few weeks ago. Maybe he and Steve should have been sleeping together all along; they definitely seem to be able to deal better with the superficial shit now they've got this deep and meaningful emotion thing going on.

"Whose idea was it to not tell me?" Steve asks softly, and Tony stills for a moment, before telling the truth.

"Mine," he says. "Clint asked if we should tell you, and I said no."

There's a long, long pause and then Steve just nods, breathing out and shutting his eyes. "So I don't need to have words with Clint?"

"No," Tony says. "He didn't – it was my bad call to not talk to you. He just wanted to go and shoot stuff. It wasn't about you to him - he would have gone without me if he could have gotten away with it."

Steve nods again. "Should probably go and talk to him," he murmurs, and then breathes out heavily. "I am sorry, you know," he says, eyes still closed. "For – for whatever I did that meant you didn't trust me enough to tell me."

Tony is torn between being heartbroken at the quiet honesty in Steve's voice, and jumping up and dancing because that's right, Steve Rogers just apologised to him. He actually said the word sorry in a meaningful context, directed at Tony because he feels he's wronged him. Hallelujah, it's a miracle. Tony opens his mouth to accept the apology like a normal functioning adult should do, but the words get mangled somewhere between his brain and his mouth.

"Did I just fuck an apology out of you?"

He anticipates the hit seconds before it lands, but it's a half-assed backhand to his chest that doesn't even hurt. He laughs and Steve rolls his eyes, throwing his arm up over his eyes. "I'm not saying it again."

"Would you consider apologising for that time you punched me in the face?"

"Maybe you'll have to fuck that one out of me later," Steve says lazily, and Tony starts to laugh and laugh and he can't stop.

"Moron," Steve says without heat, and grabs Tony and hauls him close, so Tony is pressed up against his side, the force of his laughter almost enough to shake Steve as well.

"You," he gasps, pressing his face into Steve's chest. "Fuck, Steve. Never change."

"You know me," Steve says, wrapping an arm around Tony's shoulders and turning his head to the side, nuzzling into the side of Tony's neck. "Too stubborn to change."

"Bullshit," Tony says, letting his eyes drift shut as Steve presses a kiss to the underside of his chin. "You stick to your convictions, which is admirable in this day and age, it truly is. You just occasionally need someone to kick your ass and point out where the line between conviction and stubbornness is."

Steve laughs at that, and traces his nose up the side of Tony's face. "You gonna be the one kicking my ass?"

"Said I would didn't I?" Tony replies easily, and Steve's smile is small and quiet and full of something that makes Tony's internal organs feel like they're rearranging themselves in quite an oddly pleasant way. They both shift slightly, settling down into the covers with limbs wrapped together, lazy and warm and close. Tony can feel Steve's heart thudding beneath his palm, and his mouth curves into a smile. Oh yes, he really does like Steve's new and improved atttude to touch; here in the privacy of the bedroom he's being downright handsy.

"So, what now?" Tony murmurs after long, long minutes of silence.

"Coffee, food and maybe a film? We haven't exactly got much on our to-do list."

"As usual," Tony grouches. "I wonder if Fury has thought about what you said."

"For now, I don't care," Steve replies, and then he eases away from Tony, swinging his legs around then sitting up and stretching, sheets bunched around his waist. Tony reaches out, tracing his fingers along the muscles of Steve's back, just because he's allowed and he can.

Steve turns his head and Tony catches the edge of a smile before Steve sighs contently and flops back again onto his back, hands thrown up above his head. He reaches down to scratch at his thigh, wrinkling his nose as he does.

"Scratch that," he says. "Shower, coffee, food and film?"

Tony narrows his eyes. "Are you going to insist this is another sensible 'getting clean' event?"

Steve hums thoughtfully, tapping his fingers against his chin in mock-seriousness. "No. Not this time," he says, grinning at Tony upside-down. "I think I've done enough being sensible lately."

"Oh, so that was you being sensible, I mistook it for you being a complete and utter grouch," Tony replies, and laughs as Steve's expression turns offended. "What? You were," he says, sitting up and stretching his legs out, prodding at Steve with his toes. "Though with good reason," he concedes, and Steve nods, features relaxing marginally.

"Make it up to me in the shower?" he suggests, and Tony can only grin and lean down to kiss him breathless in agreement.

"So. What do you think?"

Steve looks away from the television for a moment, staring at Tony and looking very much like he wants to roll his eyes. "It's fifteen minutes into the film."

"And he's already shot someone in the face, drowned someone else in a sink and smashed up a construction site," Tony points out. "And look – look at that. The man is climbing a crane, Jesus. Look at him go."

Steve grunts with laughter. "Sounds like my average Tuesday."

"You are nowhere near as cool as James Bond," Tony says dismissively, shifting down into the cushions of the lounger. "He's not dosed up on superhero steroids. He's just a guy. And not to mention he's probably drunk. He's the poster-boy for high-functioning alcoholism."

Steve does roll his eyes at that. "Shut up and let me watch," he says, wriggling around to get comfortable. He throws an arm up over the back of the sofa and slumps down, his knees spreading lazily. Tony's pulse stutters because only two hours ago Steve was doing the exact same thing but in a slightly different context. The urge to make a joke about Steve spreading his legs is almost overwhelming, but he holds back, mainly because he doesn't want to get decked and also because he'd like to keep having sex with Steve as much as possible, and winding him up about it so soon probably isn't a great way to achieve that end.

"Hey, can you play poker?" he asks absent-mindedly, fingers dragging over the surface of the tablet. He flicks and twists the image – a new modification design for Clint's quiver which will allow him to control the selection with verbal commands – and pulls up the measurement specs.


"The film - it's all about James Bond playing poker. And no, don't look at me like that, I've not ruined it, you just watched the titles and you're not stupid, Rogers. If you couldn't work out the connection you don't deserve to be an Avenger."

"I worked that much out. But what has it got to do with whether I can play poker or not?"

"You'd make a great James Bond," Tony says vaguely, taking a millimetre from one of the measurements and watching the image twist and change accordingly. "I might dress you in a tux and get you to play poker."

"Oh, I'm sorry that Captain America isn't enough for you," Steve says. "I'll call the White House, let them know I'm handing in the shield because Tony Stark would rather I was James Bond."

"Like you would give up that shield," Tony laughs. "And besides, I just said you'd make a great Bond. I never said that meant you weren't the best Captain."

"Flattery will get you nowhere," Steve says, sounding amused. "Now shut up."

"So. Poker?"


"What? Just asking. Poker?"

"We ended up in a fistfight over a game of Go Fish, if you remember," Steve says. "I am not playing poker with you."

"That fight was entirely your fault for cheating. Please? Pretty please, Mon Capitan? I'll even waive on the tux, you can play in blue spandex if you want-"

A pillow flies across from the sofa and hits him square in the face. He pushes it away, biting down on a laugh. Steve is looking straight at the television, but Tony can see the corner of his mouth twitching in a smile.

Feeling oddly content in a way he hasn't in a long time, Tony opts for shutting up so Steve can continue to watch the film. He's not that bothered about it to be honest; he'd rather play around with some new designs and occasionally steal glances of Steve. By the time James Bond is merrily smashing his way through an international airport, Steve is slumped so far down the sofa he looks like he's melted into the damn thing. As Tony watches, he yawns wide enough to make his jaw audibly click, scratching at his stomach just below his bellybutton. It makes Tony's chest feel all strange and tight, alongside the urge to go over and put his mouth on Steve right now.

"Next time there are aliens, I'm staying at home. Shit, that slime was disgusting."

Tony and Steve simultaneously twist around as Clint's voice comes from the doorway. Tony raises a brow and watches as Clint walks in, looking somewhere between relieved and irritated. He's swearing a pair of baggy sweatpants and no shirt, a towel slung over his shoulders and damp hair sticking up every which way.

Tony hums in agreement. "Tell me about it."

"You were wearing a suit of armour," Clint replies grumpily, heading over to the coffee machine and grabbing a mug. He leans back against the counter as he waits, and when Tony glances over again he sees that Clint is staring at him with narrowed eyes.


"Nothing," he says, and then he looks from Tony to Steve and then back again.

Glancing over at Steve, Tony sees him looking equally as nonplussed. Tony spreads his hands apart in his best approximation of 'what the fuck is his problem?' and Steve just shrugs and turns back to the film.

Clint behaves himself for a whole two and a half minutes, and then Tony jerks as something hits him on the end of his nose. He raises a hand instinctively, and then after a pause in which no more projectiles hit him, he looks down to see a dry pasta shell caught in a fold of his shirt. With a scowl, he looks up to see Clint ready to flick another one across the room.

"What happened?!" Clint mouths, dropping the pasta shell and looking nonplussed. He points at Steve, and Tony glances over; Steve is still thoroughly engrossed in the film and as such hasn't noticed Clint being a prick.

Tony sends Clint a mildly annoyed 'I have no idea what you're fucking talking about,' face and Clint smacks a palm to his face.

"Why," he mouths, signing the word as well, and Tony has no idea why or how Clint knows sign language. "Are you two," he continues, with the appropriate hand signals. "Not fucking?"

The last hand gesture is one that is definitely not official sign language, and one that Clint probably wouldn't dare do if Natasha was close enough to grab him. Tony rolls his eyes and throws the pasta back. Inevitably, it misses and Steve notices as it skitters across the counter, looking up with a frown.

"What's up?" he asks suspiciously, and his eyes dart back to the television as if he can't bear to miss anything, and hah, Tony knew he'd love it.

"Nothing," Clint says, and he looks oddly disappointed. "Just thought – I don't know. You'd sorted stuff out."

"We have," Tony replies easily, and the look Clint sends back is downright sceptical.

"Huh. Sure."

"We have," Tony repeats.

"Yeah," Clint replies, clearly disbelieving. "So that explains the sitting eight feet apart and refusing to look at each other thing, right?"

"Oh, for Christ's sake. Steve, watch out. Incoming PDA at Barton's request," Tony says, and pushes himself up out of the lounger. He steps over the coffee table and to the sofa, and promptly climbs up onto Steve's lap, knees on either side of his thighs. Steve's hands move reflexively to Tony's hips even as he opens his mouth to protest, and Tony leans down and kisses him square on the mouth, lingering for a long second before pulling back. "There. Happy now, Barton? We are now acting like fifteen year olds, which is probably where your mental age is, anyway."

"What?" Steve asks, confused, and he reaches up and pushes Tony's head to the side. "You're in the way of the film."

"Clint wants us acting like love-struck teenagers to prove we sorted our shit out," Tony says matter-of-flatly, ignoring Clint's protests in the background. "He thinks you need to be physically attached to someone to show there's anything there-"

"That is not true," Clint says, exasperated. "If it were true then Nat would have brutally dismembered me for being clingy. I just meant – you looked like you were just – oh, I don't fucking know. You two have been eye-fucking for weeks, I expected…more. I don't know."

"Duly noted," Steve says distractedly, and then he promptly shoves Tony to the side so he can still see the film. Tony ends up half sprawled over him, leant on the arm of the sofa with one leg thrown over Steve's and the other tucked up next to his hip. Tony's about to get up and move when a hand settles on his thigh, thumb gently stroking the material of his sweatpants. He pauses and looks at Steve for a long moment, but Steve just carries on watching the film, his palm a warm solid presence on Tony's leg.

Warmth blooms in his chest, and he fights back a smile.

"I regret ever saying anything," Clint says after a moment of silence. "Captain America is snuggling. I won't be able to take you seriously ever again. I think I prefer you angsty and full of manly pain."

"You think this counts as snuggling? Tony asks with a grin. "You poor traumatised soul. I'll have to have words with Nat for you."

"You try it and I'll shoot you," Cling replies cheerfully. "You two lovebirds want coffee?"

Steve says "yes," and Tony opts for "fuck off and yes." Clint just laughs and when Tony looks over, he's stood by the coffee machine watching them carefully, and this time he doesn't pull faces or throw food or anything else stupid, he just quirks his mouth in a smile and nods.

Tony nods back, and that's that.

He doesn't imagine telling Natasha, Bruce or Fury will be even a fraction as simple. He'll happily tell Thor though; he'll just probably just be thrilled and propose a toast in the name of the glory of man-love or something.

"So," Clint says, walking over with three mugs of coffee clamped precariously in-between his hands. Steve reaches out to take two from him, carefully passing one to Tony. Clint clambers up onto other end of the sofa, sitting on the back with his feet pressed into the cushions. He stares down at his drink and when he speaks, his voice is too casual, which immediately gives away his apprehensions. "Do I have to snuggle with you to be forgiven for today as well?"

Tony's mind immediately provides him with a memory of him and Steve actually partaking in something that could be labelled as snuggling – in bed and completely naked – and he chokes on his sip of coffee, sitting up and coughing, eyes watering. Neck flushing red, Steve holds out a hand for Tony's drink and Tony passes it over gratefully, thumping his chest above the arc reactor to try and get the coffee out of his lungs. Clint looks nonplussed for a moment and then comprehension dawns, and he groans, covering his eyes with his hand.

"I'm a fucking idiot."

"Little bit," Steve agrees, and then he turns to look at Clint, clearing his throat and expression turning serious. "You don't need forgiving," he says bluntly. "You need to talk to us. You need to trust that we're on your side and we'll take what you've got to say seriously."

Clint frowns at him. "You're not pissed?"

"No," Steve says simply. "I'm annoyed you went without me. But I understand why you did. It's no fun feeling useless, it can make you make crazy decisions. I know that better than some people."

Clint sits back a little, looking suspiciously at Steve for a moment before seeming to accept that he's telling the truth. His shoulders relax at any rate, and his expression clears somewhat. He looks better than he has in a while, Tony suddenly thinks. Brighter eyes and more at ease in his own skin. He empathises all too well; nothing like a good fight and the forgiveness of Captain America to set you back to rights.

"Sir, Agent Coulson has entered the tower," Jarvis says quietly. "Shall I let him up?"

"Yeah, go for it," Tony says. "Tell him that Captain America is on my side now, he's not allowed to shoot me."

"Message delivered," Jarvis replies smoothly, and Steve sends him an exasperated look. Tony just shrugs.

"What? If anyone had the right to shoot me it was you, and you passed, opportunity lost."

Clint snorts and raises his mug in a salute. "Here's to you," he says to Steve. "You're quite clearly insane. I thought I picked difficult people to date."

"I'm offended," Tony remarks, though he's not really. He and Steve have already had this conversation after all, and it's Steve's opinion that he cares about.

Glancing over, he spots his tablet left on the lounger, and remembers what he was working on before Clint rudely interrupted. Without pause, he gets up off the sofa and wanders back to the lounger, slumping down whilst keeping his coffee perfectly balanced and grabbing the tablet again. Steve doesn't object or even look away from the movie, and Tony actually finds himself grateful; Steve has shown that he'll drag Tony's ass out of the workshop if he's been working for too long, but the fact he's not bothered about Tony constantly working is a bonus that Tony will certainly do his damnest not to under-appreciate.

There's a soft swish as the elevator doors open, and Tony glances up to see Phil walking in, smiling. He frowns, immediately on guard, because he's come to associate that particular pleased expression with Phil knowing something everyone else doesn't, or people imminently being tazed.

He feels a rather strong urge to go and sit back next to Steve.

"Gentlemen," Phil says, and Clint pulls a face at the phrasing, mouthing 'gentlemen' at Tony with an exaggerated roll of his eyes.

"Here to tell us off some more?" Tony asks, and Coulson just smiles some more.

"No, actually," he says. "Are you all okay?"

"Tip-top," Clint says promptly.

"Excuse me, but last time you said that you'd been shot, so forgive me for not trusting your judgement even slightly," Coulson says frankly, and turns away from Clint's wounded expression. "Captain?"

"We're all fine," Steve says. "No major injuries."

Coulson nods. "Good," he says. "You're going out again."

Clint whips around so fast Tony's neck twinges in sympathy. Steve sits up, twisting over the back of the sofa to watch as Phil walks over, an electronic tablet file in his hand. Tony stares at him, mouth hanging open.

"What? A few hours ago we were all suspended."

"And now you're not," Coulson says. "I spoke to Fury. Assured him that Captain Rogers was indeed deadly serious when he threatened to quit. He's currently got a team looking at proposals for the Avengers to be separated from SHIELD, just as you suggested. Meanwhile, your suspension, Stark, hasn't been put into the system. "

Tony laughs delightedly and Steve throws him a grin. Clint whoops and punches the air. "Phil, you fucking legend!"

"He's also got a team checking over the fraternization policies," Phil adds, looking pointedly at Tony, and Tony just shrugs.

"If he's separating us from SHIELD, their fraternization policies don't count."

Steve snorts with laughter, and Phil turns to him. "Captain, we've got a situation happening in Louisiana. If you think the team is up for it, we'd like to send you as soon as possible."

Steve sobers up, looking at Phil warily. "Me, or the team?"

"The team," Phil confirms, and Tony has to resist the urge to fucking dance. He doesn't care that he's only just got back from London, doesn't care at all because it looks like he'll be suiting up again and this time he'll be suiting up alongside Steve, and the whole team can get back on ass-kicking, world-saving form.

"What about me?" Clint demands, climbing off the back of the sofa and putting his mug down. "Am I still suspended?"

"No," Coulson says, and Clint's eyes go wide. "You are reinstated. On the conditions that one, I accompany you as a SHIELD authorised handler, two, you formally accept and declare Captain Rogers as your CO and follow his orders, and three, you promise to behave yourself."

"Done," Clint says immediately, looking from Phil to Steve to Tony then back again. "Fucking ten times over done."

"It's only temporary," Phil adds. "Six months, and then if you've behaved you'll be off probation."

Clint's mouth works for a moment, looking temporarily lost for words. Only temporarily, though. "I could kiss you," he announces, and marches towards Coulson. "Phil fucking Coulson, I could fucking well kiss your face right now."

Coulson raises an eyebrow and holds out a hand in a stop gesture. "Barton, don't you dare," he says, voice full of warning. "Agent Barton, stand down – Clint!-"

Tony is laughing hard enough to burst something as Clint grabs Coulson's head in his hands and kisses him square on the mouth. "I fucking love you, you wonderful undead bastard," Clint beams, and then darts away before Coulson can grab hold of him and kill him.

"I am regretting this already," Coulson shouts after him, and they can hear Clint cackling with laughter as he runs away and up the stairs. He then turns to Steve and Tony, looking put out. "That never happened," he says firmly, and Steve nods solemnly and Tony does his best to not burst a gut from holding his laughter in.

"So," Coulson says, and holds out the file. Tony sobers up marginally, because file equals mission and he's so hungry to get his hands on it, because this time it's all of them going together, as it should be. "Your mission, should you choose to accept it."

Tony snorts with laughter, and then looks at Steve who is predictably looking blank. "Jesus, Phil," Tony says, standing up and snagging the tablet. "We just get him up to date with James Bond and you throw something new at him. Give the old guy time to acclimatise."

"The old guy is very well acclimatised, thanks," Steve says from right behind him, and Tony makes a noise of protest as the file is whipped out of his hand. "Do I need to know?"

"Of course you need to know," Tony says, and makes to snatch the file back but isn't quick enough; Steve turns smartly on his heel, eyes still glued to the tablet. "It's Mission Impossible. Half my jokes about SHIELD are based around that franchise."

"Good job I don't listen to half your jokes then," Steve says vaguely, and then looks up at Phil. "This looks nasty. We can go straight away?"

"Black Widow is scheduled to pick you up at fifteen hundred hours," Phil smiles, and nods at Steve. "Avengers."

He turns and leaves, and Steve is still grinning as he tosses the file over to Tony. "Put on the suit," he says, a wicked glint in his eye and Tony grins right back at him, stepping up and slipping a hand onto Steve's neck and pulling him in for a kiss. He leans back, eyes flickering over Steve's face and as Steve smiles back, he finally feels like everything just might be alright.

"Captain, I thought you'd never ask."