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The sensation itself is slightly cool and very gentle, he sighs into the drop sheet and resettles his face against the floor, relieved. Steve’s weight across his butt and thighs is warm and solid enough to more than make up for it.

“Okay?” Steve asks, the brush lifting off Tony’s back.

“Yeah, it’s nice.” He wriggles his hips slightly and Steve clamps his thighs down around Tony’s waist, mmmm. “Almost as nice as this position.”

Steve’s warmth magnifies as he leans over Tony’s naked back and kisses the nape of his neck, breath hot and unsteady. “Behave, Tony, please?”

He relents, relaxing into the padded floor and nodding. “For you Steve, anything.”

Steve huffs into his hair. “Liar. Love you.”

“Love you too, babe.”

The brush clicks against the paint pallette, and Steve’s body heat recedes, replaced by the fiercer dry heat of the sun streaming in through the bedroom windows. Another wet, cool drag along his skin, near his shoulderbone. A little flick at the end is probably a curl or angle, and Tony’s itchy with the need to know what Steve is painting, but at the same time...

Steve is shy about his work, finds it difficult to hold onto the image if he shows it to someone; he says he starts to see it through their eyes instead, and then it loses all the other meanings he was holding in his head. Goes empty and thin. Tony can’t quite grasp what that means, can’t relate exactly, but the feeling beneath it; something made small and too concrete? He gets it. He’s built things too soon, sometimes; made them concrete before they were ready, and had to destroy them, because he couldn’t think past the object in front of him to find the perfect dream again.

He thinks its the same.

Holding back his curiosity, focusing on the sweep and pull the brush... it feels good, he feels in control of himself. He can’t wait to see it, but he’s here anyway, waiting. Eyes closed, breath soft and slowing. He wonders if he’s falling asleep; the symmetry of Steve’s brush strokes is deeply satisfying. Each sensation mirrored perfectly on the other side of his spine.

It feels other wordly, impossible. But a lot of Steve is like that; his mind is like crystal, or a perfectly clear ocean. Fathomless.

A puff of hot air across Tony’s spine makes goosebumps rise on his arms and the back of his neck. The lines of paint feel cool, while the hot air warms him to his bones.

When the touch comes back, its smaller and more delicate, tiny lines picked out so precisely that he can barely tell where they land. Time becomes measured and syrupy, marked out in brush strokes and the click of the water jar rather than seconds or minutes.

Steve shuffles, eventually, moving to sit lower over Tony’s thighs, and Tony whines in protest; Steve is warm and lovely and heavy and Tony feels like he might float away, unmoored. But Steve settles again, one forearm across Tony’s ass and leaning on him for balance. Tony relaxes again, pleased by the weight, by Steve’s focus.

The brush dips down to the small of his back in swooping curves that lift towards his waist again, and then it’s joined by the damp swipe of a larger, much softer brush that lays down a wide swipe of colour.

The palette rustles, and a new tube of paint clicks open.

They return to the routine; minutes measured in brush strokes and Tony lets himself sink into the sensation, the image building roughly behind his eyelids, but never resolving into an actual picture. Some strokes fade in his mind's eye and he doesn’t chase them, just waits for the next to come, soft and silken.

Eventually, he slowly comes aware of a slowing of strokes, a hesitancy and then deliberacy to Steve’s movements. Tony takes a deeper breath, to draw himself out of his haze, and shifts his stiff, sore shoulders. They must have been here for a while, but he can’t work up any annoyance about it.

Steve’s weight lifts, though he keeps a hand firmly on Tony’s thigh, keeping him pinned to the floor. The soft click of a phone camera, twice, then more, and Tony’s curiosity rushes back into the forefront.

But Steve puts the phone away, because the next time Tony’s touched, it’s both of Steve’s hands, on his forearms.

“Did you fall asleep, babe?” Steve murmurs, his hands as gentle on Tony’s skin as the softest of the paintbrushes.

“Mmm no?” Tony tells the floor. “Maybe. Felt really nice.”

Steve chuckles, deep but soft. “You okay if I go wash the brushes? It’ll be a moment before it’s dry.”

Tony turns his hand over and Steve obligingly intertwines their fingers. “Stay.”

“Sure, love. It can wait.”

Tony hears and feels Steve settle down beside him, the bulk of him shifting the floor cushions slightly and the warmth of his body close all along his right side. When he cracks an eye, Steve is close enough to see the flecks of gold in his hair and the tiny threads of teal in his glacier-blue eyes. Tony lifts his head enough to kiss him, then settles back down, blinking away the haze.

“That’s somethin... Can I see?”

Steve smiles one sidedly. “It came out good. Once its set, we can use the big mirror in the closet?”

“Not the photos?” Tony asks, frowning.

“No, its... I need to get the big camera out to do it justice.”

Tony ‘ah’s quietly, understanding. The Starkphone camera is amazing, but Steve’s hand with an SLR is almost as artistic as it is with a brush. “Can I move?”

“Sure, slowly...”

Tony nods, feeling the weight of his drowsy haze on his limbs. He pulls his arms under himself first, not wanting to roll and smudge it. His shoulders are sore, but Steve is right there to lean on, a thick forearm under his chest, and the other hand on his opposite hip.


Tony follows the guidance of those big, warm hands, and it’s easier than he thought to pull all the way to his feet. The sunshine is blindingly bright, horizontal with sunset, so he turns to Steve and buries his face into his chest. With his back a delicate artwork, the only place Steve can put his hands is Tony’s back pockets, which Tony does not object to in the slightest. Slowly, the haze clears from around his head, and when his legs feel like they’ll hold his weight properly he looks up at Steve and quirks his head.

Steve nods. “Sure, c’mon Mr. Noodle.”

Tony pinches Steve’s nipple through is undershirt for that, but it’s not totally inaccurate and Steve’s gasp is more on the good side of shock than the painful. They loose unknown minutes in a deep kiss, mouths wet and hands wandering.

Eventually Tony pulls away, breathless and grinning.

The closet mirror is an uninterrupted floor to ceiling sheet and when Steve steers him to look at his back, Tony’s view is impeccable.

From the dimples in the small of his back rise two phoenixes, their bodies and the long sweep of neck and tail entwined in a mathematically perfect symmetry of sine and cosine curve. Abstract and full of movement, deep red and gold...

Tony stands for long minutes, taking in every detail and brushstroke. Their eyes are closed, their heads nestled close together between his shoulder blades. They’re slightly distorted where he is twisted to look, so he looks back at Steve and stands straight.

“Good camera time. I want-- I...”

“Okay.” Steve kisses the uncertain wants out of his mouth and Tony feels excited tension simmer down into heat. Softer. “Go lie on the bed, I’ll be right there.”

Tony lets him go, and crawls onto the bed, face down in the reflected glow of the sunset. It’s luxuriously hot in here, because Steve is a considerate and tactical mind, so he feels as comfortable as a cat. He stretches out his shoulders, rolls his back out and then flops, boneless, into the bed.

When Steve comes back, he lets him pose him at particular angles to the sun, sprawled out in some, sat up and stretching in others. It’s a quiet, intimate moment, but not like the painting itself, and Tony feels himself slowly, pleasantly, coming back from a deep, quiet place.

Once it’s done, they curl up with Steve’s laptop, Tony sideways to protect the paint, and coo over the way the sunset light picks up the golden flecks in the paint. The full image is breathtaking, a deep warmth of colour and tones that fade seamlessly into the olive-gold of tony’s mediteranean skin. But it’s the shallow focus of the macro lens that he finds the most beautiful, picking out colour and the fine grain texture left by the drag of the bristles, extreme closeups with the hazy shadows of the rest of the image flowing away from the focal point.

It’s those that Tony wants on his wall. The whole image is... more personal, more intimate than you should put on display. Tony feels deeply possessive of it.

“Thank you, Tony. You’re...beautiful.”

Tony pushes the laptop away, closing it and stashing it on the floor. “Thank you Steve; you make me feel...beautiful isn’t enough. I feel like sunshine.”

Steve laughs, shy and delighted, and pulls Tony onto his lap. They’re only wearing sweats, so the contact is electric; Tony is immediately hungry for it, starving. Steve’s fingers dig deep into the muscles of his thighs while they kiss and Tony’s cock wakes all the way up. The soft hum of intimacy ignites and soon Tony is rolling his hip and out of breath.

“Steve, please-- lets?”

Steve nods, just as desperate, and they strip off their clothes. Steve’s hands are on him as soon as he’s naked, pulling him to the bed. Steve sits up against the headboard and turns Tony away from him, eyes eating up the picture Tony makes and running hot hands up either side of the paint. He’s as breathless as Tony, cock hard and eyes dark, and he pulls Tony into his lap by his hips, sliding his hands over to the inside of his thighs, spreading them over his lap so Tony is straddling his lap. Steve’s cock presses up, insistent against Tony’s balls and his whole body shakes with want, but Steve holds him still, hips pinned down.

So Steve can see the painting.

“Tony, you-- you’re so beautiful, always, but like this... mine, Tony, I feel so--”


Steve whimpers and Tony’s going to take that as a yes.

“Then take me, Steve. Please; I really-- fuck me like this, so you can see what you did to me.”

Steve nods and lets go of his thighs, his cock so hard against Tony’s inner thigh that he’s leaking already. His hips buck and Tony reaches down to hold their cocks together, so Steve rubs up between his balls and all along the underside of his cock. It feels utterly sublime, the stick-slide of hot skin, and Tony rocks his hips luxuriously, chasing the deep heat and friction of Steve’s body.

There’s a click behind him, so reminiscent of a paint tube that Tony is flung headfirst into a fantasy of Steve fucking him with paint as lube, and his whole body tenses up with heat so intense than he whimpers out loud. Steve’s hand lands on his ass and he feels himself exposed to the air, and to Steve’s gaze. Whimpering and eager, he tilts his hips forwards, exposing his asshole and planting a hand on Steve’s thigh for balance.

Wet fingers are a cold shock, too, but firmer and more focused than a paintbrush, blunt and insistent. Tony pushes back against them and--

He sighs out a long, shivery breath as he’s breached, initial stretch giving away to a smooth, slick glide. Steve is thorough, and soon has Tony wet and stretched, mess and so deeply ready for more that he’s fucking himself back on Steve’s fingers.

“Okay, honey, shhh, up on your knees for me.”

Tony rises up, letting go of their cocks with a sigh of loss, and Steve’s hand is on his ass, holding him open. Then, Steve urges him back down, his thumb just at the edge of Tony’s entrance, making him gape and clench on nothing. Steve’s cock is hotter and bigger than Steve’s fingers, and Tony relaxes down onto it with deep relief. The slide is easy and familiar, long awaited, now, and Tony seats himself completely. Steve settles deep, big as he is, and Tony clenches around him for his own pleasure. The angle is perfect; the hot throb of Steve’s cock lies heavy against Tony’s prostate, a constant hum of white-bright pleasure in the deeper thrum of fullness and stretch.

They pause like that, collecting themselves, and Tony feels the faint brush of Steve’s touch up his back, where the phoenixes are entwined. He gasps and tenses, inner muscles squeezing against Steve and sending electric pulses up his spine.

“Admiring your work?” He gasps out, both palms braced on Steve’s thighs and back arched to take Steve as deeply as possible.

“You-- Most perfect canvas I’ve ever painted, you’re something else, Tony. I love you.”

“Love you too Steve. Also; love your dick, so...”

Steve’s laughter jostles him deep inside Tony, and that’s enough to break the sweet calm. Tony rises up on his knees a little, thighs trembling with the slick slide, and Steve pushes up into him as he sinks back down. The position lets him take it deep, and he’s already quivering with pleasure, body on edge from a whole afternoon of tender touches and slow intimacy.

Steve’s hands on his back, his gaze, is hot, burning through him and amplifying the sensation. Tony’s eyes close to better imagine Steve’s pale hands against the artwork, the helpless possessiveness Steve has towards his paintings.

Tony’s obviously not alone; Steve’s thrusts are usually smooth and measured, calculated to drive Tony wild, but this time, Steve’s juddering hips are already wild; deep and passionate and helplessly close to filling Tony up.

They find a rhythm, somehow, and the pleasure starts to build in waves, overwhelming and crashing down in turns, until Tony is barely holding off coming with sheer willpower. Steve’s grip has gone desperate on his hips, his thrusts stutter and pause at the deepest thrust and then--

The hot rush deep inside, and Steve’s throaty cry and Tony lets go, coming so hard his vision goes dark, and the come hits him all the way up his chest. The clenching of his own body pushes Steve’s cock deep and he shakes and judders with the shock of it, still so good that he never wants it to end.

He finds himself limp, shaking, and Steve gathers him against his chest so he is lying with legs spread around Steve’s knees and ass still stuffed with cock.

“The painting--”

Steve hushes him, hips rocking his cock a little deeper and stealing his breath with another aftershock. “It’s smudged already; every time I touched you, ever place I couldn’t bear to leave you untouched; a smear of red and gold, my fingerpints, my hands, my mark, all over you.”

Tony shivers with the image, cock leaking willingly but soft against his thigh.

“Handprints on your hips, smears of paint on your ass, around your hole; you’re a different canvas now, makes me want to fuck you all over again.”

Tony’s done, he’s still breathing hard, and Steve’s words stir the spirit more than the body, but-- Steve’s not gone soft yet, and Tony thrusts back against him, wordless but very, very hungry for more.

“You sure?” Steve asks, softly.

Tony croaks, but manages to clear it enough to growl; “Steve, please, more, just-- fuck me again? I don’t-- that image--”

“Yeah, Tony. You’re just... It’s blowing my mind.”

Steve braces his feet on the mattress, knees wide and stretching Tony’s legs open so he feels on display and... When Tony looks down, Steve’s hands are pulling at his inner thighs, holding him on his cock and smearing streaks of gold and red that shine in the last of the sunset. Steve’s fingers dip down, stroke where they’re joined and Tony can’t see if he leaves paint there too, but he can picture it and his body jolts with heat. Steve’s fingers slide through the lube on his cock, stroke down to where Tony cant see, and can only imagine he’s petting himself, working himself back up.

The hardening, thickening cock in his ass confirms it, and then Steve’s fingers are back, rubbing himself around where he’s buried in Tony. By the time he’s fully hard again, Tony’s lost the ability to keep his breath, and he’s trembling in Steve’s grip like he never stopped coming to begin with. It’s an electric, zinging pleasure that Tony can hardly bear, but wouldn’t give up for all the world.

“Look, Tony, look what I’m doing to you...”

Tony lifts his head to look down, and Steve’s palm, spread over his lower belly, has left a deep red handprint.

“There, you see? You’re mine now, my signature all over you...”

Tony whimpers and rocks his hips back, jolted. Steve’s hand slips over his cock, gentle enough that it’s not uncomfortable, and leaves a smear of gold across the head. Tony’s head thumps back against Steve’s shoulder, eyes staring sightlessly at the ceiling as his body valiantly tries to respond.

“Shhhh... shhh.. I’ve got you...”

Steve rolls them gently, slowly enough that Tony can get his hands and knees under him, and starts to thrust into him from behind, a slow, almost languid pace that Tony’s tired body accepts with glee. Steady waves of arousal build with each slow push, the slick slide over his prostate, the smear of the paint under Steve’s hands.

They’re not chasing Tony’s pleasure this time, he might not come and he doesn’t care; Steve feels amazing, the connection between them is deeply satisfying and Tony would happily keep Steve’s cock warm for him all day, it’s bliss.

Steve holds him close, and murmurs love in his ears, and his hands leave sweeps of colour on his skin that make Tony blissfully hazy, wanted and contented.

Eventually, Steve rears up and sets his hands on Tony’s hips properly. He fucks deep, and steady, chasing orgasm and pulling Tony along towards an unseen edge, the slide of come going hot and fresh with a second load as Steve judders deep and empties into Tony again.

Tony’s so hazy, buzzing with so much pleasure, that he feels like the dimming sunshine, like light and air, and realises he’s coming without getting hard. Coming like his blood is fizzing, like he’s made of the gold dust suspended in Steve’s paint.

The fold to the bed together, Steve sliding out of him with a rush of come that streaks across his thigh like more paint. Tony feels hollowed out and filled with warmth, soft and limp and perfect. He rolls over to face Steve and burrows into his arms, curling close and finally kissing him deep enough to make up for the lack of kissing during the sex itself.

His body hasn’t quite realised it’s over, still zinging with electric ripples and making his toes curl when Steve takes over the kiss and pushes him onto his back. Steve settles on top of him like a blanket, hands roaming busily over chest, nipples, the streaks of paint fading now that he can’t pick up more paint from Tony’s back.

Exhausted, thrilled and deeply satisfied, Tony lets himself go limp, feels the last tingles of sex fade into satisfaction while Steve gentles his body in the same direction.

Sleep is creeping up on them, Tony knows, so he gently stills Steve’s hands and coaxes him into curling up. He finds a sheet and pulls it over them both, and lets himself drift off.

Showering, picking up the paints; it can all wait. Tony’s got afterglow to bask in.